Sometimes you need to slow down and appreciate just how far you have come.
That’s exactly what I made time for this morning. Sitting at a french cafe in the heart of Chelsea, I reflected on the past few weeks. There is definite evidence of progress. I have been participating in and enjoying Bikram yoga for close to three months now. My friend and I signed up for a 5k Summer series in Prospect Park. Every other Wednesday throughout the summer we will run a 5k. Ran one so far and although it was rough getting back into it, I felt proud to be doing something I love again. Running always makes me feel so strong. I made a commitment to cut sugar out of my diet and successfully went a whole three weeks without a drop of it. During that time I also consumed no alcohol and while I did have a few beers after my detox was over in honor of celebration, I have decided to quit drinking almost indefinitely. I don’t feel that need to escape that I once did which alcohol used to provide me and mostly just feels like I am poisoning my body whenever I do drink. I always feel worse. I only want to participate in activities that are beneficial to my body; I want to be good to myself. I established a personal doctor again and have been in for a few visits, it has been years since I’ve paid any attention to those important details of my life. This morning I was informed that I lost 12 pounds and drastically improved my blood pressure since my previous visit. I can only continue to work hard at boosting my health. Because all that matters to me is that I am healthy; physically, mentally and spiritually.
Aside from the focus on my health and wellness, I also recently received a raise after I obtained my New York City Health Academy certification in Food Safety. It feels good to be able to buy a few more groceries and not work so hard to pay the bills. I’m also looking forward to being able to travel a bit more often, so long as I can afford it.
I’m close to a month away from a trip home. I cannot wait to see my loved ones, have some fun and laughter and recharge my spirit.
I believe that life is mostly about timing. Sometimes things happen at all the wrong moments. But then again, sometimes it all works out. I feel strongly that there are amazing things about to happen in my future. I’m not waiting around or anything. My everyday adventures are more than I could ask for. I have the best friends, most supportive and loving family, an open mind, a big heart and the desire to always experience new things constantly and learn as much as I can. I believe the universe is taking good care of me as well as all of the hard work I have been doing.
Oh and it has officially been one year since I moved back to New York. I am still so in love with this amazingly versatile city.
I am a very lucky and grateful woman.
Reminders for this upcoming week:
If it hurts, that means it is working.
Nothing really worth it ever comes easy.
My body is capable of anything.
I am as strong as I decide to be.
My body can run many more miles after my mind wants to give up.
The process is progress.
I’m back in the fitness game full strength. My whole entire body is in pain but it’s always worth it.
I wish there were a way for me to fully capture this moment in which I am currently existing, at least so I could share the feeling with someone; anyone really. Jazz in the background, candles lit, safely snuggled under my heated blanket while I lounge here to document this next stage of me.
Rewind back to last year this time and I was living in a beautiful world called Columbus, Ohio. My job was high-stress, friends were scarce, resources limited and I needed something big to happen. For me. I was longing for a new outlet. I made the decision back then that I would someday run a half-marathon. Running was still somewhat new to me at that point but undoubtedly something I had grown to love. I pushed myself so very hard for the next 6 months, although not quite as intensely as I had hoped for. So instead, this last May, I ran my first 5k. One of the most rewarding moments of my life.
Fast forward to now. My wonderful friend Johanelli and I have decided to really start training for a Half Marathon next May. Now that I have an actual partner in crime to share this amazing and excruciatingly difficult journey, I feel more motivated than I ever have. I know all too well how painful this process is sure to be but at the same time the end results are guaranteed to be powerful beyond measure.
On top of marathon training, I will also be moving apartments in two short weeks. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to be moving on from this unfortunately poisonous living situation. Not to mention this new place will be a definite step up in my world and I can’t wait to start over again. It seems I do that often.
I could be the heated blanket, the Jazz, the endorphins or the fact that the moon is finally in my sign. All I know is that I’m on top again. Queen of my ever-changing wonderful world.
I feel it is only normal to fall off the fitness wagon every now and again. For me it is the simple fact that I am only human and sometimes I have the will power and sometimes I do not. I can only limit myself for certain undetermined waves of time before, eventually, I have to cheat on this plan somehow.
There are a plethora of body types out there and different ways that people treat their bodies as well as how strong of a metabolism they may possess. I was not blessed with a high metabolism as I have to work very hard to keep fit and maintain a healthy diet. This takes an extreme amount of self-control and sometimes near excruciating exercise plans. So as I said, this discipline only lives in me for certain periods of time before my deep-rooted bad habits begin to slowly resurface.
When I make good choices and treat my body well through the food I consume and how active I keep myself, I always feel a high sense of accomplishment. I feel stronger, happier, more energetic and just plain content with the person I am. Working on myself in any way continues to be of high importance to me always.
I’ve began to take better care of myself again. The trick for me this time was to incorporate new ways to stay in shape. I think after I ran the 5k back in May I was just feeling very burnt out. I still love running but I needed a change of pace. So thankfully in this amazing city I live in there are various fitness classes being offered throughout the duration of summertime and to make it even better they are completely free. These classes range from Zumba to Yoga to Pilates to Spin and beyond. I attended my first Zumba class today and I loved every second of it. It really got me moving, taught me some awesome moves and provided a killer workout for my entire body. The best part about these classes is that they are being held in prime locations. I never thought I would be dancing my butt off at a Zumba class along the East River, with the view of the Manhattan skyline as well as the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve also started doing some early morning runs in Battery Park along the Hudson. It feels good to escape the enslavement and confinement of the gym and just reminds me of how lucky am I to be back here in this place with endless opportunities.
I’m going to work very hard from now until the end of the year and beyond because the challenge alone fills me with so much energy, passion and drive. It feels good to push myself and I will continue to do just that.
The most important lesson I have learned thus far in my life is to always focus on my personal growth; keep myself happy first and foremost. When I take care of myself and my well-being, I am just an overall better person. I deal with potential stress-ors with more positivity, I am more patient, more open-minded, I am a better friend, a better listener and see the world full of endless opportunities.
Last year this girl began a journey. I began a new hobby and it has completely changed who I am; for the better. I first decided to pick up running due to the fact that it terrified me. In hopes of conquering another fear, I jumped in not knowing at all what to expect.
I have spoken many times of my running adventures; this is something of much importance to me. Last fall I set a goal of running a half-marathon on this very day. I have trained hard but have also faced minor set-backs in the last 7 months or so. I gained so much heart throughout this time. I learned what it felt like to push myself harder everyday and to keep pushing even when it felt like I had nothing left. I really discovered just exactly who I am. I have an iron soul and I never give up; ever.
Sometime in March I began talking with one of my managers who had just taken up running as well and was planning to complete the 5k portion of the race I had been training for. She said we should sign up together. I decided that a 5k was a more suitable and most-likely more attainable goal to shoot for as my first public exposure to running. And so began the countdown.
Today was a day I will never forget. The amount of pure adrenaline coursing through my body alone was unexplainable and just felt thrilling. Being around so many others with the same drive and passion was beyond rewarding. Not knowing what exactly to expect kept me anticipating every second. I started off strong and kept steady. My pace definitely slowed between the second mile and the finish line but I kept going. Guided by an army of runners just as dedicated as myself, pushing themselves to the limit, I made my way towards the finish line. I collected my metal and met up with my friends. Words cannot possibly begin to describe what this accomplish means to me or what I felt in that very moment. I have never been so proud of myself. Next stop, half-marathon.
So here’s to dedication, persistence, believing in yourself, dreams, goals, strength, happiness and striving to become a better person. These are the things that truly enrich our lives.
Never give up.
‘Live the life you love,
Love the life you live.”
Sometime in the past week or so, the air finally began to change. The birds started singing loudly, the leaves are sprouting on various trees, flowers began to bloom and the grass is getting greener. Spring is here. My daily commute has felt much more enjoyable without all the layers and I desire to be outdoors as much as possible. Simply put, this weather is nothing short of a blessing in disguise.
I’ve been battling with some decisions and miscellaneous internal demons these past few weeks. Mostly regarding the next steps I will take in my life. I did have it all planned out but life happens and sometimes that causes me to think, possibly even over think. I was having overpowering surges of sadness as well as intense loneliness at times. I was missing many people back home. These feelings are normal and perhaps, in the moment, I let them get the best of me. But I have found that in these moments of sadness, I grow even stronger in my independence. Every time I have one of these waves of weakness/loneliness, I use it as motivation in some way. In the past I may have just slept the day away, ate way too much unhealthy crap, felt sorry for myself or cried uncontrollably. These days I understand myself better. I know I have to get out and do something, write something or create something. Lately I’ve been taking the dog on a lot of long walks, decorating my house and trying out a few new recipes a week. These things always make me feel happy.
This past Monday I took my first run outside since I’ve lived here. I remember walking these neighborhood streets when I first arrived and thinking of the day I would run them. That first night run I took was completely cleansing to say the least. I ran fast and hard but I felt so strong and steady. I let everything that had been bothering me just melt away. I imagined myself running that same path for the next few months and all I could do was smile. That’s when I decided it. I am staying in Ohio. It suites me. There is this part of my soul that knows that I am supposed to be here at this very time in my life. No matter the odds, the loneliness, sadness, struggle, distance from loved ones, longing for other places or the hardships, I will rise above it. I will persevere. This is my destiny. I just know it.
Everyday I feel more thankful to be myself and realize just how special that is. Every mistake, flaw and faulty piece keeps me grounded, reminds me of my roots, where I have been and where I am going.
At my very first remote understanding of what becoming “healthy” was, I was more than willing to jump on the bandwagon. I had explored diets religiously for years prior but what really kick-started the process was my decision to become Vegan. The way I felt on a daily basis changed for the better almost immediately. Although I still had many bad eating habits to overcome, this new way of eating and treating my body felt magnificent. I kid you not when I say that I even had people tell me I was glowing unlike ever before. Along the way I have tried many other adventures such as fasting, raw foods and even juicing. But overall I am just much more aware of what I eat and how it makes me feel. I’m not saying that I don’t eat crap sometimes because believe me I do. I have an undying love for sweets unfortunately. But when I choose to eat a lot of things that aren’t exactly healthy I do know that I don’t feel well and I don’t like feeling that way. I’ve learned that I would rather eat to feel energetic, nourished and happy. So I had already broken through the initial barrier between the very unhealthy way I used to live and this newly adopted, energized, smart and worthwhile lifestyle.
I never thought I could stand to run longer than maybe a minute at a time. I didn’t think my body could handle it. Thankfully, there were success stories of my friends everywhere I looked and I had heard of the Couch to 5k program. Slowly I built my pain tolerance because believe me, it was and still is at times, excruciating.
While I’m running, nothing else matters. The stretch marks, the little belly I’ll probably never fully get rid of, the patches of cellulite here and there, the countless times I was picked on and called “fat” as a child and beyond… It all disappears. I have nothing to prove to anyone surrounding me. I exist only inside my own mind. The thoughts I produce while running are nothing short of powerful. I feel undeniably amazing. I can conquer anything. It is a high matched by nothing else I have ever felt.
Most of my initial runs have been at the gym, confined to the treadmill, due to the fact that I am not yet inclined to do so outside in the cold. I made a discovery while having interactions with many of the same people on a daily basis at the gym. Sometimes when I’m running so hard and pushing myself further than I ever have, I glance to my right, then to my left. I imagine that we are all an army of soldiers running together, supporting each other. We are the walls that hold each other up. We are a team. I am inspired to be among others who are doing what they love. I feel this is extremely symbolic of our lives. Without our own personal armies of soldiers, we can feel so frail at times. It helps to have those people by your side. Friends, family and strangers alike.
Who knows how far this new hobby will lead but I sure am learning new things about myself along the way. It has already been the most rewarding process of my life. Much respect to all my fellow runners out there.
I’ve been a bit of a slacker on the weekly updates. Life has been a bit hectic. But I can’t complain too much. I’m still surviving. That’s all that matters. So here goes.
My sister is for sure moving back to AZ. I decided that I will not stress about this. I am going to miss her very much. We have always been together through everything and it will be rough not to have her here. But if this is what she needs to make her happy, I fully support her. Once again, I’m faced with the challenge of figuring out how to survive. I’m pretty much car-less during the coldest part of the year. It’s not fun but I’ll get through it. Thankfully I have some great co-workers who are nice enough to give me rides sometimes.
I’m just holding out for my tax return so that I can buy a simple car to transport me to work, the gym and to school. This are my only needs in life at the moment. Well, maybe some fun too.
Last week was really good in the training department. I’ve been increasing my speed in small increments throughout my runs to build stamina. I need to do this in order to be able to handle running in the outside conditions, once the weather permits.
I’ve also been doing some yoga designed especially for runners. It’s been a new challenge and that always excites me. Here’s why I accomplished this last week:
Monday- 4 Miles
Thursday- 3 Miles
Friday- 4 Miles
Until next week, I leave you with this:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.