I’m going to keep words to a minimum here; I’d hate for you to have to scan your own birthday post.
Love you. Welcome to 19.
I left my camera at Matt and Sarah1′s house last weekend on accident. Because I’ve been cameraless, I’ve wanted to do nothing but take pictures all week. This is the curse that is Wanting Something You Can’t Have.
So instead, I’ve had to settle for editing. This is Abbie, crying in the backseat of her mom’s car because she couldn’t go into the UPS Store. True story. This girl is either a.) the most social creature that ever walked the face of the earth or b.) going to have a more fierce addiction to office supplies than her Tia (ahem, me) does. Which is saying something. Cause I really, really love office supplies.
Yesterday I ran almost 4 miles, and it was awesome and fast and fun. Awesome, that is, until after the run was over, and then I felt like my stomach was tied up in knots. So that sucked.
Then today I ran again and that was much better, in that my stomach didn’t cramp for 6 hours afterward. But you know what did suck? The run itself.
Working out is hard sometimes.
*And Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t anywhere to be found. DOUBLE SUCK.
This afternoon I drove up to Denton to pick up a long-time friend of Zack’s who’s going to stay at our house for a while. His name is Vic. While Vic and I were driving back to the house, we had to change from one major highway to another major highway. That highway change included, as highway changes often do, a rather large overpass. This particular highway-to-highway transition happened to take you on the very tallest overpass of the mix-master, the overpass that is approximately 300 feet off of the ground.
As Vic and I were at the very tallest point of the overpass, I heard the sounds of screeching wheels behind me. I quickly looked in my rear-view mirror to see a car slide out of control and basically make a left-hand turn on the over pass. The car crunched into the barrier wall with such force that it lifted the car’s rear wheels off of the ground as the car’s hood crunched up like an accordion into the concrete barrier. The concrete barrier on the side of the very highest over-pass that is about 300 feet tall.
I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. I said “HOLY CRAP,” or something like it to Vic, who checked the rear-view mirror and saw the car resting against the barrier, cars swerving around like crazy to avoid hitting it. I picked up my phone, called 911, and reported the accident. I thought for sure that I had just seen someone die. As we drove further and further away (I didn’t stop because I knew that if I didn’t die by getting hit by a car on the overpass, Zack would have killed me when he found out that I was walking around on an overpass, regardless of what I was doing there), I got more and more freaked out by all the what if’s of the situation. If I had been driving 1 mile and hour slower. If I had passed one less car. If the guy at the gas station had given us our change 5 seconds slower. If I had dropped something and had to pick it up. Basically, if anything at all had slowed me down by about 4 seconds, I would have been in the lane next to that guy when he took that left hand turn on the over-pass. He wouldn’t have hit the barrier, he would have hit my car. I can’t stop thinking about the way those wheels lifted off the ground when he slammed into the concrete. He was just barely behind me.
I found out that the guy driving the car was okay. No other cars hit him and he didn’t have any injuries. When Zack came home from work today, I was telling him all about it, and he took me into his arms and held me and said, “Highways are dangerous. That’s why I always worry about you when I know you’re driving. I’m so glad you’re safe.” And right then we had, standing in our kitchen, one of those moments in a marriage when you look into each other’s eyes, everything else slows to a standstill, and you allow yourself to be overwhelmed by how much you care for that other person, and how much they care for you back.
Jenn and Sarah1 and I sat down for lunch today after a very successful day of shopping. The waitress came over and asked if she could take our drink order, and I stated that I’d like some water. As the waitress walked away, Jenn looked at me like, “WATER? SRSLY?” I told her that I hadn’t worked out yet today, and I knew if I drank a margarita at lunch, there was no way in hell I was going to do any kind of exercise for the rest of the day. And while usually that wouldn’t be a problem for me, today was different. “Today, if I worked out,” I told her, “it would be the first time in a million years that I had completed a perfect exercise week, meeting every goal that I set for myself.”
If you had started a timer when that sentence came out of my mouth, then stopped that timer when I went ahead and ordered the margarita anyway, it would have read about 48 seconds. Awesome workout plan or not, it turns out that my love for margaritas still wins my internal Workout vs. Drink battle in less than a minute.
Most often, I associate the word “exposure” with bad things. Frost bite. Wind burn. Diseases. To be exposed is to be left open, vulnerable. To be hanging from the top of the cliff, with nothing to break your fall if you happen to lose your footing. Some people are afraid of heights; I am afraid of exposure.
There are times, however, when exposure is a good thing. Building the immune system in teeny increments by allowing yourself to interact with other humans. Or allowing your infant to chew on the grocery cart’s handle. Stopping allergies in their tracks with calculated exposure to allergens to help the body recognize that a certain substance isn’t as poisonous as it once thought. Sometimes exposure is more than to be open and vulnerable. Sometimes it is to be introduced to something that, in controlled circumstances, can cause more good than it does harm.
Yoga is teaching me about exposure. I have learned that there are times when I have to expose myself to considerable amounts of pain in order to heal my body. My tightly wound hamstrings and stiff lower back are exposed to stretching and strengthening exercises three times a week so that they might grow stronger and healthier over time. These exercises, these moments of exposure, they are not comfortable. They are full of pain and hurt; they make obvious my worst parts, my weakness and my downfalls. But if I ever want those things to change, if I ever want to become better, I have to expose myself to the pain. I have to, with calculated precision, let myself hurt. During every session, I think that I can’t take the hurt anymore. I think that one more second of whatever kind of pain I’m feeling is going to be the end of me, and there’s no way I can stay where I am, no way I can deal with this any longer. And then the yoga instructor tells me to keep breathing. She tells me that it isn’t going to last forever, just to focus on the in and the out, think about anything at all, anything but the pain. And soon enough, we move on to a different kind of pain, the exposure ends, and I emerge a stronger person for having stayed there, breathing through the pain. Exposure can be a good thing.
Unfortunately, this lesson is much harder to apply to life than it is to yoga. It’s harder to breathe through emotional pain, harder to find your center when all you can think about is how open, how vulnerable, how incredibly exposed you feel. I know that it will all be for the best in the end, I know that opening myself up to the pain will also open me up to the prospect of healing. But I also know how much easier it would be to stay home, stay safe, stay surrounded by blankets and cushions and comfort and never let myself feel anything at all.
Scene: Zack and I, running down my favorite running street.
Me, for the 100 millionth time: I love that house. [I point to my favorite house on the street. The house that I point out every single freaking time we run by it because, you know what? I really, really love that house.]
Zack, for the 100 millionth time: I know.
Me: I really do think it’s my all time favorite.
Zack: I know.
[Zack and I look up to notice that the owner of The Best House Ever is outside, working in his (perfectly well kept) flower beds.]
I think to myself, “I should shout at him about how much I love his house! That will be friendly!”
Then I think, “Zack will be embarrassed if I talk to him.” Followed by, “Zack totally expects me to talk to that guy anyway, even though I know that it will embarrass him, because he thinks I am addicted to talking to strangers.”
Zack and I run by the man’s house, I keep my mouth shut. Painstakingly.
After we pass the house, Zack and I have the following conversation, which was mostly shouted because, as I mentioned earlier, we were running.
Me, talking to Zack over my shoulder: You totally bet yourself that I was going to talk to that stranger, didn’t you?
Zack: WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
Me, yelling: YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO TALK TO HIM, DIDN’T YOU?
Zack: I WAS WAITING FOR IT.
Zack: WHY DIDN’T YOU?
Me: JUST TO THROW YOU OFF MY TRAIL. IT’S GOOD TO KEEP YOU ON YOUR TOES.
A cell phone conversation:
Me: What are you doing?
Zack: I just got our new dryer out of my car.
Me: By yourself?
Zack, very proud of himself: Yeah.
Me: How did you do that?
Zack: I slid it around using towels.
Me: You’re going to wait for me to try to put it in, right?
(editor’s note: remember how we have a dryer on a shelf?)
Zack: Well, it’s kind of a challenge now.
Me: There’s no way.
Zack: Well, I got in the car okay. It can’t be that much harder.
Me: stunned silence.
Zack: I’m not going to do anything stupid. Or hurt myself. Or hurt our property.
Me: Or you could just wait for me to get home from work.
Zack: Again, it’s a challenge.
Me: Or, really, you could just wait for me.
Zack: We’ll see how it goes.
Me: please, for the love of God, wait for me.
10 minutes later, a text message conversation:
Me: Are you dead yet?
Zack: Got it into the house and the old one down, no problems. Will wait for you to put the new one up.
I’m going to go ahead and chalk that one into the “Sarah Wins” column.
A Word of Forewarning: Contrary to popular belief, this post has nothing to do with Kanye West.
Last week I had an epiphany. For two months now I’ve been trying to orchestrate a workout program around what I should be doing (but don’t want to do) rather than what I (kind of) like to do. Trying to schedule a program around what you should be doing (100%!) but failing (0%!) is much less effective than scheduling a program around what you want to be doing (75%!) and will actually do (75%!). See the math there? I was, every week, planning a 100% work out. And every week, I was beating myself up because I was talking myself out of my 100% work out because I HATED IT. Whereas if my workout plan had more closely resembled something that I desired to do, I would have been a lot more successful. And even though my desires are less calorie-effective than my ideal, it doesn’t really matter. Because in the end, my desires are actually are MORE effective than my ideal because I actually DO my desired work out plan, whereas I only ignore and sulk about my ideal (but not fun at all) work out plan.
Why did it take me so long to figure this out? 75%>0%, every single time.
So what do I like, you ask? Yoga. And running, as surprising as that is. Also, I like meeting my friend Josie at the gym at 5:50 in the morning for cardio. I like it so much, in fact, that I am willing to add an extra hour of cardio at 5:50 in the morning twice a week, ON TOP of my regular work out schedule.
So here’s my brand new work out plan:
Tuesday AM: cardio with Josie, Tuesday PM: Yoga
Wednesday: Run again.
Thursday AM: cardio with Josie, Thursday PM: Yoga, again.
Friday: take a day off.
Saturday: Run some more. Run really far, even, and usually with Cassie. Feeling crazy and ambitious? Add a pilates class at 11. Feeling less ambitious? Add happy hour at 11. Bellinis sound really good, don’t they?
Sunday: Rise and Shine Yoga. Aaah.
And yeah, maybe there’s no weight lifting in that schedule. And maybe there’s no specified day for ab work. And you know what? I think that’s okay with me. Perhaps after working out every day becomes a habit (as opposed to a phenomenon worth bragging and posting about) I’ll think about adding weights and ab-centric workouts. Until then, I’ll continue to pat myself on the back for aiming for, and mostly reaching, my about-an-hour-a-day goal.
Today was my first day in my 4:30 yoga class. The gym I go to is a new gym and they’re just starting to work out their class schedule. They just added the 4:30 Tues/Thurs yoga class, and I was thrilled to find it on the schedule.
I arrived 10 minutes early for the class today to find the instructor already in the class, stretching and preparing. After 10 minutes of stretching and self-centering, I discovered that I was the only student in the class today. We started the class, just her and me. She performed her instruction as usual, while watching me, her only student, with an eagle’s eye. Quick corrections in my postures left me in a world of hurt. It’s amazing how one small adjustment of the hips can change the entire feeling of a yoga pose. I was elated when another student showed up 15 minutes into the class. Though the one-on-one instruction was really fantastic, I appreciated a.) having someone to compete against, (I’m a hopeless competitor) and b.) having someone else for the instructor to eyeball during the class. Knowing that every single word out of her mouth was intended for my ears was a wee bit intense for my liking. I appreciate being able to ignore about half of what any given yoga instructor says, assuming that they mean those words for weaker, lesser capable students than I.
By the end of today’s class, though, I was convinced that I’ve found my niche. This instructor is young, hip, and cool. And more importantly, she has a magical way of making me feel like I am a total Yoga Badass whilst simultaneously using clear instruction to correct some of the bad posture habits that I’ve picked up over the years. She corrects my hips one minute, and makes me feel like a more flexible version of Gumby the next. Could it possibly get any better than that?
We took Scout to the Waterfall in Westworth Village (Fort Worth) on Farmer’s Branch (The Trinity River), too. Did I tell you that already?
She had a total blast. Though she was mildly reluctant at first, she really took to the water after she found her footing around the falls. Zack and I hung out there for the better part of an hour, and she ran around like a total maniac the entire time.
The result being that Scout was in a very attentive, very Dog Whisperer Zen kind of a mood while we were walking back to the car. I decided to use that rare, teachable moment to expand Scout’s trick repertoire.
Here’s a picture Zack took of me, wearing a fantastically outdoorsy outfit, teaching Scout to jump up and down on the rock barrier. We worked on the commands “up” and “down,” and she seemed to really actually understand what I was telling her to do. It was like magic. She would sometimes use a middle stone as a half-step, and sometimes she would jump straight from the ground to the top of the ledge in a single leap, proving that she could easily bound over the fence in our backyard if she ever decided she wanted to. For God’s sake, please, nobody ever jump a fence while my dog is watching you. We’d have to buy a game fence if she ever put her mad hops to use.
So why am I telling you all of this now? Because today I got to put her new skills to use.
As Scout and I were finishing a 3-mile run this afternoon, I spotted another runner coming towards us on the sidewalk. So, I run with Scout’s leash tied around my waist, right? And the sight of my leash-less hands usually freaks out other runners until they get much closer to us and realize I have her hooked up on a genius hands-free system. I’ve learned that if I want a runner to feel comfortable passing by me, I have to reach down and hold Scout’s leash until the runner passes, proving to them that I do have control of my dog and that she isn’t going to try to maim them. Today, I got to take it to the next level. As the runner approached me, I instinctively reached down to grab Scout’s leash and moved to the right side of the sidewalk. That’s when I realized that the 4′ tall concrete retainer wall to my right (some of the houses in my neighborhood are built on raised hills and have concrete retaining walls where the yard meets the cross street) would be a great place to try out Scout’s new trick and its practical application. I said, “UP!” and watched Scout leap to the top of the barrier with ease. The runner smiled as she passed me, nodding in appreciation and, I’d like to think, amazement at Scout’s total awesomeness. She trotted along the barrier until I said, “DOWN!” At which time she happily jumped back down to my side.
So proud. Now Scout totally knows 5 tricks. Sit. Stay. Lay down. Shake. And JUMP UP ON THAT WALL!