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Over Halfway February 15, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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As of yesterday I am seven weeks from the marathon.  Seven weeks!  That’s less than two  months, that’s only 5 more long runs so five weeks of high mileage and then the taper!

I am a little disappointed because I didn’t stick to the training as best as I should/could have.  Not sure if I’ll add marathon runner permanently to my resume.  You spend a lot of time running.  You may be going “well obviously” but I don’t think you can really comprehend how much time you can spend running until you start training for one of these things.  Especially if you’re a slow runner like I am.  It takes me around 3 hours to do 16 miles.  That’s 1/8 of my day, 1/8 of my day spent running, consider you spend approximately 8 hours working (1/3), 8 hours sleeping (1/3) 1/8 is a pretty big chunk!   These longer weeks I am running  34 miles, that’s approximately 374 minutes or over 6 hours of running per week.  I’m not sure I’ll make this a permanent part of my life.  I might aspire to run one a year or maybe even two…   We’ll see how I feel once I finish this thing. Depending on my experience at the VCM I was hoping to do the Missoula Marathon in July.  However it might be full by then and I don’t know if I want to do another one so soon…

For all these miles and minutes to be honest I expected more of a transformation, in my habits, body, and mentality.  While some growth has occured it’s not as drastic as I admit I had hoped for.  My weight is sort of yo-yoing from week to week.  My legs are bigger but harder and my boobs have almost disappeared.  I don’t think anyone who hasn’t seen me for a while will believe I am training for a marathon.  Granted it’s not nearly over yet, I have two more 16-mile runs and three 18-mile runs (I might trade one of those in for a 20 mile run just to see if I’ll ‘hit the wall’ and my other training program has a 20 mile run in it).  We’ll see how I feel once it’s all said and done.  I’m not saying I’m disappointed, I’m 100% positive I made this decision, but let’s face it, the marathon is a metaphor.  This is about changing my life, and while I think I’m made improvements, really I’ve just tweaked it a bit.

One thing is for sure, a marathon is a HUGE commitment, and I’m not even being hardcore about it.  After the marathon I think I’ll take a break from running.  I’m sure I still will, I just won’t be training.  That will give me a little over a month to focus on riding and roping before I head out West again.  I appreciate the insight running has given me into my life so far, but I will definitely need both a physical and mental break from it.

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When You’re Young You Get Sad January 31, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Miscellaneous, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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One of the great things about being in your twenties is the relinquishing of teenage angst, of teenage misconceptions of popularity and misconstrued body image.  I definitly don’t look any better now than I did at 16 but I feel so much better about myself than I did when I was a tiny little cheerleader.  I might not find myself any more attractive but I don’t care about it anymore.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that my hair will never do what I want it to do, that I have no idea how to properly apply makeup and there is nothing glamorous about me.  I am more comfortable with dirt under my nails than polish on them.  When I go out, it’s in jeans and a tee-shirt and I have a great time.

I’ve also come to accept being mistaken for being a lot younger than I am.  When I was in Montana my boss sent me for snuff and the convenience clerk wouldn’t sell it to me because I looked too young (I didn’t have my ID).  I waitress across the street from a major university and while I understand why people ask me if I’m a student the other day I was asked specifically if I was a freshman.  I haven’t decided yet if I should just go along with it or if I should correct them and say, “Actually I graduated college three years ago…”

Most of the patrons are college students and mostly ’88 babies.  This has got me thinking, what would 21 year old Grizzly think of 24 year old Grizzly?  I’m thinking I’d be appalled.  No career, no master’s degree, no serious relationship… I would think I am aimless and lazy.  Then 24 year old Grizzly would kick 21 year old Grizzly’s ass.  I am happy.  I am content and pleased with where I am.  I am not 100% satisfied, I’m finding it shockingly difficult to find a second job where I can be a positive influence on people’s lives and I wish I could find a venue to team rope.  Yes I have made mistakes and sometimes made things more difficult than they need to be.  However I’ve always done what I thought was right..  As a teenager the twenties sound so old, 22 sounds so refined and grown up.  Not even close.  I’m amazed at anyone who has made major accomplishments in his or her twenties.  I feel like I’m just starting to really lay a foundation for the rest of my life, and maybe I’m a late bloomer, but I’d rather be late than pre-mature.

Deficit of 11 Miles January 25, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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i.e. I was supposed to run 28 miles this week and only put in 17.

This was a tough running week.  It started out pretty strong with a really nice 4 mile run, where I picked up the pace and felt really good.  For my next run, six miles, I simply did not want to do it.  I was sick of running, sick of training for a marathon and I just did not feel like it.  I still did it.  Usually when I’m feeling negative after I get into the rhythm of the running things take a 180 but this time it didn’t.  With each step I became more irritable and more annoyed.

When I woke up the next day I felt sick.  We’ve been having wet weather here in Raleigh and I think that’s put me a bit ‘under the weather.’  I was also having some pain in my right quad again.  Looking at my work schedule as well as the weather forecast I decided to switch the order of my long run and short run.  In actuality I ended up taking three days off from running.  Between my quad and my sniffles I felt like I was over-training a bit and decided to take a bit of a break.  Friday I went out and bought new running shoes as mine are a year old and starting to actually get holes in them.  I hoped this would give me both a mental boost and help out my quad.  It sort of did.  I wanted to do my long run yesterday but half way through I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish and make it to work on time.  So I only ran 7 miles as opposed to 14.

And hit a mental low.

Part of the mental training in the Non-Runner’s Guide is to attach “…it doesn’t matter” to doubts.  I.E.  “I don’t want to run, it’s raining… it doesn’t matter.”  So I tried to do this here but kept coming back to, if I’m late for work, I might get fired and I don’t want to start a 4-12am shift after a 14 mile run without proper time to rehydrate/refuel.  The consequence of this was an almost tearful drive back to the apartment where all I thought about was how my failure of this week means I will not be able to run a marathon and therefore not be able to change my life.  It’s so frustrating how now I can finally stop worrying so much about finances and instead of feeling good my conscious just goes to something else to fret over.

Especially frustrating was that I am starting to marathon train in other aspects of my life like I outlined last week.  I tried eating right this week.  I did alright, I carbo loaded on the day before what I thought was to be my long run.  I ate lots of veggies (well mostly lots of brussel sprouts yum 🙂 ) and tried limiting my caffeine and alcohol.

So this week isn’t a total wash.  I still get to enjoy my Sunday Mornings (leisurely coffee, CBS Sunday Morning, crossword, blogging and a somewhat productive internet surfing session) and I do feel better about this week’s running performance.  I need to respect my body and this is just one week out of 18 that I am training.  With a little extra push this week I can make it up and I have a yoga training instructor course this week so hopefully that will help my focus.  Which reminds me that I need to practice my breathing techniques this week in preparation.  Also depending on time/money I might start going to a hot  yoga class.  There is a ‘free’ studio close to where I live and I’m hoping I might be able to swing going once or twice a week (it’s a suggested 10-15 dollar donation per class.)

So while I am disappointed in my week this week I am trying not to let it get to me.  I still have 10 weeks to go (!) and while this past week and this upcoming one might be a little shaky with scheduling, I am confident I can get back on track.  (Also I did my weekly weigh in and those extra pounds I gained last week are gone surprisingly, thank heaven for small motivators.)

This Week’s Mileage: 26.5 January 17, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Life, Marathon Training, Quarter-Life Crisis, yoga.
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I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to my marathon training.  I started it because I was frustrated I could find no one to commiserate with about my quarter-life crisis.  Now I realize it’s kind of hard to blog about being 20-something and aimless without sounding… petulant?  self-absorbed?  melodramatic?  Besides what is a marathon but a metaphor for life?  Running is one of the best things in my life right now, one of the most reliable and most rewarding.  This is a time where I need to focus on the positive.  Training for this marathon isn’t about being able to complete 26.2 miles.  It’s about changing my life.  Not to say an entry on work or finances or any other aspect of my life won’t slip in, but just like my life this blog needs a focus and the finish line is as good a place as any.

This week I tried to start training for a marathon in more aspects than just the actually few hours a week spent running.  While I haven’t been doing as much as I could it’s a start.  Unfortunately I gained three pounds but I think part of that is I wasn’t properly hydrated when I weighed myself in previous weeks and I was PMSing this week.  What does PMSing mean for me?  All I think about is food, and I cannot stop myself from eating.  When I wake up I immediately head for the kitchen, after breakfast I start thinking about what I’ll have for lunch, any advertisement for food makes me hungry, any moment my brain isn’t active on something I think about food, when I’m one heartbeat a way from calling a psychiatrist my uterus releases and I feel much better about myself and my sanity.

The day before my long run I carbo-loaded.  A lot of pasta and vegetables, I tried to limit dairy and caffeine and was mindful of hydration.  The result?  Well the first three miles I felt pretty tight.  Perhaps the Reebok Easy-Tone sneakers I’ve been wearing to my waitressing job are having more of an impact than I thought.  However I was able to relax and the second and third 3-mile laps were probably the best.  There is one street that is almost entirely an incline and on my second run up it I passed three people who were walking it and that felt pretty good, especially since I knew I was going to run it two more times!  I passed my apt every three miles where I rehydrated as directed and picked up the dog for the last three miles.  She is good encouragement for ‘speed’ intervals as when her adolescent attention wanes I just run a little faster.  Running the same route a few times in a row really alerts you to inclines you didn’t realize were there before.  While my pace was really slow (11:30/mile including hydration and traffic breaks) I still feel pretty good about the run and am only feeling a little sore the next day.

On my shorter runs (two of 4.25 miles and one of 6 miles) I tried to up the pace.  While I was able to I still feel as I can do better.  What surprises me is that while I was able to do it, it is so mental.  I know I can go faster still but it takes a lot more concentration than I am used to.

So what have I learned from running this week?  Now instead of feeling guilty and discouraged that I could ‘do better’ after finishing something I am excited for future opportunities to improve.

For next week I will continue to be mindful of what and when I am eating.  I will utilize more mental techniques.  Also I want to increase my strength training.  I actually have my first yoga instructor training at the end of this month and I’ve designed a few routines already.  I’ll do my ‘running’ practices on my shorter distance days as it focuses on the building strength in the legs and I’ll do my core/upper body practices on my medium and longer days, as they focus on strengthening the core as well as stretching the legs.

“Mother of Exiles” January 9, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Equine Assisted Therapy, Life, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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Today was the New Volunteer Orientation at the Therapeutic Riding Center where I am starting to volunteer.  It is a non-profit that offers Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Therapy.  The difference being that hippotherapy is more concerned with the physical aspect of riding (strengthening of muscles, improvement of balance) whereas Equine Assisted Therapy is more the overall experience (the physical aspect as well as developing language/social skills, lengthening attention spans etc).  The day was broken up into two sessions.  The morning was for new volunteers of all types of experience and the afternoon was for ‘horse handlers’ – volunteers both new and old who had (supposedly) horse experience.  The morning was pretty much fine.  It was very nuts and bolts “This is a horse, do not stand directly behind him.  This is how we load a rider.”  Beautiful.

The afternoon session was a bit like hell.  Horse people are nutjobs.  To be trapped in a room with 12 equine inclined females ‘discussing’ horsemanship for over an hour is brutal.  Everyone has an opinion/input on every aspect of being around a horse.  The question “Should a horse be allowed to eat with a bit in it’s mouth” does not require a 10 minute discourse.  I’m a little concerned I came off as having a bad attitude whereas while everyone else was trying to showcase what they knew I was just smiling bemusedly and nodding.  I totally understand that every barn has their own necessary and sacred way of doing things and I’m completely open to learning it – but don’t treat me like an idiot. Also, I’m not going to learn anything when I have 5 different people telling me 5 different things at the same time.

Sheesh.

I’m probably being too harsh.  For the most part I think that they are all lovely people with commendable passion.  I hope to learn a lot there and do my best for the participants.  I think it was just the stress of the situation coupled with the seemingly inborn neurosis all horse people have.

I cannot wait to work with the actual riders.

I used to think I’m just not a people-person.  I’ve come to realize I am just not a people person for persons of ‘normal’ psychology.  I have no patience for them.

“Give me your traumatized, your physically and mentally poor!
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Is “your physically and mentally poor” offensive?  I was just trying to keep the rhyme.

So while I’m very excited over this new development in my life.  I’m still concerned over scheduling and finances.  Will I be able to juggle 2 jobs (although I officially only have the one), volunteering, having a dog and my fitness aspirations?  Can I get to Montana without dipping anymore into my savings?  Will my barn boss ever call me back or will I add him to the list of idiot men who don’t return my phone calls?  Within one month I’ve done two things I’ve never done before, get a speeding ticked and have an overdraft fee.  I feel these are two mistakes that aren’t necessarily something I can learn from, they are both things I know are stupid and avoidable.

Anyway I digress.  My life is moving in the direction I wanted it to when I planned on moving to Raleigh.  Whether it’s the right direction is yet to be told.

2010 Invitations January 9, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Quarter-Life Crisis, yoga.
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Here I am being all mopey and low.  Trying to figure out if the way I am handling life is the right thing to do or just the easiest.  Fighting the ‘flight’ instinct as hard as I can.  Feeling betrayed by one closest to me and not being able to turn to anyone else as my social web is almost entirely entwined… when out from Cyberspace I suddenly get a bundle of good tidings.  Some from strangers, some from acquaintances of varying degrees.  They all immensely cheered me up.  Granted it’s sometimes easier to be kinder to a total stranger than a loved one but it reminded me that sometimes when all you really want to do is shut down you should open yourself up to the universe and good things will come in.  So this gave me a new idea on how to frame my 2010 resolutions.  Instead of resolving to change things (the ‘re’ of resolve kind of bothers me, since it means ‘again’ which implies trying again, or having to try again when what I want it a fresh start), I am going to invite those attributes that I want into my life.  So hear they are, Grizzly’s invitations for 2010.

I invite Connections:  People are important to me.  While I am introverted I still love talking and learning from others.  I also realize networking is more important than ever in our society.  I am going to make more of an effort to cultivate the relationships in my life.  I’m planning on doing it the old fashioned way; Letter-writing.  I’ll set up a facebook status inviting anyone who wants to receive a lovely handwritten letter from me should send me their address.  Hopefully I’ll have some takers and who knows perhaps it could turn into something really big like Person A wants a job and Person B knows someone hiring etc etc.

I invite Health.  I want to continue to nurture my body.  Through just 5 weeks of training for a marathon I’m already amazed at what I am accomplishing.  I’d like to run 3 marathons in 2010.  I also just signed up for my first Yogafit instructor training session.  Beyond that I want to keep testing my physical abilities, hike more, try rock climbing, learn how to rope.

I invite Fight: This one sounds negative but it’s not so much conflict as it is bravery.  I am passive aggressive.  I want to encourage myself to be more assertive, to stand up for myself when patronized and call someone out when they are bullshitting.  Yogajournal did a great article on Warrior Pose a few months ago.  I’ll start exploring the different variations in my own yoga practice and find out what kind of ‘warrior’ I am supposed to be.

I invite Openness: This is probably my overall theme for 2010.  I want to be open to new experiences, new relationships, new ideas.  I don’t want to be afraid of them anymore.  At least once a month I’ll seek out a new experience and/or do something I am scared of.  Anyone have any life changing experiences they want to offer?

I invite Release:  I can forgive but I can never forget.  My life has been beautiful but I carry around so much unnecessary baggage.  I want to let go of these things.  I will start a daily meditation practice and hopefully this will help me drop some of this weight I’ve been carrying.  One of my favorite songs is “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine.  One of the lines go “Leave all your love and your loving behind you, you can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.”

Raleigh VS Virginia January 5, 2010

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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3 months I’ve been unemployed (not including census work)

2 months that I’ve been back on the East Coast from Montana

>1 month I’ve spent in VA

< 1 month I’ve spent in NC

Now I’m trying to figure out if I should stay here in NC or move back to VA.  Things haven’t been going as well as I had hoped.  It started off really well, I found a place to ride almost immediately (although I haven’t made much time to ride), and there were quite a few restaurants within walking distance. It’s taken a while to find a job and I’m not even sure if I can pay the bills with the one I found…

So taking recent events into account (unresolved issue with best friend/roomate, making another withdraw from my savings) I’m considering  calling Raleigh a no-go and heading back to the Old Dominion.  If there is one thing I excel at it’s making lists so I’ve created a pros and cons list for both locations.

Virginia – Pros

  • Could probably spend time back at Zepp shooting at cans and communing with the outdoors
  • Most likely could get a part-time job at a friend’s clothing store
  • Could spend more time with aging relatives before I move out West for good
  • Could probably go out to Montana earlier
  • Would have a lot more space
  • Would save A LOT of money

Virginia – Cons

  • Dealing with family (I love them, but they still treat me as I am 16)
  • Feeling pathetic for being almost 25 and still living at home
  • Have to drive to everything
  • Still not having my own space
  • Probably have to burn the few bridges I’ve made here in Raleigh
  • Probably not being able to find a position of any kind with either Equine Assisted Therapy or working with autistic people.
  • Might not be able to find a way to ride.

Raleigh – Pros

  • I would feel more independent
  • Already found a place to ride for free
  • Possibly already have two part time jobs
  • Started volunteering for a therapeutic riding center
  • Was offered the opportunity to learn how to drive (horses not cars, but I don’t know if I’ll have the time)

Raleigh – Cons

  • Currently not very happy with this living situation
  • Would spend more money
  • Might not be able to go out to Montana until the end of May
  • Would feel guilty (but not sad) for having to leave

I’ve put out some feelers to people in VA about jobs as well as riding.  Depending on what I hear from them and how this next week in Raleigh goes I hope to make a decision next week.  Also I have to call my Montana boss and hear what he has to say.

And since I’m feeling nostalgic

What I miss about my time in Montana

  • Riding whenever I wanted, however I wanted (I didn’t do enough of this)
  • Being able to be alone
  • Driving a tractor
  • Cracking a bull whip
  • The company
  • Strong arms
  • Being encouraged to try anything
  • Believing that I actually had something to offer.

Living 50/50 December 20, 2009

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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In my search for like-minded 20-something protagonists who tend to identify more with the supporting character, I have found a lot of people willing to define the QLC as well as claim it as their own but I have yet to find anyone who really embraces it.  While articles abound, no one is really digging into it, examining their situation and testifying with the witness of the internet.  I see a lot of “OMG!!! this is exactly what I am going through!” and then he or she goes on to describe the shoes he or she bought that day.

I had high hopes for this blog http://www.tooprettyforthis.com/ and while well-written and entertaining, I haven’t felt much empathy towards the clever narrator.  The following passage is from her abstract and summarizes the QLC…

“You were careful. You made good decisions. You were kind and trustworthy to other people, and responsible about your obligations. You worked hard, thinking things would work out because that’s what everyone told you.

Instead, you landed in a hot pile of MESS. Crazy people and even crazier roadblocks jumped in your way, leaving you to wonder what you did wrong or what red flag you missed.”

While I can relate to the first paragraph; I was careful, I made the ‘right’ decisions,   I went to a good college, got a degree in four years while working and interning, got a job etc etc, I cannot commit to the feeling of her second thought.  I do not believe I am in a hot mess, nor do I think there were crazy roadblocks and crazier people who diverted me here.  There is only one reason I am where I am and that is the decisions that I made.  Where I think I went wrong was I let everyone else determine what was the right decision.  I do not regret college, I do not regret the major I chose nor the decisions I made following graduation.  What I regret are the reasons that I made those decisions.  Up to recently I feel like I’ve been living my life around 50/50… living 50% on my own accord and the other 50% by allowing other people’s influence to govern my choices.

It has only been recently that I feel I’ve been changing this momentum.  I moved across the country (only temporary) for a job that probably hurt my chances on the career track I was on, but was so fun.  I ended a 2 1/2 year relationship and made the decision to stay single for a while.  I also made immature decisions to unnecessarily tap into savings and be leisurely about finding new employment.  Now the thoughts I have before I drift off to sleep are about if I can stay out of debt or will I have to move back with my parents?  Have I doomed myself to be eternally single?  I have to remind myself that I wanted this situation.  I have felt I have never really earned anything, never had to pull myself up.  I can think of no hardships or ‘roadblocks’ that have  required real strength to overcome.  And I wanted to know can I do it?  Can I create a life totally of my own?

Do I sound bitter?  As I traverse the internet I am nurturing voyeuristic tendencies I am embarrassed to admit that I have.  I can’t get enough of post secret and enjoy exploring other blogs as well as FB.  The emotion that I seem to run across the most is dissatisfaction.  Most of the time it is blatant but it’s also in between the lines of those excited “new shoe” testimonies.  This worries me, for out of everything I could want; wealth, happiness, a family, health, a sense of personal satisfaction and comfort is what I want the most.  I know what makes me happy.  Things that allow me to live only in the moment, running, riding, yoga, an especially well written book.  My trouble is to find a way to connect those moments so that in the idle space in between where anxiety and worry often grows, I can fill with comfort and peace.

The Begining Growl December 18, 2009

Posted by wanderinggrizzly in 20 Something, Miscellaneous, Quarter-Life Crisis.
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Alright I know, worst blog name ever but I wasn’t really feeling up to spending an atrocious amount of time coming up with something that was clever or eloquent when it would most likely come out as pretentious.  So why ‘wandering grizzly’?  I like that the latin name for grizzly literally means ‘horrible bear.’  I think that grizzly bears picked an awesome habitat to live in.  I like that they are typically not social but can be.  I like that they eat people and are big and smelly and basically bad-ass.  And as for wandering… as an unemployed, not quite homeless 20 something whose biggest aspiration is self-realization I feel like wandering is a pretty adept one-word description of my life.

So why blogging?  Why join the millions of ‘writers’ contribution to the abundance unasked for and unwanted opinions that is the internet?  I suppose it’s because for the past year I have been in the throes of what has been dubbed a “Quarter-Life Crisis.”  After scouring the internet for some guidance and camaraderie during this period I was unsatisfied.   The thoughts in my head need someplace to go, and by making them public I hope to avoid the melodrama and melancholy that often goes with journal writing.  Because I miss beautiful language and proper grammar.  Because I need something ‘constructive’ to do as I fret over my ‘life path.’

So dear reader, I hope it was not some misfortune that sent you stumbling onto my little nest of mediocrity and ego.  If you decide to stay and visit I hope you find some sort of entertainment or maybe even inspiration in my humble words and that you offer some of your own.