Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grass cut like stone.

          I am once again in my home town. Eastern Oregon is usually a desert, a high mountain desert, but right now I might as well be in Portland. My parents home has wide windows that look out over a valley, and a deck. You can see a sea of grey clouds rolling in, which I find so bizzarre. Never before in all my memory of this place, can I remember so much water.
         Right now my parents are watching a movie about rock climbing in the Andes. I am drinking red wine, and eating a brownie my mother made earlier. Of course it is not a real brownie: made only with honey and agave. Bless my mother, she is a healthnut but sometimes, chocolate needs sugar, or at least more honey. I went for a long run today thinking that when I got back the brownie would be worth it...... but it wasn't. Now the red wine is another story.
           My parents, are simple people... They have learned to enoy the ordainary things in life. They have an odd love story which is really not mine to tell, but I have come to respect it. Suffice to say, they both became physically  paralyzed for different reasons by the time I was 18. So although so much has been taken from them, they live richly because they have learned to really enjoy things that we all take for granite. Still being here is hard...It is kind of like life just stops, and slows. I am a busy person. I like motion, progress, moving forward and being alive.  Life here seems to be more about watching, waiting, and dreaming. Everyone here is dreaming about living, but never really living. I am too young to do that.
        Running is kind of easy to do here because it is a good escape, a short burst of something in a void of nothingness. So I went for a run. I ran from my parents house, to field's peak road. I took field's peak road and began to  run up it. I have to admit that if I have a weakness it is running uphill. It's probably a  mental inequity. So I ran uphill for as long as I could.
             You know what struck me the most??? How green the grass was. The grass looked like it was made of sharp emerald stone. I can't quite describe it, maybe it was the way the water hit the grass, with a little bit of light peaking out of clouds, but I truly thought as I was running that never in my life had I seen something that green. Incredible...The simple things right????
             I ran as far as I could, then I turned around and went home. So here I am with my glass of wine writing this, watching a movie about endurance mountain climbing. I am sore. Really sore. But it is a good feeling. Truly it is. My body is beccomming strong, and that is kind of cool.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leaving Oregon

Yesterday I packed up my belongings and headed from Portland, Oregon,  to my parents home in Eastern Oregon... It was hard. It was really, really hard to leave. I took a photo as I was leaving and my heart broke a little, looking out over the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.  This was definitely one of those moment where I wondered whether I had made the right decision to move to Colorado.  Portland pulls me to it, like the city and surrounding areas are axioms of gravity.  So much has happened to me here, and I have grown so much, it is hard to imagine any other place that will ever resonate in such a powerful way. Still I don't know if I am making the right choice.

After five hours of driving, I arrived at my parents house. This house holds  a lot of memories for me, and is the only home I have ever known. My parents recently painted it a pale green, and the colors make the house kind of melt into the sage covered hill.

After a good nights sleep I went for a run on the country road in front of my parents house.. The run felt good, and I went a total of 6.5 miles. Outside the weather feels like winter ....It rained, the temperature dropped, and then there was hail. It will be nice to be in some warm weather in Colorado.  After the run I had dinner with my parents: My mother made wheat free pasta with homemade red sauce, and locally grown browned beef.  Afterwards we watched T.V and drank tea. My dad turned Rambo on, and we talked about running. 
I have to say..... Sylvester Stalone looked damn good in that movie. Holy can-ole was he in good shape!!! You know when you start to workout, you gain some respect for those people who have managed to achieve what he did in his body.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All the different versions of me

I have been thinking about all of the women I have been. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually I have changed. Sometimes  I see pictures of myself, and I cannot remember what it was like to be that girl, in that time and place.
All of these people I have been are enigmatic to me. I can’t really remember what it felt like, sometimes it is even hard to connect to my emotions from that time, or why I felt the way I did in that place. It is hard to hold on to my identity. It is like I am a falling, changing chameleon. What can I say, I love the power, and escape of transformation.
Here is  all of the women I have been:

----High School …. I am 18 in the picture, blonde is my natural hair color. I don’t know how much I weighed… Truthfully if I had to guess I would say 165 to 170. I know that I stopped looking at the scale when I hit 165.  A month later my father had a stroke, and it was at that moment when my father who had defined me all of my life stopped telling me who I was, that I began to change

 I am 160 and 19 here….. Freshman year of college. I fell in love, lost my virginity, and had my first kiss. It was a magical time. It is also the only time in my life where I was ok with my body. I don’t know I was with a guy who I thought accepted me no matter what I looked like. After what happened between us, I don’t know if I will ever believe a man who says that to me. They do care. They really do. A lot. Whatever…..I love this girl, I sometimes wish I could go back to being her, busy with discovering the world, and awakening to all of the possibilities that the world held.

--- 20 years old. I am 170 here…….. What can I say, I was working in a restaurant making decadent foods and hadn’t worked out for 2 years. I held two other part time jobs, and was going to school full time.  This year I would balloon up to 185lbs. I was sad and miserable. The man I was with was going to break my heart.  I don’t have any pictures of that time at 185, but this is right before it all began to fall apart. What can I say I was lost.  I remember deleting all of the pics of myself because when I would smile you could see the fat in my face and the beginnings of a second chin.  This girl was madly in love, but had no self esteem. She was easily broken. Easily hurt, and vulnerable. I think all she wanted was to be loved, but what she needed was to love herself.  But damn was she a good cook!!!!
---21 years old…..The revenge diet. Everything had fallen apart, I had lost my boyfriend, my friends, my school, and 50lbs in 3 months …. I was diagnosed with PTSD by my therapist, I dropped out of school, and started working as a freelance photographer.  It was like photos became the only way in which I could feel the world, and imagine myself the way I wanted to be.  This is the unhealthiest I have ever been…. 135 lbs…. Ironically, the smaller I got the  larger I felt. This weight was not healthy because of the way in which it was achieved, but oh would it be nice to be 135 again.  I walked into  planned parenthood and they would not give me birth control because my blood pressure was so high and my heart rate was so fast.  That was the turning point. I put on weight, met my husband got my married, and began to heal.

--22 years old 155lbs…This picture was taken in Texas the summer before my husband's first deployment…I was back in college,I wasn’t exercising, but I was eating well. Life was good. I was happy. My body still bothered me, but every now and then I would walk outside and feel damn good in my dress and cowboy boots.

At the beginning of my journey

23-----160-165lbs My husband returned home from his first deployment in Iraq, and we moved to Colorado. I finished up my degree. Having to feed him  was hard on my diet. I began to get big again..... At this point……I began to workout….Something began to change. Something began to happen. I began to take control of my body…


Honestly at my happiest

I have found maturity, stability and independence. I do not define myself through the people in my life. I am healthy and emotionally sober!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Balancing Acts

This last week has been a failed attempt at combating imbalance in my life. What I have noticed is that when balance goes, so does everything else: emotional sobriety, physical stability, and social well being. Sometimes it feels like I am walking on a tightrope, and with one turn I will fall. Show me someone who is depressed, who is physically struggeling, or who has social issues, and at the bottom of it all there will be imbalance.

I talk a lot about sobriety in my life because although I have no substance abuse issues, I do struggle with sobriety. Sobriety is not just about drugs, and alcohol, it is about every day life. It is about being happy, healthy, fit, and building your life one block at a time. For me balance is key to my sobriety so this week has been a struggle, and it shows in my excercise blog.

So what has been going on? I am moving next week, and I have been temping for a rehab facility. Perhaps even scarier is the possibility that I might get a job offer this week or the next. I could literally be getting on the freeway to head to Colorado with no place to live in Oregon, and get a call that could change everything.

Last week I interviewed with a company that coordinates organ procurement and donation. I really, really want this job. The employment agency says that this company really liked me, and there was a good possibility they would offer me a position. It is just something I could not turn down period (if it happens). Still my lease is up, I am out on the 26th, and all my furniture is gone. For all intents and purposes I am out the door.

What else is going on?????? Well...... did I mention the temping that I have been doing is a graveyard shift? So my body's sleeping schedule is all out of whack, and trying to regain some normality. In the process I feel tired all the time.

Truthfully I think I need running now, more than I ever did. But......the real question is can I hit 30 miles this week without injury??? I guess we will see.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eastern Oregon Running

As I look out over the desolate Eastern Oregon plains I feel overwhelmed with the feeling of how I can never, ever escape being a small town girl. This weekend I am home for Mother's day, and being home is a little scary. The city is always busy, there is always somewhere to go, people to meet, and places to discover. Here in Eastern Oregon, there is high desert and Douglas fir forests. There is more land than people, and more loneliness and silence in this place than I can even begin to describe. Still it is home, and I feel that right down to my bones. My home is a truth that defines me utterly. Being here in Eastern Oregon is hard, you have to be absolutely alone with yourself.

Almost to the top of one of my trail runs

While I was home I went for a couple of runs into the mountains. They were brutal uphill runs on old dirt logging roads. The elevation was a little higher than I was used to, and well running uphill is just flat out hard. One mile felt like two, and two miles felt like four.  Still I was pretty stinking proud of running uphill, and better yet the soft surface was kind to my knees. In fact I felt no pain, which gives me hope for the 30 miles I am planning on logging next week.
The view from the top. So gorgeous.

The second run I took up the mountain was 3 miles up and 3 miles down. My breath was painful in my chest, and my lungs felt ragged. However, the entire time I ran, the blue mountains that I have lived with all my life rose up behind me. They are majestic.I kept thinking about this friend of mine who is an artist. When I visited her at college, she showed me all of her paintings. She had drawn our blue mountains over and over again. She told me she could not get them out of her head. She said she dreamed of them all the time, and missed them. I guess I understood what she was saying, although I have always felt more torn between home and the unknown than she. I think she just flat out longs for home.
Fields Peak
 Anyways, although I technically only ran 26 miles this week, it was a brutal 26 miles. I am hoping next week to go 30 miles on flat soft surface. Wish me luck. I am hoping to get back into half marathon shape soon!!!!
After the run I drove the logging road to measure the distance and took this picture

Uphill logging road

Me on the way home. I wore a hat to protect
 my poor sun deprived Portland skin!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eugene Marathon Contact High

This weekend I attended the Eugene Marathon, 2 hours south of Portland. I went to see my friend Denise from Colorado, and to watch her husband, Justin run in the marathon. Justin was here to try to qualify for the Olympic Trials. There were seven thousand people who ran the course combined, and as I watched every one get ready at the starting line, ready to run the race, I was a little overwhelmed. There were so many people like me, who have spent hours and miles training to run long distance. It was inspiring, and I am so glad that I went. (Although, a little sad that I wasn't running with them).

As strange as it may be the most inspiring thing that I saw the whole day was my friend's marriage. It takes a lot of sacrifice for Justin to run the way he does, on everyone's part. Still their sacrifice seems to strengthen their commtiment to one another.  Their love is deepened by helping one another to achieve their goals.....I mean it is insipring to watch. The whole time that Justin was running, and Denise and I kept trying to find him on the course, I could tell that she was out there with him.

You know I have girlfriends who complain about their husbands, and who seem to embody the saying "old married couple". Denise and Justin have been together for 10 years, but you would think that they are in their first months of dating. I think that part of their love has to be built on running.

Justin did not qualify for the Olympic trials but he did win the marathon. Honestly, I think that if he had someone to run with him for the last 10k, if he had, had someone to compete with and push him, than I think he would have gotten that Olympic trial time. Still, it was pretty cool to share in that winning moment as he entered Hayward field and finished. It was inspiring to watch everyone finish.

 I feel renewed in my commitment to running longer distances. I know I need to be patient in rebuilding my miles, but I am excited to start trying again.

This week my goal is to run a longer distance than the distance that I ran last week.