Saturday, September 26, 2009

Follow Saturday

Sometimes this happens...
I get a day or two behind on what I've drafted to post.
It's something I really need to work on, and I pledge to try harder in regular blog postage.

For follow friday this week I wanted to highlight Caitlin.

Caitlin has two blogs you should have started reading weeks ago! (Seriously!)

The first is . Caitlin blogs about her healthy lifestyle, and often posts a few time each day. She highlights her training for races (including the Disney Marathon this coming January), daily eats (I've gotten a few great ideas from her!), recovery from injury, her adorable puppies, and so much more.

Caitlin posted this past week about several major life changes she is undergoing right now- and I'm so excited to be a fan and follow her on these new avenues of her life journey. I was very impressed to read about all the juggling and time management Caitlin has been mastering this summer- she has motivated me to re-examine my schedule and time management priorities as well.

Caitlin's 2nd blog is Operation Beautiful is a blog that features stories from readers around the globe that have made spreading positive body-image encouragement their mission. How to: leave a positive quote, thought or message on a post it note in a public place to remind others of their own beauty.

It all started in June, when Caitlin posted her first note on healthy tipping point and readers started to follow suit. Soon, she knew she had something wonderful going on and launched Operation Beautiful where she share the stories of people who have posted & found notes. I TRULY believe in the mission and support such a powerful cause. (I've been known to post a few notes myself- YOU should too!!)

And Operation Beautiful has had some BIG announcements this week (read about them at BOTH healthytippingpoint & operationbeautiful).

I've made a personal pledge to myself to post at least one Operation Beautiful note each day for the rest of 2009. I want to spread the word about Operation Beautiful because I know the beauty & encouragement that lies within each of us, all of us, is a powerful force that can truly change the world.

My challenge to you today- visit and post a note! Spread the beautiful!!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder- BE THE BEHOLDER!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Running Chaos Theory

On the top of Master-To-Do List [a list you will no doubt hear more about in time], it reads “Become a Runner.” Apparently, when I was making this list of things to master, running was on my mind, and I believe that I am well on my way.

When this whole “wanting to run” thing started, I was very good at “fast” walking everyday. I usually walked 3 miles a day, give or take, and I really enjoyed the time I spent outdoors getting a little cardio, clearing my mind of stress, and being able to get some quality alone time in. But I wanted something more.

My friend Laura ( had decided to become a runner too. And I was impressed. And jealous. And in mid-July I decided that I was going to follow her lead, her suggestion, and her coaching (via long-distance) and get my butt to run!

This morning, I got an email from my dear friend Joe. Joe is a decathlete and to put it into perspective, my friend Chelsea refers to him as “Joe who runs fast” when he comes up in conversation. So, when Joe asked me how I was doing, I found it a good time to discuss some running concerns I have.

[for the record; my dad once commented that it’s “not fair” that I have a Joe to go to with running questions, when regular people just have to run without an expert to seek advice from. My dad was also in rare form that night, and basically just making fun of me, but alas, I know I am lucky.]

Then, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, . Ashley posted about her ‘Journey to Runner’. And with each sentence of hers that I read, I found myself nodding along, and even letting the occasional “yeah!” past my lips.

Like Ashley, when I first started running, I thought I wasn’t a runner. And even though it was a goal in front of me, I never thought I would be a runner. But lately, I’ve been thinking about my becoming a runner.

I want to call myself a “Runner” with a capital R- I just don’t know if I’m there yet. Perhaps I’m a runner, small-r style. I have this debate, usually while I’m on the trail. I usually run on a local trail that stretches 40 miles. The beginning of the trail is about a mile from my apartment, which gives a nice warm up walk before I start my jogging intervals. Then, depending on my work out for the day, I move along the trail, keeping watch of the spray painted markers every ¼ of a mile. (Laura recently suggested I need a Road ID so that I can do distance intervals without the spray painted markers.)

I am slow. But determined. My goal is to increase in total distance I can run without stopping by ½ mile each week. (this will be put to the test on Saturday, when I try to increase from 1 mile to 1 ½ miles. Eek!)

Like Ashley, I have a love/hate relationship with running. Sometimes all I can think about is running. Sometimes I dread it, but make myself go anyway. Sometimes I think, “I should just quit.” Sometimes I start out wanting to do intervals for 3 miles, and end up doing 10. (ok. This was just one time. And it was mostly walking. Especially near the end, there.)

Like Ashley, I too started my 5K training (wanting to run a 5K is what started this entire wanting to run thing) with the Couch-to-5K plan. But, after week 4, I decided JUST TO RUN and I’ve never looked back. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for pace. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for endurance. Sometimes, I run my own interval plans for speed. For I am determined to master pace, endurance, and speed.

That desire for mastery along with the fact that I am logging 10-15 miles a week on the trail with at least 50% of the time running, leads me to believe that maybe I am a runner. Sure, I’m not a fast runner. But I am a runner. And perhaps my goal is not to become a Runner, but a distance runner. For you already know my desires to run a race in each state, and eventually complete some marathons.

I think about where I am now to where I was a few months ago – the longest I could run on a treadmill was .5 of a mile in a little under 8 minutes. Now I can run a mile in 10:30, and I’m moving on to farther distances, longer runs, and better stride.

I am thankful for fitness role models who keep me pushing through, even on days I don’t want to run. Even when my legs feel like jello. And the same people I have to thank when I feel stronger, more flexible, and more alive than ever before. People like Joe, and Laura, and Stef, and Ashley. And all of the running bloggers I read each day.

I’m thankful that I’ve set these goals and are meeting them and will continue to meet them for the rest of my life. Ashley struggled with running a mile two years ago, and today she is training for her first marathon this January. I can’t wait to see how far I’m able to come in two years. How many miles I will be able to say I ran. How many states I’ve crossed off my list.

And if I call myself Runner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Strength in a Broken Engagement

This past Saturday afternoon, when I shared my personal journal entry from the day after the breaking of the engagement, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. I wanted to share my heart and my healing with my readership for many reasons- but many because I’m selfish.  And I like to write. And I like to share. And I’m finding it all very therapeutic. And I’ve been trying to live with a “No Apologies” outlook as of late [something I’m sure you are all just sitting on the edge of your seats wanting to hear more about… in time, dear readers.]

I’ve asked myself several questions regarding that journal entry in the last few days.  What problems did it solve to post that? What was I thinking would happen? What problems could be in store for me now that I went and made myself vulnerable, even more so, spilling my heart to anyone that cares to read it?  What did expect that last post would do for my heart, for my healing?  What did I expect I would feel afterwards? Like this? 

What I did NOT expect was the 17 very sweet emails from readers, some of whom I know personally, others whom I’ve never met or exchanged words with before.  Believe me when I say I do not blog to beg for sympathy.  And this forum has nothing to do with establishing a former-fiancĂ©-bashing “team heather”, or you-can-do-it “team heather”, or my need for constant praise and attention.

But they came in, one by one by one by one- until I had 17 emails in which to respond.

The reason I share this with you is not so that you can see how cool and popular I have become- it’s to get to this point, here:

I think I have you all fooled.

Strong.  Everyone keeps saying I’m strong. And how amazed they are by strength through all this.  After careful consideration, I thought it may be time to let you all in on a little secret.

I’m not that strong. 

Admittedly, I myself am also a bit amazed at how I’ve been able to “hold my head up high” and put my energy towards something OTHER than depression and loneliness.  But it’s not second nature. And it’s often not even third nature.  It’s a struggle and it’s a choice. 

Some days I want to face life head on.  Run a marathon, talk to strangers, change the world.  Others, I want to sleep. I want to sleep all day long. 

Yesterday, I didn’t leave my apartment. At all. I locked my door before bed on Saturday night and I didn’t unlock it until I left for work this morning.  I spent the first 6 hours I was awake with Vinne Chase and his entourage.  I watched the entire season 5 DVD set. Beginning to end.  I didn’t care about my 3 miles scheduled for my training program. I didn’t care about sunshine, or fresh air, or a warm breeze.  I didn’t care about playing with puppies at The Pet Company.  I only cared about whether or not Ari was going to take the studio head job, the return of Sloan, and the blossoming romance between Jamie Lynn and Turtle. Some days I would rather face the ups and downs of HBO characters than of my own. 

The range of emotions doesn’t stop there.  It’s not just an extrovert/introvert struggle on my bad days.  And this isn’t a new development. It’s happened since day one of broken engagement.

“The wedding is cancelled” postcards were sent out on the same day that most people were receiving their invitations.  I can imagine a bit of confusion setting in the minds of family and friends as they received their mail that day.  I can now estimate the time-in-transit for a postcard sent from Denton, TX to a variety of locations.  Because with each regional section receiving their postcards, I received a wave of correspondence. 

In four days times, I received a total of 37 facebook messages with “wedding” in the subject line, and a few more messages with disguised subject titles, but which were clearly in regards to the postcard.  I received several emails on both of my email accounts; I dodged 13 phone calls and left 22 text messages unread. 

The Berlin Wall of relationship discussion came crumbling down four days later.  But it wasn’t freeing, and it wasn’t noble. It was ugly.

I reconnected with the world wide web.
I went on facebook.

I went on twitter. (to my best friend Danielle’s suggestion, I had taken a brief twitter-break to avoid bitter tweeting that I would later regret.)

I logged in to my gmail.
I started responding.

In most cases, I would respond with something simple, generic, and honest.
“Thank you for your kindness.  I’m not ready to talk yet. I appreciate your concern and will talk to you soon. xoxo”

But sometimes, the strong, brave Heather would be on her lunch break, and someone else would appear.
Sometimes I would want to say, “Have you emailed him, too?”
Sometimes I would want to say, “Do you just want to hear the gossip, or do you actually care?”
Sometimes I would want to say, “I don’t want to hear your opinion. Save it. Stop pretending you care about me and go get your details from someone else.”

Sometimes I would want to say, “don’t ask me what happened.  I didn’t do ANYTHING different from what was originally planned!  ASK HIM WHAT HAPPENED.”

Sometimes I would want to say, “Leave. Me. Alone.”   And crawl into a dark a cave and sleep for the next 3 months.

Sometimes I wanted to forward my friends his phone number so that they can not only ask him what happened, but possibly be a little mean to him as well. (okay- in all honesty, sometimes I still wish for this) And sometimes, I wanted to just forward each and every text, email, and message I got to him so that he can deal with the after effects of his decision.

But in my humiliation and insecurity, I responded in order to make sure that people still loved me.  In order that they don’t think less of me.  In order that they don’t hear the “wrong” side of the story or blame me for the break up. In order that I didn’t appear as pathetic as I felt, and that I could at least try to hold on to any tiny bit of self-respect and dignity that may have lingered after I believed he would meet me at the alter and kiss the bride.  After I believed this so much so that I moved across the nation with him, for him.  In order to defend myself from the people who never thought we would make it, and now I had proven them right. We didn’t make it. We couldn’t make it. And I was alone in upstate New York without a plan, or a list, or even a hint of a clue.  In order that my pride reigned and my humility hid from my mortification.

I have not been strong. Even today, I am weak.
I don’t want him back.  I know I can’t want that.  But I still cry myself to sleep some nights. I still analyze conversations from months ago and wonder if I could have done something differently, thinking that perhaps I did this to myself.  I still want to wake up some day and it all have been a really, really bad dream.

I know he is not the one, and even though I don’t want to I miss him. I do. I miss him, everyday. And I’m waiting, somewhat eagerly and somewhat anxiously, for that longing, that missing to disappear.  That’s not strength. But it’s truth.

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