Reflections Of A Lackluster Life

The Random Thoughts Of A Captive Midwesterner

Costs March 24, 2011

Filed under: Running — The Shelly Belly @ 8:44 pm
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Upon reading an exceptional post by Annabelle Winters about fitness planning and goals, I went out for my morning run with thoughts of the post still in my mind.  Normally my runs are filled with daydreams.  I imagine that I’m actually running in the marathon I’ve been training so hard for.  I picture how my family will be there at the finish line.  I try to imagine the cheering crowds and energetic atmosphere.  Basically, I let my mind do anything it can to take me away from the reality of the brutally cold, wet and windy weather that has been plaguing my runs all winter.

Today, however, my head was not full of happy thoughts.  It was one of those runs… everyone has them.  Only 5 miles long, it felt like 15.  My feet hurt, my legs were tree trunks, my lungs weren’t working, I was tired.  Battling the wind took every ounce of my tiny supply of energy.  So instead of thinking about the happier aspects of my running, I started thinking about costs.

I know what I’m gaining from this, and it is a lot.  I’m losing weight, feeling better about me, achieving goals, gaining respect, etc etc etc.  I am becoming a new person, it’s hard to describe what that feels like.  But you can’t become a new person without leaving the old one behind, or at least large parts of the person you once were.  As much as I disliked who I used to be as a whole, there were parts that I really liked that I am giving up for my new goals.  To ignore this is ignorant and to cling to these things is holding me back from becoming who I want to be.

So in an effort to further my fitness and life goals, I am going to acknowledge the things that I am giving up for this new life and attempt to let them go.  I might grieve these losses briefly, but if I didn’t believe it was worth it to leave them behind, I would never have started this in the first place.

__________________The Costs_____________________

Drinking. Let’s be frank, I like to drink… a lot.  When I think about relaxing and having fun, I rarely picture it without a drink in my hand.  I still consider one of the best times in my life to be the year that Kiel and I spent every Wednesday night at The Spot, a local Karaoke Bar with our good friends (the lovely Annabelle included)!  We closed the bar down every week, stumbling down the stairs and making our way to someone’s abode or the nearby train station.

For the majority of my adult life I could be counted on to always be up for a beer.  And now I just can’t do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally on Sundays indulge in some white wine after a really long run, or enjoy an ice cold Corona with a slice of lime after a mid-summer 90 degree run, but my days (or nights rather) of sitting around watching TV (we’ll get to that in a minute) and drinking are essentially over.

Now that every aspect of my life revolves around my running, I am going to bed early and waking up earlier.  I can’t get up at 4:30 and run 10 miles if I have been up past 9 or have had even a glass of wine.  I need to be at my best pretty much all the time.  I am sure that when I am not training, I will indulge a little more often, but considering I’ve signed up for two marathons this year, I’m not going to have a huge break from training.

And then there is the issue of my tolerance… I have none.  I used to be able to drink most people under the table, now I’m feeling pretty drunk after a glass or two of wine.  And don’t even get me started on anything stronger (just ask Peter about the Vodka in Barcelona).

So, to my party/binge drinking days, I must say goodbye.  It was fun while it lasted, but I need to let it go.  As one of my good friends Allison told me recently, “there comes a point in your life when being happy is more important than having fun”.  Wiser words were never spoken.  From now on, nights of drinking and debauchery will be reserved for the off season and special occasions.  I’m sure that my liver thanks me.

Buffy.  Ok, not Buffy specifically, but that’s the one I feel the most.  I miss TV.  I used to get home from work every night and chill out on the sofa in my PJ’s with a beer (or a case of beer) and marathon episodes of Buffy, Alias, Greys Anatomy, Angel, Bones, Sex In The City, Dollhouse and The OC.  The only breaks I would take were to get up for mass amounts of food and smokes.  Now, I’m lucky if I can find time to catch up on the Grey’s recordings on my DVR.  I won’t even start new shows because I don’t have time to watch them.

I lived for TV.  I spend hours wishing that I was like the girls on my shows.  Instead of living my life, I was watching fictional people living out theirs.  Part of it is my over active imagination, I am captivated by stories.  I love to get caught up in other worlds, it truly is an escape.  But when it becomes a regular thing, it’s not an escape anymore, it’s a trap.

Now I’m not saying that I want to go back to living for TV, but I do occasionally find myself longing for a stretch of two days when all I have to do is eat and drink and watch Buffy.  I need to get over it.  I might have those days occasionally in the future (likely every time I see Peter), but that kind of lifestyle doesn’t mesh with who I am today.  I probably wouldn’t even enjoy it as much as I remember, but the feeling of nostalgia sometimes nags at me, specifically at 4:30 in the morning before a 10 mile run!

A social life.  This one has to be the worst.  I miss people.  I haven’t seen most of my friends in months, between my job and my training schedule I barely have time to cook dinner or grocery shop (and don’t even ask about the cleanliness of my house) let alone go anywhere or see anyone.

The last time I saw Jessica was on my birthday, back in January!  I have been trying to schedule a dinner date with my friends Jennifer and Nikki for months.  I haven’t actually SEEN Annabelle in about a year.  I don’t even have time for “date night” with Kiel.

Being a runner is often times a solitary and lonely thing.  I wake up by myself and I run by myself.  I see Kiel for a short time after my run while we are both getting ready for work and then I go to bed at night before he gets home so I can get up at an obscene hour of the day.   I just miss being with people.


So that pretty much sums up the big costs for me.  And I am happy to pay them!  Because what I am trading them for is something much much much more valuable.  This year has been a test for me and will continue to be that until winter.  I wanted this and though I seem to have to remind myself of that more and more often lately, I still remember why I started all of this in the first place.  I know I can make it.  I will run my races and be more proud of myself than I have every been.

Once I am done with these races, I will take some time to re-evaluate where I’m at, what I’ve achieved and what my new goals should be.  And for now, I will concentrate on bidding farewell to the old me and embracing the new me.


Second January 8, 2011

Filed under: Just Me — The Shelly Belly @ 10:44 pm
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For the last couple of months whenever I thought back to my summer training building up to the half marathon, I found myself nostalgic for sense of accomplishment after breaking another personal best, for the soreness in my muscles telling me very clearly that I had worked my body to its limit, for the sight of the scale as it kept notching further and further in the direction I wanted.  I couldn’t wait until my marathon training started so I could get back to challenging myself with longer runs and more intense workouts.  I was excitedly counting down the days until I could officially say “18 weeks to go!”.  In short, I was an idiot.

How could I not have remembered what this was like?  Pushing my pace faster and faster?  Lifting weights to strengthen my stride?  Suffering the excruciating embarrassment that is Zumba class?  Spending night after night with ice packs tied to every inch of my body with ace bandages?  The inability to fit anything but running and sleep into my schedule?

Ok, before you go getting all worried about me, I should explain that I am currently in week two of training and therefor nothing I say should be taken too seriously.  Week two is brutal.  Week one is all about the optimism and the excitement, week two is more about feeling like a failure and forcing yourself to go on.  Week three needs to get here stat.  I need this to be a routine again, not an interruption of my schedule.

So tonight I will have a 5m run on the treadmill, I’m trying for interval training if I can manage it, but I might be forced to just run the damn thing.  Tomorrow I have an 11m run outside and I am actually really looking forward to that.  I miss running by the lake, the early sunsets and freezing temperatures of Winter keep me off my favorite paths after work, but the “warm” mid-day Sunday sun calls to me!

I hope that Monday brings with it the feeling of routine that I am hoping week three will bring.  If it doesn’t, I’m just going to have to throw in the towel and go completely insane for a few weeks.  I hope no one minds?


Behind November 8, 2010

Filed under: Writing — The Shelly Belly @ 1:16 pm
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I am so freaking far behind in Nano it is beyond funny at this point.  My main mistake was to underestimate the complexity of my life right now.  There is just so much going on, it’s no wonder I barely have time to write.  On top of my job and my running there is still a house to keep up, dinners to cook and animals to take care of.  Add to that the fact that my car is in the shop and the ceiling in my kitchen is leaking… again… and my stress level is at its breaking point (that happens a lot lately).

Tonight there is a write-in at a local Starbucks and I think I’m going to have to go and really get down to business.  The problem?  It’s not within walking distance, and as I mentioned before, my car is in the shop.  So I have decided that if I can’t make it to the write-in, I will just have to go to my local Starbucks that IS in walking distance and do my own write-in.  Really all I need is a gingerbread latte and a tasty pastry and I’m good to go!

So here’s hoping that I can catch up to my goal tonight!  I’m sure I’ll update on my progress again soon!


Nano October 29, 2010

Filed under: Just Me — The Shelly Belly @ 6:33 pm
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Can you feel that? “Feel what?” you ask.  The pressure of course!  Can’t you feel the immense pressure of Nanowrimo bearing down on us?  I know I can!  With only two days remaining to pull together my outline, plug up the holes in my plot and quite possibly rename the main character I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

Part of my problem is that the story I have really is good.  No really, I swear it is!  Just like everyone’s story.  I really do believe that all writers have great stories and wonderful ideas, but most of them get lost in translation.  Who among us hasn’t read a book and said “Golly!  That was a great idea, and it could have been a great story if this author had any grasp on the English language and/or the ability to write dialog.”  I know I have.  Now I find myself in the position of REALLY not wanting to be THAT author.

When I imagine holding the first draft of my epic novel in my hands, I envision myself gazing upon it adoringly.  I want to feel an overwhelming sense of joy, pride and accomplishment, but I fear that all I will feel is shame and the urge to vomit.

For now, I must push my fears to the back part of my mind.  Tonight I will go home and (after tooling around the addictive Nanowrimo forums for a while) do some serious work on my plot!  All I need is a box of Zen tea, a clean table and my Pandora Enya channel.


Joke August 30, 2010

Filed under: Just Me — The Shelly Belly @ 1:14 pm
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Sometimes I am simply amazed by the sense of humor that the universe seems to have.  Really, sometimes, I feel like the universe is just some dick college student frat boy who enjoys playing practical jokes on people.  I must be one of it’s favorite targets.

For those of you who don’t already know this, one of the reasons we moved out of my old apartment is the eternally leaky ceiling that the landlords could never actually fix.  Every time it rained the water would come pouring into my bedroom, Kiel’s bathroom and the fuze box.  This happened for two years.  It got to the point where I was afraid of the rain because I knew what it would bring.

So when the time came for us to move, I went searching for an apartment that was not only large and beautiful, but that also seemed to be in good shape and had a team of responsible management that would take care of any bad things that happened to happen.  Today, I will have to test the theory of the responsible management.

I woke up this morning and found a puddle in the kitchen.  Having two dogs, I automatically assumed that the puddle was the result of one of them.  Then, as my sleepy morning daze started to fade, I realized that the puddle was entirely too big to come from an animal.  So I looked up.  And there, to my shock and horror, was a leak in the ceiling.

Sitting here on the sofa, sipping my coffee, I am trying very hard to not freak out.  I am sure that normal apartments have problems all the time.  I am sure that a leaky ceiling isn’t as bad as I am making it out to be.  The landlords will probably swoop in and fix everything in a jiff and I will feel silly for ever worrying.  But my mind can’t stop thinking “what if this is just like the last place?”  One month into the lease and I’m already having problems.

So I guess all I can do now is wait, well, wait and pick up my apartment a little bit for the impending landlord visit.


Tired July 27, 2010

Filed under: Just Me — The Shelly Belly @ 12:24 pm
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I don’t think I have ever been this tired in my life.  It’s not just a one day thing, it’s been every day.  Being a morning person is something I have ALWAYS been.  Usually I wake up before the alarm bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Never have I been able to understand those people who just sleep and sleep and sleep, there are things to do so get out of bed you lazy ass!  Now, I feel like the lazy ass!  Right now, my eyes refuse to open all the way, my body is halfway numb and my muscles don’t really want to work.  I am simply tired.

The reason?  Of course it’s the move, the single most difficult and stressful thing in my life right now.  The good news?  It’s almost over!  Really… we are so freaking close to being out of here I can taste it!  That’s for sure where the tired comes from, Kiel and I are up every night until at least midnight taking care of the last minute details.  It’s not like there are  a lot, in fact I am quite proud of this move.  Because  I planned ahead so well, I had the majority of our things packed weeks ago.  Even after 99% of the boxes are packed, ever single one has a label and there are not “junk” boxes.  There is nothing left in my possession that I don’t need or use, I have thrown away so much stuff!

What used to be our living room… a view to the window

Every single item in my house is in that living room.  We moved the furniture and all the boxes out of the other rooms and stacked them up there.  “The Great Wall Of China” other wise known as my entertainment center has been taken apart and put into a box.  Our TV has been moved to the bedroom where our bed is serving as a make shift sofa.  Tonight, we are taking apart the bed frame.  We even packed up the kitchen, leaving just one spoon, fork, knife, plate, bowl and cup per person.  People… we are seriously ready to move, and what’s more?  When it comes time to actually do it, it will be a well organized and fast move.

Hopefully, this well be my last boring post on the move, and I’m sorry for writing about it so much lately, it’s just that it’s kinda the biggest thing in my life right now and it’s hard to think about anything else!  I look forward to giving you all a tour of the new place once I get it all set up!


Alive July 24, 2010

Filed under: Just Me — The Shelly Belly @ 3:52 pm
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I swear I’m not dead.  Really.  I promise.  I know it’s been a long time, and believe me I have tried.  Seriously!  I have about 4 drafts of half written blog entries just sitting there.  I literally haven’t had time to finish them and now they are pretty much irrelevant.  Maybe I’ll make a section on this blog for unfinished drafts?  Could be interesting, if nothing else it would give you a glimpse into the crazy parts of my brain.

Tonight is the last Saturday night Kiel and I will be spending in our current apartment (AKA The Previously Unknown 10th Level Of Hell).  That’s right folks!  The date is almost upon us!  In a weeks time we will be loading up the truck and driving the mile and a half into Andersonville proper, and hopefully into a happier state of mind.

I am exuberantly ecstatic about moving back to Andersonville.  It’s really the place we want to be and have wanted to be for a long time.  We lived there 3 years ago, but had been slowly migrating to the North for a while.  The time has definitely come for us to mosey on back.

That being said, this week will probably not be a blog heavy week despite my best intentions.  But after this week, I will likely embark on a new blogging project I’m pretty excited about!  What is that you might ask?  Well… you will have to wait and see!