Sundays in Sawyer: Dancing With Darkness

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The house across the street when I left this morning.

It was dark when I left out this morning at 8 AM. Christmas lights sparkled red and green against the soft luminescent snow. The Winter Solstice is this week – Thursday to be exact. I love Solstice celebrations. When I think of the significance of lightness and darkness in our lives, it makes sense to me that the days with the most light and the days with the most darkness should be marked in some way. And what would Christmas lights be without the long interplay of darkness in December?

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I’ve always loved the dark. I love seeing the stars at night, and I love the long nights of winter. They are times of rest and reflection. I don’t sleep as well in the summer with the long days of sunshine. While I feel more energetic during the summer, I don’t think it is good for us to be revved up all the time. There is a reason for the season, and I believe the reason is rest and rejuvenation – of our bodies, our souls and our lives. Our ancestors felt these seasons were so important, they were the biggest celebrations of the year.

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Part of my plan for getting through the winter this year is to be open to doing something different. I signed up for an 8-class yoga pass at my old yoga studio where I completed my teacher training. And, I decided that I would start doing my Sunday blogging at Infusco Coffee in Sawyer since it is on the way to the Sunday yoga class.  When I visited their website last night, I read about their mission. This is much more than a coffee shop. They sell “relationship coffee.” It makes the coffee taste much better when there is such a good cause behind it. If that’s not a light in the darkness, I don’t know what is. So now my Sunday blog will be called Sundays in Sawyer…. until I do something different.

The mission and history of Infusco ….

A sign on their counter said their eggnog latte was divine, so I ordered one. Ashok was out in the car waiting like usual, and I thought to ask if they allowed dogs. They do! Ashok can now hang with me instead of waiting in the car. I set down her blanket, and we both enjoyed the Christmas tree and the quiet setting of this comfortable and welcoming coffeehouse.

The darkness of depression is still lingering with me this evening. But I got up and made myself a nice, healthy dinner. A task so simple feels overwhelming when I’m depressed. But, I have to say it made me feel a tad better to put some effort into taking care of me. I think I’ll turn off this computer now and go read for a bit. Surely I have something light and humorous on my Kindle to ignite a little lightness in my spirit. If not, I can always fall asleep and get some rest. Either way, tomorrow will be another day.

We got out for a hike today at Warren Dunes State Park. That helped my mood a bit, too….

 

Yumming on Yummly

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Whirlpool bought a tech company named Yummly. Why would we need a tech company? Well, Yummly happens to be a virtual recipe collection app. And, think about it. We make kitchen appliances. What do you do on kitchen appliances? You cook food. And how do you know how to cook food? You look for recipes. Thus, we now own a virtual recipe collection app called Yummly. And I was curious. After all, I like to cook. I’m up for change when it’s for the better. So I started exploring the world of Yummly.

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I downloaded it for free from the iTunes app store, and signed in with my email address. It asked me for my food preferences. I liked that approach. I chose vegetarian, pescatarian, and vegan. I also prefer to avoid recipes with beef, pork, and sugar. It asked me about my favorite cuisines. Apparently, this thing works sort of like Tinder. The more recipes I “yum” (like), the better the app gets to know what I like. Theoretically, I’ll see more of what I like as I teach it my preferences.

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So I Yum’d several recipes and I created some labels that made sense for me. I found a vegetable soup that looked really yummy – not to be confused with yummly. The recipes list the nutritional information, the ingredients, directions and even reviews.

And, best of all, there’s an “add to list” button. I clicked it, and it immediately added all of the ingredients to a shopping list. I’ve had apps with shopping lists before, but they were pretty static. With this one, I could go through the list and check what I already have on hand. If I check the box, it drops down to the “I got it” section. Each ingredient links to the recipe so I can click through if I have questions while I’m in the store. Sweet!

I didn’t have time to do much else, so I left for my morning errands. When I got to the grocery, I decided I would make that soup tonight, and there was a hot chocolate recipe I wanted to try. I went to the Yummly app, added the ingredients to the list and started shopping. I was able to shop and stuck to my list which helps with my budget. I felt very good about my trip, and I had all of the ingredients for a nice dinner and a healthy cup of cocoa.

 

 

While I was eating that lovely soup, I got online and started learning more about my newfound helpmate. I added a “bookmarklet” to my browser on my computer and one on my iphone. I can search the entire web (not just Yummly) for recipes, and when I find them, I can bookmark them to Yummly. This is going to revolutionize the way I keep recipes. Right now, I bookmark them but sometimes they are on Safari, and other times they are on chrome. Sometimes they are on my phone bookmarked, and other times they are on my computer. Most of the time I just forget that I saved them and never use recipes. I end up wasting food or not having enough stuff on hand to cook a healthy dinner in a hurry.

On my iPhone….

 

On my computer….

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And I found out that I can manually add items to the list as well. So, even if I have to buy things like toilet paper or milk or eggs not tied to a recipe, I can keep it all on one handy list.

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This app has the potential to revolutionize the way I keep recipes and grocery shop. If I’m in the grocery, and they have some great-looking winter squash, I can get right on the app and search for a recipe. And with one click, I can add all of the ingredients to my list. Or if I plan a meal, and the grocery doesn’t have a key ingredient, I can just quickly delete all of the stuff for that recipe and find another. And I love a checklist for groceries. It’s much nicer than creating notes and having to delete them or edit them one item at a time.

My favorite benefit, though, is the database of great recipes pulled from many, many different sources with a focus on my personal preferences. Google was easy, but this will help refine my search much more quickly. Maybe I’ll even try some new cuisines! So it looks like I would describe Yummly as Yum! Oh yeah… tell them Whirlpool sent ya!

Here are the top features I like:

  • Easily created and editable grocery list
  • Customizable labels for recipe collections
  • Preferences to weed out things I don’t like or things I don’t eat
  • Seasonal recipe collection – Cook things “in season”
  • Easily shareable recipes
  • Bookmark from any blog or site on the web (You can also add your own, but I haven’t tried that.)
  • Pictures, reviews, my preparation notes and nutritional information are all in one place and accessible on any of my devices

So, here’s the link to Yummly.com. There are some helpful resources on the site, of course.

And here are some tips on how to use it:

That First Bite is the Sweetest

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Today’s Daily Prompt is “bite”. 

Why is it that the first bite of food is always the best? Maybe I’m hungrier. It could be a supply/demand sort of thing. Scientists also say that the pleasure centers in our brain register the pleasure of food or any addictive substance even before we consume it. For an addict, just being in a place where they usually score drugs can ignite the pleasure center of the brain as much taking the drug. Maybe it’s anticipation that creates the sweetest of sensations on our taste buds. It’s a good argument for me to stay out of bakeries.

The first time I really had to work at losing weight was in my 20s. I had never read any diet books or anything, but I realized that thinking about eating food brought me as much pleasure as actually eating it. In fact, it might be even more pleasurable because there is no remorse afterwards. If I saw a piece of cheesecake that I wanted, I took a minute and imagined what that cheesecake would taste like. In my mind, I took my fork, swiped a bite, let my eyes savor it for a few seconds and then let it linger on my tongue. So, it was not a problem to imagine the sweet creaminess of a cheesecake melting on my tongue. I just had to tap into that memory and let her rip.

I remember being so frustrated with the short amount of time that food was actually satisfying. If I’d really eaten the cheesecake, it might last 10 minutes at the most. So, I’d have 10 minutes of pleasure followed by 6 hours of kicking myself for eating it. Why not skip the 6 hours of kicking myself by not eating it? By fantasizing about it, the only thing I lost was the 10 minutes of pleasure in the interaction with the food. And if I really did a good job of imagining it, I only missed a small fraction of the pleasure. I guess you might call this food porn!

 

 

 

 

The Underdog: Base Layers of Merino Wool

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You can’t see it, but I have my Smartwool base layer on!

The Daily Prompt today is underdog. For some weird reason, the only thing I can wrap my mind around is underwear. Is there an underdog of underwear? Honestly, my base layer I wear when I’m running is sort of like the underdog of my wardrobe. It may not get the audience or attention that my outer layer gets, but it is definitely an unsung hero. With out it, I would freeze. (How’d you like that transition?)

When I took a job as a bird keeper at the Knoxville Zoo, I had to learn how to dress for winter. Much of my day would be spent outside raking up bird poop, washing water bowls and checking on the health of our bird collection. My supervisor told me to get lots of long underwear, and I ordered it from Land’s End. I was astounded at how much difference it made to wear a base layer. I was always toasty warm. But the long underwear in those days was thick cotton or silk. While both had advantages, they are not nearly as nice as the base layers we have today.

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I have a hard time convincing my friends in Louisiana that I don’t get really cold up here.  I dress in layers. These days, I almost always have a merino wool layer next to my skin which keeps me toasty even when wearing skirts. Smartwool makes tights that are cute, soft, warm and very durable. I wore one of about 4 pair almost every day last winter. I’d throw them in the washer and dryer, and they still look great even after a year of constant use. I bought three more pair at the end of the season on clearance.

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I bought Smartwool base layers two years ago for backpacking. Our backpacking teacher said they were the best for sleeping and for wicking moisture on hikes. I wear those things on runs and even for sitting around the house. Occasionally I wear them for sleeping. I could easily use another 2 or 3 pair, but they, too, are expensive. And now I’m salivating about some Smartwool running tights. If I could wear that stuff year round from head to toe, I’d be thrilled. I even have a Smartwool balaclava and neck gaiter!

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Yesterday I ran upon a blog claiming that Merino wool is the hot new technical wear for athletes of all kinds.  Those sheep live in very cold climates but have to suffer through pretty warm summers. So, the wool is very warm but is breathable enough that it’s not too hot when temps rise. This stuff is like a miracle. And, another blogger I follow was laughing at himself because he has never been happier since he paid $25 for a pair of Merino wool cycling socks. Who knew wool was the workhorse of the underwear business?

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Some Days are Just Harder Than Others

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My friend Lori sent me this beautiful “hand-warmer” mug as a surprise. I knew I had to run tonight, but I was puddled in the lethargy of a post-Thanksgiving work pot luck lunch. So, I grabbed that beautiful little mug and fixed myself some green chai  laced with my homemade almond milk hoping it would provide a little pep. I read the NYT and sipped my tea until I started thinking that maybe I didn’t really need to run after all. I mean, it’s cold outside. I’m running a 5K on Thanksgiving. I ran a 6-miler on Sunday. I could probably take the day off – it being the holidays and all.

But this face was staring at me……

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So I called on my coach to pull me off the bench….

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You have two choices for dressing for a run in winter.

  • A) Be warm when you walk out the door and overheat later or
  • B) be cool when you walk out the door and be just right later.

Tonight I opted for Option A because I just didn’t feel like being cold. Thank heavens I did because it was much colder than I anticipated. It was only 37 according to the Weather Channel, but that dadgum wind was fierce. The streets acted like funnels for the wind coming off the lake, and I thought I was going to freeze to death. I slipped my hoodie OVER the hat I had on, and zipped myself up in a cocoon of fleece. But my ass was in the deep freeze! Nothing I could do but RUN!

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If I ran down streets that were perpendicular to the lakefront, the wind wasn’t as bad, so I changed routes midway. Once I got out of the wind, my eskimo swaddled upper body started overheating. I took the hood off and stuffed the gloves down my shirt. But my ass was still freezing! Nothing I could do but keep running. Since I was running half mile splits, I figured the faster I ran the faster I would get home and could go sit on my cooktop.

You can see I was motivated….

Faster and faster and faster I ran. Ashok thought we were racing some unknown invisible foe. I ended up right at my house, and I bolted for the front door. Brrrr…. that was a cold one, and it’s not even below freezing yet! I think I’d better figure out a way to insulate the junk in my trunk a little better, or it’s going to be a long winter. (I’m still not totally thawed.)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Get out and exercise before you eat all that stuff, will ya?  Now excuse me while I get a snack.

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Sundays in Saugatuck: Listening to Dragonfly

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I thought I might head out for a hike today, but, alas, it is raining. So, for the third week in a row, I headed up to Saugatuck for my seat at Uncommon Coffee Roasters. The cushy chairs were waiting for me. I plopped my stuff down and ordered my mocha in a real coffee mug. Let the new Sunday tradition begin.

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Ashok looks cute but had to wait in the car anyway.

The dragonfly card popped up in my spread of my Medicine Cards today. As usual, dragonfly delivered a message that directly applied to my world. I actually called my friend Jessica this morning and spoke almost the exact words in the reading. Native Americans say that dragonfly was once a dragon, and he flew around transforming things with his fiery breath. One day Coyote played a trick on him and transformed him into a dragonfly. Dragon ended up losing his power because he allowed someone else to change him.

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After our run yesterday, Ashok rolled in the tiny bit of snow that was available.

The reading tells me that I am holding on to some illusion that is restricting my actions. I’ve been struggling with my people-pleasing tendencies lately, and that’s what prompted my call to Jessica this morning. Trying to twist myself into something or somebody that other people will like is not working for me. And, honestly, if they don’t like me, they don’t like me. In this particular situation, the change expected of me is not behavioral but personal. I am who I am with my own set of unique gifts and faults. And I honestly think if I could change, they still wouldn’t like me anyway. It’s about them. It’s not about me.

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Oddly enough, I have on my dragonfly earrings today. “Misery is a prime clue that you lost your will and personal validity when you bought into someone else’s idea of who or what you should be,” says dragonfly. “Who am I then?” I ask dragonfly, knowing the answer somewhere deep in my soul. I spent so many years of my life following someone else’s rules that misery was my constant state of being. But the soul never gives up trying to breathe. I can stuff it down as far as I want, but the soul never dies. It wants to BE who it is … no matter how long it takes.

I know I am still evolving. I know I am not perfect. I know that I continue to work on my personal challenges, and I see progress slowly but surely. I also know that I am talented. I am funny. I am courageous. My friends say that my special gift is helping others see how wonderful they really are. I actually sort of like that person that can help others love themselves. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

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The holidays are upon us. I’m excited about spending some time in Chicago and plans with friends. I’m looking for a 5k to run in December to cap off my successful running season. It’s been years since I’ve been able to run uninjured. Jessica has been coaching me since July, and I’ve been running a 5K every month. Yesterday Ashok and I ran a 5-miler in South Haven, and it felt great – albeit cold. I could run the Speedo 5k in Chicago or the Whoville 5k in Grand Rapids or a New Year’s Eve run. Hmmm … they all sound kind of fun. I’m just very grateful to be running. Along with all the other stuff that my souls longs to be, I suppose it likes to run.   Not sure about the bikini in December though… 

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Impressions of Why We Get Fat

My new Sunday routine is to hang out in Saugatuck at Uncommon Coffee Roasters. I just ordered up a mocha and, instead of something sweet, a really tasty quinoa porridge with raisins, toasted coconut and carrots. For a wet, dreary, chilly day, this was a great recipe for comfort. In a word … yummy.

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I have been trying to educate myself enough about the dangers of sugar that I will no longer want to eat it. My hope is that the evidence of its dangers will eventually see me running and screaming from any cupcake that is put in front of me. I’m not there yet, but I do have to say that I’m convinced enough that I feel like I’m guiltily feeding myself poison when I do partake. I think I’ll get there eventually. And I’m eating a lot less of it.

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My Quinoa Porridge

Jessica mentioned the book Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. I read his other book called The Case Against Sugar and learned a lot about the political environment and history around sugar and what it does to our bodies. There is evidence to suggest that insulin (which is secreted when we eat sugar and carbohydrates) makes our bodies hold on to fat. I know that I’ve seen good results when I cut out sugar, and my sister has experimented with reducing carbs and seen immediate results. Hmmm… perhaps there is something to this.

So, I thought this Why We Get Fat book might provide some additional information to cure me from my cravings from this addicting beautiful treat. Taubes starts off vilifying the science that gave us the “calories in/calories out” rules of dieting. He starts off with it and goes on and on and on and on, citing everything that is wrong with every study. He then goes on to say that exercise and cutting calories doesn’t do a thing to help lose weight, and I was feeling a little confused about the reality that I see in the Weight Watchers Connect app and what he was saying about the inability of the obese to lose weight with exercise and diet. I KNOW that there are many people on Connect that are losing lots of weight. It didn’t seem to shore up with reality.

I finally got irritated and decided I wasn’t going to read it anymore. Then I thought better of it and just skipped through to the solution. Again, his writing goes on and on ad nauseam about how he is right and everybody else is wrong about the science of losing weight. Honestly, he could have written a pamphlet instead of a book and said the same thing. For me, the criticisms of other theories and other research began to make me doubt HIS credibility. Eventually, I quit reading again, texted Jessica and told her not to waste her time reading that book and decided to come here and order a mocha.

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To put it bluntly, Taubes believes that we should eat only meat, and apparently that’s the diet he follows. According to a blog in the Scientific-American, though, even his wife doesn’t trust him enough to put both of his kids on a meat only diet. All I know is I opened the book with an open mind and I finished it with a bad taste in my mouth. I do believe that sugar and refined flours are evil and cause insulin to wreak havoc in my body. That much makes sense to me. But I also think that steel cut oats, sweet potatoes and fruit are healthy foods, and we should eat them. Call me a skeptic, but I just can’t be that extreme. Besides, I don’t even like meat. I’d be doomed to a life with dull and uninteresting food if meat is all I can eat.

I do plan to go without sugar tomorrow, and I’ll try my best to go sugar-free all week. My tuna and rice crackers are packed for snacks, and I’ve made a pot of beans and rice for lunch and dinner. I will have fruit. I will have veggies, and I will have steel-cut oats for breakfast. And I bet I’ll do just fine. I’m not fat, either … so there.

We Need People!

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I sat down on Sunday and added some social events to my calendar. I need to get out and meet new people. I need to be with people. I started my own Meetup Group, and while it’s slow in getting started, I’ve already made a few new friends. I even decided that I needed to get off dating apps for awhile. I meet a few people that way, but it’s mostly texting, and to be honest, it takes a lot of time to date. And when I’m dating, I’m not making time for meeting other people who can be a part of my tribe. I think I’ll put dating on the back burner for awhile – at least from apps.

It’s so easy to just kill time when I get home, cook dinner and workout. I can get caught up reading the news or listening to podcasts or even reading a book. And one day I look up and it’s been days or even a week or more since I’ve conversed face-to-face with another human being.

At work today we had a Halloween party. It was the best Halloween party I’ve ever attended at work. I think everybody in our organization dressed up. And I felt so happy. Instead of us all being head down in our computers or running from meeting to meeting, we took time to laugh and grab cookies and talk to each other about our costumes. Everybody said it was the best party we’ve ever had on the floor. I think we needed it. I know I did.

So many people lately have been telling me they are depressed. The fact of the matter is I feel a bit depressed, too. Regardless of how I feel politically, it’s depressing that our country’s people are so divided. It feels hopeless to hear talk of nuclear war. I feel anxious about my future, my ability to retire and my ability to afford health insurance if I ever do retire. It is within the realm of possibility that I will have to work until I’m very old. It makes me sad and scared and depressed.

So I’ve been doing all of the things that I know help me when I’m depressed. I’m exercising, running, meditating, doing yoga when I can and making myself get out and meet people. I would like to say I’ve been watching my diet, but, unfortunately, I’ve been partaking of Halloween junk for two days. I’ll get back to it, but it wreaks havoc on my mood. It’s turning colder, so I need to ramp up my socializing so I don’t just curl up on my couch and wake up in the spring with a horrid case of the blues.

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My friend and fellow blogger Laura… we are video conferencing tomorrow!

My friend Laura blogged today about the importance of being around people. For me, too, that message has been popping up everywhere. It reminds me that I need to make an effort to talk to people. It’s so easy to just text or interact on social media. But it’s sort of like dating for me. If I spend all of that time on social media, I’m not out making real friends and building my tribe. It’s just not the same.

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I know that there are hormones that are released when we react with people in person. (You can read more about it here.) Oxytocin is released when we touch others or feel close to them. Oxytocin boosts serotonin which relieves depression and reduces fear. And I know when I look into another person’s eyes, and we share a laugh or a personal story, I feel this wash of something really amazing come over me. It makes me happy. I feel less alone. I feel totally present and engaged in my life. Maybe that’s oxytocin. Maybe it’s just a feeling. But, whatever it is, I want that. And the only way to get that is to get off my couch and make an effort to create it. So, I gotta go. I’m headed out to meet some new people…. yes …. on a Tuesday.

 

 

The First Kiss of Memphis

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This morning I woke up in my beloved Memphis. This cute little AirBnB is equipped with all of the comforts of home except maybe a bathtub. But I have a shower, and I suppose that’s all I really need. Last night I ran over to the new Fresh Market which would have been right down the street from my house and stocked up with some healthy treats and a few not-so-healthy ones. I tried to think back to five years ago and choose one of my favorite restaurants.

Let’s see …. there was the convenience store on the corner where I used to get this amazing sautéed veggies over rice with a fried egg on top. Of course, there was BBQ everywhere, but I’d want to save that for Wednesday night. The Mexican Deli in Cordova was too long of a drive after driving all day. I even noodled the Vietnamese place on Poplar. Hmmmm … Bhan Thai popped in my head, and I knew right where I was going.

They’ve made some upgrades. The parking lot is bigger. I no longer had to walk down the street to park. They’ve extended the porch so it’s larger. I opted to sit on the porch since it was nice out, and I tried something new – the potstickers – and one of my favorites – cashew nut tofu. I even opted for the sticky mango coconut rice for dessert even though I knew I could only have a taste or two. I’m on vacation, right? A singer sang old favorites from my childhood, and I let myself relax for the first time on the trip. “I am here,” my body said. “Kick your feet up and relax.”

My little vacation spot…

I made an early night of it since I had gotten up early to drive. So I awoke rested and ready for my run. I thought of several running routes but settled on walking out my front door and heading to my old neighborhood. Memories started rushing back as I made my way down the same streets that I’d run a million times when training for marathons. Looks like they finally sold that place over on McLean. Wow, they made some nice upgrades on that house off Lemaster. Dogs, as usual, were being walked all over, the humidity hung like a damp cloth in the air, and the trees of Memphis stood as stately and beautiful as ever.

My old house… with my porch swing.

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I ran down my old street and checked out my apartment where I lived after my divorce. It looked the same. I wondered if they ever fixed that back yard so it looked a little nicer but didn’t have the hooha to walk over and peek over the fence. It was occupied as a fall wreath hung on the door. I thought of the Memphis drummer that lived beneath me and harbored a secret crush on the older woman on the second floor. I passed my house down the street. They chopped down all of those bushes to the side of the house to make a two-car driveway. And they added the porch swing that I wanted but never hung. I longed to look inside to see what else was new.

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Overall, the old ‘hood is the same. Central Gardens is where I am, and Central Gardens is where I lived. It’s where I trained for my first marathon. That house on Carr was Ashok’s first home with me. I remembered with a gasp how hot it was that one summer when temps hung over 100 for weeks on end. My sister came up to go to an outdoor gospel concert during Elvis week. It was 104, but they still held it outside. Thank heavens it’s not that hot today! I remember those countless long runs through that neighborhood where I’d suffer through eeking out another 5 miles … another mile … another 100 yards. And I remember how I felt today when I was done… soaked through with sweat, fully worked out and glad to be here.

I asked myself if I should have left Memphis. I have great friends here, and I really do love the gritty soulfulness of this city. I thought about the year before I moved to Louisiana and what I was feeling. I had a restlessness about me, and I was ready to go. “You are not the staying kind,” I heard a voice in my right ear. I giggled a little and answered back, “Yeah, I suppose commitment is not my strong suit.” Thank goodness that doesn’t mean I can’t journey back for comfort. I may not stay for long, but I’ll be grounded in love and gratitude while I’m here.

Running in the Rain

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I hate being sick. I’m actually not sick that often, but this week I got some kind of awful, debilitating cold with a fever. I was down and out for two days. I slept and slept and slept all day Monday and Tuesday. I still had a fever Tuesday night, and I thought for sure I’d be off work Wednesday to spend another day in bed. But, for some reason, when I awoke on Wednesday, I felt like my old self again. With no fever and no raging river of snot cascading down my nose, I got dressed and went to work.

I didn’t want to revisit that cold again, and since many people at work are getting over it or suffering with it, I sort of kept to myself and treated myself to a lot of rest and relaxation when I got home. But, we all know that you can’t bank exercise, so I texted Jessica who has been coaching me again and committed to running first thing this morning. She sent me a speedwork plan earlier in the week, so I got up at 4:30 and was out the door at 5 AM to check that box. It looked a little like rain, so I brought a rain jacket just in case.

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I got through the first quarter mile repeats with no problem, but then I felt a sprinkle. During the 3rd repeat, it started pouring. It wasn’t a Louisiana pouring, but it was definitely a Michigan pouring. I wasn’t too far from home, so I could have gone back, but I knew I had to finish this run. Surely, it wouldn’t last long, I thought. This isn’t Louisiana. Rain doesn’t usually last long. Ashok looked at me with a sad look in her eyes, and I told her we were going to finish the run. A little rain wasn’t going to melt us.

So we ran in the pouring rain, splashed in small streams and large puddles and I spent a lot of time and effort trying to protect my iPhone. After 5 minutes of feeling like a wet rat, I started to appreciate the freedom of running in the rain. Ashok seemed to mimic my mood and picked up her pace as she raced through puddles of her own. The last of my congestion from my cold made breathing difficult, and I found myself shooting snot torpedoes out my nose more than once. It stopped raining by the time my speedwork was done, and we walked in the house dripping water all over my front porch.

I love the feeling of completing a challenging run. Sometimes it’s the run itself. Other times the weather makes breathing difficult. Cold weather, too, can cause exercise asthma, or icy roads can make running treacherous. The workout can be a b*tch. After work some days, my legs feel like lead posts, and I struggle with every step. But every time I persevere and finish, I feel like a rock star. When I check that box on the finished workout, I have successfully completed at least one task for the day. Actually, when I think about it, I truly am like a rock star when I stick with something hard and finish it. There were a lot of people who slept through that rain this morning. I conquered it.

Go conquer something this weekend. You deserve to be a star.