Friday, June 30, 2017

It's Ok to Not Be Ok

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile, but I am not one to openly share my feelings. Being vulnerable is something that is incredibly difficult for me. When someone asks me how I'm doing I tend to stick to the typical script of "I'm ok" or "I'm good" even though it's the furthest thing from the truth. In truth it's part laziness/busyness because I don't want to take the time to wade through and figure out how I'm actually doing. The other part of it is no one actually wants to hear how you're really doing. No one wants to hear that you're struggling with (fill in the blank) because that would be awkward. But I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of living behind a facade. Because the truth is it's ok to not be ok. There is nothing wrong with saying I'm really depressed right now or I'm struggling right now and could use a friend. If everyone actually said how they felt it would be so much easier to support one another and be there for each other.

This past month and a half has been incredibly difficult. I've been face with some major life changing decisions, medical challenges, and personal loss, but every single time someone has asked how I've been doing I've responded with the usual, "I'm ok." The truth is I'm not ok and that fact smacked me in the face in a recent conversation with a friend. 

We had been talking through some rather difficult things and I just started crying, like full blown Kim K ugly cry. I am not one to cry, like ever. I tear up when an animal gets hurt in a movie, but full blown crying just isn't me. For some reason I became really good at shutting down emotion and just functioning. But just functioning is not really living.  

When I had calmed down and was able to talk it felt really good to just have someone listen. They didn't offer advice, opinions or anything they just listened. It was pretty therapeutic to just let it all out because I had been holding it all in for awhile. I held it all in until I couldn't hold it anymore and it blew up.

I had been presented an opportunity that would involve moving across the country to a state I've never been and not knowing a soul. The stress of trying to figure out if it would be a good move, both personally and professionally, combined with everyone under the sun offering me their opinions on the opportunity and trying to figure out if the logistics would even make sense had me extremely stressed. At the same time I was dealing with lupus complications. My stomach is greatly affected by lupus and I had been dealing with some major GI issues where there wasn't a clear answer or solution. I was getting tests done, waiting on results, all while living with constant pain, bloat, being unable to leave the house some days because I can't keep food down, and some other issues as well. I have also been dealing with horrific leg pain. It's been a combination of shin splints and restless legs that have made running near impossible this week and caused a TON of pain. Then, a very close family friend passed away rather suddenly. To say I had reached my breaking point was putting it lightly.

I was beyond stressed, the little sleep I was getting disappeared, and I was a zombie walking around. To let all of that out felt so good. I didn't want someone to try to solve my problems or offer advice or judgment, they just listened.

Did talking solve all my problems? No, of course not, but it felt like I wasn't alone in my problems anymore. In the cheesiest sense it felt like a weight had been lifted off. It really is true that sometimes it's best to let it out because holding it all in does you no good. It's not only stressful, but the stress will manifest itself in other ways and negatively impact your health. Sometimes you need to have a Kim K ugly cry moment to let it all out and that's totally ok

I'm still facing all the same decisions and challenges as before but not holding onto it and continually mulling it over has made me feel lighter. Had my friend not pushed me I wouldn't be where I am right now. Right now I'm happier, lighter, and feel much more level. Do I still have a lot of decisions to make? Yeah I do, but now that I've let all the tension, worry and everything else out I feel like I can approach everything from a much better place.

If we would really be honest when someone asks how we are doing it would do us all a world of good. There's nothing wrong with embracing where we are even if where we are isn't in the best place. But no one is a mind reader. You have to tell someone that no you're not ok right now. Does that mean the greeter at the grocery store should hear all your problems? Probably not, they might get a little freaked out, but call a friend and ask to get coffee or to just hangout and talk. Have an honest conversation because I promise you anyone who's worth your time will be there for you. And if you're not comfortable talking to a friend or family member seek professional help, there is no shame in asking for help.

It's ok to not be ok. It doesn't mean you're permanently stuck in a place of not being ok. It means you're being honest with yourself about where you are right now.  

I'm not ok right now and I'm working toward being in a better place, but I'm not afraid to admit I'm not ok. I know I'm not alone and I'm not going to be in this place forever.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

T-Rex and Running: Thinking Out Loud #43

Happy Thursday! This week has felt like it's dragged on forever and I'm more than ready for it to be over. There's been a lot going on and my family lost a dear friend this week, so it's been a struggle to find a sense of balance. I have a post to share tomorrow about that so I'll save my thoughts on everything for that post. On the bright side, it's Thursday so that means it's time for thinking out loud.

1. For the first time in I don't know how long I actually went to the mall. It was a rainy day so a friend and I headed up to the mall and just wandered around and while doing so I stumbled upon a Ryan Gosling coloring book. I know people are obsessed with him and all those hey girl memes, but a coloring book?!

2. I've said it before, but I seriously have the most amazing best friend💜 We hadn't seen each other in almost 5 months because she's still away finishing up school. I was beyond excited to see her and catch up and I was in serious need of some BFF time. Of course we hit up (dairy free) froyo and I tried the bubblegum flavor. It definitely tasted like bubblegum, but I don't think it's a flavor I would get again. It was so nice to just hangout and decompress; plus it's impossible to be anything but happy around Kate, she's the most positive person I've ever met and I'm incredibly lucky she's my best friend.

3. Saturday I convinced a friend of mine to do a 5K with me. We saw a flyer for it back in March and I challenged her to do it because she kept saying she wasn't a runner. She put in the work, using a plan similar to the couch to 5K one, and ran the 5K. I was so stinking proud of her because I got her done SIX minutes sooner than her best time🙌 She still says she's not a runner, but she is because she did it and I couldn't be a prouder friend!

4. The medals we got for finishing the 5K were pretty cool. I loved the peace sign and it was a pretty easy and flat course to run. I had already logged 8 miles prior to the 5k, which the course ended up being measured wrong so we actually ran 3.3 miles😂 I was really happy with how my legs felt and I didn't have any pains at all so I was a happy camper, plus running with a friend always makes the time go by faster.

5. I celebrated my birthday with my parents a few days late, but the wait was 100% worth it. We drove all the way to the Cheesecake Factory, which is not a short drive by any means, but I got the tacos I had been craving since I got back from California. They have lettuce taco wraps that you can get either Mexican or Thai style and both are AMAZING😋 I went with the Thai ones this time around and they did not disappoint. The drive was worth it, plus it was nice to spend some time with my parents- you're never too old to celebrate a birthday with your parents😁

6. I got super excited when I stumbled across this water float on Amazon. I already have a giant swan float but a T-Rex might have to join the family. It just looks so fun and who wouldn't want to chill on a T-Rex? Plus I got an Amazon giftcard for my birthday so a T-Rex might just have to happen😬

7. I am in love with this quote😍 anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the ocean. Nothing makes me feel better than salty air and beach time. My cousin and I always say that the ocean heals all wounds and for us it's true, it's our place where we completely relax. I've laughed, cried, walked, ran, and so much more along the ocean. Listening to the ocean waves is soothing and makes me feel centered. I really do feel a sense of freedom near the ocean that I don't feel anywhere else. This quote just perfectly encapsulates those feelings for me.

I'm going to end things there this week, but have a terrific Thursday and check back tomorrow for a special post!

What's your favorite thing to do with friends?
Do you have any fun 4th of July plans?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Birthday Celebrations: Thinking Out Loud #42

Happy Thursday! It's been a busy week, but a good one especially since my birthday was yesterday🎉 The weather has been so beautiful week and summer is now in full force. Nothing makes me happier than walking outside to sunshine and warm weather⛅ Anyway let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!

1. Morning runs are my absolute favorite because I get to watch the sunrise. I'm not one who normally listens to music while running and the silence is just peaceful. On my long run mornings when I start really early (it's still dark) it's really beautiful to watch the world come to life and the sun peak over the horizon. I've even converted a few of my friends to morning runners. Plus, nothing beats starting the day off feeling accomplished because I've already gotten my run out of the way. 

2. I switched my long run day to Saturday a few weeks back so I can use Sunday as an active recovery day. Changing up my schedule has really helped me feel more rested and I don't know why but I just dreaded doing a long run on Sunday. Now I look forward to my long runs and when Monday rolls around I feel more rested and ready to tackle a new week of training. 

3. Speaking of long runs, anyone who has problems with chaffing I highly recommend body glide. I picked it up at my local running and it's been a skin saver. I've never had problems with chaffing, but a few weeks ago I did nine miles and a spot on my leg was just rubbed raw from my shorts. It was so painful, but since I got body glide I've had zero problems with chaffing. The only problem I now have is shin splints, so if you have tips on how to help that please let me know!

4. It's been super hot in the Midwest recently and while I don't mind the heat I'm not a fan of the humidity. With almost every day in the 90's and anywhere from 70-90% humidity it's been kind of miserable, but luckily living on a lake makes it much easier to cool down. Cora has been in the lake constantly, she literally lays down in the shallow water. She's such a goof, but I'm glad she likes the lake and is smart enough to go in and cool down.

5. Father's Day was this past weekend and I was happy I got to spend a lot of time with my dad. We didn't do anything super special, but it was nice to get some projects done my dad wanted to do and just enjoy each others company. After a special Father's Day dinner and a run to Home Depot my dad and I stopped for dairy free froyo. It was such a fun day and I honestly can't remember my dad and I laughed so much.

6. I want to say a big THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes I received yesterday! It was the first time in 10+ years it didn't pour on my birthday so I spent the entire day outside enjoying the summer weather. I had a great run in the morning, went to lunch and walked around a local downtown, spent time with family, and got lots of puppy time in. I can't remember the last time I had such a relaxing birthday so it was nice. So, thank you for all of the comments, messages, texts, etc. it really means a lot to me💜

I'm going to end things there this week, have an amazing Thursday and a fantastic weekend! Thank you again for all the birthday wishes!

How do you like to celebrate your birthday or what traditions do you have to celebrate?
What are your favorite ways to beat the summer heat?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Penguin Pride and Running: Thinking Out Loud #41

I've seriously been slacking with blogging recently (sorry). I partially blame this weird funk I've been in, but the other part is life has just been chaotic this past week especially with the stomach flu making it's way into the house (so not fun). Anywho let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. Last week I was literally jumping for joy because my runs were amazing. I was my miles easily, around 6.5 miles a day then a long run on the weekend, and everything was feeling good. This week has really been a struggle. Mentally I know that not every week in a training cycle is going to be amazing but it's kind of been getting to me. I started having calf pain on Tuesday night so I took Wednesday off to rest and ice, but this mornings run was brutal. Aside from terrible weather (read about that here) my legs felt like lead. I think some of it is soreness from leg day but they just did not want to get going. I'm just praying whatever is going on shakes off before my long run this weekend. 

2. A huge part of the problem this week is I've felt like total garbage. I've had stomach problems for years and regularly see a GI, but this week has been really rough. After eating anything I've felt like I'm going to puke, so I've been struggling to eat. I've been getting horrible stomach cramps- like painful to breath stomach cramps- and it's just physically ached for about a week. Sometimes lupus will kind of flare and irritate my stomach but this was not going away so I sucked it up and called my GI. I have an appointment today and am praying he has some answers or can offer some help because it's been absolutely miserable. 

3. On the bright side, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. It's been 90F degrees almost every day and sunny. Cora has been getting plenty of lake time to keep cool. A lot of times I'll let her outside to do her business and turn around and she's charging down to the lake to go for a swim. I'm telling you she's half fish! I cannot keep her out of the water, but when it's this hot she needs to stay cool. 

4. Speaking of staying cool, with the hot temps I've been trying to take time each day to enjoy the lake. I got a giant inflatable swam and it's one of the best investments I've made😂 sad, but true. I got my dad to come test it out too and literally I cannot tell you the last time we've laughed so hard. We were dying laughing inflating it because it just kept getting bigger but the laughing didn't stop once we got it in the water. It felt good to just spend time with my dad and have fun. Neither of us have been feeling good so just to have that time together to forget about all that for a bit was really nice. If you're interested this is the swan I got.

5. I can't not mention the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup for a second straight year!! Anyone who knows me knows I'm a giant Penguins fan and I was flipping out when they scored. It was a good game to watch and nothing makes me prouder than watching Sidney Crosby hoist Lord Stanley. Nashville was a really great team and put up a hard fight, but I'm glad the Penguins prevailed. GO PENS🎉🎉🎉

6. The giant swan got named Henry and we have date nights. My best friend texted me and asked what I was doing and I told her I was having date night with Henry. It's so relaxing to just get on it and float for awhile. I may have had a glass of wine while I was out floating the other night🍷 you gotta live a little right?

7. I came across this quote and I was just like yes that is me to a T. I literally crave the ocean and miss it so much when I'm not near it. My favorite sound is listening to the ocean waves crash, I could listen to that forever and never get tired of it. Anyone else an oceanholic? 

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend, and don't forget to celebrate Dad on Sunday!

Are you doing anything special for your dad for Father's Day?
What helps you get out of a funk?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sunrise Runs & Flowers: Thinking Out Loud #40

Happy Thursday!! I had intentions of being more present on the blog this week but that just didn't happen. Life has been hectic this past week and I haven't had much free time, but I do have some posts I want to share including one about my trip to California. In the meantime let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. I'm pretty shocked to say this but Cora's new toy is still intact😱 I picked up a new toy for her last week while I was out and normally toys with stuff last 2.5 seconds, but for some reason she hasn't destroyed this one yet. She did kill the squeaker, but all the stuffing remains intact. I think it's largely due to the fact that the weather has been so nice so she's basically lived outside for the past week. 

2. Speaking of beautiful weather it's FINALLY feeling like summer here in the Mitten🎉 some of the mornings are still cold, but largely I've been running outside and I'm loving every second of it. Running on the treadmill is great, but running outside is so much more interesting. There's tons to see, which makes long runs far more interesting, and nothing beats watching the sunrise over the lake while I run. 

3. Since my mileage has increased I've definitely become a lot more hungry. Tuesday I was all over the place between meetings, but luckily I had a NoCow bar in my car. It was slightly warm from the heat, but still delicious. I'm not one to eat protein bars anymore because I've really been trying to get all my nutrition from real foods- fruits, veggies, lean meats, etc. Sometimes though I can't whip out veggies and hummus in the car so these bars have been lifesavers. They're gluten, dairy, and soy free and the ingredients are pretty clean. It does contain sugar alcohols which I'm not a giant fan of, but once in awhile isn't going to kill me. 

4. With the warmer weather more flowers are in bloom and it's making my morning runs so pretty! I love looking at all the beautiful flowers people have planted and the ones that are just wild. The beauty of creation always amazes me🌸

5. I'm definitely no artist, but when a two year old wants me to draw flowers and rainbows I'll happily oblige. I haven't played with chalk since I was a kid, but while babysitting the other day the little boy whipped out chalk and we spent over an hour drawing all sorts of things. The bonus of him being so young is he thinks everything I draw is amazing, gotta love kids😂

6. I came across this quote this morning while I was scrolling through Pinterest and I love it. Authenticity is something I think the world is lacking because people are so desperate to fit in that they lose their sense of self and what makes them unique. All of us are guilty of it, myself included, but in the past year I've really worked on not caring what other people think. There's always going to be mean and judgmental people. When you free yourself from just not caring what they think of you it's an unbelievable feeling. Be authentic and just be yourself. You are beautiful and amazing the way you are. You don't need to change anything about yourself for anyone. Love yourself and live freely💜

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a fantastic Thursday and I hope you get a chance to enjoy some amazing weather this weekend! 

Are you doing anything fun this weekend? 
What is your favorite time of day and why?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

California Dreaming: Thinking Out Loud #39

I am a giant hot mess this week. The holiday weekend combined with changing time zones has totally thrown me off so all week I've been saying its the wrong day. The struggle is very real this week😩 Nonetheless it was a fantastic Memorial Day weekend and I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend as well. Let's jump in to this weeks thinking out loud!

1. I've spent some time this past week traveling and I stumbled across this quote as I scrolled through pintrest waiting in the airport. The more quotes I come across from Elizabeth Gilbert the more I'm convinced I need to read Eat Pray Love. I definitely have the travel bug and every chance I get to travel I instantly jump on because life is too short to stay in one place. Gilbert hit it dead on because I've been through the wringer with flying (I'm looking at you Alaska Airlines), but I always come back for more. I have learned more traveling than I ever learned in a classroom. The world is an amazing place and I want to see as much of it as I can🌎

2. No trip to California is complete without a trip to Newport Beach. Luckily my brother lives very close to Newport so it doesn't take long at all to head to the beach. Newport Beach is beyond a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. The area is gorgeous and so well kept and I instantly feel at ease when I get into Newport. It's definitely a must if you go to SoCal and definitely stay for sunset. Nothing beats sunset on Newport Beach. 

3. I discovered a new restaurant to add to the list of favorites in California, Corner Bakery Cafe. It's sort of like Panera but a zillion times better! The food is so fresh, the salads are AMAZING, and the service was amazing. I stopped in twice and both times were equally amazing. They have a number of locations, but we went to the one at the Spectrum Center in Irvine. I'm craving one of their salads😋

4. Another must in Cali is Pressed Juicery Freeze. It's like frozen yogurt, but it's made from fruits, veggies, and nuts and its AMAZING🙌 I got chocolate and vanilla and chose blueberries, raspberries, and cacao nibs as toppings. I'm already starting a petition to get Pressed to come to the Midwest. 

5. I always pack snacks for plane rides and boy am I glad I did! I had a few protein bars stuffed in my backpack and for some reason I threw in a few extra. My flight ended up getting pushed back so I almost missed my connecting flight and had zero time to grab a lunch in the airport. Thankfully I had a a No Cow bar with me and got a fresh banana from Delta (props to Delta for offering fresh fruit!). I'm not big on eating protein bars, but No Cow bars are gluten, dairy, and soy free, they taste great and don't have any scary ingredients. 

6. While flying we flew around a forest fire in a national park in Arizona. It was so sad to see the smoke cloud and we were miles and miles from the actual fire. It broke my heart to know that so many acres of national forest were burning because of the careless actions of individuals starting a campfire. 

7. I learned my lesson yesterday running. My body simply does not handle running later in the day well at all. My neighbor needed help watching her little girl because she had to leave early for work so I went over at 5:30am and eventually woke the daughter up, got her fed, and took her to school. She is such a sweet kid with the absolute best manners I have ever seen. Then I had a last minute doctor appointment so I didn't start my run until almost 11am. It was hot, super windy, and I had a decent amount of food in me. My body doesn't do good with food in it- I get sluggish and feel gross no matter how long I wait after I eat. I was fine until about 2.5 miles in and everything just hit me. I was tired from major insomnia (literally no sleep since Sunday) and the weather conditions were less than ideal. I battled through and got my five miles in but lesson learned run early. 

I'm going to end things there. Have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend🎉🎉

Did you do anything fun for Memorial Day weekend?
What is your go to snack when traveling?