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Date: Thursday, 24 Jul 2008 11:45
I've been thinking a great deal about my goal to run the Richmond half marathon in November.
And to be honest, I am a little afraid.
I begin my training plan on Monday, and every time I look at the schedule I get a little wave of nausea.
I am a newbie. at the very best, a seasoned beginner. I will celebrate my one year running anniversary 2 weeks before the race. Before I looked at my training plan, I didn't know what a tempo run was.

Well. I thoroughly believe in the practice of confronting fear in order to overcome it.

So, here are mine:

1. What if I can't finish?
2.The training will become too hard, with school, and work etc. I am afraid I will slack on training, and regret that choice during the race.
3. I have never run a competitive race before. Not even a 5k.
4. I will lose, or forget, the wonderful feeling that non-competitive running gives me.
5. For 9 months I have been running on treadmills. What if I don't like the transition to road running?


and here is an extra one, just in case:
6. Marathons are for runners. Am I a runner?

As I was writing, I was thinking about confronting my fears.
This is what I've got so far:

1. To this point, I've learned from running that doubt and insecurity make for a miserable, long and torturous workout. Whereas Positivity, confidence (and a little distraction) can carry me for miles.

2. Most of my fears are within my realm of control.
"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Stop being afraid of you.

3. You must do the thing you think you can not do. You are a runner if you choose to be a runner.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "Half Marathon, negative, goals, confront..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 23:48
The following is an email conversation I recently had with a friend who is currently in South Africa, who will start a job at the unnamed brand-name store (P) this August.

Me:
I was shopping today and thought of you because I saw the P brand name. I will never forgive you for the association that followed. Anyway, the point: P charges an exorbitant amount for their undergarments. Unless a pair of underwear converts into a flotation device, or a waterproof parka, I say, not worth $40.
I would have liked to hear about you trying to make that sale during your interview.

Friend:
The P Underwear might be considered more of a status symbol than anything else. While they are exceptionally comfortable, there is something to be said for knowing your skivvies are made from one-hundred per cent post consumer recycled materials. If you're going to wear underwear (as some of us choose to abstain) you might as well ensure your choice does not negatively impact the environment. Just a thought for your consideration.

Me:
The thing about underwear (I've always believed) is that they carry certain esteem boosting capabilities, which are really for the wearers benefit more than anything else. i.e. wearing expensive lingerie on a job interview, combats nerves, puts a knowing smile on the interviewee's face, and serves as a nice distraction when one is bored, but supposed to be looking smart and interested. If we're not on the same page, think: Imagining the whole room naked during a presentation, but better.

I'm not really sure how wearing fabric made from recycled materials carries the same weight, or serves the wearer in the same way. However, I suppose one could make that argument. I certainly think there are cheaper and more amusing avenues for boosting self esteem with undergarments. Not to mention, more green approaches. We could get rid of the underwear altogether. How many annoying little plastic baggies and underwear hangers does it take to thin the ozone layer?

As for your status symbol point. Again, the benefits of underwear are for the wearer. The idea of a status symbol, really only works if the symbol is readily obvious. As others (In most cases) don't (shouldn't) see one's underwear, than unless the wearer chooses to be obvious about their choice in drawers, one's skivvies don't contribute much to one's status as a rich, globally savvy, hip outdoorsmen.

Your $40, environmentally friendly underwear are not going to change the world, or make you a cooler person. I am, admittedly, a hard sell. And in this case, I'm not sold.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)"
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karma   New window
Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2008 23:57
This has been bothering my lately.

I don't believe in "karma," as in, good things come to good people, or "she deserved what was coming to her."

NO.

Life is not fair.

You can't expect the bull not to eat you, simply because you're a vegetarian.

People do good things, sometimes. and sometimes, good things happen to people.

Sometimes, people do bad things. and sometimes, good things happen to those people, too.

There is no "she'll get hers, in the end."

People put too much stock in fate, luck, karma.

All you can do is:
Do your own thing.
Work hard for what makes you happy.
Keep in mind that what you want, is not necessarily what is best for others. Decide what is important to you.

You set a goal. You work hard. You work harder. You reach your goal, or you don't.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "karma, goals, fate, luck"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2008 02:26
Until very recently, I did not set goals for myself. I coasted. Setting "goals" I knew I could achieve. I achieved the average, run of the mill, successes that everyone else achieved, forwhich I did not have to work very hard.

Running has helped me to set goals that I can not achieve by coasting.

Through running I have come to realize that through dedication and hard work and sacrifice, I can achieve things that at this moment, might seem unrealistic, far fetched, even impossible.

Tonight I have set 2 goals which will require a great deal of dedication, hard work and sacrifice:

1. Run the Richmond Half Marathon on November 15, 2008
2. Gain acceptance into an MBA in Finance program by the Spring of 2009.

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and can not help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, "You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that." The human spirit is indomitable."
-Sir Roger Bannister
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "Half Marathon, goals, achieve, unrealist..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 14:28
It is so easy for me to get lost in the big picture.
I feel the pressure and the obligation of looming deadlines and future events. So much so, that I begin to feel like the weight of the world is pressing down on my shoulders and the days are crushed underneath all of my future obligations, so that they collapse into sharp pebbled-rocks under my feet. I do not remember days, enjoyable in their beginnings and their endings, simply, intermittent pangs and sharp reminders of what is to come.
Running keeps me grounded. Everyday I am challenged.
I can not get lost in the pressure of the big picture, when I know that my biggest challenge of the day will comes early in the morning on the treadmill.
Running turns those pebbles into mountains. I am no longer on a path of sharp rocks, a means to an end, where the finish is always in sight but never reached. Rather, I am climbing mountains. Every morning I am reaching goals, and setting new personal bests, and I am making my way through each day, not at the whim of the sharp reminders of the future, but by the joy of scaling small mountains.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "obligations, challenge, pebbles, mountai..."
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2008 23:30
New rule: No dating guys I meet while doing things I enjoy.

It turns out that when I can't stand a guy anymore, I not only have to avoid the guy, but because he's always at the place where I enjoy doing things, I must also avoid the things I enjoy.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Jul 2008 00:12
It's a funny thing, a theme that I've recognized in my running, that appears often in my life and was only able to articulate after I experienced it in my running:

There comes a point in every run when I realize that it is easier and less painful to keep running than it will be to stop.

If I am at this point, and I do stop, my heart rate is too high, and I feel a jolt of nausea, I become faint, and the degree of pain in my calves moves from dull to excruciating. That is a painful experience that I do not enjoy. I use the thought of this impending, truly painful experience, to motivate myself to continue running when I am feeling tired, or slightly pained. So, we have two very different types of pain: The pain of stopping, and the pain of continuing.

I once told someone that it hurts when I run. They were shocked. "It's not supposed to hurt is it? Why do you do it if you don't enjoy it?"

Running hurts. But hurting, and enjoying, are are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I'm not saying I'm a masochist. Well, maybe I am, maybe we all are, to an extent. I certainly do not enjoy the pain that comes with stopping. And, I don't necessarily enjoy the pain in my calves when I run. I do however, enjoy what the pain of continuing stands for.

The pain of continuing is a sign that I am pushing, hard. And I enjoy that. I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the hardness.

More than that, I enjoy the consistency. I enjoy that it is always, without fail, difficult to run the way I do. The difficulty, the hardness, is constant, invariable and pervasive, and often, it's painful. But i the thought of the pain that comes with stopping, helps me to push through it. I always finish. And if I must stop, then that pain motivates me to push myself harder tomorrow.

The results are always instant if I have chosen to continue. I feel pain, but it's good pain. It's not the I was in love, and now I'm not; It hurts, so I know I'm growing, pain. It's the I ran 4 miles this morning and it hurts because I pushed myself as hard as I could, and it still hurts, so the only way to make that pain go away, is to run until it is more painful to stop, than it is to keep going.

In life, and in running, I enjoy the give and take of continuing. I give up a lot to continue. I give my time, my body, my mind, my sweat, sometimes my tears. I get pain, but I also get accomplishment, success...and from running, and running alone, a euphoria that I have yet to gain from any other source in my life.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "euphoria, stop, life, runner's high, hur..."
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Gym Guy   New window
Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2008 14:30
So...There's this guy.

That's usually a fun phrase, with a good story.

This was not so fun.

There's this guy. At the gym.

Let me provide some context:

I spend a lot of time at the gym. I run. Everyday. I can not, not, be in the gym for at least an hour every day--it's psychological, and physical. It's a challenge. And it's my time.

It's my time, so I don't have to worry about looking good. I can look terrible, and run 4 or 5 miles, and that makes me happy.

I am not the girl who goes to the gym to pick up guys. I am not the make-up donning, tight tank top wearing, high pony tailed, casually glistening, gym-doll.

I am focused.

I am in smelly running shorts and a sweat-soaked t-shirt, and a hat that serves the dual role of eliminating flyaway hair and keeping my face hidden, as it takes on an I'm-on-the-verge-of-hyperventilation flush that makes anyone nearby nervously await my collapse. I'm the girl who runs until her legs start shaking and sweat is actually puddling on the treadmill.

The gym is the place where I go to run. When I run I do not care about anything else but reaching the goal I've set for myself. I don't have the energy to care how red my face is, or how tired I look without makeup, or that the dark sweat stains under my arm pits are quickly working their way out to cover my entire t-shirt. I'm too out of breath to talk or make conversation--and that's the way I like it.

Recap: The gym is my time. I challenge myself. I'm not shimmering or glistening--I'm sweating. I'm literally soaking wet and I smell. I don't feel very cute, or girly. Which is fine, because it's only me.

WHY then, is the guy at the gym flirting with me.?

Not to state the obvious here, but really, this is not how it's supposed to work.

Oh...Hello, [You were talking to me? sorry i was too busy tripping off the treadmill to hear you] Yea, I miss the old gym too. [Did you seriously just interrupt my workout to ask where the locker room is?] Oh, my name? Yea, I see you here sometimes too. Yup, I'm here every morning, 6:30 am. Oh it's not that bad, you get in to a rhythm...[I feel like someone just sprayed me with a fire hose. That smell? I haven't washed these shorts all week, or it could be my sneakers because I don't like to wear socks when I run]...Yea, it's nice to meet you too--

Oh you want to keep talking to me...

[I don't normally look like this. Generally, I wear makeup, and dresses, and straighten my hair. In fact, it takes me a good hour and a half to look good enough to walk out the door. I try hard! Just not here]

Where do I live? I'm from NY. Oh you too? Small world...

[Am I panting? I did just get off the treadmill. Wipe your face with the towel. Not that hard, are you trying to take off skin?]

Ok, nice talking to you. See you next time. Bye.

People judge. It's ok. It's a neutral thing. It's what people do, and I don't have a problem with it.
(Except when there is value added, but that's a blog for another day.)

So

Here's my judgment: He's nice. point. He has big pecs. point. He has a masters. two points. Of course he was judging me too...Cringe...Like: Does she always sweat this much? Is something wrong with her face--sunburn? Is the stammering normal or can she not catch her breath?

Fast forward to next time: I see him in the gym, I'm walking around looking lost trying to find the ab machine that they've moved without letting anyone know, and of course he looks over. I smile, wave, and run. Forget the ab machine, I'm out of here.

Maybe I should have stayed and talked to him...but who likes talking in the middle of a workout?

Maybe I'll see him tomorrow. I'll be sure to do abs first.
[And, generally, the stammering thing is pretty standard.]
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Lauren Teresa)" Tags: "there's this guy, gym, workout, run, fli..."
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