Silver Linings

Last week was an emotional roller coaster. I oscillated frequently between feeling calm (even thinking I was overreacting) and having extreme anxiety about the uncertainty of everything.

This week, fortunately, has been better. That’s not to say I’m not still feeling anxious and worried—I am. But I’m dealing with it a little better this week.

Getting myself off that emotional rollercoaster—if only temporarily—has allowed me to focus a little more on the good things that have come out of this quarantine.

For one, my husband is home much more, which is a treat since he normally travels so much. Not only is he not traveling, but he’s also getting home much earlier every day (sometimes in the afternoon, but at least by 5). Normally, he gets home after 7 most nights, sometimes even later.

So we’re getting to spend more time together. We’re also cooking dinner more. Partly because we have to, but partly because we actually have the energy. Before, he would get home after 8pm and the last thing either of us wanted to do was cook that late in the evening. So we’d go out or he’d pick something up on his way home.

He’s also helping out more—cooking dinner, doing dishes, etc.—because he has the energy (which is great, because at 8 months pregnant, I don’t).

We’ve also started doing our “at-home happy hours” again. We started them last year. We’d sit and have a drink, he’d smoke a cigar, and we’d talk. No phones allowed (except for work stuff).

Obviously, my drinks are non-alcoholic right now. But it’s nice to have the time to sit and talk and just spend some time together.

So while this situation as a whole really just sucks, some good has come out of it for me. My husband and I are getting to spend some much-needed time together, just the two of us, before the baby is due in 5 very short weeks.

Canceled

Today we had to cancel our maternity photo session.

That may not sound like a big deal, but right now, it was one of the only things I had to look forward to.

I’ve been pretty open with people about how much I have not enjoyed being pregnant. But I read that many women who didn’t take maternity photos regretted it.

And although I don’t love being pregnant, I also didn’t want to regret not doing something like this later on.

Plus, doing maternity photos gave me an excuse to buy a new dress and have my sister do my hair and makeup, so I’d feel extra pretty.

Now no one will see that dress. I won’t get my hair and makeup done. I won’t get to smile alongside my husband and feel giddy and excited to meet our baby.

Instead I’ll spend the day sitting on my couch (or laying in bed) in my sweatpants, with unwashed hair, watching TV and scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.

I know bigger events than this are being canceled. I’m out $50 on a dress (a good friend offered to do the photos for us) while other people are losing thousands of dollars after having to cancel their weddings.

I know graduations are being canceled. People are losing their jobs. It’s all heartbreaking.

That doesn’t make having to cancel my maternity photos any less heartbreaking for me, though.

It was one of the last exciting things we had scheduled before our son is born. It was the only exciting thing on my long list of to-dos.

I’m crushed.

I know things will get better. And I know, in the grand scheme of things, the photos aren’t that important. But right now I just need to allow myself to feel sad about the things I’m missing out on.

 

Back for Now

It’s probably been almost a year since I last posted here. Life really changed quite a bit after my half marathon last April. I was dealing with extreme fatigue and exhaustion (which I now know was probably caused by undiagnosed hypothyroidism).

At one point over the spring/summer, I cut out exercise altogether because I was so exhausted. No amount of guac was going to get me to go for a run. Eventually I started doing a little yoga and some strength exercises here and there, but I struggled to be consistent with it.

Then I got pregnant (which is how I also found out about my hypothyroidism). That slowed me down even more. I think I’ve run a total of 3 times since I got pregnant. I did eventually start walking on a fairly regular basis. And doing some prenatal yoga (not consistently).

Our baby boy is due April 30 and is healthy and active, even if I’m not being as active as I’d like to be.

Which brings me to today. I’ve been working home all week due to the pandemic (and will be staying put for the next couple weeks at least).

Since I’m working from home, I have a little more time to do things like write a blog post. I also have more time to worry and feel anxious about everything. Being pregnant makes a lot of that worse, I think.

Yes, I’d be worried even if I wasn’t pregnant, but it’s much more than whether we’ll get our delivery of dog food on time or whether my job will survive a recession (my job is stable currently, but who knows where the economy will take us over the next several months).

But now I have to worry about whether we’ll be able to provide for our baby. Will we have enough diapers for when he comes home? (We were gifted a couple boxes, but I’m worried it’s not enough. I also feel bad about buying more since we don’t need them yet and others need them now.)

I’m worried about what might happen if I get sick. Yes, I’m young and healthy, but I do have asthma, which does put me at a slightly higher risk. And there are so many unknowns about if or how this disease affects unborn/newborn babies.

I’m also feeling angry and disappointed because I feel like this pandemic is stealing some of the joy I should have with this experience (although this pregnancy has been far from enjoyable—but that’s a whole other post). This will be my parents’ first grandchild, my grandma’s first great grandchild.

If things continue the way they’ve been, it’s possible they won’t get to see him in the hospital or even hold him for who knows how long.

Not to mention my husband and I will be completely on our own when we bring him home. No one to come hold the baby so we can get some sleep or any in-person help/support from anyone.

Of course I know my family and friends will be there for me over the phone/FaceTime/whatever, but as a new mom, it’s scary to think I won’t have the kind of support some of my other friends have had.

I know we’ll get through this and things will work out and our baby will be healthy and loved and that’s all that really matters. But it’s hard right now. It’s hard to not worry or feel scared or angry or anxious or depressed.

Also, because my energy/mental capacity is limited and I also have work to do, I’m not wasting my time trying to find the perfect pictures for my blog posts. This (and any others I might post in the near future) will be sans pictures because searching for/sizing pictures takes a lot of energy, and I don’t have a lot to spare right now. Hope you enjoy these posts anyway.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

My Biggest Regret as a Runner

As I sit here contemplating whether or not to end my run streak (more on that in a later post), knowing it’s not helping me recover properly and I’m on the cusp of injury, I have other things on my mind.

Whether I stuck it out or gave it up, it wouldn’t come close to my biggest regret as a runner. My biggest regret isn’t my failure to rest and recover properly (although it’s a problem). And it certainly isn’t a race I missed out on or a PR I didn’t achieve.

No. My biggest regret as a runner took place long before I even considered myself a “runner.” (Let’s be clear, though—if you run in any capacity, you are a runner.)

What I regret most is laughing as the trash guy I was dating at the time made fun of a woman while she was running.

He was what I considered a “real runner.” He ran track and/or cross country (I don’t remember which) in high school. He and his mom were training for the upcoming Chicago Marathon (I didn’t even know what a marathon was or understand why someone would want to run one).

I was in college and running regularly, usually as a way to blow off steam, but also in an attempt to stay slim, because, let’s face it, I used to eat a lot of junk and drink a lot of beer.

I didn’t consider myself a “real runner.” I never ran more than a couple miles. I had run a 5k (or was planning to—I can’t remember), but I wasn’t fast, and I hadn’t been an athlete of any kind in high school like so many other people. Somehow I thought all these things disqualified me from calling myself a “runner.”

One hot summer day in 2009, I was driving us to one of the public pools in my hometown. On our way, we passed a woman (she could have been my age, younger, older—I have no idea) running down the street.

He commented something along the lines of “She must be really out of shape—look at how hard she’s pumping her arms. Haha.” As a “non-runner” who desperately wanted to be seen as one by a “real runner,” I laughed and agreed.

My hometown is hilly. You can’t get too far in any one direction without going up or down a hill. In fact, the race I ran last October had a Snapchat filter that said, “I conquered the hills of Old Town.” So yeah, it’s not flat.

So pumping her arms probably had less to do with what kind of shape she was in and more to do with running uphill. And it probably wasn’t the first hill of her run.

Why did I make fun of a woman who was out there running, giving it—and those hills—her all? If I had to guess, I’d say I laughed along because I was insecure.

There are so many things I could have—should have—said in response to his comment. Maybe she was new to running. Or maybe she was working really hard because she’s training for a race. Maybe she’s not used to running on hills like that.

I wish I would have stood up for her and told the guy he was a jerk for laughing at her. It would have meant standing up for myself, too.

Fortunately, our “relationship” ended a few short weeks later, but it took me a long, long time to call myself a runner.

I’ve never forgotten that moment and how I laughed at someone who was out there giving it her all.

Now when I see someone running, I applaud them (silently) for getting out there and running and working hard. It’s not easy to get out there knowing someone driving by might criticize you, or worse, actually say something rude to you.

I hate that I was ever that person because I know how hard it is. And I never want to be anything but supportive of people who are trying to lose weight or hit a new PR or whatever other goal they may have.

My biggest regret was also a great lesson, and I believe it’s made me a better runner and a better person.

You don’t need anyone else to call you a runner to be a runner. If you run, you’re a runner. That’s all the validation you—and I—need.

 

Run Streak 2019

I wanted to be better about posting on here more regularly this year, but I haven’t been great about that so far. Life has been a little hectic lately, and oh yeah, I’ve been RUNNING!

2019 Run Streak: Day 60

You read that right. After MONTHS of being sick or injured and being unable to run more than a mile or two (if I’m lucky) since my 10k, I’ve finally got a streak going. Not only that, but I’m also getting some distance PRs!

Today marks day 60 of my 2019 Run Streak! Two whole months of running at least a mile (or more) a day. Things got off to a rough (and slow) start. I was still getting over being sick and, thanks to those illnesses and the cold weather, my asthma was the worst it’s been in a couple years.

I’m slowly seeing improvements though. I’m not doubled over trying to breathe in the middle of a run (mostly thanks to my expensive inhaler, but partly just to exercising regularly again). My pace is starting to get better, too.

At the beginning of 2019, I was running 13-minute+ miles. Now my average pace is in the 12-minute range. Oh, and I recently had a distance PR. I ran my longest run last Sunday: 9 miles in the cold and 25-mile-per-hour winds. A couple weeks before that, when the weather was cold and icy, I had another PR: Longest treadmill run–7 whole miles on the treadmill!

I’ve been frustrated at times with the slow progress, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of muscle soreness lately. In spite of that, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, especially through all the bad weather.

New Year, New Me, New Watch

I treated myself to a new Garmin watch this month. I previously had an old Garmin Forerunner, which took forever to connect to GPS and had limited functionality. I tried out an Apple Watch for a few weeks, but its limited functionality and inaccuracy was frustrating.

Running with my Garmin Vivoactive 3After a lot of research, I knew I wanted to get the Garmin Vivoactive 3, and, as luck would have it, they had a sale around Valentine’s Day. So I took advantage of it and used my Christmas money to buy it.

I’m so happy with my purchase. It connects so much faster than my old Forerunner and it has more functionality, like the ability to set intervals and create workouts. Plus, it’s beautiful! I had someone from work ask me if it was a Kate Spade watch the other day!

Hydrating with Nuun

Nuun Hydration PromoAs a 2019 Team Nuun Ambassador, I’ve been hydrating almost daily with Nuun. Being an ambassador has its perks, like getting a discount on all my favorite flavors! Now through March 6, you can enjoy some of those perks, too!

Head to nuunlife.com and use the code hydratefriends25 to get 25% off your order! If you aren’t sure what to try, I recommend Nuun Sport Lemon-Lime or Strawberry Lemonade. Those two are my favorites. I also love the Cherry Limeade and Lime flavors with caffeine and the Blueberry Tangerine Immunity if you need a boost as flu season drags on and on.

Running for Guac & Girls on the Run

It feels good to be running every day again. It makes me happier and stronger. And now that I’m starting to add miles onto my long runs, I’m getting more and more excited (and a little nervous) for my half marathon in April.

Speaking of my half marathon, I’m running the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon as a Girls on the Run SoleMate. Throughout my training, I’m raising money for Girls on the Run St. Louis.

Girls on the Run St. LouisGirls on the Run is an empowerment program for girls in grades 3 through 8. The program gives them skills and experiences to navigate their world with confidence and joy.

Through engaging lessons and movement activities, the curriculum helps each girl understand and celebrate herself, value healthy relationships and realize her power to impact the world. At the end of the program, girls complete a celebratory 5k that underscores these lessons with a lifelong memory of accomplishment.

My goal is to raise $1200 for this incredible organization before my half marathon on April 7. If you’d like to make a donation to help me reach my goal and to empower young girls, you can do so here: https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Amanda-Brown-Girls-on-the-Run-St-Louis-SoleMates-2018-19-48294

I appreciate any financial support you can give–even just $5 can make a difference in a young girl’s life!

 

 

 

30 Before 30 Progress

How my 30 before 30 list is going.

It’s a new year and I made some progress on my 30 before 30 list! Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far, what I’m working on currently, and what I still need to do:

  1. Run a 10k: DONE!
  2. Run a half marathon: Starting training SOON!
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress–I’ve read 5 books so far and I’m in the middle of my 6th. Only 24 more to go!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: This was in progress, but I slacked off quite a bit at the end of last year. Need to get back to it.
  9. Begin yoga teacher training: Hoping to start this soon!
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published: DONE! (Hoping to get some more bylines in 2019, though!)
  21. Travel to a new city: DONE! We flew to Tampa in December to see Anberlin, drink lots of coffee and beer, and smoke cigars–it was an incredible weekend!
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery: Not yet, but hoping to do a 5k there in March.
  23. Start writing my memoir: Started and stopped. Need to pick it back up.
  24. Write poetry again: YES! I finished 2018 strong by doing a “poetry prompt advent calendar.”
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings: Happening soon.
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home: Still (and probably always will be) a work in progress.

Lots more to do and see, but I’m kind of amazed by what I’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

2019: The Year of Total Domination

My word of the year, goals for 2019, and more.

D O M I N A T E

That’s my word, my goal, for 2019. My word/theme for 2018 was flourish, and I think I did, both personally and professionally. I did fall short in a few areas, though.

So this year, the plan is to just dominate everything. My career, my goal of running a half marathon, my plans to start yoga teacher training.

I’m coming into 2019 at full speed (I’m finally feeling better, after all). I’m going to do my best to crush it and be the best version of myself.

That means reading more, but allowing myself to set aside books that aren’t keeping my interest.

That means writing more–blog posts, poetry, journaling, and maybe even working on my memoir.

That means taking care of my body by moving it every day. I’m hoping to start and maintain a new run streak, but I also want to do a lot more yoga this year.

Taking care of my body also means eating foods that make me feel good. Sometimes that might be a treat like pizza or ice cream, but mostly, it will be foods I know my body thrives on, like protein and vegetables and gluten-free grains.

(I’m not doing the January Whole30 this year, but I do plan to use what I’ve learned in the past to make my Food Freedom really work for me this year.)

I want to go on more adventures, take more risks. I turn 30 in July and I want to enjoy every second of the last 7 months of my 20s and the first 5 months of my 30s (and beyond, of course).

Of course, I’ve got my 30 Before 30 List to help keep me on track (which I’ll post an update on soon). I also decided to make the switch back to a Passion Planner for 2019.

I used a Passion Planner the year we got married and it was perfect for helping me keep track of all the wedding to-do’s, workouts, meal plans, and more.

If it can help keep me sane during wedding planning, I think it’s the perfect companion to keep me on track to achieve all my goals for this year.

I’m setting my sights high this year. Despite how awful 2018 was at times (especially the last 2 months I spent sick), I’m feeling so energized and ready to take on 2019.

As my dear friend, Angi, said, “Fucking dominate in your career so hard they offer you the world to hire you and you generally win at life.” Let’s do this, 2019.