Weekend Ramblings

1. A few weeks ago, I went to my awesome friend Jen’s wedding. I took all sorts of pictures, and planned on doing a full blog post about it. That clearly never happened, but I wanted to at least share a little bit of it with you guys. It was so fun. It was the first wedding I’ve been to in my adult life where I didn’t have responsibilities like “bridesmaid” or “bride”. I just got to hang out with some of my favorite NYC guys, and rap Gangsta’s Paradise per my wedding tradition. It’s cute, I promise. I can do it at your wedding for no charge.

JenWedding1

 

JenWedding2

 

2. After Jen’s wedding, we took a 24 hour trip to DC which was just not long enough. I haven’t been there since I was in elementary school, and there was so much I wanted to explore! I did get to see the White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Holocaust Museum (best part–so beautiful and moving). I also ate, like, the best dinner of my life at Founding Farmers. If you’re ever in DC, GO THERE! You’re welcome.

DC

 

3. Speaking of elementary school (I mean, I did for a hot second), did I mention how at PF Chang’s I ran into my elementary school music teacher? And she remembered me. I have “one of those faces”, or that’s what people tell me. I’ve looked exactly the same for my entire life. The awkward part? I never remember anyone. Even if I know you, if I’m not expecting to see you, it will take me a good 5 minutes to register who you are. I know a lot of people, so this is often embarrassing. I also have the hardest time learning names (because I have, oh, a million students), and this leads to a constant feeling of worst-teacher-ever. It’s a good thing I’m funny.

4. I’m pretty sure my birthday party is tonight. This week, Steve created an event on facebook titles “Ariana’s Birthday” which I was not invited to. Except he didn’t make it a secret event, and it showed up on my news feed, so obviously I clicked on it. The Stacey texted me to let me know she was attending. I hope they still shout surprise when I get there, and I hope that Nicole makes the dessert. ;)

5. I really really really love birthdays. I’m sure this is a big surprise. But I feel a little weird about this birthday. Everyone just gave up a weekend to celebrate me running a marathon. I feel like I should give them a break. I mean, not that I will turn down positive attention, because we all know I love things to revolve around me, but I’m starting to feel like a jerk, and maybe I should spread some of the love around. Like, for my birthday, maybe I should have thrown a party for me friends to tell them how awesome they are! I guess it’s a little late for that. It’s a nice idea in theory, though.

6. My other favorite thing about February is that the Academy Awards are coming!!! I still need to see Argo and The Sessions, but then my list will be pretty complete. At least for the movies I actually care to see which does not include Django Unchained. I’m sorry I just have no interest. Lincoln is still my favorite for the year, but I’m also a huge fan of Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. There are some fantastic performances in Flight and The Impossible. And I think Pitch Perfect was totally robbed of a best picture nom. I mean, don’t you  feel like it was the best movie of 2012???

7. I’ve updated my blogroll. Check out some awesome blogs for your reading enjoyment. The list is a little ridiculous, but the sad truth is it’s less than half of my reader. These are the ones I really love, and I think you will too.

Reasons To Be Grateful

As my first marathon draws closer (ummm, somehow it became marathon week–YIKES!!), I am finding myself even more emotional than usual. If you know me, you know it’s hard to get more emotional than my natural everyday state, but I promise you it has happened. Yesterday, I spent 15 minutes crying in the car because I felt so proud of what I’ve done. Not just the marathon, but every big goal I’ve set out to conquer, I feel like I have achieved. Not many people can say that, and I have a lot to be proud of.

With this pride comes so much gratitude. I’ve not achieved these things on my own, and beyond that, this experience and trip to New York City gives me so many reasons to be grateful. I’m totally overwhelmed by all of it, but I wanted to try to put some of it into words, so that when all I can think about is how badly my legs hurt, I will have a mental picture of why I’m lucky, why I should suck it up and run faster. ;)

  • I’m grateful I can run. Not everyone can. I see people every day who are physically less fortunate than me, and it breaks my heart that not everyone can experience the same joy, release, and freedom that I find in running. I could have a disability, or worse, I could not care enough about myself to make the choice to try. I’m grateful for the ability to run: mentally and physically.
  • I’m grateful for Susan LokenWhen I tell people about Susan, they either know exactly who she is, or are quickly impressed when I spew off her list of accomplishments that I’ve memorized through all my internet stalking. She has given me everything: my plan, tough love, an ear to listen, and most importantly, the belief that I can do this. The other day she told me that I’ve come a long way and shown a lot of improvement. She probably doesn’t know how much that meant to me, or how much I needed to hear it, but it made my month. I couldn’t have done this without her.
  • I’m grateful for my team. I’ve made so many great friendships through this process, and they have shown me tremendous support, love, and encouragement. There really is nothing like training with a team. I would highly suggest it for anyone training for their first marathon. I LOVE these guys!
  • I’m grateful for my parents. They are flying to New York to see me cross the finish line. My dad can’t afford it, but he insists on going to be there for me. My mom hates to fly, but her ticket is booked. Talk about support–flying across the country to watch your kid run a marathon. Yes, I’m still a kid. They are the best.
  • I’m grateful for my friends who are coming out to support me. Some of them live in New York, some of them live here, some of them live in the surrounding areas, but many of them are making special arrangements to be there for to share this moment with me. I will probably have my first marathon lined with some of my very favorites cheering my name. I don’t know what they heck I’ve done to deserve that, but I’ll take it!
  • I’m especially grateful I get to spend time with this friend. Mac is one of my best friends in the entire world. He lives across the country, and I see him more often than some of my friends that live in Arizona. Our friendship was just kind of meant to be, and so we make it work, and find ways to see each other. He is a life-long friend, and has been an undying source of support through this whole process. I cannot freaking wait to celebrate with him!!!
  • I’m grateful for the world’s most supportive husband. The other day we had an argument, and then “surprised” each other with coffee (at the same time), then he showed me he loved me by turning on every single light in the entire house because we always playfully bicker about the lights (I turn on all the lights, never turn them off, then he turns them all off). He is perfect, and I absolutely could not have done this without him.
  • I’m grateful for YOU PEOPLE. With the support of many of you, I have almost reached my goal of raising $5,000. So many people showed incredible generosity, and I am beyond grateful. I know those donations will be put to good use, and I cannot wait until I can attend an event to see kids reaping the benefits of our efforts!
  • I’m just grateful to be. To be alive. To be healthy. To be where I am today. I am beyond lucky. I wish everyone out there could feel a little bit of what it’s like to feel like you have it all. Just for a second. It feels amazing.
  • Oh, and I’m grateful for MARATHON TOES!!! Had to include that ;)
So tell me, what are you grateful for?

Spread Thin

I did not wake up in a good mood today. I don’t think it’s because I had a bad race yesterday. I tried to change it. I went on a bike ride with Nicole. I made a game plan for the day. I knew I was going to be tired, and I knew I didn’t feel like the best version of myself, but I also knew I had to push through it. Then I checked my email, got upset over something that shouldn’t have upset me, went to make breakfast, and it was like everything built up and hit me all at once.

The truth is, I haven’t felt like myself since I got back to Phoenix. I came home from Hawaii, and jumped into work the next day. I know that I had a week vacation that I spent in Hawaii, and I should have come back feeling all relaxed and ready to go, but I didn’t. I came back after 2 months away, and felt totally unprepared for my life–starting work, raising money, choosing material, and even spending time with friends and family. I feel like I jumped right back into a big puddle of expectations, and expected myself to stay afloat, but I just keep sinking. That was dramatic. I’m not drowning, but I’m just not myself.

Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, my immediate response is to beat myself up for not being better at dealing with it. I have friends that pile way more onto their plate (seemingly) than I do, and they still manage to be totally awesome, and pick me up when I feel down (Molly and Emily, I’m looking at you). I beat myself up for not being more like them, which is totally counterproductive and silly. Why would I want to be like someone else (no matter how awesome they are) when I can be like me? Silly.

Somehow, however, I managed to take a step back and look at what I’m doing–the big picture. In the last year, I have consistently stacked shows on with overlaps and no breaks. This is AWESOME! I LOVE that I’m getting work and I LOVE my job. So so so much. I have been so thrilled and honored to have opportunities, that if I’m offered a choreography or directing opportunity, I snatch it up without hesitation. It’s so good to have work in my field. The thing is, I shouldn’t have taken on 2 shows (1 that I’m directing and choreographing) at the same time as my marathon. I’m sure some people can do this, but some people also don’t work 6 other jobs while trying to raise $5000. I know I can do all of these things, but I don’t know that I should. Just like I tacked on an out of town race this last weekend because I wanted so badly to PR that it didn’t matter that I’d only been home for 2 weeks and was behind on everything. I always end up thinking I’m superwoman and can do everything, and then I spread myself too thin, and end up feeling like I’m failing at everything.

I don’t mean this post to sound whiney, or debbie downer. I know things will get better, and I know that I’m still learning a lot about balance. For the first time in my life, I have something that I’m passionate about beyond theatre, and the reality is it’s a challenge to balance cooking and running into this mix of theatre jobs that I have. I keep saying I want to focus on just working one or two places so I can give more of myself and my focus, but then I keep saying yes to every offer I get, all while I sign up for extra races because “I really want to, and I know I can make it work!” News flash self: You can do anything, but not everything. I’ve heard that quote before, and it always resonated with me. An over achiever working in a competitive field, with a running obsession filled with probably way too much self competition and comparison to others.

I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m excited to learn it. I’m excited to find the day where I have achieved balance, and not because a 9-5 schedule gave it to me, but because I have created it for myself. I can’t wait for the day where I value my own worth so much that I can turn things down, and know more opportunities will come; when I can feel purposeful without an overflowing schedule filled with people to please. I know it will happen, and I know I am getting closer. I just need to be patient, breathe, and find a way back to that best version of me that I’ve been missing lately.

 

Refocusing

I have a confession. Normally, when I have a confession, I would then say something funny like “This summer I had a contest with my 2 awesome co-workers to see who could poop the most every day.” That’s true. Did happen. Was announced to all staff and students. We’re awesome like that. However, this may be slightly less gross for those of you who hate to talk about poop.

By the time I arrived back in Phoenix on Monday morning, I was feeling less than great about how my body looked, and physically I just felt off from not eating well. You see, I started the summer with the best of intentions. I was as careful as possible about what went into my body, tried to choose foods to fuel my training, as well as sustain me dancing for 6-7 hours a day. It was tough. The food was less than stellar, with choices for dinner sometimes being pizza, fried chicken, or the salad bar for the 6th night in a row. I bought lots of snacks to try to tide me over, which quickly transitioned into too much food too often, and way too many times thinking “Well, I ran this morning, and then danced ALL DAY. I can eat 2 desserts.” Also, there was a lot of justifying the mass quantity of vegan desserts I consumed as “healthy”. Two of my friends I spent the most time with are vegan, and we were so close to all sorts of vegan bakeries. The problem is, substituting earth balance or vegetable oil for butter and using refined carbs does not equal healthy. I know that. I get it. Mostly, I just wanted dessert.

All this being said, I was not shocked to get home, step on the scale (yeah….no scale = “I probably weigh the same. I’m dancing ALL THE TIME”), and discover that I had definitely gained weight. Not an obscene amount. Nothing any of you would probably notice. Roughly 5-6 lbs from where I generally maintain. So, no, 5-6 lbs is not a huge deal, but 2 more months of those habits, and an other 5-6 would be more lik 11-12, and you see where that leads. In no time at all, I could easily be right back where I started in 2008.

No.Thank.You.

Again, it’s not the end of the world, but I definitely feel motivated to make a change, and refocus. The truth is, if weight were merely determined by exercise, I would have a SMOKIN’ body by now. I love working out, and being active. I do it to be healthy, yes, but also because I genuinely enjoy all those cool endorphins. It’s like our bodies own cooler version of mood altering drugs. Thanks for that body! Food, on the other hand; food is tricky. I do genuinely enjoy eating good, healthy, nutritious meals that fuel my body. I really like healthy foods, and I don’t often crave things like cheeseburgers and french fries. However, part of the problem is that I do REALLY like food. I have a tough time with portion control (always have), and I also REALLY love dessert. Those of you that want to snack on potato chips: I don’t understand you. I want to snack on fro yo. Always and forever.

I’m trying to break the mentality of “I worked out this much, so I can eat this much”. It doesn’t really work like that. In fact, I feel like the more active I am, the MORE careful I need to be about my food choices. That may seem like an oxymoron, but the truth is when I significantly increase my activity, I am hungrier, and I do need to eat more, but that means more opportunities to choose less than awesome types of food, and overeat.

I’ve read a lot of blogs that said they gained weight training for their first marathon. I assured myself that wouldn’t be me, but when I started focusing more on my training, I made the decision to stop focusing on weight loss, even though the truth is, that is still the eventual goal for me. I let myself gradually slide back into eating habits that I haven’t seen in quite a while. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate moderately healthy, but not to the best I am capable of, and it shows. On the scale. In the way my body feels. It’s not “water weight”.

So, I’m refocusing. I went to TJ’s excited (although when am I not excited about grocery shopping?), and stocked up on tons of produce, and spent entirely too much time stalking ingredient lists. Steve was thrilled to sit there watching me label read for hours after our red eye, let me tell you. He’s a lucky man. It was nice for me though. I used to only look at calories, and I am actually trying to do just the opposite now. Sure, that cookie may have the same amount (or even less) of calories as a banana with almond butter, but it has no nutritional value, and an ingredient list a mile long. I promised myself I would give up the calorie counting, and other than checking it out just to be aware, I have. I check in to see if one thing may have significantly less than the alternative, but that’s it. This time, I looked at the ingredients, and the protein, fiber, and added sugars. I have a whole fridge full of awesomeness, and just yesterday I noticed a big change in the way my body felt, and my energy level.

It’s easy to forget how great healthy eating feels. Does that sound cliche enough? But, seriously, it does. It feels awesome, and I feel better about myself already, and that’s the part of this that really counts. And I have no doubt that I will fairly quickly get back to my normal weight, but until then, here are some pictures of me looking cute this summer to remind myself that I don’t look like I gained 50 lbs, even if, at moments, I kina feel that way.

Oh, nope. That’s definitely a demonstrative Poop Contest picture. Not a cute picture at all, actually. You’re so welcome friends. Now we’re out there for THE WORLD to see. Or my 6 readers. Either way.

Okay, there we are actually looking cute. This is Tali and Camille. They ran with me all summer, and then we did this pose. I love them, and this picture is my fav.

Okay, I feel better now. Something about those two (and the Poop Contest) never fails to lift my spirits. Onward.

CGST 2012 Weeks 2 + 3

Wow, it’s been a crazy, busy, awesome, fulfilling two weeks. Here’s a look in mostly photos:

Pam’s Kitchen. Super yummy Caribbean food in Seattle.

Jerk chicken sandwich from Pam’s Kitchen. Ahhhhhhmazing.

I visited Heather and Kara, and got not a single picture with Kara. Lame. We did go to Pike Place together though!

Original Starbucks!

Ridiculously amazing mushroom pizza from The Pine Box in Seattle.

Go here.

BFFFF!!!!!

Weekend off ladies! Tasha, Tali, me & Camille

Chocolate potato donuts. What??? @ Tasty & Son’s in Portland.

I baked!! These are so yummy–will definitely have to make them again when I’m home, and have the whole photography set up. Lemon, blueberry, chocolate covered ginger cookies. And vegan.

Something about me looking like a child, and Terra being old? Even though I’m 4 years older than her….

The camera game. My favorite past time.

Tali and I are so good at it. We win.

I don’t even know…

More time with my fav ladies.

I love her so much I’M GOING TO EAT HER!!!

2 weeks to go!