Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I am only going to post updates of my runs because that is the one area where I am most challenged. Plus, I think even I'd get bored if I posted about EVERY workout. So look for Rupdates on Tuesdays and one other time during the week.

I will mention this morning's swim...because it was FUN. I spent way more time than necessary coming up with a training session and we did a technique focused swim this morning. Some of the drills were new so felt very awkward, but it takes 4 weeks for practice to become form so I am not worried. After the drills I swam 250 meters, the length of the Ramblin Rose. The last 2 laps I swam as fast as I could. I was horribly out of breath when I finished, but it was great.

After I caught my breath I noticed the pool was surprisingly empty. I moved into another lane in the deep end to try to teach myself to flip over at the end of the lane. This is one skill that I really feel like I need before I will feel "professional". I have never been able to do a forward flip under water without holding my nose. This morning, I figured the worst thing that would happen was water in my nose, which happens so frequently now it isn't that big of a deal. So I tried and rolled with no water in my nose! I was so excited. I called my mom and she wanted to see too. So I did it again! Now I am just doing a forward somersault in the water, but still - it's an achievement for me and one step closer to the flip.

I left the pool giddy. It was a great swim. I challenged my self, learned I could do something new and walked away happy. Sure I also swallowed a ton of water, coughing so much I alarmed the lifeguard, barely swam 4 laps using a buoy that made me look like I couldn't even float and swam so crookedly I punched a strange man in the face. But I did a somersault underwater without holding my nose. Five times! It's all about attitude right? So I am choosing to laugh at all that other stuff and celebrate my achievement. Maybe next time I see some 7 year olds we can compare form!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running Update aka Rupdate One

I read a great list of tips to keep motivated while running and the first one was to create a blog where you list your running times and then give it out to people so you feel pressure to run, since you know people will be looking for it. So for all my 4 readers, here are my details so you know when to call me on my laziness. I work out 6 days a week. Right now my schedule is Swim/Walk on Monday, Run and weight class Tuesday, Long Swim Wednesday, Pilates and weight class on Thursday, Kickboxing or walking on Friday, Zoomba and Walking on Saturday.

Yesterday I scaled back my training program and made it the same as my mom's. If I could figure out how to include a word document on here, I would attach it so you could see it. I did our first program the week after the tri and I was still on a tri-high so the plan was very aggressive. I had one schedule for my mom and then one for me but my plan didn't include the very basic fact that I hate running. This new schedule is better and slowly increases the amount of running while decreasing walking time. The end goal is the same - running 30 minutes straight (about 3 miles for me) on Christmas morning. Since we are both non-runners, I am not concentrating on pace at all at this point, just building cardiovascular endurance and getting my body used to the idea that I am running now.

This morning was my first running workout on the new schedule: run for 3 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, repeat. We use the treadmill which is not perfect since there is a 30 minute time limit, but it allows my mom and I to chat while running completely different paces. I am a slow runner, so my running is at 4.5 or 4.7 on the treadmill and walking is at 4.0. I also do all of this on an incline of 1. I am quite pleased to report several things:
I did not puke. (Mom, you were right about the heart rate)
I ran farther than I ever have.
I was always happy for a walk break; I was never dying for one.
There is a 30 min limit at the Y, otherwise I could have gone longer.
I did this without an ipod (still had TV).
My mom ran the entire time for every run break.
My body felt and feels pretty good.
Overall I am pretty excited about the potential. I still don't like running, but am excited to see my growth in this area. After this morning's run, I feel like doing a half marathon is pretty attainable and I know it will also improve my running time in my next tri. I also think my body will be happy that I finally picked up on the subtle clues it was sending and will be more aware of my heart rate and hopefully won't puke as much. (Yes Mom, you were right.) Realizing that I want my first half marathon to mean something and help a charity alleviated the pressure to be prepared in a brutally short (and ultimately unrealistic) amount of time. I read a great quote the other day: "Everything changed the day I understood that if I was to become a runner, I would have to run with the body I had*." This body is still not sure about running. But I am going to convince it, the slow way, the right way.
"Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach."*
I love this quote from famed runner and cardiologist Dr. George Sheehan. I have never felt a burst of energy from working out, but I have felt positive mental health changes. Working out has always kept me sane, but now it also makes me happy, giddy almost. I am sure Joe is both glad and annoyed to have me this way. We are laughing more, being silly, poking fun and tickling, laughing until tears come from our eyes. I am excited to improve, to plan my run and pick my big race. I still hate running and am hoping that will change. But until then, the effects of running are enough for me.
"Play is where life lives.**"
Let's play.

Rupdate Summary:
Date 10/27/09
Time: 30 minutes
2 minutes walking/3 minutes running
Incline 1.0
Total Run: 12 minutes at 4.5
Total Walk: 8 minutes at 4.0
Total Mileage: 2.23 miles
Puke: No
Breakfast: 2 pieces of PB toast, an hour before the run

*John Bingham, The Courage to Start
** Dr. George Sheehan

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finding a Way Through the Suck

I am feeling inspired this morning; inspired to make a difference, to DO something, to feel proud and be a part of something larger than me.

A friend of a friend is fighting cancer. He is 27 and after a few surgeries, decided to start chemo in an effort to knock it all out of his system. He has a blog detailing each day. This is going to sound like a ridiculous statement, but I am surprised at how rough chemo is. I know the basics- it's poison. I get that this would be a rough process, but I guess I am used to the movie version of chemo.

Cue music montage...
Scene 1 -hospital room with cheery nurse, tired patient with head of hair.
Scene 2 -patient brushing hair, strand falling out, family shaving heads
Scene 3 -patient, bandanna on head, family gathered around holding hands.
Scene 4 -patient wearily getting out of bed, going home, regaining strength.

I'm sure you can see it in your head too and while you know that it is bad, you kinda block out the actual details. So reading Stephen's blog has made it more real, more visceral, my reaction more guttural. I don't even really know him. We have mutual friends and I have seen him around at pool parties or at the bar. Besides "hey grab me a beer too please" I don't think I have really spoken to him. And yet I am having a hard time getting him off my mind.

Maybe it is his age that makes it more real for me. Maybe it is his openness about the process; reading his blog has made our online-only relationship intimate. Maybe it is the mentions of his girlfriend which makes me think of how she is feeling, coping, helping; how this is changing their relationship and hoping it is making them stronger. How would I help Joe through that? How would he help me? Would we be OK? (Are people only affected by tragedy if they can see themselves in that situation?)

Whatever the reason, I feel irrationally connected to him and this fight. I want to help and yet I feel helpless. And while this morning it is centered around this one person, this sense of wanting to do something meaningful has been growing lately. I started feeling it while training for the triathlon. Helping my mom was fun for me and at the Tri It For Life celebration dinner, I knew I would become a mentor for the 2010 season. The group takes time off in October so I think I am just getting itchy and starting to look at other places. I have been following the actor Ed Norton as he runs a marathon this weekend to raise money for the Maasai people and this morning looked into Team in Training. The more I think about my plans to run in a half marathon, the more I think that that goal needs to be closely tied into a charity. Instead of finding a cute theme run, I am going to find a run that makes a difference for a charity I care about. I don't know what or when, but will let you know as soon as I do.

It feels silly to say I have decided to make a difference so I am going to run a half marathon and maybe a marathon. Whoop dee do. That isn't going to make Stephen or his girlfriend Julie feel better. It isn't going to help the countless thousands of other people who in an instant had their life changed by a cancer diagnosis. It's going to make ME feel better; quite the selfish way to give of myself. I just have to hope that I am only seeing my tiny part. Isn't there a saying about a drop of water making rings that travel over the lake? If you know what I am talking about, please let me know. I do remember a Buddha quote: Even a water pot is filled by the falling of water-drops. So this will be my drop for now and who knows what will come of it. What I do know is that I need to do something because my soul is crying out.

Until I find the event for me, I will keep reading Stephen's blog, keep thinking of ways that I can help him, even if that is just sending healing thoughts out there. I am inspired to help, inspired to inspire and who knows: This might just be the beginning.

Quoted in Stephen's recent blog: "Only after disaster can we be resurrected." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Monday, October 19, 2009

Working Away My Wanderlust

I need to do some work. But I don't want to.

Don't get me wrong; I am thankful to have a job and know that I have it pretty good. I work in a fantastic field, with young, creative and spunky people. I have a great deal of flexibility when I need it and amazing perks. I have been here for 13 years and while there are ups and downs, I really do love where I work and can't imagine going anywhere else.

That being said, I also have a huge case of wanderlust. I think I have always had this particular affliction but it was fostered by my parents. We moved around, not so often that it was annoying, but just enough for me to understand that new places helped me grow as a person. We took vacations and spending 8 hours in a car was never a big deal as a child. Once we got older we spent weekends at the beach and were constantly thinking about "the next time." When I was 12 I was allowed to fly by myself and by 16 was completely comfortable driving or flying alone. At 18 my best friend and I spent a month traveling England and Scotland and I had a fantastic time seeing such history and differences in culture. At 19 I took off in the middle of the night for a 8 hour road trip alone and did another solo 18 hour road trip a few years ago. I have tag team driven through the night with Cara, alternating sleeping and driving. I have slept for a few hours alongside the truckers at a rest stop off the interstate. I love road trips, flying, train trips, boat trips, sailing, you name it. I love the mountains and I love the ocean and I ESPECIALLY love mountains in the oceans.

Lucky for me I met and fell in love with someone who also enjoys traveling. Joe comes from a family of non-travelers, his mother has never flown on an airplane, but somehow he has the bug too. We have chosen not to have children, for a variety of reasons, but one being our ability to travel. Ideally I'd like to go on two major vacations a year and for the most part, we have done that so life is good. But as I was driving to work today I pulled up next to someone with Idaho license plates and a trunk full of luggage. I instantly felt the pull.

It has been 4 months since my last trip. Joe, Shelia, our friend Adrienne and I went to Key West for a week over July 4th. We had a fantastically exhausting time. We didn't really DO much - a lot of drinking and walking, but somehow the perfect week flew by too quickly. We had an amazing day of sailing and plenty of days of laughter followed by more laughter. It wasn't my first time in Key West; I had surprised Joe this year for his birthday, but it was my first time in Key West LIKE THAT and it was a blast. As far as future plans we are headed down to Florida to visit Mike over Christmas and then we are going to Cancun and spoiling ourselves by staying here to celebrate Valentine's Day. We are planning on going to Wilmington to compete in another triathlon; it will be Joe's first and a longer distance for me. I am also going on a week long girl's cruise with Margaret. We had such a good time for my uncle's wedding last year we decided to do a 4 day cruise in lieu of our annual mountain weekend in February. Well, 4 days became 7 days and now we are headed to St. Thomas, Bahamas and St. Maartin on a brand new cruise ship. It seems like that should be enough to keep my wanderlust at bay. This morning, it's not.

Last year my friend from work Cindi and her now fiance Jason, quit their jobs, packed up all their belongings and traveled around the world for 18 months. They didn't have an agenda, just a list of places they wanted to see. They are big divers so the first 2 months were in Central America getting their dive master certifications and from there visited Vietnam, South Africa, India and many other beautiful places around the world that I would love to see. They kept a blog and I followed their trip with amazement and a large dose of jealousy. This wasn't the first time Cindi quit everything and traveled...she did it in college as well. I often think about doing that but right now see too many responsibilities. I do wish I had met someone like Cindi while I was in college - someone to suggest that it was even possible - becuase I really think that Joe and I might have done that before we got bogged down with the house, the bird and the bills (along with a snobby standard of resort living).

For now I will have to be happy that I am still able to travel at all. Things have been tight in the Burro-Mann household, mostly due to us redoing the floors and me getting braces. But luckily we still have our vacation fund. I am traveling in December, February, March, April and June and yet I still feel a longing and I think it is my own fault.

I set running a half marathon as my next challenge goal. I started looking for cool race themes because I really wanted my first half marathon to be fun and different and NOT NASCAR themed. I found the perfect one - the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando. It was in March, Princess themed, and the best part is that you run through the parks - guaranteed mental stimulus to think the pain away! I came up with the perfect travel plan and ran it by my mom and Joe. The idea was completely flawless....if only we were millionaires. Unfortunately, we just can't afford it. Or rather, we could do it at the expense of our Wilmington Tri trip and/or our summer vacation. I will admit I got snarky with Joe, but ultimately it isn't fair to him and really, I need to focus my physical goals. I don't want to give up a summer vacation and I know for sure I want to do more triathlons. I can't imagine choosing running over the tris, so no Princess Half Marathon for me this year.

I still want to complete a half marathon and I think it would be ideal to have a cute Princess theme for my first time (Is it worth setting my goal back a year to do it in such an ideal way? hmmmm), but I think I was more excited about going somewhere I have never been before. I have never been to Disney and it would be a fun trip with my family to somewhere new. I love traveling for travelling's sake. I would gladly go to Sheboygan, Wisconsin just because I have never been there. Having a possible new trip with my family, going through all the planning to see if we could afford it and then realizing we can't, has made me a little sad for a trip to somewhere I haven't been. I guess I am loquaciously and virtually pouting.

Tim Kenny, a wise and dear friend of mine who also has wanderlust, has been my sounding board for years. We have had several conversations about places to go, why we love to travel and who we become when we are looking at the ocean. I worked with Tim for over 10 years and when you see pictures of him on vacation he truly looks like a different person, almost unrecognizable. I don't know if my pictures are as drastic, but I feel like they should. I feel relaxed and happy and like who I am supposed to be. Tim also has warned me about letting the lust take over my life and because of him I try not to let it consume me. I have days where all I do is dream of trips and plan vacations. I can feel one of those planning binges coming on now.

I guess I wonder if other people love to travel as much as I do and if so, how do they cope having to work? I do know that I work in order to have a life, and for me part of that life is travel. I can't imagine not doing it or not planning something. I have friends who say they don't travel well and I don't know what that means. While I love our home, I cannot think of a trip where I was ready to leave or come back. I can't imagine going a year without a trip, seeing Caribbean waters on TV and not aching for the chance to be there in person or not feeling the adrenaline rush when thinking about traveling somewhere new and foreign.

I just touched base with Tim; I needed a reality check. He doesn't work with me anymore so our contact has been more sporadic over this last year; sharing trip pictures and links of nice places to stay for the next one. But even a quick hello from him reminds me that I cannot let this take over my life. To travel I must have a job to fund it and to have a job, I need to get some work done.

So off to work, for now. But I really, really, really need to start planning what we are doing Christmas 2010. I am thinking of chartering a sailboat for a week and cruising around the Virgin fact maybe I should check into rates for that. Oh and I really need to firm up my summer ideas so I can make sure my budget is accurate and then I need to check in with Margaret about the beach house...and email the cruise lady to confirm I am paid in full...and I want to do the Midnight in the Garden bike ride in Savannah in September and I still need to price out Wilmington trip....

See? How am I supposed to work when I have all THAT to do?!?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Half Marathon Training Update aka Amy is Out Of Her Mind

I hate running. Really, I do not enjoy it. So OF COURSE I think a half marathon is a good goal. My mom decided she wanted to improve her running so we both have a new goal and can continue to train together. Yay! Well I am a bit anal so set up a lovely training session for myself and a different one for my mom. It really is a lovely chart and took me most of the day to do. I used pictures and quotes and factored in vacation days, etc. I had a lot of fun PLANNING the running.

This morning was our first day of the new running plan. We decided to try the treadmills since this will allow us to track our pace better. The goal was to do 30 minutes, 1 minute running, 2 minutes walking. After 1 minute I felt good, so decided to see how far I could go before I really wanted to stop. The answer: half a mile. I kept walking for another half mile and then ran another half mile (total 1.5 miles). At this point I only had half a mile left and less than 4 minutes. I really wanted to hit two miles total so I pushed it. Hy heart rate was 181 and I got to 2 miles. And then I continued running into the nearby bathroom to throw up. I know I'm a puker, but really, it is annoying. I hate throwing up and it really gets in the way of a proper cool down. My mother, who has been a patient friend, kicked into mom mode and said that maybe I should look into WHY I throw up and that I need to lower my heart rate. I did sorta kinda notice that around 171 I started to feel a little pukey, but if I slowed down it went away. Once I kicked it into high gear and my heart rate reached 181, there was no turning back.

After my public puke of a few weeks ago, I did do a little research on exercises induced vomiting and found lots of people do it and not a lot of people know why. A couple of the prevailing theories (or as I call them Reasons For Puking, RFP) are:

1. Too much fluid/food too soon before working out or conversely you are dehydrated.
2. As your body reaches its limits, it starts shutting down the less important systems first in order to protect the vital organs. The GI tract is one of the things it starts with. That means it stops processing fluids, or at least slows down dramatically. It does this by constricting flow from the stomach into the intestines. Suddenly you have fluid/food in your stomach that isn't digesting, so you need to vomit.
3. The workout has gone into the anaerobic realm and a buildup of lactic acid occurs.
4. You are working out too hard and this is your body's way of telling you to stop.

After this morning's puke, I decided to look into my mom's theory of the heart rate, since I really wasn't sure of what my heart rate should be. I had a vague recollection of a 220 minus your age equation and thought I was just fine. Well...turns out that 220-age thing is outdated, was never based on science and is flat out wrong. The actual way to find your max heart rate is more complicated, but I just went here. My heart rate when I threw up was 181. My max heart rate? 157. So maybe mom was right. That also makes RFP #3 seem logical which also ties in well with RFP #4. Chalk one up for mom.

Turns out there is way more science involved in this getting active thing. I don't think I really needed to be SUPER concerned about nutrition and dehydration for the triathlon, but it is dawning on me that the half marathon is a whole other beast, which makes me feel a tad idiotic for even thinking about doing this. I mean really, I hate running. What was I thinking?!

In May I had just really started training for the triathlon. I could ride a bike but after riding 3 miles felt winded and tired. If you had offered me a million dollars to run a mile after that first bike ride I would have sat on the curb and cried because I could not have done it. I alternated between thinking signing up for a tri was the best thing I ever did and the dumbest. I was fat, out of shape and didn't know how to swim with my head in the water. That was in May. I stuck with it and I did it. So I have to believe (quite literally - HAVE TO BELIEVE) that this will get easier too. I knew it was going to be rough and I knew I was going to have to push myself. None of that sounds easy so I really don't know why I am shocked with today's run. You know what is easy though? Beating yourself up and convincing yourself to quit. I am good at that...I can do THAT. I could take a backseat and help my mom, only challenging her. Running is hard on a body and I hate it so it actually makes a lot of sense to quit. Even as I type that I can feel tears in my eyes. I don't want to quit. I WANT to finish a half marathon. I WANT to push myself and feel myself grow. I WANT to know I can do it. Strike that, I KNOW I can do it.

I can't explain any of this rationally or logically. Yes, I hate running but somehow I know I need to do this for me. So maybe I give myself a break and say if not Thunder Road on 12/12 then for sure The Corporate Cup in March. That gives me more time to train, more time to learn and more time for my body to get used to the idea that it is going to be a runner. Maybe going from not running at all to a half marathon in less than 2 months was a bit ambitious. I can change the goal now that I am more informed, just as long as the end result is the same. I will be a half marathoner.

So yes, I am probably out of my mind. But hopefully in a few months I will be a half marathoner with super cute training guides who is out of her mind. Now most importantly...what am I going to wear on my first half marathon???

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Goal: Half Marathon. Wait, what?

Let me tell you how different my life is now that I am a triathlete. Go ahead, roll your eyes, I know what you are thinking. "Get over it, it was one day!". I will, I promise. In fact, I'm halfway there.

I will admit that the day after the triathlon was pretty fun. I KNOW I was walking with a little more sass in my step. I wore my "Congrats to Me" dress that I bought specifically for that day and I felt pretty hot. Joe took me out to dinner and I was riding high on self pride. That first week I would have shouted it to anyone that listened; "So I did a triathlon last weekend..." I looked at my body differently as well. I haven't lost any weight training for the tri, but my legs have some pretty nice definition now; I might even use the term sexy. I now would rather be fat and fit than skinny and slothy (I know, but you come up with a word that starts with S that means "not in shape"!) Don't get me wrong, I still am pretty proud of myself, but as I get further and further away from the actual date it is becoming less of a big deal. So what? I did a triathlon.

I knew I would be in better shape at the end of my training, but what I didn't expect was how it really did alter my feeling about what I can and can't accomplish. I am hooked on triathlons and want to compete in more next year (my goal is 3, maybe 4). I want to better my time in the Ramblin Rose and I think that is completely doable. Suddenly longer tri distances didn't seem so demanding and were approachable. I was online looking for different races coming up and I noticed a Half Marathon in December. In the past I would have kept looking. I HATE running after all. But this time I stopped and thought "13.1 miles. I can do that." WHAT? I can do WHAT? In April I would have laughed at you for suggesting that. But now, it was do-able. After all I did 4 miles at the Ramblin Rose, so how much harder is 13.1? I can run/walk it and just need to keep up a pace of 14 minutes per mile. Surely I can do that! I haven't signed up, but it is rolling around in my brain, just the way signing up for the triathlon did. I have a feeling I am going to do it; if not this one in November, one in March for sure.

The funny thing about this was how other people responded and how that made me feel. I first told my co-worker Courtney. I convinced her to do the Ramblin Rose and also connected her with Tri It For Life. I told her and her first response was "Do it...I know you can. When is it? I'll do it with you." Now you are talking about two "pleasantly plump" woman who were moderately athletic in April of this year. Now we are talking about doing a half marathon? There is part of me that finds it quite laughable. Next I put it on my facebook page. Overwhelmingly I got positive responses from my fellow friends; people who currently are training for some race, just completed the RR with me, or people who had watched my progress as I learned to swim and cheered me on from afar. "You can do it" was the chorus. Maybe everyone who thinks I am crazy just kept quiet! Then I told Joe that I was seriously considering it and why I thought it was a good idea. He paused...for longer than I would like, but then said he knew I could do it. But he knows just how much I hate to run and I am sure he first thought was not positive. Thank goodness he kept his mouth shut! I almost want to pick a fight with someone who dares to tell me I can't do it. Yes I can....if I want to.

So in one year I might go from casual gym go-er to triathlete to half marathoner. Crazy. That is what doing the Ramblin Rose did for me: convince me that I can do anything. Am I going to win? No...but I will finish, especially if I train for it. I will have to push myself harder than I did for tri training and that actually excites me even though that means there will surely be more puking in my future. I think I am ready though, just not sure if all my friends are ready for how much I will be strutting my butt around once I finish a half marathon! I for sure need to find a cute little short something to show off my legs for the day after that race!

At the Carb/celebration dinner for Tri It For Life we were given little cards that said "As I reflect on my journey of becoming a tri-athlete, I learned......I never thought I could.....I am most proud of......". At the time I didn't really know what to put in there so instead of leaving the card like was supposed to I brought it with me, knowing I would eventually have the words to fill in. I think I am finally ready, almost a month later.

I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. I have heard that all my life, but now I actually believe it about myself (and others).

I never thought I could push myself to accomplish a physical goal.

I am most proud of doing this with my mother, helping her helped me become a better athlete and person. Seeing her achieve after so much struggling made me want to push myself that hard and to be a role model for someone else.

I am again reminded of that poem, that in the beginning didn't mean anything to me. Now it is echoed in my head at least everyday:

All your life
You are told the things
You cannot do.

All your life they will say
You're not good enough
Or strong enough
Or talented enough.
They'll say you are the wrong height
Or the wrong weight
Or the wrong type to
Play this or be this or achieve this.

A thousand times no
Until all the No's become meaningless.
All your life they will tell you no,
Quite firmly and very quickly,
They will tell you no.

And you...
YOU will tell them....YES!!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

And All of a Sudden I Am Back In High School

I have been going to the gym every morning since the middle of August. I have fallen into the natural pattern of the place, coming at the same time, seeing the same people, using the same locker space, around the same people. The man at the front desk now says "see you tomorrow" instead of "have a nice day". I like this. It is comfortable and it makes me feel good about this new habit that I have developed and been able to keep up.

My mom and I use the same row of lockers each morning and there is always another girl that is on our same schedule and says "Hi Friends" every time she sees us. She is friendly and after a few days of close proximity, we started chatting. We told her of our upcoming tri, and the girl, Sarah, told us of this class that has helped her lose inches off her body and recommended we try it. So one morning we went to "Power Hour". It was challenging and I really pushed myself. If you have read any of my other blogs, I am sure you can guess what happened as we finished the running drills. Yep, I puked. I found a trash can...I'm not an inconsiderate puker...but the whole class saw me and I had to explain to about 40 people that it was OK - I'm just a puker. That was a couple of weeks ago and we haven't been back to class, mostly because of scheduling for the tri training.

We took a week off after the tri to recover and reward ourselves so started back and decided to come up with a new new workout schedule. I suggested adding pilates on Thursday mornings. Sarah was there for this discussion and agreed it was a great class that she goes to and we should for sure come with her.

So Thursday morning I donned my cute little yoga pants and matching tank top and went to the pilates room feeling pretty sassy. It was still dark and I took a seat in an open space and waited for my mom. There were 6 other people in the room and you could instantly tell that this group comes to class every week and knows one another. Sarah finally came in but didn't see me and went straight the group. She said that her friends were coming to pilates class today. One of the other girls said "hope it isn't like last time." The instructor asked what she meant and the girl, I'll call her Bitchy, says "the last time Sarah brought friends one of them threw up." Now by this point Sarah noticed me and pointed me out. Bitchy says "yeah I'm not kidding. Her last friend she brought to a class threw up." I paused and simply said "Yes, that was me." She looked down, embarrassed (I hope!) and quietly said "oh sorry" but damage was done. All of a sudden I was back in high school.

I've never been a super popular person. I got along with a lot of different groups of people because I am generally a friendly and nice person. But I have never been part of a group of "cool kids." I was closest to the dorks. I didn't let people cheat off my tests. I didn't drink. I read a lot and was not very involved with high school athletics. I was in the drama club and had one of the leads. I wasn't super skinny or super pretty and I didn't kiss a boy until I was 16. I was kind and average so people were nice to me. After we moved to NC, my general state of dorkdom was amplified when I went from an all girl school where make up was shunned to a co-ed school where pretty was required. I wouldn't say I was picked on but I know what it is like to walk into a situation and realize that I was what people were laughing at, or that I was excluded from cool places and parties. But I was nice, so I think people felt bad when they saw I was in the room, but nevertheless, I was pretty much a dork.

So on Thursday, in seconds, when I became acutely aware that Bitchy was making fun of me...and that they probably made fun of me the next class...and that meant that 40people that I don't know were laughing at me, I was right back in high school. I wanted to go home. I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell "There are people that LOVE me. I'm funny. I'm Smart. YOU'RE the dorks" and run over and puke on her. Instead I brushed it off with a joke and went on and did pilates. Of course, I felt uncomfortable the entire hour. My cute outfit suddenly looked too tight and made Gertie my Gut look even bigger. I was cold and my skin was an uncomfortable pale blue color. My mom never showed up so when class was over I scurried out of the room, my yoga mat tucked between my legs. As soon as I got in the car I called Joe; "The kids at school made fun of me" with tears in my eyes.

The last few years I have really come to terms with who I am and generally accept that. Sure there are days here and there that I question things, but for the most part I feel like I have a healthy, slightly flawed self esteem. I AM a dork. I still won't let you cheat off my test, still am a big reader and don't drink that much. In meetings I still sit in the front row, take notes and don't talk. I have never done any cool drugs and still don't care about college or high school sports. But I have a great group of friends that love me. For New Year's Eve Joe and I gave Fight Club matching pajamas and without any prodding or asking, we all wore them and got a fantastically gay picture of all of us. I can't tell you how happy that made me to feel completely, 100% comfortable with me. So I was a little shocked and pissed at how easily I went right back to feeling awkward and out of place at the gym. And to be honest, the rest of Thursday sucked. I wasn't in a good mood and think I could have cried at the drop of a hat. I started analyzing every social interaction I had at work, questioning if they like me; if I am doing a good job; if I am smart. It was horrible. I recently read that the human mood changes every 5 seconds and if that is true, it is no wonder why I felt like I was on a roller coaster going deeper and deeper into yuck. I was also angry at myself. I am better than this. I have people that love me and most importantly, I LIKE ME. Why am I letting this get to me?

So I got home last night, had dinner and gave Miller a super long bath. We snuggled in bed as we read Teddy Bear's Picnic and I smiled when he told me "I wuv vouuu Amy". I hung out with Joe for a bit and then we snuggled in bed and I smiled when he told me he loved me, with better accentuation than Miller. And everything was perfect.

I really feel like I am a work in progress. I don't know how people say they are completely happy with who they are. How do they know who they are? Maybe they do and I am the one that is off, but I really think I am in a constant evolution, learning and growing. I don't think it is wrong to want to be accepted. In fact, in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, being part of a group is up there with shelter and food. Actually, according to Maslow I am doing pretty OK. I do have my biological, physiological and safety needs met. I am accepted by a group, feel loved and have close relationships. All that allows me to work on the top two levels of his famous hierarchy: esteem needs and self actualization. I am working on achievements and personal fulfillment. So I know that a slip up here and there with my self esteem is OK. I just need to learn and grow and possibly use that awkward feeling to motivate me. I'm a dork and I'm OK with that. I'm also OK with every once and a while not being OK with that. And on those days I need to remember what is really important. Like Miller says "I'm funny, I'm silly, I'm strong, I can do it, I can reach the handle." OK that last one doesn't really apply as much, but I have a great life with people who love every little geeky thing I do. In truth I love every little geeky thing THEY do, and that makes us pretty perfect for each other.

So screw you Bitchy McBitcherson. Make fun of me all you want...I'm just going to be super nice to you so that you feel bad. Oh and I am going to do that pilates class until I am so flexible that I can bend my foot over my head and insert it up your ass. Thanks for the motivation.