1) I received my first Stitch Fix over the weekend. It felt like Christmas, my birthday, and a mid-season sale all in one– absent the sore feet, crowd rage, and a sugar crash from the obligatory mall coffee drink. I’d asked my stylist to send spring dresses that could transition well from work to happy hour, and I got a long gray maxi dress (not a fan of maxis), a coral sheer blouse (too billowy), and an asymetrical navy stripe t-shirt dress (perfect but see-through). I also got these dresses: Continue reading “Off the Beaten Path: Cherry Blossoms, the Flat Belly Diet, and a 30-Something Washingtonian’s Dilemma”
Following a long week at home in Nebraska with the family for Christmas, I got back to Washington, DC to a lifeless studio apartment where everything was exactly how I had left it rushing out the door at 5AM for a 6:25AM flight just a week earlier. The air was cool and stale from lacking any energy and activity for 7 days. It was nice to be back in my own space in DC, but my heart was as heavy as my exactly 50-pound suitcase that hours earlier I’d managed to escape paying Southwest Airline’s $75 overweight fee by tossing my toiletries in an airport bathroom and stuffing my hair dryer in my carry-on (my big, black monstrosity was 4 pounds overweight). Unlike what I had going on in my head and heart, however, I left my baggage at the front door and promptly unloaded it. Dirty laundry here, hanging up my clearance trophies there– a little black dress I know will fit once I lose my food baby belly, blue salt and pepper leggings that make schlepping around the house look like too much effort, some running shirts that I was already mentally planning to wear for upcoming races. I tried to ignore what was bothering me, but it lingered ruthlessly. And there was nothing much I could do about it except deal with it.
Recently, some of my favorite running bloggers have been posting rather honest pieces about the struggles they’ve had with their fitness and physical appearance as of late. I hear my own struggles through their words. I’m not going to divulge in specifics about what I’ve been going through like they have, partially because I’m trying to figure out how I let it happen in the first place, which includes a shock factor that still hasn’t sunk in. But also because, frankly, without the kind of reader following that they have, I feel like I’d be putting too much information out there without getting the level of impact back that my fellow bloggers are making by telling their own details. Also, I’m also not as brave as some. Continue reading “Sparking Change with Discomfort”
Sandwiched in between marathon weekend in Chicago, Illinois and a work conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had a free weekend. Typically, I’m such an introvert that usually I really need two days to recoup after a busy week at work and another upcoming busy week at work to just be alone and do my thing, except maybe with the guy I’m dating or a close friend or the occasional group outing. I don’t make huge weekend plans that often; partially because it seems like I am always training for something so I need one of my two weekend evenings free so I can turn in early and wake up early to conquer the sunrise with a long run of some kind. But I left my office on Friday evening with a stark realization: I had a COMPLETELY free weekend and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t have a long training run planned, I wasn’t flying anywhere, my time was all my own. I might be an introvert or whatever, but two days free of social events spent holed up in my studio apartment without the excuse of a raging blizzard or hurricane to keep me indoors was even too much for me. Besides, I had all winter to hibernate– why start early when this weekend’s weather was expected to be nothing short of beautiful? So, I texted a friend to accompany me on a road trip two hours west of our nation’s capital to a world away: the Appalachian Mountains in the heart of Virginia. Time to check out some leaves. Continue reading “If Virginia is for Lovers, Count Me In!”
This week, I got back to a sense of normalcy. I have a job once again so that means I can’t sleep in until 9AM then wander off to 9:30AM yoga pretending not to be curious why so many other people are there on a weekday morning. Waking up in a strange apartment everyday has taken some getting used to. There’s the typical noises of air conditioners going and neighbors wandering down the hall, but in Arlington, Virginia, it seems like there’s literally always a fire to be put out somewhere. Distant sirens are so commonplace here I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll make my fortune by adding that sound to sleeping noise machine apps for “city” folk. I can’t be crazy with that idea…my sleep noise app has a distant train on it, which reminds me of the five years I went to college in a cow town that had trains going through it at all hours. Continue reading “Rooftops, Air Mattresses, and Forced Minimalism”
Friday morning, I woke up on an air mattress on the 11th floor of an Arlington, Virginia high rise, startled at the “world apart” feeling I had in my heart. A week ago, at this time, I was waking up in my Lincoln, Nebraska apartment…two days earlier, it was in my younger sister’s bed at my mom’s house…yesterday, a hotel room in Indianapolis and now
I am here again, waking up in DC. I’m back in “this town.” I have a car; it’s parked three blocks over in a garage. There’s an apartment in this building with my name on it– I just have to wait 15 minutes for the office to open so I can go get the key and move in. There’s a desk in an office building downtown, ready for me to sit down at it on Monday morning. And everything is back to the way I feel like it should be. Continue reading “Back in DC”
Like everyone, I’ve had my share of life experiences that make me realize, among other things, that I am not invincible. I can’t fake everything all the time, I can’t always be the person I visualize in my head, I can’t deny that sometimes I would rather sleep in, shut out, and shut down than handle one more thing. After all, it’s true that ducks, looking all cool and calm, paddle like hell under the surface of the water, but when they see a predator come after them, they freak out and fly away. They put the kibosh on the whole “cool, calm, and collected” thing and go a little nuts to get out of harm’s way so they can paddle another day. That’s kind of where I’m at with moving and marathon training right now.
For the first time in probably more than a year, I’ve been walking on sunshine. This past year has had its challenges and I’ve spent it feeling hollow. I’ve been living my life with one foot in the Midwest and the other on the East Coast. While I am so proud to be from the Midwest and, with my family living there, Nebraska has always been my sanctuary, DC is my town. I lived there for five years and made it my place in this world. I earned my MPA degree there, the first years of my career in government started in DC, I fell in love and had my heart broken in DC, and it’s where I became a runner and marathoner. I’m still inspired by the monuments when I see them, intrigued by the dynamics of a vibrant dialogue on more issues than I knew existed, and excited by the city’s transient energy– where few people are actually “from” there but most everyone has made it their own with “Natitude,” community groups that meet over brunch, running, or softball on the Mall, and the loyalties to their own neck of the D, the M, or the V. I’ve missed being a part of that so much since I’ve been away. Continue reading “Living in the Present”