Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lovelorn Diet, Part 2: Lessons Learned

My college Shakespeare professor used to say that Romeo and Juliet is a comedy gone awry.  The protagonists break the comedic form by getting married in the second act instead of waiting for things to sort themselves out at the end of the play.

Personally, I blame Romeo.  If you haven't read or seen the play recently, you may have forgotten that Romeo is in love with someone else when we first encounter him.  Romeo is a pretty emo dude, actually, and he's pining for this other girl.  But Romeo is also incredibly impulsive, and he goes to the Capulets' party on a whim and meets Juliet.  It's not long before he forgets all about that other girl and ends up emoting all over Juliet's balcony instead.

For the whole rest of the play, Romeo is at the mercy of his erratic emotions--fighting in the street, running away, and finally killing himself when Juliet is not even dead yet.  I think we can all agree, he probably should have left the poor girl alone.

This is all to say that if Shakespeare's most famous play teaches us nothing else, it's that love at first sight is treacherous, tricky, and not to be trusted.

So there you have it.

After three weeks on the Lovelorn Diet, I'm pretty exhausted.  I have no doubt that what happened between the Sultry Downeaster and me was real, but I am beginning to face the fact that I'm a 39-year-old woman, not some 13-year-old Italian chick, and it might be time to get my act together.  Because life is, apparently, not a fairy tale, and I don't particularly want it to be a Shakespearean tragedy either.

So now I'm trying to figure out whatever possible life lessons the universe could be trying to teach me besides the obvious one, "Don't talk to strangers."  Here's what I've figured out so far:

Your feelings are your feelings.  Readers of this blog know that I have spent a lot of time learning how to feel my feelings instead of stuffing them down inside and trying to ignore them.  So when I say I'm in love, I mean it.  Nevertheless, I felt a lot of shame about admitting it out loud.  That's why it took me three weeks to write about the Sultry Downeaster.  Anyone who knows how hard it is to stay in love over time--and I am, in fact, one of those people, having been married and divorced--has a right to feel skeptical about the idea of love at first sight.  It's easy to fall in love.  So much harder to stay there.  Anyway, I knew that people would judge me, silently or not so silently because admitting to something so fantastical makes you seem...well, maybe a little crazy or overly dramatic.  So I kept quiet.  When I told the story to my girlfriends, I played down my feelings.  Even when the Sultry Downeaster told me he loved me, I wouldn't say it back.  It was too much.  But you know what?  Pretending I didn't feel it, refusing to say it out loud, didn't make me feel it any less.  It only made me feel worse, actually. 

Friends help.  I rarely talk about my personal life, and when I do I tend to downplay my feelings as noted above, but I couldn't keep everything inside me during this romantic crisis.  Confiding in my teammates and other close friends has been absolutely essential to not going insane.  Suddenly all the social outings that usually fill me with dread felt like lifelines.  Being with other people kept my mind occupied so I didn't have to spend every waking moment pacing around my living room.  Opening up more made me feel closer to people, and it made me think that maybe I should work on allowing myself to be more vulnerable with the people I care about.  Vulnerability is, after all, the foundation of all good relationships.

Speaking of vulnerability.  I went to Maine feeling vulnerable on the romantic front.  I actually think that vulnerability may be part of what spoke to the Sultry Downeaster.  I know I was more open, emotionally, with him that night than I have allowed myself to be with anyone in a very long time.  There's a lesson there, for sure, but there's also a dark side.  Because being vulnerable means you can be easily tricked, and I am not a very trusting person anyway.  Vulnerability coupled with the fear of not being good enough can take you to some pretty dark places.  My mind circled back to every man who ever lied to me or took advantage of my trust.  The nasty tape recorder in my mind kept telling me I wasn't special enough to make a man fall in love with me in the span of twelve hours.  It wasn't pretty.  It's still not.  I have some work to do on this.

Love is not all.  That's a poem by my Maine girl, Edna St. Vincent Millay.   It's true.  Nevertheless, I left my marriage because I couldn't stand the thought of never falling in love again.  Of course, nothing ever works out the way it does in the fairy tales, so I would fall in love with someone 700 miles away.  Nevertheless, I fell in love.  Finally.  Undeniably.  And someone fell in love with me, too.  Doomed or not, if nothing else, at least it's a reminder that it's possible.  If I weren't so angry at the universe right now, it might occur to me to say thank you for that.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Lovelorn Diet

It's more of a lifestyle than a diet, really.  It involves not sleeping, journaling obsessively, bursting into uncontrollable tears at least once a day, and having so little appetite that even chocolate seems unappealing.  Chocolate, people! 

It seems I may have fallen in love while I was in Maine.  I had a completely unexpected, magical evening with a sultry downeaster.  It was like something out of a heartwarming romantic comedy, except for the minor detail that I don't live in Maine anymore.  Obviously, this unfortunate fact adds a lot of drama to the situation and pretty much just means everything is doomed and I am stuck feeling like crap. 

The only time I'm not thinking about the sultry downeaster is when I'm playing roller derby.  Thank God for roller derby and the sweet oblivion that comes with the mental challenge of risking life and limb on skates!

Then, today, as if the universe had not gotten a big enough laugh at my expense, I found out that for the second time in two years, a guy who broke up with me to pursue a whirlwind courtship with somebody else has gotten married.  It was just about six weeks from my dumping to his vow-taking. 

Really, universe?  You've got some explaining to do.

Monday, July 7, 2014

June Review and July Goals

My goals for June were simple: Let my sprained wrist heal and make it to my mid-June derby break/vacation in Maine.  The wrist feels fine.  (We'll see how it feels the first time I fall on it.)  And I did, indeed, survive the first two weeks of June.

Maine was great.  Fitness-wise, I got a couple of runs in while visiting my parents, and some great hikes in Acadia National Park during my week of camping.  Hiking until I was too tired to think and then collapsing into cozy, peaceful quiet in my tent was exactly what I wanted, and I got it.  Nutrition-wise, I ate a lot of lobster, fried seafood and ice cream, and probably not enough vegetables, and I have no regrets about that.

Emotionally, Maine was even weirder than usual.  I don't have much more to say about that.  I've been trying to blog about it, but I can't seem to get it down on paper the way I want to.  Let's just say if I thought solitude and/or sultry oyster farmers were the right balms to sooth my recent loneliness and dating failures, I was wrong on both fronts.  But the solitude was nice for other reasons, and I am really grateful for that. 

So now I'm back.  All in all, I can't say I'm feeling much better than I was before I left.  A little less tired, maybe, a little more hopeful.  Here are my goals for the rest of July:

1. Lift twice a week and do chinups daily. 

2. Do individualized skating practice once a week.  One of the hard things about having so many practices is that it's hard to get time to work on the specific skills I need to work on.  My plan is to fit in one hour of focused, solo practice weekly.

3. Take one rest day per week.  This is a hard one.  My schedule is pretty full.  I've planned out my schedule for the month, and it was hard to fit everything in.  In order to fit in lifting, solo skating practice and a rest day each week, I am having to skip 6 of 17 practices.  I'm not entirely sure this is the best decision, and I may make some adjustments to this based on the practice agendas - If the skills I need to focus on are on the agenda, then it makes more sense to go to practice than to go off by myself.  So we'll see.  I'm going to stay flexible and see how things work out.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why Am I So Angry?

It began when I was getting ready to post on facebook about the third random thing in three days that almost made me cry. I couldn't help wondering why suddenly everything in the world makes me want to cry.  Then I had a couple out-of-body moments where I heard the words and the tone coming out of my mouth and thought, "Who is that crazy person, and why is she so angry?"

It's been a hard couple weeks. 

This morning my coworker sent around an article about burnout.  It said, "If your emotions are close to the surface, if minor glitches produce a major reaction, you're approaching burnout." Yep, that's me.

Work has been busy and frustrating.  Roller derby is killing me, and I'm not even playing it.  (I had to take the week off because of work, though the wrist needed the time to heal, too, so at least that timing was good).  But the business of the league goes on, and I have so much of that work to do that the thought of trying to catch up makes me want to crawl into bed and hide.  Stuff is falling through the cracks all over the place, and I pretty much hate everything and everyone right now.

Most of all myself. 

I think about my colleagues and leaguemates, some of whom have way more challenges in their lives than I do, and many of whom are equally busy.  How do they get so much done and stay so cheerful, and why can't I be like that? 

 I don't know.  I should think about that some more.  But for the time being, all I can think about is the tent on Mount Desert Island, where I will soon spend eight nights blissfully alone trying to set myself straight, and the days between now and then, which I will spend trying to calm down and get my shit together.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

May Review and June Goals

I had two roller derby injuries in May.  Around the middle of the month, I did something to my shoulder when I fell and a bunch of the skaters behind me fell on top of me.  I don't know what I did, but it really hurt.  It didn't cause me to miss practice--although I definitely favored that shoulder until it started to feel better--but it did keep me from lifting and doing chinups..

The second injury was a sprained wrist last week.  I actually thought it was broken, and my teammate took me to the hospital after practice to get an x-ray.  I missed practice this week because I was afraid of falling  again and injuring it more.  And I can't lift or do chinups because I can't grip the bar.  It totally sucks, though I realize it would suck even more if it were broken.  I can tell it's getting better, and we have a bout on Sunday.  I'm just going to try really hard not to fall on it.  All I can think is, every time I fall on that wrist is probably at least two more weeks I can't dead lift.

My goals for May were:

Skate three times a week.  I was on track to meet this goal three of four weeks until the wrist thing happened.  I made it two of four.

Lift twice a week. I met this goal two of four weeks thanks to the shoulder and wrist problems.

Run once a week.  I met this goal two of four weeks also.  This was more due to being busy with work and other life than it was to the wrist.  It felt good to get back outside for my track workouts, though!

Do chinups every day.  I met this goal 13 days in May.  It makes me sad to see my chinup bar hanging there every day when I can't use it, but I'm also encouraged by the progress I made doing as much as I did.  At the beginning of the month, my reps were 4, 3 and 3.  My best day, right before I got injured, was 7,6, and 4.

Other Milestones:  Despite only meeting my lifting goal twice this month, I go two PRs in the gym.  I squatted my body weight, 150 pounds, for the first time ever!  And I added five pounds to my bench press, bringing that up to 80 pounds after months at 75.  I also got my dead lift back up to 175, which is just ten pounds short of where I was when I hurt my back in December.

Goals for June:
Honestly, my only goals for June are to get the wrist healed and make it through the next two weeks until the start of our league's two-week derby break and my vacation in Maine, where glorious hiking awaits.  The next two weeks are insanely overcommitted with work and derby stuff.  I'll go to as many practices as I can, and that might be the best I can do.  I am looking forward to some quiet, reflective time in Maine to take stock and make some goals for the second half of the year.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Another Goal for May

I celebrated the purchase of my apartment by buying a chinup bar.  Then it sat in the box for many weeks because I didn't know how to install it.  Finally, last week I consulted Robert, the same friend who taught me how to build a fire before my camping trip last summer.  It turns out the chinup bar I picked was a heavy duty model designed to be installed in concrete walls.  Robert devised an ingenious plan to hang it, but warned it would involve making a lot of giant holes in my wall and getting the drywall repaired if I ever move.  I know I own the place, but I wasn't very excited about wrecking the wall, so Robert suggested I get something a little less hard core.

I ordered this chinup bar and put it together all by myself, which was pretty exciting.  It fits over my bathroom door and is exactly what I need.  So I'm adding another goal to my list for May: Do three sets of (assisted) chinups every day.  Frak says doing them every day will help me make gains faster, and I am still aiming to do one unassisted chinup by the end of  the year!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April Review and May Goals

April Recap:

Achieve 85% attendance (combined league and travel team practices).  At the time I set this goal, I thought I had my whole month planned out to make this happen, but the rest of my life had other plans.  I ended up attending 6 of 6 travel team practices (100%) and 3 of 7 league practices (43%).  This puts my overall attendance at 69%.  However, I also skated in three bouts during the month of April, which means between practice and bouting, I was still on skates three times a week.

Lift twice a week and run once a week.  Let's talk about lifting first.  I met this goal only one week out of the month.  There were two weeks where I made it once.  And there were two weeks where I couldn't fit it in at all.  In one of these weeks, I made a conscious decision to rest.  The All-Stars happened to be bouting out of town, the league didn't have any practices scheduled, the home team season had just ended, and it seemed strategic to seize five days to rest my body and preserve my sanity. 

Meanwhile, running was even worse.  I didn't run a single time all month. 

Track daily food intake.  I did this 13 out of 30 days this month.  Although that's still not great, I did feel that I got better at it as the month went on, and I actually think my nutrition is getting a little bit better.. 

May Goals:

I've got to get my schedule under control in May, and what I'm finally figuring out is that this is going to require a serious shift in how I think about attendance and cross training.  Ever since I joined the league, I have set very high attendance goals, and one of the main reasons I wanted to make the travel team was so I could benefit from the extra practice and improve more quickly.  But now that there are so many more opportunities to skate, I realize that I have to be more strategic.  I know without a doubt that lifting weights and running are just as important as skating to my continued development in this sport.  I also know that there are only seven days in the week, and I have a lot of other commitments on my plate.  This means I'm going to have to miss some practices in order to cross train.  It's not about slacking off or being lazy.  It's about skating a little less so that I can do more cross training.  I truly believe this balanced approach will help me more, both in terms of athletic gains and injury prevention.  So I'm going to stop worrying about attendance percentages and start doing what I think is going to make me the best possible skater.  Period.  Given that, here are my goals for the month:

1. Skate three times a week.  This includes both practices and bouts.  I think three days a week is a reasonable amount of time to spend on skates.  Looking at my calendar for the month, there are three of four weeks when I can make this happen.  The other week, it's looking like I can only make it to two practices; however, I have a couple extra fun skating outings scheduled this month, a trail skate with a friend and an outing with my coworkers at the local roller rink, so those will bump up the overall amount of time I am on my skates.

2. Lift twice a week.

3. Run once a week.