Look At Me, I’m Sandra B.*

*Sung to the tune of Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee, the catchy Stockard Channing ditty from 1978’s Grease.*

However, the Sandra who I know and am fond of, Sandra B., is likely not “lousy with virginity” considering that she has five adult children and several grandbabies, but I digress . . .

Sandra B., who I have now known for nearly five years, is a woman I not only respect and appreciate, but I admire her and aspire to be like her in one particular way.  Sandy is the epitome of the expression:

fountain

Sandy is a REAL runner!  <~~BTW, this is not me downplaying my abilities, but I am describing her this way to provide some insight into my perspective and image of her.  Sandy has been running for years and years and years; a “leisurely” eight-ish miles is how she begins most days, and I doubt she even breaks a sweat, tbh.  As seasoned and capable a runner as she is, from day one, Sandra B. has been one of my supporters.  When running 1/4 mile non stop was an accomplishment, when I finished my first 5k, even though I walked most of it, and when I did my first Torch Run and had to ride part of the way in the struggle bus, Sandy was supportive, encouraging, and motivating.  When I entered my first Dempsey Challenge 10K in 2016, I kept pace with Sandy and her sister for the first mile or so, and I use the term “kept pace with” loosely; when they finished long before me, they waited for me at the finish line.  When Sandy and I went running in the park together a few times last summer, during breaks, and the heat was so oppressive that I had to walk, she never once made me feel bad about myself, nor did she make me feel like I was holding her back.

Sandy is a force to be reckoned with as far as fitness and athleticism, but in addition to this, she is truly a model of empowerment.  I wish to and strive to be that person to others.  I doubt that Sandy envisions herself in the same manner that I visualize her, but I hypothesize that nobody sees themselves from the viewpoint of others.

Last week, while in my office, I overheard a colleague say that she didn’t want to go for a walk outside because it was torrentially raining.  I stuck my head out from my doorway and told her that I was going to go downstairs and use the gym if she wanted to join me.  She exclaimed, “No way!” and indicated that she can’t keep up with me; as of late, she’s been pushing herself harder and harder to get her 10k steps in before she goes home for the day, and I always give her an attaboy for her efforts.

Just this week, I received an email from my best friend, Callie, that reads, “You are the only reason I have been pushing myself.  If not for you, I would have been much lazier this summer 🙂 Glad to have you beside me :)!”

Holy shit!  I’m someone’s Sandy!

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But Am I For Really Real?

A fleeting thought as I sit at my desk . . .

If I update my blog while I’m working, am I technically being paid to blog?  If so, does this make me a “real” blogger?

I have the tendency to downplay every. single. thing. I do or am involved in, whether it’s professionally, athletically, or even pertaining to my hobbies.  I delineate a “real” blogger as an individual who is either paid to write or has a large following.  I consider and describe myself as an amateur blogger, which is accurate because:

noun

  1. a person who engages in a pursuit [ . . . ] on an unpaid basis.

adjective

  1. engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.

 

However, does being a dilettante in a given element make the dabbler or their participation any less “real” in comparison with those who have garnered more experience?

When I am recognized for working at the police department, I am often asked if I’m an officer, and my response is typically, “I’m just a crime analyst.”  When I have spoken fondly of a colleague who is a fellow long distance runner, I have, on more than one occasion, stated, “But Sandy’s a real runner.”

I have a habit of devaluing myself; it is a behavior that I regularly exhibit, but I have recently begun to notice just how prominent this trait is.  During an afternoon stroll with Leola, a co-worker who I have befriended over the years, I discussed with her exactly what I have drafted above.  “That’s a character flaw.  You don’t have many, but that’s one of them.  You can quote me in your blog.”

So, today marks the day that I attempt to alter the impression of myself I have left on . . . ME.  I’m a real blogger.  I’m a real runner.  I’m not just anything.  I’m real because I’m present, I’m trying, I’m doing.

download

 

Soul searching is onerous.

Mainely A Stereotype

I reside in a small town.  Not only do I live in a small town, I live in THE stereotypical small town.  Think: Mayberry combined with Cheers (yeah, the bar) ’cause my residential township is quaint, peaceful, and the locals know everybody’s name (exception: seasonal tourists, but many of the locals are nosy / social so they know the tourists’ names too!).  So, for the sake of my privacy, all the while giving my home a name, I shall refer to this quaint land of familiarity as Cheersberry . . .  or Maycheers . . .  or . . .  ORRRRR . . . I will use these interchangeably.

I have various run routes established.  There’s one route that I like to do either very early in the morning or later in the evening because 1.5 miles in, I reach a very small beach, and to witness the sunrise or sunset there is breathtakingly beautiful.  Plus, there’s the added bonus that if it’s a wicked hot day, one can jump in the lake for a little swim!  The picture I have does not depict the rise or set of the sun, but it’s still a glorious view, even at midday.  Also along this route are fellow Cheersberry residents who have become familiar with me and will oftentimes whoop words of encouragement or offer me water.  The Friends on the 4th 5K is mapped along “downtown,” but there is a portion of the run that is residential; many people sit on their lawns to cheer and lightly spray runners with their garden hoses – this is my favorite!  The garden hose incidence is less frequent during one of my “regular” runs, one that isn’t a big to-do / event, which makes it even more special if it should so happen, and once in a while, it does.  Small town livin’ is the tops!  . . . at least for eight months of the year.

Narrows

Summer is now in full swing, and the tourists have come from near and far!  Adding to the small town stereotype, the locals are not always so fond of the tourists, and by this, I mean I am not so fond of the tourists.  The environment changes when the out-of-towners flock to Maycheers in gaggles.  Just last week, I was pushed around and rudely cut in front of at the farm stand, and all of the commotion was caused by non locals.  When running, the out of state cars do not move over to share the road; in the last few days alone, my Radin and I have had several close calls with vehicular modes of transportation.

Yearly, I am prepared for the sudden change in environment at the grocery store and other shopping venues.  What is typically a friendly and patient setting becomes a climate of superiority and brouhaha.  When it’s the off-season, patrons of the grocery store chatter with one another as they wait in line, say “excuse me” if they need to reach something that is in another’s personal space, and offer to help those who may need helping.  Now?  Now, it’s a free for all.  Overall, the from-awayers are impatient, crashing their shopping carts into others because they’re ceaselessly using their cell phones, they loudly insinuate and make certain that we, the townies, are aware that their vacation time is valuable and that they cannot be bothered to wait, and the number of people that aggressively invade personal space is utterly galling.  My intent is not to generalize because I am certain that there are just as many delightful vacationers in our area, but I’m just indicating that the poor behavior is noticed.  I can adjust to the sudden influx of strong personalities, but what I tend to have difficulty acclimating to are nightly fireworks and unleashed dogs.

I love fireworks, but I much prefer them when they are appropriate.

  • Q: So, when are they appropriate?
  • A: Holidays such as the 4th of July or New Year’s, and on Friday or Saturday nights should the desire be to launch the works of fire just for the pure sake of doing so.

I wish beyond all measure that my town ordinance did not change, that fireworks were still banned and illegal.  The nightly fireworks wreak havoc for the wildlife, not to mention the pets who are terrified of the loud noises and riddled with anxiety over the ruckus.  *I am not a parent, other than fur babies, but I imagine that it is exceedingly arduous for those with babies, toddlers, and young children.*  The late night annoyances are also not appreciated by those of us who get up at 0400.  I understand that many of the temporary residents are on vacation, and I acknowledge that they should enjoy their vacation time, their relaxation time but not at the expense of those who live here full-time, year-round.  Cheerberry is not The City That Never Sleeps; we sleep . . . or at least, we used to.  I’m not requesting that the fireworks and drunken carousing cease altogether, I just ask for the commotion to wrap up at a sensible time.

Finally, leash your dogs!  How do I know that the offenders of the leash laws are out-of-towners’ dogs?  Just like with the humans, the locals, especially those of us who are actively outside and running about the town, have familiarly with the local yokel puppers.  Sunday evening, I took Radin for a long walk.  *Radin and I are not able to run together because we are equally clumsy and end up in calamitous, though comical, conundrums.  So, when Radin accompanies me, it’s for the slower paced meanderings.*  About a mile from home, during our return expedition, an unleashed dog bolted toward us.  I have no doubt that this dog was friendly, but my Radin and I were recently attacked by an unleashed, not-so-friendly dog, in our own yard.  It is fair to assert that Radin and I are now a little suspicious and mistrustful of foreign dogs that come darting at us.  Stranger danger is real, folks!  I should note that Radin does not get along remarkably well with other dogs as a rule, and because I know this about him, he is always harnessed, leashed, and kept close to me.

During our aforementioned adventure, I pulled Radin close to me and commanded him to stand between my legs.  Because my thighs are much stronger than my arms, I know that I can hold him still and protect him that way.  (Hey, I’ve been credited with saving his life during our attack, so I know that I could (and would) do so again).  We began to simultaneously walk backwards, taking slow and steady steps, but the dog continued to dart toward us.  To my horror, the unleashed dog scampered into the road and into oncoming traffic.  Now, I don’t want problems to arise between this dog and my own, but I also don’t want to see harm befall this visiting dog.  I’m typically the person pulling over and rescuing dogs (and cats and turtles and whatever else I find in the road that needs an assist).  Meanwhile, drivers are annoyed because traffic is slow going – Radin and I were nearly hit by two or three vehicles that refused to move over!  Out of approximately seven passing motorists, only one man stopped to help us.  Coincidentally, the other six vehicles had out of state and out of country (Canada) registration plates, respectively.  The man who stopped to help me, he was a Mainer.  Summer folks, enjoy your stay in Vacationland, but please, consider the residents of your interim abode.

. . . I don’t want to be the stereotypical, vacationist hating, country bumpkin so please, do your part in not turning me into a stereotype . . . just sayin’.

Venom of the Greenery Variety

Before deciding upon Venom of the Greenery Variety as a title, I was also contemplating Bitch of an Itch.  Each are accurate.

I was born and raised in Maine, and I have never lived in another state.  Other than a brief stint of city living, I’ve lived the majority of my 33 years in small towns, enjoying the quiet and beauty of country living.  I’m not so country that I own dairy cows, nor do I drive a dusty and rusty pickup truck stereotypically depicted in most cowboy-esque twangy country tunes.  However, I do live rurally, surrounded by nature and woodland creatures; it is abnormal to not see deer or turkeys in the yard, and just last night, there was a fox hanging out under one of my ancient and ginormous oak trees.

It is most surprising then, that for the first time in 33.5 years of life, I’ve recently encountered my very first bout with poison ivy or poison oak or poison sumac; whatever it is, it’s poisonous.  What began as a dot on my neck Thursday, became a line by Friday. On Monday morning, I was peppered in it: neck, chest, arms, legs, wrists, and hands.  Now, just because I live near the woods does not imply that I spend a lot of time in the boscage.  In fact, this is the summer that I have devoted to spending more time out of doors with the purpose of becoming more accustomed to the heat and humidity, and also because I find most aspects of nature to be beautiful, and I miss out on much of that allurement by spending the majority of my time inside.

Though I have spent more time outside this summer, I know for certain that I have not traipsed through the venomous greenery.  So, just how did I get the ivy of the poison variety?  Radin.  Radin gave me poison ivy; it is the only feasible explanation.  Oh, how I do wish my unfortunate tale has an exciting backstory, but alas, it does not.  I got poison ivy from my dog.  However, in all of its lackluster, the true story maintains that I’m “that person.”

I’m “that person” who, if it’s going to happen to someone, it’s going to happen to me.  Over the course of the last year or so, I have been dealt an absurd hand of cards:

  • An allergic reaction to facial cleanser that resulted in my eyes being swollen closed for the better part of a week or more.
  • A tumble on the pavement when my parents’ boxer, Gracie, caught a bout of the zoomies.
    • Q: What was in it for me?
    • A: Battered and bruised bones and scrapes and skinless patches.
  • A freak and unprecedented fainting spell whereby I hit my noggin and was left with a concussion, which I still face symptoms from to this day.
  • And now, bitchin’ itchin’.

Probably the most disappointing, other than the itch and pain and overall frustration, is that I had to opt out of the 4th of July 5K I had been so looking forward to running – I had such an awesome red, white, and blue tutu picked out for the event!  However, the rational Amy concluded that the 98 degree weather, coupled with the humidity and my streaming, salty sweat (A+ for alliteration!), would make me feel even worse and allow the rash to spread even more.  I’m almost finished with my Prednisone, and the poison laced patches are now dry so I think I can start to exercise vigorously again.

I have not had a decent run or workout since last Thursday, and while lying in bed, doped up on Benadryl, I remembered that the David Payne Memorial Run (7.2 miles) is July 23rd, and Beach to Beacon (10K) is August 4th.  I am now in full blown panic mode as it’s my modus operandi to doubt my ability, especially when I’ve been forced to slow down in my training.

It’s amazing the havoc a single week down-and-out can wreak on one’s confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Incentive Inception

::sigh::

I’ve recently begun to backslide, and as a result, I have come to the conclusion that I need to evaluate my prior successes.  What was I doing right previously, and how have I strayed?  By honing in one why and how I was successful two years ago, I will likely begin to see many more successes emerge in the present and the future.

One past behavior that I was so proud of myself for overcoming was my scale / number obsession.  Well, the compulsion to weigh myself once, twice, and sometimes, three times daily has returned.  I’ve been battling this numbers fixation for a month or more now, and it has got to stop.  Logically and rationally, I know that this behavior is completely and utterly counterproductive.  I am also aware that by being so focused on a number, especially if it’s one that I am not accepting of, I’m inhibiting myself in various other ways.

Two years ago, when I lost the bulk of my overall weight loss and saw the most significant changes in my body, I was consistently working out with my childhood bestie.  Since she loathes cardio, we spent our time doing a plethora of body weight exercises.  When she ceased coming over due to a change in job, marital status, and residential area, I altogether discontinued that workout / routine.  I know that my gains in muscle were making an impact on my weight loss.  I am also aware that it’s tremendously important to be well-rounded, and I’ve lost that aspect of my gymming persona.

Now that I’ve pinpointed what’s different between then and now, what is my plan?  Incentives!  I’ve been attempting to reel myself in, in regards to incessantly stepping on the scale, for over a month now, but when I am held to only my own accountability, it’s fail after fail after fail.  So, to start, if I stay off of my scale for two weeks from today (until July 11th), I will be the recipient of an incentive.  I think incentivizing myself will assist me with re-focusing on and re-engaging in favorable behaviors I have abandoned.

. . . TODAY IS A NEW DAY, and I’ve got this!


. . . TODAY IS ALSO A NEW DAY, and I’ve still got this!

I just wanted to provide a brief follow up regarding yesterday’s post because this morning, I realized just how ingrained our habits are, whether they be good ones or bad.

This morning (06/28) in my bathroom, before my shower, I automatically went to the scale.  My route to the scale, from my bed, was quite obviously programmed in my body and mind’s GPS, and I was locked in on autopilot.  Luckily, I was able to break free from the trance, and I did not step on!

Last night, even though it was after 1900hrs, and I had already run 5 miles, I started a 30 day booty challenge.  It’s on my Day Zero Project / goal list to complete a 30 day challenge, and I think this is just what I needed to introduce body weight exercises back into my routine.

I must admit that I am pleased with myself for seriously implementing a plan to improve upon where I’ve determined that I’m currently lacking.  So many times before, I’ve had little to no follow through on my intentions.  Now, consistency is the key!

 

 

 

Ocular Ode

There are days that I yearn to write; I crave the process, yet I’m seemingly uninspired.  I took a moment to Google search journal prompts, and I stumbled upon 52 Weeks of Self-Discovery Prompts  for Your Bullet Journal.  Granted, this isn’t my bullet journal (yet another task I’ve been meaning to start / try), but perhaps relying on a prompt will satisfy my desire to write.  Self-discovery is not a bad path to meander along sporadically.

What is your favorite physical characteristic (face or body)?  Describe a time you felt proud of that feature.

As mentioned in a previous post entitled I LOVE ME: Mission #1, my eyes are my favorite physical characteristic, at least facially.  Body wise, I think my answer could be my legs.  But I digress . . .

At the ripe ol’ age of 12ish, maybe 13 . . . You know, those middle school years and that age when one learns and experiences that other children are mean . . . I was taunted incessantly for having such large eyes.  I do believe (and by “I do believe,” I mean, I totally know and remember) being called “Bug Eyes.”  Even at that age, I was well aware that my eyes were a focal point of my appearance, but I do not remember in what capacity other than being deemed the eyes of bug.

They’re my eyes; they’re blue and they’re allegedly big, but they’re all I’ve ever known so I do not see them as being particularly large.  <~~~ This was my perception and thought process then, and I maintain it to this day, to some degree.  Hindsight is oftentimes 20 /20, as they say, and yeah, they’re of considerable size, but I’m not twinning with a tarsier!  Tarsiers are adorable, btw.

tarsier

*Image obtained from: animals-zone.com

In 1999, my Gramps passed.  He and I were close, and I will forever mourn his death when there are milestones in my life that he is not present for; I think he’d be proud of me.  And no, I am not going off on an entirely unrelated tangent – I always loop it around, just wait for it.  When my Gramps died, I was crushed, and I handled my grief as many angsty pre-teens and teenagers do – I became aloof and introspective.  I don’t remember crying because ultimately, I wanted to be strong for my Mum.  However, it was at my Gramps’s funeral that the damn dam broke, and I let many a tear fall.  The trigger?  In looking at Grampy’s picture, I realized and said to my cousin sitting beside me, “I have his eyes.”  It was at that singular moment that I knew that my eyes are special, and I chose to not only embrace my eyes but to love them, even when others teased and taunted.  After all, there was not, is not, and nor has there ever been anything amiss regarding my peepers.

Not only do I love my eyes, I think that they are pretty, and I feel OKay in admitting so.  I think that self-love has been too closely associated with vanity, and as a result of such, I find myself afraid to admit that I find an aspect of myself as beautiful.  I doubt I am alone in this idea.  Self-love defined:

“regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”

So, a moment that I felt particularly proud of my eyes . . .

In 2014, my eyes were tattooed on a man’s leg.  I have never met this man, and he lives approximately 3,087 miles from Maine, in London, England.  So, how did my eyes end up on a complete stranger’s limb?  Via my old and now abandoned Instagram account, I followed a London tattoo artist.  In the past, I had commissioned a drawing, done by this artist, as a gift to a (now former) friend and colleague.  Many months later, I was advised that he had a customer who had requested a tattoo of eyes, and he used one of my photos to fulfill said customer’s request.

tatt

There is absolutely no doubt that those are my eyes in this tattoo.  Though I don’t often reminisce about the stranger permanently marked with my oculars, when I do think about it, I feel remarkably flattered and momentarily brim with confidence.

#juststrong

June 1st.  A new day, a new month, and a new chance to focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.  OH, and it’s National Donut Day, and YES, I accepted a free donut (thank you, Dunkin’)!!  However, I will be gifting my freebie donut to my Dad.  In fact, I may try to see how many I can wrangle up throughout the day.  National Donut Day is also one of the jokiest days of the year around work because . . . Well, you know . . .  cops and donuts.

Image result for national donut day meme

So, it’s on my Day Zero Project (I’m not sure I am quite ready to link in my DZP) to write in my blog at least 50 times throughout the duration of the project.  This is update #3 since I started the DZP in December of 2017, which is just not acceptable.  Hence, my desire to “focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.”  For those of you who are unaware of what Day Zero Project is, quite briefly, it’s 101 goals in 1,001 days.  I have some seriously for serious goals such as: run a half marathon, run 1,001 miles, get to my goal weight, and inspire someone.  I also have some silly ones such as: use an entire tube of Chapstick, color an entire coloring book, get up to 1,000+ followers on my Instagram, and get a 500-point game on Words With Friends.  <~~ I’ve come so close with a 493!

In order to obtain my blogging goal, I may need to shift the focus of my blog.  When I began this one, I loved the idea of having a blog devoted solely to my fitness accomplishments and weight loss journey.  I then attempted to maintain a blog showcasing my incoming and outgoing mail endeavors, a blog for my creative and crafty endeavors, a blog for my creative writing and poetry, and yet another for my basic idiosyncratic blatherings.  However, I think I am going to convert this blog into just one big representative hunk of … ME.  I’m not compartmentalized, why should my shared experiences be?  Not to mention, that is a ridiculous number of blogs to not only attempt to maintain consistently but just to have, period.

So, in keeping on topic regarding DZP, one of my goals was to be selected to represent something . . . vague, right?  I am thrilled to check this goal from my to-do list; I was selected by Just Strong – Clothing for Strong Women as one of their ambassadors!  I began my ambassadorship in April, and it’s a constant reminder to stay motivated because I am now representative of strong women everywhere.  However, I believe that strength is versatile and does not necessarily require being on point every. single. day.  I believe that strength includes getting back up when I trip, when I flat out take a digger and fall, and even when I skin my knee (this is intended to be a metaphor, but seeing as I’m clumsy,  it also applies literally).  Strength is doing better math after a calorie miscalculation.  Strength is striving to make today better than yesterday, even if it’s a small tweak that’s the tipping point.

In addition to the opportunity to #bestrong and surround myself with other strong  and likeminded women, the product itself is amazing!  My tank and cropped hoodie are among some of the best pieces of fitness attire I own (and I have a vast variety of clothing that doesn’t quite fit right, doesn’t stay put, or met my needs briefly, but now, not so much).  Part of my ambassadorship is to promote Just Strong’s clothing line, and since I know that there are a lot of women out there also writing about their fitness goals and accomplishments, I’m extending my 10% discount code to you all, should you happen to stumble upon my blog and be in need of some new and high quality workout clothes.  Simply use code: AMY BLAISD10    upon checkout from juststrong.com  You work hard, treat yourself to some of the best fitness gear you will ever own!juststronglogo

 

Finally, and last mention of my DZP goals for today, follow my blog (goal: at least 10 followers) and my Instagram (60 away from goal)!  Once I move these goals from ‘In Progress’ status to ‘Done’ status, I may host some sort of giveaway, but you’ll have to follow me to find out!