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Letting January Go

Oh January. I think there’s a reason why you’re considered the most depressing month of the year. I’m glad you are gone and I’m thinking positive thoughts for February.

If you’ve noticed my absence, it’s because January 2014 was a particularly tough month for me. The weather has been cold, blah and grey, complete with lots of snow days. I have self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (Thanks Google!) and find my mood dips big time if I go too many days without seeing sunshine. In addition to the blahs, my doctor switched up my anti-depressant, which I believe was the right choice. However the taper from one drug to the other was less than pleasant. Picture me in bed more than a few times with terrible headaches. There’s currently no hope on the horizon on the job-front. And the icing on top? Our new health insurance listed zero chiropractors in this area as approved providers.* WHAT?

I tell you all of the above not to complain or have you feel sorry for me, but to share that we all have tough times.

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I love that quote and try to keep it in mind when I feel like my little world is spinning out of control. Tough times don’t mean you are a weak person. Tough times don’t mean you aren’t doing enough or trying hard enough… Tough times happen to everyone.

Luckily, February seems to be looking up. There’s a lot of possibility still hanging out in the remaining 25 days of this month and I’m going to do my best to soak all of that possibility up and do something positive with it.

Some cool stuff currently going on in my life:

  • I’m currently reading through the Bible with Lindsay. I’m a bit behind, but catching up.
  • Started a nutrition/food course today through EdX that is really interesting and will give me some continuing education I can use with my personal training clients down the road
  • Valentine’s Day is coming up. The husband and I aren’t doing anything super special, but it’s still a nice change of pace from our current daily routine.
  • I turn 27 on the 28th! Holy crap. I remember when 27 seemed so OLD to me.
  • I’m going to be applying for more jobs
  • *(Oh, and about that chiropractor business… my best friend found out that her chiropractor was going through the process of becoming in-network with my health insurance. So, I’ll be getting adjusted very soon to alleviate my back and neck pain.)

I’m also aiming to start exercising more consistently (the last two weeks have been pretty good) and eating a little more nutritiously this month.

Here’s to February and may it suck a lot less than January, which can go to Hell.

What I’ll miss about Japan

  Return Home August 2010

  • The People: Mama-san and Papa-san, the big-smiling train station attendant who always brightened my mood, the nurse at my doctor’s office who is so sweet, the ice-cream shop lady, the kids I taught, my boss, and so many more…

May 20121

  • The Drinks: C.C. Lemon, Calpis, Lipton Apple Tea, Kagome vegetable/fruit juices
  • The Food: Mama-san and Papa-san’s ramen and gyoza, onigiri, Japanese bakeries, cute candies/chocolates, green tea ice cream!

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  • The experiences: Running my first marathon, becoming my own person, Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Okinawa, Kamakura, modeling in a Japanese bridal show, beach visits, climbing Fuji, running The River Loop

As our time in Japan comes to a close, I am reminded how lucky I am to have experienced so much in my 25 years of life. Leaving Japan is definitely bittersweet—I’m excited for what’s to come, but sad to let go of this chapter in my life.

Current excitement

A list, in no particular order, of things that have me excited today:

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1. MOVING! Have I mentioned we are only 14 days and 13 sleeps away from being on our way back home?

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I’m excited about joining the Ann Arbor Track Club! I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but as soon as we are settled into our new apartment, I’m joining. They host Tuesday night speed workouts every week and a trail run once a month. I think it will be a great way to meet some like-minded friends, not to mention become a better runner.

3. OUR APARTMENT! Seriously just so happy to have found one that seems right for us and is within our budget. We’re still sorting out some details and will sign the lease after we arrive in Michigan. *fingers crossed*

4. These beautiful flowers J’s school gave him:

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Today was the closing ceremony for J’s school, so he gave his farewell speech. He did a great job, too. After his speech one of the students presented him with a huge bouquet of sunflowers and carnations. I broke the bouquet into two smaller ones to put into water. I love having fresh flowers in the house—it makes me so happy—but I never want to spend the extra money on them. A nice surprise on a gloomy Friday.

5. I’m running 10 miles in the morning. Whee! Super exited to wake up and RUN. Hopefully, if the weather cooperates, we’ll be heading to the beach afterwards.

 

So much fun stuff going on in my life right now and I feel so blessed. It’s really cathartic to be cleaning out our apartment, getting rid of junk, and finding new homes for things, too. I’ll be back sometime on Sunday with a marathon training update for weeks 7/8—I have my work farewell party, so no promises on how quickly that will go up.

‘Twas the night before a long run

… and all through the apartment, Maria was running around like a chicken with her head cut off.

Yeah, not exactly like the Christmas story you might remember… but it is a pretty accurate description of how the night before a long run feels. There’s a few key things that must happen to ensure the success of the next day’s run.

1. It’s important to eat a (healthy) carb-rich dinner. Usually this means pasta of some sort for me—because that’s easy and I don’t have to think about it. But tonight it meant pizza.

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Honestly, I would have preferred spaghetti, but The Husband threatened mutiny if he had to eat spaghetti again this month.

I also try to start hydrating early. I obviously don’t want to be peeing all night, but I do try to have an extra glass or two of water with dinner.

2. Since I am already in the kitchen, my Camelbak bladder needs to be cleaned, filled, and refrigerated. The refrigeration is optional, but it’s easier to fill in the night before. One less thing to deal with tomorrow…

3. All electronics to be used tomorrow must be charged.

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This ends up with my computer having 5,344,340,359 cords attached to it. You can see I’m charging my Garmin 205 and iPod above, but I also need to charge my phone and my Bodybugg (because its battery beeped at me this evening and is on the way out).

4. If I’m feeling like it (and I have the time) I try to make a new running playlist. Some weeks I download new music for it and others I just rearrange the music I already have. I get bored of songs quickly, so I try to limit running with music to long runs. I made a playlist earlier this week, so I just need to sync it with my iPod tonight.

5. The weather must be checked about 500 times.

In case you are curious, this is what I’m dealing with tomorrow:

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After checking out the weather and taking different factors into account (temperature, chance of rain, humidity, wind, cloudy vs. sunny), I will decide what time I want to run. I will be waking up extra early tomorrow to beat the sunshine and heat.

6. After determining what the weather should be like (surprises do happen!), I plan what I’ll wear and lay it out. I am incapable of making logical or rational thought before 9 a.m., so I do as much as possible the night before.

7. The alarm is set (double, triple, and quadruple checked) and I hit the sack early to get enough sleep and wake up for the run.

What does the night before a long run look like for you? Any different than mine?

P.S. I posted yesterday about the awesome compression socks I bought (with my own dollars) from Pro Compression for half price. Today I received a coupon code in my e-mail from the company and thought I’d pass it along to you. Coupon code SOM612 expires July 10, 2012. This is for orange socks only, but it’s a great deal at 40% off retail price.

Everyday is new

Remember my goal of moderation/portion control at Saturday night’s dinner and karaoke party? Epic fail. Epic, epic, epic fail.

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That’s all I’ll say.

But the good news is that everyday is new and we get a chance to start over any time we choose. So that’s where I’m at this Tuesday. Starting over after a crazy Saturday night and a less than stellar Sunday and Monday is just what I need.

Truthfully, I feel like crap after eating so poorly and not taking very good care of myself for those few days. Clean eating makes my body feel great and full of energy—all it takes is a few days of junk food to be quickly reminded of why I choose to eat clean. Unfortunately, it does take a few days of clean eating to get back to feeling like myself. In the meantime, I’m riding out the “brain fog” and low energy wave.

I skipped my workouts on Sunday and Monday, so I knew I needed to tackle today’s GPP workout this morning and get back to business.

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It was tough, but it was fun. And those Dippy Birds were some of the most awkward exercises I’ve ever tried, but a good challenge. I bet I’ll feel them tomorrow.

All together I was able to complete 5 non-RX rounds.

I didn’t run though. My feet are still tired from my run on Saturday afternoon + Saturday night shenanigans. I’m going to run tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

I’m also grocery shopping today. There’s not a piece of fruit to be found in our apartment and that is sad.

Now for something totally different:

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J had the day off work yesterday so we finally took a daytrip to Kamakura. We’ve been saying we wanted to do this for months, but every time we planned the trip the weather ended up being awful. Luckily, yesterday was gorgeous and we had a great time.

The main reason I wanted to make it up to Kamakura before leaving Japan was to see The Big Buddha.

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I’m not Buddhist, but I had to stand in awe of this statue and the sheer manpower it would have taken to build it in its day. It was created in the 1200s and it’s so large that you can go inside. Truly breathtaking.

Okay… time to power through this Tuesday!