Back from the dead (of winter)

Shamrock Run 15k (9.3 miles) Portland, OR March 13th, 2016.

shamrock 2016 results

Winter was the worst.

After the Portland Marathon the first weekend in October, I took a much needed break. I knew I was over-trained and burnt out going into the race. My weeks leading up to the day of the race were awful….I  managed to pull 3rd female, and I feel lucky it wasn’t worse. Afterward, my mind and body just went ka-put. I also add that I was struggling to manage two part time jobs at the time and life in general was just hard!

But the several (acceptable) weeks of recovery bled into months.

October became November, became a dark and cold December…..and I still wasn’t running. Nor was I eating right. I was drinking (alcohol) and sleeping (with sleeping pills) all the time. I lost weight…..and not the good kind. My calf muscles shrunk. I was only rolling out of bed to lace up my running shoes 1x per week, on Saturdays when I led my running shoe store’s weekend run group…..I continued to let myself go.

I was depressed.

To a degree, I still am depressed. Depression, for me, is something I’ve dealt with since I was about 12. I remember self-harming (cutting) and even thinking that it would be nice to be dead because then I wouldn’t have to keep struggling through life (at the tender age of 12!). This winter was the worst things have been in a while. Alcohol, sleeping pills, and malnutrition coupled with cold, rainy, dark days all worked to destroy me. But I am still here. Though I seriously wanted to suffocate myself to death with a plastic bag and a zip-tie in a nearby park on a dark and freezing winter night, I didn’t. (And yes, I fantasize about ways to kill myself frequently.)

But every run, no matter how infrequently reminded me how good I could feel. And how happy it makes me to run. I teared up constantly remembering how fit & fast I was, just months prior when I was racing the Portland Rock’n’Roll 1/2 marathon.

This past weekend at the Shamrock run I felt that way again. I’m not as fit nor as fast as I was. But I felt the thrill of racing again. The weather sucked, it was pouring rain. I was freezing. But the pain of pushing myself 100% and the tactical thoughts that told me to ‘go hard’, ‘back off here’ reminded me of what I am capable of. I finished that run and spent the rest of the day on cloud 9. I’m committed to getting back to what I used to be, and then reaching even higher. My sanity depends on it.

I can feel bad about how I squandered the winter, and lost so much progress…but that won’t help me now. All I can do is accept it, and start again right now.

It’s okay. I’m okay. And I will make today better than yesterday.

100 items or bust!

953967-minimalism

I’m all about the extremes.
I care about the environment, animals, and my health? Vegan it is.
I love running, especially long distances? Marathons seem like the best distances.
I am obsessed with simplifying? Minimalism is the way to go.

What’s the best way to be an obsessional, extremist minimalist? Start counting your items and then try to fit it all in a backpack (28 liter, not 45 or 60!)

But then you have to ask, what counts? Is a pair of socks one item or two? Do chargers and cables count as separate from their electronic lovers? What about “consumables”? Consumables are food-stuffs, hygiene products, etc. They don’t hang around long and are constantly used up and/or replaced. But then, candles? Short-lived pets?

Even minimalism isn’t simple! (Actually, minimalism can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Minimalism does not equal simple, cheap or easy!)

Having 100 items or less is also NOT the gold standard of minimalism…but it’s a benchmark that I have seen other minimalists blog/talk about. Being innately competitive (and curious) I just wanted to see how much I owned in comparison…seeing as how I feel pretty accomplished at this whole minimalism thing. I live in Portland, OR and for all seasons and as a near-daily runner and student, I own:

  1. A pet rat
  2. Rat cage
  3. Rat food +containers
  4. “”
  5. Cleaning supplies for rat (paper towels, old cloths, disinfectant spray)
  6. Rat bedding
  7. Document mailer with ‘important docs’ (birth certificate, immunizations, SSN card, passport)
  8. Running shoes
  9. Trail running shoes
  10. Uggs
  11. Birkenstock sandals
  12. Casual slip-on black canvas shoes
  13. Umbrella
  14. Foam roller
  15. Running beanie
  16. Lightweight running gloves
  17. Beanie
  18. Heavyweight gloves
  19. Winter jacket
  20. Water bottle
  21. coffee thermos
  22. Rain jacket
  23. Running rain jacket
  24. Winter running hoodie
  25. Winter running jacket
  26. Sweatshirt
  27. Sweatpants
  28. fleece zip up sweater
  29. Laundry bag
  30. zip up sweatshirt
  31. dakine hoodie
  32. north face leggings
  33. nike leggings
  34. asics leggings
  35. nike capris
  36. reebok capris
  37. sporthill thermal leggings
  38. nike running shorts
  39. “”
  40. “”
  41. nike sports bras
  42. “”
  43. “”
  44. regular bra
  45. tiger leggings
  46. green denim shorts
  47. banana shorts
  48. running tank top
  49. nike running tank top
  50. PSA running t-shirts
  51. “”
  52. running t shirt
  53. PSA long running t shirt
  54. long sleeved nike running t shirt
  55. portland marathon long sleeved running t
  56. black t shirt
  57. grey t shirt
  58. blue layering long sleeved shirt
  59. tank top
  60. “”
  61. “”
  62. 14 pairs of socks (some winter, some summer, some running, some casual)
  63. swimsuit
  64. 4 stuff sacks
  65. “”
  66. “”
  67. “”
  68. 12 pairs of underwear
  69. towel
  70. washcloth
  71. toothbrush
  72. toothbrush holder
  73. contacts+ lens case
  74. Toms shoe bag
  75. small backpack (19 liter)
  76. larger backpack (28 liter)
  77. cosmetic case
  78. tweezers
  79. nail clippers
  80. bamboo utensils
  81. pen/pencil bag
  82. training log
  83. school notebook
  84. drawing notebook
  85. mini notebook
  86. kindle +cord
  87. garmin +cord
  88. timex everyday watch
  89. pens/pencils
  90. scissors
  91. beads+hemp thread
  92. USB flashdrive
  93. headphones
  94. medium plastic container + lid
  95. assorted 12 colored pencils pack
  96. phone + charger
  97. laptop + charger
  98. drawing picture of Marty and I (gift from mom)
  99. wallet + ID, debit cards, membership cards, cash, etc
  100. keys
  101. queen duvet
  102. full twin duvet
  103. pillow+ pillow case
  104. twin mattress
  105. bike
  106. bike lock
  107. bike lights

*At any given time I also have: deodorant, body soap, razors, contact cleansing solution, assorted medicine (Ibuprofen, etc), cleaning supplies, and food in my possession.

*I live in a room which came furnished with a bookshelf and a coffee table, I will be taking none of these with me when I move. Even though I use them, I do not consider them mine. It’s really great to live in a communal-ish household, I don’t have my own dishes, pots or pans because I can just borrow from the house!

I am sure I have forgotten a thing or two. I like to abide by the one-thing-in, one-ting-out rule to keep my items more or less the same. I am always looking to upgrade my things, quality items last much longer and look a lot better, which is even more significant when you have less. In the near future I am looking forward to buying a van to live out of, and will probably get rid of the bike because I don’t use it much now anyway. Of course there will always be the sad day my pet Marty rat dies too. On that not-so-happy note….