Learning to Love Lunges

Manduka Equa Towel for Bikram yoga class

Image by lululemon athletica via Flickr

I have signed up for a 14k run in 8 weeks time.

Now, I realise that this time last year I was running 20+km every Saturday.  But since crashing and burning before reaching the start line of the Marathon last June, I have let all of that hard work slip.  I did then sign up for works internal “Biggest Loser” comp, but for about 3 weeks prior to the house move I was incapacitated by so much else going on and a severe shortage of time.  Though saying that makes me a little hypocritical as, I normally always say that there is always time for training.

So, with the house move complete, and me back at work and anticipating a purchase of an amazing machine which will [hopefully] transform my eating aka cooking habits for the better (it should- its going to cost a bomb!), I find myself lacking excuses to delay delving back into training.

I managed to do a short run (3.5km) in 20 minutes last week, which I thought at first was rather slow, but then my best time for that loop is 18 mins so it wasnt so bad, considering.  I even managed to survive my first PT session in 3 weeks ok.  So, I’m thinking perhaps the rest has actually been a good thing.

Last night, The Crush, a co-worker and myself decided to do some interval-type training and he being the sadistic lover of pain, imposed on us many lunges-coupled with sprints

Wow.

First of all I consider it nothing short of a miracle that I did not face-plant into the bitumen after the first set of lunges, which left my legs feeling like jelly. The second set of lunges left my legs wobbly and burning intensely.  The third set…well, you might as well have cut my legs off, I could not seem to isolate the location of the pain – it was a relief to start sprinting!

Today my challenge is to stand up from my chair at regular intervals and walk around without making “old person” noises.

But overall I was happy to survive a 6.5km session and still feel like jogging back to my room afterwards.

Though, it looks like I may have to finally commit to Bikram Yoga if I want to avoid having the flexibility of a 90 y.o. by the age of 35, as my hamstrings must be a good ft shorter today…

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Those constant little reminders…

A few months ago I sat down and wrote out what I thought was a very thorough –but concise- single spaced, 7 page description of the “relationship” I had with Mr X. I did this in an attempt to overcome the pain and the hurt and the disappointment. I just wanted to be real with myself. I wanted to see the “relationship” through the eyes of those around me. That is, as a series of events that, when strung together, did not paint a pretty picture, much less a “happy ever after”.

What I wrote shocked me. I had berated myself for allowing this man to waltz in and out whenever he pleased, to break my heart a number of times, seemingly without consequence. I had belittled myself and allowed my very matter-of-fact, logical brain to issue its stream of “I told you so”’s for months and months. When I was finished writing my dossier on the Mr X Situation, and read back over it and what I discovered was on average, that man shattered my heart and my confidence about once a month, in a very clear and repetitive cycle.

It all started with an “I love you”, which I blurted out, quite unintentionally, and inappropriately and horrifyingly, sober one cool April evening in 2008 after emerging from my bed after a far-too-late-in-the-evening phonecall to rescue him from a long, drunken walk home, whilst still in my pj’s.  After that, the cycle was set in motion and it went something like this:

Something would happen, i.e. he would have a bad day, get some bad news, or we would be out having a drink with friends together, or he’d find himself at a loose end.  He’d call or we’d share a cab home together and we’d end up er…together…then he would ignore/avoid me for a couple of weeks, I would then hound him to find out what was wrong, he would pretend he was busy, or if it was later in the relationship, he would become exasperated and just say straight out “look, I don’t love you”, I would (obviously) get upset and then proceed to give him the “space” he so bluntly requested, and then at about week 4 I would get a phonecall from him, “just to say hi” or to see how I was because he “hadn’t heard from me in a while”, I would shove all of the obvious snide retorts to the back of my throat, swallow them, and we would continue a discussion as friends, as though nothing had happened. Then after a week or two the above cycle would start all over again.

It was about a 6 week rotation, give or take.

I had forgotten I had written out this saga out up until a couple of weeks ago. What (or more accurately who) reminded me was The Crush… and my friend N and her very current and similar experience with her version of Mr X.

Let me begin by saying, The Crush, is…well, he’s a complex man, with complex issues but an impressively positive attitude to just about everything.

And it’s contagious.

If I had to sum him up for you in one sentence I would say he is the highs of Mr X and M all rolled into one without the lows, without the disappointment, the fear of commitment and the ultimatums. He lets me be me and he expects the same in return, but generally he appears to be respectful of my feelings and he is, attentive. Ok, not quite one sentence but close enough.

He sounds like the ideal man, right? Well…I am enough of a realist now to know that there is no such thing. I live in the REAL world now, remember? Yes, there are some big issues to be addressed but after this past weekend, I fear that the issues may be more mine than his…

So, during a conversation with N recently, I had cause to recall a particular incident with Mr X.  I’m not sure when it happened now (all of these events seem to merge into one), but I got a call from him one Saturday afternoon, and we decided he should come around as I was not doing anything and neither was he. We would spend the afternoon together, lovely!

He walks in the door, I get him a glass of water, and he grabs my hand and leads me to the bedroom. He starts to try and undress me and I stop him.  Apart from the fact that its rude to rush me into the bedroom when we havent seen each other for a few weeks, I informed him it was “that time of the month” (which it was) and I wasnt up for a romp under the bedcovers.

He (and I promise I am not exaggerating…) sighs, retracts his arms from around me, gets up and walks out of the room. He then says he is going to get something to eat. At this point, desperate not to have him walk out the door so soon, especially not to have him walk out annoyed with me (how dare I say “no”!) I – [cringe]- invite myself along.

Being the gentleman that he was ‘not’, he neither agreed nor disagreed, and so we head down the street for sushi.

In silence.

We buy sushi, and drive another 200m to the beach to eat.

In silence.

Then he drops me home.

You guessed it, in silence.

I later get a txt saying sorry he was not talkative- he was hungover.

So….he felt too poorly to speak, but sex would have been A-OK!

Now that I have admitted my humiliating scenario to you all, I now come to the point of telling you why I am suddenly feeling the need to regurgitate Mr X scenarios.

The reason is, last Friday.

The Crush and I had plans to see each other this weekend, we were both admittedly missing each other a lot after not having seen each other for 2 weeks. Only on Friday, I woke up to a familiar bloated, heavy, crampy feeling. Which was ok, but a little earlier than expected and would also mean I would be unavailable for any more “intimate” intentions this weekend. He arrived an hour late to take me to brunch, and then a couple of hours later inevitably, I had to turn his hand(s) away. But he didn’t get shirty and walk out of the room, we just stayed there, and he wrapped his arms around me and we snoozed and chatted for half an hour before I had to get up to go to an appointment.

He told me he would be back in a few hours.

A few hours passed, and a couple more and I found myself, in between chores, checking my phone more often than I would like to admit. Finally, at 6:47pm I caved, and sent him a message enquiring what time would be seeing him that evening and whether I should book a table for the restaurant we had planned attending.

The delayed response did not bode well, but sure enough, 20 minutes later I received a message that his friend had invited him to go crabbing at 5:30am in the morning and it probably wasn’t such a good idea that he come visit me. He’d call me in the morning.

I was left feeling disappointed, angry and wondering if this was really an innocent last minute engagement, or if it was more to do with the fact that he knew if he came around, we wouldn’t be playing around.

And then, rather than being angry with him, I got angry with myself, up until now, this man has done nothing to suggest that he would be that callous. In fact whenever he has done anything that even remotely resembled a Mr X moment, he has always surprised me in the best way possible, and reminds me, that he does not fit into the Mr X mould.

So, do I have something to worry about? Or is this just me projecting my fears and insecurities from past disasters, onto the present circumstances?

I don’t want to be the crazy baggage lady. But I don’t want to be Shattered Serene for another 3 years, either. When I met The Crush, I was finally starting to feel happy. I was still dealing with the emotional remants from my interactions with Mr X and M, but I was getting through it and I was getting my confidence back.  I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I was taking time out to enjoy my freedom.

What has scared me is that on Friday my confidence was swept away so quickly, as though it was never there in the first place.  That indeed, is a frightening prospect given it had taken me many, many months to build.

I’m not asking for a proposal, but what I do need is a commitment to prove to me that I am, at the very least, a priority, and I’m not sure I’ve seen that yet.

After talking about my issues from Friday with The Crush last night, he was surprised by the fact that I considered him to be quite so shallow.  He was feeling concerned that we shouldn’t let our friendships fall by the wayside, and whilst I agree with him, I dont think that is justification for shoving me aside when his friends suggest a fun outing.  He seemed to understand and was apologetic, and I felt guilty for having assumed the worst of him.

This man is amazing, wonderful. But I fear that R may be right, and he may indeed also be dangerous.

And so it is, that I proceed with a positive attitude, coupled with a healthy dose of caution.

So much Joy, for a trifling $2.95!

Logo of Ikea. Drawn by Mysid on a PNG original...

Image via Wikipedia

I come to you live from…my house.

That’s right, I have moved in, FINALLY! My hands are trashed with blisters and cuts and scrapes and extreme dryness from handling so much cardboard and paper, but I am now sitting on my couch, in my living room.  There is a lot of work to do, and it will literally take months, if not years, to get the more significant renovations completed, but I am loving having my own space, which I can indeed make, my own.

I have also realised I have far too many clothes for one person and this has been most significantly highlighted by the fact that I am currently without a wardrobe and I have to somehow find sufficient hanging and storage space without making my little nest seem cluttered and unruly.

Thank goodness for Ikea and their very affordable “Rigga” systems which can be hidden away in a closed second bedroom!

I have spent many an hour in Ikea the past week or so, and I have to admit that for all my snobbery regarding all things flat-pack in the past, I am beginning to derive immense joy from discovering all there is to discover about ingenious European space-saving ideas.  I have also developed a particular liking for the little stick on LED lights that you can put in cupboards and hard-to-light places. Even better, I discovered yesterday that for this week only, they could be mine for a mere $2.95.

I bought four.

I now have to figure out where I am going to put four stick-on light widgets.

But I’m confident I’ll find a use for them one day.

Meanwhile The Crush gave me a water cooler as a house warming present.  It is pretty cool (no pun intended), but I’m not sure I’m coordinated enough to install the 15kg water bottles it houses without flooding my living room…

The Destruction of Destructive Emotions

Destruction is the way of the Stormtrooper

Image by Stéfan via Flickr

Oh Dear, my tardiness has reached a new level of tardy!

I truly have not had much opportunity to write recently as I am in full-blown packing/moving mode. The official move is Friday (day after tomorrow) and I am still VERY disorganised.  Too much time going through things with the requisite “oooh” ‘s and “aahhh” ‘s and “Oh! I forgot I had that!” ‘s.

There is a reason why Cancerians are known as hoarders…its because we ARE.  How we mere crabs even manage to survive with our little shells crammed full with our life treasures, is beyond me.  But I still manage it, though the act carrying it from place to place is starting to wear a little thin.

In addition to all of this packing and reminiscing, I have also made a start on the house renovations.  I strangely felt a little sad on Friday when I went in there to take a look and assess what needed to be done before I flew out of town on Monday.  I think it was just the looming “closure” of a chapter.  Part of it was probably because that for so long I had always imagined that when I moved out of my current house, it would be to move in with Mr X and start the wonderful life I had planned so carefully in my mind, together.

But though that is now never going to happen, I soon cheered up at the prospect of having a place that I could make completely my own, without having to consult or compromise, and that is a rather cool feeling.

So, bright and early on Saturday I trooped over there with a sledge hammer and jimmy bar and took to demolishing the hideous wardrobe with gusto.  There is something very satisfying about the act of destroying something with careless abandon. Whilst it might have been therapeutic had I been in a bad mood to start with, I still managed to feel even more light hearted for my efforts at the end (the fact that the room already looked like it had a facelift after removal of the odd-looking pine cupboard with calico-covered doors(wtf??) and the very fashionable browny-beige carpet, might have had something to do with that).

The wall did not emerge unscathed, as the wardrobe was attached in a rather unsual fashion, which made it impossible to detach without taking some plaster with it, but Im not too concerned, a much bigger, prettier wardrobe will be replacing it and covering a multitude of sins.

Today my new floorboards get installed and I cannot wait to stop by this evening to assess the handiwork.

This may not have been the new beginning I had hoped for 2 or 3 years ago, but it is real and it is the result of my doing and so, I storm ahead now, like a storm trooper, feeling (just quietly), a little chuffed with myself.

Dr…?

My Doctorate was officially conferred earlier last week and I completely forgot.

Strange how the importance of certain things diminishes with time. A couple of months ago I was incredulous that it was going to take them so long to deal with it, and now they have and I didn’t even notice.

It was rather special to get a phonecall from the Vice Chancellor to personally congratulate me on the achievement.

Unfortunately, no amount of pride or relief is going to detract from the fact that I’m going to look like a Twat in the Hat, on stage, in front of everyone to see, in about 6 hours.  I just pray that I dont trip and lose my way back to my seat as I did at my first Graduation.

As for the importance of things diminishing with time, I must admit to experiencing the same effect in relation to my personal life.  The fact that I have not seen nor heard from Mr X since I expressed disappointment and hurt at his apparent lack of concern for how his news would impact our ‘friendship’, has been a blessing in disguise.   I have not performed my usual backflip and reneged on my position, apologising profusely for “upsetting” him or making him feel uncomfortable, despite the fact that I have been tempted to a number of times in the past month or so.  The reason being that I know while he thinks I am upset with him, he will avoid me like the plague.  The moment I apologise, I have no way of keeping him at bay.  The last time I actually asked him not to contact me, so that I could just work through what I needed to work through, I seemed to be contacted by him more than I had in a year.  I just needed to not have contact with him so that I would have at least some chance of getting over him.

And I think I am over it, or at least well on my way.  I still maintain that I am happy, I no longer burst into tears at the thought of where he is at with his life and his new partner.  Though I still have days when I feel a bit down about it. 

I have even met someone who I actually have a bit of a crush on, which was a wonderful feeling.  But as luck would have it, I have not seen this man for 2 weeks, as he has been unexpectedly detained in a remote location.  Subsequently, I have found myself these past couple of days, questioning whether I really had feelings for him at all, as the thoughts of Mr X creep back in.  And even if I do find myself thinking about Mr X, any sadness I feel is for the loss of the friendship that I know I am not yet ready to rekindle (if ever), and, as I have said before, the loss of the dream of him.

What astounds me the most is that I am apparently smart enough to be called Dr, yet I still appear to have the emotional maturity of…well…someone a lot younger than one would expect to be befitting of such a title.

I continue to hope that when the Crush returns to town and I see him again, it will bring back the butterflies.  I’m not sure I’m ready to go back to being “butterfly deficient” just yet, I want to enjoy the feeling a little longer, even if the whole thing goes nowhere.

However, based on the number of emails, text messages and phonecalls, it would appear that this might indeed go somewhere, at least in the short term, provided I can keep at bay, the dreams I once had, and any thoughts of what could have been…

Arrival

So, some rather surprising news.

I think I may have a crush.

I don’t think anything will come of it but it does mark a significant day. The day I had a breakthrough. The day that I realised that I may finally be over (or almost) Mr X.

I have not felt such butterflies in my stomach since about April of 2008 and I was beginning to despair that I would never feel them again. But I did- yesterday.

I went out on Saturday night with a girlfriend and as we lamented our respective man-troubles, I realised that though I only received the bad news 2 or 3 weeks ago, it didn’t seem to bother me anymore. Nor am I really thinking about him. This surprised me, I felt sure that news such as that would floor me for months but I found myself saying to my girlfriend “I’m strangely not that upset about it anymore”.

I think she missed the significance of that statement but as I uttered it, I didn’t.

I felt nervous, as though I was losing a security blanket. For years now I have hidden behind this veil of pain, as though being miserable was my comfort zone. Giddy happiness was a state that, though achievable in bursts, was not able to be maintained for any length of time. It was unsettling to ever think I could be happy without Mr X, because for so long I had defined my level of happiness by whether he was in- or out- of my life.

And so it was on Saturday evening that I realised that I am happy. It’s just a different kind of happy. It’s a calm happy that comes from just reflecting on how far I’ve come, what I have managed to achieve for myself even though I thought I was broken on the inside. Though I was loathe to have my reverie interrupted to engage in a conversation with yet another 50-something year old man standing next to me (who then mistook my polite conversation to mean something entirely different -and I might add- inappropriate), I did so because I realised that I don’t have to limit my conversation to only men who I might be interested in or attracted to, different people can make you happy in different ways, and who am I to judge on face value whether or not they are worthy of my time?

Strange then, that just as I was still becoming comfortable with this new revelation of my state of happiness and well-being, I went to work yesterday, less than 48 hours after my epiphany, and was bowled over from left field by feelings that I had not had for a long time. Attraction. Real attraction. The lose-your-appetite-because-your stomach-is-doing-flip-flops type of attraction.

Don’t get me wrong, M (whom I dated for 10 months after Mr X) was no waste of my time, but he never gave me butterflies, he never made me nervous. Possibly, we were so well matched that way. I loved him and from the very beginning our relationship was one built on solid familiarity. Familiarity arising from an inherent recognition that: We were the same. The only problem is we weren’t the same when it came to timing I don’t think I want someone who is the same as me. I want that flutter of excitement, I want to not be able to predict everything he says or does.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, provided said person is also capable of loving me and treating me equally as well as I am motivated to treat them.

I have no idea what this man’s circumstances are, for all I know he is married with children. But whether or not he is available is irrelevant. (I mean of course that whether something develops is comparatively unimportant-I would never pursue or attempt to be with someone who was not available).

The real source of the spring in my step today is knowing that I am capable of feeling this way again.

Yes world, I have arrived at the end of the tunnel and there is indeed, light!

So, I’m just going to go about my day quietly appreciating that.

And I may, or may not be grinning like an idiot from time to time.