Enjoying the Silence

I named this blog Moments Overlooked, yet so much of my life is spent doing just that. Overlooking the moments that make up life.

2015-02-07 09.17.08My morning routine is a great example of this. I am a self-declared morning person, much to the hub’s chagrin (he is a night owl, of course). There’s nothing I enjoy more than waking up early to the promise of what the day might have in store. I drink some water, make my coffee, and READ THE INTERNET.

Morning sabotaged.

Why? For me, one of the things I enjoy most about the morning is the silence. The only audible sounds are the hum of the refrigerator and the brewing of the coffee. It is the perfect kind of silence for hearing your thoughts and seeing where your heart goes to. It’s an opportunity to listen to yourself.

All of which is ruined once I check my Facebook, the news, Zite, Refinery29 and all the other websites or apps I read because the silence has now been filled up with noise, with the voices, of others in the forms of updates, headlines, rants, raves, etc. and my own voice gets lost in the melee.

So, I’ve been trying to use my mornings more wisely, to enjoy the silence, and to use the silence to become more self-aware and, as a result, more productive.

Here’s what I’ve been doing that’s been working for me:

1) Wake up and drink a giant glass of water (while coffee is brewing!).

2) Do ten sun salutes followed by stretching (for about a total of ten minutes).

3) Drink coffee and enjoy the silence. Listen to my thoughts, see where my mind and heart go.(5 minutes or however long you want/need.) Sometimes I do this with my eyes closed, sometimes I stare out the window. Sometimes I cuddle the puppy (okay, I do that all the time). Whatever helps my mind wander.

4) Write in my journal for ten minutes. (I use the timer on my phone for this so I’m not constantly checking the time which is an inspiration killer, IMHO.) Often my entry will reflect my thoughts from Step 3. Other times it might be about something else entirely. It is always, however, productive. Journal writing is a great way to give a voice to your voice and to process whatever might be going on in your head and heart. It has become one of my favorite parts of the day.

5) Finally, make a list of things to do using three categories: WORK. PERSONAL. HOME. I usually put the three most important things I’d like to accomplish that day under each category and try my best to get them all crossed off the list. Sometimes I do (and I AM VICTORIOUS) and other times I don’t (BUT AM STILL VICTORIOUS). No sweat. There’s always tomorrow!

This has become my morning practice. I don’t like to use the word routine because it has the connotation of mindless action. That’s what I used to do. These five steps, however, are mindful actions done to foster awareness ,which I feel resonates more closely with the word ‘practice.’ That’s just me.

Anyhow, I’ve been doing this since the beginning of the new year and so far I’ve pretty much kept to it aside from our time in Tokyo. And, I’ve found that my days in general have become more productive, focused and purposeful. Don’t get me wrong, I still peruse and read the Interwebs, but I do this when I’m taking my breaks from crossing things off on the To-Do list (i.e Taking Care of Business).

Everyone is different. This morning practice may not work for you. But, I encourage you to take that extra time in the morning to enjoy the silence and develop your own steps for a mindful and productive day.

xoxo,

G

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Week 2 Completed! And Cake!!

Hello there runners, readers, lovers of life! I’m a bit behind on my posting, but my silence is no indication of my running! I’ve kept up with the training and even threw in a game of tennis in there on Sunday and STILL ran 3 miles!

Quickly, here are my stats from last week (thank you Runkeeper, or as I like to call her “Ms. Lady”):

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3.35 miles. 36:31 time. 10:55 average pace. 298 calories burned.

Wednesday: 9km on stationary bike. 30:00 time.

Thursday: 3.01 miles. 34:43 time. 11:32 average pace (slow!). 263 calories burned.

Friday:  Rest Day

Saturday: 4.01 miles. 44.48 time. 11:10 average pace (slow and steady). 357 calories burned.

Sunday: 3.01 miles. 33:58 time. 11:17 average pace (I am a turtle). 265 calories burned.

Though a little bit slow, I’m happy with the miles I’m getting in. In particular, I’m especially chuffed with that spectacular Saturday where I ran FOUR MILES! That is a first for me ever. So, naturally, I had to celebrate by making this cake! I followed the recipe pretty closely though I didn’t sift the flour because I don’t have a sifter nor did I use cream of tartar because I’m in South Korea and probably not going to be finding that in the grocery store anytime soon!

Anyhow, the cake was moist and delicious, though I recommend doubling the recipe to make two round cakes so you can stack them, otherwise, it’s a little slim. Also, I did a Google search on some frosting options using yogurt and cream cheese and ended up using 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup softened cream cheese and I’d say about  1/2 cup of plain yogurt (Greek is even better if you have some). I also added some honey to taste and a teaspoon or so of almond extract though vanilla would be just as nice. I beat it all together until it was a creamy, smooth consistency. I would also keep it chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to frost your cake, otherwise you might have a runny mess on your hands like I did (see picture of plate below!).

Anyhow, I made the cake, let it cool and when it was ready, first spread a light coating of strawberry jam on the top of the first cake and then added a thin layer of the frosting on top of that. Then, I stacked the other cake on top and frosted the heck out of it, top and sides. Finally, I used some defrosted frozen blueberries and used them as a decorative and delicious topping. Voila!

Cake!

Haha! You can see some frosting smears and the juice of the blueberries staining the cake, but you get the general idea. The important thing is that it was truly delicious and hubby approved.

Today I start on my Week 3 of training. Also, I signed up for a 10K charity race which will be on November 15th in Seoul running along the Han River, my favorite place! I’ve never done anything like this before in my life. I am equal parts excited and terrified. But, a large part of the reason I’ve chosen to start running was to face my fears and show myself that I am capable of accomplishing my goals if I put my mind, my efforts and my heart into it.  Here goes nothing!

Anyhow, enjoy the cake recipe! Let me know if you have questions about it or anything else.

Happy running & baking!

xoxo

Night Running

Everything about today was wrong. The alarm went off at the wrong time, I missed my morning three mile run, the dog chewed off her splint (she broke her metacarpal three weeks ago) which meant I would have to take her to the vet as soon as I got back from work thereby pushing back the run AGAIN. At work, I had an angry student who decided to take out his frustrations on me (long story) and my hubby was in a bad mood.

Peg Leg MacGee

I felt how my dog looks in this photograph. Bummed.

However, finally I was able to get to my run. So far, I’ve been a morning runner. There’s something soothing about the freshness of the day and the sense of having accomplished something before you’ve even walked into work. Also, for some reason I just feel safer running in the morning, which is a topic I’d like to talk more about in a future post.

As I set out, I felt heavy from the day. Worn out. Tired. Wondering if my legs had it in them to go the three miles. My goal was to run straight through. At least that’s what it had originally been. But, after the day that I’d had, I wondered if I could even make two. However, once I got started it didn’t take long to find my rhythm. Pretty soon, instead of thinking about my crappy day, I was enjoying the sound of the kids at the playground, the feeling of the evening air as I ran through it–cool and crisp, and the color of the sky as the sun began to drop towards the horizon. Before I knew it, two miles had whizzed by and I was heading into my third with smooth, steady strides.

I ran my three miles today straight through. In fact, I ran 3.35. And, by the time I got back to my house to do my strength training, I felt like a new, better me: in control of my run and in control of me. Tonight, I’ll go to bed not thinking about the crappy day I had but about the herons fishing in the river, the sound of the carp as it leapt out of the water and splashed back in, the dragonflies laying still on the pavement. I’ll think about all the good things we might miss if we don’t lace up, get out there, and move.

There’s something to be said for night running. I may just be converted.

Which do you prefer: morning or evening runs? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xoxo

Week 1 Completed!

Shoes!

I’m happy and proud to say that I’ve completed Week 1 of my training. Today I did my two-mile run and I’m happy to report I did it without ONE.SINGLE.WALK-BREAK! Ahh, the training. You are so wise! I went from walk/running to a full on 2 mile run. *Insert happy dance here*

I wanted to celebrate by making these amazing almond meal pancakes (with my own twists of course!), but sadly we were out of almonds. So, instead it was a healthy, protein packed breakfast of scrambled eggs and brown rice flour toast. Yum!

So, here was my program for the week followed by my stats (brought to you by Runkeeper)!

Monday: Rest Day–Can I just say that I love any program that has Monday as a rest day?

Tuesday: 2 Mile Walk/Run–As you’ll see below, that ended up being a 5 mile hike. Whoops!

Wednesday: 30 Minutes of Cross Training–I did 30 minutes on our stationary bike in the house and rode for a little over 9 km.

Thursday: 2 Mile Walk/Run–I walked. I ran. Slowly. Very slowly.

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 2 Mile Walk/Run–This was a huge day for me. I ran more than I walked most of those 3 miles. It was the first real day where I thought, “Yeah. I can do this.”

Sunday: 2 Mile Walk–So, apparently this was meant to be a brisk 2 mile walk. Instead, I ran the whole 2 miles without taking any walking breaks which felt amazing. In fact, I was ready to go for the full 3 miles again but thought it best to stick to the program, err, more or less.

STATS:

Tuesday Week 1, Day 2

Thursday Week 1, Day 4

Saturday Week 1, Day 6

Sunday Week 1, Day 7

Next week I start adding strength training to the mix, and the hunt for new running shoes begins.

xoxooxo

Run

916441-woman-jogging

Week 1, Day 6

The average life expectancy of females in the US is 82. So, at 35, experiencing a bit of a midlife, or perhaps what could be described as the rumblings of a pre-midlife crisis, might be a tad on the early side. Or maybe it’s perfectly natural. Who knows?

The funny thing is, I don’t feel 35. I don’t feel like 40 is only 4 and half years away. But it is. And, lately, that thought has been catching up to me. I’ve been finding myself feeling disappointed. A lot. It’s this nagging sensation that’s with me all the time, like a birthmark or a scar. I wake up and think of my regrets and fall asleep counting my failures instead of sheep. It’s not healthy, and I know it. So, maybe that’s why, sort of on a whim, I Googled “how to train for a half marathon”. Lots of hits came up of course, so I clicked on the first that caught my eye. It took me to the Women’s Running website to an article entitled “Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan. It was straightforward, it was simple and I thought, why not?

So, began the journey. I’m only 6 days in, but today I ran 3 miles, a personal record. I felt amazing. I felt proud of myself, which is something I haven’t felt in lord knows how long. I didn’t feel like a failure. It may have only been three miles, but they were my three miles and a real stepping-stone towards achieving my ultimate goal of running 13.1 miles at the end of 14 weeks, which for me will be on Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Now, there are definitely some obstacles in my way. #1) I’ve never run long distance before in my life, #2) my running shoes are falling apart and #3) I’ve started this journey at a ridiculous time. It’s September and by the time I’m running my 13.1 miles it will be well into winter. However, I’ve made this promise to myself. I’ve set this goal. And, most importantly, I WANT and quite possibly NEED to do this.

Why? Because its something I didn’t think I could do. Or rather, its something I didn’t let myself believe I could do which, in these past introspective weeks, I have allowed myself to acknowledge have been what’s held me back on a great many of my life decisions. You see, whether or not I like to admit it to myself, I’ve suffered from low confidence since I was a teen and this has led to a myriad of bad choices regarding the way I treated myself and the way I let myself be treated by others. I won’t get into details, but I’m sure you catch my drift. I’ve never had the courage to grab life by the horns and say, “Here we go!”

So, I’m running. I’m running because I have two working legs and a pair of old sneakers. I’m running because I believe that I can. I’m running because at the end of these 14 weeks, I hope that its not just the 13.1 miles that I’ll be running towards, but a better understanding of myself and what it is I can accomplish if I set my mind to it.

My tools: