5 Tips for Your 5k

This weekend I will likely run my 4th race in 5 weeks.

I say likely because I technically haven't registered yet because I'm broke and lazy. Yay, 25.

Anyways, it is not that big of a deal. But I do really like running road races, and I especially like 5ks. For those of you that don't give a hoot about running, that's 3.1 miles. Not much in distance. But it makes for a nice run, and of course when you are running around Vermont, it is usually a great course too.

That being said, since I've been a "runner" a handful of people over the last few years have asked me for some pointers before their first 5k.

And I thought, who doesn't love unsolicited advice from me? I'll share it with y'all!

So here we are...


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1. Relax!

I still get pre-race jitters, regardless of how long the race is. But let me tell ya, the easiest thing to think about before a race is just, I'm going on a run. I'm just going on a run. 

While I totally still nervously use the port-a-potties, and have to wear certain socks to every race, it helps!

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2. Run!

Seriously! If it is your first 5k or your fifteenth, I wouldn't recommend going into it without having run...recently.

There are a lot of "couch to 5k" programs out there that - while slightly insulting in their title - all make the same argument, start slow and gain endurance as you go.

For what it's worth, when I started running in college I did the run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, schtick for weeks. And here I am today with two half marathons under my belt.


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3. Hydrate!

Most 5ks are early enough in the morning that I stick with my regular race breakfast, and just add about 24-36 ounces of water to my morning.

Ideally I like to have my 24 ounces done about 2 full hours before the race, then I tack on an extra 4 to 8 ounces in the last 30 minutes before the race.

If though, you get dehydrated easily, or didn't get enough water the day previous, you're going to need more!

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4. Have fun!

Yes! I did hate typing that nice little cliche! 

But it's true...road races, especially up here, are so low-key and they are meant to be enjoyable. Knowing that will really help you relax and have fun on the course, regardless of time, pace, or distance.

Bonus points if you get a running buddy too.


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5. Prepare!

I'm all about my pre-race routine.

I set out my bib, and my race clothes the night before. I pack my race bag with my hat, my headphones, my running belt, and sneakers. I double check the race time, set my leave time, and even make sure I know how to get there.

I don't often look at the course ahead of time (1. I don't really care. 2. I don't want to psych myself out.) But a lot of people like to know what they're getting into, so to speak.

And that's that. Then the next morning, I'm ready. I eat my breakfast, drink my water, go to the bathroom 24 times, and head out.

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I will say, your first 5k is going to be so daunting. It will feel like everyone knows what they are doing. Everyone is faster than you. Everyone is more of a runner than you. And so on, and so on.

But I guarantee two things: someone else in that pack is totally as scared and as new as you, and it is absolutely not daunting after the first 30 seconds.

So, give it a try. You might just love it for the t-shirts and medals, like me.

Me Too

To some degree, I don't even know where to begin...

I'll start with this: if you don't know why you've been seeing "Me Too" in your Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timelines, it is time for you to find out.

Much like many things designed to blanket social media in a single unified message, it is really simple (almost too simple.) The idea is that if every woman who has been sexually harassed or assaulted posted "Me Too," or #metoo, the general public would have a better image of how pervasive of a problem it is.

So if you've seen that, now you know.

If you haven't, well, that's a bigger problem.

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Because here's the thing, I shouldn't have to name myself as victim for you to understand this is a problem. I shouldn't have to tell you my story to justify the notion that these are pervasive issues. I shouldn't have to join in with a chorus of "me toos" so that someone will believe me.

I don't like this idea that through "Me Too" we are giving a voice to this.

The voices are already speaking, loud and clear. 

There is no reason I should have to use a hashtag to say, what he did was wrong, and just because I was confused, and ashamed, and a year older than him, doesn't mean it has to go by any other name.

I shouldn't have to explain why I had a fear of being in a certain department in my last job.

I shouldn't have to tell cautionary tales to girls my junior about positions I've held.

That shouldn't be a thing.

But it is. And more over, nothing there is new.

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This idea that suddenly because another high-profile pig is being called out all over the news and social media that we now need to start talking about sexual assault and harassment is nucking futs.

This happens every day.

And every day someone's voice is silenced because, "it's no big deal," or "that's not what he meant," or "you shouldn't take it so personally," or "maybe you shouldn't have said anything," or "well, did you look in the mirror today," or "it probably wasn't that bad."

I shit you not, all of that, each of those phrases, has been said to me.

So, ask yourself, why in the hell would I want to keep speaking up if that's the shit I get in return?

Can you imagine being in that position?

Can you imagine hearing that your experience is invalid because it makes someone else uncomfortable?

Well, if you can, you're probably a woman.

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And that's my problem with Me Too.

If we, as a gender, have the ability to blanket entire social media outlets with the affirmation that we too have been sexually assaulted and harassed, then why the hell aren't they just listening in the first place?

Beyond that, I don't want anyone to feel like they have to say, "Me Too" to be heard, or validated.

There is no time limit on this stuff, and to say that this is the time to speak up and say, "Me Too" doesn't give room for the fact that this is deeply personal, hard, scary as hell, and...

You should never have to say Me Too, on social media, or elsewhere, to make other people believe you, hear you, and support you. 

I can't be okay with the notion that we need a freaking hashtag to convince people that this is real, constant, and serious.

Moreover, I can't be okay with the fact that this freaking hashtag still doesn't cover the notion of why so many sexual assaults go unreported, why we still perpetuate an air of shame, and why you have to claim your survivorship in order to get other people to accept this reality.

So, sure, me freaking too.

But dammit, why do I have throw my story into the ring, and make my pain public, just so that someone out there will believe that this is a problem?

Hello Fresh(ly Single)

Let's talk about dinner!

Alright, well, we know that I have changed my dinner and cooking habits a lot in the last four years.

Four years? Yikes. Old. 


Post-grad, at least for almost two years, I was either eating at my parent's house, or bringing their food back to my apartment. Any way you slice it I was eating semi-regular, home-cooked meals.

Pre-Miss Vermont and pre-Miss America, I was obviously in full prep mode. I was meal prepping pretty much all my dinners and lunches while counting macros etc.

Post-Miss America, and really post-Miss Vermont, I gave up prepping all together.
Which is also to say, I gave up cooking regularly. Because I was tired of feeling beholden to meals, and grocery shopping, and truthfully other parts of my life were wearing me down.

Fast forward, and we are seven months post-Miss Vermont, and one month post-happy-and-in-love body.

So I made this plan - I kid you not, a week before becoming single - I was going to try another meal delivery service. Because I'm horrible at getting groceries in a timely manner. I hate having food spoil because I get too tired to cook it. And I'm notorious for getting home late and just giving up on the notion of a regular dinner.

I have dabbled in meal delivery before, but I got a coupon for Hello Fresh, and you know your girl loves a good deal, so yep - I signed up for my first box, with three meals, each for two people.

And I thought, oh great! We can cook together! Or I can have leftovers for lunch! Amazing! 

Unsurprisingly, like everything in my life that week, the plan was foiled. The box never showed.

Seriously.


So I called, cried to a Hello Fresh customer service rep, (as I did at three other companies that week, more on that soon, promise) and I found a manager that was the kindest, most earnest, human being I have encountered on a customer service call.

And he was so adamant that I have a chance to try Hello Fresh, that he gifted me a box and half.

Joy amongst tragedy!

Anyways, I've now gone through two boxes, cooked six meals, and not only do I have something to say about it, I've a giveaway!

What what 



But seriously. I want one of you to be able to try this. I can't even begin to explain how easy the whole process is.

I get to decide on my own menu from the selection each week. I can skip a week, whenever I want. And I can even skip super in advance, so I don't forget! And I'm not only eating regular, healthy, delicious dinners three or four times a week - I've also not stressed about getting to the store even once. And I haven't thrown out spoiled food in weeks.

This is huge for me. I feel like dinner is such a pain point in my day-to-day, because of course I want a home-cooked satisfying dinner, but especially right now, I often don't have that much drive.

The Hello Fresh box makes it easy, it makes it quick, and it means I've been so much happier with my weekly approach to dinner.

So, the giveaway!

I'm giving away a totally freeeeee Hello Fresh box!

To enter, leave a comment here and tell me your favorite dinner-time recipe. Then! Hop over to my Instagram, find the photo of me hugging my Hello Fresh box, and give it a like! (Also make sure you are following me!)



The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S., over 18 years old, no purchase is necessary, prize is valued at $69.95. Giveaway ends Monday, October 16th at 9 PM EST. 

No Diet Is The Best Diet

Now that I have a post-pageant body, and a post-happy-and-in-love body, I am suddenly in a whole new phase of what I am doing in the gym, the kitchen, and just, you know, in general.

And funnily enough, more than once in the last month or so - especially since jumping back on the personal training...train - someone has asked me about my diet.

Which, we should probably talk about. Because I have maintained - for as long as I have had to prep - that unless you are dieting with a specific, health-based, realistic goal, you should not be dieting.

I am so serious. And I am on no diet, at all. I eat what I want, when I want, while simply understanding that no one made salt and vinegar chips with the intention of them being consumed at every meal.


If you are prepping for a pageant/competition/race, fine.

If your doctor has given you a low sugar/low sodium diet with specific measurable goals for your own health, fine.

If you have been told by a medical professional that you need lose weight and thus cut calories, fine.

But there is no reason that you, as a healthy individual, should be on any sort of regimented plan without a specific purpose and a specific end-game and date.

Why?

Uh, literally just this: disordered eating.


If you are cutting calories, you ought to first know:
Are you already eating too many calories for your lifestyle? 
If so, should you be looking to just up your daily physical activity? 

The reality is, unless you're pounding something like 3500 calories day (a, congrats. b, wow.) you probably just need to be more active. Is it always that easy? Hell no. But before you start restricting your food intake for the sake of calories, look at how much you're burning each day against what you are consuming.

If you are prepping meals and doing the whole protein shake thing, you need to ask yourself:
If I don't eat a prepped meal, how does that effect my plans and my goals? 
At what point do I stop pre-making three meals a day and eating just that? 

I'll add here that there is a distinct difference between making your lunch ahead of time, planning out your groceries, etc. and sticking to three/five pre-cooked meals a day without room for "mistakes."

And if you are cutting carbs/fats/certain foods, you should be able to answer:
Is this something that I need to maintain long-term for my personal well-being, or am I looking for a short term fix? 

Carbohydrates are important. Fats are important. To eliminate these - or restrict what you consume of them, is just another way that you are distorting your idea of what healthy meals look like. Plot twist: they include carbs. And carbs can actually be bread, and that's fine.



Because listen, I have been there.

I have done the disordered eating thing. And I have done it while prepping, and I have done it while cutting carbs, and I have done it while adding protein shakes into my day-to-day.

And it was as simple as this:

Oh, I can't have that, it's not in my meal plan. 

Oh, that has too many grams of carbs, I'm already at X grams today. 

Oh, I'll just drink this protein instead. 

That alone is unhealthy. That alone is why I am by no means on a diet of any kind right now.


Because if your meal plan means you have to say "no" to any food (that's not an allergen or, like I said, been prohibited by your doctor,) that meal plan is causing you problems.

If you cannot eat something because of what you have already consumed that day, you are restricting food. That's a problem.

And, I don't know how many times I've explained this to girls during a pageant "season," but I'll say it ten thousand more times if it have to...there is no such thing as a meal replacement. 

Stop, stop, stop living under the assumption that you should be replacing your meals with anything.

First of all, sitting down, enjoying and chewing a meal is a really important part of the eating process. Both to your brain and the rest of your body. And there is a lot of value in looking at your plate of balanced, (solid,) and measurable foods. This is how you learn how to eat well.

Second, any time you are creating the notion that you need to replace food with liquid, you are distorting the value of perfectly nutritional food. (Fair to note, often any meal replacement shake or protein powder is loaded with synthetic products, added sugars, and chemicals.)

Finally, it is almost always more expensive per serving than actually buying food.


And I will tell you right now, I own and use protein powder. But it is not a meal replacement, and it does not get consumed instead of something else.

If I have to work early (like 5:45 AM early,) it is totally possible that I'll make a smoothie with a scoop of protein in it. While I'm doing my makeup, or brewing three pots of coffee, or driving around Chittenden County, I'll enjoy my smoothie. But you better believe that I'm making a real breakfast when I get back to the office.

Why?

Because I know that I need food, real food, to get me through the day.

And that's also why I am not on any kind of diet.

Did I lose three pounds in the first two and half weeks of this new season of life? Hell yes I did.

But it is because I started cooking regular dinners, instead of grabbing Moe's. It's because I started doing cardio four times a week, also instead of just eating Moe's. It's because I have a new personal trainer. It's because I don't happen to have any chips at my house right now.

That being said, have I been to Henry Street? Heck yeah.
Ordered pizza? Yup.
Eaten hash purples more than once in a week? Better believe it.


I am literally just eating what I want, when I want, and maintaining a healthy level of physical activity. Because I'm a grown-ass woman, and I don't have time to be re-learning how to eat three healthy meals a day every few years. That is boring, and lame. And dangit, I have enough anxiety, and you know, problems in general. I don't need to be adding disordered eating to it.

That is the whole story. 

So let me say this: if you think that by cutting calories, following a regimented meal planning, drinking protein shakes, and carb cycling is helping you, you might be right. But if you don't know at what point that stops, and you stop "being on a diet/meal plan," you need to stop now.

It is sometimes really hard to recognize disordered eating in ourselves - and it took a moment of me, standing in my kitchen, a month after Miss America when I felt like I wasn't supposed to order pizza - for me to realize, alright, it all has to stop. No form of diet or plan is worth that feeling.

And maybe you haven't hit that point, but if you know you're following some type of plan right now, I urge you to look at those questions again. Look at your own behavior. Look at how you feel about going outside of that plan. That's how you'll know.

Frankly, I gotta tell ya, eating whatever the heck you want is great! It means last week I had an insanely tasty english muffin for breakfast and a pumpkin muffin as my morning snack. And that's it. I didn't change my lunch because of that. I didn't run for an extra half hour. I still just did my thing.


And, later this week, I'm sharing the one thing that I have added to my life in the last month that I think is helping with my goals of spending more time being active, less time worrying about when I'm gonna get groceries, and still eating a regular delicious dinner. So, as they say, stay tuned.

What Feels Right

It's probably almost time to stop talking about this, I know.

But here's the thing, I have this looming date in my brain that was supposed to be a big deal (like I had a card picked out, and bomb gift, and big plans to go to dinner, and y'all my mushy romantic heart was coming through,) and it hasn't even been a month yet, so I'll ask for grace one more time here.

I've got to say, the amount of space that I have been given to have these feelings, and say these hard things, has been...just so good. It's been the reprieve I have needed in this bizarre time. And it's been because you wonderful souls have accepted that some shit is so hard that you can't just keep it wrapped up tight.

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I said the other day (last week? who knows,) that I am just trying to do what feels right.

I'm trying to settle into my gut instinct and just, go with it.

Because so much feels so wrong.



Even now I have whole days where I just think that this can't be right, we must have made a mistake. Which maybe we did. Maybe we royally screwed up, and the cosmic shift of the universe that succeeded is the whole reason that I feel like nothing fits. 

Or maybe that's just what this new life is supposed to feel like. Who knows.

Anyways. A lot feels wrong.

A lot feels like I'm not supposed to be here, I can't go there, that's not for me anymore. 

So when something does feel like I should do it, I should go there, I should be part of that - I'm doing it fast, and with my whole freaking heart.

Which, I will say, has sparked a bit of surprise in some of y'all.

The yoga, for one, has been sort of funny. Out of character, maybe. That's okay, it's working for me.
The running has just been more consistent. Which is a miracle to you and me, I think.
The solo hikes, that have officially crossed state lines, and elicited  a few, "yo, that's weird" texts.
Oh, and the not eating like I have no cares in the world. Well, that's just bizarre.

And I do want to explore each of these a little, but I also want to say: hey, if you're my friend, just support me. The yoga, the running, the hiking - it doesn't have to be your thing. That is for me. All I need from you is love and support. Just like you'd support me if I was going hard with the Netflix, and diving back into another pageant instead. 

I can tell you this, I have no idea why it is these things that feel like they are working for me. I have no idea why suddenly it is the quiet of being in the woods by myself, and going to a studio where no one knows me, and throwing my heart into a run, that I feel okay. 


I don't know.

Because sometimes, even when I'm doing those things, my heart still hurts.

But it hurts less. It feels more like this is for me. It feels more like my life is my own, and less like it is controlled by this elephant of sadness that is sitting on my chest.

I still don't know what I am doing when I go to yoga. I still don't really even want to hike with other people, because being alone out there just works. I am not running for time, or distance, or anything other than just to move, and not have it hurt at the same time.

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Speaking of that, the sadness and that hurt sitting on me.

I'm working on that.

Today is hard, and different. And I would be happiest burying myself under the covers and letting it all just wash over me. But I'm still working on it.

It's a lot of long showers this week. It's a lot of giving myself grace when I end up crying, again. It's a lot of reminding myself that eating three regular meals actually helps.

It's celebrating the little - very little - victories. The pounds down, sleeping until 4 AM, two successful races completed, and two more booked. It all counts.

And it is a lot of just being willing to say, this fucking hurts.

Especially today, this hurts. All over. This feels wrong, and it doesn't fit.

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I still don't know what comes next.

I still don't know what I am doing.

I still am just trying to do what feels right.



*This includes using old instagrams to fill this post so that a. it doesn't seem so long and b. because sometimes even mustering a happy picture is freaking hard. 

Personal Training 101

Okay, are we ready to finally talk about having a personal trainer?

I have floated the info that I use a personal trainer a few times. I first got one in January of 2016, to bring me towards a new level of fitness before Miss Vermont. Then I got one in May of this year, post Miss Vermont. This was really a reset for me, a way to re-approach strength training after a few months of mostly sticking with light cardio. And now, I'm back at it. After wrapping up my training this summer, I didn't leave feeling like I was stronger, more capable, and ready to be back in the weight room. (This had to do with me and the trainer I was using, fyi.)

So I did three things: I canceled my membership at the popular gym that was making me feel more intimidated than motivated, and took a breather.

I got a new membership at the gym that I loved while I was Miss Vermont, Hammerfit (it's in the Essex Outlets, you should try it. Seriously.)

And in the same breath, I signed up for personal training again.



Why?

Well. A few things:

1. I love working with someone else in the gym who actually knows what they are doing. 

This is a big one. I want someone who is not just a cheerleader, not just counting reps, and not just making sure I show up. That's easy. That's the work of a friend.

I want someone who can plan a workout that is going to challenge me.

Sure, anyone can swipe a workout off of Pinterest. I want a workout that is designed to help strengthen the weaknesses that I have. (Poor posture, my knees need strengthening, I miss my abs, and I favor my right side in everything.)

And, I want someone that is trained to do all of this. Who went to school, who got certified, who knows what to look for, and how to recognize injury, progression, and ways to keep me challenged.



2. This is where I see results.

Truly, the work that I put in pre-Miss Vermont, absolutely changed my body. It changed how I lift, what I lift, and I gained muscle mass and definition all over my body.

Cardio works for me. It works fast, and it works well. This is what I did pre-Miss New Hampshire, cardio cardio cardio. And sure, I dropped some weight.

But nothing - Bikini Body Guide, a personalized program from Ashley Nordman, Pinterest "booty busting/ab blasting/15 minute burn" workouts - nothing has done for my body what personal training has done.

3. It is absolutely always a challenge.

It doesn't get easier, because there is someone by your side making sure that every workout is different, and every time you hit a new threshold of strength, you are challenged again and again.

I have never once left a personal training session thinking that it was easy or familiar.


4. No, I am not competing for USA in November.

Although, sure, that would be a good motivator as I am very not stage ready.

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Now, these are just my reasons. Plenty of people use personal training to learn how to properly lift, or to keep a set gym schedule, or to try something totally out of their comfort zone.

Can't you get this somewhere else for cheaper? 

No. Anyone that tells you any differently hasn't actually used a personal trainer. Personal training while, yes, pricier, than the other options I have tried, just does not translate like that.

The reality is if you want to learn, if you want to be safe, if you want someone who is educated you need an actual personal trainer. So if you're thinking about branching out (totally recommend) please please please find someone who has gone through training themselves.


And ask questions! Figure out their style, their specialty, and what they can help you with.

Know your goals! Maybe you want to lift heavier, or maybe you want to run a half marathon.

But maybe most importantly, commit to it. I happen to one of those people who operates under the notion that if I'm paying for it, I'm making the most of it. But if that's not you, make sure you establish with yourself, how it is that you plan on staying committed, even when you don't want to.

For sure, personal training is not for everyone. Nor in every budget (fair to note that I have always done just 12 sessions at a time, and that's something I work hard to afford.)

But if this is something you have ever considered - take it from me, who is struggling in almost every aspect of her life right now - but is thriving within a new gym, and new personal training setup, try something new. Make a change.

It Definitely Still Hurts

I hope you knew there was going to be another one of these. And I'll be honest, this one is a little harder to post, and harder to write.

For one, some time has passed. I have sat with my feelings and many, many, many, thoughts for a while now.

For two, now I know y'all are listening. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty again, I just need say, thank you. Thank you for listening. For reaching out. For saying. me too. For saying, I've been there. For letting me know you're here for me now. And you want to be here for me now. It truly truly makes a world of difference in my heart.

For three, this one didn't come together exactly as I envisioned it. I wanted to give a better understanding of how my life is split in two now. What it looks like, and what it feels like. And I think you understand what it looks like (hi, you know, instagram,) so I hope this just shines a better light on what it feels like. And I hope it makes sense that my need to attempt to explain this is because I understand fully that I don't always walk around looking like a depressed slump.

In fact, would you believe I've worn a full face of makeup and Lilly more often than not in the last week or so? Yeah.

However, would you believe that I've also cried at more stupid shit than I can count? Yeah.


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And, now, a what now:

What now?

Ask me how many times I have said that to myself in the last (almost) two weeks. I don't know.

And also, two weeks? Does it feel like a lifetime? Kinda. Twelve hours? Kinda. 

I don't know what now.

I know that I have to just keep waking up, getting up, going to work, going to the gym, attempting to live my life.

Even though it sort of feels like someone drove the damn Death Star through it.

Even though I know there is a time limit on this kind of grief - I haven't hit it yet. But I feel the pressure of those little walls. Like, it is only okay to be so sad, for so long. And spilling your guts on the internet is only going to be okay for so long.

But here's the thing, this is grief. It's a loss. It is a freaking blow.

It's like someone ripped away a piece of my life and said, "Okay. Keep going."

And dammit, I want that piece back.

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Because here is what happens now:

I don't sleep through the night right now. Getting to sleep is not the worst part, though, we all know that is when the thoughts are-a-flowin. It's staying asleep. I get a lot of nightmares right now. I do a lot of tossing and turning.

And yeah, this is when the Death-Star-hole feels physical. Because my bed is missing a pillow, and my whole body somehow feels the difference.

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Actually, I feel different now. In a way I'm still not sure I can properly explain. It is like my heart is somehow more open to the world around me. And at the same time I don't want anyone near it.

That probably doesn't make too much sense.

He gave me some sort of bravery that I didn't have before him. And I had it, you know, the whole time with him. But now, in some ways, it feels like the only piece I got to keep. This bravery that was encouraged, and tended to, and loved on. Somehow that means I'm going on hikes by myself, and running races alone, and planning road trips across Canada.

...and I don't want anyone near it. Yeah, that's a tough one.

Well, a lot of people wanted to help me get fired up in the wake of this. You know, screw him! On to bigger and better things! His loss! But I am not there. Not at all.

I'm not mad. I am not bitter. I am not pissed. I am not against him. Not at all.

In fact, I get it.

Remember? He needed this. For his bigger and better to take shape, he needed to be alone. He needed time, and space...just not me.

And eff anyone that doesn't want that for someone they love. Of course I want that for him. Are you kidding? That's all I want. Go, be happy, get after that adventure.

And at the same time, that voice in my heart is loud enough that I know you all can hear it, is saying, I just wish you could be happy with me too.

Right? That's the crux. That's why I don't want anyone near this heart. Because this heart doesn't feel like enough. It doesn't want to be mad at him. It doesn't want to download Tinder, or meet dudes downtown. It wants to crawl back into bed, and ask again and again, didn't I love enough? Didn't I support enough? Didn't I try enough?

It is aching.

It is screaming.

It is every day saying, this is right, this is what has to happen, right alongside the voice that says, this sucks, this is the worst, why does this have to happen? 



//

Right now, I feel like I am being pulled between being a wallowing fat-ass, and actually trying to make myself better.

With no appetite, I've finally found the only way to curb my insatiable need for salt and vinegar chips: heartbreak.

But, what is the first thing people offer you when you've gotten your heart broken? Food.

So, like I said, I'm doing the gym thing. I got the personal trainer. I've booked the races.

Honestly, it is a distraction. It's a really nice distraction.

And I am enjoying the hikes, and the runs, and the losing of the pounds. (Amazing what a consistent two weeks of cardio will do for you.)

Oddly though, it has become a way to only focus on the task at hand. And, truthfully, I've never been that type of runner, or what have you. I use that time to think, to toss things around in my head. I find a lot of my best ideas on the treadmill. Until, well, now.

It's been...quiet time?

I think it helps that it is wildly socially unacceptable to cry on the treadmill.

Probably less so in the woods when you're alone, but whatever.

//

I am tired, always.

Wanting to cry is just a constant pervasive pulse under my chest.

I miss him, obviously.

But, it has been almost two weeks. And, my life with a hole the size of a Death Star in it, still exists. It still works. It all feels broken, and sad, and quiet. But it works.

And I hope, when you see my life working, you feel a little spark of excitement. Because that is what I get. A little spark. A flash of what the good stuff will feel like when this lifts.

Because, what you don't see is when it's not working.

When I walk in my bathroom and it just smacks me in the face that I don't need to ever take another wet washcloth off the shower rod. When I don't trip over boots in the kitchen. When I drive up to Starbucks, and feel a punch in my gut that when I finally have it in me to go to Moe's on my own again, it's gonna just be for my own salad. When I want to text him a good part of the day. When I want to see a movie we were supposed to see together. When I just need a fucking hug.

It all hurts, and throws me off kilter, and absolutely makes me cry.

Do I love that about myself? Obviously, no.

So I don't know what's next. I am taking it day by day. And I think that's the only thing to do with grief like this. You just, invite it in, sit with it, and hope that each day it gets smaller.

Each day, you do another thing that doesn't make you cry. Each day you do another thing that even makes you smile.

And you just keep moving towards whatever next is.