Abstinence is a pain in the neck.

I have been to two chiropractors four times in a week and a half.  My back/shoulder/neck is still in just as much pain as it was when I started.  I moved my desk around so that there’s 0% strain to work at my computer.  I’ve been hitting the Advil pretty hard and spent much of this morning researching acupuncture and cupping before settling on a deep tissue massage.

As I was prone on the table listening to the masseuse’s mix CD turned up awkwardly loud to drown out the sounds of the gym that the clinic was attached to (and also listening to the sounds of the gym  because the CD wasn’t working), I wondered just how many 26-year-old women end up on that table because they’re on the cusp of breaking their very own no-sex record.

I usually just say I carry a lot of stress in my shoulders and that every now and then I need someone to help me pull them away from my ears (meaning the chiropractor, not a tall, dark and handsome man and his penis) but it’s bad this time around and that’s the only thing I can think of!

Sex not only helps reduce stress, the oxytocin and endorphins released during the mattress mambo are pain reducers as well.  Hello!  Need some of that in my life.

I’ve debated back and forth between doing it just to do it and holding out for another six months and throwing a party to commemorate my first year as a born again virgin.

Luckily for me, until one wins out, I learned a long time ago that exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands.  They just don’t.  Hopefully happy people also don’t need to keep spending $150 weekly on medical treatment. 

Condoms are much cheaper.  A LOT of condoms are still much cheaper.  That’s A LOT of sex + oxytocin + endorphins. 

However, since oxytocin has this other, more obnoxious effect on me, tonight I’m just going with beer, a heating pad and my favorite new show, Happy Endings.

The Line

I’ve often wondered where my line would be if I started gaining weight.  This weekend I found it.

I don’t feel like I look like I’ve gained weight but I know I have because my jeans have gotten uncomfortable.  That was easy to blame on them just coming out of the dryer.  I thought about buying new jeans so I could be comfortable, but I don’t particularly like jeans and really have no use for them for the next seven months. 

Perhaps when you’ve given up on wearing your jeans in favor of flowy dresses, that could be the line, but it wasn’t.

While sometimes I curse the scale because it can have such an influence over a day, I’m glad I have it because the scale doesn’t lie and you can’t make excuses for it.  Without it, maybe I would have bought those bigger jeans and then another pair and then another.  Without the scale, I might have been one of those people whose wake up call is a picture of someone she doesn’t recognize until she double takes and realizes it’s her.

I crossed the line when I climbed on the dreaded scale on Sunday and saw 126.  I kinda always thought my line would be 130, but 126 was all I needed.  Yes, it still falls in the “normal” range for my height (5’3″) and yes, I know a lot of people would love to see 126 on their scale, but this is about me. 

The me who was at 122 after the holidays and pledged to lose five pounds in January. FAIL.  The me who thought I would at least lose those five pounds by the end of the WWW Challenge.  FAIL.  The me who works out six days a week.  NOT FAIR.

I promptly threw the scale under my bed.  Don’t get me wrong, it will be back with weekly appearances, but I’m not going to weigh myself daily anymore.  

I didn’t want to do a weight loss goal for the Spring Fever Challenge, but now I think I might because I don’t feel as clueless.  At the beginning of the year, I honestly thought it was holiday weight that would melt off on its own.  Now I can admit it’s going to take more work. 

I see the path that got me here and (I hope) I see the path that will get me back.  I’m not ready to write about it yet, at this point I’m just ready to say I found my line and I’m retreating.

The What-What

Update: My non-boyfriend Facebook boyfriend let the request hang for about 24 hours before figuring it out and changing his status back.  I feel bad for him, but seriously, dude, tread lightly when it comes to Facebook relationships. 

I’ve got a lot of reading to do this weekend if I want to get off to a good start with my resolution of one fiction and one non-fiction book per month (it WAS the first one on the list after all).  I’m 3/4 of the way through Racing Weight and about 30 pages into Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care. How about we just call it 12 of each for the year?

People with children have no boundaries.  My boss did not think twice about giving me the detailed play-by-play of how his two boys handled having the flu all week.  And someday I will likely do the same to my poor, unsuspecting coworkers.

I’m wanderlusting big time.  Belize is on the top of my list.  Well, was, and then this week, I saw this.  Maybe Europe.  And although I’m bummed that it probably won’t be 2011, that doesn’t mean it can’t be January 2012!

This weekend is the first bridesmaids dress shopping adventure with Bridezilla my sister.  Direct quote from an email I JUST got from her: “My dress is HERE! There will be many more times I will need to go in for fittings [ed. note: lies…she measured a perfect size 2 and I imagine it will fit like a dream] so this is to try it on just because I CAN!” I’m sorry, I get that she’s excited (and that I will likely be just as obnoxious when it’s MY turn), but is it October yet?  In other wedding news, my other October bride is a dream, but I think two of the bridesmaids are going to throw down before the big day.

My first half-marathon is tomorrow!  My long run a few weeks ago took me over the distance of the race, so I should be fine, but it also left me with a knee injury and I haven’t been training as much as I’d have liked in the past two weeks.  The doubting voices in my head have a few other things to say as well, but in 21 hours I’m going to shut them up and hit the pavement.

That will probably be the last mention of wellness and running here because I’m posting on that over at my new wellness blog!  The one I kinda skimmed over here.  It is my second attempt at a public blog (my last one bombed because it didn’t have a focus).  I’m struggling with keeping one anon and one public blog and building readership of both.  If anyone has tips, I’d love to hear them!  And if anyone would like to continue to read about my fitness adventures and kitchen mishaps, email me at emjaye [at] ymail [dot] com and I will be glad to send you the link!

I’m staying at my parents’ house over the weekend because they are closer to the race and to the dress shop and civilization in general.  And because they’re out of town.  And I’m totally having a party.  Well, not really.  I’m on the fence about asking my ArtWalk guy over to make dinner (date #2 was not as great as that first one) or inviting some friends over for a game night.  Yeah, I’m 26, but it still feels like I’m breaking the rules!

Oh yeah, and I need advice about ArtWalk guy.  When do you call an attempted relationship off?  There are no red flags, just a lackluster date, but the first was good!  Do we try again in a different environment?

Me v. Me

I was really excited about signing up and creating a training schedule for my half-marathon.  It’s now three weeks away and I’m still excited and still on track, but it’s been hard!  I’m sure November 26th Emjaye would be in awe of January 8th Emjaye and the paces that I can now run, the distances I have covered, but January 8th Emjaye is not feeling so confident. 

Sometimes the runs feel great, but sometimes the numbers themselves are daunting and totally psyche me out before I even lace up.  Earlier this week, I had a restless last hour of sleep because I kept thinking I was missing my run that I was trying to fit in before work.  Then my alarm actually went off and I got up and headed to them gym and struggled.  Being sore from strength training was my excuse, but in reality it was largely mental.

I ran three of eight, went back and tried to sleep for thirty more minutes.  Then I took the mental health day, stretched and rolled because my legs actually got worse (note to self, weights OR power, not both, especially when I’ve been phoning in the strength for too long) and the next day I exchanged my rest day for a do-over.  Take that. 

Today it’s 12.  And (with my new Garmin on my wrist) I can do that too.

Eating Like a Grownup

Ugh, enough with the relationship crap, am I right?  I really am not always thinking about exes and future-exes and boys, boys, boys, I swear!

Case in point, today I wanted to switch gears and talk about wellness and food and all that good stuff.  One of the themes running through my many lists for 2011 is wanting to cook more and ensure that I’m eating healthy meals.  Yeah, we’re only a few days in, but so far, not so good. 

What types of things am I passing off as meals lately?  Christmas turkey leftovers, mustard and swiss on a Wasa cracker.  A Full Bar followed by string cheese and yogurt.  Coffee.  A crab cake and a handful of M&Ms (kind of separately).  PB&J (um, delicious, but I feel silly taking it to work because I am not actually 4).  McDonald’s.  Cereal for dinner.  Ugh.

And that’s all SINCE the new year started. 

Um, boyfriend?  Anytime now…I’m STARVING over here and need you to a. take me to dinner and b. come over so I can cook for two.  Oh, that’s right, we’re not talking about boys today.

You see, I’m not good at eating real meals.  It’s a convenience thing, a money thing, an impatient thing, a history of my relationship with food thing, a not wanting to eat the same leftovers for days on end thing.  It’s also an immature and unhealthy thing.

Even though that’s what I grew up with, it’s unusual for me to eat a vegetable if I’m not at my mother’s house.  My meals are usually more one-dimensional.  A burrito is my pièce de résistance and I don’t do sides. 

Generally I start snacking  and have a hard time stopping because there’s no real plan.  I really wouldn’t consider it a binge because I’m not stuffing it in mindlessly until discomfort.  It’s just a handful here, a snackie there and there’s no signal to my brain that I’ve had dinner. 

I’m 26 and I’d like to eat like a grownup now please.  Thank you. I’d like to plan meals, not munch while preparing them, sit down to eat, package up my leftovers for a thoughtful lunch the next day, maybe have a simple and small dessert and then move on with my evening.

I started small last night with pasta, zucchini and garlic rolls (although I did snag a roll once they were done).  I’m lusting after the delicious, but simple and healthy meals I see my foodie blog crushes making and eating and take note, collecting recipes for my once a week goal for the Winter Wonderland Challenge.  My body wants real foods and I’m going to be better about obliging that request.

Every Woman

Every woman should know what she can or can’t accomplish in a day, month and year.  Bearing that in mind, here is my list of goals/resolutions/to-dos  for 2011, some to be completed in a day, others in a week or a month and some may be works in progress that take all year.

Read one fiction and one non-fiction book every month.

Eat more veggies.  Get creative and try new things.

Stick to a two-drink limit if I even want to drink at all.

Downsize.  Live simply.  Donate things I don’t use (monthly) and don’t buy crap.

Lose 10 pounds before the fall weddings.

Complete 60 things total on my 101 list.

Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.

Earn $3000 side income, personal training, writing, whatever.

Build a $1290 wedding fund for bridesmaid expenses (yes, I realize NOW that it’s a stupid number, but it’s what my twisted math came up with).  Contribute $50 a month + gifts.

Spend less time with social media and more time with society.

Write six short stories.

Write girl side of dating book and begin collaboration.

Contribute to a Roth IRA…and 401(k) if company restarts match program.

Complete my eight-month emergency fund and leave it untouched in my MMA.

Make and follow a budget each month (< $2000/month or $24000/year).

Make and follow a training schedule each month.

Honor my appointments with myself.  Put myself first as often as I want.

Overpay on student loans (by more than $5, smart girl) to get below $11000 before the end of the year.

Pay off my CC each month, if I use it at all.

Hang out in Starbucks and Barnes & Noble and look approachable so as to be hit on.

Look presentable anytime I leave the house.

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  Future me says so.

Try a new dating site.

Leave the baggage in the past.  Leave exes in the past.  Look forward.

Say yes more.  Say no more. 

Go all in.  Finish hard, finish strong – fitness, life, love, everything.

Dear Mini-Me

Reverb 10, Day 21 Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

Are you ready girl?  It’s going to be a big year.

Pursue everything you want with reckless abandon and continue to amaze yourself.

Put yourself out there – in romantic and platonic relationships, career-wise and with anything that makes you a little uncomfortable.  You can handle it.

Write, write, write.

Take care of yourself.  Working out makes you feel good physically and emotionally.

Floss and take your vitamins.  I know you hate this ritual, but we both know it’s best to keep it up.

Take it easy on the alcohol, chocolate chip cookies and french fries.  You feel and look better without this crap in your system.  And while we’re on it, you don’t need all those chemicals packaged nicely in a can labeled Diet Coke either.  Your ass, skin and digestive system will thank you if you focus on the good stuff this year.

Appreciate and take care of your family.  Be supportive and flexible when it comes to your sister’s wedding.   

I know you want to have a serious boyfriend to take to her wedding.  This may or may not happen (don’t want to ruin the surprise!) but you’ll have a great time either way surrounded by loved ones.  And if you followed my earlier advice, you’ll look fabulous!

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  If he’s not the man who is sitting here with you in five years, move on.  He really is an amazing man (and sexy!) and he’s out there making his way to you. It’s never going to happen if you have someone else parked in your boyfriend spot. 

You’re abstaining right now and you should keep that up for as long as you want to.  When you decide you’re ready again, use condoms, girl.  I don’t care how pretty his face is, you don’t know where his shame shame has been.

Another reckless behavior you need to ktfo:  texting while driving.

Don’t forget to take some down time to rejuvenate your spirit.  Life only gets crazier as you get older.  Be selfish while you can.

PLEASE contribute to your retirement fund!

Oh, and 26 is not old and neither is 27.  They’re great ages and lady, you are like a fine wine.

When Try is Fitting

Reverb 10, Day 18 Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

I don’t really like the word try, I like the word do.  I surprised myself by making a list last month of “things I want to try,” but try really was fitting of the things on this list because they’re things I think would be a fun/nice/good experience, but I’m aware they might be challenging and that I might not like them, either way I want to try them in 2011.

Be a yogini for a month. I’ve never been into yoga, but I’d like to try more than just one class every six months.  One month of practice may not make me like it anymore, but it would make me appreciate it and mixing up my workouts is not a bad thing.

Be a vegan for a month.  I was a vegetarian for about 10 years, now I only eat poultry and fish and it’s not out of the ordinary to go a week or so without meat at all, but I’ve never been a vegan.  I think it would be a good experience.

Zumba and Crossfit.  They are both just so all the rage.  It took me about a year of wanting to try spin before I worked up the balls to do it and found out I loved it.

Sleep for eight hours a night for a week.  Can’t see how I won’t love this, but it will take a concentrated effort to do it.

Unplug for a week. This one might be the most challenging AND rewarding.

As for something I wanted to try in 2010…

I wanted to try one more time with Mr. If-Only-He-Were-Right.  That ended up about as awesome as expected.  Not at all, that is.

I wanted to try to make bread pudding and it came out!

I wanted to try to make sangria.  Worst idea ever.  It was okay, the next day was not.

So I guess, despite my intial aversion to the prompt and the idea of trying, sometime it’s just fitting.

Riding Giants

Reverb 10, Day 13 Action.  When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas.  It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

REALLY BIG ideas are scary because they are just so exciting.  It’s easy to fill life with the little guys to distract myself from my life’s beacons, my giants, the REALLY BIG ideas that have been calling to me in one way or another for a very long time.  2011 seems like a great year to take these on.

Writing.  2011 just feels like it’s going to be a writing year.  But feeling it isn’t doing it. My first step is to carve out time to spend with my ideas and words.  And get a computer that isn’t going to crash and take my words down with it.

Love.  If I think love is going to walk up to me at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble, I suppose I should go to these places.  If my bitch vibe gets in the way, I’ll also make sure to maintain my active social life, courtesy of online dating.   

Wellness.  Post-half, I’m going to come up with a new training schedule and follow it just as passionately.  I’m going to fill my kitchen with whole, healthy foods and take time to prepare healthy meals.

Travel.  I feel stuck on this one for 2011.  I have wanderlust screaming through my veins, but I already know my resources (time AND money) will be limited for the next 12 months, but I also know the power of wanting something and making it happen.  My first step for this is to start a wanderlust fund, so when the time is right, I’ll be financially ready too.

Missing the Experience

Reverb 10, Day 12 Body Integration.  This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Yesterday I had a dream that it was race day – my first half-marathon, that is, coming up at the end of January.  It wasn’t one of those, “it’s test day and I haven’t been to class all semester” dreams.  I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t prepared and hadn’t trained.  In the dream I was prepared, but I was upset that I had missed the experience of training.

I’ve been following my training plan for not even three weeks now and I’ve got a long way to go, but I wouldn’t give that up, even if I could magically wake up on race day totally prepared to rock it out.

I’d been staying mostly on the treadmill because it’s easier for tempo and pace runs, but today I took my training back outside and mapped in a sweet little (not-so-little) nearby hill I’ve been meaning to take on. 

It (the run as a whole) kicked my ass.  I felt it in my feet and my lungs, which makes me feel it in my shoulders and neck and eventually, I got to breathing hard enough and I started to feel nauseous.  And I definitely heard it in my head.  My mind was telling me I couldn’t do it and that I was bored and that I should pace myself and that I deserved a break.  But my legs said keep going and so I did and in the end, I was pleased (and surprised) with my pace and I felt great.

Yes, I HAVE had runs where everything works together.  Where my breathing is easy, my motion flows and feels great to every single muscle and my mind is happily along for the ride.  Those days, I’m integrated, but I can’t think of any one specific example. 

When I tell people I run and that I’m getting into races, they often ask if I ran in high school.  Absolutely not.  Becoming a runner was a choice I made just a few years ago, post-high school and post-college.  Running was a choice then and it’s a choice now, every day. 

On my run today, I reminded myself of my word for 2011 – capable, but capable in the face of challenge, when things aren’t comfortable.  (Nothing wrong with getting a head start.)  Not only am I a runner, I’m an athlete and athletes push themselves.  I told myself it wasn’t supposed to be easy or comfortable and that I was going to leave it all out there (minus any puke, I kept that to myself). 

That’s what I’ll choose to do every day for the sake of improvement, regardless of whether my mind and body are working together or not.  The experience of training – which will every now and then get me to those moments of running glory, when I think about the breeze blowing instead of my tight knee – is what it’s about anyway.