It’s only an hour of your life

This morning I had a tough workout. 8×1 Mile repeats at 6:15 pace with half mile rest in between. For my current state of fitness, I knew this would be a challenge. I committed myself to “just do one” and then “just finish this one”. It worked for 6 of the reps, and then my last two were slower at the same effort. Actually I think the effort on the last two was higher, and I also cried a bit when I knew I was slower.

After watching all the marathon things unfold yesterday (on social media later that day because your girl had to work) I felt like I should have been able to do them all. Like there was some untapped resource inside and I can do anything. This workout was not the Boston marathon, and although I do have a lot of motivation, over reaching myself in a workout now would most likely resulted in burnout or injury, which I will not risk. I’d rather be able to run at all in Texas than do anything crazy. A race is worth more than a workout.

Yesterday was a full day. I worked until 2 and then had an eye exam. I was a bit early for that, so I attempted once again to return my Mr. Buddy heater to Walmart. My parents had saved the box for some reason, so I brought it back and tried again. They took it! I was thrilled because as I bonus, I definitely only payed $40 for it…but it now retails for $60…so I now have a $64 Walmart giftcard. Better than nothing right?

(My new toaster hahaha)

I had my eye exam and spent way too long looking at frames. I only need them for reading, computer work and night driving, so I felt I could get whatever since I’d be alone when I’ll use them. I let my inner nerd flag fly and got librarian glasses…but not the “sexy librarian” ones that are so popular. Nope I got old lady librarian glasses. Wire frame, circular. The whole shebang. My sister could not believe I would get them. I FaceTimed with my mom when trying them on, and I got the ones my inner heart desired. Ohhh I cannot wait to wear them when I read!

My friend is running a 5k in two weeks…her first one…and she figures she should at least try to run. So she asked me to help her. So tomorrow we are going running, or jogging or walking whatever she wants to do. This morning she told me she was considering backing out because it seems like a lot more than she can do. Well duh it is but to be honest, she will get through it. I told her “it’s an hour of your life. You will get it done and feel proud in two weeks when you can look back and say you did it.”

I tried to think about that this morning during my run when it was really hard. I ended up running a half marathon this morning. 90 minutes if you include warm up and cool down. If I want to get philosophical, that’s a tiny fraction of the day, of my week and of my life. I can try hard for 90 minutes.

Breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, sugar and sunflower butter, apple and coffee

Running: 93 minutes

Strength work and visiting the parents

My Sunday began with 11 miles fromTurkey Hill to Forest Home. It was an ok run. My hip flexor started acting wonky towards the end of my runs this past week. I decided to work on this now before it becomes an issue. I spoke with a fellow trail runner and friend Danielle who lifts quite a lot (it’s a hobby, she’s a power lifter) and she gave me an idea of what I can do.

So yesterday morning I went to the gym and spent an hour lifting weights. It was actually kind of traditional and challenging. I am sore today, but it’s a good sore. My goal is injury prevention, not really strength. I feel like strengthening my lower limbs in this way will help.

After that I got lunch at Greenstar, dessert at Wegmans and went to hang with my parents for a few hours. My dad showed me the plot of land he envisions for my future. It’s quaint and adorable of course. I’ll keep that idea on the back burner. I could always live out of my van there for a week or so. A vacation. Lake view through the trees and my own well! My dad should have been a real estate agent.

I also worked a bit with and talked with my mom. She’s getting spring clothes out on the floor and putting winter things away. What I like most is talking with her, even if it gets painful or not happy. She shared some unfortunate news with me, so I’ll keep that in my prayers this week.

I also picked up my mail and I have a clean bill of health at the Gyno and my Empire Pass for all the state parks came in! I can now go to all of them for free!

I ended the night taking pictures at Agava and eating dinner. A great Sunday.

Breakfast: chocolate peanut butter and banana overnight oats with cashews and pumpkin seeds

Running: REST, I did Trail Runner Body instead

It’s not about achieving anything, it’s about exploration

When I read about vanlife, I thought I would feel this huge sense of accomplishment when I finally moved in. Now, I do feel good when everything works and I get on with my day with few mishaps. However, I think my reasons for living in a van has changed since I started.

I moved in to prove I could. I remain here because I enjoy it. I remain in a van because it taught me how to take care of myself at a basic level. I remain in a van because each time I wake up or try something new, I learn more. I experience more. It’s not about winning at vanlife (although I do love when I have a #vanlife win) it’s about exploring myself. It’s figuring things out, it’s creating new habits, it’s getting out of the cushy life I had forever.

I was offered an apartment essentially for free. I could live with my parents if I want. Not saying I won’t ever have to use those things (my van breaks, I break my leg, something out of my control happens) but I really don’t want to. I don’t think I’m better for doing it this way. In fact, I am technically homeless, I do not thing people should live that way if they don’t have to.

It is my privilege to choose this life. So I do choose it. Like I choose many things. Until it ceases to work for me, I choose this.

Yesterday was a busy day! It was very fun and satisfying, but by the time I got back to my van after work at 7:15PM, I couldn’t think so my dinner was sunflower butter and bananas. Just container to my mouth. Simple, no cooking, mindless.

Lunch was amazing. I love Ithaca Hummus so much and the roasted red pepper speaks to my soul 🙂

It’s a sign that warmer weather is coming and CTB will get busy. I think the slow of winter allows me to ramp up training easier because work isn’t as hard. I will need to prioritize recovery more than usual and consider CTB my second workout of the day. Also, DRINK more. I struggle so much with hydration. BAH! Then when I do drink, I pee about 4 times a night. Like last night. Good thing it was warm enough and I didn’t just hold it in because my cocoon was too nice to get out of.

Small blessings.

This morning was my first workout back since the race. I felt good and recovered, but the 6 tempo miles at my marathon pace (or my old marathon pace lol) were extremely humbling. Extremely. I hope I can get in a few good workouts between now and the marathon in Texas and then use the few days of driving as perfect recovery.

I got a new pair of Escalantes and a Kinvara last week from the running store and I already appreciate the feel. Now I have graduated my old Altras to my work shoes. My coworkers are impressed with their glow.

Tomorrow I’d like to get onto trails but it’s calling for freezing rain…so it might be more a hike and hope I survive…

Breakfast: sunflower butter and plum jam on sourdough and an apple

Running: 70 minutes

An offer from Papa Bear

Last night I got the most interesting call from my father. Actually I expected this, but wasn’t sure when he’d jump in with this idea. Ever since I told my mom I wasn’t parking in a spot with a hook up, I’d been waiting to see if he’d call and tell me how he was worried and try to talk me out of vanlife. That’s just how my dad is and I don’t find it annoying anymore, I listen to what he has to say and make my own decision.

Anyway, last night the call came. My dad asked about how I was doing and I told him things were good now that my heater was fixed and I have been self-sufficient for a few weeks now. Then came the offer and his grand plan. He has this idea that I should get a parcel of land (a mile away from them no doubt) and park my van there because it’s safer and better than living on the street. Or, I could stay with them this summer and commute to work. This was his grand plan.

Of course, it comes from love and he’s worried about big, bad Ithaca and the possibility that something could happen. I get it and so I’m going to do my diligence and think about it. Of course I don’t have any plan to change my situation, unless the unthinkable happens.

I really like vanlife. I chose this path because I wanted it, not because I was forced into it. I like solving problems, figuring things out and the feeling that I can live anywhere and move at any time. As soon as I pay off my last two loans, I’ll be scot free to do whatever I want. I enjoy the problem solving, the struggle and the sense of accomplishment when things go correctly. I like sleeping in my own bed before races or big events. I like the way I’ve changed.

There is also the fact that commuting would be another hour of my day, more gas mileage and that not only do I work for CTB but I also work for the gym and Agava, both of whom are here in Ithaca. It’s a lot of wasted time spent driving. Running takes at least 2 hours of the day with the drills and mobility work I do for it. Parking here is free where I do it but that’s because I have time to walk a bit to get where I need to go.

His offer is very kind. But I don’t see how it would work, and I also don’t really want to live in Interlaken nor do I want to drive to work. I like living a walking distance away. I like living small and not spending time taking care of stuff I don’t use. I chose this life to live simply, but also to get a sense of what it means to take care of myself. No landlord, learn how to get heat, use fire and gas without help, just become a more useful person. I get a huge sense of fulfillment doing it.

So for now, I will think about what he offered, and maybe throw him a bone and do it for a week as a vacation sometime this summer, but I don’t see myself doing it very long. Honestly, I would only be doing it for his peace of mind. Is that worth it? Does he deserve that? Maybe he does, so that’s why I’ll consider it. Because it would make my dad happy and I can do that.

Breakfast: sunflower butter and plum jelly on sourdough and an apple

Running: REST

The not so glamorous side to van life

I have started to see my mornings as a series of actions to take and duties to respond to.

I run, get back and move my van, turn on my heater, turn on my stove, boil water for coffee and breakfast, read the news and eat, move my van again, make sure everything is put away and turned off, lock it up, head out for my day.

If everything works, like it did today, I feel like the day is so good! If things go wrong, I’m looking it as challenges to overcome and problems to solve. I tried everything to fix my little buddy heater, but it was faulty. So yesterday I got a new heater and it worked both last night and this morning. I feel good about that.

I successfully made my breakfast in my van this morning without any outside help (I usually got coffee at work and used my electric kettle for water, now I cannot do). If everything goes well and I do it relatively easily, I feel as though I can live anywhere and be fine.

Of course things go wrong. Yesterday I was setting up my Mr. Buddy and was so focused on making sure it worked I didn’t take the time to pee even though I really had to go. This ended up with me trying to get out my pee bottle and sort of peeing on myself a bit and the floor before I made it into the bottle.

Yesterday morning I pooped in my bathroom bucket and the bag I use to line it had a hole. Ew.

Then this morning I dropped my oatmeal filled spoon on the floor.

Of course I cleaned these things up right away and I’m used to it now, but the van life isn’t all easy even when you get the hang of it. I was going to try to just tough it out for the next week or so without heat, but I knew it would be detrimental to training and also unnecessary. This is what Mr. Buddy heaters are for!

When I say it’s detrimental to training, I mean that during the night if I need to drink, which I often finish a bottle during the night, I don’t drink because I don’t want to come out of my cocoon in the 20 degree temperatures. Then I try to drink before I run, but I often am focused on getting outside and starting to warm myself up I forget.

Hydration is a big issue for me. So getting a heater and being a bit more comfortable is a luxury I will maintain. Even if it cost me $70 and they wouldn’t take back the faulty heater because I didn’t keep one of the parts. Oh well, I’ll donate it and a few other items to Ithaca Re-use on Sunday.

It was warmer this morning, and the sun rose for me so the last 4 miles of my run were in the light. These little things make me so happy.

Breakfast: peanut butter and plum(!!!) jam oatmeal with banana, apple and coffee

Running: 70 minutes