Nine Stones: Marathon Training Bliss

Nine Stones: Marathon Training Bliss

I had no idea what to expect when training for a marathon. I had chosen a very aggressive training plan for the BAA Half Marathon, which kind of mimicked marathon mileage so in my mind, I thought this, would be a piece of cake. WRONG. So wrong. Training from the get go has been borderline horrible. It started with a broken metatarsal bone, then it was crippling cold temperatures which basically caused me to run like a busted up grizzly bear, then there are the creepy black toes, the bunched up neck muscles and the inability to eat a variety of foods. HOWEVER, there are silver linings. Trust me. My body has changed in some really miraculous ways. I haven’t lost any weight but the proof is in the pudding. I look different. I am shaped differently, which brings with it a new-found confidence. Also, making it out the other side of the training, almost in Spring, almost in April, means I hit the ground running really strong. Last night, I had a beautiful, euphoric run. One that made me finally see what all of this hard work has been for. I scaled up some really high hills without even thinking twice about it: fast. I felt good. I felt great. I felt like a winner.

But running isn’t the only thing that has gotten me to this place.

I try to listen to all the warning signs going on in my body. After my fifteen mile run a few weeks ago, my body just shut down. I couldn’t move my neck at all. Not to the right, not to the left. And the pain was something I have never experienced. Oh my goodness, it was terrible. It was debilitating. I couldn’t focus on so much as my children speaking. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to be overly dramatic and go to the hospital so I thought, let’s try a massage, maybe that will iron out these kinks. I called Nine Stones in Portland, a spa I frequent anyways. But I had never really gone there seeking help for anything, the massages have always just been for relaxation, not really for maintenance. And I was skeptical. Could this really help? I made an appointment with Wit, because he was the only one available and it ended up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I laid on that table, after describing briefly what was happening, and Wit just knew what to do. It was like he could read my body as if it were a book. Everything was perfect. The pressure, the placement, the focus. I could not have asked for more. I walked out of there feeling a million times better and immediately made follow-up appointments. Now, I have never been one to relax. It’s like, virtually unheard of. I just can’t stop the clock in my head or the list from rattling in my mind. I am an anxiety ridden, crunch monster, who can’t stay still. But during my next appointment with Wit, I could have fallen into the table. I have NEVER felt so at ease in my entire life. My mind was empty. My thoughts ran silent. My heart went quiet. I let my shoulders drop. I let my body go. It was like 30 years of stress just fell to the floor. I can’t say that it was any particular thing that Wit did. It’s just his way. He tunes in and helps you to tune out. Great energy, I guess that’s the trick. Allison, my training partner, also had a massage by him immediately following mine and her consensus was exactly the same.

As a runner, I think taking a time out for yourself is essential. Massage hasn’t had any medically proven benefits but who cares, I know how it has helped me and that is good enough. During this training, having a massage on a regular basis has made the world of difference. It helps me to calm the beast. My body is tired. I feel like this is my way of giving back to it. I plan on seeing Wit every two weeks until I reach Boston and for the month following Boston. But truthfully, it’s not just Wit, Nine Stones in general offers something really spectacular. I have had massages by other therapists and they have always been top-notch. I have also had facials and body scrubs there which have been fantastic. They have worked hard to cultivate an environment which breeds relaxation. Just sitting in their waiting room puts me at ease. They also sell some incredible skin care products, most of which I have purchased, tried and fallen in love with.

There are people out there that have never treated themselves to a spa day or even a massage. You have to get to it people! As busy people, in a society that is always plugged in, you need to take a moment and just release. Life is short. Reward and treat both your mind and your body. And do it at Nine Stones, because, well, they’re the best.

Nine Stones is located on 250 Commercial St. in Portland.

*Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.

 

Baking Soda: You saucy devil

stackedI’ve been trying to calm myself after what felt like a really emotional and stressful weekend. My skin is usually the first thing to flare up in times of despair. A combination of stress, holding my face in my hands, tears, winter in general can lead to a lot of build up in the pores. But honestly, I’m sick of paying for miracle products that don’t really do shit. So, I found a few gems on the internet which explain how to use baking soda as a way to exfoliate your skin. No kidding, I thought, I have a HUGE bag of that under my sink. However, who really wants to smear baking soda all over their face? Gross. No one. Therefore, I thought taking it up a notch might not be such a bad idea. Here are some of the combinations I used:

Baking soda, lemon juice + water (to help with red areas)
Baking soda, coarse sea salt + olive oil and of course, water to make it more pliable (for extra moisturizing)
Baking soda, coarse sea salt, coconut oil + dried lavender (to calm a hurt soul) & of course, water
The possibilities are endless! Oh and jar this stuff up, give it out to friends as gifts! Make a beautiful assortment for yourself.

The trick is to make the mixture without water, whatever oil you’re using (or lemon juice), use just enough to make a paste with the dry ingredients. Then add water a little at a time so it becomes more liquid and easy to spread over your face. Just don’t add too much water or you will take out the exfoliation factor. Massaging it into your face with a circular motion really is the key. Take your time doing this, enjoy the process, spend additional time on problem areas. If you have added coarse sea salt, be gentle, that stuff can really rough up your skin. Mine was a little tender after using sea salt in the mixtures but it worked magic for removing dead skin and blackheads. For a mini facial factor, after rinsing completely, take a face cloth and stick it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then apply to your face. Make sure to use good moisturizer after your skin is all dried off.

Right now, I’m having trouble feeling pretty. I feel like I’m in running gear all the time and although I am SO grateful for the opportunity to run Boston, I’m also really tired. This morning I woke up for 6 AM yoga and now I have 4 miles in front of me, only to know that I have 7 miles ahead of me at 5:45 tomorrow morning. I swear, if it wasn’t for the wonderful company, I would completely wimp out. Thank goodness for my friends, who won’t let me quit on myself, even when I really want to. There are only 4, just 4 real runs on my training plan that I’m dreading. 14, 15, I can get my head around, it’s the 17, 18, 19 & 20 I’m struggling with. But again, it’s only 4. I can do 4 of anything.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep finding new ways to improve my skin care routine.

Thanks to all by the way for reaching out about Linus. I appreciate the love. xoxo.

From Far Away

photo

Tuesday mornings are almost as bad as Monday mornings for me. Why, I don’t know. I didn’t run yesterday but I did eat half a box of processed cheese crackers with like two glasses of white wine so that always sets me up to feel great. Tuesday is my overwhelm day, it’s the day when I realize I have like 30 miles to run in a week, two half marathons I promised myself I would run after just completing one on 10/13 (1 a month until the end of the year), two kids to deal with, no food in the house that is truly edible and work up to my eyeballs (that I am not doing because I am writing this). But this morning, after the lady at the coffee shop fucked up my coffee and my child had a series of melt downs and I was running remarkably late, I arrived at work to find an envelope from far far away. At first I had no idea what it was but upon further inspection, I realized it was from my friend Caitlin, who recently relocated to Australia, who sends me the very best cards, ever. But this one, may have taken the cake, it being more beautifully written than the last. Maybe it’s a private thing, maybe I shouldn’t post it for the whole world to see but I don’t care, this one is too good, it’s too perfect, someone else needs to see it.

Jenny,

I know (only because you’ve told me) how significant each birthday is–it’s more than a birthday, it’s you beating the odds. You proving, yet again, that you are more than a statistic and will always be far from “average”. You bring this to everything you do though–friend, mother, daughter, wife, runner, advocate, academic, chef, baker, you are great and you will always have greatness about you. I imagine you might feel too big for this world, and quite frankly, you are–none are equal to the magnitude you are as a human. The incredible thing (or should I say another incredible thing) is your humility + appetite to learn and grow. I have loved what we have created so far + I love what’s next even though I have no idea what that is. I love you. That being said, kick some ass, drink some shit and then tell me, or Josh, how fucking stupid people can be. Then fall in love with your life again and tell me about that too. And then, when the universe makes a fool out of you, we can swap stories because the last few weeks have kicked my ego + my ass. I’m an egoless + assless American, lost in an English speaking country getting swooped by psycho magpies + wondering why cotton candy is called “fairy floss” And I’m celebrating you today. Thanks for empowering me in both foolishness + fabulousness. You’re a phenomenal woman and friend. So again, happy fucking birthday! -Caitlin

Some days I feel like no one gets me. Some days I feel under appreciated and over used. I’m sure that is true for every person in this world. But after my 1st (yes there is another one coming) birthday dinner on Saturday, where I was literally surrounded by wonderful people I love, who love me back, and then this card, I am feeling like a very special person. Even on a Tuesday.

Jenny Mo’s Rules to Live By.

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a long and busy week. I’m about to cap it off with dinner at a friend’s house this evening, one last long run in the early AM and time with the kiddos since Josh is off to celebrate the last of Adam’s single life. But first, let’s dig right in to Jenny Mo’s rules to live by. The only comprehensive life list you will ever need. And, if you don’t entirely agree, then at least have a chuckle.

1. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever under any circumstances wear sneakers with jeans. It creates an unkempt, lazy, terrifying look that I just can’t process. It’s like looking at the sun. There are a multitude of other items you can wear in their place: flip-flops, clogs, boots, heels (although, I’m not down with that). Especially don’t be that girl with jeans that don’t quite hit the floor, paired with white sneakers, then I just might hit the ground in a full-blown anxiety attack.

2. When in the presence of men (and we have discussed this rule prior), do not talk about the following: zits, farting, pooping, your vagina and or any problems it may or may not be having, boogers, etc. Try to keep a sort of feminine exterior. Even if you’re married or in a serious relationship, you still want men to think of you as a woman, so don’t go grossing them out with all that noise.

3. Always bring Vueve to a party. Doesn’t matter if the hostess drinks champagne or not. And yes, it may cost anywhere from $39-$59 but there are so many pros: you look like a baller, it compliments your outfit and if he/she opens it up, you bet your ass they are sharing with the one who brought it.

4. Never bring a bottle of wine to someone’s home that costs less than $15.00. I don’t feel like I need to explain myself, just don’t do it.

5. Don’t ever tell a woman how to cook in her own kitchen. In my home, I rule the kitchen roost. In your home, you rule the kitchen roost. If I want to take a dump on the food I’m about to serve you, you better just shut up about it. The only exception is if you are going to someone’s home and you genuinely don’t like what they are serving. Have a frank discussion about that before hand. No reason to eat something you hate. But otherwise, shut the fuck up.

6. Groom yourself well. I have days when I just want to wear yoga pants and so, I do. However, you have to remember that your husband/boyfriend/fiancé does not want to sleep with someone sporting hair that may or may not have a dead animal in it. If you look like something that was just caught in a drain, service yourself. Make a point to do your hair, wear makeup and dress up at least 5 days a week. Give yourself one or two lounge days. If you do indeed, have a dead animal living in your mess of hair, get it out of there.

7. NO WORKOUT SELFIES. Oh my gooooooooooooooooood. I am so tired of people posting workout selfies on Facebook. It creates a type of rage brand new to my body. I want to fling my phone across the room. If you are super proud of yourself, post something passive aggressive like I usually do concerning your workout and move on. No one wants or needs to see your sweat dripping, red, exhausted, nasty exterior.

8. No serving cheese balls at a party. What, you can’t cut up some fucking cheese?!? Cut up some cheese. Put out some crackers. Maybe get a hunk of salami, is this shit really that hard? When people drink, they want to eat. You want a successful party? Then feed people.

9. Surround yourself with people who applaud your fabulous behavior. I’ve heard people in the past mention that I make them feel as though they have to be perfect all the time. If people can’t handle the way you live your life, then don’t let them in your circle. There is nothing wrong with striving to be the best. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly for doing so. Surround yourself with brilliant people, you will be better for it.

10. Don’t give a woman cookies at the end of your date. I heard someone talking about this at the florist yesterday and I almost lost MY cookies. If you like a woman, kiss her at the end of the date. No nonsense. Men are men for a reason. It’s time to saddle up boys. If you don’t act the part, you won’t get treated the part.

There you have it everyone. My top ten rules to live by. You may be ending this thinking: “Yea, cheers!” or you may be thinking: “What a snooty bitch.” Either way, go do something fabulous for yourselves this weekend. Run 10 miles. Buy a designer dress. Burn your sneakers that you usually wear with jeans. Whatev.

xoxo, Jenny

Do you sleep.

These are some of the questions I am asked on a regular basis:

Do you ever sleep?

How is it that you have every moment of every day scheduled?

How are you not a raging alcoholic by now? (The last one is more of a recent occurrence as I seem to be losing it more and more in public, when in fact, I barely drink these days)

I’m not sure if these questions are completely inquisitive in nature or sarcastic. I can never tell if the person asking is being a complete dick or just is genuinely interested in where I find the time everyday to get all the shit I do, done. At the same time, I can’t really imagine what it is that I do that seems so difficult or fascinating.

Growing up, everyone thought that I would never have children. I think my first declarative sentence was: “I hate kids and I am never having them.” I had all these plans to travel to far off places, cure AIDS, save a million trees and maybe hug a polar bear or two. In my mind, kids inhibited everything I wanted to do and at eight years old, I found that to be a real problem. But then I grew up and I softened over the years, enough to realize that kids eventually become your legacy and not having them means when I die, there is no one to give a shit about what I did in life. As a person who has terrible issues with mortality, I need the comfort of knowing someone will talk about me long after, even if it’s just: “Remember that time Mom flung that hot wooden spoon at my head with sauce all over it???” My husband and I decided on the magic number two, just enough kids that we felt fulfilled but also enough that we didn’t claw each other’s eyeballs out of our sockets. And I think that is what baffles people the most, how with two children do I run, blog, garden, keep chickens and bees as well keep a decently clean home, work almost full time now and manage to keep some magic going with the man of my dreams. And let’s not forget, put a fantastic dinner on the table every night right about the time Josh gets home from work every evening. Although tonight, he did in fact cook me dinner for a change, which was lovely.

There’s no secret formula. And there is no button that I can tell any of you to hit. When most women get married I feel like they forget, automatically who they are and what they were once about. Then, once those kids come out, it’s like they have had half of their brain removed. I have seen this with my own eyes. It’s a terrible thing. This woman who was once amazing and special now just wants to talk about diapers and toddler tantrums, she also looks like a frump and probably hasn’t brushed her hair in a year. You all have seen what I am talking about and you all have a friend who has fallen down this path. Who knows, it could be YOU! (Insert yikes face here) Hopefully, not.

To me, I would rather fill my life with a million things then live a dulled existence. My most prominent fear when I had children was that it would remove all the spice that formulates my personality. And, on top of children, I work with my husband, at a job that doesn’t use all the parts of my very highly skilled and trained brain, so I have to keep myself challenged or I’m convinced those parts will turn to mush. Beekeeping isn’t rocket science but it certainly is compelling and practicing the art of keeping bees keeps me thinking for sure. It also gives Josh and I something to chat about, which sometimes wanes when you stare at one another all day. All of these adventures I partake in really do help my marriage. Every man wants the girl he dated: the confident, young, charismatic girl that doesn’t talk about shitting their pants or what came out of their nose that morning. Keeping myself constantly focused on interesting things prevents him and I from becoming stagnant. When you have young kids, it’s easy to forget what you love about yourself and each other.

So, to answer your questions:

Yes, I sleep. I sleep every single night. I go to bed at a normal time, between 9:30 and 10 and I wake up between 4:45 to go spinning/running on Saturdays and 6 every other day. I feel tired most of the day and life because I spend most of my time taking care of kids and screaming at them when they act like fools. I think this is how all parents feel. I also spend a good part of my day laughing and smiling at how full my life is with beautiful things.

As far as scheduling, I’m busy. Most of my friends became accustomed to the Jenny that doesn’t work for a living but now I do. Some things have had to slide, other things I still focus on just as much. But, I’m busy. Really really busy. I’m hoping this success will mean a great future for us and our kids.

As I said before, I should drink more than I do. It’s a real problem I have to remedy. I’ll have to remind Josh to bring home 17 boxes of wine tonight. 😉

All you ladies (and gentleman) out there: don’t be afraid of adding more to your plate. These things make you interesting and balanced. I promise. You will work it out. Keep moving forward, allowing yourselves to develop. You will be a happier person for doing so.

Oh and Happy 4th of July everyone! Go do something AMAZING! Or, eat a dozen hotdogs. 😉