Femoir the Podcast: Episode 95, “Finding Flow & Grocery Gurus”

This episode, which is recorded – as always – in my super soundproof studio, talks about those pesky New Years Resolutions (yes, still!), how you can feel like you’re not doing enough and yet you’re constantly overwhelmed at the same time, and how letting go will help you in your ongoing quest to be present. If, of course, that’s your thing.

I also talk about how exercise and yoga help to be present even more, helixes for no discernible reason, not letting our distractions own us, the difference between actually feeling and feeling because you think you’re supposed to feel something, and learning life lessons at the grocery store from surprising gurus.

All that and more SUBSCRIBE FOR FUN!

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My REAL Fitness Pal

bestiesI’m trying it again. If you recall, I think My Fitness Pal is a jerk. But, as I mentioned earlier in this week, I’m on a Data Diet. And because I can’t fork up the big bucks for a personal trainer or a personalized diet and fitness coach yet, I’m gonna give this asshole app another try. But this time, I’ve enlisted help from a friend.

My friend let me stay with him for Comic Con and we were lucky enough to get to hang out almost all weekend. And he got to meet Data, too. And he was as inspired to get into shape as I am. So we talked about it and decided we’d get each other’s backs and do this dumb Fitness Pal thing again.

So I made him my friend on there (the only one I have because I don’t like sharing all my information with everyone- contrary to the impression this website may give…). I can see how he’s doing and he can see how I’m doing. And because I don’t see him every day and only chat with him periodically, it could be perfect. I’m gonna assume he’s working hard at his diet and exercise and he’ll assume the same for me. And we can check in with each other’s progress on the app. And provide moral support when needed. And not let each other get away with excuses.

At least that’s the hope. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Data Diet

dataI’m going to brag for a moment. Please forgive me.

This past weekend I went to San Diego Comic Convention. And it was wonderful. And overwhelming. And I ate terrible foods and drank too much beer and had a fabulous time with friends old and new.

But one of the highlights of my trip was meeting a childhood hero of mine, Brent Spiner aka Data from Star Trek Next Generation. He was at a robotics party I went to. There was a cover charge for the party. I didn’t want to pay it. But I saw he would be there, so of course I forked it up.

And it was worth every penny.

He was kind and charming and took the time to really talk to every person who waited to see him. He didn’t just make it a photo opportunity, he made it a chance to get to know you and find out who you were. It was friggin’ delightful.

He gave me some advice. A few things, really. Most of them I’ll keep to myself because I think that’s ok to do sometimes. But he did offer me one bit of advice when it comes to being a comedic actress. He said get yourself in the best shape possible to give yourself every advantage in this career as possible. His point was essentially, if you already have a lot of things going for you (which he said I did… omg giggle giggle giggle!), it will do nothing but help you if you can be as in shape as possible. It’ll open up even more opportunities. (My friend joked with me later that “Data called you fat,” which I can understand how it may sound when I relay the story but I know that’s not at all what he meant. Or if it was, I was too many beers in to have taken it that way.)

The thing is- I completely agree with him. I talk about it sometimes in my posts. I’m in an industry that cares what you look like, so why not give yourself every advantage? Because I produce my own work, I can avoid some of the rigorous judgement. But the truth of the matter is, I want to create a career where I’m constantly producing work that people see. Which means people will see me in that work. So people will be looking at me. And I want to give them the best product possible. And the bottom line is that product should mean getting in and maintaining the best shape I possibly can.

So I told Data… I mean Brent… that I would get in great shape (right after Comic Con… because I was drinking a heavy stout beer during our chat). And I tell him about it after I did so. And he said he couldn’t wait to hear about my progress. And I giggled uncontrollably. And then we took a picture.

And I walked away promising myself I’m going on a diet starting Monday (today). And I’m calling it the Data Diet. And it might just be the most motivated I’ve ever been to get in shape in my entire life.

Thank you, Brent. Thank you, Data. Thank you, San Diego Comic Con.

I’ll keep you updated.

Shape Shifter

Remember when I used to be able to run long distances? Me, too.fatty

I remember in my head. My body doesn’t seem to recall that at all.

I’m trying to diversify my workout. I genuinely love running and haven’t been doing enough of it. And I need to get out and do more of it- whether it’s sprints or short or long distances. I live in a paradise. I need more excuses to both exercise and get outside. Running combines both of them beautifully.

I remember why I took a break from running and I’m ok with it. I like lifting. And I will always maintain that lifting and variations of lifting are a more effective and efficient way to get your body into better shape than any other form of exercise.

I just miss running. That’s all.

My body is out of running shape. I went for a run around my neighborhood this week. I didn’t go fast. I didn’t go far. But I did feel it.

I hurt. I had side stitches quickly (that I simply yelled at and pushed through). I was breathing really heavily. I know because people would turn to make sure I was ok. I took out a headphone to hear myself. It was like a person learning the accordion but not giving enough of a push to make the note come out fully so it just sounds pathetic.

Like I’ve said before, it’s not a matter of getting super slender. It’s just a matter of feeling strong. And when I run, I feel weak.

But I guess it’s always nice to have something to work on.

And based on the amount of chocolate I ate post-run, I’ll be working on it plenty over the next few months.

Fit in every size

I often talk about my own fitness goals and ambitions on this blog. I like sharing my own personal goals and motivations.

As I got to thinking about it, I realized that I probably (unfairly) emphasize size for my own fitness. I’m happy with my body. I like to keep it healthy while still working on constantly improving it.

But I want to be clear about something- you can be fit and healthy at almost any size. I happen to be in an industry where what you look like can often determine what roles you get a chance to go out for. So I spend a decent amount of time making sure I can stay competitive. But I spend the rest of my time making sure I’m showcasing my talent that should get me work no matter what I look like.  It’s both.

I’ve been working a lot lately with a very talented comedian, Justin Harrison, who wrote a book about being a bigger guy and still having confidence in this world. He also has a bunch of cool projects in the works that are similar themes. In working with him so much, I realized that I may articulate a skewed perspective of health. First and foremost, take care of your mental health. Love yourself. If you love yourself, you’ll care more about your own physical health. As you take care of your own physical health, you’ll realize your own strengths and weaknesses. You can slowly but surely improve- whatever that means for where you are in your life. But it all stems from loving yourself first.

I go through phases as a hardcore runner. In doing many races, I see runners of all sizes. I see “big” people competing in half marathons and keeping great paces. I see “curvy” women running full marathons (something I’ve never had any desire to attempt). And guess what? They do it. Good for them.

So just because so many fitness blogs- myself included- can focus on small measurements and celebration of the slightest hint of abs peeping through, please don’t let that discourage you from loving yourself no matter what you look like.

As James Blunt says in a cheesy love song I’ve been playing non-stop lately on my cheesy love songs playlist, “You’re Beautiful.”

Jogging on the Corner

Hey you. You runner you. I’m super proud of you for getting out for a jog. I think it’s great you’re exercising your body. I bet you feel better about yourself right now. As well you should. It’s great to run. Running is fun. In fact, they should call it funning.

Not really because that’s a dumb word. But you get the point.

Now listen. I want you to listen very carefully when I tell you this next bit of advice. Are you listening? Ok. Good.

Here it is: Stop jogging in place on the corner while you wait to cross the street.

Did you read that? I hope so. I made it bold so you can really see it better.

Don’t do it. It’s a waste of your energy. By waiting a short amount of time for the light or traffic to yield you the right of way, you’re not going to lose any momentum from your run. By jumping up in down in place, you not only waste energy that could be better spent concentrating on a better running for but you also look real silly. And it’s not the kind of looking silly that might actually serve a purpose. It’s the kind of looking silly that doesn’t serve one.

You’re not burning significantly more calories. You’re heart rate is not going to plummet so much in the short period of time you’ve stopped running to lose any of the benefits running allows it. If anything, it’d be better for your heart to change up the pacing of your run so you can challenge it to get even stronger.

I have a personal policy that when I see someone out for a run, I say a quiet, “Good for them” to myself. I like to pump people up. I’ve been the beneficiary of strangers giving encouragement, so I want to do that for others.

But when I see a running hopping up and down on a street corner waiting for a light to change, I can’t bring myself to encourage it. It makes me sad.

So stop making me sad. Stop hopping in place and pretending you’re continuing the jog just vertically. You’re not. You look like a silly amateur. Take the time to breathe deeply, catch your breath, maybe stretch a little, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the run you might otherwise be missing as you’re on the go.

An Open Letter to the People Wearing Sweaty Gym Clothes in the Sauna

Dear Sweaty Gym Clothes Wear-er,

I get it. You’re tired after your workout. Your sweaty and you want to relax for a little bit in the sauna. Who doesn’t? It’s completely understandable.

But please… do me, yourself, and everyone else who wants to spend some relaxing and healing time in the sauna a favor. And take off your goddamn sweaty gym clothes.

If you don’t have a towel and are not comfortable being naked in the sauna, I’ll give you a break. You can leave on your undergarments. I won’t like it, but I’ll tolerate it.

But for the love of God, take off your sweaty gym shoes.

Here’s the thing. The sauna, in case you haven’t noticed because you were staring at your iPhone the entire time, is a small enclosed box. It’s very hot. And that dry heat gets circulated into the opened pores of everyone who’s also sitting in this enclosed box. So when you sit in this box with all your dirty clothes and grimey shoes, that gunk goes into the air and gets into your pores, my pores, and the pores of the nice old Korean lady sitting between us. And it’s doing none of us a favor. In fact, it’s negating the good that could be coming of this sauna experience. So take three minutes and strip your ass down before you join me and my sweet old Korean lady sitting quietly.

And for the love of all that is holy- don’t bring in your phone. Just… don’t. Phones give off energy (that’s why the screen is bright while you text emoji’s to your BFF) and use energy. And it changes the energy in small enclosed spaces when you bring it in. Sauna is for detoxing. Phone is for retoxing. They don’t work together.

So look up and make eye contact the sweet old Korean lady next to you. She won’t mind. She’s at least 60 lbs overweight and naked. You think she cares what you think? Or stare at the wall for ten minutes and breathe without having to think or talk or do anything. Just enjoy the dry heat. And relax. Or talk to yourself. Or take a quick nap. I don’t care.

All I care about is that you stop ruining the sauna with your gross, sweaty gym shoes and clothes.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Briana

I didn’t run the race

Yesterday was America’s Finest City Half Marathon.

There were two medals there waiting for me and a packet with my name on it- all that went unclaimed.

Even though I accepted a couple weeks ago that I would not be running this race, it’s still sad to come to terms with. The race is over. I can’t change my mind now. There’s no going back.

I know this was the right decision. I know in my heart, soul, and gut that there are a number of factors that I would have had to push way too hard- and likely hurt myself- to make that race reality. I’m really happy with what I chose to do this past weekend instead of doing the race. I know in the end, it’s the right decision. But I had a lot of time and training invested in that race. I had already visualized the volunteers at the end putting both medals on my exhausted but happy body. I had looked at the race course and thought about how each mile would feel and how I’d pose for the pictures this time. I’d even picked out my outfit.

Like I said, I had a lot invested in this race.

I’m only human, so I didn’t know the best way to go about not running this. Do I try and sell my ticket online at a discount so I can recover some of the costs? Do I call them ahead and talk about my injury and how I wouldn’t be able to run? Do I go anyway and pick up my packet so I can at least get the t-shirt?

I don’t know. I don’t know how to do these things. I don’t know the best way. I don’t know if I did the best thing. I just distracted myself in other work and -though I accepted I wouldn’t be running- I didn’t give up my registration because I think I held out a sliver of hope that maybe my foot would magically heal and all my issues would go away and I could do it after all.

But that didn’t happen. And it can’t happen now. It’s passed. Things change. There’s no going back. I will not get that T-shirt or those medals or pose for those race pics in the perfect outfit I chose.

And that’s ok. But may take a bit to accept.

And I think I’m still taking about the race…right?

I Gave Up…

….But I like to think of it as “liberated myself.”

I won’t be able to run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon race on August 18. I already bought the ticket. I was already visualizing myself at the finish line getting my extra medal for completing all three races I’d been training for all year. Even officially typing these words is making me sad again. I thought I’d come to terms with it, but I guess I hadn’t fully accepted it yet.

Point is, there are a lot of factors that have dramatically changed up my life making that race much more difficult than it’s worth.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, the biggest factor is the fact that I don’t quite trust my foot to not give out. It’s a few months away from total recovery- I’m afraid- and I don’t want to lose the headway I’ve made so far by annihilating it during this race.

I have a number of financial and personal commitments that have completely changed since I originally signed up several months ago. Instead of being able to have the weekend to myself to relax and enjoy the race, I’ll be spending the 17th and 18th working all day. Which is just fine, because I’ve got to get in some extra hours before I head home to Indianapolis on the 20th for the first time in almost 2 years.

It was going to be a stretch to be able to do this race as it is. I knew that. I was willing to do it. But now that I will not be running it, I’m trying to see the positives. I can save my foot. I can maybe resell the entry to recover some costs. Instead of getting an extra medal at the end of the finish line for completing the Triple Crown, I get to spend every day now in a brand new shiny pretty car. And in order to be able to afford that car, I need to spend the 17th and 18th working.

Everything happens for a reason. Even plantar fasciitis. I need to remind myself of that.

Sometimes, when we plan months in advance, we can’t follow through. Things change. Situations change. Bodies change. Relationships change. People change.

And that’s ok.

I won’t run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. I am sad about it. I am disappointed. But I’m embracing the fact that all this change around me means there are great things around the corner.

You can’t plant a garden without tilling the soil. Right now, the universe swooped in and decided to till my soil. Maybe the timing is inconvenient, but hey- I’ve been asking for a garden for years so…HERE WE GO.

I’m “liberating myself” from a lot of previous structures I had in place. One of those structures included being able to run this race. Now that I won’t be running it, I can open up the space for new, exciting, inspiring energies.

Plus, I’ll have to just lift extra hard to make up for all the calories I can’t run off anymore. Watch out weight room fellas. It’s about to smell like Bath and Body Works all up in there.

I will run this race…I think

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m attempting to run a race August 18. My third in the “Triple Crown” series in Southern California. When I finish, I get an extra medal for doing all three races. That’s three races, four medals. That’s awesome.

Assuming, of course, I can run the race.

This nasty plantar fasciitis has set me back in my training big time. I haven’t run in a month. I can’t. I’ll run a mile and my foot will start giving out. It’s obnoxious and annoying.

And with this particular injury, you just have to stretch and massage and wait for it to get better. It’s broken and needs to heal. And as long as you push it, it won’t heal.

And it’s driving me nuts.

I’m now less than a month away from this race and I am completely out of cardio shape because cardio requires functioning feet.

I’ve tried other options like biking, which I grossly dislike (see my previous blog post). I can’t handle being on the bike for that long. Plus, it makes my butt and hip flexors feel weird. I don’t like it.

I’ve tried elliptical but my foot flares up a little and it doesn’t seem worth it to cause damage to the part I’m trying to heal just to get a mediocre cardio workout in. Plus, I look like a doofus on that thing.

Sure, I could swim. Theoretically. But you try finding a lane open in a pool near a retirement community. Good luck.

I’ve got a d-day set in my mind. August 1. I’m going to go out for a run on August 1. That’s Thursday.

When I do, I’m gonna try and see if I can get 3 miles in. If I can…I’m gonna attempt to run this race after all.

If I can’t… well, I’ll deal with that when we get there.

D-day comes upon us quickly. Wish me luck.