My Past, Present, and Future

Hello friends,

Over eight months ago was my last rambling in this lovely space, and I feel … stuck at how to begin telling you about the major transformation my life has taken in such a short time.

It’s like these stairs in my new neighborhood…

Singer Hill Creek Stairs
Up and up and up and up…
There have been challenges.
Physical pain.
Heartbreaking loss.

After it all, I have continued to climb this hill, and find myself in a very happy place.

I now own a home. I am finally running again! And a new sense of purpose is subtly finding a place in my mind, rolling off my lips, and it is finally time to make space for this new adventure on a page.

After the broken toe (and spirit), the healing solo vacation, and buying my first home, I now know what I need to do.

While I was on the journey through Yoga Teacher Training two years ago, I found myself contemplating creating (what I thought was) a new career: healthy lifestyle coach. I found so much joy in talking with my peers about what they really wanted to do and encouraging them to step forward, plus I was exploring cooking and baking without sugar, with success! And I really want to share my ideas and recipes with you, my friends.

So this is when I get to tell you: I am starting a new project.

Alwayslovinlife has fulfilled her purpose for the time being. She will stay here, and perhaps I will visit from time to time with notes or pictures from my running adventures (because I do plan to have many more).

This is a new adventure to share my real life with you (not just the running highlights):
– Recipes created without added (processed) sugar (using REAL FOOD)
– Reduce/reuse/recycle ideas and DIYs (Save the Planet!” because I have always been that   way. And now I have a house that needs furniture and fixing – on a budget!)
– Relevant ideas regarding mindfulness & self-care. This is a practice that is difficult for me to maintain, so I am asking you to help hold me accountable.
– And more developments to come, once I catch my stride in the new space!

That’s the scoop! I am happy to finally have the processed enough of the stuff of last summer/fall/winter, and have the mental clarity (and drive!) to start moving forward again. One step at a time.

Look for another post coming soon regarding where to find more updates from me in the near future!

(To all you friends and family that I have been talking about starting that food blog: Yes – it will be live within a week!)

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive and patient with me as I spent time with myself, in my mind, in workbooks, staring out windows, and painting furniture to work through my grief for all this change, and process how to make my next steps. I appreciate all of you so very much.

Much love,
~Alaina

An Explanation of the Long Absence: New Directions

Beautiful sunset on Cape Kiwanda.
Beautiful sunset at Cape Kiwanda.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t posted for a while, and I am here today to share with you.

Before I flew South to run the Siskiyou Outback 50k, I received an email from my favorite yoga studio.  They announced their next Teacher Training event would be starting in September… and I decided to reach out to these lovely people (because I did not meet all of the specified requirements) to ask if I would be able to be considered for the program.  Fortunately, based on my commitment to running, and the athleticism therefore gained, they enthusiastically said yes!  I gleefully paid the deposit to hold my spot in the class and went about my summer of the big run and the many, many weddings.

After I returned from Ashland and the Siskiyou mountains, I started attending weekly social events; I attended four weddings and a funeral this August (one wedding was in September), kind of ironic.  Each event was lovely, and time flew by!  Before I knew it, weeks had passed without a blog post, and I was starting yoga teacher training!

I have now completed my first week of training.  And Oh.My.Goodness.  I am simply exhausted!  When you decide to go through teacher training, yes my fellow yogi – you, I highly recommend that you fully mentally prepare yourself for not having much of a social life.  20 hours of class and study and then some on top of a 40+ hour work week is a lot.  Not to mention the fact that I also have hired a coach to help me figure out my next steps in life, which is a lot more personal research, growth, and homework of activities and planning.

Sometimes I find myself wondering: “Why am I doing all of this now?”

Each time, my answer remains the same – there have been some major catalysts for change in my life over the last two years, and finally I made the decision to jump in head first – dive in to all the things I have wanted and neglected.  My patience had run out, and it was time to just go for it.

I cannot remember when I decided I wanted to go through yoga teacher training.  My first ever class was a PE credit in college.  And I loved it! That class was such a stress reliever.  I felt amazing after yoga (and SOOOO relaxed!).  I remember getting breakfast and then taking a nap before my next class.  Ah… those were the days… But there is something about yoga that has always had a strange and wonderful pull on my heart.  I feel lighter, happier, and more … complete, at peace, and open to be in a joyful state.  I am always prepared after a yoga class to get out and interact with other human beings, as I know that my mind is in a much better state to receive and impart information.  Here I am, finally taking initiative in my own life to achieve what my heart has desired for so long!  Wow!

I am following my heart’s desire!!!

For the first time in my life, I am making choices to move toward purposeful living.  Currently, I am on a cleansing diet – no sugar, caffeine, gluten-filled grains – and this, too makes each day challenging. I spent the late evening hours Friday baking, and Saturday morning I was cooking up a storm making future dinner or lunch dishes.  I am learning to cook and eat in a very different manner, and although this diet is recommended for 14 days, I think I am on my way to a significant change in the way I eat post-cleanse.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who eats odd, healthy foods, and now here I am, due to current ailments and a doctor’s recommendation, learning how to be who I have admired for so long.  (More dreams into reality).

What I have learned over the first week of yoga classes is that I need a lot more alone time while I am working and learning.  I can feel my body getting stronger already, and my mind is processing so much information, surely growing as well, and just needs more rest.

On that note, please forgive me if I am not posting about running as much, as you may see the content of this page change a little to discuss yoga and the personal transformative process that comes out of this training.  I have so much to learn in the next ten weeks, and it is hard to believe I it is possible to learn all that is needed in this short time, let alone the fact that my final exam is teaching a full 60 minute class!

I saw this on my way to the first day of yoga training.  The Universe leaves us messages in the funniest places.  :)
I saw this on my way to the first day of yoga training. The Universe leaves us messages in the funniest places.

Until next week, happy running everyone, and if you get a chance pop into a yoga class (especially Yin!).  It is so great to stretch those tight muscles!

with love, light, and delight!
~Alaina

Eight Hours Until Race Time!

Yes, I know, I should be sleeping… 

But I had to share with you – I am so excited to be running the Newport Marathon with my Grampa.  We had a lovely drive out to the coast, and a wonderful dinner where we met a lovely girl who lives in the first building I called home in NW Portland!  In the same unit one floor down!  We live in a a small world, full of surprises.

The drive out was gorgeous: blue skies, old barns, and grand views of the ocean.

The old Air Museum
The old Air Museum

When we arrived at our hotel, we discovered the most perfect view from our room:

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I want to share so much more, but since I am posting from my phone (which is a little more challenging and time consuming), as well as getting up in five and a half hours, I must bid you goodnight, my friends.

Sweet dreams, and have fun running tomorrow!
~Alaina

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award-w500

Much to my surprise and delight, I have been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! by sister runner and blogger BayRunner Jamie.  She is spunky, enthusiastic, and a truly motivated runner.  Thanks so much Jamie!

The blog award rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you, answer some questions, nominate 10-12 other bloggers and notify them on their blogs.  (I will do this soon!)

Questions:

Favorite color– For many years I have claimed “I like all colors”, and now, with confidence, I can say red and turquoise. (… and maybe magenta)

Favorite animal – cats and dogs, and I am allergic to both

Favorite non-alcoholic drink– Coffee, no question 🙂

Facebook or Twitter– Facebook, although I rarely participate anymore

Favorite pattern– floral patterns (good gracious, I am girly!)

Favorite number– 13

Favorite Flower– Rose

What is your passion– Running, singing, encouraging others to pursue their passion

And now for the nominees!

Move Eat Create

THE USUAL BLISS

The Flexi Foodie

Travel.Garden.Eat

Sisterhood of the Traveling Mats

The Girl in Glasses

Trying to be Conscious

le zoe musings

Go Jules Go

52 Miles per Month

District Sweats

Each of these women has inspired me in one way or another: through humor, with great cooking ideas, DIY’s, motivational running stories, or other pursuits of happiness and health in life.  Check them out!  Forewarning: they are not all running blogs, although I assure you, you will enjoy each and every one of them!

Thanks again, Jamie, for the nomination!

Happy Blogging, everyone! And Happy Holiday.
~Alaina

Saturday’s Run: Sellwood to Springwater

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Saturday’s long run was happily, for my lately less often used legs, slightly on the shorter side at 8 miles.  Mostly flat (with a nice bit of a hill at the beginning and end), we ran out of the neighborhood in Sellwood onto the Springwater Trail, traveling the opposite direction of our usual Springwater run that starts at OMSI.

The day was chilly, damp, and cloudy, yet it did not rain except to sprinkle mid-run as a cool off.  This run is one of our favorites: post-run, we go to the Portland Juice Press, grab some delicious, fresh juices, hydrate, and munch on home-made snacks before splitting up and going home.  I got my favorite juice, “the OM” (hazelnut milk, date, vanilla bean, sea salt), and “the GURU” (apple, beet, carrot).  Totally recommend this place if you haven’t tried them, yet!

This was the perfect re-initiation into regular running.  Just what I needed.

Getting back in the game, on new territory.

And it’s on.

Kicking off the commitments, I will run my second marathon in May: the Newport Marathon.
Officially registered tonight!

When is your next race?

A Place to Call Home

I officially turned in my keys to the place formerly perceived as perfect at about eleven pm, on November the second! I have moved all my belongings from a place that was my own to a shared space with a lovely lady.

I am looking forward to learning and growing through this experience of living in a house. I am also thrilled to say, it is So quiet! Occasionally, I hear a car or a bus, but nowhere near the constant traffic and frequent yelling of my former home.

And now, to sleep, perchance to dream of cooking in the kitchen and gazing out at the distant hills. Hills that a few hours ago, I still called “mine”.

Happily settling in for a good nights rest, goodnight everyone!
~Alaina

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Wonders on Wednesday: Run and Sun

I love waking up early, sun rising and shining on my face (I keep my curtain open specifically so the East is wide open to allow those golden rays into my bedroom), breathing in the cool, crisp morning air, putting on my shoes and getting out the door.  I was made for running in the morning.  I can no longer sleep past 6:30 or 7am on the weekends because it is my habit to wake up early and run.  Well, that and the sun on my face in the wee hours has less of a blinding effect as with open eyeballs while awake, and acts a natural alarm when lids are shut.

This morning, my running schedule slated seven miles.  I chose to augment my Waterfront loop with a little extra mileage, and took off, up the hill… then down toward the river.

The weather was a perfect, cloudless 67 degrees, and absolutely gorgeous.

Reflections.  I can't get enough!
Reflections.

 

Across the river: the city.
Across the river: the city.

 

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Downriver view of some of our lovely bridges.

 

The Iconic Oregon sign.
The Iconic Oregon sign.

 

Silhouetted Bridge to the East.
Silhouetted Bridge to the East.

 

The sun beamed so bright, I couldn't resist another snap.
The sun beamed so bright, I couldn’t resist another snap.

 

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Waterfront – full of people today (although they are somehow magically missing from this frame).

Breathless. From the beauty, not the running.  :)
Breathless. From the beauty, not the running. 🙂

Marathon training is a funny thing.  I am usually the last person to commit to anything much less Regular exercise, but throughout the last month (and almost another half) I have found that having a schedule really helps me to get every run in that I need to, and I feel … accomplished.  Even if all I do for the day is get my run in and go to work, I am more satisfied each week than I have been for quite sometime.

Apparently there is something to this goal-setting idea, after all… When you move forward and DO!

One major change (besides some pretty tight muscles and a little pain in my hip that is a new sensation – nothing to worry about!  I’ll keep stretching!) I am noticing is … I get hungry.  More often.  And … I’m guessing that is only going to become more prevalent as I continue to increase my mileage.  I’ll find myself wanting to eat something at 10pm because my stomach is actually growling.  Two months ago, I would have made myself brush my teeth and go to sleep. Now I find myself thinking…”There’s a good chance I really do need to eat something more… What can I eat…” and promptly start perusing the fridge.  I have this whole running mileage/day routine down, but I’m not sure how to keep track and increase my caloric intake.

How do you stay on top of eating during marathon training?  (This really seems like it should be an easy answer, but it’s proving more unexpected and challenging than I thought!)

What is your favorite daily/weekly practice that makes you feel happy, comfortable, sane, or productive?

Happy adventuring, my friends!
~Alaina