Monday, May 22nd, 2017
It’s Monday night and it’s the first time I’ve truly sat down with nothing on the agenda since last week. After I laid down in my spot at Greenlake for a couple hours, I came back to cross more things off my to-do list. I’ve baked another pie and it’s chilling in the fridge, I did a load of laundry (I finally got around to washing my dresses and swimsuits from my vacation – they now smell like detergent and not like the ocean anymore), and I made some dinner.
I’ve decided baking is going to help me remain productive during the next couple of months. Each time I bake something, I tend to multi-task and get other things done at the same time. Also, knowing I’m going to be roasting coconut in the morning seems to be the best alarm clock ever. I always wake up extra early energized and excited to finalize my sweet treat. Most importantly, whenever I take treats into work, people’s moods are lifted. Pie on a Tuesday is never a bad thing.
It’s hard to sum up this weekend. It was a very, very good weekend.
I woke up extra early to head to Hale’s Ales in Fremont to set up for The Great Unknown Challenge, benefitting The Lupus Foundation. I was really excited to see a huge crowd – it was the first time The Lupus Foundation had held this event, so we weren’t too sure how many folks would join. The idea behind the event is that teams would get shuttled to different challenges around the city, but we had no idea what those challenges would be. Not a lot of people know what lupus is (it’s an inflammatory disease that is caused by your immune system attacking your tissue and organs), so the challenges reflected this “unknown” theme.
Our team assembled and got on our bus and headed to the first location. Since I managed our media partnership with The Lupus Foundation, I was told the challenges ahead of time and it made the morning that much more entertaining. Everyone was so curious about what we were doing – I think I would have actually had a better time had I not known what the challenges were. I could see in everyone’s demeanor that they were all kind of nervous but still excited. It was like this camaraderie that I wasn’t really a part of since I knew what to expect. Hmmmm, perhaps this is symbolism for life. Sometimes it’s just more fun to not know what’s ahead of us, dontchya think??
First Challenge: We rode the elevators to the top of the Columbia Tower. In front of us were views of Seattle in every direction, tables covered in chocolate, and wine being poured by ex-Seahawk Jordan Babineaux. Our challenge was to guess what kind of chocolate we were eating. I wasn’t quite sure about the melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate, so I had to take several tastes to try to score my points. 5 tastes…just to be really, really sure. The wine was just a bonus. Quite a breakfast…
Second Challenge: Next we headed to a park where there were a couple Olympians ready to teach us how to throw the javelin and shot put. I was surprised with how far I could throw the javelin – 45 feet! During the shot put, I channeled my inner Venus Williams and let out a huge grunt as I hurled the shot put as far as I could – 32 feet! Yet again, surprised with my strength. Thank you, yoga!
Third Challenge: We were shuttled to a school and I knew this would be the brain challenge. This was when I completely got in the zone. There were a variety of puzzles and I immediately grabbed the jigsaw puzzle that had a series of graphics that would spell out a phrase. It felt like I was in school again, and it was funny that I was actually happy about that. There’s something really special about being in a classroom again. Close out this challenge with a few trips down the slide outside and skipping some monkey bars – ok, I’m ready to go back to school again!
Fourth Challenge: The “Kill Me Now” Challenge. Rowing. The organizer of this event used to be a rower, so everyone suspected we’d be rowing at some point. I’ve never rowed in my life, but how hard could it be, right??? Well, we had to row 500 meters…I didn’t think that’d be tough at all. I’ve been doing yoga, it’ll make it easy…or so I thought. My body isn’t used to expelling that much intense energy in that short amount of time. I start rowing hard and manage to keep up with the top two racers. “Easy. I’ve got this.” I keep rowing, start feeling a little fatigued and realize I’m not even half-way yet. Uh oh. I’m doing my best to keep rowing hard, but my legs were not happy at all. Meanwhile, a camera was right in my face, so I was trying so hard to not let my face look like the bitter beer face. 300 meters and I’m losing all of my steam. I managed to finish in 2 minutes. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but rowing that hard with no prior experience made it feel like the longest 2 minutes ever. I couldn’t feel my legs, I wanted to lay down, and I secretly hated the organizer for a hot minute for making this a challenge. 200 meters would have been juuuuust fine.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who struggled with that challenge. After riding in our shuttle for about a mile, a couple folks asked to stop the bus so they could get out. Two guys and a girl got out and walked to the nearest bushes to….you know. I wondered if I should also get off the bus, but I fought the nausea. My teammates were trying to pep talk me, but at this point, my eyes were glazed over and I just wanted to sit. “Breathe. Drink water. Breathe. Drink water.”
Fifth Challenge: As soon as we parked at Gasworks Park, I got out and tried to get back to my senses. We walked to the water and I knew it was the dancing challenge. The challenge I was most excited for. I’m honestly ashamed to admit that I had to forfeit this challenge. My vision was blurred and my legs felt numb. I listened to my body and it told me to sit down and watch everyone else attempt the hip hop dance. I would have crushed it if it weren’t for that damn rowing. Grrrr. It was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one foregoing this challenge. I’ve since practiced the routine in my apartment and I gave myself a 10, so can we just say I redeemed myself? K, thanks.
Back to the beer garden. Everyone was really exhausted, but really happy with how the morning went. It was a successful inaugural event for the Lupus Foundation, so I was proud to have been a part of it.
On to the second half of the day…
Saturday afternoon was a BBQ for my friend Rob’s birthday. SO HAPPY IT’S BBQ SEASON. It was hot out, burgers were on the grill, and the beers were ice cold. Seattle has waited over 9 months for this season again. It was awesome catching up with everyone, plus seeing everyone’s kids. There were multiple times people mentioned how parties these days are so different. Now, the kids are having tea parties on the lawn and the adults are on the deck talking about their 14-month old daughter’s sleeping pattern. Feels like just last year there were no kids at all and the “adults” were feet up doing kegstands. I’ve reached adulthood, haven’t I?
I had a feeling my ex-boyfriend would show up. He and I haven’t dated in so long that I can’t even remember exactly how many years it’s been. 4? 5? Maybe 6? I hadn’t seen him in years, and a big reason for that is because I avoid any possible chance of running into him. If I knew he was potentially going to be somewhere, I usually bailed out of whatever function it was. I was nervous as hell to run into him; I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. So I avoided.
This year, I challenged myself to stay at the BBQ and instead of avoid, embrace. When I looked at the RSVP online, I saw that Ben’s wife replied that they would be there around 5pm. I showed up right when the gathering started at 3pm to at least be there for 2 hours. 5pm was my deadline to make a decision. At first, I was leaning toward bailing right before they showed up.
Ben met Meghan while we were dating. Shortly after they met, Ben and I broke up and I was devastated. Although I knew it was right for us to end, I couldn’t deal with him moving on right away and me losing my entire friend group. We were so not right for each other, yet I stayed with him because it was comfortable. I lived in his house and I was deeply woven in to our joined friend circles. Lots of reasons to stay together. Oh, young Mo.
Eventually, I moved out, he met Meghan, and we broke up. We never really spoke again and I slowly lost touch with the majority of that friend group. Ben and Meghan got married this year and I was so nervous to possibly see them. But I stayed at the BBQ and I told myself to “be an adult.” I was thinking of excuses to tell Rob why I had to leave. But the truth was, I was having a great time, I value Rob’s friendship, and I wanted to face my irrational fear.
They finally made it shortly after 5pm and I stood on the deck waiting for the right time to say the standard, “Hi Ben! So great to see you, it’s been so long.” Blah blah blah. Rob looked at me and whispered, “You ok? Is this alright?” I looked at him and assured him I’d be fine. I wasn’t actually sure, but I was trying to convince myself. I was grateful that the birthday boy didn’t leave my side in those first few moments. He knew what I was thinking and he was there to support me. I can’t really believe it was that big of a deal that I needed support, but if you know me…well, then you get it.
I gave Ben a hug, then looked at Meghan, ready to figure out if I should shake her hand and say, “Hi, nice to see you again.” Or if I should extend the olive branch and give her a hug? But as soon as I looked at her, I saw that she was pregnant! I extended my arms and said, “Oh my gosh! You’re going to have a kid!” That quickly turned into long conversations with both of them about what we’ve been up to. I couldn’t believe I had waited this long to finally see them and talk with them. Meghan was wonderful and I understood why Ben would marry someone like her. I wasn’t expecting it, but I really enjoyed her company and I loved hearing about their life together. Never in a million years…
When it was my time to leave several hours later, I said goodbye to everyone and when I got to Ben and Meghan, I gave both of them hugs. They said it was great to see me, and I could tell that they meant it. I told them I was so happy for them, and the best part was, I meant it. Adulthood ain’t so bad.
5K + Yoga Class + Group Meditation = Mindful Triathlon.
I signed up for the Wanderlust 108 event several months ago and I wondered if I should train for the 5K portion. I hadn’t run in a few years; I was as rusty as they come. When I dated an Ironman, that was really the only time in my life I ran. I wasn’t the biggest fan of running, but I wanted to keep up with ‘Ironman’ a little bit if I could. I used to sign up for 5K’s and train for them, but I was never able to accomplish my goal of running more than 3 miles without stopping or walking. 3 years flew by and there I was the morning of Wanderlust, and no training was had. I didn’t practice for the 5K, but I wanted to see if I could accomplish a miracle and run without stopping for the first time ever. For some reason, I had this idea that with all of my yoga and mindfulness, I’d be able to do it. Mind over matter. I wanted to prove this theory.
At the start line, the emcee led a mini meditation to get us all ready for the run. He asked us, “Who are you running for? What are you running for?”
Some may think this was selfish of me, but I dedicated the run to myself. I wanted to make old Mo proud and prove that if I set my mind to anything, I can do it. For the first time ever, I ran only for myself.
Guess what? Mind over matter has been proven. I didn’t stop, slow down, or grimace in pain like I always had in the past. I actually quite enjoyed the jog through Lake Sammamish State Park. The last time I was at that park was when I was cheering on ‘Ironman’ during his triathlon. This morning I was cheering myself on. Deep down, I knew I wouldn’t stop.
When I felt fatigued, I just thought of my breathing practices and took deep breaths in through my nose, out of my mouth. I reminded myself not to think about the running, instead to focus on the music. I was playing my “Centered” playlist and it felt like I was in a music montage. Rounding the corners, taking in the scenery, and finally crossing the finish line with a huge smile on my face. The best part? I could have kept running. Easily.
Instead of continuing running, I went to my yoga mat and got ready for a yoga class with 3,000 other people in the middle of the park while the sun was shining. The class was empowering and fun – I’d never held poses in a setting quite like this. And then it got even better; I didn’t think that would be possible. Over the past year in my yoga classes, I’ve learned that music amplifies my experience ten-fold. I’ve made about 15 yoga playlists and they all take me back to that peaceful, mental state. As I was holding poses, a song started playing over the speakers that took me mentally back to my yoga studio. It was a song I’ve held so many poses to and fallen in love with. This time it was live. The emcee turned out to be an artist that I’ve listened to countless times. Yoga and a concert. I was simultaneously in a park and on top of Cloud 9.
Lastly, we were all led in a group meditation. I thought of the ceremony I went to in Bali and how we prayed inside the Temple. I cleared my mind and time passed in a speed that I wasn’t sure of. It felt fast, but also very slow. Maybe time doesn’t exist on Could 9… I was officially a triathlete.
Baby Remy time. After the triathlon, I went to Kris’ house and hung out in the living room while we waited for Scott, Corinne, and Remy. We were chatting and I was excited that I’d have many opportunities like this in the near future. Kris and I are going to be “roommates” during the month of July because I need to be out of my apartment by June 30th. I’m so looking forward to that month.
Kris and I babysat Remy while Scott and Corinne went to Banya 5. Corinne had run a full marathon that morning and I was inspired. I know how important self-talk is while you’re pushing yourself, so the fact that Corinne kept up her energy and motivation for 26 miles says a lot about her. Strong, strong woman! So they relaxed in a hot tub while Kris and I played with Remy and fed her blueberries. Perfect Sunday.
A couple hours later, I got home and kicked my feet up on my ottoman, ready to pick out a movie. I had so earned the opportunity to veg out.
But wait! There’s more!
Phone rings, I pick up. “Mo! We need you right now! The Kings are going to forfeit if we don’t get another girl. Can you be here in 20 minutes?!”
I scrambled and somehow made it to the field in 15 minutes. The movie and my relaxation would have to wait. 2 softball games with only 2 girls? Well…you know my motto: WHY NOT?
I hadn’t played with the Sofa Kings since last Summer. It was only one game during the Summer because my schedule is always so jam-packed and I wanted to have Sundays open for hikes. I am bummed to not be a part of the team full-time anymore, but I had to take time for myself. I was honored to be called upon for help and it felt good to be on the field again.
I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised based on the morning’s accomplishments, but it was the best I’ve ever played. Every hit was a line drive to left field and I’d often make it to second base. This was new for me. The past several seasons I’ve played, I’d always tap the ball straight to the pitcher. My team was stoked and told me I was crushing it; I kept responding by saying, “I don’t know what’s gotten into me! I’ve never played like this!”
I give all credit to yoga. It’s helped me build strength, but it has also helped me focus. Before each at-bat, I’d take a deep breath and focus on the ball. I could read the pitch better and my intuition knew when to swing. Instead of being nervous, I was motivated. I thought of all the things I did this weekend that made myself proud – why not add a few softball runs in there to top it all off?
I closed out the weekend with a Dick’s Deluxe, fries, root beer, and an IPA at Hellbent Brewery with a couple friends.
Well played, Weekend. Well played.
Needless to say, my legs are jello.
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
It’s now Wednesday evening. The past week has been a bit hectic, so it took me some time to write out everything I wanted to about my weekend. This week hasn’t shown any sign of fatigue, it’s as busy as ever. Today, I left the station during lunch to spend time at the hospital with my friends. My friend suffered a stroke on Sunday after enjoying his cup of coffee on his boat. He has been in the hospital since, going through rehab, and today he looked great. We passed a bouncy ball to each other and I could tell he didn’t have complete control over his right arm. But even after a few tosses, he would improve within that set.
Oddly enough, it’s Stroke Awareness Month. I went to a meeting last week where a handful of non-profits presented their cause. The American Heart Association was one of them and gave a presentation on stroke awareness. I talked to my friend about it and he said that he wished he would have called 911 instead of gotten a ride to the hospital. That was actually one of the key points The American Heart Association stressed. Since it is Stroke Awareness Month, I’d like to write out the key signifiers of a stroke. If you’re reading this, who knows, maybe it’ll help!
F – Face droops.
A – Arm drifts downward.
S – Speech slurs or mumbles.
T – Time to call 9-1-1. If you go to the hospital in an ambulance, they will alert the hospital and they’ll be ready to take you in. If you drive in, you could wait up to an hour to get treated.
Ahhh… Now I’m finally sitting on my couch, feet propped up, and my “Centered” playlist on again. Time to finally veg out.