Rage

The black cloud encircles me,
Pulling me down,
Down,
Down…

Down into the very pit of darkness,
Down into the depths of despair,
Down, down,
Down…

Spiraling into oblivion,
My rage boils. 
White hot blood,
Pumping hotly through my veins.

Anger.
I am angry.
Resentment.
I am resentful. 

Drowning in my own misery,
Clawing desperately for a ray of light,
Searching for a peace I cannot find,

I resign,
To be alone,
With my rage. 

The Poetry of Poetry

I see it all around me,
I live it,
I breathe it,
I feel it in my bones.

It’s the way a tree sways in the breeze,
Green and bright,
Flowing majestically,
This way and that.

Children laughing raucously,
Giggles and snorts,
Silly faces, secret languages, jokes that don’t make sense,
Music to the ears.

The simplicity of pizza,
Singular ingredients,
Melding together,

Creating a symphony for the mouth.

It lingers in the air,
A not-so-distant memory,
The scent deep inside the nose,
A reminder, that spring has finally sprung.

Getting caught out in the rain,
Droplets dancing playfully,
Tickling and dribbling,
Across the shoulders, and down the back.

Everyone and everything is poetry.

A Quick Poetry Break *3*

We walked alone, in silence,
My friend and I.
Through the town we were born in,
Through the place we would die.

Leaves crunched under our feet.
Swaddled against the blistering cold
Of the long, dreary night,
We walked.

Darkness, stretching on for miles,
Our silence, unbreakable.
I shivered.

My friend, shuttered.
And yet, we continued to walk.
Finding comfort in the solace,
A comfortableness in the vacant darkness.

A dog barks in the distance,
Car headlights loom brightly,
And we continue to walk,
In silence.

Bluenose – Part 2

My Dad and I after crossing the finish line.
You can see I’m still out of breath… This was my dad’s first race, I have his time (10 minutes better than mine) to live up to!!

“Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start”  — Anonymous 

Months of preparations have lead me to this moment.
A Marathon Official screaming “Keep left for finish line!!” and hundreds of fans line Brunswick Street as I come around that last bend. Only 100 meters to go…
Coldplay’s Every Teardrop is a Waterfall is playing in my ears – fitting since I can feel myself tearing up with a mixture of excitement and pride already. 

I desperately try to soak in the moment while frantically searching the crowd for someone, anyone I know. 50 meters…
I dig deep, pushing against the ache in my hips, and the cramp in my leg I mysteriously woke up with this morning, and can’t seem to shake. 10 meters…
One last deep breath and I cross the first sensor marking the finish line, hesitating only slightly when I hear the announcer call MY name. 5 meters…
Arms over my head, one final burst of energy and I’m over the last two sensors and through the finish gate. “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” I screamed as I erupted into a puddle of tears.

I did it.

I actually did it, and a whopping 40 minutes faster than last year!!!

The Journey

“I run the marathon to the very last mile”     — Beastie Boys

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 2011 was a mixed bag. My heart had never been more full, my spirit had never been so broken. The defining moment, for me, was May 18th (2 days before the Bluenose). In a text message, I was told the relationship I had been pouring everything into was over, and there was nothing I could do about it. Defeated, heart broken, and severely depressed, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, but I had made a commitment. And so, I took to the streets of Halifax for the 10K, finishing in 2 hours – not bad all things considered.

I spent the next six months going through the grieving process: denying it was over; agonizing; bargaining; reflecting… In August I sustained a head injury that complicated my “recovery.” But, by January I had turned a corner. Enough is enough. It was time to get back up.

The Training

“Dig deeper. Push Harder. BE Profound.”  — Me

Having spent eight months in bed, I was in horrible physical shape. Mentally and emotionally, I was ready for this!
I began (at my cousin Sheldon’s insistence) with the Biggest Loser Bootcamp 4 days a week. Boy-O-boy did that wake my body up!! Four weeks later, instead of starting level 3, I started doing run/walks…
The C25K iPhone app soon became my favourite. My first outdoor walk/run was 5K, it felt amazing, so liberating (read more about that run here).
In March, I added the Map My Run app, which keeps track of my routes, speed, distance, and averages my pace so I have an accurate idea of how well I’m doing.

The Setbacks

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.”  — Lynn Jennings

That first run was the beginning of a string of setbacks and complications that, to this day have not stopped, nor slowed me down. Shin splints, supination, pulled muscles, torn ligaments, heel spurs, clothing malfunctions, failure to lose weight/inches and progress through the training process… You name it, and I have likely endured it! 

The Motivation

“Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.”  — Patti Sue Plummer

Changing my view on the world around me was not easy, but some how I seem to have accomplished it (9 days of 10, anyway). Oprah once said that running was the best metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put in. Adopting that philosophy in my life and surrounding myself with positivity and calm has become a passion of mine (right up there with writing). They’re both something I work hard at, and strive desperately to improve on. 

Equal motivation for me, was simply doing it. Years ago when I visited the gym regularly, the tredmill was always my favourite part of my workouts, and for years, I’ve hummed and hawed over getting a tredmill of my own. Instead, I began running outside. Outdoor running is MUCH harder than running on a tredmill, and I love the challenge!! Battling the elements; moving faster to get warm, or to get home because it’s raining, or because it’s hot, all par for the course…

I’m a game player too, secretly competitive – There’s no better competition than with myself!!
When I’m out for my run, in my head I’m playing game after game with myself:
Can you run faster than him?… I bet she runs slower than you… I wonder if I can climb this hill in two minutes… If you walk up the hill, you have to run down it at double time… If  you finish in less than 40 minutes, you can go to Booster Juice… Can you run to that rock?… Can you run up that hill?

If all that fails, I sing along to my iPod – OUT LOUD!

The Playlist

Music makes or breaks my workouts. All of my worst runs have been my worst runs because of iPod malfunctions. Music has been scientifically proven to positively benefit any exercise program:

There are four factors that contribute to a song’s motivational qualities: rhythm response, musicality, cultural impact and association.

The first two are known as “internal” factors as they relate to the music’s structure while the second two are “external” factors that reflect how we interpret the music. Rhythm response is tied to the beats per minute (bpm) of the song and how well it matches either the cadence or the heartbeat of the runner. A song’s structure such as its melody and harmony contribute to its musicality. The external factors consider our musical background and the preferences we have for a certain genre of music and what we have learned to associate with certain songs and artists (Click HERE to read this article in its entirety).

Here’s a short list of my “life saving” songs from today, many of which I sang OUT LOUD!:

The Pretender – Foo Fighters (I’m the voice inside your head you refuse to hear…)
She Knows What to do With a Saturday Night – Billy Currington
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall – Coldplay (I turn the music up, I got my records on, I shut the world outside until the lights come on, Maybe the streets alight, maybe the trees are gone, I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song…)
Love the Way You Lie – Eminem & Rihanna
Look at me Now – Karmin
Forgot About Dre – Eminem & Dr. Dre (So what do you say to somebody you hate, Or anybody tryna bring trouble your way)
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People (All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You better run, better run, outrun my gun…
Thriller/Heads Will Roll – Glee Cast
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
Never Say Never – Justin Bieber & Jaden Smith (I will never say never, I will fight till forever…
Crash Your Party – Karmin (Who do you think you are a super S-T-A-R…
Shoop – Salt & Peppa
I Love Rock N’ Roll – Joan Jett 

Now What?

 A much needed break, and back to running 3-4 times a week… There just might be something fantastic in store for 2013! 😉 Stay tuned!!

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

Bluenose – Part 1

Have I trained enough?
Am I ready?
Did I dig deep enough? Eat well enough? Push hard enough?

Has it been enough? 

Today’s post-work run, and last training opportunity before Sunday’s race, pavement under my feet. And now, I am left with many nagging questions rolling through my mind, all boiling down to one: has my training plan since January been enough?

I am no stranger to anxiety, fear, worry, stress, and excitement. In fact, we’re old buds. And honestly, there’s nothing else I can do at this point to prepare myself – at least nothing that would positively benefit me on Sunday. Sure, I could “sneak in” a couple more runs, and some yoga, and some cardio, and arrive on Sunday morning an even more exhausted mess than I have been this last month. And maybe, just maybe, I will finish.

Finishing is not in my game plan.
I plan to capitalize on all the fear and anxiety and excitement, to beat my time from 2011; set a new all-time personal best; have fun; come full circle on one of the roughest years of my life; and most importantly, prove to myself that I can do it!

I. Am. Ready.

Like “they” say:
It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

A Quick Poetry Break *2*

Who am I, she wondered.
Where do I come from?
What does this mean?

Questions spewed forth like waves rolling across a rocky shore.

How did I get here?
How will I leave?
Will you remember me?
Do you know I exist?

Questions with no answers,
Answers with no rhyme.
Rhymes with no reason,
Reasons with no time.

An enigma.
A riddle.
A mystery.

Staying positive in a negative environment

I had a bad day at work today. 

No wait. It’s been a rough couple of weeks – at work. 
Busy nights. Even busier days. Short staffed. Cranky customers.
You name it, and I have smiled through it.  

The hardest part about my line of work is staying positive during those moments of high stress. When things become toxic, it’s incredibly difficult not to get sucked into it. Making excuses for the chaos helps, for a moment: referring to our deficits as growing pains, and telling myself repeatedly (and my staff too) “it’s going feel worse before it feels better.” 

But what about when those “excuses” don’t help?

Generally, when I am having a bad day, I become even more introverted. In an attempt not to take out my stress and frustrations on those around me, I begin an inner dialogue. Asking myself in many different ways:
What about this situation is controlling me?
Can I change what is happening?
What can I do to IMPROVE the situation?

When nothing is the answer to at least the first two, then I have a conscious decision to make: let the situation continue to affect me, or not.

One of the first things I learned when I first started working with Karen Furneaux, back in early 2011, on my stress and anxiety issues is first to breathe then to feel. 
Once I have taken a few “clean” belly breaths, I then focus on feeling my feelings – giving them some legitimacy. Then, and only then, can I detach them from the stress, anxiety, or frustration of the day/hour/minute.  

Finding a moment to breathe sounds like a no-brainer, right? You try it when you’re crazy, crazy, crazy busy, and your boss is yelling at you. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the “chance” to really breathe.
On this day, I made a choice, which turned out to be the wrong one. I chose not to find a moment for myself. I allowed my job to be number one over myself, and I paid the price. My performance for the remainder of my shift was sub-par. I was miserable, and it was evident to my entire team.
It wasn’t until I got home, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, that I took that first cleansing breath. It felt good.

Instead of lecturing myself about the importance of taking care of myself first and foremost (a common occurrence after a high-stress situation), I decided to focus on some positives instead, what I have as opposed to what I do not. This is a small sampling of what I came up with:

At work:
– An employee who I’ve only known for 3 days and who has returned for the summer while on break from school, told me how much she loves me
– I have at least one person who I can count on every day, no matter what is going on, no matter what I need. I can talk to her on a personal level, or lean on her on a professional level.

At home:
– I have friends and family that are there for me, whatever I should need.
– The box of hair colour I put in after work turned out really good.
– I am independent both financially, and emotionally.
– I have this blog as an outlet.

Bottom line: where ever there may be shadows, there is also bound to be light.

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

The Versatile Blogger Award

When I woke up this morning, bright and early, and WELL before the crack of dawn, I was expecting today not to be a good day. 

3.50AM (yes, I wake before the sun) doesn’t have a lot going for it already. This Wednesday morning (can we legally call it morning?) being no exception. Rain, cold and high winds added to blinding pain in my upper thigh region from the pulled muscle I sustained during yesterday’s run, and the cookies I just had to have last night before bed sitting like rocks in my belly. 

I start to prepare myself for the day: 
Facebook check – nothing interesting
Phone check – 11 emails, 2 missed text messages, 7 Hanging With Friends & 5 Draw Something notifications 

Now, as I begin sifting through the 11 emails I received in a 9 hour period, something interesting and VERY exciting draws my attention. Two somethings to be exact!

1. WordPress alerted me that I have a new follower (YAAY!!)

2. A fellow blogger nominated me for my second blogging award in less than a month (double YAAY!)!!!

Jules at The J85 nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! 

Once again, I am rendered speechless. It’s so humbling not only knowing that someone out there is reading my words, but that they are liking them and would recommend my blog to someone else as well.  

When I started Out Of Sight, On My Mind back in early February, I began with the simple intention of having an outlet for my words. I have always dreamed of being a writer, and while writing may never become a paid profession for me (that’s OKAY, I love it anyway!), I wanted a place to express myself. And if people out there in the universe like what they read, then that’s just icing on the cake!! 

I simply cannot believe someone out there reads my words. This makes me so happy!

SO! In keeping with the fine tradition of this award, the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!).
4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

In no particular order the not quite 15 blogs I adore:

The Better Man Project

Tracks By Linds

That Dude Eddie

Cognifeeder

Feisty Red Hair

I Am Not Defined

Halifax Donair

I Promise Performance

And finally, 7 facts about myself to share with my nominator, and the world:

1. My parents raised me right! I got spanked if I was bad, Tobasco sauce on my tongue if I lied, and grounded if I was a pain in the ass. I was taught that manners mean something, good grammar counts, penmanship is important, and than when you’re sorry say it like you mean it! I was also raised to make decisions for myself; to act responsibly, not only for myself but for those around me too; and to value family and friendship more than money and possessions.

2. Television. I love it, but I found myself bored by it, so I got rid of it! I cancelled my cable, and got rid of the 13″ ‘boob tube’ that has followed me around for more than ten years and had been collecting dust in my bedroom for months. I decided I would keep the 40″ LCD in the living room – cos you never know, right? All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the decision.

3. Faith & Religion. Some might think these are mutually exclusive. I may agree today, and disagree tomorrow. The word faith speaks to me more of spirituality than religion, while the word religion brings to mind churches and bibles. The great thing about this country of mine, is that I have the freedom to explore religion and faith. To borrow a little from here and there in order to live my life in a way that is acceptable to me. I don’t call myself religious, but I am devote in my spirituality. 

4. I am stronger than I know.

5. Who I am. I didn’t start feeling like I really knew myself at all until I was in my late 20’s. 28 was the first birthday where I wasn’t scared of getting older. I’ve spent the next two years (up to and including this point) getting to know myself, learning who I am on a deep level, and living up to that. This year I will be turning 30 and so, I have started doing more things for me (I run because I WANT to, I’m planning a vacation because I WANT to, I got a new tattoo because I WANTed to… see the trend?), and less because it’s what’s expected. 

6. Writing. This has been a passion of mine since my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Healy, told me I was good at it (especially the poetry). Words have always spoken to me (pun intended), and I have always found that what I lack in verbal skills (sometimes A LOT) I can make up for in writing. There’s nothing more exhilarating than sitting down with an idea and having the pen (or keyboard) take over. Writing keeps my mind quiet, and at my age (ha ha ha), there’s nothing nicer than peace and quiet.

7. Tattoos. Wearable, personal, customizable artwork. I adore the entire process! From working with the artist, to design the piece to deciding body placement and having it done, to hearing about (and telling) the story/stories behind the pieces themselves. I have several, with plans for several more (sorry mom).

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox