The heart wants what it wants

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote about this, and three weeks since it all ended, but I had yet to know for sure.  I still don’t even know how to process all this, because it continues to feel like each day that I wake up, the bad dream continues.  But soon your face will fade away, and the happiness you brought me will be nothing but a distant memory.  A Christina Aguilera verse comes to mind:

How could this man I thought I knew
Turn out to be unjust, so cruel?
Could only see the good in you,
Pretended not to see the truth.
You tried to hide your lies, 
disguise yourself,
You're living in denial,
But in the end you'll see 
You won't stop me.

Those words ring so true, and it just goes to show, unbelievable as it seems, I’m not the only person in the world to whom this has happened.  Someone that I knew, a friend, someone I thought genuinely liked me and liked spending time with me, could be so deceitful.  Even This articlethough with each passing day the reality sinks in further, I still have this irrational hope that one day all this bad stuff will go away.  That all the hurt and the lies will go away and my best friend will come back.

Realistically, I know that’s not going to happen, but thinking of it that way just fills me with sadness.  I need to remain optimistic about life, yet not let myself be consumed by the thoughts of one person.  I have to remind myself that he intentionally hurt me.  He deliberately deceived me and did not make a single attempt to apologize.

This article that I’d found a few weeks, about ghosting, ago really spoke to me, as did this related article about all the unanswered questions I have.  I try to be a strong person, but it still hurts.  I took a huge leap of faith, believing the advice that, if I followed my heart, things would go my way.  But instead I fell flat on my face, totally blindsided, and grasping for answers.

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L.A. Rock & Roll Half Marathon, October 25, 2015

Ok, this blog post is also waaay late, but, I’ve had a lot on my mind and thinking about this race brought up some bittersweet memories.

Anyways, I’d signed up for the LA RnR 1/2 as a fun way to cap off my one-week trip to San Diego.  I’d hoped my friend would run it with me, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.  I hadn’t been planning to actually race this, since my last race, the Clarendon Day 5K/10K, resulted in calf cramping when I pushed myself.  NOT cool.  So my plan for this race was just to run relaxed and finished cramp-free.  Because how embarrassing would it be for me to half to end up walking part of the race when I had a friend waiting for at the finish line???

The race was early on Sunday morning (7am!), so I stayed with another friend who lives in LA, and just a couple of miles from the race start, which was VERY handy.  We drove up from San Diego on Saturday afternoon and, due to a later-than-intended departure and LOTS of freeway traffic, go to the race expo one hour before it closed.  Who ends a race expo at 5pm on a Saturday???  That was ridiculous, but at least it only took a couple minutes to get the essentials- my race bib and t-shirt.  And then we had time to walk around and try some free samples.  Race expos are becoming less exciting these days than they were years ago.  They’re waaaay more consumerist now!  I didn’t buy anything, quite simply because I didn’t need anything, and I didn’t want to cart anything back to Virginia in my luggage.

Ready to rock!!

Ready to rock!!

Sunday morning, I got to the race site with plenty of time to spare, and the weather was really comfortable.  I was pretty sure it was going to get really hot as the day went on, but it stayed overcast at least for the duration of the race and never felt too hot.  Which is definitely great!

As for the race itself, it was fun, but most certainly not “pancake flat” as advertised on the website, haha.  There were two big hills and, since it was pretty much out and back, we did those hills on the return as well.  Nice!  Being a Rock & Roll series event, there were LOTS of runners, it was crazy.  But it was well-organized and started on time.


Before the race!

After the race!  I didn't actually wear the cape for the race itself, just for the photos.  It was a Halloween-themed race, so at least I can *pretend* I donned a costume :-)

After the race! I didn’t actually wear the cape for the race itself, just for the photos. It was a Halloween-themed race, so at least I can *pretend* I donned a costume :-)

Like I said earlier, I wasn’t really racing it, so I didn’t have a note-worthy finish time.  It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t awesome, but it was still fun, and a nice way to end my California trip :-)

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So Many Books, So Little Time, by Sara Nelson

It’s been a few weeks since I finished this book, but I was on vacation and then had a lot on my mind, so this has been a nagging task to complete.  But here goes!

“So Many Book, So Little Time”, by Sara Nelson, is a true account of a book-phile and her adventures in undergoing a “One book every week for a year” project.  She chronicles some of the books that she reads in this year, and some of her attempts to get into a book and then just stop.  Nelson might even get 100-200 pages into a book, realize that she’s still not into it, and put it away.

Now, I like to read, given the fact that I’m writing reviews on all the books I read (though I may end that this year), but there’s always a way to take something to the next level.  And that’s what Nelson does.  She has books upon books upon books, and is always reading.  It’s her preferred way of passing time, of relaxing, of having fun.  I’m in no position to judge and say that she’s going overboard, because we all have passions, or at least I hope we all do.  Passions are what make life worth living, what set up apart from other people.  And if you’re passionate about something, you should by all means go ahead and pursue it as much as you want!

So it’s amusing, but also amazing, to read Nelson’s first-person account about her passion.  I wouldn’t say it’s a must-read book, but it’s definitely interesting to read how she infuses her life with her love of books.  A favorite activity is browsing bookstores for hard-to-find items.  The best books to read are those that aren’t lauded as the must-read book of the month (because if everyone is reading it right now, where’s the fun of discovering something truly enjoyable?).

If you’re a book-phile as well, you will probably enjoy this book, and can probably relate to some parts of it.  Otherwise, you may just think it’s really weird, and why would you ever want to read so much???

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I’m blind from the tears that fall like rain

I loved you, but I never told you that.  And I think that you loved me, too, if only for a little while.  The past six months, having you in my life, were so wonderful.  You made me so happy and I really thought that I made you happy as well.  And I did make you happy, at least in the beginning.  And then something changed.  Once you realized that you no longer had try to get me to like you, you pulled away a little.  Not a lot, but just enough to make me wonder, to make me second-guess myself, to make me keep accepting your excuses.  I really thought we had a strong connection, and I felt so comfortable around you, in a way that I never did with anyone else in my life.  I thought you were different.  I really thought you could be The One.

I flew across the country to see you, and you treated me so well during that trip.  It was magical, and that’s when I fell in love with you.  Would things have turned out better if I had told you then?  I don’t think so, and I wanted to be sure of what I felt.  And so I planned another trip out to see you a few months later.  Here is where the red flags started appearing, but I accepted your excuses and thought I was being too hard on you, too selfish.  After all, weren’t you being so very kind to me?  Just like the first time, I was taken aback by your thoughtfulness, your willingness to make me happy, but I even told you that something felt off.  And, MUCH unlike the first time I visited you, I cried.  A few times.  Once in front of you.

And I cried on the trip home.  I’ve cried in the days since, and I’m crying as I write this, because I just can’t believe I let this happen to me again.  I open up my heart to someone, and then he just disappears.  Only this time has been different.  And much worse.  You were the kindest, sweetest person I had ever dated and I never would have thought that you would just disappear from my life without so much as a phone call to say it’s over.  I thought I deserved more respect than that.  But your silence is all the answer I need.  Even with all the tears I’ve shed and hurt I’m enduring, I’m not mad at you.  I don’t hate you.  I’m just at a loss.  I don’t know what I did or said, I don’t know what changed, and I don’t know how long you’ve felt this way.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I don’t NEED to know.  Of course, I WANT to know, but it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that you don’t want me in your life anymore, and why would I EVER want to be with someone who doesn’t want me?

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Hard Choices, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Wow, wow, wow, I finally finished this book!  Remind me next time NOT to choose a 600-page memoir as the reading material for my commute.  It’s really hard to finish a tome like this when you only have a few minutes a day, and then don’t feel like reading after work because your eyes are tired.

ANYWAYS… I decided to read this book because I deeply admire Hillary Clinton.  I’ve read several other of her books, including It Takes a Village and Living History, as well as A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein.  But now I decided upon Hard Choices and, once I did, I was committed to it.

It took a long time to get through, because I never just sat down and delved into it for hours at a time.  Nevertheless, I found this memoir to be a fascinating account of Hillary’s four years as Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term.  She’s been all over the world, negotiated through some very tough situations (e.g. Benghazi, Arab Spring, Palestine), and she came out on top.

I think that for the people who already have an irrational dislike of her, reading this memoir isn’t going to sway them.  But for those who have at least a generally positive view of her, you will come away with a great sense of admiration for her public service.  I definitely, definitely, definitely recommend reading this book (just maybe as your commuting read!).

Hillary has always stood up for the oppressed, especially women and girls.  She also talks about the LGBT community, and getting leaders from around the world to recognize that ALL people are born with the right to dignity.  She talks about using digital media to assist people who are trying to escape oppressive regimes.

There’s so much more I could write about this memoir, but time is short for me.  I leave for vacation early tomorrow morning, and there are still preparations to be made!

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Clarendon Day 5K & 10K, September 26, 2015

I signed up for this race because the event I had originally wanted to try, the Swim for the Potomac at National Harbor, was one I couldn’t get to very easily.  I was bummed, but not so much, because I wasn’t really sure I could survive a 3K swim in open water.  (That’s about 1.8 miles.  My longest OWS has been 1.2 miles.  50% more is no joke!!)  I soon found out that Clarendon Day was on the same day, and Clarendon is the neighborhood right next to mine.  I’d never done the Clarendon Day race, and I saw that there was a 5K option, a 10K option, and the option to do both.  I opted for the double because… why not?  I wasn’t planning on actually racing, just running in a race and, for the first time in a loooong time, not being in pain.

The 5K began at 8am, and the big draw for the event is that it’s a downhill race.  Clarendon to Rosslyn.  Some of the race also goes along Rte. 110, which feels like it’s slightly uphill, both ways (go figure).  Even though I wasn’t fast, by normal standards, it was fast as compared to how I’ve been running lately.  It was great to once again see sub-8:00 miles (though it didn’t last too long).  At the end of the race, we each got a Metro card to take the Metro back up the hill (which was especially necessary for those of us doing the 10K at 9am).  I happened to run into my friends Lindsey and Ryan at the end of the 5K, and then we all walked together to the Metro.

Me and Lindsey after the 5K.  We jus can't stop running! Ignore the background.

Me and Lindsey after the 5K. We just can’t stop running!
Ignore the background.

What was not so cool was the train we needed took thirteen minutes to arrive.  13!  Time was of the essence for me.  They weren’t doing the 10K, but I was.  Thanks to the slow arrival of the train, the gun for the 10K went off five seconds after I got back to Clarendon.  No rest for the weary!

We followed the same route, but went out farther on Rte. 110.  About halfway, maybe even less, into the race.  A familiar feeling returned.  Uh oh.  My calf started cramping up.  Ugh.  This hadn’t happened in weeks.  I had been so happy, thinking it was gone for good.  Nope.  There are two possible reasons:  1) I had forgotten to take my magnesium supplement the previous day and so took it this morning, or 2) I had pushed myself and my calf couldn’t take that kind of pressure.  So now I make sure to take this magnesium supplement EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and to run very easily (translated: slowly).

I stopped momentarily to massage my calf, but then kept going.  The discomfort never went away, and it sucked.  Add to that, my left upper-side leg muscle was feeling weak (like it’s prone to doing… I don’t understand why), so now both legs were conspiring against me and making me go sloooooowly towards the finish line.  It was a bit of torture.  I finally made it, though.  Once again at the finish line, I got a Metro card and, as it would happen, I only waited about a minute for the train at the Metro station.  Too bad that with my crampy calf, I was about to only walk, not even jog.

Well-earned medal with a very cool t-shirt!

Well-earned medal with a very cool t-shirt!

I was afraid that the return of the calf cramp would put me out for several weeks again, but four days later, I carefully decided to go for a run.  And…. it felt fine!  I just had to remember to NOT push myself.  And keep up the daily magnesium supplement.  I did 6.6 miles that morning, and no more calf cramping.  And then I did 11.6 this morning, also to no calf cramping.  Hurray!  But, like I said, I just had to accept going super-slow, and I guess I’m ok with that.  Slow running with no pain is MUCH better than fast running with pain.

Here’s to my next race in a few weeks- the LA Rock & Roll Half Marathon!

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The wonderful world of…. Internet?

It’s been a little over a week now (technically, almost three weeks), that I’ve had Internet in my apartment.  Yes, this is a big deal for me.  Ever since moving to my current place, oh….. over nine years ago, I made the conscious decision not to purchase Internet.  A HUGE part of that decision was that rent here in Arlington was really expensive.  Even though I had a new job now that would pay more than my old one, my starting rent was still $95 more than the self-imposed absolute maximum that I had been willing to consider.  Fast-forward to present time and my rent is now $400 than when I started, but it’s been nine years, so I guess that makes sense.  It’s not really outrageous.

What did I do all these years without Internet?  Well, I wasn’t completely cut off from the world.  My building has a business center.  The library across the street has free wi-fi.  Those would be the two places I’d frequent for online access.  And then when I became a full-time grad student again (and still living in my expensive apartment), it became imperative to save wherever possible.  (At that time my monthly stipend was very nearly equal to my rent!)

Fortunately, all those bleak times are in the past, and I’ve been working at a great, and great-paying job for a few years now.  So it occurred to me about three weeks ago that I need to stop roughing it.  Life might be more fun having ready Internet access once again.  I knew my two options were Verizon FiOS and Comcast.  Since I’d had Comcast before (in the distant past) and have heard bad things about them, I decided to try FiOS.  No can do.  Once I could finally get some information, they weren’t even apologetic about not being able to offer me FiOS Internet service.  I asked them what my other options were.  No help there.  OK THEN!  Next!

Surprisingly enough, my communication with Comcast went great.  They started service at my apartment I bought a modem and router, and prepared for magic.  Unfortunately nothing happened.  After several attempts to get things working, I then set up an appointment for a Comcast technician to come by, which was about a week and a half after I’d signed up for service, since I was going out of town.  Even more impressively, the service guy came by right on time and eventually got things working (turns out it wasn’t me being a dodo, there was some kind of wiring issue with the building).  But hooray, then I had working Internet!

And then a few days ago, I happened to go to the Comcast website and saw that the price for the Internet speed I had had gone down by $10.  I called Comcast and they quickly went ahead and gave me that cheaper price.  So far, I’m liking them!  And I like having high-speed Internet for only $30/month, the same price I paid 10 years ago, haha.

And I applied to telework.  Not full-time, just about one day a week.  But I feel like this is the first step towards me becoming a full-time teleworker.  And then I could move practically anywhere (in the continental US)!  I’ve had a few interesting, happy turns in my life recently, so who knows where I might end up????

Also, I need to figure out other cool Internet-related things to do.  And how to use Windows 10, since I bought a brand-spanking-new computer just for the occasion!

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