Making My California Dreams Come True

Hi, I live here now?

Last week, I packed up three years in that apartment, 11 in NYC and 36 on the East Coast to give life on the West Coast a real try. Someone on Instagram asked why now and not when I tried it out in the fall. I don’t think I would have admitted it at the time, but I just wasn’t ready. I believe that this will ultimately be amazing for me, but I know it will also be difficult, and I just wasn’t ready to put myself through difficulty by choice. Even if it had the potential for an amazing payoff. But six weeks of intensive therapy made me realize that I *could* be happy in NYC or LA (or anywhere), but where I *wanted* to be was LA. I’m so ready for this slower-paced, more active lifestyle. Oh, and sunshine.

Even though I was really ready for a change, leaving the city:

  • I’d once considered the center of the universe
  • that I’d always dreamed of living in
  • and never saw myself leaving
  • where my mom was diagnosed with and treated for ovarian cancer
  • where some of my happiest childhood memories took place
  • where some of my toughest adult memories took place
  • that I’d lived in for 11 out of my 14 years out of college
  • where I grew into myself
  • that I thought defined me and my personality…

…was incredibly emotional. I rented a car to bring things back to NJ, and as I drove out of the city, I furiously wiped tears from my eyes as my Leaving New York playlist echoed in my ears. Driving downtown to the Holland Tunnel, I had a poignant moment stuck in traffic. With the Freedom Tower in front of me, and the general direction of my old apartment behind me, I saw my freedom ahead and the past behind me—and I was really proud of myself for taking this leap. For moving all on my own.

Twelve weeks ago, I checked into an inpatient mental health center because I couldn’t safely care for myself, because I’d caused so much self-destruction. But last week, I made this massive move.

I’m beyond exhausted. I’m having some pretty terrible headaches. The list of what it’s in front of me to actually make this permanent is long: find a place (I’m Airbnbing right now with the goal of finding a place to move into for a June 1 lease start), figure out a car situation for the first time as an adult, get CA health insurance (which praise baby Jesus, is so much better on the exchange than it was in NY), etc etc. Of course, I want to tackle it all at once. But part of this move is learning to really nourish myself, and so I’m breaking it down manageably—while starting two major work projects this week. I will figure it out, and it doesn’t need to be all at once.

I got this.

(But also: looking for any tips you have on settling into big moves as an adult.) (Or any LA tips.)


NYRR Fiesta 5K Race Recap

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I wrote on Instagram that I was really excited with how I did at the NYRR Fiesta 5K in Jersey City the other day…and that’s true. 

But I wanted to go more into depth about what I was thinking while I was running.

Side notes: I signed up for this on a whim on Saturday afternoon, which one of my BFFs, Blake, says is one of the most Old Theodora things I’ve done in a while. She’s right, and it felt awesome.

I have done so much work on my mindset in recent months and have become pretty good with what my therapist calls ThoughtStopping™ in day-to-day life. But running? That’s still a different story. I so badly miss the days when my running mental game was ON POINT. The pinnacle: NYCM 2013. Man. But I have a really hard time channeling that these days. Instead, it’s the fact that I ended up in the med tent after that race. It’s the time I DNF-ed the Brooklyn Half or the time I DNF-ed the Italy Day run, which I swear I wrote about but can’t find here. It’s telling myself what terrible shape I’m in.

I must have mentioned comparing myself to my past self, and my therapist actually suggested to me doing a few sun salutations before every run to deepen the breath she guessed was pretty shallow from my anxious thoughts. Well, there wasn’t really room in the corrals to do sun salutations, so I just tried to focus on my breath instead. The race started a few minutes late though, and I started getting frustrated…

And we were off! I’m in NYRR corral D (My Twitter friends say they go up to K/L, for context) with a fastest pace of 7:51…which is not at all recent. But, I found myself swept up in the excitement of it all, and as I started getting a stitch in my side, I looked down at my watch to see I was running an 8:15 mile. WHOA, no wonder it felt so hard. I knew then that I’d gone out way too hard and couldn’t sustain that for another two miles, so I started trying to slow down to a more comfortable pace—I’m nervous about pushing myself right now, since I haven’t in a while.

I take walk breaks almost every single run these days, so I took a ~20-30 second walk break for each mile and tried really hard to just stay in that mile. The race goes south down Washington Boulevard, winds through a loop in downtown JC near the Grove Street PATH and comes back down Montgomery St. to some awesome views of the NYC skyline.

NYRR Fiesta 5K

Pretty sweet, right?! No matter how much I’m struggling, I always love this view during races in Jersey City. This almost looks fake!

NYRR Fiesta 5K

My pace slowed considerably after that first fast mile to 9:00 and 9:43 and back down to 8:33 for that “.19” This is all according to my watch, which said I did an 8:57 pace because of that extra .09 from my weaving. My official pace was 9:13. Either way, I’m really happy with how I did, even if it felt really tough.

I got into the NYCM lottery, and I plan on running it, but I know I have a lot of work to do both mentally and physically to get there in six months from my current struggling through a 5K. 

I was talking to a friend about this frustration about my current fitness compared with where I want to be in a few months, and I found my own answer: patience and practice. And realism if I need to, but I really hope to run the race.