B2B 2.0?

Welps, the good news: 2/3 of my Beach to Beacon goals, I nailed.  The bad news: one of my goals, I completely and utterly and epically failed at.  Considering I’m writing this, or in your case, since you’re reading what I’ve written recently, I think it’s safe to assume that you’ve figured out ONE of my nailed goals.  I rocked the JDD (just don’t die).  I did not die.  Ta-da!  I also finished!  Ta-da-da!  However, my FISHMO . . . it needs some serious work!

So, for those of you readers out there who are not familiar with my goals for the Beach to Beacon, or who are not familiar with B2B, clicky . . . HERE.  <~~~ This is a journey to my original post pertaining to this particular race, as well as what I hoped to accomplish.

As of Saturday, I didn’t know if I loved the Beach to Beacon enough to do it again.  The fact that I didn’t fall absolutely in love with it, that is more disappointing to me than my finish time (1hr, 16min, BTW).  However, I do think I will try to get a spot again, once registration opens in March of 2019.  My lackluster opinion is mainly due to the humidity, the obnoxious football team I was in pace with (their high school will be getting a letter from me), the fact that I was dead on my feet tired, and probably most importantly, I forgot my AirPods.

However, before I discuss my negative experiences and outlooks in more detail, I must admit that the positive aspects of B2B far outweigh any unfavorable facets.  In fact, the not-so-great “things” I have to write about are entirely out of control of the event, its organizers, and its sponsors.  Frankly, B2B has the potential to be an absolute shitshow with approximately 7,000 runners, 2,000 volunteers, and thousands of spectators; the probability of chaos is at threat level midnight.  I was in shock and awe at just how smoothly the event ran, from bib pick up to the day-of itself.  Beach to Beacon is a well-oiled machine and the epitome of what a professional (“real”) race should be.

My best friend, Callie, and I are opposites in many ways.  One such way: Callie prefers running with her own thoughts and never listens to music while she is running.  Me?  I NEED music.  I just . . . do.    I cannot stand to hear my labored breathing, and I do not like being inside my own head because it’s not a nice place to be (only when running, mind you).  With music, I can lose myself – I don’t think about each footfall on the pavement, I don’t think about what distance lies ahead, nor what distance lies behind me, I don’t think about how hard it is, what hurts, or that I’m growing ever more exhausted, and I can also block others’ poor behaviors out (e.g. HS football team).  So, when I forgot my AirPods on Saturday, it was calamitous.  The lack of music impacted my performance greatly because I just could not get out of my own way, by way of my thoughts and attitude.  This sucks.  It’s so humid.  My calves are cramped.  My feet hurt.  My lungs are burning.  Why did I do this?  I should just walk because it doesn’t matter.  I suck.  I’m not good enough.  I didn’t train enough.  Everyone’s better than me.  This is never going to be over.  These thoughts were absolutely detrimental to a good outcome, a performance that I could claim to be proud of.

With that being said, I’m still proud of myself because . . . I did it: I didn’t die, and I finished.  For me, these events are about far more than just the running and the physical demand upon my body.  These events test me to the fullest extent because I’m also forced to confront the anxiety I face regarding large crowds, trying new things, and driving in unfamiliar places.  I am also in a position where it’s inconvenient to be the shy, quiet, and socially awkward one . . . SO, I talk with people I do not know, I’m in front of (a lot of) cameras, I’m being watched, so on and so forth; I deal with it, as best as I can, as much as I do not enjoy it.

Will I do the B2B again?  Now that this year’s is over, and I’m letting go of my pocket full of disappointments in myself (just because I am proud of myself for doing it, that doesn’t mean I cannot also be disappointed), I think I may attempt to get a spot in 2019’s Beach to Beacon.  Here’s why: I want to try, really try . . .

My first ever 10K time was 1hr, 17min.  My second 10K time was 1hr, 16min.  I did both with no music and quickly succumbed to my negative, self-deprecating thought processes.  I know that I can better myself, push myself harder, and thus, perform better.  . . . but I need to stop being afraid to try, to really try; my fear continues to hold me back.  You see, if I don’t perform as well as I’d like to because I didn’t try my hardest, that’s a much easier pill to swallow than the horse pill packed with the knowledge that I didn’t perform well . . . when I tried my absolute best.  I legitimately forgot my AirPods this past weekend so I do not think I engaged in subconscious self-sabotage, but this event woke me up, made me realize that though I have come a long way, I have some fear and doubt I continue to carry with me.

It is über difficult to secure a Beach to Beacon spot, especially in consecutive years.  Let’s hope I’m just as lucky in 2019 as I was in 2018 . . . I have a lot to prove to myself.

So, B2B, according to their official website, is in 360 days . . . 18 hours . . . 36 minutes at the time of this writing (09:29hrs on 08/07/2018).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goals: JDD / FISHMO

WARNING: There will be naughty words; they will be in the FISHMO portion of this entry.  Where that will end up being, I do not know, but you’ve been warned!

Beach to Beacon.  Beach to mother effing Beacon.  (That’s not where it gets naughty, BTW) . . . or should I say BTB?  Haaayyyyooooooo.  So, Beach to Beacon is kind of a big deal.  (I stole some info. from one of the utmost reliable interweb resources (Wikipedia), and it’s below should you want to read about it).

The Beach to Beacon 10K is a 10-kilometer (6.2 mi) road running event that takes place along the coastline of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It begins at Crescent Beach State Park and ends at the Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park.

Starting out as mainly a local event, athletes from all over the U.S. and various parts of the world now participate in the annual event, including some world-class distance runners, including Olympic Marathon Silver medalists Catherine Ndereba and Meb Keflezighi, as well as Chicago Marathon winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. It was founded by U.S. women’s marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, who in 1984, won the first ever women’s Olympic marathon. 1998 was the first year that the event was held and over 3000 runners participated in the race. The event was sponsored by then People’s Heritage Bank, which changed parent companies. Now the event is formally known as the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10k. 

Beach to Beacon now draws approximately 6,000 runners from all across the nation.  Actually, runners from all around the world travel to Maine for this race.  I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that 2018’s event sold out in approximately 45 minutes.  45 minutes to sell 4,000ish spots!  (Cape Elizabeth residents are permitted to register the day before B2B opens for all, and some of the 6,000ish spots are saved for a lottery).  You’re lucky!  You know why you’re lucky?  Because you kinda sorta know someone who got a spot.  Yeah, ME!

So, B2B, according to their official website, is in 3 days, 15 hours, and 5 minutes at the time of this writing (13:06hrs on 07/31/2018).  I am filled with various feels . . .

First, I am proud.  I am proud because I am trying something completely and utterly out of my comfort zone.  I’ve run a 10K before but not one so official.  I have to travel to a congested, touristy area that I have never been to before, and the crowd alone will be enough to send my anxiety into overdrive.  6,000+ runners, oodles volunteers, and gaggles of spectators.  That’s a lot of people, and at about an ounce of anxiety per person, yeah, that’s quite a bit of anxiousness all bottled up inside of me.

Second, I’m nervous.  It is going to be humid as humid can be on Saturday, and I am one who struggles with heat and especially humidity.  I was (somewhat) accepting of this weather factoid until the comfort of my personal hydration system was ripped from my tightly clenched phalanges.  I have no doubt that there are water stations along the 10K, but the fact remains that one of my comforts has been taken from me and is now null and void.

Third, I’m self-doubtful.  From my perspective, I see 5,999 badass runners, and then there’s me.  This is just my self-doubt kicking in, and as we know from many, many entries back, these are thoughts I entertain before any event that I do, big or small.

Fourth, I’m (already) tired.  In order to be at one of the shuttle bus stations by 0600hrs, I need to leave my house by 0400hrs.  To leave by 0400hrs, I need to wake up between 0230 and 0300hrs.  However, this is the present-time Amy who isn’t all hopped up on the day-of excitement and adrenaline.  I know when my alarm trills bright (or lack thereof) and early on Saturday, I will wake up without much effort – I always do.

Lastly, I’m determined!  When the self-doubt creeps in, when the threat of heat stroke enters my brain, when I feel pre-tired, I simply do one thing to combat it all . . . I remember.

I remember all of the years that I felt:

  • not ready
  • not good enough
  • too slow
  • too big
  • too scared
  • too nervous
  • too anxious

Most of all, I remember how I felt last year, at this time, when I watched the news and saw all of the runners at the start line.  I remember watching the piece about the twenty-three year old runner who collapsed, due to heat stroke, right before the finish line and another runner picked him up and helped him finish.  I remember how disappointed I was in myself that I didn’t even . . . TRY.

So, despite how unprepared I feel right now, how hot, sweaty, sore, and tired I will be, I am going to try.  Doing just that puts me leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at, mentally and physically, in August of 2017.  I have already given myself permission to walk a few steps if / as I need to.  I’m not in it the win it; honestly, I never do an event with the intent to place.  I have very, very basic goals:

  • just don’t die (JDD)
  • just finish
  • think FISHMO

Ahh, the FISHMO . . .

The FISHMO state of mind:

Fuck it!  Shit happens, move on.

And as long as I simply try . . . it doesn’t get much more FISHMO than that.

. . . 3 days, 18 hours, 4 minutes.

 

Book Review: Full Tilt

On occasion, I will take the time to write a book review on my Goodreads account, but what better way  to share my thoughts, opinions, cheers, and jeers (especially with those you do not follow me on Goodreads) than via the additional inclusion of my reviews within my blog?  Mind you, I love reading.  However, I read for pleasure and to ride the high of the pure joy reading delivers to my life.  My reviews will never be an analysis of the plot, subplot, etc.  I will not be the one to point out those so subtle metaphors that make you later say to yourself, “Ohhhhh, NOW I get it!”  I’m an analyst by profession, and in my personal life, I’m a textbook over-thinker and analyzer; reading allows me to escape those traits and be anything but.  SO, my reviews are not deep, they are not profound, but they’re (possibly?) entertaining.

So, without further adieu . . . 


 

full-tilt-9781416997481_hr.jpg

I bought this book for $1.00 at a thrift store based on its cover and its relatively small size alone. Sometimes, I enjoy what appears to be a, what I call a “burner” book or a “palate cleanser” book. These books are typically a quick read between the book I’ve finished and the next one on my I really, really, REALLY want to read list. *I know I’ve explained this in many of my reviews, but if you’re just tuning in and / or don’t regularly follow my thoughts and / or opinions, I figured I’d define it again; apologies to anyone this seems repetitious to.*

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! The writing style alone had me hooked nearly immediately. Admittedly, at first I was suspect because the main character / narrator is a 16YO boy, and I did think to myself ‘what kid speaks like this!?’ The answer came pretty quickly on, and I appreciated the author’s awareness that yeah, some people will get hung up on this kid’s dialogue and thought process. Essentially, Blake is super smart and of the intellectual type; at 16YOA, he has the opportunity to attend Columbia on a scholarship; he’s no dumb dumb! So, after this tidbit of info., the dialogue made sense, and all was right again in my reading nook / world.

I loved the plot line of the carnival rides being extracted from the characters’ deepest fears, thus forcing them (the fears) to be faced and conquered. It’s essentially a plight of “do or die” / “fight or flight” at its finest. SO, for reals, don’t judge a book by its cover. I don’t know if I am so inclined to intentionally seek out more of this author’s books, but if they were gifted to me or I stumbled upon another in a thrift store find, I think I’d give it a (tilt-a)-whirl. See what I did there!?

‘Tis Payne Day!

Those who have been following along may remember that approximately a month ago, I vowed (errr, contemplated) an attempt at the David Payne Memorial Run this year.  Well, the time between that resolution and ‘go time’ has expeditiously dissipated, and it’s now mere hours (about two) until this dream / goal of mine becomes a reality.

In addition to July 23rd being a day of remembrance of my department’s fallen officers, it is a day that I will forever remember as being especially motivating to me.  Five years ago today, I wanted to be them.  When I saw the runners return after pushing their bodies, being torrentially rained on (coincidentally, it’s raining today too), and overcoming overall miserable conditions, I knew that I wanted to join them “one day.”  Well, “one day” is today.  (More about my perspective of said runners in the linked blog entry above).

For this year’s event, the run route has been changed.  The route is now 3.5 miles instead of the usual 7 or 8.  I think the change is an attempt to attract more participants since it’s the 30th anniversary of Payne’s EOW.  I overheard a colleague telling another that, “They’re only running to the park this year.”  “Only” is still 3.5 miles.  *An (insert any distance here) mile run doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re not doing the work.*  I know the route, and it’s a tough one despite the halving of the distance.  Despite a (forced) week off from training, I feel ready to take this on.

My best friend, Callie, will be doing this event with me.  She took the day off from her job to be by my side, and I think it’s partly because she knows how important it is to me.  Five years ago, I was not quite ready to make a lifestyle change, no matter how much like “them” I longed to be.  Fast forward five years, and I’ve come full circle.  I am now fit enough to join this run.  Many of the officers and civilians with whom I work have asked me this morning if I’m running today, and I can confidently say, “I sure am!”  Evidently, my weight loss and training efforts, as well as participation in other events (LETR), have not gone unnoticed.

My eyes brim with (joyful) tears each time I am asked if I’m running today because I’m being recognized . . . as able.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look At Me, I’m Sandra B.*

*Sung to the tune of Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee, the catchy Stockard Channing ditty from 1978’s Grease.*

However, the Sandra who I know and am fond of, Sandra B., is likely not “lousy with virginity” considering that she has five adult children and several grandbabies, but I digress . . .

Sandra B., who I have now known for nearly five years, is a woman I not only respect and appreciate, but I admire her and aspire to be like her in one particular way.  Sandy is the epitome of the expression:

fountain

Sandy is a REAL runner!  <~~BTW, this is not me downplaying my abilities, but I am describing her this way to provide some insight into my perspective and image of her.  Sandy has been running for years and years and years; a “leisurely” eight-ish miles is how she begins most days, and I doubt she even breaks a sweat, tbh.  As seasoned and capable a runner as she is, from day one, Sandra B. has been one of my supporters.  When running 1/4 mile non stop was an accomplishment, when I finished my first 5k, even though I walked most of it, and when I did my first Torch Run and had to ride part of the way in the struggle bus, Sandy was supportive, encouraging, and motivating.  When I entered my first Dempsey Challenge 10K in 2016, I kept pace with Sandy and her sister for the first mile or so, and I use the term “kept pace with” loosely; when they finished long before me, they waited for me at the finish line.  When Sandy and I went running in the park together a few times last summer, during breaks, and the heat was so oppressive that I had to walk, she never once made me feel bad about myself, nor did she make me feel like I was holding her back.

Sandy is a force to be reckoned with as far as fitness and athleticism, but in addition to this, she is truly a model of empowerment.  I wish to and strive to be that person to others.  I doubt that Sandy envisions herself in the same manner that I visualize her, but I hypothesize that nobody sees themselves from the viewpoint of others.

Last week, while in my office, I overheard a colleague say that she didn’t want to go for a walk outside because it was torrentially raining.  I stuck my head out from my doorway and told her that I was going to go downstairs and use the gym if she wanted to join me.  She exclaimed, “No way!” and indicated that she can’t keep up with me; as of late, she’s been pushing herself harder and harder to get her 10k steps in before she goes home for the day, and I always give her an attaboy for her efforts.

Just this week, I received an email from my best friend, Callie, that reads, “You are the only reason I have been pushing myself.  If not for you, I would have been much lazier this summer 🙂 Glad to have you beside me :)!”

Holy shit!  I’m someone’s Sandy!

Peace Out, Termagants*

*I used a thesaurus for “bitches,” and although “termagants” is not entirely applicable to my sentiment, it certainly is the most amusing . . . and it made you read this, did it not?

If I had to create a list of things that I am bad at, quitting would be at the top of said list.  Also on that inventory: ice skating, drawing, controlling my face, and liking foods that most people deem delicious (I hate cheesecake, pie, all seafood, and a plethora of other foodstuffs).  IMAGINE . . . a Mainer that loathes seafood and cannot ice skate – talk about a black sheep!

So, I have decided to quit my ambassadorship with Just Strong Clothing.  Instead of recapping my reasons for my departure as a brand representative, I will share the email that I have drafted.


Good afternoon to you, and I hope that this message finds you well.

I’m writing because I think it is best for me to step down as a #juststrong ambassador.  It isn’t for me, and here’s why:

I’m not great at generating sales.  I’ve been an ambassador for several months now, and I know for certain that I have not assisted with any sales, and I also know that I have not exactly created a buzz.  I’ve been posting the required content, but I’m not the type that will record my workouts or post a picture (or more) daily.  I’m just … me … and that’s not what is selling, as enthusiastic and pro your clothing as I am.

A second reason I have for wanting to step down is the brand is all about encouraging and empowering women, but I find that I have had little (no) support from Just Strong.  The Just Strong IG account doesn’t even follow me (@idiosyncratic_unicorn).  You don’t follow your own ambassador – what kind of message does that send?  I know that you have a lot of ambassadors and can only promote so many of our posts, and I wasn’t expecting that my content would be chosen to be shared in a story or that I would be given a shout out, but do I expect a company that I’m promoting to at least follow me?  YES, yes I do.  Furthermore, I really put myself out there for you / your brand.  I shared a photo of the cropped hoodie, which although it’s not a straight on shot, you can see my stomach, and that’s a huge step for me to take.  So, for me to put myself out there to such a degree and not even have a follow from you, that is a blow.  I’ve chosen to unfollow you as well.  It doesn’t make much sense to not follow a company / brand that I’m representing, now does it?  The reverse is just as nonsensical.

Finally, and I’m sorry, but I don’t see how you are empowering women.  What I see is a brand of women’s clothing with various women wearing it, but I don’t see anything else to supplement the idea that women are empowered by you / your clothing.  Maybe if there was some content pertaining to workouts tailored especially for women, a woman’s fitness journey /  story were shared, or if you gave a shout out to a woman with a health / fitness journey / transformation blog, encouraging others to read it and follow, etc. – maybe then I would believe that the empowerment and encouragement components are there.  For a brand that is designed to empower women, I certainly don’t feel empowered, and a lot of that stems from fellow ambassadors.  I’ve made an effort to reach out and connect with other ambassadors, and maybe (at most) two or three have done the same for me.  The ambassadorship has seemingly become a way for most to take endless selfies with a valid reason for doing so to hide behind.  But there is very little interaction and empowerment between the women.

So, I will not remove my photos of myself wearing your products, but I have taken down, from my profile, the indicator that I’m one of your ambassadors, and I will make a post that makes it clear that I have stepped down.  I will not remove my promotional content of your brand from my blog, but I will also make a post there indicating that I have stepped down as one of your ambassadors, and I will be sure to remove your logo from my blog.  It’s really too bad because I have two runs coming up – one with 3,000 runners and the other with 6,000 – it would have been such great advertising for you.  Which brings me to my last point . . .

I purchased two items of clothing from your line, and I appreciate the discount, but the shipping is so costly on top of the price of clothing, that I couldn’t afford to buy more right now.  Your brand does not follow me, your brand does not promote me, my fellow ambassadors do not support me, but I did receive an email not long ago checking in because I had not made a recent purchase.  If you want to sell clothes, sell clothes (they’re high quality clothes, and I will never dispute that) but don’t stand behind a message of empowerment.  Your brand of clothing is undeniably high quality, but your ambassadorship program isn’t a good fit for me, and I see a lot of ways it could be improved upon.  I’m sure in the grand scheme of things, my participation will not be missed as I’m simply a drop in the bucket for you, and herein lies the problem – as an ambassador, representing your brand, your company, and your product, I SHOULD feel like I matter.

Thank you so much for the opporunity, and should anything change in the future, feel free to reach out – I may be willing to give it another go.

Amy


Ultimately, when I choose to do something, I do it with the utmost level of passion; this something can be a small endeavor, or it can be a large one.  Everything that I do is done with all of the effort that I can possibly muster, and I tend to expect to get out what I put in . . .


As of July 18th . . . 

Zero response from Just Strong Clothing.  Thank you, Just Strong, for solidifying that I have indeed made the correct correct and best choice for me.  I feel so . . . empowered!  Ironic, ‘ey?

But Am I For Really Real?

A fleeting thought as I sit at my desk . . .

If I update my blog while I’m working, am I technically being paid to blog?  If so, does this make me a “real” blogger?

I have the tendency to downplay every. single. thing. I do or am involved in, whether it’s professionally, athletically, or even pertaining to my hobbies.  I delineate a “real” blogger as an individual who is either paid to write or has a large following.  I consider and describe myself as an amateur blogger, which is accurate because:

noun

  1. a person who engages in a pursuit [ . . . ] on an unpaid basis.

adjective

  1. engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.

 

However, does being a dilettante in a given element make the dabbler or their participation any less “real” in comparison with those who have garnered more experience?

When I am recognized for working at the police department, I am often asked if I’m an officer, and my response is typically, “I’m just a crime analyst.”  When I have spoken fondly of a colleague who is a fellow long distance runner, I have, on more than one occasion, stated, “But Sandy’s a real runner.”

I have a habit of devaluing myself; it is a behavior that I regularly exhibit, but I have recently begun to notice just how prominent this trait is.  During an afternoon stroll with Leola, a co-worker who I have befriended over the years, I discussed with her exactly what I have drafted above.  “That’s a character flaw.  You don’t have many, but that’s one of them.  You can quote me in your blog.”

So, today marks the day that I attempt to alter the impression of myself I have left on . . . ME.  I’m a real blogger.  I’m a real runner.  I’m not just anything.  I’m real because I’m present, I’m trying, I’m doing.

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Soul searching is onerous.