Rabbit, Run

The first (to be annual) Dennis P. Sampson Community 5k was this past Saturday, June 22nd.  When the flyer made its way to me several weeks ago, I immediately signed up.  In fact, my bib was #16 – I was well within the first batch of registrants.  This 5k was challenging for a variety of reasons, and most trying (for me) was the social aspect of the event.  Perhaps I have alluded to my discomfort in social situations and my overall and constant state of shyness, but I do not remember having detailed the extent to which I experience my introvertedness.

In my newfound resolution to celebrate the modest wins in life and not focus on my perceived losses / failures, I am not ashamed to share that my finish time was 34:34, according to my Fitbit.  Unfortunately, my phone dropped from 100% battery life to 17% in a matter of mere minutes.  Therefore, I did not dare utilize Strava, though I delight in the map the app produces based on my activity.  By the time the opening ceremony was over, I was clinging to hope and praying that I would have just enough battery to allow me music for the run!  Though my overall time was not at its usual, my first mile was 9:36, and therein lies my win!  I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos, but I bestow some of the credit upon myself.

With any first event, there are likely going to be kinks.  I noticed a few said crimps because they were applicable to the run specifically: a). confusion regarding the location of the starting line, b). the lack of a countdown, and c). no indication that the cue to begin was a siren.  Now, for many, a siren sounding off is likely an obvious segway between sedentariness and  activity.  However, my office is stationed in a police department – sirens are background noise.  I learned years ago to stage in the middle of the pack – not with the rabbits, nor with the turtles.  This weekend, I was with the rabbits due to a, b, and c.  Hence why I wrote, “I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos [ . . . ].”

*Saturday was the 10th annual Poland Spring Heritage Day, the run component was brandy new this year.*

My unfamiliarity with a new course is detrimental to my overall finish time; any time that I run a new race, my time tends to be slower than my norm.  This course was one of the most unique I have ever run.  I traveled to the Poland Spring Resort expecting a road race, but the terrain was very varied.  Knowing the terrain is essential in a successful run (success being up to interpretation).  Next year, I know just what I am contending with: pavement, mud, loose gravel, packed gravel, grass, woods / trails, and even a few stairs.  I anticipate my time will be less, on this course, this time next year.

Success, by my definition and the expectations I have for myself, are simple: 1). just do it and 2). finish.  In talking with Mum, she commented on how proud she is of me, if for no reason other than simply being present at various events.  Just three or four years ago, I would not stray from her side while shopping in a store, nor would I have ever conceived running publicly by myself.  In fact, when I first began perusing the multitude of 5Ks one may join, I would not register for one if a friend or acquaintance was not also going to be in attendance, even if I really wanted to give it a go.  On Friday night, Mum noticed that I was tense because I was going to be going it alone on Saturday, but I went and I did it and I finished.  Granted, because I was uncomfortable socially, I scampered off and headed home almost immediately after I crossed the finish line, despite how many activities there were to enjoy.

My social discomfort was not so much due to the number of people present that I did not know, but the number of people there that I did know.  As novice as I am in appropriate small talk, I am even poorer at “catching up” small talk.  Observation: strangers respect the RBF and tend to leave me to my stretching and mental preparation; people who previously knew me are seemingly oblivious to my social cues.  I am fortunate in that though I do contend with social anxiety, I am able to confront it.  I will never be mistaken for an extrovert, but I am making strides at being less of a wallflower.  In fact, when I reflect on myself now, it is difficult to remember just how timorous I once was.

I am not quite where I would like to be (goal weight, running ability, social agility, etc.), and I have been so focused on the end goal(s), that I have forgotten to take stock in how far I have come.  The journey seems far longer when we do not look at the route and evaluate how far we have already traveled along it.

 

 

 

 

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Those Forthcoming Photos

As indicated in my recently posted Flippin’ Floppin’ & Flounderin’, I had briefly neglected Cupcakes and Canter altogether, and as a result of said carelessness, my 2019 event photographs have yet to be shared.

(Insert dramatic pause . . . HERE)

Until now.

TorchRun
This photo is from the Sun Journal, a local newspaper.  When I posted this picture to my IG account, I quipped, “I made the paper this year! Naturally, I’m not paying attention and fiddling with my #Fitbit @fitbit! Our leg of the LETR was yesterday – pretty perfect since it landed on Global Running Day . . . two birds and all that.”

 

SV2
Callie, myself, and Desiree ran the Safe Voices 5K in early June. This is my 3rd year participating in this event; proceeds assist victims of domestic violence. This picture too is a clipping from my IG account so disregard the arrow jutting from Callie’s head.

 

Dash4Dogs12
R to L: The Callies, Scout, and myself after the Dash for Dogs 5K!  Callie and I ran this one on April 28th.  This event benefits the Androscoggin Humane Society, which is where I adopted my Radin from!  This is the 4th year I have participated in this event, and it has become my staple first run of the season!

 

“Bikini Bodies Are Made In Winter”

T or F?  Bikini bodies are made in winter.

If you’re me, the answer is . . . really effing F.

So, I have been less than “nailing it” over the course of these winter months.  What I have been doing cannot even be described as bumping or tapping.  I’ve been downright, straight up, and absolutely struggling.  However, with all of my notions of failure, I have not thrown in the towel, and that alone is a success that trumps all deficiencies.

I have (close to) perfected the skill of not dwelling, not getting so bogged down by my perceived defeats that I either succumb to a depression or decide to no longer strive.  I had worked so hard, and currently, I feel as though I have backslid.  I have gained back a few of my lost pounds, and though that does not seem altogether Earth shattering, it is still detrimental to my well-being, particularly the head game.

So, before I become irreparably downtrodden and continue to backslide, I have taken action!  First and foremost, dear reader, remember several posts in the past when I wrote about comparison being the thief of joy?  I am fairly certain you recall it; I know you have read and memorized every titillating post, but just in case this singular write up has elusively slipped from your memory, in summary . . . COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.  I believe this sentiment to be true not only in examples of comparing oneself to others, but it is also legitimate in instances of comparing our current habits, or lack thereof, with our former ones.

My POA, or plan of action, is to start slow.  I have been active only intermittently since October, and I will not allow myself to reflect on my past routine for any purpose other than to eventually implement it again.  I know it is not reasonable currently to wake up, feed my Fitbit a couple of miles and walk the dog before work, hit the gym for an hour and a half during lunch and breaks, respectively, and after work, do body weight exercises and thirty minutes of yoga.  I cannot immediately pick up where I left off, but I can once again realize this system.  I have done it once before, which means I can do it again.  My temporary faltering is not synonymous with inadequacy.

In order to get back to the grind, I am actively executing three premeditated ideas.  If nothing else, I have spent four and a half-ish months reflecting.

  1. Set a reasonable goal that is not associated with exactness.
    • So, no goal weight by THIS date, no specific distance run by THAT date.
    • Goal: GET OUTSIDE.
      • My (reasonable) goal to get outside is to help me ease myself into warmer weather.  I struggle in the heat, and I hypothesize that this is attributed to my consistent indoor exercise.  When I participate in a run that takes place in the blistering, dastardly heat of August, and I have trained only in air conditioned spaces, the humidity is utterly oppressive.  If I exit my comfort zone and walk and run outside effective immediately, perhaps the heat and humidity will not be so onerous because I, like the temperature, have transitioned with the seasons.
  2. Set a futile goal free.
    • So, quit a previous goal that was once attainable but has since become insurmountable.
    • GOAL: Let go of RTY 2019.
      • I will most definitely continue to track my mileage and progress toward 2,019 miles run this calendar year, but it is no longer a set in stone goal for myself.  I am so far behind the eight ball nowadays, the daily commitment to complete the Run the Year objective would be adverse.
  3. Do what makes me happy.
    • So, by doing something that makes me happy, all else will fall into place.
    • GOAL: Get run registrations completed.
      • Unquestionably, running events thrill me: 5Ks, 10Ks, halfsies!  The training up to is oftentimes arduous, but when I cross that finish line, the effort is SO worth it.  So, I have gotten my run list compiled for the season, with openness to two or three more.  I have also started to work on my 2019 run playlist.  *Feel free to leave a comment with a few songs that get you up and running*  Ba-dum-chhh

So, my bikini body was not made this winter.  However, an improved adaptation of “AmyBP (oneword)” is in the works.

Finally, a shout out to Erin for sending me this beauty!  Impeccable timing, my dear!

tapeworm

P.S. I’m for serious regarding *Feel free to leave a comment with a few songs that get you up and running*

 

 

 

 

 

Irresolute

Irresolute

adjective

showing or feeling hesitancy; uncertain.

Since my 5 miler in NYC, when I boldly chatted up strangers who asked me about the Maine Marathon, I have thought to myself , “I can totally be a Maine Marathon Ambassador!” but now that the application is open, I’m . . . [insert word of the day . . . HERE].  Yes, folks, I am IRRESOLUTE.

Picture this: there is a cartoon runner, an animated version of myself, resting on one of my shoulders encouraging me to apply, to go for it.  I would be a worthwhile ambassador because I exude positive energy, I genuinely enjoy encouraging, supporting, and motivating others, and I am just downright passionate about the event itself.

However, the caricature of a runner lounging on my other shoulder has reminded me how much I would be required to expose myself and my life to hundreds? thousands? of people.  To be an ambassador, I would need to commit to update my IG feed at least twice a week, write two blog posts, update Twitter or Facebook (one of which I would need to register for since I do not have either), lead a discussion at the Maine Marathon Expo, or organize a training session or group run.  I am uncertain that I want to sacrifice my life as a stealth unknown.

With every event I run in, I typically avoid the attention of the photographers and their cumbersome cameras and the TV crews if / when present, but with the ambassador swag, it would be far more difficult to merely coast under the radar, where I typically fly.  I recall how embarrassed I was with how much TV time was allotted to my presence at the 2018 David Payne Memorial Run.

I do have IG, and I do have this here blog, but I think for the most part, I am mostly unknown to my followers and readers, respectively.  Should I be accepted as an ambassador, my photo and full name would be obviously displayed on the Maine Marathon website with links to my social media.  As much as I do enjoy that I have readers and followers, likes and comments, do I really want my thoughts so accessible?  Do I want the people who know me IRL to have an open invitation to the aspects of my existence that I tend to keep private?  I know the irony of this as my blog is by no means privatized, but I have done very little to promote it to friends, relatives, or colleagues.  Though I’m “out there” to some degree, I still bask in anonymity.  Perhaps my hesitancy is purely lack of confidence.

I continue to waffle between “should I” and “should I not?” due to angst around letting myself down.  You see, I tend to be immutably goal-oriented.  So, in October of 2018, I outlined this goal for myself: apply to be an ambassador for the 2019 Maine Marathon.  At this point in time, the expectations and requirements were uncharted.  It is my own rigidity that has left me in turmoil regarding my indecisiveness.

Will I be chiefly disappointed when the ambassadorship application deadline passes without my submission, or will I be predominantly belabored if I were to be selected and expected to be an extrovert and unconstrained with my trifling social media outlets?

If I do not apply, I feel that I have failed to achieve my objective.  Reasonably, I could alter the original goal to one that is less audacious, such as improving my half marathon time.  Ultimately, I ought to extend to myself the acceptance that ambitions and intentions transform.

 

 

A Smörgåsbord of Thoughts

I often have a multitude of thoughts I want to draft into a blog entry, but since said thoughts have little to no substance, I do not write about them as they come to me.  So this entry has a couple of reflections I’ve been meaning to write about, meaning to share with others.


There are beneficial elements, of being a runner, that are often overlooked.

There are a plethora of obvious reasons it “pays off,” if you will, to be a runner.  Sure, there is the health and wellness perk, the pride factor, and the general sense of accomplishment(s) as milestones are met.  For me, one reason I have benefited the most by being a runner is that I have a pair of running shoes just about everywhere.  *Books and sneakers, they are located in every corner of my world.

I commute about 45 – 60 minutes to and from work each day.  30 minutes into my drive to work this morning, in the frigid cold and heavy snowfall, I gave myself adulting points for wearing my boots like a grownup, and in the same instance, I realized I forgot my heels at home, which I had packed in my Great Gatsby bag in order to change my footwear.  I do not know if you’ve ever been stuck wearing winter boots all day long, but I assure you that it is miserable.  My horrification was short lived, however, because I have a pair of Asics under my desk, in my office.


Achievement

^That is indeed a clicky link.  I had thought to mention Achievement quite some time ago, but I wanted to be sure that it is on the up and up before I went about touting its praises.  In a nutshell, Achievement is an account you create and pair with your wearable tracker (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, etc.).  When you earn 10,000 points, you get $10.00 deposited into your PayPal account.  You earn points in a variety of ways: by entering your water intake, weight, food, your daily step count; everything you put into your tracker will upload to Achievement automatically.  There are also short surveys (one click answers, mostly) and readings that when completed, add points to your accumulation.

It does take some time to earn the 10,000 points / $10.00; I was skeptical about Achievement, when I first learned of it, because it is essentially free money ( . . . yet earned with your sweat, occasional tears, and yeah, sometimes blood).  I thought I would give Achievement a try because any accountability is helpful, and I am happy to report that I did indeed earn my first $10.00 a few months ago!  Achievement is particularly useful in that when I am feeling lazy (oh, for the last two months or so), I am reminded that the more active I am, and the more consistent I am with tracking of my stats, the quicker I will earn by incentive.

My referral link is above should anybody want to explore Achievement.  Maybe you need that extra push to git-r-done, or maybe you just want to cash in on what you are already doing . . . either way, it’s there for your use (and yeah, I get points when someone uses my referral link.  Who wants to be my first?)!


 

 

RTY 2019

RTY!  Do some moving around with these three letters of the alphabet, and what do you see!?  TRY!

SO, as I briefly outlined in my most recent of IG posts, I have registered for Run the Year 2019.  I have done very few virtual races or challenges because they have not been worthwhile for me personally; this is not to imply that virtual events are not advantageous overall.  I did a handful of virtual 5Ks when I first began running; they pushed me to go the extra mile (heyoooo).  However, now that 3+ miles is my routine, I no longer sign up for the online, interweb based 5K events.

Other reasons I typically do not participate in virtual running:

  • Financially, it is not conducive
    • Mind you, I’m no math wiz, but $25.00-ish+ dollars for each virtual gig adds up to . . . A LOT, and it does so quickly.  Granted, portions of the these funds go to charity so there is a slight justification for overspending on one’s virtual run fix.
  • Swag Ts
    • The swag, or stuff we all get, that many of these races offer is a bonus feature, especially if you’re particularly interested in the collecting of stuff.  However, I have a closet full of t-shirts that have been handed to me at various finish lines, and I’ve actually worn very few of them.  My closet is already brimming with Ts I will likely never wear again.
      • There ARE exceptions.  I DO sport my Maine Marathon shirt from time to time.

So, I decided, effective this very morning, to register for RTY 2019, which is put on by Run The Edge.  I first became aware of RTE via IG; they may be following me, but I know for certain that I am following them.  I noticed in RTE’s stories as of late, many finishers of the 2018 challenge, which is essentially the same as the 2019 challenge with one difference . . . 5,280 feet.

Now that the registration process is complete and I’m locked in, I have been asking myself, “What exactly have you done!?”

  • I have given myself an additional reason to run each day
  • I have provided myself with a challenge that I must strive to complete
  • I have enrolled in routine training that will assist me in preparing for my 2019 half marathon and (maybe) the NYC Marathon IF I win a place (will find out in January).

As with any new goal, challenge, or resolution, I am excited to take this one head on, but I need to work at not only putting the miles on my running shoes but at not losing steam, interest, and motivation.  Challenge(s) accepted.

For anyone interested in also joining RTY 2019, use my referral link: AMY BP SENT ME.

P.S. Use my link, get $3.00 off.

 

Chutzpa! (It’s a Fun Word, and I Used It In a Sentence)

Q:  Oh, my dear, neglected blog, will you ever forgive me for temporarily abandoning you?

A: YES ’cause I don’t really give a shit that you’ve been away, but now that you’re back . . . Hey, girl!  Whatcha been up to?


I have the tendency, as a human being, to be what is best described as . . . overzealous.  I have very little free time as it is, and I choose to fill what free time I do have with . . . what is best described as . . . a lot.  In the past few months, I have gained traction at becoming even further behind with responding to pen pal letters.  In fact, I have not written a response letter since April.  I have zero traveling postcards via Postcrossing.  I have not picked up my knitting needles, flute, or guitar.  I have read less books in 2018 than in past years, and I have been writing only half-hearted (Goodreads) reviews, if I write one at all.  My gym time has dwindled, and I have not written, what I would consider a decent blog entry, in months.  Recently (recently as in just a handful of hours ago), I gave myself permission to give up some control.  Let me explain . . .

I love swap-bot; I run several groups, and I host a lot of swaps within said groups.  In addition to those swaps, I also host public swaps.  Without getting too in depth and too involved in the swap-bot jargon, being a founder and a host takes A LOT of work.  Frankly, if it doesn’t take a lot of your time and energy, then you’re probably not doing it right.  There are exceptions, I’m sure, which is why I have written “‘probably’ not doing it right” (or at the very least, not to the best of your ability).  Swap-bot, because I manage many groups and many swaps, and because I take deadlines very seriously, has been taking up the majority of my limited time.  I love devoting time to putting together quality swaps and creating happy mail, sending RAKs, etc., but the constant hosting and management responsibilities is a prime example of my overzealousness.  Note to self: just enjoy swap-bot, Amy, without taking on additional tasks.

I have missed so much all of the other things that provide me with a well-rounded and happy life.  So, I’ve reached out for assistance with hosting and founding my groups.  That is a big step in beginning to enjoy my multitude of hobbies again, albeit not the first one.  I have also decided that I will maintain X number of pen pal relationships.  I do not need 50+ pen pals to deem this a worthwhile hobby.  In fact, much like my IRL relationships, I much prefer to maintain a few very close and meaningful connections over double-digit acquaintances.  I will continue to send postcards via Postcrossing, but it is OKay to have a handful traveling at a time; I do not need to sit and send 25+ in one sitting.  I will continue to organize my favorite postcards into category specific albums, but I no longer feel the need to scan them into Flikr as well.  Overall, I am working on reigning in my overeagerness and proneness to do ev-er-y-thing full boar; moderation is key, even in regards to the undertakings I love and enjoy.

The first step I took to ensure a newfound commitment to creativity and creating . . . I cleaned my “home office” and my craft room.  My, what I also refer to as workspaces, were beyond cluttered.  I found it nearly impossible to focus on anything, let alone follow through with a hobby task (writing, knitting, reading, painting, whatever it may be), with supplies scattered on the floors, piles of stuff scattered about, half started projects stacked upon one another and set aside, etc.  So, during my much needed staycation last week, I got my spaces squared away.  Gone is the anxiety I previously felt when I would tackle these particular cleaning and organizational tasks, attempting to get the job(s) done, all at once.  Now, when I open the door to either of the me time rooms, I feel exhilarated to be in there, ready to sit at my desk to write a letter or a postcard, able to find the extras I want to include in an outgoing swap, and capable of focusing on whatever venture my heart desires.  Speaking of (errr, writing about) other ventures and my heart’s desire . . .

With the (work) gym closed, my training and efforts to workout have taken a downturn.  I am fortunate in that I have a well equipped gym in my attached garage / basement, but I certainly need to work on the discipline aspect of using it.  I have grown so accustomed to busting out an amazing workout before noon, which is ideal for me because the workout is done for the day, and I can devote my post work hours to the other adulting that must be done.  However, there was once a time when I only used my home gym; I was once willing to put myself first, before all else, and I need to tap into that energy again, guilt free.  Although I have not been logging the gym hours that I normally do as of late, snow shoveling and construction on my rental unit have at least kept my stamina on point.

As of yesterday, I am officially registered for 2019’s Maine (half) marathon.  I have also decided that when the application becomes available, I will be applying to be a 2019 race ambassador.  (Here we go with the overzealousness again!).  However, I made my decision to (definitely) apply for the ambassadorship in October, exactly a month from today, actually.  On October 28th, I ran in the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5-Miler in New York City!  Since I was sporting my 2018 Maine Marathon shirt, multiple people approached me and asked about the Maine Marathon.  I was considering applying for an ambassadorship before this date, mainly because I envision myself as a valuable resource in that I can put others at ease.  In anticipation of my first half marathon, I was terrified and nervous and jittery on top of excited and proud.  I’m a classic, “If I can do it, you can too!” example, and I sense that I have the ability to motivate, encourage, and calm others who may be skeptical or hard on themselves.

BUT . . . more about New York City!  For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@idiosyncratic_unicorn), you have likely already seen my gushing post, brimming with pride in myself, as well as excitement at meeting Peter Ciaccia.  Briefly, I was so so so SO very proud of myself for doing this run.  Much like my IG post reads, my delight was mainly because I ran in an out-of-state event.   When I first started entering 5Ks, I never anticipated that I would have the chutzpa to do one alone, let alone in another state.  I also never imagined that I would increase my distance from the 5K, but oh, how I have evolved as a runner!  Running has been so positive for me, not only in regards to my health and physical appearance, but in my overall confidence (not related to body image but related to my shyness).

I have gone from whether or not a friend is running with me as a determining factor for race entry, to participating in whatever the heck race I want to.  When you are as shy, introverted, and introspective as I am, it is daunting to go it alone.  I was also pleased beyond measure because I ran this particular 5-miler in under an hour, walking only to drink water (I’m not coordinated enough to run and drink without choking), and I stopped briefly for a photo with Peter Ciaccia.  Approaching (and taking a picture with) someone I have never met before – also giant strides that required a lot of prowess on my behalf.  SO, it is these experiences that solidified my decision at becoming (or trying to become) a Maine Marathon ambassador.  I think this program will not only benefit me but benefit from me.  For those of you who do not follow my IG, I’ve thrown in some pictures from the NYC Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff at the end.

Suffice it to say, I do suppose that I am on the correct path to eliminating undue stress and anxiety in my daily routine, all the while rediscovering time management and diversity in my efforts.

Cicciarun2run