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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

 

New Year, Not A New Me

“NEW YEAR, NEW ME!” 

Naw, not really, but it sounds nice every December 31st and January 1st that rolls around, no? 

Truth be told, I don’t want to create a new me, nor do I aspire to be an entirely new version of myself.  For the most part, I like who I am.  I cannot even write or say, “for the most part” because that implies that there are some aspects of my being that I dislike, and that is not quite accurate either.  With each December 19XX or 20XX calendar page I have torn away, I have often vowed to do this, do that, do less of this, and do more of that, but I have gone about this in a way that can be described only as a hybrid of anal-retentiveness and obsessive compulsivity.  Not so much in good ol’ 2019.  YES, I have set goals and challenges for myself and some of them rather lofty.  However, I am tackling my resolutions much differently this year.

My 2019 resolutions have the purpose of guiding me in the development of an improved version of myself but are not meant to create a second draft of who I am or who I have become.  My resolutions will not be the be all end all.  I can no longer be the woman who is 100% stressed 100% of the time, especially when said stress is of my own doing.  I have plenty of stress and pressure derived from situations that are out of my control.  *Note to self: for 2020, consider being less of a control freak so situations that are out of your hands do not bring you to a screech.

The be all end all is defined as something or someone who is considered to be a perfect specimen or the best and most desired

Can I share with you a secret?  I have already backslid on some of my resolutions, and I am only four days into the year, but it is OKay, and I am OKay.  Why is such an early backslide so acceptable in 2019 when it has not been in the past?  Well, if you have not been paying attention, it’s because my new year’s goals, challenges, and resolutions are acting as a guide.  I have let go of the need and expectation(s) upon myself to execute my resolutions on a level of perfectionism that only Karen Horney can conceptualize.

Since my NYC run, I have been lackadaisical.  The weather has been bitterly cold in Maine, with black ice making outside running troublesome at best.  Also, the gym at work was closed for several weeks, and so, for the last two months of 2018, my running has been null.  Despite these pitfalls, I registered for Run the Year 2019, which averages to 5.5 miles per day.  I have run three days in a row, but not once have I run the 5.5 miles.  1985-2018 Amy would have been angstful that she is already behind.  2019 Amy recognizes that there are no rules.  The fact of the matter is, after two months heavy-laden with slothfulness, I’ve put some miles on my shoes . . . I’m doing it!  This in itself is cause for a pat on the back.  Before I took Radin for his first jaunt of the year and before I hit the (finally reopened) gym, I forgave myself for being temporarily inactive and reminded myself of the following: I have stopped and started many a time, I will make gains, I will get back to previous PRs and PBs, I will get back to and improve my stamina and endurance, and I will increase my distances in comparison with last year.  As “they” say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and as you can read, I have a lot of will; determination will overcome any obstacle.

While dropping the first f-bomb of 2019, and pretty early on January 1st, I did not decide to give up on my quest to not engage in such shitty language.  <~~ C’mon, you know that’s funny.  Seriously though, I would like to filter myself a bit better.  I know I likely will not eradicate my sailor mouthed ways, but I can reserve my cussing for appropriate times: humor (see above) and when faced severe duress.

This year, I am / will be far less focused on being perfect and meeting challenges perfectly.  So, for 2019, I have the following ambitions:

  • My resolutions will not be the be all end all
  • Run the Year 2019 (2,019 miles in 2019)
  • Goodreads goal: 67 
  • Continue to chip away at my Day Zero Project (BUT . . . do not set a specific number of goals to tick off the list)
  • Daily devotional (if a day is missed, don’t give up – do two the next)
  • Swear less
  • Do the right thing(s) in life, even when / though it is painful
  • Be kind to myself should I not meet or exceed all of my goals

I am proud to report that I am off to a satisfactory start, mostly at being kind to myself for shortcomings.  With each new day, my focus is on the previous day’s successes.  With the proper mindset, every day is that fresh start we chase all the year through.

 

 

 

 

10K + 13.1 = Algebra!

So, as I sit here reflecting on our weekend, I think that you are amazing for doing [two] races.  No normal person [would] do that.  Then I remember . . . this is not the face of a normal person.

The above is a text message, nearly verbatim, that my best friend, Callie, sent to me on the evening of Sunday, September 30th.  There was an attachment with the text . . .  basically, it is photographic evidence that I make ridiculous faces.  I have chosen to exclude this particular picture because it truly is NOT flattering, albeit hilarious.  However, I will indeed include several photos from Sunday, later in my ramblings.

So, in short . . . HOLY SHIT!  I. DID. IT!

I have not been a superstar at finding the time to update this blog as of late (SOOOO, you may be scratching your head thinking to yourself WHAT!?  WHAT DID YOU DO!?  I will loop it back around . . . as I always do!).  Essentially, I have fallen behind in life.  I have not maintained my reading goals, I am woefully behind in responding to pen-pal letters, and I barely have any traveling postcards floating around out there for Postcrossing, so on and so forth.  I also cannot seem to get caught up with the laundry and other, miscellaneous household chores, just adding that extra layer of incompetency to my stew of slackery.  However, although I have not quite been nailing it in the afore outlined areas of my life: blogging, reading, snail mailing, housework, etc., allow me to list for you where I have been slaying it:

  • I tried my hand at creating ATCs, and I have been happy with the outcome!
  • I ran in the 2018 Dempsey Challenge 10K (September 29th, 2018).
    • Not only did I run in the 2018 Dempsey Challenge 10K, I obtained my best 10k time to date.
      • With the love, support, and generosity of family, friends, and even IG and swap-bot friends I’ve never even met in person, I raised $550.99 for the Dempsey Centers.  That is $550.99 dollars that is truly going to help someone (or many someones) engaged in a battle with cancer.
  • I ran my very first half marathon (September 30th, 2018).
    • Not only did I run my first half marathon, I did so the day after I obtained by best 10k time.  I was also informed that my 10k time this day matched that of the day before.  *Shout out to Erin for tracking me and thinking to let me know that tidbit!
  • I signed up for an out-of-state race!
    • I have never run in an event outside of Maine, and though it’s on my bucket list to do so, I’m a bit anxious and nervous at the prospect, but I am also really stoked to follow through!

I found this nifty YouTube video just a few moments ago on the Maine Marathon website.  <~~ This is now a lie.  It was the truth yesterday, when I began the composition of this entry, but it is no longer ‘a few moments ago.’  But I digress!  The video shows the run route via a motor vehicle.  As I watched it, I thought I can’t believe I ran all of this!  Watching this video was an entirely different perspective, and I now brim with pride.  I was proud of myself when I crossed that finish line, but when I truly came to comprehend my accomplishment . . .

I am really freakin’ proud of myself!

Map

Pic6
Callie Stretching
Pic4
I’ve Got To Stretch Too!
Pic5
Maine Marathon Starting Line
Pic9
Callie and I at the Starting Line
Pic3
Sunrise
Pic7
Ocean View
Pic8
Callie and I Crossed the Finish Line!

I am (already) seriously considering running another half marathon . . .

However, I highly doubt that I will (ever) double up on races in one weekend again!  I also doubt that there is the possibility of emulating the feels that accompanied crossing that half marathon finish line for the first time, but it’s a high that I am willing to chase, figuratively speaking, but since I am writing about running, I mean it quite literally too!

 

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!

Venom of the Greenery Variety

Before deciding upon Venom of the Greenery Variety as a title, I was also contemplating Bitch of an Itch.  Each are accurate.

I was born and raised in Maine, and I have never lived in another state.  Other than a brief stint of city living, I’ve lived the majority of my 33 years in small towns, enjoying the quiet and beauty of country living.  I’m not so country that I own dairy cows, nor do I drive a dusty and rusty pickup truck stereotypically depicted in most cowboy-esque twangy country tunes.  However, I do live rurally, surrounded by nature and woodland creatures; it is abnormal to not see deer or turkeys in the yard, and just last night, there was a fox hanging out under one of my ancient and ginormous oak trees.

It is most surprising then, that for the first time in 33.5 years of life, I’ve recently encountered my very first bout with poison ivy or poison oak or poison sumac; whatever it is, it’s poisonous.  What began as a dot on my neck Thursday, became a line by Friday. On Monday morning, I was peppered in it: neck, chest, arms, legs, wrists, and hands.  Now, just because I live near the woods does not imply that I spend a lot of time in the boscage.  In fact, this is the summer that I have devoted to spending more time out of doors with the purpose of becoming more accustomed to the heat and humidity, and also because I find most aspects of nature to be beautiful, and I miss out on much of that allurement by spending the majority of my time inside.

Though I have spent more time outside this summer, I know for certain that I have not traipsed through the venomous greenery.  So, just how did I get the ivy of the poison variety?  Radin.  Radin gave me poison ivy; it is the only feasible explanation.  Oh, how I do wish my unfortunate tale has an exciting backstory, but alas, it does not.  I got poison ivy from my dog.  However, in all of its lackluster, the true story maintains that I’m “that person.”

I’m “that person” who, if it’s going to happen to someone, it’s going to happen to me.  Over the course of the last year or so, I have been dealt an absurd hand of cards:

  • An allergic reaction to facial cleanser that resulted in my eyes being swollen closed for the better part of a week or more.
  • A tumble on the pavement when my parents’ boxer, Gracie, caught a bout of the zoomies.
    • Q: What was in it for me?
    • A: Battered and bruised bones and scrapes and skinless patches.
  • A freak and unprecedented fainting spell whereby I hit my noggin and was left with a concussion, which I still face symptoms from to this day.
  • And now, bitchin’ itchin’.

Probably the most disappointing, other than the itch and pain and overall frustration, is that I had to opt out of the 4th of July 5K I had been so looking forward to running – I had such an awesome red, white, and blue tutu picked out for the event!  However, the rational Amy concluded that the 98 degree weather, coupled with the humidity and my streaming, salty sweat (A+ for alliteration!), would make me feel even worse and allow the rash to spread even more.  I’m almost finished with my Prednisone, and the poison laced patches are now dry so I think I can start to exercise vigorously again.

I have not had a decent run or workout since last Thursday, and while lying in bed, doped up on Benadryl, I remembered that the David Payne Memorial Run (7.2 miles) is July 23rd, and Beach to Beacon (10K) is August 4th.  I am now in full blown panic mode as it’s my modus operandi to doubt my ability, especially when I’ve been forced to slow down in my training.

It’s amazing the havoc a single week down-and-out can wreak on one’s confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

#juststrong

June 1st.  A new day, a new month, and a new chance to focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.  OH, and it’s National Donut Day, and YES, I accepted a free donut (thank you, Dunkin’)!!  However, I will be gifting my freebie donut to my Dad.  In fact, I may try to see how many I can wrangle up throughout the day.  National Donut Day is also one of the jokiest days of the year around work because . . . Well, you know . . .  cops and donuts.

Image result for national donut day meme

So, it’s on my Day Zero Project (I’m not sure I am quite ready to link in my DZP) to write in my blog at least 50 times throughout the duration of the project.  This is update #3 since I started the DZP in December of 2017, which is just not acceptable.  Hence, my desire to “focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.”  For those of you who are unaware of what Day Zero Project is, quite briefly, it’s 101 goals in 1,001 days.  I have some seriously for serious goals such as: run a half marathon, run 1,001 miles, get to my goal weight, and inspire someone.  I also have some silly ones such as: use an entire tube of Chapstick, color an entire coloring book, get up to 1,000+ followers on my Instagram, and get a 500-point game on Words With Friends.  <~~ I’ve come so close with a 493!

In order to obtain my blogging goal, I may need to shift the focus of my blog.  When I began this one, I loved the idea of having a blog devoted solely to my fitness accomplishments and weight loss journey.  I then attempted to maintain a blog showcasing my incoming and outgoing mail endeavors, a blog for my creative and crafty endeavors, a blog for my creative writing and poetry, and yet another for my basic idiosyncratic blatherings.  However, I think I am going to convert this blog into just one big representative hunk of … ME.  I’m not compartmentalized, why should my shared experiences be?  Not to mention, that is a ridiculous number of blogs to not only attempt to maintain consistently but just to have, period.

So, in keeping on topic regarding DZP, one of my goals was to be selected to represent something . . . vague, right?  I am thrilled to check this goal from my to-do list; I was selected by Just Strong – Clothing for Strong Women as one of their ambassadors!  I began my ambassadorship in April, and it’s a constant reminder to stay motivated because I am now representative of strong women everywhere.  However, I believe that strength is versatile and does not necessarily require being on point every. single. day.  I believe that strength includes getting back up when I trip, when I flat out take a digger and fall, and even when I skin my knee (this is intended to be a metaphor, but seeing as I’m clumsy,  it also applies literally).  Strength is doing better math after a calorie miscalculation.  Strength is striving to make today better than yesterday, even if it’s a small tweak that’s the tipping point.

In addition to the opportunity to #bestrong and surround myself with other strong  and likeminded women, the product itself is amazing!  My tank and cropped hoodie are among some of the best pieces of fitness attire I own (and I have a vast variety of clothing that doesn’t quite fit right, doesn’t stay put, or met my needs briefly, but now, not so much).  Part of my ambassadorship is to promote Just Strong’s clothing line, and since I know that there are a lot of women out there also writing about their fitness goals and accomplishments, I’m extending my 10% discount code to you all, should you happen to stumble upon my blog and be in need of some new and high quality workout clothes.  Simply use code: AMY BLAISD10    upon checkout from juststrong.com  You work hard, treat yourself to some of the best fitness gear you will ever own!juststronglogo

 

Finally, and last mention of my DZP goals for today, follow my blog (goal: at least 10 followers) and my Instagram (60 away from goal)!  Once I move these goals from ‘In Progress’ status to ‘Done’ status, I may host some sort of giveaway, but you’ll have to follow me to find out!