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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Flippin’ Floppin’ & Flounderin’

After a four month hiatus, I think that it is about time that I dedicate some effort to my writing, my blog.  I am particularly glad that approximately six months ago, I did not buy stock in the idea that 2019 is the year of me.  However, if I did make that purchase and just do not remember doing so, then I am pleased that I did not take the notion too seriously because . . . Wellllllllllll . . . I. AM. FLOUNDERING!  My current spirit animal is a freshly caught fish, floppin’ on the boatdeck.

Truth be told, it is comforting that flying fish exist.  Flopping now shall equal soaring later, amiright!?

So, what have I been up to since March, you wonder?  I have already indicated what I have been up to . . . floundering!  Gosssshhhhhh, pay attention, dear reader!

Before I outline what has been troubling me, let me share with you the one task that I have been absolutely slaying since January: the tackling of my GR reading goal!  I set my Goodreads goal at 67 books for 2019, mainly so I can finish and close out my Day Zero Project goal of reading 100 books.  I am currently working on books 38 and 39, which means, my fellow math whizzes, I have completed 37.  That translates to, “I’m 55% of the way there!”  Admittedly, I have been slacking as far as writing book reviews goes; add that to my list of slackage.

Slackage List

  • running
  • blogging
  • letter writing
  • swap-botting

and just added:

  • book reviewing

Running

It should be noted that my current interpretation of slacking re: running is that I am not at the level that I once was, but my use of “slacking” in this regard is not to imply that I have not been doing it . . .  as of late.  (Keywords: as. of. late.).  Since my NYC run in October, I did indeed stop running for several months, but I picked it back up when my first 5K of the year drew near.  I do believe the date of that was April 28th.  The Dash for Dogs 5k went well in that I ran the entire 5k, my only break being at the one water station.  I tend not to run with my cup of water because I splash and slosh.  Between April 28th and my second 5k on June 1st, I hardly ran, and I was utterly mind blown at the traction I had lost in merely a month.  Desiree’s gentle reminder, “You’ll be mad at yourself!” when it looked like I was about to walk, rang true; I finished the 5k (and with several PRs, according to Strava).  During the Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 5th, I was miserable.  I have been dwelling on how just one year ago, I was so proud of myself after the LETR, and this year?  This year, I let myself down.  I allowed myself one evening to wallow, and then I worked my way through my muddled headspace.  I have since gotten back to using the gym located at work, using my own (home) gym, or hitting the pavement.  My heart has just not been in it, and I cannot place a finger on why (or why not), but I think I am getting closer to those answers.  With that being said, when I am on the road or on the treadmill, I am happy and proud and I feel great, and I need to start clinging to those feelings, especially since I have big goals ahead!  This upcoming weekend is the Dennis Sampson Memorial 5k.  In July, I have the Moxie 5k, (maybe) a 4th of July 5k,  and the David Payne Memorial Run.  In August,  I am scheduled to run the Beach to Beacon and the Eugene Cole Memorial Half Marathon.  In September, I have the Dempsey Challenge on my to do.  Finally, in October, I am running the Maine Half Marathon.  I have also decided that I will be finding a way to run the 2020 NYC marathon (I infer “finding a way” because my entry will depend on winning a spot via the lottery OR raising at least $2,620).  So, I have not lost my love for running, nor my heart; I’ve just . . . temporarily lost my way.  (Pictures from Dash for Dogs, Safe Voices, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run forthcoming).

Blogging

My last entry was in March.  Since March, I have had copious thoughts and perspectives, but my gumption to write has been lackluster at best.  Writing this entry is my attempt at locating that luster that I have lacked.  I must admit, I have indeed missed sharing my blather.

Letter Writing

I have written no more than five letters in the last year.  I surmise that my lack of composing correspondence is due to my overwhelmed state when I look at my bucket of mail that awaits a response.  I need to sit down, go through the bucket, and determine who I want to continue writing with and who I do not.  My fear of hurting feelings or causing offense is what prevents me from completing this particular task, but I do need to widdle my list down to a manageable number, thus making the hobby enjoyable once more.

Swap-Botting

I have not been utilizing swap-bot.  My desire to swap was quelled by a member who caused me some distress.  However, that is neither here nor there.  I know that my love for swapping will trump my hesitancy to do so, especially since I do have a reliable group of people with whom I can swap.  In fact, as of today, I have four swaps that I have signed up for.  Now, whether I stay in said swaps or drop them before partners are assigned . . .   On the bright side, my lack of swap-botting has allowed me to re-engage with Postcrossing.

This entry is mainly about what I have not done / been doing, but I am brainstorming a follow up featuring what I have done / been doing.  I will get back to being 100% Amy, one step at a time.  Luckily, I took some hefty strides today.  Maybe today is the day I turn it all around.

So, when I do work my way out of my slump, will I be floundering at floundering?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Trim Hair Like a Badass, but Your Personality Doesn’t Make the Cut

IMO, it is important to find oneself a good hairdresser or barber.  I am poor at finding time for myself, in regards to pampering.  Set me up in a room with craft supplies and a list of people to please, and I will devote every last nanosecond of free time I have . . . to / for others.  For myself?  Eh, not so much.  I recently committed to getting my nails manicured consistently, and though I have stuck to this regimen and have begun to enjoy nicely painted nails, I am constantly fighting the urge to flee from this routine.  It has been a month and a half, which means I have gone three times.  I always find an excuse not to follow through for myself: time, money, scheduling, etc.  It’s only a matter of time.

I have naturally curly hair.  It has been surprisingly difficult to find someone who can cut curly hair well.  After a run on terrible hair experiences, and I do mean abhorrent, I finally found a woman who can cut my tangled mass of coiled tresses like a badass.  In my imaginative fantasyland, I ideally sport long and flowing mermaid length hair, resting luxuriously atop my shoulders and cascading beautifully down my back.  The harsh reality is, this look just does not work for me.  As lovingly stated by my Mum, “It’s not your hair that’s the problem.  It’s your face.”  That, my virtual friends, was one of those phrases that just “did not come out right,” but I knew full well what she meant.  Long hair does not suit me, mainly due to the shape of my face, which I don’t even know how to describe.  I find that long hair, even shoulder length, makes me look tired, borderline haggard.  So, I have accepted a chin length, asymmetrical cut as my trademark hairstyle.  If I do say so myself, it is pretty adorable, and I just look . . . like Amy.  With that being said, as much as I am thrilled to have an undeviating hairstyle and a favorable haircut, it may be time for me to break up with my salon artist.

Over the course of two or three years, I have fought against my unwillingness to spend my money and time on myself, and I have gotten a trim and touch up approximately every eight weeks.  However, I find myself growing ever more uncomfortable with my hairdresser.  I do not doubt that she is a delight amongst her family and friends, but I find that I tend to leave her shop feeling worse about myself instead of better.  I also suspect that perhaps she is slightly vindictive.

About the latter . . . 

Here’s a recap of my September – November 2016:

  • Faint
  • Fall into the shower
  • Hit my head
  • OUCH
  • Concussion
  • Months of recovery
  • To this day, problems with memory

I am one of the quite fortunate and lucky ones who has faced a head injury head on (see what I did there, huh, huh, huh?) and returned to normal (OKay, so MY version of normalcy) relatively expediently and to about 98% – 99%.  However, over a year later, I still have some difficulty with my memory and the occasional bout of brain fog.  When my injury was raw and I was not permitted to drive, work, or even run, I missed a haircut appointment.  I completely forgot about it.  (Mind you, I never received a courtesy reminder call – more on this later.).  So, the following are reasons I assume she is vindictive:

  1. She rescheduled me for a bright and early Saturday morning, which was the very next day.  When I arrived for my new appointment, she told me that she was booked, that my appointment was for another day.  I had gotten up at 0600 to be there on time, merely to be turned away, and since that was indeed my appointment, I had to yet again reschedule.
  2. For another appointment, I was penciled in for a color, and she sent me on my way after the cut.  Mind you, most people would have spoken up, but that’s already not in my nature . . . and I’m typically willing to get out of there ASAP.
  3. My trim has seemingly, and without warning, skyrocketed in cost from approximately $20.00 to $35.00.
  4. Let us not forget the time that her sister, employed as the shop manager and personal assistant to the beautician, called me to indicate I had missed “ANOTHER!!” appointment, when it was the beautician herself who had requested to reschedule due to a scheduling conflict.  I could hear her spouting off in the background, and it wasn’t what I would consider professional or kind, even though this blunder was definitely her error.

Here’s the “more on this later” from above. . . So, it is unreasonable to call me the day before to remind me of an appointment, but it is perfectly acceptable to call and harass me at what is perceived to be my faux pas?

Needless to say, after months (over a year’s worth of months, in fact) of what can be described only as passive aggressive behavior, I was already prepared to make last night’s appointment my final visit.

About the former . . . 

Why / how does my hairdresser make me feel uncomfortable?

  1. Being aware of the fact that I am a runner and have lost weight due to my running, she has referred to me as a “bigger girl,” and has even gone on to say that being a bigger girl is OKay because I have a heart of gold.  Before I lost weight, yeah, I could afford to lose a few pounds, but she didn’t even know me then.  Why would she even feel the need to discuss my size with me or with anyone else for that matter?
  2. She shares stories that are far too personal.  We are not friends.  I do not need to, nor do I want to, know the inner workings, or lack thereof, of previous marriages, current relationships, and perhaps, future rendezvous.
  3. Last night, she told another woman, a perfect stranger to me, that my Mum and Dad “spoil [me] BAD.”  What is this tidbit based on?  Am I an only child?  Yes.  Am I spoiled?  In some regards, absolutely.  However, that is not her business nor is it the business of strangers.  FYI, I just so happen to work my ass off, and I have worked for and fairly earned everything I have accomplished, own, etc.
  4. She regularly finds a way to ding my self esteem. It could be a simple inquiry: “Have you gained weight?”  (Even if I had, have, or do . . . why ask?).  The ding can also come in the form of a statement, “You have grey hairs.”  (Perhaps they are a result of the mere stress of looking ahead to my hair appointments . . . ).

My beautician cuts hair like a badass, but her personality suckity sucks. 

Last night, I politely declined to book a future appointment.  The woman who colored my hair before my NYC trip was delightful, and I would like to sample her cutting skills.  If she too is a badass with unruly curls, I may have found myself a new go-to.

Backstory: I sought another colorist because the woman I’ve been blogging about made it fairly obvious that she did not want to lay lavender highlights in my hair.  However, she had the gaul to portray herself as hurt and offended when my hair was indisputably recently colored but another.  In hindsight, perhaps it was my recent stint with another’s chroma that triggered the comment about the importance of highlighting my hair due to the greys I have sprouting.  Now I don’t know whether this example more appropriately belongs in the vindictive section or should remain in the why I’m uncomfortable segment.  But I digress . . .

So, what is the point of this wordy diatribe triggered by follicle folly?  I wish I could say / write that the point is to assert that I am unaffected by others’ perception(s), but it’s not.  The point is to express that yes, I am indeed insulted, and yes, her words have stung me on multiple occasions, but it remains well within my power to control just how much damage she can cause my self-esteem and psyche.  I have shared my displeasure as a means of letting it go.  Afterall, who exactly is she to me?  She is nobody.  She’s merely a woman who provides a service.  I am not obligated to continue to see her, she is not connected to me via bloodline or hanging from the same branch on a family tree, she is merely a blip on the roadmap of my life.  It was several years ago that I began to eliminate blips that had the potential to become potholes along the road to my own happiness.

In summary, I am done shelling out $40.00+ for snide remarks, rude commentary, and unprofessionalism.  So, I have a few grey hairs.  I can guarantee, despite the belief that I am spoiled rotten, that I have earned every one of those greys fair and square.

P.S.  If you benefit in no way from this smörgåsbord of verbiage, I hope there is at least one takeaway: be kind – to others and to yourself.

 

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

 

 

 

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!

 

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Whether I know you in person or not, I am proud of you, even if only for trying.  I concentrate on being supportive, motivating, and encouraging to others, as well as genuinely happy for others’ accomplishments.  I was once so very guilty of comparing myself with others, and I strive today to not do so.  This is not to suggest that I never engage in this comparative behavior, because I do, and that is clear in many of my other written ramblings, but it is something that I continually work to correct in myself.  Comparison is a damaging habit, not only to your own well-being, but it can also potentially leave a ding in the contentment of the other individual (the victim of your analogy).  Until recently, just yesterday in fact, I was unaware that I was the object of comparison; when this tidbit came to light, it irked me, and here is why . . .

(Were you on the edge of your seat with wonder, distressed that I was not going to provide further explanation?)

Yesterday, a woman with whom I work, I will call her C, had just returned from a walk outside at about the same time that I was making my way back to my office from my Monday gym session.  (Word on the street is, you should never skip a Monday.  Challenge accepted; I ran 7 miles.  BOOM!).  C happily reported that she was already at her 10,000 steps for the day, and Leola stated that she (C) and Miss Amy are putting her (Leola) to shame (I’m “Miss Amy,” btw).  C proceeded to state that I likely get 20,000 steps a day, and Leola reiterated that we are working on two different journeys and reminded her that I am training for a half marathon.  C then indicated that it is easy for me because I am 20 years younger than she is, and that is what annoyed me.

Why undermine my drive, my hard work, and my commitment?  On days that I get 20,000 steps, it’s because I push myself and then I push myself harder and then I push myself just a little bit more.  Do not diminish another’s progress in order to build yourself up.  If you are unhappy with 10,000 steps, then push yourself to take more steps.  If you feel unfulfilled with your work in the day, then do more work.  I may be 20 years younger than C, but there was once a day when running 7 miles seemed like merely a pipe dream.  Several years ago, I was still 20 years younger than C, and running even .25 miles nonstop was an immense accomplishment.  Although I was left feeling unfulfilled with that .25 after a while, I did not compare myself with someone who could run longer, nor did I encapsulate their abilities: he’s younger than I am, she has more time than I do, he has a more natural athletic ability, and so on and so forth.  The excuses for not performing as well as somebody else are endless, but it should not matter how you perform compared with another.  There is a lot of truth to the quip, “Compete with yourself, not with others.”

So, since 2015-ish, I have been counting calories, going to the gym, running, running, running, and running some more, drinking more water, working on my food related choices and behaviors, pushing myself . . . In other words, I work damn hard, so. damn. hard.  So, I do not take kindly to my weight loss or my step count being credited to my age.  I can only assume that C is not happy with where she is at, but that did not give her an appropriate cause to minimize me, more specifically, where I am at in my own journey.  For the record, there is an 80-ish year old man (that is 50+ years older than I am) who absolutely smokes me every year at the Safe Voices 5K.  So, you see, C, MY age has little to do with YOUR performance.

I am well aware that soul searching is burdensome and that it is painful to be truthful, particularly when we feel that we are falling short and have to admit to ourselves that yeah, this one is on me.  I sat on this encounter all of yesterday afternoon and evening before writing it up this morning; I thought it of the utmost importance to analyze why this bothered me so.  Why am I so sensitive to this remark?  Am I justified in my feels?  What I’ve concluded is that . . . I am justified to feel any sort of way that I want to about it.  My feelings are my own, and they are valid whether someone else “gets” them or not.  However, I usually do make sure that my perspectives aren’t fueled by hanger, and in this case, they most definitely were not.  I was (am) sensitive to her remark for exactly the reasons that I outlined: I work hard, and I did not appreciate my hard work being surmised that it is easy because I am 33.

So, I urge one and all to just . . . STOP.  Stop comparing yourself with others for any reason . . . whether it’s a number on the scale, a distance you’ve run, the size of your residence, the make and model of your car, your marital status, your parental status, the brand of your clothes, your level of education . . . just STOP.  Instead, engage in self-reflection, and keep it just that: SELF-reflection.  When I began to self-reflect as a means to counteract my nature to compare, compare, compare, I learned several key points, and here they are . . .

(Were you on the edge of your seat thinking that I was not going to share them with you?)

  • Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I have two options while I am here:
    • a) be happy where I am while I work on bettering my situation and / or myself
    • b) be miserable.  *The latter will assist me in the accomplishment of . . . being miserable.
  • Sometimes, someone else just wants it more.
  • A lot of work remains ahead of me.
    • Although I fully understand that when I compare myself with others, I am allowing my joy to be thieved, I have yet to learn how to keep others from pirating my joy.

 

*Note(s):

  • I referred to C as such because her first name begins with a C; this letter selection was not to imply derogatory name calling.
  • Most days, I do not achieve 20,000 steps.  So, C’s comparison is based solely on her own assumption.
  • Larceny is a Part 1 crime.

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.