Coming back up

I have been dreading writing this. No, I have been dreading even thinking about this WordPress site and blogging in general.

It has been a few weeks now, closer to a month probably, since the Cleveland Marathon, or I should say the attempt at the Cleveland Marathon which turned into a sad, wet 10-miler.

Overall, I choked. Remember in Cool Runnings when the team completely failed at the first race and their coach said, “You choked. You were ready and you choked.”

That was me. I can’t even honestly say I was ready though. Physically, sure, I was ready to run the pace, but what is pace when you mentally fail?

I’ll step back. Leading up to the race, I should have known something was not right. My left IT band was sore and tight and I kept ignoring it. Everytime my BF mentioned how we were going to “Kill it” I wanted to hit him and say be quiet. I couldn’t think about the race, I didn’t want to think about the race. This was beyond just normal nervousness. This was sheer panic and dread. And,  I should have realized it. I should have realized I was drowning myself.

Watching the weather I should have known too. It kept getting worse and worse. Midwest Spring weather at its best. The Saturday before the race it was rainy, cloudy, windy and freaking cold.

Sunday? It was rainy, cloudy, snowing, sleeting, basically any type of cold horribleness there is.

Saturday night was a disaster as well, a mistake I should have known better. I made reservations at Bucca Di Beppos, the same weekend as the college’s graduation. So, after waiting an hour for food, as we watched the table next to us order the entire menu and pay a $600 plus bill, we finally get pasta. Cold and covered in spicy flakes and doused in oil. We had to send it back, which I hate doing because it makes me feel bad. The next order came quickly enough, it was only noodles with veggies, but then another 30 mins went by to get the manager to take off the meals and let us pay the bill. I guess a $20 fancy pasta restuarant bill is pretty good though.

The next morning was making the decision on what outfit would keep me as warm as possible and running to the bathroom every ten mins…thanks oily dinner.

The race started and felt fine. Not great. Not excited. Just fine. Five miles in, heading up a “hill” bridge and feeling like I was running backwards, I knew this was going to be bad. By the beginning I was already steps behind Ken (bf) and couldn’t keep up. By mile 7/8 I was in tears and pain. My legs wouldnt move, my IT band was so tight it felt like I was ripping it out of my leg, and my mind was gone.

Ken continued to run then stop and wait, run then look over his shoulder for me. He offered me his headphones and music but I was already gone. My mind was screaming at me to keep racing, to ignore the pain, but my heart was escalating and the panic attack, not being able to breathe began. I had to walk a bit. Thinking back now, I am in shock. How the hell did that happen? Even now I still feel like a wimp and a failure.

Mile 10 came, I saw my mom and sister and was done. I knew 16 more miles would be impossible.

Mom and Ken ran and got the car and my sister and I stayed on the sidewalk of a closed breakfast place shivering in the pouring down rain.

In the car I was able to get rid of some wet clothes, but the embarrassment, no mortification, was not going anywhere. They comforted me of course, but I let them down and forced them to drive 8 hours to watch me do nothing. How do you look someone in the eye after that? I couldn’t even look Ken in the eye. I didn’t even feel like me.

Driving home was four long hours through perfect sunny weather (are you freaking kidding me?) Then, it was home to shower, cry more, have Ken comfort me, realize how bad I was – both physically and mentally –  and how I was going to move forward.

The “When Running Sucks” ice cream cake and Mexican food helped somewhat, but it took days to get me out of the funk.

That was a month ago, as I said. Since then, I have been talking to a counselor who diagnosed me with high levels of anxiety and stress with horrible, horrible coping methods. I probably could have told her that myself.

What I realized over the last weeks is how far I pushed myself, how much pressure I put on myself for what? I was killing myself, beating myself down before I was even at the race! Like I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. Like I knew I was already going to fail. It was swimming all over again (but that is whole other story).

About two weeks ago, I was been told by three different people that I have never been so happy, so carefree and funny. Without the stress of running and just working out by how I feel, I have been able to relax, do other things, and be myself again. They are compliments yes, but they have scared me too. What happens when I start training again? Am I going to fall back into that mindset? Am I only this fun person when I am not running?

I have been getting the itch again. I got new shoes ordered to the house to wear-test, I am talking with my mom about her upcoming race, watching Western States this weekend, and am finally feeling like a runner again. But, I am scared. I don’t/can’t get myself into that position again. And, I don’t know what to do race wise. A part of me wants to try it again. Redeem myself. Go for that marathon goal because deep down, I know I can do it. I really do.

The other part is saying, No Jess. Take it easy a bit longer. Sign up for a fun 50k/50-mile race and just have fun. Get back on the trails with your friends and keep with the races that you enjoy more and are better at.

I am torn. Which one? Which one? I guess the only answer I have right now is be patient for a few more weeks and see how it goes. Come back from the dread and embarrassment I was drowning myself in and just run, see how I feel, and decide later. I just hope nothing is filled up by then!

 

The dream of an Insomniac

A non-running post:

Every night I look forward to the bed-time ritual. The sweatpants and baggy t-shirt on, hair in some sort of ponytail, that really does resemble the hair on a horse’s ass. Maybe my teeth are brushed, and maybe there is some applying of lotion so when I get old, my skin doesn’t look like I really did spend my entire childhood lying at the beach with 4 percent sunscreen on. Yes, they make it that low.

The heated, probably going to give me cancer, blanket is cranked up to 9 and the nightstand is littered with chocolate pieces and tea and water-either from that day or five days ago.

Yes, I enjoy my bedtime. 9 p.m. I start to feel it, that droopiness of my eyelids, the fatigue in my muscles, and the blood shot eyes I get – the sure giveaway that Jessica is tired.

I snuggle into bed, prop open the book and bam! I am snoring with my mouth open, lying on my right side, arms outstretched and there’s no waking this corpse until 2:30 when all that water and tea makes a comeback.

5/6 a.m. blares on the iPhone alarm clock and I’m up. Rise and freaking shine.

Still groggy, still feel like my muscles have turned to jello, but the act of falling back asleep for another one or two hours is beyond a no-go.

Its Saturday morning, on a Saturday I don’t work or don’t have to go run.

Its times like these I wonder, “Why even sleep?” Yeah, yeah sleep is your body’s resting period, it helps recover your muscles, and gives your brain time to recharge… Trust me, I am sure I can lounge around a few hours during the day to give my body those exact things.

No. Sleep is what keeps me from doing all the things I say I am going to do in the day. Read 50 to 100 pages of this book, so I can jump to the next one.

Start knitting again and finally finish that other leg warmer, because really, my other leg is cold.

Listen to more music, watch more classic movies.

When I attempt these, one thing usually happens: I fall asleep.

I fall asleep thanks to my tired body going through work all day and then running as many miles as I can before the treadmill stops me at an hour, or the darkening daylight warns me of the predators that stalk the bike trail at night. Don’t worry, they are usually just squirrels.

Some nights there are dreams, and that’s nice. Like running an ultra where I start late and end up in first place-I have had this one many times and each time I win, it’s pretty remarkable.

Or the one where I finally kiss the boy next door who I have been crushing on since he began driving me to swim practice.

But what I want to dream about, what I wish in that, “that would be nice but get real” kind of way, was to be an insomniac.

When I say insomniac though, I don’t want the bad habits, the horrible health effects from not sleeping, and the weird connotations that come with people who say they are insomniacs.

I want to be the Cullen vampire who doesn’t sleep and like him, (Edward..yes I’ll admit I was an Edward fan) achieves hours of reading, exploring, and learning how to play the piano. Or like the coupled vamps who spend every night fucking each other instead of just sleeping peacefully in each others’ arms. I’m sure my boyfriend would go with that one.

Without sleep, my list of books to read, “Books every 20-something Should Read before they grow up” or the 300 or so books mentioned in Gilmore Girls, or hell, I will even take a stab at reading the entire Bible, would all be ticked off.

I would run, lift, plank those abs, and stretch and do yoga like I was training for the Olympics.

I would read every book, watch every movie, write everything that goes through my mind during the day. I WOULD BE SUPERGIRL.

But I write this while looking at my screen with droopy, tired eyes and glancing down at my journal planner, where there are several things not checked off.

How many times does my journal have a To-Do List task that doesn’t get done? How often does a simple 300-page book take me two more weeks than it should have to read? How often do I fall asleep during that classic movie?

Will insomnia fix it? Sure, things would get done, but then what? Of course, the answer: More things will come up.

I am tired of it…get it?

I am tired of being tired.

I am tired of trying so hard to get everything done.

I am tired of trying to be perfect, because honestly, why should I be?

At the end of the day, does it really matter the book isn’t finished? That movie isn’t watched? That leg warmer will stay single?

No, because to me insomnia means perfection.

And, insomnia, from what I have read, really doesn’t work. And, perfection, as I have tried myself and I have many quotes to back me on this, really doesn’t work either.

So, I guess I’ll go get some sleep now. I’m not even going to bring my book with me.

 

 

 

Journalist or Reporter?

What is the difference between a journalist and a reporter? Is there? Can a journalist be a reporter, or a reporter be a journalist?

Going into a college I knew I was looking into Journalism. I knew I would do better at Journalism than something like Creative Writing because I never though I would be that kind of writer.

Writer, now there’s a another one.

Writer? Reporter? Journalist?

At IU, for me, there was no doubt I wasn’t getting into the Journalism program. It is one of the higher ranked schools, and provided four years of amazing classes and programs.

I worked on the school newspaper and magazine and started doing my outside writing for iRunFar.com, but at school, I always felt like still a “student.” I was still the kid asking people questions, never really taking myself seriously as a real journalist.

When I think about the difference between a journalist and reporter, I figured journalists were of a higher caliber. Journalist. It just sounds better and in my mind, receives more credit than just reporter.

However, I was reading online today about this difference. According to several websites, the difference between the two is slight. A reporter gathers and writes information specifically for something like a newspaper. Reporters speak directly to people to gather the information and that is the only thing written, not including any opinions or editorializing.

A journalist is someone who gathers information and then disseminates it to the audience. A reporter can be a journalist, just like an editor, publisher and opinion writer can be as well.

Reporting is becoming one with social media, and now comes down to getting information, mainly just facts, published as fast as one can. Whereas, journalism is becoming more investigative, and longer in-depth writing made more for magazines and longer newspaper pieces. As one website said, “once “reports” are in a magazine or newspaper, it is usually old news.”

So where am I going with this? When people ask what I do for a living I respond with, “I write for a newspaper.” Yes, I do write, but I realized I do this because I want to hide from choosing between journalist and reporter.

I feel like journalist is too catchy or “big” for me, and reporter sounds too old-school. But, today after rushing out the door toward a potential shooting, I realized I was kind of both.

I enjoy writing the long, in-depth feature pieces on events or people with interesting stories. I enjoy writing about the hometown girl who recently ran a marathon worth Olympic Trials time, and I enjoy walking around talking with people participating in the town’s Cookie Walk event.

But when it comes to reporting, actually listening to the scanner and following the police to a car crash or potential shooting, like today, I am not as big a fan. The journalist in me does not agree with the reporter-focused stories.

During the shooting today, which ended up just being a scam from someone (gotta love those people), I was up and running with my notebook in one hand and my camera in the other. I was ready to report. “Where the hell did that come from?” I asked myself later. That is not me. I usually try to block out the scanner, to be honest.

Today marked something different. I reported, well I was going to report, because that is what newspaper writing is. It can’t all be easy, writing stories. There are facts that need to be reported down as fast as possible so that my readers, (if there are any), can get their information just as fast.

So, maybe after these few months of working, my reporting phobia is slipping away. Though, I still destine to be a writer, in the story, freelance sense, my job as a journalist/reporter is keeping me constantly busy as what a this position is supposed to do: be the watchdog for the public (I learned that in college-go IU).

We are supposed to be both-journalists and reporters. And writers, and readers, and listeners. Writing for a publication is knowing what to write, when and why.

Now when people ask me, I will still respond with I write for a newspaper. But inside, I know that I am a journalist. A reporter. And a needed community member.

 

Running through Thanksgiving

Does anyone’s Thanksgiving plans really go as expected?

For me, not so much. However, my week, with all its food, running, sleeping and family, was pretty successful in the end.

I had plans for my holiday week, including having Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday off! I was so excited. I was going to cook/bake (something this is quite rare in my household), catch up on sleep, run A LOT, and work on core and stretching. Of course, there was eating and hanging with my sister on the to-do list as well.

Ken (the boyfriend) and I decided we were going to do a week of ten minute planks. Well, it was a good theory. We did well Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But Thursday was a hectic work day, then hike with the family, to quickly heading out for holiday dinner number 1, to holiday dinner number 2 and collapsing on the couch. Friday was back to schedule with a run and ten-minutes of sore abs, then Saturday was another miss due to once again, busy work day for me, straight to a shower and heading out to the Christmas parade. And, Sunday was well, Sunday. Busy all day then crashing on the couch with a huge salad kept me off the plank floor.

So to recap the week in running: Neg-should have run more during the week because I took both Monday and Thursday off which I don’t like to do. Pos-I am proud of myself for getting out of bed Sunday when I absolutely did not want to and getting in a really good run.

Monday: Off day from running, and headed into work early so I could cut my hours short on other days of the week. At night around 8 p.m. met Ken at OMNI Health and Wellness, and did ten minutes of planks.

Tuesday: Ran 8 miles with Ken. Went throughout town at 7:38 pace. Felt really good. Later on, did ten minutes of planks inside the apartment.

Wednesday: Had to let Jules into OMNI so she could swim at 7 a.m. Ken and I lifted light weights, stretched, and did ten minutes of planks. Ran 7 miles with mom and by myself on the bike trail. Started off with mom, ran ahead an extra mile, then met her back at the car. Overall, 8:03 pace.

Thursday: Again, work in the morning. It was a rough day, dealing with a fire and a chilly, wet Turkey Trot, and by the time I got home I was not really digging a run. I did however take the two dogs for a walk at the beach with my family, which turned out to be the better choice.

Friday: Guilty for missing the run, I wanted to get a longer one in. So, by midmorning I was stretched and ready to go out in the again, chilly and wet weather. I ran in my Patagonia wind breaker and new LuluLemon tights and had that, “okay I look like a runner, lets do this,” mentality! I ran along the town’s bike path to the gym I go to, met Ken who had coconut water for me (my favorite running drink) and we did about 4 more miles together, for 10 overall. I began at an 8:20 per mile pace and ended up down to 7:20 pace. I wanted to get faster each mile, but I felt like it was not as easy to get down to the 7:20/30 as usual. Then we did our planks and continued on the day.

Saturday: Easy run during work, just 6 miles through town.

Sunday: Sunday… The day I wanted to rest, sleep in and have cereal in bed. Instead, I dragged my butt out a not too much later than planned and headed out. Ended up rocking a 14 mile run at an 8-8:04 pace with a .5 cool down at the end. Felt great and was really surprised i could hold that pace at the end of the week and not being the best mindset.

Last week was just another example of how things are always changing and sometimes, you have to do other things than run. Like Thursday, hiking with my sister and parents rather than getting in four miles-did it really matter in the end?

Next week, is another busy weekend and I am just going to play it by ear on how it is going to go. I am watching my sister swim at one of the biggest meets of her season. Should I worry about my 6 mile run? Or should I worry about being there for her? ding, ding ding.

New Years Resolutions

I have never been one for resolutions. Making them, keeping them, I never really believed in the big hype. I believe that if you want to change something about yourself or your life, you need to start that day.

One of my “resolutions”for 2014 was something I thought of and began the day before Thanksgiving. I decided that I wanted to run every single day, even if it means just running one mile on some days. And for some unknown reason, I decided to start that day, and I have not missed a day since. So, by the end of 2014 I will have more than 365 days of consecutive running and maybe more if I really keep it up.

Another resolution or goal as it more so is, would be to weight lift and cross train more. When making my training plan for the 100 mile race, I added in time slots for weightlifting and training on the bike and in the pool. Again, resolution vs. real-life? To train for this 100 I know I am going to need to do more than just run. So, on my 2014 Jan-April calendar includes bi-weekly cross training sessions and nothing about sticking to a “resolution” but sticking to a race plan.

I had more things, like reading more and stop buying books when I have 100 still unread novels on multiple bookshelves. I think wearing more makeup and actually dressing like a real girl/person instead of in running clothes on a daily basis made the list as well, but we’ll see about that.

Looking forward to the year, I know I can accomplish the goals already set, change some, and add new ones. It will be a year running, running, and more running. Oh yeah, and some of those other life things I do once in awhile too!

 

Ahh, the joys of winter

Well, it finally came.WINTER… I went to bed with a towel wrapped around wiper blades, apparently it is supposed to prevent ice, (it didn’t) and woke up with my car buried under snow. To remind everyone of my glorious job: I work as a delivery girl for my college paper every weekday morning, waking up at 4:45 a.m, (sometimes earlier because my body hates me) and begin whipping papers at locked doors by 5 a.m. Though I woke up to a beautiful snowy picture outside my window, my morning did not go well.

2

1. I come downstairs to my roommates watching a movie and the Christmas tree mocking me with its warm, just stay home and relax on the couch glow.

2. I have to scrape the 3-4ish inches off my car with my glove and snow scraper that is no bigger than my hand. (thanks Dad, for that handy little device)

3. I slip and slide all the way to the building to fetch my papers, then stall my car trying to get over the bump of plowed snow blocking my first stop.

4. My feet in my tall, black Ugg boots become soaked through as I slosh my way to the paper stacks.

5. I only almost crashed twice.

6. Found out my back brake light is out. That’s not important right?

7. My stomach is growling all morning. Guess my soup and Starbucks muffin was not the most hearty meal…

8. What normally takes me 1.5 hours to complete the route in, took me nearly 2.5.

9. Was not in the mood to trek out to the recycling bin, so I have about 1000 papers in my trunk.

10. Ruined my mood to go run. -Don’t worry, I did!

1

Ok, so my morning wasn’t horrible…I survived my first winter paper delivery. Next time, (probably all next week) I will be a little more prepared, or transfer to Florida State.

But, despite my bad mood and soaking wet feet, I forced myself to the gym on campus. I only had to run 4, thank goodness, so the torture of the treadmill was not unbearable.

Though I desperately wanted to go run in the snow for the first time this year, I think deciding to wait for a better day/time will make the experience more enjoyable and magical. Like tomorrow, when I go run the Ridge (if anyone from Northwest IN reads this, they know what I am talking about) twice… at 5 a.m…. Magical 🙂

It is funny; people say I am crazy for having this job, going to bed at 9 every night, and running everyday. I think it is crazy not to!