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.

 

 

 

Marathon Training is hard

I knew what I was getting into when I began this training right? I started the training weeks with one goal in mind: to run a marathon in under 3:15. Seemed do-able, yes. Physically I believed (and still do) that I can run this time, yet it was always the mental aspects I knew I was going to struggle with.

I am five weeks out from the Cleveland Marathon on May 16. It is a Sunday race, something that I just like about the weekend and thought I would throw in. I am so excited to run and so excited to be done.

Five weeks out, and I just finished an easy 4-mile shake out run Monday morning. And, it was not that easy.

Last week was a rough one, both in running and just in life.

Monday was an off day, which I usually take after the long run on Sunday. Then, Tuesday came around….Instead of the 8-10 miles I was planning on doing, I left the house for a night at Barnes and Noble. The weather was decent, not great, but I got home and the thought of putting my running shoes on was unfathomable.

Honestly, the thought of just changing my work clothes into running clothes, I just couldn’t do it.

It wasn’t even the feeling that once you get started on the run, it would be okay. I knew my body needed to NOT RUN.

Looking back, I wish instead of running, I went to swim or bike, but again the feeling that I just needed to do something other than work out or work was too strong to overcome.

I grabbed Ken, my bf, and we headed to the best place ever, Barnes and Noble. We stopped by Lemon Tree, a Mediterranean fast food restaurant, to grab some dinner, then settled into B&N. With a chai tea and a dark chocolate, hazelnut granola bar for dessert I spent the evening finishing up my article for my freelance gig and getting talked into buying a new laptop.

Tuesday ended with a new MAC Book Air, a brand new journal, so that I could begin bullet journaling and a happy mood.

The rest of the week was spent indoors on the stupid treadmill while the outside tried to decide if it was snowing, raining, or sunny.

I ended the week with a cold, easy 6 miles in the trails in preparation of a long 20-miler on Sunday, the 20 miler that turned to just run for two hours on the treadmill, to just run 10.5 miles and then finish the workout with 30 minutes on the bike adding another 10 miles. Hey, I got in in 20 miles right?

Sunday night, I was done. I was painfully icing my ankle, which has been bothering me and feeling like I got hit by a car and waiting to get hit again.

So when this week started, which it is now Tuesday, so I may be premature in this, I wanted to get a fresh start.

I climbed out of bed Monday morning to run an easy 4 miles in the beautiful 46-degree weather! It was not the best run, since my legs still felt pretty heavy, but I was just happy to be outside.

Tuesday was another outdoor run, but still a bit chilly. Ended with 9 miles, through the local bike trail. Again, legs did not feel 100 percent fresh and peppy, but the mindset was back.

The mindset of what I was doing was back, what I was trying to accomplish, and how important my goals were back.

And, once I realized: marathon training is hard. It is hard to always be up for a run when the weather sucks and the last thing you want to do is put your shoes on. It is hard to get in 50-60 miles with a 40-hour a week job, freelance work, a weekend gig at the local running store, and future work on its way. It is hard to out 50-60 miles on your body, particularly on an ankle that was once cut up in surgery less than two years ago.

Yet, you have to admit it is hard and move on. You have to admit to yourself why it is hard and try to overcome each obstacle in a smart way. For me, I have to acknowledge my limits with my ankle, and realize that weeks of 50-60 miles may not be the best thing for me.

But, you have to admit and realize that you train for a marathon, or any race, because it is why we do it: because it is hard. It’s that saying from “A League of their Own.”

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t, then everybody would do it.”

blog-a league of their own

Why do we put our bodies into this pain, this fatigue? For most it is the outcome: the goal time, the act of finishing a race, etc.

But what I realized a long time ago while in swimming, I like the pain of training. I like being sore and tired and famished from a hard workout, because I like knowing that I am pushing my body to it limit. It is the mental side where the hardness is too much for me. I have never been a good racer. I used to make myself sick before big meets and would end up choking and crying afterwards.

With running, the nerves were there but never as bad because I believed it was the long-distance ultra thing that allowed me to tell myself, “All this is, is running. Running and eating. No one watching you race 7 other people in a pool. This was just me.”

This is what helped me place third in my first 100, and first in my last two races. The pressure was never there.

But, then the HUFF 50k race came in December and the pressure was back. Back with tough competition, a nagging foot injury, horribly freezing weather.

The ankle made me stop physically, but mentally the race beat me. It was back in high school and I was swimming next to some freshman and watching her feet flutter away from me.

That feeling of not living up to expectations, which were usually mine, was back and was not ready for it.

I am really trying to keep these thoughts from entering my mind, now with five weeks to go until another huge race.

Yes, the competition aspect of the race wont be there, but the time pressure will. I am going for a time and many people know it. Some say, ‘oh that will be easy,’ and after a good interval or long run workout, I believe them. But after other days, like every run from last week, those doubts come rushing back in.

This is normal right? It is right to doubt oneself sometimes, because that is what makes training hard. It is the fact that the months of working out beyond anything else is, knowing there will be obstacles and will be triumphs, is what makes the hard become softer as time goes on, and you, the runner, much stronger with each step.

Training to become a writer

My colleague is an aspiring author. At night he comes home from work, I don’t know the details, but in my mind, probably takes off his shoes, makes dinner, makes tea (that is probably just me) and sits at his desk to continue through his over 100,000 word manuscript.

He works hours into the night and gets up late in the morning to go to work. Where do we work? What do we do? Write.

We write for a small-city newspaper, covering things from fun events at schools, and organizations to city hall meetings and the drunk drivers crashing into light poles.

It is usually 8 hours of looking at a computer screen.

When he told me of how his nights have been spent lately, frantically trying to get his first book done, I was in awe. Not just of the actual act of writing a book, which is incredible, but that he can come home from writing and go back to writing.

But, this past week, and many more to come, I am finding myself in the same boat. I have been working on my column for one website, applying for a position for another website with new samples of writing, drafting up cover letters for my boyfriend, and about to start ghost-writing with someone in my town on a book about a lawyer in the area.

Just this past Tuesday, I found myself coming home from a long 9 hour day and settling into my kitchen table seat with random food items and my laptop, working on my next running column.

As this is my blog for mostly running pieces, I will add that in now. Usually, I try to plan my weeks based around my work schedule and running. On this day should I do a long run? Or short and sweet with some weights?

It is not always the prettiest way to schedule out my time, but so far, it’s the only way to make sure I get in my run and not go crazy. Yet, in the last week, I have been adding in another time-consuming hobby, though not as energetic. This past week, I have been looking at the work schedule, throwing in my runs at 5 a.m or 7 p.m. and spending the other, very few hours of the day writing. And, to be honest, I love it.

I am throwing myself into being a writer, because it is about time I start living up to that dream I have of myself. When I set out this year to run a marathon under 3 hours and 15 minutes, I set myself up with a plan I knew was going to be tough and trying, but also one I knew that was possible because it was my dream.

Being a writer, particularly a freelance writer working from the house or my coffee shop and seeing my name in multiple publications, is a dream I feel like I have always wanted, but was always hesitant in believing it could be true.

And, of course, it could still always be a dream and never to the real-life passion I want it to be, but that is something I will just have to accept. But, until now, I am in still in the middle of my training plan-I am working my butt off on becoming a writer.

 

 

Track? Sprints? huh?

 

I grew up a swimmer. Just by saying that, you should know: One, land activities were never a favorite and two, the thought of swimming a 500 staring at the underwater black line sounds more appealing than running in circles on a track.

 

When I entered college, and put my swimsuit on hold for awhile, I tried out running. Obviously, weirdly, it stuck.

But not growing up as a running kid, I missed out on a lot that I am now realizing, ‘thank goodness I did!’

Every week I have a track or sprint workout. It falls on Tuesday, and with my work schedule/horrible Indiana weather, I have been attacking these workouts via treadmill.

Last week, the workout was not too bad. 4×1 mile at 10k pace, so about 6:30-6:40.

On the way to the gym, as Ken my bf, chatted away about his day, I sat rigidly fearing what I was about to do. And, it was only 4 miles!

Just for some history, as a swimmer I was never a good racer. I hated racing and swim meets and actually swam faster at practice than I would in competition. Luckily, this affliction has not popped up since I began running. However, I think ultrarunning and the long distances have contributed to that.

Speed. Pain. Sticking to a time. I was not looking forward to it.

 

I began with an easy mile that ended way too quickly. I jogged for a bit then Ken and I started.

Bumping up the treadmill to 9.0 mph, my legs flew with the 6:40ish pace. Then jogged and walked two mins before starting the next one. The first one was tough, just getting into it and ignoring the soreness.

But the three flew by, and I dropped my pace down to 9.3, 6:27 for last one. All in all, I was happy. I finished it and thought, it wasn’t too bad, and I could probably go faster next time.

 

Flash forward to the next Tuesday, Jan. 19.

8 miles, with 7 x 1200meters at 10k pace again. I upped it to 1200 instead of 1000 because I didn’t want to do .65 on a treadmill, figured this was easier to manage.

I pulled out some of tricks to gear up for this-cute pink hat, tank top, water bottle full of Watermelon Nuun, and my good compression socks.

The first one was pretty good, and I kept cranking them through. By the 5th one though, I was getting tired. By the 6th I covered the screen to help, and the 7th was all I had mentally. Physically, I think my legs could have done a bit more, but I was happy with my splits. I didn’t keep track of time, but tried to lower my pace throughout the 7.

 

1&2@ 6:35 pace (9.1mph)

3&4@ 6:31 pace (9.2)

5&6@ 6:27 pace (9.3)

7 @ 6:22 (9.4)

It occurred to me while running that the treadmill isn’t sooo bad, especially since I was trying to keep a pace rather than a time.

After the run, I did an easy mile cool down and did a few sets of core work and calf raises.

 

I was proud of myself. For someone who doesn’t even know how far along the track a 1000 meters is, I was proud that I am getting out of slow, long distance mindset and into something new. I am becoming faster and not to sound too cocky, but realizing that maybe I am pretty fast at this sport. Or at least, getting within the “fast” level.

 

Tomorrow’s workout is more my kind of thing, 9 steady miles. I’m hoping to run this outside, but depends on the work schedule how late I will be out.

Guess, we’ll see tomorrow.

 

 

Beginnings of a 3:15 Marathon Plan

I said it. The main goal; the A time. I guess the cat is out of the bag.  Some people go around preaching that goals should be written everywhere-mirror, car window, tattooed on your arm-wherever you will see it and be reminded what you’re working for. Then there are others who believe goals should be more private so that you are the only one accountable. If you tell the whole world you plan on winning the Olympics people will be expecting some proof, and doubting or praising you all along the way.

When you tell people your goal does it make it seem more real? For me, yes. In my mind, I think a 3:15 marathon or faster is a legit goal, yet hard enough for me to train for and actually perform, both for mental and physical reasons.

When I tell people that I am running a fast marathon it gives me the confidence I need to keep training, and on the other hand, it gives me one more person to prove it to. In the end does that really matter? No, but you need the kick the butt sometimes too.

So, it is out there for anyone to see. A 3:15 (or faster) marathon.

Training started two weeks ago, and though I told myself I was ready to get going and get after this, I still struggled. I did not do any of my cross training workouts, and my both my speed workout and long run was altered (and not in a good way) during the first week.

Instead of the 43-45ish miles I was shooting for, it was really 40. Instead of a long run I should have done on the roads or trails I did on the treadmill and could only do 10 before my shorts started bothering me and my brain was going to explode. I have found out that my max on a treadmill is 10 miles. I’ll take it.

Last week wasn’t much better…

I feel like I have great runs during the week, then the weekend comes and it/I fall apart.

I was shooting for a 15 mile run on Sunday. Sunday, the day it was going to be negative whatever in the morning and then I was going to go to Church and work at the running store until 5 p.m.

As the week approached the weekend, it never crossed my mind to say, “Jess, it is going to be 40 degrees Saturday, why don’t you change and do that 15 on Saturday?”

Why didn’t this occur to me? Because I was so focused on not thinking about the 15 miler, and not wanting to change from the easy 5 miles I had planned for Saturday that I was sabotaging myself anyway.

So, last minute, I jumped into running clothes on Saturday and attempted 15. Thanks to blisters the size of quarters that I received from wearing new shoes without socks the day before, my 15 miles turned into 12 since my shoe had turned from the color white to red and the blood was making my feet slide around.

No socks? Yeah, stupid decision number one that week, then thinking running 15 on fresh, bloody wounds was bad decision number two.

 

As I pouted to my mom about my inability to focus and get a decent long run in, she reminded me how I used to be about my runs. The weekend long run was IT, the main event. I ate right, went to bed early and had everything ready to go. What happened from then to now? Do I think I do not need to prep for a run? Do I think that I am too good to be nervous for a 15 miler? Or am really that nervous to start really training for this marathon?

I think it is a mixture of all.

Another factor is that since I am training for this marathon, my runs are done by time and pace, rather than just heading out to the Dunes shooting for a number of miles. I do not have my regular running group, and instead am by myself or on the treadmill.

It’s another form of the sport: marathon vs ultra trail running.

I made my choice. This Spring is going to be a marathon, and I need to accept that things are going to change to get me there.

My pace will change, and my times will be faster but it is still ME running out there.

Let’s get after this the Jessica way.

More updates will come throughout the weeks on training!

Running in 2016

My goals for 2016 have been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks. Mostly because I have dealt with another small injury, a bad race, and now getting back into it. I was named an ambassador to a company and just got new cordless headphones to wear while zone out on the treadmill.

Needless to say: I am ready to run in 2016.

The first thing I have to touch on, and which I touched briefly upon in my last post, is what I learned about running and myself in 2015.

I feel like the majority of the year, I took it easy and ran comfortably without stressing my ankle. I had good shoes, Altra brand, am at the skinniest I have ever been, and lifted and did yoga like it was my job!

I ran and won two races, recovered well after them and continued to run throughout the fall. Then, my overbearing, you’re not doing enough mindset came back. I ran faster than I ever ran during road workouts. I ran the treadmill more than outside (maybe not more, but alot!), and began lacking on my stretching, foam rolling. I became lazy in my running form, and paying attention to what is the most important issue in my body.

Thus, I ran on ice and upset my ankle. I badly bruised the foot and continued to run on it. I attempted to run on the badly bruised foot, freezing cold and without proper food and water for a 50k. I’ll save the details but the race for me barely lasted over 15 miles.

Taking all this into account, I don’t really regret anything because I think i have finally accepted, or am still accepting as I go into the new year, that for me to be successful in running and in any athletic endeavor, I need to tune into MY OWN BODY. I need to fun me, and not compare myself or try to copy anyone else’s running plans.

If Paul (NWI runner) runs two/three ridges, and I know only one is enough for me then fine! If I read that a local NWI runner peaks at 100 miles a week, that doesn’t mean I need to do that too. Even though, the sound of that and self-confidence that would bring me would be amazing, I know that my ankle may not have the ability to sustain that long term. One year? Maybe. But 10 years down the road? Probably not.

So, looking forward to 2016, this is what I have in store.

With the help of my bf, who does Ironman races, we have designed a plan to incorporate those 100 mile weeks, but with biking and swimming. As a former swimmer (or swammer as my sister calls me) swimming will be mainly done as recovery. Biking will be added to long runs on the weekends to get in another 20 or so miles. I will also add in a few fast shorter bike rides during the week to get in more cross training if my legs are sore from running.

What I had to keep stressing to him, just to make myself understand and not freak out, is that I am still a runner. My running will still be the main part of workouts, but reaching 60/70 miles a week may be the max.

In addition to the endurance work outs, I will work on speed and interval training and incorporate 2/3 strength training sessions a week.

Starting the year off was my first ever brick workout. A brick is a triathlon term in case you didn’t know, because I ad no idea.

After 6 hours sitting at work, I came home and changed for my bf and my 2016 challenge: 1 mile swim straight, 20 miles cycle and 6 miles run.

The swim went by pretty quickly and easily-my main goal was just to get as far ahead of Ken as I could because I knew he would come back on the bike and kick my butt. After the swim I rushed into clothes, braided my hair into a very wet hairdo and hopped on a stationary bike usually used by the “older” people of the club. (We dont have great stationary bikes at the health club). Within a mile I realized I forgot my water bottle, I didn’t put my socks on because I didn’t want to waste the time and my hair was leaking out so much water onto my back I felt like I was back in the pool. Within 1.5 miles of my get ahead of Ken plan, he came out and hopped on (and within 6 miles he was passed me). The first 10 miles were painful. Just sore and tired legs after lifting the previous day  were bad enough, but mentally, I was struggling. I thought, “how in the world am I going to get through 20 miles? I can barely do 9?!”

I didn’t talk much to Ken during the bike, but every so often I looked over and he smiled at me, which helped a lot. I just tried to keep it in 90-100 cadence, or however you call it.

Ken finished about 2 miles ahead, but stayed pedaling until I caught up. Getting off, I was tired but ready for the next one: run fast(ish) 6 miles.

We nabbed the good treadmills, warmed up at an 8:15/00 min pace for the first mile then just flew. I did the second mile at 7:40, placed the towell over my screen when I hit 3 and did the next 3 miles at 7:30. By the end of that, it was all I could do from not peeking and keeping moving. My legs didn’t hurt, but were just fatiguing. I finally allowed myself to lift the towel and I almost cried with relief. I was at mile 5! I dropped the treadmill speed to a 7:40 pace for about .25 of  a mile, but the need to be done, and Ken sprinting to meet my distance (he had to back down for a mile, because he pulled something) pushed me back to the 7:30 pace.

We finished the run in 46 mins I believe, the bike took about 1 hr and 5 mins, and I am not sure on the run.

The best part of the workout? It was something new, something that pushed me and when I looked over with .25 of a mile left Ken smiled and high-fived me as we sped off toward the end. I think I can do more of these workouts, was one of the first things out of my mouth.

Afterwards, we stretched and rolled a little-or rather flopped on the ground. Then went back to my parents house and they ordered a pizza and I made everyone a small salad, and I proceeded to eat a salad bigger than my head like always.

I am happy I did the workout, especially since I struggled mentally with the bike portion. I look forward to more workouts like that as I train for the marathon in April!

A look at 2015

Yes, the typical “year in review” kind of post, because why not?

Looking over the year, I feel like I am seeing the choices I made as either difficult, cannot decide what to do with my life, versus some that were made with no thinking at all. Does that make sense?

Let me start off that I am not good, and hate making decisions. I am a pro/con, “mom, help me” kind of person. It is not a good quality to have (or not have) but it is something that 2015 has helped me improve upon.

For example, this May I graduated from college with two degrees and no plans forward except working at the local running store in NWI. I looked at teaching, grad school for English, grad school for Library Science-that last one I went pretty far in my thinking. I enrolled in the school, I bought an apartment for next year and told everyone my plans, well explained to everyone what exactly a person does in and with a degree of library science. I made it so far, thinking this is what I wanted to do, I mean classes on books, research etc, that was all me right? But, when it came down living two more years at IU, paying a lot more money and again, not having a job when I graduated, I began to dread the decision I was making. It was the week of graduation I frantically got out of my lease, frantically got ready for graduating from undergraduate school and frantically moved home.

So, all in all: Jessica fails in decision making 1.

At home, I had about two/three months before I saw the ad for the editor position at Michigan City. I applied, mostly as something to do, something to show that, “yeah, I am a journalism major, maybe I should work in journalism” and my mom kept asking me. But when I interviewed, and got the call that I got the job (not the same one, but still a job) I was thrilled, excited and knew that I had a plan now. Saying yes was a no brainer.

Jessica does better in decision making 2.

That was all work stuff. When it comes to finding my bf, I think my decision making was on point for once. I saw him, we talked, and we haven’t been a part since. And, that area is as good as done, if you want all the details.

Jessica overcomes decision making 3.

Now, running. Running, running, running. The thing I love, and the thing that will kill me. Jk, maybe. I spent the year overcoming surgery, overdoing it and injuring something else, lazily training in the summer, winning two races in the summer, pushing myself more than I have ever trained in this sport this fall and quitting my last race of the year within the middle of it.

Yeah, it was a treat.

But, what running has taught me this year, is that I need to train for ME. I have issues and weaknesses that others running 100/week don’t. I have a job that may force me to run in the morning or night on the treadmill, and thats ok. This is all going to be another blog post about running in 2016, but I just wanted to add in how running has transformed me this year and last. I was smart in not pushing myself toward another injury in the summer or at the race a few weeks ago. But, I also was stupid in even going to that race!

So, for running my decision making is still getting tweaked and worked on, but is slowly getting better. If I had to pick though: Jessica levels out in decision making.

This year was a whirlwind of new things and choices that will set my future life. I made the career choice of being a writer. I made the relationship choice of being with my bf for the rest of my life.

I began attending Church, and allowing myself to learn and experience a new way of doing and believing things. I began swimming more and doing more yoga, and making it a part of my future athletic goals. I have decided to stick to more plant-based foods, while still being open to trying new foods. And, most of all I learned that everything falls into place. Everything will come together, whether it is suddenly or takes years, whether it is something I have to stay awake about and write a pro/con list about or know instantly what my choice is.

2015 was a big year. Now onto 2016: bigger and better.

 

 

 

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.

 

Me and the foam roller…

My relationship with the foam roller is probably like many others-painful, mocking and unpleasant.

Sure we have a good times. When I can roll and crack my back, or use it as a pillow when I lay on the ground to read…

Ok, but honestly, why is it so hard to get off the couch at night and roll? In the back of mind the nagging feeling that my day is not complete until I roll out my aching muscles. I know later on, whether it is the next day or the next month, my body will thank me for keeping up on rolling out any soreness or kinks. Yet, the thing looks at me every night, taunting me.

For my job, I am a sitter. I sit in my office, I go to meetings and sit, and sit 30 minutes in the car each way to get to the office. I willfully admit that when I am not running I am a happy couch potato. Yet, sitting all day for hours, and not having many breaks in between, my tight muscles are just getting tighter. Yes I have a tennis ball and yes, I try to stand up and stretch every once in a while, but there the pain and soreness returns.

Make this an early New Year’s Resolution if you must. I am declaring a new goal: foam rolling every night even when I don’t want to leave the comfortable couch. Stretch, not just in yoga, but at in the morning and night. Use one of the ten thousand rolling sticks I have stashed in multiple places.

I always say swimming is a weird sport because it is ALL technique. Sure muscles and power will get you fast time in the 50 0r 100, but you have to have good technique to swim fast. Now if can just adjust that mindset to running. Each small technique change is each each minute stretching and rolling out the muscles needed to perform. Without healthy tendons, muscles, and joints, you will be on the ground in pain, or worse, back in a boot.

So, for all who read this and for myself grab that roller and get to work, because, trust me, there is nothing worse than spending a summer on the couch in a cast.