I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for January, 2016

A.w. Really? An Introvert’s Tale

Am I an attention whore? 

As though push-ups and burpees are not enough torture before I’ve had coffee, Blonde Oprah said something to me that got me thinking. 

“You hate attention, but you love attention.” 

I don’t remember my facial expression, but I am sure it registered exactly what I was feeling. I know I didn’t respond because it is the kind of comment that is meant to stand by itself. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to say anything. I made a mental note to write about it later and I am thus here, wondering if what she said was true and/or okay. 

1. True? 

I don’t think I have a love/hate relationship with attention. I think I actually really enjoy it, just within certain contexts. It takes a certain personality to be on a stage, or to be in front of a classroom, or even publish a blog. I love to share, and more importantly, be understood. If I don’t think I will be understood, it’s not worth it to me to share. What is often mistaken for shyness is actually my belief in economy of words – I don’t like to waste them. 

2. Okay? 

Should I love attention? I believe it depends on the type of attention. If, for example, I am seeking your attention by clicking “post” and you decide to click “like,” should I care? I suppose I would like to know that I do not write in an echo chamber; that I am not alone in how I experience the world. 

I suppose the underlying question is the intention behind the attention for both seeker and giver. I do not feel competitive when I am sharing, I don’t think. I feel privileged when people share with me – but only when it is genuine. No pretense or shallowness. It is just hard to communicate with people because some of you suck really terribly. 

Ergo I return to my observer’s original statement, but I wish to modify a word to make it even more accurate: 

“You hate people but you love people.” 

Preferably one at a time. 

  

Who am I? Race Report

E Major

That’s the key of my alarm that went off in its futile attempt to wake me at 4:30 this morning. 

E Major, but louder. 

I groaned. 4:39. ‘I’m not ready for this race…’ I shut off the alarm. 

My thoughts.

Decidedly louder and less harmonious than my alarm, my thoughts of potential regret are what finally got me out of bed at 4:45. Well, that and Adonis pounding on my door. My fabulous future hubs made me breakfast as I prepared for the half-marathon ahead of me. 

Though I was armed with my bib holder and best running lipstick, I was plagued with doubt. My longest continuous run in my current training cycle was 8.5 miles. I was worried about both my mental and physical stamina. In my previous post I wrote regarding my grand expectations for this race. Knowing how far I have fallen from my 2014 peak kinda bums me out. I hadn’t run a half-marathon since the last leg of my half-ironman. My piano teacher always told me that the reason for practicing is not just for skill building but for building confidence. The guilt that comes with not practicing is enough to sap the most talented of confidence. 

As I walked to get my bib, I stared at the finish line. My eyes started to tear. The half-marathon distance has always moved me. I know that I cannot take any of the approximately 30,000 steps that are between me and a finisher’s medal alone. Though on my feet, I am forced to my proverbial knees in a way that I don’t so tangibly feel for shorter distances. 

I took in the crowd. I overheard conversations between other runners. “I’m running with the 1:40 pacer!” Heh. I was trying to decide what a reasonable goal was for me. “Beat the balloon lady?” I thought to myself. I had been thinking this week that considering how underprepared I am I should be happy with 3 hours or less. I searched for the 3 hour pacer. “13:43 min mile,” his sign read. I figured I would be safe but I was not sure if I would be bored. I saw the 2:45 pacer. “12:35.” I walked over to him and told him I wanted to run with him. He smiled and recommended that I keep him in my “rearview mirror” to ensure that I finish in a time I wanted. 

I took a selfie at the starting line and made a face in an attempt to reflect my emotions… 

 I think that captured my Jessie Spano-like state of split emotions. I mean, I did have the morbid curiosity to show up today. Could be fun. 

The horn went off, and off I went. It was good to be moving in the cold weather. I checked my watch. “11:30.” I turned to see if Billy the Pacer was in my rearview mirror. BTP was sho ’nuff in my blind spot! What the hell?! Forever the good student, I sped up. I wasn’t feeling as drained as I thought I might. Yes, I know I still had 13 of 13.1 miles to go. I smiled as we made our first turn. I felt my calves greet me hello. It is here that I am making a public service announcement for all pensive runners – do NOT reflect on the meaning of life before a race instead of warming up. Do them at the same time. I shrugged and kept going. 

I observed the people around me. BTP was talking to a chick who was running her first half. A man was running in memory of a 15 year old who died last month. Some old dude left me in the dust. I grinned. I was moving forward. 

I greeted new people I would encounter. “Good morning!” “You seem happy,” one man responded. “I am!” I said. “I’m alive.” And it was true. Had I had the breath, I would have elaborated that I was alive and could run. My brain had clicked into performance mode and I was freely running without analyzing my preparation or thinking of what would come after the finish. Not even second breakfast was on my mind as I made my way through 13.1 miles. All I was thinking of was the moment, of my current journey, of the blessing of this particular experience. 

I reached mile 7. I thought to myself, “Great! I can do that again.” My knees were angry. At the perfect time, I read a sign that read, “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.” Race volunteers are a big deal. I thanked God and I thanked the volunteers as I passed them. I checked for BTP. I lost him. Whoops. I shrugged. I ran some more. 

By mile 10, I was starting to warm up. I removed my hat. 10.5 – removed my gloves. 11.5 – damn. I really don’t feel like removing my jacket but it’s hot now. I removed my watch and phone from my sleeve, grabbed both by my teeth, and tried to simultaneously run and disrobe. Almost landed on my face. My youthful lack of wisdom was compensated by my youthful balance. Winning. 

Once I looked at my watch again, I thought to myself, heh. Positive splits. Who cares. I’m a positive girl. This finish line is happening today. No Monday morning quarterbacking until tomorrow. I smiled and waved for the race paparazzi. I turned the final corner and saw Mom, who ran with me to the finish line. 

  
I want to say that I don’t think I could be more proud of myself than I am. I am not worried about anyone who would shudder at the thought of being proud of a 2:41:01 finish time. I fear that someone could read about my concrete goal for the day and think, “Shut up! I would be lucky to finish with the balloon lady. Or finish at all.” I think it is important to note that awesome is relative. I gave 100% today. My goal, in time, is to make MY 100% better. I can’t do anyone else’s 100% because I am Joan. I can’t be anyone else, and it is good to have a day where I am thankful that I am no one else. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

That’s who I am. 

Winning at Failing: Race Report 

I had this grand goal in mind when I signed up for this particular race series. In 2013-2014, I did the Active Suncoast 22.4 Challenge – a 5k, a half, and a 10k. Each course was well-supported, scenic, and flat. Moreover, it dawned on me that each of my running PRs were on these courses. I thought to myself, “Yes! I will do this again! This is officially my PR series!” 

Nope. 

I knew there was no way on earth I would hit less than 29 minutes for a 5k in my current shape. Moreover, weather decided to drop into the 40s and all the running I had (or hadn’t) been doing was in the 60s. Did I mention I was still trying to shake a bad cold? And how much I hate running in pants? 

Goal modified, I created a playlist that reflected the new “win” – 6 songs – 32 minutes. I put tissue in my jacket pocket, prepared for the worst.

I don’t know what it was, but I felt great as I ran. I was able to run with very little coughing. My nose felt clear! I smiled as people ran by in winter themed outfits, even giggled when I was outrun by an Olaf. It happens. I was pleased that I had put “Paradise City” as my last song, as it was my warning that I needed to pick it up if I wanted to reach my goal. Sure enough, by the time the tempo changed, I saw the finish line around the corner. I increased my turnover and just made it before I would have had to run in silence, clearly apt punishment for a musician not meeting her running goal. 

I’m getting pretty good at failing. Practice makes perfect! 

  

First Goal of 2016: Come up with better titles for blog posts 

I’ve been hesitant to publish my resolutions post because I haven’t been able to come up with a title I found worthy of my blog. Clearly, I give up. 

Instead of making a laundry list of goals which I know will go bust, I am simply choosing to go with a word for the year. Maybe this is a cop-out because I hate to fail. I definitely have things upon which I would like to improve, but I don’t really have any concrete goals like “lose 10 pounds” although God knows I need to, heh. 

*We interrupt this blog post for a mid-thought goal announcement* 

I have a goal to not accidentally hit “Publish!” in the middle of writing. Damn. 

Sorry if anyone read this too soon. 

Anyhow, the word for 2016 is nourish. Let’s take a look at the definition: 

1. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth; feed.

2. To foster the development of; promote: “Athens was an imperial city, nourished by the tribute of subjects” (V. Gordon Childe).

3. To keep alive; maintain: n

Everything that is living needs nourishment. I want to nourish my relationships – with God, with my growing family, friends, music, teaching, and myself. As life gets busier, I don’t want anything that is important to me to wither away because of lack of nourishment. This year is going to be a pivotal one in the story of Lady J, and I wish to love others in a way that they find nourishing. 

  

What’s the word on 2015?

Though I did not write about it in my blog, I did have a theme word for 2015. 

Balance.

How did I do, you ask? Well – it was tough. All of my resolutions revolved around achieving better balance, whether they were spiritual or financial. I found that there were things that I had wanted to do that I took for granted – for example, I assumed I would practice and train more than I actually did. I feel that I actually made the greatest strides financially. By the time the year ended, I had studied my insurance and 401k plans more carefully. I gave like I wanted to (to church). I saved so that partnering with Adonis, we will not take on any debt for our nuptial thingy. I suppose that because I was so laser focused on the money thing I failed with balance on the others. I’m still messy as hell. Still beat up on myself. Still difficult to discipline myself to read my Bible daily. Oh, still struggling to eat right. Sooooo I’m 1 for 6? Did I fail 2015? 

I’m not sure. I’m still here, I guess. That must mean something. 

  
God’s grace is sufficient. Let’s see if I am able to see any of 2016 right side up. 

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