Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Run away, run through, run towards

I had another good hill workout last night, just under 6 miles. I used to hate hills. They always felt so impossible. But now, I don't know, I just sort of roll with it somehow, taking the ups and downs in stride, just relaxing and going with the flow. Of course I'd still rather run flat courses, but there's something about reaching the top of a hill that makes me feel strong and tough and a little bit more awesome. Even if I'm not.

I'm not quite sure how I got here, but I like it. Running used to feel like so much pressure. In school, I always felt like I was disappointing everyone if I didn't run well. But I can't run for anyone else, just like I can't live my life for anyone else. Now I run for the simple joy of it, the fun, the laughter, the cameraderie. I run because it always makes me feel better about everything, because I can go into a run at my worst and come out at my best, because whatever I put into it, I always get tenfold in return.

So some runs will feel fantastic and some runs will feel like crap, but I'll be happy as long as I can keep on running.

Lyric of the moment: "Since fifteen I have ran everywhere you can run. But with you it's much more fun. So let's run let's run let's run. Since I was fifteen I have ran everywhere you can run. I'm not done with my traveling, so let's run let's run let's run..."

Monday, March 28, 2011

So impossible and ever the wild

The other day my boss Bill asked me if I like myself. I didn't know how to answer and the question has been kicking around in the back of my mind ever since. I like my life. And I especially like the people in it. But I'm all too aware of my faults. I know I'm weird. I'm what they call an acquired taste. I like how far I've come and how much I've grown, but there's still so much more I want to do and so many things I want to improve upon. I like that I've always lived my life in my own way and on my own terms, but I wish I had done so unapologetically.

When I leave this world, will my existance have made it better or worse? This is probably an unanswerable question. I only hope that I will have changed at least one person's life for the better before I take off on my final adventure. And I hope that day will be a long time in the future, when I'm old and filled with memories of a life well lived.

So I am a work in progress. But I wouldn't want it any other way. I like that, even after 29 years, I still have the ability to surprise myself. Which is sometimes good and sometimes bad, but always amusing.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm dying to know, do you do you like dreaming of things so impossible or only the practical or ever the wild, or waiting through all your bad bad days just to end them with someone you care about..."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Long runs and late nights

It's been another fun weekend full of long runs, late nights, good friends and good times.

Friday night Mike and I went to Dogtown and to see Sucker Punch. Aesthetically, I thought the movie was cool and I liked the soundtrack, but the storyline was weird and confusing. Still, I do enjoy an action movie with some kickass ladies, though I don't understand why they're always dressed like skanks.

Saturday morning I ran 18 miles! The first leg was more fun because Shooter and Eric were there, but then they turned off to do the 10 mile route and I went on with some other people from running group who I don't know very well. They were all nice to me, but I got a little impatient because they kept stopping to go to the bathroom and get water and stand around on the corner eating gels. I don't like stopping. I'm not going to stop during the race so I need to run nonstop on training runs too. Since the rest of the group was doing 20 miles, I ran the last few miles back to Fleet Feet by myself. I could feel a heaviness in my lower legs, but by that point I just wanted to finish up and get home, so I sped up a little and the faster turnover seemed to help. I like showers, breakfast and naps as much as the next person, but after 3 hours of running they feel especially good.

Saturday night I went to Shooter's birthday party, had a lot of fun with some hilarious people, stayed up late, laughed so hard my face hurt and almost won at darts. Good times, good times.

For some reason I was wide awake and restless at 7:30am this morning, so I got up, went to the gym, did some errands and went to my thinking spot. Sometimes it's nice to just drive around for a while. And even though it's still colder than I'd like, I have to admit I was loving the sunshine today.

Hopefully spring will come soon. For real. And hopefully there will be more good runs and good times up ahead.
Lyric of the moment: "Cuz everybody dies but not everybody lives..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An element of risk

One of my favorite quotes is "There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). That pretty much sums up how I live my life. Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing. I just dive into things and try to figure the rest out on the way down. Sometimes I fail to miss the ground. And sometimes it hurts. But I've found that you just have to get back up and keep on throwing yourself into life. Because if you never fail, you're not taking enough risks. And if you never risk getting hurt, you never get to the places most worth going.

So Cleveland, here I come. I don't have a goal pace or finishing time in mind. I don't really have any plan, other than continue to train hard and hope for the best. I'm just going to throw myself into this marathon and see what happens. The only thing I know for sure is that I will finish. Even if it kills me. Seriously, I will come back as a zombie and amble to the finish if I have to. I don't think I've ever wanted anything as much as I want this. Not the actual race. I'm scared as hell of the actual race. It's the aftermath I want. The feeling of having worked towards and accomplished what will be my most epic feat to date.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is think of the thing that scares you the most and then do it. Push aside all your worries and doubts and jump on in.

I'm trying to psych myself up for Saturday's 18 mile run. I don't know if it's working.

I seriously cannot wait for spring. I think I might explode.

Lyric of the moment: "I want so badly to believe that there is truth, that love is real. And I want life in every word to the extent that it's absurd..." (because it's one of my all time favorites)

Monday, March 21, 2011

What a long strange trip it's been

I read through all my old journals this weekend. It's funny to look back at how much my life has changed, how much I have changed. My twenties have certainly been a crazy, hilarious, amazing adventure. I can only hope my thirties will be even better.

Saturday I went to Geneva to run 16 miles with Steve Chabot. He and his friends meet at Hobart every year for an unofficial reunion, but they were all a year ahead of me in school so I don't really know anyone else.  Unlike most people, I don't have any nostalgia for college. All I did during my college days was study and run. The only reason I ever go back to Hobart is to see Steve. He's doing the Ironman in Utah on May 7th, so he suggested we do a long run together on Saturday then meet everyone else for dinner at Parker's. The longest I'd ever run before is 14, and I didn't have my iPod, so I wasn't sure how it would go, but I felt strong the whole way. The last few miles were a little tough because we were running right into the wind, but it was a good run at a good pace (faster than I usually run with pace group) with good company and what could be better than that?

Sunday I finally got around to turning my third bedroom into a library. Because I've always wanted a library. And now I can say things like "Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick!" Someday I'd love to have wall to wall bookcases, complete with sliding ladder and a secret door.

Then I went to Jeff's First Day of Spring party and then to my parents' house for dinner. Craziness and hilarity ensued.

Reading through all my old thoughts, I noticed that my happiest moments usually involve running or other adventures and spending time with friends. So even though I still don't know where I'm going, if I keep on doing those things, life will be good.

Lyric of the moment: "I wish that I could have this moment for life, for life. 'Cuz in this moment I just feel so alive, alive..."

Friday, March 18, 2011

If you have ridiculous enough rap music, you can do anything

I do not possess an abundance of confidence. I do not have what is referred to as "swagger." And I'm severely lacking in hos, millions and Cristal. But I love rap music. The more ridiculous and grammatically incorrect, the better. It's hilarious. And it never fails to put me in a good mood.

Here are a few of my favorites. Because if you have ridiculous enough rap music, you can do anything.

"You wait a couple months then you gon' see, you'll never find nobody better than me..." (Kanye West)

"Last name Ever, first name Greatest. Like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain’t nothin’ to play with..." (Drake)

"And I may break your heart but I don't really think there's anybody as bomb as me..." (Ludacris)

"If you watch how I move you'll mistake me for a playa or pimp. Been hit wit a few shells but I don't walk wit a limp..." (50 Cent)

Yesterday, my mom sent me a text that said "Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you find your pot 'o gold." I didn't find any gold, but my boss randomly handed me a $20 bill and said "I'm proud of you, kid." Then I had a good 8 mile run with Eric and Joe after work. And I'm planning on running 16 tomorrow (eek! my longest run so far!). It's Friday, everything is funny, and I'm in the best mood. Life is good.

Lyric of the moment: "You must not know 'bout me. I could have another you in a minute. Matter fact he'll be here in a minute, baby..." (because you can say stuff like that if you're Beyoncé)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Johnny's Runnin' of the Green 5 mile race

Photo from
 Yesterday I ran Johnny's Runnin' of the Green 5 mile race downtown. It was the same course as the Thanksgiving Day race, and I know it's dumb, but I would have been disappointed if I didn't beat my previous time of 36:33. I was really nervous before the race, but luckily when the gun went off, all the nervousness turned into energy. My first mile was just over 7 minutes and I was a little worried it was too fast, but I felt pretty good so I told myself to relax and try to maintain that pace.  Whenever I felt tired, I told myself the faster I go, the sooner I can stop. Apparently it worked because I finished in 35:05 (154th out of 1655), which is my fastest 5 mile race ever!

I ran the Johnny's race once before, in 1999 when I was 17. I found the results from that race and my time was 44:20. I can't believe how much faster I am now than when I was in high school and college. I love it! Hopefully I will continue to get stronger and faster.

I'm totally happy with yesterday's race. Still, I know that every run can't be the best and sooner or later I'm going to have to deal with a less than stellar race. Such is life. Some days are better than others. When a bad race happens, I don't want to beat myself up about it. I hope I can take it in stride, learn from it and move on to the next one.

This morning I ran about 11 miles with a few people from running group. I definitely felt the aftermath of yesterday's race in my leg muscles, but it means that I pushed myself yesterday. Plus I have to get used to running on tired legs because I'm definitely going to feel tired at the end of the marathon.

Lyric of the moment: "I'd like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve..."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Legs are for running. Life is for exploring

I'm in love with the New Balance Minimus. Together we will take over the world. Or probably just some trails. They're so comfortable, I know I'm going to wear them everywhere.

So now I have the shoes, I just need to find some fellow adventurers.

I feel like I'm never in the same place as other people my age. It seems like everyone else wants to settle down and have kids. And I don't know if I'll ever get there. In the space where my biological clock should be, there is nothing but wanderlust. I don't want to settle. I'm too restless. There's so much I want to do and so many places I want to go. I've been lucky to meet so many amazing people, all of whom I love, but I'm still looking for someone who wants the same kind of life that I do.

I don't know. Maybe there is something wrong with me. I seem to be programmed differently than other people. But I am who I am and I can't change that. I want a life of exploration. And funny hats (seriously, ever since I saw The Adjustment Bureau I've wanted a fedora like you can't believe). Maybe someday I will find a Lewis to my Clark.

I still don't know where life will take me, but I do know I'll enjoy the journey.

Funny moments from today, which made me laugh and distracted me from being nervous about tomorrow's race. Why do I always get nervous before races? So lame.

My boss, Bill: "Jen is spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e."

Dangers: "hmm, you've given me a challenge. one of the many things I love about you..."


Dangers: "some clowns would have you believe that lettuce is a perfect subsitute for bread."
Monkey: "no, there's no substitute for bread."
Dangers: "truer words have never been spoken."

Lyric of the moment: "And if I stop for a minute, I think about things I really don't wanna know. And I'm the first to admit it, without you I'm a liner stranded in an ice floe..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Arms are for hugging

When you live alone, you can do whatever you want. You get control of the remote, you can drink out of the carton, you can listen to whatever music you want, you don't have to feel bad about eating the last cookie. But there isn't anyone around to give you hugs. And sometimes you just need a hug. And sure, you could go get a peanut butter milkshake and drink it in bed while watching funny sitcoms, and that would be delicious and hilarious. But it wouldn't be as good as a hug.

It's weird but hugging is kind of a skill. Some people are really good at hugs and others aren't. I don't know why. Maybe you can get better with practice? I like full-on, great big bear hugs. And the kind where your feet come off the floor. And the kind where people at the airport run into each other's arms. It's hard to feel anything but happiness when you're wrapped up in a hug like that.

My Gram always says "Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug." But that's just not the same. Maybe it's like how you can't tickle yourself. You can't really hug yourself. Sorry, Gram. A hug requires at least two.

Things that are awesome:

*Emelyn and Jeff are coming to Cleveland for my marathon! Soooo good! They are the best ever!

*Peanut butter milkshakes. I am possibly addicted.

*Random conversations with random people. My friend Tucker from high school, who's in the Navy and IMs me about his adventures from time to time, sent me a message about how the world was spinning. Then his friend took over, explained that Tucker was drunk, and started talking to me. So I ended up having a long, random conversation with Tucker's Navy buddy, Mike. It was pretty entertaining.

Lyric of the moment: "I was a heavy heart to carry. But he never let me down. When he had me in his arms, my feet never touched the ground..."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Onward to awesometown

Puppy sleep train
I ran 14 miles this morning, which is my longest run to date! I was a little worried about it because my other workouts this week were sucktastic, but I felt strong today. Take that, stupid stomach flu. I'm back!

This is my favorite part of training; pushing myself farther than I've ever been before. I'm excited to run longer and longer in warmer and warmer weather.

After my run, I picked up Lucky and we went over to my parents' house so she could play with Wilbur. Of course I was happy to see her, but it just made me miss her even more. She's not my dog anymore. A sad casualty of the breakup. But I know Jeremy will take good care of her.

That's life, man. Setbacks are inevitable. You just have to keep going onward to awesometown.

Lyric of the moment: "Just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost, doesn't mean I'll stop, doesn't mean I will cross. Just because I'm hurting doesn't mean I'm hurt, doesn't mean I didn't get what I deserve, no better and no worse.."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Viewer discretion advised

I'm supposed to run 6 miles today, but I have to stop throwing up first. I don't know what's wrong with me. I have some kind stomach flu or something. I woke up in the middle of the night and have been throwing up ever since. It's gross. And totally uncool. I just want to go to work and then to Fleet Feet for the hill workout, but that's not going to happen.

On the bright side, it was another fun weekend. I saw True Grit, had a nice 12 mile run at Fleet Feet Saturday morning, played some darts at a bar called Shooter's (which described itself as a "classy sports bar atmosphere." translation: we have a lot of flat screen TVs and it doesn't stink like stale beer in here), went to Penn State to watch Mike's cousin play lacrosse, and watched Netflix movies with my mom while she's home recovering from her shoulder surgery.

I hate being sick. I hate taking days off, but the thought of running anywhere or eating anything is making me nauseous right now. Dear body, please get better ASAP. I've got things to do and I can't do them without you.

Lyric of the moment: "It's like I've been awakened. Every rule I had you breaking. It's the risk that I'm taking. I ain't never gonna shut you out..."