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Missing: Running Mojo

31 Aug

Last seen here eating 15 miles for breakfast. If lost, please return to Gidget. Reward.

No, seriously. Where did it go? My 15 mile run was amazing. The next day I got a random, spur of the moment invitation to New Orleans (which was amazing! Thanks, sister!). I ran a couple of times while I was there – including a long run that made me think I was actually going to die. I know that those runs sucked because my spoiled So Cal self isn’t used to suffocating, soul-crushing humidity. I totally get that. Logically anyway. But ever since then, all of my runs have felt sluggish. I just can’t seem to get my head in the game. My legs feel ok with the exception of some weird knee pain that I’ve been pretending isn’t there. But everything else about my runs has been craptacular. My lungs feel like they’re burning, I can’t catch my breath, I have a perennial stitch in my side and my head is just NOT there. Every time I take a step, I want to stop running. No bueno.

I’m hoping I just need a few days’ break. I have 18 miles on schedule for this weekend but I’ve already made the executive decision that I’ll be ok with anything over 15. I don’t want to beat myself up and scare my running mojo away. I figure if I keep pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows, I can make it so. What, it doesn’t work that way? Psh.

Where do you go to find your running mojo? Anyone have any to spare?

You Only Live Once, But If You Do It Right, Once Is Enough

1 Jun
I do not want to run today. I certainly do not want to study. I want to lay in bed and cry. My life’s been pretty [read: really] not awesome lately. I’ve had a six month stretch of bad luck and bad things and bad people. It’s not something I talk about often here, but it’s been really, really hard. There are days when it takes everything I have to get out of bed and pretend to be a functioning adult.

I can’t even pretend today. Yesterday, I found out from my Dad that my Aunt Chris was in the hospital, that she was unresponsive and they were moving her to a hospice. This afternoon, he called to let me know she passed away. I didn’t know she was sick and I’m not sure how to react. My Aunt Chris wasn’t really my aunt – I still question the elaborate story my grandmother tells about how she’s related to us. My grandfather’s cousin’s wife is, I believe, what she finally settled on. But she we were all so close it didn’t matter. She was a little younger than my grandmother, her son a little younger than my dad and her grandchildren both older and younger than my sister and I. Her family lived up near Albany and every summer we’d visit at least once.

Aunt Chris was a ridiculous person in the best possible sense of the word. She was Italian (the rest of us are Irish) and loud and an amazing cook. She had an internal compass that told her what was right and wrong, what was fair and what wasn’t. She believed in hard work and she believed hard work should be rewarded. She loved having fun and laughing. Even when she was older, she would sit Indian-style on the floor for hours playing with children. She never stopped going – she was a hairdresser and was working until the beginning of last week. She drank Budweiser out of a can [never Bud Light – If you tried to give her a light beer she’d say “What is this crap?” in her great upstate New York accent. Even before I could read, I knew Aunt Chris got the red can, never the blue one]. When she would visit my grandparents at the beach, she would get up at 5 am, march down to the water and sleep in the sand for hours. No blanket, no chair, 9 times out of 10 no bathing suit. She’d come back to the house as the rest of us were waking up with more energy than a woman 20 years younger [certainly more energy than me]. I never saw her with a hangover. We would run the same 5 mile race every year – well, she would run, the rest of us would walk. She taught me how to play poker and left/right/center and bocce and how to bet on a horse.

But most importantly, she taught me not to care what other people thought. You work hard, you do the right thing. You love the people who love you. You value nice things, but you never let them own you. When we were younger, she’d give us orange juice in Waterford crystal tumblers with breakfast and my grandmother would hold her breath every time we picked up the glass. My cousin dropped one once and it shattered. I remember the whole room gasping and waiting for someone to yell. But Aunt Chris just said, “I’ve got more in the basement, watch your feet.” That was it. Most importantly, you do what you want when you want. You want to lay on the sand with no towel? Lay on the sand with no towel. You want to drink beer and play poker? Drink beer and play poker. You want to run a 5 mile race the day after? Do that too. She lived such an amazing, rich, full life, it’s almost hard to be sad it’s over. Almost.

So starting today, I’m going to be more like my Aunt Chris. I’m going to work hard and do the things I have to do. I’m going to do the things I want to do. And most importantly, I’m not going to do the things I don’t want to do anymore.

I’m going to do flashcards and my outlines and my multiple choice because I have to. I’m going to run my 3 miles because I want to. But on the way home from the library, I’ll stop and grab a 6 pack of those red cans. And give a silent salute to a lady who did it right.

Second Place Is First Loser

9 May
Anyone’s who has ever read this blog or met me in real life knows that I am not the best runner. Let’s not kid ourselves, 9/10 I’m the worst runner. I’m never going to win a race or even my age division (until I’m in the 70+ category – then watch out!). Despite what my lack of hardcore training may suggest, I don’t like this about my running. When I was growing up, “winning” was everything. If you weren’t the best at something or you couldn’t be the best at something in the future, there was no point in doing it. “Second place is just first loser.”

I think because of this, I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and [not to toot my own horn but] I’ve been pretty successful in everything I’ve done. Until now. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the Boston Marathon. Let’s face it, I’m never going to BQ. For most “casual” runners [i.e. those who do not get paid to run], Boston is the holy grail. That’s what people work for and train for. It’s the great accomplishment of running. And I’m never going to get there. So why run? Why put my body through 1/2 marathons that I have to slog through and come out demoralized? Yes, I like running. Yes, I like what running has done for my weight. But is it time to give up competitive running?

All of this isn’t helping my panic about graduation. I worked my rear end off for 3 years and as hard as I tried, I’m not going to graduate at the top of my class. I’m not going to graduate with a fancy big law job and a 6 figure salary. I’m going to graduate in the middle of my class, from a middle tier law school, with no job and 6 figures worth of student loans. I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, was it worth it? I’m not sure.

I’m not going to give up competitive running just yet, just like I’m not going to give up practicing law (I totally couldn’t afford to NOT be a lawyer right now). I’m focusing instead on what I AM the best at. I’m the best at straightening my hair. Seriously. I’ve got super thick, super curly hair down to the middle of my back and I can straighten it in 15 minutes with no mirror. I’m a pro. I am the best at random trivia – for example, today is not only Mother’s Day, but also Harry Truman’s Birthday and V-E Day. Your fun fact of the day. You’re welcome. I was once the best at flip cup, although I am woefully out of practice. Apparently it’s not acceptable to binge drink and play psuedo-drinking games as an adult. Who knew.

What are you the best at? 

>Confessions and New Directions (not the Glee kind)

3 Apr

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Ok, so I owe you, my loyal readers (yes, all 7 of you), an explanation. I’ve fallen off the blogging and running wagon, largely because the wagon fell on top of me.

So, let’s talk about what’s going on:
1) There is no more Moondoggie. Ok, there is still a Moondoggie, but he’s not my Moondoggie anymore. He’s someone else’s now. D and I were together for almost 6 years. About a month ago he started to question our relationship and about a week ago he told me he wanted to be with someone else. A specific someone else. A skinnier, more successful, faster runner someone else. Apparently I’m too sad and stressed out all the time. Yes, yes I am. I’m in law school. Obviously it’s all much more complicated than that. But it basically boils down to me being alone. I’m trying to have a positive attitude about it, but I’m 6 weeks away from entering the most stressful 2 months of my life (bar studying) and I’ve lost my best friend. I’m not doing super well. Which isn’t helped by …

2) I haven’t been running. Pretty much at all. I feel awful, so I do nothing but lay around and feel sorry for myself. Then I feel bad that I didn’t go running and it just gets worse. I get that it’s a vicious cycle. I totally get that. Also, my leg isn’t loving me. I hurts after 5 miles every damn time. Because of #1, I’ve felt absolutely no desire to go to the PT about it, so I just dig myself a little deeper.

3) I hate my job. HATE. IT. Viscerally. It makes me question whether or not I want to be a lawyer. Too late now. I really want to be a prosecutor. Unfortunately, because of stupid dumb budget issues, no one is hiring. I had an interview for a perfect prime dream job and didn’t get it because I didn’t have any connections. Great. Awesome. Fabulous. So, $200,000 in student loans, 3 years and 1 failed relationship later, I’m 3,000 miles away from home with no job, no boyfriend and not a ton of friends (see #4).

4) I have no friends. Well, that’s not true. I have a handful of friends. I moved to LA 3 years ago from NY to be with D. I knew it would be hard and I knew I’d have to make new friends. Unfortunately, all of those friends were D’s friends. And he won them in the breakup (they were his friends first). So I’m pretty much all alone out here. Not great.

5) There is no more Roommate. Well, at least not after May 15th. It’s a bit of a mess. So, come May 15th I’ll be homeless. And alone. Great.

I know this sounds very Debbie Downer and I know it’s the wrong attitude to have. I’m working on it. Right now, all I want to do is cry. But I can’t keep doing that forever. So here are some of the things I’m working on:
1) Time to find a new apartment. This is obviously priority #1 as I would prefer to not be homeless, if at all possible. Rumor has it it is hard to be homeless and study for the bar. A friend of mine may be leaving LA after graduation and said I can sublet her apartment. This would be good, except (a) I don’t want to lose my friend (see #4) and (b) it’s 4 blocks away from D. Don’t really need to see him and the new girlfriend walking around the neighborhood (or worse, her running faster than me).

2) Pass the bar. I was 100% committed to staying in LA 2 weeks ago. Right now I’m at about 80%. Unfortunately, I have to take the bar somewhere and wherever I take the bar is where I have to practice. Right now I’m registered for the CA bar and that’s what I’ll be taking in July. They offer the bar exam twice a year – July and February. So I’m giving myself until the February bar to figure things out. If, come the winter, I’m still miserable in LA and I still don’t have a job, then I’ll reconsider my options. For a whole slew of reasons, I don’t want to move back to NY. But we’ll see. That leads me to #3 …

3) Find a job. Any job. If I can’t do what I really want, I need to find something that will hold me over until something opens up. Even if I hate it. I can’t afford to not have a job once I graduate. Even if I hate it, it’ll be experience.

4) Make more friends/be more social/get over D. This is all kind of wrapped into one big messy “I don’t want to do this”package. I am not, by nature, a super social person. I like to have a small group of really great friends. Obviously, though, you make said small group of friends by meeting lots of people and weeding through them. I’m basically pretending that I just moved to LA and need to make new friends. It’s hard and it sucks and I don’t like it, but I’m doing it. I’m also on-line dating. It makes me feel pretty pathetic and awful but I don’t know where else you meet people – I don’t have friends to set me up and I don’t have time to go to a bar and meet someone. I have some dates lined up next week. I’m definitely not excited about it, but it is what it is.

5) Run. Jury’s still out on the pre-graduation celebration 1/2 marathon. I think I could run it, but I’m afraid it will hurt and after my first 1/2 when I was hurt and miserable and wanted to quit, I don’t want to run another race if I’m not completely confident in my abilities. So we’ll see. BUT. I did sign up for my very first full marathon! I had planned on running the Vegas R’n’R in December, but with the new time limits (and the emotional D baggage that goes along with being in Vegas) I decided it wasn’t a great idea. I questioned my darling Twitter friends and the beautiful Sarah suggested Long Beach in October. Close? Cheap? Flat? Sold.

So that’s where I am right now. The tone of this blog might change a little. It’s going to be a little more about finding myself, in running and in life. If that’s not your bag of donuts, no big deal. Thanks for stopping by. If it is, then stick around. Who knows what’s going to happen next?

Gidget’s Rule #2 – Don’t stop believing (See what I did there? With the Glee reference? Going back to the title? Yeah, stick around for more of that kind of wit).

>If I Distract You With My Blogging Fail, You Won’t Notice My Running Fail …

11 Mar

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Ok, so I’m officially the worst blogger ever. Real life has eaten me a little bit. There have been some amazingly stressful things going on and this isn’t really the right place for them. Needless to say, my life’s been turned a bit upside down and I’m still trying to catch my footing. I promise to be a better blogger from now on.

In fairness, I was also a pretty poor runner in my blogging absence. I did sneak home to NYC for a long weekend this past weekend, which definitely helped heal my soul a little. It did not, however, help my running one bit. I had grand plans of running in NY with my sister, who’s training for her first ½ marathon in May. Things I did not counting on:
       It was VERY cold. Much colder than I anticipated
       I left my running shoes in LA (because I’m a GENIUS)
       I didn’t have a lot of time and a lot of things to do and people to see (and Mardi Gras’ to celebrate…)
So I managed to get 1 lousy, stinking 5 miler in. I also missed a training run because I landed in LA much too hungover to function Wednesday afternoon. I did manage to buy new running shoes, though! I had a gift certificate for a running store near my sister (thanks, Groupon!) and am going to need a new pair between now and my potential quasi-graduation celebration ½ marathon, so I figured I’d pick them up with my gift certificate. I also grabbed some Gus because the only flavor I have left is strawberry banana and that stuff’s just gross.
I promise to be a better blogger. Stay tuned for my review of some awesome products sent to me by the awesome Sarah from Once Upon A (L)ime and my big marathon conundrum.
You know you love my cliff-hangers.

>Bad Run But Good Brunch

20 Feb

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So I couldn’t think of another adjective that began with B besides “Badass” and I thought that might be inappropriate. Sorry in advance for the lack of alliteration.

Workout:
6.63 mi – 1:20:20

There’s really not much to say about this run, or at least not much that I’m willing to think about right now. It was really disappointing. After banging out some awesome runs these last few weeks, I was anticipating this run being AWESOME. It was decidedly less so. I was scheduled to meet the super stellar Skinny Runner and some other speedy blogging ladies down in Newport at 9am for my very first group run! However, after getting off to a late start and realizing I’d have to stop for gas, I figured I’d never make it in time. I sent off an email letting the ladies know I’d be a little late and to start without me. I made it down to Newport in record time (especially considering the gross traffic Moondoggie and I sat in to get there last weekend). I got a little lost and ended up in the middle of the loop (I think). I had planned 2 outfits – one for rain and one for no rain – and brought both down with me. The sun appeared to be shining so I made the executive decision to wear the non-rain gear. That was, in hindsight, a mistake. After a quick stretch, I headed to the path. I ended up parking pretty much in the middle of the path (again, I think. There was definitely some confusion as to where the path started/ended/went at all). I decided I’d just go right, run a nice easy 1/4 mile warmup, run for 3 miles, then turn around. I wasn’t sure if I’d pass SR and the other ladies, but I figured maybe it was for the best – they’re all in such better running condition and I really didn’t want to slow anyone down! The path looked gorgeous and I was really excited to get out there and run.

My non-rain decision turned out to be misguided. Within the first 1/4 mile, the rain started again. Now I had a tough decision to make: I was still close enough to the car to go back, grab my windbreaker and a hat and be none worse for wear. As the rain came down harder, I decided I’d turn around. Bad choice #1. By the time I got back to my car, the heavy rain had stopped, so I decided not to stop and just keep running, but this time heading for the path to the left. Bad choice #2. The path to the right seemed nice and flat. The path to the left was full of rolling hills that my knees just did. not. love. The rain continued on and off and I definitely regretted not getting my windbreaker. My first 2 miles were perfectly lovely. Then my left IT Band decided to read its ugly head. Yes, you read that right. The LEFT IT band. As in, not the one that made me cry during the half. As in my good leg. As in kill me now. I stopped at the turn around and sent some pretty pathetic text messages to Moondoggie about how I was hours from home (not really) and 3 miles away from my car (almost true) and maybe crying (definitely true). As I hobbled painfully and slowly back to my car, I passed the adorable SR, Megan and Pam. They were running so effortlessly I didn’t have the heart to stop them and tell them that this pathetic bundle of IT Bands was the person they were supposed to meet.

So I finished up my miles, tearing up the whole time, stopping every once in a while to stretch, got to my car and seriously debated finding the nearest grocery store and drowning my sorrows in as large a vat of icing as they were willing to sell me. However, I realized that that was just going to make me fat AND sad, so I head to the blogger brunch over at Mother’s Market. I’m so glad I did! All of the ladies were so inspiring and fun and gorgeous. Not gonna lie, kind of jealous and their awesome running abilities! I may or may not have been tempted to trip them on the way out in an attempt to level the playing field 🙂 Thanks for a great day Sarah, Monica, Nicole, Megan, Pam and Bri!

Shamelessly stolen because I’m obviously not fancy enough to take pictures for my blog yet.

Today’s run really got me thinking. I was so disappointed and frustrated to see this injury pop up again. It was really disheartening, especially considering how well my runs have been going lately. I had these beautiful visions of running a half before bar studying really got under way, then putting in some serious training for a fall/winter first full marathon. Now I just don’t know if that’s going to happen. Maybe my body just isn’t cut out for long distance running. That’s a really sad thought for me. I love distance running but my knees may not. For now, I think I’ll try to scale back my mileage and little and see what happens. My knee began feeling worse and worse as the day went on. I convinced Moondoggie to massage it a little, I did a ridiculous amount of foam rolling and now I’m just trying not to aggravate it (I may or may not be blogging in bed and drinking wine with ice packs on my knees. May or may not.). I really don’t want this to snowball into another 3 month forced hiatus, so I’m going to be extra careful. I’d rather lose some milage now, maybe have to forgo the spring 1/2  and be able to keep running.

Have you ever been sidelined with an injury? How do you deal with the mental pain?

>So you had a bad day

9 Feb

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I want to say I had an awesome run this morning. I did not. All day Monday my knees hurt and they were still feeling a little wonky yesterday. Coupled with a broken elevator at work (seriously, multi-million dollar law firm?), I was toying with the idea of completely cutting out my run today. Then I remembered I’m fat and toyed with the idea that I’d just cut it to one mile. I hadn’t quite decided by the time I went to bed. Well, when my alarm went off and I snoozed it for 45 minutes, that pretty much decided it for me. As it was, I would have to haul butt to get even a mile in. I really wanted to just not go and take my time and look pretty and not feel rushed (like it seems I do every minute of every day lately). But I would really prefer not to be fat, so off I went. I ran my regular mile route and it SUCKED. S to the U to the CKED, sucked. First, there was a dog-walker walking 4 small yappy dogs who refused to move out of may way, forcing me to run on the grass which made my knees hurt (weird, right? Aren’t soft surfaces supposed to be better?). My sunglasses kept slipping down my face. I felt like I was working it only to discover that I was running pretty darn slowly.  Then I almost got run over by a delivery truck that was pulling out of a driveway. I spent a solid 5 minutes yelling at him about looking both ways before pulling out. I 100% used language that would make my grandmother blush (well, not MY grandmother, she’s pretty hardcore. But probably your grandmother). He stoically looked out the windshield and refused to look at me. Excellent.
When I got home, I proceeded to fumble with my keys. It looked like somehow my key got bent and it wasn’t fitting into the lock and I started to panic at the idea of having to wake up my roommate. Then I realized I was trying to open the front door with the mailbox key. Superb. I finally got inside, showered, put on fancy new jeans and fancy new shoes, looked almost skinny and sort of felt better. Sort of. However, I still can’t shake the feeling that the day started off crappy and it’s only going to get worse. I’m trying not to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, so even though it made a few minutes late to class this morning, I put on makeup and got coffee on my way in. It’s going to be 80 degrees in LA today. I have a 6 hour break in between classes that I usually spend holed up in the libs, but I think today I will go get a manicure. It’s the little things.
Do you let a bad run get you down? How do you shake that feeling, or does it just haunt you for the rest of the day?