Monday, May 28, 2012

Off the Ledge - Mostly

I feel like I need to do a quick update after Tuesday's ridiculously melodramatic posting.

First, as expected, Thursday was just as horrible as I expected it would be.  I hope I never, ever, ever again have to experience a visitation for a baby - let alone three children.  Horrible.

But those babies are now somewhere beautiful.

And while their parents and their families and their friends will never heal from such a horrific loss, hopefully the love that their babies gave - and the love that they gave in return - will comfort and protect.

Second, as I alluded to (or, okay, straight-up mentioned on Tuesday) it's tough when friendships end, when people part ways.  It is even more difficult when the expectations were so darn high.

As most of you know, I am an extremely positive, cheerful, upbeat, happy person.  And as I've said before, I'm pretty hardened: I don't let a lot get to me, especially when it involves boys.  Sometimes, though, the tough facade cracks - and while I'm slowly but surely mending that break, sheltering myself again behind the mask, I was (or, okay, am) still letting it get to me quite a bit.

There have been too many tears shed over someone who (apparently) does not deserve them.  And I do not deserve to feel like that person has made me feel.  (Correction: my feelings are my own, no one else's, and I choose those emotions.  This person's actions, however, have aided in my decision to feel sad and crummy and upset and frustrated.  And those are feelings that I would like to avoid.)  So, I. am. done.

(And now, I promise I will try to be done talking about this subject.  First, it's boring.  Second, it's pathetic.  And third, there is way more to me - and I am far better than - than this sort of obsession.  The end.)

Third, this was a great weekend.  On Friday, I had an unexpected afternoon/evening of way too much fun with people that I don't hang out with enough.  It was a much-needed respite from the emotions of the prior week.

On Saturday, I (shockingly) woke up for a five-mile run with See-Us Run Des Moines.  It was a great run.  My girl and I felt so good both during and after the run.  After, I slept for quite a while and then headed to graduation.  Talk about an emotional week: first, having a student lose her child; second, being one of two teachers invited to the ceremony and then attending the graduation of a student who "wasn't supposed to make it"; third, watching one of my all-time favorite classes graduate; and fourth, noticing two very important people missing from that ceremony.  But enough with the emotions again: I am so proud of my kids and know they will do amazing things.

After the ceremony, I scarfed down dinner with some friends and then headed to school for the senior party.  I somehow got roped into sitting in the dunk tank.  And it was a lot of fun.  :)

On Sunday, I spent the morning doing absolutely nothing because I was exhausted from working until 2 a.m., and then I joined BFF on our favorite summer patio for "laying out," and then the two of us headed to another friend's house for a somewhat impromptu barbecue and playing of sapo, an amazingly fun Peruvian yard game.  We went home fairly early, largely due to exhaustion from an entire day outside, and I watched TV before crashing on the couch.

Today, I woke up early for a 9.5-mile run.  We didn't wake up early enough, so it was quite the scorcher.  After a million cups of water, a huge jug of Gatorade, and some breakfast, I was pretty much down for the count.  I ran a couple of errands with BFF and then slept the day away.  I was out so soundly that I didn't wake up for dinner until BFF called me (30 minutes after I was supposed to be at her house).


I have had several good runs this week.  They have been hot, they have been long, and they have been hard.  But they have been good.  And I think there is a reason for that:

As is commonly said among runners, "Running is cheaper than therapy."  And, I believe, it's quite a bit more beneficial.

This was a week I so desperately needed to run.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Bad Day

First, I promise a recap of the Gladiator Assault Challenge that I completed on Saturday, but I'm waiting for more pictures.

Second, I promise more regular posting starting June 4th (i.e. the first real day of summer).  Also, the "more regular posting" will be back to the "boring food and exercise" posting that you know and love.

Third, I had a not-so-great day today, and I feel like writing about it may be beneficial.  So, if you would prefer to avoid partaking in my pity party, now would be the time to stop reading.

Today was rough because a horrific tragedy concerning one of my students - and the enormity of what I would have to face (alone) in a few days - finally sunk in.

Today was largely spent sobbing my eyes out - mostly due to the aforementioned tragedy.

Today was also a day when I really needed a friend - someone who would give me a hug, someone who would tell me it would be okay, someone who would provide what little comfort could be given.  So, I turned to someone who I thought would be there for me - someone I had been there for so often, someone whose back I had countless times, and someone I had supported through quite a lot.

Someone who I thought would be there for me because, had the situation been reversed, I would have been there for him.

Unfortunately, that was not the case - and that really, really hurt.

I am having a very difficult time understanding this.  Perhaps I am absolutely delusional in thinking we were friends.  Perhaps I am imagining a relationship (a friendship) that never existed.  Perhaps I am just too caring and too giving and too selfless and expect that others will reciprocate the very, very few times I need them to.

And interestingly enough, I am having an extremely difficult time articulating this.  Normally when I am upset or sad or trying to work through my discontent, my irritation, my confusion, writing helps.  Writing has proven to be extremely therapeutic and has really allowed me an outlet to work through various issues, but for some reason, it's just not doing the trick this time.

I truly think it's because I straight-up don't understand.  I just don't get it.

I am so tired of being the strong person.  I am so tired of being the independent woman.  I am so tired of taking care of everyone, of having everyone's backs, of supporting everyone, of being a listening ear and a loving hug for everyone, of caring too much about everyone.

I'm just tired.

But, I'm also Emily.  And I know that even though it's exhausting, I will still be the strong person.  I will still be the independent woman.  I will still take care of everyone, I will still have everyone's backs, I will still support everyone, I will still be a listening ear and a loving hug for everyone, and I will still care too much about everyone.

I just wish that certain people would realize that sometimes - very rarely - I need that compassion returned.

Before I stop Sob Fest 2012, I must thank three people:

  • My mama: when I locked myself in my classroom and bawled my eyes out for 20 minutes, she listened to me and talked me off the ledge, even though she was exhausted and nauseous and in the middle of a nap.  I love my mom more than she will ever know, and I am so thankful for her always being there for me, for talking me off the ledge, and for being my rock.  (And great: the waterworks start again.)
  • My bestest friend in the whole wide world, KW: she knew I was a hot mess, called me on the way home and talked me through everything, listening to me cry and explain for the millionth time that I just don't get it.  And then she took me to dinner and wasn't even embarrassed when I started crying in the middle of the restaurant.
  • Mags: when I went to see her after school, she listened to me, told me everything would be okay, and then gave me this article, highlighting numbers six and 15.  She is such an amazing friend.
I love my girls.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Run

So, it's been a while - about three weeks to be exact.


What can I say?  I've been busy.  I worked, I traveled to Los Angeles, and oh, I ran a half marathon.

Yes, the 35th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon was this past weekend.  And let me tell you: I was a ball of nerves leading up to this race.

First, despite being a Nebraska native, I have not spent any time in Lincoln.  Sure, I went there for my fourth-grade field trip to the capitol, and yeah, I went to the training facilities when I was in the Olympic Development Program for soccer.  But I have not been there as a grown-up.

Therefore, I had no idea what to expect for the race.

Give me any route in Des Moines, and I'll know exactly what the hills look like, exactly how far I'll be running, etc.  Not the case for Lincoln.

So on Saturday, my mom and I headed to the expo to pick up my packet and drive the route.  It was so cool being among all the Nebraska regalia - since I've lived in Iowa the past eleven years.

The course was marked really nicely.  At every mile, there was a giant flag and a mile marker.  Maybe I was delirious, but I don't remember this about Des Moines.  (It also helped my mom and I a lot on Saturday try and figure out what the route was - on Sunday, it wasn't that big a deal since I just followed the thousands of runners.)

After driving the route, my mom and I headed back to Des Moines to catch a movie (The Five-Year Engagement) since we figured I shouldn't be on my feet too much and then headed to Spaghetti Works for a salad bar and all-you-can-eat pasta.

We headed home early and set out everything needed for the race in the morning:

  • Tennis shoes: I went with the tried-and-true Asics as opposed to my minimalist Sauconys.  It might be time for a new pair, though, as this was their second half marathon, and I've put countless miles of training on 'em.
  • Socks: I found a pair of blister-resistant socks at the Nike Factory Store, and OMG - do they work wonders or what?!  Aside from a blister on the medial side of my big toe, my feet do not look like they just ran 13.1 miles.
  • Water bottle: duh.  I've been using this particular bottle my sister brought me back from Estes Park non-stop lately.  I love it.
  • Sports bra: I found a new one from Champion (only $15!).  It actually holds the girls in place (shockingly) and doesn't chafe.  Now I need to go buy eight more of them.
  • Spibelt with fuel: I packed gummy bears (yum) and sports beans.  More on this later.
  • Headband: my mom and I found the "One Hot Mess" headband at the expo, and she bought it for me since it's just about the most perfect sentiment ever.  (Thanks, Mama!)  Also, these headbands that they sell at every expo are amazing: they stay put, and they totally keep the sweat out of the eyeballs - a definite necessity.
  • Earbuds: duh.
  • Garmin: I don't know what the heck happened, but despite charging it all night long, I started the race with only 29% battery life.  My watch died before the race was over.  I was not happy.
  • Pants: I bought a pair of Nike tights that I love.  I swear: Nike makes by far the best workout gear for women.
  • Shirt + bib: I did, however, stray from Nike and went with an Under Armor top because it was super lightweight (and super cute).  I need to buy a few more of those guys.  More on the bib later.
  • Pace bracelet: I was shooting for 2:30.  Oops.
  • Immodium: I take it before every race - just in case.
  • Earrings: I have to look cute - duh.
At 5:15 a.m., my mom and I braved a torrential thunderstorm and headed west to Lincoln.  Thankfully, the storm cleared before she kicked me out of the car to find a parking spot.

I spent about 45 minutes just milling about.  First, I had to find the porta potties.

Unfortunately, I couldn't poop right away, which really stressed me out.  (I'm sorry that this is TMI, but it's a part of running - get over it.)  So, I jogged around a bit, stretched a bit, jogged around a bit some more to try and jostle the intestines, and finally - about 15 minutes before race time - the "runners' trots" hit me.


It was kind of nice just chilling before the race.  I didn't know anyone, so I put on some Mat Kearney and just calmed myself down prior to running.

Eventually, I wandered over to my pace group:

I was shooting for 2:30, which I know was a lofty goal.  In Des Moines, I ran a 2:55, but I figured I could do much faster this time because last time I was severely injured.  However, I didn't take into account a few factors (to be discussed later).

Unlike Des Moines, Lincoln had a staggered start.  So, we all lined up according to our projected pace, and then we were able to start by groups.  I liked this a lot, as we weren't super fidgety waiting to cross the finish line.

Soon enough, my corral was off.  For the first four miles, I did a really good job of sticking with the 2:30 pace group.  Then at one of the water stations, I had to tie my shoe, and it all went downhill from there: I had to sprint to get back with my group, and then I was worn out, and then I just kind of fell back.  But, I was okay with that: running with a bit of walking is more my style anyway.

Around mile eight (maybe?!) another woman who had dropped out of our pace group caught up to me, and we ran the rest of the race together.  It was really, really nice.  We chatted a little bit (but we were also pretty darn tired), and we paced each other nicely: walked a little, ran a little, walked a little, ran a little, etc.

Mile 11 was pretty difficult, but we told ourselves that we were going to run the remaining 1.1 miles if it killed us.  My new best friend's knee was about to fall off, though, and she started walking right when we were passing Memorial Stadium.  So, I became the cheerleader and kept repeating all those darn mantras I tell myself every time I run:

Your body is stronger than your mind thinks it is.
You're almost there - just a little further.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

And, we made it.  We entered the chute and sprinted to the 50-yard line.

And were projected on the Jumbotron:

And we got our medals:

And then continued through the chute and ran through the tunnel where the Huskers enter the field on game day:

This was my first time ever in Memorial Stadium, and it was pretty freakin' cool.

And, I finished my second half marathon nine minutes faster than I did my first: 2:46.

It was not the time that I was shooting for (obviously), but I'm still pretty proud of myself and recognize the factors that played into the increased time.  Also, I like to make excuses, so bear with me.

  • When I ran Des Moines, I was actually training for a full marathon (but got injured) and therefore felt a lot more prepared.
  • Due to my trip to Los Angeles the week prior, I really shirked my training and instead had a little too much fun making unhealthy choices.
  • I had to take some medicine prior to running that causes drowsiness, so clearly I was not at my full energy level.
  • While I ate a good pasta meal the night before, I don't think I ate enough, and I don't think I ate enough throughout the day.
  • I need to really work on fueling during the actual race: I have a very hard time eating anything (GU, sports beans, gummy bears, oranges, etc.) while I'm running, and that obviously depletes my glycogen stores, making running extremely difficult.
  • Despite driving the course the day before, I didn't know the course.  That's hard.

I had an overall good experience in Lincoln, but there were a couple of things that I didn't like: first, girls had pink bibs and boys had blue bibs.  Don't get me wrong: I love pink.  I just thought there was something a little wrong about that.  Second, I thought there could've been more water stations - and better spaced-out water stations.  Third, GU would've been nice to have offered at some point on the course.  Fourth, there was relatively no on-the-course entertainment (whereas Des Moines has live music at least once each mile).

Don't get me wrong, though: it was a good experience, and I'm very proud of myself for having accomplished it - especially by myself.

Running - especially in races - is truly an amazing thing.  It is inspirational, it is motivational, and for me, it is almost spiritual.

There will definitely be more of these in my future.