Holy shit. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and on the afternoon of October 1st, I sat down to write my first Marathon Monday post in weeks. My world had been crazy with moving, work and life in general so I was glad to find some time to update the blog on my running progress.
Then, at 2am, I woke up to my neighbors screaming, the wind howling and no less than ten texts from an assortment of people. I quickly learned about the tragedy that took place five minutes from my house shortly after I had fallen asleep.
At that point, and for the last two weeks, everything non-essential has fallen away. Time spent on social media, time watching reality tv and time focusing on bullshit. Because the only thing that we could focus on was how we were going to move on from this nightmare affecting our city.
My focus has been my family, my city, working and running. In times like these, you begin to see what really matters in your life and what things make the cut. And I think the only thing that has really kept me sane these last two weeks is my hour or so everyday to escape it all and run the city.
And yes, this race is still happening and I will still be running it. There’s no way in hell I was going to let a sub-human scare me away from running one of the most famous streets in the world. Together with all of the other Rock N Roll Marathon participants, we are showing up to continue to show the world just what #VegasStrong means.
It would be easy to default to fear, stay inside, never do anything ever again. But that’s ridiculous. It’s not the way to live a life. Let me put it this way: I went to see The Grateful Dead five days after the Manchester Bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. Last week I saw Kings of Leon, five days after the 1 October shooting. Because fuck fear. I won’t let it stop me from doing absolutely everything I want to do.
So this is where I’m at. The events and the aftermath over the last two weeks have changed my mind and put into perspective so many things. I’m not sure where we all go from here, but I do know we just have to keep going.
Hey guys I am BACK! I was packing and moving all of last week and that shit got stressful so I had to drop everything and work on getting prepped for the movers. Regardless, I did manage to get my running in and of course all the thinking that comes with it. Lol.
So last week I did this amazing 5 mile run. I felt so relaxed and confident the entire time. The music was bumping and I was throughly in the groove. When I find myself in a good groove like this, it allows me to actually enjoy the run, which is a nice touch.
Once my run was complete, I looked at my pace and I wanted to faint. I was looking at thee SLOWEST 5 miles I have ever done. Talk about deflating that ego. What happened? Why didn’t my pace match how I felt about my run?
I’m here to tell you folks, sometimes the numbers do lie.
We’ve all heard stories about friends who are working to get into better shape. They feel so good, yet, their weight is slow to drop. There are stories about rich men and women who are the unhappiest people on the planet while some who are not-so rich are living full, blissful lives. One donut is perfect, yet seven of them produce unpleasant consequences.
You see what I’m getting at…the numbers aren’t always indicative of our level of success.
As a runner, I get so caught up in beating my pace from the last run or how fast I have to run to qualify for Boston. (It’s really fast.) In life, we get caught up with our weight, the amount of zeros in our bank account or pairs of shoes we own (so guilty).
What if we had no concept of the numbers? If weighing ourselves wasn’t such a falsely inflated milestone on a weight-loss journey? If we unsubscribed from those Nike Store emails?
Would we ignore what the numbers were telling us and determine success based on how we feel about our work? I’m guessing we would. Perhaps we would celebrate our success and that would only inspire and drive us to go out and do it again.
Now, I’m not saying that achieving big things is pain-free – not even a little bit! What I’m trying to convey is that it doesn’t (and probably shouldn’t) be a 100% dreadful experience. Where’s the fun in that? Doesn’t leave much room to enjoy the journey.
I’m also not saying we should ignore our Amex limit and buy the new Gucci sandals in every color possible. Or that money doesn’t matter in terms of being able to fulfill goals such as travel or charity.
What I am saying, at the bottom of everything, is – none of it means shit unless we are happy and fulfilled by our achievements. What use is the house and the money and the glory if we wasted our soul and body away to get these things? In my opinion, not worth it at all.
While numbers can and do matter (especially in athletics), it’s important to listen to our bodies and take stock in how we feel. Even if that means slowing pace and not feeling like a lung will burst throughout that 5 miler. Like they say, slow and steady wins the race! You can’t finish if you give up halfway through!
And…GENDRY DIDN’T GIVE UP LAST NIGHT.
I cannot with Game of Thrones last night, how are we going to wait a whole year for the next season. How.
“Lord love a duck” is one of my mother’s favorite sayings. I don’t really know what it means, except that she uses it when exasperated.
I personally think the literal interpretation of this phrase would be hilarious. I feel this way because I’ve had a recent obsession with ducks. I know, random. It started with a post on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account. For those that don’t know, it’s an account that features submissions of people being terrible airline travelers. The photo I’m talking about featured a very adorable service duck, on a plane, in BOOTIES.
From there, I did some research about the feasibility of owning a pet duck in Las Vegas. Guess what? It’s not feasible. On to Plan B, which entailed setting my text tone to the duck quack and going to Sunset Park to visit the ducks. I talked about my return to this sport a couple of weeks ago.
On Saturday morning, I let myself sleep in before embarking on the run of the day. The longer I sat in my chair drinking my coffee, the more time I had to attempt to talk myself out of running. But then I thought of the ducks. My ducks. I needed to go see these damn ducks. I couldn’t let them down.
To clarify, I am fully aware of the fact that I do not own these ducks. They are wild, majestic creatures that dwell in the lake at Sunset Park and I have no claim to them whatsoever. So why am I attached to them?
Maybe it’s because while I’m sitting on the side of the lake, post-run, watching them swim around doin’ their thang – I feel so peaceful. Perhaps it’s because this is the next best thing to making an irresponsible life decision to acquire one as a pet.
Either way, I learned this weekend that I LOVE the ducks. I don’t know what this has to do with running or even life for that matter. If I could pull anything from this revelation, I would say that finding a quiet moment is so important to balance out our busy, stressful lives. Discovering a place to come to peace could be a crucial step in the process that is getting through a week without threatening to murder a coworker (you know which one).
There’s a reason so many of our favorite authors went out into nature. To be a witness of such perfect stillness and beauty is nothing short of satisfying – and inspiring.
I hope you find a place of peace this week, especially if things start getting crazy. Or, like me, you are having a mild freak-out after seeing both this week’s and the preview for next week’s GAME OF THRONES. OMG.
“Holy shit.” Yeah, those are my exact thoughts on this topic. How did we get here so fast?! In 13 weeks, the big day will be real. So I thought it was time to check-in and see what I needed to adjust during this last half of training.
I’ve come to the realization that I do need to make this a more prominent part of my life because this is where the mileage begins to increase. In the coming weeks I will start running distances I’ve never reached before. I’m not afraid to admit it – that’s intimidating!
The only thing I can do is become obsessed with my training and do everything I can to contribute to this process and set myself up for success.
This is what I see looking back on the last thirteen weeks:
– Summer has been hectic! Between traveling and moving and music festivals, sometimes it’s been difficult to get all my workouts completed. Now that my schedule is clearing up, it’s going to be a lot easier to make this marathon a bigger priority.
– SLEEP. For sure, I need more of this shit. Then again, I could always use more sleep. This scenario is a little bit out of my control (I have some WEIRD ASS sleeping issues), but I can work harder to contribute to a better night’s sleep.
– Stretching. I can tell you right now that I do not make enough time for a proper warm up or cool down stretch. All I can tell myself about this one is…just DO. IT.
The marathon is a whole new distance, one that I’ve never run before. That means I need to constantly check-in and tweak my training and my approach. Which is a thing I can do.
I want to close my “Holy Shit Halfway” Check-In with a quote that my Mom found in her local paper yesterday:
“Too many of us mistake the edges of our comfort zone for the limits of our endurance.” – Chris Huston (Journalist)
Recently, I did three things to make my life simpler and I didn’t even realize it. They are as follows:
I unfollowed Kylie Jenner on every single social media outlet. Shocking, I know, because isn’t she supposed to be the patron saint of social media?
I cancelled my Hulu account…for the time being. A Hulu rabbit hole is almost as bad as YouTube rabbit hole. Almost.
I went back to my favorite park to run. I know what you’re thinking, “there are parks in Vegas?”
Let’s start with the KJ scenario. I would see her posts and really stupid snaps and get annoyed because of how dumb I found them and because of how much time I was wasting on them in general. Then one day a couple weeks ago, I said “I’m done!” and promptly made it my mission to unfollow. Everywhere. I couldn’t handle the pout or the fact that she has more cars than I have vacation days left for the year. Why in the world was I subjecting myself to the nonsense? That’s when I realized…I didn’t have to at all! Unfollow…BYE FELICIA!
Next up, Hulu. I found ways to get things done “while watching Hulu” – a really dumb idea if you’re trying to clean the bathroom and the TV is in the living room. Or if you’re trying to edit or do work that requires you to pay attention.
Side Note: I do NOT believe in multitasking (unless both activities are mindless). This is an concept that was introduced to me in a book I now love called “The One Thing.”
Plus, I already subscribe to Netflix and HBO and for someone who promotes going out and living your life, I figured I would practice what I preach and make an effort to watch less TV. On top of this, think of all the things I can now do with that extra $11.99 per month! Like park at a resort on The Strip for a night! (Paying to park in Vegas is bullshit. Ask any local.)
Finally, switching up where I was running last week. I went back to my favorite park to run. We’ve had some crazy thunderstorms and flash floods happening in the Vegas Valley lately. This cooled the afternoon temperatures and provided some very desirable cloud coverage.
I took the opportunity to sleep in and run after work, which I like to do anyway. Running is a stress reliever for me, so being able to do it after a day at the office is perfect. Of course this meant I had to go run at my favorite park in Vegas, Sunset Park. The park has plenty of courts, playgrounds, grassy areas, a nature preserve with a pathway and even a pond with ducks. The ducks are my favorite because I really want a pet duck, but I have neither the time nor the space for one. : (
Running at Sunset Park last week was nice because I didn’t have to worry about cars, semis, the homeless population or creepy men who yell at me and try to lure me into their trucks. Although, I have seen plenty of drunk people. They’re all harmless, I assure you.
By eliminating these potentially deadly distractions, I was better able to stay in my own lane and focus on the task at hand: pace, stride, mental focus and strength, what Tom DeLonge is ACTUALLY saying in that Angels & Airwaves song. You know, the important stuff. Wait, am I aging myself? I still do have headphones with a wire. Insert grandma emoji. Ok tangent over.
I think it is so important to eliminate distractions and stay in your own lane for a plethora of reasons. Not only will you be a less dreadful human to those around you when you stop caring about what your peers are doing, within reason, but you will also eliminate unnecessary bullshit from your own life.
When I stopped caring about what other people thought or what they said about me, I felt so much lighter and free to live my own damn life the way I pleased. On the other hand, when I stopped caring about what the bitch in the cube down the row was doing with her day aka not actually working, it felt so good. It truly didn’t matter because it did not affect me in the slightest if she wasn’t actually doing her job. When I stopped paying attention to what that one bitch on Facebook I went to high school with was doing, it felt even better. We don’t even live in the same state!! And when I unfollowed some girl who is younger than me and richer than Gatsby, I lost the stupidest waste of time in my life.
Ahhhh, that makes more time for sleeping, running, socializing and planning my Halloween pre-game party. Not to mention the elimination of an unnecessary and premature spike in personal blood pressure.
See what I’m getting at here??
See how much easier and stress-free it is to stay in your own lane and eliminate distractions?
Whether I’m running or watching Snapchat Stories while oil pulling at the end of the day, I only want to consume things that will leave me feeling inspired and not wanting to murder someone. I don’t want the anxiety of dodging cars or the occasional creeper as I’m training for the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. While the latter isn’t always possible, I can take steps to make sure the other parts of my life are as distraction-free as possible.
Remember, YOUR life is in YOUR control. YOU have the power to welcome and remove those things that are not supporting or inspiring you.
Sometimes Mondays can make you feel like our palm tree friend above. I hope y’all got a good laugh from this because I had to stand in the middle of a parking lot and get honked at least seven times to take this photo.
It’s really easy to look at Monday and the week ahead and fall over in pre-determined exhaustion. And it’s also really easy to look at a massive to do list on Monday morning and think “FUCK THIS. I’ll start tomorrow.” I’ve done this on more than one occasion. Lazy Monday turns into “Oh shit I’ve lost an entire 22 hours of usable, productive time” and then I spend the rest of the week playing catch-up. Not fun.
I’m the first to admit my procrastination tends to get the better of me. I usually thrive under pressure and I am absolutely addicted to the feeling of stress when racing against a deadline. I know, I’m a thrill seeker. Lol.
However, procrastination is one of those characteristics I am actively working to change. One way to combat procrastination, I’m finding, is to change my attitude about the tasks at hand. I make a to-do list for the week on Sunday before I go to bed so I can have as little anxiety as possible.
Patricio (my dad) likes to say “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” and this is the attitude I try to keep in mind when looking at that massive to do list on a Monday morning.
Attitude makes a big difference and is quite possibly very close to being everything. But it’s nothing without momentum.
They say the way you spend your New Years is the way you spend the rest of your year. I say fuck that because New Years is the worst holiday. Instead I propose that the way you spend your Monday is the way you spend the rest of your week. Yes, that’s better – and much more relatable too.
So…how is this morning going for you? Did you wake up and dread the fact that it was Monday and hit snooze seven more times? Did you jump out of bed pretending to be a cast member of High School Musical and start singing about toast?
I can tell you that I am somewhere in the middle of these two frames of mind. I am a night owl by nature and a 9-5 job makes this impossible on a regular basis. (Side note: I never use the word “impossible” so this is like a rare jungle animal sighting.)
My mornings usually involve a motivating song as my alarm – currently Unforgettable by French Montana – and me giving myself a pep talk. Out loud. Possibly sounding like a crazy person. And what if my method doesn’t work? I turn into the person hitting snooze seven times – we’ve discussed this before.
So while it’s really easy to be the little palm tree that gave up, I’m working to be the little weird human that doesn’t. Starting with run one of the week done already this morning.
This is the most anti-climactic post in the world, so let’s just throw it out there right at the beginning: nothing went wrong last week with my training. Whee!
(Side Note – I’ve driven through the ENTIRE state of Nebraska four times in one year so I am most definitely qualified to call it flat. Also, it was a traumatic experience and I never want to go back again. Why TF is Jess talking about Nebraska?? Keep Reading.)
I had to adjust my run schedule because I spent the weekend in Idaho. As a result, I needed to get all four days in at the beginning of the week. And as my spoiler already informed you – I completed all four days of training successfully.
And it felt really good! It was nice to complete early morning runs and have the rest of my day free. A good morning session gave me energy and allowed me to accomplish more things that needed to get done. Like take out the trash.
Initially I thought, “I have nothing to talk about, everything went well last week.” But sometimes life just goes smoothly and that can be hard to get excited about.
When life is going to shit and everything is going wrong, it’s so easy to pick out those things and dwell on them. It can be easy to feel bad for ourselves, but it doesn’t feel good internally. It’s poisonous to our systems.
That’s why I find it so important to celebrate the things that do go right, even if they are just the little things. Matt Nathanson (how about a throwback for you??) once said he learned to get by on little victories and I quickly adopted that idea as my own.
My (not-so) little victory for the week? I MISSED running in the morning. It felt WEIRD to not workout before the sun came up.
I call that a success because who knew I could adopt that habit so quickly?? Certainly not me but I will TAKE IT!
It shows that we CAN change the negative patterns in our life. We DO have control over how our actions impact our lives! We can become people who WANT to run at four in the morning. Ok, maybe want isn’t the correct word, but you know what I mean.
We see life as full of ups and downs, but we rarely take time to appreciate the flat parts when we’re coasting. For example – I never used to appreciate a quiet, Saturday night at home, but now I see the benefits.
I think I’ve managed to change my own mind in this post, because, a week of training without injury or heatstroke? Not boring at all – more like something to appreciate.