Sunday, April 27, 2014

13.1 inspirations

Yesterday was an overwhelming day. I finished something that I set my mind on, and it was overwhelming and unbelievable that I actually did it. So many things and people inspired me during this journey, so I wanted to write out my list while everything is in my mind. And I promise this is the last entry I will write about this half marathon.

1. Nick, Hannah and I have gone through this whole journey together, from barely running to running 5Ks to now the half. Hannah did one last year, and they are both running the half in Lincoln next weekend. We have suffered through this together, celebrated good runs together, and moaned about aching muscles together.
2. My friends Jordan and Amy have been huge inspirations during this entire thing. Jordan has sent many inspiring texts and facebook messages, and Amy has been checking in on me constantly to see how training is going and how I was feeling. I am so happy to have these two fitness role models in my life.
3. My brothers and sisters have been greatly supportive, and the best thing was Amanda decided to go with me because she didn't think anyone should experience a half without support at the start and finish line. She was right. I'm so glad she was there.
4. My parents (all three of them) have been enormously concerned and worried about me through this whole thing. And of course, my dad driving to Olathe to watch me start and finish was the best surprise I have ever gotten. I've never done an athletic type event that required the attention of my parents, and it was an unbelievable feeling!
5. Missy and Katie, of course, have been great through this whole thing, especially since they both have had to deal with me only talking about running, complaining about running, not drinking because I was running, etc.
6. My Aunt Juana has been checking in from afar, and constantly reminding me how proud she was of me and how far I have come.
7. My coworker Rachel is also running the Lincoln half, so we have been going through this turmoil together. It was so nice to have someone with me four days a week who completely understood what I was going through and how much it sucks to schedule runs around 12 hour work days.
8. The Wizard of Oz, of course! I knew I wanted to do a half marathon, and I knew I wanted to only do one. So I had to make it one that would mean something to me, and of course you all know that movie is near and dear to my heart. And at times during the run when things sucked so bad, I have to admit I started playing the movie in my head (I tend to do that when I am nervous).
9. Leslie, one of my oldest and dearest friends, has been a constant inspiration to me. And literally as I was typing this she called to check in on me. She is training for an IronMan competition in Tennessee later this year, so you know...no biggie.
10. So many of my friends checked in on me via text and via Facebook the days and hours leading up into the race...I loved it. Their feedback and encouraging words gave me so much ummph to keep going!
11. Former non-runner-bigger-Jen who never believed she could do this. I don't like talking about myself in the third person...moving on...
12. Mother Nature, for giving me a pretty good test. My first half I had to run through freezing cold rain and a thunder storm. Thanks for knowing I could do it...you crazy bitch.
13. Anyone who sent me texts/emails giving me things to think about during the run...loved it. And it worked.
.1. Anyone who didn't think I could do this, or assumed I would never do it, or lectured me about how running is actually really bad for you...suck my medal. Actually don't, I don't want it in your mouth.

That time I ran a half marathon


Finally, after 2 years of wishing, 1 year of half planning, four months of panic cause I actually committed, and three months of training (and complaining)...it was time to do it. To run the half that has been consuming my every thought for all this time. 

On Friday my sister Amanda and I headed down to Olathe, Kansas to do this shiz-nit. On the drive down, she convinced herself to register for the Dorothy Dash, which was the 6k race starting right after the half and full marathon. I was (and am still) so excited she decided to do this. I never believed it until I did it, but there is something about running with so many people, and crossing that finish line, that I think anyone who runs should experience. 

We got to packet pick up, Amanda got registered and then we were off. At this point, I was SO excited for this race. So so so excited. 


We went back to the hotel and I went out to do a quick two mile run and then we went to get dinner. I was still pretty jazzed, but we were both still able to go to sleep fairly early. I had to be parked and ready to go by 630a, so I set my alarm for 530a. 

I woke up at about 330a and my right knee was killing me. This all could have been in my head, but it was throbbing and I started to panic. I rubbed icy hot all over it and tried to go back to sleep, but at 430a I gave up and was up for the day. 

We got dressed and packed up, and the nerves set in. I have ran this distance before, but I was getting all up in my head. People were blowing up my phone and my Facebook, so I had so much support and good thoughts. My dad normally texts me every single morning around 5a, but by 610a when we left to go to the Garmin headquarters, he still hadn't texted. Wtf Dad! Today is the day you forget?!

Of course he didn't forget. He was on his way to Olathe! He called me at 630a from the parking garage. And I instantly started crying. Before I even started the race. 

He and Amanda hung with me and the starting line, and then I went to line up with the pacer. I have been planning all along for a three hour finish time. I don't care that it's slow, it's what I'm capable of and that's how I wanted to do it. I talked to some other runners, but mostly kept to myself because I was still pretty nervous. 

And then we were off! I started off slow with the three hour pacers, but after about a half mile they stopped to take a walking break and I didn't want to, so I ran ahead and ended up with the 2:45 pacers. There was so much to watch during the first three miles - so many people running in costumes, so many people taking selfies and other people trying to photo bomb, so many conversations. I focused on listening to everything around me, taking in the sites and just experiencing everything. I felt really good, my knee was feeling fine. At three miles the marathoners and the halfers split off, so then I was just with the other halfers. I would play a game where I would pick someone in front of me and plan on just following them the whole race. But the. They would stop and walk, or stop and pee, and I wasn't ready yet so I would lose them and pick someone else. I was feeling great. 

Then it started sprinkling. At first it was kinda cool...it felt awesome, and again, I was just soaking up the experience. Then the rain got harder, and the drops got bigger. Then the thunder and lightning started. Then the rain was hard and angry. I was soaked to the bone. No one was talking anymore, we were all just running head down, literally wiping the rain from our faces and ringing out our shirts and hair. It was terrible. The only things that were being said out loud was "fuck!" And "are they going to pull us off the course?" And at this point we turned the corner and found this hill. On the "wickedly flat" course. 



But we kept going. It hurt, but I kept running because stopping to walk at this point made no sense. It rained like that until mile 8. By that time the route had split off the pavement and went through a dirt path in the forest. Now, if the weather was nice I would have been ecstatic about this, pretending to be Dorothy and company walking through the enchanted forest. However, in this situation I was fucking pissed. I dodged puddles and had to stop several times to tiptoe carefully through the mud. 

At mile nine the rain stopped, but it had already done its damage. The wooden bridges were slick, the path was covered in puddles. I was COMPLETELY soaked. My feet felt so heavy since my shoes and socks were just drenched. I gave in and stopped and walked. 

I found the 2:50 pace group at that point and hung out with them. I did a walk/run combo until mile 12. You would think that mile marker would give me a new burst of energy, but I was drained. I have never wanted to be done with something more in my life. I was miserable. I found a buddy and we motivated each other until the end. 



And then the finish line was in sight. Leading up to it was the yellow brick road, but it was incredibly slick with the rain, so there was no sprinting. But I finished and it was OVER!! 




I have one more entry to write about this thing, and then I promise to stop talking about to so much. And here are some pics. 





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The meltdown before the half

I had a four day weekend, and I did so much stuff I cannot even begin to recap it for y'all.

So instead I will just show you this adorable picture of my niece and I. Even with a dirty face she is pretty stinkin' cute.

As far as my running and that whole half marathon thing goes, I had an 8 mile run on Friday. I went to Lake Zorinsky for it and I actually really enjoyed it. I think I was a little high. I was just so relaxed...I took the time to look around at the scenery, the lake, the people...I just enjoyed my run. I know, right? What? Runs are not fun. But this one kinda was. And get this...my pace was so much better than usual. Except for my last half mile, where I decided to try to actually crawl into the lake and I got a little distracted with selfies.

On Saturday I ran two miles with my sister, which was fun - I have never ran with anyone before. I had family jazz going on all day Saturday so when I got home I just showered and went to bed. And that was the point where my anxiety took over and I had nightmares about the half all night long.

I dreamt I got lost on the drive down there. I dreamt they couldn't find my registration and they wouldn't let me run. I dreamt I got lost on the course. I dreamt the race never ended and I just kept running and running and running....

I didn't run on Sunday, but my nightmares stayed with me all day. Yesterday I ran seven miles, and it went really well, so hopefully my sleep-induced fears have subsided and I will be fine.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy freaking Easter!

I am 15 minutes away from a four day weekend and I am STOKED.

I only have to run 8 miles tomorrow and I am STOKED.

I have two Easter dinners on Sunday and I am STOKED.

Whelp, see ya later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Grandma

Sometimes Chandler Boone calls me Grandma. I always thought it was just because he gets confused (he usually calls me this after a visit from Grandma Jan or Grandma Ann)...but with my behavior lately, I think he may just be trying to open my eyes to something...


...I am aging, rapidly, and it ain't pretty.

I am not just talking about my looks or my gray hairs, although those are not being kind to me, either. I am talking strictly, straight up about my behavior.

EXAMPLE 1:
The other day I had a student in my office, complaining about her mom. Her mom doesn't think she should live off campus next year with her boyfriend. These two are having World War 3 because of this. The mom is doing everything in her power to not let this move happen. My student was whining to me about it, and I finally leaned in over my desk and said words I never thought I would ever say:

"You need to listen to your mom. You are 19 years old. You do not need to be living with a boy!"

WHAT THE FUCK JEN.

EXAMPLE 2:
As most of you probably know, I live in an apartment complex. I live on the bottom floor, so I have neighbors directly above me. During the day, these neighbors are not quiet. They must have their apartment designed to include a bowling alley, because it seriously sounds like they are throwing ten pound balls along the floor. Now, during the day this doesn't bother me. I am probably not that quiet either. I am sure I have annoyed them at times, with my top volume Miley Cyrus tribute concerts that I put on myself or my sex sounds (JFK).

HOWEVER...at night, this girl needs silence to sleep. It's a problem of being single and sleeping alone...I need pretty much complete silence to sleep (also complete darkness) (even though I am kinda scared of the dark). And at night, my neighbors listen to their TV at TOP volume. The past two nights I have even laughed at funny parts of the shows they are watching. It's THAT loud. I didn't think anyone listened to television that loudly except my deaf grandparents and Missy Hardersen.

I've tried giving it right back to them...by cranking my television up as high as it will go at 630am when I wake up. However, it's only made it worse. Now they not only listen to their shows at top volume until well after midnight, but they also wake up first thing and beat me to the volume contest. This morning I was woke up at 6am by their fucking loud ass set.

So what does an old cranky neighbor do?

I called and told on them. My landlord will hopefully handle it.

Or I will get popped off in the parking lot.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The weekend

I did a lot this weekend, so I feel like I need to talk about it.

Thursday after work I just ran and went to bed early. I am just spent by the time Thursday night rolls around.

Friday started with a 13 mile run (do you like how I just type that like it's normal?) (I will never run that far again) (well, I will one more time) and then I went home, put on the biggest most comfortable clothes I could find and just SAT. I didn't move for quite while, just stretched my legs out and iced them. It worked, because I wasn't sore at all the next day.

After that, I finally got dressed and went over to my friend Erin, or Ebbs as she is known to us hometown girls. We sat on her back porch and talked. We disguised this as a "meeting" to plan out our reunion, but really is was a much needed bonding session with my long lost friend. Have I mentioned how much I love having my high school girlfriends all near me again? There's something about hanging out with people who have known you forever that is refreshing to my soul.

Anywho, after hanging with Ebbs I came home and went to bed early, again. I think that 13 miler wore me out.

Saturday I got up pretty early and decided to get my errands done right away. In the middle of them, my sister Kate texted me. She was on her way into Omaha, so we teamed up for a few errands and then grabbed brunch. Then I met up with Missy, and we went to a Health and Wellness Expo at the Century Link Center. Then we went to this Wildlife Safari place in Ashland, Nebraska. Sounds weird right? It was actually a blast. Then we grabbed dinner at Parker's Smokehouse (BOMB) and then we hiked up to that glass church on the interstate between Omaha and Lincoln. Then, just to continue the day of fun, we went to see Draft Day with Kevin Costner (yikes). I loved it!

Then I went home and went to bed, early, again. I was super tired.

Sunday I went and did a short run, and then watched those charming Boone boys while Han and Nick did their long run. Then I went home, made dinner and watched Rocky and Rocky II. I LOVE those movies. And then I was up all night, because you know, I had to get up early for work and why wouldn't I just stay up all night when I actually have to get up in the morning?

I hope YOU had a great weekend, too!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Brian.

I've been writing this blog entry in my head for almost a week now. 

Back in the olden days, when I was hanging out with "Toby" all the time, I also was hanging out with his best friend Brian a lot. Brian was a big guy and he has a huge heart. He was always genuine, and honest, and his teddy bear like personality was infectious and addicting. He was someone you always wanted to be around. I cannot think of a single time that I wasn't happy when he was around. 

Brian was displaced after Hurricane Katrina and ended up in Council Bluffs working at Horseshoe. Lucky us. We were so so lucky to get him. 

Most of my nights hanging out with Brian and Toby were at karaoke bars, where they would sing together and I would pick out songs for them to perform. It was always so much fun. I adored Brian. 

One night, I was out without them, and I saw a familiar face. Brian's wife. With another guy. Clearly on a romantic date. I left the bar and called Toby and told him what I saw. Toby came straight over. 

"I called Brian on my way over, he's coming over when he gets off," he said as soon as he walked in the door. 
"Are you gonna tell him?" 
"No, you are gonna tell him. You're the one who saw her," he said. 

What the fuck Toby! I got nervous right away. How am I supposed to break this news to the nicest guy in the world?

Brian walked in awhile later with two McDonalds bags. "I brought dinner!" He exclaimed happily, and emptied out a heavenly amount of dollar menu items on my kitchen table. 

Neither Toby nor I reached for the food, and I gently broke the news to Brian. It wasn't a surprise to him, although it was shocking she was being so public about the affair. 

Brian divorced her, and things spiraled south after that. He finally ended up moving to get a fresh start. 

I haven't seen Brian since he moved, but we did talk on Facebook every so often. The last message I got from him was about a year ago, when Toby went to Kansas to see him. 

Him - Toby was a rock star! As usual! 
Me - he always is. 
Him - you should have come with him!
Me - we aren't exactly on the best terms right now. 
Him - what?! He only spoke very highly of you. 
Me - well that's nice to hear. But we are "over" again. 
Him - you two just have terrible timing. 
Me - something like that. 
Him - don't get hung up on it. You are going to find someone and be so happy. You are bound for happiness, I know it. You'll end up with someone wonderful. You probably already know him, he's probably right in front of you. 

For some reason, that message exchange has always been in the back of my mind. And I didn't know it then, but it was the last time I would ever get to "talk" to him. 

Brian died earlier this month for heart failure. He was only 42. He has finally found happiness with a wonderful woman and he seemed so, so happy. 

I am so sad. I'm sad for Toby, who lost his friend, and I'm so sad for his family. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The half before the half

Guess what I had to run today?

13 mother loving miles. 

When I first decided a half was my goal, I didn't spend a lot of time looking at training plans. Hannah told me that the Nike app had a new "coach" feature that allowed you to pick your experience level (I obviously picked the most beginner one I could) and when your race was and it will tell you what to do. I like to be told exactly what to do, so I was sold. 

This bitch of an app has already had me run 10, 11 and 12 miles. Today was 13. 

Now that I've had time to look at other plans, I see that hardly any of them actually have you run 13 before race day. 

Fucking Nike. 

But I did it and it's done. Now next week is my taper week, and the next week is RACE WEEK. 

All week I have been nervous about this run. My 12 mile run last week hurt, but it wasn't terrible. I was sore for a few hours after and I iced my knees that night, but I felt good the next day. I even ran a short distance. I was nervous about doing 13...a half...because if it went well, I felt like I would be over confident about the actual half on the 26th.

Well, I don't need to worry about that.  

Today's run fucking sucked. It just sucked.

During my runs, I have a few mantras that I repeat to keep myself going. 

"Just keep moving."
"Get out of your head."

Today, I added one more. 

"Fountain soda."

Yep. I had to bribe myself with a fountain soda to finish this bitch. 

So after my run (and after I pretty much laid on the concrete next to my car trying to stretch before sitting down to drive) I stopped at Casey's (duh) to get my fountain soda treat. 

Standing at the soda machine, I got that familiar feeling. I was gonna pass out. I bolted into the bathroom, wetted some paper towels...and laid down on the floor. 

Yep. That's how I roll when I think I'm gonna pass out. 

I managed to collect myself, pay for my treats (I also got a chocolate milk) and drive home. 

So...it didn't go well, and I felt like complete shit afterwards. 

But it's done. And now, 90 minutes later, I have a runner's high. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Parental Advisory - Dad, don't read this

You've been warned.

Once there was this boy. He was pretty. Much prettier than me. And he definitely used more hair product than I do, which is something to be said considering the mane I have. I still, to this day, don't know why he was into me.

It must have been my sparkling personality.

Anyway.

We played grab ass for quite some time, then we hooked up a few times, and then, one morning, I woke up and decided I was done with him. I don't know how I can turn it off with some people but not others, but with this guy I was able to just shut down any feelings. Since we weren't in a relationship I didn't think I needed to actually "break up" with him. It was very, very casual so I thought I could just let it phase out.

It worked for awhile. I had to ignore some texts, but I was able to get a good solid amount of time to pass without seeing him. I assumed he would get the point and move on to his next victim.

This "break up" happened about five years ago, and as recently as a month ago, I had to ignore a booty call text.

What. The. Fuck.

The reason for this blog entry is not to make you all realize how irresistible I am. It is because I am seriously confused as to how a guy cannot get the point after all this time. Because, you see, I haven't always ignored the texts. I have given him some pretty lame excuses over the years...
  • I told him I was sick.
  • I told him I was busy with family stuff.
  • I told him I was having stomach issues and it was making me gassy.
  • I waited until the next day and told him I had lost my phone.
  • I told him I couldn't find my glasses so I wasn't able to drive anywhere.
  • I told him I couldn't drive in the rain.
  • I was on my period.
The thing is, none of those things (with the exception of the lost phone) (like I would really ever lose my phone) (it's literally two inches away from me at all times) were a lie. I was so empty of feelings that I just didn't care that he knew I was gassy.

One time, I decided to test him. When he sent his usual Saturday night text, I responded right away.

Him - "You out tonight?"
Me - "No, I'm at home. You can come over if you want, but we aren't hooking up."

I waited for a response with bated breath (is that even a word?). This was a huge test. If he said "no thanks", it means he is not even interested in me except for my hole(s).

My phone beeped. "I'll just catch you some other time."

No, sir, you won't.












Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just a small town girl

Let me tell you a not so hidden secret...

I want to live in Glenwood at some point in my life.

I just freaking love it.

I have been thinking this more lately. Omaha is seriously a scary place to live. I love so many things about it, but I am scared a lot of the times, too.

  • The great purse theft at Lake Zorinsky. That would not have happened in the wood.
  • There are now a slew of break ins at my stupid gym. 
  • There was a homeless man living in my laundry room last summer.
  • My neighbor's truck got stolen out of my parking lot last winter.
  • There are at least two women in Omaha who would put a cap in my ass if given the chance.
The other day when I was on the back of my dad's motorcycle (I am so cool), after I got over my initial fear and was able to loosen my grip on Dad's back, I spent time just looking around Glenwood. I love it.

If I ever have kids, that's where they are growing up. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dreams?

So I am sure you are all exactly like me, and when you are lying awake at night you have the best ideas ever.

I tend to wake up a few times a night...sometimes an email tone wakes me up, sometimes I am sweating to death. Regardless of the reason, those are the times when I have the GREATEST IDEAS EVER.

Usually I wake up and I think "I should blog about that" and I add it to a list on my phone. Then I fall back asleep and forget about it.

I never remember that list when I am trying to think of blog ideas. Today I remembered...

...and none of this list makes any fucking sense.

When I clicked on this list of stupid it changed the date, but it was from last night (err, this morning) at 2:22am.

I'm so confused.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend things

I'm going to try to blog from my iPad. My laptop is all the way over there (imagine me pointing across the room) and I just can't get up. 

My weekend was totes amaze. Wait. That makes me sound like a douche. Let me begin again. 

My weekend was wonderful. 

I love that my weekends start on Thursday nights, and this Thursday was pretty great. Then I slept in on Friday morning (I loveeeeee sleeping) and, while my original plan was to go running, I wound up ditching that idea. I just could not deal with the idea of running in the cold. So instead I went to see Leo. Who is Leon, you ask? Well he is my friend Leanna's new nugget. He was born April 2nd. 

 I am not sure why this is weirding me out so much. I mean, Nick has kids. My siblings have kids. Maybe it's just because I've known Leanna so long, and now she is a mom. 

Anyway, after that I got the weirdest feeling in my tummy that I needed to go see my grandparents. There have been so many weird deaths and events happening lately that I might be weird for awhile and clingy to family members. So rather than cross the bridge into Omaha, I jumped on the interstate and headed to the wood. 

I had a nice talk with my grandparents. I felt better after that. Grandma just had cataract surgery so she was rocking these sunglasses, and grandpa was rocking his confused look (per usual). 


Saturday I got up and had to do the run I skipped on Friday. So I went to Zorinsky (fuck you, purse thieves, you can't steal my spirit) and did it. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever done, but it also was not the most fun. I felt like I got run over by a semi when I was done. But I did it. 

When I was done running, it was Nick and Hannah's turn, so I went to traded places with them and watched the boys for awhile. Then we all went out to eat (because family dinner) and then Katie came over for some chatting. 

Today I went to the gym for a very short run (just to make sure my legs still worked) and then went back down to Glenwood to hang out with dad. It's not often I get to hang out with just dad, so it was wonderful and just what I needed. I have been feeling for awhile now that it is time for me to take a ride on his bike again...I haven't been on it for at least 12 years. So today we took a ride and guess what...I survived! 

Now I am back home. I started the ACM awards 90 minutes late because I figured I would skip the performances I don't care about...but of course I can't skip any of them cause this awards show is fucking amazing...so it will probably be a late night!