Holiday catch-up.

First things first, it’s time to announce the winner of the Printcopia giveaway!

Drum roll, please…..

It’s Kayla!

I just emailed you about the prize. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who entered!

Now, the matter at hand.

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to work a normal full work week.

Between the storm(s), our California trip, and Thanksgiving, I’ll have Gina e full month since my last complete week of work by the end of this week.

I mean, I’m not really complaining. I enjoy working for home, even just a few days a week, and obviously everyone lives vacation and time off of work. I love my job, but it still provides me with just enough stress that I look forward to days when I don’t have to worry about it.

Thins are still going well, though. A few big projects that I’ve been working on are finally coming to fruition, and I’m even interviewing a couple of people today for an assistant position under me.

My very own assistant: every girl’s dream, right?

Plus, the partial week before a holiday is always pleasant to work. Sure, there’s a but more pressure to get the same a amount of work done in a shorter period of time, but everyone is usually caught up enough in festivities that the atmosphere is pleasant and no one is overly stressed.

Though this will be my first holiday at the current job, so maybe I’m entirely wrong about that. In that case…at least it’s only a 3-day week!

In other news, I’m running a 5-mile turkey trot on Thursday, but my left heel started really aching a couple of days ago. Not cool. My plan is to take it easy until Thursday, and then I might have to take a couple of weeks off of running. I’m already miserable at the prospect, but I think it’s my only option. Sigh.

Anyway. Enough about me. How is everyone else doing?

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On the things we’re afraid of.

An email exchange between Annie and me:

From: Annie
To: Me

Want a peak into my weird brain that ends with a question for you….
 
So Al and I have been running in the mornings – but its pitch black, but i’m not afraid of running because I’m with someone.
 
You run in the mornings, and Joey doesn’t go with you….is it still pitch black?  Are you all “on alert”
 
Then Annie brain goes to – well scary people aren’t awake at 6am so I shouldnt be worried…unless they are so crazy they dont sleep at all…or all totally nocternal so they are actually at peak time of crazying.
 
So….do you run alone in the morning dark?

From: Me
To: Annie

Haha funny you should ask!

Yes, when I run in the morning it is dark. I tell myself much the same thing you say, that the crazies aren’t up yet. There’s actually a really hilarious scene from 30 Rock that I repeat to myself a lot, where Elizabeth Banks’s character gets back from an early run that goes like this:

Jack Donaghy: Where were you?
EB: Jogging.
Jack: Who else is out at this hour?
EB: Almost exclusively women who look like me. God help us if the pervert community ever gets wind of morning jogging.

So that is what I TELL myself, but I also know for a fact that there is a homeless man who sleeps under a bridge I have to run over. I know this because, while he is still asleep when I start out, he is ALWAYS just waking up and shaking out his sleeping bag when I’m on my way home. We made eye contact last time I ran. Obviously, this is how I’m going to die.

At least now I’ve told someone? If I disappear on a morning jog, it was probably the homeless man under the bridge on W******* Avenue over S****** Highway. [Ed. note: See? I’m too paranoid to even tell you the roads near where I run!]

…I’m probably not helping your crazy paranoia, am I?

From: Annie
To: Me

ummm….i almost turned around this morning because there were two weird looking people just standing in the street ahead of us……
 
…….kids with backpacks waiting for the bus…….

From: Me
To: Annie

I just chortled out loud imagining that. Mostly because, this morning, when I was driving to the train station, these two girls walking to their bus stop passed in front of my car, and one made a point of waving at me until I waved back. It wouldn’t have been weird if she hadn’t been, like, 13. All I could think was, “WHAT IS SHE UP TO?”

This is why we’re friends. (Also, I’m for sure blogging this.)

Breaking away.

So I survived my third half marathon.

Honestly, this was my best one yet. Not only did I shave about eight minutes off my last time, but I felt the best I have so far at the end of a long race. Usually my stomach bothers me, but this time I felt solid.

Only took me two years of racing. Go figure.

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(Me pre-race)

This course was similar to the Long Island Half Marathon, though a little less interesting because we didn’t cut through any towns, instead sticking to main roads and parkways. We started and ended in a park.

People always ask me what I do or think about while I’m running long distance. It’s a fair question: we’re talking up to two hours of time for intense self-reflection.

Sometimes I’m daydreaming, sometimes I think about things that are bothering me. A lot of the time I’m calculating my current speed an trying to figure out what time I will finish, or planning the rest of my day after the run. It’s helpful for me when the course is new or interesting because I can forget I’m running if I have other thugs to focus on.

Because yesterday’s course was fairly flat and boring, though, I found myself thinking a lot about races in general.

I decided my favorite part of a race (besides the finish, of course) is that moment right when you finally break away from the starting line crush, after bobbing and weaving between people who really shouldn’t have started in the pace bracket they did, and you have some clear road to find your pace and just enjoy the run.

Sometimes I feel like that’s the moment we’re all waiting for — when we can finally outrun the madness and the obstacles and just hit our stride.

(I know, I’m super deep, right?)

This was also the first race that I really pushed myself in terms of speed. I knew I was running faster than I normally do, but I didn’t want to check my actual pace on my iPhone app in case I would psych myself out. Instead, I just decided to let myself run until I started to feel uncomfortable or get a cramp or something, and that moment never came. (Huzzah!)

Plus they handed out tiaras and feather boas and cookies at the end. Obviously, I was a happy girl.

My future running plans include: another half in April and…a full marathon next fall.

Eee!

I feel ready to take that on. The main thing I’m nervous about is fitting in all the training runs. I feel like its going to be a test of “how many runs can I skip or cut short and still finish?” Though hopefully, by then, my schedule will be as such that I can stick fairly closely to a schedule.

Speaking of which, do any of my runner friends have a training schedule to recommend? I’ve used the half schedule on MarathonRookie.com for all my half marathons, so maybe I’ll stick with that? Obviously, I’m open to suggestions.

So anyway. Today, I’m a little tired and a little sore, but overall feeling pretty good. How was your weekend?

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Everything that’s wrong with me right now.

Hooooooo-shah, folks.

Let’s have a little update on the state of Justine, shall we? Or, really, another blog post of topics I couldn’t flesh out into full posts. Because…well…you’ll understand by the end of this.

First (and most pressing) things first, something is wrong with my shoulder. At least, I think it’s my shoulder. Last night, something in left shoulder, upper back, left side of my neck suddenly shifted out of place, and now certain movements result in quite a bit of pain. Especially when I’m lying down. (ASK ME HOW AWESOME SLEEPING WAS!!!)(Or rather, not sleeping.)

So…yeah. Awesome.

Fortunately, I recalled that I had an Amazon Local voucher for an hour-long massage and chiropractic evaluation. SCORE. Unfortunately, they’re closed on Thursdays, so I can’t go until tomorrow. BUT A GLORIOUS DAY TOMORROW SHALL BE.

I also have a physical tomorrow, so hopefully I can talk to the doc about my sore heel and finally get a referral to a dermatologist so I can get my skin cancer check. Party.

SPEAKING of that sore heel. Welp, folks, it finally happened. Despite not having any kind of running injury for a couple of years (sigh), all is not well. It started a little over a week ago, when I began getting these little flushes of heat in my left heel at random times. It’s the weirdest feeling. One second I’m just sitting there, the next it feels like my left heel floods with warmth. It’s not uncomfortable at all, it just feels weird. But the actual heel doesn’t feel warm when I touch it. Has anyone experienced anything like that?

Anyway, then it started just feeling sore from time to time. Not good considering I have to start training for my third half in a couple of weeks. Not good at all.

So for now, I’m trying to keep up with my cardio without actually running. Last night, I got on an elliptical for the first time in literally years. Blah.

In other “Justine’s body” news? I need to get my hair did like whoa. Right now, I’m sporting what you might call “accidental ombre.” Or rather, my roots are just quite grown out. The appointment is on August 4th. Let’s DO this, remaining 16 days.

In other words, I’m falling apart. Such a great precursor to turning 25 in just over a week. Excellent.

Let’s all whine together, guys! Leave me a comment telling me something that’s bugging you. I promise to respond with RESOUNDING agreement that you don’t deserve whatever is happening to you.

So…this happened.

They finally put up all the professional photos from my half marathon. And (apparently) they thought it would be better to turn the background into a green screen instead of just leaving it the normal backdrop that they had set up for the photos.

If you ever wondered what would happen if you wore a green shirt to a race where they used a green screen backdrop, it would look something like this:

And in case you ever wondered what would happen if they tried to get all patriotic on you, well, it would be a little like this:

I AM the American flag, y’all. A sweaty, exhausted American flag. M’erica.

Real pants, real issues

Ok, listen. I am well aware that, in general, a person should put on real clothes before venturing out into the real world. I agree with you. I do. In general.

I mean, it’s just kind of sad seeing a fully grown person waltzing around Target in their pajama bottoms, and you just assume an adult man walking around in sweatpants and an over-sized shirt is either homeless or hungover, right?

So we’re all clear? That I do think, for the most part, that being in public requires putting at least a moderate amount of effort into your appearance? In the very least, the effort it requires to put on real pants? Ok, glad that’s cleared up.

Because now we’re going to discuss the exception.

I’ve realized that I have very little problem waltzing around in the public sphere in workout clothes (and here’s the qualifier) AS LONG AS I’ve actually been working out just prior or plan to right after I finish the errand I’m running in said public sphere.

I used to feel this twinge of, “Hmm…I wonder if I should be wearing pants that aren’t 60 percent spandex while I’m doing ____,” but now I just consider it a badge of honor. I actually worked out, so I’ll wear stretch pants to the grocery store if I darn well please.

Of course, like anything, this attitude has to be expressed in moderation. After all, there’s a fine, fine line between being prepared and waltzing around in sweats just because, who knows, you might accidentally do a lunge later. But in general, I find that just putting on my workout clothes goes a long way in making sure I actually go to the gym.

Because then if I don’t, I’m just the girl in stretch pants all day. And I don’t think I’m ready for that title yet.

What about you? Does wearing athletic shoes make it more likely that you’ll do something athletic that day? Or does it just mean you’re going to be sportily dressed for lounging?


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Right amount of random

Well, I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the centipede incident. I may never feel completely safe without shoes again, but somehow I’ll go on.

A friend and fellow blogger and I were recently discussing the idea of blogging. A friend of his who is also a blogger (I’ve realized I hate that word…it’s like a mix of blood and booger) had recently said something to the effect of how she couldn’t understand how he wrote a random blog. As in, it has no theme, like cooking or weddings or pop culture or what have you.

Now, as you’ve probably noticed, my blog also has no theme. But the friend wasn’t saying this was a bad thing, just that it seemed harder to maintain.

Honestly, I think it makes my life easier. I spend a good deal of time just trying to think up post topics. If I had to weed out all the random things that happen to me or I do, I would probably update once a month. But as I always say, I think it’s better to just be consistent with the writing, rather than only post when I have something truly brilliant to say.

Speaking of random and truly brilliant, I’ve started making my own iced coffee. There’s not really a story there, it’s just really awesome. I make the coffee the night before, leave it in a pitcher in the fridge til morning, then pour myself a big water bottle full in the morning. Glorious and cost effective. Especially since it’s finally getting warm out.

Speaking of random and glorious, last night I went to the gym for my training session, and after just while I was running ma miles, I decided to up my speed to 6.8 miles per hour for the last half mile or so. This is pretty fast for me to run for five minutes steadily, but I’m aware it’s not shattering the sound barrier or anything. Even so, what happened next made the extra exertion worthwhile.

There’s this old Italian man who goes to my gym who will run on the treadmill for literally hours. I noticed him on this trip because at one point he was just standing behind my machine staring at the console. I gave him a weird look, and he moved to another treadmill to start his run.

When I finished mine, I had to pass him to get the disinfectant wipes we’re supposed to clean our machines with. As I did, he yells to me in a thick accent, “You are very strong!”

“Oh…ha…thanks,” I managed. (I was still a bit winded.)

“It’s good!” he insisted.

So there you have it. An old Italian man thinks I’m strong. Like bull.

Now ya see? If I didn’t randomly blog, this post wouldn’t exist and you’d have no idea how smart and strong I am. God bless America.