Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Be Brave

Eleanor Roosevelt once said "Do one thing everyday that scares you."
While perusing other blogs that I enjoy, I came across the Be Brave Project and I have been thinking about it for quite awhile and have decided that for the month of August I am going to do one thing everyday that scares me.

Here are the "rules" that the blogger set up:

1. (most important:) MAKE YOUR OWN RULES.
2. Do this for yourself.
3. Make a commitment for the length of time that best suites YOUR needs--one day, one month, one year, one's all up to you, and you alone. ;)
4. The "brave" or "scary" things that you choose to do can be as big or little as you want them to be. Sometimes it's the little things that can be the most scary!
5. (not to quote Nike, but...) Just do it.
6. Be on your own schedule. You don't need to make a commitment until YOU are ready.
7. This is your unique journey--make it whatever you want it to be.
I love these rules, primarily because I get to make my own! One of my goals this year was to be more brave and I have done some pretty brave things but that goal has since fallen by the way side - so I'm bringing it back with a vengeance in the month of August.

I don't plan on doing anything too crazy - like jumping out of an airplane (although that may be on my list someday...) but I'll keep you posted on some of the "brave" things that I do and I would challenge others to do the same!

Monday, July 28, 2008

13.1 down, a long way to go...

After what seemed like an eternity of a sore foot (really it was 4 days), I was a little bit scared for my long run on Sunday. I hadn't run since Tuesday (when I ran a stellar 8 mile time), and I didn't know how I was going to feel. (and, ps. my foot is ok, checked in with the doc and need to stretch more...simple solution, nothing tragic!).

I got myself out the door, with a 13.18 mile route planned out, and I ran it...hard...and it felt awesome. My foot was great (I was so proud of it!) and I was done in 2:16:23 - which puts me pretty much on track for a 4:30 marathon, which is nothing to be ashamed of.

The run was nice - it was not too hot outside, although around mile 5 I ran by the bank and it was 66 degrees, and 2 miles later when I came back it was 70 already!

I've been putting my parent's house towards the end of the run so that I can get some cold water to refresh me for the last 3 or 4 miles. Mom was awesome and had 2 super cold bottles in the mail box for me with a note for encouragement!

On the last mile I started to really kick and when I came back onto Shopiere for my last .1 miles I was running hard...and had this insanely crazy wave of emotion come over me. I was so happy, I was laughing out loud and then it really sank in that I had just ran 13 miles, holy crap. That's when I started to cry. So I'm running...hard...and crying...hard...and looking like a total dork I'm sure, however, when I was done, I was really blown away with myself!

I don't want to get too excited or too overly ambitious about a specific time for my marathon so I need to keep checking in with my goals, which are:

1. Finish
2. Don't Die

Totally managable I think! However, there's a long way to go before getting to the actual 26.2 miles...thankfully I have 61 ish days to finish preparing!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Could you please remove your hands from my mouth?

If so, I'd be happy to have a conversation with you.

I'm kind of anal about my teeth - I've never been subjected to braces or head gear and while I've had my share of cavities due to "soft" teeth, I take pride in the fact that they're nearly perfect. They could be whiter and I could have less fillings, but they're straight and damn it if there's one thing I actually like about myself (ok, there are really several, not just one) it's my smile.

I went to the dentist this morning - and I'm one of those abnormal people (shocking, I know!) that actually likes the dentist. I mean, you get to lay in a comfy chair and listen to soft rock, and you get prizes when you're good (I got a toothbrush, paste, floss, AND chapstick - I was REALLY good). You also get your teeth polished so all I want to do is smile all day at people - see? my teeth are totally fantastic today!

However, as much as I love going to the dentist, I have NEVER understood why they (the dentist and the hygienist) want to have a conversation with you while they have their hands and sharp instruments in your MOUTH. Hello? Can't talk because your mirror is in the way, oh and if I move my mouth you're going to jab me with the plaque scrapper.

I’m all for the small talk, especially with the people who are providing me with health care – I appreciate that they want to know about what I’m up to, it’s good bedside manner, but could you please ask me questions AFTER you suck the water out of my mouth with your crazy hose thing? Thanks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Running and Weekend Fun

So I ran 27.10 miles last week - in 3 days, this brings my month of July total up to 67.07 miles in the first 19 days of the month which would be sane if I was running 3.53 miles a day, but I'm not.
I ran 6.5 on Tuesday, 8.5 on Thursday and a lovely 12.1 on Saturday - all in some really crappy humidity and all with a little adventure (as usual!).

My 6.5 miler started out lovely until I got about .75 miles in and had a heart attack when a big, mean, scary dog came running at me - ok, it was a golden and it wasn't THAT big, but it did scare the crap out of me. It took me another half mile before my heart was beating normally again.

(Note to self, buy the mace, it'll be good for fending off muggers AND scary animals).

On my 8.5 mile run I was too lazy to create a route using mapmyrun so I ran my 6.5 miler but did my 1st mile loop 3 times. That was dumb. First of all, I had to count and me trying to run and remember how many times I had done that loop was a tad bit difficult. Second of all, it was BORING.

(Another note to self, don't be a run route).

Friday night I was psyched up to do my 12 miles. I had my run all mapped out and my water and Gatorade chilling in the fridge. I had snacks out and ready - thanks to Paula I had some fun chocolate GU (which is not as good as it sounds I assure you, but it worked really well), my mp3 player ready to go and I was in bed EARLY so I could wake up at 4 am, on a Saturday, ready to run (fun right?). At 4 am it was down pouring - so I went back to bed in hopes that the rain would eventually stop and it would be less hot and humid.

The rain stopped but I think it brought more humidity...I headed out a little after 11 am. I had a plan worked out with my sister to call her and have her bring some water out for me as I passed my parent's house at mile 8. Well, in the first 3 min. of my run I dropped my phone. I had it tucked in my fuel belt and it fell. So I spent 20 min. walking up and down Shopiere looking for my stupid phone (thinking the whole time that my whole life is in that thing and I would be lost without all my numbers). I finally found it and continued on.

(Yet another note to self, get something that will hold my phone securely).

When I got to the point in my run where I really needed some COLD water and encouragement I called on my sister...who didn't answer her phone...because she was napping. However, I finally got a hold of my mom (after SEVERAL attempts) and she brought me some cold water which was a great help.

(Final note to self, get a new sister...just kidding...).

I know I've written about the "runner's high" before and I'm telling you - it's really amazing. I ran 12.1 miles and it was hot and I wanted to die - but afterwards I couldn't stop giggling to myself and feeling totally psyched.

In other weekend activities, I got to catch up with Jake on my drive home on Friday - fun phone calls on my way home are a great distraction to the hour commute! I also went to my soon to be city and had a blast Saturday night with Rachel and my bartender Kyle at our bar, Soho 7, had a great couple hours with Heather over coffee on Sunday, more fun with Kyle, some quality family time and drinks and fun chat with Katie, Jason, and Kim. Can't beat a weekend like that!

Unfortunately, Monday's provide a reality check.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who Knew 10 Miles Could Be So Entertaining?

So today, I'm officially calling myself a runner. Not just because I ran 10.11 miles, which I did and it was fun...and humid...but because I did something that I think only a runner would do.

Last night I was super psyched to run 10 miles - I had my water bottles filled up getting cold in the fridge and a Clif Bar out and ready for the morning and at 4:15 am I hopped out of bed and was ready to go!

I was almost 1/3 of a mile into my run and I bit it - - hard. I have never fallen while running so this was kind of new to me. I would like to tell you that I was being chased by a mob of turkeys or a run away car had barreled up onto the sidewalk and I was dodging it, but no, I just tripped...over my own feet.

My first thought was WTF just happened?? Then, I had to check and make sure the lower half of my body was ok - hips, knees, ankles - all good. Now you would think that my next sane person move would be to check the rest of my body for injury - nope, I went straight to shutting off my stop watch, I didn't want this time to be reflected in my run (yes, I'm crazy).

I then moved on to looking at the rest of me and noticed a rather large bloody/muddy gash on my right hand and a totally scrapped up left elbow. I then stood and debated if I could actually get away without washing it off - although I had 4 - 8 ounce water bottles in my super cool fuel belt, I didn't want to waste a drop because it was SO humid. I did however decide that the rational thing to do would be to wash out my injuries.

It was after all of this, less than a third of a mile away from my house, that I decided to continue the run - all 10.11 miles with a bloody hand and a scrapped up elbow. This is what makes me a runner.

About 3 miles in I was concerned that if my elbow was brushing against my WHITE running tank it was going to get all bloody. It was then that I looked down and saw that the entire left side of my tank was covered in mud, so you know, a little bit of blood wasn't going to hurt it.

My dad has been encouraging me to take some mace with me - you know, just in case (there were 3 cop cars in 3 different neighborhoods this morning, I felt safe) - I'll heed his advice, but I think I'm going to start packing band aids too!

I'm not a quitter - if I'm set out to do something, I'm going to do it. I was hell bent on getting those 10 miles in and I did it - injury and all. Kind of reminds me of my freshman year of college when in the snowy icy winter I was determined to drive to Green Bay and get my books for Spring semester. About 15 min. outside of Beloit I hit a patch of ice and went into a ditch - ok, I didn't just go into the ditch, I spun around 4 or 5 times embedding my car into the snow. However, since there were no injuries and a nice guy came to the rescue I continued on to GB. Any sane person would have went I kept going...

Monday, July 7, 2008

God Bless America...and the Walking Taco

So the 4th of July is my FAVORITE holiday - I actually like singing the patriotic songs and eating hot dogs (ok, I usually have one of my dad's amazing brats but I'm into hot dogs lately), and hanging out with the family. Watching fireworks after the BJSO plays a fantastic concert is a great tradition that my family has. The 4th of July gatherings at the Bishop house are always a must do, every year.

This year however, my parents opted to flee the country instead of hosting their big 4th of July bash and I was left to fend for myself. I did eat hot dogs (off of the roller dog machine) and I did see fireworks (being done in my parent's neighbor's driveway) but chose a marathon of 'What Not To Wear' over the BJSO. Bottom line, I laid low, hung out with the dog and was in bed by 9:30. Still a good 4th, just a little different I suppose.

Sunday I went to a brunch at my aunt and uncle's trailer campground and enjoyed a delicious "Walking Taco." Looks gross I know, but a fun sized bag of fritos topped with all kinds of taco goodness really made me a happy camper! I tend to forget about these but really think that people should make them more often. What a fun thing to have at any event really, because who doesn't love a taco that you can walk around with an not get all over the place!?! Seriously, I'm in for any event that includes them (and that may include the peace out to my apartment party I need to plan!).

One more note about my weekend - my niece (the coolest 2 year old ever) is SUCH a fish - my sister and I took her to the pool on Saturday and had a blast with her jumping in and getting her face wet - it makes me so happy that she loves it - I think it's a must for ALL kids to know how to swim and to be comfortable in the water!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Think I'm Officially a Runner...But Yeah, Who Knows

If you've never been to the Endurance House I suggest you go - now. I had never been there until last night and walking into the store I immediately fell in love, not only with the cute men working there but the packed walls of running shoes and energy bars and wet suits and cute but practical work out clothes and watches that do all sorts of fun things...sigh, I was in runner/tri heaven!

I went in to buy a fuel belt last night because I'm at the point in my training where I'm going to need to take things like Clif Bars and water and Gatorade (yes, I'm the original Lemon Lime kind of girl), etc. with me.

I have been fighting the title of "runner" for awhile now, and I'm not sure why I haven't embraced it. I think it's partly because I find it a little absurd.

I mean this is ME - Jen Bishop. A year ago (today), even after losing 15 - 20 pounds I still couldn't run 1 mile - in fact one mile was ridiculous to me. Running was something that you did in other sports because you were in trouble - it was punishment. It wasn't fun and wasn't something that I ever did because I WANTED to and I certainly wasn't doing it unless I was being chased by a robber or bear or something (and even in those situations there would absolutely be thoughts of just playing dead and crossing my fingers - all to avoid running).

And now I'm a new Jen. Runner Jen. I ran 9.33 miles yesterday, in an hour and 31 min. (for those of you who hate math like me, that's a 9:46/mile average)...kinda makes you giggle a little doesn't it?

This new Jen, she loves to run. In fact, I enjoy jumping out of bed at 4:15 am to throw on my running shoes and hit the road. There is really nothing better to me than running through quiet neighborhoods as the sun rises listening to Sugarland (yes, that's what's getting me through right now - it's a little slower than my Pink Bus Soundtrack that got me through 100 miles of running in March - it helps me pace) and just being with my own thoughts. I find myself longing to be out by the lake in Madison with all the other runners - even when I've already gotten my run in for the day, and there is nothing better than coming in from a run all sweaty and feeling awesome, like you could conquer the world.

All this old Jen vs. new Jen thing is sometimes hard to grasp. It's sometimes hard to look in the mirror and recognize the girl staring back at me. But the old Jen is there, shiny June face and all. She's there and will always be a part of me. But coming to terms with being a runner is a struggle - that is hard to describe.

It's hard to explain how the changes in the last year have made me feel or how they have led me to question who I am. I am certainly not looking for sympathy (ahhmm...sister), but it's difficult for someone who has been "the fat girl" all her life to really get a grasp on this new world. And I think it's equally difficult for someone who has never gone through this change to grasp.

This new world is a very self conscious one - one where I analyze every part of my body and think about how it jiggles too much still, or there's too much skin somewhere, or the muscles that I actually now have in my arms should be a little bit bigger. And, there are days when I look in the mirror and see a girl 75 pounds heavier. It's a world where I don't put myself out there with people as much and am much more reserved than I have ever been.

It's funny to think about and try to explain a loss of self to someone. I mean for starters, I had to throw away (well I gave it away) ALL of my old clothes - things I had for years and things that I loved were just one day gone. And now I stare at my closet wishing for those things back. That fabulous brown jacket that I loved and those awesome jeans that even though they were huge I felt great in them. Those things are gone and replaced with things that don't have a history with me. I often cracked up at the girls who would go on those fashion shows and cry when their old wardrobe was getting thrown away - now I find myself as that girl.

But it's not just the wardrobe. It's a loss of self esteem at a time where I should have more than ever. It's a feeling of running in the opposite directions of friends that I have known and loved for so many years. It's a questioning of what I have passion and excitement for. It's the difficulty of meeting new people because I don't do the bar scene anymore (and thank God for that). It's a longing for tranquility when my head is going crazy. It's trying to find some faith in something, myself primarily.

I feel raw and exposed, and it's really fricking scary. I guess the upshot is that I can be anyone, and do anything and can turn this around and make it work, which is what I'm hoping for, trying for and praying for.