Running is for Crazy People

People are going to try and tell you running is fun and I'm here to tell you that those people are full of shit. Okay okay! Maybe that's just my opinion. There appear to be a great many people who enjoy running, as if regressing back to the cavemen era when we ran away from giant mastodon's trying to make us their dinner is EXACTLY the way they prefer to spend their free time. I don't so much not understand those people as much as I sincerely believe we live on different planets. Because, to me, running is the worst. And here's why:

1.) You can't talk while you are running. Not only does the constant movement make it difficult to catch your breath long enough to formulate a sentence but apparently, talking while running is a legitimately unhealthy physical practice. 

2.) You get cold-sweaty. Cold-sweaty is the name I give to that feeling when you get underground at a subway stop and you're all bundled up and you feel so grateful to be out of the cold winter chill and then about two stops in you realize you are sweating and wearing so many layers that the effort to take off even one on this crowded godforsaken machine would be futile. I hate cold-sweaty. I have a really bad cold-sweaty problem when I run because, well, I'm probably not doing something right...maybe I don't warm up enough (read: at all.) 

3.) My whole body turns bright red. Ahhh the joys of being a pale, Irish girl are innumerable! As if it wasn't already DELIGHTFUL ENOUGH to spend most of the summer wearing kaftans and floppy hats, covered in SPF 100 praying I don't get burned, even in the colder months while running outside I develop big, red splotchy marks all over my face, neck, and hands. Which should definitely come in handy for my fit model career.

4.) You can't eat while you're running. You can eat before, and you can eat after. But you can't eat during and that's a problem...for me anyways. 

I despise running. I hate the elitist running culture, the run clubs that come out of NOWHERE and seemingly never end, and I hate the way my hair looks after it's been in a sweaty running pony tail. Now that you know all that, you should also know that this weekend I signed up to run my first half marathon, the Women's Central Park Half Marathon on April 19th. So, with the assumption that I'll start my training today, February 24th, that means I have a little over 8 weeks to train. I wanted to officially start training yesterday but I was over served at an Oscar party the night prior and my best life choice was to sleep in and eat crackers for the better part of the morning. Why am I doing this? I don't really know. I'm not doing it to lose weight, or impress anyone, or achieve some deep, burning desire to be a runner. Everyone I tell has been confused as to why, too. But my favorite response thus far was from my Nike Training app which straight up said:

 

...the app has a valid point, and I'm thankful for the honest opinion. Eight weeks is definitely pushing it, in regards to a feasible time frame to train within. But at least the app is lookin' out for a girl. When I told my mother I was running a half marathon the conversation went a little like this:

ME: Ma! I just signed up for a half marathon and it's a women's half marathon! And it's in Central Park in April! And it's all women, the whole race! Just women! Running! ...cool, huh?

MOM: Honey great, why are you doing this again? 

...alright so yes, I don't have a reason per say but does it really matter? I thought she would think it was pretty cool, or empowering or inspiring? Maybe that's the crux of the reason why people enjoy running? Perhaps that's the secret! That when you run long, great distances you come out the other end of a finished race with all sorts of clarity and passion and inspiration?? Or, maybe, I'll be able to bounce a quarter off my ass!

The first race I ever ran (not including the Presidential Fitness Test in 8th grade heyoooo!) was the St. Patrick's Day 10k in Washington, DC in 2011. My life felt like it was falling apart. I was drinking too much, and dating too many different men, and spending most of my bi-weekly paychecks from Lululemon at Lululemon. I was desperate to move to New York. And I needed a challenge but I didn't know where to start. I don't even remember how I found this race, but I did, and I signed up mid-January and then promptly trained to run it approximately zero times. Zero. Then, come race day, I got on my all matching Lululemon outfit, had a banana, and tried not to vomit while waiting for the stupid thing to start. I brazenly put myself in the nine minute mile group. "You're young, you're fertile!" I thought to myself as I faux stretched with other young, fertile men and women. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a man, mid-thirties, in a wheelchair ahead of me. That's right. Ahead of me. As in the eight minute mile group. Well. Fuck. "If a man in a wheelchair can do an eight minute mile, I can do an eight minute mile!" I remember silently (dear god I hope it was inside voice and not a declamatory statement) saying. I WILL NOT WIN THIS RACE, BUT I WILL BEAT WHEELCHAIR MAN.*

That starting gun went off, and I simply decided to keep moving. I didn't stop moving, and I also did not stop listening to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" on REPEAT because, motivation. I made sure to keep wheelchair man in my peripheral, always clocking him. If I hadn't lost my mind at some undocumented moment in my life prior, this is most assuredly the moment. I felt like he was taunting me. I developed an entire narrative about how wheelchair man had it out for me. Because that seems like something a healthy person does. Right? On the last two miles I significantly slowed down and was at what I'd like  to call a lady trot** and he passed me. He passed me. Uhhhh. Something inside me erupted like a wronged woman on an episode of the Maury Povich Show when she finds out he IS the father. I think there might have been lil flames in my eyes. I dug deep down and realized now was fight or flight time. I pretended there were turbo rockets attached to my shitty running shoes and I picked up the pace. I picked up the pace until I saw wheelchair man less than 50 feet ahead of me. And then, I turned Whitney on a few notches louder and I RAN RIGHT PAST WHEELCHAIR MAN. The exuberance! The moment of pride when I realize, I have passed him! Pure, unadulterated bliss! 

What is the takeaway?  Well, I'm a crazy person. I'm highly motivated by competition, even in unfair, highly dramatized scenarios with faux enemies like wheelchair man. I still hate running, but I need a challenge. I need something to be competitive about. I need to realign my priorities and my decision making. I need to know that I'm still alive. You know? Just a reminder that I'm here and I'm working towards something. I need to say I said I'd do it, and then I fucking did. I need a win. And what better way to hold yourself accountable than tell some people in a very public setting, like, say, ya blog?

A little warning: I'm going to be writing about running. A lot. I'm sorry. I can't always promise it will be inspiring or insightful. I can promise it will be humorous and honest and another h-word that I can't quite put my finger on at this moment. In conjunction with needing a goal, sometimes I need a little motivation to write more, although the play I'm writing about the time I got MRSA and bed bugs in the same week as Hurricane Sandy is coming along quite well, thank you for asking. Point is, this writing assignment will keep me constant, like coffee does. 

The lovely sounding Nike app woman told me I have a six mile run tomorrow. It's currently nine degrees. I can't wait to let ya'll know how that goes.    

*Just for the record, I think this man is a badass.  

**a lady-trot is the same as fast running in heels, but when you are at a lady-trot in sneakers, then you're just lazy.  

Right after I finished the St Patrick's day 10k, my first race...I take no responsibility for what symbol I'm trying to make with my hands.

Right after I finished the St Patrick's day 10k, my first race...I take no responsibility for what symbol I'm trying to make with my hands.


Remember When I Didn't Like You for No Reason?

image.jpg

I hate when there's a little piece of hair in my mouth, and I can't figure out where it is or how to get it out. I hate when humans are in line at Dunkin during my morning commute and they decide to ask questions. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? This place has mediocre (if not excessively lovable) coffee! Move on, mama's got a Q train to catch! I hate dirty dishes because I know that if dirty dishes had a voice they would sound like Fran Drescher with those elongated, judgmental vowels telling me to "just cleeeeeaaaaannnn meeeeee alreadyyyyy." I hate one word emails, keys that don't fit in the keyhole easily and--more than anything--I hate women who do not support other women. 

Let's get one thing perfectly clear, right off the bat: I have been that woman before. I'm not proud of this. I regret two things in my life: the times I've spent being catty towards undeserving women, and the time I had the chance to hug Stephen Sondheim and I didn't. I worry about Stephen Sondheim and Jennifer Aniston every single day. I'd like to tell you more about that, but it's for another day, another post. 

As a woman who has spent too much time cutting down, chastising, and diminishing other women (purely because I was envious), I can tell you with full authority that this behavior will not make your life better. It won't help you find personal clarity. You will not be happier because you read some woman on her poor life choices or behavior. As a matter of fact, you will only be worse for the wear. You will not suddenly have all your ducks in a row, you won't immediately be in the perfect relationship, you won't be thinner, or more talented, or even have healthier hair. You will still be you, riddled with self doubt and work needing to be done. And on top of it all, you'll have wasted hours of your life when you could've been actively improving you.

 I've noticed, more often than not, the crux of a female cut-down session centers around a woman who has "taken" your/your friend's man. I will say this now because it's the smartest thing I have ever said and I want it written down forever as gospel truth: I have never met/dated/attracted/found a man worth fighting another woman over. They are not worth the fight, the catty behavior, the nasty digression in maturity level. This is another lesson I had to learn the hard way, but now that it's understood, please heed my advice and stop wasting energy hating some woman because she's with your ex. I would sooner justify fighting a woman over a wrap dress at the DVF sample sale than fighting over a man. Live in that truth. 

I host this lady's brunch once a month where I email a lot of badass women whom I think need to know each other and we get together and we drink and eat and laugh and listen. We share ideas and commiserate over things that aren't going according to plan. We discuss how we can help one another. Just two weeks ago we hatched a brilliant idea for a Kickstarter that I can't even tell you about because it's so smart it'll blow ya damn minds. We spent an afternoon rallying around one another, not breaking each other down. It felt nice to look at the group and know that time could stop, we really could relax and let the perpetual female guard down. I caught myself wondering why I've spent/spend so much time thinking someone's out out to get me. I am nobody's Olivia Pope or Carrie Mathison! My life more resembles an episode of "Finding Your Roots" than a television drama: there's a lot of laughing through snot-tears* exclaiming "I never knew that!" There's not as much drama or need to protect myself as I think, and that goes for all relationships, not just the female ones. 

So, as a final thought, to those women out there who think there is some secret battle being fought over ex-boyfriends and lovers lost, over work and talent levels, over who looks thinner or prettier: give it a rest. Please, take a deep breath. Namaste it out. Channel every ounce of jealously and resentment you have towards these other women and do something that makes you better. It's fucking incredible what we can accomplish when we get out of our own way. 

 

 

*snot-tears: when you're crying so hard that your nose is running but the tears and the snot are one in the same and you sort of hope those around you don't notice. Or if they do, they love you anyway. 

 

A Lady's Truth

Oh my but the fall weather makes me all kindsa feisty. I think it's the compounded affect of transitioning to warm, caffeinated drinks and my dislike of that "sweaty cold" sensation. You know, when it's windy and perhaps some might say "nippy" and yet, while hustling to your next destination you are somehow sweaty? I perpetually live in this state during the fall as I am naturally (and unfortunately) a sweaty lady. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm just sweatier than most other people because I'm living harder. There is no science to that. 

Catalyst of feistiness aside, I want to get back to the topic at hand which is this idea of what a lady should be. I am a sweaty lady, I am often a tardy lady, and the other day on the train a poor unassuming man got a justly deserved dose of feisty lady.

It was mid-afternoon on a weekday, on a fairly deserted Q train. I had been up since 7am, working the morning until 1pm and I was on my way to my second job, but not before a quick audition in midtown. I had calculated that to make my next job at 2:30pm I would need to leave ten minutes before 1pm from my first job, pray the trains were running smoothly, and do my makeup en route. Now, to clarify, this is not EVER my ideal situation. No lady yearns to be skilled in liquid eyeliner application on a bumpy subway car. That's like, not a goal, just so everyone's aware. But sometimes you have to factor in audition primping during travel time as a necessary evil of a busy day. But someone had feelings about this. As I sit, balancing two bags and a mascara wand a middle-aged man chimes in:

MAN: You look great, stop fiddling with your face.

ME:Oh. Um, thank you.

MAN: Yeah, you girls nowadays with the primping on the train. It's not ladylike ya know. And when I was young, a lady did this kinda stuff at home so us men didn't have to know all about your beauty tricks. 

...tricks? First of all, miserly-man-I-refuse-to-call-sir, mascara and eye-liner are not "tricks" they're sacred historical tradition (thanks Cleopatra). And second of all, REALLY? You think I'm sitting here uncomfortably getting ready for this audition out of some personal, social decorum revolution I'm staging? You think I like rushing from place to place, carrying my life on my back? Do you think I really like that I know which Starbucks bathrooms are clean enough to change shoes in? I'm proud of that, but I don't like it. But...oh...I see...you do think that somehow all this beauty trickery is for you. Well, I'll clarify then: 

ME: This is not all for you. This, all this "fiddling" is more than likely for two badass gay men and maybe a dainty brunette casting assistant. And ALSO, it's not really for them either. But how can you begin to understand when your "younger" days more than likely refer to a time 20 plus years ago when you had hair on your head.*

...now that last bit was rude and unnecessary. And I'm sorry, truly. I know how particular your sex can be about the hair issue. And wouldn't it be horrible if you lived in a world where society was hellbent on deeply ingraining ideology that one of your JOBS was to keep up some preconceived notion of how a gentlemen should look/behave/dress/speak? That there was some sort of judgment put upon you as an individual because of your subsequent lack of hair? Wouldn't that be difficult!

Men of the world, the truth is women are not dressing or primping to impress you. I PROMISE. If I wore what every man I've ever dated thought I looked sexy in I'd dress exclusively in large button down  shirts and hot yoga shorts with my hair half up, half down. What's so great about that, by the way? The half up half down. It makes me feel like it's 1995 and I'm struggling to figure out what hairstyle will go with my First Communion veil. But back to the point, it's important ya'll understand how MUCH we are not dressing for you. Some women do, to be sure. But the majority, I swear to you, could care less what you think about their outfit or their hair or their makeup. We want you only to articulate how beautiful we are. That's it. But when we dress up, it's for one of the following reasons:

1.) Women dress for other women.

-You guys. This is the truest thing. Want to know why? All women are trying to impress other women. Even when we're all "Oh my gosh stop I do NOT look angelic today in this messy top knot and perfectly matching Lululemon ensemble!" we love when we get compliments from other women. There is an underworld of female to female flirting that you will never understand. And if you're a lady incapable of admitting that you've been attracted to/flirted with another woman for a variety of reasons, then I just need you to go watch any Penelope Cruz movie. Any one of them and get back to me...

2.) Women dress to try a concept.

-In tandem with the aforementioned, women dress in what I refer to as "concepts" and then try them out around their girlfriends to get a good idea of its wearability. Everyone needs a friend like my girl Whitney who's going to tell you your "top looks like a quinceanera vomited all over it." THAT'S friendship. But sometimes you see something on Pinterest that you've just got to try! Some concepts end  up really taking off and changing your style for the better. There was a whole summer I spent in suspenders and bandanas like a 70's runaway living on a cult compound, farming the land. That summer was the shit. 

3.) Women dress to "feel skinny."

-I know, I know. This is a bad thing to say, Bligh! This is anti-feminist! And yes, it absolutely is. But it's also absolutely true. Why not try to stop blaming mainstream media, magazines, model culture and the American obsession with "beautiful is skinny" and admit that WE ALL ALREADY THINK THIS WAY. Even when it's not PC to admit, if you think it, say it. Maybe if we said it more instead of hiding behind faux female empowerment and shared Jezebel articles we could enact some change about female body dysmorphia. Maybe. Because the truth is, I dress to feel skinny when I walk out the door. I want to look like the best version of my damn self and that version is the American, svelte Natalie Dormer! I want to FEEL like  the healthiest version of myself, but sometimes, that's not an option when getting dressed in the morning. I can admit to dressing to get thru my day feeling good about myself by "looking skinny." And I'm ok with that. 

So you see, there are plenty of reasons why I, and many other women get dressed every morning. Our fiddling is for ourselves (as most good fiddling is) and for a plethora of other reasons besides the ones I've noted. But the main takeaway should perhaps be: who really cares? Let's redefine a "lady" as someone who makes it work with as much finesse and grace as she can muster in her given circumstance. And let's redefine a "gentlemen" as someone who gracefully declines comment during said redefining process? It's worth as much of a try as the safe execution of an even cat-eye on a moving Q train.

 

*I'd like to take this moment to be honest and say what actually came out of my mouth in retort the subway man was something like, "Leave me alone, you are bald." Which, again, is deserving of dozens of aplogies for its rudness and overall unimaginative delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother Liam and I being idiots, me in full concept outfit.    

My brother Liam and I being idiots, me in full concept outfit.