Updates and Randomness

This post is likely to be all over the place because it is May and in May, I am generally all over the place!

Foot/Leg-  I have been cleared to work out.  Great news.  Still no running.  Not so great news.  I’ll go back in another two weeks for another check-in and we will take it from there.  Two weeks at a time.  I am happy at this point that I can get back to ballet and barre and at least use the elliptical.  It is definitely better than only being able to lift because while my arms look like the gun show, my legs and belly are definitely getting flabby and that is NOT how I want to go into summer!

Work- Work is in a word- insane.  May is always crazy.  Not only is there the 8th grade semi-formal and 8th grade overnight trip but it is the end stages of graduation planning and the kids (and teachers!) are checking out.  Additionally, May is about the time we start planning for September.  Double duty.  Craziness!

Random- 

There are two social things happening right now, both of which I want to vent about because I am livid and need to get this off my chest!

1- Charles Ramsey saved three girls lives.  In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard, he was able to rescue a girl who had been missing for 12 years.  She was then able to call 911 and rescue two other girls who had been missing.  Instead of praising this man for being the hero that he is, the media is making a joke out of him.  This infuriates me to the enth degree.  To top it off, while the world is making a joke out of him, he is donating his reward money to the girls that were found.  The world needs more Charles Ramsey’s.  End of story.

2- Abercrombie & Fitch CED Mike Jeffries doesn’t want fat people to shop at his store because he only wants cool and pretty people buying his clothes.  I have never so much as stepped foot in this store (or Hollister) because their sizes make it obvious that this is their mission statement, but i am even more full of rage that he makes blanket statements like “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”  What a gross human being.  Let’s instigate body snarking and bullying because we don’t already have enough of that with kids.  If you do shop there, or allow your kids to shop there, I implore you to stop.  Please do not give money to people who encourage this despicable behavior. 

In summation, the world needs more Charles Ramsey’s and less Mike Jeffries.

 

Authentic Blogging- Who Do You Blog For?

Before I even begin, the answer to this question is obvious.  I blog for me.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to do this for myself.  This blog started as a way to journal my experiences as I went from party girl to triathlon girl to runner girl.  If you have been a reader from the start, you know triathlon wasn’t something I intended to do past the first race.  And I certainly never (ever ever ever) thought I would become a runner.  So yes, I blog for myself first.

But I also blog for you.

Who are you?  Well, I know some of you have been here for a very long time.  Some of you, I knew before my blog.  Some I have met through blogging.  I have stayed in some of your homes and I have raced races with a few of you.  Some of you come only when I have a give-a-way (which is almost never) and some of you are brand new.  Some comment once in a while and some on almost every post.  I write for all of you.  For whatever reason you come here- because you relate to me, need swimming advice, think I am funny, because you want to know how my latest race went or because you know me in real life.  I write for all of you.

Being an authentic blogger is tough.  This is one of the issues I have struggled with most in my own writing.  Not that I feel as though I am not authentic, because I truly believe I am very real.  It is more like the struggle to make sure my blogging is personal, relevant and real all at the same time.  I don’t want to blog about the same things all the time or post a list post simply because I am not sure what I have to say on a certain day.  I want every post to really mean something.  There was a time when I did not come first in my blogging and it was obvious.  And I had to stop.  Having been back writing again, I feel really good.  Yet, I still have days where I struggle with “where do I want to go with this post” or “has this been done too many times already” or “will this matter when I look back on it” when I am thinking about my topics.

When I first started blogging, I had been reading Healthy Living blogs for about a year.  They weren’t nearly all the rage they are these days, but then again, neither were running blogs.  In fact, it was hard to find a good running blog.  The ones I was finding were written by people who were “real” runners and I was just trying not to fall off the treadmill for a mile straight.  One of the main reasons I started a blog was because I wanted to find other people like me.  I have always been a writer but I was so new to triathlon and running.  I figured I would keep a blog as a journal and if I were lucky, I would find other people doing the same thing.  Little by little people did start reading…caring…asking…about me.  It was surreal.  And I loved it.

Gradually, I formed friendships, participated in blog meet-ups and even ran this race with one of the very first people I ever communicated with through blogging.  I really loved blogging.  Then something changed.  With the blog world, with me…in general, I guess.  Running blogs got really big.  Healthy Living blogs had already blown up and now running blogs were too.  Suddenly, some of the blogs I had been reading for years became immersed in ads, give-a-ways and shilling products.  I felt left out and so for a while, I tried harder.  Even though some of the posts that were written during that time are some of my favorites, I am not proud of myself for trying to be someone I am not.  Often I was posting because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.  I was not always authentically blogging.

When I stopped blogging (I truly believed I would never blog again) it was because I needed to remove myself from feeling like I couldn’t keep up.  With how much I had going on in my life at that time, I just needed to back away.  When I decided to come back to blogging, I knew I would do it only if I could go back to how it was in the beginning.  Blogging for me first, then for my audience.  These days, most of my old readers don’t follow me.  That’s ok.  I know the ones that do and have been with me for so long are my friends and I am welcoming new readers every day.  I would rather have 10 solid readers who respect what my blog and come here for the right reasons than have to keep up with trends to keep hundreds of readers.

Here is what you will always get on my blog: Real Jillian.  A middle of the pack runner that knows her place in the world.  A regular girl who lives a pretty regular life and likes to document it in this blog.  Reviews only when it is a product I use, like and believe in and a possible give-a-way now and then.

Here is what you will never get on my blog:  product shilling, a boatload of ads, 35 rules to enter a give-a-way or in your face requests to follow me, re-tweet my posts or subscribe to my blog.

You come here for a reason.  If you didn’t like what you read, you wouldn’t.  I know from my stats that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic and people are reading.  I would rather have 5 genuine comments than 200 insincere ones.  I feel like if my blog was full of ads paying me to blog, my posts would become less authentic.  I would be blogging for traffic and not for me.  I would be forced to recommend, through ads and posts, products I don’t use or like.  I like my free not-so-big blog and I love the places blogging has taken me and the people I have met.   The blog is evolving but I am going to remain true to who I am.  Always.  That is my promise to myself and my readers.  The blog isn’t perfect, but it is mine.

What does authentic blogging mean to you?  Who do you blog for?

Learning To Stop Apologizing

I have a habit of apologizing.  I apologize a lot.  About everything.  Well, not so much anymore, but its been a long road of learning.

My propensity to apologize over everything was pointed out to me by a friend a little over a year and a half ago.  “You start a lot of sentences with ‘I’m sorry’ and often apologize for things that don’t necessarily require an apology.”   Truth.

I am an insanely honest person.  I have no trouble telling it like it is or giving my opinion when asked.  I hardly ever start a sentence with “I’m sorry but…” because A- “but” negates the “I’m sorry” and B- I am usually not sorry for my opinion.  I do however seem to be sorry for everything I personally feel that has to do with myself, personally.  For example, I say “I’m sorry” instead of “excuse me” all the time.  If I am coming out of a door while someone is trying to get in, I’ll say “Oh, I’m sorry” even though I have nothing to be sorry about and really I just needed to say excuse me.  Apologizing when I should be saying excuse me is like apologizing for being in a certain space.  What?  Exactly.  And it’s a funny thing; if someone doesn’t like my opinion, especially if they asked me specifically for this opinion, I don’t care.  But if I think a complete stranger hates me because we both want to use the door at the same time, I get all concerned.   I know the latter situation says more about them than it does me and that is exactly why I am working on these issues.    Sometimes, I have actually found myself apologizing for apologizing.

Thank God for therapy!

I had long forgotten that conversation with my friend until a conversation I was having with my therapist about positive changes I have recently made.  She noted that I have mostly stopped apologizing for every feeling I have and for every situation I am in.  She said that when I first started seeing her I would begin most sentences with “I’m sorry that…” and it almost always had to do with how I felt about a particular situation. (Note: particular situation=R2 for about six months!)  This happened all the time during my marathon training.  I was always apologizing to R2 because I didn’t order a drink or have dessert or stay up late.   By by making time for my training and specifically my long runs, I felt like I was letting him down.  It was in the weeks leading up to my race that my friend made her comment about my constant apologizing.  I wasn’t drinking leading up to the race and we were out to dinner.  I apologized to her for not ordering a drink.  She asked why I was sorry and I didn’t have an answer.  I was just so accustomed to apologizing for everything that I was at the point of apologizing out of habit.  I did not need to apologize because I didn’t want dessert.  Or because I couldn’t stay out late due to an early morning run.

Unfortunately, unlearning something is much easier than learning.  Apologizing became a habit; I was already an over-apologizer and my relationship with R2 just exacerbated it.  I have learned through talking it out that often my apologizing is a way of looking for validation.  For someone to say “it’s okay.”  I know now, I really wanted (read:needed) to hear “its okay” and sometimes the only way I got that was to apologize.  I know now, I do not need to be validated.  At least not in that way.

Apologies are now saved for times when I have to act with class and maturity and truly express regret.   If I come out of the door the same time someone is going in…well, that is just happenstance.  Definitely not something I regret or have to feel sorry about.  And when I WANTED to go to bed early, get up early or skip dessert even though R2 didn’t like it, I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad about it.  Yet, I apologized because R2 made me feel selfish for making these decisions.   I know there is a big difference between being selfish and just making different choices.

I am happy to say that I am not apologizing for nothing as much these days.  Probably because I don’t hang out with or date people that make me feel bad for living and not having to apologize for my choices has translated into not having to apologize for everything I do.  To see if my therapist and I were right, I asked my friend what she thought about my change.  We had dinner last night and I straight up asked her if she noticed a difference.  Her response:  “Definitely!”  She even noted when we headed to the bar and myself and another person were headed for the same seat…aha!…we bumped accidentally and I said, “excuse me” instead of “I’m sorry.”

Like everything else, it is a work in progress…but it is still progress!

I worked for a long time on this post and it still seems scattered to me.  Sometimes I have so much to say about something that I end up all over the place with it.  I would apologize for that, but then I would just be defeating the whole purpose of the post.  Instead, I’ll just post it and let it be 🙂

What We Should Learn In School

Found this gem on Thought Catalog.  (LOVE that site).  I loved this post so much and related to it in so many ways, that I decided to add my own commentary as it relates to me.  My thoughts are in red.

1. Keeping close track of your bank account and preparing a detailed budget is the most practical kind of math you will ever know.  Unless you intend to be a Mathematics major, there is no reason the every day student has to know Algebra and Trig.  No one is ever going to stop me on the street and ask me how to plot a point.  We should be teaching students from a very young age about savings accounts, budgets and credit card spending.  Luckily, I had financially aware parents who DID teach me about money from a young age.  I credit my ability to manage a budget and keep a savings to my parents.  Their teachings are also why I have an amazing credit score.

2. People who have to leave your life for one reason or another do not automatically leave your social circle, geographic location, or local haunts. It is imperative to learn how to deal with them without making a mess of yourself as quickly as possible.  I really need to learn to deal with this; I still run from aisles when I see people I know and don’t like or don’t want to talk to.

awckward

3. If you wear an amazing outfit and no one got to see it, you can wear it again, guilt-free.  Definitely.  Same with photos.  If there are no photos, it was like it was never worn.

4. Learning to cook basic meals for yourself instead of consistently relying on pre-made stuff is, beyond better for you health-wise, an extreme relief for your wallet. Yes. YES, YES, YES.

4. There are going to be horrible roommates in your lifetime, and learning to extricate yourself from those living situations, a) gracefully and b) with security deposit intact, is an art everyone should practice. My ex-roommates list of awesome qualities included: leaving shit in the toilet, not taking out the trash for days, turning the heat up to hell and having sex on my couch.  She was also the most financially irresponsible person I ever met.  She didn’t pay bills most of the time because she “didn’t want to” and after I moved out (deposit in tact!) she proceeded to not pay rent to 4 months.  I bet my landlord regretted letting her stay and me leave.  How am I sure of this?  He asked me to come back after he kicked her out.  It gave me great satisfaction to say, “sorry, I bought a house!”

5. If you don’t learn to fix minor problems — electrical, automotive, or otherwise — you are likely going to be exploited by people who know how to do them and want your money.  True.

6. Shopping around for any big purchase is always the best decision, even if you fall head-over-heels for the first thing you see.  The prom dress I ended up with was the first one I tried on.  However, I didn’t want to just get the first one I tried on, so I went ahead and shopped for a few weeks.  Then, when I ended up with the first dress, I knew it was definitely the right one.

prom2Still friends too!

7. There is no reason to eat less than you actually want to eat while out to dinner because you want to impress someone or make them think you’re more dainty. They’re going to find out you eat entire large pizzas by yourself sometimes anyway. I eat like a pig and figure if you can’t handle it, I am not the girl for you!

8. Everyone wears their jeans at least five times before washing them, it’s perfectly okay and it doesn’t make you dirty. If you say you don’t, I will think you are a liar anyway.

9. Breaking up with someone is difficult and messy, but the best way to do it is always to be up-front and honest with them as soon as you know it’s over. Dragging it out may make it slightly less hard on you, but it makes it excruciating for the person you’re dumping. If R2 had done this, it would have saved me a lot of pain.  I have never and will NEVER do this to someone.

10. Having a good handshake and a trustworthy smile will be one of your greatest professional assets. (In fact, there should have been a semester-long class in how to handle the first five minutes of any job interview.) I judge people by their handshakes.  True story.

11. Learning how to do your own taxes is essential — even if you ultimately end up paying someone else to do them. You should always know what is happening to your money. Check and check!

12. The differences between political parties are not always very clear, but there may be key issues to be tuned into that can change a lot, especially when you are voting in local elections.  Know why you are voting.  Regardless of party lines, just know why you stand where you stand without regurgitating MSNBC or what your parents have always told you.

13. Voting in local elections is important, in many ways more important than voting for the President. I believe every vote counts…but it DEFINITELY counts where you live.  And if you pay taxes, even more reason to vote.

14. Credit cards are almost never worth it, except in the rare instances they are necessary, in which case they should be used with extreme caution and attention to the fine print on the agreements. I have always known this and yet, I got into debt.  Working on getting out.  Getting out is a whole lot tougher than getting in.  Beware.

15. A credit score is a thing, and you have to maintain it. And if you just accrue a bunch of debt in the early days of adulthood and are really bad about paying it off, it’s going to be terrible and take a lot of effort to fix.  One of my proudest accomplishments in life has been keeping a high credit score, even through debt and some college repayment issues.

16. Flossing is extremely important, arguably more so than brushing, and your dentist is going to be able to tell when you go and you’ve only actually flossed for approximately three days before your appointment.  I know how true this is but I hate flossing. And that is just the truth. I do it anyway, but I seriously hate it.

17. There is nothing unhealthy, weird, or dirty about masturbating.  Who cares what anyone else does in their own bedroom?

18. Everyone should have condoms at their disposal, and no one is a slut or gross for having them. If we listened to more of this and LESS of Teen Mom, we might not have a teen pregnancy epidemic.

19. Traveling is very expensive, but there are many ways to make it less so. There are dozens of websites which will allow you to find cheap boarding, discount flights, transportation shares, and other people who speak your language.  A life well traveled is a life well lived.  Spend money on memories, not things. 

arubaAruba 2007

20. The metric system is a thing you should be vaguely familiar with, even if you live in stubborn, standard America.  I have no clue.

21. Borrowing and loaning money amongst friends is a very dangerous endeavor, and should only occur if there is a profound level of trust between the two parties. If you end up on weird terms with someone because of money problems, it was your own fault for agreeing in the first place.  Could not agree more.

22. Being on the lookout for good happy hours or specials at bars is an essential component of being an adult with an active social calendar, unless you are a secret millionaire who is happy paying 12 dollars for a cocktail. Especially when you have the bedtime of a preschooler.

23. There are some people who are going to need to get cut out of your life, and doing it for your own mental health doesn’t make you a bad person.  I have done this.  It has made me a better person.

24. No one’s choice of career is inherently better or more deserving of respect than anyone else’s. Thank you!

25. The only way to be sure you’re not going to get something you want is by never asking. Exactly!

What do you think?  Anything to add?

Guess Who’s Back…

That’s right folks.  I am back.  And hopefully still on your reader 🙂

Look, I needed a break.  There is more to life than blogging (I swear it is true) and I needed to spend time on those aspects of my life for a while without feeling bogged down by writing blog entries.  And without the pressure of keeping up with every blog in the sphere.  Which I don’t even close to do, but felt like I was doing.  In the time since I took my break (six weeks total) I have kept up with many of you.  Whether via email or facebook or texting.  And in many cases, I was still keeping up with your blogs.  Just not commenting.  I have a feeling that my blogging from here on out with be more like it has been this past six months.  Sporadic.  Reading without much commenting.  Life before blogging.  And if you stopped reading Finishing is Winning, it’s understood.  And if you don’t comment, that is understood too. 

But I am back.  And I hope you are still reading.

More Great Workouts, A Fall, No More MBE & Racing. Oh, Randomness.

List post!

  • You’ll notice I did not post an MBE this week.  Or maybe you won’t.  Either way, it was a good run but all good things must come to an end.  The truth is, there was so little participation and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with, that it became somewhat of a distraction.  I simply have too much going on, and too many things I want to blog about.
  •  On Mothers Day, I worked at BFG for 12 hours!!!  12!  And worse, I fell right before my shift started.  I was taking the wine glasses out to the bar and the roller they were stacked on gave out.  Seven racks of wine glasses began to tumble and as I tried to save them and hold them up, I went down in a split with the racks on top of me.  I don’t think I have done a split since I was little!  I actually thought I hurt my leg, but turns out it was my back.  I don’t think it is anything major, but still…ouch!
  • Ran 5 miles today 🙂  Yes, even with the back pain!  That was my second consecutive 5-miler that went fabulous!  My legs are holding up (thank goodness) and my endurance has been great.  Best of all my speed is getting better and better!
  • The next two weekends are going to be crazy busy, but also so much fun.  This weekend, I have a surprise party for a friend (won’t write the name, I have no idea who reads my blog!) and a wedding for one of my closest teammates.  The following weekend, I am taking R2 to Lancaster for his birthday.  We are staying two nights at a B&B and I am taking him to the Lancaster Brewery for dinner and a tour (which he doesn’t know about yet) of the brewery.  I am so looking forward to some quality time with him.  And yes, I am an amazing girlfriend 🙂
  • I am posting a poll on the right side of my blog- I am looking for a new car.  I currently drive a Toyota Corolla, which I love.  It has been good to me but I have always wanted a Honda Civic.  I am conflicted.  The cars are somewhat similar in size, gas mileage and even price.  I have also been throwing the idea of the Chevy Cruze around because it’s American and lower in price.  I don’t like that it replaces the Cobalt which was a bomb but I had a Cavalier for my first car which was in my family for like 15 years so I know they can make good cars that last long.  I’ll take any advice I can get on the Cruze and the Civic if you have any.   The poll is just for fun- help me pick my new car 🙂
  • As many of you noted in my last post, my spirits are high and I am in a really good place right now.  The only thing in my life I wish I could change is my job.  Since I have so much good in my life outside of work, I feel like I can get through 8 hours a day.  Plus, I know how lucky I am to have a job in the first place!
  • I have been noticing more and more people are running the Philadelphia Half & Marathon in November!  I’ll be staying in the city (even though I live 20 mins away!) and would love to do a bloggy meet-up.  I am thinking the afternoon of the expo, maybe designating a place for drinks/apps?  I am in the city a lot and know quite a few good places.  If this sparks enough interest, I will work on putting something together.
  • I have decided on my second fall half-marathon.  I am going to run the Newport-Liberty Half on Sunday, September 25.  It is cheap, mostly flat and fairly close to home for me.  My friend lives pretty close and is running it with me, so travel will be relatively easy.  Anyone ever run this race?  Anyone planning to?

 

Ok interwebs, back to work for me.  Hope to catch up on my reader this week since I won’t be around this weekend!  Hope everyone is having a great week!