Ok Boomer, you win this time

Today’s beverage: coffee on an airplane

Leavinggggggg on an airplane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Just kidding, I have a return ticket for Sunday.

I hate flying, so I figured maybe I’ll write to pass the time and see what I come up with. Ladies and gentlemen, buckle those seatbelts, secure those tray tables, and hold on to your butts. We are headed to North Carolina for a girls’ weekend!!!

This is actually my first of three trips to North Carolina scheduled for this summer. If you know me (hi mom) you know that I have a brother in North Carolina, so you’d think this would be a great schedule to see my biggest brother, right? Nah. He is literally not in the state of NC for any of this trips!

Of course this would happen, because one of my friends on the trip has been saying for about 6 years that I made him up because she’s never met him. So I’m sure she’s “shocked” that he’s conveniently out of town this weekend. But he’s real, I swear! He’s just way too smart and successful and in demand at his job.

But anywayyysss, I’m sure you noticed that none of that has anything to do with the title of this entry.

Another thing that has nothing to do with the title? I have press on nails currently, and typing is so. fucking. hard. Like this is going to take me forever. But as I said, irrelevant.

No, this post is going to be about realizing that living like you’re in your early twenties would kill you now. I remember being in college and my dad told me that in his thirties he had a dream that he missed all of his finals and woke up in a panic. He said it was a real nightmare. And I just sat there like ok boomer, I have night terrors but go off.

But then it happened. I had the dream. The first one was a few years ago. I got lost on campus and missed my finals. Another time I realized halfway through the semester that I skipped two whole courses. Last night it was that I never handed anything in and flunked out.

And folks, the boomer was right! It’s awful!!! Sometimes I wake up from these dreams and almost need to go track down my diplomas to remind myself I finished all the things. I give so much respek to adult learners. I would not be able to hack it.

And it’s here that I ask myself, when did I get so old? There were definitely signs along the way. I had a MySpace. I have a Facebook. I have no fucking clue how to TikTok. I did not own a crop top or high waisted jeans in college. That last one is a real bummer because it sure would have been nice to discover that trend when I still had a six-pack. I was sub-tweeted when I didn’t even have a Twitter since I didn’t have a smart phone. Here’s looking at you, girl who wanted to fight me because I politely asked for my jacket back after you stole it.

It wasn’t until I was confronted with the idea of having to go back to school because my dreams told me that I never finished that I looked into the mirror and said, “I’m too old for this shit.”

I could not do college again. Or at the very least, I couldn’t do college how I did it the first time. I remember one Sunday, after beach party, rolling into the locker room for the long run. I was 5 minutes late, I was not coming from my own home, which it’s not what you think (not that it matters if I was coming from a night of getting railed), but I used to sleep at one of the other track houses all the time. Anyway, I roll in with nothing but a granola bar and probably beer in my stomach, and nothing but a bikini and a sweatshirt on my body. And then I ran 16 miles and went to brunch. Now I can’t have a beer within 72 hours of a long run, or I’m pretty sure I’d die.

Even beyond the party aspect of college, which I know was pretty minimal compared to the average college experience since I was an athlete, I don’t think I could handle it in general. I mean, all nighters to write a paper? My bedtime is firmly set at 10pm. I’d fail everything. And to think I didn’t discover coffee until grad school! My college roommate gifted me with a pretty solid caffeine habit.

I feel like in general I’m just not suited for college life anymore. I was much more resilient back then. The world and life hadn’t quite knocked me down yet. I lived in a “garden apartment,” which we all know is just a nice way to say I lived in a basement, and we had ants. Because it was a basement. One day in class I pull out my laptop, and I’m typing away, when all of the sudden, ANTS START CRAWLING OUT FROM THE KEYBOARD! At the time I just put the laptop in my backpack before we had a locusts descending on Egypt situation. If that happened now I’d need to set up an emergency appointment with my therapist, and I’d have to set the thing on fire.

Speaking of things that would cause absolute trauma now, I once blew the circuit in our apartment. The breaker was in the landlord’s basement, which shared a door with our apartment (proof we lived in a basement). As a result, the door to the basement is supposed to be unlocked, at least on their side, at all times. Our side was a different story. While our landlord was very nice, my roommate and I had some feelings about the guy living with her, who we didn’t discover until years later was her nephew. So the door stayed locked.

Why were we not on Team Random Man? Let me paint you a word picture. Don’t worry, it all circles back around to my original point. Bear with me.

It’s not rare for college athletic teams to have items that are passed down from class to class. For us, it was a mannequin leg. All the seniors would sign it when they graduated and it would go to a younger house. My junior year it found its home in my apartment. After Christmas break I respond to a knock on the door from the landlord’s mystery boy. When I open the door, he’s standing there with a mannequin leg. Questions pop into mind. Where did you get that? Why do you have it? How did you know we had one? WHY DA FUCK WERE YOU IN OUR APARTMENT?

So now that you have that background, let’s go back to the power outage. I unlock the door from our side to the basement, but it won’t open. We are supposed to have access, so I’m sitting there like, imma get this door open. After pushing with all the might in my little runner body, it opens. So you may be asking, was it locked by accident? Nope. ‘‘Twas not. It was blocked shut….BY A PILE OF MANNEQUIN PARTS.

Now as an adult, this would be the point where I pack my shit and move home for the rest of my life. But because college students have zero living standards, I just flipped the breaker and went about my day.

Thirty year old me and twenty year old me have very different guidelines for fuckupedness. That’s a word; don’t worry about it.

Update: adding an airport beer to the works

Back to business.

The moral of the story here is that I never thought something so innocent as dreaming about missing a college class would cause me such distress, especially compared to the fact that I routinely wake up convinced that someone is standing over my face, but here we are. The boomer was right. You win this time. Also, I know my dad reads this, so don’t worry dad I love you! Except for the first day of your retirement when you were on the roof at 7am doing construction work. It may have been 11 years ago but I remember being so rudely awakened by someone who was supposed to be RELAXING!

What these dreams taught me is that despite the fact that I hate that my joints are crackly and my resilience in the face of nonsense scenarios has gone down the toilet, I’m not sure I’d trade it for going back to college. Because I’m tired. And I know, almost-30 is not old. I’m still a spring chicken. I’m in my prime (To my boyfriend, you can still put a ring on it any day now). It’s just a slower prime than it once was.

And since all this reminiscing is bringing me back to my college days, I want to leave you on a fun story. It’s my cousin’s favorite, and it really is a classic example of college kids being hella dumb.

To set the scene: winter after Christmas break my senior year. It’s cold. It’s the middle of the night.

All of the sudden, the carbon monoxide detector goes off. It does its job and wakes up me and my roommate. Now at this point we had already had a gas leak just a few months prior, so this should have been especially concerning.

So I crawl out of bed and check the detector, and as you likely know, there’s usually a guide on the back with different beep patterns and corresponding instructions. This particular pattern said “move to fresh air.” Ok, that’s easy. So I take the detector, PUT IT OUTSIDE, and go back to bed.

Fortunately, I realized that this didn’t seem right. In reality, it was fortunate that it ended up just being a malfunction, but we didn’t know this at that point. So I call the fire department, not 9-1-1, because it’s still not occurring to us that this is a real problem. I went to college in a rural area. We got the fire department’s voicemail! This led to a very casual 9-1-1 call, which led to a somewhat less casual argument with the operator as to whether or not we could just stand near a window as opposed to going outside because “we feel fine, and it’s cold!”

Ladies and gentlemen, I currently possess a masters degree.

So until next time… I guess I need a closing catchphrase, but that’s a hurdle for another beer.

A forgone conclusion

Today’s beverage: Mich Ultra Spicy Pineapple Seltzer….on the porch!!!! Every drink tastes better on a porch. It’s science. I checked.

I was a running stroller baby. Then I was a “bike ride while my dad runs” child, followed by a “run with my dad” preteen, culminating in a “run while my parents ride their bikes” adult.

It’s the ciiiiiiircle of liiiiiiife!

So yeah, me being a runner was a forgone conclusion, etched in stone since the time of the dinosaurs. In fact, when I’m tired, I even run like a T-rex. It’s a family trait. So I’m a runner. But that’s not to say I didn’t fight it along the way a little bit. In my mind, I was going to be a soccer player, the next Mia Hamm if you will. To be clear, I was the only one who felt that that that was a logical goal. I chose to overlook the fact that my most valuable skills as a soccer player were really just byproducts of me being a runner. Other people, smarter people, saw these things. It’s why every coach made me play midfield. It’s also why a player on another team once slapped me in the face because she got so frustrated that I kept beating her to the ball, thus effectively removing her from the game. There was not a single person in attendance, myself included, who did not know she was a better player than me. But somebody was just faster. *hair flip*

This brings us to high school and adding some running to my summer training to get ready for my first year of JV soccer. Every day my dad would take me on an out-and-back 3 mile run. Except it was more of a out-cry-back 3 mile run. God bless that man.

I quickly learned in that 9th grade soccer season that some of my teammates, and their parents, were not my biggest fans. I wasn’t a bad player, but in a perfect world, I sure as shit should not have been a starter. But your girl’s got wheels! In their minds, my playing time was a threat to their college scholarships. Want to hear a secret? YOUR ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM IS NOT GOING TO A DI SCHOOL FOR FREE. And if I’m your barrier to that, you have far bigger problems. Calm down.

Fast forward to the first week of varsity indoor track, and I was sold on cross country. I LOVED my teammates. I still do! I’m in one of their weddings next year!

Added perk: my parents were thrilled. My parents are runner parents, and they like to hang with runner parents. I know this because my dad tells me…all. the. time.

I had done track and field during middle school (to stay in shape for soccer, obvs), and while I was successful, I struggled with living in my older brother’s shadow. I love my brother (now…back then? Meh.) but when you’re trying to prove yourself on your own merits, it hurts to have a coach not bother to learn your name. I was my brother’s sister, and that remained my title for two years. I thought I escaped this in high school when I established myself as my own person, until a coach from an opposing team asked my dad why he would travel to watch me race when my brother was the better athlete. I mean, he wasn’t wrong; my brother ran DI in college whereas I found my happy place in DIII, but like, what the actual fuck.

I won’t bore you with the details of 8 years of racing for my high school and college teams, but I will bore you with some things I learned along the way. Lucky you!!

I love the people that running has brought into my life. I have “friends from college” that graduated before I even knew my alma mater existed, and this is because of the support system our team has created throughout the years.

There’s a bond that forms between runners, between competitors. Watching someone hit a PR or break a record, even if they aren’t on your team, is a winning experience for everyone. Crossing the finish line and knowing that the person right in front or behind you has also completely emptied the tank builds an unspoken level of respect. Comparing blisters, lost toe nails, and sharing ice baths, and exchanging war stories of the first time you had to take a shit in the woods are also crucial bonding experiences.

But there’s also a negative side. Years of being told that you don’t “have a runner’s body” takes its toll. I have more of a soccer player body…I guess that happens when you play the sport for 14 YEARS! I lived in an environment where light means fast, where average is overweight. Teammates and I have discussed many times over the years that our standards for someone being “too thin” are unhealthy and wrong.

When you run competitively, your results are constantly under a microscope. Either you’re the fastest or you’re not. And when you don’t bring in the result that’s expected of you, you are picked apart…sometimes by coaches, sometimes by teammates, sometimes by family, but mostly by yourself. You have to be ready to get comfortable in your own head when you become a runner.

Having a good coach is key.

I loved my college coach. I thrived under his instruction. He’s certainly led to some interesting anecdotes throughout the years, and we definitely did not always see eye to eye, but all in all, he was an excellent coach on and off the course.

This was slightly different than high school.

Staggering your runs so that the slowest people start first and the fastest people start last is not the best way to foster confidence, especially when the fastest are expected to overtake the slowest every single day. Sending an athlete on a five mile run the day after experience heat stroke was also less than ideal, but I guess I’m still here.

I had a boyfriend after college who coached. I asked him to train me for a marathon, and he agreed but he also told me within 30 seconds that my weight would be open to his criticism. Sadly, I wasn’t even really concerned. Now when I need coaching, I turn to my brother. We have similar running styles, and he can’t weigh me from several states away….not that he’d want to, because he’s a normal human being.

Obviously, there are some questionable coaching techniques in any sport. For example, I’m pretty sure that there are other ways to develop my core and reduce fear of the ball than having a teammate stand at my head and repeatedly chuck a soccer ball at my stomach. I’d also say having dance studio attached to a bar was iffy, but it was Irish dance, so actually I think that checks out.

Moving on.

Running, both in school and after, has taken me to a lot of places. I’ve raced in Boston, Disney World, through Churchill Downs, along coast of Maine, and even the exotic destinations of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana. DIII just LOVES the Midwest.

I love running. I love the stress relief, I love the ability to test my body’s limits, I even love the fun tan lines! Even when there’s no race on the horizon (heyyyy, COVID) I still find joy in the miles. Here’s the deal though. You do something long enough, you’re going to run in to some bad experiences.

I was 16 when I got my first catcall that creeped me out. I was between games for a soccer tournament and went for an 8 mile run (key indicator that soccer was not my sport) and I was running in a sports bra since it was a billion degrees out. Some weird adult man whistled at me and said something gross about my body. I remember getting home and relaying the experience to my mom and being confused what he was commenting on. I mean I was less than 100 pounds, and my boobs hadn’t grown in yet! My mom would likely still argue that I’m a card carrying member of the itty bitty titty committee, but that’s irrelevant.

Over the years I’ve been followed (by cars, other runners, and a group of youths on skateboards). I had a lovely gentlemen pretend to jerk off at me. My favorite is when it’s raining and cars drive through puddles to splash you on purpose. Have you ever had a tween on a razor scooter spit on you? I have! And who doesn’t love to be chased by loose dogs?? Better yet, who doesn’t love getting bit by a dog and having the owner not believe you. Sorry I didn’t remove my pants to show you the bite mark on my thigh, but leash your dog, ya Karen.

Last year I scrapped one of my favorite running routes because a loose dog came out at me, and I crossed the street to attempt to get away. The dog ran in front of a car, AND WAS NOT HIT, because I knew the driver saw the dog and what I was trying to do. But the owner came after me, telling me to go jump off a bridge and die and that he was going to kill me because I almost hurt his dog.

Fortunately for me, the good continues to outweigh the bad.

I love that I can shoot a mean snot rocket (in the winter it’s more of a blood rocket). I love that there’s not a port-a-potty in this land that can scare me. At the same time, I love that runners take no shame in waiting in line to pee in the woods when the potties are full. We are a fit, but gross people. We’re good at testing the limits of how far one can go without a shower. You ever see a runner finish run with only one sock? You can bet money that they had a poopmergency somewhere along the way, but they still had a few miles left.

This took a fun turn for you all, didn’t it??

Don’t worry because here’s your reprieve.

To toot my own horn, something I’m trying to do more often, I’m no slouch when it comes to running. I have a marathon PR of 3:09, and I’ve won my fair share of races. But it’s a hobby, not a profession. I’m what you might call, “middle of the road.” That being said, a couple hundred bucks every now and again is a pretty sweet deal.

But I turned my running into money in other ways too. I was able to work in running stores for several years. The best part here is I got a paycheck and free gear! SCORE! This was clutch, because like most graduate students, I was poor AF.

And this lesson is what connects this topic to the theme of my blog…

*drumroll please*

Ladies and gentlemen, ya girl got her first paid writing gig!!!!! That’s right people, I’m breaking in to the game. WeeViews is an online running community that posts reviews of gear, races, and other things running. You can find my first post on WeeViews.com in the Rundown, listing tips and tricks for gearing up without going broke. Give them a follow, write some reviews, check it out!!

So until next time…I guess I need a closing catchphrase, but that’s a hurdle (or a steeple) for another beer.