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.

As we mature, the relationship matures with us

Channeling my inner Marshall Erikson here

today’s beverage: New Belgium Black Berry Black Tea Sour…a delicious beer with a real bitch of a name. Try ordering one of those when you’re already a few drinks in. People are gonna think you’re having a stroke.

*Disclaimer: that was what I was drinking when I wrote this. I admittedly have been sitting on this post for a few days to get it juuuuuust right.

I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 5 years. Five whole years. To me, that’s a lot. I feel like I’ve grown up a lot since moving to Rochester, and leaving Park Ave when we find a house is going to be bittersweet. One the one hand, more space means more dogs, but I will miss walking to all the bars and restaurants.

But in my typical fashion, this thought has me reminiscing.

I love this neighborhood for many reasons. It’s safe, it is full of people my own age, it’s walkable, and there are tons of places to eat and drink. I feel like I’ve enjoyed them all over the years. But it’s funny. There are bars I loved when I moved here that I wouldn’t be caught dead in, and there are other bars that have grown on me.

I bet I’m not the only one, but I feel like I can track the evolution of my bar patronage in phases. Some of these phases overlap, and there has definitely been some backtracking, but it’s fun to look at it all and think, “man I was dumb.

Phase 1: Coming of Age

Call me lame, but I never had a fake ID. I snuck into one bar once when I was 20, and the bouncer promptly picked me up and removed me to the sidewalk. It was fine; I met a Golden Retriever. Gotta love small town colleges. Luckily for me, I had my whole senior year to enjoy the bars of Geneseo: the darkness of Kelly’s, the sweaty walls of the IB (RIP), and dirty water races at the Idle (no wonder most people got mono in college).

I turned 21 in Chicago. Well technically, I turned 21 on a train somewhere between Rochester and Chicago because I couldn’t afford the flight to my research conference. My first legal drink was purchased by my professor because I’m really cool.

Phase 1b: Dumb Adventures – finally old enough to drink, but with the common sense of a doorknob

Your early twenties. You’re finally done with school, but no one will hire you. All you have is free time, a credit card, and a minimal understanding of credit scores and interest rates. So you travel. Now, I don’t really like touristy bars. That makes me sound like a snob, but I don’t really want to pay $15 for a Bud Light. I also just really love a good dive bar.

To go back to my Chicago trip, all research students got beer tickets for the bar next to the hotel. So while I don’t like these bars, I’m not one to turn down a drink ticket. That’s how my lab (not the dog kind) and I found ourselves sitting at some Irish bar near Navy Pier. I don’t know why the birthday girl doesn’t get to pick her own drinks, but nevertheless an unwanted shot was sent my way. I figure, ok I can set this behind me on the bar and no one will be the wiser. False. Want to know who was the wiser? The gentleman I ended up dumping it on (not drunk, just uncoordinated). But while most men would be upset about being covered in a lemon drop, he ended up being our tour guide for the rest of the weekend. He took us to a ton of bars, resulting in me wandering out Chicago my last day with a sleeve of saltine crackers while I waited for my train. So it worked out.

And for the next few years, that was the theme of me and my friends’ bar adventures…”so it worked out.”

We learned that if you go on vacation and just head a few streets over from the main strip, you can find a dingy bar where the patrons have parrots and you’re the only ones under the age of 50. You’re also the only ones who don’t look like you’ve fallen on “hard times.” And it’s the best bar you’ve ever been to! That being said, if you do opt for the popular bars, you might also get invited to a company Christmas party with an open bar, even though none of you actually work for said company.

Sometimes, you have to venture off the beaten path, or you’ll never get free tickets to a DMX concert from strippers on the sidewalk.

We did not go; we aren’t that dumb.

But eventually, you find a job, move away from home, and settle in to phase 2, with a few backslides into phase 1

Phase 2: Bro Bars

We all know our town’s bro bars. *cough* East & Alex *cough* We all go to them, even though deep down we hate them. They’re crowded. They’re loud. Somebody will steal your umbrella (ok, you may have given it to them). They’re full of bros. But like all phases of life, there are lessons to be learned here.

For one, only let your nice friends order drinks. If you want a drink the second the urge pops into your mind, stay home and pull up a chair next to the refrigerator. Otherwise, prepare to wait. You wouldn’t think this needs to be explained, but it does. For the record, just because you think it took too long for the bartender to take a drink order for you and your six friends, you do not get to write “fuck you” as the tip. On the other hand, if you witness this action and leave an extra large tip and an apology on behalf of that asshole, you will get excellent service for the rest of the night.

Next lesson: This is not the bar to meet the love of your life. While I write my way through this, remember that this is written from the perspective of a heterosexual cis-gender woman. Alter the pronouns as you see fit.

Anyway, bro bars are not for finding love, they’re for finding love if you know what I mean. To be very clear, there is no judgment from me if you want to bring home a guy you meet in a bar and then never speak to him again. Been there, done that. (I’d say sorry mom, but she already knows all of these things.)

Bro bars are where you perfect your lying game. It’s the perfect environment for creating a new you. Now I’m usually pretty reasonable about this. I’m not trying to occupy someone’s whole evening if I want nothing to do with them. But, if I hear you ranking me and my friends by appearance, an evil plan will be masterminded. Hey guy, you think I’m flattered that you pick me? Nope, but you better believe that I am going to pretend I didn’t hear you and your idiot friends, and I am going to waste. your. time. I will spend the rest of the night creating the most elaborate backstory you’ve ever heard. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, you’ll fall in love. And then you’ll go home alone. And how will you know it was all an elaborate ruse? Because when you look at the phone number I wrote down, you’ll see that it is about 25 numbers long.

All this hustle and bustle gets exhausting, so you move up to phase 3. This is usually followed by an urge to become a hermit and never speak to another human ever again. But you just gotta keep chugging along…sometimes literally. Getting through this phase takes liquid courage.

Without further ado…..

Phase 3: dating apps

Hi! Millennial here. I’m no stranger to the dating apps. I met my boyfriend of 3 years on Bumble. But let me tell you, you get stung. A LOT.

I just can’t turn down a good pun!

And if you aren’t beaten down enough by Bumble, there’s Tinder.

There are three tiers of “success” when it comes to dating apps. You can knock it out of the park and find love, you can hit a double and go on a few dates with someone before turning it into a great friendship, or you can get hit with the pitch.

Pro tip: Do not use “your bar” for dates. Don’t ruin the bar!

Another pro tip: Know your exit strategy ahead of time. For me, it was having a new puppy. Nothing ends a date faster than ducking out of a hug and insisting that you have to leave so your dog can take a shit.

Unintended consequence of getting a dog? If you set up a date in the first few days you have said puppy, a friend will likely remind you as you’re sitting outside a bar, enjoying a beer, and basking in the accolades of strangers wanting to meet your new dog, that you were supposed to be on said date an hour ago.

Fun fact, you can apparently stand up a guy once and it’s not a deal breaker. But if you accidentally do it a second time, now you’ve fouled out.

But sometimes, if you’re lucky, one of those dates works out and then you can go back to all your favorite bars, significant other in tow, without a care in the world, thus graduating to phase 4

Phase 4: “your bars

Hello local breweries and quiet bars, my name is Brigid and I’m here to stay. You say you have a new Triple IPA? Well poor me a glass, toss me a bowl of peanuts, and keep that tab open. Maybe schedule me for an Uber in two hours.

Call me old and boring, but when I hang out with my friends, I like to hear what they’re saying. These darn youths and their music! I don’t want to leave a bar feeling like my hearing was damaged.

In my mind, this is me finally becoming a real adult! Go me!

End of the list right? Wrong! Because do you want to know what phase can overlap all others??

WORKING IN A RESTAURANT

For a brief period of time, I was a hostess at pub with a friend from high school and some other great people. Only problem is that when it came to going out after a shift we were absolute fuckin degenerates.

There’s not much to say here except that I had a blast, we were horrible influences on each other, and I’m shocked sometimes that I’m still alive.

I feel like most people who work in a restaurant can relate. The hours are weird, you never have to be up early, you’re already downtown, and you’re flush with cash and the memories of customers being wrong. It’s anarchy.

Ok everyone, so now we’ve come to the part where I figure out how to tie this in to the quarter life crisis and side hustle theme….

Gather round…

I got this. It is likely that the reason I need a side hustle now is because I spent my younger years in bars and subsequently spending too much money on pizza and ubers.

NAILED IT

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