Advice my mother gives me

No beverage: just frustration

Hi friends! So I know you haven’t heard from me in awhile, and honestly, I had a post mostly written and ready to roll out for my big return (stay tuned for that one) but today I feel like I just need to get something off my chest. And this just happens to be my outlet of choice

For those of you who’ve been loyal readers (thank ya kindly) you know that as a runner, and as a woman, I’m no stranger to creepy men doing creepy things. Just as a recap, I’ve been catcalled, followed, spit at, had someone pretend to jerk off at me…the list goes on. I once had someone tell me repeatedly to kill myself and that he hopes I die because I ran into the street while his dog was chasing me.

These experiences don’t make me special, I know. It happens to most, if not all, women. It also happens to men and individuals in general. But let’s not pretend that it’s an equal distribution.

For those of you who follow me on social media, you know that I’ve also been intermittently vocal about my issues with creepy men doing creepy things, in addition to the occasional irresponsible dog owner. But here’s the thing about using a Facebook status as an outlet for a complaint. People don’t always want to hear it. It’s old news. It’s dramatic. It’s just words.

A couple of years ago, I didn’t say good morning to someone on a run. They didn’t say good morning to me either, so I wasn’t aware I had missed the conversation. But anyway, the person proceeded to scream terrible things at me. But when I took issue with this, I was accused of being dramatic, of putting more severity into something that wasn’t that severe.

To that person I say, how do you know? How do you know the intention was just words? How do you know I’m mistaken? Because I don’t. And I was there.

This all brings me to my title and to my rant. Leaving a workout yesterday, I saw a man notice me and cross the street to my side. The man made me uncomfortable before he even crossed. I could see he was having a conversation with someone, and I could see that he was watching me. As he crossed the street he approached me saying, “I am homeless. I need help. Give me money.”

Ok, so if I can interject for a second: any John Mulaney fans get some New In Town vibes from this?? Anyone? Just me?

“Excuse me”
“I am homeless”
“I am gay”
“I have aids”
“I’m new in town”

Just saying.

Anyway, I didn’t answer the man. I was alone. I felt uncomfortable, and I wanted to get to my car. I also don’t carry cash, but that’s not really here nor there. What matters here is that when I failed to answer, he continued to follow me, demanding an answer, calling me a fat bitch, and saying he was going to punch me in the face.

He didn’t. I’m fine. I got in my car, and I drove home. I called my parents. I immediately tried to minimize it. Was I being rude for not answering? Did I manifest the situation by being uncomfortable before he even started speaking? Am I really fat?

He didn’t actually hit me, so was there really a problem?

Like I said, I’m fine.

And yet, none of this is ok.

That brings us to today, and my motivation for this post.

Today I went for a run. One mile in, some guys in a work truck drove by, and one yelled at me and told me to take my shirt off. A half mile further down the road, a car full of teens said something similar. And like I said earlier, none of this is new. And I know the odds that anyone is going to stop is pretty small. But at the same time, I have been followed before.

And it brings me to what my mom said on the phone last night.

“As a woman, you can never just assume you’re safe.”

You see, when I saw the guy yesterday, I immediately got a weird feeling. But no one wants to be that girl who assumes everyone is out to get them. And again, the guy never touched me. But he also didn’t get close enough. So when it comes down to it, who knows?

And are you noticing that even here, in a space that I own, I’m taking care to make a space for this man? Are you seeing how much I feel like I need to clarify that I wasn’t hurt? Can you read into it the insecurity I feel around the possibility that someone may think I’m exaggerating or being dramatic? Can you tell that even now I’m questioning whether I overreacted to the situation.

In the case of the two cars today, I didn’t think that they were going to pull over or anything. Like I said, that type of behavior is pretty common. But it’s all just so exhausting. It’s demoralizing. I’m trying to accomplish something, and instead I’m reduced to an object that is not deemed worthy of even the slightest respect. It makes you question why you’re doing all of this shit in the first place. The repetitive decision making process of determining what’s a threat and what’s just “guys being guys” makes the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the run seem pointless.

Which is why I’m sitting on my porch right now instead of finishing the last two miles of my run.

So I guess that’s really all I have to say on the matter. There’s nothing really to do about it, and I’m sure I’ll be back out for a run tomorrow. But sometimes it feels nice to just remind people that this is the shit that women get to deal with.

Thanks friends, and I promise you’ll get a new post this week! A fun one!

Early Pandemic Brigid Can Catch These Hands

Today’s beverage: Michelob Ultra…3 weeks out from the beach y’all!!!!

Guys, I’m tired. Like I’m just wiped. out. This week has felt so long.

It’s not that I haven’t been sleeping. I mean, I’ve never slept well, but like I just feel like sleep is not my problem. I have strong negative feelings towards anyone who can just put their head on a pillow and just fall asleep. It’s just not right.

In general, I’m just not a great sleeper. I take forever to fall asleep, and I wake up a lot during the night. And no, it’s not because of a prostate problem, like in the commercials, because I don’t have one, obvs.

No, I’ve come to terms with the fact that sleep would not go on my resume as a skill. I will say that recently, my boyfriend’s snoring problem hasn’t made things any easier.

To clarify, the fact that my boyfriend snores is not the problem. He can’t help it.

The problem is the fact that he snores like a fucking psychopath. I woke up the other night to a very terrifying knocking sound. After spending about 15 minutes trying to identify the noise and deciding who should inherit my jigsaw puzzles when I’m murdered, I discovered that the knocking sound was snoring. I shit you not, the man throws his voice like a ventriloquist when he snores. Add that to the fact that his snores are not noises that should exit the human noise/mouth area and you’ve got a real situation on your hands.

Now, I accept that I’m not always a dream either during my REM cycle. I have this really fun habit in which I will occasionally experience night terrors several nights in a row with no warning. These started back in college. It’s fun for everyone involved, really.

Let me paint you a word picture: I’m sleeping. Peaceful as a lamb. Then I “wake up” and there is 100% without a doubt someone standing over me. So I immediately throw the closest object at them as hard as I can. This object is always a pillow. Because that’s for sure going to help me out with a real intruder.

So that’s the fun part for me. The fun for the other person comes when I do actually wake up, but I’m still terrified and freak out on whoever’s closest to me. Again, usually with a pillow. This time it truly is a good thing.

But I digress. Because as I already said, this is not about sleep. I just can’t pass up a good tangent.

I’m tired because my main personality trait is burning the candle at both ends. And then for funsies, I go ahead and set the middle on fire as well.

I’m finding myself to be suddenly committed to various athletic events, and to say I’m unprepared is an understatement.

So here’s the thing. What had happened was, early pandemic Brigid made the mistake of thinking that a pandemic was the perfect time to get back into the best shape of my life. And I know, I’m not the only one who made that foolish decision. I have Instagram. I get it. This is my first pandemic, and I didn’t understand the rules. I didn’t know that the goal is just to, like, exist to the best of my ability until the world starts to straighten itself out.

The result of this is that I’m currently signed up for two half marathons and the Tough Mudder, all between May and June. In fact, the second half marathon is the week after the Tough Mudder. How did this chaos happen? Deferrals. That’s how. All the races I signed up for last year got moved to this year. Since I have the memory of a goldfish, I forgot and signed up for new races this year.

RUN ALL THE RACES!!

So now I’m trying to learn how to run more than 5 miles at a time again. I’m also trying to get myself to finally be able to do a pull-up. I’m still teaching spin, and I’m hell-bent on getting my six pack back. Essentially, everything is about to fall off. It’s great.

And the kicker is I’m sure there are more things that I signed up for, and now I just have to wait until they pop up. It’s a mess. I’m a mess.

How tired am I? I dozed off during Peaky Blinders! Because nothing relaxes you more than wondering who’s next to get their eyes sliced out by razor blades, right? This is especially risky, because falling asleep on the floor when the rabbit is looking for attention is a good way to get bit. You don’t mess with the Peaky Fucking Bunnies.

Had to do it. Not sorry.

I’ve also been running slow as molasses, which is fun. There’s nothing better than taking a peak at your watch and finding out that you’re going about a minute per mile slower than usual. It’s a real confidence builder going into a race.

To top this all off, my first race is a trail race. Last year, I decided I’d try my hand at trail races. There’s nothing too outlandish about that. The part that makes you facepalm is that my logic was to immediately go for the half marathon. Honestly I’m surprised I didn’t try and track down a full marathon right off the bat. Shit, if I knew how to do it, I’d probably have signed up for the Barkley Marathons.

Note: if you have not watched The Barkley Marathons: the race that eats its young, you need to. Like right now. Finish reading this post, then watch. Even if you don’t run, it’s wildly interesting because Lazarus is a crazy person and I’d like to adopt him as my grandfather.

Don’t worry, though. I corrected my mistake by finding a small trail 5k a few months back. All better, right? Nope. I decided to choose a race that involved running up a ski mountain and essentially making a controlled fall back down. But hey, I came in second! And then I got bit by a dog. That part is irrelevant, but here we are.

Circling back, Brigid is an exhausted son of a gun. I’m not sure if this epitome of “stream of consciousness” was a clear enough symbol of my current physical and cognitive state, so I figure I’ll spell it right out for ya. I’m nice that way. I care about my audience.

So why don’t I take a break? It’s just not in my nature. Why take care of yourself appropriately when you can just run yourself into the ground and then reset later. This whole thing is clearly Future Brigid’s problem. Live in the now, people.

I should take an example from my dog. Yesterday, Littlefoot got up at 10am and went outside to pee, came in and ate breakfast, and plopped her butt down on the couch. It was 5pm before I realized I plum forgot about her existence because she NEVER MOVED. This dog can nap. She’s taking a nap right now. Life for her is a spectator sport.

Honestly, the most frustrating part of this whole week is the fact that all I’ve wanted to do is write, but I literally have not been able to figure out what to write about. Writing is such a relaxing activity for me, and weirdly enough, it’s an effective method of resetting my brain. But I can’t write if I don’t have anything to write about! Hence today’s stream of nonsense. The main benefit here is that I actually feel better now than I did when I started this post. That may also be the beer, but who knows.

This does give me an idea, though. I’m gonna try something with you all; a choose your own adventure of sorts. If you follow me, and you have a topic about life in general that you’d like to see if I can’t put a few hundred coherent words together about, send it on over. If you don’t follow me, get off ya butt and follow me. And then you too can participate in the fun. This may ultimately be an unwise decision and I obviously have the ability to veto any topic I choose, but hey, toss it in the comments and see what happens.

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.

Do as I say, not as I do

Today’s beverage: coffee….it is not even 7am people. Calm down.

Why am I up so early, you ask? Well my dumb ass agrees to run with a friend every Friday at 5:30am, so I am now firmly in the post run bunny snuggles part of my day. Well, I’m trying to snuggle. The bunny is licking all the dried sweat off my neck and face.

And speaking of bunnies, I have news on the whole growing up and buying a house thing. The boyfriend and I have officially done our first house tour. It won’t be the house for us, but that is not the point.

No, the point is that a good test of whether our realtor was right for us or not (she is; she’s great) was her being understanding of my requirements for Elephant.

As I surveyed the living room and dining room area of the house, I noted that it would be perfect for Elephant because with two area rugs and a runner, she would have unfettered access to two whole rooms!

And that was literally like my only comment about that area of the house. Because when one is considering making the biggest purchase of one’s life, one must consider the smallest critter involved.

But the whole thing got me thinking, and I’d like to take an opportunity to introduce you to Elephant and explain how we’ve gotten to this point where I’m making major life decisions based on an overweight lagomorph.

That’s right. Rabbits aren’t rodents; they are lagomorphs. Take that, MOM!

(Just kidding, love you momma bear)

Back to the task at hand.

I got Elephant for all of the reasons you should not buy a pet, specifically a rabbit, but mostly anything other than a goldfish or a tamagotchi.

Hence…do as I say, not as I do

Reasons I bought Elephant

1. My mom said no. I’ve always wanted a rabbit. We had dogs, cats, fish, and a short-lived and poorly ending journey with frogs, but rodents are not allowed in the house. (See point above. *harrumph*)

2. I was replacing a boy. Literally one month after moving in with my boyfriend at the time, he took a job 4 hours away and moved out. This relationship had more red flags than a sporting match between Switzerland and China, so I really should not have been surprised. But anyway, we had just rented a 2 bedroom apartment, and yet I slept on the couch with a coffee table blocking the door shut every night, and I kept an old night stick next to my bed. (This is an improvement from the steak knife under my pillow. You could say I’m a bit of a scaredy cat.)

3. I was poor and busy. I couldn’t get a dog because they weren’t allowed and also I couldn’t afford one. And I’m allergic to cats. Plus I’m just like generally not really a fan…except for maybe 6 cats. Their owners know who they are.

4. She was on sale! All the bunnies in the pet store were $50. Elephant was only $15 because she was a baby bunny that someone dropped off with a note at the owner’s door.

So I took my Harry Potter discount rabbit and home we went. She peed on me in the car.

Immediately upon putting her on the kitchen floor, I felt I made a terrible mistake. Watching her slide across the floor using her front paws, I thought to myself, “Fuck I bought a paralyzed rabbit! What am I going to do?!”

Spoiler- she is not paralyzed, she just cannot navigate hard floors. Thank the almighty Dwayne the Rock Johnson for wall to wall carpeting.

Our relationship was not love at first sight. For about 3 months, the only way I could get her to come near me was if I played dead on the floor. After about an hour of no movement, she would hop over, smell me, bite me, and take off.

Fast forward to today, where as I said, she’s literally licking sweat off my body while I write this.

Now despite my irresponsible beginnings in the world of pet ownership, I like to think I did a pretty good job. Elephant is litter trained, and as a result, she is now allowed out of her house full time. Her house doesn’t even have a door.

That being said, I’ve definitely learned some valuable lessons in the process of owning a free range rabbit. She may be litter trained, but the training ends there.

1. I should have invested stock in iPhone chargers (I have no friggin clue if that is properly worded, I don’t know money things.) She has a 6th sense for them, and they must be destroyed. I replace phone chargers more than I replace eggs in my refrigerator.

2. Baseboards are apparently delicious

3. Rabbits can and will eat your couch

4. If you trip over them, they do not accept your apology.

5. Be careful bringing dogs in the house. Because the rabbit will attack them…and occasionally hump them.

6. Beware of hysterical pregnancies and check under your pillow for nests. Excuse me while I go vomit from this memory.

7. If you don’t want a food bowl chucked across the room, especially at night, keep the bowl full

Having Elephant around has been a treasure. Some say that dogs are a good judge of character? Please, Littlefoot is a trifling ho and will love anyone that looks at her. But Elephant? If you can pick her up without getting mauled, then you get to stay.

Also, according to the internet, she died like 3 years ago. The lifespan of an unspayed rabbit is 3-4 years and Elephant is going strong coming up on year 7. I guess this makes her a zombie bunny.

Actually, she reminds me more of a drop bear than anything else. She’s a drop bunny!!

This is the point in the conversation where you look up drop bears if you don’t know what they are. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Also, listen to Bob Barker and get your pets spayed or neutered. I was a poor grad student.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Moral of the story, did I think that when I bought Elephant all those years ago that she would be such a big factor in the home buying process?

Trick question! Obviously. And if you feel otherwise, you shouldn’t own a pet. You monster.

Now get ready for some word magic, as I find away to tie this blog post to my general theme of navigating a quarter life crisis.

*rolls shoulders back, strikes a power pose*

Learn from my mistakes and lessons so that you can avoid some of the troubles I have faced.

There, that should do it. Tied up and packaged like a nice Christmas present.

Yeah I know, it’s a stretch, but I got up at 4:30 this morning so I don’t want to hear it.

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