Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life Update No Updates

Hey everyone. Nothing much is really happening. I've been adjusting and enjoying life with a motor vehicle. Bronx and I went down to Virginia last weekend to visit my parents. We had a great time and Bronx loved the "country." He got to run around and lay by screen doors all day. I just tried to rest and relax and plan my next goal. 

No news on the job front. I have a few applications out but I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I know I'm trying to enter a dying field without an internship to show for it. I can either work for below living wage, try to take on an unpaid internship in addition to my full-time job, or keep hoping and praying something will come along. Why did I have to fall in love with Journalism? Couldn't I have picked something more lucrative like accounting or law? haha No regrets. 

I've got some fun things planned for June including a Phillies game where they're giving out "Runner's Shirts" for those who completed the Broad Street Run and I'm going to see Train, The Fray and Matt Nathanson next weekend. I'm pretty excited about the concert since I've been wanting to go for months when I first heard about it. I'm also hoping to take Bronx up north to the Poconos for some hiking if we ever get a cooler weekend day. It seems that Philly just skipped over Spring and went right into Summer. Bronxie doesn't tolerate the heat very well so we got to be careful. 

In other news, I just started watching this show called "Chasing Life." It's about a girl who is 24 and finds out she has leukemia. The catch is she's a "floater" for "The Boston Post" which I swear is set at the Globe because the setting looks just like the Globe (I've been there). So she's trying to break her first real story to get promoted to a staff member. She's also dating a hot coworker and trying to be the support system for her mother and troubled little sister. She finds out she has cancer from her estranged uncle who is a pediatric oncologist and keeps putting off treatment because "it's not a good time."

The show is interesting because it takes a look at this fictional yet possibly close to reality, cut-throat world of journalism. It makes me laugh thinking I could have secured a staff position with the Boston Globe because I sent in an application and toured the Globe a week later. I'd be lucky enough to be considered for a "floater" position. What do "floaters" do? They get great stories and take notes on them for senior staff to write up and publish. I don't know if that is how the Globe works but I do know you have to be prestigious as hell to be considered for a byline. That's the journalism world and I am the water boy. 

That's about all for now. I'm headed out in a bit to see Pitch Perfect 2 and squeezing in a workout before relaxing this Sunday evening. Got a busy work week ahead. 

Until next time... 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Revisiting "The Courage to Change The Things I Can"

As 2014 came to a close I began wondering what kind of resolution I'd make for 2015. 2014 had been a pretty epic year. I graduated from Temple with my MJ, ran some really good races, got exceptional high pass on my comprehensive exams, visited Boston. Good year. So, if you've been following along you know I designated 2015 to be the year where I find "the courage to change the things I can." 

January was rough. It made me sit down and think about what I have control over and what aspects in my life are completely out of my control. My one bedroom apartment in Center City was beginning to feel small. I really wanted a dog. I wanted to live in a neighborhood where people actually talked to you. I wanted an oven so I could cook actual casseroles and eat them throughout the week. After four years, it was time to move. 

I haphazardly looked up some Craigslist ads and found two apartments in South Philly, the neighborhood I wanted to move to. The first apartment was a little too small (smaller than my Center City place) and the second apartment was huge. So at the beginning of February I had moved to a two bedroom apartment with a brand new kitchen, roof access, and it was pet-friendly. 

South Philly apartment. Check. 

The next step was getting the dog. After two failed adoption situations I wanted to give up. But ever the stalker I found Brutus in Stroudsburg. After some phone calls and e-mails they put him on hold. I remember when they brought him out of the kennel. He was so wiggly and happy. I don't know if he knew what was about to happen but he certainly seemed happy about it. I loaded him into the back of the rental car and he started doing flips. It was the scariest drive of my life because it started to snow but we made it home safely. It was the end of February and I had my Boxer dog, Bronx Brutus Rodabaugh. 

South Philly apartment. Check. Boxer dog named Bronx. Check. 

I adjusted to dog mom life and continued to search for journalism jobs. I was nearing my one year anniversary of graduating and really wanted to find full-time journalistic employment before dust began to collect on my diploma. It was hard, very hit or miss. I began to realize that the journalism job was one of those things that were out of my control. Sure, I could apply everywhere but it was up to so many different factors and people to decide if I got the job or not. What else could I change? 

My commute to work was getting longer. If I missed the trolley I could be 15-20 minutes late. If the trolley was late I'd get home late. Bronx was being left alone for 10-11 hours a day. Originally he was an angel with other dogs and I was going to enroll him in once a week doggy daycare. However my angel warmed up to life and now is very vocal around other dogs. He still wags his tail but he gets so excited his vocalizations come off as aggression to other dog owners. We have to avoid most dogs to avoid "a scene." No doggy daycare for Bronx. He does well in the apartment, no accidents or anything but I can't imagine how hard that is for him, being alone for so long. 

So we have a crappy commute on public transportation and a dog who is alone too long. Oh, and you can forget doing things after work. Happy hour? Got to let the dog out. By the time I get home and let him out and hop back on SEPTA to get to happy hour, it is over. Not Bronx's fault but I was feeling restricted. 

Time to look at cars. I had my heart set on a green Kia Soul. I've wanted one for two years and have been hellbent on getting that car. I found one in Jenkintown and decided to make the moves to potentially purchase a car. I haven't owned a vehicle since 2009. I've driven rental cars or my mom's car when she comes up to visit but that is it. 

Dead set on the green Kia Soul I was surprised to find myself drawn to a black Kia Soul after test driving both. Long epic story short, I bought the black one! It had double the mileage of the green but was in really good condition. It FELT like my car. For women, you know when you're prom dress shopping or wedding dress shopping and you find THE ONE? It was like that. The car and I just fit together perfectly. I didn't get that feeling with the green one I thought I'd be buying. 

Five hours later I'm driving off the lot with her. 

I've named her "Sasha Fierce." It started as a joke in my head and now I can't picture myself naming her anything different. She is a 2012 Kia Soul with low miles and is in excellent condition. I find myself looking outside my apartment window looking at her or finding excuses to walk Bronx past her just so I can stare at my car. I can't believe it. I own a car. It still hasn't sunk in yet. 

This morning as I drove to work, the trolley, MY trolley pulled up next to me. I smiled. It was a perfect moment. I felt so grateful to be in my nice smelling air conditioned car. The best part? I rolled into work right on time. 

Sasha Fierce and I are going to have a very happy life together. I can only imagine the adventures we're going to have. 

Until next time...

Monday, May 4, 2015

10 Miles

Yesterday I did something I never thought I could do: I ran/walked 10 miles in the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run. I along with about 40,000 other people made the epic trek from North Philadelphia to South Philadelphia. 

I got up at 5am on Sunday morning, got dressed and took my very confused dog out for an early morning walk. He isn't used to being out so early but he got up and happily went out. We took a brisk walk on our morning route. It was a little chilly but I knew the day was going to warm up. We got back home, I gave him an early breakfast, then ate a bagel thin and peanut butter and banana myself. I tape up my legs with KT tape, put on my compression sleeves, fastened my bib to my shirt and gathered my race supplies. 

I made it to the subway around 6:05 and was happy to see it wasn't crowded. The SEPTA attendant wish me luck and several other runners exchanged smiles or small talk with me. We were all there for the same thing and there was a strong sense of comradery. Only one subway passed us due to being full. The next one came and there was room on it! I got a seat which I heard was "very lucky on Broad Street Day" and listened to a motivational podcast until we reached Olney station. 

I found my friend and co-runner Erin within 5 minutes of stepping off the sub (another amazing thing to happen). We were plenty early, had a short wait in the porta potty line before stretching for a bit and picking a spot in the front/middle of my corral. It was like driving down a highway with nothing but green lights. Erin said it was the least complicated Broad Street Run morning she had ever experienced and this was her 4th. 

The only downside to being in the last corral is that the winners of the run were finished before we started. It took an hour and a half before we reached the start. I was a bit nervous. Erin tried to encourage me to run the whole thing and keep a slow and steady pace. I felt like I had to use the porta potty again but it was nervous bladder. The crowd began to move and we were off. I clocked my watch to start, pumped up the playlist and ran. 

The "wall of runners" wasn't that thick and I ran and what I thought was a decent pace. It was too fast. We finished our first mile in 12:30 which was fast for me. I got a massive cramp in the center of my chest and had to walk. Then I was off running again. Erin kept behind me. At first I thought she was doing that so she didn't lose me since I was slow and she was fast. Nope, finally she told me "Stop running ahead of me!!!" She was pacing for me! Running at a slow and steady pace for me to follow her with so I wouldn't get too winded too early. 

The crowds were great but I had to do a lot more walking than I anticipated. My hips, despite stretching every night, began to feel like knives. My lips developed a thick film over them because they were dry. We stopped at every water station, even just to throw water on our faces. My pace got longer and longer. By mile 5-6 I was walking more. I'll be honest, mile 6-9.75 I walked a lot. I was walking really fast but walking not running. I wanted to quit. I didn't think it was possible. Finally the finish line was in sight. We ran for it but I had to stop to walk again. My body couldn't take it. Then I picked up running and crossed it at 2:26:53. 

I had two goals: finish the Broad Street Run and finish within 2:30. Done!

It was the hardest athletic thing I have ever done in my life. I remember around mile 7 (what feels like the longest mile), looking around and seeing tons of walkers. I wanted to tell Erin, "look, I'm with my people!" She ran her slowest Broad Street Run so I wouldn't give up and stay with her. That's friendship. Poor thing ran well over the time she normally finishes. But we finished together! 

After the race we got food and medals. We took a shuttle bus to the parking lot. (Another green light!) Then after about 15 minutes cruised down Packer Ave to get to the diner by my apartment for some post-race lunch. I had a delicious burger and fries. There were a lot of other Broad Street runners in there too. We exchanged knowing glances that said "I know what you just went through, enjoy your meal."

I walked home and was greeted by my neighbors that knew I did the run. I had to let the dog out since it had been almost 8 hours since I last saw him. I wore my bib and medal for our walk. People congratulated me or asked me about the race. When I returned home with the dog my neighbors invited me over for a post-race beer. They even gave Bronx some ice water. It was perfect. 

Later that evening when I went to pick up my pizza and wings for dinner, I wore my medal again. More people stopped me and asked me about it. Some had ran their 10th Broad Street, some said their knees were already killing them. It felt so good to be a part of something. I've got another Philly tradition under my belt. So far we've got Mummers, 4th of July, Phillies Games, the Christmas stuff, Komen 5K and now the Broad Street Run. 

I learned a LOT of things during this race. 1) we're all winners. 2) those signs make a difference including the famous little girl with her sign that says 'touch here for power.' 3) I will train and do the race properly next year because 4) it was a miracle I finished under 2:30 (barely). I didn't train like I should have. My longest run before this was 3 miles. I couldn't even run a single mile straight through (though I kind of did during my first Broad Street mile). I think next year it is going to be a lot different because I will be way more prepared. 

But I DID IT. I set my mind to it, I had a great supportive friend and I DID IT. It felt great getting the text updates after the race with screenshots of my friends who signed up for my race updates. I've got one more race this year and then I think I'm going to work on body conditioning for awhile. It's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Breast Cancer 5K. I do it every year. Its my favorite race. Hopefully I'm able to PR again because after Broad Street, anything seems possible. 

Until next time...

What if I'm not a Writer?

I've mentioned this before. My first book I ever wrote was a few chapters long. Each page was a new chapter. I was in second or third ...