6

Suicidal / Sluricidal

Trigger warning for talk about suicide and slurs.

I woke up yesterday morning and followed my typical work-from-home routine. I went straight from bed to the kitchen to feed the cats and get the coffee going. As I walked back upstairs to login to the work VPN and get set up to start working, I thought about how much I wanted to finish the blog post I started last week about finding acceptance. A wonderful dinner with my family for my birthday the other night–which included witnessing my mom get drunk for the “first time in her life”–reinforced how lucky I have been through my transition and this seemed like the perfect cap to my drafted post.

Then, reality hit me. I may not constantly think about suicide anymore like I used to, but I am not cured from such thoughts. Yesterday quickly took a turn from a face full of smiles to a bitter fight with a head full of suicidal thinking. It seems like it always comes back to this. I get overwhelmed by regular life because my normal baseline is too high and there isn’t enough room to handle the other stressors. Some days, a single bad interaction or having too many things on my plate sends me over the edge. I feel alone, unwanted, and unnecessary.

In my head, I have this place I go in retreat when I’m not having a good day. I don’t go there willfully, but I blink and there I am with no way out. It’s dark and unfriendly, but it offers an easy escape from my problems. I used to spend a lot of time in this place and its solution was enticingly easy and complete. For close to two decades, I had a reason to fight through it and not accept the offer. I didn’t want to be remembered as a man and I didn’t want to die without getting to live my life as me. That would have been worse than living was. If not for this, I can’t say with any level of certainty that I’d have seen 20.

In hindsight, this should have been more than enough indication that I needed to transition. It wasn’t. Life is complicated and as unfriendly as the world is to trans people now, it was much, much worse then. I had never seen a positive representation of a transgender person until midway through college and I had never seen any representation that I even remotely identified with. It was always “tr*nny” this and “sh*male” that. “They’re a man!” These words were thrown around with such hate and disgust. I didn’t know what I was, but I knew I wasn’t disgusting and I didn’t want be a freak. I felt alone and alienated. How could I chose this path while feeling that way?

In my junior year of college, I actually learned the word “transgender” and experienced positive representations of trans people. It wasn’t trans people in the wild though, it was in a sociology of gender and sexuality class. Still, it was the exact opposite of “tr*nny,” Jerry Springer, and Ace Ventura. Trans people were real people and not freaks. I thought I had found what I needed. I thought maybe, just maybe, transition was a real thing that actually happened and something could do too. I felt hope and saw a bright light cutting through the darkness. There was freedom from feeling suicidal all the time.

I took to the internet to learn more and find out how one actually starts living as a woman. What I found was a world shaped by people like Andrea James and Calpernia Adams. A world where trans women were “transsexuals” and sites like tsroadmap were the supposed havens for people like me. Where there were cookie-cutter paths and ways to live if you wanted to transition. A single representation of trans, but no representation of me. And in this world, the aforementioned slurs were acceptable. It all read like a “How to be on Springer” guide. None of this was for me. This wasn’t what I felt at all. I felt more alienated than ever. The one path to not hating myself I had always hoped for had turned out to be purely academic. I wanted to die again.

I built a world of lies to live in to convince myself what I felt either wasn’t real or wasn’t real enough and what I wished for was impossible. I spent another almost ten years living in this fragile web of lies. I was miserable inside. I thought I could be cured by falling in love and that would be enough to make me happy. I fell in love, real love, but it didn’t fix me. Marrying my wife didn’t make it all go away, it couldn’t. I thought about suicide every day. I was living a wonderful life that I loved, but I wasn’t me. I was a lie. I hated myself. I wanted to die, but I was constantly saved by the same things that always saved me, not wanting to be remembered as a man and the fear of never experiencing my real self.

Eventually, I found what I needed to make transition possible. I found people whose experiences I identified with. I found representations of trans people and trans lives that represented me too. I found people who were living what I wanted to live. I learned it was possible to be trans well outside of the cookie-cutter molds which would have provided me with nothing more than trading one lie for another. This time, I did it. I went through with transition. I now live my life as Amelia and as a real person. As me.

The constant haze of thinking about suicide cleared. I got to actually face my dysphoria, gender, and me head-on and work on things. As I got to let more of myself out and discover the reality of transition and what was possible, I started thinking about suicide less and less. With each day, I grew to love myself more. I was finally just happy to be alive. 

But as I led all of this off with, I’m not cured and some days are a reminder of this. Over the last couple of weeks the fight over transphobic slurs has boiled over to a whole new level. The details are not the subject of this post, but the rift mainly centers around the use of the words “sh*male” and “tr*nny” and the same Calpernia Adams and Andrea James who nearly killed me ten years ago.

These words are among the things that turned me away and alienated me a decade ago and they are the words that terrify me today. Thankfully, I have never had any issue being trans in public, but I fear each and every day when I leave the house and go anywhere in public. When I am in public, I am never relaxed. I try to tune out the world and keep my eyes forward, but I am listening. I am listening for words like “tr*nny” and “sh*male.” I am listening because if I hear these words I know it’s time to make a quick exit. I know my safety may be in danger. These are not good words and they are often an early sign that your physical self may no longer be safe. These are words that scare me. These are words that make me extremely glad that I’m a marathon runner.

All of this is a reminder that I’m still different. I’m not just another woman in the world. Yes, I live openly transgender by choice, but that does not mean I want to feel separated from the rest of society.

This is the baseline of what’s in my head. I no longer hate me, but I’m often reminded that most of the world hates me. Those who fight for these slurs and think it’s infringing their freedom of speech to be told they can’t say them, this is what they’re fighting for, to be able to remind people like me how different we are. How we are less than everyone else. How maybe we should kill ourselves. Daily reminders of this push my baseline higher and higher.

This argument flaring up has left me little mental capacity for anything else right now. This is what made my morning so ruinable yesterday and threw me into self-care mode. This is what makes dealing with the rest of my life difficult. This is why just a slightly annoying or rough day at work makes me want to exit this universe. This is why a every little disagreement with my wife becomes an existential crisis. We all have our own things to deal with, this is mine. This is my baseline. When people say trans people are being “oversensitive” and “they’re just words,” what they’re really saying is they care more about their own entertainment and humor than they do about whether or not they’re making other people’s lives harder. It really is that simple.

I started writing this as a simple attempt at catharsis and opening up more about still feeling suicidal sometimes, but this is where it went because these things cannot be separated for me. And I am not alone. And I am not special. And I am not unique.

5

On my birthday and the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing

31Today is my birthday. My 31st birthday, to be exact.

Last week, I decided I wanted to write something about today. I wanted to write about the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago today, on the same day I turned 30. I had a whole post written out in my head and it was really good. Unfortunately, I didn’t write this post then, when I was thinking about it, and now I don’t remember any of it. I sat down to try to put some words together, but, honestly, I can’t find the right ones.

I always get really upset at myself for this, it feels selfish and self-centered, but it’s weird sharing my birthday with something like this. I always thought about what it must feel like to have your birthday be on a day that will be remembered for something horrible. While I’ve always shared my birthday with tax day, I hardly found that horrible. More comical than anything really, especially considering I write software to calculate the taxes taken out of your paycheck for a living. Ironic, right? At least in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word. I used to have a friend who was born on 9/11. I remember thinking “damn, that’s gotta be rough.” You just want to have a nice, enjoyable day, but everyone else is thinking about something else. I guess it’s just something you get used to? I don’t know. Right now, I’ve got a good balance going between “Yay! Birthday!” and remembering what happened.

The evening of the bombing, I decided I just had to go out and run. In the running community, this is what we do, right? We run. I was injured, but getting ready to start thinking about running again. I decided that would be the day. I needed to be out there. Does that count as solidarity? I’m not sure, but I just wanted to stand run with my community. My run wasn’t great, what with having not run in seven weeks and all, but it felt good to be out there. I decided that this would be something I would do every year on my birthday, run in memory.

This morning, I got up and did a quick four miles before work. Very different from last year’s run. I’m now tapering for the New Jersey Marathon and I’m probably the strongest (though, not fastest) runner I’ve ever been, much different from the me coming back from an injury. I thought a lot about last year’s run and that day. I’d put the emotions at “conflicted,” but I was glad I rolled myself out of bed at 5:15 this morning to make it happen.

The running community is very strong and extremely supportive. Everything for the last year has shown this in so many ways. This is a community I’m intensely proud to be a part of. I really don’t know what else to say about it right now. I wish I still had those words I had a few days ago, but they’re lost forever. Simply, runners are awesome, strong, and supportive. We’re a good bunch of people.

Moving on from that and to something completely different, I can’t believe my 30th year is over. Besides being one of those milestone years, it was also an extremely pivotal year for me. My life changed a lot over the last twelve months. I’ve now been on hormones for a year and have been living my life as me full time for almost six months now. I started 30 going by Andy to all but my closer friends and immediate family, now the world knows me as Amelia. While plenty of other things happened over the last year, this is by far the biggest. 30 was a good year, but I think 31 might be able to give it a run for its money.

1

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 14

Taper is here! Taper is here! Wooo!

Last week was a repeat of the previous week’s 60-mile schedule and it was no less grueling. My nine mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday were tough, but the paces were decent. Wednesday’s thirteen miles were a bit of a struggle, but I got them done. My legs are just so damn tired all the time now.

The wife and I before our long run on the towpath

The wife and I before our long run on the towpath

I moved my long run to Saturday so I could go out for an early birthday celebration with some friends at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn in Staten Island. I knew I’d want to drink a bit and didn’t want to have to worry about a long run the next morning. Though, in the process of moving that run, I unwittingly ended up running 77 miles over the course of 7 consecutive days. That would probably explain why Saturday’s 21 miles were awful. Probably also didn’t help that the temperature broke 70º. Even with a water break halfway through, I ended up sickeningly dehydrated by mile 16.

Anyway, I’m so glad to be vacationing in Taper Town right now. My body really needs it!

My favorite Picky Bar flavor!

My favorite Picky Bar flavor!

3

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 13

20140407-164126.jpgSixty.

That’s how many miles I ran last week! Whhaaaa?!?!

I’ve never run that many miles in a week before and I’m actually slightly shocked I pulled it off.

Tuesday’s nine miles were extremely solid. I wasn’t expecting that. My legs were still exhausted from the week before’s training, but somehow this run really came together nicely for a sub-goal-marathon pace run. Wednesday was a huge struggle though. I didn’t have anything to give and it felt really pathetic to have to stop a few times to catch my breath. I didn’t let it get to me too much though, my overall pace was still about where it should have been. By Thursday, I wanted nothing more than my bed; I could barely even make it up the stairs to change after work. The first half of that nine-miler was pretty blah, but something really clicked for the last three miles and I started to feel great. All of a sudden, I felt strong and fast. It was a huge pick-me-up after expecting an awful run.

On Saturday, I decided to head into NYC to hang out with my friend Zoey for a bit. We went to Dutch Boy Burger in Brooklyn and I got the jalapeno burger with smoked gouda from the specials and we split an order of chili cheese fries. It was very delicious. Then, somehow, we convinced ourselves that we needed Chipotle two hours later and gorged on that. I was solidly disgusted with myself after all that! Seriously, who eats a burger, chili cheese friends, and Chipotle in the span of two hours?! This girl, that’s who!

I finally made it out to the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath for my long run on Sunday. My first ever 21 mile training run. The weather was nice, sunny and in the 50s. Unfortunately, the run wasn’t all that great. My pace was a little slower than I was shooting for—I was hoping for 8:15ish, but reality was 8:39. I just wasn’t quite feeling it. Plus, there were two jackasses on bikes who were completely annoying. Somehow they kept getting behind me and when they’d come up to pass, they’d pass as closely as possibly and not say anything to indicate they were coming up on me. At one point, one of the kids came within inches of running me over and slammed his brakes just behind my heels. I had four or five encounters with them and it put me in a really bad mood.

Despite the fact that Wednesday’s and Sunday’s runs weren’t as good as I would have liked, I’m not down about it. I know my overall training is at least close to where I need it.

With last week done, there’s just one more week of training before a glorious two-week stay in Taper Town, USA. This week is a repeat of last week’s. 60 miles with a 21-mile long run. I can do this. I think.

1

One year on HRT!

20140310_161254_787_OToday is my one year HRTiversary! I think it’s fitting that I started fixing this joke of a body on April Fool’s.

When I look back over the past year, it’s almost hard to believe it’s been a year already, but so much has happened and changed that it really does feel like a lifetime. It also took me almost a year after accepting transition before I started hormones so, when it finally happened, it felt like a long time coming.

The changes have been unbelievable. I’ve seen my face develop softer features and more prominent cheekbones. I’ve seen new growth along my hairline. I still hate my hairline, but it’s better than it was. I’ve also noticed my hair strands are slightly thicker. My body hair growth has slowed and almost entirely stopped on my back. I never had oily skin, but it’s definitely even drier than it used to be and I no longer get even the occasional pimple anymore. Obviously, I’ve got boobs now, but they haven’t grown nearly as much as I hoped they would have. They’re still barely there. Though, I have developed a slight bit of a waist. It’s not huge since bone structure doesn’t change, but you can tell it’s there. And finally, one of the most noticeable physical changes has been the reduction in strength and how much of a slower runner I am now.

Taken together, it’s pretty impressive. I look in the mirror now and see the woman I always felt I should see staring back at me. On good days, I even feel pretty.

Most importantly, though, have been the mental changes. Where I used to just feel “off,” like an engine running on the wrong type of fuel, I feel “right” now. My head feels much clearer and 95% of my dysphoria is gone. I feel how I always thought I was supposed to, how everyone else feels.

There have also been a lot of other random changes that I didn’t expect. I started liking most of the foods I used to hate and I fall asleep quicker at night. I’d never heard of either of these things happening before, but I’m not complaining!

The only real negative aspect of HRT I’ve experienced has been my weight. I’m really struggling to keep under control. At first, I lost about five pounds and was nice and steady there. After five months of taking estradiol as a cream I decided to switch to injection. Since making that change, I’ve gained those five pounds back, plus another four. I try to keep better tabs on how much I eat, but it never seems to be enough. It’s a constant worry.

Overall, I don’t think there’s much else to say that I haven’t said already. Transition is a life-changer and hormones are no joke. Next month will be six months live as Me 2.0 (full time out as Amelia), I’ll have more to say specifically about that then. I just felt like this was an occasion I should mark in some way.

I’ve don’t think I’ve given an update on my overall cost of transition in a while, so here’s where it currently stands after 22.5 months since accepting it…

  • Hormones: $2,208.73. This includes all my hormones, labs, and doctor’s visits. My doctor simply charges $400/year to cover everything you do though them. My payment for my second year is included in this amount. My Spironolactone (testosterone blocker), Avodart (Dutasteride), and progesterone cost $60/month and my estradiol and syringes cost about $50 for three months.
  • Clothes: $3,095.89. This is my entire wardrobe including running clothes and shoes, but not including most accessories. Things purchased with gift cards are included here, but not all gifts I’ve received are (some items my wife purchased for me are, some are not).
  • Therapy: $3,083. This is 20 months of therapy at an out-of-network therapist. My last session was in January so this is not currently an ongoing expense. If my count is correct, this is for 27 sessions.
  • Laser hair removal: $734 (face) + $448.25 (other). I’ve had 16 laser sessions done on my face and have probably reached the extent of what laser can do there. The rest of the money is for three sessions each on my chest and stomach.
  • Freezing and storing sperm: $1535. We’re rather sure we don’t want kids, but just in case we thought it would be a good to make sure we still can. This includes the process of collecting and freezing sperm and two years of storage.
  • Legal: $528.03. This is my name change, driver’s license, and new passport (which I needed to pay to be rushed).
  • Other: $1,687.76. Everything else. Things like makeup, purses, and accessories, as well as all new snowboarding equipment (board, bindings, jacket, and pants) which I felt like I needed.

Total: 13,320.66

2

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 12

photo

Look how excited Leela is to take a photo with me to show off my new Oiselle lux side zip!

Really? Twelve weeks down already? DAMN! training is flying by!

Last week was a small step-back week with 48 miles—following an intense 57 the week before—and I was glad to have it. My legs were pretty tired through most of my mid-week runs, but they held up reasonably well, I guess.

Monday was an easy 4-mile recovery run and Tuesday was a rest day. Wednesday’s twelve miles might have been the most painful run of my life. The wind was fierce, 30mph with 40+mph gusts, and kicked my ass. Hard. When I finally finished, I came to a complete stop in front of a random house, doubled over in pain, and started crying. It was awful. My lungs hurt like all hell and I had a horrible side stitch. I felt like I was working twice as hard as I did during the Miles for Music 20k a few days prior, but ran 50 sec/mile slower. Just brutal. Luckily, Thursday’s eight miles were a ton easier.

My second twenty miler, on Saturday, was a little tougher than I would have liked. It was 17 sec/mile slower than last week’s with an overall pace of 8:20 and I worked a bit harder at the end for it. Though, this run was in the rain and with a bunch of hills so I think that evens it out. The plan was to get up early and beat the rain so we could run on the nice and flat Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. Instead, the wife and I decided to sleep in and snuggle in bed. By the time we got up, it was already raining and there were heavy rains predicted for the rest of the day. There was even a flood warning. With that in mind, we knew our chance to run on a path that’s literally between a canal and a river had passed us. It was no longer a safe idea. So, we were left to running from our house and dealing with the hills. We did the first twelve miles together before the wife broke off to finish her 15-miler with some speed work. I kept trucking on even though I wasn’t feeling it, but I was able to put together a decent negative split and run my last four miles at or below marathon goal pace. I’ll take it!

So that just about wraps up March which was easily my most intense training month of all time! I crushed my monthly PDR with 231 miles (I’m throwing tonight’s four miles in there)! That’s a 28 mile increase over my previous best! And I’ll also hit 536 miles on the year so far which is unbelievable for just the first quarter.

I’m really psyched about running right now and that’s good because this week and next week are my peak weeks with 60 miles. SIXTY! WTF!

3

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 11

Oh, you know, just jumping around a bit before my run!

Oh, you know, just jumping around a bit before my run!

All I have to say about last week’s training is that it was EPIC! Literally my best week of training ever! EVER! I broke my weekly distance record by four miles with 57 on the week! And I nailed my first 20-miler this cycle.

I started off the week with an easy five-mile recovery run, but by Tuesday, I was ready to put in the work and push myself. I had eight miles planned and wanted to do 8×1′ fartleks in the middle. I started out the run with the wife who is a faster runner than I am so she really got me moving. I ended up treating the whole run as a tempo run thanks to the quick start, but I didn’t forget about my fartleks; I nailed them too. In the end, this ended up being my first sub-8 minute pace training run since transition at any distance. I felt great.

Wednesday was another solid run with a negative split. Twelve wonderful miles. On Thursday, my legs felt tired, but they didn’t want to listen to me when I told them to slow down. I ended up pushing out an 8:15 pace for eight miles.

On Saturday, the wife and I were talking about where I was going to tackle Sunday’s 20-miler. I said I was planning to run on the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. She told me I may need to start at a different place on the path because the park I typically start in was holding the Miles for Music 20k and parking may be difficult. After a couple minutes of back-and-forth about it, we both decided it would be an excellent idea for me to run the 20k. It would change things up a bit and give me a chance to push myself some to get a measure of where I am at in my training.

After deciding to run the race, we ran a quick four miles together and I threw in 6×10″ hill sprints in the middle. I haven’t done them in a while, but I always enjoy them.

hill sprints for marathon training

Hill sprinting! I feel kind of badass in this photo!

I was a little skeptical that I’d actually wake up for the race at 6am when my alarm when off on Sunday, but I surprised myself and got right up without the normal fight. We made it out the door quickly and stopped along the way so wifey could get Starbucks since she’d be out there cheering for me. We got to the park nice and early and I knocked out an easy and relaxed 6.1 miles on the towpath. I made my way back to the car with 20 minutes to prepare for the race. My wife took care of registering me while I was running so I pinned my bib on and we headed over to the start.

Since I already wrote a race recap, I won’t go into detail, but it turned out to be a great race! I’m beyond psyched with my performance. I was pretty tired after the race, but I had enough left in me for an easy 1.5 mile cooldown run around the park to put my daily total at 20 miles.

Looking back over the whole week, there really isn’t anything I can complain about. I nailed everything. I got in some hard, fast runs. I racked up 57 miles in 6 days of running for a new weekly PDR! I rocked my first-ever 20k about 30 sec/mile faster than planned.

I’ve got five weeks until the New Jersey Marathon and I’m starting to feel good about things. This training cycle has had a lot of ups and downs, but I feel like I’m on track again. My mileage is great, higher than it’s ever been before, and now my pace seems like it’s starting to get closer to where I want it. Yesterday’s 20 miles were at an 8:03 average and I’m looking to run 8:01 on race day. I have to feel good about that!

This week is scheduled as a slight step back with 5 days of running and 48 miles and then there are two peak weeks before taper. Even though it’s over a month away, it feels like it’s coming up soon!!

4

Miles for Music 20k – 1:34:34

Miles for Music 20k

Just having fun at the 15k mark!

Prior to the Miles for Music 20k in Highland Park, NJ, I’d never run a 20k before. It always seemed like a weird distance to me. I’d much rather just run an extra .7 miles for a half marathon, but I had a lot of fun at this race!

This wasn’t a planned race. Instead, it was a last minute decision I made on a whim the day before after my wife casually mentioned that I may not be able to do my twenty-miler in the park as planned because of the race. It quickly hit me that putting this race in the middle of my twenty-miler would be a great way to measure my New Jersey Marathon training process and add some excitement for a long run.

Ready to go!

I woke up early so I could get to the park and knock out 6.1 miles on the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath, which starts at the park and is one of my favorite places to run. I kept it relatively easy at an 8:45 pace, but I knew I wanted to push myself a bit during the race. After a relaxing run, I got back to the car with 20 minutes before the start. Thanks to my amazing wife taking care of getting me all registered while I was running, all I had to do was pin my bib on, take a couple swigs of water, and walk over to the starting line.

I was planning to run somewhere around an 8-8:15 min/mile. I wanted to push a little, but not give a full 100% race effort. I seeded myself about where I thought I should be and, before I knew it, the race was off! Since I don’t run with a watch and checking my pace on my phone isn’t super easy, I had to guess about where my pace was, but I tried to keep myself from going out too fast. Things thinned out really quickly and I settled right into a 7:40ish pace. Faster than I wanted to run, but I was feeling good. After the first 5k, I knew this was going to be a good race and I didn’t want to back off at all.

The Miles for Music 20k course is actually three laps in Johnson Park. On paper, it looks like it’ll be brutal just going back and forth a bunch, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable. I got to see the wife’s beautiful face SIX times! SIX!! It’s nice when you’re tired at the end of a race to know exactly what’s ahead. You can leave yourself mental markers for where you want to push or how to handle certain parts the next time around. Plus, you know exactly when a water stop is coming up, though, I didn’t end up taking any water during the race.

I hit the 10k mark at 47:02 and knew I was kicking ass. I was feeling a little tired, but nothing that had me worried I wouldn’t be able to hold my pace. With 12.3 miles on my legs by that point, I was pretty psyched with how I felt.

I kept steady around the rest of the lap and found myself behind an older man whom I simply couldn’t pass. I had been slowly picking off runners most of the race so far, but this guy kept picking it up just enough to stay in front of me. After almost a mile and a half of cat-and-mousing with him, I got next to him and he gave me a “you’re doing great!” We chatted for a few minutes and he joked that he was saving himself for the last 5k, to which I responded he’d have me beat if he picked it up at all. As we came up on the next water stop, I pulled ahead, but I heard him just off behind me for a while.

Miles for Music 20k

Kicking ass!

Coming around the last turnaround on the third lap, I kicked it into gear for a strong finish. I was feeling pretty tired, but I still had enough in the tank to pick it up for the last two miles. I picked off a few more runners while getting pretty close to my puke-pace–you know, when you’re pushing yourself at the end of a race and if you go any faster you’re going to puke all over the place. I rounded the corner to the finish line and kept it steady for a solid finish. As of writing this, the time is still unofficial, but I saw 1:34:28 on the clock when I crossed, a 7:37 average pace. Whoa! I really didn’t expect that!

All-in-all, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to run this race and my performance. I rocked this race and felt good doing it. After totaling up the race, the 6.1 miles before, and a 1.5 mile cooldown afterwards, I walked away with 20 miles at an 8:03 min/mile. Just two seconds slower than my goal marathon time with five weeks to go before the race! And on top of that, I ran very consistent splits without the help of a pacer:

Mile 1: 7:43
Mile 2: 7:37
Mile 3: 7:19
Mile 4: 7:33
Mile 5: 7:42
Mile 6: 7:42
Mile 7: 7:40
Mile 8: 7:39
Mile 9: 7:38
Mile 10: 7:38
Mile 11: 7:23
Mile 12: 7:14
Mile 12.4: 7:16 (pace)

Even though the race is three loops on an out-and-back course in the park, I enjoyed it a lot. I would definitely run it again. My only complaint would be that there was very little crowd support. With runners passing most spots in the park six times, just a little support would go a long way.

Edit: My official time was 1:34:34. 

 

9

New Jersey Marathon training update: week 10 and Shamrock Marathon weekend

Last week was supposed to be the week I got back to running six days a week and got myself fully on schedule again after my knee issues. Unfortunately, my knee still didn’t feel up to it on Monday so I ended up with just five days of running instead.

On Tuesday, I threw 5×1′ fartleks into my eight mile run for my first bit of speed work in a while. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so I busted out some booty shorts. I’ve never worn them while it was still light out before on account of having a serious case of the trans, but they worked out pretty well and were very comfortable. I get why people wear them now! The other great thing about the weather was there were a ton of other runners out after work! My normal route is typically light on other runners so I decided to change things up a bit and turn the other direction out of my development so I could run where the other runners were. It was nice being out there with my people; it’s been a while! It was also nice putting faces to all the fair-weather runners who only come out when the weather is nice. :-)

Wednesday was supposed to be twelve miles, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I went out there with every intention to get it done, but a mix of rain, 95% humidity, high winds, super tired legs, GI issues, and some rare inner thigh chaffing pretty much killed any chance of that happening. I had to quit at nine miles and head home to bury my sorrows in this incredible Mexican tortilla pizza I made:

MexicanTortillaPizza

Mexican tortilla pizza with salsa, jalapeño, green pepper, onion, black beans, ghost pepper sauce, and a Mexican cheese blend on a tortilla

On Thursday, my legs weren’t feeling any less tired, but I was determined to make up the miles I missed the night before. The temperature had dropped to 24º with 20-30mph winds and 40mph gusts for a “feels like” of 6º. It wasn’t pleasant out, but I rocked all eleven miles (up from the scheduled eight). Though, at one point, I was running into a gust of wind so strong I was literally running in place.

Friday was my scheduled rest day, but I swapped that with Saturday’s four miles to simplify my weekend slightly. I woke up super early before work and knocked out a slow and easy five miles.

Saturday was mostly spent in the car driving down to Virginia Beach for Sunday’s Shamrock Half Marathon, which the wife was running. We made good time on the way down, just 5:39 with two pee stops–pretty good for someone on Spironolactone! After checking into the hotel, the wife went for a quick three mile shakeout run and then it was off to dinner! Since Danielle (the wife!) is part of the team, we met up with the huge group of Oiselle runners in town for the races for the obligatory pasta dinner. And because dessert is awesome, we followed up dinner by getting gelato with Ellen, Allie, and Allison. Very yummy! Oh, and, at dinner, I finally got to meet Eat Pray Run Courtney!

EntirelyAmelia and FoodosaurusRex in the car

Almost there!

EntirelyAmelia on beach at Virginia Beach

Enjoying the beautiful weather on the beach!

VirginiaBeachSunrise

Look at that sunrise over Virginia Beach!

We got up at 5am for the third day in a row on Sunday and I walked with Danielle to the start of the race. Unfortunately, it was windy as heck and rather chilly, so as soon as she shed her pre-race clothes I through some of them on as extra layers. After I wished her luck, I made my way up the course a bit to try to snap an early race photo of her. I didn’t end up catching her in the crowd, but I did get this great shot of Hollie about a third of a mile into the race.

FueledByLOLZ_ShamrockHalfMarathon-002

FueledByLOLZ looking relaxed at the start

After walking up and down the half marathon course a couple times, I finally decided to stake out a spot near the finish to catch Danielle as she went by, but not before grabbing another shot of Hollie at mile 12.

FueledByLOLZ_ShamrockHalfMarathon_Mile12-001

Kicking ass!

After snapping this awesome photo of the wife, I made my way over to meet her and congratulate her on an amazing new PR of 1:41:39! Frakking awesome!

FoodosaurusRex_ShamrockHalfMarathon_Mile13-001

Look how relaxed Danielle looks as she cruises to a new PR!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay and hang out long because I had my own run to do. I had 19 miles scheduled! Woof! I had been really struggling to figure out where I was going to put those miles in with the race going on. There wasn’t exactly enough road to do them all without clashing with the marathon course. Luckily, Twitter friend Kara lives in the area and was at the race to cheer and was able to help out. We met up on my walk back to the hotel and then she walked me over to First Landing State Park which so happens to be her favorite place to run. It turned out to be a great suggestion! The trail was very similar to the tow path I run on sometimes at home and it was a nice change of pace from my typical road running.

I was dreading this run though. I had walked between five and six miles and been on my feet or five hours before even getting changed to run and my legs and feet were already feeling really tired and sore. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it. I just figured I’d go out and give it what I had. I was pleasantly surprised to find my legs were up to the challenge though! My pace was a little slower than I would have liked, but I felt like it was respectable enough considering everything else I had going on before getting out there.

After cleaning myself up, Danielle and I picked up Paulette at her hotel and went over to Rockafeller’s Restaurant for dinner. We all ended up getting the chargrilled tuna with mango salsa special, hushpuppies, and an O’Connor Brewing Co. Great Dismal Black IPA. Everything was delicious!

Rockafeller's Restaurant

Chargrilled tuna with mango salsa

By the time we made it back to the hotel, I was BEAT! I couldn’t even keep my eyes open past 9pm. So after crashing hard, we woke up early today, grabbed a great breakfast at Pocahontas Pancakes, and made our way home. We weren’t sure what to expect for the drive. It seemed like everything between there and home had gotten slammed with six or more inches of snow last night and early this morning. I expected the drive to be hell, but we were really lucky and everything was totally fine! We actually made it home faster (5;23) than it took to get there! Though, part of that was probably due to not having to stop at all to pee (did I remember to take my spiro this morning?!?!).

All-in-all, it was an AMAZING weekend filled with all kinds of awesomeness! I had a blast, met some awesome new people, met a few Twitter friends, watched Danielle score a new PR, ate some great food, and knocked out a decent 19-miler. No complaints! And just as awesome as the weekend itself was having a semi-solid week of training. I knocked out five runs and 51 miles!

3

Amelia or Amy, but preferably Amelia

Hello My Name Is AmeliaIt’s been almost two years since I chose the name Amelia. One of the things I liked was I could go by Amy for short, if I wanted. When I came out to people I’d always say “Amelia, or Amy for short.” Some people would ask me if I preferred one or the other—actually, most of my coworkers asked me this. I appreciated it because it seemed like they cared about me enough to make sure they called me what I wanted. I always told people I had no preference. It was true at the time, I didn’t. Though, I have always introduced myself as Amelia.

Now that I’ve actually had some time with it, it turns out I do have a preference. I would prefer for just about everyone to call me Amelia and not Amy. My family and some close friends are notable exceptions, but mostly, I want to be Amelia.

It feels weird being an almost-31-year-old adult and still figuring out what I want people to call me, but most people have had their whole lives to figure this out. Usually somewhere in childhood or during their teenage years is when people sort of settle on what they want and what matches their identity. I’ve only had a few months of people actually calling me Amelia/Amy. I needed some time to try it on and see what fits. It turns out, I’m an Amelia.

One oddity, though, is when I refer to myself in the third person. Yeah, I know…why would I refer to myself in the third person? I have this kind of thing I do where I refer to myself with things like Drunk Amy, Future Amy, Fat Amy, or whatever fits the situation. I don’t know, it’s just a thing I do. And in these situations, I almost always prefer to say Amy instead of Amelia. These are just little parts of me, I guess, whereas Amelia feels like all of me.

So…yeah…if you wouldn’t mind, please stick with Amelia and not so much the Amy. I’m weird. Sorry.

I mean, I don’t know, Amy is okay sometimes, but like 90% of the time, it’s not what I prefer.

:-/

PS: This post is a mess. I’m a mess. Whatevs.