6

I suck at running

IMG_0770Yes, it’s true. I suck at running. Don’t try to tell me otherwise because I won’t believe you. I’m not fishing for pity or anything. It’s just how I feel right now.

It wasn’t always this way. I didn’t always suck at running. I actually used to be quite good. As recently as April, I was running six days and sixty miles a week. I was on target for a 3:30 marathon. Go back a little further to before transition and I was on track to be a sub-3:00 marathoner by my next marathon. I was pretty proud of myself and loving every second of being a runner.

Then, I ran a horrible race in April and it’s been all downhill since. I had plans for two marathons this fall and dropped them both. I was on pace to easily break 2,000 miles this year. Now, I’m looking to fall just short of 1,500. These days, I’m happy to run three days a week and break twenty miles. I’m lacking motivation, energy, and excitement. I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning to run and I don’t feel safe running in the dark after work around here so my weekday runs are often skipped. By the time the weekend comes, I’m left making up for missed runs and I struggle through long runs. I’m miserable and not enjoying it.

My running slump has been going on since April. There have been a few weeks where things seemed like they were starting to pick up and I knocked out a some runs that felt amazing, but I can’t seem to hold on to any sort of consistency. I had been blaming most of this on my increased dosage of progesterone since the timing worked out really well and everything fit right in with the expected side-effects. But I stopped progesterone entirely (skipping even going back to my old dose) a few weeks ago and things have yet to perk back up.

It’s crazy to think that despite all of this, I’m still well beyond my yearly personal distance record and every mile I do manage just adds to that. And, I guess, that’s something, but I don’t care about that. I care about being able to run and race and push myself. I want to enjoy running again. I want to be motivated to push hard through training runs. There’s a reason why I typically mention being a marathon runner first in any bio I write for myself and I feel like I’m losing that. I’ve always been the kind of person who gets really into things for a little while and then has her interest fade. I do it with hobbies and interests and, often, friends too. I don’t want running to be another hobby and friend I forget about and leave behind. Running is important to me, more so than any other hobby I’ve ever had. Being a runner truly feels like me and a primary identity for myself.

At this point, I don’t know what else to try. I have the Goofy Challenge coming up soon, but I don’t see any way in which I can pull off a half marathon and a marathon on back-to-back days right now. I’m barely in any kind of shape to run a half marathon, let alone a marathon. Looking at the calendar, even a best case scenario is I’m just barely trained enough to run a very slow marathon and skip the half, but nothing about the last eight months has been the best case scenario.

I really don’t know what the right answer is at this point. I’ve been stubborn about taking a break, as many have suggested, but I think that might be the best option. Realistically, it probably makes the most sense to just take a break until the end of the year and start fresh for 2015. This means letting the spring marathon season go and waiting until next fall to tackle 26.2 again. If I were a more patient woman, this might be easier, but I’m not.

This also brings up the issue of Goofy that I just mentioned. It’s not a cheap race to skip out on, but the cost of a race doesn’t change reality. It won’t make me ready for it. It won’t make it enjoyable. Still, I’d really like to at least skip the half and do the marathon which probably isn’t the best choice and doesn’t really go along with the whole taking a break thing, but it’s at least a consolation prize I can accept. I can put a seventh marathon medal on my wall and know that I pushed through a shit eight months of running. But even that’s going to be really tough.

2014 has been a year of constantly letting go of goals and making concessions. I feel like I need some sort of a win, but at the same time it might be best to just accept it and start looking forward to making 2015 a better year. I want to do what’s best in the long run, what will avoid me getting to a point where I hate running and I resent myself (and my transition) for where I am with it now.

I love running, but I suck at it. I can deal with sucking at it, but I can’t deal with not enjoying it.

0

Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day every year where we remember the names of those who were murdered simply for being transgender. The vast majority of these people are always trans women. More specifically, trans women of color.

This year, the list is 226 names long. That may not seem like a lot considering there are seven billion people on this planet, until you start doing the math. I’m not going to break down a bunch of numbers and statistics here for you. Partly because that wouldn’t be super important at the moment and partly because I’d prefer not to reduce trans people down to a bunch of numbers. We’re actual people. The important thing to know is we are just .3% of the population, yet we are murdered at a rate higher than any other group of people. Even just looking at anti-LGBT violence, a very disproportionately high number of attacks are against the T. And, again, it’s even worse for trans women of color. A trans person is reported murdered every 32 hours in the world. Why? Because we live in a culture that sees trans people as, at best, a punchline for a joke and, at worst, inhuman.

Anyway, I’m actually going to hold up right there and keep this short. There are a lot of people out there writing much better things than I could ever hope to write. Take some time to check out the hashtags on Twitter and Tumblr.

It’s scary out there. The other day, my coworker asked me how I even leave the house every day. I didn’t have an answer.

11

2014 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon – 2:09:40

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon starting line

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon has been a race my wife and I have had our eyes on for a while, but since it falls outside of our normal Disney schedule it’s taken us a few years to finally get around to it.. Typically, we head down in January for Marathon Weekend and do the Goofy Challenge (as we are in two months), but a race centered around food and drinking? Perfect! So this year, we skipped the January trip and saved it for November.

Before the race

Wine and Dine is a nighttime race, it starts at 10pm, so it’s a bit different than most other races out there. We had gotten down to Disney on Thursday evening and gone right to the parks and then spent Friday and Saturday in the parks as well so we were already kind of tired from constantly being on our feet. Though, that’s the best thing about runDisney races, we just have fun, we don’t care about times. There’s no pressure to push yourself hard.

We had lunch at the 50s Prime Time Cafe at 2:45 and then went straight back to the resort to rest and get ready for the race. The wife took an hour and a half nap or so, but I just laid in bed and opted for a short 20 minute nap. Once we were up and ready to go, we headed off the to the bus stop for our ride over to ESPN Wide World of Sports. We were on the early side so, by the time we got there, we had a ton of time to chill out. I had been tweeting with some folks who were looking to meet up so we grabbed a spot near the bag drop-off and relaxed. Not long after that, I spotted Krissy and our new friend Patrick walking by. I shouted over to them and they joined us. The always-thinking Krissy had a throwaway tablecloth on her to use as a picnic blanket so we all hung out and relaxed some more while we worried about the impending rain.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Ready to go!

Over the course of the next hour, our group grew to include some of my favorite #runchat buddies and twitter friends Lauren, Nathan, and Heather and a quick hello from Ashley. But before we knew it, it was time to head over to the corrals.

We were in corral A with Krissy so we headed over there together and staked out a nice spot in the middle right in front of the little announcer stage. While hanging out, an older gentleman came up to my wife and asked what she was looking to run since her bib number was near his. He seemed a tad ticked off when she replied that she wasn’t thinking about time and just looking to have fun instead of going for “a 1:35″ finish like he was. “Oh, you’re not taking it seriously.” Shortly after that, we were joined by new friends Audrey and Patrick again.

As we got closer to race time, the rain we were all worried about finally joined us. We’d all been checking the forecast furiously in the days leading up to the race and hoping the rain would hold off, but as the chance of precipitation climbed to 100% just around the start time, we knew the score. Luckily, the rain at least stayed light until the race started…for those of us in the earlier corrals anyway. I’m sure it was bit more of a miserable start for those further back.

The race

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Typical me

After a good 45 minutes of hanging out in the corral, the race was finally off with the obligatory runDisney fireworks. We all took off a bit faster than I had planned to run given my current state of running, but it was a pace that felt good at the time and was at least doable for a while. Krissy and Patrick took off even faster after about a quarter mile and were gone, leaving Audrey, my wife, and myself to hold down the fort at our current pace.

As the first couple miles went by, the rain started to pick up, but we had warmed up so it wasn’t too bad. We hit a few puddles and our shoes got soaked making it your typical rain run. Unfortunately, the rain scared away many of the characters and entertainment from the course so it wasn’t your typical runDisney experience.

Before we knew it, we were making our way into the dark, wet, and animal-less Animal Kingdom. We were having fun running together, though, so it wasn’t too much of a drag. We passed Krissy as she had stopped for a quick photo-op and then she was off again. And just like that, we were back out on the open roads of inter-park Disney purgatory for our trip over to Hollywood Studios, but not before I nearly drowned in a giant puddle I didn’t see until I was already swimming in it.

As we approached the 10k mark, the wife’s IT band issues were starting to creep up so we decided to walk for a bit instead of pushing it and risking it turning into a full-fledged injury. From here on out, we decided to do a bit of a run/walk thing, but the running was still at the same pace we had been running. To be honest, I didn’t mind at all. I was tired and starting to doubt I could keep the faster pace up anyway. While the rain wasn’t so bad when we were running, it was much more of a nuisance while we were walking.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Here I am doing it again

We made our way into Hollywood Studios right around the ninth mile marker and knew, from here on out, we were going to have constant stuff to look at. We rounded by Rockin’ Roller Coaster, down Sunset Blvd, around Sorcerer Mickey’s hat, through part of the recently-defunct Backlot Tour, and right down the middle of the Osbourne lights. It was a great little section there.

Then it was time to make our way out of the park and head down along the river to the Boardwalk. Here, we decided to take another little walk break which got us yelled at by a catty runner who thought she was hot shit telling us we should be walking on the right side of the path. Last I checked, there was no unwritten rule about which side you walk on, you just make sure to get off to the side as quickly as possible without getting in anyone’s way.

Shortly after that little encounter, we picked it up again and made it our personal mission to fly by Ms Catness, which we did with ease. After our little jaunt by the Boardwalk, it was time for Epcot. The route through Epcot was much different than we’re used to from the Marathon Weekend races so it was a nice change of pace. We made our way through Futureworld this time and it was awesome.

We picked up the pace for a nice little finish and were relieved to be done so we could get to some dry clothes.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Toy Story

A short pause to say hi to Buzz and Woody!

We ran a 2:09, which is a little slower than I had planned, but I didn’t mind. Again, I don’t do Disney races for time, I just like to have fun and I DID! Despite the rain, the race was a lot of fun, especially thanks to our new friend Audrey who stuck with us the entire time.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Wife, Audrey, and me!

Post race…the changing tent

I’m putting this as its own section because, well, it was kind of awful. I had packed plenty of dry clothes to change into after the race and had debated waiting until I got into the park to change in a bathroom, but I really wanted out of my cold, wet clothes so I opted for the changing tent. I was really hoping there would be private changing areas inside and was prepared to wait for them.

There were no private changing areas.

Instead, there were just two big open areas. A men’s one and a women’s one. This was absolutely terrifying to me as a trans woman. Having to change in a giant area with other women is not something a women with a penis looks forward to. And it was packed too! With that many people, you know there’s at least a couple transphobes who would make a huge deal out of it if they knew I’m trans.

The worst part was that I had to change my underwear, too, since I was soaked all the way through. Luckily, my wife was there to hold the mylar blanket I’d just gotten at the finish around me and I was able get my bottoms changed without anyone seeing anything that might get me screamed for my existence. Without her there, I wouldn’t have been able to change. I would have had to wait until I got into Epcot to use a bathroom stall. Anyway, once I got the bottom done, I didn’t worry too much about the top, but I wanted out of there as quickly as possible.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal

Obligatory bling shot

Post race…the party

With that debacle out of the way, we threw on our ponchos (thanks, Krissy!) and headed into Epcot for the post race party. Of course, it was still raining a bit and I was still wearing my soaked running shoes and socks, but everything was still open. There was a slight bit of misery in the air as you could just feel everyone being cold and wet and not happy about it, but we did a lap around the World Showcase while stopping at numerous Food and Wine Festival huts for various nomming. After our lap, though, we were ready to retire for the evening. We were cold, wet, and tired. It was around 2am already…but there were still people running. :/

Thoughts

Despite the weather being awful, it was still a ton of fun and I’d definitely do the race again, but it’s probably low on my list right now. It’s tough to run a race that starts at 10pm, but all that food afterwards is a nice little reward.

2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Whoop!

4

One year

Tumblr Halloween party

Tumblr Halloween party

A year ago yesterday, I went to bed at the end of the day knowing it was the end of my last day living a lie. The next day, I woke up no longer living a double life. I was Amelia and that was it.

While my past life sometimes feels so long ago as to almost stop seeming real, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already since I “went live.” Compared to a year ago, I have a totally new job, live in a new city, have a new legal name, am 100% out as transgender to the entire world, have a tattoo, spend 100% less time living a lie, and just understand so much more about the world/life/everything; however, by far, the most remarkable thing about where I am now is how unremarkable everyday life is. It’s boring. It’s…perfect.

Just hanging with my fellow Tumblr ladies and the guys working the Instagram booth

Just hanging with my fellow Tumblr ladies and the guys working the Instagram booth

For a while, transition can be kind of crazy. There are a thousand things to deal with and consider; it can be hard to keep with yourself sometimes, but things have a way of slowing down later on. There’s very little to do anymore except live my normal life. I take some pills everyday and inject myself with estrogen once a week, I get the occasional labs done to check my hormone levels, and that’s really about it. Being trans is becoming less and less of a focal point in my life with each day. I will always be trans and I will always be open about it and talk about it and pretty much wear it on my sleeve as I do. I love being trans (most of the time). However, I spend less time thinking about it and it spends less time controlling my life.

If you’re a regular reader here or you know me in meatspace, you know that I’ve had some emotionally difficult times in the last few months. I even questioned whether this was all worth it. The thing is, when I questioned that, I was really stressed and dealing with a lot of things going on. As I sit here typing this now, there isn’t even a question. Nothing in that post has stopped being true, but it’s easier to clearly see how much better life is and how much less miserable I am. It’s kind of amazing.

Everyday Amelia

Everyday Amelia

All that said, one thing I don’t ever want to lose sight of, though, is how easy I’ve had it. I came out at a job where everyone was super awesome and accepting to the point where it wasn’t even really a thing. Now, I work at a place which is possibly even more accepting and no one even knows my old name or what I looked like or anything about my life before transition. Being trans just isn’t even a thing there. I’m also lucky in that I have a lot of passing privilege. I’ve said it before, but I don’t care about passing. I want people to see me as a woman and it’s really upsetting when I look in the mirror and think I look like a dude, but I have zero interest in trying to “pass” as a cisgender woman. I’m not cis and I don’t want to be cis. I’m trans and I’m proud of that and I am open about that. It’s just that I’m also a woman and I want to be seen as that first. I’m a woman who just so happens to be trans.

Really, I don’t even know what else to say about it. I’ve been “full time” (god, I hate that term) for a year now which seems like a pretty big deal, but it’s mostly boring. I go about my life like any other woman does. It’s routine now. I wouldn’t say “I’m done transitioning” though. I don’t even really know what that would mean. I’m done with a lot of stuff related to transition and it’s no longer a thing I’m actively working on, but to say I’m done transitioning would make it seem so final. It would make it seem as if I’m done growing and learning. I don’t think that could ever be the case. I wouldn’t want it to be. I will always be transitioning in some way. We all are, whether you’re trans or not.

3

Training recap: October 13-26

Yeah, so I’m throwing two weeks of running in here since I didn’t post last week. I was hoping to really get back to things last week, but that didn’t quite happen.

I woke up sick last Sunday and ended up missing running in the first half the week because of that. And then Thursday and Friday were Hackday at work so I didn’t get to run because of that. My plan for the weekend was to make up as much as possible, but I was still feeling my cold enough on Saturday to cut a planned 12-miler down to just eight miles midway through. On Sunday, I got back out there for ten miles. I really had to fight through though. My legs were tired and asked me to stop around mile two and I was nauseous for the first half, but I refused to give up. I needed a running win for the week so I fought on. I got through and had a decent pace, so yay for that!

Two weeks ago, I managed to get up to 25 miles with four runs. I was feeling pretty good about that and thinking it was going to lead into last week being great, but NOPE!

We’ll see how this week goes, but Disney Wine and Dine is coming up next weekend so there’s that to be excited for. After that, I really need to get my shit together and get prepared for Goofy. At this point, best case scenario is that it’s just a tough weekend.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now, but here’s a pic of me sick in bed with Fry instead of running and going to work.

sick :(

sick :(

2

Training recap: 10/6-10/12

Last week was crazy intense with my trip to the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing (probably more on that soon), but I did manage to get four runs in!

I ran two mornings while away in Phoenix which is what I was hoping to pull off, so I can’t complain. My Wednesday morning run was done on the hotel treadmill which was my first treadmill run since January, I believe. It was sort of torture, but I did my four miles and didn’t entirely want to kill myself! I ended up being too exhausted from everything going on Thursday and Friday to get up and run so I made it up with a run on Saturday morning before catching my flight home. This time, I actually ran outside, though. I didn’t know the area at all since I’ve never been to Phoenix so I just did two laps around the area near the hotel for four miles total, but it was a surprisingly fast run and felt amazing.

Sunday’s long run was planned to be ten miles, I but I didn’t really expect that to happen considering how exhausted I was. I ran seven miles and stopped, but since I was still two miles from home, I decided to at least hit eight miles and cut down on the walk home. I’m not too disappointed by it though, I knew this was likely to be the case.

The good news, though, is that all my fall craziness is over! Mostly. I’ve got nothing but normal life from now until our Disney Wine & Dine racation next month! So I’ve got no excuse to not start pumping up the miles in preparation for the Goofy Challenge in January! I’ve also got no excuses to start blogging more again!

2014 Grace Hopper Celebration  badge

This was a blast!

1

Training recap: 9/29-10/5

Finally, we moved! Last week was CRAZY trying to get everything done and get ourselves to the new place, but we made it and it’s awesome! I didn’t get to run at all during the week, but I’m not too surprised by that, I sort of expected it.

On Saturday, I got up early and knocked out a nice 10-miler in Liberty State Park with the company of the wife and Dori for the first couple of miles. Sadly, this was my longest run in three months, but I’m glad to finally have double-digit mile runs in my life again. After the run, we got ready real quickly and headed down to South Jersey for another wedding. This time it was my ex-girlfriend’s wedding, but it was total blast. We’re still very good friends and I consider her and her family to be family so it was great to celebrate with them. For some of her extended family on her dad’s side, it was the first time I’ve seen them in years, since way before I transitioned, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from them, but it was a complete non-thing at all. It didn’t even really come up. Everyone just treated me the same as they did before. It was really nice.

College radio kids all grown up...sort of.

College radio kids all grown up…sort of.

Sunday morning we drove back home and tried to do some more unpacking before going out for a five-miler. I told myself it had to be a recovery run since my legs were really feeling the ten-miles and hours of dancing, but my legs had other plans. I ended up doing more of a tempo pace, but I felt good.

I’m starting to think my legs are getting ready to start pushing the training again. I hope so. I want to run fast again! This week I’m away at the Grace Hopper Celebration, a conference for women in tech, so it’s going to be another crazy week, but things should be calming down after this and life should be closer to some sort of normal again. Maybe.

NYC skyline from Jersey City

Gotta respect this view of from my new running route!

2

Training recap: 9/22-9/28

Yeah, last week didn’t quite go how I had hoped with running. My weekday runs went according to plan, but the weekend was a bit of a disaster.

I was supposed to get up early as hell on Saturday to knock out ten miles and then get ready to go to a wedding, but when the alarm went off at 5:30, I decided a three-hour snooze-a-thon would be a better idea. No run happened, but my body was definitely telling me I needed some sleep and I listened. The wedding was a blast though!

On Sunday, we got up early to head home and get back to work with packing since we’re loading up the truck tonight and then we have to be out tomorrow. I also found out my new insurance doesn’t cover injectable estradiol, which is a bit of a problem for me. Just another thing on the list of shit I’ve got to get sorted out. Luckily, the day was very productive otherwise. I was able to squeeze in a five-miler in the evening, but it was anything but a good run. Oh well.

I closed out the week with just three runs for seventeen miles. Unfortunately, this week won’t be any better thanks to the move.

Couple o' hotties right here

Couple o’ hotties right here

Hanging on the bus

Hanging on the bus

Mustache time!

Mustache time!

8

Has it been worth it?

This has been a rough week emotionally. Like, just brutal. I’m just starting to really recover from Monday, but it’s left me with a lot of lingering feelings. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about transition’s affect on me. Has it really been a net positive on my life? I think the answer is yes, but it’s not firm and clear-cut answer.

Much of my dysphoria is gone and I’m happier with who I am and my ability to be something closer to “myself.” I don’t hate myself anymore and my time spent thinking about suicide is greatly decreased–though, not erased. There is much less disconnect between me and who I present myself as and it’s continuing to decrease every day. I am finally happy with my gender. I no longer feel alien to myself. I’m a happier me.

But that’s only part of the story. My life is harder now. One gigantic problem in my life has now been replaced by many much smaller onesMy marriage is still in existence and solid, but it has taken a massive beating. I’m noticeably less able to handle high-stress situations or many problems at all once. I now feel emotionally fragile in many ways. The source of general unhappiness is no longer within me, but it’s external, from how I am treated by others. I’ve relinquished some control over my mood and emotions to the outside world. This is still something I’m struggling with.

I, surprisingly, spend more time feeling alienated from others and generally out of place. Not only do I feel constantly judged, but I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I feel awkward around groups of women, as I am constantly in fear that they don’t really see me as one of them. And I, obviously, don’t fit in around men. I used to be able to fake it enough around groups of guys to feel accepted (ish), but I can’t do that anymore. I don’t even want to. In mixed company, I feel like I have no idea where I stand.

I actually don’t even really trust many men at all. If I’m being honest, my default is to hate all men and find them entirely untrustworthy. Most of this stems from knowing how men are and what they say when they don’t think any women are around. I essentially lived as a spy behind enemy lines for three decades and what I learned, saw, and experienced is horrifying to me. No, it’s “not all men,” but it’s enough that I have to start with this mindset and require men to prove themselves otherwise. Either way, it’s a lot of added complication in life.

This is really just the start of it, I could go on and on forever, but these are the things on my mind this week. 

While the net effect, positive or negative, is not a black and white answer, whether transitioning was the right decision is an unquestionable yes. I am hopeful that, over time, some of these smaller problems will either fade away or be able to be fixed with a little effort. However, in the meantime, I am at the mercy of the society around me. People repeatedly try to tell me I’m strong or brave or whatever the fuck, but I don’t think I’m brave at all and my strength is more survival than anything else. I have limits and they’re different than they were pre-transition. I’m still learning what they are.

But the thing about all of this is, my overall feeling on it all fluctuates regularly. After a super awesome good week, none of the negatives register with me. During those weeks, I am better, life is better, everything is better. Obviously, though, that’s not the problem. It’s weeks like this one that are the struggle. All I can focus on is the negative.

About how I feel this week.

About how I feel this week.