Tuesday, January 17, 2017

081. Race across Scotland

Item .081 on my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days list is to "Look into that race across Scotland," which I committed to doing this winter/spring in order to continue accomplishing my list!

So first, let me tell you about the race : It's a 105 mile, two-day "race," across the Scottish Highlands, from coast to coast. It is meant to be done with a partner. It is a challenging race with an elite challenge to finish in one day. The longest run is 14 miles and the longest ride is just under 50 miles, while the kayaking isn't very much distance at all. To me, because of the cycling, it seems incredibly doable. It's possible to do the race alone, but not encouraged. Despite it appearing doable, I know I'd still need a minimum of two years training to learn my abilities on a bicycle and also to save up for the cost of the race.

I would not have to bring my own bike, as they have a partnership with a cycle center to rent a bike when I arrive for the race. Though I would have to figure out food, camping gear, and all the equipment needed to do a race with three elements. Some of the cycling is off-road, which affects the plan as well. But it looks really fun and really doable.

I found a couple of reviews of the race online. The best one is essentially a blog post inside a forum. It's incredibly helpful in letting me understand the times I need to make to really be able to finish the race and what to expect for elevation changes and terrain. It is clearly a mountainous race, which would make me incredibly slow (as of now), but I think there is time to really practice.

Consider this item ticked off my list, and consider this race added to my bucket list!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stop Hating Yourself : Real Friendships Make You Feel Good

I know I've talked before about secret language. The language people use when they mean something else. It's something I get a lot...because I'm different. I've been thinking a lot lately about how I don't fit in and how I still chase fitting in. Today, that was made abundantly clear when I sat with a "friend" who used my own vulnerability to tear me down and reduce me to a pile of what she believes to be my worst personality traits, which are all my fault, of course. It was a profound lesson in how I (and many of us) continue to try to fit in, even within our interpersonal relationships, and why we don't have to!

Have you ever heard those people say something like, "We can go months and then reconnect and it's like there was no time between us!" That's generally considered a compliment to the friendship. And in some ways, it can be. When we're forced to be apart from our best friends because of distance, then it's a great quality to be able to meet up once or twice a year and catch up and feel that friendship. It's always a bummer when distance makes what seemed like a great friendship fade. But often times, in our world obsessed with being busy, what it really means is, "I like to forget about my friends for months at a time and force them to accept this neglect by treating me like it's ok and all we need to do is give summaries of what passed in the time I was ignoring them."

Of course, no one says it this way! They say things about marriage and kids and school and jobs. And sometimes, it is genuinely true that someone might have a lot on their plate and not necessarily be able to keep up on their friendships. But that is not handled by allowing yourself to forget about them and force them not to contact you because actually wanting to spend time with your friends is considered demanding. Being genuinely busy, as anyone who has ever attended med school will tell you is a real thing, is handled by expressing how much you miss that person while you're working on an important goal, not reducing them to the lowest priority on your list. The worst is telling someone who is actually trying to be your friend that reaching out to spend time together is too "intense" and creates "pressure". Reaching out to spend time with someone isn't an intense pressure, it's a hand of friendship extended.

But the thing is, it is genuinely ok not to have time for more people in your life! You don't owe anyone your friendship. But it's not ok to create a false reality where being "too busy" is ok and having someone try to hang out with you is "stressful". That's just bullshit.

I have been called many things in my life, and I am always surprised when someone insults me to my face and declares it like it is a revelation and they are doing me a favor by telling me so. There are many people who don't like the way I run my life, in particular my interpersonal relationships. But the thing is, it's not really their business, right? Unless, of course, I open up to them about things I've struggled with...then it is their business. Today, I learned just how hard I've been trying to open up to someone over and over and just how much she's not really interested. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that she knew from the very start how desperate I was for a connection for her that she did not feel and did not want.

And then, as has happened with other "friends," my struggles with interpersonal relationships was reduced to the idea that they "crash and burn"...which is, of course, my fault and also a problem unique to me. I guess it's not cool to constantly analyze the way I'm treated and not put up with the usual passive aggressive bullshit that is so prevalent in our society. We are conditioned, starting with family members and continuing through bossy administrators in our educational system to shitty bosses, to put up with people treating us badly. Sadly, this so often leaks into friendships, where we are regularly supposed to forgive transgressions against us by those closest to us, because it's acceptable to be shitty to each other. It's not socially acceptable for me to stand up for myself, no matter how light that transgression seems, and to tell people what I want, in no uncertain terms. It's certainly not acceptable for me to get rid of the people in my life who drain my energy and don't support me. Heaving forbid anyone be direct and truthful! That shit is not ok, and it's part of an overarching issue with interpersonal relationship that is obviously the root of all my problems, especially when it comes to pursuing art. (Yes, that was said to me under the guise of friendship today. "Life circumstances aren't the problem, YOU ARE!")

But you know what? Fitting in is far less appealing to me than actually liking my life and finding joy in the relationships I pursue. I cannot believe I allowed myself to be sucked into yet another situation where I allowed someone to tear me down and justify it with her own perceptions of my flaws. Y'all, I have got to learn. I had misgivings several months ago, many long conversations with Adam about the way things had changed...even attempted to address concerns with this friend...which went nowhere, of course. And there I was today, having everything about me boiled down to the easiest insult and then having it declared as if it is a revelation that I need to understand about myself.

Y'all, I am "INTENSE"!

And apparently, everything else I am doesn't matter because all this intensity is just too much. Shouldn't I tone it down a bit?

Nope. Never will. I'd rather crash and burn than dial down any intensity I have.

Relevant Lessons:

  • You are not too much of anything, and if anyone describes you as anything less than a passionate, driven, interesting human being, cut that fucker out!
  • Wanting to be friends with someone isn't a bad thing, EVER. It doesn't make you desperate or clingy or anything negative. Friendship is positive and pursuing that doesn't make you a stressor in someone's life!
  • Friendships are meant to enhance your life and to feel good. If a friendship doesn't feel good, it's ok to end it. It's ok to be honest and tell the person why (because haven't we learned that ghosting sucks). Being an open and honest person, even in the face of unpleasant things, doesn't mean you are allowing things to "crash and burn".
  • Feelings are ok! If you have lots of feelings and like to express them, then maybe you are intense! But if that's a word used as an insult, then whomever said it to you needs to fuck right off right away.
  • If someone is constantly too busy for you and tells you to accept that as a fact of their life, then it's ok not to be friends with them. Maybe that person really does love you and is really overcome by crappy time management, but that doesn't mean you have to sit on the sidelines and wait for their schedule to clear. You are worth someone's time and you are worth someone making time for you.
  • Oftentimes, we equate fitting in with high school bullshit like trying to be a cheerleader (it's fine if you wanna be a cheerleader, so did I!), but fitting in is actually more insidious than that. Fitting in is the way in which we often try to earn the approval of our parents, or how hard we try to fit in with social groups, or how long we might cling to a romantic relationship even when it's not working. We can try to fit in and become so exhausted by that constant struggle without even realizing we're doing it, because our society is all about telling us all the things we need to be in order to be someone else's idea of WHATEVER! But you shouldn't have to work to fit in with friends, or constantly defend who you are, or put up with being insulted as if it's helpful. You can be yourself, and that's ok. Friends should accept you for who you are. Period.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fat Tuesdays : Running Faster

Last year's marathon training did not go as I would've liked. At first, when I was running every day, I felt really strong and great. But when I stopped that, which I needed to do because I was worn out, my training level quickly dropped to nearly nothing. I barely made my mileage and I didn't complete the marathon I started. With my retail job through Christmas, getting any running in felt like a massive accomplishment and I still didn't hit my weekly mileage goals. This meant that I ended 2016 just thirty miles shy of the 1000 mile challenge, which is fairly pathetic. Even getting out for one extra mile per week would've sealed that goal! To say my running aspirations for 2016 left my disappointed, is almost an understatement. I just ran out of steam...and time, I guess.

So it's 2017, and I'm happy to be back on track with running. I've quit my shitty job and am actually dedicating time to running, though it's not necessarily easy. I'm finding that I'm still having a hard time getting up and getting out. But when I am out, I notice that my times haven't really improved...even last year, I wasn't really running any faster.

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This bugged me for a while. I mean, isn't the goal of every runner to run faster? Shouldn't I be shooting for a faster marathon? But if my previous attempt was any indication, avoiding running slower was paramount...and then I didn't finish.

As I've finished runs that weren't as fast as I wanted, over and over and over, I try to tell myself that I'll get faster. I'll get back to regular training. I'll stay on top of my mileage, and I'll get faster. It's the natural progression; run more, run faster. But I'm not really sure that's what I want.

I want to run races where they honor their cut off times and don't allow vehicles to force me off the road, but I don't want to run fast enough to sign up for races with shorter cut off times. It would be nice, to have a whole world of races open up to me, but I can stick with the races that allow slow runners and enjoy myself. When I think about what I really want for running, it's not to run a sub-6 marathon. It's just to run a couple more marathons and do keep running half marathons for...ever. But first, sticking with my running plans.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekly Thang

Well, I received my first subjective grade of this session, and just like so many others it was entirely unrelated to the work I put in and totally related to the butthurt feelings of my professor who wants me to bow down to the hierarchy of authority, something I won't do. I don't know how I'm going to make it through the next two months of this bullshit...but I have decided not to check on my grades or read any feedback from my professors. All it does is stress me out and it NEVER helps change my grades or the instructor. I have, in the past, sent e-mails asking for better grades because I do work that warrants fair grading, but the professor always has some excuse about how they "graded according to the rubric". The truth is, professors want easy students who bow down to the hierarchy of educational authority, which I am never going to do. Being a teacher doesn't make someone smarter or better than me nor does it make someone infallible, and it's a fucked up world if a teacher thinks they are infallible just because because they are a teacher. I have to get through this session, but I don't have to engage in the same behavior I have in the past.

I pretty much accomplished my goals for last week. I didn't run on Friday because it was super cold, so I went for a hike instead. I did run on Saturday, despite the prolonged cold, and I made my long run goal for the week. We did hike the Mingo trail which is poorly marked and I found it to be an annoying trail that I hope never to hike again. I had wanted to hike all the trails in one metropark on Saturday, but the cold and my general level of exhaustion resulted in my sleeping for most of the day and then all of us went out for a movie. It was awesome. I have started working on my longer to do list, things that I write about in my planner...just taking the ten fucking minutes required to complete one little task I've wanted to complete for months. It feels good, even if I just accomplish two things. I'm just trying, little by little.

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This Week's Goals
Run four times
Do some yoga
Sew those fucking skirts
Edit all the fucking photos!
Keep working out with Kendra
Go to the rock climbing gym!!!
Hike Bradley Woods
Stress less about school, it's not even fucking worth it

Thursday, January 5, 2017

065. Hike all the trails in Cleveland Metroparks

Ok, so this is a pretty technical post with a massive list of all the parks and all the trails, according to the park websites. Trails we've already hiked are slashed out. Notes about all purpose and bridal trails (and how we might not include them in our goal) are included. It's a lot to read, but it definitely contains everything. I've already started crossing off trails in the parks that we've visited (though I have visited many more than Adam, we have done the entire Garfield Park Reservation already!!). This is where I'll come back and cross off trails as we hike them! I really want to knock off the majority of this list over the course of the winter and the spring. I'm thinking we take Saturdays and go to a reservation and try to hike every trail in the park. I think that would be fun!

(The mileage next to each park is the total mileage on trails and if there is a / then it's also the total mileage including the all purpose and bridal trails. The problem with most of the all purpose trails is that they parallel the road and are not necessarily scenic or difficult. The idea behind this list is to hike the trails, not necessarily hike all the mileage within the park. With that in mind, some of the bridal trails simply parallel the all purpose trail or oftentimes combine with other trails, so we may not include them. There are also some dedicated mountain biking trails that say they include hikers, but might not be ideal for hiking, so we may not hike those. Essentially, this is more about hiking the actual trails than anything else, though we'll try to include everything we can!)

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The Parks and Trails :

Acacia Reservation (1.7 total miles)
--->1.7 mile loop trail

Bedford Reservation (6.9/40.8 total miles)
--->Sagamore Creek Loop trail; 3.6 miles
--->Bedford Single Track; 11 miles of one way mountain bike trail (might not hike this)
--->Hemlock Loop Trail; .8 miles
--->Egbert Loop Trail; 1.1 miles
--->Viaduct Park Loop Trail; .4 miles
--->Forbes Woods Ridge Trail; .3 miles
--->All Purpose Trail; 7.6 miles (trail that runs throughout "The Emerald Necklace", might not hike all of this)
--->Bridal Trails; 15.3 miles (available for all users)
--->Physical Fitness Trail; .7 miles

Big Creek Reservation (4.9/12.9 total miles)
--->Lake Isaac Trail; 1.2 miles
--->Memphis Picnic Area Trail; .6 miles
--->Lake to Lake Trail; 2.4 miles
--->Beyer's Pond Trail; .7 miles
--->All Purpose Trail; 8 miles (trail that runs throughout "The Emerald Necklace", might not hike all of this)

Bradley Woods Reservation (6.3 total miles)
--->Swamp Forest Loop Trail; 1 mile
--->Pin Oak Loop Trail; .8 mile
--->Cahoon Creek Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->Bunns Lake Loop Trail; .5 mile
--->Quarry Loop Trail; 2 miles
--->All Purpose Trail; 1.4 miles

Brecksville Reservation (9.25/30.15 total miles)
--->Wildflower Loop Trail; .75 miles
--->Prairie Loop Trail; .5 miles
--->Hemlock Loop Trail; 2.5 miles
--->Deerlick Cave Loop Trail; 4 miles
--->Salamander Loop Trail; 1.5 miles
--->All Purpose Trail; 9.3 miles (trail that runs throughout "The Emerald Necklace", might not hike all of this)
--->Bridal Trail Loops; .8 mile, 1.8 miles, 3.5 miles, 5.5 miles (open for hikers too)

Brookside Reservation
--->The All Purpose Trail runs through this urban park, but the mileage is unclear (as is the map...Cleveland Metroparks has a terribly website, terrible maps, and trails that are often poorly marked...it's such a bummer for such a large park system)

Euclid Creek Reservation (7.13 total miles)
--->Glenridge Loop Trail; 2.2 miles
--->Upper Highland Loop Trail; 1.1 miles
--->Rear Quarry Trail; .13 miles
--->Squirrel Run Trail; 1.2 miles
--->All Purpose Trail; 2.5 miles
--->Highland Trail Head, Welsh Woods Trail Head, and Kelly Trail Head are all marked but have no information for distance and no delineation of where they go. Maybe they extend into another park?

Garfield Park Reservation (2.4 total miles)
--->North Ravine Loop Trail; .5 mile
--->Cattail Trail; .2 mile
--->Meadow Trail; .1 mile
--->Ridge Top Trail; .4 mile
--->Iron Springs Loop Trail; 1.2 miles
--->Garfield Park Nature Center Trail Head, Old Boating Pond Trail Head, Trolley Turn Trail Head, Old Birch Trail Head; Again, all these trail heads are listed on the map with no other information. And I know for a fact they don't connect to any other parks, because this metropark doesn't connect to anything else. Cleveland Metroparks needs to get their shit together, honestly.

Hinckley Reservation (8.1/17.4 total miles)
--->Hinckley Hills Loop Trail; 2.5 miles
--->Hinckley Lake Loop Trail; 3.4 miles
--->Whipp's Ledges Loop Trail; 1.2 miles
--->Worden's Ledges Loop Trail; 1 mile
--->Bridal Trail; 6.0 miles (open to hikers, but we might not include this trail)
--->All Purpose Trail; 3.3 miles (this trail essentially follows the lake trail, so we probably won't include it)
--->Spillway Trail Head, Hinckley Hills Trail Head, Whipp's Ledges Trail Head, Boathouse Trail Head, Worden Ledges Trail Head...I have FINALLY figured out what these weird trail heads are all about! They are the spots by which you can access the trails in any given park. However, because the Cleveland Metroparks is poorly organized, many of the trail heads share nothing in common with the name of the trail. I will stop listing them from now on.

Huntington Reservation (2.4 total miles)
--->Porter Creek Trail; .25 mile
--->Hemlock Loop Trail; .5 mile
--->Songbird Loop Trail; .25 mile
--->Fox Squirrel Loop Trail; .4 mile
--->Ravine Connector; .1 mile
--->Bunny Trail; .1 mile
--->All Purpose Trail; .8 mile (might connect to other parks, so could be fun to start here and hike somewhere else)
--->This park is a good example of the inanity of the Cleveland Metroparks. They have two trails that are 500 feet! How is that even a trail? I'm all for green space, and I don't have a short loop that many people can do and might show off an interesting natural feature. But sometimes, you just gotta stop, get rid of the "trail," and let nature be.

Lakefront Reservation
--->Edgewater Park; no specific trails, but areas to walk along the lake shore
--->Euclid Beach Park; no specific trails, but areas to walk along the lake shore
--->Gordon Park; appears to have no trails, it's pretty unclear what this park is all about
--->Rivergate Park; somewhere in the Flats, appears to have no trails but might be connected to other trails
--->Whiskey Island; no specific trails, but possible the location of the old Coastguard Tower

Millstream Run Reservation (12.6/30.5 total miles)
--->Yellow trail; 3.53 miles bike or hike
--->Red Trail; 5.49 miles bike or hike
--->Sugar Bush Trail; 1.18 miles
--->South Quarry Loop Trail; 1.1 miles
--->Music Mound Loop Trail; .3 mile
--->Butterfly Trail; .4 mile
--->Bonnie Park Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->All Purpose Trail; 8.9 miles (might not include this...the all purpose trails usually just run alongside the road ways and aren't necessarily particularly scenic...but maybe we could get our bikes out when it warms up)
--->Bridal Trail; 9.0 miles (this one pretty much parallels the all purpose trail, so it doesn't make sense to do both)

North Chagrin Reservation (12.35/26.85 total miles)
--->Castle Valley Trail; 2.25 miles
--->Hemlock Trail; 1.75 miles
--->Hickory Fox Loop Trail; 1.6 miles
--->Scenic Loop Trail; 1.6 miles
--->Sanctuary Marsh Loop Trail; .4 mile
--->Squire's Lane Trail; .75 mile
--->Buttermilk Falls Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->White Pine Loop Trail; 1 mile
--->Overlook Trail; .4 mile
--->Sylvan Loop Trail; 1.25 miles
--->Wildlife Management Loop Trail; .75 mile
--->All Purpose Trail; 4.2 miles
--->Bridal Trails; 1.4 miles, 4.5 miles, 4.4 miles

Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation (2.9/8.9 total miles)
--->Six Mile Flats Loop Trail; .3 mile
--->The Lower 40 Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->Mountain Bike Trail; 2 miles (possibly open to walkers, not sure)
--->Tow Path/All Purpose Trail; a little over 6 miles total, connecting the park to the rest of the towpath or to the rest of the all purpose trail. We have already done part of this and could conceivably plan a bicycling trip on the all-purpose trail.

Rocky River Reservation (9.4/37.8 total miles)
--->Scenic Park Loop Trail; .7 mile
--->River Overlook Loop Trail; .3 mile
--->Morley Ford Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->Spring Wildflower Loop Trail; .3 mile
--->Mastick Woods Loop Trail; .4 mile
--->Cottonwood Loop Trail; .8 mile
--->All Purpose Trail; 13+ miles (this runs alongside the road and might not really be fun to hike)
--->Bridal Trails; 12.1 miles, 2.1 miles, 1.2 miles
--->Mount Pleasant Loop Trail; 1.5 miles
--->Shepherd Lane Trail; .2 mile
--->Wildlife Management Loop Trail; 1.5 miles
--->West Channel Pond Loop Trail; .5 mile
--->Fort Hill Loop Trail; 1.3 miles
--->Woodland Loop Trail; .3 mile
--->Cedar Point Loop Trail; .4 mile
--->Lagoon Loop Trail; .6 mile

South Chagrin Reservation (8.4/30.8 total miles)
--->Blue Heron Trail; 1.6 miles
--->Chagrin Overlook Loop Trail; .8 mile
--->Look About Lodge Loop Trail; .9 mile
--->Persing Trail; .7 mile
--->Sulphur Springs Loop Trail; 1.1 mile
--->Squaw Rock Loop Trail; .6 mile
--->Shelterhouse Loop Trail; .7 mile
--->Forest Loop Trail; .8 mile
--->Hatchet Ridge Trail; .8 mile
--->Quarry Rock Loop Trail; .4 mile
--->All Purpose Trail; 7.1 miles (again, follows the road, so might not do this)
--->Bridal Trail; 15.3 total miles (sometimes parallels or combines with other trails...may do these)

Washington Reservation
--->This park is mostly a golf course and a couple of memorials, though it does have 2.77 miles of all purpose trails that connect to other metroparks. It's worth a visit and maybe a short hike.

West Creek Reservation
--->This map is really unclear, though the park appears to have a few trails. We'll have to visit to assess further.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

101 Things Update

Oh man, what to do with my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days List? I feel like I'm at a stopping point. I just looked over my list, and I am not sure what to do or how to accomplish it. Some of the travel things are too expensive. Some of the active things are hard to do in the winter. So I've gotta figure out what I want to do, and what I actually can do.

There are items from the fall that I have not completed :
019. Create line of dolls
057. Ride a Horse
058. Go rock climbing (outside or inside)
065. Hike all the trails in all the Metroparks of Cleveland and Summit County

All of these items are achievable this winter, so I'm going to recommit myself to this list. But I would like to add two more items that I think I might be able to achieve and ones that I want to keep in my consideration, to remind myself that they are goals I want to accomplish.

069. Run one more marathon
029. See Lake Superior
046. Attend another Renaissance Festival
047. Attend another Comic-Con
048. Attend a tattoo convention
081. Look into that race across Scotland

Monday, January 2, 2017

The New Year

Ahhhh...so many things to write about, most especially resolutions and goals for the New Year.

These past few months have been an exercise in not having the energy to do the things I want to do. I have watched items sit on my to do list, not crossed off, because I keep not doing them, because I prioritized bullshit in my life that didn't make me happy and had no extra energy to accomplish the shit I want to accomplish! Of course, some of my lack of energy is probably because I don't want to do some of the tasks that constantly show up on my list. That's legit and it happens. But forcing myself to have the gumption to complete undesirable tasks is nearly impossible when I already lack the energy for shit I enjoy.

A lot of that should be solved now, 'cause I quit my fucking job!!!!!

I feel only slightly guilty that I quit, because leaving a job always makes me feel like a Bad American...and because I had wanted to give my two weeks notice, which would give me a couple hundred bucks coming my way in the future. But I feel only slightly bad, because I am so happy to be starting this year off with no fucking job. Now, another bummer that has been bringing me down is the whole college situation. I have come to a resolution on that, but I still have a bit more to endure. However, I'm looking forward to a 2017 that is more me-focused. Like, really and truly, taking care of myself and doing the things I WANT TO DO before I make any other commitment.

This week, I'm hoping to write a blog post every day about my different goals (A 101 Things Update) and a couple of posts about my stupid fucking job, what I learned there, and some updates about my thoughts going into marathon training for this year. I have a lot of things that I want to clarify, and so I'm going to do that the best way I know how, by writing!

But first is my usual to do list, which is mostly a repeat of last week, but will hopefully start to change more as I actually accomplish the shit I set out to accomplish!!!

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This Week's Goals
Run four times
Do some yoga
Sew those fucking skirts
Edit all the fucking photos!
Keep working out with Kendra
Go to the rock climbing gym!!!
Hike Mingo Trail