The Bane of a Competitive Person

My running journey continues and is trying to bring me to yet another place.

Why am I so hung up on NOT taking walk breaks? I’ve been taking walk breaks the last few times I’ve run and it lets me go so much faster – sometimes even as fast as 8.3mph, which I simply cannot do if I’m forcing myself to run constantly.

Even knowing this, I remain hung up. I look around at all the other runners on Facebook and even in real life and wonder what I’m doing wrong that I can’t sustain a pace the way they can. Erik constantly reminds me that it takes years of conditioning to be able to do that, but I am skeptical. It doesn’t seem to take EVERYONE ELSE years of conditioning – they just hop into a 5k one day and run it in 25 minutes.

Ah, but isn’t that the lovely problem of social media? All we do is look around at what EVERYONE ELSE is doing, forgetting that only the best pieces of the puzzle are posted online for the world to see. It’s common knowledge, and yet it doesn’t stop the envy from bubbling up.

About a month ago I had to have a serious sit-down discussion with myself: “Jo, is it more important for you to go longer distances or have a faster time?” I decided to work on speed because that’s what makes me most self-conscious when comparing myself to other people. I quickly realized my speed wouldn’t improve without walk breaks. There is a lot of evidence to back this up, yet I only know one person in real life who takes advantage of this method.

I just want to be like everyone else!

My mantra for this weekend’s Phantom 5k is, “Go HAM.” I plan on pushing myself as hard as I can, no matter how many walk breaks that requires. I did this yesterday and it led to shaving roughly 3 minutes off my 5k time. 3 minutes! That’s a lot, and I walked a lot.

I suppose in the end it doesn’t matter how you cross the finish line, only that you cross it. Imma run til I can’t run no mo, and then Imma walk, and then Imma run AGIN. (Saying it with an attitude somehow makes it cooler.)

Instead of being the World’s Worst Runner, I’m going to become the World’s Best Walk-Runner.

Starting Over

A year ago today, and maybe even at this very moment, I had landed in Colorado for the very first time and as a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, Erik and I were probably eating Sonic (also for the very first time).

My life has never been the same.

Here I sit in my corner office, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The first time I set foot on this property, I felt like I was coming home. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as bad in my whole life, not even my marriage. (Side note: I don’t feel bad writing that because I’m pretty sure I said that out loud to Erik once, and even though he didn’t say so, I think he agreed.) I have never felt more fulfilled, more like an integral member of a team, more respected and genuinely cared for. I’ve never felt so certain that my work matters, nor have I ever felt the need to say work rather than job.

I can run now! I learned to run up here and am on my fourth 5k. Just today at lunch I climbed 468 feet in 13 minutes. Yeah, I know that’s slow and all, but you try starting at an elevation of 8,000 feet and climbing another 400 – it’s probably not as easy as it sounds.

My commute is roughly 10-15 minutes of scenery and wildlife, compared with 25-30 minutes of sheer terror.

We have elk, deer and bunnies in our yard, compared with the asphalt, dog poop and traffic we had in Marlborough.

We even have a kitchen table that we get to eat at every night! Our three bedroom apartment costs only $125 more than we were paying for one bedroom in Massachusetts.

I just don’t think I’ve ever been this happy. I just can’t remember having ever been this happy. Starting over is truly not as scary as people make it out to be.

Nothing to Write About

The well has run dry. There is nothing to write about.

Sometimes I look up over my desk at my wedding photos and find myself sliding into a daydream about my husband. I look at the faint crinkles around his eyes and the faint parentheses around his mouth and remember the pure ecstasy I felt to marry someone who shines so much, and I realize I’m staring at the wall behind my computer and smiling so that when someone walks by my office they must surely assume I’m a lunatic.

I guess the well is not dry after all.


Zodiac Signs by the Book – Facebook, That Is

You can easily identify someone’s sun sign (or perhaps their rising sign) by their Facebook behavior. Here are some social media symptoms to get you started.

AriesAries: Aggressively competes with your status for more likes and comments. Posts rarely to attract more attention when they DO post. May compare what percentage of your friends wrote a birthday post to you with what percentage wrote a birthday post to them. #competitive




Taurus: Posts pictures of the delicious food they’re about to eat. Too lazy to respond to your post. More into what’s on TV than pics of your baby. #mmm




Gemini: Messages you and then never responds (distracted right away by something cleverer than you). Constantly tagged in other people’s photos. #ttyl #gottago




Cancer: Moody status updates. Wistful pics of water. Family and home oriented. #sigh




Leo: Fancy vacation photos. Definitely having a better time than you. Proud of children. #imthebest




Virgo: Latest health trends. Very encouraging to people they care about. Usually has a cause. #nervousnellie



LibraLibra: Has 9,752 friends. “Likes” every comment made on any of their posts because they once “liked” a comment someone made and now feel obligated to make everyone feel liked by “liking” their comments. Does not “like” your posts when they think you’re having more fun than they are. #loveme




Scorpio: Defriends you and will not re-friend. Extremely loyal and will remember everything you ever post, good or bad. You’ve been warned. #idgaf




Sagittarius: Just won the lottery! Just found some money! Going to Europe for the week! #lucky




Capricorn: Would rather be on LinkedIn but enjoys looking at photos of attractive people. Oh, and comedic posts. #socialclimber




Aquarius: Conspiracy theories. Comments on everything you post one day and then ignores everything you do for weeks on end. #weirdo



Pisces: Can’t. Even. Right. Now. Too busy reading into your every post to decipher if it’s a backhanded slight at them to post anything of their own. #goingbacktobed


Born This Way

I was running down State Highway 7 toward home when “Born This Way” came on in my ears, sending my body into paroxysms of excitement. I silently sang along and choked for air, gulping when I could. I get really emotional when I hear certain songs, and when I get emotional it gets hard to breathe. This is my downfall in singing… tight-throated!

Anyway, I don’t see how anyone can listen to that song without getting choked up. “I’m beautiful in my way/’cause God makes no mistakes…” God makes no mistakes. As empowering as that line is, doesn’t it also make you feel a little guilty? Think about the people you can’t stand and realize God made them too.

That one line alone is how you know Lady Gaga is tuned in at a higher level than the rest of us.

I always imagine myself singing this song to my child. Gaga sang this song slowly in concert, without a band, just her at a piano. I was transported into my future-child’s room, where I’d sing it just as slowly, “My mama told me when I was young/we are all born superstars/She’d comb my hair, put my lipstick on/in the glass of her boudoir…” My future-child will never think he/she is a monster inside. He/she will never suffer the thought that they’re not good enough.

Ah, “Born This Way.” The anthem of an entire league of free-thinking, freak-embracing Monsters. Becoming a Monster, instead of a monster, was the best thing I could do.

“‘Cause I’m a freak bitch, baby!”



I open my fingers and the shards fall, spraying geometric patterns of glass onto the tile. I use the heel of my boot to crush them into sand: insignificant. Worthless.

Using tweezers, I manipulate the remaining dregs, like tiny teeth, out of my palm and the pads of my fingers. Soothing, comforting blood runs like raindrops on a windshield, cleaning the wounds, letting them heal.

Finally, I vacuum the insignificant, ground remnants from the floor, and they are unable to inflict pain anymore.

Another Sunday Workout

What an inventive title! Anyway, I just finished another wonderful Sunday strength training session and wanted to share it here with you.

For this workout, you will need two dumbbells (preferably 10lbs or more), some sort of chair, box or step, and roughly 33 minutes of your time.

Do 3 rounds of the following:
– 10 incline pushups (if you’re in good shape, skip the incline but either way make sure your chest goes all the way to the surface you’re on)
– 10 squat presses (change your foot position for each round)
– 10 mountain climbers (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 bent-over rows
– 10 chest fly hand-offs (each side, for 20 total): lay on the floor and fly one hand at a time, handing off the dumbbell when you get to the top
– 10 overhead triceps extensions
– 10 half-kneeling curls (each side, for 20 total): alternate the knee you’re kneeling on and keep the other thigh parallel to the floor
– 1 minute plank
– 10 reverse woodchops (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 side step-ups (each side, for 20 total)

The majority of these exercises are supposedly really great for women and can help strengthen your back. Have fun!