Last night I finished my first "race" as a 50 year old. I also came in last in my new age group (50-59). Hey, I'm not sad, I am proud of myself for signing up for the O-H!lly Trail 5k when every time I've ever run a trail race I told myself "NEVER AGAIN!" I don't think I've ever come in last in my age group in a race and now I can cross that off my to do list. :)
My first trail race was the Blue Ridge Burn in 2007. I remember falling down and thinking, wow this was a stupid idea to do a few weeks before my 1st marathon. I did, however, find the energy to smile when I saw a photographer (see below).
I can't tell you how great it was to be at an outdoor endurance event with no masks and all smiles. I saw at least 5 different shirts I've designed over the past 13 years as a volunteer with the Charlottesville Track Club and that made my day. The thrill of seeing my shirts in the real world and being recognized by other runners for my volunteer work never gets old! (Pictured below are photos of shirts from the PR for Public Radio 5K, the Charlottesville Ten Miler, and the Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program).
Fran (pictured below in all black) was cursing the entire race, but sadly I didn't get to hear that because I was about 20 minutes behind him.
On the drive home Fran made me laugh so hard when he talked about how he was considering doing a "Rosie Ruiz" because I was thinking the exact same thing. In the middle of the race there was an actual paved road and the thought crossed my mind, "I don't know where that road goes, but I'm sure I'm taking it!"
MY HONEY (in black below)! If you look closely you can see him thinking how he is going to yell at me for signing him up for a trail race. Also, I believe those lips might be uttering a curse word as he told me that he was letting the expletives fly the entire 3+ miles!
The best quotes from Fran:
"That was less fun than the half marathon." (he said "one and done" on the half too!)
"Do we get results for that?" (that's when you know you're a real runner!)
Fran is "ONE and DONE" on trail races! So glad we have a photo of him at the finish line!
I love getting race swag that isn't a t-shirt! Thanks to Ragged Mountain for the pint glass!
I spent the past weekend rewatching one of my favorite shows "In Treatment" with my sister. It's been almost ten years since I was drawn to Gabriel Byrne's complex character and talked about the relationships on the program with my own therapist. A lot has changed since then and I'm trying to understand what led me to report that therapist to the Board of Health Professionals in 2020. Read more about my experience.
Other interesting pieces about shame, gaslighting, and narcissism:
Related articles about In Treatment:
5 Signs of Narcissistic Therapists (The Ultimate Covert Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing)
1) They violate boundaries.
2) They lack empathy for your pain and engage in victim-blaming and shaming.
3) They join forces with your abuser in gaslighting and pathologizing you.
4) They isolate you from outside support.
5) They are haughty, condescending, and contemptuous.
I’ve been on the job hunt for a lot longer than I’d like to admit, but I have learned more in the past two weeks than I have during this entire journey. So take it from me and follow these important tips!
1. Always apply for the job you that interests you even if you don't think you're qualified.
This seems like a no-brainer, especially when you consider there’s absolutely no financial cost to submitting an online job application. (Anyone else remember those days when you had to buy stamps and mail resumes?) It’s not like applying for every college or university on your wish list which could easily break the bank at an average of $50 each (I’m not calling out my niece with this one, or am I?!).
Feeling like you don’t have all the experience required for the “dream job” could keep you from applying. This is the time to remember Shakespeare:
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might oft win by fearing to attempt.”
Early on I let the self-doubts keep me sending off my resume because either I was intimidated by a job title or worried that I didn’t have all the experience required. I realize now that even if I probably wouldn’t get the job, maybe I could have at least gotten an interview and would have gladly taken that time to build relationships with people in the company. I strongly believe that every conversation is valuable and has the potential to lead to useful dialogue, personal connections, and the opportunity for growth.
It's also worth applying for jobs that are in different areas of the country even if they aren't considering remote employees and you're not sure if moving is feasible. Once again, you never know where a phone call can take you. Put yourself out there and send your resume to any position that appeals to you even if it might not initially seem like a realistic option.
Another exercise to consider is expanding your reach by applying for jobs you aren’t entirely sure you’d want. And, never turn down an interview. I’ve ended up having interviews for jobs I’ve either been overqualified for or that were with companies that I hadn’t initially considered to be on the “OMG I want to work there!” list. Each time I came away learning something about myself that helped me fine-tune my pitch to potential employers and expand my career goals.
2. Always start the day with a walk or run before turning on your computer or checking your phone for notifications and emails.
I’ve been a long distance runner since 2007, but I’ve always been an avid walker since my college days. I didn’t own a car until I was in my 30s because I prefer to walk than drive. Some people come up with great ideas in the shower, but I have my best thoughts while I’m taking a leisurely neighborhood stroll or enjoying a long run. There had been many days when I was planning on a run, but would check my email or turn on my computer to then get sucked into the job hunt or other projects and never get out the door. Once I decided that I couldn’t look at my phone until I went for my daily walk or run, I started having a better attitude all around.
3. Cultivate optimism on a daily basis.
Create a virtual bank overflowing with items that makes you smile, laugh, or feel hopeful, i.e., songs, photos, cartoons, etc. Rejection is no joke and sometimes the only way to turn that frown upside down is to listen to a pop song or look at a photo of the people that really matter in your life. Having a playlist of tunes that makes me want to dance and content/media that always makes me laugh has been lifesaver for me. My twin sister has been keeping a daily gratitude journal after attending Cultivating Optimism with Deena Kastor. I can’t quite get myself into that routine just yet, but what has been easier for me is to make a positivity playlist or add to my Instagram story highlight featuring my favorite humor.
Another tip: Keep a list of all the unique questions asked during interviews. Work on fine-tuning your answers in case they are ever asked again. If not, find a way to use those answers you've perfected into the conversation!
Read more about my job search: "Available for Work."
I’d much rather offer my help than ask for it.
When I talk about my volunteer work with the Charlottesville Track Club during interviews, I always explain that I will never criticize something unless I’m willing to try to fix it or improve it. That’s how I started with the Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program. I saw the way people signed up (on paper!) and it didn’t seem to be ideal. I made suggestions to help modernize registration and disseminate information on a website and social media. On May 23 we have our orientation meeting for the program I’ve helped coordinate for over 13 years and I can’t wait to keep making it better with each edition.
Asking for help has been really hard for me. I don’t have a lot of memories about my time at the Child Guidance Center in Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital, when I suffered from Anorexia Nervosa, but the one that clearly stands out is when I couldn’t ask for a tissue. I don’t know why I was crying, but I remember the counselor offering me a tissue and then questioning why I couldn’t ask for one myself when I clearly needed it. That sticks with me almost 40 years later … that I could have tears and snot all over my face and still not ask for help.
I’m trying very hard to change this hesitancy of mine. It’s not that I think it’s weak to ask for help; I don’t. It’s just that sometimes I feel like I don’t want to bother people or I think maybe I don’t deserve help or kindness because there are so many people with greater needs than mine. Or, I fear rejection when someone doesn’t respond in the way I’d hope for.
I’m learning that it’s worth the risk to put yourself out there and ask for something that someone might enthusiastically give you. That’s why I recently sent out an email with the subject line, “I need your help.” I didn’t want to hide the fact that my twin sister and I had been struggling with some big changes over the past year and we wanted our 50th birthday to be special and memorable. A photo from a friend could be the one bright spot in an otherwise challenging day. No one can read my mind so I need to tell people how meaningful it would be get that picture. And guess what? It’s working! We’ve already received adorable and beautiful photos of our “Flat Twins” and I can’t wait to see more.
The sign in the store window for a job opening might be “Help Wanted”, but I’m finding the job hunt to be a lot like dating. It’s a confusing mixture of “Swipe right” and “Swipe left” on both sides. Is this the dream job? Is she the ideal candidate?
We all want the offer/acceptance instead of the rejection/denial. Is it worse to get a interview only to be rejected or to get passed on right away? I can’t quite figure it all out just yet. All I know is that it’s very challenging and exciting at the same time.
I never dated much and I had the same job longer than my marriage, so how do I maneuver myself in this strange world of hiring? Sometimes I think I just need to have the right conversation with the right person and they will know that I want this and that I can do it. (OMG I’m quoting Shiv from HBO’s Succession. I hope my resume doesn’t get torn apart like her memo did!)
I’m very lucky to be getting interviews for positions that I really want or am genuinely interested in, but I find myself thinking afterwards, “Oh **** I was too honest!” I wonder: Is my unique and transparent personality getting in the way of receiving an offer or do I just not have the experience needed? As a former supervisor once told one of my colleagues, “You’ve got to let Leah be Leah.” I know deep down that if I can’t be valued or appreciated for being my authentic self, then it’s probably not the right position for me. That being said, perhaps I should try to avoid any self-deprecating humor next time I’m on Zoom.
I’m going to do a deep dive analysis of my job hunt so far and work on improving my resume and my elevator pitch to market myself to potential employers. I was thinking about writing my bio for a company website where I want to work as if I were hired to see what I come up with. I also thought on my two-hour walk this morning that maybe I need to work on my tagline, but all I could come up with were funny ones for an edition of the “Real Running Housewives of Charlottesville.” Seriously Bravo come here to cast your next franchise!
“I’ve got a one track mind, but don’t always stay in my lane.”
“No need to analyze my face, just check my resting heart rate.”
“It’s time for me to roll, but only because my piriformis really hurts.”
“I want to break the glass ceiling like I’ve shattered my sesamoids … into many little pieces.”
“Every mile is a gift and I love presents! (especially in Pokemon Go)”
So please send me and my twin lots of birthday “presents” on Tuesday, May 18th … especially Flat Twin photos and Pokemon Go gifts (they’re FREE!).
For my 50th birthday on May 18th, I'll be running 50K (and let's be honest, walking some of it too!) to raise awareness for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
Make a donation to keep me motivated or sign up for your own challenge: runsignup.com/twinsrun50
Be notified of live updates via my Facebook events page.
l've been supporting and fundraising for ALSF for almost 10 years and love their mission: ❤️🍋
I had "Coded Bias" on my DVR since it aired on PBS's Independent Lens on March 22, but I finally watched it yesterday. It was riveting and mind-blowing for me.
I'm actually shocked I didn't have nightmares about data collection and face recognition software last night because I was terrified watching this documentary.
I'm also in awe of the work that Joy Buolamwini has done and just signed up for the Algorithmic Justice League!
You can watch Coded Bias on PBS:
Download a discussion guide and activist toolkit.
Please check out my new post on my WordPress blog, "Available for Work."
Our 50th birthday is a month away and we're getting ready to celebrate!
We want you to join in the fun by taking a photo with a Flat Twin and signing up for a virtual challenge to walk or run a total of 5K, 50K, or 50 miles in the month of May to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.