Throwback Thursday: AKA traumatic stories from high school, and why I need a new summer project.

Well, I’m looking for a new summer project. I know, life isn’t crazy busy enough… like I really have time to put something else on my plate… but I do find that I am the happiest and the healthiest when working towards an attainable goal, and I need to be doing something creative… Up to this point my summer project has been training for the Wine Country Half Marathon. And then two weeks ago I accidentally broke my toe while watering the garden. Bummer.  This of course put training on hold, which has put the 13.1 mile race on hold until next year. Wah Wah…. I’m pretty sad. This would have been my second half marathon, and I was actually getting pretty pumped to run the 13.1 miles. (I even talked my two best friends into training with me… so yeah, have fun guys… I will drop you off and pick you up…)

After I ran my first in 2010 I decided that I didn’t really need to do another one, but as time went on and things in my life once more drastically shifted (the last time I trained for a half marathon I was dealing with not getting into graduate school, and trying to figure out next steps etc.) I found myself running a bit more. In January I was broken hearted, unemployed, and had a remarkable amount of free time, and frustration so I began running again. A few miles here an there, turned into 3+ miles consistently multiple times a week, and as I dealt with trying to find a job, and the frustrations of unemployment hearings, I started adding on miles. One day, I just randomly went for a seven mile run, um what? Who am I? So I took the motivation, and signed up for the half marathon again.  Yay summer project, yay pushing myself! And then the toe thing happened…

It’s actually somewhat humorous that I’m kind of turning into a runner (ok that is maybe pushing it… I’m not really a runner. I still have to talk myself into it, and quite frankly, I trot. Maybe I’m a trotter, or a jogger or something… but I certainly wouldn’t call myself a runner yet… I am a person who goes running. There are days when I’m out there training and I think “Wait… I’m actually paying $100 so I can run 13.1 miles… what the hell is wrong with me?” but those moments pass. ) Without a doubt, the most traumatic experience of my high school years was having to run the mile in gym class my sophomore year. (This is saying a lot, because once I accidentally farted on the bus at like 6AM on the way to a Speech and Debate meet, and my friend Stephen made a cheer, and then told everyone on the bus, and practically everyone at the meet that I ripped one on the bus. Literally the cheer was “Tayler Brisbin, Ripped one!” and then there were two farting noises afterwards…  and he was prancing up and down the bus, yelling this., and by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure that every Speech and Debate member from high schools across the state were referring to me as the farting girl…And yet, the running incident was somehow more traumatic for me personally… Maybe even back then I knew that  farting on a bus would make for a really good blog tangent someday.)

Anyway, flash back to 10th grade. I had been home-schooled up to this point, and so my “version” of PE was essentially going to ballet class twice a week, and jumping on a trampoline, and occasionally running away from Moose. I wasn’t out of shape, but I most certainly wasn’t a runner. I was at an extreme disadvantage, because every other person in the public school system had been running “the mile” once a year since like 5th grade, and they knew what they were getting themselves into.  I, however did not. So there we are, in PE and it’s the girls day to run the mile, and come to find out to be on par with our age group or whatever, we are supposed to run a mile in 9 minutes or under…. UM WTF? Yes, as teenagers we are supposed to be young and spry, and full of bountiful pep and energy… but jesus a 9 minute mile? Let me just clarify, that to this day, I do not run a 9 minute mile. I am a person who runs, and a person who runs multiple times a week… and even though I’ve been training for a half marathon for over 6 months, and am living at what, maybe 500 ft above sea level? I still don’t run a 9 minute mile! (yes, I realize I’m slow, and this is maybe pathetic. I’ve come to terms with is, so should you.) Let me also just tell you that the elevation of my home town is 5,555 ft above sea level. (no joke. There is a sign telling you the elevation as you drive into the town) That is a lot of ft above sea level, in case you were wondering, and yes the air is a little bit thinner up there in the mountains.

I’m not sure how “the mile” works at other schools, but at my tiny high school, the boy s and girls ran it separately even though we had a co-ed gym class. Therefore when the girls ran the mile, we each had one of the boys from the class assigned to us to count our laps. I guess this was so we didn’t have to keep track/ couldn’t cheat… which, full discloser/ spoiler alert, I totally did.

I’m not exactly sure what lap I was on when I decided that I was going to die, but I’m pretty sure it was about lap 15 (20 laps around the gym for the mile). I will fully admit that now, as an adult, I have a bit of a gift for melodrama… but at the time, I was just pretty quiet, shy, and misunderstood. I was not the scene causing type of girl… Hello wallflower. So when I started to tell the PE teacher that I couldn’t breath, I wasn’t trying to draw attention to myself. I had never been that short of breath before ever, and I started to get a little panicky.  (of course at the time it never occurred to me to just stop and walk… though come to think of it, I’m not sure that was an option since we were being timed, and there was that 9 minute standard we were all being held against… again, who runs a 9 minute mile at 5555 ft? Olympians?) I was gasping for air, and kind of flopping around, and like “Um… I…. can’t…. breath…. Something…. Is …. Wrong….” And for reals, I was worried about passing out.  Just keep running but all the while freaking out a little bit, and being a little vocal about the fact that I was worried for my wellbeing. Of course at this point most of the boys were thinking this was hysterical, and none of the other girls seemed to be having a problem, and they all seemed put out that I was making a scene… but come on, not being able to breath is kind of scary!  Anyway, I’m not sure at what point most of the other girls lapped me, but it happened. They were all one lap ahead, and I was one behind… and all I knew for sure was that I was going to die.  And so, as most of them finished their final lap I also stopped running. I looked my  assigned counter in the eye, and I either gave him a look of “you will die if you rat me out” or I was so pathetic and floppy and red faced, that he genuinely felt bad for me.  Maybe it was both… I was pretty socially awkward back then, and mostly I was just shy because everyone else gave me a homeschooling complex, but this was just interpreted as me being a bitch… so I kind of just went with it.  Either way, everyone else knew that I was only on lap 19, but the gym teacher looked at him, and asked if that was my final lap, and he lied through his teeth and said that I was done running.  (Seth, in case you didn’t know, you are kind of my hero. Or at least you were at that moment) Unfortunately, my BFF at the time also had one lap left… she was doing much better than me, but everyone had lapped her as well, and so when everyone else finished, she still had one lap to go.  She would have of course finished running the mile before I did, but I cheated and stopped at lap 19, so at the end of the day, she was labeled with the slowest mile time in our grade. My bad.   Lets just say, she was not happy…  (this might have been the beginning of the end of our friendship, who even knows… girls are petty)  But I was too busy gulping for air and flopping around to really care.  Clearly, I feel bad about it now, but at the time I was just happy to be alive and vowed to hate running for the rest of my days.

It might not sound THAT traumatic… and come to think of it, I’m actually surprised that the farting incident didn’t scar me nearly as bad as my semester in PE… then again, this happened when I was a lowly sophomore and still adjusting to the ways of public school… Clearly the event stuck with me, because I’m pretty sure I even wrote a paper during my Freshman Year of college about how much I loathed running.  What? Who writes college level papers about that? (the whole graduate school rejection is maybe making more sense…) I’m that girl, and it makes me cringe a little.  Thankfully, times have changed, and I got over it. Look at me, training for half marathons and things…

It’s kind of like the time a baby sitter made me sit at the table and eat pizza even though I wasn’t hungry, and everyone else got to go watch the Wizard of OZ, and then for the next 13 years or so I hated pizza. I was a nightmare to have at birthday parties, because I wouldn’t eat pizza, and all the moms would have to order other food for the “picky eater.” For the longest time my parent’s thought I just didn’t like cheese, which is probably the biggest tragedy of my childhood… As far as I’m concerned, cheese is gods gift to us, and the more cheese the better.  I often wonder about how much cheese I missed out on in those thirteen years because people just assumed my aversion to pizza was actually an aversion to cheese… why did they think this? Obviously I ate the nachos that had to be special ordered for me at birthday parties because I didn’t eat pizza… but then again, as a child, I was also a vegetarian, and so it probably made perfect sense to everyone that I didn’t “like” cheese. False. I just didn’t like pizza. Clearly, I got over it. (liking pizza that is… obviously, I’m still a little sad about the mistaken cheese deprivation.) Its kind of ironic that the child who hated pizza is now the front of house manager at an establishment that is know for its woodfire pizzas, and I eat pizza at least 3 times a week…. Shoot, good thing I also got over my hatred of running… Fact: you don’t have to run as much if you hate pizza.

But, I got over my hatred of running, and my hatred of pizza…  really all this is to say, that now I need a new summer project, because training for a half marathon and a broken toe are not two things that go together, but thanks for hanging in there through the awkward/ traumatic throwbacks to high school.

What I like most about running, and a tangent about make-up

One of the things I love most about running is the healthy afterglow that takes over your face. Sure I love the exercise part, and the whole mental clarity thing is an added bonus for me right now, but I really really enjoy that perfect post run flush of color.  Especially this time of year when us Oregonian women need as much color as we can get. (this past week aside, since we are in the midst of that perfect week in February where there is actually a promise of spring and blue sky. It’s the savior week that gives us a glimpse of the hopeful season ahead, and makes the gloomy days of January, and the looming rainy days of March & April totally worth it). You’d think makeup companies would capitalize on this, I mean Nars has their best-selling shade “Orgasm” why not create a blush called “Runners High”?  I get the whole sex appeal thing, I’m guilty of it too, I have more makeup with somewhat scandalous names than practical ones (because who doesn’t need an eye shadow in the shade of Sex Kitten?) but somewhere out there are the women who would totally grab a compact full of that perfect color, and I am one of them.

Photo  from

Nars Blush in Orgasm Photo courtesy of

I love wearing lipstick, and have more makeup floating around in my bathroom than a sorority house, but I think there is a time and a place for every look, and as of late, my life isn’t exactly conducive to copious amounts of makeup. We’ve all seen those women, the kind that put on mascara before heading to the gym at 7AM… and to each her own. Who am I to judge? If you need mascara before leaving the house, then by all means, but that is SO not me. I’m hard pressed to even slap on under eye concealer before heading out to a 10AM yoga class, let alone a full blown lashes affront before coffee. It’s just not my style… (though maybe I should make more of an effort to not look like a dead yoga teacher, even when I’m just heading off to take a class, and not actually teach. It’s a fine line, dressing for success and all, but also there is a huge authenticity issue. If I went to a 5:30 AM class and the teacher was wearing makeup, I would probably have to fight the urge to punch her in the face… and yes, that might just be the early morning, pre-coffee me talking… and no I don’t teach 5:30 AM classes, so I’m hopeful that if I show up to my morning class my students are not in fact judging me if I have managed to get my life together and actually throw on some foundation and blush) I think it is really freeing to not feel tied down by makeup… and I know so many beautiful women who make a point of not wearing makeup at all.  I was actually shocked the other day when I friend of mine showed some hesitation about leaving her makeup at the place we were getting ready before going out dancing. She didn’t want to come back and get it in the morning, because she didn’t want to brave public transportation without makeup. It was such a good reminder about how big of a crutch it can sometimes be… Who knows, maybe I should be more like this friend… I cannot tell you how many times I have run out for a quick errand looking a little disheveled (it doesn’t help that these no-makeup circumstances are usually accompanied by frumpy work-out clothes, and somewhat questionable hair situations) and run into several people that I know… Which is my own high risk behavior… it’s a small community, of course I’m going to run into someone I know! Do I care? Not usually… but again, maybe I should start caring, as networking needs to be a higher priority on my life list.

And then there is the a makeup conundrum I’ve been having lately. I am by no means a high maintenance kind of girl, I fully believe in the practicality of a five-minute face, and typically when it comes to the everyday I’m into less is more. Again, I think there is a time and a place for heavy makeup, and I also believe that some women can pull it off flawlessly and not look ridiculous. Most days I try for a more subtle look. And in theory this is great, I’ve got my routine down, and I leave the house looking fresh faced, bright eyed, and am not feeling weighed down by too much makeup. But lately I have been hitting that 3 hour wall, where I look into the mirror, and it is like all the makeup has evaporated from my face. How/ why does this happen? I could understand if I was out working up a sweat, but most days I’ll be at a desk or working retail for a few hours, and then I look in the mirror and my face it completely void of color. Suddenly I start to resemble Leo McGarry post heart attack on The West Wing… And it’s not like I’m wearing cheap makeup… this is the whole reason one invests in the mineral foundations, and the blush with sexy names… when I put on my make-up I expect it to stay on, and I don’t think this is that unrealistic.

Of course it doesn’t help matters that when I actually spackle on make-up for a night out it will stay flawlessly until the next morning. How is it that I can have the perfect amount of makeup on my face, and it won’t stay for 3 hours, but when I am arguably wearing too much makeup, it can survive dancing, sweating, drinking, and 8 hours of sleeping, and still be perfectly in place? Someone explain that to me.  And why can’t I have it both ways? Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too… (maybe I can… when it comes to me and make up, there is a very good chance that I’m just doing it wrong… but I like to pretend that I know what I’m doing…)

In the end I’m sure it doesn’t matter…I’m still not going to put on my full face before running out the door to a yoga class, and I’m still going to somewhat awed when I wake up after a night out and my lipstick is still perfectly pouty. I will probably still shake my fist at the mirror later today when my blush/bronzer has magically evaporated, and I will still think fondly back to this morning when I came bursting in the front door after my run, and my cheeks were perfectly flushed. Seriously, will someone please create this blush color?