1. When is spring break?
I’m just kidding–well, not really, because I could definitely use a spring break. I realize I’m a grown up now, working in Corporate America, where you don’t get a free week off just because you’ve had your nose to the grindstone for several weeks in a row. No spring break for me. But man, could I use one.
Work has been beating. me. up. lately. My workload increased substantially a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been leaving work with a stress-induced headache more days than not ever since. I realize this probably shouldn’t surprise me, but since I’m not used to enduring this much constant work-related stress, it’s been a huge surprise to me how much this has impacted every other aspect of my life. I’m cranky and have a short fuse when I get home. I’m so exhausted from all the work I’ve done at work that all the remaining non-income generating work I have to do at home with the whopping three-hours-on-the-best-days of free time I have after finishing my afternoon workout and needing to go to bed–soul-sucking tasks like vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, doing/folding my laundry, washing the dishes, making my lunches, keeping up with my finances–seems so unappealing that I’ve fallen behind on all of it, which only adds to my stress level when I see collections of rock salt littering my entryway, water stains rendering my bathroom mirror basically useless, and piles of tax-related documents stacked on top of my laptop. Nothing, technically, is stopping me from taking a personal day to catch up on all of those things, except for the knowing that just because I take a personal day doesn’t mean the rest of the office will take a personal day, meaning when I’d come back, I’d have TWO days of work to do in one day instead of one day’s worth of work, and the fact that I prefer to hoard my PTO like a squirrel burying nuts for winter, so I’ll have it available when I actually need it (because I’m sick) or because I actually want it (for a trip).
I think–hope, pray–that things will improve shortly. The project that caused me the most stress was due on Monday (it was originally due on March 30, and then unceremoniously got pushed up six weeks with 10 days notice. That might have had something to do with my bonkers work-related stress level.), so at least that’s done and over with now. But because that project became immediately important with no warning, everything else had to wait, including things with other immediate deadlines. It’s just never ending lately, and I really, really can’t wait to get back to my more manageable workload.
I have absolutely no relevant photos to add to this post, so in honor of this weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count (which I am SO EXCITED FOR!!!!!! *squeals forever*), please enjoy these recycled photos of some of my favorite bird encounters. This bluebird doing neck circles represents me doing neck circles in a futile attempt to relieve my stress-induced headaches.
2. Fortunately, this dramatic increase in workload happened to more or less coincide with my delayed but triumphant return to running post-wisdom teeth extraction!
In what has quickly become a recurring theme to this entire wisdom teeth ordeal, I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take my mouth to heal to the point where I could run again. Honestly, I didn’t really consider that having two teeth yanked out of my skull would prevent me from running, but what do you know, it sure did! When I initially set up my training schedule for the first four months of 2018, I thought I’d be able to run 4-6 miles one week after the extraction. Since I was still barely taking in chewable calories at that point, that obviously wasn’t the case. I then tried to go for a run 11 days post-extraction, and that didn’t go well, either. My sockets ached every time my foot struck the ground–which, in retrospect, shouldn’t have been all that surprisingly. They also ached whenever my head hung down–any time I did an inversion during yoga, or stretching at dance, or anything along those lines. Regardless, it was surprising, and it was also extremely disappointing.
So I waited another week, watching more and more planned miles tick by on my training plan un-run, and headed out last Wednesday to see what would happen. Nothing! Nothing happened! Hooray! It was a totally uneventful, un-achy run! Woohoo! Of course, the fact that I can run now doesn’t make up for the fact that I couldn’t run any time before last Wednesday, nor does it make up for the fact that I’ve missed 10 percent of my intended training, but at least I can run now. I’ve learned that running doesn’t make me feel better if I’m upset, but it does help me feel less stressed (at least if running isn’t the source of stress to begin with–I’m looking at you, consecutive strings of hot and humid days during marathon season), so it’s been quite helpful lately.
That being said, I have all but given up on my dreams of a half marathon PR in April. I lost a LOT of fitness during my days of sitting on the couch and shoveling pudding and ice cream into my mouth (who would’ve guessed?), and I’m still not back to the diet I’d like to maintain (nuts and seeds, how I miss you so. Seriously, though, WHEN are these holes in the back of my mouth going to heal?! Google has told me anywhere between six weeks and eight months, which seems like a PRETTY big range.). I already knew PRing would be tough, given my schedule the week before the half marathon. Considering how out of shape I’ve become, in addition to the whole “you can’t outrun a bad diet” thing, I think hoping to even run a 2:15 in April is a bit of a pipe dream, never mind running the sub-2:00 I really wanted. There’s always next year, I suppose.
Seeing this migrating Common Yellowthroat was my favorite run-related bird encounter to date.
3. I’ve been a loyal wearer of Old Navy jeans for seven years now. I discovered that their Diva line of jeans fit me like a dream in 2011, and though they have since replaced the Diva with the similar but for some reason much longer (??) Original style, they’re still my go-to for jeans (despite the fact that they inevitably develop holes a year after purchase). I can buy them online and know they’ll fit, which is a good enough reason to stick with them as far as I’m concerned.
The Original comes in three washes that have official names, but boil down to light, medium, and dark washes. I like to have one pair of medium wash and one pair of dark wash on hand at all times and went to Old Navy a couple of weeks ago to restock my supply, as I had worn holes into both of my 2017 pairs. The store only carried medium wash, but since dark wash was available online, they ordered a pair for me and waived the shipping fee. Thanks, Old Navy!
Getting the jeans proved to be far more of an ordeal than it should’ve been–UPS refused to leave the package at my house, and instead of attempting another delivery or even leaving it at a nearby UPS store, they required that I retrieve it from the UPS Customer Center, which is tucked away in the middle of no man’s land–but eventually I got my jeans. I tried them on yesterday and was surprised at how difficult it was to pull them on. I checked the tag, which reported that these were, in fact, the same size and style I always wear. I figured I must just need to break them in or something, even though I hadn’t needed to “break in” the presumably identical pair of medium wash jeans I bought at the store. I made it through a whopping 10 minutes of wearing my new jeans before I deciding that there was no reason why I needed to suffer through too-tight jeans for a full day and changing into a different pair.
I just could not understand how two pairs of jeans from the same brand in the same size and the same style could fit THAT differently, so I busted out my measuring tape to see if I was going crazy. Turns out, the waist on the pair of dark wash jeans is THREE INCHES SMALLER than the waist on all my other jeans (again, all Old Navy Originals in the same size). No wonder they didn’t fit! I know there isn’t much standard to women’s pants sizing, but that’s got to be at LEAST two sizes smaller than what I normally wear, especially since I tried on a size smaller than my usual size at Old Navy in December and was at least able to button them without holding my breath, which certainly wasn’t the case with this pair shipped to me. Here’s hoping the pair I get when I exchange them is actually the size it claims to be!
These waddling Gentoo Penguins represent how I felt trying to get in and out of my too-small jeans. I do not expect to encounter any penguins while I bird during the Great Backyard Bird Count, though, given that they are flightless and live in the Southern Hemisphere.