JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Archive for January 2011

Call me crazy, but…

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Today, I:

  • Woke up at 6 a.m.
  • Left for the retirement community around 7 a.m.
  • Ran a 3.1-mile race starting at 8 a.m.

Part of me is still a little in disbelief about running my first 5K, but today was such a great day.

After trying to overdo it by running without resting, my leg muscles have been making me kind of nervous this week. However, after a rest day (a must), copious amounts of water and a little TLC, I found myself able to run (Ok, jog might be a more appropriate word here) more today.

So, how did I find myself involved in a race today, exactly? It goes back to October, really. I covered one of the community’s 5K events and there were only two people in my age bracket. One person had a fast time and the other had a time of like, 48 minutes. Awards are given to the top three in each age brackets, so the wheels started turning in my head that hey, even if I came in last, I could potentially get a trophy out of my first 5K. I put that idea on the shelf, and revisited it in early December. I got myself to the gym a few times, but, as many an exercise plan goes, it was put on the shelf during the holidays with my 9-day trip home.

I seriously thought about it again in early Jan., and basically made myself get to the gym and run more. With a little encouragement from my manager, who lent me “Rocky” (it has inspired her for many a marathon), and friends, I was as ready as I would ever be.

Going into the race, my expectations were pretty low. I’ve only been “training” for a few weeks, and on the days I’ve done the full 3.1 miles, my time was in the high 40s.

So, I went into today just wanting to finish basically. And finish, I did. With a second place medal*.

Long story short, it was a very fun, positive experience. While I thought it was cheesy that the cheerleaders from the local retirement community come out to cheer runners on, it was really, really nice to see smiling faces and pom-poms waving, for you (and fellow runners). Even though I wasn’t covering it, my newspaper was there, with a photographer taking a photo of me (for another manager–apparently a bunch of employees in advertising also ran) and the videographer got a bunch of volunteers to cheer me on, too, at another bend.

When I finished my final lap (it was a circular track), I was actually really discouraged, because I walk too slow and I didn’t run as much as I wanted to. And I was being lapped octogenarians. As I turned the curve into the final stretch, however, the time clock didn’t read 49, or worse– 50 minutes– it was 44. True, 44 is not a good time for a 23-year-old, but dang, it sure beat what I was expecting. I was suddenly able to dig out a little more of a jog and finished at 44:57. That averages to a tad over 14:30 minutes per mile, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m glad to have finished.

Next time, I can care about beating that. 🙂

And there definitely will be a next time…I’m plotting for a 5k in Wekiwa Springs next month…


So, here are some pictures from my day:

So, I’ll probably have more thoughts later…but it’s late. G’night!

*Re: the trophy: I was one of two people registered in my age group, so I was a shoe-in for it. They award the top three of each age bracket one, and when I heard, ‘In second place…” come from the recreation person’s mouth, I knew it was me. Still, not bad. I’ll take it and improve my time.


Written by Jessica

January 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

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Parking Lot Prodigy

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It all started in a dark parking lot behind my office building.

It was Friday night, approximately between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Being night in winter, it was chilly and dark.

Before I get into the encounter, I should probably say that the lot I use is rather busy. It is adjacent to a shopping/restaurant district that is centered around a square with nightly entertainment and dancing. It’s rare that I don’t feel safe in this lot at night.

So I’m leaving work, and I head into the lot, searching for my car. Apparently working with retirees has rubbed off on me because every single day it seems like I cannot for the life of me remember where I parked. The fact that I leave work multiple times of day might have something to do with that.

As I’m walking along, I spot the subject of my story’s car. It’s an dark-colored, boxy-type car, with the lights off. It’s not on. There’s a shady figure in the driver’s seat. Fleeting glances give me the impression it’s a man. I don’t want to be rude and stare. At this point I was slightly creeped out, though I spotted my car (across from his) and shuffled to the driver’s side door only to realize I can’t remember where in my purse I put my keys. Again, I’m turning into an old lady.

While my hand is digging through side pockets and the interior, something gives me pause.

It’s the sound of flute music. Not originating from the square — it’s coming from the parking lot. More specifically: the car with the creepy dude in it.

“No big deal,” I think. “He’s probably a big Jethro Tull fan.”

It’s not until keys are in ignition, my car is in reverse and I pull out of my spot and glance over my shoulder to see something I’ve never seen in my life.

The guy had a silvery, long flute held up to his face. The flute music was in fact live entertainment, not drifting from a radio or CD player.

Now that is strange, and something I hadn’t seen in my year and a half of working here…

Somehow, I went home and tooled around my apartment and I forgot about the strange sight. The next evening at work I bumped into a coworker who had an urgent story to tell me. When the words “Jess, I have something crazy to tell you,” came out, the memory instantly came back and it turns out she was excited to talk about the same guy. The Parking Lot Prodigy had returned, and was playing something that sounded to my coworker like “Irish-sounding Rihanna.”

I went back to another part of the office to see if the night desk had heard the mysterious musician, but alas, he was the stuff of legend — only another photographer had heard his music, and came by to rant about it to them.

This guy leaves me with many questions.

What is he doing? Why in the parking lot? Why not wait until the streets are deserted at 9 p.m. (this is a retirement area)? Is this his way of longing to be heard, and perhaps appreciated?

Or is it just as simple as he’s waiting for his wife to stop shopping at Chico’s and decided to get some quality flute-practice time in?

The world may never know.

Written by Jessica

January 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized