Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Depression Looks Like This.

Depression isn't always a sad person sitting quietly in a corner. It's more than Cure tunes playing while someone cries alone.

Depression can be that, sure. But it's so much more. It's sadness and loneliness and bouts of high-energy and "let's hang out" then "no, I'd rather not but please don't be mad at me."

I'm writing about this because it isn't always easy to see my own depression. My days go along like normal and nothing seems out of the ordinary. But then I catch a glimpse of myself, of my actions, and I'm suddenly aware of what is happening.

And right now, this is what my depression looks like:

I'm surrounded by friends at a relay race having a great time. Then I'm in my home, pretending to enjoy the solitude but actually desperately lonely and afraid to reach out to anyone.

I'm crazy active, energetically racking up the steps and joining others outside for a run. Then I'm laying in bed at 10:00am, unable to nap but not feeling like I even have the energy to get up.

And it sucks not knowing which me I'm going to be on any given day. I fake it more often than I want to admit, going through the expected motions but feeling like a complete fraud.

This, friends, is what my depression looks like today. And I'm telling you because I don't have the energy to hide it, anymore. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How To Create A Text Shortcut

If there are things you type repeatedly, like an email address or a set of hashtags, setting up text replacement shortcuts can save you a significant amount of time. And they're easy to set up. 

(Note: These instructions are for an Apple iOS device. I'm not familiar with Android products and don't know how to access similar functionality.)

First, choose "Settings"

Scroll down to "Keyboard"

Select "Text Replacement"

Select "+" to create new shortcut

In my example, I wanted to create a shortcut that I could use to quickly add hashtags for a Ragnar Relay race. I added the text in the "Phrase" box and then created a three character shortcut (ras).

Here it is, in action. 

And that's it. It's that simple. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Do I Pack For A Relay Race?

So, you've been asked to join a relay race and now you're freaking out because you have no idea what to pack.

No problem. Here is your easy how-to-pack guide.

A few assumptions:

  1. There is limited space in the van and you are sharing it with several other runners
  2. You want to compact everything you can into as little a bundle as possible
  3. You want to be able to find what you need without removing everything from your bag
  4. You will want most of your stuff packed away but will need ready access to a few personal things (phone, wallet, snacks, water, etc.)

The solution? Plastic bags. Lots and lots of clear plastic bags. I use the gallon size freezer bags because they are stronger and won't tear. Grab those, a black sharpie, and get organized.

And it all looks like this.

These gallon sized bags are for the running clothes you will wear each leg. 

These bags are for other items I will explain below.

Same, more items you will need.
This is what I will wear for my first leg. When I finish running and change clothes, I will put these sweaty clothes back into this bag and seal it up. That helps keep the van smelling clean and fresh instead of like an old locker room.
This is what I will wear on leg 2. That is typically a night run, so I want to make sure I am as visible as possible.
This is what I will wear on my third leg.
And here they are, all packed tightly in plastic bags and ready to go. I can easily find each bag and be ready to go without looking for my shorts, shirt, or socks.

This is one of the cold weather bags. It has my sweatpants and a long-sleeve tech shirt. I don't expect to need this to run, but I want to have it just in case the weather changes and I need to be warmer.

This is my second cold weather bag. I have a light-weight hoodie and a beanie in here. I wouldn't run in this, but I will probably want to put it on when I am out supporting my other teammates on their night legs.

This is all the gear I will need at night. I have a safety vest, headlamps, and rear blinky lights so I will be as visible as possible to other runners, team vans, and cars just passing by.

The towel and washcloth (in its own smaller bag) so I can wash up after each leg.

This is my run gear. It's my Road ID, my Halo headband, safety pins for my big, snacks in case I am hungry before I go out, and a safety vest custom-altered by my husband for my iPhone 6. I wear it every single leg, even during the day. It makes me more visible to drivers and it's super convenient to just pin my race bib on one time and wear the same vest all three times.

Here's the same run gear packed tightly into the bag. I also pack an extra pair of earbuds in this bag so I am not scrambling around to find them when it comes time to run. 

And here's everything packed into my gym bag and ready to go. My running shoes fit in here, too. Packing the bags tightly means I can get away with a smaller bag.

My First-Aid kit. Don't leave home without it.

These items are for my personal bag. I have my phone charger, extra reading glasses, sunglasses, a ball cap, and an extra headlamp. That comes in handy when I am trying to read a map or the Relay Guidebook at night and don't want to blind the driver with the overhead light. 

This is my refillable water bottle. We carry a 5-gallon bottle with a pump on top, so we can all use personal bottles instead of buying cases of disposable water bottles. Plus, it's easy to see at a glance which bottle is which since they all look a little different.

I also pack a small toiletry bag with just the basics. No one wants to ride next to a stinky runner.

Here's the personal bag, packed and ready. Because it's small, I can keep this bag near me in the van and have all that I need. My other bigger bag can go in the back of the van or underneath the seats and be out of everyone's way.

This is it. All I need to run a relay race.

And with that, I'm ready to go!