Well, it was a loopy week again, but the important thing is I’m hitting my mileage and cross-training as much as possible without overtaxing myself and allowing myself to have a little bit of a life. Here was the plan:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: Cross-training
Sunday: 10 miles

Here’s what actually happened:

Monday: Cross-training (stationary bike)
Tuesday: Morning yoga and afternoon 3 miles with a local run club
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 10 miles (Annapolis 10 miler)

There is a method to this madness. It looks like this:

image (11)This hangs on my cubicle at work. I may be scatterbrained and absentminded and willy-nilly but I do keep track of how scatterbrained and absentminded and willy-nilly I am. (Trust me, I confuse me too.) Some days I listen to my body and know I need a rest, but I make up for it later, like Tuesday’s morning yoga. Now I’m three sessions of yoga behind.

I don’t know why I feel like I need to make up the work. Maybe it’s the 4.0 college student in me, that developed from depression and anxiety disorder setting in in my freshman year of college. Depression and anxiety manifest in different people in different ways, and for me, because I felt so lonely and out of place at the college I initially went to before transferring to University of Maryland, it manifested in hiding in my schoolwork. I became obsessed with perfection in my assignments and obviously perfection is unattainable. So I would always try to make up for whatever I messed up.

But I’m also naturally inclined to fight structure and being told what to do, and can be pretty forgetful, absentminded, and scatterbrained. So I’m at this sort of constant headbutting against myself; sometimes I don’t do something specifically because someone else told me to do it. I do much better when I set goals and benchmarks for myself. I’ve developed a system at work where, because I know this about myself, I have to take what my boss asks me to do and write it down for myself so it feels like I’m telling myself to do it and I can physically go down and check the items off. I have to know I did it. Whether I have a checklist or not like the one above staring me in the face, my body knows when I skip out on something I was supposed to do, and I grow anxious and can’t let it go until it’s resolved.

I know, Emma, I’m sorry.

On the other hand, if it’s something I absolutely don’t believe in doing, don’t care to do, don’t see the point of (none of which apply to marathon training or my job that I love), and someone else tells me to do it, even if it’s not harmful, just not important to me, I will specifically not do it just to be contrary. I will do what I WANT, thank you, not because you told me to.

Are you exhausted yet? Confused? I know. This is why they give me nice things like Xanax.

Here’s a good case in point about my tendency to be both obsessive-compulsive and completely head-in-the-clouds at the same time:

PicMonkey Collage

It never fails; every time I travel I forget something small but essential, like my headphones for my first half marathon, or, more importantly, my Xanax when I went to a foreign country and experienced culture shock. Whether it’s 10 bucks for a new pair of earbuds at the Rite Aid in a panicked realization after getting in bed for the night before the race, or several hundred bucks for a flight home in a panic attack, it always costs me. It causes so much stress in the moment (or the extended moments, as was the case of Peru) that now my body is physically terrified of forgetting something.

So, on the left, you have the packing list I wrote up when I was at work on a slow-ish Monday and began to panic that I didn’t have time to pack for Dumbo Double Dare this weekend. I’ll be spending 6 days traveling, the closest I’ve had to a real vacation instead of just extended weekends in a very long time. I began to panic I would forget something absolutely essential so I started writing down everything I needed as it came to me.

Then I forgot the packing list at work.

I don’t know where my brain goes. My mother has always used the old line “you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached to your neck” with me for as long as I can remember.

So I made another packing list, and this time, I color-coded it, and as I packed last night, I got so anxious that my laundry with specific pieces of clothing I wanted wasn’t done drying but I really wanted to be done packing that I went to Target and bought extras of that clothing. I planned to get Ziploc freezer bags so I could compartmentalize outfits for every scenario I planned for the weekend. I got the extras before my laundry was done drying but forgot to buy the bags. (You know what’s great about 7-11? It’s open 24 hours, has Ziploc freezer bags, and doesn’t have a REDCard to allow you to buy a maxi skirt because WHAT IF YOU NEED IT?!)

My life is a constant tide of compulsive vs. impulsive. Constantly. Compulsive impulsive. Compulsive impulsive.

But you know what? It may mean I’m terrible with money and it might sound stressful to other people, but I’ve been living this way for 25 years and to be quite honest, I’ve gotten so used to it that, as much as I try to be more organized (compulsive), I’m glad I have the fun, impulsive side to lighten the mood. It’s taught me the hard way to be un-phased when things go wrong. Because with me, things are never going to go as planned.

And that’s okay.