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Are you “busy”?

I got an email from author Laura Vanderkam* (or her people) that talked about how we need to stop saying we’re “busy” when people ask how we’re doing. This isn’t new, I’ve read this message plenty of times over the years.

But this is the first time it really stuck with me. Because when people ask me how I’m doing, my go-to response is “Busy.” And that’s how I feel. And that’s the least uncomfortable way to respond to the question. Alternatives that accurately describe how I feel, yet I don’t feel like saying, especially when a coworker asks me “How are you doing?”, include:

  • Sad
  • Stressed
  • Confused
  • Tired
  • Scared
  • Angry

But responding with any of those is inviting a conversation, and maybe you don’t want a conversation.

  • Does the checker at the grocery store need to know that I’m SAD because I just don’t like how my life is playing out each day?
  • Does my 3-year-old kid need to know that I’m stressed out because my workload is increasing at a rate each day that is unsustainable? Literally… I cannot keep up.
  • Do my Twitter followers need to know that I’m confused because I feel like shit but doctors say, “You’re fine.”
  • Saying I’m tired, is a given. Everyone is tired. Our messed up society praises fatigue. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and “No rest for the dedicated” and other lame pinnable “motivational” quotes that are extolling the virtue of going against biological needs shout at us online.
  • I’m scared because I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff and I don’t know where to find the path to follow again. Do I need to tell the exterminator that?
  • Hello phone solicitor, I’m angry because I can’t do everything I want.

Maybe we need to stop asking everyone “How are you?” as a default question because I’m willing to bet that 90% of the time when people ask that, they really do not want to know the answer.

Maybe when people ask “How are you?”, I will start to respond with “I ran today.” or “I didn’t run today.” If the person is a runner, they’ll get it. If not, they’ll just think I’m crazy. (Which I am!)

"How are you?" "I ran today."

I’m trying a new subscription utility on this site. If you sign up you’ll receive an email notification whenever a new post goes live on this site. Plus you can reply to the email to comment on the post. So if you’re reading this, please sign up and help me test it!

*I signed up for her email list, apparently. I do remember being interested in her book “I Know How She Does It All” and perhaps I signed up for the list then. Whatever, it hasn’t been annoying and it sure made me think.

Friday Fête

Lately, I feel really lonely.

I'm so ronery

I get to play with my awesome kid after work each day, but I miss other people. I saw a tweet the other day that linked to this article: Circle of Friends – Why working moms need their gal pals—maybe more than ever before—and how to keep them close.  It made me a little sad to realize that I don’t really have any super close gal pals. I think it’s partly who I am, I’ve always been really good at making lots of friends, but most of them were not super close. The amount of super close friends who know all my secrets has always been pretty low and right now that count is probably its lowest.

I don’t recall my mom going out for “girls nights” when I was growing up. Of course, when she was my age, I was nearly 13, could take care of myself and was probably lost in my own worries! (Middle school years were so full of drama that’s totally not drama when you grow up and look back on it.) Of course, my mom also had a good network of pals at work and that’s where my life is dramatically different. I telecommute, so my interactions with coworkers are very much limited to all business phone calls and all business video meetings. There’s no fun chit-chat or office parties or lunches out with friends. So that could contribute to these feelings of loneliness as well.

And then there is the whole thing about how hard it is to schedule time with friends. When you’re a kid it was just like, “Want to play after school?” Now it’s like, “Let me look at my calendar. What about this day? No, my kid has this, what about here? No, my husband has this. This day? No, I have a conference.”

I feel really guilty when I go out in the evenings, the extremely rare occasions that I do. I have friends that share on social media all the fun things with friends they do several times a week, but then… they are stay-at-home moms so I feel a little like “They’re stuck with the kids all day, their husbands are probably happy to let them go out and have an opportunity to be with the kids.” (Are husbands happy to spend time with their kids? Especially without the mom to take care of everything?) In my household, I feel like “We’ve both been working all day, so now it’s time to do home stuff.”

Is this just a generational thing? Like part of this whole “have it all” mentality that we’re so desperately trying to achieve these days? Maybe I’m supposed to have friends when I’m old and my kid is gone. I’ll join a bridge club. (Step 1: Learn what Bridge is.)

Let’s move on to other things:

I received this notification this morning:


So I’ve been on Twitter for 8 years now! Feel free to follow me!

I got a rock in my shoe the other morning. It was bugging me, poking into the side of my foot. I sat down on the curb to fish it out only to discover that it was IN my shoe.


I pushed it up a little so it didn’t poke my foot as much and finished out my run. I keep looking and I can’t find a hole to get it out. There must be one, somehow it got in there!

Do you carry something to protect yourself while you run outdoors? I’ve heard of people carrying pepper sprays, knives, and even guns! I was recently sent a little personal protection tool called the TigerLady. It’s modeled after a cat’s retractable claws.


I will never carry this when running. It’s an innovative idea, but the whole thing is just a wee bit too large for my dinky little hands. I feel like when I squeeze it to release the claws, I have to be extremely cautious so they don’t slide up and across my skin. And it feels bulky. I think it would be fine to carry in a purse and if I did happen to be out in the evening and felt a little uneasy, like I needed some kind of extra protection, I could pull this out. But it would be annoying in my hand for the entirety of a run.

I read this post the other day: Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads
I’m torn on it… I LOVE LOVE my technology. I’m going to be honest here. And it would be hard for me to give up my iPhone. But there are days where I get extremely annoyed at how tethered everybody is to these devices. Even in my own family, we can’t give each other our full attention. And while my daughter has learned a lot of great things from watching stuff on the iPad, there are also moments where she melts down if we try to take it away. But there is no way I’m going to shield her from technology so much that she is the weird kid who doesn’t know what these things are when she needs to use them either. It’s just part of being a parent I guess, in any generation. Navigating innovations and advancements as best you can.

What are your thoughts? On kids and technology or carrying protection while you are out exercises, making friends as adults, etc.

A Netflix List Ramble


I saw an article about the 50 Best TV Series on Netflix a while back and decided I’d compare the list with my own viewing history and use it to start deciding on new things to watch. What does this have to do with running? Nothing. But I’m not marathon training anymore…  so I have more time to watch TV? Okay, not really… I have the same amount of time because most of the time when I watch old episodes of TV it’s while I’m working and I frequently miss out on lots of the story because I use it as background noise to compensate for the fact that I don’t go into an office each day. And other times that I would have been running (aka 4AM) I think I’ll use for some sleep for a while.

I should use some of the time I’m not running to clear up my inbox. It’s out of control, but I don’t want to. It’s not fun. I’m still debating the direction of this site. In the early days of JillWillRun.com (2008) this site was all about training for a marathon with Team in Training. I made new friends and was part of a running blogger community, several of those people are still some of my most favorite people! As my running obsession grew, I started to post reviews on things I purchased just because I felt like it. Writing was fun and it felt natural.

Then I shared my decision to enter into eating disorder treatment. I wouldn’t call myself an “ED blogger” but I do advocate for positive body image messages, and that falls firmly within my definition of being healthy so it was kind of a natural addition to the site. Running and healthy living and body positivity.

Next I chronicled my years as a running coach with the Team Challenge organization and all the fun that came with that. (Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about Team Challenge!) I started receiving review products for free more frequently and I felt honored that companies reached out to me. I still had a fun community of people on this site and everything here was all fun.

Next up came pregnancy/having a baby and my time became more of a commodity. At the same time the influx of pitches coming into my inbox increased massively. I accept maybe 10% of what comes to me and I ignore anything that comes to “Dear Ms Jill Blogger” – if they can’t be bothered to find out more about my site, I can’t be bothered with their pitch. Many pitches come with the offer “for pictures of this product, write back.” I don’t work for pictures… and posting about all of these things in some ways is work. Even if my income doesn’t come from this site (I have a full-time career and the money I do get from this site would leave me homeless if I had to live off it.), taking the time to test and write a review on something takes time. And there are days it is less fun to run this site. Looking at my inbox usually invokes the “less fun” feeling.

My comments dropped and I don’t feel as much of a community here, yet my traffic increases and the pitches keep coming. But I also feel I’ve lost a little bit of “Jill” in all this. I started blogging in 2001 when I needed to do something to fill the hole that was occupied by my wedding website. (Yes, I had a wedding website way before it was considered semi-normal to do so. I was Super-geek-girl and I loved it!) Blogging was something I read about in tech magazines and I did it as a geek thing, after figuring out that I was already doing a form of blogging anyway… I just didn’t have a database engine behind it as blogs now do!

My former blog site is still out there, mostly stagnant. There are days I think I’d like to merge that one with this site, injecting more of my personal stories/anecdotes/observations into this site. There are days I think I should take this old school and write strictly about running. There are days I think I’ll just shut it down. But I can’t… I’d miss it and feel the void. Writing is my creative outlet, even when it’s really bad writing. But then… there is a void with this site right now. It’s not completely what I want.


So anyway… I saw an article about the 50 Best TV Series on Netflix a while back and decided I’d compare the list with my own viewing history and use it to start deciding on new things to watch.

  1. Breaking Bad: Never seen it, it’s next to watch with my husband
  2. Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared: Never seen it (er… them)
  3. Louie: Never seen it
  4. Friday Night Lights: Never seen it
  5. Sherlock: Never seen it
  6. Arrested Development: Seen the first few episodes
  7. Friends: Seen most episodes, if not all, in real-time and re-runs
  8. Archer: Never seen it
  9. Mad Men: Never seen it
  10. Orange is the New Black: Watched most of season 1, got tired of it
  11. Scrubs: Seen lots of episodes, never in order
  12. 30 Rock: Seen them all, mostly real time
  13. The X-Files: Never got into it when it was airing
  14. Gilmore Girls: Just finished watching it on Netflix because of this list
  15. West Wing: Never seen it
  16. Doctor Who: Never seen it
  17. Firefly: Never seen it
  18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Watched first couple seasons on Netflix a few years back
  19. Luther: Never heard of it
  20. The Office: Watched it all, some episodes multiple times. Fantastic show!
  21. Peaky Blinders: Never heard of it
  22. Parks and Recreation: Never seen it
  23. Black Mirror: Seen heard of it
  24. Bob’s Burgers: Never seen it
  25. Better Off Ted: Never heard of it
  26. Terriers: Never head of it
  27. The Walking Dead: Watching it now with my husband, I love it
  28. House of Cards: Never seen it
  29. Raising Hope: Watched it real time
  30. The Wonder Years: Watched it real time when I felt like catching an episode
  31. Parenthood: Watched it real time on Hulu
  32. Lost: Watched it mostly real-time
  33. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Watched everything on Netflix, loved it. Should have recorded season 10 on DVR!
  34. The New Girl: Saw the first couple episodes, didn’t stick with it
  35. Portlandia: Never seen it
  36. How I Met Your Mother: Watched it all real time
  37. Alias: Seen them all, have DVD boxed sets for seasons 1-3
  38. Family Guy: Seen lots of episodes, some more than others
  39. Quantum Leap: Never seen it
  40. Cheers: Have seen lots of episodes, absolutely not in order
  41. Dexter: Never seen it
  42. Damages: Never seen it
  43. Psych: Never seen it
  44. Fringe: Watched the series in real time, recorded each week on my DVR
  45. Top of the Lake: Never heard of it
  46. Arrow: Never seen it
  47. Scandal: Never seen it
  48. The League: Never seen it
  49. Sons of Anarchy: I actually kind of watched half of the first season, but just stopped for some reason
  50. Broadchurch: Never even heard of it

As I mention, I watched the show Gilmore Girls due to this list and I have thoughts on it… a whole blog post rattling around in my head. It’s the type of post that I’d just dump on my old site without thinking. I want to write it, so I shall write it. But now I think, “Will anyone want to read this? Would this upset people if it’s on this running/healthy living site? Will all those companies who send me stuff dislike this? Do I care?”

So while I watch TV shows and ponder what direction this site is going to go, I’ll leave you with this: What shows have you watched on this list and would recommend and/or discourage?

Freak Out: Commence Now

So…. these past few months have been really really trying for me at work. Lots of big projects and changes have kept my brain capacity and stress level at max. And last Friday was kind of the culmination of it all. Big project launched and the next few weeks will be monitor/maintenance/upkeep but the stress should be greatly diminished. So now that my brain has a little space for something else to take center stage…



This is the point where I start to over-think the event:

  • Uh… what am I going to wear?*
  • What’s the weather looking like now? How about now? And now?
  • What am I going to eat?
  • How do I get around Boston?
  • I’m going to miss my baby!
  • Will the kiddo be mad at me for being gone so long?
  • I totally got this.
  • What am I doing? I can’t do this!
  • This is the biggest and best opportunity EVAH!
  • What was I thinking?
  • Seriously… what should I wear?
  • Am I going to be cold?
  • Oh… is it going to be humid? I don’t deal with humidity, I live in the desert!
  • Boston is 3 hours different from my time zone. Oh noes!

I love my cute shirt from Run Far Girl that is at the top of this post and I’m totally going to wear that on my flight home the day after the race! If you want to get your hands on one of those you can do so through her shop, and any purchases of blue/yellow (Boston colors) gear on the shop through April 20 gets 20% donated to Girls on the Run.

I know I’m going to feel guilty for being gone.

The panic is real people…

*I do have a tank to wear from Stonyfield… it is super cute. And I’ve been training in Fabletics capris assuming I’d wear them. But I question if I should wear a shirt under my tank or if arm warmers will be sufficient.

My #teamstonyfield jersey just arrived!!! #bostonmarathon #AwesomeA

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on