Confession: I have been unemployed for the better part of six weeks now. I wasn’t sure how I could casually write about joblessness without breaking down in tears or being smooshed under the weight of self-pity. To back track, my position as an Associate Web Producer at a Portland-area ad agency was eliminated along with my paycheck. The layoff was unexpected and it left me terrified. I sobbed for a few hours, went for a run to clear my head and then biked back to the office to pick up a few personal belongings.
I never made it back to the office that day. A car collided with my bike only a few blocks from my apartment. First laid off and then hit by a car. On the same day. As I skidded across the pavement my first thought was, “!@#*&%!, This is the WORST !@#%^! Day EVER!!” It was closely followed by a second very real worry, ” My Legs!” That I might be both unemployed AND unable to run evoked a true panic. Let’s be honest. Finding yourself sans job in this economy in a town with the second highest unemployment rate in the country may be… I don’t know… a bit of a bummer, but being struck by a car mere days before a major marathon felt a whole lot scarier. Luckily, Stella, my road bike, took the majority of the impact and I was able to race in the Eugene Marathon (time of 3:07 and fourth place woman) only ten days later. I do not suggest adding car/bike collisions into a pre-race taper program. It’s just not a good plan.
So. for the last six weeks I’ve been diligently, nervously, and apprehensively following every job lead, every whiff of opportunity and running, running, running when I couldn’t stare at my computer screen any longer. It was tough. Very tough.
All of that changed this week. This week was a true roller coaster.
Monday: I had run a intense hill workout with Trail Factor the day before: about 12 miles of fire lane work that left my legs burning and weak. But I struck out on a 19 mile trail run on Monday for a back-t0-back long workout. I finished the day much as I had started it. Exhausted. Unemployed. Unsure of my future.
Tuesday: I started track practice but suffered a mysterious and sudden hamstring cramp. I was forced to cut the workout short and left to wonder if all the trail hills had left me a bit too tired. I iced my unemployed hamstring that evening and prepped for the following morning’s interview. I was excited about the meeting, but my cranky crampy hamstring cautioned me against getting my hopes up. It was a big deal to even be invited back for a second interview. Similar to a race situation, I calmed my nerves by laying out my clothes and packing my bag the night before. The only difference? I didn’t need Body Glide or a bib number for the interview.
Wednesday: BIG DAY! At the conclusion of the interview that I thought went well, I inquired when I might hear back from them. “Very soon” was the only reply. Oh no. Oh no! Oh no! So not a good sign. I calmed my fears with wine and a friend that night and tried my best not to fret. Between the stress of the interview and fretting about it that afternoon I decided to forgo an afternoon run. My hamstring agreed that it was probably a good idea.
Thursday: Discovered that two glasses of wine is really my limit. I awoke with a thick dry mouth and a foggy head. But there was a message in my inbox inquiring f I could come into the office to discuss next steps. I danced. I clapped my hands. I yelled, “Woohooo!!” at my houseplant. Then I immediately downed a cup of coffee, tied my shoelaces and squeezed in 10 miles. That afternoon’s interview was fabulous and it ended with a job offer. I felt like pumping my fist up in the air and screaming. It felt like I had won the lottery. This isn’t just a job. This is the job I truly want! I celebrated with at home by watching Hulu in pajama pants
Friday: I woke up in the middle of the night and pulled out the offer again just to make sure I hadn’t hallucinated it all. I woke again so I could meet up with the 650 club (named such because we meet at 6:50 in the morning) to run about six miles of trails. I tacked on another three or four to round it out. I dropped off the signed offer, met the rest of the team at the office, and flew to Sacramento that evening.
Saturday: Today. On vacation and totally not stressed. Running in my hometown always feels a little strange. The roads seem deserted in comparison to the busy Portland streets and the air seems drier. I ran six miles this morning and another five in the afternoon.
Summary: 68.7 miles running this week
Details about the job: I couldn’t be more excited. I will be an Associate Producer for an ambitious Interactive Design Studio. They specialize in interactive displays and physical installations for museums. Their work is compelling, interesting and fits my personality. Who would have thought that what seemed like such a terrible string of bad luck would turn into such a great opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.