It is the eve of a presidential visit from President Barack Obama here in joyous Madison. AND I AM GOING TO SEE HIM. I've never in all my years witnessed, live, a visit from an acting president. NOT TO MENTION MY HOMEBOY OBAMA. Yes, one time in 2008 (February 13, to be exact, in Janesville, Wis., at the now-defunct GM plant. But who's counting?) I saw him speak (AND SHOOK HIS HAND) during his campaign for president, but this time HE IS PRESIDENT. So, boom. I'm pretty pumped. I even decorated a shirt for the occasion. We aren't allowed to bring along any signs, but no one said we couldn't wear them.
All things Obama aside, I've been a gigantic ball of stress the last couple weeks. It's all, for the most part, directly related to the marathon I'm running in one... two... FOUR days, but also from a presentation I had to give last week before a professional advertising association. I'm not kidding, you guys, I sat and hemmed and hawed and sweated about the presentation for a month. I have a fear of public speaking that is like no other. I could be presenting about kittens to a roomful of my own friends and I'd be freaked-the-hell-out. Something about standing before a group while they stare and analyze and stare and stare and stare. It makes me twitch. I presented about social media. SOCIAL MEDIA. My entire life is one big social media. But still. Horrifying.
In the end, it went fantastically. I happen to think I was charming as hell, darnit. And I made jokes and they laughed. SO I CONSIDER THIS A WIN. I didn't sweat out of my every pore, and I believe I mostly refrained from blushing like a lunatic on fire. So I'm proud of my very first professional presentation. I didn't die. I fully expected to die. I feel like I should bow right now. I won't.
Thankfully that's over now, and all I have to stress about is running the fastest marathon I've ever run. NO PRESSURE. I'm feeling significantly better about my chances than I was, say, last week, but this is the number one reason why I typically put no pressure on myself for races: the stress. I like to run. Sometimes I even love to run. And it feels damn good to smash a goal or to achieve something new or unexpected. But you know what I love more? Just running. Medals. Smiling. Enjoying experiences with my friends. Those things. Not pain and pressure and competition. So when Sunday is over -- and there will be pain and pressure and competition -- I'm going straight back to what I love to do: just run. Collect sweet race medals. Smile. Enjoy the experience with my friends. Because I said so. I'll have goals, and I'll improve as I go along, but those goals and improvements are not going to be about breaking records. That shit's hard.
All of the stress has put me in a funky spot. Like, craving solitude. Not that that's much different than regular life -- I love my alone time. But, like, all I want to do is go home, lay on my couch and watch TV. Or read. Or make funny noises at my cats. I want to wear my pajamas and not answer to anyone.
Most of these things, it turns out, are difficult while also maintaining a functioning relationship. Jeff, it turns out, is really rather patient with my lunacy. He accepts and understands and works with me rather than against my neuroses. So that's pretty wonderful. I'll probably always be a hermit, but at least he hermits with me and doesn't look at me sideways when I converse with my cats in a foreign tongue.