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Saturday, December 31, 2005

To Resolve or Not to Resolve

That is the question.

It is New Year's Eve and most are probably thinking over what they will resove to change in the forthcoming year. In years past I have always resolved to not resolve. I never like to make promises I won't keep (especially to that all important person, myself), so I have vowed year after year to not change anything, and to always remain the same. Yet, this year has me thinking differently.

I usually reserve my panic about my life and what I have or have not accomplished in my time on Earth for birthdays. Last year that led to a list of five things I want to do before I'm thirty: get married (check), run a marathon (goddammit, I'm working on that), publish a book (starting to feel like a distant dream), go to Italy (must remember to start saving for that), and find a job I enjoy (or that pays me really well). I have a whole list of other things I'd like to learn or do as well that include learning to rock out on the drums, take dance lessons, sky dive, and learn a foreign language (I mean really learn it, not just be capable of asking where the bathroom is).

But I've been thinking that this year will be the year that I decide to work toward these goals at the start of the new year instead of waiting until my birthday (besides, this year I turn an even number and I always feel good about turning an even number -- it's the odd years that prompt me to think about my life). The new year is the perfect time for a resolution; a fresh leaf, a new start, a beginning, because tommorow is not just another day -- it's a new year! So, what will I resolve?

I can't get more married and I am working on that marathon dream. Italy is probably a year away, but we could count my change jar as a savings account for that. My job? Well, I don't hate teaching, I just wish I got paid more to do it. So I either need to find a full time position, or I need to go back to school for my PhD; that's what I've decided. I have applications in for both. I'll let you know what happens. So, it comes down to the book. Publish a book.

Publish a book. Hmmm, such a commitment. Can I do it? Is it feasible? Do I dare resolve to work toward that? Such a big endeavor (even if it is written and sitting in my desk drawer). Hmmm, this will be an all day consideration. Let you know tomorrow.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Lighted Path

Yesterday I tested out a new running route partially because I am increasing my mileage and am forced to break away from my solid path, but also partially because I recognize the need to breakaway from my solid path. This new path was fine, except it forces me to double back, and I don't like that. I like either running to a destination or running in a loop -- I don't like the feeling of retracing my steps; it makes me feel like I've already covered that ground. The other thing I didn't like about that route was that I had to cross three intersections with lights.

Mostly I try to avoid intersections like these, three reasons:

Chief reason number one: If the light is red when you approach it, you have to do one of two things -- stop running and stand there, or jog in place. I don't like to just stop running because then I lose my momentum, and I don't like to jog in place because I feel like a geek jogging there while everyone in traffic looks at you. So, I always cross my fingers and hope that every light I hit will be green when I hit it.

Secondary reason: If the light is green when I get there, and I have the opportunity to run across the street, I never quite trust drivers to not run me over. Especially drivers who are turning right. Some of them looked pissed that I'm delaying their turn, others leer, and others aren't even looking. (When I was a kid, we had an Atari and I loved the game "Frogger" -- where you try to steer the frog across the road without getting smashed. Well, I had a sicko streak and kinda liked seeing the frog get smooshed, and well, sometimes I think people have real life feelings like those about runners crossing the street. Sure, it's morally wrong to strike a runner down in the prime of her life, but perhaps it is also humorous.) It freaks me out and I always hesitate when crossing a lighted intersection, even when the light is in my favor.

Last reason: I like to pretend when I am running that no one can see me. It's the only way I can consciously do it outside over and over again. People look at runners; I look at runners. And I don't like to be noticed like that. So, when I run I mostly chose paths that have little or no traffic, but this route that I chose yesterday has heavy traffic. I don't mind the cars if they're just cruising by, but at the light, that's when you know they are going to stare at you. How could they not? They're sitting in their vehicle while you trot in front of them -- it's like a performance.

If I had my way, we would have little skyway bridges over every intersection to avoid these problems and I think that not only would the running world thank me for the idea, but I think walkers, bikers and roller bladers alike would be thankful for such innovation.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Foot Fetish

I've noticed in the past week that the skin on my toes has been peeling off in chunks. First, it kinda bubbles up -- like a blister, but not painful -- then it peels off in a clump of skin. It's remarkably disgusting, and I'm not sure if it's a side effect from running, or if I'm just shedding some skin, like a snake, and soon the shedding will spread to other parts.

I'm a little dismayed at the sight of this peeling since my feet have actually been one of my features that I've always been rather fond of. I'm not ashamed to say that they are extrodinarily cute. For one thing, they are very small, almost child-sized feet, and my husband can cup one of them in his palm. So, that makes them adorable. But they're also nicely shaped feet: No strange arch or weirdly long or narrow shape; the toes are arranged in descending order (as God intended, not like some of these feet I've seen that have toes growing out all nimbly-bimbly ignoring the command of the Big Toe -- which should always be the largest); and I have a always had nice toe nails (with the exception of the spring I broke off my Big Toe nail in soccer; I'll admit, that was gross). But the thing that really makes my feet cute, is that on the bottom of one there is a mole -- not a big hariy mole -- but a flat, personalized one.

But just because my feet have always been cute, don't go assuming that I have treated them delicately. No, I spent most of my childhood with caluses as thick as plywood and playing sports in high school and college left them with patches of athlete's foot and dry skin. Later, as I worked part-time as a waitress for many years, my feet suffered from fatigue and stress as I stood on them for hours at a time. And now we come to this point, a point where I run on them four days a week with increasing mileage. Even though they have high tech shoes between them and the pavement, they still take a beating.

Still, I can't help but think this recent skin peeling is odd. It looks odd. And for the first time in my life, I feel like hiding those little toes away. Will the shedding subside? Will it increasingly get worse? Will my toes rub away? Will I be left with nubs (and therefore, will I be able to balance on those nubs)? I was so concerned about my waistline, that I never thought about the effects this running might have on my feet. What will become of them?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Winter Weather

South Florida really does have a pleasant winter. True, we don't get the holiday snow, or even frost, and that kinda sucks for those of us who grew up with wintry weather; however, you can't deny how beautiful it is here right now. It's a little crisp first thing in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, it's in the low 70s, dry with soft breezes. Perfect for running.

Yesterday evening when I went for my run, it felt good just to be breathing the air and feeling my skin whoosh (that is the "technical" term) against the fabric of the landscape (poetic, I know). It was one of those afternoons that just makes you feel happy and content. It sounds so cheesy to even mention, but it really was the sort of weather that feels good to inhale, and the sight of such a blue sky against so much green is pleasing to behold.

I love to breathe in dry air -- must be because I grew up in Colorado where the air is exceedingly dry and thin (thus, your skin feels cracked and aged, and that's why many new comers suffer from nose bleeds, headaches, and nausea). I can remember hiking when I was kid and I would stand in the trees and suck in the scent of pine and dirt, and it smelled so clean and fresh. That's why I actually loved walking home from college in the deep of winter when I lived in Minnesota: Those really painfully cold nights, I'd be walking home from a late class or time spent at the school newspaper, when I'd breathe in, and my nose hairs would crystalize and when I'd exhale the cloth of my scarf would frost. I loved those solitary walks home in the dark -- the stars always looked so crisp and clear in the inky night and the air around me felt so thin and vacuous.

Here in Florida I have discovered new ways to enjoy the outside air (what is mostly thick, mucusy wet air), and while it is mostly paradoxical of the climates I am used to, there are times when I inhale and it smells or feels like I am in the north. I have to savor this time of year: In a few months running outside will return to a sticky, sweaty mess.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Approaching New Year

Yesterday evening I was in Barnes & Noble shopping with the gift cards I received for Christmas (can't help myself -- I am addicted to books and I couldn't wait any longer to go and get some); there I noticed the large population of books on weight loss, nutrition, and exercise that were crowding the ends of shelves. There were also many books on how to look and feel younger, example title: "Turn Back the Clock," rubbing shoulders with the other diet and exercise manuals.

These books signal the lurking new year approaching at the end of this week, and everyone is starring at his or her waistline regretting what he or she ate over Christmas, or maybe even thinking all the way back to when the overeating started at Thanksgiving. The diet book industry, which is part of the mammoth self-help book industry, makes gajillions of dollars every year, and yet I am here to help save you money. Don't buy a single book out there about how to lose weight or how to look younger, because I will save you $23.95 by telling you what each one will recommend. Every kind of those books is based on five basic tenets of good health, and they are:

1. Get plenty of sleep. Everyone should know by now that sleep deprived people are more prone to weight gain than those who feel rested. Also, getting enough rest is essential to maintaining your youth; you can spot a tired person because they look old and haggard. Generally, those who get at least eight hours a night maintain steadier weights, are less likely to overeat and more likely to get daily exercise, and they have a more positive outlook on life. So get all your zzz's.

2. Drink plenty of water. Go by the standard eight glasses of eight ounces rule. Drinking water helps everything in your physical body function better, and even helps you look better -- skin needs to be hydrated, and this also affects your hair and nail quality. Thus, the chapter in every "look younger book" on drinking water. In this category, the books will also advise keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum (obviously alcohol is hihg in calories and it dehydrates you, odd tradition that we start our New Year with so much of it).

3. Eat plenty of fresh food. Many diet manuals emphasize shopping for food around the outside rim of the grocery store -- that's where you usually find the dairy, deli, meat, and produce sections and you avoid the middle which includes all the boxed, canned and frozen foods which are all generally high in sodium and preservatives. Make sure you get the appropriate servings of fruits and veggies -- they have the necessary fiber, vitamins, and water content to help you lose weight.

4. Get daily exercise. The new food pyramid actually recommends ninety minutes of exercise a day five days a week if you have a sedentary job, as most of us do. But don't freak out. Walking from your car, or up a flight of stairs could count as part of your exercise, as well as yard and housework. Still, you should aim for thirty minutes of exercise a day to help your heart, lungs, and muscles. What you do for exercise should be based on what you like. I like to run -- it clears my head and makes me feel strong and healthy. But I strongly recommend that whatever exercise you do should be something you enjoy; otherwise, you will quit doing it in a week.

5. Relax. Stress and fatigue are probably Americans' numbers one and two reasons for weight gain, aging, and depression (which affects your health negatively in a dozen ways). So, you have to find your own ways of letting go and enjoying life. This can mean taking time to read a book, watch a TV show (preferrably a funny one; laughing is good for all around health), pet your dog or cat (pets are proven to lower stress and people who own pets are reportedly much happier than those who don't), have a beer with a friend, meditate, knit, whatever. Just take the time to not worry so much.

I am, by no means, master of any of these concepts. Still, as the public service announcements used to say: "Knowing is half the battle." Buying one of those gimmicky books will only elaborate on those things which you already know, so instead of buying a book or video, or whatever, we could all be better served by actually trying to follow those ideas. As best as we can while also keeping in mind what's good for us (being stick thin, not good for you; being healthy, good for you) and by being reasonable with goals and expectations. Don't buy the books; that would be feeding an evil machine, a machine that could use a diet.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Month of Marriage

While yesterday was certainly notable because it marked Christmas, it was also notable in my household as the one month anniversary of our wedding. We really only celebrated the Christmas aspect -- we're not really the sort to celebrate month anniversaries, but there were still loads of gifts and good food. I don't really have anything to say about our first month of marriage, except that saying it sounds like a book title.

Yesterday was also supposed to be my day for a long run, but because it was Christmas, and because I just didn't feel like it, I didn't run. In some ways I felt guilty since the reasoning behind this new schedule was to keep me from coming up with excuses, but on the other hand, I didn't feel shamed about taking a day off to eat copious amounts of turkey and enjoy the day. Today, I plan to make up the long run and go for it early this evening. I just finished adding the second coat of paint to my office, and feel pretty worn out from that; however, I am not going to leave running out today. I'm just going to sit for a spell, have a cup of caffeinated tea, and get into the mood.

First I have to get out of these filthy clothes (I look like a Jackson Pollack painting) and clean up my supplies. One thing at a time.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Leaving a Mark

Today was my day to cross train, so instead of running, I went for a long walk. I like walking; it's very relaxing and I seem to have more room in my brain to let my mind wander; whereas when I run, I often am just focused on the running itself, or the music blaring through my MP3. While I was walking this afternoon, I was passed by two runners. One, a small woman about my height in a very cute running outfit that was all coordinated. Secondly, by a tall man with long legs and no coordination of running clothes. And after watching each pass me by, it struck me how different each runner truly is.

Like a fingerprint or snowflake, each runner seems to have an individual gait -- their own way of running that is like no other runner. The petite woman who was dressed so smartly ran with short, calculated steps; on the other hand, the tall man's stride reminded me a bit of a loopy Labrador retriever with big clodding strides and a thumping way of pounding the sidewalk as if his feet were hooves. But these aren't the only two runners I've noted. I see hundreds of runners each week. Some I see running outside and many others I see in the gym, and I witness both the very graceful and the very strange ways of running.

I used to believe that the best runners were those with the long, steady stride, the ones that looked as though they were floating just inches above the pavement, and I have seen some runners who actually run like that. Yet, I have seen others run like they have something rammed up their ass, others who run kinda lopsided as if one leg is longer than the other, others who run a little crooked (they kinda weave back and forth and when I run next to these types in races I'm never sure if they're going to run into me or not). I also see people who run with very short, practiced steps, and then there are others who look like they are trying to reach into next week with their step.

Then there's me. How do I run? I really can't tell you. Some days I feel as though I am one of those crooked runners with one pigeon-toed foot and one foot slapping the pavement next to its retarded brother. Sometimes I'm extremely conscious of how my butt and thighs must jiggle up and down as I stomp my way down the path, and I think I have all the gracefulness of T-Rex. And other times I feel as though I am one of those perfect gliders who make running look easy and focused. On some of the treadmills at the gym, I can see my reflection in the glass doors of the dance studios and I catch a glimpse of a short (because my legs are Smurf-length) but even stride.

I am conscious of standing up straight, keeping my core tight, pumping my arms close to my body, and making sure my feet land heel first and roll onto their balls as I learned so long ago in seventh grade track. There are things I could improve about my stride I'm sure -- ways to adjust and smooth it out -- but I like the idea of having an individual mark on my sport. And if we had snow here in South Florida, I could turn and admire the tracks I made in the frost, and I would be happy to see how they said something about me and my running.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Busy busy

Sorry it's been a couple of days since my last post. I've been busy with the remodeling job (requires many hours on a stepladder with a paint roller in my hand) and getting ready for Christmas (actually, that's a lie -- I'm all done with my shopping and we're not entertaining so I haven't doing anything on that front). But you will be happy to know that I have been keeping up with my training schedule and have had some good runs so far this week.

On Tuesday I actually ran the fastest three miles I think I've run since my high school days: 3 miles in 30 minutes. I think it was because I was so highly caffeinated (one latte and two diet pepsis; I could have pulled a Volkswagon behind me I was so energized) that day, but who knows? I tried to repeat that time again yesterday, but only managed to run the 3 miles in 32 minutes. Poop.

Today is my day off, so I applied a second coat of paint to some bookshelves this morning, and then picked up around the house, and now I plan to spend the rest of the day laying around and reading.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I can't sleep. An infliction that strikes me from time to time. Not complete insomnia (which, by the way, is an affliction that few really suffer from: most get some sleep), but I am having trouble falling asleep. Usually I have this issue when I have too much on my mind, but I'm on break from classes right now and am actually enjoying the bliss of peace of mind; however, as I was trying to get to sleep my mind was strangely focused on things of little or trivial importance (for instance, I started to panick about what to make for dinner tomorrow night -- I wanted to make something out of the leftover ham, maybe a soup, but I couldn't think of a soup recipe for ham off the top of my head) and then my mind becomes so fixated on that issue that I have to get out of bed to investigate (thus, I got up to flip through cookbooks: you'll be relieved to know that I found a suitable recipe that doesn't require a trip to the store).

Sleep is a cherished thing for me, and when I can't easily drift off, it bothers me; plus, it interrupts the whole next day as well because I'll invariably sleep later than usual and the whole process will begin like a sickening merry-go-round. So, after dealing with the recipe business I decided to hop online and check out sleep remedies. Mostly I found the usual: warm bath, cup of warm milk (thought has always repulsed me), cup of decaf tea, deep breathing, etc. But interestingly enough, I found some other strange ideas: sleep with your head facing north (as if! I never know what direction I'm pointed even when I'm not lying down), toe wiggling, belly rubbing, and something called "quiet ears" -- a meditation practice that requires you to focus on a remembered sound.

But along with the advice (sage and otherwise), I learned some more about sleep. I have long known, along with everyone else, that sleep is essential to good health and usually I feel as though that is the one area in which I exceed all standards of good practice. And I also knew that sleep is aided by regular exercise (not a problem -- went to the yoga class, sanded the shit out of the walls of the office), a cooler room, a firm bed, and an avoidance of caffeine. But I did learn that my favorite sleeping position, on my stomach, is the worst for you. It compresses your organs and causes back pain (but is oh so comfy for me). And I also learned that counting sheep really can help you get to sleep.

However much info I gleaned, my own methods seem to be kicking in now. When I can't sleep, I usually get up if it's been too long (recommended action: if you've been lying there for more than 30 minutes, you should get up), have a snack, and read or play around watching TV, or playing on the computer. Once the snacks set in and I have exhausted my brain with some mental stretching, I usually feel sleepy, as I do now.

Perhaps I will try to wake myself early tomorrow so I don't feel like this tomorrow night, but until then I'll just enjoy the incoming Z's.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sanding for Strength

Today is supposed to be my Strength and Stretch day on the training schedule, but I've returned to working on the house, and my little arms feel weak from sanding all afternoon. Some of you might remember that we bought a house last spring and have been in the process of remodeling since then. Well, with the wedding and the holidays and everything, we kinda stalled out on the project in November, but now that I have two weeks off for Christmas vacation, I have decided to resume work on the office -- where we left off. I'm particularly anxious to finish this room because that means I could unpack all my books and get my desk moved in there (right now my work station is in the living room), so I started again on the work today.

And boy are my arms tired.

I forgot how much work this house stuff is. After working so hard all summer, I didn't think it was possible to forget the pain, but the memory has returned full force, and sanding is the most dreaded job on my list. I think I even prefer the task of scraping off wallpaper. The thing about sanding is not just that it's tedious or that it is incredibly dirty (and you feel like your throat, ears and nose are coated in dust, thus the plaster boogers), but it's really about how tiring it is. The sander is not light (3 and a half pounds: yes, I weighed that fucker) and your arms get sore from the sanding action.

With the up and down of the stepladder added in (not to mention the boxes I hauled around this morning), I think I got my strength in by doing that and I can already feel how my arms will be weak and sore tomorrow. But I do still have the "stretch" aspect to fit in; perhaps I will go to a yoga class tonight. I don't know. I'm feeling awfully lazy now after the day of manual labor.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Great Outdoors

I ran my "long" run -- 3 miles this week -- outside this afternoon. The weather was nice: overcast, cooler, hint of a breeze, and it's always nice to get away from the treadmill. However, running outside has dramatically changed since hurricane Wilma tore through here just two months ago. When the storm hit, she ripped up many trees and those trees ripped up the sidewalks or tumbled down across the paths and streets of the area. The trees also knocked fences and concrete walls into the sidewalks and streets, and crews are still in the process of not just removing the brush, but also repairing the sidewalks and pathways.

For the most part, there are long strips of uninterrupted cement, but there are other sections where the sidewalk is completely missing ("where the sidewalk ends," you could say), and in its wake are gaping holes or jumbled piles of blocks. In other spots, the sidewalk remains, but debris still sits on the path and jumping around or over it wears me out. So, for many portions of my run today, I ran on the street. Thankfully the streets in the area of my course are fairly empty and traffic is light; still, cars always act as though the swerving around you is a big deal, and they swing way over into the other lane. Which, I have to admit, is better than some drivers who refuse to budge to the side even when there's plenty of room. Instead, they brush right by you -- so close you feel the rush of air that follows their vehicle.

Drivers in general can react so strangely to runners or walkers on the side of the road. There are, of course, the whistlers or the honkers (I hate the latter; it scares the bejesus out of me) and those that yell "hey baby!" But once I had a guy literally turn around and stop and tell me I was beautiful. I'm not sure what he was doing -- is that how he asks women out? If so, he needs a quick course, because that method is the quick-study stalker method, one that is not appreciated by women. Then there are those like I listed above: They either ignore your presence on the road, or act as though you are as wide as a cement truck. But lastly, there are those that don't seem to see you at all.

Now, there were times in my life, particularly when I was a child wishing for magical abilities, that I wished for invisibility, but I have never ever wished for such a gift as I was running. However, some people just can't see me. These are the drivers who pull out right in front of you as you are jogging across a crosswalk while the light is in your favor. And they are the ones who blow the red light just as you are stepping off a curb ( I once had my life flash before my eyes when I stepped back up onto the curb just in time to miss a van that was so close I could taste its paint). And it's these drivers that I fear, because I think one day they will just run me down, but the worst part will be that they won't even know -- because they never saw me -- and they'll figure they hit a dog or a cat and they'll cruise on. Meanwhile, I'll be left without the use of my limbs to bleed in the street.

So, when the sidewalks are returned to normal here I'll thankfully hop back on them and praise the lord that they are there. Because the street -- that belongs to the crazies.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I have a pounding headache this morning from the Christmas party we hosted last night. I didn't think I had that much to drink, but it must've been the combination of champagne, beer, and cosmos because my head is killing me. I popped a couple of Advil, so I'm waiting for them to work their magic, and in the meantime, I'm sucking down water.

It was a good party though and I had lots of fun. We shared some drinks, some laughs, some food, and some gifts. I received a great t-shirt that reads "I'm a Virgin (This is an Old T-Shirt)"! Don't you love that? I love it! In fact I love it so much I fell asleep (passed out) in it and it was even comfy as pajamas.

We even sampled some of the Jones Soda "Holiday Pack" -- each soda tasted like part of a holiday meal: turkey, stuffing, cranberry, pumpkin pie. I was only willing to sample the cranberry, and the thought of drinking the others kinda made me want to vommit.

So, all in all, it was a great holiday party and I love those.

(Ahh, this entry really sucks, doesn't it? Sorry, but I'm just a touch hungover and can't say that I have anything truly coherent or interesting to note. Perhaps I will be improved for tomorrow's post. Disregard this one if you need to.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

For my Peeps

Since it is the holidays, and the holidays are a time to say "thank you," I wanted to say a little thank you to all of you who have both read my blog this year and commented on it. For those of you who read and write comments: You've been especially encouraging and helpful. Many days when I feel sick of running and ready to give up on this endeavor, your comments always help me press on. Others of you have proven to be a wealth of knowledge -- many of you know so much about running, nutrition, and overall health that I am begining to feel as though I have my own private dieticians and coaches alongside me. And lastly, your comments have helped make me feel a part of something (is anyone tearing up yet?) and that has been invaluable.

For those who read, but don't comment: It's alright. I don't mind a lurker. I do the same on other blogs -- some of them might be your blogs. I know you've been there and have read, and I've been encouraged to see how the traffic on this site has increased since its inception and that is thanks to you. There are many days when I feel like I have nothing to say and little to share with you, yet it is the knowledge that someone is reading that helps me get to the blog and write my bit. However, I do encourage you to comment, especially if you've been reading for awhile and have never done it -- I do like hearing your voice.

So, whether you're celebrating Christmas, Kwanza, Channukah, or if you're sacrificing live chickens this holiday season, I hope you are healthy and happy, and I want you to know how much I appreciate this small fan base (if you weren't crying before, I hope you are now). Thanks guys!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

End of the Semester

Yippie! Today is the end of the semester. That means that I have to read a pile of papers that stretches up to the ceiling, but it also means that by this time tomorrow, I will be finished with this term. I'm ready to be done with this semester: We had so many disruptions from the busy hurricane season (including two full weeks off after Wilma swept through in October), and I don't know if that's why students seem so out of it or what, but I've also had many student issues this semester. Lots of problems with absences, tardys, late work, etc -- all the stuff that can make teaching tedious work and makes students so much less enjoyable ( I am particularly glad to see one guy go -- he gave me trouble all semester and I wish I had the grounds to fail him).

But that is behind me, and now I have two weeks off to rest and rejuvenate and get ready for the next semester so I can be fresh and ready for a new batch.

Despite the busy day today, I demonstrated my new committment to the training schedule by taking time to leave campus and go run the designated distance for the day. I really love the idea of such a cemented routine -- it helps to eliminate all excuses I manufacture, and with the next two weeks much more open, I will hopefully have the time to truly make progress with this new endeavor.

But, right now, I must return to essay reading and assessing -- what joy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

10K Training

I have set my sights on my new running goal: the 10K. I figure I have been playing around with the 5K for long enough and it is time to graduate to the next level. So, I have determined to train and set my goal for a race that is on February 25th. That gives me about ten weeks to prepare. Yesterday, I downloaded a training program and have decided to commit to it.

It makes me feel good to have a goal set in front of me, and I especially like have the schedule. It helps me adhere to a specific routine, something I think my running needs. That way, even on days when I don't feel like working out, I can't give myself any excuses to skip it or postpone it or cut it short. I have to follow the schedule.

The schedule includes one day of rest a week, two days that incorporate strength training and two days that require cross training. So, hopefully this will add to my running, but will also add some variety to my workouts.

I also got a training log from RW in the mail today (my free gift for renewing my subscription), so with both the training log and schedule, I will be very organized, if not a down right lean, mean, running machine.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I have a problem with bananas that have brown spots. It icks me out and I can't eat them. In fact, there's something about bananas in general that kind of ick me out. For one thing, I think they have the strangest texture for a fruit. Most fruit have watery qualities to them and are often juicy in some sense, but not the banana. I think it might actually be part foam or packing peanut.

It's this odd texture that leads to the weird way it gums up in your mouth while chewing, almost like peanut butter how it sticks to the roof of your mouth and to your gums. I can't stand to watch another person eat a banana, and I hate to see it smacking around in their mouth -- it triggers my vommit reflex.

However, it's not just the texture and the gooed up way it breaks down while chewing that bothers me about bananas; no, I ultimately feel ambiguous about the smell. Sometimes I like the smell of bananas: They smell sweet and fresh. But other times, the smell of them makes me ill: Then they smell rotten and putrid -- overly sweet. Yet, for all my complaints about bananas I still eat them, fairly regularly. I just had one, as a matter of fact (although, I didn't finish it because there were dreaded brown spots at the bottom). But there are many good things about bananas that keep me coming back to them.

They are obviously high in potassium, and that's something many runners need -- that's why races always provide bananas at the end. Along with sodium and water, your body uses up potassium when sweating, and needs to be replaced. So if you run everyday, you should follow up a run with a banana and a tall glass of water -- you will feel restored quite quickly. Bananas are also great because they actually count as two servings of fruit, so for those of you who often feel like you cheat out of fruit servings, a banana can help add to your daily intake and it doubles the amount you get.

But what many don't know is that bananas are also very high in vitamin C and B6 (I have no idea what you need B6 for, but it sounds important; however, I can recognize vitamin C and I know that's a useful vitamin). And like other fruit, they're high in fiber -- we all know what that's good for. And lastly, this creamy little fruit is only about 100 calories, so you can burn it off with just a mile's run.

In the end, you see, the good things far outweigh the aspects I dislike, so I keep on choking them down, and I try to look at the positive side: they wear their own cute yellow jacket, so each banana is kind of stylish. You can't go wrong with stylish fruit.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wedding Pictures

Only a fraction of our wedding pictures are in, but I'm so excited about sharing them that I just have to post one, so here it is: Ta-da!

I hope your rightfully impressed.

This is one of the few I have right now that is just of me (new husband would like to remain anonymous and would not like to see his picture posted here) and it was taken moments before the actual ceremony. We just got these pictures and some others from the reception back today, and I've been excitedly thumbing through them. The formal shots with the parents and so forth won't arrive for another few weeks, but these have been enough to keep me busy.

After sorting those photos from the wedding, I spent the rest of the day organizing albums of pictures from our honeymoon, and actually managed to fill one album and half of another. But it took a long time since I was printing some from home and organizing others that we took with disposable cameras; I have the feeling that between wedding and honeymoon pictures, we will fill many albums and several picture frames. But it's so much fun!

So, no running for me today -- too busy with pictures. But I worked out hard yesterday (had another nose-pick sighting, but this one was more discreet; you know, the type of pick disguised as a scratch). Today is my day of rest anyway. The running will resume tomorrow as well as the picture sorting: As soon as I have more to share, I will post them.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Cardio

Shopping has got to count for some kind of exercise -- all that walking and hauling bags around the mall and out to your car (and I never remember where I park, so I usually do some extra walking). I went shopping this morning for the last of the Christmas stuff, but still didn't manage to finish. But the end is in sight, and I only have a few things left for my husband (feels as though I'm pretending using that word, but I'm not, because I'm married now!) and I know what I'm going to get him, I just didn't have the energy left to go to the necessary stores today.

Shopping wears me out, but I love the holidays. I love wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music and setting up the tree: It really is the most wonderful time of year! And I love, love, love watching "Christmas Vacation" -- "Little knot here" and "A Christmas Story" -- "You'll shoot your eye out!" and "Love, Actually" -- no quotable lines, but I can't get enough of Hugh Grant dancing and singing!

Of course, it is also the time of year to eat two cupcakes at work and to feel entitled to more than one soda a day and to help yourself to the new bag of chips -- it's all in the spirit of excess. Oh well, I love it! I bought the yummiest ingredients for holiday cupcakes, and I'm going to bake them next week for our Christmas party -- there will be little tree sprinkles and everything! Yippie!

(I notice I have excessively used the exclamation point here. However, I must defend the punctuation because it's the holidays, and like I said, it's a time for excess. And if you want an extra laugh about exclamation points, buy "Seinfeld" season five: Watch the episode where Elaine dumps her boyfriend over his reluctance to use an exclamation point.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brick by Brick

I wanted to find a quote that I know exists to help illustrate my point today, but I have just wasted the past half an hour looking for it. It's something along the lines of how Rome wasn't built in a day, and that it would need to be built brick by brick. I want to say that it's a Caesar who says it, but I have searched the Internet far and wide and I can get a couple of quotes that are close, but they aren't what I'm looking for. Does anyone have an idea of what I'm talking about? (I actually think the quote is used in "Seabiscuit"; maybe I'll have to go home and watch that to find the full quote.) Anyway, if you're better at finding quotes and you can find what I'm searching for, let me know.

Otherwise, I guess I'll write this entry without my brilliantly used quote -- dammit, it was going to make me look smart too.

Oh well. So my point: I've been feeling frustrated with my running because my progress is so slow and sometimes I feel as though I'm not making any headway at all. But yesterday I read an article in "Runner's World" that helped me feel better. The article was a typical RW story about someone who overcame an obstacle to run (they love those stories, and I suppose they are inspiring, but inspirational stuff sometimes makes me want to vommit -- too sentimental, Halmark-y). The redeeming quality about the story though was the guy who was the focus and who was interviewed. He said, "Our society has become so quick-fix oriented that nobody wants to work over a long period of time for one goal. They want it now." And he goes on to contribute his success to "determination and time."

Those comments changed my attitude. Running is hard work and to improve is going to take time. Even though I've been running consistently for the past six months doesn't mean that I should have achieved perhaps the unreasonable goals I thought I would. What I have to do is think about how far I've come and keep working to consistently improve. It's true what this runner says: You have to work over a long period of time, and it is a lot of work. However, I think that's why running is so appealing to many people because this kind of work ultimately has a massive payoff. Anything that you have strived toward for a long time feels good when you finally reach your goal, and as we all know, the only things worth having are those that we've worked hard for. Those that achieve success easily are unappreciative of what they gain (and according to my mother, they are called spoiled brats).

Thus, my missing quote about building brick by brick. It seems like a simple and obvious answer to how we build, but it is also very wise. Everything is built out of small accomplishments, small pieces that add up. Eventually you get the Parthenon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Two Things

Yesterday when I was at the gym, I saw two things of note. One, I saw a guy pick his nose and wipe it on his shorts! He was on a treadmill in the front row, and I saw him digging around in there mining for gold when he found a nugget, and then he examined it and then wiped it on his shorts. Now, I'm sypathetic to nose pickers because I have been known to dig in there as well, but I know enough not to plow through there in public. My goodness, man!

The second thing that was of note was another guy on a treadmill in the front row. Has anyone ever seen that episode of "Friends" where Rachel and Phoebe go running and Phoebe runs like a cross between "Kermit the Frog and the 6 Million Dollar Man"? Well, that's exactly how this guy was running: Arms waving over his head and off to the sides (the woman next to him ducking and bobbing, trying to avoid a fist in the eye), and his legs were all over. I think he was doing some sort of stretching, I'm not sure, but it went on for about ten minutes. Then he finished and got off the treadmill. I don't know where he went after that.

Maybe he needed to pick his nose too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A World of Tug Boats

An article I read last night in "Time" reconfirmed my findings on the cruise: It's not just Americans who are struggling with obesity. True, Americans are becoming super-sized at an alarming rate, and that's why the FDA recently placed so much emphasis on the new food pyramid (or hexagon, really) and added daily exercise to it. However, I guess the rest of the world is struggling with the issue as well. It's not yet to the point where its scaring the bejesus out of everyone like AIDS or the Avian Flu, but obesity could fast become one of the number one health risks in the world!

And here I thought all this time that the problems of the world were really in the realm of not enough food (flip back a few issues in "Time" and the cover story was about poverty and famine), but it looks as though that's not the entire predicament.

I guess I personally will keep on running and I suppose I don't need a bowl of ice cream before bed (it's reduced fat though), but what can be done on a larger scale?

Monday, December 05, 2005

How to eat too much on a cruise

Food is one of the main focuses on a cruise and from my observations, some people are there just for that. You may envision a typical buffet with overcooked beef boiling away in the glare of a heat lamp, but the cruise food was far different from that. First of all, yes, there was the typical buffets with the trays of food cooking under super powered bulbs, but there was oh so much more. There was the 24 hour pizzeria, there was the grill (hamburgers, fries, hot dogs), there was the NY deli (excellent pastrami on rye), there was also a sushi place (ate many salmon skin rolls), an "Asian" stop (I say Asian in quotes because they changed menus everyday as well as themes, so it was sometimes Chinese, sometimes Japanese, one day Vietnamese), there is a coffee house, a supper club, and then the main dining room. We only had dinner in the main dining room, but that's all we needed -- five courses every night is more than any normal person needs. Plus, there is complimentary room service, so I ordered a BLT one night. It was delicious!

At first, I tried to restrain myself because it seemed a bit contradictory to stuff myself and then go and lay by the pool in my bikini (and order beers out there as well), but after looking around at my fellow passengers, I decided to let my inhibitions go. This is what I can tell you: There are a lot of fat people out there. At first I thought they were mostly tubby Americans, but after a closer look, I discovered that this wasn't entirely true. The passengers were very diverse, and while Americans certainly dominated the population, there were also a lot of Canucks, French, and Hispanic people, and the fatness knew no boundary (who says French women don't get fat? that's a lie!).

True, there were a handful of skinny-minnys, but I slowly realized I wasn't in Florida anymore, and it was apparent that most of those bodies were the natural work of God, so they were flawed, and I felt much better about my little pouch. This allowed me to get in line at the midnight buffet and get plated up without a guilty conscience. And I thought for sure that I had gained a pound or two from all the eating, but this morning I stepped on the scale to see the damage, and miraculously I found that I hadn't gained a pound! Someone must be looking out for me, an angel of some sort.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm Back!!

Where do I begin? I feel as though it has been so long since my last entry, and I know everyone out there is waiting anxiously to hear from me, so I might as well start back where I left off last -- with the wedding.

On the whole, it was a wonderful day. However, my life is not without its glitches. That's what makes me so fascinating.

So, like I said, the day started off perfectly. I got my nails done, hair done, make up done (I turned out to be very pretty); I got dressed, the groom got dressed, we were shuttled off, pictures went smoothly, right on schedule, and we were even done ten minutes before we were prepared to board the yacht reserved for our wedding. But wait, the boat wasn't where it was supposed to be docked. We figured, no big deal, we were early, it had to be on its way.

When the boat wasn't there at a quarter after the hour, I gave them a call from my cell. "Five minutes," they told me. Five minutes passed. Then ten, fifteen, twenty. Not good. My husband-to-be's cell phone rang. They told him they were experiencing "technical difficulty" and that they would have it fixed within minutes and they would pull up to the dock shortly. Minutes passed. Then some more minutes. We began to pace. I thoughtI might cry. The groom looked angry. Not good feelings for a wedding day. More minutes passed.

Finally, after an hour of waiting by the dock (with all of our guests waiting there as well), the managers of the boat arrived and informed us that the problems were not emminently fixable and they were asking us to walk half a mile to where the boat was docked and they could perform the ceremony and then have us on our way. "Fine," we said. Some walked the distance; others were shuttled there. We had the ceremony. I cried. We were married. The drinks poured freely, the dancing began, the boat didn't leave dock, dinner was served, the boat didn't leave dock, dancing continued, the boat never budged, we drank some more, we never left the dock. All night, we celebrated on our yacht docked in the river. We never cruised.

We expect a partial refund. It is under dispute.

But we decided to think about that crap later and we took off on our honeymoon and had a glorious time. We took a cruise through the western Caribbean, and we stopped in the Cayman Islands, Island Roatan in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. A quick summary: Cayman Islands have beautiful beaches that are postcard quality. Sugar sand beaches, crystal blue water, clear, blue skies. I didn't want to get up off the beach -- gorgeous! Island Roatan is also beautiful but in a rougher sense. The people are obviously living in poverty, and those kids who were trying to sell me trinkets should have been in school, but it didn't stop me from bargaining with them over the price of the trinkets. Some shop owners I bargained with, some I didn't -- I figure they need the money more than I do. Belize was also beautiful, and very interesting as well; learned a lot about it. We went on a river rafting/hike through the rainforest excursion that was fucking fabulous! But I learned that flip-flops are not appropriate footwear for hiking through the jungle. Will re-think that decision next time I'm there. Was very hard gripping onto those fuckers while I crossed a fairly fast-moving river. And lastly, we stopped in Costa Maya Mexico, which was also awesome! We went on a tour of some Mayan ruins that are close to the Belizean border and that was amazing to see. I did some extra thinking on that excursion and smartly wore sneakers -- very approprate for climbing around the ruins.

The days we were at sea were also really fun, but mostly they were just relaxing. We laid out in the sun and baked ourselves good and leathery while we drank buckets of overly priced beer by the pool. It was perfect. I did manage to go running two days while at sea (the boat has a great gym and an outdoor track), but then I got so relaxed that I figured buffets were more enjoyable than running, so I said "fuck it" and I'll resume my schedule this week, even though the Christmas season is now upon us and running regularly won't be any easier for the next three or four weeks.

I have many more stories, but I have typed my little fingers to death, so I will bid you all "adieux," and I will post again tomorrow. I missed you all! Talk to you later!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wedding Day!

Today is the day! I can't believe it's already here. I don't know if it will feel real until it's over; it just doesn't seem possible. It's like Christmas when you're a kid; you wait for it for so long that when the day actually arrives, it feels a bit unreal. How could the sun shine like it does on any other ordinary day?

In twenty minutes I have to head out the door and begin the long morning of getting ready. I'm getting my nails done, then coming home and having my hair and make-up done. Then, we zip on the dress and head out around 1 pm. The ceremony isn't until 4:30, but we need time to get there and get lots of pictures taken (thus the painstaking measures taken for my hair, make-up, etc). I'm a little nervous for the day, but I think I'm ready for the marriage part. Scary, huh? Earlier in my life I wasn't sure if I would ever be ready, but I actually feel absolutely certain about my husband-to-be, and I think that's what counts on a day like this.

I slept well last night -- I was exhausted after the Thanksgiving extravaganza -- and I only woke up a few times from dreams about the wedding. Nothing bad (no visions of black wedding dresses or late bridesmaids). Of course, I've been up since early this morning pacing around, eating my cereal, staring out the window.

So this is it, the big day. No running today (I'll be dancing my legs off later anyway). I wonder if the day will be as great as the day our power was restored? Can anything be so wonderful?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey Trot Cont'd

I trotted the shit out of that turkey!

It was a good race, not the best for me, but it felt good, and I think that's what counts. The weather was perfect this morning: nice and cool, but not so cold that I might freeze (although my fingers were a bit chilled at first), and the sun was nice and clear -- it provided just the right kind of warmth. I think it will be a lovely Thanksgiving here in Ft. Lauderdale.

My time, not great, was 33 minutes flat. But that's fine with me. I average 11 minute miles anyway, and like I said yesterday, I wasn't going to concern myself with time. I think that might be a wise idea: helps you stay focused on just running as best as you can. As they repeat at yoga: you're not in competition with anyone, not even yourself.

Anyhoo, I need to take a shower and start preparing that turkey, so I'll say "adieux"! Happy Turkey Day to everyone out there! Have a great Holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Turkey Trot

I went for a run this morning, and there were signs up along my route notifying residents that the street would be closed tomorrow because of the "Turkey Trot," a 5K race right outside my door! I didn't even know. So, while I regularly run that path, I also want to run the race (I haven't raced since the last disaster in August -- think back to "extreme heat" and "locked my keys in the car"). So, I have decided to rise early tomorrow and run the 5K.

Sure, I have a wedding on Friday and 20 guests for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but I think I should add one more thing to my plate. Why not?

Actually, I think the run would be really good. That way, I will have my mind off other things that need to be done around the house and with the wedding, and I can relax and just focus on running those 3.1 miles. I'm not even going to care about time. I'm just going to run and enjoy the morning (it's been so cool lately that this morning I was actually cold for the first mile or so). Plus, it might come in handy to burn an extra 300 calories before the big feasting day has begun; I am currently baking four pumpkin pies -- mmmmm, I LOVE pumpkin pie with a shitload of cool whip on top. Yummy.

And then, I'll be done with the race by eight, and I'll have a good start to the busy day and I'll feel loads better.

I'll report back on how the run goes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Winter in Florida

Thankfully, it appears that Gamma will not pose any kind of threat to South Florida, or Florida at all for that matter. However, the cold front that pushed Gamma away from us brought with it some chilly weather, and we are getting some high winds today as well. Cold weather for Floridians is anything that dips below 70 degrees, and this morning it was 63 when I left the house at 7 am, and I honestly put the heat on in my car. Brrrrr. Hope it warms up some by Friday for the wedding.

Today is my last day of class before I take off for the wedding and our honeymoon, so I'm busy trying to tie up some lose ends, and to ensure that the instructors who are subbing are prepped with the needed materials. It's hard leaving your students in the hands of another -- I imagine that it's similiar to leaving children in the care of a babysitter. So, I'll be working all day and then, when I get home this evening, friends are arriving from out of town; the first wave of wedding guests. We've been spending the past few days entertaining guests who arrived on Saturday, and yesterday we drove up to Kennedy Space Center -- a long drive and lengthy touring; the trip lasted all day.

So, I didn't run yesterday, and I don't know if I'll have any time to run tonight either, or if at all this week. I'd like to fit it in the next couple of mornings, but we all know how good I am about getting up early enough to do that. But I do want to get some exercise in this week. It will help relieve some stress from the wedding and from Thanksgiving dinner, and it would help me fit into that dress just a touch better, or at least make me feel better about fitting into it. At this point though, I'm just looking forward to getting to the honeymoon, where hopefully I'll have some free time to relax and rejuvenate. Then, when we return, I can resume a regular schedule -- well, as regular as a schedule can be through the end of a semester and with the fast-approaching holidays.

I can't say how frequent my posts will be for the rest of this week, and I don't know if I will get a chance to post while on my honeymoon, but I will make my best effort to stay current, and you'll have to be patient with me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Last night, I managed to fit a run in after my cleaning, and at the gym I was watching the news, and guess what their top story was? Tropical Storm Gamma: that son of a bitch. So, Tropical Storm Gamma now looks like it may threaten our area this week. Some forecasters think it will take the same path as Wilma and that Gamma may even strengthen into a weak hurricane. Landfall in Florida could be on Monday.


Florida doesn't need this, and I definitely don't need this. Part of the reason we chose late November for our wedding date was because November 30th is supposed to mark the end of hurricane season, and it's highly irregular for Florida to see any hurricane activity after September (let alone hurricanes in late October and November), so we figured we'd be in the clear. But first Wilma throws that idea out the window, and some of the damage she caused sent our guests scrambling for new hotels, and our lives here came to a virtual two week standstill in the wake of the aftermath.

So, to see that spinning icon on the news screen this week completely pisses me off and it adds a touch to my stress. The only thing I can hope for at this point is that Gamma speeds up (less time for the storm to organize) and that it wobbles off track so it doesn't hit our area. And lastly, if it speeds up, it will hopefully blow through here on Monday, as predicted, so that our wedding will have good weather on Friday.

Oh well. Nothing I can do to control it. I am going to try to hit the gym this morning and run some errands, then I have more cleaning to do. Maybe if I don't think about the tempest, it will go away.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Countdown to Wedding Day

Post 101 doesn't quite feel like post 100, but I suppose I will write past the post-100 hype and continue to bless you, my readers, with something insightful.

Today marks exactly one week before my wedding day, and to put it calmly, I am freaking out. I'm not freaking out about marriage and the lifetime committment to one person (who I will wake up to every single day, every day, for the rest of my life); no, I'm flipping inside out over all the preparation. I feel as though the house must look perfect for when our guests arrive next week, especially since it will be the first time so many of them will get to see it. And it's very hard for our house to look good since we've been in a constant state of construction since we bought it last spring.

So, for one thing, there is dust coating every surface. For another, we have boxes piled up everywhere, and for another, we are not even halfway complete with our renovations, so the main part of our home still looks like it did when we moved; that means icky carpet, the wall of mirrors, and the crusty wallpaper. Not to mention the grody tile. Oh! And we have an old stove sitting in the office -- not such a great accent piece. So even though I've been cleaning like a weasal on crack, the house still is not that pretty. And I find myself doing things I normally would find absolutely crazy, like ironing the sheets and cleaning the window sills with a q-tip. Usually, I am a clean person, but I'm not manic, but for the past week I've felt pretty close to breaking into idiot-induced mumbles and banging my head against the wall.

No time to run, but on the plus side, I think this cleaning business is burning plenty of calories because I'm all sweaty in the pits (anything that makes you sweat is exercise in my book). But I have this bubble of air in my stomach -- I assume from the soda I just had -- and I feel as though you could push on me and I would deflate like a baloon. Maybe I just need to fart.

Would that clear all the dust away?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


This post marks the one hundreth time I have posted crucial commentary on the human race. Oh wait, that's my other blog.

Just joking! Ha!

But, this is really is the one hundreth posting. Feels as though it should be more momentous. Perhaps when there is a DVD collection of my postings, this one will be noted, kinda like they do with TV shows. It would also be nice to have a little fanfare -- some ribbons, some ticker tape, a few kazoos, maybe a dancing monkey.

Perhaps it doesn't feel quite so fantastic because I haven't as of yet truly accomplished anything that I set out to accomplish. Sure, I'm still puffing away at the runs, and yes, they slowly get longer and more intense, but there are also so many days that I don't run at all, and I feed my addiction to Taco Bell, so I haven't really gained anything, and haven't really lost any weight. But before I feel sad about what I haven't done, I should pat myself on the back for what I have done: I have made a mental committment to running and I do go between four and five times a week. I have become more conscious of what it will take to achieve my running goals, and therefore have become more realistic about them. In many ways, that sort of realization takes me a long way.

But, what has been the surprise success of this running endeavor is this little blog in and of itself. True, it's not attracting book deals or national headlines (any of you readers who have the power to make this happen can go ahead with my blessing and get started on either project), but it has built its own small following, and that makes me proud, and I believe it deserves a toot on a kazoo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Yesterday, when I was at the gym, I picked up a magazine called "Natural Health" to read while on the eliptical machine (can't run everyday), and I had never read this particular magazine before, but it was one of the few in the sparse selection the gym has to offer. (It was between that and a "People" from May, and I didn't need to relive the breaking coverage of Bragelina or TomKat.) Anyway, in this magazine there was an article that caught my eye: "How to Detox Your Life."

For a reason I can't explain I am always drawn to the word "detox"; I suppose it sounds like the good, thorough cleaning it's supposed to be; however, I always find that I am disappointed by the actual concept. And to be honest, I think it might be a bunch of hooey-balooey. What detox diets claim is that your body stores all kinds of toxins and this causes weight gain and health problems, but with simple detox drinks, vitamins, and foods, the body can flush those toxins and subsequently you can lose weight and feel great. In a sense I can buy this because we consume (or, I consume) many unhealthy products from food to car exhaust (not intentionally -- those days are behind me), so it seems like a good idea to get rid of these icky elements so the body can be clear and clean.

But on the other hand, I think it might just be a clever ploy to get me to drink nasty concoctions, chief of which is the infamous "master cleanser" that consists of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I don't know who thought of that combination, but it is terribly popular. I don't think I could choke such a drink down, but I can guess as to how it would react in my belly (thus, I assume the "master cleansing").

Disgusting drinks aren't the only thing detox promoters want you to ingest; no, they also have a whole host of vitamins and supplements that they advise you to take. In the featured article I read while working out, it suggested you take St. John's Wort (to relieve irritability during detox), vitamin E, linseed oil, ginseng, and ginko biloba. Not to mention all the other ingredients that are dumped into a multi-vitamin. By the time I summed up the article, I figured you would have to just scoop the supplements in with a rake to fulfill the requirements. But I guess you could wash them all down with the cayenne cocktail.

Aside from all varieties of odd things detox diets want me to consume (in order to rid my body of "unnecessary elements" -- hope you're picking up on the irony), I don't buy the fact that your body stores that much waste. From what I can rememeber of college biology, the body is actually pretty efficient at ridding itself of by-products. Isn't that what the liver is for? Isn't the liver like those scum sucking fish you see in aquariums? I think its job is to clean up your system. I also believe that to some degree that's what your kidneys, pancreas, and gallbladder do as well. So, while I'm not a doctor, it seems to me that the body is already pretty good at detoxifying itself. Do I really need linseed oil to help with that? Or maple syrup?

Like too many other dieting gimmicks, I think I have to categorize detoxifying as bogus, or at least, unnecessary. I don't know about you, but all I need is an apple on my way to work (it also helps to get stuck in traffic) to clean out the system. That, or a cup of coffee seems to do the trick.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I witnessed a disturning thing the other day when I was running: A smooshed cat! I couldn't help but look, and it's brains were all mushed out the side of its head it was very stinky. I kinda thought I might hurl.

I don't usually see that many dead animals alongside the road in these parts; sometimes I see a flattened raccoon or possum, but it's not like the carnage I used to witness in Minnesota. There are so many more roaming animals in Northern Minnesota than in South Florida, and often times when I used to walk my dog along the road in Minnesota, we would come across dead deer, raccoons, beavers, dogs and cats. And once, I am ashamed to admit, it was I who plowed an innocent raccoon down in the prime of his or her life.

I was driving a friend's car home late at night, and she and I were singin to the car radio when, from out of nowhere, a small body dashed out in front of me. Then, I heard a thud, and knew that I had murdered. It was a sickening feeling. That feeling only worsened when we got home and inspected the car to find the dent from a raccoon head and a small bit of fur stuck to the bumper. I felt truly terrible.

Since then, it has only been the accidental killing of lizards that have inadvertently jumped into my running path that have been my victims. And, well, I accidently smashed a lizard in the window sill right after the hurricane, but I didn't know he was sitting there. It was just like the guillotine. Poor fella.

So, I might need to take a different route this evening because I don't want to come across that cat carcas again. Maybe I'll go to the gym; there's no danger of roadkill there.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hurricane Weight

In the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, when no one had electricity, we were left with our largely chip and cracker based diet. Sure, we were able to grill some meats, and one night we had spaghetti, but fruits and veggies were sparse and hard to come by. So after two weeks of chip consumption, and the copious quantities of beer, my belly was sporting a mini-keg.

Excuse me, is sporting a mini-keg. IS.

That's not good since my wedding is two weeks away, and I'm a little concerned about how my dress is fitting. Yes, it still fits, and I can zip it up and everything, but I would be able to breath a whole lot better if I had just another inch of room in there.

I figure there are two possible courses of action: One, I can try to curb my eating and stay on the treadmill a little longer each day. Or two, I can just accept the fact that I may not breath all that easily for a day. It's only one day. Certainly a human can surrive on shallow intakes of air for one day? Half a day really.

Shallow breaths. That's all it takes. Maybe I'll practice them now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


You may think overpopulation is an issue strictly related to humankind's increasingly burdensome growth. However this problem may be detrimental to our environmental, our economy and our healthcare systems, it also appears to be a problem at the gym. Especially, at oh, say, 6:00 pm on any given week night. It's madness in there!

I made the mistake Tuesday night of reserving my run for the early evening, typically thought of as the dinner hour, but let me tell you, people are skipping dinner and are at the gym. When I got there, all but one treadmill was in use, so I quick hopped on before someone else could snatch it out from under my nose. Traditionally, I favor the back row of treadmills and prefer a corner one at that, but Tuesday was not a night to be picky. I was positioned front and center.

As the people who flanked me slowly left, two new people got on the two treadmills that surrounded me. I used to mind feeling cramped in, but I've grown used it, and generally it doesn't bother me, but that night it turned out that those two women knew one another and must have been there together. And they wanted to talk.

They didn't mind me; they just talked around me.

You have to talk pretty loud in the gym to be heard -- the hum of all the machines and the clinking of weights drowns out much of what people have to converse about, and when you're not standing right next to someone, conversation can be challenging -- these two women were up to the challenge. They were practically screaming back and forth to one another, and while the volume does indeed go pretty loud on my MP3 player, I do fear my loss of hearing, so I got the scoop on the kids, the neighbors, and the co-workers, not to mention the husbands and the mothers. In some ways, the conversation distracted me from focusing on the miniature red clock, but in in others, I prayed for the sweet release of death. I thought, perhaps, if I prayed hard enough, I would be swept up and gnarled by the treadmill and my ears would get a merciful rest from the mindless chatter.

I'm not against mindless chatter -- I don't want to call for any special legislation or anything; in fact, I love to engage in babble all the time -- however, I don't particularly like to sit on the sidelines of this kind of talk (I'm that way with sports too; I like to play, but hate to watch). So listening in, unless there was majorly juicy drama to get let in on, was largely just annoying.

I guess I learned my lesson. Do not go to the gym at peak hours. Stick to the middle of the day, very early in the morning, or late at night. Plus, then I'll be able to pick a prime treadmill.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Yesterday on TV, I saw that the Flinstone brand vitamins that I loved so much as a kid have developed a new twist: Now they are coming out in gummies! I was so excited after seeing the commercial that I practically ran right out and bought them. But alas, I was innertly watching TV (I discovered while my electricity was out for two weeks that I really didn't miss TV and I loved that I read so much, but since the moment the power went back on, I have been sucked in again to that evil box -- I'm so entranced by the moving pictures!), so I couldn't find the will to move my limbs at that moment. But to think, these could be the answer to the terrible taste of those vitamins. Will they taste just like gummi savers or gummi bears? Will I be able to enjoy a bit of candy but also get my essential vitamins and minerals? It's almost too good to be true. Once I get my hands on a some, I'll report back on the taste and texture.

My only worry concerning these gummies is that they will end up tasting just like their chalky siblings, but will be rendered even more inedible by taking the gummy form. If I buy them and consume them, will they ruin other gummi items? Will I hate them, and therefore, be unable to taste another gummi bear for fear that it will taste just like that icky Wilma or Dino? But I guess I won't know until I try.

Can't be any worse than that brownie this morning that tasted like olive oil and garlic (can't figure that one out -- was the pan not washed well? was the oil used in the baking tainted by sitting on the shelf next to the garlic salt? was there garlic residue on my fingers?).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Running in the Aftermath

Fitting a run in the day of a hurricane is difficult, unless you have an indoor track, or a treadmill and a generator, because around here, if someone sneezes hard enough, all the power goes out. So, during a hurricane, you are likely to be in the dark; plus, there is that looming tempest outside your door that pretty much halts your outdoor activities. Running is pretty much out of the question.

The day Wilma hit here in Broward County, I woke up early to the sound of the windows shaking and moaning. The winds were bending and snapping trees in half, and the rain was pounding the earth in sheets. By 9 am, the parking lot of my condo complex was a veritable lake. Our power had flickered off in the middle of the night, so my husband-to-be and I huddled around the battery-powered radio and listened to the weather. We discovered that the storm was passing straight over our area, and while it was expected that the eye would soon cruise above us, the backside of the storm, it was warned, would be much more intense.

During what we could conclude was the eye, the winds died down and the rain fell softly for about twenty or thirty minutes. I stepped outside to catch a glimpse at some of the early damage, but I was yanked back into the safety of our home before I could snoop around too much. And then the backside of the storm began to beat us. The winds shifted direction, and our windows rattled and spurt water. It was a mad dash for towels and the rest of the storm required constant vigilance to ensure that our new floors wouldn't be damaged from rain water.

By mid-afternoon, Wilma was done with our area, and while the winds slowed and the rain stopped, we stepped out to see what had happened. Trees were down everywhere; they blocked the roads, the lay on top of cars, they had crashed into the sides of house and fences, and had torn down signs and other structures. Large trees with extensive root systems had pulled up concrete sidewalks and had destroyed many man-made landscaping endeavors. Traffic signals had all been blown off, street signs and road signs were either missing or were mangled. Roofs were missing, siding had blown off, windows had shattered, car windows were smashed, and cars themselves lay under all kinds of debris.

We spent nearly all of the following week helping friends clean up the mess the hurricane had created in their own yards and homes. No one worked and there was no school. It was four days after the storm before I even tried to go for a run outside in the early morning (the good thing about that week following the hurricane was that the temperature dropped and the weather was actually very cool and pleasant). When I ran that first day, I had to run in the road because all the sidewalks were covered in debris and some parts were torn up from the aforementioned tree roots. I had to keep a sharp eye for down power lines and snakes that are said to hide in down shrubbery. It was an obstacle course that required leaping over branches and running around trees and bits of fencing.

A few days later, power was being restored to most areas, and the gym re-opened. I went in part to exercise, but also in part to see some TV and enjoy the air conditioning because our power still had not come on. I tried to re-establish my exercise routine, but with errands and work to catch up on, I let three days go between my last run and today. It's so difficult getting back to a normal schedule, and I think I won't feel completely back to normal until I return to class tomorrow. It's hard for a runner to lose his or her routine, and the upset of the storm and our two week loss of power stressed me out (I didn't even know how tense I felt until the power came back on and I felt so relieved). I hope to run later this afternoon, and I think this week will help us get back into the normal patterns we have.

This storm caused enough external damage; I don't need any more damage to my running.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Glory of Electricity

I haven't written a new entry in a full two weeks because Hurricane Wilma dashed our area to pieces and our power was out until about 20 minutes ago. That's right. I have been living the primitive life for a full fourteen days. Let me tell you briefly what that is like: Cold showers, no air conditioning (so, that means very sweaty sleep), no refrigerated products (that means I haven't had a cold drink of water for days, not to mention the wonder that is ice), no TV, no Internet, no lights to read by late at night (and holding that flashlight gets tiresome), and no outdoor lights to see your keys and the lock in the door.

This morning, we saw the power truck pull up and we literally watched with our fingers crossed as the technician worked outside. When the power came on we yelled and jumped up and down, and I thought I might cry. It was the happiest moment of my life. Birth of my future children? Nothing compared to getting the power back on. That "New York Times" bestseller? Does it make the refrigerator hum? Finally running that anticipated marathon? I don't think that moment will compare to the moment the air conditioning kicked on.

So, I have many stories about the hurricane, about the aftermath, about running, and about food, but because this is my first introduction back into the civilized world, I must continue on my quest to explore this shining world of lights and sound. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Post-Bachelorette Party

I'm just now starting to feel normal again after Friday night. It wasn't even that I drank so much, but perhaps it was what I had to drink; whatever it was, I was sick that night.

But, still, it was so awesome.

First, we started out at a friend's house where the girls had planned some surprises for me. We drank fruity flavored drinks through penis-shaped straws, and I was awarded a special martini glass, which had a phallic-shaped weiner pokin' up through the middle. (A little disturbing to sip from.) We played some games -- one involving a banana, some petroleum jelly, and a condom (let your imagination run wild on that one) -- and we drank. I had several very potent Jell-O shots, a few beers and more of the fruity-flavored stuff, and then our limo arrived.

I had never ridden in a limo before, and I felt like a movie star! Most movie stars probably sip champagne though, and we were all sipping beer, but I still think we rode in class. It was awesome cruisin through town with all the ladies -- we were a bit squished, but it's better to have a limo full of friends than a limo absent any company -- and our first stop was a club aptly titled "La Bare." Yes, it was a male strip club.

I didn't waste any time getting close to the stage to shove fistfuls of ones into those men's g-strings, and one guy wiped his sweaty chest down my face, so after that, I needed a few shots. Unfortunately, some of those shots were Jagermeister, and I don't think I can handle Jag like I used to do (in fact, just thinking of it now, kinda makes me vommit a bit in my mouth). But after the shots, and another couple of beers, I was up on stage for the dance my friends had so kindly purchased for me (they purchased many other things for me as well, some of them unmentionable here).

My time spent on stage is mostly a blur of lights and naked flesh. I know I smacked that stripper on his bare ass, and there are pictures to prove that I had a good time up there. I certainly don't shy away from the spotlight! But from there, my condition began to deteriorate and the next thing I knew I was back in the limo with my head in a plastic bag.

We didn't even make it to the next place on the list.

I was cashed at 12:30 am. Usually I can last a lot longer than that, but I blame the Jagermeister; however, it probably wasn't all the Jag's fault, a little blame might be aptly placed on my own shoulders. Every time that waiter in the club asked if I wanted another shot, I just nodded my head. Anyway, my hubby-to-be met the limo back at my friend's house and he drove my drunk ass home, where I promptly passed out on the bathroom floor (my favorite drunken sleeping nook), and he carried in all my loot. Thoughtfully, he provided me with a pillow and blanket, and there I slept through the night, fully clothed, my hair still pinned back and all my jewelry on, until morning. It was the kind of deep, dark, dreamless sleep where you wake up and can't quite recall why you're starring at the white tiles of your bathroom floor and not the flowery sheets of your comfy bed.

After I lurched from the bathroom into the bedroom, I didn't rise until noon, and then I didn't eat until evening. I felt like death warmed over.

And now it feels as though it has been forever since I last ran. Today and tomorrow are not good days to get back into the swing of things either: Hurricane Wilma is threatening our area, so the gym is closed and the weather outside is beginning to deteriorate. By the time I get back into my running schedule I'll be like a newborn calf testing out my wobbly legs. Oh well, routines are made to be broken every once in awhile, and it's not every day I get to party like that. Well, at least not with a limo and male strippers. That's special.

Friday, October 21, 2005


The past two or three days have been very busy. I have a friend in from out of town, so between getting ready for her visit (cleaning like no gnome can) and the regular work I have for school, I haven't been running since Tuesday, and I doubt I will run today -- I have to entertain and can't be lazy about that job. So I feel a bit gooey.

I was reading yesterday in a health magazine I bought at the airport (her flight was delayed by forty-five minutes) that people who run, or even exercise regularly, and then are deprived of it for more than three days begin to have symptoms of depression. I wouldn't necessarily say I feel depressed, but I can definitely feel the change in my mood and my overall satisfaction when I have skipped out on a couple of days of running. Mostly, I supppose, it makes me feel fat, and when I don't feel fit, I don't feel great in general.

Plus, I have a pimple on my eyelid.

Who gets a pimple on their eyelid?!! Only the grossest of the gross, that's who. Of course, I keep touching it and inspecting it, and that only makes it redder and more pronounced. And it has to happen on a day like today. You see, my friend is here from out of town because tonight we are celebrating my bachelorette party! So, we're hitting the town like convicts just out of prison -- we are going to misbehave.

And I want to look good for that kind of trouble, and a pimply eyelid just isn't going to pull it off. Oh well, perhaps this afternoon I can get a run in before we get ready to go out. The weather is perfect out (except for some heavy humidity that Wilma is packin') so I could just step out later on and go for a short run. It won't cure the deformity above my eyeball, but it will help me feel a little sexier.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Okay, guys, the title may have attracted your attention, but I'm not sure if you'll be truly interested to read what I'm going to write here. Because my subject today is not simply breasts, it is sports bras. You see, after I got my new running shoes, I started to look around at my other running clothes, and I found them unacceptable, especially my sports bras.

Reasons for dissatisfaction: One, there are only three of them and because I am such a sweat monkey, I have to do a load of wash every three days in order to have a fresh bra. It's totally gross to run in a stinky bra, even if I'm the only one sniffing the stink.

Two, one of them is very shabby. I have had it since I was in college, and it's a little out of date (made of cotton -- not a good factor for the sweating) and it has some areas where it is starting to deteriorate. That can't be good; I don't know if it is supporting in the same way it used to, so I don't wear it as much as the other two.

Which brings me to reason number three: Other two are not high quality either. I have a feeling -- a very real feeling -- that my boobies are bouncing around in there a little too much. And according to some running sources, that is not good. Boobs should remain stable.

Boob stability is very important when running because too much bouncing up and down can have serious boobal damage. That's how you get saggy boobs (a very recent, very real fear of mine), studies show that there may be links between breast cancer and bad bras, and, well, it just plain hurts to have the girls untethered. Unfortunately, finding the right sports bra is a little difficult, especially if you have significant boobage, and it can be very expensive. (The bra department is one area where sexism is still very much a reality. Have you seen the price of bras? Do men pay that much for their jock straps? I think not! It's highway robbery!) Many good sports bras range from $25 - $50. $50!!! For a bra?

Cost aside, it's still an endeavor. You need to find a bra that supports, but doesn't suffocate. Something that hugs you close, but doesn't smother. You also want the right kind of material, preferrably something synthetic so that sweat is pulled away from your body and you keep cooler and drier (under boob sweat -- major source of perspiration). And lastly, you have to look for something that feels comfortable and doesn't rub or chafe. You have to be able to run in it, not just pose in front of the mirror. It's a lot to think about while you're sorting through the various price tags.

Ladies, we need to unite for good strong support, and cheap prices. Don't they have children in Taiwan that can sew them together for cheap? C'mon Nike, give us a break.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I spoke a little too soon about the cooler Florida weather. Yesterday, I figured it was cool enough to run in the afternoon, around four thirty, but after running, I decided I was wrong. You know when you stop running, and the waves of heat wash over you and almost overhwelm you in sweat, and you feel a bit sick to your stomach? Yeah, that's how I felt for a few moments when I got home.

My face was bright red and I was sweating like you wouldn't believe. So I turned the shower water on cold, and hopped in under the icy water, but it still took a half an hour of laying by the fan to completely cool off and restore my color to its normal hue. I'm not sure if it's normal to get this extra red face -- does it mean anything? Do I have a disorder?

I see others who run in the gym or runners I pass on the sidewalk and none of them are crimson like I am. I don't get that pretty little flush in the cheeks, I look like I fell asleep on the beach without sunblock. Maybe I just need to stick to running in near-artic weather; but then I would be red from wind burn -- I just can't win!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Finally Fall

The weather has finally cooled down some and it is glorious. Last night I went for a run outside and the weather was just right after the sun went down. It was cool and there was a pleasant breeze blowing. Florida is very pleasant from the middle of October to about the middle of March; it's the summer that is unbearable.

I'm glad the season has turned cooler. Now I can run outside more, which is really what I prefer to do. It feels more like running when you can actaully go somewhere instead of feeling like a hamster on a wheel. I would be so much happier running at the gym if there was an indoor track -- that's even better than the treadmill. But the treadmill has its perks, so I won't be mean to it.

Anyway, I'm happy now that I can start running in the fresh air more. Of course in about two weeks it will be getting dark at like 5 pm, so the good weather comes at a price.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gory Getaway

The blog has been unattended for the last few days because I was visiting Orlando for a mini-break. I just got back yesterday, and enjoyed every minute away -- vacations are very good for your health. Everyone needs time away from work and from home.

But I specifically went to Orlando so that I could visit Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Every year in October, Universal hosts its Halloween Horror Nights, and the park changes after sunset from a kid-friendly theme park into an adult-rated (scantily clad ladies, shots sold in vials, and stands selling bottles of beer and mixed drinks) haunted house. The park transforms and there are haunted houses, there are scare zones, there are frightening shows, and there are poeple roaming the streets dressed up and ready to jump out at you. It's great!

Some of the houses were truly the best haunted houses I've ever been through. I screamed my way through most of them, and felt terrified when the people inside jumped out at me. At one point, I think I pulled a muscle in my side from screaming and leaping to the side. My heart was pounding so hard, it felt as though I had just finished a hard run. In fact, being scared can produce many of the same effects as exercise can. Your heart rate increases, your breathing is rapid, and your muscles are tense and ready for action. All that adrenline, once again, flowing through your veins. That's why the event is so popular I suppose -- people love to get scared and they love to feel the rush that adrenline gives you.

However, it's interesting to note that most doctors would recommend a healthy dose of laughter before they would advise a good scare. Studies have shown that fifteen minutes of laughter (the deep, belly kind of laughter) actually gives your heart the same kind of workout that thirty minutes of exercise can do. Your arteries open wide and let the blood flow through easier and your heart doesn't have to pump so hard.

Plus, there are aspects of our health that cannot be explained through pure biology. But studies reveal that personality, attitude, and outlook all influence your overall health and that those who report that they are happy, are most often the ones with the fewest medical problems. So watching funny movies or TV shows, laughing with friends, and reading the comics are all actually healthy activities.

But I think there's still room for a good scream. And really, once I get done screaming on a roller coaster or in a haunted house, I usually find myself laughing as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Red Rum

I think I may be very close to mudering an elderly person. It won't be my fault: I can claim insanity.

It's probably the most age-ist thing to say, but I'm up to my neck in old people and they are driving me crazy. The grocery store near our home is in the heart of old people land and on any given week day, it is chock full of the elderly. Normally I wouldn't mind so much, but this grocery store is small and rather cramped as it is; there is only room in the aisles for one cart to go in one direction and another cart to come in the other direction; the checkout lines are very narrow and the vegetable section and bakery are both the size of my kitchen. So with barely enough room to sneeze, shoppers have to be very conscience of the other shoppers around them; however, this does not apply to the old people.

They stop in the middle of the aisle (no attempt to pull their cart -- with its single apple and can of grapefruit juice -- over to the side), they literally don't look when coming around a bend, and they but in line ("Do you mind sweetheart? I just have two things."). They bunch up in crowds right outside or right inside the door blocking the carts and making it difficult to maneavor around them. But I guess you earn that right once you have lived long enough and have established your dominance on the earth; plus, you're old and you just don't care what people think of you.

I can make my peace with the behavior at the grocery store. Perhaps I will just begin to drive across town to a larger store; the commute may be worth my sanity. But I can't make peace with some of the old people's behavior at the gym. I swear, some of them act like two year olds.

In spinning class, they crowd against the door and fight with one another over the prime bikes. They choose treadmills right next to you. They always ask for instruction ("How do you start this damn thing?" One old lady asked me. I told her to push "start.") They yell at the front desk people, or they fumble around in their giant sized purses for their ID backing up the incoming traffic. And this monring was the last straw. I was do strength training on a machine and this woman was hovering around me. I do three sets, and while I was resting between sets 2 and 3, she walked up to me and asked, "How much longer are you going to hog this machine?"

I nearly imploded.

There are rows of machines; in fact, rows of some of the exact same machines. She could have used any one of the machines identical to the one I was using, yet she was harassing me to use the one I had been on for about five minutes (I guess when you're old time is valuable, so it might have appeared that I was on it for a long time). I told her it would be just another minute. She looked hauty, but didn't say anything else.

I only had one cheek off the seat before she was squeezing herself in there. I don't know if she thought one of the other patrons was going to steal her machine, but she was on it like bread on butter. I've never had anyone be so rude at the gym before, and I had half a mind to smack her with my towel, but I suppose I had to be the adult in the situation.

Part of me knows that I should just be patient and that I should treat the elderly with respect and care because one day I too will be old. I suppose it's just a matter of about sixty years before I can stop up traffic in the grocery store and demand my time on an exercise machine. Maybe that's how I'll behave as well once my relatives have abandoned me to the sweltering heat of South Florida and my one kidney is failing.

Perhaps I should just wait my turn to be an old bee-atch.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Split Personality

I wish I was one of those people (sometimes you see them in movies -- the intrepid FBI agent, or the single mom working so hard on her own) who could get up early in the morning and run. I envision the cool early morning darkness, the dew covering all the parked cars and still sleeping trees and bushes. The weather would be perfect at that time, no heat, low humidity, and I picture how satisfying it would be to come home as the sun is rising, and the whole day is stretching out ahead of me. Imagine what I would get done in a day if I got up early every morning and got my running done right away.

I think that's what people think of when they envision a runner. For some reason it seems to awe people, and I admit I occasionally see people at races that seem to be that person -- the inspiring morning runner, but I assure everyone that person is not me. Me, I struggle with my running. Motivating myself each day is its own challenge and there are days when merely tying my running shoes seems to drain me of energy. A lot of the time I just don't want to go. I bitch and moan in my head, and the evil part of me thinks, "Maybe today is okay for another day off."

But then there are times when I can't wait to run. I might hear a song on the radio that I think would be a good running song, and I turn it up, and I can't help but feel ansy. And there are definitely times when I'm sitting in my office or at home at my desk grading papers or planning for class and I feel like I have to get out and run, run, run. My legs tell me they need it. And when I finish, I always feel satisfied; that's really why I run. When I'm done, I feel good; I feel like I did something worthwhile. For that feeling, I run even when I don't feel like it. But I never run first thing in the morning.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Blushing Bride

Every woman wants to look perfect for her wedding day. That's why there are dozens of books, articles, and websites that dispense advice about weight loss, beauty tricks, make-up hints, hair guides, and skin secrets. A bride has to be concerned with everything in her appearance from the shining whiteness of her teeth to the touch of fat under her arms. That's a lot of stuff to think about.

I'm getting married in six weeks, and up until this point I can't say I've honestly thought too much about any of this. True, I have been trying to lose weight, but I'm always trying to lose weight, and the wedding date hasn't really prompted me to kick the effort into high gear. But suddenly I am thinking about facials, tanning, pedicures, manicures, teeth whitening, and more. I am suddenly posessed with an uncharacteristic need to be pretty, and am especially thinking about the need to look thin. So, I turned to those books, articles, and websites to see what they have to offer.

Essentially, there's no miracle "pretty" pill out there -- so my first hope was dashed. And what they do advise for weight loss is what I'm already practising: exercise regularly, eat healthy, balanced meals and snacks, and get plenty of sleep (I try to never cut myself short in that department). I already feel good about what I'm doing for exercise, and I want a program that I can commit to for the long term; I don't just want to lose a few pounds before the pictures flash and then beef up the day after we're married. I've seen friends and family members who literally starve themselves for months before the wedding only to let themselves become careless once the "big day" has passed. That's what's great about my running: I know it will take me awhile to reach my goals, so it's something I can work on over the long term.

After thinking about it, I decided to not worry -- it's really not my character to worry anyway, why start now? Plus, that dress hides most of what makes me insecure about my body anyhow; it's not like I will be taking my vows in a bikini (that would call for some serious dieting -- I would probably have to put down the ice cream sandwiches). I just need to concern myself with being comfortable and having fun, and those are two things I know I can do. Besides, it's the inside that makes you beautiful, right?