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Friday, September 30, 2005

Run Away!

You know what I love about a good run? It makes your whole day feel better. Not only did you run, but you ran well. That makes it easier for me to suffer through students not knowing what the word "depiction" is (the guy couldn't pronounce it either) and it makes it okay that half the class forgot to read the assigned story. That's how it was yesterday for me. I thought "Alright, they don't listen to me, but hey, I ran four miles this morning, I'm having a good day."

I guess that's why we all love to run because it can make us feel so good, and that's why anyone participates in a hobby or sport. It helps us escape from our everyday lives.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ode to a Treadmill

Since I kinda trashed talked the treadmill yesterday, and I had such a good run this morning (4 miles -- yeah!), I feel as though I owe some bit of homage to the treadmill, and so I present to you: Five things I love about the treadmill.

1. The fact that it is inside. You just can't beat air conditioning. Especially in a place like South Florida where the sun shines everyday and the humidity radiates throughout the land. Florida, for those who have never been, is constructed entirely on top of swampland. Don't be fooled by ads of sunny beaches and palm trees (we have those too); the majority of the population lives on man-made land -- underneath us lies what's left of the diminishing Everglades. But what hasn't been lost is that good ol' swampy feel. And until mid October, early November, everyday is a hot one. So to be able to run indoors in the comfort of a temperature controlled atmosphere, that's bliss.

2. Treadmills are clean. At the gym, they have a woman (seemingly the same one all the time) whose whole job appears to be to maintaining the workout equipment. She dusts everything with a big feather duster, but she also wipes everything down with a towel and a sterilizing substance (I don't know what, but it will probably be what gives me cancer later in life). This gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I know that she has cleaned away the previous user's sweat and that if I grip the treadmill's handles or push its buttons, my hands and fingers won't be smeared with someone else's juices. Logically, I know sweat actually doesn't carry that much germage and you can't catch anything from sweat (just like pee, that's why those toilet seat covers are just a waste of paper); however, it makes me feel good to know that things are clean.

Unlike the treadmill I used to own at home. Yes, once upon a time, I owned a treadmill. But I lost it in a break-up posession division. He got the treadmill, the kitchen table and the bed; I got the towels, some sheets, and a whole pile of guilt. Anyway, that treadmill was never clean. It attracted dust like a cupcake calls to a fat kid. It was always covered in soot, and as the years wore on, sweat mingled with the soot, and the grime began to take on a life of its own. There were times when I feared that if lightening ever struck that machine it might actually come to life.

3. The treadmill challenges me. There are days when I just want to trot along and get thirty minutes worth of cardio out of the way. Those days are not much of a challenge, but I think they are necessary for all of us -- we can't have good workout days everyday; plus, it's the bad ones that help us appreciate the good ones. However, there are days when I do feel up to a challenge, and one those days, I can use the treadmill however I wish; it is subservient to my commands. If I want to add hills, I can. If I want to go faster, I can. If I want to cross train by mixing up both hills and speed, I can. This is nice because it lets me tailor each workout to how I feel that day and what I need to achieve in that workout. This way I get many machines in one.

4. It helps me learn to pace myself and helps to improve my stride. I have short little legs, so for me, running sometimes feels like I'm working with Mini-Me's legs -- I run, run, run, but hardly go anywhere. The treadmill's steady rolling track helps me develop a longer, more even stride, which ultimately, helps me run better, faster, and farther. It also helps me maintain pace. One of my biggest problems when I run outside or especially when I run a race, is that I tend to start a little too strong. Eager to get out there and get to it, I can start off too fast and then I feel burnt out and tired halfway through. What the treadmill helps me learn is how to warm up to one pace and maintain that pace for a specified distance. Once I feel comfortable and able to maintian that pace, I usually up the speed and see how far I can do that for.

5. Lastly, when there are others running alongside me, it feels like a race. Which, let's face it, motivates me. I was running alongside one woman today who had run 1.5 miles in the time I ran 2.5 miles and that made me feel good about myself. I knew that if we were running out in the wild, I would be winning. On the other side of me was a woman who was walking at a snail's pace, so she doesn't really count, but I still like to know that I was smoking her as well.

So, that's it. Those are the things I like best about the treadmill. I hope this repairs any hard feelings I may have caused the treadmill gods by remarking yesterday that I didn't appreciate the machine. We all have to offer up the appropriate sacrifices.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My progress as of late feels slow. I know I haven't really been dedicated to running for that long, but it seems like I should be making more progress than I am. Some days a 3 mile run feels good and easy (Sunday's run). But other days (yesterday and Monday, for example), I struggle to complete a mile and a half. What's up with that? Plus, I can't seem to break past that 3 mile road block in my mind and in my body.

It probably doesn't help that I do most of my running on the treadmill, and after 3 miles, it feels as though I've been on there forever. I would step outside more, but it is still hot out there and probably won't significantly cool for another month.

I know too that if I just lost a few pounds (they are very attached to me and don't want to go anywhere -- I can understand, I'm very lovable) it would make the running much easier and I might be better able to pack on the miles.

Motivation low: Feeling crappy about running: Might turn to tub of ice cream for solace.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


The first step to any addiction is admission, so I admit it, I'm addicted to "Lost." I can't get enough of Jack, Kate, Sawyer (my favorite), Sayid and all the rest of the crew stranded on the strange island. I am a late comer to the show, and only started watching it a couple of weeks ago (bought the first season on DVD and haven't looked back since). I even dream about the island, the hatch, the strange things that go bump in the night there, and have even found myself muttering "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42." Everyone else with a soul and a TV is also addicted to "Lost" so I know I'm not alone, but while we're all busy discussing the big things in the show: the importance of the numbers, Walt, the hatch, Rousseau, etc, we aren't hitting on something poignant in my mind.

Why haven't we seen a "Lost" diet on the market yet?

Let's think about this logically. All they get to eat is fruits of differing variety (mainly mangoes and bananas), fish, and boar meat. So they have a diet high in protein, they're getting plenty of fiber and carbs from the fruit, yet they're not consuming anything high in fat or anything that has been processed. They have nothing to drink but water, and they have to drink loads of that because of their exercise program: hiking all over the goddamn island.

I think that's what people go to spas for -- on tropical islands!

So far, according to the timeframe of the show, they've been stranded for about six weeks, maybe a little more. My guess is that I would have lost ten pounds by now if I were one of them, and quite frankly, I think I might be jumping for joy. Look at what a paradise this would be for a girl: there's hot guys everywhere you turn, there's a no-cheat diet and exercise plan, plenty of sunbathing available, miles of beautiful beaches, and no worries about money. Sure, there is something unnameable lurking in the jungle and now they have to deal with crazies on the other side of the island who insist on stealing members, but otherwise, I think I'm the first one to admit I would like to be a survivor of Flight 815 stranded on this strange island.

No more treadmill, no more struggling to drive past Taco Bell without stopping. I think those castaways have it made!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Power Bar versus Snickers: The Showdown

I put a Power Bar in the refrigerator yesterday thinking that it would be like putting a candy bar in there. That way, when I eat it, the chocolate won't be so messy; however, it seems that the rules that apply to candy bars in the fridge do not apply to Power Bars in the fridge. It's like a rock! I tried gnawing off a few pieces but I'm a little frightened that I might break a tooth. I set it on the desk and am waiting for it to thaw.

I don't know why I eat these Power Bars; well, actually I do know why, but the reason makes me feel idiotic. You see, I know I eat them because I believe they are nutritious and they are chocolatey, so I think I can actually get my chocolate and vitamins in one miraculous product. However, deep down I know that the line between a Power Bar and a candy bar is a thin one.

I compared wrappers one day to a Snickers, and what I discovered wasn't all that shocking. Essentially, the two bars share a similiar amount of calories (regular size Snickers actually has fewer), similiar amount of carbs, and almost identical amounts of protein (think peanuts in in your Snickers). The only major difference is that a Power Bar has measurable amounts of fiber. So why am I not munching on a Snickers instead? Perception. It's all about perception.

To me, and probably to many other runners, a Snickers is bad, but a Power Bar is good, and really it's all about the wrapper and the marketing. A Snickers is found in a vending machine, which we all know is full of junk. But a Power Bar, that's actually found in the health food section of the grocery store. Must be healthy. In the end, they're the same. In fact, Snickers even makes a "Power Bar" now. I think they might have just slapped a different wrapper on the same product.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


My run yesterday was awful. I decided that since it was cloudy outside, it would be fine to go for a run in the afternoon. I was about ten steps out the door when I knew that was a mistake. It was so humid, it felt like I was treading water instead of running, and after a mile and a half, I was so soaked in sweat, I was about five pounds heavier with my wet clothes. The sweat was running into my eyes, and I was miserable.

I walked the rest of the way, but I was still sweating like a monkey, and was completely uncomfortable. So much for that. What a week. I've barely exercised at all, and I am beginning to feel like a tug boat. Today is my busy day at school, so I don't really have time to workout, but tomorrow I vow to get back to the gym where it is appropriately cooled to a pleasant 78 degrees and where I can run easily.

Damn that humidity. Living in South Florida is like living under water.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Daily Devotional

Bless me father, for I have sinned: It's been four days since my last run.

No, I'm not actually Catholic, but I do like the idea of confession. I'm not actually religious in any shape or form, something that would disappoint my mother. For my mother, God represents comfort and solace, but when I was growing up, God was anything but those two things. God scared the bejesus out of me. My mom would tell me that God saw everything I did and knew what I was thinking. It bothered me that he was looking over my shoulder at the actions I committed, but I was mostly worried about the envasion of my thoughts.

I used to lay in bed late at night trying to clear my brain of any thought and then I would let just a single word or idea float into my mind: elephant! I had to wonder, had I beat God to that thought? Did he see it coming? Had it really been my thought, or had he put it there? Did I have any original thoughts? Or were they all planted by God? As a kid, I was plagued by doubt and confusion concerning God; I wanted to be good, but found it so hard. That's why, as an adult, I am still confused and doubtful, and am especially wary of "good" behavior.

As I grew up, I suppose I made a religion out of other ideas: boys, school, pleasing my parents. And lately, I think I have been religiously devoted to running. I certainly go running more times than I've ever been in a church. The physical exertion provides me with comfort and solace, even when it's difficult and challenging. It gives me time for contemplation and it gives me a mission. I will, perhaps, never be a zealot -- I don't know if it's in my nature -- but running helps me remain balanced.

My mother always said that being happy was about balance. She would lecture me about the importance of mental health, physical health, and spiritual health: each needs to be exercised. I agree with her, except for me, running fills in for the spiritual and physical. I just need to make some time for it.

Still recovering from the cold I had over the weekend, bogged down by student papers, and distracted by hurricane Rita, I haven't run since Friday. As I look over the schedule today, I wonder how I'll fit it in: I'm up to my neck in student papers and I have class tonight and all day tomorrow. I'll probably squeeze something in this afternoon; I'll need a break from those papers anyway. Everyone needs a space to worship.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finally Feeling Fine

Today, I can say with utmost confidence that I am finally feel 100 % better and I believe I am completely healed. Of course, that is ruined by my foul mood. You see, Hurricane Rita, or excuse me, Tropical-Storm-Rita-might-turn-into-a-hurricane-Rita, is lurking just south of us here in South Florida, and it looks like she might hit the Keys pretty hard. But while there has been a warning posted in the county just to the south, there has, as of yet, not been a posting here in my home county.

Why does this peeve me?

No hurricane warning means I have to work. Classes are being held, and I don't want to go and teach. I'm lazy, yes, but I also think there shouldn't be classes, becausee well, I don't want to go. I want to go home and snuggle down in bed. I don't want to run today. I don't really want to do anything, yet someone is going to force me to. Well, I won't stand for it. I have taken action myself and have decided to cancel my own classes. Sneaky, huh?

Sometimes I wonder what students think when I cancel a class (which is, to defend myself, rare). Are they glad they don't have to sit through my class, or are they pissed that I didn't show up? Ah well, doesn't really matter. Of course, I feel a touch guilty about cancelling class. It's as if I'm engaging in illegal activity, but really, I obviously don't feel too bad about it; otherwise, I would just go.

Now, I'm going to go back to bed because it is dark and rainy outside and that bed is calling my name. Too bad sleep can't be counted as exercise. I do my share of sleeping.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Feeling Better

After what was essentially a full day of rest yesterday, a suitable amount of drugs, and a good night's sleep, I feel much better today. I am still stuffy in the nose and I have a touch of a headache (probably the result of constant sniffing); however, I don't feel so much like a pile of poo anymore.

I'm glad I didn't run yesterday; it was foolish to think that I should plow ahead when I wasn't feeling well. Today, my symptoms are minor and more annoying than anything else, but I don't know if I'll return to the gym today or not. Most training advice on the web advises runners to just use good judgement about what they can or should do when ill or recovering from illness, and the general concensus seems to be that moderate exercise is fine, but if more rest is needed, that seems to be fine as well.

I just don't like taking more than two days off in a row because it inevitably turns into a longer time span and I feel like I lose some of my momentum. Plus, I had a soccer coach in high school who said you should never go more than three days between workouts because after three days, you loose 30% of what you gained. True? Doubtful. I think he just wanted us on the field seven days a week, 24 hours a day (we already practiced 2 1/2 hours a day, six days a week).

I'll see how the day feels. I have a lot of work to do, and I am not at peek energy levels, so exercise may not be in the picture today, but like I said, we'll see. By tomorrow, I should definitely be feeling well enough to get back out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sicky Sickerson

I am now feeling the full blown effects of the "poo." As of last night, I was still determined to run the planned 5K this morning despite the fact that I felt a touch feverish. I set out my running clothes and prepared my race forms and money, and dutifully set the alarm for 6 am. But I tossed and turned, my nose ran all night, and my body heat varied from chills to sweats. At four, I got up and took some Sudafed in the hopes that it would ease the sinus pressure and perhaps make me ready when the alarm would sound in two hours, but when the alarm went off, I did not feel any better.

True, my nose wasn't a river of snot, but instead, my head felt as though it had been stuffed full of cotton. I got up when the alarm rang and shuffled into the bathroom. I got a drink of water, and then decided to go back to bed. I was exhausted and sick, and I knew I wouldn't run a good race; in fact, I wonder how much I would have been able to run at all.

I don't know why I felt I had to run this morning. It's okay to be sick; everybody falls ill every once in awhile, and to miss a race is fine as well. Who cares? It's not like I'm a racing champion with a title to defend or anything. There are plenty of other events I can participate in. So, I am disappointed that a virus defeated me, but I know I'll get a chance to run another 5K. Today, I think I will have some hot soup, crawl back into bed and watch TV all day.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sore Throat Continued

Today, the throat continues to ache and I also have a sniffle now. Still no fever. I can't decide if perhaps this isn't allergies, and I have no way of truly knowing. All I have at my medical disposal is the Internet, and it can only answer questions with varying accuracy. I have a feeling the snot that has unloosed itself is now flowing freely down the back of my throat and that can't be helping its plight.

So, I am now faced with a dilema: To run or not to run. Yesterday, after taking some aspirin, my throat felt pretty good all day, and my run went well yesterday, but I know enough about medicine that aspirin won't decongest my runny nose. But the question isn't truly about today's exercise; it's about tomorrow's. I'm supposed to run a 5K tomorrow, but if I feel like poo, I don't know if I will. I haven't actually paid and registered for the race yet, so I'm not out anything; however, I should make the decision today.

Factors to weigh: If I don't run, I'll feel disappointed because I've been looking forward to this run in the hopes of redeeming my time after the last race's disastrous result. If I do run, but feel like crap, it could result in a crappy run anyway. I could do poorly again and have icky feelings of failure. So, what I really must determine in the course of the day today is what level of poo-ey do I feel? A little like poo? A lot like poo? Somewhere in the middle?

I guess I'll drink plenty of fluids (break out the OJ again), and take some more aspirin and see what the day brings.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sore Throat

I've got a sore throat; in fact, it's been sore for about three days. My guess is that I have a virus, kinda like a common cold, and because I don't have a fever or anything, I don't believe it's strep or tonsilitis (I have had the latter before). My brother gets strep throat about once a year; when we were kids, he'd get it all the time, and twice it turned into rheumatic fever, and once when he was an adult, he got mono (they're all very closely related bacterial diseases). He really should have his tonsils out, but modern doctors are far more reluctant to remove tonsils than they were when we were younger. He didn't have them removed when we were children because my mother opted against it; I believe, perhaps, it was a money or insurance issue. At any rate, I know this isn't anything serious, but it is uncomfortable.

I took a couple of aspirins this morning and had a big glass of OJ (I always count on vitamin C to duke it out with the viral fiends), so hopefully it will feel better soon. In the meanwhile, it's fine for me to exercise as normal. Most advice says you can exercise through what you chose, but most advise against exercise when you have a fever or are throwing up. Seems wise.

Thankfully, this is the first kind of sick I've had in a long time (I attribute my good health to the active cultures in yogurt). In fact, I'm generally not a very sickly person. I usually catch a cold every once in awhile, but the last time I remember being truly sick was my sophomore year of college -- about seven or eight years ago -- and that time I was really sick. I had this terrible sore throat, fever, icky stomach, headhache, everything. It was the worst flu I've ever experienced. I stayed out of classes for a full week, and I can tell you, hardly anything is worse than throwing up over a sore throat. I thought I might have strep that time, but when I went to the doctor, they swabbed me, and the test came back negative.

I think that's the sickest I've ever been in my life, and it always sucked to be ill in college because you're away from home and at that point, you just want your mom to bring you a cold soda and rub your back. Fortunately, that time I was so awfully sick, I called my mom and told her how poopy I felt and she suggested the miracle of all sore throat relievers: the popsicle. I had my roommate go out and buy a box of cherry popsicles then, and now I still rely on them when I have an icky throat.

So, today I think I will let this aspirin do its work, then go to a the gym for a light run, and stop by the store to get lunch: cherry popsicles sound good.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cell Phones

Today, I saw, or rather heard, a woman on her cell phone in the bathroom. She was chatting away as she peed and didn't seem one bit distressed about carrying on a conversation while using the restroom.

It occured to me some time ago, when I started seeing people chatting away on their phones at the gym, that people can't live without those damn things. I, admittedly, own a cell phone and do love to receive calls -- it makes me feel very popular; unfortunately, those calls are few and far between -- however, I can't understand wanting to talk to another person under all circumstances. Isn't that why we have voice mail and answering machines?

I, for one, wouldn't like to be held accountable for conversation while I run. For one thing, I can't say I have the breath for talk. I have to focus on running, and I can't be discussing the various methods for cooking a chicken, and I absolutely don't want to have a chat about the weather, politics, or my job. I'm running to get away from all of that. I need the space and time to think and sort thoughts.

But some people, I assume, love to talk. It's obvious, not just from their cell phone use, but from their chatter at the gym. There's one older gentleman who always strikes up conversation with other gym goers on the treadmill, by the weight machines, or by the water fountain, and there's something so mind numbing about his talk, that I literally left the gym early yesterday to get away from it.

For me, there is nothing so pressing to discuss that I need to talk to someone while I exercise. And I really don't want to send or receive any calls. There is a time and a place for conversation, and those times and places are at night when you are in bed with your partner, at meals, at the bar, in the car, and when you need to invite someone somehwere, mull over puzzling or amusing events, or when you haven't spoken with that person in a long while. Running is not a time for talking, unless you are a cute couple who run together and wear matching outfits -- you're excused, because you're abnormal anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Heat, my god, the Heat!

September in Florida is a lot like August in Florida. The days still see temperatures in the nineties, and the humidity is much the same. Everyday is a scorcher, and we all feel as though we have found hell on Earth. Thankfully, I've noticed that the mornings haven't been quite so bad the last couple of days. Last night on the news, it was forecasted that the lows this week would be around 78 degrees. Good news for me.

On Sunday, I plan to run another 5K and I'm hoping for a far better outcome than the last one; I am particularly crossing my fingers that I don't feel as though I might faint this time around. If the temp is 78 at 7:00 am, then that's the temperature the gym is air conditioned at, and that's good news.

Last night, I ran outside for my once a week outside run, and it was still damn hot. When I returned home, I had the beet red face and sweat soaked clothes. It wasn't pleasant. So I'm praying for a little spell of cool morning weather this Sunday, so that I can at least run with some dignity. That red face business is just embarassing.

Aside from the weather, I have also begun preparing for race day by re-organizing my Mp3 player. I've cleared all the old songs, and re-ordered them and added a few new ones so that I have the best song order for a 3.1 mile run. And this time, I am bringing my MP3 player with me. In other 5Ks, I've left it at home, but this time, it's coming with because I really need those songs; they help provide for "mood." The music also helps me time myself. It may come as something of a shock to most, but I don't actually own a watch (have never liked them -- they sit funny on my wrist and it feels like they are rubbing my wrist bone weird), so the only way I calculate time while I'm out running is by estimating the length of the songs. Most songs are about 3 or 4 minutes long, but there are a few that are five minutes: I noted their times as I downloaded them. So that helps me gauge my mile times, which is helpful in maintaining my pace.

But in the end, I have to just accept whatever I can do. In yoga, we used to adhere to the philosophy that you are not in competition with anyone, not even yourself. So, I need to just accept each race as an accomplishment in and of itself and not worry about my times or racing against previous times. I'm just there to enjoy the run.

(Yeah right. I know I'm in competition with myself, who else do I have to compete against?)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yesterday's Run

At the gym yesterday, I couldn't help but notice this guy who was running on the treadmill nearby and he was holding onto the handles for dear life and stumbling along at the fastest speed he could do. It seems somehow inhumane to let him do that, as if I should correct him, and tell him to just slow down and let go of the machine. He wasn't helping himself. But isn't this what the gym staff should be doing?

I have mixed feelings about the gym staff. On the one hand, I would be fearful to have to them come around and correct me on something, mostly because I already feel as though I'm being watched when I work out at the gym. But I also think they should circle around and do more than chat with one another. Because honestly, that's all they seem to do. They scan your ID when you walk in, but beyond that, they group up in areas around the gym and either make fun of us, or they ignore us completely. It's kinda like being in the zoo.

But there is an ad up front that says they are hiring for a variety of positions, and it makes me wonder if perhaps I could do that part-time. I think I would be highly qualified to make fun of other gym members and to talk about them when they're not looking. Hell, I do that half the time anyway -- for free. Plus, if I had the authority the red shirt would bring me, I could tell that runner that he needs to leasrn how to use a treadmill more effectively. Perhaps then I would be like a savior.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I need new running shoes. I bought these at the beginning of this year, and when I purchased them, they were shiny and pretty and full of bounce. But now the shine has been reduced to a mere glimmer and the bounce has bounced itself out. The soles are getting worn, and there's paint splattered across the toes.

However, I can't get new shoes yet because I can't afford them right now. I have other costs weighing on my mind, and something responsible tells me it's more important to pay the phone bill than to buy yourself a new pair of running shoes. So I'll have to make this pair last a little longer.

It would be better if running shoes weren't so expensive; it's a bit ridiculous considering how long they last you. One of the reasons I got into running as a hobby was because it was relatively inexpensive. You just need shoes and clothes, and you're good to get out there and run. But once you start to get into the sport, it turns out that is just a trick to get you interested. Becasue shoes are spendy, and you're supposed to buy new ones every six months or so; the clothes can also be pricey (at least the fashionable, non-chaffing clothes), but at least they last longer; inevitably, there's the newest music product to buy, and they don't come cheap; and lastly, if you want to compete, there's the dozens of races to register for, each one costing you some pocket change.

For me, and for many others, there is also the gym membership, which is slightly superfulous, but at the same time, absolutely necessary for maintaing a workout schedule. So that in the end, staying in shape really adds up. And running to stay fit is expensive, despite claims from its proponents that it is an every-person sport.

Yet, I also know that I have to stop comparing myself to others I see at the gym or on the race course who look so much more like runners than I do. Someday, I too will sport stylish shoes with plenty of cushion and cute shorts to match. My hair will actually fit back into a neat pony tail or long braid, and my earplugs for the MP3 player will sit snugly in my ears as I run. I will be put together, pretty. Oh yeah, and I'll also run well.

When pigs fly.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rock Star

Last night I saw the Foo Fighters/Weezer concert, and even if I hadn't gone to spinning yesterday morning, I would have put in a sufficient workout at that concert. I was jumpin' around, dancing, and singing, and this morning my claves and my abs feel a little sore. I'm pretty sure I burned off all the calories I consumed in beer.

It's no wonder you hardly ever see a fat rock star. At concerts, they too are jumping, dancing, singing, and playing their instruments! They must burn tons of calories. In fact, some rock stars burn up to two or three pounds off onstage at a single concert. Angus Young, of AC/DC, said that he used to count on losing 5 or 6 pounds during the course of a night's show! That's incredible. Obviously, that means they are mainly shedding water in that time, but that still means you're burning off at least 6-7,000 calories in just a few hours.

Do I need any more motivation to be a rock star? It would be awesome!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Look At Me!

Well, would you look at this! I figured out how to add pictures! Turns out, it wasn't that hard, and all this time I thought it was rocket science or something to upload a picture, but it turns out it's just as easy as attaching them to email. I feel a little bit like a genius. ( I have the sudden sneaking suspicion I might also be able to unlock the energy crisis if I think long enough on it.)

Anyway, this is not a great picture since my shadow is looming on the wall behind me, but it's the only digital picture I have right now of just me. Obviously, I am hard at work here applying some putty to an unfinished wall (thankfully that wall is now a finished product and looks quite lovely), but I consider the remodeling my husband-to-be and I are doing to be part of my weekly workouts since ripping up carpet, scraping off wallpaper, applying putty such as this, and sanding that putty make for hard physical work. After some days of work like this, I don't really feel that I need a run.

Tomorrow I'll have to play around with pictures a bit more to spice up my blog and make it look pretty. I've been looking at other running blogs and mine seems to be seriously lacking. For one thing, it appears that I am way behind on the athlete business, as some of these bloggers are running everywhere short of completely around the world. And for another thing, some of them have much more interesting blogs. I wouldn't dare tell you who or where to find them because I don't want to lose the few devoted readers I have. So I must work to make my blog just as lovely and it looks like I'm going to have to start running a little harder and a little further; nothing helps motivate a runner like competition.

The Seventh Day

Today is a day of rest (even God got one of those), so I don't have any exercise on my plate today. Once you get into a routine, it's actually kind of hard to take a day off, and you feel a little jittery, like you should be out there running or at least taking a walk. And really, a day of rest doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do any exercise, it really just means you should do something light or something different.

But for me, today is a day of almost no exercise whasoever, and it's a good day for a break because I have class all day. Well, not all day, but I have three classes and they're all about five hours apart. So I start at the very beginning of the day and end at the close of the day, and it feels like forever. Plus, as we get warmed up in the semester, the students get stranger and stranger. I won't even talk about the guy who I believe might be stalking me, and there is also a girl I won't get into here (let me just tell you that she's a "breather" and has too many teeth); no, they don't even bother me as much as Mr. Pencil Sharpener this morning.

I have this student who comes in late every day of class. And not just five or ten minutes late, he's like thirty or forty minutes late every time. I had to talk to him and two others on Tuesday about being on time, but it seems my lecture was dismissed straight away because this morning he strolled in after forty-five minutes. And does he head right for a desk? No! He stands right up front and starts sharpening his pencil! I stopped talking and looked at him, and the whole class was looking at him, and he looked back with an expression that said, "What?" I told him to sit down please, and his demeanor made it seem as though he had no idea why I would ask such a thing. I guess I was the one out of line.

At the end of the day, the mental energy I have expended feels far greater than the physical energy I spend running, and to be honest, I think a good, hard run sounds pretty nice after a few classes of discussing the same material over and over. Thank the Lord for those students who are intelligent and engaged in class, and who also arrive on time, with pencils sharpened. Otherwise, everyday in class would be the equivilant of a marathon, and my brain can't take that kind of workout!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I was rushing to get to spinning class, and was at first relieved when I saw that the instructor hadn't yet arrived and everyone was standing outside the classroom. But as the minute hand crept up to the hour and then past it, everyone waiting outside started to grumble, and I could tell that the crowd was getting restless. At a quarter after, a few fellow spinners went up to the gym's front desk to complain, but just then the instructor came through the front doors.

This was an instructor I had not had before, and at first it was difficult to distiguish gender, but I finally arrived at the conclusion that it was a woman who looked very much like a man. That doesn't bother me, but I knew that this wo-man would probably run our butts off, especially since she'd been late and would now try to cram 60 minutes worth of exercise into 45.

The other spinners gathered excitedly around the doors like shoppers waiting for JC Penney to open the day after Thanksgiving, and once the doors were unlocked, they streamed into the classroom and made a beeline for the desirable bikes. I'm not much of a pusher or a shover, so I went ahead and let those who were willing to engage in both grab whatever bikes they wanted. What this left me with was a bike that you need special shoes for.

You see, there are bikes with straps for those of us who wear regular running shoes, and there are bikes for those who wear actual bike shoes that have little clips to grip the peddle, and I was stuck with the wrong kind of bike (or the wrong kind of shoes, depending on how you look at it). I tried to trade with someone nearby, but it turned out that everyone was quite satisfied with the bike they had shoved and pushed for, so I had to make do. It really wasn't a big deal until about halfway through our 45 minutes of torture (hills, hills, and more hills!) when I was spinning my little heart out. I was peddling and peddling, so fast the peddles start to feel as if they are propelled forward of their own momentum, and then my left foot slipped off its inappropriate peddle and my whole left leg flew forward; thus, the whole of my body flung itself forward over the handle bars.

I nearly spun right into the spinner in front of me!

The girl next to me was kind enough to ask if I was alright, and I shook my head "yes" and got back on the bike. I was a little shaken, but I managed to ride the rest of the class. I thought I might be bruised on my left leg because I banged it against the frame of the bike, but it looks like my skin has been resistant (funny, since I have a mother of a bruise on my right leg and I can't recall how I did that; my brother says I'm becoming delicate).

Next time I guess I'll have to learn to shove a few people out of my way so I can make sure I get the right kind of bike. I think I can take some of those skinny bitches.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Own Private Cheerleader

Last night I had a good run. One of those runs that actually feels good. I ran outside to get out and about and becasue I'm trying to get exposed to the weather in an attempt to aclimate. I plan to run another 5K in two weeks, and if I am to face that heat again, I have to get used to it, and I can't hide indoors on the treadmill forever. So, I've been running outside about once a week, and last night was one of those runs. And it was nice.

The weather wasn't so hot, there was significant cloud cover and the sun had already set, but it was still humid and I was sweating like a towel squeezed of excess water, but like I said, the run felt good. Every once and awhile I have very positive feelings about running, and instead of thinking how hard it is, or what hurts, or how hot I am, I actually focus on how lucky I am that I'm so healthy, that I can get out and run, and that I have use of my limbs (weird one, I know, but I do think that; how much harder would all this exercise be if I were missing an arm or a leg?).

And despite the fact that a bug flew into my eye and another flew into my mouth, I loved running and I was reminded that I had started this whole project because somewhere back in time, I remember how I did love to run; it just took a while to work up to a place where I could enjoy it again. However, I feel a little strange writing such positive things, so don't worry fellow readers, tomorrow I will be sure to come up with some sarcastic or cynical remark. Lord knows, we don't need too much inspiration.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What's That You Say?

Soon, I will have the hearing of an 87 year old man, and I'll be asking everyone to repeat what they just said. That's because I listen to my MP3 player at volumes that I think are unwise for my poor eardrums. I like to have it loud enough to really feel the music while I'm running; you know, so you can feel that bass line in your chest like a heartbeat. It helps me keep motivated for the run and helps me block out the chatter that surrounds me at the gym (I swear, some music cannot drown out two women talking, and for some reason, it especially bugs me when they have a conversation so loud I can still hear them over my music, and it really gets on my nerves when they are talking really loud in another language; at least when it's English I can eavesdrop and get in our their gossip).

Some people like to strike up conversation with anyone, and as I've mentioned before, I am not the sort who likes to be on the receiving end of that kind of conversation. But there are others, mostly middle aged women, who arrive at the gym in pairs, and they talk the whole while to one another, and I don't know why, but it just annoys me. (Seems like they could put that extra air to better uses.) But with the headphones, it is clear that I don't want to chat -- they are an automatic banter-blocker.

However, I fear this seclusion comes at a price. I've been running off and on ever since I was in middle school when I ran on the school track team, and all those years I ran with music. Back in the day, I lugged around a walkman and various mix tapes my friends and I made for each other. Later, technology advanced, and I was able to purchase a small am/fm radio that strapped onto my arm, but I hated getting commercials on my runs, so when those portable CD players came out, I was on top of those. But the down side to those was that you only got to listen to one CD, and unless that CD was chock full of good running tunes, you had to jog through the slow songs or the songs you didn't really like that much. Thankfully, portable music has advanced leaps and bounds in the past two or three years (and I really think exercisers are those responsible for the changes), and MP3s have become something of a miracle.

But added up, that's about 15 years of music being piped directly into my ear canals, and I'm pretty sure those miniature bones are taking a beating. Sometimes I leave the MP3 player at home just so I can give my little ears a rest, but I know the damage has been done, and what I'm hoping for is that by the time I'm old, they'll be able to just give me an ear transplant, and I won't need to worry about safeguarding my delicate ear drums. With my brand new ears, I'll be able to listen to music at all kinds of volumes!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Let Them Eat Cake

Every once in awhile, or to be truthful, about every month, I get an intense desire for yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The craving dawns on me often times quite suddenly and there's no time to stall between buying that cake mix and baking the dreamy concoction. I don't know if it's the contrast between the buttery yellow cake and the creamy milk chocolate frosting, but whatever that cake's delightful secret is, I love it. And usually I end up eating the whole thing by myself.

Not all at once.

At first, I start out civilized with little plates of single slices. Those initial slices are of dignified proportions and I do well to just take one piece and then leave the rest. But then a day or two passes and the cake becomes something of a presence. I think about it at night before I fall asleep and as I run on the treadmill I fantasize about running toward that cake. That's when dignity begins to break down and I abandon the plates and the cut pieces for eating the cake straight out of the pan with a fork.

Sometimes the urge will strike me in the middle of the night, and I'll find myself huddled protectively over the pan, fork in hand, scooping large chunks of cake into my already full mouth. This feral behavior revolts me and I often retreat to bed feeling shamed, but the next morning I'll find myself back in the kitchen with the same animal desire to consume that cake.

I estimate, with the help of the nutritional information listed on the side of the box and on the frosting container, that a whole cake contains about 6,000 calories. And there is no nutritional benefit (unless you count the marginal amounts of riboflavin, but who really knows what that vitamin is good for anyway?): There's just sugar, butter, eggs, oil, and mounds of refined flour. I could blame the cake for the inescapable weight I'm stuck at, but at the same time that treat fills a cake-sized hole in my soul that needs to be fed every once in awhile. To starve a soul is unforgivable.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mind Magic

I think I might have actual mental powers. What those exact powers are, I can't be sure of, but it seems lately that what I think or do, or say related to this blog somehow comes to fruition, but strangest of all is how some ideas and concepts are popping up in print. For example, yesterday I received the new "Runner's World" in the mail and guess what one of the articles featured? Blogs about running! No, not my blog, but it discussed how popular running blogs are becoming and how you can start your own, and how it can help you train, etc. That isn't really a remarkable example, but the next one is.

I was browsing through a fitness magazine at the gas station yesterday and there was just a brief blip about that treadmill class I thought of! (Which of course indicates that I was not in fact the first person to think of it, but I still consider it my thought.) It just mentioned essentially what I had said about the relationship between a stationary bike and a treadmill and how some gym in New York (my location predictor was right on) is offereing a running class. I forget what they were labeling it.

And lastly, but perhaps most important to me, I was writing yesterday bout poopy scales and how I never lose any weight. Well, this morning when I got up and weighed myself, I was two pounds less! Poof! I always weigh myself in the morning, so no, it's not about weighing myself before I've eaten to had a drink of water. That's the time of day I always check in (even though I also check in on other scales whenever I encounter them -- they vary only slightly). But two pounds felt like a miracle to me. Maybe it just took months for me to lose those pounds, and they suddenly just dropped off the planet. This is good; I hope they stay lost. I don't want to find them again.

So, I will now take this opportunity to ask for some money. I'm not really pleading for much, but the sudden appearance of, oh, say $1,000 would greatly please me. So, dear god of the blog, please let me find some bills! It would be greatly appreciated, and I would praise you on my blog.