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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

All of us know that flying across country can make us feel worn out and exhausted, but while we frequently blame the mysterious "jet lag," what is more often to blame is dehydration.

An airplane's cabin has close to zero humidity in it (a result of cabin pressure and the air conditioning systems), and passengers who are aboard a flight for more than two hours will mostly likely suffer from some dehydration (the degree to which is most likely determined by the individual). I'm flying to Denver this afternoon and our flight is four hours (it's a long way from Ft Lauderdale to the Wild West), so I will most certainly need to drink my water.

Dehydration can have several effects: muscle aches, stiffness, and soreness, headaches, itchy eyes, dry skin, bloody nose, and even constipation. Combine that with the fact that a passenger is generally asked to stay seated the entire flight, and you get people who are walking off the plane with limps and aching backs and pounding headaches. Personally, I have to take Dramamine on a flight because I get motion sick very easily, so I never chance a flight without the drug (projectile vomit is never cute). It knocks me out, so I sleep for most of any flight. Because I sleep most of a flight, I generally don't drink much water and inevitably stay seated during the duration of our air time. Add to that the fact that Dramamine gives you cotton mouth, and it's no wonder that I always feel groggy and sore after I travel by air.

Today, I am trying to hydrate as best I can by drinking lots of water, and I plan to bring a bottle with me on the plane (always drink airplane water from a bottled source; there have been several contaminants found in airline water -- if you get one of those bugs, the explosive diarhea you'll get will certainly dehydrate you). Hydration is one of the key aspects to anyone's health, but especially for a runner, so in order to lessen the effects of such a thirst inducing environment, a runner needs to board a plane prepared.

I don't know if I'll post while away for the next few days, but I return on Sunday, the 4th, and will post then! Talk to everyone soon!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


One of my biggest pet peeves at the gym is people who come into class late. It probably bothers me so much because I am a teacher, and it bugs me when students arrive to class late -- even when I was a student, I could seen that late arrival was a disruption. Same holds true in the classes held at the gym. Maybe I'm just uptight about being punctual, I don't know, but it really bothers me (my parents are very punctual people and we were always five minutes early to anything we ever did). Especially during yoga.

Yoga is not like spinning or an aerobics class where you can come in a little late and catch up with the class. It is a practice that is very much about unity, and it requires a certain state of mind to help each individual make the most of the time there. Inevitably, people are late though, usually just a few minutes, but their shuffling to get a mat and settle into their spot is disruptive, but I can usually shake it off. But today's class was really bad.

Two people came in about two or three minutes late, not so bad, and the instructor was just getting us settled and focused on our breath. Then, two more walk in at five after. Several people were visibly pissed at the late comers, but the instructor was talking about grace and acceptance in our lives and as a part of our practice, so everyone had to pretend as though they were accepting of the lateness and willing to accomodate those who were noisily shaking out their mats. But then one person came in at ten after, another at a quarter after and a last person at twenty after! (Now, it is my opinion that if you are going to be twenty minutes late, that you just don't go.)

I could tell the instructor's patience was being challenged at this point, but she asked us to make room for each new arrival; however, her own grace seemed to waiver when it became clear that many of these new arrivals were brand new to yoga. The instructor had to break free of her instructions to help with mats, and to help catch them up to what we were doing (if you've never heard of a sun salutation, you are going to be lost if the rest of the class is in the middle of a sequence). The class must be a hard one to teach because is there is often varying skill level, but the instructor is usually very good at creating a routine that is both challenging to those well-aquainted with yoga and approachable for those who aren't. But today, perhaps realizing that the majority of her audience was new to yoga, the instructor took it easy -- too easy for my taste and I never felt challenged in the least, and I could've stretched like that at home.

At the end of class, after relaxation, and we'd bowed and said "namaste" (traditional close to yoga -- for those unfamiliar, it's a show of respect to the instructor and to the others in class and literally traslates to mean "I respectfully salute you"), she addressed the new comers indirectly by emphasizing the importance of arriving on time for the sake of their own practice. I could hear a hint of annoyance in her voice and wondered if she'd truly felt the grace and acceptance she'd spoken of earlier in class. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain the teachings of yoga when people are so damn rude.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Weekend

Here's the breakdown on the important statistics for the Memorial Weekend BBQ/Pool Party yesterday:

Number of beers consumed: Approximately 10.

Pounds of food consumed: Approximately 10.

Pounds of food consumed that were chip-based: Approximately 8.5.

Number of hours spent in the pool playing volleyball: 5.

Number of pruny wrinkles as a result: 3,468.

Hours in the sun without taking a single sip of water (those would be sips reserved for beer): Approximately 6.

On a Richter scale of 1-10 (10 being the strongest, most destructive), my headache this morning measured a: 10.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Locked Out: Almost

Yesterday, my husband and I were charged with watching a friend's dog overnight, so we figured we would just stay at their house and bring Scooter with us (friends have the bigger house and a nice yard for the dogs to play in and wear themselves out). This morning, I decided I would get up early and run home (5.3 miles) and my husband would drive home with Scooter a little later when they were ready.

So, I got up at 6 am and headed out the door, but was wise to not forget to detach my house key and stick it in the little pocket of my running shorts. I set out on my run, which was very nice; it was a beautiful morning, humid but nice, and I had a good run. As I reached home, I stuck my finger into that shallow pocket and felt -- nothing. It was gone; the key was gone. I turned the little pocket inside out and searched the ground before me. Where had it fallen out? Clearly, it could have fallen out a block before home or it could have fallen out a block from my friend's house.

For a moment I thought about re-tracing my steps back to their house in the hopes of finding it, and if I didn't find it at least ending up back where my husband was with his keys. But I was tired after my run and reluctant to walk back the same distance, so I figured I would just wait for my husband. I checked the front door of our condo just to see if it was locked, and indeed it was, so I went out by the pool where I could at least sit down for, what could be, a long wait. But then I decided to double check my shorts. You see they're the sort of shorts with the built-in underwear lining, and even though I had briefly looked in there when I first noticed the missing key, I thought I should give it another look. And there, glimmering in the elastic was the shiny house key! It was glorious!

Internally, I did a little victory dance and then let myself in the house. And even though I did manage to get in the house this time without having to wake a neighbor, it has me thinking about stashing a spare key somewhere outside the house. It's just so risky -- every time I leave the house for a run, there's a chance I won't be able to get back in.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Caffeine Queen

This morning I managed to get to Spinning early enough to ensure myself a bike, but I also inconvienently placed myself in front of the most annoying woman on the planet. At first I thought perhaps she had just done a line in the toilet, but after hearing her loudly proclaim, "I've had so much caffeine!" I deduced that it was coffee, not coke, that was to blame. She was wired from the get-go and ready-to-go with her big, loud mouth as ready to exercise as the rest of her.

Spinning, as a class, seems to attract a lot of very vocal cyclers, and they like to shout and whoop and yell, and I understand and accept that it is part of the culture of the class. Personally, I am only a whooper, a shouter, and a yeller when I am drunk (I am also very likely to be a stand-on-the-tabler), but in class, I prefer to peddle and leave the encouraging cheers to those who enjoy it. Today's class was a hard one, at least by my standards, and the instructor had awesome music (which is really the key to a spinning class, in my humble opinion) which inspired a lot more whooping and yelling from the back row, especially from "caffeine queen" behind me. She seemed to crown herself the monarch of the class and felt it was her god-given duty to cheer us all on.

In the mirror, I could see her peddling madly away and occasionally pumping her right arm in the air Arsenio Hall style (which was a trend I was happy to see die and was not pleased to see resurrected). Like I said, it was a grueling class, with the instructor pushing us to peddle hard and keep our resistance high, and I had sweat pouring off the end of my nose. And when I've worked like that for fifty minutes, I look forward to the cool down ( it is my theory that one of the best feelings from exercise is the end when you've finished -- nothing compares to the mixed feelings of relief and accomplishment), but as the instructor started slowing it down, the annoying woman yelled for more, more, more! The instructor laughed it off (there's always a few crazies in any class), but she got completely obnoxious yelling that she hadn't worked hard enough and she needed to burn more calories. The instructor said something about her being the only one who felt like that since the rest of the class looked like they had burned plenty of calories. She then yelled, "I guess I'll just have to go run on the treadmill afterward!"

Now, the instructor didn't say anything, but it was a cue for the entire class to turn and give her dirty stares (mine, is a wicked one; I've spent years perfectly it and I hope it will one day shame my children when they have done wrong and I won't have to use physical force on them). "What?" she said with her arms raised in mock innocence. "I'm a New Yorker, so I guess I just tell like it is."

These transplanted New Yorkers are the worst kind of Floridians. There are many of them here, but they've lived here for like twenty years, yet they still consider themselves New Yorkers, and they go on and on about how things are always better in New York, which always begs the question: "Why did you move away from New York?" I had guessed earlier that she was from New York because of her nasaled Brooklyn accent, but right after she made her remark, the woman sitting next to her says, "I'm from New York too and we may say it like it is, but we are not rude." This seemed to appropriately shame her; you just don't insult an instructor after he or she worked hard to give you a good workout. If it's not enough for your caffeine-addled nerves, that's fine, but we don't need the announcement.

She seemed pissed at the whole class as she packed up her stuff and left with the rest of us. I don't know if she hopped on the treadmill or not, but I was happy to not be stuck near her anymore.

Friday, May 26, 2006

My Disgusting Toe

Gross, right? It's been black and blue for about two months now, and I'm wondering if it's going to fall off or what.

The exact origins of the injury are shrouded in mystery and I believe it was a combination of factors that led to the disfiguration: A. When I was waitressing at that mean restaurant (I quit, so you know) part time, I had a pair of shoes that kinda squeezed that foot and they made my toe ache. So I think it was a slow bruising, but then also: B. When camping in March, a friend stepped on my toe and seemed to seal the deal.

It used to be a much more vibrant purple, so the discoloration must mean its healing, but what's weird is that I can see underneath the nail and there is dried blood, so I must have burst a vessel (vein, whatever it's called) some how. For awhile it hurt to run, but now the toe is fine, but I'm still worried about the nail. I don't see how it can be salvaged. When I was in high school, I lost the same nail twice: Once in cross county season because the shoes I had were crap for the miles we were running, and again in soccer season when I "toe-hacked" the ball and split my toenail. (I also lost my thumbnail once when I was about five because I was looking under rocks for bugs -- roly-polys, to be exact -- and a rock smashed my thumb, the nail turned purple, and it fell off.)

It's a weird feeling to not have a nail, but it's also weird to look at this ugly fucker every day. At least it doesn't affect my running. And you know what I'm most icked out about? If it falls off, the thought of my sock rubbing against bare toe skin makes me want to hurl, ew!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Scooter's Surgery

Scooter in a rare moment when sleep catches up with him. When he plays, he plays hard,
and when he sleeps, he sleeps hard -- wherever he may fall.

Scooter appreciated everyone's good wishes for his "procedure" yesterday and he's happy to report that everything went well. It's hard to have your manhood taken from you, even before you've grown to fully appreciate it, but it is for his better health. Neutering is supposed to reduce all his chances for related cancers, plus it's added benefits are innumerable: Namely, he won't go hunting for the luh-vin. Chiefly, I think his stuffed animals are the most thankful. They're hoping to get a little less physical attention -- he likes to show them who's boss, if you know what I mean (there are a few pillows, a blanket and a towel or two that have also been shown who's the boss; my leg has also suffered the indignity).

But what's funny is that since Scooter is recovering from surgery, and has stitches, he's supposed to be taking it easy and is supposed to be feeling groggy and lethargic, but he's not. The vet laughed when she told my husband about Scooter post-op. She said that the other dogs were tired and barely conscious all afternoon (I guess they stuff all the surgery into one day a week), but 30 minutes after surgery, Scooter was awake and alert; he was ready for play. When my husband picked him up to take him home, Scooter wasn't showing much evidence of having been under anesthesia a few hours before. (Not incredibly surprising to us, considering every single shot he's had was supposed to make him "sluggish" and every single time we haven't seen an iota of difference in his behavior post-vet visit.)

Last night, we could tell he wanted to play, but we're supposed to encourage him to take it easy, so we're not supposed to rough-house, or play fetch, tug of war or anything that could cause him to tear a stitch. Frustrated by our lack of enthusiasm, he played by himself, and while he tried to fight off the sleepiness, in the end, it was a powerful force. It was so cute: He was laying on the bed trying to bite the crap out of his stuffed squirrel, but his eyes just wouldn't stay open; it was like watching a kid who's tired but refuses to go to bed. Eventually, he was sound asleep and he slept hard through the night. But this morning he was ready to go and even though I tried telling him to not jump on and off the bed, he wouldn't listen. So I guess we'll see how he heals, but one thing's for certain -- Scooter is like a freight train of energy, and not even the removal of his balls can slow him down.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Red Letter Day

Yeah! I did it! I actually got up early and went for a run; it was unbelievable. At first, I didn't know what that strange beeping in the middle of the night was, but then I realized it was my alarm, and instead of just shutting it off and sneaking in some more shut eye, I actually got out of bed, got dressed and hit the road. True, I found out when I returned that I had put my sports bra on inside out, but it seems to work either way.

Now I am off to take Scooter to the vet (he gets neutered today -- no more nuts for Scooter) and I have the day to myself to read student papers and to clean the house -- what joy! I can see why people do this get-up-early-and-run thing; it sure does open up the day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Yesterday I , of course, did not get up early enough to run outside first thing in the morning, so that meant a trip to the gym and a run on the treadmill. Because four continous miles on the treadmill means almost certain boredom for me, I decided I had a genius plan: run 2 miles, break and do my ab work and then run 2 more miles, thus breaking the run in half. The first two miles went well, and then I stopped, did the the necessary crunches, etc and then really felt like being done.

Uh-oh. This is where the breaking-the-run-in-half idea hit a brick wall. I did not feel like getting back on that machine and running the second two miles. My body was saying, "We're done right?" And then when I climbed back on the treadmill my body said, "What the hell are you doing?"

Dutifully, I got back on there and struggled through the second two miles (at a much slower pace). So, why was this so much more difficult than I imagined it would be? I guess for me, stopping, for whatever length of time, means stopping. My body can't re-invigorate itself and get back into a rythym when it feels the song is over. So I guess that method won't work again. Tomorrow I've really got to try my hardest to wake up early and hit the road before it gets too hot out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Virgin Voyage

Last night I went running in just my sports bra and shorts -- a bold move for the likes of me. Usually I like a little more coverage for the boobs and abs, but it's friggin hot here, even after the sun sets, and I was aiming for comfort. My husband assured me that it was not a scary sight (but that's what he's supposed to say), and I figured it was dusk outside and I would be like a blur to passersby anyway (because I'm like a speeding bullet).

At first I felt a little self-conscious, especially about my tummy. If there is any one thing about my body that needs improvement it is this inch of grabable flab right below my belly button, and for the first mile, I was very much aware of its tendancy to jiggle up and down. But after a bit, I stopped thinking about my exposed abdomen and I just enjoyed the run. It was a lovely evening last night -- a nice breeze, a lavendar sky, the smell of fresh cut grass. It was invigorating.

So would I go out again so scantily clad? Probably. At least during the summer months, it makes sense. But I probably do not have the courage to show up at the gym like that, even though I see many people with more than an inch of grabable flab who are wearing just shorts (men) or shorts and a sports bra (the old men -- ha!), but the gym feels like a showcase already, and I don't want people starring at me. At least when I'm running outside, I pass people; in the gym, I have to run next to them.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mapping Distance

Most runners are pretty good at guessing their distances, maybe it's a sixth sense, I don't know. But I am not most runners. And I have found myself discouraged many times when I've returned from a run and thought, "Man, that was hard, must've been like 8 miles." Then I discover it was 3. It's a little tough on the ego. So there are, of course, a host of gadgets to help runners figure out mileage (I look forward to shoes that have an implanted homing device that can be tracked from a satellite; then, you get home and look up your personalized path online to see how far you went -- yes, we might be living in a little novel called 1984, but the mapping would be worthwhile).

Anyway, because I want to get a sense of how far I'm running and because I loathe carting around any extra gadgets (like pedometers and garmin, which makes me think of a gerbil -- which sounds cute but would probably just be meddlesome on a run), I have come to love the website www.gmap-pedometer.com. For those who haven't already stumbled across it, you'd best scoot your virtual selves over there. It's very handy. Essentially, it helps you zoom into a map of your running area, and through a variety of tools, helps you track running routes. The thing that separates this site from some others is that it is specifically designed with runners in mind, so you can perform a couple of different tasks that are helpful (like saving your routes, estimating calories burned, and creating double-back routes). Plus, it can calculate distance in miles and meters (for the Canucks among us). And, I suppose, if you really want something to carry with you on your run, you're able to print the maps out and you could tuck one of those into your shoe. It's not a homing device, but I'm confident once we enter the era of the hovercraft, the homing devices will be part and parcel.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday Spin

Lately, I have been making it a habit to fit a spinning session in once a week with my running and yoga. I like spinning because it gives me the kind of workout I get from running, but at the same time it is a completely different kind of workout. Saturday mornings are a good time to go to class and it fits with my new schedule, but Saturday mornings also have to be the busiest time of week at the gym.

I guess no one is watching cartoons anymore.

Most Saturdays, I aim to get to class about 10-15 minutes early to guarantee a spot and find a parking space, and that's what I did this morning, except when I got there, the class was already full. Dammit. The class is almost always full on Saturdays, but usually when I get there plenty of bikes are available and the sign in sheet isn't yet filled. This is the problem with a gym: You have to share the stuff.

Instead of enjoying a hard spin class, I settled for walking on the treadmill for twenty minutes and then doing one of those eliptical trainers for twenty minutes, but it just wasn't the same workout, and my heart wasn't in it. Looks like next Saturday I'll have to aim to be even earlier. Crap.

Friday, May 19, 2006


For my past couple of runs, I've been able to leave the treadmill behind and run outside. But, now that it's warm, summer weather, it means the lizards also want to run around outside, which means that as I run I have to avoid their kamikazee attempts to cross the sidewalk under my feet.

Two days ago I narrowly missed stepping on one while I was walking the dog, and it literally passed under my shoe while I was mid-step; in fact, I thought I had indedd smooshed the poor bastard, but I saw I was wrong when he scurried the rest of the way across the sidewalk.

It's a little harder to miss them when I'm running though. They dart out at the last minute and sometimes they meet their fate with the bottom of my shoe. Poor little buggers, some of them never have a chance.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Sweet Life

Lately, with the discussion of yanking soda from schools and the occasional forwarded email I get from a friend that warns of the dangers of diet soda, it gets me thinking about my own Diet Pepsi consumption. Depending upon which information you read, Diet Pepsi is either the anti-Christ or a harmless prophet sent to relieve the sweet taste buds of its devoted flock.

So, first off, why should a person, specifically a runner, not drink diet soda? Well, there are some articles that argue that aspartame, the sugar substitute in most diet drinks, causes all sorts of terrible things. The list of aspartame's evils begins with cancer and ends with growing a second head. One of my friends, who used to work for a chiropractor, said that her employer wouldn't even work with patients if they drank diet soda because he firmly believed it interferred with their muscles and their bones and essentially made his adjustments worthless to their soon-to-be mushy bodies.

There are literally thousands of sites on the Internet that support this aspartame-is-evil campaign, and thousands more that simply discuss why soda, even diet, can be detrimental to your health. One key study, that health and fitness magazines have been repeating, reports that diet soda can ruin your diet because your body gets used to its sweet taste, but knows it's calorie free, so therefore links other sweets to calorie-free cravings. And I guess we'll all just be hovering over the cake pan shoveling it in, denying that the cake has any calories. Because the diet soda has tricked not only our bodies, but our brains too.

Even though I know that soda can't be good for me (I don't know about the wicked aspartame, but carbonation and phosphoric acid can't be good for bones or muscle mass -- I acknowledge this), I don't think that a can or two a day will turn my insides to goo, and I can't blame it for my tendancy to eat a whole pan of yellow cake with chocolate frosting (I believe the yellow #5 is responsible for that).

As runners, we are constantly addressing our dietary needs, cravings, and adjustments, but what about addressing our drink needs? Clearly, we all know we need to drink a lot of water -- can't hear that enough -- and you can throw in milk and low calorie juice for effect if you like, but beyond that, so much seems clouded in mystery. Can we drink coffee? Some say yes, drink up, caffeine gives you energy! Others say no, you'll become dependent on that high. Can we drink sports drinks? Many encourage it, say an athlete needs his or her Gatorade. But then others point out that sports drinks can be worse for your teeth than soda and unless you're burning serious calories and sweating like Ron Jeremy in a XXX, you don't need the calories, sodium or electrolytes that are added to sports drinks. Can we drink alcohol? "Hells yeah!" most of us shout, but alcohol is probably a runner's worst enemy; it manages to both dehydrate and add empty calories at the same time.

In the end, any nutritionist and any trainer will tell you that what you drink will ultimately depend upon how much you drink of it, and just as the case with food, moderation is the key. So until a second head really does start sprouting from my shoulders, I'm going to keep drinking coffee, diet soda, and beer and hope that the water I drink will help me balance out. Once I start adding more miles, I'm certain I will throw in some Gatorade or Propel for good measure.

Besides, P.Diddy is a spokesperson for Diet Pepsi, am I not to believe my celebrity sponsors anymore? He ran the New York City Marathon! He wouldn't deceive me, right?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Practice

Pigeon Pose -- Friggin hard. I can not get anywhere near touching my forehead to my foot (this model's jelly-like bones probably help her flexibility). On a good day, I can reach back and grab my back ankle, from there I just pray for divine intervention.

I am so sore today, and it's not from running (my newly established prepare-for-marathon-training-schedule has me running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday are for yoga, and Saturdays for spinning); it's from yoga. Yoga days are supposed to be my easy going days, and don't get me wrong, I had a great practice yesterday, but lord, did we work! It doesn't help that I did ab work on Monday and then we did several poses yesterday that also worked our abs -- ouch! My stomach ached so bad yesterday night that when I sneezed, I thought I might cry (and maybe pee myself).

Today, I am sore not just in my abs, but all over. My hip flexors got an especially good workout in yoga yesterday (lots of deep lunging poses) and my back got all stretched out (I love back bends, but they can still leave me achy the next day). Lots of people, husband included, don't understand how yoga can be a workout (a man who can't bend over and touch his toes), and in a way, while I'm doing it I don't realize how hard my body is working. But some poses are very difficult, and the trick with yoga is that you have to hold those difficult poses; it's the holding that makes it hard.

That, and trying to keep peace of mind (and remember to "breathe"; dammit, I don't want to breathe, I want to pass out). Everything in yoga is supposed to be about "your practice" and "challenging yourself but not being focused on the end result" and "you're not in competition with anyone, not even yourself." Sometimes the mantras are nauseating. Still, because it's so different from running where I am focused on the end result and where I am definitely competing, especially against myself it helps give me a different perspective on exercise. That's why I like yoga, it's so different from what running demands of me physically and pyschologically, but it's also why yoga is a challenge for me.

I ache today, yes, but that means I pushed myself, challenged my muscles. Today's run might be a little stiff, but I'll get through it (with a little help from some motivation called "coffee").

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mickey's Marathon

Well, I think I'm going to go for it; that's right, I'm going to register for a marathon. I feel a bit anxious and sweaty in the pits thinking about actually doing it (almost as scary as buying a house or getting married -- such a committment!), but I think I'm going to swallow my fears and do it. If I have the goal in front of me (six and a half months in front of me), then I can truly set my sights on it. Until now, the idea of a marathon has been just a vague notion, but for the last few weeks I have been seriously thinking about it, and I have decided I just need to take the leap, register, and then start training.

So, the race I have chosen to register for is the Disney Marathon in January, 2007 (by then we should have hovercrafts and space-age shoes to make running easier, right? kidding, but doesn't 2007 sound like the future? I mean, the future). After looking at several other marathons nearby -- the largest is the ING Miami marathon, also in January -- I decided that the Disney one sounded like the most fun. You get to run through the parks, and they make the marathon a weekend event, so there is a health expo and there are all kinds of celebratory events and pre-celebratory events all weekend. Plus, I just like going to Orlando (about three hours north of where I live in Ft Lauderdale); it's got a fun atmostphere to the whole city.

Anyway, I am going to fill out the race registration stuff online after I post this blog, and then I'm committed. I will officially be preparing for a marathon (yikes!), and maybe I should tell my parents to root around in the attic for my mouse ears, so I can wear them on race day. Do you think they would create some uncomfortable rubbing?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Early Riser

The computer issues persist, but while I can't log into my email, somehow I am still admitted into Blogger, so I'll truck on today but it looks like I will have to try and call tech support people at some point -- ick.

Anyway, last night before bed, I was filled with good running intentions, and I thought I would rise early today and go running in the wee hours and have it done with. (I have to teach a class this evening, so I won't be able to save it until the sun goes down and I was trying to get the run in before the sun came up.) Well, as you can probably guess, the alarm went off at 6:30 and I turned it off and went back to sleep. This morning I was particularly tired for some reason and could not rouse myself from sleep. After my husband left for work (in an annoyingly good mood), I slept another hour, and probably would have honestly kept sleeping if it weren't for the dog bugging me.

Now I will have to go to the gym and do my run on the treadmill, and I get so bored on the treadmill, despite having tunes, that I inevitably cut the run shorter than I originally intended. On Wednesday when I have class again, I'll have to try my hardest to actually rise early -- we'll see.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Computer Issues

My computer is being invaded not by spyware itself, but by programs designed to rid the computer of spyware. I swear, all these anti-virus programs cause more trouble than viruses, and are just as annoying. Right now, I am seriously getting pissed at Norton, and Symantec, the company who owns and distributes Norton. It won't let me access certain things and keeps trying to get me to buy some other product to download. Damn this technology!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day -- it kickstarts your metabolism and helps set the tone for the day's eating habits. Most nutritionists recommend something with protein and something high in fiber, so an egg with a slice of whole wheat toast would be the perfect breakfast for any runner: High in the things you need, low in the things you don't. Or, you could have some yogurt and fruit. Those are all excellent, healthy choices. You know what I had for breakfast?

A big, fat slice of chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake, for those who don't know, is not high in protein, nor is it low in fat, nor is it high in fiber. No, it contains processed flour and sugar (loads of both), butter, eggs (I must get some brownie points for those), water, and oil. But you know what else chocolate cake contains that actually is good for you? Deliciousness! That's right, it's a word. Some days a girl needs a big, fat slice of chocolate cake and a cup of coffee to get her started in the morning because they taste good, not because they are healthy.

If only little slices of chocolate cake came in a box, like Wheaties; then the world would be a better place.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

For the Curious

Okay, here's the new haircut. Not a great picture, but it's kinda hard taking a quality picture of yourself.

In events that are totally unrelated to my hair, there was a story in the paper this morning about a woman who was jogging and was apparently attacked by an alligator! Police and wildlife specialists don't seem to know many details, but what they do know is that she was last seen jogging on Tuesday night, and that they pulled the remains of her body out of a canal yesterday (Wednesday) and she still had her running shoes, sports bra, and shorts on. But the reports say that her death seems to be the result of a gator attack, and this kinda freaks me out.

She was running around 7 pm on a sidewalk along a canal, and whether the gator attacked her on ground or whether she was standing closer to the water's edge at some point is unclear, but it's a little worrisome. I don't usually go near the water's edge, even though there's a canal twenty feet out my back door, but it does seem eerie to have a jogger claimed.

Wildlife officials have been quick to remind the news that gator attacks are very rare, but we are currently experiencing a drought (hasn't rained in forever and everything is dry and crispy), and the Everglades are very dry, so I guess gators are swimming into the canals, which are much closer to civilization. Plus, they're looking for food, and this woman must've either been standing close to the water at some point (summer time + dusk + hungry gator = gator attack) or she was feeding it (seems a little contrived).

Anyway, I just got a new haircut and I don't need that ruined by having an alligator chew off my leg, so I guess I'll steer clear of the canals. Why is it always joggers who meet such violent ends? (When I was in middle school in Colorado, there was an issue with the Mountain Lion population for awhile, and I remember when a puma nabbed a jogger then. It's turning out to be a dangerous sport.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New 'Do

When I called the salon yesterday, I was expecting to get an appointment later this week, but to my surprise, I got right in. It was a salon I've never been to before, and it was a salon not a Hair Cuttery or one of the other cheap places I usually go, so I was a little out of my element. (For one thing, I never know if I'm supposed to tip the shampoo person separate or if the stylist gives her a portion of his tip; does anyone know? I watched the woman before me and she didn't tip, so I figured I was safe, but what if she was just cheap?)

Anyway, the guy who cut my hair was very nice, and he obligingly asked the required questions: What do you do for a living? Are you from here? Are you married? Do you have children? I hate this kind of chit-chat. I'm really bad at it and I just don't really want to talk to strangers -- not cashiers, or servers, or mechanics. I just want them to do whatever it is they have to do, and I will be polite, but I don't necessarily want to be their best friend. Thankfully, this stylist seemed to feel the same way, and after I answered his questions with the required information, he went about silently cutting my hair.

There's something about a haircut that makes every muscle in my body tense up: Am I scared that moving around will ruin the process, or am I just that weird about the unnatural conversation? I don't know why, but there are always points when I discover that I am clenching my fists under that plastic cape or that my calves are tightened and my toes curled under. In the end, he did a nice job, but he did cut off more than I wanted (I didn't say anything -- what can he do? glue it back on? just like I'd never send food back in a restaurant, I'd never tell a stylist it's too short). It doesn't look bad; in fact, my husband said he really liked it, but it certainly is much shorter.

So last night I went for a run (after the sun set and the temp cooled some -- was still extremely humid) and I was able to pull the new 'do back with two elastics (pigtails) and one barrette, not bad. And it stayed back for the entire run (might be because the stylist had loaded me up with hairspray and gel when he styled my hair and those strands weren't moving for their life). Last night I showered after my run and went to bed with wet hair, so this morning it looks like I stuck my finger in the socket, but oh well. Scooter hasn't let out a frightened scream yet.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I need a haricut. Not necessarily because a bowl is my only hair covering option at this point; no, I just need a change (and a few split ends need to be cut off). But I have no idea how I want to cut my hair (this dilema drives my husband batty, but men don't completely understand the haircut dilema -- they've been getting the exact same haircut since they were four).

Part of me wants to go back to having some bangs and then have them do some layering, but my one reservation is how to incorporate the bangs I patiently waited to grow out into a neat, running pony tail. I finally have hair that is essentially all one length, and it fits nicely into a pony tail, which is perfect for running. Yet, I find that even when I am not running, a pony tail is the only style I do.

Well, anything must be better than the bowl. I'll make an appointment and see how it turns out. And if I have to go back to a series of elastics and barettes to keep the hair out of my face while I run, so be it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Presidents and Pandas

I returned this morning from my long weekend trip to Washington, DC, and I am able to report that it was a delightful trip. My husband and I went to visit my dad, who lives there, and because my husband has never had an opportunity to visit the nation's capital before. So, because it was his virgin voyage, we were obligated to visit all manner of DC attractions: This means we walked all over the friggin' city. We saw all the major monuments, memorials, and museums and took the appropriate amount of pictures (including one where I suggested my husband lick the Washington Monument -- not many people get a snapshot like that).

The walking wore us out though. Even though I consider myself to be someone in good shape, there's just no way to be prepared for a Baton Death March three days in a row. Thankfully, my dad lives in downtown DC (the Woodley Park area), so were able to walk or ride the Metro everywhere we wanted to go, but DC is a big place and that means there's a lot of ground to cover. By the end of the first day, we were exhausted, yet when my dad suggested a run, I was all for it -- there are great paths and trails near his apartment. But I must've forgotten when I agreed to go that my dad is a fast runner.

We only ran two miles, but for me it was a full out run the entire time, and in the end I was about half a block behind my dad, who is twenty-three years older than I and in much better shape, and I was huffing and puffing up the last hill. Plus, living here in Florida, I never encounter hills when I run, so to run up and down some of the DC streets was difficult for me, and I quickly felt like a running loser as dozens of other runners breezed by me (seriously, I have never seen a city that is so full of runners -- they are everywhere!).

After that first day's run, I did not join my dad again for a run while we were there (but he ran everyday); the walking was enough and it has left me feeling stiff and sore.

But aside from the heavy foot traffic we created, we did see some good stuff including the adorable new baby panda (he's only ten months old and I just wanted to cuddle him), and we happened to be walking by the White House when the President's motorcade went by, so we saw the President, who leaned over and waved at the crowd on the sidewalk (personally, I preferred seeing the panda). We also were able to go up to the top of the Washington Monument and we managed to get tickets to the Holocaust Museum, which is a moving experience; although, it is very depressing.

All in all, it was a great trip, and we had beautiful weather while we were there. But it also feels good to be home, back in the swampy marshland of South Florida where I can resume running without any hills and without feeling crappy about not being able to keep up with my 51 year old dad -- I can poke along at my own pace.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I will be heading out of town this evening and won't return until Monday, and I doubt I will post while I'm gone, so for those of you who are dedicated readers, I know you will shed some tears in my absence; it's okay to cry. I will be back soon.

May the force be with you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gym Expansion

My gym has been making some changes lately. I noticed last week that they had changed the yoga/spinning classroom, and had moved those classes to a different room, but I didn't know what they had planned for the old room. Then, when I was in there yesterday, I saw what they were planning. Looks like that room is now going to be a Tae-Kwon-Do studio, which is pretty kick ass. I didn't read all the info packets they had sitting out about it, but I was curious to see what was going on. Eventually, some kids showed up in their little "Do" outfits and it brought me back to my days in karate when I was a kid.

I took karate for about three years when I was growing up -- from when I was in third grade until the end of sixth grade. I loved karate (mostly because I have a special place in my heart for kicking and yelling), and I really loved our pajama-like outfits; I even convinced my mom to let me sleep in mine most nights. I was actually pretty good at karate too, and might have gone on further if my interests hadn't been sidetracked by other sports.

So it piques my curiosity about this new Tae-Kwon-Do studio, and I wonder if classes are open to the gym public or what. Part of me thinks they might be special classes and they might require the actual purchase of a pajama-like outfit and a class sign up and so forth, and I'm not sure if I really want to be dedicated like that. But the idea of kicking and yelling does sound promising.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I had originally been thinking about going to yoga this morning, but then I decided I was too sleepy and I went back to bed for awhile (amazing that the dog let me go back to sleep, but after his initial standing-on-my-head-licking-my-hair thing he settled down and went back to sleep as well). I wish there were more classes offered in the afternoon at my gym, but it seems they are all in the morning and evening (to best fit traditional work schedules). I suppose I'll just hold off and go to something this evening -- today is not supposed to be a running day.

I am feeling a case of the lazies today, which is not good because I have to complete the sprint to the finish with my end of semester grading and I will need my strength. But I feel more like laying on the couch and finishing my book. If only it were raining; then I'd feel justified in doing that.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Night Run

Today I procrastinated long enough about my run that the only time to do it was this evening, and it was actually really nice. The weather was perfect, the sidewalks clear, the path well-lit. The only problem with the night run is that you have to time your meals right. Perferrably, I like to run on an empty or near-empty stomach (otherwise, I feel like that food is sloshing around in there). But in the evening, it seems tricky coordinating that late run with dinner. And I didn't do a great job of that, because the whole run I could taste the tacos I had for supper and I swear I burped taco the entire time (good thing I don't have a running partner). Next time I run in the late evening, I'll have to either plan an early dinner or a late one -- one in the regualr dinner hour just doesn't work.