TAT CN Header

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bruised and Battered

After the fall last night (read below for full coverage of the story), I woke up this morning a little stiff and definitely sore. My left shoulder is scraped and bruised and my left knee looks like I applied a brillo pad to it. And on my left cheek, there is a little red scrape, but thankfully no bruise (I didn't want to be forced to explain to my students today that my husband does not abuse me).

This morning my thoughtful (and physically non-abusive) husband mused before going to work: "You know, I was thinking about something this morning." I asked what he'd been contemplating. "Well," he said, "it occured to me that I was the only one in our family who didn't lay down in that puddle yesterday." He was referring to our after-dinner walk with the dog when we'd gone right by the same puddle I would later land a face plant in and where, incidentally, Scooter wanted to lay down and splash about in. "Ha, ha," I told him. He's such a joker.

I think I will conduct my cross training in the gym today -- seems less likely that I will fall face first into a puddle there. Plus, no asphalt to be wary of -- just that tricky treadmill.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Careful What You Wish For

So earlier today, I was bitching that I don't have anything to write about; well, tonight I got something to write about. I was on my evening run, about a tenth of a mile from home when I first tripped, then kinda stumbled, and finally smacked not only into the pavement, but went headlong into a puddle. I'm sure the whole scene was quite comical: Arms windwilling in an attempt to first slow, then break my fall; face splashing into the two inches of puddle that met me at the end of the sidewalk (where the smooth cement of the sidewalk meets rough asphalt, by the way).

As the pictures depict, I scraped up and muddied my knees, my palms and even the side of my head (the side of which splashed right into that damn puddle! my left ear was immersed for a few seconds!). I scraped my left shoulder on the asphalt, and right now it is throbbing slightly. Right after my face plant, I popped right back up because I was so paranoid that somone saw me fall, but to my relief no one was around (I usually don't pass many people in the late evening -- part of why I like running at that time); plus, with the semi-darkness closing in, I was able to hobble home in shame without anyone noticing the mud, the dripping puddle water, and the exposed scrapes. (The bruised ego is, thankfully, invisible to the naked eye.)

When I got home, I whined to my husband who immediately took the appropriate amount of pity on me and asked if I was alright before he dubbed me "crash" and started joking that perhaps I should wear a helmet and knee pads when I run. He took a little too much joy in snapping the photos submitted here for evidence.

In the end, I guess I should have seen it coming. I have always been notoriously clumsy, and it's been a long time since I last fell, so I guess I was due for a digger. And with all the miles I log, it was just a matter of time before that path jumped up and bit me.

I suppose it gave me something to blog about.

One of Those Days

There comes a time in every blogger's life when it seems that there is nothing left to say: Either it feels as though you've already said everything there is to be said, or, if you haven't said it, someone else has. That's how I have felt the last few days regarding posting -- I don't have much to talk about. I'm still running, yes, but nothing very remarkable has happened. The poop phenonmenon was a blog blessing in disguise since it gave me something noteworthy to relate, but otherwise, I feel as though I really have nothing to report.

I once read another blogger's (not a running blogger) rant about the things he hated seeing in blogs and one of them was writing about not having anything to write about, and I took that to heart, and so I decided I wouldn't ever write a post complaining about how I have nothing to write about (the equivilant, I suppose, of saying there's nothing to eat in a house full of food). However, here I am doing the exact thing I thought I wouldn't fall prey to.

Oh well, might as well complain that there's nothing at home to eat. So, honey husband, if you're reading this, bring something home for dinner.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday -- My Run Day

I had a nice run this evening -- the temperature was perfect and I just felt good running. I went five miles, which is the most I've done since Memorial Day weekend, and it was a nice run.

Of course, I didn't shit myself, so that made it good as well.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Oh, Crap

This morning I had to confront a terrible reality:

When I started out on my run this morning at 5:50 am, I was all self-congratulatory since getting up was in and of itself a feat. I was very proud that it wasn't yet 6 am and here I was out and running. About half a mile into the run, my stomach grugled and I felt things do "the shift" and I figured, well, I'll have to poo when I get home. Another mile later, the gurgle became a little more serious, but I didn't want to turn back for home yet, so I tried to ignore my lower intestines. At barely the two mile mark, I knew I had a serious issue at hand.

I had passed a gas station about a quarter of a mile back, so I quickly turned and headed back that way. My stomach lurched along with me and I felt the poo pressing. As I sprinted across the street, I had an awful moment when I believed that I could hold it no longer and that I would indeed poop myself (which would have been just disgusting in my running shorts, and then what? how would I walk home in poopy shorts?). It's a fate I have faced head on before, particularly in morning commutes when the combination of coffee and a muffin can sneak up quick on a girl, but I have always managed to avert what would be the worst humiliation. But a block from that gas station, I was wondering if I could make it and knew it would come down to two options: shit myself, or poop in the grass by the side of the road. Neither was appealing.

So I squeezed my butt as best I could and ran as hard as I could across the final distance and ran through the doors of the gas station, across the short aisles and into the women's bathroom (I would have cried if it had been occupied, but at that hour, the chances of that were slim). My butt barely held on until I had locked the door and pulled my shorts off, but then it was sweet relief! Afterwards, I sat there kinda shaking and feeling a little sick from the anxiety and the effort to hold it in. My knees felt weak, my hands trembled.

When I walked out of the bathroom, I darted out of the gas station without making eye contact with the attendant and then I was back into the twilight of the early morning. The incident had left me feeling drained, and while I initially started to trot, I quit that and just walked home. So, what should've been my longer 4-5 mile run turned into a barely two mile run combined with a quarter mile sprint and a walk home; I was disappointed, but as I walked home, my stomach still felt a little uneasy, so I really didn't want to push it.

When I arrived home, it wasn't even seven yet.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I've been Tagged

Okay, even though I've already submitted to this TAG! via email, I was short on ideas for a post this morning, so for the friends that already received the email, just skip this post. But I was tagged by pinyapower, so I guess I should play along:

four jobs I have had in my life:
1. college instructor
2. waitress
3. bookstore employee
4. cabin cleaner at a resort

four movies i watch over and over:
1. you've got mail
2. love, actually
3. gone with the wind
4. old school (when Will Ferrell gets the tranquilizer in the neck, it just slays me)

four places I have lived:
1. South Florida
2. Northern Minnesota
3. Colorado
4. Washington, DC

four tv shows i love to watch:
1. project runway
2. top chef
3. hell's kitchen
4. scrubs
(Not to mention all the others I love to watch over and over as re-runs: Sex and the City, Seinfeld, and Friends.)

four places I have been on vacation:
1. belize
2. virgin islands
3. france
4. wyoming ( I love the Wild West!)

four websites I visit daily:
1. Jennsylvania
2. Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
3. Get Fuzzy
4. Poundy

four of my favorite foods:
1. yellow cake with chocolate frosting
2. sushi
3. anything italian
4. blt

four places i would rather be right now:
1. fiji
2. italy
3. shopping (but only if I have someone else's fat wallet to dip into)
4. snuggled in my bed with the fans blowing

four favorite bands/singers:
1. Jimmy Eat World
2. Pearljam
3. Dave Matthews Band
4. Weezer

four bloggers i am tagging (some of these people have already been tagged, so I expect no repeat of their posts):
1. Running Jayhawk
2. Just Keep Running
3. Running to Change
4. Adventures in Running

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thursday Night Fever

Another Thursday night, another night of league. Last night I treid to be good and stay away from the beer in order to both bowl better and to not drink so much, but after my first game (where I drank nothing but water -- the new "Smart Water," which I might have to write a post about), and I didn't see any real difference between a beer score and and a non-beer score, so I went ahead and bought a pitcher.

The beer didn't necessarily help what was already a poor evening for me. We're not sure how our team did overall for the night because one player was subsituting for another and her average and her handicap aren't established, so we might have won one or two of the games; we'll have to see next week. But it's disappointing to do poorly after we were so awesome last year.

Our team shirts will arrive soon and once we have those, the magic will return.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Dangerous Habit?

Yesterday, as I sat in my office before class, I was treated to a conversation between two other instructors (teachers, especially college professors, love to talk, and I don't think they necessarily care who's listening, they just want to talk) about health and fitness. Many college instructors are not authorities on everything, but you wouldn't know it by listening to them speak, so I had a chuckle while listening to these two converse about the dangers of exercising too much.

Their conversation consisted of something like this part way through: "I had a friend whose husband was in great shape, ate well, took good care of himself, and one day he had a massive heart attack while on his rowing machine. He was 48. And my other friend has drank and smoked for more than fifty years, and she's never had a health complaint, so I think it's all just predestined."

"True, true," replied the other instructor, "but was your friend who died on the rowing machine an obsessive exerciser? Because you know, that can kill you just as easily as anything else."

"No, he wasn't obsessive, just took good care of himself, but I know what you mean about these crazies who are triathletes or marathoners. You know they've done studies and found how that much running can actually damage your health: Those athletes have heart abnormalities, and have higher incidences of bone cancer (because of the impact, she explained), and they also have breathing problems."

"Oh I know," replied her friend, "they're obsessive and that adds stress, and that's why so many of them have heart attacks at early ages. They're all crazies."

It went on from there, but I had to get to class. I was smiling to myself though because I've been hearing things like this forever. I remember when I ran in high school, my neighbor told me that her mother, a nurse, had forbade her from running in gym class because it was damaging to the ovaries.

Now, there's no doubt that running is hard on your body: Many suffer from joint aches, lower back pain, and, sometimes, shin splints from the impact (I've never read a shred of evidence that it's damaging to the ovaries). But with as far as proper shoes have come, many runners don't suffer the same sorts of injuries that runners twenty years ago had. And yes, there was actually some truth to the statement that runners develop heart abnormalities; in fact, there was an article in the last RW about it; it's not necessarily a bad thing -- the heart just gets worked differently from someone who is inactive.

And while some marathoners might die of heart attacks, that's a risk we face sitting at home on the couch. Most modern physicians and health experts have only good things to say about running and its added benefits (same for other forms of strenous exercise, like swimming or biking), and while some runners might have a heart attack at 48 (you can't outrun genetic dispositions, and certainly if you have a family history of heart disease, you run -- no pun intended -- a greater risk of having heart problems, but research has also shown that exercise and proper diet can prevent even genetic propensities), there are many stories of octogenarians running marathons and attributing their long life span to their lifelong habit of running.

In the end, the overheard conversation opened my eyes to how people view runners, and it's something I haven't had a window into in awhile. So, careful out there, you "obsessive runners"!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

One Year Blogoversary: A 365 Day Habit

The time is now 12:14 am EST, June 21, 2006 and it is my blog's birthday! To see how I compare to a year ago, I dug up the original post:

The stats: I am five feet tall. Even. No bigger. No smaller. That's the height recorded on my driver's license, and, no, no one can re-measure me. Yes, I am a hobbit. I weigh 123 pounds as my scale reported this morning at 10:25 am. I don't think it lies. Although, that's a possibility -- I would lie if I were a scale and lying is what kept my innerds intact. According to an online BMI (body mass index) calculator, my BMI is 25. They tell me that a number anywhere between 20 and 25 is normal, but hanging out on the outside rim of that "normality" makes me feel like a fat kid with a mouthful of cupcake.

I am moderately active; meaning: I try to run when I have time, when the weather isn't too hot, too cold, or too rainy, when I haven't had a long, tiring day, or when I have just purchased new running apparel. Sometimes I do other forms of activity: I've been known to watch a lot of TV and that requires lifting the remote and pressing down upon the buttons; TV watching can also make one incredibly thirsty, so I try to punctuate my bouts on the couch with trips to the kitchen for bottled water and that requires not only walking but a little pulling and lifting as well. Lastly, what catapults me from being semi-active into the moderately active category is the fact that I bowl once a week in a league. Bowling burns calories and is considered to be a sport. Usually I eat a piece of pizza when I bowl and generally I consume three to five beers (light beers!), but I didn't mention the beer or the pizza on the site where I listed myself as moderately active; therefore, they don't count.

My goal for the next 21 days is to take this moderately active lifestyle to a whole new level where perhaps I will dare to call myself "active." I will strive to run on a regular basis (six days a week) and I will attempt to partake of a healthier menu. Will the experiment be socially changing like "Super Size Me"? I doubt it. Will I form a new habit? One that might make me healthier, stronger, more energetic? Will I finally work to achieve the longheld goal of running a marathon? I don't have the slightest idea. I count on myself to fail, or at least to fall short of my expectations, but I do guarantee that I will document my failure with the best prose I can compose -- and sometimes I will rhyme for you as well.

So, what's changed or not changed in the course of a year? I weighed 115 pounds today on the same scale I had a year ago (I believe it to be accurate, and have no reason to believe that it tells falsehoods). That means my BMI is 22.5, and most of my pants are a size smaller.

I'm still 5 feet tall; running has not made me any taller.

Running six days a week was a bit of a ridiculous goal, but I've settled into a routine that is more realistic and it works: I run 4 days a week and do other forms of exercise on the other three days, like spinning and yoga. And I am now registered for a marathon; we'll see how running it goes. I still bowl as well, and I drink plenty of beer so that calories burned during bowling do not outweigh calories consumed.

So far, I count it (the running and the blog) as a successful experiment in my life; but in truth, I rarely rhyme, and if I do, it's by accident.

Route of Carnage

On my run last night, I noticed an unusally high number of dead animals: two dead birds, one dead possum, and several squished lizards. The possum has been dead and rotting in that spot for awhile now -- it was very stinky for awhile, but now I guess it's moved away from the stinky phase and into the phase where it quickly turns into a pile of bones; it's disturbingly graffic, and for some reason I can't help but look at it every time I take that path. The birds were new though, and I see dead lizards all the time.

Makes me think how closely we share an environment with the critters, even if this is a highly urbanized area. Too bad most of the wildlife I get to see is already deceased.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I got an email yesterday announcing that my high school class is arranging a 10 year reunion for Labor Day weekend. I was kinda excited since previously nothing had been said or done about a reunion, but on the other hand I hesitate. Last summer on my blog I spoke of the anticipation that my 10 year reunion was approaching and I made a list of some things I wanted to accomplish before that reunion. This was the post from last August discussing the possibility for a reunion:

I partially want to go for these reasons: I would like to tell people that I am married (or will be by then), that I own a house, that I managed to harass my instructor's into giving me a master's degree, that I have run a marathon, that I am a drummer in a band, and that I have also published a book.

Why I don't want to go: I have not actually accomplished the last three things on that list. The drumming thing should take action any time now. I just need to get some rhythm, a drum kit and some lessons, then I'm all primed to be a rock star. So, that one is easy. Publishing a book? Hmmmm, well I've tried my hand at that, and let us just note that it hasn't yet happened, but I am working on a new project, so you never know. However, the possibility that I could have a book in print a year from now is slim, but I might be able to say "I have a book coming out in blah, blah, blah." That would be satisfactory.

Now, we come to the running. We know I'm working on that one, but it's slow going. I plan to run a 5K in a few weeks, and my goal is to run Miami's half marathon in January. Will a full marathon be a possibility by next summer? Possible. It's just so mentally intimidating; I mean, it's so many miles, and even if I were in top shape and were able to run it in excellent pacing, that still means FOUR HOURS of running! My god! Today I ran three miles, and my head nearly popped off. (Seriously, I could feel all the blood in my body coursing through every single vein and the pressure in my head was quite unbelievable -- I looked like a tomato!) And yes, I'll admit that part of my "get in shape" motivation is thinking about that reunion -- which I may or may not be invited to since I did not reveal my whereabouts, and I doubt anyone will be able to track me down (I did not leave any breadcrumbs).

I would love to return all glorious and beautiful. My hope then would be that some of those girls who were mean and catty have gotten fat and their skin has distorted itself so that it is ghastly. And I pray that all those guys on the football team who never asked me out (I don't know why not; I'm perfectly lovable) have also gone to seed.

Yes, my reasons are completely selfish and vain, but what other reason would you have to go to a reunion? To see old friends? Re-live the "good old days"? No thanks. I hardly liked many of those people when I was sixteen, I can't imagine they've become any more interesting. Now, there were some drinking friends in college I'd like to see again: That would be a good time.

Now, let's see, not much has changed over the course of nearly a year. I am married now, I do own a house with my husband, and no one has taken away my graduate degree, but I still have some of the same hesitations. Now I guess I can say I am registered and training for a marathon; otherwise, no, I'm not a drummer in an awesome band (or a drummer at all, for that matter), and there are no book publishing possibilities on the horizon. What have I been doing for the past year?

What do you guys think about attending 10 year class reunions? Fun and interesting? Or silly (since most people haven't really done a lot by the time they're 28 -- most of us spent the majority of that time in college)? Keep in mind I would have to fly, probably rent a car, get a hotel, pay for the reunion costs, etc. Is it worth it if I can't brag about being a rockstar?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Something There is That I Love about Bottled Water

I don't have a logical reason for loving bottled water; I am sensible enough to know that my tap water probably tastes pretty much like bottled water, yet I wouldn't know because I never drink it (but must have a sense of its taste since I brush my teeth with it). My affair with bottled water began several years ago when I lived in a house whose water came from a well, and it was the sort of "hard" water that was chock full of minerals and was literally the color of rust from the tap. It was the sort of water that was undrinkable, and so I began to buy bottled water. Ever since, I have consumed bottled water.

I know it might seem wasteful, considering how tap water is already purified and cheap, but drinking bottled water is a habit I cannot break. So, my favorite bottled water? (Yes, they taste different -- don't mock me.) Fiji water. Something about the bottle itself is what attracts me; I am a sucker for pretty packaging. I like the square shape and the blue cap, and pretty tropical landscape depicted on the label -- makes me feel like I'm in Fiji (a place my stepmother, the only person I know who's ever been to Fiji, swears is heaven on earth). It also so happens that Fiji water is one of the more expensive brands of water, a fact that does not escape my husband. He accuses me of being snobbish about certain things, and I suspect that he thinks I purposely seek out the most expensive products. Because of its price, I rarely buy Fiji water; in fact, I usually only buy it when I go to the bookstore; I figure it's part of my treat and part of the experience of being in the bookstore (a sort of heaven on earth for me).

Yesterday when I was at the bookstore (buying a copy of "Pride and Predujice" -- I just watched the new movie version and loved it so much I wanted to re-read the book, and when I got home I realized I already had a copy, probably the same copy I read when I read the book the first time, but it's okay; my new copy is very pretty and I am remembering how much I loved the book the first time around), I got a bottle of Fiji water, and not just the half liter; no, I splurged and bought the full liter. I, of course, re-fill water bottles from the large bottle in the fridge until I deem the bottle grody or probably grody, and I always recycle; I'm not that wasteful. I know that refilling it with generic bottled water doesn't mean I'm drinking Fiji water with the second or third refill, but it makes me feel like I am, and that feels special.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Morning Drama

It seems that as spinning classes gain popularity at my gym, the drama is heightened, and I never quite know what the class will be like on Saturday morning. Because the classes are busy and because there are a set number of bikes, everyone who wishes to participate in the class has to sign in on a sheet they keep at the front desk prior to class. If you don't sign in, and the class fills, you're SOL -- it happened to me a few weeks ago.

So, this morning, right at 10 when the class was starting, a woman walks in, says she signed in, but there aren't any bikes available. The instructor asks if everyone signed in, and everyone says "yes" but one woman says "what?" We inform her that you have to sign in in order to secure a bike, and she says, "But I was here at 9:30." A woman next to her says that it doesn't matter what time you come in, what matters is that you sign in and reserve a seat. The instructor tells her that's the policy; it's posted at the front desk, he can't make any exceptions, and he tells her she has to give up her claimed bike.

Well, then it gets interesting. This lady starts yelling at the woman who came in, "Fine! You can have the bike since you arrived at 10 and I have been here since 9:30 waiting for this class! Fine!" The woman who was next to her who had explained the sign in process says, "There's no need to yell." And the angry woman yells: "I'm not yelling! I'm just getting loud!" By this time, the whole class is involved, and we're trying to tell her that it's the gym's rules, and that it's fair to give up her bike, and that the next time she comes she'll know, etc. She gets up off the bike, grabs her stuff, and as she's storming out of the room, she yells: "I hope you enjoy your fuckin' class!" And then she turned and went out the door (shutting the lights out on her way).

The instructor looked baffled and the rest of us were kinda laughing and staring in disbelief when she burst back through the door, and yells: "You people are the rudest epople I've ever encountered; this gym is full of bastards!" And then she slams the door shut again and was gone. I suspect she marched up to the front desk and cancelled her membership.

But good lord people, spinning is a good class -- burn lots of calories, get a great workout -- but it's not going to save your soul. So why do we have to have so much drama over it?

Friday, June 16, 2006


Last night was our first night of summer league bowling, and for those of you who read my blog last summer, you'll recall that the key thing about league is beer, and lots of it.

First though, let me talk about the actual bowling. I was really excited to bowl last night, not just because it was the first night of league and I love league, but because I was recently outfitted in all new bowling equipment: I got new shoes, my own ball, and even a snazzy bag (for carrying the aforementioned shoes and ball). My ball is red and sparkly, and they put my bowling name on it -- Rizzo.

I've never had my own ball before, and I gotta tell ya, it was great. So smooth and so straight, and my first game was pretty good, not as good as the practice games I had last week, but not too shabby. Hopes were high that I might improve with the games, but then beer came into the factor -- draft beer -- my arch nemesis. For some reason, draft beer goes down so much faster, and I can never keep track of how many I've had, unlike bottled beer where it's easy to count up how many I've consumed.

By my last game, I was bowling terrible, and I don't even want to reveal my score. It was a terrible blow to my team, The Pinderellas, since we were undefeated last year, and in our first night, we were creamed (what makes it even more unbearable is that three of our husbands were on the team that beat us, and they won't let us forget it). Oh well, we said all along last year that we were just there to play and have fun, but it was awesome to win that trophy last year. Perhaps this weekend, I'll have to get some practice games in; break in the new ball -- maybe I'll have to stay away from the beer.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Water Aerobics

This morning I attended my first class in water aerobics, and I feel as though I got a good workout. I spent the first twenty-five or thirty minutes feeling completely lost, and I'm pretty sure I was just randomly kicking instead of doing the prescribed movements, but I assume that portion of class was meant to get your heart rate up, so I think I accomplished that even if I couldn't master walking and kicking at the same time (elementary gym teachers can probably attest to my lack of coordination -- I was the kid who was always tripping and falling down or running into the wall during capture the flag).

But the second half of class I understood and it was pretty challenging. We did lots of ab work and arm work with floaty weights, and lastly, the instructor walked us through some yoga-pilates types of moves. I have a feeling that my abs will be a little achy tomorrow and I can already feel how challenged my muscles in my shoulders were by a couple of the exercises (it's surprisingly hard to move styrofoam through water, especially while trying not to float up yourself).

Plus, being in the water for the workout was refreshing. True, the water is nearly the same temperature as the air, but the wet quality makes it a little better, and it's such a relief after running and sweating so goddamn much. (Last night, I ran at 9 pm and it was still 88 degrees outside and I was a sweaty monkey.)

All in all, it made for a good workout on a non-running day and I really do feel as though I helped in some toning; I'm such a cheater with my strength training that it probably was the hardest weight session I've done in awhile!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do Something Hard

I was reading earlier today and in the book I'm reading, the author gives a piece of advice to some young women (it's a memoir and she's speaking at a conference when she dispenses the advice), and the advice she offers to help make life more rewarding and, ultimately, more worthwhile is to do something hard. It really struck a chord with me: Do something hard.

It's probably human nature, or animal nature, to drift into the actions, thoughts, and ideas that are easiest and offer the least resistance -- it makes for smooth sailing, but we all know that, truthfully, "easy" often equals "boring." This is probably how so many end up in mid-life feeling disappointed, disillusioned, and dissatisfied. I am no where near mid-life, and I can't say I am any of the three D's, but I do know that part of this running business, and especially this marathon business, is about adding meaning to my life by accomplishing something hard. For me, I can think of few things that seem harder than running 26.2 miles, and it must be the idea of it's difficulty that also adds to the hope that it will be rewarding.

Every once in a while, I get frustrated with running and feel as though I make little progress or improvement, but then I am reminded that running is hard and that it takes time and dedication to master and to improve upon. And, as with most things that take time and dedication and that are just plain hard, I have confidence that this endeavor will be rewarding and satisfying.

I suppose it's the lessen my parents tried to teach me when they made me work to pay for my first car; I would appreciate it more if I had to work for it (it was my parents' firm belief that children who were bestowed everything in life were those who came to be the dissatisified -- I guess that's supposed to make me feel better that some people always get what they want with ease). Grudgingly, I can now see the wisdom in my parents' lessen, and I can see how it applies to my running, and, really, to my life.

Right now, running this marathon in January is my version of doing something hard. Perhaps it will be just the beginning, I don't know, maybe it's a whole road of "hard" to finish happy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Coat of Bugs

Yesterday, I did run outside (not as rainy as predicted, but very humid -- still is; it's like walking around in a rain cloud) and I got coated in bugs. I don't know what is up with the gnat population as of late, but I was wiping them off my face the whole time I ran. When I got home, I discovered that they were all over my neck and shoulders as well; I felt like the windshield of a car. I don't really love to wear bugs, so it wasn't a look that worked for me.

And as far as Alberto goes, it seems he was more threatening on paper than in reality; although, for a moment yesterday afternoon they were predicting that he'd morph into a category one hurricane before reaching the panhandle. Thankfully, that didn't happen. But if you live in Georgia or the Carolinas, you are probably going to get some rain tomorrow and Thursday. As for here, it's once again cloudy and humid, a little breezy, but nothing else.

Monday, June 12, 2006


So, this is Alberto on Monday morning. He looks meaner than he really is (I think it's his coloring -- red makes him look angry, maybe those meteorologists should re-think their color schemes in order to be more soothing), but he's still gonna dump a lot of rain on Florida. I'm down in the very bottom of Florida, so it won't be as much here as it will in central and northern Florida.
The projected path then takes Alberto through south Georgia and the Carolinas, so they'll be getting a lot of rain as well. In fact, my guess is that the whole eastern seaboard gets damp because of Alberto. As a result of this storm bearing down on the state, the weather today looks much like it did yesterday: Cloudy, rainy, and unbelievably humid (last night it was so humid our windows were fogging up at home).

Yesterday, I did decide to run outside, and because of the humidity and the sprinkly rain, I came home pretty wet. Today I face the same dilema: To run outside in the weather or to run at the gym on the treadmill. Part of me knows that inside on the treadmill will be more comfortable, but I am also easily fooled into thinking that just because it is cloudy and rainy that it is cooler out (not true!) so I will probably end up running outside this afternoon and after I return home dripping sweat, I will wonder about my intelligence. The fact that I can predict this ahead of time only makes me wonder more.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Rainy Day Sunday

We have our first named Tropical Storm of the year, and he goes by the moniker "Alberto." So, we're currenlty getting rain and some wind. It won't be much more than a regular thunderstorm here, but it does mark the beginning of what could be another busy hurricane season. We'll see what the next six months bring as far as hurricanes and other foul weather, but for now, it's kinda nice to enjoy a rainy day.

Of course, it doesn't motivate me to get out there and run. On rainy days, I prefer to sit inside curled up with a book and a cup o' tea. However, I think I will shortly get my running clothes on and go to the gym to run my miles on the treadmill. But maybe there will be a break in the drizzle so I can run outside. I plan on sitting around for another hour to see.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

RW Self Test Cont'd

So, as I wrote yesterday, I looked closely at the six questions Runner's World asked of the new marathoner, and the first three questions, which I addressed in yesterday's post, yielded fine results, but the second three made me think closely about what it means to train for a marathon.

4. Are you eating for performance or are you just eating?

Crap. My achilles heel. My eating has never been like I imagine an athlete's eating is supposed to be. I eat healthy erratically and often eat all the foods and drink all the drinks I shouldn't. But the running is supposed to make up for those errors, right? After keeping a food journal for the assigned three days, I can see three things: 1. The night time is not the right time: Generally I seem to consume roughly two-thirds of my calories after 3 pm. I am good in the morning -- fruit, salad for lunch, but something changes in the afternoon and suddenly there are handfuls of chips, a big dinner, an evening with some ice cream. 2. I have a weakness for Chewy granola bars with chocolate chips, and an unnatural love of chips before meals (I get hungry while I'm cooking!). 3. I need to skim the portions down. I try to stick to smaller plates to eat my dinner, but sometimes I know I could take half a scoop less of something, but it just tastes so damn good. Like risotto. I made risotto with our Chicken Marasala (yummy) last night, and I L-O-V-E risotto, so even when I was full I went back for just half a serving more. Couldn't have done without it.

I guess I need to learn to balance out some of my meals, and definitely work on incorporating healthier food into my diet. Also, the RW article advises cutting "excessive" caffeine. How would one define "excessive"? Is a cup or two of coffee and a soda excessive? I can't live without my caffeine.

5. Why are you training?

For this, I was supposed to write five reasons why I want to run this marathon. Okay, beyond getting in shape, losing weight, and accomplishing a lifelong goal, I couldn't think of two more reasons. To prove I can? Is that a legitimate reason?

6. Do you have the right gear?

I bought new running shoes last fall, and in some ways they still feel like my "new" shoes, but I know it is time to trade them up. However, running shoes are expensive, and I can't just drop a hundred dollars on shoes every few months. Still, I know if I am to avoid injury and the loss of another toe nail, I should get over to the running store soon and purchase a new pair. Also, I still haven't been completely satisfied with my short situation, and I keep reading about this running skirt; I have to say that I'm skeptical, but thinking about giving it a try. Just worried about the chub rub. And lastly, gearwise, there is my MP3 player, which is wonderful, but which rubs my arm on longer runs. Does everyone else just lose the tunes, or do you grease up around that arm strap? Perhaps I should purchase a newer, lighter model. But again, money doesn't grow on trees, even in South Florida where many things are growing on trees.

In the end, I feel as though I tested pretty well, and even if I can't find five solid reasons to run, I think three is good. And new gear is probably needed, but not yet a dire emergency. But I do know that my diet will have to change over the next few months. If I shed a few pounds, think how much lighter my load would be as I run!

Friday, June 09, 2006

RW Self Test

In the newest edition of Runner's World, there was the beginning of a five part series about marathon preparation, and since it was the first in the five month series, it began with a "systems check." Because I plan to run a marathon in January, I thought the systems check would be just right for me at this point in order to get a good sense of where I'm starting from. There were six questions to ask yourself as a runner: I'll address three today and three tomorrow.

1. Are you experiencing any pain? Do you suspect you might have a running related injury?

No. That was the easiest question. I haven't ever had any running injuries to speak of. I had a sore knee for a short length of time about six months ago, but I think that was more related to the heels I was wearing and not the running. In high school, I had shin splints, but they have never bothered me since. So, I guess I'm pretty lucky; I'm starting out healthy.

2. How flexible are you?

This question asks you to test yourself at www.runnersworld.com/whartons to gauge your flexibility. I did the exercises and did them easily. Yoga has been part of my life off and on for years, and I was always comfortably felxible before yoga (I've never been gymnast or dancer flexible, but I've never had any trouble), so there were no "tight" spots to note. And I figure if I continue with yoga as part of my running routine, I should be good.

3. How do you line up?

For this question, I had to line up barefoot against a wall with heels, butt, and shoulder blades against the wall. I stepped forward from the wall, and if I could hold the position without effort, it meant I had good posture, which I did. I've never had issue with posture: Partially, because it was something my mom drilled into me about a gazillion times when I was a kid (she was always poking me between the shoulder blades when I was slouching and she warned against the terrible "hump" that could form if I slouched -- I did not want to look like Quasimodo). Plus, I'm very short, so slouching doesn't help me look any taller. I've always been conscious of standing up straight with my shoulders back so that I at least appear a half inch taller or so.This is good, according to RW because posture is the beginning of good or bad form, so it looks I score again.

After completing the first three questions, I felt very good about my marathon prospectives, but the second group of three revealed some areas that perhaps need improvement. I'll talk about them in tomorrow's post.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dental Dummy

This morning I had a dentist appointment, and I have to admit that I was more than a little apprehensive. Mostly because I haven't been to the dentist in about five or six years. Yikes! I know that's a long time and that I shouldn't have let it be that long, but for years I was without insurance, and I was also incredibly lazy, so I just didn't go. But because I am now among the insured, and because I am trying not to be such a procrastinator about such important stuff, I called yesterday hoping to get an appointment in the next few weeks, and to my dismay, they fit me in today.

So, the first question the hygenist asked was: "When was your last cleaning?" I was embarassed to admit that it had been years, and when she looked at my teeth, my plaque build up confirmed that I had spoken truthfully. For the next thirty to forty-five minutes, she ground away at the disgusting plaque with her little tools and I could feel my gums bleeding (weaklings!). In the end, after she polished and flossed my teeth, and they were sparkly, clean, and smooth, I also noted how much bigger they looked: Apparently, there's a lot more tooth there when it's clean. Anyway, I humbly submitted to her chastising about regular visits and cleaning and swore that I did not want gum disease and, therefore, would come back in December for my next check up.

Thankfully, I didn't have any cavities (an amazing feat for someone who visits the clinic so rarely; the dentist seemed impressed by the quality of my teeth; he should be -- I grew them myself). But I know I have been bad about visits, and I honestly do worry about gum disease, more so than rotten teeth.

I read not too long ago in a "Time" article about health how keeping up with regualr dentist appointments and cleanings can extend your longevity and improve your overall health, and it's easy to overlook the chompers. We get so concerned with the food we eat that we tend (or, at least, I do) to forget the teeth that have to chew that food day in and day out. So, I guess I should start making a real effort to floss (I'm a good brusher, years with braces taught me that, but I hate to floss) so that next time the hygenist can praise my teeth and gums instead of spend half her morning scraping away at them.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I've been feeling a little blah the last few days, and I know it's because I haven't been running. I went on Monday (bugs galore), but didn't do an iota of exercise yesterday (well, not entirely true, I did dance around at the Greek restaurant last night -- that burned off part of my dinner), and I don't know if I'll get to any exercise today. First off, this morning I slept way too late in order to get a run in the early morning, and after running a few errands this morning (Scooter got his neuter stitches out), I have an afternoon of schoolwork to try and get done. I have a pile of essays to read, and something tells me I won't be able to read them all before class this evening.

It's easy to see how not running can so easily snowball into not running or working out at all for several days. And then I'm left feeling kinda mushy and squishy. Hopefully, I'll rediscover my mojo tomorrow, or maybe even somewhere later in the day today. I don't like feeling sluggish.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bug Bombers

The bugs were drawn to face today like a fat kid is to a donut. I don't know if I was running through clouds, or if the sweat was calling to them from miles away, but I kept getting hammered by miniscule gnats who were pelting my cheeks, nose, lips and eyeballs. I swallowed two, one went right up my nose, and one smacked into the corner of my eye. I don't know what was up, but I was wiping away little black bodies every few minutes.

When I got home, it felt good to shower and get not just the sweat off, but the bug guts as well. Eww.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Back to the Heat and Humidity

I'm home! Got home about a half hour ago, and I'm soaking in the moisture from the air. Denver is so dry -- so very pleasant (can be 90 degrees but feels great), but so very dry. My lips were parched and my skin was flaky.

Originally, I had planned to do some running and I dutifully packed my shorts, sports bras, running socks and shoes, but in the end, they just took up space in my bag. I was just too busy visiting with family and playing; although, I did play an afternoon game of croquet, which is technically a sport, one day with my family. We played about three games total, but the only sweat we broke was from the sun, not exertion, and I drank enough beer to soak up any latent calories that might be burned through sweat.

Otherwise, we visited the Mint, spent time downtown chillin', went to Casa Bonita (a childhood favorite, which was surprisingly fun even as an adult -- hooky, but awesome), and went to Six Flags Elitch's, which was also awesome -- rode many coasters. All in all, it was a good trip, but I ate too much every day, and now I fear how running will go tomorrow. I already feel a little soggy from my time off.