Wednesday, May 14, 2014
So yeah, it's been a while. Things have been slightly crazy, especially since I've kicked up the writing so much. I feel like I don't have time for everything I need to do. Yeah, I sound like my mom.
For the past 8-9 months I've lost a little and then gained a little. It drives me crazy. I know what I need to do to stay energized and keep the weight off, and it's called EXERCISE! I make all kinds of excuses why I'm not doing it (being tired is the main excuse) then I realize I'm tired because I'm not exercising. Vicious circle.
So I'm setting some low goals. 30 minutes of intense activity per day. Not just dancing -- this means step aerobics or bicycling or Tae Bo or something intense. Anything to get my heart rate up. It doesn't have to be an hour or more. Less is more if it keeps you on target. Then I can dance for the other 30, and still have time to write/read/study for the other 1.5 or 2 hours that is pretty much the entirety of my free time.
Friday, March 07, 2014
Once there lived a Little Bear
He had some crazy, CRAZY hair!
His Mommy thought it looked just fine
But he did resemble Professor Einstein.
His curls were so boingy
All spiraling down.
He looked like a lion
With his big fuzzy crown
So he called up the stylist
And he said, "Could you please
Trim up my locks
Before they hang to my knees?"
The stylist she said,
"Just sit down in the chair.
It won't take but a minute
And you'll love your new hair!"
Mom held her breath.
She said, "Save me a curl!"
The stylist said "Relax,
Soon he won't look like a girl!"
She trimmed and she cut.
He made little noise.
He sat in the chair,
Just playing with toys.
Mommy took pictures
And gathered the hair
That fell from the head
Of her sweet Little Bear.
It was over quite quickly,
Just a few dozen snips.
And when she was finished
He got a kiss on the lips!
Daddy made him some pudding
For a first haircut treat.
Now his hair's still very curly,
But slightly more neat!
Thursday, March 06, 2014
(What this photo shows is me coming across the finish line, 4th from last, but still finishing. What it does not show is all the MUD!)
February was a bad month. Little exercise, little motivation, little anything for me. We had snow and freezing rain just about every day, and I couldn't bother myself to care about doing much of anything. I spent most of my free time visiting my Mom in the rehab hospital where she was recovering from a knee replacement, and letting Little Bear entertain the residents.
There was one race I was planning on attempting, but the morning of the race found ice all over the roads so I opted out of it. Besides, I'd only run about three whole miles the whole month, and I wasn't sure I was in any kind of shape to try to run those all at once.
So in the last couple of days of February, I saw a note for a Trail Run called "Bound the Mound" which takes you on a course around Angel Mounds, a local Native American archaeological site. Having never done a trail run, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I decided -- pretty much the night before the event -- I was going to try it. All finishers got a hat at the end, and since I don't have any racing head-gear bling, it sounded like a good investment.
My Mom is my big running supporter, taking me to all my races, acting as parking attendant, hair-braider, water-bottle-keeper, and general morale officer. She's my biggest fan, and I can't imagine going to a race without her. I texted her the Friday night before the race and asked if she wanted to come with. "I'm game" she texts back. She's always game :)
It's cold, but not ridiculously cold. It's actually probably slightly warmer than the last October race I ran. This time I remember to bring gloves. There's a line at the same-day registration tent. I hand them my money and they hand me a race bib. These days, your timing chip is built into the bib, which is cool. I have my SPAT firmly attached to my laces, and I'm ready to get those little lights a blinking!
The announcer tells us there are three categories: 5k, 10k, and Half Mary. The 5k runners will do one lap, the 10ks will do 2, and Halfers do 4 and then an out-and-around in the parking lot. It's not crowded, but there's a good number of people milling about. The announcer tells us this is a hard course because of the mud (wait, mud? Who said anything about mud?) and the divots already in the frozen ground. He says this is no time for a PR run. I don't know what that means, but I assume personal record? I line up at the back of the pack and we set off.
Everything is fine for about a half mile. I'm keeping a slow pace because I don't know the terrain and the road is narrow enough that the brambles and branches are reaching out to scratch me. Still, whatever. No snakes. It's cold, but not uncomfortable. The frozen dirt is uneven, with divots from older footsteps mottling the ground and forcing you to pay attention, lest you twist an ankle. There is a little mud, which I run around. We're on grass, then wet and marshy grass, and then suddenly, up ahead, is the mud pool.
It's like something out of a horror movie, a gaping brown maw with hard rock teeth protruding at odd angles. Surface water gleams in the morning sunlight and you can see bits and pieces of dirty ice scattered around. The other runners have already broken the surface, leaving behind a thick goop of rocky and sticky mud. I try to go around it, but it stretches long past the trail. Following another runner, I pick what appears to be the path of least Disgusting, but I still find myself stepping down ankle-deep in cold, sticky mud. The other runner is actually stuck, her foot buried so deep in the muck that she can't get it out. Several of us stop to help her. There is a sign attached to a tree that reads "You actually paid money to do this!"
A few paces later there is more uneven squish, and I succumb to it. My right foot steps down into a suction cup of mud, and I can't pull it out in time, so down I go. My knee hits the mud, then I feel myself tumbling forward. I feel my face scrape against brush, but the mud holds me in place, preventing me from doing a full-blown somersault. I stand, and assure the other runners I'm okay, which I am. But I'm dirty and muddy, and now I can feel the dead leaves in my hair. Is this thing over yet?
"Packs" have now been defined, and my pack consists of a middle-aged man, two newer runners my age, and a younger but new runner, who is pacing me. We all introduce ourselves and make jokes and chit-chat as we blaze our trails. It is difficult to talk and run at the same time, but I'm enjoying the company. None of us thought to bring a machete, which at this point seems like extremely poor planning.
Less than five feet after the 1-mile-marker, we see the creek, which some of the more experienced runners call the "foot wash station." My pack groans, and we look for a patch of ice, a canoe, something. Seeing no alternative, I take the lead and step into the icy water. My feet are completely submerged in the frigid water, and now my tibia is cold, but I try to look at the bright side: I'm not as muddy.
It is at this point that I pretty much give up on the concept of "race" and instead the embrace the companion concept of "just finish." I walk with my pack, as we carefully navigate more mud and fallen branches. On the clear and dry areas we run, but it's a lope, a slow jog. We aren't thinking of medals (and they were only awarding bling to the overall finishers, so who cares anyway.) We are thinking of the pots of chili and chicken noodle soup that await us at the finish line. We are thinking of dry shoes and clean socks, and I especially am thinking of how happy I will be to see my SPAT's lights fully lit before 9am.
44 minutes after beginning, I sprint the last 100 yards or so to cross the finish mat and receive my ball cap hat. I smile for the cameras, but I'm sort of "over it" and ready to eat. Mom is there, proud as a peacock, even though I'm 10 minutes over my worst 5k time ever, and get mud on her coat when I hug her. She has made a friend in the volunteer tent, so we go over to the tables and sample the hot chicken noodle soup which is pretty delicious. I check my time, groan, but shrug it off. This was not the race for a PR, right? A man tries to hand me a trail-runner magazine and says he hopes to see me again. Not bloody likely, but I take the magazine anyway.
It's just past 9am and all the lights on my SPAT are lit up. I'm freezing, I'm muddy, and I'm ready for a hot shower, but I did something difficult today and I'm proud of myself. That fact alone is enough to warm my heart :)
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I'm setting a Lenten goal of getting off my duff and being ACTIVE for the next 6 weeks (and hopefully by then I'll have made a habit of it, and it will be nice enough I can actually run and walk outside again.) I have been slacking SO MUCH lately, and I know part of it is because my thyroid is all out of whack, but I can offset that with coffee. I'm also scared to move on the new job issue, but I'm even more scared of being stuck where I am.
So today is day one of my regimen and I have to get my hair cut this afternoon, which sort of throws off my plan, but not really. My lenten resolutions include:
1. No alcohol except for Friday wine.
2. No playing computer games until after Little Bear is asleep at night.
3. No just sitting around while he's napping. Either clean the house, dance, or work out.
4. I vow to do SOME kind of exercise every day, even if it's just 10 minutes, to get a 6-week streak with my SPAT.
5. Write something useful every day.
6. Study for the ACE every day.
7. Do something new-job-related every day (sign up with new company, inquire about a freelance job, whatever.)
The only person who is going to change my life for the better is ME. I have six weeks to set new habits. I can do it. :)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Nobody every tells you that your vocabulary will change, once you become a parent.
Beyond the obvious "Clean up your language!" if you're a cusser, or "Enunciate more" if you slur your words, new parents don't really get much advice on what to say or what not to say around their children.
There are, however, a few rules regarding toddlers and speech I'd like to share with you:
1. Assume anything you say at home will be broadcast to complete strangers in the grocery. Usually altered in some socially awkward way.
2. There are no social taboos for toddlers regarding the discussion of "poop." It's a fascinating subject, and the more you tell them not to, the more they want to discuss it. Loudly. In church.
3. The one time you let slip and say an excrement-related cuss word, that's the one time they're listening intently. It's also the one word they will become fascinated with and repeat over and over again. Loudly. Often, in church.
4. Explanations must be dumbed-down exponentially in proportion with how frustrated the child is getting. "No you can't have a cookie because you haven't eaten your breakfast yet and you have to have a meal before dessert" quickly evolves into "BECAUSE I SAID SO!"
5. Singing tag lines from shows on PBS Kids will become part of your parenting arsenal. "When you get so mad that you want to roar. Take a deep breath and count to four" is brilliant. (Although it gets you funny looks in the grocery store, I warn you.)
6. There will be a point when you have to stop referring to said toddler as "The Baby," usually because you can use "Big Boy" as an incentive to behave and do more grown-up things. However, he will self-identify as "The Baby" when he wants to cuddle or play with "Baby" toys. Or when he feels he has been wronged, in some way, by your parenting skills.
7. Philosophical conversations change. Instead of pondering "Why are we here?" or "What's my purpose in life?" you will find yourself asking the same three questions on a daily basis: What's in your mouth? Where are your socks? and Why are you all wet?
On that note, Little Bear and I are walking again, even though it's FREEZING still. We bundle up and head out because I know I need the exercise, and I'm afraid he'll get stir-crazy from staying inside too long. He didn't mind the cold yesterday, but did threaten to fall asleep in his stroller.
I have now realized that there are two things I need to remember in winter:
1. Track all your food because it's SOOO easy to slip
2. Get some kind of exercise inside because you aren't gonna walk!
At least I know these two things now, and I won't gain weight back over next winter.
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