Monday, October 19, 2009
Three for the price of one today!
I've had a wacky day already. Got to my office (I start work at 7:30 AM) to find that there's been a water main break in the area. Hence the office was closed (no water in the building)! What to do .....
I had my gear with me and went to the gym, even though I really had not eaten enough. It was fine, I was okay. Then went home, ate my apple on the way. Got in and realized, ewps, I better open email. I did. The bigwigs were still kinda floundering around. It was declared a work from home day. Well, that's nice but the laptop is in the office. Not a helluva lot I can do, other than read and respond to email. I sent a few crucial emails and told my boss that the laptop is there while I'm here.
Oh and of course someone said, well, the building management says the building could open at any moment. Gaahh there's always someone like that, eh? I figure, I did my part. I came to work, I was unable to do so, I got home and I did the really important stuff. Not my fault that I didn't have the laptop (I usually don't). I won't be thrilled but if I am stuck losing a day off, well, so be it. I am planning on Friday off anyway and am not changing that. I need the break, desperately.
And so that's been my day so far.
In the meantime, the weight loss department is not going along as well as usual. I've gained back 3 lbs. in the last 2 weeks. Not good. But I am working out like a fiend, still (when I last looked, I had, yes, this is the God's honest truth, more fitness minutes than anyone else in Boston). And my pants fit better than ever. Can't blame muscle for everything but I figure I'm okay. Though it is annoying to see the scale doing that. I am doing what I am supposed to do. It'll all right itself at some point.
So, why three songs? And why are they so techno?
I recently went through all of our CDs and added whatever I wanted to the iPod. This resulted in over 2500 songs -- days and days of music. I pulled the three songs for this blog out and put them not only into the iPod but into the Running playlist. This is the playlist for getting out and doing 5K stuff, both formally for competitions and informally for training. I was listening to them (and maybe a dozen other songs) when we were training on Saturday, and it was fun to hear them as they are from the early '90s and remind me of when we used to live in Mineola, NY. Plus I can't resist laughing along with the sinister laugh on "Ebenezer Goode". I'm sure the fine citizens of Brighton were unsure of what to make of the woman running in navy tights and laughing to herself like a fiend.
Eh, it's that time of year.
But it also got me to thinking about how music has made so much more of this possible. I didn't even have an iPod until after the first 5K, as it was obvious that I needed my own music in order to simply get through the time it takes me to run one. Now I put together my own little collections, about 43 - 50 minutes long, and I just run and enjoy them and don't waste any time or energy thinking, "Oof, what was I thinking, why is this on here?"
It's a little thing but it works for me and I know it helps me to run longer and possibly faster.
Before I started, I recall feeling that exercise is boring and how the heck am I gonna endure hours and hours of such a non-intellectual pursuit? Well, lots of pursuits can and should be non-intellectual. There's nothing wrong with feeding your muscles instead of your head. Or they can be mixed -- there are always books on tape for the truly ambitious. Or silence if you prefer. The sound of your own breathing, your own heart, your own feet pounding pavement, all of those are rhythmic and musical, mystical and magical.
Whatever it takes to get you, to the gym, to the park, to the field, to the court, DO IT. Play the music, get the sitter, eat lunch early, take a little time off, whatever works.
Whatever it takes, whatever works.
And now if you'll excuse me, I need to practice my sinister laughing for Halloween.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Don't panic; the song isn't about Mr. J and me. Rather, it's about my original running sneakers and me.
I ran an incredibly rainy 5K 10 days ago. So rainy, so wet, so icky that I ended up with moldy sneakers.
No amount of washing seemed to be able to fix them, so out they went. The replacements aren't so hot so I will buy the absolutely correct New Balance number and not vary again, ever, under pain of death.
God help me if they ever retire that number, 758.
But I'm okay for now.
Anyway, I wanted to really write about forgetting your past.
Or, rather, not doing that, if you can.
I think photographs are astoundingly important, particularly the bad, "before" shots.
So many of us have so few of them. We gave up on our appearances. And the people who loved to photograph us gave up on doing just that, too.
Invisible, we came out briefly for major parties and then turned turtle and retreated to our caves. You know the cave. It's the place with the Pringles and anything made by Hostess or Little Debbie.
Caves. Quiet. Dark. Damp. Musty. And the best word of all: dank.
There's nothing nice about dank. It's chilly and moist and smelly and just plain awful.
And we lived there, in those dank surroundings, and we self-medicated with food and inertia and we sat in the dark and wondered why no one ever came over to switch on the lights for us.
Because, you see, we simply could not do so for ourselves.
And then you fast forward, and you hit today, and things are different, and the cave is a distant memory and you meet someone new and you find yourself playing along with their belief that you were always this way. It was ever so.
And if someone crosses your paths who is overweight, and your new friend says, Oh, I could never be like that, you nod involuntarily. No, not you. That could never be you.
Oh, but wait, it was. And that person, that nameless person, looks out to you, and their eyes reflect the cave.
If you are honest with yourself, you bring yourself up short. That cave. You've been there. You know it. You've lived there.
And if you are really honest, you tell your new friend, I can understand, because I have been there.
Last week, I went out to lunch with a friend I had not seen since before I started my journey. We had a lovely time, and after the initial "You look great!"s by her, she told me something I never knew about her before.
She had not always been thin. She had been heavy in High School, and had ended up with an eating disorder. It was a long time ago. She was better now, healthy and happy. And felt even better to be able to tell one more person.
Because bulimia was her own personal cave.
The amazing thing about the caves is, if you bring them out and into the light, they lose their power. They become just another place. They loosen their grips and become just another phase of your existence.
So you need to acknowledge them, to remember them. To tell the world: this was me. I wasn't always like this. And I remember and I acknowledge and I embrace it because without it I am not here today.
It's so easy to say that you'll forget your past.
But you shouldn't.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Unfortunately, the song is a bit cut off, both at the beginning and the end of the video. Pity, it's a lovely song.
Anyway, this past week I ran another 5K. This was not just me and Mr. J but also our friends George and Thomas.
The results are here: www.coolrunning.com/results/0
Our results are as follows:
92nd place / 25:21 (8:11 pace/mile) 2nd place in age group 60-69/ 70th male to finish (he got a medal!)
202nd place / 28:52 (9:19 pace/mile) / 10th place in age group 40-49 / 122nd male to finish
358th place / 34:16 (11:03 pace/mile) / 15th place in age group 40-49 /180th male to finish
428th place / 42:13 (13:37 pace/mile) / 19th place in age group 40-49 / 226th female to finish
Oh, and by the way, there were, ahem, 21 people who came in after me, and they were mainly in their 20s and 30s!
I also ran a personal best. I have never, ever broken the 14 minute/mile pace before, and never broke 43 minutes before.
It was wet. And cold. And muddy. And shivery. If the weather had been better, it would have really been a beautiful day, as the Samaritans' (the race was to support Suicide Prevention efforts) had a fair and everything. People had organized teams, running to remember people from all walks of life. My friends and I agreed, if we do this one again next year, we'll go as a team.
But it was ... wet.
We ran anyway.
Now my sneakers are mildewy. And I am hoping I didn't get a cold out of all of that.
But if I can run in THAT, which was as bad as it gets, except for snow, well, what are any of us waiting for?
The streets of your town beckon.
Go play in 'em (but, er, don't play in traffic). ;)
Monday, September 28, 2009
I've got big news. I'm finally down to an overweight BMI for the first time in probably a good 18 years. I owe it to you all and I thank you. But that's not what this blog is about.
I had this topic kinda planned so I do want to write about it. As for the BMI thing, there's always next week. It ain't going anywhere. Except downward. :)
I've been totally overwhelmed lately and so have many of my friends. I think it's this time of the year. The weather changes, school starts (even if you're not in school, it does still affect what goes on in the world. Here in the World's Largest College Town, the effects are rather drastic), leaves begin to fall, etc. Carefree Summer slips away and is replaced with Responsible Autumn. And suddenly you're overwhelmed and feel like you're running in place.
I originally wrote this as a post on a friend's page and then realized, hey this would make a good blog entry, so I've expanded it a bit.
Here's the rules (Or, at least, my idea of same. Your mileage will vary).
* Say "no" once in a while, say, to every 5th thing. Good, bad, big, small, just say no. You can't. Too busy. Overextended. The cat needs to be shampooed. Whatever excuse you can come up with or even try flying without one. After all, you accept that from others, yes? So they'll accept it from you. Say no and move on.
* Once you've established that you say no on occasion (e. g. you have boundaries), start to cull your preexisting stuff. That is, say "no more". Let's say you've done it 50%? 75%? 90%? Then maybe it's time to hand it off to someone else, whatever it is. Let's say you're making a quilt. Maybe hand it off to a friend (or even your daughter if you have one) and see how it goes. If you're handing it off to your daughter, you might need to supervise of course, but what would happen if she did it, or did some of it? Would the world stop spinning if it wasn't perfect? And maybe, just maybe, it'll be a little better, that her lack of experience could be charming, or her lack of preconceptions could bring in fresh ideas. By the way, next time, try doing this earlier in the process. In other words: delegate.
* Corollary to the second one, particularly if there is no way to hand it off to another: say "we're done". Or, rather, YOU are done, but the nicer way to say it is, the whole thing is done. What I mean is not to abandon things at their height, but to simply drive a stake in the ground at some point when it's appropriate. Columbus pitched a flag into Hispanola and declared, "I claim this land for Spain!" He could have walked in five feet or five miles (I have no idea which), and it ultimately didn't matter. He just declared he was done. So stick a fork in some things sometimes. Claim this land for YOU.
* Get away. For a minute. For an hour. For a day. For a week. Whatever can be budgeted in. I have a friend who I walk with, an hour or so, every week or every other week. We have it as an Outlook recurring calendar item. Sometimes we reschedule, or work intervenes and we can't go. But every Thursday the reminder (Thank God it's Thursday!) comes up, and we at least think about going. And often we do. Last week, we walked past the Aquarium. Next week it might be to Beacon Hill. It need not be with a friend and it need not be walking. Sometimes you just need to get outside, or get up and stretch, or take a bubble bath. Do it. The junk you have to deal with will still be there when you get back, and it wouldn't be diminished or added to that much if you were or weren't there for a minute or an hour or a day or a week. So get outta Dodge.
* Get organized. The house keys have a home (mine live on a rack by the door). The canned goods live in one particular cabinet. The clothes are massed by type, or color, or outfit, or season, or level of formality. Whatever is your system, make it, embrace it and use it consistently. A few seconds here and there, getting the canned goods in the right cabinet or the clothes in the right order, will save you serious time down the pike. This kind of time investment pays you back with interest.
* Once you've got a few of these going, pick and choose what else you want. Some things are mandatory (you have to pay your taxes; the kids must be fed; etc.) but for the things where it's not quite such a stark requirement, be selective. Don't want to host the Xmas party like you've been doing for the last three years? Then say you can't do it. And if it falls through, well, that's unfortunate, but maybe the people who you would have normally invited will begin to come around to realizing that someone has to make it happen. Either they'll ask you to do it again (you need to be firm!) or will drop it completely. Decide which is better, which is worse. And if it comes back to you to host it again, insist on help.
* Finally, hate to say it, but multi-task wherever you can and wherever it makes sense (and is safe: don't text and drive or anything like that). That is, use your time as efficiently as possible. Email. Call. Use cut and paste. Microwave stuff if you need the time. Chop the vegetables while the pasta water is boiling. Run the printer while you're on the phone. Have short meetings instead of chasing a bunch of people -- bring them together (and focus!) to forge a quick consensus and give everyone their marching orders. Get your cardio in by walking your errands (dry cleaning, etc.) instead of driving.
In short -
* Don't take on too much more. Stop being everyone's go-to for everything.
* Delegate and hand off.
* Stop projects a little early if you can. If not every i is dotted, unless you are performing brain surgery or rocket science, no one will either notice or care.
* Take some breaks and "me" time and separate yourself from the hustle and bustle when you can. Even small chunks of time can be very meaningful.
* Get a handle on your life by spending some time organizing things. Hunting for stuff is very time- and labor-intensive, so minimize the time you spend doing that by spending some organizational time now.
* Be choosy (where you can) when it comes to future projects. Do a cost-benefit analysis in your head - will this work for you? Will you get a lot out of it? For things that are more trouble than they're worth, let 'em go.
* Multi-task and hyper-efficiently use your time as much as is practical.
Above all: hang in there.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Yes, I take it. Here's what my experience has been like.
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