Monday, May 27, 2013
I have run a bunch of 5K races, but this one was for just one mile.
And it was more important than all of them, combined, for it was the final mile of the Boston Marathon.
My husband and I walked and jogged and did not go too fast as his back was bothering him.
But that's okay. This was not for speed. It was not for PRs. It was not for personal glory.
We participated for those who no longer have legs, and for those whose futures are gone. We did this for the scared, to show that we aren't. We did it for our city, and for our country, and for anyone who's tired of the violence and hate in the world.
I have already told the sponsors that I hope they will do this again, for it was an amazing experience. There is a turn, just before Boylston Street, near the Hynes Convention Center. You have just gone up a small hill. And you turn. And you see them. And you hear them.
They line the blocks, and they are LOUD. And they are watching, and they are cheering. There were signs. There were high fives from strangers. And the press was there, for people who had been hurt 40 days before, or who had been running and wanted to finally finish. We are not marathoners. We were not that part of the news story.
We were there to be a part of it. And it was one day when this 50 year old who will never run a marathon (trust me, I am FAR too slow) could feel like a rock star.
That day will live on. It was our 21st wedding anniversary, by the way. And that is how we spent it.
And that day will live on.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Two songs today, for the price of one!
We got back from vacation a few days ago. And I am pleased to note that I was able to maintian (and actually lose some inches), even though the diet and exercise opportunities were not necessarily the best.
We have gotten far, far better at vacationing. This is the same Cape Cod hotel we have gone to for, now, 16 years.
Let me tell you what things were like in 1997.
We would go out to HUGE breakfasts every morning. Omelets, pancakes, my husband would have bacon. Lunch was out, usually something fried. Exercise? What, are you nuts? Big dinners out, of course. Cookies at night in the room. Hot tub. Drive everywhere. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This is what things were like this year, and have been for a few years.
Breakfast is oatmeal and fruit, brought from home. Water. Walk to where my husband gets a pizza - and it's for him, only. Lunch is in the room - pizza for him, salad and a smoked turkey sandwich with hummus for me. There's a kitchen in the room so it's all made there, and it's apportioned. Hot tub. No swimming this year as the pool was not open, but we have gone swimming in the past. Dinner is still out, but this year it was a salad and a medium chicken burrito on day one, sushi on day two and Thai on day three. Filling and wonderful all three days, and well within the calorie budget (sushi went over on the sodium budget, but nothing else did). Skim milk and a skinny cow ice cream (portion control, FTW!) at night.
Oh and let's see. My size in 1997 was probably a 22/24. This year it's a 14/16.
Could I be better? Yes. I could be more vigilant and nuttier and stricter. But I was on vacation, so I allowed myself some leeway, but not too much.
I came home to no change in weight but a change in my measurements. They went down.
And this is why I bring food for two meals/day, every day, while on vacation. There is nothing tricky about that.
As for the second song, it's a tribute to Jeff Bauman, who was injured last month at the Marathon. That man is more than just someone who was unlucky that day, just like you and I are far more than our sizes. If someone bothers to just look, then they'll see.
Enjoy George Harrison, and the Grateful Dead.
Monday, May 13, 2013
You're so vain.
We're all vain.
It's probably evolutionary.
After all, you smell better, your clothes or your skin are cleaner or nicer, you're more likely to attract a mate. You smell better, you take better care of your teeth, you live longer. You work out or, as they called it in cave times, you gather or hunt your own food, and you live better and stronger, and longer. You get yourself educated and it makes you happier and you get a better job and you're, again, more likely to attract a mate and you can afford better care and you live longer.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting any or all of these things.
Yet I saw, yet again, recently, someone going on about how plastic surgery is cheating, and diet assistance is wrong and somehow if WE DON'T SUFFER ENOUGH and WE DON'T WEAR THE SCARLET F FOR EVER AND EVER AND EVER then we are somehow, I dunno, unworthy.
Now, I am not advocating starving yourself. I am not advocating having surgeons cut you until you look like a cat, either. And I am certainly not advocating stupid acai berry or green tea scams.
Instead, what I am suggesting, is that you do what it takes to get you where you need to be. And if vanity is the key, then be vain.
Make yourself up in order to get the morning paper vain. 500 pairs of shoes in your closet vain. Put me on a reality show vain.
Make it work for you. Because anyone who tells you that there is exactly one way to do this, or that one way or another is somehow superior, they are lying, and should be called out as the lying liars that they are.
IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER.
You wanna be a vegan? Be a vegan. You wanna eat like a caveperson? Then eat like one. You wanna get your cardio in by doing the polka? Then do the Goddamned polka.
What are the basics?
* Diet, as in watch your calories and your portion sizes, and you proportion your choices away from processed garbage and in the direction of real food that a human cooks, as opposed to a factory constructs.
* Exercise, as in you sweat and you get aches and you pant.
* Water, as in you drink it, and you visit the bathroom more than you're used to.
* Salt restriction, as in you read labels and you find yourself eating a lot more real food because sodium is put in for processing more times than you can shake a stick at.
* Weight training, as in you carry heavy stuff, whether it's weights at a gym or your groceries or your kids or the dog or a bunch of books or luggage but you do it and you stop using wheeled carts for most things and you get some aches from that but you go on and you do it anyway.
All of the details, all of the rest of it, is window dressing. And if you want to read about it, or blog about it, or think about it, have at it.
But it really just comes down to those few things and, in the end, motivation often comes down to vanity, or its products, or its effects.
But don't take my word for it.
Hell, you probably think this song is about YOU.
Monday, May 06, 2013
I ran my 40th 5K a few days ago, on Saturday. I shaved over 4 minutes over last week's time and came in nearly exactly the same as when we did this race last year (this is the third year of doing this race), when I weighed 11 pounds less.
Yeah. Wacky, eh?
Even wackier when you consider how I was 5 1/2 years ago.
Anyway, I had thought of more to write, but the Internet gods ate it and I've gotta get some work done. :)
So enjoy New Order and please support brain cancer research, which is what I was running for. www.milesforhope.org/index.php/bosto
Saturday will be my 41st 5K. :)
Monday, April 29, 2013
This peppy song is a part of my 5K playlist. I don't listen to this playlist unless I am running, and we ran a 5K on Saturday so it came up.
It is one of those songs that gets me moving, and it's set at a time during 5Ks when I am not at the start and not at the end, and the runners have spread out and sometimes I wonder what the heck it is I am doing there, and why I do a dozen of these every year. This year, it was even more meaningful, as this was our first race since the tragedy at the Marathon.
It was a charity event, for PKU awareness. www.necpad.org/ If you've ever read the fine print on a sweetener packet, you've likely seen the phrase: phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine. That's a substance that these folks can't metabolize. Intaking it will (eventually, as it builds up over time) kill them. It is a genetic disorder. I don't know anyone who has it. But it's of course an area where people could use support, so we ran.
And I heard that song, as I was huffing along, and had the same old conversation in my head -
Why are you doing this?
Wouldn't you rather spend your Saturday sleeping in?
Or, better yet, going out for brunch?
Pancakes sound nice.
You haven't had pancakes in a while.
Ooohh ... pancakes.
And then I remind myself that, if I am ever going to see a pancake again, I still need to finish the race. So I continue plodding along.
This time, I found myself getting bad fatigue and shin pain when I could see the finish. And that's always ironic - I like to pour it on at the end, and my body was telling me not to.
And then I remembered that there are people who, 2 weeks ago, lost their ability to run or even walk or stand, without help.
So I said, what the hell and I ran anyway.
My hips hurt today, 2 days later. My shins are on and off wonky. Advil is only working sporadically.
But I don't care.
We spend so much of our lives trying to avoid pain. And it is normal and natural to do that. After all, even the tiniest of animals will move away from negative stimuli. It seems foolish, unless you're some sort of masochist (and I am not, in case you were wondering), to go in the direction of pain, and do things, repeatedly, that hurt. Repeatedly.
But as I think about this, and I grab another pair of Advil, I am again reminded that I have shins at all.
So who the hell cares if they hurt a little?
I feel both joy and pain today.
But I feel more joy than I do pain.
Come join me for joy and pain this Saturday. It'll be my 40th 5K. :)
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