What’s in YOUR bathtub?

“No one ever drowned in their own sweat.”  I think I got that right….it was a quote going around on Twitter yesterday – a motivational quote.  So I should be motivated to sweat more cause I won’t die?  I’ll just feel like dying!

But see the problem with sweat (and more and more of it) is not the drowning – it’s the stink!  This weekend, I walked into our bathroom and was overwhelmed by an incredible stench.  Ah – the smell of effort, sweat, and a week’s worth of running clothes.

Thankfully blogs do not include smell-o-vision

The bathtub has become our holding pen for our running clothes. Yet we need to be a bit quicker about shoveling these odoriferous items into the washing machine.

Yes I know – some of you are thinking, “What? How can you use the tub like that?”  Well – I am one of the very few women in the world who hates baths. Seriously – if you watch any of those home purchasing shows on HGTV – the women are always commenting along the lines of needing a bathtub in their bathrooms. Me? Blech. I have no desire to sit in a soup of my own flaked off dead skin cells. Gimme a shower any time. And that frees up the tub for all the stinky running clothes!

Random Friday musings

Happy birthday to our curly-headed daughter….6 years old today!

One of the reasons I am running – to get rid of the last of that 6 yr old baby fat.

Been invited to go running with a friend and her running friends tomorrow am.  I’m afraid I’m going to throw up. I’m afraid I’m going to get left behind….scratch that – I KNOW I’ll get left behind….I’m afraid they’ll laugh at my slow pace.

Buried two more Rosy red fish today….as K said, “No one’s fish is supposed to die on their birthday – never mind 2!”  That brings the whopping total of dead fish this week up to 7. There’s a lesson in there for sure…..but I’m getting better at eulogies for fish….and I’m hoping the remaining 3 stick around for a bit longer.

Ran for 35 mins or so this morning.  Felt really strong….good run.  Sorry I didn’t go farther.

I hate when I disappoint people….been one of those kind of weeks.

Off to go celebrate with our 6 year old…..and fret about tomorrow’s run.

 

Must be the humidity…

Our 5 1/2 year old daughter’s hair is a pile of messy, glorious curls. She was bald for forever (evidence – her 1st year pictures) and then from a naturally occurring short pixie style sprung forth a tangle of curls when she was about 3 or 4. We joke that she seems taller because her hair grows up and out rather than down.

Everyday I manage to detangle it and bring some semblance of cascading wonder to her head. And usually, within an hour or so, it has reverted back to a fabulous mass of irrepressible curls going every which way it wants. It’s the kind of hair that drives grandmothers nutty. During grandma’s recent visit, the complaint was “grandma tries to comb my hair EVERYTIME I leave the house. You only comb it two times a day.” I tried to explain that grandmas are like that – battling the never-ending battles and that my own grandma had a knack for chasing me with barrettes that she liked to jab into my big 80s style hair.

But alas – the humidity takes hold and her hair does what it wants to do – no matter how much time or product we’ve put into the effort.

I’m convinced the same is true of my body.

While I’m not a mass of curls – I’m certainly jiggly in certain locations and a bit flabby in others.  Yet, when I run, I can feel and even see muscles in places they’ve never been before. I feel strong and capable. I no longer huff and puff but manage to sometimes sing along with the iPod during portions of my run. My butt seems less wiggly and other parts seem firmer. My body has become, while not on par with that of an elite athlete, somewhat fit. And it feels good.

And then a few hours later, the magic of all the effort and sweat has somehow worn away. Sure I could take off running in a blink….but as I pass by a mirror, I catch a glance of someone who definitely does not look like she runs. The muscles have tucked themselves away behind curtains of bumps and curves and any proof that I was capable of participating in any sports seems to have gone the way of my daughter’s neatly combed tresses.

I’m sure it must be the humidity.

Perhaps I should apply the grandma logic – that is to tackle the problem head-on constantly.  Comb, rest, repeat.  Run, rest, repeat. Yet constant combing and constant running both seem a bit illogical and quite impossible.

I think I’ll stick to our current schedules for both hair (2x a day) and runs (4x a week). We’ve both seen flashes of success with this pattern. And maybe one day K’s hair will be mostly tame and my body will be mostly fit.

Stupid humidity.

 

Not that kind of psychologist….

Got my new t-shirt from Cafe Press today.  Love it!  Two truths related to the shirt: a) I actually am a psychologist and 2) I’m not that kind of psychologist.  Not everyone who gets advanced degrees in psychology listens to your problems.  (For the record, my degrees are in developmental psychology – I study how kids think – and I teach college psychology classes part-time. So while I might seem nice – I’m not licensed in any way to dispense “official” advice.)

Nevertheless, I do love my shirt. At the end of my runs, I not only feel better physically but mentally as well. This week’s runs were particularly good. Hoping next week is as good.

Crafting a run

Sometimes I wish I had picked a sport where you can sit down while working out.

Like rowing for example – lots of leg and arm workouts but you get to sit. (Wait…see “scar on bottom of left foot” and “6th grade biology canoe trip” to recall why this is not the sport for me.)

Okay – how about biking? I’m always lapped by cyclists as I run and I think….man they get to sit down.  (Oops – just remembered the great bike accident of 1998 involving fire ants and an ambulance ride….never mind.)

Sometimes my legs just want a break.  Just a chance to park my maximum gluteus maximus…if you know what I mean.  Then again – if I keep running, perhaps my maximus can be a bit closer to “minimus”.

I lumbered this morning through nearly 3 miles.  You honestly can’t characterize my “run” as a “run” today….waited too late in the morning and the heat was unbearable.  I have no idea how people run Badwater….more power to those ultra-amazing people who can do it – or even think about trying it.  I know I’m never meant for feats of that type….temps over 80 and I’m only happy if I’m at the beach with a drink in hand.

But as I struggled to get back home this morning, I was thinking about how running demands that your body create forward movement whole cloth. No tools, no equipment, just you and your body doing all the work….which oddly enough made me think of knitting.

I taught myself to knit back when my first nephew was born. I figured I could be the cool crafty aunt (yeah yeah in many circles “cool” and “crafty” don’t go together….)  Anyway – 10 years later and I’m not too bad at knitting. You only need yarn and 2 needles (4 if you’re making socks) and it travels well (unless TSA sees the needles in your carry-on).  There’s ways you can be really fancy with your knitting stitches or you can just do the simple purl/knit combos.  Even with the simple stitches – people can be amazed by what you put together.

And like running -you are literally creating it whole cloth. Taking strands of string bundled together in the form of yarn and essential loop it together to make fabric. You only need your feet to move and you can put together many miles. Start with very little and get a lot out of it.

Much like my running style – I’m a straightforward, simple knitter.  A blanket, scarf, or a washcloth is usually my plan. Why?  Cause they are easy to tackle. Knock out a few washcloths in a week – then put together a scarf. Pump out a few 3 miles days in the week and work your way up to a 6 miler. I’ve made one or two baby sweaters….you need to knit the sleeves, then the back, then the front, then sew them together.  Ugh. The multiple steps involved usually give me pause. It seems too overwhelming – much like the idea of repeats, hills and fartleks give me a headache. I want to get there….but straightforward and simple makes so much more sense and I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something.

I’m going to be sure to pack well when we head out for our family trip in 2 weeks.  Running shoes and clothes as well as some yarn and knitting needles. Accomplishments mixed with family fun. How blessed I truly am.

 

I’m actually enjoying this running thing…

Monday’s run of almost 3 miles was hot. Florida hot and Florida humid. And that was at 6 am. The air was heavy, my legs felt weak for a while. But I kept going and worked out the kinks for the most part. I keep telling myself that the “humidity training” will pay off…someday.  The same thing happened this morning….another humid morning….and just over 2 miles.  And kinks in the right knee to start with.  But I just kept working it out.

But the thing that struck me about both runs were that they just felt right. Not right as in buckets of sweat are enjoyable. Not right that I wouldn’t have preferred to stay in bed snuggled next to my husband. But right in that running is something I *gulp* like to do, despite the humidity and the sweat and the thin line separating the two. I really enjoy pushing the pavement and being active.  Something I really didn’t expect, I must confess.

When I started this journey, I was following the Couch to 5K program.  (I recommend it – it’s really well done.) And I was woefully bad at this whole moving forward thing.

Around week 3 of the program – I had a horrible day. The app I used to keep track of my progress allowed for Facebook posts. So that day I posted my completion of that day’s run and commented something to the effect of “is this what running is about? Cursing, crying and praying all the way home?” I was rather miserable about it all. The specifics of why that run was so bad escape me now. I just remember thinking I’d never get up the mild incline in my flat neighborhood….I was out of shape and in a bad mood.

Much to my surprise, I had many facebook friends comment that “it’s okay if you quit this running thing.” What???  The comments kept coming…friends (both runners and nonrunners) were posting their permission (and encouragement) for me to give up after only 7 days of trying. Really?  Our daughter is a picky picky eater…so we are well aware of the rule that you need to try a food about 12 times before you really decide if you like it.  So if it takes that long to develop tastes, how can I decide about running so quickly?

Frankly – their reactions really torqued me off. So I seethed a little bit to myself (and vented to my husband)…and I came to the stereotypical moment of “Well, I’ll show them.” Inspiration to continue as a result of being pissed off at well-meaning friends.

Frankly I’m glad I didn’t listen to them. I don’t truly know if they wanted me to quit or just thought that was the validation I was seeking with my comment. (I wasn’t – I was just grumbling for the moment.) So maybe it was better that they said what they did…..and that I got mad and hung in there. Cause otherwise I wouldn’t have had such enjoyable mornings all these months later.

Speed Queen

I am not. A Speed Queen, that is. I’m not even a zippy lady-in-waiting.

Yesterday I cheered and quietly sobbed as our family watched the last liftoff of a NASA space shuttle. (Godspeed, Atlantis.) While I was struck by the power and wonder of those giant rockets, I was mesmerized by the counter at the bottom of the tv screen which indicated the ever increasing speed of the shuttle. Amazingly fast.  (on a side note – did you know they have treadmills in the International space station?  The newest is named for Stephen Colbert!)

Here on earth, bounded by gravity and the lack of a propulsion pack, I managed 6 miles at an average of 13 min/miles this morning. (Remember – I take walk breaks!).  I was proud of my 1 hour and 18 min trek until later when my husband ran 8 miles in ten minutes less than that.  Showoff.  🙂

But seriously –  I am slow. And I can live with that….for now. Sure I’ve hit the mark of an 8 min mile….for a few seconds here and there. But my pace is more what many “real runners” call “jogging” rather than running. Right now I’m trying to build my endurance more than anything. I know my limits.  But of course I sometimes wish I were faster. Often I think to myself, “If you were faster you’d be back home by now.” (Of course I sometimes pass this really nice house down the road from ours where I think, “If y’all were rich, you’d be home here right now.”)

Jeff Galloway recently tweeted that “Speed is mostly for the ego…but there’s nothing wrong with a weekly ego boost.” I’m not so sure that I go even fast enough for an ego blip now and again. But I would really enjoy that ego boost sometime. And the ability to outrun and zombies who are out before 7am is a handy skill I’d like to have.

I’d like to blame part of my pace on the Florida temps and humidity. Galloway has a prediction tool for races based on training and “magic miles” – but he includes a caveat that you “slow down by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degree temp increase above 60F.”  So if you move around the numbers and the decimal points…I could manage a 6 min mile if the temperature were 35F.  Or something like that….I’m bad at math.  😉

Nevertheless….I intend to get there…to a faster pace that is….not cause I want to win a race….but for the same reason our NASA space program was inspired all those years ago – because it is hard.  As then President Kennedy said in 1962, “…We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Godspeed fellow runners…..

 

(On an unrelated but connected point – there is a Speed Queen in our house….I love my Speed Queen washing machine. When our old machine died a few months back, I researched for a long time and found this brand. If you love the environment but really prefer to have a machine that cleans your running clothes well…..definitely check out these machines. Last forever and they don’t use front load tricks, mind-waves, and just a tablespoon of water to clean your clothes….they are very very efficient and keep up well with loads of stinky workout clothes. And American made!)


3 miles of musings….

 

FL humidity getting worse….but I still slogged it out today at about 7:30 am. Clearly I need to get back to the 5 am slot … maybe…

Yesterday I started reading “Mile Markers” by Kristin Armstrong. I’ve read a few of her blog posts at Runner’s World and am drawn to her beautiful phrases. This book is a nice way for someone new to her blog to get a great read on her style and thoughts.

One of the topics she writes about is how friendship and running go hand in hand in her world. Most (all?) of her runs are with her girlfriends and those in her running group.

I pondered this as I pounded out 3 miles by myself this morning. As usual.

I’ve been running since February and the only times I’ve had others running next to me in the same direction was when I ran the 5K IronGirl and one day when I ran with my husband. (To his credit he never complained about my pace but cheered me on instead…)

I’m sure I’m not a complete oddity in the running culture. In fact I see lots of solitary runners as I’m out there in the morning. Maybe it’s the geographical constraints of where I run – but not many running groups frequent our neck of the suburbs.  Well – there are a few on Saturday mornings…but not many. So I’m used to seeing lone wolves like myself and the occasional pair of walkers.

As a worrywart, I naturally opted to worry about whether running alone is a bad thing. Ha. Well, I wasn’t really worried. But as I ran, I thought about why it is that I run alone.

  • I’m an introvert. I find strength in time spent by myself, reenergizing myself when I can focus on not interacting with others.
  • I never really plan my runs…I like to determine my path as I go…not necessarily retracing the exact 3 mile route I did last time. That would drive other people NUTS. I have a general idea – but the details fall into place as I go….which sort of describes how I do a lot of things.
  • I worry….about my pace, my stamina, how fast everyone else is…I’m not sure how I would stack up against other runners. I know for sure that I can’t keep up with my husband and his typical 8 min miles. But I imagine that most of my friends, while not that fast, are at least closer to Steve’s pace than mine!  I don’t know what I want people to be upset with having to slow down to be with me. That and the whole, I doubt I can talk and run at the same time without falling…
  • I do a lot of internal work while keeping the feet going. I like to listen to music without the kids demanding their favorite songs. I “write” ideas for this blog and other bits of writing projects. Lots of heavy cognitive processing.
  • Sometimes I just “fit” in the run when I can….which makes planning ahead with someone else’s schedule difficult.

But maybe I’m missing out on something….an external prompter to keep me going when I want to turn around early. A friend to share those heavy cognitive thoughts with. Someone to push me beyond my comfort zone.

I’m not opposed to running alongside a friend…I just haven’t sought out that opportunity yet…so while friendship is an active aspect of some people’s running, I wonder when I’ll catch up with that…