Friday, January 31, 2014

I Don't Want What I Want?

I read a lot.  A lot, a lot.  All the time.  I love to read and I love reading new things - blogs, articles, books, journals, even menus.  (Love a good menu!)  The downside to reading so much is that sometimes I read something that sticks with me, but then I can't remember where I read it.  So when I want to quote it, I am ashamed to have to admit that I have no earthly clue who wrote it.  I am about to do so, so apologies to whomever I am about to rip off.   I promise that if it comes to me, I will credit you!


I was reading........... something......... the other day.  A book, I'm pretty sure, and the author (who I am 99% convinced was a woman) made the point that while it's easy for you to say "I want X," if everything you're doing is not in pursuit of X, then what you really want is something else.  

It's a very basic, very simple truth - and yet it's so profoundly huge that it makes me want to cringe.

I often think that I want to be better.  Stronger.  Faster.  More agile.  More physically capable.  Yet, apparently what I really want, is to be lazy and overweight.  Because, really, that's what my actions are screaming to the world.  My crazy muffin obsession over the past two months.  My protestations that it's too cold to run outside, and that I don't like going to the gym.  My inability to stick with a workout DVD for more than two days. My total denial regarding my increasing weight gain. (My muffin top to go with my muffin obsession.)

"I want to be healthy and strong and fierce."    Do you?  Do you, really?  Or do you want to melt into the background and stuff your face with sugar and do none of the hard work that it would actually require to get you where you "want" to be?

Erica from Wornout Soles wrote today that "Hope is not a strategy."   (Ok, sometimes I remember where I read things!)   This thought goes along with the saying on my favorite Nike t-shirt.  "Dreams don't work unless you do."

I can't sit on the couch stuffing my face and magically be thin and strong.  I know that.  I am not an idiot.  Yet apparently, I don't care.  Somehow, what I want right now is to eat crappy food and be lazy and feel bad about myself.    What the hell is that about??

In 2005, shortly after I got married, I quit smoking.  12 year habit that I'd had since high school, done.  I just stopped.  I told myself I wasn't going to smoke any more, and that was it.  (Full disclosure, I did have half a cigarette a few months later, on New Years Eve  but I was drunk and it tasted like crap which reinforced my whole "I will never smoke again" policy, and I have not even touched a cigarette since then.)  I mention this to point out that I can do hard things.  I can make smart decisions about my body and my health, and I can stick to them.  So what the heck?  Why is getting physically stronger not something that I can make the decision to do?  Are muffins really that good?  (Ok, trick question, because, duh.  Muffins!)  

Right now, my "I want" statement is geared towards food and laziness.  I need to find a way to kick it into healthfulness and gee, I don't know, running? Never mind the races that I've paid for and that I have coming up in a few months - this is more about my life, as whole, the kind of  example I want to set for my kids, and the kind of person I want to be.  Or, should I say, I think I want to be.  Want, it seems is trickier than it, well, seems.

Darn you, author whose name I can't recall.  (See what trouble reading can get you into?)

What do you want? Are you working towards it? 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snitches Get Stitches

Today makes 14 days since my last run.  I don't want to talk about it.   I have a cold that makes me feel like I have glass in my throat, my nose won't stop running, and I'm cranky about the weather. So let's not talk about my lack of running, mmmkay?

My Runners World showed up in the mail the other day, and though lately I've been losing interest in the magazine (since I feel like I'm not really the kind of runner that they're targeting), there were a few good articles in this month's issue.

One article, in particular, caught my eye.

Though my last half marathon was ultimately brought to ruin by an upset stomach and an urgently needed stop at a porta-potty, before my innards decided to revolt, I was struck by the dreaded Side Stitch.  Last year, I was plagued by side stitches a few times.  I thought I knew what caused them and how to handle them when they occurred.  But this article proved, once again, that I don't know much about much.

Did you know that ". . . just 10 minutes of core-strengthening exercises, like planks and donkey kicks, three times a week . . . can strengthen weak diaphragm muscles, making them more resilient to fatigue and less likely to cramp?"   You did?  Well, why the hell didn't you tell ME??  Jeez!  ;-)

The article also mentions that food can cause side stitches, as well as irregular breathing - that one, I knew.  See? I know stuff.  

If you want to read the rest of the article, check out the March 2014 issue of Runner's World, or you can do a Google search for general information.  (Am I helpful today, or what?!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a box of tissues, some tea, and whatever carbs we have in the house.  Haaaaa-choooo!!!!  

**The title of this post was meant as a joke, but the reality is that witness intimidation is no laughing matter.  If you do see a crime, report it.  If you're afraid of retaliation, ask for help from the authorities.   I may have been binge-watching Law & Order: SVU lately.  Don't judge. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just.... Dance?

Yesterday was another non-running day for me, for a variety of reasons.  I did another 20 minutes of the kickboxing dvd from Friday, and then in the afternoon we all headed into the basement for a little Xbox/Kinect fun.

Usually, Xbox time is the kids' Papa time.  (Papa = my husband)  But yesterday I decided we needed some family time, so we put in this gem: 

For those not familiar with the game, it's pretty simple.  You pick a song and then you imitate the dancers on screen.  The more accurate your movements, the more points you get.  Whoever gets the most points, wins.  

As I mentioned when I talked about the kickboxing dvd, I'm not always very coordinated and sometimes have trouble following along when movements are fast paced.  You'd think, then, that I would be terrible at this game.  Well, yes.  And no.  It's unfairly easy to "win" when playing against a 4 year old and a 6 year old. Though, to be fair, I did also beat my husband, so maybe I'm not as uncoordinated as I think. LOL  

After an hour or so of playing, I was exhausted and sweaty.  It also dawned on me that I'd just done more cardio playing with my kids than I had done doing my actual exercise dvd earlier.  I made the comment to my husband that it was a good workout, and he pointed out to me that there's actually a portion of the game that is set up to BE a workout.  

Even though I didn't specifically set a New Year's Resolution this year, I'm starting to realize that what I really want to promise myself is that I'm just going to move more.   

After all, I like to move it, move it.  Do you? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quick Fix

I hate to exercise.  I have workout videos, I have a gym membership and personal trainer sessions at said gym.  Due to my aforementioned hatred of exercise, though, all of those go unused.  I've been lying to myself, saying that it's ok, because I run.  But my running's not getting any better.  And the number on my scale is moving upwards instead of down.   So, really, I need to exercise.

My son has been going to Tae Kwon Do classes for the past 5 months or so, and every time I go with him, I think to myself "Wow, these kids are really getting a workout!"  I can't afford my own Tae Kwon Do classes (nor am I willing to publicly humiliate myself by being unable to do things that a 6 year old can do), so I decided to troll the internet for a kickboxing dvd that would whip me into shape.

I had vague memories of some guy named Billy that used to yell at my housemate in college.  You might have heard of him?

But that guys scares me, and I was looking for a more gentler introduction to the world of kickboxing.  I did an amazon search for "easy kickboxing dvd" (or something to that effect) and came up with this: 

It arrived in the mail last week and sat, unopened, on my computer desk, taunting me.  Today, I put on my yoga pants and popped it into the dvd played while my daughter sat on the couch, watching.  

I loved it!  I only did 2 of the 10 minute segments today (upper and lower body - the 3rd is core, I think), but I enjoyed it, and while it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done, it got me sweaty and feeling like I was actually doing something, so I call that a win.   

I had a little trouble following along with some of the parts of the 2nd segment - I've always had trouble following along to fast-tempo leg movement.  I said "Ugh, I don't know why I can't get this!" and my daughter (who is 4, mind you) said "Maybe it's because it's your first time?"    Love. Her.   

So from now on, on the days that I don't run (and maybe even the days that I do!), I'll be trying to banish my uncoordinatedness (I made that up just now, you're welcome) and working on my uppercut.    Next time, though, I'll wear less clothing.  It's one thing to wear long pants when you're out running in the winter.  But indoors, with the heat on, doing this dvd?  Soo not necessary.  

Have you ever tried kickboxing?  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Polar Vortex Of DOOOOM

Oh, my.  Winter, what did I ever do to you?  Why are you treating me this way?

I live in Maryland.  While it's not really The South, it's technically south.  Under the Mason Dixon, hot sweaty summers, and wimpy winters.  That's what I've gotten used to over the past 17 years.  Oh, sure, we've had a few crazy winters where we've gotten a couple feet of snow.  But even then, I feel like it wasn't really THAT cold out.  No big.

This year?  Holy buggers.  It was 50 the other day here.  Which, honestly, is what I expect in January in Maryland.  A few random days of fairly warm.  50 I can do.  Heck, 30 I can do.  1 degree with a feels like temp of -16? No freaking thank you!

Really and truly, the weather wouldn't bother me if I weren't a runner.  I mean, we have a good heat pump, the kids play nicely with each other, so having them home from school is not a big deal, and it's not like I have a job to get to, so even the conditions of the roads don't bother me.  (Except I do worry about my husband)  But when there is snow covering the roads and it's hardening to ice, when it's so cold that you could get frostbite.... Well, I'm not going running, I'll tell you that much.

I'm a wimp.  I will freely admit that.  Wimpy wimpy wimp.  I am not ashamed.  What I am, though, is a little cranky.  Because no running AND no Starbucks?  Recipe for disaster.

If I'm lucky, they'll clear the roads today and the kids can get to school tomorrow, and I'll be able to find somewhere safe to run.  It's supposed to be a lot warmer tomorrow.  I think it might even get over 25.  (I'm crying  here, people.  I am not cut out for this!)  

At least it's pretty.  

Do you run no matter what the weather?  What do you do when you can't run?  Ever think of starting a Starbucks delivery service? =)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Yesterday was kind of a strange day.  I slept in, as is my prerogative on Saturdays, and when I woke up I didn't much feel like doing anything.  My husband was in super "I want to be productive!" mode, so I helped clean a bit, then got a call from my brother and headed to his house to help him out with something.

When I got back we all had lunch, and I still didn't feel like doing much of anything.  I was planning on going for a run, and felt it was important that I didn't skip it, because I was dedicating my miles to the memory of Meg Menzies, a local(ish) runner who was killed by a drunk driver.   But I felt I could do it "later"  - for some reason, I was just content to kind of "chill."

When the kids went up for naptime, my husband said he was going to run some errands and offered to pick me up some Starbucks.  I took this as a sign that a restful, do-nothing day was exactly what I was supposed to be having.  So I just watched t.v. and was basically being a slug.  Around 3:00, my husband commented that maybe we should go out somewhere when the kids got up.  So I agreed and headed upstairs to (finally) take a shower.  A few minutes later, I heard the door bell.  Then whispering.   I looked, and there stood one of my oldest family friends, and her daughter.

"Happy Birthday!"  

Uh.... what?  They helped my husband start decorating my house as I just flapped around, confused.  Then the doorbell rang again.  And again.  And again.

My wonderful, sneaky, crazy husband managed to plan a surprise birthday party for me all while I was completely oblivious, then he (practically single-handedly) cleaned the whole house while I sat on my butt drinking Starbucks and then even managed to get me to take a shower and get dressed .... just in time for people to show up.

It was an awesome party.  I cannot remember the last time I felt so loved - nor the last time I had quite so many glasses of wine!  

The hat says "Birthday Princess."  Yup, that's me! 

At first, my husband had the 5 and the 3 backwards.  Not funny, smartypants! 

As the last of the guests were leaving, it dawned on me that I hadn't gone for my run.  I didn't get in my "Miles for Meg."   But then I realized that what I had done was much more important, and, truthfully, probably something that Meg would have rather done, too.  I spent time with my family and friends, celebrating life.  

My heart still goes out to Meg's family, of course, and to all the families of people who have been lost due to drunk driving (or any other reason).  Yesterday was just a good reminder to spend time with those you love, and to enjoy each day as much as you can.  Also, to get off your  butt and help when your husband is cleaning, because you never know who might be stopping by later! ;-)

Also, had I known people were coming, I would have cleaned off the fridge! LOL

Do you like surprise parties?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eat & Run

Have you ever heard "Well, I hate to eat and run, but..."   Yeah, well, I hate to eat and run, too.  Mostly because it's awkward, but also because I have yet to find race fuel that does not become, well, for a lack of a better term, rocket fuel that propels itself out of my butt.  (I'm such a poet, aren't I?  Sorry, mom.) 

In my training last year, I tried the following:

Sport Beans


Honey Stinger Organic Waffle

During training, I tried out all of these individually - in races, I've used either just one, or a combination, but I've never run a race without GU.  Unfortunately, I think that GU is the biggest culprit in my ... uh ... tummy troubles.   Taste and texture-wise, the waffles are my favorite.  They're more like actual food.  GU is kind of snot-y in texture, and the Sports Beans are just like jelly beans, which can be hard to chew while you're trying to run.  

This year, I need to log a lot of miles.  I also need to be able to log those miles without making a ton of pit stops.  SO... I need to get this fueling thing figured out, ASAP.  

My last half marathon was slow and shitty (pun intended - ew!), and I just can't go through that again.  So, no more GU for me, and I'll see if that helps.  

Anyone else have this issue?  What have you done that helps? 


Monday, January 13, 2014

T-Minus 7 Days

So, next week, this really weird thing is happening.  I'm not sure if it's a good thing, or a bad thing, or just a thing.  I'm reserving judgment.  What is this "thing," you ask?  Well.  If you must know.

I'll  be turning. . .


I'm pretty sure that, had you asked 16 year old me, this is not what my life would have looked like at a week shy of 35.  I'm not some high-powered business lady.  I don't have a collection of suits and stiletto heels.  I don't live in a high rise apartment, alone - and I certainly don't have the figure that I was "supposed" to.   

16 year old me never would have imagined 2 kids, a mortgage, a husband, a dog, and no job.  "Stay-at-home-mom" wasn't even in my vocabulary.  And running?  What the hell is that all about? People do that?  For FUN?  Weirdness. 

Yet here I am, on the verge of being half of 70 (or, part of 80, since that's what my husband and I will be this year if you add our ages together!), and I'm a mom, a wife, a runner, a homeowner, and a homemaker.  (Though, truthfully, Martha Stewart would laugh her ass off at that one.  Pinterest Perfect, my home is NOT.) 


Still.  My life is pretty cool.  And 2014 (and therefore, being 35) is going to bring some pretty amazing things - a few fun trips, some races, meeting some of my crazy "internet friends," etc.  And I know that just a few years ago, none of it would have been possible.   So...  I guess this "thing" that's happening next week?  I think I'm kinda thrilled about it.  =)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

North Coast 24 Hour Endurance Run

A few weeks ago, after a brief rapid-fire texting session with my friend L, I signed up for the North Coast 24 Hour Endurance Run (NC 24). 

 For those who are not familiar, it's a race in which participants run in a loop for 24 hours (or however long they can manage!).  Whomever runs the most laps in the 24 hour period wins.  They used to have a 12 hour version (which I will freely admit that I would prefer), but this year it's just the 24 hour one. 

Anyone familiar with my running history could easily question my sanity in signing up for this race. While I have gotten some good-natured teasing (I did once very vehemently and publicly protest that I would never, ever sign up for any longer races, such as a half marathon!), I have gotten nothing but support from my friends and family.  In other words, they're keeping their doubts and eye rolls to themselves.  (Thanks, guys!) 

Last year, an awesome woman named Sue won NC24 by finishing with 125 miles.  Some others that I know have participated and finished with 83 miles, 89 miles, 100 miles, etc.  I am not aiming quite that high. LOL  Actually, at this point, I do not have a mileage goal.  I figure I'll set a goal this summer, once I have a better idea of my training at that point.  The race is on my father's 60th birthday, so in my head I'm thinking 60 would be a great number - but whether that's 60 miles or 60 kilometers, I have no idea. LOL  

Today I woke up not feeling well and the weather is crappy, so I'm dragging my feet on going for a run.  I can't do that for long.  September may be a long way away, but I have a LOT of training to do if I don't want to embarrass the crap out of myself (or crap myself!) in Cleveland.  

Not to mention, I have a 10 mile race and a half marathon coming up in the spring.  I have plenty of negative thoughts bouncing around in my head, but I'm trying really hard to squash them.  It helps when my mom posts things like this on my Facebook page: 

(My mom posted this with a comment that said, "Diana, this is you!")

251 days.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Look Ahead

So, what do runners do when it's too freaking cold to run?  Why, we look for races to sign up for, of course!

A friend of mine and I were talking about races that I've signed up for in 2014 and she commented that it didn't seem like a lot.  I thought about it and realized that I didn't think it was very many, either, and maybe I needed to look around and see if I couldn't find a few more to sign up for.

Of course, going online I found about 80 that I could sign up for.

For reference, let's first look at the races that I'm already planning on running:

April 5th - Some 5K that I don't know the name of that some friends are running for charity
April 6th - Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
May 4th - Technology Trot (put on by my son's school)
June 8th - Another 5K that I don't know the name of that my friend is organizing
Sept 20-21st - North Coast 24 (Oh, did I not mention that I'm running a 24 hour endurance race? Yeah, we'll talk about that later)

Ok, so that's five races.  Incidentally, that's as many as I ran last year, after two DNSs.  (Also, I will have one DNS this year - the Rock N Roll half marathon in New Orleans next month)  In any case, 5 races is fine, it's respectable, right?  Especially considering that NC24 is one mama-jama race all by itself.   But it still felt kind of blah, so I was looking around online.

Found a couple 5Ks that I could do, but nothing that was getting me excited.  Then I stumbled upon the St. Michael's Running Festival.    Um.... yes, please!  13.1 on a flat, fast course with gorgeous scenery and a small town feel?  I'm in!

So now I'm up to 6 races, and will probably run the Frederick Women's Distance 5K again, too, and that's in August, so that'll put me at 7.  Not too shabby.  

Now I just need it to warm up to at least 20 degrees so I can go run and actually train for some of these things! =)

How about you? Do you already have your race schedule figured out for 2014? 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Well, Looky There!

Instead of being all sloth-like and lounging around in my pajamas woe-is-me-ing today, I actually managed to be productive.  My daughter and I packed up all of our Christmas stuff  (ok, fine - I packed up all our Christmas stuff, she danced around spreading tinsel all over the place), and then I managed to get a domain name and get a new look for my blog all. by. myself.   (If you knew how TRULY technologically impaired I am, you would be VERY proud of me.  For reals.) 

Of course, I'm still way behind on a million other projects, and I haven't taken a single running step since... uh...... Wednesday?  Thursday?  But, seriously, details.  The kids are FINALLY back in school (picture me doing a happy dance, because I am freaking Snoopy over here!) so tomorrow (if there's not a negative sign in front of the windchill number), I will be able to run again.  So let's not worry about my couch-potato-ness becoming a thing.   It's not. It won't.  It's fiiiinnnneeee.  Promise. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am entirely exhausted from being so fabulous today, and I need a nap.  Ok, not really, it's just time to give my daughter a bath, but you didn't really need to know that, now did you? 

Happy. Dance. 

Blog Blahs

ETA: Blog has been updated as of about 5pm EST. I like it now, but of course still welcome any and all suggestions. Unless they're rude. ;-)

For someone as technologically ignorant as I can be, starting a blog may not have been the brightest idea.  But, a year later, I'm still here, so I guess I'll soldier on.  =)  My current problem is that I don't like the way my blog looks - yet I have no idea what to do about it.  I don't know enough to design something on my own, and everywhere I've looked to have someone else design it for me, it's either ghastly expensive or the layouts are so..... girlie!

I realize that women probably blog a lot more than men - we do, after all, seem to like to talk more, and share more.  But still.  Not all of us are the swirly script and roses type.  Most of the blogs I read have layouts that are seemingly fitting for the particular writer behind the blog, so I know you guys (gals) must have some insight here.

Help me out.  I need a makeover.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

That's sick!

Last January, I started this blog because I was sick, and I figured if I couldn't run, I could at least talk about running.

Guess what? Apparently it's to be a repeat performance. :-( 

Sinus infection. It started before Christmas and then I felt better for a few days, but now it's back again in full force. While it's not exactly keeping me from running (icy roads are currently doing that), it is making me a grumpy

Last night I had a short reprieve when hubby and I went out for drinks and tapas with some friends from his Lodge, but I woke up feeling worse today. Bah humbug. 

I think Mother Nature is grumpy right now, too - what's up with the giant bitchslap she's delivering to the midwest right now? Brrrr!

I'm not cut out for winter. I was born in Mississippi, for goodness sake. 

Anyway, enough bitching. I need to rest up, feel better, and get out there! Lots to do this year. 

How's 2014 treating YOU so far?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New You! (Or something)

In 2013, I joined an online game called 2013in2013 - it's an ongoing game on the message boards of Runners World where teams compete against each other for the highest mileage each week.  In order to get placed on a team, you have to say what your goal mileage is for the year.  I wanted to pick 650, but got talked into 750, being told it would be totally easy and doable.  Sure. No big.  

If you read my blog with any regularity (or caught it earlier this week), you'll know that 750 did not happen for me.  My teammates didn't mind, they were very supportive, but in the back of my head was the little voice reminding me that I'd failed at something.  I mostly ignore that voice, because, dude, that girl is a BITCH, but, still.  So a few days ago, I decided that even though I would not be joining 2014in2014, I still "needed" a goal for the year.  So I picked 750 again, thinking I needed some kind of re-match.  (Yes, against an arbitrary number, in my head.  I never said I made sense!)  

Then, I read Jan's post and these words really resonated with me: 

When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.

Talk about mind-blowing.  I'd never thought about it that way.  Instead of setting an arbitrary goal of x amount of miles, maybe just focus on running?  Each day? Maybe be pleased with an individual run instead of thinking about in terms of how much closer it's gotten me to my goal? 


So, no goal for me this year.  I went onto Running Ahead, where I keep my running log (highly recommend this website, by the way) and deleted my Goal widget.  No more little box telling me how much further I had to run, no more feeling badly if the pace bunny is ahead of me.  How freeing! 

I do know that I'll be participating in a few races/events this year, so of course I'll be doing some kind of training and trying to hold myself accountable for that, but I really think that not having an overall goal for the year is going to help me stay positive.  We'll see. 

By the way........ anyone else having trouble with the whole 2014 thing? Where are the flying cars? How did I get so old? LOL   Happy New Year!