Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Exercise of High Emotion

No Jogging Here.

I was standing in my Room of Mediation, washing my hair, when I had an epiphany.  I was the weird kid. (Some of you are saying, she's only getting this just now?)  I was thinking about my own kids and the particular sturm und drang of my eldest daughter.  She is ALL DRAMA all the time, where as my youngest is mostly easy going.  Volunteering in their classes you see the panoply of kids that inhabit the classrooms.  I am happy to say that my kids are not on the edges of the behavioral bell curve.  Parenting Success! Level up!

Some kids though are just weird.  There is the smart weird:  these kids are off in their own worlds and finish their work through snatches of focus.  There is weird weird: the kid who thinks nothing of trying to fit 5 pencil top erasers up his nose, just to see if it can be done.

I am pretty sure I was smart weird, but not 100% sure.  I tried fitting a whole sleeve of saltines in my mouth once just to see if I could whistle with a mouthful.  I regularly poured glue all over my hands to make them look wrinkled like old ladies' hands.  I didn't play Dungeons and Dragons, I played the knock off Christian version, DragonRaid, and I liked it.  I contemplated learning the base clarinet because I thought it might be my ticket to "coolness".  Who thinks like that?

In 9th grade we had those "career guidance" tests?  Amid the cops, physical therapists and engineers, mine said "philosopher".  That should have pegged the weird meter.  Now that I am an adult and my weirdness is charmingly quirky.  It's part sf nerd, part book nerd, part self deprecation  but I have got to think that at some point a teacher or helper looked at me and thought, "Man, that is one weird kid."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A New 5 K

We have begun running with the Kiddos and training for Race the Reserve.  It is humbling to go running with the under 12 set.  They have taken to running with a enthusiasm that makes me wonder how they sprang from my loins.  The Littlest is Mutant Running Child, running behind her is like watching the Road Runner run past you.  I expect to her her say "Beep Beep" and run into a tunnel that turns into a cliff face for me.

The Boy Runs along like a human, a good pace - exerting himself but bopping along easily.  Eldest Girl also bops along but she is not exerting herself - she doesn't flush or breath hard.  I know she'd be up there with her siblings but is content to trot next to me, running is the new social experience.

The Adoptees - Soul Sister's children with us for a week - are taking to the run with good grace.  Her Son is a cub scout buddy with my Boy, they lope along together. Her Girl is accepting enough or the situation but is looking forward to The End.  I know the feeling.  After every run segment she asks, "Is it The End yet?"

At last I can stop telling her no and say, 'Nothing but walking now!"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Masakatsu Agatsu

True winning is winning against yourself:  so says my mom's favorite Japanese adage.  Well I won.  Dear Husband and I ran our 5K today - the South Whidbey Chum Run.  It has come at the end of a crazy busy week so it was a marathon just getting there.

We got to the check in and were immediate immersed in a sea of swarming fit people.  Alarmingly fit people, who were all smiling and walked by with bounces in their steps and the songs in their hearts practically pouring from their ears.

Dear Husband and I received our numbers and being a race newbie I ripped off the perforated tag on the bottom.  Noticing that every one of the other bouncy people still had their on their race numbers I shrugged and compounded my error by throwing the tag away.

Everyone lined up and some cheerful young kid from the local track team made everyone do a pre-race dance.  The horror. The horror.   I just wanted to get this going already.  I saw athletic friends who run it every year and grimaced at them.  At last we began and I started my run mix so I could catch my pace.  Holey Moley! we were running across the grass.  It was so bouncy and soft that I could barely run on it.  I just want to run on sweet sweet asphalt.  I fell to the back of the pack right away.

Into the woods we went and immediately started up a hill.  The story of my life.  Still, we were off turf and that was a blessing untold.  Hills oh the hills we kept climbing!  I kept my pace and was beginning to feel the first on set of whinyness.  This is the true runner's wall.  Your neck aches, your side gets a stitch, your mouth goes dry and the inner critic begins.  "Well just like school you're dead last - there goes the chubby girl running."  I remind myself that this is a "fun" run and the point is to finish.  Then the three year old passes me.

I remember the three year old.  He has been looping his mother in long parabolic arcs and then demands to be picked up.  His mother picks him up and manages to run a few steps and then sets him back down and he begins his orbit again.  Yeah - that's passing me.

Keep on trucking.  Look at the tree roots spray painted so you will not trip over them.  Keep running.  Ignore the friction on your inner thighs because you forgot your running tights.  Try to block the mental picture of your blinding white legs shown in all their glory.  Up hill around the tree.  Keep going.  Then the grandmas pass me.

Two grandmas, half running half speed walking, pass me on an incline.  They haven't broke a sweat and are chatting as I labor on.  Onward I go - all that matters is finishing.

I pass grandmas as they walk.  I pass three year old and mom.  I pass frisbee golfers.  Wait - What!?  The run is headed back down towards the park and I cross a party of frisbee golfers irritated that a slow fat (although not as fat as before I began this exercise thing) woman is running into the flight path of hole 6.

I am dressed all in blue and have a mental picture of Violet Beauregard being rolled away by Oompa Loompas.  Focus! Focus!   I see my mom and sister waving.  I am lapped by athletic people on their second loop and headed for the finish line.  1, 2, 3 they thunder past me as I keep at it.  7,8,9  there go some more.  I have not yet been lapped by anyone I know.  This is good.  I turn the corner and a large sign says finish ----> and a larger one says lap 2 --------> . I am cheered until I hit the lap two lane.

Us stragglers need extra cheering.  I think if you are in the last 10 runners in anything you should get your own personal cheering section.  Back to the turf.  Yikes!  Back to the trail.  I am still way far behind but I pass a few people who have not paced themselves and are doing a lot of walking now.

I have a feel for the trail now and am repeating on my running mix.  When I hit the sign that tells me I am 2/3 through I am so happy.  I feel alarmingly flushed but I still have plenty of wind.  The last 1/3 of the race seems to go by quickly.  I enter the finish corridor and run for everything I am worth.  48:32

The race ladies at the very end want me tag and don't even seem flummoxed that I have ripped it off and thrown it away.  I suck down water, and feel good that the three year old and the grannies didn't beat me.  Hooray I did it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now if Only I Can Kick the Birthday Cake Habit

According to the Dear Husband door to door was 4K, third fastest time.  Well, third fastest time for him, I think it overall must have been second fastest for me.  I was closer to him in the run than I usually am for longer than I usually am.

It is Sunny and Warm today edging on 70 degrees.  If this is what running in 70 degree weather is like, give me 65 and misting slightly.  I am a creature of dim libraries and early morning doughnuts, running in the warm sunshine is an acquired taste.  Down Jacobs to Rhodie Trail where we transitioned from shade to sun.  The Sun was at out backs and I was just about to the shady dip at the top of the Terry hill when Dear Husband turned around. I cast a longing glance at the shady trees when I turned and face to the sun had to run back the way I came.

Dear Husband and Soul Sister both can run wearing sunglasses, but I need every inch of my skin to sweat freely so I squinted into the glare and ran for the shade as fast as I could.  Sadly, I ran for the shade in my only slightly faster than normal stride.  Once I got out of the sun and felt my cave white flesh bathing in the shade ecstatically, I looked down Jacobs.  It seemed a lot longer going home than running up it.

Expecting my salsa music to carry me along, I instead got Long and Winding Road.

Wait . . wha happen?  Stupid Beatles cover. Long winding road that will never disappear? check.  The bitter tears I am crying? check.  Being left behind by my lover? check. Stupid Song.  Next Song:  Huey Lewis singing Oh Darlin'.  OK, still bitter tears but upbeat music and a nice guitar riff.  Why yes, you can still air guitar when you run, thanks for asking!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I missed posting Monday.  I ran, I gasped, I conquered.  We are now running for distance and time, so it is a slog each day we run.  Typically the midweek evening runs are the hardest and tonight was no exception.  We were about half way in the run when I rolled my ankle.  Not badly but, golly!, it hurts: ankles were not supposed to go sideways.

Still, that is not my big news this time around.  Oh no!  Dear Husband and I had finished our five minute opening walk I had gotten three steps in the actual jog when the girls got loose.  The jogging bra had unzipped itself and whee!  They may take our underwires, but they will never take our FREEDOM!!!
Of course it was really difficult getting the zipper up discretely.  Then I kept checking it all through the run sure that the zipper was sliding down.  It wasn't but I couldn't find a rhythm.  Then I rolled my ankle.  Sigh.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Same Every Verse

It was not an ideal run tonight.  I couldn't find my windbreaker and I didn't want my red hoodie to get wet from the rain so I bagged it and just went without.  This had the added factor of not having an easy place to squirrel away my extra headphone cordage.  It was bouncing around all the way down the road.  Plus, and I know I am being vain here to think anyone notices or cares, but my arms were out and I was thinking about the extra jiggle out in front of the world. Why anyone would care how toned my arms were after being blinded by the whiteness of my legs, I'm not sure.  Being honest here, it crossed my mind more than once.

The Dear Husband had nearly no enthusiasm for the run tonight either.  This is bad.  I could on his single minded tenacity to pull me out the door and down the road.  I have birthday cake in my fridge still.  It knows my name and calls to me hourly.  I put in my iPod to drown out the sound of birthday cake and the song that most encapsulated this whole running experience played.  It is from the kid music section of my discography.
There is a marvelous composer, Richard Perlmutter, who has added hilarious lyrics to little bits of classical music.  His albums, the Beethoven's Wig series, are so fun.  This time the song he wrote to Edvard Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King seemed apropos.  Here is the music I'm sure you'll recognize it:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Birthday Cake

It was Girl Child Segundus' birthday Saturday and her party on Sunday, and I had not one, but two pieces of birthday cake to run off today.  Birthday cake is my vice.  Oh and coffee.  OK, I read a lot of genre books and very few improving ones. But those three are all complimentary, it's hard to not want to enjoy all three at once.

I have a new accountability partner.   I invited Soul Sister to run on Mondays with Dear Husband.  I assured her that even though she is beginning her couch to 5K, she would be no problem keeping up because I run at a snail's pace.  This turned out to be true.  We began our 5K loop from Jacobs to Terry to Ft. Casey.  Dear Husband took off down the road as he always does; Soul Sister and I motivated down the road at a slower pace.  Finally, she hit a running portion of her program.  She bounded ahead with a long bouncy stride.  Uh oh.  I kept my pokey pace and caught up on her walk portion.  We tortoised and hared it all the way to Ft. Casey.

As we rounded past the Engle Farm the program timed out.  The sound of lowing cows filled the air and the scent of freshly manured fields filled out nostrils.  But hey!  It was sunny and the run was over.  We walked the rest of the way talking and laughing.  How wonderful.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Donde estas, Yolanda?

Que Paso, Yolanda

I gotta put more of Pink Martini's Sympathique in my running mix.  I'm always hunting for a good uptempo song to run to and I remembered this is fun dishwasher dancing music.  You know, the songs that make you dance in your kitchen while you empty the dishwasher - I know I'm not alone in doing this.  It has the added benefit of embarrassing 11 year old boys. If you can't move yourself to rumba music what can you move yourself too?

Te Busque, Yolanda

I found My iPod today!  It had been missing since December and I was using Helen's iPod shuffle this whole time.  I checked a purse I had checked at least 5 times before and lo and behold there it was happy and bemused that I had been looking for it this whole time.  "What me? I am not the iPod you want to take running! I have no clip - you might have to stick me somewhere where I'll get sweaty - no thanks!" I used it. It got sweaty.

Y No Estas, Yolanda

The rest of our program is less about run time as it is distance.  Two more 25 minute sessions then 28 minutes from here on out.  We are now running about 3K although we have done the 5K loop once.  Since I found my "sweet spot",  I thought I'd try and trick my body into thinking I was dropping to a walk but not actually doing it.  I started out with a faster pace and at 10 minutes dropped to my normal running -  slow creep forward - then kicked it up to the faster pace again after 3 minutes.  This worked pretty well into the second half of the run when I spat out my gum thinking that I was done needing it.  I immediate started choking on nothing.  It was a tough recovery after that.  I had Yolanda kick up on the playlist right as I got my rhythm back and finished the last 3 minutes to that rumba beat, complete with hand gestures.  I'd have had the children running away in shamed embarrassment.  As it was the dog gave me funny looks.  Well, I was pretty sure I looked like Carmen Miranda, if Carmen Miranda was overweight and fish belly white legs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Check In

I am so happy that it is not raining. It was supposed to be raining but instead it is somewhat sunny with heavy clouds on the horizon. This is a good thing as I was not eager to run 25 minutes in the rain. That's right. 25 whole minutes of constant running versus just constant motion.

I don't even really want to write this I am so tired. I didn't actually feel so tired until I sat down. I wish I had something fun to say. Mostly I just missed the 3 minute walk in the middle of the run.

That kitten, I know just how it feels.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Secret Handshake

Secrets Revealed!!

I have stuck with this running thing long enough that I may have wormed my way into the secret circle of genuine exercise enthusiasts. I know some of them read this blog, and after all my moaning one of them threw me a tip. Turns out gum helps with that horrible saliva filled dry mouth. I snagged a stick of Girl Child Prima's wacky watermelon and tore it in half. One: because I am cheap and figure if it works I can make a pack of gum last longer (Yes! I am that cheap! Don't you envy my Husband and Kids now?) Two: I was not entirely convinced I wouldn't choke on it and fall writhing to the ground, so a smaller piece seemed in order. It worked. Holey Cannoli! I may learn the secret handshake next and glean the no more wedgie secret - it better not be a thong.

Sweet Spot

I figured out my sweet spot running. (If sweet spot means I don't heave and gasp, my legs only moderately burn, and I feel a righteous glow afterwards instead of clammy shakes.) Run for 8+ minutes, short walk, run for 8+ minutes. I need the walking but the running is long enough that I find a good steady pace long enough my inner critic has to take a breath. True, my real sweet spot is in Krispy Kreme but they closed down the one in Mount Vernon and now I have no place to get a blueberry glazed. There is no justice.


I stayed close enough to Dear Husband today that I surprised him. I even was running ahead of him for a while that did not include the point where he turns around before I do. Then the Dog cut in front of me and I lost the faster pace. I am not sure how much longer I could have held it anyway, but I am blaming the Dog. It's one of the reasons you get a dog: that, eating sandwich corners, and barking at TV doorbells so you can laugh.

Playlist: God Be Merciful to Me - Jars of Clay, Come to the Cross, Healing Rain, Deep in Love with You - Michael W Smith, Suitcases - Dara Maclean, God Almighty - Chris Tomlin, Open Up the Sky - Deluge, Still Alive - Jonathan Colton

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tony Award

Sports Day in the Sinclair House

Wow. Never thought I'd say that. The Boy had baseball down in South Whidbey. The Girl Child Prima had a double header in soccer in Oak Harbor. Dear Husband and I began the next stage in the Running: First Blood the Opera: based on the stage play adapted from the novella by Stephen King. Girl Child Segundus got off scot free to jump endlessly on her cousin's trampoline. Boy Child was walked and stole home in his game. Girl Child found her skill set as a kick butt goalie, body checking the ball hard at least four times in the second half of the game two.


We set out for our run in the warm sun and the soft breeze of the late afternoon. I reached to turn on my iPod and got: nothing. I checked to make sure I turned it on. Yup. In the words of my Grandma Nelda: "Oh for Pete's sake!" I turned to Dear Husband: "I need a 1/2 hour." There was No Way I could run without music. Be alone with my thoughts? Heaven forfend! I'd need to hire extra help at the complaint desk.

1/2 Hour Later

How can your mouth be both filled with saliva and dry at the same time? Wasn't that the plague of Egypt right after frogs and flies? (Dad I'm not serious! Breathe deeply. Inaccuracy can be funny!) I started to fantasize about pitchers of ice cold lemonade, sweet tea, and various combinations of the two. I pictured myself like those marathoners grabbing little cups of water. Wished I was a kid bicycling through sprinklers again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


So So Done

We had a dryer fire today. It is only by the grace of God the house didn't burn down. I ran a CD down to my mom's house and neglected to turn off the dryer before I left the house. Because our dyer is most likely older than I am, we tend to be careful about that. When I returned, the house had a distinct burn-y air about it. Managed to put the fire out with no damage to anything but the dryer, but now we have no dryer. It's much less fun to sneer at laundry when you are trying to air dry clothes for five people on wet April days. I know you are all breathlessly absorbed in the small details of my life, but this little diversion does have a point: My running stuff was in the washer.

Lonely Teardrops

I don't think I actually cried about it. It's not like I am super excited to run. After the saga of the washing machine two months ago I really, really don't want to think about how we are going to replace the dryer. Women do not go jogging, running or otherwise seriously exercising without adequate Suppression, and now I could look forward to beginning damp and clammy. I thought really hard about the chocolate ice cream in the freezer (which I did not buy) and called a friend instead. This is the same friend who graciously let me use her washer during the Great Washer Rebuilt of 2012. To her immense credit she didn't even hint that she was apprehensive that I might grovel to use her dryer.

Keeping Clam(my)

I used my hairdryer to get the bra to the level where I wasn't shuddering to have it on my body. Dear Husband came home and suited up, we set off down the road. Three steps into the 20 minutes run time I wanted to stop. I was just done. Music was not helping, not even the big guns. Dear Husband was so far down the road I couldn't objectify him with my eyes. I resented it. I resented his faster pace. I resented that I was out on this stupid road, in stupid drizzle, with stupid damp underwear. If I could have tripped him I would have. I was not a nice person at all.
I didn't indulge in my usual inward conversation, I just seethed angrily all the way down the road. I'd drop out of the jog and walk 5 steps then jog some more. We reached the half way point and turned around and I just wanted to kick something and scream but I had save it all up for the stupid trip back. About 3/4 of the way through the run I hit a rhythm and realized that I didn't have enough energy to run and be angry at the same time. So I just ran. I can't say I am happy, but I got through it.

Drip Dry

In the words of Scarlett O'Hara: "I can't think about that right now. I think about that tomorrow."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rainbow Cake Strikes Back

 Today I went to mooch free coffee and pray at a friend's house while Dear Husband went to a doctor's appointment in town.  To prove this woman is a soul sister she commended my running and gave me a big slab of rainbow cake.  I had to eat it: it looked like a rainbow, it was too happy NOT to eat.

I did this knowing of course, this is the week thing begin stepping up with every run.  Today was 8 minutes of running per run session.  I was feeling alright during the first eight minutes, breathing deeply, no dry heaves eminent.  I trotted down the street behind the Dear Husband watching him wrestle with the dog bouncing into the  brush on the side of the road.

He turned onto Rhodie Trail and I realized I had managed to jog the whole length of Jacobs, a personal best.  We entered the first walk portion of the run which is when the cake decided it no longer wanted to house itself in the belly of a woman who could run all the way down Jacobs road.  Turning, I swallowed hard, breathed through my nose and spoke sternly to myself.

I gave myself to the end of the song, judged that our walk period was almost over, and began the slog back down the road.  I reveled in the few moments that I was in front of the Dear Husband.  Pretty soon the dog was passing me and then his Man.  He got far enough down the road that he was nice an blurry in front of me.

The Cake retreated in defeat.  Victorious.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Still Alive

This Was a Triumph

Today was the day the program got serious. No more itty-bitty three minute run periods, only 5 minutes on from here. I fully expected to be crying shamelessly a third of the way through today. The fact that I neither started crying or dry heaving is a nothing short of a miracle.

I'm Making a Note Here: Huge Success

We planned a new route today: up Jacobs, down Rhodie Trail to Terry Rd., down Terry to Ft. Casey, Ft. Casey to home. This route has the added benefit of running down the hill at Terry. Quite an improvement over the hills we ran UP in Bethany while on vacation. (An unfairness I am still peeved with - Why did we run UP HILL on Vacation?!) The sun was shining on the pink blossoms of the plum trees lining the yard, while fog lingered on the water. My favorite kind of spring morning - one I usually enjoy with 3 cups of coffee and a token nod at the laundry pile.

The laundry pile got a sneer and I updated the run mix. Then we got out to the run. Immediately the usual running irritants showed up: wedgie: check, headphones falling out of ears: check, headphone cords pulling on coat: check, small flying insect trying to fly into my mouth: check, mouth full of saliva (I am not hungry to eat that bug no matter how much I crave protein), check. Fortunately I had my running ace in the hole queued up, with the intent to cycle back to it as many times as I need. So I began with M.W. Smith.

As we began the second run portion down Rhodie Trail I began to stumble. My legs had decided they were done. I scolded them and fumbled at the iPod to jump up to another song. By some happy chance I landed on Suitcases by Dara Maclean. Thank you Christine Chittim, yet another ideal running song. Not only can you not run well holding suitcases as the lyrics say, but it is also difficult running with 30 extra pounds. (30 is what I said and I am sticking with it. The scale and I are not friends. I find it judgemental, unlike my coffee cup which is always there for me.)

By the time we hit Terry and were on our last run portion and the iPod kicked up Deep in Love With You. While it was probably the down hill aspect, I had no trouble running the last run portion. My legs began burning as I rounded the corner to Engle Farm. I saw Dear Husband begin to walk but I decided to finish the song running. After that I didn't want to walk the rest of the way home, but because I couldn't call a car service, didn't quite need an ambulance, and sadly Waaaambulances are not a real thing, I resigned myself to walking.

It's Hard to Overstate My Satisfaction

The small rise up Rusty to our house was more tiring than the rest of the run put together. Hills are only fun on the way down them.

Run Mix: God Be Merciful to Me - Jars of Clay, Healing Rain - Michael W Smith, God Almighty - Chris Tomlin, Suitcases - Dara Maclean, Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry, Deep in Love With You, I Am Love, Come to the Cross - Michael W Smith, With Everything - Hillsong

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hello Dolly!

That Big Band Sound

Nothing like Bobby Darin and a big band number to help you drag your weary carcass home from a run those last few steps. You really need the trumpets modulating up a half step to cross the finish line so to speak. I would have sashayed into the house to the final drumbeats and cymbal clashes, but sashaying takes too much energy and I had to make do with an exhausted stumble.

Guerillas in the Mist - "Go - Guer. HUGE Difference"

We left this morning and it was that nice mistiness which is not quite rain; it just bathes your flushed face. I knew that we would be running the same hills as on Monday and wouldn't you know it, but our pace was hitting the hills right at the run times rather than the walk times in the workout. Fortunately, the rug sharks were not out today. They wouldn't attack us from the sidelines as passed. We only saw two other people during our labors: one other jogger with two happy huskies and one older walker.

We saw the walker at the half way point. Dear Husband and I had given each other a leaden high five and he walked past smiling hugely. I took it as encouragement rather than mockery. Anytime you see a fat person huffing and puffing in torturous exercise they need all the encouragement they can get.

I Dream of Junk Food

I really want a doughnut. I need a sugar and fat injection like a junkie needs a fix. I had visions of a Boston Cream, haunting me. I keep thinking that all I have to do is drive five minutes down the road and I could inhale it. Give up this crazy running thing and fall back into the natural state of inertia that would allow me to eat a Apple Fritter and not worry about "running it off". I want a Burgerville burger, McDonald's fries, and fish and chips from Ivars. These must all be staved off with Cherry essence prunes in the cupboard. Lucky ME!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lonesome Valley

You got to go to the Lonesome Valley

I added "Lonesome Valley" by Fairfield Four to my iPod run list. I am not sure why. I must have been feeling especially sorry for myself after the Track Run of Doom. I had forgotten it was on there until it kicked up today during the run. What kind of crazy person runs on vacation? Those married to someone in the grips of a Mania quickly turning into an Interest. Pity Me. I had posited to the Dear Husband that after the long drive to the Mecca of peace and no cooking (read- my mom in law's house - where no dust or soap scum dare encroach), I might be happy to run the next day. Ha ha.

You got to go there by yourself

We started out up a hill. A very non propitious beginning, but I consoled myself with the thought that we would be returning down it and the end of the run. Dear Husband was fussing with widget and iPod. We passed a guy with a golden retriever old enough that eyes and muzzle where white rimmed. It offered a look of patience mixed with mournful acceptance in my direction which a returned with heartfelt sincerity. "Yes, we are accompanying someone because we love them. Yes, the sunshine is nice. Yes, we'd rather enjoy it from a sunny porch with a smackeral of something to eat."

Nobody can go for you

Up and down and all around past many dog walkers. And I mean UP. Dear Husband kept trudging up hills the little engine who could. it seemed all the walking bits of the program were on flat roads and all the running bits were up hill. I felt like that old saw, "When I was a kid I had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow." Well, I had to run uphill both ways on my vacation - on no coffee. Puff, puff, puff. Drag in Air. Dodge little chihuahua what looked like it was dying to taste my ankles.

We turned for the run back but did not retrace our steps. The promised downhill return slope did not seem like it would materialize. We went past playgrounds and basketball courts. The final run portion began on a steep-ish slope uphill of course. Dear Husband is in front, his glaring white legs chugging along. With mean satisfaction I could see from behind: the slowing pace and the jerk of his head that indicated he was pep talking himself. He got to the top of the hill, and with a quick glance at my struggles on the slope turned the corner behind a fence and kept going.

I got to the top of the hill turned and suddenly found I knew where I was. On the main road and out of the endless maze of the neighborhood cul de sacs, we were close to the end. With a quick adjustment to my music I pulled up Healing Rain and was settling in to the final stretch of run. Right as the music built and swelled, the ground finally sloped downward and I actually stretched out and ran the last minute of the last run portion. I looked like a real runner for 30 seconds.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday, Schmaterday

Inner Dialogue

Saturday is the day we bump up to the next running level in the couch to 5K program. I had forgotten this. It was a very difficult run today. Of course I know that a great many of my problems are in my head. Sure I know that I am overweight, but most of my problems come from inner moaning and carping. Usually I enjoy the inner dialogue of how awful the run is because I feel more virtuous at the end. Today the inner dialogue almost "gone done me in."

We decided to run at the school track so that the Dear Husband could calibrate his little running widget. That man would find a tech gadget to help him breathe better and a program to help him inhale for maximum efficiency if was on a breathing and lung capacity regime.

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

As soon as we started on the track it was a time warp back to high school. I could practically hear my old gym teacher saying, "Pick it up people! Push! There is no walking here! Get it done!" I expected to have to climb a rope next.

The run just kept going. According to how far my song had gone we should be walking already. And still we kept on running. Finally, we were walking. Finally. Far too quickly we were running again. It kept going and going. My calves began to ache and I fell farther and farther behind the Dear Husband.

Rounding the track again, my flashback to high school continued. Two skinny women came jogging on to the track running easily with matched strides. The lightly tripped around the track and I struggled and puffed and panted and in general thought dark thoughts about them.

"Get off my track, get off my track, get off my track." I chanted. They got. Dear Husband is now a good 1/4 of the track ahead of me. Darn it. He is so far forward I must run when he does because he would see me walking if I began to walk. My run has deteriorated to a mostly bouncy step. I made it. I kept moving the entire time. I count that as a win.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Brightest Day, In Darkest Night

I am feeling missing Monday's run.  We were supposed to run Wednesday night but had baseball practice and portfolio conferences.  One is surmountable but not two.  Because I love to hear praise about my children, which I take as my due, we pushed the run back to this evening.  If we had missed the run tonight I would not be able run on Saturday.

Tonight was the return of the desperate need for deep breaths and the mouth full of saliva.  The Dog would drag at the most inopportune moment.

Monday, March 26, 2012

No Jogging for YOU!


I woke up this morning when the cat jumped on me. It being a running day, I immediately began my satisfying ritual of mentally grousing before I arose from the confines of my bed. I should have sprung from my bed with a cheery smile and gone running. Instead I fielded a call from my sister - the Littlest - on the return from a sleepover had broken out in a rash all over her body.

Pediatrician, Ho!

Instead of a mid-morning jog. I went to the Back Door of Ostracism at the doc's office. The verdict: Strep Throat. No school. Antibiotics. Should I be worried that my 6 year old can toss back shots like a college kid? (Albeit shots of strawberry flavored medication)

Instead of bundling the kiddo off to school and having a belated jog, my plan "B", I was faced with a choice: run by myself or not run. Hmmm Tough Choice!! On one hand, no running! On the other hand, if I don't run today, it is the first step of a slippery slope of dogging out on my part of the 5K program. I did not run.

Smart Alek

"Hello! Did you know it has been 421 days since your last visit?" yeah that you know of stupid exercise program. "How is Harris? I haven't seen him lately." that's because he is outside playing real sports you Skynet wannabe. "Did you know your dog is happier when you give him attention?" The scary thing is, I never told the Wii I had a dog. I, for one, welcome our robot overlords!

2500 steps and 1/2 hour later . . .

"You did great! Would you like to do that again?!"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My First Chase Vehicle

Something Strange

I was not sure that I was going to make it today when the Dear Husband showed me the run requirements.  The run doubled the run time we did last week, which was a major grind.  Then something strange happened: I didn't have any problems running it.


The Boy is gone on camp out.  The girls slept over at friends' houses but the Littlest came home early.  Full of vim, she decided to bike along with our run. Five minutes down the road we noticed her tire was flattish and her seat off kilter.  I could not convince her to ditch the bike and run along with us.  "We'll get it on the way back!" I pleaded.  No dice.  My pleading lasted all the way through the first run period.  Still the littlest kept trucking along.  I looked up and the Dear Husband was walking.  Holey Moley!  I wasn't even breathing hard.

The kiddo just kept peddling.

Could I do this the whole run?  Was I just to self centered to be a successful runner?  If I focused on the kid could I run 5K right now!!

I mentioned the ease of the run to the Dear Husband.  "Well," says he, bursting my bubble, "we're going real slow." Oh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just Call Me Gloria

Energy Miser

I have decided that "Energy Miser" sounds better than couch potato. It's not that I have an objection to moving per se, rather the use of energy is worth the effort of expenditure. Perhaps "energy conservationist" is better. It sounds forward thinking and virtuous. Makes me think of wind farms.

The Dear Husband is working from home today as The Boy crosses over to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts. This is good because it means no night run tonight, when my legs are tired and my enthusiasm is dim. However, I promised to help a friend with Many Toddlers (none of which belong to her) because my mouth once again operated independently of my brain. This means I woke up earlier than I wished to "fit in" my run. Just typing that sentence makes me think I am stuck in a weird alternate reality.

Inching Downward

Dear Husband brought my dryer warmed running clothes. (Bliss!) Got the kids eating breakfast and then we left to go our miles (not Bliss). I have no wedgies, no cutting wind, no rain. What delight waited for me today? Falling pants! Yea, a veritable cornucopia of joys await the runner. Monday I wore the same running pants and they behaved the entire trip. I think it must be because the wind was so cold that they stayed close to my body heat, but today? Every time we reached the "jog" portion of the outing, they decided to inch downward with every step. By the time I could feel cool air on the small of my back (as the pants fell so the t-shirt rose) I'd have a hitch in my step as I yanked them back up. Jog, jog, YANK, jog.

The Inner Critic Whispers Stop

Cars drove past on their way to work. There goes the chubby woman - jog, jog YANK jog jog. The inner critic whispers "Stop, just let HIM run. You are having a wardrobe malfunction and it is perfectly acceptable to walk the rest of the time." I am about to give in when another blissful walking period begins.

Toddler Mania

Blessed Man lets me have a shower first. Off to play with 9 preschoolers. There is one gem who has decided to call me Gloria. Perhaps my own name has been forgotten, perhaps she has only misheard it pronounced by adults, but she is confident in Gloria so Gloria I shall be. That's cool, the Gloria I know is full of grace and truth. I've got the truth now I need the grace. perhaps it will stick.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Cutting Wind

Why Me

I had a seriously, "Why Me?" run today.  It was a run that was all promise follow through - no real conviction of purpose.  Now some of you reading in this may say, "How is this any different from any other run she has done so far?"  The answer is: not much.  What is surprising is now much even a fraction of purpose helps you maintain enthusiasm of purpose.

It didn't help that we ran in the afternoon.  I should have sucked it up and run in the morning but I was having a bad morning and so we postponed the run until after we had drug around Oak Harbor and found the little bits and bobs of stuff we needed The Boy's camp out.  By the time we got home, had lunch and pulled stuff out of bags - I was twitching and irritable.  I always get twitching and irritable buying anything other than groceries, so my Up Beat Spouse, enthusing over the bargains we'd found just made me more surly.

I dragged on my running clothes because I had Promised to do this.  I took off my glasses because I didn't really want to look at anyone or anything.  Just looking at something clearly was going to make me angry.  I snapped on the dog's leash and walked outside because I was going to wimp out if I didn't.

It Cut's like a Knife - Ooh ooh ohh

It was so lovely and sunny outside then the wind whipped off the ocean and stabbed me.  I just wanted to cry.  I put up my hood, but my hood didn't want to stay up.  My ear buds wouldn't stay in my ears and my iPod was queued to the wrong song.  I could fix these things but every bit of my energy was tied up in keeping me from running back into the house and finding the Cadbury Caramel Egg, I had hidden away.  I remembered I had given it away the day before and so I  resigned myself to Grim Determination.

Oh Michael W Smith!

Who knew that Michael W Smith made the perfect song to run to in the midst of a pity party?  As we began the next to last jog portion of the program today the iPod kicked up "Healing Rain".  My feet were pounding the rhythm, and since I was too mentally focused on hoovering air into my lungs to converse with my inner critic, I just listened to the song and for a moment caught up with my Dear Husband.

Playlist:  I Would Drown - Chasing Furies, Foggy Dew - Sinead O'Conner and the Chieftains (in honor of St. Paddy's day), God Be Merciful to Me and Sunny Days - Jars of Clay, Lift Up Your Face - Third Day, Healing Rain - Michael W Smith, Set Fire to the Rain - Adele

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week 2 Day 1: 30 Seconds of Doom

 Unrealistic Expectations

As a couch potato I can tell you that I found a whole new set of unrealistic expectations of this exercise program.  Oh, I have no grand vision of myself ever joyfully bounding out the door for a run with a spring in my step and a  bounce in my erm... ponytail; I don't expect running to be anything other than, at best, extended discomfort for the duration.  No my unrealistic expectations were the thought that adding an extra 30 seconds of jogging to each section would be balanced by the extra 30 seconds of walking that were added to the walking sections. Ha, ha, ha.  I'd laugh but that would take energy, which good couch potatoes hoard like the energy misers they are.

The Worms Were Out

It rained this morning, but thankfully it stopped, because I was not looking forward to another run in the rain.  This just meant the worms issued forth from the ground like an Egyptian plague.  The first few minutes of walk consisted of me dodging worms on the ground so that I would not me scraping them off my shoes at the end of the walk.  Or maybe I'd just run them off the soles of my shoes! Ha ha.  Worms, the perfect metaphor of being ground in to the mud by the soulless cruelty of the running program.  I was the Worm, therefore I took extra care to leave my pitiful fellows in muddy bliss until we started running on the pavement.

A Minor Victory

It was a minor victory that the dog did not give me a worried look over his should every two minutes this week.  Our collie, The Dog They Call Jayne, was vastly worried last Wednesday that I was too far behind.  I needed Rounding Up but he was on a lead up ahead with the Man.  Stymied by the lead, he would just look over his shoulder worriedly.  Today I only got two looks - sweet progress!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 3 - Night Jogger!

I Really Wanted the Bacon Sandwich

This stupid program robbed me of a bacon sandwich and a chocolate croissant.  As any good couch dweller can tell you, there is no better gustatory delight than a bacon sandwich.  I didn't eat it because I didn't want to "run it off".  How quickly that phrase has become the clarion call of martyrdom!  Like an addict denied my fix, I thought about a BLT all afternoon.  The fantasy BLT with: garden ripe tomatoes still warm from the sun, crisp romaine barely patted dry, 9 seed bread toasted with a generous layer of mayo and stone ground mustard, but most of all not 1 but two layers of bacon cooked to that perfect balance between crisp and rubbery.

Wedgies, Really?

It's our first evening jog and for the moment it is not pouring buckets of icy rain.  It is also the first run where I am not just concentrating on dragging air into my lungs.  Instead I have a wedgie attack.  It's like all the worst parts of middle school gym and I am doing it to myself.  How does one discreetly and unobtrusively remedy a wedgie on a public street?  Tell me that exercisers!  If I wanted a wedgie I'd buy thongs.  Wait! Is that why skinny girls buy them?  It's a conspiracy I tell ya!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It is Actually Day 2

I need to start out by saying: I Love My Husband. My love language is words of affirmation - it's important what you say and how you say it. However if this blog is an honest reflection of how I feel he is going to come in for a lot of my exasperated words. So I love ya honey, thanks for being a good sport.

It's actually Day 2

My husband of 18 years decided to begin a couch to 5k jogging program. For some reason I said I would run with him. It was an amalgam of a bunch of reasons that prompted me to offer. I had been half-heartedly toying with some sort of exercise that doesn't include getting out danced by Daisy Duck on the Lion King level of Disney Dance Dance Revolution. Donald, yes, he has the energy and drive of a pugilist- but not Daisy. I wanted to encourage my oft chair bound husband to exercise more. I thought it would set a good example for my three grade schoolers. There were a stack of pants on the padded bench in my bedroom that were just a little too tight for me to wear. All of these rolled around in my head as I opened my mouth and I said, "I'll do that with you."

Here I am on day 2 regretting my mouth's ability to operate independently from my brain. It is fair to say I regretted the words on day 1 too, it's just I had forgotten some things about the Dear Husband on day 1 that remembered on day 2.

Today is my anniversary. 18 years ago today I said "I do" to a goal oriented man. It was a carefully chosen quality - not one that I have naturally myself. Gumption and ambition are part of this quality. I tend to let things come as they may, life is an ever moving river, most of the time I don't care to be the salmon fighting against it. He is also a researcher and he gets manias. Most of the time he researches things like how to create the perfect omelet sandwich, make hashbrown bottom quiche bites or how to efficiently move laundry from the washer and dryer. The manias result when a researched subject captures his imagination. Most of the time it is a one and done proposition - it's the reason I only have one brass steam-punk lamp in my house. Sometimes though the mania morphs into a genuine interest which is why I have four guitars in my house and he plays with our church worship team.

What if this is not a one off mania?

I woke up this morning to the wind howling and a cold rain drumming on our roof. The hurricane off shore was driving a weather system our way. A typical cold March day in the Pacific northwest. Sustained gusts up 50 mph were predicted. "Happy Anniversary!" chirped my husband. "Looking forward to our run?" At least he made me coffee. After the kids got off to school, we went running. I was one of those people. The nutjobs running in the rain. The kind I judged as drove past in my minivan.

I was not running. I was aerobically walking punctuated by a slow jog every few minutes. The cold rain was curving in the hood of my windbreaker and dripping off my nose. What if this is not a one off mania? The horror of that thought sunk in. I may not be goal oriented but I do keep my promises. I had promised. Dang it.

This exercise program bill itself as couch to 5k. But exercise people are not true couch potato people. True couch potatoes would be home making brownies right now. I wanted to be home making brownies. I could practically smell them. Did those exercise people really have any idea how hard it was to jog even this little bit? Stupid exercise people, they probably liked the exercise for itself and not as a means to an end. Exercise people don't understand the allure of cheetos (crunchy, not puffy). They probably wore yoga pants to do yoga-not just because they were comfortable.

Soaked to the skin, we were done. I took the last of the coffee. I earned it.

Running play list: Diving In -Audio Adreniline, Let it Rise - Big Daddy Weave, Your Glory Defined - Casting Crowns, Your Grace is Enough, Sing, Sing, Sing, & You Lifted Me Out - Chris Tomlin, Lift Up Your Face - Third Day, The Cave - Mumford and Sons, Rolling In the Deep - Adele