Monthly Archives: November 2011

Chronicling A Run

The other morning while cleaning the counters of the kitchen after a robust breakfast, I surmised that I needed to go running so that I would have something to write about. Honestly, I hardly lack for topics to write about. This was a case of needing to run so I could write about running. What I mean is, I find that I truly enjoy chronicling a barefoot run. I savor the emotions, perceptions, reactions, and impressions of a barefoot run and delight in identifying them in print.

Take this morning’s run on the treadmill, for instance: I could go straight to the point by telling you that I ran 3.25 miles barefoot. Or, I can magnify the story by disclosing to you that I toiled during the first quarter of a mile. I wanted to relent to the inner slug. Every nerve and muscle thwarted the command to put one barefoot in front of the other on that circulating belt. I was even trying to dupe myself into walking.

Or, I could declare that in the second quarter of a mile, the world got brighter. (After all, it was just pass 6 am) It felt like I had cleared the cobwebs from every nook and cranny of my lungs. The arduous run had emerged as a mere jaunt across a textured belt. Not only did I relish in putting one barefoot in front of the other, I dared to run faster.

I might relate to you that I found provocation in the poor reflection in the cheap glass of the window across from me. Multiple reflections overlapped to cast a woman with a narrow hip line running on a treadmill. Seeing that reflection made me feel as though I was looking into the future. My future. That I could believe in narrow reflections, if I just kept running toward them.

It’s plausible that I would confess that a barefoot run is important but making sure I can run barefoot tomorrow is even more important. My bursitis hip kept silent for 2.5 miles. Running comfortably when your hips ache most of the day is a miraculous thing. Even if that miracle comes to an end before the run does. Slowly, slightly, the ache intruded on my run. I played it safe by walking for the sake of tomorrow’s barefoot run.

Next, I’d brag about the soaked hair, crotch stain, and heavy dose of endorphins. How I floated into the house dealing with cantankerous kids with a brilliance that would dim the leading ostentatious Christmas light display.

Finally, I should end by saying that the treadmill isn’t my favorite run but a girl has to look for the silver lining under her bare feet. After all, I’ve been running barefoot for two years as of November. It was the treadmill that gave me the courage to convert.

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What Am I Doing?

I stood entranced, listening to the hum of the thermostat light, asking myself, “what am I doing?”
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I pushed the light light button again to see the thermostat read 63 degrees F.

It’s not like 63 degrees F is an unusual temperature in our house these days. It’s just that for one moment I questioned my own sanity.

63 degrees F. Voluntarily, we are living home with an average daytime temperature of 63 degrees F. A layer of dull ash sits in the bottom of the wood stove. The dust continues to settle without threat of combustion on the heater coils of the furnace.

It isn’t so much the 63 deg F temperature stuns me as the fact that I now consider it a comfortable temperature. I recall a time in my young twenties when I constantly complained to my then-boyfriend that his roommate, the home owner, was extremely rude to keep his house at a frigid 65 degrees F when guests (girlfriends) where there! I made a point of walking around his house wrapped inside of a blanket. Now, when my husband offers to build a fire, I rush in front of the stove wielding a roll of newspapers screeching for him to “Get Back! Wait just five minutes longer!”

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Goaded

Tonight, I found it incredibly difficult to maintain the Run Smiley attitude on the treadmill. Not because it gets horrendously boring, I mean, they don’t call it the dreadmill for nothing, but because the red digital indicators blaze into your soul from the faceplate of the treadmill.

I hesitated before stepping onto the textured belt. I didn’t want to exhaust myself too quickly which would be easy because of the lack of running I had done lately. I wanted to run at a zen-like pace that would allow me to run for endless hours. even if I was only going to run 30 minutes. My hesitation was the cue for the red digital indicators on the faceplate to squint at me as though they were thinking, “Zen? We’ll see about that!”

Almost immediately that treadmill started to taunt me in a passive aggressive manner. 5.0 mph flashed at me. I swear I heard it sigh. I tried to focus on my form. I thought about short strides and forefoot landing but I heard it sigh again. I adjusted the speed to 5.5 mph after justifying that I had only been easing into running, a warm-up, if you will.

The treadmill bided its time to to see if I would increase the speed on my own. When I failed to react to the flickering 5.5 mph that I’m pretty sure spelled out “snail” in morse code, the treadmill gave up on passive aggressive tricks and upped the ante. A perky little 20 something climbed aboard the adjacent treadmill. I glanced at the blazing red 5.5 mph on my treadmill wishing I had a sweaty towel throw across the faceplate to prevent anyone else from knowing I was a snail.

Of course, I had no qualms in peaking at Miss 20-something’s speed. It was 5.7 mph. My 5.5 mph blinked “s-n-a-i-l” at me again. I was still wishing for a towel.

Undeniably, I subcumed to digital, red indicator pressure. I’m pretty sure I saw a smirk on the computerized face of my treadmill when I reached up to increase my speed to 5.6 mph. The smirk was then replaced by perma-smug as I raised the speed to 5.8 mph a minute later. I’m not certain, but I think I heard the faint starting tones of We Are The Champions as I beeped my way up to 6.0 mph a short bit later.

I might have let those red digital numbers goad me into going faster than I had meant to go but one can’t deny that it felt good to flex and contract those running muscles. I barely had any belt burns on my toes to boot.

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No, No, No: The No List

“See, I can have the oatmeal raisin cookie. I can’t have the chocolate chip cookie because chocolate chips are chocolate which falls into the candy category and candy is clearly listed here on the NO list. So, would you please hand me an oatmeal raisin cookie?”

Sophie viewed me with that you-are-full-of-shit-you are-never-going-to-lose-weight look. And, she’s right to an extent but, I’m not doing this to lose weight. Today and tomorrow are not about losing weight. Instead, these first few days or weeks are about restraining my food addictions.

For the first ten months of 2011, I’ve tried to lose weight. I quit sugar and carbs cold turkey so many times I’m afraid someone’s going to try to cook me for Thanksgiving dinner.

Nearly every time I went cold turkey, I’d become delirious and started sneaking forbidden foods by the third day. 

They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple. But, man, I ain’t going for that. I’m sure it was fries and a hot fudge sundae. Or, maybe buttered popcorn…

The point is, I am tired of succumbing to my food addictions. I’m nauseated by my muffin top, having to suck in just to get my jeans zipped (stretchy jeans at that), of choosing tops based on their camouflaging ability, and of not having control over what I put in my mouth. I find it nearly impossible to not go cold turkey again so that I can ‘get skinny by next week’. But, I’m further frustrated with the massive failures over the year. My cold turkey strategy is like Ponzi scheme with a shorter life span. I feel that I need baby steps that will allow me to adjust to the metamorphosis of my diet without coming unglued in the process. Eventually, I’ll control my addictions then I’ll work on the weight.

This is my NO strategy. Last week, I launched the NO list with no candy and no chips. Everything else was allowed as long as I didn’t eat candy or chips. I stopped myself from mindless consumption at least five times. At least, it prevented mindless eating of chips and candy…

Because I am a food addict, I will find another food crutch. I found myself driving out of my way to get French fries for lunch last week. Thus, this week, the NO list expands to include French fries. It also includes NO eating if I’m not hungry. Amazingly, I was able to eat dinner at a restaurant tonight without justifying the chips or the fries. It was satisfying on many levels.

Now, hand me that oatmeal raisin cookie.

Can you guess what’s going on the list next? As long as I never give up, I will get control.

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Gone, baby, gone

I sat in the chair nearly choking from the cape wrapped around my neck to protect me from the detached hair.  Those with cameras crept closer to capture the picture with tears in my eyes as the young boy began to saw away at my ponytails.

There was no sadness, I was mad.  Mad with delight, that is.  I’d been waiting impatiently for a year to cut my hair.  If I hadn’t been so determined to donate, at least, the minimum length required by Pantene Beautiful Lengths then I would have cut my hair 20 times over by now.

I have never had long hair before and I’m not so sure I’d ever grow it long again.

X number of things I’ll never miss about my long hair:

1. Getting it caught under the shoulder strap of whatever bag or backpack I am carrying.

2. Having the wind blow it into my mouth when I’m eating.

3. Having to readjust ponytails or buns because I want to rest my head back on the couch or a pillow.

4. falling into my kids faces when I bend over to kiss them good night.

5. The gigantic snarl forming at the nap of my neck if I wear it down and loose for more than an hour.

6. My husband cursing at the hair laying all over the house.

7. Not being able to fall asleep in the winter if I take a shower right before bed because the long, wet hair will make my head cold.

8. Feeling dampness across the back of my shirt from my wet hair after a shower

I hope someone else can enjoy my hair because I won’t miss it at all.

Before the cut

Making the cut

After

 

And a big THANKS to Handsome Alice, the beauty shop in town that got me back to looking normal afterward.

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Who-ha-he-ha-ha-hoo

Saturday was the kind of weekend day runners dream of having every week.  It was sunny but not too warm, breezy but not too windy, and quiet but not too dull.  If there was anything wrong with Saturday, it would be the same problem as every beautiful Saturday that is filled with projects, chores, places to go or be or having a spouse with places to go or be thus limiting a runner’s time to run free.  Still, a runner never complains about a 30 minute run on a beautiful day.  We might wish for more but we never complain

Yet, I wasn’t quite ready to surrender to the couch when I returned home for my turn at monitoring the kids thus allowing the hubs to fulfill his weekend obligations.  I didn’t have the freedom to roam the streets but there was indubitably no reason why I couldn’t go a few rounds with the punching bag in the garage.

Murphy’s Law for Mothers states: Whenever a mother is at home and decides to do something for herself, her children will find a legitimate reason to interfere  Note: most children will attempt every illegitimate reason prior to resorting to an actual legitimate reason. 

I had only just grabbed the boxing gloves when I heard the door to the family room open.  Without much surprise and as much disappointment, I watched Mikel bound into the garage.  Rightly, I then tossed my disappointment into the trash and got over myself.  As a mother, I realize the importance of encouraging my son to ‘exercise’ and build strength.  He’s not the kind of kid that participates in organized sports.  He’s more like the scrawny, wants-to-watch-tv-or-read type.  So, I conceded control of the gloves and let him pound it out while I kept my heart rate up with a series of moves like kicks and shadow punches.

In good time, my hands filled the gloves allowing me a spell to work the bag over.  Mikel climbed onto the treadmill in his bare feet. (I’m so proud!)  Ironically, I quickly grew bored with the boxing.  Apparently, I didn’t have much of a reason to be disappointed when my workout was interrupted by my son.  That should teach me to be a little less selfish.  All the same, I toiled on, counting out the punches and combinations while Mikel walked on the treadmill.  As it went, I grew weary of the task.

Here’s where I bow to the genius of Mikel.

It took me a moment to recognize the sounds.  Mikel was on the treadmill saying Who-ha-ha-he-he-ha-ho as though he was punching the bag or, more likely, training me from the treadmill.  Willingly, I followed the path of my trainer, my son.  With every punch, I let out a forceful hee or ha or ho.  Before I knew it, my heart rate was up, I was throwing punches like Mohammad Ali’s middle-aged, distant cousin who ate too many fun-size snickers and to top it all off, IT WAS FUN.  Somehow the noises disconnected the thinking part of my brain.  I don’t know how long we who-ha-he-ha-ha-ho’d but I’m certain it was at least fifteen minutes longer than I would have endured if not for Mikel.

I presented him with a sweaty hug after he clinched his mile.  Then, I graciously thanked him for assisting me in my workout but mostly for evoking a boisterous one.  Who-ha-he knew?

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