Archive | July, 2013

You can do anything for 2 minutes.

30 Jul

One of the most annoying things trainers do when you’re dripping in sweat, straining to achieve a time goal or hold a position is give you a metaphor for what you’re doing. From my experience, and being a total snob in the English department, I’ve found that most are either incomplete or flimsyier than the leg/arm/apendage I’m attempting to work.  The most annoying one is as follows: “You’ve got ____ left (fill that blank with the appropriate amount of torture time). You can do anything for ______.” Whether it be minutes or seconds, I’ve often thought to myself, while trying to hold all 155 lbs, or 145lbs, or whatever I am that day, what could one do for two minutes/30s seconds/ 15 seconds?  Worry not, readers. We shall explore this together.

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Time is one of two things to a runner–best friend or worst enemy and will vary on the day. For me, in general life and running, time has never been a friend. I think the summer before third grade was when I had my first panic attack. “Two more weeks until the start of school” my mother gleefully sang as she passed me in the living room with the mail for the day. Our supply lists for the coming school year had just arrived. Suddenly, the room got smaller and I felt my chest tightening. I thought I was going to die. I squeezed behind the huge red chair which smelled of moth balls in the fetal position and covered my head until I was called for dinner. I have no idea how long I was there, but all I can remember thinking was How did this happen, how did this happen, where is summer, where did it go?

After this episode, I was slightly obsessed with passage of time.  Christmas came too quickly, so did High School and College, and crows feet. Not to mention, I never felt I quiet matched time. While it has always gone racing ahead of me, I’ve struggled to catch up–it takes me too long to loose weight and I miss out on fun opportunities to due a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, but when I finally get in shape and have those, the times for those types of fun are gone (same with loving myself and finding someone to love me in return), or finally running at the right pace that I want to for my height and weight.

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For as much as I hate the dreadmill, it is a useful tool when trying to get ahold of the time you want. Time trials are great. According to Runner’s World.com, a Time Trial is “simply a chance to measure your current level of performance against the clock. Just choose a distance, measure it out on the roads, then run it as fast as you can. Once you’ve finished, check your watch – your time is your benchmark. After two weeks of solid training, try the same run again and see how much you’ve improved.” Basically, it’s charting. I’m speaking to you, chart nerds!  You’re going to love this–empirical evidence of your improvement–bazinga!

Then, there are “fartleks”, “speed play”, or “pick-ups”. These allow you to break up your run into segments. I usually do a 20 minute run into 10–2 minute intervals. These alternate from comfortably fast to “holy crap I can just barely breath” fast.

Regardless of what time you are trying to pace if you’re doing a long run, or doing something of the above, it seems there’s a point where you just want to stop. This is where the trainer says that evil phrase … You can do anything for two minutes….  which is a big, fat lie.  But, in place of arguing the point or getting annoyed yet again, here are some things you CAN do in 2 minutes:

  • Drink a 16 ounce soft drink (and then belch)
  • Announce the winning lotto numbers
  • Listen to the responses for Final Jeopardy
  • Brush your teeth for the ADA recommended time
  • Pop a bag of microwave popcorn (perfectly) without burning it
  • Make 2 boxes of Minute Rice
  • Write this list

This link will lead you to a pleasent site that intends to help you organize your life. Here, tips are listed for 31 things to do in 1 minutes or less: http://smallnotebook.org/2010/03/08/31-things-you-can-do-in-1-minute-or-less/. While doing research for stuff you can do, I thought some were so adorable I wanted to add them all (also, a nod to my Type A personality).

30 Seconds you say? See below:

  • Give someone a hug
  • High Five!
  • Kiss passionately
  • Respond to the Final Jeopardy
  • Warm a Bagel Bite

The lists could go on. Point is, the trainer has a point. I had  friend once ask me why I ran because he found it a “waste of time.” He went on to add “I’d feel like I would be missing everything out running all by myself. I’d want to be doing things.” To me, I am out doing things. This is my thing. I can be out doing anything for 2 minutes. That blank isn’t hard to fill in which is why the metaphor is weak. The point is you are there, you’ve chosen to be there, suffering, dripping in sweat, wishing death on those more toned around you, cursing the hands of time for moving so effortlessly slow, until you leave that room/place and you’re in a panic because you’ve notice another sunspot on your face when you glance in at your reflection in your review mirror.

Anyone can do anything* for 2 minutes. It’s what you choose to do with it that matters … pepperoni-prod (bad decision).

 

Anything- pronoun- Used to refer to a thing; mostly used incorrectly by trainers to emphasize their pride in your wise choices of trusting them and working so hardly.

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My Morning Run: Summer

25 Jul

These things are facts: I am a fat girl. I am a runner. I am a morning person.

For longer than I can remember, I am awake, naturally, before anyone in my household, and this president has stayed firm for the remainder of my life. Even through the dreaded teenage years (and all through college …even after “all nighters”, people), when I was told all I would do was sleep, I can recall very few times ever sleeping in past 8 am and those were due to either exhaustion from over work or illness. I did, like an old person, go to bed rather early (and still do … like 10 pm is super late for me).

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So, if given the option, I always choose to do something earlier rather than later–shopping, car maintenance, taxes, and of course, running. Since my job requires an hour or so of commuting time during the winter, I don’t often opt to get up in the darkness and cold to do my milage mostly out of fear of harming myself (legitimately, the neighborhood I live in isn’t conducive for pitch black runs). Thus, I am stuck to the afternoon weekly routine for the winter, but summer is a different story.

During the summer, I can never seem to get up earlier than the sun. And if not for a few days, it seems the temperatures are usually good enough to get me on the road. This is where I begin–Fat Girl Running– when not doing my usual run club activity. I start and end on the road in the summer morning’s rising sun. It’s who I am.

For me, being alone and running in the morning during the summer doesn’t ever require a soundtrack. The sounds of the world waking up, cars moving, birds chirping, doors opening, my feet beating agains the ground and the air escaping and then entering my lungs over and over create the euphonic symphony I move to.

There are hills–first small and pleasant, then sharp and grating, but I take them all keeping time by the rising sun.

A lake near the shopping center which holds the grocery I go to has a fountain timed for 6 am exactly. It must be far out of site before it goes off or I’m way out of time–I’m over time.

Four Scottish Terriers with a tired looking man at the end of their lead are on the opposite side of the street of me, which means 15 minutes until home.

The final leg of my tour takes me across a four lane road: two lanes one way, two the other. No cars on it at this hour. I glide across unnoticed.

Slipping back into my neighborhood, I get jealous stares from neighbors as they get into their cars and are headed to work. I stop and my stairs and stretch.

Being a fat girl comes with so many obstacles: stereotypes, inability, limits, depression, sadness, anger, rejection, presumptions, meanness … it’s a longer list than this. Some of these things come from others–some of these things come from the self. But during the quiet hours of the morning when the world is trying to start, things are just about to being, I am moving to my own music, I am in my own magical symphony conducting my fate, controlling no other part of my day but the direction of my jiggle. I get to observe the world and move through it noticing how it works in perfect time with me in it.

Get out there and run. Create your own symphony whether it be in the morning or not is not matter.

29453448_2b982c7af0 (And on the 9th day Jesus said to get up early and run … Okay, there are only 7 days, but if there were 9, you know it would have been for running).

111 degrees …

23 Jul

So, it’s summer. I’m not a fan of extreme heat, and as a fat girl, I’m not a fan of excessive heat either. Anything that makes me feel more cumbersome and slower than I usually am isn’t appreciated, and if you lived pretty much anywhere (with very few exceptions) in the united states last week, you were subjected to the rage of Mother Nature and her mean-spirited wrath by the names of excessive heat and humidity.

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Holy bananas, it was Texas all over, people. I mean, I’m not a fan of sprinting, but anything to get me from one air conditioned building to another was all that mattered. And speaking to that, the air-conditioning, in most places, was breaking down. Not to mention, my gym. Gadzooks, it was a nightmare. We’ll get to this.

 

 

To modify for the heat, and to help keep me sane, I usually encourage the earliest time possible for run club. This works for the people who have to work during the summer, for those who don’t, and for those who have a modified work schedule. In most cases, runs can take place during nice, cool 70 degree weather if you get the time right, especially if the sun is just coming up and the humidity is low. On top of this, the rest of the day is free to go an do whatever! I love a.m. workouts, as they give me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment .. like I’ve done something on the list already. It’s a great way to start the day in my opinion.

And I get it, we need to train in all types of weather if we are going to run out side as I mentioned, people from Texas really aren’t phased by this much. This is basically spring to them (hyperbole folks), but there are limitations to what the human body can do and tolerate on top of an 8 hour work day, so when the temperature promises to be punishing on the human variety, and we start to notice the absence of bugs, birds, and the ilk outdoors, most would call off the outdoor activity for a while and head inward to the gym.

With the weather last week, weather alerts were put out that due to the excessive (key word here) heat and humidity, mixed with pollution (for some, not me so much) and other environmental issues, to limit outdoor exposure. Sure, most people ignored this news (and with all the screen shots on Faceebook and Twitter and Instragram I can’t see how), because what does the weather service really know about running conditions … and then the second day of the same weather came. I should explain that day one was only 105, so some people did wake up at the usual predawn hour and do the usual mileage. I’m sure they noticed they started to sweat earlier an had brought more water with them, but what they probably didn’t plan on was sweating the entire rest of the day and feeling no real sense of cool or relief. The next day was 111. This was the day of intolerant heat. It could not tolerate us, and we could not tolerate it.

I listened, like a good girl, and went to the gym. I thought that 82 degrees for a midnight temperature was a kind warning sign for all who thought things might turn around the next day. images-1Arriving early, as I had assumed I would not be the only patron indulging in man-made relief, I began to notice a smell … it was a bit funky. I thought maybe it was the bay, as the gym is very near the bay, but to my dismay it was not. The stench was, in fact, the patrons of the gym, as the air conditioner was on the fritz for part of the building. I did my morning warm-up before the selected class and was happy to find that part of the gym still had cool air being sent to it. However, when I entered the room for my class it was stale-air-city. Not hot, just not moving, or really the same smell and feeling like the air in an airplane cabin has.

We started class fine, and began our muscle-up course (a cross between circuit training and calisthenics) when it happened: It got hot. Not like, oh, we were working out so hard, it got hot, but more like the maintenance men accidentally tripped a wire that started pumping hot air full force into the room we were working out int. “Welcome to bikram muscle-up folks”– we all giggled and told the manage who did eventually get it stop, but the hot air had now where to go. It was stuck, there , suffocating us, growing from the body heat we were emitting. 

That’s when it started … the song of the dancing elephants. Actually, I have no idea what the name of the composition is, and when I found out long ago in college during music theory I know I wrote it down somewhere, but the alas, that slip of paper too escapes me. Here’s what I hear “Do, do-do, doda, do-do-do-do” … anyone? I imagine a large elephant trying to do very gracefully ballet moves, teetering over, unknowingly knocking over priceless objects. This is how I felt. Oppressed, cumbersome, fat.

Really, to be honest with you readers, the heat is a vile thing for the fat girl (or the fat guy for that matter). Nothing makes your fell fatter than when you are sweating and struggling to maintain any sort of presence about you under duress. And, to look moderately cool or athletic or stylish and not totally disgusting. But oh, great equalizer, Mother Nature, when it’s 111 degrees out, no one, not even the fittest of the fit looked good.

Thankfully, our trainer had mercy on us and modified the workout to make it more moderate than intense so we could all get the heck out of that room and breath.

On my way home, my AC knob dialed to 4, my button on AC MAX, I noticed a rather svelte man, struggling to walk down the block. His shirt was a deeper bluer from the collar to almost all the way down to the bottom seam where you could see it’s actual pale blue color. He was drenched in sweat, still sweating, and on his third cary bottle of water. Hmm, I thought to myself, better cancel the group tomorrow. Looks like another hot one. 

It was 112.

IN short runners, don’t be crazy. After exhaustive browsing, I and the experts agree … wait it out. The cool 90 degree weather will come again, and run club will soon resume its 5 a.m. call time (hurray).

Please see the very helpful link below:

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/three-ways-to-safely-run-in-a-heat-wave

Running in place

16 Jul

I’ve had never understood this. When I was younger, I would see people standing at crosswalks and corners to streets waiting for traffic to pass by, just running in place. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would do this. That was, until I started running, until I was no longer a passenger but a runner, someone moving at pace, keeping time, not willing to stop for cars or at corners. It wasn’t until that time in my life that running in place made sense and has now become the one thing I can’t seem to get past. Unknown

I suppose my whole issue with running in place is the same reason I really hate treadmills: Lack of movement. Having been a child who suffered from various illnesses (sorry mom, but I got the lousy immunity gene), sitting still or being still is almost torture for me. I have no idea how to relax unless it involves some type of movement, and when I was finally healthy enough to have some semblance of a life that reflected that of everyone else’s, I did start running because of sports and because I like it. During summer break from college, after my shift at whatever part time job I was able to get the most pay and hours, I would go for runs, long ones. I’d design my route so I’d have minimal stops or crossings and make sure they were in quiet neighborhoods that weren’t known for heavy traffic flow. This constant movement helped me feel like I was progressing in my running, doing something, achieving. When it came to corners and crosswalks, I hated standing there and waiting. I’d loose my endurance and flow, so I stared doing that bouncy, runner-obnoxious, running in place thing and it actually helped.

I never really thought doing something in place could help with future movement but it did help me keep my legs warm and ready to go for when the light changed, so I kept doing it every time I had to stop and have ever since. True, it is slightly frustrating to me because I’m not technically going anywhere, but I feel that at least I’m doing something, which is better than nothing.

Same with my life. I’m not the sort of person that has to busy every moment of every day, but I like to have enough on my social schedule to keep me moving, I like to have a purpose and feel useful, I like to give and receive love. Down time is important as well, but I can’t stand feeling bored or stuck in something. Lately I’ve been seeking out the road for help dealing with the latter of the last mentioned feelings.

In the last three years, the field I work in has changed drastically–it basically looks nothing like what it did when I started and is heading in a direction I don’t want to go. The place where I work has become a toxic mixture of bitter and embattled people unsatisfied or frustrated with where they are or what they’re doing. My worst fear is becoming one of them, and last year, I felt their wear seeping in. I manage about 12 of these people, and my only allies have been able to find their way out. After really working on my resume with a friend who helps people find jobs for a living, and looking both within my field and out, and after applying to more jobs than I can count, it’s mid July and I’ve come up with nothing. Not even an interview in 6 months. Unknown-1

There is a hill near where I live that is obscene. No other word for it. I honestly can never figure how the houses are built into it without them shifting drastically during every major rain storm we have. On a bad day, I round the corner, and work my way quickly as I can up that hill. I pump my arms, get on the balls of my feet, and climb the stair-like-hill swearing a blue streak all the way up audibly (so long as there are no children around). On the way down, I have to be sure not to let my legs come out from under me. I usually hit a reasonable level and use the momentum to tear down the road and round the corner. There’s a slight elevation after that, but then it builds toward a final crossing before home. If I come down at just the right time and hit my stride just right, I can clear the crosswalk under a green without stoping or even needing to think about on-coming traffic. As I turned yesterday, this was my goal. I pumped my arms, lifted my knees higher like a sprinter, clenched my teeth–I was sweating in the oppressive summer heat like an Olympian and probably looking like every pudgy American kid who ever tried to imitate one. I felt all parts of my body, every part of my flub, vibrate with every push of effort toward that corner and that light. Green, green, green … green.

It’s not as if I’ haven’t been here before. Irony of ironies, I’ve been running in place a lot in life–healthy, then not; waiting to lose weight or make  it to the next goal; finding someone to spend life with; finding a place to live; starting an adult life; the list goes on. There’s always a holding gate before  a race, a holding pattern before a flight. Each situation is frustrating, difficult, annoying, lonely, angering, maddening, and has you yearning for a tiny bag of peanuts, but it is supposed to be in preparation of something … it’s a waiting period for something, even if you have no choice but to back to the same thing.

GREEN! Green, it’s going to stay green, green, damn it. And it went from yellow to red. I had to stop. It wasn’t really my choice–no sane person runs out into traffic as cars are making left had turns. But I didn’t stand still–I ran in place, disappointed, contemplating my reflection in the bypassing cars, wondering if I should have just gone for it … images-1

Insanity (worst. idea. ever.)

10 Jul

I don’t understand. Why do people pay money for this? Seriously? $120! For real … people pay one-hundred-and-twenty dollars of American currency for this workout, a workout in which, even if you aren’t trying you’re hardest, you’ll see stars (and I’m not talking the celebrity or celestial kind). Every man I know raves about it, and even a few women, but you really have to be some type of masochist to really like this.

For the week of the 4th of July, my gym was doing a few class specials, one being Insanity. This course was to be the same as the workout craze created by professional trainer/ lead masochist Shaun T., who hails from the same cloth as the P90X phenomenon and has had the same effect on America’s obsession with being “shredded” and “ripped” in about 60 days or so.

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(See what I did there)

Great, I thought, now I don’t have to buy the DVD to try it. What follows is the description from the manufacture for Insanity:

“Your personal trainer Shaun T will push you past your limits with 10 DVDs packed with cardio and plyometric drills with intervals of strength, power, resistance, and core training. No equipment or weights is needed, and you don’t have to be in extreme shape to do it. As long as you’re ready to dig deep, Shaun will help you get insane results in just 60 days.”

Damn straight. But let me start from the beginning.

9 am. I walked into the room where they were holding the class. Willy was there (because she’s B.A.) and a few other women sparsely scattered across the room. I always find it amazing how fear breads friendship–lots of hellos and raised eyebrows and stolen glares when someone new walked into the room. Again, mostly women, but a few men here and there, one a neighbor to me.

Small and spritely in his Navy issued work-out shorts and work-out t-shirt that was tucked into his shorts with matching navy blue and gold sneakers (I think he graduated from the Naval Academy) he was really nice and gave me some insight on what was to come.  I’ll call him “Navy guy” (I think he might have been hitting on me a bit) was quick to warn me not to push it too hard even if it felt easy at first and to pace myself. That, he suggested, was the key to making it through.

I took one last look around the room before we started –lot’s people, all different ages all different body types, just running in, just coming from another class (clearly they had no idea about this class or the title or had mistake the room for the one with Zumba),  and our instructor who was tall, toned, lanky, curly-headed, and annoyingly perky which meant we were in for a long hour. I’m not sure why, but from where I was standing, it seemed like she towered over us. I must know more people on earth with Marfan Syndrome than anyone else.

Since the program is broken up into blocks, I shall relate my experience in said blocks:

  • Warm-up: Are you kidding me? That was a warm-up? Some guy almost passed out before the end of it. My heart was pounding and I had to get water in the first 5 minutes which is where I met the sassy Lucile–she came with her daughter and wasn’t stopping until time was up. She was going to” modify the whole damn thing if she needed to” which brings up a great point. Because we were in a class and not doing the DVD, we had three or four different options for variations of the moves for each block and this DID help us get through the hour.
  • Block One: Not so bad–some lunges, punches, kicks, repeat. We repeat each of the 4 moves, at our 30 second intervals four times, and then we rest.
  • Block Two: I’m not sure if it was the combo of running in place like a football player and then dropping to the floor, or doing that and then getting up quickly, or doing all of that and then doing jumping kick things, but at some point during the second time of this jam, I actually saw stars–small flashes of light in front of my face. This is a big thing for me. I’ve never seen stars before in my life from working out. It was insane, I thought. And then I got the irony of the name of the workout program and started to laugh, which made me look insane (oh, irony).
  • Block Three: I don’t remember a lot of this block except for the lunges where we touched the ground, hating the song choice, and Lucile and I making faces at each other along with some other class members who’s names I didn’t know. “Navy guy” wasn’t doing too well, taking frequent stops so I tried not to make too much eye contact.
  • Block Four: I am good at on-my-toes-butt-in-the-air-triangle-push-ups. This is a new skill I must add to my resume. Also, totally outlasted “Navy guy” in the plank (I ❤ irony!).
  • Block Five: For the first time, ever, in my entire life, I felt all six of my ab muscles while not doing anything (this was after a block of doing a lot of sometings) … now I know why all those people who have six-pack abs like to walk around without shirts.

And finally, we were done (thank you, sweet baby Jesus).

EVERYONE was drenched in sweat, FGs, FBs, skinny, small, tall, didn’t matter. They should have put out buckets so people could have rung out their shirts as they left.

One critical mistake I made: Eating before this–thought it was a great idea so I don’t pass out. Would have been a better idea to wake up an hour early and eat something.

I have never done anything that intense in my entire life and I’ve run a half-marathon for a goal time … up hills. Different people react to different exercises in different ways, and I guess this just isn’t one I react to well. Don’t get me wrong, I like to work-out hard, but when it comes to almost passing out to get six-pack abs or just working out to get toned abs, I’ll deal with the latter, because, as Lucile said,  “the former is just insane” (three times in one post!).

Overall–NEVER again … maybe.Unknown

 

 

Next week readers … we’re back to running. Only two more cross training entries for this month of cross training ventures!

Me and the ME (or the longest 30 minutes ever)

8 Jul

At the gym with the word that starts with an S (as in the general term for physical activities) and the word that starts with an H (as is the term for one’s overall well being) … I just worry about copy right infringement laws and copy right rules and whatnot … for my next cross training class, I decided to do something moderately intense, so I chose a 30 minute class. The class is called the Metabolic Effect and is supposed to help you burn more calories focusing on interval training. Nice, I thought, something to help me focus on my muscles and get a nice quick workout in. So, of course, I did 40 minutes of moderate cardio beforehand.

*Note to the reader: Most gyms will provide members will details on what classes are either verbally or on a nice flyer. Do yourself a favor and do your homework.

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One bonus of this class is it starts later–9:15–so I get to sleep in some. I got to the air conditioned room a bit early after my cardio time and noticed a mat up front with two free hand weights on it, so I went and got two for myself and stretched out a bit before we started. Other women started to entered. In fact, for most of the classes I’ve attended and will write about, almost all of them were taught by and attended completely by women. We may be able to thank social constructs and gender stereotypes for this not-so-much-anomaly. Then Willy entered.

Willy (or I have so named her as she has about a million different Shakespeare and Company t-shirts … or at least that’s all I’ve ever seen her in) is a retiree who comes to classes every day, is about the age of late 60s/ early 70s, and was probably a hippy at one point or another. She was also the only friendly soul in the group and the only one who gave me any idea of what  the class had in store, along with lots of personal information about her strong dislike for air conditioning and getting up early for classes. 

Sunshine (I’ll call her) our instructor from NJ, solid as a rock, stocky, blond, and not someone I would have sat next to in the lunch room, vaingloriously strutted in for the ready. images-1I was terrifed. Even though she smiled, even though she was friendly and jocular, I still felt that at any moment she’d make me pee my spandex. 

 

And so we began. The point of the class was, as Sunshine explained it,  to rest as much as you worked out which made me wonder but I went with it. Only problem for me is that I’m not trained for rest, I’m trained to push through, keep going and finish. This class demands you stop and take a rest. 

Scary as a drill sergeant, Sunshine barked commands for us to follow:

  • Lunges with weights
  • Star jacks
  • U-jacks
  • Jumping jacks (all types of jacks, really)
  • Crunches with weights
  • Planks with rows
  • Planks with push-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Squats with weights

It was really  intense, but we did limited amounts of each, and after each set for each type of exercise,  … things would get a bit awkward. “I just want you to rest … yes, that’s a great rest.” Imagine this coming from a winded voice that then sounds oddly, unfortunately, and I’m hoping, unintentionally seductive … it  made me uncomfortable.

Breaking the discomfort was Dorothy– Gimping in and greeted loudly by the friendly/proclaimed partner-in-crime Willy, she’s bespeckled like a robin’s egg, except white, and held her own at her own pace.

“Rest, you have to rest, you must rest, we want you to rest, resting is important. Yes, rest. That’s a good rest.” … I just … it’s so … that’s a good rest? We are not in Kansas anymore. 

Fifteen minutes into the class I looked at the clock wondering how many more minutes we had. It couldn’t be more than five I thought at the time. I was sweating like a champion, working really hard, moving from the floor to standing, standing to the floor, resting, and so on. When it was FINALLY over, I did end up resting about as much as I was working. The interval set up doesn’t really allow you to not take a break here or there.  I found I was insanely hungry for the rest of the week but had more energy and stamina in my other workouts.

Overall, I’m adding it to the summer routine–hey, anything that teaches me how to rest is totally worth it, right?

 

ps-Willy and Dorothy are my new homegirls!

Fat Girl and The 4th!

3 Jul

Here we are folks,(almost) the 4th of July! I love this holiday, mostly because it involves being outside all day with people, doing fun things, eating grilled food, and FIREWORKS (pewwww-hissss-crack-bang!).

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Running on the 4th is just as spectacular. There are usually two options for runs: morning or evening. I have, and always will be, a morning person, so I usually opt for this run, but as seen in past posts, summer is the season of sweat. Thus, I urge, nay, I implore you to choose to run at night if you are so given the opportunity. Also, the darkness/small pockets of light make it harder for people to see your jiggle or grimacing face of pain.

Every year on The 4th, I run a Firecraker 5k–I love a good theme name and I love a good theme run.

  • Pros–This run has amazing swag: Etched glass with run logo, technical-T with run logo, coupons for food, medals for top finishers … annnnnndddd a DJ! So, great. I love great music, and most runs have some sort of volunteer, iPod, or otherwise pump-you-up music, but this run has an actual party DJ who plays a great track. I go with a group of friends, and have become familiar with returning families, and even a group from church that come very year. It’s become a bigger and bigger deal.
  • Cons–This run starts late (being 8 am) and goes up some hills which doesn’t really help the cause when it comes to dealing with the heat and humidity.

Other than that listed above, there’s nothing really much more to write on the negative. It’s great to run a festive event, and it’s even more fun to do it with friends. I’m normally obsessed with speed, but on these runs, I’ll buddy up and keep pace with someone who I know will do about as well as I will want to and enjoy complaining all 3.1 miles.

Additionally, because these are supposed to be times of celebration, all TYPES of runners come out for festive events, so FGR, FBR, professionals (ew), regular/average people, old, young, and everything in between can be accounted for (I even saw a lady pushing her dog in a stroller once). My very favorite snapshot of who attends an event like this was taken at last year’s starting line:

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Notice the bride and groom along with Uncle Sam (in fact, the whole wedding party was running that morning … noted)

If a whole wedding party is going to wake on America’s day of independence to run 3.1 miles in tutus or fake tuxedo shirts, why can’t you slap on some athletic gear, spare a couple bucks, and get some awesome swag? There’s no pressure for time, no pressure for placement, just pressure for fun … and who get’s the first hotdog off the grill when everyone gets back, showered, and to the party that afternoon.

Is is just me, or does the gentleman in the neon green tank seem to be trying to figuring what the hell is about to happen?

SO, Happy 4thy FGR and FBR! Enjoy your runs and days off–Next week, two posts on cross trainings … I’m already sore just thinking about them.