Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Orange you glad that’s over? Or: Spinning Wheels

“Knock Knock”  “Who’s there?”  “Banana.” “Banana who?” “Knock Knock”  “Who’s there?”  “Banana.” “Banana who?” …. “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?…”

Monday I did manage to get nearly 10 miles done with my fellow nutcase runner friend, Bill H.  Fortunately both of us showed up at the appointed time to run because none of the others did, laying in bed on Memorial Day, sleeping in, the lazy bums; as we dragged each other along Bill and I were unanimous in our opinion that neither of us would have gotten the run done alone.

In the world of Large Sucking Sound that run was one of the Top 10 Hits.  Nothing felt good when I started and nothing felt good in the middle and really nothing felt good at the end except maybe my hair, teeth and eyeballs, and I’m just assuming they felt OK because those were the only three parts that were not screaming at me throughout the run.  Some jerk snuck into the bedroom the night before and filled my quads with cement studded with a thousand tiny electrodes programmed to make a thousand little pinpricks of pain during the run and then stuffed a cotton bale in my lungs.  Maybe it was that drunk from the roof, back to try again?

It didn’t help, I suppose, I’d enjoyed 5 days in cool dry air while spring here has been so mild; I haven’t adjusted to the steam bath of the mid-south that I returned to.  We both sat in the shade for a minute after the run and decided we were bagging the bike and went home.  I told hubs how the run sucked like a lemon and he helpfully pointed out that today it was:

Orange and Asthma are not friends and apparently do not play well together.  I was certainly glad that run was over.  By the way, I’m really sad that my beloved oranges are now being denigrated by this negative connection with pain and suffering.  I think they should call it Code Ugly Salmon Colored Carpet or Code You Really Painted Your House That Color Are You Blind or maybe Code Slimy Okra Green.

OK, now I’m back, sorry for the interruption, all that talk about Orange made me want one so I went to the kitchen.  I think maybe Florida is feeling bad about the Zombie issue and is trying to make up for it by growing particularly good oranges this year.  Each one seems better than the last.  Now Murph is by my desk waiting for his 1/2 of the last section since I’m eating and typing.  Yesterday I forgot and ate the whole thing.  Man did I feel guilty.  Nothing feels as bad as a dog looking lovingly forgivingly sad at you.  “My heart is irretrievably broken but it’s OK, I love and adore you.”  I almost went and got a second one to share with him but decided a doggie cookie would have to do, which may explain the whole trust issue in our relationship.

Anyway, since I bagged the bike on Monday, Tuesday I decided to run 3 on the treadmill and then do spin class.  In view of the torture my quads were subjected to by the cement wielding psychopath I had few hopes for the run but it went well.

And then, off to spin.  Click here for some nice background music while you continue to read.

I tell you what:  If you are a person who can pass a psychological exam, you are not a person who can be a Spin Class Instructor.

If, on the other hand, you like very loud music, inflicting pain, and screaming at people, please report immediately to the nearest Spin Class Instructor Station where I’m sure they have a special spot just for you.

She had us jumping and spinning and sitting and mountain climbing and position one two and three while screaming loudly through her head phone telling us ‘It’s your workout, you’ll get out of it what you put into it” trying to make me feel personally responsible for my own behavior, which is not something I enjoy nor espouse, and telling us to CRANK UP THAT KNOB until I thought, Baby, I’m going crank that knob up your … um… knee.

At one point I looked up beneath the brim of my hat and thought it odd that it was raining inside the building, until I realized it was just the sweat dripping off the brim like a little thunderstorm.  Also I think I broke my HR monitor.  It finally gave up and just told me in a monotone that my HR was 198 which I’m pretty sure it wasn’t since my max is 170 and probably I’d actually be lying in an ambulance if the HR monitor were correct.  I looked around to be sure.   I think the inside of an ambulance would have more medical looking thingies beeping and tubes and stuff everywhere.  All I saw were about 20 people the color of boiled lobsters gasping for air and I don’t think that many would fit in an ambulance.  So, apparently I killed the HR monitor or it died of fright.

Since I know both of you read real slow you’re probably getting a bit tired of reading this incredibly gripping story about my awesome run and spinning, so I added another picture for you to look at.  It’s a picture I made of the spin class.  Don’t pass it around tho, I’m getting tired of being famous for my Butt Falling Off Syndrome (BFOS) and the associated responsibilities as National BFOS Spokesperson and Poster Child and do not want to have to get involved as National Spokesperson for the Proper Medicating of Spin Instructors or the Right to a Larger Ambulance Spin Group.

And, in view of my responsibilities as National Spokesperson and Posterchild, if you feel concerned you may have BFOS, or for more information, check here and here.  Remember: we’re here to help you and all inquiries are held in strictest confidence.  We realize you face many stigmas in society and the workforce butt we want you to know that you are not alone.

Monday Musings

I’m up and sitting here with nothing to do but mess around on the computer.   Actually, I’m lying.  I have plenty to do.  I could fold the clothes in the dryer.  AHAHAHAHAHA not.  Or vacuum.  At 5:30am hubs would love that, he can’t stand the sound of the vacuum at any time, I bet he’d really hate it as an alarm clock.  Load the dishwasher, but I’m kind of on strike with the dishwasher.  Actually I should probably load and run it about 5 times a day so it will break down faster and I can get a new one.  I hate this dishwasher – first world problem.  Finish the mess I started at 4pm yesterday – on a Sunday, WTH? – when I decided to clean both closets in my office.  I’ll post a pic, it’s not pretty.  I’m afraid I could lose a whole person in the mess.   But, no, here I sit, with my handmade mug from our trip to Telluride about, OMG, I think 16 years ago, full of hot steaming coffee, proof that God loves us and wants my family safe, to paraphrase Ben.

Chunker is a new girl.  We got home late Saturday and she was so sweet, not upset at all about our being gone.  She jumped on the counter and had to sniff my nose.  She’s so cute, she puts her little nose to mine so softly.  I  think it helped that #4 (the traitor) stayed here so she wasn’t alone 24/7.  She’s not good at that, I’ve been with her since she weighed 6.5 ounces and she kinda depends on the company.  Guess whenever I go out of town from now on Traitor, I mean, #4 child, will just have to take vacation days and come back to Memphis.  Murph T. Dog had to get a bath yesterday, either Traitor and his friends took him out on the boat or he rolled in something fine, either way he stank.  It’s so pathetic, he ran away from hubs, around the yard to the kitchen door, looking at me, face sad, ears drooping, tail tucked.  “Mom!  Save me!” but no, I turned him in to the Bath Police.  Afterward he’s so happy he literally bounces.  “I’m ALIVE!  I’m ALIVE!  Praise Jayzuss, I lived!”  Near Death Experience:  Flea Shampoo.

Every time I mention to one of my running buds that I’m on a goal to shave off a few pounds they do the whole big eyeball thing, Why do YOU want to lose weight??  Because I’m well over 40, in fact I was probably 40 when I got that coffee cup, and I’ve packed on a few pounds.  “They” say you put on 8-10 per decade if you don’t watch it.  I’m watching it, all right, and it’s getting easier to see.  At this rate, at 70, I’m going to be 30 pounds overweight and I’m not going to do it, this post explains why.  Anyway, I ordered one of those body fat scales from Amazon.  Looking into them and reading reviews online, you have to admit they are not perfect.  But using the scale every day at the same time will be a tool I can use.  It’s almost against my religion to use a scale, so this is a big step for me.  I’m anti-scale, I’m sorry, I’ve tried to be open minded but I hate the nasty lying little buggers.

Since I also love to eat food of nearly any kind other that Brussel Sprouts – and don’t either of you Faithful Followers Of My World Famous Blog try telling me you have a recipe that is so awesome I will turn into a Brussel Sprouts Lover, because it cannot happen, many have tried and many have failed, Brussel Sprouts and scales, I’m close minded – I mean, I LOVE to eat, just ask my trainer Cheryl, AKA Killer, who stares at me in wonder as I discuss at every session what I ate yesterday, what I’m going to eat tomorrow and maybe the next day, stopping only to be distracted by whatever speciality they are making on the morning news show on the TV on the wall.

The solution is trying to eat cleaner, and spending more calories.  I’m trying to limit impact from running right now, so I’ve turned to the bike, or spin class.  I’m a bike wimp. I use sissy pedals on a nice bike.  I can’t even find my bike shorts, but really those things are useless anyway, that little bit of padding is worthless as far as saving your butt from hurting.  They’re pretty good at making you walk funny and look like you have a full diaper, tho, if you’re into that.  So this morning I’m meeting some buds, we’re planning to do 10 slow and then ride.  We have a Greenline now and it’s all nearly connected.  Circling and then going out and back we can get in 27 miles.  Of course, we love to stop at a little place on the way and eat; I love this place, they have a Cuban sandwich on pannini that I dream about.  In fact I think I just started salivating.  I knew this all along, but didn’t implement it; biking is a fantastic compliment to running.  If I used the clips it would be even better, but after I fell off the bike – actually, I didn’t fall OFF the bike, I fell with the bike still attached to me – and found myself lying on the pavement looking at the truck tire that, had I fallen about three seconds earlier the passing truck would have driven over my head but was now safely a couple feet past me, I just can’t do it.  Too scared.  Chicken chicken chicken.  Lately I actually thought about riding in the front yard with clips and practicing falling on the grass.  Then it occurred to me what an idiot I would look like, an old lady riding her bike in circles in the front yard, falling over.  In daylight.  Sober.

So I’m off to load the bike, poor thing, humbled by its sissy pedals, silently and jealously watching all the other bikes with real, clip-in pedals, into Babs (my car has a name, it’s Babs) and head to the Farms.  HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY TO YOU ALL!

And to all who have served our country in any way, to their family and loved ones:  Thank you very much for all you’ve done so I can sit here and complain about my dishwasher in safety.  I mean that very sincerely.  You make our world safe.  Thank you.

Should I really have started this?  And – I put the Telluride mug on top of the box so you can see it 🙂  HAPPY TRAILS –

Zombies and Voodoo and all that um, stuff.

You get lulled into a feeling of safety.  Slowly, unnoticed, that constant nagging worry in the back of your mind has receded to a barely audible whisper, a tiny gnat-sized flutter of distant memory.

After a busy week schmoozing at a convention with the hubs and arriving home late last night you sleep in.  The sun is eventually so high in the sky that it is glaring into your eyes despite the tightly closed windows, so you get up and shuffle down to the Shrine for a cuppa, taking it easy, playing with the dog and cat, who missed you.  Fire up the trusty old Dell, open FB and what has your “friend” posted??  A link to the Miami Herald headline: “Naked man killed by Police near MacArthur Causeway was ‘eating’ face off victim“, which I’ve conveniently hyperlinked for both of you in case you want details.  Personally the headline was more than enough for me and I’m glad I didn’t cause permanent damage to my sinus cavities when I choked at the mental visual and snorted really hot coffee.  Apparently my “friend”, a term used loosely in light of her recent share, and whom I shall call, ummm….”Elizabeth”, to maintain her anonymity, is deeply concerned the Apocalypse is firing up in Florida, what with Zombie dude running naked on the Causeway, eating people’s faces and everything.  I admit, she has some reason to worry.

One reason I believe she may have cause to worry is that another “friend” (I have got to find some new friends) whom I shall call, ummm…”Missy” (it’s hard thinking of fake names, it takes a minute – be patient) then posted information on this book:

which was written by an ethnobotanist – and I have no clue what that is but you can both just look it up yourself because I had enough trouble just trying to spell it write (that one’s for you, Elizabeth-Grammar-Police-Sumner).  Apparently this enthno entno whatever went to Haiti in the 80’s and researched TWO DOCUMENTED CASES of zombi (which he spells with no E, oddly).

Just in case you just spit coffee through your nose too, and now your eyes are watering profusely like mine did, blurring most of what you’re reading, I shall repeat myself: DOCUMENTED CASES.

That sounds pretty official to me.  Like, before he went down there to investigate the TWO DOCUMENTED CASES, someone had already documented them.  This leads me to believe that they found something to put into a document, and not just once, but twice.  Myself, I think that if what they put in the document was THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTJOBS then the Harvard scientist with the fancyschmancy botany name would probably not have bothered to travel to Haiti to investigate nutjobs.  Because if all he needs are nutjobs, he could come to Memphis for that, “Elizabeth” and “Missy”.  I’m just sayin’.

To review (and I’m typing very slowly now, so you can both be sure to comprehend):

1.  We have TWO DOCUMENTED CASES of Zombies in Haiti.

2.  We now have very suspicious Zombie activity on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami – which is closer to Memphis than Haiti is.

3.  Suspicious Zombie activity is thereby moving closer to Memphis.

4.  Sometimes I’d prefer to have Sandra Bullock’s face instead of mine, but still and all, I’d prefer my face over a half-eaten one.

5.  I really regret overeating and drinking wine all week, and I definitely wish I’d gotten in more than 8 miles in this week, because I think we need to

6.  RUN!!!!!!!!!!

Deja Vu all over again.

I’m sitting here stuck in a hotel room.  It’s not time to leave for the airport but too close to time to leave for the airport to go do anything.   We won’t get home until at least 9 tonight which means an entire day basically wasted.  There was a time in my life that a morning in a hotel room without kids would have been heaven, a luxury.   Now, it’s just boring.  I packed early since the hotel fire alarm keeps going off at random times and I don’t want to be stuck in the lobby during another false alarm, unpacked, and then it would be time to depart.  The one book I’m carrying is already 1/2 done; I need to save something for the plane.  I’ve played Mahjong Titans until I see tiles floating in front of my eyes when I blink, then switched over to Freecell until I hit game 18663 which finally infuriated me so much I closed the window, thus ensuring my first loss; but not before I even googled ‘freecell 18663 solution’ which didn’t garner me any help.  I wanted to workout this morning but several days of too much rich food have torn up my stomach so bouncing on a treadmill didn’t seem a smart thing to do.

Now that I have too much time on my hands I have plenty of time to fight off thinking about the news #4 imparted this week.  I left him in charge of the house, showed him all the watering of plants and feeding of animals and he nodded and comprehended (still novel to me, after 29 years of one to four kids in the house, I can’t get used to them actually listening and comprehending.  That they never did it when home must have carved a large canyon in my memory that I cannot seem to cross) and even pleasantly nodded and agreed to spray pheromones everywhere despite the fact that it’s really a first world problem, a cat who needs pheromones, and would normally have gotten me, at the least, a roll of the eyeballs.  I was, in fact, vaguely disappointed, I was looking forward to what snarky but funny comment he might make.

Nope, #4 was completely mellow.  #4 was completely mellow because #4 got a job interview with a small firm in Manhattan.  Like, Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York.  Manhattan, one mile south of Central Park and a few blocks north of Park Avenue.  Not only did he get the interview; he got the job.  And he’s moving in two weeks.

Am I wrong, or did I just recently write about #3 moving out of the country in the space of two weeks?

I’m thinking.

Nope, I did.  He’s in Brazil.  I got an email from him a week ago.  No one has called trying to explain to me in Portuguese that he’s not been seen since, so I’m assuming he’s alive and doing well.  I’d considered being snide about it, but refrained.

This identical twin thing must extend to employers.

So, there you go.  Emptier nest.  I’m so happy for him that I feel rather selfish being sad for me.

Cooooffffffffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…… Endorphinnnnnnnnnnnnsssss

I had not realized until I returned from Arizona after my father’s funeral how much I’d been focused, in the past year, on constantly getting the most important things done as much as possible in case I had to leave in a hurry again, and leaving everything else for later.  Now that I’m also newly resolved not to work weekends I find I’m enjoying things a bit more.  I don’t feel so overwhelmed and I am energized about cleaning out drawers, closets, piles of paper I’ve stuck in a corner, the shoes I threw in the closet and whose laces have now intermarried (which makes me sound like a potential candidate for Hoarders but truly it wasn’t that bad.  No towers of newspapers have crushed any family members or pets).

It’s been interesting.  I’ve found I never ordered child #4’s college graduation pics.  Do you think it’s too late now?  I need never buy another pair of nail clippers, tweezers or scissors. And THAT’S where my daytimer is.  Maybe it will be more useful now that I know where it is.

Update on Chunker:  SHE USED THE LITTER BOX.  Then: SHE USED IT AGAIN.  And she repeated the process repeatedly!!  YAY!  So guess what.  I’m leaving town again Tuesday through Saturday and that will probably throw her back over the edge.  I’m hoping #4 isn’t too upset about the unordered grad pics since he’s house sitting and I need to convince him to spray the pheromones everywhere, which will probably cause his eyeballs to roll so far back into his head that I’ll have to smack him so he can see again; he’s not really into catering to animals.  He thinks we’re supposed to be in charge, not the dog or cat.  I keep telling him I am in charge but he doesn’t seem to believe me.

Just a second, I have to go give the dog a cookie, be right back.

OK, I’m back.  By the way, while I was in the kitchen I decided I wanted an orange.  It was reeeeeellllly good.  Yum.  Murphy likes oranges too.  He waits beside me while I eat it so he can have 1/2 of the last section, which I always save for him.  So anyway for some reason my kids all think I spoil the animals which I think is extremely cynical of them.  Hopefully #4 won’t be so cynical that he won’t spray the pheromones.  Also he’ll have to let her sleep with him.  And Murphy too.  They both need to sleep with him so they don’t get lonely.  Speaking of animals, #3 offspring has this habit, when you’re out somewhere with him and he wants to get your attention, he whistles for you just like you were a dog, that dog calling whistle, you know?  And it’s so irritating because every. single. time. I turn when he whistles.  And then – he laughs.  dammit.

Since I was in a funk yesterday I kept thinking, “I don’t want to do that”  “I don’t want to do that, either” so I made myself take the pile of little naggly stuff that needs to be done, and none of it will take more than 5-10 minutes, but you’re doing something else right now so you’ll do it next and finally the pile is like 3″ tall and now it’s looking at you going nanner nanner nanner you need to take care of me and you think, stupid pile of stuff to do, I HATE you.  Then you realize you just said I hate you to an inanimate pile of paper, which is something you should probably definitely not bring up with the doctor at your next physical, so you decide to go eat a nice sweet juicy orange to feel better.  And this is why, when you return to your desk the next morning, the creepy pile is still sitting there making weird eyes at you like that money used to do in that Geico commercial.

But this time I looked it straight in the eyeballs, pulled it over to me and started working from the top down.  YAY!  No more creepy To Do pile staring at me!!  Great feeling of accomplishment.  I was so energized that I went to Lowe’s and bought some plants.  That was fun.  This morning I putzed on the patio and got them all in pots.  Now on top of spraying pheromones everywhere #4 is going to have to water my plants.  And I wonder why none of my children have ever wanted to come back home to live.

I’ve been thinking I haven’t posted any drawings on my world-famous blog lately and I bet both of you, my faithful followers, are pretty sad.  I bet it’s pretty much ruined everything for you and I want to exhort you to please get out of bed, take a shower and put on some clean clothes and cheer up because while cleaning out things, I found a post I’d written in January and drew a picture for but never posted.  So now you can read a blog that is five months old.  But just think about those days in January when it was so cold outside.  That will make us all feel better tomorrow morning on our run when it’s 90 degrees and 50% humidity.

Ciao!  Gonna go vacuum!! FUN!


4am and the cat is on my head.

The hubs has sometimes indicated that he does not believe I am an optimistic person.  I refute that.  Anyone that can spend the last 6 months going to bed every single night thinking surely this is the night that the cat will not be on my head at 4am tomorrow has to be an optimist.  Or too lazy to put the cat out of the bedroom, but I refute that too.

4:39am and I surrender.  Cat has the tenacity of a two-year-old after another cookie.  If I have to get up and carry her down two flights of stairs I will be wide awake and unable to go back to sleep anyway sooooo……

I get up and, in the dark, put on the first clothes I can reach which feel like pants and a shirt (later, downstairs, I notice that today I am looking 4:39am Fine in my rocking awesome plaid fleece bell bottoms, an XL flannel shirt and inside out Thorlos in Nike slides – I don’t know, I like them inside out –  later hubs mentions I might look a bit like I’m homeless – this time of day I should look like I’m Miss America with a cat on my head?) and I head for the stairs.

Immediately I trip over Cat who is bouncing up and down the steps in glee and joy Crunchies Crunchies Crunchies spinspinspin in happy circles Crunchies MOM Crunchies MOMMOMMOM.  Having done this every day since she learned to go up the stairs you’d think by now I’d remember to look for her under my feet.  But this is pre-caffeine and we’re all just happy I’m still breathing which, if it weren’t a reflex, I might also forget.

I visit the Shrine of Mr. Coffee, Oh Great Coffee Maker that I love, you Grinder of Beans, you Haven of dark steaming caffeine goodness, you.  Pour rich blackness into my favorite handmade mug, spinninghungryCrunchiesCRUNCHIES!PAIN!ANXIETY! Cat now desperate for food before she dies, underfoot and climbing my leg in desperation I’m starving NOW!MOM!  I turn toward the stairs and she is off, a blur of calico doing 90 to her food dish.  Crunchies finally in her bowl, safe from starvation for another day and I rock.

At 5am in January it’s dark and it’s cold and while I know others that run outside this time of the morning, I’m bagging it and going to the Y and run the hamster track.  You can catch endorphins inside as easily as you can outside.  They vary in size, but the effect is the same.  Inside endorphins are smaller and more densely packed in the atmosphere of a gym; they don’t have as much space so they can’t grow as large, but since they are more densely populated you end up with the same effect.  Outdoor endorphins, on the other hand, are larger but also spaced further apart – they have room to grow and to roam.  You can see that the end result is the same:  fewer large endorphins or more small endorphins.

I fire up the iPod and hit the track, sympathizing with Pink that someone’s gonna get in a fight and I’m feeling the legs loosen up, my lungs opening, stride starting to smooth out.  I shake out my hands and loosen my shoulders while I visit with Credence down on the corner and by the second mile Lady Gaga and I are discussing her bad romance while endorphins start sticking to me.  I think highly of anyone who runs or walks or walk/runs or whatever they do for fitness – but the guy running in front of me is much younger than I and for some reason today that irritates me.  I don’t want him in front of me being all young.   However: miles 3 & 4 are slated for some intervals and soon I’m flying past, striding to Blitzkrieg Bop and thinking that I may be closer to 60 than 50 but I can pass your a– I mean, I can pass you up.  Two miles of intervals and I have a bunch more endorphins stuck all over me, I think I’ve even got some in my hair.  Two mile cool down, some Motown pops up and I give ear to the Temptations talking about their girl.  By the time I’m done I’ve got endorphins clustered all over the place and they are buzzing.  Grab some coffee at the counter and head home to the day –

Coffee and Endorphins, Breakfast of Champions.

Here’s a nice picture of endorphins in case you don’t know what they look like:

It’s Funky Funk Funk Friday!

Today’s Friday feels like Monday to me.  Yuck.  I’m in a funk.  Funky funk funk.

Last night I had crazy dreams.  This usually happens at some point when I’m in a situation my mind is trying to sort out, but I was surprised because I would have said I have nothing I’m trying to sort out right now.  I was in an apartment building that actually looked like a hotel but it wasn’t and I was stuck there with my former in-laws (in the name of God, why?) who were packing for a camping trip and I was holding a creamer that slowly broke into little bits, the lid chipped, then the edge cracked, then the handle fell off, then the bottom fell off and the cream leaked everywhere, then I couldn’t find my jeans to go camping even though actually no one was going camping, they just said they were, and they kept making snarky comments to me the whole time anyway, at which point I suddenly found myself hiking a mountain.  When I got to the top I saw that someone was plowing away the entire other side of the mountain and as I tried to climb over the huge mound of dirt a group of activists who were anti-plowing-away-the-mountain were planning to blow up the very large plowing machine, and I was standing right next to them so I was going to get blamed for it which I was not happy about, so I ran away down the mountain.  I ran down the mountain very well, hopping from boulder to boulder like a goat without falling down once.  At this point I woke up, worn out, my head crooked on the pillow, wondering what the hell my brain was doing and will I ever find an off switch for the damn thing.

Exhausted, I tried to go back to sleep.   Of course just as I dozed off Chunker decided it was Attack The Toes Game time.  I got up to get her out of the bedroom and I’ll tell you two what, she is not stupid.  She scooted under the dresser faster than I could say you little sh*t and I had to drag her out from under.  I put her in the hallway and shut the door.  Went back to bed.  Flopped around like a dying fish for several minutes trying to get my crooked stiff neck comfortable and find some part of the sheets that didn’t feel like a humid summer day and just as I dozed off she realized she was shut in the hallway and decided to stage a protest by slapping the door with her paw while crying.  OMG I can’t STAND it so I got up and surrendered.  She happily trotted down the stairs in front of me, undoubtedly chanting in her mind “Kibbletime Kibbletime yayayayayay” and I groggily made coffee in the Shrine of Caffeinated Goodness, the Center of my 4:45am Universe, my greatest treasure, Cuisinart Grind ‘n Brew.

We had a nice time last Sunday for Mother’s Day – all four kids, the son-in-law and the best grandbaby and the best son’s girlfriend in the universe all came over and it was fun just to sit back and listen to them joke with each other.  The twins have so many inside jokes and tales that it’s like watching a comedy movie in French, it’s funny but I have no clue what they’re talking about most of the time; all four of them have undiscovered stories from childhood which just now come to light so I always get a laugh (or roll my eyes and sigh) at the stuff they pulled.  I caught a lot of high school shenanigans, but they’re talented, these four.  As I can clearly remember my daughter telling the twins, “Do it, and apologize later” while I shouted “NO! Do NOT do it and then apologize!!!” it’s no wonder there are stories to hear.

A nice part of the weekend was that one of the boys whom I shall call Andrew in order to maintain his anonymity, altho he doesn’t read my blog anyway so it probably wouldn’t matter if I used his real name, flew in Sunday and stayed until Tuesday.  My other three chicks live nearby right now so it was nice to have the fourth one home for a few days.  It being Mother’s Day and all four being here I’ve been thinking about motherhood a lot this week.

Motherhood didn’t come naturally to me.  I’m too selfish, for one thing.  Soon as my daughter was born I realized it was not the All About Me Show anymore, this little thing needed me to survive and I loved her completely and immediately.  But I was still kinda wishing for me time.  That I was very young and in a rapidly deteriorating marriage probably didn’t help.  Anyway, a few years later I had my first son – again, love at first sight! – and within 18 months of his birth was a divorced single mom with two kids and no support.  Which was fine, I didn’t want anything, I wanted to do it myself and I did.  But all that being the mom and the dad and the breadwinner and the housekeeper and changing the oil in the car and working 40-50 hours a week didn’t come easily or comfortably to me while trying to combine it with being a parent.  I was tired, short tempered and overwhelmed.  A couple years later I met the soon-to-be hubs; less than two years after our marriage I was sitting in the kitchen with two little tiny things fully dependent upon me to survive – and if one kid overwhelmed me, two at the same time had me just about in the basket.  I loved them totally and completely, of course, but I was now twice as exhausted; trying to take care of those two and two kids in elementary school was now just twice as much busy-ness.  Basically what I remember looking back on those times is the inside of the pediatrician’s office, the inside of the van, the kitchen, and falling into bed asleep before I landed.

Then all of a sudden they were growing up and graduating and moving out and gone.  My daughter stayed in town for college and was home nearly every other day to get something anyway, and with three boys still at home I didn’t have any empty nest issues.  Four years later my son went to college one state away and I was a sodden sobbing mess as I drove away.  But he was home nearly every weekend and I still had two in the house so it wasn’t too empty yet.  Then the twins both left at the same time, 9-10 hours away and when we’d packed the second one into his dorm and went back to the hotel where hubs fell soundly asleep I cried for two hours, cried so hard that I felt like a hangover the next day.  Every single time they came home and left again, or we visited and left I cried, and I did that until at least halfway through their junior year.

What happened is that the little babies that I loved, adored and would have thrown myself in fire to protect turned into the typical teenager, which isn’t all that fun or pretty – and then one day they just up and turned into awesome people.  Funny, well spoken people who will eat Ethiopian food when at one point in their life they existed on Honey Nut Cheerios and applesauce.  Well-read people who converse about movies and books, who go to outdoor concerts and parties and weddings and have friends and if possible I love them even more.  This is the part that I’m embarrassed to admit and one of the reasons it’s taken me all week to write:  I’m jealous.  I’m jealous of the people who get to work with them or go to parties with them and laugh at inside jokes.  I wish I were their friend.  I wish I could hang out with them and go places with them, since they are people I like.  But you’re always still a mom and you can’t be a friend too, not the way you are with your real friends.  Somewhere in the corner of the room the mom part is still standing there.  I wish I were still central to their lives, and of course I’m not.  That is the right and natural way of life.  I know I’m very important to them, they call and they ask advice and we talk.  However, there are things I talk to my friends about that I will never discuss with my kids and I think you’d both agree that if a mom showed up at a party on a Friday night with her 20-something son everyone would think that was a bit weird (including me).

Second, the reason it’s come up particularly this week is that Andrew came home Sunday to visit because last Thursday he was told he’d be living in Brazil for a year…starting this weekend, flying out tonight.  And that’s the second reason I’ve waited to write:  I’m in a funk.  I’m an amatuer but I can pretty well tell you why I dreamed of the in-laws (who were there when my first two were little); why I held a creamer that piece-by-piece cracked apart and “left” me; why I couldn’t find my lost jeans for the camping trip that didn’t exist; how I ended up alone on the top of a mountain while the other side was being pushed away.

While I’ve tried to deny to myself that I’m upset, last night’s crazy dreams in Technicolor with a cast of thousands indicate that my brain is working overtime to put something back into a slot that’s apparently shorted out or full.  I don’t want to be upset – it’s not like he’s in the army and going to Afghanistan – those are the moms who have something to be upset about – but I’m still near tears today.  Actually I was near tears until I typed that sentence and now I’m in tears so that’s closer than near and I’m in a funk.  I’m so happy for him to have this opportunity; he told me he’s already going to a BBQ this weekend with his new workmates, he’s going to see and do so many things and it’s awesome.  It’s his journey now. I’m going to miss him, I wish could see and do those things too, like I used to with my kids.  Like when we went to the zoo and one of my children discovered an elephant for the first time and I saw it through their eyes, or the first time they got an ice cream cone or went to the circus or rode a bike.   That’s why the empty nest hurts.  Not because the house is empty, but because my heart kind of is.

Don’t give up

I wrote this last November for the MRTC runners, so some of you may have already seen it.  If you’re out there, on the DL, feeling out of the running loop for whatever reason:  Don’t give up!  Hang in there!


You don’t hit the sweet spot on runs most of the time, or at least I don’t.  Usually something hurts or is at least uncomfortable or it’s hot or cold or dry or wet weather or your shirt is bugging you — you know how it goes.  For a long time while I had four kids at home and worked my running was pretty hit-and-miss. I’d get started and then the hubs would be out of town for two weeks and all four would get the flu and then give it to me, and next I knew it was three months since I had run.  But I always kept my subscription to Runner’s World.  I knew if I didn’t keep some piece of running it might someday just completely slip away.  Finally in 2002 I got back into running consistently.  I did my first half that year and my first full the next year.  In 2008 with some nagging injuries I backed off running.  I’d hit it for a while and then something would get in the way, life, another injury, whatever.  Finally in December last year I resolved that I wanted 2011 to be the year I ran.  No goals, just run.  It was iffy at the start, I was still hit-or-miss but I didn’t quit.  In June I decided to train for a marathon just to prove I could still do it.  I didn’t tell anyone for a while, I was afraid to jinx it.  But here I am, the last week of training before the taper.  I had to make myself run today, I had the donwannas but I set out anyway — and immediately I was in the sweet spot.  I was at a mile before I felt I’d even touched pavement.  My feet seemed to have feathers, floating just off the ground.  It was beautiful out – grey and breezy but not too cold and not too hot.  Not too windy and not too sunny.  It was the run we all pursue but only occasionally catch.

Now –  I’m still slightly crazy about the taper, still superstitious about the marathon, still wish I were faster and my form was better:  In other words, I’m a normal runner.  And the reason I’m telling you this rambling story is to say to all of you out there right now getting this email and trying to squeeze 25 hours of life and work and kids into each day, on the DL, just plain burned out, whatever – DON’T GIVE UP.  Give yourself the time or space you need for now, but don’t quit.  Take some piece of running – Runner’s World, MRTC membership, tape an old race bib to the refrigerator – anything – and every time you see that piece say to it:  “I’ll be back.  I’m going to be back.  It might not be today or this week or this month, but I’m coming back.”

Happy Trails!

There’s a WHO? On the WHERE? Doing WHAT?

There are probably things both of you would bet you’d never hear your significant other say. Like, “let’s fly to France for dinner!” or “I just bought us matching Lamborghinis!”

Personally, until three or four years ago, I would have bet all day long that I would never hear the hubs say “There’s a drunk man on the roof trying to climb in the window.” But I would have been wrong.

A few years ago lightning struck our chimney and caught it and part of the wall on fire. I’d been at dinner with some friends and a pouring rainstorm started suddenly. We waited it out for a while but finally all dashed to our cars to get home. A couple blocks from home my cell rang and it was the hubs asking when are you getting home?? which was totally unlike him since he’s real cool about stuff all the time. I told him I was almost there. He said, “Lightning struck the chimney and the house is on fire” and I said, “Lightning? Struck the chimney? The house is on fire?” because I’m real good in situations like that, I’m on top of things, I grasp the whole picture very quickly and jump to action. So he (not so calmly) repeated the sentence. Which I then repeated back to him, again. I just wanted to be clear, you know. I don’t know about y’all, but in my world most phone conversations don’t start with the words “Lightning struck the chimney”. Between the three of us, though, I think it frustrated him, so I want to advise you both that if your special person does call you one day and says that lightning struck your chimney and your house is on fire, just go ahead and agree immediately and save yourself some time and frustration.

I’d like to note here that I’m actually a pretty quick thinker most of the time, but you throw something at me that’s outside my realm of expectation – for instance, I’m driving home thinking about work tomorrow and you tell me lightning hit our house and it’s on fire – I tend to take a minute to process. I kinda need a frame of reference. Perhaps something like thinking occasionally throughout my life that someday lightning might strike my house. But, no. Instead I thought about things like would the kids ever grow a brain or could I legally lock them in the closet until they were 18? Which, by the way, kids do grow a brain, but it takes them until they’re about 25, so don’t hold your breath.

The upshot of the lightning and ensuing fire was that we got the dining room, den, stairway, entryway, hallway and one bedroom painted by the insurance company, due to smoke damage, along with them repairing the holes the enthusiastic fire department made while chopping out the burning wall (which I was very happy to let them do, didn’t bother me a bit. Chop away, I say! Chop away!), repairing the hole in the sodden ceiling where the water ran through, etc. We decided it was a great opportunity to get some needed work done, and paid the crews to finish painting the rest of the house, paint the kitchen cupboards and some other things. The next six weeks turned into a Where’s Waldo existence where one morning the spoons and bowls might be on the den floor, the next morning in the bathroom on the counter, the dresser might now be in the dining room – something was always making funny noises and it was basically controlled chaos. Since the paint was pretty smelly I kept all the windows open most of the time; fortunately it was also a beautiful time of year and it was nice having the breeze blow through the house.

Thus it was that one night about 2am during all this repair work from the fire that I heard a funny banging noise. It sounded like a shutter come loose and banging against the side of the house, except we didn’t have shutters that opened. “Crap!” I thought. “Something else is broken now.” I woke the hubs and told him I heard something banging on the house and would he go check it out, please. At our age the first thing either of us does when we awaken, other than being sure we’re still breathing, is go to the bathroom. Since I’d usurped the downstairs bath he went upstairs. It was 2am, I was minding my own business, getting a bathrobe to go see what’s going on, and the hubs slammed into the bedroom and said firmly “Get dressed! There’s a drunk man on the roof and he’s trying to climb in the window!” I looked at him in wonder. “There’s a drunk man? On the roof? Trying to climb in the window?”  I guess he was a bit frustrated because he sort of shouted “CALL 9-1-1! THERE’S A DRUNK MAN ON THE ROOF TRYING TO CLIMB IN THE WINDOW!” I was still dumbfounded and repeated the sentence back to him – again. I just could not seem to make this thought work. There’s a drunk man. He’s on the roof. And he wants to climb in our window. All I could think of was, “Why?”

What happened was hubs was upstairs in the bathroom minding his own business when a head popped up in the window.  “HEY!  Get out of here!” shouted hubs (or something like that).  The drunk guy put his hands up and slurred sloppily, “I’m a good family man, don’t shoot me!”  With what would hubs have shot him, had Drunk Dude not been a good family man?  Eh?  It’s a bathroom.  Do you need to have a permit to carry that hairbrush?

Poor hubs, frustrated beyond belief, finally just grabbed the phone himself and called. I got some jeans on and we went outside to await the police. Just in case the drunk guy made it in through the window, I guess we figured it was safer in the dark, alone, outside. The police pulled up, lights off, sirens off, and got reluctantly out of their cars. They shined a flashlight in our faces and asked if someone here called about a drunk guy climbing in a window. My husband said he did. The police seemed to be watching intently, and I realized they thought maybe they were looking at the drunk guy right now. Hubs said, “Yes. About 5’8″, sandy hair, red t-shirt” which seemed to convince them. They shined the super-powered flashlight on our roof and I screamed and pointed – THERE! THERE HE IS! but hubs replied calmly that I was looking at the turbine on the roof. Well, it was round and about the size of a head. You’d have done the same thing.

I tell you what. In real life, cops do not jump out of their cars, guns pulled and ready to rumble. One shook his head and muttered, “All we’ve had all night is a bunch of drunks”. They sighed, and turned to go into the backyard and see if they could find the guy or any evidence of him. The short one led the way; 10 feet behind him was the 2nd guy, a cop that must have been a college football linebacker. Both were shining their flashlights around, hands on holster, moving slowly. Hubs started to follow them. Hellsbells I’m not staying behind! So I crouched down behind hubs, grabbing his shirt in both hands and peering around his shoulder.

Nothing. Nothing and no one. They decide to patrol the area for a while and we returned to the house. Hubs kept watching out the window. Ten minutes later he shouted, call 9-1-1, the guy just walked into the house next door!  This time I was ready. I dialed 9-1-1 and the cops returned. Turns out our neighbor had a “band” and his “friend” was playing with him at their “gig” and when they got home he went outside for a “cigarette”. Apparently when you go outside for a cigarette at 2am the preferred means of returning to the house is not through the unlocked front door but to climb the patio decking and attempt to enter the house through the upstairs bathroom window. Hey. That’s how I always do it. When I do, though, I always make sure I drunkenly climb the lattice work and aim for the bathroom window at the correct house. We declined to press charges and went back to bed.

But I never left that bathroom window open ever again.

Use it or Lose it – Really.

In March of this year MRTC hosted the 54th Annual RRCA Convention (Road Runners Club of America,  One feature of the annual convention is break-out sessions spread out over the two days of the event, with CE’s for certified coaches, information on timing systems, club communication, directing races, injury prevention, etc.  As co-director of the convention it was my goal to stop in at all 12 of the break-out sessions at some point for at least a few minutes.  I stepped into one session, however, and never left.  It was led by Ashley Hofeditz (a Memphis-based registered, licensed dietitian).  I never left and I ended up scribbling notes furiously on the back of my name tag, which I then, unfortunately, lost.  Since that session I’ve intended to try to contact Ashley and ask her for further information but had not gotten that done yet.

This morning I opened the paper and on the front page of the M Section was an article by Ms. Hofeditz about the very same subject.  It is incredibly fascinating and, I think, vitally important to everyone – not just runners or bikers or swimmers or whatever type athlete you might be – but even more vitally and life-sustaining  for anyone who is sedentary.

What stunned me about Ms. Hofeditz’s presentation at the convention was the information on lean muscle mass loss over the age of 30 and, much more importantly, the effect it has on the elderly who get sick.  I will link the entire article at the end of this blog, which I highly recommend everyone read, print, re-read and keep in their journal or wherever they put the information they want to review.  First, however, some highlights from the article (all italics mine):

– “Once we get into our 40s, we lose about 8 percent of our muscle mass every 10 years”

– “By age 70 this loss speeds up dramatically to around 15 percent loss of muscle every 10 years.”

– “…healthy elderly people were studied.  After 28 days of bed rest…the elderly…lost muscle fast, losing 10% of their muscle, and it took them only about 10 days to do so.”

– “Sickness and injury can accelerate muscle loss…the elderly, when hospitalized, can lose 10% or more of their muscle in only three days”

– “Half of all women over age 65 who fall and break a hip never walk again.” (how many of you are closer to 65 than 21??)


Ms. Hofeditz and Dr. Jonathan Ellen, stroke director at HealthSouth Rehab, then go on to explain the best ways to maintain the greatest possible lean muscle mass as we age, with proper nutrition and strength training being essential.  The article also explains in greater detail the types of exercise and dietary changes that will have the greatest effect on our health and strength as we age.

If we’re ‘lucky’ we’ve already implemented a fitness routine and are committed to eating healthy, no matter our current age.  Hearing Ms. Hofeditz speak, however, I realized that there are many tweaks I could make to be much more effective in my efforts and to make the time I spend working out more beneficial, in addition to making some changes to my diet (yuck.  Can we please, really, just eat coffee cake for breakfast?  please??  I put blueberries in it).  The earlier in life we get started, the better the foundation.  However — we must not use our age as an excuse.  No matter your age getting fit is commitment; it’s sweat and effort and time.  Of course as you age it gets a bit more difficult, a bit more uncomfortable and we can fall, perhaps even more easily, into using that as an excuse to do it tomorrow.

As I wrote just yesterday (here) it’s hard to keep going.  We get older, the kids grow up and leave home and we think we’re done.  Golden years.  Time to chillax.  Implement those changes in lifestyle we always intended but were too busy for.  Start walking.  Get a bike.  Go to that class at the gym.  But, no.  Along come the aging parents, the grandkids :-), work continues, and we stay just as busy.  Our resolutions to Get Fit once we “have time” never get realized.  And then we’re 55, and then we’re getting close to 60 – and now it’s not any fun at all.  Getting fit hurts at any age, but at 55 and 60 and definitely past that, the body starts to hurt even when you do nothing to it.  Your knee nags you.  Your back has that one kink in it that always flairs up.  You don’t want to sweat and breathe hard.  It’s uncomfortable.  You’re a bit more tired in the morning.  You decide just to sleep in today.

I will tell you what’s uncomfortable:  lying in a bed all day long every day for a year, daily losing whatever little bit you had until you cannot sit unaided, cannot lift your leg more than 6 inches, cannot brush your own hair.  And this can happen to any of us; not to be Debbydowner here, but it’s going to happen to some of us.

And the ramifications echo throughout your world and the world of your loved ones.  Care like that is expensive.  Your spouse or your family struggles to figure the best way to care for you on the income they have.  Their life revolves around visiting you, worrying about you, trying to be sure every day that ‘they’ did change your ‘briefs’ in a timely manner, ‘they’ did turn you so you don’t get a bedsore … because as much as you might like to think, right now, that the medical personnel will be there for that – ‘they’ won’t be.  Not all the time, and not for lack of wanting to help you.  Instead, they’ll be down the hallway with the guy who just fell out of his wheelchair, or they’re changing someone else’s soiled bed and you’re 3rd on the list right now.  The actual caregivers truly do care, but when an RN has 20 patients in a ward and two CRN’s where maybe 2-3 patients are mobile, you’re on the list as soon as they can get to you.  Corporate, in their glass castle in upper Podunk, is not looking at your tired face.  They are looking at The. Bottom. Line. and they are not going to approve a 2nd RN or 3rd CRN on that floor for that shift.

We all need to think about what we can do now – today – to offset that to the greatest possible degree.  If we read Ashley’s article and we put it to heart, if we add lean protein to (most) every meal in the proper amounts, if we do aerobic AND resistance training, maybe we won’t be the one who falls and breaks the hip.  Maybe our muscles and bones will be denser and stronger.  Maybe if we do have a stroke, we’ll be fit enough to get out of the hospital sooner and do that physical therapy and return to a more meaningful life.  I don’t know.  No one knows if that can and will happen in our individual life.  But apparently we can be pretty certain that whatever does happen to each of us in our future can be affected by the choice we make today.

Please review all the information in the article at this link:

Happy Trails –

Back in the saddle again (3rd time’s the charm)

I got home from Arizona last week on Tuesday night and Wednesday I had all the energy of a

Wait, I’m trying to think of something with little enough energy to make a fitting comparison.  Any suggestions?

Here are some of the things I came up with:  Limp noodle (waaaay overdone) dead moth (kinda weird but I only thought of it because Chunker just killed one and it’s pretty inert) Murphy on my side of the bed when I want to go to sleep (self explanatory) caffeine free morning (oh, Terri Lee, come on – at least use a comparison that’s humanly possible).

Well that’s how much energy I had, anyway.  Thursday I felt slightly more alive since I slept past 7:30.  By the time I was ready to get a run it was 9:45 and it was pretty warm and humid; while I was out of town Memphis went and decided to get its summer on early.  I’d been in dry, cool weather for a bit so obviously not acclimated to heat and humidity.  I grabbed a 20 oz bottle and headed out.

To say this run sucked is like saying noodles are limp (I’m determined to get that in here somehow).  It sucked.  My HR wouldn’t get under 90%, I was trudging up hills that I ran at pace 6 weeks prior and I was huffing and puffing the whole way.  Even going down Jr. Muther Hill my pace was way off and HR too high.

Growing up in Arizona and now living in the swamp-like atmosphere of Memphis I know about heat and hydration.  When I got home from my run I had this equation: bathroom – hydration = lemon yellow.  I was totally dehydrated.  Looking back I realized all day Tuesday was spent in airports and on airplanes (including the most fun: 2-1/2 extra hours sitting at the gate while the crew fixed a ‘minor problem’.  The only upside to this is that the crew wanted the thing fixed fast & correctly as much as the rest of us did.  They were stuck in the plane too).  Humidity levels on a plane, according to my good friend google, rarely exceed 15%.  I already wasn’t drinking much because crammed into that middle seat I didn’t want to have to crawl all over everyone during the unflight, altho the stewards were bringing around water, and apparently I didn’t rehydrate well on Wednesday.  (Coincidentally, later that afternoon I read an old copy of Running Times and found this article, very interesting if you’d like to know more about heat and hydration:

SLUG!  I just thought of a good word!  I knew it my brain had it in there somewhere among all the forgotten locations of my keys and where did I leave my scissors.

My run sucked and I had the energy of a slug because I was dehydrated.  But it was also because my Jan/Feb mileage averaged 31 miles per week and my March/April mileage averaged 13.75 miles per week.  You can’t keep a fitness level when dropping like that; I had good reason it dropped, and it was as it had to be, but the reality is that you lose it and it sure seems to get lost faster than it gets found.

I’m now Back In The Saddle Again and last Thursday I was pretty frustrated and irritated about that; get trained up a bit, lose it, get trained up a bit, lose it.  I’m kinda tired of the cycle.  But all of life is a cycle and a nice thing about getting older is you truly begin to comprehend that rather than it just being a platitude.  I’ve been here before, I got past it, I’ll get past it again – which I’ll do with running, with relationships, with work, everything – and all of you do, and will do so, also.

I love running.  I don’t know why, because there are parts of running that are rotten.  Like trying to come back when you’ve been out of the routine, and you’re breathing hard and your legs feel like telephone poles only telephone poles probably bend better and your shirt is chafing you and sweat is burning your eyes.  But even when that rotten part is going on there is another part that is deep inside me, defining me.  It tells me that I’m not a quitter, that I can do this even if I do it ugly and it hurts, that when I’m done and back at the car and I take the running shoes off my burning feet and sit down for the first time in perhaps hours it feels so incredibly sweet.  It tells me that I’m strong and I’m brave and I’m doing something that is good for me in many ways.  That I will be a physically stronger person, I won’t have to start parking closer and closer to the grocery store, I won’t start saving all the things to go upstairs to be done in one trip; I won’t lose as much lean muscle mass and I’ll have a stronger heart and lungs – and maybe it will eventually help me to be a better person too.  Maybe I’ll begin to learn that stuff hurts and that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  That you go through a hard thing or a tiring thing or an irritating thing and you need to just look at it as part of the journey and not the whole of the journey.  Because the journey is all we have, and it’s not such a bad trip.

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