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 “March, 2013”

It’s all fun and games until the clowns show up.

If you are an athletic type – and I mean any type of activity, walking, running, swimming, cycling, exercise classes – you know how hard you had to work to achieve whatever level of fitness you desire and you know how much easier it is to lose it than to gain it in the first place.  Also, as you both know, one thing I’m really excited about right now is that I’m enough out of shape that I’m burning extra calories doing my regular workouts trying to get rid of the extra weight I got from being out of shape.

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round…

Another cool thing is that it’s all fresh and fun again.  There are more chances to have a feeling of accomplishment – I did 5 miles!  I haven’t done that since September!  I did 7 miles!  I haven’t done that since September!  I swam a mile!  I haven’t done that since Septnever!

Now that Becky’s foot is on the DL she’s concerned about maintaining fitness at just the time she planned to ramp up her triathlon training.  She can still swim and cycle but her running is being cut in half.  She is also, apparently, off all meds.  Again.  Every single time she gets on the Crazy Bus she gets me a ticket too.  And then I get on the damn bus with her.  And I’m ON my meds.

Terri!  LOOK:
“If you start pool running for several days doing high-intensity workouts, you’ll notice something odd: you will be able to eat much more than usual! Even though your workouts are of a similar length to before you were in the pool, the thermal load of the water will spike your metabolism.”
AND: “Since water is a much better heat conductor, it will force your body to generate more heat to stay warm (and therefore burn more calories). As detailed in Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body, this is how Michael Phelps is able to eat over 7,000 calories per day. It’s a combination of the time spent in the pool and the effect of the water.”
HE CAN EAT 7000 calories a DAY!

I say, obviously someone needs to take away Becky’s Googling rights.

I found myself digging aqua belts out of the pile at the pool where the Senior water working-out class was going on.  I had the brilliant idea of wearing my HR monitor and putting my Garmin inside my hat to keep it dry. The Garmin wouldn’t stay on my head long enough to get the baseball cap over it.  Finally I held it in place and Becky put my hat on me, except then my hand was stuck in the hat and when I tried to pull my hand out I ended up with the Garmin strap as a new kind of earring.  In the end, when I got home, it was for nothing because apparently the radio signals from the strap to the watch won’t go through water.

I say, smart radio signals.

Of course we had no clue what we were doing, strapping those stupid belts on and heading for the deep end.  As we got deeper in the water the belts started to try to float and soon the aquabelt was asphyxiating me.   I struggled to shove it back down on my waist and choked on a mouthful of water which I then snorted out my nose.  OUCH that burned.  Do not laugh when the water is at your chin.  Of course Becky found that hysterical, and then the Senior water worker-outers started staring at us.  I think several of them were former schoolteacher nuns.  Fortunately rulers are not part of the Waterworks Class equipment.


We bobbed forward, legs spinning out behind us.  We bobbed backward, legs spinning out in front of us.  We bobbed up and down.  We kicked back and forth and up and down and snorted water while we laughed like idiots in bumper cars rolling in circles.  “RACE YOU TO THE OTHER SIDE!”  We took off ‘running’ going the speed of slow, pumping our arms and running like mad, going nowhere.  I would be talking to Becky and realize that my back was to her because I’d spun off in another direction.  We could not quit laughing, and I kept thinking of the circus clowns who all climb out of the tiny little car and go running madly in circles, bouncing off one another.  The Senior water worker-outers were really cutting their eyes at us now.  Hey.  Exercising in Water is Serious.  Cheer down right now.

drinking bird

In about 5 minutes my HR was up enough that I had to stop for a minute and catch my breath.  The problem with having to catch your breath is if you quit the pool running you tend to start tipping over again, so if you’re out of breath, you have to make your way breathlessly to the ropes or the edge.  You can bob up and down again like the bobbing bird toy I had as a kid if you prefer, but you might end up snorting more water.  We kept going, back and forth.  Then we ran in circles, doing laps around the deep end.  One old guy in the water exercise class finally quit altogether and just stood in the pool, watching us working our a$$es off going nowhere.  He kept looking at us with the same expression Mo gets when he sees the coffee pot start:  head slightly to one side, intent, curious and slightly baffled.

“I see it, but it makes no sense.”

Calories Calories everywhere…

Since I’m so ecstatic about being out of shape so I can burn more calories, calories now show up everywhere.  It’s like when you get dressed up all nice to go out to dinner.  Then, on the way to the restaurant to meet your friends, you realize that the rogue chin hair you’ve been waging battle with for so many years it’s gone and turned grey – but hasn’t died – has suddenly sprouted to 1/2″ in length.  Overnight.  Now all you can think of is this stupid thing sticking out of your chin like a lighthouse beam.  You’re pretty sure it’s picking up signals from Jupiter.  Others in the restaurant seem to be staring at you.  Your chin, specifically.  Although certainly you are just being paranoid.

Not that it’s ever happened to me, like, Friday night.

Meanwhile it’s become obvious that the kitty chow I got last month was very yummy and loved greatly by Munker and Mo, who were asking me about every 90 minutes for more.  Even more obvious than the frequency of the requests was the unmistakable thickening of kitty waistlines and the greatly more audible THUMP of Chunker hitting the floor.  I have responsibilities here.  We do live in an earthquake zone.

Yesterday we ran out of the Crack Kitty Chow.  I bought some ‘Adult’ cat food with reduced calories.  Now the kitty food bowls remain full while cats look at me questioningly.  “Mom?  What happened to our food?”  Fortunately they don’t seem to connect the crappy new food to me and Kroger.

I told Hubs I’d bought adult diet cat food and not only did I think the reduced calories would help them slim down, the fact they wouldn’t eat it would probably rapidly increase the weight loss.  Hubs thinks this is a great policy to pursue with the cats and not at all optional for humans.  I don’t think it’s very workable anyway, since basically the only thing I won’t eat is Brussels Sprouts and slimy stuff like eels.  I haven’t seen eels at Kroger.

So, the calorie thing now seems to be lit up like a Vegas show.  As evidenced by this post, which popped up a while ago:


What.  The.  Heck?  That SUCKS.  674??  that’s all??

However, my good running buddy (and Mo’s first stepmom), Elizabeth, turned to Al Gore’s most awesome creation, the Inter Net Web Thingie, uncovering the data that an M&M has, in fact, 3.44 calories, making the total amount of M&M’s you can eat after running a marathon and burning 2900 calories 843.02325 and not 674 lousy candies.

The good news here is that, probably, if you are out of shape but still manage to stumble through a marathon, you might could eat even more M&M’s.  If you had enough energy left to chew.  Maybe you could just lie down face first in a pile of them, then you could eat them without any extra energy expenditure.  Perhaps the RD’s of marathons should consider a pit of M&M’s like the pit of colored balls in the kiddie section of McDonald’s.  Runners could finish the race and jump in, swimming through the M&M’s, chomping away.

Also I did the math, if you burned 2900 calories on a marathon you could eat 6.17 servings of an Enchirito and a Mexican Pizza.  If you called it even and only ate 6 servings you’d be at a net calorie loss.

And people think runners and marathoners are crazy.

Wild and Crazy. Nothing stopping us now.

I saw Dr. K this morning and my back is definitely better, so I headed out for a slow easy 4 miler in the neighborhood to practice my stride.  Beautiful morning – sunny and breezy, it was great to be outside.  Yesterday afternoon, just to have a reason to be outside in the pretty afternoon sun, I swept leaves.  Carefully, slowly, with my back straight, abs tight.   Just a few leaves.  Someday I’m going to count how many trees we have, I don’t actually know.  I can see 14 just looking out the window over my desk.  We have a lot of trees.  It will take four adult men two days to get rid of these leaves, so my little sweeping of the front porch and sidewalk was just a hobby. Sort of like me doing a slow four miler when some friends did the Mississippi 50K and 50 Miler Saturday…I’ve done 50K a few times – but 50 miles?  Wow.  That is some mental strength for sure.  Plus the 50K friends beat my best time by well over a half hour.

I’ve discovered a really great thing about being on the DL off and on for a few months.  When you get back moving again you’re not in as great shape as you used to be.  You’ve lost efficiency, your aerobic capacity is reduced, and of course you aren’t as strong physically.  So everything takes longer and more energy.  This is a good thing, because, personally, I’ve also got about five extra pounds to get rid of.  The five pounds isn’t so awesome, but the extra energy required right now is; when I got home my Garmin and HR monitor announced proudly that I had burned 538 calories.  When I’m in shape it would be about 400.  So I have a net 138 extra calories burned.


Now I only have 9,862 to go!  YAY!

When I had three boys living at home food pretty much disappeared with little need to remove it from the grocery sack.  If there was anything I wanted to have around more than three hours it had to be hid.  I put my chocolates in an empty feminine products box.  Never once did the boys find those…

Every once in a while I would start getting a craving for one of my favorites  – one of my favorites other than the hidden chocolate, which I had every day. One year Fr. Ernie said it was ‘no fair’ ‘giving up chocolate’ for Lent, you needed to come up with something that would be a reminder of the reason for the Lenten sacrifice, something that would have a daily impact.  I said, I eat chocolate 2 or 3 times a day.  He looked stunned.  What the heck?  Doesn’t everyone eat chocolate 2 or 3 times a day??

My weaknesses back then were Panchos cheese dip with Fritos or a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait.  There was never a specific reason;  I’d be vacuuming or looking for the missing sock in each load of laundry when suddenly my brain would announce “PANCHOS” or “PEANUT BUSTER PARFAIT!”

I’d wait for the perfect day – kids all at school, maybe I was extra hungry or I’d been busy shopping and was tired and I would get the DQ, or buy the Panchos and have it for lunch, that’s all, just the cheese dip and Fritos.  Then I was done and I’d leave the rest for the kids.

More recently my favorite blowout has been Taco Bell.  (hahahaha playground snickering, “blowout” “Taco Bell”)  An enchirito and a mexican pizza.  I eat the enchirito first, then the pizza.  I eat the enchirito first because then I cut the pizza carefully into quarters with the handle of the Spork; apparently people who frequent Taco Bell cannot be trusted with plastic knives.  Or spoons.  Or forks.  Just Sporks.  So you can see that otherwise I’d have Taco Bell all over the handle of the Spork if I ate the pizza first and that would be messy.  I use one package of mild sauce per quarter.  All washed down with a diet Dr. Pepper with just a bit of real Dr. Pepper on top because, of course.  What else is there?

The biggest issue I have with losing weight (really, what is not to like about losing a few extra pounds, right?) is the eating less part.  I don’t know about you two, but I think someone missed the ball when He was up there in Heaven creating calories.  I plan to discuss this with Him but not right away.  I’m willing to wait a bit for the talk.

Also I’m going to ask him what the hell – wait, can I say “what the hell” to Him?

I’m thinking.

I think, yes.  Yes, I can.  If anyone ever proves there’s a scoreboard I’ll quit cussing, but until then it’s open season on the swear words.  As evidenced by miles 10-13 of the Oxford Half.

So I’m going to also ask Him what the hell was He thinking when He made mosquitoes or arranged for their evolution or however it happened that things worked out.  Seriously?  Mosquitoes??  Probably it will turn out, at the end of time as we know it, that mosquitoes were actually the Super Glue of the cosmos and held everything together, and here I am, bashing them.  Then I’m going to be all like, OK then.  Sorry.  Please don’t bite me.  And I will be forced to fight them all off with a Spork.

To encourage myself to eat less and lose five pounds I announced publicly to Becky that when I lost five pounds we would have Taco Bell.  Being a good sport Becky acted like Taco Bell would be awesome.  The day arrived!  I texted: “BECKY!  TACO BELL!”

I was SOOOOO excited.  I’m wild and crazy.  There is NO stopping me!  We swam first and I was so hungry!  I’d burned even more calories since I’d weighed!  This was going to be incredible!  TACO BELL!  ENCHIRITO! MEXICAN PIZZA!!!  SPORKS!!!!

I was giddy with excitement.  I clasped my hands excitedly.  The lady at the register looked at me oddly.  “I know what I want!” I announced.  Becky perused the menu, but I couldn’t wait and maybe I did a little skip up to the counter.  The lady behind the register looked at me oddly.  I placed my order and described my Diet Dr. Pepper with the little bit of real Dr. Pepper on top.  The lady behind the register … looked at me … oddly.  I was starting to wonder if not everyone is as pleased to be at Taco Bell as I was.

Isn’t that sad to think?  Not everyone is happy to go to Taco Bell?

nah.  It’s gotta be something else.

I tell you what:  that enchirito and mexican pizza were awesome.  I felt so happily guilty, my diet blow-out, my wild and crazy diet reward, it was doubly sweet.

The next day Becky and I were working out with Killer.  I described to Killer in minute detail the awesome Taco Bell reward we’d celebrated the day before.  Calories be DAMNED!  We were unstoppable!  We threw caution not just to the winds but to the hurricanes!  Swept away!  Washed ashore in a distant land!

“Yeah.  So, about that big celebration?” Becky asked.  “I looked it up.  Your enchirito and mexican pizza?  470 calories, crazy woman.  Way to blow it out.”


There goes the castle.

It’s a grey cold windy day with flakes of snow blowing sideways past my window.  None of it is sticking, although we woke to enough to lightly blanket the grass and the deck was white.  I have Italian herb bread in the bread machine (I cheat, but it makes such a nice dough!  Then I bake it in the oven, not in the bread machine.) and minestrone will soon be on the stove.  Murphy is curled up in the bed and Chunk and Mo are off somewhere asleep.  They should be, they were crazy this morning.  thudthudthudthud thundering down the hallway.   thudthudthudthud back down the hallway.  thudthudthudthud up the stairs.  thudthudthudthud down the stairs.  Suddenly the happy little felines went thudthudthudthud through the kitchen nearly knocking my coffee mug out of my hand.  Near death experience for cats.

Don’t break my new coffee cup!

grumpy cat mug

I Love Grumpy Cat. *heart* *heart*

Everything went well in Oxford and Sunday I was surprised – I was not sore at all.  Rather like someone who just bought a matching set of Ford Pintos, I was, however, feeling deeply remorseful over the Fbombs exploding in my head Saturday and showering all over poor Maggie, who happened to be running next to me when they started igniting, and was regretting my effing slightly effing negative effing attitude.  Not that I’m always Little Mary Sunshine anyway, but I’m thinking I may have also been spitting pea soup in a circle on the course.

Unfortunately Monday morning I apparently tried breathing or thinking or something and suddenly my lower back went “EFFFINGSUNUVABEECH” only louder and with a lot more intensity.  Who knew, we actually have live wires that run through our body and my back had stuck its finger in the socket.  I moved and it hit again.  My back was in labor.  I already have a back.  I don’t need to birth another.  I’m not even registered at Babies BackwardR Us.  Thank God for Lamaze classes, little did I know decades later I would be using the breathing techniques again.

Tuesday it was no better and I called Dr. Krackurback – who is out of the office on Tuesdays, oh yippee skippy – and got an appointment for Wednesday, resigning myself to spending the day walking around like a puppet on a string, jerking erratically.  Hey, it gave the cats something to look at.  Murphy slept through it all, curled up on his blanket.  Just don’t touch his blanket.  Ever.  He jumps like it just exploded and looks at you:  WHAT?  WHAT?  WHAT DID I DO?  all sleepy-eyed and confused.  It makes you feel really guilty.  Especially the 7th or 8th time.

Wednesday Dr. K explained to me that muscles are like a castle wall.  Muscles are the first line of defense.  If the muscles hold the castle then all the kings and queens and little knaves and knavettes are safe.  If the invaders start knocking the wall down, and the wall is already rather rickety – maybe made out of bamboo instead of bricks – pretty soon the wall gives in, the castle is invaded and everyone starts screaming and trying to shove knives into the knaves and pouring boiling oil all over the place.

He’d already figured out that my Quadratus lumborum is weak and gave me some exercises to do but noted it would not be a quick fix, need to get the muscles strengthened and that takes time.   (Seriously.  Quadratus! lumborum!  Doesn’t that sound like some made up word that Harry shouted at Voldemort?  ZZZaaaaat!)

No, it’s just a stupid muscle in your back.  The short of it is I slightly sprained my SI joint (castle) because I strained the QL (rickety wall of bamboo) because it’s a sorry a$$ 99 pound weakling at the beach, all white and puny and skinny getting sand kicked in its face, stupid thing.  Probably it got a bit tuckered out, poor weak little jerk, feeling sorry for itself because my butt never invited it to the Falling Off Party and later when everyone else was all laughing hahahaha at inside jokes that happened at the party the QL got jealous and decided to go remedial.

So, it’s all good.  I know what happened and how, I know what to do to fix it, and I can be patient working on it.  I took it easy this week and moved carefully in order not to re-strain anything; every day it’s better.

I can’t feel too badly about any of this – I’m in a lot better shape than Becky, who’s got a stress fracture of the 5th metatarsal and possibly 6 weeks off running.  Today we swam.  I used the swimming buoy so I didn’t kick (no need to upset QL, the whiny brat, I’d go down like a rock) all arms pulling which is great as they also need to get stronger.  I did OK, got 1750 yards.  I wanted 2,000 but was losing my form – no need for that, just another way to get hurt.

While I was swimming, backandforth-backandforth-backandforth, for the first time I thought, this isn’t too bad.  I could breathe well enough.  I didn’t have to hold onto the side at each turn.  It felt … good.

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