Sunday, April 28, 2013

Abort, Abort!

Week of April 21, 2013:

Sunday: Bike ride to the lab and HEB for edible provisions

Monday: Short evening run (20 minutes around the neighborhood)

Tuesday: Off, I think (I came home and just wanted to cook dinner.  Is that so wrong?)

Wednesday: Bike ride commute

Thursday: Bike ride commute

Friday: Attempted to run.  Abort, abort!

Saturday: Morning run (25 minutes)

Minutes run this week: 45.

Before last week, I can remember just one time when I quit a running work-out.  It was my senior year season of cross-country, and we were doing a track work-out when my legs just could not keep up the way they had been all season.  It turned out that I was injured, one of those stealth injuries that runners sometimes get.  It wasn’t a stress fracture, but it was the prelude to such an injury—my femur had started to weaken in a particular spot.  I’ll never forget the deep pain I felt when the trainer pushed down on my leg when I was sitting on the examining table.  It was stunning how much it hurt, and in that moment I knew: this is not good.  It was the end of my running season and a disappointing end to my cross-country career.

Last week I had my second work-out quit, and it started with this adorable pair of new shoes.

New Purple Wedges JPEG

Adorable, right?  So pretty, so purple, so perfect for summer!

Yes, adorable and deadly.  Check out the wounds these pretty shoes left on my heels after just one wearing.  (My left heel got slashed too.)

Ouch

These shoes just shredded my feet.  I also had some wounds on the top of my right foot, one which required a band-aid.  I was really surprised by how bad the first day with these shoes was.  I wore them around the house, and they felt just fine.  Two days later and they destroyed my feet on their first outing.

Later that week, I set out on Friday evening for a run.  I was wearing my normal running socks and shoes, but I was not wearing band-aids on my heels (foolish!), and as soon as I started to run, the pain was just awful.  Abort, abort!  I thought about hobbling back inside to put on band-aids, but I just decided to end the run and cook dinner instead.  Besides the fact that I was excited about cooking dinner (baked eggs in tomato sauce, in case you were wondering), I also thought that the extra healing time might be good for my poor feet.  I promised myself I would run on Saturday, and ba-da!  I did.  Two runs and three bike rides this week—not too shabby for someone who feels like she’s fallen off the fitness bandwagon lately.  I’ll talk more about that soon.  For now, check out this awesome GIANT turtle I saw on Saturday morning when I came back from my run!  (Pardon the trash next to him; we have a litterbug problem in College Station.  People keep messing with Texas!)

Turtle Close to Home

And with that, I’m finally caught up on this blog.  Whew!

What’s new with you?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bodies in Motion: Ballroom Dancing and Spectating at the Austin Open

Couples on the Floor

So Pretty

Latin Round!

Paul and Leah

Week of April 14, 2013:

Sunday: Bike ride to campus and Target/HEB

Monday: Quickie strength work-out (push-ups, bicycle crunches, etc.)

Tuesday: Bike ride to campus, I think?  Wow, my memory is failing me here.

Wednesday: Evening run (20 min. on the treadmill to avoid sketchy-looking weather with two 1-minute bursts of speed to keep t-mill boredom at bay)

Thursday: Evening run outside! (20 min.)

Friday: Bike ride commute to work

Saturday: Off in Austin watching amazing ballroom dancers in the Austin Open!

Minutes run this week: 40.

You asked for it, and I deliver: photos from the Austin Open!  My camera failed the capture the beauty and grace of the dancing—low light plus motion is a bad combo for my little point-and-shoot.  Nevertheless, I enjoy the sense of motion in these photos.  I took many, many bad photos, but be assured that the fault is all mine, not the dancers’.  My only real regret is that I have no pictures of any of my new crushes…but that fourth photo is a blurry one of Paul with his partner, Leah.  They are a really fun pair to watch: with those long legs of theirs, they just fly around the dance floor.  And they have great chemistry, so there’s a real sense of fun and affection between them.  It was pretty special for me to have a chance to see them in their element, since ballroom dancing is somewhere between hobby and professional aspiration for Paul right now.  Which is, it turns out, the same relationship that I have with blogging!  Now, if only I could find a way to make more than 0.05 cents an hour while writing these blogs of mine…

As a spectator at the ballroom dance competition, the thing that stood out to me (and I know nothing about technique) is that the appearance of having fun makes all the difference in the world.  The great illusion of ballroom dance is, I think, the transition from practicing to performing.  When you practice, you concentrate.  You focus on technique, precision, execution.  When you perform, you put on the illusion that dancing is effortless.  Unlike, say, running, ballroom dance is a performance of emotion.  Without the emotion, it kinda falls flat.  Paul has even said to me that he can’t really dance with someone if he has no emotional connection to her, which makes complete sense to me.  As a person who is dating him, I think it’s pretty great to be with someone who has such a finely tuned sense of partnership.  I see the dance of leading and following in our relationship, and I quite like the analogy.

On a sillier note, how about Paul’s fashion statement here?

Tuxedo Pants Plus Vibrams   

Hot, right?  The perfect mix of elegance and modern caveman.  I sort of wish Paul had worn his Vibrams on our first date, just for the sheer silliness of it.  His Vibrams are not nearly as ridiculous as others that I’ve seen around campus.  For goodness sake, if you’re going to wear five-finger shoes in your everyday life, please consider avoiding neon colors!  Or learn to laugh when people mock your footwear.

And that, my friends, was the Austin Open.  I’ll save my fitness update for tomorrow—I’m trying to catch up on posts this weekend and have some foot-related news of my own to share.

Until then, happy running and dancing!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Unprepared (a few thoughts on clothing)

Weekend Weather Screenshot 4_19_13 JPEG_cropped

{Screenshot from weather.com and cropped in Flickr}

I have moments when I am convinced that I am utterly unprepared for life.    For example, I do not know how to pack for a weather forecast with a freezing low and a balmy high.  What am I supposed to wear?!?  I’m heading to Austin this weekend to spectate a ballroom dance competition, and I can’t figure out how to pack my suitcase.  Also, what does one wear to spectate at ballroom dance competitions?  I’m guessing NOT a tailcoat, which is what my ballroom-dancing companion will be wearing.  I think I’ll just wear a dress and some tights.  Keepin’ it classy, people.

Oh, and a word on my use of the term “freezing.”  One of the side effects of living in Texas is that anything below 50 degrees F is freezing cold to me.  When you live in a really, really hot place, your body acclimates to the heat.  I’m surprisingly comfortable in 90-degree heat now (though running is still hard), but 45 degrees?  Oh, lordy, give me gloves and a hat and a scarf.  And a hot chocolate too, while you’re at it.

Am I the only one stumped by this in-between weather?  It’s neither winter nor quite spring in my mind.  At any rate, happy weekend, y’all!  I hope it’s a good one for you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grade: C-

 Completed Star Chart

Week of April 7, 2013:

Sunday: Bike ride for errands

Monday: Evening run (20 minutes)

Tuesday: Bike commute to work

Wednesday: Evening run (20 minutes)

Thursday: Bike commute to work

Friday: Off

Saturday: Off (plus a slow neighborhood walk with my visitor)

Minutes run this week: 40.

GOODNESS, I am far behind on posting this week.  Yikes.  It’s been another crazy one, folks, but here I am, so let’s chat.  First, how about an Up/Down for today?  On the Down side of things: walking around all day in wet socks and boots.  We had a wicked rainstorm this morning, with the rain coming at me sideways and wind so strong that I had the hold my umbrella with two hands.  All that rain soaked my feet, and I got so annoyed with the wet socks that at one point, I took off the boots and socks and hung my socks from open desk drawers to dry them a little bit.  Of course my boss popped into the office during that time to ask me to meet with him tomorrow—he always seems to find me when I’m doing something weird.

On the Up side: my run today!  By evening, the rain had stopped and the sun came out.  It was pretty chilly today—these days I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to dress for 40s/50s or 70s/80s—and I was a bit underdressed for it.  But then I came home, changed into my warm running clothes, and went for a delightful jaunt around my neighborhood, feeling so happy to be in the fresh air and alive.  It’s been a hard week for all of us, I think, and it just felt good to do something as simple as run.  That’s what I love about running.  It restores me.

And now, onto the star chart from last week.  I give myself a C- because I only did about half of my assignments (the grade is based solely on participation—I assure you I am normally a much better student!).  I’m happy I meditated so much; that was nice.  And two runs are better than no runs, so yay!  I did, however, completely flake out on strength.  Oops.  I’m not giving myself an awesome grade, but I’m okay with trying to rebuild some momentum in my running life.  I went running twice this week, so hey: consistency!

If I seem like I’m taking it really easy on myself, it’s because I am.  There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last few months, with my current job ending soon, the on-going job hunt, wedding festivities, and a new boyfriend.  My plate is overflowing, so my fitness goal is really to get back to some regular running habits so that I’m in good shape when marathon training begins in June.  Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m just a wee bit stressed out by all the changes and busy-ness.  But as the saying goes, this too shall pass.  But hopefully it won’t pass without some time spent in my sneakers!

On a scale of 1-10, how stressed do you feel these days?  If 10 is the highest, I’m probably between a 6 and a 7.  I am overwhelmed, mostly by good things!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oh, Boston

Oh, sweet Boston, you did not deserve this.  We are all aching for you this week.

I feel like we as a nation just can’t take any more random violence like this.  We’re still brokenhearted over Sandy Hook.  On a local level for me, just last week there were 14 stabbings at the community college where a friend of mine teaches in Houston (Lone Star Community College, Cy-Fair campus).  The Onion said it best after the Sandy Hook killings: “Fuck Everything, Nation Reports.”

Indeed, it is tempting to throw up your hands in despair after someone decides to set off bombs during the Boston Marathon.  Our beloved Boston Marathon.  Like my friend JD wrote so beautifully, “All runners know Boston.  Every race that I and many others have run is Boston, the same triumphs, the same disappointments.  I have run Boston, we all have run Boston.”  Boston is ours, a jewel of a race in the running community, a shining goal set in a shining city.  We love Boston, the city and the marathon.  To see it attacked so viciously is hard to fathom—I feel like words don’t capture the disbelief that has settled over me.

When we sign up for a race, we worry about a lot of things.  We worry about whether we’ll be strong enough to finish.  We worry about hydration and fuel.  We worry about bathrooms and bowel movements.  We hope our ankles and knees will be happy, that we’ll feel light on our feet and inspired to run with (or against) the wind.  We worry about the weather.  We worry about getting to the race on time.  We worry about all these things.  But until now, at least for me, we have never worried about whether there will be a deadly attack during the race.  I don’t worry about my physical safety in the most basic of terms.  Perhaps I am na├»ve, or maybe I can’t quite internalize the idea that I live in a world filled with random violence.  I don’t know.  But my heart aches for Boston, for those who lost their lives and all the injured people, for the families and those who witnessed the carnage firsthand.  I know life goes on for those of us who are here to live it, but this week, we grieve with and for you, Boston.

May we all find the strength to move forward with dignity and grace.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Off-Balance Week

Pretty Feets

Texas Pride in LaGrange_I Think

Saturday Outfit

Above: Wedding Feets, Texas Pride, and Saturday Casual.

Week of March 31, 2013:

Sunday: Short walk around the block (after hours in the car, driving back from south Texas)

Monday: Evening bike ride for groceries

Tuesday: Bike commute to work

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off, but I did clean my apartment a bit!  Does that count?

Saturday: Short bike ride for groceries + 20-min. run

Minutes run this week: 20.

Last week was not the best week for me.  I anticipated that it might be kinda hard, what with all the travel and festivities, and I always feel a bit wonky when I have a weekend away and then have to dive straight back into work on Monday.  But this week I was sick with some sort of intestinal weirdness.  On Tuesday and Thursday, I came home from work and went to bed straightaway: no dinner, no work-out, no nothing.  It’s not my usual routine, but man, 12 hours of sleep is a beautiful thing.

I managed to sneak a tiny bit of running into my week, so that was better than nothing, but it was, quite literally, almost nothing.  This week promises to be better, and I am recommitting myself to exercise and some quiet time.  This week I shall conquer the world!  Or maybe not…

Have a great week, darlings!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Modest List of Goals

Before I get to the goals, let’s talk about something more important: my hair.

Me with New Hair!

Ta-da!  I have short hair now, and it is awesome.  I went to a local salon, Royalty Hair, armed with this photo of Ginnifer Goodwin, and told the stylist to go to town with it.  I’m a pretty laidback person when it comes to haircuts: I don’t expect to look like Ginnifer Goodwin at the end, but providing a photo means I can do less talking to explain the general style I’m seeking.  I’m not so good at explaining style-related things, which is odd because I’m really good at explaining many other things.  I think I’m just content to float along on the surface of style, grabbing what looks good to me and letting the rest go.

At any rate, I’m very happy with the new hair.  It feels light and springy to me, a fresh start.  This cut is the shortest hair I’ve ever had, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  The only thing I miss about my longer hair is being able to put it up using a claw clip, but oh well—the long hair will return.  You can’t have all the things at the same time.

And now, onto today’s topic: some goals for next week!  I’ve been feeling pulled in a lot of directions lately.  Between my friends, the boyfriend, my current work, and applying for new jobs, I am spent.  In an effort to recalibrate myself, I’ve decided to start with some basics: short but effective work-outs and daily meditation.  I always feel better when I’m working out regularly; lately I feel like I’ve been working out irregularly.  For this week, I’m aiming for three running work-outs of any style but at least 20 minutes in duration.  They can be fast or slow, hard or easy, 20+ minutes.  I will also complete three short strength work-outs, focusing on exercises like push-ups, plank, squats, and other no-equipment needed options.  My second goal is to meditate every single day.  A long time ago, there was a blog project encouraging people to meditate for five minutes a day for some set period of time (a week? a month? I don’t remember), and I tried it out because it sounded really nice.  And it was really nice, a very calming experience to quiet a mind that’s always busy anticipating what needs to be done next.  I have so much on my plate right now that I need a way to put a leash on my runaway mind.

One more thing: I’ve already made a star chart.  Oh yeah!

Star Chart for Week of April 7  

Happy Saturday, my dears!  Have you made any star charts lately?  Are you feeling energized or spent these days?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Wedding by the Sea

With this Ring

Just Married!

LOVE

Week of March 24, 2013:

Sunday: Long run (45 minutes)

Monday: Yoga (20 minutes of Gentle Hatha)

Tuesday: Bike commute to work

Wednesday: Bike commute to work and HEB

Thursday: Evening run (20 minutes)

Friday: Evening run (30 minutes)

Saturday: Off to Port Aransas to see Erin get married!

Total minutes run this week: 95.  (Not too shabby, eh?)

Today I’m up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, having put myself to bed at 7 PM last night to ease my headache and tiredness.  I just finished filling out my 1040 form for 2012’s taxes (woot!) and thought I’d pop in over here before (perhaps) putting myself back to bed.

There isn’t much to report on the fitness front other than to say that this month, it’s time to get back into gear with running to build that all-important base before marathon training begins in June.  More exciting than that is the wedding I attended over the weekend in south Texas: Erin and Cy got hitched!  That’s the two of them up there in the photos; our friend Sam officiated the wedding and did a bang-up job at it.  The wedding was super fun, and I even had a date after all!  Serendipity had Mr. Right Now also in south Texas for Easter weekend, so he crashed the wedding and we got to spend the evening together.  There was a ceremony on the beach, a few tears, and a seaside breeze that took off with part of Sam’s notes for the ceremony.  There was cake, and dancing, and a few injured toes, and a late-night drive into Corpus Christi just for the fun of it.  There was very little sleep but lots of memories made.  And there was, of course, a new dress and some silver shoes.

Me in New Dress_cropped and rotated

Shamefully, I don’t have a better picture to share with y’all!  I took this one in the hotel room before we left for the wedding.  I ended up feeling super happy with this outfit.  My silver shoes, unfortunately, succumbed to humidity and/or age and fell apart by the end of the evening.  Does anyone know of a good brand of glue that works well for shoes?

Also, hey!  I got my hair cut and now it is really short.  I love it.  You can’t see it very well in that photo, so I’ll try to share a better one soon.  I feel like I’ve barely had time to blog, let alone take the photos that I’d like to have for my posts, and a good photo for the new hair is long overdue.

How has your week been, friends?

(PS  I’ve missed you!)