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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Puppies make me stupid, running makes me sore, wine makes me happy

That pretty much sums up this past week. This puppy parenting stuff is exhausting. I’m pretty sure it destroys brain cells at a faster rate than any kind of drug out there. I’m left with no energy for running, or cleaning, or anything for that matter. My brain is like a blob of goo.

Last weekend I took my son to his long awaited soccer game (3rd game of the season) only to end up at the wrong field. Once I discovered that mistake (a mere 20 minutes later…remember, I’m a little slow) we hustled to the car to head off to the correct field. One problem…I dropped my car keys somewhere on the field. My frantic son miraculously recovered  the keys and we are on our way. One other problem…I had no idea where I was going.  I’m new to this soccer mom stuff and had never been to this field, let alone to the part of town where said field was located. I pulled over every 10 minutes to look at my stupid ‘smart phone’ with no luck.  I even asked Siri but of course she couldn’t understand me.   Long story short, my son never played in the 3rd game of the season because we never made it to the field and I blame it on the puppy.

momentsofstupidity

On a happier note, I did manage to get my 10 mile run in today!  My goal was to finish in under 2 hours which I did…barely (1:58).  I’m pretty excited about that because I nearly talked myself out of it….soooooo close to not doing it. With my first half marathon 2 weeks away, this was not the time to blow off a run.

As usual, at the end of the run I was glad that I did it but I’m pretty sore right now. Weird things hurt…second toe on left foot, right ankle, left knee and both arms. Why my arms? I have no idea. Maybe I was swinging those guys with way too much enthusiasm.  Maybe I was trying to take flight.

When I returned from my run at 10:00 am, I enjoyed a piece of pizza and a cup of coffee. Breakfast of champions.  After that, I took an Advil then took a much deserved nap.  I love naps.  I was invigorated when I woke up so I used that newfound energy to do something fancy with my hair.  I was going for this look:

hungergamesorg Katniss from The Hunger Games

But got this look instead:

napoleandynamite Deb from Napoleon Dynamite

I couldn’t pull this look off as well as I could when I was 12 years old.  I stopped fussing with my hair and put that energy toward something more productive…Making wine!!!

I’m not sure if I mentioned that I love wine so if not, let me say it, “I love wine.”  Today was a great day because it was CRUSH TIME!  We make our own wine each year and it’s a fun family affair. We pick the grapes from our vines, de-stem and crush them old school style (by hand) then my husband does some scientific-like stuff and we watch the grape juice turn to wine!  It will take awhile (a couple of years) until we can drink it but cracking open a bottle of homemade wine with friends and family is always worth the wait.

crush Gdestemming

Lesson here – Stupidity and soreness will come and go, but happiness will last forever as long as you’ve got some good wine handy.

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7 things to never do while running on a treadmill

Before I share my profound safety tips, I will say that I have no special treadmill safety training nor do I claim to be an expert on the subject.  I am just a gal who likes getting on the treadmill and when I do, I seem to come up with some pretty thought provoking stuff.  You might read these tips and think, “Yeah genius, I knew that”, or you might think, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that??”  Either way, I hope a little piece of safety information stays with you on your next treadmill journey.

7 Things to NEVER do while running on a treadmill

  1. Do not eat baby carrots while running on a treadmill.  They are a known choking hazard and can kill you if they go down the wrong pipe.  I know we technically do not have “pipes” that go down our throats but that’s what we say after we’ve recovered from a choking incident, “It went down the wrong pipe.”  Sometimes we say, “It went down the wrong thing,” which makes “pipe” seem like a much more technical term.   Eat your baby carrots before or after the treadmill.  Do not eat them while running on the treadmill.
  2. Do not drink martinis while running on a treadmill.  Sure, you may get thirsty but if you try to drink a martini on the treadmill, it will spill because those glasses have REALLY wide rims and liquid splashes out quite easily.  And don’t even think about drinking it out of a sippy cup.  That’s just criminal.
  3. Do not try to moonwalk while running on a treadmill.  Today I was on the treadmill and Michael Jackson’s song, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” came on and I SOOO wanted to break out in a moonwalk.  Couple problems:  One, I don’t know how to moonwalk and two, even if I did, I wouldn’t know which direction to do the moonwalk…toward the front of the treadmill or toward the back.  It’s complicated and possibly dangerous.
  4. Do not paint your nails while running on a treadmill.  Enough said.
  5. Do not invite your dog to join you while running on the treadmill.  I just don’t think it’s safe.  Is there really enough room for both of you?  What if your dog wants to go faster than you?  What if your cat, Fluffy, walks by?  If your dog really wants to go on the treadmill, you should take turns.  Humans and dogs sharing the treadmill is a disaster waiting to happen.
  6. Do not bend down to pick something up while running on a treadmill.   I’ve dropped my ear buds, my tissue, my safety clip, you name it.  I always forget that by the time I bend over to pick the item up, it has been flung off the back of the treadmill at warp speed.  Well, maybe not warp speed but at least 5.4 MPH.
  7. Do not listen to the wrong kind of music while running on a treadmill.  This is not really a ‘safety’ tip, just something I thought of and wanted to share.  Music can be a big motivator.  Whether it’s a catchy little ditty or a lyrical masterpiece, music can have a profound impact on a person’s run.  Here are a couple of songs that ended up on my running playlist and need to be removed ASAP:   Tired – by Adele, Harder to Breathe – by Maroon 5, Another One Bites the Dust – by Queen.  Bye bye songs.

I’m sure there are other things you should never do while running on a treadmill but these are the ones I could think of during my 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Maybe number eight should be, “Never try to think of things to never do while running on a treadmill.”

Happy, safe running!

QUICK WHIPPET PUPDATE:

Puppy Finn is still adorable

whippet finn

my Saturday morning at the bar

Yep.  I hit the bar first thing Saturday morning.  It was awesome and I was shaking afterward (and during, to be honest).  No, not that kind of bar, I’m not a lush.  It was a “barre” studio (Confession:  When I first saw the word “barre” I thought it was pronounced “barray” or something fancy like that.  Nope, it’s just pronounced BAR).   A barre class is a full body, pretty hard core workout (in my book anyway) that combines ballet, Pilates and yoga into one very long hour of torture.

Since a new studio opened up in town I thought, hey, I’m totally uncoordinated, can’t do Pilates to save my life and got a “D” in my ballet class in college so this should be right up my ally.  Plus, it might be a nice workout to complement my running routine.

When I first walked in the studio, there was this sign that read, “Embrace the Shake.”  Now I, like any other normal human being, thought it meant something like embrace the milk shake you’re going to enjoy after the workout.  No.  That is not what it meant.   You see, the goal of this class (as I understand it) is to work various muscle groups to the point of exhaustion.  When your muscles are exhausted, they shake. And shake and shake.  I was shaking so much I thought I was going to pull the damn “barre” right out of the wall.  It’s a great feeling when the muscles in your legs feel like they have turned to rubber.  It’s also a great feeling when you’re driving home from class and find the task of turning the steering wheel particularly difficult because the muscles in your arms are exhausted.  Seriously, who gets off on that stuff?  Apparently I do because I signed up for a few more classes.

barre

If you’re looking for an interesting new type of exercise that will leave you feeling confident that you are getting a great workout (your muscles will be screaming the next day), you should go hang out at the barre.  Here’s an article from FitSugar on 10 Tips for Taking Your First Barre Class.  If you’re not looking for a new workout but you are feeling really, really thirsty, then go hang out at the BAR!  Either way, enjoy!

Training & treadmills & puppies, oh my!

Whew!  It’s been a quite a week of training and treadmills and puppies.  I might be exaggerating on the training and treadmill parts but the puppy part…that’s been crazy, man.

TRAINING

My half marathon is coming up and my training time is going down.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how the training books describe the training plan at this juncture.  On Labor Day I did an 11 mile run (miracle in my book) and I pretty much thought I was a rock star.  But then I had an epic allergy situation take place for the next few days and I was out of commission.  By Thursday, I was off my game.  I ran out of steam.  In less that a week I felt like I broke the awesome little running habit I formed.  So, what do I do when I need a  little kick in the butt?   I spend some quality time on Pinterest and look at the Health and Fitness page and ooh and ahh at the beautifully fit bodies, the really cool exercise routines and I promise myself that one day I will make that spinach-banana-chia pet-whatever smoothie.  Yum.

TREADMILLS

I got over my “I don’t want to run anymore” mood when I looked at a calendar and counted only 3 more weekends before the half (well, that and the Pinterest fix).  That was a nice tasty dose of reality…just as tasty as that chia pet smoothie, I bet.  Anyway, I tried running outside but the air quality was very poor due to fires in Central WA.   I busted out my trusty inhaler, ditched the outdoor runs and instead did some running on the treadmill.  I even did an 8 mile run.  EIGHT MILES on a treadmill!  Not a lot of interesting scenery but I felt great and was proud that I accomplished that goal.  I made fantastic use of my treadmill time and watched an episode of Rookie Blue, listened a bit to my audio book (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and I came up with a genius idea for treadmill manufacturers.

Instead of a calorie counting feature, there should be a feature that counts how many adult beverages you just earned.  Let me break it down:  Let’s say a glass of white wine is 130 calories.  As you’re running on the treadmill, burning up those calories, an image of a wine glass starts to appear.  As you burn more calories, more of the wine glass image is revealed.  Once you burn 130 calories, your treadmill lights up the entire wine glass image. BAM!  You just earned yourself a guilt free glass of wine. When you burn 260 calories, two wine glasses light up.  Guess who gets two glasses of wine tonight??  And it doesn’t stop at wine.  You can program it for martinis, margaritas, cosmos, whatever floats your boat.  Anyway, I thought it was an amazing idea…Award winning stuff.

PUPPIES

So when I’m not coming up with ways to revolutionize the world of treadmilling (pretty sure that’s not a real word), I am busy with being a puppy mama which leads me to the Whippet Pupdate:  Finn, the whippet puppy, is ridiculous.  We cannot take our eyes off of him for two seconds.  I’m not exaggerating.  We can take our eyes off of him for one second but not two.  He’s crazy fast and just disappears in a flash.  It’s like his super power…We don’t even know how he does it.  One second he’s at your feet, the next second he has vanished into thin air.  Here’s a typical conversation at our house:

Me:  Who’s got Finn?

Husband:  I thought you had him?

Me:  I thought YOU had him!  Garrett!!!  Do you have Finn?

Garrett: What?

Me:  Do you have Finn?

Garrett:  No.  I thought YOU had him.

Me:  Crap.  Where’s Finn??  We gotta find Finn.

This conversation takes place 4 or 5 times a night.  It reminds me of “The Walking Dead” when the adults always lose Karl.  Karl is probably around 9 years old roaming around unsupervised in a land full of ravenous zombies.  He’s the one and only child on the show that the grown ups must keep an eye on but Karl ALWAYS manages to disappear. Seriously grown ups, how can you lose Karl?  If you’re a fan of all things zombies, you’ll love this show.

Anyway, back to Finn…

finnplaying Finn looking playful

finngarden Finn looking thoughtful

finncollar Finn looking just plain adorable

Finn is a great addition to our family but I can’t wait until he’s old enough to start running with me.  Then it will be Slow Girl and really, really fast dog!  He will be the perfect solution to my “I don’t wanna run blues.”

when a runner’s imagination runs wild

Maybe it’s because I’m a new runner or maybe it’s because I have a natural tendency to let my imagination go a little crazy.  Whatever the reason, sometimes the thought of an early morning solo run is a little unnerving to me.  Sure, there’s something wonderful about being outside running as the rest of the world soundly sleeps, but thanks to my active imagination, I get nervous thinking about being alone and having no back up should something go wrong. Even a run in my own neighborhood can make me twitchy.

I have a really cool trail behind my house that is perfect for a nice, quick run but I rarely run that trail because I don’t like going out there alone.  It’s weird.  I have this fantastically ridiculous imagination that always runs amok when it comes to planning a solo outdoor run.    Here  are some actual “what if” scenarios that run through my head when deciding whether or not I should head outdoors for my trail run (thanks in advance for not judging):

  • What if a  cougar stalks and attacks  me while I’m  on the trail?!  You might be thinking, “Wow! Slow girl has a cougar in her neighborhood.  I’d be scared too.”  But that’s the thing.  I do nothave a cougar in my hood.  There  is a little tabby cat that roams around, and I’ve seen a bunny too,  but nothing really ferocious that should keep me from enjoying a nice outdoor run.  Except maybe for that gigantic owl that most likely has the ability to swoop down and cause God knows what kind of injury to me.
  • What if maybe, just maybe, there is a crazy man that lives in the rocks on the trail. I’ve seen the cave-like openings from afar and a person could totally live in those rocks. I picture this Big Foot type guy, but not big (which means his name would just be Foot). Anyway, Foot most likely takes shelter in the rock caves during the night then really early in the morning, he moves stealthily on the trail and sets booby traps and stuff to catch his prey.  I would unwittingly go for a nice morning trail run, I’d fall into the trap, break my leg and be a goner come nightfall.  See what I mean about the imagination thing?

I know that the “what if” scenarios are ridiculous.  Welcome to my demented brain.   Check out this real life scenario.  One morning I decided to run to a local park, jog a few miles on the park’s course and run back home.  As I was running through the park, minding my own business, fiddling with my iPod, I looked up and right in front of me was a deer.  It kind of freaked me out because I wasn’t expecting a deer at the friendly neighborhood park.  Swings, a slide and some picnic tables I expected, but not a deer.   I tried to act cool because I did not want to get attacked by a deer.  Not that day.  Not ever.   Bambi can be downright brutal when necessary and I’ve seen it happen on a television show once.  Knowing that no one would believe the tale of Bambi at the Park, I slowly reached for my camera phone and bravely took a picture of Bambi.   After carefully putting my phone away, I  ran away as fast as I could because the threat of a deer attack was more than I could bear.

bambi

(picture of the actual deer in the tale of ‘Bambi at the Park’)

These silly fears are just that, silly.  However,  I do take running safety very seriously.  I thoroughly enjoy my outdoor runs and I don’t want my active imagination to stop me from doing something I enjoy.  To put my mind at ease, I decided to do a little research on runner safety.  Here are the highlights of some lessons I learned.

  1. Run with a buddy.  A friend, a dog, or running group are great options.
  2. Tell someone where you are going.  I always tell my husband where I’m going and to start looking for me if I’m not back by a certain time.
  3. Run against traffic.  It’s safer if you can see oncoming traffic and they can see you.
  4. Don’t listen to music while running alone.  This is a tough one for me because that’s one thing I LOVE to do while running.  I started putting only one headphone  in and keeping the music low so I could still hear things around me (including my labored breathing).
  5. Wear bright colored clothing.
  6. Carry a phone and identification.
  7. Know your route.  When I did my recent 11 mile run, I had never been on the trail before and I knew I would be on it for a long time.  I invited my husband and son to join me so they rode their bikes along the trail and we had a great time.  I felt better knowing I had back up nearby.
  8. Trust your gut.  If something doesn’t seem right, pay attention to your intuition!

Here are a couple of great articles on safety tips for runners:

How to Run Safely Outside by Christine Luff at About.com

Stay Safe While You Run – from realbuzz.com

Have fun on your run and remember…safety first!

I’ve become THAT lady

So we got a puppy this weekend.  It’s really quite awesome.  He’s a beautiful whippet named Finn Fandango.  He’s not the “fast dog” in my “slow girl fast dog” name.  Not yet anyway.  That’s Theron…the fast one.  Finn is the 10 week old, energetic, highly curious, and kind of klutzy puppy we recently acquired.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve turned into THAT Lady.  You know the one…she incessantly talks about her kid, or cat, or dog or whatever the big deal in her life happens to be at the moment.  I think I’m that lady.  Like a Dog Lady.  Not that I have a lot of dogs but let’s put it this way, I have more pictures of my dogs than my child.

The good thing is, when I show my puppy pictures to people, they get to see an adorable dog, not some odd-looking newborn.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  How many cute 10 week old babies do you know (besides your own, of course)?  Honestly?  My husband and I have a code word for the not-yet-cute newborn.  It’s U.B. (Ugly Baby).  If we’re walking in a store and see one we look at each other and whisper, “Oh my gosh, did you see that U.B.?”  I know, I’m going to hell for even saying that but it’s true.  I have to wonder if the cute gene even kicks in prior to 10 weeks.  My kid certainly wasn’t all that cute when he was 10 weeks old.  But 12 weeks?  He was freaking adorable.

Anywho,  I am going to be THAT lady who goes on and on and on about her cute puppy and all the amazing puppy things it can do.  I will look a cat person straight in the eye and tell them a puppy story knowing they don’t care but not caring that they don’t care.  The way I see it, if you don’t love a good puppy story, what kind of human are you?  Probably one that be joining me in hell for coining the UB term.  Just kidding, we’re not all going to hell.

It is clear that I will end up raising this puppy similar to the way I have raised my son:  Totally overprotective, completely oblivious to flaws (because there are none), and full of quasi-psycho adoration.  Yeah, I’m pretty sure parenting a puppy will be along the same lines as parenting a child (less the birthing, breastfeeding and burping).  But everything else…Totally the same.  🙂

Here are some examples:

  • I can’t tell you how many pictures we’ve taken of him on his first day.  Really cute ones.  See? (props to the husband for the photos)

Finn posing for the camera

Finn looking adorable

  • You have to watch them like a hawk.  Those puppies are nosey little buggers.  Don’t eat this, don’t stick your paw in that, don’t stick that in your nose (just kidding about that one).  It’s never-ending.

    Finn sampling the grapes in the yard

  • You have to buy them special puppy things:  Puppy food, puppy toys, puppy treats, puppy crates, puppy blankies, you name it.  Just like babies need special baby things.  Cha-Ching.
  • I constantly worry about him.  I actually checked on him when he was sleeping to make sure he was still breathing.  No kidding.  I did the same thing with my son.  I’m sure that won’t last long…maybe a year?
  • Speaking of sleeping.  They do not sleep through the night.  It sucks, just like when a baby doesn’t sleep through the night.  I think I will hook Finn up with one of those teddy bears that has the heart beat sound in it.  I wonder if that would work.  It worked for my son.
  • You have to puppy proof the house and yard.  The good thing is you don’t have to put those things on the toilet.  I always hated those.  And no outlet plugs or cupboard locks.  Mostly we just have to keep our crap picked up which we should be doing anyway.
  • You have to give them shots and get their teeth cleaned.  I’m pretty sure it costs more to maintain a healthy dog than a healthy child.
  • You have to potty train them and reward them when they go in the right place…Outside.  The difference is, I won’t give my puppy a sticker when he goes potty outside…I will give him a puppy treat.  I suppose I could put a “Way to Go” sticker on him (pun intended) but he would probably eat it and then I’d have to say, “Spit that out Finn!!!  Spit that out right now!!”
  • You come up with nicknames for them, because you love them.  Here’s my first round of nicknames for Finn Fandango:  Finny, Finfan, the Finster, FinFin, The Finstantor, Finorama, Finny Linny.  That’s  all I’ve got for now but I’m sure there’s more where those came from…don’t you fret.

My first weekend of puppy motherhood I’ve come to realize how true that old saying is, “With a great puppy comes great responsibility.”   My family and I have agreed that it takes a village and we are all up to the challenge of committing to good, solid puppy parenting.

Even our other dog, Theron, is on board…well, kind of.

Hello cemetery. So nice to see you!

Seriously.  That’s what I said as I approached the cemetery at the tail end of the longest run of my life (so far).  I thought I was going to die.  It was hot.  It was uphill.  Two hours and 15 minutes had passed since I started the run.   I saw the cemetery and was I so happy.  That cemetery marked the end of my 11 mile run and that’s one heck of an accomplishment for this slow girl.

Earlier this year I decided to finish a half marathon.   I’ve never run before (except maybe as a kid after the ice cream man).  I actually had to Google, “how many miles is a half marathon?”   For some, running a half marathon is not that big of a deal…especially if you’re athletic, in shape, healthy, enjoy sweating and like to exercise.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t any of those at the time I made the half marathon decision.

Slow Girl at the start of 2012: 

  • Athletic – No Way!
  • In shape – I wish.
  • Healthy – Eh, I’d say 50/50.
  • Enjoy sweating – Ew, gross.
  • Like to exercise – Not so much.

Slow Girl on September 3rd, 2012: 

  • Athletic – Not a chance.
  • In shape – Way more so than at the start of the year.
  • Healthy – Yes, I’d say so.  Now I know what quinoa is (and how to pronounce it).
  • Enjoy sweating – Ew, gross.
  • Like to exercise – Well, I secretly enjoy it now but I don’t admit it to myself until it’s over.

I made the half marathon decision for several reasons:

  1. It sounded challenging and I was up for a good challenge.  Can the ultimate hater of running actually run 13.1 miles?  No.  That’s why I follow Jeff Galloway’s run-walk method.  Run, then walk a little.  Run, then walk a little.  Repeat over and over and over.  Totally works for me.
  2. My sister did it and I was proud of her.  I wanted to do it to and be proud of myself.
  3. I was pretty sure some cute running clothes would be involved.
  4. I wanted to prove that I could stick to a fitness plan that would help me achieve a fitness goal.
  5. I hoped that maybe my body would morph into abs, buns, legs and arms of steel (sadly, this has not happened yet).
  6. It was a great way to be one with nature.  OK, reason 6 is crap but at least my body scored a tiny bit of a tan.
  7. I thought maybe I could learn a little something about myself.   All that alone time might give me the opportunity to be introspective.  OR  I could use that precious time trying to figure out the lyrics to all the songs on my running playlist.  Guess how I spend my time?
  8. I wanted to set a good example for my son.  I wanted to start something, work hard at it and succeed in the end.

So there we go.  Eight really compelling reasons I decided to train for and finish a half marathon, which by the way, is October 14th.  I’m actually getting a little nervous even though I ran the 11 miles with no problem (except for the part where I wanted to stop and cry a little).  Thankfully, my husband and son accompanied me (on their bikes) and cheered me on so I had to suck it up and be brave for them.  I wish they could be with me the day of the half marathon.

I’m supposed to do a couple of long runs between now and the half  but I’m having trouble convincing myself that I need to schedule a 14 mile run before the half marathon.  Seems like that would suck the thrill right out of crossing the finish line.  So, I decided to deviate from the master training plan and just do another 11 mile run.  If I can do 11, I can do 13.1, right?

I can do this.  I can do this. I can do this!