I Hate Running

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This is my running shoe! Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8. I have another to match for the other foot.

But it is so damn good for my weight loss goal. The funny thing is my legs hurt more when I run slower than when I crank up the treadmill and start to wobble all over the place. Okay, I have some control of my arms when running (unlike when burning food) because I tend to look more awkward than Forrest Gump racing across America if I do not attempt to keep them still, but geez, I cannot control the bobble head that begins when I start to bonk.

For those of you that have never, ever done anything remotely athletic or are one of those people to claim to be some sort of athlete, like a cheerleader for instance, and you never were, let me clarify “bonk.” I’m slightly worried your minds fell into the gutter. Bonk sounds dirty. However! This is a clean place of literacy, wash your foul eyes with soap (or saline solution). 

Bonk: the condition when an athlete suddenly loses energy and becomes fatigued, the result of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles becoming depleted. One could also refer to this as “hitting the wall,” but the word “bonk” is so much more fun to say aloud. You know you just felt compelled to do so.

Anyway, when the bonking begins, my head suddenly feels as though there is no neck. Instead, I feel as though there is a small spring between the cranium and my spinal cord, allowing my head to freely move all over the place. You think that looks awkward? Add ear buds attached to a bright white cord slashing through the air in the same motion and I look like an 80s hair band concert reject. Especially since my hair is neither teased nor bleached to death. I am an Aveda salon snob, which I think runs in my family. 

Dude, I tangent so much it is not funny. I feel like someone should hold a carrot over my face in front of the laptop in order for me to have any direction. And by carrot I mean Godiva chocolates. That is motivation for a girl on a mission to get fit! And utterly, sinfully counterproductive.

Back to running (another segue to return to topic): it sucks. But I find that every person I meet that is passionate about something actually hates him/herself or something about that sport which they claim to be diehard, hopelessly in love with…and that makes absolutely no sense to rational people that eat food when they feel emotional. How can one be passionate about something and hate it?

Easy: while you suffer through it and your inability to be exceptionally awesome at the sport is soooo embarrassing you wish you could wear a mask while attempting it, it feels so amazingly awesome to have done it at the end. When all is said and done and I am finished with dispensing too many cliches and metaphors in a paragraph, you just feel good. Sweaty, pink-faced, and good. And that is what makes it worth it for me to run. That is what makes me begrudgingly smoosh my finger on the up-tempo button to get my bobblehead going faster. 

So, while I have not fallen head-over-heels in love with the rubber mat of the treadmill and stinky smell of gym rats, I have to admit that I maybe do not hate it as much as I once did. Maybe I actually like a masochism. Isn’t that what being an athlete is at the very root of the whole idea?

Shedding

After spending two days in the sun with little to no sunscreen, my burnt skin is now flaking off my body.  It is landing on the collar of the black shirt I so smartly chose to wear into work today.  I look like the Queen of Dandruff, with my loyal flakes lining on my shoulders as if we were holding court. 

In order to combat this less than appealing situation, I armed myself with lotion and an adhesive lint roller.  About every fifteen minutes, I squirt a large dollup of lotion onto my palm and proceed to lightly rub it into my shoulder, leaving a light film in order to keep the dead skin from flaking before I can reapply in the next few minutes.  Once the lotion dries and I begin to lose my shell like a little bug, I break out the lint roller and attack the flakes that managed to stick to my shirt.  It works pretty well, as no one has given me the stink eye today and recoiled in fear that my skin “disease” might spead to them.

Now, I don’t know what made me decide to do this, but when it dawned on me, it sounded like the best idea in the world.  I ran the lint roller right over all of that dead skin.  Guess what the lint roller did?  Peeled it right off, that’s what it did!  I sat for a few minutes and marvelled over how interesting all those dead skin pieces looked stuck to the sheet of paper.  I also marvelled at how ridiculous I might look to anyone around me as I lint roll my body. 

I wondered for a moment why we, as human beings, are so fascinated with something so minute as flaking, dead skin.  Maybe it has to do with our own mortality.  Rarely do we have the chance to see a dead part of ourselves as we do when skin sheds.  Little pieces of us are gone, but without pain or remorse.  A tiny inkling of what death might be like in the future.  Then again, all it might be is my dead skin flaking off and me finding silly new ways to use common, household items.

News from the Frontlines

I thought it was a little odd that I spent all day Sunday throwing up and feeling generally awful.  I had almost zero energy yesterday, too.  I decided that while I was out at Giant Eagle last night picking up groceries, I should pick up a pregnancy test.  I was scared to death about the possibilities of the results, but I figured it is better to know than to wait until you cannot guess anymore.  So, I peed on the stick, praying for no news.

Well, the news is I am pregnant.  I think it’s about time to find an OB-GYN.

Note: I tried (!!) to write a good April Fools’ Day joke that fit within my current weekend and illness, but clearly it missed the targets.  Okay, actually, I did fool one person.  I am NOT pregnant. 

To the birds…

I do not know why this obsession began, but I can pinpoint when.  About three years ago, I walked across the Oval at Ohio State and there, situated just behind the art buildings, was a small art glass sale.  Ohio State has a glass blowing program, and several students sold their art once a year.

Sitting along a concrete wall, a row of glass-blown birds caught my eye.  They were of various shapes and colors, some large and small, most of them squat, fat little birds.  All twinkled in the light shining down between the trees.  I immediately fell in love with a little bluebird.  The feeling overcame me and I felt attached, and suddenly happy, to this little bird. To this day, I still call it my bluebird of happiness.

The next year, I watched for the art sale and picked up a larger, green bird.  It was my last year at Ohio State and my last year for the little hand-blown glass birds.  But this last Christmas, I found a small, shiny bird on the shelves at Target hidden among the decorations for the season. 

And now, everywhere I go, I look for birds.  Little bird paperweights, pretty glass birds, shiny metal birds – I suddenly have a love for birds I never had before.  In a way, I think it is a part of my late grandfather shining through in me.  He loved birds.  Some days, he would sit and watch them for hours from the dining room in my grandparent’s house.  The sun would stream through the glass and he would watch the birds peck at the feeders.  There was a quiet happiness about those moments.  Now, every time I look at my little birds, I feel that same, serene feeling I once felt as a child.

Future Outlaw?

I do not get along with my boyfriend’s mother, and it is admittedly obvious.  In the past, for the sake of my relationship, I tried to find some way to get along, some thing in common, anything that would at least allow me to talk to her without immediately feeling defensive.  Or wanting to walk into another room when her presence is near.  Or turning into a crab-ass every time she looks in my direction.  The negative reactions list does not end here.

I research constantly to try to find a way to approach the situation.  I know I am not alone.  There are thousands of results for people who are “trying to get along with their in-laws.”  No, she is not my in-law, yet, but I have lived with her son for over a year-and-a-half, and we may soon be moving to another state for his upcoming career.  Most of our friends call us “might-as-well-be-married.”

Through my research, I have pinpointed some of the situations that create the tension I can currently feel in my neck.  The first situation is the meddling.  Dave and I purchased a dog over a year ago and we have worked very hard to train her.  We give her plenty of treats, toys, and love, but we also try to give her things in moderation.  She is our little baby, and we treat her as if she were our child.  In the same scene, Dave’s mom constantly tries to buy her things we do not want her to have because it promotes her destructive habits.  We avoid giving Aries soft plastic or fabric toys because she rips them to shreds.  Although her habit of doing this has recently waned, it is still prevalent.  Also, at a past dog show, we purchased Aries a dog coat for long walks, if we even took any, during the winter.  If she is simply going outside to “potty,” she does not need the coat.  Her fur is long and she zips around the yard to keep warm.  But as soon as the temperature drops near freezing, Dave’s mom wants her to put on her coat.  Now, she wants to buy her dog boots.  Neither are necessary, but we bought the coat at the dog show because it was cute and I have an incessant need to spend money.  She definitely does not need the boots because she will tear them from her feet and rip them apart.  We can barely get her to wear bandannas for special events because she tries to bite them, so the boots would surely suffer a worse fate.  She does not need the doting, but Dave’s mom constantly worries about it.  I admit that I do not ask, but tell her not to buy her the things we do not want her to have because she does not need them or it is not her responsibility.  I look like the bad guy and Dave accuses me of being too protective of Aries. 

The second situation is a mix of constant anxiety and competition for Dave.  Dave’s mom vocalizes zero confidence in her son around me and often around him, too  My usual reaction is that of indifference whenever she turns the pitch up in her voice because it means one thing: she wants to hear someone agree with her sentiments that her son is not capable of living on his own.  She wants to hear that he needs her.  I no longer want to hear the doubt and anxiety.  Dave, who is one of the most successful people I know, is about to take an incredible position with a large company.  This career offering may be the highest paid position a company offered a student from his university after receiving their MBA.  He is incredibly responsible and intelligent, but she only sees him as the child of her memory.  She would do just about anything for him, which is not unique among many parents, but sometimes takes the assistance too far.  We really will not need her help in decorating our future apartment or house, though she seems to think her advice will be heralded.  The scenario brings to mind a scene from “Sex and the City” where Charlotte visits Trey’s home in NYC, only to witness the insane amount of Tartan plaid and Mallard ducks.  Of course, Charlotte is appalled.  That would be our household if Dave’s mom decorated it, except with Longaberger baskets and chickens.  Neither of which I like (Dave appears indifferent).  I realize that having one child in life results in a lot of control over that child. All of her attention went into raising Dave, so it must be a tough situation to let go.  But, there also comes a time when people need to let go and allow their children to thrive in their own lives.  In the past, it only made her angry when I pointed out that her son is will not be her exact reflection (that is a long story over certified mail receipts).  The rule of thumb in on chapter of Freaknomics is that how you raise a kid has almost zero correlation to how they will turn out.  It should be no surprise that children are rarely the mirror image of their parents habits and personalities.

Her anxiety makes it difficult to want to talk to her.  It turns her angry or needy, neither of which anyone in the house likes because the outcome is that she yells at everyone and slams things or she nags Dave or his dad.  I cannot decide whether this is a habit brought on by a need for attention or something much deeper.  It could be neither, but it could also be both.  For me, when I have recognized that I have a problem, such as with my own bouts of depression, I go to a specialist.  I visit a doctor or a psychologist, someone that will help me see the end to my problems.  If I want to change something about myself, such as eating habits and weight issues, I actively pursue the end goal.  I whine and complain about my discomfort for much of the time, but I try, even if the attempt results in failure.  I do not know if it disappoints me or angers me more that this is not the same with Dave’s mom.  

The biggest problem for me is that I do not want all of the above to plague my relationship with Dave and his family.  For the past year, it has.  I can see the disappointment with Dave and I know it affects his mother and father.  They treat me kindly, much like a daughter they never had, and they provide a lot for Dave and I while he is in graduate school.  It is not that I do not appreciate them, it is that I cannot seem to get around the tension I have for his mother, as much as I want to have some sort of working relationship with her.  I do not want to feel like I have to retreat to another room.  I do not like feeling like a crab all evening.  I do not like avoiding conversations with her.  But, at the same time, I do not think anyone understands how I feel, and since I do not vocalize these sentiments well and tend to internalize the anger and annoyance, I needed to write it out in hopes of someone having some advice or a similar situation to share.

Water logged

On Thursday evening, Dave’s dad walked into the basement, stopped at the bottom, and yelled upstairs to all of us to put on our boots and wellies.  The basement had a quarter-inch of water across the majority – especially the lower-lying areas where most of our stuff sat, waiting for the future move.  The sump pump, as we later found out, wedged up against one of the pipes and was not releasing water into the next pipe. 

Most of our boxes sat above the water level on furniture and others were stored in plastic bins.  However, one milk crate of some of my favorite things sat on the ground.  And in that milk crate was my scrapbook, things I had made and won awards for, pictures, and other memorabilia.  My scrapbook was water logged with pictures sticking to each other and news clippings faded and blurred.  For a moment, I felt like I wanted to cry, but I did not.  I can salvage the majority of what was damaged, just through a little dry air and time.  But, as I lifted the crate and saw the dye from paper flow into beautiful swirls in the water, I felt a small tinge of the pain that I think flood victims feel when confronted with the aftermath.  The situations certainly do not compare, but at least in the future, I can empathize.

It wasn’t Bailey, but an iPod Nano

It is a bit humorous that the smallest gift I received this Christmas, thus far, came in the largest box.  The box my boyfriend said held a dead, stuffed dog from my childhood, the very same dog I saw this morning running around my sister’s house.  It was a nice joke, because the wool was over my eyes the entire time.  It was a good surprise.

And now, I am sitting at my laptop, copying the CDs that Dave and I own onto my hard drive.  I know many people who judge a person by the contents of their iPod (I was just insulted, moments ago, for owning an Elton John CD) and I am on the verge of an anxiety attack trying to decide what music to store on the less-than-4GB of memory I have on the device.  Though I am the only person that will listen to the iPod, with the exception of Dave who might borrow it on occasion, I want to still be cool.  Even if it is hard for a lifetime nerd to lift that stigma.

Like everything else in my life, I am exceedingly picky about the music in my life.  My life, unlike Dave, was not very musical.  My parents did not expose me to a wide range of listening pleasures and I never had the inclination to pursue the instruments I attempted to play.  I have always been a better writer/talker than listener, which probably explains my relationship with Dave.  So, when it comes to choosing music, I really have no idea where to start.  Nevertheless, no matter what my choices from the beginning may be, I feel guilty for not willingly expanding my musical taste.  My iPod will contain all the songs I already know by heart, so I will have a total of five songs. 

Hopefully, with a little help from Sinatra and a touch from Beethoven, I can pull off that hip, but classic, vibe I attempt to portray everyday.  We shall see – the real critic is sitting a room away fiddling with his own gifts.