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?

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An Apology to my Kitchen

From my perch at the dining room table, I can see the pot of doom. Filled with vegetable oil, this dastardly pot ruined the smell of my apartment this evening. And it is all Dave’s fault because he jinxed me when he said that I had not destroyed any of our meals yet.

There it was: yet. The harbinger of all terrible things to come. He said, “yet,” and the walls of the kitchen shook so hard every spice, sweetener, and can of unsalted mushroom pieces (very good in pastas) tumbled from their once coveted shelf space and ran from the kitchen. Some product would soon experience an untimely, very hot (scalding, I would say) death.

Our story begins with my removal of samosas from the freezer, preceded only by the placement of vegetable oil in a large pot. Dave, confused as to how I planned to cook the samosas, asked why I did not plan to bake them. “Because,” said I, “the bag says deep frying them is the preferred method and I want to try it that way” A simple shrug of resignation ensued, and so began the rest of my prep work in the kitchen.

At this point, the oil is warming up. My apartment stove (not stove in the apartment; I need to express the utter horror of cooking with shoddy appliances by calling it what it is, as I see it) has several heat setting ranging from low to high with two through nine in between. The oil rested on the heating coil at setting four, also known as “not real hot, y’all.” Since the samosas were the final item to cook, I left the oil to warm while I finished the rice, curry sauce, and chicken in vindaloo paste. We like Indian food in this household, and I can tolerate the smell of curried apartment better than most.

When it was finally time to prepare the samosas, I grabbed my handy plastic strainer spoon, and delicately lowered the samosas into the oil. From all appearances, the process moved with ease. I individually lowered all four samosas into the oil, stirred them a moment so they would not stick, and lifted the spoon from the oil. And guess what happened?

Half of the spoon melted into the oil! Smoke began to billow from the pot! All of a sudden, the food smelled like burning chemicals. Still somewhat stricken by the fact I was now missing half of a five-inch diameter spoon, I ran to the living room through a growing, smelly haze, and stared at Dave, who usually recognizes when something on this scale has gone awry. There he was amidst pillows and couch cushions, chatting with his friend, oblivious to all the smoke now billowing into the room from the kitchen with gale force winds of my flailing body.

“Hello!” I yelled. He turned to face me, his expression caught in a smile listening to his friend tell a humorous story.

“What’s wrong,” he paused in his conversation, noticing the panic drawn across my face.

“UH, LOOK!” My arms swung in all unnatural directions around the room as the haze grew into a smelly monster invading my personal space, snarling as it seeped into the cloth of the furniture and the curtains. It wafted in silence, invading the air like an unwanted guest after three days.

“Holy shit!” Dave responded, “What did you do?!”

“What the hell does it look like?!” I raced back into the kitchen, grabbed the pot by its handle, ran to the patio door, flung it open, and held the pot outside. From a previous experience where I set an extraordinarily hot pot down on a plastic piece of patio furniture, I knew not to set this onto the wooden deck below. Nothing like picking up a pot and finding a ring of plastic below it, and a fresh hole in the patio furniture. Sheer genius out of this one.

Dave finally sauntered out of the living room, poking fun at me on the phone with his friend (who tried to tell the the panicking person with the burning food and plastic in the pot to “chill out”), and took ahold of the pot in order to take over my duty. When the lightbulb finally clicked on in my head, I grabbed an aluminum sheet from the pantry and set it on the deck for Dave to place the STILL BOILING, BURNING, and SMELLY pot onto, instead of continually encroaching the rest of the apartment and my now screaming eyeballs and nostrils.

I have performed some awesome feats in the kitchen. Feats that would amaze and astound normal people when it comes to the ability to burn macaroni noodles and cookies because I wanted to take a shower while cooking. However, this one truly takes the cake. I am still not sure the pot is salvagable as it sits soaking with an exorbitant amount of dish soap in the water. All of this…because of “yet.”

Conversation: Football

This conversation occured after I explained to Dave that One-A-Day vitamins are taken once a day. Uh…duh.

Me, reading a magazine: Did they just say his last name was “flying saucer?”

Dave: What? Are you kidding me?

Me: It sounded like flying saucer!

Dave: They said, “Kleinsasser.”

Me: Oh. 

Dave: It’s okay, I thought they said flying saucer at first, too.

The shape of things to come

They say that sales people are “coin operated.” I prefer “driven” or “incentivized,” but I understand the jist of the meaning. It means that people like me need rewards in return for good work done well. Perhaps it is a little ridiculous for someone who makes a good base salary to require a bonus for extra efforts, but it takes a hell of a lot more than a normal job to perform in this realm – a whole lot more of je ne sais quoi. Hell, if I knew exactly what it took, I’d SELL it in a bottle.

I would sell it to all of those newly engaged girlfriends-come-fiances. The ones, like me, that want to lose all that weight they gained since high school or college due to poor choices, changes in lifestyles, and every other excuse under the sun.

Now, I want to sort of justify this post and say that I intended to purchase a membership to a local gym prior to Dave asking me to marry him. I was happily losing weight through the summer until we up and moved across the country, took new jobs, and then hit the holidays like a semi into a wall. That was a long three months of laziness. It made me miss doing something for myself that did not involve splurges at the mall. Something that didn’t hurt so much when reviewing bank accounts.

The point is: it takes a lot of incentive to get someone moving. My incentive to working out earlier this year was a vacation in the spring requiring bathing suits as part of the acceptable attire. Now, I am looking to wear a lovely white wedding gown in July 2010. I think that is plenty of time to make a good turnaround, but it is a hard change to make. It is hard to change the way one eats, the size of meals, and fitting the time to visit the gym. Excuses run rampant.

In order to combat the the excuses, my goal is to post the progress. Perhaps if I outline the plan online, I’ll feel more inclined to follow through.  If anything, I’ll prove my inability or ability to accomplish something…incentivized or not.

Game On!

For the past week and a half, I have been training on several subjects relevant to my company and the industry in which I work as a whole. Today, as part of our training, we had a review of the subjects recently covered in the form of the popular game show: Jeopardy!

Seriously, I think I have been playing Jeopardy! since I was, oh, seven years old. It is the staple quiz game of history classes and law school seminars. The cheese factor never gets old for nerds, folks. Never EVER. There is nothing a true geek loves more than testing their brain’s basic fibers by responding to answers in the form of a question. How ’bout them reverse-pyschology apples?!

Returning to the subject: we were in the midst of a heated game when an opposing team won their Daily Double question which placed them 1000 points within our once commanding lead of 5000 points. In that moment, where the tables turned, so did my focus. The inner nerd surfaced so violently I could barely contain the oozing of knowledge from my eyeballs, ears, and nose. Knowledge does not ooze from other extremities, FYI, at least not in creatures of the female gender.

I could feel my knuckles whiten under the burden of being academically threatened by another team. It was GAME ON in the words of one of my classmates. There was no turning back, no more wrong answers, no more slowly reading questions. It was time to let out the savage academic beast seething beneath the cute, cream ruffle neck shirt. The Incredible Hulk with an IQ of 2000 (okay, maybe a little lower…by about 1,855 points) roared beneath the surface.

From that point out, I commanded the board and tore through my opponents like a lion and the juggular of the zebra. Okay, maybe not that graphic. A little less National Geographic and a little more Alex Trebek on steriods.

By the end of the game, I had that weird, visibly splotchy blush across my face and chest. It was almost like I was both excited and mortified by the entire experience, so much so that my body had an allergic reaction to my attempt to be so smart. Really, it was an odd feeling. I wanted to win SO. EFFING. BAD. that I turned into the knowledge monster.

Later, at lunch, observations about that pivotal moment were tossed around the table by my colleagues. My favorite commentor observed, “Just after we answered the question, I looked over at you and knew by the look on your face it was Game Over.”

Okay, so maybe Poker will never be my speciality, but I’ll be damned before I let someone beat me at Jeopardy!

Haunt the Zoo

Last night, Dave and I joined the Alliance of Emerging Professionals at the Oklahoma City Zoo to pass out candy to Halloween revelers at the Haunt the Zoo event. Like many urban areas, it offers a controlled, safe environment where children and parents feel safe while walking around the park after the sun sets.

At station 15, sponsored by the big-box department store I loathe the most (read: W.M.), our outpost included several boxes of Starburst candy to pass out to the kids and a creepy cemetery. Dressed as vampires, and attempting not to drool all over ourselves with the latex fangs in our mouth, we were a pretty scary bunch. So scary, many small children did not want to approach us. We seriously were not that scary until one group member, in a deep, Dracula-inspired voice, would ask, “Do you want some can-day?” And then most of the little kids clung to the closest parental leg, shaking their heads violently to the left and right.

However, the funniest part of the night occured early in the event. When you try to talk with latex teeth in your mouth, especially the one-size does not fit all kind, you lose your ability to enunciate and then you drool down your face. Well, after two little black girls, dressed as pink and purple witches, approached with their mother, took their candy, and began to walk to the next station, one of the group members, in an attempt to keep the Halloween spirit flowing, said:

“Aww, those are some cute BITCHES!

What he actually said, with vampire fangs clogging his mouth, was: “Aww, those are some cute WITCHES!” However, due to the extra set of teeth and failed enunciation, he sounded rather gangsta. I nearly doubled over in laughter and it took every ounce of strength not to pee my pants in front of our new sets of friends. 

At this point, we are still unsure of whether or not the mother heard what he said, but if anything, we felt his faux pas allowed us to channel a new sort of Halloween diversity that evening.