Monday, February 25, 2008

The One About the Half-Marathon

I’m very proud of myself. And still not sure if I’m going to do that again. Because THAT WAS FUCKING HARD. Friday, I imagined sending out a bulletin that said, “I did it! Next year I’m doing the whole 26.2!” But, well, we’ll see.

Here’s a mile by mile breakdown of the experience:

Mile 0 (waiting to start)—I went poo in a port-a-potty. This was my biggest accomplishment of the day. I have a policy that number two doesn’t happen outside the confines of what may be defined as “my space” (house, hotel room etc). But with the prospect of going 13 miles on foot, I had to relax my rules. Luckily, it was still dark so I didn’t have to see anything…however there was a disturbing absence of any “plopping”noise.

30 minutes later the race still hadn’t started and I had to pee. The lines were considerably longer this time. Four announcements for runners to line up to start came over the loud speakers. I stuck it out, hoping there would be drop off and I’d get a chance to go while the mayor spoke and the national anthem got sung. But the gun went off and everyone waiting in line started our journey from the port- a-potties, several people ripped themselves right off the seat and into the race (I hope they got to adequately wipe and Purell first).

Mile 1—running past the 34th street wall, a long retaining wall where people graffiti, (Happy 21st birthday, Will you marry me Sara…etc). Someone had painted, It’s not rape---it’s surprise sex. The emergency workers on bikes said, “Dude, that’s so wrong,” but they were laughing.

Mile 2— I check to see which movies are playing at the theater I’m passing. I’ll definitely want to be doing a lot of sitting and candy eating later on.

Mile 3—I have my first experience with drinking (water) while running. It’s quite difficult.

Mile 4—I’m running past the Bagel Shop where I often have encounters with the BSOL (Bagel Shop Old Ladies). It occurs to me I still have NINE MILES to run. I try to put it out of my mind.

Mile 5— 16th Ave has hills I didn’t know existed in Gainesville. And hey, there’s a really big Christian Science Center I didn’t know was there. And there are really a lot of garage sales today. Wait, does the fifth mile marker mean I just finished mile five or am starting mile five?

Mile 6— I run past the office where I work, see my boss’s car there and consider popping in to use the bathroom.

Mile 7— My legs start to feel like lead.

Mile 8—Here is a short list of the people who pass me:
a) A heavy set middle aged woman with really red pants.
b) A 95-year old man who appears to be limping and says “Just 18 more miles to go!”
c) An old lady talking on her cell phone.


Mile 10— PLEASE GOD LET IT BE OVER. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. My feet hurt. My lungs hurt. My neck hurts. I feel light years away from the end of the course. (Light years are far right? Because I’m trying to say I felt really, really far away.)

Mile 11— I WANT TO DIE. I am running past the hospital where I had two thyroid surgeries and thinking I’d rather be in there, lying in a bed with morphine dripping into my veins.

Mile 12—For the second mile in row I think, ok, I’m going to walk for a bit and then really crank out these last few miles (I make it about 100 yards each time before stopping to walk and repeating the process).

Mile 13—OH MY GOD, thank you Jesus, there’s the finish line. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there, right? Right? If it’s not, I think I’m going to have a panic attack. There’s a place where the full marathoners turn left to run 13 more miles. I feel so, so sorry for them.

FINISH: 2h55min (my goal was to finish under three hours) I start to cry, a mixture of pride, physical release, and pure relief that I AM DONE. I sit on the grass while Danny gets me water, and Lori and Candi congratulate me. I’m in a bit of a daze, I don’t quite know how I’ve gotten here, like when I’m drunk and someone drove me home but I don’t really remember the process, or prefer not to think about it because I felt like puking the entire time.

But you know, why not? Maybe I will keep training to do the whole 26.2. People repeat things that feel shitty all the time, childbirth, drinking binges, tattoos. Because those things all have something good about them as well. I guess the good part of running 26.2 miles is, it would be pretty damn impressive (and you could eat mad amounts of carbs). So yeah, we’ll see.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend at Stevie's

My brother Steve and his girlfriend Cara invited us to come visit him in Orlando for the weekend and since he graciously extended the invitation to Kiddo as well, we packed up and headed over. I added this weekend to my collection of moments that feel very "grown up." Even at 30, it seems weird that we live in houses with no adults in them, have free access to alcohol and no curfew.

Here are some highlights from the weekend:

Saturday: I had to do a 7 mile training run (next week is the half-marathon!). Cara suggested I run the neighborhood around where she works in Winter Park. The houses were amazing. Several of them could have been schools, hotels or mini malls. Not long into the run, I noticed a cute beagle plodding up the cobble stone street ahead of me. How cute, I thought, I’ll give him a little smile as I pass. But when I entered the puppy's personal space---he turned into a snarling, snapping, rabid werewolf.

Beagle Puppy---BEFORE personal space invasion

Bealgle Puppy---AFTER personal space invasion

I screamed louder than I have ever screamed in my life. The puppy ran away and NO ONE came out to check on me. I figured this was either because a) The people in the fancy houses don’t care about whatever vagabond is running down their street, or b) they are themselves hiding from the rabid beagle and don’t want to open their doors lest he gain entrance to their home.

Later, we went to IKEA: Where Danny bought a desk, I fantasized about being a single Swedish girl trying to make it on her own in Stockholm, and Steve got a nail in his tire.

We wondered what incident prompted the need for this sign over the IKEA display commode.

Then we hung out at Steve and Cara’s local watering hole/bar/second bedroom, affectionately called “Hoops.” We played trivia games, did shots, I made one of their friends promise to call me the next time she’s at a party with Joey Fatone and/or the New Kids on the Block, nearly swooned when she told me she HUGGED Donnie Wahlberg, and was not really that surprised to learn that Jordan Knight is a real douchebag.

Winning photo caption contest entry for this photo:
“Everyone’s a Winner at Hoops”

Runner up entry: “Not Really”

The next morning I felt hung over even though I never felt drunk which is just wrong and unfair. Before coming back home to Gainesville we went to brunch at "Hoops" where Cara designed modern art from our left-overs while Steve scolded us for wasting food.

This is what Steve looks like when he’s telling us not to play with our food and stop wasting ketchup.

It's pretty amazing that despite all the trouble we got in as kids (a good share between the two of us). We both turned out to be (fairly) normal/decent adults with pets and guest bedrooms and tax returns.

It's all very grown up.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dog Tricks

I moved the phone receiver from my mouth. “Don’t lick that!”

“You know,” my friend Kelly said when I went back to our conversation, “you should collect all the crazy things you have to yell at your dog throughout the day. I bet there’s some funny stuff.”

I considered her idea, and took a brief mental inventory of my favorites.
“Kiddo, leave the poo alone.”
“Kiddo, get your ass off my face.”
and of course, “Kiddo, get your wet nose out of my USB port.”

What really made me decide to start a list though, was something I shouted later that evening, not at the dog, but to Danny in the other room. I was folding laundry and I stopped short when I grabbed my favorite pair of undies from the basket (the pink Hanes Her Ways with the lace waistband).

“God Dammit.”

“What’s up?” Danny said from the kitchen.

“The dog made me another pair of crotchless panties.”

I don’t even know how she gets at them since, to my knowledge, my underwear are always either, a) in the top drawer of my dresser, b) in the hamper behind a closed closet door, c) in the washing machine, d) on me.

I mean I know she’s a very, very sneaky dog and sometimes even seems to possess magical abilities, like how she steals all the cat’s food even though she’s been in the room with us the whole time. Or how she figured out how to open the French Doors that lead into the backyard and also phenagled her way into the covered bathroom trashcans that open with a pedal.

But how in the world she’s managed to eat the crotch out of three pairs of underwear now is completely beyond me. I’m guessing she nibbled at them through the laundry basket holes when I got up to go to the bathroom or answer the phone. But damn— that only leaves a minute or two to jump up from her nap, locate a pair of underwear through the plastic eyelets, consume the crotch of said panties, and sprite back to her napping spot so no one’s the wiser until I pull out the mangled pink cotton that now looks like it came from the “slightly irregular” bin at Fredrick’s of Hollywood.

The undies actually came in handy to wipe off my computer screen which was getting quite dusty. And the dog is currently curled up next to me where I can keep a close eye on her.

But really, I think she just might be the David Blaine of dogs. I swear to god if I go to bed tonight and find a toeless sock and an ace of clubs under my pillow, I’m going to see about booking Kiddo her own street magic special on ABC. It will give a whole new meaning to “Dog Tricks.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some things only your women friends can appreciate

“Why are you taking a shower before you go to the gym?” Danny was looking at me like I was silly, but I think any woman would have totally understood.

See, I hired a personal trainer, since apparently I can’t figure out how to run correctly on my own without injuring myself. (On my six mile run Saturday I collided with a street sign and a bush on separate occasions but that’s something different entirely). Anyhow, since I have my heart set on completing the half-marathon at the end of the month, and have been slowed down by knee pain, Danny convinced me it was time for some support staff.

I was pretty nervous on my first visit, but tried to keep it cool. I’m reasonably in shape and pretty likable barring any inappropriate comments that slip out due to my need for incessant talking to fill up any possible uncomfortable silences.

So I met my trainer. He was young, very nice, and laughed at my jokes (my MOST important criteria for whether or not I will be comfortable with someone). He explained that most of the first session would be spent assessing my body.

The irony did not escape me that 99.99% of my life has been spent devising ways to NOT have my body assessed or to fool the eye of anyone who might be doing so (enter panty hose, shapewear and “tankinis”).

I spent thirty minutes engaged in various activities like walking briskly while my trainer watched. Or letting him twist my body into this position or that so he could “assess.” So consider this a warning if you ever decide to hire a trainer, at some point in the session their face could be inches from your sweaty armpit or ass. It’s totally possible.

He then explained that something they “offer” to all their clients is measuring your body fat. “Would you like to know yours?” he asked. I’ll be honest kid, I could live my entire life never, ever knowing what my body fat percentage is and be very blissful in my ignorance. Seriously. I’ll probably run home crying if I know what it is. What if it’s like 75%? It’s possible. I’m very, very blubbery.

So we ended our session with the two of us, as a team, literally gathering up fat rolls like kneaded pizza dough from various locations around my body so that my trainer could grab the rolls with a little pincher thingy that would then proclaim what a lard-ass I am in convenient mathematical values.

Of course I did what I always do when a stranger is handling my flab flap, I made small talk. So…you just moved to town huh?...What? Oh, sure, I can pull up my pant leg so you can get some thigh fat…So, do you like it? Gainesville I mean, do you like Gainesville? Cool…

The number meant nothing to me and so it was impossible to be embarrassed by it. The number of pounds I’m carrying around however does mean something and so I was still shy to say it, even though the person I was telling had just measured my muffin top.

When I got home to tell Danny about this, I didn’t really get the reaction I was gunning for. Danny was very interested in how the workout went (it was after all his idea) but the workout was not the most important part of the story and so it occurred to me that really only a woman could appreciate the magnitude of the situation.

A guy you just met, who’s probably like ten years younger than you, grabbing your BARE fat rolls, and MEASURING THEM. Exactly!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love having a trainer. It was the right decision. I feel awesomely worked out when we’re done, and I have been able to complete my training runs without any knee pain. I have even, with enormous amounts of concentration, gotten over the fact that someone is in close proximity looking at my weight training ugly face or watching my flab fly while I do jumping jacks.

In order to achieve this result however, it is necessary to shower before AND after my workouts. You understand right?