Run Away with Me

I’ve had this on-again/off-again relationship that started in my teens and has followed me into my late mid-forties. We’ve hit a rough patch these last few years, and I think it’s time we parted ways.

Running and I don’t get along anymore.

I want to like it, I really do. Being a runner these days is uber cool.

The clothes are even cute.

In college, running was the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to get rid of the freshman fifteen. In my case, I think it was only the freshman five, but I still didn’t want it. Luckily my small college town is very hilly with lots of great areas to run right outside the dorms.

I just strapped my Reeboks on and took off. Almost every day there for a while.

But as soon as those five pounds were gone? I stopped.

Why I wasted all of those years when I could have been a runner I will never remember.

Because it is getting harder to remember things.

You see, I have a runner’s body. My legs are long and there’s not much on me that bounces around. So it seems logical that this would be my sport.

I mean, if I were athletic enough to have my own sport.

But it’s not like I’m even a fast runner, which seems incredibly unfair given the length of my legs. It literally feels like I’m dragging around concrete pilings. With re bar inside.

I rock the 10-minute mile.

About 10 years ago a friend invited me to run my first 10K, the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz, CA. I actually trained, ran almost every evening around our neighborhood, and was feeling pretty good about it. Race day was awesome; there were bands playing along the route, crowds cheering, and the ocean at our side the whole way.

It rocked.

But I didn’t enter another 10K after that. Again, I can’t remember why.

About 6 years ago, my family started running an annual race together, Pat’s Run, that benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. It always feels awesome to be in the crowd, the energy is high, and we enjoy doing it as a family for a cause that’s important to us.

Well, until that Pat’s Run in Arizona one year when my 10 minute mile insane slowness almost kept me from keeping up with my then 8 year-old daughter as she ducked in and out of the crowd on race day.

Ouch. Pretty sad running there, mom.

Along the way I’ve had several stints in physical therapy for chronic tendinitis and bursitis in my hips. Not only do I hate physical therapy, but I’m too cheap to go through all of that again.

So while I will continue to run short spurts during my hill program on the treadmill, I’ve finally decided that it’s OK to say I will never run another race again.

I am not a runner. There, I said it.

So I signed up to walk a half-marathon with friends. And part of me is wistful, knowing that at one point my body could have run that race. Slowly, yes, but actual running.

But maybe I can still get the cute clothes.

Ode to my Butt

We have been through so much together, you and me.

In my much younger days, you were perkier and less lumpy. A fitting end to my giraffe-like legs that were also free of lumps and bumps, veins and baggy parts.

In college, you were made for 501’s and not much else. I could eat and eat, once cramming in 11 pizza burgers in the college cafeteria, and you wouldn’t change a bit.

When babies came along, you and I spent hours sitting on the couch nursing, burping, and holding sleeping little angels. I appreciated your cushiness, while I may have cursed the lumps and bumps that were taking over.

Little ones love to be read to, which again necessitated hours of sitting. I was thankful that you weren’t bony and uncomfortable, even as I realized that you were also no longer firm or perky. Soft, even.

As I approach 50 in a few short years you and I aren’t as close as we once were. When I spend long hours sitting on you, you balk just a bit and send pain shooting out towards my hips. When I attempt to get up from sitting on the floor for more that 5 minutes, you send waves of pain down my right bun, and laugh at me for almost falling down.

The one pair of 501’s that I still own seem oddly baggy in the seat.

Dr. Oz says I need to do squats, eat more protein, and buy “butt pads” with special underwear to hold them in. He had a whole special on the other night geared towards the Over 40 Woman.

Ugh.

So all I ask of you, dear Gluteus Maximus, is that we enter this new phase of our lives together in some sort of harmony.

  • I will agree to stop dressing you up in low-rise jeans if you will promise to stop drooping.
  • I promise to skip the polyester pants if you will make an effort to remain somewhat shapely (at least in Spanx).
  • I promise to appreciate the fact that there are muscles under all those lumps and bumps, and will do my best to find them once in a while, either on a hiking trail, a bike, or a long walk. But not running.
  • I will try harder to watch what I eat if you will forgive the occasional Double-Double at In-N-Out.

Can we do it? Can we find peace with each other? Because the way I look at it, we are stuck with each other, you and me. And until medical science comes up with a proper way to transplant butts, that’s just the way it will be.

Well, that and the fact that Jennifer Aniston probably won’t be willing to give hers up.

 

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Visit with an Old Friend

There are certain people in our lives who have a major impact on who we become. Their actions determine the course our lives can take, whether good or bad. Their impact may never be known to them, unless they stay in our lives or we have the chance to visit them later in life.

I decided it was time to pay a visit to one of these people.

Me.

As I approach the front door, I see something that looks like a stuffed animal hanging from the handle.  “Baby Sleeping“, it says on a little eyelet heart in a cutesy blue script. So I do what anyone else in this situation would do.
BAM BAM BAM!!
It takes a few minutes, and then the door opens slightly.  A thinner, less wrinkled, short overalls-clad version of me peers out.
“Hi,” she says in barely more than a whisper.  “My baby is sleeping, can I help you?”
“Actually,” I say confidently, “I am here to help YOU.”
“You look familiar; do I know you from the Mom’s Club?”
“Something like that. Mind if I come in?”
“My baby’s sleeping, so I am very busy right now.”
The older, more confident me won’t take this as a no.  “Thanks, I won’t stay long,” I say as I start to push through the door.
Younger me steps aside and I walk into the family room. Scanning the room feels like thumbing through an old photo album. Like if I had really managed to prepare any photo albums in the past 16 years. Familiar items long since discarded grab my attention from shelves and the coffee table.  The whole room is neat and tidy and the place is deadly quiet.
“So you say you’re busy, but what exactly are you doing while the baby sleeps?”
“I have lots to do. I empty the dishwasher, put away the toys, organize the board books by category, alphabetize the alphabet blocks, fold laundry, clip coupons, read Parenting magazine, pay bills, and mop the floor. I would vacuum, but I don’t want to wake the baby.”
“OK, here’s the deal with all of that.  It’s pointless, useless drudgery!  Eventually it will all get done anyway. You should be taking a nap when the baby naps! Maybe if you did that, we wouldn’t have so many wrinkles and such a dull complexion later!” I worry that I may sound angry or bitter, so I try and soften my tone a bit. 

Maybe I am a little bitter about the wrinkles, since she sure doesn’t have many.

“Do you really think it matters that the blocks are in alphabetical order?” I say. “That the books are sorted into categories? Can’t Board Books be a category all its own?”
“It matters to me. It makes me feel like I have some control over my day, like I’m a good mom,” she says, now eyeing me a bit more closely. “Wait, did you say “we” when you were ranting about wrinkles?”
“Yeah, take a good look sister, ’cause I am the 46 year old you,” I say, hoping it doesn’t sound mean or threatening.  OK, maybe just a bit mean.
She takes a step back, analyzing my hair, my face, and my clothes.  “What’s the deal with your pants, they aren’t long enough!” she says, sneering at my capris.
“These, my dear, are capri pants. They will become quite popular in a few years. Because you ate so much ice cream, loved you some hot dogs and some bacon, and didn’t exercise at all, now I have to wear capri pants instead of shorts. You left a lot of cottage cheese on these thighs for me to deal with.  And while we are on the subject of clothes, you might want to re-think this whole short-alls thing.  They aren’t working for you, and the pointy white Keds don’t complete the outfit; they make it worse.”
She looks shocked, but quickly regains her composure. “But I’m comfortable, and these are cute!”
“Cute is for babies! You will never again have the body of a 30 year-old. Never. You just don’t appreciate it now, so you cover it up with short-alls and t-shirts. Live a little! Enjoy what you have!”
She glances down at her outfit, brushing breakfast crumbs from the bib of the overalls. “I am a mom. I will dress like a mom and act like a mom, not like some teenage hottie.”
I try and control my laughter, but she’s almost too funny to watch. “That’s not what I mean! Just live a little, fix yourself up a bit, do it for us. Take up jogging, buy some fashionable clothes, start getting facials, use more sunscreen, and please….lose the bangs.”
Now she looks angry. I think my visit may be coming to an end.
“Thank you for your visit, but I’m really not interested in my life 16 years from now! This whole conversation is just a bunch of malarky! You seem to be blaming me for all of your flaws when, in reality, I’m sure there are tales to be told of life in your 40’s that certainly aren’t MY fault. Don’t you still eat ice cream and bacon? Enjoy that glass of wine before bed? Exercise only when it’s convenient?”
Sensing that I’d better go, I stand and head for the door. “It’s been nice visiting with you, and I hope you’ll think about what I said.” Before leaving, I turn back briefly. “Oh, and those perfectly nice C-cups you are nursing the baby with? Enjoy them while you can. That’s all I’m sayin’.”

This post is linked up to Word Up, YO!, which is masterminded by KLZ, Natalie, and Liz; The Word of the Week is:

Malarky

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Collecting Dust

Collections.  Almost everyone has one, whether they intend the collecting of like objects to be a hobby, a passion, or just a mild form of OCD.  I think that the collections a person keeps tell you a lot about them, about what’s important to them.

Beer can collection?  You probably love a cold brew, maybe enjoy traveling.  Little silver spoons?  You have a taste for the finer things, an eye for design and function.

My accidental collection tells absolutely nothing about the person who assembled it, I am sorry to admit.

I collect exercises.

I tear them out of fitness magazines, the newspaper, the Reader’s Digest at the doctor’s office.  I don’t usually do them, I just collect them.  I like the IDEA of having them tucked away in my drawer, ready to be pulled into action when the need for exercise actually presents itself.  Too many Oreo cookies?  How about “Flatten your Belly in 5 Minutes!”?  Did that Whopper with Cheese deposit cottage cheese on your thighs?  I have “Expert Thigh Slimmers” right on top of my pile.  “Tame your Tush in Two Weeks” will come in handy when summer is looming.  Oh wait, that means right now, doesn’t it?  Never mind.

I do enjoy being active.  I like hiking, biking, doing hills on the treadmill, and I am an occasional runner.  It’s the crazy floor exercises that I collect that I can’t seem to enjoy.  It’s hard enough lying on the floor and wiping the dog’s slobber from my face…..but throw in trying to read exercise steps, interpret what you are actually supposed to do, and then do it without looking like you are performing for the circus.  Let’s just say it’s not what I want any of my family members to walk in on.

It doesn’t help that the models doing the exercises are just that: models.  While they are very fit and wear the cutest workout gear I’ve seen, they get to pose the exercises with the help of a stylist and don’t have to break a sweat.  Under those circumstances, even I might be able to pull a few of them off.

I have come up with a new exercise that I think I can stick with.  Take one page of a magazine article depicting exercises.  Crumple into a ball.  Throw into trash can.  Repeat……