Hobbies and Hot Weather

Growing up surrounded by four walls and forestry, all the benefits of country-living have been experienced. Minus what is affectionately referred to as cow tipping. You people are insane. I’ve been involved in not only the stupidest activities but also many that have no statute of limitations so we won’t be speaking of such. One and the same. If you’re like me, you are no stranger to mud. You know, the yucky brown or red stuff that plagues your vehicle and clothing the minute it’s considered.

That being said mud can be a secondary word in some sentences. For example, mud running, mudding (you have to say this with a southern drawl and drop the ‘g’), and something I’m particularly interested in, mud volleyball!

Add a little water to the fields of happiness above and magic will happen! Basically what I’m saying is I joined a mud volleyball tournament for July 4th weekend. Aptly named Pig Pen Mud Volleyball, the entry fee is donated to charity – though I do think there is a monetary prize for the winner. My focus on winning could best be classified as zero. I’ve never played mud volleyball, but surely all my years on a junior and high school court will easily translate, right? I know for sure this same tournament happened last year – from what I hear this is year 5 – but I was working a million hours a week and driving about as much so there was no way I could participate.

Fast forward to 2020: things are starting to look up! I’m incredibly eager to play with my teammates whom I’ve yet to meet and most likely won’t until day of. Upon sign up I was informed there would be no practices, the only requirement is to have fun, and most, if not all, my team will consist of city employees, presumably with a median age of 50. I’m not judging. If I wanted to form a more similar to my age team, I would have recruited them. Who has time for that? Alas, beggars can’t be choosers and I’m content to meet new people and not break any bones.

Do love some sand volleyball

Will I be keeping you all abreast of the tournament, complete with mud-attired non-uniforms and lots of alcohol? So glad you asked! Indeed you can count on me to provide a figurative and literal play-by-play of the day’s highlights. If any of you have a desire to travel to this remote area of Texas to cheer me on, I will gladly welcome you with a cold bottle of water and muddy hand print on your rear end.

Good game, everyone!

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I ask you –

How many “muddy” activities have you ever participated in?

Does volleyball appeal to you? I adore playing volleyball.

Gordon Lake and Oscar Park Volleyball Courts, 10am, July 4th. In case you need something to do.

A Predicament of Utmost Importance

Heat training has cracked up to be exactly what I thought it would be: a major pain in the a**. Unintentional as it was, perhaps this is an opportunity in disguise. Or else an upcoming setback. Not one to dwell on the negatives, I am navigating this uncertain time. Obviously I’m being overly dramatic. “Heat training” has not been a part of my plan nor is it necessarily happening currently. Really I’m just trying to figure out how to complete this training cycle throughout the hottest months of the year. Now that my work schedule is getting back to semi-normal (read: full days on an alternating schedule vs previous half days on an alternating schedule) there are decisions to be made regarding when to run.

There are a few options. Do I run prior to sunrise, attempt to complete the miles via treadmill as soon as I return home from work, wait until much after sunset when it – maybe – cools off, or establish an alternating schedule of my own to closely align with my telework days so I can run outdoors mid-morning? Most likely it will be a seemingly weird combination of all these things.

Pay very close attention

It’s probably best this way. I couldn’t imagine Texas being anything other than the hot state it is. Let’s not get started on global warming and climate change. If things go as the all-knowing meteorologists predict, it will most likely hit 105 sweltering degrees some time this week and I’ll be forced to make a decision well out of my control so I best get started deciding now. I took a short break two weeks ago to mull over this issue. Well…actually…hormones and laziness got to me so I decided to skip runs 3 & 4 and focus on recharging my batteries. The body can only take so much GO, GO, GO before it warns you that you may be demanding too much. Besides, breaks are as important (perhaps more important) than the gas pedal. Knowing when to stop is complicated and requires heeding the warning signs. I’m slowly figuring this out.

My trusty trail

Nonetheless, the show must go on! On the bright side there’s only about 5 more months of hot weather which delivers me right to the doorstep of the marathon. How thoughtful. Though I’m hopefully kidding. It will surely become more manageable as time marches on. Not lost on me is the distrust I have in my body now. Performance is based on all cylinders correctly firing at the right time to produce optimal results. Without my temperature regulator, or with a confused regulator, I’m hesitant to push past the point of no return. I guess that’s why God made Fall.

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I ask you –

Training for anything? Do tell!

Is your workplace returning to “normal”? What does that look like for you?

What’s your favorite season and why?

No Laughing Matter. Kidding!

Last week was hell. But the good kind of hell. Let’s not mince words and get to the point.

Home sweet home

If you hedged your bets on me not returning to the gym opening day all I can say is I hope you didn’t lose a lot of money. Because I was there. Granted it was 2.5 hours after they officially unlocked the doors, but, hey, I had to work that day so my options were limited.

Needless to say – or is it needed? – I completely broke apart every muscle group minus glutes/legs/anything below the pelvis. It felt incredible! Seems those home workouts were lackluster at best. As the week wore on and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, aka the true hell that sets in to muscles when you’ve pretty much over taxed them) set in, I was located on the couch, unable to move, but so proud of myself. This is the beginning stages of some type of masochism.

If you’re wondering, or judging me, by the negation of lower body exercise, may I remind you I am in the final weeks of pre-marathon base building training. Say that a few times fast. Absolutely I could go in and knock out reps of squats, lunges, and good mornings (p.s. these are my favorite) but the recovery is a heavy price to pay. But now that I say…errrr type…this, I’m reminded how important those good mornings are for strong hamstrings to power my runs. Anyway. I just didn’t do it, ok?! But I will. Promise.

Ugh. Texas heat

Moral of the story: everything is sore, I’m managing to both run and strength train on the same days, and the training plan officially starts tomorrow. In my next life, I will be a juggler in the traveling circus.

Hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember the true meaning of this day and know we are quite fortunate to have what we do.

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I ask you –

How crazy am I to jump back into the gym day 1? Nevermind. Don’t answer that.

Are there any circuses that don’t travel?

Memorial Day plans? Since large gatherings are most likely out of the question. Unless you’re extremely rebellious.

To Thine Own Self Be…

…the truest you can be.

Amazingly enough, there are still people in our world who feel like they can’t be their true selves. As if society dictates how/what/whom they should look and feel, it’s a very common occurrence.

In recent conversation, it came up that a woman I know, after expending emotional energy, allows herself to cry and mourn what she has lost. It struck me as profound because how often do we let ourselves just feel? Believe me, it can be a terrifying journey to embark on – with the scariest of turns and very little sustainable food sources. At the end, however, you will be rewarded with soul food beyond anything you’ve ever tasted. So how do you get there? You simply start.

Please pause for a random thought:

Exercise does for the body what feeling does for the soul. It hurts! True. It really does hurt. You won’t catch me lying about the pain. But so much good can come of it. The mind and soul need ample time to process; without this time, it’s much like complacency – everything starts to feel the same.

For example, do you know what food tastes like when you rapidly inhale it and don’t take the time to enjoy it? Sure, you taste it but you don’t really taste. There is a means to an end.

The above was an awe-inspiring documentary I am better for watching. Truly unbelievable are the men and women whose souls flourish in bringing people together for a common goal. As the caption states, the hope one witnesses in others who have faced a tough set of circumstances really proves how much we need one another. Try not to feel moved while watching this movie; I dare you.

And now back to our main content:

In being true to yourself, I believe it’s also important to be – what these hip young people call and I know as a buzz word – transparent. Transparency doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. (The word doesn’t, the idea does.) It’s not so much about being see through to others; who cares what they think. Easier said than done, I know.

There was a time in my life when perception was reality. Loathing. In the real, wide world this isn’t necessarily true. As a child, I didn’t know why I was different. The pressure on myself to be perfect and have things just so was, frankly, debilitating. At the age of 6, when I’d visit other friends’ homes, their bedrooms would be a wild mess. How I envied the randomness of it. In an effort to curtail my perfectionism, I’d go home and ransack my dresser drawers to make my room look “lived in”. But each time I did this (yes, multiple times), the experience would end in tears and my returning the room to its former cleanliness.

Coloring is calming. Try it

It took many years to embrace my Type A personality. Today, I’m comfortable with it. It’s just how I am. Things have a place and belong somewhere. I take pride in a clean car and home. Sure, bordering on compulsive, this behavior isn’t always healthy but it’s who I am. I do my best not to impose myself on my mini’s way of living because obviously choice is very important. But if I’m being completely honest, her lackluster care for order in some things but not in others drives me insane.

You know that emoji with both arms up and a big shrug? Just insert that right here.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you dove into your emotions?

Any buzz words you’re sick of hearing? Transparent is definitely the biggest for me.

Type A? Type B? Thoughts on this?

Puns and Problems

Similar in nature to the dreaded freshman 15 is what I’m not-so-lovingly referring to as the covid 19. Get it, get it.

HOLY TOLEDO!

It would appear my favorite pair of shorts are becoming…ummm…snug. The scale also seems to be inching upward, as well, even in the face of a training schedule and some at home strength workouts. Yikes.

My only saving grace (can it even be called that?) is I see others, mainly elite runners, struggling with the same issue. Not only are we moving less, but we’re also stuck at home surrounded by baked goods. Wait. Is that just me? It’s clearly become a big problem. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, so why is it now?

I need less of this…
And more of this!

Working office half days every other day means I’m at home more than 60% of the time previously. And if you count when I worked at the gym, I’m home exponentially more now. This has created a pocket of daylight where I simply sit – either on the couch or at a desk working remotely. Sure, I have a mostly sedentary job even at the office but there are many instances of movement from office to office or going upstairs. Now? I walk 10 feet to the kitchen for more water or 20 feet to the bathroom. I really need to correct this. Pronto.

With a vacation, a marathon, and every day whatever-this-life is on the horizon, I really need to get my sh*t together. At the time of this posting, ideally my gym will be reopened. Sometime this summer I expect to return to in-person work full-time. As for life? I’ll leave this open ended with maniacal laughter. I can’t change the inevitable heat wave I’m sure to encounter which will render me inside and shaded more than, say, fall or spring-like temperatures, but the few things I can control I will. Let’s start with portion and dessert control, shall we?

Perhaps I scale back on the sugar-laden sweet nothings I imbibe in regularly. Or maybe I don’t inhale 3 servings of pizza. I’m not saying I will; I’m just saying I should. Let’s all get real here. Most likely I’ll keep on the same track currently on and complain the entire way. Sounds reasonable enough.

The scale does not control me! Those shorts, however…well…that’s another story.

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I ask you –

Same boat? Just me?

Do you work from home more now? Truthfully, I’m extremely lucky to have a job and my deepest worries go out to those who have a very limited source of income, if any, due to circumstances. Please note I’m not making light of this situation.

Any tips for making this crossroads a bit more bearable?

Running Update

We’ve barely touched May and the mercury is already nosing 100°. Ugh. FML. The show must go on.

Occasionally I can get in an early run outdoors, but usually I’m relegated to the treadmill. Honestly it isn’t so bad because at least there I have about an hour to devote to mindless television. Foreword: apologies to all my friends who recommended shows for me to watch. I continue to watch the same I have been watching for years. First, I finished Brothers & Sisters. Then, I watched Younger (currently awaiting the next season). Now I’m on Revenge.

I’m more of a Hulu fan

The truth is this: besides Younger, I’ve seen the other series at least once before. Creature of habit much? I just have a problem committing to a new show with several episodes I have to figure out. I’m sure that’s the whole point, but when I’m running, I want to sink into the show with little extra effort.

Seems staying at home does have its perks. Like running for alone time.

But also seeing this amazing sight! I really really really don’t like geese, but seeing the cute little babies before they become angry, drab creatures is exciting. I’ve heard geese babies typically stay where they’re born. Dammit. They just poop on everything and drives me insane. Yuck.

Why did the goose cross the road?

The most important reason to run is so I can continue imbibing in the bakery madness my home has become. Comfort foods extend to bread, old-fashioned favorites, and the like; mine is cookies. Guess it could be worse, right? And when mini-cookie maker gets started, we just can’t stop. Needless to say, I’m enjoying it immensely! My heart and blood sugar are overcome with happiness. Remember this for when I need an intervention.

Unicorn cookies

____________________

I ask you –

Shows you’re watching now?

Recommendations? I probably won’t watch them, but I enjoy you trying.

What’s the summer average temperatures where you live?

Doesn’t Look the Way I Remembered It

Working out at home just isn’t the same. Can I get an amen? You would think since it’s only a room away, I’d be more inclined to get it done. No driving, no getting dressed (if I’m being honest), no major changes to schedule. Somehow it just doesn’t work that way.

Finally found the twin to my dumbbell collection

As ridiculous as this sounds – par for the course – when I purchased the above dumbbells, there was only one. Who only buys one?! But instead of giving up on the fact I was probably going to be working out at home for quite awhile, I went ahead and bought the single dumbbell. Better than nothing. It’s been difficult; I continued to tell myself I was training uni-laterally and it would all work out. Puns again. So when I finally had an opportunity to check back, there it was. Two matching pairs of the proper size I needed. What did I do? I purchased one of them. Not the whole pair, because why would I need 3 dumbbells? When in Rhome… I took one dumbbell and left behind a pair and a single. Do I feel bad? Yes. Am I happy to complete my collection? Also yes.

Excuse the darkness, that’s the whole point

I haven’t been taking advantage of being 80% home bound the past 6 weeks. All these opportunities to work out unlimitedly, but noooooooo. Here I am at square uno. It became very apparent the progress I had was quickly becoming undone when I did the same workout I normally would and the next day I could hardly lift my arms. Ridiculous. Of course I know there’s a million factors. Allow me to sulk, please.

Introducing the pajama workout! Once I found the matching dumbbell, my excuses sounded even worse than before. And they were dismal before! Without cause to get out of it, I found myself literally falling out of bed, sipping on a super hot cup of coffee, and lifting my precious dumbbells overhead…you guessed it…in my PJ’s.

At least I got it done.

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I ask you –

What’s your workout routine look like now? Do you have home exercise equipment?

Is your job considered physical or sedentary?

On a scale of 1 – 10, how frowned upon would it be to eventually return to my local gym wearing my pajamas?

Story Telling

Have I mentioned I saw my neighbor naked? Unfortunately, this is not a joke. Have I told you I considered registering for the upcoming, maybe, 45th MCM? Have I shared how much I hate teleworking? I need people!

6 feet, I’m sure

If the above answers are all no, then today you’re in luck! And if they’re yes, then sit down and shut up because you’re going to listen regardless of your wishes. Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

Where should I start? Definitely with the nude neighbor. The funniest part is I don’t recognize him if he’s dressed. Circa this past summer, I was tasked with wandering around the neighborhood holding a lost, lonely dog looking for its owners. Most houses I visited either stated it wasn’t their dog or no one was home. The final house I came to a nice woman answered the door and invited me in. How kind. As I entered, I noticed they had been having a party because their outdoor pool was full of floaties and food plates littered the counter. Unless it always looks this way? The woman called to a man deeper into the house to check out the dog I was holding. From a back room, I could hear a blow-dryer turn off, then an older gentleman walked down the hallway. He forgot he was naked I suppose. As he told me who the dog belonged to, I did my best to keep my eyes averted. Then he turned away and walked back down the hallway. Lovely. Just wonderful. I quickly exited the front door, dog in tow. My final thought was this: that man had no hair. Why was he using a blow dryer?

I haven’t been motivated to run much. Read: not at all. With every race being cancelled, it’s felt pointless. Though I know running helps me immensely in uncountable ways, I’ve just felt blah. Then I remembered my marathon goal! And if I’m going to bake cookies every weekend, I best figure out how to burn them off pronto. Doing some research, I stumbled across dates for the Marine Corp Marathon. Fall. Right up my alley! The only way I can enter is by playing the lottery. The marathon lottery. However, the lotto rules were a no-go for me. If chosen, there is no refund of the near $200 price tag if, for whatever reason, you can’t make it to the event. There are deferment options, but that seems silly to waste someone else’s time who could have gone.

If only I could find a track

I finally decided to run a local (semi-local) fall race using a quite lenient 6 month marathon training plan. It probably sounds excessive but I know how my body behaves in the summer, as well as the glaring fact I’ve never run a marathon. Sure, two half marathons in two days is an accomplishment but it’s still not the same. In the meantime, I’m building a pre-training base by working on a four-runs-a-week schedule. 2 weeks in. It’s going splendidly. Full disclosure: my weight is a little higher than normal (approx. 10 lbs) and the pace is less than optimal but starting off with some extra weight is good for me because it drops off fast when you (I) get into double digits and pace will improve as I continue training. That summer body is only a training plan away!

As for teleworking, no one cares. I could complain all day, but the overarching truth is I’m employed, out of harm’s way, and get to spend loads of time with my clingy family. I beg for quiet time and wonder why everyone has to sit so close to me on the couch. The expectations are high. In other news, teleworking sucks. But I’m alive and well.

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I ask you –

Give me your biggest complaint! I can listen all day.

Have you ever encountered a naked neighbor? How did you handle it?

Got any marathon advice?

Rhyme Time

More Daniel Tiger jokes. Before now, I can’t recall a time I used the word “quarantine”. Or heard it so often. Surely I’m not the first who is completely, madly, irrevocably over this mess. Climbing atop my soap box… The media can shove it. The so called experts can shove it, too. Suddenly everyone has an opinion rooted in fact, or so they claim. Fear hangs around our neck like a scarf of many colors and it’s choking out every ounce of oxygen and common sense.

The more we search for the right answer or those who can solve our problems, the more we find nowhere to run. I don’t know what to tell you. All we can do is find our faith in whatever shape or form it appears. And perhaps remodel our homes with this abundance of time on our hands. Maybe I’ll re-decorate!

With the gym being closed, I’m thankful my trusty treadmill is available 24/7. Most of my exercise consists of rage vacuuming and repeatedly washing the same 2 dishes. And drinking at least 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine can cure anything! More cookies, please!

The power of color

There’s been fishing and puzzles and chalk and wondering if my mini’s birthday party will attract any guests. All I know is we will have cake and hand-washing and enough toilet paper! More jokes everyone is tired of hearing. Again, I’m thankful the tiny princess cares not about what happens in our wide world and she’s unaffected. When I told her church was cancelled but we’re able to watch it online, she didn’t bat one long eyelash. When I said we needed to go to Sam’s Club to purchase butter and I forewarned her it would probably be insanity inside, she stated she would hold my hand tighter. When I said we needed to stay home more and do things together as a family, her smile lit up the room. These things prove time and again that our youth need our attention now more than ever. Most don’t care about “things” – they value our time with them. Slowing down to savor these minutes and days isn’t such a bad idea afterall.

Couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried!

There’s always coffee. And bedtime.

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I ask you –

Anything I can do for you during this time?

How are you staying busy? I need more ideas!

Do you think this is our new norm?

Birthdays and Adventures

I recently celebrated a momentous birthday occasion: 34! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before I have a twin, right? The game is always who can tell the other happy birthday first. She usually cheats and sends the text shortly after midnight. At least we’re in the same time zone now because it got tricky for awhile. The cake of my choosing is this luscious lemon, blueberry concoction of yumminess. There’s no other words.

Incredible-ness

And I went deep into Oklahoma to explore the Wichita Mountains, namely Mount Scott. Mostly I went with the promise of incredible post-hike Italian food. Which did not disappoint.

Then I chopped off my Fabio-like locks, as well as my mini’s. Ha. If they even remotely resembled Fabio’s, I wouldn’t be here. Hence the cut. And mini only got a trim. Calm down.

Baby muscles in progress

Then we went fishing! It’s a very long story why I don’t fish – for another day – but I caught one this time. And mini caught a catfish. Get it, get it!

A girl and her fish

I’m attempting to stay well, but my non-Coronavirus related sneezing is about to drive me nuts. Stupid allergies. If these trees could just skip blooming, I’d be happy. Who needs bees anyway? Oh, the flowers.

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I ask you –

Care to state your age?

When I was a child, my family were beekeepers. Do you know anyone in this profession?

Tell me your last adventure!