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

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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?

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.

_______________

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?

We Have a Winner!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Typically I have several ongoing posts in varying stages of completion. It’s rare I feel compelled to hurriedly write a post for quick upload. And I like to protect mine and my family’s privacy so events and things reported here are most likely at least a week behind.

But today I have something important to share! On Monday, I received an email stating I was one of 30 first prize winners in a contest hosted by Brooks – a well-known running shoe and apparel company headquartered in Seatle, Washington. I love their brand and run in their shoes, specifically the Adrenaline GTS. Huge fan, if you can’t tell.

These are but a few

My first thought was I’ve been spammed because who actually ever wins these contests? No one I know. I verified the email came from the company Brooks was using to distribute prizes, completed the information, and refused to believe it could be true. Later, I browsed the Brooks website to see if anything substantial had been posted. Ask and ye shall receive.

I found my submission complete with photo I had uploaded for the 20 Year Drop contest. I may have screamed out loud, saved 40+ screenshots of the page, and called my parents. Does this mean I’m famous?!

Screenshot 1 of a lot

So what’s the prize, you ask? Only something incredible! I won a free pair of Adrenaline GTS shoes every year for the next 20 years. 20 years!!! I’ll be almost 54 years old then. I hope I’m still running at that age. Running my mouth, definitely. Running on fumes, absolutely!

A huge thank you to Brooks for creating a shoe literally designed for PR’s, as well as a contest with real people who can win. I never knew such a thing existed.

Unbelievable as this story is, because of course that’s how most of my life has been, credit be to the perfect one watching over me. Everything in my life has changed since I accepted that my spiritual health is even more important than I ever believed. Another bullet point in my testimony.


I ask you –

Have you ever won a contest? If not, know anyone who has?

Does this mean I need to play the lottery?

Share a story of spiritual life!

All Good Things – Do They Really Have to End?

Ta-da!

Here it is – in all its glory. The big announcement you’ve all been waiting for. Drumroll, please. I have decided to run the Texas Triple! You probably already knew this but I did not. I painstakingly designed the training plan with 13 full weeks of training – give or take the random things that come up. I hope to minimize any obstacles, but you just can’t be so strict as to decide they will never happen. So if you need me on a Sat/Sun/Mon anytime between now and end of May – just look for the nearest treadmill or lake-front track. That’s where I’ll be.

So the paragraph before this very one was what I had originally written for the big reveal. However, I’ve changed my mind. Sorry, folks. I keep reflecting on the weekends I won’t get back and the hours I spent dedicated to running every last mile in preparation for the Texas Double. I’m not ready to commit to such a plan again. Not yet. Maybe next year. At this moment, I’m unemployed and working on my mental, physical, and spiritual growth. I love running. This you know! And I want to incorporate a base-building running plan into my current strength routine. While also maintaining a “normal” weekend routine with my mini.

I know it can be done. I’ve done it before. But it seems a little reckless to begin training (and paying for) a race I don’t know if I’m ready to complete. Maybe this isn’t what you thought was going to be said here – I had my own doubts, too! Yet I know this is the best decision for me at this point in my life. Not to worry, that plan will be utilized. I’m thinking next year!

Lo and behold

Semi-related: Morgan of the Portland Oregon-area Morgans (aka Mo Money Mo Tacos) and I have verbally committed to running Rock’n Roll San Antonio together next December! She also has her own plans to run a Seattle half marathon early summer then train with a group of like-minded crazy runner people in the fall pre-San Antonio. I couldn’t be happier for this unexpected turn of events because after New Orleans about a year ago I was almost entirely certain she’d never run again. Much less with me.

Funny how things turn out.

__________________________________________

I ask you –

Disappointed in my 360° take on the Texas Triple?

Any upcoming activities/events you have planned?

Tacos, tacos, tacos! Tacos for everyone!

Split Training

Now that I’m not running as much, at all really, I’ve carved out some time each day to strength train. Something I noticed toward the final weeks of my last training cycle was my hamstrings seemed to be much weaker than ever before. This may also be the reason I developed a “pulled” inner thigh muscle during Day 1 of the Texas Double. I’m not a doctor; just fairly certain this is what happened and why. So in the off season, I’ve committed to strengthening my whole body to prepare for whatever race I want to do next. If you’ve been following along, my previous posts are about an upcoming opportunity but I’ve not made a final decision yet.

Balance and grace

All this being said, I was originally trained using a split training program, i.e. a different body part is trained each day with at least a full 24 hours of rest between muscle groups. Even though I know this isn’t the only way to strength train…and maybe not the best way anymore…I still function well under these types of workouts. I also experience the most strength and muscle-building results. My real problem is I get so dedicated to one way of doing something I tend to forget to incorporate other aspects of training, like running. I’m a give-it-all-I’ve-got-but-only-to-one-thing type of girl. It borders on obsessive but I didn’t ask for your opinion. Was that mean? I’m sorry. Now I’ve forgotten where I was going with this conversation.

Oh yes. I’m back! Split training gets a bad rap because it’s very unilateral. Think about it. Anyone anywhere can have all the gym equipment they want. With a big enough garage or home, you can purchase every bench and dumbbell available to use at your leisure. Those people who walk around in a very hulk-like manner that can’t touch their toes or lay their arms flat against their sides? Good for them, but is that the definition of true fitness? They can lift a car. Can they pick up a pen off the floor? If they needed to run across the parking lot in the rain, would they be gasping for air?

The tiny tricep

All good questions, none of which I can answer. Every body is so different. Mine just happens to respond well when I give each part of me my undivided attention for approximately 45 mins/day. Even my mental health needs one-on-one attention. But even with all this attention focused on my needs, the body wants what the body wants. And mine really wants to run. This morning I woke up moody and craving peanut butter. That’s my typical PMS symptoms, for anyone who didn’t care to know. To combat the grumpiness, I walked on the treadmill for about an hour. It helped. While walking, it occurred to me I miss running. Even with the break I said I would take and the strength training goals I have, nothing compares to that feeling of your heart’s rhythmic beating and the sound of your feet propelling you forward. Except for people who loathe this kind of thing.

A happy medium exists somewhere for someone. Maybe not me, not yet. Perhaps this was the answer I was waiting for in order to commit to the triple endeavor. Even when I can’t wait for the training cycle to be over, it only takes a few weeks for the itch to run to return. Or else I really need to work on running and lifting at the same time.

___________________

I ask you –

Do you ever have a need to DO something?

Split training fan or no? If not, what training methodology do you subscribe to?

No apologies for oversharing. Get over it.

Random Day, part 36

In typical Running On Fumes fashion, here are several random thoughts to start your morning:

Many years ago, before I joined the Navy, my best friend and I stumbled – quite possibly literally – into a venue in Ft. Worth. As several mullet-bedazzled men in cutoff jean shorts and fanny packs took the stage, we were appalled. Our lives were forever changed. Introducing The Mullet Boyz! 3 intentional concerts later, any chance I have to see them I take. Like rock music and cowbell? I encourage you to visit us in Texas to see The Mullet Boyz! Sorry, they don’t play anywhere else. I tried to get them to come to Florida once. No dice.

A night of insanity – and so much fun!

Recently I discovered my blog audience includes one of my Anytime Fitness bosses. Guess I shouldn’t have made all those jokes. Though very taken aback, I am also secretly, not so secretly, proud and amazed. But I’m upset with myself because I’ve never given them the credit they are due. It was because of them I received the huge opportunity to write this blog. They hired me upon my return to Texas almost a year ago and have been nothing short of encouraging and accommodating. As a family running a family business with many other projects being run simultaneously, I can’t imagine how lively their holiday gatherings must get! And they’re originally from “up North” so the colorful language and accent are, by far, my favorite! We get along well. If you ever have a chance to do business or work for anyone in the Destefano family, please acknowledge you are a part of their family. And make sure you laugh at their jokes – up North and all.

Clean clothes, clean bear

Meet Mister Bear. Pronounced “Mist-uh Bay-yuh”. He’s been a staple of our household for approximately 4 years. Like a loyal teddy bear, he sleeps with us, occasionally eats dinner with us, and has his very own wardrobe which consists of “sleeping panties and a t-shirt”. Yes, I know he has a male prefix; I don’t make the rules around here. Clearly. You see, Mister Bear is my Munchkin’s lovey. In case you haven’t figured that out. And when she’s not home, it’s my job to wash his clothes and make sure he is happy. He’s an integral part of this family. …one time, I forgot to bring him on our road trip. Cue the mom tears. I felt so bad. My mini was devastated and the look of ‘HOW COULD YOU?!’ still haunt me. Not even joking right now. We’ve all only barely recovered from such a traumatic experience.

Training. I think I was supposed to start last week. Ooops. What with the snow and some other things to deal with, my plan is still in progress. Technically, I’m not late. Yet. I’m hashing out a few more small details then I’ll get started. If you negate the 4 hours I was driving each day, theoretically I should have all this extra time to run, right? But much like not paying for a coffee each day and putting that money into savings, something always comes up to spend it on instead. Time is the exact same way. I tell myself I’ll get up early and do something smart, but what really happens is I play gummies for another hour and get nothing done. Time management trickery.

I’ll keep you posted on the continuation of my sh*t show!

______________

I ask you –

Favorite obscure artists/band?

Have you ever worked in a family business? Perhaps you run your own business?

Tell me you also had a lovey. Bonus points if you still have him/her/it!

Planning, Planning, Planning / Update

Choices are difficult

To prepare for a decision, I enjoy overwhelming my already anxiety-ridden mind by processing every single thing that could go wrong and then changing a few small details to ensure the outcome of my choosing. In other words, prepare for the worst and expect the best. Or is it the other way? Same thing. There are a few other variables to committing to this plan I’m still debating. So I’m not fully ready to say yes, I’m doing it. Not yet.

I’m in the beginning stages of formulating a training plan for the Texas Triple. Mostly I’ve decided to do a 12 week cycle and only run 4 days a week – 3 of those days will be back-to-back to simulate the triple part of this silliness. I find it funny how everyone I’ve spoken to about this endeavor is very encouraging. That’s because you’re not the one doing it! My goal is to spend the remaining days of the week focusing on strength and prehab, aka making sure I don’t get injured.

Obviously this is a preliminary plan and you know how that goes. Wild eye roll. The best of intentions have a way of traversing down a path towards hell. Major swerve to get back on course. But then it’s all sunshine and rainbows! Haha, I wish. The bright side is my summer body will be in tiptop shape!

__________________________

I ask you –

Is this still the craziest idea I’ve ever had?

Spring/summer plans?

Give me all the tips on making sure I stay injury-free!

Cultural Norms of Fitness

Badminton in Bangladesh?! Sign me up! I adore badminton. It was one of those childlike sports I truly excelled at. Of course, my only competitor was my sister and it was the only sport offered in our front yard, but hey…

Racket and shuttlecock – technical terms

For Chinese culture, fitness is considered more about socializing than what we traditionally refer to as working out.

In Columbia, Sunday’s may well be reserved for runners and cyclists to take to the streets.

In begs to be stated and cannot be overlooked, most fitness-related activities and sports in general are attended to by young men. Women may have not caught on to the pension for fitness; more likely the female population has yet to be allowed to partake in “men’s sports”. A few publications tell the story of social inequality when it comes to fitness, particularly the ability/inability for a certain race/sex/culture to gain access to standardized “fitness” facilities. However, with many gyms offering a range of price points, I think it difficult to concede there’s not a financial option for most people. That being said, I’ve not experienced this in any other place except the United States. What happens elsewhere I have no idea. I would hope gym discrimination isn’t a thing though.

From here to there

From the well known bodybuilders to athletes of other sports, fitness has served well to bring us together. Imagine the Olympics and the New York City Marathon. Global athletes come together to do what they do best and we cheer them on from the comfort of our couches and speak about them in the office like we’re their biggest fans. Because we are! Fitness unites humankind in a basic way. Athletics is now big business. Sure, we can debate all day about the sheer amount of money thrown at major league and professional athletes but what they do is extraordinary and can’t be taken lightly. Sports and fitness are entertaining, at the very least. But what about the little people?! Like me and you!

Our world has undergone so many changes from societal norms to viewpoints. It’s incredible but also very overwhelming. The people I meet share one thing: their stories. Each has a gift. What it looks like varies widely. But it’s their gift to be shared at their choosing. I count myself as one of the lucky ones to be able to have an opportunity to simply listen with my heart and eyes wide open. Fitness may look like nothing I’ve ever seen from one country to the next. But fitness unites us all in a basic way.

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I ask you –

Have you experienced a gym or sport in another country? Tell me about it!

For you travel bugs: any place you’d like to (re)visit?

Where’s my badminton players?! – I excel so beware!

And then it happened!

As hard as I’ve been working toward overcoming fears, sometimes they still sneak up out of seemingly nowhere. That’s when someone walks out from behind a dumpster and has the nerve to stare at you as if you did something wrong as you SCREAM in their face. And by you, I mean me. My horror could not be mistaken. I was absolutely terrified. Clearly there’s more to this story. You see, I’m scared of dumpsters. Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before? I’m fearful of someone jumping out from inside one or, please don’t let this ever happen to me, someone being found sans heartbeat. The news makes it sound like this happens all the time. I don’t know if it does or not, but I worry about it. As luck would have it, I don’t want to be anywhere near gruesome dumpster discoveries so I avoid them at all costs.

The problem is I have a job where I’m expected to remove trash from inside the building and deposit it into the dumpster behind. This should be easier than it sounds and that’s saying something. Typically, I can ask a favor of someone else to take out the trash. Except when they’re gone. Alternative B is to let the trash pile up which is really no alternative at all. Are you grasping the predicament?

Actual footage, using a long range lens

So in doing what is right, I took the trash out by myself to the scary dumpster. As I finished tossing the bags overhead, I turned to walk back to the building and a man came out from behind the dumpster. I screamed for a solid 5 seconds – mouth open, bloody murder-style screamed. Then I cursed a lot and literally ran back inside. I’m not apologizing for probably scaring the man, too, because he had to have known I was there. I had 4 trash bags to heave over the top of the dumpster! I’d been there several minutes! He should have stayed hidden until I walked away. I believe that’s a logical and reasonable expectation.

Nonetheless, my heartbeat has returned to normal. The trash is safely in the dumpster confines. And I may never, read: NEVER, go near another dumpster ever again. I’ll pay a nice person to take it outside if that’s what it takes. But it won’t be me.

I also believe my cardio workout is now complete. It took well over 20 minutes for my heart rate to return to a normal level. Always looking on the bright side.

_______________

I ask you –

What are you afraid of?

Have I traumatized you with my dumpster story?

Tell me what the going rate for a trash taker outer, please.