Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why I Run (or try to)

What started out as a challenge from my daughter to run a marathon, has blossomed into a compulsion to run. It's hard to explain, since I was previously a self-proclaimed loather of all things athletic. I used to be content to sit on my couch and watch the boob tube and knit and make fun of people who exercised. "yeah, I don't run because my pantyhose always catch on fire" or some other quip of its kind. However, when the dishes in the sink are even trying to reach their own height record and the laundry can create its own dead lift maximum, I find myself wanting to set my own personal records. Will I be faster today? Will I run longer today? The laundry and dishes and even the TV will be there when I get back.

Lacing up my shoes, I start to feel the adrenaline surge and I feel powerful. I step outside and breathe in the outdoors. It is easy to forget the dishes and laundry and work and have this moment for myself. I leave the phone, the internet and others behind me. The only person who needs me, is me right now. I am untethered. As I jog or walk, I feel the lifting breeze around me. Even at 85 degrees I am not uncomfortable. The scent of a backyard barbecue wafts around me and I wonder what the occasion could be or what they are cooking. As I round the corner, the fresh cool, clean smell of a nearby yard sprinkler invigorates me as I run through the halos of rainbows and smile to myself. I turn down my music player so I can hear the mockingbirds at play watching me from nearby trees. 

A mile into my run, I hit my stride and focus on my rhythmic breath pairing with my footfalls on the pavement. I challenge myself. "Just a little bit longer" or "a longer stride" or "if I could just make it to that telephone pole". Although I still cannot run a full mile without walking a bit, I am feeling stronger with every day that I try. As I make the last stretch for home, I feel like a horse that makes sight of the barn at home and step up my pace for this last bit of the run. The clouds over the houses are alight with a pink and orange glow from the rising sun. I walk up the driveway to my house and although I have worked up a good sweat and my legs feel spent of most of their energy, I feel mentally lighter. I can now approach the rest of my day with a renewed focus. This is why I run.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skinny Bitches Just Don't Understand

I could come up with the lyrics to go with Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand" song, but nah... I'll just have a little rant about skinny bitches who have always been skinny, don't know what it's like to have trouble losing weight and who look down their skinny noses at us overweight women.  This rant brought to you by the letters F and U! 

I have nothing against thin people, just thin people who think fatter people must be lazy or lying about what they eat/don't eat. Some of us really struggle with this. 

How many times have I heard "just eat less and move more" or "calories in, calories out"? Way too many times to bitchslap someone about. Face it. Our bodies are not machines that leave the factory at a set point to burn a set number of calories per activity. Our bodies are meant to withstand famines and physical hardships and still stay alive! Metabolism is not a fixed variable. As females, our hormones actually encourage our bodies to deposit fat on hips, thighs and breasts so we can get pregnant or stay pregnant.

Many of my family members are overweight. Is it because we hork down McDonald's every day? No. I'm sure heredity plays a huge factor. I like to think that my Nordic fuel conserving ancestors could fall off of their Viking ship while their fat kept their body afloat and alive for 2 weeks without food on the high seas. 

My body just happens to be great at fuel conservation. I did 17 miles last week and ate pretty healthy and did not lose an ounce. But you know what? I'm going to keep at it. "Can't" is not part of my vocabulary right now. Difficult? yes. Trying? yes. &*%$@? yes. I'm not making excuses for being overweight, but am trying to understand WHY. That's the only way I can try to improve it. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Spirit of the Marathon should be required viewing for all runners and wannabe runners. This movie is truly inspirational and presented from the perspective of elite runners and everyday people like me. I dare you to watch it and not have a little tear in your eye or at least a swelling of pride and inspiration. 

Best line from the movie "People run the marathon to prove that there is still triumph and there is still possibility in their lives". This could not ring more true to me right now. 

I share with you the theatrical trailer. The movie is a free instant view if you have a Netflix account. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aunt Flo is a Ho - Ask Me How I Kno

Ah yes...was it a coincidence that predictions were correct? Was it Murphy's Law? Leave it up to Aunt Flo to make her visit EARLY. Geez. I have half a mind to have the baby maker yanked! (Just half a mind, though...owie)
Well, today is a rest day on the running front. SOME rest day! Working 12 hours today and the first 7 were non-stop. I almost want to run just for the stress relief! Am I weird for missing my run on my rest days?
The good news is, two of my knittahs have started to run lately also. Bad news is, one of them fell during a run last night. Lets hope it doesn't discourage her for good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

You Can't Have a Superhero Without an Arch-Enemy

Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman has the Joker...and Marshmarathon has the dreaded Aunt Flo. Having dealt with her for a number of years, I know how she operates and can almost predict her entrance, but it doesn't make it that much easier. 

As with any arch nemesis, Aunt Flo usually sends some of her henchmen ahead of her to stir up trouble and weaken her foe before she attacks:

Bloatrix - has mighty powers of fluid shifting and retention and can slow things down to a measly crawl. She also has the power to split seams, pop buttons and cause sausage fingers.

Dirty, filthy, lying scale - has the powerful ability to change the gravitational pull of the Earth only when you step on a scale.

Gobble-lins - affect appetite centers of the brain, especially the chocolate gland in the cerebellum causing food cravings of massive proportions. 

The Emotionator - perhaps the most evil of all the henchmen with the ability to swing moods so fast, it makes grown men cry. 

I think all four  were working on me today. I was so apathetic about going for a run this morning, that I stopped at 2 miles. My pace was crap, my "runs" were crap and my calves had no energy to push off. I was even talking smack to Ullrey on the Week 4 podcast. He would pipe in with "this next run is only 5 minutes, you can do it" to which I retorted "screw off!" After 5 minutes he would say "Great job! Now walk for another 90 seconds and we'll follow it up with a 3 minute run". "The hell you say" I spat...then tried to do it anyway. Sometimes a little verbal defiance helps with physical obedience. Ullrey to me is like Alfred to Batman. I don't always heed his wisdom.

Feeling a bit deflated, I went and bought groceries and an apple fritter (nom nom). Feeling guilty about the apple fritter, I decided to give it another 2 miles around the neighborhood to work off the donut. The first mile was great and the second mile was crap again. Oh well. Tomorrow will be a rest day (if you consider working a 12 hour shift a day of rest)

Power song of the day: "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Work It! I'll put my thang down flip it and reverse it...

There's nothing like a good Missy E song to get you in the running mood. What started out to be a rest day turned into a running morning. The weather was perfect with a nice breeze before the rain that I knew was coming. Despite 4 hours of sleep (I dunno why), I got out and did 4 miles and week 4 of the Couch to 5K podcast by Ullrey. Again, I should remind you dear reader, that when I say 4 miles, I end up walking most of that. Also, before you get jealous that I am on week 4, remember that I have been doing this for about 2-3 months. Yeah...I'm a little slow.

So, what's on my list of running necessities nowadays?
  • chapstick - preferably with SPF protection
  • sunglasses - for looking cool  for protecting my retinas
  • ventilated hat - to catch the sweat before it runs into my eyes and shade the sun
  • iPod with Nike plus - for tracking my time, pace, mileage. This thing is so cool. I've seen mods for affixing the shoe pod in non-Nike shoes so you don't have to buy the special Nikes. At any time during your run you can press the center button on your ipod and a voice tells you how far you've gone and time and current pace. Accuracy? Meh. It's close enough for me. At the end of your workout she will tell you your stats. If you happen to have run your longest or fastest, you may get a verbal "atta boy" from Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods.
  • Tech clothing - is becoming verra verra cool. Most days I throw on a comfy T-shirt and above the knee yoga pants, but on hot days a moisture wicking "tech" shirt is great! I also bought some "tech" socks that are supposed to keep your feet drier than cotton. Wouldn't you know they have some wool content? Duh.
  • Road ID - (no affiliation) You may laugh, but as I get my aged, ample rear on the track, I think about what if I have a heart attack or get hit by a car or pass out? This little bit of geekery has my name, birthdate, emergency phone numbers, blood type and allergies engraved on it. Kinda lame, but gives me one less excuse for running.
On the knitting front, I am getting SO CLOSE to having my house as it was before hurricane Ike. Just in time for this next hurricane season! I thought I would share some before and after pictures of my lovely room. BEFORE:
Insulation everywhere

You can see part of the ceiling hole in the upper left corner of the picture


I just love my new cabinet for yarn! It is the Linnarp cabinet by Ikea. It is a solid wood cabinet (except the back) stained red and is the perfect size. I'll bet you can't tell what my favorite color is!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Adventures of Marshmarathon and KnittyKnurse

WAIT! (insert superhero fanfare) What was that that just zoomed past at 4 miles per hour? Faster than a speeding tricycle, more powerful than a loco moron, able to leap small curbs in a single bound. Is it a gnat? an ice cream truck? NO! It's MARSHMARATHON!!!  Yes, Marshmarathon...a strange ample woman who has an alter-ego with inflated delusions of running a marathon, with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal infants. Marshmarathon - who can change the course of mighty running tracks, bend nickel plated knitting needles with her bare hands, and who, disguised as Knitty Knurse, mild mannered nurse who knits with other mild mannered knitters...FIGHTS A NEVER ENDING BATTLE...OF FLAB, APATHY AND TO HAVE HER OWN WAY! And now, another exciting episode in the adventures of Marshmarathon...

Yes, I changed my blog title, so don't get all confuzzled. I just wanted it to reflect more of who I am now rather than "Knitterly Diversions" which is a milk-toast, golly-gee-willickers sort of title that I didn't care for much when I created it anyway!

What's behind the new title? My daughter talked me into an INSANE thing called a marathon in about 8 months. I had only been jog/walking sporadically for about 2-3 months when this idea popped up. I'm going to try to post semi-regularly to keep you apprised of my progress (or lack thereof). 

I've been quite apprehensive about telling anyone about the prospect of a marathon because...well...I don't really look like the "runner" type. I'm a bit...more..."ample" you can say. Some days I feel like the female running version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man...hence the name "Marshmarathon".  I still have not told anyone in my family, except my daughter (whose crazy idea this was from the beginning). I wanted to avoid any negative comments or looks of incredulity. If you see me in person, please resist the urge to giggle and point. I'm fine being your source of amusement as long as I'm not aware of it.

I've been training more seriously for 3 weeks, jog/walking 4-5 days per week following a combination of Couch to 5K using podcasts from Robert Ullrey and Hal Higdon's plan for running. My hopes? Lose some weight, improve my time, and finish a marathon without dying.

I have bad days and good days and will regale you with tales of both. Today was a good day. It's good to start a new blog focus from the perspective of a good day. I was able to progress to week 4 of the Couch to 5K program! Woohoo! I even improved my best pace, although I'm not ready to reveal my pace to you guys. I'm only in competition with myself at this point. 

SO...stay tuned to this space for continued tales of Marshmarathon and KnittyKnurse!