Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of the Things about Running

I'm currently in the midst of my second attempt at learning to run. This is not a natural thing for me. I do not look like a runner. I'm pretty sure I don't RUN like a runner. In fact, I'm not sure what I do actually counts as running. (Anyone know the difference between running and jogging?)

But this is week four of the Couch to 5K running program. The longest I'm running is a five-minute stretch, and I do a couple of those in a workout along with some shorter runs.

I fully acknowledge that I'm not a runner and there's a better than average chance I won't become one. I also acknowledge that my workout would be laughable to anyone at all on the planet who considers herself a runner. But there is this....

I'm not hating running. I occasionally look forward to it.

Weird, huh? I agree.

I've signed up for e-mail from Runner's World. They send me quotes about running. Today's was by Mark Remy, the Executive Editor. He says, "Even after all these years, running continues to amaze me. Mostly in its ability to clarify - to make things OK and bring you back down to earth, even when things are insane. Especially when things are insane."

Maybe that's it. Maybe that's why I don't hate it. Maybe running is more than burning calories and earning extra Weight Watcher activity points and following through with something even though it's scary because I want to prove something. Maybe running can be a way to shut everything out and focus on very small things--Pink's deeply profound lyrics, not crossing my arms, exhaling longer than I inhale, relaxing my shoulders and legs, running until I get to that mailbox up there before looking at the stopwatch.

Maybe running is a form of meditation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pulled Under by a Pullover

There is something you need to know before I tell you my story:

I hate to shop for clothes.

If I had my way, I would wear jeans and a polo shirt to work every single day in the warm weather and jeans, a plain t-shirt, and a fleece jacket every single day in the cool weather.

So, if I find something I like, I have the tendency to buy it in more than one color. It goes along with my "I wish I had a uniform" mindset.

Two years ago, I bought three v-neck sweaters for $10 each. I then decided they were too tight, and they were relegated to a drawer. I have since lost some weight, so I pulled one out this morning, pairing it with jeans and a plain white t-shirt.


This leads us to another story-- a story that took place on Election Day, 2004. A day on which I was fervently hoping to avoid a second term with W. I was desperate to cast my vote, and so I went to my polling station before heading to work. One of the polling places nearby was experiencing technical difficulty, so my polling place was packed with unexpected voters. I am standing in line in the racquetball court of our apartment complex's clubhouse. It is hot. The line is long and not moving very quickly. I am wearing jeans and a cashmere turtleneck.

It is hot.
The line inches forward. My coat comes off; I do that floppity-floppity thing you do with your shirt to try to get air moving around your torso. It is hot.

I make it out into the cramped hallway. Just a few more people ahead of me. It is hot. Why isn't everyone else hot? Why are there so many people? Why are they all breathing in my space?

Things begin to move in unexpected ways. I take a step, but my body moves down instead of forward. I am on my knees and people are yelling. I have no idea if I black out, but I am aware of someone yelling to call an ambulance and someone else yelling that I don't need an ambulance. I am grateful that none of the yelling is being done by me. I am somehow seated on a folding chair and then I am breathing. I fuzzily fill out my paper ballot and walk into the blessed coolness of outside, shaken.

I give away that sweater and vow never, ever again to wear a turtleneck of any kind. Not if I'm skiing in Aspen (highly unlikely to begin with), not if I am nearly decapitated and have a horrific scar, not even if it has a cute applique of a puppy on the neck.

I am unaware of it, but over time my Election Day paranoia expands. I consistently choose cardigans over pullovers. I always, always wear something under a sweater so it can be removed if necessary.

So, this purchase of v-neck pullovers was a departure for me. I blame it on the after-Thanksgiving mentality, the low price, and the uniform factor.

When I put that sweater on this morning (over a white t-shirt--I'm not crazy), I was fresh from my morning shower. As I was putting on my makeup, I realized that I was hot. Was it really that hot in here? Was I going to be hot all day? Was I trapped inside that sweater? Images of falling to my knees in a crowded clubhouse full of people--some of whom may have been voting Republican--exploded in my head.

Let me be perfectly clear: We're talking about the beginning of an anxiety attack over putting on a sweater.

Those who know me think they know what happened next. They think I whipped that sweater over my head and into the drawer in one panic-filled motion. They think I thanked God I had not allowed myself to get trapped into an acrylic hell and went to work in a short-sleeved shirt.

They were wrong. I am wearing the pullover.

It's called personal growth, people.

It IS hot in here, though, isn't it?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slippery Slope with Cleats

Okay, so this is technically a blog. It's not like I'm going to become a Blogger or anything, just someone who, you know, has a blog. There's a difference. I would prefer you did not ask me to explain it to you.

Just as a reminder: I WILL NOT join social networking sites. I can see how you might think that a blog is a short step from falling into Twitter and (god forbid) Facebook, but I've got cleats on. Metal ones.

And, for the record, I blame Emily.