January Warm Up…what a tease

Yesterday it was 52 degrees at lunch time.

I knew this warm up was coming so I bumped my training cycle by a day. Because of the warmth and melting snow we had some insane fog rolling through, so I rocked my reflective vest. I’m so glad I found one that doesn’t bounce around and is definitely visible. Did I feel like a dweeb for wearing it at 11:45 in the morning? Yes. But I felt like a safe dweeb who wasn’t going to be run over by a truck. And that feeling is better than feeling cool. Though just by a smidge. On the recommendation o a coach, I’ve stepped back in my training. This will push off my half marathon, but it’s allowed for running to be fun again, and not a chore with every run. I’m still doing running/walking intervals and as I came to the end of my first running interval, I ran into this guy.

 This turkey routinely chases runners. He did not disappoint and after passing him, he turned abruptly and started trotting towards me gobbling. I crossed my fingers he was just threatened and slowed down giving him a wide berth. He slowed his trot but kept moving towards me. I finally got some distance between us and snapped the picture (it’s what I do, take pictures of everything) Then crossed the 4 lane road I was running along and put a little more distance between us. The rest of the run was fairly uneventful and wrapped up strong. I dashed back into the fitness center to take a quick rinse shower and noticed my legs and newish sneakers for the first time.

This is what you get from mud puddles thanks to a brief warm up that won’t last long enough for true enjoyment and is really a tease as we enter the third phase of winter (phase 1 was “oh, the cold weather is nice. Sweaters! Boots! Christmas snow!” Phase 2 is “Holidays are over. It’s just dark all day. I just want to hibernate. Winter is never going to end”.) Phase 3 now is “There’s more sun in the evenings. But it’s still bleeping cold. And the ground has had ice or snow on it for 8 weeks. I would love to go somewhere and not require 8 layers of clothing”. Phase 4 hits the first week of March. It goes like this “Winter won’t die. We have more sunshine but all it does is highlight how little color there is in my life. This is also when stuff melts during the day and freezes at night so it’s particularly perilous for runners. Then again when you fall your first thought is ow quickly followed by well, at least the blood adds some color to this dreary world“.

Anyways. Back to freezing temps this weekend. Was nice to enjoy some warmth yesterday. Very much looking forward to real spring.

Hearts and warm temps!

It’s cold. I’m complaining. But only because of the stupid treadmill

If you live in the northeast, or have friends that live in the northeast, or are facebook friends with a high school classmate (that you haven’t spoken to in ten years) who lives in the northeast, you are well aware that it’s bleeping cold up in this biz.
Upon waking this morning. (imagine warm sunshine streaming in the window, birds chirping, and a gentle shake of the shoulder to wake me. And then get real and enjoy the same hard reality that I experienced of a blaring alarm, weak sunshine, and ice cold hardwood) I discovered it was 8F out. But felt like -8F. AND THIS IS NOT THE COLDEST DAY OF THE WEEK. I would very much like winter to leave and don’t let the door hit it on the way out. That would be swell. Because until we can get a little warmth up in here (at least higher than “feels like -4”) I’m glued to a treadmill. Sigh.
I mean, really. There’s a weather advisory for part of the state about 30 miles west of me that temperatures overnight will range from 4 below zero to 11 above zero. If your high temperature has to be qualified with the word “above zero”, your low temperature is bull poo.
There’s a weather guy on the interwebs that says it’s going to warm up soon. I’m pretty sure I’ll be thawed out sometime around the 4th of July. Until then, I’m entering a committed relationship with the treadmill at the Y. Because, nothing makes you want to be committed more than running 2 miles and not getting any further away from that dude on the bike with the really terrible BO.
And so ends my obligatory I-live-in-Massachusetts-and-it’s-winter-and-its-so-cold-I-want-to-huddle-under-my-blankets-for-the-next-month post. Underarmor is totally pjs, right?

Hearts and hand warmers

My letter to John Green full of shameless gushing

I will warn you now. This post has nothing to do with running, health, fitness, or other shenanigans.  I recently finished reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The minute I finished the last page I drafted a letter. I’ve held onto it for a week because I wanted to keep it to myself for a little longer. The book was so good and I just wanted to bask in it’s greatness in private for a little longer. Other than that one quick tweet to tell everyone to read it. Today is the one year anniversary of it’s publishing and I decided it’s time to share. I could just mail it to him. But that’s so 1999. And if I can persuade even one more person to read this book, I’ll be happy. Plus, I share everything else with the internet, why not share this. I’m starting to think I need to get a pet. Or a roommate.
Here it is. My internet letter to John Green. Read this. Then read this book. You’ll never be the same.
Dear John Green,
It is 11:53 pm. On a Sunday. I have a New Year’s goal (not a resolution because I refuse), to have screens off by 10:00 and read for a half hour. Clearly I have missed this goal tonight.
I can’t remember how exactly I learned of The Fault in Our Stars. I think probably your twitter account. Which I found through Crash Course (btw, I love Crash Course). But once I did discover its existence, I resisted reading it. I am the child of a mother who fought cancer as a 12 year old. Though the chemo and actual battle with cancer was won decades before my birth, I have watched my mother deal with the after effects my whole life. She is a strong woman but man is cancer, and all that it entails, a bitch. I love my mother, truly adore her and all that she has taught me. And to see her have even one crummy afternoon because of this evil thing is upsetting. I tell you this because it is the chief reason why I held out, why I refused to peak between these pages. I love the work you do on Crash Course and VlogBrothers. I had no doubt that this book would be phenomenal. But I didn’t want to put myself in that world. I was afraid it would hurt too much.
But then I kept seeing it pop up in your twitter feed. And I noticed the attention you were receiving (well deserved, I might add). And I couldn’t say no anymore. I bought it as a post-Christmas present to myself. And damn. Damn. This book was phenomenal.
I mean. Just. It’s hard for me to even put into words how remarkable this book was because I fear once I start I’ll just keep going. A good book can make a person cry. A great book can make a person laugh. But the greatest book can make a person cry (check), laugh (double check), and gasp (triple check) all in the same paragraph. I’m a science geek. I think bio is the cat’s pajamas. Since a young age I have gravitated to math and science and have avoided English and reading as much as humanly possible. Since college I haven’t changed much. I want to read more (another goal for 2013) but I’m not particularly well read. However, when I read the line “It’s hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your losing eyes” I wanted to sit down and write a ten page paper, right then and there. I have no idea what the subject would be because, hello, science. But I’d find something in those pages that my English lame brain could process.
I knew I would cry, how could a person not expect to? But the surprise came in how deeply and irrevocably moved I was by these characters and your words. Your words. Just. They leave me speechless. And a couple of times they left me breathless. Literally. I’m using the word correctly. I had to sit up in bed for fear of suffocation.
I don’t really know how I’ll go in to work tomorrow and be surrounded by people who haven’t read this book. To live in my world that isn’t filled with people who know the world of The Fault in Our Stars. It is my hope that everyone in their life reads this book. I will be wholeheartedly disappointed in our society if this book does not end up taught in all classrooms along with The Jungle, Of Mice and Men, and A Raisin in the Sun. A magnificent book in a long line of American novels craftily bringing us into a world many of us will never know in person, but should be understood in order to live as a member of the human race and to appreciate the true frailty of the life we each lead.
I’ve loved other books. And I’ve been tempted to reach out to an author. This is the first time I have actually followed through. We’ve never met. I doubt we ever will. And the whole world is waking up to the phenomenality that is this book (I’m an engineer. We make up words. I’m going with it). But I felt compelled to add my voice to say: Well done sir. Well done.
I look forward to reading your other works; present and future. And tuning into Crash Course and VlogBrothers, of course!
Your newest, life-long and never wavering fan.
P.S. Seriously, just. Wow.

Why the YMCA is the best

Dear middle aged man with the XL spare tire, slightly too small tee shirt and hot pink iPod at the Y,
Go you! This may not be true but while I was sweating it out on the erg machine this is the story I made up in my head as inspiration. It’s January 4th. And your iPod is hot pink. I’m pretty sure you’re a resolutioner. But I think you’re a resolutioner that will stay around much longer than the end of January. I think you will manage to lose weight an stay healthy for years to come.  You look like you found whatever gym clothes you had in the house from 10 years ago. That iPod screams “I borrowed this from my daughter”. Your sneakers look like they walked here from 1998. And. Well. That’s my proof. You didn’t go out and buy all new clothes and equipment. You probably didn’t just spend $200 at Whole Foods buying al fresh and organic food and swear you’re gonna bring a salad to work everyday. You’re just here. At 7:30 on a Friday night. Putting in the time. Putting in the time to make you healthy, to ensure a longer life, to give you more memories with your family and friends. Putting in the time rocking out to a hot pink iPod. That is BA. Just keep doing your thang. I hope I run into you a lot.
This machine says it’s only been 7 minutes!? You need a longer back story.

Speaking of the Y I finally signed up. I’ve been in my current apartment for a year and a half. The Y is 0.7 miles from my house. I timed it last night. The drive was 2 minutes and 7 seconds. I had resisted because of cost. The “fitness center” in my office park was sufficient. And free. But some new companies moved in and that place got hella crowded including 4 guys who do weight circuits together 2x a week. Don’t get me wrong. Dudes were respectful. And it was nice to see them over and over.  But that room wasn’t big enough for them and my v-ups. Plus competing with other runners for treadmills and warm up an cool down space. Plus they have 1 bike and 4 elliptical a meaning I had to fight for my cross training space too. For a little while last year I tried Planet Fitness. But it was too much what their commercial said they aren’t. It was mostly dudes pumping serious iron. And stick thin women pretending to use the elliptical but never actually breaking a sweat. I had been a member of a Y before. But it had been expensive. Turns out the greater Boston Ys consider me a young adult and my heealth insurance pays for part of it. (Autocorrect change that to wealth insurance. I wish!) So now it’s the same cost for a month as a night out for drinks. Not even dinner. Just drinks! Plus they have two pools, classes, and more equipment that is well maintained than I could ever need. And on top of that all the areas are spacious and clean. And are filled with teenaged sports hopefuls, moms and dads trying to get fit, and people like me, putting in the time for weight loss and running goals. Plus 4 times a week they have group 5ks. For free. I’m excited. Bring on the serious half marathon training!

Hearts and hot pink iPods!