Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wheaton's Law: Don't Be a Dick

It can never be said enough: Love what you love in the way that you love it.

Corollary: If someone loves what you love in a different way, that does not mean that the way they love it is wrong. It is different. Please remember that ultimately you are loving the same thing. You are not the Gatekeeper.

Let's talk about running in tutus ... or costumes for that matter. Yes, I did see the article about Self's making fun of the runner in a tutu ... who just happened to be a cancer survivor.

I've said over and over that cosrunning--running in costume--is a major motivator for me. It gives me a reason to sign up for races, not to mention get up in the morning to train for those races. I am well aware that to some Gatekeepers this is not a good enough reason. Hell, according to some Gatekeepers, I have no business running to begin with--after all, I didn't start running until my 40s, I'm still 60 lbs overweight, and I can't maintain a 10 minute mile. The fact that I have "only" finished a half (oh, not run the whole thing) is still not proof enough. According to these Gatekeepers, I am not a runner.

Screw you, Gatekeepers. I love running, and running in costume is the way that I love it.

Here's the weird part: when I'm wearing said-costume, I consistently receive support and cheers from onlookers--including (and especially) children, whose obesity epidemic you are supposedly fighting.* And, despite my age and my size and my lack of speed (or maybe because of it), my consistency--my love--has gotten others to start running too.

Isn't the goal to have others love the Thing, no matter what their path?

 In an effort to be fair, I read the article where the editor offered an apology ... for making fun of someone who had cancer. Just to clarify: the editor was sorry for making fun of the wrong person, not for the tutus.

I was never a fan of Self to begin with. I got a copy in a running swap, and it seemed like the focus--in pictures, if not in words--was that one must always be young and skinny rather than strong and healthy no matter where you are in your journey. Just so I don't eat my own words--if this motivates you, fine. This kind of "fitsperation" just doesn't work for me. The judgey-ness and half-hearted apologies only seems to emphasize my distaste.

I contemplated writing a letter; but since I'm obviously not their audience, I figured it would fall on deaf ears. I admit to a certain amount of schadenfreude when seeing the blast on Self's Facebook page. I guess you don't piss off women in tutus--we're already too much in Princess Mode to put up with this kind of crap.

What I would write is simply this:
Dear Self-Proclaimed Gatekeepers, 
I am a runner in a superhero costume. Deal or die. 
Frack you very much,
Chunky Wonder Woman

* I guess if they are running around playing and loving what they are doing rather than an organized sport, that's not the "right way" either.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Still Struggling (But Never Stopping)

I haven't enjoyed running lately. I've been dreading the training and been finding reasons not to go. I wish I could find solid reasons for this slump. The weather has been warming, but I've been fighting allergies. I've taken some vacation time which has been refreshing and tiring in its own way. But if I stay still too long, the Black Dog comes close.

I did a few things that are hopefully in the right direction. Firstly, I ditched the sub-65 10K training. I wasn't making the intervals for the bulk of the tempo runs. I couldn't work out the schedules at all. Rather than keep feeling bad, I decided to stop altogether. The constant failure wasn't doing my mental state any good.

Secondly, I started up doing Zombies, Run! again. By including the zombie chases, I get the speed intervals I've actually been enjoying. I have to watch my pace, though; I have to figure out how fast I have to go to outpace the Walkers but still retain the energy to keep running. I'm discovering that the chases are random; sometimes they even show up when I'm warming up or cooling down, so I have to be prepared at all times. It's part of the brain work that I need.

The final thing I've done for myself is to sign myself up for another race. There is a half marathon and a 5K option. I was going to do the half, but there is a 3 1/2 hour time limit. I did my last half in a little over 3 hours, and that's cutting it a bit close. Even if I don't DFL, chances are the bulk of the champagne will be gone. With the 5K, I have an hour to finish (easy-peasy), and I still get the tech shirt, the boa, the tiara, the champagne, and a medal (smaller, but a medal nonetheless). Since I'm taking the shorter route, I'm going for a PR--dare I try sub 40 minutes?

My new training plan is as follows:

  • Sunday - Long run, defined as a leisurely 4-5 miles so the 5K seems like a "short run." Done while listening to On Being for an extra piece of peace.
  • Monday - Cross-train (yoga, belly-dancing, something)
  • Tuesday - Zombie Run
  • Wednesday - Cross-train
  • Thursday - Tempo run, only about 3 miles, while listening to NPR
  • Friday - Cross-train
  • Saturday - Rest
I feel like a weenie reverting back to 3 mile runs, but right now that seems to be what best fits my schedule and my temperament.  I do want to do another half this year. For now, however, I want to find my joy again. Or at least a reason to move forward.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

When the Black Dog Comes

This is another one of those posts that I keep trying to write ...

There is no Blerch these days, only Black Dog. Issues that I thought were settled have shown up to punch me in the stomach and send me spiraling. I have mostly felt like sleeping, eating crap, and playing games on my phone.

 Let's pull out the explanations/excuses:
  • The weather has been SO COLD. Which doesn't account for those people I know who run in the snow, and the fact that the weather has been changing.
  • I've had some changes in my job--good ones, mind you, but some definite challenges.
  • Insomnia is now new and improved with hot flashes and anxiety dreams.
  • My training schedule is difficult to keep up, especially on the weekends. I have yet to finish a week as written.
I am, however, still running at least three to four times a week. I've been trying to take a calcium-magnesium vitamin, as suggested by my doctor. I'm seeing a little bit of improvement in my "easy pace." But my enthusiasm is waning.

I just don't feel like running. Or doing much of anything.

I just
and do

My Belladonna. She is a good girl.
I know there are ways to break myself out of it. Race dates help (although I'm trying to cut back for the sake of our budget). So do running groups (which means getting the energy to push back social anxiety).

I'm hoping this is a season. It is getting warmer. And I have a race next week that I will be doing with some friends. I still haven't committed to the half in April, but I've at least got a fun 5K scheduled.

I've been thinking about starting a mood afghan as a way of seeing if there are patterns, as well as channel some of this into something creative.

But I'm not going to stop.

Please don't let me stop.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Vlog Up! Choosing Your Birthday Suit

Rainy, cold, icky morning here. I opted to go to the Y to use the dreadmill, which became a horror in itself with figuring out the technology (and realizing too late that it didn't allow for sessions over an hour).

But I finished another vlog! In this episode, I answer a question that was posed on what to wear for a race on your birthday.

I'm also starting a challenge--post pictures of yourself on my Facebook page or on Instagram with #birthdaysuit and tag me - @chunkywonderwoman

By the way, I'm also inviting you to follow me on Instagram. You will, however, have to put up with many crafting/doglie/girlie pics as well as some running stuff.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Thoughts from This Morning's Run

- Vlog post will not get done this week. Filmed, but no time to do the little editing that I do. Not that anyone is screaming for it.

- It was not so painfully cold this morning. Still, it can't be good for one's health to go from two layers in order to run back to short sleeves. Please choose one, weather.

- Fartlek is a brain workout as much as a body workout. I started out doing one mile slow, which was angrymaking. Then came four sessions of 5 minutes fast with 2 minute slow intervals in between. Even though I didn't get below a 10:50 minute mile, it was work--keeping up the pace while keeping in mind how much farther I had to go, push but keep some energy in reserve. There was no zoning out, no dreaming, just all the Now, the steps, the breath. (And I did NO walking during the slow intervals. Yay, me!) I was so relieved for that last mile slow. I ache in a good way--both mentally and physically. 

- "Fartlek"--hurr hurr hurr

- I chafe in areas I never imagined. I've got a boo-boo on my hip thanks to a seam. That's just so weird.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Trouble with Training

In many ways, January has been a gift. I did a switch at work that meant no weekend work at all this month. We've managed to get out of town. I've had a couple of Icepocalypse days where I gotten to stay home. Lots of naps. Lots of creative stuff. Plus, I've gained a duty at work that is a welcome challenge.

Ran like whoa. #slowisthenewfast #humblebrag #iamarunner
Ran like whoa.
Likewise, my running speed has vastly improved. My "easy" pace is about a 12:30-12:45 minute mile, which seems to be average for "slow runners." Last week, when I was running an "easy three miles," I actually kept up a 10:30 minute mile pace (going below a 10mm at one point). It felt like a break-through! Running Momma suggests trying a 5K at an all-out pace, just to see what would happen.

I have been struggling with my training, though. Since I've set my sights on a half marathon in April, I thought I should switch my plan from a sub-65 minute 10K to an actual half marathon plan. However, the only plan that ended on time was a beginner half that concentrated only on mileage. I started to do it, but I found myself instantly bored and angry and finding excuses to quit. (Hello, Blerch. Glad to see you encouraging me to be a general PITA to my family as well.) This week, I switched back to the sub-65 for the novelty of the speed work. I figure since it includes a couple of long 9 mile runs, I'll still be prepared enough for the half. After April, I'll look into a "proper" intermediate (!) half training, which should give me enough time for a race in the fall.

Still, the scheduling has been tough. The icy weather has been disruptive. Also, the training has me doing speedwork on Saturday, long run on Sunday; with church involved, I'll have to switch them (or postpone the long run if it's a working weekend as this coming one will be).

The running does help my mood tremendously, though. I think the addition of a calcium-magnesium supplement as my doctor suggested might also help me in beating back the Blerch.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hooray for Consistency! Another Vlog!

Another vlog is up--this time I talk about the basic parts of my cosrunning wardrobe:


It was nice to have the time to work on it thanks to Icepocalypse 2014. Essentially, we had a bout of sleet that iced over all of Houston. While the rest of the nation is laughing at us getting all wound up over temps in the 30s, I am glad to have to stay put--I personally have not lived with ice and don't really know how to drive in it (Hera knows, the rest of Houston doesn't).

Thankfully, I got my running done yesterday. The temps should go up a little, so tomorrow shouldn't be that painful either. The Blerch has been less brutal this month, something for which I am very grateful.

Today, I am indulging in comfort and creativity, which is good for my health in a different way.