Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So That’s How It’s Done

Apparently there is a trick to running with a jogging stroller. The first time I ran with Bob, I held on to the handle with both hands. Holding on for dear life, squeezing the handle like nothing else.

That’s not how you do it. Who knew?

No wonder my neck felt like it had been squished in a vice. And I wondered how people could possibly run pushing one of these things and actually enjoy it? I got my answer- not like that, they can’t.

You are supposed to hold on and push with one hand, alternating the other arm in a pumping, natural running-like motion.

That makes it SOOO much easier. I actually enjoyed myself. Sort of.

Except that I got a late start.

I have been trying to run in the period of time between picking Lucas up at school and getting Madeline off the bus. It’s a very small window. Yesterday, it shut on me.

I got halfway around the neighborhood when I spotted moms congregating on the corner, waiting for the arrival of mayhem children.

Oh.My.Gawd. An audience. Just what every out-of-breath, beet red, overweight jogger wants.

I contemplated my options. Ignore them all together, pretending to be so wrapped up in my iPod music that I barely noticed anyone. Start walking so I would have time to catch my breath and look halfway normal by the time I got to the corner. Or keep running, do a little head nod and keep on plugging.

The decision to keep on plugging had been made when I had a little accident. Thing One and Thing Two popped right out the top, sprung loose from their Nike activewear home.

I did my best to bend over, running at an almost 90 degree angle to hide the carnage, ignoring the people congregated at the bus stop. I am quite sure I looked like I was either searching for a lost contact or about to vomit. But never mind, there was NO way I was stopping at that point to “fix” myself. No way at all.

I do have some pride.

Thinking it is time for new… Stat.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Early Days of Exercise

I found a picture the other day that brought me right back to high school. Many, many moons ago. It was a picture of a good friend of mine, Terri and me at my parents house on Governors Island, where our dads were both stationed in the early 80’s. (Terri is on the right).


If you look in the background you can see an antique. A rotary phone. Mounted on the wall. You know the one you tried to pull as far as you could to get some privacy and ended up with a practically straight 10 foot long phone cord that rewound itself in the oddest manner after your father yelled at you to “Get off the phone!”

That’s the one. The one kids would look at now and wonder how to dial. But one that your siblings could pick up the extension on and eavesdrop to get blackmail material.

That period of my life was my first real exposure to exercise. Aerobics specifically. VCR taped aerobics to be precise.

Terri and I used to go to the “Big Gym” on Governors Island to work out. There was a tape check-out area where you could pick a VCR tape of your choice and then use the “aerobics” room for an hour. I am pretty there was a cute guy in a Coast Guard uniform working at the desk. Not positive, but I am pretty sure there was some flirting involved.

We alternated between two favorites that I can recall. The first was Jane Fonda. All decked out in her big-80’s hair, surrounded by skinny women with bigger hair clad in Flashdance style leg warmers. She had a good thing going. Very encouraging, kind of mellow.

And then there was our other favorite. Jane Fonda’s polar opposite. Richard Simmons. Remember him? He had a very pleading, encouraging, moderately whiny manner with a very annoying voice. But he had boundless energy. And a fabulous story. Plus a big heart. And he was surrounded by real people. Big people, small people, men, women. And he had great music.

I think maybe his video was a tad shorter, too. Not that we were slackers, mind you.

But when you looked at the women surrounding Jane Fonda you thought “Maybe someday”. And when you looked at the people surrounding Richard Simmons you thought “Real people!”.

Very refreshing, even for a teen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It Happened How?

I would wager a bet that no one wakes up finding themselves 40 pounds heavier one day and says, “Wow, how’d that happen?”. For most people, it is a process; a gradual up and down process. I, for one, can account for practically every pound I have gained and lost over the last 20 years. And they are numerous. Quite numerous.

When Greg and I got married 19 years ago I was at what I was then calling post-college pudge weight.

Of course, looking back, I only wish that was the pudge I was carrying on me right now. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that.

For the sake of argument, we will call this weight “A”.

When we decided to get married, I went to Weight Watchers, lost about 2o pounds. Now at A-15. Skinniest point of my life.


After the wedding I went into “happy to be married and not needing to fit into my wedding dress” mode.

Now back to just plain “A”.

Decide we are ready to start a family. 9 months later, A+40.

Two years later, after a gradual 20 pound loss, decide to add our family again. End up the whole affair at A+55 Ouch.

One Weight Watchers membership and 1o months later, down to A+30. Find out we are indeed expanding in the kiddo arena yet again. All said and done: A +55 once again.

And again, OUCH.

A few years later we moved to North Dakota. I was at home full-time. My neighbor started going to Weight Watchers and I decided I would try yet again. Religiously tracked points. Did aerobics nearly every day. Started weight training. By the time Madeline started kindergarten I was at A+15 and feeling pretty darn good.

That is when I moved to stress city. We have all lived there at one time or another. Crazy place, that stress city.

We adopted Lucas, Greg took a new job, we moved 1/2 way across the country, bought a house, had the sale of our other house fall through, unpacked, finally sold our other house, and re-acclimated our clan to a new place.

Whew. Had there been, God-forbid, an untimely death in the family we would have experienced all of life’s major stressors in a 2 month period. Now that would have been fun. Or not.

When all was said and done- A+45.

And that is how it happened. Or how I let it happen, me being in charge of what goes in my mouth and all. I am sure many of you can relate to the up and down y0-yo.

Time to turn over a new leaf. For good. For real.

Again. For the LAST time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I have recovered from the snarkiness of my last post. It was written shortly after returning from the Y, where I was swimming at 5:30 in-the-dark-AM. I had not yet had my morning coffee. 'Nuf said.

Last night I went here for my "how come I am exercising so freakin' much and not losing weight" consultation. Very interesting. Quite informative.

I met with a man named Rhys who is a registered dietitian and happens to be a triathlete. Great guy. Quite funny. Think "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy".

He gave me that analogy himself, by the way. Cracked me up.

I was quite glad, when reviewing my food logs, that he did not immediately cringe at the nightly wine. I do so enjoy my 6-ounce allotment. And I appreciate someone who understands that it could possibly have medicinal purposes. Or be an integral part of sanity maintenance. Or both.

I loved him already.

He gave me a thumbs up for my breakfast--egg beaters with a Fiber One english muffin.

Thumbs down for my snack choices at work. Apparently an apple would be preferable to a Little Debbie 100 calorie snack cake. Something about them being nutritionally void. Go figure.

That's a shame, 'cause I love those little suckers.

He also suggested more protein snacks, less carbs. So I am scratching the pretzels. Adding a cheese stick. Nixing the Special-K bars. Adding 100 calorie almond packs. Other than that he said keep up the good work.

Rhys thought that my weight loss to this point---5 pounds--was perfectly fine and gradual.

I am channeling the hare. He channels the tortoise.

Slow and steady wins the race? We shall see.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Open Letter to The Running Man

Dear Running Man,

First of all good morning. I hope you had a nice run after I saw you on Dale Street at 5:30am. You remember--Ford Expedition, headlights, you in the road. Yep, that was me.

Normally when I meet someone I like to say hello and shake their hand. Apparently, you prefer the finger. Never been partial to that form of greeting myself, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Now first, you may want to remember next time you go for a run in the dark that black clothing is not a good idea. Apparently you were absent the day Officer Friendly visited your school to talk about safety. Reflective clothing. Light colors. You know, common sense?

Next, the headlights you were so dramatically shrinking from probably saved your life. You see, when you are running against traffic, in the road dressed in black, it is very hard for drivers to see you. The fact that the headlights were “annoying” you probably also meant that I could see you in time to move over and not hit your cranky, bony little body.

You’re welcome.

And lastly, you maybe are not familiar with these really cool inventions. They are called sidewalks. Repeat after me---sidewalks. If you had glanced 2 feet to your left, you would have seen one, all lovely in the moonlight. Designed to be walked on. Or run on. You may want to remember that for next time. Much safer for you.

Hope you have a most fantastic, birdless day, and that perhaps we can meet again under better circumstances. Or not.


Lady who flipped you right back

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top O’ the Morning To Ya

I love mornings.

Morning is my favorite time of the day. I wake up at 5am every day. On my own. Without an alarm clock. Weird, right? It has been that way for as long as I can remember.

When I was in elementary school I would go to my friend Michelle Dorr’s house for sleepovers. We were CHiPs junkies. I had the hots for Jon. She had the hots for Ponch. We used to squeal with delight when the theme music would start playing. Of course we were watching it at it’s regularly scheduled time.

Life before the DVR. How did we do it?

On the nights I would sleep at her house, morning came much too fast. I would wake up at some ungodly early hour when the rest of the house was still asleep. Michelle would be snoozing in the next bed. And I would just lay there waiting for her to wake up.

I usually lasted about a half an hour before I started making “oops” noises.

Kicking the wall. Oops. Dropping a book on the floor. Oops. Going to the bathroom and shutting the door exceptionally loudly. Oops.

Trying like hell to wake her up so I’d have someone to talk to.

How funny now that it is just the opposite. I wake up early and sneak downstairs so that I can have an hour of quiet time before the chaos begins. There is a little part of me that does an internal groan when I hear little feet on the stairs. Quiet over. Darn it all.

Lately I have realized that this hour or so of early morning quiet is going to have to be used for-----I can barely stand to type it------exercise . With homework and mood swings and hormones and sibling rivalry and lessons and life, there is absolutely no way that I can count on getting in any good exercise time after work. The referee shirt goes on and the whistle comes out at 3pm. The same time all sense and sensibility goes out the window.

Which is how, by the way, I now know that my mother is a saint. And I am not buttering her up for anything . Pinky swear. She never yelled. Ever.

That trait most definitely skipped a generation.

But I digress.

Tomorrow it begins. The crack-of-dawn exercise regime. 5:30 am swim.

Quiet morning time, I will miss you. RIP.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Keeps Me Goin’

Repeat after me:

Exercise is fun.

Exercise is fun.

Exercise is fun.

Did it work for you?

Yeah, me neither.

But I will admit that it is getting to be much more fun than it was 6 weeks ago.  I rarely swear while running.  I can now swim 22 lengths of the pool without stopping or hanging onto the lane line looking like a drowned dog.  And I look forward to spinning class with a kind of odd pleasure.  I  love knowing that at the end I will have sweated off hundreds of calories. 

It probably helps that I have also decided to sit where I can’t see the clock.  Just like a watched pot never boils, a watched clock never moves.   Makes for a long class.

What is so fun about working toward this goal?

Aside from platitudes about self-improvement, fulfilling dreams, smaller jeans size and all that jazz,  it comes down to this:

Knowing that soon I will see my sister in a sweatshirt that looks like this:


And we’ll be hanging out, for an entire. Long. Sedentary. Weekend.

Sitting.  Scrapping.  Chatting.  Eating.  Drinking.  Vegging.  Laughing.

It will be something that sounds just like run, but without the sweat.

F-U-N.  For me, anyway.  Apparently fun is subjective.

And I can’t wait.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Now I know why so many of the ads I read for jogging strollers said:

“Barely Used”

“Used Rarely”

“Ran with Twice”

Running while pushing a jogging stroller is nothing like running by yourself. And considering that I am not even that good at running by myself yet, this was….interesting. Yes, interesting.

Many, many more adjectives leap to mind, but I will leave it at that. My mother might be reading this.

One of the things prospective lifeguards used to have to do as part of the YMCA certification was to tread water holding a brick. Not that you would ever need to actually tread water while holding a brick, say, in the town pool. Or try to save a brick from drowning.

It was a stamina exercise, designed to make sure you really had the ability to swim and hold a stationary weight at the same time. Hard work. Exhausting even.

But wow, once you let go of that weight, you felt like you had lost 100 pounds and could swim forever.

Yesterday I took the Bob stroller for a maiden voyage. Armed with snacks for Lucas and a fully charged iPod, we headed down the driveway.

Stretched. Gave Lucas the “Mommy can’t hear you with her headphones on so please don’t talk to me” speech. I’m nice that way.

And away we went.

Normally I can make it almost all the way around the block without having to stop. Except for the cruddy bra incident, I have done pretty well keeping the pace up. I do try to work in little challenges for myself. “Make it to the next mailbox by the end of this song and you can buy yourself that paper you wanted at the scrapbook store”, “Get up that hill without stopping and you can have some ice cream for dessert”.

Now normally I try to keep the bargain-with-myself internal conversations junk food-less. I mean, it does kind of defeat the purpose of running if I make these bargains all about things I am trying hard not to eat. And I am certainly not going to be motivated by “Make it to the end of this street and you can have an extra banana with breakfast”. Not. Gonna. Work.

But the first day with Bob? Can you say "bargain city"?

I had practically promised myself the entire freezer section at Market Basket by the time I made it home.

It brought me back to the pool, treading water with a brick. It was hard work. By the time the end of the first street came into view, I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Pouring down sweat. Wanting badly to turn around and go home.

But I figured if nothing else, it would be a good stamina builder. I guessed I was pushing 40 pounds, between the stroller and Lucas. Maybe even 45. So if I can push 45 pounds for 2 miles, by the time I get to a 3 mile race, it should be a piece of cake.

I am a glass half-full kinda gal. So I am choosing to look at it as a double workout---upper body strength building, coupled with a cardio workout.

But man, I can’t wait to drop that brick.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I got a message from my doctors office the other night to call about the results of my blood work. Nothing urgent, just call.

Could it be? Could my dream of shrinking my exceedingly large backside be aided by a higher dosage of thyroid medication?

I called today and waited with baited breath.

Vitamin D. I need more Vitamin D.

Dang it.


I am teaching Adrienne how to swim. She knows “how” to swim—keeping herself upright.

But I am trying to help her with the mechanics of it all--- alternating freestyle stroke, face-in-the-water kind of things.

I have assured her that since the Tri For A Cure swim is in the ocean, I will enter the partner swimming heat with her so that I can swim right along side her and make sure she exits the water the same way she came in. On her feet.

Which I am happy to do. I really must do, truth be told. Because as much as I would like to compete in the fastest time possible, I would much rather go home from this event accompanied by everyone I arrived with.

I find it ironic however that once we get out of the water--the one event where I could probably turn in a decent time--she will absolutely smoke me on the bike and in the run.

Parenting instinct trumps competitive drive.

As it should.


Do you have a favorite workout song? Is there a song that, once you hear it, you just want to get up and move?

Pass it on, leave me a comment so I can check it out. I am always looking for new songs to get me motivated and keep me going.

The current playlist on my iPod screams late ‘80’s. Talking Heads. The Cure. Depeche Mode. The Smiths. REM. With a sprinkling of some more recent hits—Seether, The Black-Eyed Peas, Eminem. I think of it as eclectic.

My kids think it’s weird.

I remember when I thought Peter, Paul & Mary was kind of weird. And when I could not understand why my dad loved listening to Simon and Garfunkel. I mean, why couldn’t he just listen to Shawn Cassidy like everybody else? Or the Partridge Family? Now that was music.

Um, right.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love Me Some Bob

Never fear, my darling husband. Bob is not a man. Bob is a thing. A three-wheeled lovely thing. Looks like so:


I was first introduced to the greatness of Bob at REI. And since then I have spotted him everywhere. All over town. Everywhere at Tanglewood. At the mall. At the park.

And they are really the nicest jogging strollers I have ever seen.

Since I am trying to run more outside, I realized that I needed a jogging stroller for times when the littlest Michaud must join in the pain fun. Plus Adrienne loves to take him with her when she goes for her runs in the neighborhood.

Since he is 4, and I know he won’t be fitting in a stroller for too much longer, I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on a new one. Plus our jogging stroller was stolen on our April vacation. Which you can read about here if you are so inclined. I’m still kind of pissed off about that.……go.

Inhale. Exhale.

Okay, all better.

Seeing as I am of the yard-sale persuasion, it was killing me to view the in-excess-of $300 price tag on the Bob I coveted. In natural cheapskate fashion, I began to search for “Bargain Bob”.

Adrienne scoured Ebay and Craig’s List for a Bob we liked. We were outbid. Beaten to the punch quite a few times. But it was not for lack of trying. I would get up at 5am and find my daughter downstairs, checking Ebay for new listings. Searching Craig’s List for Bob’s listed in nearby towns.

She was determined to find one. And God help the person that stands in her way when she sets her mind to something. Picture Sally Field holding the UNION sign up at the end of Norma Rae.

That determined.

After 3 weeks of ceaseless looking, we found our lovely. And drove to pick him up last night.

Used 5 times, and for less than half the price of a new one.

I feel a run coming on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You Eat What?

My appointment with the nutritionist is coming up soon, and I have to keep a log of everything I eat for 3 days. Truly and honestly. No fibbing.

Day 1.


Poptart Organic Granola with soymilk and flaxseed.


Huge bowl of whatever is left over from the night before Sandwich on whole wheat bread with alfalfa sprouts. Minus any possible flavor. With added fiber. And Beano.


A few chips and a bottle of wine Healthy assortment of vegetables, whole grains and steamed tree bark. I did not eat Ben & Jerry’s for dessert. Pinky swear.


In all seriousness, I have been keeping track—and eating very healthy. But not as healthy as my organic kinda-vegetarian health nut 15-year old. Or my mother. Or my sister.

But much better than, say, my 12-year old son, a.k.a. the human vacuum. Not that it would take much. Throw in one carrot stick and you’ve got him beat.

But regardless, I am trying. Hard.

I am still waiting on the results of the blood-work from my physical. I am holding out hope that I can blame my lack of weight loss on my sometimes under-active thyroid, but that would probably be too easy. It would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.

Although the weight-loss department is coming along slowly, I did notice something really awesome last week.

Friday is jeans day at work. My favoritest day of the whole week. Mostly because it’s Friday. But also because it is a don’t-worry-about-ironed-pants-and-outfit day.

Last Friday when I put on my jeans, I noticed something I have not felt in a long time.


A tiny bit of space.

In the…..caboose!

Now it was not “go-down-a-size” room. But it was “don’t need to do the just-out-of-the-dryer-jiggle-dance” kind of room. And at this point, I will take anything.

Woot Woot!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Multi-tasking 101

Do you multi-task?

Most of us try.

Some of us actually succeed.

I believe I fall somewhere in the middle. Trying hard and moderately succeeding.


Come to think of it, I am not really sure if it is a desire to multi-task or adult ADD. But for whatever reason I am almost constantly thinking about, if not doing, more than one thing at a time.

The older I get, the more I realize that this is at the heart of what my friends like to call “Ready, Fire, Aim” syndrome. Early in my life, it is how the nickname “Grace” came to be.

Think about something, start to do it---and THEN think about how it should be done. In that order.

It’s how I lost my front tooth. In college.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college, I waitressed at a little coffee shop in Summit NJ called The Peppercorn. I realized while working one morning that I had left the iron on at my parents house.

Because apparently, taking orders for egg omelets, coffee and muffins makes multi-taskers think about irons. Go figure.

On my break I decided to jump on my bike and ride home to make sure the house wasn’t burning down. This was before it was destroyed in this incident.

“Grace” you say?

While I was unlocking my bike, a friend of mine drove by and asked if I needed a ride. Fantastic, I would be home and back to work in less than half the time. And I wouldn’t be sweaty to boot.

I was thinking about how long it would take to get home, how fast I could run upstairs and turn off the iron, if I would have time to re-apply my make-up----all while opening the car door.

Right into my mouth.

I felt a clunk and then a rather large piece of something solid floating around. I put my hand to my mouth. No blood.

Good sign.

Big open floaty space where my front tooth used to be.

Bad sign.

I had knocked out my own front tooth. All while thinking of three other things I needed to be doing. You would think that would teach me to let my mind wander.

Sadly, it did not.

Perhaps participating in an event with so many different “legs” is not a good idea for someone with a not-so-hot track record?

It makes me wonder if while I am swimming I will gag on yummy ocean water while thinking about how I am going to get out of the wet suit and onto my bike.

And while I am biking, will I ride into a tree while thinking about where the transition area is to get ready to run?

And during the run, will I go ass-over-teakettle while wondering if I can main-line coffee at the finish line?

All things I will be thinking about incessantly for the next 6 months while I should be doing other things.

At least I am sure that all triathalons come complete with a first aid station.

Good thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to School

Right now I look a little like this.


This time of year is alternately wonderful and nuts.

Wonderful because the kids are back in school and on a schedule. Nuts because the kids are back in school and on a schedule.

You know the drill.

Homework, mountains of permission slips, medical release forms, room parent information, volunteer sign-up sheets and c-r-a-n-k-y kids. Blah, blah, blah.

So I was kind of glad it was my night to run.

I snuck out of the looney bin house a few minutes early so I could stop and get a bottle of wine on the way to the track. Not for the running clinic. For after.

Always planning ahead.

And I am really liking the running clinic more and more. Probably because each time I go and run I feel like throwing up less and less. Funny how that works.

Last night was 300 meter sprints. Sprint 300 meters, walk 100—repeat six times. I was kind of getting into it. One of the coaches told me that I should run so hard that when I got to the end of 300 meters I should be saying “Oh thank God that is over”.

However the other coach told me that when I was finished I should be able to carry on a conversation. Conflicting information. What to do?

So I combined the two pieces of advice and had conversations with God the entire time I was sprinting, and then thanked Him when I was done. I’m pretty sure that was not what they had in mind, but hey, get on the same page for cryin’ out loud.

I am assured that following my outlined workout schedule, I will be adequately prepared to run a 5K by late-November.

Which is good since I am running my first 5K ever on Thanksgiving Day.

I am mostly only doing it so I don’t feel guilty eating whatever I darn-well-please for the entire rest of the day. And I figure it might be the last time this fair-weather jogger will make myself run outside until the snow melts.

Which given the way last winter went, could very well be April.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kinda Like A Movie Title

I am the little engine that could in a train yard full of the Acela Express.

My sister runs marathons and just did her first Olympic distance triathalon. Her husband runs marathons, does tons of road races, and is most recently training for an Iron Man event.

I know, nuts. Amazing, but nuts.

My brother Brendan has always been a great athlete. But kind of not-too-motivated to exercise up until about 6 months ago. Then he started biking, getting ready to do one leg of a cross-country bike-a-thon with a good friend of his.

And he never looked back.

Now he is on the Acela train with my sister and her husband. I am waving to them from the train yard. “See ya later, have fun!”.

Truth be told, I am at a stage more like that movie title “He’s Just Not that Into You”. Because I am just not that into this. I’m still at the “I think I can, I think I can” stage. Slowly chugging out of the train yard, heading up the hill.

Don’t get me wrong- I am motivated, committed, excited to meet this challenge head on. But we are definitely on different train tracks.

I can get nuts about things. I mean, anything worth doing is worth doing compulsively, right? I am that way about scrapbooking and crafts. I started out with enough material to fill a large shoulder tote. Within a year I could have started my own store.

Very into it. Crazy about it even.

Swimming, biking, running—in that order—not so much.

My brother called me the other night with a handful of triathalons he thought we might be able to do next summer. One in Lowell, MA. Another one called the Black Fly. At the Black Fly there are time trials, an Olympic distance tri and a sprint tri, all in the same weekend.

He thought he might try to do all three.

Oh. My. Gawd.

He is already looking ahead to scheduling things around races. Which I think is fantastic. I am very proud of him.

But it is just not for me.

I cannot ever see myself at the point where I am planning my entire summer and free time around training. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe one day I will wake up and switch will go off in my head an I’ll feel differently about this.

But for now I am content to take the slow track, chugging along.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gone Runnin'

I am getting the hang of this running thing. A few more weeks and I might even be a pro.

But at this point, running is not completely second nature. Case in point:

Sunday afternoon my little darlin’ Adrienne coaxed me off the couch to go for a run with her. It was a beautiful day, a really perfect day for a run.

Being a tad behind on laundry during our vacation week, I decided to forgo the awesome sweat-wicking shirt I bought last week in favor of a regular old t-shirt. Adrienne lent me her iPod, we put on our sneakers and we were on our way.

I jogged about 20 feet before I realized something was bothering me. Then another 10 feet and it hit me.

I forgot to change into this:


Not sure how that happened, but I didn’t notice until it was too late. Rather than climb back up the mountain that is my driveway, I decided to just run with what I had on. I had great music, and thought I could just deal with this crappy bra for one run. Right?


Another 3 minutes into the run and the iPod died. “Connect to Power Source”. Bummer.

Now, I promise not to be too graphic. Suffice it to say, in the “handing out line” of God, I went through the well-endowed line more than once. Maybe even more than twice.

So running without the proper attire is really quite awkward. And with no iPod I was left to my thoughts.

Jiggle Jiggle, Boom Boom. Jiggle Jiggle, Boom Boom. Quite rhythmic, although it did get a tad boring.

I ran mailbox to mailbox, making sure I was walking in front of peoples homes that I knew, lest I become the brunt of a PTO meeting joke. “Guess who I saw all boob-floppin’ in front of my house the other day? OMG it was Kelly!”.

I am quite sure that is one mistake I will not make again.

Swim Etiquette

Generally speaking I am a polite person. I say please, thank you, try not to interrupt when people are talking. Wait my turn. You know, the usual.

My husband thinks Massachusetts might be the rudest state in the union. That is up for debate. However, having lived in NY and NJ, I know of at least two states that could give MA a run for it’s money.

Just sayin’.

The last time I swam at the Y, I swam in the same lane as a very rude man. And kind of gross. But definitely rude.

How could he be rude if he was swimming and not speaking, you say?

Like this.

There are certain things implied when you swim. Certain unwritten rules. He violated my two biggest personal rules in a 20-minute period.

No Touchy, No Bumpy

It is common swim etiquette to try and swim in the same lane as people with whom you are evenly matched. I, for instance, would not swim laps in the same lane as, say, Michael Phelps.

I am not a fast swimmer, and I embrace it. I accept it.

At my last Y swim, I arrived and squished myself into my most attractive bathing suit. After grabbing my towel and goggles, I headed out to the pool trying not to step on any wet hair balls along the way. They could seriously use a new cleaning person in the ladies locker room. But in the meantime, I watch where I walk. Eeew, I know.

Out to the pool to pick a lane I headed. I surveyed my options. The high school girls doing the butterfly effortlessly. Scratch. The 90-year old woman doing the side stroke. Scratch. Even I swim faster than that. I finally settled on a lane with one other person in it—a middle-aged man swimming at a leisurely pace. I hopped in and started to swim.

There are two sides to the lane. Up and back. Sometimes when there are only two people in the lane you each choose a side rather than swim in a circular motion. Plenty of room. Spacious even. I mean, if you swim on your own side of the lane, there is NO reason at all to come into contact with any other swimmers.

But at one point, after taking a wall break, he caught up to me. And swam right up the back of my legs.

Hello? Goggles? Open your eyes? Move over for crying out loud!!! If I looked like Pamela Anderson in a bathing suit I might have thought he was trying to find an excuse to chat.

Yep, that was not the reason he bumped into me.

It happened again 10 minutes later. He either needed prescription goggles, or he was a dirty old man.

To add insult to injury, at one point he swam by me doing a mean freestyle. Arms flailing, going all-out. And smacked me in the head with his hand. And kept going. No stopping. No sorry. Harumph. I thought about changing lanes but I was more than 1/2 way done.

Keep Your Water To Yourself. Please.

We all take water into our mouths when we swim. And then spit it back out. Gross when you think about the fact that the entire pool has been in someone else’s mouth at one time or another, but it’s a fact nonetheless. Thank gawd for chlorine.

In spite of the fact that it is common knowledge that everyone spits out water when they swim, most people try not to spit in the face of other swimmers. When I say most people, I exclude this idiot swimming in my lane. He apparently had never heard of the don’t-spit-on-your-lane-partner rule. Or maybe it’s just my rule. Or perhaps it’s just common courtesy talking.

In any case, at one point while meeting up at the wall, he adjusted his goggles, ducked his head under water and came up blowing water like a whale. Now whether or not he meant it to land in my face is up for discussion. I choose to think that it was an accident. That could just be the polite person in me talking. But either way, regurgitating water in someone else’s face requires an acknowledgement, if not an apology. I got neither.

So when he was halfway back to the other end of the pool, I thought about peeing on his side and then getting out.

But I didn’t. That wouldn’t be polite.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Great Motivator

I have found someone someone more irritating persistent than my sister.

It is this person below.


Do not let her sweet exterior fool you. Underneath she is all pit bull. Which will serve her well later in life. And probably me, too.

But right now it is like having that little angelic voice of reason on your shoulder. Living in your house. Who just won’t go away.

Three times she asked me today if I was going to run.

“Later”, I said.

Later came and went. She saw me on Facebook. Doing laundry. On the phone.

Then came the great idea.

“Hey mom, how about if I run with you?”

Now, if you know my daughter you know how hysterically funny that is. She runs every day. She runs on the cross country team for North Andover High School, does multiple 5K’s each year. And she even enjoys them. She’s weird like that.

Kind of like drag racing a Yugo and a Porsche. I think you know who the Yugo would be.

But she would not relent. And when she gets an idea in her head she will not let it go. I knew that if I did not get out the door on a run she would not leave me alone all night. And I so wanted to enjoy my glass of wine watching the Red Sox without her giving me that I-can’t-believe-you-didn’t-run-mom look.

So I decided I would get off my duff and run through the neighborhood with her. To level the playing field she decided to take Lucas in the jogging stroller. I was pretty sure she could walk as fast as I could run.

She lent me this:


I had tried to run with my iPhone but all the jiggling and arm movement is read as shuffle so it was changing the music every 2 seconds. This one was much better and came complete with beat-infused, raunchy music that I should probably not let my children listen to.

But never mind, it was great to run to. Very "get-it-in-gear".

So out the door I went, down the driveway and around the neighborhood. I did pretty well until I hit a hill.

Okay, it was a slight incline, but it felt like a hill to me.

That’s when I spotted the bats. And that motivated me more than the music. Creepy, flying, winged blind things flying from tree-top to tree-top. I had visions of them dive bombing my head.

I sprinted all the way home. When I got home, I looked like this:


I think I was a rather unnatural color red. Regardless, I made it home with no creepy crawly flying things in my hair, only a few swallowed bugs and two mosquito bites.

Next time I am running in the morning. Bats sleep during the day, right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the Road Again

This is for my sister. Here is a picture of her at her first Olympic triathalon.


I did not realize you were supposed to run along side your bike. I have a lot to learn.

Ode to My Running Shoes and My Darling Nagging Sister

I will not lie

I hate to run

I’d rather sit at Cinnabon

But lazy is as lazy does

So now I’m on the run because

The goal of tri is in my eye

(I thought it was a piece of pie)

But I had fun

On last nights run

I ran a mile

And managed to smile

But not to talk

(Until I walked)

And I am taking it on the road again tomorrow night. I will attempt to run a mile in my neighborhood without being spotted by anyone I know. I don’t want to be that “Oh bless her heart” person.

You know who that is. We’ve all seen her.

You drive by someone struggling to jog, looking like they are just barely moving themselves forward, propelling themselves by sheer will, while looking like they are in excruciating pain. And in your head (or maybe even out loud) you say, “Poor thing, bless her heart”.

I do NOT want to be her.

PS- Photos will most definitely not follow.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My New Best Friend

I wake up in the morning to this face:


Okay, I really wake up next to my husband, but this puppy is on the other side of me. And I am having a problem going from my lovely elliptical, to this:


Actually, where I run looks absolutely nothing like this. If it did I might be more inspired to run outdoors. But quite frankly, I’m not.

Problem is, the motion on the elliptical is really nothing like actual running. Which is ironically, why I bought it.

I refer you to the canned ham post. I swear to gawd the entire thing is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Just call me Grace. Not so good on a bike, either.

I never got my drivers license until I graduated from college. Living on and island off NYC it was never necessary. Although, come to think of it, it would have come in handy summers in suburban New Jersey. But whatever.

Since I did not have a license, and hence no car, I rode my bike everywhere. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year at the U of M, I worked three jobs in Summit, NJ. Waitressing, scooping ice cream and subbing as a lifeguard at the town pool. It was on my way to this last job that my back began it’s lifelong task of annoying the ever living you-know-what out of me.

I was riding my bike down the hill toward the pool. This lady in a car, late for a job interview, wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing and turned left in front of me. I hit the back of her car and slid off her trunk. My bike was trashed. I was extremely fortunate not to be seriously hurt. Lucky for me she was on her way to an interview at Overlook Hospital. How convenient. I hitched a ride, was checked out A-Okay in the ER and headed on my merry way.

The next day I woke up and could not move. I rolled out of bed like a huge roll of carpet, landed on my stomach and 20 years of back problems began.

After being told most of my adult life that my weight was the largest contributing factor in my back problems I got in great shape, lost 35 pounds and was exercising every day. Boot camp, weight training, aerobics, you name it.

And, it was in this most fantabulous shape of my life that one afternoon I bent over to pick up a piece of paper from the ground. I didn’t stand up straight for almost 4 days. Okay, I admit, I was bending over to pick up a coupon. Serves me right for trying to save $1.o0 on a box of Special K.

I walked at a 90-degree angle for 4 days before it was determined that I had a bulging disk in my lower back. As a result of trauma. Hmm, and I thought my back problems were caused just because I was fat.

Moving on.

Being terrifically gun shy and not wanting to do anything to re-aggravate my back, we bought an elliptical machine. For it’s no impact. Which I love. Because it’s nothing like running. Which I don’t.

Fast-forward 6 years, and I have had only minor annoyances with my back since that fateful coupon-picking-up incident. And my doctor gave me the go-ahead at my annual physical.

But aside from attending the Merrimack Valley Striders clinics, I have yet to run outside. Needing to get past this jar-my-back-phobia pretty darn quick. It is fall in New England.

Which means snow is just around the corner. I think it’s now or never.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I cannot believe the calendar just flipped to September.  It feels like fall, too.  I need to start running outside before it starts to snow next week. 

Trying another spinning instructor at the Y tomorrow.  I am finding the need to try out every last one of them before I spring for another gym pass at SpinCity.  Although that is where the spinning prince lives.  But not having kissed all the frogs yet, I am not willing to admit inexpensive-all-inclusive-family-membership spinning class defeat just yet.   If not one of them has turned into a prince by the end of this month,  I will be visiting SpinCity again. 

School starts next week. Which means homework starts next week.   And track. And dance. Which means I can kiss my evenings good-bye.   And become very familiar with my alarm clock because to keep training it is going be be ringing my tired *ss out of bed every morning at 5am from now on.  

Next week I am visiting here Nutrition Factory to get some ideas on eating for training health as opposed to eating for weight loss.  Hopefully there will be some good advice on what to eat, when to eat it and how to break past 5 pounds.  Apparently my physician thought that was a more balanced approach than the Flat Belly Diet.

Go figure.