Exercises

What a Hoh

When I moved from Texas, everyone said they’d come visit.  However, the only one I believed was the Ginger; he said he would come visit to go hiking.  The Ginger is from the Dirty Jerz, and has lived all over the country, so it’s not surprising he is less inclined to enjoy the rolling flatness of Texas, and he’d take the opportunity to escape the oppressive southern summer.

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We planned to meet at Olympic National Park, which would be my first trip there.  After picking him up around the University of Washington campus, we had a three-hour drive to figure out where to start.  After some deliberation between the Ginger, Louboutini, and the Ginger’s travel friend, Cheap Douchebag (CDB), we decided on the Hoh Rainforest (insert “hoe” jokes here).

CDB is not athletic, he is cheap (thus the C), he’s a haughty elitist (“Iiiii went to Harvard Laaaaaaw”) and he does not appreciate nature.  Nor does he appreciate people going out of their way to make it easier for him.  Needless to say, he was a very large damper on the whole thing – complaining, whining, going slow on purpose, not chipping in for anything, and repeatedly mentioning how he liked being in Seattle proper a lot better, with the restaurants, girls, and booze.  Despite his best efforts, however, he still couldn’t ruin the incredible experience we were about to have.

We chose what amounted to a seven-mile hike, that started in the Hall of Mosses.  It wasn’t difficult, but damn, was it beautiful.  Not everything that is gorgeous needs to be hard.

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The main hike would be through the rainforest, and be an out and back.  The trees are so much taller and wider than I’ve ever seen – this is what ants must feel like when they come across a twig.

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Yes, I realize how phallic this all seems…

Summer 2017 had been awfully dry in the PacNW, so the “rain” part of the rainforest was lacking a bit.  Only about 100 inches of rain so far, in an area that usually gets 200 inches a year.  I’m glad we didn’t get rained on, but I cannot imagine the area being even MORE green.  I felt like I was stuck in Kermit the Frog – not that it was a bad thing.

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Paddleboarding Extravaganza

Gem and I were really into the idea of going paddleboarding, and Groupon had a bunch of deals from which to choose, and while we’d never actually done it, we figured it couldn’t be that hard.

The day we chose ended up being a little choppy, so we went to a calmer side of Sanibel Causeway. The lady dropped off the paddleboards, gave us some instructions, and drove away. We had four hours of boarding to attempt, and by George, we were going to do it. We were even going to attempt yoga!IMG_20170424_085308726

It had been cool out, but we certainly miscalculated how burned you can get. We did not last the entire four hours (maybe 90 minutes?), but we did pretty much everything we wanted to: played with birds diving for fish, saw dolphins, attempted yoga poses (Gem was much better at this than I was), and even swam a bit.

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Gem is much better at a lot of things than I am…not just paddleboard yoga.

I even made a little friend, who was hanging out in the truck for us when we got back.

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It’s quite fun, and can be a workout when people don’t adhere to no-wake zones, or when the water is choppy.

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I resolved to buy a paddleboard from Costco when I returned to the PacNW. Until I saw how much they cost, and then I resolved to rent one instead.

 

Birthday Weekend, Part 1

My third 29th birthday was last Thursday, and what better way to celebrate than a weekend getaway to…Dallas.  No, I didn’t go to Cabo, no I didn’t go on a cruise, or even New York City.  Instead, I packed a bag and set off for the winter warmth of Texas.

Of course, birthday weekend wouldn’t be off to a good start without some birthday present (to myself), in the form of new running pants.  Now all I need are some running sneakers to match 🙂

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These are super fun – the squiggles are actually silver.

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I was told these look like the 80s threw up on my black pants.

Upon my arrival in Dallas, I was greeted with a sushi dinner (being Friday and Lent and all).  It was at a place I’d been to once before, and they were nice enough to let me use my Groupon on a Friday night.  I think I have a new favorite sushi spot in Dallas, though only if there’s a deal.

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IMG_20160304_195029643The first picture is missing a few rolls that came later, and yes, you do see two of the same rolls in each photo.  They’re hands down my favorites – the black caviar one is called the White Russian…what can I say?  I love Anna, I love this sushi roll – I just love my white Russians.

Somehow, despite the weekend being insanely busy, I managed to hit a vintage market (which was actually more of a disappointment – I was hoping for much more.  Maybe next year, though) coupled with a home and garden show.  I got in trouble for taking photos, but there were some cute little cacti and lovely cards.  I also bought some hot pepper-infused jelly.  I recommend the blueberry and the jalapeño mint.

 

 

 

Post market, it was such a beautiful day, I wanted to take advantage of the weather and the marginally safer streets, and went for a run outside.  When it’s 77 degrees out and winter everywhere else, you’d be a fool to not do something outside.  A short 5k around some of Dallas’s main arteries meant that I should probably reward myself.  I had wanted to go to a brewery for ages, and finally made it:  Deep Ellum Brewing Company.  $15 gets you three pints, a souvenir glass, and some prime people watching.  And folks, my PSA soapbox comment:  Just because you think you are hot stuff and wearing leggings in public does not give you permission to go commando.  Especially if the leggings are already stretched tight.  That material stretches further when you bend over, and when that material stretches and becomes transparent….ooof.  That was NOT a Grand Canyon I wanted to visit.

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Dinnertime meant a trip to meet some friends at Chino Chinatown, which was in a fancypants area with lots of restaurants I want to try.  It’s a Latin-Asian fusion, and I have just four words for you:  Duck.  Fat.  Fried.  Rice.  Everything was delicious, but really, that fried rice was divine.  To die for.  I could go back and eat just that.  The drinks were inventive but not terribly strong, so the beers beforehand were helpful.  I’m not an alkie, I swear.  I just enjoy feeling bubbly 🙂  Good conversation, good food, nice area.  I couldn’t really ask for more for my birthday.

Like all good things, weekends come to an end, and unfortunately, so do birthday weekends.  I flew back to reality this past Monday, and have been stuck in an office for the last few days.  Friday brings about Birthday Weekend, Part 2 in DC, when I head down to see some racing friends.  I think I’m pretty lucky – who else gets to have two birthday weekends?

Artificial Ceilings

Recently, I started listening to podcasts.  My two go-tos are Freakonomics and The Tim Ferriss Show, both of which I find incredibly interesting.  Last week, there was a rebroadcast on Freakonomics – an interview with Kobayashi Takeru, the guy that revolutionized the world of competitive eating.  If you’re interested in the whole thing, here is the link.

Image from trendingsearches.net

Image from trendingsearches.net

The idea of eating even more than two (ok, three) hot dogs in one sitting sort of makes me want to yak, so when you say “as many as possible, and oh, the world record is X,” I want to crawl into the fetal position and die.  But it was this talk of the former world record, which was 25 1/8 hot dogs, that really struck me.  He destroyed that record, on his first attempt at the contest, and devoured 50 hot dogs.

Speaking through a translator, Kobayashi explained the idea of an artificial barrier, which is something I think I struggle with on a day-to-day basis:

I think the thing about human beings is that they make a limit in their mind of what their potential is. They decide I’ve been told this, or this is what society tells me, or they’ve been made to believe something.

Today, I reasoned that perhaps I’d been giving myself artificial barriers.  And I began to think about what might happen if I removed them.

I decided to start removing barriers at the gym.  I had the idea that I could only run at a 6.0 mph pace – maaaaaaybe 6.1 if I was feeling really ambitious.  But my coworker, who also has bad knees and rarely runs, told me that he sets the treadmill at 7.0 mph.  This got me thinking – yes I have short legs. No, I’ve never been particularly fast. But no, I’ve never tried going faster.  I just assumed I couldn’t do it.

Image from amazon.com

Image from amazon.com

And so, tonight, I tried something new for my warmup run.  Instead of starting out at 5.8 mph, I set the speed to 6.5, and ran for 1.5 miles.  For the next lap, I increased the speed to 6.6, and for the last two laps, I increased it to 6.7.  And what do you know.  I did it.

It was a happy moment – I felt accomplished and proud, and I realized that my dream of a consistent 8:45/mile pace is actually closer than I thought.  I am motivated, I am determined, and I now have the confidence I can do it.

Image from simpsons.wikia.com

Image from simpsons.wikia.com

And what if I applied that thought to finding a job?  Usually, it’d be, “I’d never get XYZ position, they never hire people with my kind of experience, I’ve never gotten an interview there before”…but if I bust through that wall and apply, you never know.  What if I applied this to finding a boyfriend?  “That guy would never talk to me, he’s out of my league, I can’t date that far up, I know what my limit is”…but maybe that limit isn’t actually there.

What if we all thought like this.  I realize this is a bit rose-colored (I’m probably still high on endorphins), but blindly accepting what we believe are the limits of our own abilities can hinder us – we stagnate, we don’t grow, we never achieve.  History is full of brave souls and amazingly intelligent individuals, but the only thing that makes them different from us is that they didn’t accept the limits society gave them.   What would we all achieve if we followed their example?

It’s just food for thought, but when your mind starts to wander, and you think of all the great things you might do….it’s a temping proposition to push the limits.

¡Viva España! El Cuarto Día: Toledo, Part 2

As Simone and I trekked around the hilly city, I realized I could have spent at least a week here without ever getting tired of the view.

There’s nothing like a little river separating your city dwelling and country home, and I could only imagine what it would have been like way back when. I think I’d look rather smashing in the old fashioned clothing.

Along the beaten path, there were fun little plaques along the way. The history of the city is fascinating, and I could only imagine the pilgrimages that happened way back when.

This map was a little intimidating at first, but I love to walk, it seemed like it would be an adventure to get around the city. Challenge accepted!

We finally made it to the bridge where we’d cross into the city proper. The views really are spectacular. I love bridges and this one is no exception. One thing that does make me sad is the pollution of waterways where people used to frolic, fish, and generally enjoy the cooler breeze down by the banks. I’m no tree hugger, and I’m certainly not a huge environmentalist (Sorry to those who are, but I race cars…), but when I head home and can’t swim or go crabbing in the river where I did as a child, it does make me a bit weepy.

Crossing the bridge into the city was something really amazing. Looking over was a bit challenging (damn you, 4’11” height!), but at least there was no danger of falling into the murky water! I came to the town on Anna’s advice and Simone’s promise that she’d show me around, but I didn’t know much about it aside from that it was very, very old. I didn’t realize what an experience I was truly in for until I got to the other side.

DisFigured

Today, I wanted to maybe quill a few Valentine’s Day cards, and get a head start on sending them out, while watching a sappy movie to get me in the mood for love. 

Instead, as I was browsing Hulu Plus, I came across a movie called DisFigured, and opted to watch that, while folding laundry. Definitely not the plan I had in mind earlier.

Image courtesy of http://i.kinja-img.com/

Instead of feeling empowered, and getting the message that the director allegedly wanted, which I can only assume is  that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that we should work on body image and accepting what we have, I ended the movie with a feeling of disgust. Not only was the message lost (especially when the obese woman screams that no one loves the anorexic woman, and when the obese woman asks her for “anorexia lessons”), but anorexia was completely misrepresented (it’s not about weight or vanity, dammit!), and I found myself being judgmental of the people in the movie.

Let me address the first problem with this movie. Yes it’s a good message, and body image is something we need to be positive about. Body image is the thing that I struggle with most profoundly. I’ve got an…interesting relationship with food and weight. And sure, I wish that beauty, sex appeal, and attraction had fewer hard bodies and more women that are softer around the edges. But I don’t think it’s good that we keep saying things like “big is beautiful,” making the word “fat” as bad as the word “c–t,” or encouraging people to be happy, content, and lazy when they are several dozens of pounds overweight. Obesity is a problem, and it’s driving up costs of many things here in the US: healthcare, insurance, and even airline tickets. By coddling them, and by “accepting” them, and by making it a protected society, we’ve actually created one-directional monsters. I don’t think it’s ok for my very overweight friend to tell me to eat a cheeseburger, but I can’t tell her to order a salad. I don’t think it’s ok for my obese friends at restaurants to be able to taunt me when I order something healthy, or make healthy substitutions “because I want to be thin,” but I can’t tell them to not order the fried stuff with extra sauce and dessert. And I certainly don’t think it’s ok for my heavy friends to give me a hard time when I want to exercise because I’m “already skinny,” but they would be insulted if I suggest the gym when they complain about not fitting into this week’s new clothing item. The more we promote this idea, that fat should be accepted, and even celebrated, the more we are promoting unhealthy lifestyles, entitled attitudes, decreased health expectations, and a general air of complacency. 

The second massive issue I had with this movie is regarding the portrayal of anorexia. Staci Lawrence is very slender, and I get she’s supposed to be in recovery. But she does not look like the girls I know, nor does she act like them. Anorexia is not a physical disease, it’s a mental one. It’s not about weight – not at its core – and the movie seemed to downplay this. I was actually insulted when Lydia asked for anorexia lessons, and then Darcy agreed to give them to her. Following this, they bought a scale, threw out all the food, and Darcy told her to drink water and just not eat. Then, when Lydia falls off the anorexia wagon, Darcy comes over and actually helps her, and monitors her to make sure she doesn’t do it again. Further into the movie, Lydia screams that no one loves Darcy, not even herself. I didn’t know really how to react to this – any of it. It seemed to me that the only thing that was accurate in regards to eating disorders is when Lydia says something along the lines of how Darcy thinks about food more than she does.

There are some women in the movie that see “fat acceptance” as a war against society, against the thin ones, and it’s the duty of the fat people to band together to make the rest of the world see that being fat is….something. OK? Acceptable? There’s nothing you can do about it? I couldn’t help it, but I looked at those women with disgust. Not because they were fat, but because of their mentality. It’s not about fat or skinny, or calories, or exercise. It’s about being healthy, and this is not something that this movie promotes.

 

 

…….

Someone, I think my boss, once told me something along the lines of “What you most try to avoid will consume you. ” Basically the more you try to avoid something there more prevalent in your life it becomes.

Well. I hate fat. I’m afraid of fat. And I’m getting really fat.

I had on a sleeveless dress tonight and my arm was pressed against my side. It was so large I had to do two double takes. I then went into the bathroom, where there is a larger mirror and better lighting. It was even worse.

I know I say this a lot but it really hit me. I need to get in shape. Round is no longer acceptable.

Tomorrow, I am going racing. I’m going to try to run the course. If I can do a few miles every other day I will be in good shape.

And hopefully the next time I see my arm in a mirror, I won’t be completely disgusted with myself.