Saturday, April 24, 2010

Step one.

That's one of the tricks, isn't it? You can't blog about your life when you get too worked up to talk about it and too ashamed for feedback.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm thinking, "Old Red" for the bike? I realize it's teal.

I have a bicycle now! A Novara Express XX Women's bicycle, to be precise.

I've ridden it twice now, and I've got the sore saddle to prove it. I see the podiatrist today, and I figure if he OK's running again, I can warm up on this baby because, after a twenty minute ride, my feet are GOLDEN. Oh, for more hours in the morning.

(Update: I wrote that yesterday. It's Achilles Tendonitis; the doc OK'ed treadmill running after another week of rest. I can live with that. I can still ride outside.)

Incidentally? It needs a name. I'll work on that.

The same day this baby entered my life, my mom and I stopped by the residence of her friend, an expert acquirer of used goods that mostly reside on her second story. It's the sort of home you'd either call "cluttered" or "a treasure trove." Guess which camp I'd join. Sorry; I have a weakness for stuff.

So while I'm braving the Great Upstairs, I notice a pile of cast iron pans. Particularly, this odd little fellow popped out at me:

The goodies that emerge from this baby range in name and flavor from "puff pancakes" (filled with jam and topped with maple syrup for maximum approachability) to the Japanese street food "takoyaki" (with a chunk of boiled octopus inside and a shower of salty-sweet sauce and writhing, papery fish flakes), but if Williams-Sonoma has a say in it, they'll be best recognized as "Ebelskivers," a Dutch treat that's like a middle ground between pancakes and popovers. (Or so I've heard.) (I have had the takoyaki, of course. Seriously, those fish flakes WRITHE.)

"I didn't know you had an ebelskiver pan," I said, going downstairs.

"A what?" responded mom's friend, totally blankly. I explained that it was the name for the pan with the little holes in it. "Is that what it is? I just got it because it was cast iron. You can have it."

What? You're sure? Waffle, waffle. Yes, she was sure. It's mine now, and it shall do my bidding. (Okay, so I'm thinking savory right now, but that's just because I still don't fully trust sweets. I'm working on it!)

Incidentally? It, too, needs a name.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bearing in mind that I am prone to hyperbole and histrionics.

Sigh. My feet hurt.


I thought I was taking it safe this time - stretching like crazy before and after runs; spending almost three months getting up to speed on a treadmill, and then another three keeping pace before venturing outside; edging in an extra day of running at only half the mileage.

Yeah, half was too much, apparently.

After Sunday's race, my shins went on strike, and my feet and hamstrings have been hinting their plans to join the union. The last four days have been spent icing, stretching, and taking the five stages of grief ridiculously out of context as I jump from depression to acceptance to denial and anger, both at once, and then back to depression over these shooting pains that themselves seem to jump between muscles without rhyme or reason. The one thing I'm not doing, really, is jogging. Or walking or biking, for that matter, or any of those  "low impact cardio" routines that you're supposed to jump in on to keep from losing momentum.

In my moments of lucidity, I'm not seeing this as a big deal. So I'll be sedentary, nothing new, for two weeks, maybe a month, and then, worst comes to worse, I'll hit the Couch to 5K again and be back to where I was by mid-summer. Running is a life-long endeavor, right? Doesn't really matter when I start, or where, or how many false starts precede success. Each failure is a learning opportunity, I'm glad I tried it, yada yada.

Yeah. And then the louder voice in my head, the one that asks if I want to eat another pear and then scolds me for being hungry at all; the one that isn't sure I should be knitting from a pattern, unless everyone ELSE is knitting from that pattern, and then why haven't I already knitted from that pattern; the one that closes its eyes and shakes its head - the voice does this - when all I buy is silly little MAINSTREAM comic books; this voice is saying, run through it! Then get thee to a podiatrist! But no matter what he or she says, run through it, ya wimp, because when you're twenty-five and running less than twelve miles a week, injuries SHOULD! NOT! HAPPEN! Pfft, it says. Pfft.

That "get thee to a podiatrist" part, though? That holds water. Here's hoping for rainbows and orthopedics. Because I'm really, really wired. And I really, really need to burn it off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What happened, Logic? I thought we were friends!

Things I never expected from my first 5K race:

1. They don't have complimentary coffee, despite the 7 AM sign-in. The heck! (It was also a very small race, but still. I generally attend events expecting coffee. In hindsight, that was probably my first error.)

2. Not everyone is gonna run. And the non-runners are pretty darn content with just that.

3. Not everyone is gonna run the whole way. And even if you do? Some of these guys are gonna beat you. (In my case, um, more than some.)

4. Talking about losing and winning and beating just casts a pall over your whole day. From now on, far as I'm concerned, I win as long as I cross the finish line, and so does everyone else, from the Iron Men to the old lady walking her German Shepard who crossed long after they stopped the clock. Just... the Iron Men win long before I do.

5. There is no designated stretching area. Nor are there any stretches that look too foolish. Improvise and be proud.

6. It's cold at 7 AM. It gets warmer. Quickly. Consider keeping your car keys somewhere other than the pocket on your sweatshirt, because you're gonna want to unzip that thing, and stopping to pick up your keys and tie your shoe and drink water, that... that takes up time.

7. Yet, it's possible to unzip your coat and drink some water and tie your shoes and pick up your keys and still finish so much more quickly than you have been that you're absolutely sure that someone, either or the race organizers, is shaving feet off somewhere. Or maybe that's just because...

8. You WILL try to pass people. Tell yourself otherwise all you want, but after the umpteenth time that someone leaves you in their dust at what seems to be barely-a-brisk-warmup pace, you get antsy.

9. The apples are HUGE.

10. Doesn't matter how many months you've been running 3 miles on the treadmill or even outside. When you get up at a quarter to 6, drive yourself over the Ben Franklin bridge, spend ten minutes weaving through Fairmont Park looking for the parking lot, walk from the farther possible spot to the registration area, and pace for an hour before they call you to the starting line, you burn up way more energy than you do sipping a cup of coffee and stepping out the front door. Plan for a nap.

(Incidentally? The race was the first annual Cherry Blossom 5K, a precursor to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Which I ended up opting out of due to a burgeoning caffeine headache impeding the problem-solving skills I required to find a parking spot after the Please Touch museum kicked us all out. Maybe next year.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now that I have a ten dollar jogging watch...

Okay, so right now, I'm running three days a week, and about three miles for each run. (Except when I'm feeling hyper and optimistic and running about three and a quarter; or when I'm feeling hyper and pessimistic and lasting all of a mile before deciding that if I go any farther I'll break my ankle and never run again and, by proxy, never walk again and, by proxy, have never actually spent the last six months running at all, and then it kinda turns into a full-time struggle not to spiral into Woe Is Me.) Now that the weather is GORGEOUS!!!!!!, I'm trying to ease it up. I mean, REALLY trying to EASE it up, because my two instincts are 1: to force myself into five-mile jogs five days a week; or 2: to keep doing what I'm doing and wish I were doing more.

My college boasted a course called "CIE," the common intellectual experience, which all freshmen were required to take. The whole idea was that we'd study the media of great writers, poets, artists, essayists, theorists, philosophers, and dictators, taught by professors trained in any given field, and talk about what we were learning with our new classmates and Best Friends Forever between binge drinking sessions (or, in my case, staring at the same web sites for twenty hours a day without anyone to stop me - FREEDOM! SWEET, HORRIBLE FREEDOM!). They honestly could have saved a lot of time by taping signs saying "Everything in Moderation" to the front doors of our dorms. Turns out that, all those categories of Very Important People above? Were pretty much getting at just that. (Except the dictators, but I think that, historically, those are the exceptions that prove the rule.) I earned a good 8.0 credits towards my degree being taught the same thing my mom got through with the "Only Two Cookies" rule.

So, everyone important would inform me that easing up my running is the way to go - that means starting by adding about a mile and a half of running on one extra day, and then sprinkling in another half mile to a mile per week, depending on how I'm feeling - if it hurts, take a step back; repeat any weeks that felt like a strain. Keep moving forward, but don't foil your efforts.

Yet, I don't WANT to run a mile and three-quarters tomorrow. I want to run three miles, maybe three-and-a-half; and I want to do the same on Sunday; and if I can't do that, I don't see the point of running on Saturday at all.

"But, Amanda," I explain, struggling to recall whether it was Plato or Aristotle who wrote about Socrates saying something worth quoting that I wouldn't recognize without looking it up first, "A mile and three-quarters is MORE than nothing. This is basic arithmetic; it's a full MILE AND THREE QUARTERS more than nothing." I hope that playing the math card will help; I retained a lot more about math than I did about CIE, other than the previously cited vague recollection of something about keeping it balanced.

Yet, still. It might be because running even a little jacks up my appetite, and I worry that I'll eat more if I run a little than I would without a run, after averaging out calories burned. Or it may just be that the human brain is not designed to process moderation. Which might be why those dictators who opposed it, while scorned by the history books, were probably a LOT more popular during their lives than, say, Socrates. Who was the one who was sentenced to swallow poison for talking about things people didn't want to hear. Just wish I could remember what.