Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What's Really Keeping You From Getting Fit Right Now?

  Here are some excuses and my responses.

     Gym Membership (don't have one): Put money aside for this important monthly payment.  Your fitness is your life.  Warning: You might have to cut out two family trips to fast food restaurants to pay for this.
     Bored with your workout videos: Get one on Netflix or borrow a DVD from a friend.  Everyone wants to share their old workout videos.   Jane Fonda in Spandex anyone?
     Kid needs me all the time: Sorry Dr. Laura.  I don't agree with you on this one. Find a gym with a nursery.  They will be fine. So they get to play in a pink-eye pit or watch Sponge Bob on the television.  Strengthen those muscles and look at adults who are doing the same thing.  Your offspring will learn from your example about the importance of being fit.  Plus there is nothing like endorphins to help get along with others (cough... your children... cough cough).
     Too many things to do: People, you have to change your priorities.  Let the dishes go for a couple of more hours.  Ask your spouse to throw the laundry in or vacuum and then do the same for them when they need to work out.  If he/she won't do that for you then you better start working out because there are issues in your relationship (I'm just saying........).
     "What do you mean I don't work out?  I'm on the same trail as you, Sadie darling."  Yep I see you out there walking slowly with your friends thinking you are working out with that coffee mocha-fatte in hand.  Walk faster.  Get more mileage under your belt.  Meet at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and end there for a victory skinny latte after your *fast* walk.  (If you are injured, I'm not talking to you so don't get all riled up....)
     And dammit!  Walk that dog of yours. You know who you are!  Poor dog wants to eat me as I run past your house because they haven't been on a walk in days or weeks because you think your 'burb backyard is spacious enough for this beast.  Your yard is not big enough. These are animals that need to roam because the Call of the Wild is real (Jack London was extremely canine aware.  It is FREE for the  Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Call-Wild-ebook/dp/B002RKSZCG.) Walk your Canis domesticus, please, even if it is just up and down the street.  I'm scared they are going to jump the fence, gnaw on my legs, and suck the gel out of my Gu packs for dessert.

       For your viewing pleasure... a little workout to "...bounce, bounce, bounce..." to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu7c9H6ngLI

Find your moxie and live your life.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Do You Run?

     Sitting in Sbux at the well-used table by the barista's bar, I sipped the Venti Skinny Mocha and flipped the pages in a fitness magazine that I picked up at the Surf City Half Marathon post race exposition.  "Why Do You Run?" in bold font was printed on the cover with a red-headed woman staring out at me.
     There were the pedestrian answers, "I run because I like to eat," or "I run because I like the jewelry."  Others run because they feel strong, want to be alone or outdoors, or faster than, "...guys twice my size." Some went full Descartes with, "I run therefore I am." It has not taken much time for me to answer this question today.
     Kierkegaardian/Nietzschian existentialism (though let's not get into the argument of existence or non-existence of god) formulates the basis for running.  I am an individual who embraces life passionately. I am responsible for keeping my muscles firing, strengthening the marrow in my bones, and developing skills.  Running, along with so many other things I do (learning languages, cooking and tasting fine foods and wine, watching tv with the family, yoga, RAGNAR, traveling, golf, teaching, reading, meeting new people, loving) gives my life meaning despite obstacles of fear, angst, hate, doubt, alienation, absurdity (see Kierkegaard's absurdism), placed in front of us.
     I run because it is something that I value and it brings meaning to my life.  Plus, had Nietzsche been around for Shorter or Prefontaine when he said the following, "All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking,"  he might have included running in his quotation, too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Time When a Deaf Ear Was Turned To My Gory Demise

    Bejeweled and dressed in stylish winter whites draped in fur, a lovely young woman in her late twenties arrived at a social gathering I attended recently. I had heard about what a pleasant person she was and looked forward to a conversation. She pushed a top-o-the-line stroller through the door and all the people swarmed.  These were the babies, adorable twins, we had heard about. Knowing the mother-bear-like protective nature of the new mom I sympathized with her as the people gathered 'round.  I had no visceral need to bundle the wee bairns to my bosom.   After all, I could be a stranger, a drifter, a party crasher for all she grasped .  These were infants and who knew what type of coccus, bacillus, spirillum or yet undefined pathogen may be crammed into the microscopic folds of my skin.   Plus I am not one of those who finds extreme pleasure in holding babies that aren't related to me.  Give me a mouthy teenager or a eager tweener and I can be their very own "Cedric the Entertainer".
     I mosied on over to the scene after the babies had been gathered up by friends and introduced myself quickly.
     "Congratulations." I added. "Your babies are lovely."  She looked up after I said who I was and how I was related to the hosts and nodded in perfunctory courtesy, smile gone.  I noticed her natural preoccupation for the locality of her offspring, smiled and walked away.  New mom.  I remember the feeling. How sweet.
     I passed some time getting to know another woman at the gathering.  She and I chatted it up and exchanged cocktail recipes and shared a bucket-sized basket of french fries (guilt cut in half!).  We sat down and next to me was la mama couture.
    I caught her attention. "It's really great to have twins.  One boy and one girl.  Wow!  How lucky is that?"  My scientific mind had already worked out the details.  I was well aware of the direct mathematical correlation between Hollywood/Sports/Money and twins.  One could graph it and find a constant slope.
     I continued with, "This is my friend....." but I was cut off in the middle of introducing my friend, by the turn of New Mama's head as it rotated to listen to someone else addressing her.   As New Mom's attention turned back in my general direction I continued on a different subject, forgetting to finish my friend's introduction.  I have something in common with the mom and then we would talk and enjoy each others company.
     "I have a boy and a girl, too.  One's 11 and the other is going to be 16 soon....." This time, the girl's whole attention, in fact her whole body, pivoted away from my voice midsentence and toward her friends as she asked them a question.  This twenty-something baby mama a la mode was ignoring me.  My friend was tittering by now, watching the comedy unfold before her.
     I pooh-poohed the brush-off and continued speaking in a conversational tone to the woman's back, "yes I was at a party recently and my head fell off.  It literally fell off and there was blood splashing out.  Nasty business to have your head fall off.  Especially the reattachment phase."
     There was no denying it.  She had relegated me to  f├Ęte filler: a phrase I coined for people at a party who one believes just take up space.  I knew my hosts, very good friends for a few years now, had no sense of this happening and was not saddened nor distressed.  In fact, I surged with a current similar to the sparks discharged into the air by the Tesla Coil.  And when this happens, I write.
     This part of the evening was coming to a close.  As my adversary strapped snoring baby bundles into the Bugaboo stroller, then bottles and burpies into a Louis Vuitton diaper bag I strolled over to where she stood alone for my final bunt.  I looked into the carriage and said, "So when you get home will the babies continue to sleep like this through the night for you?"  She shook her head a bit, still stuffing the bag.  Did I see fatigue gather into concealer/foundation-hidden wrinkles at the corner of her eyes? Was I starting to feel sorry for her a bit in the pit of my stomach? Maybe, but then she perked right up when her friends came to say goodbye.
    I removed my body, head reattached (nasty business re-affixing a head to the neck it is) and gathered with my friends thinking about how fun life is.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On vacation!

I have the pleasure to be on vacation right now.  Therefor the blog will return for a bit while I have some time to relax.  A recent update is that I will be taking up Golf!  I practice swings in my minds eye while I hit the pavement on my runs.  I wonder how strength training and yoga moves will translate to my new sport?  Friends warn me that the game will be too slow for a runner like me.  Perhaps I will learn patience or maybe it will be an excellent core workout.  Whatever it is I have a warm feeling in my skin.  I know this means something good is about to happen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

From the Golden Gate to Calistoga: A Ragnar race that will never be forgotten

If you've never run in a Ragnar race you must promise me that you'll Google it after your short sojourn with me here on The Moxie To Thrive.  Friends new and old met at an Italian restaurant near the Golden Gate Bridge the night before the race so that I, Captain of Team Got Runs?, could bring the nine runners up to speed on the seriousness of our situation.  We were three runners short and we all would have to pick up an extra leg.

After a quick survey of the group we cinched up the race order.  Glasses clinked, ales absorbed, down the gullet and off to our team rooms at The Crazy Cow's Cottage.  Well, it  had a different name, but I can't recall it.  Something about a Cow's rear end.  By morning Van 1 headed to the start where our first relay racer was honored with running a portion of the Golden Gate Bridge.."..after a cup of coffee," he said.  There was an issue already brewing in our team because we didn't stop at a coffee shop pre-starting line.  Sans java the first leg might have proven to be a complication for our friend and teammate however, the coffee was provided, and the leg began without a hitch.

Subsequent legs wound through singular seaside towns, up and over hills geometrically patterned with grape vines, and by quaint farm houses dotted with cattle, chickens and crafting cottages.  329 teams ran with beside us, ahead of us or behind us.  One of our girls caught up with walkers as they leaned and slumped into a modest hill.  The weak ones unexpectedly got the vapors while whiffing manure and, she noted while smirking, they were throwing up.  The sun was setting and our time had come to run from dusk to dawn with little sleep.

After a three hour break for pasta and a nap we found our trainers and slipped them over clean socks.  Headlamp and buttlamps made us all look like miners and the reflective gear was truly a fashion statement for ravers.  Protection from motorists is key.  Death is not an option on a Ragnar Relay.  My goal as a captain was to have my team come out extant.

Sunrise in this part of California was peculiar: no glowing bulb rising from the east to squint at.  Light crept in on all sides of the horizon like many silent tiny fingers. North, South, East and West: My natural compass was lost.  But all at once the sky went from a stygian underworld where one sticks close to other runners for assurance and support, to an glowing earth with trees and air, fresh and moist.  And with that, Van 1 was done. Van 2 in our relay would carry the team the rest of the way to Calistoga which is where we met up with them.

In the end, the whole team raced in together.  Our final picture shows a troop of runners that learned a lot about each other.  We sat in vans together for about 72 hours!  As we were all driving home the next day it was really hard to say goodbye.  We lived together in war against sleep, food cravings, and manure odors.  We had conquered this with a laughter... so much laughter:  There were more gufaws and gut-splitting giggles than some of the team had felt in their bellies in weeks, months, or even years. The shrieks, snickers and shouting were tribal and raw.  We nine got away from things for a while and returned restored and revitalized.  Our vigor and vim may still be shining through and we hope and pray each day that it doesn't get tarnished.
I love what I discover about myself each time I put on my running shoes.  What will you discover when you  put on yours today?