Lesson Two of the Thinking


Think easy, light, smooth, and fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that ain’t so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smoooooth.You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three and you’ll be fast,” (111).

Your weekly McDougall Born to Run. I’ve added “fun” between “easy” and “light” in my thoughts. It seems to help with “easy.” :-)

The Accidental Sex Talk


Before I write this one, you should know that I’ve been working with teenagers since I was 19… I still was a teenager. Thus, smaller children are mysterious to me.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually like small children. I thoroughly enjoy talking to them as if they’re adults (which is probably part of the problem). Even the toddlers and babies are growing on me. I think I used to fear being yelled at and hated for mishandling diapers and tears.

So, here’s the story:

A week and a half ago, I was sitting at our after-church potluck thing, talking with several adults and one child.

The conversation turned to the duck funeral and the excess eggs that still occupy a significant portion of my fridge. I was talking about the differences between duck eggs and chicken eggs, and how they are different consistencies for the cooking.

Then, the child (yes, Andy, the child was yours and I’m very, very sorry)… the child started to seem sad and exclaim that I should not eat the eggs, but should rather let them grow up into little ducklings.

Not thinking about the developmental stage of this child, I was all, “It’s okay because I actually only had girl ducks, so there weren’t any baby chicks inside the eggs.”

I definitely realized I was headed into the danger zone right about the time I told her that you need a boy duck for the eggs to have baby ducks inside of them.

She thought it over quietly and didn’t say anything further, but I definitely wondered if there was possibly an awkward conversation later that evening or possibly the next day.

Oops.

 

Unimaginable Compassion


Some background… Ron Clarke is an Australian who was chasing Emil Zatopek’s (a Czech) records, and achieved everything a runner could ever dream of achieving, except that he tended to choke when he got into the Olympics.

In 1968, the Red Army took Prague and decided to give Emil Zatopek the choice to either become a Soviet sports ambassador or clean toilets in a uranium mine. He stuck with his conscience and chose the toilets.

In the ’68 games, Ron Clarke lost his last Olympic chance to altitude sickness. Afterwards, Zatopek snuck something into Clarke’s suitcase, gave him a hug, and told him that he deserved it.

“Only later would he [Clarke] discover that Zatopek wasn’t talking about the hug at all: in his suitcase, Clarke found Zatopek’s 1952 Olympic 10,000-meters gold medal. For Zatopek to give it to a man who’d replaced his name in the record books was extraordinarily noble; to give it away at precisely the moment in his life when he was losing everything else was an act of almost unimaginable compassion… there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding,” (98).

Your weekly Christopher McDougall from Born to Run

A TNG Lesson on Friendship and Humanity


There’s this great episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when there’s a trial to figure out if Data is property of Star Fleet or an individual with rights. For those of you who don’t know, Data is an android, but he’s super-advanced and often seems human. In fact, his deepest desire is to know what it’s like to be human. He does things like painting, whistling, owning a cat, etc… in an attempt to become more human. He is my favorite character on the show, and that episode is  my favorite episode of the series (and probably top 5 favorite of any TV show) because he and the episode exist to examine what it means to be human, which really is the purpose of all literature in my opinion.

Because the jag office is understaffed, Data’s co-workers have to serve as the lawyers of the case, and Commander Riker is given the task of proving that Data is property, while Captain Piccard serves as the defense lawyer. Riker doesn’t want to do it, because he considers Data to be a friend, but he agrees when he’s told that without his participation, the judge would rule summarily that Data was “a toaster” and didn’t have any rights.

Riker does an excellent job in the trial, but feels guilty about it, because his success would have meant Data’s destruction. However, the judge rules in favor of our favorite robot, determining that he is an individual with rights and freedoms> afterwards, Riker goes to Data and asks him for forgiveness. Data’s response is a very humane one that demonstrates empathy beyond what many of us real humans experience.

He explains that, by his actions, Riker had both saved Data and wounded himself, and therefore, there was nothing to forgive.

Isn’t that lovely? Perhaps we all ought to have an understanding of humanity and friendship that recognizes the sacrifices others make on our behalf… and perhaps we ought to be the sorts of friends who sometimes suffer wounds to save others. :-)

Friendship and a Funeral


So… at some point last week, Lori texted me and asked me if I’d go to Bookman’s on Saturday.

Honestly, I’m at that fearful part of the school year, when I generally over-commit myself and have no one to blame for how much I hate my life. Like every year, I’ve vowed to make better choices! I’m going to run and do yoga. I’m going to leave work by 4:30. I’m going to give myself more quiet than other people want me to have, including reading, writing, painting, and staring time every week. I’m not going to fill every night of the week, and I’m not going to plan to go to things like I’m obligated to (unless I’m actually obligated).

So I really thought about telling Lori no.

She’s pretty much never asked me to go to Bookman’s, so it felt a little fishy, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Also, I pretty much never want to not see Lori. She’s one of those people who I can’t think of any circumstance that wouldn’t be much improved by her presence. Church. Running. Watching TV. Eating. Birthdays. Pound puppy walking. Travel to Peru, CA, Vegas. Hiking. Work. Parties. Yoga. I genuinely enjoy doing all of those things with Lori, so I didn’t feel like I could pass up an opportunity to hang out with her.

All night Friday, I thought about how I wanted to go to a movie by myself, but it rained and I was too lazy to consider the correct travel routes so as not to get my car stuck in a wash. Also, I don’t have the interwebs at home, so I’d have to stop at Barnes and Noble to even figure out what’s playing. So I stayed at home, had a glass of wine with Swiss chocolate, and watched two Star Trek movies (Insurrection and Nemesis for the one or two of you who have knowledge of Star Trek).

Then, Saturday, I got up and ran in the freakin’ unbearable humidity and heat. And I did some things at home, and got ready for Lori to come over, having every intent of spending the evening at a coffee shop, then at the movies.

Then Lori came and we went to Bookman’s and browsed. Then we went to Sonic, where I got a crap-ton of food, which is at least a little out of character for me. Sonic isn’t exactly my cup o’ tea, but an enormous hot dog sounded spectacular after my morning run.

Then we got back to the house, and I intended to eat the food, then see if Steve and Lori wanted to go to the movie with me.

But when we walked in, there were yellow streamers. And Kendra’s parents. And candles.

And I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Had Kendra thrown a party and not invited me? That seemed weird, but not impossible.

Then, Maria was there and she was all, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

And that’s when I saw the programs.

With pictures of Anne and D’Artagnan.

And the projector was there, pointed at the wall. And there were a lot of rubber ducks.

You see, my roommate and friends conspired to throw me a surprise duck funeral. Some of them shared memories of the ducks. There was a poetry reading. A slideshow complete with Sara McLachlan “I Will Remember You” soundtrack. A children’s story. A 21-duck-salute with legit duck calls (one of which sounded very like Anne in the morning when she wanted me to feed her).

And it blew my mind, because I don’t think I’ve ever had a surprise party thrown for me.

And everyone wore black, except for Madelyn who was wearing her duck onesie, and there were even some fake tears.

And after it was all over, I felt like I finally had closure ;-) and maybe I could move on and bring some new little ducklings into the house, even though no one could ever replace Anne and D’Artagnan.

Also, I was gifted with a functioning dryer after a year or hanging my clothes on a line outside or all over the house so that my under garments were rather public.

I’ve got pretty decent friends, eh?

Loving the Running


Glee and determination are usually antagonistic emotions, yet the Tarahumara were brimming with both at once, as if running to the death made them feel more alive… they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running… You can’t pay someone to run with such infectious joy. You can’t bully them into it either… ” (91, 92, and 97).

Another Christopher McDougall quote for you from Born to Run

Who Knew Carbo Loading Sucks so Much?


In order to motivate myself to run a marathon, I’ve been reading. I know, but that’s my natural inclination in most circumstances… I’ve a bit of Hermione in me, I guess.

So I finished, Born to Run, which was AWESOME! and then I went down to the library and checked out three more books about running – two non-fic narratives that I haven’t gotten to just yet, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training. So far, it’s a pretty great book for me, but I’ve been running for something like four years now. I suspect the book would be pretty boring and confusing to a complete idiot, but you never know.

Carbo Loading… Did you know that it really only works to carbo load if you deprive your body of carbs for like two days before giving yourself a ton of them? Basically, you have to trick your body into believing that you live in a place where carbs are not always available to you, and therefore, it needs to store any carbs you give it.

Doesn’t that suck?

I really just want to eat normally until the night before the race, when I head to Olive Garden and get myself a Five Cheese Ziti.

Ignorance is bliss, right?

Other thing I’ve learned that blows my mind a little… you must run super slowly at the beginnings of your training because you want to keep your heart rate low. Reasons for this:

  1. Capillaries – Your body will make more of them if you run slower for like 12 weeks.
  2. Mitochondria – Your body will make more of them if you run slower for like 12 weeks.
  3. Fat v. Glycogen – Your body will learn to burn fat for longer if you keep yourself at an aerobic heart rate during the early stages of training, making you less likely to “hit the wall” mid-race. “Hitting the wall” actually occurs after your body has stopped burning fat, and has used all of the glycogen you’ve given it. Therefore, you try to make your body run on fat for as long as possible, so that you don’t have to keep taking Gu shots just to maintain your sanity.
  4. Hormones - Running actually shouldn’t feel terrible (I know, right? Who knew?), because if it does, that’s a sign you are depleting your body of testosterone and human growth hormone… both important for endurance. If you feel like hell the day after a run, you pushed yourself too hard in either distance or intensity.
  5. Waste - You want to teach your body to deal well with your waste (hydrogen and lactic acid). I’m pretty sure this is connected to #s 1 and 2, but the science eludes me a bit here. Basically, you won’t have to rely as much on those compression socks to get the waste out of your calves. You can teach your body to dispose of the waste before you lose the ability to walk normally.

So… lessons: Run slower (I can totally handle this one). And starve your body of carbs for two days before getting your ziti.