I just thought I’d pop by my dead, windswept, organ-music-in-a-minor-key, tumbleweeded, broken-shutter-banging-against a deserted house, creaky floorboarded, black hole blog to chat about a fun shirt I saw in the gym not long ago:

shirt

(Actually, the chick wearing this shirt had cut it all up so that it would look a little more jaunty with her yoga pants and gargantuan mega boob job.)

Naturally, I was on a treadmill directly in front of her as she joined in with a group of weirdos doing some kind of prancing around punching bags to disco music. There was a whole lot of waving of hands in the air and skipping and going “WHOOOOOO!” Every now and then everyone would fall down on the ground and frantically kick their legs on the mats and roll all over the place. Then they’d all pop up and flap their arms and hurl themselves into the punching bags.

Periodically, Shirt Chick would cast a smug look in my direction. I can only guess it was because she was proud she didn’t have to do something as embarrassing as running to stay in shape. I think there was a hint of relief in her expression, too. I’m assuming she was relieved that she wasn’t on a treadmill, since there was a very good chance that her bouncing titanic mammoth mammaries would hit her in the face and knock her unconscious.

Anyway, I get it. A lot of people DON’T RUN. The growing tidal wave of undue hatred for running is advertised in the 0.0 bumper stickers, the “Running Sucks” line of clothing, and the general huffiness of 5-across-walkers in the park who are always delighted to make an offensive runner stumble into a ditch in his or her attempt to get around them.

I don’t completely get why people feel the need to announce their disdain for running, but whatever floats their flabby-assed boats. And I’m sure it’s moderately gratifying to wear an anti-running frock into a gym where you most certainly will encounter at least a dozen or more runners who will be shocked (shocked, I say!) by your blouse. And isn’t instant gratification with a shock bonus what it’s all about these days?

Just think how great we could all feel by wearing our “I Don’t” shirts and marching into the exact places where we could offend and anger (awesome!) the most people!

Howzabout this frock for, say, a visit to McDonalds?


(I suggest ordering a small black coffee and then spending an hour sipping it while frowning sanctimoniously at people ordering food.)

This might be a nice tunic to wear into a blue-collar bar around midnight:

Or, conversely, a pleasant coverlet for waltzing into an AA meeting:

But definitely this snappy smock next time I go to the gym (or The Mall at Green Hills. Or Brentwood.)

Lunks vs. Cardio Freaks!

Posted: February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

skinny-guy-cartoon

Hey runners! While you’re amped up on coffee and before you go for a run to calm down, how about taking a gander at this terrific article about fitness! It’s part of the “Testosterone Nation” page on Facebook, so you know right from the start that that’s going to be some seriously spot-on advice stemming from thoughtful contemplation with nary a speck of Mister Man bias. Granted, it’s Facebook, but don’t be scared. I scrolled through and saw ZERO pictures of people’s lunches from last week or grave comments concerning their pedicures or the fact that OMGZ! It’s soooooooooo Cold!

Anyway, this dandy gem made its way over to the GSP at RunningAhead, and I don’t need to tell you that some of my fellow chicken-boned wrist runners found their hackles ruffled after reading it and were simply not amused. Not. Amused. (I just wanted to do the separate word thing with periods here to annoy myself. I hate it. Hate. It.) So, I thought I’d go through some of the more fascinating points in this manly I WILL PUMP YOU UP! article for the sake of a lively debate.

Conditioning prepares you for battle. Cardio makes you really good at running slowly away. (By “conditioning,” the writer basically means picking up heavy shit and throwing it back down. By “cardio,” he apparently means distance running.) Well, thank God someone has warned me that training to run faster is not only going to make me run more slowly, but that it will ALSO fail me entirely when I suddenly and unexpectedly find myself in the Arena at the 81st Hunger Games next week. Somebody warn Peeta!!!

Conditioning makes a man look good naked. Cardio makes a man look good in lavender skinny jeans and not much else. And let’s face it, one of the primary concerns of Manly Dudes at the gym is what other guys look like naked.

Conditioning builds legs of steel. Cardio builds legs of an underfed seabird. I can’t really refute that, but I would like to point out that the common seagull or, say, the Double-Crested Cormorant or, quite frankly, any bird, possesses legs that are entirely unaffected by caloric intake. Their legs are void of shape, stick-like, covered in scales, and generally attached to fairly frightening feet. As I say, I can’t entirely argue that this is unlike most runners’ legs.

Conditioning gives you an upper body made of stone. Cardio gives you an upper body made of twigs and Jell-O. If your entire upper body is made of stone, that includes your brain, you lunkhead. HA HA HA! Anyway, Jell-O. Mmmmmmm. If possible, I’d like my upper body to be twigs and cherry Jell-O. Or watermelon if it’s available.

Conditioning is sex. Cardio is cuddling and a chick-flick. *psssst* Hey Squat Master…that moderately effeminate runner dude in lavender jeans who’s into cuddling and Steel Magnolias just stole your girlfriend! Alas. But now there’s more free time for you to hang in the locker room! (Pun intended, bitches.)

Conditioning is testosterone. Cardio is cortisol and estrogen. Now wait just a darn tootin’ minute there, chief. How can cardio be estrogen when anyone with half a brain (or an entire stone one) knows that running will make a woman’s uterus and her ovaries fall out within just a few short months of strapping running shoes on the ends of her underfed seabird legs?

Conditioning is pecs. Cardio is man-boobs. Okay, first you’re telling me that running will increase my estrogen production, and now you’re saying that it will create boobs? The fuck! 37 years of running FOR WHAT? I’ve totally been robbed. (As for running developing Moobs…Well, again, that’s hard to deny. Right, Thunder?)

Conditioning relieves anxiety, boosts all-day energy and fires up brain function. Cardio increases anxiety and cortisol. (Runners are only happy when they run. The rest of the time they’re assholes. True story.) Oh dear. I’ve always thought I was at the zenith of my assholiness about 5 miles into a tempo run. And now I find out that that is when I’ve been the happiest? My anxiety and cortisol is increasing even as I type! Nonetheless, thanks bunches for setting me straight Mr. Perf Pecs, and I’m sure you’re right as you sound both anxiety-free and totes full of fired-up brain functioning. True story.

True. Story.

1997.2 Miles!! DID IT!

Posted: January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

That’s right, bitches! I made it under 2000 miles this year. Staying under 2000 was a goal for 2013 and I just barely made it! It wasn’t easy either. On December 31st, I trundled on out to MonkeyVille fairly worried that I would miss my goal by maybe just a mile or 2. After all, I was on the 11.2 loop, and if I ran the entire 11.2, I would come up long by roughly 3.8 miles. I probably don’t have to tell all my fellow OCD runner types how stressed I was about missing my goal or just how doggone determined I was to nail it.

So how did I do it? Well, I don’t mind bragging about myself when it comes to major achievements like this, so I’ll reveal the ingenious and difficult plan I put in place. When I approached the infamous 9-Mile Hill, I broke into a cold sweat as I realized that if I continued in a running motion, and didn’t do everything within my power to change that motion, my goal would be perilously close to being shot all to hell.

So I focused. I did the math. I gathered all my reserves of willpower, and I stopped and… I WALKED! That’s right. I actually stopped running for nearly an entire mile and a half. That’s how fucking dedicated I was to doing what I said I would do back on December 31, 2012. I think I may have gotten a little choked up at that very moment with the overwhelming sense of just how awesome I am. I made a mental note to humble brag about it on Facebook.

Furthermore, (and, again, I don’t mind publicly patting myself on the back over this admirable tidbit) I cut the 11.2 short by taking a left and continuing to walk (WALK!) back to my car by the service road. So, in summary, in my final all-out effort to hit my year-end running goal, I both stopped running and cut the course. But wait! There’s more! I also logged the run as “The 11.2″ even though I made every conceivable effort to not actually run the 11.2.

Aren’t you impressed with my perseverance and dogged stubbornness?

It’s 4-Question Friday!

Posted: November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

why1

From time to time, important questions trouble me. Typically, I find that mulling over the complexities and serious components of these questions can alleviate some of the mental anguish that their mere existence inflicts upon my ragged brain. So, here we go with some very stern and important questions:

1) What the fuck does “Toys-r-Us” mean? Were the CEOs enjoying a mild hallucinogenic when they came up with this name? I mean, were they actually envisioning themselves as toys and, as a group, decided to announce that discovery in poor grammar and then use the whole atrocity as their company’s name? Further, after a hearty dose of crack, the board of directors apparently thought it would be a good idea to turn the “r” around backwards. And put quotations around it! Inside a star!

Anyway, this has troubled me for about 20 years. I can barely drive by Toys-“r”-Us without having an aneurysm.

toys-r-us
Way to go, crackheads!

2) Why are there so many freaks at my gym? (It occurs to me that I’m asking this as a long-standing member of my gym, but let’s not consider that.) Just this morning, I witnessed an old dude in leather pants doing seriously alarming squats, a woman dashing into the locker room to blow dry her armpits every 5 minutes for no apparent reason, and a trainer stomping around and clapping his hands and going, “WHOOOO! WHOOOO!” at his own reflection in the mirror. As I was leaving, a young man wearing heavy mascara did a triple cartwheel by me.

What’s going on here? Cheryl has, in vain, searched for a nearby mental hospital to account for the clientele at our gym. She’ll often insist that there must be a halfway house or rehab center in our neighborhood, but thus far, she hasn’t had any luck locating either.

3) How can something be “new and improved”? If it’s brand new, it can’t be improved. Hi Everyone! Look! It’s a brand new blog post, and it’s definitely an improvement over the way it was before I even wrote it. Doggone it all, it’s new and improved!

4) How is it possible to surprise or scare yourself in a dream? I mean, when you’re awake, your brain doesn’t just suddenly hurl a vivid image of your long-deceased grandfather wearing a plaid jumper at you. (I mean, my brain doesn’t. I can’t speak for some of you.) I know things are different when you’re asleep, but I still can’t grasp how you’re just going along in a dream all lah-lah-lah and doing something mundane-dreamy like eating a chair leg or running a 5K through Sears, and then all of a sudden: Boom! You round a corner and your cat is barreling toward you on huge wire legs in a lightning storm and singing a Captain and Tennille song.

Where does a mental image like that even come from? Shouldn’t there be some basis of memory or some degree of new and planned creation involved? What the hell is going on with our brains when we’re asleep, anyway? VERY disconcerting.

Well, that’s it for now, folks! Thanks for spending 10 regrettable minutes that you’ll never get back!

I Have a Blog!

Posted: November 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just a note to let you all (all 6 of you!!) know that I’m not dead.

After the Half Marion in South Dakota, I decided to give my lame-ass self a physical and mental break from OMG! RUNNING!!! for a couple of months…Or at least until I got over my injury, whichever came first. Luckily, my injury disappeared after I did something truly remarkable and revolutionary when it comes to running injuries: I took time off. I know most of you have never heard of this approach, and those who have heard of it get chills and lightheadedness just hearing the phrase, “time off.” Sometimes mention of “cross training” can create moderate fever and disorientation. I’m pretty sure speaking the words, “I didn’t run at all last week” can induce spontaneous diarrhea and Tourette Syndrome.

Anyway, prior to embarking on Not Running, I made a visit to a chiropractor who is supposedly well-known and respected for performing magical Active Release Therapy. I’m sure ART is real and probably effective for some people, but this individual kind of lightly prodded me for about 4 seconds and then commanded me to jog. Naturally, an injury that was about 2 months in the making didn’t just evaporate into the New Age Music air of his dimly-lit relaxation spa examination room. Nonetheless, he seemed shocked and appalled when I was still limping. Then he sternly asked me if there was a history of hip disease in my family (FFS!) and commanded me to get x-rays.

Are you kidding me? Ego much?

So, after panicking for a couple hours after leaving his office, the completely novel and curious notion of not running occurred to me. About 12 days later, I was strangely able to move my leg without wincing or even saying, “Well, shit.”. Within 2 weeks I could jog slowly. Bafflingly, two months later, I’m able to run like a normal person (well, normal for me) again! If anyone can explain this phenomenon, please contact me. I’m thinking this could be a real breakthrough discovery for running injuries.

In other news, the Run Bitches returned to the Rock and Road marathon Relay a couple weeks ago and….well, read all about it on Bitch Amy’s Blog. There are some stellar pictures to go along with it including this one:

photohands

Check out that frightening photo bomb child right in the middle. Zoom in and check out her expression! AAAGGGGH! Children of the Corn deluxe!

Looking ahead, The Run Bitches Race Series will be hosting The Beer Mile Before Monkey on November 22nd, the Friday before the Flying Monkey Marathon. We’re just about at our limit (15), but if you’re just really dying to slam 4 beers and run up and down an asinine hill just before dark on a Friday afternoon back on a road where I’ve seen groups of coyotes gathered, let me know. I’m pretty sure at least a few of the people who have signed up for this event will have some sad trumped-up excuse prepared once the Strohs hits the road. And for those of you who remain eternally devoted to my fashion tips when it comes to running apparel, I should mention that I will be running this beer mile in a watermelon pink running skirt that I have borrowed from my imaginary friend Bob out in the Bay Area. Thanks Bob!

Okay, that’s it for now.

The Bitch is back!

I Jogged a Half Marathon!!

Posted: August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized
The view for nearly 13.1 miles!

The view for nearly 13.1 miles!

I’ve really tried to feel sorry for myself, but in spite of my best efforts, I just can’t seem to get the classic old I Trained for A Million Miles, and Then Got Injured!! WAAHHHHH! mojo going. As you (whoever “you” are) may know, in my quest to qualify for Boston 2014, I managed to set a personal worst at one marathon, followed by going off course 4 months later at the next marathon. FFS. Yay running.

So, of course, I jumped right back into it, picked out a marathon that backed right up to Boston registration, and kept on maniacally hellbent on cranking out the long runs and intervals in summer heat. At this juncture, I’d like to share a pleasant and quaint little aphorism with those of you that I coach who may be reading this: “Do as I say, not as I do, Bitches!” I mean, seriously Tanya. Three marathons in 6 months? That pretty much goes against everything I would ever recommend, but the difference is that it was for ME. If I royally fuck myself up, I take some time off and have a few laughs. If I send someone else spiraling into, say, an acute strain of the Iliacus muscle, I feel like a large horse’s ass and lay awake at 3 a.m. reconsidering every bad thing I’ve done in my entire life and ultimately conclude how it was inevitable that I would one day shatter someone’s running dreams. This could then easily morph into major depression, complete with me waking up in a strange alley one morning, an empty half gallon jug of Ripple in shards beside me.

I mean, no pressure on anyone I coach to remain uninjured or anything.

Anyway, about 3 weeks before this final attempt marathon in South Dakota, I suddenly realized, with vague alarm, that I had been lifting my leg up with my hand whenever I went to push in the clutch while driving (yes, I drive a manual transmission…jealous?). Frighteningly, for at least a week, I hadn’t even really noticed I’d been doing this. Who doesn’t notice repeatedly picking up their own leg?! It was at this point that that vague and distant, yet disconcertingly familiar, voice whispered, “You’re injured, you pathetic old dumbfuck….” and naturally, I barreled right on through a final 20-miler.

Seven days before the marathon I was kind of walking around like Frankenstein and the idea of running 26.2 miles (even all downhill) was pretty much a laugh riot. Even so, I thought that I might be able to do it. There was bruising around my hip flexor muscles, but still…. So, I sent a message to someone whose opinion I respect and whose thought processes were probably a tad more realistic than mine since I was clearly insane, and I asked him if I should run the marathon. His response was concise: “You fool. Bag the race.”

*SIGH*

I’ll admit that I did have a couple days of swimming laps around the pity pool, but this gave way pretty suddenly to relief, elation, and excitement about getting to go jog a half marathon FOR FUN in a distant state through an indescribably awesome canyon at sunrise and all downhill. I felt a little guilty at first, because Cheryl and I were going all the way to South Effing Dakota so I could go for a BQ (flights into Rapid City’s postage stamp-sized airport are few and expensive), but Cheryl was in great shape and so excited about going for her second BQ in 6 months (bitch!!) that I got over it. Plus, this was also a short vacation in South Dakota: Prairies! Buffalo! Wall Drug! Scary-ass Badlands! Giant heads of past presidents carved into a mountainside! Refrigerator magnets of prairie dogs kissing each other for sale everywhere!

Bottom line: the run down the canyon was possibly one of my top 10 running experiences EVER. There has been a lot of racing focus, stressing, preparing, overworking, and angst connected to my running these past 5 or 6 years, and it felt kind of like exhaling for a change as I lined up with a few hundred women just before sunrise at about 5000 feet. The stars were still visible, but there was a slight glow behind one of the looming canyon walls when the starting gun went off at 6 a.m. The first 7 miles seemed more like being in a dream state than anything else as we passed waterfalls, rock formations, and sheer cliffs…all kind of half-lit in the pre-sunrise.

I’ll admit to giving in to some half-assed racing in the last few miles since I’d only been going along at about a 9-minute pace and had a lot of energy left, even if my left leg was not exactly working the way I wanted. So I became That Person who is all cheery and full of horrific “Almost there!” and “Way to Go!” announcements as I tore by a ton of chicks in the final mile. I kind of can’t stand people like that, but there you have it. I was feeling good, happy, and obnoxious. What can I say?

By virtue of being in a small race and being an old hag, I managed to win an age group award which was a nice sprinkle, anyway, on the large banana split of just enjoying running for running on a beautiful day in the middle of astounding natural beauty. The age group trophy was a ghastly bronze statue of a chick with a bad 80s haircut dramatically breaking a finish line tape. Bonus! After posing for a few overly exuberant shots with my trophy (I’m sorry! I couldn’t help it!), I wandered over to the creek and walked around barefoot in the icy water for a while thinking about how great running can be sometimes even when you, and everyone around you who’s a runner, think it should be the worst. I thought about how I was elated, not disappointed. It occurred to me that it’s only running.

These deep thoughts were interrupted by my noticing a Free Margaritas! stand over near the finish line. Envision my eyeballs rapidly extending out on eyestalks and swiveling abruptly toward the margarita stand, and you will have some idea of how my focus suddenly shifted. I still had about 45 minutes to kill until Cheryl should be coming in and so at 9 a.m., hello Happy Hour!

This was Cheryl’s first marathon running alone, and her training had not been nearly as intensive as it had been before Birmingham, so I honestly had some doubts about her running under 3:55 again. And this time would be a real test of her mind and focus and her ability to push herself alone when it got hard—all things that are exceedingly difficult for a new marathoner to do. Around 3:45, I began to get that pre-race nervousness and started pacing around the finish line, gripping my wretched trophy in one hand and my 3rd margarita (don’t judge me) in the other.

And I’ll be go to hell if Cheryl didn’t come blasting around the corner and over the bridge at 3:47. Looking fresh! Feet off the ground! Smiling!!! BITCH!

And so ends the Quest for BQ Saga of 2013. We’ll be in Boston next April, and I’m sure it will be a little bittersweet being a spectator this time instead of running. But knowing the experience that Cheryl has in store for her makes the anticipation pretty freaking supersweet, too.

Yay running!

This is my brain.

This is my brain.

This is my brain on a run. (My expression, in general, too.)

This is my brain on a run. (My expression, in general, too.)

Every once in a while, when I accidentally for-who-knows-what-reason mention at a cocktail party that I just went for an easy 8-mile run, someone might stare at me blankly for a moment with just a hint of ire, and then ask huffily, “What do you think about for all those hours?” (“All those hours”! Laughter!!) I typically reply that I simply have no idea, that running is a form of meditative cleansing of the thought processes, a welcome infusion of tabula rasa, if you will, into the otherwise chaotic perplexity of the… Well, at this point, as you might imagine, the person has typically either nodded off or numbly ambled away in search of an IV connected to a vat of gin.

It’s pleasantly pompous to tell ourselves that our brains are refreshingly blank during a run, but let’s face it: Our brains swell up to three times their normal size during our joggettes. Fairly simple and innocuous topics suddenly multiply madcap fashion into endless threads and mazes of utterly useless and pointless and, more often than not, disgusting ponderings. When running with others, we often find ourselves revealing extreme TMI tidbits (admit it!) that we suddenly feel compelled to explore beyond all reason. This, in turn, gives way to entirely new universes of questionable topics that you and your running pals are super eager to delve into.

Oh, it starts blandly enough. For example, just last weekend, I was on a run with The Bitches when Cheryl cheerfully mentioned that the next day was her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Since this was only a few miles into the run and nobody’s brain had transmogrified yet, everyone was all, “Sweet!” and “Well, bless their hearts,” and “My goodness. Half a century!” And yet somehow, somehow, that kernel of wholesomeness slowly disintegrated and then rebuilt into progressively alarming topics.

By Nine Mile Hill we were taking a group poll on who had ever accidentally walked in on their parents having sex. Cresting the church steeple view ridge, there was a brief debate on whether a water bottle might be used as something of a portable bidet if one were to find one’s self needing to poop on the run sans toilet paper. As we wound down from Luke Lea Heights in the pristine balminess of an early Tennessee morning, we gravely considered complex myths about male genitals. Not far from the finish we were on to a truly delightful subject that, now in my shrunken brain state, I really feel unable to broach in any way that would reasonably account for why in God’s name we were discussing it in the first place.

By the time Cheryl and I got back to my car, I had to walk around in a daze and drink water for a while in order to let my cranium return to a size compact enough to get it through my car door.

Then again, alone on a run yesterday morning, my brain blew up to frightful proportions. Although my pea brain initially considered only innocent, boring, and one-dimensional topics, things quickly spiraled out of control into a panorama of cerebral shenanigans several miles in.

At mile 5, what started as a vague and truly dull thought about paying for Pandora so I wouldn’t get interrupted by ads (*zzzzzzzz* fruit fly brain!!) led me to think about an email from my brother explaining how he had secretly added Parliament Funkadelic Music as a station to our 80-year-old mother’s Pandora stations when he was over at her house recently and wondering if it would come back to haunt him. From there, I envisioned my poor mother hosting a terribly stuffy and stilted dinner party, complete with jackasses like me using phrases like tabula rasa and everyone sipping pomegranate spritzers with their pinkies extended and so on. Then, a lull in the conversation as yet another Diana Krall tune ends, and then… WE WANT THE FUNK! GIVE UP THE FUNK! GONNA TURN THIS MOTHER OOOOOUUUT!!!

As my frontal lobe began shading my eyes , I considered how in our teens, my brother’s record collection, in addition to Parliament, included Procol Harum, Jimi Hendrix, and Boston while I had ABBA, Bay City Rollers, and everything by The Captain and Tennille. Everything! Why was my brother cool, and why was I such an unabashed dork? With a cool shiver of horror at mile 6, I realized I still know all the words to “Muskrat Love.” Muskrat Suzy, Muskrat Sam! Do the jitterbug down in Muskrat Land!!. What was wrong with the person who wrote that fucking song? What the fuck is wrong with me? And why are those lyrics completely available in my brain 40 years later, while I have nary a droplet of recollection of whether or not I bought toilet paper at Costco only yesterday?

By mile 7, I was considering the complexity of stocking those mile-high shelves at Costco and whether they use cherry pickers or some other form of heavy machinery that lifts and separates the pallets. “Lifts and separates” brought to mind bra commercials from the 70s which, by mile 8, dragged me headlong into memories of my first bra (in the 70s. shut up.) which was really more of a flat piece of cloth with some tragic darts sewn in for effect—-a “training bra,” because learning to wear a bra is a terrifically draining and daunting task. One must be painstakingly trained to clasp two hooks, slip two straps over the arms, and position two fabric cones over one’s hooters. It’s complicated!!

And there you have it. From paying for Pandora to training bras in a tidy 8.5 miles.

I nearly always feel mentally relaxed after a run, and it now occurs to me that it’s not because I clear my head; it’s because I jam-pack it with every obscure detail and memory imaginable and tax it to hell and back. Likewise, I feel physically relaxed after a run, not because I’ve just relaxed, but because I’ve just gone out and flailed around like an insane woman in 90 degrees for over an hour.

At the moment, of course, my brain is back to the size of a piece of Chiclets gum, so I’m not even sure if that theory makes sense. I’ll consider it on my next run around mile 5 and let you know.