Reasons to get out of bed…

Posts tagged ‘New England’

Snow Day!

So… we got a little snow here outside of Boston this past weekend:

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Specifically we got around 2 and a half feet (it’s hard to tell exactly because there was a lot of wind and thus, lots of snow drifts).

It was actually really nice! My wonderful boyfriend and I both worked from home on Friday which was a good thing because the roads were all closed at 4 pm on Friday. Or Governor declared a driving ban on all roads from 4 pm on Friday to 4 pm on Saturday (or so I’ve been told… I’m not 100% sure on the end time because T and I couldn’t care less). If you were found driving during that time you could receive a ticket up to $500 and/or up to a year in jail. The reasoning being that even minor accidents can take away the valuable resources that are first responders. Emergency personnel dealing with a fender-bender can’t also be dealing with a major accident where someone is desperately hanging on to life. This type of ban hasn’t been declared in MA since 1978. Of course the following people were exempt: emergency personnel, law enforcement, utility workers, medical professionals, and the media.

I think it’s a great idea. Yes, we all live in New England and we all know how to drive in snow, but that doesn’t mean we SHOULD!

T and I took it as a message: enjoy the weekend! All of our busy-person plans were cancelled and happily replaced with days of snuggling on the couch (usually together with the addition of at least one of our cats), watching Netflix movies, or reading books. We also spent a bunch of time cooking food in case we lost power. We never lost power (yay!), so all the extra lasagna has made its way into the freezer.

For some reason this storm was named Nemo. That meant we had to watch Finding Nemo! I love this movie, I’ve probably seen it 25 times. I whole-heartedly recommend it if you’ve never seen it before.

Eventually on Sunday, we shoveled ourselves out. By “we,” I mean T did it… the doctor said I can’t shovel, but I helped clean off the cars!

It was a really great weekend of forced relaxation and bonding, even if it did drive the cats a little nutty… At one point, my little peanut tried to shovel her way out the back door with her paw, all it did was make a pile of snow on her back feet. She was less than pleased…

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Shopping Locally

(I thought I posted this 2 weeks ago… oops! Sorry!)

Let me start by saying that I love online shopping. It’s so easy and convenient! My boss jokes that I should own stock in Amazon.com considering how much I love it (have you used their wishlist feature? I love it! I wish everyone I know had a public wishlist – it’s like a registry for life! If someone has a birthday coming up, I’d way rather get a gift they need/want than something random that I may love but they may hate… or already own!)

However, a local radio station played a PSA around Thanksgiving that really resonated with me and I thought I would share it. It was advocating for the idea of shopping locally and how valuable that can be for a local economy.

I think that’s a really common and basic concept, that shopping at local boutiques and shops legitimately help your neighbors. In my city, most of those local shops close before 6 pm (I get out of work at 6 pm), have no parking, and are so beyond my budget that it’s laughable. However, I don’t know that for certain… because they are inconvenient for me, I have never explored them. But I am determined to try this year. Who knows, I might find something really cool that I can actually afford!

Shop small

Something else the PSA said that I had never thought about was gifting certificates to local restaurants and pizza places. I don’t usually give gift certificates because they are no fun to unwrap… but I love locally owned places. They often are amazingly yummy with great ambiance. If you live in the New England area, I would recommend you check out the Phantom Gourmet‘s website – it can help you find new places to try or give you more information. It’s also helpful if you’re trying to find a place to meet someone in an area you don’t typically visit (ie you’re meeting a friend who lives far away at a place equidistant between you…)

difference in community

Finally, the radio station pointed out that even large chains can help your local economy. Physically shopping at the store is even helpful because that store employs the people in your neighborhood. If they have customers, they need employees, and those people are part of your local community. As opposed to buying something online, where the money goes to a warehouse who knows where… Buying online will help you employ people outside of your community…

The point the radio station was trying to make was that online shopping can be easy but you’re shipping your money into other communities instead of keeping any of it in your own community. That thought really stuck with me.

Community Finances

I’m not trying to preach to you or tell you what to do. But I’m really going to make an effort this year to not buy anything online, to actually visit stores. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to look up prices and sales online, but my wallet will be opening in front of a cashier and not my monitor.

Happy holiday shopping!

The Color Run Recap

Ugh… I’m so torn on how to write about this run… do I complain for the next 500 words because it was terribly, TERRIBLY organized or do I try to find the bright spots? Am I completely mad at the organizers or am I also partially mad at myself?

Hmmm… I guess I’ll try to both find the bright spots and tell you why it was so terrible I can’t envision myself ever doing this run again (and tell you why my brother out-law is thinking about writing a letter of complaint to the organizers).

Back story: I run alone all the time. I’ve never gotten to run a race with anyone else. It’s lonely. So when I saw the Color Run (a run where they throw different colors at you every kilometer), it looked like so much fun I invited my boyfriend’s family to join me on a team. My boyfriend’s brother’s fiance, Sarah, is a runner. She was training for a marathon happening in April until she broke her foot over the winter, which obviously effed up her training. However, she’s now healed and she’s clearly a runner, so I knew I could talk her into a 5k. I also invited my boyfriend’s sister, Jen, because she keeps starting the Couch to 5k program. Jen also invited their aunt (by marriage), Jeannie, who is only 2 years older than Jen (Jeannie is 8 years older than me) and is super, super awesome. Jeannie is also a runner and regularly does races. Jen also signed her ten-year-old daughter up for the race.

I was super excited to do something fun with my boyfriend’s family! So excited that I bought decals from runnerdecals.com and made everyone a pint glass as a little gift.

Runner chick (about 1.5 inches tall) from RunnerDecals.com

Then, a few days before the race, Jeannie dropped out because the run is 3 hours from her house and her husband is super sick and she has small children.

The day before the race, Sarah dropped out because she was feeling swamped with work (and homework) and the race was about 2 hours from her house. At this point, I’m feeling really bummed. Jeannie and Sarah are the two that I fit in with best. I also learned a few days before the race that one of Jen’s friends would be joining us. By 5 o’clock on Friday, I was trying to reset my expectations, and change back to excited from disappointed.

Jen, at one point, told me that because I was the most fit, I could run my own race and they would see me at the end. But I told her that would defeat my goal. I was there to run with them, not alone, no matter the pace. We ended up walking 90% of the course. The walking was ok, but kind of boring. Oh well, right? So that’s why I might be a little mad at myself. I didn’t have a “runner’s high” when I reached the finish line. I wasn’t proud of myself for working it. It was just a leisurely stroll… that took us about an hour… (after running the 10k though, this 5k felt so short, in the good way) 

Ok, now here’s why I’m mad at the organizers: first things first, their website is rubbish. It doesn’t have any race details, just explanations of how they attack you with color, etc. They never told us the address of the race, just the town: Amesbury, MA. For awhile, the website called it “The Color Run – Boston” which is really misleading… Amesbury is about an hour north of Boston on the NH border. Eventually they changed it to “The Color Run – New England” which is much more accurate. The website never had the start time of the race – they e-mailed us that 2 days before the race.

Next: e-mails! They sent a lot of information in e-mails, but some of the information they only sent to the team captain and she was supposed to send it to the rest of us. Hey Color Run, why? You have our e-mail addresses, you could have sent it to everyone! Plus, she didn’t know which we got and which we didn’t, so she didn’t send them to us.

Our group (plus one spectator – 6-year-old nephew) before the color run – still in the parking lot. We were team Pixel Pixies – Jen made us some really cool wings to wear.

My main complaint: traffic and parking! In many of the e-mails, they told us that “a lot of people” would be attending this race, but never said how many. They just warned us that we should carpool. They should have said what “a lot” meant. 2,000 runners? 20,000 runners?

We also weren’t allowed to park at the race (which wasn’t a loop – the finish line was legitimately 3.1 miles away from the starting line). We were assigned to a parking lot 7 miles  (and 3 highway exits) from the finish line. There was another parking lot 12 miles away from the starting line. School buses would drive us from the parking lots to the start (and from the finish back to the lots).

The race was scheduled to start at 10 am (with waves until 10:45). At 9 am, we were one mile from the parking lot. At 10:30 we arrived at the parking lot! In our car, we all carpooled (as recommended), we were surrounded by hundreds of other people in their carpools. We jumped out of the car, hit the port-a-potties (EWWWW) and hopped on a bus. We made it to the starting line around 11 (and there was still at least one bus behind us).

Jen and her friend run through orange, the first kilometer marker

The finish line was visible from the highway and there were tons of rubberneckers trying to figure out what was happening there… woo congestion!

The course was beautiful. A couple of minor hills and it was mostly along a wide river. Simply lovely. And the color zones were fun! And being with T’s niece (and his 3-year-old nephew in a stroller) was great.

One downside, there was only one water stop (in the middle of a hot day in JULY)! Quality planning…

At the finish line

So we get to the finish line around noon and the line for the buses was at least 1/2 mile long and 10 people across. We ate lunch for an hour (we had to buy a Powerade because the water at the finish line tasted like pool water – chlorine and dirt!). Then we got in line ourselves… where we waited for 2 hours. We didn’t get to our car until a bit after 3 pm.

We were too late for the “color parties” so we made our own!

Getting to the race was stressful and congested. Then we were alone on the course. Once we got to the finish line we were stranded there. The buses couldn’t even get to and from because of accidents on the highway. It was so poorly organized! In other states, the Color Run might be ok, but having us park so far away and then be stranded was a poor idea. They simply couldn’t take care of the crowds.

Our entire group (with our spectators) waiting for the bus back to our car

Their tag line is “Happiest 5k on the Planet.” Unfortunately, I would disagree…

Finish at the 50 – Race Recap

The Finish at the 50 10k was last week (on the 3rd of July). It was a nice race but the weather was terrible. I was totally a back-of-the-pack runner but it was my first ever 10k. I’m a bit torn between feeling like “that was pathetic!” (grumpy and frowning) and “I have so much room for improvement!” (optimistic and looking forward to future [yet to be chosen] races).

The race was at 6 pm in the evening. I think all 6000 of the runners were hoping that the temps were going to drop a little by then. While it was in the high 80s during the day, weather.com was claiming the temp would drop to the mid 70s. I’m pretty sure it didn’t and it was probably mid 80s by the time of the race. Plus, the humidity was supposed to drop to about 50% by the start of the race (which is pretty low for New England), but I think it remained around 80%.

It was BRUTAL! In addition, the time leading up to the start of the race was totally stressful; my wonderful boyfriend and I were trying to find my mother (so T and my mom could watch the race together), but she kept getting lost and stuck in the stadium. I guess they actually found one another right before the race started, but I never saw them together. I gave up on the search and just joined the lined up runners. T and my mom watched me cross the starting line, but I never saw them.

I never got my picture with Jerod Mayo, I’m going to assume I was too slow and he had already left. 😦 But I did get to see him as I crossed the starting line! At 6’1”, he was a lot shorter than I imagined. I don’t know why, but I always think of football players as 7 foot tall Titans. I was still super excited to see him though and I’m glad he donated his time to this.

Breakdown of my thoughts and missteps during the run:

  • My shoelace came untied in the first 1/5 of a mile, so lame!
  • I wish large groups of walkers wouldn’t seed themselves at an 8 minute pace, it’s a pain to run around them in the beginning of the race!
  • There was no 1 mile marker, but I started to walk somewhere between where I think the mile marker would have been and the actual 2 mile mark. I took a total of about 20 steps. That’s right, it was so hot I couldn’t even run 2 whole miles! Although by my second walked step, my thoughts revolved around how I thought I was going to pass out… and in reaction to that thought, I started running again… not even close to a sane thought, I know.
  • I walked through all of the water stops (about every mile), but ran the rest of the time.
  • After my cup of water at the 3rd mile, I thought about turning around and getting a second cup because I still felt dehydrated. I didn’t though, the thought of turning around was too weird during a race.
  • That led me to drink 2 cups of water at the 4 mile water station. That was stupid, I immediately felt like I was going to ralph on the sidewalk (luckily, I didn’t).
  • Some really awesome people created their own water station outside of their house. Unfortunately, it was like 5 houses away from the official 4 mile water stop, so not a ton of people went to them. However, that doesn’t take away from their awesomeness!
  • At about mile 4.25, some really awesome people were hosting something resembling a block party to watch all the runners, they also had their garden hoses hooked up with some sprayers and they were spraying water in a nice arc that covered half the street. We runners could decide to run on the “raining” side of the street or the dry side. I chose the wet side and got nicely misted. I seriously wanted to kiss those people! It instantly cooled me down and the rest of the run was much more pleasant.
  • I have decided that any spectator who accurately yells “less than a mile to go” is wonderful! I love that person every time!
  • A woman in front of me heard the cheer above and got so excited about it that she almost ran into a yield sign. The comedy was enjoyed by all (and she didn’t actually hit the sign, so all was good).
  • I got a side stitch with .25 miles to go (just I was running back into the stadium parking lot) I’ve never gotten a cramp while running before (that I can remember).
  • The end of the race involved running through the stadium’s underbelly (where the players do!), through the chute, through the inflated football helmet, and onto the field. I ran through the underbelly with a man who did a really great announcer impersonation. I learned this when he turned to his adult daughter (or very young girlfriend, I’m guessing daughter) and proclaimed “Announcing the New England Patriots.” First, he sounded spot on. Second, it was so cool that someone else was thinking that! That would totally be on the speakers if we were the real players, we were in the right spot. It totally brought a smile to my face. So thank you, mystery guy!
  • 60 yards before the finish line, I got to high-five my director of marketing (he also ran the race and was waiting for his daughter to finish)! This is the  first time I’ve ever seen someone I knew during a race! (besides my super awesome support team comprised of my boyfriend and parents)
  • This was the second race where I charged (sprinted to) the finish line! I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been holding back on the run or if the fartlek work is paying off, but it felt great!
  • Also, I wore the same shirt for this, my first 10k, that I wore for my first 5k. I don’t know why, but that thought makes me happy.
  • My race playlist was perfectly timed. The song that comes over the speakers after a touchdown (“This is Our House” by Bon Jovi) came on just as I was running onto the field!

All in all, my sweaty/overheated/pathetic effort is reflected in the numbers:

Place: 2713/2992 (Gross!) 
Division: 565/629
Gun time: 1:22:34
Net time: 1:15:07 (yep, it took over 7 minutes to get to the starting line – the 10k and 5k runners all started at the same place and time)
Pace: 12:06

There were no timers on the course (which I thought was a bummer considering how large this race was) and I don’t wear a watch, so I don’t know if my pace was better in the beginning and I petered out or if I was this slow the whole time.

Even with the heat and my poor performance, I still loved the race itself. It was a fun idea and a great location. Now I need to work on getting stronger and faster so that my next 10k will be better (and I won’t be in the back of the pack!)

I don’t have a lot of pictures because they wouldn’t let spectators on the field.

 

How I Found Running

Last weekend, I finally realized why and how I became a runner. I haven’t done much running all winter, but as soon as a nice day rolled around, I was out there again! And I think I finally realized why I find running so appealing despite the fact that I’m not athletic!

Here are things I already knew:

  • I’m pale… like blindingly pale. I shed tears of joy the first time I saw SPF 90 for sale in the grocery store (I know, everyone tells me that anything over SPF 30 doesn’t do anything more than SPF 30, and that may be true for normal people, but SPF 90 totally rocks when you’re clinically pale!) I have  never had a tan in my entire life… but I’m pretty familiar with sunburns! I’m that person on the beach wrapped in sheet for protection. Yep, that’s me, nerd city, sitting next to my friends with ancestors from closer to the equator, and they are tanning and enjoying the sun. Meanwhile, I’m usually afraid I smell like bacon: roasting, sizzling, and scorching. My point? You will never see me just laying in the sun…

    Do you hear a choir of angels singing? I do!

  • I don’t like to garden. Dirt under my nails just makes me unhappy. Plus, I chronically kill house plants. Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend is a total green thumb and rescues plants from me. Example: one year a sweet co-worker bought me a little poinsettia… on my desk, all the leaves fell off. I brought it home, and now, years later, it’s a ginormous bush thanks to T.
  • I’m not really outdoorsy –
  • Or coordinated! (team sports have never been a shining activity for me)

But last summer, I really wanted to find a way to enjoy being outside… and somehow running/walking came to mind. I live near a lovely running path… and I own sneakers…

And that’s how I found running. And really, I think I enjoy running because it’s a chance for me to be outdoors and in the shade! And I can run past bugs instead of being swarmed/bothered by them.

The weather in New England was crazy (unseasonably) nice last week and I got to run outside again. You may have noticed, if you’re a regular reader, that I’m not a serious runner. I don’t focus much on becoming a better runner, I just go out for the fun of being outside. I don’t own a fancy watch, in fact I don’t run with a watch at all. I don’t do intervals or focus on training (but I slightly envy people who do), I’ll occasionally do fartleks though (which means “speed play” in Swedish, and always makes me giggle like a second grade boy)… which just means I’ll run faster over the bridges because it seems like a good idea and I run by the Charles River so there are lots of little bridges over squishy terrain. I have never thought much about serious races. I will never be a marathon runner, in fact, I have never even thought a half marathon was in my future.

But I went out on Sunday with hours left of sunlight to just do what I felt like. The first 2 miles were rough, so I walked 1/4 of a mile afterwards, and the running after that felt much better, more natural. And I just kept going… I came home and mapped my walk. The first map said it was 13.25 miles! I wasn’t sure if I believed it, so I mapped it again. The second time said 10.4. Now I don’t know which to believe, but I’m still proud of myself. I’d like to think I ran a half marathon purely to enjoy a Sunday afternoon, but to be on the safe side, I think I should stick with the 10.4. Either way, I’m super proud of myself. I may be slow, but it turns out that I’m willing to at least “go the distance!”

Sadly though, because the leaves haven’t filled in yet, my face was rocking a pretty sweet sunburn (within the first mile). But, I had just bought a bunch of new songs on iTunes to add to my running playlist! My running playlist is now up to 2 1/2 hours and I listened to the entire list! I’m pretty psyched about those new songs!

I can’t wait for summer running!

A lovely thought, but my path is MUCH more tree-laden.

Identity: Confirmed!

Last weekend felt like it was very much about identity. I talked earlier about the moment that made me question my long-held view of myself. Here is the moment that reaffirmed another aspect of myself (I’m really sorry this post is sooo long). Plus, my dad called me a “superstar” after this moment, which was a nice bonus. My dad and I have a great relationship, so it’s not out of the ordinary for him to tell me he’s proud of me, but it’s still nice to hear.

Before I talk about the exact moment, I feel I should give you some background.

First, I like to call my father’s side of the family my “United Colors of Benetton” family, out of love. I’m going to give you the rationale in the quickest possible way. My father came from NYC and was raised Irish Catholic (or rather is Irish and was raised Catholic). He was the youngest of four children. I feel odd using their names so this is how I will refer to them: Sister #1 (oldest), Brother, Sister #2, Dad (youngest).

In the 1960s, Sister #1 married a black man (long before Heidi Klum and Seal) and produced my only Male Cousin.

I don’t know all of the details, but at some point she and her husband divorced. Sister #1 and Male Cousin moved to Canada. In Canada, Sister #1 came out of the closet as a lesbian, and now has a partner of about 30 years. Her partner is Jewish. About 15 years ago (and 10 years ago), they adopted 2 girls from China (they adopted them separately with a 5 year gap between the adoptions). My Canadian cousins speak 4 languages: English, French, Cantonese (I could be wrong though, it might be Mandarin), and American Sign Language (Sister #1 works as an ASL translator, so the girls know it, too). The eldest of the two had Chinese dragons at her Bat Mitzvah. How cool is that?!

Brother, moved to Germany when he joined the air force in the late 1960s and has never moved back to the states, although he visits often. He married a sweet woman from Virginia who is afraid to fly, but has all the gentility you’d expect from a southern woman. They never had any children.

Sister #2 moved to San Fransisco in the 1970s. She dances to the beat of her own drummer. To give you an idea of her level of awesome: her favorite color is Chartreuse, for her 50th birthday she died her hair pink (not old lady pink, but PINK), for her 60th birthday she died her hair leopard print (she described it as “time-consuming”). About 20 years ago, she joined the “Big Brother/Big Sister” program. Her “little sister” was pregnant at the age of 16 when they first met. I’m going to say that the “little sister” was not prepared to be a mother. My aunt became the child’s legal guardian when the daughter had to go to summer school for kindergarten because she missed too many days of school (her mom couldn’t get her there). And she’s been my cousin (as far as I’m concerned) ever since. I feel the need to reference: she’s in college now, so missing too much kindergarten isn’t the end of the world. She’s African-American (just so you get the full picture of the diverse family, otherwise, I couldn’t care less).

So we’re a pretty good mix, I would say. The benefit of being from this type of family is that you learn you’re not allowed to hate anyone from any walk of life because they are most likely in your family! We’ve got it all: different races, different countries, different sexuality, different religions, and a wide variety of view points! It’s a great way to see things.

So, experience #2 that colors my upcoming story: George Carlin! One of the best gifts my boyfriend has ever given me was a ticket to see George Carlin live (during his final tour as it turned out). A few minutes after he went on stage, some jerk started to heckle the venerable George Carlin… George invited anyone in that man’s row “to stab him.” George’s reasoning was that the heckler thought that because he paid for his ticket, he had the right to say anything he wanted. However, the rest of us paid for our tickets to hear George say anything HE wanted. The heckler’s ticket did not negate the rest of our tickets. The heckler promptly shut the f*** up. And George was fabulous!

Finally, I was raised by hippies (who were all about LOVE). I don’t tend to join in to the negative chants at the football games. I’m not the drunk girl walking in, shouting about how a certain opponent performs fellatio if you catch my drift. If  I had a stadium of 65,000 people chanting that I sucked, I’d cry. But I’m totally down with the positive stuff about my own team. So yes, I will always join in a spirited chant of  “Go Pats! Go Pats! Go Pats!”

So, the story! Finally! On Saturday, I was in Gillette Stadium at the Patriot’s Game (vs the Denver Broncos) with my father, brother, and one of my dad’s friends. Oh and 65,000 other people. My father is a season ticket holder and this ticket was a Christmas gift to my brother and I. As a note, the person who owns the seats behind my father’s always sells his, we have no idea who he is, but there are always fans of the opponent behind us. Most of the time, they are nice to us, and we are nice to them. The people behind us this time were a group of four; two couples. One couple were Pats fans, one couple were Broncos fans, but all friends. The ladies were nice, and the men were DRUNK.

If you’re not a football fan, let me tell you how the game went: it was a bit of a blow out and Pats fans were happy. It was also 20 degrees during the game, with the wind chill factor, it felt like 9 degrees. I was wearing 4 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, and have hand and foot warmers. I know how to dress for cold weather!

At half time, the ladies behind us left because of the cold. And that was when their men started showing how much alcohol they had been enjoying. 25% of what was coming out of their mouths was the N word. Another 25% were synonyms to the N word. And I’m listening to this s#!t getting pissed. Normally at football games, they announce that if anyone is acting inappropriately, you can anonymously report them via text. However, they never made that announcement on Saturday…

So I turn around and politely ask them to stop it because “racist stuff isn’t cool.” To which, the Pats fan lets me know that “racist stuff is never cool, that’s why it’s racist.” And they’ll “try to stop, but it’s just coming out, and what can [they] do?” He also asks how I feel about religious stuff. Now when he says that, I think that he means he wants to make fun of Tim Tebow for being Christian. And my thought was “really? You want to make fun of the dominant ruling class in the country? You’re going to get punched in the face so fast!” I tell him “whatever.”

That’s when they start yelling that Julian Edelman is a Jew.

They follow that up by using an F word that rhymes with maggot as EVERY OTHER WORD that comes out of their mouths!

I ask my brother if these guys realize that they are nut height to my fist. My brother (also raised by said hippies) says “you’re not going to punch them.” And he was right, I wouldn’t be able to punch them. I could probably only get one of them before bedlam would break out.

I could feel all of my muscles in my back getting tighter, my shoulders were getting closer to my ears as they tensed, and my hands were balled into fists. And I looked at my dad to the left and realized he was in the same stance. My brother to my right was clenching his jaw. And that’s when I realized, F those guys! I’d asked them to stop and they didn’t. And their ticket and their enjoyment did not negate my ticket and my enjoyment.

Off I stormed. I went to the top of our section and told the tiny, 75-year-old woman who checks out tickets to make sure we’re in the right spot (and not crashing). She says “Oh, I’ll have to get my supervisor, hold on.” Well, one of the 6 state cops nearby hears that and comes over. He’s JACKED! He authoritatively asks me what’s going on and now it’s a very different situation. I was confident with the little lady, I was nervous with the trooper: “Um… well… there are some guys being kind of racist.”

“Where?”

“Um, row 34”

He marches down to row 34. “Who are they?”

But he’s next to the row, so I, on a stair above him, have to lean onto him to see down the line. Finally I see the guys and point them out. Into the row rush 4 of the 6 cops. The other 2, stand a few stairs up, watching, in case anyone throws punches. I don’t know what to do with myself to get out of the way. I went back up the stairs to stand next to the little ticket taker.

The cops rush the guys up the stairs, so now I’m standing next to them! Ah! I rush back to my seat and the men get hauled off! Kicked out of the game!

I get back to my seat and everyone is gossiping about it. Now I feel guilty, a little like a narc… or even a bully myself.

My dad turns to me “Whoa, I wonder what happened!”

I happened. They were bugging me.”

You got them kicked out?”

“Yeah, shhhhh!”

My dad gets all proud and starts telling everyone and I get really embarrassed and nervous and try to quiet him down.

He pointed out to me that everyone around us was glad they were gone. Those jerks were ticking everyone off.

My brother pointed out that the guys to the left of the jerks were probably really glad they were gone. I’m not sure where they their ancestors were from and I think there is a lot of pride tied to one’s heritage, so I don’t want to guess incorrectly, but I do know that the ancestors of those guys were from closer to the equator than my Irish ancestors. They were probably glad the racists were gone.

I got people kicked out of the game! And I reaffirmed to myself that it’s true, I DON’T tolerate hateful, racist behavior.

Taken before the drama

My Feelings on the “Couch to 5k”

I mentioned the Couch to 5k training program in my last post and I thought I would devote an entire post to the idea.

I’m actually a very big fan of the program and I certainly recommend it to others (including my best friend, she lives half way across the country – otherwise I would run with her on her new [future] quest to be a runner this summer).

I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t actually finish the Couch to 5k program… well I sort of did because I completed two 5k races last year. Quick recap: started the program, ran 5 weeks (out of 9), got busy with life and stopped. Started again and ran another 4 weeks (weeks 4 -7), got busy with life and stopped. THEN it got nice out! The reason I stopped the Couch to 5k program was because I stopped running on a treadmill and started running outside, but I used the same training and philosophy of the program. I built up slowly and kicked some 5k butt!

A little past the finish line (and off to the side). Trying to celebrate, but also trying to drink water.

And in the process, I learned to love running.

That’s the main reason that I recommend it to other people and think it’s a great idea! There are two other reasons that explain why I think it’s a good program, so let me expand. To do that, I’m going to quote from a book I love so much I actually handed it out as gifts this holiday season (and I would recommend it to anyone!): The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik.

1) It’s ok to start slowly:

“The reason many people (non-runners) say [running] is painful is because they go out for their first run and virtually sprint for as long as they can – which isn’t very long – with their chest heaving, their tongues lolling, their muscles straining until finally they can go no further. They stop and pant, hands on their hips, wobbly kneed. ‘I – gasp – hate – gasp – running.’ they say. So would I if I ran like that every day. (page 4)” 

Running isn’t about going as fast as you can for as long as you can! Running can be enjoyable. I like that the Couch to 5k creates small goals and gives new runners the permission to walk. (Because they may not otherwise give themselves that permission but should!)

2) The treadmill BLOWS! (I’m in New England where it’s cold and dark… the treadmill is important)

“The first 10 minutes go by pretty quickly, but each minute after that can feel like an hour if you don’t figure out some distraction…. It’s a matter of perception, according to exercise physiologist and runner Ken Sparks, who does all his speed training on the treadmill. Nothing is moving around you; your brain notices that you’re working really hard to go nowhere. (page 252)”

Ms. Kowalchik recommends mixing up your workouts: vary your speed or incline based on music or when commercials are on if you’re watching TV. Or just vary speed and incline to make your workout feel like a game. Plus then you’re only focusing on short increments of time. I’ll talk about this more in another post…

However, the C25k program follows that in the early weeks by mixing up how long you walk vs run.

So if you’re new to running, good luck! Have faith in yourself! Don’t be afraid to take it “easy” – you don’t have to sprint the whole time! And make it fun if you can!

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