Running is Stupid and Other True Things

stupid_runningThe email came today, the one with the link to the race photos I will not be buying.

Instead I’ll take the image I have in my head of me running. Thank you. There I am, all svelte and speedy, with my toned arms, and shorts that wouldn’t even think about bunching up in my crotch.

In reality, there could be a race photographer every 100 feet of the course, and I could be paced by a team of my own, personal make-up and hair artists, and someone who Photoshops like a boss, and still no one will ever capture the me on film that’s the same as the me in my head. (more…)

If we’re lucky, there’ll also be bears

Yellowstone -2311We’re going to be schlepping the family to Yellowstone this summer, and as you can probably guess, I’m just beside myself with ambivalence.

It’s time, though. On average, about three out of four exchange students will ask to see Yellowstone, and we haven’t even taken our own kids to see this American family vacation icon. I’ve always insisted it’s too far, too expensive. And who wants to sit in a hot car stuffed with crabby kids, driving through a big expanse of nothing on the off chance you’ll see a buffalo in the distance?

I mean, we got all kinds of scenery – trees and everything – right here. And a city zoo. I don’t know if they have buffalo, but I’m sure they have goats and stuff. And guess what? There’s concessions. And no drive. Bam.

This year, though, I’m relenting. I need to stop being such a stick in the mud. (more…)

Musings and Mind Games: A Runner’s Race Day Countdown

skullTomorrow is the Race to Robie Creek, the self-proclaimed toughest race in the northwest.

It’s not so bad. We’ve done it. It’s actually quite a pleasant ascent through a rocky canyon, up a dirt road and over a mountain and back down to a little valley where nudists and tree-huggers and hillbillies live in harmony.

True, the rocks of that little canyon direct heat like a suntan reflector cone right down on that dusty road and the hoards of people ascending more than two thousand feet over 8 miles to the summit. That’s not so pleasant.

Then there’s wildlife. Not the gentle, hoofed kind, either. The kind that coil behind a rock or stalk you from a cliff face. My strategy for avoiding wildlife is that slow thing I do. Think about it. One of little known dangers of being a faster runner is the higher likelihood of getting picked off by carnivores. Because, you know, you’re first.

It does too make sense. (more…)

Gwyneth and I have more in common than I thought

Healthy groceriesLast week, Hollywood icon and occasional social activist Gwyneth Paltrow took on Mario Batali’s #FoodBankNYCChallenge to live on a food stamp budget of $29 for one week.

For me, this conjures an image of the statuesque starlet hauling her sustainably produced, fair trade, organic canvas shopping totes down to Whole Foods for nothing more than a photo op. Apologies to Gwyneth and her fans, but she is, after all, the woman whose Holiday Gift Guide did once famously include a nearly $1,000 cashmere throw blanket. Everyman, she is not, nor will ever be.

Gwyneth tweeted a photo of her weekly food purchase on a $29 budget. It took all of about 29 seconds for the ridicule to start.

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What was the thing with sports, again?

swimmers

Go that way. Fast. Stay afloat.

There have been times when the worry that I have screwed up one of my kids keeps me up at night.

Then one of them will say or do something to make me realize (a) any mom guilt I carry around is probably unwarranted, because (b) everyone I’ve raised likely stopped paying attention to me by about kindergarten anyway.

Take the thing with sports. Since the kids were enough to walk, we’ve had them in one sport or another, season after season. It’s not that either of us is particularly athletic. And if we ever wondered whether anybody around here harbored some latent talent that would one day fund college, that ceased to be a question the minute somebody lobbed a ball into his own team’s net, or became so engrossed in conversation he forgot he was in the game. (more…)

They really only want us to be happy

phone_purseA friend shared an article recently on the psychology of happiness; how experiences matter more to our long-term joy than material items.

Good thing this wasn’t one of those list articles. You know: 17 ways I’d know happiness if it hit me like a city bus. Or a quiz to determine how much of a hipster/vegan/gangsta/foodie, I am. I’d have forgotten it by now. And then we’d have no blog.

This article probably stood out because it was the first thing I read on my newly upgraded phone that is roughly the size of a clutch purse.

No, it wasn’t lost on me that I was reading an article about experiences mattering more than material items on the very gadget for which I’d probably be ignoring my family all weekend. (more…)

I clearly have shirt issues

realrunners2

Not an example of a run with a “unisex” shirt. I just like the goofball selfie attempt.

As awesome as a well-organized run event can be, there’s one little thing that bums me out almost every time. I’ll give you one guess.

No I won’t. It’s the damn t-shirt.

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I ran in an event that was new to the area. We steeled ourselves to be patient. By which I mean we did our normal bitching and moaning getting up and ready, and then sank into silence on the ride to the park, lost in our respective head games until we got to the starting line.

Usually, new events take a couple of years to shake out the kinks. Kinks come with the territory, considering the complexity of organizing a 13.1-mile event that sprawls over congested city streets and public pathways where clever adolescents like to rearrange mile markers and directional signs. (more…)

The totally tall tail of a traitorous tee

Not the shirt in question, but totally apropos

Not the traitorous tee in question, but still apropos

One afternoon last week I was in a rush to get to a meeting. I’d been wearing workout clothes all day, trying to summon the motivation to exercise. By the time I realized that sort of thing wasn’t going to spontaneously happen, I had just enough time to shower and dress.

The two meetings I had that afternoon would be casual-ish, one in a stuffy conference room, and the next in a basement I knew to be chilly. I needed layers.

I pawed through a drawer and pulled out a top I must have forgotten from last summer. It would be perfect with the scarf I’d gotten for Christmas, and a cardigan I could pull on for the chilly basement room.

How had I forgotten this shirt? It was a nice fit, the kind of finishing at the neckline to look a little less t-shirty, fitted enough to look tidy without clinging to my muffin top.

Score. Why had this cute thing been shoved all the way to the back of the drawer? (more…)

No, YOU take a number

DMVThis was the week. I couldn’t put Jack off any longer with the whole driver’s license thing.

It was spring break, so we’d finally be available during the window that the DMV is open for testing. Jack had fulfilled the long list of requirements I had for chauffeuring him to that end of town – very near the Seventh Circle of Hell, otherwise known as The Mall.

I rather thought a trip to that end of town was going to be the worst part about the whole afternoon.

This is the part where you chuckle nervously about my naiveté.  (more…)

Here’s the thing about spring break

Vans Warped Tour - Dallas, TexasIt was about this time last year when I mentioned to our exchange student, Guillermo, that we’d be taking a trip to Argentina next spring and hoped to visit his family.

Ever since I’d left Mike and the kids for a month-long exchange to Buenos Aires, exactly ten years ago, I’ve been itching to go back and experience that very vibrant, exciting part of the world with my family. I think if one could combine New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle into one city where everyone switches randomly from speaking Spanish to Italian to German, it would be a little like Buenos Aires.

Well, here it is spring break, 2015, and airline tickets to Argentina have yet to magically materialize.

There are several reasons for this, the biggest being the fact that it’s freaking expensive to fly an entire family to Argentina.

(more…)