Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bye-Bye, Cankles?

Part 6 of My Triathlon Training Experience

Although I'm on the fence about actually registering for a triathlon, I have been serious about my training for the past 5+ weeks.  WEEKS. I know this is shocking to anyone who knows me.  I'd much rather spend any moment of free time on Facebook or online shopping volunteering and giving back to my community, but now I spend my time in the water, on a bike with a seat the size of a thimble, or dying running on a treadmill.

After devoting over a month of my life to sore muscles and ugly gym shorts, I would like to lodge a formal complaint against my body.  Despite hours and hours of swimming, biking, and running, my weight has remained remarkably stable.  This makes me want to scream and throw things while simultaneously eating my weight in cheeseburgers.  I really, truly, sincerely thought the scale would show me some love.

A friend of mine suggested that perhaps I've gained muscle, and we all know that's absurd muscle weighs more than fat.  I'd like to argue that my muscle is especially heavy, but that sounds ridiculous.

You know what else is ridiculous?  The fact that I sometimes exercise more than 7 hours in a week, and despite this I have not lost more than ONE pound.  Want to know something that is earth shattering? Occasionally, I have even exercised two times in one day.  Why hasn't Brian Williams mentioned this on the nightly news?  I mean seriously, people, this is breaking news.

I actually toyed with the idea that my scale was broken.   This led to a very scientific experiment where I placed various objects on the bathroom scale to determine the scale's accuracy.  Items included a pair of winter boots, a disgruntled cat, and a 10 year old boy.  Turns out there is nothing wrong with my darn scale.  There just seems to be something wrong with me.  As an aside, do not try to weigh a fat cat on a bathroom scale. They loathe the scale more than a woman who's been exercising an hour a day for the last 5 weeks only to learn she's not lost any weight!!!

This led to more reflection on what could possibly be wrong with me.   Husband, shush.  This is a rhetorical question. 

As I was contemplating the likelihood of all of my back fat miraculously relocating to my breasts, my socks fell down.  I pulled them up and thought about the odds of my butt fat morphing into rock solid gluteus maximus.  My socks fell down again.  I pulled up my socks and went back to daydreaming about my arm flab tightening into solid Kelly Ripa arms.  My darn socks fell down again.  This time I took the socks off and simultaneously had an epiphany.

Back fat, butt fat, arm fat.  It's all still there, of course.

BUT, my ankles are looking very svelte.

Yep, I have some of the trimmest ankles out there.  Over five full weeks of training, and I've seemingly managed to lose one pound of fat from my ankles. You've got to start somewhere, right?

Bye-bye, cankles!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dear Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

This is just a friendly little note to clarify a few things I'm sure you've been wondering.

Those lights hanging across the front of our house and over our garage look very similar to our Christmas lights, but they aren't. That would be ridiculous, right?  After all it is mid-February. What type of hillbilly would still have their Christmas lights up?  Not us.  Nope.

Those lights you see dangling brightly from our rooftop are now our Valentine Day lights. Yep.  That's what those lights are. For sure!

Yeah, Valentine's Day just passed.  I'm sure my husband has every intention of taking them down soon.  Not like us to leave decorations up year round.  No way. We aren't those types of unorganized, scattered, people.

My hunch is we will probably take our Valentine Day lights down right around the same time we put our St. Patrick Day lights up.  It's kind of weird because you may mistake those for our Christmas lights, too.  They aren't. Really.

We are just very lazy festive.  We love to celebrate lots of holidays with festive, green and red lights.  It's a new thing.  I'm sure HGTV will have a show about it soon. We are just sort of trend setters in the whole holiday light area. Yes, that's it. We are trend setters.

We are also trying to educate our children about property lines and privacy science.  Remember those Halloween pumpkins we let rot on our front porch right up until late December?  We did that on purpose. Yessiree!  We wanted our children to see what happens when four large pumpkins and a cartload of gourds rot over the course of several months. We value education. And what good times! We now have new appreciation for the vitality of fruit flies.

Festive, smart, inquisitive neighbors. That's what you have. Lucky you.

And lucky us! Not every neighbor would be so gracious as to marvel over our eccentric holiday decorations and say nothing.


Your Eccentric Next Door Neighbors

PS.:  Our dog did poop in your yard, but we cleaned it up. We really did!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I've Been Spotted!

Part 5 of My Triathlon Training Experience

The only thing worse than being out of shape and exercising is to be spotted in a swimsuit while you're out of shape and exercising.

I want to believe that when I put on my 50's style swimsuit, don my albino white swim cap and goggles that I become invisible or at least unrecognizable.   I want to believe my painfully tight, bright white swim cap has magical powers like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. Once I have it on, no one can see me.

Well, that delusional belief was nipped in the bud just the other day at the pool.

I was again at the pool with my fellow wanna-be triathlete friends.  I was looking all faux athletic in my mind's eye.  I exited the locker room and entered pool area feeling rather excited about being finished exercising the laps that awaited me.

Who do I run into?

Answer:  Two of the most beautiful people on the planet who are, of course, not in swimwear.

These people are so classically beautiful they could be on television.   They have a rather HGTV look about them.  Perfect teeth, perfect hair, and perfect BMIs.  I enjoy their company when I am in normal clothes and not half naked.

Sadly, they recognize me right away.  So much for my magical thinking.  I made some self-deprecating jokes about myself and tried to laugh.  Shrieking in horror and running back into the locker room would have drawn stares from other people, and I was trying to act all cool and triathlony.

It wasn't until we parted ways that I reflected on and recognized the look on their faces while we were speaking.  Their perfectly constructed faces had that same look I give my children when I see them doing something disgustingly ridiculous.

Like the other night when there was a lull in the dinner conversation, I asked the kids to tell me something interesting.  Without missing a beat, both children began to discuss their latest bowel movements including color, shape, size, and odor.  They were not trying to be gross.  They just both happened to experience very interesting bowel movements.

I gave my children that look that says, "I am totally grossed out and yet perversely amused."

This is the same reaction people have when they see me in my swim attire.  Seeing me in my swimwear is as disgusting as talking about large, stinky poop while at the dinner table.

It's amazing I've not quit yet!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Running Riot

(Part 4 of My Triathlon Training Experience)

It's just you. You, your legs, your lungs, and your attitude. That's running broken down to its simplistic form.  It's not a team sport, and it's not dependent on a piece of equipment like a bike, racket, or bat.

For me the hardest part about running is the whole moving forward quickly part. You know, the running part.  Seriously.

I like the getting ready to run part. I love my new running shoes.  I love the chit chat the happens with peers before running.  I enjoy the stretching part.  I absolutely love the end when I can stop running.  I don't want to brag, but I am really quite good at stopping.

It's just that humungous part in the middle called "running" that's so darn tricky for me.

It starts out well for the first several miles yards.  I mean really, I can totally nail the first 9 yards. After that my body systematically begins an uprising against my efforts to run.

This uprising begins in my lungs.

My lungs are smoke-free and generally good sports about things. They really don't mind a fast walk from the couch to the refrigerator. If I run up the stairs to get a snack, they are generally cool with that, too.  But after 25 yards of running towards nothing in particular, my lungs politely send a message to the rest of my body that they are uncomfortable.

My brain gets the message and tries to ignore it, but within another few yards my legs are all like, "What? What'd the lungs just say?"  I have very nosey legs who cannot mind their own business.

By then the lungs are annoyed by being ignored so they again send out another message.  It's usually something along the lines of, "Why are you doing this to us?  Please make it stop!"

My legs are like, "Yeah, we need to slow this party down.  No need to go this fast."

As soon as my legs start to slow, my brain begins to short circuit.  All sorts of ridiculous thoughts flood into my consciousness.

For starters, my brain says really nasty things about me when I'm running.  She is a bully and I do not like running with her.

She says, "You can't do this.  Why are you doing this? You suck!  Bacon. Bacon."

I should add that my brain loves bacon and she'll seize on any opportunity to encourage me to eat bacon.

Occasionally, I fight back mentally by saying, "I CAN do this! I CAN keep running."

My brain quickly fires back with, "Slow down.  When did you last have bacon?"

People, it's really hard to keep running with this kind of nonstop dialogue going in your head.

At this point, all I can hear are random words like "stop, bacon, slow, bacon, you hurt all over, eat more bacon!"

My lungs really hate the internal conflict so they naturally have only one recourse.  They burst into flames.

Now my lungs are burning, my legs are slowing, and my stomach is all, "Did somebody say bacon?"

When everything comes to a complete halt, I can look over my shoulder and am really proud of the 400 yards I managed to run without dying.

At this point the fire in my lungs is extinguished, my legs and brain no longer hate me, and I am reminded of a quote I recently saw about running.  I'm sorry I don't know who said it, but I can most certainly relate to it:

"The miracle isn't that I finished.  It is that I had the courage to start."

This moment of profound insight and reflection is, of course, short-lived because my stomach immediately interrupts with one clear demand.

It says, "I need bacon!"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spinning Class

(Part 3 of My Adventures in Death.  A.K.A: Training for a Triathlon)

If you've never participated in a spinning class then you shouldn't start now don't know what you're missing.

I'll describe spinning to you as if it were a 4th grade diorama project.  I'm doing this because I am no longer capable of thinking straight.  All of my blood has pulled to my thighs which currently feel like they are on fire. Does anyone smell smoke? This rush of blood to my flaming thighs means no blood is getting to my brain, and I can no longer think or write logically.  Where was I? Oh, yeah...that 4th grade diorama of a spinning class.

You will need:
A cardboard box
25 q-tips
A clementine
A good sense of humor

Get a cardboard box and open it.
The box is the fitness room.
Inside the box carefully glue the q-tips so one cotton end is attached to the box and the other cotton end is sticking straight up.
Place each q-tip just two inches apart from one another.
Each q-tip is a stationary, spinning bike from hell.
The tip of the q-tip is the seat on the bike.

Now imagine your butt as a large, round clementine.

Take the clementine and shove it down hard onto one of the q-tips until juice is flowing out of the fruit and the tip of the q-tip is completely in the clementine.  The juice is your blood, sweat, and tears.

That's spinning.

Anyone who loves spinning is a total fruit who can endure pain in places I've never imagined.

I've gone from being a barge to bruised fruit.

Tune in next week when we will run. I'm hoping to be able to walk by then.