Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night Running on Birthday Feet

Well, tonight was the first night for the fivefingers. I know, dangerous, fad, harmful, blah blah... But, I must tell you, I feel like a kid again. Tap, tap, flipper-flap.

When I was little, I hated shoes. I believe it was mainly because I grew out of them so quickly and they always did not feel right. I remember wearing shoes too small (I grew too fast), too big (so that I would grow into them in a few weeks) or men's shoes because they "do not make shoes that big." I always had different shoes on the basketball or track team. School issued sport shoes did "not come that large for women." I once had a shoes salesmen make me cry because he said I had mutant feet and that they were so big for my age that once I was grown up, I would have to have special big shoes made. Bastard. Thanks for giving an 12 year old with size 11 shoes a complex. My own mother once told me, "Honey, you know, your feet are large, but they have such a pretty shape." Pause for growls and thoughts to yourself about what you dislike about yourself the most.

Okay. Now, breathe... repeat. Breathe again, better? Smile. Breathe some more.

So, now, things are different. I can go into a shoe store and FIND SHOES. And, not just the little store where the old women would go to in downtown Sherman. We are talking cheapies from Target, to Macy's to Nordstrom, Zappos, to LUKE'S LOCKER (where, I love them, their shoes, socks, tri clothing, truly, I love them) to anywhere the Internet goes. Yes, my friends. This yeti is happy now. Size 12.5 ladies running shoes? Eh, no problem. REALLY??!

Whenever someone looks at my feet, or makes a comment of "I cannot believe they make them THAT big" I just smile and make them realize that yes, yeti need shoes, too. And, it must suck to be short. (I only refer to those who are rude to me. I love all!) At hashes and other social events, the yeti find each other. Long limbs, tall frames. We mingle together like slender water birds. What do we talk about? Shoes, our feet, and what can be crushed beneath them.

So, I am off topic here. We were talking about the lovely shoes pictured. Guess what? They are UNISEX. Meaning, men can wear the kid sizes, so they desire. They are worn barefoot. My toes can wiggle with pleasure, the arches hit correctly, and my heels are not complaining. I purchased the ones with laces mainly because of my high insteps and wide toe box. Also, my feet swell almost a half size when I run, hence the 12.5, instead of just 12 (which, in non running shoes, I wear 11). Such a math formula for toes and heels.

Now, for the fun part. Product testing! I was told by my fivefinger friends, ONLY DO A MILE. One mile. Do not go nuts, because muscles that have been sleeping for decades since you were a kid pattering around a mother telling you to go put on shoes would awaken angrily from their long slumber. (insert raised eyebrow) I wear ballet slipper like shoes to work, I only seem to wear socks to run or bike in, and kick off any type of shoe as soon as I get home. My beloved cowboy boots are my only exception. Oddly, my most expensive shoes ARE running shoes. I cringe paying over $30 for a pair, when I would never bat an eye dropping $100 on a good pair of running shoes. They make me happy. We become friends over the many miles. Pointy shoes with heels? Not-so-much. But, when the time calls for showing off a cute dress? Um, yeah. I like rockn' heels that make me 6'1".

My first half mile, I felt, good. Nothing was binding. I did not slip around, feel heavy, or like I was fighting my feet. I was tuned into my iPod, Dorothy dog's leash on my arm, and, the weather was perfect for a night run. Two miles. Hrm, no change. I could feel the different types of concrete and asphalt on the road, much like biking. Maybe biking has made me more careful about where I make my path. Or, maybe the fact that I run with a dog, but I did not step on rocks, glass, or trip over cracks. Nothing. Then, one of my earbuds fell out. While trying to fix, the other fell out. Ugh. Get. Ear thing back. In... Tromp, trom... wait. Pat? No, Pah. Pah. Pah. Pah. Hrm. My feet were making non-feet running noises. Soft and quiet, sneaky. Three miles. Pah Pah Pah... water stop.

I must admit. Please no scolding. Dorothy dog and I did 6 miles. Nothing hurts. Really. My knees are great, the high arches on my feet are happy, toes wiggle with more! more! Calves good. Lower back, fine. I ran a slower training pace (mostly out of caution, 11:30-12:00 instead of 9:30-10:00), but felt, good. The only thing I noticed running that was different, was, well, I need a more supportive jog bra. But, I needed one of those regardless with all the miles I'm running and the extra beer and cookie weight that still lingers. And, once I get back to swimming? Bye, bye boobies. But, hello, pretty arms and back!

Live happy, my friends. And, keep pah, pah, pah-ing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to Night Running

I have a case of hay fever. Granted it may just be allergies, but my nose is red from blowing it, my ears are ringing and oddly itchy inside, and I have to tilt my head occasionally to gain my balance back. I took allergy medicine, a decongestant, smeared myself with stinky herbal stuff, and ate more garlic today than I have in a month (and, I do love me some garlic).

Still, even medicated, I wheezed, coughed and sneezed all day. When I got home, I put on some running gear, Dorothy bowed to my shoes, put a water bottle beside my car and we trotted off. My second time to the El Scorcho 50K is not that far away.

My thoughts were, that yes, I could get worse breathing in the pollen enemy, or I could shock my system. Beat it to submission. Tough girl Raarrrh! One mile, two mile... a little wheezing. At 2.5 miles, I began looking around my neighborhood again. My breath was steady. I have been running and hashing different places and taking the easy tromping approach to running. Just go when and were I can as long as I could without hurting myself. One run was a tail marathon after not running for 8 weeks. Yep, my first ever 26.2 miles. That one, well, hurt. Not advised.

Houses were now tidy with new landscaping and painted brick. Someone must have had a pipe burst because the front yard was dug up and plywood placed everywhere. Houses for sale. Old pot holes were patched. One house with the roof ripped off yawned to the night.

Dorothy still knew the route after months of not running here. I let her pull me along with thoughts of work projects in my head until, coming around the corner, I see what looks like a gurney with a body bag. Really? Two people wearing paper gowns over their clothing were guiding the gurney and long black plastic bag into a waiting suburban. Yes, just like the movies and TV shows. Three police officers were talking to someone hidden in the shadows with firm concerned words, not in hushed consoling tones. What happened here? Lights were not blazing, CAUTION tape was not wrapped around the house, and no chalk lines on the road. Seeing my headlamp and an obvious green dog in the street lamp light, one of the police officers looked at me. I nod, not really knowing to stop and give condolences or just keep tromping. He looks at Dorothy with a questioned look and tilted head. Hrm? I really did not want to get in the way. I chose to keep tromping disappeared into the shadows.

I was then quiet, listening to my feet tap on the ground and Dorothy's tags and leash jingle. I see a walking couple come around the corner and one says, "With that light, I thought you were a train comin' round the bend!" I smile a hello, and keep tromping. Then, even though my breath had been steady, it caught. My chest tightened like I wanted to cry. I wheezed and became lightheaded. Short, shallow little breaths. Panic feeling rushed up into my chest. Who was this person? Was it a usual procedure for police to show up when you die? Then Sesame Street sang in my head, "Do you know the people in your neighborhood? The people you meet each day?" I see people everyday. They wave as I am getting in my car for work. They watch me run at night. Sometimes, they cheer with the number of times I've been around. Maybe it is out of shyness or focus or stranger danger, or whatever, I always say hello, but I do not know their names. Like the grandfather who sits in the driveway on his woven lawn chair surrounded by his concrete lions and flowers drinking wine. He sometimes has a newspaper. "How many you and Dots doin' today?" "Five laps," I reply. "Okay girl, keep it up!"

With this all roaming in my head, I keep tromping. At 3 miles, I stop for water at my driveway. Dorothy pulls me back to the street for another loop. I stand there, wheezing, and look at her wanting to call it a night. Tug, tug. Wag, wag. Front feet step in place. Tilted head with ears up. "Okay, runner dog. One more." We tromp another mile and loop at 4 to the house with the odd scene. Nothing was there. The house was dark and quiet. Wind chimes sang in the wind. As if, nothing happened there. No one in the yard. No lights on, and no cars rushing to the house.

I finish at 5 miles not really wanting to see that house again. Dorothy was panting and did not object. I went inside. Fresh water for Dorothy. Shower for me. Who was that? I need to know names.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tap... tap... tap... Is this thing still on?

I have neglected my blog for about a year now. Wow. Two posts, now three. Like my bike that whimpers in the garage for a ride, I need to pay this venting station a little more attention.

Look for updates. I am cleaning up and out things I have put off, and have much to talk about.

Now, back to work work work work work work work work...

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I need walnuts. Such a simple staple that usually sits in the back of my freezer so that they do not go rancid or stale quickly. I am trying to think, however, the last time I used them. The familiar bag from Whole Foods is not there. Maybe I was hungry one night and was lured by the buttery frozen crunch and ate the rest of the bag. Or, I tossed them in with my ice cream because I was out of Chunky Monkey.

Ah, Ben and Jerry's. You are evil to put your frozen confection in such a small container for the price of a Blue Bell half gallon. Your joy always runs out too quickly. But, you wise in your flavors. Half Baked. Fish Food. Cherry Garcia. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. And, why... oh, dearest why, would you get rid of the Willie Nelson peach cobbler? I used to savor each bite of the cobbler crust bits swirling in peach ice cream... You do have a peach cobbler, but I fear it will not have the blessings of Willie.

Which, leads me to walnuts. Do I now dare go to a mega store that has B&J? I already did my shopping for healthy foods at Whole Foods. Quinoa, eggs, whole milk, veggies, tomatoes, bacon. I have good beer in the fridge. So, no need to really go back. There is an Aldi near, but they are so limited on nut selection and the store concept just weirds me out. I also like to buy in bulk because who knows how long those nuts have sat in the dark, back, wonder world you never see of the grocery store. The mystery land behind the swinging, usually metal with scratched plexi windowed doors that someone helpful will disappear through after saying, "I'll go check in the back" when the grocery shelf yawns in emptiness of the item you desire. You know, like a small can of crushed pineapple, a tube of anchovy paste for puttanesca, or molasses. I wonder how "can you check in the back?" translates into other languages. Do the Over the Pond grocery stores have "a back"? Do they know of its wonders?

The last time I went to WF, they were out of cilantro. Yes, cilantro. The TexMex staple of Texas. At the check out line, I asked the gentleman zapping and bagging my items if they were truly out of cilantro. "WHAT?!? That is like, the most common thing, ever. How can we be out? You sure you looked?" "Um, yeah," I said. You have flat leaf parsley, the curly leaf kind, basil, thyme, sage, mustard greens... of all things... no cilantro." He gets on the phone. "Yeah, um, produce, please. (pause) Hey man, are we out of cilantro? Yeah. I KNOW, right?!? So, find me some. Yeah. She looked. This gal knows her stuff." So, said man, arrives. My jaw drops. Earthy, looks like he rides his bike everyday to work, dancing eyes, nice smile. "So, you need cilantro." I nod. "I'll go look in the back. Okay that it is not organic?" I nod. "Okay... stand over here." I go stand. I stare after. After a few minutes standing by the triple milled soaps on display, surrounded by their happy smells, said man arrives with a small bunch of green bouncing leaves tied together. Plops it in my hand. "Here ya go. And, no worries about paying for it. We are never out of cilantro. Ridiculous, right?" I nod. I say "thanks". Put it in my brown paper bag on top of the bag one of two containing tomatoes, quinoa, chocolates, jug of milk and Kashi. He walks away whistling something unfamiliar.

Good things come from "the back". I will take gal friends there. We need to look for missing items. Or, things we cannot reach. Tisha, you out of canned tomatoes? I am out of limes... oh, and walnuts.

Friday, January 8, 2010

There is always a beginning to something...

So, this is my first blog. I am joining the bandwagon a little late, but who is to say I have not been observing in the shadows? I must know my prey before attacking!

I am a contradiction at its best. Can attack any battle, but hate spiders.

Currently, I am hunting for work. It has been very tough in this crazy market. I now question going back to school or changing my career altogether. Any advice would be appreciated!