Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Run: In Which I Suck at Preparation

Today I went for my FIFTH run. This is probably the longest I've stuck with any running program. So, gold star for me.

I went to the trail I like best, but this time I was by myself, so I repeated my earlier warning to The Brother. If I don't come home in about an hour, I've been murdered and call the police. It's a good general rule.

As I ran down the trail, wishing I were dead (this is normal for me while running, I think "Thank God I'm still alive!" during the walking sections), I suddenly saw movement. This thing flew (or was thrown?) over my head, and then it hit a tree next to my face. I turned quickly to look at the tree. And it was a hawk, which had just missed grabbing a very lucky squirrel. The hawk was trying to remain aloft while making desperate grasps at the squirrel, which was rapidly shuffling along the side of the tree to avoid the hawk.

"RUN, SQUIRREL!!!" I shouted. (Really.)

Except there was a man on a bicycle behind me, who had not seen the hawk/squirrel drama unfold, so he thought I was a special kind of crazy.

He terrified me, because I was generally shocked at that moment, pretty much because a hawk had flown inches in front of my face moments before.

"Did you see a deer?" He was a really friendly guy. Probably mid-sixties, and he seemed like he could tell I was about to have my heart explode from my chest. Maybe he had a daughter that was high-strung, and he knew the look.

"No," I replied. "It was a hawk, and it was trying to grab a squirrel."

(That was when my grasp of reality went away a little more than normal. That should have been enough. But my internal narrator is wordy, and it wants all the observers of my life to be aware of exactly what each moment really was like, so they will fully understand me.)

"It was like real-live National Geographic. I hope the squirrel got away. I told it to run. I hope it listened. I have never had a bird of prey fly so close to me before, and I've never seen one grab at prey when I was close enough to HEAR it. I hope the squirrel is okay."

All this happened as the poor man tried to keep his bicycle from going too far forward so he could hear me without actually stopping it and causing it to fall down. It was a fancy bike, you see. With clips. The Yarn Harlot taught me about clips. You clip in, you ride. You have to unclip in order to put your feet on the ground. If you fail to unclip properly, you fall down and bleed at the side of the road/trail.

I think he said something innocuous, like "Wow," or "Really?"

And then I said something like, "That's the great outdoors!" And then he kept riding and I went back to running, trying to put as much distance between myself and the Animal Planet special going on around me.

Also I forgot to bring water on this run. And I forgot to fill my car up with enough gas to get home after driving to the trailhead, so I had to go back to my car post-run, drive into town, get gas, and then buy water. I did all of this while red-faced and dripping with sweat. I was quite alluring. It's shocking that I didn't get any marriage proposals on my walk from the car to the gas station attendant's booth.

To make matters more awkward, I felt it necessary to tell the gas station attendant all about the hawk and the squirrel and the forgotten water. She was patient with me in the same way I am patient with overly-talkative and exceedingly boring patrons at work.

I really shouldn't be allowed to talk to people anymore.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Running, Day Four.

I drug The Brother on another run today. He had a very hard time with the "run" part of running today, but he TRIED. That is the most important thing.

It was day one of week two, so the length of the running sections of the app increased to 90 seconds from 60 seconds. I kept up. Somehow. But here's the thing. This app, which I love, told me what the halfway point was on my last three runs. Each time, the lady said, "You're halfway done." I would then turn around and go in the opposite direction on the trail, so that I can make it back to where I started during the other half of the run.

But this time. This time.

The lady did not say, "You're halfway done." She did not say anything but "Begin running," and "Begin walking." And when I finally broke down and looked at my phone to see what progress I'd made, I saw that I'd done 25 minutes of a 31 minute workout, meaning that I was very nearly finished. And so I just kept going. Why turn around then, I thought, when I could keep going and look at the trail marker to see exactly what distance I was going.

And when I was a mere two minutes away from finishing the cool down section of the app, I took this humiliating picture with my phone. It is a terrible picture taken by someone who does not take pictures of herself ever, because human arms are not made to take pictures of said human's own face. It just doesn't work. I am too old for this particular craze.

What is up with my arm, anyway? My shoulder looks like it belongs on an alien.

I only took this picture to send it to Dad to drive home the fact that I made it two miles. After I took the picture, I proceeded to the sign I saw a bit further down the trail only to find that the trail crossed a road. So then I said, "IT IS A SIGN THAT I SHOULD TURN AROUND." The Brother had caught up by then, and he agreed. I am pretty sure he was already dead at this point.

On the 2+ mile walk back to the trailhead, The Brother and I saw three deer, a squirrel that was angry we disturbed its lunch, and many birds. Also many small insects. Also many people on bicycles, some of which were weird lying-down bicycles that were actually pretty cool to look at, although I think you'd get neck pain from riding on them.

And when I got home, I took of my shoe and discovered running had given me a blister. I am so proud. This is a badge of honor. Real runners get blisters. This happens to people who run a LOT. I think maybe it happened to me because I switched shoes. Or because I was wearing a different sort of sock. One of the two. But I am still proud.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why Suffer Alone? (Day Three of Running)

Today was a running day. The gap between running on Monday and running today was enough that I actually didn't feel awful about the whole experience. I was almost looking forward to it. Almost.

Another bonus was that The Brother had said he would accompany me so that I did not get thrown into a windowless van and murdered. This is a bonus. You never can tell when someone will decide to kill you, especially when you are in my age bracket. The only way I could increase my statistical likelihood of being murdered would be to change my profession from "librarian" to "woman of easy virtue." (That isn't going to happen.)

Mum and I spent the morning trying to catch up with my father, aunt and uncle, and grandfather, who were in Elkhart trying to arrange a long-term care situation for my grandmother. We weren't able to meet them, so we turned around in Goshen and headed home after first having the best Philly cheesesteak of my life and what is likely the best lemon meringue pie in the world. We'd seen South Side Soda Shop several thousand times as we drove to Elkhart and back, but we'd never been able to stop for food. Now I'm going to insist on stopping, at least for pie. I mean, just look at how awesome this place is!

Mum and I followed my favorite restaurant practice of asking the waitress what we should order. We had a cheesesteak and an Italian hoagie. BOTH of those sandwiches were phenomenal. We saw a gorgeous lemon meringue pie in the bakery case on the way in the door, so we ordered one to take home, only to discover that their lemon meringue pie had won best in the state. Once I tasted it, I wasn't surprised. Best. Ever.

Okay. Food interlude over. I really like food. This would be why I exercise.

While we were on our way home, we stopped at a sporting goods store and I found one of these to hold my cell phone, keys, and inhaler while I run. I really have to carry my inhaler, and I can't leave my keys in the car, and my cell phone has my running app on it, so I had to come up with some kind of solution for carrying things with me. After one run, I can tell you that it stays in place and doesn't cause any discomfort. So far I'm happy with it.

I also went to T.J. Maxx, my favorite place, and found some non-cotton running shirts for summertime. Because I am going to keep doing the running thing, even during the summer. Sigh. T.J. Maxx is a great place to look for fitness wear on the cheap. They are cheaper than Target. They are even cheaper than Walmart. AND they have name-brand stuff from Nike, Reebok, UnderArmor, and the like. They even have shoes, but I still recommend getting fitted for shoes at a running store. If you just want cute shoes to walk around in, go to T.J. Maxx. If you want to run, go to Three Rivers Running Company, or to another store like it where you live.

By the time I arrived home, I was excited about running. And I went out, and it was hard. But it wasn't AS hard. I don't know if it was actually easier, or if the improved weather just made it feel that way. But I actually had fun. The Brother thought he was going to die. I think he stopped breathing for a little while. He did, however, keep up with me almost the whole way, and for someone going from a lifetime of hunching over a computer keyboard to a running routine that I find challenging after almost two years of HIIT workouts, that's pretty impressive.

He reports that laughter causes his bum to hurt. Other than that, he's alive. I might actually get him to run with me again! Somebody's getting running clothes for his birthday this fall! (And yes, I'll get them at T.J. Maxx).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Running, Day Two

Yesterday I went for another run. I left the house. Wind was howling. The temperature was hovering right around 40 degrees. A mist of rain was falling. The warm up was a lie. It was impossible to warm anything.

I wore leggings, a tee shirt, a running shirt, and a fleece because I stepped outside and could not bear it. After a few minutes, I regretted not bringing a hat and gloves. But then I realized my hats and gloves are not designed for running, and are all hand-knitted wool. I may need to 1. knit something different or 2. find something for running.

But it is spring (heh), so that will wait until I see if running takes.

Mum came along, as did Darcy. That was a nice change from last time. Darcy ran at least three times as much as I did, and it seemed as if she was having a blast.

I followed my running app. The lady was evil. She showed no mercy. And I thought I was going to die. Maybe I did die. After a while, it felt as though my brains were coming out of my ears, but I looked when I got home, and I couldn't see any brain matter in my ear canal. Maybe it was blood and not brain. Maybe it was just too dark. It did feel like my ears were bleeding or SOMETHING.

Mum impressed me by running. She did very well. I ended up further ahead than she was, so she couldn't follow the app along with me, but she ran, skipped, jumped, and did other cardio-things as she went along. Good for Mum!

I collapsed onto the ground when we got inside the house. I took off my shoes and then stayed on the floor for probably 45 minutes. Then I sat in a chair for a while longer. And then everyone was eating dinner, so I tried to eat, but it didn't so much happen.

I felt better after a bath, but still. The muscle that runs down the inner thigh? That hurts so much. It's right in the chub-rub area, and it is demoralizing.

And then I got out of the bath and made myself dinner. As I walked over to the table, the fork fell from my plate and landed tines-down on my bare left foot, stabbing me brutally. It drew BLOOD. Debra Lynn from my college saw the story on my Facebook, and she said it was a fitting injury for Holy Week. That first made me confused, but then it clicked inside my run-addled brain and I laughed so hard I dropped avocado on my lap.

Later, as I crawled into bed, I thought I'd look ahead and see what further tortures the app has for me. But then I noticed something. There was only one other workout for Week One. I looked ahead. There are only THREE DAYS EACH WEEK that running has to happen. THREE DAYS. That is all. This means I don't have to run at all until my next day off. No more suffering. No more waking up early. No more holding dinner until later in the evening so that I can run first. No more brain-dead-ness OR brain-melting OR ear bleeds. I am free until Friday, when I have part of the day off. Maybe it will stop snowing by then. Maybe it will not rain on me! Maybe it will be above 50 degrees.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blind Date with a Book

I spent all of last week working and working on bringing Blind Date with a Book to the library. I love how it turned out! This is just one of the many ways our library is celebrating National Library Week.

To make it work properly, I first collected books from YA and had Polly, my coworker who buys adult fiction for the library, pick adult books. We chose books with lots of great editorial reviews and good buzz that nonetheless seem to have fallen through the cracks at our library. In other words, awesome books that people around here need to discover! I also picked a few from some of my favorite writers that just deserve to be read, OFTEN.

Next I wrapped all of the books in brown paper. Because we're a library and these books have to be circulated, I photocopied the barcode of each book and attacked it to the back of the wrapping. And because we have to know where each book is, just in case, I numbered all the books and kept a log sheet of which number corresponded to which book. That way if someone demands Book X and insists Book X is on Shelf Y, we can actually find it for them, even though it's wrapped up and "hidden."

Being a librarian is complicated.

I also made up signs, and my student assistants and I cut out HUNDREDS of hearts to decorate the circulation desk, displays, and YA shelving.

I'm particularly pleased with how well the circulation desk turned out. And I learned to use my iPhone to take a panoramic picture, which is pretty awesome.

Each book has a few descriptive words or phrases on the wrapping, to help you figure out if it's the sort of book you want to get to know better.

When I researched Blind Date with a Book online, I had a lot of fun guessing what books the other librarians had chosen based on the keywords they wrote on the wrapping paper they used.

My space in YA is much more limited, so I had to confine the display to the side of one shelf and the top of another.

I really like how it all turned out. I have to admit, I'm proud of myself!

Before I wrapped the books, I tucked a little postcard in each one encouraging the reader to rate their date. I think, if I get any turned back in (you never can tell), I'll use them to make up another display of reader recommendations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Corpses, Running, and Terrible Rain

I started Couch to 5K again, but for me it is more like Couch, Skip the 5K, Death.

Apparently running kills higher brain function for me and sucks out all energy, leaving me a wasted husk of a person unable to string even the shortest words together to form the most rudimentary sentence. I tried to talk to friends today, but no. Mostly I listened. And then we went to a candy store and I walked out with a box of cookies that was the size of one of my legs, so running seems not to curb my unhealthy eating habits at all.

I went home and ate steak.

Mostly, I find that running makes me want to give up and just lie down on the pavement. I'm sure if somethign really was pursuing me, it probably would want to catch me much more than I would want to get away, so fine. I will let whatever the thing is win, and I will just rest. It's cool. Who can outrun a bear, anyway? No one. It's better not to try.

I am using an app to help me time my running, and the thing started off by having me walk for five minutes. Then it said, "Start Running!" It sounded overly chipper and made me want to kill something. But nature misunderstood and it started raining pretty hard, right then, so my first real run was in the rain. Nothing is worth that. Health and long life are not worth that.

My feelings, post-run:

I should also mention that I had to drive 20 minutes to go run, because I didn't want a repeat of last year's incident involving the semi truck and the harassment. Before I left home, I told The Brother that if I didn't come home in an hour, he should call me, and if I didn't answer, I had been murdered already and he should call the police.

It speaks to how good a brother I have that he did call me, in exactly one hour.

He can share the giant box of cookies I brought home.

There was something dead next to the trail I ran on. I ended up running faster to get away from the stench of rotting flesh. Even as I ran, I thought, "Soon, the corpse on this trail will be mine. No one can survive this." Somehow I did, but this was just the first day. It is only a matter of time. Who runs five kilometers on purpose? I think this is a sickness.

I'm supposed to run again tomorrow, and Mum says she will come with me with Darcy. She says we will run closer to home, but not on the main road so we will be left alone by horrible truckers. I am thinking of dying in my sleep tonight just to avoid this run, but there is a 5K a friend told me about happening in June, and I told Mum, and now she thinks we will do this 5K maybe.

I also forgot to bring water on this run. There was water in the ditch next to the trail and I considered drinking it because I was thirsty. And then I wanted to cry. And then the phone app lady told me I was all done running for the day, but I had not reached my car yet so I had to walk even further than I was supposed to. That's the true tragedy of today, I think. Excess walking.

I thought of taking a picture of myself post-run, to share it with you, but then I said I would rather die than lift my arm above my waist to take a picture, so I just drove home.

There really isn't' anything else to say about today. If you were here, I would share some of the box of cookie with you, if you brought me water. I am still thirsty. It's been hours.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I've Got My New Shoes On

My new favorite shoes arrived yesterday! I had been longing for t-strap flats since...last year? Maybe longer. I fell in love with some that a character on a BBC drama was wearing. I don't even remember what show it was anymore. Probably one of the Masterpiece Mysteries. I do love Masterpiece Mystery. At any rate, there were NONE to be had. I could choose from t-strap sandals without an enclosed toe (not what I wanted at all) or I could get sky-high platforms...that were sandals without an enclosed toe as well (ouch and NO).

But during my weekly scroll through the contents of Modcloth, I found these beauties, and they were perfect. I'd been hunting for a pair of colored shoes to go with my many all-neutral outfits, and these looked like they'd work with pretty much my whole wardrobe.

As an added bonus, they run a bit narrow, meaning they FIT. And they are leather, which means quality.*

Here are some terrible pictures I took last night.

For the record, it's incredibly difficult to take pictures of your own feet. Nearly impossible, really.

Shoes: Seychelles Cayenne Sandals in Jade (Modcloth) Pants: American Eagle Skinny Trousers  Carpet: Needs vacuuming.  

* Do not tell me plastic shoes are good quality. They just aren't. They don't last, they make your feet sweat, and they are impossible to break in effectively. And before you suggest "vegan" leather, that is plastic, too. Plastic that people are charging extra for, because the box says "vegan." I love the idea of vegan shoes, but until you can bring me something that looks as good and holds up as well as leather, I'm sticking to leather.