Friday, March 10, 2017

Starting from zero

I went out for one short run under my new secret ultramarathon training plan, but then it promptly snowed six wet inches, and that was the end of that. Based on the one run, I think it’s going to be a while before I can jog for even, say, a mile while breathing only through my nose. Apparently “strictly aerobic” for me right now is basically a brisk(ish) walk.

I’m kind of excited about getting back into running, though. At several points in my life I have grown to love it—and if the plan is to go super easy and without an agenda, then I don’t see why I can’t love it right from the start this time around.

I have another secret plan that I’ve been thinking about enacting for the summer. When the weather warms up (it could happen), the swim team kids start practicing in a 50-meter outdoor pool every morning. I could ride to the pool with Mik, swim for a while in the lane allotted for lap swimmers, and then walk/jog the three or so miles home. It just seems like a worthy way to start my summer days, since my shoulder is healed and I have nowhere else to swim. And if the jogging doesn’t work out, I seem to recall that I also have a bicycle.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Secret ultramarathoning plan

I found a copy of “Primal Endurance” at the library and snatched that baby up immediately. I told M.H. it’s probably the most dangerous book I’ll read all year, and he agrees. In fact, he’s extremely concerned that I’m going to catch the ultramarathoning bug like some sort of dread disease, but I assured him that wasn’t the case.
Me: I promise you, I have no current plans to take up ultramarathoning.
Him: Weasel words! Weasel words!
I mean, who knows what I will decide to do in the future? What if the book’s magic training formula makes me discover that it’s fun, easy, healthy, and convenient to train for a 50-mile race?

Anyway, I’m thinking this is a book that is best owned and studied if one were really serious about using it to train for an endurance sport, but the takeaways I’ve gotten so far are interesting. It makes a very strong case for ample rest and a long aerobic base training period in which you never exceed your 180-minus-age heart rate. I really want to see what happens when I run with those guidelines in mind, so here are my rules:
  • I can run only when I feel rested and enthused about it.
  • I can run only as long as I can still breathe through my nose (I don’t have a heart-rate monitor anymore, and that’s a decent way to make sure I’m staying fully aerobic).
  • I have to stop the minute I feel any hint of tightness or injury.
  • I don’t set a time or mileage goal before setting out, but train entirely based on feel and go where the wind blows me.
If that gets me into amazing running shape, well, I can’t be held accountable for what might happen next.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Resolutions for March 2017

I find it kind of sad that I had basically nothing to say here in February at all, but I spent almost the whole month working and being angry about politics, and I don’t really want to use this forum just to vent about that nonsense. This blog is supposed to be about things that are awesome, not things that turn you into a curmudgeon before your time. (And, speaking of awesome, I spent the last few days of the month thinking mostly about swimming, since Mik was competing at the state meet. That turned out to be a good mental vacation, and I feel much better now.)

Anyway, I kept to all my February resolutions, they were terrific, and here’s what I’ve come up with for March:
  • Pick one national issue that concerns me and then do all of the following to fight for it: educate myself, make a donation, write a letter, make a phone call, design a T-shirt, and post on social media. I don’t actually have an issue in mind yet; there are so many upsetting things going on that it might be hard to pick.
  • Stop arguing with people on social media and—as happens much more often—stop thinking about arguing with them. As soon as I see something that I disagree with or that annoys me, I’m going to immediately hide the post so I never have to think about it again.
  • Explore the public-domain art now available on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website and make something cool with something I find there.
  • Shoot for an hour of standing at my standing desk for every hour I spend sitting at my sitting desk. I bought a fancy new mat designed to reduce fatigue and encourage fidgeting, so I want to continue building up my standing endurance.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Resolutions for February 2017

February should be a busy month, but I’m hoping I can work in these resolutions around the edges:
  • Find at least 50 more items to give away. I’ve been through the entire house now on a “first pass” of decluttering, but this resolution is not so much about cleaning house as about giving things to people who need them more than we do (or who could raise money by selling them). I already have a pile of about 10 such things set aside, and I know there are at least 10 more hanging in my closet (and 7,000 on the bookshelves).
  • Give up dairy and eggs. This is a hard one, and those foods definitely aren’t a problem for everyone, but hear me out: When I gave up dairy and eggs a few years ago—along with sugar, grains, legumes, and other stuff that I’m already not eating—I felt fabulous and dropped a size in about three weeks. It’s time to run the experiment again.
  • End the month with at least one new T-shirt design on my little Spreadshirt store. (I would link to my little Spreadshirt store, but it’s pathetic and neglected, and I’m not even really sure how one would get there from the outside.) I’m hoping to come up with lots of ideas, actually, but the resolution is to get one of them actually created and posted.
  • Do one thing that makes me tougher every day. Mostly I’m thinking of cold exposure, but if for some reason I wimp out, then these things will also count as making me tougher: lifting weights, writing a letter to the editor, calling a congressperson.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January in a great big nutshell

It occurred to me that, once I consciously set aside all the doom and gloom I was feeling even as they were happening, January’s good points might be worth writing about.

First on my resolutions:

  • I jumped through all the hoops necessary to volunteer for the day care and have been there three times now. It is fun but also feels like work, which is how I want it to feel. I do wonder whether I’m actually helping anyone. I know I take a bit of the load off the paid teachers, and yesterday I kept a climbing 2-year-old from falling on his head, but obviously the place would still be chugging along just fine without me.
  • Yoga has been amazing—I loved both the series I did and the discipline of doing it. I think daily yoga has graduated to habit-requiring-no-resolution status.
  • I did some tinkering and learning in Illustrator, but the pure drawing stuff doesn’t actually thrill me much. I may need to take the approach of getting excited about an idea first, and then learning about the tools I need for that specific thing.
  • For cold exposure, I did stuff like go out to the mailbox in shirtsleeves when it was -10 degrees, end showers with a bit of cool water, and take walks wearing slightly-less-than-adequate clothing. I’m tougher now and ready for something harder.

Some other stuff:

  • Mik had several swim meets in January, and I’m amazed at the progress he’s been making. It’s such a joy to have a child in a sport I understand so well. Of course, it’s also a joy to watch your child achieve goals in general, and Mik has pretty lofty goals.
  • Dex called to tell us he has a job—and not just a job, but the perfect job for him. I’m not sure I had appreciated until now how much seeing him happily starting off on his own life would absolutely and completely cancel out any regret we might have that he doesn’t live here anymore.
  • I have a new client who is paying me to do interior book design, which (for some reason) is my absolute favorite thing. When this is over, I am going to (professionally) beg her for referrals.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rough month

I’m busy pondering my resolutions for February and also the fact that for my very sanity I really need to drop the rage and despair to the extent possible. January has been great in a lot of ways, but emotionally it SUUUUUCKED. I’m learning that, at the very least, I need to stay the heck away from the news and social media until I’ve accomplished everything I want to accomplish for the day.

On the other hand, in the hooray-for-Facebook column, I got online just now and one of my friends had posted this:
How can you respond to the evil you see around you? It's not so hard.
If you're a writer, write.
If you're a painter, paint.
If you're a dancer, dance.
If you don't know what you can do, pray.
I really think this is the attitude to adopt. And in fact it’s sort of what I’ve been moving toward. (How can editing help the revolution? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I did tell this very fine organization recently that I would volunteer to edit materials for its very fine cause.)

Even a tiny bit of doing has to be better than 24/7 fretting, right?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rage and despair

You’d think by now I’d be exhausted from all the rage and despair floating around, and I guess I am, but it also makes me feel like I’m part of something. The rage-and-despair people, like the Art Walk people and the farmers’ market people, are my people. My Twitter feed, for example, is curated to the point where I see 20 rage-and-despair tweets for every joke tweet about a garbage disposal or something, and I’ve come to prefer it that way.

Frankly, the people who aren’t outraged or despairing are the ones I can’t cope with right now.

Side note: I am trying hard not to turn into a generally angry person, but yesterday I got riled up over the phrase “cute tops” in an internet ad. (I realize that that requires explanation, so here it is: (a), I reject the sexist and infantilizing idea that women should wear things that are “cute,” (b) I reject that the definition of “cute” changes in order to sell us more crap, (c) I reject the widespread idea that fashionable clothes should be any kind of spending priority when there are literally starving people everywhere, and (d) that’s probably it, but the picture was annoying, too.)

Anyway, my people—and if you’re still with me after the “cute tops” rant, you definitely are— bonding over our shared fears is nice, but I hope a lot of us are also out in the world doing stuff. In my case, inauguration day was the day I chose to go get the immunizations I needed to volunteer at this day care center, which serves teen parents who want to continue their education. It should be satisfying and refreshing to go and rock babies or read to 2-year-olds for a couple of hours every week, but my intent is to do literally anything they tell me would be most helpful to them.