Saturday, April 6, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck

1. re-watching Arrested Development in preparation for new episodes*
2. picking up bee supplies
3. lavender
4. seltzer and lime
5. cinnamon bread french toast

*or for any other reason, really, but the prospect of new episodes really does not suck

Friday, April 5, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck, Gonna Get Down on Friday Edition

1. yoga this afternoon
2. not having to set the alarm tonight
3. the prospect of brunch with Julie tomorrow (hi, Julie!)
4. the predicted high temperatures around here for the next week or so
5. daffodils blossoming in the yard

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck, Off-Campus Day Edition

1. hash made with leftover roasted root vegetables, topped with an over-easy egg and a few asparagus spears. Toast. Sriracha recommended, but not required.
2. sitting down with the first parts of first-year research papers and finding out what and how they're thinking
3. sunshine and perfect temps for an afternoon run in the park
4. waking up to the sound of the dogs singing along with an ambulance siren, instead of to an alarm clock*
5. the word "slouchy." Slouchy sweaters, slouchy socks, slouchy off-campus professor

*still a jolting way to wake up, but pretty funny once you get over it

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck, Favorite Class Discussion Day Edition

1. archetypes
2. Boris Karloff
3. Bela Lugosi
4. watching freshmen figure out that they simultaneously do not know and do in fact know who Karloff and Lugosi are
5. my surprising (and blessedly short) Bela Lugosi impression

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck, Cruellest Month Edition*

1. national greyhound adoption month
2. national poetry month
3. national food month (this is an actual thing? That's EVERY month in my house)
4. national celebrate diversity month
5. national garden month

*I know, I know. April began yesterday. But it was April Fool's Day. What's a girl to do?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Where I've Been, and Where I'm Not Going: First Quarter 2013

Note: Hey, guys! It's my 100th post! And the first quarter of the year ended yesterday. AND today marks the beginning of both National Poetry Month AND Greyhound Adoption Month. Clearly, the stars are aligned. So here's a post that's mostly about the running I've done and a little about the running I'm not going to do. Or not going to plan on doing. Or something.

So, here we are, one quarter of the way through 2013. How did that happen? I'm not going to complain about it, because the first quarter of the year tends to be cold and grey 'round these parts, but I'm regularly amazed at how quickly time moves.

The three of you who care about these things might remember that I set myself a running and walking goal for the year—not a resolution so much as something to shoot for. I do better in general if I have a plan, and that definitely applies to my attitudes towards exercise. I decided I'd run 750 miles in 2013, and, because I think it's a good idea to balance a big goal with a more-easily attainable one, I also decided I'd walk 250 miles over the course of the year, to bring what I think of as my "on my feet miles" to an even thousand. It would require running about 15 miles a week (I was logging 10 or 12 miles a week at that point) and walking a little under 5 (or less than half of my regular weekly walking mileage). In other words, I'd have to step up the running, and if this meant that I cut back the walking a bit, so be it.

I ended 2012 on a relatively unproductive note: I'd allowed Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations to distract me from my workout routine, and travel over New Year's complicated things enormously. I didn't get back into a routine until two full weeks into the year, and at that point I was behind—way behind if you consider that I was going to have to spend some time pulling my mileage back up to where it was before my break, much less increasing it by more than 5 miles a week. All this means that I spent the first quarter of 2013 in a pretty serious hole, mileage-wise, one I didn't completely dig out of until this last week.

Yes, poets can do math. Some of us can calculate percentages in our heads. I'm basing the goal numbers on days rather than months or weeks, so if you multiply the goal numbers by 4, you'll actually get figures below my goals.* Don't worry about it. Frankly, I'm surprised any of you are still reading.

So, here's a breakdown of my goal for the first quarter vs. what I managed to accomplish:

Goal: 61.5 Actual: 121.5
Over: pretty damn near 100% (60 miles)

Goal: 185 Actual: 202
Over: about 9%: (17 miles)

Pretty sweet, huh? And since I'm well over the 15 miles per week figure I need to hit 750, I'm actually on track (barring injury, illness, or other incidents to horrible to contemplate) to blow that sucker out of the water.

Here is what I'm not going to do: adjust my goals. It's tempting to reset my goals to more lofty heights—let's say 500 walking miles and 1,000 running miles. It's tempting, and, barring those aforementioned injuries or illnesses or something along those lines, it's not at all out of the realm of possibility (a fact that I still find fairly damn astonishing).

The problem with over-achievers like me, though, is that we are pretty much constantly resetting our goals upwards. Let's say, for example, that I wanted to get on track to hit the 1,000-mile mark for 2013. I'd need to run (quick pause for math…carry the one…OK, I don't really have to do math here) 798 miles over the next 9 months, or 88 miles a month. Good enough. But if I run more than that for the 2nd quarter of the year, and end June with 550 miles instead of 500 miles, then what? Then, I'm going to say to myself, "Well, why don't you shoot for 1,100 (or 1,200, or 1,250) miles instead?" I'll work out the figures—how many miles I'll need to run each week, blah, blah blah. And if I'm ahead of goal come the end of the 3rd quarter in September? I'll do it again. It's how my brain works.

Eventually, I'll set myself a goal I have no realistic chance of reaching—one that doesn't leave room for slacking off during vacation, for example, or for getting sick, or for road work in the neighborhood keeping me up all night for five nights in a row. I'll set myself a goal that I would never in a million years expect anyone else to meet, because, in general, I am far more forgiving of others than I am of myself. And I'll end up turning an experience that should be amazing and empowering into one that makes me feel less than what I am.

It's kind of sad that my brain works this way, but I'm glad that I recognize it. I recognize it in others, too, and that saddens me as well. If you've been reading these essays at all, you know that the running thing is as much about teaching myself how to be enough as it is about teaching myself how to be better. So I'm keeping my goals: 750 miles running; 250 miles walking; 1,000 total miles on my feet in 2013. And if I steamroll those goals straight into 2014? Well, then, good for me, on multiple levels.

*There were 90 days in the first quarter of 2013; other quarters will have between 91 and 93. I used the highly scientific "Thirty days hath September" rhyme to figure that out. Poetry! And math!

Five Things that Don't Suck, Totally Serious Edition

1. stubbing your toe
2. flat tires
3. fleas
4. that thing where you're just falling asleep and you bolt upright because your whole body experienced a sudden sensation of falling (presence of an actual falling dream optional)
5. the scent of wet dogs

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Five Things that Don't Suck, Controversy on the Bunny Trail Edition

1. asparagus
2. black jellybeans
3. lamb
4. malted milk eggs
5. regular candy (Snickers, Reese's, Tootsie Pops) in egg shapes