Archive for June, 2011

Runtastic update

So, I did finally get Runtastic up and running on my BlackBerry and it’s pretty cool – but it is not nearly as good as my Garmin Forerunner. I guess there was a part of me that didn’t quite believe that a free app could be as good as the watch, but I was a little nervous about it. It did a great job on the map part, didn’t have any trouble showing me where I was running, but the GPS wasn’t perfect because at one point it told me that I was going 8.7 miles an hour (increasing the distance by a half mile or so). I mean, I was flattered and all, but even I know that I can’t do better than 7 mph for more than a minute or so. Ah well, I still have it in case I go somewhere and don’t have the Forerunner or the battery dies.

Runtastic

Watch for running in Georgia updates next week!

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Identity shift? Or just new shoes?

I’m beginning to wonder if the time has come to change my identity…or part of it, anyway. I have run more or less continuously since 1995. In the beginning I only managed a couple of miles a few times a week. I ran on the gorgeous streets of Cherry Creek, in Denver. My baby, Detta, ran along before and behind me in the center of the road in the grass. She never had much stamina, and in truth I don’t think she actually enjoyed running with me, but she was my constant companion in those days – both running and otherwise. We ran a few months in South Carolina, where an unleashed dog was not the biggest threat, but the oppressive heat and humidity.

I ran without her a few months in Italia – and let me tell you that was lonely. Once she joined me she and I ran many kilometers late at night in the streets of Milano, in Citta Studi. We were on nodding terms with many of the regular working ladies who lined the streets. We ran at night because of the pollution – running even early in the morning meant that I was coughing and hacking for half an hour afterwards, not to mention that when I washed my face the soap came away black. We also spent a lot of time at the park where Detta made friends with the locals.

Detta (far right) and her crew

After my motorcycle accident, I was up on my feet in 9 days and running by the end of the first month. I was quite a bit slower – but ecstatic after finishing my first 2 miles. I never did get to run in Cairo…but mostly I was ok with that. I came back to the states and the ridiculous heat of Georgia. My milage was up to 4 or 5 miles at a time, but I was nearly crippled the day after every run, my hips and lower back aching and sore. About year later I started training for a marathon. I wanted to go somewhere with my running and that seemed like a good idea. Once I got up to 10 mile runs, that nasty crippling bit was back again, and I would have to lift myself out of chairs and walked with a limp for a couple of days after each run. I got insurance then and the wonderful world of orthotics opened to me. I think each pair has gotten better at relieving my running pains, but even the first set stopped the hip pain right away. I didn’t make it to the marathon that year, but it was the first year I began to call myself a runner. Or maybe other people began to call me one.

Something changed that year for me, in those long hours of running. It wasn’t just the mythical “runner’s high,” something I don’t believe I’ve ever felt, although I do feel good after running. And it wasn’t just about the run giving me time to think, or the cheerful music I listened to. Somehow that year it became part of my identity. Unfortunately, several times in the last couple of years I’ve considered the correlation between my runs and my migraines. Sometimes getting out for a short, slow run actually seems to lessen a migraine, but more often these days I wonder if running is increasing them. Every few months I keep close track of the run/migraine correlation, and it doesn’t seem especially high, but I know that running creates other problems in my hips and shoulders, so it follows that it could be increasing them. So what? you might ask. Give it up! Who cares about running, anyway?

Running helps me stay in balance, helps me let go of the stories of trauma I hear most days. Running is an outlet for big emotions and a way to turn off my thoughts for a time. Running helps keep me present and reminds me the present is all there is. Running reminds me of how good my body is to me, how well it works and how pleased I am with it in general. It also provides me with an opportunity to listen to great music without interruption of any kind. And to just be without interruptions of any kind. On top of all that, if I stopped running, even for a very good reason like less migraines, I’d have to stop calling myself a runner. I like calling myself a runner. I like thinking of myself as a runner. I like feeling like a runner. And I don’t want to give it up. More migraines? Must be my shoes. I just got a new pair – I’ll let you know how I do in them.

My brand of choice - Saucony

Being me

Recently someone told me, “She has great personal integrity – you can trust her to mean what she says” I was glad to hear it, and it got me thinking. I hope that I could be described the same way, that my friends would say that about me. There was a time when I would have been sure about it, but these days it’s more work than I’d like to admit.

Growing up I learned to be “brutally honest,” until I realized that sometimes that meant being mean (thanks for good old family training). And then I swung in the other direction and kept things as close as possible to protect the other person. I went back and forth between the two over the years and gradually shortened the arc until I felt like I was reasonably healthy. I still tended to be more open and straight forward than some people expected, but I understood when it might be better to just stay quiet.

Somewhere over the course of the last 8 years, though, things changed. I changed. I did everything I could to make it easier on the ex (not blaming, no one ever asked me to do so outright) whenever I could. Of course this meant more things that looked like outbursts out of nowhere to the ex, because eventually some little thing I was hiding, holding, would pop out.

And while I’m not blaming anyone, I will go ahead and not blame MN, either. However, I have to say that I have been told to hold my tongue in one way or another in pretty much every job I’ve ever held here, and seen looks of surprise on people’s faces over and over again over some thing that I said that seemed minor to me.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are thinking, and how what I am saying might affect them. Which kind of almost sounds like a healthy thing, except that I don’t really believe that. I mean, if a client said to me, “Well, I’d like to say this, what if they say that?” it’s extremely unlikely that I would encourage them to keep silent. I don’t believe that we get closer to people by keeping our mouths shut, I really don’t. And I don’t believe that people need to or are even able to read other people’s minds (you know, apart from, like, magic) and that there is no reason to expect others to do so.

I believe that being fully yourself is actually your best bet – which includes having great personal integrity. And I seem to have strayed from that path somehow.

This is me, setting my intention to be as fully myself as I can manage, gently and respectfully.

Who me? Vain?

While it is true that I sometime tease my leg-shaving friends about…well, shaving their legs, or stressing over what to wear, let it not be said that I am without vanity. I don’t shave my legs or buy new shoes for a date, but I do spend money and time on other things. Hair and skin. Yes, it’s true that today my hair is about an eighth of an inch long – so we’ll leave that for another day.

You may think that this means I spend a lot of money on product – and that was once true. I used to use 4 different kinds of conditioner on my hair – at a time. I got very exclusive about which conditioners I used. For my skin I was just as vigilant. I always pat dry – never rub my skin with the towel. I was always on the hunt for a great product. I used oils and gentle soaps, and I bought body butters from the Body Shop. This was my favorite:

Cocoa butter

Smells a little like candy

A few years ago, everything changed. My mom sent me a great product (from QVC, of course) that I found delightful. It said it was 100% shea butter and I really liked it. When it was gone, I decided to give up my longtime favorite from the Body Shop and buy some more from (gasp) QVC. Then I looked it up. I admit, I balked at the price. I kind of always felt like Body Butter was expensive at $15. $39 for even fewer ounces seemed crazy to me.

I thought, surely I can find shea butter for less money! And I looked online and, in fact, found some. I bought it and hey! It smelled really bad. Like goat shit. No, I mean it, not speaking metaphorically. Of course, I don’t really know what goat shit smells like, but this stuff really smelled like barnyard shit. I tried a number of places till I found a site where the butter smelled better. While hunting around I found an entire world online that was all about making your own product. I started looking at all the crazy chemicals that are in most products and how to avoid them. I experimented with different recipes and methods, and for a while also tried to add scent (never did get that candy smell I like so much).

That was 4 or 5 years ago. Now I buy fair trade, organic (sometimes) ingredients and mix them up in my own kitchen one or two times a year. I don’t add scent any more, but I usually use some cocoa butter that adds a light chocolaty smell I love. I have used a number of different suppliers, but right now I like Mountain Rose Herbs for the oils and butters and Bath Body Supply for jars and such. There is a highly technical and secret process that makes the ingredients really soft and silky (freezing and blending).

Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?

It takes a little time, but it is worth it. I make lotion bars, too, that I put in little push-up containers so I can keep one with me, in my backpack, my desk or my car. Let me tell you, nothing is too much for my skin. Except paying $39 for 5.6 ounces. And no one has ever complained that I don’t shave.

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