Monday, April 27, 2015

Like, not at all ...

ChaCha was in the Atomic Lounge and she crawled under the computer desk to wrestle up this red sweatband that was originally purchased for 1.) an adult human to wear 2.) with a thigh length jersey and roller blades as a Halloween costume/excuse to wear roller blades to the bar. She slipped it over her wrist and we went downstairs.

"Okay," I told her. "It's time to go see The Drummers. Go find your coat."

We slipped her into the fleece and zipped it and she raised her arm and squawked. I dug up the arm of her jacket and pulled off the wrist guard. She took it back from me and slipped it back on, over the outside of the jacket.

Because it's Homegrown Music Fest week+1 day, I guess, and even the toddlers feel the tug toward eccentricities? Anyway, she wasn't the only person I saw wearing a sweatband in my travels.


This is so boring, but it happened and it consumed me and I'm forever changed: On Friday night, after pulling my first 7-mile run in eons, I received a FitBit Challenge from Brother Pista who invited me to a weekend-long step off.

You know the gist: Who can cover the most steps on Saturday and Sunday. Whatever.

It was bad timing since I'd already done my long run for the week. (I'm testing this new thing called Training for a Half-Marathon. It's not as sexy as not-training and pulling every human muscle on race day, but I'm older now and much less colorful than I was last summer in my youth.) But I agreed because ... contest.

Then I got another invite for another weekend-long step off by an old friend who was once the arm wrestling champion of The Pioneer Bar. If I close my eyes, I can still see the barbed-wire tattoo on her upper arm bulging with victory. I agreed to that one because I was already going to be shooting for big numbers, so why not.

You're probably wondering, so: It's 650 steps around our block.

So within 24 hours, after I'd gone for a 4-mile run, walked around the block about 6 times and closed out the night with a quick 15-minute session on the elliptical, I realized that Brother Pista was out of contention but that his friend Todd was going to be a thorn in my Nikes. And Old Daisy was primed to, metaphorically, bust my ulna.

I forgot I was like this.

As midnight neared, I found myself doing six-block loops in downtown Duluth. This morning I woke up and it was over and I won't keep you in suspense. I won both challenges. But I was a little embarrassed. Like, why was I on an elliptical at midnight on a Saturday night? Why do I have to win this thing that ultimately just gets us all in better shape? Anyway. I took like 45,000 steps over the weekend. I want to say that's more than 20 miles.

I can probably retire now from competitive stepping.


Me: Hi. I just went through your drive through and ordered a lentil bowl and when I got home, the broth was all over the floor of my car and I'm super pissed off about it.
Manager: Ohhh, yeah. I'm sorry about that. Our lids are really unreliable.
Me: ...
Manager: What would you like us to do for you?
Me: I want you to reimburse me for my meal and I want you to put something on your menu that says 'Our lids are unreliable.'

A few other things of note:
1. Super obsessed with "The Good Wife." I'm just starting Season 3. Super secret truth: A few days ago I purposefully dressed the closest I could get to a Kalinda outfit given the limitations of my closet.
2. Can't stop reading "Born to Run."
2a. Thinking of becoming a trailrunner slash ultramarathoner after this year's half-marathon. I like the idea of always having smears of mud on my calves. Subject to change.
3. I can't have more than two hobbies at a time and one hobby will always be sleep so right now I'm not writing a novel at all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

That Saturday ...

1. I put on a pair of capri-length shiny pants before I've usually roundhouse kicked the snooze button for the first time in the morning. It is impossible for me to put on capri length shiny pants early in the morning without stepping into some sort of mental time machine and wading through the Honey Weiss snores to tell a former version of me that I'm up early and off to do something supremely athletic.

"I mean," I said to Chuck in the car. "If I'd run this 5K in 2004, I would have had to stay up all night to make it to the starting line on time."

That's the kind of punk rock super stupid junk I did.

2. I ran a 5K and, to the best of my knowledge, I don't remember a moment during the race where I considered quitting or asked the sky to unleash something, anything to put an end to this madness, i.e.: lightning, grasshoppers, acid. I did wonder if I might barf at the end, but I think that's my Pavlovian response to crossing a finish line.

Lest anyone care, here is a stat: I finished 5 minutes faster than in 2014. Here is a fact about that stat: No one should ever run a 3-ish mile race so slowly that they are able to finish 5 minutes faster the next year. It's unseemly. Still, if I finished five more minutes faster next year, well then I'd be damn near back to Lourdes Eagle territory.

Last year my body was still a little creaky, through no fault but my own laziness with post-preggo care, and I remember that my hips felt like the joints of a Barbie doll that has repeatedly been dismembered. I am, dare I say, back to normal aside from having the biceps of a bouncer (and the mouth of a trucker.)

3. We ate breakfast at a beloved neighborhood diner where they will actually open a can of hash and pour it into an omelette and serve it directly to my face. In fact, it's the diner's signature omelette. I love it so much that I actually let myself eat it even knowing what I know about the nutrition label on the side of a can of hash.

I wish that I'd never compared it to eating dog food, though. I have to really mentally put myself on a tropical island while I'm eating to keep the Purina flashes at bay.

4. We left Duluth within 30 minutes of our designated leave time and got to the Mall of America during The Girl's second REM cycle. The Parent's Pista were going to spend the afternoon with her while we attended a Co-ed Happy Hour Baby Shower (Flower Power Cower Bower).

Listen. I know that the Mall of America is whatever it is. I also know that it's the only place in the state where My Own Personal Shark Fanatic can stand in a darkened tunnel and watch sharks swim over her head. In fact, she's so smitten with the whole Sea Life setup that she actually thinks Sharks live in the sky. Ask her about sharks and she points up.

I digress. Also: TheMallOfAmericaHasUrbanOutfittersandDuluthdoesn't. (Nothing.)

5. On the way to the Co-ed Happy Hour Baby Shower, we stopped at Trader Joe's. Some day I would like to go into Trader Joe's and buy $300 worth of Trader Joe's brand things and then hide in my car and eat it all. Trader Joe's also makes me want to buy wine. I settled on a tub of pub cheese with horseradish flavor and some wheat pretzels, which I ate somewhat responsibly but not really if you consider a serving size.

6. The party was fun. Many of my favorite people gathered around a tray of devilled eggs and the strange knowledge that some people in my life don't even want to try a devilled egg. (These were made with Wasabi.) I won a prize because I found a fingernail sized plastic baby in the popcorn trough and knew to yell "OH BABY." I was rewarded with a $10 gift card to Anthropologie, a candy ring and a box of chewie somethings in a package that seemed a little racist.

7. Back to the Mall of America to find the Tiny Tot getting wheeled around Level 2 in something shaped like a race car. Fresh from a meal of Mac & Cheese and French fries. About to consume more than half of my Jamba Juice -- a fresh mix of kale, lemon and ginger.


Her shirt was covered in Jello colored splotches and her grandparents had sprung for the souvenir photo at the Aquarium. She was all Zs by Forest Lake, tucked into a blanket and surrounded by some of her favorite stuffed creatures, a water bottle between her knees. I had car-comfort envy.

8. Back home by 10:30 p.m., where we limped around and tried to remember how many days it had been since I ran that 5K and ate that dog food.

9. Whenever I have a day like this I secretly refer to it as Being A Participant in The World. I spend a lot of time not participating in anything except Target. This was a run, family, friends, a toddler sticky with Mall germs. Participating in The World.