Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Crap You Didn’t Know(And might not want to)

blowyourmindAlice over at Whatsoever Is Lovely tagged me to participate in sharing five facts about myself a few days ago.  I promised to have my facts up tomorrow two days ago.  I thought I’d have time yesterday morning before work.  No such luck.  Then my day was so busy I didn’t have time and I thought I’d do it when I got home.  Unfortunately I was so dang tired I collapsed.  So the tomorrow that was yesterday became today.  And I know that your inquiring minds are just abuzz with anticipation. So without further adiue, here they are:

1.)  I am a mutant.  Did you know: blue-eyes-mutation 2.)  I have brown hair when I’m not paying to be a blonde. About which the ultra scientific people at Mysteries24 say:

For example, brunet hair and jet black hair are the most dense and toughest varieties of follicles. This leads to the conclusion that their wearers are very responsible with a strong mentality, better at overcoming stress, and even to some extent – curmudgeon. On the other hand, people with brown hair have an average of fewer hairs: between 100, 000 and 110, 000, much less than blondes, who have about 150 000. This fact is associated with lower susceptibility of Brunettes to spiritual and abstract undertakings. They are practical and earthy, with good orientation toward secular bustle and vanity. They are interested in facts that are pure and tangible through our five senses. They can maneuver, adapt and implement plans and projects, even in an environment of controversy, conflict and intrigue.

Maybe they’re onto to something, even if their research isn’t…100% credible. I don’t even know what their credentials or methods are.

3.) I really like to play games; card games; yard games; board games; you name it really.  Spades, Uno, Cornhole, Bocce Ball, Scrabble, Checkers, whatever.  If I don’t know how to play, I’m game to learn.  I don’t know how to play Chess, but would love to learn!

No, I don't know these people.

No, I don’t know these people.

4.) I’m a Leo.  Hear me roaarrrrrrr! Rawr?


At the end of the month I’ll be forty…something(mumble, cough, %&^*$).

5.)  I’ve stopped and started the Couch to 5K program more times than I’d like to admit.  Right now I’m on week 4.  Again.

2d7589d3b80a512a7c70bff54cf4b640I’m hoping to advance to 8k when I can run five without being dead.

And that’s about it.  This is the part where I’m supposed to tag other bloggers to do the same but there are so many creative bloggers I follow that I can’t narrow it down and I don’t think you all want me to tag all of you.  So if you want to share some detes about yourself, jump on it and leave a link in the comments!


Death by Fanny Lifter

Over the years I’ve tried various and sundry things to shape up.  Round is a shape isn’t it? To that end, a number of years ago – and by a number I mean about ten – while vegetating on the couch one Saturday morning in my usual potato-like state I saw an infomercial for TheFIRM® workout system.

Now, mind you, I had never been the athletic type.  I’d never been coordinated. At all.  I had given a few aerobics classes a go, but Grace is not my middle name, people.  You know those group classes where you’re meant to go right and everybody in the class does exactly as they’re meant to save one.  Yeah, I would be that one; that one going left when everybody else is going right, knocking everyone over like dominoes.

Even in grade school I was the last picked for any sport.  Softball, kick ball, even Red Rover!  You know the one – Red Rover, Red Rover, send Cindy right over.  Nobody wanted me on their team.  I threw like a girl.  I whiffed the ball when I kicked.  Rarely did I break through the arms of the opposing team.

Well, I was about to change all that from the comfort of my own home at the ripe old age of thirty-two.  For the low, low price of $99.00US.  But, if I ordered now I could get the system for three payments of $29.00US.  And that wasn’t all.  I could get free shipping!

This system was only one of a plethora of choices available.  Nearly every channel had an infomercial for a workout or diet plan of some kind.  But this one was different.  This one was special.  This one had the Fanny Lifter™!

It has come to my attention that fanny doesn’t mean the same thing the world over. So let me clarify:  fanny in this context means butt, backside, derriere, tush, tuchus, ass.


I ordered it and got the free expedited shipping.  It was at my door within three days, exactly as promised.  It came with this two-piece contraption which was their signature piece of equipment at the time.  It also came with three VHS tapes. Yes, that’s right, I ordered the VHS version.  I’ve always been technologically challenged and behind the times.  What of it?

Do you see that death trap?  Do you? I dutifully unpacked the box and got mNaxQU3s5h2gGA9started straight away.  The three tapes it came with were called CardioSculpt™, BodySculpt™, and AbSculpt™. I stepped, lifted, and squatted with and without weights. I ab crunched, scissor crunched, and oblique crunched.  I grapevined, sambaed, and stepped. All without the fear of injuring someone else or worrying about looking like a complete spazmatic. For a couple of years, actually.  I even built up in the amount of weight I was able to use. I never did look like those women on the video covers, though. Oh well.  Not the point, but it would have been a nice bonus.

As is always the case with me, though, something else came along and caught my interest and before I knew it I was out of the habit.  I probably went on vacation or something and didn’t pick it back up when I returned home.  It never takes much to distract me.  Especially where physical exertion is concerned.

Determined, overweight, and – once again – out of shape I decided to take up running.  It would be inexpensive, effective, and efficient.  I could do that anywhere.  No excuses.  I found a program I could use to build up my stamina.  The Couch-to-5K® fit the bill.  So I laced up and struck out.  No matter how hard I tried, though, I could never run very fast.  In fact, I’m slower than molasses.  I run like I have concrete blocks on my feet.  The fastest I could ever run was an 11:30 mile.  That was me at full blast. Is that even running?  That might be jogging.  It might even just be fast walking.

So much for no excuses.  I don’t have a treadmill and don’t want one.  I like to run outside.  But when the time changes and it gets dark and cold before I get home that’s all she wrote.  Before I know it I’m vegging on the couch and hibernating like an old bear.  By the time I’ve built up from the spring to the fall I stop and the next spring I have to start all over again.  But I do it.  I get right back out there in the spring.

It’s that time again.  On the advice of a fellow blogger I decided to do some strength training to improve my running time and stamina.  I took a 30-day squat challenge so I did 100 squats a day for a month.  Thinking that was a pretty good start I drug that old death trap back out.  I popped the BodySculp tape into the VCR.  Yes, I still have a VCR.  I’m old-school.  That’s how I roll!

Anyhow, I popped that bad-boy in the VCR ready to do some serious sculpting.  I did TheFIRM® signature move -the fanny lift- I squatted, I lunged and before I knew it my heart felt like it was beating outside of my chest.  Possibly on the floor.  I was sweating.  Profusely.  I plopped my butt down on that Fanny Lifter™ and watched for a few minutes, then I got back up and had another go.

I thought I had done pretty well.  By well, I mean I didn’t die.  It didn’t kill me.  As the day progressed, however, my legs and backside became increasingly sore. I thought it would be better the next day, though.  For the next four days I could hardly walk.  Which isn’t really that much of a problem for my job unless I’m expected to actually be there.  I’d have to walk from my house to my car, then from my car into work.  Every move took careful calculation to determine it’s worth.

Knowing the prescription for such is drinking lots of water to flush the lactic acid from my muscles I started out with that.  That produced dilemmas. How could I get the water without having to move?  And then there was the flushing part.  Drinking lots of water produces lots of water.  Holy crap, now I needed to walk to the toilet.  Not only did I have to walk to the toilet, I had to put my sore fanny on the toilet. Ouch!  But before my tush touched the toilet seat I’d have to reproduce a squatting action to get there.  #@%&^%!

What is it they say?  If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger?  I’ll have my husband post the funeral arrangements so you can send your condolences.


I’m Still Alive…

Recently, Monday to be exact, I turned the big 4-0.  I was afraid it would be a little painful, but I didn’t feel a thing.  As I stared down the barrel of 40 I realized I wish I’d done a whole lotta things I haven’t done.  But 40’s the new 20, right?  I’ve got a lot of time left to do all those things.  I want to go whitewater rafting and zip-lining and canoeing and see the Grand Canyon and, and, and….have children, and…You get the idea.  I’ve still got time.

My sweetie got me exactly what I asked for for my birthday.  A heart monitor.  So I can keep up with my heart rate when I run.  Okay, jog. Because I’ve had a really hard time working up to a 5K this time.  Admittedly the street I’m running jogging on has a lot more of an incline.  But working up to a 5K was a lot easier the last time around.

I’ve determined that my resting heart rate is 62.  That’s good, right?  So I plugged all the pertinent information into my little transmitter device which is all girly pink.  Height, weight, age, sex.  I’m a girl and I’m 40.  The rest I ain’t tellin’.  Anyway the little transmitter thingy says my target heart rate while jogging should be between 117 and 153 and that my maximum heart rate is somewhere around 180. “Not too shabby,” I think to myself. Ha!

I know these are approximations but is it bad that just walking at a brisk pace puts me at the top of the range?  Is it bad that when I actually jogged my heart rate was actually more than the maximum heart rate for the majority of the time?  My range was between 172 and 230.  Most of the time my heart rate was around 190.  When I jogged up Sumbitch Hill(I’ve given it a new name) it went to 214 and then 230.  No wonder I’ve been having such a hard time breathing!  It occurs to me I have no idea what I’m doing with this thing. :/

It hasn’t killed me yet.  And I’ve finally gotten to the point that I can run jog 28 minutes straight with no walking.  Woo hoo!  Maybe I’ll make it to 50.  Keep ’em comin’.  It won’t hurt my feelings one bit.


Starting Over…Again

So I’ve been super busy and when the time changed it messed up my whole running schedule.  I got sidetracked and then I decided to sell my house and then I moved and then..well…you get the idea.  Anyway that led to a major backslide and instead of running sporadically I wasn’t running. at. all.

Now I’m all settled in my new place and it’s right in the heart of the city.  Bright lights, nice side walks, plenty of opportunity.  I no longer have any good excuses for not running, like no good place to go, and it’s so dark and I don’t feel comfortable going by myself.  You see before it was dark when I got up and dark when I got home and being in a rural area left me a little ambivalent about running alone.  Okay a lot ambivalent.

I decided I’d get off my butt and get back out there.  Who knew it would take such a short time to get so out of shape?  Almost like I never ran at all.  Well that’s not exactly true.  I didn’t think I was gonna hack up a lung.  But I did feel I had to start all the way over at Week 1 Day 1 of the C25K program.  Walk 30 seconds…run 30 seconds.  For twenty minutes.  And while I didn’t think I was going to hack up a lung today I feel like someone took a baseball bat to my rib cage and my sides all the way down to my hip joints.  On the bright side my knees don’t hurt.

Why, oh why, did I stop in the first place?  Oh yeah. All those really good excuses.  And I don’t really even know why I made those excuses because I really do enjoy it once I’m out there.


Race Day

The big race day was today.  Because of my previously mentioned busyness I haven’t trained nearly like I would have liked.  In fact over the last month I’ve run pretty sporadically.  It’s been really hit or miss.  I had planned to go out and run the race route for the last month.  That didn’t happen.  With my crazy schedule I’ve been lucky to run a couple of days per week.  I didn’t run at all for about a week and a half.  Needless to say coming up to race day I was pretty anxious about the whole thing.

Last week I decided maybe I should run the route.  It kicked my butt.  It’s been in the 90’s here over the last week or so and I’ve had to run in the afternoons.  Not good.  The terrain was much different than the trail I normally run.  It’s much hillier.  When I tell you the route was up hill both ways I do not exaggerate.  I almost backed out of it.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  It took me close to 45 minutes on both of my trial runs and then I found out that I’d misinterpreted the route.  It was actually a half mile longer than I thought. 

I decided that finishing the race was my goal. If that side stitch caused me to walk more than I’d planned so be it.   If it took me an hour and I finished dead last what would I have to be embarrassed about?  I would be accomplishing something the majority of people won’t even attempt.  Enough with the excuses.  So off I went. 

When I got up this morning, to my surprise, it had rained during the night and cooled things off significantly.  Temperatures were in the mid sixties.  Great!  It remained a bit overcast so no glaring sun.  Even better.  I warmed up properly, stretched and felt pretty good about things.  I arrived, got my first ever number bib, and waited for the race to start.

The race coordinator started out by calling all those who planned to finish the race in under 21 minutes to the front, then those planning to finish in under 35 minutes, then those in under 45 minutes and finally those who planned to finish in under 55 minutes.  I stayed toward the back because based on my two trial runs I thought it best to stay out of the way of those faster than myself.  Most people piled in the middle in the “planning to run in under 45 minutes”.  He blew the whistle and we were off.  Up hills and down hills we went.  Surprisingly I kept a pretty good pace.  I did have to walk a couple of times, but even with that I think I finished pretty well.  Better than I thought anyway.  I had a finishing time of 35:52, 15th out of 18 in my age group and 77th out of 101 runners overall.  Average race time was 30:43.  I’m hooked and I’ll certainly be running another one.

The Masked Avenger took the top prize as usual.  I’m not sure if anyone really even knows his name.  He shows up to all of these events donning a colorful wrestling style mask.  He runs the race in it and after the race changes into fresh one.  He ran the race in 17:51.  Needless to say I was well impressed. Cudos to the Masked Avenger…whoever you are.  


Couch to 5K – Week 8 & 9

I’ve come to the end of the Couch-to-5K 9 week plan to get myself trained to run a 5K in September.
Week 8 was pretty straight forward. All three days with a 5 minute warm-up and a 28 minute run. I ran all three days pretty strong and the week was pretty uneventful.

Week 9 is supposed to be the last week. According to the plan I should be running 5K or approximately 3 miles in 30 minutes; a 10-minute mile. The little street I run on is between .7 and .75 miles long. I can run 3.5 of those in 30 minutes which means I’m running somewhere in the neighborhood of a 12-minute mile. I can run the 30 minutes pretty well and finish strong, but I’ve still got work to do because I’m only running about 2.5 miles. The week started out a little rocky. The first day I had to stop about half-way through to walk for a minute or so. For some reason I thought I was gonna hurl. It was a bit disappointing after finishing the previous week so strong.

No worries, though. I’ve got time to work on either time or distance. I’m not sure which is more important to me at this point. I’d like to build up to a 10K so maybe both. I’m not really that interested in whether I win a race or not. I’m more competitive with myself. I like to go out and best my previous performance. I’ve not had the pleasure of running with buddies, though, so that may change when I’m up against competitors. I do so like to win. 🙂

What I have discovered is that I need a distraction. Whether it’s music, or meditation, or thinking/planning for the day I have to have something to take my mind off of my breathing. If I think about it too much suddenly I can’t. Yeah, I’m a weirdo. All I know is I’m doing it and, well, I’m pretty darned proud of myself.


Couch to 5K – Week 7

Week seven of the Couch to 5K plan is back to three days of the same running pattern. This is it:

Day 1,2 & 3       
* 5 minute warmup          
* 25 minutes jogging         
* 4 minute cool down        

I did okay on days 1 and 2.  My endurance is building and my breathing was much better regulated by day 3.  I still can’t quite drink and run at the same time, but I can see it happening as my breathing is less labored and I shaved some time off my distance.  I ran 2.2 miles in 25 minutes, though I’m not terribly concerned about distance yet. Once I can jog 30 minutes nonstop I’ll work on time.  I’m hooked! 

My plan is to ramp it up to the Gateway to 8K when I’m done with week 9.  That’s another 8 week program to build up to an 8K and on from there I plan to build to a 10K. 

I’ve been doing general stretches before and after, but is there any particular stretching plan anybody recommends? 


Couch to 5K Week 6 – I Ran So Far

Yeah, I run to this song sometimes.  Doesn’t seem like it, but it’s got quite a pace to it.  In honor of week six and just how far I’ve come since I started this:

I managed to get through week six pretty well.  Bought one of those sports bottles, you know the ones with the top on it kinda like a baby bottle.  Doesn’t help, still can’t drink while running without nearly choking myself to death.  Not good.  So just drink up before and after, that’s what I’m thinkin’.

Week Six Schedule:

Day One:                                Day 2                                Day 3

* 5 minute warm-up              * 5 minute warm-up           * 5 minute warm up
* 5 minute jog                       * 10 minute jog                  * 25 minute jog – no walking
* 3 minute walk                     * 3 minute walk
* 8 minute jog                        * 10 minute jog
* 3 minute walk
* 5 minute jog

Day one was pretty easy after the 20 minute run to end the week last week.  Day two I struggled a bit, but I did it.  My shins tightened up about 3 minutes into the first 10 minute segment but soon loosened up and I relaxed a bit.  By the end of the second 10 minutes I was pretty done for and glad I didn’t  have a second longer.  I took a two day break between day two and day three.  I got up Saturday morning determined to do it.  About half way in I got a side stitch that stayed with me til the end, but I finished it. All.twenty.five.minutes.  And felt I could have gone a bit further.  So I finished the week on a pretty strong note. 

I’ll be ready for that 5K in September.  I won’t be breaking any records with mah blazin’ speed, but I’ll be able to jog it without much trouble.