August is one of my favorite times. It’s hot, but there might be the odd fresh morning that lets you know autumn is around the bend.
My running route is packed with summer. Over the past two weeks, all of these signs have begun to fray, and beautifully so. There are late blackberries, some scorched and some still plump.
Some are still sour. We’ve got a good long season here.
Among the thorns, I heard a rustle. She was hung up by her foot. When I let her go, she flew to the little creek immediately– thirsty but okay.
Along the way, the true glory of August is on display. It’s easy to run and be cheerful despite the heat. (Full disclosure: I LOVE running in the heat. Unsure why, but it feels better, like hot yoga provided by Mother Nature)
Everywhere I looked, flowers. Some people call them weeds, but that’s not true.
Things are past their peak, but still radiant. The colors are stunning, and there’s a desperate quality to the lower leaves on all the plants. They’re sun-scorched but defiant, pushing up blooms that are visible at a distance. Summer beauty is persistent.
The goldenrod and purple glory is just starting. Up next: September, when we start thinking cozy thoughts.
Off to run. Hope your neighborhood is filled with color, too.
I love pie and cake and waffles and running, so this seems like a win/win/win/win to me. A bit of background- I got fat over the winter (gained 24 pounds), but I run in the summer, so it’s going to come off. Here’s where things get dicey.
I’m not giving up pie and cake and such. I may limit myself to reasonable portions, but I’m not going to give up the joys of life. I have some specific goals in mind, so let’s get down to some specific numbers.
Current weight is 249. Tragically, my height remains steady (for now) at 6’1″.
I’m going to eat an average of one piece of cake or pie per day. Waffles count as two pieces, because I rarely eat them without syrup.
My running routes are fantastic, but for this specific mission, I’ll run at a nearby park. Here are the specs–
As you can see, it’s a nice, small lap. I had a strange hip injury, took six months off running, and then got a vicious summer cold.
In short, I’m weak.
So, two days ago I started in earnest. I was able to run two laps and walk two, along with eighty pushups. Oh– about the pushups– I’m going to do twenty pushups or burpees for every lap around the track. Today, I ran 2.75 laps and walked 2. I did 100 pushups. The goal here is quite simple. It isn’t so much a weight issue as it is changing my body to be more muscular and less. . . middle aged. I want to run with my shirt off in full Dad Bod mode later this year, but not necessarily with the Dad Bod. Does that make sense?
There’s something about this park that enables good, hard runs.
I think that within three weeks of good work, I’ll be able to see and feel some results. I love running in the heat, and this park has an added bonus– there are MASSES of blackberry bushes around the park. If I run around the exterior of the park, it’s 1.2 miles. By summer’s end, I’ll be running around the park rather than in it. I’ll also have eaten myself silly on all those glorious blackberries.
Now, on to cake.
It turns out, I’m a princess.
It’s true. My bride baked me a prinsesstårta (Swedish Princess Cake) and I LOST MY MIND. It. Is. Magnificent.
There are layers of custard and home made raspberry jam and cream and OH LORD is it good. The outer layer is hand made marzipan and I’m not kidding when I say I’ll run in the sun ’til I drop simply to eat a slice.
You see? Totally worth it.
So, I’m keeping a journal of my running and such, to see just what happens over the summer. Send me a message if you’re running, too. I’m always up for challenges and buddies to join the grind, so to speak.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. The Princess needs cake.*
Oh, Fitbit. You may be small, but your ability to make me feel inadequate knows no bounds.
Let’s examine how an object that weighs an ounce can impact my day.
5:30AM: Get up.
Feed cats and dogs.
6:22AM: Glance at Fitbit, smugly judging me as I pant from animal chores. 331 steps, Terry. That isn’t very good, Terry. I’m not laughing with you, Terry. I’m laughing at you,Terry.
7:50AM: Arrive at college, park. Begin lumbering across parking lot to go teach, recall I wore boots and boots are stupid because I’m not a cowboy or a guy in a disco in 1985.
7:55AM: 1273 Steps. Now we’re cooking. A mere seven thousand-ish steps to go for my lower goal. Nine thousand for something legit, and fourteen thousand if I want to feel smug.
11:15AM. Switch into running shoes and walk at a sedate elephantine amble around the trail on campus. Sweat. Squint. Do some pushups, but out in the distant parking lot so people can’t see me and think I’m a douchebag who wants to brag about doing 18 pushups. CROSSFIT, BRUH. #no
* The pushups are so that I don’t get man-boobies. It works.*
1:42PM Exactly Get out of car after parking in pickup line to get my son from school. Begin walking around school and neighborhood to get more steps on Fitbit, which is still blinking in a judgmental way. Realize I “fit the description” for every serial killer, make effort to wave and smile in friendly manner at every car that passes by.
2:36PM Get back in car. Drink water like I just got off a raft at sea for six days. Curse that my metal cup isn’t larger. Turn on car, air conditioning, continue to sweat like a train that has cut power but won’t quit chugging. Look at Fitbit, tap in disbelief. Tap again. Resolve to walk laps through the living room until midnight if necessary.
5:18PM Go get mail. 23 steps. YES.
8:09PM Son is in bed, singing, bouncing, and twirling covers like a member of a caffeinated color guard in a marching band. Look at Fitbit. 15,583 steps? Pump fist. Dad victory. Glare at Fitbit. Resolve to do more the next day, if I don’t fall asleep after eating lasagna.
As in, losing weight sucks. There’s nothing good about my cyclical winter re-fattening.
Here’s how it seems to go: Summertime means running outside. Sunshine. Heat. Lots of summer-ish stuff, moving quickly and doing things for the sheer pleasure of being outside because life seems to really pop once the temperature starts rising.
As a kid in Florida, it was always summer. There was no sense of urgency about nice weather, and thus, activity stayed at a reasonable level year ’round.
Enter my move to “The North”. Now, do to the horrors of Daylight Savings Time, it gets dark sometime after lunch. I feel the urge to eat, get under blankets, and allow our herd of pets to camp out on me like a mountain that occasionally moves and snorts. I gain– without fail- twenty pounds. Then, as the winter wears on, I begin my cycle of yearning for seasonal tomatoes and wishing that it would be hot every day. Unlike normal humans, I prefer it to be hot when I run. I don’t know if it’s some latent form of Protestant self-hatred, but running in the summer is far preferable to the winter.
If I were to run in the winter (a nightmare for me), my nose whistles like a failing radiator, and my lungs fill with ice crystals and/or doom.
Oddly enough, I think I write more in the summer, too– one would think that cozy nights inside would cause a flurry of writing. It doesn’t. I eat cookies and feel moderate shame as I reach the end of the Oreos and give serious consideration to going out for more at 2:00 AM.
I’m going to see if there’s a connection between running, sunshine, and my word count. There has to be something scientific, probably a German word that sounds like a threat, which explains why I emerge from the relative gloom of winter and feel like writing, running, and not eating sixty cookies while looking out the kitchen window t the winter stars wheeling overhead.
My bride and I are having ten year anniversary pictures taken, and I’d like to be in peak form for those. I have a little more than two months.
I began the Spring Pre-Running Diet. I will fist fight for: pizza, cheese, spicy tuna sushi rolls, cheeseburgers, fried anything, milkshakes, ice cream, pie, waffles, or cake.
I will also, at the minimum, wrestle for pancakes, steak, eggs with actual cheese, a bucket of ketchup, mayo on a shoe, bread, cookies, hash browns, sausage, any kind of casserole, tacos, fish sandwiches (species irrelevant) and any animal that has ever lived in the ocean with the exception of a walrus, and even that’s negotiable.
As you may guess, my life is not unlike that of an insect– a large, six foot tall insect that goes through the following life cycle every year:
Spring- a time of emergence from the grim winter, thickened and pale, not unlike a grub– but one who wears clothes and complains about Daylight Savings Time.
Summer. Utter joy! I run! I tan! I fish! I leap about, all while becoming the human I was always meant to be, but with a glistening coat of sweat at all times.
Fall. the magic of autumn, in which I begin to pupate as my conversion into a Basic White Girl takes hold. Coffee! Pumpkins! Holidays! Turkey and pie and shame! Mild existential dread at knowing that after Christmas, life is over!
Winter. Pre-Pre-Christmas! Pre-Christmas! CHRISTMAS! Moderate depression after Christmas. The letdown of New Year’s Eve, following by the horror of sunset at 4:30 PM. My body begins to spin a cocoon of fat, even as the tan fades from my skin. I think what the sun used to look like, and sigh.
So, that’s where I’m at. Post-Winter Diet: check. Moderate anger: check.
I feel like there’s a lot of broccoli in my future, and it makes me sad.
As we roll into 2017, I’m one year closer to being fifty.
I can’t believe it.
Regardless, due too eating to much between the hours of 1-3AM, which is apparently when I MUST HAVE CAKE, I started running last year. I love it.
But, I only like running outside, and in the heat. The hotter the better, which leaves me in a lurch right now as Tennessee is in the midst of our own Arctic Winter. And then summer, and then winter again, but mostly winter.
So, I started a pushup challenge with myself. I did forty pushups (not all at once) about three weeks ago. Today, I just did four hundred. Again, not all at once, but you get the picture. To my horror, I seem to kind of like them, and I can do them anywhere that gravity exists. I think the goal is to run outside with no shirt (and not scare people) this summer, which means I’ve got five months to go. I’m keeping a log book, and when it’s time to run, I’ll add up my pushups and see just how many it takes to turn back the clock a bit.
In other news, I really appreciate Oreo Thins being sold in convenient single-serving packages of forty.