Category Archives: Books

Sort of feeling domesticated and a good book


This book is the reason that I did not run today.  I cannot tell you how long it’s been since I have read a really well-written story.  Yes, I am always reading, but mostly half-heartedly.  Anyway, this book is full of well-written stories, so staying up late has been totally worth it.  (I do plan to run with the cross country kids later tonight, so don’t get too worried that my lifestyle is changing.)

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Oh sometimes I get a feeling…

When last we left off I was a very sick mama who was seriously considering backing out of the L.A. Marathon if only to avoid another solidly mediocre performance like most of my other ones.

The story is the same:  training goes well, I get sick.  Training goes well, I get injured.  I show up on race day and run a 3:3x:33 and that’s that.

So there I was, my body’s thermostat seemingly broken, my house a mess, my morale low, my determination waning, with no appetite and no energy.

I took a break.  I tried to back off of everything and rest, and I tried my best to keep my spirits up.

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Tempo runs, good reads and a catatonic stupor


I woke up today ahead of my alarm clock with my cat walking in circles around my head.  I knew getting back to sleep was not going to happen, especially since, once my pets know that I have stirred, they are relentless in their pursuit of life’s comforts.

“I need you to refill my water bowl.  More food would be nice.  A walk would be even better…”

So I headed reluctantly into the kitchen and made coffee, not quite being sure if I should spend the early morning hours (the ones before chaos erupts) running, reading or writing.

Running won.  I know you are all shocked.

Since it was too dark to hit the roads, and since MFP was not to be bothered after many late nights in a row, I threw on my worst running bra and shorts and jumped on the good ole treadmill.  (Always wear the clothes that get stuffed to the back of your drawer on these runs, because no one will see you.  Personally I think of it as the perfect opportunity to wear a bra I got at Old Navy that smashes me down and makes me look quite uneven, way off center and just plain deformed.)

My in-laws arrive on Friday for a Thanksgiving visit, so I won’t be able to use the mill at all once they are here.  Though I might be able to convince MFP to move it out of the guest room and into the living room, I still don’t they would appreciate hearing me singing along to the Goo Goo Dolls at five in the morning from two rooms away.

Anyway, in preparation for their arrival, I have been trying my best to make our house look at least a little bit livable, but sadly it seems to be a losing battle.

I am also trying to convince the boys to act like they are perfect for two weeks straight, but I’m not having any luck with that either.  They insist on being human, which is really sort of annoying.

It’s kind of like Sarah Palin in the movie Game Change.  You know, when they sit her down and say, “we are going to teach you how to be interviewed by Katie Couric.  Here are the questions she will ask you.  This is how you will answer…”  And Palin just sort of goes into a catatonic stupor and then proceeds to blow the whole interview?

That’s exactly what it is like!

“Okay, boys.  For two weeks you have to act like you enjoy doing the dishes.  You will need to keep your rooms TIDY.  You will need to offer to help everyone, all the time.  And repeat after me: You will not fight with your brothers in front of your grandparents!  Got it?”

“Did you say something, mom?  I was having an awesome daydream…”

But back to the run.  I felt decent on the first two miles, so I picked it up and ran six at tempo pace before I cooled down.  This was the first time I have run at faster-than-a-snail’s pace since Santa Clarita.  Though it felt good to go fast, I didn’t feel like I could keep it up after 44 minutes of it.  So I cooled down and moved on.

Here are the songs that I listened to during the faster miles:

Zombie, The Cranberries

Tap Out, The Strokes

Slide, Goo Goo Dolls

Is There a Ghost, Band of Horses

Out of My League, Fitz and the Tantrums

Feel So Close, Calvin Harris

So anyway, after my run I cleaned up for a while and imagined what my house might be like if I was totally obsessed with floral patterns and sat around dreaming up DIY projects.

Much better, of course.  But I just can’t.

I just get too distracted with other stuff, and this time I found myself obsessed with finishing a story in Middle’s book, The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, by Jon Krakauer entitled “Into Thin Air.”  It is the article that appeared in Outside Magazine before it became a book.  Even though I already knew the outcome, I had to read every last word before I felt a sense of closure.

Some other good reads I have found lately include:

How I Did It:  Sammy Hagar,” Inc.  (Best quote from this article:  “I hate email—if I wake up to 20 emails, it pisses me off.”

“Beastly Appetites:  The animals we love too much to eat,”  The New Yorker

“Eat Right for Life,” Outside Magazine

And finally, the above article in Outside turned me on to this website, which has me dying of laughter, though I cannot really explain why someone writing recipes laced with expletives makes me cackle until I cry.  I grew up in a very conservative family in the South and I promise you I never heard one of my parents ever utter the F word.

But there’s something about being a parent and being forced to be a good example all the time which inspires me to find comic relief in other people’s cursing.

Or maybe my parents sat me down and told me that the F word is not funny and that I am never to laugh when people use it, and instead of listening to them, I just went into a catatonic stupor and daydreamed about going for a run.

Things that make me nervous


A tempo run was on the schedule today, and because these are my least favorite sort of runs, I procrastinated for about two hours before I finally got myself on my dusty treadmill.  (Yes, Charlie hangs out on it and leaves behind his hair.)

I am doing my required leg swings in this picture, just in case you were wondering.

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