Sunday, February 28, 2010

What Are The Chances?

I started running in January. I'm training for a half marathon, and by
training I mean that I still haven't completely given up on the idea.

My goal, the Wine Country Half Marathon is on May 8th and I have a training schedule courtesy of Nancy who led me to Jeff Galloway's website. I run for 20 minutes on a Monday, 30 minutes on a Wednesday , and then my 'big run' on a Saturday.

On Monday or Wednesday I have two choices, I either fight for a sweaty gym treadmill during peak post-work hours or I get up at some godawful time while the rest of the world sleeps and I run round the barrio where I live. I reckon the gangstas are all tucked up in bed at that time. Except this is California, and while we're sleeping the rest of the world is working away, which makes us feel like we're behind, so we all wake up and head off to work between 5am and 6am which is crazy. You would be amazed at how many downtown offices have people at their desks before your average Yorkshireman has even hit snooze for the first time. You should see us partying at night though! 9pm and the West Coast is done. Fast asleep. Snoring through our pinot noir stained teeth. It's not the Hollywood lifestyle you would imagine.

Monday mornings I am a streak of pasty whiteness gasping for breath like a dying cod as I plod around the local pavements. Take for example this Monday as I lay in bed doing a mental 'if I run now it's over with, compared to having to go the gym tonight, but on the other hand it feels a bit chilly, and I would really like to just lie here in my giant fluffy bed and not drag my carcass around the neighborhood.' Guilt ridden I scraped my hair into a ponytail, put a sports bra under my nightshirt (truly), pulled on my joggers and off I went. In to the largest collection of workmen every congregated. Apparently a tree had fallen down in the night blocking the entrance to the high school. 30 Caltrans workers checking out your pyjamas is an excellent incentive to run faster I find.

I've been running for nearly two months now and I'm up to being able to run 8 miles without needing CPR. I'm definitely noticing a difference with all this exercise - namely I'm hungry all the time and I've gained 4 pounds. I know it's muscle, but still, harrumph.

I do know that I'm getting fitter obviously, and I'm clearly reshaping the post-birth flab landscape - I have a waist now which is somewhat of a revelation for my usual 'drawn using only a ruler' figure (no curves...). Also my original jogging trousers had to be retired after they failed to stay up during one of my final runs in January. Clearly I was making progress, and progress needs to be rewarded so after the first month of sticking to my schedule I took myself off to 'Lucy' and spent a small fortune on proper running clothes that would gain acceptance at the swankiest gym.

After 6 weeks I decided that this wasn't just a passing fad, and that I may just be able to achieve my goal so I sat down to sign up for the race. The reason I'd put it off before was the cost - $100. Now what about a half marathon could possibly cost $100? You have to be committed at a price like that, I don't care if the 'complimentary' race t-shirt is 'moisture wicking'.

So after much inner-wrangling I decided to sign up. My logic said that I'd stuck it out this far, and quite frankly if you could pay someone $100 to make you fitter, happier and left with a tremendous sense of accomplishment in 2 months time, then it seems like a no-brainer. I pulled up the website to sign up.

Sold out.


I put myself on the waiting list, and apparently I have a 15% chance of getting a spot. Now, I have been signing up for the HGTV Dream Home every day for the last six weeks, and while I'm convinced that my one in a million chance of victory is a sure thing as far as that's concerned, the approximately 1 in 6 chance I have of getting in to this race is making me think I haven't got a hope. Mental. I know there are other races, Bay to Breakers in San Francisco springs to mind, but it's not the same.

The drawing for the remaining spots is March 15th. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shot Through The Heart

Once again we have survived the charade of Valentines Day. 18 handcrafted hearts, one for every child in Anna's school plus her teachers. Sometimes I think this has to be the real meaning of 'No Child Left Behind'.

We spent the week cutting out colourful paper hearts, we glitter-glued the edge and Anna painstakingly wrote every child's name. Taj was a breeze but we had to craft an extra large heart for Aleshandra. I think Anna's was the only name that wouldn't send a spell-checker into a frenzy. Every name so outlandishly distinctive that Anna ends up sounding unique. I wonder what it's going to be like next year with two children in school. 36 valentines. 36 shop-bought hearts I can predict right now....

On the way back from school Anna worked her way through her valentines stash, carefully sorting those with jewels and candy from the rest. She handed me mine. 'My family' by Anna K. 'I love my family when we go for ice-cream. I love my family when we get to have candy at the park', the usual pre-diabetic fare. Her teacher had 'interviewed' each child and transcribed their words. Then I read 'sometimes my Mom scares me'.


Say that to my face little girl and I'll give you 'my Mom scares me'. There it was, in laminated perpetuity, 'my Mom scares me'. I'm wondering if I can just hide the heart, no-one need ever know. I can already hear LK saying 'no shit, you scare me most of the time too'.

I start to second-guess myself; the early-morning military-style leaving the house routine, the insistence on wearing underwear in public places.........I decide to interrogate. Hold the water-boarding. 'What do you mean by I scare you, love?'

"You know, you scare me, my teacher says Sofie and I play nicely, the other friends do too but we play the niceliest"

"That's nice", focus dammit!! "but I scare you?"

"Yes. When you jump out and go 'RAWR'"

Oh yay I think. Reprieve! But then I read the next line 'but she's kind of nice'.

So great, I'm either a monster or I've given birth to a politician. I wonder which is worse.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Feminine Hygiene Products

I shudder to think what this title is going to do to my Google ads, but I will plough on regardless.

One of the only downsides to getting your body back to normal after having a baby, is getting back to flying the red flag once a month. Now you know you have married the right man when he calls you from Costco and you can ask him to buy you a jumbo pack of tampons and he doesn't run screaming with embarrassment - although I do have to call them 'corks' so's not to injure his man-ears.

For some reason in the States it is almost impossible to buy a tampon without an applicator. I'm sure some of you readers are falling off your chairs in shock at the thought of how else do I get it up there, *shudder*? Even in these eco-friendly times it is harder to find an applicator-free tampon than it is to find a Californian without a flip-flop tan. Carrying around an arsenal of torpedoes instead of a tiny and discreet Lilette is something I have learned to live with. What I was not prepared for was LK coming back with 96 scented tampons.


Turning a blind eye to the fact that he might have been trying to tell me something, I ask you, scented tampons - really? Are people that squeamish about periods that they think they have to deodorize themselves? The idea of putting chemical anything up there is abhorrent. Are people really so repelled? I wonder if it's an American thing - hairlessness, multiple showers, body deodorant, feminine wipes, I think they've reached the zenith of sanitization over here.

In LK's defence, I'm sure he was just grabbing the first appropriately titled product in the entire embarrassing aisle - but I've never seen these before. Are they new? Are they in the UK? Are they going to be returned to Costco? Oh yes.