Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As for the Running

The Running (which is actually slow jogging) is going fine. I'm scheduled to go for an hour this weekend, so I'll let you know how that goes too. I have a fair amount of pain in my knees, calves, and feet, but glucosamine and advil seem to be helping for now.

My Eyes Are Old

For the first time in years, I went to the eye doctor. Sure, I needed to go, but this trip was a direct result of Dale accidentally throwing out my last pair of contacts that I had stored in small mint julep cups (obviously, those were my contacts, I mean, what was he thinking?). My new health insurance has eye coverage if you use the WalMart vision centers, so a few weeks ago, I went to my appointment.

My first not-knowing-what-to-expect attitude quickly changed to an omg-get-me-out-of-this-bootleg-operation as the doctor measured my eyes with several ruler-like devices before traumatizing me with at least six air puffs to each eye to test eye pressure. This Air Puff test is one thing that I'm really not good at. Needles, giving blood, teeth cleanings, and various other minimally invasive medical procedures are no issue, but I'm equally terrified and incapable of doing the simple test. After I considered leaving while my eyes were being pulverized by air, we went into the office for several tests during which really bright lights were shined at me until my eyes quivered and watered to the point that we had to stop.

The doctor told me I had sensitive eyes. Right, it's my fault.

Then things got better. After the very, very thourough exam, the doctor took a lot of time to tell me what was actually wrong with my eyes and even giving me some exercises to strengthen them. She was really nice, and I began to think that maybe all appointments should be this tough because they made for a very complete report.

She told me my eyes were "iso" rather than "exo" which means that they have a tendency to turn in. Anyone who's seen my embarrassing baby pictures knows that I had a lazy eye when I was born, so that makes sense. Then she said that with my unique combination of substantial near-sightedness and "iso," I could use some mild reading glasses. Yep, reading glasses. My eyes are old.

The doctor also told me that I have some condition that makes me sleepy when I read (which is true), so she was kinda impressed when I said I taught English and read books and papers for a living. I took it to mean that I've overcome my physical limitations to do what I love. Since I wasn't expecting inspiration from the eye doctor, I considered the visit a success, even though my eyes were very glad that it was over.

And I got some cute, black, cat-eye reading glasses out of the deal.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sign the Papers, I'm Crazy.

Three years ago this Halloween, my friend Sarah and I ran a 5K to promote "Safe Dating," aka stop violence and sexual crimes against women. It was a bit of a debaucle. I had trained for months for the big 3 mile (yes, just 3) run, but I changed my routine the day of the race and really screwed myself over. On that lovely October morning in New Jersey, I woke up and decided that we'd be hungry after the race, so I prepared some veggie jambalaya (Sarah's a vegetarian). In loading the pot with onions and garlic, I got evil, burny onion and garlic fumes in my not-yet-contacted eyes; therefore, when I tried to put my contacts in, I cried in pain and decided to run in my glasses. No big deal, but it made for a miserable run with me sniffling from the spicy food and pushing my glasses up on my nose every few steps.

Since that run was such a success (ha...ha), I resolved to run a 10K sometime the next year. Well, several years have passed and there's been no organized running for me, so of course I've decided to ruin all that bodily comfort and blissful laziness by running a half marathon as part of the Mardi Gras marathon. I was thinking it would be my punishment for not getting my butt in gear for that 10K two years ago. Dale, a marathoner extraordinaire (meaning he can do it), has been very supportive and even bought me a book called "The Nonrunner's Guide to the Marathon for Women" (it's not an insult, I requested it). I even started training this week 'cause the actual race is 20 weeks away.

There's more. The crazy part.

Last night, Dale had a wine and cheese birthday get together. I made sure that it was a well-balanced menu of the three most important food groups: yummy cheese, carbs in the form of assorted crackers, and red wine. At approximately the mid-point of the evening when I had put a serious dent in the nutritionally complex dinner, the half-marathon came up. I gave a brief statement of intent, and Dale helpfully pointed out that our friend Elizabeth had run the marathon...twice. She immediately started saying how she did it without doing all that pesky recommended training because she wasn't worried about running fast. This sounded like a great training schedule, so I asked how often she ran, and a how fast, and where, and the list went on. Then, I felt my head bobbing in agreement and heard myself saying "yeah, maybe," and then I realized Elizabeth had just proposed that we run the marathon. Not the half. The MARATHON. 26.2 MILES. After getting some answers from me about my current running skills, she was like "Of course you can do it. No need to be in a hurry. And you'll be so proud of yourself."

Ugh. I think I've agreed to run a marathon. (WHAT?) I'm at least going to get into the training and see what happens.

Some positives: Dawn, the author of my running book, says that my butt will never look better and that I'll be able to eat all the carbs I want. Now, those two things have always been life goals for me--I mean, in my ideal world, my butt will look great and I'll get pizza at every meal--but it seems like a lot of work for a few simple pleasures. Mainly I'm hoping that this training will make me as funny as Dawn because I laughed myself into tears today while reading her book. She also is encouraging me (I will henceforth be speaking of Dawn as if she's a close personal friend) to keep a journal as I train, so you're it blogosphere. Prepare yourself for much complaining. Today was a 3 mile run (the same as the only 5K I've done), and it was ok despite some dehydration and calf tightness after the mile and a half mark. I'm going to learn a lot about my personal limits during the next few months, and y'all get to hear all the gorey details. Just think of it as a gross, boring gossip column written by someone less-than-sane. Lucky you.