Running Challenged

I say it every year. Running makes me sneeze. I have only been a “runner” for 3 years, and I say “runner,” because snails move faster than me. I’m pretty sure I walk faster than I run.

In previous years, even treadmill running made me sneeze. Weird, I know. This year, it’s exclusively when I run outside. Which makes sense–seasonal allergies in Kentucky are awful! Word on the street is this area is actually one of the worst for allergies. Of course, for anyone who has lived in Columbus, GA, where the world is covered in yellow pollen powder for a good chunk of spring, they will tell you it’s much worse there. That place made my face feel constantly swollen.

But there I go again.

So, it’s spring in Kentucky, and while I don’t appreciate all the sneezing that follows, I do appreciate being able to run outside without turning into a popsicle.

Also, this past week, Terry the Torturous (which would be my trainer’s Viking name) told me I run weird. My legs swing out to the sides? In my head, I’m picturing some slinky-limbed muppet, with limbs going everywhere. Because I’m sure that’s probably what it looks like. He then told me nothing I did looked natural. Running doesn’t feel natural! It feels like a torture technique, used to specifically make me feel out of shape. Can’t I just throw heavy things around?!

Terry is using his fabulous skills as a track coach and trying to assist in turning me into a runner. Like, a real life runner, not a goofy muppet whose limbs are going to get seriously tangled if I get going too fast. By the end of our “run” on Thursday he told me I looked like I actually knew what I was doing.

Of course then he used his ninja powers and appeared next to me yesterday while I was attempting to do everything he told me only 2 days prior. He was shaking his head and giving me the “I’m not mad–I’m just disappointed,” look.  I’m swinging my arms across my body, I guess? So, I am moments away from getting tangled in myself.

Once again today, I went out and ran, trying to put everything he’s been telling me into practice. I feel like something between a leaping gazelle and a muppet whose limbs are on the verge of getting tangled. But, I was faster on my first mile than I normally am. A 10 minute mile?! Did you think I was kidding when I said snails are faster?

My desire to continue to run is strongly tied to my stubbornness. I strongly dislike running, but I dislike NOT being able to do things much more. Justin tells me about his 8min mile “jog pace,” and I respond with a strong, “jog?! THAT is a sprint!” Our 5k date went like this: Justin ran it in 22:39, took a lap of the parking lot and then ran back to find me. I was about 27min in when he caught up and said, “I didn’t think you’d be this far back!” I threatened to twist his nipple off. Of course then he made me run to the end. “Stop looking at your watch, put your head down and just push through it.” I died. But not really. My time was 33:49. By the end of it all, Justin had run about a 7k. I was WORLDS sweatier, and much more out of breath.

This week, my kids are on spring break, so my goofy leaping gazelle muppet runs will be taking place evenings. If you see me, and I look confused, or as if I’m seriously concentrating, I am. Nothing about this “running” thing feels natural! But I refuse to give up!!! Maybe someday I will be able to make this looks natural.

Am I Skinny Yet?!?!

Before you roll your eyes or anything like that, I know I’m not fat. I’m just…a little thicker than I once was. It’s fine. It’s whatever. It’s driving me crazy.

I took this slow week at work as an opportunity to try something new–working out with a personal trainer. It’s not an entirely new concept. Back in 2009 when Justin was in Iraq and I was in the throes of postpartum depression, thinking I looked something like a beached whale whose belly had been attacked by a pizza cutter (an analogy I’ve stolen from my friend Nicole. Because it’s so unbelievably true, and the perfect way to describe it…unless you sew, then maybe you were attacked by a rotary cutter. Both are gruesome thoughts–sorry everyone). Thanks to the YMCA having an awesome program for military families who do not live near a post/base, I was able to get a free membership. I decided to treat myself with a personal trainer, who I met with twice a week. She was awfully nice, but honestly, it was more chatting and not so much intense working out. Which was fine at the time. By the time Justin returned, I was back to my happy 145 (still 20lbs more than I weighed when we got married, but let’s be honest, that girl is long gone. 22-year-old metabolism, you sure were amazing, and I’ll always remember the times we had together).

I also managed to get back to that magical number in 2013 when Justin was again deployed. Noticing a pattern here? I kicked my own butt, 4 days a week in our garage gym. Of course, the stress of Shea’s tonsillectomy also helped me drop weight fast.

And then I decided to get Mirena, and in the 2 months before he returned, I gained the 20lbs back.

“Justin, I lost 20lbs while you were gone!”

“I know!”

“And then I gained it all back right before you got home.”

“I know…….”

Little known fact: When men (and maybe women too, I don’t have a lot of experience with military ladies–Justin’s in the Boys’ Club known as the Infantry) deploy, they get CRAZY fit. Every time he comes home from a deployment, he’s all muscles and no body fat. I keep saying I’ll take the next deployment and he can stay here with the kids, but again, if he won’t let me take his fun little TDY trip, I doubt a deployment would be permissible. Plus the fact that I would be hiding behind things, shouting “STOP SHOOTING AT ME!!! WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU!?!?” And also, the heat. He compares the breezes in Kuwait to turning a hair dryer on hot and blowing it in your face. It sounds gross.

Right, well, along with the 3 days a week I normally lift weights with my work/workout friend, and the 4 days a week I normally run, I decided that I would also add Torture with Terry to my Tues/Thurs running days. Why not, right? I mean, his kettle bell class was evil enough, so why not triple the amount of time I spent with him each week.

Again, If you find yourself at Fort Knox, in need of any fitness related anything, he’s the man to see. Because he’s EVIL. But in a good way.

Of course, in being honest with him, I have subjected myself to something he likes to refer to as Cardio of Death. It’s evil. And my rapid heart rate makes him nervous:

“Your watch says your heart rate is 170…”

“Shh. Pay no attention to that.”

“Ok…” he says, wide-eyed.

“I did ask if you were CPR certified.”

don’t actually want to have to use that training on you!”

Ah, genes. While I get my sweatiness from my Dad, I most likely get my rapid heart rate from my Mom’s side. Test after test later, and all they can tell me is that I have a rapid resting heart rate. It’s 84 right now, which is pretty low for me–usually it’s between 90-110. It doesn’t do the weird fluttery thing it used to do once upon a time when I was a twig, or before I had kids. So there’s that. It makes cardio suck. Maybe cardio just sucks for everyone, but man alive, I dislike it. I would rather pick up heavy things all day. But cardio is good for me, and blah blah blah.

So, I climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower. On a machine that was evil. After I did the Jacob’s Ladder to nowhere evil. After I climbed a stairway to nowhere for 3 minutes, which was really more like 3 hours. But it was 3 minutes. In. Slow. Motion. Time goes SO SLOWLY when you’re being tortured.

There’s no talking. There’s minimal talking. Between gasps. This is NOT the hour of chitchat and gossip I “endured” at 26. This is sweat dripping everywhere, huffing and puffing, “Terry…I’m…Dying…” while he giggles and says, “it’s fine. You’re doing great! Look, you’re halfway there!” It’s the giggling and sinister smile that get me. “We’re going to do squats and throw this heavy weight around, and then you’re going to run a lap.” Sinister smile. Something like the Grinch, when he’s plotting to steal Christmas from the Whos.” Except, not as green. Equal amounts of evil plotting though.

Five minutes into my first session, as I paused in between pull-ups, some sort of evil burpees with a star jump WITH an elastic band around my ankles, AND running up and down the stairs on repeat, I honestly thought, “this was a mistake. It’s time to tap out and say, ‘sorry Terry. I was mistaken. I don’t need a trainer–I need a nap.'” Of course then he threw some hate toward my boys, Ben and Jerry. You might know them–their ice cream is DELICIOUS. I love them.

I survived. Barely. By the end of each session, my arms are curled up like a raptor, or a t-rex. I walk something like an ostrich. I’m SOAKING wet. And my inner-fat-girl is inside me crying, “we’re REALLY going to do this again?! Are you mad?!”

Every morning since Wednesday I have woken up at 5:30 (don’t judge me. I like the quiet before the world wakes up), and my head has said, “get your ass out of bed,” while my body replies, “please don’t make me!” I jumped on the scale this morning (because I only weigh myself on Saturdays and Mondays–otherwise I would become obsessive), and I’ve lost one pound.

ONE?! That’s IT?!?! No ice cream and 10 hours of cardio/heavy lifting/slow running this week, and I lost one frigging pound?! For all my hurt, and the agony of a week without ice cream, I wanted to be at my target weight by now.


Quarterly Date Night on Saint Patrick’s Day

Once you have kids, you realize that date nights are few and far between. Add to that the whole Army life, moving every few years, and a good solid fear of babysitters.

I’m not afraid of babysitters. That would be irrational. I am more untrustworthy. I need to know a person for about a million years before I can trust them with my kids. And then my kids being the spirited, wild children that they are, the job of babysitter really needs to come with hazard duty pay.

And then of course there’s my messiness, and the fact that I don’t want people to see my messy counters or 2 laundry baskets of Waiting-to-be-Folded clothes. There has to be trust–or a good solid week to clean.

After all is said and done, Justin and I rarely go out. The last time we had date night, it was to go to the military ball in December. You know, where my dress was really pretty, but really tight, making my ribs unable to expand, and me left breathing shallow.

I planned this night over a month ago. Originally we were going to run a 5k and see Transpotting 2 on opening night, because it was supposed to come out on 17 March, and I’m pretty super excited for the 20-years-later sequel. Well, the powers that be have decided that Transpotting 2 shouldn’t come out for 2 more weeks. It’s fine. It just means we get 2 date nights in one month, which is pretty intense for us.

That leaves us with a 5k. We are running a 5k on date night. Nothing says “I love you” like getting sweaty  and out of breath during a 3.1 mile run. Probably in the rain. Followed by dinner and drinks (for Justin. Because I’ll be driving. And I really don’t drink). Sweaty dinner. With me probably stinky. Because I’m gross. I can’t help it. All I can really hope for is that the rain will wash away some of my gross. But in all honestly, that can’t happen. Unless I bring soap.

Justin: “What’s in your armband? That is not a phone.”

Me: “No, I left my phone in the car and decided I’d be better off sticking a bar of Dove in there. 2 birds, one stone? Maybe?”

I guess the best part is, I’m not a runner. I do a lot of running, but I am by no means a runner. More a faux runner (faux being pronounced FAUX in the proper Justinese). I only decided around this time in 2014 to BECOME a runner. Prior to that, my random announcements that I would start running always ended abruptly. Usually after going out for a proposed 2 mile run, which always turned into about a .2 mile run, and then a wheezy walk back to the house. Meanwhile, Justin has been a runner basically his entire life. Up until the great hamstring tear of 2016, a slow run would be at a 8 or 9 min mile pace. For me, that is basically a sprint from start to finish. There is nothing slow about that. Now he swears he’s slow–we’ll see. I have only said about ten thousand times, “please do not feel obligated to run with me.”

Of course, what would make a 5k with your runner husband better? Oh, you know, deciding that this would be a good morning to start the Friday Kettle Bell class. Knowing full well that the instructor is intense. If you live on Fort Knox, or you are near Fort Knox and military affiliated, and have NOT taken a class with Terry Turner, do yourself a favor and take one. What was I thinking though?! My legs are sore, my arms feel like jello, and I’m going to run tonight?! I chose a 5k for date night?! Justin, carry me.

You Have That…Different Kind of Smell

Ah, genetics. And antidepressants. Thank you both for making me the sweaty girl I am today. What would I do without you.

Well, probably not spend my days thinking, “do I stink? I am SO sweaty. I wish it were hotter out so I could justify the amount of back sweat I have right now. I bet I stink.”

One part is genetics. My Mom tells an adorable story about how when I was little I’d sit next to my Dad when he got home from work and exclaim, “Dad? You have that…different kind of smell.” Now, that’s me. Thanks Dad.

Then there’s Justin. He sweats. Obviously. Justin works out a lot, and he sweats. And then he smells…like…deodorant. Even when he worked at Ranger School and would spend most of his summers NOT wearing antiperspirant OR deodorant (something about stinky students not being allowed to have either, and the need to sweat because of heat stroke, which is a very real thing in the summer in Georgia when you spend 24hrs outside in ACUs and boots and a hat, with a giant backpack full of whatever Army guys fill their backpacks with–super important cool stuff, obviously, since they don’t even call it a backpack–it’s a “Ruck.” Whatever, it’s a backpack). EITHER WAY, Justin would come home, sweaty, covered in mud, or whatever other gross he had traipsed through in the last 24 hours before coming home. He would take off his top, hand me his t-shirt and say, “ok, for real. I STINK. Smell this.” And I would. Because that’s what wives do. Well, maybe not all wives, but that’s what I do. Because I’m weird like that. And his shirt would stink–like laundry detergent. His sweat actually activated the laundry detergent! What in the world!? I walk to the mailbox and back and Justin will tell me I stink, and I probably do. Or maybe he’s just mean. But mostly it’s that I probably, definitely stink.

Add to the mix my antidepressants. My “thanks for making me not want to yell at everyone, or spent the rest of my life curled up in a ball on my couch under a blanket watching Netflix and eating ice cream,” antidepressants. Side effect: May Cause Excessive Sweating. The first weekend I was on it (years ago. While Justin was in “Handstands,” as Shea adorably referred to Afghanistan), Shea had been invited to a birthday party of a girl in her dance class. Fabulous. A get-together with people I don’t know. We of course show up, and the guest list includes the grandparents, and the mom’s best friend. And us. A random girl from dance. Everyone knew everyone. And I was sweating so much. SO MUCH. It didn’t help that it was a hot weekend. But seriously, the sweating wouldn’t stop. Hostess mom kept asking if I was OK, and if I’d rather we sit inside. “What?! No! It’s a beautiful day!” A beautiful, sweaty, awkward day. Hostess Mom’s husband didn’t speak, except to whisper things to her, and then they would giggle and she would share it with the group. Her parents chain smoked and stared at the awkward sweaty girl no one knew. Her best friend also stared at me in a bizarre way–who knows, maybe it was all in my head. I was only a couple days into my new meds. So the paranoia could’ve been in full swing still. I tried to think of things to say to get some sort of random conversation going: “The trees on this side of post are beautiful! They are so big, and old, and provide so much shade! We have no big trees where I am.” She asked where that was, and when I told her, it was conversation: over. Because Army Wives are weird like that. Not all of them–but a good chunk. Ladies and gentlemen, being an Army spouse is not at all like any silly tv show you have ever seen. It’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and I can count on one hand the wife friends I have made along the way. This was not an encounter that would lead to any amount of friendships. In fact, here it is nearly 4 years later, and I could not tell you a single name of anyone who was there. I CAN tell you that I got home and immediately read the label on my antidepressants and thought “maybe it’s time to cut back on the coffee.”

For the amount I sweat on a daily basis, you would think I’d be a twig. Not so. But I am forever asking, “is it hot in here? I am so hot right now!”

I’m always hot. And I’m always sweaty. Even when I’m cold, I’m probably sweaty. At an appointment, the Nurse Practitioner who prescribes my drugs asked if I had issues with any side effects: “just the sweating.” She told me to drink lots of water and wear less clothing. I spent 50% of my day in a bathing suit! I can’t wear any less than that without being horribly inappropriate!

The ever-adoring Justin told me this past weekend that he’s smelled Afghani women who stank less than me. I’m assuming because of the burka and the lack of deodorant and running water. Thanks dear, I love you too. In my defense, I had just come back from a run, but I doubt that made any difference. If sweating releases the “toxins,” I am, without a doubt, the least toxic person you’ve ever met. Unless I’m just covered in sweaty toxins, which in that case, I’m probably the most toxic person you’ve ever met.

Also, possibly the stinkiest. I’m still blaming genes…and antidepressants. And possibly my inability to remember to shower on a daily basis. Ok, I’m gross, I can admit that. At least Justin still loves me. Because he has to. Because he’s been told he is stuck with me until death. Regardless of how he feels about it. He’s trapped. Because I love him. My little, stink-free, security blanket husband.