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Couch to 5K to Couch again

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In my community, there is a phenomenon in which people wake up in the unrelenting black of morning on Thanksgiving and arrive at a single location just in time to run en masse in a three-mile loop. In Croatia, some parts of Budapest and Clearwater, Florida they call this a "holiday 5K."

I did this with a friend years ago, when I was somewhat doughy and slovenly. I walked the whole time and was sore for six days. Nowadays I'm still kind of doughy and slovenly, but I'm a big gym person. Actually, no, that's a lie. I'm a big cookie dough on the couch person, but that wasn't working, so I became a reluctant gym person. I can do all sorts of planks and maneuvers with Swiss balls (NSFW). But I've never been a good runner, like, AT ALL. It has to do both with endurance, and the fact that my legs look like this:

But shorter.

This year, my boyfriend's sister, Melissa, asked if I wanted to train for the Turkey Trot (sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times where I work, so yay!). Being committed to health (HAHAHA) and personal challenges (HARHAR), I agreed to try and run it. How bad could it be?

Now listen. I'm not looking for praise, honestly. My friend Mallary just ran a half-marathon in, like, three seconds. Go praise her. But for me, running several days a week took a lot of effort (see: Corgi legs). I used the Couch to 5K method, and only yesterday, two days before the race, did I complete a whole 5K running.

My goal was 40 minutes. Last night, I almost broke my knee trying to get in under that time, and I still came out 30 seconds over. The dude next to me on the treadmill was going 8 miles an hour, prancing along so calmly he could have filled out paperwork for his Roth IRA. His legs looked like this:

If my kneecaps don't fall off, I might keep running after tomorrow and see if I can get faster. Who knows? Maybe one of these years I'll decide to run a 10K at 3 a.m. on Guy Fawkes Day! Or, I'll just go back to keeping cardio to a total minimum at all times. We'll just see.

I made a 5K playlist. There's nothing worse than when you have 2.7 miles to go, and then, you know, The Blower's Daughter comes on, and you're all, GAHHHHWHYAMIDOINGTHISWHYWHY?

Anyway, here's my playlist. It's about two hours, padded with extra songs in case I need something to listen to on the paramedic ride to the local hospital. I'm just going to put in on shuffle so I'm surprised when a new song comes up. Motivation!

Feel free to steal (or make fun of me). And say hello if you spot me and Melissa tomorrow, that is, if you can see through the dark night sky. I'll post some pictures from our race adventure, as long as none of my dough spills out of my running shorts.

5K of Doom Playlist

American Idiot - Green Day
Animal - Neon Trees
The Bad Touch - Bloodhound Gang
The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
Black and Yellow - Wiz Khalifa
Blackout - Breathe Carolina
Call Your Girlfriend - Robyn
Cousins - Vampire Weekend
Danger Zone - Gwen Stefani
Disturbia - Rihanna
Face Down - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Fashion of His Love - Lady Gaga
Get By - Talib Kweli
Good Girls Go Bad - Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester
Gucci Gucci - Kreayshawn
Heavy Cross - Gossip
Icky Thump - White Stripes
Lights - Ellie Goulding
Little Sister - Queens of the Stone Age
Machinehead - Bush
Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
Move If You Wanna - Mims
N----- in Paris - Jay Z and Kanye West
Oh No - Girl Talk
Power - Kanye West
Til I Collapse - Eminem
Waking Up in Vegas - Katy Perry
Wanksta - 50 Cent
World Town - M.I.A.
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - The Offspring
3 - Britney Spears

Oh dear. I have to be up in six hours. This is gonna suck.

I want to come back as Beyonce.

The stages of growing out short hair

Monday, November 7, 2011

About 8 months ago, I stumbled across some pictures of myself from high school. I had a pixie cut and looked like Tinkerbell, except not the Disney version with the severed Lorax tree on her head, and not the Julia Roberts version with the wig plucked out of David Caruso’s NYPD Blue trailer.

 I looked great! I was 18!

Eager to replicate the effervescence, beauty and magic of an era in which I once ate a huge plate of Hunan chicken followed by two bowls of Lucky Charms and a taco yet still maintained a healthy weight of 103 pounds, I decided it best to cut all my hair off at once. Recapturing your youth, by the way, is kind of like dipping your hand into a vat of petroleum jelly and trying to palm a rainbow trout. Except less successful.

My stylist, Josh, was stoked to get his hands on the blond tresses snaking down my back, in the way Edward Scissorhands had to get at those judgey potato salad queens in the neighborhood.

Josh did a fantastic job.

I really, really loved it. I looked fresh and exciting, even though it was ten years later and my metabolism ROFLMFAOed when I ate a half-stick of fried cheese.

After about six months, though, I got bored. You can only do so much with a pixie cut, and my attempts at mixing it up only made me look more and more like Justin Bieber. I decided it was time to grow it back out, thus entering the period I like to call:


You start out as Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Edie Sedgwick. You are precocious and fawn-like with alternative, modern concepts of beauty. Your features are gentle yet pronounced. Your life is great. People shower you with praise. They wish they could be you. But all of a sudden, seemingly overnight, you enter...


The top starts to get a little long. The sides curl up, and in no time at all you have what can only be described as Serious Freaking Sideburns. Total strangers approach you on the street and ask, "When you coming home, Dad?" And you're all, "I don't know when. But we'll get together then."

A couple weeks pass. Your bangs catch up with the sides, and you're feeling good about where things are headed. But then, without warning strikes... 


This is also known as the "pageboy." You are sad, very sad, because although you have the strength of ten steeds and the ability to defeat a stampede of Nordic huns, you also have a sissy little girl haircut, and you suck.

The back of your neck starts to feel warm, fuzzy. While you once reveled in the fun, shavey boyfriend feeling of your lower hairline, you realize there is now enough length to gather into several tiny ponytails. You try to tuck it behind your ears, but it only accentuates the obvious. You are deep, deep, deep into...


You're going to need MacGyver to get out of this mullet.

You utilize a series of clever headbands and bobby pins to get the situation under control, and for the most part, it works. Your hair is a K'NEX Set, a study in architecture, a fine balance of scaffolding and glue (aerosol hairspray).

You find yourself enjoying a lazy Saturday off work. You take a late afternoon shower and let the whole mop air dry, because, who do you have to impress besides Judge Greg Mathis on your DVR? It's only when you go to the bathroom to wash the Crunch 'n Munch residue off your fingers that you notice...


That's right. All of them.

You run to your basket of hair supplies and grab the aerosol spray, because although you are all alone eating your emotions in regards to no longer being 18, this cannot persist. You spray and brush and spray and brush and spray and brush, but alas, there is no escaping it.


While this is the most terrifying phase, it is also the most important. You look like a steel pot scrubber, yes. But there is no denying you are a hilarious and vibrant three-martini woman of considerable confidence once again. And so inner peace comes to pass.

And then you call your hair guy for the 48th time and he fixes it.

(I'm looking at you, Josh.)

Marisa de los Santos loves mystery!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I've always loved Marisa de los Santos.

She's an extraordinary talent, and her books feel like a warm blanket with little bits of cold whipping through. That, by the way, is my favorite feeling. It's why I keep the air conditioning turned down to 69, let my phalanges lose all feeling, then climb under a comforter on the couch. It's THE BEST, YOU GUYS.

I'm getting off topic.

The point is, I love her even more after reading her interview with Chick Lit Is Not Dead. She gives a belly rub to mystery writers:

Give me a well-written, character-driven mystery and I am happy as a clam.  Kate Atkinson, Tana French, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Sayers, Jacqueline Winspear, Raymond Chandler, Alan Bradley, Cornelia Read, Agatha Christie.  I try hard not to be envious of other writers, and mostly I succeed, but I am dead jealous of mystery writers.  I want to learn to plot like that, to end every chapter with a cliffhanger.  I want to write people into dark, dark places and to ruthlessly examine the ugly side of humanity.  I want to create detectives that are complicated, vulnerable, and wicked smart.  So far, no dice, but I am not giving up hope!

Yeah, I'm jealous of them, too. My first novel (no word on it yet, sorry) is a mix of mystery and chick lit. My work in progress (almost to 20,000 words!) has much less mystery, but I still find myself plotting unexpected turns and proverbial DUN DUN DUN moments. I can't help it. My brain is Law & Order, remember?

I hate when people denigrate those styles (or any, for that matter -- this shit is hard, y'all, no matter what your personal taste). So to hear a prize-winning poet praise detective fiction on a chick lit blog made me feel all... BLANKETY again. Blankety. Yep. That's the word.