And Then…

The last year (or two, if we’re being honest) have brought a lot of changes, and there haven’t been many opportunities for introspection.  But that seems like too much to tackle, and so today I write about “Flotsam and Jetsam,” running down Nostalgia Lane to revive an old Profanation series.

I’ve been saying that I need a hobby for awhile, and I think I’ve found one: I think I’m going to participate in Novel in November this year.  No topic, no theme, no characters in mind – but I crave a long slog and big project all for me.

I’ve been branching out on my reading, and I just finished “The Night Circus,” by Erin Morgenstern.  It was enchanting, and I immediately began re-reading it.  No spoilers, but the book jumps around in time every chapter.  I’m getting more out of my second read.  Am I the only one who does this?  I think more people should re-read books.  Or I should slow down when I read.  When I’m really engaged in a new book, I basically inhale the words through osmosis, rather than forming each word in my mind, or picturing the scenes, or trying to hear the dialogue in my mind.  Without having any way to prove my suspicions, I think I imagine everything at warp speed, too.

I have finally chosen my pre-workout mix of choice.  I don’t know if I even need it, but for some reason, it makes me look forward to my 0500 alarm.  So I’m keeping Cellular C4 (in either Strawberry Margarita or Pink Lemonade) in my line-up.

Also added to my morning line-up: Vital Proteins Marine Collagen Peptides and GNC’s CLAs.  The first because these law-school-induced stress lines are starting to get deeper as 30 looms closer and closer, the second because, duh, fat-burning.  I can’t say that my stress lines are being reduced, but my nails and hair are already substantial stronger.  I think my Kiehls obsession has more to do with my improved skin tone than the collagen, to be honest.

We (more on the plural later) spent last weekend in the Talladega National Forest.  We planned during my lunch hour on Friday, and we launched after a leisurely, nonscheduled Saturday morning.  It took us four hours to get there and two hours to get back (why are we so bad at navigating?), but we did get to drive through a lot of historic Alabama as well as the national forest.  Just one night outdoors, but we slept under the full moon without the rainfly on – talk about rejuvenating.  Sligo was the only thing missing.

Talladega Natl Forest.jpg^I bought a new Macbook Pro (!!) yesterday, and I even downloaded darktable…but I haven’t learned how to edit my photos yet.  More to come.






I’ve always had a hard time accepting that I should consume things besides food.  To me, it seems like a caveman ate food, so I should eat food.  Also, I seem to be in a constant battle with my body, and I really want it to suck up and just perform properly.  However, the last few months have forced me to concede that these are irrational views.  Mind over matter only goes so far, my friends.

Specifically, I’ve been suffering from a lot of muscle cramping.  At first I ignored it, but it worsened to the point that I couldn’t walk down stairs because my calves were so tight.  I stopped running, I stopped wearing heels, I stretched daily, I drank gallons of water, but nothing seemed to work.  One expert suggested I eat more bananas.  So I ate bananas, but apparently potassium wasn’t my problem.  Another expert saw me try to run, and she suggested that I wasn’t consuming enough salt.  I took this opportunity to eat more French fries, but it didn’t seem to solve the problem.  Finally, a sports med doctor opined that I was Vitamin D-deficient.

At first, I was afraid she was going to tell me to give up my veganism; I worried that my deficiencies came from an inbalance in my diet and a lack of nutritional understanding.  However, she explained that 75% of all people who live in Chicago are Vitamin D-deficient because we never see the sun.  I began taking 2000 units a day of Vitamin D, and 1000 units of B12 (which IS actually in response to my veganism), and my problem was solved within 2 weeks!

And so, I am ushering in the age of supplements!

However, it’s a murky, dark area to many.  And I’m no nutrition expert . . . which is likely why I have this problem.  So I wanted to point out that there are few things of which one should be aware: water is good for your body, you can easily eat at least one banana a day in order to get all the potassium you need, salt is not the enemy – those who exercise a lot are sweating much of it out, and Vitamin D is integral for muscle function.

What vitamins do you take?


Cancer.  That’s a scary word.  Breast cancer.  That’s a scary word to a lot of women.  However, a study recently completed at Oregon Health and Science University (OSU) could bring a ray of hope to those who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dr. Kerri Winters-Stone, an exercise scientist at the Knight Institute at OSU, did a study on  female breast cancer diagnosees and survivors who are 50 or more and the effects of exercise.  Her study spanned three years.  She put her survivors on an exercise regimen designed at OSU for cancer-free women. The program focused largely on strength-training.  Dr. Winters-Stone wanted to prove that women with cancer can train in the same way, at the same level, and achieve the same results as women without cancer.

After one year on the program, her survivors demonstrated a complete cessation in bone loss in the spine and 25% more strength in their arms and legs.  Chemotherapy increases a person’s risk of bone fractures and falls, and Dr. Winters-Stone’s research has demonstrated a way to combat these injuries.

I was unable to find Dr. Winters-Stone’s own article or research in a document form for this particular study, but she has lots of other interesting publications on the same topic.  Her book is called “Action Plan for Osteoporosis,” and it was published in 2005.  It’s available on Amazon.  She also gives lots of presentations on this topic, and here is a link to one of her presentations.

Also, a dear old friend of mine writes a great blog that covers his own journey for weight loss and has good tips that anyone can incorporate into their own regimen.  Check it out here:

Things I Like

Thursdays are always good days for me.  The New York Times publishes its Style Section.  I’m closer to the weekend, which is always important even if my weekends are busy with boring things.  Today is the Coach Factory Store online sale.  This semester I have no Thursday classes.  So life is good.  In keeping with my cheerful theme, today’s post is about all the things I like when working out.

This is Incredible by Victoria’s Secret.  I think it’s the best sports bras I’ve ever worn.  It literally acts as a cage to minimize what we’ll call “the bounce factor.”  Sports bra are a tricky thing, and come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are compression bras (ow).  Some form two separate cages, like the one here.  In a state of desperation, I was wearing two sports bras while running for awhile.  That was ridiculous, and it made my shoulders pinch up while I was running so that I would get side stitches almost immediately.  Obviously, this is undesirable.  My problems were solved when I invested in this bra.

I am listening to this Audiobook right now on my iPod.  I find that often, I’m a lazy you-know-what because I like to sit on my bum and read all the time.  I would read all the live-long day if someone would let me.  I realized that I was blowing off running in favor of the elliptical because I can read on the elliptical.  Well, frankly, the elliptical is no substitute for trail running.  But voile!  Books on tape!  All the same enjoyment!  All the same ability to lose yourself in a wonderful story!  The Three Musketeers is nice and long, and it’s usually what I listen to now.  Sometimes, however, I pick my books based on my mood or my setting.  For example, I find it quite exciting to run along Lake Shore path in the dead of winter while listening to Jack London’s “Sea Wolf.”  Something about the imagery in my head from the book combines with the sullen grey lake and icy wasteland of Lake Shore Path to give me fits of joy.  Tip: iTunes has a whole section of classics for under $3.  Three buckaroos.  I find things like this important, and if you’re like me, you do, too.

This is the brand with which I have fallen in love.  Now, don’t take my word for it.  Get fitted properly at a store like PlayMakers or Fleet Feet.  See a shoe specialist, try on lots of pairs, and be sure to hop about in them.  However, after having done all these things (and probably looking a bit silly while hopping), I found that I like Brooks best.  I think Asics are too boxy.  I think Mizunos are too heavy.  Now, granted, I am limited to a certain number of shoes because I over-pronate slightly, which means I need a shoe with a medium level of support.  Now I have my Brooks, which I adore.

Hats and gloves.  I like hats and gloves when I run in the winter, or even when it’s simply windy in the fall.  I believe that there’s no such thing as a day that’s too cold for running, there’s just a person without proper gear.  I have found that as long as I have a thin layer of fabric over my whole body and an ear-band and gloves, I’m ready to go.  The extremities seem to be the key.   I become very miserable very quickly if my ears hurt; it makes my whole head hurt, and then I wimp out on my workout.  I don’t actually run in a boxy hats like this fancy lady; I wear a fleece ear-band.  But doesn’t she look nice?

Yes.  I think that properly protected puckers are important.  I don’t know why, but having chapped lips makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  Therefore, I slather on chapstick (preferably some Burt’s Bees) before any workout.  It really is an integral part of my workout.  I guess I’m just high-maintenance.

That there is Flogging Molly, the Irish punk phenomenon.  When I prefer to listen to music instead of books during runs, I listen to something with heavy drums and provocative lyrics.  I like Flogging Molly because I can (1) run in tempo, which forces me to pick up my pace, (2) feel motivated and bad-ass at all times, (3) imagine that I’m a movie, and I’m more awesome than I am in real life, and (4) I really just like Flogging Molly anyway, even though I almost died in a mosh pit at one of their St. Patrick’s Day concerts.  Flogging Molly gives me such courage that I even write in run-on sentences.

This charming band of misfits is Guster.  I prefer to listen to Guster while I lift weights and stretch.  Unlike many people, I really enjoy the singularity and focus required to lift weights.  I narrow all my awareness to just working the proper muscles at the right time, and Guster’s soothing alternative tunes really help me get in the mood.  I find lifting weights extremely relaxing when I treat it as a meditative experience.

That’s all for now!  What do YOU like best when working out?

By the way, I do not have a deal with VS, Brooks, Burt’s Bees, Flogging Molly, Alexander Dumas, or Guster.  I just like their things.  I’m not profiting in any way by touting their things.