Running with Cats…

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For those who have never had an exercise buddy of the feline variety:

  1. Cats do not understand exercise with humans. To be fair, I haven’t ever had a steady habit of exercise around these cats, so this isn’t completely their fault. But, after a few weeks, you’d think they’d get the gist of what’s going on. We’re going to go around in circles for a while. Then we go home. We’ll be sweaty. I don’t imagine a lot of what we do makes sense so I’m not sure why this particular practice is so exciting/distressing.
  2. When cats do not understand exercise they signal their distress by screaming at you repeatedly the entire time you are exercising. I initially assumed they would get tired of screaming at us and go back home. This is not the case. They begin yelling as soon as we get out of our yard. They will trot behind us meowing that ramps up to screaming/yowling the further from the house we get.
  3. They seem to assume I need a bodyguard. If you’ve ever been around cats they have no clue they’re small. While I’m walking (and wishing I could not be doing the entire exercise thing) Neo puffs up, arches his back, and crab walks all around me. He’ll spit and yowl and act like a lunatic. It kind of looks like I’m engaged in a very slow chase with a very angry cat.
  4. They can run along with me but no, they’d prefer I look ridiculous. When I pick up the pace a very, very small amount the cats fall back and yowl pitifully as they trot along behind. Picture it. My big, sweaty, ungainly self shambling by in a painfully slow jog ….nothing happens for a minute….and then a couple of cats trot by yelling at my back. The next time I loop by your house you see the same bizarre parade. The last time I ran two different neighbors were taking their trash out. Both ended up standing there with their trash bags laughing for a couple loops.
  5. It’s hard to concentrate on anything whilst running when loud, pitiful sounding yowls are your constant chorus. I’ve become an even more unusual “runner” because now I just walk/jog/shamble/stagger around meowing back or fussing at the damn cats. It was just funny and charming, dare I say quirky, when we used to walk the dog and the cats came with us. Now that I’m trying to exercise it’s just weird. I was able to just run around the loop behind our property so very few people saw the cats chasing me. Now that it’s dark early I run through the neighborhood so I can actually see where I’m going.
  6. The new workout trend will be the crazy cat experience. I’ll go slower than you so you feel fast and strong and fit while my cats run around us screaming like they’re starving/being skinned alive. That’s what Marshmallow running dreams are made of.
  7. PS. Our fancy runnings cats are rescue cats (as are all of our animals). So if you want to run with a buddy, please rescue rather than buying. 

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Fleet Feet, Marshmallow Mascots, and Embarrassment…

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Having never been an athlete (or even close to it) I never paid any attention to stores catering to that specific clientele. I assumed it would be a room full of very slim, attractive people jogging in place or stretching in impossible ways, eating celery, and talking about fat people. As I fall into the fat people category, that did not seem like a place I should visit. I have only been “running” a couple months, off and on, and at a very slow pace. More like, walking at varying speeds with the occasion quick shamble thrown into the mix. I’m not an athlete. I’m barely a human. So those stores are most certainly not for me.

Mancandy used to be in the Marines. He’s further along in his running journey than I am. He assumes he belongs anywhere. And he got it into his mind that he needed a running shoe. Apparently, all athletic shoes are not running shoes. Runners are athletes. But athletic shoes are not for all the athletes. I guess. Which makes sense really, I just hadn’t thought of it.

Whilst running (or, shambling, which is a better description) my shins have been killing me. I assumed shin splints, talked to a couple runners, read a few articles, and then just accepted my shins would be angry. I didn’t really think much of it. New shoes were mentioned but I had zero intentions of buying shoes specifically made for runners. They are pricey and I’m not really a runner. I don’t know what I am (a shambler…a randomly spirited walker….a wheezer), but looking at other runners and then looking at me will very quickly make that fact apparent.

Mancandy insisted we needed to go into Fleet Feet. I’d never even heard of the place. The name alone obviously wasn’t going to call one such as I. But being a supportive idiot, I went in.

Full disclosure, I did not want to. While I admire anyone who is confident and comfortable with their size/body/abilities/disabilities, I am not there. My body is just a thing. I don’t like it. I don’t really think about it if I can avoid it. And while I will never be a pixie little waif of a woman (which is some serious bullshit as I would LOVE to be a tiny petite ballerina looking thing) I could be more comfortable and healthier. So…running. But, I generally do this alone, under the cover of darkness, so no one can see my inability to move gracefully.

All that to say, the perfect beautiful people munching celery are not my people. And I was quite sure they are a judgy clan. Pretty, perfect-skinned, hairless athletes just waiting for a fat chick in sale rack non-running athletic shoes to mistakenly cross their threshold. My palms started to sweat walking across the lot. Entering the store, there was a whiteboard set up asking guests to sign in. Mancandy wandered off. I blinked, explained to the intimidating salesperson that I was not there for a try on so we didn’t need to sign in, and scuttled after Mancandy. If I made it apparent I knew I didn’t belong maybe they wouldn’t judge as harshly. I poked at shoes whose brands I’d never heard of, cooed over really soft, thick flip flops until seeing the price tag, and tried to appear appropriately shameful of myself.

Eventually, Mancandy decided he DID want to try on shoes (which made me panic as we had not signed up on the whiteboard as we’d been asked). The same intimidating sales person walked up and I immediately threw him under the bus saying I’d TOLD him to sign in and he was the trouble maker. He ignored me and started discussing shoes. It became apparent quickly that she knew what she was talking about, he did not, and this pleased me. Until she asked what I was wearing. I muttered “Fila” and got the look. She told us to sit down. She brought shoes for Mancandy. They talked.

I tried to will myself to stop stress sweating. And blushing. Why was I blushing? Who knows. My body reacted to the stress in the most annoying ways possible. I sat with my offending shoes tucked as far under my body as I could get them and tried to be invisible.

Once Mancandy had decided on his shoes they both turned to look at me. I blinked back. Our salesperson asked if I would please take my shoes and socks off and roll my pant legs halfway up my calf. I blinked again. I asked if I could come back another time. She said I could not. I tried again, I was not prepared for this and my feet were stress sweating and my legs were so pale I am basically translucent and my eczema is bad right now so I don’t even know when I last shaved my legs and at this point, I’m drenched in sweat and tomato red.

Also, because stupid Mancandy and stupid perfect skinned salesperson are continuing to try to convince me, I’ve become the center point of attention in the store. If you have ever been suddenly aware of people’s attention, it has weight. You can tell. And everyone in the store was looking at me. Athletic, hairless sales person calmly shoots down my “excuses” and other than storming out and causing a scene, I had no choice. So I took off my shoes, peeled off my sweaty socks, and stood on a machine thing with my not at all pretty or perfect legs sticking out.

I wanted to ugly cry. Everyone was looking. And many of the things I find repulsive about myself were on display. I absolutely abhor being the center of attention and all these strangers (most of whom with slender, runner people physiques) were looking at me.

The freaking machine wouldn’t work. I stood there, on display, sweating and trying not to throw up, for ages. She finally took pity on me and had me use some sort of little metal thing they used when I was a child. She let me unroll my pant cuffs and hide more of myself. I could breathe a little easier. I walked up and down the store, she and Mancandy discussed my shin issues, and just focused on not throwing up.

Three different types of shoes were brought out. The first two were pretty, sleek looking things. They felt like normal shoes. The third pair were unattractive, boxy-looking things with huge soles compared to the other shoes I’d tried on. She explained they would absorb more impact and keep my shins from being so sore. I was too embarrassed and upset to argue, so I tried them on. And made an involuntary “Oooooooooo” sound. They were so soft and comfy. She boxed the other two up, took the try-on socks she’d had me use back (her pretty, long-fingered hands casually touching the super sweaty socks….more embarrassment), and told me they’d need to be replaced in 6 months.

I keep shoes until they fall apart. So, that seemed ridiculous. They were expensive. Then she gave me the parting shot. This particular shoe’s mascot is a running marshmallow. What she did not say but the entire store must have been thinking, I was the embodiment of their mascot. Humiliating, but it tipped the entire experience into the land of farce for me and I was able to laugh a little bit.

There was no way to explain any of that to Mancandy. He’s one of the most self-assured, confident people I’ve ever met. Much to my annoyance most of the time. But I did make sure to go tell my buddy from work who runs insane distances. She told me about ambassadors for the brand, they send you shoes and you wear them and I’m assuming represent them on social media and whilst running. Obviously, I should be the ambassador for this brand.

Hoka, where are you at? I am your marshmallow! I mean, no one ever sees me run, but I could be your ambassador convincing all the scared, shy plump little peoples to run! Have your people call my people.

Also, in the next edition of embarrassing stories I shouldn’t tell but do, other people’s children gave me a stomach bug and I’m still terrified to run(ish). That seems like a recipe for more embarrassment. But, if it goes poorly, it will be a good story for those who enjoy laughing at others.

 

 

 

Running, Tea, and Baby Fuzzy Things…

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This is all randomness. Brace thyself.

My friend at work loves to run. She seriously runs. Mountain running, trail running, long-distance running, etc. She does those things. I am still in the fast walking phase of trying to run. She is pro-level compared to me. And she brought me a book to read. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman. (https://theoatmeal.com/running) It was a quick, easy, hysterical read. I have always enjoyed The Oatmeal. I am absolutely going to pick up more of his stuff now. If you haven’t checked out his comic about what would happen if two middle-aged men acted like dogs…trust me when I say you should. It’s the best.

My friend was spot on when encouraging me to read Inman’s book. I have not experienced the euphoria of which he (and most serious runners) talk about, but the way he felt when starting and the way he feels currently ring true. So now I drink tea, and I try to run. I am not in love with either, but both feel like an accomplishment in different ways. I feel very much like a butterfly in the cocoon stage. I’m gooey and kinda gross and really confused and everything is changing. But, there’s something exciting about it. I’m not expecting to be a butterfly at the end of this. I’m much too sturdily built for that. But I’m curious to see where this goes. Which is enough for now.

Bossman and I made an interesting observation. If I feel like I might puke, he ends up deserving a poop cookie. If that doesn’t make sense, go back to the poop cookie conversation and you will then understand. Our stomachs are linked psychically or something. It’s been uncanny thus far. I’m under new orders to shoot him a text anytime I start feeling less than awesome so he can plan ahead.

For those who haven’t ever been tea drinkers, and those who might decide to try it in the future, the labeling is correct. If it says don’t microwave it, do not do that thing it told you not to do. Microwaved ginger and lemon tea is bitter as all get out. Ginger and lemon tea that is steeped correctly is much better. And ginger is a flipping miracle worker if your stomach is unhappy. I never thought tea would have enough of anything in it to help. I was wrong. Big wrong. Highly recommend. But do not microwave the tea bags. Trust me.

I was informed this past weekend that the Nashville Zoo has baby flamingoes. This was a wonderful surprise and I demanded that Mancandy and I should go see them the very next day. So we did. Baby flamingos are fluffy tyrants. They all beat up on one, then randomly switch and beat up another. They are typical baby birds, ugly cute.  I’ll put a picture here:

Baby Flufflebutts

The taller one with flight feathers strode into the room like a supermodel expecting someone to bring her a skinny latte stat followed by zookeepers. It’s nonchalant snotty attitude and supermodel strut were pretty awesome.

The Andean Bear exhibit is one of my favorites.

Andian Bear Exhibit

The bears were refusing to politely put themselves on display, but the exhibit is lovely and I kind of want to go frolic in it.

However, the best thing of the day was completely unexpected. Whilst on my quick walk toward the exit (the number of strollers and children there was just absolutely bonkers and I had had quite enough of that thank you very much) I noticed a meerkat posing on a rock. The lighting was pretty so I thought I’d see what I could get.

I lucked out and got a Holy Meerkat. Light shone from him. And he was blessed among kats of meer evermore.

Holy Rodent

Other odd things that made me laugh:

A morning jockey said something about being sick and coughing up rather impressive lung butter. That phrase still makes me gak a little bit. And whilst traveling around for business, Bossman and I went to Ralph’s Donuts in Cookeville TN. Their butter twists are where it’s at. Also, Big E’s BBQ….go get ribs. You won’t be disappointed. But, while happily eating donuts and jabbering, lung butter turned into butt butter. And that phrase has been repeated multiple times since and never fails to make me laugh.

It’s incredibly hard not to laugh in teenager’s faces when they talk about how keeping up with school and clubs is hard. However, news flash for those without teenagers: they are insufferable if you laugh at them. No sense of humor. At all. They just sulk. And they are experts in the sulking department.

A group of women from work and myself occasionally meet up to eat cheese dip, have a drink or two, vent about work, and in general do the things I’ve missed doing with friends since college. Finally finding a group of people I very much enjoy in Nashville has been a godsend. They are smart, dynamic, kind, and motivated. And they have opinions. So Mancandy has taken to calling them my “Bossy Work Women”. It amuses me greatly. Finding such wonderful human beings who also eat cheese dip is a glorious thing.

Also, Mancandy has randomly started making the bed in the morning. And saying nice things for no reason. Immediately my girl brain thinks…he’s cheating on me. And then I think…but if it makes him help me clean…I may be okay with that.

Running high is a myth. Fight me.

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Happy Saturday! I have been on a long health journey of sorts and man do I suck at staying on track with anything. But, I’ve been doing the doctors and medications and programs and all that stuff. There has been quite a bit of success over a long period of time and I was pretty darn happy with it. Unfortunately, I’ve got a long way to go. One of the major things I struggle with is my weight. Swamp monsters tend to be a larger sort of frumpy folk. But, there has been some progress. Mancandy and I have been following the Couch to 5K program. He’s a former marine (you can’t say ex-marine or you will be forced to listen to a really long lecture…save yourself the torment). He ran every day for 8 years and was on the track team before that. He likes to exercise. And his motivational tactics are straight from the military, insulting and annoying. You can probably guess how well I respond to insulting and annoying people.

I, on the other hand, have not really followed any sort of exercise program since junior high. And I hated it then. Being a consistent sort when it comes to hatreds, I hate it now as well. And I’m a crap ton older, so I extra big big hate it. But, I’ve been doing it. He’s so dang happy I’m doing it, and I know he’s trying to help, but I hate his help. Every time he speaks to me while I’m sweating and sore and miserable I want to punch him in his nose. Hard.

The best part of our jogging crap are the bodyguards we’ve now peer pressured into jogging with us. Our two inside/outside cats, Neo and Tsuki, aren’t sure what’s going on but they feel duty-bound to go through it with us. They do not suffer in silence though. We jog to a chorus of meows. They puff up, dance around, fly past, trip you darting between feet, race ahead, run behind, and in general create a fuss. Anyone out walking or jogging ends up laughing at the ridiculous circus we make. We get questions from everyone. Usually, “Do you know there are two cats following you?”

I enjoy their enthusiasm, but I hate jogging. If Mancandy asks me if I “want” to run extra laps, he’s going to end up kicked in the noodle. Who “wants” to run at all? Not me said the flea. It just makes for extra laundry, extra sweat, extra showers, and extra sore everything. But here we are.

Also, no one told me jogging makes you have to pee immediately and desperately. I have to pee immediately before leaving my house and then by the time I get back (not even two miles at this point) I am desperately trying to strip out of wet clothes so I can avoid peeing on myself.

Also also, sports bras were made my a stupid, evil man who’s never worn a bra in his life. And they’re expensive torture instruments! I bought two because I knew I had one here someplace. Three to get through running three times a week. At least while I’m starting. But can I find the sports bra I already own? No. No, I can not. And nothing is quite as miserable as trying to rip a wet sports bra off of one’s person without damaging the stupid expensive torture device. So much worse than wet swimsuits. It’s revolting.

So. That’s the latest adventure. I’m sure there will be many more posts whining about it. You’re welcome.