Thursday, February 25, 2010


My physical therapist quit me.

"I'm really starting to see the frustration you feel with your body," she said, shaking her head. "Cause I'm starting to feel it, too."

This after three months of physical therapy for the plantar fasciitis, the bum hamstring (and the bum neck, though I never expected she could fix that) that has only resulted in putting out my lower back, too.

So she sent me to another therapist. A tiny, older woman who likes to yank my ankles over her head and apply tape and ultrasound to parts of my body, all the while chattering about my pelvis. Apparently, it's all because of my pelvis. (That's what she said.)

So I'm agreeing to another couple of months with the new therapist. I'm also taking the advice of and on my new, Doctor, Hippie M.D., (she sometimes gives homeopathic remedies, in addition to her prescriptions. She mentioned twice on my initial visit that she did paps, if I needed her to. I'm not really sure what that was about.), and I'm trying a new diet that's supposed to be anti-inflammatory.

The diet consists of lean meat, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables. No sugar. No dairy. No caffeine. No butter. No wheat.

I'm only on day four. Generally, in a day, I'm eating a bowl of oats (agave instead of sugar), fish, a salad, a couple of apples, some brown rice, and heaps of veggies. So far the red wine urges haven't gotten murderous, but it's still not much fun. Especially since I have to cut out other potential allergens, like eggs and everything in the nightshade family (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes). Try making a decent brown rice pasta sauce without butter or tomatoes. I dare ya.

On day four, I don't feel particularly un-inflamed. But (TMI warning) good lord am I regular.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting some restraint

I finally found my motivation to run. It was in my bra.

Really. See, I have big boobs. Not porn-star big, but run-of-the-mill D-cup big. And up till now, running has been an ongoing attempt to minimize vertical movement of the boobs while simultaneously trying to maintain forward momentum. If that sounds easy to you, then you're a dude and you can bugger off. As even small-chested women can attest to, running brings a lot of up-and-down action to the torso, and boobs, being subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the planet, respond by bouncing. The bigger they are, the harder they bounce.

Which is why a good sports bra is critical. Now those racer-back stretchy kinds may be fine for your average A cup or B cup. Hell, I could get away with one of those, too, if my physical activity was limited to a spirited game of mah jong. But running? Those bras just aren't up the the challenge.

Enter the Enell. This miracle of engineering doesn't have the typical "give" of a sports bra. It's made for well-endowed women and the thing is like body armor -- my boobs in this bra are immobilized like Abu Ghraib prisoners. No bounce. No jostle. No nothing.

So after I worked my girls into the bra and put on my shoes, out I went for a test run. And what do you know? I ran farther than I ever have before, and didn't stop to walk one time -- a first for me, even on my relatively short running route. I felt invincible. I felt great. I ran.

Who knew my boobs could have been holding me back so much? Turns out, all I needed for a successful run was the right bra.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hard days for A-holes

Three days ago, Margaux bit one of Roommie's friends.

Now, when it happens, it's never a real bite. She doesn't bite down, she doesn't chomp. It's more like a ferocious lunging action with teeth bared, so teeth come into contact with skin. After, you could see two marks on his hand; broken skin where she'd gotten him.

Granted, he did lean over her in a vulnerable spot. She was snoozing in bed, and the next thing she knew, a man she barely knew (a man with a beard, no less) was leaning over her, hands coming at her (in reality, he was going to pet Rio). I mean, jeez. If I were dozing off, and got woken up by a giant with a beard, I'd probably lunge at him, too.

Then, last night, she lunged at another friend (bearded, and wearing a hat) who came into the room and surprised her. Immediately afterward, she dropped her ears and cowered. She knew it was wrong.

So today, when I wanted to take her to get her vaccines updated, I was nervous about the vet staff. I took two anti-doggie-anxiety pills I'd gotten from a friend, and fed them to Margaux in a half of a hot dog.

Two hours later, she was three sheets to the wind. Red-eyed, dry mouthed, and dizzy. It was kind of cute, but pretty pathetic. She had a good sideways stagger that I recognized from a few of my own experiences, and her back legs kept nearly giving out. I probably should have just given her one of the pills, rather than two.

When some friends came over this evening, we let her out of her room and instructed her to lie down on her bed. When she stood up and walked toward a man she has only met a few times, I told her to go back to her bed, and he said, "No, it's all right." I should have said, "No, it's not." But I didn't. Roommie's always trying to get me to trust her more, so I watched as he pet her. Just as he was talking about how cute she is, and asking what kind of dog she is, she went for him. He was wearing a hat.

Later, as I punished her -- she had to sit with an upturned bowl and watch and smell while the other two dogs ate their dinners -- I felt awful. She looked so sad with her red-rimmed eyes. She wants to be good, I know. And in fairness, she was drunk, and that wasn't her fault.

But it's strange. I used to think it was so simple. If you have a dog that bites, you put it down. But that was before I met Margaux.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


So this has nothing to do with running or dogs, but, everyone in the world simply must go and read this profile of Roger Ebert at It's Uh-May-Zing.

I seriously didn't think of Ebert as a mystic before, but now, I kind of do. He's like the dalai lama of facelessness.

I mean, just the photo's enough to get you hooked. Everyone in my office was glued to their computers reading this story this morning -- even the boss.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Face plant

So I need to start remembering a camera on outings. Took my new cross country skis out yesterday, and I'm really sad I don't have pics of the many and multiple face plants I took. There were a couple where Suze (who would have had the camera, since I made her carry the only pack) had a good view of me flailing in the snow, trying to get at least one of my skis out of my ass and back underneath my legs.

The worst part of the trip was stopping to warm our fingers in the drying hut about two miles in. The warming hut itself was actually quite nice, with a toasty little fire going (we neglected to bring brandy. Bad move.), but the D-bag vacationers showing off for each other ruined it.

D-bag 1: Oh, I don't know, man, my wife loves Seattle, but I've only made it as far as Sea-Tac. (Wipes a crumb off the shoulder of his Pata-Gucci jacket)
D-bag 2: It's pretty great man, in fact we're thinking about offering $450 on a forclosure in Redmond.
D-bag 2's Wife: It'd be a lot of work.
D-bag 2: Oh yeah, at least 100 G's of remodeling cost, plus all the time you'd have to put into it.
Ells: You ready to get the eff out of here?
Suze: Absolutely.

Seriously, D-bags. It's the great recession. Save your buying up $400,000 forceclosure talks for your country club locker room. Don't do it at the free sno-play area. We're on used equipment. We don't want to hear about your money.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miles to go

A friend, Juju, recently clocked and measured distance on her standard run. It's one she's lost a pant size or two on, but it's also one she's too shy to let me join her on.

She reported, deflated, that it's only 1.1 miles, and it takes her 20 minutes.

But I say it doesn't matter where you start, it's your starting point. In fact, starting slow is a good thing. It just makes it all the more exciting when you start kicking A. The fact that I, known in my family for my extreme laziness (I was the kind of kid to ask to go to bed early. I routinely fell asleep in my dinner. The only sport I ever agreed to be on a team for was swimming, and although I was fairly good at it, I had no competitive streak. 2nd or 3rd place was fine by me.), ran a half marathon? I think that's a way bigger deal than some uber athlete running one.

A friend and super speedy runner likes telling the story of her first run. It was to 7-11 to buy a bag of Doritos.

So I say high-five to Juju for her 20 minute mile.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I went to the gym this morning, really just a ploy so I won't feel quite as guilty as I shovel fried wings, mozzarella and perhaps even ice cream into my cake hole at the What-Else-Can-We-Possibly-Batter-And-Deep-Fry Party that I'm going to this afternoon. Really. Roommie bought a burner that hooks up to a large propane tank for the purposes of beer brewing (his latest addiction), and it came with a cast iron pot, fryer and thermometer. The first two days it was home, I gained five pounds.

Oh, there will also be some football game on.

So as I walked up to the gym, iPod loaded with This American Life podcasts and Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast" under my arm, I noticed how packed the parking lot was. Apparently I wasn't the only one planning to overindulge.

Ahead of me, a 60s-ish woman in a sporty jacket with a short-cropped, dyed orange hair was walking out of the gym.

"Getting in better shape!" She chirped at me approvingly. "It's a good thing!"

WTF? Was it that obvious that I haven't been a regular at the gym? Do people really look at the people walking into the gym in running pants that appear to be a little tighter than they need to be, and say, "Good for you, fattie!"

Of course, thinking on it now, I realize she could have been referring to herself, not me.

Whatever. As long as I earn those wings and beer.

*Unfortunately, I'm not sure who painted the amazing art above, I found it here:
Help me out if you know the painter.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mile four

The other night over dinner (slates of baguette and garlicky olive tapenade followed by eggplanty ratatouille and herbed couscous alongside, safely, at least two, maybe three more glasses of red wine than I should have drunk on a Tuesday) with a couple of friends, we got to talking about working out.

One friend likes swimming, but she’s as blind as I am (batlike, but without the hearing) and has a tendency to run into folks we know at the local community pool. Unable to make an identification, she’s then forced to get into their faces to know who they are. Me, if I’m in a bathing suit, I’d rather keep my distance. Really. I vote pretend you know who it is, wave, move along.

We also talked about running. And I got nearly misty-eyed when talking about how much I love mile four. By mile four, I'm warmed up, my lungs are no longer on fire, and I feel like my legs are really under me. It was always my favorite mile--well, it was my favorite mile once I was in shape enough to run four miles without throwing up on the side of the trail.

I walked home from the friend’s house (I knew there would be too much wine going in to the event, and planned accordingly) and was so excited thinking about running, I let out a little trot at one point. But when I got out of bed the next morning, my heel, stupid, stupid heel, ached. The friend's house is only five blocks from mine.

I iced this morning. Stretching. Orthopedic boot. I'll get there. I'll get back to mile four again. Eff.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Karma Chameleon

A regular old Monday’s bad enough, but a Monday when you feel so out of shape your legs are like lead as you climb the stairs to the office, a Monday when you find yourself chugging Pepsi Max in an effort to stay conscious at your computer? Well those are the Mondays where you feel like maybe the Karma Chameleon is out to get you. (The Karma Chameleon is, I have always imagined, like a mean little leprechaun who comes to get you and make bad things happen to you as payback for former evils. I picture it shaking its red, gold and green little fist at me and glaring with yellow eyes. Oddly, it also wears sparkly bandanas and a lot of eyeliner.)

Today, I think the Karma Chameleon was coming to get me and pay me back for that one time in Junior High when my friend Shizzy and I pushed a kid into his locker and he hit his head and ended up going to the nurse’s station. Seriously. We were those bullies, and man oh man do I ever regret it, but what can you do about it now? Anyway, all day today the little jerk Chameleon was shaking his wee fist at me, and while I stared at my computer in a grump fog and out-of-shape-stupor, I tried to envision a future in which I’m in shape, running five days a week, able to wear my Sevens again (that’s Seven jeans—they’re not size seven. We’re far, far from that), and it actually kept me from stabbing myself in the eyeball with a letter opener.


Oh, orthopedic boot. I want to write a sonnet for you. If only I remembered how to write sonnets. Maybe Google can assist me … I think iambic pentameter is involved.