Monday, August 26, 2013

My first 5k!

Well, I  (sorta) did it. I ran in my first 5k this weekend.
The Sioux Falls Glow Run.
I asked an old friend, and experienced runner, to run it with me, and he graciously stayed by me the whole way. Thanks Schwenk!  I had fun. I think he did too, in spite of everything.

It was disappointing in some ways. I didn't get to really test myself for the 5k distance. The organization was too poor, and there were multiple choke points during the run that we had to slow to a walk to squeeze through. It took us 42 minutes to get back to the finish line, and I had only trained for a time of 26 minutes.  So, the last 5 or 10 minutes I was just tired, and had to do some walking to give my legs a rest.
I didn't have a bit of trouble with my asthma though, and I'm not terribly sore today, so I think if I do another one, I'll be pretty close to running the full thing. It would be nice to run another one just to try again at running the full thing.

Have I mentioned I may have become a runner? I have never liked it. Ever. I was one of those students in high school that intentionally scheduled enough AP courses that I could opt out of PE and the running that would entail. "I'll run when someone is chasing me," was a favorite line. So, I've never ever gotten this far before. And training the last couple of weeks was ... dare I say it.. fun. Every run, it seems like, something hurts. Something is tired, or crampy or sore, and I have to get past it. And every time I do, I feel great. 0-5 minutes, always feels disjointed, ungraceful. 5-10 minutes is when I usually have to let go of whatever is paining me, run through it, but I'm starting to feel warmed up and not so disjointed.. And then there's this time period from like 20-26 minutes where it just feels great. I have my pace, I have my breath rhythm, and I'm just running, and I've never experienced that before. It's peaceful in some ways and cleansing in some ways, and triumphant because I've overcome my lazy inclinations, my little pains and I know I've done good for my body. 

I thought running would be more similar to my biking, in that I would just feel like I had a good workout.  But it's more than that, and that's been a nice surprise.

So, I'm going to keep at it, at least for now. Will I buy expensive shoes? Go without shoes? Try for something longer? I don't know. Maybe not.. but I'm not ruling anything out at this point. 

Thanks to everyone for the support. 

Official run time: 41:32   (lol, and by official, I mean that's what my watch said, as this run had no tracked time keeping.)
- Jennie

Friday, August 9, 2013

Apparently I'm Still Not Feminine

I've been married to Dave for over 5 years now. This morning we were having a frank discussion about something and I used a turn of phrase that literally made him double take. Followed by a comment on how I still surprise him sometimes with my less than feminine speaking ways.  And a smile, because he loves it, and me. But still, it surprised me.

I speak how I've always spoken. Perhaps with a bit more confidence now than in my awkward teenage years, or bookish childhood. But honestly, I don't feel as though my verbal and written communication has ever been described as feminine. "Strong," or "advanced for my age" were used when the speaker was being polite. (I can remember a conversation with a teacher in 4th grade when she mentioned that she spoke to me like she would an adult, knowing that I would understand what she was saying.)  I was always yelling out answers in class, especially in math and science lessons. It took me years to get in the habit of raising my hand to speak, and by the time I'd figured that out, I had also figured out how to read a different book under my desk or read ahead in the book the rest of the class was struggling to get 1 chapter into, completely uninterested in what was going on. By the time I hit 7th, I was adept at keeping one finger on the page the class was working on, and reading ahead to the things I was actually interested in.

I feel that, as an adult, when I disagree with something and I speak vehemently or passionately about it, I get accused of being mad, or yelling. I can pepper it with smiles and consciously keep my voice tones low, and I still get the accusation. WTF is up with that? And why do I feel like if I was a man my counter points would be accepted without the complaints about my tone?

August is an interesting month for me this year, probably heightening my awareness of these things. I'm turning 30 this month. Control of my fertility is high on my priority list right now. The onslaught of state, national and religious groups fighting to take away my control of my reproductive organs is upsetting. Honestly, I find it hard some days to deal fairly with my Christian neighbors, it can be difficult to divorce them from the larger religious organizations trampling my human rights. But, that's fodder for a whole 'nother post.

As some of you know, I stopped shaving years ago. I was/am tired of the media saturation promoting their airbrushed, unattainable version of femininity. One of the best things about the lack of a television in our house if I don't have to see that crap on a daily basis.  Hair, stretch marks, freckles, wrinkles and fat are all part of reality. Yet women embracing those aspects of their feminine reality are scarce. Armpits4August is a group of women doing just that. Encouraging women to grow their own under arm hair and to love it and rejoice in the perfect hair that our wonderful bodies grow. Not to shave it away, wax it away or hide it under sleeves. They are mainly in the UK right now, which is too bad for me, no rallies near enough I could get to one.

Also this month, much nearer to home, is the August 25th National Go Topless Day. I ask you this, my American readers, why is it my male neighbor can mow his lawn topless and I can't? Why is my husband so sure that I would get arrested if I tried something like that? There are no laws about it on record for my town. Just the vague sort of indecent exposure type laws. In New York City, law enforcement and community activists annually remind citizens that such displays are completely legal in that city. Male or female, equal treatment, everyone can show nipples in public.  Does the constitution not extend to Iowa? Does my equal treatment depend on my geographic nearness to one of the coasts?

So, if you hear of my arrest on the 25th, you'll know why.

I guess I should just resign myself to the comments about my less-than-feminine traits. Especially since I flaunt pretty much every societal norm for my gender. Proudly. With one finger in the air.
I have opinions and I'll say them. I have hair, and I'll grow it. With any luck my boys won't grow up with the current bullshit view on what feminine is. Maybe they'll have more freedom in expressing their own uniqueness. Maybe their wives and/or daughters will have more freedom because of it.

Here's something fun to end today's post.

---------------Jennie Fun Fact
Perhaps the single most feminine aspect to my communication is the circle I put over my lower case 'i' in my stubbornly not-cursive handwriting. I learned cursive enough to pass the 3rd grade requirements, and I knew then that I was never going to use it again, and I haven't. But even that circle, has its roots not in girlie doodling, but in logic. It was because of that same 3rd grade class, in our daily cursive exercises, with a teacher who was sloppy about her 't' crossing and 'i' dotting. Because of that sloppiness her cursive 'l', 't', and 'i' all looked a lot a like. I thought, that's just a recipe for miscommunication, I'm going to make sure my 'i' are clearly 'i's and not stumpy 'l's. So I used the forced daily cursive writing practice as a medium for changing my handwriting, and I taught myself the circle over the 'i' and I've never gone back. 

Take care y'all,