there's a reason they call it the midway

Because it ain't great at the fair where the rides are, but it's not exactly hell, either. Though this was the sketchiest midway I'd attended, and yeah, I've seen a few. Not enough to qualify for carny status but even so. Lex was excited to ride the rides and was not happy when it was time to go. He didn't like the fried dough, so his indoctrination into the supreme yumminess of Fair Food must wait another year, or at least until The Big E, which starts, I think, this week.

Anyway, if you want to know about the socio-physiological aspects of the reminds-me-of-a-dirt-mall Franklin County Fair, Monstro'll be happy to elucidate. As for me, well, we got out of the house on a beautiful warm afternoon, Lex and BK had a blast, and we spent just under fifty bucks for the entire excursion, which isn't bad considering before we'd even entered the gates we'd confirmed the existence of our awesome God.

I'm just glad I didn't have to ride a Ferris wheel or see any llamas.

I found this poem eight years ago.


New York City Shuts Down

The whole of lower Manhattan is coated in half an inch of dust.

The mayor closed lower Manhattan this morning.

Thousands of people left by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Election called off, airports closed, Wall Street suspended, UN evacuated,

Children kept in school because their parents could not get to them.

The entire ER entrance was lined with stretchers covered with white sheets.

Nurses in scrubs. Doctors in uniforms,

waiting for the next wave

At St. Vincent's Hospital in the Greenwich Village.

Hundreds of people are burned from head to toe.

Remain calm and try to assist in the rescue effort and pray,

Have these streets open so we can move people out of there.

The line to give blood was over 100 people long.

Hanging up in frustration at the profusion of busy signals

According to a spokesman, who declined to give his name.

Bob Slovak said all subway lines stopped running,

and Rockefeller Center urged its tenants to go home.

— Found in “New York City Shuts Down,” Associated Press Report, The New York Times Online: 09/11/2001, 10:00 a.m. PDT. Poem copyright 2001-2009, Lynn B. Johnson. All rights reserved.

training log 9/10

Running madness today with BK in the Super Jogger: walking, running distance, running hills, running speedwork (5×60, 1×100) and running home. Got home right as Monstro and Lex were unbundling themselves from the car. Great timing, great run!

sooooooo stupid

LifeLock has a new banner ad — have you seen it? It's got a hyper-realistic-to-the-point-of-3D photo of a dead fly. Probably the only non-sexual banner ad offensive enough to make me close my browser window. Stupid assholes; now I have to re-login to my Rhythmball mail.

Taking Stock

On May 18, 2009, according to my writings on the world's oldest blog, I became a runner again. I went to the track at another local college and ran a mile (and walked a mile). The next day, I ran a mile and walked a half-mile. It wasn’t until day three that I started my speedwork.

warm-up: 400m
work-out: 6x60m, 1x100m
cool-down: chasing children back down the hill; encouraging Lex not to push babykins's stroller into the high hurdles

It felt damn good to do speedwork again, and, now that I think about it, I need to do more of it. Maybe once a week.

Like my life, I tracked my runs on my blog. If you search “training log” on, you’ll get 27 search results. That doesn’t count the first one; that one’s not called a training log because I wasn’t ready to smack a title on it yet, but it does list two workouts, plus a third in the pool. And I probably forgot to track one more at some point this summer, so I figure I ran 30 times between 5/20/2009 and 9/9/2009, which becomes the fraction 30/120 and reduces to a quarter of those days.

I could beat someone in a race now, which is saying something, because I ran a “Four [miles] on the Fourth” on Independence Day and came in dead last.

(Also, my race report wasn't titled “training log” so there, it's more than a quarter.)

Let me live up to my title. Before we left for California, I’d lost 5 pounds. Doesn’t sound like much, five pounds between late-May and early August, but a lot of underlying fat turned to muscle, and anyone who’s EVER been on a diet knows that muscle weighs more. Besides, I prefer to go by how my clothes fit (because scales make me crazy). Today I I wore my used-to-be-too-tight bra on the tightest row of hooks and it felt just fine all day; I wasn't even aware of it.

Changing into my lounge clothes tonight, I stood before my standing floor-length mirror. My waist, while not perfectly defined, is at least definable. I think I can flaunt that part of me a bit, to keep the gazes from my sagging, jowly lower belly, left over from the birth of nearly 18 pounds of children.

I’m down to just one roll of back-fat, and, the middle of my lower back would now look just as good with a tramp stamp as anyone’s lower-middle-back would (yes, that's a different question for another time).

To sum up: my clothes that were too small on May 18th fit me now. My clothes that were too small on June 18th fit me now. And the afternoon of my 20th high-school reunion I had to go shopping at Nordstrom because the dress I'd brought didn't fit: like papa bear's chair, it was too big. In total, I lost two sizes but found a half-size of that back because California was superfun and coming home sucked. Even so, I’m looking better than before and almost pretty good. And not as much of that is due to the obtuse angle I’ve set my full-length mirror to; in fact, the mirror is closer to straight-up-and-down as it’s ever been.

And, I’m nearly almost out of the true fat sizes and within satellite range of shopping somewhere they don't sell capris, which are the fashion industry's nod toward our pudgy-girl kickiness but really just make us look dumpy.

So yeah, I'm motivated. For lots of reasons. I don’t want to buy any more fat clothes. My hatchling cheekbones are beginning their extrusion process. (A make-up woman at Macy’s once told me, “you got some bones, girl.” That was when I lost 20 pounds about 18 years ago.)
I want to keep going with this, because I’m staring seven months of winter snow in the face and one thing I’ve never learned how to do is run on a treadmill. Done it twice, crashed spectacularly twice, and not certain what to do to get back up on that horse and fucking stay there already.
And also, in my 20s, I ran for the Sun Microsystems corporate track team, the memories of which are some of my fondest, in particular the meet that started with my first women’s cross-country race, which I won.
I didn’t run today, breaking a four-day streak. Instead, I took the boys to lunch at Friendly’s and my gastrointestinal distress started exactly 57 minutes after I signed the debit-card slip. Though I didn’t run, I had the runs, which in my estimation should count for at least something, being so close logos-istically and all.
Ultimately, I’m going to run through at least the autumn, because it feels good to have to buy a new pair of running shoes because you’ve blown out your old pair by running, and Massachusetts isn’t exactly totally miserable when the leaves change. And if that isn’t enough, I’ll remember back to my first speedwork on May 20th, one-hundred-twenty days ago, During my final repeat, the hundred-meter dash:
Lex screamed, “Mommy, you go so fast!” And then, when I was done, he gave me a big hug and said, “I proud of you, Mommy.” Melt my effin' heart.

That, my children, is what you call fat-mom motivation. Especially when I’m reading a Runner’s World magazine and he points to a picture of woman running and says she looks like me.

amusing 9/8 training log

Today after the “nanny” (her paycheck isn't lofty but her job title is) left, I bundled BK into the Super Jogger and thought to myself, “Wouldn't it be great if I could run the long way all the way to the Farmer's Market?” So we turned right instead of left and ran around the defunct car dealership to the bike path, all the way up the bike path to the hobo-stab-insurance underpass, then out into the bright light of day and through the streets to the place where the elite meet to buy stuff to eat. Ran every step. BK was most impressed.

I'd brought a green fabric bag from my local supermarket, so I could load up my farmshare items into the bag and then tie the bag to the crosshandle of the Super Jogger. Great idea for truly green shopping, right? Right, up until I saw the contents of the box and the market helper loaded my fruits and veggies into the bag.

The farmshare was particularly prolific this week. Once I tied the bag handles to the stroller handle, I realized that I had been fazed by physics: namely, how to keep a Super Jogger baby stroller upright with a 24-lb. infant on one side of the fulcrum and a 30-lb. bag of locavore organic vegetables on the other side of the fulcrum.

The answer: walk home, very careful to push the handle/fulcrum UP the whole way, thereby preventing BK from tipping ass-over-teakettle.

Happy ending: No babies or vegetables were harmed in the makings of this blog post.

training log 9/7

Well, just because I went to an awesome barbeque (thanks Chris&Dave&Brandon) doesn't mean I didn't run. No, sir. I ran half a mile. Sure, it was to the convenience store and back, to pick up some cool-ranch Doritos and a bottle of seltzer and a half-gallon of ice cream and some Junior Mints to mix into said ice cream, but I ran, nonetheless.