Thursday, February 25, 2016

Old tapes

My sister and I were talking—ok emailing—the other day about old tapes, the negative tapes we play in our heads that say in various ways that we aren’t good enough. We'd agreed that those tapes are so hard to change yet so damaging that they can't stay.

That conversation stuck with me, and this morning as I ran, I remembered another one that continues to play in my head—I’m not a runner.

Oh the irony of that tape! Because it’s true, I have always had a very hard time considering myself to be a runner, even as I am actually running. Somewhere in my brain, the definition of runner has become hugely inflated with impossibly high standards that include sub-six minute miles, at least marathon distances (preferably ultra-marathon distances!) and so on and so forth.

How silly is that? The truth is, I run therefore I am a runner.

Also here are my new cardio shoes, the Rykas I mentioned here. They are not perfect and I do have to wear my thick Balega socks (the Hidden Contour ones if you are interested), but they work and I even like the way they look.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Whatever happened to Leslie Lilian anyway?

I’ve been doing workouts at home for decades. I first started when I was pregnant with my younger son—I faithfully followed exercises from Jane Fonda’s Workout Book for Pregnancy, Birth & Recovery. We didn’t have a VHS machine then (they were really pricy back in the day) so the book was my only option. I’d been in the Army with my first pregnancy and per Army regulations, I did the normal PT until I was 20 weeks pregnant. At the point, I was allowed to drop to my knees for push-ups, and the distance I had to run was reduced to—if I recall correctly—a mile. So I’d stayed in shape for my first pregnancy and wanted to do the same for my second one.

Within a few years, as I mentioned here, I started getting my own workout videos (by that time, my folks had given us a VHS player). I did those workouts on a very regular basis, probably four to five times a week.

It’s funny, when you hear something over and over, you’ll end up knowing the lines by heart. I’ve done that with my workouts and Kent has too. Sometimes he’ll holler the next line in the workout all the way from another room. It’s comical, especially when we both do it at the same time.

But I didn’t think I’d remember the lines from those long ago workouts. Let’s face it, we’re talking about 30 years ago and memories do fade. But I did! In Jane Fonda’s New Workout, there’s an opening song that one of the people doing the exercises sings at the beginning and the end. Jane tells you to sing along since that’s a good way to make sure you don’t get too out of breath. Even though I didn’t remember all the steps in the aerobic section, I remembered all the lyrics to the song
Then I got curious about the singer/exerciser. Her name was Leslie Lilian (all these years I thought Jane said Leslie Williams—oops), and she was a tiny thing with beautiful hair and also a decent voice. I Googled her and found the skimpiest of entries in IMDb. I also found a couple of YouTube videos of that portion of the workout and an article by Rebecca Harrington from last year reviewing the workouts (and realizing she knew all the lyrics to that song from having heard it as a small child* while her mother worked out). But that’s it.

I guess I was hoping for some sort of fairy tale ending for Leslie, that maybe the song opened the door for her to have a vocal career, or that maybe she went on to open her own studio or become a personal trainer or something. But I couldn’t find anything—even Jane Fonda herself said they’d lost touch long ago. I hope things turned out well for her.

*I do wonder if either of my kids would remember those lyrics. They sure heard them often enough.

Here's the song for your viewing pleasure:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

For my mom -- February

Here's February's calendar photo. Don't worry, I'll get the rest too; I'm just out of time tonight.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Suitcase details

My friend Paula had asked me about how the laptop sleeve works in the Standard suitcase I bought late last year. As I told her, I haven’t used it that way yet but that’s mostly because both times I’ve used it, I’ve been on trips that were a week plus long and I used a laptop backpack in addition to the suitcase.

But I thought it might be helpful to share what it would look like using the sleeve with two different laptops. This is picture heavy but should give you a sense of how everything would fit together.

For reference, I’m 5’5”. I “filled” the suitcase with enough blankets that I had to squish to zip it shut (which is how I also pack—I rarely use the extension feature on any suitcase). The last pictures show you the two laptops with a yard stick for reference.

If you have other questions, let me know and I’ll answer in the comments.

First two are with my work laptop, which has an extended life battery that sticks out the back a bit.

Next two are with Kent's laptop, which is thinner but larger in length and depth.

A couple of photos of me carrying the bag that shows the depth of the bag when worn as a backpack.

From the rear (I forgot to close the bottom zip, which is why you see a lighter blue "line").

Laptops with a yard stick for dimensions:

And a bonus photo of Eddie, who likes to be in every picture:

Monday, February 1, 2016


I swear I’m not Cinderella—I wear a respectable 7.5 in my street shoes. But holy cow it’s hard to find shoes I can use for cardio workouts. I have no meat on my feet, they’re narrow plus I have long-ish toes. I’ve now bought and returned four pairs of shoes with a fifth pair ordered.

Here’s a photo of my running shoes on the left, cardio shoes on the right.

My running shoes are Brooks, I love them but because I had to size up to accommodate my toes, I also have to wear thick running socks.

The cardio shoes are Mizuno, and I got them nine, maybe ten years ago. They were fantastic and would still be fantastic today only as with the running jacket I mentioned here, they were damaged in our flood. Unfortunately, while the restoration process made them look great (super white!), the leather also shrank and now they pinch the toes on my left foot.

Now you might say hey, that flood was nearly seven years ago. What gives, why haven’t you replaced them already? Oh I’ve tried. And then I would focus on running and sort of ignore these shoes.

But when it’s below 20F out or there’s any snow or ice, I don’t run. I am not at all interested in falling and breaking a hip. I also turn to cardio when my aerobic fitness needs a boost, which is the case this year. Hence the not-all-that-sudden urgency.

I’ve tried Asics, Nikes, New Balance and a current version of Mizunos. They are all much too wide, so much so that socks won’t fix it. Next up is a pair of Rykas. In the meantime, I’ve put a shoe tree in the left shoe in hopes that the shoe might stretch just a tiny bit. A girl can dream.