A Few Reason Autumn Blows (Including Blowing Leaves)

I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I do not like Fall, also known as the Season of Death and Decay, which precedes the Season of White Hell and Hibernation (snow). Here is a non-exhaustive list of things I hate about Fall (which just means there could be a part two at some point).

Tights – Fall brings on the advent of the tights. In theory, tights are cute and very necessary. I actually like the way they look and the warmth they provide. I like the fact that very opaque ones allow me to wear short skirts to work with my knee high boots.

However, I do not enjoy putting them on. It takes a lot of hopping around and contorting to get them on, and invariably, one leg gets twisted around, usually right at the top of the thigh. The toe seams never run along the toes.  And the butt seam always does its own thing. By noon, the knees are saggy, which is so interesting considering the fact that the waistband is tight enough to cut me in half, leaving marks and creating a very unflattering line under my clothes. And being encased in nylon/lycra/torture material for an entire 9 hours makes me itchy by the end of the day. I basically rip them off the moment I get home.

This is basically what it looks like when I’m trying to put on tights in the morning.

Leaves – Remember all those beautiful red and orange leaves on the trees? Yeah, those things fall to the ground. And then they need to be dealt with. Like, raked and wrassled into a big black bag. Which is like, work. Unpaid work. Mind you, they’re usually all gray and soggy by that point, another unpleasant reality. We don’t even have a single tree on our property and yet, I have leaves all over my front garden and back yard. And they just keep coming. Every damn weekend.

We don’t even own any trees.

Pumpkins – The pumpkin cult goes full blast this time of year. People lose their ever-loving minds over pumpkin everything. “ERMAGAHD, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes are out!!!” — Y’all do know that pumpkin is available other times of the year, right? I’ve seen canned pumpkin on the shelves of Trader Joe’s pretty much year round (unlike their fondue, which is only a seasonal thing – a fact that I think is abhorrent). I’ve also had a pumpkin flavored muffin in the spring, if you can imagine such a thing. I’ve even had pumpkin stuffed ravioli in summer!

And, everybody goes out and buys (or even more of a cliche, goes to a farm and picks) a pumpkin and puts it on their doorstep. You know what happens when you leave a piece of fruit or vegetable sitting outside for weeks, exposed to the elements? Nothing nice, let me tell you. And walking past all those rotting pumpkins on my way to work does not make me want a damn pumpkin latte.

Layering – I cannot grasp the concept of layering. Here’s the deal with me and layering: If I’m wearing a sweater over a blouse, that blouse probably has something wrong with it. Maybe I didn’t iron it, or maybe the buttons pull or gap, or maybe I spilled something on it, but wanted to wear it anyway. With layering, you’re supposed to take off layers as you get warmer, but as you can see, my under layers probably aren’t appropriate and should not be worn on their own.

And, let’s just suppose, that in fact, all my layers are in perfect order and proportion to whatever I’m wearing on the bottom. It warms up a tad bit and I’m ready to shed a trench, and blazer, and sweater, and a scarf, or whatever. What are you supposed to do with the layers you’ve taken off? You’re required to carry them around all damn day. That’s annoying. I cannot keep up with all those clothes.

Blake probably has someone to carry all her discarded layers.

Lethargy – I don’t know if it’s the shorter days or if I have some sort of seasonal disorder or what, but I have ZERO motivation to do anything other than sit on the couch, light tons of overpriced candles, and eat pasta and bread topped with copious amounts of cheese, butter, and cream and baked until it’s scalding hot. Getting to the gym is almost impossible. Why would I leave the nice warm house? Don’t even think about asking me to go to happy hour. I’ve got to scurry home and put on my yoga pants and slippers and ratty house sweater. I can’t even get excited about going shopping, which is pretty much sacrilegious. I need to shop. I live to shop. And there’s all those layers that must be procured.

So there you have it. My top five reasons I hate Fall. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to put on some layers, including tights, and emerge from my groundhog’s hole to go get a pumpkin spice latte. I think it will go quite nicely with my baked pumpkin macaroni and cheese.

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A Post In Which I (Again) Complain About Running

(*Part of an Ongoing Series of Indeterminate Length)

I started running again this month. Because August in Washington DC is just so refreshing and wonderful and I have such a natural affinity for running that doing it in weather that reminds one of warm pea soup is so incredibly pleasant and even, dare I say it, downright easy. (For those not fluent in sarcasm, none of those things are true. Except for the fact that the air here is like warm pea soup. That’s dead-on accurate.)

August in DC is so gross even members of Congress flee the city.

It’s not that I had really stopped running. It’s just that I was doing it so infrequently that I could not, in good conscience, legitimately claim it as a form of activity that I engaged in. I think I had dwindled down to about once or twice a week. Then once you threw vacations, and moving, and work and blogging, and Real Housewives into the mix, there were weeks this summer where I didn’t run at all.

Slowly, I began to run out of excuses (no more vacations planned, no more moving, caught up on all the Real Housewives franchises). Eventually, I noticed that the obese Petunia (I mean, let’s not beat around the food bowl here. She’s fat. I love her, but she’s no smedium-sized pet) was able to outrun me during our little play sessions, such as they are. Adding insult to injury, she’s about 70 years old in human years.

So, in the interest of not keeling over while chasing a cat up the stairs (or trying to lift her. Because, I don’t know if I mentioned this, but she’s fat), I’ve been trying to increase my running. Not surprisingly, it has not been going well, mostly due to scheduling.

I started in late July, getting up at 5:30 am to get dressed, stretched, set up the coffee maker, and get out the door by 6 am. I did that to avoid running during the hottest time of the day. As it was, it was usually around 75-78 degrees, which isn’t so bad compared to the heat in say, Texas. The humidity, however, usually hovered around 85%, so it was still a struggle. Even on the 2-ish weekday mornings I was able to get up and out the door, I dragged my way through 3 miles (This girl gets it). Shit was hot. Plus my body just is not awake at that point.

But, I kept at it, mostly because I liked the fact that I had gotten the whole exercise business out of the way and could come home after work and plop down immediately on the couch. And, I could brag about it. People seem really impressed (as well they should) if you casually (or, not so casually) mention that you’ve already worked out that morning. Both of those were incredibly strong incentives for keeping up the whole morning workout thing.

There is a downside to running in the morning: if it’s a crappy run (which in my case, it almost always was), you’ve started your day out crappy. You’ve already failed and the rest of the day will just resonate with your inability to propel your body forward for 30 minutes straight without stopping and wheezing and walking and holding your side.

Then August came. Since the sun also likes to propel forward (and is much better at it), it started staying much darker longer in the mornings. It was still dark out at 6 a.m. In fact, the sun wasn’t even coming up until around 6:20. Being a big scaredy-cat who’s afraid of getting snatched on the running trail, I figured that, even though it’s hotter in the evenings, I would have to make the switch.

(And in fact, I should be scared, according to this recent news report about a different trail nearby. Morning. Night. You’re liable to get jacked. We should really all just stay on our couches.)

There have been a couple of upsides to running in the evenings, not the least of which is 30 more minutes of sleep. While it is around 10 degrees hotter at 6:30 p.m., the humidity is in fact 20-30% less, which really does seem to make a difference.

Also, my body has—presumably—been up and moving around for about 12 hours, so I’m already warmed up and stretched, so to speak. I still stretch a bit before running, but it doesn’t feel quite as jarring as it does in the morning.

In the mixed bag category—the bike and run trail I use is much busier in the evenings, which is great for safety, but dangerous. The trail is quite crowded with other runners who can’t drag themselves out of bed either and those bicycle commuters will take you down without so much as a glance backwards.

It’s not awesome, and I still sound like an overheated Darth Vader sneaking up on you on the trail (Oh, who am I kidding? On a good day, I might pass some middle age walkers), but these are my choices: getting run over by a Lance Armstrong wanna-bes or potentially getting attacked by some really ambitious mugger who likes to get an early jump on the day.

At least if I get hit by a cyclist, there’s a good chance I’ll do damage to their bike.