I’d Rather Be Having a Beer

I know, I know. This isn’t a real post. But work and life in general have been kicking my butt and  it doesn’t appear that it’s going to let up until sometime in mid-May. Plus, it’s still freezing cold here in DC, which has put me in a very foul and non-chatty blogger mood. I am still wearing a winter coat and tights in April.  APRIL.

AND, to just heap the awfulness on the crap plate that can sometimes be one’s daily existence, it’s High Touron season here, which is just so, so aggravating (for more on this phenomenon, go here).

The other night during rush hour, I literally had to listen to a cheerful (and loud) Touron lament the fact that us DC-Northern Virginia commuters seemed so grumpy on the metro. I’m sorry, excuse me? We’re just trying to get from home to work and back again. It’s not a freaking roller coaster ride: it’s a commute. What do you look like when you’re driving to work, balancing a cup of coffee, your phone and whatever other stuff you have to schlep around all day while weaving in and out of traffic around people who may or may not know where they’re going? Are you cheerful in rush hour traffic? Are you whistling Dixie because you get to go to work? I don’t think so.

Now try doing all of that, standing up, in a moving train, in a skirt and heels, pressed up against some government bureaucrat with a body odor problem.

And then let’s just pretend for a minute that some weird stranger is sitting riiiggght next to you in your car and gabbing away two inches from your face about how uncheerful you are about the often-tardy, always-overcrowded and incorrectly-ventilated logistical device that transports you to work at a highway robbery fair of $7-plus dollars a day. Still whistling, Tammy Tourist?

Sorry. I got a bit wound up there. Better to think of something pleasant. Like beer.

Because, even though life and work are kicking my butt, at least there’s nothing preventing me from enjoying a beer. Maybe if they’d install some serve-yourself coolers in the metro cars, we’d all be much more cheerful about our commutes.

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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.