Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm not dead.

Nope. Not dead.

I’ve just been busy, what with the holidays (Happy Rosh Hashanah! I’m sorry! Safe fast for Yom Kippur. Happy Sukkot! … and I think I’m caught up) and the traveling for the holidays, and the catching up at work after the holidays, well, I’ve been busy.

Because I’m so ridiculously out of date, I’m just going to plow through this. It’s long. But there at least two funny stories. It’s like a scavenger hunt! On your mark, get set…


Swimming: I haven’t swum since the (not) floating incident. I’ve been waiting for K1 to have free time to come coach me on how to float, because I feel like I’ve made as much progress as possible without some extra guidance. I’ll report back, and give you all tips on how to defy gravity and sting like a bee and think fluffy, buoyant thoughts. (Naomi: I am not a rock. I am not a rock. I am not a rock. I anticipate wild success.)

Cycling: I picked up my bike on Monday, exactly one week later than I was supposed to (That’s right Snobby Bike Shop Repair Guy. We ride by MY schedule). SBSRG was not in attendance and the Alternate BSRGs were quite friendly. I bought a helmet (I keep wanting to type helmut, which makes me think of Helmüt Kohl. Which or course means that my bike is now called Helmüt. Excellent).

I celebrated by riding the three miles to my tap class (see below, “Dancing” section), which was all uphill, and therefore harder than I anticipated (I have had it up to HERE with the whole “oh yeah, THIS is why you’re supposed to do cross-training” soreness) but very satisfying. It was a beautiful fall night, and, riding on residential side streets (so as to minimize the death, and by the way, shut up, DC drivers), I felt like I had regressed to my suburban childhood, when I used to ride my bike to my friends’ houses, and race down the hill to my house with my dog, who was a herding dog, and therefore horribly panic stricken that his sheep (me) was recklessly speeding through the STREET, and used to hurl himself at my front wheel to get me to stop and go back to the LAWN where it was SAFE, which added plenty of death and excitement to my childhood rides.

I also took a spinning class this morning (my second ever) which was not nearly as death-inducing as the last one. Progress!

Dancing: After months of running like it was my goddamned job (and, actually, can we make that be my job? Because my real job is not nearly so rewarding), these past few weeks have been a veritable orgy of variety. And here at 26.2 miles vs. Naomi, it’s not just about tri-sports. I considered, what with the impending winter, adding the traditional BI-athlon sports, but I couldn’t really see the body-sculpting potential in target practice, so I went back to my old standby: dancing.

I lurrrrve dancing. Especially tap dancing. As I know I’ve mentioned before, I don’t so much have the “rhythm” or the “groove” or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays. I also don’t so much have the “skills” (or “skillz” for that matter). But. Lurrrrve. Plus, now that I don’t have to perform in front of a jury of my peers (audience, whatever), nobody cares if I suck it up in class, as long as I’m paying having fun.

Oh, but this Monday? I arrive in plenty of time at the dance studio, start chatting amiably with fellow dancers (I am nothing if not amiable), and pull out my shoes, and… Giant spider. GIANT spider. Giant SPIDER. In my shoes. Which had been in my bag. On my back. And were at that moment in my hands. Furry, giant, HORRIBLE spider. I was practically TOUCHING the SPIDER.

Well not for long. Because I promptly flung my shoes out of my hands, far away from me. Tap shoes, remember, with metal on them. Winging through the air. At, it turns out, the charming classmate with whom I’d been amiably chatting only a moment before.

I was still dealing with my shock (SPIDER) and only realized that I’d attacked this girl several seconds later, when I finally managed to tear my gaze away from where the SPIDER had landed, and saw her staring at me, in a not entirely impressed manner. I quickly explained the source of my not at all embarrassing panic, and she mostly didn’t laugh in my face. Someone else killed the spider (which, actually, was optional at that point, once I’d re-established my personal space as spider-free).

And then we did some tap dancing. Flap. Shuffle. Improv. Woo.


More dancing: Bet you didn’t see this coming.

Meet Naomi: The Dirty Hippie. I have signed up for a West African dance class at a Yoga studio. Shut up. I know. I’m embarrassed enough for all of us. But it is the most purely FUN thing I have done in ages. Think barefoot, live drums, and… I don’t know how to describe it, but in some ways, it feels like a massage. It’s like the antithesis of ballet, where everything is tense and sucked in and painful. Here, everything is loose, and waving around like a rag doll. It’s also incredibly hard work: my legs, especially my hamstrings, were sore for about three days.

So I love it, but y’all have to promise to intervene before tie dye or (heaven forfend) white-girl dreads begin to sound like a good idea.

Running: For God’s sake, just how long has it BEEN since I’ve updated this thing? So, two weekends ago, I skipped running on Saturday (so as to avoid death by drowning) and went to my first African Dance class. (I also threw a hissy fit at my gym because I showed up late for the pilates class and they wouldn’t let me in. Hi. The world revolves around me. Shut up.) Sunday I had a horrifically bad run—so bad that I couldn’t even manage to keep up a running pace on the DOWNHILL portion, which is usually my favorite part. But I chalked it up to the hippie dancing, and even managed to squeeze in a second hippie session after the run. (Oddly, I was perfectly able to dance for an hour and a half, even though an hour earlier I couldn’t manage to run. I don’t understand it, but then, that’s nothing new.)

I ran again on Tuesday, with K1, and renewed my faith in the sport, with a lovely loop around the White House and up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We had planned to head back after that, but we were having so much fun, we decided to run to the other end of the Mall to the Capitol, and then, on the way back to the Washington Monument (about one mile) did a weird speed workout thing, where we sprinted for the distance of three trees and recovered for one tree. Which, depending on where the trees were, was either hard or really damn hard.

I didn’t lace up my shoes again until Saturday, planning an 8-10 mile scenic run around a reservoir. It was a disaster. I haven’t decided whether I blame it on having fasted for 24 hours on Thursday, or the brisket and meat loaf on Friday (or, why not, both) but I was only about 2 miles in when I realized that things weren’t getting better. I was feeling pretty slow in general, but that was when I realized how badly I needed a bathroom. And—

Okay, fair warning: this is probably more information than most people want. Feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs. I’ll signal when it’s okay to start reading again.

So I needed a bathroom, and not because I needed to pee. And there were no bathrooms around. And I was two miles away from my car in either direction (the road around the reservoir is about a four mile loop) and a fifteen minute drive to my house after that. I thought I could make it, but after about another half mile, I realized there was no hope.

Here’s the problem, though. There weren’t any bushes. Just trees. With plenty of space between ‘em. With ever-increasing desperation, I saw a stone wall that I thought I could hide behind. So, managing to soak both of my sneakers in the stream that was flowing down the hill, under the road, and into the reservoir, I ran up the hill, where it became clear that the wall only hid me from people approaching in one direction. Plus, the stream ran directly adjacent to it, and apparently, I draw the line at polluting NYC’s water supply.

A little further up, I saw a slightly larger tree, so with no other option, and no time left, I dashed up the hill to “hide” behind the tree. Desperate times, people.

I hastily conducted my business, and ran back down the hill, (once again soaking both of my shoes) and in my best “nothing to see here folks” manner, started running again. I didn’t see anyone pass while I was up there, so I think I’m in the clear. Needless to say, that was basically the end of my run. I finished the loop back to my car, and headed home.

Then, this past Tuesday K1 and I went back out to the Mall and had a good, but much shorter, run.

Okay, story’s done. You can all start reading again.

Moral of the story: Only run on Tuesday.

I bet now you wish you'd read the story. Ha!

And I think that brings me back to today. Oh, except for the people who wanted to hear more about Peace Corps. Next time. Also, stay tuned for a post from my crystal ball.


Blogger Scooter said...

Confession time: I only read about 1/3 of your mega post and just felt I had to comment on: "adding the traditional BI-athlon sports" - I trust you know that biathlon is shooting and nordic skiing. Unless you go west to the mountains, skiing isn't too readily available, shooting is available, though DC metro has had an unfortunate issue with it over the last few years. Don't do it from in a car, nor at actual people.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Noames said...

Hey Scooter,

No, I know, I was just trying to be funny. I talk about "target practice" further down, which I thought made it clear. And while I'm not going to argue with your very sage advice not to practice shooting from moving cars and even more importantly not at people, I would like to defend my poor little city--our crime rate is WAY down lately. Hardly any drive bys. Promise.

4:33 PM  
Blogger a.maria said...

holy mother its about dang time!!! i missed your hilarity!!!

love the tap dancing, and the hippie dancing...just promise you're not gunna start wearing really flowy skirts with little bells on the end! m'kay?!

yay you're back! ;)

4:47 PM  
Blogger Flatman said...

Yes. The crime rates are down, but apparently there is a public humiliation outbreak! Very funny and this situation gets the best of us (you).

Welcome back.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Robinson said...

Welcome back! I've missed reading your stuff.

I think it is great that you are doing such a variety of stuff and making sure that you are including activities that are fun. Sometimes I get it in my head that in order to be effective exercise has to be soul crushingly hard or boring or difficult for me. I'm a much better swimmer than runner, but I always think running is the higher form of exercise for some reason...hmm. Your post is a good reminder that having fun is okay.

**wanders off to go sign up for a dance class...

11:37 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey Ms. Naomi,

so I've been lurking about ever since you were featured in the Running Carnival (or you hosted it, I can't remember), and today I was catching up on a few of your recent posts and I have some comments:

(1) If you are enjoying the African dance, hie thee to a brazillian samba or samba reggae class for some amazing fun, that is all about the adoration of the ass, which is what all good dance should be about, in my opinion.

(2) O god, I want to join the Peace Corps too AND be a foreign journalist, despite my laughable, relative lack of actual experience. What I really wish would happen is that some veteran journalist will discover me languishing on a street corner somewhere and decide to mentor me and give me their rolodex. Having said all that, I once wrote for a weekly English-language paper in Central America. It was an easy gig to get. The word on the street there was that getting hired at similar papers in other countries, either full-time or as a stringer, wasn't so hard. What I did was save up some money, go to the country of choice, hang out at volunteer jobs for a bit and then hit up the newspaper. It worked for me, and I was even offered a full-time job, but dunce that I am, I was homesick and insecure, and well... enough of that old song and dance. But! It's a way to get your foot in the door.

(3) girl, you are so totally a writer!

3:09 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

(Ok, was scooter's comment for real? just curious!) and megan! You are so cool doing that foreign journalist thing--oh, i'm so gonna do that when i retire!!

um, wait, this is naomi's site: so noames: so glad to see you are back and in fine fettle, just as we left you (or you left us). Especially enjoyed the poop-run post. Was wondering how the swim/bike thing was coming along! Whatever, you sound like a pentathlete now. or some big number.

don't forget us--we've all been hanging since the tiny tricycle incident!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Bex said...

Haven't had a poopie-while-running incident yet, but I had to duck in the bushes to pee in front of God and everybody at the Army 10-miler last year. This one guy just would NOT go away. Eeew factor. Plus, my dog barfed twice today after I ran him hard. Does that count?

1:11 AM  
Blogger InterstellarLass said...

I once had a poopie incident on one of the most posh streets in Dallas. I had to poopie in some bushes on a median in the middle of the road, surrounded by million dollar houses. It was an EMERGENCY. That was a bad day, because the first poopie incident happened just two miles into the run. At a park. I feel your pain.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

Are you still not dead yet?

note to Jeanne: Is it possible to make a comment like that and not have it be at least a bit tongue in cheek?

1:37 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

Note to Scooter: Sigh, yes. It is.

6:38 PM  

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