Tutus are kind of my thing – so much so that when I moved from Minnesota last year my gym buddies threw me a going away workout party where everyone wore tutus. (They even wrote “We’ll miss you tutu much!” on the mirrors in marker!) I have them in every color and I’ve worn them during more races and workouts than I can count. Yeah they’re not the most practical workout attire but they’re fun and they always make me laugh.
But not everyone loves tutus, as evidenced by Self magazine’s #tutugate last week when they mocked two women running a marathon in superhero tutus. They posted this pic in their “BS meter” section, calling the trend “lame”:
“A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster,” the mag quipped. “Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”
Turns out that Wonder Woman, aka Monika Allen, is currently suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, was undergoing chemo and designs the tutus through her company Glam Runner which donates the proceeds to charity. Oh and she still ran a marathon. They might as well have mocked Mother Teresa for liking kids too much. And then kicked a puppy.
Ranked right up there with the perfect squat and the best blender for smoothies, the “runner’s high” is one of the most elusive yet sought-after myths in modern fitness lore. But is it a real biochemical response or just marathoners trying to justify spending their whole Saturday running? The anecdotal evidence is mixed: for people who get a runner’s high it’s not only real but amazing; but for people who’ve never had one it can seem like a whole lot of hooey. Fortunately a new study in The Journal of Experimental Biology tests this out and the results are very interesting!
Q: Is the runner’s high real?
A: Researchers measured endocannabinoids (a brain chemical that indicates increased pleasure) in humans, dogs and ferrets both before and after a run. What they found was that humans and dogs both experience a large increase in the endocannabinoids after a 30-minute treadmill run. The ferrets on the other hand experienced no increase. Because ferrets. Have you seen their ugly little mugs? I don’t think they enjoy anything, frankly. Ferrets are the Joan Rivers of the animal world. Actually the researchers postulate it is because ferrets as a species are not adapted to run, especially at high speeds or for long distances. The researchers conclude that the neurobiological “reward” for endurance exercise may explain why humans continue to engage in aerobic exercise despite the extra work and injury risks.
This is totally true. Scares the everloving crap out of me.
Topless treadmill running has never been on my fitness bucket list but then neither was being a pro NFL cheeleader for a day or doing crunches on an underwater produce scale in an ice-cold pool for half an hour and I ended up doing both of those. So. So maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked when last Friday morning found me frantically chugging up a treadmill set to 14% incline, unsure of which was more painful – the lack of sports bra or any supportive top or all the wires snaking out of me.
I should back up. Like all the way to last Thursday. I went in for my usual doctor’s check up – It was time, I needed a flu shot and I had some questions about folic acid absorption that I had after a rousing discussion with Deb on my post about being freaking depressed all the time. (Short version: Apparently there’s a genetic marker – of which I have half of – that impedes folic acid metabolism and can manifest as depression. It’s called the MTHFR genes, which aptly sounds out like Motherf****** in my head for some obscene and hilarious reason, in case you’re curious.) Plus I have a thing for paper dress fashion. I blame all those Barbie paper dolls I grew up loving on. (And the ones with the rub-on patterns? Remember those?!?)
Stylin’ at the start line!
Ever had a super annoying running partner*? There’s The Perma-Injured – the person who always has something wrong with him/her, whether it be fallen arches or a sore knee or a blocked aura or whatever. New day, new injury. Then there’s The Whiner – the one who complains about the weather, his shoes, the TV programming, her husband and the chia seeds stuck in their teeth. Don’t forget The Competitor – the guy or girl who is always trying to stay two steps ahead of you, elbowing you off the sidewalk, telling you all their past race times or otherwise letting you know how much you suck at running. Oh and my personal favorite, The Hip Magnet – the fellow runner who apparently has a magnet in their hip that makes them run so close to you that if you were in a tampon ad you’d be holding hands and braiding daisy chains. No matter how many ninja moves you do to try and regain your personal space they will inexorably be drawn back to your side. If you’re lucky they’ll offer you a piggy back.
Forget night swimming REM, night running has always been my favorite nocturnal sport. There’s just something about running through an unlit night, the inky blackness completely obliterating my body until I feel incorporeal. Dispossessed. Airborne. In the sense of flying, yes, but also that I feel born of air. I’m elegant in ways that I never can be in daylight. I’m light and quick through the dark, a sure-footed sprite.
That is until I trip over a tree root and face plant.
Oh and did I mention that I like to do my night running set to Orff’s “Carmina Burana” or Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite? (Lie: It’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. Of course it is.) Very very loudly. And with no reflective gear, save the glow of my pale legs? And preferably in the mountains or the forest? It’s the closest I get to real magic.
It’s probably also the closest I get to really putting myself in danger too which is why I’ve not done it in years. And that’s a travesty because I used to love it.
Signing the paperwork to buy a house is entertaining for so many reasons. First, because it’s like 2,000 pages long of legalese eventually you just stop bothering to read anything. Let me tell you, when it comes to living on the edge, skydiving has nothing on the rush you get from signing your life away for the next 30 years without even knowing exactly what you’re signing! Wheee! Second, all the addenda are knee-slapping hilarious. For instance, one page from the EPA informed us that there was once a Superfund site up the mountain due to an old factory that made plutonium triggers. Now it’s a lovely wildlife preserve. With two-headed deer. (Kidding. I hope. They swear it was totally cleaned up.) But the one that really got me was the note about all the animals in the vicinity. Since we will be living up in the mountains (yay!!), there are lots of prairie dogs, bunnies and coyotes about. Oh, and mountain lions. “There was a runner who was killed by one a couple years back…” the woman started explaining as she handed me a pen to sign. And that’s how a hundred nightmares are born, kids!
Sitting at the gym, minding everybody’s business but my own, I got into a conversation about a recent road race. I didn’t run it but several of the Gym Buddies did and as everyone knows, one of the best parts of running a race is getting to swagger around in your race jacket (or tee or sweatshirt or medal or beanie or pink diamond necklace or – if you’re a real super star – all of the above) for weeks afterward. Except this day, the Big Day After the Race, oddly no one was sporting their swag. What was going on? Everyone get a case of the humble virus?
Allison explained that it was because her new sweatshirt had been upgraded to her “nice clothing” category and therefore was too good to be sweated upon at the gym. (And really it is a super cute hoodie!) Another Gym Buddy explained that while she loved hers and it was super comfy, the slogan – “Get Lucky” (it was a St. Patrick’s day run, get it??) – felt too risque to wear in public. Especially when she is surrounded by her kids; naifs, yes, but also walking, talking proof of her ability to, ahem, get lucky. (Side note: Anyone remember Lucky Brand jeans in the 90’s with their “Lucky you!” printed on the inside of the fly?? I wore those all through college and blushed every time I peed. Needless to say, I was the only person who ever saw it.)
I don’t even know what’s happening here but I love it.
Dec. 31, 2012, 12:59 p.m.
Me: 10-9-8-7DickClarkMayHeRestInHeaven-6-5-4-3-2… Yay! Happy New Year!
Husband: Arriba! Prospero ano y felicidad!
Kiss kiss hug hug “Get a room!” “We have several and are paying way more than they’re worth every day!” “Wow. Buzzkill.” “Here’s to 2013, the year of the zombie mortgage!” “Just shut up and kiss again.” Our friends are great.
Jan. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Me: Crap. We have a race to run in the morning.
Husband: We don’t have to do it. Who schedules a race for the morning after the night you know everyone is guaranteed to stay up too late, anyhow?
Me: I know. And yeah, we do. We signed up! And it’s our first Official Family Race! (Only, mind you, because kids were free registrants).
Husband: sigh It’s a good thing we don’t drink.
Me: sigh Okay then, let’s go get in our -15 degree car and drive home so we can pay an exorbitant amount of money to our babysitter and get a few hours of quality sleep.
Jan 1, 2013, 2:00 a.m.
We got home and went to bed. Oops.