April 21, 2007

I hope you don’t think I’m kissing your ass, but can I just say what a fascinating, intelligent, well-mannered discussion has been going on, and how pleased I continue to be that I can share my thoughts with you without fearing a Big Bunch of Crazy in response? I think you might just be the smartest, sanest bunch of readers a blogger could ever hope to have, and also I think you look really hot in those jeans.

JB and I have been talking quite a bit about guns and legislature and education over the last couple days as we’ve been reading the comments people are posting and the complex issues they raise. We learned that while we come from somewhat different places with our regard to firearms, neither of us want Riley to have toy guns. I don’t know how you can teach a child about gun safety and the proper way to handle a gun, then allow them to carry realistic plastic versions which are treated as harmless toys, surely undoing learned behaviors such as “never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to kill”—never mind the possibility of someone mistaking it for a real gun. On a related note I also have major reservations about games like Halo where the whole point is aiming and firing pretend weapons at other people, but then again I have reservations about video games in general and aarrgh, that is a whole additional can of poisonous snakes.

I’ve been wondering whether as gun owners we need to disclose that fact to any new playmate’s parents. It’s something I hadn’t really thought of before, but I understand that people often want to be informed if guns are in the house. We would want to know, too—so we could feel confident in the safety measures that are in place. Do you think the responsibility to bring up the topic should lie with the interested party, or should it be proactively volunteered?

Oh, what a subject. Anyone mind if I switch gears? Let’s all make believe there is some kind of clever segue in this paragraph that takes us from guns to jogging.

I’ve been thinking about long-term fitness goals and ways to make exercise a lifelong routine. I’m still into Turbo Jam and doing the workouts several times a week, but I’d like to, you know, diversify. Getting to the gym is a lot more challenging than it used to be, so I figured running was my best option.

On Friday morning I set the alarm for 6:45, got my ass out of bed and hit the street. The morning was cold and clear and lovely, and the roads were quiet. I ran past cherry trees in full bloom and heard the twinkling chatter of songbirds.

The only bad part was that it sucked, oh god did it suck, it sucked hyena rectum, it sucked from the moment I stepped out the door and it sucked for the whole entire fifteen minutes I forced myself to spend alternating between an anemic jog and a gasping, wheezing walk.

My entire body hated me and my lungs threatened to burst like airbags from my flared, desperate nostrils. It was chilly and the insides of my ears got cold and it made my head hurt. I felt like my feet each weighed half a ton and my knees were made out of concrete. The only thing that was legitimately running was my nose, because at my pace I could have been overtake by a banana slug, or possibly a large glacier. It SUCKED.

It will suck less if I keep trying, though . . . right? Or is the reason joggers always look all intense and shit because they’re trying to hang on to their will to live? Any encouraging advice is more than welcome.

Lastly, it seems like it’s been at least a couple days since I’ve inundated this site with photos, so hey. Ho. Let’s go:

Here is the boy and Cat, while in the background I am squawking “Pet the kitty nice! Pet the kitty NICE!” over and over like a deranged parrot.

Riley at the farm, probably wondering why I’m always pointing a camera at him like he’s Britney Goddamn Spears.

Hmm, what’s going on here? Pooping, maybe?

Riley’s t-shirt is much cuter than mine. But my shirt doesn’t have drool marks, so there.

Adorable father-son moment, or dueling lamprey eels? Choose your own adventure!

I love this photo because of his oh-so-familiar expression. My suspicous little boy.


82 Responses to “Boomsticks and more”

  1. Michelle on April 22nd, 2007 6:39 pm

    I think you’ll find that some days will suck and some days will be amazing. Like you said, your 2nd jog today already felt a little better. It will be those days that running is fantastic and you feel like you could go on for mile that will keep you motivated and wanting more. As others have already said, the shoes you wear are the key to your run. If you aren’t wearing good shoes, your runs WILL suck. Also, try an arm band do-hicky for your ipod. They work best and pose the least risk of death by ear-bud cord. The trick is to hold the cord in your hand a bit so that you don’t rip it out of your ear sockets when you swing your arms … not that I’ve done that or anything ;)

  2. Nora on April 22nd, 2007 6:47 pm

    Longtime reader but first time commenter – love the site! As for the running, I keep trying to learn to like it and have yet to succeed. But since so many people mentioned the Couch to 5K program, I wanted to point out that some guy made a podcast that is on iTunes which timed out the intervals of the program for each week and put it all to music. It tells you when to walk and when to run and it is very useful and keeps you from having to check your watch. Of course, I have yet to make it past week 2 but don’t let that stop you…

  3. Katie on April 22nd, 2007 6:49 pm

    I don’t think you need to ‘disclose’ that you have guns as long as they are very secure – as I am sure they are. I have dangerous cleaning products in my home and I figure as long as I am responsible and keep them secure then I don’t have to disclose that either.

  4. Elizabeth on April 22nd, 2007 8:16 pm

    I picked up jogging about two years ago. Although I will admit that I am not as hardcore as people who run outside, for lo, I am Pale and the Sun, It Burns. I really like going to the gym and listening to my iPod while I run. I usually do a five minute walking warm-up and then do intervals of walking and running, with another five-ten minute cool down at the end. It love the little monitors of the treadmills telling you have many calories you’ve burned and how far you’ve run. The calorie thing especially. I dunno, it’s encouraging I guess. But if I ever get to the gym and realize my iPod is out of battery, then forget it…I need my angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion to walk any further than from my flat to my car.

    Congratulations on all your progress! And I mean that in a strictly non-patronizing way, it really is inspiring.

  5. mo on April 22nd, 2007 9:09 pm

    okay: i know nothing about guns. as far as i’m aware, in NZ, the guns, ammo, and necessary gun bits all have to be stored under lock and key, separatley. i think.

    so i think saying ‘we have guns in the house’ is a bit extreme. thats something i wouldnt want to know, or feel that i needed to know, unless you were planning on SHOWING my kid said guns. and then i might have a problem with it. but i’m guessing that you’re not going to be doing that.

    i think katie nailed it: you probably have cleaning products in your home that can kill people, but you don’t feel the need to disclose that. people take for granted that you lock your chemicals up around kids. i just take for granted that people are going to do the same with their guns. but then, our laws are different, and people are more discreet because of that. so its hard for me to say.

    also: i detest running. but, i knwo that if i could bring myself to embrace it, it would be SO GOOD FOR ME. i’m working on it. i too, reccomend music.

  6. Kim on April 23rd, 2007 5:59 am

    Running definitely gets better… not just with practice but with increasing distance too. It took me forever to convince my friend Bree of this. I absolutely hate running less than 4 miles. Running doesn’t start to feel good until about the third mile. My body has to get warmed up and into its rhythm. Bree hated running, only did it for fitness and only ran 2 miles at the most for the past few years. I kept telling her she hated running because she wasn’t going far enough. Last summer she joined a training program for a Women’s 4 Miler race. Even the day of the race, 4 miles was daunting to her. Then in the fall I agreed to join a 10 miler training program with her and help her train. We did the 10 mile race. And now she’s the one calling me to see if I want to go for a 5 mile run after work. Now she never runs less than 4 miles either.

  7. ang on April 23rd, 2007 6:16 am

    I live in the deep, gun-toting South. If any of my daughter’s parents volunteered, “Hey we have guns in the home, just so ya know.” I’d be appalled at the craziness and not let my daughter know. I mean, I have a vibrator too, but you don’t see my giving the kid’s friends parents a heads up to have the sex talk before they come over??!!

  8. Amity on April 23rd, 2007 6:59 am

    Uh, the “lamprey eels” made me spit coffee. You crack my a** up. Thank you. I needed that on a Monday! :)

  9. Kristin on April 23rd, 2007 7:02 am

    TO start a new running program you should start off running for 1 minute and then walking for 4 minutes. Do this for 2-3 weeks 3x/week. Then increase to 2 minutes run, 3 minutes walk for 2 weeks. Then 3:2 x 2 weeks, then 4:1 x 2 weeks. After that you can jump up by 2 minutes ever few weeks to eventually end up running for 10 walking for 1.

    Giving yourself a waking break, even if it’s just for 1 minute, can actually improve your running time. I’ve changed some of my most running obsessed friends minds on this run/walk issue…and now that they give themselves a 1 minute walk break every 10 minutes, they’ve IMPROVED their marathon times.

    I know you’re not in it for a marathon, the point I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t feel like your cheating yourself out of a great workout with walk breaks. The gradual increase I’ve shown you will really make running a million times more bareable.


  10. Dan on April 23rd, 2007 7:14 am

    First, my g/f turned me on to your blog with the pictures, so keep them coming!

    Second, on the gun issue, I’d say it should be pro actively volunteered that you have guns secured in the house. As you said, the parents would want to know. I think being upfront about it just shows them that you’re aware of the potential for problems, and are taking all possible preventative measures.

  11. Melissa on April 23rd, 2007 7:24 am

    Jogging does get easier the more you do it. I promise!

  12. jonniker on April 23rd, 2007 8:18 am

    I’m with Kristin, as well as the suggestion for coolrunning.com’s program. The thing I learned with running is that you *do* have to work up to it, very very slowly, no matter how in shape you are from other things. It’s wicked hard on your body, above and beyond the cardiovascular system, and you can, very quickly, knock yourself into an overuse injury without even realizing it. So really, the best advice I can give is to go very, very slowly, no matter how frustrating it is, and no matter how desperately you want to crank it up to 11 right out of the gate. It’s tough on your feet, knees and lower back, among many other things.

    OH! And speaking of lower backs, Lawyerish gave me the best advice in the world: do you an ab workout every time you run. Stronger abs help to support your lower back, and prevent pain while you run. My lower back was KILLING ME before I did this, and it really helped.

    Also! Stretch. A lot. Like, a WHOLE LOT, both before and after. Stretch your calves, your feet, your upper body. It will prevent injury as well.

  13. Caitlin on April 23rd, 2007 8:23 am

    Doing coolrunning’s couch potato program right now–so I’m with everyone else who gave it thumbs up.

  14. Julie on April 23rd, 2007 8:31 am

    I haven’t read through the posts, so I’m not sure if I am repeating anything that has already been said, if I do I’m sorry.

    Running for me has been nothing less than a life saver. When I was unhappy with my body and not really sure what to do, I started running. Or better put, unattractively shuffling down the street hoping to God I didn’t pass out. When I started I couldn’t rund 1/4 mile without feeling like my lungs were on fire and at any moment the act of breathing could cease to happen. Every day I went out and just tried to run a little bit more than I ran the day before, even if that was only a few steps. When I started running I tipped the scales at 170 lbs not so sexy on a 5′ 2″ body. I stuck with it and every day seemed to get easier and easier, and every night I put my sneakers by my bed and made a promise to get out there and run, no matter what. That was 6 years, 45 lbs, and 3 marathons ago. I am now a runner, in every sense of the word, I do it 6 days a week, about 10 miles a day, my body feels weird when I don’t. I love to run.

    First let me applaud you for working so hard on your physical self. My advice to you is go slow. It gets easier everyday, but only if you don’t overdue it the day before. It took me years, literally years to enjoy running, to feel that my body was in a groove while running, and not just throwing one leg in front of the other.

    I’m not sure if any of this helps, but if you do have any running specific questions please feel free to email me. I’ll answer as best I can, or point you in the best direction.

  15. Anonymous on April 23rd, 2007 9:58 am

    my jogging advice– always begin & end w/ stretching. start out walking for warm up. then if you have lightpoles/telephone poles on your road you can alternate jogging/walking between them–jog from one pole to next, walk from that pole to next, so forth. this is a good way to get you more used to the whole thing. then you can pick up as you see if (jog 2 lightpole lengths, walk 1) til you don’t really do so much walking & mostly just jogging.

  16. Kristin on April 23rd, 2007 10:29 am

    I didn’t read all the comments, so I apologize if I’m repeating something someone else has said. But YES on the wearing right shoes, and also? Keep doing other things in additon to running. When I started in college, I wore terrible shoes and got shin splints right away. Plus my knees hurt a lot. But better shoes helped immensely. And eventually I started doing triathlons because I have to swim and bike too, and I think the cross training is better, for me at least, than only running. But it really will get better–just take it slow! On a good day, when the endorphins kick in and it’s beautiful and your ears and lungs aren’t freezing cold, there’s nothing like it.

  17. Lisa Ann on April 23rd, 2007 10:32 am

    All I want to do is rub that sweet fuzzy head (Riley’s).

  18. Caroline on April 23rd, 2007 10:33 am

    Linda – I have to say, if you stick with it, it does get easier. I started off the same – six months ago every single step took effort. I stuck with it, and yesterday went out and ran ten miles easy. The first mile STILL sucks, will always suck, but once you get in the groove it gets easier. And running really is the best way to lose weight and get in great shape.

    Make sure you get a GOOD pair of running shoes – it makes all the difference in keeping you injury free. You can totally do this- tomorrow will be easier than today!

  19. Ben on April 23rd, 2007 10:36 am

    If I were a parent (always bad to start a comment that way, but oh well) I would feel pretty strongly about my child playing in a home where there were firearms. Not to say that I wouldn’t allow them to play there anymore, but I would want to know.

  20. dregina on April 23rd, 2007 10:37 am

    This may have already been covered, but just in case:

    The hardest part in running is the first part, when your breathing switches from anaerobic to aerobic – that’s the part where you feel wheezy and gaspy and oh my God, I’ll die. If you stop running at that point, you’ll drop back down into anaerobic breathing and have to go through the whole horror again 5 minutes later. Keep chuffing along for 3 – 5 minutes through the transition and you’ll hit full aerobic breathing and you will feel significantly better.

    Also, I would set visual markers when I started running…ie “Let’s just see if I can make it to the end of the street. Let’s just see if I can make it to that mailbox…” etc, which helped.

    Good luck! Also – you need good shoes. Do you have good shoes?

  21. Emblita on April 23rd, 2007 10:39 am

    You know, my husband is a police officer and thus, has a gun (although only at work) and I have always been extremely weary of them. So now that we have a little boy we had the same discussion and came to a similar conclusion. No toy guns. But to make up for it he can have the medieval weaponry of his choice. Because medieval weaponry is COOL :)

  22. Julie on April 23rd, 2007 10:39 am

    About a year and some change after my son was born (who is almost exactly one year older than Riley), I started running for 2 reasons: I needed to do something about to reshape the post-baby body and I’m too cheap to pay for a gym membership (plus kidsitting). Even though I had always detested running, my frugality won out, and I hit the sidewalks. And even though some days are better than others, I’m proud of myself for getting out there 2-3 times a week for 3-5 miles at a stretch. It’s slower and shorter when I plop the kid in the stroller, but that’s OK.

    As previously mentioned, it’s really helpful to cover your ears, have the music pumping, and have a way to measure your progress. I use a $20 pedometer that’s fairly accurate (nothing’s perfect – I got this one at Walmart) and it’s oddly motivating to watch those steps add up. Oh, and I don’t think anyone else has mentioned Body Glide to help with the rubbing and chafing.

    I’ll be thinking of you the next time I lace up my shoes. Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

  23. Beej on April 23rd, 2007 11:35 am

    The first 2 weeks of running SUCKS! I’ve been a runner since I was 10, and I spend about 5-10 weeks weaning myself up to running each spring. I wear a digital watch and I time the walking and jogging intervals. Over the course of the weaning up period, I will decrease the time spent walking and increase the time spent jogging until I am no longer walking.

    Just stick with it. Once you get over the 2-3 week “I hate running” hump, you will actually crave it. Just keep going and get yourself over the hump. It’s so worth it. Your ass will be firmer, your legs will be more defined, and it will burn the flab all over your body.

  24. tracing on April 23rd, 2007 1:39 pm

    I’m not a parent but my first thought about whether gun owning parents should disclose this to the parents of visiting kids was, whoa, that would freak me out. I grew up in the UK and although I have lived in NYC for over 15 years, I am still not used to the idea of people having guns. However, on further thought, I think I would appreciate and respect the full disclosure.

    About jogging, I recommend signing up for a local race if you can. There’s nothing like running with a bunch of other people and getting the t-shirt and the official time and having water stations along the way and people cheering at the end to get you going. Nowadays I run on the treadmill while working through old seasons of favorite tv shows on DVDs. It’s not quite as inspiring but it works.

    Also, I don’t own one myself, but I understand that with the iPod that comes with the Nike shoes, you can time your music with your pace and length of run. That sounds cool to me!

  25. Jess on April 23rd, 2007 4:01 pm

    I didn’t read all of the comments to see if someone already suggested this, but when I decided I was going to start running, I found this site (http://www.time-to-run.com/women/) useful. I didn’t stick with the running, but I still return to it each and every time I decide I’m going to start again. It gives you a running schedule and a safe way to increase your intensity and endurance and blah blah blah.

  26. Lesley on April 23rd, 2007 8:58 pm

    Alex wrote: I respectfully disagree with anyone who says that our generation grew up playing guns and watching violence and we turned out okay. In my opinion, we, collectively, did NOT turn out okay. We have turned into a society that kills one another on a whim, engaging in shooting sprees in schools, for chrissake, and don’t even get me STARTED on the war. Things could have been done better. A lot better. Playing violence, in my humble preschool teacher opinion, does not equal okay.

    Well er, since I wrote that, let me say that I’m writing from the point of view of a Canadian and we did turn out ok, as a matter of fact. Episodes of bugs bunny and cops and robbers games didn’t turn us into gun nuts and I, and members of my family, and most Canadians are resolutely for gun control. Cartoons and child play don’t make people killers. It’s a whole lot of other stuff that does.

  27. Emily on April 24th, 2007 9:02 am

    I second what Michelle (and many others) say about the running. One book I recently bought and LOVE is ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer. It has great tips for technique and might have a few ideas you’re familiar with from doing some yoga. Good luck! I’ll think of you when I lace up tomororw morning!

  28. Lumpyheadsmom on April 24th, 2007 10:40 am

    Gun gun smartyspeak, thoughtful comment blah. . .

    Holy cow! Riley’s feet are huge! Is it just me, or is your little Suctopus sporting some seriously long feet?

    (also, TOES! CHOMP!)

  29. Josh on April 25th, 2007 12:12 pm

    Well I am not gonna say I told you so (because I never mentioned this, or anything related before now) but you can’t just bring up gun control policy as it applies to raising children and public massacres without expecting pandoras opinion box. I still don’t know how to explain my opinion better than: do whatever you want, but if/when crazy fucking psycho killers start raining on your morning parade, take a moment aside from the hail of bullets and ask yourself if you think the right to have been armed in that situation is an important issue for you. I can take care of my own safety, and that of my family. And I can do it much better with a big ass gun in my hand. I know people get killed from screwing around with guns. Sorry. Too bad. Bummer. Just because some people don’t understand gun safety doesn’t mean the government should take away mine. They’ll have to pry them out of my cold dead fingers. Sort of like every other issue I disagree with the government on. They can write the laws but they can’t make a horse drink. (or me follow the law if I don’t wanna) I pay my taxes so I don’t have to worry about what the politicians are telling me to do.

    (little joke people, not serious)

  30. pippa on April 29th, 2007 7:57 am

    Can you tell how far behind I am on blog reading? Seriously. I could read all day every day for a year and I won’t be caught up.

    just to add my always unnecessary $0.02, Yes, please tell other parents. It saves those of us who do have concerns from broaching the topic, and can alleviate much consternation and defensive posturing. I wish more parents thought about it.

  31. Emma on May 4th, 2007 1:03 am

    Lurking, lurking, lurking; and reading backwards to catch up and lurking some more!
    But, I had to comment this time because your suspicious boy and my baby girl could be twins with their serious little frowning faces! Lily is only 9 weeks old, but has worn that suspicious face right from the start, and I seriously think that Riley shows me what she’s going to look like in the near future. Adorable of course!
    Thanks for the great blog – me love you long time.

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