Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gimpy But Lovable

Apparently we have a big arctic storm coming tonight, but for now…amazing.


If you read this blog and I hope you do, you know I have a three-legged Cocker Spaniel, Lucky. We adopted him from the Humane Society almost nine years ago. He was untrained, unruly and gimpy and we never made efforts to change any of that. He was the dog no one wanted, but the dog I wanted most. Perfect is very over-rated anyway.

Lucky follows me everywhere and never lets me out of his sight. He licks himself incessantly. He is the most lovable, sweet hunk of fur and fluffy paws.  It’s weird to think we love these creatures so much, but that they can't speak to us. We don’t have conversations with them. Well, I have conversations, but he just stares. I think that’s why the relationship works so well.


Lucky in his youthful days; about 6 years ago

Lucky lost an eye about a year and a half ago, adding to his special needs classification. The missing eye and missing leg are on opposite sides, so he is pretty well balanced.


Lucky’s other issue is that he has constant “lipstick” if you know what I mean. When we first got him, I took him to the vet because his little wiener would not go back in. I was worried. The vet told me not to worry, that I just needed to stop at Walgreens and get some KY jelly and gloves and put it back in. He showed me how. I thought it was weird. I thought he was weird. I never went back and I never did the KY thing.

I knew someday the three-legged thing would become more of an issue.  Recently Lucky is falling a lot, struggling on stairs. Every night when I let him outside I have to go get him and carry him up the stairs. I fear that back leg is failing and if that one fails, I’m not sure what happens.

Emma suggested a prosthetic leg and Sam thought a scooter might be a good idea. I guess I could make a leg out of sticks and velcro or borrow a wheelbarrow and figure something out. Yet, I know in my heart of hearts he is just getting older (I think he’s about 14). I know it’s the cycle of life and I will have to let him go at some point. Hopefully not yet. We’ll see the vet tomorrow and go from there.

This getting older thing reminded me of a wonderful poem sent to me awhile ago. It reiterated that just because something or someone is ageing, does not mean we love it less, discard it, or look for the next best thing. This goes for pets, people, cars, houses, old slippers, you name it. We appreciate and respect the history. I tried my little heart out to find this poem/essay, but couldn’t. If you know what I’m talking about, let me know. I’d love to include it.

Yes, you say, he is “just” a dog. Amazing how pets become part of the family. They are ingrained in our routines and traditions – the same walk you take them on everyday, the food you buy, the way they sleep at your feet. Letting go is losing a dear friend and companion. Fortunately, I don’t have to let go…yet.

Have you lost a favorite pet and how did you cope with it? My two dogs were tragically poisoned when I was 16. One died right in front of our family in a fit of seizures. It was a huge and unspeakable loss. Over time, the pain lessened. And, over time, we got a new dog. But, the loss was always there.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Obese Police

Yesterday an eight year old Ohio child was removed from his home and placed in foster care because of his weight. The boy weighs 218 pounds, nearly four times the weight of his “average sized” peers. The county cited “medical neglect” as the reason for removing the boy and indicated that many efforts had been made over the past year to encourage the mother to help her son lose weight. (See details HERE). The mother had apparently not followed through with court mandated services.

The mother (I think she is a single parent) is a substitute teacher and is educated. The family has health insurance. Lack of education or benefits should not have been obstacles as to why this child did not lose weight. The family’s lawyer emphasizes that the county over-stepped bounds by removing this child who “was not in imminent danger, was on his school’s honor roll and participated in school activities.”

Social services contends that the mom was not doing enough to help her child lose weight, thereby putting him at risk for life threatening diseases.  Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at the Children's Hospital states, “Children with obesity-related conditions like diabetes, breathing difficulties, and liver problems could die by age 30 if no action is taken.”

I have been a social worker for the past 14 and have worked for social services. Fortunately, my job has never been to remove kids from their homes, but I’ve worked in the field of foster care for many years. There is a time and a place for foster care. Effective foster parents can provide a child with the stability they need to get out of crisis mode and to heal while their parents are doing what they need to do. It is unfortunately true, however, that a child is at risk for abuse (physical and sexual) while in a foster home, so this needs to be a consideration as well.

In this instance, I believe a significant risk in removing this child is the trauma associated with the separation from his mother. Yes, having a child who is four times the weight he should be is tragic and unconscionable. However, removing him from the home and placing him in foster care may double the damage. It is not the child’s fault. It is the mother’s fault. Yet, the child is the one being punished the most in this situation. Foster care is not fun. Foster care will not make him thin.

I read somewhere that the mom was court ordered to take him to Children’s Hospital for services and she didn’t. So, clearly, something had to be done. In a perfect SUAR world, the money that would be used to fund his foster care stay should have been spent on paying for a Bob Harper type to be planted in the home 24/7.  This person would monitor meals/snacks, teach healthy cooking and would devise and supervise an exercise program. I doubt this sort of thing exists in the real world, but it should.

My hope is that this child will return home quickly to a mother who now “gets” the urgency of his medical condition - a mother who has been given the wake up call of her life. The child is only eight. His mother has done her son a great injustice. Mentally, physically, emotionally and socially he has already been scarred. Yet, it is not too late. There are many resources for this type of thing. For instance,  Dolvett could whip him into shape!

Do you think children should be removed from their home due to obesity? To me, removal is not the answer.  Let’s face it, we can’t go around removing kids for obesity any more than we can remove them for being exposed to second-hand smoke. Both are life threatening conditions and are, I believe, the fault of the parents. Parents need to be educated and held accountable, even if that involves strict intervention that is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Removing the kid is just punishing the child further. Just my two cents.

I bet that kid is home before the end of the week.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Do Good

’Tis supposed to be the season of good tidings and good will, but who has time for that? After all, you have to hang the lights before it gets too cold, Johnny needs a new 72” television for his room (even though he is 4), and you have to figure out gifts for all of your kids’ teachers (mug filled with hot chocolate mix anyone?).

Well, I have a story that reminds us that kindness is still the reason for the season.

I was in the drive thru at Starbucks this morning. I don't really like Starbucks coffee (can you say Star-burn?), but I drink it anyway. I got to the window, my arm hanging out, flashing my cash. The cashier told me the person in front of me had paid for my drink. {Dammit! Should have gone with the venti size instead of the tall}. I was really taken off guard. Good will from a total stranger who wanted nothing in return? Certainly he/she was waiting around the corner for a back rub (no happy endings) or, at the very least, an extra venti “thank you.”

Nope, no strings attached. In fact, the generous driver of that burgundy mini-van raced off into the distance and I couldn’t give him/her so much as a wave. This small gesture of kindness really did make my morning. It reminded me to get my head out of my ass and realize that one small act can have a very large impact. We never know how our actions affect others. We need to be mindful.

These days, we are often wary when a stranger does something nice. We suspect there is something wrong with them or that we might be in danger. The other night I was at Target. I was backing out of my parking spot when some guy gestured to me to roll down my window. RAPIST! I thought. This dude wants to abduct me right here on the spot. But, because I am a people pleaser and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I did roll down my window. The guy informed me that my rear tail light was out. That was it. No kidnapping, no gun pulling, no nothing.

On that note, here are a few ideas of things we can all do to extend that small gesture of good will (from HERE). Don’t mind my parenthetic additions. That’s just how I roll:

  • Write a note of appreciation to your mailman (but only when he brings packages)
  • Compliment a stranger sincerely (don’t be surprised if they look very afraid of you and make gestures to protect their children).
  • Look for something around you that can be fixed up, picked up, or attended i.e., put shopping carts up, pick up some trash laying around, pick up something that has fallen over
  • Give a lottery ticket to a stranger (but only if you’ve checked it and it’s not a winner)
  • Send handmade cards or a letter to someone you care for (use creepy cut out letters, ransom-style, from magazines to make it interesting).
  • Write a note to management or someone themself who has treated you nice while doing their job (waiter, clerk, sales person...etc.)
  • Cut coupons out and leave them at the grocer register for others (especially for maxi pads. Those things are pricey!)
  • Put a comment on someone's webpage that you really like...... let them know you enjoy it (you can do this right here, right now)
  • Start a conversation up with a co-worker that you don't know (unless they have a hairy back, then skip it)
  • Put change in a row of vending machines
  • Visit a nursing home. Spend time visiting with someone who doesn't get visitors (don’t focus on the smell of urine)
  • Put something you no longer need on Craig's list free spot for your area
  • Leave a book you have already finished somewhere for someone else to read
  • At post office leave some extra stamps at the stamp machine
  • Open the phone book, pick a name, and send them something (movie tickets, thank you card, you are appreciated card, book, etc.) anonymously
  • Take flowers to a hospital ward and give them to someone who hasn't had any visitors
  • Take some cake, chocolates, flowers etc. to the neighbors, or a senior citizen nearby
  • Send someone a small gift anonymously
  • Make a cd of your favorite songs and give to a friend
  • Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.
  • Send a thank you to the employees at a hospital, or anywhere else that a cheerful thank might add a smile
  • Feed a parking meter that has expired
  • Write a thank-you note to a person from your past who has made a difference in your life (I really LOVE this one)
  • Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them (and secretly sit and watch them fight over it)
  • Copy a favorite recipe and give it to someone
  • Buy a copy of your favorite book and donate it to your local library or hospital
  • Send a card to a friend or relative you haven't seen for some time. Include a photo of yourself and/or your family
  • Make a point of introducing yourself to someone you see all of the time but never say hello to
  • If you know someone who is having a hard time financially, pop a $5, $10 or $20 note in an envelope, disguise your writing or type the envelope, and post it to them
  • Offer to baby sit
  • Donate clothes to goodwill
  • Say “hello” to every runner you pass (I made that one up)

I don’t know if it will really happen, but I am going to try to do one of these things until Christmas (starting tomorrow, of course). If I don’t do it I will make my kids do it. And, I’m going to try to tell you about it, if I can remember.

Do any good deeds lately or has anyone done something nice for you “just because”?shutupdogood

What’s one good deed you would add to the list?

Want to try the good-deed challenge with me? Feel free to add this button to your blog.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Refuel Your Body

Today’s run: 10 miles in 1:28 (8:48 avg)

I loved every stinking thing about today’s run from the 19 degree start temp to the coyote who crossed our paths to the gift I left in the dirt (at least I was kind enough to cover it with a tumbleweed). By far the best part of the 10 miles was how great I felt. Now that my body has less pain, I am able to run more effortlessly. This is a gift beyond words. You have no idea how happy it makes me. Or, maybe you do. It takes so long to come back from injury and it can be so debilitating mentally and physically. When you can finally run half way okay, it is reason to celebrate.

I think I owe my life to Matt at Handled with Care Massage Therapy. His active release work is doing the trick.

Out on the run: there goes Ken trying to ditch me, or maybe he’s just gunning for that porta potty at the bottom of the hill. (Yes, my phone camera sucks. But, 15 years ago I would have been carrying a huge Polaroid camera and that would have sucked worse).


See if you can pick out my coyote friend. Hint:  he looked nothing like this:



I think turquoise is my color. It accentuates my large breasts.


This was my last longer run before the Rock ‘n Roll Vegas half marathon next weekend. I got my running gear in the mail a couple of days ago from the Team Refuel folks. It is seriously the coolest. I am going to do my best to not soil it. I love the “Refuel Your Body” logo.













A lot of people ask me what the big deal is about drinking chocolate milk. I’ll tell you why I like it so much. After I run, I never feel like eating. Chocolate milk is the quickest and easiest way for me to get the right amount of protein, carbs and calories for recovery right away post-run (8g protein,  24g carbs, 150 cals per 8 oz). It’s also got potassium, calcium and magnesium.

I don’t drink it after every workout. I usually drink it for workouts that are greater than one hour and are fairly rigorous. You don’t have to buy any particular brand of chocolate milk – I get the cheapest low-fat, one gallon jug from my local grocery store. 

Here’s what the research says about chocolate milk:

    “Low-fat chocolate milk contains high-quality protein to help repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. It’s also been shown to help athletes tone up – gain more lean muscle and lose fat – compared to drinking a carb-only drink.”

Did you run/race today?

If you have been injured and returned to running, have you been able to pick up where you left off in terms of speed and endurance? I am slowly getting there. Even though I raced a lot this summer, I never felt like my running was back to where I was pre-stress fracture.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reset Your Mindset

Do you believe the things people tell you about yourself? Do you believe the things you tell you about yourself?

I got an email from a reader, Chelsie, a few days ago. She’d been through a tough time lately and had gained some weight. Feeling out of sorts and depressed, she decided to go for a run to work out some of the stressful kinks. She ran in the woods of Iowa, feeling on top of the world. Then, she rolled her ankle and fell.

Laying there with no phone and 2 miles from her car, she felt foolish and defeated. Her mind started playing back all the crap people had told her over the years, “"You're not a runner. You're not athletic. Why do you even try? You aren't good enough." She sat in the midst of all of the negativity for a couple of minutes, crying, wallowing. But, then a switch went off.

It started as a whisper, but became louder and louder. “I am good enough,” she told herself. For so long she’d been allowing all of the negative things people had told her about herself to enter into her head. She had started to believe the naysayers. She had become defeated and had stopped standing up for herself. But, on this day, in this moment of vulnerability, she was done. She had “reset her mindset.”

She ended the email by saying, “Life won't go according to our plans, but doing something good for yourself everyday, like running or yoga, makes it a lot easier to roll with the punches.”

I love this story (even if it doesn’t involve ONE bodily function) because it so perfectly illustrates the power we have over our thoughts. It lets us know that we can filter not only what others tell us about ourselves, but what we tell ourselves about ourselves.

I don’t think we’re born with self doubt, I think we learn it. Over time, we take in negative external messages from parents, peers, teachers, coaches, etc., and decide to believe them. We learn the ways of the world. We start to compare ourselves to others. We decide we don’t stack up. Before we know it, we’ve decided we’re not good enough.

Self doubt can crop up about anything and everything. I am not a fast enough runner, I’ll never get my PR. I am not an effective parent, my kids will be in therapy forever when they’re older (don’t know if you can avoid the therapy thing no matter how hard you try). I suck at my job, I’m not smart enough to get this stuff done.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are some steps you can take to nip self doubt in its ugly ass:

1. Admit it. Realize the self doubt is there. Most of us have some degree of self doubt. For some it is the smallest of whispers and doesn’t lead to inaction, depression or low self esteem. Others, however, operate out of self doubt and can be paralyzed by it.

2. Trace it. Try to figure out why it’s there. Does it rear its ugly head when you run with a friend who is faster than you or when you go to your mom’s playgroup? How about when you visit your parents? What triggers the strongest feelings of self doubt? When you are in those situations, be prepared to notice the self doubt and to move onto #3.

3. Tackle it. Don’t take self doubt sitting down. Set up strategies to minimize it.

    • Question it! Are the doubtful feelings true? Not likely. For example, if your Aunt Edna keeps telling you that you will never run a 5K because you are too out of shape and it will kill you, is this true? Not likely. Maybe she needs a lobotomy. Consider the source. Know that some people want to bring you down because they are jealous or they don’t feel great about themselves.
    • Be bold. Challenge the doubt. If you’ve always wanted to run a half marathon, but talked yourself out of it, take the first steps. Find a training program or a coach. Prove yourself wrong. This is the best way to kick self doubt to the curb.
    • Talk back. Self doubt thoughts creep into our brains on average 1,560 times a day. Okay, I just made that up, but the number is probably pretty large. Have a strategy in your head for when this happens. When I was a junior in high school my speech teacher always told me that before I got on stage I needed to tell myself, “You are the queen of the world.” I know it sounds goofy, but it worked. Sometimes building up your own confidence and getting behind yourself is the best thing you can do. Other good talk back techniques? “Screw you, negative thought. You are out of line and don’t know what the hell you are talking about. Of course I am good enough. Of course I can do this.”

If all else fails, there is always the Stuart Smalley inner voice to fall back on:

Do you struggle with self doubt? If so, how do you cope with it?


Back and Forth

This is just one of those silly holiday home videos, nothing special. In fact it is especially goofy and definitely one of those times when you wonder why you ever let anyone video tape you. EVER.

There is one highlight, however. I want to see if you can count how many times my dad runs back and forth. Even when he is not the star of the video, he becomes the star of the video. Am I the only one that thinks this is hilarious? Okay, maybe.

How about you? Do you hate watching yourself on video?


Friday, November 25, 2011

Not Worth the Calories

How was your turkey day? Ours was perfect.  We stuffed the turkey this year, so I’m hoping Sam and Ella don’t show up in a few days (get it? Salmonella?)

I tried to do my share of the work:


Ken ate peanuts and watched football. But, to his credit he cleaned up the huge ass mess after dinner.


We all sat down for the feast. You’d think Ken would look happier since he gets to live with me AND has a new job. If it looks smoky, it is. I had some oven issues:


Emma pretending she was at the Renaissance festival and ate a turkey leg:


On to other things.

My mind is a wasteland when I run. I go from dwelling on immense problems like who should be the prime minster of Egypt to being curious about stuff like Occupy Wall Street – what the hell is it? But, most of the time I am thinking about more important subjects like where I can take an emergency dump (that bush up ahead) or how that new Cancun Fiesta nail polish color I bought will look on my toes.

Yesterday’s contemplation was  bit different. Somehow I got to thinking about the stupid, offensive or ridiculous things people say. I am of the belief that saying things to hurt people sucks and shouldn’t be done unless you are drunk and cannot be held responsible or that person you want to be mean to has hurt your mother in some way.

In all seriousness, there is rarely a time when being mean to just be mean is acceptable. Yet, sometimes people say the crappiest stuff, and I still can’t figure out why.

  • Once I made pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing and took a friend of mine (who is no longer a friend of mine) a bunch of the cake. Just because I felt like it. She tasted a piece and said, “It’s okay. Not worth the calories, though.” Who says that? WHO?? A “thank you” would have sufficed.
  • I remember once my grandmother telling me I had a fat face. That wasn’t so nice.
  • I have had many year’s worth of trauma to my teeth (I had an accident when I was 12 and have never been the same). In my twenties, one of my front teeth had a root canal and had become discolored. It was kind of yellowish, not black or brown or anything. It didn’t really b0ther me, I guess I was just used to it. A friend of my mom’s told her, “You know Beth would be really pretty if it wasn't for that ugly tooth.” In hindsight, she definitely had a point and this did eventually prompt me to get it fixed. I think it was her bluntness that took me off guard.

Sometimes it’s not the fact that people say things (I mean, maybe I needed to address the tooth issue), but how they say them and the words they use. Word choice is everything. Tone of voice is everything.

Has anyone ever said anything so offensive, mean or blunt that it took you off guard?


Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Months, 23 Days

I am not thankful for losing my credit card last night, but I am thankful for a few other things:

Thankful thing #1: Life has a way of resolving itself. You may remember this post where I let you know of a personal struggle our family was going through. After 10 months and 23 days, I am thrilled to report that Ken was offered a great job yesterday and will start next week. We celebrated so hard last night I lost my credit card (but I really think it was the guy in the blue/green sweatshirt who took it).


I can’t thank you enough for your words of encouragement, your job tips for Ken and for having the courage to share your own personal stories with me. It means more than you know. I also need to thank my friends and family who provided so much support to us during this tough time. Sometimes when you are in the thick of a difficult experience, you can’t see your way out of it, but the people around you can. They help you know there will brighter days. Because there will be.

Thankful thing #2: Joie and I had an amazing early morning 8 mile trail run. I was so cold at 6am I wore my robe in the car to the trailhead. This is how Hugh Heffner runs.



I cannot get my right leg to stop glowing. I think I drank too much yellow Gatorade. We saw tons of elk and deer. Joie told me she could smell the deer; but I couldn't. She is a hunter and tuned into those sorts of things.  I could just smell myself and it wasn’t pretty.

The run was incredibly peaceful and serene and the most lovely way I can think of to start this day. We also saw a pack of wolves and Matt Damon, but I forgot my camera. I farted so badly in the car on the way home Joie almost threw up. True story.


Thankful thing #3: At this exact moment I am thankful for sitting on the couch eating warm cinnamon rolls, drinking strong coffee and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with my two favorite littler people, Sam and Emma. I will then move onto making Grandma Ball’s stuffing and pie, setting the table, and looking around at the 5 million blessings that are right in front of my face on this day.

I hope you appreciate this picture, because it caused a lot of arguing.


Thankful thing #4: Today is my mom and dad’s 50th anniversary. Imagine spending 50 years with one person. Imagine the memories spanning from the day you met in grade school to the birth of your grandchildren. When you create a history with someone, you create a beautiful story line. Your longevity as a couple gives strength to those younger couples just getting started or those who are struggling. After 50 years, you have truly had the privilege of growing old with someone. And, as their daughter, I’ve had the privilege of watching it happen.


What are you thankful for today?

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you all!


PS: The winner of the SUAR iPhone Case giveaway is Laura from Luna Chick Runs! Drop me an email at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little, Invisible, Smelly Snowflakes

I am only posting this because you all made me. I removed it, but it is back by popular demand. Don’t say I never did anything for you. Happy Thanksgiving. You can be thankful for me and my love of the fart.

Promise me you will read the Q&A below. I did not do the Q’ing or the A’ing, but I KNOW, as my readers, you will love this as much as I did.  Although the title, What Makes a Fart?, might sound silly and childish, I DARE you to not be enlightened and humored by the content of this lovely article. You might get some trivia for your holiday party!

What Makes a Fart?

By Jonathan Smith

Did you know that no two farts are exactly alike? It’s true. Farts are sort of like snowflakes in that regard. Little, invisible, smelly snowflakes.

While everybody past the age of 10 is well-versed in the manifold variety of farts and their associated sounds and smells and sensations and sobriquets, precious few of us know anything at all about the sources of their great diversity. Can you, for instance, explain the lingering piquancy of the "hot fart" in any greater scientific detail than "that one was spicy"? I can't. And that's sad. In order to rectify this egregious oversight by the American public school system and get the straight poop on the basics of butt-gas, I had a little sit down with Dr. Lester Gottesman, a proctologist from St. Luke's Roosevelt who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jerry Springer.

What’s up with the wide variety of noises farts make? Why do some come out as squeakers and others like a diesel truck going up a mountain?

The kinds of flatulence are directly related to the amount of swallowed air and the ability of the intestine to degrade food stuff to gas. It also has to do with the shape of the sphincter when the gas is released. If the sphincter is tight, it will make a different noise than if it’s more relaxed.

Often times my farts feel physically hot. What causes that sensation?

The sensation of heat is when the internal sphincter opens a little to sample what’s in the rectum. That is a normal response. If there isn’t a great deal of gas, the body will expel it slower, allowing you to feel the fart’s heat. If there is a lot of gas, the gas comes out too quickly for the body to feel the heat.

Is the temperature of the slow, hot farts actually higher than the quick, cool ones?

The temperature should be the same. Again, it is a product of the amount and speed in which one expels gas.

What’s the reason behind the smell?

The smell has to do with the amount of absorbed products like methane, which is made by fermentation of what we eat, and that’s what causes the bad smell, basically. As a baby, when you’re born, passing through the vagina, you’re infected by the bacteria in your mother’s colon, and that’s the bacteria you’re dealt for your lifetime. Also, everybody is different in how they’ll digest wheat products, milk products, whatever. And if they are not digested properly there will be a lot of methane produced and a lot of acid, and that would tend to cause a stinkier bowl movement.

Wait, go back to that thing about the vagina.

A baby is born with a sterile intestinal track. During the delivery, there’s lots of fluid and stool and whatever, and it’s thought that at that exposure the baby’s colon is populated by the mother’s colon bacteria, thereby affecting the smell of the individual's farts for the rest of their lifetime. There’s also other theories claiming the colon is populated during the first few months of exposure to fecal material, but that probably doesn’t affect the smell as much as the initial intake of feces by the baby during delivery.

Wow. It's like original shit sin. Does what your mother ate prior to delivery effect the bacteria you get?

Yes. In fact, they now also think that the appendix keeps an arsenal of bacteria so that if, for whatever reason, the bacteria in your colon gets killed by antibiotics the appendix can repopulate your colon with the bacteria that you’ve had since birth. That’s the new thought as to why the appendix is around.

So the signature smell of your farts wholly depends on how much poop your mom had at the time…

It’s not the amount, just the type of bacteria.

OK, but that's really what determines your fart smell forever?

Well, there are also other components. Farts are made by two things. They are made by one, the amount of air you swallow--so people who drink a lot of soda, chew a lot of gum, suck on candies, they get a lot of air into their colon, and that air comes out in farts. The second component is gas production by the colon. The colon’s job is to break down the nutrients in food products, like proteins and fats and sugars, and in the process of breaking them down they produce either sulfur or methane, neither of which smell great. If, let’s say, the colon has stuff in it like grapes and beans, and if it’s just sitting there for a few days it’s just going to ferment more and more until it becomes very smelly, versus if what you eat goes through quickly--like if you had the same beans, but it came out eight hours later, you’ll tend not to have as much gas from those beans. So it has to do with what your intestinal transit is. For most people, it takes 32 hours from the time they eat something to the time they shit something. That’s the average, so that means there are people who move their bowels every three or four days, and they have more time for the beans to ferment in the colon, thereby producing larger amounts of gas and more frequent, smellier spasms of gas.

What’s the correlation between the increased level of farts and drinking beer or coffee?

Well, beer is carbonated, so that’s why it makes you fart. Coffee causes the sphincter muscles to relax just a little bit, so you tend to have more farts by accident if you’re drinking something with caffeine than if you aren't.

Where does the differentiation between burps and farts occur? Why does some gas come out of your mouth vs. your ass?

It has to do with the configuration and the tone of muscles in your stomach. If you drink a whole lot of liquid with bubbles quickly, if you take one of these [picks up a can of diet Pepsi] and down it quickly there will be so much gas produced that the gas will need to go someplace, and the best place to go is to come back up. If you’re drinking a small amount, then it has time to work its way through the small intestine and get to the large intestine, at which point the body starts fermenting it.

I’ve also had people who want me to operate on their anuses to make their fart sounds a little more appealing.

Get the f&$k  out of here, what kind of a fart sound are they going for?

Generally they have a higher pitched sound, and they want something with a lower pitch.

Like a baritone versus a squeaker?

Basically. So I had to configure their anus skin so their fart sound would be more to their pleasing.

Oh shit, you actually did it? Someone paid you to make their farts sound better.

Well they tried to put it through with their insurance.

Which insurance company is willing to pay for that?

None, so far all the companies have denied it. But the people try and then they end up having to pay for it.


There is actually a bit more to the article that is hilarious, but graphic. Go HERE to read.

So, what’d you learn? I was fascinated by the fact that a mom gives her child the gift of his/her fart smell for the rest of their lives. I say to my kids: you are welcome!

What do you think make someone want to go into the field of proctology? I don’t know. I might have to call up Dr. Jelly Finger to get that answer.


Spread Eagle Tuesday

I had this great little fart post ready to go last night, but decided to take it down. Wasn’t sure if enough people are like me and want to indulge in lengthy reading about gas. I will say that I learned a ton from the article, What Makes a Fart? Like the fact that a mom hands down the fart smell to her kids through her bacteria during delivery. To my kids I say: You are welcome!

Go read it. You will seriously die laughing and will actually learn quite a bit (Why does coffee cause farting? Do people really have body parts reconstructed to change the noises their farts make?). It is rather graphic, however. I always wonder what motivates people to go into the field of proctology. Guess I will have to ask Dr. Jelly Fingers himself.

Lately I have gotten into the habit of spending quite a bit of time at the gym on Tuesdays. Tuesday is yoga day with Andrea at 9:15. I’ve been going early and getting in a challenging treadmill run (3-4% incline for a few miles will kick your ass unless you are much tougher than I am). I then do some strength work. As much as I want my adductors (inner thighs) to get stronger (generally this area is weak on runners, but helps stabilize your body and helps with alignment when you run – thanks, Matt), the adductor weight machine freaks me out.

This is not me

The fact is, I am not a prude, but this spread eagle thing is a bit much. I now realize why they put this particular machine in the back of the gym, facing a wall. It would be really creepy if they put the water fountain right in front of the machine and all the pervs could come over and “get water” while stealing a look at your “repetitions.” Honestly, weight machines in general freak me out a bit. Mostly because I’ve never really use them. If I do weight training, I usually use my body as the resistance (lunges, etc). Yet, the weight machine has its time and place. Just not with a lot of people watching.

Another thing I noticed on gym-Tuesdays is that there are millions of people who go to the gym to just wander around. It’s weird. My biggest pet peeve, though, is when people talk on the phone while working out. One day I had a woman get on the elliptical right beside me (even though there were others available) and scream into her phone the whole time. I wanted to pinch her head off. I egged her car instead.

Speaking of gyms, I have some Biggest Loser impressions from last night (spoiler alert):

  • The food eating challenge was gross. You know that food had to have been cold and congealed. Plus, the thought of eating an entire bowl of cranberry sauce makes me gag. I honestly think I would have won that challenge because I would have gone for the cornbread first given the fact it might have been one of the lower calorie items.
  • Dolvett sweats a lot during the weigh-ins. I would like to see him on the adductor machine. Naked.
  • Even though Ramon returned to his beloved, Jess, for a skydive jump I could just tell by her body language she’s not into him. I might be wrong, this is just a hunch. Not like Jess and I text and go to Subway all the time together or anything.
  • Ramon looks much better with short hair. But, about that argyle vest…
  • John had it out for Sunny. I get why he gave her the pound disadvantage, but not sure why he also crushed her at the vote.
  • Dolvett looks good in red. Dolvett looks good in flannel. Dolvett looks good in _________. The answer is: anything!
  • You can tell Anna has checked out. You don’t hear much from her anymore. Except, “You can do eeeet!”
  • Bob almost cried when talking about his sister. This was quite touching and heartfelt.
  • I cannot wait for makeover week! But, what I really cannot wait for is the MARATHON!! I wish more of you lived closer, we could have a party on marathon night and place bets on who would win. Heck, I think I’ll do that anyway. I love to gamble.

Do you use the weight machines at the gym? No. Only sporadically.

What are your pet peeves at the gym? Mine is people who use their phones. And, yes, that is allowed at my gym. I also hate it when people use the adductor machine naked.

Who do you think will win the marathon on TBL? Right now my money is on John.


Don’t forget the SUAR sale. Go HERE. End Monday. Lots of cool stuff including long sleeve techs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Need All the Help I Can Get

I let Lucky out this morning and was greeted by this:


How can your day not be good when it starts out that way?

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." Marcus Aurelius

I put the few stragglers into the dishwasher, started the coffee, took out the recycling and fed the guinea pig and the three-legged dog. I grabbed the Denver Post and Longmont Times Call from the driveway and filled a huge cup with ice water. I went to the cabinet and grabbed these:


Taking these is just a part of my morning routine, much like dumping a cup of half and half into my coffee and dropping a few kids at the pool. I don’t think about it much. But, today I was wondering: Does everyone take similar supplements? Are these doing anything for me?

I take them because I am supposed to take them, but it’s not like I see any difference in my day to day energy if I don’t. I just take them because I figure they fill in the blanks when my diet isn’t up to snuff and they provide me with preventative stuff over the long term. I am almost 45 years old for God’s sake. I need all the help I can get.

Right now I take:

1. Women’s One by Rainbow Light ($17.99 for 90): This is chock full of good stuff including probiotics, B complex, and lots of nourishing things:


2. Food Based Calcium by Rainbow Light ($12.99 for 90): 1,000 mg calcium, 1,000 IU vitamin D, 500 mg magnesium (2 caplets). After two stress fractures, I found that while my bone density was good, it was deteriorating with age. I have to be careful to get enough calcium (and vitamin D which helps with absorption). I find I don’t get enough in my normal diet (although I do drink a lot of chocolate milk), so I have need to supplement. It’s also important to do weight bearing exercise to build stronger bones.

I hear that food-based calcium is better for you because it is not manufactured, it is the real deal, the same as if you were eating yogurt or eating collard greens. I buy all my Rainbow Light products through because I found they are much cheaper there than at Whole Foods and other places.

3. Move Free ($24.99 for 160): This contains glucosamine, chondroitn, Uniflex (an antioxidant) and joint fluid to keep joints lubed and strong. I got this bottle at Costco.

4. Fish Oil ($9.99 for 150 soft gels): I take the Nature Made brand because it is burp-less. Other brands make me burp up fish taste all day and it makes me sick. I hear you can also freeze them and that helps. I take one 1,000 mg pill. Supposedly this will help me not get coronary heart disease. Fingers crossed.

Keep in mind, taking supplements is just part of the equation. If you eat junk food and watch the Real Housewives all day, supplements will not save you. You will just be out of shape, overweight and have really high levels of vitamin B2.

What, if any, supplements to you take and why?

I’m off to do some hill work and then yoga…hoping the gas is minimal.


PS: Don’t forget to check out my STORE page. Sale ends Monday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Shut Up + Run Stuff & Giveaway

Now it’s time for some FUN! It is not yet Black Friday, but it is certainly Black Monday here on SUAR.

Need some more glitz for your tree? (Just FYI, this is not a round bulb. It is a flat 3” circle).



                        Front                                                                                                         Back

How about a kick ass iPhone case?


Maybe you want some glitz for yourself (rhinestones, that is):

SUAR Rhinestones

And, introducing…the new SUAR long sleeve v-neck tech shirt. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the RUN is in either purple or blue camouflage.

SUAR-Vertical-Shut-up- -Run-Camo---Pink-NBLS

SUAR-Vertical-Shut-up- -Run-Camo---Blue-NBLS










I’m showing you theses shots to give you a better idea about real life color (the purple is more subdued than in the above shot):













And of course, the short sleeve tech is still available:


This sale will go for one week only from November 21-November 28. That way I can be sure to have all items to you well before Christmas. Go to the STORE page to order.

Prices and sizing charts can be found on the STORE page.

Just to point out that the SUAR shirt can travel well, check out Zuhairah in Malaysia! She just finished the Penang International Bridge Half Marathon!


I’d like to give a huge shout out to Family Fan Club who has done all of my printing and helped with the designs! Go check them out if you are thinking of doing any customized stuff for yourself.

I have one SUAR iPhone case to give away courtesy of Family Fan Club!! If you want to enter, just leave me a comment telling me what your Thanksgiving plans are. I’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday.

Happy shopping! If you have questions, email me at


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Road Warrior

Today’s run: 9 miles in 1:21.

I was excited to get out the door. Probably because I wore fancy gloves.


Yes, it looks like I have a mini-penis. I assure you I do not.

Do not be jealous. You too could have these gloves for $.50 from Target. I don’t talk about Target a lot because as much as I love it, I try not to go there. Just walking in the door and I am $50 poorer. It never fails. Yet somehow going there, like going to Costco, puts me in a good mood.

Conversely, going to Wal-Mart puts me in a horrible mood and makes me think the world is going to shit. It is the ongoing Target vs. Wal-Mart debate and Target will always win out for me. Maybe it is because you see a lot of this sort of thing at Wal-Mart, and I don’t care for it:

I swear I never see crap like that at Target. I’m not being uppity, it just hasn’t happened. Yet. 

Back to the run. It was stinking freezing when I set out. 25 degrees. Slightly overcast. I was going into the wind on the way out and I thought my face might fall off. My snot froze to my flaring nostrils. I ran along this road towards the foothills.


I passed this grave.


I don’t know who Cinnamon is. Person? Dog? Doesn’t matter, this being was LOVED.  I used to have a guinea pig named Cinnamon but I don’t think she was buried here.

At the halfway mark I had some watermelon GU Chomps, stretched out my ass and headed for home. I passed a bunch of peacocks which was totally random. I think they are lost because they are a long way from their homeland of Sri Lanka or India. I wanted to tell them, but I don’t speak Sinhala.


It was  decent run. Not perfect in terms of pain (I had some stiffness in the last three miles), but leaps and bounds from where I was four weeks ago. Plus, my pace was about 30 seconds per mile faster than on my 8 miler last week, and that was without trying in the least. I came home and chugged some chocolate milk while rolling on the foam roller. Good to go!

I do think the active release work with Matt is really working. I have also been doing yoga at least twice per week. I like to do the sweaty crack aka Bikram yoga - I think that helps to keep my muscles loose and supple.

So, the Rock n Roll Vegas half (2 weeks from today) starts at 5:30 p.m This is not my normal run time and I never have run a race at night. If I was smart like some people I would be doing my long runs in the evenings to get ready. But, I’m not. I just don't want to. I figure I’ll wing it on that day and hope for the best.

My toughest challenge will be to watch what I eat that day I figure if I have a huge plate of Mexican food at about 3pm I’ll be golden. What’s a SUAR race without a porta potty or squat story?

I am getting excited for the race. For all of the times I’ve been to Vegas (way too many to count), I’ve never run the Strip at night. I’m also excited to be working with the Chocolate Milk campaign as a Team Refuel Road Warrior. SUAR the Warrior. Has a nice ring to it. Be very afraid.

For more info on the science behind why chocolate milk rules after a long workout, look HERE. Basically, you’re getting the perfect ratio of carbs to protein for recovery and helping to build leaner muscle mass. Hello! Who doesn’t want that?

Which do you prefer to shop at, Wal-Mart or Target?

Ever run an evening or night race? How do you recommend eating/fueling during the day of the race?

Do you do the sweaty crack version of yoga? I’ve been doing it for about two years now. Love it. Something about the sweat and the intense heat. Maybe I should move to the equator.


PS: Check back tomorrow for the SUAR Christmas shopping extravaganza! There will be a long sleeve tech shirt (with a new design) and a couple other new stocking stuffer items.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Was Tortured

Let’s put it this way. Sitting around sucks. If anyone tries to tell you that exercise makes you tired, they are full of it. What makes you tired is doing nothing. Ever lay around all day on a Sunday? By the end of the day you are so tired you can barely lift the toilet paper to wipe yourself. Yet, you did nothing, NOTHING all day. But, ever take a six mile run on a Sunday morning? It sets the tone for your day. You are empowered, energized and full of yourself.

I know that sitting around makes you tired because yesterday I was tortured. It had nothing to do with hairs being pulled out of my nipples or my brother holding me down and spitting a loogie on my forehead (post traumatic stress right there). I was tortured because I had ten hours of sitting. I was in an all-day training (2 hours of driving, 8 hours of training). Do you have any idea what that does to a person like me? It makes me insane. It makes me claw at my own skin. I break out in hives and crap myself. Well, not really, but you get the picture.


Sitting around does not bring out the best in me.

I know I am spoiled. I work for myself. I am my own boss. My job involves visiting people’s homes, interviewing them and writing reports. This means I get to move around. A lot. Even when I have to sit for six hours to write a report, I interrupt my writing with a run or a long bike ride. I can get up and wander around the house looking for the dog who is usually eating something gross out of the trash. I can strut my stuff to the mailbox. I can run up to Emma’s school and have lunch with her:


Yes, that is a bright yellow SPORK

Eww. Maybe I don’t want to do that very often. That plate of food is the color of my grandma’s curtains. Beige.

Granted, my days are longer and not condensed to only 6 or 8 hours, because I take these breaks. I also work nights and weekends sometimes. To me, it is a welcome trade off. The point is, I am not stuck in a non-ventilated office with fluorescent lighting biting my cuticles and watching the clock. 

Another thing I noticed at this training besides all of the sitting and non-movement is that I wanted to eat shitty food. I don’t know why. Even though the subject matter was fascinating and held my attention, there was something about being cooped up that made me want the cookies, pop and cinnamon rolls that were available. Thing is, I NEVER drink soda. Probably because I drink enough coffee and wine that I decided I didn’t need another vice-beverage. I also don’t eat many sweets. But yesterday, look the hell out. I was grabbing at the empty calorie laden treats and sucking on Jolly Ranchers like a prostitute in heat (whatever that means, I just made it up).

I know that if I worked an 8 to 5 job in an office setting, I would have to lay down some ground rules. Exercising at lunch would be a MUST. I don’t think I could manage the day without that kind of a break. I’d also have to stock my desk with lots of healthy snack options. It is possible and I would do it.

How do you deal with a job that requires lots of sitting and not lose your mind?

How do you incorporate movement/exercising and healthy eating into your work day?

Off for another ten hours of training and sitting. Pray for me.


Friday, November 18, 2011

My Heated Seat

Before we get started, first go over to Run With Jill and sign up for the Holiday Blogger Gift Exchange. It is a blast – I did it last year. It’s like Secret Santa meets the blog world and they have babies, or something like that. What’s not to like?

The heat in my car is not working. This is a crisis for someone like me who is cold when I have on fleece pajamas, am sitting on a heating pad and am drinking hot tea. Sometimes I fart to warm myself up. It’s a survival mechanism.


This is my best imitation of a peasant. If you call me “four eyes,” I’ll kill you

This got me to thinking/dreaming about buying a new car. I think about all of the things I would want in a car. Keyless entry, leather seats, 495 miles to the gallon, wipe warmer built into the console. But, what I want the most in my new car is heated seats. Have you ever ridden in a car with heated seats? There are many bonuses:

  • If you ass is sore from running it feels very good
  • If you pass gas, there is an exaggerated effect (if you like that sort of thing)
  • If you are slightly constipated, the heated seats sometimes move things along
  • You can switch your position to put any body part on the seat. The heat loosens the muscle and provides increased circulation
  • If you grilled cheese got cold, you could warm it up on the seat
  • If the heat goes out in your house, you could warm up yourself or the dog on the seat (just don’t forget to open the garage door. It would be a shame to die of carbon monoxide poisoning while heating your butt).

I think you buy this car at Target

I am sure there are many more advantages, but these are the ones that immediately came to mind.

Don’t get me wrong. My 2003 Explorer is fine and has been good to me over the years. It’s a decent car for my kids and their friends. It totes all of my workout shit and has a hitch for my bike rack. I can ignore the vomit stains my nephew left in the back and that sticky stuff on the floor.  If I can find a battery operated space heater I will be all set. I think that would be a very safe option.

What feature would you most want in a new car?

What do you drive? Is it a good athlete’s car?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saucony Pro Grid Guide 5 Review

You may remember that a few weeks ago I did a giveaway for a pair of Saucony shoes. These shoes were the latest in Saucony’s “new geometry.” Saucony has redesigned three of its most popular shoes, the Guide, Triumph, and Hurricane, reducing their heel-to-toe drop from the standard 12 mm to 8 mm. They did this in response to the increasing popularity of minimalist shoes with heel-to-toe drops of 4 mm or less.

Reducing the heel-to-toe drop is supposed to encourage a mid-foot strike. Moving from a heel to a mid-foot strike is thought to decrease the occurrence of injuries and to encourage proper biomechanics. Traditional running shoes have a thicker/higher heel, and a significant drop from heel to toe. They therefore promote heel striking.

Without getting all technical because I am just not that smart, here is how I understand it. When you land on your heel, your ankles and  knees have absolutely no chance of minimizing shock. As soon as you hit the ground… Bam! No absorbers. Shock waves shoot through your joints. Don’t feel bad. The  majority of runners are heel strikers. All you have to do is look at a pack of recreational runners in a marathon to see that that’s the case.

When you run mid-foot, your foot has a chance of minimizing impact. Your calves act as shock absorbers. Your ankles and knees suffer less impact.

Apparently, mid foot striking can also make you fast. As Joe Friel contends, “Landing on your heels is, essentially, hitting the brakes with every stride. You have to overcome that deceleration by hitting the gas pedal hard at every toe off. And the time it takes to get from heel to toe is just lost time—time spent going no where. Landing with a flat foot  greatly shortens ground contact time and moves you forward more quickly. This is the way fast runners run.”

Before we go on, I have a confession. I am the queen. The queen heel striker. Evidence is all over the place. Call in CSI if you want, but the cat’s out of the bag. I do it everywhere. On my street. In Boston. At the Colorado Marathon.



Knowing that I needed some help, Saucony sent me the Pro Grid Guide 5 to test out and review.


Here are some facts about the shoe:

Cost: $100

New features: Has an 8mm drop from heel to toe, more durable outsole

Weight: Total weight =9.1 oz. 1.4 oz. lighter than its predecessor, the Guide 4

Style of shoe: Stability

I’m going to be honest. I find it tough to review shoes. Unlike a new shirt or a jock strap that you know you like or don’t like from minute one, shoes are very personal. You can’t really understand your relationship to the shoe until you can put in many miles on it. If a shoe is going to contribute to injury, give you blisters, or wear out quickly, you simply won’t know these things for awhile. What you can know immediately about a shoe, however, is how it feels on your foot in terms of comfort, cushioning, fit and stability.

If there is one thing I have learned about trying to switch to more of amid-foot strike, it is that this has to be done very gradually. A reduced heel to toe drop can cause stress on the Achilles tendon, so a cautious change-over to these shoes is recommended.

My review (based on two 3 mile runs and moderate pace, done on treadmill, trail and pavement):

  • These shoes run big and wide.  I wear a size 9 running shoe (8 regular) shoe in Brooks, Mizuno and New Balance. The Saucony’s ran about a half size big for me. The toe box also seemed wider than most, causing these shoes to feel less sleek than some others I’ve worn. If you are considering a pair, I recommend sizing down a half size. Better yet, go try them on instead of ordering on-line.
  • The feel of the shoe is comfortable, light and cushiony.
  • During my recent runs, I have been focusing on trying land on my mid foot. The problem with running is that unless you have someone follow you around with a video-camera or critiquing your form, you never REALLY know what you're doing. I thought for sure the Saucony Pro Grid Guide 5s would help me achieve my mid foot strike. I was wrong. See for yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the shoe. I have been a chronic heel striker, so it can’t be expected that decreasing my heel to toe drop by 4 mm would cure me. I do believe that because these shoes encourage more of a mid foot strike, it will be easier to achieve that in these shoes versus some of my others that have the traditional 12 mm drop.

Overall, this is an attractive shoe (I like the color scheme), that provides stability, cushioning and comfort. The price is average for a good quality running shoe. Historically, Saucony’s are a good quality shoe that lasts. If you are wanting to move to a more minimalist shoe, but want to make the move very gradually, the Saucony Pro Grid 5 might be for you.

What are your thoughts on heel vs. mid-foot vs. forefoot striking? Have you been able to make the switch or do you want to? In my opinion, every one is different. Some people have no history of injuries, have run for years and are heel strikers. While I think it is something to consider, I don’t know if a mid-foot landing is the panacea. For someone like me who is prone to injury, it is likely biomechanics, such as foot strike, that needs to be corrected.

What type of shoes do you typically wear? Would you consider switching to a shoe with less of a heel to toe drop like the Saucony?