Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Need a Goal, Dammit

Low energy.

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Don’t look up my shorts

That is me today. Funny thing is, despite having no enthusiasm for anything including feeding the dog and eating oatmeal, I was very inspired during my run. I thought it would be a crap-fest, but it wasn’t. I think I was working out all my overall blah-ness during the run.

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Reasons I may be uninspired (why do we have to have a reason, some things just are, right?):

  • GJF (General Job Fatigue)
  • Had only one cup of coffee today
  • It’s still too warm here in CO. Let’s have fall weather, Mother F&cking Nature.
  • I don’t have a race on the calendar. I am lost without a goal. LOST.
  • The Walking Dead doesn’t start for a couple of weeks. I have no shows that excite me. Except for Fear of the Walking Dead. I think Fear of the Walking Dad would be a funny show. You? Here he comes:

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  • It’s hump day. Weekend is still just a glimmer of hope in the distance.
  • I’m tired of vacuuming up all of Heidi’s hair. I swear, each time I empty the vacuum it is like emptying a whole new dog into the trash. One of these days I will make a merkin. Don’t know what that is? Go look. But, probably not a good idea to Google image it.
  • No one is returning my calls. Why. Why??

That I all. Now I am going to eat roast chicken and rice casserole.

How is your energy these days?

What is your next race goal?

What did you have for dinner? Inspire me. I need ideas.

SUAR

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Torture Device. Now, That Makes Sense.

I don’t love the treadmill.  Fact is, I would prefer snow, wind, heat and any other elements outside (except ice, no ice) to being inside running on SW (Satan's wheel). Sure there is a time and a place for it (speed workouts, when it’s icy or dark outside, when you have bowel issues and need a bathroom ASAP), but I am simply an outside runner. Plain and simple.

Here I am on a treadmill. Not loving it:

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I know there are some major treadmill fans out there. I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s just not Beth’s personal preference (do you like when I talk about myself in the third person?)

Why don’t I like it?

  • It’s boring as hell
  • Snot rockets are frowned upon while on the treadmill. And I love a good snot rocket.
  • On a treadmill you don’t see all of the goodies you see on an outside run like used condoms, empty beer bottles and underwear.
  • I fell off of one once and have PTSD.
  • I don’t like staring at walls.
  • I live in Colorado and like being outside.
  • There are no trails on the treadmill.
  • I don’t think it simulates real running. If I’m training for a race that is not on a treadmill (that would be 100% of races) then I want to train on the surface and in the conditions I’ll be running in on race day.

That’s why Beth thought it was hilarious to listen to this TED Talk the other day. Title: “Treadmills Were Actually Designed to Torture Us.” Maybe you didn’t know you came here for a history lesson, but it’s too late to back out now.

In the 1800s a version of the treadmill was created to punish English prisoners. They would have to walk on a wheel for up to 5 hours per day. The prisoners moving the wheel actually created power to make the water mills work. Genius! (hence the name treadmill). What was found was that it wasn’t the physical challenge that tortured people but the monotony of the treadmill.

Can you imagine if the gyms in our country utilized power from all the people on the treadmills for something? The options are endless: making smoothies, heating saunas, propelling power toilet flushers.

In 1911, the first patent was obtained for the treadmill. And, so it goes.

So, if you’ve ever had moments of disliking the treadmill, now you know why. In essence, you are torturing yourself. In the best way possible.

Treadmill vs. outside –> what is your preference?

Do you have a treadmill in your home or do you go to a gym? We have one in the basement. I don’t use it.

SUAR

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 Secrets to Simplify Your Running Life

Before I get to the meat of things…let’s do a small update because it’s fun and I need to do something with these pictures on my phone.

After the relay I thought I might take some time off, but I didn’t.  My body felt like it wanted to run, so let’s go. 20 miles last week of running and 20 miles on the bike. My bike and I used to be (literally) attached butt-to-saddle as I trained for Ironman Boulder. Our relationship has become less intimate, but I am spicing it up again. I forgot how the lady parts need to get broken in. Every damn time.

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Then on Saturday a friend of mine ran her first 100 miler. Okay, yeah, 34.5 hours does seem like a long time to be running.

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All of a sudden all I can think about is doing a 50 mile ultra. Thinking of this one. Not for the faint of heart, but right up my alley.

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Today I took Heidi and my parents’ dog, Kleo, for a walk around Coot Lake in Boulder. It was super ugly. What a turn off Colorado is.

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Then I came home and assaulted the UPS man as he brought these to my door. Is it weird I spend about 5 minutes smelling new running shoes? I do the same with Sharpies.

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These are the Brooks Pure Cadence. My favorite road shoe. Over 400 miles of running these will cost me $.30 per mile. Not sure why I felt the need to figure that out.

Let’s switch gears.

Anyone who runs knows it can be a very simple task, or it can get very complicated when factor in planning, costs, etc. That’s why I wanted to talk about ways we can simplify our running lives so we have more time for…….YES, RUNNING!

1. Get the bins. Go somewhere like Wal-Mart or Target and buy really cheap plastic bins. Have a bin for each shorts, tights, tanks, short sleeved and long sleeved. Just throw your running clothes in the bins. No folding necessary (who cares if they’re wrinkled). When it’s time to run. Just pick from the bins and go. Here’s my scenario (I also have a bin for cycling).

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2. Make a cheat sheet.  Take all your favorite running routes. Make a cheat sheet of how far they are in miles and how long they usually take you. When it’s time to run, don’t tax your brain. Just know what distance you want to go or for how long and pick from your list.

3. Stop washing your hair. I have pretty long hair and I HATE to wash/style it. So, these days I only wash it 2-3x per week. The rest of the time after a run, I just wash my body and put dry shampoo into my hair. Saves a ton of time. Some might call it gross. I call it genius.

4. Say “No”. Sure you love running with a group and with a friend and doing every race imaginable. That’s all fine and good, but know when to say when. Let me rephrase: Know when to say “no” so that your running life does not feel so crazed.

5. Get up an hour earlier. If possible, do your runs first thing. Enjoy the solitude before the rest of the world wakes up. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and will guarantee the run gets done.

6. Pick a day to go naked. Leave the gadgets at home (GPS, watch, music). A good day to do this might be on an easy or recovery run. Just run and enjoy. No pressures or distractions.

7. Schedule. Set up your runs like you would other appointments. Pencil yourself in. Avoid having to cram in a run when you really don’t have time. This just adds to your stress.

8. Auto-ship. I just made this up, so not sure it even exists. But wouldn’t it be cool to have your favorite running shoes on auto ship from a store? That way every 5 or 6 months they could be automatically shipped to your door.

Any other ways you can think of to simplify your running life?

SUAR

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blue Apron Review–Take Two!

This is my second time trying and reviewing Blue Apron. For those who live under a rock, Blue Apron is a delivery service that sends you the farm fresh and versatile ingredients needed to cook delicious and healthy meals. I honestly would not have accepted a second opportunity to review this service had I not been ultra pleased the first time around.

While I’m not a Blue Apron expert, having now cooked four meals with Blue Apron, I’m in a position to give a pretty darn good assessment.

*Before we get started, know that the first 20 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order!! Just go HERE. You will not be disappointed.

This time around, I was sent ingredients to make Crispy Cod Sandwiches with Tartar Sauce and Iceberg Wedge Salad and Sweet Chili and Basil Chicken with Peppers, Eggplant and Coconut Jasmine Rice. The nice thing about Blue Apron is that you can choose the type of meal you want (by type of meat, ethnicity, etc.).You can also indicate if you want to cook for 4 people ($8.74/per person) or 2 people ($9.99/per person). You guys know we are a family of four, so that’s what we went with.

First up: The Cod Sandwiches

Blue Apron provides you your ingredients in pre-measured amounts. All ingredients are delivered to your door (on your chosen date of delivery) and can remain on your front porch for several hours because everything is well insulated and refrigerated.

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The ingredients come with an 8 x 11” colorful recipe card that gives step by step instructions.

First, I washed and cut up my veggies. Then it was time to season and bread the fish.

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Next, I had a little fish fry, just me myself and I (my favorite rhyme):

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As the fish cooked, I whipped up some home made tarter sauce (a first for me) and whisked together the vinaigrette dressing for the iceberg wedges. No pre-fabricated ranch dressing here! The end result:

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On a side note, as I was cooking I was thinking that another benefit of Blue Apron is that I use ingredients I don't normally. I am a pretty adventurous cook, but I forget to go outside of my zone sometimes. For example, this recipe included capers and shallots –things I rarely use. Kind of nice to mix it up.

The end result was delish. The pieces of fish were fresh and substantial. Putting them on soft potato buns with the cool tarter sauce was perfect. Nothing wrong with stuff the old pie-hole:

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Next up, the Sweet Basil Chicken.

First I laid out my colorful produce:

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And, gave it some chopping.

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Then, Emma helped me out as we made the coconut rice and browned the eggplant (wait, is she as tall as I am?).

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Blue Apron is a pretty cool way to cook with your kids because the step by step colorful recipe card makes directions quite easy to follow. You could do this with kids from about five years old and up, I think.

This recipe was a bit more labor/time intensive than others I’ve done, solely because I had to brown the eggplant in several batches. It still only took about 30 minutes.

The end result was an outstanding mix of flavors. Sautéed chicken and browned eggplant are tossed with fresh peppers, basil, scallions and Ponzu sauce, then served over flavorful coconut rice. YUM. I had leftovers today for lunch since Sam wasn’t here last night.

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One thing I’ve noticed is that my meals actually come out looking like the pictures on the recipe card. That usually doesn’t happen to me. The presentation is pretty impressive.

More things to know about Blue Apron:

  • Shipping is always free and Blue Apron ships to most of the country.
  • Each menu is about 500-700 calories per person (this is indicated on the recipe card)
  • All meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less

Other recipes I want to try are the Mushroom & Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Sweet Pepper & Roasted Cauliflower Salad and the Spiced Turkey & Chickpea Chili with Chermoula, Labneh & Pita Croutons (since it’s finally feeling fall-like outside).

Do you think you’d give Blue Apron a try?

Are you an adventurous or a routine/safe type of cook?

SUAR

This post was sponsored by Blue Apron, but all opinions are (of course) my own.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Flaming Foliage Ultra Relay Race Report (2015)

165 miles done!

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If it looks like a blow up finish line was put up in the middle of nowhere, you are correct.

That race was the craziest thing I’ve ever done.  Well, except for that time in 7th grade when I got mad at some guy named Jerry, peed into a cup behind a bush and threw it at him.  Jerry if you have become a runner and are reading this, I am sorry. I do not know what came over me. Text me.

This weekend was my 5th relay, but my first ultra relay. Relays are insane enough, but doing 6 legs of running instead of 3 added in a whole new dimension of fatigue, insanity, and thoughts of “why the f*ck am I doing this?”  (WTFAIDT?) I think that the more you have to ask someone why the f*ck you are doing something, the more valuable that experience is in the scheme of things. Or, maybe I just made that up.

5:00 a.m. Idaho Springs, Colorado. I am off for my first run of 4.5 miles. It is dark and cold. I have not pooped or eaten yet. There will be time for that later.

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Lest you think I was trying to be the Statue of Liberty, I was not. I was waving at a semi that went by and honked at me (yeah we got to run along scenic I-70 for this first leg). I didn't t even have to bend my arm at 90 degrees and move it up and down to make the truck honk like I did as a kid.  Score!

There were about 6 of us starting together. The course had us doing a little jog around the parking lot and a back alley for the first .25 miles. Random. The other six runners took off and I was all, “CALM DOWN!” I was the only ultra runner so that gave me an excuse to go slower. Or, that’s what I told myself. It’s important to make yourself feel better.

I was barely in the van and settled when it was time to think about running again. Let me quickly introduce you to my team mates. Joie (my dear friend for the past 13 years), Ken (my dear husband for the past 20 years), Brian (race captain and also a dear friend) and Rafe (runner extraordinaire, hilarious dude and decent all around guy).

7:00 a.m. I pooped. Along the road. I’m not proud but it was an emergency. That’s when it’s good to have this stuff along for the ride:

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Captain Brian with our zombie baby hood ornament.

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8:00 a.m. Guannella Pass (11,670 feet ). Only 2 miles, but straight the eff up. I was hoofing it like no one’s business and it still took 24 minutes.

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Me, Rafe, Ken, Brian (Joie was running)

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I was pretending to be a on a balance beam because why not?

2:00 p.m. Georgia Pass (11,598 feet). I cannot believe it is time to run again and this time I am going to run 12.6 miles up and down a mountain. WTFAIDT? You couldn’t start the run unless you had a hydration pack, a GPS, a jacket, a hat, gloves and a map. I felt like Boy Scout Beth.

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From the millisecond I started running I could feel the fatigue in my legs from the first two runs. It was clear it was going to be a grind to the top. I was alone the entire run. When I hit the summit after an hour, 24 minutes,  it was well worth it.

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I had a mountain goat (Billy was his name, I think) take this:

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I thought descending the 6 miles into Breckenridge would be a piece of cake, but it wasn’t due to technical trails with lots of roots and rocks. I was WIPED when I finished the 12.6 miles. It took 2:45 (I later learned this was a time trial and I came in 4th for women, missing 3rd by one minute. Shouldn’t have taken those stupid pictures). I had 19.1 of my 38.2 miles done. I began to question my ability to stay up all night and do the next 19. WTFAIDT?

In the mean time, Ken was changing in the van (actually it was a Tahoe). This is how we keep our marriage fresh.

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Rafe was stretching (or getting ready to throw up):

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And Joie was showing off her compression sleeves and clogs:

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I noticed a cool shadow from our van on the ground:

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Joie is either rolling my hamstrings or making pizza dough:

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7:00 p.m. and DAMN I’m realizing it is almost time to run. Again. I take a quick glance at my next run and immediately want to punch someone in the face. 5.8 miles up 1,500 feet on a highway. In the dark. I had some Cup ‘o Noodles and calmed down.

8:00 p.m. Copper Mountain. I set off with my headlamp hoping to not be killed. Running up this busy highway was insanely scary. I lived to see another day.

9:00 p.m. I tried to close my eyes for a bit, but there was no sleep to be had. Can you tell this relay has aged me 20 years? A year for every mile.

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12:00 a.m. Leadville. We are now at 10,500 feet in a school parking lot in the middle of nowhere. I am about to begin my 5th run. 6.8 miles. Unlike other relays I’ve done, this one was small. There were only 28 other teams. This meant when you ran, you were alone a good chunk of the time.

On this run, it was pitch black with no street lights or moon. I had no other runners around. I knew I was running near Turquoise Lake but could see nothing. As I plodded along, the only sound was my feet hitting the road. Just as I was thinking how gorgeous the stars were and how amazing the crisp air felt I heard what could only be a very large animal in the water next to me. That’s about the time I started kicking in 4 minute miles. I am glad I pooped earlier because…well, this would have been a shit your pants moment.

1:30 a.m. We are all breaking down and bitchy. That is all.

3:30 a.m. Between Leadville and Buena Vista, CO. I muster up from the depths of my running spirit to do my last run. I have now been awake for 25 hours and have run 31.2 miles. Let’s finish this bitch up. This was to be my 4th run in the dark. Sigh.

This 7 mile run was special because the elk were bugling away (very cool sound if you have not heard it) and the coyotes were going nuts. At mile 2.5 I told my van to go ahead to the next exchange and at mile 3, my headlamp died. Yep. I then ran in the pitch black, using the white line on the road as my only guide. Good times.

Then, just like that, I was done. And, the sun started to come up and all was right with the world.

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Twin Lakes

Now I just had to help get my team mates through their last runs because morale was lower than whale shit, which we all know lives at the very bottom of the ocean. Then, just like that, we were done.

28 hours, 58 minutes. My part = 38.2 miles, 5,400 feet of climbing.

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Now we’ve been awake for 32 hours. Drinking one beer is like drinking 12 beers.

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Our friends came in just before us:

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Then it was time to head off to the condo for storytelling, embellishing, beer/wine and….

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By the time my head hit the pillow, I had been awake for 41 hours. And I didn’t even use cocaine or meth. I just ran, drank coffee, ran, ate noodles, ran, drank Coke, ran ate Swedish Fish and ran.

What I learned:

  • Relay friends are friends for life
  • Lack of sleep makes you make weird choices and say dumb stuff
  • I can do WAY WAY more than I think I can do
  • Chipotle is orgasmic after running your ass off
  • Poop happens. A lot.
  • You’re never too old to do crazy stuff

Hey, you still awake? Thanks for reading!!

SUAR

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It’s Ultra Time, B*tches!

Sometimes I like to mix up my running with a bit of crazy. That will certainly be the case this weekend when I embark on my first ultra relay.

Here I go (no I will not be running in these Daisy Dukes – those are only for special occasions, at least you don’t see my butt cheek hanging out like all the teenage girls):

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# of runners: 5
# of women: 2
# of total miles: 165
# of miles I will run: 38.2
# of runs I will do: 6
#of mountain passes I will run: 2
# of hours it will likely take our team: 30
# hours of sleep I will get: 0
# of farts in the van: infinity

Have you ever wondered why you really do long distance races or crazy running things? Sure it’s  sense of accomplishment, blah, blah…but, for me I think it’s because my “real” life can become mundane and boring. I need spice. Did I ever tell you one of my nicknames is Spice? True.

The food:

I plan to be powered by bagels, Swedish Fish, chocolate milk, cup ‘0 noodles and PB&J with a side of salted caramel GU.

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The start:

The fun gets underway at 5am tomorrow morning when I cross the start line in Idaho Springs, CO. It will look like this. Me and my headlamp:

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(For the record that means a 2:30 a.m. wake up call. I say to myself, “Self! Why even bother going to the bed?”)

The stats (I am runner #1):

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The Packing Mess:

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Yes, that is a robot vacuum to the left. Yes, I love it. No, I will not be bringing it on the relay.

So, there you have it. It’s 4:23 p.m. and I should go to bed so I get my 10 hours of sleep. Hey, and if you don’t follow me on Instagram, do it HERE cause that’s where I’ll be updating.

What’s your nickname and why? Betty, Booty, Spice, Hon, Bethie, BM (yeah, my former initials. Fits, huh?)

What’s your highest weekly mileage ever? Mine’s 51.

SUAR

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Fun Fact About My Body

Does anyone else finish a training cycle with their plan looking like this? Yeah, there were just a few adjustments. Mechanical pencils are my favorite writing tool in case you were wondering what my favorite writing tool was.

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Not going to sugar coat. Today’s run sucked. It was to be an easy 6 miler after yesterday’s hotter and harder run. There was nothing easy about it. I slept late and started under the blazing sun. I didn’t bring water because…I’m always on the fence with water when it’s only 6 miles. But I should have brought water because  this slacker called myself got up too late.

By mile 4.5 I was all dried up and I really wanted a sip of water. I was just waiting to come upon the water fountain for a bit of relief. As I approached said fountain I noticed a nice pile of puke right beside it. Gross. Yep, no thanks. I mean for God’s sake people, be polite pukers. Do it in the grass or even the street, but not right by my water fountain.

Btw, I am more grossed out by vomit than most people (I have full on emetaphobia for real, yes it is a thing) so I thought about the pile the whole way home, which is not good for my psyche. It's kind of like telling yourself to not think about eating a custard filled donut and all you can do is think about a custard filled donut. I will say, I like custard filled donuts more than puke, though.

One nice and pleasant part about this run was these new shoes.

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They are a trail shoe, and I wasn’t really running trails today, but wanted to try them out before Friday’s relay. Result: comfy, light and very very pretty. I like pretty shoes.  Thanks Pearl Izumi for the kicks.

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Fun fact: Did you know I am extremely bow-legged? I cannot touch my knees together when I stand. Or my calves.

So, I am at the end of training and ready to suffer. I will be runner #1 on Friday morning and I will cross the start line at 5 a.m. Because no race could ever have you starting at a decent hour. I think it is in the unspoken running rulebook.

Other things in the rule book:

  • The undeniable urge to poop will occur when you are the furthest from any sort of a toilet
  • The moment you get confident about your running and training, you will get injured
  • Someone you know always drives by the minute you decide to walk for just one second
  • Your race pictures will suck and will show you from the most unflattering angle possible
  • Your Garmin will die in the most important race of your life
  • When you bend over to tie your shoe with your ass in the air, a car full of guys will drive by (why do they like a 48 year old ass anyway? Get a life)

What else would you put in the rule book?

Do you have a phobia? What is it? Is it an SUARphobia, fear of this blog? I understand.

Fun fact about your body? I also have matching birth marks on my ass and my stomach.

SUAR