I feel like I’m living in another dimension, or parallel universe (perhaps those well-versed in sci-fi literature can help me come up with the right analogy here). This whole holiday-in-the-middle-of-the-week thing was awesome, but it completely threw me off. Normally I know it’s time to type up my Quick Takes post not so much by looking at the calendar, but by the feel of the week grinding me down. When the chaos gets to the point that my will to live is just about gone, that means it’s Thursday, which means it must be time to prepare the next day’s 7 Quick Takes post! I’m not used to putting this together fresh from a day of relaxation and fun.
As great as it is, it’s surprisingly disorienting to have a weekend coming up right after a day off. Thus, I have come up with a solution: Henceforth, all Wednesdays will be holidays. That way we can all get used to it, and I’ll no longer be thrown off the next time we have a free day in the middle of the week. Sound good?
My husband has always maintained that he is not a runner. After my shocking foray into the world of moving my feet quickly in a forward motion I kept trying to get him to try it too, but he adamantly declined, citing shin splints and various other maladies that result every time he runs for any length of time. Then he read Born to Run (or, rather, listened to me talk about it for so many days on end that it was the equivalent of having read it himself) and decided to try out some minimalist running shoes. He picked up a pair of Skeletoes at Academy, and went for a run. His first time out, he was able to run triple the distance that he ever had before, and had no pain.
Earlier this week I finally got my own pair. Long story short: In my old shoes, which were typical running shoes, I was never able to run more than about 1/3 of a mile without stopping. The first time I headed out in my Skeletoes, I was able to run more than a mile before I needed to rest. I had no pain, and was even able to ditch the sidewalk and utilize the grassy medians and open areas in our neighborhood — something I couldn’t do before since I didn’t have enough control to maintain my balance.
[Hopefully it goes without saying that I have no relationship with Skeletoes and was not asked to plug their product. If anything, sports equipment companies want to pay people like me not to associate ourselves with them.]
Allow me to wax philosophical for a moment about why my husband and I can suddenly run so much better than when we wear our nice sports shoes. My theory is that it comes down to better optimization: You can feel what’s going on with your feet so much more clearly in minimalist shoes, so you naturally make adjustments to your form. For example, the first moments I started running in my Skeletoes, I landed on my heels. The impact jarred my entire body, sending a blow that radiated from my spine all the way to my skull. So I adjusted my movements so that I’d land on the balls of my feet, and my calf muscles went into overdrive to soften the impact my landings had on the rest of my body. I was suddenly acutely aware of which motions hurt my body and which didn’t.
I keep thinking of ballerinas: Ballet is a precise art, one which requires that you be light on your feet. Imagine a ballerina trying to glide through the air and land gracefully on her toes in a pair of heavy-duty Nikes. That’d be tough. Ballet shoes are light and don’t have a lot of padding, which helps the dancers move delicately with precision. I’ve found the same with minimalist running shoes: By allowing you to feel precisely how your feet are impacting the ground, they let you control your movements much more finely.
On a somewhat related note, quite a few folks have emailed me to ask about this diet and exercise stuff that I did that helped me get healthy last year. Friends in person have been even more adamant. More than once I’ve heard comments like, “You’ve lost so much weight! And yet I know you to be so lazy and gluttonous! Tell me your secrets, o slothful one!” (I’m paraphrasing…but that really does capture the gist of it). So I’m using some down time I’ve had with that other project to put together a short document that summarizes every single thing I learned that helped me. I’m really excited about it, since I think it might help others to summarize all the things that took me years to learn the hard way. It’ll take me a while longer to get it all written up, but I should be done within the next few months.
I’ve been watching the love song linkup over at Hallie’s place with some mix of confusion and awe. First of all, it makes me realize that my husband and I don’t have a song that’s “our song.” We didn’t dance at our wedding and have somewhat different tastes in music (though we do both like Suckerpunch by Dan Lord’s band Pain — perhaps a contender?) Also, I don’t even know if we’d know how to go about choosing a song. How do other couples do this? I guess you engage in quantitative research to get a list of songs based on popularity and average user reviews, then get out an Excel spreadsheet to stack-rank them according to how well they capture salient aspects of your relationship? Hmm. We’ll have to try this.
Anyway, the other thing I noticed about the linkup was how much more classy/holy/hip everyone else’s choices were. If I had participated, it would have been all Backstreet Boys, Clay Aiken, and *NSYNC. (Alas, the only thing more embarrassing than liking candy-pop boy band music is liking outdated candy-pop boy band music. What has become of me when I’M NOT EVEN HIP ENOUGH TO BE A JUSTIN BIEBER FAN?!?!) And on that note, here would be my top choice for the love song linkup, from my favorite episode of Hannah Montana:
(It takes a minute to get to the song, but you don’t want to skip ANY of the leadup because then you won’t understand the full significance of it.)
You may have notice me mentioning in that last take that I am not only familiar with Hannah Montana, but indeed have a favorite episode. The astute reader may have put this together with the fact that my oldest girl is only five years old, and wondered what on earth is going on in the Fulwiler house. I assure you it’s far less interesting than me being a Miley Cyrus stalker. When our Kidsave child lived with us in 2009, she basically saw Hannah Montana as the crowning achievement of America, and promptly set out to watch every single episode during her time in the United States of Miley Cyrus. I watched a lot of them with her, ONLY out of host parent duties, and not AT ALL because I had to know what was going to happen with Miley and Jake.
Let’s change the subject now! So the Kidsave Summer Miracles children for the 2012 program are now in the U.S.! If you would like to meet these great kids who are in need of homes, check out this page to find out if there are any events going on in your area! (I believe this year’s programs are in D.C., Iowa, New England, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.)
A high school friend is coming over for dinner tonight. I just got back from the store, because I’d forgotten one of the key ingredients to the recipe. Now I have lost the recipe card, and can’t find a similar version online. I have no idea how to make the food objects in front of me come together to form something edible. It also now occurs to me that it might have been a nice touch to have a dessert. Or a side dish.
Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as an anti-charism. I am so inept at cooking, and it stresses me out so much, that the natural world alone cannot explain it. In other areas of life I am a semi-functional human being, yet when it comes to preparing food, especially for guests, I suddenly devolve into simian levels of intelligence and ability. Anyway, theologians may want to take note of this important new term: Anticharism. As in: “When she started crying because she didn’t know that you were supposed to boil the water before putting in the pasta, I knew she had the anticharism of cooking.”