20 April 2009

Working off the cake.

Yeah, soo.... Fatty McChunkbutt's been talking a lot about shoving cake down her gullet. Mm-mmm I love cake! And chocolate chip cookies. And brownies. (This isn't going so great, eh?)

Seriously though, I think it's important to have a healthy body (and cookies). You might be surprised to learn that I'm a bit bi-polar when it comes to exercise. Sleep in till noon? Sign me up! Run 4 miles after eating chile rellenos? Yep! (feel the burn...)

I like to keep my exercising habits interesting. If it's boring, I won't do it. If it's not working my entire body at the same time, I get distracted. In high school I was on the dance team and in gymnastics and on a cheerleading team. I could eat 8 cookies in one sitting if I wanted to! (and I did...) I liked the dance team and cheerleading for the benefits of a group workout, and gymnastics because of the full-body plyometrics. In college my caloric-genocide of choice was rock climbing - ladies, this gives you ripped arms.

Then in grad school I met Mr. Cubbie. Mr. Bear Cub loves to run! I hated to run! Even though I participated in a whole slew of fully cardio-intensive sports before, I had never been able to tolerate running. I was convinced I had exercise-induced asthma. When I started grad school in 2006, I had never even run a mile.

Mr. Bear Cub is an extremely patient and encouraging man. He wanted to be able to share his love of running with me, so he helped me start this sport by being my personal running coach. We slowly worked up from a half mile, to my first whole mile, then 2 miles, 3 miles, and then it got to the point where I was running on my own after school without him. It's not so hard to get into running with flat dirt trails like this -

He started training me to run in March of 2007, and by November 2007 I finished my first half marathon!

raaarrr!!... meow!

omg that thing hurt! I now know what it feels like when grandmas say their hips hurt. Holy hell that thing hurt. But holy hell was it worth it!

For a while there I could call myself an "avid runner" - I ran about 15 miles a week, mostly just to de-stress (grad school gives you a lot of reasons to stress). When we moved to Chile, all of that changed. Chile has a huge wild dog problem.

Ok, maybe the dogs don't all look like rabid blood-suckers. They look like that to me when I'm running! A pack of dogs chased my friend's car last week!

I've got another unfortunate deterrent, too - machismo. Chileans aren't so used to seeing women run solo (and I hate catcalls, especially if I can't understand them).

Mr. Cubbie still loves to run with me, though. He also really wants to get in better shape for the wedding. For him, the best motivator is having a goal. If we've got a goal, even the most rabid macho cat-caller can't stand in our way!

We thought for a while about what kind of exercise goal we could do together, stick to, and get a fulfilling workout from. Then we remembered that the Portland Marathon is usually in early October. It turns out that this race is the weekend we get back from our mini-moon. The timing is amazing! The training situation isn't so amazing. The best thing about running in southern New Mexico was that I could step out of my door and be on a trail. Here, I have to drive 15-20 minutes to get to a gym or otherwise.

The safest place to run near to where I live is the golf course - a gated community with miles of grass and no dogs. This is a good 20 minute drive from my house, so I usually only get out there once a week. Otherwise, I'm doing the Jillian Michaels Shred workouts 4-5 times a week, and I just started a pilates class.

Does anyone have any advice for training for a marathon with minimal access to safe running? How are you getting in shape for your wedding? Do you have a workout goal with your fiancé?


  1. in reference to that bit about the wild dogs:

    when i lived in Costa Rica they had the same problem with dogs (and an increasing amount of violence against tourists unfortunately). i lived with a family in a tiny beach town called Samara. Almost ever family there houses students. When our neighbors took in a new girl she was ROBBED at the bus station waiting for her family to pick her up and that night a wild dog ran up and BIT her as she came to meet up with us for dinner. What are the chances?

  2. How scary!

    It makes me so sad and frustrated to see all of the wild and neglected dogs on the streets here. I really wish the government would castrate all of the dogs. It's so against the machismo to fix your dog, here. Even our vet was shocked when we asked him to castrate our golden retriever!

  3. I remember seeing the wild dogs in Costa Rica, as well! All of the ones I saw (around classrooms and school buildings) were pretty friendly and tame though.

    Those are definitely not the best circumstances for training for a marathon. I think I would try to do as many miles on the treadmill as possible, maybe changing the incline to simulate outdoor running?

    And I suppose you can use your minimoon to "taper," so that works out well!