Saturday, June 20

Things I will miss when we leave Virginia

Virginia is a temporary home for us, and while I love to gripe about jerks in Metro, the high proportion of self-important assholes, and the godawful weather, there are a few things I will miss when we move: The tortilla chips from the Salsa Lady at the Old Town farmers market. Best chips I've had outside of Mexico. Peanut butter. Seriously. Georgia might have the lock on peaches, but Virginia has discovered the secret to amazing peanuts. The peanut butter here is like nothing I've ever had before. Mmm... Crosswalks. Unlike our last home, Pensacola, where cars hitting pedestrians seemed to be a spectator sport, most cars in NoVa actually yield to people on foot. Amazing. Alexandria/Arlington chapter of MRTT. Mother runners. Hundreds of them. Enough said.

Wednesday, June 10


One of the things I've realized this week is that while the scale readings are going up (hello 600 calorie daily surplus now that I'm not the sole food source for my kid), my muscle mass is, too. And while last week's yoga challenge suffered several serious interruptions, I worked out Every. Single. Day.

The year is half over, and the fit-in-15 challenge has been a success so far. My goal was to get back into the habit of working out every day, and (clearly) I have.

That said, the whole challenge concept is starting to feel a bit contrived.

Plank-a-day just didn't work for me, but mileage goals and speed-work-each-week goals did. Yoga every day seems like a stretch. (Ha!) But the squat/pushup/plank routine was actually pretty motivating. (It helped that I could guilt my spouse into doing 100 squats with me after our kid fell asleep at night.)

I'm running out of fitness challenges I really want to do (read: am motivated enough to follow through on), so I'm strongly considering switching back to my old style of training: 5-6 days week, with 3 runs and 3 strength/stretch days.

Or maybe I'll just keep repeating the squat/pushup/plank routine every week for the rest of the year...

Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 7

June challenge: hold that pose (week 22)

The June challenge is to hold that pose.
The Yoga Challenge has returned, but this time I'm aiming for a full month, not just 3 weeks.

The goal: Yoga every day. At least 15 minutes each day.

So, how'd I do this week?

Monday: 15 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 20 minutes of office yoga

Wednesday: 3.25 mile run...
Um... Yeah. Not yoga, but it was National Running Day. The weather was cool and cloudy. Plus someone needed to pick up the drycleaning... so I "ran" that errand.

Thursday: 20 minutes of office yoga

Friday: Went to bed early. We'll call that savasana

Saturday: 5 mile run...
...which included a biohazard obstacle course when my child hurled ALL OVER ME.
Like... soaked shirt, shorts, and shoes.
Yes, partway through the run I wound up with shoes full of puke, and had to run home like that. Fortunately hubs packed a change of shirt, which I quickly confiscated.
I'll never look at my chartreuse running shirt the same way again...

Sunday: 7 mile walk...
...because sick kid, who desperately needed a nap, refused to take a nap. So I played the last trick I knew: strapped him into the (now freshly cleaned) jogging stroller and walked until he conked out. It took about 6 minutes. Naptime was supposed to be yoga time. It was walk-til-kid-wakes time instead.

For more posts in this series see Fitter in 15.

June yoga challenge: week 22 of fit(ter) in 15

The June challenge is a Yoga Challenge.

The goal: Yoga every day. At least 15 minutes each day.

So, how'd I do this week?

Monday: 15 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: 20 minutes of office yoga

Wednesday: 15 minutes of yoga

Thursday: 15 minutes of office yoga

Friday: rest

Saturday: 5 mile run...

Sunday: 7 mile walk...

For more posts in this series see Fitter in 15.

Friday, June 5

Gender, Jenner, and equity in sports

In all of the media hubbub over Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover, it occurred to me that one issue that has barely made a ripple: will Jenner's Olympic medal be stripped?

The IOC said, in short and with little fanfare or media coverage, of course not.

Jon Stewart skewered the media frenzy over Jenner's appearance, noting that when Jenner was "a man" [sic] people talked about Jenner's athletic achievements, but now (out as a woman)... looks are the only thing that matters to the media. Critics of Stewart's criticism note that Jenner was always a woman. But in 1976, Jenner competed in men's events - as Bruce - in the Montreal Olympics.

Now, before we go any farther, I want to state clearly and for the record that I truly believe Jenner deserves to keep the Olympic medal. I concur wholeheartedly with the IOC decision. (But I do quibble with the IOC verbage that Jenner "won his" medal. The proper language now would be "won her," and there was really no need to use a gender pronoun at all. Better text would be "Jenner won the gold medal..." end of story. But I digress...)

What irks me actually has nothing to do with Caitlyn Jenner at ALL.

What irks me is how this "of course the record stands" non-issue highlights the flagrant gender double standard applied to female athletes.

South African track star Caster Semenya was at the center of a gender identity firestorm that all but ruined her life when blood tests revealed elevated testosterone levels. She was subjected to humiliating, and ultimately nonsensical, tests to determine whether or not she "really was a woman" and thus allowed to compete in female events. She has now been cleared to race in women's events and will be back on the track for competitions this summer, but not without enduring years of struggle related to her gender identity.

And even more puzzling is that Paula Radcliffe had her marathon world record rescinded by the IAAF, retroactively, merely because she ran in a race in which men were also running. That ruling was later overturned, but only after months of public pressure (including complaints from giant corporations like Nike) against the IAAF. And the women-only rule applies forevermore in future marathons. So... girls only get a world record if they're running with other girls.

So... Jenner, a transgender woman, gets to keep an Olympic medal won in a men's event. Great. Jenner got to choose, compete, and keep a hard-won medal. Bravo!

Meanwhile cisgender women are subjected to ridiculous and unreliable testing (which can be misleading, inconclusive, or can simply highlight somewhat rare and shocking genetic traits that were previously unknown to the competitor) and unequitable standards (men get to race with "rabbits," but women can't, etc...) to determine their competitive status?

Sex (biological characteristics) and gender (psychological and social ones) are part of a continuum that involves lots of grey area in the middle. There are chromosomal, hormonal, physiological, psychological, and emotional factors that do not always fall neatly within XX and XY binary. Moreover, while much of the theory behind gender "testing" has been to "level the playing field," it seems the burden of proof falls mainly on women.

Perhaps it's time do do away with "men's" and "women's" events completely?

Maybe women should start playing in Major League Baseball?

Merge the NBA and WNBA?

Add an ultra-distance event to Olympic track and field, because distance levels the playing field among runners?

Make male gymnasts compete in the balance beam and women in pommel horse?

I don't claim to have the answers, but I think it's time to start a discussion about what athletic gender categories really mean... if anything at all.