Youthful Obsession

I was home sick from work yesterday, which meant a lot of laying on the couch and watching tv.  No, I don’t have Ebola, I have a cold.  I discovered that daytime tv, even with a million channels, is really boring.

I also discovered that the big news is no longer Ebola.  Apparently, even though it’s still ravaging countries in eastern Africa, we Americans have moved on to bigger and better things.

The big topic of conversation?  Renee Zellweger’s face.  She looks a little different.  Possibly plastic surgery, possibly Botox, but either way, the big discussion was how she has destroyed her face, how she no longer looks like herself, etc.

Now obviously, this woman has put herself out there for people to see, and on some level, that does invite criticism on her looks.  But why can’t we just leave well enough alone?  She doesn’t look bad.  Sure, she doesn’t look like her younger, more youthful self, but who among us does?

The Hollywood obsession with age is really disturbing, and we don’t discuss it much.  We talk about how thin celebrities and thin models show an unrealistic view of health and how that can be damaging.  But we don’t discuss aging.

Guess what?  People get older.  And we get wrinkles and things sag.  It happens.  The alternative is not living to old age, and I don’t like that alternative.  But with the Hollywood obsession with plastic surgery, we forget that people get wrinkles at a young age.  I’m 33 and have lines around my eyes.  Do I think I’m too young for them?  Absolutely.  Am I too young for them? Clearly not, since there they are.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of cosmetic surgery.  The idea of a face lift terrifies me.  I don’t know the details, but I’m pretty sure they peel your face off and put it back on tighter.  Eeek.

Of course, if you are terribly unhappy with a part of your face and want it changed, I’m not going to argue with you.  I will suggest you not make yourself look different.  A friend of mine had what everyone will agree was a large nose.  And she went in for surgery.  I supported her decision, but was worried.  And when she came out, I was so relieved to see that she looked like herself.  She just had a bit of a bump on the bridge of her nose shaved down.  She still has a large nose, but it’s just slightly less prominent.  She looks like herself and she’s much happier with what she sees in the mirror.

But everyone ages.  Everyone gets fine lines and wrinkles.  We should just accept it and age gracefully.

And maybe, just maybe, we should stop being so critical of celebrities.  Sure, they put themselves out there.  But maybe in judging them, we’re also hurting ourselves.

Ebola Hysteria

I am saddened, but not surprised by all of the “Ebola Hysteria” that we’re seeing in the United States over the past few weeks.

People.  Learn the facts.  For example, this is a great article by the Washington Post that explains how Ebola spreads.

Ebola in humans is spread only through direct contact with virus-laden bodily fluids, and is not as transmissible as such airborne viruses as influenza and measles.

But what if it does become airborne?  Well, sure, that’s possible.

Most scientists have said it is extraordinarily unlikely that Ebola will change its mode of transmission. Scientists are wary of absolutes as a rule, but in the annals of medical science, such a major change in transmission has never been observed in a pathogen that already affects human beings.

 

“If a virus were to acquire the ability to go airborne, it would change the landscape dramatically,” Jahrling said. But he said the likelihood of that is “remote squared.”

 

Moreover, the Ebola virus does not have an affinity for the cells deep in the lungs.

And yet, we’re panicking.  In a Facebook group, a number of people talked about cancelling their upcoming Disney vacations because they didn’t want to be exposed.  In Ohio, a school was closed because a teacher flew on the same plane as the nurse who ultimately got Ebola.  Not on the same flight, on the same plane.

I’m all for being cautious, but we’re getting a little extreme here.

It’s especially irritating when people who refuse to get flu shots are panicking about Ebola.  You’re more likely to catch the flu.  You’re more likely to die from the flu.  Get your flu shot.

We’ve hit the 21 day mark for exposure by the poor man who died in Texas.  The people who lived with him did not get sick.  This is a good sign.  Yes, two nurses got sick.  These were women who were around him while the virus was at its worst.  He was likely projectile vomiting and unable to control his bowels.  An awful way to die, but at least he had the comfort of kind nurses caring for him.  Unfortunately, they were not properly protected against the virus, which is why they are currently at hospitals where they can take proper precautions.

Should we ignore Ebola in the US?  No.  Hospitals should be prepared.  The CDC should be prepared.  You and I?  We should just continue to live our lives.  Wash your hands.  Take care of yourself.  But don’t stop living your life out of fear of a virus you’re unlikely to catch.  If you want to fly wearing a face mask, that’s fine.  It’s not going to change your likelihood of catching Ebola, but you’re probably better protected from a cold or the flu.

To me, the worst part is that the people who are the most worried are the people who couldn’t have cared less as this virus ravaged Liberia and other parts of East Africa.  It wasn’t affecting them, so why bother to even pay attention?  Sure, on some level, what can we do?  I can donate to Doctors Without Borders or one of the many other organizations with boots on the ground in the affected areas.  If nothing else, I can be educated about what is going on in that region.

In general, we need to stop the spread of hysteria.  The news media is as much to blame as anyone.  Learn the facts.

So Glad I’m Not Marathon Training

For the first time in three years, I’m not spending the fall marathon training.

I kind of love it.

I’m wondering if I will have a bit of regret when it comes to marathon weekend at Walt Disney World in January when I’m “only” running the 10k and the half marathon.  I’m excited to finally get to run the half – I’ve never run that particular race, and it’s on my birthday.  How could I skip it?

I think the only envy I will have is of the Goofy runners – the people running both the half and the full.  It’s the tenth anniversary of that race in 2015, and the medal is pretty fabulous.  However, that would require me running a whole lot of miles, not only that weekend but also in training.  And I just don’t want to.

I have found that I don’t mind long weekend runs, but even 6 miles during the week is rough.  I do it because it’s good for me and it’s clearly helping me when I race, but man, it’s a slog.  The idea of doing more than that is horrifying.  My legs hurt just thinking about it.

So I am enjoying not marathon training.  I’m half marathon training, of course, and I need to keep my triathlon base up, but it’s nice to not have to worry about a huge run every weekend.  I think it’s going to be good for me.

Wednesday Workout Recap – Well, I See the Wagon

A little better, but I need to get back to it.  Conveniently, it’s a taper week.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 3 miles with pickups.  Got interrupted when my boss called me, but got it in.  Short runs are so much easier, mentally speaking.  And physically, I guess.

Wednesday – Rest Day

Thursday – 3 miles easy

Friday – Supposed to be 2 miles, but I’m an idiot and was so used to Fridays being rest days that I failed.  I did assemble a dresser though.

Saturday – Rest Day

Sunday – Army Ten Miler!

Thank goodness I now have time off before my next race.

Race Report – 2014 Army Ten Miler

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Sunday was the 30th running of the Army Ten Miler and my sixth running of the race. It is by far the one race that I have done the most. And there are so many reasons that I keep coming back. This is one of the best organized races that I have ever fun. Who would expect any less from the Army?  For me, the time of year is also perfect. The weather can be cold or rainy, but I will always take that over hot and muggy.

This year, the weather was absolutely perfect. Cool and crisp, but comfortable for running in short sleeves and a skirt. Chilly before and after, but nothing too painful. The only clear day in a string of rainy days. I think the Army somehow arranged that too.

I didn’t have any real race plans going into race day this year.  It was my Team Fight race, so I just wanted to run strong.  Of course, as always, I didn’t want to get swept, though with a slight course change for this year, it appears that the sweeping policy changed.  In previous years, you had to be past the sweep point, which was somewhere past mile 5, by 9:35.  This year, they had an additional wave and all of the race info simply said you had to keep a 15 minute mile pace.  That was a much more lenient policy than the way the clock time policy had worked out, so I felt pretty good about the race.

When the race started, I decided that I wanted to try for a sub 2:15, which meant running better than 13:30s the entire race.  Doable, based on my training, but I didn’t want to push too hard.

My first two miles were FAST, but not uncomfortably so.  The one thing that’s great about this race is that the first half mile can get crowded, but the pack breaks up so quickly.  That’s not always the norm for a race with 35,000 runners.  To keep my brain occupied, I started doing the race math in my head.   I kept a running total of the minutes I had “earned” back from that 13:30 pace for every mile that I was under.  It seems silly, since I can just set a pace goal on my watch and use my Virtual Partner for the math, but I like having something to turn around in my brain while I run.

As per usual with this race, I ran into someone I knew – my race buddy from the Frederick Half!  We’re Facebook friends now, but I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that she would be there too.  Too funny to see her again.  I guess we really do run similar paces!

Around mile 7, I started to wonder if I had a sub 2:10 race in me, but realized it just wasn’t in the cards.  That said, the sub 2:15 was MINE if I just kept it up.

I didn’t notice the course change until around mile 8 or so.  I thought we seemed too close to the Pentagon when we got off of the bridge, but I figured I was just misremembering.  And then the course turned left instead of right.  Clearly, I should look at course maps.  Not a big deal, I knew where I was based on mile markers, but it was fun to see something totally different.  It was just a quick little jaunt, a few loops, and I’m guessing that’s how they managed to get the longer time limits – by getting us off of DC city streets earlier, they could have us out on the course a bit longer.  I’m not going to complain about that one bit!

As I finished, I ran past a huge pack of people with one of the Wounded Warriors running.  I’m guessing this was his first event back after his injury.  He was on two prosthetics, and when I saw him near the end, he was being heavily supported by two guys on either side of him.  His head was down and he was just gutting it out.  It was absolutely amazing to see.  Such an inspiration and a reminder that we’re so lucky to be able to be out there.  And of course, a reminder of the sacrifice that so many of our military members make.

I finished with a time I was delighted with – 2:11:47, and I’m proud of that, but I’m even more proud of that nameless guy who just finished 10 miles with the support of friends and family.

Things like that are why I will forever love the Army Ten Miler.