Archive for November, 2010

Marathon Monday

Running a marathon can be an awesome, life-affirming experience.

Watching one is nearly as good.

For the past few years, Melissa — one of the cool chicks who reads this blog — and I have cheered ING New York City Marathon runners at mile 21 in the Bronx. We usually stand at a spot right before the course rounds a corner and spits the runners out toward the Madison Avenue Bridge.

We usually arrive around 1:30 p.m., when those who’ll finish in 4:20 or longer are cruising by. Invariably, some runners are still going strong and smiling as they pass. Some are grimacing and limping. The longer we’re out there, the slower the pace. By the time we leave around 4 p.m., most marathoners are walking. Some of them are leaning on friends or volunteers or each other. They’ve got five miles and change to go, and it’s getting dark and cold.

But they keep on going. And that is a fantastic thing to see.

Now before I get all Chariots of Fire on you, let’s recap some other cool ING New York Marathon weekend stuff:

Friday fiver: I took part in the NYRR 5, a five-miler held in Central Park on Friday at 8 a.m. I was surprised at how many marathoners did the race, too; if I have to cover 26.2 miles on a Sunday, you’d better believe my feet will do as little as possible in the days before. At the finish line, I saw Jared Fogle, of Subway fame, who was there to promote his own run in the marathon. In my post-run euphoria, I yelled, “Jared, you’re awesome!” He responded in kind. Say what you will, but anyone who runs and loves Subway is fine by me.

Faces in the crowd: Meliss dubbed me a “celebrity runner spotter” because I picked out buzzed-about marathoners, such as the aforementioned Jared (who was an easy get, as he was running surrounded by four or five dudes with SUBWAY on their shirts), and Today hosts Meredith Viera (who looked genuinely excited when we cheered her name) and Al Roker (who was in pretty rough shape when he passed us). And let us not forget Chilean miner Edison Pena, who was going strong despite knee issues when he ran past. All of them wound up finishing the race.

Gazelles: Before I headed up to the Bronx, I watched the elite runners do their thing on NBC. Edna Kiplicat took first place for the women, and Gebre Gebremariam broke the tape for the men. I tried to explain to The Fiancé why watching them do their thing moves me in a way that watching other pro athletes does not. “I don’t know how tough it is to play baseball or football, not really. But I know how hard it is to run, no matter who you are, and they make it look effortless and beautiful.”

Double duty: This chick, a documentary filmmaker, strapped a camera to her hat and filmed the entire race. WARNING: If you get motion sick easily, you may not want to watch.

Next year, in Staten Island…: So all of this ING New York Marathon fever has gotten to me, because I’m making plans to do it myself in 2011. If I complete four more New York Road Runners races before the end of the year, I’m guaranteed entry through their 9+1 program. (Very cool; tri-state area runners, check it out.) And yes, I’m still likely going to have problems with my feet next year. And yes, the last time I did New York I walk-ran the last few miles because of a tight IT band. But if the insanely inspiring athletes I saw in wheelchairs, on prosthetics, without sight and/or hearing can make the commitment, so can I.

Doesn’t hurt, of course, that Tiffany is now offering a line of ING New York Marathon commemorative items. You hear that, TF?

November 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm 2 comments

It doesn’t have to suck, people

Yeah, not so much.

On Tuesday, I tried out a new-to-me yoga studio in the Flatiron Distrcit of Manhattan. The place I’d been practicing, Laughing Lotus, was great. But my month-long card expired there, and I got a deal on a month of unlimited classes at this new joint, so I switched.

The minute I walked in, I wasn’t sure I liked the vibe of the place. It felt kind of corporate. Everyone was speaking in hushed tones. And a quick glance at the ladies clustered in the corner and sipping tea as they waited for the 7:15 vinyasa class gave me pause; they were near-carbon copies of each other, right down to their lean torsos, bored expressions, white tank tops and black Lululemon pants. I seriously thought there might have been a dress-code notice I’d missed. I only relaxed a little bit when some equally toned and joyless-looking individuals showed up. At least their shirts were different colors.

I know you’re supposed to leave all of your preconceived notions outside the door, but dude, these chicks freaked me out a little. As the class progressed, it became clear that many of them had quite lovely yoga practices. They could bend themselves into pretty little pretzels, seemingly with ease. But no one seemed excited about it.

The teacher was very good. The poses were challenging. I don’t know what was up; I don’t pretend to know what everyone else in the class was thinking or feeling, but it just didn’t seem like my classmates were having any kind of fun whatsoever. The only moment of levity I witnessed took place when I completely fell out of a side plank after grabbing my right big toe with my right hand and trying to extend both toward the ceiling. I landed on my mat and lamely said, “Well, that went well.” The chick to my left smiled.

It was a lot like the gym I worked out at in graduate school, a gorgeous facility populated by incredibly thin, incredibly fit women (and men). The women especially worked out with an intensity that was a little scary. I took a class at that gym a few weeks ago; the women were still thin, their faces still dead-set on wringing every last calorie out of their movements.

I much prefer the feel of places like Laughing Lotus, Feminine Fitness, and the New York Sports Club I teach at in Butler. There, you find people of all different body types and sizes who are trying to make something positive happen in their lives. They have varying degrees of success, but they show up and they try, and they usually have a good time.

I witnessed the same thing yesterday, when I volunteered at the New York City Marathon expo. My job was to greet people at the entrance and point them in the right direction. I talked with new runners and old runners, thin runners and fat runners, tall runners and short runners and in-between runners. Without fail, they were excited to be there and to be part of something so huge. I wished them a good run on Sunday, and they thanked me with huge grins — even the people who said they were freaked beyond belief.

I’ll keep going back to the new yoga place, at least for the month. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m not asking for much, but don’t you think there’s something to be said for enthusiasm?

After all, is there anyone who WON’T be pulling for Chilean miner Edison Pena at this Sunday’s marathon?

Vaya!

November 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

Mama Yoga

I’ve had babies on the brain lately. Not because people who ask about my wedding plans find it perfectly polite to segue into a conversation about my reproductive viability, even though many do. But a couple of really important ladies in my life recently decided it’s time for them to be mommies, so I’ve found myself having conversations about birth plans and fertility drugs and the pros and cons of being pregnant in summer vs. winter, and vice versa. It’s surreal. It’s awesome.

It’s not for me, not just yet.

However, I just may be swayed — especially when people like my friend, Marin, make it look both so chic and fulfilling. (How many things can you say that about?) I’m not the only one who thinks so; when a Chicago television station produced a piece about  mom-and-baby yoga, Marin and her three-month-old daughter, Calli, were the natural stars. Marin is the hot mama in the white top sitting cross-legged while she talks with the reporter. Check out how zen Calli is! And then there are always the inspirational ladies at Run Like a Mother, some of whom finish — and dominate! — races just weeks before their due dates.

I will say this: When my time to procreate arrives, I will most certainly make myself a shirt like the one I saw a runner wear several years ago. It stuck with me, mainly because she was in front of me pretty much the whole course. The shirt’s back read: “Eight months pregnant and STILL kicking your ass.”

November 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm 1 comment

Dogs on a Treadmill

Just because.

November 2, 2010 at 10:03 pm 1 comment

Out in the Haulosphere

I don’t know how many of you saw Marie Claire’s pretty horrible riff on Mike & Molly, the new CBS sitcom about two plus-size Overeaters Anonymous members in love. After Maura Kelly blogged about it last week for the magazine, the response was kind of insane. Check out “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room?” (scroll down to get to the post); you’ll also be able to read Kelly’s explanation/apology and the thousands of comments—both for and against—that followed.

You guys know that Haul Buns is all about your attitude and your willingness to work hard, and I could care less about your pants size or your bikini-readiness. But even the most upbeat of us gets a little body-conscious every now and then. Instead of going on and on about how stupid, bigoted, and incredibly harmful I think the Marie Claire piece is, I’ll instead highlight the thoughts of two awesome bloggers who occasionally swing by this site.

First, for those of you who missed Maggie’s comment on my wedding gown travails, check out her classy F-off to a Texas bridal boutique. (And when you have a minute, poke around both her wedding blog, Eat, Drink, Marry, and her all-kinds-of-awesome site, Freckled Citizen.) Maggie and I have been friends since college, and the only thing that keeps me from being insanely jealous of her talent, beauty, and wit is her kind heart and sweet self. (Plus, there’s a good chance she has some photos of me that I’d rather not see on the Interwebs.)

Then head over to Such a Pretty Face, where Carla Sosenko has a fantastic as-told-to piece about plus-size dating in this day and age. Carla regularly blogs and tweets about dating and body image, among other stuff, and her voice is wickedly funny and dead-on. (She’s also a hard-core copy editor, which means she’ll know whether I correctly hyphenated “dead-on” in the previous sentence. AND she has a ridiculously awesome sense of style, which means I covet her shoes on a regular basis.) Carla’s own story about trying to get guys to see past the superficial, What the Guys I Date Don’t Know, was published in Marie Claire earlier this year.

Once you’ve read, let the ladies know what you think!

November 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm 5 comments

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