Laughter & Maryment

My Photo
Location: Tampa, Florida, United States

A girl living in Tampa Bay for the last 11 years. I mostly fill my time with friends, creative hobbies like community theater and arts and crafts, movies and tv, and other random fun things to try.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why I run

Running, running, running.

So as I was leaving the Fit2Run at International Mall on Monday, it occurred to me that running, like many of my hobbies before it, has become quite expensive.  I have nice running shoes, 3 running skirts from SparkleSkirts, headbands, specific running socks, bamboo running shirts, a running hoodie (for our long and dark winter here in Tampa, Florida), and now a GPS watch. 

I have to say that the SparkleSkirts are very cool.  They have lots of pockets, which are hard to come by in running gear.  They fit nicely and comfortably and I like the way they look.  This is even despite the strange comment I got on Wednesday when I wore one to Running for Brews.  Yes, it's kind of costume-y.  But it's shiny (hello, high-visibility) and green and did I MENTION THE POCKETS?  They are not cheap, but they're made locally in Lakeland and they are very well-made.  I wear mine pretty much every time I go out.  I really hate how short running shorts are and the weird underwear-things in them.  The skirts feel modest and are comfy in this climate.

The GPS watch was more of a gadgety want.  I've tried different running apps on the phone, but there is always something wanting there.  The phone GPS and location is not very accurate.  You have to strap the big old smartphone to your arm, and then when you're sweaty, the screen is hard to use.  And none of the apps seem to do all of the things I want them to do -- varied intervals, GPS and pace tracking, etc.  So I did some shopping and settled on the perfect device. 

But I don't run for the stuff, of course.  So why am I out there?

The first reason is actually social.   It is actually a very good excuse to get out of the house and gossip and gab with my friends.  The so-far established geek girls who run on Saturdays are a core of friends I love to talk to.  We have our fandoms and books we read in common.  We enjoy talking movies and comics, and even geekier stuff like science and feminism.  They are a great support team.  We are doing a lot of events together too -- Disney races and some others around Central Florida.  When some are doing events and others are not, we go and cheer each other on.  The hotel stays and weekends away are not cheap either, but the companionship is more than worth it.

Then there's the fitness and exercise reasons.  I'm over 30 now, and I'm not as trim as I used to be.  Running helps me stay at a comfortable size and fitness level.  A couple years ago, I was facing changing my wardrobe or losing weight.  The latter was the best option for my health and my pocketbook.

There is also a comfort in being as physically tired as you are mentally.  In the past couple of years, the bulk of my job has turned more into helping my team and colleagues figure out what to do about the problems we have.  I always enjoyed the partnership with customers and reveled in the orderliness of my to-do lists and process maps.  But I am at a point where I leave a lot of that to others while I work on even harder and more complex problems than before.  All that can just leave you so drained and mentally wrung out.  A good run, where there's nothing to do but count breaths, can really take you out of yourself.  And on a night when your brain is more likely to keep you awake trying to mull over all the outstanding problems, an exhausted body can allow you to get the rest you need. 

Then there are the medals.  I have a running buddy who says there's no point in running a race that doesn't offer a medal.  While I don't require a physical medal at the end of each race, I do get that feeling of accomplishment, even when I just finished a 5k.  I did that.  I got up at 5AM (or earlier sometimes) and I got to the finish line with nothing but my shoes and usually, my friends. 

If you'd told me 5 years ago that I would take up running, I wouldn't have believed you.  Heck, my parents still don't believe me!  But I'm glad I have.  It's a wonderful thing.

2014 update -- Are you still out there?

Wow.  3 years of silence.  The last time I wrote, I had no idea it would be that long.  It's time to get back to it.  The more I've thought over the last week, the more I know that I need to revive this old thing. 

Lots have changed since the last time I wrote.  Eric & I are living together (and we're engaged) in my condo near USF.  I'm now the Assistant Director of Application Development at USF Health IS and I'm leading a small team of business analysts and testers. 

I'm doing a lot of running these days.  I never thought I'd take it up, but here I am, doing at least a few miles a week with good friends at social runs like Running for Brews Tampa and Geek Girls Run Tampa.  Anne Jones started the latter as an affiliate of a group we ran with in Atlanta at DragonCon 2013 and it's a small but dedicated group of social runner geeks. 

I'm knitting a lot.  Got a blue ribbon at the Strawberry Festival for my first lace shawl project.  It is quite a beauty.  I really need to get some good photos of it.

I'm working on different cosplay projects with Anne and Linda and Tamarah.  We are doing a range of things from Steampunk, genre and fandom cross-overs, and running cosplay costumes.  This is causing me to learn more about my sewing machine and honing other craft skills while giving me an outlet for the creative ideas.

Things are going well.  As Marilyn Michele reminded me recently, though, happiness is a bit boring.  But I am enjoying it.

So here we are, in 2014, picking up this old thread.  Dust it off and keep moving, I guess.