Friday, May 30, 2014


Last week, Girl Doll was watching a TV show called Catfish. She explained the premise of the show, and what the term 'catfishing' meant: people who falsely represent themselves on social media or online chat rooms. The TV show exposes people who have misrepresenting themselves, and they are confronted by the person/s they've duped in front of a studio audience. 

Although it's a fascinating study in human behavior, it was impossible for me to watch more than a few minutes. It was excruciating to watch people try and work through their betrayal, and to see the people who had falsely represented themselves try and justify their behavior.

A favorite blogger of mine hosts a community forum on her blog where people can offer support and ask questions about a wide range of topics, from parenting and pets to writing and travel. And then one day, it happened: a woman who claimed to have five children and a husband dying of cancer -- and who had numerous holes in her online story -- was called out by another member. The community exploded, and a debate ensued. Maybe she was telling the truth...and how bad would we all feel if we had wrongly accused her? How much did it really cost the rest of us to show kindness, even if she wasn't telling the truth? For most people, they took the deception with a grain of salt; you never truly know who you're 'talking' to online.

I recently had this conversation with my hairstylist. She made an interesting point about what a small world it was anymore, and that people frequently made connections with others online. She went on to say, "It doesn't just happen online, though. People misrepresent themselves all the time. I could be completely putting you on and be a totally different person than you think I am." She makes a good point, although it's not really something you want to hear from someone holding razor-sharp scissors two inches from your eye. 

My kids are in a band, and I manage their band's Instagram account. Their page has followers from as far away as Iran and Australia. Seeing photos and comments is an interesting insight into the lives of teenagers. One follower wrote that he/she wished they had been born in the 70's or 80's, because music was so much better then, and that 'my generation will probably be seen as a bunch of lazy idiots addicted to their smart phones.' Maybe, but maybe not. Many of the comments and photos are poignant, endearing and refreshing. 

However, many photos are incredibly disturbing. That's the trouble with the internet: there is some stuff you just can't unsee. I've come across drug use, graphic images and nudity, even pornography. It's terrifying to think my kids are navigating in this online world, and I feel like I am fighting a losing battle by trying to shield them from some pretty heavy shit. 

One of the band's followers is a 15-year old girl that posts things like, "Name a food in the comments, and I won't eat it for a month." She has recently posted several photos of herself covered in blood, after taking a razor blade and cutting her upper arms. The caption? 'I don't know if I can do this anymore. Goodbye.' It is enormously disturbing. I mean, where the fuck are her parents? 

I showed the image to Girl Doll, and she told me to leave it alone. Her wisdom was that it was likely a fake account, and at minimum she was just trolling for attention. Aside from reporting the image to Instagram, there wasn't really anything we could do. I was incredibly concerned, although the girl went on to post a photo the next morning with a QOTD (question of the day) about what her favorite song currently was, as if the previous post had never happened. Maybe it's all bullshit, and this is a classic case of catfishing - but even if it isn't, it's not my job to swoop in and save people on the internet. 

The whole thing makes me feel very old.

Monday, May 26, 2014


I mentioned back in January that I finally joined a running group. Despite having run two full marathons and almost 20 half marathons, I have never had a formal coach. Plus, this group uses a kinder, gentler training program called the Galloway Method

Established by Olympian Jeff Galloway, the training program uses a less-is-more approach to running: two 30-45 minute maintenance runs, two cross training days, and one long run that progressively increased in mileage each week. The long run includes walk intervals, with the walk/run ratio determined by each runner's average pace. My ratio was four minutes, walk one minute.

This was really hard for me to buy into at first. Only three days of running? You have to be kidding. When I trained for my marathons, I was running 5 days a week, and logging around 40 miles a week at the peak of my training. I suffered from bulging discs afterwards, but hey! I was a marathoner, right? The notion of walking goes against every fiber of my being; every time I took walking breaks previous to this training method, it sabotaged my remaining mileage. The rest of the run was sluggish or I ended up walking more than I ran - that is, if I was able to keep running at all. 

The key is to use a wristwatch with an interval timer, and only walk for 60 seconds. During the information meeting, Coach Rob explained the premise behind the walk intervals. It flushes out the lactic acid from the muscles, which shortens post-run recovery time. Also, and surprisingly, it improves performance. A person who runs 5 miles without stopping will actually finish slower than a runner who breaks up their mileage with walking intervals would.     

Coach Rob went on to discuss the basics of running, and laid out all the stuff I had to learn the hard way...right there at the information meeting, for free. Hydration, wicking fabric, and proper shoe fit were all covered. Had I gotten a coach 13 years earlier, I could have spared a half-dozen toenails and much chafing. My apologies for the visual.

I had also hoped that the running group would make me more accountable. Typically, training for an event gets me out running. But as I've gotten older, creakier - and more likely, lazier - training for a race has proved to be less of a motivator. After running fewer than five training runs for my last (miserable) half marathon, I knew the motivation of a race alone was no longer sufficient. I hoped to make some new friends, and even possibly find a running partner. We met each Saturday for 12 weeks, training for a half marathon called Mountains2Beach. 

Warning. Rant ahead. 

Mountains2Beach? The absence of spaces make me spitting mad. I mean, really. It reads like a bad text. You know, back in the day when everyone had crappy data plans? Everyone was limited to a ridiculously low number of characters, and had2resort2usingnumbers&nospaces4brevity

The running group planned on meeting in a designated spot prior to the start time. It was so wedged with bodies, aside from briefly running into the other coach, Tom -- who is just about the nicest person ever, and also happens to have the most magnificent arm hair and Caucasian afro -- I saw no one else from our running group.

Coincidentally, my best girl's friend Dana, who ran Dirty Girl and the Warrior Dash with us, was also running this race with her sister. We discussed meeting up at the race on Facebook, and I was able to connect with them. I figured we would chat a few minutes post-race, and then we would part ways once the race began. I was pleasantly surprised that they ran my pace, and we ended up running the whole race together. It was nice to have company, especially during one isolated stretch with an abandoned factory filled and rusty silos, 'Look kids! That's where you go to get hepatitis!' Dana proved to have a wicked fun sense of humor. 

The last three miles were pretty hard; there was so much concrete that my hips, hamstrings and knees were screaming. There came a point over the last mile where we saw runners looping back, but the turnaround wan't visible. For a moment, I panicked that we had missed it...and were actually on the full marathon course. We came into the last half-mile, and Dana's sister Breanna pulled ahead of us. I can say with certainty if I wasn't running with Dana, I would have broken and walked. As my friend Ange would say, it was a ride on the struggle bus - but we finished together with a time of 2:34:08. 

It turns out I did make a new friend and meet a running partner, after all. If all goes according to plan, we'll run the Star Wars half marathon at Disneyland together in January.

Right before the race...Go Babydoll!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bay to Breakers

Last Sunday was Bay to Breakers. I got to run this 12k with one of my lovelies, Dee.

Dee and I have been friends for almost 40 years. We went to grade school together and she is the only friend I've had that my mom forbid me to see; anytime we were together, trouble closely followed. Since then, we've both grown up. We each got married, had children and got our proverbial shit together. I have the honor of being her son's Godmother. It's fair to say that I absolutely adore Dee, and I'm enormously grateful for her friendship. 

We have been planning this race for almost 6 months. For those that don't know, Bay to Breakers is one of the oldest footraces, and probably one of the most eccentric as well. It's known for outrageous costumes and rampant nudity. As the name implies, the race begins at San Francisco Bay and travels through the city, past the Height district and through Golden Gate Park, before ending at the ocean. 

I suggested matching outfits, thinking we could wear capes or wings. Matching socks, maybe? Dee suggested Zombie Prom Queens, because...obviously.

Sashes and prom dresses were purchased, and corsages were ordered well in advance so they had a time to dry for that quintessential undead look. I found an inexpensive full-length gown for $25 at Forever 21. Several friends asked me if it was hard to run in a dress, but I took every precaution to ensure my race was a chafe-free experience; I was quite the spectacle in the changing room as I put my prom dress to the test. To the amusement of the staff, I ran in place, jumped around and then did a quick series of 'mountain climbers'. My dress passed with flying colors. 
If you stumble across my dressing room antics on YouTube
or Vine, be sure to let me know. Kick, stretch...and kick!
I arrived in the Bay Area on Friday night, and the next afternoon we set about to ruining our dresses. Taking scissors to a perfectly good dress, and hearing the tearing sound as we ripped fabric was enough to make both of us cringe - but we were equal to the task. We rubbed our gowns in dirt, and then sprayed them with fake blood. The finishing touches were splattering the sashes and tights with 'blood', and we were all set to rock and roll.

You'll see by the pictures that we did more photo-ops than actual running, although 'lurching' was more accurate as we worked the crowd. There were even spectators cooking up grilled cheesies and burgers for the runners! This event is a must-do for any runner looking for something alternative to add to their list of races.

Here are highlights from our race. Enjoy!

Babydoll waiting for BART
with a bag of brains. As you do.
We were a bit of a spectacle on the train ride into the city.
Our chaperon in orange was dressed as Jim Carey's
Lloyd Christmas. In real life, he's Dee's brother. 
We made a batch of jello brains just for the occasion.
I'm happy to share my receipe...just ask!
We caught up with Ms. Pac Man later in the race
as she weaved back and forth through
runners...while being chased by ghosts. Did I mention that this
race is known for nudity? 
Billy Ray and Miley, y'all!
Wonder Woman and her magnificent beard.
These girls took, like, a hundred
selfies before the start of the race.
For once, I'm not exaggerating.
Magically delicious! Aside from being green,  I'm not sure
how their shirts figure into a leprechaun theme, but
regardless: Darth Vader trimming topiary kicks ass.
'Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to run a 12k we go!'
Their felt beards were clever and adorable.
Carbo loading!
Magnificent! Our dresses are the same color, yo.
Those boots! Such awesomeness.
Tony the Tiger says 'They're grrrrreat!'
::thumbs up::
I have a fever. And the only prescription is...MORE COWBELL.
Why yes, those are Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles! *cough*
I did mention this race was
known for nudity, yes?
This is such a clever costume. I'm also loving the photo bomb
inside a photo bomb. That's some next-level shit.
A taste of Milwaukee, which is coincidentally
where my cohort Dee hails from. PBR!
Warning: The man holding
this sign is an ASSHOLE. 
Babydoll and Elvi

My fabulous friend. I heart Deirdre!