Battle of the Sports Bra

Thursday, July 7, 2016

While running in this heat and humidity is an accomplishment in itself, I think the true victory is getting the sports bra off. Cheers to all the ladies.

Guys and gals, you know how incredibly sticky you are post run. The moment you finish your workout the sweat explodes out of your pores like a waterfall. You're so wet and slick you could glide perfectly across a dry slip and slide mat.

As you take the next 15 minutes to cool down and stretch, your skin begins to dry and the salty, stickiness arrives.

Bug carcasses press against your chest where they ended the lives. Your compression shorts are attached to your legs as if they were cement. Your socks are socked. Your dri fit shirt is the only thing you know will easily come off. Your heart rate returns to normal, you pick yourself up off the sidewalk where your soaked body leaves a body/ass sweat mark, and you look forward to the most glorious reward at the end of every hot summer sizzling run....a cold shower.

As you walk to the bathroom, removing your shoes, socks, shorts, top, you have one final step. THE SPORTS BRA.

Step 1: It is at that moment your worst nightmare arrives. Your sports bra is attached to you like a suction cup...With all your might you pull the left under boob/cup portion away from your body to be able to maneuver your left arm into the slot directly next to your sports bra and side boob...a slot tight on a normal sticky workout day, but this slot on a summer-y ridiculous workout day is like shoving your hand down the small portion of your car seat and center consul when you drop your cell phone by accident. IT'S AWFUL, IT SUCKS. And that is only Step 1.

Step 2: Once left arm is in slot, you use your right hand to start removing bra away from your slotted arm and body. Instead of going over your head in one easy swipe, your sports bra rolls up your arm and chest, laying there stuck as it sits across your breasts. Your right arm turns into a contortionist as you try to peel away the bra off your back to keep that section from rolling. After 3 minutes of fighting like two pigs under a blanket,  you're almost home free.

Step 3: Removal. After fighting the back, side and front boob sweat, your bra is almost there. One more good YANK and the puppies are free. At this point, you're exhausted, forget the water is even running in the shower and you look forward to spending the rest of the evening bra-less - letting the girls just "hang" because the effort of reapplying a bra post-shower when you are sticky and wet from cleaning off is EXACTLY the same amount of effort as putting it on. (Ask my mom, she tore her elbow tendon getting ready for an evening out. Had to get surgery. #TrueStory). 

On a side note: Rewind to Tuesday night. I did a brick workout where I did speed work on the track followed by a swim. Have you ever tried putting on a one piece bathing suit AFTER your run? Nearly fucking impossible. I've never had so much trouble in my LIFE -- you think a bra is hard, getting the fabric over your legs, stomach, chest AND back is horrible. I wanted to curl up into a ball in the handicap stall and cry, but I thought the girls high school water polo players in the bathroom with me would have laughed at me.

So today's conclusion... you ladies are amazing. If you have a bad run or things aren't going your way, just know after you take off your sports bra, you're a winner regardless in my book.

Until next run...

V is for View from the Single Lane

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I’ve only known Vickie for less than a year, but I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. It is pretty crazy how people come into your life and make such an IMPACT the moment you meet. Her positive energy, drive for life and humor are only a FEW of my favorite things. From bike riders, running, and drinking beer, she's one of the best friends to have on YOUR team. Today, Vickie takes us into the single world and she explains her life perfectly. Keep being that social butterfly.

V is for View from the Single Lane
By Vickie Reinecker 

I feel like I should start this piece off with a disclaimer.  “If you, the reader, are in a relationship of any kind that precludes you from defining yourself as single, please know that I am happy for you!  I am in no way discounting your lifestyle by seemingly bragging about mine.”

Okay, with that said, my (single) life ROCKS!  That statement, that truth, was a long time in coming.  As a young girl, I had the typical boyfriend/husband/motherhood dreams that my friends had; that my parents, in their close-minded “don't you dare be different” mentality, were sure would happen for their little girl. My parents should have had a clue that this “American dream” might not happen since I was notorious for not following “the rules”!

Labeled at an early age as a social butterfly in a disparaging way by a teacher, I was admittedly more interested in talking and socializing than in my studies.  That “flaw” would become the foundation of strength that got me to this point in my life.

When it became apparent in my mid-thirties that “the one” might not exist for me (much to the dismay of friends who continuously set me up on dates after a long-term relationship ended at age 28), I took serious inventory of my current status.  Was it possible to be happy on my own?  All of the people in my world were in pairs.  I'd be the odd man out.  The third wheel.  If a relationship/marriage/kids were not in my future, what then?
The answer was yes!  That social butterfly “flaw” meant that I was blessed to have maintained many of the friendships that otherwise would have gotten lost in the aftermath of a long-term keep some, you lose some.  I realized, in the most cliché way, that I was the master of my destiny.  My happiness was my choice!  And I chose to be happy whether in a relationship or single.  As fate would have it, thank goodness I did because I've been single for more years than I've been part of a couple!

This epiphany came at a time that my closest friends were having children.  What timing!  Need a date night?  Call Vic!  Sleep deprived from walking the floor with the newest addition?  Call Vic!  She'll sleep over and get up with that little munchkin all night long!  I loved those years!  I got the good and not so good aspects of babies/toddlers and developed the best Aunt VeeVee relationship with six of this planet's most awesome kids, who are now almost all teenagers, starting to drive, date, etc.  Maybe it's time for me to enforce some distance...just kidding kiddos!!

All along, I have never felt that I was missing out on something.  That's a typical misconception of some couples, by the way.  How can you be happy single?  See how happy we are?  Don't you want this happiness?  I've had a “taste” of that happiness and let's just say we aren't all destined to like the same thing--kind of like pizza toppings!
I also got good, in my opinion, at being “that” friend.  The go-to friend.  The listener.  The sympathizer/empathizer.  I believe that because my day-to-day life is as drama-free as one can get, I have the extra capacity to listen, love, support and empower.  Not that I'm better than anyone else, I just have the luxury of being available and accessible when a friend calls.  You get 100% because nothing else is taking up my time and I acknowledge how blessed I am that that is my reality!  Had a tough day at work and need a drink and an ear to vent to and your other friends are running kids to practice/games, making dinner, etc.?  Call Vic!  Chances are she'll make you go for a run before that drink, but hey, it can't all be about you!!

A friend once sent me a meme that said, “It's not that I'm bad at relationships, I'm just incredibly good at being single!”, and the moment I decided to be happy no matter my relationship status was when I realized what I was good at...friendship!  My single status has blessed me with more in-depth friendships, not just acquaintances, and those friendships are my world.  Just like your spouse or your kids or your career are yours.  I can honestly say that while I am alone, I am not lonely.  Read that again.  I did.  It brings me to tears of joy to realize that I don't just say that flippantly but in all honestly.  It's especially true this past year.  So many ups and downs (not drama, just life) and the people I have met through running have, in my opinion, been the reward for my hard work!

I have an awesome life!  It just happens to be a single life and I am more than okay with that!  So if you encounter a “single by choice” person, please do not assume that something is wrong with them or that they can't possibly be that happy alone!  Instead, grab a net and capture that social butterfly!  I promise you, she will be the friend to change your view!

Q is for quest … and question.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hi, I’m Nona Breaux and in a moment of weakness volunteered to help out Amanda by taking the letter Q. I’m no stranger to writing, having worked at The Reporter for more than 38 years -- yes, I’m that old -- before retiring at the end of 2011.

However,  it’s been a bit since I’ve actually sat down and tried to put pen to paper -- or make that word to computer.

But here goes!

Q is for quest … and question.

I don’t care how old I might be, I don’t think I will ever stop being on some quest on another -- and

I’ll never stop questioning what the heck is going on in this world, where exactly am I going, how did I get to be as relatively lucky as I have been in life or how I have survived some really horrific events and resolved to continue moving on.

When you think about it, we’re all on our own quests and probably we’re part of other people’s journeys and various causes as well. I can’t say that I have some magnificent goal to change the world; that I ever thought I’d find the cure for cancer; or that I’d be a changing force in anyone’s life. I doubt that I’ll be long remembered by other than a few family members and maybe a friend or two after I shuffle off this mortal coil; but I also hope I haven’t sat quietly by, saying nothing that might have made a difference here or there during my lifetime.

When I was growing up and living on a small farm, there were always plenty of animals in my life. I got my first pony when I was 3 or 4, graduated to a horse at about age 12, was involved in 4-H with cows, pigs and chickens, and always was surrounded by cats and dogs -- not to mention other farm critters.

And so I think my first quest was to become a veterinarian. I could just picture myself healing cats and dogs, horses and cows. I would be known far and wide as that woman vet who had a way with any critter.

Then I got to high school and encountered chemistry. I truly had to question my quest at that point, when it was more than obvious that this was not my strong suit. It was tough to give up that particular quest and to question what in the world would be any alternative.

It turned out that my years in college, working on the campus newspaper and truly loving to write would lead to my long career at The Reporter.

I certainly started at the bottom -- working in the morgue (library), writing weddings and engagements, handling rewrites and the like. But again I was on a quest, and editor Dick Shearer gave me the chance to cover municipal meetings. There was no looking back. I stopped questioning my career choice and, happily, was able to work my way up to various editor positions, holding the rank of executive editor when I retired.

During that quest there were so many changes in the world of journalism -- I actually worked on a manual typewriter at first, then an electric one, then finally a computer. The tech world changed everything, and at the end of that career I was handling our web page, Facebook page, Twitter feed and texts, plus the “normal” paper journalism.

Retiring led to another question -- what now? And the quest changed back to my original love -- animals and the world of veterinarians. I certainly could not actually be a vet, but I was so fortunate to land a job behind the scenes at Harleysville Veterinary Hospital. Front-desk work, appointments, cleanup (yes, pets DO have accidents at the vet), phones, helping out wherever needed -- I no longer had to question what would fill my day.

After about four years there, I decided to answer another question/quest -- travel. So once again I retired (although I still sub in at the vet) and had the great good luck to head to Germany with a longtime friend. Two weeks in a country where I had never ventured before proved beyond awesome. I had fulfilled another quest -- one that has left me hungry for more adventures.

Through this rambling, I want to encourage everyone to never stop questioning what they can do, what they want to do, what they should do. I have started volunteering again with Stray Cat Blues, helping kitties that need forever homes. I’ve joined a book club. I’ll never run like Amanda does, but I sweat through workout DVDs and hit the treadmill with music blaring. I sometimes feel like I’m running my own geriatric cat hospital at home, since my critters mostly are in the senior range, some with health challenges.

It’s still a shock to look in the mirror and realize how many decades have somehow flown by. But there’s no point in questioning that too much. It is what it is.

What I won’t do is end my quest for new adventures, for opportunities to help others, for ways to stay active and continue to educate myself.

I also won’t stop questioning injustices, prejudices, bigotry or the motives of those trying to destroy this great nation.

I hope you will do the same -- find a quest worthy of yourself and never stop asking those important questions.

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