#20 – Top Ten Reasons to Run at Work

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Lunch time running is a newfound love of mine. I always thought it was something that I just didn’t have time for. The idea of getting down to the locker room, getting changed, running, getting cleaned up and reassembled for work just seemed impossible. However, I quit wearing makeup about a year ago and I work in a casual office that is in easy walking distance of a lovely urban running path. So since I go to class after work three days a week and can’t run after class or in between work and class, and don’t want to get up super early to run after getting home late from class, these three weekdays are my lunch run days! Here’s my list of the top ten reasons I think it’s awesome:

1. It’s so beautiful outside. Today I saw a squirrel hanging out in the very top of a tree. I watched Cardinals and Blue jays and birds I couldn’t name just frolicking around. Yes, frolicking.

2. Sunlight. Maybe not full blown sunshine, but there’s something healing about getting out in the middle of the day in the winter. It’s not dark, it might even be sunny, and if it’s cold it’s probably still the warmest part of the day.

3. Air. Even in the city, outside air beats office air any day.

4. Sights. People, animals, nature, houses, just all sorts of things to look at besides the computer monitor.

5. Motivation. Only having about thirty minutes to run makes me run harder and really get a good workout.

6. Rejuvenation. I’ll work until 6 pm and then go to class from 7:20 until 10:00, drive home and get there at about 10:20. This mid day run helps me stay alert and cheerful throughout that whole long process. It’s like getting an injection of endorphins in the middle of the day.

7. Superiority. What did your co-workers do for lunch? You might keep this reason to yourself.

8. Showers. I love hot showers. Love them. Getting to take one in the middle of the day…for free…on a cold day? Yes please.

9. Reinforcement. This jaunt outside makes it easier to resist the fully stocked snack cabinet in my office. It’s great that free food is just around, but it’s not healthy. Knowing I’ve done something healthy for lunch makes it easier to pretend there aren’t any Nutterbutters or Oreos in that kitchen.

10. Time. I don’t have to worry about getting up early tomorrow. I don’t have to worry about squeezing in a run somewhere else. The run is done, man!

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ten that leap to mind for me!

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#18 – Inspirational Movies

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Since school and work take up most of my time, it’s hard to pin down the time and energy to see movies these days. There are a few standbys that I have loved since I was little – Gone With the Wind probably tops that list. I took my boyfriend and his thirteen year old daughter to see it when it was in theaters for its 75th anniversary recently. The first time I saw it I was ten, and I watched it with my Grandma. I wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara more than I had ever wanted to be anything in my short life. Her bravery, her wits, and her almost otherworldly beauty just thrilled me. I watched that movie so many times growing up that I remember when the meaning of certain parts actually sank in for the first time. When Rhett carries Scarlett up the stairs to her bedroom and she wakes up giddy the next morning? When I was ten I didn’t really get it. As a teenager I thought it was dirty but didn’t really get it. As an adult I was a little outraged that this beloved movie of mine was glamorizing a man forcing himself on a woman – regardless of marital status or the love between them or whatever. Now I just remind myself that there isn’t really any battle to be fought there. 1939 was a long time ago.

I read the sequel as a teen and just loved it. I read the book Gone With the Wind around the same time and loved it just as much. It was so wonderful to see these characters as Mitchell wrote them. To go through so much more than they were able to show in the movie and get all these details, large and small, that made every character more real and more sympathetic.

I remember the first time I watched the movie, my Grandma shushed me and said, “Pay attention. This is where she makes her speech”. And Scarlett stands up against that red sky, with her fist full of red earth held over her head and says, “…If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. I’ll never be hungry again! No, nor any of my kin!” It still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

When we walked out of the theater with my boyfriend’s daughter, I asked what they thought. They both HATED Scarlett. They thought she was cruel and manipulative and just a terrible human being. I was so shocked to hear them say that, but then I realized that I’ve had twenty years to get to know Scarlett O’Hara. I’ve read the book more times, seen the movie more times, and watched more making of documentaries than a person should, really. Yes, she was mean and manipulative. She lied, she took advantage, and did business with bad people. But she did it to survive and to make sure everyone around her survived. Everyone talks about how selfless Melanie was, but there is very little difference between her and Scarlett. Scarlett simply had the physical strength and the guts that Melanie lacked.

Even after all these years, Gone With the Wind and Scarlett still inspire me.