Monday, November 28, 2011

Ode to Other Crooked Runners

On Saturday mornings when I go for my long run along the beach, I see lots of people: tourists and locals, young and old, families and singletons. Lots of wonderful dogs. Lots of people working out. But only a few people really fill me with joy and they aren’t tourists or happy grandparents with their grandchildren, no sir.
The crooked runners fill me the joy. Not the fastest, fittest runners. Not the tan women, with tiny waists and big chests, decked out in black Nike spandex. Not the beautiful young couples: French and shiny, on vacation and out for a jog.
No, I like the most desperate people: mostly older, mostly graying men who limp, who favor one side, who breathe so heavily they sound like they’re about to die. The guys who are all about guts and a little bit about glory. People who run, everyday, even though it hurts and their joints are creaky and one shoulder hangs lower than the other. People who run for something far beyond losing weight or looking good, people who have no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Flash: Do you buy Lululemon?

Until I heard this piece on NPR I pronounced this company Lulu MOON. Funny, huh?

I've never purchased anything so fancy for exercise, and definitely won't now.

Sigh, I wish running was still low-tech, sustainable 1970's style.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Anglo Afternoon

I knew something positive would come of this achy hip business and although this was only the second of my Anglo Fridays I think I’m going to make them a habit.

Throughout these 11 years of living in Spain I've been diligent about integrating: learning both official languages, following local politics; I’ve pretty been strict about not living an ex-pat lifestyle. For years I hardly even had any English-speaking friends. By leaving America, I had said good-bye to all that. And even now, I live my day-to-day life as a foreigner but amongst the Catalans. I am perhaps an interloper, but an integrated one.

But, sometimes, it’s nice to come down off my high horse and surround myself with English speakers and American food. Sometimes, after a week of working for a nationalist government, when it’s not even your nation, you need to speak your own language and talk about your own cultural icons. Just for a few hours you need, well, a womb-like sensation of comfort and love. Yeah, I know that sounds dramatic, but living in a foreign country can be alienating, no matter how nice the weather is.

So, starting last week Friday lunch hour is my little break from the clipped rhythm of Catalan. At 2:15 I leave work and take the metro up to Gràcia, to Studio Australia, which I have renamed near wild heaven. After two classes with Natalia, I’m not sure that I can actuallyfeel my pelvic floor, but I do know that I’m thinking about my body differently, and noticing micro-tilts as I run, and that I trust her in a way that I haven’t trusted anyone new in quite a while. Maybe, it’s the Australian accent, which I interpret as familarly Irish but healthier.

Today I left the Studio at 3:30, feeling flexible, but hungry and as I rushed down to the metro station what did I see but, lo and behold, a bagel shop! I don’t think I’ve had a bagel in about two years. So I got a carrot juice and poppy-seed bagel with real cream cheese and still got back to work on time.