Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Want It All, and I Want It Now

I've stopped shopping.

This is huge. I am a shopper. I love to shop. LOVE IT. I even worked for several years as a mystery shopper, being paid to shop, and it was the greatest job ever. My absolute favorite present is a gift card because it's two gifts in one--the gift of whatever I buy with it, and the gift of shopping. The thrill of the hunt, finding a bargain, the rush of bringing home something new and pretty--it's pretty much my favorite hobby.

But after Christmas and my birthday, after I actually had difficulty spending the money and gift cards I got as gifts, after we ran out of hangers in our closet, I realized that . . . I'm done. I just cannot justify buying one more thing, not clothes or purses or shoes or tights or workout gear . . . I don't need any more. So I've sworn off shopping for 2011.

(Okay, so I haven't STOPPED shopping; I've just hung it up for a year. But H&M's online store goes live in 2012 and let's face it: there is no way on earth I can say no to that.)

The first month was pretty easy. I unsubscribed from all the store email lists so I wouldn't be tempted by daily announcements of Big Sales. When I went to Target I avoided the women's clothing section altogether. I enjoyed wearing my new things from the big shopping spree I'd had right after Christmas. I shopped my own closet, putting together new combinations from things I hadn't worn in a while. But now, spring is on the way and I can't avoid seeing articles about Christian Siriano's new line at Target, or how flared jeans are in for spring, or that Nordstrom Rack just opened an online store. I do have three gift cards from my birthday that I'm saving for a rainy day, but let's face it: those won't last long in my hot little hands. Certainly not until December!

So I'm taking it one day at a time. Instead of taking advantage of The Limited's 40% off sale (they have a circle skirt like I've been wanting for months! on sale!) I'm posting here. Instead of cruising Old Navy's website to see if I can pick up some t-shirts for summer (great for layering!) I'm reading blogs about how to combine necklaces and bracelets to make new, chunky pieces. It'll get more difficult as the year goes on--turns out, it's a hard habit to break--but I've got to stop buying. It's no good for my budget, for my overstuffed closet, or for the example that I'm trying to set for my daughters.

Although, Number One is only half a shoe size away from mine. If she grows just a tiny bit, that would justify more shoes that we can SHARE! That would be a real bargain . . . right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We're All Winners!

Well. Who would have thought? A little over a week ago, I finished a half marathon--me, the nonathlete, the one always picked last for every PE team, the one who hates exercise. Go, me.

But this post isn't about the Triumph of It All. This is about Why I'm Not Doing It Again. Next year, when my co-workers try to persuade me to register, I shall read this post and remind myself, "Self, you do not want to do that again. Once was plenty."

The worst of it was the training. For me, short runs are fine; longer runs of 7 or 8 or 9 miles are awful. They're so tiring, it takes away half my day--and on busy weekends, I can't easily spare a half day. Then there's the guilt during the week when I miss a lunchtime run (or two) and the worry that I'll suffer for the lack of preparation . . . ugh. I'd rather just pull on my shoes and head out on a nice day for the fun of it, and feel good afterward instead of feeling like my hips are falling off (or wishing they would).

The start of the race was a pain--I was jostled and pushed and shoved and completely irritated by the end of the first mile. For a while I ran with my elbows out, half hoping to catch someone's teeth as they pushed past without so much as an "on your left."

The race itself went much faster than I'd expected. The previous weekend's 10-mile training slog felt soooo slooooww, and at the end of it I wondered how in the world I'd ever do another three miles on top of it. But during the race there was so much to see that time just slipped by. I saw GrandBob and the girls at mile 4--Special was up on his shoulders and I spotted them in plenty of time to cross to their side of the road and give out high fives. I knew I'd see them with Batman at mile 7, and that kept me trucking along for the next three miles. After mile 7 I REALLY needed a port-a-potty, and during the two miles that it took to find one I was afraid to walk. (I REALLLLYYY needed that port-a-potty.)

After my little break, I knew Batman and company would be at mile 10, and I was so anxious to see them that I only walked once, up a steep hill for about 30-40 seconds to give my hips a break. Batman was so shocked to see me at mile 10; I don't think he expected me to be as (relatively) fast as I was. Then before I knew it I was at mile 11, and when I looked at my watch and did the math and realized I could finish in under 2-1/2 hours, well--there was no stopping. There was also no speeding up; I tried that and immediately slowed back down to my regular pace. But when the finish line came into view, I grinned and gunned it and finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 14 seconds. Approximately.

And then I died. Well, not right away--I ate a banana and some trail mix and got my medal (not a half medal! a whole one!) and my t-shirt, and texted Batman and called GrandBob and found him and the girls; GrandBob took me home and I put on my most comfortable clothes and sat down, and THEN I died. My legs! My hips! My abs! My feet! Everything hurt and ached and there may have been some whining. It took a couple of days for the limping to go away.

I'm glad that I did it--so, so glad. For me, it was a huge accomplishment and one I never expected to even try. But I've done it, and I didn't embarrass myself, and now it's time to try something different. Perhaps competitive 5Ks. I think I can do well for my age group!