Running into the Headwinds of Life, Abs Challenge, and Three Films


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As I was out running on Sunday there was a strong wind blowing into me most of the time – it seemed to shift just to oppose me. Because it was warm it helped keep me cool, but it was strong enough to make my run harder. As I was heading home I was thinking of those headwinds as a metaphor. Or maybe I was thinking of metaphors after crying my way through watching ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. Whatever …

Running into the Headwinds of Life

I mentioned that my first run in the new Saucony Kinvara 4 was on Thursday … evening. If you follow this blog at all you know that an evening run is rare, very rare. It happens, sure – just not often. Thursday was one of those days I had given up on – I slept in, ready to take a rest day.

But Thursday late afternoon I left work a bit early to sit home and deal with our health insurance. We had a few bills stacked up, and even a couple of dental bills when all we’d done is basic check-ups. I was on the phone more than TWO HOURS between dental and medical and ‘claims specialists’ and the obligatory couple of ‘hold disconnects’. Given how basically healthy the four of us are, all of those little deductibles and co-insurances and New York’s huge medical bill taxes add up quickly.

Going for a run doesn’t change the money we have to pay, nor the reality of our health coverage and how it penalizes hospital usage just as more of the doctor offices in the area combine with hospital labs to save money … no it doesn’t alter that stuff at all. Nor is it ‘running away’ – the issues have been dealt with, now it is a matter of paying the bills and filing appeals in a couple of cases.

My run was a way for me to clear my head, to get in my exercise for the day, and to just take the time to get my ‘mental house in order’. I released all of the stress and frustration in what has become a great source of ‘active meditation’ for me.

Similarly Laura (I actually stole ‘active meditation’ from her) shared her frustration dealing with insurance and a bank … and live-blogged another run. She discusses how she was THIS close to a food binge – something that when she said it I felt in the pit of my stomach. I haven’t had one or wanted one in the last couple of years, but it is something that I fear – both as the event itself and how I would likely have an extreme counter-reaction.

My point is that it is important to develop these coping skills – I am lucky that I also had an amazing date night Friday and weekend with Lisa that was just so close and connected and wonderful.


The 30 Day Ab Challenge

I decided to do Megan’s 30-Day Ab Challenge … which of course starts today!

Today’s challenge? 20 reps each of:
– Crunches
– Bicycle crunches
– Scissor kicks
– Leg raise
– Hip lifts

Then a 1 minute plank (I chose ‘intermediate’ like a fool). Which is amazingly hard for something that looks so easy. Ugh … now I get to do it all again tomorrow!

10 Day You Challenge

OK, so now I am up to Day 8, and the theme is Three Movies. Lisa and I had a great chat, and she fairly quickly nailed my top three, then we went through each other’s top 10. For me, the Top 5 would round out with ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Willie Wonka’ (the real one). Then comes things like ‘2001’, ‘Close Encounters’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and some Woody Allen stuff. But I had to choose just three! So here goes …

Day Eight: Three Movies

1. Star Wars – For me, Star Wars is an obvious choice. It is amazing to think that in 1977 a movie would stay in the theater long enough to see it a year later. And I did – I saw it a dozen times in theaters between 1977-78, using paper route money and taking the bus to the mall with friends. The movie sparked the imagination of a generation, and took me right with it!

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Lisa thought maybe this would be ‘Dirty Harry’, but she knew it was Eastwood. But this movie is more than just Clint – it is a movie with the first 10 minutes having no dialogue, with a good guy who really isn’t. With moral conflicts as well as gunfights, and an intricate plot line that is unlike so many typical Westerns (I am actually not a fan of westerns).

3. Real Genius – Substitute sun for snow and you have my college years, to an extent. I built a laser for a senior project, and so much of what was going on I really identify with. Funny, great music, and just a generally cool all-around movie that eschews the easy paths of so many teen-focused movies.

What are YOUR favorite movies, and how does exercise help you deal with the curves life throws at us all?

25 thoughts on “Running into the Headwinds of Life, Abs Challenge, and Three Films

  1. I can relate to running clearing my head of all the crazy financial stuff that goes on in our lives. Sure it doesn’t change any of it, but it lets me take a step back and get some perspective on all of it. It’s easy to get caught up in life’s annoying details and I actually think sometimes “running away” (temporarily) is not such a bad thing!

    • I agree – it can definitely be a great ‘sanity break’. Which can be an awesome thing. But my point was that it can also be a re-focusing, as you say to take a step back and gain perspective. Either way … not a bad thing at all!

    • We haven’t watched Silver Linings Playbook yet, definitely plan to at some point. What is it you like about all of them? I often find that it isn’t always the movie itself, perhaps it was watching it with friends, a great night out, or something that made it perfect at the time.

      • Hmmm… Donnie Darko I think I watched for the first time as an “independent adult” with friends during a summer that was truly epic. I think we were all obsessed. Silver Linings Playbook I watched alone, before the Seattle Marathon. I bawled in the theater, but I remember thinking the entire movie – this is the best movie ever. From Russia with Love introduced me to James Bond, which despite all of the misogyny, I simply love. My 4th would be Brokeback Mountain. Because we all deserve to be loved.

      • Cool – thanks for sharing. Donnie Darko needs no explanation … but I was a bit surprised on Bond for the basic misogyny reasons πŸ™‚

      • It is funny – and supposed to be an escape … I mean, Carson nailed it with the Star Wars, Godfather and Rocky description. I like Godfather (not a top 10 or even 20, but a movie I appreciate – that my older son adores!), but Rocky I really enjoyed even though I ABHOR boxing and all of those ‘beat em up’ sports.

        The thing that bothers me is how – even though it is supposed to be an escape – it has been shown that movies can influence public mindset and behavior.

  2. So glad you’re in for the Ab Challenge!! And love the idea of active meditation – I am NOT GOOD at ‘real’ meditation and I’m really not that great at ‘meditating’ while running either, but walking has been helping me out with this! (Meg has a post on this today that I found interesting: Oh, don’t get me started on movies … I haven’t seen any of your 3, and don’t really enjoy them unless they’re super interesting documentaries, musicals, or cheesy romantic comedies. I know, I’m strange.

    • I know you’re not much of a movie watcher … which I always find interesting, because I have read it in more than a few blogs. But … you haven’t seen Star Wars? Really? No wonder the tech gods don’t smile on you! haha πŸ™‚

  3. I just finished Fault in Our Stars so now I have to go see the movie and see how they portrayed it vs. the book, I hope it doesn’t disappoint!! Once again, I haven’t seen any of your top 3 movies…yes, I may be one of the few people who has never seen Star Wars… πŸ™‚

    • We were pleased at how well the movie followed the book – even our younger son who had just read it last week felt good about things. That can be such a killer for us – when you sit there thinking ‘why is that different from the book?’. It was interesting looking at the audience stats “82 percent female and 79 percent under the age of 25.” according to Boxofficemojo.

      No Star Wars … ? You’re breaking my heart! πŸ™‚ haha My poor wife hadn’t seen them before me, and now she can quote from all six movies .. she wsa doomed!

  4. I need to find Real Genius somewhere and watch it. That used to be one of my faves! And of course Star Wars. My husband is a Star Wars aficionado.

    I’m going to have to check out this ab challenge! I’m trying to find a way to mix up my workouts a little bit and a good challenge might be exactly what I need. πŸ™‚

    I’m so glad you were able to clear your head on your windy run and that the rest of your weekend with Lisa was awesome!

    • Glad you found the ab challenge – it is always fun trying new stuff!

      Cool that you are a Real Genius fan – don’t tend to find many people who aren’t both my age and science/engineer folks who like it.

  5. Real Genius is fantastic, a staple during college. Some others that held #1 position at various times in my life: Princess Bride. Top Gun. Braveheart. War Games. Star Wars (well, actually The Empire Strikes Back to be specific, Hoth FTW, but the first 3 kinda go together in my mind). Pulp Fiction. Smoky and the Bandit. Spies Like Us. Inglorious Basterds. Spaceballs. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s a reasonable walk through the phases of life (although I listed them in the order they popped in my head, not in chronological order of being #1).

    • Great list, I still love so many of those (totally had a crush on Ally Sheedy from War Games) – a few thoughts:

      – I saw Empire in theaters as well a few times, and it is DEFINITELY the best movie of the series … but the original launched the series, and had us all waiting for 3 years to see what happened next, what this ‘Force’ was all about, Darth Vader and on and on …

      – I don’t get the love for Spaceballs … not that I don’t LIKE it, not that I haven’t seen it a few dozen times … but I would say it barely makes Mel Brooks’ top 5 movies (Young Frankenstein, Producers, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, etc) … and all I know is that by the time it arrived it felt SO tired to be parodying Star Wars … whereas my kids and their friends were all over it.

      Though you give an excellent thought – if we look though the years at the ‘#3-5’ movies of our lives it would be really interesting to see the films that might not have been the pinnacle but captured our imagination …

      • Also slapping my forehead at missing Revenge of the Nerds. In possibly the biggest dorky cliche you can cram into one blog comment, my Dungeons & Dragons group spent a good hour this weekend analyzing the movie and the impact it had on our lives, and whether you could pull off a scene like the sorority house raid in modern times.

        Enjoyment of Spaceballs probably is more age based. I was 11 when it came out, maybe one of the first parody movies I was intellectually able to appreciate.

      • Revenge of the Nerds, ah yes – a perennial fave! Another one that is rely not very good, and really hasn’t aged well … but that hasn’t stopped me yet! haha I bet Anthony Edwards was glad to leave that franchise behind with the ‘broken leg’ intro for #2!

  6. I hate to sterotype, but I feel like most men would have Star Wars, The Godfather, and/or Rocky in their top 3. The other two I have never seen *Hangs head with shame*

    My top 3 would be:
    1. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
    2. Elf
    3. Home Alone

    Apparently I love Christmas movies.

    • haha – “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” … now you’re cranking up the bad movies from my era! Not insulting it – I mean, I put Better Off Dead in my top 5, which John Cusack has publicly proclaimed his embarrassment over, and no one would call the acting ‘good’. But SJP and her unibrow in ‘Girls’ … classic! πŸ™‚

      It is funny that you talk about the stereotype – I really don’t like boxing, and have never been a violent person … but seeing Rocky in theaters in ’76 … wow, moving stuff, and that training sequence remains one of the most powerful on film.

      • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is an SJP classic! Takes me back to my childhood…

        I love the Rocky story, but HATE watching the movies πŸ™‚

  7. I’m sorry to hear about yet another of my favorite people wrestling with health insurance. Health insurance is the bane of my existence at times, but it also keeps me healthy and out of bankruptcy, so I take it as it comes.
    I am SOOOOO happy you named Star Wars (not Trek.). I was raised on Star Wars, and was Princess Leia for Halloween, I don’t remember how old I was. Also, DISNEY IS DOING A STAR WARS HALF MARATHON THIS JANUARY!!!!!!!!

    • meh – insurance is insurance, their goal is to maximize profits by minimizing payouts. We know this. Long gone are the days I had 15 or so years ago when we had the babies and NEVER saw a single bill of any type (even with Lisa’s significant complications and two week hospital stay and two trips to the NICU for Chris!). It is just a hassle that as the hospitals and doctors consolidate and work to control costs, the ones caught in the squeeze are the consumers, as always. I mean, we are pretty healthy people … I can only imagine what it is like for actually sick people!

      I do also love Star Trek, but less so the movies (other than Khan!) … that would have popped up on a TV shows list.

      Speaking of Star Wars – we took our boys to Star Wars weekends at Disney World the second year they had it, and the first time they decided to make it ‘permanent’ … it was great stuff, the kids were so cute!

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