Running on a Hot Day: Why Bother?

There are lots of tips out there for how to surive running in the heat— basically, go early or late, hydrate appropriately, wear light clothing, run slower. But if you’re not training for a hot race (Badwater? what are you, nuts?), why bother?

Well, there are likely physiological benefits, so if you care about that sort of thing, or you’re looking for a performance goal, keep reading. Training in the heat can potentially improve VO2 max, blood plasma volume, sweat rate, and skeletal muscle force— and this translates into cooler conditions. Neat!

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Why “badass”?

The badass female is on the rise! As I’ve been thinking about this project, the first question that comes to mind is: What is a badass, anyway? Sure, you know it when you see it— someone’s in full-on fight mode, kicking ass and taking names, and you watch, awe-struck. What a badass! But what makes a badass different from a villian, or a soldier, or a bully? I did some reading (because that’s what I do).  Megan Garber wrote in at Atlantic blog, pointing out that the term has shifted beyond big tattooed guys with guns to also include women with swagger. Jim Taylor wrote on Psychology Today about different kinds of badass— the macho and the humble. And Tyler Protano-Goodwin has a Thought Catalog piece suggsting the softer and more complex charactaristics of the female badass.

Dictionary.com says badass is vulgar slang for a person who is difficult, mean-tempered, or touchy— OR, “distinctively tough or powerful; so exceptional as to be intimidating”. Similarly, Merriam-Webster suggests two definitions: one suggesting a troublemaker, and the other a person of “formidable strength or skill.” These second definitions— strength, power– are closer to my meaning.

Better still: urbandictionary.com suggests a badass is “fearless, authentic, compassionate, and ethical.” Now we’re talking— add that to the strength and power, and we’re in business.

How about: A person who channels her strength and power into value-driven, authentic, and compassionate action.

This has a tinge of Paolo Friere’s definition of praxis,too, doesn’t it? Transformation through action and critical reflection. A distinct willingness to stick it to the man when called for. Grit.  That, my friends, is badass.

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The Badass Female Project

Recently, I spent a year or so trying not to read things written by white men. It was challenging and led me to read a lot of things I might have overlooked otherwise. It was also surprising to me how difficult it was— not that I couldn’t find things to read, but that I had to look. And now, I don’t keep it as a rule, but I still seek out writers who are not cis-het-white-men. Try it. It may broaden your exposure to points of view you weren’t even aware you weren’t hearing

I’ve turned my sights on movies, lately, too. This is decidedly harder. I’m not a film scholar by any stretch of the imagination (I’ll leave that to Julia and Max), but I am interested in movies, in general. I am persistently astounded by how few movies pass the Bechdel test (which is an absurdly low bar), or how even very knowledgeable friends struggle to come up with more than handful of great female-led films.

I have lots of friends with little kids, so I think more about what kids are exposed to than I used to. Friends are on the lookout for great female role models besides the basic princess motif to inspire their kiddos. And then I realized, you know what? So am I. For me.

facebook post & replies looking at badass female protagonistsHence: The Badass Female Project. I started out by asking my facebook friends to identify favorite badass females in fiction, with bonus points for female creators. They came through, my facebook friends. And I was gratified that there was so much. And so this year, I’m taking it all in. It fuels my desire to be a more awesome human— be it training in the gym, improving my krav maga technique, spending time in mediation and yoga, building my professional accomplishments, being a super and strong partner/sister/daughter, and all the other stuff I do in my life. I’m looking for badass females— strong, imperfect, interesting, and inspiring folks who identify as female. From fiction, from real life, from anywhere in between.

So welcome to the #badassfemale project: a zabbylogica production. Please let me know your thoughts— what should I cover here? What should I read, watch, listen to? Who should I meet?

Coming soon: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hunger Games, and Jessica Jones.

Basic Human Maintenance 101

I got an email about classes at my local REI the other day (desert hiking with your dog? yes please!), and among the offerings was bike maintenance. This got me thinking about something I read not long ago:

Kelly Starrett says all human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. He’s right! I prefer this way of thinking about it to the ubiquitous “self care”— not that that’s wrong, but it’s been sort of distorted to mean, like, taking bubble baths when you’re stressed out. For me, maintenance is more about getting the basics under control day-to-day.

Dr. Starrett was talking about the tissues of the body. Spend time every day finding the areas that need attention— spots that are a little tight, a little tender, not quite as supple as you’d like—  and work on them for 10 or 15 minutes. Do this daily, and you can prevent a lot of major problems in your musculoskeletal system. This just makes sense! Little things are easy to fix. Little things that you don’t fix turn into big things.

What else can you do as maintenance on your human self? What little things can you do every day to head off major life fails?

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Getting healthier– how to start if you don’t think you can start.

So many people feel lousy most of the time. And don’t know how to fix it. It’s easy to feel like wellness just a hobby for the privileged. Aside from the Gwyneth Paltrow crowd surrounded by juice bars and jade eggs, even just the idea of taking time and energy to focus on basic wellness can be a challenge for many of us. While we might think of the CEOs as busy people who can’t find time for good food and exercise, no one works harder than shift workers,  minimum-wage (or less) workers supporting families, folks with more than one job. (And yes, there are health risks associated with being poor). Feeling crappy is a problem facing all kinds of people. It’s not always as simple as joining a gym, hiring a trainer, signing up for a meal delivery service. The reality is that some folks’ lives are challenging in ways others don’t have to think about.

I was thinking about this when I stopped at a Circle K on my way home from work yesterday. Continue reading

Holiday Fun Times: Veggie Edition

No matter your views on our country at the moment, no matter whether or not your feeling patriotic, you might have the day off, and you might want to spend some time grilling with your best peeps. So I gathered up a few ideas from around the inter webs to get you going for a veg-heavy fourth of july.

Enjoy!

Grill, meet veg. —From the early days of zabbylogica: tons of ideas for how to veg it up outside

Grilled Salad from Angela at Oh She Glows– if you want to avoid grilling in the heat of the moment, so to speak.

Have you ever grilled your corn? I never used to do this when perfect New Jersey corn was on my table the day it was picked, but now, it’s my favorite way.

Did you know you can grill Mushrooms , Nachos(!),  Watermelon (!!), or Rice Krispie Treats (!?)

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!