My Reading List: August 18 – 22

One of the most beautiful post-storm skies I’ve seen. And yet, I didn’t want to go swimming….

1) My legs are going through marriage counseling right now. Once I read Competitor’s article “Single-Leg Drills For Balanced Running,” I decided it was time to face the hard truth that my legs are going through a rough patch and need time to focus on themselves.

2) Right before I moved back to DC, I traded in my mahogany Fender electric-acoustic guitar for a ukulele. I’d had that guitar for nearly two years and I could barely strum a chord because my fingers hurt so bad when I pressed the strings and my hands were too tiny to wrap all the way around the neck. I decided a ukulele would keep my dreams of learning a string instrument intact with the added benefit of portability right before a big move. To aid me in my musical adventure, I downloaded the book Ukelele Mastery Simplified: How Anyone Can Quickly Become a Strumming Chords and Melodic Uke Ninja. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but any book cover that has a picture of a ninja strumming a ukulele on a white sand beach is immune to this rule.

3) Right now, as I am struggling to get back into a training regimen that I can do with an injury to prepare for the Chicago Marathon, I am trying to find ways to keep my fitness base intact as I recover. This has been challenging. It’s hard to check my ego when I think about the things I need to be doing when I can’t run because all I want right now is to just follow my training plan. I abhor the elliptical and, having never taken a spin class, I don’t know good bike technique. Also, my pool doesn’t open until after I’m at work and, at the end of the day, getting soaked is not my idea of a relaxing evening (swimming is the one exercise I would wake up early to do just so I don’t have to shower three times in a day). I know these are excuses when I have a goal to accomplish, and I’ve actually had quite a few enjoyable swims recently and am looking forward to going to spin classes at the gym I just joined (I am NOT doing the elliptical). So, when I read this Runner’s World article that recommends running what you can and then supplementing your training with other cardio exercises, I was all ears.

4) Travelogues are my absolute favorite genre of literature. Some people shrug them off, disinterested in reading about someone else’s experiences when you could very well go travel yourself. It’s a good point. But, as someone who is fascinated about other cultures and people and their ways of life, travelogues provide a wealth of information about other people’s viewpoints that you likely won’t hear reported in the mainstream. In my opinion, the best travelogues don’t talk to you about quaint, pretty, sun-bathed mountain villages peppered with perfect homes and famer’s markets and friendly encounters with people who get you back to yourself (yes, I am looking at you Eat, Pray, Love). The best travelogues teach you about the world, about society and history and politics of love and warfare in such a way that you understand that you’re in an relationship with the world. They take you to places you didn’t know existed and talk about issues you didn’t even realize were issues. So, when Buzzfeed published its article  “Murder and Manifest Destiny on the Mosquito Coast”, I was practically giddy to see a place I had read about through one of my favorite travel writers at the forefront of media-generated discussion. The events depicted in this article have the ingredients of a great travel novel, but in context, it sheds light on an issue that everyone dreams about doing– buying and escaping to a remote island paradise– but no one thinks about the consequences on the people who call those islands their home or territory. Such a fascinating read– definitely read this one. And then I’m gonna go watch Harrison Ford in the movie based on Paul Theroux’s novel because I adore Harrison Ford.

If this were a movie poster, it was have the title like "Swamp Spiders of the Potomac River." I saw this on my Thursday evening run and it was DISGUSTING how many spiders were on this bridge.
If this were a movie poster, it was have the title like “Swamp Spiders of the Potomac River.” I saw this on my Thursday evening run and it was DISGUSTING how many spiders were on this bridge.

5) If you’re not the only one wondering what the heck an endless stream of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos are doing clogging up your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds is doing to actually find a cure for ALS, you’re not alone. I have seen some really great videos, like one where two married college friends nominated their twin boy and girl who then proceeded to pour the water “on their piggies” (feet– I mean, come ON, that is adorable), but isn’t the point of a movement to raise awareness and isn’t awareness knowledge? I wish a lot of the people who posted a video had said just ONE fact about ALS. As someone who studied nonprofit advocacy in grad school, this is one of those ideas that I wish I had come up with and one I hope got the creative mind a big fat promotion from, but what is a movement without knowledge?  I haven’t been challenged, but I did take a minute to read about it. A great place to start is always the source. Someone, on their video, just say one….line….please! Here’s what ALS stands for to get you started: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Happy weekend! 

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