What "The Muppets" Movie Can Teach Us About Running

From L-R: Kermit, the co-writer of The Muppets Jason Segel, and Miss Piggy.

Have you seen The Muppets yet?

The Muppets was an important part of my childhood. The Muppet Show and Sesame Street were basically the only TV shows I watched, and even though The Muppet Show has been off the air for many years, I continue to love it. I have it on DVD now. I also have several Kermits, and other Muppet merchandise people have given me over the years. I even have Kermit pajamas! Favorite Christmas CD? John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together. I saw The Muppets Christmas Carol in the theater when I was a teen.

I think what draws me to the Muppets is that they seem so real. They could be living, breathing beings. And I admire their optimism, especially Kermit’s. (Although, I loved it when he just lost it in The Muppets Take Manhattan — again so real. He must feel so much pressure as the “leader” of his group of friends. Right?)

The New Film
This weekend, me and Mr. T (who also adores the Muppets) took T Junior to see The Muppets, the new movie starring (and co-written by!) Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother and several Judd Apatow films. T Junior, being raised by two Muppets fans, knows who many of the characters are and has seen the shows, the films, etc.

Sidebar: The whole time I was watching Jason Segel in The Muppets, I just kept thinking how incredibly cool it would be to write a film about your childhood entertainment heroes and then be in the movie with them. There’s a great little story about it here.

End sidebar.

The Muppets is about “the old gang” getting back together to do a show in order to save the old theater from an evil oil tycoon. But hat’s off to writers Segel and Nick Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Fun with Dick and Jane) because there could be any number of things the film is about: dreams, friendship, relationships, good vs. evil, becoming a man (or a Muppet!), choices, etc. Of course, leave it to me to find a connection with running.

The Running Connection
Jim Henson created the Muppets in the 1960’s, but The Muppet Show didn’t begin till the mid-’70s. And their popularity really got going in the ’80s. After Jim Henson died suddenly in 1990, the Muppets sort of fizzled out. The Muppets Christmas Carol in 1992 wasn’t the last film they did, but the next couple after that were not the same and didn’t do very well with audiences.

Sidebar: And Frank Oz, who does the voice of Miss Piggy among others, wasn’t thrilled with The Muppets script and didn’t participate in the film, which had me worried. He didn’t think it stayed true to character. After seeing the movie, I can sort of see his point, but I still think the film was very well done. I really enjoyed the story and “the magic” and the humor. And it was way better than Muppets Treasure Island, so…

End sidebar.

I found myself laughing a lot, smiling the whole time and even crying during several parts of the film, in fact. (The Rainbow Connection gets me every time!)

But here’s what I really got from The Muppets movie: The Muppets are never going to be like they once were. Yes, I can still remember “Pigs in Space” like it was yesterday, but times change. People leave. New people come. That doesn’t make them any less special to all the 30-somethings who grew up with them. And, now, a whole new generation of children will learn to love these unique entertainers. They are still here: the Muppets. Still kickin’ it.

The same goes for running. We change. We might not be able to run sub-7’s anymore. Our bodies change. Our circumstances change. Maybe we can only get out there three times a week. Running is still special to us, though. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast we can go, just that we are still kickin’ it.

Keep On Dreaming
Here’s the other thing, and this is really what the Muppets are all about: Dream big and don’t give up going after what you really want. That’s a common theme in running, yes? In the article I linked to earlier in this post, Jason Segel said:

“They (the Muppets) remind us of our best versions of ourselves. The world kind of beats something out of you that anything is possible, this sort of wide-eyed wonder, and you come to the reality of what the world is like. But the Muppets have never given in to that. They believe they can accomplish anything and they just go forward with their eyes open wide and a smile on their face.”

Thanksgiving Brought to You by Costco

Note: I posted the story below last night on my mommy blog, but thought I’d share here, too. Hope everyone’s having a happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Guess what I will not be doing this year. I will not be baking a turkey for hours. I won’t be peeling apples for pie. I won’t be baking. I won’t be stirring. I won’t be mixing.

Since me and Mr. T have been married, we’ve essentially done something different for Turkey Day every year. We’ve made a tiny Thanksgiving meal for two adults and a baby, we’ve gone to our close friends’ family’s home, and we’ve had family here.

This year, we have six puppies in addition to three adult dogs in our house. T Junior is 3-1/2 and full of energy. I don’t want to stand in the kitchen all day. Neither does Mr. T.

At Costco a couple weeks ago, we made a quick decision to do an all pre-made Thanksgiving. Costco stuffing. A pre-cooked turkey breast from Costco. Costco pumpkin pie. Even Costco mashed potatoes. It was Mr. T’s idea, and I told him to “just do it before I change my mind.” Later, I picked up canned cranberries at the grocery store.

At some point we will have to put an apple pie in the oven, but the filling was pre-made from apples picked from our own tree a few months ago. Refrigerated pie crusts are chilling.

I know some people might guffaw at what I’m calling “A Very Special Costco Thanksgiving,” but I am enjoying the non-stress I have about the day. And I’m loving that we are flexible enough to do something different every year. In fact, I feel like in our little family, the fact that we do something new each holiday is sort of our tradition.

Tomorrow I’m going on a long run with friends early in the morning to burn some cals, then coming home for breakfast with Mr. T and, of course, the Thanksgiving Day parade with T Junior. Then we may play games or do a puzzle. I have a new craft I want to try. There’ll be football on TV and a fire in the fireplace. And I’ll be ENJOYING it all.

I won’t be standing in the kitchen watching everything from behind an island piled with pots and pans and casserole dishes. I’m aware I won’t be having my sister’s OJ-infused sweet potatoes or my family’s traditional corn pudding or Mr. T’s mom’s pecan pie.

But it’s just food! Am I thankful that my family has food to eat? Yes. But, this year, I’m also thankful that I won’t have to make it.

Free Turkey Trot! (Sidebar: Why Jumping in the Shower Makes me Laugh)

Did you read my post the other day? NINE dogs. I can’t afford registration fees right now.

So me, Mel (Tall Mom on the Run), Zoë (Run, Zoë, Run), Karla (Running on Eagles Wings) and anyone else who wants to come on down to our neck of the woods (literally) to run will be trottin’ along in the hopes of negating a high-calorie turkey dinner tomorrow morning.

DailyMile’s Feed the
Turkey 5K is raising
money for charity:water.

And I won’t even charge you! I will be timing 5K of my run for DailyMile’s Feed the Turkey 5K, although several (or all) of us will be going longer. (Okay, so I did donate a little money to participate in the virtual 5K, but it was optional.)

If you are interested in meeting up with us, please e-mail me for the location and more information at kerrie (at) sanitydepartment (dot) com.

I plan to bring some sort of treat, although I haven’t worked out exactly what that will be yet, so don’t get too excited. I may just show up with a bunch of white chocolate-peppermint-covered pretzels. (If you read my 2Toms blog today on my weightloss, then you know what I’m talkin’ about.)

So….last night, I jumped on the treadmill.

Sidebar: I just love how T Junior, who is 3-1/2, takes everything in the literal sense. For example, I once told him I was going to jump in the shower. He stared at me and I could just see inside his brain a little image of his mother jumping up and down in the shower.

Sidebar-sidebar: I feel like the “sidebar” is my new thing, although it’s not really new. I’m sort of made fun of known for going off on random tangents.

Sidebar-sidebar complete.

Sidebar complete.

I stepped onto the treadmill. Better? I pushed start…okay. Anyway, I jumped on the ‘mill. I walked for a quarter-mile to warm up as I searched the TV for something good to watch (read: won’t matter if I can’t hear it). I found some college basketball and I turned on my running music, then away I went on a speed workout.

I have been finding the treadmill challenging lately, but last night I discovered a good sporting event and my “fast” playlist totally help. I played with the incline for the first half-mile of the run, but then I remembered I was supposed to be working on speed and so I decided to just pick one thing to focus on (which as you probably know is very difficult for me). Every quarter-mile, I bumped the speed up a little until I was in the sub-8’s (Mile 1.75-2). Then, I slowly decreased it over the next mile. I ran a total of three miles, then I walked for another quarter-mile to cooldown.

Sidebar: How come DailyMile says I did 4 miles yesterday? I feel like 3.5 to 4 is sort of a big stretch.

Sidebar complete.

Oh, and post complete, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Posted in 5ks

It Doesn't Rain in Seattle (And I Bet You Can't Outdo My Salmon Joke)

Everyone thinks it rains so much in the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t rain here. It mists.

Seattle mist is light, and it comes at you from all directions. That’s why nobody carries umbrellas here (useless) and so many women wear ponytails (not just for running!). The mist also comes and goes throughout the day, usually clearing up by the time dinner’s ready (thanks).

But today it’s raining in Seattle. We’re getting some real raindrops. The kind of splashy drops that make you race for cover. Drops that hurt when you get a direct-hit to the eyeball.

These are the kind of drops that will make even the most dedicated runners stay indoors. I haven’t seen one runner out my window today, and I normally see at least five or six…and I work in an industrial area.

I mean, would you want to go out there?

We don’t mind running in the rain in Seattle, so long as the rain is mist.

Looks like I’ll be treadmillin’ it tonight.

And, now, for your enjoyment:

Do you think these guys know to look both ways before they swim across the road?

Hey, why did the female salmon cross the road? Because the flooding river ladder.

Get it? “Ladder” sounds sort of like “let her.”

Okay, then, what’s your best “Why did the salmon cross the road” joke?

I Guess My Running Just Needed a Dose of… Running

Hooray for running buddies!

I needed a kick in the pants last weekend.

I ran Monday and then…I did two strength workouts…and then…nothing. I just didn’t feel like going during the workday and I didn’t feel like getting up early and I didn’t feel like running in the wind and I didn’t feel like running in the dark. Therefore, I wanted the perfect weather to run in and I only wanted to go in the afternoon.

Yeah, nobody ever has the ideal time to run. We fit it in, right? That’s just what we do.

So, as I mentioned, I didn’t run all week. But I am superproud of myself for not panicking about it, and just allowing myself the little break. I’m not proud that I’ve gained almost 5 pounds over the last few weeks.

Side bar:

Have any of you been to Popcorn Pavilion at Bel Square? O. M. G. (Or as T Junior would say, M. O. G.) I cannot get out of that mall without stopping at that darn popcorn place and bringing home multiple bags of their delicious popped corn.

Side bar complete.

Anyway, I’ve come to this conclusion: Running, like writing, is easier to keep up when you do it more often. Take too long a break and it’s hard to get back in the routine. So thank goodness for running buddies.

I posted in our Facebook group (Women Runners of King County) to see if anyone wanted to run on Saturday. I had a few bites, and we planned to meet 7 a.m. Except then we changed it to Sunday. No worries.

Saturday night, I tried to change it to Sunday afternoon because it was freezing over outside. Zoë (Run, Zoë, Run) texted me back: “Let’s be popsicles!”

Okay, I can’t put running off any later.

So we met early Sunday morning at one of our favorite trails and we set out in 30-degree weather. Everything was white with a thick frost. Kicking frozen leaves felt like kicking rocks. Our lips were numb. Our faces hurt. We concentrated on not slipping. We whined and laughed about it and Zoe called us whimps.

Even my hair was frosty.

At 2 miles, my watch rang out and I checked it. “Only 2 miles?!” I burst out. Usually, time flies with a running buddy, but I was so cold! Funny, though, the next mile went by in what felt like seconds. We turned around and suddenly I had something in my shoe.

It felt like a small twig. I had to stop and remove my shoe. This has never happened before. I shook my Saucony and Zoe laughed at me because all she said she saw fall out was a little string or something. “Maybe it’s in my sock,” I said.

And there I was removing my sock in 30 degree weather. “See,” I said, “We still have adventures.”

We took the opportunity to snap some photos.

This is what happens when you make your running
buddy laugh as she snaps the picture. Heehee.

Sunday’s six-miler was so cold that it took two coffee and Bailey’s, and one hot shower to warm up. But it was just the kick in the running tights I needed. I feel reinvigorated.

The rain is supposed to be heavy this week, but I don’t care. Rain, sleet, snow, wind…whatevs. I’m going running.

The Puppy's on the Table

We’ve got nine dogs in our house right now: three adults and six 3-week-old puppies. Last week, when they were juuuust starting to wobble around on all four feet, I was sitting near the whelping box with T Junior. We were doing something menial like putting his socks on or something, when out of the blue and with big, round I’ve-got-an-idea-eyes, he says, “Let’s put a puppy on the table and see what happens!”

I, of course, said “No” (after I stopped laughing), because I’m a reasonable person and can predict what would happen. A three-year-old boy does not have that ability.

But I have had a difficult time predicting what’s going to happen with Mom vs. Marathon. This blog is a little black rain cloud over me lately and I’ll admit that I’ve thought about shuttin’ ‘er down a lot lately.

I started blogging two years ago to track my progress from couch-sitting new mom to mama marathoner. I sort of feel like I completed that transformation. Obviously, I’m no Kara Goucher, but I did run my 26.2.

To hold things over, I’ve been falling back on some pre-thought-out magazine-style posts, and haven’t been visiting your blogs. Sorry ’bout that. Also, I haven’t really been running. That doesn’t help.

Then there is the problem of thinking. I like to think. And think. And think some more. And then think after that. Usually, nothing comes of this except shorter fingernails. But I think I’ve got it.

I wasn’t just blogging about my progress before. I was using the blog as a sounding-board. Does this happen to you? Am I nuts? Etc. I need to find that again. Funny thing is, these are the same things I wonder about as a mom.

A couple weeks ago, someone asked me how long my marathon was. Well, my running marathon was 26.2 miles (after months and months of training). But my mommy-marathon has no end.

So, I’m bringing back my mom blog, The Sanity Department. When I have something mommish to say, I’ll blog there. When I finally run again (tomorrow morning with Zoe maybe in the snow!), I’ll blog here. If you want to hear how my run went and whether or not I kissed a slug, got a PR or met up with buddies, it’ll be here.

And if you want to hear about my funny kid’s thoughts, his “talking” spiders (AKA his hands) or “bruvver Doroffy” (his imaginary friend who he adamantly denies being named after Elmo’s fish), follow me at www.SanityDepartment.com. I miss that blog. It’s been about a year since I wrote there. Whenever I go back and read it, I smile, because it’s about my son.

Still, as a journalist/copywriter/writer, I can’t help thinking: But are these the types of things people want to read? Just stuff that happened to me today?

My fingernails are nubs. Seriously.

But then I got to thinking about that puppy on the table. Maybe what I think would happen, wouldn’t. I mean, maybe the puppy would sprout magical wings. Or maybe T Junior was thinking the puppy would be wearing a jet pack while on the table. Perhaps, the puppy would just stay on the table and be happy about it because someone left prime rib up there. (Who would do that, though, because prime rib is delicious and expensive.)

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m excited get back to my style of writing again…little stories about life…about motherhood…about trying to stay in shape when I’m not training for anything (yikes), about…whatever I feel like writing about. I’ll write here sometimes and at Sanity Department sometimes. Whenevs. These are my blogs, darn it. I can do what I like.

So, let’s put these puppies on the table and see what happens!