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There May Be No Exit, But Hell I'm Going In

Monday, November 02, 2009

Actually, the full line (which is a tad long for a blog title) is:

Don't Know Where I'm Goin'
I Don't Like Where I've Been
There May Be No Exit
But Hell I'm Going In

And I think the full stanza is what makes the most sense.

Anyway, it was just Halloween, and if any holiday is the weight losers' holiday, I think it's gotta be Halloween.

Because of the candy and its inherent temptations? Sure. Because of the idea of mask wearing, and letting masks fall? Absolutely. Because of the harvest? The change in seasonal look, from warmer, colorful early autumn to late, brown-leaved, bare-treed, cold-winded fall? Because of the time change? Yes, yes and yes.

It is a time of wrenching changes, even though we are prepared for them -- or at least we think we are. It is a time of putting aside shorts and tee shirts and grabbing jackets and sweaters. Extra blankets. Storm windows. My husband put plastic on the stained glass windows in the back -- now they almost look 3-D, spooky and ghostlike, wrapped up tight like a mummy.

It is a time when you get serious, when frivolity seems to exit and the grind truly begins. It separates the women from the girls.

It is, yes, the beginning of Seasonal Affective Disorder, although I have been feeling the onset early this year, earlier than ever, as the weather has shown more clouds than sun and more rain than warmth, all year long and on and on and on into a future of darkness and howling winds and long underwear and icy roads.

It is coming, I know. We all know, it is obvious, it is the mob of squirrels I see on neighbors' lawns, bold and arguing with each other, grappling over whatever nutrition they can grasp and store for the months ahead. It is in the decapitated sunflowers, brown and limp. It is in the skies, as the paintbox mixes steel grey and a wash of rose madder in the mornings but not this morning because it is still pitch, and the streetlights are still on and the black cloak wraps around and threatens to tighten and bind and hold.

But there are good things, there, too. There is joy to be found, even among the dark places. Joys of holidays, of years renewing, of calendar pages flipping, of personal renewals and reversals as timeless as the air. And mysteries, for there is nothing so obvious as a Summer, or as mysterious as a Winter, its veil of black and snow and cold hiding away its treasures.

Do I know where I'm going?

Well, sort of. I have plans, sure I have plans. But things have a way of happening regardless of your own personal planning so while I have my ideas and my hopes I am not kidding myself. There will be a monkey wrench. There always is.

Do I like where I've been?

I do in many ways, but I also don't, and I shouldn't, for living in the past is not where I should want to reside. There is better up ahead, and resting on my laurels is not going to get me anywhere. Like a shark, I must move forward, even if it's into the abyss.

Is there an exit?

Sure. The exit is long, though, and it leads through the rest of my life, and there is nothing on the other side because this is how life is going to be and continue. It is up to me to assure that the exit I choose is the right one, the one that will sustain me, and make it worthwhile to go on this journey, on all journeys.

But Hell I'm Going In.

Just you try and stop me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUNGFOOD 11/8/2009 7:49PM

    Liked it so much I've visited to read this post three times!

You nailed the season change.


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SWEETZMIX 11/3/2009 10:02AM

    I haven't even thought of S.A.D. --and I have been in tears for like a week. Seriously, like a break down every morning for 15-20min. It's wearing me out more than my life right now. hmmm thanks for bringing that back into my mind. I also feel tired everyday, even though I been catching up on my sleep. This combo with all the stress I been having makes a lot of sense. OK - enough blog hogging.

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MARCHMAID 11/3/2009 12:53AM

    Am I to infer that Hell is not other people after all? Darn. Thought I had that knocked as the primo reason for all misery. emoticon emoticon

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CAROLISCIOUS 11/2/2009 9:38PM

    Wow! This blog gave me chills...or was that winter nipping at my heels. Seriously, I really liked this. Heyl, I'm going in, too!

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    Say it girl.

I hate fall. The long nights and short days and hunting season and raking leaves and not swimming outside. Fall ends for me on Solstice. We light a huge bonfire at work and hundreds of people show up. The days start to get longer. The nights start to get shorter. Spring is on the way. Hope.

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LESS_IS_MO 11/2/2009 4:14PM

    Cool! WHat a great read. Thanks.

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TELERIE 11/2/2009 3:59PM

    You have such a wonderful way with words.
I try to focus on how I love the changes, it might be grey, dark and cold, but it has its own beauty and these days have their own charm when we snuggle up by the fireplace and huddle inside. And the bright days are so much brighter.

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MS.ELENI 11/2/2009 1:22PM

    Another great blog

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RAVENSTAR25 11/2/2009 12:24PM

  I loved this blog.... it was so very true and hard to believe that it is that time of year again. ;) We'll be okay... like one of the other sparkers said... you can only go halfway in cause after that you are going back out.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/2/2009 11:52AM

    To paraphrase a joke my mom used to tell,

How far can Jespah run into Hell?

Halfway. Because after that she's running OUT.

Just see if you can make it through, say, the end of February - by that point the days will be getting longer again... It's four months, but it's ONLY four months.

My main concern with the passing of Halloween is that we're now heading straight into Food Season:

New Year's
Valentine's Day

I did OK through Halloween (although it's not really candy that tempts me - I prefer starch, salt, and fat). That's 1 down and 5 to go.

I'm just trying to remember that I want to be in shape for the spring melt for WW kayaking, and focus on that...

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DMPRIDER 11/2/2009 11:17AM

    Wow, great blog! Thanks for the reminder that this is a good time to reflect on where we're going and where we've been as we batten down the hatches to face the winter.

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JLITT62 11/2/2009 10:23AM

    Wow . . . what a wonderful blog! I used to suffer from SADD something miserable when I lived in VT. It's been so long since I've gone thru a real winter, I don't know how I'll react -- but I'm such a different person than I was 20 years ago. We'll talk again in April!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 11/2/2009 9:33AM

    Love this, and the bittersweet change in the seasons once again....

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MCR0285 11/2/2009 9:26AM

    Loved your blog!

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Let's Go Crash that Party Down In Normaltown Tonight

Monday, October 26, 2009

We agreed that we would not get tattoos. And while we did not discuss any objections to skinny-dipping, it was too dang cold to even be considered.

But we did have fun.

Who, you say? Or, whom, if you're better at this English stuff than I am.

Why, Telerie and Lab-Lover, you silly people. Haven't you been following every moment, every nanosecond, every pixel I've written in preparation?


Ah well that's okay. All will be revealed.

For those not in the know, Telerie is here in Boston on business from Oslo. Once in a lifetime opportunity alert!!! Lab-Lover and I live and work in the area and met before, at a 5K.

Our tale begins with me getting to Telerie's hotel in Copley Square. Now, ya gotta picture this. I'm wearing a 20-year-old brown leather jacket (yes, it fits again!), a yellow Champion sweatshirt, a pistachio green-colored turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers. I'm carrying my purse and a canvas bag which has stuff in it (camera, water, giftie thingies, etc.). The hotel, on the other hand, is what you see in the dictionary when you look up the word "posh". Marble. Glass. Painted ceilings. Ornate gilding. Fresh amaryllis flowers in the foyer, thank you very much. And I am thinking, I have never been this posh. Even if I were to gather up every semi-elegant thing I've ever owned, including my wedding gown, and wore them all together (assuming that was even possible), I would never measure up to such standards. So I'm ready to see my Sparky pals but at the same time I feel like pretty soon someone's gonna grab me and escort me from the premises, perhaps using a hook from one of those carnival crane machines.

I called Telerie and she came down and -- I gotta tell ya -- she is one stunning woman. She's tall, she's brunette, she has a lovely smile and laugh and is very stylish. And she immediately tells me that she feels permanently underdressed in the hotel, too, and it wasn't her idea, it was her boss's. Whew.

Then Lab Lover arrived (she was dressed pretty similarly to me) and we decided to get outta Dodge. But not before some photos were taken (I will upload tonight when I get home). Lab Lover has the prettiest blue eyes.

The area is mostly flat and mostly safe and mostly interesting. There's a boatload of history and a lot of tourists and a variety of vehicles (DUKW, anyone?). But who needs any of that? Instead, we walked around, of all places, offices where I used to work. This is not as odd and pedestrian as it may sound, as my current office is across the street from Government Center (The World's Ugliest Capital Building!), and the one from a few jobs before that was a few blocks from Telerie's hotel, so it was just a kind of passing thing to point out.

Then we detoured to Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall is where, er, some sort of historical type stuff happened over two hundred years ago, involving a buncha dudes in powdered wigs. At least, that's what I think happened. Plus there was break dancing although that might've just happened yesterday.

And then ... ahh ... wait for it ...

It was the best line of the day.

We were walking by some guy holding a cup and hoping for spare change. There are, unfortunately, quite a few of these guys, and probably more because of the current state of the economy. One who hangs around near an ATM near my office routinely proposes marriage when I walk by.

I'm thinking it over.

But wait, I digress. This was a different guy, the one with the cup. He sees us and says (I swear this is true), "You're three of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Can I have a dollar?"

Well, the dude did not get his dollar. But he did get a lot of smiles and thank yous.

And yanno something, he's right.

Except, er, for the dollar part, I think.

I mean, what is beauty? What is it, REALLY? Sure it's looks. And it's brains and talent, too, I suppose. And we are not movie stars by any means and we all know when we're being buttered up and overly flattered.

But what is truly lovely, truly stunning, is how we have changed. We aren't just thinner. We aren't just faster. We don't just now have closets full of running tights and Polar heart rate monitors.

We have confidence. We have charisma. We have soul.

We know that sparking hasn't just helped us to become more fit. It's helped, in many ways, to make us better people, better versions of ourselves. You know, the selves who get promoted. The ones who elicit smiles. The ones who find jobs quickly, even in a bad economy. The ones who are respected. The ones who are spoken of in mysterious tones.

Did ya hear she ran a 5K? In the rain? Did ya hear she gets up every morning and works out, even on the weekends? Did ya hear she gave away bags of clothes because she truly believes she'll NEVER be fat again? Did ya hear she ...?

Turning heads is one thing. Changing minds is something else.

But lest you think we just floated by in a gorgeous haze, we also sat down together and just talked. And we laughed and joked and were serious and sweet, and you feel like: I've known you forever. Didn't we go to third grade together? Didn't we get in trouble that one time? Didn't we play Capture the Flag in camp? Didn't we ...?

Watch out for us; we're the wild girls, walking down the street.

Join us.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TELERIE 10/30/2009 8:16PM

    It's true I feel like I've known you guys since kindergarden. How funny is that. Such is the connection of Spark People I suppose... Thanks for a wonderful walk and talk through the garden, didn't see any torn sheets, but I could have danced! Didn't we?

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GEE-KNEE 10/28/2009 9:31AM

    That's cool that you had a good day with your spark friends. You are right about gaining all sorts of stuff from sparking. It is life changing.

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LJOHN44 10/27/2009 6:57PM

    Your blogs give me goosebumps. Thank you!

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CAROLISCIOUS 10/26/2009 9:30PM

    So glad you guys had fun. I met some sparkfriends in Vegas last year. It was a total blast and such a connection. There is just something about the bond we share...havig worked through this weight-loss journey together.

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SWEETZMIX 10/26/2009 9:06PM

    Well 1st this is all types of greatness that you got to meet up with sparkyfriends!! ALWAYS GREAT! 2nd you gals are hott!! But what makes you gals even more beautiful is that you inspire, you lead (even when your not trying to) by example, and you are always there for a friend...all of this changes the mind of those who only want to follow in your footsteps aka ME!

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LIV2RIDE 10/26/2009 8:53PM

    Sounds like you guys had a great time. Glad you were able to meet up with some SP buddies in person. That's awesome! Can't wait to see the pics.

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FIT_TERI 10/26/2009 8:27PM

    "We have confidence. We have charisma. We have soul."

Love this blog. You 3 have all that and more. And you deserve to.
I am always so glad to hear when these online relationships turn out to be as good (or better!) when conducted in person!! It's so great that you felt just like old friends. To me, the qualitative benefits (vs. quantitative.... I think you'll know what I mean here) are key!! Counting the calories, cardio minutes, etc is "easy" for Spark to do. Fostering this kind of connection is a gift.

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WOLFKITTY 10/26/2009 5:44PM

    Aww!! Isn't it magical meeting up with other SparkFriends?! I was a little jealous, because I've known Telerie on here from around when I started, but I was more overwhelmed with how HAPPY I am for YOU to have this experience, and those like it.

You deserve all of this and so much more. It warms my heart to hear about how you feel about yourself, Janet!

Keep up the great work!!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/26/2009 2:14PM

    Looking forward to the pics!

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MS.ELENI 10/26/2009 1:20PM

    Another great blog.Waiting to see the pics. Sounds like a great time.

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MALCONTENTION 10/26/2009 11:09AM

    Can't wait to see the pics!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 10/26/2009 10:53AM

    Wow I needed this. Thanks!

But one thing...go back there right now and give that guy his dollar. In fact give him a fiver.

I absolutely love that image of you in every posh thing you ever owned including your wedding gown. Yeah!

Gurl, you would be posh stark nekked.

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We All Know the Chosen Toys

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's time for the month in review.

Frankly, I almost forgot this one -- ewps -- but I thought of it while I was waiting for something to get done at work yesterday and so, while I sat, I started composing this entry.

The song, by the way, has nada to do with this but I like the bass line and it was in my head. Now it's in yours. :-P

Anyway, the month in review.

Bicep 12" (3/4" over personal best)
Bust 37.75" (3/4" over personal best)
Band 33.25" (tie for personal best)!
Waist 34.25" (1 1/4" over personal best)
Belly 38.25" (2" over personal best)
Keister 42.25" (new personal best)!!
Hip 40.5" (new personal best)!!
Thigh 21.25" (2 1/4" over personal best)

So you can see everything is good and on target. Adding them together, you get 259.50. When I first started, if you added all 8 of these measurements together, you got 377.00. Yes, folks, I've lost 117.50 inches, total. As in almost 10 feet. That is the length of one of the dimensions (walls) of my TV room.

Size 10s, baby! Regularly. Seriously. I have some larger clothes and am really swimming in the 16s and am pretty close to swimming in the 14s, even the size 14 jeans. I am wearing mediums, both top and bottom. Oh and 36D, too. :)

I've been running every weekend. My times have not been too hot but I have been going. This weekend we are taking a break from it (plus there's a lot of socializing going on so it's semi-impossible anyway) but will be back to it next weekend and then the next one is another 5K. Then there's a December 5K, that reminds me, I need to register for it. Then no 5Ks until probably March or April, as I'll be recovering from surgery and then it'll potentially be icy. I've got ice gripper thingies for my sneakers but have yet to test them out. It may take me a while to get a good set. In the meantime, after surgery, I get the feeling I won't want to bounce quite so much.

Mid to high 180s. I keep flirting with 186 which officially gets me into overweight range, and was even there for a couple of weeks. I'll be back there. A lot of this is muscle-building, given how I'm fitting into clothes. BMI is rather rapidly becoming a nice idea in theory but useless in practice for me.

Energy Levels
Fair to middling, I have to admit. I am energetic enough to run every weekend but then it seems to wipe me out. I confess I am tired, and I know my body is starting to think of winterizing itself. This means quiet, rest and storing fat. I can see it is already happening which is not good. Couple that with the fact that I get Seasonal Affective Disorder and it's even worse. What tears it is that the other day, yes, it snowed. In mid-October.

Now, snow is not impossible (hell, I've seen snow in June), but it just feels all wrong. Essentially what has happened all year is that it's been cold and wet for months. We didn't really have seasons, we just had very cold and wet; somewhat cold and very wet; warmer and still kinda wet; cold and wet and now colder and wet. I think there were, I kid you not, a total of three days this year where we really wanted the air conditioner. And that was it. Not good, not good. Now that it's also close to the end of daylight savings time I am really feeling the change and am seriously considering grabbing the full-spectrum light a full month earlier than usual.

I am doing what I can to keep my energy up. I go to bed at nine every night. I eat right. I get good workouts in but don't kill myself with them. I drink enough water. About the only thing I don't do much of is intake caffeine, but I've found it whacks me with monthly cramps, plus it does me no favors in the weight loss department. I don't need that agita so I keep away from caffeine. But right now it looks mighty attractive.

Other news
Not much, though some of that is a function of my mood. I am looking forward to seeing people, and the holidays will bring some socializing whether I am ready for it or not. It's not bad, of course, and I am always happy for it when it happens but right now, at this very moment (some of this is a function of me putting in way too much time at work yesterday, plus the dark), I am really averse to it. But I'll go and have good times. I want to see people, I do! And I NEED to, in order to banish the darkness.

In about a month I'll be done with alli. I think I figured out it would be November 23rd. Somewhere in there I ended up with an extra one so I believe on the 23rd I'll just be taking one pill instead of three. Eh, another little wacky thing in my life.

Onward to wet, chilly wackiness, as ever. Next week: Close Encounters of the Telerie/Lab Lover Kind ....

Stay tuned.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    How did I miss this blog? I was wondering what you were up to. Your reporting makes this sound more manageable than it is feeling at the moment. So those light thingies work? Maybe we should have been using them in July last summer?

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CAROLISCIOUS 10/25/2009 11:37PM

    I love how you are keeping up with your progress so succinctly. I wish I had done that. I am so jealous of your meeting with Kathy and Marit. How fun!

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TELERIE 10/25/2009 11:02PM

    Yay, you are REAL! I loved meeting you and LL today!! Thanks for taking the time to see me! Bloggage from me will have to wait until I am home, but I just wanted to hug you again! Thanks for the great walk around Boston!

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LAB-LOVER 10/23/2009 6:28AM

    Hey there! Great progress... Somehow I, er, FORGOT COMPLETELY to set October goals, so there won't be any report from me this month. Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, after the cold and wet Saturday!

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SWEETZMIX 10/22/2009 9:43AM

    Progress...we can't ask for anything more!

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WOLFKITTY 10/22/2009 1:16AM

    So much adventure left ahead, Janet!! :D Congrats on your progress! It's always interesting to see #s and stuff from my friends.


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MARCHMAID 10/21/2009 3:04PM

    How tall are you? Just trying to visualize. And BTW, WOW! Hot dog! Jumpin' Jehosephat! Hurray and Hallelujah! And so on.


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MS.ELENI 10/21/2009 12:00PM

    Another interesting blog. emoticon

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DAISIESR4ME 10/21/2009 10:31AM

    GREAT JOB on your many successes! -- especially those inches -- WOW! Hope to be able to join you in that feat some day.

Best Always,
Carla Jo

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DMPRIDER 10/21/2009 9:47AM

    i love your description of our weather this year. You are right on the mark there. Thanks for the laugh! And you are doing great! Congrats on all those inches lost!

Have fun with LL and Telerie!

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JOHAL52 10/21/2009 9:42AM

    Great review!

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FURBALLDTH 10/21/2009 9:36AM

    Keep it up your doing great!!

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A Great Philosopher Once Wrote/Something Good/Shamanic Anarchistic Archaic Revival

Monday, October 19, 2009

Three for the price of one today!

I've had a wacky day already. Got to my office (I start work at 7:30 AM) to find that there's been a water main break in the area. Hence the office was closed (no water in the building)! What to do .....

I had my gear with me and went to the gym, even though I really had not eaten enough. It was fine, I was okay. Then went home, ate my apple on the way. Got in and realized, ewps, I better open email. I did. The bigwigs were still kinda floundering around. It was declared a work from home day. Well, that's nice but the laptop is in the office. Not a helluva lot I can do, other than read and respond to email. I sent a few crucial emails and told my boss that the laptop is there while I'm here.

Oh and of course someone said, well, the building management says the building could open at any moment. Gaahh there's always someone like that, eh? I figure, I did my part. I came to work, I was unable to do so, I got home and I did the really important stuff. Not my fault that I didn't have the laptop (I usually don't). I won't be thrilled but if I am stuck losing a day off, well, so be it. I am planning on Friday off anyway and am not changing that. I need the break, desperately.

And so that's been my day so far.

In the meantime, the weight loss department is not going along as well as usual. I've gained back 3 lbs. in the last 2 weeks. Not good. But I am working out like a fiend, still (when I last looked, I had, yes, this is the God's honest truth, more fitness minutes than anyone else in Boston). And my pants fit better than ever. Can't blame muscle for everything but I figure I'm okay. Though it is annoying to see the scale doing that. I am doing what I am supposed to do. It'll all right itself at some point.

So, why three songs? And why are they so techno?

I recently went through all of our CDs and added whatever I wanted to the iPod. This resulted in over 2500 songs -- days and days of music. I pulled the three songs for this blog out and put them not only into the iPod but into the Running playlist. This is the playlist for getting out and doing 5K stuff, both formally for competitions and informally for training. I was listening to them (and maybe a dozen other songs) when we were training on Saturday, and it was fun to hear them as they are from the early '90s and remind me of when we used to live in Mineola, NY. Plus I can't resist laughing along with the sinister laugh on "Ebenezer Goode". I'm sure the fine citizens of Brighton were unsure of what to make of the woman running in navy tights and laughing to herself like a fiend.

Eh, it's that time of year.

But it also got me to thinking about how music has made so much more of this possible. I didn't even have an iPod until after the first 5K, as it was obvious that I needed my own music in order to simply get through the time it takes me to run one. Now I put together my own little collections, about 43 - 50 minutes long, and I just run and enjoy them and don't waste any time or energy thinking, "Oof, what was I thinking, why is this on here?"

It's a little thing but it works for me and I know it helps me to run longer and possibly faster.

Before I started, I recall feeling that exercise is boring and how the heck am I gonna endure hours and hours of such a non-intellectual pursuit? Well, lots of pursuits can and should be non-intellectual. There's nothing wrong with feeding your muscles instead of your head. Or they can be mixed -- there are always books on tape for the truly ambitious. Or silence if you prefer. The sound of your own breathing, your own heart, your own feet pounding pavement, all of those are rhythmic and musical, mystical and magical.

Whatever it takes to get you, to the gym, to the park, to the field, to the court, DO IT. Play the music, get the sitter, eat lunch early, take a little time off, whatever works.

Whatever it takes, whatever works.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to practice my sinister laughing for Halloween.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUEENOTHEFOREST 10/19/2009 11:07PM

    So Dahlink. Work from home means...vacuum, do the laundry, play with Milly.

Yes you may come out here and play with Milly. It is vital work.

Best to you!

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GEE-KNEE 10/19/2009 6:32PM

    Thats funny... techno, i remember those songs. The Shamen's "Move Any Mountain" was playing when I met my husband.

Hope you had a good day off. I am happy to hear that even though the scale went up, you still are keeping it in perspective. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught in those numbers, even when you know you are progressing with inches lost. The scale lies.

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TELERIE 10/19/2009 3:02PM

    I love to listen to my mp3-player when I work out too. Also when I do chores at the house, it helps pass the time in a more interesting manner. I'm hooked on radio drama and plays as well as audio books, but some groovy music really gets me going with more stamina. Have a great wacky day off and enjoy the rest of the week.

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WOLFKITTY 10/19/2009 12:00PM

    "Rhythmic and musical, mystical, magical" - - - I love it, LOVE IT, Janet. You're right (of course). I don't know what I'd do without music though either. It pushes me when I'm all fired up, and it supports me when I'm trying to light that fire. But, music is my muse.

HUGS! I'm glad you're well.

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MS.ELENI 10/19/2009 11:53AM

    ok I really feel old now.Your videos were a little too much for old grandma.But to each his own.

Sounds like quite a day for you. Enjoy your unexpected day off

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DMPRIDER 10/19/2009 11:33AM

    I run without headphones. I prefer to listen to nature and free my mind to wander. I also like to be able to hear approaching traffic. Lately I've been wondering if running to music would help me increase my speed. I think it may be time to experiment with that.

Enjoy the rest of your wacky day. Thanks!

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'Cause It's so Easy to Say that You'll Forget Your Past

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't panic; the song isn't about Mr. J and me. Rather, it's about my original running sneakers and me.

I ran an incredibly rainy 5K 10 days ago. So rainy, so wet, so icky that I ended up with moldy sneakers.

No amount of washing seemed to be able to fix them, so out they went. The replacements aren't so hot so I will buy the absolutely correct New Balance number and not vary again, ever, under pain of death.

God help me if they ever retire that number, 758.

But I'm okay for now.

Anyway, I wanted to really write about forgetting your past.

Or, rather, not doing that, if you can.

I think photographs are astoundingly important, particularly the bad, "before" shots.

So many of us have so few of them. We gave up on our appearances. And the people who loved to photograph us gave up on doing just that, too.

Invisible, we came out briefly for major parties and then turned turtle and retreated to our caves. You know the cave. It's the place with the Pringles and anything made by Hostess or Little Debbie.

Caves. Quiet. Dark. Damp. Musty. And the best word of all: dank.

There's nothing nice about dank. It's chilly and moist and smelly and just plain awful.

And we lived there, in those dank surroundings, and we self-medicated with food and inertia and we sat in the dark and wondered why no one ever came over to switch on the lights for us.

Because, you see, we simply could not do so for ourselves.

And then you fast forward, and you hit today, and things are different, and the cave is a distant memory and you meet someone new and you find yourself playing along with their belief that you were always this way. It was ever so.

And if someone crosses your paths who is overweight, and your new friend says, Oh, I could never be like that, you nod involuntarily. No, not you. That could never be you.

Oh, but wait, it was. And that person, that nameless person, looks out to you, and their eyes reflect the cave.

If you are honest with yourself, you bring yourself up short. That cave. You've been there. You know it. You've lived there.

And if you are really honest, you tell your new friend, I can understand, because I have been there.

Last week, I went out to lunch with a friend I had not seen since before I started my journey. We had a lovely time, and after the initial "You look great!"s by her, she told me something I never knew about her before.

She had not always been thin. She had been heavy in High School, and had ended up with an eating disorder. It was a long time ago. She was better now, healthy and happy. And felt even better to be able to tell one more person.

Because bulimia was her own personal cave.

The amazing thing about the caves is, if you bring them out and into the light, they lose their power. They become just another place. They loosen their grips and become just another phase of your existence.

So you need to acknowledge them, to remember them. To tell the world: this was me. I wasn't always like this. And I remember and I acknowledge and I embrace it because without it I am not here today.

It's so easy to say that you'll forget your past.

But you shouldn't.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NGCHILD 10/19/2009 4:05PM

    What a great blog. You very much hit the nail on the head. I don't want to be in this place anymore and am taking steps to seal it up!!


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KUNGFOOD 10/19/2009 7:47AM

    Onward and upward into the light.
Shadows are part of it ...we need them to remind us which way we are going.

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WOLFKITTY 10/13/2009 6:33PM

    That's right - remembering in order to PROGRESS is a fantastic idea. There are other ways to not forget our caves, destructive ways, that we can avoid too!

You're so insightful Janet!

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EMMASMART 10/13/2009 3:40PM

    Still in the cave... I'm going to get fresh pictures taken this week. I think that might be the way out of the cave...


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MS.ELENI 10/12/2009 7:29PM

    Another good blog

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LAB-LOVER 10/12/2009 6:07PM

    This is a great blog -- I can definitely relate to not having mnay "before" photos -- I wouldn't let anyone with a camera near me, and always played the photographer role, so that I could hide behind my own camera. I HATED the me I saw in pictures because the camera didn't lie, but I was lying to myself everyday. I'm not sure that the cave metaphor works for me, but I understand it. I was the "victim" in so many ways and when I started losing weight, running, setting goals and meeting them, I took charge of my own life in so many other ways. Sometimes I see people I want to coax out of their own "caves" but I know that they need to do it on their own time and in their own way!

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TELERIE 10/12/2009 4:36PM

    Never gonna forget. Never going back into that dank dreary cave. I have a few dark corners still, but some of those are homely and cosy and I don't mind those. Simply brilliant, my friend. I adore your blogs! emoticon

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MITEJOE 10/12/2009 4:20PM

    Wow! Great post. I understand that cave; been in and out of it several times now. But this is what I had to do to get where I am now! No more dark and damp for done with that!

Best to you!

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VANYELMOON 10/12/2009 4:03PM

    Awesome post! You are right, we can never forget that "other" person we used to be. To forget the past is to repeat it in the future.

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MARCHMAID 10/12/2009 3:10PM

    It's true, we all have caves as DMPRIDER notes. Some, I venture to say, have even been nice places in some ways---not always dank but filled with amazing corners and lovely stalagtites--but still places we shouldn't have been and don't want to go again.

Here's to new sneakers and new insights! emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 10/12/2009 2:38PM

    I've actually started carrying around "before" pictures along with my spark cards, because people glaze over when it comes up in conversation that I've lost 149 lbs. It happened just yesterday in Walmart when I was shopping for a couple new bras, with the lady giving out the numbers and unlocking the cubicles...

And Saturday the woman who cuts my hair and has known me for at least the last 5-6 years showed she's already forgotten how big I used to be, because we were talking about kayaking and outdoor activities, and she asked if I'd tried the climbing wall at Cornell. WHAT?! I just spun around and looked at her and said, "You cut my hair last December, so I KNOW you know what size I used to be - I was over 300 lbs... There wasn't any way I was doing any climbing!"

How soon we forget...

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CANNOTFATHOM 10/12/2009 1:55PM

    Nice blog! Thanks for sharing!


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CAROLISCIOUS 10/12/2009 1:45PM

    Simply GREAT blog. I carry a before pic with me everywhere I go. Remembering my "cave" keeps me motivated to move forward and not go back.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/12/2009 10:40AM

    Great blog. I have a similar attachment to my dance sneakers. Bloch better not ever retire that model!

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DMPRIDER 10/12/2009 10:32AM

    Wow, great blog. I think we can have caves of many kinds, not always related to our appearance. I'm still working my way out of mine. Thanks!

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KARBIE18 10/12/2009 9:44AM

    Great blog! I have no doubt that I will NEVER forget. I have been very sneaky about avoiding the camera, but the few "before" pictures I have make me very proud about how far I've come.

Thanks for sharing. You definitely have a way with words.


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SWEETZMIX 10/12/2009 9:37AM

    Again a great blog. You know I don't let myself forget. This year has been sO hard for me with my journey. And in June, I just forgot and let myself go. Gained tons of weight, & then this fall I was like "EB, what's wrong with you, you are not happy. Did you forget all the hard work you put in, how you used to feel, how heavy you were?" And of course I "forgot", or more like push it in the back of my mind. But now I remember & always remind myself that hard work may never end.

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    Oh Jespah, this blog is so full of compassion and understanding. It takes a lot of courage to shed light on our caves, I'm not completely out of mine yet. Working on it though. And your reminder of other caves in my past gives me hope I will get out of this one. Thanks.

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    I so needed to read this today! I have been spending my weekends with cookies and ice cream and it isn't any fun!

I am coming back out of the cave today!!!

P.S. I wear 749's and if they discontinue them I may just cry!

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KARVY09 10/12/2009 9:21AM

    Beautiful blog, Jes. I'll never forget where I've come from because it makes me stronger. And with every 5K I run, I'll remember the girl who could barely make it up the steps to her apartment without panting.

Thank you for this!

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