Monday, November 09, 2009
Yesterday I ran my fifth 5K.
What a strange thing to say, seeing as it was only two short years ago where I would have laughed at you, thought you were insane to suggest such a thing. Even last year at this time (after I'd already lost a good 100 freakin' pounds!), I would have thought, well, I can do maybe one. But five? In six months???
Oh, but there's more. See, once again, I set a new personal record. Now, I realize that a part of that is because the initial bar was set exceptionally low, but I'll still take it.
Okay, no, wait a second. Step back. Look back.
This is something I have trouble with, and I imagine a lot of other folks here do, too. We think, oh man, a compliment? How could that possibly apply to me? It's selfish. It's wrong. It's vain. It'll make other people feel bad. Yadda yadda yadda until we end up with just so much white noise buzzing as we minuet out of the way of anything good that anyone could possibly ever want to say about us, and that even means our own self-talk.
So let me try that one again.
My first 5K was run in one hour, four minutes and four seconds, back in May. Yesterday's was run in 38 minutes and 12 seconds, AKA about 39% faster, six months later. I had been hoping I would break the 40 minute mark this year and not only have I done that, but I've blown past it and instead have also broken the 39 minute mark. I'm running one more 5K before the end of the calendar year. Will I break the 38 minute mark? I dunno. I attribute a lot of my success to this time running for one song, then walking fast for another, then running again and so on. I went so fast that I didn't even make it to the finishing song on my playlist. It was a good running day for my husband, too, and our friend Thomas. We had a blast, as always.
There, now, that's better. Did lightning strike me for being oh so self-centered as to say that I achieved something? Of course not. Did the earth stop spinning on its axis because I dared to crow about something good? Tap tap tap I'm still waiting.
I have power, to be sure, but not THAT kind of power.
And you -- what have YOU got? More situps today than yesterday? Looser pants? More weight on the press-up machine? More steps on the pedometer? More errands run by actually running them rather than driving? Being able to say no to cake? Or at least say no after just one piece instead of two? Better choices at the grocery and the dinner table and the restaurant? More restful sleep at night? A happier day? Speaking the truth of these things out loud will not cause the sun to crash into the moon.
But above all, don't look back angrily at the old person. That was you, too, and you need to not just love who you are now but even love who you were then. Forgive that person in order to become the person you are now, and the one you can become in the future.
Every race is with ourselves. Every time I come down that track and I hear those people (this time, my number was 99, so I could hear people calling for 99), I hit the gas. Whatever I've got, I give it then. Sometimes I hit that pedal earlier than others. This time around, it was quite far back where I was jogging, and then I hit the gas pretty far back as well.
And in my own personal race, yesterday I came in first, and the October me came in second, and the September me came in a close third, and the July me came in fourth and the May me came in fifth and then we all stood and cheered and applauded and waited for the ones who never ran, for the 2008 me and, yes, even the 2007 me, even if it took her all day. She may not have been fast. She may not have been strong. She may have been filled with doubts and fears. But she had more courage than any of us, as she saw through to a murky end that was unknown but impossibly hoped for and wished.
One small change to today's song:
No, I'll never look back in anger
No, I'll never find me an answer
Can't be no warning how could I guess?
I'll have to learn to forgive and (NEVER) forget
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ....
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.
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