Monday, August 23, 2010
Even if you don't like this group, I urge you to watch the video. With the sound off, if you prefer. Check out the details.
Huh? you say.
Well, it's because this is a cover. The song was written, and originally recorded by, Michael Jackson. Alien Ant Farm (the group in the clip) are about as far from MJ as you can get, but they are clearly huge fans. Everything from the chimp to the Elizabeth Taylor tattoo to the surgical mask, it's all about MJ. I love it when something as detailed and as loving as that pops up thoroughly unexpectedly.
But that's not what this post is about.
Rather, this one is about last weekend's 5K.
And, it's about 5Ks in general.
This was the 10th time I'd run a 5K. The time was not spectacular -- it was fifth-worst, almost the same as I was in July and September of last year. Clearly, I have been slacking off.
But -- I shaved 4 minutes off my time from July of this year. And, being fifth-worst is right in the middle for me. 42 - 43 minutes and change is pretty standard -- it takes some effort for me to hit 40 minutes and below (I've only finished at below the 40-minute mark one time so far). And -- just as importantly -- I enjoyed myself.
Oh and I beat thirteen other people: www.coolrunning.com/results/10/ma/Au
That in itself is a rarity. Now, most of those people were walking, but still! I am often last, or second to last, and this was not a very big field. I had every belief that I would be dead last.
But I wasn't, and I wasn't even the last one in the field of eight us women in our -- ahem -- forties.
But enough of yay me. How about some yay YOU?
Are you afraid to run? Are you concerned that you'll be slow, you'll be tired, you'll just look bad? Everyone will pass you, and will think, there goes that fat girl (or guy). No hope for 'em. Might as well give up and go eat Twinkies. What the heck are they thinking?? Kidding themselves, so sad to be so delusional.
That is just NOT what happens.
Now, I cannot vouch for what is in anybody's head, of course. But I can tell you that, unless you're racing against a bunch of eleven-year-olds, no one is going to say anything like that. No one will shunt you to the side and think you're hopeless. No one will laugh.
Instead, here's what happened to me. I ran at the end. Not a jog, but a flat out run. I try very hard to do that at the end of 5Ks, because it makes me feel better, not because I'm going to break any sort of a record or anything. It's the last 20 - 30 seconds or so, and I can see the finish line, so I run.
And, because I am often last, most of the people who are in the race are there. They are drinking their water or Gatorade, or enjoying a banana or some pretzels or whatever the Race Director has provided for the cost of the entry fee.
And -- get this -- they clap.
They freakin' cheer.
Now, I realize that, when I come in, it's time to award the medals or gift certificates or whatever, but they don't seem to be just mindlessly cheering (Hey, we get to leave soon!). No -- they call out encouragement: Go! Go! Go! and Strong Finish! and You Can Do It!
And I tell you, if I could switch places with them, and be there when they came in, I, too, would put down my water for a second and do the same.
This last time, because some people came in after me, I got the chance to do just that. And it feels awesome. Cheering works, and it's wonderful, whether you are doing it or hearing it. It totally rocks.
And, while I beat some people this time around, I may very well be dead last again at my next one (September 6th). If I am, so what? All that means is that I made everyone else a winner. And it means that everyone -- even Olympians -- not in the race came in behind me. So I have plenty to cheer about even if I am a good twenty minutes after the previous person.
YOU can feel this way, too.
YOU can do it.
Go! Go! Go! Strong Finish! You Can Do It!
You really can. Get out there and set aside your excuses and do it. It really is an incredible blast.
Go get 'em, Tiger.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Ha, I don't really want candy. I actually had to buy some for work, though. We're doing a booth show, and you have to attract people. So it's all about the chocolate. Small sigh. I do wish people would go ga-ga over fruit. Or that fruit would be cheaper and easier to keep (we're still trying to figure out if the booth will be outside. If it is -- in the Providence heat -- we will have chocolate soup after a while). Or that we didn't have to do this at all, that we'd just be loved for our robots.
But, alas, we are new and so you need to be a tad gimmicky. Plus, heh, I may be the only middle-aged Booth Babe out there. ;)
But -- this entry is not intended to really be about work, and it's not intended to be me railing against people preferring Snickers bars to blackberries.
Nuh-uh, gentle reader.
It is -- ha!
Welcome to another milestone, baby.
I am 169 pounds. This means I get to choose a new mini-goal. I've been selecting them in 10-lb. increments and this one will not be an exception. Hence my next mini-goal (on the way to the 146 Holy Grail) is to be 160.
Now, it took me 259 days to get here, but still!
It doesn't matter. I still got this far.
Now, about my measurements. I am recording them but I have not been broadcasting them, as they are fluctuating around pretty much the same numbers, and have been for months, so it doesn't exactly make for a too terribly thrilling news flash. This is fine, it is essentially normal and is also a part of me working out less. This makes the firming up part of the process happen considerably slower, and even reverse itself a bit. I am not too concerned about such things. I am a pretty solid size 12. I would like to be smaller, yes, but I am in far less of a hot hurry about such things these days.
I am still fiddling with what should feel like maintenance. What is it like to do this on a regular basis? What am I going to look like at 50? What will my days look like? That is where this portion of the experiment is going. I am learning and enuring myself to how the regular days are going to be, the days of pay the mortgage, commute to work, shovel the walk, call the plumber. Those kinds of days, but they will also be intersprinkled (that is a word NOW!) with weight training and food tracking and hey, let me grab these resistance bands, and let me see when I can get to the gym and oh, by the way, we need postage stamps and I will walk for the errand and not drive.
And, perhaps, those will be intersprinkled (there's that neologism again :)) with a few bites of candy, too. Because that is a part of maintenance. It is releasing the idea of verboten foods and exchanging them for ideas of controlled foods instead. A less binary mindset. It is not on/off, yes/no for food unless you are allergic or keep kosher or vegan or the like.
It is ... do I want a small candy bar or a big piece of fruit? Do I want pizza or a big salad with grilled chicken? All of this fits in, so long as you balance it. And, like on a see-saw, when you grab something heavier, it takes more effort, more juggling, more working out and more restriction of other things in order to balance it out.
But it is not impossible.
The booth show is on the 28th. I am certain that I will not eat any of the candy, but I cannot promise that the dinner we will have afterwards will be perfectly wholesome. And so goes the way of the world. But ... that is not the end of the world, it is not the end of health and it is not about the end of me caring about what happens to me.
Candy and pizza just do not have that power over me any more.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Ha, I have done it.
And they said it couldn't be done.
Okay, well maybe THEY didn't say it.
Maybe I did.
Oh yeah. Forgot -- the only person in my head is me, so I shall explain.
I currently weigh 171.8 lbs.
I have lost a total of 174.2 lbs., which is just about what my husband weighs (no divorce jokes, please).
Oh yeah, baby!
I have lost over half of my body weight.
Hell, I'm .8 lbs. away from having lost 175 pounds.
Am I done?
Got another, erm, 25.8 to go.
I am still overweight.
I still have nights where my hand dips into cereal a little too much, although I dip less, and it is cereal and not chips.
I still have clothes in my closet that are too small.
I still need to be faster at 5Ks.
I still order pizza for company events (it's cheap -- I wish other stuff was cheaper and easier to stretch, but there you have it).
I am living my own life now. And it's a pretty decent one, if I do say so myself.
See, I think Billy Joel got that lyric right, the one in my title. We get fat, we get tired, we get complacent. We get sick and doughy and slow and winded. And we are -- who are we, again? That is not us.
Sure, we tell ourselves that it is us. We accept it and let it wash over us, until the years have gone by, and those years tumble into decades and we ARE the fat person. We are whoever that is.
But we aren't. We are inside, struggling to get out. We are in the fat cage, and we need to break free of it. Ever see a prisoner of war escape movie? There's action, to be sure, but the real work is in the slow, steady dripping, the chipping away of mortar, the careful forging of documents and the slow sewing of civilian clothing from scraps and bits of thread, with a needle made by grinding a nail on stone.
There's another line in this song: "But there's gotta be more to life than just try, try, try" and, I'm sorry, Billy, but you got that one WRONG.
Trying is all we've got. We do, we attempt, we work, we wrangle, we dance around, we pump, we measure, we haul ourselves and our lives from Point A to Point Z, with Q and S and all the others in between. And trying is actually good enough.
Did you know that? It's true.
Because if all we saw in our lives, if all we celebrated, were perfect successes, we'd never get off the ground. We'd never do, we'd never haul, we'd never get there.
I am eight-tenths of a pound away from 175 off. I am a bit doughier than I was a year ago when I was actually 10 pounds heavier. I am slower in 5Ks. I am not living it perfectly and completely correctly, not always honest and right, delicate, careful and true.
I say, celebrate today, for what it is.
I have been living someone else's life.
I don't care about them any more.
Time to be free.
Come along. I have room in my jalopy. But I call shotgun.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Okay, so it's skim milk and a limited supply of honey, but still!
So, the wacky week continues. I just doubled my income.
Well, one of the guys' Dads has his own biz. He wants a new marketing person.
And so it goes, another gig!
I am still (cleverly, ha!) on Unemployment.
And this means that if I get a third one of these gigs, I will have to hold my hand out more, as I'm at the limit of what Unemployment will let me make before they start to take out from the weekly check.
But -- still!
I need to write up a contract (I now, ha, have a standard one) and all.
I have passwords. I will blog, I will tweet. I will work on the guy's website (he does home energy audits in Central Mass -- need to see if you need a new furnace? I got a guy for ya).
Eek, I actually am getting, I dunno, what's it called? Oh yeah. Business.
I need to get better organized. I have a bunch of stuff organized, but it's not as good as it could be and that always troubles me. Plus, that tends to take up my time, finding stuff and seeing piles. Piles unnerve me. I want neat files.
That's a minor quibble but it's still important to me.
Oh yeah, TED.
I have blogged twice about it for work. I don't want to repeat everything -- the blog entries are huge, it's like the online versions of Anna Karenina and War and Peace. Our event is mentioned here: neuronrobotics.com/2010/07/re
view-of-our-tedxboston-pre-adventure/ and the TED Main Event is reviewed here: neuronrobotics.com/2010/08/a-
That's not a not so clever means of directing you to the company site. Rather, it's just me being incredibly tired, still. But I'll sum it up quickly in case you don't want to click and read the novels.
Our event was great. I was harried. Let's face it, I was loaded with work, and I was (along with the Prez and VP) shouldering the lion's share of the socializing. Everyone else was okay with demos but they terrified me as I still don't know enough. I can answer very, very basic questions. Then I freeze. And for good reason. I'm just not informed enough, and I truly wish I was.
So I busied myself with greeting people, handing out business cards and brochures, and whisking away empty pizza boxes. I wiped off counter tops and opened boxes of soda. I tweeted when I could. I smiled at everyone and thanked them for coming. And after it was all done, I took on my alter-ego, the mantle of the superhero I like to call "Politeness Girl".
Politeness Girl sends out thank you notes. She follows up. She puts people on the mailing list, which trebled in size in the last few days. She directs them to the Facebook page and the Twitter stream. She is cleverly disguised as Emily Post half the time.
She also came out after the TED Main Event. The Main Event was enormous and it's a good thing I took notes as it was one idea flying in upon the heels of the last 47. Plus everyone talking in my ear about this and that and the other thing. Names were dropped. One of those names was Michelle.
As in, oh, the First Lady.
Yeah, heh, who knows if any of that will ever happen but it was mentioned -- science education, Michelle's very interested.
The. First. Freakin'. Lady.
I can pour tea nicely, or at least Politeness Girl can.
But be that as it may, I/we also learned (ha!) there are robotics fans.
As in, teenaged girls.
Now, keep in mind that I work with guys who are between the ages of 22 and 27. They are all single. They all have serious, major geek cred. And three out of four have serious girlfriends. But no matter.
The tween crowd LOVE 'em.
We handed out the last of the swag. There was much rejoicing on the part of our tween friends. Not Beatlemania-type swooning and squealing, but still!
I have never worked for a company before that had fans.
Today's blog song, by the way, is actually a reminder to myself: although I weigh less (for the most part), I am less toned than I was 10 lbs. ago. I am creeping up a size, to a 12 and perhaps back to a 14. Not awful, but it could be better, certainly.
I need to balance things better. I need to get in cardio (I have been getting in strength training faithfully, but the large amounts of cardio have suffered -- it takes 4 - 5 days to hit a new cardio milestone; it used to take only 3) more. I need -- desperately -- to get enough sleep.
I dunno how I'm going to do it, between my 2 gigs, looking for work (still required by the Department of Employment & Training, of course) and my life as Politeness Girl.
By the way, Politeness Girl drives a sensible superhero vehicle and always signals her turns.
I am ...
Monday, July 26, 2010
I remember this week's song well, but apparently it's pretty obscure. Hmm, I had thought that Stevie Wonder and obscure couldn't possibly be thought of in the same sentence.
So. Tomorrow is our big, honkin' TEDxBoston event. I am excited and a little nervous. I am perfectly fine talking to large crowds but that confidence stems from knowing my material and I wish I knew the material better. We are going to work on the whole thing tonight, and during today I am going to read the manual (RTFM) again. And I will blog. And write the company newsletter. And set up catering. And a billion other things, too.
Everyone has gotten into the act, which is truly fun to see. I was at the Worcester Lab on Wednesday and one of the guys' girlfriends was putting together robotic arms. Well, actually, she was filing down rough edges. So another girlfriend, and I, started to help her. These were plastic edges that were a bit uneven because the laser cutter (yes, we use one of those) was a tad dirty. It's the three of us, sitting there, filing away, when one girlfriend asks the other: do you have a heavier file? Sure, she says, and pulls out a thin file. From the back of her hairdo.
It was sort of like some wacky steampunk idea of cottage industry. I half expected someone to hand me a loom and tell me to start weaving. The guys, on the other hand, were talking about the production run, talking about the brochures we're going to hand out, etc. I flitted between the two groups.
My husband has even helped out -- he is an AutoCADD Designer and we needed a blueprint, so he spent four hours this weekend (he did not mind -- he is one truly awesome fellow) drawing a basic house plan.
But it's been a lot of driving (round-trip, Worcester is 3 hours) and so, naturally, this is all dominating my life. I am okay with it being that dominant -- it should be! But I am not the Spring chicken I keep telling myself I am. Copious naps and cups of coffee, interspersed, have helped tremendously.
I also had a phone screen last week, for the company that's courting me. I passed and now it's on to ... another phone screen. In a way, that's good, as I just don't have the time to deal right now. This week is taken over, with the before, the during and the after.
Oh and I am flirting (although I gained about a half a pound this week -- blame TOM, there's another thing for me to be dealing with right now) with 173.
Why is the mark of 173 lbs. so important?
Because that's half of what I originally weighed.
Yep, really. I don't know if it will happen this week -- I will try to keep the eating good but it just might not happen. I will forgive myself if it is imperfect. C'est la vie. But it is definitely within reach, which is rather exciting. My current minigoal is 170 but that's not the ultimate goal, which remains 146. But hitting 173, perhaps in mid-August, would be awfully sweet. Thank you -- ALL of you -- for everything you've done to get me to where I am today. I truly appreciate it.
One last thing -- if you want to see me in action tomorrow, we are actually webcasting. We're all wearing company shirts (and the gals are all wearing black skirts), but I am unmistakable as I'm the only blonde.
I am ready for my close up now. neuronrobotics.com/2010/07/beyond-ro
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