Thursday, November 04, 2010
You ever have one of those nights where EVERYTHING goes wrong? Tonight was that night for me. It's Wednesday, which means it's swim night. The day went relatively well and so I was looking forward to the pool. I stay late at work on Wednesdays so I can go right from work to the Rec. Center, so when 6:30pm rolled around I started packing up. Not so fast - a company came in for rehearsal that was supposed to have a tech of their show tonight. My tech guy is nowhere to be found. Crap - it must have slipped my mind to remind him to be in tonight. No worries - I'll just go up to the theatre and set a quick light and sound cue for them. It will be fine. ONE HOUR later after a phone call to 2 different people to try to get help with the control boards in the space I was finally able to give the company what they needed for tonight. I made a mad dash for the door, just as I heard what sounded like a heard of elephants crashing on the second floor. It's 7:35pm so I yelled at my House Manager to deal with it and ran down the street to catch my bus. Traffic is heavy, so I don't get to the pool until 8:05pm (swim time starts at 8). By this point my stomach is seriously growling. Usually on swim nights I leave around 7pm and grab a latte to get me through my exercise before I get dinner when I'm done. No time for a latte tonight, but I've done it without before, so I just power through it. I throw on my suit and get into the pool by 8:15pm. OK - 45 minutes to swim. I can do this. The only problem now is that one of the synchronized swim team members who practice at the same time is in my lane doing his buoyancy exercises. Fine - I go one lane over and start my routine. But I'm SO used to swimming in the same lane I keep wandering and hitting the rope with my hands as I'm doing front crawl. Just push through it - tonight is about dealing with challenges. Lap 7 - I'M TIRED. I really needed that latte. Shut up and swim - talk to me again when you hit Lap 20. Lap 18 - I'M REALLY TIRED. Nope - talk to me again when you hit Lap 30. Now pool-boy is wandering over to MY side of the line and he actually just hit me. Ignore it. Just keep swimming. You're running out of time. Lap 46 - a kid decides to race her friend across the pool in the opposite direction of the lanes and slams into me. Not even an apology! Ok - clearly my blood sugar is low because now I'm CRANKY and tired. Lap 50 - seven minutes left to do 5 crawl laps and 5 breast stroke. Crap - breast stroke take me a full minute per lap. Just swim. Fight the challenges. You can do this. But you're not going to have time to stretch in the pool. That's fine - you can stretch in the shower. Yes! 60 laps - 45 minutes. I did it. I jumped out of the pool right at the hour mark and headed for the showers...oh jeez - really should have eaten something. I'm really faint, can't catch my breath. I wager that eating is more important than showering completely at this point so I stretched out quickly, washed my hair and got out of the steam before I passed out. I was really weak putting on my clothes, but I managed to get packed up and by the time I got out the door and grabbed a drink of water I was feeling a bit better. Alright - on to Subway. The toughest part of the night is over. I walked up the street to my usual Wednesday fine-dining experience...a full footlong turkey & ham sub from Subway - cause I deserve it at this point. Yet as I near the door I can see that something isn't right. A huge sign in the window greets me "Will Re-Open on Nov 4". WHAT???? NOOOOOOOOO!!! Now what? Jimmy John's across the street still has lights on. I hurry over. Also closed. I take a quick look around - McDonalds, or walking all the way back down past the pool to Potbelly's and risk that being closed as well. Nope. Just head to Walgreen's. I need toilet paper anyway and I can grab a small snack until I can get home. So I head into the store and proceed to wander the aisles for a full 10 minutes. I can't think at this point so I can't decide what to eat. I was going in for the small packages of raw almonds, but they were out. So I went and grabbed the t.p. thinking that I could make up my mind on the way back. Still nothing I really want. I finally gave up, walked to the cash and grabbed a full can of Deluxe Mixed Nuts (my nemesis) on the way. As I'm cashing out and walking to the door - I see my bus pulling away from the stop. It is now 9:45pm - buses slow down after 9 so I know I'm in for a LONG wait. I check the bus tracker. The next bus is "Delayed" which means it could be another 20 minutes. OMG. I open the can of nuts and pour out what I deem to be a 1/4 cup serving in my hand. They might be my nemesis, but I'll be darned if I'm going to sit here and eat the whole bloody can because I'm starving and angry. Salty nuts...never occurred to me to grab a drink while I was in the store - now I'm thirsty. A teen mother of twins beside me is yelling profanities at her two small children in a twin stroller. The kids are trying to play a game with each other and so the one keeps turning around in his seat. She keeps coming over, picking him up and slamming him back into the stroller seat yelling things at him I'm quite sure he has no comprehension of. At least I hope he doesn't a such a young age. The sad part is that he probably does know exactly what all those words mean. LORD - Please send me a bus...and soon! 14 minutes later the bus arrives. I'm finally on my way home. The nuts have helped a bit. OK - last ditch effort - it's not exactly health conscious, but I'll grab a sandwich at the Cuban restaurant across the street from my house. Deal. I'm loving the sound of that. The bus pulls up to my stop - lights at the Cuban place are out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! FINE! Just FINE! I'll go home and raid my fridge. 10:30pm - I now have a chicken caesar salad in a bowl and 2 glasses of almond milk. I'm logging into Spark to prevent me from inhaling this meal so fast I can barely breathe. Tracking my calories consumed. Lettuce and chicken in a bowl - no WAY I can be anywhere near the number of calories I have left for the day. I was planning on a full footlong - so I should be able to have a bowl of ice cream too - for all my troubles. Would you believe that stinkin' salad just put me OVER my calorie limit for the day? Nuts to this! No - NUTS to the NUTS! It was the darn handful of nuts that put me over. Or the two glasses of almond milk. Whatever - I'm over for the day. No ice cream for me. I'm typing this now so that I can bide the time until my stomach decides that it's full because what I really want to do is eat the whole tub of animal crackers sitting on my counter. Or the nuts. I could eat the whole can of nuts. But I won't. I'll brew a cup of tea and turn off the kitchen light and go into the other room. Besides, now it's bedtime. So much for the "best laid plans". Blargh. Thanks for letting me vent Sparkies. Tomorrow better be a better day. Nuff said.
P.S. "Don't go to bed angry"
- I am thankful for my swim cause I swam a full 60 laps in 45 minutes which is amazing.
- I am thankful I thought enough in advance to have a chicken caesar salad ready in the fridge.
- I am thankful that that woman with the twins was not my mother.
- I am thankful for the challenges from tonight because overcoming them only makes me stronger - and maybe I needed tonight so that I can be positive that whatever happens at my race on Saturday - I can and will power through!
Monday, November 01, 2010
It's the middle of the afternoon on a Monday. The weekend is over, the work week has only just begun, and I'm hungry. But not really hungry. Not stomach growling, need to eat for sustenance hungry. Bored hungry, sad hungry, tired hungry, too much past week indulgence hungry. In short - my heart is hungry, and I know that nothing I do right now is going to feed it.
It's the hardest part of the day for me. The neediness that comes with wrapping up the current day's work projects, the thought/dread of going home and having to put something healthy on the table for dinner, alone, and the knowledge that the most exciting thing I have to do tonight is watch television and scoop the litter box. Mama said there'd be days like this. And if my social calendar were full up, I'd be complaining about that too, I'm sure of it. But the fact of the matter is that now that the show is over, it's very, very empty.
So how do you fix a hungry heart? And worse yet, how do I fix a heart that's been hungry for over a week now?
I'm still hung up on my parents' visit from last weekend. I said it wasn't going to get to me, I said I wasn't going to let them in, let them carve out a little piece of me and take it back to Canada - but the fact of the matter is that they did. And I've been eating all week to fill that hole. For those who haven't read my past blogs about mom & dad, know that I love my parents dearly. I had a wonderful childhood and upbringing. But in every happy family, there are demons. And mine are big. And come in the shape of a very obese, very unhappy woman. A woman that I am trying every day to part ways with. But their visits remind me of who she was and still is, and it hurts.
Until last weekend my parents had no idea that I was losing weight. I needed it to be that way. I still need it to be that way. I don't think I was emotionally ready for that visit. But I also know that I can't go on hiding from them. And even if I did - even if I was able to lose 200 pounds and then magically reappear in front of them, I'd probably be worse off for it at that point than I will be having to work through seeing them occasionally as I move down the scale. The next visit is Christmas. I've got 2 months. But if I carry on like I have been this past week, I won't be any different in 2 months than I am today. So I HAVE to get over this feeling and move on with myself and my plans - regardless of how much they know, or how much they care. This journey isn't for them. It's for me. And I need to reclaim my power that they have a way of stripping me of.
I have also officially crossed over in to the "noticeable weight loss" category. Every person that I encounter who I haven't seen in a while makes a comment about it. I'm not having an easy time of this. Because, while I'm losing weight and gaining confidence and thinking I'm beautiful and wonderful, I'm still not thin enough or pretty enough or confident enough to undo my social awkwardness. No amount of weight loss is going to change that. And having people comment on my appearance only makes that nervous anxiety worse. And it makes me want to eat. I don't connect easily with people. Or rather, my "social spark plugs" seem to be constantly firing to make those necessary connections, but they aren't being met on the other side by any interested parties. If they are met, the social engine turns over a couple of times and then fizzles out quick. And lord help me if I'm not seeking that dull roar, the hum of an engine that's got substantial fuel and oil and is prime to take off and DRIVE.
But waiting for that lifelong road trip is currently very lonely. I'm crushing hard on a guy who has issues of his own and A) isn't interested though he's a constant flirt, and B) isn't emotionally available anyway. I'm 3 weeks away from going to see The Scientist in Germany - a relationship that is over, sort of, but will likely rekindle for the 2 weeks that I'm there, so I will only have to break his heart all over again when I leave. I don't have the heart to tell him that I haven't missed him as much as I think he's missed me since he left in August. And I'm worried about re-visiting our physical relationship in Germany because it's only going to make the inevitable separation that much worse when I leave. With no more plans to see each other again after this trip, it's over when I get on that plane home. And then there's just the voice in my head that keeps telling me that I should just be single right now - as lonely and miserable as it is. I don't believe that I'm capable of meeting someone right now who will be right for me in the long run anyway. I have too many things left to sort out, too much work to be done on myself, and if I bring someone in to the middle of this mess, it's not fair to him when I become a different person at the end of this process.
All of this would be better if I had better friends. But there's where I also fail in the social department. 100s of acquaintances, not one real friend. Not one person out there who really knows me inside and out, accepts me for everything I am and want to be, and who shares with me a mutual respect, love and deference. And to tell the honest truth, I've never had one of these. Ever. Ever. I don't really know what a real, true, friendship even looks like, or feels like. My mother stood in the way of all of my burgeoning friendships growing up, and to an effect, still does to this day since she taught me early that my only real, true friend in this world should be her. So I never really developed an ability to make my own friends. Any takers? Haha. I'm working on this. But you can't make friends overnight - so until I do, I still have to find good coping mechanisms for the inevitable loneliness that is a result of living in a big, bad city, hundreds of miles from my family, and all alone. Sure there are social outings with my numerous acquaintances, but I have just discovered, unfortunately, that those outings always leave me disappointed and unfulfilled which then leads to unexplained eating - trying to fill that void that those faulty relationships simply can't.
No wonder my heart is hungry. No wonder I've been pushing the upper limits of my calorie range almost every day this past week. No wonder I craved and ate chocolate all weekend. Food is predictable. Food gives me the same result every time I go to it. Food is always there. Food doesn't talk back. Food doesn't throw a loop in my plans. Food doesn't break my heart. Food is reliable. People are not. People change. People can be mean. People's schedules change, and they can leave you stranded when you need them the most. With people you have to be forgiving. But I am a person. And that means that I need to forgive myself. My relationship with me is the most difficult relationship that I will ever forge. And my relationship with everyone else will follow. People are unpredictable. But that's why they are also wonderful. And learning to adapt and forgive and let go of that constant need to control is all a part of this journey. It is incredibly painful. But it is necessary.
I'm deep into the hardest part of the day. And it's not likely to get better over the next few hours. But I know what I'm up against. I have my list of things I want to accomplish tonight, this week and certainly by Christmas. And these are the things I CAN control. Day by day, forging this new relationship with myself. And learning how to feed my hungry heart without food.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Alarm clock. Beeping. This is the day. Today I'm going to do it. Jesus, it's cold! Woo - like SERIOUSLY cold. Turn the heat on. Bathroom. Wake up. Breathe. Wake up. Breathe. Pet the cat - morning buddy. I'm doing this. I'm going to run. Yoga pants, sports bra, tech shirt, banana, water. Back to the bathroom. Nervous pee. Damn, it is so frickin cold! Socks, shoes, stretch. iPod. Outside - I can see my breath. Breathe. Good. Tuesday was too hot. I like running in the cold. I like that I can see my breath. Hello winter. Out into the world. Cross the street, turn on my tunes. New running mix - awesome. Walk, walk, have to warm up. "We will not be broken, we will be victorious" love Muse. Great warm-up song. Puts me in the right frame of mind. Here we go. Blur - Song 2. WOOHOO! RUN! Breathe, relax your shoulders, warm up the legs. Turn the corner, run through leaves. It's interesting how the wind pools them all like that. REALLY cold. Hello fox lawn ornament. Am I already there? Slow down, pace, pace. About 5 minutes in. How do I feel? Breathing is good. Relax the shoulders. Turn the corner. Sun is shining, starting to warm up now. Sun light through the park fence. It's like a strobe light as I run by. Turn the corner. Long stretch before the one mile marker. "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" thanks Kanye. Feeling good. Relax the shoulders. Legs are ok. Breathe deep, imagine any discomfort pushing down through the legs and out through the feet. Settle in. Breathe. One mile. Turn the corner. I hate this stretch. But it's not long - just push through it. Turn the corner. Long haul to Western. You've got this. You feel good. Better than you usually feel at this point. "We've only got 4 minutes to save the world". Do it. Easy does it to Western. Past the school. You used to be dying at this point. Look how amazing you're doing right now. Easy does it to Western. Turn the corner. One block. One more corner. OK - this is the rough patch. You're doing great. Gotta make it back to Hoyne. Damn Hoyne. I hate that street - it's SO far away. Two miles. I've got one left in me for sure. Pace, pace. Just go easy. "So, so what? I'm still a rockstar!" thanks P!NK - you're getting me through this. Only 3 more songs and you're done. One more block - HOYNE! Hallelujah. Turn the corner, one block - hello big doggie and cute owner - yum. Smile, wave...turn the corner, more leaves. Back to Western. This is where C25K training ended. And I'm going the distance this time. I'm doing the WHOLE thing. Pace, pace. Slow down. This isn't a race...well, it IS a race, but not today. Today is about doing it. Coming up on Western now. Still feel good. Not really out of breath. 2.5 miles. Turn the corner. Run home. You got this. Grocery store to home. You can walk that in, like, 4 minutes. Running it is easy. Not thinking about my legs anymore. Settle in. Feet are great. Breathe. Pace, pace. Not cold anymore. Sun is shining. HELL YES I am doing this. I got it. Past home - now it's just about the finish line. Don't speed. Just make it there. 3 blocks. "It makes me that much stronger, thanks for makin' me a Fighter" - bring it home Christina. Just have to run to the end of this song. I can see the last block. I can still see my breath. Finish line! I DID IT!!!
At this point, all by myself on an empty street, I pumped my fist in the air and broke into tears, steam pouring off my body. The feeling of accomplishment and fatigue came over me and I could hardly catch my breath for the sobs escaping my lungs. I slowed to a walk for my favorite cool down songs and just let the tears come. I did it. For weeks I have been so scared that I wouldn't make it to the distance before my race next weekend. I was suffering from negative self-speak, telling myself that I couldn't do it. But - today I did. And now there's nothing left to tell me I can't, because I know I can. I'm still nervous about the race, but today I proved to myself that I can do whatever I want to. I finished with a good stretch and a hot shower. I am beautiful. I am a runner. Bring on next weekend. I can't wait to meet all my SparkFriends and run for chocolate in downtown Chicago!
Official Stats from today:
Here's my route (Yep - it's a 5...I'm a geek)
If I can bring it in under 40 minutes next weekend, I'll be ecstatic! I am so proud of what I can do. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be capable of running 3.1 miles in under 40 minutes. And now that I'm here, it's on to the next hurdle - running a 10K for the start of next year's race season.
Well - just get through the 5K first, Jenn :)
You got it!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The news about the weather today in Chicago started about 3 days ago. Seriously. They've been hyping this HUGE COLOSSAL WIND STORM that is going to take down trees and uproot buildings and put us out of power for weeks for days now. They've nicknamed it the "CHI-CLONE". Don't you love the media? They need to nickname everything now.
So needless to say, I was (only a little) concerned that my running morning happens to be Tuesday and that the Chiclone was set to descend upon the city this morning of all mornings - my last day of C25K training.
My alarm went off at 7:15am. It was very dark. The rain was pelting my window and I could hear the wind whistling. Um...SNOOZE BUTTON. 8:15am - a little brighter outside, but definitely not done raining yet - and here's where the argument starts in my head...
"If you're going to run today you need to get up NOW"
"But it's raining outside and I don't want to run in the rain - what if I slip and fall"
"Well, what if it's raining the day of the 5K? Are you going to give up and not run because it's raining then?"
"Well then you better get out of bed and train in the rain"
"I can train tonight after work. I promise."
9am - by now I HAD to get out of bed or I would be late for work (I know, I know - I get to sleep every morning until 9am - it's ridiculous). I got up and looked outside the window. It was windy, but the rain had stopped. It was too warm in my apartment. I had closed the windows because of the wind, but I was antsy for some fresh air so I cracked the door a bit. A gust of wind breezed in - the fresh smell of morning mixed with rain and wind - refreshing! Well - what if I went running now? I would be done my run in 45 minutes - that would put me at 9:45am - that's still enough time to have a shower and get out of the house by 10:30am. Hmmm - maybe I WILL run now. Yep, I'm gonna run. Really? Really.
So I chowed down a banana, drank a couple of glasses of water and dressed in my new running gear. Yep - I was running. A wonderful feeling washed over me. I was opting to run over not running. I guess that really makes me a runner - right?
Out the door - the morning was actually quite beautiful. It was overcast, and a bit humid from the rain, but the wind was cool and would be at my back for most of my route. I set my iPod to Week 9, Day 3 and off I went.
Well - it wasn't the greatest run. My new tech shirt kept riding up and showing my belly, so I had to keep pulling it down. My energy tanked before I even hit my second mile marker and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to shoot for any extra distance today. I had to dodge a lot of broken tree limbs on the sidewalk, so my focus wasn't where it should have been. And that wind that was supposed to be at my back kept changing and blowing my hair in my face. It was warmer than it has been for my last few runs, so I tuckered out too soon.
BUT - I RAN! I completed my 30 minutes (31 in fact because I finished the block I was running after my time was up) at the 2.5 mile marker. W9D3 complete. C25K training complete. Now all I have to do is run a 5K.
I started this program 12 weeks ago - August 2, 2010.
When I started I weighed 277 pounds. I was heavier than I wanted to be and was convinced that I was too fat to ever run for 30 minutes straight.
I proved myself wrong.
Today I weigh 255. 22 pounds in 12 weeks, and I know it's because I'm running. Sure I'm eating right and I do other exercise too, but my body LOVES to run.
Today is Graduation Day. Even though it wasn't my best run, today I have accomplished something more than I ever thought I was capable of. Today wasn't about book smarts, or getting a good job, or being top of my class. It was about me, and the pavement and choosing to run. This isn't something that will go in my professional bio. But it is something that I can count on to change my life for the better. The personal feeling of satisfaction that no food can ever HOPE to match. I did something, and I did it for me. I may not be the best, I may not be the fastest - but none of that matters. What matters is that I did it, and I am so proud of me.
I am a runner!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I've been thinking a lot about science lately. I never really got much out of my science classes - to me there were just a lot of equations to memorize and not enough practical applications. I'm a hands on learner in every sense of the word. My dad always used to help us with practical applications of science - and he made it so much fun to learn, I had trouble sitting in class and drilling numbers into my head. Life is about experimentation, and having something in front of me that I could pick apart and explain just made learning so much easier.
Weight loss is not an exact science by any means. You're supposed to adhere to the "3500 calories = 1 pound" rule for the weekly deficit, but I can't tell you how many times that has not worked when it comes to my body. But one thing that I do know is that speed, velocity, will always equal distance over time. And more and more, the fitter and healthier I get, velocity is now something that I can control - in both my exercise and my weight loss.
I think about this equation a lot when I'm swimming. Swimming, over any other sport, puts me in THE ZONE. Something about the rush of water past your ears as you're swimming laps, that feeling of being weightless, but working hard at the same time, puts me right inside my head. I get more thinking done in the pool than anywhere else in my life. I talk to myself a lot in the pool. Sometimes it's about pushing myself harder, faster. Most of the time it's about counting (I count my laps in sets of 5 and 10 - I can't tell you how many times I've counted to 5 in my head while swimming). But sometimes, when I really get into my rhythm - breathe in, stroke, stroke, breathe out, kick, kick - I go to another place altogether where nothing hurts, nothing is hard, and I'm almost flying. This is The Zone. This is where I want to be.
More and more I've been trying to transfer this feeling into other exercises. My running is one of those places where I can almost get there now. I know I'll need The Zone when I run my 5K in a couple of weeks. I'll need to go to that place to push through - to ignore the other runners, to breathe through any fatigue in my muscles, to settle in to it and burn it and just do it. Velocity = Distance/Time. And I can control my velocity. I can monitor my breathing. I can slow my pace if I need to. But bottom line is that I can do it.
We're all on this journey together. Everyone is constantly moving. The earth is hurdling through space as we speak. But only I have the power to slow it down when I need to. Get in The Zone, and all of a sudden the speed at which I'm moving doesn't seem to matter any more. Time goes by, distance goes by, and I'm moving through it. As fast or as slow as I need to.
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