Archive for September, 2012

Dear Self,

Telling yourself that you’ll take just a minute to check FB & Twitter before you head off to the gym is why you will be enjoying a chilly, gray, drizzle-run later this evening instead of a warm, well-lit, watching-the-Reds-game, treadmill run during your lunch hour. From now on, sweat equity earns you the technology time when you’ve got a lunch run scheduled. Gym first. Twit later. Love, Self.

The technology timesucks I volunteer for stole my lunch workout, but they did leave me a few minutes to blog – so, hi there! I’ve got some randoms on the brain:

First off, I promised myself as I was listening to this in carpool that I WOULD WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!! because I was THAT FLABBERGASTED! that people would even consider sending their kids off to Crossfit. Then Cultfit listed it under “Today’s Sign of the Apocalypse” and I thought to myself – well, that was succint. So, ditto. Then I reminded myself that I don’t have kids and should probably leave opinions about things like that to people that have kids to send off to Crossfit and that no one had actually asked me my opinion.

Then I reminded myself that I’m a blogger.

Next, joining Twitter has been an interesting experiment in interwebbing. Since Steena and Dallas Latos were my main little-bluebirds-of-inspiration for joining – I followed them first. Then being the Reds fans that we are in my house – I went hog wild with the following of my favorite Reds players. And on from there. Things I have learned thus far:

  • Ricky Gervais is one of the funniest fucking people on the planet. If he ever re-tweets me, I will make myself a special little trophy for being funny enough to have Ricky Gervais re-tweet me, because THAT SO SHOULD BE WORTHY OF A TROPHY. I would say a similar thing about TheBloggess except that I would feel obligated to have a taxidermied trophy for that, and I can’t get down with the possibility that taxidermied things could come back alive and go zombie on my ass.
  • Whether people use their powers for good or evil becomes clear on twitter very quickly
  • With only 2 followers right now, my powers are useless. 😦 Seriously people, how do you get followers? Follow me, please?
  • I have been followed by several porn-looking people right off the bat, then they were gone just as quickly. I’m sad that I don’t have more followers but grateful that I don’t have to see bare-assed porn avatars all the time.
  • A pitcher that Eric has been calling the “Ragin’ Cajun'” for.ever. posts #5things of gratitude on a frequent basis & posts really positive thoughts. His #5things posts are one of my favorites to see come up because they make me stop and think of my own gratitudes. People are surprising.
  • Premade roux is a thing that exists. (Doesn’t it have butter in it?)
  • Happiness is pretty easy to find when you need a little pick me up. You can’t read something like #5things and #furiouslyhappy and not feel better about whatever.

Finally, I tried to mix up my usual lunch salad a little bit today and realized I’d made most of it from the toppings section. Salad fail. That’s probably why it was so dang good! Spinach, chicken, chickpeas, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, feta, croutons & balsamic vinegar dressing. I am now trying to decide if this was healthy enough to justify the vegan oatmeal-apricot bar I picked up for dessert under the heading of “pre-run fuel” – since ya know, I’m running AFTER work now and I’ll need a little afternoon snacky-snack to set myself up for success.

Does anyone else think “iron” & “leutein” to themselves instead of spinach & carrots when they’re getting stuff off the salad bar? Is it just me?

 

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It’s been gray & rainy all day. A little chilly. The weather trying to convince me it’s almost October. Crappy day at work. Then I get home and there are these…thumbing their noses at all of it in their hot pink loveliness.

Here is the part where I admit that on yesterday’s 5.5 mile run, I started randomly singing the only line of “I feel pretty” that I know – over and over to myself. Took my own suggestion.

And damned if it didn’t make me feel stupid happy about being out for a run.

Totally serious – you have got to try singing that when you hit a dead spot in your next run! Instant ridiculous mood lifter.

And thankfully, it partially dislodged “The Gambler” as the running song that has been stuck in my head for several weeks now. (Except for when I get a side-stitch and “When a Man Loves a Woman” sneaks in there.)

With the Race for the Cure 10k coming up this Saturday, “I feel pretty” seems like a fitting banner to wave at the moment.

So, I was in a bathroom stall at the ballpark last Friday…

which is probably not something you should EVER EVER EVER start a post with…but that’s where I was when I had this weird thought (again) – and I wasn’t doing anything weird in there or anything, just the standard. Inspiration is a weird lady sometimes. The stall was high-gloss black and as I was buttoning up my jeans (yay! button-fly!), I caught a reflection of my legs in the stall door and was caught off-guard by the image looking skinny back at me. Wow – my thighs look tiny in here. Maybe I should just stay in here. Was what I thought before I came to my senses and remembered I was in a public bathroom stall and trying not to touch anything.

Yes, getting in better shape and losing some weight has unlocked the kind of vanity that would actually have me consider taking audience in the public. bathroom. stall. because it made my thighs look skinny. I am that pathetic.

But then there was this fleeting thought – that I’ve had before –

That I have no idea what I actually look like.

Not really.

Once upon a time there was this horribly near-sighted girl. She had eyesight so bad that when she put on eye makeup, she’d have to lean so close to the mirror that occasionally she would bump the mirror and jab herself in the eye. In fact, she’d have to lean so close to the mirror that she couldn’t see her whole face clearly anymore, just a specific section of focus at a time. So she never got to take in her face – without glasses – as a naked whole – or anything other than her face for that matter. Also, her eyeliner was always uneven. She was me.

Until I had lasik at the age of 31, I had no idea what I looked like without glasses on – for me, they were an inseparable part of my image as if I’d been born with them. I never tried contacts. Even 7 years later I still reach up to adjust them when I am deep in thought though they are long gone. I saw my face – just my face – without anything else on it – for the first time the morning after my surgery – when I promptly went out and bought big sunglasses. And more expensive concealer.

At that time, I was pretty excited about finally getting to know what I really look like. I was finally going to be able to see myself the way other people could see me. Cool, huh? She lived happily ever after. The end. And her eyeliner was even ever more.

But…there’s always a butt…

Just over a year ago, I saw a photo of myself. I was getting fat. I knew I was getting fat. I felt fat all the time. No lies there. Except that I didn’t feel like I looked fat. Then, there was this photo. At the heaviest weight I’d ever been. In the history of my bad photos, this was the prize-winning bad photo. The one where you stop your world and say What. The. Fuuuuuhck. Not because it was justabadpicturewhatevah, but because when you look at it, you know it isn’t lying to you. You look WRONG. A thing that was confusing as hell for me. You see, I remembered getting dressed to go out with friends that night – and specifically choosing that top because it was forgiving. On that night, I thought I looked at least halfway to decent. Pretty, even. I didn’t realize that I looked like that photo of me. That really overweight photo of me. Egads! Who is that? With all the running and such, that can’t possibly be me! Oh, it was me.

I could see myself clearly in the mirror now, but I wasn’t seeing myself at all.

In the past 14 very sweaty months, I have watched a bit of that girl melt slowly away – glad to see her go. And yes, there are these weird, oddly-timed moments where I get surprised by the appearance of my shoulders or thighs looking healthy back at me in the public bathroom stall elevator door picture window side of my car mirror. I’ll admit to gaining some vanity – and I’m okay with it, because part of what keeps me hitting the gym is that I can actually see the results as much as I can feel them. I feel incredible! I feel like I look good. People keep paying me compliments, so I’m fairly sure I look better than before.

But I still don’t think I know what I look like. Something about looking at those magazine covers yesterday, air-brushed to be blemish-free, making me feel bad, brought that home again. That I really don’t know what other people see when they look at me, and I’m not sure I ever will.

First off, there isn’t a true, decent full length mirror anywhere in my life and I’m pretty sure I don’t want one. We all know there are skinny mirrors, fluorescent lit mirrors, darkly lit mirrors, funhouse bathroom mirrors,  3rd level of hell dressing room mirrors. Hair salon mirrors that make your hair look great right before you leave the salon and then check it in the car visor mirror only to start wondering what the don’t you just did to your do. Mirrors that jab you in the eye with your own eyeliner if you get too close because they’re thug like that. Mirrors are not trustworthy.

Cameras aren’t either. There are good pictures and bad pictures. If that awful one from 14 months ago helped change my life, then there was a picture from the Downtown Dash a few weeks ago where I was actually pretty vain proud of the way my body looked standing next to Nash & Maine (both long-leggedy skinny-minnies). Cameras lie all the time. Except for when they don’t. Cameras are some fickle bitches.

And the most basic of truths – no matter how much you roll your eyes at other people, you can’t see yourself with them.

I don’t really have a point to finish this with. It makes me feel sad to think about – discouraged – though I don’t really know why. People don’t walk around air-brushed & blemish-free, so I know I’ll never look like a magazine cover. Maybe I just wished magazine covers looked a little more like me so I could recognize myself in them just a little bit. But then that would look like the cover of Woman’s Day or Redbook and that would make me feel sad too…because then I’d be bad at crafting.

Maybe I just need to sing a few bars of “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” because you can’t feel bad about yourself while you’re singing that. You just can’t. Try it.

Or maybe I should be all happy that this just legitimized that I should focus on how I feel and looks aren’t important and beauty is on the inside of the eye of the beholder – which kind of sounds like it hurts. *sigh* I don’t know. Maybe I should just be grateful that I don’t know what I don’t know.

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I swear I have read about the first 10 pages of each of these issues. That’s it. 10 pages. The only parts I actually enjoy are the recipes and the success stories. A few months ago I put a stack of them in the recycling bin – also mostly unread. Something about being told I can drop a jeans size in 21 days with a few simple exercises when I’ve been busting my ass on more complicated things for a lot longer really makes me feel bad pisses me off.

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**Pffffttthpthpthp***

Nothing like getting smacked in the face with a cobweb as soon as you walk in the door. Wow – this place gets dusty fast!

Interweb, I have been a busy girl. I’ve had lots to write about on the mind – but sometimes being healthy is about more than time on the pavement and time in the gym. The husband & I have been busy getting healthy in other ways – sprucing up our home with a new couch & carpet, signing contracts on some major home improvements, signing bank documents to refinance the house for a better interest rate. You know, very grown-up healthy things to do. Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary. Hosting a dinner party.  Things I’ve been happy about doing, but things that take time.

Annnnnnd getting in workouts and doing the 40-hour work week in there as well. I’ve had to make choices between writing and doing – and most of the time, doing has to win. I said ‘most’. There was that one day that I came home from work, sat down on the couch and was out like a light for about 2 hours. A post-work nap is a very rare occurrence in my world if that tells you anything.

Among all the things that got done:

  • I did go see the Kaplan New Works ballet performance I’ve been writing about. In an ideal world, I would’ve gone to see the show at the beginning of the run and had a review out with the quickness. Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t let me get to the show until the second-to-last performance and by the time I sat down to gather my thoughts on it, the final show was going on. So there wasn’t much of a point to encouraging other people to go see it. It would’ve been more of a ‘HAHA – I saw something FABULOUS and youououou missed it!’. Because it was absolutely amazing!! I had a 3rd row center seat on the floor, so dancers were less than 10 feet from me at times and you could see into their eyes. One dancer’s eyes were tearing up after a particularly difficult solo – and it made mine well up too. If the passion, energy & creativity that were brought to that performance are any indication, the rest of this season is going to be jaw-droppingly fantastic. Next up is Alice in Wonderland at the end of October – and the ballet has been giving sneak peaks of the costumes on their facebook page. The costuming looks fun as heck – and did you notice it credited ‘puppets’. Hmmm. I’m intrigued. It’s a one-weekend show though, so I better get myself into gear a little faster this time.
  • I FINALLY had a three-run week this week!!!!! Which I know sounds pretty stupid since I’m supposed to be running my training plan for RTB – which is 3-4 runs a week. I had a feeling I would be warming up to training pretty slowly. Most of the Summer has been marked by 1-run and 2-run weeks – and I haven’t had a 3-run week since mid-July. But this week I hit a glorious 3! and I could almost feel the shift in my enthusiam as soon as I got off the treadmill on Thursday. I did my standard 3-mile run on Monday – sticking all my hills. I powered through a 4-mile pretty flat on Wednesday where my legs felt like lead the entire time. I was actually pretty proud of that one because my lazy-voice was working overtime telling me I could just walk it or interval but I said ‘suck it!’ and kept on going. I even kept on going when I got back to the starting point at 3.8 miles and felt disappointed that I was 0.2 short – so I ran up and down the block again to get to an even 4. Then Thursday was treadmill time on my lunch hour.  I have a 7k race scheduled for Saturday, so I’ll hit 4 runs by week’s end. YAY! I’m suddenly feeling more optimistic about running again! YAY!
  • I have 3 races scheduled over the next 3 Saturdays. Tomorrow is the Hudy 7k/14k. I’m in for the 7k. Next Saturday is Race for the Cure 10k. Then the first weekend in October is a huge local run here – The Reggae Run 5k with it’s hilly hilly HILLY course. So I’m thinking the renewed optimism & the race schedule should help seal in my start to the RTB training.

Since I got a little pressed for posting time, I decided to give Twitter a try. You’ll find the ‘follow’ link on the sidebar over there ->. Follow me, please? I’m still figuring out how to work it. Seriously, do you just make up a hashtag? How the heck do you know what to hashtag things with? I don’t know. Adventures in technology are ahead, I’m sure.

Finally, I’m trying to decide if I should leave this blog as being just about fitness stuff, and create a separate blog for my ‘rest of life’ stuff, or put all of it in here and have a second blog for my creative stuff (I like to take pictures and write fiction/poetry.) Thinking. Pondering. Wandering. If anyone has any thoughts on that, or has found an effective answer to that for themselves, I’d be interested in hearing them.

 

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Most of the time, I am very interested in how people end up on my blog page.

Most of the time.

Seriously, interweb?

A few weeks back, I mentioned that the idea of a particular half-marathon was tugging at me.

A whole month further down the road and it’s still tugging at me.

Then I downloaded my Garmin data and I swear to Hal Higdon, the display said “SLACKER” instead of “TRANSFERRING” when I plugged it into the computer. It told me I hadn’t run since August 22nd and I said ‘Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!‘ because that’s just. not. possible. Except that there was that head cold last week. Oh, and the whole honesty thing. Because when I get really, really honest with myself – I have been completely lacking in motivation to run my training runs. I’ve been cherry-picking the routes and starting points and distances, ignoring ones that didn’t suit me. I’ve been sleeping in when I should be pushing pavement on weekend mornings. Bootcamp has me in good enough shape that I can go out and run in this hap-dash way and make a good show of it. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still not where I want to be as a runner, and that my actions aren’t backing up my intentions. It doesn’t change the fact that as of yesterday, I hadn’t run since August 22nd.

And it doesn’t change the fact that Run the Bluegrass is still tugging at me. So…this is what a 29-week training plan looks like for Run the Bluegrass: 29 weeks is ridiculously long for a half-marathon plan. RIDICULOUS. It is long enough to roll around in my unmade clock, use minutes as a spread for my toast. It’s long enough to focus on getting a really strong base on those hills, then reinforce it again, and then reinforce it again. I adapted it from the Hal Higdon plan. I know I’ll need to find some tips & tricks to help me keep my focus when my attention wanders, but I have always been good at long term goals.

I only need 3 runs a week with all the cross-training, so I’ve designed an extra run into the program. My intention is that if I get my ‘two-a-day’ in on Wednesday, then I can have Thursday as a rest day. If I don’t, then Thursday will find me running away my lunch hour on the treadmill or trail at work.

The program started yesterday – 4 miles. Of course, a freakin’ monsoon of rain hit right before I was supposed to go meet the running group, but I went anyway. Luckily it stopped right before we took off (or unluckily depending on how you feel about the humidity spiking). I ended up back at the starting point at 3.75 – and normally, I would’ve let that be good enough – but I thought to myself, “3.75 isn’t 4. How exactly do you want to kick off this program?”. Then I went and ran the other .25 to get to that first goal. I let myself 3:1 it to get my stride back after 2 weeks off, and found myself pushing the pace repeatedly. It was a good start.

This is the first time I’ve written my own training plan for a run. Up until now, I’ve either used an established plan or I’ve let the running group schedule stand as my reference. Now I’ve written my own plan and I’m going to adapt the other resources around it. I’ll admit, it’s got me a little nervous to feel on my own. But sometimes nervous is good, right? At least 29 weeks will give me a lot of time to work out the nerves. I’d love some feedback on the plan if anyone wants to put in their two cents.