Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Secure the Girls, We're Running!

From the Iron Islands to Long Island, the saying says it all.  We're back, stretching out our sports bras to the max. 

I finally feel like I understand the saying "sick and tired of being sick and tired". I am enough out of shape that I've forgotten what it is like to be a runner. I dream about the way I used to feel and the way I used to be. In my late 20s, I was running consistently and lost about 40 pounds. I would make running my only afternoon priority and push myself to go farther and faster whenever I got the chance. I liked how it felt to take care of my physical body. As the years have past, well, you know what happens.  The 40 pounds lost have been gained back and then some, and responsibilities of an adult life have hit me hard.

I've tried the restart other times, but always started off on the wrong foot. I hoped that every time I ran, I'd somehow transport to my 25 year old self, to the "way I used to be". Obviously, while running has amazing powers, it is not a time machine. I'd then become resentful of my slower times and aging body. I'd feel super positive before starting, but after the first run, I feel like my brain became Statler and Waldorf watching me and making comments.

Maybe shouldn't have eaten those French Fries for lunch  dummy. 

So, what's different? I've changed. I've done self work.  I view life and my "failures" differently, and see the world in a better way. And,  I listen to Audiobooks.

Yup, Audiobooks restarted my belief in myself as a runner. I am an English Teacher after all, and corny so bare with me.

For years, I was unable to listen to Audiobooks, no matter where or what the situation. My mind would race, and I couldn't focus. Now, I listen to Audiobooks anytime I'm in the car by myself, and actually enjoy it (whether Mindy Kaling or Thomas Hardy)! It become a real "stress reliever".... a concept which seemed as foreign as choosing to skip dessert.

One day, I put the headphones on, laced up my running shoes, hit play on the Christopher Moore Audiobook, and went for a run....and enjoyed it.

I feel that if I could handle Audiobooks, I could handle training. And not just any training.....Marathon Training!

Yes that's right Ladies and Gentleman.... Emily and I are getting ready to take on the Suffolk County Marathon.  We've got 157 days to get ready and I believe we can do it. Hell, Emily and I have pulled off bigger heists than this......oh wait... I shouldn't talk about that on the I'll end here with a creepy Greyjoy picture and call it a night!  Go team!

Healthier Me: Take 2 (or 10, 11, and so on)

So let's just say, I was on a break.

A writing break.

A running break.

A "move your body in healthy ways" break.

If you're a sometimes earnest healthy person born into the body of a naturally unhealthy one, it's easy to live your life in waves of fitness. I suppose others like me--certainly several immediate family members who presumably share the same genes--have the ability and self-discipline to make fitness more than a fad and part of their everyday life.

I'm still not there.

Triggers get me, and get me moving. The most recent one came in the discovery that a reliable pair of pants had become nearly impossible to zip. As a 5'1 high size 12 who despises few things more than shopping, this is a disaster.

Or a blessing in ill-fitting disguise.

For those who don't fit common size cutouts, pants shopping is hard. When you're short and stout like yours truly, you land in an odd inseam netherworld where you cross your fingers in the hopes that you can pull of normal-sized people capris as standard trousers without anyone noticing. Sure, some brands will separate out their lengths into "Tall," "Average," and "Short" but what the hell does that mean? 5'1 is short, but so is (I've been told) 5'4 and 4'10. How can one delineation span 6"? Many a manufacturer (eyes narrowed at you, Old Navy) will make senseless estimations that a waist size correlates with height, meaning size 0s are, for no good reason, designed for women my height, while 14s are reserved for Olympic volleyball players. Because that makes sense to someone who's never worn clothes.

But that's a fight for another day. On this one, we're just going to take the good and say, "pants not fitting makes Emily mad makes Emily realize she need run more now."

So that's what's happening.

Last summer, I did something terrible to my back that resulted in a brief run of physical therapy, constant wincing, and a terrible weekend where I walked with a cane and never once got to pair it with a top hat. Following that, I couldn't find the heart to put back into major physical activity. Now I see that I've been paying for that lethargy with a few extra pounds and more importantly, a genuine sense of blobbiness.

I run for a lot of reasons, but one key factor has always been the underlying sense of fitness I feel it provides me. That level of health that helps me believe that in case of zombie apocalypse, I just might get away. At the moment, I don't know that I have that. My best bet is to heroically sacrifice myself while shouting "I got this! Go save yourselves!", mostly because the alternative is me being that slowboat who keeps falling and ends up causing the death of my entire team who were foolish enough to try to help me up.

If it all comes down to a potential attack of the undead, I'll take it. If it's to prevent pants shopping (six of one, half dozen of the other really) I'll take that too.

It's not about being overweight; it's about feeling overweight. As I've said before, I've never headed down a diet path with any goals of being a size 4. The last time I gave training my all, I lost a whopping single pound when all was said and sweated. But I felt good, and that's what I need to find again.

There's a half marathon in sight. A giant vat of cottage cheese in my refrigerator. A new sports bra on order. With these things and a blood vow with my running life buddy Betsy, I think I can do it. What's there to lose?