Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thanks Universe. I'm Glad We've Reached an Understanding.

For those who don't know, it's official, I've registered for my very first Triathlon!!!
Which also happens to be my first race of any kind outside of when I was on swimteam in high school. I mean, why start with one sport when I can start with three?
I've always been indecisive, so this kind of eliminated having to pick one sport to concentrate on. Problem solved.

Except for that one thing.
You know the one.

That one where I don't bike.
Or run.
At all.

Ya.... that one....

I've been thinking about signing up for a triathlon for a month or two now, so I'd have something to train for, instead of just "because." Don't get me wrong, there are all kinds of becauses: weight loss, endurance, it's good for me, my heart, my mood, my sleep, you name it. Plenty of because.

But because was getting a little monotonous. I like exercise, and I like all those reasons TO exercise, and while I definitely see progress in my group exercise classes as I can do more and push harder, I wasn't working TOWARD anything, just building habits I intend to keep forever. That's awesome. But kinda boring.

Now a RACE, on the other hand, is exciting!!! Particularly my very FIRST race outside of school sports!

So, I figured, I better at least try out a spin class and see if I can do that.
Now, this may not SOUND like a big deal, but it was to me. I'd tried the spin class about a year ago, and it was AWFUL. I was totally incapable of standing up and pedaling at the same time, I couldn't keep up, and my tenders hurt for a week afterwards.

Did not like.
All I was hoping for was better than that!
Despite my fear, and some worry for my sensitive bits, I gave it a try... AND KICKED THAT SPIN CLASS'S ARSE!!! It was a great work out, but I had no problem keeping up.

Biking: not so scary.

And then I started telling people about my thoughts and saying "probably" instead of "maybe."

And then I did it. I registered for my first race last week!!!!!

Yesterday marked 12 weeks out, or, Tri Training Day 1
I decided to start with the familiar, and hit the pool. I still swim semi-regularly, but I don't track my yardage, I just do whatever sounds fun for 45 minutes to an hour, usually while wearing my fins, and then sit in the hot tub!

So last night I decided to swim about 3/4 of a mile (the distance of the swim in the race), withOUT fins, and see how hard it was/how long it took/etc. I don't know how long the pool at my gym is, so to be safe I counted one length of the pool as 20 yards (instead of the usual 25, because I suspect it's a tad short of that). I got tired of trying to do math, but I know a mile is somewhere between 1800 and 1900 yards, if I was doing it right, so I decided to just swim 1500 to be safe.
I assumed it would take me about 45 minutes to an hour.... And I swam it with no problems in about 25 minutes!

So you may have noticed something...
Former competitive swimmer still swims regularly, so
Swim: check
Tried the spin class, had no problems with a solid hour of hard cycling, so
Bike: needs practice, but check

Running.... Well.... I hate running. I can't stand it. I have never and I mean NEVER liked running. Even at my best physical shape as a competitive swimmer I couldn't complete even 1 lap around the track on the days they forced us to run.

I can't run, I have knee problems.
I can't run, I'm too fat.
I can't run, I get those terrible side stitches when I try.
I can't run.

When I TRY to run I'm fairly convinced that I'm going to shoot lasers out of my eyes in order to destroy the treadmill so that I wont have to run anymore.

But I WANT to be able to run. Having never been able to, I don't actually know, but I THINK being able to run would be really really great. I can't really explain it, but I can picture it, and in my brain it seems pretty fantastic.

I decided to try. Again.
I've tried the Couch to 5k program about 3 or 4 different times, but never made it past week 3. It HURT, so I stopped.

I was riding pretty high on discovering that a 3/4 mile swim is something I can easily work up to practically sprinting in the 12 weeks I have 'till the race...
So I went for it.
I set my alarm 90 minutes early last night.
I actually got up instead of snoozing through it, changed into some freshly washed work out gear and my new shoes (same as my old shoes, but new), gulped down a bunch of water, put on my HRM and earbuds, and left the house!
While it was practically dark out!!!!
I had a plan. There is a little park about 5 blocks from my house with a lake in it, and a nice path all the way around it, and all kinds of cute duckies and gooses and things. I decided to walk briskly from my house to the lake, and then ATTEMPT to just run the whole loop without stopping.
I had no clue how long the loop was, but I've walked it a bunch of times, so I knew it was long enough to be challenging but not so long that I was being crazy.

I've heard people who run say over and over again that there is a part at the beginning where it basically totally sucks, and then they push through that, and hit some kind of pace where they feel good and like they could run forever.

I've heard this enough, from a wide enough variety of people, that it is PROBABLY not just something they say to trick me. But I had my doubts.

I reasoned with myself: these people are probably not trying to trick me. Some of them are older, fatter, creakier, in worse shape, less motivated, or whatever other excuses I use, and they can do it.
I am a human.
I probably have a pace.
I deserve a pace!
I deserve that magical pace place where I feel like I can run forever, and I will find it!!!!

Now how to find it?
The Lulu version: If I am not ACTUALLY going to pass out, or die, or injure myself, I can keep running, even if I don't think I can.

The run started out nervous, but good. I reminded myself that I wasn't worried whatsoever about how slow I go, just that I GO, and don't stop. I had some good tunes, I found a comfortable quick jog, and tried to distract myself as much as possible with the cute duckies and people's dogs, and the children walking to school, and pretty much anything I could find to think about other than the fact that I was running....
And I kept running....
And before I knew it I was half way around the loop and still feeling surprisingly okay!
Was this the magical pace? Did I find it?
Well if I did I lost it about 200yds later, when my legs started to feel like big heavy rubber things, and I was pretty sure I was gasping but couldn't actually hear myself over my earbuds, and wanted more than anything to just slow down to a walk. But I wasn't going to pass out. I wasn't going to die. I wasn't risking injury. There was no good reason not to keep going, I was more than halfway there, just keep going!!!
I just kept telling myself, over and over. I'm not actually going to pass out, die, or injure myself, I can keep going. I can do this. I can meet this goal and run farther on Friday and run 5 whole miles after swimming 3/4 of one and biking 16 on May 20th. I can run this loop!!!
And I did it!!!
I ran the whole loop!!
And I did not pass out or die or injure myself!!!!

When I got home I turned to my old friend the google machine to see just how far I'd managed to run. I was able to do it, so I was guessing a half mile at most, if I was lucky.

The google machine told me that I actually RAN, as in not walked, and I even feel confident in saying it was a little better than a jog for most of MORE THAN A MILE.

1.3 miles to be exact.
ON MY VERY FIRST TRY. And in only about 10 or 11 minutes!!!!!!!
And in the nick of time, because as I stepped into the shower, feeling victorious, it started to rain.

That's right, I ran in the almost sunshine, a whole 1.3 miles, and THEN the rain came.

Just when I thought the universe wasn't on my side.
Thanks universe. I'm glad to see we've come to more of an understanding.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calling in Fantastic

Why can't I call in fantastic today?
It's like calling in sick, but the opposite!

"I'm sorry, I can't come in to work today, I'm feeling too well. Oh no, nothing's wrong, it's the opposite. You see, I broke through this really long weight loss plateau with a 4lb loss in just a week, and I put on these pants this morning that were super tight last week and they are LOOSE, and my outfit is really cute and I'm having a good hair day. So.... I have to spend the day being fantastic."

What could go wrong?

I mean, I don't know what I'd do with myself all day... zumba isn't until 5:30 this evening.

I'd probably end up doing stupid things like sending dear bf texts with bad puns all day... again...

In almost seriousness though, I feel great.
I'm writing this in a blog because, if you feel great too, YAY, let's be fantastic together!!!

More importantly, if you're feeling less than fantastic: stop it.
I want you to be here, with me, where things are awesome!
If I could give you all the answers for how to do it, I would, but I can't.
Chances are you probably already KNOW what you should be doing to feel fantastic, but are maybe struggling with that disconnect between the knowing and the doing. Or the doing and the doing consistently.

Everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you, but I'll say it once again, because it's my favorite!

With every choice today, ask yourself, will this make me feel good right now, or good about myself? How would I rather feel?

Hint: you'd rather feel good ABOUT YOURSELF!! It may not seem like it in the moment, but it's true.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't Karate Chop My Face.

You know how everyone, when you're single, says that you will only find the right person when you stop looking?

And it's super annoying and makes you kind of want to karate chop them in the face?

But then you finally get mad and give up on looking and just when you get the hang of being you, and working on that, you DO find someone, and all those annoying people were right, and you're simultaneously happy and want to karate chop them in the face even harder because then they get all smug about it?

(Please do not chop my face if you are sick of one or both of these. Just take comfort in knowing that I am quite ungraceful and inflict minor pain on myself through spazticness on a regular basis, so the universe is kind of karate chopping me for you already).

I've decided that, for me, ONEderland was very much the same.

I cried, I pouted, I sabotaged, I over-trained, I got super strict with my eating, I got mad that wasn't working and ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's. Twice. I threatened my scale every creative form of destruction I could come up with...

And then I finally got so frustrated with wanting that 1 SO BAD, that I was just... over it.

SO over it.

I had a big long talk with myself about how stupid I was being. Why did I care so much?
Me, the one who tells myself and others that the scale is a pretty lame way to track success at getting healthier and into shape, or thinner even.
The person who's gotten pretty obsessed with building muscle instead of just burning fat.
The person who was so proudly bragging about being in the smallest clothes I've worn since my junior year of college, despite weighing more, because that meant I have more muscle.

How does THAT person care so much about a number on a stupid scale?

They DON'T! That's how!!

So I stopped caring, or at least stopped caring that it was taking a lot longer than I wanted it to.

And guess what happened?

I stopped overanalyzing myself and everything I was doing.

When I stopped thinking so much about having less diet soda and more water it stopped occurring to me to have a diet soda in the first place, so I drank more water.

When I stopped constantly telling myself to not have any of the Valentine's candy in my office I had none, or 1 dark hershey kiss, because I wasn't thinking about candy, instead of thinking about it all damn day and either eating 12 peanut butter chocolate hearts (or wishing I had) and being mad about it.

When I stopped lecturing myself about how I needed to get more sleep I stopped laying in bed internally yelling at myself for not being asleep and actually got some. And had a nifty dream with a pagasus in it.

(I cannot draw pegasuses... pegasi?)

And then I lost 2 pounds.
From one day to the next.
And the scale has stayed there for 4 days, even with a couple meals out, and a day of eating out in the city on Saturday, and an early Valentine's celebration day out with the boyfriend on Sunday, and a really yummy snickerdoodle cookie yesterday.

It's official; I'm in ONEderland!!

But you know what's weirdest of all?

I'm not nearly as excited about it as I thought I'd be...
It's just another number on a scale, and scales aren't a particularly good measure of the success of all my hard work, so... it's nice.
It's really nice.
But it's nice like when the vending machine accidentally gives you two water bottles; exciting, but not THAT exciting.
It's not exciting like Publishers Clearing House knocking on my door with the balloons and the big check and the whole shebang exciting.

Frankly I'm a whole heck of a lot more excited, now, about the milestone that comes with the next 0.2 lbs I'll lose: 60lb lost total!
A whole 10lb more than I lost with SP last time around, when at the end I gave in to some pretty terrible habits to get there.
A whole 10lb more than I've ever lost before.
A whole 60lb less than where I started.

And even way more exciting than THAT?
I did push ups with THESE last night!!!! AT THE SAME TIME! And lived to tell the tale!

(That is not me, by the way. I'm sure I looked significantly less coordinated and about 27 times more amazed that my body was actually doing that. Also sweatier. MUCH sweatier.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Flying Spaghetti Monster Willing.

Excuse me,
*tap* *tap* *tap*

Perhaps you were not informed, but I had a major emotional breakthrough about seeing the number 200 on your screen for so long on Monday.

That was, like, almost THREE whole days ago.

So, now that you know, let's try this again.

Did you not hear what I just said?

You give me that damn 1 or I will hit you in your stupid face with a hammer!!!

Okay, okay, more flies with honey, eh?

I love you scale. I know I put you in that cupboard under the sink for 3 months one time and called you my frienemey, but if you give me that 1 I will upgrade your status to "friend" and stop swearing at you in the mornings...

Unfortunately figuring out what's been mentally and emotionally keeping me from a goal doesn't seem to have any major effect on the physical universe.

I can't honestly explain WHY, but I honestly expected, after my cathartic blog on Monday, for the universe to just adjust itself to reward me for the major breakthrough. I mean, how could it not? Right?

So when I stepped on that scale on Tuesday morning and saw 200.0 once again, I could have cried. I was THIS CLOSE to diving back into what I had JUST FINISHED complaining about. I actually caught myself at lunchtime saying "well if the stupid scale isn't going to move anyway, after such a perfect day yesterday, I might as well have a tortilla and some extra cheese instead of just heating my burrito leftovers in a bowl."


Because of ONE really good day?

Now THAT is crazy talk.

I will admit that I am a little irked that I still haven't seen a 1 after 3 really good days, and stupid thoughts like that still cross my mind, but I haven't given in to ANY of it.

But here's the big difference: I'm doing what I need to be doing. I'm working out, I'm drinking more water, I'm not skipping breakfasts, I'm getting to bed on time, all that good stuff.

So no, 3 days hasn't undone all the little bits of self-sabotage I've been subjecting myself to over the last several weeks (or months). But 4 days, or 5 days, or 27 days might.

It doesn't matter how many days it takes, that scale is going to move, and it's going to move because I worked for it, because I made goals and plans and stuck to them, or adjusted them in positive ways to make them work when life does its usual "throw-something-unexpected-in
-the-path" thing.

And it's probably still going to be scary.
That's okay too.

There was a spider in my shower this very morning, and after lecturing him that if he stayed in his corner and I stayed in mine we'd get along just fine, we did just that, and I lived to tell the tale.

I'll live to tell the tale of my adventures in ONEderland too, flying spaghetti monster willing