So I have this race in VT in November with this really big 4 mile hill to open the 10 miles we must cover. Out of sight out of mind was great until Saturday. I have had this “can do” attitude about it so far because well I don’t have a choice other than walk or quit if I don’t just get it done. I’m all rah rah about it for weeks since we signed up. Well there’s this “hill” (using term lightly) that the girls in my group have been telling me about for practicing to get ready for VT. I haven’t gotten over there but Saturday I took my son and his friend with me and went to check it out. It’s in Fall River which is one of the absolute armpits of Mass. Not really a good place and the element that hangs there is sketchy. Now if you’re from there, of course you’ll say “oh it’s really not a bad area” but it’s just above the line of somewhere in NYC where stripped cars, grafiti all over everything and trash on the street and walking the street. It’s clearly above that line but not by a whole lot. Maybe that’s the country girl in me but I’m personally not comfortable there. I wouldnt go there by myself ever and the thought of leaving my car parked for a while makes me nervous but the girls seem fine with it and have been there in small groups and alone.
So back to the hill. If you are old enough to remember the TV show “The Streets of San Francisco” you’ll know what this hill looks like. One big giant uphill battle is what it is! My “can do” attitude came down a whole lot as I drove up this hill. Usually hills that are hard to run feel like nothing in a car. This hill felt hard in the truck! The picture I’ve attached is a picture of Presidents Ave. Now, this snapshot from Google does NOT do that hill justice. You can’t even tell how very steep it is but trust me, it’s super steep and reminds me of the horrible hill in the Lynchburg Half Marathon that I ran which had an elevation gain of 200 feet over a mile. If Presidents Ave continued on for 4 miles it would exactly mirror that hill. I thought one mile of that crap was hard let alone 4 in a row! Now I’m nervous not only about practicing on this hill but about our race. I will finish but it gives it a whole lot more perspective about what a hill is and how much mental fortitude I’m going to need to get my ass up that hill. We’re meeting on Sunday to run together and hopefully we get a few runs up that hill before race day just to at least get a basis for the impending struggle. We grow by challenging ourselves right? RIGHT! Let’s get this done!
Yesterday I said I was going to start lap swimming. The statement, although true, will have to wait until next week. The reason I did not lap swim yesterday was not because I didn’t want to swim. It wasn’t because I’d feel slow or awkward in my motions. No no no, the reason started right in my bedroom when I tried on the swimsuit I ordered on Amazon. This would make the second or third online bathing suit order that I’ve made and none of them have been right. I should know better especially with bathing suits that don’t really seem to have a definitive sizing chart. Oh they have sizes like NU- what the fuck is that anyway? NU… I had to Google it! Can’t you just say European cut or something that the English speaking citizen can understand? So this in my opinion is a complete Pin-the-tail on the Donkey kind of undertaking. I looked at the sizing chart and even measured my hips, waist and bust area to try and get it right. So much for that effort because my bust was one size, my waist was another and my hips fell into yet a third size. Now what was I supposed to do? Being a hippier person, which I have pretty much been my entire life I figured that it was best to not scare the kids in the pool and buy the size that fit my hips.
When I tried this suit on, I pretty much looked like a sausage busting out of its casing at the hips. I tried pulling the side seam up and that gave me a hip shelf. I tried pulling it down and that was no better. I looked rediculous! Kind of like Big Hero 6 over there. It wasn’t just me being hard on myself, it was me realizing that I probably would have been asked to leave by some mother waiting for her child to finish swim lessons or something. So instead of giving up the idea of swimming laps or never ordering a bathing suit online again, what did I do this morning? I ordered the next size up in a flashy red color instead of I’m dead black. I love red and I’ll have it in two days, Thank You Amazon Prime! Now I’m excited again to try my newer suit on and maybe finally get in the pool to work on another level of fitness. I’ll have to let you know how that goes. We never give up, we just switch gears!
Dear Bathroom scale…Fuck You!
- I hate you!
- You are a big liar!
- I’m very unhappy with our current discussions!
- Why can’t you lie in my favor?
- I think you need an adjustment!
Now that that is out of the way, I feel better. Welcome to the Bathroom scale bashing episode. Not really, it’s more like the “Take responsibility for your lack of self control asshole” episode. So, what happens when you get happier in your life? What happens when you find some complacency in rest days? What happens when you get lazy and go back to sampling everything, taking bites out of this and that and having buttered popcorn and ice cream or DQ often? You gain 7 lbs! That’s what! Ok, maybe it’s just more like 4 but it feels like 10. Not so long ago, before I began going on break with the ladies at work and when I was religiously faithful to a calorie count I was hovering around 163 / 162 for a long time and now I’m nearly 168 and not happy about it! If you think you can just count calories in your head accurately or keep portions to the right amount, perhaps you can but I sadly cannot.
So there will be some changes made immediately! First, I got my new Speedo, bathing cap and goggles so this fatty will be getting in the water asafp and doing laps until I feel like I’m going to die. Second, I need to stop effing snacking! I actually go on break with the ladies at work and we eat. There’s no need to eat on break other than I am just following the crowd. It’s not even like I’m just having one snack, OH NO! I’m eating 1.5 containers of yogurt with about 3x the servings of granola mixed in with a banana chaser. Something big like that with extra calories isn’t really called for especially when I need to lug my bag-full-of-rocks ass up a huge hill in November. Uuuggghhh! So there are those changes. I’m also trying to up my water intake and lower the coffee that I consume from two cups a day to one. Last night I was laying in bed and actually hungry at 10:30. I got up and got a handful of crackers which probably wasn’t ideal but it was an easy reach, easily digestible and did the trick. Crackers are another thing I’ve had far too much of lately. Bread, although it is my weakness, is my enemy too. Bread pounds find me like a kid finds the hidden chocolate. I’ve also stopped recording everything I eat in the My Fitness Pal app. That is where it all went wrong because if I am not held accountable for everything I’m shoving in my pie hole then how can I watch what I’m eating other than watching it go in?! I started logging again yesterday and I think that will help. Weigh ins on the same day every week and not every day will also be useful and keep me on the straight and narrow. The goal is to dump 10-15 lbs by November if possible and I’m going to do my damdest to make it so. All you need in this world is the “want to” and you can do it. So long story short is that I need to quit snacking, start logging and up the workout routine to include some new and different things outside of what I’m already doing. Here goes, stay tuned!
I took my sons (17 &19) to yesterday as the last fun mom & sons / brother & brother thing that we do this summer. I really wish it wasn’t that time because my heart is breaking knowing I only have Johnny for one more week. Part of life but one that I just am not adjusting to easily. I hate this time just as much as the first time last year that we left him. Anyway, I thought it would be a great way for me to do something super brave that they would be proud of and something that would give them a morning full of fun that they will talk about. That it will be. It also turned out to be a learning lesson for me as I found out my youngest son James is afraid of stuff in the air that wobbles. He’s my 225 lb gentle giant who has actually zip lined before. John and I surprised him with this because we thought he would love it. He didn’t. He liked the challenges but hated being high in the air on wobbly wires and wooden planks. He did one full course then decided it was more fun to cheer us on from solid ground. I really felt so bad because now it’s only “fun” for two of us and for me it wasn’t so much fun as a sense of accomplishment overcoming my fears to buck up and dig deep for bravery. I wanted the boys to see, and now especially with James on the ground, what it looks like to be so afraid of something and do it anyway. In fact, when we went up on the most challenging course at the end, I heard James say from the ground “if my mother can be brave, I can be brave”! WOW! Very proud of him for attempting another time by himself. He got half way and had to get down but he faced it on his own terms and tried again. Me, I’m just a stubborn Ukraninan but I did it! I Effing Did it!!! I was so scared, I cried at some points, I took deep breaths but I did it. I climbed vertical rope ladders with wooden round rungs that went straight up 5 feet / 10 feet to a platform that was 20 feet in the air. I ziplined 35 feet in the air (thank God for the canopy of trees below that lessened the look of how far up we were). I walked on wires, holding wires, across a span of 20 feet that was 30 feet in the air. I walked across a wire navigating my way around obstacles. It was a day of dusting off muscles in my head that I haven’t really used much…the ones for creative problem solving and concentration to do a challenge while not looking at it which required looking down which I couldn’t do. I sprained my finger on the last challenge because I wrapped my fingers in the nylon strapping that lowered us to the ground. Not a good idea since when it adjusts for your weight and snaps taught it yanked my finger and probably pulled some ligaments in there. That’s what happens when you’re scared. I couldn’t have done it without my sons. I pulled bravery up from somewhere in my gut to be a good life lesson for them. Johnny stayed with me and waited for me at EVERY obstacle. That’s us right there. In this selfie, the only selfie I could manage, we are about 15 or so feet in the air. If you look between us, there’s a wire. THAT was the kind of wires we were holding on to and ALL we had to hold on to most of the obstacles. No safety net, just two industrial hooks only one of which would lock at a time, strapped to your harness. I actually felt safe in the harness. I don’t look afraid here but I was. I just wasn’t looking down because I was distracted by a moment I needed to get for my memories. Johnny was amazing! He told me how every obstacle was designed, the best way to navigate it, how to stay steady and then went first so I could see it done. He’s not afraid. When he got to the other side He fastened himself then turned and encouraged me on. Just looking at him I felt ok. He just kept telling me that I was doing great and he coached me along what seemed like 1,000 yards to the other side of every obstacle. So grateful he helped me and waited for me with a kiss to the forehead and a “good job mama” when I finished each one. James was my safety net. Hearing him tell me that I was doing good, to keep going and that I was almost there was like having a blanket of courage wafting up from below me to help carry me to the other side. It was like a hug from below and it was the thing when I was at the highest point on the course that made me let go of the tree and try again. Yes, I was a tree hugger …literally! At the highest spots I had to hold the tree because the platform wasn’t super big and fear was poking at me big time. What I liked best about hearing James voice was that he knew how afraid I was…he lived it so his words were the words that someone so fearful, like me, neede to hear. He didn’t tell me not to be afraid because he knew I was and that those words wouldn’t help me move on. John didn’t say them either for the same reason. James didn’t say too much that would distract me, just enough for me to be reminded that I could do it. I am sort of happy that he decided the ground was the place for him because I had Johnny up top with me guiding me and helping me and James below me keeping me steady. God I love my sons so! I’m so lucky!!!
Today I am stiff in places that seem hard to believe have muscles, like across my ribs on my back. Not sure I really think about having muscles there but I clearly do and they are letting me know I irritated them with my little overachieving escapade. Many of my invisible muscles are whining today but it feels good when that happens because I worked another set of muscles to stay strong.
In my endeavor to improve not only my physical self but my eating habits and discipline as well, I have learned that there are some things you have to do sometimes. This week that something is to do single workouts daily instead of double sessions. I could use the excuse that I have my period and I’m tired, which I really am but I won’t. I am choosing to take this week to stay on track but to give my body a little respite from hard days. Body needs rest and while I’m working on the eating plan and the fitness plan I’ll make this an easy week. My brain doesn’t like it but hey that’s too damn bad. I know it will be good for me and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. So discipline and hard work are the name of the game for the next four months. I wish I had a goal that this plan supports but alas, it’s just a general plan. Going hard for several months may just come in handy next fall if I am brave enough to do it. I may have to recruit a friend of mine who I know is crazy enough to say yes to give me some accountability to not chicken out. We’ll see. I’m not there yet but I will be. So cups up to better fitness and more discipline for the Fall!
I have had a much more aggressive workout routine now for 10 months. Except for this week that seems like a struggle to get any double sessions in but I’ll just roll with it because Sunday is The Falmouth Road Race and I don’t need to have a exercise injury now simply because I am only giving half effort. Anyway, compared to a year ago, I bike, I run, I do strength training too. In my strength training, I have about 15-20 exercises that I rotate between when I work out, not all of which get done every time. It’s good to switch it up so your body doesn’t ever really plateau. I know continuing with the same exercises is still good but for fat burning it is not. I try to switch it up without building so I don’t use heavy weights or too many reps, just heavy enough to be some work without exhausting me. A few days ago I randomly added a few rounds of boxing to the Tabata workout that I was doing and today I can feel it in my back and chest! My abs have that “Please don’t cough” pleading going on which makes me laugh so hard…but not because it hurts, in a good way. It feels great to be sore because I know I am making improvements which get harder and harder to make the older I get. AAhhh the joys of aging! Next up on my radar is trying something from Les Mills called Body Combat which looks like kick boxing which I suck at but really want to try out! Just gotta keep switching it up!
Today’s blog isn’t about running really as much as it is about a runners mentality and how we sort of avoid judging each other or getting wonked out talking with complete strangers. It’s about a double standard whereby runners have a wide berth to just be who we are while the rest of the world stands in our very critical judgement.
Runners are super friendly for the most part I find. They smile, they help you finish races if you are struggling …or LOST like I was one time and they almost always greet you with good morning or a hello or a supportive “you got this”. I myself say hello to nearly every runner, biker, dog walker that I see on the road. Not everyone is responsive but that’s ok. I don’t find anything weird with talking to a running stranger anywhere or any time.
Today I had an experience as I put together my @cumberlandfarms iced coffee, which has stolen my business from the @HoneyDew_Donuts and @DunkinDonuts crooks who think asking $3.68 for a mostly ice, iced coffee is ok. It’s not but I’m no longer your customer so whatever!
Anyway, I was at the counter mixing my flavor into my coffee and went looking for a lid. I didn’t see one in front of me (couldn’t have looked hard!) so I had to encroach upon the space of this nice girl making her own iced coffee to find a lid in front of her. As I leaned back to put the lid on my treat and realized that I had actually had 3 stacks of lids right in front of me. How did I miss that? I don’t know but moving on…. She said something that sort of eluded to the fact that she may have missed the stacks too or maybe something insinuating that CF didn’t put them in plain sight even though they were. Then came the part that made me feel really wonky. This sweet young bleach blond girl with the tiny little nose ring, no make up and a cute outfit randomly says to me “you look pretty today”. I’m now in the Twilight Zone. She looks at my sundress and says “I like flowers”. I say thank you, she tells me to enjoy my day and I return the sentiment to her. I pay for my coffee and gas and head out to my truck. That’s all there was to it. She was sweet and lovely and simply nice and I got all weirded out by it like she was hitting on me or something. I truly felt out of place and in a rare moment, didn’t know what the hell to say to her. WTF! Why is it that I’m totally comfortable talking about nothing to any running stranger yet a very nice person takes a moment out of her day to try and minimalize my irritation at myself for not finding what I wanted and I’m Wonked out? I’m not weirded out often in situations like that but maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting that conversation to go beyond “Excuse me” and “no problem”. “You look pretty” feels like something I’ve stereotyped coming from a close friend, daughter, mother, co-worker or family member. Maybe we just don’t do things like that enough which is probably what is wrong with this stupid world anyway! So, even though I do not know who she was, I want to thank the nice young girl in Cumberland Farms in Bridgewater MA who was simply as nice as nice could be to me. You made my day and made me want to try to be nicer to some stranger some day soon. Maybe my head is too far stuck up my running butt and I’m only super accepting of runners and critical of the rest of the world. I should watch that from now on don’t you think?