Archive for ‘Whip Me Into Shape’

September 7, 2011

Workin’ It Out: Failure and The Fear

Oh, how I wish this was a different entry.

Anyone who’s checked in on my workout tracker lately has noticed … um, there haven’t been any more x’s. I  mean, sure, I’ve had a run here and there, but really, 3 weeks have gone by with no forward movement.

I’m displeased with this for a number of reasons:

1. The race is in 7 weeks. Under 2 months. And I intend on finishing it, right?

2. I’ve put on weight. Not a lot, but just enough so my work pants don’t really fit.* I tend to put weight on in my torso … which leads to embarrassing questions when people still see you as a newlywed. No, I’m NOT pregnant, asshats, I’ve just been lazy and eating crap lately, so I’ve got a bit of a belly. BACK. OFF.

3. I used to be SUPER disciplined when it came to exercise. Dance’ll do that to ya. But seriously, there were no excuses. No “I’m too tired/sore/sick” no “I don’t wanna”. Me, the girl who loves sleep to an entirely unhealthy degree would get up at 4am to make it to the pool on time to get my swim in before school. Every day. Sun, rain, scorching heat, deep freeze. Now? Discipline? HA!

And that’s the big one.

I’m so damn irritated at myself for thinking up excuses and giving in to them. I mean, nights when I’m going to fall asleep on the treadmill (and DO, in the middle of dinner?) … ok, maybe not the best night to run. Days my back is killing me? DEFINITELY not the best day to run. The one day a month where I can’t MOVE for cramps? That’s always been my day off, so ok. But the “it’s such a HASSLE!” or “it’s too cold out” or “I have no clean workout gear”.** That’s just bullshit. Excuses, and LAME excuses at that. It pisses me off that I keep giving in, and I can’t figure out WHY I do.

This weekend I had a HUGE conversation about it with my husband. He’s of the opinion that he needs to set goals he can’t reach, in order to push himself. As such, he was irritated with my goal for the 10k.*** I explained it to him like this:

This race is arguably bigger for me than his upcoming marathon is for him. When you take into account that he’s doing it because he likes to run, and I’m doing it to prove to myself that I CAN, that becomes fairly clear. The point of this race for me is to really prove that my body can still handle something this big, nearly 5 years after the accident. I set realistic goals because I NEED them to be achievable. If I set myself a work-hard-for-it goal and then don’t make it, I’m going to be devastated, not just disappointed.

It’s Fear. Big F, not little f. Bone deep. It’s the Fear of never again being able to do what I once was capable of. The accident didn’t kill me, but trying (once I was healed) to do basic steps and NOT being able to? That did.

It’s hard to explain the Fear. I don’t think many people really know that they haven’t experienced it. The closest I’ve ever felt was when my godson (at age 2) wandered off at the park, while our backs were turned for 10 seconds. The all-consuming terror of having lost a child, increased to it being YOUR child. Your whole world. You’re not scared that they’re gone, you’re terrified that you won’t get them back. I think THAT is what the Fear is like. My whole world, taken from me, and I don’t know I’ll be able to get it back. That’s about as well as I can put it into words.

I’m terrified of failing. Of having my body say “Nope, sorry, you had your chance.” And so, I don’t try. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and watch a movie, or curl up with a book, and not risk failure. Not running means not having to dissect every twinge in my back, looking out for a bad reaction. It means not having to face the fact that maybe, just maybe, I CAN’T do this, no matter how badly I want to. It means protecting myself from the Fear.

And I’m sick of it. I need to get up, off my ass, and TRY. Seriously, how many times have you had to push yourself to do something, only to have it turn out to be great?*** Or pushed yourself to your limits and beyond, and seen just what amazing things you were capable of?  Sitting on the couch, disappointing myself (and my husband), gaining weight, because I’m SCARED is not going to get me there.

So, we begin again. 7 weeks out.

And when I cross that damn finish line, I’m going to find a quiet place, sit down, and sob. Becuase that medal won’t just be evidence of beating my injury, it’ll be evidence of beating the Fear. And … much like the parent who finds their child, and is overwhelmed with joy, and terror, and relief, and sadness for what could have been – all at once … all I’ll be able to do is cry.

I cannot wait for that day.


* Seriously, I’m broke. Buying new pants is NOT an option.

** Worst. Excuse. EVER.

*** My goal is to RUN 75% of the race, walk the remaining 25%. I think it’s doable. Maybe a run 3 – walk 1?

**** Kayaking in the rain was like that. Easier to say no, but WOW, what I would have missed.

July 28, 2011


So, we’re on week 3 of this running plan, and kids? Last night was HARD. This week’s extra-30-seconds-of-running-at-a-time wasn’t so bad for the first 20 minutes, but by the time my hour was almost up, I was ready to kick something.

Or not kick something, that would have hurt too.

On the plus side, it was 4.2 miles total. Even with the warm up and cool down walking (and there’s a lot of it), I am making the 15 minute mile race cut off. Woot!

I’ve also learned that if I can run on Wednesday nights, I need to do so to So You Think You Can Dance. Seeing what I used to be able to do (“Fun” fact, I was cast on season 3 JUST BEFORE my accident. Eff that. I watched the season and cried the whole time, that summer.) is inspiring. And when I get upset about the fact that I can’t do it anymore, I can take my anger and pain out on the treadmill. It’s a reminder why I’m doing this.

In any case, when I got back upstairs, I was done for. I stripped everything off and jumped in the shower just to stand and cool off. Then I put on my comfiest pjs and collapsed on the couch. I had to force my Gatorade down though. That’ll teach me to not check and make sure I’ve put the GOOD kind in the fridge.* My legs were stiff and my back hurt (not HURT hurt, I was just sore all over. I’m being very careful to pay attention to the little twinges, and so far, so good). I was tired. I just needed to rest.

Then the husband comes home.

Looks at me quizzically.

“What’s wrong?” “I hurt from my workout.” “How far did you run?” “4.2.” “Did you foam roll?” “No.”

Enter a 10 minute speech on the merits of foam rolling and how I’m not doing any of this right.

Now, with all my years of dancing, and my accident, I’m VERY good at listening to my body. If something feels off, I do something about it. But, the stiffness in my legs was already going away, being replaced with that soreness that comes with muscle realigning. No big deal, already improving. My back needed to be worked on, but it was fine. I wouldn’t have continued if it wasn’t.

By the time the 10  minutes was up, I was really upset. It showed. When he asked “WHAT?!” I lost it. As I sat there sobbing, trying to explain how while this is a really tiny thing to him and his marathon-length runs, it’s a huge deal to me right now. How I needed support and for him to be proud of me, and a little sympathy as I struggled to get my body back into shape.

And he just got irritated that I was upset.


I said forget it and, crying, went to brush my teeth and go to bed. I was still awake when he came into the room half an hour later to talk. I was able to explain to him while I was so upset (without sobbing) … but he still doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t see why I need encouragement, and why jumping straight to (what I call) correcting me on technique or telling me I’m doing something wrong hurts me. He’s only trying to help, he says. To give me the benefits of the tips it’s taken him so long to learn.

I appreciate the help, I really do. But it doesn’t negate the fact that I need the support, and I’m not getting it.


This is a tough one.


* The husband like the regular red-orange-yellow Gatorade. I think it’s foul, and will only drink the Frost varieties (the light greenish-blue and purple). Which means we always have 2 kinds in our fridge. Or, are supposed to.

July 18, 2011

Workin’ It Out

SO. Now that we’ve talked about the idiots I run into when I “run”…

Let’s talk about the actual WORKOUT PLAN.

A few months ago I attempted the much lauded C25k plan … and hated it. Partially because I was breaking down muscle I’d built through years of dance (Fun fact: many dance styles build muscle along the sides of your calves. Running builds it along the back. According to my doctor, the two do not mix.) and it hurt like HELL, and partially because … well … it’s just a really poorly thought out plan.

I mean seriously, you cannot expect someone who hasn’t done any kind of exercise in a while to run 60 seconds at a time with only 90 seconds in between each set. Sure, the first few times it’s easy, but when you get to the 6th or 7th set, you’re going to be hurting.

I plodded along with it, but once I hit week 4 (or was it 5?) … and you jump from 8 minutes at a time to 20 minutes at a time? Yah, I was done. My legs hurt, my back was sore, I was tired all the time and I decided to sell my race registration. I was wussing out. Not something I’ve done in exercise before, so I was pretty sure this plan was not for me.

Let’s skip ahead a couple of months. Husband decides he’s got a deathwish and registers for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th, and do I want to run the 10k? I’m helpless when he gets excited about including me in his stuff, so I signed up … not particularly caring that I had NO IDEA how I was going to make it through 6.2 miles.

Enter the Couch-to-10k Plan I found on Daily Burn.

click to embiggen

Yes, the workouts are twice as long. But look! In week 1 you get 4:30 to recover after each :30 of running! EASY! And from there the first 6 weeks you work your way up :30 at a time! True, in week 9 you jump 2 minutes up, and in week 10 you double … but by then, you’ve been running regularly almost 3 months. And if Alyssa’s running journey is any indication, that jump will be a piece of cake, with or without the little running lady’s encouragement.

An added bonus? By week 6 this plan has you doing just shy of the 10k (as in .21 miles shy … or 2 minutes of running) in 75 minutes. (At least, that’s at my current paces.) which means, by week 6, I’ll be sure I can finish the race in a respectable time, even if I’m doing run-walk pacing. Woot!

So is there anyone out there who wants to do this with me? We can encourage each other, and make it through, and BY OCTOBER be running 6+ miles. 6 miles is downright RESPECTABLE. Think about it … it’s enough to enter various races (St. Paddy’s Day 8k anyone? Rachel, I’m looking at you!), and enough to join in if people ask if you want to go for a run.

I’m going to keep track of my progress like so:


Oh hey, look! That’s a screencap of my. own. blog. See the little “Workin’ It Out” tab? You got it!

I’ll keep updating every couple of weeks (or weekly, if I get motivated to) to keep us all on track. So far, week 1 is in the bag. ONWARD TO WEEK 2!

July 14, 2011


Ok, I don’t normally talk about my weight/body online. I stay out of wedding gown sizing discussions and body issue talks because I get the standard “you’re thin, your opinion doesn’t count” responses. I get it. It’s hard to believe that someone who is your opposite (in your eyes) can sympathize with you.

But let’s get real.

I’m 5’7″, I weigh anywhere between 125 and 135 depending on the time of the month, and I wear a size 4. At my heaviest (in high school) I was 165 lbs. At my lightest (due to massive illness and EXTREMELY dangerous) I was just under 100 lbs. I recognize and acknowledge that I am VERY blessed to have genetics pre-disposed to keeping me relatively thin. People repeatedly refer to me as “tiny”, but then are shocked to discover my clothes fit them.

I don’t use scales, but measure my shape by if my clothing fits or not. And when my body decided it was most comfortable to sit 5 lbs heavier than it did when I was 23 I just rolled with it.

At the same time … I have heavy thighs and hips that will definitely help with childbirth. When I put weight on, I generally do so between my knees and chest. Whatever, it’s how I do. I’m not EVER going to look good in a pair of leggings or skinny jeans, and that’s ok.

My husband is a runner. He’s currently training for a marathon. I think he’s crazy, but running’s his thing. Enough so, that it’s inspired me to start. Anyone who’s been over here knows my plan is to build up enough stamina to run a 10k the same day as his first marathon. Right now I’m only at day 2 of my learning-to-run quest, so it’s mostly walking. 30 seconds of running to every 4.5 minutes of walking, to be specific. Over the course of 50 minutes, that’s 3 miles. Not too shabby for only being on day 2, hmm?

Last night, I was on one of three treadmills in the “fitness center” of our apartment building. Both of the others were being used (it was an unusually busy night). About 30 minutes in, another girl comes in. She’s clearly a runner (complete with some college’s track team shorts). She spends the next 20 minutes sighing and glaring at me. When I finished my workout and got off the treadmill she immediately came up to me and said:

“Look, you fat bitch. If you’re just going to be walking the whole time you don’t deserve to take up a treadmill for so long. Your fat ass can walk somewhere else.”


I’m sorry. What?!

The guy who’d been running next to me stopped his treadmill and looked like he was about ready to throttle her. I responded:

“Sweetheart, you don’t know the FIRST thing about me. I’d appreciate it if you’d just continue your workout without bothering anyone.”

She continued to get in my face, repeatedly calling me “fat” and “bitch” (she was barely 5 feet tall and probably weighed about 100 lbs). I shook my head at her, picked up my water bottle, and left.

And then cried telling the husband about it.

WHAT. THE. EFF. is wrong with people? Where is this sense of entitlement and I’m-better-than-you mentality coming from? Where have we, as a society, gone so far off the mark that people think it’s OK to berate someone for making them wait, or because of how they look? It saddens me that people seem to be lacking basic decency, and disgusts me that we have a society that will continue to tell those people they are right in whatever they do. Lord, look at Jersey Shore. These kids have made HUGE names for themself by having gaudy fashion sense and being asshats to everyone outside their little group.

I need to make clear here, I am not taking what she threw at me as the truth. I know that no matter how stupid I looked in those workout pants (heavy thighs after all), I am not fat. I cried because it was flat-out mean. And it’s made me a little skittish around people, for fear of another confrontation.

What people keep seeming to miss is that we’re all in this TOGETHER. With encouragement and support instead of ridicule and malice, we can get so, so far.

So, who out there can relate in some way? Let’s open it up. Weight. Fitness. Confrontation. Perception. Who has something to share?

June 17, 2011

Change of Plans

Sooooooo … today was supposed to be the day I directed your attention over to the “Workin’ It Out” tab and asked about your goals (and who was going to run the MCM 10k with me!). Grand plans for talk of training and fitness and goals and wellness and so on.

But, you see how only day 1 is marked off? Well, yah. This happened:


Yep, blew out the knee. Here’s the interesting bit … I’m not sure HOW I did it. The first training day I noticed it was hurting, so I haven’t run since then … and it’s only gotten worse. Today, we get the brace. JOY.

So … who has recommendations on stuff I can do to not lose the base I’ve built up, while I heal? It’s not like a bike or elliptical is going to do me much good right now. And Zumba is totally out of the question.

Quick! Someone help before I go drown my sorrows in cookie dough!