Friday, February 27, 2009

#1 Fan

If most people had a choice between being hot & sweaty and not being hot & sweaty, I think they would choose to not be. And last night at the gym, my friend Lola & I met perhaps the only man on the planet who happens to prefer a maximum amount of heat, and therefore, sweat.

Let me preface this by saying that the gym near my work (where I meet my pal Lola a few times a week) has a temperature problem. It started off as a problem in only one room, which we quickly dubbed "The Hot Dog Breath Room" because it feels like a hot, sweaty, slobbery dog is breathing on you in the dead of summer. It's nasty, and definitely not normal. No gym I've ever been to has had such a problem. Most gyms regulate their temperatures well or at least have lots of fans to help circulate the air; whenever you have 40+ people in one room working out, it's going to get a little out of control temperature-wise if you aren't careful. Actually, the temperature itself is not the whole problem- it's not only hot but muggy. And, while I understand that working out means sweating (and I'm ok with that) if I can do something to mitigate the amount of perspiration I'm producing, I certainly will. Just makes a workout a little more enjoyable, know what I mean? But apparently not everyone knows what I mean. Enter Old Hot Sweaty Dog Man.

Picture it: Lola & I happily score two ellipticals right by the fans (the ONLY two fans in the place), a major coup since the place is pretty packed. And almost as soon as we hop on, Lola notices the fan pointing our way isn't on. She turns to me and says "You think anyone would mind if I turn the fan on?". "Definitely not," I say. "People will be silently thanking you, I'm sure. They probably just don't want to get off their machines in order to turn it on. You'd basically be a hero."

Ahhh, how wrong I was.

As she plugs the fan in, the old guy on the machine next to her says "Do you mind not pointing that thing at me? I don't need the fan blowing on me while I'm working out." Certainly shocked by not only his statement (who doesn't want the fan? Hero! She's supposed to be a hero!) but also his rude tone, Lola smiles, turns the fan away from him and says, perfectly polite to his super nasty, "Sorry! Is this better?" Apparently not. "Why do you girls want to have the fan blowing on you anyway?," he says, even ruder than before. "You're working out. You are supposed to be sweating."


Why, actually sir, I want the fan blowing on me so that while I work out, my hair blows in the wind like a Hollywood starlet's. You see, the paparazzi are always hounding me, and there's a big row of windows over there through which they can take my picture. Clearly you must understand that I have to look good- I absolutely need my hair blowing in the wind in order to achieve the best photo op possible. Actually, do you mind scooching forward a bit so I can check my lip gloss in that mirror behind you? Love ya! Kisses!

What the hell?! Why does he THINK we want the fan on us? Because it's freaking HOT, that's why! Sweating less because a fan is cooling you down does not mean you are working less. Having a fan just means that you don't feel so hot & icky. This man is not only a masochist but a sadist. Plus he's a total cranky pants. I want to ask him why he has a bottle of water with him. Why does he need to drink water while working out- according to his own school of thought, shouldn't he be hot, sweaty AND thirsty?

Which is quite different from my school of thought, which is keep your pointless opinions to yourself, old man, especially if you are going to be rude about them. Fine if you don't want the fan on you, but be nice about it.

I now blame the whole Hot Dog feeling of that gym on Hot Dog Man. I bet he has gone around being rude to people so often that everyone suffers the heat & humidity out of pure fear. The two fans that exist are there only for times when Hot Dog Man isn't around to yell at people, and when he arrives they quickly yank the plugs out of the wall and suffer in silence.

It was definitely not worth a confrontation, so we said nothing. But if US Weekly publishes a photo of me and there's even a glint of perspiration on my forehead, Hot Dog Man is going down.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I was so frustrated with my no-loss weigh-in last week and so afraid that I would face the same fate tonight that I spent my lunch break reviewing my weight loss. I looked back in my WW book and found successful weeks where I've lost an amount of weight that makes me happy (1 pound or more). Then, I went to those weeks in my food diary and reviewed what I had been eating. Then I compared it to the not-so-good weeks. Then I wrote a list of a few things things that I observed through all this analysis that could help me ensure future good weeks. After that, I calculated that as of last Tuesday's weigh-in, I had 11.8 pounds to lose in 10 weeks in order to meet the May 1st weight goal I set for myself (and then I want to lose 5 pounds after that, but first things first, right?). That means 1.18 pounds per week- and since my weigh-in was tonight, I realized that in the past week I would have to have lost that much in order to get back on track with my goal. And guess what- I didn't. Which set my brain spinning again, because it means I had to re-do my lunchtime calculation, and I now have 9 weeks and must now lose an average of 1.2 pounds a week to meet my first goal.

You might be thinking that I'm obsessed. And let's be honest, you'd kinda be right. Even so, I take issue with the word "obsessed". Visual shows the word "obsessed" as being about halfway between the words "possessed", and "taken up", "preoccupied", "haunted". This all seems too negative. I certainly don't feel haunted or possessed; those words bring to mind ghosts and exorcism, which are not applicable here (although in a way I feel I have exorcised a few demons from my life, now that I think of it). But "obsessed" has a negative undertone; I'd appreciate adjectives with a positive connotation, such as "driven", "focused" or "determined". After all, my "drive" is simply the opposite of laziness, my "focus" the opposite of indifference, my "determination" the opposite of hesitation. Instead of wishing I'm doing, instead of hoping I'm training. Instead of walking-- I'm running.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Does this shirt make my butt look fast?

Before my sudden foray into the world of triathlon training, shopping was my cardio. My kind of shopping takes endurance, perseverance and strength. Ever walked around a store holding a big pile of clothes you want to try on? Just say no to the kind woman who asks if you want her to start a fitting room for you and it's like lifting weights, I tell ya. (Technically, it might be more beneficial than lifting weights because at the end you have a cute new something to wear). Ever been on the hunt for the perfect outfit? Walk around the mall for hours to find it, my friend, and you're burning calories without even thinking about it. Best. Workout. Ever.

Sadly enough, I have not been doing much shopping lately since I've been focusing so much on losing weight. There's no point in shopping when you're hoping the pants you'd buy now will soon be in a pile for Goodwill 'cause they're too big for your skinny ass. And since I've found some more serious (but much less fun) forms of cardiovascular workout, I can't quite justify skipping the gym to go shopping.

But what kind of clothes do I need to buy? Why, workout clothes of course! I spent a good 45 minutes browsing the running apparel section of a sporting goods store this Saturday afternoon- which was definitely a first. I usually park outside that store because there's always open spaces (guess more people prefer to park by Macy's, go figure!) and I walk right through it to get to the rest of the mall. But on Saturday I was there on purpose. Gotta be able to have some fun with the gym clothes, right? I'm not one of those over-the-top women who wears full makeup and hair along with a skimpy color-coordinated ensemble to workout. It's not a runway, and I don't need a fancy outfit to fuss with that I'm just going to end up sweating in. But I'd at least like my t-shirt to be cute!

So, while I wait for the day that I've lost all the weight I want to lose and can buy real clothes again, I can content myself with the fabulosity found in a pink Nike t-shirt with silver lettering and a witty message. In case you were wondering, I'm not sure the shirt made my butt look fast, but it made me look fab, and hopefully fast is right around the corner.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 22, 2009

The strangest thing happened during my morning run yesterday. I was jogging along, listening to my iPod and enjoying the blue sky, when suddenly it happened. I realized that I am starting to like running.

It was incredibly cold outside and very windy-- my hands (gloveless...whoops) felt chapped from the cold and my hair was whipping around my face-- but still. I was happy to be running.
Maybe it was a delusional moment caused by the euphoria I felt just to be running in sneakers that fit properly. On Monday, my mom and I went to a store for runners (yup, they let me in) and got officially fitted for a pair. They measured my feet, made me stand and bend and walk so they could watch my feet and see what kind of shoe support I needed.

I had just finished a run in my old old old sneakers from high school (since there was no way I could even walk in the newer but foot-mutilating pair) and I had dutifully bandaged my feet to protect them from the high school sneaks, just in case. But after the run and a shower, turns out the Band-Aids felt no loyalty to my feet and had migrated up to my pants. So as I'm walking away from the shoe guy so he can study my feet, just cracking a joke about how I feel like I'm on a runway, my mom tells me I have a Band-Aid stuck to my pants. How embarassing and icky (any time you find a Band-Aid any place other than covering a wound, it's gross, even if it's your own Band-Aid). Although it did add some credence to the killer-shoe story I had just finished telling the shoe guy.

I tried on a few pairs of shoes that he picked just for me. It's hard to know exactly what you're looking for, since in general sneakers are comfortable right off the bat. It's not like when you try on a pair of heels and know right away that noooooooooo, you cannot possibly wear those for more than 30 seconds without all the tendons in the bottom of your feet snapping. I have also made a promise to myself and others not to choose the new sneakers based on looks. And since I'm not shopping for a sale like I usually would be, I don't have that guideline either. I'm a little lost in running shoe land. So I decide to go with the pair that feels most comfortable and supportive. My mom makes me try them on with my new non-cotton socks (since I've recently learned that cotton socks are a no-no for runners, the cotton traps in moisture and can cause blisters) just to be sure they're comfortable. I try telling her that socks are socks, but apparently that's not so in Mom-world. To humor her, I try the socks on, and the shoes, and although the socks make no difference in how the shoes fit, it's all so comfy it almost makes me want to go for another run. Almost.

So maybe it's the comfort my feet are feeling that makes me enjoy my run. Maybe it's running in the park, which is better than running on a track because you don't have to see how far you have until you're done, in the park you're just running until you decide you don't want to be running anymore. Maybe it's just the fact that of my own free will, I got out of bed and got dressed and went running, and that makes me happy.

I'm going for another run today, and maybe this one will remind me how much I hate running. Maybe I'll love it again. Or maybe it will always be a love/hate relationship, depending on the day and time and place and the mood I'm in. But it's a relationship I'm happy to have.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 17, 2009

My calves hurt. My thighs hurt. My arms hurt. My butt hurts. Every single muscle in my body is crying out today, and each one is saying (in unison): "ouch!"

And this is because I went running for the first time yesterday. Actual running- outside, on a track. And I have to be honest. It sucked, and I am bad at it. I've been joking for so long about how much I dislike running and how horrible I have always been that I forgot how true that is. I'm awful! And I hate it!

Any confidence I had before I stepped onto the track yesterday morning vanished way before I had even finished my first lap. Remember the runner I saw on Cemetery Road the other day? Yeah, that guy was an Olympic gold medalist compared to me.

When I run I can't seem to make my breathing make sense- it becomes very chaotic and would probably disturb anyone who happened to pass me by. To remedy this I have to try really hard to breathe correctly, which fortunately is not something I have to do in the course of my normal life, so it's a little hard to figure out how to get that down. I mean, I'd like to think I'm fairly proficient at breathing in general. It's just breathing while running that I have a problem with.

So now I've realized that I have one month til my first 5k and a loooong way to go. Yup, I just said my first 5k. Maybe I'm going crazy(or crazier, depending on how you look at it) but after running my first 2 laps around the track, I realized that I was not going to be as prepared as I'd like to be for the March 5k. And being under-prepared for that would make me more nervous for the triathlon in July. So....I'll be finding another 5k to run before July. Maybe more than one. After all, I really really really don't want to finish last at the triathlon. And if running is this hard at 9am when all I've done that day is wake up and make oatmeal, well, I can't imagine running after I've been swimming and biking all morning. Apparently oatmeal is about what I can handle right now, and I've gotta be better than that.

The good news is that I'm strangely invigorated by this hatred of running. It makes the idea of accomplishing it that much sweeter. And I was sure that all my hard work (at the gym every day except one since my last weigh-in) was going to reflect in the number I saw on the scale tonight. Instead, I lost nothing. I think that my body might be angry about how hard I've made it work over the past couple of weeks and is therefore playing tricks on me again. On the bright side, at least I didn't gain anything- I think I would have ran out of the building screaming if that had happened. Or, given my current condition, hobbled out of the building with a dejected look on my face, since running and screaming are out of the question right now.

When I got home, there was a small box waiting outside my door. As soon as I saw it I knew what it was--my triathlon top. Yikes! The shorts are on backorder, so I've got to wait a few more weeks to get the full effect, but the good news about the top is that it didn't do any further damage to my ego, since it's super cute (well, as far as triathlon gear goes) and it fits. It has some mysterious slits, which at first glance I assumed were pockets but found that weird, since they don't zip or close in any way. What would you put in there? I'm wondering if it's acceptable to store a lip balm so I have one with me throughout the race. After all, I never go anywhere without a lip balm; I have one
in my bag, the pockets of all my coats, the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, on my keyboard at home, next to my bed, on my desk at work, on my coffee table and in my car, and I don't see why a triathlon should be an exception.

Out of curiousity, I decided to investigate and went to the website where I ordered the top from to see if the site's description of the top mentions any such lip balm pockets. Turns out these are "patent pending 'Energy Cell' side pockets". This makes me nervous. What does it mean? Is it just marketing-speak for "useless pockets"? While I know I'll need all the energy I can get, I don't think much energy would fit in these teeny pockets, and I'd rather have my lip balm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 14, 2009

Ahhh, Valentine's Day.

It's even the most content single girl's kryptonite. The red and pink aisles of CVS and Walgreens have been haunting me for weeks. Say all you want about it being a Hallmark holiday that means nothing. If you're saying that, I guarantee that you are in a relationship. Let me just say there's a huge difference between choosing not to celebrate and not celebrating because you have no choice. In other words, have no one to celebrate with.

Valentine's Day is especially frustrating for me because not only do I loooove holidays and excuses to celebrate (and it makes me upset just on the grounds that I can't fully participate in the day), but I'm a huge dorky romantic at heart who believes in love more than anything in this world. I love love. I think that everyone who CAN celebrate Valentine's Day should, and yet most relationship people are so blah about it. I think this mentality is kind of like how you don't want to waste food because there are starving people in the world, but yet you still don't always eat everything on your plate and occasionally let food in your fridge go to waste. You are so used to what you have that you forget that not everyone has it; you forget you are lucky to have it. But that doesn't change the fact that you are indeed lucky, that you do have something that others wish they had. And there's no excuse for not celebrating your good fortune on a day made for that celebration.

But I'll end my rant there. What is Valentine's Day, really? A day to celebrate love. And this year, I'd like to think of it as just that, because it allows me to participate a little bit more. Let's just say that, for me, romantic love has been dead for so long that it could be considered extinct, but there is still a lot of love in my life. I have a wonderful family who loves me and sends me VDay cards. I have friends who love me enough to try to persuade me that everyone hates Valentine's Day so I don't feel so bad (even thought that rationality backfires with me, I appreciate the effort). I have co-workers who love me enough to not let me order red velvet cake at our girls-only pre-Valentine's Day dinner, when my willpower starts to fade in the face of everyone else's desserts on the table.

Don't get me wrong, it definitely sucks to be single on Valentine's Day, while everyone else I know gets to spend it with people they love. No amount of positive thinking will get me to the point where I don't think that it's a total bummer. But I'm happy that the people I love have people that they love.

And, hey, maybe the gym will be pretty empty today because everyone is doing VDay stuff and I won't have to park a million miles away. I've decided to ditch my original Valentine's Day plan of hibernation (stay on the couch all day to avoid having to realize what day it is) by going to see "He's Just Not That Into You" tonight, so either I'll be surrounded by girls just like me (it's so not a good date movie) or no one (since everyone is at date movies). Which means no crowds. No one's bringing me chocolates or taking me out to a dinner that will ultimately just ruin my diet. An honestly, if I was in a relationship right now I wouldn't want chocolates or a fancy dinner anyway. I'd want new sneakers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009

I have obtained my first sports-related injury. Since this injury was obtained while running (ok, I lie, it was obtained while fast-walking. Ok, maybe semi-fast-walking) I feel that this makes me a little more official as a runner (fast-walker).

Before anybody gets nervous, don't worry. The doctor said I'll be fine. Ok, just kidding again, my injury didn't warrant a trip to the doctor (although that would have been a bonus if he was handsome). And ok, so it was a minor cut that was induced by my sock slipping down below my sneaker, causing my sneaker to cut into my skin. BUT I was on the treadmill when it happened, so therefore, it's my first sports-related injury. And although the treadmill is not a sport, I was on the treadmill due to the triathlon which is a sport, so... sports-related inury.

I wasn't a baby about it or anything; perhaps I learned my "tough it out" mentality from my little bro, who once played a season of football with a broken wrist. Maybe it's not fair to compare playing football with a broken bone to fast-walking on the treadmill with a cut, see my point. Anyway, at the time he didn't know his wrist was broken, kinda like I didn't know that blood was seeping through my sock and onto my sneaker. I think the blood-stained sneaker might be the mark of a true, walker. Or maybe it's just the mark of someone with poor footwear. But in any case, I snapped a photo of the carnage to mark the occasion, and to help give me street cred with the actual runners of the world. See that dark spot on the shoe on the right? That's the price you pay to be a triathlete-in-training.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February 10, 2009

It's official! I am now registered for both the 5k and triathlon. It's also official because I bought the triathlon outfit. There's no going back now (since God knows I won't ever be wearing a triathlon outfit anywhere else but a triathlon)! And...drumroll, it is!
No psychedlic bathing suit for me- only a tri top and tri shorts- designed to function well for all 3 sports- swimming, biking and running. Cute and functional. Fashion disaster averted.

I realize I'm months away from the triathlon, but in a weird way, I almost want it to happen now. Only, if it happened now I would definitely have some... issues. For instance, I would struggle to meet my first goal, which is: Finish the race! And to further quantify that goal, I would like to shoot for the stars and plan on finishing the race on my feet, not, say, crossing the finish line on a stretcher, in a wheelchair, or being carried over the shoulder of some kind soulwho takes pity on me.

And, if I don't meet that first goal, it would be hard to meet my second goal which is: Don't be last! And just to do some clarification here as well, it wouldn't count if I wasn't last but any type of assistance was required to propel me over the finish line. Even if I am struggling, even if I think I might be dead last, I won't be the equivalent of the woman who hopped the T in order to finish the Boston Marathon "first". Although I hear they give free massages to people who complete the Boston Marathon, so maybe she had a good idea going there, since I'm sure the line gets pretty long after a while. (Kidding!- I would never do something so lame just to get a massage*.)

So if the race was today, I fear I'd be toast. I will confess that this is in part due to the fact that I haven't even been running outside yet, still have not even touched an actual bicycle or gotten my feet wet anywhere except the shower. The good news is that my treadmill skills are steadily improving- besides accidentally hitting the emergency stop button twice on Saturday, I have managed to hold my own. Well, as far as walking goes. Alas, I have not yet advanced to running. Yesterday the guy next to me on the treadmill was running so fast and at such a steep incline that it almost made me fall off the treadmill. I do not understand how people do this. Imagine walking directly up a wall, but instead of walking you're running. That is what this guy was essentially doing. He was also holding on for dear life and had his body tilted at such an angle that I was nervous that even if I wasn't going to fall over, he sure was.

I don't know if I aspire to be one of these crazy treadmill people. Right now I'm just aiming for a slow, no-hands jog at a moderate incline, sustained for 30 minutes without hitting the emergency stop. That will be a big day for me.

*Unless the massage was being given by John Krasinski. Then all bets are off. I feel compelled to include this asterisk in case the circumstance should arise. I like to be a woman of my word.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 8, 2009

I spent way too long yesterday browsing online for a cute triathlon outfit. It's months away but I want to have an idea of what I'm in for from every angle, and that includes fashion. For instance, I will not be wearing one of those bathing suits that look like a 90's electric light show on a 70's acid trip. Why do all the serious bathing suits (ones designed for athletic function, not tanning, tropical drinks and cabana boys) look so incredibly un-serious? These suits seem to be saying "Hey- I may not be lounging poolside, but I'm a ton of fun. Honest! Just look at my geometric patterns of fluorescent wonder!" Blech. I will not be wearing on of those. Personally, I will need my bathing suit to be one that says "Hey-I'm a functional bathing suit, designed to keep you sufficiently covered and, most importantly, to help prevent you from drowning. Oh, and I'm super cute." Ok, so maybe no bathing suit will prevent me from drowning (unless it's one of those kids bathing suits with a life preserver built in, but a) I don't think they make those in adult sizes and b) that might not be that great for a race) but I think I can count on one to be cute yet properly modest; this is not a time to wonder if one quick movement might mean over exposure. And, while I assure you I won't be worrying about how I look that day (hmm, I wonder even as I write this if that's a little white lie), I see nothing wrong with wanting to prepare myself with some basics that meet my aesthetic criteria. It may seem a little silly to put this much thought into the style aspect of a triathlon- you probably didn't even know there was a style aspect to a triathlon, and maybe there usually isn't, and I just invented it. But I don't care. If I am going to do something, I'm going to do it with at least a little bit of fabulosity, even if it just means reigning in the bathing suit craziness... and perhaps matching my ensemble to my bike.

Friday, February 6, 2009

February 6, 2009

Driving home from the gym the other night, I passed a man who was out running. This disturbed me greatly because it was the day after a snow storm, and I was using that (and the winter in general) as a really great excuse to avoid any outdoor running. This man was ruining my entire convenient little theory.

Also disturbing was that he was running down Cemetery Road IN THE DARK. I can assure you, I will never be running on Cemetery Road and especially not in the dark. It’s just as creepy a road as it sounds like it would be: heavily wooded on one side, with an open field on the other. I have an unwritten promise with myself to never even drive down that road after 8pm.

It was dark out, and he was wearing a florescent orange reflective vest that made him look like a construction-zone escapee. I understand that it is important to wear reflective clothing when jogging at night, but does it have to be so ugly? I don’t really plan on running at night but if the mood strikes me, I truly hope I can find some appropriate clothing that’s not reminiscent of a traffic cone.

Not that this guy was, or should have been, trying to be stylish. In fact, I was pretty glad he was wearing that vest, because he was running with such a lackluster gait that until I noticed his vest I thought he was injured and slowly running for help, like a horror-movie victim. Runners usually have such a purposeful, composed look about them as they sprint along. This guy was running begrudgingly, like he was just trying to get somewhere so he could not be running anymore. Now that I think of it, I should have pulled over and asked him to be my new running buddy. I think his horror movie victim running style is something I could aspire to.

Truth be told, I’ve always admired runners, and found myself slightly in awe of them. What type of people are these, I think to myself, that could be doing anything they want right now yet choose to go running?

For a very short while when I was in high school my mom and I would try to go running in the morning. Very early, like 5am. I think it was my idea, but every day when she would come upstairs to wake me up I’d yell (or what passed for yelling in my near comatose state) and more often than not, refuse to go. I can’t imagine getting out of bed that early of my own accord and then having to go outside and put one foot in front of the other.

And like I dragged my mom along on my morning running attempts when I was in high school, I’m dragging as many willing souls as I can find along with me on my quest to get in shape for the triathlon. It’s so much more fun to work out with a friend than to trudge along by yourself. At least then I'll have someone there to laugh at me when I go flying off the treadmill. That hasn’t happened yet but I fear the time is near, and I know strangers would be too nice to laugh. The treadmill makes me feel so uncoordinated, which is scary because its pretty close to actual running, something I think I miiiiight need to be able to do in order to complete a triathlon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February 4, 2009

It snowed last night, and what should have been a 30 minute drive home from work took nearly 2 hours. Before heading home, I stopped at my weekly Weight Watchers (WW) meeting to weigh in (classes were cancelled, it was a mess on the road, but they were letting people stop by to weigh in- woohoo!). I got there right after they had locked the door; luckily, the woman behind the desk saw me and let me in.

When I say luckily, I'm saying it from a perspective of that "consciously trying to be positive" thing I've been talking about. "Luckily", because after driving in the snow for so long, (and almost killing myself in the parking lot because I do not pay attention to weather reports, did not realize it was going to snow that much and was therefore wearing 3" heels) I would have been pissed if I went out of my way to get there and they had closed early. So, "luckily" I made it just in the nick of time. "Luckily" she allowed me to step on the scale. And that's about where my luck ended, and the trying to be positive thing kicked in.

I stepped on that scale only to find out I'd gained .8 pounds. The first reaction that ran through my head involves inappropriate words I will not write here, because my mom reads my blog. But when you spend your days consciously trying to lose weight, and instead you gain nearly a pound, well, that is completely unfair. It should be simple math. Eat less + exercise= lose weight! But my body decided to go with a more complicated equation that didn't quite add up to me. Or rather, it did add up. It added .8 up.

Upon hearing the news, both my WW partner-in-crime, Callie, and my mom asked the same question: Did you pee before you weighed in? Well, I had been stuck in the car for 2 hours, so no, I hadn't had the opportunity. But this idea caused me to start accounting for all the possible variables. For instance, I always wear the same pants on Tuesdays (specifically because of the weigh-in, not because I have Tuesday pants normally or anything) and take off my shoes, so that couldn't be it. But I usually DO pee right before weighing in. And, usually I wear a cardigan and take that off but this time I wasn't so I had a long-sleeve button-up shirt on, and that shirt has pearl buttons instead of regular ones, so maybe those weigh more, and I was wearing a different necklace than I usually wear so maybe THAT weighs more. So we've got shirt, pearl buttons and necklace. Oh, and urine. And honestly, this is when I realized that if I can account for a .8 pound weight gain in urine and buttons, then it's really not a big deal.

But I was still agitated, so I did what any rational girl would do. I stopped stressing, used the rest of my WW points left for the day on cookie dough, took a bath and went to bed early, without working out. While I do not recommend this particular tactic as a way to lose .8 pounds should you happen to gain them, or as a surefire way to get triathlon ready, I have to say that the cookie dough sure was yummy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 3, 2009

And the answer is, I have no idea.

But I feel compelled to provide a better answer than that, so I'll attempt to break it down a bit, dig in and provide as much insight as possible.

First, the idea came to me while watching MTV. While MTV is not normally a source of inspiration for me, or anyone for that matter, I happened to catch the end of an episode of MADE, where an overweight and clearly non-athletic high school kid was struggling his way through a triathlon. At the end of the race, he was crying, his mom was crying, his trainer was crying. Against all odds, he had finished the race. Something about it touched me more than I would have guessed a show like MADE could, and I said to my brother "I would like to run a triathlon someday. That would be really cool." Operative word here is of course "someday"- meaning you can get away with not ever doing it because the future is, well, always in the future.

But the idea stuck with me, and while it didn't necessarily make sense (for the reasons I described in my first post), I realized that I meant what I said. I wanted to do it. And thinking about it more, what would be my reason to NOT do it? I could come up with no viable excuse (and believe me, I tried realllly hard to find one). If I wanted to do it and didn’t, I would just be lazy. That would be the only reason. And who wants to be lazy?

Reasons to do it? Many. Reasons to not do it? None. Even a mathematically and athletically challenged person like myself realized that was a very clear score. Triathlon beats laziness in an upset no one saw coming. So there was really no choice; I had made up my mind before I even realized it.

Also, I had been suffering through a kind of quarter-life crisis that was in large part self-induced. It’s a little hard to explain unless you’ve been there, or if you know me. While I’m an overall positive and happy person, my mind is naturally like a slow-cooker— things stay in there and marinate, slowly dissolving, until I have completely dissected the smallest minutiae of my life. It’s an exhausting, vicious, anxiety-inducing habit. And I knew that there are much worse things in life than the things I was dealing with, and that I needed to focus my energy on positive things, not negative ones. I am a single 26-year-old who lives alone with 2 cats and hasn’t been in a serious relationship since before I could legally drink, yes. But looking at it in a different light, I am independent, support myself, and can decorate however I want to. The toilet seat is never left up. No one leaves shoes or dirty clothes lying around my apartment but me. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family. And my cats rock.

It’s all in how you look at it, and before I was allowing myself to wallow in the negativity, instead of brushing it off and moving forward. There’s not much I can do about not being single; actually, I have done all the things you can actively do to try not to be single, and those unfortunate experiences did not help me feel any better. In fact, they made me feel worse and are stories for another time, because they should only be told over many glasses of wine. Complaining about still being in Connecticut after all these years wasn’t getting me out of Connecticut, it was just making me more discontent, and I wasn’t making moves to go anywhere even with all that bitching I was doing. I was at the end of my rope with myself. But I love me, so I decided it was time for a major overhaul.

And I decided to change everything. It’s that complicated, and it’s that simple. I don’t even allow myself to think about my single status, for example. For the first time in a long time, I don’t even want to date. For real. (I used to cover my eyes and say “I’m not looking...I’m not looking” when people would tell me I’d find him when I wasn’t looking for him, so those who know me might be initially skeptical upon hearing this. But I swear, guys, it's true.). I want to put that energy--because it took a LOT of energy--towards something new. I live in an apartment, and a house seems so far away from my reach, but you know what? Either I’ll have a house someday or I won’t, and there’s only so much I can do about that. So I need to do what I can and move on. It’s all very self-help book sounding at this point, I know, but go with me on this. Negativity breeds negativity. I need positivity, for the big things and for the every day things. It’s a conscious effort. For example, maybe I left the house late and spilled coffee on my shirt and sat in traffic because it was snowing (and I hate snow) and was late to work and inhaled fuzz from my glove and couldn’t stop coughing for 20 minutes. You could definitely allow a series of annoying things like that to be the start of a bad, grouchy day, and you might even feel justified for feeling that way. Or, you could realize there’s nothing to be done about those things, so they don’t really matter. After all, fuzz is digestible. Don’t focus on it. Instead, focus on having a good day. MAKE yourself be happy. And you can be.

From that I realized I had to pick the bigger things I could change in my life that were worthy of attention, and change them. I started Weight Watchers on December 9th and have lost 11 pounds to date (and I weigh in tonight, yikes, wish me luck!). I was skeptical of it at first, but now when I talk about it I sound like a paid spokesperson (I'm not, but Weight Watchers, if you're reading this, have your people call my people). I feel great. My goal is 12.2 more pounds by May 1st, and then 4 more after that, which will happen because it’s up to me, and I see success as the only option.

And here, we come full circle back to the triathlon idea. For whatever reason and accumulation of circumstances, I want to complete a triathlon. So I will. I will use my energy to focus, concentrate, work hard, step outside the box. Actually, I will swim, bike and run outside the box. Why not?

Monday, February 2, 2009

February 2, 2009

With any luck (ok, luck and lots of hard work and dedication) in a mere 5 months and 24 days from now, I will have completed my first triathlon. If you know me, there's about a 80% chance that you're laughing right now. That's just a rough percentage, but of all the people I've told, only three of them haven't laughed. One of them was my co-worker Audrey, who, God bless her, is going to be my guide throughout this journey to triathlete status. She does not think it's funny, is excited to help me train, and scares me daily by saying things like "We'll definitely have to practice our transitions" and "Let's run a 5k to see what we need to work on". I know what I need to work on- everything- and think a 5k will just scare me, so I have picked a St. Patrick's Day run that ends at a bar.

Conversely, the people who thought it was funniest were my parents. Now, before I say anything else I have to say that my parents are very loving and supportive people who have always been behind me 100% and always will be. And, to give their laughter credit, I do see the humor in it. I probably haven't run since my gym teacher forced me to in school (where, by the way, I once failed the physical fitness test because I ran the mile too slow, and had to re-run it. I'm not sure if I passed the second time or if they just didn't want to watch me try to do it again). The last time I rode a bike I was 12, and even then I was taking a leisurely ride on my teal and pink bike through the neighborhood to hang out with friends. While I'm a comfortable swimmer, my aquatic history features mostly games of Marco Polo, creating whirlpools and lying on a raft with a book.

By my own admission, I am not an athlete and have taken to telling everyone that the athletic genes passed down from my parents skipped me and all went to my brother, a former Division 2 football player and member of the track team who has won more awards than I can remember, meaning he doesn't just play but he's good. While looking through our childhood scrapbooks one day not too long ago, we came across numerous field day awards in my brother's book- all first place awards, naturally. Maybe he once finished 2nd in the potato sack race, but that doesn't really mean anything since you're inhibited by a giant burlap sack. After flipping through my book for a bit, I finally spotted an award ribbon. Triumphantly pulling it out with a loud proclamation "Aha! I did win an award!", I flipped it over and realized it was a participation award. You know, the ones they give to kids so they don't feel bad about not actually winning anything.

Growing up, I hated gym class so much that remembering the feeling makes me a little panicky even right now. You do not want me on your team for any type of sport, unless it is badminton, the only "sport" in which I can pretty much hold my own. In high school they started a girls field hockey team- I went to the first meeting and realized I wasn't fooling anyone and never went back. Organized sports make me nervous. Running makes me feel like I have suddenly forgotten how to breathe and am not sure how to consciously make the effort. Biking for non-social reasons is foreign to me. Swimming in a lake makes me think of the fish at the summer camp I used to go to that bit everyone's toes, and that totally creeps me out.

So, now you see why my parent's laughter when they hear I'm going to be in a triathlon is not uncalled for. They just know me really well. After chuckling softly for a few seconds, my dad looked at me and said very seriously "You do know there's running involved in that, right?" I responded that yes, I knew what I was in for. He thought for a second and said "But we hate running." And it's true- neither my dad nor I are the type to go for a morning run, unless it's a coffee run, which of course doesn't actually involve running. And ultimately, my parents are just thinking what everyone else who knows me is thinking- why in the world did you decide to do a triathlon?