I got a new iPod, gang.
This probably does not sound like a momentous occasion to YOU, but it totally is one. Consider this: how many iPods do any of us even buy over the course of a lifetime? Counting my original iPod (2006), iPod Touch (2008) and my first iPod nano (2012), I have only ever had three and they were all such different beasts that it hardly feels like three of the same thing.New iPod, then = big deal.
My purple iPod nano went missing a few weeks ago. I know it seems like I must have been careless but I really wasn’t — I kept that iPod safe, along with my Beats headphones, in the headphones’ case. Somehow it went missing. And it went missing JUST as I became willing to make the transition to running outside instead of on the treadmill.
For someone who needs to know details, treadmill running is great. You’re told your exact speed, your distance, your time, etc. And for someone who is very loathe to let other people see them run, a treadmill in a basement is great protection from prying eyes. I fall into both of the aforementioned categories, and over the past 5 months my love affair with my treadmill has reached Kim & Kanye status. JK – barf – death – more like Beyonce and Jay, everyone’s true spirit couple. As the weather has improved I’ve considered branching out to run outside, but had several concerns: 1) How would I know how far I’ve gone? 2) How will I know for sure how fast my miles are? 3) How will I even know where to run? 4) I don’t want to hold my phone while running. Hmph.
And so I hemmed and hawed. I stayed on my treadmill, locked away from the world.
But then, on my birthday weekend, my Mom and Chelsea and I all went running at the River Trail in Scranton. I LOVED IT. It was glorious and green and sunny and it was just the best way to begin a birthday weekend. It really was. The next day, Chelsea slept in and Mom and I hit Nay Aug Park in Scranton. That, too, was lovely.
I decided immediately that I needed to start running outside.
The Monday after my birthday, I wanted to attempt Vestal’s Rail Trail. It’s a four mile straight line, 2 out and 2 back, and on its best days — and in the fully florid days of spring, I think we can safely say we are in its best days — it is boring as shit. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. When I got to the Rail Trail, it was around 11 AM and about 80 degrees. OBVIOUSLY THIS WAS NOT THE BEST TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, but like a Justin Bieber and his attempts to be seen as a man/taken seriously, I cannot be deterred from a plan even when all signs point to failure.
So off I went. I tried. But being so used to the treadmill, I was miserably bad at pacing myself. And then, it happened: my Beats by Dre VERY SUPER NICE HEADPHONES… died.
I was running in the 80 degree heat on a boring trail, having to hold my phone in my hand, and with no music.
Honestly: it was one of the worst runs I have ever had in my life.
I came home bitter and cranky and defeated.
I was so miserable that I took THREE DAYS OFF, which never, ever, ever happens.
But then, Thursday evening, Chelsea and I went for a walk around our neighborhood — we branched into areas I had never seen before. The street on which we live is set apart from the rest of the neighborhood, kind of, and we had never much explored. But when we did, I was delighted — Chelsea has always run in our neighborhood instead of the treadmill, so the sights were all common for her. But the unique houses, the beautifully landscaped gardens, the majestic old and huge trees everywhere…. I could run here, I thought to myself. Then, the best part of all: we discovered, as I’ve mentioned, a woodland trail near our house. It’s less than a block from our front door, but it’s cleverly disguised as a fence and a field. On the other side of the field, a path begins. We walked it out and discovered that it seems to be about 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back (it ends at a normal road), so 3 miles total. I HAD FOUND MY PLACE.
Friday morning, I gave my headphones one last dry. No dice. It was pouring outside. Furiously. Should I return to the treadmill? Sigh. If you know me personally, you’ll know that when I’m irritated or angry I can be very effective if I channel myself appropriately. I had a feeling that if I just SET OUT TO DO A THING that morning, despite my disgust about the weather and the headphones, I would have success.
So I put on my old shoes and a windjacket and sans music set into the neighborhood to run in the pouring rain. 6.3 miles later, I came inside feeling calm and immensely pleased.
I was hooked, then, on neighborhood running. But using MapMyRun on my phone was wildly inaccurate, and waiting until I got home to plot the streets was not helpful for while I was actually out there running, and plus MMR didn’t have the woodland trail on it. I needed a better way.
I felt the loss of my little purple iPod more than ever.
That iPod and I had only gone “running” together once or twice a million years ago. I listened to it at work often and in the car, it plugged into my auxiliary jack. I never used its workout capabilities; I only vaguely knew it had them. But when Chelsea gave her blessing to Project New iPod, I felt excited and invigorated and desperately anxious for the new gadget to arrive in the mail. I hoped to use it 1) for sound, 2) for mapping my runs and 3) calculating my efforts. As I waited for the mailman, I contacted the vendor through which I got my old Beats. They offered to send me new ones. I was ecstatic — new headphones, new iPod, new ME out there running.
The iPod and headphones arrived yesterday and my excitement cannot be overstated. I ran two miles by myself, then came home, waited for Chelsea, and together we ran about 3.5 more. 5.5 for the day. The iPod calculated our distances perfectly, as well as our times per mile, etc. The headphones, too, were ideal.
And me? Oh, I was hooked on it all. Finally, with all my concerns assuaged, I had something telling me how far and how fast. I also had something providing some noise so I wasn’t quite so bored.
Most importantly, though, I ran through the streets and didn’t feel like I looked like an idiot. Not because of the iPod, obviously, but because I’m over 20 lbs lighter than I’ve been in awhile and because I felt like ME as I ran along — not like someone pretending at being a runner, but like someone who just IS a runner.
Just like that, I became someone who runs in their neighborhood.
With a snazzy new iPod.
Also, ssssssick headphones.
To me, this is a transformation previously considered impossible.
So this is all to say that I got a new iPod, and it’ll make running easier. I guess this is also to share my delight at my neighborhood running. Mostly, overall, this is me saying that fitness is a journey that is constantly evolving and I love seeing the changes it brings.
Oh and one more thing: It was MY IDEA to actually go for a run with Chelsea. Me? Willingly running with someone else besides my mom? ME? The slow-poke? The amount of courage it took to do THAT will be a post for a different day.
RUN ON, friends!
Sorry I’ve been away the past two weeks. Two weeks ago was my birthday week, and last week was the final week of the semester — so writing papers, grading papers, all that. It’s been CRAZY. So I’ve not been blogging. I do hope you’ll forgive me.
I’m still being healthy — I know sometimes when people who are open about their health journeys fall off the radar, others assume they’ve fallen off the wagon. Not in this case! I am still on the wagon. Just haven’t had time to blog.
So what’ve I been up to? Well, the short version: My birthday and Mother’s Day were the same weekend. Both days, I ate my usual. Both evenings, we cooked WW-friendly delicious dinners with my family. I had DELICIOUS ICE CREAM CAKE BOTH DAYS, and I regret nothing.
This week is that annoying time of the month, and I am up about half a pound but I know it’ll go away. Always does.
Otherwise, last week I was down to 161.7. CLOSING IN ON THOSE 150’s, MAN. CLOSING RIGHT IN.
In the world of running: Ran every single day of birthday week but only 3 days last week. Had one AWFUL run outside at the Vestal Rail Trail — I’m still learning to pace myself when not on a treadmill, and at 85 degrees and too fast a clip, I was donezo — but two GLORIOUS neighborhood runs. I’ll post about those later.
Healthwise, though, all really is well. This post isn’t too interesting, I know; it’s just me popping in to say that I’ve only fallen off the blogging radar, not the health radar! I’ll probably post two or three times a week now that it’s summer and I’m trying to relax AND get ready for field exams all at once. I’ll be around though.
Don’t miss me too much. :-p
Nothing much exciting to post for the past two days — sorry I have been slacking. But yesterday was my birthday! And as my WW-journey goes, I do think you’ll be impressed.
I went to campus and went to work. My office mates gave me gifts and sang me Happy Birthday. My students made me cupcakes and sang to me. It was all lovely. After my second class, two of my very best friends ambushed me in my classroom to hug me and wish me Happy Birthday and that was wonderful too — nothing like good hugs from the best people. THEN, after my afternoon meeting, I went home, and —
I WENT FOR A RUN.
Obviously, if you’ve been reading along, you’re like “ok, you run all the time, so” but what’s a big deal is this: If you told me last year on my Birthday that THIS YEAR on my Birthday I would actually WANT to go for a run I would have laughed in your face. No effing way. But I did want to run yesterday — I logged a gentle 4.6 miles, and it felt great.
I weighed myself yesterday, too, and hopefully I don’t gain anything back somehow before the weekend but… I am in the 161’s!
Chelsea and I had sushi for dinner (Thank you, babe!) and for dessert? All I ate was one chocolate Smidgen. That’s it! This weekend I’ll have ice cream cake but for yesterday, dinner was my treat. 🙂
So, for some comparisons:
Last year, birthday dinner: Pizza, piggies, candy, etc.
This year, birthday dinner: Sushi, one piece of chocolate.
Last year, ideal birthday afternoon: sloth!
This year, ideal birthday afternoon: 4.6 miles logged at 6.0 on the treadmill
Last year, body image: Shitful.
This year, body image: Getting there. Feeling proud for having put in the work.
I told Chelsea yesterday that, as corny as it sounds, one of the best gifts I could possibly receive this year is the gift I gave myself: getting healthier. I’m starting to look “more like myself” again, and am down over 20 lbs from where I was in January. It feels good to feel good again. And I’m proud, too, that my birthday choices weren’t me flying off the tracks — in the past, a birthday dinner would have meant tons of Italian food, or pizza, or wings. Chocolate, cake, candy, milkshakes. All because it’s “my day.” But “your day” should reflect “your lifestyle” and “your choices” — and yesterday, I realized I actually value my body and my hard work ON my body more than I valued getting cookies from Vestal Bakery.
And the best part: I didn’t even kind of feel deprived. It was an excellent day and that sushi was freaking delicious.
And I ran.
And I’m healthier than I’ve been in years.
So many blessings.
I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll stop.
I ran 40.7 miles last week.
What? HOW? I know! I am as surprised as you are.
I ran every day of the week, though, Monday through yesterday, and tried a couple different running patterns.
I ran some very long runs where I gave myself a 10-20 second break after every lap, but logged over seven miles.
I ran some shorter runs (3.6 or 4.3 miles, depending on the day) and did them without stopping.
I learned that I can easily run a ten-minute mile after all — and that was the speed at which I ran every step of my seven mile run and most of my other runs. Only yesterday did I take it a little easy and do one mile at 6.0, one mile at 5.0 and repeat the pattern 2.5 times.
I ran on days I was cranky and on days when I had too many other things to do. I ran when I was happy. I ran when my mind was racing faster than my legs. Off I went on my treadmill, squeaky beast that it is.
40.7 miles later, here I am.
Now, that all being said, I am torn about running today. I don’t have schoolwork to do when I come home — which is AWESOME — but I had espresso too late last night and didn’t fall asleep until, like, 4 AM. So I am really effing tired. Like, tilted head and squinty eyes type tired. So I’m debating taking the day off. But if I take today off, will I run on my birthday (Tuesday)? I am not at all opposed to the idea but maybe on that actual day I’ll feel like resting. Oh, I don’t know. I’ll tell you tomorrow whatever I end up deciding.
One more fun fact. Or is it the first fun fact? I’ve not really dropped any fact bombs on you this post. Whatever. In any case, a fun little tidbit: Before I ever started running, I did what we all do with various things like playing on my phone or watching TV — I was the queen of “five more minutes.” And five would become ten or fifteen, etc. You know how it goes. And as I would do things like that — begging myself for just a few more minutes of whatever activity — I know I was just trying to hold onto that feeling of rest, and of belonging to myself outside of my responsibilities, for just a few more moments.
These days, I do that with running. “I’m going for a shorter run!” I yell to Chelsea as I trot down the basement steps. But 35 minutes leads inevitably to 40. At 40, why not go for 45? And then 45 is so close to 5 miles. Come on. Stay on for five miles. Then 5 miles hits, near 50-minutes, and if you’ve been on for 50 why wouldn’t you just stay the hour? But oh, 60 minutes is just shy of 6 miles — stay for 6! And on and on it goes. Unless I force myself, and end up leaving annoyed, I never run for less than 50 minutes anymore. The absolute shortest I’ve ran in the past month has been 39 minutes. I’m finding that my daily run is a place for me to exist both with myself and beyond myself, enjoying some space where I can decompress from the rest of the day and offer myself up to the task.
I never knew I could be that person.
Or maybe I was always that person, and it’s just that I know it, now.
Looks like I triumphed over my early-week gain! I wish I had lost just a little more this week, but I’ve done what I can do. Here are the week’s numbers:
This Week: 162.5
Loss Since Last Week: 1.3
Loss Since January: 20.8
Well, though I was hoping to lose 1.7 again (my WW weigh-in is Sunday though so, you never know what could happen between now and then…) I have officially broken into having lost over 20 lbs. That’s exciting.
I told Chelsea I’ll be more excited when it’s thirty lbs, but progress is progress. Maybe last weekend’s extra noshing made the difference between the 1.3 loss and my more typical 1.7? Who knows.
Either way: more weight gone.
That’s what it’s all about, y’all!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the “Who Am I?” section of the blog. You know: the link everyone clicks when they come here for the first time and try to find out who I am and what I’m about. As I mentioned in one of yesterday’s posts, the section is currently TEEMING with shame and self-resentment and a desire to make huge changes. Well, now those changes have been made. And while I’m still a work in progress, am I really still the same person who wrote that section of the blog?
In most ways, no. Instead of feeling embarrassed by my weight loss journey, I feel proud of it. Instead of loathing my body for its failings, I’m coming to be proud of what it can do. I no longer crave ice cream and cookies every day. I no longer feel shy about whether or not some bitchy girl from high school finds this blog and reads it. A lot has changed — physically AND mentally — since January.
And so I wondered: should I re-write that section to describe where I’m at now? Or how my path is continuing?
After some careful reflection, though, I think I should leave it the way it is. And here’s why.
When I first started this blog, I wasn’t doing it so that anyone would support me. I wasn’t doing it so that I could brag and wax philosophical about how awesome it feels to get healthier. I was doing it because I needed to keep myself accountable; I needed to admit in writing that there was a problem, before I could begin to SOLVE the problem. Further, writing the “Who Am I?” section in this blog was the first time I ever put down a lot of those thoughts into words. And if you know me, you know I put most things into words pretty quickly and easily. And so there’s something both sad and painful about that section of the blog, for me.
It is, in a sense, my “Before” picture.
I am hesitant to change it — and in fact, will not change it — because I didn’t write this blog for the person I am now, or people like her/me. I wrote this blog — and WRITE this blog — for people who might read that “Who Am I?” section and identify with it down to their core. I write this blog so that folks who DO still feel shame, or feel shy, or loathe themselves might see in me an example of transformation — not just another stupid and annoying blog about wellness and lululemon leggings or something. Like, the things I say now in the blog, well, most of them are things that people always told me I would think/feel once I “got there.” I didn’t believe them, really, but I guess those people were all right. You know: the endorphins, the way running becomes addictive in a good way, how clean eating feels good too, etc. And this blog was never, ever, ever, ever intended to be just another blog about how great it is to be healthy. It was intended to be a blog about how hard it is to become a person who is healthy.
And so, despite my attitudes and body changing rapidly, the “Who Am I?” section will remain as-is. It is the “before” picture of my mindset and my emotional journey which, as anybody losing weight can tell you, is just as — if not more — important than the physical journey.
Owning my story is part of my evolution and self-transformation. It’s like I always say: Speak your truth, and you’ll be surprised how many people are listening.
Thanks for listening, guys.