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May Stats

Running and zumba and yoga and barre, oh my! May was an active month.

I began by continuing to torture myself and falling as easy prey to my eating disorder. Yet I caught myself on the downward spiral. I finally recognized my bullshit and was able to talk myself down, coax myself back to some semblance of sanity and zen.

So I have let go. I have let myself have rest days again. I have let myself eat again. I have let myself not care so damn much again. And it has been liberating.

Once I let go (and also let myself recover and also fed myself), my running improved. I successfully completed the 11 mile, and it felt great. At the end, I actually felt like I could keep going. Perhaps it was the weight of my pressure and expectations in my limbs the previous time.

While scale continues to not favor me, the tape measure has been a bit more friendly. So there has been progress, even against the breastfeeding weight cling-on. I will take being happy and flawed over obsessive and still not perfect.

may

 

Total miles: 52
Total miles run outside: 52
Longest distance: 11 miles
Best times: 6.7 miles in 1:24, 11 miles in 2:25

Total weight loss: 25 pounds
Weight loss in May: 1 pounds

Total inch loss: 5″- 5″- 4″
Inch loss in May: 0″- 1″- 0″


January Stats

January was another rocky month. My weight bounced up and down. My fitness commitment was derailed by illness, children, and author/work commitments. I was frustrated and discouraged many times. However, I leaped up to 7 mile runs, so progress has been made. No matter how slow I am running those 7 miles.

I also started P90X3 with my partner (“husband”). I hate it as I hated P90X, but I need some strength training in my routine, and I need some results. I am also willing to do something I don’t care for to support him being active. We got through one week before I was struck down with a chest cold and he started traveling.

No matter the struggles, I did lose 5 pounds, which is always my minimum goal for a month, and I did add distance to my runs. So I have to count those as success, even if I expected more.

I am putting January behind me and starting fresh with February, hoping to see more progress.

january

Total miles: 65
Total miles run outside: 54
Longest distance: 7 miles
Best times: 50 minutes (4 miles), 1 hour 36 minutes (7 miles)

Total weight loss: 20 pounds
Weight loss in January: 5 pounds

Total inch loss: 4″- 4″- 3″
Inch loss in November: 0″- 1″- 0″


Ugly Sweater 5K

This post is a little delayed in coming, but I published a book and it was Christmas. Shit came up.

Earlier in the month, I welcomed my running mate Trisha back from post partum at her first 5K since baby, the Ugly Sweater Run in Denver.

Last year, when we partook in the Ugly Sweater Run, I was pregnant, and it was freezing. It was kind of a mess, but I think we ultimately had fun.

This year, our racing pack dropped like flies. One had to travel for work; one had to travel for a funeral; one was struck down with a respiratory infection. It was not the makings of the best race ever. However, we were rejuvenated by the addition of my walking friend, Marni, and her husband.

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When we arrived up in Denver, the race was being held at a new venue. Last year, the run was in downtown Denver, starting outside Coors stadium, which is always a fun and relatively flat location to run. This year, however, the location had been shifted to the Rapids stadium way out in the middle of nowhere.

The course was nearly completely flat, and it was cool to start the route weaving through the actual stadium. But ultimately, the course dwindled into parking lot switchbacks and became really fucking boring.

The day became frigid and windy. I was thankful for my jingling ugly sweater and hideous racing swag hat. However, that was short lived. The sun emerged in the beginning of the race, and combined with running in a damn sweater, I was melting. My bell adorned sweater became more of a burden than a novelty.

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My racing experience was rather lackluster. Hot and boring. I was quite disappointed in the race itself and its new location. Aside from the new course being mind numbing, the place was packed. From port-a-potties to packet pickup, the lines were long.

Yet I still managed to capture that runner’s high. I still felt the endorphins and felt good about wogging out Trisha’s first race back with her.

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The after party, however, was were it was at for it. It was nothing special, just a few canned ciders. Yet combined with the endorphins of a 5K, good company, and a lack of children, it proved to be quite delightful. I pounded the ciders from the drink tickets people passed off to us in line and got a happy and contended buzz. Eating pizza in the car on the way home, I was simply happy.

And that is what doing these races is all about. Just having fun.

(Did I mention I had to awkwardly breastpump in the car in the parking lot before the race? Yeah, the joys of motherhood!)


4s and 5s

I feel the progress, and it tastes glorious.

Weight: Halfway gone!
Sciatic pain: Resolved thanks to my miracle-worker chiropractor
Knee pain: Resolved thanks to new and even more supportive running shoes
5K distance: Race time down to 37 minutes. Running the full distance without intervals consistently under 40 minutes.
Pace: Improved but still extra zombie turtle slow

So forget 3 miles! I am moving on to 4 and 5 mile distances. (Aside from 5K races, obviously.)

Last night, we returned to our run club 10K route. The previous week, we walked the full 10K to get a feel for it (still killer). This time, we did our modified 5 mile version in segments.

It is still quite hard, and I still love the pain.

Panting up a steep hill in the cold dark with my muscles burning and the steam of my breath blowing back in my face gave me that rush that keeps me addicted to running. I felt challenged as the hills kicked my ass; I felt accomplishment when I didn’t die. At the end of the run, I felt completely depleted; I had left everything on the trail. The high was all that could remain.

I am starting to feel like my running self again. A slower, fatter version, but I can finally see that self buried underneath. I am finally remembering why I missed it so much, even now that the idealizing and romanticizing I did during my break has been burned away.

Most importantly, I remember that it always sucked; it was always hard. Running always hurt like hell. I never really got to the point where I strode on effortlessly, thinking, my what a delightful run this is! I was always panting and slobbering; I was always ransoming myself into just one more mile at a turtle’s pace of a jog.

It was the float that came from suffering and pushing myself so hard I thought I might puke and die. It was that high that came after I fucking did it, did more of it, got farther or (haha) faster.

I feel that again, so once again, I can love the run and accept the zombie turtle runner I am.

The more progress I see, the more goals I make. Incline in January. Full 10K distance (no intervals) in February. Prepregnancy weight by May. 10 miles after prepregnancy weight.

And I have lost my damn mind. Again. I have agreed to do a half marathon. Again.

So 13.1 miles by July.

Yes, the half is in the mountains, and it is 13 miles of DOWNHILL (the only reason I consented), but I know it will still be killer. And if I survive, then, I will truly feel like myself again.


Resisting Intervals

One month back on the trail and I am, in a word, frustrated.

I knew it was going to be hard and I was going to have to work at it; I did not think it would be harder than it ever was at the beginning. The endurance and pace is not coming back fast enough; the weight is not coming off fast enough. Granted, overnight would not be fast enough at this point.

I have made a full 3 miles; however, the pace was so paralytically slow that I could not take it. I could have briskly walked past myself; it felt like I was jogging in place. I had to fight my muscles back from the pace they remembered. So, instead, I stopped trying to make the distance and just ran until I died, walked for a while, repeat.

Yes, it improved my pace. Yes, it made me feel like I was running again.

Unfortunately, I HATE intervals. With a passion. I have never really done them, even when I was learning how to run. Though that is how most people learn to run. I find more accomplishment in the endurance to run a whole distance straight more than the speed at which I accomplish it.

And I am an addict for that high. Of course I still get the rush at the end either way, when I’m shaking and ready to puke at the finish, but I want that float. I want that bobbing euphoria and runner’s bliss. That is why I love the longer distances: more high.

Yet at these intervals, I can actually run, wog almost as fast as I used to. I run myself out on the way out; then I alternate long chunks of walking and “sprinting.” It works. It kills me, and I get done faster. It’s just not what I want.

I forsook the 5K distance long ago. I miss my 5 miles, 10K, 10 miles. Yet I will not move on to working on those until I can adequately run the full 5K. The whole way, no breaks, no stopping.

That accomplishment just seems so far away. Just like my pre-pregnancy weight.

But I just keep killing myself for it. I hit the trail 3 times a week and run until I nearly vomit (sometimes more than once with these intervals). Plus elliptical and yoga and resistance training. And I am making my peace (not really) with doing intervals. For two weeks, I will permit myself to walk chunks of the return run before I try at the full distance again.

I have lost 9 pounds, with many more to go. I feel the running will become easier the lighter I become. I kill myself to burn the pounds as much as to return to my former running conditioning, if not more. I am a fat girl at heart. I think I always will be. At the slightest opportunity, my inner glutton comes out. There are only so many addictions I can give up.

I am not a patient person. This is hard for me. Harder than trying to run again. But my son was completely worth all this work to get back.

Best 3 mile time (with intervals): 40 minutes


3 Miles

At nearly 8 weeks post partum, I have successfully wogged 3 straight miles again. As slow as I could once walk those miles but details.

It took about 6 runs to finally achieve the distance, but it is the first milestone. 5K… 5 miles… 10K… 10 miles. Those are my goals. First one, check.

Running has not been easy. Aside from the inherent difficulty in finding the time between a newborn, a three year old, a partner, returning to a full time job, preparing for the release of my book, and anything else on my plate, it is physically difficult. More difficult than I have ever been used to.

When I began running, my daughter was just over a year; my body was fully recovered from childbirth. I had also lost all of my pregnancy weight and then some. I never had to heave myself with all these surplus pounds. I was also no longer breastfeeding. Now, I feel my heavy breasts sloshing across my chest as I run, growing and filling with each stride. I feel my joints slamming together still loose from the hormones. The aches from childbirth make themselves known in symphony with those from the running.

It is, simply, harder.

I am even before square one, with farther to go than I went before. Yet, at the same time, I finally appreciate where I was before. I no longer lament and criticize that body; I strive to return to it. I no longer bash my slow speed; I work to attain it again. I try to tell myself it will be all the more of an accomplishment when I return to where I left when I got pregnant.

Like before, I no longer have chops for hills or heat. In my new location, there are only hills. In this maddeningly extended summer, there is only heat. This 3 mile run was only successful because of a strategically helpful cloud and a strong wind in my face. Without those, it would have been a failure just like its predecessors.

Yet I will keep trying. Even if the weight does not come off, I will be an extremely fit and conditioned fat girl.

Run time: 45 minutes. My first and worst 5K time was 38 minutes.


Back at Last!

As I walked up the sidewalk, fiddling with my mp3 player as the daylight died behind the fall mountains, I felt the excitement. My legs wanted to run. After months of denying them the sluggish zombie turtle plod, they were ready to shamble along once more.

Yet I held back. I knew as much as my very muscles were itching for the burn, they were lazy and unpracticed; I needed to pace myself. So I forced myself into a brisk walk to the top of the hill, allowing myself to finally fall into strides as I turned onto the first street.

The first thing I felt was heavy. And I was heavy after all. Many, many pounds from my prepregnancy, running weight, very far from the body I had left behind. I felt the weight settling in my belly, at my sides, in my thighs; I felt the heft against my joints and pelvis. But that soon faded into the background, and it felt just like running. Extra slow running.

My mind was going wild in self-assessment. Does it feel the same? Am I doing ok? Am I dying? Do I still like this? I was like someone remembering how to walk, clumsy at first then slowly stumbling into muscle memory, my body taking over to remind me of what to do. As I felt my feet fall into a familiar rhythm and my arms swing at my side, I was overwhelmed by the familiar, a slow motion iteration of the hundreds of miles already behind me.

Though my legs ached to go faster, to push to the death and though my brains assaulted me with reminders of how fat I was, how far I had to go, I restrained; I paced; I allowed myself to take it the slightest bit easy to gauge where I actually was as I reentered the trail. I silenced the self-depreciating thoughts swelling up around me and permitted myself one aggressive thought: “Run, fatty, run.”

I dropped into the park and was reminded that I was returning to running in the best season. The trees lining the lake alternated in bright yellow and green and reflected in the water in the growing twilight. I felt an edge in the air I sucked into my lungs in my amateurish gasps.

It was fall, and fall is my favorite time to run.

Small pains began to send flares over the periphery of my brain. The sciatic area on my left side, where my son’s head drilled down and where my partner dug his fingers through every excruciating unanesthetized contraction, vibrated with every stride. I felt the phantom pressure of his tiny head; I felt the lingering memories of labor. My pelvis itself felt loose; my core muscles failed to contain me or my new weight. Yet I just registered the sensations and ran on.

I withdrew my attention from monitoring my muscles and my breathing and my fatigue and focused on plunging headlong into the euphoria I was here for. As fat as I was and as slow as I was now moving, I was still out on the trail; I was still back to running. Most importantly, I was getting back on track.

A track that hopefully included both weight loss and sanity.

I went around lake, feeling like a slower version of my turtle self, dogging it up the hills but feel refreshed on the decline. All familiar sensations and patterns. I was inundated with flashbacks of learning to run at altitude on this very route. Somehow, I felt I was doing better this time, but that might have been wishful thinking.

As I began to ascend the hill to go back, I made a fatal error. As a car approached, I stopped running, waiting to cross the street. That momentarily lapse flooded my legs with acid. No matter how I tried to return to my sluggish pace up the hill, my muscles failed me. Against all my will, I was forced to walk the block up the hill before returning to a jog.

Yet I managed to run out the remainder of the route and even mustered a sloppy sprint at the end. All told, I ran about two miles and walked an additional 3/4 mile. Infancy compared to where I abandoned running, but it is a start. In all honesty, I have had more brutal and unpleasant runs at the height of my fitness, so this tiny run gave me hope. It inspired me to get back to it and keep going once more.