Tag Archives: exercise

My Love and Hate Relationship with the Barre

My hands grip the barre until my knuckles start to pale; my rings dig into my fingers from the pressure. I am clinging to the slender wood for dear life as my entire body threatens to tremble into a puddle on the thin carpet.

“Rise onto your highest pair of heels, and sink you seat an inch lower,” the instructor says as she paces methodically around the room. Her tone is soothing, yet her words abrate my mind as my muscles beg me to stop in an ascending burn.

I roll onto my toes, pressing and arching my foot until I feel my calf muscle ball up behind the back of my knee. As I ease my hips lower, awkwardly squatting above my elevated heels, my legs behind to vibrate. It’s a subtle tremble at first, just a quiver on the edge of my skin, sending waves through the acid beginning to team on my muscles. I breathe through pursed lips and hold tighter to the barre.

“Now tuck to tempo. Tuck, tuck, tuck.”

I dig deep and gather the muscles of my abdomen in towards my spine, tilting my pelvis up into my torso. The muscles that still feel so distended from two babies. With each tuck, fire licks the tops of my thighs. My heels press against each other, desperate to stay lifted. I feel the weakness trickle down, pouring over my legs down into my perched toes.

“Lower your hips down an inch, up an inch. Little down, little up.”

My muscles practically cackle at her words they sound so outrageous. Didn’t she mean lower your heels and lock your knees? Stand like a normal, relaxed person?

I close my eyes and breathe more purposefully. I do not look in the mirror. I do not want to see the sweaty tomato of my face while my reflection wants to give up so deeply. 

“This is your last change,” she says.

Hope blossoms across my chest. I can do this. It has to be less than a minute left.

A minute of burning hell on my legs.

I lower and lift my hips against the objections of my flesh. I make the small, controlled motions even though my nerves send relentless messages indicating they cannot comply. My body moves just the same. With each lower, the shake seizes me. My heels wobble and smack together; my knees knock and tremble. I can feel the vibrations rolling up my body in waves all the way to my cheeks.

“Final 10 strong. 1, 2, 3, 4…”

The countdown inspires me. Only 10 tiny movements left. I clutch the barre harder, close my eyes tighter, focus only on her count. I drop my seat lower, tuck my hips harder. My entire body is a mess of quivering fire.

” 9 and 10.”

I made it. I lock my knees and bask in the pleasant rush of the acid receding from my muscles. I breathe out relief as the heat stops flaring beneath my face.

Then I feel it, somewhere between the endorphins and the accomplishment–the high. The pain in my body evolves into euphoria, and my mind climbs somewhere both level and calm.

 

love

I believe I can safely say that I have reached addiction level with my affair with Pure Barre.

socks

That is what I do, after all: become addicted to things. Substances, activities, people, places. My mind will turn about anything into a drug. I live in extremes and chases excesses. If a little is good, more must be better, and a lethal dose is probably where I’ll end up.

Hence the attempt to shift addictions to “healthy” outlets. But I digress…

I started trying barre classes because an acquaintance of mine had started teaching classes and was posting about it. I was mired in my obsession to recover from my son and was trying any and all fitness options available, so I gave it a shot.

The first class absolutely annihilated me. I could scarcely perform the exercises included, and I was sore like I potentially never have been. And I rarely get sore anyway.

bettersorethansorry

I enjoyed the class, felt deeply intrigued by the challenge; however, I was married to my gym and the full schedule of classes I committed to every week. I could not afford the extra expense and more the extra time without provided child care. So barre became an occasional flirtation, once a month or so.

At some point, I started going more frequently. Perhaps when my son’s school schedule changed and gave me more unencumbered time. Then I purchased a deal on classes without actually reading the fine print. When my unused classes were about to expire, the studio owner was gracious enough to give me an extension, into which I stuffed every class I could make.

Boom. Addiction.

I actually injured my hamstring doing barre stretches. After a dance class, I was moving gently through the thigh stretch sequence. When I came down easily into the splits (which was a celebrated accomplishment), something popped, and five months later, I am still recovering. Ironically enough, the activity that injured me also seems to the best suited to my injury. With its minute, controlled movements, barre  is the perfect exercise to strengthen my hamstring without straining it further.

It is as if the class itself has trapped me.

plie

Now, I am a 2-3 classes a week attendee whenever I can support it. With my obsessive commitment, it is pretty often though children and work are known to pop up in the way. Barre even has me convinced me to abandon the gym, shifting to only barre, belly dance, and running. Once I found a piece of dance to complete my heart, I was sold.

I LOVE and HATE Pure Barre classes, potentially equally, definitely simultaneously.

The classes themselves make me uncomfortable. Yes, I am a dancer; I was a belly dancer for eight years and still pursued hauntings of that with zumba and hip hop classes. However, that is all VERY different from ballet. The only ballet I have experienced is watching my daughter’s classes. I had the benefit of knowing how to tuck my hips, but the form and movements are all completely divergent. It throws my body out of its comfort zone, challenges its muscle memory and ingrained positions.

platformsquat

Yet, beyond the physical fluency, I do not look like a ballerina. The instructors and the majority of the students look like they came up on the barre, long, lean, and svelte. I am a thicker girl with curves and things that shake when I shimmy. Never do I look larger than in a classroom full of these slender former dancers. And that unavoidable comparison tickles every tingle of body dysmorphia I have. Hating myself in a barre class mirror is what pushed me back to counting calories (which I thankfully have dropped again).

This discomfort is part of the reason I keep going back. Yes, I am a masochist at heart, but it is also the challenge that seduces me. I want to feel like I overcame the weakness of my flesh; I want to feel like I made progress battling back the crazy in my mind.

sock-blog

Physically, I am enticed by not being good at it, by it always being hard no matter how much I improve. Like running, regardless of how much I train or how I often I do it, I am not able to coast. I coasted through my entire youth; I don’t want that anymore. If I somehow master one routine, it changes to a new one that wreaks havoc on my muscles. And I’m a sucker for the pain of it.

And it hurts. So much. The class is literally painful. You would think such tiny movements would be easy. Absolutely not. My muscles are on fire and trembling the entire class. I can feel tidal waves of acid blaze over my nerves. My knuckles go white clinging to that barre for dear life. I sweat as much as I do in high cardio. It hurts. Yet on the flip side of that pain is the rush after, the high, the euphoria. Which is ultimately what I am always physically chasing. Which I why I am so addicted to running.

As much as it pains me physically, the true challenge for me is mental, emotional. That goddamn echo of an eating disorder I can’t seem to shake. Mentally, I refuse to be controlled my own insecurities. I will not allow my misguided, shallow fixations and comparisons to prevent me from doing anything. I may feel gigantic and weak in these classes, out of place and incongruent with all the other participants, but that is why I have to keep going. Not to work my way into fitting in but to make myself become comfortable standing out. I will learn to love and accept myself one way or another. If I can wrangle bipolar, body distortion should be downhill from here. Even if I have to sit with my own self-loathing beating at my chest and a swarm of inappropriate comparisons buzzing in my brain for 100 classes. I will not limit myself.

ball

And with each class, it gets better. I feel more at home in the class; I feel more comfortable in my skin. I am wearing myself down, dulling my sensitivities, making it part of my normal. If I can accomplish that, it would be far more valuable than getting to a certain size or weight.

So I love and hate the physical challenge. I hate and need the mental challenge. The results… I just love.

My son is over two now. I have been literally beating myself up for two years trying to recover from him. Between thyroid issues and injuries, diets and different classes, nothing really worked. Or maybe did not work fast enough for me. Either way. Yet, with the recent burst of barre classes, I not only notice a different in the performance of my muscles, I actually physically see the different on my body. I think all the cross training is why my running pace continues to improve though my injury does not and training has not happened at all.

Most of all, these classes are doing amazing things for my ass (or “seat,” as they call it). It is at a height and shape it has never been in my life. My waistline, or saddlebags if you will, are also trimming way down. My back is tightening up. Muscles are starting to bulge out of my flexed quads and calves like they did when I played soccer in high school. My body is not perfect, not where the crazy part of my mind demands it be, but I am seeing the positive results. The more I see, the more fervently I devote to the classes.

So I’m in it, maybe all in it, working harder at quelling my self-abuse and finding a real acceptance for my body than anything else. If barre is the tool I need and makes my body healthier in the process, all the better. I’ll be there, obsessively shaking at the barre.

equip2

And just to up the ante, I am also doing the Whole30 challenge as part of my new commitment to the barre. Not to lose weight, not to starve myself but because my body needs the detox and the reset. And because it does not allow any weighing or measuring. I am going all in, striving to find my strength and my balance.

setthebarre

Christina Bergling

christinabergling.com
facebook.com/chrstnabergling
@ChrstnaBergling
chrstnaberglingfierypen.wordpress.com
pinterest.com/chrstnabergling

savagescoverchristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

thewaning_coverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com

collectedchristmas_cover

Collected Christmas

Some of the best voices in horror fiction decided to band together and tell you some tales about a different kind of Christmas.

Available now on Amazon!


Jingle Bell 5K

It is that time of year again: the time to freeze our bells off running a 5K in the variable Colorado winter weather.

On the morning of the Jingle Bell 5K, I woke up feeling rather awful. My head was splitting; my stomach wound in agitated knots. I felt hungover without the benefit of getting drunk the night before. I also dressed for a balmy 40-50 degree run and was instead greeted by a penetrating frosty bite on the air.

In short, I was simply not feeling it.

20161210_083408_hdr

My daughter and I began with a visit to Santa, where I asked for a healed hamstring for Christmas. Then the kids’ race was first. My daughter again asked to run without me, which left me feeling some combination of proud and a little hurt. I know she ultimately does not want me to run with her because I push her, don’t let her stop, don’t indulge her crying. Maybe I’m too hard on a 5 year-old.

20161210_084553

But she does great without me. Without me, she ran the full distance at a good pace. Maybe I bring out the whiner in her.

20161210_084554

20161210_085224

After the kids were whisked away to the warmth by grandparents, Trisha and I settled in to run our race. We decided to just stick together and just run. No striving, no PRs, just running.

20161210_092312

And we just ran. We chatted about nothing. We watched a fight ensue over headphones versus stroller running (like really? Merry Christmas, guys). I didn’t think about pace or if my muscles were burning or if I could breathe right or if I was keeping up with other runners. I didn’t think.

I floated the majority of the first half. Just floated right along, which is extremely strange for me in the opening mile. A little exertion warmed me right up, and I was shedding layers in no time. My hamstring had ached in the morning yet felt better on the run. It would balk from time to time, twinge at a certain stride, yet overall, it hurt less to be running.

We ended up laying down a great race. At the Great Pumpkin 5K (October), I ran a 37 minute 5K. At the Turkey Trot 5K (November), I ran a 35 minute 5K. At this Jingle Bell 5K, we did a 34 minute 5K. So, even though my injury persists and my running regiment has gone to hell, my pace is steadily improving. Perhaps thanks to all the cross training. Whatever it is, I will take it!

(Also, turns out the Great Pumpkin was also my 50th race; that happened when I wasn’t paying attention.)

I was extremely pleased with the run overall. Our time turned out awesome, but it did not even really matter. It was running with a friend for the sake of running, and the simplicity was so enjoyable after so many months of over critiquing myself.

It felt free.

 

**Hamstring update**

I finally folded and went to the doctor for my hamstring. These near five months later. The pain had escalated to the point that it hurt to sleep, hurt to sit in a chair, hurt to stand up completely straight. That constant pain started to affect my mood and irritability levels, which in turn got taken out on my family, so steps needed to be taken.

In all honesty, I went to the doctor just hoping for some Vicoden or any other pain killer that would make it stop just for a little while. Just one night of being able to roll over without whimpering. Just one day of not cringing and hobbling around. The doctor, not too surprisingly, decided on a different course of treatment.

Rather than pain killer to mask the discomfort, he gave me anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation and hopefully promote healing. The first couple days, it felt like a cure. My leg felt completely like mine again. My flexibility returned. My body felt normal. I could have vibrated out of my skin with relief and excitement. It took every ounce of my considerably weak self-control to not overdo it and leap directly back into full force exercise. I wanted to run a marathon and climb a mountain.

Yet, as the dosage of the medication weaned off the nine day burst, the pain returned. First, it was just twinges again, just the wrong movement or wrong angle. Now, completely off the pills, the leg is slowly creeping back to where we began. It is still better. My flexibility remains vastly improved, but it is worsening by the day.

My ultimate gauge, the line I had in my mind to mark where I was, had been if I had the painful hitch when I stood all the way up. Until today, I was short of that. Today, it started to hint. That stab in my buttcheek as I step out of the car, that hiccup in the fluidity of standing.

I hope I’m not regressing fully. It was so nice to taste recovery. If nothing else, it gave me a little hope, reminded me of what it will be like when it doesn’t hurt every day.

I am scheduled for an MRI next week, so we will know more then. Though my money is on, “hey it’s torn or whatever, just let it heal and do some physical therapy. Oh and pay us $1,000 for the MRI.”

Either way, I can run, and my fitness feels on point lately, so it’s good enough for me. I have found a way to make myself sane around the injury, and at some point, it has to get better.

 

Christina Bergling

christinabergling.com
facebook.com/chrstnabergling
@ChrstnaBergling
chrstnaberglingfierypen.wordpress.com
pinterest.com/chrstnabergling

savagescoverchristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

 

thewaning_coverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com

 

collectedchristmas_cover

Collected Christmas

Some of the best voices in horror fiction decided to band together and tell you some tales about a different kind of Christmas.

Available now on Amazon!


April Stats

I don’t really want to talk about how April went. I am so over this post partum recovery process I could puke. If I didn’t have puking PTSD from my last pregnancy. April was the first month I not only plateaued but moved in the wrong direction.

I don’t even really know what to say I’m so sick of thinking about it.

I went to my doctor. She confirmed that, even 6 months later, my thyroid levels are still low after having my son. She upped my dosage a little. So far, that is not resolving the issue at all. She did tell me that most likely my body will retain the last 10-15 pounds I have to lose until after I stop breastfeeding. No matter how I work.

I also completed the 90 Day challenge at the gym. After three months, I lost all of 1 pound and 3% body fat. So all that work for pretty much absolutely nothing. Each weigh in was just frustrating and embarrassing.

So since I can’t really do anything, I will continue to eat clean and healthy; I will continue to workout manically. I will return to 10 miles and hopefully my normal pace. I will just have to wait to find my body again. If it ever does return.

After puking for almost 10 months, three failed epidurals, pitocin-fueled back labor, carpal tunnel, sciatica, a displaced rib, I just want my body to feel like myself again. I want to live in my temple rather than this vandalized version. I don’t need to be skinny; I just need to feel like me again. After pregnancy and nursing and belonging to the children. I just want this for me.

All in good time. I try to remember to savor these phases as this is my last (intentional) baby.

Conversely to my anti-progress in weight loss, running inches closer and closer to prepregnancy. I finished a 5 mile in near normal time, same for my 5Ks. I just need a little bump in pace and to jump back to 10 miles, and I am there. Maybe if I do it baby weighted, I will be even better when I am myself again.

april

Total miles: 59
Total miles run outside: 59
Longest distance: 8 miles
Best times: 5K in 35:19, 5 miles in 58:44, 8 miles in 1:45

Total weight loss: 25 pounds
Weight gain in March: 1 pounds

Total inch loss: 5″- 5″- 4″
Inch gain in March: 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.

20141220_105659

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.

race_655_photo_14349638

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.

race_655_photo_14334917

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.


Jingle Bell 5K

(As with the Turkey Trot, my daughter ran the kids 1K beforehand. Unfortunately, this time did not go as well as the previous. It was longer, colder, and she was both sick and without a friend to run with her. I tried to push her and encourage her, but there was a point where there were too many tears on her wind-burned cheeks where too much, and I just carried her. Once the finish line was in sight, I did place her back on the ground and make her reluctantly jog out the last stretch.

When I was a child, if something did not come naturally to me, I simply did not really do it. I was fortunate that enough things came naturally to me that no one really noticed. But I never practiced, never tried at anything until my adult life. Running is one of the first things that was hard for me that I continued to pursue. Yet jogging with my miserable 3 year-old, I found it difficult to find the line between pushing her past my opportunist disposition she might have inherited and making her do something that made her genuinely unhappy.)

5Ks are starting to feel like 5Ks again. They still suck, but at least they are getting shorter.

I made the foolish mistake, that I have made over and over, of thinking a route would be flat. It was, of course, not flat. Nowhere in Colorado is flat. Nowhere!

I lit out from the starting line (as much as a turtle can), feeling very good, feeling very familiar. Turns out, I was chasing my pre-pregnancy pace and nearly killed myself in the first mile. By the time I was running past horses shitting in their pasture beside the road (ah, the charms of Fountain), I was starting to feel it.

The route turned into a park. The way the path weaved through an otherwise open field hearkened to the Great Pumpkin Race we do every October. The hills were relatively small and rolling, yet the unseasonable December sun was cooking me and was panting and drooling from pushing too fast at the start.

At the first mile sign, I thought I could do this. When there was no second mile sign, my faith began to waiver. I knew I was heading back towards the start, looping back through the park. Yet my body was rebelling, objecting. I felt myself going slower and slower, panting harder and harder, roasting hotter and hotter.

I wanted to stop. The thought kept pounding in my head. My body wanted to walk. Over and over, I felt the consciousness of my legs and feet falling into a walking rhythm, but I refused. I refused to drop the wog; I refused to walk.

Yet as I approached pavement again, a short but huge hill sprung up ahead of me. I forced myself to wog up it, moving at the pace of standing still. But I made it.

Then I felt the dry heaves closing around my throat. My stomach folded on itself and tried to leap into my mouth. So I started walking.

Run until you puke or pass out. My rules. I guess dry heaving was close enough to buy me a block.

Once my temperature dropped a few degrees and the nausea retreated, I returned to my sad, slow run. I knew, by the point, I had to be close, and the course directors confirmed it. I was dying by the time I could see the finish. I had no sprint left in me, but when I saw 36 minutes on the clock, I gave it all I had.

My goal had been under 40 minutes (beating my Turkey Trot finish of just under 41). I made it in just over 37 minutes.

The time made all the pain (and dry heaving in the finish chute) totally worth it.


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.