Archive | February, 2009

#1 Fan

28 Feb

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.”

Whhaaaaaat?

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.

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Driven

25 Feb

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 Thesaurus.com 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.

Does this shirt make my butt look fast?

24 Feb

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.

February 22, 2009

22 Feb

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.

February 17, 2009

18 Feb

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.

February 14, 2009

14 Feb

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.

February 12, 2009

13 Feb

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, but….you 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 runner…er, 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.