Archive | February, 2009

February 10, 2009

11 Feb

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, please……here 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 soul who 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.

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February 8, 2009

9 Feb

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.

February 6, 2009

7 Feb

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.

February 4, 2009

5 Feb

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.

February 3, 2009

3 Feb

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?

February 2, 2009

3 Feb

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?