The Final Fifty

{May 28, 2013}   Still Not Dead, Just Busy

I got myself out to Fleet Feet last week to get myself some new shoes. They measured my feet, both standing and sitting, watched me walk barefoot, and watched me run in each pair of shoes I tried on. I learned a few things:

  1. My arches don’t fall nearly as much as I expected they did.
  2. I don’t really pronate much.
  3. I’m definitely a size 9, at least in the majority of brands.
  4. Saucony’s are definitely the right brand for me.
  5. I suck at running on a treadmill, lol.

So I got myself a new pair, in the correct size, with a little bit more arch support in them. I also grabbed a pair of running socks. They were not priced on the package, but I figured it’s only one pair of socks, how expensive can they be? Turns out they can be $11. I was hoping to not like them very much, but of course they’re effing spectacular, and now I wish I could afford to buy a bunch more of them. Stupid fancy expensive socks.

Anyway, I got home, and it was drizzly, but I went running anyway because I didn’t want to miss a day, and it turned out to be kind of nice. I was pretty soggy by the time I got home, but it helped keep me cool and meant I didn’t have to worry about dodging around kids or people out walking dogs or anything. It was just me and  a couple other runners. I ran my whole route, all nearly 50 minutes of it, and only felt very very minor stress in my ankle, which was a marked improvement from my old shoes, so I’d call that a success. I’ve run in them twice now, and I love them.

When I was at the shop, there were a bunch of real runners there, and I got to listen to them talk about the upcoming marathon (which was Sunday.) It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom dated a guy who was into running, cycling, and rock climbing. He got me into running a bit, I ran a few 1k when he was running longer races. That was before I started to really put on weight, which started when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and put on medications that drastically increased my appetite.

I think part of what attracts me about running is that runners, with a few exceptions, don’t sign up for a race to win it. They usually don’t compete against the other runners at all. Most people who set out to run a marathon are trying to be their own personal best, not someone else’s. It’s about always being a little better than you were the last time, which is a healthy kind of competition, and always an attainable goal. I’m never going to run faster than Usain Bolt, but I can push myself to run a little faster or a little farther than I did last time.

Not to mention those runners all showed up for the marathon on a rainy morning and ran that damned race anyway. That’s pretty bad ass. I’ve seen baseball games called for less than that.

I’ve been working on my knee strength and flexibility lately, mostly because the choreography in Hair involves a lot of getting down on the floor and then back up again, and very quickly. So I’ve been taking time to stretch, doing a lot of child’s pose, and practicing dropping my knees while keeping myself upright with a little balance help from a chair or the wall. I noticed the first real progress yesterday at rehearsal, so I have hope that it’ll be better by the time we get ready to perform.

Sunday’s weigh in was good, and I think drinking enough water definitely made a huge difference. I’m finally to the “halfway” point, which may not actually be the halfway point in the end, but it’s halfway through the eponymous 50 pounds I set out to lose this year, so I’ll celebrate it anyway. I am 15 lbs away from what the BMI defines as a “healthy weight.” I know the BMI is largely bullshit, but given that I am not a hardcore athlete and the range is pretty big, I think it probably applies in a general sense to my body.

I did a bit of cleaning this long weekend and found a tshirt I bought about a thousand years ago. They didn’t have it in my size, so I had to buy one that was too small for me because I wanted it so bad. Today, for the first time, I’m wearing it. 🙂

Tonight I have an appointment after work, followed by belly dance practice for a performance on Friday, and then I’m going home to run. It’s going to be a long day, but when it’s done I can slide into bed thoroughly exhausted and sleep like a rock.


{May 13, 2013}   Back On Track

I managed to survive the weekend, and did all the stuff I set out to do and a bit extra. I did my belly dancing at home on Saturday morning, and got my run squared away after the baby shower. Later, one of the cast members from Hair suggested we all meet up for some karaoke, so I ended up going out to that and dancing most of the night until 2a.m. Maybe not the wisest thing, but I had a blast, so I’m not sorry I did it.

As if to have it’s revenge on me, my body woke up at 8a.m. the next morning and I decided to fight it since there were things needing to get done. So we took the bus down to the mall, I picked up a pair of shorts for the summer and we did the grocery shopping before making the return trip, this time laden with bags of groceries. Rehearsal was, fortunately, not ALL dancing, though the dancing we did do was just as punishing as the last round.

Tonight I’m not doing anything extra, but we have another dance rehearsal this evening, possibly for three hours, so this is not a rest day at all. Tuesday is a running day, and at least for now I refuse to budge on that at all. I might have to budge on other things, but, at least until show weeks, I feel like I can run three days a week no matter what.

Right now I feel okay. I’m tired, to be sure, but not badly tired, and more mentally together than I’ve been in a long time. I don’t get sore at all except when I stay still for too long, and then I just have to move around a bit and I start to feel better. It’s different from the garden variety fatigue from before, because I feel less mentally tired. I could probably stand to take a nap, which I will probably do tomorrow, after I run (or I might just go to bed earlier than usual), but mostly I’m ok. I have been doing to bed each night thoroughly exhausted, and usually a bit sore in the legs, but when I wake up I feel significantly better.

My running is improving every time I go out, and I think I’m going to add another widget to the side to post my starting statistics and my most recent statistics so I can keep my progress in one spot. I’m now at 14:22 minutes per mile, which I still think is lower than reality, because it’s taking into account the 10 minute warmup that is all walking. Every time I go out, I try my best, and I really didn’t think I’d beat the time before last because I’d pushed as hard as I thought I was capable of, but I keep surprising myself with it. Who knows where I’ll manage to get myself if I keep at it.

I managed to rein in my eating this week as well, so all in all I really feel like I’m back on track. Grocery shopping means I have the stuff to make chili and squash curry soup, both of which last for several days so I don’t have to find time to cook so much. I want to go looking for more easy, healthy recipes so I can branch out a bit, but the ones I currently circulate are all tasty and satisfying, so all in all thats going ok. I think, all in all, I’m getting to some really healthy habits, I just need to keep myself focused and make sure I track everything correctly.

The weigh in was good, I lost another half inch off my waist and am down two pounds again, so hopefully last weeks little hiccup won’t be repeated any time soon.

I’ve hit a sort of interesting point when it comes to my activities. It’s sort of been sneaking up on me for a bit, I guess, but it really became apparent this week, as running has really started to become a thing for me.

The first time I noticed it was when I first started to work dance in regularly. There were three kinds of dance I was mainly interested in (ballet, tap and belly dance), and, wanting to work each one in twice a week, I started dancing six days a week. It was a great thing for me, and I might’ve continued on that way for some time were it not for rehearsals and other commitments. But the noteworthy thing, for this post anyway, was that I was focused more on the activity itself than I was on the necessity of getting enough exercise. The dancing was more important than the calories burned.

What’s happening now is sort of the same thing. There are so many activities that I want to work into my schedule that it’s becoming less of a “must be active enough” thing and more of a “argh, when can I squeeze in _______” thing. This means that I might not have time for proper rest days, except when I have rehearsals with no choreography component and am therefor too booked up to squeeze anything else into.

I’m not quite sure what that is going to be like, though I’m starting to get a bit of a taste of it this week. Yesterday was the only day I could really do ballet, so I did that. I also wanted to test out the new bike seat, so I took it on a short spin before walking down to dinner with DBF. I didn’t have much down time, but I’m sort of not very tired anyway. Today I didn’t make it to my proper belly dance class, so I did belly dance at home. We have a baby shower to go to in a bit, and I’m hoping to get home early enough to get my run in later on. Tomorrow will be grocery shopping followed by a long dance rehearsal (which might actually kill me, based on last weeks dance rehearsal.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still have the lazy voice in my head saying “maybe I don’t need to do this today”, but then the other voice chimes in with “if you don’t do it now, when are you going to fit it in?” And that argument usually shakes out with me getting off my butt to go do whatever thing is on my agenda. I still have no clue when I’m going to work in weights when I can actually do weights again (which might be very soon.) I have this vaguely-doomish feeling that it’s going to end up being on my “rest days”, lol.

What I need to be careful of here is that I’m still getting enough rest. I can’t do weights on the same muscle groups on consecutive days without both risking injury and stymying my own progress, and I’m going to have to be a big meany head with myself about getting to bed by 10 every night so that I can make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I think if I can manage those two things, along with continuing to eat right and get plenty of water, I’ll be ok. At any rate, I think the number one thing I need to do is listen to my body and be willing to let some things go if it tells me I need to relax more.

So far, that hasn’t been happening, and I’m getting to the point where I’m feeling less and less comfortable with just sitting on the couch. After a little while, I start to feel myself getting stiffer and stiffer, whereas moving around keeps me feeling more mobile and limber.

Last night we went out for seafood, and I got maple ginger salmon with roasted cauliflower. It was awesome, and because if the lack of a starchy side, and the relatively low calories in salmon, it’s been one of the few times I could sit down and eat an entire entree without blowing past my calorie limit. The salmon was very good and tender. It still has a slightly fishy taste, which I am still getting used to, but I liked it well enough anyway. Not everything is an instant favorite, but I find that I can learn to like most everything if I keep giving it a good shot and try preparing it in different ways.

Also, it took me almost the entire week to recover from last weeks weigh in, but I’m finally starting to feel better about my body and my improvements in diet and health again. Getting my caloric intake back under control was a big part of it, but the activities I’ve been doing are helping, too. It’s pretty hard to feel decidedly bad about yourself when you are steadily improving at things you never thought you would be physically capable of doing.

Tonight for dinner I made this Cauliflower Crust Pizza. I think this recipe works best for people who are having trouble giving up pizza. It doesn’t interfere with the taste of the cheese and sauce, and if you season it well, it tastes pretty good. Be prepared to eat it with a fork at least, because it doesn’t have the strength or structural integrity of a traditional crust, but it does make a passable base for pizza.

I’ve never been much of a pizza junky, myself. For me, the main attraction of pizza was the convenience of it. So mostly, it was okay, but I found myself wishing I’d just roasted the cauliflower and poured curry sauce all over it. Addicted? Me? Never!

I got a new DVD the other day, Drills! Drills! Drills! by Michelle Joyce. I was only able to do half of it because my rehearsal time changed at the last minute and I had to run out a few hours earlier than expected. The video starts with glute work, and man, my ass is so sore today. I am optimistic that that means it will reshape my body if I keep doing it, but right now I’m limping around like I’m 80 years old.

Add to that more belly dance this morning in class, and I’m kind of in sorry shape. Another week, mostly successful, and full of mental growth, even through hideous amounts of stress. Tomorrow I check in with the scale and the measuring tape. It’s getting to the point where the numbers are meaning less, and just doing it is meaning more and more. Maybe this is how I get healthy.

Surprisingly, it seems like a few people are reading this, so, Hi! I promise my posts will get more targeted, but I figured I’d give a bit more background over the next few posts, and then focus more on the day to day once I’ve sort of caught up. I found these old pictures.

fattest245This one here to the left is me at my heaviest, probably about 8 years ago. Note the lack of shoes. I have a lot of trouble with my feet, and 8 years ago was about the worst of it. It wasn’t all from my weight, but the weight most definitely contributed to it, and as the weight has come off and I’ve been more active, my feet have improved over time.

This brings me to the new DVD. It’s called Ballet Boot Camp, and it’s basically the exact thing I’ve been looking for for a long time now. I did ballet as a kid, from about age 4 to age 12, and I’ve wanted to get back into it for a long time, but classes are expensive, I’ve got no car, and I have rehearsals 2-4 nights a week for the musical I’m in currently (Oliver!), so classes aren’t ideal for me at the moment. What I’ve wanted is something that is both serious ballet and a serious workout. Most of the ballet DVDs I’ve previewed are too watered down on both the workout, and on the ballet, so I was really excited to find this one. I am so excited to try it, but from what I’ve seen so far, ballet shoes are not  great idea for this one… there is a lot of jumping going on, so much so that even the dancers in the DVD are doing it in dance sneakers. So I sucked it up and ordered a pair. They should get here tomorrow, and hopefully I’ve ordered the right size. If not, they’ll go back and be exchanged for another pair, but I’m really hoping the first time is the charm this time. Dance sneakers, if you’ve never seen them, are sneakers with a split sole so that you can still point your toes properly, but they’ve got the support of a sneaker, with soles that are specially made to facilitate turning and even toe stands. I would really like to be able to do a toe stand one day. It might sound silly, but that would represent a huge accomplishment for me, both in fitness and in foot strength and overall health.

The picture to the right is more or less current. It’s from last summer,

bellydance but it’s the most representative picture that I currently have. I don’t typically wear my belly dance costume out, but it was a Renaissance Faire, so you can get away with things there that you can’t anywhere else, lol. I can’t begin to explain how much belly dance has done for my mental body image, but I can sincerely say that if you had asked me a few years ago if I’d have left the house like this, I would have laughed in your face. The thing is, though, I got a million compliments on my costume, and even got followed a bit by a guy with a drum who kept playing until he got me to dance. That’s the thing about body policing,
though. You hear the comments and see the looks so many times, that eventually you internalize the shame and the negativity, and ultimately no one has to say anything because you end up policing yourself.

Now that I know other people are even aware of this page, I want to make one thing really clear. I am not losing weight because I am ashamed of my body. I am not ashamed of my body at all. I was for a long time, and you know what? Being ashamed of my body did not make me thin, and it did not make me healthy. All it made me was miserable. I love my body because the more I do with it, the more I realize I am capable of doing with it. I start a particular kind of dance or exercise regimen, and in the beginning it’s really hard, and there are bits that I can’t do, but then I keep doing it and eventually it becomes easier and easier.

The reason I am doing this, working on losing weight and getting more fit, is that I want to be healthy, and I want to get to a point where my body can do more things, more easily. There are a lot of health problems running in my family – diabetes, heart disease, cancer – and I don’t want to get any of them. Losing weight will significantly reduce my risk for them all. And it will make dancing, and flexibility, and having energy all the time a lot easier.

Today was pretty great. I ate mostly the same stuff I did yesterday, but I managed a full hour of tap, at a moderate intensity, so I was able to have a serving of thin mints, OMNOMNOMNOM. I’m also excited, because this was beginner lesson seven, here, which I did about half of a few days ago. I wasn’t able to finish it, for a few reasons: my formerly broken, storm-predicting toe started hurting, going up on the balls of my feet was hurting *both* feet, and my balance was not as good as I would have liked when doing the moves slowly.

Today, I got through the full hour, and managed to stay balanced on the balls of my feet for the majority of the lesson. I think the rest day helped give my feet a break, but I also know that the practice is having an effect and I am improving, which is super exciting!

Can’t wait to try my ballet DVD tomorrow! I have another audition, so I probably won’t do the whole thing, but I’m going to at least try it.

et cetera