The Final Fifty

The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs and dancing and running and injury, so I’m taking some time right now to let my brain catch up.

The readers digest version of the non-diet/exercise related stuff is that I am now single, but that this is mostly a good thing, because it happened in that sweet moment where both people know it’s not working but it hasn’t gotten to the point where they start to actively dislike one another. In some ways it’s harder when you get along well enough to be legit friends and not just awkward-used-to-date friends, but I’ve always found that road a worthwhile one to traverse.

I took a break from running for a week and a half because of a bad chest cold. From what I read online, running with chest congestion, especially if you are asthmatic, is a bad idea. When I started up running again, my first run was great, and the ankle/calf paid I’d been having did not return. The second time, however, it came back with a vengeance. Purely by accident, I found out that my symptoms match something called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (or posteromedial shin splints, though they’re not really in the shins.) Obviously I’m not a doctor, so I can’t properly diagnose myself, but I’ve made an appointment at a sports medicine place across the street from my work for Wednesday, so hopefully that will give me some answers.

I also ordered a pair of the Vibram 5-finger shoes that came from REI outlet, so they were only $23, and I figured it was worth it to give them a shot. Some research seems to indicate that the more supportive running shoes increase the rate of injury, whereas shoes with minimal support decrease the rate of injury. I think the idea is that shoes with a lot of support don’t force you to build good form when you run, and maybe your feet get dependent on the support, so bad habits form and result in injury. I know I’ll have to wear them very minimally at first, starting with walking and working my way up to running and longer durations of wear, but depending on what I find out this week, it might be a worthwhile thing to try.

In the last few weeks I’ve performed twice with my belly dance troupe, which has been a lot of fun. Once my teacher gets her much-closer studio opened, I should be able to attend her classes more regularly. There’s also another class in a different style starting up at the other studio I go to, so I might be taking as many as 3 classes per week, which I’ve done before and really enjoyed, so that might happen. It might be difficult to work in with the running, though, so I’m not sure what will budge in there. I might cut running back to 2 days a week after I finish the 5k training, which might work better both for scheduling and for the injury issues.

Diet-wise, I’ve mostly been doing ok. I had a week where I gained a pound, and then recovered, but I really wasn’t eating huge amounts or food, I just went over a little each day and the cumulative result was gaining weight. I’ve mainly kept it under control since then, though this week I lost 4lbs, and I’m not really sure why. I didn’t eat under my calories any more than usual (I try to stay within 50 calories of my target), and I didn’t work out more than I generally do, so it’s kind of anomolous. I’m going to be careful to eat enough this week and really pay more attention, and hopefully I’ll get back to a more reasonable rate. If I don’t, then I’ll increase my caloric intake accordingly and get back to a place where I’m losing at the right rate. As much as part of my brain likes the number on the scale better, I don’t want to slip into unhealthy habits.

I went shopping this weekend and finally bought some new jeans (the priciest pair was $15, so I figured I’m not losing much even if I shrink out of them.) Two pair are from the junior’s section and a size 11, and the third is from the more adult section and a size 8. It’s so weird to be buying things that small. Especially when I’m finding that medium tshirts are now sometimes too big on me, and I’m wearing size small underpants. What do I do when those get too big? I’m not tiny by any measure, but it would be so surreal to get to a point where I have to worry about finding clothes small enough for me.

There are just so many things I didn’t think about before I started all this. I always thought of myself as a small person in a fat body, and now I recognize how much being fat shaped my identity, and I haven’t adjusted yet to being smaller. When you’re plus sized, it’s so easy to think “if I were thin, I could wear anything I wanted”, or “I’d never walk into a store and not find something that fits me right”, but being smaller doesn’t mean those things at all. You still have bits you don’t like and want to conceal, you still have to hope the size that fits isn’t the size that’s sold out in that store, or that the size that fits fits in all of your places, not just a few of them.

It’s crazy and ridiculous and unexpected to have to confront how much your body has influenced who you are as a person, who you feel like when you think about everything about you that isn’t your body. Especially when you’re single for the first time in two years, and for the first time since you were unobese ever, and you find that the things you did before to thin the herd now only encourage a larger herd. How do you identify the people who are only interested in you for your physical attributes when your physical attributes now fall in a bit closer with what society has deemed attractive? And the sexual commodification that feels enticing and complimentary in the very beginning, but then starts to feel really gross and invasive? Sometimes, when my brain goes to that fantasy land where diabetes and heart disease don’t exist or don’t run in my family, part of me wishes I could go back to how I was before.


{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.

I figured something like this would crop up eventually, but my ankle has started to get angry with me when I go running. It’s my left ankle, specifically, and it’s on the inside, toward the back, and goes up my calf just a bit. It doesn’t hurt when I’m not running, so I’m not too too worried about it, at least not like I would be if it continued long after the running stopped.

I suspect I might need new running shoes. Mine are now at least three, maybe four years old. As much as I am loathe to spend the money on new shoes, I’d rather do that than injure myself, even if I have hit my out of pocket max on medical bills for the year. Injuries mean not being able to press on, which is a dismal thought. There’s a store I can get to on the bus that will make sure I get the right shoes, so I think I’m going to journey up there on either Thursday or Saturday.

I realized in the last couple of days that it’s been a while since I’ve been reliably drinking enough water, so that’s something I’m trying to work on being better at. It’s harder now that I’m not drinking tea all the time, but it’s been warming up, so I haven’t wanted to drink anything hot in a while. I might have to reevaluate and see if I can work in the tea. I definitely need to make a point of taking water with me everywhere I go so that I have it available when I remember to drink.

{May 20, 2013}   I’m Not Quite Dead

I swear I’m still alive, though only just.

Wednesday last week was, blessedly, a music-only rehearsal, so I got my much needed rest night. Thursday I ran, and Friday I got home and ended up taking an unscheduled 2-hour nap, which was desperately needed at that point. After the nap, I managed to do most of my upper body weight regimen, even though I haven’t been able to do it in forever. I’m keeping the brace on so that I don’t inadvertently re-injure the most delicate part of it, but other than that it went really well.

Saturday was my Day O’ Masochism. I got up early to hit up a yard sale with a friend, then went to belly dance class (the fitness one, where we do crazy reps of everything and you leave feeling all the muscles you normally forget exist.) After that, I was sore and tired, but I pushed myself to go out and run anyway. I was thoroughly used up after that, but I sort felt like a big fucking badass, so the payoff was worth it. After that, my friend came over to catch me up on tribal belly dance for a performance we’re doing end of next week. Thankfully that was the milder kind without the intensity, but I was still droopy through the whole thing. Rounded out the night at a party at a friends house.

Sunday was DBF’s graduation, so I just had to walk down to the theater. We went out to a hibatchi grill for lunch, which was freaking spectacular. I had a little bit of green tea ice cream, which was a treat though it tasted really really sweet to me. I don’t really regret it, but reflecting on it now I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would enjoy other things, so I think that might have been my parting wave to proper desert. Every once in a while I’ll let myself have a taste of something that I used to enjoy, but every single time it’s been way too sweet for me to actually enjoy. It might just take me a while to get that through my thick head, lol.

I might have to experiment with ice cream recipes, see about leaving out most of the sugar, or finally do the frozen banana and cocoa powder thing. Maybe I could do something with coconut milk even.

After the graduation and all assorted festivities were done, it was too late for me to go to rehearsal, so I went to my friends belly dance class to practice more for next week. It’s scary, because there’s no planned out ahead of time choreography, it’s all group impov, so it’s all a matter of learning the cues and keeping up with the leader. I figure even if it’s not perfect, it should be fun, and we’re dancing to Led Zeppelin! So excited.

On Saturday, I also made a huge batch of curry squash soup, so that’s at home waiting for me for dinner tonight! I think it’s pretty deadly, too, lol.

{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.

Last night I changed the seat on my new bike. I might possibly be feeling just a bit more puffed up about that than is justified, but a) it means I don’t have to harass my friend when he’s already changed it for me once, and b) it means I don’t have to pay the bike shop to put it on for me. Also, I’ve always enjoyed feeling self-sufficient, so there is that.

Speaking of my bike, I realized I never actually posted a picture of it. This one is more artsy fartsy than a proper picture, but you can get the basic idea. It’s a purple Giant Boulder, and I loves her, precioussss.



I’m still definitely in the “get comfortable with this whole bike thing” mode, so I’m not using it for regular transportation just yet, but I’m hoping to get there, eventually. There’s a grocery store that isn’t too far away and does not involve traversing any gigantic thoroughfares, so I think I’ll probably start with that once I’m ready to make it a real mission. I just might have to try riding with other cargo in my backpack that isn’t fragile or food to get used to having extra weight in there.

Last night was workout one for the second week of Zombies, Run! 5k training. Remember how adorable I was and saying I wish it would push me harder? Well, turns out 30 seconds is just about when my breathing starts to get just a little bit difficult, so I think this is the perfect next increment for me. I did well, though, even though there was a dude trying to kill me by mowing his lawn right in the middle of my route. Have I mentioned that grass is a big allergy and asthma trigger? It didn’t hit, though, so I pressed on.

I feel like I really pushed myself well. I kept running as much as I could for the free run portion keeping myself just short of real respiratory distress. What I do when I’m not receiving instructions from the app is pick a starting and ending spot in the distance ahead of me. For my route, it’s usually about 1.5 to 2 driveways at the moment. I try to set it such that I know that it will challenge me but won’t get me too close to breathless hell, and then I push myself until I get there. Sometimes I adjust midway if I can or if I need to.

My time per mile, average, has gone down to just over 15 minutes per mile, and my speed has increased a little each time I’ve gone out. I know that my mile time is really less than 15 minutes, because it’s averaging in the 10 minute walking warmup, and also averaging in the pauses where I do my heel lifts (once per interval circuit now.) I might have to download another app to just test out my mile time at some point so that I know for sure. I really want to beat my middle school best, at least, and I think a good long term goal at this point would be to get under 10 minutes.

Also, exciting news, I think I’m going to register with a couple friends for the Vermont Zombie Run in September. I’m waiting to find out how long it is and how much it costs and all that, but it sounds like loads of fun. I’m sure I’ll post more about it if I end up doing it.

Tonight is a rest day, and a for real rest because we’re singing at rehearsal tonight. As much as I’m nervous about the dancing in this show, I’m excited about being pushed to do things I normally wouldn’t do. I just hope I don’t end up injuring myself trying to pretend I’m still twenty years old.

{May 7, 2013}   Meditations and Motivations

I’ve been talking to a friend of mine recently as she begins her own journey toward increased mobility and better health. It is so good to see her making efforts to be more active. One of the hard things when it comes to losing weight and getting stronger and more mobile is that a lot of people tend to come to you looking for advice or the little tidbit of information they are lacking to finally get them there, but the problem is that most people just aren’t satisfied with the answers I have for them. Because, the truth is, it takes a lot of dedication and effort. There’s no easy way to do it.

My friend was telling me that she just feels so lazy, and it’s hard to get herself up and going. I remember that feeling, especially in the beginning, and I remember thinking that if I could just crest the top of the hill, I would get to that promised land where I was an Active Person, and then I wouldn’t have to fight myself so hard just to get myself up and going.

I’ve been working at this for years, now, and I have to say that if there is a moment when that happens, I have not yet found it. I still battle the lazies every single day. Every day, the couch waves it’s tractor beam at me menacingly, and my success on any given day is anything but assured.

I haven’t conducted a poll or anything yet, but I suspect that the difference between active people and sedentary people is that active people have learned to draw a lot of satisfaction from always doing the things that are hard. It’s not a physical difference, you understand, but a mental and emotional one. Oh sure, there are endorphins once you’re finally up and doing it, but the payoff is really all in your brain. I am a reasonably accomplished person, so I recognize the mental feedback of feeling like you’ve faced a challenge and bested it. There’s an immense satisfaction of feeling like your best today is better than your best for last week.

I think that’s why I’ve come back to running so many times. Even before the great lazy came upon me and I became effectively sedentary for nearly a decade, I was never able to run. Or, rather, I was never able to run and breathe within the same time frame. It wasn’t even about effort at all, it was the fact that running was the shortest distance between me and an honest to goodness asthma attack.

I remember the terror of hearing gym teachers say we were going to run the mile. I would end up walking for most of it, with periodic attempts to run resulting in me being horribly out of breath. I remember my classmates all blowing past me, even the other ones who were not athletically gifted. Without fail, I would come in last, usually about 16-20 minutes after starting. There was one time near the end of eighth grade when I really did my best, just balls-out went for it like my life depended on it, and I finished the mile in 12 minutes. That moment was huge for me, even though it was nowhere near where the guidelines said I should be. To my knowledge, that is the fastest I have ever completed a mile in my life.

And maybe I’ll never beat that. But you know what? I’m 33 fucking years old and my average time per mile now, at the start of my training, is no worse than my average was at 12 years old (it’s just under 16 min last time I went out.) And I know I can do better at it, because I can already feel myself improving.

So what do I recommend when you’re having trouble getting moving? You have to strong arm your thought process into a healthier one.

  • On days when you get out and push yourself, acknowledge the work you’ve done, and what you’ve accomplished. Like, luxuriate in it. Be self-indulgent about it. Give yourself permission to be impressed with what you’ve done.
  • Set goals for yourself. And make sure you set different kinds of goals (like “I will be active X days this week”, or “I will whittle my mile time down by one minute”, or “I will work up to the 10lb dumbbells for my squats.”) Having goals tied to effort and not just results means that there’s always a goal you can succeed at. Having goals tied to results mean you have a reason to really push yourself.
  • Reward yourself, but in healthy ways. Make yourself earn the rewards, and bonus points if the rewards are things that really reinforce the feelings of success (like taking a long bubble bath, or buying yourself a Zombies, Run! tshirt for making it through 8 weeks of 5k training, for example.)
  • On the days when the couch tractor beam sucks you in, note how you feel. For me, the result is that I feel stiff, and moving gets harder. I end up feeling more tired at the end of a lazy day than I do after being active. (Note: I don’t mean not to take any rest days. Everyone needs those, or you risk serious injury. I mean a day when you could easily exercise and you choose not to.)
  • Bargain with yourself. If you feel tired and a rest day really isn’t called for, then make yourself start with the understanding that you can always cut it short if you’re really not feeling it. I’ve done this with myself a hundred times or more, and I think there may have been ONE time when I didn’t do at least my normal workout. I often do more.
  • Try to work more incidental exercise into your routine. Walk everywhere you can get to on foot. Get a bike for those you can’t.
  • Try to think of your exercises, whatever they are, as scheduled and therefor inevitable. Not in the doom sense, just as a thing you know you are going to do. Don’t think of it as an “if” sort of question. Plan for it, and try not to let the laziness in to begin with.
  • Remember: ” If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”

Anyone else out there have any good advice for staying motivated and active?

Last night was the first real rehearsal for Hair, and we spent the entire time dancing. For most local, community theater productions, choreography is a bit on the weak side… jazz boxes, grapevines, a lot of variations on standing and moving around in a relatively small area. This, apparently, is not going to be that kind of a production.

Fortunately, I am both too weak (wrist injury) to support the weight of another person, and too heavy and tall to be a candidate for lifting myself, so I’m spared the more daring maneuvers that other cast mates get to participate in, but there’s a lot of getting up and down off the floor, which is difficult for me because of my knees being somewhere south of awesome. I might get better at it with practice, and practice I most definitely will, but for the moment it was a significant workout for me. Which is not a bad thing, really, it just means that this show will push me out of my comfort zone, and that can be a bit discomforting.

Today’s mission is to swap out the seat on my bike, and then do the next Zombies, Run! mission. This time, the running durations will be twice as long, with some heel lifts in between and a longer walking time afterward. I’m looking forward to trying it out, though I admit I wish it was going to push me a little harder than that. It’s only 5 repeats instead of 10, so it amounts to the same amount of running as last weeks sessions. I can always run more in the free run part, though, so if I feel the need to push myself harder, I can.

Fortunately, I can go running at any time this evening, since I have no other plans. This is a very good thing, because it is hot today, and heat is a bit asthma trigger for me, so avoiding that will make it easier for me to really push myself.

I suppose it was inevitable that eventually I would have a bad week. It wasn’t disastrous, really, I gained 1 lb., mostly of muscle (my body fat percentage still nudged down a little bit.)

I know why it happened. I got a little too blase about the calorie restriction. By my calculations I hadn’t gone over on any given day once my exercise was taken into account, but I cut it closer than I usually do. I also ate more bread products than I have in quite a while, and there was a lot of eating outside the house where I have less control over my food. I think that running is what prompted the addition of almost a pound of muscle, too.

I have a tiny little sad, but I’m letting it go and just getting things back under control now. I think it’s a reminder of why I cut out most grains to begin with, so I’m going to try to be better about that again. I’m going to keep running, and I’m going to be much more careful about the calorie control. My measurements, at least, stayed the same.

I also got a bike this weekend! It’s a 14.5″ Giant Boulder, and it was only $95. It’s not quite as pretty as the new Giant was, but it saved me at least $200. I bought a new seat for it, so that brought it up a little bit, but I think it will greatly increase my enthusiasm for riding it. My friend helped me pick it out, and I took it for a spin last night to check it out. That was pre-new seat, so my medial assal region is experiencing a bit of angry today, but it was exciting to get out and really ride for a bit. The last time I rode a bike was about 5 years ago, and that was only a beach cruiser, so I couldn’t do much but flat roads. This one is a bit more versatile with 21 speeds, so I think I’ll be able to get more use out of it.

I am also proud of myself that I did this the more responsible way and started with a used bike instead of dropping $350 on a brand new bike prematurely. A few years ago I would have done that, and risked wasting more money than necessary just because it was newer and prettier. I think that’s an improvement.

Saturday I got my third run in, finishing out week 1 of Zombies, Run! 5k, and being pursued by my first zombie. Silly as it may sound, that part was surprisingly motivating for me. It isn’t that I expect a zombie apocalypse to happen, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that running can be a useful skill in practical ways that are not limited to fitness. My pace increased a little bit this time, too, and I think it was partly to do with not losing the sweet assault rifle I picked up outside the camp.

So, back on the horse.

et cetera