Mile 2250: A Running Experiment

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“I’m not running. I’m not running.
I’m not running. No, I’m not running.”
–30 Seconds to Mars, “The Race”

Miles Last Week: 62
Total Miles: 2250

I did it. I caved. I ran. I ran not so far away.

But before I can adequately describe the experience, let me first explain my personal three-part aversion to running.

  • Good old-fashioned childhood torture. It is not an exaggeration to say that I was, without fail, always the slowest kid in my P.E. class in middle school. Every time. Whenever our coach would say something like “Okay, we’re gonna run back and forth until you can all do it in thirty seconds,” I would seriously consider pretending to throw up in the bathroom to get out of it because I knew that everyone else was going to pay for my slowness. Who wants to revisit that?
  • A very real fear of breaking a treadmill. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Come on, Amanda. Treadmills are made to withstand much larger people than you. Well, I didn’t say this was a rational fear. I just feel that if a treadmill is going to break, it is going to be while I am on it. My fragile psyche would probably not survive that scenario.
  • Another very real fear of wearing myself out running outside and not being able to get back to my car or wherever. Again, I know what you’re thinking. Just go in a circle. But what if I lose all of my energy at the point farthest from the starting point? WHAT ABOUT THEN?

Okay, now that you understand my deep-seated anxiety, you’re probably wondering what in the world could have convinced me to give running another try. Well…

Maybe I’m just afraid of hitting a plateau. Or my friend told me a lot of things I should already know about stepping it up. Or I finally accepted that running is the inevitable next step, despite my (very well-justified) aversion. Or maybe I just wanted to know if I could do it.

I don’t totally know why, but Saturday morning, I found myself jogging for two-minute intervals on a very small mile-and-a-half route I mapped out. Here are the results:

  • I didn’t die. OKAY FINE. I admit it. Jogging didn’t kill me.
  • R.I.P. R. Killy.

    R.I.P., R. Killy.

    Not everyone is so lucky. About three-quarters of the way through, I found a poor, dead snake that I have since named R. Killy (the “R” stands for “Road,” obviously). It’s probably good that I didn’t see him until I was in the home stretch. Dead bodies are not a good sign.

  • Low impact is WAY different from high impact. The elliptical may have spoiled me. I’m pretty sure I jostled my spleen. And I think I sprained an apparently unstretchable muscle in my calf.
  • I’m embarrassingly sore. Seriously. I went to visit some family this weekend, and I don’t know who had more trouble getting out of a chair–me or my eight-months-pregnant cousin.

So, running nearly killed my muscles, but it didn’t kill me (which was another very real concern no matter what anyone tells me)–that’s the sign of a good workout, right? I guess I should keep doing it or something. I guess, or whatever.

She said begrudgingly.

Mile 2188: The Siren Call of Halloween Candy

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“From the cradle bars
Comes a beckoning voice.
It sends you spinning.
You have no choice.”
–Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Spellbound”

Miles Last Week: 66
Total Miles: 2188

Oh, October. When the seasonal treats start popping up and stores start to stack boxes upon boxes of giant bags of various candy in themed packaging related to whatever holiday is closest.

And late one October afternoon, you decide to go to one of these stores to pick up some frozen egg rolls. You’ve been craving them and getting the frozen kind seems cheaper, though they end up not being as good as you would have hoped–but you won’t know that until later.

Unlucky for you, one of these stacked displays of assorted chocolate is between you and the register. As you approach, subpar frozen egg rolls in hand, you see that this stack has the good bags–with Reese’s cups AND Kit Kats AND Whoppers. The only way they could be better would be if they also had Almond Joys.

Without even bothering to slow down or give it a second thought, you grab one of the bags–probably because you know that second thought would point out what a terrible idea that purchase is. As you check out, you’re already telling yourself that it’ll be okay. You’ll just have one piece a day. Totally not a big deal.

But it never is just one piece, is it? Over the next week, one piece is more like one handful and you pay for your sins with a not-so-good weigh-in.

Brothers and sisters in the fight for better health, we must steel ourselves against this threat to our cause. We must band together to resist the devil’s food before that terrible and inevitable day when we wake from a chocolate-induced fugue on a bed of empty Hershey’s wrappers wondering where our lives went wrong.

It’s not too late my friends. It is not too late to leave the path leading to a witch who will stuff you with sweets and stick you in a stew. It’s not to late to walk into the sun and let the chocolate melt away behind you. There is glory to be found…

…just as soon as the rest of this bag of chocolate is gone.

***Said in my best preacher voice.

Mile 2122: So Water Intoxication Is a Thing

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“You know you got the power
To make me weak inside.”
–Backstreet Boys, “Drowning”

Miles Last Week: 65.5
Total Miles: 2122

I think we’ve covered this before, but I drink a lot of water–like a lot. In the last couple of months, I’ve even upped it to about ten 24-ounce bottles a day during the week (less on the weekends) because that’s the max you can enter into MyFitnessPal in a single day. It seemed like a good number.

The only side effect I really noticed was that my increased consumption of ice water seemed to be making me feel a bit colder (of course, that could also be due to the sub-zero temperatures in my office at work), and I asked people on Facebook if it was possible to give yourself hypothermia from the inside out. The general consensus was “no, and you might be crazy” (the second part felt implied)–but I started to wonder, is it possible to drink too much water?

To the Interwebs!

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I’m sure you’ll be as excited as I was to discover that not only can you drink too much water, but it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE to kill yourself from it.

Basically, you can get water-wasted when you drink so much water that your blood becomes diluted, which can cause an electrolyte imbalance, which messes with your sodium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which can send you into a coma or a grave.

Feeling a little bit cold doesn’t seem as bad anymore.

But wait! There’s good news–and bad news…

Good news: According to most of the articles I found (like this one and this one and this one), casualties are typically people in some sort of consumption contest and are purposely drinking tons of water in a short time, or they are marathoners/intense exercisers who drink too much too quickly for their bodies to replace electrolytes. There’s also torture, but we don’t talk about that.

So, you’re probably more likely actually drown than you are to die by diluted blood. I couldn’t find any actual numbers, but I’m assuming.

Bad news: Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule about how much water you’re supposed to have in a day. You just have to be careful and listen to your body, especially if you start to notice nausea, an altered mental state, vomiting, headaches, muscle weakness, etc. (according to those same articles) if you’re drinking a lot of water.

Hydrate, but don’t overhydrate.

Hope you aren’t a hypochondriac…like me…

Mile 2056.5: The (Closet) Purge

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“Just remember all the good the purge does.”
–Mary Sandin, “The Purge” (James DaMonaco, 2013)

Miles Since Last Time: 42.5
Total Miles: 2056.5

There comes a time during weight loss when your clothes stop fitting. The normal thing to do would probably be to get rid of/alter clothing at that point.

Totally reasonable–which is probably why I haven’t been doing that.

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Here’s the weird thing I’ve found about how losing weight relates to fashion: There is a constant, nagging worry that you’ll slip, that you’ll lose all of you’re progress and need your old clothes again.

At least, I’ve found that I have that anxiety. I suppose I can’t really speak for everyone else. I just feel that there is a more than slight chance that I’ll go crazy and spend a month eating nothing but deep-fried pizza or something. (Does that even exist? Wait–don’t answer that.)

Instead of getting rid of/altering clothes, I tried the belt thing. As some of the waistbands have gotten a little bunchy, they’ve been relegated to a nebulous pile that I’ve been trying to ignore, completely convinced that I’ll be wearing it all again soon.

Then, one day, my friend expressed an inordinate amount of shock that I was wearing jeans that actually fit and I thought, Maybe I should reconsider some of my decisions.

So, the monthly challenge for October is to indiscriminately get rid of everything that doesn’t fit anymore. And, yes, I probably will need the whole month because there are some parts of my wardrobe that I still don’t want to lose. I’m looking at you, polka dot sweater.

No more clothes hoarding. If I can’t wear it, it goes.

And if you see me wearing something that is a bit too big this month, it’s probably because I’m saying goodbye. Don’t judge.

Mile 2014: Woo!

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“If she wanna stay, she stays.
If she wanna go, she goes.
She doesn’t care how she gets there
Long as she gets somewhere she knows. “
–Eric Hutchinson, “Rock ‘n Roll”

Miles Last Week (+ today): 79
Total Miles: 2014

I don’t usually count the miles completed on the day I post here in my weekly mile total, but I am today because today I crossed/elliptical-ed mile 2,014 of the 2014 Mile Project—A FULL THREE MONTHS EARLY.

Not that I’m bragging or anything.

Guys, guys, please. You can stop applauding. It’s really not a big deal. Of course, I did celebrate by purchasing some boots online. (I’m completely determined to find tall boots that work for me. This is my second try–last time didn’t work out so well.)

Obviously, this isn’t the end. I mean, I’m kind of on a roll.

And that’s all for today.

I’ve gone over 2,000 miles in nine months–what more do you want from me?

Mile 1935: Just Say…Okay

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“[Not U2 lyrics because I deleted that album from my iTunes.]”
–Not U2, “Not a U2 Song”

Miles Last Week: 64
Total Miles: 1935

On this, the final day of the 21-Day Challenge, I have a quick announcement.

This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, but I messed up a total of five times in the last three weeks—and each time was due to me just not using my brain properly.

Failure #1: The jellybeans.

In the lobby of my place of employment, there is a jellybean dispenser. Sometimes when you walk in at 7:30 a.m., you grab a few of the beans and are chewing them up before you realize that you aren’t supposed to be eating candy. Then you promise not to mess up again.

Failures #2-#5: The Kind bars.

During the second week, I ran out of breakfast granola bars. One morning, I stopped at a gas station, bought four Kind bars with nuts and chocolate, and ate them for breakfast the next four days because apparently I can’t be bothered to think through my decisions in the morning. Chocolate was definitely on the list of “no” food.

The bad (or good) thing is that I did pretty well on the rest of the challenge. Just those five times in what was otherwise three weeks with no chips, no cake, no fast food, no ice cream, and no white bread (as long as you don’t count pasta, which I don’t—BREAD AND PASTA ARE TWO TOTALLY SEPARATE THINGS, GUYS).

According to my math, screwing up five meals out of approximately sixty-three means that I was about 92% successful. Not too bad, and certainly better than my performance on the other monthly challenges. Sounds relatively “okay” to me.

And not to stray from the topic, but I even broke my 65-minute elliptical record on Tuesday. NBD.

New 65-minute record! 9/16/2014

New 65-minute record!

All in all, I’d say I feel relatively good about the 21-Day Challenge. Dare I say that I may even try it again in the future? But, you know, with less failing.

And I have a week to figure out what October’s feat shall be, which basically means that I’ll wait until the thirtieth to search for fitness challenges on the Internet. Also NBD. Until about ten o’clock next Tuesday night.

 

P.S. I’m totally having pizza this week. I’m actually surprised this whole post wasn’t about that and chips.

Mile 1871: The Stages of Pizza Deprivation

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“If it was up to me
I would’ve figured you out.”
–Coheed and Cambria, “The Suffering”

Miles Since Last Time: 130
Total Miles: 1871

At the start of the “Just Say No” 21-Day Challenge two weeks ago, I was feeling pretty smug with my flawless argument that pizza is not a fast food. The next day, someone pointed out to me that pizza has white bread, which I can’t have anyway during the challenge. So there’s that.

This realization was a bit depressing to say the least. My affection for pizza is such that you might almost call me a human version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—except I’m not a teenager, I’ve never come into contact with radioactive material (besides my cell phone), I am not acquainted with the ninja arts, and I’m not amphibious. I mean, you could say that I have a shell, but that’s really more of a figurative thing.

Anyway, I like-a the pizza. I have no problem admitting that it’s probably an issue I should be concerned about, and I’m not surprised that I’ve gone through what I’m calling “pizza deprivation” over the last two weeks.

Flat-out Denial
But…but…pizza crust isn’t considered bread, though, right? Even that pizza with the pretzel crust? I’m kind of on the fence about it anyway, but maybe—no? Oh, okay.

Recognizing Your Limitations
Maybe I could make my own pizza without white bread! No…no…I’m probably not going to do that. Cooking is pretty stressful.

Disproportionate Rage
THE ONLY WAY TO CURE A STUBBED TOE IS PIZZA EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

Remembering Your Childhood
Times were simpler then. I could just sit and watch Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers—hey, why isn’t that on Netflix by now? Or Gargoyles? Or Talespin? Or Doug? Or Darkwing DuckIf there’s room for Super Mario Bros. Super Show, there’s definitely room for all of those.

(I may or may not have wanted to be Gadget as a kid–not that I’ve grown out of it or anything.)

Obsessive Counting Down Until Pizza Can Return to Your Diet
Seven days…

Yes, it’s been rough, but I think I’m going to make it. The prognosis is good.

I’ve also retained enough sanity to realize that the return of white bread needs to be a reduced return. I’ve lost six and a half pounds in the last two weeks, so I think that’s what my body is trying to tell me anyway. It only makes sense.

Pizza and I will just have to rethink our relationship.