Mile 2420: Sometimes You Have to Hold Up Your Own Pants

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“Shed this skin I’ve been tripping in
Never to quite return.”
–John Mayer, “Bigger Than My Body”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2420

I made myself a bargain a few weeks ago. I’m not allowed to buy any new clothes until I hit the next big weight loss milestone.

I’m certainly not someone who goes shopping all the time–my philosophy thus far has just been to buy new pants when I need them–but I thought putting it off would be a nice reward for myself.

This would not normally be a problem, but I currently don’t have any exercise pants that fit, as I haven’t needed them since last winter. Capris I have–pants, not so much.

Not surprisingly, this decision against shopping for the moment has come to bite me in the gluteal region.

What follows is a very true story.

On Monday, it was seventy degrees outside. On Tuesday, it was thirty. Gotta love Oklahoma. On Wednesday, I decided I needed to wear actual pants to the gym and not capris.

It’s okay! I thought Wednesday afternoon. I have safety pins and an older pair of drawstring-less pants!

I grabbed that safety pin, tried to jab it through the elastic, and bent the pin beyond usability because apparently the pants are part steel or I have Hulk hands. The jury is still out.

I probably should have recognized this as a bad omen. I did not. Instead, I shoved another safety pin through the waistband, made it work, and went on my way.

Since I started running, my workout has pretty much been a few miles on the treadmill and the rest on the elliptical. My slow weaning from the elliptical is going surprisingly decently, other than some knee pain.

Everything was fine last Wednesday…until about the last two minutes on the treadmill.

I felt a pop. Not a bad, I’m-in-excruciating-pain-and-my-legs-aren’t-working-anymore pop, but an oh-no-I-might-lose-my-pants pop.

That poor safety spin. I imagine that it held on for as long as it could, it’s poor little imaginary hands clasped together as tightly as possible. I assume that I couldn’t hear its pleas of “I’ll never let go!” because I had my headphones in. I couldn’t recognize that it was about to give up. For that, I blame myself.

I may need a min–eh, I’m fine.

I managed to catch the pin before it fell onto the treadmill’s belt and possibly shot across the room. And, friends, I was so dedicated to finishing my jogging miles that I did not immediately run to the bathroom to fix it. I adapted and tried to play it off like “Oh, yeah, I’m walking with my hands on my hips because people do that sometimes even when they aren’t holding up their own pants. Nothin’ to see here.”

When my three treadmill miles were done, I quickly, but not suspiciously, walked to the bathroom with my safety pin and firmly reaffixed my pants.

You know, now that I think about it, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I should just be glad I didn’t accidentally stab my alleged Hulk hands. This bargain is already biting me enough as it is.

Mile 2362: NaNoWorkMo

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“We are strong.
No one can tell us we’re wrong.”
–Pat Benatar, “Love is a Battlefield”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2362

If you know what NaNoWriMo is, you probably follow a writing-centered Twitter account.

If you don’t, I will tell you that it is a buzzy abbreviation that stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” November is the month that a lot of writers decide to crank out a fifty-thousand-word novel in just thirty days while dudes are growing mustaches.

If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. (The writing part, not the mustache part. Of course, I have no idea what goes in to growing a mustache, so I may be totally wrong about that.)

A few fellow writers at work have decided to undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge, and I am, too…sort of…only insomuch as I’ll be writing fifty thousand words and working on my novel.

My plan for this month is to use this time to really figure out how to fix the novel I started while still in college, work through them, and go about starting to make those changes. (And then completely finishing it and all that jazz. Some of that will probably have to happen after November 30, though.)

Basically, fifty thousand words worth of work will be happening, but my novel probably won’t be fifty thousand words longer. It’s confusing, but it makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters, right?

 

Since my novel work has pretty much been in limbo since I graduated from college almost two years ago, I’m using NaNoWriMo to give me the kick in the pants that I need to get back on track. This may or may not be considered cheating at actual NaNoWriMo, so I sometimes tend to think of it as NaNoWorkMo–which really should be every month, I suppose–but sometimes you have to make up your own rules that don’t really apply to anyone else and no one else cares about, anyway.

My two big goals for NaNoWork(Wri)Mo are:

1.) Crank out a significant number of words every day.

One of my goals for this year was to write every day. It hasn’t been happening so much. Better late than never, right? That’s sort of how a lot of things in my life have gone.

Fifty thousand words in a month averages to 1,667 per day, which is approximately seven pages. Yes, that does seem like a lot. Quite frankly, so does nine miles of jogging/elliptical-ing a day, but I’ve managed to make that part of my routine.

2.) Stop overthinking and just do it.

May I speak frankly? Sometimes the pressure of trying to write something worth reading gives me so much anxiety that it gets in the way of my productivity. However, I also can’t not try to write. It’s frustrating, and I’m not proud of the nerves, but that’s the situation.

Part of the unofficial point of NaNoWriMo’s high word count is that you don’t really have time to think about it. You just do it with the full understanding that some of it isn’t going to be so great. You get the story out and fix it later. It’s what you have to do.

That’s what I have to train myself to do.

And after nine days of NaNoWorkMo, I think I’ve discovered something–the big bad secret of NaNoWriMo.

Fifty thousand words in a month is surprisingly not as impossible as you think.

You’d be amazed at how many words you can crank out during your lunch hour or in the half hour before going to bed. It’s completely doable when you take it a little at a time and don’t freak out about the big picture.

Honestly, before starting the Mile Project, I would probably doubt my ability to train myself to do anything. Now, though, I know that working every day–especially when you stumble sometimes–is way more important than doing everything absolutely correctly all the time.

Wait. I think I’ve had some professors who tried to teach me that. It sounds vaguely familiar. Hmm. Weird.

Gosh. It’s almost like exercising has had a ripple effect in the rest of my life and my self-discipline. What the heck, man?

Mile 2304: I Think My Gym Has a Room of Requirement

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“’Cause 99 miles per hour, baby,
Is how fast that I like to go.”
–Fitz & the Tantrums, “The Walker”

Miles Last Week: 54
Total Miles 2304

Not too long ago, a doorway appeared in the gym. A neon yellow paper sign was taped to the white plastic tarp that covered the opening. I never ventured over to read this sign because it was across the room and there were usually other people between it and myself. I tend not to socialize much during exercise time.

More recently, the neon yellow paper sign and the white tarp were taken down and people would occasionally walk in and out of this new, mysterious doorway. I still didn’t walk over to see what the doorway led to–because, you know, the risk of exercise time social interaction.

Last week, I started running (mostly pretty slowly and in intervals) on the treadmill. And can I just say–running on treadmills sucks. Of course, running in general is not my favorite, but the treadmill adds a little bit of extra suck.

Part of that may be residual fear of breaking a treadmill (which hasn’t happened yet), but there is also an element of not liking to have my speed dictated by a machine. Surely that’s the first step toward accepting robot overlords, and I’m just not ready for that. With the time change, though, trying to run outside in the evenings after work is kind of out of the question.

If only there were some place inside and not on a treadmill where I could do some interval-ed jogging for a little while every day.

Which brings me back to the new, mysterious, no-longer-tarped doorway.

I poked my head in yesterday and discovered this:

"Because it is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker's needs." --Dobby (a free elf)

“Because it is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs.”
–Dobby (a free elf)

I may not have walked by three times, thinking about what I needed, but this isn’t Hogwarts and this Room of Requirement may work differently. I definitely feel like my brainpower might have helped this happen anyway. It may not be an indoor track, but it is a large room with a random piece of AstroTurf in the middle–sort of decent for some light jogging in one- to two-minute intervals.

AKA "The Come and Go Room" or "The Room of Hidden Things"

AKA “The Come and Go Room” or “The Room of Hidden Things”

And that’s what I did for the past two mornings this weekend. I see only two downsides to this system:

  1. I can’t really definitively figure out the specific distance or calories burned (which our future robot exercise overlords very conveniently tell you on digital displays). I just sort of guessed based on how far I would get in the same amount of time on the treadmill.
  2. During the week, there are evening classes in the room (which is likely what it is required FOR), so I’ll probably only be able to do it on the weekends. Oh, well. I suppose I can tolerate the treadmill sometimes.

I probably couldn’t magic up a full track because I am no Hermione. Sigh…

It doesn’t matter. I still consider the materialization of this room to be definitive proof that I am not a Muggle.

Also, if we want to start Dumbledore’s Army, I totally know where we can meet.

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.