Ode to a Not So Bad Run

3 miles is better than 2
14:12 is better than 14:30
45 degrees is better than 34
3 runs this week is better than 1
Feeling that little, tiny flower of empowerment
        rising in your gut through the ash of cynicism and self-doubt
                    is everything.

Recovery has made wax poetic. Not sure why. 

Today was better. My running was better. My emotions were better. My expectation that I might run again this week, that I can get past a “bad run” was better. Just knowing I can get through a bad run helps me get to the next one. 

I’m sure I have many more bad runs in my future. But I also believe they will be followed by better runs. And maybe out there… way, way out there… are some good runs. 

Advertisements

Staycation

I’m not having the best week. Work is hard. Working out is hard. Food issues and body image issues that I thought were behind me are creeping up again. In general, life is hard. 

But now I’m taking care of me for a few days. 3 vacation days (plus weekend). Starting now, I’m taking 5 full days where I’m turning off emails, politics, drama. I’m looking to feed my soul. I’m focusing on friends, loved ones, family. 

We aren’t going anywhere. I’m not setting up a “to-do” list. I may or may not run. I may or may not sleep till noon. I plan on having a lot of sex and alcohol may or may not be involved. 


Most of all, I’m taking a vacation from judging me. To celebrate, I’m taking a beautiful sunset walk. Lots of pics. Lots of rests. Lots ofcontemplation and introspection. No thoughts of shoulda, coulda, woulda. 

For five days. Ready? Set. Go! 

Beach run

If I didn’t live near a beach, I most likely would never have started running.  Running gives me an excuse to go to the beach in February. 

I love running on boardwalk over pretty much any other surface. I love running in air that tastes salty. I love listening to the waves crash as I cool down and stretch. 

Driving home from NYC after work can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hrs, depending on which part of the city I’m coming from, how early I get out, and general traffic conditions. 

The beach is considerably colder than the mainland, and the sun sets very early in winter, so running on the beach is often a matter of timing and luck. 

Even though I was cleared to run for a while, I didn’t get going as fast as I could have/should have. It has been months since the weather conditions and my own sense of timing provided me with the opportunity or inclination. 

Today was the day, though. Weather was unseasonably warm, despite the fact that we are due for a blizzard tomorrow. I made it past the Queens border by 3, clearing my way to hit the beach before the sun went down. 

And so I ran… for sheer joy it seems. 

First Run

The only way this works is if I start over; pretend I never ran before. I’m not looking at time or pace or distance. I’m looking at “did I get it there and run.”

I’m the unfaithful lover That has to earn back trust.

I’m the prodigal son who doesn’t deserve another chance but gets one anyway.

Loving my body means loving it when it can’t perform, and I’ve failed miserably on that front, but I’m ready to make amends.

So I ran today.

It was hard and lovely and just the beginning.

I promise to care for my lovely body that is sometimes amazing and sometimes fragile.

Selfishness Required

selfishIn the interest of full disclosure, the title of this post is intentionally “click-bait.” For me, “selfish” relates to your relationship to others (lacking consideration for others). What I’m referring to here is more about “self-care” which relates to your relationship to yourself (providing consideration for yourself).

Sometimes I lament that I didn’t get into running earlier in my life. How much better might I feel (and perform) had I figured out how to take care of myself (nutrition, exercise, empowerment) when I was in my thirties or even my twenties?

But I don’t think I could have done it then, and here is why: Taking care of myself requires a level of self-care that I didn’t possess when I was younger. I didn’t even have a concept for this.

141256472.tiagBCsKI admire women who possess this trait without abandoning their responsibilities – a very tough tightrope to walk. My sister, for example, has 4 pre-school age children (triplets no less), a full-time job as a teacher, is working on her second masters degree and still manages to run regularly and gets in date-night with her husband every week. I’m not sure what she deals with internally to get everything done, but I’m pretty sure it means making tough choices and putting herself first when necessary.

I’ve always struggled with that, frequently working myself sick trying to take care of everyone but myself. The list used to look something like this:

  • My daughter
  • My partner (when applicable)
  • My family
  • My job
  • My family
  • My family (I have a very big family, so there is always someone needing something)
  • My close friends
  • My colleagues
  • Acquaintances, strangers, random people
  • Myself

Sometimes the order changed. There were weeks where my job leapfrogged to the top of the list or when a close friend edged out a family member. What didn’t change is where I was… way, way down at the bottom. Obviously my daughter always came first, but it went so far beyond that; I needed to make sure I was there for friends, family, partners, employers. Often there was nothing left over for me.

 

oxygenBut I’m working on changing that paradigm. At this point in my life I’m willing to put myself first and invest time for myself, but I have to think about it and make a conscious decision to put my needs before others. Of course, even today if I have to choose between something for my daughter and something for me, I will still pick her every time. Luckily I’m at a stage in my life and she is at a stage in her life where I don’t have to pick very often. More than that, I’m learning to say no to family, to bosses, even to my bf, when I have to.

Part of my awareness that I needed to invest in self-care occurred because I got seriously sick. I needed to learn to say “no” just to get through that. It was very freeing, but it may have been short-lived once I got healthy. I actually think the fat-acceptance movement was a very important part of moving me to this awareness long-term.  As I started to come around to a mindset that I was worth something – in spite of being fat – I also started thinking I was worth taking care of.

Consider training for the NYC marathon. I regularly spend 12, 15, 20 hours or more a week. It isn’t just the hour or three of actual running: There is the getting ready to run and the post run recovery time. (I’ve been known to lay in bed for a few hours after a long run – don’t judge). There is the time spent posting about my runs, time spent researching running, reading about running… I’ve probably spent 20 hours researching GPS watches and I still haven’t bought one. And most of the time I feel like I’m not doing enough.

me post run

This is me, post-run. How long I lay there depends on how tough my run was and how much time I have. I always factor the post-run crash when deciding how far to run.

I’ve gotten to the point where I lie about how much time I spend running. They are small lies: “I’m going for a quick run” means I’ll see you in an hour or so. “Going for a long run” means don’t even look for me for the rest of the day. “A short run” can be up to 6 miles and “We can do it after my run” means I’ll probably be late and most likely useless when I get there. I think my BF is on to me. The last time I said “I just need to get in a run first,” he laughed and rolled his eyes. “I know what that means,” he said.

In spite of everything I’ve written here, sometimes I still feel like I’m selfish – putting my own needs above pleasing others. What I’m slowly learning to recognize is that these feelings aren’t true. It isn’t selfish to take care of myself; it’s actually healthy.

Boundaries

Boundaries_by_fitfatrun_Pixton

This is a comic I created based on a real-life incident a few months ago. The woman actually had a car covered with advertisements that showed her before/after and how many pounds she had lost. She was dressed in a white linen suit with heels. I was finishing up a long run and had just switched to walking about 500 feet before getting to her. My face was red, I was huffing and puffing… I had just completed 13. 1 miles for crying out loud. She comes right up to me and partially blocks my path to offer me a “miracle” weight loss solution.

This is not a unique occurrence, but rather one example in a string of times that I’ve been working out, minding my own business, and someone decides to offer me unsolicited advice about how they can help me lose weight. The assumption being, of course, that I am  only working out because I’m trying to lose weight. Sometimes (like the incident above) I handle it really well. Other times I’m unable to deal with the levels of emotion and I get flustered. After a particularly upsetting time at my gym I practiced what I was going to say the next time it happened, which is why this one time I had my comeback ready. I didn’t say exactly what I’d practiced, but I feel that for once I handled it well.

So here is my PSA: If you see someone who is working out and you have the urge to provide them with unsolicited body shame disguised as “helpful concern,” do everyone a favor and keep it to yourself. If you make a living or earn extra money this way, well shame on you.

New blog for the second half…

Cloud 2I’ve been blogging under the name fatnforty for the past 6+ years (and tweeting for 8+ years), but as I am about to turn 50 in less than 6 weeks I finally decided it was time to change my name.  It was a struggle to come up with something that spoke to me, but after much discussion (and a failed twitter poll) I have selected FitFatRun.

For me, my forties were about coming to terms with who I am as a person, as a woman, as an athlete. (I can now call myself an athlete without embarrassment). I have learned to love the body I’m in (not the one I wished I had) and treat myself as well as I treat others.  I plan on using what I learned in my forties to make the second half of my life an awesome adventure. My grandmother lived to 102 and played golf until she was about 96, so I fully expect that I have at least another 50 years to make my way through life.

goodstuffI don’t know what comes next for me, exactly, but barring something unforeseen (a car hitting me while I run is not a far-fetched theory) I plan on being active as much as I can for as long as I can. I plan on challenging myself, and trying new things. I expect there will be many things I’m scared to do, but I’m going to do them anyway. I want to learn and grow as a person. I want to contribute to the world I live in.

If you are coming over from my old blog, thank you for your ongoing support.   If you are a new reader, welcome. Please feel free to chime in with comments, suggestions, and your own perspective.

 

 

Just Not 40 Anymore

badge

I’ve been blogging for 10 years! Hard to believe.

In less than 6 weeks I’m turning 50. It is supposed to be traumatic, turning 50, but I’m actually kind of excited about it. It seems cool to me that I’ve lived this long and I get to look back on all that I’ve accomplished. I’m in better shape at (almost) 50 than I was at 40, 30, or even 20.  I can run farther and faster than I ever imagined I could.

Being excited about being 50 might have something to do with how I feel about my health and my body right now.  If my 40’s taught me anything it is:

  • I love my body; it can do amazing things
  • If I treat my body like I love it; it will love me back

fitfatrunIn fact, there is only one thing I don’t like about turning 50, and that is that I feel it is time to give up “fatnforty” as my twitter and blog name.  I tried an experiment to see if I could get the “40” to mean something besides age, but after a few weeks that plan fizzled, and I realize it wasn’t meant to
be.  So now I’m officially closing this blog and changing my twitter handle.  After much debate I’ve come up with a new name: FitFatRun.  I will post re-directs to my new blog for a few weeks, but then will most likely archive this site.

Thank you so much for all who have sent words of encouragement or posted your own inspiring accounts over the past 10 years.  I hope you like the change and decide to follow me on my new adventure:

 

 

 

 

A New Year Start

happy new year2015 was a great year for me, health wise:

It may be the first time in my life that I maintained my weight (staying within 5 lbs) for a solid year. No drastic ups or downs – just clean eating (mostly) and pretty relaxed about diet.

I learned a lot about accepting my body this year. I’m appreciative of my health and not so wrapped up about my weight.

It was definitely a banner year for me in terms of meeting my fitness goals:

  • I ran over 1,000 miles (1,023.3 to be exact) and walked over 4,000,000 steps (4,361,000, but who’s counting?)
  • I completed my first half marathon in under 3 hours (2:35:58)

2015 running monthlyI have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to make the 1,000 miles. The last few months the only thing that got me out running was the fact that I really, really, wanted to hit the 1,000 mark. It took me until late December, but I’m so happy I did it!

My third goal for the year was to write weekly about things I’ve learned. That didn’t quite happen. I used this blog quite a bit to get ready for the half, but then life, work, and other things took precedence, and I haven’t posted since September.

In all, I only wrote  9 truths and with only 14 weeks until I turn 50, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to (or even want to) meet this goal anymore.  I am going to re-read the ones I did write, because I think it will help me get back into that head space.

The thing about meeting (or not meeting) goals is that you always have to set new ones.  I can’t just repeat my goals from a previous year. Where’s the challenge in that? So here they are, my official 2016 goals for the year:

  • Run 1,250 miles because I totally have to up the ante, and I want to commit to running at least 100 miles each month.
  • Finish a marathon in less than 6 hours which sounds both totally doable and completely insane.
  • Complete 50 hours of yoga because I see that my body needs more than just running, so this works out to about an hour a week.
  • Grow something to eatThis one is a little bit out there, and was inspired by a cool blog post (10 Food Resolutions That Don’t Involve Body Shame). I do not have a green thumb, I never grow things, and I rarely cook, but I thought this might take me out of my comfort zone a little and I like that idea quite a bit.

So there you are! What are your goals for 2016?