Wednesday, March 5, 2008

it's gettin' a little girlie in here ...

so, i can't lie. i'm a little like the goth girl from high school, carving anarchy signs into her trapper keeper and writing poetry about how prom is for sheep, and this school is filled with sheep, this archaic tradition is just an excuse for cheerleaders to contemplate upsweeps and tulle.

and then, when she doesn't get asked, she's not mad -- per se -- she didn't want to go anyway. but still, at least the guy with the eyeliner in her spanish class could have asked her. she'd have said no, but still.

i started running again in mid-december. with it came a whole new lifestyle: chuck says when we met i was a kitten he found eating out of a dumpster behind taco john's ... i haven't had super potato oles since summer; i gnaw so many vegetables that when i floss, i pull dirt from my molars; aside from valentine's day week, i rarely drink more than once a week -- and sometimes not even that; i go to the Y at least three times a week, but more often four or five.

i am doing some serious clean living. i've lost just four pounds.

five years ago i lost 30 pounds worth of natural light the course of like four months. i just stopped drinking at all. i worked out a little, but lived with the consumate hamburger helper chef and so indulged in a lot of liquid cheese and salt. this time, i didn't specifically start running to lose weight. but now that i've lost the equivilent of what most people flush down the toilet each morning, i'm a little insulted.

i won't lie. i like the idea of being able to stab an assailant with a hipchecked stab of my jutting hip bone. that it wouldn't take a flesh-cave spelunker to find this anatomical weaponry. but my top reasons for running again were along a different vein:

living in duluth, there are three different sorts of person you can be:
1. artistic: a guitar player or fan of guitar players. a painter or a fan of paint. a writer or a reader.
2. athletic: an outdoor sports enthusiast. runner, hiker, backpacker, kayaker, snowboarder, snowshoer, speedskater, sled dog racer.
3. in transit: a person with a two-year plan that ends somewhere near minneapolis.

and all of the above are drunks and most of them have dogs. but i digress ... i strive for No. 2 [this goes along well with polar fleece and recyclable shoes] and No. 1, minus the guitar.

i genuinely enjoy running. the drops of sweat that don't land in my eyeball, actually taste like salt & vinegar chips; when i catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface, my arm in motion looks like the contorted arm of a rubber doll; it's a good way to obsessively listen to the song "mr. brightside"; it gives me an excuse to limp, wear leggings, and be self righteous about nonrunners. and afterward, my body smells like used hockey equipment left in a damp basement. you just can't bottle that shit.

i like the physical possibilities of a body that is in shape: the cartwheels, the impromptu soccer matches, and the flippy bar tricks.

i genuinely believe that if i run enough, my last bastian of unhealth -- the smoking -- will cure itself.

so maybe i'll drop a few pounds, eh?


the number i'm at feels like a score, in a golf way. if i, hypothetically, had been hitting the driving range a few times a week since mid-december and my score didn't improve it wouldn't matter to me that i was driving a lot further and that my chipping accuracy was up to 80 percent. eventually, i would probably wrap my 5-iron around a tree, make it rain a 24-pack of pink titleists, strip out of my plaid knickers, my nike sun visor and start playing tennis.

in keeping with the golf metaphor, i feel like my handicap should have improved by at least seven, eight strokes by now. not to mention that i've always wondered what it would look like to be about 15-under-par. just for a few days. or even minutes. just long enough to watch a grape squinch through my throat, and veer toward my stomach. a tiny bleating bulge in my skin as it moves slowly through my intestines. just for the sake of science.

and this is stupid to even talk about. i can tell my body is different. i'm not, like, shopping at gap kids, but i'm also not going to suffocate chuck with arm wing fat if i accidentally fling my arm across his face in the night.


"but muscle weighs more than fat," jcrew is obligated to say. this is a trite greeting card we pass back and forth.

"isn't it enough," chuck asked, "that you're able to run further and faster than four months ago?"

it would be. if further and faster was a smaller number.


Sproactually said...

But... do you feel better? I'll fight getting on my bicycle, but after about 3 miles all the shit that has built up disappears. I'll just listen to the tires on the road and pedal and everything is gone.

Later I'll stretch, and in the morning I'll have that even pleasant soft ache in my legs.

As Jimmy Buffett says... I treat my body like a temple, you treat yours... like a tent.

Craig said...

Nice blog. See you around the Internets.

Anonymous said...

i'll buy this healthy living mumbo jumbo as soon as i don't hear you puffing away on a heater on the phone. :) on a happier note: muscle does weigh more than fat, and maybe you need more protein too to run faster and longer...all of your recipes are from vegetarian times.

your biggest fann

Maurey Pierce said...

Don't worry so much about the numbers. During the Northwoods Nightmare, when I treated myself much like you described treating yourself a year or two ago, I weighed 140 pounds and wore a size 10. Now, I weigh 135 pounds and wear a size 6. I'm amazed at how different everything looks and feels. Even though the "numbers" say I've only lost 5 pounds, the difference aesthetically is gigantic. I'm tall, and I'm dense, so I will never weigh 120.

Focus on how healthy you feel, how your clothes fit, how many more leers you get at the Y ... that kind of thing.

abbersnail said...

I know this battle so well. Working out never changes the number on the scale for me. Nevertheless, I'm so impressed reading about your regimen!

L Sass said...

It is hard to lose weight from running. (I am example numero uno of that!) I do feel like the shape and size of my body has changed, even if the number on the scale hasn't much.

Beret said...

Hmmm..that's called AGE unfortunately.

I eat a bowl of oatmeal with flaxseed powder each morning, and a steamed veggie quesadilla (on low fat spinach tortillas) each night while my lovely family eats pizza, lasagna, burgers, etc because none of them like vegetables. I run, lift arm weights, drink only water and the occasional glass of white wine, and still I'm about 7 lbs from where I want to be. It's impossible to lose the rest.

I hear "muscle weighs more than fat" too but that doesn't help.

My husband likes to reassure me that "it's all in your boobs" which does make me feel better!

Overall, when I see my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers (great) and my resting heartrate of 45-50 bpm I feel good. And it's good to know that if I had to run 10 miles to save one of my kids, I could.

nanners said...


Whiskeymarie said...

Yeah- welcome to your 30's, where nothing comes easy and the phrase "muscle weighs more than fat" will start enraging you to the point of slapping people with a raw sirloin steak, all the while screaming:
"Hows that feel, huh? Heavier than fat?!?!? Huh?!?"

Beverly said...

I saw a long jumper from Romania or somewhere like that in the Olympics take her turn, and then she sat down in the field for a smoke while she waited to go again. It was crazy. I wonder if there's a "No Smoking on the Olympic Track Field" rule now.

Anonymous said...

Do you lift weights? Amassing some lean muscle increases your "resting" metabolism so you burn more calories even when you're sittin' on the couch watching TV. Genius, right?
Also, I'm certain Nanners was kidding, but don't go the restrict/purge route; it wreaks havoc on your metabolism and can actually lead to weight gain, unless you do it until, well, until it kills you. (I'm a recovered anorexic and, thus, well-versed in the dangers of that cycle.)
Keep up your clean livin'!