Whatcha Running For

Beyond just getting excited and signing up for something because I need the motivation to do what needs to be done exercise-wise? Why else am I running?

First and foremost– because exercise is the easiest and cheapest snake oil* for a lot of what ails ya.

Mildly Depressed? Exercise.
Kind of Anxious? Exercise.
Nights with Insomnia? Exercise.
Too much ADHD? Exercise.
Constantly irritated by almost everyone around you? Exercise. Or move to an isolated island, where it’s just you and a 25 year old cabana boy that does laundry just the way you want it done.

*Better living with chemistry– totally. I’m a personal big fan of chemistry. However if I can change my shit, or lessen my shit, with a reasonably simple lifestyle change, I’m gonna do that, too.

In the interest of full disclosure, lest anyone be fooled into thinking that I listen to my own preaching, I’m not known for my dedication to planned physical activity. Technically I believe the words I’ve said most often to JB were, “I fucking hate it and I’ll do it tomorrow”. I’m active– hell, two kids I don’t have much of a choice. But I’m certainly not running while posting this blog…so.

But I’m suffering from Filter Failure, and getting increasingly frustrated with people (some of which is deserved, some of which is not).

Filter Failure [fil·ter fail·ure]
1. The point which the invisible barrier between the brain and the mouth has been stretched beyond the critical mass point. Prolonged exposure to a compromised Filter is ill-advised. Key Filter Failure prevention methods include: finding Spock-like logical people, avoiding any and all emotional outbursts, submersion in long stretches of silence.

Um… Spock? We have a problem. Assuming that no one else in my life every went batshit over anything, living with a 4.5 and a 2.5 year old is the dictionary-picture antithesis for all of the Key Filter Failure Prevention Methods. And I’m a girl, regularly exposed to other girls. Some of whom also happen to be mothers. Dude, it’s astonishing that my filter has made it this long without suffering from black hole spaghettification.

Obviously it’s time to restructure the Filter Failure prevention methods.

While I ran myself out of a funk on the Treadmill of Love last night, I started thinking about how, for the first mile or so, my brain was in this pattern:

I’ll just do a quick run tonight.
13.1 fucking miles, Stephanie. In October. So far you’ve run 1 1/4.
Dammit. Okay, I’ll do 2 miles.

Then suddenly I got to 2 miles, P!nk was next on the play list and I started thinking, you know what? I’m not going to quit until I’ve gone a little further than last time. 3.19 miles later, and I’m walking upstairs thinking about how I couldn’t run that far last month. Then I get an email from my smartphone app telling me that I had just beat my last personal best. Well! Then I take a shower, read my book, and sleep the sleep of a Quiet Mind.

Impressive enough, the Quiet Mind sleep– but you know what else? For about 30 minutes of that treadmill time, there were only 3-4 thoughts, two of which were actually related to running. The only other time I can say I’ve had that kind of focus was giving birth to Elliot. That no-drugs-birth-thing went a long way toward forcing my brain to be in the moment. Since then, attempts to recreate that attention state have failed.

For me, running is cheaper than therapy. I know what’s wrong with me (other people *snort*). Running that bullshit right on out of my head? Yeah, I could get down with that.

Rephrase: I did get down with it– and it felt great.

If Facebook Burned Calories

If Facebook burned calories then I would have no need to write this post. I wouldn’t be getting ready to call myself a fat ass on the internet. Because if it did then all of those hours spent updating my statuses (status-i?) bemoaning and/or cheering the nuances of my day would have eliminated all this baby weight.

If it did, I wouldn’t have to yell “FAT ASS” at myself in the mirror in order to go downstairs and run. And before anyone simpers on about how it’s not nice to talk about one’s self in this manner I have to inform you that anger is—and always has been—my greatest motivator. Tell me I can’t teach myself web design? Screw you, I’ll teach myself in a weekend. Tell me that no one fights the Veteran’s Administration and wins, I’ll show you a reversed decision that only ate up 5 years of my life (and a fair chunk of my soul) to get. So you see, for this battle–since no one is saying “you can’t do that”–my acrimonious self view is the only thing that’s going to get me motivated.

And while some might say my mindset is slightly unhealthy…at least I’m funneling my anger into something I can control.

Because I can’t the other things that make me angry right now—a huge oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, poisoning water already toxic to begin with; Glenn Beck and anyone that thinks he cares about anything but his own paycheck; and people—both American and otherwise—dying in a war for oil that we could be replacing with other energy sources; off-shore drilling on my beautiful coastline (hmmm…I’m really angry about oil stuff right now). Look…a squirrel. Sorry, got distracted.

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor for my annual check-up, complaining of mysterious back pain (self-diagnosed as a bad gall bladder), exhaustion, and other assorted aches and pains. I’m not going to lie, a big part of me was smug in my certainty that I had developed a thyroid issue and all of my problems would be solved with one eensy-weensy prescription.

And, dammit, other than being overweight, there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. Nada, zip, zilch. And since there is nothing medically wrong with me that means my sluggish weight loss is nothing more than a simple case of surf-the-internet-and-eat-too-much-itis. It’s an epidemic disease in our country, so I’ve been told by the same folks who provide the solution–exercise and a healthy diet…yeah, yeah.

Gah- this one’s going to be long. Remember my Other Self? Sniff, she was so thin (not that I thought so at the time). She was rocking a size 8 (which is as small as I ever want to be—any thinner and I’d look sickly). She had perky boobs and a mostly flat stomach. Her butt was not suffering from approaching-mid-thirties-white-woman syndrome.

Then she got pregnant and sat her ass on the couch and ate. And then ate some more. She gained 16 pounds from the moment she found out she was pregnant (at 8 weeks) to her first OBGYN appointment at 12 weeks. She had convinced herself that she was having twins.

She was wrong. But still she reveled in her gluttony, remaining blithely unconcerned, even when the well-meaning doctor mentioned eating more vegetables and less pizza. After all, she had just polished off a bag of M&Ms while waiting for him. Then she hit 199 lbs at 6 months pregnant—but by then the train had left the station, so to speak, and there was no stopping it. The end result of her first pregnancy was a weight gain of 80-ish pounds. She is 5’4. Without doing any final math, we can assume that 80-ish pounds on someone that short is not graceful.

At this point, Other Self had morphed into someone else. She was now Dumb Ass. Dumb Ass immediately started exercising after the 6-week go-ahead from the same OBGYN that tried to warn her before. Postpartum weight loss victory was going to be hers!! Dumb Ass found out that she was not one of those women that shed weight while nursing and thus decided not to waste her time with it.

Nursing stopped, weight started coming off, and Dumb Ass went and got pregnant again, still needing to lose 30 lbs to be back at pre-pregnancy size. I’ll give Dumb Ass a little credit here; she did SO much better with the weight gain the second time around—constant puking and having a toddler who refused to take 5 hour naps helped. Dumb Ass only gained 35 lbs. Dumb Ass was ecstatic with this because she lost 28 lbs from labor to birth with Baby #1 and fully expected to repeat this pattern.

Dumb Ass was surprised and horrified when she only lost 7 lbs with the birth of her second child. Seven. Pounds. The BABY weighed 7 lbs. What about the rest of that…stuff?

Dumb Ass bought a new scale, because surely there was a malfunction with the one she had. Nope, no malfunction.

Ahh…but Dumb Ass (who is going to morph into Current Self, stay with me—I know it’s all a bit Sybil-ish) was more determined to lose the weight this time. She was recruited into a nutrition study thanks to her impressively bad BMI. Current Self signed up for 5K training at the local Fleet Feet. She ran on the treadmill, did pilates, and ate healthy foods.

Imagine her shock when she gained 5 lbs, her milk supply tanked and her youngest son was diagnosed as failing to thrive. She stopped exercising, cut the most common food allergens out of her diet, and lost 8 pounds while her youngest gained two. The universe righted itself—after all her child’s weight gain was infinitely more important than her own weight loss.

All of that was exactly a year ago. Since I quit nursing—for good—last June, I’ve shaved another 35 pounds off. Yippee me. For the past 2 months I’ve been wearing jeans and shorts that I could pull on and off without unbuttoning them. I finally went out last Friday and bought the next-size down pair of shorts. It feels really weird to wear pants that fit…like self-conscious weird. But, hell, continually wearing baggy clothes means you have room to grow…I don’t want that either.

Current Self is angry at Other Self for gaining the weight to begin with. Current Self is angry at Dumb Ass for getting pregnant for the second time without losing all the weight first. Current Self is especially angry at the hours wasted on Facebook. If only Facebook burned calories.

Current Self loaded Pandora with a Korn-based radio station and pounded her anger out on a squeaky, neglected treadmill tonight. Current Self is feeling better about the likelihood of getting back into Other Self’s pants. See her down there–all smiling and happy? She has no idea that a fatter, future-her is coveting her body. Poor girl.