Sunday, May 25, 2008

Couch to 5k to bathful of epsom salt...

So, having finished Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat, and with our move to Los Angeles, the home of the oh-so-pretty-and-thin, looming ever nearer (30 days and counting), I have a renewed sense of "Ohmygod, Sarahyouaretoofat!" and have reminded myself once again that the only thing that helped me lose weight when I turned 30 was....sigh....running.

I hate running. I remember when I first moved down to DC and joined a gym. I had two complimentary training session and the trainer (tall, skinny, blonde, nightmare) assured me the fastest way to lose weight was to run. In New Hampshire, losing weight slowly was fine; well, let's face it, not losing weight at all was apparently perfectly acceptable, because it's how I spent my 20's.

But in DC, there was a boy. A tall, cute, thin boy whose attention I wanted. And I didn't think I could do it at my then current weight (which is, sadly, 10lbs fewer than what I'm carting around right now). So as much as I'd always said I'd rather walk on my hands than run on my feet and as much as I told the trainer through my huffy-puffy breaths that I was going to die, drop dead right there on the treadmill and it would be on her shoulders, if I ran for 10 more seconds (she did not bite), I did it.

I started out with my own program of counting to 100. I'd count to 100 while running, then count to 100 while walking. Slowly, begrudgingly, I built up my pace. Eventually I was running to the count of 600 (almost a mile by the treadmill's count) and damn that perky little trainer if the weight didn't melt away. From 150lbs to 135lbs in two month's time. (Oh, and the boy? I left him in my skinny little cloud of dust.)

So here I sit, still at 162 and's time. I made noise about it a few months ago and promptly went back to sitting on my ass and wondering why I wasn't losing any weight. I mean, I *did* cut out the morning ritual of finishing my kid's waffle, so why wasn't the weight falling off of me??!! (cue: Sarah smacking her head into the wall).

Today while Ethan and Husband napped, I threw on my work out clothes (after I picked a bit of cat hair off of them--they've made a lovely little cat bed for Abby for the past few months), powered up my iPod, threw on my stop-watch and started my "Couch to 5k" program ( Basically, a 30 minute workout consisting of a 5 minute warm up, then jogging/walking in 60 and 90 second intervals.

Smuggy McSmuggerson (that would be me) thought "Piece of cake!" When I started jogging years ago, I began my training with counting to 100, which takes longer than the 60 seconds this circuit was going to require of me. No problem. Embarrassing to be starting with something so EASY....that's what I said to myself as I sauntered through my warm up. I even though, "maybe I'll jog 60 and walk 60, so it's totally even. These professional trainers at "couch to 5k" can't possibly know more than me! Oooh, I like this song..."

At the end of the 5 minute warm up, I looked at my stop-watch and picked up the pace to jogging. Oh, how I want to report that I was a vision of athletic prowess, gliding down the street with extraordinary poise and ease.

I *could* report that, but I would by lying out of my fat, uncoordinated ass. Nevermind that apparently my ear holes are abnormally small and my earpods kept falling out of my head (have you ever seen someone fish around to find and reposition the earpod of their iPod while running? Aside from looking funny, it really borders on a public safety hazard). On top of that, by the time I got to the count of 50, there was a burning in my calves, but there was a serious lack of air in my lungs.

I remembered all those biology classes when the teacher droned on and on about aerobic activity and oxygen and the production of lactic acid. I think it's safe to assume that I was a vertiable lactic acid factory during the 20 minutes I alternated between walking and running.

Sadly, as I zig-zagged my way through my neighborhood, there was a couple out for a leisurely walk, CONSTANTLY zigging while I was zagging, so every corner I came around, they were turning down the same street, coming right towards me. Ugh. I hate exercising in front of other people--when I can hear my own breathing OVER the music playing mere centimeters away from my eardrums, I really don't need to be in the company of strangers. Fortunately for me, neither of them were lithe and toned. I probably could have outrun either of them, even in my only-feet-from-needing-an-oxygen-tank state. On the 3rd or 4th encounter, the man and I decided to nod at each other, as if to acknowledge the fact that we were unwittingly stalking each other. The girl ignored me, in all my fat, sweaty glory. Sadly, I wanted her acknowledgment more than his (twisted all-girl school mentality NEVER goes away, I swear). Oh well.

By the time I finished my last interval of running, my body was SCREAMING and my lungs were fully threatening to shut the fuck down on me completely. But I did it.

And, damn it, I'll do it again--once I can catch my breath and stop soaking in a tub of epsom salt.


Stephanie Klein said...

That is the exact reason I cringed at the possibility of moving to Los Angeles when NBC picked up my first book and asked me to write the pilot. Being surrounded by unattainable I thought I might become depressed. So I moved to Austin and wrote MOOSE: A MEMOIR OF FAT CAMP.

Anyway, great blog and hope to see you in L.A. at my book reading.


Manhattan Mama said...

You may have lifted that straight from my life. Running is the fastest way I have ever lost weight -- and the quickest way to turn me into a heaving, evil lump of hyperventilation.

Nikol said...

I hate those ear phones that come with ipods! They ALWAYS fall out of my ears...and they also hurt.

Found your blog, and just thought I'd stop in and say hi...I'm a fellow Couch to 5K-er. :)

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