Saturday, October 16, 2010

Freedom, Frustration and Fuel

First things first. Saturday morning weigh in...

185.8 (loss of 3.4 pounds) - whoo hoo! That made me feel better about last week's tiny loss. I have an ever growing pile of clothes to take to Goodwill, and then I am going to have to turn around and do some shopping there, as well, because my closet is bare and I don't want to spend big bucks on things I will (hopefully) not fit into in another few weeks. If only I enjoyed shopping more...

Rediscovering Freedom

When I was 12 years old, I got my first 10-speed bike. To me, it represented total freedom. I now had a way to get around without relying on my mom to chauffer me. I rode that thing everywhere, even after I could drive but had no access to a car. It took me to friends' houses, the store, the stable where I worked and rode. Before I got my horse I would ride it for hours, lifting my face into the wind and imagining that I was racing on horseback. After I got my horse, I would ride it for exercise to strengthen my legs. There probably wasn't a day in about 4 years that I did not ride that bike. And sadly, there haven't been but a handful of days since then that I have been on a bike.

One of my friends loaned me his mountain bike last weekend, and after my Tuesday ordeal, instead of taking my feelings out on the fridge, I loaded up the bike and took it to the trail. I didn't have as much time as I'd hoped or planned, but I did get a quick 3 mile ride in, and the feeling of the wind in my face transported me right back to those long ago years. It was exhilirating and relaxing and fun and stress-relieving, and a new bike is now at the top of my wish list. Reconnecting with that sense of freedom was the best part of my day.


October is my favorite month of the year. I love the weather, the changing of the leaves, the way the light changes. Sadly, October does not love me. Something blooms in October that revs my allergies up into high gear, and that usually ends up with a chest cold. Last year October was Swine Flu Month in my house, and between the flu and the bronchitis that followed, I missed the best part of the month. I recovered just in time to stuff myself with Halloween candy.

I should not be surprised, then, that my October luck caught up with me just in time for my last two runs of C25k!!!! Yes, I am sick. Sick and frustrated. I have felt it coming on for probably a week, and my Wednesday night run was a real struggle. By Thursday afternoon, I had a cough and cotton head and ringing ears and spent the rest of the day in bed. I dragged myself to work Friday, but had to leave early, and all day I debated, should I do my Friday run or not? I decided to try it, figuring I would alternate running and walking and only do what I could. I managed to finish and actually felt better afterwards.

Then, I woke up this morning. Sniffling. And sneezing. Which has continued the better part of the day. I've been through two boxes of tissues and my nose is raw. I am feeling bitter. I had wanted to go hiking today - the weather is perfect for it. Tomorrow is the last run. I don't want to miss it. I'm not ruling it out - I am going to wait and see how I feel. I don't know if exercise will help me get better by keeping my body moving and working, or belabor my cold by running me down. I guess today I am just thankful that if it was going to interrupt my training, better it be in the last week than in the middle, when it might have totally derailed me and taken weeks to get back on track. Ugh.


The last week or two I have noticed the most amazing thing. A total shift in my thinking that I could not have seen coming. When I started running, yes, I had a goal in mind of running a 5k, because I knew I needed that date on the calendar to keep me going. But mainly, I was a dieter, running to lose weight. I was counting my calories but had not modified my diet so much as scaled back the proportions. 

However, as I discovered how much I enjoy running, and started thinking beyond that first 5k, I realized that I had started looking at food differently, as well. Now, I analyze everything I eat in terms of how it will help me run. I see food as fuel. I have become a runner, eating to improve my performance. What an amazing shift in perception! For the first time in my life, I consider myself an athlete. 

I am off to take it easy tonight - grab some hot soup for dinner, relax with a good movie, and early to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to get my run in and "graduate" C25k!

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