3 miles an hour…

Yesterday I joined Planet Fitness. It seems like a really reasonable price–$10 a month–and it has what I will use–plenty of treadmills and perhaps the circuit equipment. I never took classes when I was a Y member, so I don’t miss those, and they do have small classes to help you set up and manage your training. What I like MOST about it is that it’s really quiet in there. They have these rules against all the preening that goes with bodybuilding, like dropping weights and grunting. Each machine is equipments with what is the modern day car speaker (for those who remember drive ins). Plug in your ear buds and you can listen to the radio or watch any number of TVs hanging from the ceiling. I like the place.

Yesterday I did a bit over 2 miles in 45 minutes at a 1.0 incline. Today was 60 minutes, 2.0 incline and almost 3 miles. I felt pretty good doing it and the time flew. I watched the Ohio State game (basketball) and then a movie on my iPhone. I’m playing a game in that I can only watch movies while I work out–since all the rest of my time is spent studying. So, I’m somewhere in the midst of “Empire of the Sun” and really want to know what happens to the kid (don’t you DARE tell me!).

We’ve had really crappy weather this winter, like everywhere else in the country, so the days I can ride my bike have been severely limited. I am even racking up miles on the car because it’s just been too nasty–windy, rainy–to ride my Vespa, and THAT makes me very sad.

I still wonder why I’m not just immediately thinner when I get home. I actually look in the mirror to see if I can notice a difference: Is my chin smaller? Or are there fewer chins? Is that roll shrinking yet? I know in my head that won’t happen, but I look anyway. I should probably stop doing that. But it’s hard. I want results and I want them now. Sometimes I actually think that if I throw an emotional fit about it, I’ll get results sooner. I know. A little nuts.

At least today I didn’t eat a cupcake when I got home!

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Back on the Saddle

So far riding has been a bit of fits and starts. I suppose that makes sense given we’re having the coldest and weirdest winter in quite awhile. I don’t mind riding when it’s cold–I have warm clothes–but wind and ice are another story.

I decided to take it easy today. I went 16:33 minutes; average speed was 9.33mph; max speed was 24.27mph. Overall, it was a good ride. I’m feeling a little more comfortable on the bike and not thinking so much about how light it is and how easy it might be to crash and burn. I think that’s positive. I am also remembering some little technique things about pulling up on the pedals as well as pushing down to keep the feet going in a circle, and keeping my knees pointed into the bike rather than letting them flail out to the side. Who knows if I’m right, but it’s distracting me from the pain of not being able to breathe and my thighs burning like there is a furnace lit inside.

I’ve also discovered a weird taste for Greek yogurt. Specifically Chobani 0% (2 is YUCKY). I say weird because I’m not a yogurt person. It’s always tasted chalky and sour to me and never very filling. This stuff is dry. Almost like ricotta cheese. The density makes it more filling. The fruit feels less processed to me as well (not that I’m totally opposed to process food–can you say DIET PEPSI?). I like it.

Now to get rid of the frosted brownies in the house…

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A New Year

“They” say you shouldn’t start a diet on a Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year. Makes sense to me. It can get really discouraging when the “perfection” fades and a mistake is made–usually within the first day for me!

Luckily it was raining yesterday, so I couldn’t get back on my bike.

I did ride today. It’s been several days, so I was a little worried about how it would feel. It was actually a nice ride. I rode for almost 21 minutes, but rode farther than I’ve gone in the same amount of time–ever. I keep forgetting to look at the actual distance before I zero out the computer, but the route I took was one I’ve done before, only with add-ons. Yay me!

Plus, I went all the way up a hill I’ve only been able to get partway up before. All good. Yay me. I think I’ll just stand back and celebrate for a minute and not think about the junk I’ve eaten lately. Just enjoy a little moment of victory on day 2 of a new year.

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Another Year End

So… I think I’m over my tub-o-lard feeling, sort of…

But it’s the end of the year and it would be good to think about this year, just a little. It’s been a busy one…
* I finished all my classes for my PhD, including another 3 months away from home over the summer.
* I passed my foreign language test–Italian–YAY!
* I passed my candidacy exam, which was a real relief.
* I have my committee together for my comp exam, which will take place this spring. My reading lists are done and I’m into them.
* I have applied for a tenure track position and hope I get it. I think I deserve it and will serve the school and students well.
* Scout turned 10 but is as cute, funny and active as ever.
* I hosted about 50 students at my house this fall for a pasta dinner. It was awesome.
* I got to spend a week in the OBX in August. My favorite place.
* I presented a paper at a conference and have been accepted to present in 3 others.
* I started riding my bike. I think I can… I think I can…
* I still have a great housemate, who has been like my sister, my family.
* Speaking of sisters, it’s been awesome to re-connect with mine.
* I got to go to the OHIO STATE/michigan game. “We don’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan. We’re from OHIO!”

So many good things–friends, time with family. Just BEING. Thanks, God.

It’s been a good year. Here’s to many more.

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What the heck?

Aren’t you supposed to feel better after you exercise?

You know… It hurts while you’re doing it, but then feels really good afterward?

I rode 20 solid minutes–up and down hills–working to pedal all the time. That’s 5 minutes more than yesterday and my average speed was about 8mph–more than the 6 it was yesterday.

So why do I feel like a giant tub-o-lard?

It’s not that I expect to drop 100 pounds in a 20 minute ride, but shouldn’t I at least FEEL better? Instead, I think if you heated me up you could fry a McDonald’s french fry on my head. Just lower it gently into the tub-o-lard.

This is what goes through my head and why I get so discouraged and give up. It’s crazy.

I’m not a quitter, except when it comes to this. Let’s try again tomorrow.

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15 Minutes

I’ve added a little computer device to my bike.

When I used to cycle a lot with my fire engine red Trek road bike, I put one on. “In those days” the device had to have a wire running between the sensor and the readout on the handle bars. Now, of course, there are wireless ones. I think the price has dropped significantly too. I tell, the technology nowadays…

So, what did I learn on my ride today? I learned that my average speed for the ride was about 7 mph. Pretty slow. But, we have lots of sloping hills. I also have a timer, so I rode for 15 minutes. I wrote that down in a little log I’ve started to keep. I’m mostly focusing on the amount of time I ride, trying to pedal as much as possible, even going downhill.

I put a little mirror on my helmet so I could try to see anything coming up from behind. But, it’s pretty tricky and nothing at all like using the mirrors on my Vespa. Speaking of which… People often ask me if I’m nervous riding a scooter (it’s NOT a moped, okay!) in traffic. I’m really not. I was thinking today as I was trying to keep my mind off of the burning sensation in my legs and lungs that I feel much more confident on the Vespa than on this bike. I feel safer going 60mph on it than I do going 10 on the bike. Maybe it’s the light weight of the bike. It almost feels like I could pick it up as I’m pedaling.

Fifteen minutes seems like a paltry amount of time–I suppose it is. But it’s a start. I have to keep going. I have to keep trying…

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What’s it like?

I like to flip through these slide/photos of different topics found on msnbc.com. They have a daily one on celebrity sightings, ones of animals, and today there was one on sports deaths of 2010. If you know me you know I love sports.

There are 86 different ones, mostly people I’m not familiar with. But then there are guys like Sparky Anderson, Merlin Olsen and Don Meredith. I know those guys. The one that caught my eye, however, was Frank Crippen.

I had no idea who he was, really, though his name sounded vaguely familiar (did I grow up knowing someone with that name? A junior high math teacher maybe?). He was a “long-distance swimmer.” So why the interest in him? If you saw the picture you’d understand.

He’s walking out of the foamy surf, arms raised, eye goggles in hand, water swirling around his feet. He had on one of the black, lycra swim suits. He’s removed the top part and pulled it down to a bit below his waist. The long leg parts were still on. This guy has the most amazing chest/abs I’ve ever seen.

I mean, seriously, they are beautiful. Something Michelangelo would have sculpted. Not overly lean, not too musclebound. Perfect. And I wondered. What’s it like to have a body like that?

Was he really comfortable with it? Did he know how good it looked? How do you see the world looking back at you when you are so beautiful?

I think about that with women, too, who I think are beautiful. What’s it like to be tall and lean? How do you see the world from up there rather than always looking up at everyone, knowing you’re just a few inches away from being a new TLC show for people with special physical challenges? Or, even to just be fit and beautiful like, say, Sandra Bullock. I can’t imagine it. I think about it. I know that it doesn’t make life perfect–just take a look at Bullock’s past year.

But I wonder.

What would I be like if I were just comfortable in my own skin? Thin or not. Fit or not. Beautiful or not. How would I see the world? How would I see the world looking back at me?

I want to be content. As I am now. Something in me knows that if I’m not, I’ll never be content with any changes that may come.

The outside never fixes the inside. This is know.

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