I need to learn how to share

I need to learn how to share.

Yes, I’m an adult and I know how to share just about everything in my life. But there’s something I have a hard time sharing.

Running.

This may sound odd, coming from someone who has a huge group of running friends – many of whom she MET through running. Even stranger to hear from someone who joined Team Challenge to train to run two half marathons… who went to practice every Sunday for months to go running/walking with others.

Yes, I have a REALLY hard time sharing my running time with others… besides Beep of course. She can run with me anytime.

Why do I have such a hard time sharing running with others?

Perhaps it’s that over the course of the last year, I’ve become accustomed to solo running. I’m not fast enough to run with my running besties. Well, I’ll meet for a group run, run with them for a minute and then my huffing and puffing slows my pace down to something more comfortable. Or, I’d join them on my bike on their long marathon-training runs.

I think this all started last summer when I was training for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with Team Challenge. I was a run/walker. I aligned myself with the walkers, as I mostly walked, especially on the long “run” days. I didn’t really consider myself a runner. I could run for an eighth or quarter mile at a time, followed by quite a bit of walking. My body and my lungs weren’t ready for consistent running.

Now that I finally consider myself a runner, I have a hard time sharing this with anyone else. It’s like my private Amy time. I’m alone with God’s creation (outside) or trying to lose myself in the music on my iPod on the treadmill at the gym. Don’t even think about talking to me when I’m on the treadmill. Yes, guy at Bally’s who is crushing on me, I’m talking to you. There is nothing attractive about a 250-pound woman running on a treadmill. EVERYTHING is bouncing. Well maybe that’s what you’re liking, but I can assure you I do not feel pretty. So quit trying to get my number while I’m running.

I have an anxious nervous feeling in my chest when I think about actually running WITH someone. What if they’re faster than me? What if they get frustrated when I have to stop to walk? What if they don’t consider this a workout? What if I look ridiculous? What if I fail? What if they get frustrated that I don’t talk when I run? That I don’t want to talk because it will take up precious air that I could use to bust through my lungs on this run?

I’m sure my friends wouldn’t feel this way when running with me, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

I’ve gone to the gym for a treadmill running date with Annie… but for some reason that was different. We could each go at our own comfortable pace and it wasn’t a big deal. I think I was more comfortable with this too because she’s seen me at my very worst as my Team Challenge coach.

But then a friend, Katie, asked me to meet her for a run at the gym a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to try out the track at the gym. She’s new to running so I agreed. I warned her repeatedly that I was slow and took regular walking breaks. She didn’t care. She was excited to go with someone else, as she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the running community. We warmed up with a walk and I kept track of laps with my Garmin. I felt the need to apologize whenever I had to stop to walk, but she was amazing and would stop to walk a lap or two with me. One time I told her to continue running if she felt up to it and so she did one extra lap while I walked. Overall, I had my fastest time for a 3mi run on this workout with her. It was fun but I still felt awkward. I don’t know why, I just left feeling like a fool.

You see, when you’re out on your own… no one knows how long you’ve been running when you take a walk break. No one knows how far your run is. No one knows but you. But when you run with someone, there’s this feeling like I need to make sure I keep up so they don’t think I’m a loser. Maybe it’s just me, but this is a huge insecurity for me. I’m slightly tearing up as I write this and the fact that I’m tearing up makes me sad.

Yesterday I met up with one of my best friends, Rachel, who wanted to join me for my walk/run. She was so sweet and said, “Now, we will go at your pace. Whatever you want to do. I’ll go with you.” This was amazing. But, even though I was with someone I’ve known for almost 9 years, who knows more about me than most people, who knows my struggle with weight issues and fitness… Even with her I felt nervous about running. That and the fact that I forgot my inhaler at home had me saying, “You know, we’re walking at a pretty fast clip today. Let’s just keep walking fast and not run.”

Why did I do that?

Why?

Rachel, of all people, wouldn’t have judged me. But in the back of my mind, I was worried that she would. And so I settled for a fast walk instead of my prescribed walk/run.

By about mile 3 (of the 4.65 we did)… I was feeling guilty. But I also didn’t want to be all “hey, lets runnnnn” so I continued on the fast walk til we returned to her house.

I drove home, disappointed in myself for not even trying a run with her.

I picked up some lunch and headed home. I cuddled with Beep and watched some HGTV and fell asleep for a little afternoon nap.

When I woke up the intense guilt was ridiculous. I felt GUILTY for not RUNNING. There was really no physical reason for me not to run- except for the fear that I would have an asthma attack without my inhaler.

So, I got Beep’s leash and went out for a mile. We averaged 14:15 on the run that was just over a mile.
If my earlier morning “run” had been a good workout, I don’t see how I would have been able to so easily run just a few hours later.

I obviously have some issues I need to work out with this whole running solo business. Races are different… people are running with you but they’re really not. I just have never had to rely on anyone but myself on my runs and maybe that’s why I am so possessive of my precious running miles. Maybe I just can’t stand the thought of starting a run with a friend and then having to tell them to run on ahead… Maybe I need to just get over myself. Maybe I need to go back to therapy.

I don’t know the answers. I just know that I need to learn how to share.

The one where I get asked out at the gym

I was asked out today while I was running at the gym. I’m dripping in sweat and this guy comes over and says “I see you girl” then fist bumps me. I’m like hey ok. Continue running. Then he comes back a few minutes later and asks me if I’m seeing anyone. I say no. He asks my name and puts his hand out to shake. I said “hey I’m Amy. Nice to meet you.” He says something like “I’ve never seen you around here before.” I told him I come all the time. Mind you, I’m STILL RUNNING at this point. I’m dripping in sweat, breathing heavy, etc. He asks for my number. I tell him no. He asks to give me his number and says his name is Donovan. I said, “Well maybe next time you see me we can talk more. I have to finish my run.”

So there’s the story of how Amy got hit on at the gym on Valentine’s Day and turned the guy down cuz she was too focused on her run.

A vegetarian update and other stuff

A lot has happened in the last week or so. I hit the halfway point in my 31 day vegetarian challenge, I joined a Ragnar Madison-Chicago 200 mile Relay Team and I signed up for Weight Watchers Online (again).

Day 5: Field Roast Fajitas

The vegetarian challenge has been going well. I haven’t been keeping up with my daily photos/recipes (there’s quite the backlog). But, I have been eating fabulously. I’ve only slipped up twice and they weren’t on purpose. One was because I was an idiot (who knew Chicken in a Biscuit crackers actually had chicken in them?) and one was at a party – I had some dip and realized after the first bite that there was bacon in it. Of course, my sister taunted me last week with a huge juicy medium-rare steak. And I almost took the steak knife and stabbed her with it. But I refrained. Because I love her. And I don’t want to go to jail over a steak.

I saw Hood to Coast with my running friends last week and it made me realize that yes, I DO want to do the Madison to Chicago relay. Clearly, I’m insane. But so are they. And I <3 them.

As you may know, I’ve been on and off the Weight Watchers program for years. I first joined in 2005 and was most recently a member in 2008 or 2009. I have been hesitant to re-join as I found the old Points program didn’t value fruits and “REAL” food the way I do. I felt it rewarded processed and highly-preserved food. But, ever since Weight Watchers announced the new Points Plus program, I have been intrigued. It holds fruits in a much higher regard and takes into account NOT calories, BUT fat, protein, carbohydrate and fiber content. That’s right… NO CALORIES INVOLVED. I’ve followed some blogs like Bitch Cakes and others who have really taken to the new program and figured, what the hell, I’ll try it again. Oh, and let’s not forget about my neighbor, Esther, who’s in a national commercial for WW!

I’m not going to weekly meetings, but instead relying on the online program and a support system made up of some lovely Tweeps like Sue! We’ve created a private FB support group. If you’d like to join our group, send me an e-mail! It’s been nice for my first few days especially to have a support system I can go to without 1) annoying my twitter followers 2) annoying my fb friends 3) annoying everyone around me. 😉

So that’s what’s going on with me. What’s new with you?

Conversations with my trainer

John: “Do you feel the burn?”
Me: “Yes I feel the burn.”
John: “Do you really feel the burn or are you lying to me?”
Me: “Define burn.”
John: “When you can’t stand anymore.”
Me: “Ok yeah then I don’t feel that kind of burn.”
John: “Then I’m gonna pay you back for lying to me.”

halp.

3 dogs, 3 miles, 1 wedding, 5 burrs, 1 NEHOD, a little dog conference and countless bathroom breaks

Try taking three little dogs for a walk. I dare you.

I’m watching Gizmo and Bandit this weekend because my parents are in Minnesota visiting family. I knew I would have to get a 3-4 miler in with them and Beep sometime this weekend, so we went Saturday afternoon. What a beautiful day.

We started on Wahl near Lake Park and continued alone Lake Drive through Lake Park and then down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive. We did a few running intervals (never more than about .2 miles because the dogs would get tangled in their leashes). We had countless potty/poop breaks but overall it was good. Well, until we found the burrs. ugh. that was a mess.

We continued down Lincoln Memorial Drive to Bradford Beach and took the trail/bridge across LMD and up to Wahl or whatever that street is near the water tower. Along this path, which was paved but covered in leaves, so it was a bit slippery. It is also a pretty steep trek up the hill. Half way up, we ran into a couple walking a pug and a mini dauschund and it was a mess/tangle of little dogs on leashes. We all couldn’t stop laughing and the guy said, “It’s a little dog conference!”

We got to the top and continued north toward Lake Park. When we hit the car, we were at about 2.5 mi and since I really wanted to hit at least 3, we continued on the path toward the lighthouse… and encountered a HUGE wedding party taking pictures. So if you know someone who got married and took pictures at the lighthouse, please give them my best and my apologies for having 3 dogs walk through the scene. We continued to the parking lot by the golfing/lawn bowling and headed back to Lake Drive and south to the car.

By the end, Gizmo and Bandit were spent, but Beep looked like she could have gone another mile or two. That dog never ceases to amaze me. She’s 7.8 lbs! My goodness.

I thought I would have 3 tired-ass dogs when I got home but now there’s wrestling and taunting going on.

As for me, I felt great most of the run/walk. I never stopped my Garmin, so this pace isn’t really accurate when you take into account the bathroom stops, burrs and encounters with other dogs. My foot started to ache a bit around 2.8ish so I’m doing a lot of stretching and icing tonight… I have 6 miles on the schedule for tomorrow. I’ll be taking it slow tomorrow. The plan is just to cover the miles, not to worry about pace. I hope my foot holds up! Luckily, my cardio fitness has drastically improved this year and its so much easier for my body to get oxygen on these run/walks. I am much less reliant on my inhaler, which is AWESOME. In fact, today I didn’t take it before I went out and didn’t need it at all during the walk. 😉

Will run for pizza

I was craving pizza. I was procrastinating. I was trying to avoid working out tonight.

But then I decided I should run TO the grocery store for a pizza (or three).

I am such a freaking genius.

I did a warmup walk then started running. And I kept going. And going. And going. It was just me and the pavement. I realized I had been running for more than half a mile and made the decision that I wasn’t going to stop running until I hit the 1 mile mark. I didn’t pay attention to pace and didn’t have music to keep me going, since my ipod battery is dead. I checked my Garmin every so often to see how close I was to the 1 mile mark. Then I started taking weird streets, in an effort to stay near the grocery store. Then I saw I was at .99mi and 12:45 so I sprinted til my Garmin beeped it had been a mile. Then I gasped for air and refrained from attempting a cartwheel on the corner of Pleasant and Water.

Then I walked to the grocery store, sweaty, smelly and all. I bought three pizzas and a six pack of diet 7up. Then I walked home.

And it was awesome.

Red sauce 60 minutes pre-run = omg hell

Had another great Team Challenge mid-week group run tonight. For the first quarter mile, Jodi and I stuck with Rochelle, Karla and Kevin… but after 5 minutes, we dropped back (they were going between 10:30-12min pace and that was pushing it for me for extended periods of time).

Jodi and I alternated running a quarter mile and walking a quarter mile for the first mile. Our split was 15:20ish. Unfortunately, this is where things went down hill for me.

You see, today I had time to make another batch of homemade tomato sauce with goodies from my garden. I spent more than 2 hours making the amazing sauce (fresh tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, onion, basil, italian sausage… shall I go on?) and couldn’t resist having some for dinner before the group run.

Note to self: NEVER EVER EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE A RUN, NO MATTER HOW HUNGRY YOU ARE.

During the first mile my stomach started gurgling and its contents sloshed about.

By the 1.25 mi mark I told Jodi to go on without me. I wasn’t gonna be able to keep running. I thought I was going to puke.

About mile 1.6 (just about a tenth of a mile from the Lake Park Bistro stairs), I had a different kind of tummy rumble. You know, the I-don’t-have-to-puke-I-have-to -oh-crap-get-to-a-bathroom tummy rumble. I started running and was honestly worried I would either puke or shit my pants. Or both.

I made it that last tenth of a mile. But then I had the stairs. Those were brutal.

I wanted to scream.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted a toilet, damnit.

I got to the top of the stairs and luckily made it to the bathroom.

Aren’t you glad I shared this story?

Bikram Yoga: What was I thinking?

Photo: Visit London

This is what I imagine hell is like. It’s smelly, it’s humid, it’s hot and you’re in a room with 30 other sweaty people. I was dripping with sweat – even my calves were sweating. Oh, and then class started.

Yeah that’s right. I was dripping sweat on my calves, feet, forearms and all the normal sweaty places before class even began.

I suppose that this description on the Bikram Yoga Milwaukee website should have been a dead giveaway, but I ignored it:

“It is normal to feel dizzy during class. Blood circulation and pressure changes rapidly this may cause dizziness. You will learn to love this euphoric feeling of stretching tight muscles.”

Lemme tell you, I did not find it euphoric. It was my first time trying Bikram Yoga. I was able to do many of the poses (or modified versions of them) thanks to my regular yoga practice, but oh my goodness, this fat girl couldn’t take it anymore.

After 30 or 40 minutes, I had to lie down. I couldn’t stand anymore. I couldn’t breathe (blame the asthma – I always have huge problems breathing when the air is hot and humid). I was seeing stars. I got dizzy. I thought I was going to puke.

Then I did something I swore I would never do until I’m at my goal weight. I took my shirt off in public. Ok, well it was a tank top but still. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I sat there in my sports bra and yoga pants. And then I wondered if I could get away with taking my pants off. I wanted it all off. I couldn’t bear it anymore.

The breathing, the dizziness, the nausea didn’t get better so I got the hell out of there at the 1 hour mark. Within 10 minutes, there were four of us in the lobby, dripping with sweat (sexy), out of breath (also sexy) all wondering what the hell we got ourselves into. Coincidentally, we had all gotten the Bikram Groupons. LOL.

I’m sure I’ll try it again, but I have no desire to do that again anytime soon.

Easy walk with the dogs turned – oh crap I may have just effed everything up

My parents said they would drive down to the eastside so we could take the three dogs for a walk at Lake Shore State Park (one of my absolute FAVORITE places to run/walk). We drove down to the parking by the lighthouse and headed out along the water to the park. Not even a quarter mile in I lost my footing on the sidewalk/grass (sort of missed the sidewalk) and rolled my BAD ankle, scraped up my arm a bit, got grass stains on my pants, and bruised my ego.

My parents gasped. I sat there in shock, not knowing if I should cry, scream, swear or crawl back to the car.

I was so scared that I completely messed up my left foot/ankle. I’m pretty sure I rolled it. Which, you know, is really awesome 7 days before you’re traveling to wine country to complete your first half marathon ever.

I sat on the ground for a while. My dad and another guy who saw me fall offered to help me up but I turned them down. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to know if I had just taken myself out of training for the final week. I didn’t want to know if I would still be able to do this race.

Honestly, I think there was a part of me that wouldn’t have minded being side-lined from the race. I’m already at the point where I am not going to be anywhere near my initial time goal, due to knee problems early in training and then this whole sprained foot business.

I moved my ankle and it hurt, but wasn’t excruciating. It was important I pick myself up and keep going. I knew that if I retreated back to the car, I would have a huge psychological barrier next weekend at the race.

I stood up and took a step. I’ll be honest. It hurt. A lot.

But I kept going. As I walked, it hurt but I was able to do it without too much pain. My ankle/foot is definitely weakened now. Although, maybe whatever I did will have knocked things back into place. Who knows.

All I know is I am in a lot of pain right now, so I wrapped it up and iced it for 20 minutes. I’m going to do that every hour til bed and hopefully things will be better in the morning.

Otherwise, I might really be sidelined for Napa. And I don’t think I can handle another blow. Please say a li’l prayer for my left foot/ankle. I can’t not do this race.

Do as I say, not as I do

I’ve been struggling with something for awhile now and I can’t keep it bottled up anymore. I’ve tried to be upbeat and positive about this whole sprained foot fiasco. Oh wait, you don’t know about this do you?

Yeah, that’s right. I never blogged about it. Why? Well, I kept putting it off… and off… and off… until I started getting bitter today about he whole thing. Sure, I tweeted about it and made posts on DailyMile, but I never really blogged about how it made me feel. Here goes.

I was scared.

My left foot pain is getting worse, not better. I’m so scared something is wrong that will knock me out of training for Napa. Please send some healing thoughts/prayers my way. Pretty sure I’ll be going to the doctor today. 🙁

I was relieved.

FOOT UPDATE: It’s a sprain of sorts. I have to take it easy and I should be able to still run/walk the Wine Country Half Marathon. Basically, taper is starting a week early. 🙁

I was sad.

feeling like I won’t get to RUN a 5k… ever. #jth says I can jog or walk SLOWLY on thurs. #fitmke #sadmke

I was bitter.

all of you running the storm the bastille tomorrow can suck it.#bitter #sadface #norunningtilnapa

Last month, I had to “take it easy” for the Great Milwaukee Race. I wasn’t supposed to run. But, I didn’t want to let my teammates down so I ran a bit (this was before I knew the foot was sprained). Then I had my long build-up run/walks for training for the half marathon. I did 8 miles… then almost 9… then just over 10 miles. All on a sprained foot. Yep. I am pretty badass. Or stubborn. One of the two.

Luckily, the diagnosis came a week before my taper was to begin, so instead of doing my last long run/walk of 12 miles… I started taking it easy and tapering back early. On the one hand, awesome. On the other, crap.

I had a “come to Jesus” conversation with my trainer via text message the day I went to the doctor. Here’s how it went:

Me: This sucks.

John: Why? It will be fine!

Me: Because I want to do it all 🙁

John: U will just not this week, u wanna be fit for life, not just a couple of months, right?

Me: Yeah. You’re right. I know I need to listen I just don’t want to. Haven’t had an “easy” week since I began training for the half

John: That could be part of the reason u are hurt at the moment.

Me: Prolly. Guess I’m just afraid of going back to my old routine of nothing. Know what I mean?

John: I will drag ur punk ass out of ur house and make u workout if u do!

Me: Deal.

I have tried to accept the fact that I had to stop running. I have tried to accept the fact that I had to drop out of a 5k two weeks ago. I have tried (and failed) to accept the fact that I can’t run the Storm the Bastille 5k tomorrow. This race is especially hard for me to miss because back when I decided to start this journey, my goal race was to run the Storm the Bastille on July 8. Sure, I am freaking doing a half marathon next week, but I can’t help but feel like a complete failure. My one, measly goal – Run the Storm the Bastille – #amyfail. Yes, my goals have changed. I can do 3.1 miles in my sleep. But I haven’t actually RAN a full 5k yet. This has been a psychological barrier for me and I have been eagerly anticipating the chance to show myself I can RUN a 5k.

Then there’s this whole all-these-people-donated-money-for-charity-because-I-said-I-would-do-a-half-marathon-and-I-went-and-overdid-things-and-may-have-put-the-whole-race-at-risk factor. Yup. I’m doing this whole get healthy journey for me. And I am worried about what my family and friends will think if I fail miserably next weekend. When I started training, my goal was to be at a solid 15 minute mile pace (4mph). I’m quite certain if I was able to run more, I would have no problem maintaining this pace. However, due to all of my training setbacks (including the knee problems a few months ago), I have been logging a solid 16:30-17:30 walking pace. So now, my new time goal is in the 3:30-4:00 range. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others… but I have friends who are in the sub-4:00 MARATHON time range. And I’m just praying I can do a sub-4:00 HALF MARATHON. It’s a kick to the ol’ ego, that’s for sure.

I need to stop putting myself through this, but I can’t help it. There was a time (just months ago), where I couldn’t understand why some of my friends were working out ALL the time. They were running 7-8 miles FOR FUN. My idea of a good time was ordering a pizza, drinking a 6-pack of beer and watching basic cable Law & Order: SVU marathons. My idea of a good time was certainly not training for a HALF MARATHON. SVU Marathons are much more entertaining.  Now, ordering a pizza, drinking beer and watching SVU Marathons is still high on my list of fun times… but the times I’ve been able to run – actually RUN – I can’t describe the feeling as anything short of euphoric. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. And I know mine is capable of running.

I know I need to listen to my trainer, my coach, my doctors… but I can’t help feeling like I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. I feel like putting on my fat pants. I feel like burying my sorrow in peanut butter M&Ms, fruity cocktails, microbrews, high-carb, high-fat meals… (and trust me, I have done this in recent weeks). But I know that is giving in. I can’t fall back to the old Amy. I can’t let the old fat girl win. The new fat girl is so much more fun. She feels better. She can walk up flights of stairs without losing her breath. She is 10 days away from completing a half marathon (at 250 lbs, none the less). She needs to get over herself, put on her big-girl underwear and stop being such a baby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t be stupid like I’ve been. Be smart. Accept your setbacks. Grow a pair.