Tag Archives: working out

Mile 450: Breathing Into a Bag

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Miles since last time: *shrug*
Total miles this year: 450

I know. It’s been a while. In my defense. I’ve been training for a marathon. Tomorrow. A full marathon. I’m doing my first full marathon tomorrow. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It’s tomorrow.

I’m not nervous at all. Not a bit. Everything’s fine here. I certainly haven’t convinced myself that I’ll collapse somewhere around mile sixteen and live in that same spot forever, eventually becoming known as Candles. (Because sixteen? Never mind. The nickname is a work in progress.)

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Like I said. Everything’s fiiiiiiiine.

(Side note—I can’t tell if I’m stress-eating or carb-loading.)

I’ve heard that it’s good to outline your goals for a race beforehand. At the very least, I suppose it gives you something to focus on besides the fear pangs that are slowly getting closer and closer together—so much so that I think I’m due to birth an anxiety baby in, oh, about twelve hours.

To occupy myself until I can get that worry epidural, I’m listing my goals here.

Cross the finish line. Obviously.
They take it down eventually. I’m not fast, guys.

Before my Bluetooth headphones run out of juice.
Fingers crossed. This is why they call it a race.

Try not to look like I’m dying.
A lot of races have photographers taking pictures along the route so that you can commemorate the special occasion. After my first half marathon a year ago, I looked at my photos and learned that, despite my sunny disposition, I have a pretty bad case of RBF—Running Bitch Face. (And Resting Bitch Face. I have all the bitch faces.) I actually haven’t looked at any race photos since then. Now, I realize that maybe I should have practiced not looking like I want to punch a unicorn.

Don’t get attacked by the Lake Hefner monster.
I know that there’s no actual evidence that a monster lives in the lake, but that’s just what Heffy wants you to think.

Find proof of the Lake Hefner monster. Become best friends.
Candles is going to need someone to co-parent feral cats in the area.

Maintain control of all bodily functions.
No vomiting or GI distress here!

Don’t anger the wind gods any further.
NBD, just 20-mph winds out of the north and northwest. Definitely not going to make the first half of this thing feel like dragging a bus. A bus that is me.

Play everyone’s favorite game, Twig or Snake?, as desired.
It’s been raining all night/day and there’s storm damage everywhere. Who knows what you’ll find? Maybe even a shiny new penny!

When finished, replace all bodily fluids with chocolate milk.
It’s a legitimate recovery drink.

Have enough energy to walk back to my car.
This is not a fear I had until just now.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

(Ignore that high-pitched whining sound. I have no idea where it’s coming from. Definitely not me.)

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Mile 309.1: 13.1 Things I Would Tell Pre-Half-Marathon Me

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“We won! We won! WE WON! WE WON!”
–“Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down),” Hamilton

Miles since last time: 167 (+ 13.1!)
Total miles: 309.1

I DID A FRIGGING HALF-MARATHON YESTERDAY!

Whoa, sorry. I didn’t mean to shout at you.

BUT I DID MY FIRST HALF-MARATHON.

OKC Memorial Marathon 2016 start line

Can you see me? I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaay at the back. Source

I’m not going to lie–I was a bit worried during the week or so before that it wouldn’t happen. The long runs leading up to it kept getting more and more difficult. The Oklahoma City Memorial Run is kind of a big deal, and I was pretty convinced I was going to die.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t. So, now I go back to not knowing where, when, or how it’s going to happen–what a beautiful feeling!

It turns out you have a lot of time to think as you race (or, in my case, heartily jog and intermittently walk) through the neighborhoods of Oklahoma City, and as I did, I considered what I would’ve told myself twenty-one weeks ago, before I started training.

Here’s what I came up with.

1) Put your Twitter handle on your bib, dummy.
No one cares what your first name is. Self-promote, dammit!

2) Get fitted for shoes NOW.
Sure, Shoe Carnival is going to have a BOGO half-off sale right when you start training. Don’t do it. Those Nikes will do terrible things to your toes, heel, and possibly your sanity and will to live. See a professional early. And then, when you do finally go to OK Runner in Norman, you’re pretty sure that the guy who fits you for shoes turns out to be the male marathon winner. NBD. It’s just probably the closest you’ll ever get to winning a marathon.

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

3) NEVER skip a water station.
Sometimes, they’re far apart. You’re going to pass the first one thinking it’s too early and you don’t need hydration yet. You will regret that thought as soon as the last person holding out a wax paper cup is behind you.

4) Get ready to have your ego stroked a bit.
People basically cheer for you the whole time. Even thought they don’t know you, they are so enthusiastic about the race that they happily sit, clap, shout words of encouragement, high-five, and wave signs as they watch you hobble by. Remember the Hall of Gratuitous Praise from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Plus, no fewer than five people will even be dressed as chickens, so get ready for that sight.

5) Fight the urge to stop and correct misspelled signs.
Looking at you, “Unstopable” guy. Your heart is in the right place, and I appreciate that. Also, I didn’t think to bring a pen.

6) Don’t stress about missing the turn-off for the half.
You’re going to spend a good chunk of the beginning of the run worried that you will miss the split between the half- and full-marathon courses, causing you to accidentally end up on the wrong path, leading you to fall into Lake Hefner out of sheer exhaustion because you were not prepared to accidentally do a full marathon, which ends up making you part of a balanced breakfast for the giant squid monster that somehow survives down there undetected. (There’s a lot of time for your mind to wander, okay?) However, there are spray-painted arrows on the road and at least four people with bullhorns who announce the correct directions for everyone. You’ll be fine. I mean, there may come a day when that giant squid monster gets you, but April 24, 2016, is not that day.

Race results

6,585th place, baby!

7) You’ll start to get a weird cramp in your right bicep and into your shoulder for no reason.
Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you about that. Maybe you should have practiced your arm swing. It seems there’s a wrong way to do it.

8) Running into the wind is a bee-yatch.
The lighter breezes are nice and will keep you from overheating, but there are stretches where you’ll think, “Wait–why is this air solid?”

9) The Hamilton soundtrack, Foo Fighters, Neon Trees, boy bands, and various other dance/pop hits will help you get through.
For a Broadway musical, Hamilton is surprisingly good for running. However, try not to shout, “VOTE FOR BURR!” along the course, or, you know, while Senator Lankford is speaking.

10) No GI distress!
I know you’re worried, but let me tell you that your intestines are the real champs of the day.

11) After you finish, don’t go directly to get your finisher shirt.
Cool down first, because going from jogging/walking for a long time to standing around in a line in the middle of a huge crowd of people is apparently a bad idea. You don’t need the vomit anxiety.

OKC Memorial Marathon Finish Line

HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIIDE

12) There will be burgers at the finish line.
They’ll smell amazing and wonderful, but thought of actually eating a burger will make you a little nauseous. Stick with the banana and bagel. And the chocolate milk, of course. Never deny yourself chocolate milk.

13) You’ll finish.
Yes, you’ll have to walk sometimes. A lot of people will pass you, but you will still cross the finish line, and in slightly less time than you predicted. Honestly, aside from the full-body muscle soreness and right heel/arch pain, you make it out pretty scot-free. You are even mobile enough to go to a David Cross performance afterward. Fair warning, though–the show is upstairs, so good luck with that.

13.1) There’s no–
That’s approximately one-tenth of the sentence I would have written. Fill in the blanks yourself.

So, who’s doing it with me next year???

OKC Memorial Marathon merchandise

Finisher swag!

Mile 129: And Now, For My Next Trick

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“Where will we go?
I’ve got no bright idea.
Where we go, I don’t know,
Til the last good time.”
–iamdynamite, “Where Will We Go?”

Total 2015 miles: 1068
Miles so far this year: 129

Yes, it’s been a long time. I know. I’m awful. Every terrible thing you’ve ever thought about me is true.

Rest assured, though–my time away from weekly Internet writing about fitness misadventures has not been mirrored in time away away from the gym. In fact, I’ve been remarkably consistent. Here are a few key developments over the last six months:

No more calorie counting apps.
After much thinking, I decided to delete MyFitnessPal from my phone. MyFitnessPal has this thing where it lowers your daily goal calorie intake as you lose weight. The last time the app offered to lower mine, it told me I should only have 1200 per day–which was also the absolute the absolute minimum. If I ever logged fewer than 1200, I would get a big warning about how I hadn’t eaten enough, which I then took as license to have a bowl of ice cream–for health!

MyFitnessPal essentially recommended that 1200 was both the minimum AND maximum amount of calories. I didn’t feel I could trust it anymore. I also didn’t really appreciate it’s little judgmental comments after I entered in some foods.

Yes, MyFitnessPal, I know mac and cheese is high in saturated fat, but I need it sometimes, okay? You’ll never understand.

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Yes, please.

Numbers schmumbers.
I haven’t been on a scale since July, which, incidentally, was just a few weeks after I purchased my own scale because my gym doesn’t have one. (Way to plan and spend wisely, Stonebarger.) This wasn’t really a conscious choice–I just got tired of seeing the yoyo-ing every week. I’m sure I’ll dig that scale out of the closet eventually, but not now. At last count, I was still at 100 pounds lost after hovering for several months, and I’m still wearing the same clothes, so that’s good, right? At the very least, I haven’t reversed the last couple of years of work. Better have some celebratory pizza!

No?

Meal planning.
Meal planning and prep make a lot of sense in theory. You work hard for one afternoon, and your food is all ready for you the rest of the week. But you have to THINK and SHOP and PLAN and COOK. I’m currently in a place where I’ll do breakfasts and lunches for the week, but prepping dinners seems like too much work. There’s a line of preparedness that I can’t cross yet. I’ve even obtained some cheap cookbooks to help in the endeavor, although I tend to thumb through them and decide that most of the recipes have too many ingredients and must therefore be extremely complicated.

Baby steps, guys.

My next trick.
Last fall, in a fit of setting goals for myself, I decided that I should do the half-marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Run on April 24. Yes, that’s right–despite my repeated promises (mostly out of spite) that I would not ever become a runner, I have signed up for half of a very long race. Probably because I might be a masochist.

Luckily, Jackie Lease of Jackie Lease Fitness has helped me adapt and expand a Hal Higdon 12-week program into one that should ensure I won’t bite the dust before my next birthday (which is in May, if you want to get me anything).

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Don’t get too impressed by that half-marathon day that’s marked off. I did those 13.1 miles on the elliptical.

 

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In case you’re wondering why “rest” is already marked off for this week, I completely overslept on Monday and had to take it early. I already feel guilty. I don’t need you adding to it.

 

I’m back.
It feels good to be back on the blog again. Plus, when I inevitably die of plantar fasciitis or toe cramps, I’m sure you will all cherish these mile logs with something like indifferent resignation.

You’re welcome.

Mile 777: Seven Accomplishments Since Last I Blogged Regularly

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“You can make this world what you want.”
–Muse, “Revolt”

Miles since last time: 127
Total miles: 777

It’s been a while since last I wrote and you politely skimmed because you are related to me. So, in honor of my 777th mile this year, here are seven things I’ve accomplished in the last two months.

1.) I’ve started doing stand-up.
While taking Level 2 classes with the OKC Improv, I also decided to take the beginning stand-up elective because I’m a comedy masochist. Since making my stand-up debut during our student show the day after my birthday, I’ve continued to do some open mics and shows. I even competed in the Funniest Person in OKC competition. During each the six preliminary rounds, two comedians were chosen to move to the finals and one alternate was named. Not to brag or anything, but I was the alternate on the night I competed. The two finalists during my round were the stand-up class teacher, Josh Lathe, and the guy who wound up winning the whole thing, C.J. Lance. NBD.

I’m going to keep doing it, and I’m even going to be in a showcase next week–which you should totally check out if you’re in the OKC area.

And lest you worry yourself about the state of my improv career, rest assured that I am still saying awkward things, laughing inappropriately, and generally being clueless during my Level 3 classes. I’m living the dream.

2.) I enrolled in an online fit camp.
A friend referred me to an online fit camp run by Jackie Lease (she’s a friend of a friend of a friend). It’s run completely online, via Facebook group. At the beginning of the month, she sends out a calendar and assessment sheets, and she posts videos of the workouts every day. You do them in the privacy of your own home, or if you’re like me, you do them at the gym. I’m in my second month, and it seems to be a good system so far. I would definitely recommend it if you need a bit of guidance on workouts, don’t want to pay crazy fees for a personal trainer, and enjoy sweating profusely in your living room-‑or in the little corner of the gym you found for yourself while avoiding eye contact with all the people stretching out or using the hip adduction machine nearby. I mean, if you’re like me.

3.) I started running again.
Earlier this year, I took a break from running due to self-diagnosed Weird Hip Pain. I’m back on the treadmill now, puffing my way along, trying to be more careful about it, and supplementing the running with fit camp workouts‑-which means fewer miles per day but shooting for longer intervals. It’s still hard and I sweat like a fat kid on a treadmill (hey, wait‑-is a simile still a simile if it’s true?), but I should be okay as long as my Weird Hip Pain doesn’t flare up.

My most immediate running goal is to be able to run around a 1.5-mile track near my home without stopping. I’m currently walking for two minutes and running for three, but  I hope to be at four by the end of the week. There’s still a long way to go.

4.) I got in a hit-and-run.
I realize this isn’t an accomplishment, and I’m totally fine‑-not injured at all. But my car currently doesn’t have a front bumper. Don’t you feel sorry for me?

5.) I’m a fish mom!
After a seriously bad day that involved the aforementioned hit-and-run and finding out that my cat (who had been living with my parents) had died, I decided I needed a new pet. People living alone should have a pet, right? We have that in common with Hogwarts students.

I went for a low maintenance pet due to my jet-setting lifestyle. Meet Alphie, the Betta Attack Monster Fish. You may also call him Alphie the BAMF. I do. I also sing “Alfie” to him sometimes. He loves it, even though his name is spelled differently.

Alphie, the Betta Attack Monster Fish

What’s it all about, Alphie, the Betta Attack Monster Fish?

*Side note: Having a fish does not quell the desire to adopt all the puppies and kittens.

6.) My fish baby is still alive!
Before I leave my house every day, I point at Alphie’s tank and say, “Don’t die, Alphie.” And he doesn’t because Petsmart trains their animals really well. This doesn’t necessarily stop me from constantly worrying that I’m going to take my eyes off him for five minutes and look back to see him floating at the top of his tank. It’s just like having kids, guys.

7.) I haven’t murdered anyone.
Sometimes this feels like an accomplishment, okay? Also, I ran out of things to say.

It’s been a less eventful couple of months than I thought.

Mile 650: The Goal Jeans, Part 2

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“To all the cool kids on my block,
Where’s the original thought?”
–Neon Trees, “Teenage Sounds”

Miles since last time: 63*
Total miles: 650

*Yes, I’ve only gone 63 miles in the last five or six weeks. I’VE BEEN BUSY, OKAY.

Depending on how long you’ve followed this thing, you may or may not recall that I started the Mile Project with pair of goal jeans. I bought them on clearance with the idea that I would someday be able to wear them. They look something like this:

Well, actually, they look EXACTLY like this.

Well, actually, they look EXACTLY like this.

Periodically over the last however many miles I’ve gone in the last two years, I have taken them out and tried them on to see how close I was to being able to wear them.

I quickly discovered that I had somehow managed to find the ONE pair of women’s jeans that had ABSOLUTELY NO stretch.

Eventually, though, I could work them up over my exceptionally meaty calves (thanks, genetics), but not over my thighs (thanks again). Then I could pull them almost up to my waist if I lay down and did a jig. Then I could get them on but couldn’t button them. Then I could button them but couldn’t sit down. Then I could sit down but had to keep my legs straight.

Around that time, I put the goal jeans back in a drawer, thought, I’ll give it another month, and promptly put them at the back of my mind for much longer than a month.

You may also recall that, back in November, I set a 30-day challenge for myself to clean out my closet. If you are at all remotely familiar with my track record for completing 30-day challenges, it should come as no surprise to you that I only successfully finished the closet purge a few weeks ago right before I moved to a new apartment.

As I was going through my clothes, I had one rule: if it doesn’t fit, it gets donated. This eliminated approximately 80% of my wardrobe, but it made the whole process pretty simple.

And then I came across the goal jeans. I pulled them out of the drawer and easily on over my still meaty calves, and was quite surprised to find that I could fit several fingers into the buttoned waistband.

I was also surprised that I still couldn’t sit in them without feeling like I might pop a seam at the knee. Like I said, they are the ONE pair of jeans with ABSOLUTELY NO stretch, and I guess girls aren’t supposed to have meaty calves. I’m making peace with them, though.

I had no choice but to take off that that pair of clearance jeans I bought so long ago and put them into the donate pile.

As it turns out, weirdly enough, my current jeans are two sizes smaller than that goal pair. And I can actually wear them because they have stretch.

So, goodbye, goal jeans. I never got to wear you in public, but we still had some good times. Like that time you helped inspire this blog. Or that other time I tried to squat down in you and you cut off circulation to my lower legs. Sigh…

You may not be my goal anymore, but I’m sure you’ll make someone else very happy. If they don’t mind no-stretch denim.

Mile 587: An Introvert’s Guide to the Gym

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“I spent my life becoming invisible.
It’s hard to maintain, and it’s hard to get by.”
–Neko Case, “Nothing to Remember”

Miles last week: 51
Total miles: 587

One of the good things about the Internet (that seems like an oxymoron) is that I feel like people generally better understand the difference between introverts and extroverts. That, or the Internet really only exists so that you can validate yourself and I frequently peruse the geek board on Pinterest, which sometimes has pins that tell you it’s okay be an introvert–pins like this one:

Basically, introverts are introspective, watchful, quiet, and need alone time to recharge. This, of course, causes a whole host of problems and assumptions that are slightly beside the point right now. What we’re talking about today is how being an introvert can affect your gym time.

That’s right. There, unfortunately, can be a social aspect to working out. There are people there. And sometimes they try to talk to you when you’re huffing and puffing and generally being a disgusting, sweaty mess. It’s madness.

If you’re an introvert like me (I know–you’re completely shocked to discover this personal detail about myself), then social interaction takes a bit more energy than it does for extroverts, whether you realize it or not. At the gym, though, you need every bit of energy you have to concentrate on burning those calories and not dropping weights on your foot. You’re going to have to take some steps to make sure no one else there does anything annoying, like talk to you.

As an introvert who frequents the gym, I am prepared to share my wisdom with you. Just follow these tips to ensure that you have plenty of fortitude to make it through a workout without collapsing from conversation-induced exhaustion.

Buy noise-cancelling headphones.
Nothing says “unapproachable” like completely covering your ears with technology specifically designed to muffle all sound around you. The only bad thing is that they’ll make your ears sweat. It’s also not very fun when you break them and have to duct tape them back together, but your hair keeps getting stuck in the adhesive when you wear them. I heard that from a friend…who is definitely not me…

Pick one machine and stick with it.
If you’re getting up and moving around to different areas of the gym, there is a chance that you will accidentally make eye contact with someone. And we all know what eye contact leads to: acknowledgement of another person that you may have to speak to. Whether it’s a quiet hello or a mumbled apology for almost crashing into him or her, this is a needless expense of energy that you will undoubtedly need if you have any hope of being able to move after a few sets of squats. If you ever squat and fall over, just know it’s because you nodded at that person when he or she walked past you on the way to the water fountain.

If you must move around, make sure you have your phone.
Your phone is a vital tool in evading social interaction. I tend to wait until after I’m off the elliptical or treadmill and on my way to the paper towels (because I’m sanitary and clean off any machine I touch) before I tell MyFitnessPal how many calories I’ve burned so that I can avoid looking at any people–or, you know, where I’m going. I only SOMETIMES run into things, okay?

Just pretend you know what you’re doing.
Whatever you do, DON’T ASK ANYONE HOW ANYTHING WORKS. There are diagrams on the machines for a reason, y’all.

Close your eyes when using equipment.
This will make it look like you are concentrating and working hard on muscle definition when you’re really just trying to stop yourself from glancing around the room and looking like a creeper. On a side note–don’t close your eyes when using the elliptical or treadmill, as this may result in vertigo or personal injury. I also heard that from a friend…

So there you have it. The key to surviving at the gym as an introvert is essentially to avoid eye contact and act like you belong.

Good luck out there, introvs*.

*I’m so sorry. I was trying to make “introvert” cool and abbreviated. I see now that it was a bad idea and deeply regret my attempt at colloquialism.

Mile 2420: Sometimes You Have to Hold Up Your Own Pants

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“Shed this skin I’ve been tripping in
Never to quite return.”
–John Mayer, “Bigger Than My Body”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2420

I made myself a bargain a few weeks ago. I’m not allowed to buy any new clothes until I hit the next big weight loss milestone.

I’m certainly not someone who goes shopping all the time–my philosophy thus far has just been to buy new pants when I need them–but I thought putting it off would be a nice reward for myself.

This would not normally be a problem, but I currently don’t have any exercise pants that fit, as I haven’t needed them since last winter. Capris I have–pants, not so much.

Not surprisingly, this decision against shopping for the moment has come to bite me in the gluteal region.

What follows is a very true story.

On Monday, it was seventy degrees outside. On Tuesday, it was thirty. Gotta love Oklahoma. On Wednesday, I decided I needed to wear actual pants to the gym and not capris.

It’s okay! I thought Wednesday afternoon. I have safety pins and an older pair of drawstring-less pants!

I grabbed that safety pin, tried to jab it through the elastic, and bent the pin beyond usability because apparently the pants are part steel or I have Hulk hands. The jury is still out.

I probably should have recognized this as a bad omen. I did not. Instead, I shoved another safety pin through the waistband, made it work, and went on my way.

Since I started running, my workout has pretty much been a few miles on the treadmill and the rest on the elliptical. My slow weaning from the elliptical is going surprisingly decently, other than some knee pain.

Everything was fine last Wednesday…until about the last two minutes on the treadmill.

I felt a pop. Not a bad, I’m-in-excruciating-pain-and-my-legs-aren’t-working-anymore pop, but an oh-no-I-might-lose-my-pants pop.

That poor safety spin. I imagine that it held on for as long as it could, it’s poor little imaginary hands clasped together as tightly as possible. I assume that I couldn’t hear its pleas of “I’ll never let go!” because I had my headphones in. I couldn’t recognize that it was about to give up. For that, I blame myself.

I may need a min–eh, I’m fine.

I managed to catch the pin before it fell onto the treadmill’s belt and possibly shot across the room. And, friends, I was so dedicated to finishing my jogging miles that I did not immediately run to the bathroom to fix it. I adapted and tried to play it off like “Oh, yeah, I’m walking with my hands on my hips because people do that sometimes even when they aren’t holding up their own pants. Nothin’ to see here.”

When my three treadmill miles were done, I quickly, but not suspiciously, walked to the bathroom with my safety pin and firmly reaffixed my pants.

You know, now that I think about it, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I should just be glad I didn’t accidentally stab my alleged Hulk hands. This bargain is already biting me enough as it is.