Monday, November 20, 2006

Keeping Up with the Joneses (and Everyone Else who is Faster than Me)

There are a couple of things that I’ve been noodling around lately and want to discuss in this post; so unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to have a smart, witty theme like I usually do. Haha! So please, bear with me.

First of all, lately I have been extremely focused on my weight. I haven’t lost nearly as much poundage as I wanted to over the last few months and I get very frustrated when I think about how active I am compared to years ago when I was thinner. Working out and running have become important in my life and while I still slack from time to time, I have had a pretty solid year of increasing my fitness level. And yet, not only did my weight go up at one point, taking off even 10 measly pounds has been a struggle.

So, I was getting angry about how focused I was on my weight "issues." Why is it that I can section off my life into periods of time when I was “fat” versus periods of time when I was "thin" (often coinciding with adjectives like “bad” versus “good” and “sad” versus “happy”). But I won’t go all psychoanalysis on you. Then I realized that for much of my life, I have been on a diet and eating with the mentality that I need to lose weight… and, what’s more, when I do eat poorly, I go completely overboard because “I’ve already messed up anyway.” With the holidays quickly approaching, I was in the process of devising a “game plan” about how I was going to sidestep Thanksgiving dieting traps knowing that all of my best intentions would go out the window when stuffing and pumpkin pie were starring me in the face. Then what? I would just feel bad.

That’s when I decided. I am done dieting. I am done measuring portion sizes. I am done having “bad days” where I eat about 5,000 calories. I am going to simply eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full and, overall, strive to make sensible choices. If nothing is off limits, then nothing I do can mean failure. So that’s my big revelation. No more dieting. No more worrying constantly about my weight. No more focus on food. I am sick of it. I’ve been doing it for at least 15 years, and I think that’s definitely enough time to obsess over one thing. I am hoping that with this realization/revelation/resolution, I can affect the kind of mental shift in my brain that took place when I quit smoking.

Next thing... training got back on track once I came home from my very long business trip. On Saturday, after getting approximately three hours of sleep (that’s another story and no, it does not involve alcohol or boys), I managed to kick my butt out of bed at 6:30am for a six mile run with my training group. It went really well, so I will continue to run with the 11:30 pace group and see how seven miles goes.

Today, I had a 45 minute run on the training schedule. My sister decided to do it with me and it was nice to have the company. But, as I mentioned above my pace is about 11:30 for longer runs, hers is about 10 minutes. I kept up with her for about three-quarters of our run.

It took a lot for me to admit that I needed to drop back—not quit, mind you, I probably ended up 30 yards behind her at the end of the run—but when my competitive instincts kick in, I hate being the one who can’t hang. But, I dropped back and told myself that she has been running much longer than I have and that my pace now is whole minute and a half faster than it was three months and that’s a really significant improvement. Chances are, if I don’t hurt myself (say by pushing what I'm physicially capable of too hard and too fast), I will only continue to improve. And I reminded myself, again, that this is not about racing anyone else, but myself. It's all about me... it always is.

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