On travel and feeling fat

First let me say that I’m not here asking for reassurance about my body. I promise. But I have a confession. Being in Hong Kong makes me feel fat…

This is more of an observation of my own mental processes than me asking for someone to reassure me. I just think it is interesting that I’m thinking these things here, but at home (at least most of the time) I don’t think about it hardly at all.

My guess is that I’m always comparing myself to the other people around me (here and at home), and now that the other people around me are significantly smaller than me, I feel like a giant.

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How do you accidentally run 8 miles??

Things that happened on my run today:

1. It snowed. Not much, but this is Georgia so that’s pretty amazing. My first time running in snow. There were probably all told 5 flakes, but I’m still totally counting that as running in the snow. 

2. I got random cheers from a group of folks handing out fliers to passers-by. 

3. I scared a little girl when I tried to pass too close.

4. I accidentally ran 8 miles instead of 7. I didn’t pre-plan my route and I tried to do math while running, which obviously didn’t work so well. I figure it’s actually ok because I’ll be in China next week and may miss some training runs. 

Half marathon training… week 2

I’m training for the Rockin’ Harbins Park Half marathon in Dacula on April 21. Even for runners from the area, when I say I’m running in this particular half marathon, they get a vague, far-away look in their eyes that says, “I have no idea what or where that is, but it sounds sketchy.” I don’t care. It fits my schedule and that’s all I’m worried about right now. The course could be completely awful, but I’ll deal with that when I get there (I guess). I just had to put it on the calendar otherwise I wasn’t going to get motivated again. But I registered, and I AM motivated, and that’s a pretty awesome feeling. 

Last week I ran 5 miles on Monday, 5 miles on Thursday, and 6 miles on Saturday. I also taught Zumba for two hours on Tuesday, like I do every week. Sunday, out of the blue, I got this urge to give swimming another go. I used to swim in high school. I wasn’t great at it, but I did it. So I put on my suit and headed to the gym to go swimming. It was good to be back in the water, and I think it’s a really good workout for me when I’m not running, especially considering the pounding I subject my body to with running and Zumba. Swimming is smooth. Swimming is, for lack of a less obvious descriptor, fluid. I’m terribly slow, but I really don’t even mind because before I wasn’t even working out at all on the days that I’ve now dedicated to swimming. So it feels like anything I do burns bonus calories, even if it is slow, ugly, and I refuse to do flip turns. 

Flip turn fail. Mine are way uglier. 

This week, I ran 5 miles on Monday. Have I mentioned how good Gone Girl is? WELL, I just got to that part, which… if you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m referring to, and if you haven’t read it, what are you doing with your life?? I ran with my mouth hanging open and I could not even process what was happening. Major portions of my run are completely deleted from my memory. I just ran. And listened. And it was amaaaazing. Tuesday, more Zumba. Two hours. There are a couple of new songs I want to start doing in class and if I ever find time to choreograph again, I’ll have plenty to do. One I want to do is from the latest ZIN video (the Bhangra song). Yesterday, I went back to the pool for a short swim. When I say short, I mean it (650 m), but it’s bonus exercise, so I just have to do better than nothing. This morning I did another 5 miles. I don’t normally run in the morning. I wait for the end of my work day and reward myself for making it through the day with a run. It’s sick and twisted, I know. But that’s the mind of a PhD student for you. But running this morning was pretty good. I’m just tiiiired right now. Saturday, I’m going for 7 miles.

Next week, I’m going to be facing a major workout challenge. I’m going to Hong Kong with my mom, dad, and brother. It’s an amazing opportunity. I can’t even begin to process that one week from tomorrow I’ll be in China, but I guess it will hit me when I get off the plane. I’m totally stoked, but I also can’t figure out exactly how I’m going to keep up with my training.  I can’t even imagine trying to run in Hong Kong on the streets. I’m way too scared to try that. My dad’s apartment has treadmills, I think. So if I have enough time and energy for it, I suppose I’m going to give running indoors a shot. I know I’m going to be zapped for energy though, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be sure to send pictures. My dad and brother are already there and they sent this picture of the harbor. 

Half Marathon… training

So I’ve finally decided on my 2013 New Year’s resolution half marathon that will happen before my summer field work. I’ll be running the Rockin’ Harbins Park Half Marathon in Dacula, Georgia on April 21st. That’s Dacula, not Dracula. I chose the race solely on the basis of the schedule. I don’t even have a clue what the course is like because I wasn’t able to find any info online. All I know is that it’s close to Athens and it happens at the end of April. Ta-daaaa. Race chosen.

I’ve been out of commission for the last few weeks. I’ve either not been running at all, or running very little, so I decided the way to jump start myself back into training was to schedule a race. I registered, so there’s no turning back now (kind of… I actually bought the race insurance, so I could cancel up to a few days before hand with no risk. Shhhh.). Today I ran a solid 5 miles at a decent pace, considering how little I had run in the past three weeks or so. I’m also getting to a reaaaally good part of my new-ish audiobook Gone Girl. This book was recommended by a friend of a friend and it is phenomenal. I highly recommend it.

On a break

Yesterday, I laced up my running shoes again for the first time in two weeks and it was heavy heavy heavy. It took me back to those days when I first started running that I thought two miles was so exceptional. Two miles was something to write home about. No, seriously. I called my mom ecstatic the first time I ran two miles. That was 5 months ago. 

Yesterday my breath was labored, my feet were heavy, my mind was weak. I got home to find tiny little blisters on the tips of my toes. The rest of the day I was kind of a lump. I was proud to have done my 4 miles, but it took me an exceptionally long time to do it, and I was ever so glad when it was over. 

Isn’t it amazing how our bodies revert to old habits so quickly? While I wasn’t running these past two weeks, I was itching to run. Every day I felt guilty but somehow also responsible. You see, I wasn’t running for a good reason. I had to pass my oral exams and that meant lots of studying, not taking the time out to run for an hour and half or more each day. I don’t  know how effective the strategy was, in fact because I always feel more productive when I’m exercising regularly. But I passed! So there’s that.

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Once I started running again, I couldn’t wait to stop. But I’ll be back at it tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it, in theory. The weather should be nice. I’m listening to “Gone Girl” which, omgaaah. So good! Plus, tomorrow has to be better than yesterday, right? I think so.

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I can’t run I have to STUDY

So I’ve kind of fallen behind in my running. That basically means that I missed a total of one running day this week, and I’m thinking about missing a second one today. If you’re keeping count, which I know you totally are, that means I ran ONE day this week, and it was in a race. ML5K, y’all! 26:07!! 2nd in my age group, y’all! I even got an award!!

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As awesome as that race was, it wasn’t enough mileage for that particular day since I’m trying to work up to 7 miles, three times a week at a minimum. So yeah, I’ve racked up a whopping 3.1 miles this week and I’m thinking about sitting on my ass for the rest of the day and not doing any exercise.

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The 5K started and ended at the Athens landmark, Weaver D’s. “Automatic for the people”. So clearly, after the race was over, I had to have fried chicken.

It’s kind of ironic because the reason for my unprecedented lack of willpower for running is actually willpower for another activity, studying. It’s sacrilege, I know, but I have a BFD exam coming up on February 4th that I really have to get ready for. My comprehensive oral exam. Yikes. For those of you who aren’t in grad school are sane, that is an exam where a committee of professors checks to see if I know the things I ought to know about the topic I ought to know a lot about. The way they check this is by asking me questions ad nauseum until I cave and run out of the room crying. I think that’s how it’s supposed to go, anyway.

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My back up plan

I was told that there is no way I can prepare for this exam and that I should just trust that my training so far will prepare me for what will likely be a casual conversation. So obviously I am reading everything I can possibly read and memorizing mundane facts that will likely do nothing to help me on the day of my exam. Oh and I’m freaking out. That takes up a lot of my time. What that means is that running has taken a back seat for just another week. Then I’ll be back with a vengeance. Promise.