Saturday, January 10, 2009

I guess I am being chased

For as long as I can remember, anytime someone said something about running, I always made the corny joke "were you being chased?" Because who would run voluntarily, or for pleasure? The very few times I had tried to run I was left with scaring memories of thundering down the street while hearing that jingle over and over in my head...Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle...for all of the 30 seconds I could endure. Then the "stitch" in the side, the gasping for breath. Never mind, back to walking.

When I reactivated my gym membership in September, I of course started with the treadmill. Because walking in place on a flat surface is the best use of a paid gym membership, I mean where else can you walk??? I started at 0.0 incline and about 3.0 mph and I watched every minute tick by til I made it to 20 mins in constant fear that the nylon athletic pants were going to ignite from the friction. After a few days I started playing around with the programs on the treadmill. Stayed at about 3.0 mph but got up to about 3.0 incline and about 30 mins depending on which TV show was on. Never really broke a sweat and had to hold on most of the time in order to get my heart rate reading (since I couldn't find the parts to my 3 year old Polar HRM that had been used less than 5 times).

In October when I started with the trainer, he told me that walking at an incline would burn more calories than running on a flat surface. So one of my new goals was to increase my incline as well as speed and duration. I now walk comfortably at about 3.3 mph and easily 7.0 incline. When I push myself I can usually stay between 8.5 and 10.0 incline for 10-15 mins. The fear of ignition has greatly lessened. So I'm feeling really good about the walking. Now what...

Well, no one was chasing me, but I figured I might as well try to run. It just seems like something you are supposed to do when you are at the gym. Side note: I had found my HRM and was now wearing it religiously. I think this was sometime near the end of November. I was walking along on the treadmill at about 3.5 mph and I was ready for more. At this point it was either run or speed walk, and me speed walking would have looked even more stupid than me running. So I looked around to make sure everyone around me is wearing headsets of some sort-- Good, hopefully they won't hear the thunder. And she's off....for about 15 seconds. I eventually worked up to running 1 min and walking 2-3 min intervals. But I still didn't like it, I watched every second tick by. I had to talk myself through it. If I was wearing earphones I was usually listening to a TV show. I would try to cheer myself to make it through an entire commercial...ok, now 2 commercials...but I just couldn't seem to get motivated enough. I still hated running, I still wasn't being chased.

In my husband's family, we do a name exchange between the adults for Christmas, and we also submit a wish list. I had decided a few weeks before that I really wanted an MP3 player of some sort. All I needed was music, nothing fancy with phone or video. So I put an iPod Shuffle on my wish list with a few other things. I told myself that if I didn't get one as a gift that I was definitely getting one after Christmas. So of course I was very excited to unwrap a hot pink Shuffle and $15 iTunes card. As soon as we got home from traveling, I wanted to load music on it. I am an iVirgin and am iClueless. I knew nothing about iTunes. I figured it out and loaded 15 songs. I searched for hours to find high energy, 130+ bpm songs. I loaded stuff from Katie Perry (Hot N Cold--great!), Beyonce (Single Ladies--love it!), Christina Aquilera (Keeps Gettin' Better--superbitch!), and Flo Rida (Low---who???). After listening to the soundtrack from the Aladdin movie and the Dora CD 800,000 times in the car, I was soooo ready for some "adult" music. One day I had it on when the kids were napping (I think they were napping, I couldn't hear them...), and I folded and put away more laundry in 30 minutes than I usually can in 2 hours.

I'm still struggling with where to put the cords, inside the shirt sleeve, outside down my back, I don't know. But I am really enjoying having it on while I do my cardio. I have to keep reminding myself not to sing out loud. It makes the time go by easier and usually faster. Having the constant supply of high energy songs really keeps me going. Trying to walk, bike or use the elliptical to the beat keeps the pace up.

One day last week I was on the treadmill doing intervals of high incline walking with flat incline running. Alternating about 2 mins walk with 1 min run. I kept trying to increase the run to 2 mins, but it seemed like there was a wall around 1:40 that I couldn't get over. I LOVE the song So What by P!nk. I selected it on the player...this is the last run interval...I'll go as long as I can. Then it hit me, I AM being my big ass! And so many other things in my life...the never-ending laundry, the daily last minute what-are-we-having-for-dinner question, the morning rush because I didn't prepare enough the night before, the constant intention vs. perception communication struggle.....Run, Forest, Run. So I dropped my shoulders, lifted my chin, picked up my heels, and ran. It was almost effortless. I was mouthing the words to the song like I was on stage and never looked down at the timer. The song ended and I dropped back down to a walk. No stitch, no gasping for breath. Yes, I was out of breath and needed a drink, but it was controllable. I now know that I ran for 3 min 34 secs. I was as proud as if it had been my first marathon.

My dear friend, who is doing an incredible job in her personal fight, told me the other day that she can now run 10 mins straight. So that is my new goal. I guess, in a way, I'm chasing her big ass!


  1. I laugh so hard when I read your blogs. You are doing so well and you keep me motivated. You can chase my big ass....but I am keeping on running....just at a 0 incline!

  2. Kudos to you for starting this blog! what a great idea for accountability and motivation...two things I lack considerably!! Wow...we have alot in common and I too have begun (again) to fight the battle. I have few years on you, so it is critical that I stick with it this time. Since you started, I will particapate in the "full disclosure" (here goes)
    I am 43 11/12 years old, 5'7" and one size over your heaviest. I also would like to have clothes with no X's or W's!!!!!
    Congrats on your accomplishments and now maybe I will be chasing your shrinking ass!!