Categories
Food Running Weight Loss

No Day But Today and Other Overused Phrases

Sometimes you attend a Seder dinner and sample all 12 kinds of unleavened cookies in solidarity with the Israelites. Sometimes you opt for the lobster roll and chips in lieu of the salad once you learn your Oyster Bar dinner is being expensed. Sometimes you spend a winter weekend in beautiful New Hampshire with access to unlimited cupcakes, mayonnaise and red wine, stuff yourself silly and then roll your way to the fireplace to capture what I can only imagine is a 1980s propaganda poster for Mormonism.

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Sometimes all those things happen in the course of a single week. Sometimes you awake on Friday morning to find your favorite skinny jeans don’t fit. And sometimes you have to break free from a familiar sentence structure and just stand up and say it:

Hi, I’m Anne, and I have a moderation problem.

I feel like a fraud: I’ve been touting the merits of moderation in this space for well over a year. Don’t believe me? I have the MLA-style bibliography to prove it.

“As (I would have said Winston Churchill, not google says Petronius) once said: Moderation in all things, including moderation. That, and always eat two lobsters at the seafood buffet.”

Source: ‘New York City Weight Loss.’ Web. 31 Jan. 2012.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say again: Just like you have to make some sacrifices in your life to be a great runner, you also sometimes have to make sacrifices in your running to have a great life. Moderation in all things, including moderation.”

Source: ‘We Can’t All Win Trophies, Baltimore.’ Web. 4 Feb. 2013.

“As I always say, moderation in all things. Except crepe cake.”

Source: ‘Marathon Weight Gain.’ Web. 14 Nov. 2012.

(But seriously, MLA, do we really still need to write “Web” in our citations of online information? Might be worth revisiting. Just saying.)

I know deep down inside that moderation is paramount when it comes to healthy eating as well as running, and I preach its merits every time a friend asks me how she, too, can turn her unhealthy life around. “Portion control,” I say. “Calculated caloric intake.” “Picking a running schedule and sticking to it.”

Every word of that’s true, but when it comes to my actual life, maintaining moderation is still a struggle. Every. Single. Day. I wake up each morning with the best of dietary intentions: oatmeal for breakfast, a homemade lunch, a reasonable dinner with friends, topping it all off with at least 30 minutes of exercise and 7 hours of sleep. But then a co-worker leaves cookies in the kitchen, or my reasonable dinner turns into alcohol-fueled karaoke, or I forgo my Friday morning 4-miler to sit at my laptop in a towel and write this blog post. I mean, hypothetically, on that last point.

It’s time we all admit it: maintaining a healthy lifestyle every day is HARD work. And it never stops being hard work. Losing 30 pounds in 2011 was difficult, but working every day to maintain my new weight two years out when all I really want is another co-worker cookie is a constant battle. There’s a reason two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese: it’s easier than maintaining perpetual moderation, especially when there appears to be sugar lurking around every corner.

Courtesy of my mother, the accidental crafter.
Courtesy of my mother, the accidental crafter.

But while repeatedly falling off the wagon can be frustrating, the wonderful thing about signing on to be healthy for life – not just from now until beach season like some fad-diets would suggest – is that you can always get back on. I used to go on flash diets, mess up one night with a late night slice, and then throw in the towel and revert to my old ways. But when you’re thinking long term (i.e. forever), it’s a lot easier to forgive yourself for your occasional (alright, frequent) nutritional indiscretion, because you know the next day is always a new day. You can’t maintain weight loss by ordering a basket of fries at every post-workout brunch, but you also can’t harbor guilt for days on end every time you slip up and do.

I recently found myself forgetting this key ingredient in weight maintenance – self-forgiveness – but an old family friend sent me an email to set me straight. He wrote:

“Heed your own advice: ‘All things in moderation, including moderation.’ Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your inner slacker every once in a while. And never forget that while the early bird gets the worm, it’s the second mouse who gets the cheese.”

Thanks, Vaughan. I may have skipped my morning run – meaning I already slipped up and it’s not even 9 a.m. – but at least I didn’t get crushed up death. And when it comes to a lifetime of fitness, every small victory is one worth celebrating.

Happy Easter, everyone! How are you planning to maintain moderation this holiday weekend? (“Poorly” would be the answer I’m looking for.)

Categories
Uncategorized

The Dreadmill and Me

There are people in this world who swear by treadmills, and while I mean no offense by this, I assume they’re the same kinds of people who swear by lima beans and child trafficking and cats.

I realize running on treadmills has its benefits – pacing, convenience, climate and built-in Property Brothers marathons if you time it right – but for me, with the exception of my Liz Lemoniest moments, I’ve never seen the appeal.

I could spout a list of Runner’s World-approved problems with treadmills, from the lack of wind resistance to the disintegration of proper running form, but my problem with treadmills doesn’t actually have a thing to do with biometrics: I’m just scared to death of them. I fell on one once as a child goofing off in a department store, and just the sight of them brings back memories of skinned knees and the faint smell of scorched rubber. Not my fondest memory. (This is.)

Smooch the pooch.
Smooch the pooch.

Fortunately, with my apartment situated just blocks from 843 acres of city-owned park and the vast majority of this winter’s snowfall arriving on my already-scheduled rest days, I haven’t had to step foot on the old belt-o-fear for twelve months and counting.

Flash forward to Monday night – or two days before the start of spring – when I arrived home at night to find this blanketing my neighborhood:

I live in a Windows 95 screensaver. I also steal jokes from Kat.
I live in a Windows 95 screensaver. I also steal jokes from Kat.

The next morning, I had three miles on the schedule, and with a solid inch of slush still lining the sidewalks of the Upper East Side, I vowed to do the unthinkable: I decided to run those miles on the treadmill instead.

As I bundled up, trudged to the gym, de-booted and made my way up to the cardio studio, my apprehension grew. You’re terrified of treadmills! I thought. What are you doing, woman?! I looked at my old elliptical friend longingly, then stepped onto the treadmill, cranked the speed up to 7.0 and prepared to get over my years-long fear of the running monster machine.

The first 10 seconds were fine. The second 10 seconds were fine. Then the third 10 seconds saw the treadmill suddenly lurch forward and convulse, throwing me off the back and onto the lap of the startled rower directly behind me. “Hmm, must be broken. That usually doesn’t happen,” the personal trainer walking by me said. Really? That usually doesn’t happen? What other pearls of wisdom can you offer?

He kindly unplugged the machine and donned it with an “out of order” sign, and then suggested I grab one of the other free treadmills to continue my workout. I laughed.

Luckily, Sir Elliptical was still going stag, so I picked up my headphones, backed away from the treadmills and decided once and for all: when it comes to workout routines, perhaps you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

Or maybe you can.

'Open the sun woof!'
‘Open the sun woof!’

Are you a treadmill runner? What do you see as the benefits? Handsy dude on the rowing machine, I already know you’re a fan.

Categories
Races Running

Mark Your Calendars

My family is healthy, my own health is good, my job is rewarding and last weekend, I got all the smooches a lady could ask for. And by got, I mean stole. Some girls don’t give it up so easy.

...always have to steal my kisses from you...
…always have to steal my kisses from you…

But while dozens of things in my life may be going right, I can still find the little things getting me down from time to time.

Like when you go for a 5-mile “pace” run and can’t seem to get below a 9-minute mile. Or when NYRR double charges you the Scotland Run registration fee. Or when after all your canvassing, in a surprise ballot casting, you’re suddenly not selected as the next pope.

Two out of three of those things happened to me today, and I’m not going to lie: they put me in a funk. And not the music-genre-that-originated-in-the-mid-late-1960s-when-African-American-musicians-created-a-rhythmic-danceable-new-form-of music kind of funk. (Thanks, Wikipedia. I promise I’ll donate to you some day.) The bad kind of funk.

Fortunately, the world is a strangely serendipitous place, and sometimes just as you need a pick-me up, one comes your way.  For some people, it comes in the form of a papal nomination. For me, it was this:

marathon2

That’s right, folks. Superstorm Sandy and all, I’m in! See you on Staten Island on November 3.

What good news did you get today?

 

Categories
Running Uncategorized

The Honeymoon’s Over

I’ve been in a committed relationship since January 2011, and I hate to admit it here for the whole world to read, but the novelty has started to wear off.

When we first started seeing each other, it was new and exciting and gave me a real purpose for waking up each day. Together, I felt more fulfilled than I had alone, and because of my newfound love, I met new friends and traveled to new places and achieved new milestones I’d previously never even imagined. It brought out a new side in me – an active, determined, sweaty side – and I had originally thought we’d be together forever.

But as my close personal friend Bryan Adams once crooned: ‘I guess nothin’ can last forever, forever, no.’

Yes, I’m talking about my relationship with running. And yes, there’s been some trouble in paradise. And yes, my recent guest blogger Meredith is, in fact, seeing the same guy. What can I say? That dude gets around.

Heck, sometimes all three of us even go out together.
Heck, sometimes all three of us even go out together.

I realize running isn’t really a relationship, but let’s be honest here: it’s pretty darn close. It’s always on my mind, it can be a roller coaster of emotions and – as I’ve recently come to realize – without a concerted effort to keep things fresh, it can unfortunately begin to lose its spark. It also lets me justify eating an entire platter of pancakes for dinner several nights a week. But I digress.

If you’ve asked me in the past two weeks how my running’s going, I probably made up some nonsense about losing stamina in India but about how I was planning to get back on the bandwagon as soon as that last pint of Kingfisher works its way out of my system.

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At face value that sounds convincing, but only if you didn’t also ask me about my regime in January, when I would have told you I planned get back into the swing of things when I started my next half marathon cycle in February, or if you’d asked me in December, when I would have told you I was planning to start up again in the new year.

The truth is, I have not been able to get honest-to-god excited about running since October 28, when I crossed the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon, was handed a banana, a medal and a Gatorade, and was corralled into a cage, or so this photo taken by my father would lead you to believe.

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Sure, I’ve logged some miles and even a new 15K PR in the four months since, but I also skipped my first registered road race ever and hit the morning snooze button more times than I’d like to admit. After two years of excitement, running and I got comfortable, then predictable, then downright stale, and now we find ourselves in our very first rough patch.

But I’m not prepared to just sit idly by and watch this once-fulfilling partnership fizzle. No, sir. I’m going to take a page from every romantic comedy I’ve ever seen and try to rekindle the flame before it’s too late. If Meryl Streep can do it – and look flawless trying – so can I.

I started my efforts last Saturday. Traditionally, my long runs take me around a few solo loops of Central Park, but with that view getting a little too familiar, I opted instead to run down the East River, over the Queensboro Bridge and through a total of three boroughs before breakfast. I continued to shake it up this past Friday, doing a brief interval workout at my high school track during a stopover in Baltimore, and again on Saturday, when I ran nine scheduled miles with a brand new running partner (in a shirt I apparently wear entirely too much.)

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And as my mother and I threw back some Gu Chomps around mile 7, I realized I was experiencing something I hadn’t felt in entirely too long a time: I was out on a run and I was actually having fun. Partially because we were doing something new and exciting and challenging together. But mostly because we were laughing at my silly brother and his unorthodox choice of weights.

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I know a few good runs are not enough to get me out of my rut, but it’s got to start somewhere, and couple’s therapy isn’t really an option. So here’s hoping we can pull out of this thing and grow stronger because of it. And here’s hoping you’ll all be there to toast our golden anniversary in 2061. And here’s hoping I’ll cross the finish line in New York this November with an even bigger smile on my face than after my last marathon. You know: something of this caliber:

You didn't really think I was going to spend three days with my niece and only include one photo on my blog, did you?
You didn’t really think I was going to spend three days in Maryland with my niece and only include one photo on my blog, did you?

How do you keep the passion alive in your relationship with running? Wait, you’re dating him, too?!

Categories
Running Travel

Mowgli Never Ran a Marathon

My healthy lifestyle­­ mantra traditionally centers round five core tenets: drink plenty of water, eat more fresh produce, get lots of sleep, limit my alcohol intake and exercise daily.

My routine in India also centered around five core tenets, but with some minor tweaks: don’t drink the water, avoid all produce, stay up ’til dawn, accept every beer and exercise no restraint, except when it comes to actual exercising, in which case, restrain away.

You caught me: India was terrible for my health and fitness. During my two weeks on the subcontinent, I stayed up until sunrise half a dozen times, didn’t touch my running shoes once and ate more white rice and refined flour than I did in all of 2012. And let’s not forget the Kingfisher. I think we drank that brewery dry.

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Health Tip: Brushing your teeth with bottled Kingfisher instead of tap water is strongly recommended by the CDC. It’s a fact.

Fortunately, health isn’t strictly physical. I’ll be the first to admit that while my two weeks in India wrecked havoc on my bodily self, they had the opposite effect on my mental wellbeing. India may have destroyed my accumulated muscle mass and shattered my hopes of a new PR at next month’s Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon, but I’d argue the trip simultaneously worked wonders for my soul.

And how couldn’t it? For 13 straight days, I was surrounded by good friends, delicious food, welcoming hosts, gorgeous scenery and all the elephants a woman could ask for.

(That’s a lie. I could never reach my preferred elephant quota.)
(Just kidding. I could never reach my preferred elephant quota.)

Back in the states now for three days, I know my stamina is no longer where it should be. Wednesday’s 3-miler felt like a punishment, yesterday’s tempo run clocked in closer to my marathon goal pace and I nearly fell off the elliptical this morning after my jet-lagged knees forgot how to pump.

But that’s ok. Because sometimes, crossing a finish line last is worth it when you get this in exchange:

sky
I love you, Arabian Sea.

When’s the last time your running shoes took a 14-day vacation?