Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny. George Dana Boardman

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 212:

212. I got stuck at that weight, not too long ago. Yep, that was the first thought that came to my mind, BlogLand... Which brings us nicely into tonight's topic: My Fat Ass, and the stir it causes when I clad it in spandex compression wear and trot it around town, gettin' sweaty on a Friday night.

... perhaps that was a little much, all at once. But I will get back to that. I think we shall begin from the beginning of the Thought-Train.

I have been away for a few days. Not really "away", but mentally checked out. My sleep habits are crashing again, life stress has been creeping in... stupid stuff. However, I felt a bit relieved when I saw this quote, yesterday:
"My 'worst' day is better than you on your best day."
And I don't mean that in a malicious way, or even directed at anyone other than Old Me. It just caused me to stop and pause. On my "Bad" days now (like the last few), I still stuck to my healthy eating, I still planned how to proactively get out of the slump, I still looked forward to my next CrossFit session. Even on a "bad" day, my head was still in the game. Old Me, on a good day, could not even fathom these things. Sometimes (just SOMEtimes), you need to cut yourself some slack. You're not going to be perfect. You're human. Despite your best efforts, you may not get to WOD 6x a week, 2x day. Things happen. Life happens. Look at the changes you've made. I eat very little processed carbs now - even on my bad days, I'm going a little extra crazy on the strawberries that are in my house..... Not chips or fries, or chocolate. That, in and of itself, is a victorious battle.
(“The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” David McKay)

Alright. Let's get to today. 

BlogLand, my name is Aja, and it's been three days since my last WOD. 

I didn't feel like running today. I wanted to sit on my couch. I knew that that was decidedly the wrong answer. I laced up my shoes and decided I'd get out there for a bit, even if I didn't do the scheduled 4.5 miles. Needed to get out there. I'm under 80 days before my first Spartan, and the CMC is not far after... My ass needs to get re-focused and in gear. 
However, I think we've entered the "WORK" phases of my Training. Maybe this is really the mental part. Because I'm in better shape, I find that progress notches are getting more difficult to achieve, as well as spaced farther and farther apart. As someone who excels with a lot of feedback and visible achievement, this is getting trickier. My weight loss, while still steadily down, has slowed a bit (working on that), too. Not that I am deterred from my goal(s), but motivation can be hard to maintain, when you don't have those proverbial "gold stars" to look forward to. And it's hard now. LOL. 
Not that it wasn't always hard, in different ways (running 1 minute was exceedingly hard at one point), but now the next things are legit challenging endeavors. For example. It is very possible that in the next six weeks, if I stick to my training schedule, as planned, I will be running long runs that are over 10 miles. I do it because it's hard, and I want to... but no one will ever tell you that 10 miles (no matter how much you enjoy running) is "easy". Or Pull Ups. I'm STILL working on pull ups. No gold star there yet. I'm pretty sure 50% of the world can't do them... but I want to. Must. Keep. Doing. Work. 
Morale of the Story: It's not always "fun". You may go through stretches where it's just a WOD, and the victory is having gotten up and done it. But in the end, it will all be worth it. I believe that, truly, even if sometimes I need that reminder.

Now, let's get on to the more interesting stuff. I went running tonight (shocking. I know.). Incidentally, I was carrying my hot pink mini-mace - a Valentine's present (nothing says lovin' like a self-defense weapon). It was also a refreshing change to be dressed in much thinner layers. It was a balmy 37 degrees here, when I hit the sidewalk. Ohhh yeaaah.... Heat Wave in Vermont!

I started out doing my usual route, but I was fueled with a little mental chaos, and my inner Spartan challenged me to push harder, to clear my mind. Deviating from/adding to my usual route, I starting pushing up a long, slow hill. I should add that I started this hill at mile 2.5 out of a 5 mile round trip. Surprisingly, I charged up that damn thing (go go Gadget, Emotion-Fueled Running!). I didn't stop, not once, for the whole long incline. Although I was breathing pretty hard when I hit the top, it still felt in control. Like, my lungs were on fire, *but* I didn't feel like I was going to die (ahh... the distinctions I make these days... lol). AND, I am happy to report that my legs felt pretty good. Yeehaw. 
Although, I stopped at the top of the hill to wait for the crosswalk. My first rookie mistake. Should've just kept running, somehow. It was a long light, and I had to stop and stand for a few minutes. I was glad for the break, after that ridiculous hill, but then a wave hit me and I assumed The Position. Exercises enthusiasts world-wide are familiar with this pose:
- Bent at waist
- Hands on knees, clutching, white-knuckled
- Head drooping low, between tight shoulders... 
... begin dry heaving (or really try not to). 

Yeah. Because I'm that awesome. There is nothing like standing at an intersection, waiting for a crosswalk light, trying not to throw up. OH yeah. My cool factor is exponential. It's a good thing that I don't so much care what people think, these days (more on that later). 
The crosswalk tweets, and with an "Uuuuughhh..." and a successful round of puke-prevention, I trotted across the street. It felt better to get moving again. Thankfully, this time, it was slightly down hill a little while for recovery's sake. 

I soldiered on at a pretty solid pace. As I hit the last half mile home, I experienced The Event. 

I was tired and sweaty (cut me some slack, I'd just run almost 5 miles, at a good pace and up a hill!), and jogging along. Black, ugly car, packed with 4-5 young idiots of both genders, drives by me. Proceeds to slow down, roll down windows and yell some bullshit about my "FAT ASS," among other commentary. I internally "grr" to myself, but keep running. Isolated incident, right? WRONG. I was the lucky recipient of no less than TWO MORE drive-by hecklings by these jerks. 

First, I have two things to say here. 1) My ass is no longer fat. In fact, it does not jiggle, nor does it look half bad in my compression wear. Big shout outs go to squats for that one. 2) WTF!? Don't you have better things to do?!

Here's the thing, though, BlogLand. Old Me was a big part of my life. I'd say say the better part of my pre-teen-adult life has been spent significantly overweight and varying points of out of shape. When you live that way or grow up that way, you get harassed. While completely ridiculous and unacceptable, to me, it seems to just come with the territory. No one in middle school wants the fat, non-athletic girl on their team in basketball. Yeah. I remember those things. I remember *exactly* what it feels like to line up in that cold school gym, on the red line, waiting while teams were picked, and resigning yourself to the fact that you were going to be last. Oh, and the pinny/jersey thing that everyone would get to identify their team - that wasn't going to fit. Yes, I totally wanted to wear it just around my neck. OH and yes, I will absolutely spend the entire class trying to figure out how to blend seamlessly into this wall, make myself disappear, and avoid the ball at all costs. Maybe, at least then, Their gaze and obvious knowledge of my incompetency, would pass by. 

Yeah. Those experiences don't ever leave you, BlogLand, but they don't need to define you. At least that's what I'm learning as an Adult in Fitness-Recovery. That may be who I *was* (wave at Old Me!), but it isn't who I am. I'm still not in great shape. There are parts of me that jiggle (as I'm sure you're aware after my previous, scantily clad post. LOL), but you know what? They're me. And this Honey Badger don't give a shit. 

Why? Because I know who I am. I know what's important to me. Quite frankly, the opinion of people I do not know, do not care to know, are not in my life, who I probably will never see again, who happen to be driving by the street I'm running on, DO. NOT. MATTER.  

Further, I was out running. You want to talk about my FAT ASS (yes, all in caps, because that's how it was yelled out the window to me), I'd like to see you keep up with my fat ass on today's run. Shall we do that hill again? Maybe we should discuss the WOD I'm in for tomorrow at CrossFit? Guess what? No matter how slow I go, I'm passing EVERYONE on the couch (or in this case, trollin' in their car). 

I'm not going to lie, as a chronic sufferer of FCS (Fat Chick Syndrome), the first time I heard that tonight, it hit me like a ton of bricks and mentally derailed me for 30 seconds or so. I was immediately 13 and in gym class all over again. Or 10 and on the bus. Or 16 and at lunch. Flashback to those feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy all over again. 

The difference is now, I am almost 30 and have learned a few things along the way. Coping techniques, reframing strategies, whatever you want to call them. Instead, I get angry. I get angry for all the kids that are getting bullied. I get angry for all the versions of me that stuck out that kind of harassment, waiting for better days. I get angry for every single person who has had to be the take the stupid bullshit from some insecure projecting bully, and not had the ability to stand up for themselves. I get angry because now, I can see it with clarity for what it is - absolutely unfair and completely unnecessary projection of someone else's baggage. 
That is a lot of Angry Aja. But there's a lot of crazy Irish/Scottish tempers in these genes... we're not exactly know for our temperance. 

Having said that, in my Old Age, I'm also learning how best to handle that. I know that the thing that those bullies want most is your reaction. So don't give it to them. Whether it's the drive-by heckler, or the girl who looks down her nose at you at the gym - don't give them the satisfaction of effecting your life in any way. USE that negative energy that they have pushed out at you, and turn it to your advantage. Tonight, I ran harder. I ran old, insecure, not-feeling-pretty, I-can't-do-this, me right into the ground. 

Why? Because I am chasing down my finish line, and the important people will be crossing it with me and/or cheering from the side of it. The hecklers, whether literal like tonight's car-troupe, or more metaphorical, like the friends who won't support you, or the family that sabotages you, will all be left behind in the worst way - to wonder what they, too, might have been. 

Incidentally, here are tonight's run stats:
Time: 51:34 min.
Distance: 4.74 mi. 
Average Pace: 10:53 min/mi.

I would like to extend a big THANK YOU, to the carful of idiots. You propelled this FAT ASS to my new personal PR of speed, over that distance. I'd yet to break 11 min/mi. for anything over 3.5 miles, and thanks to you and the impetus your infantile idiocy provided me, I finally cracked that. 

I'm off to bed to sleep soundly, knowing that in just a couple months, I'll be crossing a literal finish line - having jumped fire, battled gladiators and all of my own demons - side-by-side with the people that helped me dream it and reach it..... while you, poor car trolls, will be making your next loop around Barre.

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