Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And the dreams in which I'm running are the best I've ever had

I keep having these dreams. These dreams, in which I’m running. Far and fast and with great ease, I am running. Sometimes, I’m running away from someone, up stairs and leaping from building to building, and at some point I manage to parse my terror and the urgency involved in getting away and I’m able to realize, hey, man, I am really fit, and this running feels goddamn good. Other times, I’m just running, just flying along, my feet barely touching the ground, simply running for the joy of it.

Which is frankly hilarious, because there isn’t much I find as joyless as running. I have tried it, though never for very long, and never very seriously, but I do not enjoy it at all when I do it. It hurts my knees, it hurts my lungs, it hurts my head and it hurts my pride a little to be flopping about and gasping and just generally falling apart. And yet, the dreams.

I am choosing to take the dreams as evidence that there are things I think I cannot do, but which I actually can. Not only can I do them, I can love them. Which things? Er, I haven’t quite sorted that out yet. But I can tell you that right now, I love getting out of bed early in the morning, and persuading Taco up out of bed (more difficult than you might think, what with him being a nocturnal musician type and all) and getting both of us out the door for what has quickly become the best part of every day…our morning walk. We go to the café near our house first, and get a coffee, and then we pick a neighbourhood and walk it and talk about paint colours, and front porches, and wedding plans and road trips and any number of matters, of great consequence and of no consequence at all. And it is awesome, that part of the day, when everything’s fresh and my legs are moving, and the coffee is strong, and Taco’s holding my hand. That feels in real life how the running feels in the dreams.

What else? I’m making it to the gym fairly regularly, and staying for two classes instead of just one. Ninety minutes worth. Which feels great. Though lately I’m noticing my body, in a not good way. I am having trouble seeing it as just another body on the continuum of bodies. I spent a lot of years never really looking my body in the eye, so to speak, and that worked…well, not that well, really. I mean, it was great for my self esteem, of which I have always had a surfeit. But it wasn’t so great for actually looking after myself, you know? I couldn’t fix what I didn’t notice, and I didn’t notice much where my body was concerned. Now, all I do is notice. And it kind of sucks. I was happier, I think, not noticing my batwing arms. Not noticing that while my torso is kind of neat and tidy, my ass and thighs are massive, like the ass and thighs of some other person all together. Today’s unhappy discovery in the gym’s mirror? Gigantic boobs. I mean, really frigging big. Where did those things come from? How have a I managed to avoid giving myself a black eye when I’m doing jumping jacks? No wonder I don’t enjoy running.

Anyhow. Things aren’t as bleak as all that. It’s just that I’m noticing now what I never noticed before and it is kind of shocking. I’ve been told ad nauseum in the past that I don’t carry myself like a fat person, which is probably because up until last fall, I was really good at pretending I wasn’t one.

However. I am. Less fat than I was, to be sure. And dreaming of running, and spending a fair bit of money and time on working out. But still. I am fat, and it’s like 30 years of denial are finally catching up with me. I guess I’m getting in all my adolescent self-loathing now. Lucky me.

I feel better when I exercise, and I’m exercising plenty, which means I actually feel good most of the time. Except for when I see myself exercising in the mirror. It’s so stupid—I feel so stupid having these defeatist thoughts. Though I guess they’re only defeatist if they actually defeat me, which so far, they haven’t.

Which brings me to the plan for the next month, a month that will be fraught with travel and busy-ness. Here’s the schedule: leave Thursday for three nights in Toronto. Then back to Halifax on Sunday, then back to Toronto the Sunday after that for five nights, then back to Halifax for about 15 hours, then into the car to drive to…yep, Toronto. For Christmas. Not the most perfect schedule ever. But I’ve grown to like hotel workouts, and Taco and I have our walking routine, which we’ll keep up while we’re on vacation. I will avoid, as best I can, the meeting danishes and muffins, which are basically sugared poison to me. I will drink water and I will walk wherever I can. Right now, as closely as I can determine, I weigh 205.4. My goal is to weigh 205.4 on January 2 when I return from all this meeting and merry-making. Just maintain, that’s all I’m aiming for.

And then, in January, bridal bootcamp begins, and I will sweat at the bony hands of Mean and Crazy. And yea, verily, I will rejoice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Numbers game

On Saturday, the professor and I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op and spent $610. Yes, in case you’re wondering, it is one of my goals to single-handedly keep the economy going. It’s also one of my goals to hate winter less. It’s a tough one, to be sure. Usually, I get through it by watching a lot of TV, reading magazines by the plow load, and making things like banana bread and soup. But when you’re trying to get a calorie deficit going, suddenly, those don’t seem like great coping mechanisms any more.

And so, to MEC we went. The professor wanted a high performance fleece and a puffy vest; he ended up with those, plus a knapsack to carry his laptop around in. I wanted a fleece, high performance or otherwise, a jacket that would keep me warm while doing sportif things like hiking and city walking, and boots that would let me clamber over Nova Scotian rocks like a mountain goat. I got all those, plus a nifty little wool hat.

And now that I’ve spent all the money in the world on outdoor gear, I have to actually, you know, use it. So on Sunday, the Professor and I and a few of our friends piled in the car and drove out to a place called Dover, which is a rocky moonscape kind of place right on the Atlantic Ocean. We hiked over the rocks and through the scrub for about an hour, and it was magnificient. Coldish and clear and so, so beautiful. And made all the better by proper outdoor gear, which, it turns out, makes a huge difference. It seems to me it’s all part of that looking after myself thing that I’m still learning how to do.

And I’m so glad of it. It was fantastic to scamper around on the rocks and feel like my shoes had my back, you know? Amazing to feel like the place I belonged on Sunday afternoon was on the rocks at Dover.

I’ve actually been on a real tear lately, exercise wise, which is great, because I crave it the way I used to crave french fries. I’ve been walking most mornings, and hitting cardio salsa, cardio strip and body bar classes at night. My muscles are pleasantly sore most of the time, and I feel tall, which is a real challenge for someone who stands no more than five foot three in shoes. However. The fucking scale is convinced that I weigh somewhere between 206 and 208 pounds, and have for several weeks. The fucking scale, of course, is a notorious liar. I am inclined to believe it when, once a week, it shows me at 202.3, though why it should be honest then and not any other time is frankly beyond me. I should probably stop weighing, or at least throw a five-pound weight on the damn thing to see if it shows it weighing five pounds, but I haven’t gotten any farther than stepping on the fucker each morning and then cursing it roundly. I will admit that most days I step on it two or three times, not in a row, but in the course of getting ready for the day, and most days it shows me a range of weights between 205 and 208 and THOSE ARE NOT THE WEIGHTS I AM LOOKING FOR.

Perhaps I will purchase an analogue scale, instead. I know I shouldn’t rely on it for all my feedback, and I don’t. I’ve bought new clothes lately at non-plus-size shops, and I am, as I say, enjoying the hell out of exercising. But the scale is part of the progress picture, and mine is really behaving like a bastard these days. It will give me great pleasure to consign it to the trash one day real soon.

Meantime, Basic Training and Kickboxing classes await.