Tag Archives: running

Photographic Evidence of the PART 5K

Hello. Oh, I’m sorry- do I blog here?

You might not know considering I decided to take an unplanned two week sabbatical.

I’ve been a little consumed with all the details of my life. And even though I’ve had multiple entries queued in my mind, the motivation to actually write has been difficult to find.

While my thoughts on this topic are extensive , I want to share a few more photos from my April 9 race. Remember when I talked about a theatrical performance piece featuring a purple spandex clad superhero, a gas guzzler, and a kangaroo? Well, feast your eyes on some visual proof.

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I suppose I was feeling festive enough to pose for a photograph…with a kangaroo…and people I don’ t know. Papa Bear Stanley is cheesing over my left shoulder.

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Apparently the official photographer was creeping on our camera phone photo sesh with my little brother.

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So….the purpose of the race was to encourage alternative forms of transportation in the triad. So of course, the ARCHNEMISIS of the alternative transportation movement is The Lone Rider, a triad resident who cruises around town alone in a gas guzzling vehicle. Apparently, The Lone Rider also has a gas pump for a tail.

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Who are the only creatures in the land that can save our community from The Lone Rider? A purple spandex clad superhero and a kangaroo wearing sneakers, obvi. Yeah, I couldn’t explain the relevance of either character, but their “showdown” with the lone rider was almost too much for me to handle.

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Action shot of the environmental ass kicking. No really, who could keep a straight face during this madness? I kept looking at my brother in shock, expecting it to be a dream.

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But…apparently they are all bros in real life. What a jip

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Downhill is always the easiest.

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(organic!) Post race refreshments provided by Earth Fare. See those bananas? I probably ate about 26626827 of them. And by that I mean 2.

What a great day. Because of the epic Southern rainstorm last weekend, my second race (15th Annual Hospice Hope Run) was cancelled Sad smile. I didn’t schedule a race for today, but I’m thinking about doing a race next Saturday to make up the difference.

Anyway, enjoy these photos until I can summon the energy to fully explain my blogging departure (and finally talk about the sick Melting Pot dinner I ate during my absence.)

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Filed under blogging, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, goals, races, running, walking

Jessamyn Tackles The PART Commuter Dash 5k

In spite of my wallet/camera theft, I was determined to do the PART Commuter Dash 5k yesterday. For one thing, it was free. For another, PART is really focused on promoting alternative transportation methods in the piedmont. In an area which desperately suffers from urban sprawl (in the worst possible way), it’s great to see the transportation authority really start focusing on educating people about alternative transportation methods. I mean, the American South is not renowned for its public transportation options (this can be attributed to a myriad of reasons, ranging from the Civil War to sketchy bus patrons), but PART is definitely making the effort to create a culture of public transportation in an area dominated by single drivers.

Anyway, yesterday’s race took place at Bur-Mil Park, on the outskirts of Greensboro. It was very chilly and it misted rain through the entire race. However, I was determined not to let the weather get me down. Even though I was out late the night before (word to the wise- DON’T STAY OUT LATE THE NIGHT BEFORE AN EARLY WAKE-UP), I managed to wake up before my first alarm.  I was very excited that my dad and brother accompanied me to the race, and even MORE excited when my dad decided to race with me! Since my camera is probably in a Winston-Salem pawn shop( Sad smile), I made my brother take a camera phone photo of my dad and I pre-race:

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You can see that my big teeth smiles were hereditary.

Before the race, there was a veritable theatrical performance piece featuring a purple spandex clad superhero, a gas guzzler, and a kangaroo. No, I’m not speaking metaphorically or telling a riddle. Gabriel wasn’t able to get any photos of the action, but I’ll be sure to post some of the official PART photos when they are tacked on the facebook page.

At the start of the race, my dad and I parked ourselves close to the back of the pack. I wasn’t planning to run this race (“mall-walk” would be a more accurate description), and we wanted to stay out of the way of the serious runners. However, when the starting gunshot went off, I was slightly surprised to see us both weaving through the crowd of slower runners (we tried not to be obnoxious). We kept very different paces, but we both managed to run the last leg of the race. My dad finished about five minutes before me, so now I have a new personal goal- besting my physically fit papa bear.

Also, the race route was beautiful. It crossed through residential northwest Greensboro, and over Lake Brandt. There were some inclines, but nothing too ridiculous- I’m definitely going to keep this path in mind for future bike rides.

However, I’m sure doing this race was a great birthday gift for him- he turned 46 this week, and there’s nothing like physical activity to make you feel young again. Even though, for the record, 46 is the new 36.

All in all, it was a great day. Yeah, it rained through the entire race. But it felt really nice to be up and active early in the day. Earth Fare provided the post-race snacks (bananas and organic pretzels, OH yeah!), and my dad (and brother) and I loaded up on all the free gifts from the race sponsors.

Next week I’m doing the 15th Annual Hospice Hope Run in Winston-Salem, and even though it’s going to be sunny all week, it’s supposed to rain on race day. Oh well. After yesterday, I’m ready to run in every element.

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Filed under couch to 5k challenge, cycling, exercise, goals, parents, races, running, walking

Fat Girl Running- A Letter To My Fellow Gym Patrons and Looking Toward My Future as a Runner

Dear Person Running Next To Me On The Treadmill,

I see you staring at me. You’re not very discreet. I might not be looking directly at you, but my peripheral vision has yet to fail me.

I get it. You’re competitive. You like the thrill of racing next to someone. Trying to run faster than them. It gets your blood pumping, your energy racing. You know what gets my blood pumping?

Running at this pace. Consistently. For several minutes. Without stopping. It makes me feel unstoppable. Even when my breath is waning and sweat is pouring down my back and I’m swearing that I will never step back on a treadmill again. Even when my side starts to cramp. Even when my calves burn like the Fourth of July. You know what doesn’t get my blood pumping?

Competing with you. Just because we’re next to each other doesn’t mean we’re in a running club. And if we were in a running club, I wouldn’t be competing against you: I’m competing against myself. I’m beating my own records, I’m out-timing myself. I’m not tempted to creep my pace up to meet your neck breaking pace (which you can’t seem to maintain for more than a few seconds, but that’s neither here nor there.)

You see, a couple of months ago, running for one minute felt like it would be the end of me. This week, I’m mentally preparing myself to run 20 minutes without walking. That mental preparation is more important to me than any mini-race you want the two of us to engage in.

So keep your eyes to the front, listen to your own breathing, and stop looking at me- I’m not your competition. You are your competition.

(By the way, for the sake of your personal safety, I’m going to assume you’re staring at me for the fun of competition and not because you can’t believe a fat girl can run for so long. If that’s the case, your real concern should be whether or not I’m going to yank out your treadmill power cord when you’re mid-sprint.)

Love,

Jessamyn

Since we’re on the topic of running:

I’ve learned quite a few things about running in the past couple of months. Since I haven’t been doing this my whole life, my learning curve is pretty intense. However, since my personal racing season is about to begin, I’m thinking about a number of things I need to do in order to maintain this hobby after I finish the Couch to 5K Challenge.

running shoe fitting guides1. New Shoes- I’ll admit it, I never thought shoes made that much of a difference. I’ve read countless articles and blog entries where people swear by the importance of proper shoe fittings. I’ve rolled my eyes and thought, “ I can run in these kicks, so what’s the problem? Yeah, it hurts a little, but I can’t afford to buy news ones and certainly not from a running store.”

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Don’t get me wrong- I am very grateful for these shoes. Without them, I would be running in old converses or even older kangeroo sneakers. But after a few months of running, I’ve started to think that I need shoes which actively accommodate for my foot arch. Also, the backs of these shoes rub against my heels in a way that is not very pleasant. And every time I start to think my calves are feeling the burn more than any other part of my body? That could be directly related to my shoe choice. Basically, new running shoes are fairly high on my list of priorities. They might not happen before summer, but I need to meet up with a running shoe specialist ASAP.


go belt2. Road Running Accessories- Another confession: I am scared to run outdoors. As in, I’m truly afraid. I love walking- I could walk to California and back. But running  outdoors freaks me out. I’ve developed an unhealthy dependency to the treadmill. I know it probably sounds weird, but the treadmill comforts me. It might be really boring, but I find comfort in the fact that as long as it is moving, I can’t stop moving. I’m scared to run outdoors because I can just stop running whenever I “feel tired”. If I stopped running every time I “felt tired” on the treadmill, I would never accomplish any of my daily goals. I don’t have a problem participating in outdoor races (probably because there other people present to motivate me), but running alone makes me nervous. In short, I haven’t conquered the mental aspect of running at all. However, I know that the time for me to focus on road running is near- the weather is brightening up, and I can’t stay indoors forever. Plus, if I really want to take my running seriously, I need to take it outside and try out different types of terrain. Therefore, I need to get a couple of accessories to make things easier. For instance, I am always saddled with too many handheld objects– cell phone, keys, etc. I’ve been eyeballing the go-belt for some time now (pictured above), because it’s an obtrusive way to carry all my stuff without causing problems.

running shorts3. New Clothes- I’m pretty happy with my sports bras, and I own about 308710821 tops which are appropriate for most running weather (though I should probably find a good under armour long sleeved top). However, I need to invest in new running bottoms (pants/shorts). Since I’m losing weight and my butt is (and probably always will be) larger than my stomach, I’m constantly dealing with droopy pants waistbands. Further more, I ( like most people who are blessed with hefty inner thighs) have a problem running in shorts because they always rise up into my crotch and I spend the entire run thinking about readjusting the crotch of my shorts. Therefore, I primarily enjoy running in capri pants.

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But it would be nice to have a solid pair of running shorts, especially since it’s getting warmer. But if I’m going to run in capri pants, I need pants that don’t droop down under my belly. Actually, part of the problem (probably) is that the shorts I run in are the same shorts I use for biking– but they’re not even really tight enough to be great biking shorts. However, when I’m biking I don’t have to deal with them riding up in my crotch. Hmm. Maybe I should get some shorts that are already short enough to be in my crotch so I don’t have to think about pulling them down? I know a lot of people think Fat girls can’t/shouldn’t wear shorty shorts, but I’ve never really cared what other people think about my wardrobe- why start now?

Bottom line? If I’m going to get serious about running, I need to get serious about my gear. Any ideas?

Also, speaking of suggestions, I think this is the week I’ll work on transitioning to my self-hosted domain. Basially, any and all words of wisdom are greatly appreciated. Smile

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Filed under blogging, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, fat, goals, races, running, walking

Races 2011, Music For Blogging, and Giveaway Magic

One of the benefits of spending (literally) an entire day in bed is that I’ve been able to spend my time (well, the time I didn’t spend staring at the interior of my toilet) playing catch up. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do is officially plan out some of the races I want to walk, walk/run, and run this year.

After careful consideration and cross checks with multiple calendars, I’ve officially decided upon a couple of different races I’ll be doing this year. I’m going to do more but, like most people with responsibilities, it’s difficult to make plans too far in advance. For example, any races I do during the summer months (June, July, August) will be dependent upon my summer work plans and those are still TBD. Anyway, I’ve listed my ‘definite’ races on the My Races tab- check it out and track my progress!

Also, while my exercise music is important, the music I listen to while blogging is almost as important. It helps keep me focused, and colors the tone of my posts. Just like exercise music, the type of music one listens to while blogging/tumbling/tweeting/etc. is highly indicative of the individual and I’m fascinated by what musical choices say about us as people.

I almost didn’t want to list my favorite blogging music because I thought it would be really repetitive (Sia, Sia, and more Sia), but I can’t get past my own narcissism.

Albums Worth Blogging To and About:

Adele– Live From Soho

Cat Power– The Covers Record

Erykah Badu– Baduizm

Esthero– Breath From Another

Fiona Apple– Tidal

Fiona Apple– When The Pawn…

Jill Scott- Experience: Jill Scott 826+

Portishead– Roseland NYC Live

Regina Spektor– Songs

Sia– Lady Croissant

Sia– Some People Have Real Problems

What music do you listen to while blogging?

As far as giveaways go, it seems the internet is littered with opportunities to win cool new products. Here are two I’m especially stoked about:

The hysterical Elizabeth of On Tap For Today is giving away a full line of skin-care products created by an up and coming Massachusetts based company called Stages of Beauty. The concept of this company is really smart and extremely relevant- basically, as we age, the needs of our skin change. What a 21 year-old woman needs from a skin care product is not the same as a 55 year-old woman. With that in mind, Stages of Beauty has lines of skin-care products which answer the needs of women depending upon their age bracket. Seems genius, right? Well, check out Elizabeth’s post about their products for her review and for more information on how to enter the giveaway. A winner will be selected on February 18th, so hop to it.

Also, Krit over at Healthy Krit is giving away a GIANT Sampler Box of Vitatops. I’m almost hesitant to post about this giveaway because I want to win and I don’t want other people clogging up the entry box Winking smile . However, this is just too good not to share.There are multiple ways to win, and they are listed here on her blog. The giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, February 20th. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 21st.

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Filed under blogging, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, Giveaway, goals, music, races, running, walking

Holy Guacamole: My Weekly Weigh-In, and Eating The SAG Awards- a Movie Buff’s Super Bowl Sunday

Is this where I address my WEEK LONG absence? Is this where I beg forgiveness? Is this where I scold myself for letting the mundane details of my life consume me?

I certainly hope not. Because here’s what happened: I was busy. Very busy. And sick. Fairly ill, in fact. Many things happened during this week long sabbatical from blogging. I’m going to start talking about several of those things in just a moment.

But I’ve already done enough emotional flogging related to my blogging break. I think that in order for me to  successfully maintain this journal, I need to stop giving myself such a hard time about the way I communicate with others. I’m actually quite upset with myself because not only was I too busy to write, I was too busy to read my 21093041787 favorite blogs. Therefore, my google reader is about to hemorrhage from too many exciting blog entries.

However, that’s neither here nor there, and yelling at myself on the internet will not turn back the hands of time.

First thing’s first: in spite of my tumultuous week (which involved a GIRLTALK CONCERT, sinus related illness, and breaking my Couch to 5k Personal records), I managed to LOSE WEIGHT this week. Now, while I’m obviously unbelievably stoked to have had this happen, I think there’s an actual Weight Watchers related lesson embedded in this experience:

ALWAYS WEIGH-IN. I didn’t want to weigh-in today- I was convinced I’d gained weight, and I didn’t feel like dealing with the consequences of my actions. I was in a very low place. However, I told myself that I needed to calm down because how could I change my actions if I refused to even see the results? So I stepped on the scale, totally prepared to see a gain. And I lost. I lost over a pound. But the point is that I was PREPARED FOR THE GAIN. I was ready to take responsibility for my bad choices (yes, super salty cheese enchilada that was SO not worth the ww pointsplus….I’m looking at you).No matter what kind of ridiculous roller coaster week I’m facing, I need to always remember that the proper way to start over is by getting all the facts.

ANYWAY, like I said, this week was very congested (and so was my nose- HAHAHAHA). I made a lot of really interesting food (most of which I didn’t photograph- boo hiss), and I increased my standard pace during week 2 of the Couch to 5k Challenge.

In particular, Sunday night was particularly exciting because it was the live broadcast of the 17th Annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.

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Anyone who knows me is well aware that Awards Season is the Jessamyn Equivalent of March Madness. In other words, Sunday night was essentially my own personal Super Bowl Sunday (yeah, that’s right, I just combined sports metaphors).

In honor of the occasion, I decided to make a lot of party related food for one person (one person because, aside from my mother, I’m the only person I know who is obsessed with awards shows).

I decided to make guacamole, hummus, and a pizza.

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This probably sounds stupid, but I’m 99.9% sure I  had never opened an avocado before Sunday. Yes, I’ve eaten avocado- I love avocado. But for some reason, the preparation of fresh avocado is not a very large part of my life.

The guacamole turned out pretty delicious:

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I used a very generic guacamole recipe, i.e throw avocado, onions, salt, and lime juice into a food processor, but there are a few changes I might make. For starters, while using a food processor is time efficient, it creates a fairly smooth consistency. I prefer chunky guacamole, so I might just use a fork to mash up the fruit next time. Also, using ripe tomatoes is usually tastier than using recently picked tomatoes- as a result, I had unnecessarily large chunks of tomatoes (and I hate tomatoes- ok, that’s an overstatement but you get the picture).

In addition to the guacamole, I made a batch of hummus using canned garbanzo beans. It turned out ok, but the flavor is a teensy bit off to me. This was my first time making hummus from scratch, and for that reason I’m cutting myself a little bit of slack. Maybe it tasted off because the beans were canned and not fresh- the recipe I used said to use some of the water drained off the beans. In all honesty, I think this added to the weird flavor. In general, canning juices are not know for having the most palatable taste. Whatever, the hummus tastes pretty good in wraps and with homemade corn chips. I just need to futz with the recipe a little.

The main event of my SAG Awards Viewing party was the homemade pizza. I’ve been craving pizza for weeks, and I finally had enough time to make a crust from scratch. However, before I started the pizza making process, I decided to fulfill one of my goals: Making turkey sausage from scratch.

Now you’re probably wondering: Jessamyn, what does one put in turkey sausage? Well, for someone who follows directions well and reads recipes thoroughly, the ability to rattle off an exact ingredient list is probably second nature. However, if you’re like me and have the natural urge to do things the hard way, then you probably just eyeballed every spice in your kitchen until you came up with something resembling sausage. I mean, making sausage is basically just handmixing a bunch of spices into a mass of raw beast right?

(my great-grandmothers are probably rolling in their graves).

Anyway, I started with a pound of lean ground turkey. From that point, the sky was the limit. Here’s a sampling of ingredients that made their way into Jessamyn’s turkey sausage:

–cumin seeds

–thyme

–rosemary

–cayenne pepper

–oregano

–onion powder

–garlic powder

–nutmeg

–fresh ground black peppercorns

WAIT A MINUTE. Let’s pause here a moment, and I’ll give you a process shot of my beloved turkey sausage:

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I bet you’re wondering why I just inserted a photo of chocolate chip cookie dough into a blog of sausage making. That’s because it’s NOT cookie dough- do those look like chocolate chips to you? Let’s turn the flash on this baby:

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Yeah, that’s right- my gorgeous turkey sausage was marred by accidently dumping half a canister of WHOLE BLACK PEPPERCORNS into the mixing bowl.

I wish there was a photo of my face as the pepper fell into the bowl. I’m sure it was priceless.

Needless to say, I spent the next 15 minutes individually picking the black peppercorns out of the raw sausage. Yes, I washed my hands often. Yes, I was BEYOND pissed off. But I’m not made of money- there was no way in HELL that I was going to toss out a pound of meat because of a few hundred black peppercorns.

Anyway, after much trial, tribulation, and peppercorn picking, this finally went into my oven:

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And then, miracle of miracles, the crust rose properly! And it was both soft and crunchy. AND I DIDN’T EAT IT ALL AT ONCE (probably the greatest miracle of all).

By the way, the crust recipe I used was my own personal spin on a WW recipe- instead of using 4 1/4 cup ( s ) all purpose flour, I subbed in 2 1/4 cup ( s ) whole wheat flour- partially because of the health factor and partially because of the ‘I ran out of all-purpose flour’ factor. A lot of people are afraid of whole wheat flour, but I think it’s perfectly delicious.

Original WW Recipe:

1 1/2 cup(s) water, warm (105-115°F)

1 tsp sugar

2 1/4 tsp yeast, or 1 package

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp table salt

Jessamyn’s Adaptation:

1 1/2 cup(s) water, warm (105-115°F)

1 tsp sugar

2 1/4 tsp yeast, or 1 package

1 Tbsp olive oil

2  cup(s) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cup(s) whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp table salt

  • Combine the water and sugar in a measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until foamy and lagoon-ish, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil.
  • Combine the flour and salt in a food processor, stand mixer, or with your bare hands (like in olden times- just pretend you are someone’s Italian grandmother). With the machine running (if you don’t feel like busting it out with your hands), scrape the yeast mixture into the bowl; pulse until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. If necessary, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth and elastic.
  • Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; put the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough, then cut in half. Refrigerate or freeze in floured zip-close freezer bags at this point or use as directed in the recipe. Yields 1⁄12 of dough per serving.

I only used 1/5 of this recipe to create my Sunday night pizza. The dough can be used in a lot of different recipes, and I have big plans for homemade calzones later this week.

ANYWAY,

How was your week? If you watched the SAG Awards, were you shocked by any of the wins and snubs (for example, are the various critics associations just pretending Inception never happened? Actually, maybe it was all just a dream…)

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Filed under couch to 5k challenge, food, recipes, verba abuse, weigh-in, Weight Watchers

Jessamyn vs. The Treadmill- Battle Royale

I think I’ve figured out the key to successfully completing the Couch to 5k Running Plan– find a point on the wall, focus on the music pumping in your bizarre ebay earbuds, and DON’T YOU DARE LOOK AWAY FROM THAT SPOT. Since the weather here has been a bit too cold and dreary for a skeptical young runner like myself, I’ve spent the first full week of the Couch to 5k on a treadmill. The treadmill and I have a love/hate relationship.

LOVE:

  • It never stops moving, even when I want to quit and never start again.
  • It allows me to maintain a steady pace.
  • It tracks my distance and heart rate, as well as making the presence of an additional clock unnecessary (More on the terrible horrors of exercise clocks later).
  • It is indoors and, you know, not outdoors in the rain.

HATE:

  • IT NEVER STOPS MOVING, EVEN WHEN I WANT TO QUIT AND  NEVER START AGAIN.

Actually, one of the things that requires some adjustment by me is the need to look at the clock. Typically, when I’m using cardio exercise machinery, I always cover the timer with my towel/sweatshirt. However, because the Couch to 5K program is based upon timed running intervals, I need to keep an eye on the clock. Honestly, I find clocks to be really distracting- they make me very conscious of my activity level and it’s more difficult to lose myself in the exercise. Therefore, I’ve had to come up with a few tricks to not become distracted by the time.

One of my tricks is to focus all of my attention on one particular spot on the wall in front of me. Usually it’s a knick in the bricks. I’ll just train all of my attention on that one spot so I don’t lose my focus. While I’m doing that, I also try to soak myself in whatever song is playing. The best case scenario is that my running and breathing fall in a steady time with the music, and I barely notice what I’m actually doing.

Verdict? Actually, this week did not go so bad. Don’t get me wrong, there were some REALLY unpleasant moments- like when my side started cramping on the first day. But by the end of today’s workout, I felt really good about myself and about my activity level. I didn’t feel like my heart was bursting out of my chest or that my legs were going to fall off –actually, I’ve yet to feel either of those things. Mostly I just feel distracted- feeling distracted leads to feeling “too tired to continue”. But once I catch my focus, there’s no stopping me.

Also, I lost 2.1 lbs at my weigh-in this morning. I feel good about that number, especially because I would like to maintain losses at that rate and I think 2 lbs/week is not setting my sights too high. I am fully aware that some weeks I will lose quite a bit more, and some weeks I’ll lose much less (and some weeks I might gain- blegh), but I’m trying to only focus on the present. And in the present, I feel pretty damn good.

Tonight will be me and Gabriel’s second WW Meeting together- I’m really excited to see him, and hear about his week. Maybe I should get stickers and we can give each other sticker prizes? Or maybe we’re too cool to engage in those reindeer games. Nah, we’re probably not too cool- I’d better stop by Michaels on the way to J-Town. Winking smile

Also, OH MY GOD- Right after I blogged about the awesomeness that is my Jack Lalanne juicer, DISASTER STRUCK!

I am fully convinced that the death of the Jack Lalanne juicer has everything to do with user error. I was in a rush, and put the pieces together incorrectly which resulted in a juicing catastrophe of epic proportions.

Ok, maybe not epic- but there was a very odd smell, a cracked juicer base, and lots of drama to behold. Anyway,

juicer R.I.P.

I will always love you, power juicer. Thank you for being a friend.

Until I can afford to buy a new juicer (or a VITAMIX– fingers crossed), I’m making things work with my pre-power juicer standby, The Juice Man.

juice man juicer

Source

I was lucky enough to find this juicer at a yard sale a couple of years ago, but it’s been stored at the back of my cabinet for quite some time. I love this machine, but do you see that plunger tucked into the chute? Yeah, that’s been missing since the day I bought it. Missing plunger=mangled kitchen spoons doubling as a plastic plunger. Yeah, I need to find a better substitute stat before I run out of makeshift plungers.

However, here’s a picture from my beloved power juicer before it kicked the bucket:

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It may just seem like the remains of a carrot/orange/pear juice to you- but to me, it’s a beautiful rainbow.

(Ok, I’m starting to sound like a nut job.)

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FAT Attack: Being Fat in the Gym

(STOP: By reading below this disclaimer, you are allowing yourself to read a stream of conscious and potentially nonsensical rant. You were warned.)

So I planned to do a whole post about days 2 and 3 of the Couch to 5k  Challenge– I was also going to give updates on me and Gabriel’s joint venture to complete the 200 sit-ups training program. However, though I am a truly shameless narcissist, I need to put my self-indulgent updates on hold to talk about something which involves more than just me and my exercise demons.

(Ok, I can’t help myself: 200 sit-ups is going surprisingly well, and Couch to 5k Challenge…well, I’m still hammering through it.)

Part of why I think I need to broach this topic has to do with one of my favorite podcasts. Two Whole Cakes Fatcast features two Fat Acceptance Titans (Marianne Kirby and Lesley Kinzel) discussing a multitude of issues which affect fat people on a daily basis. As a life-long fatty who has quietly chugged away in a fat-hating world, listening to Fatcast is basically like listening to Potterwatch (just as a warning, that’s probably the least nerdy Harry Potter reference I’ll ever make, so prepare yourself).

By the way (just for the record) I am a serious Two Whole Cakes fangirl. Having a fat body has reached the point of true political activism, and I salute anyone who is willing to use their body as a vessel for change.

Anyway, one of the first Fatcasts is about being fat and exercising- more specifically, every underlying issue related to physical activity in a fat body. Since I’m on the smaller scale of fat, I won’t pretend to speak for those who experience a level of discrimination which is fairly foreign to me. However, I am very familiar with how shitty it feels to be the largest person on the row of treadmills. This was made even more relevant to me in my spin class earlier this weekend.

First of all, excuse my French, but I fucking love to spin. It can be very physically exhausting, but the emotional rewards transcend words. However, this particular spin class whipped my ass. Maybe it was because I wasn’t engaged with the music (I’m sorry, but THE EAGLES? Who wants to spin to that?!). Maybe it was because I couldn’t seem to get my bike set up properly, therefore making it impossible for me to hop out of the saddle properly (and trust me, 60 minutes in the saddle is enough to make even a seasoned spinner contemplate death). For whatever reason, Thursday’s class made me want to punch someone and I’m sure my negative ‘tude was written all over my sweaty face. However, the instructor (and every other 50+ year old Lance Armstrong wannabe in the class) looked at me like I was the baby rhino trying to make its way through the Jumanji stampede- it’s this “look at the fat girl try to do what we’re doing” expression that makes me (ME, ANGRY PASSIONATE JESSAMYN) feel both angry and defeated.

That feeling of judgment and defeat is why my fellow fats have been taught to fear the gym, or any other form of organized exercise. Because it’s nearly impossible to forget the traumatizing grade school physical fitness tests, and the mortifying waits to be picked last for kickball.

And while I implore all those who judge to get the fuck over themselves, I really want to tell my fellow fats that it’s not all bad. In general, as much as we like to think everyone is staring at us, the gym is one of the major places where narcissism is not only accepted, but widely encouraged. Therefore, it’s highly likely that no one is watching you lift weights or run or bike. No one gives a toss, because your gym buddies-to-be are too busy worrying that everyone is looking at THEM. That’s issue #1.

Issue #2 is that your life and well-being should not be compromised because of widely accepted insecurities. Exercise can be really freaking fun. Judgement sucks out all the fun. Find a source of happiness and pleasure that has nothing to do with the judgement of others. It would be ridiculous for me to ask anyone to stop thinking about the opinions of others- it sucks to have people think mean thoughts in relation to your life choices, and the judgement of others affects us all.

However, if you can find a source of happiness in the gym which involves only you (and not your exercise demons), the pay-off will be more than worth the effort.

Also, RIGHT AFTER I BLOGGED ABOUT HIM, Jack Lalanne died today (1/23/2011). RIP, Papa Jack- I’ll enjoy a juice in your honor.

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