fitness

Building Endurance

running-573762_1280Sometimes it feels as though my M.F.A. is just this title that I have earned. I earned it, but then haven’t done what is necessary to keep it. The M.F.A. taught me to be a writer and an academic. Since I’ve been teaching high school full time, I feel like I’ve lost my writer identity.  In fact, I feel as though I’ve lost much of my identity. At one point in my life, I was a runner too.

After I had mini-One Mean, I got a little lost. I lost track of a lot of things. Really though, I can’t even blame mini-One Mean. After I got married, I stopped running to the extent that I was running before getting married, and even my clothes got frumpier and my appearance began to wane. After the child was born, I struggled to get back into shape and even now, I am almost as heavy as I was when I was in the full throes of pregnancy. It’s disgraceful.

Since summer has begun, it’s been really awesome to have the time to reestablish who I am. I have begun to wake up early–I’m such an early bird–to run and then I’ve been bringing mini-One Mean to daycare so I can write. While the writing is rusty and the running is a sludge, it feels so good to rediscover me.

I’ve always worried about not being enough. Not being enough in my classroom for my students. Not being enough for my husband. Not being enough for my kid. Not being enough for my sisters, my parents, my extended family. Not being enough for the world of academia, a place I so desperately want to be a part of. And maybe that’s the issue, maybe I’m too desperate. Too pathetic.

I remember being in middle school and my sister–who is younger than me–being way more popular. She is, by far, the more beautiful of the three of us, and has always had this exotic appeal to both girls and boys. I remember she was invited to some birthday party by a girl in my grade–my sister was a year younger. I was so upset. I asked this girl, who I thought was my friend, why I wasn’t invited. I may not have been cool, but I sure as hell was brave. I would never do that today. Now, I’d just fester as pictures of an event would be posted to social media. She told me I tried to hard to be friends with her and that it was annoying. You’ve got to love middle schoolers and their candid abilities.

That moment always stuck with me (and stung). I didn’t want to come off as pathetic, as too interested. I even played games like this with my now husband. At the beginning of our dating, I would pretend to be unavailable to seem more desirable. The fear of not being enough is one that drives me and as the years have passed since getting engaged, that fear has returned.

Am I enough for my husband? Does he still see the ambitious (and fit) woman? Of course not. She’s been long gone. Though, she may be resurfacing.

This morning I was running along our street. We live away from it all, and I have a perfect 3 mile loop in my area with a mile long street composed of brutal hills. The road with the challenging hills has not been incorporated into my running path, but it will be soon. As I ran, I had to stop to catch my breath and could feel every ounce of extra weight. I could feel the weight on my hips, thighs, and back. All the excess had buried me. My heart was beating hard and trying desperately to keep me alive, getting blood to my organs. It would have been easy to just stop, give up, and walk, but I’m building my endurance. In a week, I’ll begin to incorporate the scary hilly road, and forcing myself to stop less. I also (and I’ve always done this) sprint at the end of my run, so when I entered my house I was panting.

“Are you going to alright?” Hubs asked. He is in great shape. He is very devoted to his fitness because of the line of work he is in, so I’m always a little embarrassed when he seems me after yoga or running.

“Yes, it’s going to be while, but I think I’ll be fine.”

I realized, I really am going to be fine. Maybe my ability to focus and write for hours on end will take awhile to return, but it will as will my ability to feel like the first 3 miles were the warm up.

Before I got married, I trained for a half marathon. I never ended up doing it (cc: my ability to follow through), but I did train in beast mode. I had a buddy who did long runs with me and at my peak of fitness, I could run 8 miles without needing to stop and without feeling like the grim reaper was chasing me. For many, 8 miles is a breeze, growing up as a chubby and unfit child, 8 miles has always felt like a major accomplishment. At one point, I had the endurance. I would get stronger the longer I would run.

I had a similar experience with writing. At one point in my writing life, I wrote a novel. Again, for some writing a novel is easy. I don’t know who these writers are, but they must exist. For me, it was difficult. I too would get stronger the longer I would sit and write.

In the first draft of this post, I was going to ask for tips, and I guess I still am asking (I’m always open to ideas and suggestions about building discipline. I’m not a disciplined person–hence the insane weight gain.) Though it seems maybe when I lost myself underneath the pounds of fat, and lazy evenings with my husband, and the stressful days at work, and the endless hours of being a mother, all I needed to do was keep up my endurance. Keep on digging. Keep on working.

It seems so simple. Doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydration is Key

So last week was my first week with the dietician and the new eating plan. It isn’t really different from how I was eating. It only encourages way more vegetables and a lot less fat. Very logical.

The one thing that has been an adjustment is the amount of water I’ve been asked to consume. My dietician has asked me to drink 9 cups of water. This is equivalent to about three medium-sized water bottles. It may not seem a lot for all you hydrated people out there, but it is a lot for me. I hate drinking water. I never think to do it, and because I have a peanut-sized bladder I oftentimes chose not to drink it.

So last week I started drinking nine cups of water. It was a challenge the first day, and I’m one day from being done with week two on this plan, and I’m still struggling. I will say that I did notice a difference in my body and its general performance within three days of drinking all this water.

I felt reborn. I was all, O. M.G., FH I’m a walking metaphor. I’m all reborn.

I’m just kidding readers, I don’t actually talk like that. Hahaha.

My week starts on Saturday (which is great because the weekend and being home is always bad for my eating habits). On Monday of week one, I was a productive machine. I had graded an absurd amount of papers, created an awesome activity (more on this later), did some hardcore wedding planning, and busted ass in the gym. 

I felt–feel amazing.

When asked if I need to coffee to function (literally to breathe and be alive), I almost always respond with a big caffeinated yes!, but last week my one cup of joe in the morning was more than enough to get me going. In fact, it was more for pleasure that it was anything else.

So aside for being super productive at work and with the wedding plans, I read two books in two weeks, and am almost done with my third.

Who

Am

I

?

As far as the eating has been going, I think I did okay this week. Not as good as week one, but definitely hitting my calorie marks and I added an extra day of working out. Seriously, go me.

You’re probably thinking, oh my goodness One Mean MFA, you’ve been kicking ass and taking names.

Well readers, you’re right. I have been. But that’s not all (for 4 easy payments of $19.99–sorry I couldn’t help myself), I started work on the memoir.

I know.

Ridiculous. 

 A lot of the world’s problems could be solved if people would just be hydrated.

I hope week three is even more awesome.