Just Workin’ on My Fitness

I have hemmed and hawed and debated and changed my mind about sharing this post, but goshdarnit I’m proud of my hard work and I want to share that with my readers.

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten in shape. Lost a few pounds, toned up my muscles, and I honestly think I’m in the best shape of my adult life.

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Addy actually gives zero effs about whether I’m shape as long as I stuff her face with cookies.

I haven’t really gotten a great reaction to this when I’ve mentioned it to people, and it makes sense. I’ve always been on the slender side, and literally no one wants to hear the thin girl talk about getting in shape. The kinder folks brush me off with dismissive looks and little laughs and the “bolder” people tell me that I don’t understand the true struggle of getting into shape, as if it’s some club that I don’t deserve membership to.

And who knows, maybe I don’t truly understand the struggle like someone else would. We all have our own struggles and approach them in our own ways. But I’ve made some lifestyle changes and worked hard, and I’ve seen the changes in my body.

I really can’t blame them for not seeing the same changes though. They can’t see that my stomach now has real life abs under the squish instead of being pure squish. They can’t see that my legs have gotten more toned and muscular, and they didn’t see me running 2 miles (which is 1 mile more than I’ve ever managed). They have no idea that my leg is more stable over jumps or that I can post without stirrups for a longer time, and they have no idea that when I walk into work without limping from muscle soreness, that is a victory my new muscles have given me.

I’ll agree with those who have told me that I can’t take credit for some of this- I’m genetically predisposed to be fairly lanky, and I still have my early-20s metabolism. But I’ve been cooking healthy food for every meal instead of ordering take-out, staying super active, and drinking tons of water, so I will take some of the credit. To the people who have told me to “enjoy my metabolism” or that it’s “just good genes,” I’d like to point out that my healthy choices have made a difference in my body. It can’t all be metabolism and genes. I’ve chosen to make healthy choices even when it was easier to take the unhealthy route, and I’m thrilled that it has shown in a tangible way.

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Although the genes likely do explain my propensity for ridiculous flailing in any given situation. Probably also explains the pit-stains.

I honestly don’t know what I’m hoping to get from this post- I’m not asking for congratulations or kudos from you all, because Addy has clearly shown her happiness that I’m not as floppy as I once was. I’m not really asking for encouragement either, because I’ve gotten that from manfriend as I’ve kept up with him on a run, and from my trainer as she’s seen me wrangle the Beastly Unicorn around more difficult courses. I’m especially not asking for anyone to diminish what I’ve worked hard for, because I’ve gotten plenty of that in real life as well.

Forgive me if this sounds defensive. It’s not meant to be. I suppose that the real reason I’m sharing this is because I have made such amazing connections with so many of you, and friends celebrate their accomplishments together.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to talking about the ups and downs and successes and setbacks of a working ammy. But today I’m going to take a deep breath and smile at myself a bit and eat a GIGANTIC freakin’ bag of Doritos because GOSHDARNIT I’M SO SICK OF CHICKEN. And I hope you’ll be eating Doritos with me in spirit.

PS- Thank you times a million to Jenn from Stories in the Saddle, who encouraged me to celebrate and write whatever the heck I feel like and forget the haters 🙂

What’s worse than a worm in your apple? Running.

Manfriend did a bad thing. Or maybe it was a good thing. Or maybe it was me who did the bad good thing.

Let me start over.

There are two things you need to know about me: (1) I hate working out of any kind, and (2) I think running is the worst form of working out ever invented. My view is that maybe I’d run when I’m chased, but finding a good hiding spot would probably be more useful.

Sure I like the idea of running, in the sense that people are always saying what a stress buster it is, and running clothes are totally cute. But in execution? I start heaving after a half mile. You can just forget about a full mile; it’s not happening.

But I read an awesome blog post over at ShannonFromScratch the other day and it got me thinking. She didn’t try to make running sounds like some amazing problem solver, but instead as a challenge and an accomplishment. I could really relate to what she was saying and that’s what sold it to me. I don’t have to drink the Kool-Aid and become a marathoner. I can find my own balance that works for me. And maybe it really would be a good thing for my health and my riding (as an added bonus, it would shock Father Dearest when he heard that his oft-sedentary daughter was moving on her own two feet voluntarily).

So here we arrive at the good/bad thing I mentioned earlier: manfriend asked me to go running with him on Friday. And I said yes.

Kicking and screaming and bargaining over how far we’d go, I said yes. He had too many arguments for why it would be good for me (get me in better shape for riding, help me sleep better, get those dopamine levels up), and when that seemed ineffective he told me that he hates running alone. Guilt trip, ticket for one. His persuasive powers combined with the perfect timing on that awesome blog post sold it.

Sneakers donned and rarely-worn workout attire on, we set out the door. My commentary started up as soon as we hit the sidewalk:

“Aren’t we supposed to walk for a while? To warm up or something? I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to walk more. And we’re definitely supposed to walk around corners. Blind spots and center of balance and such. Do lungs normally make that sound? High impact activities aren’t good for my knees. My hands are cold. My nose is running. Are we almost done?”

All that before we even hit a quarter mile.

With the patience of a saint, manfriend pushed me when I slowed down and encouraged me when I kept up. He kept me out there just past what I thought my limit was and then let me catch my breath. Seriously, he’s the best. And you know what I thought about the whole thing?

It was just as bad as I knew it would be.

Nah just kidding, it was fine. Despite the wheezing and the cramps and the goshdarn freezing air in my lungs, I survived to blog another day. Did I love it? No. Did I feel like I had accomplished something really cool when we were done? Abso-frickin-lutely.

I might even go run again with him sometime.

Are you a running aficionado, or do you loathe it entirely? Any tips to make this whole “running” thing more bearable?