I was not looking forward to this post. The one where I confess to gaining a pound that I don’t seem to be able to shake, regardless of the fact that there has actually been some follow through in the last two weeks. I have been eating whole grains instead of refined flour as much as possible, with the biggest changes coming at breakfast (corn grits or oatmeal instead of cereal or breakfast pita) and lunch (bean salad or quinoa instead of something in a wrap), since I cook a pretty lean dinner as it is. I have also been doing some strength training a couple of times a week. I even downloaded and customized the yoga app that was recommended to me, though I haven’t managed to try it out yet. After a week of truly concerted effort, if the scale has moved, it has gone up. But maybe my body needs time to adjust to the changes, so I’ll keep at it – I know this is better for me, even if I’m not seeing immediate results (i.e., instant gratification).
The other thing that has come to my attention yet again, via a six-pound gain the morning after 1 cocktail and 1 beer (Happy Canada Day!) is that my body is a freak of nature when it comes to alcohol. I know this is a fact. I know that the morning-after gain affects other people too, especially women. I know that it’s mostly water weight. But with my high triglycerides – very atypical for a woman or in fact any person at the age I was first diagnosed – I am pretty sure that my body just doesn’t process alcohol efficiently, and instead it lingers in my bloodstream as a risk factor for heart disease. In other words, I know in my head that there is a link between alcohol consumption and my genetic predisposition to heart disease. But what I know from experience is that when I drink, the weight just sticks around, even if I am not drinking like I used to, or like I would like to! Nor do I think I have been drinking any more than usual, really, but between patio weather, my anniversary, father’s day, Canada Day, etc etc I can think of a number of occasions when I have had a drink or two in the past two weeks. So I’m going to do an experiment. I’m going to go dry for two weeks in between this post and the next one, and report back to you about whether it affects my weight, when/why I feel like having a drink, and what the best strategies for substitution are. This is good timing too because in about two weeks, my oldest friend will come to visit for a few days, and then I am going to visit my family in North Carolina – both occasions when I am going to want to imbibe. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but better to do so with greater self-awareness.
Meanwhile, I have registered for a weekly 5-7 km trail running class. Gulp. I hope my first session (today!) will not be canceled due to the high humidex, but then again, the last time I ran, I think I got a bit overheated, so I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. I explained to the coaches (weird – I have never done anything that requires a coach before) that I am at the 5 km end of the spectrum, but they were very welcoming anyway, so off I go. I have been trolling the internet and the Ottawa Public Library in search of resources on trail running, and I know from experience now that I am a trail runner at heart. For example, I don’t feel very interested in racing, which seems to be more typical of trail runners than road runners. (I’m such a newb – I don’t even have the vocabulary to talk about all this! Bear with me and correct as necessary!) But I did read something kinda sappy about how races are one of the only sporting events intended to include both elite athletes and folks who are just out to have a good time. That sounded so democratic that I started googling trail races in the Ottawa area. And now I am registered for two of them. Big gulp. The first one is 6.9 km, the payoff for increasing my distance in my weekly running class. The second one is at the end of October, both because I’ll have a friend running with me, and if I have an “event” on the horizon, there is no way I can give up running as soon as I start teaching in September, which I am sure I will be tempted on some level to do. Now if I can just find an event to keep me running outside once the weather gets nasty… And suddenly, I can see the appeal.
The one thing that threw me about the registration process is that as a woman over 160 lbs, I am eligible for the Athena category. Better than what they call the men over 200 lbs: Clydesdales. Since there is absolutely no question that I will not win the bracket for my age, and since there is no hiding the extra 15 lbs I am carrying, and since the name is not a complete insult, I figured why not. But why would they even bother to segregate overweight runners? Are we really just not that fit? I know that my height is about average, and that the maximum “healthy” weight for me is 159, my goal weight. So a woman who weighs 160 is some kind of a goddess because she can manage 5k? Hell, sitting here at 175ish, what does that say about my supernatural running ability? Are the folks in my running class going to size me up as an Athena instead of as a real or regular runner? I also noticed that you can change this designation up until the week of the race, which is a little funny because while I will most assuredly still be an Athena six weeks from now, there is a long-shot chance that I will be less of a goddess by the end of October. Which of course means I’ll suddenly and magically be fit to compete with the most seasoned athletes in my age bracket. But I’m never going to lose these last fifteen pounds if something doesn’t change. So we’ll see what the next two weeks has in store.