Well, it’s been a year now that I’ve been writing this blog for Losing it in Ottawa. I am not sure how helpful reading it might be, but writing it has forced me to check in with myself every two weeks and often gives me a sense of accountability. I think I have a couple of regular readers, whose comments I appreciate more than my lousy response rate would indicate. But let me give a little recap to mark the occasion. I’ve lost about 24 pounds in the past 13 months, and thanks to C25K, I’ve gone from running one minute at a time to running 5-7 km at a time. For the past few months, I have been losing weight verrrrry slooooowly, and since I feel so much more fit, it’s been hard to pressure myself into taking things up a notch. So I’m giving myself another year to see whether these last ten pounds come off.
The first leg of this journey turns out to have been about de-dramatizing food, so I often feel like I don’t say too much about it. The big mind shift is that I have gotten to a point where I can eat at a restaurant or go on a vacation without taking advantage of every possible opportunity to splurge. But I know that if I pushed myself to be much more abstemious, the sense of deprivation might feel drastic, regardless of the potential payoff at the scale. This past long weekend was a good opportunity to practice balance. We had a family trip to Vermont for Thanksgiving. I felt good about my food choices and made a relatively conscious decision to have a few drinks. No regrets. I also started out on the right foot with a blissful, challenging hill run on Friday morning. But on Saturday, I slipped going down the ornate wooden staircase in the house (ok, mansion) we had rented. Since I was carrying my two-year-old at the time, I was just thankful that he didn’t get hurt. But by that afternoon, my ankle was starting to complain about what is apparently a minor sprain. So this will be the first week I can remember with fewer than three runs or workouts for me, and I felt pouty at first, but it’s ok, really.
The weekend before, I participated in the Wakefield Moonlight River Run. I decided not to push too hard and stuck with my friend who was running her first 5K to celebrate her 49th birthday. That felt good, but it left me wishing for an opportunity for a fast 5K or even to push myself to do a 10K. One factor in my decision was the dark, but now I’m thinking that (in a context like this) a run in new and unfamiliar circumstances would be more fun than risky.
The other factor in my decision, though, was my knee. A few weeks ago, my knee started acting up. It doesn’t hurt per se, and it doesn’t hurt when I run. But crawling around in the floor with my son or climbing up or down stairs can cause the occasional twinge. I have google-diagnosed myself with “runner’s knee” and am trying to be realistic about the cost-benefit analysis: right now, it’s definitely worth it for me to keep running. But I want to be able to keep running as long as possible. So I have an appointment with my family doctor tomorrow afternoon to try to get a referral for physiotherapy. I’m also thinking hard about how to take up the slack if I have to decrease the frequency and/or duration of my runs. But I’m also keeping in mind something I’ve heard the coach who facilitates my weekly trail running class say a couple of times – running is a great workout, even if you don’t go very far or very fast. I may have to embrace what “pushing it” means to me and my knee, instead of pushing for distance, speed, etc.
Nonetheless, while we were in the US, I hit Target for some new running gear. I can’t stomach paying $110+ for running tights in Ottawa, especially when one of my greatest pet peeves about running is getting too hot. Until January rolls around, I don’t want to be well-insulated! And even then, my approach is going to be minimalist, I assure you. But I also have a nagging fear about what my family doctor and new physiotherapist are going to say about my running. The thought of an unused pair of $110 running tights is what really gets me. I’ll keep you posted.