This post feels like it’s maybe five posts in one, which is probably a rookie mistake, but that’s what life is like right now.
It’s been about two weeks since the event that Tracey blogged about. She took the words right out of my mouth (except for that part about tidiness!), but my love of the outdoors and my curiosity to try new things overcame my fear of strangers and small talk and, even worse, abject failure and public humiliation. This was the first time I had ever run with anyone. I am so glad I went, my heart was warmed by some of the people I met, and I am eager to go again.
The next big event was an annual reunion with three girlfriends in Niagara-on-the-Lake. There was no need to go to wine country for this group to get our drink on, but we needed a change of scenery. And my how the times have changed. While we did start out with a decadent dinner, the next morning most of us were up early for a walk or run. I was so pleased to find that one friend had started running in January, just after I started in December. Suddenly, I was in another new situation, to run with a buddy, and I naturally assumed that this beautiful blonde was going to kick my proverbial ass. But I was the one in the lead, checking to see if she was keeping up ok as I left her in my dust. And I just beamed after the run when she told our friends what great shape I’m in. “I thought the hill would slow her down for sure, but no – she just kept going!” Her gushing was the biggest compliment I have ever received in my entire life.
This Monday was six weeks since the LIO waist-loss challenge began. This is the first time I had ever measured my progress by, er, measuring it. I lost 1.5 inches off my hips, which helps to explain why my pants keep falling down. And a whopping 1/4 inch off my waist, which is not really a surprise, since my belly has chained itself to my spine in protest. Unfortunately, my hip to waist ratio is now an even more unhealthy .90 (up from .876). I know that I am getting healthier over time, so this is a reminder not to get too hung up on numbers, but at the same time, I think that since cardiovascular health is my primary concern, this ratio may be an even more important indicator of heart health than weight is, so I’ll definitely be measuring again in six weeks.
But the most significant thing that happened since my last post was the start of June, and a sudden feeling of panic. THREE MONTHS LEFT. NOT ENOUGH TIME. I have been on sabbatical from my job as a professor so that I can write a book that will break new ground for other researchers in my field. No one outside my field will ever read it, and 75% of those in my field probably won’t read it either, though it will show up in lots of footnotes. Fifty Shades of Boring, you could call it. If this book isn’t done by the time I start teaching again in September, it will never get done, and all this hard work will be for nothing – or so says the voice in my head. The same basic premise applies to my fitness – if I haven’t reached my goal weight by September (a deadline that is starting to seem ever more unrealistic based on how slowly I lose weight), I will never get there. But then I had an epiphany last week, during a run, of course. Most of my anxiety is caused by this feeling that some kind of curtain is going to fall across my life as soon as September rolls around. Yes, the school year is full of stress, pressure, deadlines, and erratic working hours. Normally, as soon as the teaching term begins, that is all I am doing: teaching. It is all-consuming. But after the amount of work I have put into this year – the investment in my fitness and my book – I owe it to myself to protect my time for exercise and to protect time for my research. Not to mention protecting time for my toddler – I have never had to deal with teaching and parenting simultaneously, and the idea terrifies me. My life can’t grind to a halt – and then start to reverse course – on the first day of class. How this is all going to work out, I don’t yet know, but I have three months to figure it out and get myself as well positioned as possible to go back to the grind. And to buy new pants.
So now that I am on the home stretch, I have a question for you. After working in a very solitary way for almost a year now, I am exhausted, ready to be done, and yet have to push on til the end. I’m talking about my writing, but so many times a lesson from running has helped to keep me going. What have you learned from getting fit that you have been able to apply in real life? Can you teach me a lesson from your fitness experience that will help to get me through the next three months?
PS – See you at IRLYOW on Friday? (despite my fear of strangers and small talk!)