Kick and Scream

Wednesday Weigh-In Week 252 — 0.4 kg lost. That’s 72.9 kilos gone in total. Which means I’ve blasted 86.72% of my excess lard, with 11.3 kilos to go. Beware of the StatsDork!

Life has been boring lately, and that’s just fine by me. It’s been a chaotic year, what with that ridiculously short engagement, moving house, running off to Vegas, Home Office wrangling, forays into running, media whoring and all those silly weddings. And of course that came after two years of madness with moving overseas and becoming a travelling bum. So it’s a pleasant change to slip into a  predictable-days quiet-nights boring married person routine for awhile.

Not that I intend becoming a boring married person and surrendering to middle aged cliches – I’m too used to adventure now to ever allow that to happen. But I am using this break from Excitement to tackle the steaming pile of neglect that has been my Everyday Life. I made a list of all the mundane tasks that I’ve been avoiding for years and have been slashing through said list like a madwoman. The Scottish Companion caught the same bug so together we have completely blitzed our little flat and now it’s really becoming a cosy home.

We have sorted out every single cupboard, wardrobe, drawer, shelf, cardboard box, suitcase and hidey-hole. I can now find towels in the linen cupboard, and know the whereabouts of all my socks and undies thanks to a new chest of drawers in the bedroom. The cutlery is sorted in an organiser tray, instead of being randomly shoved into the kitchen drawer in a tangled pile of metal. My shoes are in a shoe rack thingy. My coats are on hangers instead of the Towering Chair Pile of Doom. All the DVDs are on the shelf, together at last! The old magazines have been recycled. The bank statements have been filed. Two years of recipes and exercise articles and crappy holiday souvenirs have been sorted into smug little folders with dividers and labels and plastic sleeves. The study is still tidy and I have room for my Reebok step and weights so I can do some lifting without the barbell clonking into the walls. I can even lift weights naked now because we finally have some curtains up. Huzzah!

Oooh just stepping inside the flat after work these days makes me shudder with multiple geekgasms; there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place! I can flop down on the couch knowing I won’t get a remote control stuck up my arse because they’re safely nestled in the designated Remote Control Bowl. Joy!

It may sound like I am exaggerating the positive effect of a good spring cleaning, but it really has put me in a positive, productive frame of mind. I feel calm and sane, it’s great not having to waste so much energy on domestic minutiae. This mood has carried over to my Lard Busting Mission, where I’m still chugging along nicely. I did all my exercise last week and ate well. The scales showed a small loss, but my clothes are fitting like a dream and I have loads more energy. I am desperate to blast the last of my blubber but I am not going to set deadlines or crazy targets. Consistency, focus and hard work over time without extremes – that is best for my body and more importantly for my mental health.

Dude, winter! It sucks.

Well, it has its advantages. Like hiding under layers of clothing. There was a total of one day this summer that I had to Get My Legs Out in public. One DAY it was hot enough for a skirt. 26 bloody degrees. You almost forget you even have legs living in Scotland. Of course, you get the skanky types that put their pale and mottled pins in a mini-kilt in January, but if you’re a shy thing like me you can get away with jeans all year round. It wasn’t til I was back in Australia that I remembered how loathsome and doughy my thighs are. It is much easier being fat in a cold climate.

One disadvantage of winter is that the sun doesn’t rise til 9am and it sets about 4pm. I leave for work at 6.30am and get home at 5.30 – 6pm, so I live in a world of darkness. You can see how this sucks if you want to be a runner. Especially when the local council doesn’t turn on the lights in the lovely big local park and running on the pavement makes your knees hurt and that’s if/when the pavement isn’t bloody icy. I still have the weekend, but that’s not enough. I need to add in some treadmill runs. This worries me though as my knee still isn’t 100%. Despite my beautiful new running shoes my knee has resumed with the crunchy noise and never feels quite right when I run. I could do 75 RPM or Body Combat classes and not feel a twinge, but after one or two runs the knee protests again. I need to revisit the exercises the physio gave me and worker hard on my leg strength. I wasn’t consistent enough with it before. Bad me.

I was ranting about the winter weather dilemma in an email to the amazing running guru Julia, and among her repsonse she said, If you’re not that into running it’s really difficult to get any enthusiasm up for it during the winter.

This really got me in the guts and I’ve been thinking about it all day. I so desperately want running to work for me. Why? Just the memory of that 5k race and how the months of effort culminated in that amazing feeling of achievement. I love how running is about self-discipline and gut-busting effort. I love how I hate most every step of a running session but get such a thrill when I’ve finished it. But am I really into it?

I’ve been going back to Body Combat classes lately, and while I enjoy the kicking and punching, I don’t hate it like I hate running. And that is disappointing. I don’t get that feeling halfway through the class of, "I can’t do this! I am going to die! It’s too much!". THAT is how I measure a good workout these days – whether or not I feel that perverse physical and mental pain. Body Combat feels a little girly now, to be honest. On the other hand. I hate my RPM (spinning) class just as much as running. I watch the clock during every song, feeling my quad muscles prickle and scream, glaring at the instructor and wanting to cry. It’s only 45 minutes but you can push hard and make it burn like hell. I loathe it, but that is what I love about it. Does that make any sense?

So we’ve established I like the idea of pushing yourself to physical and mental limits, which is something I discovered via my forays into running. But I don’t know if I am into running or just the idea of running/ being a runner. I loved the whole process of learning about it — being virtually trained by Julia, the planning and routines, the magazines and books, the web forums and shoe guides. But the actual running? The long-suffering Scottish Companion could attest to my tedious bitching about every single step, which almost overshadowed the post-run euphoria. And with this on-again off-again knee problem, I question my commitment with my reluctance to spend money on physio or orthotics or whatever it would take to get it sorted. And I know if I was really into running, I would buy some crazy winter snow-proof running shoes and thermal pants and strap a torch to my forehead and go out running in the winter dark.

Am I just making excuses? Am I just not into it? Am I just a casual summer runner? Am I a whingey, lazy bastard or is it just not for me? I will have to get back to you on that one.

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17 thoughts on “Kick and Scream

  1. I think you might be like me, not much of a fan of running. I love the idea of it, but I hate to actually do it. Do what’s best for you — and your knee — for now. Maybe in time, you’ll want to run, but if not, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape!

    Can I just say how jealous I am of your organizational frenzy (and especially the results)? I’m hoping to channel envy into motivation — wish me luck!

  2. Ive acually started to like running and my knees can take it now. It took me some time to get used to it but I started slow and it has taken its time but now I dont have any problems. I too live in the dark world so I run on the treadmill too. That is not as fun.

    I hate spinning though so I just dont do it. I cant get myself together to do it but I do bike on a bike but then I can read at the same time.

    And I do boxing instead of combat then I get to punch real people or well not but them holding mitses. It feels more real *S* and I love it

    you almost just have 10 kg to go that is like nothing!! How exciting

  3. Reading your post just reminded me of how much I miss all the BTS classes. I just moved across the country (Canada that is) and the city that I’m in now doesn’t have a single gym that offers them. While I love my new gym, I miss BodyCombat, RPM, and BodyStep more. So, enjoy the wonderful options that you have available to you and use them to your best advantage without worrying about what you ought to do. Just the fact that you are considering your options and not throwing in the towel like so many people would shows that you will do brilliantly.

  4. Run, run, run! I think you might have gathered that I’m a major fan of running and officially hooked. As for how I got there, I don’t know, unfortunately. Maybe working up to it over the summer has helped me now it’s winter again, and I’ve finally reached that critical point where I like running more than I hate the weather.

    I really think that having something to aim for helps, whether it’s 5k or longer. It gives you that incentive to make sure that you get those runs in that just a vague wish to be able to run doesn’t give you. The feeling of finishing a race you’ve been working towards for months is so good, and far outweighs the previous 48 hours where you tell all and sundy that you’re such a fool for signing up for it!

    Even though I like running, I have to admit that the firt 5 or 10 minutes usually get me down. I run along wondering how I’m ever going to manage 30 or 60 minutes if the first 5 or so bad. But then, as if by magic, I start flying along. Well, not that fast, but with far less effort, and I really get into the rhythm of it. It’s a killer til that point kicks in, but once it does, it’s suddenly really worth the effort.

    But then, that’s me. I guess I don’t know how much you really hate running. But I’d beg you to try to aim towards another race, and see where that takes you.

  5. I relate to your intense hate of running. That’s why I recommend the Mighty Treadmill. Sure, it’s not as exciting and exhilarating as running outside. On the other hand, that’s the only way I can run. First, it’s MUCH MUCH EASIER on your knees, running on that rubber band. Then, it’s always lit–you’re in the gym! The lights are on–not torch strapped to your forehead! Third, it’s climate controlled. That’s got to count for something–no thermal pants! Fourth, you can PRECISELY monitor your progress on those controls (you’ll see whether you shave off an entire minute for the distance next week or not). And you can still have your IPod or whatever mp3 player with you, while you watch the news or whatever’s on TV (depending on your gym’s setup). Oh, I have a fifth reason: no obstacles, slopes, stray people or dogs, or icy patches in the way. Smooooooooth sailing. I don’t run outside primarily because I find that my feet hurt a lot more afterwards (plus the inevitable uphill/downhill runs tire me immensely). But I also find it either too hot or too cold, depending on the season, and harder to monitor my progress. So, I’d say, run, but give the ol’ treadmill a try for a fresh start. You might like it!

  6. Shauna, as I have matured I have found myself only pursuing those activities that bring me pleasure and it is so empowering! I am presently playing golf (which WW gives massive amounts of bonus points to, which bewilders me) and rowing surf boats with the surf club. The pleasure I get from a hard rowing training workout is HUGE and the after training high is better than any drug I could ever get. I am getting a real cardio workout, building amazing muscles all while sitting on my bum (albeit with my swimmers pulled up into my proverbial). Cool! What I’m trying to say is this; life is short so search for what makes your soul sing out with joy. Does running do that for you or is there something else waiting to be discovered? What does Scotland hold for you that you haven’t discovered yet? (I wonder if there is a surf life saving club in Edinborough? 🙂 ) NJ

  7. Running- ahh so love hate. I can really relate. OK I didn’t mean to rhyme. 🙂 But honestly I often feel the same way. It’s just I find the pay off to be physically and mentally better then any other exercise. It’s amazing what one day of running does for your spirit. That being said during the winter months The tredmill is a great alternative- until your knee improves- but make sure to keep it on atleast a 1 incline- or 2 incline. It helps limit stress to your knees and it adds.

  8. It’s great having everything organised. Saves so much time looking for stuff. I really should get off my butt and do that myself.

    I know how you feel about spinning. I always want to die at the 15 min mark. I’ve only just started adding a few running bits into my walks. I do enjoy it although I don’t think I’d be very motivated to go out running if I had to deal with darkness, bad weather etc.

    Like Hanna, I do boxing. I did body combat once but didn’t like doing girlie air punches. I like hitting stuff really hard (which is why my son avoids me when I’m all pumped up after class).

  9. Love the Pile Of Doom. I have an entire room, called the Room of Shame. Someday I will snap and go into a sorting tidying old-document-shredding frenzy. I definitely share the geeky pleasure of organization. I have all my makeup in a cutlery organizer in a little dresser drawer, the day I did that I kept going back to the drawer to admire the organized eyeshadows and lipliners.

  10. Nessajane – I am just breathless with horror at the idea of going in the surf in a Scottish winter. Which may not be quite what you meant, but I’m breathless with horror anyway. I’m reckoned pretty tough for being willing to go in the sea in summer!

    DG, regarding running – I know what you mean. I don’t precisely enjoy running: it’s boring, ’cause I can’t read or listen to music while I’m doing it, and it’s harder work than anything else. But I feel more achievement from doing that than from other cardio activities, and I feel sort of cheated if I don’t make one cardio session a run.

    Again, I do it on a treadmill, and my knees seem fine, although one 5K partly on tarmac did make them hurt.

    I’m thinking of doing another 5K in January – the details are at work, but if you’re interested I’ll e-mail you them! (Not the one on Portobello Prom on New Year’s Day. I’m not that far gone.)

  11. I’m a big proponent of doing whatever you don’t hate so that you’ll keep doing it but then I’m a lazy so-and-so. There is definitely cold weather running attire available, so don’t let that hold you back if you think running is the thing for you!

  12. the thing is DG, to get to that state where you can run mindlessly, where you don’t think about every step, where you can meditate at the same time…you have to be in shape and trained for it. When you did your 5km in the spring we got a good solid eight weeks of running leading up to the race, but that’s not nearly enough “training” to be able to run with no effort. I would say that that probably takes at least four months of training with four runs per week. If you think about it, it’s not unlike any other sport. Four months, four days a week? I don’t think that’s asking too much. BTW, you can use the treadmill for a winter substitute, but if you want to RUN there is no substitute for outdoor running.
    Give it more time. If you want to bag it for the winter and then try again in the spring, don’t feel guilty about that. Then again, if you did get a high from that 5km race, I can assure you that you WILL love running one day. You just haven’t given it enough time. It’s not instant. You’ll have ups and downs. I’ve gone through injuries, pregnancies and down time, but here I am fifteen years later and I’m still running.
    Just keep giving yourself those “carrots”. Don’t you have a 5km coming up in January?

  13. I don’t ENJOY running either but I have been doing it 3 days a week lately. My trick is to just not think about it. I have set mornings I get up and run but I don’t think about it before, during or after the run. I just think of other things and before you know it I’ve done it! Then I feel proud of myself afterwards and I let myself think about that!

  14. Personally, I LOVE running (although right now I am a bit more in love with cycling, but that’s just because I bought a brand new bike) and I kind of liked it right from the beginning, even though it caused me a fair amount of shin and ankle pain. I was motivated by the fact that I was doing something I never thought I could ever do. I’m also highly motivated when I have something to train for – I can’t always run just for running’s sake. And, it’s also a huge part of my social life as I belong to several social running groups. I also CANNOT run on a treadmill. I need the fresh air and the feeling of going somewhere. That said, if running’s not for you, then that’s OK, too. Find that thing that turns your crank, that you miss when you can’t do it. You’re more likely to stick with something you love.

  15. I just threw in the towel on running, so I’m not the best person to give you the “force yourself until you like it” speech. But you’re a bright, determined girl and I have no doubt that you’ll either run and be brilliant at it or be equally brilliant at some alternative cardio exercise. 🙂

  16. Take it from a woman twenty years your senior. You really want to stop abusing that knee (unless you LIKE the idea of knee replacement some day). Damage is cumulative. Been there. Done that. Regret it.

    Deirdre