Saturday, May 10, 2008

reading, eating and (not) running

I've just started a book "Julie and Julia" that I got with a generous gift card from my parents for Easter to Borders that I finally got around to using. The book was on the bargain table (hardback for only $5!) which might not always bode well, but I'm a sucker for bargains and the premise (what I thought of it anyways) sounded intriguing: The daughter of Julia Child picks up her mother's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and embarks on a yearlong challenge where she commits to cooking every one of the recipes in the book over the next year in her small New York Apartment. I read "Being Julia" over the summer and loved it, and so this sounded like a fun, unchallenging bit of reading respite from my studies. Of course, when I got home and re-read the jacket cover I realized I'd made a relatively significant reading error: this book was not about Julia's daughter (Julia, in fact, didn't have children, I don't think) but about a girl who found her mother's copy of that cookbook. Different, but still, as I'm finding, enjoyable for a cozy Saturday morning with a cup of earl grey tea. An unexpected twist in this story is that a big part of the plot is her blogging of this culinary journey and what that experience is like. How she feels she owes her readers consistent postings, and finds it flattering yet somewhat creepy to have people she doesn't know so involved in her life. It's the first book I've read where blogging is a plot structure, but I'm finding that to be fun as well. What is almost cooler, as I also realized after bringing the book home and noticing that the main character has the same name as the author, is that this is a true story. Here is the proof. Her blog, in the flesh (as it were). I'm sure I'll have fun reading the blog along with the book (though I'm thinking that book might be done before weekend's end, and a year's worth of blogging might take longer than that, especially if I do the schoolwork I really need to get done).

The eating front is both connected to the book (obviously) with its overt food themes, but more directly, to the breakdown and subsequent diet change I've decided to make since Sunday. On Sunday I decided to test the powers of acupuncture (had my first session that previous Friday) by going for a run down on west cliff with Ed. We did a meager three miles and, as I've been noticing with increasing dread, my fitness is sucking. Not only does my leg hurt running, but now I"m gasping for breath and having to struggle through just a few miles. After we hit the turn around, I told Ed me needed to go slow. We trucked along but were still going too fast for my lungs and my leg. "Honey, I was serious about going slow on the way back" I said. His reply? "I thought we were...". When the run finished, instead of the usual elation, I felt weighted down with this frustration and deep sadness. This is really the most unfit I've been since high-school. I've never not been able to run 3 miles with relative ease. I've also just felt unhappy lately with the 15 or so pounds I've put on since Dick Collins (it might be more like 10, but I'm not sure). I've been consoling myself with the fact that "once I start running again" I'll lose that weight no problem and all will be well. The thing is, I'm not sure when that will be. And I"m tired of waiting for it. On the drive home I broke down crying and knew that I couldn't just sit around and wait for my leg to heal before I starting being physically fit again. My leg always hurts, so it's not really a good excuse to not workout because it hurts. It will hurt anyways. And it doesn't hurt that much more when I'm working out, so there's no harm to worry about.

So, after that low, I committed to revamping my diet and getting physical activity of some kind. I'm following Weight Watchers loosely and unofficially for now, and might join up for real once Ed and I move to San Jose and there are more meetings and less to do. I did weight watchers for about a year in high school (and was very successful) and have most of the points for foods still memorized if you can believe it. So I'm trying hard and not letting myself be swayed by wine and margaritas and pizza (being with a person who has a ridiculously fast metabolism has definitely been part of the problem). I've been to the gym 3 times this week, doing 1/2 an hour on the elliptical and then another 1/2 hour or so of leg strengthening exercises and stretching. I would have done more, but I did acupuncture for the second time and my leg was killing afterwards. I'm not sure this is really working for me. Anyways, I was too sore and too hungry to go to the gym after that, so ended up with two days off. I'll be going today (my leg is still actually sore from the acupuncture, but maybe it'll be okay) and tomorrow, and 5 times in a week is actually pretty good considering up until now I've been active once or twice a week. I am just feeling a lot healthier and better about my body already, even though I've probably only lost a pound or so. I know my body wants to be in better shape, it just needs a chance to do it. Ed will be doing research in Colorado for the next week, which hopefully will help me stay on track. Over the summer he'll be gone for 6 weeks teaching at the "center for talented youth" which is a program for jr high and high school kids in Pennsylvania. Its good money and he really enjoys it, but it'll be hard having him gone so long. The plus side is that hopefully I can be really committed to healthy eating while he's gone and he'll come back to a fitter and happier girlfriend :).

I'm going to not run for a bit while I build up my fitness again, since running has only really accomplished depressing me lately. I miss it so much, but it just isn't fun when I'm in pain and out of shape. Before the acupuncture friday, the leg did seem a little better (I started taking tumeric and bromelain and I think they're helping a little). I got hip x-rays which I'll talk to the doctor about on monday, but it looks like an MRI is going to be up next.

Not sure anyone read all that, but I had lots of thoughts to put down, and this is my place to do it :) Eventually my blog will return with better and more exciting posts

but for now, this is where I am


rick said...

Thanks for sharing with us Addy. This is where you are and you are making the best of it. As always positive thoughts for the future.

rick said...

Oh I forgot to mention, saw Ernesto out there at Quicksilver yesterday. Made me think of you.

Catherine said...

Addy, I just read your latest entry just a day after I posted mine. I can't believe how you mirrored my own thoughts. I too believe that the weight will drop off once I start running again, so I try to run, and it hurts and it's depressing. I know we will both come out of this tunnel some day, but it can't be soon enough for me.
Take care of yourself. You're not alone.

Backofpack said...

You've got a great attitude - and it'll all come together for you. Thinking "injury" implies a short time off, so it makes sense that you were figuring you'd get back to it and the pounds would drop. Realizing it might be a bit longer than you planned and coming up with a new fitness plan is perfect! You'll do great!

Sarah said...

I understand your frustration all too well. I hope you get some answers soon!

GandaMan said...

Being injured sucks. I sympathize and hope your recovery comes sooner than you think.
p.s. margaritas, wine, and pizza are good!

andyb said...

Addy, I'm so sorry to hear your leg is still giving you grief and your mood has been down. But I am glad to hear you are taking some positive steps and moving in a direction that you feel will help. I agree that staying active will help in many ways, and can give you something to focus on that is positive.

Good luck and keep a good attitude, you will get through this stronger for having the experience.

Oh, one other thing: could the increased soreness in your leg be due to working out, and not necessarily the acupuncture? Just a thought...

Addy said...

thanks so much everyone :) The support is so wonderful here! Without you guys I think I it would have been easy to fade out of the running community completely.

Andy- sensible thought, but my leg was feeling pretty good going into the acupuncturist and killed on the way out, so I'm pretty positive it was that that did it :P

Christine said...

Hey way to be a trooper through all of this! Call me if you need points info. until you join back up again. I'm glad I'm doing the meetings, it's the only thing that's keeping me even slightly motivated.

Southbay Girl said...

Addy, You sound like you really have goals and are focused in reaching them! that's awesome! You can do it! And the 6 weeks Ed will be away could be just the push you need!!

I do hope you finally figure out what is wrong so you can get back to running-but you seem to finding loads of things that are filling in!


miki said...

With acupuncture, you can definitely expect some soreness with your first several treatments. Give it some time and don't give up on it yet. :)