Sunday, May 10, 2009

The First Run

Chadd tells me frequently that sometimes he needs a break from something. It's usually much more big pictures--like his love of baseball, doing triple jump and track in high school, political discussions...or something very ephermerial games (he then goes on a movie streak, or some other media based entertainment).

I understood this in a way that was very conceptual. I go in phases on things, but I tend not to actively make a decision to "take a break" from something. Usually, I lose interest, or put it aside for a while without really realizing it, then I loop back around when I realize what I'm missing.

While I might still not have grasped the idea in an active sense, I have finally understood my reasons behind why I lose interested and why Chadd takes active breaks. As you may have guessed, it has everything to do with my sudden lack of exercising beyond teaching twice a week.

I made a post a few weeks back about the increase in my henious hours--the three 50 hour weeks and what that would do to my exercise life. That was an additional 2 hours at the office a day...and since I often have evening activities that are non negotiable (examples: Catholic class, literacy tutoring)...that meant being at the office an hour earlier and working through my lunch break. It's silly, but those two hours wear you out...especially over the course of 5 weeks...and then two weeks of 55 hour requirements. I obviously didn't make it through those three weeks with the healthy eating and exercising regiment I said I would.

For that matter...I lost all interest in anything. It wasn't that I didn't want to finish painting the condo (next weekend's activity while Chadd's out of town), nor was it that I wasn't interested in spending time with my friends, or reading the new book I picked was that I was wholly disinterested in everything beyond just dying to get home, avoid work for a bit, throw something together for dinner (which usually started out frozen--if I was lucky, I had the patience to wait 20 minutes to have one of the amazing and healthy eating plan abiding Home Bistro meals mom sent me for my birthday), and then get back to work before I gave up and went to bed.

Rodan + Fields gives me energy to at least get to work and stay at work, mostly because if I'm out of the house, I'm busy brainstorming, even if I'm creating powerpoints and answering scores of angry emails.

Seeing Chadd when he came home from work and get in bed at 4 am because something to look forward to, even if it meant waking up in the middle of my sleep cycle.

I stopped sleeping well because I wasn't exhausting my body with working out.
I wasn't working out because my mind was too drained and miserable to comprehend changing and then leaving the safe haven of our condo to go back into the world at the gym.

So my days became:
1) wake up miserable from bad sleep
2) stay tired all day
3) get home too tired to consider gym
4) load self conscious with guilt
5) stay up late trying to squeeze any productivity outside of work into my day
6) go to bed late
7) fight my mind moving a million miles an hour trying to find a way out.

That must be the cause of obesity.

But after wading through that depressing half of the's the good news.

Being at home with my folks in the glory of the Florida sun, where I spent my high school years, is restorative. Seeing family is always a positive experience for me, but combine that with temperature in the 90's, a pool, and tons of sun after a few weeks of gray, cold, rainy weather back in DC...and things automatically get a facelift. I've been sleeping because I told the world, via my curt out of office message "I will not be checking email or voicemail while I am out of the office."

So today, after we got home from seeing my mother's new art studio in the next town over, I turned to my brother and said "wanna go for a run?"

I have seen the misty, 40 degree weather in DC and said to myself "You love running in this weather, get outside." and I haven't. I havent' even wanted to, and then been too lazy...I just haven't wanted to run. And if there's one thing I've never truly lost interest's running.

So, my brother and I changed into running gear, got outside in the nearly cloudless sky around quarter of 5 and just went out for about 3 miles. It was fast, it was hot, and we came home, dying to get into the pool. But, running down the road, past the semi-green lawns, dying in the direct sun, I saw a shadow of myself in front of me. My quads were well trimmed. My pony tail bouncing beind me, the subtle rise and fall in my distinctivly distance runner gait...and I felt like my old self.

I remembered training in the summer heat three years ago--had it been that long?--between jobs, trying to get my 6 miles in, 9 if I was lucky...and how that felt, the sweat dripping down my back, into my eyes, off my hair. My hands basically as wet as if I'd just come out of the pool. And did I love it...of course.

I loved going to the casual barbeque place where I waitressed that summer and pulling my blonde hair through my black hat, sliding into my khaki shorts and black polo and stretching out my legs as I took orders. Loving my freckles and my dark brown arms.

And I wonder where it is that it all went away. The answer could not be as simple as "the extra 10-15 hours required at work"....but maybe it is. Maybe it's not those hours directly, but their effect. I'm sure I could have made myself go for a run, or get up and get to the gym, but I didn't. Even when I did, I sat on the bike and looked pathetic, huffing through law and order on the distracting tv screen.

I've finally figured out the solution, though I have yet to see how it holds up in practice. Part of the reason I felt so bad was because I didn't do what Chadd does and declare and active break from an activity. I'm smart enough to know that I wont' get through 6 weeks of horrible hours at the office and maintain the same standards for my diet and exercise. I should have compromised, created a plan, and then eased off on my guilt trips. Chadd actively makes decisions even to "Do nothing" on a weekend...because then he feels like he made the choice to hang out...and it wasn't a waste of a day. I have a large amount of guilt when I return to something I let slide, whether I knew it or not.

Now it's time to rededicate. I have one more week of 55 hours (44 of which I'll make due to my PTO), and hopefully I'll go back to 40 hours. I'll start up slow on the healthy eating and the working out...and this time, I'll actively give myself a break when I know that I can't balance it all.

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