[personal profile] unforth
Well, the past week has been pretty nuts, and I've got about 15 minutes in which to try to sum it up before I have to leave to do some work. (I should be working now, in fact, but oh well. ;) )

I've been working a lot. There's not much more to it than that. The first few days after World Fantasy, I was able to get other stuff done too - I made most of a new amigurumi, for example - but as the week went on I got more worn down, and my evenings too often devolved. So on Thursday night, I watched Supernatural for six hours straight, which means I've finally watched all of Season 5 and the first ep of season 6. I could probably go on a rant about the things I liked and didn't like about this, but it would be spoilerific and is probably not worth the effort. The sum of it is that I was more or less happy with Season 5, am not so sure about the set up for Season 6, and that I (okay, one minor SPOILER in the rest of this sentence, skip ahead if you care) really like that the last episode of season 5 was set up such that if season 6 really sucks, it's pretty much canonical to be able to pretend that Season 5 was the end of the series. I think, all things considered, that was a really good choice and an excellent way of handling the rather strange situation the show was in.

Other than that, I can't even remember what I did most of the evenings of the past week (and I worked all of the days) - by the weekend I was mostly watching Psych and reading manga.

Things are better this week so far. On Monday, after I got some work done though less than I needed to, I got dinner with [livejournal.com profile] ultimabaka , who I had somehow managed to not see for two months. It was nice to catch up, I got to mention something I've been pondering (which I still haven't talked about on LJ land and have been meaning to, but not just now), and just generally to hang out and talk and eat yummy food.

Yesterday, I did one awesome thing (discussed below) but it unfortunately left me a bit pumpkin, so I only managed a bit over an hours worth of work, which is bad, as I've got a lot that has to be done. Fortunately, while I don't have much time today, I have a nothing scheduled for tomorrow, so I should be able to catch up, and once I've done that, I'll ACTUALLY be caught up with all of the pressing things I've had to do, for the first time since I got back from Europe on 10/4. This is very nice. It doesn't mean I don't still have loads to do - I do, and I have things I've been putting off - but it does mean that for the first time in a month I don't have anything that HAS to be done absolutely IMMEDIATELY or else there will be negative consequences. Score. Of course, that's assuming I get all the essential things done today and tomorrow. ;)

Much of the work in the last week has involved hours and hours on the bus and/or train (for example, 5 hour round trip commute on Sunday), and one of the side effects of this activity is that I've had a lot of time to read. And all of my recent reading has been research for the book (except the manga, which has been because I haven't had enough brain left to read anything else). My amazon order that I put in over WFC arrived on Wednesday, and as I had just finished my first book read entirely for research ("Bull Run: Its Strategy and Tactics," which is way more interesting and better written than that title would imply) I immediately started in on the next book, called American Police Systems. I want to write an entire post about about this book, which was also much more interesting than the title would imply, but I haven't got the time right now, and I really want to get to what this post was really about, so for now, I'm going to just write this paragraph as a personal reminder, and hopefully I'll have time tonight or tomorrow.

Another thing I've been pondering related to the book is how to organize my research. This is going to become essential any day now (I'm currently reading another book for research - "Gotham," which is about the history of NYC, and have two others from Amazon waiting for me to pick them up from the doorman), so I'm thinking I need to put something together in One Note, but I haven't had the time/energy yet. Again, maybe in the next couple days, hopefully.

So what I really wanted to write about, now that I've only got 5 minutes left, is that as of today I have now been going to the gym regularly for one year. To say that this is something that I NEVER thought I would accomplish would be a massive understatement, and I'm very proud of myself - and I would say without shame that I've got the right to be, dammit.

This is not my first round of making this attempt, but it's by far the longest I've ever managed. Previous long runs were two and three months, but then something would come up, and I'd just never get back. The three month run was in 2007, and ended when I moved to Japan. Sure, in Japan I looked for a gym to join but it turned out there were all these rules and restrictions on foreigners joining gyms (really, there were) and so while I walked a TON I never actually joined a gym. The two month run was in 2009, and ended when I had the month of doom (March, 2009, worst month of my life more or less). Both of these times, I just never got it together to start again.

This time was different, though, and I think I always kinda knew it would be. For starters, the gym is across the street. I can see inside it when I look out my window. If that's not going to inspire guilt trip for failure, I don't know what is. But more than that, I think it's that
1. I managed to get in a full month of regular exercise before life conspired to start trying to screw things up.
2. I really, really want this.
3. It's effectiveness was immediately evident.
4. I didn't try to combine going with a diet (ie an intentional restriction of the number of calories that I consume in a day).

To speak more to each of these:
1. Starting a gym routine isn't really the hard part. It's never been hard to get myself up and moving for a few days or even a couple of weeks. What I've always found hard is sustaining it long term.

Crap. Gotta go. But I'll continue writing this on the bus. It'll be pretty much the same, except with way more typos. Thank you, iPhone. :)

Anyway. I was saying... Life always comes up. Sure, on paper, a workout routine is way, you pick your days and you go. But my life? Not easy. I have a very erratic schedule. When I starte Gyming, I was in a long distance relationship the involved travel every month. It was right before the holidays. Inevitably, things happen. I would say the early examples of these things wet the hardest hurdles in getting going regularly. In Dec, I traveled to Chicago for a couple days and substituted walking 10 miles a day for the gym. Problem: it was very cold and there was lake effect snow the whole time, and I didn't even have a winter coat. Result: the next week I was sick. When all was said and done I missed a week and a half. I think the was the point in the whole year I was closest to failing, but I managed to restate. And that's one of the most important things I've learned: I will miss time. I've been sick three times this year (missed about a week each time). I've traveled a lot (and have sometimes worked out anyway, like at Gencon, and sometimes not, like in Italy). I had one week I worked so much that I just COuLDN'T. But that's life. It's not about when I fail, it's about when I succeed: when I go back the gym even though I'm still my feeling 100%, when my jetlagged butt is in the gym the next morning, when I jog in Vincenne with schenker28, when I work 10 hours on a Sat and go to the gym afterwards even though I hate working out in the afternoon. These successes are how I've sustained this despite lapses.

2. Let me say this again: I really, really, REALLY want this. Before I started this round, I had already worked out enough to know that life is better when I'm exercising regularly. I'm less depressed. I'm less anxious. I'm more forgiving of myself. My self image improves. I'm generally happier, more satisfied, and feel more accomplished. Beyond that, I want to be in shape. It was a surprise for me ad an adult when I figured out I like physical activity, but I do, I really do, and I want to be fit and not have the weaknesses of my physical condition prevent me from doing anything I want to do.

3. I guess point three is very similar to the previous. There's nothing like the hyperbolic curve of improvement the first couple weeks of a workout routine to make you feel like you've accomplished something. When I started, I could barely jog for 5 minutes at 5.7 mph on treadmill. Resistance 7 onthe elliptical felt like a lot. Those low points don't last long, and that's nice. Then there's the physical appearance part. Even if I wasn't losing weight, I could see that I was tightening up, adding muscle at the expense of fat. Gettin over the initial hump of starting was definitely heled by this. But beyond that, knowing it's the case has helped throughout. Every time I miss a week I notice the slide back, but I know it's only temporary as long ad I keep trying.

4. So, the thing is, I love food. I was a super picky eater as a kid, and the novelty of deliciousness hasn't worn off in the decade or so during which I've fixed that. I've tried various dieting, usually calorie limits, and the problem isn't that I can't stick to them - I mostly can - but that first, they make me miserable, like, WTF this is unsustainable someday I'm gonna want to eat again but omg won't obtain the weight back? Second, the last couple years they haven't worked. I can stick to a 1200 cal a day diet, well balanced with whole wheat and protein and what not, do that for a month, and maybe lose a lb. And that sucks. Who wants to live that way? Not me. Dont get me wrong, I've done that so log that I have a lot of good habits now. I never eat fast-food, rarely eat fried (except the occasional French fries), I love my fiber, etc. But if I want dessert, there's almost nothing to be gained by not eating it. If imbhaving a hungry day and I don't eat extra, the best result is that I'll spend most of my evening fighting a vicious argument in my head where I end up miserable ANd hungry, and have accomplishe little else cause said argument was too distracting. Before I started this gym round, I had found a balance. If I walked a bunch incould have an unhealthy dessert. If I was really hungry, I would eat. And it was kind of working - I hadn't lost much weight, but I hadn't gained any more. Furthermore, in July I habstarted trying to cut back in little ways, and it had worked - I had lost about five lbs despite three weeks eating whatever during a trip to Europe. I didnt need to lose a lot of weight, I'm not that heavy. All I wanted was that next time I go to the doctor (whenever that ends up being - no health insurance) he/she wouldn't tell me I had to lose weight, cause I've worked way to fricken hard to deserve to hear that. When I started at the gym, the scale there said I was 163 lbs. This is about 5 lbs. more than my weight on moms scale (I generally use both measurements as "true" as the citcumstaces are very different each time). My goal weight was 145 on moms scale. And in late August, I did it. Inthe past year, exercising a lot, eating pretty much whatever I wanted (but intelligently and with consideration and avoiding things I'm inclined to over eat like Oreos and yogurt), eating out when social activity required it, just trying to be smart but not make it a huge deal, I've managed to lose just over a lb. A month. And that's fine with me. As f q couple days ago I was 147 at the gym and 143 at moms. 5 more lbs, and I'll match the thinnest I've ever been as an adult (138 in Dec/Jan of 2005/6, achieved by sticking to a 1000 cal a day diet for most of a year...yeah, the bounce back from that one sucked...). This is perfect. I like the way I look, Im actually happy trying on clothes, I look in the mirror and think, "not bad" (given my terrible self image that's an accomplishment), but most importantly? This is sustainable. There's nothing I'm doing now that I can't keep doing. The other night I was exhausted and feeling kinda sorry for myself, so I watched Supernatural and snacked on cereal for like 3 hours. Ate most of a box. Not the first time I've done that, won't be the last, and so what? In the end, i know that if I keep exercising, it'll balance.

Yesterday was day two of my current four days on/one day off schedule, which meant jogging. I didn't really feel like it, but when I walked the dog i discovered that it was a gorgeous day, which perked my mood. I decided to try for two laps of the path i jog in the park - about a 5.5 mile jog in all. It was sometime durin the first lap that my brain started calculating how many laps it would take to do a half marathon (13.1 mi), and sometime in the second lap that I knew that, despite repeated admonishments to myself that I should only do as much as I felt capable of, that I was gonna try for the whole enchilada. 8 laps. (it's a 1.4 mi loop plus the jog there and the jog home). And I did it. One year from the day the i got a stitch and thought my lungs would explode from doing 5 min at 5.6 - 5.7 mph, I jogged 13.6 miles at a 5.85 mph average pace. It was hard. My ankles and knees started hurting in lap 5. The last half mile was just wretched (and as I learned after the fact unnecessary, but I wasn't going to risk undershooting my mark). To make thing harder an almost dead iPhone battery meant no music. So I just played a soundtrack in my head, thought about my body, thought about how proud I would feel when I wrote my Facebook status, and repeated inky best Galaxy Quest imitation, "never give up! Never surrender!"

If I can do it, almost anyone can. I really believe that.

This time next year, if I make the lottery cut, I'll be running the NYC marathon. But even if I fail the lotto, I've joined the New York road runners, and if I run 9 races in 2011 and volunteer at one more, I'll be guaranteed admission into the 2012 marathon. This is a lifelong dream of mine, and I WILL make it happen.

I'll be running my first ever race (I walked a half marathon two years ago but that's different) on Sunday if all goes as planned, a 5 mi race in My local pal. I hope this year goes as well as latvyear - or better!

Date: 2010-11-10 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com
Re: Supernatural -- that's sort of my attitude, with the modification that I think I see the ending S5 would have had in the absence of a plan for S6, and I kind of think that would have been a better ending. (To be as non-spoilery as possible, I think Dean would have gone where Adam did in the end.) But I'm withholding actual judgment until I see where S6 goes; I've watched two eps so far, and while they haven't impressed me, neither have they sucked so terribly that I need to walk away. I'll probably give it another two or so before I make a decision.

Date: 2010-11-11 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unforth.livejournal.com
Hm...I think you might be right about what would have happened. That said, if I am going to end up pretending season 6 never happened, I actually think I'm happier with how s. 5 actually ended. It made a funny kind of sense...

I've already got my season pass on Amazon for season 6, so I'll presumably be watching the whole thing. Further, a friend told me that the fourth or so episode was really good and encouraged me to catch up so I could see it, so I've got some hope. But I'm not thrilled by the premise. That said...they did one of the things I thought that they had to do, in that it looks like the reset button did get hit - they've scaled back to low level stuff again, which was absolutely essential for the show to be sustainable.

It doesn't hurt that I've got reason to think something I want is going to be in ep. 3...(I read the descriptions again... ;) )

Date: 2010-11-11 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com
I'm a big geek for a) tidy structure and b) mythic-ness, so that's why I like the notion of a different S5 ending. But the one that actually happened is certainly happier.

6.4 was the first episode that I felt really got back into the swing of things, in terms of the script. The story hasn't been bad so far, but the dialogue has felt . . . flat? Lacking its usual spark. There were a couple of moments in 6.3 that made me giggle (I'm curious to know what you want from that one; I have a guess), but 6.4 felt a lot more lively.

Date: 2010-11-18 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bakanekotoo.livejournal.com
Congrats on going to the gym consistently for a year :-) I know I couldn't do it :-P

Date: 2010-11-20 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unforth.livejournal.com
I really think you could, once you got in to the habit. It's just that getting in to the habit can take a surprisingly long time. Don't give up on yourself! :)

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