Tag Archives: running

The Day I Beat the Blerch

3 Nov

Henceforth, let it be known that at 9:00 antemeridian on Saturday, September 26th in this, the 2015th year of our Lord, I catapulted my gelatinous form across the New Jersey tundra – atop pavement, through thick forests, past unicorn-costumes and over miniature boulders, to ultimately cross the finish line in a bona fide half marathon called Beat the Blerch.

I would have told you sooner but I’ve only just now recovered. Praise be. And Happy Lollipop Tuesday!

As longtime followers know, I began this journey all the way back at this blog’s inception with a 365 post-a-day challenge. Then I moved on to a 365 workout challenge that culminated in a 10K . Then, after being fitter and healthier than I ever was in my lifetime, I immediately regressed into a blogless, sedentary, retreating version of myself. I devolved, and recoiled into solitude in what will now be referred to as The Days of Shame.

I have only recently re-emerged. Ever so slowly, I’ve been rebuilding the hot mess that has been the year of 2015 and told myself that even if everything goes to hell, I would accomplish one, solitary thing with certainty. And so, I lunged toward that which sounded the most awful and unattainable: a half marathon.

I don’t like running. I never have.  I don’t think anyone truly enjoys it. In particular, distance running. Distance running means battling the weather, your personal calendar, chafing, eating schedules, constant full-body soreness, and pooping.

Yes: pooping.

They don’t really tell you that. I mean, I guess they do if you know to Google but I consulted several training schedules when race planning and not a single one mentioned the enormous urge for spontaneous pooing in the middle of a run or directly thereafter.

It turns out that if you don’t fuel properly, you can be prone to defecation thanks to the immediate rush of blood back to your digestive system. That’s what gels and energy drinks and all of those weird looking items in the sports and fitness aisles are for. That’s why wiry, solid distance runners often have supply belts around their wastes. It’s to fend off the poops.

The day that I completed my first seven mile run, I went directly to the bathroom to make it my forever home. I wondered if I might find a long enough break between lower body activity to gather some basic tenants of survival so that I could simply stay there the night. After what felt like hours, I finally gave all I had to the sewer gods and attempted to stand up. I required the use of all supporting apparatuses in my bathroom – towel racks, sides of the bathtub, the top of the toilet lid, the sink edge – to do so because merely hours before I had finished running seven full miles with my God-given jelly stilts.

No, I don’t like running.

Life went on in that fashion – working, running, popping energy gels, meticulously planned poo schedules, and a lack of social life – throughout the training period. From April until September I consistently rearranged my life to make enough time to gallop across the Pittsburgh pasturage.

Eventually, details about the race course were sent to participants and I learned a vital piece of information: the half marathon was a trail run.

For the uninitiated, there is a staggering difference between a legitimate “trail run” and running on pavement or flat terrain. One ought not attempt the former when only training on the latter. But I didn’t want to run on trails – just running was hard enough. So I simply carried on. Until the Day of Reckoning.

The race began on pavement just after sunrise with dew sparkling on the fields nearby. I encouraged myself with the reminder that it was advertised as a blend of trail and pavement and that perhaps it was more the latter than the former. I trained for this, I told myself. I’ve got this. I’ll go slow, and I will prevail. After all, it’s a half marathon based on a hilarious digital cartoon. The Oatmeal knows his readers are mostly human puddings, right? I’ve got this. It will be fine.

Dave (who had been my coach throughout training) was serving as text coach and social media trumpet. My phone was full of people encouraging me in my endeavor. If I needed to remember how much shame was in my failure, I only needed to pop open an app or my text threads to see well wishes from those I would swiftly disappoint. The possibility of failure was palpable. I had to get this done.

The first few miles went well, actually. They were flat and predictable and I had trained my brain by this time to think of them as merely a warmup (a task that seemed Herculean to me only months before). The real worry started to set in around mile 4. The race took a turn into a state forest, and I remembered that I, in fact, hadn’t trained for this. I was running  lightly jogging directly into the belly of the beast.

I told myself to just take it mile by mile and that if I could only weather the elevation changes, I would eventually crest the horizon to victory. But the path was steep and skinny and full of rocks and roots. People were falling and getting cut up, and the longer I ran, the more my ankles felt like someone was thwacking them with a dozen tiny ball-peen hammers.

IMG_6298People were passing me in steady waves and the trail was so itty bitty that there was no way for them to go around me unless I moved off to the side or sometimes just stopped altogether. Hills and roots and rocks required balancing acts and such careful placement of my feet that, when approaching mile 9, I was simply too tired to execute. I instead resolved to run everything that I could safely run and walk the parts that would surely send me rolling down a hillside.

At the 9th mile marker, a blistery wind shook the trees throughout the forest and I swear to the wood nymphs that only the ones near me thwacked heavy nuts down on my head. I was in a nut storm. A frustrating, humiliating, kill-me-I-quit-this-is-moronic-why-am-I-doing-this-it-hurts nut storm. I hated everything. The earth. The nuts. The wind. The other runners. My pants. I told myself I would just sign up for another marathon on a flat, predictable surface.  I called Dave on a slight ripple of cell reception to regale him with my failure. He said gentle and understanding things, woven in with subtle reminders that I should do what I could. And that I could probably actually do it if I just mustered my musterness. I said something like thanks but no thanks and sorry I let him down and that I would see him if I managed to not sink into the dredges of Mother Earth and die there in an obscure New Jersey state forest.IMG_6300

Then I started to feel pretty bad. Mostly because he was just so gosh darn nice about it all. And because my phone was full of people who thought I could do it. And because I blogged about how I would and I knew I’d have to come back after it all and write something. And because deep down inside me was chubby 8th grade Jackie, who was always next to last in the soccer team long runs. Suddenly, I wanted to run so hard that my inner thighs would furiously chafe and catch fire and all my jiggle would burn up into the sky and be left there ever after.

 I carried on.

I honed in on this fellow who looked quite fit. The reality was that if he was in my neck of the woods this late in the game, he probably trained on cheesy poofs and good intentions. But I pegged him for my imaginary competition because he kept passing me and then falling behind me for the last quarter of the race. He also had a sweatband. I was tired of looking at the back of his head and its stupid sweatband that magically stayed in place and I was tired of my pathetic, whining, failure of a disposition. I needed a mission and I had one: I just had to beat Sweatband.

I picked up my pace to something I thought sustainable and worked to just make it to the next mile marker. Once I made it to 10, I told myself the last three miles were basically a cool down and that all I had to do was ride it out. I loaded up on Nutella at the last aid station, dammit. I could do this. I probably wouldn’t even have to poop right after it.

And so I carried on. Across skinny, boulder-laiden trails, up glute-busting hills, and past people who looked like they might have trained. As I barreled down a hill in the 13th mile, an early finisher appeared in the clearing, yelling to all the slow motors that we were almost there and the finish line was just through the trees. I was just behind Sweatband.  

The greeter gave him life – he lunged forward and increased his pace. Apparently he had trained to finish strong. That’s a thing they tell you to practice. I could see why.

I pushed off my heels and picked up the pace to match him. As I rounded the bend into the clearing, I saw a bench of finishers that included the friend I had signed up for the race with. I hadn’t seen him since the start. He wasn’t sweating anymore, and he looked like he had a renewed taste for life, so I knew he’d been finished for quite some time. He got up off the bench and began to run beside me, encouraging me. A wave of excitement rose up in me as I searched frantically for the finish with my eyes. I started going into a dead sprint and surged past Headband. My friend kept pace with me, smiling and cheering. My gaze flitted across the field – where in the holy hell was the finish line!? WILL THIS EVER END? WILL I DIE HERE?! I yelled to my friend in desperation to reveal the location of my resting ground. I spotted it in the distance – about a quarter mile away.

You might think a quarter of a mile is nothing when compared to thirteen, but let me tell you: when your ankles are beat to hell, you smell like an adolescent boy’s week-old gym shorts, your sports bra is carrying a pound of water weight, and you’re standing on a sliver of morale that’s been beaten down by nut storms and passed by waves of superior humans, 1,320 feet feels like a lifetime. I knew I couldn’t sustain my sprint that long, so I backed off to a pace I could keep until closer to the finish. My friend’s enthusiasm faded and he promised to meet me at the end. Headband chugged ahead.

I pushed on for the final leg, sprinted into high gear when I was truly at the end, and finished just behind my targeted stranger. The loudspeakers rattled “Congratulations, Jackie!” and someone stationed at the finish line to read off finishers’ names gave me a big hearty smile. A volunteer handed me a medal. My friend handed me a banana and a jug of Mimosa disguised as Tropicana. I downed half of it and stretched. Someone emerged from the horizon dressed as The Abominable Snowman for a photo opportunity. It was a confusing time.

AS

I’m delirious here.

It took me some time to accept that I didn’t run the entire race. And that I didn’t properly train, and that if I had perhaps I could have done the entire course without walking, or breaking down and wanting to give up. I rewound to every missed training run, every clipped completion, and every day I told myself I could just move today’s run to tomorrow.  And then I decided to pack up all of that and throw it all away because regardless of how I got to the finish line, I got there. And doing thirteen miles in any fashion is a gargantuan accomplishment for a jelly-laden lady of leisure such as myself. I had a medal, dammit. And I had bussed, taken a train, a taxi, and another bus to get to a place to run thirteen miles. I was going out to get the best pizza I could find and to go home a fat, happy hero.

When they tell you that if you’re going to run, you need to run for yourself, they’re not kidding. Nothing else is going to get you through such a difficult and rigorous task. Wanting to be skinny isn’t enough to get you through your Mile 9, and I’ll be damned if I ever experienced the rumored “runner’s high.”

When you truly challenge yourself, you need to be doing it for you. And you need a good strong support group who will cheer you on, meet you at the finish line, and even tell you it’s okay to stop when you need to. Nothing else really gets you there.

Except maybe some energy gels.

And the truth about pooping.

Hey: thanks for the support, Interwebz. I couldn’t have crossed the finish without your possible impending shame.

Jackalope, out. 

banana

Please Don’t Make Me, It Hurts

31 Aug

It has been one great rotation of the earth since I have posted.  Where in the holy hellballs did I go?

No, really. The last time I posted was last September,  wherein I said I was “back,” whatever that meant. Apparently it meant that I had sincere plans to dive nose-deep into the pale, sweaty armpits of the Internether and perhaps never return.

I’ve come ever so briefly out of my little dark whole with the cockroaches and video games – out from the muck and the mire and all off the rolls of fat and shame that have accumulated since my last post. I’ve brought new toons as penance. Once, many moons ago, I asked Sir John Michnya to draw some for me hoping that by the time they were finished, the desire to update would stick my finger into the part of my brain that publicizes my thoughts and pull something gooey out.  Four months later, here it is.

The reality, my friends, is that life has been hard. Like, real hard. Like, “hey, I heard 2014 was pretty nice for you and got you a nice job and appreciation for family and stuff so HEY LET’S THROW DEATH AND CANCER AND HEARTACHE AND AWFUL IN YOUR FACE TO MAKE UP FOR THOSE GLORIOUS GIFTS ISN’T LIFE SO FUNNY!”

It’s all about balance. Seems fair.

All is well enough in Jackieland, have no fear. As well as it can be, given that I haven’t yet been transported to live my real, true life as a night elf in Azeroth. Someday, ducklings. …Someday. In the meantime I need something to make me feel like I don’t suck as much.  So I picked a half marathon.

You may recall that in 2013, my 365 challenge was to work out every day and culminated in a 10K. You may also recall my near-death in that experience, the amount of increase in my tendency to cuss, and a beneficial thinning of my thighs coupled with a promise that I would never, ever put my genetically underdeveloped body in that position again.

But I have a good friend who did the 10K with me and was happy to shame me into running an ungodly amount of miles, despite it being over twice what nearly killed me. The texts he sent me thereafter helped me to envision a dull, dark world where I had walked away from a challenge. They were almost Shakespearean.

This talk of half marathon is not an empty promise, friends. I’m in week nineteen of half marathon training. I can slowly jog more than eight miles in an ugly and haggard fashion.  I have my motivation board up and active, I have enlisted a personal shamer, a personal coach, and a personal cheerleader. The trifecta is in place.

The truth is I don’t really know what else to do. I don’t want to stop trying new things, I don’t want to have a tumbleweed blog, and I don’t want to have space in my brain for all the awful that this year has brought so far. So a really long and painful run is all I’ve got.

I sucked. Life is ebbs and flows of suck.  But what else can be done with it but to put it out there and look it in the face. It just gets bigger and fatter the longer I wait.

The older I get, the more I think that we’re all just flailing in suckery. The good eggs try to correct course. The bad eggs, for some reason that will forever dog them, don’t try. The glory is in the trying, I think.

Here’s to the good eggs. 

Shout out to a fan from the nether who greased up the ol’ contact form and told me to get back at it so that she could have a brief respite from her soul-sucking state job. I’d tell you her name but then the government would assign her a drone. Thanks for turning on the skillet.

The Next 365

2 Jan

Okay. It’s January 2nd, 2014 and I have a 365 to account for.

For those of you just tuning in, it’s been exactly three years to the day since I wrote my very first post in my very first 365 Challenge: to fire up a blog I once adored and let sit dormant for years with one post every day for 365 days. It was far more successful and fulfilling than I could have imagined and I’ve become an advocate for 365 Projects ever since, much to the irritation of my friends and family.

In 2012, what I now refer to as The Dark Days, I didn’t complete a 365. In 2013, I enacted Project Fat Ass. To quote myself: “…before I give up all hope of ever being the kind of person who can run for 6+miles and/or fit into single-digit clothing, I’d like to give myself a fair shot by forcing myself to face my fat every single day for 365 days.  And then of course running a 10K so I can be sure something tangible came out of it: a certificate and a t-shirt.”

I did. I did all of that except get in the single digits (they’re a terrible myth, I’m sure of it). I exercised every day and ran a 5K and then exercised every day and ran a 10K and I got a shirt and a finisher’s medal. I took shots of myself every month and tracked my progress . At my least fit, I was 189. At my fittest, I was 155. It was really hard and it was completely worth it.

Originally I placed the 10K at the end of September because I thought it would give me an extra few months to harden up my body post-6-miles before reporting my progress. I thought about all the extra motivation I’d have thinking about how awesome it was that I finally ran that far and that long.

In reality I kind of blew it.

I mean, I walked for 20 minutes most days and sometimes I’d even do something pretty taxing but post-10K Jackie was nothing like pre-10K Jackie.  I should have gone harder. I won’t say I failed because hot damn I completed a 10K but I also won’t say that I was a warrior those last three months. If pre-10K Jackie were around, she’d be pretty upset. I’ve gotten pretty soft.

It’s all good though. Not only because I spent all year understanding my body and my motivations and what does and doesn’t work (and how disgusting my habits used to be), but because it’s January 2nd and it’s time for a new 365.

I was thinking about my big accomplishment this year and celebrating my new improved self with a bag of Skittles and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (which I now eat in two days, not one), when I really struggled to think of something I wanted to do every day for a year.  I also thought about how many of you have talked about doing smaller daily challenges (30 Days) and how many of you took me up on my Gauntlet challenge earlier this year.

I can do lots of things better or differently than I’m doing them now. I had a whole list of ideas – I could spend all my free time only reading books, I could be vegan, I could go carless for a year, I could cook from scratch every single night, I could say yes to everything for a month – there are many possibilities I could dabble in daily that would seriously affect the kind of person I am and the effectiveness of my personhood a year from now.

It’s kind of hard to choose.

So this year my 365 is actually a series of 30 Day Challenges. I have twelve chances to adopt a new habit within thirty days. Some of them might stick, some of them surely won’t – but every single month I get to focus intently on something I want to be better at and share my failures with you all.

I’ve already picked the first month. As penance for the last three months of slacking, I’ll whip out my tried and true Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred so that I can stop hating on my soft self for the pathetic walks in October and November and the shameless cookie munching through December. That should also give you all ample time to tell me what you want me to do for 30 Days.

That’s right: I’m taking reader suggestions. I’d love to hear from you. Some of my best Lollipop Tuesdays have come from you guys. Heck, we can do one together or you can try to live vicariously through me or you can just suggest something you think I suck at so that you can point and laugh while I struggle.

In 2012 I wanted to be the kind of person who was fit. I wanted to be able to jog and maybe even run a race. It seemed completely out of my territory and I was so scared leading up to the 10K that I wanted any possible way to get out. Because deep down I’m a little whiny bitch and a bit of a pussy.

That’s truth right there. I know that it’s vulgar and I don’t usually do vulgar but that’s truth. And it’s probably true about all of us, really.

Let’s do 2014 correctly, shall we? We’ll live with intent, try new things, and laugh at ourselves. Of course you’re always welcome to just laugh at me, but I do hope that at some point this year you’ll consider joining me. If you aren’t sure what the rules are for a 30 Day Challenge, you can review my recommendations in numbers 1, 2, and 3 here. Eventually I might even put it all in one convenient location because I love you so hard.

Oh, and thank you. Whether you’ve been here since the first post or just got on the train, there is absolutely no doubt I would be a fat, motivationless pile of self-produced oils and cheetoh dust if you didn’t support me and ignore my frequent cat, unicorn, and World of Warcraft references. You’re swell. Thanks. As a token of my gratitude, here’s an oldie but a goodie: a large cat either being offered up to a nation or getting a breast exam in front of one.

cat feel up

Thank you and Happy New Year, all. The suggestion box is open. 

Goalsmack Month

3 Jul

Guys, it’s an important time of year.

I’m not talking about the birth of our great and glorious beer-drinking reality-television-watching nation or even the birth of myself (occurring the week thereafter but unrelated to beer or reality television) or Christmas in July. I’m talking about the halfway point to New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the beginning of this month marks the halfway point for my Fat Ass 365 Project, wherein I vowed to do something health-related and workout-y for 365 days in a row, culminating in a 10K at the end of the year. Back in spring I participated in a 5K to keep myself on track and accountable and thererin concluded that I would rather die a slow and painful death in private than to be forced to do it publicly by running a long distance race..

Unfortunately, I’ve already committed online, in person, over the phone, and in print- I’ve locked myself in via every communication channel possible. I even have an accountability buddy. That is, a buddy who will come the day of the race to knock on my door and drag me to the starting line. This, of course, is all part of a well-constructed plan by pre-5-K Jackie, who believed she could do whatever she put her mind to and didn’t want to put up with wussy Future Jackie’s sissy whining. She set up safeguards and guarantees to ensure that Future Jackie couldn’t wiggle her way out of anything. Post-5-K Jackie, however, has the good sense to acknowledge how incredibly difficult it was to simply jog three miles straight and isn’t “sissy whining” so much as she’s “certain she will die”. 

But it’s too late. I’m locked in.

Death impending or not, I’m halfway to the reckoning. A little closer, actually, since the 10K is late fall. That means that in two weeks I officially start my training schedule. It’s not official, really. It’s just a piece of paper I tore out of a magazine that promised me lots of things. 

So I’m staring down the barrel of my New Year’s Resolution. So far everything is on track. I’m still working out, I’ve cut down my complaining to occasional, and when I think about running a 10K I still puke a little fear into my mouth. How you doin?homer

Many of you are in the midst of grand undertakings as well. Some of you got started bright and early in the year and some of you just hopped on board recently. You can start a 365 any time, so if this paragraph has you feeling left out, feel free to jump in any day now. If you’re nervous about doing the whole thing, you can always start a 30 Day Challenge. The mention of either is enough to get me all hot and bothered.

While you’re all assessing progress, charting future plans, and/or scolding yourself for negligence, I’ll be paying extra attention to Jillian Michaels  and logging more miles on my bike in the hopes that I can lower my risk of Death-by-10K. Maybe if I kick it up a notch these two weeks before training, I’ll thank myself later. 

Unlikely.

But first I must celebrate the glory that is Old Glory. I plan to do so with two toddlers, a baby, and a kiddie pool. I made cookies. It’s going to be excellent. 

Happy Almost Independence Day/My Birthday/Christmas in July/Goalsmack Month. And don’t forget – it’s never too late to join the crazy. 

A Good Night for a Drunk Run

17 Apr

I shouldn’t really say I update on Wednesdays if I’m not going to get off my rear and post before midnight, right?

I was off my rear, though. I’ve been off my ass since 7 this morning; I just wasn’t typing. Typing has, however, been the only thing I’m doing every other day of the week, all the time, always. I have had so many papers due for school in the last few days that I’m not sure there are any more thoughts in my brain.

For those of you just recently joining the jackie show, it would be helpful for you to know that I am currently enrolled in a dual masters program while also employed to pay the ba-dillios.

Those are bills. Ba-dillios are bills.

So anyway, I’ve been a little busy. But good busy. I’m happy busy. I’m just also out of things to say that are worth saying. Sometimes I stare at the screen for an hour and nothing gets written. Last week, I wrote a paper 3 different times because the first two attempts were a total fail.

I am not failing, however, at my 365. We’re rolling up to the 1/3 mark for my fitness 365, wherein I resolved to do something active for at least 20 minutes a day and have since conquered two Jillian Michaels DVDs and almost finished training for a 5K. No, I’m rocking that party hard. Allow me to regale you with a glimpse of Jackie Present (that is to say the current Jackie who is motivated and no-excuses and trapped by her own very public announcement to not fail or make excuses.)

It was yesterday. I woke at 7am to try to finish a research paper due that night, I went to work, I came home, I tried to finish the research paper again, I went to class late and turned it in, went back home to start a research paper due the next day (idiot) and instead decided to go celebrate my hard work by attending Dave’s open mic.

There, I had a few drinks in the fashion and manner typical of a classy lady. And just when I had almost freed my cares from thoughts of finals and writing and taxing schedules, I realized: I hadn’t run yet.

It was 2am.

You see, I specifically set up my 5K training program (wherein I transform from human Cheez-It disposal to competent jogger in several weeks) so that my final day of training is the day of the race and the first official time I actually run 5 english semi-miles. That means that if I skip a day, I am seriously in danger of being unable to achieve my goal. And if I fail to achieve the 5k, I seriously endanger my ability to finish the 10K in September, thereby bringing my 365 to a dramatic and successful semi-conclusion to ride the home stretch into the end of the year.

It’s an elaborate and volatile plan and my sudden decision to enjoy a few classy lady drinks was putting it in danger. So I ordered several coffees like a champ, left the bar at 3:30am, and went home to put on my running gear.

And proceeded to run. Semi-sobered and exhausted, I launched my flailing limbs across the great pavement plains of my neighborhood. Also, I brought Dave. He’s the best.

I came home, thoroughly pleased with myself and thoroughly exhausted at the realization that I had been up for nearly 24 hours, fell asleep in a pile of sweet satisfaction, and fell asleep until the next afternoon.

When I woke, I celebrated with chocolate. And hot dogs. It was a slippery slope; I’m now cuddled up in bed with an empty plate of pizza to my right and staring at the bottom of a bag of chocolates I’ve just obliterated.

A girl’s entitled to a little visit to Fat Jackie’s Paradise as a proper celebration, isn’t she? Maybe not. But I’m doing it anyways. Leave me alone.

So listen: to all the ducklings attempting The Gauntlet 30 Day Challenge right now, you’re about halfway through. If there hasn’t been a day like this already, there soon will be: you’re going to have a day when your schedule spirals out of control and before you know it, you’re holed up in some bar somewhere, drinking in celebration of your dedication only to find you’ve failed to remember to do your 30 Day Challenge activity.

And when that happens, you’re going to have to suck it up and go drunk running at 4am. Or work to better your small business. Or read a new book. Or cook a challenging meal. Or apply to a job. Or whatever it is you crazy kids are doing out there.

Oh, and congratulations. You’re halfway to being filled to the brim with awesome sauce.

Puppies and Sprinkles,

Jackie

Oh. I couldn’t find a picture appropriate for this so instead here’s a picture of a human feeling up a cat. Warning: Not suitable for work.

cat

Project 365, Round Two

2 Jan

Well, it appears that I’ve renewed my domain for another year, so here I am on the couch again on a Wednesday night wondering what I have in my head to share.

By now you all know the answer is absolutely nothing.  And I appreciate you sticking around to listen to it.

It’s been exactly 2 years since I wrote my very first post in my very first 365 Challenge: to fire up a blog I once adored and had let sit dormant for years. It was far more successful and fulfilling than I could have imagined and I’ve become an advocate for 365 Projects, much to the irritation of my friends and family.

So it’s a new year and I need a new 365.  I didn’t do one last year; I think I was right to have taken a break.  It was a big challenge and a big payoff.  And I really missed that sense of satisfaction when the ball dropped of knowing I’d spent 365 days working on making one very specific thing about myself better.  I mean, what a waste of a year, right? 

Well not a waste, but you get what I’m going at here.  Last year was good to me.  I got out of a corporate job that was sucking the life from my body and replacing my blood with black sludge.  Instead, I decided to go back to school to get a dual masters, not knowing how exactly that looked or how I would pull it off financially.  I lost twenty pounds and put ten back on (I’m choosing to celebrate the net -10), and I spent more time with my family and friends than I have in a long time.  All in all I’d say that’s a pretty darn good year.

But I’m a monster that can’t be satisfied with mere short-term human achievements.  And let’s face it: if you’re going to force me to keep writing by continuing to read, I’m going to need some subject matter besides awkward elevator conversations, how upset I get when old ladies cut me off when I’m shopping for produce, and my soon-to-be-famous million dollar ideas (if you have money to waste and want to sponsor me, please reference Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C and then wire me the money directly so I can squander it on my inventions).

I was going to tell you something when this all started.  Oh, right.  I’m going to run a 10K.

Oh man I just wrote it.  It’s right there staring at me, all big and 10Kish.

Well I thought about how it felt to finish a 365 the first time and I thought about what thing I could spend 365 days working to improve that would best-affect me in the future.  And that answer is my fat ass.  I shall dub it the Fat Ass 365.  I will spend every single day of this year doing something fitness-related for at least 20 minutes and I will celebrate my success with a 10K.  I already looked up the race.  I have the race.  It’s a go.

I thought I’d invite you all to join me and we could get jackie blog t-shirts and make a team and conquer world hunger or cancer or the dwindling population of honeybees together, but then I realized that if I did that you might actually come and I might have to deal with the anxiety of meeting several completely foreign people and that I might die of a panic attack before I even get to achieve my resolution.

So no, you can’t know which race. You might find me and inadvertently cause my death. That would be a shame.

This is somewhat about the 10K and much more about the fact that I need to seriously incorporate movement into my daily life.  It is a simple fact that I am happiest when stuffing my face with junk food and watching television or playing video games.  This will never change about me.  I mean, I can do other things and try to replace it and even if I’m successful, I’m always going to wish deep down that I could just be in front of a screen stuffing my face and filling myself with disgusting self-deprecation that will breed in my mind and cause my own self-destruction over the course of several years. So this year, in order to help keep that natural adoration at bay, I’m enacting Operation Fat Ass 365.

I remember when I was just knee high to a grasshopper envisioning my 20’s.  Specifically, my late 20’s. I pictured what most lower middle class kids picture: a family and a nice house and great holidays and a job I don’t hate.  Of course then I grew up to be a member of the Boomerang Generation, a bunch of over-educated late bloomers with poor job prospects and an abnormally high sense of cynicism.  So I can’t really have any of those things little Jackie envisioned for herself at the moment (Sorry, little Jackie, but someday you’ll grow up and realize being a kid is all about being stupid and wrong all the time. Deal with it). 

There is, however, one thing I envisioned that I can absolutely do – and that’s be in the best shape of my life.

I mean it’s now or never, right?  I turn 27 this year.  That’s like, 3 years away from 30.  I have to imagine that someday in the near future, kids, self-loathing, and hips twice my size are coming my way and before I give up all hope of ever being the kind of person who can run for 6+miles and/or fit into single-digit clothing, I’d like to give myself a fair shot by forcing myself to face my fat every single day for 365 days.  And then of course running a 10K so I can be sure something tangible came out of it: a certificate and a t-shirt.

There’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to hate it.  But that’s okay because I’ll have lots to write about.  I love to write about things I hate. And eventually I’m going to get sick of running and I’m going to have to do things like take dance classes or go to Zumba (Lord, help me).  And those, my friends, count as Lollipop Tuesdays.

I’m already in the midst of my next one. Tune in Tuesday for the goods.

So that’s what my 2013 looks like: sweaty and disgusting. I hope yours looks fantastic too.  And in all sincerity I hope you consider a 365 Project (it’s not too late!) or at the very least, one single Lollipop Tuesday for yourself.  That way when I cross the finish line we can both celebrate.  

Happy New Year folks; thanks for reading – especially the seven of you who were with me from the start.  You’re all puddings.  Now tell me what your 2013 self challenge is. 

By The Power of Grayskull. ♣

Where’s My Fat Loss Hallelujah?

29 Feb

I really thought that when I reached my goal weight, it would be a little more like Jennifer Hudson with singing and magical fairies of fat loss and a little less oh, I don’t know – ordinary?

Mind you, I know not whether I’ve actually reached my goal weight.   It’s just that I’ve been jogging 2-3 times a week for about 5 months and I’m eating better and since I used to have macaroni and cheese and cheeseburgers twice a week and sat on my very cushioned tush every single day before that, logic dictates that I must have lost something. …Right?

The whole weighing-myself thing wasn’t going very well so I ditched it;  now I have The Naked System.  Instead of weighing myself, now I just stare at my pudge in the mirror every day.  I pinch it, I cradle it, I inspect it from all sides, and in the process determine my accomplishments.  If I’m overly soft, I get more motivated to eat and jog that day.  If I’m proud of myself, I decide it’s because I’ve been having pudgy naked time in the mirror every day and it’s working.  And if I stay the same, well, that’s because I check every single day and change is slow.

So I don’t have a number on the scale I’m looking for because I won’t let myself look.  I just know that 5 months ago I could take all the stomach fat in my hands and hold it in front of my body.  I was so married to it that I had considered a variety of Jackie Blog marketing tactics including a muppet, a voice, a variety show… But now the Pudge Muppet is gone.  I have forced my body to run against its will. It’s been months of jogging and eating better and having pudgy naked time and now when I wear my pants the second time after a wash, they scoot down my hips.

Photo borrowed from the magical fat fairy celebration parade.

I thought that was the sign.  I thought something epic like pants scooting down hips meant that  a fat version of me would burst out of the closet singing about the woman I used to be.  Then I could endorse a food establishment of my choosing and get a book deal and go on talk shows discussing the secret to how I changed my entire life and have nothing more important in my character than my ability to be fit.  Maybe I could even get my own google doodle.  (The o’s would obviously compose my former marshmallowy bottom).

But I even put on my skinny jeans the other day and there was no doppelganger bursting forth from the closet to sing a duet with me.  It was just me, singing in the mirror.  Naked.

It’s times like those that I’m glad my cats can’t talk.

I had sincerely hoped that by now people would start to notice, but the only one who’s said anything at all is the cleaning lady at work.  Either she’s  just trying to make me feel better or she’s the only one who I encounter in my daily life.  Neither is a preferable truth.

Maybe the change has to be more drastic.  Maybe I just need to get some better fitting clothes instead of walking around in my former fat suits.  Or maybe Angelina Jolie’s emaciated limbs at the Oscars made it impossible for anyone to look worthy of a fat loss hallelujah session.

I should probably just call JHud myself and see what it is that made her former fatty burst forth in vocal glory.   I want my nationally televised self-duet.

Until then, I’ll just keep rehearsing in the mirror. 

2012: The Year I’m (Almost) Not Always Right.

11 Jan

Image from A Paper Proposal - click to explore their site of wedding-inspired awesomeness

This past weekend marked the twentieth time I have locked myself out of my own vehicle.

Admittedly, that’s a rough estimate.  But it’s probably not all that rough.

I was going running (sixth week of Couch to 5K, by the way, thankyouverymuch), and decided that I would tuck the key to my car in a tiny zippered compartment right above my jiggly bum.  This tiny contraption is courtesy of the super awesome pants that Dave bought me for Christmas.    But since it’s so tiny and located directly above my rearend, I thought it best to cut down on bulk and take only the key to the ignition and not the little button pad that locks and unlocks the doors.

Mark: this was a conscious choice.

You know that fleeting moment when you wonder if something will pose a problem for you and that you might want to pursue it to ensure that you are wrong but you convince yourself that you’re being illogical and choose to ignore it?  I think it’s called laziness.  Or apathy.  At any rate, for a moment I wondered whether or not I needed the button thingamajig to get back in my car but told myself that was silly and that ignition keys always open doors as well.  I locked the button whats-it in my car, tucked the ignition key into the secret ass pocket, and took off. I ran, I succeeded, I got back to the car, and the key failed.

Failed hard.

It’s unfortunate because I was hot off the victory of my week 6 run and excited to get back in the car and go take a much-needed shower.  I’m not a natural-born exerciser.  You know, one of those dames who can fun 5 miles and have a soft, beautiful glisten? I was bred to sit on couches and play video games and eat potato chips.  When I perform a task any more strenuous than brushing my teeth, I immediately break out in a coating of sweat not unlike the look of a sloppily glazed donut. I needed that shower.  Instead, I was outside my car fumbling around at the keyholes in the cold.  I decided to conquer the situation with my mind.  I deemed it a logical impossibility that my ignition key would not also lock and unlock the doors, and prayed to sweet baby Jesus to please do some sort of automobile miracle for me on this 28 degree day.

That also failed.

I was visiting my hometown and only knew one person in the area that I still kept in touch with on a regular basis and was within walking distance.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen her in about a year and didn’t want her first impression of me to be fresh off a 2-mile, just-out-of-bed-and-now-a-glazed-human run. But I had no choice: I needed someone with AAA and someone in her house had to have it. I didn’t know that for a fact.  I just knew her family, and her family was chock full of folks who would really need something like AAA.

The sister was my winner.  In fact, I cashed in on her third and final lock out call of the year.  Score. 

I finally got in the car and got to my cell phone to call Dave and tell him about how incredibly stupid I am, which I am apt to do on an almost-weekly basis.  I like to remind him that I need him around because when without, I can’t really function easily like other human beings.  Without his assistance, I’d be wandering the streets of the city barefoot and coat-less with only a kittens and slices of leftover pizza in a knapsack to accompany me.

Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad.

As it turns out, David had told me only one month ago that my key pad was absolutely required to open the car and I said that was no problem and why would I ever not just use the key pad.  Though I pretended not to remember this conversation, I had a movie scene flashback to my exact location at the time of its happening.  I was flippant.  And I had just paid the price.

Sometimes I just don’t listen to Dave because I don’t feel like it.  I tell him I won’t take a coat outside because I don’t need it and then I ask to borrow his only a few hours after.  I tell him I don’t  need to wear sneakers because sneakers look stupid with my sweater and then I ask him to stop somewhere to buy flats because my feet look like they were attacked by badgers. 

And I also tell him to stop rambling on about using the key pad and then lock myself out of the car because I forget that I need it.

Therefore, I have deemed 2012 the year that Dave is always right.  I’m boldly going where no woman has gone before.  I’ve dedicated 2012 to blindly following wherever Dave will lead me.  I have a good feeling it will involve more jackets, better shoe choices, and fewer lockouts.  It’s a win-win.  Either I find he’s not right and I can carry on henceforth not heeding his advice, or I’ll find that he’s almost always right and become a more efficient, more put-together human being.

Here’s hoping the latter also means less lockouts. 

World, Meet My Butt

19 Dec

the hot new exercise trend

I am now the proud owner of a pair of super skin-tight, inappropriate workout pants.

I’m a little scared of them, actually.

Dave did this adorable thing yesterday when we were running errands in the afternoon where he would try to gauge my interest in the things I got distracted by to see if they would be appropriate Christmas gifts.  There’s a new athletic store that just came in right across from my favorite ice cream store (I know – rude) that I wanted to check out.  Inside were lots of super awesome looking, incredibly effective bits of workout gear.  I wouldn’t normally be excited for such a store, but I ran in the snow the other night and was a lot colder throughout the experience than I would have preferred – so I was up for anything that could solve my problems, especially if it was actually somewhat attractive.

Right now I’m wearing so many frumpy, misshapen layers that I look like the Junk Lady from Labyrinth. 

The Junk Lady: In case you're lost on my obscure cult classic references.

Dave encouraged me to try on a few things in spite of their jaw-dropping price tags and I instantly fell in love with two pieces. One was a fleece-lined sweatshirt with thumbholes and a built in neck scarf that was so simultaneously cozy and badass I could have fallen asleep in it and then woke up to run in it.  The other was the most serious pair of pants I’ve ever donned.  Fleece-lined, padded with some sort of magic wonder fibers, and lined with little hidden zippers and pockets for things I might need to tuck away while I run.

They were also super form-fitting.  Tight.  Like, hey-I-painted-my-buttocks-with-black-paint-and-went-for-a-run tight.

I would never in a million years imagine myself going out in public in them.  I considered not even opening the fitting room door to show Dave.  The second I did, the sales associate working the fitting counter perked up like she’d just come off a Bikram yoga high and shouted about how awesome they looked on me.  It took a lot for me to hold back from saying something snarky.  I’m surprised the pants even came in my size, as I had to sort through to the very back of the rack to acquire them.   I made a comment about how they were a little too form-fitting for me and that I didn’t know if I could leave the house in them.  She responded that everyone says that and that they don’t really make anything that isn’t form fitting.

Something related to their hiring requirements, I suppose.

At any rate, there I was in what felt like my underoos, staring at a size negative 2 and thinking about the ice cream I ate before I came in to try on these spray-painted-on leggings.  And even though I should have felt like a fatty fat and told myself to rip them off quickly before anyone else saw me and suffered a stroke from the shock, I had to admit that they were incredibly comfortable.  And warm.  And the answer to all of my winter-running problems.

I told myself I run in the early morning or late at night and no one would be able to see me in them anyway.  I also told myself that maybe the fact that people can clearly see the location of my butt crack would inspire me to run faster, as to blur the details of my rearend in a flash of speed.

I looked at every mirror angle possible and agreed that the pants were not flattering in any of them, but I was shopping for function and not form and would do as I pleased.  There was a small part of me that mentioned I’d be running for another 6 weeks yet and somewhere in there, I’d eventually start to look better in them.  So I stared at the super comfy sweater that looked great on me and made me want to sleep and run at the same time and then again back at my super tight, super inappropriate pants.

And I chose the pants.

Dave managed to pick up the tab on what was a perfect Christmas gift because it inspired me to do better, supported my current goal, and would stop my legs from being beet red when I return from a chilly run.  The pants were an all-encompassing gift of love and henceforth they shall be painted on to my buttocks to enhance the appearance of jiggliness while I run.  Maybe after I make it to week 7, I can go back for the sweatshirt as a reward.

I’ll just have to make it a size long enough to pull down over my butt cheeks. ♣

Run, Jackie, Run.

15 Dec

I’ve actually begun to kind of look forward to running.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.  But there it is.  Just, you know, sitting there.  

For those of you who don’t have a feeding tube inserted from my blog to your brain, 1) button’s on the right and 2) let’s debrief.  I started this program called Couch to 5K in an attempt to truly test the psychology that has (so far) successfully propelled me through posting each and every day in 2011.  The idea is that I take the same no-excuses attitude, publicize it so people hold me accountable, and try to tackle the thing I hate most in the entire world: running.

One of the things that drew me to Couch to 5K is that it advises you not to do any more than it calls for, even if you think you can.  Since it’s built for couch potatoes, it doesn’t want you to get burned out and quit.   But earlier this week, I was sincerely pondering breaking the rules.  I just wanted to feel good about the fact that I ran that day.  I wasn’t in the mood to run, per se… I just wanted to be proud of myself and imagine my kangaroo pouch shrinking while I was huffing and puffing.

I’m using it for some serious storage.

Perhaps some psychoevaluation is in order.  It appears to be a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome.  With no choice but to continue on in the program I’ve so widely publicized and rooted in an activity I so deeply despise, I’ve begun to accept my position as captive and am starting to empathize with my captor.

Never, ever, in my life did I think this would be true.  Of course, I’ve only almost finished week three of a nine-week program.  Next week I could be cursing and devising new and exciting ways to break my foot so I can cop out.  But what if I just keep…liking it? What if I turn into some kind of crazy running beast that can’t be stopped?

Well, the asthma will get me eventually.  But after near-death and a puff of that inhaler: BEAST.

I’m on to something here.  I’m going to unlock and entire world of psychoanalysis discovery.  I can hear the news anchors now: “Postadayer turned marathon runner? How this awkward hermit girl became the Forrest Gump of our time.”  I’ll write memoirs and I’ll get shoe endorsements and I’ll take the world by storm.

But first: week four. 

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