In this week's episode of Recovering Fatass Soundtrack, watch a man go from clapping himself on the back for merely writing down a weak-ass running schedule to signing up for another race, in little over 2,000 words. Here's the Spotify list that gets you there.
"Everlasting Light," The Black Keys
I finally made another training schedule of sorts and wrote it down on a calendar. It's now official and I have things I can cross off again. It's four days a week and I never run more than seven miles, but that's good enough for now. I'm not sure if it works out exactly but by the time this schedule runs its course I should be ready to start training for that next half-marathon down at EPCOT. Hopefully I can enjoy some post-race wine, food and cigars or something without throwing everything up all over Goofy. Though, to be fair, Goofy is a dipshit, so I wouldn't feel too bad.
"Maps," Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Today, Thursday, in the gym I had kind of a rough time, then a great time. About a mile and a half in I started to cramp up. Realized then I had not had any water all day, only coffee. So I started drinking, walked a bit and started running after a minute or so. Started cramping up again so I basically started doing all that Lamaze breathing. Well, I don't actually know if I was doing Lamaze, technically. My only experience with lamaze has been via the sitcom trope where a Ray-ish Romano-type is forced to attend lamaze classes and is so out of place it makes for humorous situations, like the guy repeatedly going heee-heee-heee hooooooooooo. So I did that. It kind of worked.
But while I was doing it, I had already decided in my mind that I would only be doing three miles. I originally planned on doing four, but when I started cramping up, I was like, Well, we're cutting this one short today. Which kind of bummed me out. So As I kept approaching my new limit, I kept pushing the goal post back a bit. OK, I'll just do a 5k became alright, let's just go until this song ends which got me to I mean, another tenth of a mile and you're at 3.5 miles which eventually turned in to Just stop being a loser and finish the four miles. And I did. It's not anything special, really, it's just a nice reminder that even though you might be the laziest person since the guy who invented the bread slicer, you can still get shit done you didn't think possible.
"Keep Your Eyes Peeled," Queens Of The Stone Age
I was so discouraged by the cramping and the resultant wanting-to-quit because earlier in the week I did quit and gave up after two miles of running-cramping-walking. I was trying to pick up my pace and push myself a little harder and it completely backfired. The first mile was fine but the second mile was a disaster. I was drinking water all day, too. Maybe I was overhydrated. Whatever it was, I got terrible cramps that would come right back the second I tried running again. It was super annoying. And, I accidentally knocked off that safety thing that cuts the treadmill off if removed. This is annoying for probably a lot of reasons, but mostly because a.) it makes you stop and it takes some time to start up again and b.) you can't pick up where you left off. Like, there's no grace period where it saves your information and you can start back up again. The run is over and if you planned on running for any specific period of time or distance you are going to have to do math because treadmills are assholes and running will find new and wondrous ways to make you want to cry from frustration.
"I'm Shakin'," Jack White
It's no surprise that while I've been stagnating in terms of my running I've also stagnated on the weight loss end, too. Over the course of a year, I lost 65 pounds. Over the course of a year and two months, I have lost 65.6 pounds. I weighed myself Thursday and I was 212.4 pounds, the lowest I've been since starting this little experiment. It was a nice moment, but also a reminder that I still have work to do. When I first signed up for Weight Watchers, they make you enter your weight and a goal weight you'd like to reach. I picked 200 pounds because it was a round number and something to shoot for. At that point it was a total abstraction. it was an aim for the stars and see where you land kind of thing.
Once I got to the 227-ish range, I realized it was actually possible and thought man, this is going to be easy. It hasn't. I've been right around 215 for a while now and while it is clearly better than where I was, it's concerning that I'm stuck. Mostly because I think I have started falling victim to those obstacles they tell you about: everyone I see know tells me how great I look. And I do. I look great, relative to how I looked a year ago. I see myself in the mirror and I think I look normal. The only problem is, I also thought I looked normal a year ago. Because it's easier to fool yourself than fix yourself and I think I've been fooling myself and getting complacent again.
"3rd And Long," A New Found Glory
This is the act of a desperate man. It's calculated. If I say these things out loud they become real. If other people read them, they become real. I've lost a lot of weight. But I was also super fat. When I started Weight Watchers and running wasn't even the worst of it; even though I never weighed myself I'm positive I tipped the scales over 300 pounds at my worst. 212.4 is great compared to that but it's still overweight and I'm still basically a fat guy. I think sometimes I buy into some kind of fantasy where I am not still a fat guy because so much has changed and that's the part I focus on. It's good to feel like you've accomplished something but so dangerous, too.
There's a moment when you first decide to get back in shape that you finally accept how morbidly and insanely obese you allowed yourself to become and you get pissed off about it. It drives you and propels you to things you never imagined possible, like running for more than 10 seconds. It's amazing; where once stood a person so far up his own ass that he was content with who and what he'd become, now stands a person revolted by every single pound of it.
That feeling pushed me for the better part of a year to work out consistently and to monitor my eating with acronym-level vigilance. There comes another moment, however, when that first person becomes, despite his incredible mass, so distant and unfamiliar that he becomes the abstraction, not the skinny, healthy guy. You've created a new reality and the clothes-never-really-fit-comfortably reality you once had becomes a fiction, a hypothetical warning: Abandon all hope... But you're not there, you're not even close, so you're OK and all of a sudden what once shamed and angered you into losing 65 pounds is now a sniveling Yes Man, an enabler. Well at least you're not like that. You can get by without working out today. That kind of shit.
"Take Me Somewhere Nice," Mogwai
So I guess this is where I have to start challenging myself again. I think I may have tried doing that this week when I was running faster and cramping up. I got upset with myself thinking I was giving up when I walked but maybe this is just the next phase. I forgot how brutal it was to start running. I started at intervals of one minute on, one minute off: run for a minute walk for a minute. The goal was to do that ten times. I couldn't make it 30 seconds at first and then I eventually ran 13.1 miles. That didn't magically happen, of course; I had to really work at it. And, 13.1 miles wasn't even the goal when I started. My goals changed as I progressed.
"Something Bigger, Something Brighter," Pretty Girls Make Graves
It's like my treadmill dilemma from earlier. As I got more comfortable, I moved the goalposts back. Running for ten minutes morphed into doing a 5k, which became doing a 5k as fast as I could at which point I skipped a whole bunch of shit and decided to do a half-marathon. I've got to take this little setback or period of complacency and turn it into lemon drink.
"Stare At The Sun," Thrice
As I write this, my wife reminds me that if my body is 70 percent water, the remaining 30 percent is entirely composed of shit. For weeks now, she's been trying to sign us up for some other race, a 10K maybe, and I've been shooting her down. We've already got the race in November, my reasoning goes. To me, that makes complete sense. To an objective person, what one has to do with the other may be the world's most unsolvable riddle. There is literally no reason (other than psychosis) that I can't run a 10K in, say, August just because I'm already scheduled for a race in November.
OK, well there is one reason (other than psychosis): I don't want to run another race between now and November.
"33," Coheed & Cambria
It's hard. Training and just, like, mentally preparing to run a race is exhausting. You've got to have a schedule that you hold yourself to and be accountable for things that ordinarily you can just get around to at some later time. It took me until this week, two freaking months since running that half-marathon, to just write down another (much tamer) schedule. And I don't even really need to pay attention to that one. It's just another stupid mental device to impose even the slightest bit of discipline or the appearance of structure. If I sign up for a race it becomes a Thing I Must Do. And, Christ, I hate having to do things.
"The Authority Song," Jimmy Eat World
You know what it's like? It's like having a final exam scheduled. Remember those days? Just this stupid, looming, thing standing between you and summer that you've got to study for and it keeps your from doing all the cool things you want to do like, I don't know, hang out with your friends. If I sign up for another race, there will then be this Day of Reckoning on my calendar that I have to prepare for. Having to do that once, in November, is bad enough and I need time to mentally prepare myself for that slog. I can't just willy-nilly sign up and do some other race in the meantime.
"Spritz!!! Spritz!!!," Minus The Bear
But, of course, that is a stupid and lazy and self-defeating way of looking at things and treating yourself. I can run a race next week if I want. It might go horribly and be a painful hour-plus endeavor but I can fucking do it. I can run, what, six miles? I can totally do that. I'm just being a baby about everything because life is easier when you don't have things to do. It just is. Some people are better about giving themselves things to do, but some of us have this unfortunate ability to see through all the bullshit and realize: I can do nothing and that will be an easier time for me than if I did more than nothing.
"Our Own Way," Hot Water Music
It doesn't even matter how cool the actual thing is, there's still the problem of it requiring effort. Listen, I know an all-expenses-paid month-long trip to Italy sounds awesome, but have you seen what getting through airport security is like these days? And you'd have to pack a month's worth of clothes and check the bag and throw out your water bottles and sit on a plane next to a kid with boogers and...pretzels, really? That's it? I'll just watch The DaVinci Code instead, thanks.
"My Star," Gameface
So, I have somehow talked—or in this case, written—myself into running another race sometime this summer. Which should just be a fantastic and not at all sweaty and heat-stroke-inducing experience for me. I'm sure we're all looking forward to it. A few people have asked how to get motivated to do something or how to prepare for a race if you've never done it and my response is always the same: just sign up for something. Then you've got to do it. So, that's what I'm doing.
"Weak Warm," Hot Rod Circuit