Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Warner Warning

I have a revolving door of celebrity crushes.  Currently, I cannot get enough of Jackie Warner.  I came on board a few years ago when she did her reality show on Bravo!.  I gotta say, I loved the lesbian drama, especially when she started sleeping with her trainer Rebecca.  Ohhhhh, girl -- scandalous!  And, while I was skeptical of Rebecca's motives (uhh, reality show fame whore, much?), I could absolutely see how a straight woman could give up her man meat and start attending the lesbian luncheon.  That woman is a force.

Recently, Bravo! allowed Jackie back on television in a show called Thintervention.  It reminds me very much of Biggest Loser, but with contestants who are whinier, more entitled, and just so stereotypically "LA" that I have issues rooting for them.  Really, I'm supposed to feel sorry for you, Nikki, with your massive inheritance and investments that has allowed you to live job-free since you discovered Grey Goose?  How's that life path treatin' ya?!

But, do not judge, lest ye be . . . blah blah blah.

My favorite parts of the show are when Jackie corners each individual contestant and gets to the underlying issue(s) that has caused them to gain weight.  One of the contestants, Gina, lives in a giant house, has oodles of money at her disposal, A PERSONAL CHEF, and access to any upscale gym that she comes upon.  Jackie tells her that clearly something is missing because she has this "great life" and yet she is unhealthy and unhappy.  Proof that body issues are hard to deal with whether you're wrapped in K-mart or cashmere.  Back fat and tummy rolls are the great equalizers.

There is also a therapy session at the end of each show.  Jackie requested that each contestant bring a picture that depicted them at a happy moment in their childhood.  I was sure it was going to be some malarkey about "getting back to innocence" and "remember how great it was to run outside and play when you were a kid?  Let's all pretend we're children again and this obesity epidemic will go away, tra la la!"  Each contestant shows their picture and hearkens back to the days of missing teeth and crooked ponytails.  Awwwwww, how sweet . . . c'mon, let's get to the malarkey.  As everyone is enjoying a cuddle from the warm 'n' fuzzies, Jackie interrupts and asks them to tell the child in the picture--I'm paraphrasing here--that they are fat and worthless, they are not loved, and they will never be what they wanted to be when they were that child in the picture.  

Umm, ouch.

Of course everyone thinks that's crazy and abusive.  Jackie asks them why, then, is it okay to tell themselves those things as an adult?  It's still abusive, no matter what age you are, right?

Aaaaaand, cue gut check.

With that little psychological nugget burrowing deeper into my brain,  I went for a run.  I had to wait until 9pm because Los Angeles has recently been on the business end of the sun's blow torch.  90 degree heat does not a happy day-runner make.  I started out into the night enjoying the glinty moon above and the slight breeze on my face.  I could feel my ponytail swishing on my back and the rhythmic galumph of my shoes on the pavement.  I ran past all the big houses with their strategically lit yards and landscapes.  Rosemary bushes, still warm from the sun, giving off their heavy scent that always makes me want to eat stew.  My hip started to loosen up and I was really enjoying myself.

That was half a mile in.

I started sweating.  Boy, it's a lot hotter out here than I initially thought.  I had a steady stream of sweat down my face and stinging my eyes.  My feet were getting progressively hotter, the moisture-wicking socks clearly at capacity.  I looked at my watch and noticed my arms and wrists already had a sheen of sweat.  The waterfall on my head was white-watering its way into my bra and soaking the waistband of my shorts.  Sweet Jesus, this is miserable!  My shoulders were slumping and my dragging legs were making a very good case against You Can Do It, Only Two More Miles To Go!  The smell of rosemary was rage-inducing. 

Hey, brainiac, why don't you take off your shirt.  You're too hot with it on.   

I have heard and appreciate your suggestion, but no. 

Your shirt is soaked and weighing you down.  It's not really helping the situation. 

You know what else would not help the situation?!  Having my lily-white wobbly belly flesh refracting off the headlights of oncoming traffic. 

Whatever.  You are on the sidewalk where people can barely see you, and they are going too fast to care. 

Well, I care!  Los Angeles does not need yet another set of large breasts bouncing down the street!  I have enough stretch marks lining my hips and thighs I could be mistaken for a tiger and tranquilized on sight!  My muffin top is not improved by the actual muffin (apple bran) I had for breakfast this morning!  And, my complete lack of upper body strength means I have ham hocks where my arms should be!  I'm not taking off my shirt!

Then, Jackie Warner, in all her cut-abs-and-silver-hot-pants glory, came to rescue me from the Ike Turner of emotional beat-downs I was inflicting.  Would you say those horrible things to a child? 

I went as far back in my memory as I could to the last time I was not aware of any type of "flaw" in my body.  I had single digits on my birthday cake.  When, by second grade, you're standing in the back row of your class pictures with all the boys going through growth spurts, and your pants are always two inches above the top of your worn out high-tops, awkward starts early.  I compensated by having a big personality to go along with my body.  Go big, or go home, right?  

Evidently, the SS Keep Telling Yourself That is not as seaworthy as I thought.

With one more mile to go and no signs of the Belly Wobble Police, I took off my shirt.  I definitely regretted the glaring white sports bra, but I figured, since I was running at night, it was really more of a safety measure--a DD safety measure.  I forced myself to think of all the things my body could do instead of all the things I wished it could do.  In that moment, I was grateful that I stepped outside of my limitations and found, shockingly, that I survived.  Will I be making half-naked running a habit?  Probably not, but running without a shirt instinctively made me suck in my belly, drop my shoulders, and raise my chest--good running form. 

Sneaky, Jackie . . . very sneaky.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Devil and Daniel Craig

It's not a recurring dream, but it's a recurring dream event.  Whenever I run in a dream--away from danger, or towards a half-naked Daniel Craig--it always feels like I am  j u u u u u u s t   s l o g g i n g  through the space.  My brain is telling me that I can run faster, that I must run faster.  Daniel Craig needs you!!  My dream appendages, on the other hand, are not getting the dream memo and I am running through a world made of custard.  A world of custard and Daniel Craig?  Umm, OK!  Or, sometimes, in an even stranger scenario, I am pumping my arms and legs freely, but the world is not moving past me as fast as it should.  Daniel Craig is standing exactly where he was, even though I have been running towards him for a good five dream minutes.

Oh, irony is fun.

For the past six weeks, I have been on the elliptical staring longingly at the people on the treadmills.  When I see runners on the street, I stare at their legs and hips, hoping to observe something they are doing that I am not.  I look at their shoes.  I look at their posture.  I wonder how a woman built like me can run like the wind, while I run like a maimed yak stuck in a mud puddle.  It is so not fair, but discouragement breeds giving up and all sorts of nasty circumstances. 

In addition to my new found relationship with the elliptical, I have also been hanging with a chiropractor regularly, drinking my vegetables, rolling around on the floor with this sadist, dabbling a bit with ChiRunning, and saying really sexy things to D.R. like, "Honey will you rub my hip?" and "Slow down, my shoe orthodics aren't broken in yet."  All of this because a tiny little tendon does not have the ability to support my robust German hips.  German engineering, my ass!

With exactly 12 weeks until the half marathon, I decided last Sunday that I would re-engage the running.  I have done some research on runners' usage of heart rate monitors and decided to give it a shot.  The idea being, if easy runs are executed at 65%-75% of maximum heart rate, one will build endurance in the heart and lungs, strength in the muscles and tendons, and avoid turning the body into one giant injury.  Once a running base is built, faster and harder runs can be incorporated.  Makes perfect sense.

Armed with this new information, I strode triumphantly to the treadmill.  I started running a very slow mile.  I wasn't gasping for air and my hip felt pretty good.  I placed my hands on the heart rate sensors and the beeping red heart icon gave me the equivalent reading of "Dear God, your heart is going to explode!"  Confused but obedient, I slowed the pace.  Five minutes later, I took another reading.  No imminent explosion, but I was definitely being warned.  Seriously?!  Before my injury, I was running and working out at a much faster pace than this.  And, it's not as if I'd been sitting on the couch eating pizza and ice cream for six weeks.  What is the deal?

The good news is, I got off the treadmill with only a little soreness in my hip.  I took a couple ibuprofen and went about my day.  Yesterday, I took to the streets with my new snazzy heart rate monitor.  Every few minutes I checked my heart rate and adjusted accordingly.  By the end of the run, it felt exactly like my dream -- running so slow that the world is not even moving.  It took me 44 minutes to cover 3 miles.  Pre-injury, I could run 3 miles in about 30 minutes!

Now, I am fully aware that I suffer from a rampant disease called Impatience.  I am also aware that I cannot go back to doing the same things I was, or I will continue to have the same injury.  And, if we're being completely honest here, my heart probably is working harder than it should because of 10-15 pounds that just really adore my butt and backs of my arms.  I have been so busy congratulating myself for "being a runner" that I haven't given my body the proper care.  Who cares if I'm hauling 10-15 extra pounds, I can run five miles without stopping, suckas! Oh, those rationalizations sound so good, don't they?

So, I am stuck in a dream, and it's not the fun Inception kind.  I am accepting my body's current limits with the realization that they are there only because I have made it so.  I will remember that if I make demands of my body, I must also show it courtesy, care, and a salad every now and then.  I will not gripe (too much) at my initial slow running times, knowing that my reward will be stronger, more sustainable fitness.  I will deal with the custard running.  I just hope Daniel Craig will wait for me.