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Running for my life - the funcrunch files


Mar. 18th, 2004 07:34 am Running for my life

I just got back from a jog in Washington Square Park, in my attempt to resurrect the exercise program I started last fall and very quickly abandoned after coming down hard with the flu over Thanksgiving weekend.

I have a special relationship with running, and it isn't because of that "runner's high" endorphin rush that people talk about. The only real sense of joy I get is when my run is over and I can go home. I like its simplicity, affordability, portability, and the fact that I can pretty much credit it with saving my life - twice.


I started jogging in March '98, after a bleeding hangnail turned into a potentially life-threatening infection. I decided that if my immune system was in such poor shape that I could die from a hangnail, I really needed to do something about my health.

By the following year I was regularly competing in 5K races, culminating in a half-marathon in January 2000. But I was not happy; my marriage was falling apart, and I was having suicidal thoughts. During a very low point when I actually started thinking about what it would be like to starve myself to death, I thought no, I can't do that, because if I don't eat I will be too weak to run and I won't be able to continue my marathon training. That was when I realized that I had something to live for.

Sadly, I never did complete a full marathon, as I injured my knee on a grueling 16-mile training run and couldn't run for five weeks. I tried to get back to jogging on and off in the following years. I briefly joined purchasemonkey and his friends in a semi-regular 6 a.m. run from central Berkeley to the end of the pier and back. But I was embarrassed that my slow pace was holding everyone back and turning what should have been a fun time into a painful task that was making me increasingly late for work.

So the vast majority of my runs have been solo. I need to run in the morning, on an empty stomach. Whenever I've tried to work out in the evening I've found a million excuses not to do it. The morning is my time, even if I have to set the alarm clock an hour earlier and try to get to sleep by 11 p.m.

I hesitated to write this, knowing that I have serious problems sticking to anything and knowing probably only 2-3 people will read this and give a shit. But it's important to me. I'm only 34 years old, but sometimes I feel like 60. I'm almost crying as I write this. I need to be healthy again.


I need motivation. Ask me how my exercise program is going, even if that seems rude. Encourage me to stick with it. Don't ask me how much weight I've lost, not because it's a personal question but because I don't plan to step on a scale again any time soon (except at my annual physical next week). I do have an ideal weight in mind, but I don't want to obsess over that number. Once I can fit into the clothes that I wore during marathon training again, I'll consider my goal accomplished.

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Comments:

From:lrc
Date:March 18th, 2004 08:20 am (UTC)

Good luck

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In order to succeed at something, many people need more motivation that "I ought to do something".

One reason that Lindy Hop is a good exercise program for me is because I enjoy doing it. Also, it's in the evening, when I'm usually free. If I lived in The City, I'd go dancing just about every night ( http://www.lindylist.com ), and at Lindy in the Park on Sunday mornings. (I kind of wish I could go to LitP this Sunday).

I feel that weight, by itself, is a poor metric. According to the BMI charts, I'm obese (5'8" 205lbs) while I could lose some weight, I'm a ways from obese. You may want to invest in a stethescope and a sphyg and learn to take your pulse and BP (I could teach you if you need, it's very easy). Those are probably a much better metric of health than is weight.
From:zyxwvut
Date:March 18th, 2004 11:42 am (UTC)

Re: Good luck

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There are gadgets (and funcrunch lurrrves gadgets!) that will automagically do BP and blood pressure. And you are right about that being a better metric than "raw weight" number.

"Obese"? That means *I'm* pushing "obese". I'm not a supermodel, but crikey!!!

Z

P.S.: ::gives a shit::

From:lrc
Date:March 18th, 2004 11:48 am (UTC)

Re: Good luck

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you mean HR and BP?

I wonder what the relative cost and accuracy of automatic and manual sphygmomanometers are.

It's kind of fun learning to take your own BP, once you do so, then it's easy to read it when they take it at the doctor's office (you can see the needle jump when your heart beats).

The people who came up with BMI very obviously cannot even spell mesomorph. When I did a test at the gym and came up with 15% bodyfat, and in "very good shape" pretty much across the board, I was borderline obese by BMI measurements.

If your goal is cardiovascular health, then I can't think of a better way of measuring it than HR and BP.
From:funcrunch
Date:March 18th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)

Re: Good luck

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Thanks for the responses. As I mentioned, I'm not planning to step on a scale again any time soon, so I don't know or care what my BMI is. I just need motivation to keep exercising, because I am far too sedentary.

A friend loaned me a wearable heart monitor once when I was plagued with sinus tachycardia and on beta blockers. I don't think I have it anymore as there was much baggage involved with that now-ex-friendship.
From:funcrunch
Date:March 18th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)

Re: Good luck

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P.S.: ::gives a shit::

Thanks, you were one of the 2-3 I had in mind.
From:zyxwvut
Date:March 18th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)

2-3 people (WAS) Re: Good luck

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No false modesty, but I thought I might be.

Z

P.S.: I'm sure that I know at least one other, who will probably raise zir voice soon.
From:boyziggy
Date:March 18th, 2004 02:05 pm (UTC)

i'd love to support my love

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i'm so proud that my juliop is running again. It's great that she doing something phyically active.

I've never been much of a morning person myself. Though if i stay awake for a few more hours each night, i might be able to join her on her morning jogs! :)