Today was not a day for pushups

Time: 0:57:59
Distance: 3.34 miles
Music: Oh No by OK Go
Runkeeper Report

I was slower today on account of being sore and tired. You know how you’ll sleep poorly the night before a big event, or having to get up early? Even parts of my dreams included oversleeping and the relief that comes from missing an activity you didn’t particularly want to do anyways.

Out the door at 6 a.m. anyways, and the brilliance of the 7-minute method was proven quickly. It’s easy to get despondent during things like these–to slip into a mindset focused on the futility of it all.

What if I never lose weight?

What’s the point of this?

Is it worth the pain?

Why bother?

And then the six minutes pass and it’s time to jog. And I have to jog for sixty seconds. It doesn’t matter how I feel, that’s the system. So I jogged even though I didn’t feel like it. According to Runkeeper, I was only a little slower than yesterday (a difference of .02 miles per hour on average), and I’m hoping to get into the swing of things soon.

When I got home, I kneeled down on the floor to do a pushup. When I got onto my arms, though, I collapsed–my pectorals would have none of it.

C’est la vie.

My first real go

Time: 1:03:16
Distance: 3.67 miles
Music: The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
Runkeeper Report

I rolled out of bed a little after 7 this morning (don’t have to go to work thanks to Memorial Day) and got out the door shortly thereafter. Between getting dressed and stretching, though, I realized that my pre-exercise routine is going to take longer than I had anticipated, so instead of getting up at 6 a.m. on weekdays, I’ll need to be up at 5:45 to stretch and get ready. I also took along my iPhone so I could use Runkeeper.

My left shoe wasn’t settling right, which was frustrating–it felt like it was twisted, so the heel was a bit too far to the left, and I worried that this would cause problems down the road. I made it just over half a mile before I finally paused to take that shoe off and put it back on, which took care of the problem.

If you don’t find that terribly exciting, I won’t blame you. As things go, it wasn’t an exciting time, but let me share a couple of memorable moments:

1) I saw two men walking down the street or sidewalk during my hour long excursion. I don’t know if they were homeless or just walking, but I overcame my natural inclination to shy away, cross the road, and generally act like I don’t know the other person exists. Encountering people out in the world always makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable, and I hide that by withdrawing–I get away, either mentally or physically. But I smiled and nodded as I passed, greeting them as another human being. It wasn’t much, but I know that it makes me feel warm and happy when people accord me the same, so I hope it was a positive thing for them.

2) I dodged around some refuse on the sidewalk at one point. This wasn’t hard because I’d seen it coming, just some mud and leaves and the litter that gets stuck in such places. It was near a greener place–not a forest, not here, but an overgrown part that is still a little wild. During a rain the soil had eroded and washed onto the sidewalk, but it didn’t cover it completely.

I was on the street and looked down at it, for a flash of white had caught my attention. On closer inspection, it was the bared spine of an opossum, lying belly up–or at least, it would have been had its belly remained. Instead there was just spine and a supine head, gaping mouth and damp fur caked in mud.

***

I look forward to getting into the routine of the exercise. I want it to become everyday, humdrum, and methodical. I don’t want to have to think about it. When that day comes, I can turn my mind to more interesting things while my body goes through the process of burning calories and strengthening bones and muscles and joints. I seriously considered turning on an audio recorder on my iPhone so I could talk to myself while I walked–take some notes, record my thoughts, etc. Maybe I’ll do that sometime, who knows. With the way iPhones work now, though, I don’t think it’ll run more than music and Runkeeper, and I really want to use Runkeeper so I think audio recording is out until later this summer (when OS 4 comes out for the iPhone).

20 pushups and 20 crunches when I got home. Going to try and increase those counts by 10 a week throughout this.

Oh, and I have a blister on the inside of my right foot. Pain is just the body’s way of communicating with the mind, telling it that something isn’t right, or that it doesn’t want to do something. The body tends to be lazy, though, and doesn’t know what’s good for it. I hear you loud and clear, good buddy–message received. Now shut up and keep going.

A new plan to go with a new pair of shoes

I’m not really a big fan of sport. The sun hurts my eyes, and the outside world is dirty and abrasive. Nothing is as nice as my giant SumoSac, a hot cup of coffee, and a good book. Nothing is as extensive or encompassing as my office with my computer, comfy chair, and high-speed Internet. There isn’t a lot for the outside world to offer me in which I am interested.

That said, there are some activities that can only be practiced outside, and paramount are those that keep my gut from expanding. I’ve tried a gym membership twice with hesitant success, but both attempts ended with months of not attending and the membership lapsing. We bought bicycles a year and a half ago with the goal of exercising outside the gym, investing in those rather than a renewed membership, and then I broke my collarbone and couldn’t really do anything for four months.

A year has passed since that injury, and I’m tired of the state of things. I want to shed thirty pounds, and I want to start getting more active again. I’m anxious to get my bike fixed, but I have always wanted to try something else: running. I enjoy walking, and I’ve enjoyed jogging on a treadmill, but I’ve never been able to do it off the treadmill. It just hurts my shins, and knees, and back. Everything hurts, really, which is part of why I avoid the outdoors and its various demands.

Yesterday I committed myself to changing that and purchased a pair of Vibram Fivefingers. For the next nine weeks I’m going to advance along a fitness plan centered on walking and jogging. I want to do an hour a day, and I will be using a 7-minute method a technical trainer described to me. At the beginning, I’m overweight and out of shape, unable to do a lot, so I’ll walk for six minutes and jog for one. A week later, I will walk for five minutes and jog for two. In week three, I will walk for four minutes, jogging for three, and so on.

My first walk/jog this morning, though not an hour long, was quite enjoyable. Not only that, it was surprising. I’ve been reading about Vibram Fivefingers for a year now, and have had them recommended to me by several friends, but I was hesitant to put the cash down for them. The last pair of expensive shoes I’d bought didn’t go well: high-priced Nike’s sneakers purchased for basketball that I just don’t enjoy walking in, let alone jogging (they’re uncomfortable and make my feet hurt after a while, which discourages me from doing anything). In addition, I’ve been reading about the health benefits of barefoot walking/running over modern tennis shoes; having spent most of my youth barefoot, I was confident that what I had read was correct. To do anything, I needed a new pair of shoes: the only comfortable shoes for walking I had were my expensive, leather work shoes, and I didn’t want to introduce the wear and tear on them that would occur with walking regularly outside of work.

So I bought Vibrams after trying on four different pairs, and I’m really digging them. I walked for a few minutes this morning, psyching myself up to jog, and then finally rolled into my first step. My foot took me by surprise as I bounced onto the ball of my foot, mostly avoiding my heel altogether. My body knew what it needed to do, and it handled everything. My shins didn’t hurt, and neither did my knee. I did three intervals before returning home, pleased with my morning’s exertion.

We’re probably going to get April a pair today (though she’s going to get some Classics so she can wear them to work and most everywhere else). I’m also going to get my bike fixed (the front wheel is bent, I think) and start taking long rides on Saturday/Sunday mornings. Nine weeks should be more than enough to get the habit built while making some definite health improvements, and it’d be really cool if I could do a marathon of some sort next summer. I want to get healthy and lose some weight, and I’m excited to have a means to do so.

I’ll be blogging daily about this to record my feelings, experiences, and progress, so check back and chime in with any advice or encouragement you might have 🙂