These Boots are Made for Walking (But the Clothes are Not)

Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes – Henry David Thoreau

Most of you know, or have read about my 3 month lifestyle challenge.  It’s been over now for a month, and for the most part I’ve stuck to the new habits I formed January-April.  Mostly.  I’ve hit a plateau, so will need to reassess, but I’m still going to the gym, I’m running again outside (last week I ran my first non-stop 5K), and I’m *trying* to keep my food habits healthy.  Check out the Airdrie Lifestyle Challenge menu for the posts during the three months.

This post is not about working out; the challenges, the rewards, the sucky moments.

It’s about clothes.

I work out 4 times a week.  At least 3 times a week, I’m running.  It’s safe to say I’m sweating a lot.  Some people don’t like to admit they sweat, but I see my sweat as something to be proud of.  It’s all that fat crying and running away.  Unfortunately I have a hard time doing laundry.  I live in an apartment building that has 3 machines for at least 60 apartments, and it’s closed at a specific time each night.  I was able to do a couple loads of laundry once (on a sick day), but then someone snaked in before I was able to finish.  So I jump from friend to friend, mooching their laundry facilities.  I hate asking, but clothes are more expensive than pride.  That being said, I am not able to do my laundry as often as I’d like, and since I have less workout clothes than other clothes, things get ripe, so I’m off to buy new workout clothes today.

I went to Pennington’s website to acclimate myself to what the store offers.  (I hate shopping, so I pre-shop and go for the clothes I’ve already window shopped).  Their activewear is at best pathetic.  First of all, we’ve got weird flowery designs, and a cute little button-hole top.  WTF?  We’ve got sleeves that are flowers, and the body of the T one solid colour.  Can I just have a moisture wicking shirt that isn’t see through, and won’t constrict my movements?  Of the 20 options, there’s one that caught my eye.  It’s a tank, which is great for summer, and outdoor activities like running.  Then there’s this:

stupid_shirt

Nex, I checked out what Sport Chek has to offer for women’s workout apparel.  They’re going to have more options in that regard, because that’s their bag, but just look at they offer:

 

better_shirt

This is pretty standard style.  There’s no weird flair, it’s functional, lightweight, and it’s got some moisture stuff happening.

Why aren’t fat people getting some moisture wicking clothing?  This is something that grinds my gears.  The world is telling us that we need to lose weight, but what the deuce are we supposed to wear while we do it?  Can we not feel some pride in our workout gear?  I already feel like a bit of a weirdo when I run, because, well this:

Can I get some pride back with my cool, functional workout gear?  Is that too much to ask?  Is this just a Canadian problem?  I know that plus sized stores are much better in the States.  It’s a double edged sword though.  I have no other options, so I have to choose what they’re offering, which, to their statistics, or metrics, or whatever it’s called, they think their clothes are a hit.

My only consolation is that in a few months’ time, I’ll be too skinny for their ridiculous shirts, and can wear something for function, and not just because I don’t have a choice.  In the meantime, I’m the one with a weird flowery back paneled-shirt.

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Charity

That’s what I consider true generosity.  You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing. – Simone de Beauvoir

I’m taking a break from blogging about my weight loss journey (although I hope to have a really fun announcement next week) to talk about something else.

Charity.

Easy to give, hard to ask.

A lot of the runs I did last year had an optional fundraising component.  For most of them, I opted against fundraising because I didn’t want to keep coming back to the same well.  I said to myself that this year, the only thing I’d ask for money for was the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  I haven’t met anyone who isn’t affected by cancer, and I wanted that to be it.

But things change.

I am involved in 3 events that I would like to fundraise for.  Instead of staggering it, and sending mass emails/facebook statuses out to everyone I know, I thought I would explain each event here – why I’m involved, who it helps, and how you can help.  Please know this isn’t meant to be a heavy handed attempt at getting funds.  I’m terrible at fundraising, so if you want to help, thank you very much.  If you don’t, that’s absolutely cool.  We can’t do it all!

So without further ado:

Colour Me Red

This is an event put on by Carter’s Quest for a Cure.  Carter’s Quest was started by Jen Ruklic, a mom in Airdrie who has a son with hemophilia.  Hemophilia is something I don’t often think about, and when I do, it’s usually in relation to the Romanovs.  To know this illness is still prevalent today, and there still isn’t a cure, despite all our technological advances is shocking.  Jen has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to support the Canadian Hemophilia Society.  This isn’t a faceless disease.  A lot of us have seen pictures of Carter, or met him in person.  He’s a normal little boy who wants to do normal things without worrying if that bump on the noggin, or scrape on the knee will cause severe injury.  Colour Me Red is a hair-dying event.  There are several of us who have donated our coif to the cause.  On April 12, we will gather at The Hair Lounge and dye our hair red.  If you’d like to donate to myself or any of the other participants, you can follow this link.  There’s also a lot of opportunity to get involved.  Like Carter’s Quest on Facebook to stay up-to-date, and get information on upcoming events.

Race for Kids

I wasn’t going to do this.  I didn’t think I was ready to do a timed race with obstacles.  This event, sponsored by Capital One benefits local Boys and Girls Club.  I love the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie.  I love all the people involved, and what they do.  I got involved last year for AIRScares, and I saw firsthand the good work they do.  Building up the next generation is very important to me, and I jump at the chance to be involved with them.  You can still register to be a part of the race, but if running isn’t for you, and you’d like to pledge toward my goal, you can follow this link.  If you’d like to volunteer for the race, or for other events, give them an email or a call.  Check out their programs too!

Relay for Life

Last year, a group of us signed up under the team name Nose Creek Players on the Block.  We’re keeping the name and doing it again this year.  The relay for life is an amazing event.  It’s a 12-hour overnight team relay, all to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.  Here’s my pledge page if you’re interested in donating, or if you’d like to start your own team, or join one already in progress.  The memories you make will stay with you for a lifetime.

There’s obviously so many other events going on, so if you’d rather donate your time than your money, I encourage you to check out what’s going on in your area.

Running

I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. – Forrest Gump

Last year I got involved in running.  It started with a group of us signing up for Colour Me Rad.  The concept of having colour bombs thrown at me while running elevated it higher than a normal run.  We signed up in February, and I said if I was going to be able to actually run for this, I would need to start training immediately.  Despite the cold weather, we started group running almost right away.  Last winter wasn’t as dreadful as this winter was, and the sidewalks and paths in Airdrie were maintained much better.   I wasn’t following any particular plan, but started slow.  Walk a minute and a half, and run a minute.  We figured out our loop and went for it.  Sometimes we went for the small one (just over 1K), and other times we went for the larger one (over 3K).  I enjoyed it.  I had always had running dreams, so I figured my body wanted to run.

All of a sudden I was signing up for runs all over the place: one a month.  I had done the Tour de Airdrie (that’s the proper name…I still maintain it should be Tour D’Airdrie), The Mayor’s Run, Relay for Life (which was more of a walk than a run), NStep run – to provide school supplies for kids, Colour me Rad, which had been postponed due to the flooding, Allies for Autism run, and finally the Superhero Run, which due to poor path marking resulted in my turning back too soon and running the fastest “5K” I had done.  I had signed up for the night run, but due to a very painful muscle strain, and a winter storm, was unable to run that one.  The muscle strain stopped me from running the Resolution Run as well.  I thought my days of running were over.  The massage therapist I saw said my knee transit was out of whack (layman’s terms) and it was very possible I would have pain in all my runs.

Last year, I had a ridiculous amount of injuries as well.  I hate talking about it, because it seems like I’m copping out.  When I first started running, I was using my very old New Balance walking shoes.  They were very comfortable, but probably not the best for the activity I was now using them for.  I started to get hip pain.  It soon became so bad, it would wake me up in my sleep, and I could barely walk.  During that time, I switched over to Merrill barefoot runners.  (Not the ones with the individual toes).  I also saw a physical therapist.  My IT band was extremely tight, so I needed to make sure to stretch a LOT better than I was after a run.  Gradually the shoes helped, and I believed having the barefoot runners was better aligning my stride, etc.  In early June, just as I was one the home stretch after a run, I got a muscle cramp.  It wasn’t one of those charlie horses you get when you sleep.  This was a cramp that rippled up and down my entire calf.  I hobbled the rest of the way home, and I was out for almost 3 weeks.  Around Canada Day, I began feeling a lump in my throat.  It might have been there before then, but I probably had ignored it, as I tend to do sometimes.  Eventually, it became visibly noticeable, and affecting my breathing – it felt like it was pressing on my larynx.  I had had something like this a few years ago, but it had “gone away”.  Now it was resurfacing with a vengeance.  I got the cyst taken care of, but I had lost a lot of momentum.  At the end of summer, my foot began bothering me.  Those barefoot runners may have been good for stride, but I needed a lot more shock absorbency than they offered.   Finally, just when I thought everything was going away, and I could start again, I got a muscle strain that caused so much pain, I could barely get in and out of my car.  That problem again eventually took care of itself, but since I didn’t know what caused it, I’m not sure if it could happen again.  The same is true with my calf cramps.  At just about every workout I do, they begin to form, and only by immediate action and stretching do I manage to keep them at bay.  I figured my running days were over.

But this year I signed up for Colour me Rad again.  It is just so fun.  And last year, I didn’t do much running during the course.  I hadn’t trained for dang hills!  I’ve been seeing so much momentum, and doing so many more things that I never thought I could do so I figured why not try running again.  I have told myself (and my running crew) that I won’t do as many as I had done last year, but it’s hard to stay away.

Saying that, I decided I have to be more consistent.  Last year, I never really got over the 1.5(walk):1(run).  Several times I tried the 1(walk):1.5(run), but I could never sustain it.  This year is going to be different.  Friday, I started using the Couch-to-5K app.  The first week (with 3 workouts/week) is the interval I am familiar with.  My goal, as I do each interval 3 times, is to gradually build up my pace.  For example, when I started Friday, I did about 2.8K.  Sunday, for my second workout, I pushed myself to go at least 3K.  Today, for my third, my goal is to be over 3.

It’s hard to look at the end result of the plan, and see that I would be running for about 30 minutes.  I can’t fathom that now.  So I have to remind myself to just see the glen in the trees that’s just ahead.  No more, definitely no less.  I also have to be careful, because I am starting to have hip pain (darn that IT band!) and cramps are always at the surface, but I know how to help with hip pain, and as my muscles form and change, hopefully the cramps will settle themselves down.

It looks like my first race is May 31, with the Boys and Girls Club (Airdrie) Race for Kids.  Last year, my best time was just over 47 minutes.  My goal is to be faster than that.  I don’t have a specific number; just faster than 47 minutes would be enough for me.  And then I’ll move on from there.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other runners, but what I like about going to these runs, is that every runner I’ve come across are just so happy to see other runners, regardless of skill level that they shout out encouragement.  It’s a great feeling to know that whether you’re the slowest or the fastest, you all come across that same finish line.

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