I know some of you wanted to see some of the food I’ve been eating lately, but honestly: since I started grad school, those have been super boring. But here! Have a picture of some oatmeal I ate before graduate school took over my life. Oatmeal…with bacon on it. I kid you not.
So. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. And it isn’t an accident that a lot of this thinking comes from me being completely swamped with graduate school, as well as teaching Freshman English twice a week at a very late time in the day, and it also comes from my stomach problems getting exacerbated when I’m stressed out…but hear me out.
Two weeks ago, for about two weeks, I took off running entirely due to a dance recital. I didn’t want to deal with soreness in my hips while dancing. I stuck mainly to my yoga practice with light cardio every day for no more than 30 minutes (with one rest day) and I also lifted weights for a total of 40 minutes per week.
I felt awesome.
I felt strong, and relaxed, and comfortable, and despite the fact I was drinking more Gatorade than a normal human should ever consume, I felt pretty fabulous. I recognized the importance of eating things that would serve my dancing energy but not weigh me down. I got over my fear of not being ‘full’ and just trusted I was fueling myself properly. It felt amazing, and my muscles looked defined and lean. I looked like a dancer, and I felt strong and beautiful on a daily basis. I was taking care of myself. Well…I was eating way too much sugar but hey, it fueled my dancing!
And then I started graduate school, and I started running again, and I accidentally only did yoga one day of a certain week, and the pain I was in was so severe I couldn’t run for another week. And my stomach HATED me for all the running. I was in constant discomfort.
|biggest fear ever.|
The bottom line is?
My body hates running long. My body loves yoga, kickboxing lifting weights, cross-training, swimming. And my body loves running anywhere from 2-6 miles. Anything else? Nope. I come from a family of bad knees and bad stomachs.
When I run, I get thin. Really thin. I get bony. My hair kind of thins out. I turn into a human vacuum. I eat tons of crappy food because “AAAH I’LL RUN IT OFF LATER.”
At this moment of my life I cannot be running crazy-long distances. I have no time to rest my legs because I’m up reading papers, I have no time to refuel because I’m always on the go, and my bad legs and bad ankles are constantly reminding me that running long distance is not only unsafe, it’s just completely dumb.
But you registered for a half-marathon! And you told everyone and your dog (that you don’t own) about it! you might want to scream at me. I even ran my longest distances to date this summer. And that was AFTER getting hit by a car. One would think I could do it all, and with ease.
Nope. Because there’s one thing I forgot to consider – I’m not a fucking competitive athlete. I’m a nerd in graduate school.
People are paying me a ridiculous amount of money to teach America’s children. I can’t do that limping around with my compression socks. Some people can do that (I’m looking over at you, Frayed Laces), the people who can run 1/2 and full Ironman distance while attaining their Masters and PhD’s. That kind of dedication (and coffee addiction) is something I can’t even begin to imagine.
But it’s not me.
Yes, I like to run. But I am first and foremost a scholar.
I am someone who, when given the choice between heading out on a 9 mile run and a 4 mile run with the promise of snuggling into my bed and tons of reading and writing, will always pick the latter.
I am also a former binge eater. I do not put this mildly. There’s a difference between “Ohh, too much pie” and “I eat because I’m afraid no one will ever love me.” I fell into the 2nd camp.
I ate to hide every amount of pain I was in. The extra marathon training I was doing was causing me to eat in a way I am not comfortable with. The idea of having to stuff my face continuously all day to make up for the calories seemed like a lot of fun at first (and ohhh, it was SO much fun). But as much as it pains me to say it, I am not the type who can eat whatever she wants and not gain a pound. I work my ever loving ass off in the gym, but I still can’t comfortably eat a ton of cheese or ice cream and feel good about that decision, despite many peoples’ efforts to guilt me into it. Given my druthers, I would sit on my ass and just eat all day long.
People ask me how I stay in shape? Aside from just the normal answers of “I eat a lot of kale and I work out”, it’s just self-control. I don’t snack between meals. I don’t eat dessert every day. I don’t like to eat sugar in the middle of the day. I save my chocolate for after dinner and I savor it. I work out. I don’t drink.
I loved the way I looked and felt for the two weeks I did not do one lick of running. I did end up missing it a little bit, and I will probably kick some major ass in any 10K that comes my way. But on Wednesday, after one of the best yoga practices I have ever had in my entire life ended, I realized…I didn’t need running to fill some sort of gaping hole. I was perfect. As is.
And that is why I won’t be running the Hartford 1/2 Marathon.
At least, not now. Right now I need to devote to my schoolwork and to my students. I can’t risk injury. If I got hurt doing this marathon and I had to quit doing yoga, for any time period, my heart would break. Running didn’t get me out of my binge eating. Yoga did. Running destresses me. Yoga saved me.
I am a graduate student. A writer. A reader. A yogini. A dancer. A sister (both blood and in-law). A daughter. A future wife. A future mother (hopefully!).
School trumps running long.
I like to run. But I don’t like it that much. I won’t let something silly like running 10 miles, or refueling, to consume my every thought that should be filled with academic pursuits, achieving a beautiful split in steaming hot yoga, and drinking an occasional glass of wine with my family. And maybe even dating people and thinking about settling down if the right man came along…hey, stop laughing. Someone’s gotta love this!
|I know you want me, you know I want ya.|
So, what to expect next on Girl V Food?
Recipes. Musings on food/fitness trends. DVD reviews. Yoga talk out the wazoo. And of course, lots of pictures of breakfast.