I’ve been looking for something to work towards and hilariously it’s been staring me right in the face all along. I keep trying to articulate it for Sage: “I want to train for something that I have to really prepare for…” At the same time I’ve been saying “I don’t want to have something that’s heavily dependent upon money. Having a goal that is “I want to make two trips to India next year and maybe live there for 2 months on one of those trips.” is a very exciting prospect but also not financially realistic. A quick look at fares to see if Daegan and I could go there for the holidays – before he starts his next big class – turned up this lovely bit of information: tickets from here to Delhi would run me about $2100-2300 each. Last year I paid less than half that and applied a $500 credit I got for being bumped from a flight.
And so I’m going to focus on two things over the upcoming months: First off, I want to get myself ready to run a half marathon. Last year at this time I could run 13.1 miles without a whole lot of difficulty and no pain. It felt good to be able to go out and steadily run for 2.5 hours without stopping. Once I build up my stamina a little bit so regular running isn’t a problem, I’ll start a formal training program and target a springtime half marathon. If money’s good and I feel confident, maybe I’ll do that half marathon somewhere warmer than Toronto.
In tandem with that, I need to drop about 10% of my body weight to get to where I was last year at this time. I’ve been having a lot of “Oh just this once” moments eating quantity or quality of foods that maybe I shouldn’t. The advantage of dropping the weight, aside from fitting in to a number of clothes that don’t currently fit me comfortably is being able to run a bit faster and cycle faster as well
There are a couple of tricky parts to this challenge. The first is that I love to cook and though it might be boasting a little, I like what I cook so much that I often eat more than I should.
The other challenge is that tomorrow morning I board a plane bound for Louisiana. This is challenging on a couple of fronts. The first is that my expenses are paid. Within reason, I can eat what I want where I want. On my second trip there a colleague and I gained 9 pounds in 7 days – and I don’t even drink alcohol so that was all food.
The other thing is that the food options down there lean more toward the tasty side than the healthy side. There aren’t many places in the little town where I stay that can do healthy and tasty. Healthy tends to be steamed veggies, tasty tends to be large quantities of deep fried foods in salt and sugar laden sauces. But it looks and tastes so good.
I’m lucky, though, as I’ve figured out some strategies that work for me. Baton Rouge is about 20 miles away with good Thai, Indian, and other healthy options. There’s even a place I go to buy pre-made meals to bring to work that are really healthy and tasty. I usually get a few day’s worth of those to last me. And if I do go out, there are a few things I can do, starting with moderation, that get me by.
And of course, I’m bringing my running gear. I’ve been a little sore after that trail run – it was overdoing it a bit to go from not running for several months while I healed to running up and down hills – the equivalent of almost 20 stories of climbing in 1.5 miles. Yeah, I need to work on that moderation. But the endorphins get to me and it feels so good to be out there I don’t even notice it’s a bad idea. At least this time I didn’t get injured. I should be good to go by tomorrow.
As I pack my gear, though, I’m reminded of one more thing. Going to the southern US means I need to think about some things I don’t usually need to think about when getting dressed for a run back home. That photo of me running, above? That was the Pride and Remembrance run – done during Toronto’s Pride week. It’s a blast with many folks running in awesome costumes and loads of people cheering us on. But wearing a rainbow-bedecked running shirt with the word “Pride” on it is something I don’t feel comfortable doing when I’m down there. It makes me acutely aware of how hard it must be for some people to live there – people who can’t or won’t take their Pride jersey off, figuratively speaking. It makes me so frustrated and angry and if I think about that, the politics and racism down there it makes me really upset.
So yeah, I’m gearing up for a good hit of culture shock on a whole bunch of different levels. But at least it’s for a short time. And I am gathering ideas for things to do that should be fun and distract me from feeling upset until I get back home.