Dear Chris, I Need An iPod Armband For Our Anniversary. That'dbegreatthanks.

I went for a run today.

If you can call it that.

I have gained 10 pounds that I cannot seem to shed. I've tried everything: thinking about it really hard, making lists, looking at TMZ, baking pies, reading books. Nothing will do the trick! Weird I know.

This weekend I decided I was going to get serious about working out. So I told Chris that I was taking up running because how hard can it be? I was a gym rat in a former life: I've worked out with a personal trainer, I've kickboxed, I've spun, I've been down to 19% body fat. Surely I can run.


I showed up at the gym the next morning wearing two sports bra, a bad attitude, and my iPod filled with women-objectifying songs. Could I be more ready?

I gave the front desk hottie my gym card to scan, made a joke about how proud he must be to see me back at the gym again, ignored his COMPLETELY BLANK expression, and was on my way to the treadmills.

Tragically the only treadmill available was wedged between a blonde hard body and a prolific sweater. (Not the kind you wear. Although that visual is making me laugh. The sweater is all "I got to get into shape. I used to be a mitten.")

ANYWAY. I told myself that it didn't matter who I was next to, this was my journey, and no one cared that much about my undulating ass cheeks anyway.

So I stepped up, started off with a nice brisk walk, stepped it up to a brisker walk/run, and then waited for my favorite part of "Golddigger" before I broke out into what felt like a cheetah sprint, but when verified in the mirror looked more like maybe I was lightly jogging back to my car after returning my shopping cart.

I shrugged (mentally; I'm not that coordinated) and told myself this was the first of many runs upon which I would improve.

Then the burning started.

First in my lungs, then my chest. Then I swear my moles started hurting.

It must be time for a break, my brain screamed.

I checked the clock.


Two minutes?!

I became frantic.

My eyes darted around for an escape, an excuse. I have a muscle cramp! doctor appointment! hammer toes! job interview! diarrhea!

You can do this, Lena. You're a winner. A big winner.

I imagined the parked car directly out the window in front of me carried Savannah. I was chasing the car! I am a mother! Mothers have superhuman powers! I will tap into my fierce maternal reserve! I can lift a car off a burning building or something how does it go oh God my face hurts!

I pawed at the speed down arrow and slowed to a fast walk. Interval training, y'all.

My pounding heart encouraged me to take my heart rate.



Clearly, I was dying.

I sipped some water, took a few deep breaths, and walked two minutes more. Surely I can manage to run for two minutes without dying. Who am I anymore?

I glanced in the mirror at Gym Bunny on my right. She ran effortlessly, her feet like butterflies landing on flowers. Her body was tight, her face firm and focused on her own reflection.

Did that used to be me?

I looked at my loose sweats, my beet red face. I winced at how my belly shuddered with each step, how my face jiggled up and down.

Who am I?

How did I let myself get this out of shape? How did I lose complete control like this? I've been deluding myself into thinking I was fit and I'm not. I fail at staying hot.

And yet.

I just wasn't very offended by it all.

Believe me, I tried. I waited for the familiar feeling of shame to well up in my chest. I waited for the embarrassment, the humiliation, to grip me.

It just...didn't come.

I'm 32. I look 32. I still think I'm beautiful. And if I can feel beautiful like this - out of shape, overweight, puffing, exhausted from my three minute run - then it can only get better.

So I started to run again. I found "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall in my iPod and blasted it through my ear buds.

And I ran. Fast.

Her face is a map of the world, a map of the world.

I pumped my fists.

You can see she's a beautiful girl,
a beautiful girl.

My feet pounded the belt.

Suddenly I see.

I felt the chilly rush of adrenaline and I was flying.

This is what I want to be.

I wanted to cry with pride.

Suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me.

I was doing it!

And then?



Like a complete on-my-ass fall at full tilt.

As luck would have it, one of my crazy possessed-by-joy hands (which I had clenched into tight fists like hooves for precisely this reason) came down on my iPod wire and flung the damn thing right onto the whizzing treadmill belt. This caused me to do a very cool backward trip hop jump before finally landing at the bottom of the treadmill.

Gym Bunny glanced at me alarmed and then returned to gazing at herself smugly in the mirror.

I stood up, brushed off my sweats, got back onto the treadmill, walked for a respectable one minute, and then raced to my car to catch that very pressing doctor interview. I mean job appointment. Whatever.

Then I did what any self respecting adult would do after pitching over on a treadmill in a crowded gym. I got a McGriddle and sat with my laptop.

I'm happy to report that I've never felt fitter.


Rachel M. said...

that sucks - but it was really funny to read!

I'm struggling to lose 10lbs, I'm 33 and my baby is 14mo. They say it all melts away in the first year - I hope no one ever says that to me again or I'll probably punch them.

I've been using Jillian Michael's Shread DVD for the last 20 days and I'm finally seeing improvement - everywhere but my belly - my shorts are loose, my face is thin. It's almost disheartening so against my better preference I'm back on a no carb diet. It's really hard to be skinny - with a muffin top. I'm skinny every where but my belly. I'm get there though. Determined.

Angella said...

Oh, Lena. The sweater bit had me giggling.

Hang in there, sister. I for one know that you're hot and think you look fantastic :)

Chelle said...

I think you were channeling my first visit back to the gym after a long absence except; I didn't have a sweater next to me, I had Super Hairy Shirtless Man so; it only looked like he was wearing a sweater.

I still shudder when I think about him.

Anyway, hang in there :)

Anonymous said...

Getting to be able to run that first mile is painful. It took me months. After that it's pretty easy. That first hump is horrible to get over though.

I highly recommend the Nike+ thing you can hook on your shoe and your ipod. It's helpful to see that you are getting better each day, even if it's in 2 second increments.

Casey said...

I'm delurking to say that that may be the funniest post you've ever written.

I hate that it happened and all, but it improved my mood tremendously this morning. Thanks!

The Other Laura said...

I am 47 and have been running this summer at a local university along with 20 year olds who seriously seem to levitate over their treadmills. If I can do that, you can run anywhere.

And the sweater/mitten thing was particularly hilarious.

Jennifer said...

This had me cracking up! If it makes you feel better,I decided to take my bike out this morning and I got chased by a rather large dog. It wasn't really fun, but I was jell-o by the time I made it home. Jell-o means progress, right?

whoorl said...

A prolific sweater. AHAHAAAAAAA.

(Okay, not to be all "TRY THIS! TRY THIS!", but you should consider the Couch to 5k running program. It totally works and keeps you from situations when you might think you're a little too cool, thus running a little too long and resulting in killer shin splints the next morning. Not that this has happened to me or anything.)

Lena said...

@whoorl - I'm not too good for advice.


Checking it out now!

Overflowing Brain said...

OMG. The sweater. That was hilarious.

I fell off a treadmill once, but it was in a sporting goods store and I didn't walk out as much as was carried out from like 10 bleeding head wounds. Anything worth doing...

Also, I just (sort of) started running again (some days), but the song I've found so far to be the best to run to is Fallout Boy's "Thanks for the Memories." It is awesome. Good luck!

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

"I used to be a mitten" - bwahahaha!

My iPod has undermined me like that too. I think armbands ought to come standard, if only for safety's sake.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much why I love reading your blogs.
I can so relate. But, I just about died laughing. I needed that today.
Also, I'd be right there with ya, huffing and puffing after 2 steps.

chirky said...

I was feeling so PROUD for you.

And then, at the end, I totally laughed at you.

Sorry. I feel a little bad about that. No, not really. I don't. It's just that I was laughing WITH you.

kdiddy said...

Lena, I love you. Just in case you were wondering. *clinks my McGriddle to yours* Cheers.

Julia said...

Agreeing with Casey above, de-lurking because this is absolutely hilarious in a laughing with you, definitely NOT laughing at you way. "I used to be a mitten"--AWESOME!

mouthy_broad said...

my favorite was the "cheetah sprint" but when i looked in the mirror i looked like i was jogging after returning a cart. ha! hilarious.

Sunk Costs said...

Ahahahaha. I love you so.

JerusalemStoned said...

love the sweater. love you. and WW is the best, btw. I lost 15 pounds on it in one summer.

Emily said...

Oh I so get you. Even in my best shape, I was never one for long distances. Poor endurance. So to me, the part where you look down and see 2:30? I so get that. TWO minutes and thirty seconds? Seriously?

Good luck, I"m sure it'll only get easier from here.

alice said...




I hope that couch to 5K, or whatever you end up with, works for you and helps you feel more energized, but I must say MAD, MAD props to you for recognizing your hotness now. You are beautiful, and no amount of pratfalling can change it.

Mel said...

Finally! I've found the perfect work-out partner! Won't you be my work-out partner? Puh-lease?

mpotter said...

what great insights!

congrats on taking steps for yourself. 3min is a LOT of steps...

very funny post. thanks for letting us laugh with you.

Geri k said...

You inspire me to write girlfriend. You really do!


Geri k

Mrs JP Chaos said...

I needed this post. For the funny...for the boost, whatever. This was awesome.

Virenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virenda said...

First I'd like to say I quite enjoyed your sweater joke... Give me more.

Second... I'd personally prefer to see more cats on treadmills and less people.

That is all.

rebecca said...

I just chuckled. Alone and out loud. Thank you.

Jerilyn said...

De-lurking to say, I was totally laughing out loud (not just some cute "LOL") at your fall off of the treadmill...the visual is just...too funny. Thanks for sharing and letting us laugh "with" you :-).

Also, how awesome for you to know that you are totally beautiful the way you are. Aren't the 30's so much more confident than the 20's? You go girl.

Jody M said...

This was exactly the thing I needed to read! The sweater joke (I'm still laughing) and the treadmill fall even though it's not supposed to be funny.. had be in fits of giggling. And I think it's fantastic that you see your beauty. I started running about a year and a half ago.. I used to think I was allergic to running because I would (literally) hyperventilate every time I ran.. and I love it now - mostly. The key is to take it slow. I haven't been running in a while so I need to start back up.. hoping to run the Seattle Half Marathon turkey day weekend.. want to run with me? :)

Frema said...

Oh LORD was this a good one.

I'm training to run a 5K at the end of September and attempting to follow a three-day-a-week plan. My first week was golden. Last week I only made it out once. So today starts Week 2, Version 2. That's totally allowed, right?

P.S. If you loved KT's first album, her second is equally as good. When I'm pregnant, my personal anthem is "Hopeless." The two are only slightly connected.

laurie said...

You've probably heard it before, but I am using the couch to 5k method to get back into running. It works over 9 weeks, alternating walking and running until you can run a 5k. I like it. ALso, I run outside so if I fall, it's all me. Can't stand the smug runners on the treadmills. Am too afraid!

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Jasmine said...

First I'd like to say I quite enjoyed your sweater joke... Give me more. Second... I'd personally prefer to see more cats on treadmills and less people. That is all.

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