Tuesday, July 03, 2007

GBIS - Day 3

It seems that as I've aged, my metabolism has slowed down, or perhaps it rests entirely on the fact that I've been a lazy bum these past two years. I guess I could have jogged in a light mist, where it would've been foolish to skate.

My mother told me that one of my older male cousins, too, has put on a little weight. He, too, had been slim without exercise most of his life, not counting sweating in marching band uniforms in high school and college.

It was a given in my family that the women were heavy and the men beanpoles. There's an article online in the health section of the NY Times,
In Mauritania, Seeking to End an Overfed Ideal, that talks about an African city where female obesity was an ideal, and now, they're trying to correct and reverse their thinking.Female or male obesity isn't an ideal. I wouldn't want to live in a society that valued girth over healthy living as a sign of wealth or fertility.

I felt my weight gain as I maneuvered the potholes on my blades yesterday. I'd never had extra weight on back as I twisted, turned, and danced to the music in the outdoor roller rink summers past. I'm not Jabba the Hut, but I'm not happy right now. So much has changed since I last worked in an office with a corporate discount at NYHRC. It's not a stretch that I was more active working five days a week on a helpdesk, attending to the needs of secretaries and V.P.'s

Central Park will have to substitute as my gym of choice from this point forward. I'll miss the whirlpool, sauna, and fresh towels. I won't throw away my carton of Epsom Salt and wintergreen alcohol in the days ahead when I'm achy and stiff from my double-click fitness plan of jogging and skating.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Getting Back Into Shape - Day 2

I opted to rollerblade the six-mile loop around Central Park to complement my jogging the reservoir. I had some trepidation because I'd hadn't laced up and snapped on my skates in quite some time.

I usually wouldn't think about falling on my skates, but a small, still voice tried to prevent me from leaving the apartment. Was it that little red dreadful pointy-tailed creature hovering next to my right ear, or was my fear justified?

I descended the stairs backwards, as always, and checked my reflection in the lobby mirror. Yes, the chubby cheeks in the reflection owed themselves to all those times I bought
Häagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream on sale, two for five dollars at any number of grocery stores on the Upper West Side.

Excuses and fears oozed from me like the perspiration most likely would as I hit the three-mile mark: the street was unsafe due to current construction in the area, someone who knew me at my former lean life (see picture of me African dancing in Central Park below) would see me and snicker at me, hand across their mouth, or I'd be so winded that I'd be unable to complete the six-mile loop.

I swore off the Portuguese bread I recently fell in love with from the store across the street and Doritos that accompanied my tuna sandwiches, as one too many people whizzed by me on their skates and bicycles.

I was successful in my first day back on wheels and working up a sweat. The hills felt like mountains as I pushed-walked-rolled to the top before gliding down, careful to look on both sides, lips closed for fear of insects taking refuge inside my mouth. Twenty-eight days to go! Wish me luck, and please, keep all bad carbohydrates, Oreos, and strawberry cheesecake away.

P.S. There's no middle Sunday play at Wimbledon! The rain hasn't been kind to the athletes this year. The All England club might want to reconsider this, and definitely expedite the new retractable roof before 2009.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Getting Back Into Shape - Day 1

Today was my first morning jogging around The Jackie O. Reservoir in Central Park. I posted ads in the Activity Partners and Groups categories on Craigslist for early morning jogging buddies as I'd two summers ago. Four men and two women responded; the men flaked via e-mail overnight or earlier this morning before the alarm sounded at 6 a.m.

I knew to check e-mail before leaving the apartment as not to sit and search for the anonymous respondents with only vague physical and clothing descriptions as the sun made its appearance just above the park. I wasn't disappointed because I realized that I am responsible for my current condition, and that no one else can shed the ten to fifteen pounds I've gained from my sedentary lifestyle these past two years working primarily from home.

I had the veritable angel and demon on either shoulder as I staggered to get to dressed, all the while trying not to trip over one of my two cats. The angel prevailed, and I was ready to take the crucial first step in dropping down to my ideal weight and waist size. I've clothes hanging in plastic dry cleaner's bags once my metamorphosis is complete.

Rounding the curves and descending the hills to my final destination, I thought back to a petite elderly African American woman, perhaps in her late sixties or early seventies, I'd see several mornings a week two summers ago when I jogged with a small group. I called her Foxy, not only because of the pep in her step as she strutted, but because she was attractive and vibrant, her naturally taut caramel skin free of perspiration. I imagined she was quite a heartbreaker in her youth. She was a motivator then, and now as I hoped to see her power-walking to the music on her walkman.

Once at the bridge, I looked over at the tennis courts and wished for the physical conditioning of either Venus or Serena Williams currently playing at Wimbledon. I stretched and watched the other joggers and their dogs trot by underneath the bridge. The first lap was easy. I relied on emotional recall and muscle memory to propel myself around the 1.3 mile track. The second lap wasn't effortless, perhaps I thought too much about my goal rather than shifting into autopilot. I stopped twice on the track, but didn't put pressure on myself. It was my first day back after a two-year hiatus. I completed my second lap, huffed and puffed my way back to the bridge, stretched, and returned home to shower, eat breakfast, and watch The Sisters and James Blake play at Wimbledon, weather permitting.