Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Car and running update

Bought a new (used) car last week.  A 2011 Toyota Corolla with 15,000 miles.  Still haven't named the car yet.  Thought about trying to find a cool German name, but haven't made a decision yet.

In running news, I am still running.  Yesterday was by far my hardest/worst run.  The program called for me to walk 5, jog 5, walk 2, jog 7, walk 2, jog 5, walk 6.  During the 7-minute jog, I began to develop a back ache in my lower right back.  I really struggled through the last two minutes and the final 5-minute jog.  Based on facebook suggestions, I went out and bought a new pair of running shoes today.  (By the way, if you want to determine if people actually read your facebook posts, ask for advice about running.  If you receive fewer than 10 comments, people aren't reading them.)

I am planning to run a 5k race sometime this fall.  I think I know which race I will do, but I am waiting until I sign up to announce it here.  As you will see in the statistics below, I may have lost a few pounds, but I can't really tell.  My weight fluctuates too much during the day and I don't remember when I weighed myself for the initial weigh in.  Let's see if it keeps going down before we make any conclusions about whether or not this is working.

Statistics - Week 5:
Weight - 280 lbs (weighed on a Tuesday morning before breakfast)
Pants - 42 x 30
Longest run: 7 minutes

Friday, August 10, 2012

I miss Belize

Believe it or not, Monday will be two months since I left Belize.  I am getting settled into DC life.  I finished Pol/Econ training this week.  I enjoyed the practical training parts of the class (writing a cable, elevator briefings, presentation skills, working with economic data).  The numerous lectures were awful, though.  Some of these presenters literally put half the class to sleep.  I expect training modules about aviation to be boring, but subjects like counter terrorism should be interesting.  Practically half the State Department seems to work on counter terrorism, there has to be something interesting to say about it.  All I know is that none of the four presenters who talked for a combined three hours could say a single interesting thing.

A word of advice to anyone ever asked to give a presentation about their job.  Tell stories. Give us examples.  Demonstrate why your job is important.  And for God's sake, if you get the urge to include a slide of the org chart for your office, just STOP.  No one cares about how the office is organized. End Sermon.

In my quest to remain awake this week, I started to think about what I missed about Belize so far.  This list is in no particular order.

  • Working in the Consular Section - Going to FSI everyday and going to the Embassy everyday are completely different.  At FSI, I don't feel grounded in any routine (this is likely to change when I start language).  I miss talking to the ladies in the morning.  I miss having half of my day fly by while doing interviews.  I miss having easy regular access to the internet at all times.  The hours, however, are better (class starts at 9 and is generally over by 4, but we do have homework).
  • My car - How do you buy a car when you don't own a car?  Car dealerships are not exactly metro-friendly.  I am going to resort to renting a car to buy a car.  Grocery shopping is also a pain in the ass.  There is a nice Harris-Teeter store about a 25 minute walk from my apartment.  I can walk there, but can't carry my groceries home, so I have to take a cab.
  • Regular things to do - Complain all we want about Belmopan (and we do), there was usually something going on almost every night of the week.  Pig and Parrot on Wednesday, the Tuesday Tumble, the Hash on the weekends, Catan at Beth and Kevin's, lunch at Pasquale's on Fridays.  Sure, I can go to a movie, bar, restaurant, etc., anytime I want, but there isn't really anything pre-scheduled here for me.  Plus, none of my friends live in the same neighborhood as me, which then requires extensive planning on where and when to meet, etc.  Who would think that I would be more bored in DC than I was in Belize?
  • My house - The living space in my apartment is fine.  My bedroom and living room are big enough.  The kitchen is half the size of what I had in Belize, but it is sufficient.  (Only have four bowls, four spoons, and four knives is not sufficient).  What I hate about this place is how small the passageways are.  The closet door gets in the way of going to the bathroom.  The two (2!) bathroom doors get in the way of each other and exiting the bathroom.  The washer/dryer is located in a closet in the bathroom and it is practically impossible get from the closet to the washer without running into at least two doors.  
  • My yard - My dog will not pee or poop on pavement.  There must be grass or some sort of vegetation.  But, of course, there is no grass near the apartment entrance.  At a minimum, I have to walk around the building to the ten square feet of grass along the side of the building.  Otherwise, I have to cross a busy street to get to some grass for Bailey.  Then, since all the dogs in the neighborhood use all the same patches of grass, there are so many smells available for Bailey to sniff.  Add in a seven story elevator ride and what took less than five minutes in Belmopan takes at least fifteen minutes here.
  • My housekeeper - Remember how I mentioned that the washer/dryer was located in a closet?  That is only possible because it is the smallest washer/dryer in the world.  It takes a minimum of five loads of laundry to wash my clothes for the week.  For one person.  I don't know what families who live in Oakwood do about laundry.  I don't honestly think I used the washer more than five times in two years in Belize.  (I should mention that I still get weekly maid service in Oakwood.  They vacuum, clean the kitchen and bathroom, change the bedding, etc.  But, they don't do my laundry).  I miss Roberta.
  • My friends - Miss you guys.

(Yes, I am fully aware that these are first world problems).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Running Sucks

When I went to Italy for six months in high school, I lost 60 lbs.  When I went back in college, I lost 40, another 40 when I worked as a tour guide.  I lost weight when I studied in Ireland and Spain.  Every time I went abroad, I would shed a few pounds.  Before I went to Belize, I fully expected this to happen.  I figured that simply being abroad (and away from all the donuts, pop, and fast food) would make the weight melt off. Plus, since I was gonna be in Belize for two years, as opposed to six months, I honestly believed I would come back from Belize skinnier than I had been since high school.

That did NOT happen.  Instead of losing weight, I put more weight on and am actually the heaviest I have ever been.  (Quick funny story - When I was leaving my parents for DC, I used their scale to weigh my bags.  I stepped on the scale and the dial went all the way past zero and back to 10.  Somehow, I had gained 35 lbs. on the road trip and crossed over the 300 barrier.  I was completely freaking out for five minutes until I realized that their scale only went up to a max of 270 lbs and not 300 lbs.  Still fat - but not over 300 lbs).

So, my plan has been to exercise a lot more once I got back to DC.  I purchased an iPod App called "Run to 5k" which provides a jog/walk program that gradually increases the running intervals so that after 8 weeks I should be able to run a 5k without stopping.  I have now completed two weeks of the runs and the program seems to be effective.  The intervals are difficult enough that I am struggling, but not so tough that I can't actually do it.  We'll see how it goes - so far my longest jogging interval is 90 seconds, but by the end of week four, they expect me to jog for six minutes.  Right now that is incredibly intimidating.

So far, I am not a fan of jogging.  I totally understand the benefits and I am definitely getting the cardiovascular workout that I am looking for, but it is just so HARD.  I keep waiting to get the mythical runner's high that every runner always talks about.  So far, nothing.  Just the other day, I posted the following on facebook:

"Things I hate about running:
(1) Running
(2) Being passed by old men
(3) Being passed by a 12 year old
(4) Running uphill
(5) Running Downhill
(6) The lady on the Couch to 5K app, who says "Run Now."
(7) Getting passed by other fat guys
(8) The sad realization that I could probably use a sports bra
(9) The way a different muscle is particularly sore after each run (today it is the outside of my ri
ght calf)

Things I like about running:
(1) Cute girls running on the trail"

I plan to try to use this blog (and facebook) as a means to hold myself accountable.  At least once a month, I will post about my weight loss progress.  Below are the goals I have set out for myself.  These goals range from long-term to short term.  I am new to this, so any suggested goals would be greatly appreciated.  Many of these goals will have deadlines, others will not.

Current statistics:
Weight - 285 lbs
Pant size - 42x30 (which are a bit tight)
Longest run without stopping: 90 seconds

  1. Complete the Couch to 5k app by October 1, 2012
  2. Run a 5k race (fall 2012)
  3. Join some intramural sports league of some sort (fall 2012)
  4. Complete a 10k race (Spring 2013)
  5. Lose 30 lbs before Katie's Wedding (November 24, 2012).  Note - if I have not met this goal on my own, I will begin using weight watchers.
  6. Lose 60 lbs before I go to Germany (May 2013)
  7. Lose two pant sizes (38x30) before I go to Germany
  8. Complete a marathon in Europe  (question - can you take sick leave when your body is literally unable to move because you stupidly ran a marathon?  Or do you have to take annual leave?)
  9. Do 100 sit-ups in 10 minutes
  10. Weigh less than 200 lbs.  (This really doesn't seem like a possibility for me.  I have weighed at least 200 lbs. since I was in junior high.  Even when I lost all that weight in Italy, I barely made it to 220 lbs.    But the upper range of a healthy weight for my range is 179 lbs.)
  11. Ask at least one girl out per month (not really a weight loss goal, but still important.  Also, can be the same girl more than one month if I have a girlfriend).
Any other suggestions?