But today I'm feeling super-productive. I got up at 7:30, spent an hour relaxing then chatted for a while with bro-in-law, which was really nice. I went and had coffee and breakfast, organized my pharmacology notes, cooked half of Thanksgiving dinner (everything that could easily be made ahead), got a second giant binder for my pharm notes (they FILL two 3" binders), ran 4 miles, and now am out studying pharm. It's only just now 6pm. Feeling pretty good...
My new fave place to study in Portland is Staccato Gelato in Sellwood. The original Laurelwood location was my favorite gelato place in Portland (there are a few). This location opened in the last 6 months, and is only a few minutes from our apartment--conveniently just a block away from our favorite sushi restaurant. This one serves lunch and really good coffee, and the gelato is served in little tiny scoops, so I can have a scoop without feeling too guilty. Gelato is made with milk, as opposed to ice cream which is made with cream, and it has less fat than ice cream, plus it's so delicious. So, getting a tiny scoop of gelato is a pretty low-impact guilty pleasure. They also have free wi-fi here, and it's not very busy and quite spacious, so it's a great place to study.
When I'm adequately caffeinated and wishing to avoid buying something (or being tempted by delicious food that I don't need), I go to Reed College to study. It's also nearby, and the library is big and quiet and filled with studious Reedies, which helps me concentrate. The wi-fi is free there too, of course, and it has a sufficiently collegiate feel to keep me on task. But this week they are on limited hours because of the holiday, so I am at Staccato Gelato.
I am slowly getting my running miles back to where they were before the accident and subsequent curtailing of my running schedule. It feels good to be back on track (even if the weight loss still isn't happening--at least I'm not gaining). If anyone is considering taking up running, I'd like to encourage you in your interest. I always thought I was too heavy to run, and I felt like if I couldn't run a mile straight through, I shouldn't even bother. But here are some great reasons to take up running:
- It's free, except for shoes. Of course, you CAN spend lots of money on specialized running gear: clothes made of high-tech wicking fabrics, heart rate monitors, MP3 player, Nike + iPod sport kit, etc. And those things can make running more enjoyable--but are totally optional. All you really need are running shoes that work for your feet and gait and fit well. I swear by my Asics 2130s. Get fitted at a quality running store, it's worth it.
- You can do it just about anywhere. No membership required.
- You don't have to be able to run a mile, a half mile or even a block all the way. You can start out the Couch-to-5K way (many people start running using this method, and it works great): run 15 seconds and walk 45-60 seconds, repeat for up to 20 minutes.
- You don't have to be at or near goal weight. You should get clearance from your doctor, of course. You may have bad knees if you've been overweight for a long time, and that's one of many good reasons to check with a doctor first. But many, many people start running when they are significantly overweight, and most of them have nothing but positive results--as long as they don't overdo it. The key is not advancing too quickly (speed, distance, or intensity), and not outrunning your fitness level. (I highly recommend reading Jeff Galloway's Running: Getting Started. Also check out his website, jeffgalloway.com.)
- Runner's high is real. You won't believe how great you feel when the endorphins start kicking in. Plus, the sense of accomplishment and pride in actually being able to call yourself a runner--especially when you're like me, starting out morbidly obese, and having no experience running since junior high--will make you a believer.
- It doesn't take much time to have a great fitness effect. I get way more fitness benefit from running than an equal amount of time spent in almost any other cardio activity (the only exception that I've actually done lately is swimming laps). Run for 20 minutes (or walk/run) and ditch your 45-60 minute elliptical routine.
I know there are lots more reasons--which can be supplied by my running friends She Smiles, Thinspiration, Angie, and others. If you're thinking about it, I say go for it. You just might become one of those crazy runners, too.