Defiant Athlete: Month Two

Another $39 out of my checking account today means this is the end of the second month of my Defiant Athlete experiment.

I am getting stronger. I’m noticing especially my cardiovascular strength improving. On Friday I did thirty minutes on the treadmill and my heart rate didn’t go out of zone 2 at 2.8 mph. When I first started, 2.8 mph rose my heart rate to the top of zone 3.

The single most frustrating thing for me is that I can’t go faster, not because my heart and lungs can’t take it, but because my legs can’t. To get my heart rate up on Friday, I tried to do a 7 minutes at 2.8/3 minutes at 3.0 pace, meaning to keep it up for an hour. (Friday was supposed to be my 5K day.) But by the end of the third round I had to  stop. My heart and lungs were loving it, but my legs were on fire. It was frustrating that going just two tenths of a mile faster was impossible for me.

I finished my work out on the elliptical, though, which gave me another sign that I’m getting stronger. I told myself I’d use the elliptical until I started to feel uncomfortable. The elliptical, even on the lowest setting, raises my heart rate almost to level 4. The last time I was on the elliptical I was only able to do 8 minutes, and I honestly thought I was going to puke or something. It was awful. On Friday I went ten minutes and never reached that “I’m going to die” feeling.

I added a third set to my arm strength training. This is especially awesome because I’ve always struggled with upper body strength.

I walked a mile in 20 minutes twice this month. I walked 2.9 miles in an hour (a 5K in 68 minutes) once and 2.93 miles in an hour (a 5K in 66 minutes) once. I would have said that taking 8 minutes off such a slow 5K wouldn’t have been that hard–but taking 2 minutes off was an epic struggle. We’ll see what I do next week for treadmill 5K number 3!

There are moments when the slow really gets to me. When I want to run, but have to walk. Or even when I want to walk, and just have to stop.

I’m learning so much, though. Every day, I learn something about myself or I’m inspired by another defiant athlete or I read something that turns on one more little light in my mind.

This week all of my school mates are headed for Vermont to start the next semester residency at Goddard, and I won’t be there. I’m taking the semester off, which is a more emotional thing than I expected. But when I do go back, in October, I’ll be ready to start my senior year. I have to complete a senior study project to graduate, and mine will be about defiant athleticism and HAES and everything that I’m learning.

The project will be a book-length work and can be text only or multi-media.

I don’t know how I’ll organize the project or what exactly it will be, but I’m super excited. Whenever I think about it, I get goosebumps. I think that’s a good sign that I’m on to something special. I’d love to hear any ideas that you have about what you’d like to see in a athleticism at every size resource.

In some ways I still feel like I need training wheels. What you read here is my learning as it happens.

Some days I’m so enthusiastic, I can hardly contain it. Other days I want to crawl under my covers with a cheesecake and cry.

Some days seeing 3.2 miles on the treadmill’s workout report is the greatest high. Other days I feel so sorry for myself that 3.2 miles has to be this huge epic struggle.

Some days being an athlete and learning to eat intuitively are so far removed from weight loss that they aren’t even in the same county. Other days I have to take it minute-by-minute until the need to scream about my body’s refusal to shrink passes.

The other days are getting fewer. And that makes me feel like a warrior.

The best thing about this month, by far, is the connections I’m making with all of you. Every single time someone comments and talks about their experience or just offers encouragement, it’s the best feeling. I keep finding myself calling Kevin over to read, saying, “See! See? Someone gets me” or “Oh my God, look at what this person is doing. Just look!”

I’m not the mushy type that goes around saying she loves people at the drop of a hat, so you can believe it when I say, I love you. I really do.


Filed under body

6 responses to “Defiant Athlete: Month Two

  1. Wow you are amazing. Good luck with the rest of your project.

  2. mickey

    Congratulations on your accomplishments. Rawr!

    I wonder if incorporating some specific leg-strengthening exercises might help you go faster? (If you are already do this, ignore me.) Things like squats, lunges, bridges… I know they have made a difference in my running speed, so I don’t see why your walking or run-walking would be any different.

    Regardless, you are improving and you are awesome!

  3. Hanlie

    I struggle with the same thing… I can’t get my heart rate up, because I can’t move my body fast enough. But you know what does help? Dancing. For some reason dancing gets me going, so every once in a while, while working on the computer, I’d turn the sound up and just dance for a few minutes. It’s very liberating! I still walk, of course – my dog would never forgive me if I didn’t! Swimming also gets my heart rate up.

  4. Bellydancing is the best. 🙂 Rock on and just keep doing your best! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…. ❤

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