I confess to posting that opening pic just for the cheap laugh. I’m exceedingly good at cheap laughs. The subject of this post, is, however, a little more serious. It seems that in the 10 months since I began gradual school, my body has decided to join Clemmy, figuratively at least. Ten months and 15 pounds heavier. It’s almost an accomplishment. I wonder if professional eaters can boast that kind of caloric gain. I mean really. It’s quite something.
Here’s a shot of me at my recent skinniest.
It was taken in the summer of 2010, at my first swim race after Alcatraz. I’d dropped about 50 pounds since that incredible feat from the year before, and was fully obsessed with swimming and running. Here’s another shot from the same summer, taken by Mel on one of our runs at Albion Hills.
I’m pretending to be Wonder Woman. Compared to today, I was. The thing is, I always need something to obsess about. For a while, it was physical. This last picture of me recovering from some ridiculous feat with Lou of Sacred Memory says it all. I’m exhausted.
Then I broke my hip. That was a week before xmas 2010. Here I am hobbling around in the days after my lesser trochanter gave out on a run. Yes, I literally ran until my leg broke. Plans for training for an ultra with Mel were on hold indefinitely.
I spent that winter pretty depressed, I’ll admit. I wasn’t teaching at Ryerson that term and didn’t do a whole lot of anything while my leg slowly, slowly healed – after it took forever to get an accurate diagnosis from smug health professionals. (No one thought an overweight woman in her 40s could possibly have a real sports injury, let alone be an athlete). I finally got a diagnosis when a lovely woman took a nuclear scan of my leg. (Also, she was hot). The hottie technician let me see the pulsating white spot on the screen. Any idiot could see it was a break. The gormless sports doc confirmed what hottie already knew and what I had always known since I limped home from that fateful pre-christmas run. I had a stress fracture. Anyway, we got through all of that, and I slowly started to get back on track until the pinnacle of my late-life jockiness last summer when I ran (shuffled) to the end of a 25 km trail race with a cold, and then, in August, swam a 10 km race. Then I put away my running shoes, goggles, and all things to do with my physical obsession and switched gears. I became obsessed with school. I went from 100 to zero in a second flat. I’m almost proud of that. Who had time for the treadmill? I had 500 pages to get through in less than a day. Who had time for laundry? I had to write a paper about duelling. (Seriously, it was about duelling). Poor Kim. Anyway, 10 months ticked by and with it, a handful of half-hearted attempts to beat back the bulge with exercise and the usual bullshit. (Write down your calories, stay within a certain range, don’t drink booze, blah blah blah blah. Blah.) My heart wasn’t in it. I had no heart. I was all brain. It’s a miracle Kim didn’t trade me in for a better model. I was a royal pain in the ass. And that ass kept growing.
Until, here we are. Ten months later, 15 pounds heavier, and a form from my doctor to check my sugars and triglycerides because I’m not a 25-year-old who can subsist on Doritos and beer like the other gradual students I know. (Okay, I wasn’t actually eating Doritos but there was some beer). I recall the words of wisdom from a colleague at Ryerson, who also went back to school in her 40s to get her Masters. “The first thing to go,” she warned, “is exercise.” For me, it has to come back, or my PhD could literally do me in. So, as of today I have chalked up three open water swims and some time on my treadmill. I’ll venture outside to do a trail run soon – when I fit back into my running shorts. Until then, as I huff and puff in my sports bra and underwear, it may not be pretty, but at least it’s a start – if not an obsession. Yet.