I Jumped the Shark

Posted on June 4, 2012

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Lady Sisyphus has been preoccupied. We have been in the midst of a job-related move since February. I’d like to say that I’ve been the model of healthy living by eating well and exercising often. But I haven’t. Help me, Jesus.

I started on this journey way back in January 2008. I signed up for a 5k race and began losing weight and gaining muscle. It was a charmed time. Every new milestone was exciting. I ran 3 miles. I lost 10 lbs. I ran 5 miles. I ran 7 miles. I lost 15 more lbs. I ran 10 miles. I had to buy new clothes. Then I ran a half marathon! 13.1 friggin’ miles! Go me!

It was hard work but the dividends were worth it. I even had cheerleaders.

I think things started to change right after my first half marathon in March 2009. Everything about the race was perfect. I was with good friends. My family was there. I felt great during the race and you couldn’t get me to take my medal off after I crossed the finish line.  I was at my lowest weight in 15 years and certainly in the best shape ever. I wasn’t speedy but I beat the goal I had set for myself.

And then I jumped the shark.

I did a half marathon in the fall of 2009 where I got sick a few days before and felt horrible throughout the last half of the race. In spite of stellar weather, great company and a fast flat course, I was two minutes slower than my first half marathon. No personal record.  But hey, I was sick, so…

I did another half marathon in February 2010 and once again ran slower in spite of great friends and perfect race conditions. This was followed by another disappointing race in May where I actually thought about quitting at mile seven but slugged it out anyway. That was my slowest yet. No personal record. But hey, I was still running, so…

Disappointment.  I had peaked on my first half marathon and each race that followed was a huge disappointment.

During this weird post-shark-jumping period from March 2009 to May 2010, I managed to keep my weight in line. I wanted to lose more but I wasn’t gaining. So I wasn’t complaining. At least not about my weight.

But somewhere between May 2010 and May 2012, I went from jumping the shark to lounging with the whales. There I was flying high. I impressed myself. Everybody cheered. That was about it. Progress stopped. Progress not only stopped, it began to reverse. And during the last two months, it has escalated backwards at such a rate that Einstein would turn it into a new theory: Lady Sisyphus² = More weight +Less energy – Mojo.

Despair.

I have excuses:

1. We’re moving.

2. I’ve been busy.

3. I’ve been crying.

4. I’ve been mad.

5. I’ve been tired.

6. I don’t feel like it.

7. I’ll deal with it later.

8. It’s not that bad.

9. It’s that bad but I’ll deal with it later.

10. I have to trim my toenails now.

Denial.

Note that most of these excuses have everything to do with feelings and nothing to do with actions. I haven’t changed all that much in the last two years. I am still the same person. My actions have changed, though. That’s what jumping the shark is all about – being at the pinnacle, riding that high and not acknowledging that I might  need to do something different. The jig is up.

Nobody needs me to run a half marathon or to break a personal record. In fact, nobody cares. But for whatever reason, I have cared. I have cared that other people care. I had an expectation that I’d improve with each race, that all those weeks of training would get easier. And it didn’t work out that way. I thought if the running got easier, the eating would get easier. It hasn’t. I thought if I jumped the shark, surely the rest would be happy halcyon days. Nope.

I know what  I need to do:

1. Whole foods.

2. Water.

3. Lots of vegetables.

4. No processed foods.

5. No sugar.

6. Exercise on a consistent basis.

It is that simple. Six simple rules.

Now if I can focus on those six simple rules and forget about coulda-woudla-shoulda and how great I used to be, I will do well. We’ll see…

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