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Sunset run around the National Mall and saying good-bye

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My running buddy took off for even cooler climes at her new post this weekend, so it looks like I’ll be on my own in knocking off a few spots off my DC running bucket list before I take off for Maryland, then Jerusalem, in a few weeks.*  We’ve been in DC since February, and it’s only now that the rapid departure of our friends is really starting to sting. A few friends here, a few friends there, I can live with. But now that it’s starting to feel like we’re among the only ones left? It hurts a little bit more to say good-bye than it did a few months ago.

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Lincoln Memorial at sunset

This is, perhaps, the worst part of the transient nature of my job; every single time we move, I forget that it’s going to be like this. Before Camille left, we hugged, and she said, “Next time we’re in the same part of the world, we should do this again some time!”  It’s heartening because we probably will land in DC or somewhere else at the same time again; but heartbreaking because it could be another ten years before it happens.

Last night, I went out to dinner to say good-bye to another great friend.  We will serve our next tours in the same part of the world, and will most likely serve together at some point in our careers, but that doesn’t make it any easier to realize that it’s going to be months or years before we see each other face-to-face again.  And when we do, it will only be for a very short time.

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Our route was the Smithsonian past the Washington Memorial, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and back to the Washington Memorial

I’ve never before been envious of those that put down roots and stay in the same place for years and decades at a time.  I’m not envious now, especially with the communication power of the Internet, but I can’t help but think about how different life would be with constant in person contact with friends and family.  My support network is scattered across the world right now, and as wonderful as that sounds in the abstract, it can be really tough when I just need a friend to lean on.

The good news is that Skype exists! Several mothers of toddlers who were at the FSI daycare together are organize Skype sessions for our girls’ to see each other, from places as diverse as Cairo and Prague and Bujumbura. That’s amazing. And something I never would have imagined when I began the life of a nomad straight out of college.  One of my primary personal goals for my next tour is to maintain more regular contact with my friends and family, both back here in the States and everywhere else they’re traveling.

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Last post-run selfie. So dark you can barely make us out.

In any case, we got a lot of great photos of our sunset run around the mall!  Running makes everything better.  Especially with friends and the kids.

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Bertrand joined us with the girls.  Thumbs up!


* If anyone’s up for 15-minute miles (with or without the toddler in tow), I’ve still gotta hit Rock Creek Park, Embassy Row, the White House, and the other side of the mall.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Somewhat less crabby today

Yesterday, Jasmine threw a temper tantrum in the parking lot, and I picked her up and carried her all the way to the car, along with the groceries, and I wasn’t even winded.

Today, Jasmine and I did yoga together when I got home from CrossFit. And then I stopped and just took pictures because ADORABLE.

A couple of weekends ago, I had the first workout at my CrossFit gym box where I didn’t feel like I was lagging behind everyone else. And lo and behold, when my partner and I finished, our score was in the middle of the pack. And not just because my partner did most of the work, which often happens to me too.

The last couple of weeks have been encouraging in terms of running too. Yeah. Running. WOW. Seriously? I ran for 25 minutes straight the other day. That is out of this fucking world, considering that in May, I couldn’t run two hundred meters without stopping to walk. Here’s the thing, though–I’m still a fat novice runner, a fat novice lifter, and a fat novice CrossFitter, and the learning curve has been very steep (and it’s not been helped by my crabbiness over the last couple of weeks).

I’ve been lucky to have access to excellent coaches, a box close to my house, and a spouse who’s 100% supportive of me getting in shape. I’ve seen crazypants progress over the last several months; however, I’m starting to feel like now that I have an idea of what to do, I need to narrow down what I want. “Get better at CrossFit” and “get fitter” are excellent goals in the short term, but they’re not going to carry me through several months of leave and international moves. Instead, I think I need to set some new specific short and long-term goals.

Some of you may remember a post from several months ago, where I spoke about my steadfast refusal to make any resolutions for fitness. Establishing the habit was more important to me than anything else. In doing that, I’ve discovered that some things are more important to me than others. I love running. I love lifting. I hate burpees (doesn’t everyone?). I really don’t care about getting good at CrossFit for CrossFit’s sake. And there are a few things that I really really really want to do.

Hmmmmm. Time to make a plan.

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Crabby McCrabbyPants

If you’re hollering out encouragement to EVERY runner who passes you during the workout, that’s awesome. If you’re only hollering encouragement to the fat chick who’s struggling, well, fuck you, buddy.

Here’s the thing that I think a lot of people forget about fat people in the gym, ANY GYM, not just Crossfit:

  1. Fat is not and should not be a moral judgement (so don’t fucking lie to me and tell me I’m not fat).
  2. Fat does not equal a lack of confidence about my non-fitness achievements. Seriously. I am fucking awesome, and I don’t ever forget it. Neither should you.

Listen, I totally get that I’m the slowest person in the entire membership. And no matter how many new members arrive, I’m still the slowest. But it does means when I’m running slowly, it’s because I’m slow, not because I’m not giving max effort on a workout. If I take a short break between burpees, it’s because I’m likely not going to be able to get back up after the next one if I don’t.  Certainly, I am not scaling box jumps and pushups because I want to.

I occasionally feel like I have to prove that I’m working hard. And I do eventually prove it. To everyone. Because I am working my ass off.

But dammit. I wish I didn’t have to.

Several unrelated thoughts

  1. My CrossFit gym box hods a nutritional coaching program a few times a year, and I am participating in the current round. I will not be blogging it here in detail here because t’s a pretty restrictive program (although designed to become less restrictive when you finish), and I’m still trying to figure out where the fine line between “trying to get healthy” and “orthorexic” is.  It’s a Whole30 writ large, and it’s important to me to get through the eight weeks of the program. If you’re interested in my food choices, holler at me and I’ll send you the link to the tumblr I’ll be using to record Every.  Single.  Meal.  UGH.
  2. Speaking of Jerusalem, the countdown has begun!  We’ve begun the long process of pre-departure planning, arranging pack-outs, and getting ready to leave the U.S. for two years.  I am super excited, but also super stressed.
  3. Grace is walking.  This is amazing and frightening, all at the same time.
  4. My spouse and I have decided to eschew the orgy of pre-departure purchases in favor of purchasing just about everything locally in Jerusalem.  It’s kind of freaking me out, but I’m really pleased that we’re not going to spend a fortune on consumables over the next two months.

I passed my Arabic test

There have been a couple of excellent retrospectives on language training over the last couple of months. Now that I’m finished with Arabic, I have a only one thing to add: it’s very easy to forget that, while individual teachers employed by FSI may care about me as an individual, FSI-the-institution does not.

This goes double for EFMs.

The good news is that I am done language training! Hurray! I’ve been getting emails from ConGen talk about how intense the class is, but you know what? It can’t be worse than the unbelievable amount of time I had to put into studying Arabic. I passed my test, and by better than the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, and I am relieved.

The countdown to Jerusalem has begun!

Diary of a Fat CrossFitter – Four months in, it could be worse

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My running buddy and I, that is, my adult running buddy and I, hit the second spot on our DC running bucket list last weekend. I’ve walked around the tidal basin, but not in years, and I’ve certainly never run around it.

My toddler running buddy came too.

We had a good run. Camille was kind enough to let me stick to my C25K running plan (yeah, I’m a few weeks behind), and the weather was absolutely amazing. Warm enough that we didn’t need extra layers, but cool enough that we weren’t dying from the humidity like last week. Again, what a difference decent shoes and running clothes make. And a couple of months of exercise.

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Post-run selfie. Because if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen.

Today, I had a lot of fun at CrossFit. Which is actually unusual. I enjoy CrossFit, in the same way that I enjoyed being pregnant. Being pregnant was pretty much the stupidest worstest thing I ever did to my body. But the end result was totally worth it. Usually, CrossFit is pretty miserable, but when I’m done, not only do I feel like a million bucks, I can say, “Well damn. I just dead lifted half my body weight.” (Note: half of my body weight is a LOT OF WEIGHT.)

Today, I was appalled to find myself kind of … having fun. I’m starting to get good enough at things that I can focus on details. I can hold the bar and move some weight, so now I can focus on why I’m getting stuck in the hole (hint: I’m lazy and let my core relax). I know how to do most of the warm-up movements, so I can focus on actually warming up, rather than desperately trying to figure out how to move. And now I know enough to know how to ask for help, which the coaches have been great about providing.

Also, I love squat days. So there’s that too.

As my four month CrossFit mark approaches (four months is important b/c it’s my CFSA contract renewal date), I’m sitting back and taking stock at what a difference regular exercise has made in my life.

  • I am less crazypants (Bertrand may disagree).
  • I am less stressed (hahahaha, language test in two weeks WHO AM I KIDDING I AM STRESSED TO THE MAX).
  • I am more likely to chase Jasmine around outside, instead of dreading taking her to the playground (OK, just kidding, I still hate playgrounds because OMG WHERE DID ALL OF THESE CHILDREN COME FROM).
  • I do not huff and puff when I have to run across a wide intersection because the traffic light is changing (although I am still likely to lollygag because I’m an asshole like that).
  • I can carry a hell of a lot more groceries in one load.
  • I’ve got another conversational topic to chat with strangers about (and this socially awkward diplomat needs all of the conversational help she can get). Basically, anyone who reads this blog knows I CrossFit, and anyone who’s into exercise has an opinion on CrossFit, so bring on the haterade, because at least it’s something to talk about when we run out of things to say about the weather.

Basically, CrossFit and running are awesome, and I should have started a long time ago. So it goes.