Sunday, April 1, 2012

Run, Baby, Run


     Alright, so I'm back sooner than I thought I would be. I'm having trouble with a particular section of the twenty-five page paper I'm writing to complete my bachelor's, so I thought I might be able to get past the block with a little recreational writing. I really never thought I'd be able to sneak any in for the next month and a half or so, but here I am, with the audio from Beside You In Time rocking on my iTunes so that I can concentrate. Sometimes I need to write an entry because of something that's happened to my husband and I, sometimes I write because I've had an abstract thought that popped into my head out of the blue and I feel it's something I want to address. This post is a result of the latter.

     I'm currently in the process of getting back down to my fighting weight, I guess you could call it, and I've been running in the park near our house every other day. Even at my heaviest, I still wasn't a very big person (size 10 or 11, depending on the brand), but I was seriously unhealthy in that I couldn't go up two flights of stairs without being out of breath when I got to the top. A sedentary desk job combined with a love of computer gaming will do that to a person. In any case, I'm getting to the point where I really like running. It's sometimes my only "me" time during the day and I'm someone who values their personal time above a lot of other things.

     The plan for today was to push myself a little harder than I had been for the last week. As my sister so helpfully pointed out to me, "You only get what you put into it. Push harder - your tummy isn't flat enough yet." Gee, thanks for noticing. She had a point, though, so push harder I did. It was easily in the upper eighties today and the heat never makes it easier to run. I added an extra tenth of a mile (baby steps, people, baby steps) and believe me, I could feel it. Not to get all Workout Girl or anything, but it felt really good today as I was walking through my cool down laps to know that I could continue pushing my body physically and it would continue to respond.

     And then, as sometimes happens, my mind drifted back to the husband I'd left at home in front of his computer and I realized he would never experience what I had just felt. He's in the process of trying to figure out how to fit back into his skinny jeans and is, unfortunately, having a much more difficult time of it than I am because of his physical limitations. Where I can go running every other day and do Pilates on the off days to tone my muscles, he doesn't have either of those options. Running is absolutely out of the question for him, as it could bring his blood pressure dangerously high and cause him to spring a leak somewhere. Isometric exercise is also off the table, both for the aforementioned reason and because he just doesn't bend anymore, what with the three titanium rods screwed into his spine.

     I feel I should point out that the wanting to fit back into his skinny jeans is my husband's doing and not pressure from me. And truly, by anyone else's standards, my husband is skinny. He's 6'5" and only weighs around 200 pounds, which means there's relatively little weight to be distributed over a lot of frame. It's just one more facet of Marfan's Syndrome, the odd weight distribution that seems to prevent any excess poundage from making itself useful by filling in his arms or his legs. I know it's one of the physical symptoms that bothers him the most, because there's nothing he can do to build up his muscle and he thinks he doesn't look good. It doesn't matter how many times I point out that I like skinny guys and if he were built like Mark Wahlberg I probably wouldn't have been attracted to him in the first place. (Don't believe me? Look at this if you want proof. With a very few exceptions, the skinnier and dirtier they are, the harder I crush. There's something a little twisted in my head, I think.)

     The thing is, both my husband and I believe that you shouldn't do anything to please someone else and this includes weight loss and muscle-building. I run because it makes me feel good about myself and I like the way it makes legs look curvy and slim when I wear my Doc Marten 1914's with sundresses. I do Pilates because I like the way they flatten my stomach and make the sides curve inward from my hips. In short, I do it for me, no one else, not even my husband. He abides by the same philosophy, only he kind of can't do any of that stuff for him or anyone else, because his body won't let him. I was saddened today when I realized that he won't ever know the satisfaction that comes from pushing your body just thatmuch harder and feeling the results.

     That's not to say he can't do any physical activity at all; he can. He can certainly be more physical than he's been of late (and by "of late", I mean in the past couple of years) and in fact, moderate walking is good for him. I even offered to order him a pair of actual walking shoes if he wanted to start going for daily walks, since all he owns are high-top black Chucks and those aren't really all that great with the arch-support. He's shopped a bit online to see what he likes, but that's about as far as that idea's gotten. I'm still holding out hope, though, that the idea will take root in his head and maybe he can go for walks while I go for my runs.

     It's not the ideal situation, I admit, and it does give me pause when I see couples in the park working out together and I know that's never going to be my husband and I. Our mutual friend Rose wanted to go hiking for her birthday this past fall and though it was a gorgeous day and we all had a great time, I was pretty aware that I was the odd one out, because my husband couldn't go with us. Hiking is just too hard on his body and if he had been there, the group would've been stopping frequently to let him rest, which means we wouldn't have gotten anywhere. And yeah, I know, first-world problems here, but it's something that makes both of us think "if only" sometimes.

     This post clearly falls under the "what if" heading, because if this is all I've got to wonder/worry about at the moment, then we're doing good. He's had a fairly good stretch the past few weeks (only one emergency room visit and it was his own damn fault - he mowed the grass), which was stupid of me to say out loud, because now he's going to jack something up and get admitted. I'll deal with that if and when, though, and in the meantime just enjoy being with my husband in all his skinny sexiness.