Monday, October 22, 2007

No Escape

In 13 short days, I'll be working as a psychologist on the "psyching team" at the New York City marathon, helping runners relax, cope with pre-race jitters, etc. Just a couple hours after that, I'll cross the starting line myself, setting out to run my second 26.2.

I've been doing most of my training indoors (at the gym), in the name of injury prevention. What's interesting to me, and why I bring up running in the first place, is the assortment of comments I've received. Of course, no one knows I'm a psychologist; no one knows about my blog. Here are a couple of my exchanges:

1) During one long(er) run, I wore yoga pants, in the name of comfort. Boy, was I wrong. Yoga pants are made for yoga, not for running, silly! My comfortable yoga pants kept falling down, and I spent the majority of my run pulling them up, like a bridesmaid tugging at her strapless dress. At one point, I announced this to my treadmill neighbor (who is often my treadmill neighbor, and with whom I've become friendly over time). "My pants keep falling down," I complained.

"That's a good thing!" she congratulated me.

Why is that a good thing? My pants keep falling down!

2) A couple of weeks ago, I did my longest training run (again indoors). In the elevator down to the locker room (because, yes, I take the elevator at the gym, particularly after running 20 miles), a guy pointed to my sweaty head and asked, "Did you just work out?" (There's a pool at the gym, so he seemed to be wondering if the soakage was sweat or chlorinated water from a swim).

"Yeah, I just ran 20 miles," I replied proudly.

"Wow!" he exclaimed. And then a moment later: "If you keep that up, you'll lose lots of weight."

Thanks, buddy.


zubeldia said...

I think it's truly sad that people almost automatically reduce exercise to weight-management. Yuck. And, more so, that people imagine the motivation for engaging in life-affirming activity to be about losing weight.

It's the inverse for me. I am actually motivated to eat JUST so that I can row and cycle. Chronic injuries caused by under-nutrition meant the end of my running career a few years ago, but it motivated me to weight-restore.

Good luck for the marathon!

April said...

Obviously you have a running disorder. Everyone knows that it's only healthy to run that far if you don't own a car, bike, horse or camel.

Seriously, Dr. Stacey, you live in New York. You don't have to run! Take public transit!



Libby said...

You know, I don't run precicely because when I do, I automatically get into a minset of running = obsessing = weight loss = slippage back into ED habits. It's not a healthy activity for me. Not now, at least. Perhaps later in my recovery. And I think that this phenomenon exists more in the running culture than in any other form of exercise. I admire those who can do it without getting weight-obsessed in the process!

Instead I stick to my swimming and yoga. And yes... save the yoga pants for... yoga. :)

PalmTreeChick said...

Wow, I can't believe you're running a marathon! That's awesome. Not that I can't believe that YOU'RE running it, but I don't understand how anyone can run 26.2 miles. I don't even like running .2 miles. Ha!!

I hate when the pants fall down during runs. I have a couple pairs of shorts that should be tossed, because they're 8+ yrs old (but i LOVE them) and they have no elasticity left and fall when I run or teach aerobics. I've learned not to wear those while bouncing or running, or I wear spandex underneath.

Those comments you received are interesting. Oh, I had to laugh when you said you take the elevator at the gym. It's like those people who want to find the closest parking spot to the gym door b/c they don't want to exert the extra energy to walk to the door. (I admit, I am one of those people, especially in the winter or rainy weather). I have to agree with you though, after running 20 miles, I'd be taking the elevator too.

Good luck in the marathon. Let us know how you do. I'll be rooting for ya and hoping the weather is perfect for you.

PS, I heard Katie Holmes is running in it too. Maybe you'll see Tom and Suri. ;) ha ha!!

Nicole said...

I found Libby's comments interesting. Running is the first exercise I've found that allows me to focus on the activity and not the weight loss benefits. Instead of just watching the calorie counter on the elliptical, trying to burn off every last calorie from that bagel, I'm actually working towards a goal. Increasing my speed or building to greater distances.

Alyssa said...

It's amazing how quickly something you start out doing for fun and health can become about weight loss. A few months ago I started riding my bike for the first time in years. At first it was all about being outside, enjoying the scenery and working on my skills, but I soon started becoming a bit obsessive. So I've had to cut back. I still ride, but I mix it up with other things I enjoy, in order to KEEP in enjoyable. I still dream of training for (and completing) a century ride one day, but it's going to have to wait (at least until the kids are a little older,lol!).

Rachel said...

It is hilarious how close minded that people can be...Thanks for the good reads.

Beth said...

I don't see how someone who is in good enough shape to run 20 miles can "need to lose weight." Well unless they gorge themselves with twinkies and ice cream all day afterwards. Which I doubt you do, Dr. Stacey!

drstaceyny said...

z--thank! And, I agree that most ppl equate exercise with weight-loss.

april--and the sad thing is that, because I've been treadmill bound, I haven't even gotten anywhere! Gotta saddle up that camel again. . .

libby--that makes perfect sense. Long-distance runners are good candidates for e.d.'s, though certainly there are plenty who aren't affected.

ptc--thanks! I'll try to spot Suri for you. ; )

nicole--that's great. Sounds like you're on a physically and emotionally healthy path.

alyssa--what a wonderful model.

rachel--you're welcome.

beth--EVERY woman needs to lose weight, silly. And, how do you know I'm not gorging on ice cream and Twinkies? In all seriousness, there are plenty of heavy runners (I see them in hordes, at races, training for the marathon), again suggesting that being in shape is not necessarily correlated to what one weighs.

wellroundedtype2 said...

20 miles!!!!

I laughed out loud at the yoga pants falling down and the response of the co-workerouter.

This is why we need gyms for like-minded fitness enthusiasts.

Leslie said...

you will be fabulous in the 'thon - very cool that you're also using your talents and skills to help others out along the way.

Re. peoples' inane comments - interesting that you interpreted these as, in a sense, insults, because so many women in our society (unfortunately) would take "your pants are falling down - great!" as a compliment. I know I used to.

Good luck and rock on!

Spectra said...

I have to be really careful about running. I am a long distance runner and up until very recently, I was running about 2 hours a day and THEN jumping rope for half an hour and then doing the elliptical machine for 40 minutes and some more jumping rope. It was definitely NOT healthy and it did indeed make me skinny. Although, not healthy. I stopped getting my period and got to a sickeningly low body fat percentage. I, like libby, have stopped running for a while because it gets me obsessed about calories and weight and stuff. It's incredibly easy for long distance runners to get weight-obsessed because you want to be light when you run and people constantly associate running with being thin. There are heavier runners though (Athena-class) that run marathons...Oprah ran one, Will Farrell ran one. These people are not skinny minis. I wish I would have gotten into running before I realized that dieting also helps you be thin. I think then I would have focused more on being healthy instead of being skinny.

Lindsay R. said...

Thanks for making me realize why my pants run down when I am running- I need running pants not yoga pants! ha.