Saturday, December 1, 2012

Decadethlon – I Do vs. Just Say No

In my last blog entry I confessed to having used the pencil to record my workouts. I also used many an excuse to explain 2001 as being my second lowest workout year during the recorded decade. Below is an account of the very lowest (worst) year in terms of numbers of workouts recorded to date, as well as the impact of planning a wedding, joining the ranks of Foreign Service spouses, breaking a bone, and learning a lesson about staying on track, especially if it’s while running in the Bois de Boulogne.

2002: Planning a wedding happens to be a good way to lose poundage without going to the gym, especially if the wedding reception invlolves a lot of DIY elements. I designed, printed, hole-punched, be-ribboned, folded and organized over one hundred each of menus, invitations, table cards, programs and name cards, forgoing trips to the gym for weeks on end, and by the day of the wedding I was thinner than ever from lack of sleep and too much cutting and pasting. I fit (a little too) easily into my wedding dress and had no muscle tone to my name, except for my hole-punching forearm. Our legal wedding in January, at which I wore a maroon pants suit with matching lip gloss, was held in a small underground room in Arlington, Virginia, with a neon sign hanging in the window pledging, “I MARRY U.” This ceremony was followed by our February white-dress-and-big-party wedding in Washington, DC, which was followed two weeks later by our move to Paris, where we lived in temporary housing in the banlieue for 3 weeks, which also kept me from the gym, partly because of the 1-hour commute into town. I made the excuse that walking was enough of a workout, who needs to run! It wasn’t until the second half of the year rolled around that I began regular workouts again. We got into a routine of using the gym at US Embassy Paris, even on weekends, when most people were out on the Champ de Mars or touring the Louvre. (Do I regret this now? Of course I do! Are you kidding?) At the time, going to the gym relieved the eternal pressure one feels in a grand city like Paris to always be out and about seeing sights and touring museums or God forbid sitting in a café and enjoying oneself. By early September, just a few days before our delayed honeymoon, I (un)smartly broke my wrist and sprained the other from falling backwards from a chair in my kitchen. Luckily, I had already gotten my workout in that day. The furthest thing from romantic, especially since my mother had to come help me, bless her soul, to take off shirts or pull up my pants, etc., and the honeymoon had to be both delayed and cut short by several days. Needless to say, having two hurt paws slowed down the fitness program, though we did some mild hiking between villages in Italy's lovely Cinque Terra! Days Worked Out: only 52 out of 365 or 14%, by far my worst fitness year. Best months: July and August. 14 out of 31 days, or 45%. Worst months: January through May: again, Null Set!

Luckily, from a 14% rate in workouts in one year, there is almost no way but up. In 2003 we had the good fortune to tour around France occasionally on long weekends and entertained a revolving door of guests. I continued to use the windowless Embassy gym, about once every three or four days. Sometimes on the weekends, while my husband jogged around the park, I took photos of ducks and boats in the Parc de Vincennes, making that my excuse to not have to run. I worked temprorarily as a State Deparment wonk in a great but tough job at the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and later as an editor for the OECD Secretariat, where I actually worked in a château (yes!). My boss at the Secretariat was a runner, so I’d try in vain to keep up with her sometimes, jogging (slogging) in the famed Parc de Boulogne. One time, on my own, I got lost while running and ended up asking someone I only later realized was a very friendly and helpful Parc de Boulogne prostitute the way back to my section of town. I stuck with my boss’ route after that. Days Worked Out: 157 out of 365 or 43%. Best month: October - 21 out of 31 days, or 68%. Worst month: March - 9 out of 31 days or 29%. Here’s afun statistic: Average Days Worked Out per month for 2001: 9, 2002: 4 (!), 2003: 13. Below is a couple of  three-year charts of DWO (Days Worked Out, not to be confused with DWI), just for some color and to demonstrate that the low years were really low, with months when I just said No to Sports. 
Total # of Days Worked Out Per Year
2001 DWO 2002 DWO 2003 DWO
January 12 0 12
February 8 0 9
March 14 0 9
April 15 0 15
May 15 0 11
June 3 4 10
July 17 14 14
August 6 14 19
September 4 6 12
October 10 4 21
November 0 3 18
December 0 7 7
Total DWO 104 52 157
Average DWO 9 4 13

Never fear, however, as next week’s installment demonstrates that despite foot surgery and a move to Moscow, I saw my best year in workouts in a decade!

(PS - Looks like my charts didn't translate from Excel. Looks like I might need another decade to figure out the digital side of things. In the meantime, a boring chart, above.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm so impressed with your ability to write about your workouts (or lack thereof) so long ago!