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Trail Mix

I finally got to use the beautiful Happy Fun Health and Fitness Trail* that runs literally right by my new apartment complex. The first few days after I moved in I’d drive by the trail and see all the runners, bikers and in-line skaters whizzing along. It was like they were calling to me “Come with us, PastaQueen! Frolic among the trees and flowers like pixies, all while elevating your heart rate for long intervals at a time!” Then I would think back at them “I can’t! I have to buy a microwave before the store closes at 9:00!” Then they’d think back “Well, then, screw you.”

I was also a little hesitant to use the trail because it would mean I’d be exercising in front of other people. Horrors! However, whenever I start to feel overly self-conscious about the way I look or act, I just repeat to myself a saying I find very helpful even though I have no clue where I first heard it:

“You wouldn’t care so much about what other people think of you if you knew how infrequently they do.”

It’s easy to imagine the only thing people could be possibly be thinking about while I’m running down the path is “I am completely disgusted to see a fat girl in a tank top running in front of me. Watch her flabby ass bounce like Jell-O.” However, it is more likely they are thinking “Did I check the air pressure in my tires?” and don’t actually give a shit about what I look like while I’m jiggling along. Even if they do think it, it’s probably just a passing blip between gear changes. Realizing you are not the center of the universe is one of the nice side-affects of aging. It makes it much easier to act like a complete dork.

The trail is a very busy place. I was glad I thought to stick my emergency contact information in my pocket along with my key because I wouldn’t be surprised if someday someone finds my body on the side of the trail with a bike wheel skid up my back. One girl skated by me with her keys held in her left hand while she was talking on her cell phone on her right. I imagined her colliding with someone and puncturing their lung with her keys, but at least they’d be able to call 911 right away.

I interspersed my walking with some jogging and was surprised by how hard it was. I kept wondering if it was because I hadn’t gone walking in about two weeks because of the recent craziness that had become my life or if the path was going uphill or if running outdoors was just harder. Then I realized I was an idiot because I was running way faster than I had on the treadmill, so of course I was becoming winded. This is probably also the reason I was never able to run an entire mile non-stop as a kid. I just wasn’t pacing myself correctly.

There was a nice mix of people on the trail. I saw a family on their bikes, a mom running along with her stroller, some teenage girls walking as a pack, an old couple strolling together and a totally, built guy on a bicycle who I wish would have slowed down so I could have enjoyed the view a bit longer.

I am completely, madly in love with my new place and its proximity to the trail and I don’t care if I have to start eating out of the garbage to afford it. I’m sure banana peels contain something nutritionally good for me. And the flies must have lots of protein too.

* Note: Not the trail’s official name, just my cutesy “name changed for anonymity” nickname for it.

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10 Comments

Slem • June 20, 2006 at 2:57 pm

I used to feel the same way when I first started running at the park..I felt like I really shouldn’t be out there hogging the trail since I was so fat & out of shape but then as the weeks went by I started to see the same people on the trail and they would give me a high five or say WTG as we passed each other….Now when I see someone walking/running instead of seeing fat jiggle I see someone who is doing something about it….

WTG Pastaqueen…you are lookin’ good girl!!!!

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Barb • June 20, 2006 at 3:51 pm

whew!! i finally made it to present!! (so i’m a slow reader!) i’ve gone thru every post & I’ve never been so inspired!! Don’t be afraid to get out on those trails! you have a lot to be proud of! and a lot to show for!

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Jen • June 20, 2006 at 4:04 pm

You aren’t near the Monon Trail are you? I just moved from Indy almost two years ago and that was one of my favorite places to go for a walk. Lots of people and pet watching to do and many parts are well-shaded. If that’s where you are, enjoy the experience for me! :-)

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Hilly • June 20, 2006 at 7:45 pm

I used to seriously hate exercising outdoors but now love speed-walking in our little nature trail area as well….and you are so right, no one gives as much of a fuck about me as *I* give a fuck about me, heh. Even me, being kinda fat-ish, am thinking about things like, “shit, did I mail in that check or not?”.

So good for you!

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Mark • June 21, 2006 at 1:06 am

Is that the John Muir Trail? The Appalachian Trail?

It’d be cool if there was a supermarket somewhere on the trail a walkable distance from where you live. You could walk to do your shopping. The advantages of doing that are (1) you get exercise, (2) you don’t buy so much or stock up on junk, since you don’t want to carry it back, and (3) because of #2, you have to shop more often, so you get more #1 and you eat fresher food.

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Julia • June 21, 2006 at 1:13 am

When people are out running and exercising they are mostly thinking about one thing and one thing only: themselves. Truly, no one gives two thought to you (this is good!) or what you are doing, they’re mostly thinking about what they need to do that day, a conversation they had, etc. Anytime I have ever seen anybody out of shape running all I think is “good for them”.

Also, running outdoors is harder because when you walk or run on a treadmill you have the machine doing half the work for you (’cause the mat under your feet moves so you don’t have to…) which also makes it twice as much better for you to exercise outside.

Good work PastaQueen.

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Debbi • June 21, 2006 at 6:31 am

I can’t remember if I blogged about this guy I saw on a trail in Nashville or not. Anyway, he was a big, big guy. I used the trail three days in a row, and he was there each morning, same time I was. I told myself if he was there the third day, I’d talk to him. So we had this great conversation, during which he revealed that he’d been walking that trail every day since 1999 or something like that. He said he only misses 4 or 5 days a year of walking 3 to 4 miles a day. And he said when people learn that he exercises every day and he’s still such a big guy, he says, “Just think what I’d look like if I didn’t exercise!”

He inspired me, and we parted ways looking forward to my next visit in the fall. He said he was sure he’d be seeing less of me, although he’d probably look the same. And he was totally okay with that!

You inspire me, too. Thanks for your witty, clever, honest posts.

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Marla • June 21, 2006 at 10:39 am

I love that quote – it sounds like Oscar Wilde, world famous smart-ass!

But you’re right, no one except teenagers are focused on what other people are doing/look like.

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Michelle • June 21, 2006 at 1:15 pm

First, I found you awhile ago through “the daily dump,” and I really like your site. I’m in Indy too, kinda ironic, huh?

Second, if you’re anywhere near where I think you might be, try the new organic grocery store in BR. It’s pretty close to the trail, so you could even use Mark’s suggestion.

BTW – Thank you for helping to inspire me to actually rejoin WW as I had planned, but not managed, to for months.

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katie • January 31, 2007 at 4:08 pm

There’s a great (similar) quote from a Helen Fielding novel that’s something like “No one’s thinking about you. They’re all thinking about themselves, just like you.”

That usually helps when I’m having one of my social anxiety moments…

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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