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The great outdoors

Back in elementary school I hated going outside. Typically going outside meant playing kickball and on one occasion I decided it was preferable to hide under a table next to the guinea pig pen instead of going onto the pocked concrete field to have the red, rubber ball tossed in my direction. I’m sure Harry appreciated the company, or at least appreciated being terrorized by only one eight-year-old instead of 30. I never understood why all my classmates got so revved up over the thought of going out into the humidity and heat. We’d spent over a millennia of evolution to become smart enough to invent the air conditioner. Shouldn’t we stay inside to do our Venn diagrams and appreciate it?

Which is why it is so odd that I was ecstatic that it was warm enough this weekend to go running on the trail. Maybe it’s because no one throws balls at me out there – at least not yet – though I did need to watch out for dog poop. Is there a plastic bag shortage I should know about? Because it wasn’t so poopy out there last year. I know the physical changes in myself over the past two years are obvious, but it’s attitude changes like this that I find the most fascinating. I’m now the kind of person who likes to run outside and who cooks her dinner most every night. I’ve heard that over the course of every seven years, every cell in your body replaces itself at least once. I don’t know if this is actually true or one of those urban myths, but sometimes I wonder if my data got slightly corrupted and now I’m a copy of someone I never was.

Either way, running in the fresh air was fun and uplifting in ways I can’t really describe. I’m able to run much farther now than I could back in the fall. Whenever I saw another runner passing by, I felt like we were in a secret club of people who know how great running feels. If you’re not in the club, you just can’t understand. I know, because I definitely did not used to have a membership card. The idea of exercise for fun seemed illogical. In the Venn diagram of my old life, you’d have to place me outside the circle of “People who enjoy running,” but now you can put my name right in the middle.

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Heather • March 13, 2007 at 10:01 am

I totally agree! I was out with my running group last night and I didn’t have to wear my usual 2-3 layers, hat or mittens! It felt so liberating. I felt like I could run further because I didn’t have all the necessary bulk I’ve had to wear over the last 2 months. SPRING HAS SPRUNG FOLKS!


mickey • March 13, 2007 at 11:09 am

i am not quite ready to be a runner yet (though that’s what i am aiming for), but i can see where i am headed. on saturday, it was really nice outside, so i walked over the brooklyn bridge. there were a ton of runners on the bridge, and damned if they did not look like the happiest people on earth. i was pretty happy too, just getting to walk over this beautiful bridge on a lovely day.

so thanks for the inspiration – i can’t wait to be one of those people all goofed out on endorphins.


Bree • March 13, 2007 at 11:35 am

Hi PQ! I’m really about ready to get back into running. Although I only ran like 2 miles at a stretch I loved it (then). Now I’m around your weight but a whole lot unhealthier. We’re dealing w/the approching end of life for my FIL who is suffering the fate of colon cancer caught too late so I can’t seem to get my head straight but I find motivation of sorts from your posts. Thanks for making me smile and know that I CAN do it. :)


Kris • March 13, 2007 at 11:54 am

I’m one of those people who turned into a runner and was very startled to have done so. And I know what you mean about it being warm enough to run outside! I love running outside–I go in the morning, and there are deer and bunnies on the trail, and everything smells fresh and fabulous, and I get the reward of the cool breeze in my face when I’m moving, which I don’t get in the gym.

It’s very strange, after spending two-thirds of my life ill, to consider myself an athelete, a runner. I’m still BMI-obese, but I’m an obese girl who can run an 8:30 mile.

Anyway, the time change has made me cranky because up here in the north, it’s now very very dark at 6 AM, so running outside’s out until it gets lighter. Soon, though. Soon I will be off the treadmill and out into the wild.


Debbi • March 13, 2007 at 12:08 pm

You already know I’m a running addict. I couldn’t be happier about the change in the weather. I’m even doing some light jogging on my rest days … a true sign of addiction!


Kari • March 13, 2007 at 12:19 pm

I would love to become a runner, but can only sustain a jog for a few minutes on the treadmill. But I can imagine it must be quite exhilirating to get outside, run, feel the wind in your face, your heart rate being elevated, the music in your ears… Curse my weak knees! And ankles. And cantankerous right foot.


Tracy • March 13, 2007 at 1:29 pm

I’m coming out of lurkdom finally to say Hi! and thank you for all that you’ve shared in this blog. I love that you have a blog where Venn diagrams coexist with the challenges of living a healthier lifestyle! It satisfies my inner geek.

I hope to begin running at some point in my journey to health, but I totally identify with the change from not liking to go outside, to looking forward to such a great weather change. I walked to work this morning with a silly smile on my face the whole way.

All the best! Tracy (http://veggieconvert.blogspot.com)


lovelines • March 13, 2007 at 1:38 pm

You have become a new person in the past couple years! Well, still you of course, but a healthier version. A version that looks forward to running outdoors. Congratulations!


thrilled • March 13, 2007 at 1:56 pm

That’s FANTASTIC! What an accomplishment to get to that place, and you should indeed feel proud and in awe of this place you’ve made it to.

I used to run some when I was smaller. Now it just about kills my joints and feet and shins so I won’t. Your post has made me feel like striving for the day I can feel so exhilirated about running again, or about any exercise, for that matter.

Congrats and thanks!


Vamp • March 13, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Someday, someday. I can still feel what it feels like to run, to feel the wind whip past my body and my feet pound the ground and feel the sweet sweet air whoosing in and out of my lungs. Right now the only time I can run is when I’m doing water aerobics in the pool but someday that time will come! Right now I’m just celebrating the little battles won, like being able to stand and walk around for more than about 10 minutes. I just did a photo shoot for work (looong story, lol) and was able to stand for about an hour and a half and not once did I think my back was going to give out.. two months ago that wouldn’t have been possible. I have to thank you PQ for helping motivate me in the right direction dear, you’re fantastic. :)


Heather • March 13, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Running is one of the best things ever. I wish it were easier to convince my friends of that… the problem is, it’s not one of the best things ever the first several times you do it and people get convinced it’s not for them.


Bloomie • March 13, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Oh, I love running outdoors as well. I’m a fattie who was running regularly till my ipod died. It’s now back in business and so am I. I was able to run yesterday morning for the first time in months and it felt so great. I’m not fast and I don’t have cute running clothes, but I can run 3 miles without stopping and that is pretty fucking good.

I hate running inside and despise doing it. Unless it is the bitterest of cold outside I’ll pull on my running tights and some sweats and head out. Running outside calms me while a treadmill makes me feel like a guinea pig.


Lose Weight With Me • March 13, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Since I grew up heavy, I never enjoyed going out for recess. It meant not getting picked for whatever game everyone else was playing.

Now, though, I enjoy getting out and exercising. It almost feels like a revenge of some sort…here I am fit and thin, and many of those former tormenters are now struggling with their own weight and fitness issues.

I don’t wish them ill; in fact, my heart goes out to them.

But I do believe that I enjoy myself so much because of them.



Kala • March 13, 2007 at 7:31 pm

You give me HOPE!!


Chris H • March 13, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Well I think it will be a cold day in hell before I can say I love or even will go running, but I can honestly say I NOW LOVE GOING TO THE GYM! Like you, not something I could have said 3 years ago! AMAZING FEELING EH? ya for us.


daBaum • March 14, 2007 at 8:22 am

PQ. Brilliant Venn diagram analogy. I see the graphic element for your book cover. Over the last year, I have quit viewing you as a source of dietic inspiration and have, instead, come to view you as a “must read” author. You are GOOD!


Amber • March 14, 2007 at 10:22 am

Just had to stop by and say what an inspiration you are. I have never really ran before but am trying to take it up!



blest • March 14, 2007 at 10:28 am

I know exactly what you mean. I’m married to a Marine. A big tall uber-fit Marine. We’ve been Jack Sprat and his lady for our entire marriage…until now. Now I’m this little fireball who wants to jump and run and workout multiple times a day. I took the kids (I have four boys) to the zoo – wearing a backpack loaded with water bottles and frequently broke into a run. Only my nine year old could keep up! And I too was one of those who would rather have a root canal than go to PE.

My husband just keeps saying, in a tone of bemused admiration, “Who ARE you?!”

I don’t know who I am anymore either, but doggone it I like me!


ann • March 14, 2007 at 12:26 pm

What a wonderful post! You should be so proud of yourself!

I kind of know the feeling, although I haven’t lost anything like you have…but today when I went running it was such a high. I used to only go very early in the morning when it was dark, so noone would see me. Now that I’ve lost weight, I go in the morning because its easier, but if I get up later and go after it’s light I don’t care who sees – and that is a strange and wonderful feeling.


Janice Bridge • March 14, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Enjoy this life – it is what you have earned, and what will keep you healthy for the long term! This post is a vivid contrast to the posts about running from last fall – shortly after you moved to your new apartment – and found running outside a bit of a personal challenge.

Flash your smile, and your membership card, and keep on keeping on!


Patty • March 14, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Nice to hear you like running and look forward to it. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but I do like how I feel after I run, like I’ve accomplished something and that exercise high. I’ve only been running mostly indoors so will have to venture outside when the weather is better.


mal • March 14, 2007 at 11:40 pm

I truly hope to be in that position someday. You are an inspiration. How many hundreds of times will I post that in your comments?


Lady Rose • March 15, 2007 at 10:28 am

I’m not much for running – but on a nice cool morning I do like to go for a walk when it is still early and every one else is asleep. Lady Rose


the veggie paparazzo • March 16, 2007 at 10:16 pm

I’m getting there . . . slowly. Week 2 of Couch to 5k completed today.


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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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