Happier Fat?

Ok, that’s a vague title.

I’ve had a bit of an off week. I haven’t been writing for whatever reason. I haven’t found…scratch that, made the time. That’s the actual reason. Which is kind of a bummer because over the past few weeks I’ve thought of a lot of things to write on. But either way, not beating myself too much about it…here I am.

So aside from not writing, the past week or so has also handed me a few challenges. I strained my calf (the same spot that I tore almost 4 years ago when I was over exercising). I came down with a nasty cold (maybe the flu?). And yea, that was enough to throw me off. The calf thing had been building up and bothering me now for well over a month. And I had been run down and exhausted so I guess getting sick was also imminent. So I battled this week.

Monday, I wasn’t feeling great, but as I almost always do, I told my head to stop complaining, suck it up, and deal with it. I dealt with it in a way almost no one else in the world would. I ran 2 miles then hit the gym to do 100 thrusters and 100 hand release push ups. Normal, right? My head was killing me by 4pm and I dragged myself home and into bed where I remained for the next 24 hours.

I allowed myself a sick day, loaded with sleeping and rest and fluids and then gave myself said pep talk on Wednesday and got myself back into work. And back into the gym.

Despite not being able to breathe. Or taste. Or function without a throbbing headache, Thursday ran about the same as Wednesday.

By Friday, I was so excited I made it through the week. Went for a mile run to test my calf for the big run I had planned all week for Saturday and hit the gym hard, blowing my nose every 5 minutes, but completed my WOD and accessory work and was proud to have successfully made it through a tough week only giving up one day off.

And by Friday I felt like I had some swag back. I also felt like I was leaning out and doing good work in the gym and since I’d been sick, I was proud I didn’t really eat too poorly. Except by Saturday, I realized I didn’t really eat at all.

So let’s fast forward to today. Saturday. After taking almost 2 weeks off from any long runs, I was so excited to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. It has been raining, so I planned this one perfect. Post-rain, it would still be wet but not too cold. I woke up without my alarm, made coffee, drank a glass of water, ate some eggs and got dressed. Threw on an ankle brace, compression sock and calf sleeve and was stoked to get going. I parked, picked my pandora station and I was off! The goal was between 5 and 6 miles, but I was hoping my body would be able to handle 6 no problem. I hit 3 miles and was ecstatic to turn around. Until, bam. I gingerly stopped. My right hamstring just balled up into a tiny pretzel before my eyes. Wait a minute?! What?! My fucking right hamstring is now giving me issues? You have got to be kidding me. I stopped then and there, unsure of what to do, with tears welling in my eyes not from the pain but the mere fact that I might be facing another injury. Unsure what to do, I crossed the street and started pounding my hamstring with my fist — I probably looked insane, but I have pretty tight legs and my mere pounding wasn’t even beginning to loosen them up. I started going through every hamstring stretch I knew…as sweat is pouring from my body. And then it hit me. It’s 85% humidity right now. I didn’t drink nearly enough water yesterday, let alone this morning and I sure as hell sweat most of it out in my first 3 miles….

I stretched and started my walk home. I figured I would be fine if I could somehow lengthen the muscle and get it to unknot. Jog. Stop. Stretch. Walk. Jog. Stop. Stretch. Walk…By the time I was a .75 mile away from my car, I jogged and told myself I could make it, I’d be fine and the faster I got to my car the faster I could hydrate and ice.

I made it to my car and inhaled 40 ounces of water like it was nothing. And my body wasn’t full. Then and there I realized despite all the warning signs to slow down and take care of myself all week hadn’t worked. Then I realized that eating one solid meal a day for the past week hadn’t worked. Then I realized forcing myself into a day off hadn’t worked. And then I realized how my head has been a bit more of a mess than I thought lately.

What’s the point of telling you all this? All morning I had been so proud of the “baby abs” I am starting to sprout. And how lean, but strong, my legs are looking. And how I did 5 pull-ups without assistance this week on a week I was sick. And how I felt like my core has been tightening. And my boobs might be shrinking. And my shoulders are looking stronger. And how I hadn’t over indulged at all all week. These are all the things I was so proud of. And yet my body was screaming at me.

I had a conversation with my sister the other day explaining to her how I hadn’t had anything pumpkin yet because of how many carbs and sugars are in everything. I love pumpkin. I love fall flavors. She said “I don’t care about carbs.” Is it bad that somedays, for some moments, I wish I didn’t either. I wish I could eat that brownie without feeling guilt. With remembering that life is a balance. I wish I could remember the last time I had a sandwich, with bread. I wish I knew the last time I had ice cream that didn’t have sugar alcohols in them. The only pumpkin items I’ve had have been sugar free. I swear I wasn’t like this a year ago. But I also swear I didn’t have “baby abs” a year ago too.

It’s frustrating. There are many days my head obsesses over what I will eat, when, where, what happens if I go out, what if I want to drink and no one has sugar free mixers, what if there is only beer and I don’t want all the carbs, what if we order pizza and that’s all there is to eat, and more importantly, what if i DO eat a cupcake or cookie or brownie?!…these are things that constantly rotate in my head. And then the next day it’s all about how many miles do I need to run to fix that mistake I made by eating that brownie, and is that going to be a hard enough or long enough workout, and how do I get my cardio in if I can’t run, and how many miles can I run after work, or should I hike, or maybe a trail run or HIIT sprints might be good, but I can’t tonight how will I fit that in if I have an obligation at 6pm. It’s exhausting.

While I know I wouldn’t be happier where I was 60+ pounds ago, somedays I wish my inner fat kid could just take over without my inner fit fanatic always being present. And the thing is, I know I need to find the balance, and I know that takes work. It doesn’t just happen one day. I need to practice it. One cookie won’t ruin a workout. One brownie won’t ruin a month of hard work. Run because you love to run, because you love the time alone and you love the sweat. Not because you ate pizza last night. Or had a beer. Or three. Hit the gym because that’s your version of therapy. And you love growing new muscles and being strong and looking strong. Not because you need to punish yourself for a day or two off. Or for not eating clean the day before.

Time to work on letting go a little because truth is…

Life is a mother fucking balance.



sample story. 1st draft.

As a single 30-something living in a college town in the Fall, Friday night plans can either entail avoiding the 21-year-old-crowds Downtown before midnight, catching up with some friends while enjoying some wine at home, or maybe catching a local show at one of your favorite breweries. I’m not going to lie, on this particular Friday by 5pm I was ready for a hot date with my couch, a bottle of Pinot and Netflix, however I had agreed to entertain the idea of a couple beers and some live music at Bang the Drum.

I’ve been to Bang the Drum several times over the two years they’ve been in SLO whether for a beer with friends, a pub run or even to watch several of my talented friends perform; I love that spot — great vibes, a cozy patio that feels just hip enough that I don’t need to go to Urban Outfitters to buy a trendy new outfit to fit in, and always full of fun, friendly people. This Friday was no exception. While beer isn’t always my drink of choice, I’m a fan of their King Mate (Yerba Mate inspired) IPA and I know several friends who swear by their bourbon-barreled southern-inspired beer. What initially drew my friend and I to BTD that night was Dan Curcio. Both my friend and I had recently had an amazing time at the G. Love concert where Dan opened. I’ve been a big fan of Dan’s for years. Upon moving to SLO 3 and a half years ago, I was often lectured about the amazingness of Stilltime and quickly became a fan. So when I was at an event later and “discovered” this band that sounded just like Stilltime, I claimed Moonshiner Collective as one of my favorite local bands (obviously, since I could brag that I discovered them!). And of course, living in a small town, I quickly realized how many of my friends not only know but also appreciate Dan’s music (solo or otherwise). So after clicking interested in the Facebook event with The Suitcase Junket and Dan Curcio at work on Friday afternoon, I instantly began to find and listen to as much of this “suitcase” music as I could.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a music snob, but it is kind of my thing. I went to Coachella before people knew where or what Coachella even was. I toured around the country following a popular jam-band around for years. I often drive 90 minutes south for a legit concert or show whether it’s at the Santa Barbara Bowl or a tiny club on State Street. So after a listening to a few songs from The Suitcase Junket on YouTube, I was hooked and texted my friend, “OK, I’m in, let’s go — this other guy is going to be good!”

Dan set the stage perfectly for what was to follow. Through his set, I watched Matt Lorenz (or, the one man show known as, The Suitcase Junket). His fro of curly hair bopping along to Dan’s rhythm and vibing off the beer, the crowd and the tunes. Every so often, he’d begin scribbling in a notebook. Maybe it was inspiration or notes, words that sounded right together or possibly even a grocery list for his drive up to Hardly Strictly — either way, it was awesome to watch an artist dial into another artist’s music and enjoy the local scene. Dan finished his set and humbly thanked Matt for beginning to help him out with some “foot pedal stuff,” which he promised was sure to blow our mind during his set. At this point, the man sitting next to me began gabbing about the shenanigans I was about to see from this so-called Suitcase Junket. I’m not sure I believed him, but politely smiled and sounded stoked on the idea of it all.

Nope, he wasn’t kidding. The mustached and bearded man adorned in flannel, stripes and polka dots took the stage, played a note and everyone was mesmerized. His powerful sound echoed through the brewery and captivated us all. After a couple songs in, Matt Lorenz introduced his “band” and explained the funkiness of it all. How the front of his right foot plays an instrument he created, while the back plays a different one, same on the left side, and yes, said instruments consist of pieces such as a suitcase as well as a baby shoe hitting a pan, just what you’d expect from a standard 5-piece band right?! And then there was that whistle-sound he made, which he explained took him 5 years to master, but oh did he master it by creatively moving his tongue around in his mouth and coming up with an insane sound all his own. Oh wait, and did I mention his guitar came from a dumpster? Long story short, knowing this man was on his way up to one of the biggest Bluegrass Festivals of the year made it so much more of a treat as everyone was on the same page — this guy was not only insanely talented, but he makes amazing music that gets you tapping your foot, swaying and straight up ready to boogie down.

Once we were hooked and didn’t want his set to end, the man unplugs, stands in front of the crowd and serenades us with his amazing voice, ironic lyrics and squeezes beauty out of the once trashed guitar. I don’t know if it was the combination of it all — seeing a man make beautiful things out of the ordinary (or what some would even consider trash), or maybe his lyrics which literally spoke true to us, or the fact that this guy not only played and sang with passion to draw us in, but had the personality to pull it all off. While no one wanted the music to end, it was clear everyone wanted to grab a beer with this dude and chat his ear off for hours.

We left Bang the Drum stoked on the discovery of new music and we agreed we just witnessed an artist that undoubtedly will ‘make it.’ However in two years from now we probably will have to shell out $65 to sit a mile from the stage and enjoy his music instead of the $12 we spent that night to literally be 10-feet from this talented artist. Between you and me, I was slightly inclined to stay in the car and drive up to the Golden Gate Park, find what time and stage the Suitcase Junket would be playing and enjoy 3 days loaded with tunes at Hardly Strictly.

To wrap things up, if you live in SLO and don’t know Dan Curcio’s music, do yourself a favor and catch him live, I promise you will be hooked! Bang the Drum always provides a perfect backdrop for a low key Friday evening. And if you are a fan of soul, rock, blues, and/or all things creative then you will love The Suitcase Junket…just trust me on this one.