A Note from Fatty: If you’re planning to do the Fourth Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere, it’s not too late to sign up. Click here to sign up for the men’s (i.e., to get a men’s t-shirt) category, or click here to sign up for the women’s (i.e., to get a women’s t-shirt) category. While the first 500 registrants got dibs on the swag boxes, you’ll still get the oh-so-dapper event t-shirt, as well as the race plate, so you can tell people you totally won your category in a race, and have the race plate to prove you were there.
I am currently in the middle of an intriguing experiment. An experiment I am conducting, oddly enough, on The Runner and myself.
We are finding out what happens when people who usually exercise every day (in my case, biking; in The Runner’s case, biking and running and P90X) stop exercising — pretty much cold turkey — for nine days, while on vacation at The (second?) Happiest Place on Earth(tm).
That’s right. We knew we’d be busy most every moment we were awake, and we knew that this busy-ness would be to the exclusion of three-hour bike rides.
Plus, we were trying to keep the luggage down to a minimum.
Since this experiment is still in progress, I do not yet have the data I need to draw a final conclusion. Still, I am pleased to present some intriguing observations I have made.
Day 1: We (The Runner, me, and six kids) got up at 4am, and spent the day going from car to parking lot to shuttle to airport to airplane to airport to airplane to airport to shuttle to car rental place to rental van (a massive Ford yacht that seats 8) to rental house. By the time we arrive, any thoughts of exercising that day are gone. We just want to go to bed.
But first — but first — we decide to go to a grocery store to buy a week’s-worth of groceries, so we can both save money on food and not gain as much (or, ideally, any) weight by not going out to eat all the time.
But there’s a problem: we bring The Runner’s 20-year-old son (The IT guy) with us when we buy groceries. And The IT Guy loooovvvves ice cream. Drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, multiple cartons of different flavors of ice cream, italian ice, Blue Bunny single-serves, ice cream on a stick.
I am not exaggerating or making any of this up. If anything, I might be forgetting a couple of things.
Suffice it to say that in the space of a single trip to the grocery store, the freezer went from empty to very full and ridiculously tempting.
And suffice it further to say that I don’t have much in the self-control department.
Day 2: We spend the day at Epcot. For most of the day, I have a nagging sensation — something is missing. What is it? I can’t figure it out, but something’s out of place; I don’t feel right.
And then I figure it out: This is the second day since I’ve been on a bike.
I ask The Runner, “Have you had a weird sensation, that something’s out of place?”
“Yeah,” replies The Runner. “The whole day. What is it?”
“We haven’t ridden or run in a couple days.”
“That’s it,” exclaimed The Runner. Then she was quiet for a moment before asking, “Has that ever happened before since we’ve been together?”
“No,” I replied. “Not even close.”
Day 3: We get up late, having been exhausted from the previous day’s exhausting marathon session of walking, standing in line, sitting on rides, and eating very expensive Mickey Mouse Ice cream bars. We decide it’s a beach day, and that we will go on a run on the beach.
But by the time we make sandwiches, pack the ice chest, gather the kids and slather them with sunscreen, and drive to Cocoa Beach, it’s about noon and 102 fahrenheit. (Not that I’m complaining about the heat — it’s snowing back in Utah).
“There’s no way I’m running in this heat,” I say, as I eat another handful of Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (by Nabisco).
“Mmmmff,” says The Runner, chewing a Rice Krispie treat.
Day 4: We’re up early and at The Magic Kingdom by the crack of dawn, or at least by 10am (Hey, if you’re herding 6 kids, 10am is basically the crack of dawn).
The Runner and I are each in a foul mood, and not because we’re cranky about being in an amusement park (neither of us are the types of adults who sneer and turn up our noses at theme parks; our kids have fun there, and so do we).
We’re cranky because we’re suffering withdrawal symptoms. Irritability. Headaches. Inability to concentrate. Shakes. Short temper, which I guess is actually just irritability, but we’re really irritable, so it bears mentioning twice.
Day 5: We spend the day at Hollywoodland, or whatever it’s called. “I’m feeling better,” I tell The Runner. “The impulse to exercise is fading quickly.”
“I think we’d better run or something tomorrow morning,” replies The Runner.
“But you know what’s weird?” I observe. “Even though I’m exercising a lot less, I find I’m actually just as hungry as ever! Which reminds me,” I then say, “We’re just about out of ice cream. We should get more since we have a few more days left in our vacation.
Day 6 (today): We set the alarm and get up before anyone else, then go on a five mile run in the morning.
It’s about three miles into the run that I make an astonishing discovery:
In the space of one short week, it’s possible, with concerted effort, to completely erase any fitness gains one has made up to that point in one’s life.