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The Machine of Sadness

I need to lose 6.6 pounds.

That seems pretty specific, right?

Don’t worry. It get’s more specific than that. Way more specific.

You know how you can be just cruising through life thinking things are great and then somebody shoves a bunch of reality in your face and you’re like, “Whoa! Where did all this come from??? Get that out of my face!”

My reality today came in the form of numbers. And we all know how much I love numbers.


Soooo many numbers.

After barely avoiding being bullied (my friends want to call it “encouraged,” but it was clearly bullying) into running the Conquer the Cove full marathon, I made the decision to spend the summer just enjoying gentle running. (My friends call it “half-assing,” but I prefer enjoying.)

So I ran a fairly enjoyable 25k at CtC on Sunday.


Photo Credit: Jay Proffitt – Who didn’t allow me to photobomb Kim’s really happy race photo. Whatever.

See how happy that chick is? That’s because she’s running the kind of race where you have pleasant conversations with friends while crawling 3 miles up Brushy (and don’t come at me with that 2.4 miles crap, Josh Gilbert; that b-word is 3 full miles of up) or where you get to take home 2 lbs of chocolate chip pumpkin bread (but only after you throw a small temper tantrum because the bag they gave Kim was significantly larger than yours so that Gina desperately searches for a giant bag and people start shoving entire containers of bread at you) or where you’re tempted to intentionally miss a turn on the course adding another 1/2 mile to your 15.8 mile race just so you can visit the Pegasus (I NEED one of these).


It was a pretty enjoyable run.

And at last night’s pub run, I bragged about not stepping onto a scale in years and having no idea how much I weigh. Because I’m healthy, right? I’m an athlete, dammit. I don’t need a damn scale to tell me I’m healthy. … Or not.

BUT I have TWO Spartan races scheduled in August. And I’d love to not have to use my son’s back to make my way over every single wall obstacle or do 2,000 burpees because of those stupid monkey bars and rope climbs that I just can’t seem to manage.

So, today I headed over to Westlake Carilion Wellness and had a consultation with Victor. Victor is going to make sure that I keep my Spartan burpees to a minimum.

And to start this consultation, Victor introduced me to the Machine of Sadness. He called it InBody, but I think that’s just because that’s what’s written on the Paper of Despair that it prints out so you can take it home with you and stare at it for hours of disappointment.

The Machine of Sadness weighs you. It flashes a shocking (and I think possibly fabricated) number on the screen and then tells you not to move or talk or breath while it calculates things. I tried whispering explanations to the Machine. I’d just run the Blue Ridge Double in April and it’s been a rough road back to functional movement and maybe I was still eating like I was training, but it’s hard to shift back into non-marathon eating and then the Machine reminds you about the not talking part and also that everyone’s sick of hearing about this Double excuse and you really need to just move on. And then it travels through every secret part of you where you’ve been trying to hide the Family Size bags of Doritos and 2 lbs of chocolate chip pumpkin bread. And then it prints it all out on one single Paper of Despair with a final recommendation that you lose 6.6 pounds. And preferably in your trunk area. Because that’s where 153.8% of your fat is residing. I don’t even know how that math works, but the little graphy things look pretty legit.

“To be clear, Victor, by trunk we mean … core? Please? Because my actual trunk isn’t going anywhere. I know this. I’ve tried.”

“Sure. Core.”

He didn’t sound real convincing, but whatever.

So, then Victor walks me through the upper body workout that is going to get me through my Spartans in two months.

“Victor, it’s very important that I am able to climb over walls and swing across monkey bars so I can avoid doing burpees every other obstacle.”

“We’ve got monkey bars here you can practice on. And we can do some burpees, too.”


“Don’t do that, Victor. You seemed nice. Don’t make me hate you.”

So, Victor walked me through a burpee-free workout and it was … challenging. I mean, I felt pretty strong on the first two circuits and was starting to think that maybe I am stronger than I thought and might actually just give those monkey bars a go. I ran into Beautiful Beastie who suggested I come to her yoga class when I finished & I was really stoked about that because I need more yoga in my life. And then Victor started using words like push ups and side planks and that’s where life got hard and visions of the Paper of Despair came back into my mind and my 153.8% fatty trunk felt really real and now I have to hire someone to open doors and lift stuff for me tomorrow because I can’t use my arms anymore. I’m mostly concerned about how I’ll get the coffee from the coffee pot into my mouth in the morning. I may just stick a straw straight into the pot and prop myself up by the kitchen counter until I’m finished.

I had to sneak out before Beautiful Beastie saw me and suggested the yoga again. No way was I gonna manage a single leg down dog or chaturanga and I just couldn’t take the look of pity and disappointment from her super positive face…

My summer of enjoyable ease has turned into a commitment to achieve a Paper of Victory. Because the Machine of Sadness is not wrong. I’m moving really slowly these days and a lot of it is that extra 6.6 pounds of trunk fat. My ideal running weight has always been around the 130 mark. And 36.9% body fat as an “athlete” is unsettling. So fine.

I’m supposed to do push ups and shoulder presses for my June Fitness Challenge group today. I REALLY want to tell them that I’ve already done a zillion of those and am not capable of a single one more right now. But those excuses don’t fly with these ladies. They’re going to insist that I do them. Because those are the kinds of friends I keep.

But for real. Who’s gonna bring me my coffee in the morning?




Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.

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