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Mice and Men —

March 24, 2014

Fat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDickweed

Last year, I had a plan.

In May 2013, I wrote about my intention to do the Fight for Air Climb in St. Louis. Forty flights with a goal of ten minutes, the median from the previous year’s stair climb. I began with 10 flights and worked my way up to 30 with the plan of ramping up to the full 40 after the New Year.

In the interim, three things happened. First, last fall we had to end our membership at the gym from this video for financial reasons. This is the gym where I tried the Stairmaster for days when I didn’t have time to use the stairs at work. You don’t need a gym membership to exercise, but you do need one to access the weight machines. We’re looking into getting a membership at the YMCA, but it’s further from our house and it’s a mad rush to get there and home in time for bed.

The second thing that happened was work-related. First, I took a week off at Christmas, during which I didn’t have access to as many flights as my office building. This was followed by weeks of shitty weather and a shitload of working from home. As a result, I lost some of my progress. On days when I was in the office, I found 20 flights to be a challenge again. And then the third thing kicked in: busy season.

Beginning in February, our work picks up significantly, which both reduced the opportunities I could step away from my desk for 15-20 minutes and took my mind off the stair climb completely. Starting from scratch seemed increasingly pointless. There was no way I could get back into the kind of shape that would nail a 10-minute climb. And what if I took 20 minutes to finish? Or, heaven forfend, 45 minutes, the slowest time from the previous year?

Recently, Ragen announced that she was training for another marathon. The predictable response from the peanut gallery was “Hurr hurr, she’s walking a marathon!” And, indeed, there are people who seem genuinely offended by the fact that there are people who prefer to walk 26.2 miles and take 12 hours to finish. Ragen’s mere existence offends them so greatly because… well, let’s take a look at their reasons:

God I hate her. Why does she need to frame it as a marathon?! (To “prove” that she’s “healthy”, even though walking 2 Mph for one day does not make one healthy). It infuriates me that the idea that walking a marathon is in any way comparable to running one. Two totally different beasts.

So, the first is that Ragen supposedly equates her own performance with the rest of the marathoners, but in her post following her first marathon, Ragen flat-out says that “of over 10,000 people I was the absolute hands-down worst.” There’s no attempt to equate her experience with anyone else’s. This is something she intensely dislikes doing, knows she’s not good at, but wants to do to show that it can be done.

And what is it that can be done? A fat person can walk for 26.2 miles for 12 hours. It’s as simple as that. Many fat people feel an animosity toward exercise, whether from a lifetime of using it punitively to lose weight or whether they were mocked for not exercising ideally (e.g., being slower, less coordinated, less talented). Many fat people have just given up thinking about exercise as anything other than sustained hell and humiliation. And it sure as shit doesn’t help when assholes from the internet say shit like, “GODDAMNIT RAGEN STAY AWAY FROM MARATHONS. If thin people aren’t allowed to invade your precious internet realm, you sure as hell aren’t welcome to pollute the competitive, respectable world of road racing until you’re able to finish without having to get all sassy and whiny with the pace-mobile.”

They’re also pissed that Ragen is training for the marathon by walking, which REALLY offends them. A fat woman? Walking to train for a marathon! Pah!

But it turns out that Ragen isn’t the only one walking marathons these days. It turns out that a whole helluvalot of people aren’t fond of the strain that running puts on their joints. It turns out that not everybody feels the need to be the fastest or the first, but are content to compete with themselves and their own standards of greatness.

I’ve read other less fanatical critiques of Ragen that basically say that as long as she stays toward the back of the pack to make room for the competitive marathoners, then they see no problem with her walking the marathon. Because honestly, who cares what other people who are clearly not competing with you are doing in a race? “Polluting” your world? Aaaaaaaaaaaaw… poor baby. It would be a shame if slow-ass fatties started joining races and marathons and polluted your events so much that it was no longer considered a badge of superiority. I guess you all will have to move on to shark wrestling or lion fucking or some other gimmick to prop up your fragile self-esteems.

To be fair, I have a fragile self-esteem as well, which is the third thing that factored into my increasing despondency over the stair climb: fear of humiliation. From the moment I announced the stair climb, Fitness Circlejerk mocked me. Naturally, my ego required that I not suck at the stair climb and invite the kind of mockery Ragen endured, where haters were calculating how many steps she took per minute and other weirdly obsessive shit like that. If I was going to do the stair climb, I wanted to get a non-mockable time, like the median. I figured it was a nice, safe goal, which is why I included it my original stair-climbing post.

But now, with two weeks before event, there was no way I could finish in less than 20 minutes. I thought about just not saying anything, but there was always the chance that someone from reddit would remember what I wrote last year and ask if I did it, and then I’d have to eat a big plate of crow. I fucking hate eating crow.

Eating Crow

With a side of humiliation pâté.

I resigned myself to blogging my admission that I wasn’t able to sustain my training regimen and I gave up. I was a quitter. I quit. I could already see the gleeful gloating over my failure.

I chose the stair climb in part because I loathe running and this was something I thought I could train for. But in the back of my mind, I was also acutely aware of the stigma associated with fat people and stairs.

I Judge You

Our own Angela wrote a great article for HuffPo UK on the 12th International Congress on Obesity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where organizers had the escalators turned off so participants would have to take the stairs because the key to solving obesity is to force-shame (for shame!) people into taking the stairs.

Escalator2

Lesley Kinzel has a great piece on her lifelong struggle with elevator shaming, talking about how she would take the stairs two flights up out of fear of being a “Bad Fatty,” despite having asthma:

I did this, in part, because even if I was tired or menstrual-crampy or the stairwell was colder than the proverbial witch’s tit, I didn’t want to be caught using the elevator in a… frivolous manner. I honestly have no idea where this self-administered don’t-abuse-the-elevator pressure came from, but whatever its source I had internalized it good and proper such that even when going upstairs with colleagues, I would often break my two-floors rule and arrive on the fourth floor landing wheezing and digging in my pocket for my inhaler, as apparently I preferred not being able to breathe over asking if we could take the elevator.

Michelle Allison has another great piece on elevator shaming that, ironically enough, I responded to back in 2009 by admitting to my own impatience with people who took the elevator just one floor without any obvious sign of disability that justified slowing me down.

Elevator Irritation

Michelle’s piece made me reconsider the selfish sense of urgency that justified my nasty thoughts. As a result, I’ve become less judgmental when people take the elevator one floor. Maybe they have arthritis. Maybe they had a vigorous workout this morning. Maybe they’re lazy. Who the fuck cares? Snarking inside my head isn’t going to change anything, so calm the fuck down. Escalator

As far as whether taking the stairs will keep you from getting fat, let alone make you unfat, there’s a pretty skeptical article in Gawker that outright dismisses the effectiveness of elevator shaming as an anti-obesity tactic.

Look. Let’s level with each other here. Yes, walking up a flight of stairs is better for you, physically speaking, than taking an elevator. You expend more calories climbing a flight of stairs, yes. But the gains that you will make from doing so are negligible. Taking the stairs, as a habit in the course of your day to day life, will make you more fit in the same way that stopping to pick pennies up off the ground will make you more rich.

To a certain extent, I agree. Taking a flight or two of stairs a day won’t have any impact on your weight. Of course, I also subscribe to the theory that exercising regularly won’t have much of an impact on your weight, outside of the 5% to 10% that researchers commonly describe as “clinically significant weight loss.”

Of course, Gawker doesn’t subscribe to that scientifically-accepted fact. Instead, they choose to mock the idea of fat people taking the stairs and what they will obviously do instead.

[O]f course you won’t keep everything else the same. You’ll reward yourself for taking the stairs. A few ice cream sundaes, and that entire caloric gain is shot. You also won’t be really working to go up the stairs. You won’t be sprinting up the stairs at full tilt. You’ll be ambling on up those stairs, slowly. This is not a workout. This is normal functional human movement.

I understand the idea behind this thought process generally: walking up two flights of steps at work isn’t the same as doing the Stairmaster for a half an hour. This is true. As a general guideline for fitness, someone who wants to improve their fitness levels should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate  or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise, plus strength training. However, Lesley reviewed the spotty research on promoting stair use for health and pointed to the Geneva Stair Study:

One commonly cited 2008 study published in the European Heart Journal looked exclusively at the effects of increased stair use amongst a small group of hospital employees and found that, yes, it seemed to have some beneficial results. Unfortunately, three months later, the number of employees continuing to use the stairs had decreased from the original 69 participants to a small but committed 10.

Again, this is true: the drop-out rate is pretty staggering. A scosche less than 15% of those asked to take the stairs actually stuck with it  Sounds pretty depressing, no? But when you dig a bit deeper, the results are actually quite interesting. The team who did the Geneva Stair Study, followed up in 2009 (PDF) and 2010 (PDF). In one 12-week intervention, 62 of 69 sedentary participants stuck with the program and the results were fascinating:

During the intervention, the median number of ascended and descended one-story staircase units was 20.6/day (14.2–28.1) compared with 4.5/day (1.8–7.2) at baseline (P<0.001). At 12 weeks, VO2max had increased by 9.2±15.1% (P<0.001). Participants had lost 0.7±2.6% of body weight (P=0.022), body mass index had decreased by 0.7±2.6% (P=0.038), fat mass reduction was –1.5±8.4% (P=0.035), and waist circumference had declined by 1.7±2.9% (P<0.001). There was a significant decrease of diastolic blood pressure (–1.8±8.9%, P=0.028) and a marginal reduction of systolic pressure (–1.3±7.2%, P=0.075). LDL cholesterol had decreased by 3.0±13.5% (P=0.026).

Subjects began by climbing about 5 flights per day to 21 flights per day, and as a result they improved their Vo2 max (an objective measure of cardiovascular fitness), their blood pressure and their LDL cholesterol. Although the weight loss was statistically significant, it sure as hell didn’t indicate that the greatest benefit from encouraging stair use was thinner people. But at the same time, the results didn’t indicate a null effect either:

Even though at first glance one would perhaps consider a mere 10 min of stair climbing negligible, such an amount of physical activity is significant as shown by pooled data from the Harvard College alumni cohort study showing that people climbing 55 stories per week had a 25% decrease in the risk of mortality compared with those climbing less than 20 stories/week.

Is it just me or should we be celebrating the fact that climbing 11 flights of stairs per day reduces your risk of mortality by 25%? For public health campaigns, the negligible weight effect may be discouraging, but dammit, people, weight loss should not be our public health priority, and the authors of this study admit as much:

Dolan et al. advanced that the impact of stair use on population obesity levels will be small because of the limited extra energy expenditure related to increased stair use. Our results complete this contention by making the point that because of the body mass index-independent effect of fitness on all-cause mortality any increase in aerobic fitness from stair use may have great public health significance in spite of a limited effect on weight balance.

So no, stair climbing won’t make you thin, but introducing just a modest amount of stair climbing into your day can have real, lasting improvements on your health. And THAT is what we should be promoting, if anything, to people of all sizes.

But as with any health-related behaviors, the choice of whether, when and how you work on your health is up to you. Nobody should be made to feel guilty for taking the elevator over the stairs. Health is a personal choice, and the reason I mention this study is not to further shame anyone into action. Any time I write about physical fitness, I do so to educate those who have a desire to improver their fitness. And for those who don’t have much time to exercise, knowing that taking the stairs at work can have such a profoundly positive impact on health can give them a viable option for making the improvements they might not otherwise make.

I would much rather see the anti-obesity conference leave the escalators running and include a sign on the cardiovascular benefits of modest stair climbing, but I’m disgusted by any action that essentially forces people to choose exercise or else the shame-filled search for the elevator.

Exercise is a personal choice. I decide when and where I move my body, and this is generally respected in society. We don’t demand that everybody sprint up and down the halls of their office whenever they have to get from point A to point B. We don’t go up to families playing in a pool together and demand that they swim laps. So, why have we suddenly decided that everybody must climb stairs for exercise? It’s ridiculous.

And so, when I choose for myself to improve my cardiovascular fitness by climbing stairs, I am doing so for my own personal reasons, not because I will be a Bad Fatty if I take the elevator.Likewise, if I choose to participate in a stair climb, I’m not going to do it because I’m a Good Fatty for proving that fat people can climb stairs; I’m doing so because I want to challenge my body to do something I didn’t think it could do and to reap the cardiovascular rewards of training for that challenge.

I never would have come to those conclusions were it not for two things.

First, two weeks prior to the climb, I admitted to Shaunta that I had given up on the stair climb. I admitted that I was terrified that if I got a shitty time I would be mocked for it. I admitted that my vanity and pride left me feeling despondent and weak. I was quitting to avoid the greater humiliation of sucking.

Then Shaunta said something that was plainly obvious, but which my ego eclipsed: “So do it slow this time, and then train to do it better next year?”

Progress.

That’s right.

Yeah, maybe I would get a shitty time this year, but it would give me a baseline to compare my efforts next year. I mean, yeah, I’d still get mocked for having a shitty time, but who gives a shit how badly somebody does their first year? Maybe I do 20 minutes this year and 15 minutes next year. Should I feel shitty about putting myself out there and trying? Should I feel like a failure because I’m not the best? Hell, that was the whole point of my post where I announced the stair climb in the first place.

And yet, I had succumbed to that same feelings of worthlessness that I decried in the opening paragraph when I quoted a redditor who said, “Look, there can be no more even-handed test of fitness than to say to a group of people, ‘run this distance,’ ‘lift this weight,’ or ‘perform this physical activity’ and then see who does it fastest, or who does the most weight.”

My response? “Aaaaah, fitness elitists. Ya gotta love ‘em.”

But here I was buying into fitness elitism, believing that my own personal goals didn’t matter if they didn’t stack up to the best of the best. With Shaunta’s reassurance, I began to feel more confident that I could, and should, stick to my plan, regardless of the potential outcome.

The second thing that bolstered my self-esteem was a pop music icon, which is pretty odd for me since I tend to scoff at pop idols. But then I saw this gif on Tumblr of Nicky Minaj talking about how she was nervous to perform at the VMA’s because no matter how she does, people are going to bash her. It made me feel a little better that the hate still gets to you, even when you’re successful.

Yeah, I might take 20 minutes to climb 40 flights and reddit might scoff and that might make me feel like shit, but dammit, I’m not going to stop doing what I want to do out of fear of how the haters will predictably respond. I’m not going to limit myself out of fear that my personal best isn’t good enough for the perpetually critical. Hell, if I hit the median of 10 minutes, there would STILL be haters dismissing my accomplishments and talking shit.

And so, with renewed vigor, I began training once more. I had six days at work left to train. I contacted my boss and explained that I needed up to 30 minutes to get ready for the event, and she gave me permission to carve out the time. On day one, I did 15 flights, getting just as winded as the first day I started. On day two, I did 20 flights, gasping for air. On day three, I did 25 flights, surprising myself with my endurance. On day four, I did 30 flights and began to notice the deep strength I drew from. On day five, I did 35 flights and realized how much easier the first 20 had become. Finally, on the day before the climb itself, I did all 40 flights, my muscles shaking from exhaustion.

At work, I could only ascend 10 flights at a time, then had to walk back down, which gave me a sort of break. My heart monitor dropped slowly as I descended, until it reached around 130 when I got to the bottom. Then I’d turn around and head back up. I resigned myself to the fact that during the real deal, I would have to take a break every 10 flights or so, which would cut into my final time, but I was okay with that. I would do what I needed to do to finish the climb.

And so this past Saturday morning, I arrived at the Metropolitan Building in downtown St. Louis.

The Met

The lobby was packed with climbers, most of whom were long and lean, wearing spandex running gear and brightly colored fitness shoes. Meanwhile, I donned my Totoro t-shirt, sweatpants and sandals, as I meandered around waiting for my start time.

I was thrilled to see that I wasn’t the only fatty. There were quite a few fat women, and I waited in line for the stairs by a man in his mid-50s who was about my size. This wasn’t his first stair climb and he talked about his goal of finishing in under 15 minutes. He talked about the progress he had made over the previous year. His presence validated my renewed hope and I encouraged him to kick some ass.

As we edged up to the entrance to the stairs, I saw a cute weight-lifting couple with matching blue tank tops, one saying “Swole” and the other saying “Mates.” The diversity of participants, all aiming for the same goal, made the entire event seem less elitist than I had anticipated.

When it was my turn, I began by sprinting to the stairs and climbing with more vigor than I had during my retraining sessions. At the 9th floor, we could get a drink of water and take a break. I waited there until my heartrate dropped to around 130, then started again. While waiting, I noticed that several slender climbers in sleek running gear also taking a break. I figured it would just be me and a bunch of older people, but there was the tall skinny man and the short skinny woman who had been in front and behind me in line.

Realizing my pride still urged me to rush beyond my abilities, I decided to climb slow and steady, valuing persistence over speed. I stopped on the 21st floor for another break. So did that same man and woman. In fact, a group of us stopped on all three break floors on the way up. I felt my embarrassment over taking breaks dissipate as I realized that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t competing against the others.

Every other flight or so, there would be one or two volunteers in red shirts encouraging us, as proxies for the family members who weren’t allowed in the stairwells. Although I feel awkward about receive random praise from strangers (particularly when I was training at work and people would say something uplifting), I felt like this kind of encouragement really did impact my motivation. It didn’t seem quite as daunting or quite as out-of-reach as it sometimes did in those lonely stairwells at work. Others were noting my progress and assuring me that the goal was just around the corner.

And then the goal was just around the corner, literally, when I finally gasped my way up the last flight.

Proof

I finished the race almost before I even realized it and waited in line for my t-shirt before taking the elevator back down and getting my photo taken with the sign declaring my success.

Mastered

Then I waited outside where the results would flash by on the screen and finally got to see my time: 17 minutes and 43 seconds.

Results

Allow me to save the haters some time by point out that I climbed at a rate of 26 seconds per floor and that I ranked 295 out of 313 men, which I’m sure they’ll point out is weakness. But in my age group, I ranked 104 out of 303 people in their 30s.

But I’m setting aside these comparisons for myself. I don’t really care how I stack up to other men or other 30-year-olds. I’m thrilled with the results because I completed the challenge and I ultimately did not give up my quest out of fear or vanity. I refused to allow my success or failure to be determined by where I placed. I set a goal to complete the stair climb and I did it. Next year, I will set a new goal for myself (in my mind, I’m picturing no rest periods or fewer rest periods) to measure my own progress against myself, and nobody else.

And remember the older fat guy who hoped to beat his previous record of 15 minutes? I saw him again after the climb and he completed it in 12 minutes. Regardless of where he ranks among others, he set a goal for himself and nailed it. For that, he’s a champion.

My hope is that by admitting all of my own personal weakness and flaws in preparing for this event it will encourage others who feel like they shouldn’t compete out of fear of humiliation. Nobody else can decide whether you are a success or a failure — only you can. You don’t have to measure your success next to anyone else. You decide what you want to accomplish and you focus solely on accomplishing it.

If you are happy with the outcome of your efforts, then that is all that matters. What others think of your accomplishments are none of your damned business.

UPDATE

Right on schedule, the Dudebro Patrol paid a visit to my Facebook page in the form of Grant Thomas Reedy to call my stair climb “Delusions of adequacy.”

Grant

And with a simple Google search, we get to find out exactly why so many of these haters prefer to stay hidden on reddit. It seems that Grant Thomas Reedy was arrested in 2011 for petty theft and in 2010 for domestic battery. It’s pretty fun to compare his chipper weight-lifting photos with his dour booking photos.

Grant Thomas Reedy

And this, folks, is why you don’t listen to haters. People who are satisfied with their lives don’t spend their time berating those they deem inferior to themselves. People who love their life don’t have to spend their free time trying to make others hate theirs.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2014 12:13 pm

    It sounds like your experience with the stair climb was a lot like my experience doing triathlons before I broke my back. There’s a saying in the tri community….DFL > DNF > DNS….dead fricking last is better than does not finish is better than does not start. Just by starting, you’ve already won 🙂

    Good job!!

    • March 25, 2014 9:48 pm

      Thanks Casey. I love DFL>DNF>DNS. That’s a great perspective on attempting a feat. 🙂

      Peace,
      Shannon

  2. March 24, 2014 12:23 pm

    I’m doing my first-ever 10K in a little less than two weeks. I LOVED reading about your stair-climb experience… I’ve gone through similar feelings as I’ve prepped for my race, but as the day approaches I’ve begun to feel very zen about the whole thing. In particular, I really related to the idea of establishing a baseline. Whatever my time is this year, it’s something to improve upon next year.

    • March 25, 2014 9:50 pm

      Thanks wickedbelle. You’re going to do great at your 10K. Don’t be afraid of taking breaks. I really had to set aside my ego and wait for my heart rate to calm before I continued. If this is what you love to do, then life will provide you the opportunity to be amazed at your improvement as you dedicate yourself. That’s the best measure of fitness… far better than anything a scale can tell you.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  3. Twistie permalink
    March 24, 2014 12:27 pm

    Congratulations on the climb! Keep kicking ass!

    The best competitions we engage in are against ourselves, not others.

    For my part, I rather like stairs and prefer to take them. I rarely do that in public, however, since my husband (who I’m usually with) has congestive heart failure and could – quite literally – die from too many stairs. I know people look at us and see the lazy fatties, but fuck them sideways with something sharp and rusty. I love my husband and want him around as long as possible. If that means elevators and escalators rather than stairs, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll take the escalators and elevators and be damn glad of them.

    • March 25, 2014 9:52 pm

      Thanks Twistie. I hope your husband’s heart stays strong. That’s such a difficult medical problem to deal with. You just keep taking good care of him. 🙂

      Peace,
      Shannon

  4. vesta44 permalink
    March 24, 2014 12:29 pm

    Awesome job, Shannon!
    I’ve never liked team endeavors, it always seemed to me that teammates were always competing with each other to be the “best”, and I’m just not into that kind of competition. I don’t even like having to compete against other people for any reason (like in marathons or track and field – I tried competing in track & field when I was in grade school, it definitely was not for me). I much prefer competing with myself – comparing how I’m doing now to how I did last week, last month, last year. I figure that as long as I’m improving, that is what matters, not how I compare to others who are doing the same thing I’m doing. After all, we aren’t all the same, we don’t all have the same abilities/talents, and we don’t all have the same goals for what we’re trying to accomplish. So why should it matter that Joe Schmoe can run faster than I can, or Judy Doe can jump farther than I can? If I’m improving, and meeting my goal, then I’m satisfied.

    • March 25, 2014 9:53 pm

      Thanks vesta. And I know what you mean. I love playing sports, but hate the team aspect to a certain extent because I do feel like I have to compare my performance with others when I should really just be enjoying the game. It’s hard when you’re self-conscious of how much less coordinated you are than others.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  5. March 24, 2014 12:34 pm

    I am SO proud of you. Seriously. Fuck anyone who says that you shouldn’t try something unless you’re going to be the best there is at it. Know what I did this week? I took the stairs at school and at the gym, when I usually take the elevator because I HATE stairs (I feel off balance on them, and I’m self-conscious about arriving at my destination sucking wind.) But I realized, I’d probably hate them less if I practiced them more. Slow and steady. I can’t wait to see what you do next year.

    • March 25, 2014 9:55 pm

      Thanks Shaunta. Just ramp up your progress, if you want to give it a shot. The cardiovascular improvements really intrigue me. I mean, if you are interested in heart healthy, then knowing that modest stair climbing can have a cumulative effect is a net positive, right?

      Peace,
      Shannon

  6. March 24, 2014 1:56 pm

    Good on you, good on other fat dude who beat his previous time, and good on everyone who participated! This story warms my heart.

    • March 25, 2014 9:56 pm

      Thanks Kokoba. I was really proud of older fat dude. He was really enthusiastic and made me feel like I had a buddy in the stairwell.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  7. Leila Haddad permalink
    March 24, 2014 2:46 pm

    I really enjoyed this piece and fully relate to your experience, but what touched me truly, was the look on your face in the photos and your lovely smile. Great job Shannon!

    • March 25, 2014 9:56 pm

      Thanks Leila. I was pretty proud of myself. 🙂

      Peace,
      Shannon

  8. Duckie permalink
    March 24, 2014 5:11 pm

    Really proud of you, Shannon! Way to overcome those inner demons! And thank you for sharing your humanity with us.

    • March 25, 2014 9:58 pm

      Thanks Duckie. As a guy, I have the instinct to portray myself as badass, but I’ve always struggled with self-worth. I feel like I need to admit to that struggle to show others who struggle that it can be faced down.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  9. March 25, 2014 10:58 am

    Congrats for all of it, Shannon, but most of all for sticking to your goal. When the haters start getting on my tits, I just let Jill Scott sing my response – http://youtu.be/Qw3Z8Oa7E3Y. 🙂

    • March 25, 2014 9:59 pm

      Thanks lusciouswords. I do love me some Jill Scott. 🙂

      Peace,
      Shannon

  10. lifeonfats permalink
    March 25, 2014 6:23 pm

    Congratulations. I avoid stairs for the most part because of bad knees. The haters are just so afraid that their stereotypes of fat people get shattered that they resort to acting like fools on the Internet. Mr. Grant should be more concerned that he’s a criminal and a wife abuser than fat people exercising in public.

    • March 25, 2014 10:01 pm

      Thanks Bree. Obviously, you should never do something that exacerbates an existing health problem. People with joint problems have some excellent options for exercise… of course, you have to have access to a pool for my favorite, water aerobics. When we get our Y membership again, V will be able to go back.

      And Mr. Grant needs to leave those stones in the garden of his glass house.

      Peace,
      Shannon

  11. March 27, 2014 3:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    First and foremost, congratulations! You are an inspiration. I have one flight of stair knees at this point in my life. More than that, and my right knee starts locking up. I can walk flat paths, even inclines, but stairs and my knees don’t get along.
    As for the people who are so OFFENDED that Ragen is walking a marathon, I’ll bet a year’s salary that they wouldn’t be offended if she was thin and walking a marathon. They’d be telling her to go for it.
    Third, as to “Fitness Circle Jerk” and their ilk, they are more committed to being jerks than to fitness. If they were really so committed to fitness, they would be talking about their particular exercise routines, what electrolyte drink was the best, things of that nature, not hating on people they don’t even know.

  12. March 31, 2014 9:46 am

    This is amazing, Shannon. Congratulations!

  13. September 18, 2014 11:22 am

    These Men’s Rights types such as Grant Thomas Tweedy are just so…consistent, aren’t they?

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