Saturday, December 8, 2012


So much for blogging…LOL. Finish one marathon, and then let blogging go to the wind. I feel like I have been so busy that I haven’t had time for anything, but then when I look to see what I am doing… it doesn’t amount to much. It sure hasn’t been putting any effort into working out or losing weight which is quite depressing. I HAVE been training for the Goofy Challenge in January and a weight loss program it is NOT. In fact these back to back long runs may make me start to hate running. Ok, that is an exaggeration, but it DOES make me hate back to back long runs. At this point, I know we will finish and I know this whole thing is going to suck, so I am ready for it to be done. I am ready for it to be here, and get through it, and enjoy my MUCH needed vacation. I am currently in limbo and it is one of the places I most hate to be. I have a plan and a goal that I am very close to completing, and I have my next phase set to go for when I am done, but for now I just have to wait for the time to pass. That “limbo” is the time when I get myself into trouble. Add on top of that it’s the holiday season and I am really struggling. How many times can I say “enough is enough” before it sticks and I follow through? Having been here before, I know that my mind has to be in the right place, and I know that I am not there at this time.  I get frustrated with myself, but then I try not to be too hard at the same time. I mean, its not that I am inactive, its that I am not actively trying to lose weight, which I feel like I should be doing. Since I do feel like I SHOULD be ACTIVELY trying to lose weight, the fact that I am not makes me feel guilty. Feeling guilty equates to eating. If you are blessed with not having to deal with emotional eating, you probably don’t see how that association works. If you are an emotional eater, you know EXACTLY the pit that I am currently (desperately) trying NOT to dig myself into. I picture myself in a giant game of Kerplunk, holding on so tightly to the thin red sticks as they are pulled out one by one, praying that I am not crushed by the falling marbles. That is how this limbo thing feels to me. 

My best plan is to just hold on tight until after Goofy. This training plan has been so challenging in so many ways.... The Goofy Challenge should not be undertaken lightly. I have not slimmed down as I had hoped. I have about a month to make a dent in that goal, but I am just not sure how it is going to play out. Like I said, this has been a major challenge and at the end, when I finish, and I have those 4 medals to show for my efforts, I will know that there is truly nothing I can't do if I set my mind to finishing it. I know what I need to do. I need to reset to the beginning and go into weight loss mode. I saw some pictures of myself from the last couple weeks, and I am not happy. I have let my eating get out of control. I am starting to be uncomfortable and I don't like it.

My bottom half has expanded, and my face is so full... I can see what is happening and I have to stop it now while it is relatively controllable. I know that my running is keeping it from being worse than it is.  I have grown lazy and complacent. I figure, "Hey I ran today, so I can eat this." No, it doesn't work that way. Time to reign it in. Back to Basics. I am getting so tired of saying it. I feel like a broken record, but it what needs to be done, and I believe I have finally reach my point where my brain is in "that" place needed to do some hardcore weight loss again. I am ready. Today is the day. I'm tired of being tired and uncomfortable. I may have only a month, but I am going to make the most of that month! And then I will be able to move past this goal and on to the next!!! No more limbo. Instead, I am going to use this as preparation time to finish what I started and get ready for the next phase.

No more limbo, only preparation and action.

Until next time, Run On and Be Happy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ending the War with Food by Geneen Roth

I love this story from Geneen Roth:

Ending the War
with Food
Imagine this: You are walking in a meadow on a fresh autumn day. The leaves are turning a burnished gold and red. You come upon a long table covered in a white linen cloth with vases of flowers at perfect intervals. Then you notice the food.

The food!

It is as if someone knew you were arriving, because the  table is laden with every food that you have ever loved -- even the foods you won't let yourself eat because they're too expensive or too fattening. A platter of poached salmon, fried sweet potatoes, three different kinds of dessert, including Chocolate Decadence Cake, cheesecake, and the exact flavor of ice cream you love. Homemade bread and every cheese imaginable. And food from your childhood is here: Hostess Sno Balls, roasted marshmallows, mashed potatoes, butterscotch pudding. It is a feast and it is just for you. Only you.

If all those foods were equal -- if you could eat bread with the same recklessness that you could eat broccoli -- what would you choose?

Take your time. There is no rush to decide. The food will be here.
Now, ask yourself: Would you take small bites of everything? Would you settle on one thing, eat as much of it as you want, then go on to the next? Or, given free rein,would you feel so overwhelmed that you'd just start with a fork in both hands and wild abandon in your heart? Are you like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day when he realizes that he can eat all the pie he wants and not gain weight?

"I'd eat everything!" you say.

Or "I'd dive into the triple-cream Brie and never come up for air."

"At last," you say, "I get to ignore my diabetes and scrape all the icing from the carrot cake and eat it with a spoon."

And some of you say, "Gimme a break. Cholesterol is real and so is my heart condition. And, by the way, what's the point of this fantasy?"

Before I get to the point, I want to tell you one of my favorite stories about eating what you think you want.

Years ago, a woman named Oona attended one of my 
workshops with her 11-year-old daughter, Miranda. At the time we met, Miranda was what my own mother used to call me -- pudgy. Round cheeks, round knees, round hands. A body that looked like it was made of circles. Miranda was not exactly fat, but her mother was very worried. She watched over Miranda's meals, commented on what she ate, took desserts away. Oona had been a fat child, had struggled with weight most of her life, and didn't want to see her daughter suffer the same way.
All in all, it was your basic mother-daughter war. Miranda hid food from Oona; Oona was enraged that, despite her hyper-vigilance, her child was gaining weight.

My solution floored both of them. I spoke bluntly to Oona: Fill up a pillowcase with Miranda's favorite food -- M&M's -- and give it to her, and whenever it gets even a quarter empty, fill it back up again. Stop commenting on her body. End the war now. Come back to me in a month and tell me how it's going.

Miranda thought she had died and gone to candy-coated heaven. Oona just wanted to strangle me.

A month later, Oona was convinced that miracles did happen.

During the first week, Miranda took the pillowcase everywhere; she even slept with it. For the first time, she could eat what she wanted without feeling rejected by her mother.

During the second week, she stopped taking the pillowcase to school. She ate fewer M&M's.

In week three, she hardly touched them. By week four, she never wanted to see another M&M again.
But more important than the M&M's was that the war had stopped. Miranda no longer needed to eat to pay her mother back for her constant disapproval. She no longer needed the comfort of M&M's to make up for the hurt of her mother's rejection.

Although this story actually happened, I'd like you to take it as a metaphor rather than as an example of something you should try with yourself or your daughter, because the point of both stories is not the food but your attitude about it. The point is stopping the war you have with yourself and your body. The point is that we can be free from the endless cycle of depriving and restricting ourselves if we cultivate tenderness and kindness toward ourselves.
Most of us want to get thin because we believe that then and only then we will be entitled to like ourselves and treat ourselves well. We want to get thin because we believe that then we will be happy. As if you are only allowed to take up space here on Earth if and when you are thin. And although what you eat really does matter in terms of how you feel in your body and the kind of energy you have to sustain the life you want, the size of your thighs at this very moment should not determine the size of your life.

What would happen if, right now, you gave yourself permission to like, respect -- even adore! -- yourself without first having to earn it by losing 10 or 20 pounds?
Consider how your food choices would change if they were based on self-respect and on what made you feel well, alive, and radiant. If you liked yourself immensely, you'd be unlikely to seek comfort in the all-ice-cream, all-the-time diet. You'd know that eating ice cream for dinner would probably make you feel happy for a second and then a little spacey and then tired. Soon you'd be cranky, yelling at your kids, picking on your spouse.

This new self-respecting you wouldn't need to seek comfort in food because you would no longer be rejecting yourself every minute of the day. No one can handle that kind of perpetual criticism without seeking solace somewhere, and the mint chocolate chip does nicely.

Most people say they gain weight when they eat what they want. But the truth is that people gain weight when they eat what they DON'T want -- and then eat copious amounts of what they believe they do want because they're afraid they'll be deprived again. They gain weight because they argue with themselves constantly and then, bruised from the argument, eat ice cream to comfort themselves. Most of the time, and I know this is hard to believe but it is the truth, what we eat has nothing to do with the food itself; it has to do with the internal dialogue of warring with yourself. When you end the war with yourself, your food choices radically change. Every single time.

True kindness has no calories. True kindness is deciding right now that you deserve to respect and honor yourself -- here, today, no matter what.  When you make your food choices with that sort of kindness, your whole life becomes a feast.

Fighting for Life

I think that it is time for me to do a non-race running related blog. As I have said before, my running is directly related to my emotional state. For better or for worse, what I am feeling can be used to fuel my run, or hinder it. I have seen both happen in the last year. A while ago I asked for prayers for my Mom. Around Easter, her health started rapidly declining. She has plateau for the most part, but I will get to that later. Easter was also the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon that I bombed. I know in large part because I was struggling with coming to grips with my Mom. She had a rather severe case of strep in her hand (yes, hand) that made her very ill. For those of you that may be unfamiliar, my Mom was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) about 9 years ago. A month before my wedding, actually. Through those 9 years she has been in remission. My Grandpa (her Dad) had and died from the same CLL. My Uncle (her brother) also has the same CLL.  They say CLL is an acquired disorder, and reports of truly familial cases are exceedingly rare, but I have a VERY real example of how that may not be the case. Mayo is making quite a study on our family and why my Mom and Uncle have it, and my other Uncle and My Aunt don’t. Anyway, her CLL makes it very difficult, sometimes next to impossible, for her body to fight off even minor infections.
After her severe episode around Easter, she ended up spending 40 days in the hospital with low blood cell counts, fevers that would top out around 104F (106 F was the highest). She had blood transfusion after blood transfusion, bag of antibiotic after bag of antibiotic, to try and get the fevers under control. To make a VERY long story short, we are now on a path to raise her counts high enough that she is strong enough to do a bone marrow transplant. Mom has a genetic marker that makes most conventional treatments to control CLL ineffective.  For the first time, I was faced with the very real possibility of losing my Mom. “Expectations (prognosis) How well a patient does depends on the stage of the cancer. About half of patients diagnosed in the early stages of the disease live more than 12 years.”  When my Grandpa was diagnosed (I was in the 4th grade, I believe) they gave him 6 months. He lived for 12. I remember. I remember what happened to his body. How thin the fevers and illnesses made him. So frail. I don’t know if I am strong enough to watch that happen to my Mom. Not enough time in the world will prepare me for the day I have to tell Hayden that Ama went to live with Jesus.
Work may not have been the best place to write this blog, but I need to write it. Mom isn't doing as well as previous testing indicated. The combo of steroids and antibodies that she has been taking since her hospitalization has showed promising count results in her blood tests. After the fevers, she consulted with doctors at the University (of Iowa)  hospitals to get a second opinion. More tests showed that, as I mentioned, she has genetic markers that indicate she would not respond well to treatment of this type of cancer, and that the fact she was in remission for so long was a miracle. They decided to get the ball rolling on a bone marrow transplant, as an option to have waiting after the results of the current therapy is known.

She got the results of her bone marrow biopsy back, and they found 95% cancer cells. You have to have at least 50% healthy cells in order to have a transplant, so she's not even eligible. They told her, "We need to get more aggressive on your treatment. Yesterday."  Those were the words she left me with as we handed off Hayden for the weekend when we left to go to Ohio for AFM. (Hopefully this mascara is as waterproof as they claim!)
As I said, my emotions can fuel my run or destroy my run. How many times did I want to quit during that marathon? I thought it would be so easy to just sit down and quit. It was too hard. My body hurt, I was weak, by the end all the Gu and various fuels were starting to make me sick again. When that part of my brain kept telling me to stop, I had that little voice that kept telling to keep fighting. I wasn’t done yet, keep fighting. I don’t know if I was telling myself that or my Mom that. Maybe simultaneously, I was urging us both. Just putting it out in the universe for us to both keep fighting.  Not that I think for even a moment that my Mom will ever give up, which is exactly what I fed on in those weak moments. Seriously? If she was going to, quite literally, fight tooth and nail to her dying day, I could finish a little marathon.
 In the large scheme of things, yes a race is a small thing, but it isn’t, at least, what it represents, isn’t a small matter. I feel like I have been working up to that race for years.  Even before I started on my weight loss journey. It was all leading to that day, to that fight. To that one decision made time and time again to not give up. Don’t Quit. Keep Fighting. These are my goals, and my dreams and if I don’t fight for them, who will? This is my life that I saving. Its my life that I am fighting for. Am I just going to sit down and give up? Or am I going to trudge on? One step at a time. One foot in front of the other until I reach where I am trying to go. That is what I decided when I finished that marathon. No more sitting down. Its time to start fighting again. I need to because I have a big new goal. One that will push these new boundaries I have discovered. Did you know that if you push hard enough you can redefine your limits and blow past those boundaries? Yep, you can too.
My Mom is one of my very best friends, and I know there will come a day when I have to say good bye and I know that no matter what, whether it is two weeks or 30 years from now, it will be too soon. I don’t want her to be in pain, or sick or suffering, but I am selfish enough that I don’t want to let her go either. I know that day will come. And there is a very good chance that when it does, it will break me. I know that, but I also know that until that day comes we will both fight our own battles for our lives.
Until Next Time, Run On and Be Happy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Running

As you all know, I have reset my mindset. I have hella work to do before Goofy. No joke. I know this. You know this. And whether you like it or not, I am going to take y'all along for the ride. I set out my steps to reach my goals. And this week I put this steps into full swing. I am already seeing results. Can you believe it?!
Step one was to listen to my trainer. We had some heart to hearts this week. And she basically, very nicely, slapped me upside the head and told me to trust her, she knew what she was doing. Yes ma'am. She told me obviously my way wasn't working, so I needed to trust her and do it her way. So like a beat dog, with my tail between my legs, I started listening to my trainer. Turns out she knows a bit more than I do about this whole fitness/nutrition thing. LOL.
Step Two was to stop half assing my workouts. Which meant to do my circuits for real, no resting between exercises, and 1 minute rests between circuits. That meant doing my HIIT sprints like I was supposed to. I even wore my heart rate monitor so I KNEW FOR SURE that I was working to the correct HR %. Every morning I woke up sore in a new place. That was new, and it felt good for a change.
Step three was to log my food. Along with this step was to follow the guidelines Kyra set for me. So far this has been the most challenging for me. I was averaging 1100 calories a day. That's it. She wants it between 1800-2000. It has been a challenge. It will involve more extensive meal planning, for sure. I am finding myself at supper time needing to consume 1000 more calories. Yikes. So this one is taking a bit longer to grab hold but I am doing better. And the calories that I do eat are coming from good, clean foods. VERY little processed foods and I am also converting most everything that Hayden eats to clean foods too, but its not that hard. If I let him, he would eat his weight in fruits and veggies, and that is NOT an exaggeration!
Step four was to drink my water. This is my water jug. It is omnipresent in my life.

I have at LEAST 3 of these a day. If I don't I get headaches and I am seriously parched. I know if I haven't had 3. I feel so much better now that I am drinking water again. Cleaner.
Today I went for a run. I am not in training mode yet so I had no "assigned" distance. I just went out and ran around town. I enjoyed the weather and the Fall foliage. The trees made for a very nice distraction so i just kept running. I ended up at 8 miles. It was nice. Somewhere in those 8 miles, I managed to run an 8.5 minute mile. Yes, you read that right, an 8.5 minute mile. I know when it was too. Around Mile 4, I honestly felt like I was flying. The breeze was to my back, my music was pumping, and I was flying. I didn't even know I could DO an 8.5m/m. LOL. It was a good run. Do you know what fueled that awesome run today? I lost 3 pounds this week. 3. By implementing this 4 little steps, I am already on my way to achieving the goals I have set for Goofy. That is a good feeling.
I can't change the things that brought me to this place of starting over, but I can change where I go from here. I will continue to work on my Nutrition. Like I said, it has proven to be my biggest challenge this week. I am excited to see what the next few weeks bring. My next "big" goal is to fit back into my old jeans by the end of November. It may not be a marathon, but it may end up being a bigger fight for the end! I am not looking for miracles and easy outs. I am building a sustainable lifestyle to carry me through. I know that I got results before, but it obviously wasn't something I could sustain. As Kyra said to me, "obviously, your way isn't working." And its not. I am going to fight to remain in that 2% that lost their weight and kept it off. And if I learned ANYTHING from AFM, its that I am a Fighter.
 I will leave you with some pictures of the leaves.
Until Next Time, Run On and Be Happy!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Air Force Marathon

There are things that we just don't ever see ourselves doing. It isn't because we don't have the ability or the ambition, its just so out of the realm of regular, every day thinking that you just don't see it. It is something that is so out of your 'normal' concept of you, that it doesn't even appear on your radar. That was what the marathon was for me, once upon a time. Then, one day, it became a blip on my radar. A way off goal that maybe, possibly some day I might attempt to think about doing. One day I mentioned to a fellow Sparker, someone that I admire and respect greatly, (thanks, John) that I was thinking about training for a Full. He told me to do it. He told me that he had no doubt that I could do it. Still I held my thoughts in the back of my head. Not telling anyone, not even my Running Partner, that I was have inklings of running a Full. I imagine Laurie probably already had her own suspicions about my intentions, but it wasn't until she had decided that she was going to start training for her own first Full, do I reveal that I was thinking about doing a Full, too. We could train together.  It seemed like a natural evolution. It was time. Time to take the next step.  I thought I would make the Quad Cities Marathon my first. It was a week after Air Force which Laurie was already registered for as a Marathon runner. I was registered for the Half and would be running it with Matthew. After a long talk with Matthew, I, for sure, decided that I would begin training. It is a decision that we both had to be 100% part of because it would be a time commitment for him as well. Still, something was off. Something just didn't FEEL right. I realized that after all of this time, I couldn't possibly do my first Marathon without Laurie, and conversely, it seemed wrong to let her do her first without me. Another discussion with Matthew later, I was upgrading my Half registration to a Full. Suddenly, what started out as a barely visible blip on my radar had become a space station!

Several months and LOTS of training miles later, the time had come for the big day. I was feeling so good. My training runs had gone so well, despite the intense heat of the summer. The added stress of the longer miles hadn't seemed to effect my body as I had feared. I felt strong. I felt ready. Tapering sucked. I had full blown taper madness, doubting my abilities, my readiness. Then came the day I feared more than anything. The night my 4 year old woke up in the middle of the night. The night Matthew came in and woke me up because he doesn't deal with puke. Yep. Hayden had the stomach flu. I couldn't NOT take care of the little guy. The whole time I was on my hands and knees scrubbing what I assumed used to be chili out of his carpet, all I could think about was the following weekend. This was my weekend. I had dedicated that last 5 months of my life to this one day, and the stomach flu was in my own house. A couple days later, Matthew got it. It seemed to move through you fast, but I suppose when all liquids in your body escapes out both ends it will move quickly. A day later, I had it. Yep. 3 1/2 days before my marathon and I cant keep solid foods in my body and I am losing fluids faster than I could replace them. We were leaving for Ohio on Friday. Thursday I sat at my desk at work trying to drink as much fluid as I could, just praying that it would pass as quickly. It did, but I was worse for the wear. I had trouble keeping solid, quality food in my stomach, even though I knew that the food I ate that week would be imperative come Saturday. I did my best. Friday I was feeling better. I ate what I could, but I knew I was still dehydrated and underfed. A whole day of driving did little to help, but I did sleep most of thr 8 hour drive. So at least I was well resteed. Nothing, NOTHING, was going to stand in my way.

Saturday I was anxious. I felt good, not great, but good. My legs felt good. We met up with a bunch of Sparkers, took pictures, tried to stay warm. I wish I could tell you what we talked about but I honestly don't remember. Actually, there are large parts that are a complete blur. Soon we were standing at the Start line, watching the fly over... The big show had started. Catherine, Cindy and Wendy rounded out our usual twosome and I was happy for the distraction. The first half went very quickly and I was feeling really good. I was in my zone. Happy running and listening to the girls talk. I don't like to talk that much when I run (That's what I have Laurie for!!!), but I liked listening to the conversation. Then around mile 16 something started to happen. Something not good.

It was taking more focus than it should have to keep my rhythm. Something was off. Mile 18 seemed to last an eternity. No, this was NOT happening! I wasn't going to stop. I was going to fight through this. You know, I have never hit a wall before that point. I knew that's what it was. This was NOT how I had pictured my first Marathon. This is NOT how my training runs had gone. We spent, what felt like forever, running an airfield whichmeant no shade and the temps were raising. By Mile 20 I was done. I had nothing left. Well, I shouldn't say nothing because I kept going. The lack of food and fluids and fuel... I didn't know how I could go on except to fight. I had to walk it. I don't even know how far we ended up walking at the end. I wanted to tell them to go on without me. I knew they wouldn't leave me behind. I kept telling myself "If you sit down, they have to come get you. You could just quit, but you aren't going to. You aren't going to quit." And I just repeated that over and over and over again.

Matthew met us at the last half mile or so. I don't know if I had ever been so happy to see someone in all my life. I needed him. He brought me in to the finish. He got me to run into the finish. I finished. I did NOT quit. And while it may not have been the way I had pictured it in my head, it was my first Marathon and I finished it. When I was getting my post race massage, the massage therapist was actually very worried about me because she said my muscles when 'rebelling.' She said I had lost too many electrolytes and I was shivering uncontrollably on the table. Stupid stomach flu. I was probably low to begin with because I had 2 cups of Gatorade at every water stop. They made me drink an entire bottle before they allowed me to go to the medical tent to hitch a ride back to our car. I was a bit of a mess.

While there are so many things I wish had gone differently, there were so many more wonderful things that I got from this race. The friendship and the support that I got from Laurie, Catherine, Cindy and Wendy...I will NEVER forget that feeling. I laughed and smiled my way through most of those 26.2 miles. It was really just the last 6.2 that were the hardest. I know that I was putting this shame and guilt on  myself for feeling like I was holding everyone back, but I know that was just in my own head. I know they don't feel that way. Wishes and regrets aren't going to change the outcome, but I don't know that I would want to change it. I took away a lot more than a medal from this race.  I am stronger than I ever thought. There is a time in my life when I would have decided going on would have just been too hard, so I would have quit. I didn't. I fought. I fought harder for that finish than I have ever fought before.

I was so emotional when I crossed that finish line, mainly, because I didn't quit. I didn't stop until that medal was around my neck. I did what I said I was going to do. I met my goal. It wasn't ideal, but I did it.

That is how I know the next one, yes there WILL be another one, will be everything I expect it to be, all the while knowing that you can't expect anything because anything can happen, because I know I will fight for it. I will fight. I will fight to get myself back into shape. I am fighting now because I have gained a faith in myself that I have never had before. Never. I set out to do something that, once upon a time, would have been next to impossible to do, and I did it. It wasn't pretty, but looking back now I realize that it didn't have to be. Not this time. I just needed to do it. I needed to find out what I was made of... deep down inside. 

I am a fighter. I am strong. I'm not that person I used to be. I need to focus on the person I am now. I am not 300 pounds anymore. I not lazy and inactive. I don't sit and eat pints of ice cream at a time. I'm not that person anymore. I am a freaking Marathoner. NOTHING can take that away from me. I can set new goals. I can work to improve my time and my performance, but at the end of the day I am a Marathoner. Do I want that magical run when all the pieces fall perfectly into place? Yes. Do I want my storybook race ending? Yes. Do those desires diminish what I accomplished? Not in the least. If I didn't have the constant desire to outdo myself, then I might as well sit down with that ice cream because that means that I have given up on myself, and that is NOT going to happen!!

Until Next time, My Friends, Run On and Be Happy!