Monday, February 10, 2014

Bruno Mars' Lazy Song Is Better Than Mine

Weeks 45-55… umm…  well, the time went by so technically I can say complete, right?  Whoo-hoo?  

So clearly I've been gone for a while.  Again.  It's not really that I've had nothing to say, it's just that none of it has been good, inspiring, and/or humorous.  The truth is I fell off the healthy lifestyle wagon in a big way.  It's taken me a while to figure out exactly what to say here now that I've gotten back on.  I hate reading these kinds of posts so it was hard to contemplate writing one.  I could offer you a lot of excuses (new job!  new nephew!  holidays!  abducted by aliens!  too many compelling made for TV movies!  worldwide salad shortage!  held captive by killer rabbits!) but the truth is the same as it always is.  I'm lazy and when I don't manage my laziness in the right way it has consequences.  

The first way I didn't manage my laziness in the right way is that I became Old Mother Hubbard incarnate.

This is my refrigerator after I cleaned out everything that was moldy or expired.  As you can see, I had beer, cheese and chocolate sauce left over.  Much as I love me some beer-cheese soup, this refrigerator does not exactly support a healthy lifestyle.  Trust me when I say the cupboards and the freezer did not fare much better.  Not having enough readily prepared food is always my downfall.  I do occasionally enjoy cooking when I have the time but most days I'm unwilling to spend more than 10 minutes putting together a meal.  Any longer than that and I'm looking for the nearest place that has a drive through.  This is why the people at Taco Bell and I are such good friends, not because I'm such a huge fan of the chicken quesadilla (although seriously?  yum!) but because I can get it in ten minutes or less.  This is why salads and I are usually such good friends.  As it happens, I genuinely like salads, and with a little bit of advance planning I can make one in ten minutes or less.  In the past I've been (mostly, with only occasional tears) successful at spending an hour or two after I go grocery shopping slicing and dicing my fruits and veggies to make this possible but that has fallen by the wayside since December.  Ditto the frozen marinated chicken I used to make, handy for the <10 minute salad and also great for packing lunches and dinners for work.  As soon as my refrigerator was empty I slipped back into my old habits of picking something up on my way home from work and buying food in the cafeteria.  I'm not going to lie, it's easier to eat that way.  All that's required of me is to drive past a window or wait in line, hand over some money and presto!  Instant dinner.  It's easier but it's not exactly sustainable in a life that doesn't include a myocardial infarction before I turn 50.  In the interest of retaining all my functioning heart muscle for as long as possible, I spent my Saturday (and $380.11 - seriously, don't ever let your cabinets get so empty you have to start from scratch) doing this:

And this:

Astute readers will note that the only form of food in my refrigerator that I can risk putting into drawers is the cheese.  If fruits and veggies are not immediately visible and pre-cut I will let them decay into unidentifiable mush in the crisper and head immediately to Burger King.  But I'm pretty sure I would lead a dogsled expedition to Antarctica if that were the only way to get cheese for my salad.  It's all about having the proper motivation, right?

Refusal to participate in food prep is only one way in which I got lazy.  The second way I let laziness take over my life was getting off my marathon training program.  It started innocently enough with a combination of bad weather and my nephew being born that kept me out of the gym for a week.  (Did I mention I have a nephew now?  Because I do.  And he's the cutest thing ever, being an aunty is awesome and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it.  Go right out and encourage your siblings to procreate, I'll wait.  It's especially fun if you're like me and have a penchant for buying baby clothes.  They're so cute!  And matchy!  And nothing I buy him will ever make him look fat.  Way more fun than buying clothes for adults.  But I digress.  Again.  Should I need to refer to him here again he will be known as Little Man.)  I could blame the rest on weather, and work, and being trapped in my house by a sadistic torturer who forced me to watch Supernatural on Netflix, and the butterfly effect and blah, blah, blah, but that would be a lie.  Truthfully I am lazy and it's a lot easier not to go to the gym.  I wasn't as bad with this as I was with the diet, but still nowhere near as good as I've been in the past, and it shows.  I had to take a walk break during a 2 mile run last week for the first time in a very long time.  Initially I felt bad about that but then I remembered that when I started this I was walking ten minutes at a time.  I can't let myself feel too badly about stopping to walk for a minute while running at a 12:00 pace, can I?  I'm still in a much better place than I was before, but it's scary to think how quickly I could get back there again.  

The third way I didn't manage my laziness well is that I stopped tracking what I was eating.  At some point I became a person who thought I didn't need to track anymore.  I've always been a creature of habit (read: I eat the same thing every day.  This actually has very little to do with my willingness to eat a variety of foods and more to do with my aforementioned laziness.  I'm actually quite an adventurous eater, provided that someone else is preparing it for me.) and I found myself tracking the same meals day in and day out.  So I stopped, because I "didn't need to" anymore.  I could keep track of it in my head, natch.  Then, well, see above re: Old Mother Hubbard and Taco Bell.

The fourth way I didn't manage my laziness well is that I stopped going to Weight Watchers meetings.  This was not something I intended to do, meeting are the thing that works the best to keep me accountable.  Some people find WW works better for them online but I have found that the meetings are very helpful for me.  Something about having to physically leave my house and stand on a scale in front of the receptionist makes it much more real for me.  When I have a bad week going to the meetings reminds me why I am doing this in the first place.  Unfortunately, to quote John Lennon (badly), life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  I missed several meetings due to work, car, and cat issues.  By the time I got around to going back, I'd already slipped into Old Mother Hubbard/Taco Bell territory and the news on the scale was not good.  To be clear, I didn't expect the news on the scale to to be good - you read the bits about the takeout and the less gym time and the not tracking right?  It doesn't matter how good your diet plan is, if you don't follow it, it can't work for you.  My biggest pet peeve in the weight loss community are the people who "can't figure out" why they can't lose weight when they don't track, don't exercise and generally don't follow whatever weight loss plan they've chosen.  My point is, I knew it was going to be bad news, but I really didn't want to go to a meeting, face down the receptionist and find out exactly how bad, you know?  I succumbed to thinking "I'll be good this week, if I don't weigh in until next week it'll be better".  

The fifth way I didn't manage my laziness well is that I stopped blogging.  Sharing my story here is the second way I keep myself accountable.  My thanks to the many of you who asked about why I had stopped updating, I've never been anonymous in the way that a lot of weight loss bloggers are.  The majority of my readers are people I know in real life and I appreciate the folks who took the time to ask.  The truth is not that I'm ashamed to share any of this with you because I'm not.  Lots of people stumble and have setbacks and I'm willing to see this as a bump in the road on my journey.  I take responsibility for my mistakes, forgive myself, and move forward.  This blog post was a long time coming because I had a really hard time trying to decide how to say "oops, I did it again" and still make it interesting to read.  Perhaps I should have just posted a link to Britney Spears and left it at that.  These are my least favorite blog posts to read because they're usually boring and full of excuses.  I can't do much about the boring part, but I think I can safely say there are no excuses.  Only the consequences of my laziness.

Speaking of consequences, let's look at this by the numbers.  It's been ten weeks since I last posted here and in that time I've attended a grand total of four Weight Watchers meetings.  I've gained 22.6 pounds, putting me back up at 302.4 pounds.  In addition to creeping back up above 300 pounds, my BMI is now 41 and I am morbidly obese again.  I've gone from 95.8 pounds lost to just 73.2, which means I've lost this:

My 75 pound charm.  Ouch.  It hurt taking it off but I don't believe in carrying WW bling I haven't earned.

Doesn't my keychain look lonely without it?  With a little luck, I'll have earned it back in a week or two, for now it's tucked away where I won't lose it.  

As I said earlier, I'm not wasting time beating myself up over this, it isn't worth it.  I made mistakes, I forgive myself, and I'm moving forward.  It does serve as a sobering reminder of how quickly I could get back up to 375 pounds if I let myself.  I knew going into this that I was going to have to make a permanent change.  I was going to have to accept tracking my food intake as a permanent part of my life.  My unwillingness to do this is the major reason I hadn't made any serious weight loss attempts prior to this.  I knew I was going to have to go to meetings.  I was going to have to make exercise a permanent part of my day.  When I was doing those things, I had amazing success and as soon as I stopped my health took a backslide.  My clothes don't fit anymore.  I donated all the clothes I had that got too big and I'm thankful I did because not being able to zip my pants serves as a hard and fast reminder that things are getting out of hand.  I can't run as far as I could before without taking a break.  It's no ten minute walk, but it could be again if I don't make a change.  I made mistakes, I forgive myself, and I'm moving forward.  

This experience has also highlighted one thing about my healthier lifestyle choices that I'm not thrilled with.  Even at 375 pounds, the scale has never made me apprehensive before.  I've never actively wanted to avoid weighing in, even when I had a bad week.  Granted this was more like a bad two months, but I dislike feeling that the number on the scale has any effect on my self-worth.  Because it doesn't.  I am not a number.  I am not a clothes size.  I am the same person now that I was 13 months ago when I started Weight Watchers.  I will be the same person when I make it to my goal weight, just a little bit smaller, capable of running 26.2 miles and hopefully able to make it into my 40's free of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  I've never been defined by what I see in the mirror and I refuse to start now. 

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:
My new mandolin slicer.  I have no idea how I lived without this before.  It cut my fruit and veggie slicing time in half!  This means I will spend 50% less time in tears when contemplating doing my weekly shopping.  A word of warning, the safety devices are there for a reason.  Use them incorrectly and this will happen to you too:

What's On Tap For This Week:  much like Inigo Montoya, I am going back to the beginning.  (I am also not left-handed).
Sunday: off
Monday: 3 mile run
Tuesday:  20 minute Fartlek
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 2 mile run
Friday:  off
Saturday:  3 mile run

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Keeping My Word

Week 44 Complete!  Whoo-hoo!

I don't have much to say this week, but in the interest of keeping my promise not to skip any more weekly updates, here I am!  Down 0.6 pounds this week, which is a step in the right direction, if not a particularly large one.  I almost missed the opportunity to report this to you because I slept through my weight watchers meeting this week.  I got too engrossed in reading the new Jim Henson biography (definitely this week's Best Non-Running Related Discovery), fell asleep reading until 2am and forgot to set my alarm for Saturday morning.  Oops.  At least I missed it doing something I really enjoyed.  

Growing up, I loved Jim Henson.  I was raised on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show.  Fraggle Rock was the only show my sister and I could agree on when we watched TV together.  He was the first person I ever really connected with on an artistic level and he died young and tragically.  He said "When done right, it's possible to be silly and subversive at the same time" and he was right.  People will listen to serious opinions if they are expressed with a sense of humor.  He also understood the fundamental truth that explosions make everything funnier (see also: Wyle E. Coyote).  If Joss Whedon is the guy I want to have a beer with, Jim Henson is the guy I want entertaining my grandchildren.  If you are at all a fan of the Muppets I highly recommend this book.  It's fascinating to learn what went into developing some of the world's most beloved characters.  Did you know Kermit didn't start out as a frog?  He was made out of Jim Henson's mother's blue felt coat and ping pong balls.  Both he and Miss Piggy were were originally developed as sort of background Muppets for other characters.  Miss Piggy was voiced by Richard Hunt before eventually becoming Frank Oz's signature character.  The first karate chop she ever gave Kermit was an ad-lib and from that ad-lib one of the world's greatest one-sided interspecies love affairs was born.  (Frank Oz re: the aforementioned love affair "She loves the frog - my God, how she covets that little green body! - but the frog doesn't love her.")  Warning: if you are anything like me when you read this you may find yourself yelling "Bork, Bork, Bork!" and/or humming the Fraggle Rock theme song at inopportune times.  I'm still reading through the mid '70's and as such haven't gotten to my favorite Muppet production of all time, John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together yet.  I won't be responsible for my actions if any light is shed on any of John Denver's truly spectacular fashion choices or if I find out who all the children in the audience are.  Full disclosure: the fact that this particular Christmas special doesn't exist on DVD is the main reason why I still have a VCR.  I dust it off once a year to watch the same cruddy VHS copy my parents taped off the Disney Channel sometime in the mid 80's.  Every year I have a brief moment of sheer panic believing that either the tape or the machine will have finally crumbled into dust.  I tried recording my VHS to DVD once and unfortunately the quality was so terrible I couldn't tell where John Denver's stylin' blonde bowl cut ended and Miss Piggy's coiffed blonde 'do began.  (Side note:  anybody who can locate me a good quality DVD or blu ray version will win the title of Most Awesome Person I Know as well as making it the Best Christmas Ever.)  But I digress.  Just read the book.  You won't regret it.  

What's On Tap For This Week:
Sunday: off
Monday:  30 minute walk
Tuesday:  3 mile run
Wednesday: 20 minute Fartlek
Thursday: 3 mile run
Friday:  off
Saturday: 4 mile run

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why I Don't Write For Zagats

Week 43 Complete!  Whoo-hoo!

Up 1 pound this week.  I had a hard time fitting in my runs this week and I think it shows.  I also had a pretty big loss last week so I'm not surprised that this week was a bit disappointing.  Better than a 4.4 pound gain though so I'll take it!

The assignment at last week's WW meeting was to pick a meal ahead of time and plan to write a review of it.  The goal was to put your fork down and sip water between bites, pay attention to your surroundings and ambiance and hopefully then eat the meal slower and enjoy it more.  I wondered how this would work out, as my meals at work are often eaten on the go.  Still, never let it be said that I don't follow directions.  I picked a day ahead of time, packed my lunch and resolved to keep mental notes and write about it here.  Here's what happened.  Names and descriptions have been changed to protect the innocent :)

3 pm:  God, I'm starving.  Better see if I can grab a few bites while I'm doing paperwork.  I walk to the refrigerator and remove the cute lunch bag that contains my salad, greek yogurt and apple.  The icepack has melted slightly from this morning so the bag is a little soggy but the tupperware containing my salad appears unscathed.  I bring it over to the little alcove with the computers and take the lid off the salad.  It looks delicious, all green lettuce and crisp vegetables.  The red peppers and yellow cheddar cheese add a splash of color.  The wasabi peas I've added promise to give it a little kick.  In the background I hear the hustle and bustle of patients, nurses and other hospital staff going about their days.  There is a baby crying somewhere.  Oh crap, I need water for this, right?  I go and fill my water bottle, munching on the apple on the way.  Both the water and the apple are crisp, cool, and delicious.  

3:05 pm:  I pour my ranch dressing and toss the salad.  My mouth is watering.  I fork up my first bite.  Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!  My patient is alarming because he's managed to disconnect a piece of equipment.  I run over to the room to find the nurse has already reconnected him and silenced the alarm.  Phew.  I return to my lunch and eat my first bite.  It's delicious, the veggies are cool and crisp and the wasabi peas add just the right amount of spice.  The blue cheese adds its distinctive flavor and compliments the ranch dressing and wasabi nicely.  

3:10 pm:  I've gotten to my second bite when the interpreter scheduled for 3:30 shows up early.  "I'm so sorry doctor but I have another patient to see at 3:30, is it OK if we see your patient early?"  No problem, be right there.  One more bite of apple.  Oh wait, water between bites.  I take a hasty sip of water before running to meet the interpreter.

3:35 pm:  Crap, I really should have put that back in the refrigerator.  The apple is slightly brown, the lettuce wilted and the wasabi has started to disintegrate off of the peas and mix with the ranch dressing.  I get two more bites before I remember the water.  If I take two sips that counts right?  Already I'm doing this wrong.  Also it's been 35 minutes and I've taken four bites of salad and half an apple.  I congratulate myself for achieving the objective of making the meal last longer.  I'm just going about it in a creative fashion, right?  Who needs water anyway?  I laugh.  Of course I would have picked today to do this.  On the bright side, this is going to be really funny in Monday's blog post.  I shovel in bites of salad one after another while answering a question from one of the residents.  

3:47 pm:  BEEP!  BEEP!  BEEP!  My pager goes off.  It's the ER who wants to talk about admitting a patient.  

3:56 pm:  One more bite of salad.  Sip of water.  BEEP!  BEEP!  BEEP!  Could I come take a look at a patient?  Sure, be right there.  

6pm:  I'm getting ready to go home when I remember the remains of my lunch.  What's left of the salad is now completely rancid.  The half an apple is totally brown.  I've completely forgotten about the yogurt which has now been sitting out unrefrigerated for three hours.  I throw the whole mess out, laugh, and resolve to do better tomorrow…

Lest you think I spend every day running around like a crazy person, most days I do actually have time to eat.  Of course the one day I'm supposed to be writing a food review turns out to be the busiest day I've had in a while.  If I were really writing a restaurant review I would be forced to give one star!  At least it was entertaining…

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:  Supernatural.  Apparently even with cable I can't stay away from reruns of old TV shows about supernatural phenomena.  It lacks the strong female lead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but the relationship between the two brothers is well written.  And there are lots of abs.  And biceps.  And hot fathers.  So, you know, I'm kinda good without Sarah Michelle Gellar...  

What's On Tap For This Week:
Sunday:  off 
Monday: 3 mile run
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 20 minute Fartlek
Thursday:  2 mile run
Friday: off
Saturday:  3 mile run

Wish me luck, and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back On Track!

Week 42 Complete!  Whoo-hoo!

I'm happy to say this week was much better than last week.  Down 6.4 which brings me to a total of 95.8 pounds lost.  Just 2 pounds away from my next Pi Hard check in, hopefully I will have some new pictures next week!  I am looking forward to that because I have some really cool new goal clothes that came from Italy that I can't wait to share with you all!  In other clothing news, my sister (and fashion consultant - although she would be the first to tell you she disavows all knowledge of the Pi Hard T-shirt) and I went shopping for new clothes last weekend which was a lot of fun.  Also a lot of necessary  because I was down to only three pairs of pants that fit (and really you can only wear pinstriped pants so many times before someone starts to notice).  I am happy to say that for the first time since 2003 I bought clothes in a department store.  Not only that, I didn't have to buy them in the biggest size in the store!

I know that doesn't sound like much to most of you.  It's hard to explain why diversity in shopping is such a big thing to me.  No matter what I say it's going to sound like I haven't been happy with the way I've looked or dressed in the last ten years, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I meant it when I said I thought all of those dresses were beautiful, and that I felt beautiful in them.  I donated the blue dress to Goodwill last week and it made me sad because it was such a pretty color and I really wanted to wear it again.  I actually had Mom take it in for me so I could wear it one more time earlier this summer.  Still, the fact remains that the bigger I got the more effort I had to put into finding my pretty things.  Shopping for dresses in particular was a several day affair often involving more than one specialty shop, sometimes in more than one state.  I was my sister's maid of honor and the dress she wanted us to wear didn't come in my size.  It took several weeks (including a visit to a dressmaker who measured me and said "Wow.  Where the heck do you buy clothes?") to find the beautiful brown dress you see in the pictures.  Everyday clothes were a bit easier but I was still limited to three stores and truthfully I only really like one of them.  I've bought some lovely pieces at Lane Bryant over the years but their clothes are always the same.  For better or worse, my look has remained essentially unchanged since I've been limited to shopping in specialty stores.  In addition there are certain styles that don't look right on certain body types.  Some things are best displayed on a larger body, and some look best on a smaller one.  Some things simply aren't made in larger sizes for whatever reason (knee high boots, I'm talking to you.  What's up with that?)  It's fun to finally have the opportunity to change things up a bit.  I like shopping at Lane Bryant because I want to, not because I have to, you know?

Running went much better this week too.  Due to daylight savings time I'm back to running at BO Central because it's too dark to run outside.  (Side note: what is the point of daylight savings time anyway?  How much daylight are you saving when it gets dark at 4:30pm?)  The one advantage to running at the gym (yes, there is one good thing about the gym.  But only one.  I refuse to concede anything further) is that I get to set a consistent running speed.  This is something I've never been good at, when I run outside my speed varies widely.  I'd like to be a little bit faster (look out, male septuagenarians, I'm coming for you next!) and I think being a more consistent runner will help with this.  This week I successfully maintained a 12:00 per mile pace on all three of my runs.  I'm not sure how long I can stay that fast but take that, Weight Watchers!  I'm a runner!  At least for this week.  I will take my reward in the form of bonbons and foot massages, thank you.  

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:  T-Rex Trying.  Thanks to my sister for the recommendation :)

What's On Tap For This Week:
Sunday: off
Monday:  3 mile run
Tuesday:  off
Wednesday: 20 minute Fartlek
Thursday:  2 mile run
Friday:  off
Saturday:  3 mile run

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The World I Long To See

Weeks 40 and 41 Complete! Whoo-hoo!

I have a confession to make.  I'm pretty sure iTunes can read my thoughts.  There, I said it.  Perhaps I should explain.  Last week was not a good week, healthy lifestyle-wise.  I let all my good new habits go directly out the window.  I didn't track.  I didn't run.  And it showed on the scale with a whopping 4.4 pound gain.  Truly, an amazing feat of fatness to achieve that much in a week, isn't it?  (It's a Cheeto!  It's a Barcalounger!  It's Super Obese!)  It isn't just last week though.  Looking back over the past month, those 4 pounds have come and gone a couple of times.  I've been hovering between 90 and 94 pounds lost but really haven't made much forward progress.  100 pounds looms like a giant wall I can't seem to climb over.  (Climbing?  Not my thing.  Combine my distinct lack of upper body strength with my ingrained fear of falling and walls daunt me.  I totally rock at kicking things though.)  I could offer you a lot of explanations, chiefly that I started a new job about a month ago after being between jobs since June, but honestly that's a bullshit excuse.  The truth is I'm lazy and it's easier to stop at Taco Bell on the way home than it is to cook.  It's easier to nap on the couch in front of the TV than it is to go running.  It's easier to buy lunch in the cafeteria than it is to pack my own.  It's easier to ignore all that Halloween candy I just ate than to write it all down and be accountable.  It's scary how much easier it is to live an unhealthy life.  The more I do it, the easier it gets.  Assuming I kept going at a 4 pound per week rate, I would gain back all 89.4 pounds that it's taken me 41 weeks to lose in just 22 weeks.  It amazes me that it could all come back so fast after so much work.  

Astute readers are wondering but what does this have to do with iTunes reading her thoughts?  They are probably also wondering should I be worried that she thinks her iPhone is talking to her?  Believe me, I've wondered the same thing.  I'm comforted by the knowledge that Siri is talking to you too and if it turns out she's a hallucination we're all going to end up in the loony bin together.  But I digress.  I went to my WW meeting completely unmotivated to get back on the healthy bandwagon.  I was entirely unsurprised by my weight gain but also entirely uninterested in actually doing anything about it.  Doing something about it meant committing to hard work and frankly I'd been enjoying my easier life.  I walked to my car musing about whether science will ever develop a pill that makes you skinny (answer: no.  At least not without killing you to get there) got in and plugged in my iPhone.  It randomly shuffled to the song Do You Hear The People Sing? from Les Miserables and I had an epiphany listening to the words.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!

Lest you think I've completely lost it, rest assured I am completely aware of how cheesy it sounds to say I had an epiphany listening to the lyrics to a Broadway musical about a failed Parisian uprising.  (At least iTunes had the grace to select the one song from that show that isn't about privationlost hopedeath, or survivor's guilt.  Believe me it could have been much, much worse).  I'm also not egotistical enough to imagine that my first world obesity is in any way comparable to the loss of basic human rights suffered by many people less fortunate than me.  But there is a world out there I've never seen.  I've never been thin.  I've never been healthy.  The world looks at fat people differently and I'm dying to know what it will be like when my weight isn't the first thing people notice about me.  In the show the barricades serve as cover for the revolutionaries to hide behind during the uprising but also effectively keep them trapped in their small neighborhood and isolated from the rest of the city.  The extra 110.6 pounds I'm still carrying around is my barricade.  It's isolating but it also offers me protection.  It's easy to hide behind (there's that word again.  Easy.)  I'm used to being the girl everyone notices but no one sees.  It's a little scary to think about leaving my comfort zone behind.  I didn't have to do that to lose the first 100 pounds (89 pounds in and I'm still just a fat girl) but once I start on the second half of this journey I'm well on my way to not being a fat girl anymore.  I'm not sure I know how to be a thin girl but I'd sure like to find out.  I'm the only one who can kick the barricade down and escape.  And it has to be kicked down.  It's not enough just to climb over it because if it stays up it will be too easy for me to end up behind it again.  I want that baby obliterated by the sole of my booted foot*.  If it stays up it's nobody's fault but my own, and I'm not going to let that happen.  Instead, I choose to join in the fight that will give me the right to be free.  

(* I can kick it with my booted foot because I have boots!  Check it:

I've always wanted knee high boots and have never been able to buy a pair because they never fit over my calves.  A few days ago I bought some!  My boots are different from Nancy's though.  Mine are made for kicking over barricades.)

This isn't the first time iTunes has given me direction.  I'm sure it probably has more to do with the fact that I tend to analyze song lyrics the way my English major friends analyze poetry combined with the fact that songs on my personal playlists are likely to be songs that mean something to me than any particular clairvoyance on the part of my iPhone, but still.  I'm fascinated by song lyrics.  I always want to know what the backstory is.  Who or what was the artist thinking about when he/she was writing them?  Is what I hear in the song what they were actually intending to say?  Is You're So Vain really about Mick Jagger?  Did Alanis Morrissette really do that with Dave Coulier in a movie theater?  What did Billie Joe McAllister throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?  And what exactly are colitas and why do they smell warm?  The possibilities are endless.  Given that tendency it's not surprising that I'd be suggestible to whatever comes up on random shuffle.  But I maintain that iTunes told me what to say to my Grandpa before he died.  iTunes told me I wanted to change my whole career halfway through.  iTunes told me what to say to random internet people picking on me.  iTunes told me that joining weight watchers wouldn't change who I am.  In truth, of course, I already knew all of these things.  Still it's nice to occasionally get a little musical kick in the ass to nudge me along the right path.

Along with my boots, I also bought new running clothes (hello, fitting into technical fabric, where have you been all my life?) after my epiphany.  Training for Providence starts this week!  The first song shuffling my running playlist coughed up?  Ready to Run, of course. 

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:  The kids of Children's Hospital at Dartmouth singing Katie Perry's Roar.  I'm a total sucker for these things.  Point of maximum cuteness at about 0:57.

What's On Tap For This Week:  Marathon training!!  26.2 here I come!
Sunday: off
Monday: 2 mile run
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 2 mile run
Thursday: off
Friday: 2 mile run
Saturday: 30 minute walk

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, October 21, 2013

If You Give A Cat A Cookie...

Week 39 Complete!!  Whoo-hoo!

Up 1.8 pounds this week.  Actually over the last 2 weeks since I missed my weigh in last week in favor of running 13.1 miles.  This is not entirely unsurprising, despite the half marathon I started a new job last week and in so doing threw off my entire schedule of eating and exercising.  This week I am resolved to do better.  I couldn't possibly do worse as I did not go running at all and had a 48 hour period where I didn't eat anything that wasn't purchased in the cafeteria.  So, onward, upward, just hopefully not outward.

Surprisingly the 1.8 pounds is not my biggest problem this week.  My biggest problem is the rampant food stealing going on in my house.  I've written about my cat Gatsby and his narcissistic personality disorder here before.  He is firmly convinced that not only does the world revolve around him but also that everything in my house is his, up to and including anything I might be eating.  Initially I blamed Weight Watchers but in recent weeks the food thievery became progressively more daring, culminating in what I have now come to refer to as The Egg Sandwich Incident.  One morning I was eating my usual pre-distance run egg and english muffin when he jumped in my lap and started eating my egg sandwich out of my hand.  He attacked it with a starving desperation usually reserved for adorable street urchins in stories like Les Miserables or possibly the cast of America's Next Top Model when confronted with a rice cake.  A casual observer would have been forced to assume he'd been starved for weeks, as if the two dishes full of cat food in my kitchen had some sort of invisible force field around them and served to exist only as a cruel taunt.  Suffice it to say, he was hungry.  A week or so later I started to notice he was losing weight and then he began vomiting.  Two trips to the vet, a sedated blood draw (yes he tried to take a chunk out of the vet the first time she tried.  I am soooo a shoe in for this year's "most well-behaved pets" award, natch...) and $550 later I found out he's hyperthyroid.  It's a common enough problem in older cats that basically revs up their metabolism and makes them jittery, tachycardic and hungry all the time but they still lose weight.  Him going after my egg sandwich like a meth addict jonesing for a fix was because he was, well, jonesing for a fix.  

Fortunately this is a fairly easy fix, in the form of a daily medication called methimazole.  Of course I mean "easy" in the strictly medical sense in that the medication will fix the problem.  I certainly don't mean "easy" in the "give a 15 pound cat with an undiagnosed personality disorder a daily pill" sense.  This has been challenging, to say the least.  At first I had success with pill pockets, until The Slasher struck.  He earned this nickname (used only slightly less commonly than his other nickname, "Satan") from his habit of slashing open his cat food bags and helping himself.  Because the food in the bag is, like, way better than the food in the bowl, obviously.  He gorged himself on the pill pockets, quickly discerning that not all of them came with that bitter, pill flavored center and after that flatly refused to eat the ones with pills hidden in them.  Also ignominiously rejected were pills in cheese, turkey, granola bars, ice cream and blueberry muffins.  Then I tried force wherein, after chasing the same pill across the kitchen floor for the 137,456th time, I proved conclusively that the definition of insanity is indeed repeating the same action over and over again expecting different results.  Surprisingly he put up with this several times before attempting to lacerate my radial artery and make his escape under the bed.  The problem with pills by force is that I need a third hand.  I can scruff him or wrap him in a towel with one hand, use the other to force open his mouth but I am left without a hand to drop the pill in his throat with.  There are very few times in my life when I really regret being single, as it turns out attempting to force feed my cat pills is one of them.  Never fear, girl power prevailed and I've devised a system that consists of hiding the pill in ice cream on the tip of a plastic spoon, then scruffing him with one hand and forcing the spoon to the back of his throat with the other.  So far this seems to be working and has resulted in minimal bloodshed.  Apparently methimazole also comes in a liquid form that can be squirted in his ear, it's less consistently absorbed than the pills and thus harder to achieve normal thyroid levels.  The tradeoff to doing it this way would be more sedated blood draws because they would have to check his levels more frequently (and my vet has made it clear she will not be attempting to draw blood ever again without a hefty dose of ketamine first).  There is also a special diet, but my cats are used to having unlimited access to dry food and I wouldn't be able to feed the special food to the other cat (well I could but it would involve giving her daily supplements and this is cat who won't even eat cat treats).  So for now we continue with the pills.  God help me if my Aspie cat ever develops this problem, I'd never be able to catch her on a daily basis much less get her to take a pill or squirt anything in her ear!

Le sigh.  Assuming that Gatsby does not succeed in his quest to cause major arterial bleeding, hopefully next week I will have better news on the weight loss and running fronts.  In the meantime, enjoy the 

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:  Gravity, specifically in IMAX-3D.  Most films don't utilize IMAX or 3D correctly.  This one does.  Fair warning, the end is kinda cheesy, but the shots of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney drifting in space are truly terrifying.

What's On Tap For This Week:
Sunday: off
Monday: 45 minute run
Tuesday: 45 minute run
Wednesday: 45 minute run
Thursday: 45 minute run
Friday: off
Saturday: off

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Forget Bears, Apparently I Pee In The Woods

Week 38 Complete!!  Whoo-hoo!!

Well, I didn't do anything exciting this week.  That's all, see you next Monday!

OK I'm totally kidding.  I earned more bling this week!  Check it:

I finished a half marathon!  My official time was 3:17:54.  And I didn't get swept!  In fact, I came in 6521/6588, which means that there were 67 people who finished behind me.  I am also proud to say I came in ahead of the entire female age 75-79 division.  That's right, septuagenarian half marathon runners have nothing on me!  Here I am right before heading to the starting line.  (note:  I took the above photo of the medal but all further photo credits are either from R-dogg or Dad.  There were many things I wanted to take photos of along the way but as it turns out I'm not capable of pointing, clicking, running, and breathing at the same time.  Who knew?)

If I look a little rushed in this picture, it's because I was a little rushed.  Those who know me will know I am not known for being on time for things.  The race started at 8am.  At 7:30, I was in Bushnell Park but I had to use the bathroom.  One would think half an hour would be enough time to wait in the porta-potty line, but by 7:50 things were starting to get desperate.  The lady in front of me in line and I started scoping out alternative options, one thing lead to another, and that is how I came to pee in a little copse of trees in Bushnell Park.  I was far from the only one.  I never thought I would be one for public urination but apparently I will do anything given the right motivation.  After I finished I realized there was a cop standing about 500 feet away but fortunately he did not see any of us engaging in public indecency.  Suffice it to say I and about five other women made it to the starting line on time.

Waiting to start I met some lovely people who were physical therapy students at one of the local colleges (I'm sorry to say I don't remember which one!) who had put together a motivation team.  They  found out I was a first time runner and gave me a piece of the finish line to pin to my shirt as motivation, which was really cool.  They were scattered along the course cheering and after I finished one of them saw my pin and stopped me to offer some words of congratulations and encouragement.  I wish I remembered where they were from to give them credit, but it was really neat and I appreciated it!  Here I am crossing the starting line.

The starting gun went off, and then I realized that I could have waited for the porta-potty.  The marathon and half marathon started in the same place which meant that over 8,000 people had to get across the starting line.  I crossed at 8:13 am and there were still a ton of runners behind me.  In my excitement, I started Jillian when the gun went off, then paused her for 13 minutes until I got across the line.  This meant that from her perspective I had gone 0.4 miles in zero minutes and her pace calculations were off for the rest of the race.  I didn't realize I wasn't actually running an 11 minute mile until somewhere before the second mile marker, during the first mile I was kind of caught up in the spectacle of all the people cheering and ringing cowbells.  Way more fun than what usually happens when I run.  I should consider hiring people to stand along my route cheering and waving witty signs.  Anyway right around the second mile marker I finally looked around at my fellow runners and noticed that I was solidly amongst power walkers and the elderly.  Don't get me wrong, these are exactly the people I expected to be running with but it was then I got my first inkling that Jillian might be lying to me about my pace.  It didn't take long to figure out what had happened, and ultimately it didn't really matter.  I did run the first half of the race slightly faster than usual, I crossed the halfway point at almost exactly an hour and 30 minutes, which would have had me finishing in just under 3 hours.

I kept that pace up until somewhere around mile 10, which coincidentally is also where the race became less like fun and more like work.  I tried my best to psych my leg muscles into running faster but as it turns out they did not find the thought "there's only a 5K left!" to be as motivating as I intended it to be.  They were also unmoved by promises of Daniel Craig and Troy-era Brad Pitt awaiting them at the finish line, although I suspect they may have known I was lying about that.  Sadly, I watched the elderly lady runner in the pink T-shirt that said "Boo-yah!" on the back pull farther and farther away from me. Same with the husband and wife power walking team and mother/daughter joggers I had been with from the beginning.  This part of the race ran through Elizabeth Park, where the course wound around and back on itself a few times.  Consequently, running into the park you were running alongside people who were running out of the park.  I tried to convince the race volunteer who was directing people that it would be a lot faster if she let me skip over to the out side, but for whatever reason she just laughed at me.  Perhaps I should have tried to bribe her with Brad Pitt's biceps.  Suffice it to say that had the roses been in bloom and had I stopped to smell them, it's questionable whether or not I would have been able to start again.

I was surprised by the number of spectators the race drew.  I know I shouldn't have been, if one person came to watch each runner that would be well over 8,000 spectators just for the marathon events alone.  Lots of people who lived along the route had tailgating parties in their driveways.  It occurred to me that a race like this provides an excellent opportunity to do some people watching.  The runners themselves are creative costumers, if you thought puffy paint and glitter pens were only being used by sorority girls you'd be wrong!  Aside from the above-mentioned "Boo-yah!" T-shirt, my favorite was definitely the lady who had "If you can read this, I'm not last!" on the back of her shirt.  I also saw at least 2 Waldos and a few old men with T-shirts that said "Senior Feet Rule!"

The spectator signage was also a lot of fun.  I had a lot of favorites, including "Smile If You're Not Wearing Underwear" (side note: what sounds more uncomfortable, underwear-less running or naked bike riding?)  I also liked "Toenails Are Overrated!" but hands down my favorite was the guy who had the sign reading "Chuck Norris Never Ran A Half-Marathon".  (side note: if you haven't seen Chuck Norris facts go waste some time there immediately.  I'll wait.)  There were also tons of adorable children high-fiving all the runners.  One advantage to the fact that I will never be a seriously competitive runner is definitely that I will always be able to high five the children.  I don't think I would trade that even if I could have a 1:05:13 time like the guy who won.

Slowness notwithstanding, I finished!!  Here I am crossing the finish line:

And right after:

And after I got my bling!

It was an amazing experience!  I was truly touched by the number of people who not only came out to watch me run but who reached out to me in person, by text, on the blog and on Facebook to offer their support and encouragement.  Thank you all so, so much, I could not have done it without you!  I am so sorry I missed people who were cheering for me at the finish line (including Mom), honestly at that point I was just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other but next time I will remember to take my headphones out so I can hear people yelling at me!  I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again.  To that end, I will be signing up for the 2014 Providence marathon!  I want to run this marathon in particular because it's the one I originally targeted when I started this blog.  Running it before I turn 35 will really bring things full circle, no?  26.2 here I come!

On a more serious note, the time has come for me to say goodbye to an old friend.  Can you find what is the same between this picture of me in September 2012

and this one?

That's right, I'm wearing the same pants.  My favorite running pants have served me well over the last year.  They've earned a comfortable retirement, like a winning racehorse who gets to spend his declining years in a beautiful pasture.  And by that I mean they will be washed and lovingly folded before being placed in the back of my closet in the box of things I intend to make a quilt out of someday.  You know, assuming I ever learn to quilt.  Or sew at all.  Or thread a needle.  Anyway, it's a really nice box.  I'm celebrating successfully completing a half marathon by shopping for smaller pants! Assuming I continue in my current pattern I will soon discover some kind of awesome pants that make running a religious experience in some way that will cost me upwards of $75.  I've updated my shoes, bra and shirt and I've got some serious leads on more expensive socks, I worry that my thighs will feel unloved if I don't house them in some sort of technical fabric.  Runners, I am now accepting pants-related suggestions!

Best Non-Running Related Discovery This Week:  Cards Against Humanity.  So wrong, and yet so right.

What's On Tap For This Week:

I have 29 weeks until the Providence marathon.  The training program I have is a 26 week program.  I don't think I need to run each week twice anymore and I don't want to risk hurting myself by overtraining.  I plan to take the next three weeks a little easier to give my muscles a little break, to keep myself in the habit I will run for 45 minutes four times a week.  Marathon training will begin the first week in November!  My hope is that repeating the first half of the training program will help me to improve my speed a little.  You'll hear all about it here!

Sunday: off
Monday: 30 minute walk
Tuesday: 45 minute run
Wednesday: 45 minute run
Thursday: 45 minute run
Friday: off
Saturday: 45 minute run

Wish me luck and as always, if you find me collapsed in a heap on the side of the road, do the decent thing and at least offer me a ride home!