Monday, December 31, 2007

Here we go . . .

Most all of my favorite bloggers are doing posts about the end of 2007 and the rise of 2008. Last year I was wholly resistant to any sort of resolutions, I had a lifetime of failed ones behind me and it just seemed cruel to heap what was sure to be more failures upon my own head. Perhaps a committment to not setting myself up for failure WAS a victory of sorts for me. The endless cycle of failing to meet my own goals and then hating myself for it was crippling me. And it wasn't that I didn't know how to break my goals into baby steps, I did. But I would still talk myself into believing that they weren't important, that I didn't deserve them, and that none of it really mattered. And then the year would wear on and I'd internalize how worthless I was for abandoning goals which, objectively speaking, would have been good for me.

My resolutions were always centered on what I SHOULD be doing. Because I didn't think I could be happy until I was the person that I SHOULD be. A thin person. A fit person. An organized person who just straightens up and puts away and doesn't suffer from CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome - Someone who irons her clothes and NEVER NEVER fishes out something from the dirty clothes pile to wear if it doesn't smell. Someone who sends out Christmas cards and remembers birthdays with thoughtful homemade gifts. Someone who decorates appropriately and charmingly for each holiday. Someone who keeps frozen casseroles on hand for other people's tragedies. Someone who NEVER NEVER suggests a shorter book for her son to read at bedtime so that she can get back to the couch and mindless tv faster. Someone who reads for enlightenment and remembers to pray at the appointed times. Someone who doesn't go through the motions ever but always does things with intention and feeling and gratitude. Someone who loves her family unconditionally, even when they drive her mad, and shows her love and patience no matter what. Someone who doesn't get snarky and gossippy about other peoples misfortunes just because it makes herself feel a bit better knowing that other people struggle too. Because someone not at all like that doesn't DESERVE happiness. It's like in college when there was this REALLY REALLY cool class on the schedule and the description just embodied everything you were interested in and excited about but you couldn't take it without 15 horrible prerequisites or the special permission of the instructor.

So, here goes. I hereby give myself special permission. F*&K the prerequisites.

For 2008 I will laugh more. I will cry more. I'll wallow in chocolate fondue every now and then. I will try new restaurants. I will go dancing. I will make it to the finish line on March 30. I will make it to more movies and I will argue with my friends about them over coffee. I will buy myself some cute new clothes (actually, got a jump start on that yesterday). I will walk into more job interviews knowing that they'd be damn lucky to have me. I will plan my next tattoo just because I enjoy them. I will play more. I will focus on ridiculousness. I will not assume that my son's future is doomed and that I'm a terrible mother if he talks back to me. I will treat myself as I treat others. With tolerance and forgiveness. When I fail to do that, I will try again. I will live like the badass that I am.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Brought to you by the Number 5!

I didn't run yesterday (Friday). And I didn't get up in time to make it to the start of the 5 mile group run organized by bootcamp. It was too warm for my liking, about 98% humidity and I wasn't feeling it this morning, not even one little bit. But I just switched myself to "RUN" mode and did my best to alternatively ignore and silence the nagging little voice that kept telling me that maybe I'm just a 5K kinda girl and that a half marathon wouldn't be THAT cool to finish. I took a LONG time to get ready to head out the door which was my only concession to the voice's constant droning. I took my 4 mile route from home and modified it to make it a 5.3 mile loop. I finally got out the door and on my way. SLOWLY and HEAVILY and with a lot of unnecessary whining from that same voice through the first mile. It was not an easy run, but it was doable, into the second mile I realized that I would finish 5 miles and would walk the last .3 to cool down and stretch my legs. It would take me awhile but my conviction that it was definitely doable finally shut up the inner whiner.

Truth be told, even though I did do the Stone Mountain loop several weeks ago according to mapmyrun it was just about 4.8 so now I can honestly say, based on my frighteningly accurate new Garmin, that I have now really really run 5 miles. The last mile was a bit torturous but once you get past halfway it just seems tragic to stop so I just kept setting goals up ahead and then when I'd reach them I'd glance at the Garmin and see how much further I had to go. Just .8, just .45, just .3, just .22, just .15 etc. By the end I was checking when I passed every other mailbox. My breathing was fine, but my legs were DONE and I started walking as soon as that magic number 5 appeared.

The walking was DELICIOUS. My legs almost felt like they were purring as I slowly and languidly stretched them forward in long graceful strides. I think I'll try and build a little walking cool down into the end of my runs from now on.

I'm continuing to drop pounds, down by 12 now. Wearing a pair of denim crop pants that used to give me MAJOR muffin top but which now feel almost roomy. Take THAT Holiday Bulge. Really, I've been eating small quantities I guess, but I haven't been censoring what I eat. I've had my fair share of chocolate, I've been drinking moderately, I haven't been eating my veggies and I've been really having to work to get protein in with all the sugar and starch lying around the kitchen.
MMMMM, that reminds me, the pumpkin pie (with rum) is calling . . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Running Girl

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I made out really well, got my Garmin Forerunner 205, some really cool North Face Running tights, an REI running top, wicking underwear, reflective safety stuff and some really sweet inspirational stuff. Santa brought my son the battery powered four wheeler he wanted so its been fun to watch him tooling around the back yard with the dogs alternately being chased and chasing it.

Yesterday I had an appointment with a new therapist. As my Aunt pointed out I really can't blog so much about how depressed I am and not expect my family to worry. So I'm bolstering my support network, leaning on my friends and mentally preparing myself for what I expect to be a challenging 2008. My new therapist's office is 2.08 miles from my front door. As I sat at work midday berating myself for not getting up early and running that morning it suddenly dawned on me that I could go home early and run to my therapy appointment! This was nothing short of an earth shattering realization. Running for fitness was an insane idea when I first contemplated it. How crazy would it be to run somewhere as a mode of transportation???? To use my feet as the ancients did, simply to propel myself from one location to another???? HOW COOL!!!! It is unfortunately an impractical choice a lot of the time, after this week my therapy appointments will be right before or right after work. But since no one was in my office anyway I could leave early enough to go home and do it this time, so I did.

I put on ALL my new running gear (right down to the underwear). The REI top seemed deceptively light weight but it actually turned out to be way too warm and by the time I got to her office I was soaked in sweat. She wisely has a smooth all leather couch and I sat on the edge of my seat (and I was feeling pretty riled up and manic anyway so I was comfortable there). The Garmin worked almost flawlessly. At one point early on it was showing that I was running faster than a 10 minute per mile pace when I knew I wasn't but it quickly righted itself and the rest of the time the information seemed very consistent with what I felt my effort was. I averaged an 11:56 per mile pace there and a 12:52 per mile pace on the return trip. I felt way too slow and heavy for all my fancy gear. The running tights and shirt actually looked really cute when I modeled them in front of the mirror and I was excited to wear them, but when I was running I had moments of fear that passers by were looking at me and shaking their heads about the poor fool who fancied herself enough of an athlete to warrant a bunch of gear but who really didn't deserve it.

I know, I know. Not helpful thought patterns. I'm working on it. Promise.

I believe I have a group long run this Saturday, will probably do another short one tomorrow. My legs are telling me to take it easy so I'm trying to listen. Hoping to hit REI again today for the post Christmas sale!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


It's Christmas Crazy at my house, just jumping on for a minute for a couple of quick updates. Finished my THIRD bootcamp on Friday. I only shaved 5 seconds off my run this time but it was seriously humid and I was struggling with that. I've also felt like I've slacked a bit this past month, I've gone consistently but if I'm honest with myself (and I'm starting to realize, what is the point of not being?) I've been going through the motions too often. So I was seriously afraid I would have slipped backwards. I was relieved to know I could squeak by anyway but I need to work on the psychology of it all. Surviving bootcamp is no longer satisfying enough for its own sake.

Anyhoo: my results were as follows -
Timed mile: 8:26
Pushups in 1 minute: 35 regular, 16 bent knee
Situps in 1 minute: 41
Tricep Dips in 1 minute: 30 regular, 13 facilitated

Saturday I ran the Virginia Highlands Christmas 5K, my first race of any size. My Aunt and my Mom (both visiting from out of town) and my husband and my son all came, my largest audience ever. Thanks guys! The running part of the race was great. I knew it was a very hilly course but as per usual, when I mentally am prepared for that it was no problem. I ran the entire course and maintained pace with a group of people who certainly looked much fitter than I feel until into the third mile when they managed to pull away a bit. Hills do slow me down, but they no longer psych me out in any way and I felt strong throughout the course.

Now for the whining. The race had 1000 runners, the start was on a very narrow street with cars parked on it. The organizers allowed dogs and there were several (not tons, but enough to be a real presence). When we moved to the start area I kept trying to get to the back, knowing that I was a slower runner and not wanting to be in anyone's way. HA. Apparently not many people agreed with that tactic. I ended up about 2/3 back from the front and when the race started the road in front of me was constantly blocked by big groups of walkers. It was really aggravating, it was probably a full minute before I could take even a jogging step and get to the starting line and I think it took me a good quarter mile of fighting traffic (including dodging the aforementioned dogs who did not look like they really enjoyed getting tripped over and jumping off onto the sidewalk to get around clusters of walkers). So I believe my time was artificially slow and I forgot to bring my cheapie stop watch to time myself which was frustrating. Also there were only 4 porta potties at the start, too few for a crowd that size in my opinion. At the end they only had cups of water instead of bottles, the food was demolished by the time I reached it, and I couldn't find trash cans anywhere. And they passed out shirts at the start but didn't have a shirt drop, even though the course wasn't a loop. I had been dropped off and had no where to put my shirt and didn't relish carrying it the entire course. I already had a jacket I knew I'd ultimately tie around my waist. So I had to borrow a race volunteers phone to call Clint to swing by and pick it up. This just seems like a pain on a point to point course where they specifically recommend that you park at the finish. Had I come alone and had to walk back to my car and back to the start, especially if I had arrived at a reasonable time before the race started instead of WAY too early I would have been more than annoyed about it. Wah! Whining done.

The course was challenging but interesting. True, I live in Atlanta but I only know the commercial sections of Virginia Highlands and the roads of the course were unfamiliar to me, very picturesque with lots of beautiful houses.

Ok, I mentioned to a few folks that Clint took some pics of me as I approached the finish line. I've just loaded them on the computer a few minutes ago and looked at them on the big screen. And I'm not posting them, at least for the moment. There is a certain way I feel when I run. Strong and svelte (if a little breathy). Checking out the closeups I experienced a bit of the body dysmorphia I've blogged about before. I looked strong enough, but not so svelte, quite a bit awkward, and my mouth gaping open like a freaking fish (not to mention my hair looks really bizarre with the way the wind was styling it). SMACK. Reality DOES bite. So for now, although I really appreciate Clint taking the pictures, I'm not ready to air them. I REALLY need a better jog bra, that is one thing that's clear. Any recommendations from other D+ girls out there?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Paper Trails

Ok, bear with me. I was cleaning out a folder and discovered this post I'd written some time ago in response to Kate Harding's post "The Fantasy of Being Thin." I think it was actually part of my Supa-Fly post but I had the feeling that post was already too long and so I cut this out and set it aside for another day. I then forgot all about it and stumbled on it today. A day where I happen to be suffering a full scale attack of Imposter Syndrome. I always think blogging is about being accountable to yourself by being accountable to others. But sometimes its just about reminding yourself that the worst days are NOT the only days. And they don't have to define you, even when there are a WHOLE LOT of them in a row. So here ya' go. And here I go. Cause I needed this today.

I have done this to myself so many times. For years I considered myself too fat to do anything TOO strenuous, which is why all my workout routines were focused on “easing into it”, “not overdoing it” and just hitting that minimum. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know how or why my brain short circuited and failed to follow that logic when I started bootcamp but it took sort of jumping into the deep end of fitness to realize that I WASN’T too fat to be fit. And realizing that, my running goals have quickly become so much more important to me than my weight goals. And now, all of a sudden, I’m having crazy thoughts about cooking, and making major changes that will make me happier, and maybe even conquering my fear of bicycles. It’s frightening to stop resisting and go ahead and BECOME yourself, instead of just waiting for a magic process to make you thin and thereby bring you fulfillment in every facet of your life. Being too fat was never really the problem. The problem was my obsession with watching other people who fit my ideals of who I wanted to be (including being thin and athletic) and then berating myself for not being THEM. And when I tried to be like those people, I berated myself for being an IMPOSTER. Because I was really “fat” (even if I hid some of it in clever clothing choices), and lazy, and needy (even when I tried really really hard to prove to everyone that I wasn’t) and not at all capable or loveable or worthy. If everyone who THOUGHT they liked me REALLY knew me, then they’d realize what I faker I was.

I can’t fake bootcamp. I can’t fake running. If I can have a workout like I had this morning, then I’m reasonably fit. If I can run 4 miles, then I am a runner. And even I can’t tell myself I’m just an imposter. So maybe its time to watch myself for a change, and figure out what I’m like. Because I’m beginning to think that MAYBE I just might be a kinda cool chick who is overweight, and cute, sometimes sexy, sometimes industrious and sometimes lazy, and usually needy but occasionally skillful in knowing when to express that, and somewhat capable and loveable and worthy of living and experiencing as much as she desires from life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


OK, stop, put down the phone, don't call 911. It's just that Sgt. Romeo (NOT HIS REAL NAME) made us do suicides this morning. A lot of them. And they are NOT my favorite thing. I also discovered that while I prefer it to be cold when I work out cause it helps me to not overheat, 27 degrees is a little TOO cold for my lungs so the asthma was definitely making itself known this morning. Ideally I'd like it to be between 35 and 55. If someone could make that happen consistently I'd really appreciate it. And doing sit ups on frozen ground is also NOT my favorite thing.

Anyway, I've officially hit the 10 lb mark on weight loss. I really think the weight I've lost over the past 3 days has probably not been healthily lost and I'll pay for it down the road. But it would be nice to stay here. I have a new goal, to get into a Size 10 suit that I've hung on to since high school because I love it so much even though I haven't fit into it since college sometime (that would be over a decade ago). It's navy, and classic, very tailored, with rhinestone buttons. I CAN actually get it on now, but it's got that whole bursting at the seams thing going on in the skirt so I'm not quite there yet.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I probably won't be posting as much over the holidays, all of the other stuff in my life has got me pretty wrapped up at the moment but I do want to stay accountable. Went to bootcamp on Friday and really enjoyed a fun workout that involved having a "wingman" and calling out lines from "Top Gun". Always a good way to start the day! Saturday morning I made it to the first of the Georgia Half Marathon training runs that OBC has organized. I did 3.4 miles in 40 minutes which gives me an average pace of 11:46 which I'm pleased with (although I was right at the back of the pack, by quite a bit).

I've been feeling a bit under the weather and loading up on cold medicine so I didn't make it this morning. I'll have to make it up with a run on my own sometime. I've dropped a bit more weight, but then it could just be because I'm feeling sick and not eating, which I know isn't healthy. Still, although I know its silly and probably just temporary I can't help but feel that little burst of glee every time those numbers go down.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Today was Bring a Friend day, or, in my world, Bring My Daddy Day. The workout we did was called “Hook & Ladder” and with the formidable Brock leading it I felt kinda like I was fighting a 5 alarm fire. Run there! Quick! Turn around! Kick the curb! Jumping Jacks! Pushups! Now run there! FASTER FASTER! Now hop through the ladder! Quick now run over there! And do a wall sit for like EVAR! And a day!

WHEW! I told Dad that Bring a Friend day was usually a bit lighter. Afterwards I told him that I didn’t mean to lie to him. He was very good natured about it. Even said he wished he could sign up but he lives like an hour away. So there you have it Operation Bootcamp. Sell a franchise in or south of McDonough and he will come!

Dad totally rocked it. He was a fantastic sport about everything, not even balking at being asked to Karoke (it’s a grapevine like dance step) WITH jazz hands or being asked to skip or being asked to just run. A lot. He jumped into everything full tilt.

I’m a Daddy’s girl. My Dad has always been supportive of EVERYTHING I’ve tried or expressed an interest in. But I’ve always enjoyed at least trying to develop an interest or ability in the kinds of things he likes because it was just fun to hang out with him in his element. It started with model rockets. Then there were model other things. Air shows. Car racing (Dad drove the number 0 Karmengia while I screamed my head off from the pit). Motorcycle riding (FASTER DADDY FASTER). On roads AND off roads. Glider piloting. Parachuting (watching as a child, then trying it as an adult). Scuba diving. Go-Kart Racing (40 mph is FREAKING fast when you’re only an inch off the ground!). My Dad has opened the door to all of those experiences for me. I learned very early on that life is a big buffet and if you stick to what you know you’ll have a very boring meal.

But despite learning that early on, I lost sight of the fact that having an unhealthy body makes it difficult to get to the table, or carry your plate, or something. (ok maybe this metaphor isn’t holding up too well) but you get the idea. You start thinking that it was a good thing you did all those things when you were younger because it seems like you’re just headed downhill from there. And basically you get totally wrapped up in responsible life goals like finishing your education and getting your career off to a good start and buying a house and renovating a house and then you tick all those things off your list and you realize that now you’re basically waiting for death. Ok that sounds melodramatic but at times that’s how I was feeling. Just a few months ago.

So today, I got to invite Dad into my pre-dawn world. And I think I impressed the hell out of him. Which feels AWESOME. Because I know my Dad is already very proud of me for all the things I’ve done in my life, including accomplishing those responsible life goals. But this was special. I let him see that, for me, a whole lot of life that I had decided was just inaccessible is spread out before me again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sign Me UP!

Today I decided to enlist. This morning my ever versatile (and flexible!) boot camp instructors showed us what it was like to REALLY REALLY be in the army. Today, I ran in formation. While holding a rifle over my head. While singing cadences at the top of my lungs about how the Navy is for wimps and about how Army Rangers can dismantle gators with their bare hands. And while responding to commands to “FALL OUT” and drop and do 10 pushups and to “FALL IN” and reform our formation and continue running and then to sprint to the front of the pack and around the pack and back to the front all while the formation keeps moving forward. And A REAL HONEST TO GOODNESS RETIRED COLONEL ARMY RANGER GUY (Jojo’s Dad) jogged BACKWARDS next to us like it was NOTHIN!

So now I know how much FUN the army must be! And I was on such a high that I drove right over to the recruiting office!

Apparently though, I’m kinda old by army standards. And they have issues with poor eyesight and asthma. WHATEVAR!

Ok, its been a few hours. I guess I have to acknowledge that maybe it was actually a taste of Army LITE. Cause, technically speaking, we were only doing it for an hour. Not hours on end. And, if I must be honest, our rifles were really really lightweight. As in …… light as air. As in … Imaginary. And we didn’t even pretend to carry 30 lb packs on our backs. Or run through sand or jungle. Or get shot at.

But I definitely do not play enough pretend in my life and I TOTALLY need to remedy that because this morning REALLY REALLY was like the most fun I’ve had in WEEKS. (This may actually be kind of disturbing if I’d stop to think about it but I’m not going to disrupt this groove I’ve got going on!) I’ve had a stupid grin all day. Not only was my knee completely painless for the whole 3 miles but my shins and my calves were totally cool too. I hit that stride, I was keeping up with our pace setter just FINE! I was even able to encourage my formation partner who has a heart of steel and who tried her hardest to keep up. This is her first bootcamp and she reminds me a lot of me 3 months ago. And I tried my best to boost her here and there and I hope she knows how much she rocked it out! And I cracked a few jokes! And I shouted HOOAH with conviction and not a little pride.

Normally I don’t track mileage at boot camp because it doesn’t usually make sense but I did for this one because we did spend most of the hour in motion on a trackable route. If you check my training log you’ll see that our avg. pace seems slow but it included two stretching sessions, several push up breaks and a couple of side sprints that I didn’t track.

Looking forward to sharing this with my Dad tomorrow, I think he’ll really be amazed at how far his little bookworm has come!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On ice

Made it to bootcamp this morning, and had a great workout. I started off sort of gingerly, a bit afraid of my knee. It was still stiff but not as much as yesterday and it ended up performing like a champ! And I had a couple of cool revelations that had nothing to do with running.
1. I can now officially crab walk without major difficulty, and fairly quickly too! I do however refuse to sing "Under the Sea" while I'm doing it. Sorry Jojo!
2. I can now do rowboats the proper way, also fairly quickly (that's actually my secret plan of attack on all exercises that are hard, power through them as fast as possible so you don't have a chance to talk yourself into quitting. I know that isn't always an ideal approach!).
3. I can even do V-sits almost properly although I'm incapable of talking back to fellow campers who are marveling at my V-sit ability while I'm actually doing them. And laughing throws me off a bit.
4. I love planks. Not saying I want to do them all day, but they feel comfortable, like my body "fits" in that position.
5. Inchworms, squat jacks and other squatting/jumping exercises are not horrible anymore. I still hate burpees though. I think they will always be the brussel sprouts of exercise for me. Seriously, what possible purpose do brussel sprouts serve in this world? Being a southern girl I've even tried them fried. Nope. I will never force them on my child, ever. I will however endure 45 minutes (NOT KIDDING) of whining and "I'm dying . . . I'm choking . . ." tearful dramatics in order to bribe my child into eating 5 BABY CARROTS. Starting small . . . we'll get there! If only he could appreciate the fact that they weren't brussel sprouts!

After bootcamp was over, I did the exercises I read about for my inner quads. At first it felt really really easy, then that muscle would hit its wall like, ALL OF A SUDDEN and I just couldn't lift that leg again. It was kind of wierd. It didn't take long and I'm glad I just dropped to the ground and did them then, otherwise they probably wouldn't get done.

I'm icing now, not feeling any pain but I figure this just needs to be my routine so I don't get thrown off my training schedule again. In case anyone was wondering, my shins are doing great, but my calfs are sore as hell. But apparently that indicates that my gait is better now as sore calfs are normal, and MUCH more stretchable and resiliant than shins so that's good. I really think that shift is totally due to the Superfeet Insoles. Unfortunately the insoles are still giving me blisters inside my arch which is annoying but Jojo told me all about BodyGlide today . . . I'd like to meet the athlete that decided to use his or her "special" lubricant in a new way. Very very clever!

Getting pscyhed about my Dad coming to Bring a Friend day on Thursday! Go Dad! And now that I've proclaimed it to the world you can't back out!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a quick 2 mile run . . . .

Ok, I was good on Saturday. Even though my knee wasn't bothering me AT ALL. I WANTED it to hurt a bit because then I would have felt better about missing the race. Honestly, had it been an intown race I might have gone but by the time I realized it wasn't hurting AT ALL (did I mention that?) it was too late to get to the start on time. With missing the race and other issues which I won't go into here, Saturday was completely exhausting and overwhelming emotionally. By Sunday morning I was such a torrent of just overwroughtness (I'm making that a word if it isn't one already) on the inside that I was worried about just exploding. I slept in. I went to church. Church was soothing but it wasn't enough and I still felt so tightly wound that I avoided actually speaking to anyone at church which kinda defeats the purpose of being part of a worship community. But hey, I did what I could handle at the time. When I got home I just had to run. HAD TO RUN. Or destroy something. I decided I'd run up my street to the end of it, which is exactly .5 miles from my front door. If my knee started bothering me I'd turn around and walk back. Not unreasonable. At the .5 mile point my knee was not bothering me, so I continued on my 2.3 mile route. It was actually pretty tough because my left leg muscles were still annoyed about Friday and so my left leg was just generally tight and achy (even after stretching) and it was the middle of the day, sunny, and in the upper 70's. NOT my favorite conditions. But it was just enough of a distance to mollify my inner demons and I felt SO much better when I was done.

The urgency I felt is what I imagine a drug addict feels looking for the next fix. I described it to my doctor this morning and she was so excited that I'm addicted to exercise. I'm excited too, although I still routinely step outside myself for a minute and don't recognize what I see. I have moments where I think so much of the last 3 months have been some sort of fantasy, or a waking day dream, or just an old fashioned dream I haven't woken up from yet like in a soap opera.

This morning I could not wake up, my alarm beeped extra long as I incorporated the sound into my dream instead of waking for it. My knee wasn't hurting per se but it felt very stiff and there is some pain when I bend it all the way. I always check the weather with my blackberry before I get out of bed and when I read that the humidity was 95% I bailed. I feel a little bad about it but I'm not beating myself up. I'm tired. Like bone tired all over through and through tired. I know bootcamp would have probably given me a burst of energy but it just didn't feel right this morning.

At the doctor I couldn't replicate the pain I felt on Friday, and the area that hurt then wasn't tender to her touch. What WAS tender to her touch was my IT Band. OUCH! I about jumped off the table when she pressed on it. So she diagnosed me with ITBS, gave me some material which included special stretches, and told me to continue icing and ibuprofen and listening to my body. I'm still concerned that I may be dealing with Chondromalacia (inflammation of the cartilage under the kneecap) based on the symptoms I had Friday but she pointed out that the treatment is essentially the same. I've done some more research and I also need to do some focused strengthening of the inner quad muscles. In running those muscles aren't developed as much and it creates an imbalance than can lead to or exacerbate both ITBS and Chondromalacia. Anyway, she did lots of manipulation of both knees and moved them around in some interesting ways. Both of them made some popping noises, the right more than the left, but there wasn't any pain associated with the noises and since it is on both sides she said it could just be the way I'm built but that I need to be mindful of it and come in immediately if I experience any locking of the joint.

On the positive side my blood pressure is finally down. Since I JUST started my new meds she wants me to come back in a few weeks to check in again and to make sure my bloodwork is still normal.

So, I'll keep looking forward, stop catastrophizing, and maybe learn to use a run/walk gait when I need to. Group Operation Bootcamp training for the Half starts this Saturday. I'm excited but also hoping I'm not the only slow one!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Betrayal. Yesterday, Thursday, I noticed, maybe two times, a sharp pain under my right kneecap. Each time as soon as I took my weight off my right leg it went away. And since it only happened twice in an hour that included a lot of sprinting I actually forgot about it later in the day.

Today it complained more loudly. I would still get several running steps in with no problem and then . . . randomly . . . WHAMMO and I’d gasp and take my weight off quickly. So I got slower and slower, putting that right foot down more and more gingerly and letting my left leg do most of the work. It’s pretty annoyed right now. . . I can imagine my two legs arguing like kids in the back seat. “So . . . you just had to go and do something nutty to get mom’s attention and now I’VE got to be the ‘good’ leg and hold this body together!”

I can’t slip much past my bootcamp instructors and they started asking me how I was doing. I finally confessed and Jojo started giving me modified options. Backpedaling when going uphill, lunge walking instead of jumping, that sort of thing. Then Heidi checked in. And got VERY STERN with me. I started to get all whiny…. “But there’s this 8K race tomorrow . . . and I just HAVE to run it!” And Heidi threatened to come to my house. She never said what she would do at my house (and since Heidi is really cool she’d certainly be welcome anytime) but it was implied that she would bodily keep me from going to the race. She told me about her friend who experienced a “random stabbing pain” in his knee and decided to “tough it out” and run a race. He ended up with 3 surgeries and lost his ability to run EVER AGAIN.

Ok, wait a second, I’M the catastrophizer around here! I have a doctor’s appointment already scheduled on Monday. I fantasized about getting into a doctor today and being told that I was just being silly but that turned out to not be possible. I’ve iced it and taken anti-inflammatories. I started thinking that maybe I could lay low, ice a lot, take a lot of pills and “just try” tomorrow. The next time I got up from my seat it started twinging while I was just walking. It clearly is trying to get its point across.

Despair. I feel like someone has kidnapped my puppy and is dangling him over a precipice. Running and bootcamp are really the ONLY things going well in my life right now. With everything else I’m mostly just putting on a good act. If this is something that will require me to stop running for more than just a few days I . . . . I don’t know. The road is the thread keeping me together at the moment. The fear of not being able to run is crushing me.

I know I jumped in the deep end. After years of inactivity I have put my muscles through some serious abuse for which they were wholly unprepared. I think I may have diagnosed myself through Dr. Google. If I’m right the treatment involves rest, then physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that guide and hold the kneecap. And it may be chronic, something I’ll battle from here on out. But I’ll keep doing the ice, and the anti-inflammatories, and the rest and I’ll give the Dr. her say on Monday. Not going to this race tomorrow makes me feel like I’m standing myself up at the prom. Not going to the race hurts as much, if not more so, than my knee. And I know its only one race. But I’m so afraid of the possibilities. I don’t want to see the beginning of the end.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Testing the Water

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the blogs of some inspiring folks and fantasizing about other things I might be capable of doing someday. Some bloggers have come so far in so short a period that I’m compelled to back up to the start of the blog and read it from start to finish. I marvel at how unique and amazing they are and at the same time how like me they are in their fears and obsessions. And the doors in my mind just fly open. I did that with Half of Me (and I’m looking forward to her book in May) and now I’m doing it with Athena Diaries. I’ve read all of 2005 (where she started, like me, from a place where she avoided stairs and never exercised) and 2006 (which she ended with 20 sprint triathlons, 2 olympic distance triathlons, and 2 half ironman triathlons under her belt – in addition to some duathlons and assorted running races under her belt). WOW. Triathlons are officially really really cool and I officially am stating publicly that I want to do one . . . or more . . . someday. I have a tendency to get ahead of myself so I’ve faced the sobering fact that, thus far, my longest distance run was only 5 miles. Which is fine for a sprint tri, if I just skip the bike and the swim parts. And I’m scared of bikes. Well, not so much the bike itself as the fear of what bad things could happen to a person on a bike. And I don’t own a bike. And I’ve been on one exactly 10 minutes in the last 10 years and found it extremely uncomfortable in the saddle. And although I learned all the swimming strokes as a child and can still technically do them I have no access to an indoor Olympic sized pool and no place in the budget to purchase such access. And I should focus on my half in March, and on other races like that and maybe then on a full marathon before I complicate my life with the equipment and training schedule necessary for multisport racing.

But now I know that I’m not relegated to life behind a wall watching active people running away from me on the other side. And just about anything seems possible. And endurance sports appeal to me because from all of Athena’s race reports one thing that is really clear is that just finishing is really excellent, and respected, and there is lots of cheering. I know I will get faster but I just have a hunch that speed is not my game. But I can be dogged when I’m focused on something, and I’m not too pain sensitive (my husband will protest as he’s reading this but my freakout over cutting my finger on Thanksgiving was due to the idea of the knife cutting my skin…..I have a weird fear of all kinds of blades . . . not from the pain per se. And I did rise above and go on to cook a kick ass Thanksgiving dinner, something else I thought I couldn’t ever do).

In other news, I have a job, which really really really interferes with my other interests. I got stuck at said job till 4:45 am Wednesday morning (it was an off day for bootcamp so that was something at least) and was back up and working by 9:30 and worked a full day and just didn’t have it in me to run 2 miles on no sleep and very little food. So I’m a bit nervous about the fact that I haven’t run since Saturday and I won’t get the chance to run again until my race this Saturday. But that’s ok, I just want my number for my wall. I wish I could race every weekend but as I work on increasing distances the numbers don’t work out. Unless I could find one close enough to run to and run home from then maybe I could do it.

I drank more water than usual before bootcamp and ate a 140 calorie bar with 10g of protein and bootcamp went well. Instructor Deana was in charge and she is . . . . how shall I say . . . . INTENSE. I have no doubt I will hear her counting in my dreams tonight. We did 20/20/20 which involved 15 sets of sprinting, 100 pushups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, 10 sets of various kinds of planks and assorted ab work, plus a jogging warm up and cool down. I wasn’t totally gung ho all the way through but I feel proud of how I did on some of the sprints (VERY middle of the pack, NOT so much back of the pack). And maintaining a plank is more restful now and less OMIGOSH MY BODY IS SHAKING SO HARD I CAN’T KEEP THIS UP than it used to be. My biggest problem was a wardrobe malfunction. My left breast decided it wanted to escape the confines of my bra and see the world. Or maybe it just wanted to punch me in the face and tell me to stop all this sprinting nonsense. Since I pretty much ignore the signals my legs are sending me to stop my body might just be getting creative in its attempts to communicate. I had to keep “adjusting” it back into the bra cup, luckily bootcampers are a tolerant group and no one called me out for it.

Still have received no CALL from my HAPPY HAPPY FUTURE. Looks like I’ll have to RSVP for the company holiday party after all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Treading Water

Just feeling the urge to check in since it has been a few days but my mind has been drifting in and out of that dark twisty swampy place again and I hate to whine on my blog.

Saturday night I stayed up too late watching the Ironman Championship that I had recorded earlier in the day. I meant to just watch a few minutes to wind down but watched the entire 90 minutes because I couldn't tear myself away. I'm looking forward to my 8K this Saturday but I'm also starting to get excited about the bigger races I have coming up . . . the Christmas 5K in Virginia Highlands (1000 people), the St. Pete 10K in January (about 1200) and then the ING Georgia Half (15,000).
Sunday was my off day, and it was good but I missed church again which bugged me. I just HAD to sleep so I couldn't make the early service and I had too much planned for the afternoon to make the 10:30 service. So I'm feeling spiritually disconnected. I have been praying a lot more lately, especially while running, but I do really appreciate the ritual of church and without it I feel like something is missing. There is a St. Nick's event on Thursday which will include a eucharist so I don't have to wait until Sunday. I also got to make a quick appearance at Jojo's Birthday Brunch which was way cool. I don't think I KNOW as many people as Jojo had at her brunch, the girl is not ONLY bootylicious, she's popular too! And then it was off to see Santa at an event organized by my office. Clint was taking the pictures so I got to play elf/assistant and enjoy a few laughs at the foibles of small children. And then the grocery store. And then the day was like, OVER. *sigh*. I need some downtime, like a couple of days worth, not just a few hours where I feel like I should be doing something else.

Monday and Tuesday have been hellish at work. I'm drowning in ick cases that I don't like working on. I DO have cases I enjoy working on but several of my ick cases have had deadlines right on top of me all at once and its wearing me down. I got a nice reprieve in that I went to the Found v. Postsecret show on Monday night which was WAY COOL and very funny and moving all at the same time. I've added both sites to my favorites in the sidebar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check them out. NOW. I'll wait.

On the training front I did bootcamp Monday and Tuesday. Tomorrow is an off day on the bootcamp schedule but you're supposed to do something in its place. My current plan is to run my 2.3 mile route from my house just to keep everything limber. This morning during bootcamp I was experiencing a lot of pain and promised myself I'd take tomorrow off, but now the pain is gone and I want to do it again. See Mom, I don't listen to myself any better than I listen to you when you tell me not to do something!

Speaking of the pain, I always have much more lower leg pain at bootcamp than I do when running outside of bootcamp. I used to think it was the difference between high intensity bursts that we often do at bootcamp and steady jogging that I do on my own. But we often jog in bootcamp too and this morning I deliberately held myself to a comfortable jogging pace (which also meant I wasn't running as far since I stayed at the back and avoided extra run backs) and I still hurt. The ONLY thing that is ALWAYS different between bootcamp and my other runs is that I never eat before bootcamp and I always eat before other runs, even if it is just a 150 calorie energy bar. I was not eating before bootcamp because I wanted to burn the maximum amount of fat, but maybe, especially since I frequently go to bed a little hungry, I'm just in pain because my body is underfueled? I also don't hydrate as much, I wake up, drink about 6-8 oz of water and go. I'm always afraid I'll have to pee, and the workout is less than an hour so I don't drink during it. Seriously, the difference in how I feel running on non-bootcamp days when I've had an energy bar or a bowl of kashi is like night and day. Any experienced people think this might be the missing link? I'll experiment by eating a little something Thursday morning.

Christmas is rushing towards us like a runaway train. Lets see, we know what our son's big present will be, but now how we'll pay for it. Other than that, I haven't even figured out where we hid the Christmas decorations when we moved. I think they're under the stairs. Behind the giant heavy piece of workout equipment that "conveniently" folds up for storage but not so conveniently weighs about 800 lbs so that you are done with your workout by the time you have pulled it out and broken your toe trying to unfold it. Oh, and I've thought about calling Merry Maids to do the final house clean before the relatives arrive as a present to myself but I haven't done that yet and I have NO idea what is a reasonable price for that sort of thing.

My own Christmas list bemuses me. Last year I wanted a robe, and a pair of boots. I got both (in fact I'm wearing the boots right now) and they were both very nice. This year my Christmas list includes a Garmin Forerunner 205, reflective running gear, running clothes (including wicking underwear . . . it sounds so dreamy!), and books like The Nonrunners Marathon Guide for Women and Slow, Fat Triathlete. What does everyone else want for Christmas or Hanukkah or the Holiday season?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Loop

Hit the loop at just after 6:30 am and ran through the sunrise. We talked about coming even earlier sometime, running the loop and then climbing the mountain in time for the sunrise. Apparently the park actually opens at 5:00 am for "Our Runners" as the gate attendant proudly told us. And sure enough there were clearly quite a few runners and walkers who had already been there a while. The loop was well lit and the Christmas lights along parts of it, the giant lit tree on top of the mountain, and the approaching dawn kept the atmosphere picturesque and atmospheric but never dark. The police circled the loop periodically as well and I felt very safe, now I know that I can do it alone, even early, if I need to.

Today I didn't need to though, because the Intrepid Katy was again by my side, despite the fact that she was due to skate in the Children's Healthcare Christmas Parade later in the morning. She and her dog were great company.

The hills were present as promised but I had been prepared for more than there were and, given the routes I've run around Candler Park and my neighborhood they really weren't a problem. We ran the whole way, and my shins did GREAT. The SuperFeet really seem to be working as promised, although I did get some nice blisters which I'm trusting will heal and not be repeated as I break the insoles in.

So far increasing the mileage is going smoothly. Next week is the Madison Christmas Rush 8K (another 5 miles) and then I'll be building up to 8 miles just before the 10K I plan to run MLK weekend. A half marathon is a little less than three times around Stone Mountain. I've got a way to go but the first loop went a lot smoother than I expected. For muscles that were so sorely neglected for most of their life, they are suprisingly forgiving and willing to step up and exceed my expectations now. The body is truly an amazing thing.

Oh yeah, one more thing, it took us right at an hour, so we were averaging about 12 minutes per mile, since I know we were much slower on some of the longer hills I feel great about that. I'll be very pleased with any time under 3 hours on my first Half, so far I seem to be on target!

Friday, November 30, 2007

In case you were wondering . . .

The CALL OF DESTINY WELCOMING ME TO MY HAPPY NEW FUTURE has STILL NOT happened. The important potentially life and career changing meeting of last Monday was SO warm and fuzzy. I was so certain that once I left the room they were all like, "can we keep her? huh huh can we keep her?". Maybe they were, maybe the PEOPLE WITH THEIR NAMES ON THE DOOR are just busy setting up a care and feeding chart because they don't trust that the minions really know how to take care of me. And that they're just blinded by my cuteness and don't realize how much trouble I'm likely to be. And that I'll need to be walked and will want someone with whom to eat lunch.

I feel like the one that got left behind at the sidewalk adoption event.


Little Bunny NOT Foo

I really did go to camp this morning believing it was possible to have two great workouts in a row. Apparently I at least sub consciously knew what was coming because at the last minute I decided to wear my Little Bunny Foo Foo t-shirt courtesy of artist Ronnie Land (same design as above, you can purchase the magnet on his website). So I shouldn't have been suprised when I saw the pile of jump ropes.

I AM improving. Now, in my THIRD bootcamp I can occasionally manage to get both of my feet off the ground at the same time but it is extremely challenging. And very hard on my poor shins (the SuperFeet insoles are designed to cushion more for the heel strike of running, not for hopping on your toes or full footed). So I spent more of this workout grimacing and cranky and less of it blissfully at one with the universe than I did yesterday.

I actually have a sneaking suspicion that the workouts that feel like they suck might just suck because they make me work harder than I want to, and that the ones that rock are actually just rocking because they are full on in my comfort zone. I dunno, its just a sneaking suspicion. Not so in my face yet that I can't happily kick it to the curb.

I also touched base with Tim about my plan to try and run 5 miles around the base of Stone Mountain tomorrow. He thought it was a great idea because it is such excellent HILL training. This, you will be amazed to discover, was actually a SHOCK to me. Yes, I've said that I was topography challenged in the past but this probably will convince you once and for all. Because although I realize that Stone Mountain is a huge piece of granite sticking out of the ground (and a place I have been countless times) I for some reason was absolutely convinced that the road around its base was perfectly flat, all logic and prior experience not withstanding. Tim said it is a great course to train on for the Georgia Half though, and he gave me permission to walk some of it if I absolutely have to (cause I really need permission from other people, I don't like to give it to myself). So, its still my official plan. I'm accepting volunteers to come hang out along the road and cheer me on. Apparently all the elves I requested are too busy making toys or some such nonsense.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Supafly on Supafeet Dancing with the Red Red Dawn

Somedays you just need a moisture wicking sequined jumpsuit in which to run and workout. Wow. It’s amazing. Just when I find myself becoming seriously motivationally challenged . . . (and this morning I had to practically slap myself into getting out of bed, I tried and tried to talk myself out of it) . . . somehow everything coalesces into an absolutely delicious workout where you feel strong AND cute AND fast AND just IN TUNE with your body and your surroundings and your peeps and everything just works so well that you feel like periodically laughing out loud. Believe me, I have so many, “well that was good, I should be proud of myself, but it wasn’t really buckets of fun either” days and occasional, “that was torture, why am I doing this, I’ll NEVER get better, I’m not worthy” days so I KNOW what a jewel a morning like this morning was.

The air was so crisp and clear this morning. And we did 12 Pack, which is hands down, along with Guts & Guns, one of my FAVORITE boot camp workouts. It’s just perfectly paced for me I think. And Heidi was there (one of the FOUNDERS of Operation Bootcamp) and it was really cool to see her there and to remember the last time she came to a Candler Park bootcamp workout was on my VERY first day and she and Jeff and her dog Casper had kindly nursed me through that agonizing and endless FIRST MILE on this journey. Ok, truth be told Casper had totally scoffed at me for not being able to go faster, but I won’t hold it against him. He’s cute and fluffy. Anyway, I loved having the opportunity to show off for her, and I was a total show boat (although hopefully it wasn’t annoyingly obvious). Running strong, extra mindful of my form on all the exercises. Whether she paid attention or not (and she did have some very nice compliments for me on my progress, thanks Heidi) I enjoyed seeing myself through her eyes. I really am changing. I am capable. I am not stuck. I am not resigned to just daydreaming about feeling strong and healthy.

Everything about being outside this morning was such a treat too. The moon and stars were so clear, and the patterns of clouds scudding at a runners pace across the sky just fit with my spirit at the time. Dawn was a gorgeous and unrepentant shade of red in the sky, with the newly naked trees appearing to greet the rising of the sun with arms raised. And we laughed a lot today. And Tim and Jojo wore flashing light up antlers and flashing light up candy canes respectively.

And, although I don’t want to get TOO excited yet, I’m cautiously optimistic that the SuperFeet insoles that Tim recommended really are going to help with my shin pain. My shins bothered me so much yesterday that I nixed the idea for a short run in the evening. This morning, with the new insoles, they weren’t completely pain free but they were much less troublesome than I expected, which also contributed to my ability to really enjoy myself. So we’ll see how it goes. They do feel weird, the arch feels like its too far back in my foot but the guidebook says that’s normal, its just that I’ve likely not been getting support in the right places before. They aren’t uncomfortable at all, just feel a bit strange still. I’ll keep you posted.

Planning on a 5 mile run this Saturday, possibly on the loop around the base of Stone Mountain because it would be a nice change of scenery and it is just about exactly 5 miles to do the loop one time. I have a pet peeve about back tracking, when driving, walking or running. I’m a big fan of loops. I was also excited to hear the announcement this morning that Bootcamp will be organizing some group long runs to train for the Georgia Half, that will really help me a lot. Honestly, although I hope to someday be as worried about letting myself down as I am about letting other people down, it REALLY helps to know that Jojo and Tim and my fellow campers would miss me and worry about me if I stopped coming. It was that more than anything that won my argument with myself this morning about getting out of bed. I’m so thankful that they’re there to keep that door propped open, even when I sometimes try to duck back through it the wrong way.

Ok, I’ve added some new blogs to the blog roll. And I’ve added a FAVORITES section that I’ll use for cool non blog stuff. I’ve linked to my training log on so I can be accountable to everyone who reads this!

Finally, one of the blogs I added was Kate Harding’s very popular Shapely Prose. Everyone MUST read this post: The Fantasy of Being Thin. Very thought provoking, and much of it very true for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Doing it with Intention

[FYI - this post is in reference to Tuesday. I stayed up too late and I'm posting after midnight on Wednesday morning.]
I'm in limbo on a couple of significant life altering issues, waiting to hear back from people, and it is unpleasant. I feel the need to pass the time by such productive time pacers as hand wringing . . . and chewing . . .

After succumbing to the call of a chocolate bar today (on top of totally not drinking water and not icing my shins and generally not taking care of myself) and the last piece(s) of homemade apple pie WITH ice cream (it was better to just go ahead and finish it ... really) I finally got smart enough to resort to some sugar free gum to satisfy my urge to chew, and chaw, and roll something over my tongue. I REALLY don't understand why we haven't perfected the WONKA meal gum yet, that would solve a lot of problems for me.

The gum is a fairly new thing, but it seems to be very helpful. I don't know that I've ever had such strong oral compulsions (ok . . . go ahead . . . say all the inappropriate things that have popped into your head out loud . . . . giggle and smirk and get on with it. Done? Ok, good). It even extends to speech. I've been nervously chattering non stop lately, even to myself (Clint TOTALLY busted me in mid conversation with my imaginary boss in the closet, I used to be a therapist, I've got that empty chair routine DOWN!). I was so annoying today, a fact that I was totally cognizant of but in a spectator way, like, "ohhh listen to yourself . . . that's really irritating the way you keep interrupting people and prattling on about yourself . . . you should really stop doing that" and yet apparently lacking any ability to stem the torrent of gibberish. So I kept shutting my door and trying to externally contain myself in my office, I certainly had plenty to do there, but even though I know I was objectively productive today, it all felt like I was spinning my wheels. Because in reality I was just waiting for my phone to ring, and measuring the time in ridiculously small increments. I ate another pink jelly bean (oh, did I fail to mention the jelly beans?). Look I wrote another sentence. Hey I found another fact in my box of facts. Wow, I managed to not throw the Georgia Rules of Civil Procedure at my partner's head even though he has popped into my office for the 18th time in the last 20 minutes to poke and prod at me. Yay me! The day passed, but it passed very mindlessly. In retrospect, it was a pretty unhealthy day, even though I started off with bootcamp (and the workout was Colonel Crunch . . . yay abs!).

Realistically speaking, tomorrow will also probably be a waiting day, not a finding out day. And whether I get the calls I'm waiting for or not, I still have to finish these work projects regardless. And I need to take care of myself. There's no reason I couldn't measure my day with sips of water, carrot sticks and kegels at my desk (hey its all about exercising the WHOLE body). And I should plan to keep gum on hand, just in case. As Jojo says . . . I should do it with intention. So many of my unhealthy self-destructive behaviors are so mindless. They are things I do to fill a void that I didn't plan to fill with something better. Resisting the mindless, embracing intent in every act, is a scary thing. If you do everything with intention, then you can never say you didn't mean it. But by the same token, you become a creative force, not a passive one.

I want to BE a creative force. That means creating a healthy life for myself. It means not cruising along unhappy because I lack the energy to resist the status quo. So here's to doing it with intention. To waiting with intention by planning healthy time passing and anxiety reducing behaviors. To working with intention so that my work projects get done, and done WELL. To exercising with intention so that I do continue to improve.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Well, I missed bootcamp this morning. I'll just have to use my PT test times from November 16th as my benchmarks. I left my office at 10 minutes past 6 am this morning after 18 hours at my desk. You'd think I was a doctor or something. That I was doing something important and life affirming. Sadly, you would be wrong. 5500 pieces of paper relating to cracks in some concrete some 1500 miles away have been reviewed, indexed and synthesized. Turns out the partner who said the world would end if we didn't send this information to the client today has now realized that tomorrow, or even the next day would be ok too. Apparently it took me cutting my holiday weekend, and my health and well being, short for him to have this revelation that we shouldn't be in such a rush.

Being sleep deprived usually makes me very very cranky but today, I feel like I'm beyond cranky. I am listening, gently drifting on the ebbs and flows around me . . . bobbing up and down in the what ifs. Remember that potentially career changing meeting I had this afternoon? I think, with my senses sharpened by the sharp pangs of hope, that it might have gone well. So I'm listening . . . intently. If you hear my future first, give me a heads up will you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Breathing easy

(The pendant above was designed by Margaux Lange)
I'm taking a break from work. I've been digging my way through boxes of really boring documents for the last 9 hours or so and I've still got to write a summary of the enlightenment I've gained from said boxes before I can go home. And figure out what I'm going to wear tomorrow. And sleep so that I can function at the start of my THIRD BOOTCAMP! And brace myself for the big blood pressure follow up appointment at the doctor. And successfully placate the partner who will be annoyed that I'm not done with his project yet because I've been sucked into these boxes by another partner. And be mentally fresh and ready for a very important and potentially totally career changing meeting in the afternoon.

Deep breath in . . . . . Deep breath out . . . . .

Ok, wierdly enough, I do feel like I'm breathing pretty easy, all things considered. I ended up just chilling out all day yesterday and it was really nice. We even had a family outing to see the giant Christmas tree at Atlantic Station and wander the open air market and see the movie Enchanted (which I actually really really enjoyed although no one else seemed to). So, I kinda have myself to blame for not being more on top of things.

This morning I skipped church to run and had a wierd, somewhat spiritual, certainly transcendental kind of experience along the way. Continuing to have fun with I mapped out a 4 mile course, taking particular glee in the fact that it involved running the other way down Kirk Rd. which has kicked my ass this week with one particularly nasty hill climb. I felt so wicked and devious at the idea of running DOWN that hill! Ultimately I'm an idiot when it comes to topography. When I began descending that hill in the last mile of the run I was actually SHOCKED to discover that I had been descending before climbing it in the other direction during my other runs this week. get it.....I still had to run uphill on Kirk. DOH!

I know I don't really want a flat course, I just don't want the hills to get all smug and self righteous on me. Because hills have feelings. And personalities. Hmmm... maybe this is the dawning of that whole "runner's high" thing?

ANYHOO . . . getting back on track . . . This was the longest run I've done since Bootcamp I and lo and behold, cardivascularly it was the easiest! There were large segments of the course where I wasn't even winded. I could smile and wave and say hello to everyone I passed without worrying that such activity would totally throw me off. Unfortunately, lower leg pain wise, it was agonizing. About halfway through the discomfort became more manageble but during the first two miles I took two short walk breaks (walking the distance from one telephone pole to the next) and paused in each of those breaks to stretch my shins and calves. When I resumed running after each break the pain didn't lessen so I was questioning whether it was worth it but, like I said after I got through that first 2 miles it lessened to the level it usually is and I was able to continue without focusing on it.

So, when I came into the office today I stopped at Phiddipedes to pick up those SuperFeet Insoles Instructor Tim keeps raving about but they were closed! ARG! So, I dunno how I'll do on my timed mile tomorrow. I iced a lot today since I was just sitting at my desk, and I did extra lower leg stretches at the end of the run.

Still, I trust that I'll figure this out somehow. In the meantime, I feel like my lungs and I are falling in love for the first time. I love to hear myself breath when I run, it is so soothing and hypnotic and meditative. And if I try real hard I can recapture a little taste of that sense of peace by just breathing slowly and deeply right here and now. I'm facing a lot of hills tomorrow . . . but I'm confident I can breath right through them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Refusing to be daunted . . .

I feel like I'm staring down the barrel of the holidays without my armored vest on. And I know that it is within my power to reframe this, to accept that our first Christmas in our new house will certainly be far from perfect and to be ok with that. I did pretty good with Thanksgiving, not over planning but just letting things flow and not being upset that we didn't have a table to sit at or that we were lacking decorations or candles or that we ended up not eating until almost 5. But Christmas involves a lot more people, out of town guests, all with simultaneous increased stress at work. The same thing happened to me last year, a lot of attorneys plan better apparently and have quiet Decembers. I on the other hand will be in my final rush to bill as many hours as I can. So I guess I should feel blessed that several of my active cases which have just been rocking along all calm and such are now ramping up and my calander of deadlines in December is looking downright frightening. And training for the half needs to start in earnest first week of December so running and bootcamp are NOT things I can let go of right now. So I've just got to dig deep, let go of things that other people ARE capable of doing (despite my constant foreboding that no one else will do it quite the way I want it to be done) and appreciate the love the people in my life will try to share with me despite my best efforts to miss it altogether in a whirlwind of stress.

On the plus side . . . yesterday was a pretty decent day. Got some chilling time on the couch. Successfully ran the 3.56 mile course I had mapped out. Enjoyed some good family time. And got to visit one of my bestest friends and hang with her almost 3 week old daughter for the first time. She is one of those rare BEAUTIFUL newborns that you can just stare at all day. And she was a total doll, sleeping in my arms for most of the visit, treating me to the occasional adorable grimace or smile or squeaks or grunts. Opening her eyes periodically and then settling back in to sleep. Her parents insist that she is their own singing frog, screaming non stop when no one is around and switching into angel mode whenever company is over so that no one understands their shell shocked sleep deprived rantings. Holding a new baby like that is just one of those simple life affirming things that everyone should work into their schedule periodically. It is good for the soul.

The run was easier than the 2.3 miles on Thanksgiving in many ways. I really didn't intend to run the whole way but I just tricked myself as usual with the whole "you can walk at the top of this hill" promise over and over. I really NEVER appreciated how hilly my neighborhood is until now. Its good though, by the St. Pete Classic 10K I should be ready to really rock it on a totally flat course and I'll be able to mentally accept the hills in the Half in March. On the website they have a chart that shows the elevations for the run, starting at mile 6 and ending at mile 7 it appears to be one long steep hill. After cresting that though it appears to be mostly flat or downhill for the remainder of the race. So that will be my big mental hurdle, if I can make it to mile 7 I'll be past the worst of the hills AND over halfway.

I almost thought my prayer for elves had been answered, for the first 1.5 miles I regularly passed neighbors who cheered me on. Then they all disappeared but it got me over the hurdle of the biggest hill on that course. It also made me realize that if I'm running in my own neighborhood during daylight hours I need to look a LITTLE bit cute. I really need some new running clothes, seriously.

For any runners reading this, I'm interested in hearing about the Galloway method. My friend who just had the baby used it to train for her first half and she insists she was faster doing his run/walk method than she was just running. And that she could go further with no pain (she also struggled with shin issues). And I've read similar testimonials online. Thus far for me I've been so focused on NOT walking at any cost that I'm having a hard time getting my head around it. I'd appreciate more feedback if anyone is so inclined. There is a Galloway training group starting near my office on January 5 specifically for the Georgia Half.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Elves needed, inquire within

I started Thanksgiving by getting off my butt after 4 days of inactivity. I won't be able to run a half in March on mental energy alone. So I used to map out some courses around my house and I hit the road. And almost hit a wall. Apparently I am about 50 lbs heavier running alone than I am running surrounded by bootcampers and road racers. It was really really hard to run 2.3 miles with nothing but my twisted mind for company. I've already acknowledged that running is, in many ways, more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge but that run totally hit me with it.

So, I need a team of friendly running elves. Preferably to map out my courses and to keep me in the dark about how far I'm going. They could put little signs along the way. And then they could be on hand to have a cheering section every half mile or so. That should do it. Any volunteers?

Well I didn't get up early and run this morning but it's nice and cold so I'm going to try again, a bit further this time, 3.5 miles. Undecided about whether to take music with me or whether to just confront the mental demons head on and conquer them naked. But if Santa is reading this, a new ipod shuffle might be a good idea! ;-) I'm too scared to risk dropping Clint's ipod video to risk running with that.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Thanks to Rachael Ray I'm pretty darned pleased with how my turkey and stuffing and gravy turned out. I've heard how difficult gravy is to make all my life and mine rocked on the first try! And I had fun doing it! Although I wish Rachael would acknowledge that her published prep times clearly incorporate a sous chef or two. If I get lots of applicants for the elf positions maybe I'll make one a sous elf. The actual cooking was pretty fun, the chopping not so much. I also learned that its a bad idea to cut apples with the wrong type of knife while talking on the phone. It is taking me 8 hours to type this post because I'm missing my left index finger. Well..... technically I'm just missing the USE of it since it is wrapped in a ginourmous bandage.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I dreamed about running last night. I can’t remember details, just running, each time I woke in between hitting the snooze button this morning I was running and thinking of distances. That’s one nice side effect of sleep deprivation you know, remembering your dreams. I’ve been getting too much sleep lately and not remembering them because I’m not waking in the middle. Last night I stayed up very very late doing some long overdue blog surfing. I also finally got around to adding a blogroll to my sidebar. It is a work in progress, I’m looking to add more running oriented blogs, especially from Atlantans so I can steal their training ideas. Not all of them are health and fitness oriented, some are actually people I know in real life.

Then when I was finally getting ready to go to bed I remembered the crickets. They came two days early because of the holiday and I wasn’t ready for them. But I couldn’t bear the thought of going to bed and leaving them for another night and day in their cold and soulless shipping tube. So I retrieved the cricket keeper, temporarily housed the remaining crickets from the last batch in a plastic bucket, and cleaned cricket poop and sheds and left over food so it was all sparkling and shiny and welcoming. Then I transferred the older crickets back in, gave them fresh food, and then dumped 50 new crickets on their heads. I don’t think they were impressed. But they all looked settled in this morning. Good cricket husbandry is one of those things that I spend way too much time fretting about but had I gone on to bed last night I would have woken this morning feeling all guilty like only a bad cricket mommy can. Which is ultimately ridiculous because I simultaneously have NO compunction about dumping 20 crickets into the terrarium of death and cheering as Bindi the Beard Dragon systematically, prehistorically and awesomely hunts them down. Sometimes Chase and I even make voices for the crickets and carry on silly conversations wherein they are super excited about the spacious new digs, then confused when their friends start disappearing one by one, then . . . CRUNCH. I guess I just figure I owe them clean and well fed final days. And, in the scheme of things, it’s pretty easy to make crickets happy. Its satisfying to serve the crickets in my life. It makes me happy.

I’ve devoted so much time to controlling and complicating things in order to “create” happiness. And I think there IS something admirable in that, but there is also something somewhat pathetic in it. Because my manufactured happy moments are never as satisfying as the ones that catch me unawares. I used to spend a lot of time researching work out techniques and buying workout equipment and clothing. I would read motivational books and get really really really psyched to MAKE THE CONNECTION. And I’d be really focused on how I looked working out, and how it felt to tell people I was working out, and not so much on what was going on within me. And the gear would lose its novelty. And all I would really perceive was pain and effort and the lack of instant results. And the gear would start gathering dust. And I would feel a bit stronger in my conviction that I just couldn’t do it.

What was different this time? I don’t know. I just didn’t think too much, which is a real fundamental accomplishment for me. I just showed up that first morning after only 2 hours of sleep with my stomach in knots. Then, after fighting the urge to hurl and after a thoroughly horrible day on every other front in my life, I just got up and went again the next morning, without really thinking about it too much. I did start blogging that second day, but the blogging has been less about controlling the process and more about merely documenting it. Certainly this blog is full of those unexpected moments of happiness that I’m only now fully realizing would never have happened had I tried to force them. Maybe I’ve just finally reached a point where I’ve stopped expecting happiness as my due. And now I’m finally free to fully appreciate those moments when I stumble across them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

0 to 13.1 . . .

It's official. I'm now registered for the ING Georgia Half Marathon on March 30. I'm very very excited about it RIGHT NOW. Lets hope that excitement doesn't completely fizzle out in the next 130 days. I was thinking about signing up for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon so I could run it with one of my blog heroes, PastaQueen and because the boys in my life would think it was REALLY REALLY cool that part of the course involves running around the Racetrack. But I have friends and family and so much support here, and it will feel like such a huge accomplishment to run a race through my hometown, where I already know the streets involved so well. I have a lifetime of memories along the route, it will be very healing to create a memory of me successfully running a race down the streets that I often find myself driving stressed out and anxious.

I'll be running as part of the Operation Bootcamp team. Jojo and Tim have assured me they will keep me on track and help me with my training schedule. So, I'll keep you posted. I might try and create a new element on the page to track my training. Hmmmm, if Santa is reading this a GPS watch thingamagig would be really cool.

I broke the 160 point this morning on the scale. I've also given myself permission to indulge in some comfort food this week so I'm not going to freak out if I regain that half pound sometime this week.

I read a really interesting post at the Angry Fat Girlz Blog today about the tension between the Fat Acceptance movement and the Weight Loss community. Bootcamp has been such an eye opener for me in terms of body acceptance and confronting the assumptions I often lazily rely upon. There are bootcampers who are bigger than I am, and stronger too. There are many bootcampers who are skinnier than I am, and not as fit as me or as other "fatter" people. I know someone who has struggled with weight but has also, simultaneously, maintained a rigourous workout schedule and who was often more cardio fit and stronger than I was, even if I was smaller and lighter.

Fitness is important. To accept yourself as unfit, to resign yourself to being incapable of movement, is incredibly self destructive. But so is working out like a demon and then hating yourself because you don't hit arbitrary number goals. I haven't lost MUCH weight, or really, in the scheme of things, too many inches. But I feel so empowered and strong that it doesn't really matter too much. Ok, it matters more when I'm depressed and looking for something to flog myself with, but today its not mattering so much so I can speak with some sort of moral authority.

So, Fat Acceptance is an important and empowering movement. And the suggestion that Fat Acceptance and weight loss can be incompatible makes sense when weight loss is a self-destructive self-denying tool. My six year old son lamented the other day that he thought he was fat. I take responsibility for that, I've certainly never suggested to him that I think HE is, but over the course of his short life he's seen far too much of me abusing myself over my weight. I'm so thankful that I'm finding this new path NOW, before he's a teenager, while its still relatively easy to influence him. Weight loss can be a side effect of fitness. Of eating properly to fuel your body. Of nurturing your fit self. But, to a certain extent, you can be fat AND fit. If we all just focused on fitness, there'd be no way not to connect with each other. Because fitness is an ACT, not an acheivement. So every step is progress and we should NEVER feel bad about progress, no matter the pace.

Racing makes this so clear for me. Each step closer to the next mile marker is cause for rejoicing. I never know if the scale or the measuring tape will directly reflect my efforts to lose weight or inches. But no matter what happens tomorrow, NOTHING can subtract the steps I took today.

So, in writing this I've realized how skewed my side bar is and I've rearranged to reflect the important stuff at the top. Even posting my weight FIRST in the sidebar is a way that I unconsciously minimize my self-worth. My weight is just ONE of many measures that, taken together, present a complete picture of my health. I DO like me some charts and graphs. Easily measured numbers are easy to track. "Feelings of Accomplishment" in and of themselves do not chart easily. Do not discount those feelings though. I don't think knowing that I weigh half a lb less than I did last week is going to propel me through any finish lines. But knowing what it feels like to meet a fitness goal will.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Photographic Evidence!

Taken after the Kids Chance Race (Chase grabbed one of his soccer trophies so we'd match!)

My Race Wall (taken after the Paideia Slither)

Breaking Records

Just my own, but still, I'm worried I'm getting a bit complacent about the fact that I break my own records every time I run under timed conditions. As you can see in the side bar I took another 2:09 off my 5K time at the Paideia Slither this past Saturday. The amount of time I drop each run is less each time and I intellectually understand that eventually I will plateau and I might even go long on some runs due to conditions or the course or me not being ready. At that point I will have to overcome the urge to stop trying. But, that point hasn't come yet and it is a ton of fun to shave the minutes off in the meantime!

The Paideia Slither was much hillier than I anticipated (and it was hillier than the Kids Chance which makes it extra suprising that I ran it so much faster!). It was also VERY cold at the start, and although I tried to stretch some I was afraid to stretch too much given how cold my muscles were. But I do like running in the cold, and I had stripped off my jacket and my gloves by the time we passed the first mile marker. Yes, I said "we" because one of my bestest childhood friends ever, Katy, ran with me! I encouraged her to not slow herself down to stay with me but as it turns out (although she's an accomplished runner with a few half marathons under her belt) she hasn't run in quite a while so I apparently wasn't too painfully slow for her. I was a little nervous about the prospect of someone running "with" me. I knew that even if I was capable of chatting through the race I probably wouldn't feel like it. Running is an intensely mental game for me. But Katy was GREAT. She matched herself to my pace and didn't make me feel anxious about running where I was comfortable. She has some sort of wierd malady which makes her feel the need to talk a LOT while she runs. But she stressed to me that I absolutely did NOT need to respond, she wouldn't be offended. So, sure enough, other than the occasional affirmation from me Katy kept up a pretty steady monologue throughout the race which I found quite pleasant and distracting from the fear I always have that I'm just steps away from walking. And she was instrumental in pushing me to find some sprint power at the end to make it to the finish at 34:00 minutes when I really felt like it was impossible.

So we averaged 10.83 minutes per mile, which is so much faster than the 12:14 minutes it took me to run just one mile on October 5 when I was running flat out for my first end of bootcamp PT test. The speed with which I'm improving is astonishing to me. It's like my body is all of a sudden "getting" it, on some sort of cellular level. I wonder if averaging 8:31 per mile will ever be possible on a 5K?

Sorry no photos yet. I PROMISE to get on it this evening, we were just too busy catching up from Clint's trip yesterday evening. There is a picture of me and Chase with my trophy and a picture I took of my "wall of numbers" in my closet. I also took a picture of the blisters I developed during the Kids Chance run because I was really proud of them but I've since decided not to gross you all out. No blisters at that Paideia race so my "new" shoes are officially broken in. As I suspected, my shins hurt at the start of the race but stopped hurting once I was warm, and then were sore and tender after the race. But they didn't hurt during the race like they do during bootcamp so I think it has to do with intensity or perhaps my form when I'm jogging as opposed to sprinting.

So my current plan is to rest this entire week although I'm already feeling kind of grossed out by that plan (wierd huh?) so I may do some stretching and strength exercises at least. And maybe I'll go for a short jog, I want to map out some routes around my house. I'd love to run a race a week but that could get ridiculously expensive! I want to give my legs at least 4 days off though so that my shins and my right hamstring (which has been tight since last week's sprint day at bootcamp) can fully recover. And then Bootcamp III starts next Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2007


OK, I'm tight on time at the moment but I'm again without internet access at home this weekend so I wanted to at least give a quick post to commemorate completing my second bootcamp!

I ran my little heart out this morning and handily beat my goal of a 9 minute mile by 29 whole seconds! Yep, my fastest mile time is now 8:31, which was a 1:12 improvement over October 22. I was actually suprised to see such a big drop, now I'm determined to get under 8 minutes!

Didn't see such huge improvements in the other tests. My second best improvement was in push ups and I did the exact same number of sit ups. I really crank them out and I think I'm almost maxed on the physical number of times my body can make that motion in a minute at 39. Although one of my instructors says he maxes out at 45 so I'd like to at least squeeze 6 more in there!

My husband is in Tuscany for work and keeps complaining about all the hours the clients are making him sit down and eat 6 course meals. I'm SO excited about him gaining weight. I'm evil. But seriously, all he has to do to drop 10lbs is think about it hard so don't feel too sorry for him!

BIG THANKS to my friend Shane and my Dad who slept over at my house this week so that I could make boot camp in the mornings. It is CONCRETE support like that which makes ALL the difference. I'm really blessed to have it from so many quarters.

I'll find some way to check back in tomorrow after the Paideia 5K and I promise to post a picture of me with my trophy once my husband gets back with the laptop!

I've removed the "Goal Weight" from my sidebar. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I wasn't really focused on that at all. My goal was an arbitrary number that I vaguely remember weighing almost a decade ago. I may add a "goal inches" category but I was too lazy to measure myself at the start of bootcamp so I'll have to call Jenny Craig and get the measurements they took of me back in May and compare them to now. And then I'll have to resist the lure of Jenny Craig. I really do love their food. It's hard to resist the convenience but I know that I want to eat fresher more REAL foods from here on out.

One final note: my underwear is too big. Luckily its too cold to be wearing skirts without pantyhose or I'd be risking an unfortunate incident. Maybe that's what happened to Brittany? Maybe she inadvertently danced her panties right off! I've got some Victoria's Secret coupons but I'm a little nervous about using them . . . on the one hand, I might love how I look in everything and I'll buy half the store. On the other hand, I might still get over critical and devolve into a ball of self-loathing in the dressing room. I THINK I've developed some resistance to the second scenario but just not sure yet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Splintastic dawn rising . . .

Some random thoughts:
1. Now that the annual fall time change has occurred the sun rises about halfway through bootcamp every morning. Sure, it’s pretty and all that but it makes me feel like I’m running late every day. And I always get that uncomfortable feeling that I’ve stayed on the dance floor too long and my makeup is all sweated off and that sexy gyration I was just doing has suddenly become kind of scary when they unkindly turn on all the fluourescents and tell us its time to LEAVE.
2. My shins don’t mind jogging but they’re not a big fan of sprinting. I had almost no problem with them in the 5K but they consistently hurt during bootcamp. Yesterday we did sprinting and I’ve been hobbling around with sore shins and one aching hamstring ever since. This morning we did Altitude Adjustment and tackled hills all morning. My legs are uber annoyed with me right now. But that’s ok. I have a 6 year old. I am impervious to whining.
3. My abs continue to amaze me. Situps are the easiest exercise we do, I look forward to them as a break from everything else. I’m wondering if they were already in better shape than I gave them credit for due to compensating for my weak back for all those years.
4. My back feels good, I still am careful about the way I move it sometimes but so far it has taken everything I’ve dished out.
5. I’ve mapped out five races I want to run over the next 2 months, including the Paideia one this weekend. Three are in consecutive weekends in December, all are 5K. I’m also eyeing the St. Pete Beach Classic on January 19. That’s MLK weekend and my vacation will have rolled over so we could visit family, hit the beach and I could run a really cool race. There is both a 5K and an 8K option. Doing the 8K would rock, then I could shoot for a 10K sometime in the Spring.
6. One of the major stressors in my marriage over time has been my lack of health and fitness and my husband’s concern about same. Given my current attitude I can’t really explain why I resisted exercising for so long. I remember major fights about his expectations that I could do things like “run”. I used to tell him that demanding something like that was totally unreasonable, that I could NEVER be a “runner”. If bootcamp had been advertised as a runner’s camp I’d never have signed up. I would do things like walking, and not particularly quickly. I was all about the “low impact” options. I believe that having low impact options is important, and done properly they are valid cardio workouts. But I abused the “low impact” terminology and translated it into minimal effort. I put great faith into this “8 Minutes in the Morning” workout that was on all the talk shows a few years ago, completely ignoring that the author of that program said you ALSO had to do cardio three times a week in addition to the 8 minutes of sitting in a chair lifting 3 lb weights. So when my back would go out, or when I couldn’t manage something physical, he would get frustrated because he felt like I had put myself in that position needlessly. And he was right to be frustrated. So last week when he was feeling badly due to some health issues going on with him I got really frustrated with him because I felt he hadn’t been taking care of himself and I snapped at him, “I’ve got limited sympathy because your pain is due to the fact that you’re not taking care of yourself!” Even before the sentence was completely out of my mouth I realized how ridiculous I sounded. I turned to him with a stunned expression (and he was understandably looking pretty annoyed). “Can you believe I just said that to you???” I asked. He softened and chuckled, and I started laughing. I couldn’t believe how ridiculous it was that I was at last in a position where I could even begin to say that without being a total hypocrite. As the evening wore on the deliciousness of that exchange just kept cracking me up. I was totally tickled with myself.
7. “Delicious” is one of my favorite words. As evident above, I believe it should be applied in many situations that have nothing to do with food. Although the results can be a little disturbing as when Anne Geddes was quoted as saying that she thought newborns looked “delicious”.
8. We’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time EVER this year. It will be small (thankfully) but is sure to still be amusing. I’m tempted to purchase everything already cooked but we do have a beautiful kitchen now with acres of countertop on which to screw up. Hey, I can run over 3 miles. Perhaps cooking something that doesn’t come out of a box (“all ingredients included!!!!”) isn’t such an impossible feat either.
9. Pumpkin pies are like Pringles, can’t have just one!
10. Sugar Free Red Bull probably isn’t really “good” for me.