Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Race Recap!

Well, it is in the books. My first 5K in four years. The last one I ran was the Sprint for Life 5K in May of 2009. .After enduring injuries and health problems that I was sure had ended my running career forever, on Sunday I ran the Sprint for Life again. Wow.

I ran the race with my mom and my son. We headed up the night before and spent the night near the start line so we didn't have to get up too early and drive 40 minutes into the Houston Medical Center where the race was held.

I was up early to make sure I had time to eat, be nervous and walk out to the start. The three of us lined up in different spots: my son lined up closer to the front  I lined up somewhere between, real runner and granny with a walker. Mom lined up with the walkers.

Standing at the start I hopped from foot to foot telling myself I was trying to warm-up. In reality it was sheer nerves.

Houston actually set a record low that morning and I was glad for my new runner's hoodie. It always amazes me how you stand waiting around for the race to begin and then all of a sudden it's already started! So now we are off! with Sara Evans singing about getting stronger.

I felt great almost the entire race. It was a little disheartening to see so many people pass me up as I plodded along, but I didn't let it bother me... too much and before I knew it, I passed the mile one marker, and Eminem telling me to Lose Myself, that I could do anything I set my mind to, yo!

I see Caleb on the other side of the course coming in for the last leg of his race! We exchange "go Caleb's" and "go Mom's" and he finishes in 23:10-taking fourth in his age group. No, he didn't really train. At. All. He works out with his wrestling team every morning at school, so I guess that was enough, because he kicked butt.  I'm trying to convince him to actually spend a few weeks training and then run another race because I think he'd totally win the thing, but I'm not sure he wants to work that hard.

Still feeling good as I headed into the second mile. Had a rough second as I tried to unzip my hoodie without dislodging my race number but kept running even as people continue to pass me and now it's Kelly Clarkson who is telling me that what dosn't kill me makes me stronger.

"Head down, breathe, keeping moving" becomes my mantra as I head into the last mile. Theme to Rocky and my legs are starting to burn. My goal was to run for 35 minutes matter where that put me on the course. It actually put me about half a mile further out than I thought it would and I walked for two minutes before I told myself to stop being a wussie and, "run you fat ass! I can show a movie on your butt!" (Police Academy reference) and I'm running again.

And then I look up and there is my son, and thank goodness because I'm not feeling Sia as she tries to convince me I AM TITANIUM. Caleb encourages me to keep going and then there is...a hill! Crap. A fucking hill! I know that just over the hill is the finish line and so I push, breathe and use my arms to climb that damn hill (in full disclosure, it was more like a slight rise in the pavement, but it felt HUGE! It wasn't.)  I still can't see the finish line and I almost gave up right there, but just because you can't see the finish, doesn't mean it isn't there. My son is running beside me giving me encouragement and I can finally see the finish line- and it seems so freaking far away. I thought once I saw the finish I would surge forward with some last burst of adrenaline as the Chariots of Fire theme swelled in the background. It was going to be beautiful. Yup, sooo didn't happen, but as I got closer I finally forced my feet to turnover faster, told my lungs they could breathe when we were done and crossed that finished line! YAY!

I was a little insulted when a first aid worker came up and asked me if I was okay. Did I really look that bad? Guess so. We walked back to hell hill for Mom, I'm still out of breath and slugging water so Caleb and Mom take off for the finish!

We've all made it! We celebrate by wolfing down pancakes like it is our job, and I keep saying that I can't believe I did it.

No ill effects from the race. My legs were stiff, but a nice hot Epsom salt bath in my jacuzzi tub fixed that right up. I took Sunday off from running, but Monday I was back out there. See, there is this 5K I'm training for...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

But I'm Still Fat!

There is nothing worse than pulling out last summer's jeans, putting them on, trying to zip them up and failing miserably.  Well actually, there is. There is running like a madwoman while training for a 5K, taking prima barre classes like I I'm starring in a Black Swan re-make, and eating like I'm one of Gwyneth Paltrow's kids...and still not losing any weight. Not. A. Pound. Not. One. That sucks so bad I can't even talk about it. I mean really, Scale? You couldn't give me at just one pound for all the effort I have put in? Bitch.

I try to focus on the positive. I am up to working out at least 4, sometimes 5 days a week. A big jump from the measly 2 to 3 I was doing. I'm not a couch potato anymore. A lazy ass, yes but none of the bone numbing fatigue I fought for so long.  I have increased my running milage by a mile and a half. Even my daughter (the original Miss Prima Ballerina herself) is impressed with my turnout. So I have made progess, measurable progress, just not on the scale.

Why should I care? Shouldn't the progress I've made be enough? Sadly, no. I wish it was, espcially since I have a 10 year old daughter who I want to be proud of and accepting of her body. I don't want her to  look in the mirror and be disguted the way I am. Why is it that my measure of success is determined by the scale and all the other accomplishments pale in comparison?

At this point I can honestly say that I could go out and run that 5k at an elite pace and my reaction would be, "yeah, but I'm so dang fat!" and that is so wrong on so many levels. For all the talk of women's bodies are beautiful, I'm still stuck on a bloody scale and it is time to get off. What keeps me glued to that scale? I don't know.

At this point I am re-assessing. I don't want to give up on the workouts that I love and I'm afraid that I'm going to have to trade them in on something more intense (and that I HATE) in order to get that dang scale to budge.

I have met with my nutritionist to go over my diet and  I'm eating way to many  carbs which is wreaking havoc with my blood sugar. I also noticed one to many "just one bite." Those one bites sure add up. I'm tightening up my diet  in hopes of tightening up my belt.

I know that each mile I run, each healthy morsal of food I give my body does wonderful things for my health and that is what I tell myself when I run. When I run I am off the scale comepletly. It doesn't matter who big my thighs are, it only matters that they are strong, and healthy and keep me going, and I actually give thanks to them as I'm running. No wonder I keep running. It keeps me off the scale. Hey, whatever works.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To the Light

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
 Rage, rage against the dying of the light"
                                       -Dylan Thomas

My heart hurts for what happened in Boston. Do we really live in a world where we cannot go out for a run without the risk of being blown to bits? I'm mean, really!

I'm a runner. I'm not a marathon runner, nor will I ever be, and that is okay with me. I'm content to just get out there and run my granny-pace 5K because running makes me run to the light when sitting at home on the couch whining keeps me in darkness. So I run. I run to focus on the light and also to keep from running away. I run to prove to myself  (and my cardiologist) that I am a strong person
-  that I'm healed, healthy and whole.

I'm also a social worker in a level one trauma center. Every day I see people whose lives have "blown up." I'm there when people's lives change in an instant. I have sat with families as they have cried and asked why their loved one was now gone. I have walked the floor with a hurt baby in my arms just like I did when my own kids where babies. I have assured an assault victim that nobody has the right to hurt her. I have comforted a young mother who miscarried and tried to convince here it wasn't her fault. I've promised car accident victims that I would find their mom for them and then held their hand until she got there.

It doesn't sound like much does it? I know it doesn't, and a lot of the time I feel helpless and powerless and want to rage at the injustice of it all. I question this world which seems to have gone absolutely crazy, and I question my abilities as a social worker because I can't fix 99% of the things I'm asked to deal with, but then again the most common compliment I get is not, "you fixed everything for me" but rather "you were so nice! Thank you for being so nice."  I have come to realize that being nice, holding a hand, just listening, are my ways of raging against the darkness. They are just moments, but they add up, and if somebody who, in the midst of tragedy, can experience kindness, then maybe I'm not so powerless after all.

I can't even imagine the powerlessness and helplessness the people of Boston are feeling right now, but I look at the pictures of people running TOWARD the blast to help others, runners who continued running, after they had completed the marathon, to the hospital to give blood, people who opened their homes and provided food, shelter and kindness to others, and it gives me hope. I believe that is our true nature as human beings, what we were created to do for each other. I'm also saddened that it takes a bomb going off to reveal it. Maybe we don't reveal that part of ourselves because, like me in my trauma center, we feel like it isn't enough. I'm here to tell you, it is. Just being kind, being nice, holding a hand, listening, makes a huge impact!

Just stop and think what the world would be like if we sent out the love, prayers, hope and kindness we are sending to Boston right know, to the world every single day.  That is how we rage against the darkness, that is how we spread light, that is how we refuse to go gentle into that good night. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Doing a 5K!... Maybe...

I’m running a 5K…yay! Well, maybe. This year has been fraught with illness and injury. My body has betrayed me in the most horrendous ways: jacked up foot, pissed off hip, bone numbing fatigue and just plain feeling “crappy.” Yes, that is a medical term! I spent way too many days on the couch with Benson and Stabler unable –unwilling- to make an effort to pretend I felt okay when I wasn’t. The day I noticed the seat in my car covered in my hair in amounts Chewbaca would have been proud of, I decided, enough of this shit! I got pissed, then scared and then got real. Blood test after blood test came back indicating seemingly everything was off but nothing specific that my doc and I could point to and say “ah, this is the problem.”  My adrenals were shot, but it wasn’t Addison’s. My glucose levels were off but not enough to be diabetic. My thyroid levels were off, but not enough to be considered hypothyroid. So we started with the basics: nutrition, meditation and gentle exercise with lots of rest days in between. I found an excellent ballet barre inspired class with a wonderful teacher and supportive classmates. I started walking slow and steady. I took every supplement my doc threw at me and lost four pounds-with more coming off everyday.

Meanwhile I continued to berate myself for not doing more: losing more weight, working out more, walking instead of running: LOSER. But then a funny thing happened. I began to feel a little better and even though my thyroid numbers were “normal” my doc ordered a thyroid ultrasound because it sure as hell sounded like thyroid no matter what the labs said. They found very small nodules, so small they cannot even be biopsied, and because there are multiple ones, that is a sure sign that they are benign. These tiny demons seem to be sitting there just wreaking havoc with my “poor-ass, gentle, loving thyroid. Spending their days thinking up psycho products and nasty ideas to undermine my thyroid. Thyroid  Mother-fuckers! “*

So I began taking a desiccated thyroid supplement. I don’t know if it is just the placebo effect, I’m on an natural upswing, or if this shit really works, but I’m beginning to feel better.  Since I was feeling better, I carefully, tentatively began to work out, scared to death that I was going to overdo it and end up banished to the couch again (my cycle in the past) but I was careful, and really tried to listen to my body and took lots of rest days.  And then I started to run again.

The thing about running? “I just can’t quit you” I love it. Next to skiing it is my favorite physical thing to do.  Okay, it is the ONLY physical thing I like to do…whatever, I’m a girly-girl who doesn’t like to sweat, get hot, or break a nail and I own all of it. Don’t judge.  But I’ll run my fat ass until it drops, like a boss!!

The running is going really well. So well, that I inadvertently jumped ahead a full week in my training program and didn’t notice until the end of the run when I started wondering why in the hell it felt like I had been running TWICE the amount of time I was supposed to be…uh, because pretty much I was.

I wasn’t going to sign up for a 5K because I wasn’t going to do one if I couldn’t do it in under 30 min or at least run the entire thing. Then I decided that just like conceding I need lots of rest days, and need to take it slow, I realized I needed to just get the hell over myself and toe the start. 

My son and I will be running (because I told him he had too!) the M.D. Anderson Sprint for Life for Ovarian Cancer on May 4th. We will be running with my mom because she is a survivor in every sense of the word and kicked ovarian cancer’s ass 10 years ago. She is a rock star and I know how much it means to her that her grandson and I are doing this with her.

But I also need to do this for me. To prove to myself that I can be healthy and whole and feel well - that my life isn’t only a string of Law and Order marathons viewed from my couch. I need to believe that in order for it to be true. The more I believe the more true it becomes.  The more true it becomes, the more I believe… Just getting out on that 5K course, swallowing the fear of becoming sick, screams to the universe: I’m well, I’m whole, I have perfect health.  That will be my mantra at the start, and as long as I start, it will be true.
*this is a line from Eve Ensler play The Vagina Monolouges. Specifically, it is from the piece I did this year. Obviously, Ms. Ensler wasn't talking about thyroids. Mom, I'm glad you weren't there. :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Day of Rest

Maybe I'm doing this all wrong...a question that repeatedly seems to come up for me. It seems that in order to work out the "right" way you must totally kill yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY. Anything less than that and you are: a slacker, not committed, not working hard enough and wasting your time as well as the time of others who are oh, so much cooler than you are. Well, bite me.

I tried to do crazy workouts six days a week. I ended up so tired and sick that I was on the couch crying with bone-numbing exhaustion, feeling totally defeated. I have learned that as much as I need to work out, and push myself during my workout outs, I need rest just as much. I am working out every other day. I enjoy my workouts and they make me feel energized and not completely and utterly depleted.

Sometimes you just need a day off. If I'm too tired, too sore, or too sick to work out, I seriously consider whether what I really need is rest. If I'm all three it is usually a no-brainier: rest day it is! If it is only one, I try and remind myself that a moderate workout will usually work mild soreness out, energize me and get my sinuses moving again. But if I feel like my body needs some rest and recovery, I do it, or don't do it...

I'm not gonna lie, some days I just don't feel like it. I want to sit on my ass and lose myself in a Law and Order marathon. When this happens, I grab my favorite blanket, curl up with a cup a tea and totally OWN my rest day. I just make sure it's a rest day and not a rest week!

Yesterday was a rest day between my prima barre classes. I was sore as well as tired from traveling last week. I knew I needed to rest, so I did. Today I hit my prima barre class hard, and felt great, which probably would not have been the case if I had done what I was "supposed to do" and not been such a slacker. Well, maybe I am going about this all wrong, but I feel great, and my butt is smaller, so I must be doing something right!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Action Plan

This is MY action plan. MY Goals. What I want for ME.  Meeting myself where I am. It is not All. It is not NOTHING. It is me.  Screw you to those who told me it wasn't enough. I'm doing just fine without you.

 Action Plan

1.     Increases baseline weekly energy level from  6 to 8  points within 30 days

a.     Takes all meds and supplements as prescribed

b.     Tracks daily energy level on 10 point scale

c.      Sleeps 9 hours a night

2.     Strong and healthy enough to run 5K within 13 weeks

a.     Walks 30 min 5 days a week for 30 days

b.     Begins Couch to 5K  in 30 days

c.      Zen in your Den yoga practice 5 days a week for 30 days

3.     Increase nutrition

a.     Eats salad and one vegetable at dinner

b.     Drinks at least 64oz of water per day


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not Ready to Make Nice

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

So, it's been a minute... Lots has happened. Lots to say. Lots of emotions.

I'm not quite sure where to start. This could end up being a very long post.

First, why I'm back. Well, I've missed blogging. Blogging seems to provide me with a sense of motivation and support that I need. It is also helpful to read back through old posts and see the progress I have made. Very helpful to me. And that has been a big a part of where I have been: finding out what is helpful to me on my journey toward health, and what is not.

I'm still on this journey, although the destination has changed. This blog began when I was trying to lose weight for my sister's wedding (which was four months ago!) The wedding was beautiful (and so was my sis) and I was determined to focus on HER day and not the way I looked in my dress! Yes, there were moments when I thought, "Ug! I am so freaking FAT! I look awful!" but I quickly pushed that thought out of my head and looked at my sister, and how I looked meant absolutely nothing at all. But the appearance of recent health issues has necessitate a change in my journey. My bridesmaid bootcamp has now become my LIFE bootcamp and the goal has changed from dropping lbs to getting strong and healthy, to just feeling better damn it!

Right before I left for California, I had gotten a cold and it lingered for about a month. I found a great doc who ran a ton of blood work which indicated a pretty serious hormone imbalance. I discovered that working out too intensely sent my hormone levels (specifically Cortisol) plummeting and left me on the couch, unable to to much of anything. It was time to re-evaluate.

I began an intense hormone replacement regimen and began to think long and hard about what my true goals were and exactly what I needed to realistically do to meet them. I thought I had it figured out. I wrote up an action plan with goals and objectives (making sure they were SMART. Thank you, Dr Russell's stats class! haha)  I created a daily checklist and derived intense pleasure for each check mark I was able to make. I was making progress! I was feeling stronger. I had more energy. My workouts were becoming longer and  more intense.I was feeling good. And even though I it wasn't a true goal, I actually dropped some weight.  I was meeting my goals. Go ME!

And then...


I let it all go to shit. The fact that it went all to shit doesn't piss me off nearly as much as why I let things crash and burn. I let others  make me feel as if what I was doing wasn't good enough. That my workouts weren't intense enough, hard enough, and therefore not good enough. Never mind that what I was doing was actually working for me and that I was meeting my goals.


I gave up...again. But WHY? I mean, what the hell is THAT, giving up on a plan that was actually working? I would understand if it wasn't working and the plan needed to be re-evaluated, but to quit on something because I let myself feel less than? That is just plain, well....stupid.

It's taken me awhile to get back in the swing of things and convince myself that my goals are MY goals, nobody else's and I get to choose what works for me! I am in control. Not anyone else and damn sure not that nasty voice in my head!

Hey, let's be real here. I'm never going to look like a fitness model and I am totally ok with that.  I'm okay with the length and the intensity of my workouts. I'm not going to let myself feel bad because they aren't longer or more intense, because, well, if they are meeting my goals, do they really have to be?

We have a saying in social work, "meet the client where they are." This is where I am right now: trying to find a balance between getting the exercise my body needs to feel healthy not pushing myself so hard that I end up making myself sick. Yes, that happened.  That is where I am going to meet myself. When I'm further along, I'll meet myself there too.

So my goals:
Look like a fitness model
Run a 5K.
Work with my doc to regulate my hormone levels
Feel better damn, it!

How am I going to do this? Slowly. I'm just now walking 30 minutes 4-5 days a week. I'm going to start a Couch to 5K program here again in the next few weeks. I also started taking a Prima Barre class twice a week. I love these classes they seem to help strengthen my feet, ankles, hips and make it easier for me to run
I'm going to rest when I need to.
DO ME! and not worry that I'm not doing enough! Do I feel strong? Do I feel healthy? Is my energy level up? Am I progressing toward my ultimate goals, even if it is slowly? Yes?? Then that nasty voice can pipe the f@#$ down, I'm not making nice with you!