NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whatever I want to be: Thursday Thirteen.

Things I've learned this week, in and out of therapy.  

13.  My father's voice is the voice inside my head, most of the time.  This is very unfortunate, because it's a voice of derision.  It's a voice that fills me with doubt.  Sometimes it's a voice that says, you did't try hard enough. Other times, it's a voice that says, it will never matter how hard you try.I need my own voice.


12.  I've never really been a dog kind of person.  But I'm being won over.  Even Baboo isn't as excited to see me each day as these guys are.  I mean, he's happy, but he doesn't wag so hard that his whole body moves, or try to lick my hand.  Maybe I just haven't asked nicely.
Anyway.  Furry welcomes are pretty great.

11.  I can stop a panick attack by jumping up and down really hard or running up a  hill. 

10.  Xanax works really, really well.  Really well. No.  REALLY.  It's also highly addictive, so, well, you know: find another way.  Red wine helps, too, but I imagine that jumping up and down hard or running up a hill is probably better for me.


9.  I've been in grad school continuously since 1997.  During that time, I've amassed 2 partial PhDs, and as of spring 2011, 3 master's degrees. It's time that I stopped, and started living my life.  There's nothing I need to prove.

8.  I do not need to binge at Linn's super buffet to feel like I have some control over my life.

7.  I am fine, just the way I am.

6.  This awful thing that happened to me 25 years ago, the one that I don't talk about much because my people don't ever talk about our feelings--we intellectualize and describe them ad nauseaum but never feel them--that thing.
It's done.  It's over.  Feel it, deal with it, and move on.  I am safe.  I am not trapped.  I am not in danger.

5.  I want to learn how to surf before I turn 50.

4.  I am not taking any classes this summer.  My goals are to shift my work hours to 9 to 6, so that I can have a nice dawn run.  I'm stoked.

3.  I am a runner.

2. I am a swimmer.

1. I am whatever I want to be.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fuzzy logic.

Last Wednesday, we came home to find that someone had broken into our house, stolen a large flat-screen TV, a smaller flat-screen, blue-ray DVD player, and Baboo's laptop.  They damaged the door frame kicking it in.
We have a ridiculously high deductible, so it's unlikely we'll be able to replace everything right now.

If you're having a bit of dejavu, so was I: my car was broken into about 3 weeks ago and no, I don't know if the are related or some random bad karma landed on me.  

Suffice to say that between my unemployment the last 1/3 of last year, and these two break-ins, and the IRS recently deciding that we owe them just a bit more (couple of grand) money, it's been a difficult first part of the year.  Very discouraging.  We needed some fuzzy love.

So we went to the Humane Society and adopted a pair of dogs.  We figured that between an alarm company and unconditional love, we'd go with the latter.  And here is the result: two 7-month-old very wiggly pups, unrelated, both surrendered by their respective owners.  They were in the same cage together, so we figured they must get along.





This is Chloe --



Chloe is a spayed female lab/pit mix.  She likes tennis balls, rawhide bones, and trail runs.  She's the slightly less hyper of the two.  Her current goals are to eat, sleep, wiggle, and stay off the couch.  Well, maybe that's my goal.
But I'm going to make it hers.






-- This is Jake.  

Jake is a neutered heeler/shepherd mix.
As such, he nips and mouths people and is a bit hard to run with, because he wants to herd everyone.
Amazingly, he also likes rawhide bones, tennis balls, and trail runs.  His legs are not that short.  I just photographed him from above.  His goals are to wiggle, eat, sleep, and stop using his mouth on everyone so much.  (Again, my goal.  NO BITE!!!)

Jake, I've decided, needs a bandana.  .

(Oh, and the cats, Hissy and Lily, would like a word with me later on about these latest additions to the household.)

We ran with them this morning. It's the fastest I've ever done this loop, about 2.6 miles behind our house.  Jake just about pulled me up the hill, and he's not very big yet.  The top of his back is about mid thigh to me We're going to condition the doggies until they are able to handle long distances and carry their own food. Meanwhile, I had no time to stop and have a panic attack, because I was busy trying to stay upright and not be pulled down a sandy, bouldery hill.

They have a nice big backyard to roam around in, as we have about 1/3 of an acre, and a nice big pond full of nice fresh running water.  Mmmmm, says Jake.   WILD water.  We also have a nice clean dry shed that Baboo is, at this moment, installing a doggie door in.  Now they have room, shade, shelter, water...no other pound puppy had it so good in their forever home.  Baboo, as you can imagine, is wildly excited about all of this, himself loving all things smallish, and furry.

I'm not used to being around dogs.  I had a dog once, but not for very long, and all I can remember is pure neediness.  I didn't remember the constant expectation that seems to be present, as Chloe and Jake follow me everywhere, that I must be about to do something wonderful and/or exciting.  I must be!  Why else would I be walking somewhere!  OMG, SOMETHING EXCITING MUST BE ABOUT TO HAPPEN!!! IT MUST BE.  IT MUST BE!!!
or I imagine that's what they must be thinking, because whenever I go anywhere, inside and out, they scamper around me, leaping up and down, occasionally jumping up to lick a hand.   Then I sit down, and then they try to leap up on me some more, but eventually yawn, and sack out.

I will have to run with one of them every morning at least a mile or two, and again in the evening.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Otherwise, poop will ensue.  If the threat of poop doesn't get my out of bed and on my feet, I don't know what will.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Upsides most men will never understand: Thursday Thirteen.


Last week I mentioned that I had discovered by accident that a pontytail in wet hair, at least at my current length, resulted in an attractive flip the next day, and stated that this was an upside that men would not understand.  

We know that we are mysterious creatures.  So, this week, I present to you: other upsides that men will never understand (but should).

These are things that matter. As the old song goes, Sometimes it's hard to be a woman.  These are things that will cause us to stop bitching about our weight and our periods and complaining about life in general, they are like Christmas in July.

13.  Finding the right person who does your hair, with just the right balance of bossiness and gratuitous flattery, depending on your needs.

12.  Workout clothes that are comfortable AND flattering, and don't go out of production after one year.

11.  Those unexpected mentions of how hard we work. You don't have to fawn all over us; we won't respect you if you do--but those occasional mentions, almost off-handedly, you know, sometimes I look at what you do--the kids, work, all that stuff, and I realize how hard you work.  I just wanted you do know that I appreciate this.  (Sweet Baboo, as you might imagine, is a master at this). Set your watch for about every 19 days.  That should do it.

10. The right shade of lipstick, on sale, not because it's being closed out.

9.  Figuring out a way to do your hair so that at the end of a sweaty marathon or ride, you still look good.

8.  Figuring out how to stand when your picture is being taken near or during an event.  DP is a master at this, and I will figure out how she does it.  And I will copy her shamelessly. 

7. That Valentine's day fuss, that we weren't expecting, that included a big shiny bag from Vickie's and another one from BathNBodyworks.

6.  That one doctor that finally figures out how to solve that embarrassing ____________ problem (fill in your own blank).

5.  A nice couples run in which we're not reminded consistently of how slow we're going, but just how much fun you're having being with us.

4.  Things that come in pink.  Like, iPods, cycling gloves, jump drives, CDs, etc.

3.  That Ebay seller who didn't realize the briefcase they were selling is LODIS, not LODI, or maybe it was just a typo, so that you get it for $20, all because you searched for "red leather briefcase" and it popped up.  (For some of us, this is like a hole-in-one: it's one of those stories we talk about, to people who will understand the significance, forever.  FOREVER.)

2. A perfect pair of jeans.

1. I leave this one blank for the ladies out there to fill in ______________ ?

... 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

  1. I am so freaking sick of winter. How am I, the lazy runner, to get through a run when it's colder that sh*t out?  I can't stop and walk, because I get chilled.  I know, I know, I'll miss all this in July.  Meanwhile: bitch, bitch, bitch..
  2. I'm losing 1.5 pounds a week.  Which for most people would be fantastic.  For me, who used to pull off losing 5 pounds a week, it's like GAAAAA!  Still, I'll take it over losing nothing.
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  3. I'm seriously doubting my ability to pull off a 50-miler in less than a month from now.
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  4. I found my favorite pink iPod.  This is awesome, because I thought the car thieves had stolen it.  They didn't, it just fell through the hole in the pocket of the jacket I was wearing that day.  Remember: every day is Christmas when you lose things the way I do.  You find it, and you're ALL happy.
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  5. I did an 18-miler last weekend averaging about  14-minute pace.  For me, this is huge, especially when considering the elevation profile of said 18-miler.  There is a funny little blip right before 10 miles, that's where I accidentally turned off my Garmin for 0.6 miles.  I started feeling panic problem about mile 14, but I got through it okay. 
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6.  I have discovered, that even if you do nothing, panic attacks will go away.  They suck, but THEY GO AWAY.  Buwahaha.  You will not vanquish me, stupid anxiety crap.
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7.  Per the profile, above: That's 5-1/2 miles of downhill running.  My quads did not stop hurting until Wednesday.
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8.  I've gotten very good at wasting what little time I have while a) not training and b) not doing any of my reading, or homework.
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9.  One of the new psychiatrists said, "your assessments are wonderful."  Wonderful!  Me!  When I taught public school, nobody told me I was wonderful; the only thing they ever told me was "don't park near the front, that's where parents and visitors park.  You park in the back."
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10.  This week, I begin Satan's spin class.  Dread Pirate has been trying to get me into this for years, so that I can share her misery.  Beginning promptly at 5:30 am, It's an hour forty-five of constant spinning, with a man yelling commands and intervals at you NOW!  C'MON: NOW!!  Then I get to hurry to work with a wet pony tail.  The upside to this, discovered today, is that the next morning my hair has assumed a fairly attractive flip from the pony tail worn all day.  Win-win. 
Note: You men reading this will not appreciate a "upside" of this nature. Or maybe you will.  I don't know.
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11.  I have decided that I would like to go to WAL-MART today and buy items cheaply made by children in sweatshops for my office. In particular, I would like to get a coat tree and a mirror, and maybe a cheap curtain to filter the afternoon sun. 
There's no reason why you would be interested in this, I'm just mentioning it.
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12.  The place where I work has a treatment unit for juvenile sex offenders.  Would you guess that there are cases I work on that I can never, ever, ever talk?  Oh, yeah.  NEVER.
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13.   They started a "biggest loser" club where I work.  Back in 2005, when I started all this, I joined one of those--we paid $10, and the biggest loser would get all the money.  I lost 30 pounds, proving once again that there is not much I won't do for money.  However, most of the people in the club lost interest, stopped coming, and faded away; there was never any explanation as to what happened to the money. I didn't get it.  My understanding is that the school secretary kept it. 
This time, if I win, I want my money.

...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Party at my place.

Last week I had a panic attack. Actually, I had a series of them. If you've never had them, the best way I can describe them:

a) Ever walked into a room, flipped on a light, and something scurried or flew across your face? Remember little electric shock you got when that happened? Okay, hold onto that thought....

b) Ever been in a car flying down a road, and the road dipped suddenly and rose back up again just as suddenly? You know that sudden heart-in-your-mouth + slightly nauseated feeling you get? Okay, hold onto that thought....

c) Now add in that sinking feeling you have when you realize that you forgot to do something really, really, really important, and now you can't do it and you're seriously going to catch hell.

Add those up, and experience them all at once, for, oh, about a half hour. That's a panic attack.

So anyway. So, I had a panic attack the night before, and was dreading my long run. Then I had another one while out on my next long run. Which made me dread my next long run.  Which begs the question, 

What happens to long distance runners who get agoraphobia?

This is the first time I've had this problem since the late 90s, and
I only had one back then, but it's been building for a long time. I'll need to go see someone to deal with some issues I've been putting off for a long time. This has been building, by the way, for several years. For several years I would avoid going out to do errands because I "didn't feel like it".

But I thought I was past that. I'm not. Apparently, the downside of not having kids around is that you no longer have anyone to worry or be aggravated by, so you get all kinds of time to get into your own head, which for me, is not the best place to be.

There's all kinds of crap in there, in my head, stuffed wayyyyyyyy back into my "let's not deal with this right now" closet. Then I opened the closet, which was overstuffed, and a whole bunch of my past fell out, all over the place. So there it is.  The result is, "get the girl a magazine rack; she's got a lot of issues."

The short answer to the question "what happens to ultrarunners do who get agoraphobia?" is that they start searching for CBT providers in their insurance provider director. The even shorter answer is that they go to their family doc. Who gives them a fast-acting benzodiazepene to ward off the next panic attack.

Which worked, by the way. I used one pill yesterday (Saturday) when I felt one coming on for my 11-miler, and it worked. I didn't use any on today (Sunday) and got through my long run pretty well (18 miles).

Meanwhile.

I've got white wine, Wellbutrin, Xanax, powerbars, and HEED.

Party at my place.

...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thirteen random 3am thoughts.

  1. I'm not sure why I think that when I wake up at 3 am, unable to sleep, doing Sudoku in pen will soothe me.  It doesn't soothe me.  It just pisses me off.  I get down to that last row, and realize that the only thing that will work, an "8", is already there.  GAAAA!!!!
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  2.  I googled "Sudoku in pen" on images and got this.  OMG.  Want. It. 
  3. We have the most amazing printer at work.  It. Is. Awesome.  It's a giant behemoth of a machine, but I can print my 6-7 page reports to it, and it will print out 3 copies, collated, back-to-back and STAPLED.  That's all.  I'm just excited about this printer.  it kicks ass.  That's all.  I just wanted to share that.
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  4. WeightWatchers is already working.  I don't get this: I don't feel much different, and I'm not starving, but I've already lost my first few pounds.  This was how I lost my first 30 pounds back in 2005, 10 of which I've gained back...oh, what the hell:  If paying $17 a month means that it works, I'll sell plasma, if I have to, to make it happen.
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  5. This week's WeightWatcher's experiment is brought to you by brown rice.  I put about a quarter cup of it, cooked, into each meal during my work day.  I know it sounds weird.  Somehow, it works, and helps fill me.  It's got protein and fiber, too.  But it has to be brown rice.
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  6. The following occurs about once every other week or so where I work: I'm sitting at my desk, and I see a hysterical, sobbing kid running down the hall past my office.  Usually they're running in a very dramatic way.  We have a special RTC track for kids who have emotional regulation problems.  Anyway.  So a few seconds later, they're following by floor counselors who are themselves running, panting and yelling into a radio.  So as the floor counselors run by my office, they glance in, and I point in the direction I saw the kid running.  They nod and haul ass by my office.
  7. On Friday, I decided,  screw winter.  I'm going to dress like it's spring today.  At least, indoors.  I selected crop pants and a sleeveless top.   I wore a heavy woolen coat outdoors.  But inside: spring.
  8. Denise, at work, is funny.  She asks me to do things, which are pretty much part of my job, and tells me it would be amazing if I did it.  As in, Hey, do you think you could use a binder clip on those really big case files?  that would be amazing.

    Hell, I've always wanted to be amazing.  So of course, off I go in search of binder clips.
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  9. I was really get stuck into knowing that I was middle-aged, and it was really bumming me out, so I made a decision last last week, which I shared with Baboo, and now I'll share with you: I have decided that I will ignore the 20 between when I first started making bad decisions and when I got my proverbial stuff together, such as my first viable graduate degree.  I choose to subscribe to the delusion that I am only now embarking on the adventure of life.
    This doesn't mean I'll give up the experience and wisdom that came with those years, just that I choose to ignore that I'm turning 45 soon.  I'm not.  I'm turning 25.  I intend to start acting and feeling that way and hey, DON'T HARSH MY MELLOW.
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  10. I have a teacher who actually holds us accountable for the readings.  As in, we have to comment on it and junk. Like, I don't have a life? (see, I'm acting 25 already)  There's no way around this, if I don't and she calls on me, I look like an idiot.  (Big, heavy, sight of self-entitlement here)  So anyway, I have a formula: the first ten minutes of class, I talk about (a) something in the four or five readings that were assigned, often the only thing I read, and how (b) it reminds me of this incident that happened to me once. I talk at length about that.  She's very excited.  Then for the rest of the class, I don't have to say anything.  I've contributed, and I'm done for the night.  Try it.
    But remember: we never talked.
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  11.  So, there's this company in New Mexico (OPTIMA HEALTH) that was hired to administer the public insurance for children because I guess some people think it's more efficient add a layer of stockholders between the service delivery providers and their patients.
    Anyway, they've done a terrible job.  Last year they went for months without paying people, and some smaller clinics closed down--recall me complaining about not being paid at my old job--not because there are less children who need treatment, just this bastard company who won't pay.
    Finally the state fined them over a million dollars, which they agreed to pay.  Then in January, the governor, Bill Richardson, announced they'd be bidding out this contract.  (aka: you're fired.)
    ANYWAY.  so immediately, they got really stingy.  Like, I'll send them an assessment of a kid who is off his meds, slicing at is wrists, swallowing Listerine, and running away home with pedophiles Optima would be like, "why does he need residential treatment?  What else have you tried?"
    So, I have to carefully formulate my assessments so that they don't have an excuse to call and ask stupid questions like that.  I have to make sure I explain that a kid running down the highway high on heroin at midnight needs residential substance abuse treatment because he is a danger to himself.

    Yes, what we really need is more private companies adminstering public funds (sarcasm).  Oh, yeah: I'm going all political on your ass, when it affects kids, you bet I am.
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  12. Yesterday morning, February 3rd, I was talking to someone about hey, maybe we're getting an early spring!  It was a bit breezy out, cloudy, and in the upper 40s. So, of course, by night time, there were dire winter warnings and part of I40 was closed down, and there was wet blowing snow and a howling wind at the Dream House.  F*cking groundhog.
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  13. Thought for the day: It's never sexy when you take off your bra and some popcorn falls out.
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