UPCOMING EVENTS: Hartford (RI) marathon, Newport (CT) marathon in October,
Soldier (GA) marathon, Pensacola (FL) marathon, and Pilgrim Pacer Marathons (KS) in November

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Now, having said that...

2010 sucked. In SOOOO many ways.


We spent the year trying to recover from the 5 months of unemployment I had last year.  As much as I love my job, it pays 12K less than my last one.

In January, someone smashed in my car window and stole a bag with all my swim gear (pull buoy, flippers, speedo endurance fabric pink camouflage swim suit).  Insurance didn't cover it the window, swim gear, or very cool swim suit I got to wear once.

A month later, Someone kicked in our front door and stole two tvs (including the BIG one), a blue ray player, and Baboo's laptop.  Insurance covered some of it.

I had panic attacks, and problems with depression, and woke up crying for no reason, and felt sick to my stomach for no reason, and didn't want to go out and run, for no reason.

That was the first quarter of the year.

The winter dragged on, long, cold and wet, and after breathing a final sigh of relief in late April, we put in plants, and on May 1 winter hammered us one last time and killed them all.

I was accused of academic dishonesty, which has been resolved, but will delay my graduation.

What started out as "it's just a simple misunderstanding, Mom" dragged on throughout the year until I received a text on my phone, "I've accepted a plea deal" in october, and then a phone call in late December when my youngest called to tell me they were taking him to Quantico.  (No more details on that - that's all you get.)

The oven stopped working.

The cooktop is on the fritz.

The dog won't stop chasing the cat.

But.

My legs work, my brain works, and there's anti-depressants.  I have my health, an education, a Sweet Baboo, and a crockpot and toaster oven.  And the world's best dog.  Everything after that is gravy.  I also know, from posting Facebutt, that many, many other people had some sucky 2010s as well.


I'll celebrate the end of 2010 at an all-you-can eat Indian buffet tonight, and then tomorrow I will run 5 or 6 miles to DPs house, then run about 7 miles with her to the annual "Egg Nog Jog" at noon, then run the 4 miles of that, and then run about 3 miles back to the car.

So welcome, 2011, bring your cheer. 


2010: Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

13 things I did Right, and 13 things I want to do. A Thursday Double Feature.

Dear Diary,


Many good things happened this year, and those I am willing to take credit for.  At the very least, I'm determined to focus on the good things that happened, rather than the bad, and the things I plan to do.  


A.  Thirteen things I did right in 2010.

Training run at 10,000 feet with
Sweet Baboo, kind of the cool running
routes.
13.  I followed a training plan.  I mean, really followed it.  To understand this, understand this: In the past, I only did about half the training I was supposed to do.  This might explain why I never got much faster in the past four years.

12.  One may recall that for several years, it was my dream and my goal for each year to break a 10-minute mile.  After a few years, I gave up, and stopped talking about it.
And then, in May, on MOTHER'S DAY, it happened.  My oldest timed me during the annual Jay Bensen sprint triathlon for me.  "So how long did the 5k take me?"

"Twenty-seven and 29 seconds," he replied.

"No," impatiently, I shook my head.  "You screwed up.  I've never done a 5k that fast."  He didn't argue, good boy that he is, but he was right: I'd run a 9:30 mile.  And then, a few months later, I ran a 9-minute mile.
Do I look satisfied?
I do.  My 5K PR, 28.06
Close...oh, so close
11.  I PR'd on every race I did after that. Every 10k was faster.

10. I ran my half marathons faster.

9. I ran my full marathons faster.

Something I actually did right.
8.  I finished the first year of my 2-years of internship this year, bringing me that much closer to my third master's degree and hopefully, the end of my schooling.

7.  Oldest son left the Army, where I had pretty much forced him to go back in 2002.  He arrived, intact, well-groomed, and responsible.  So apparently, I did that right.  That's one kid I don't think I screwed up too badly.

Her Dogness, the Chloe.
Picture doesn't capture the soulful look.
6.  I got a dog.
I, who hates needy (HAAAAAATES IT) got a dog.  I adore her big brown nose and golden eyes.  She was a shelter dog, and is mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback.  She is teaching me patience.  You'd have thought work would have done that, but no: that's work.  She is at home.  I am learning patience at home.  And no matter how snippy I am when I come home, no matter how late or early, she adores me and is always happy to see me.  Did I say happy?  ECSTATIC.  I mean, Sweet Baboo is happy to see me, but he doesn't wag his tail so hard that his whole body waggles.

5.  Finally, the right thyroid meds, training, and diet formed a trifecta of weight loss.  Thirty pounds!

Himself, finishing 102 miles.  Climbed
2 mountains, twice, to finish.
4.  I crewed Sweet Baboo for two of his 100-milers, most notably the grueling Leadville 100.

It was a privilege and an honor to urge him through, to watch him suffer and then recover, to watch his pride and satisfaction when he finished and know that I had a part of that.
October 2010
Javalina Jundred
The best buckle.  Ever. 


3.  I completed my longest distance this year, a 100K.

2.  I made peace with my past, and with part of my present. Almost.  Sorta. Okay, still working on that.

1.  I renewed my commitment to the wisest, kindest, best man I know, who is my best friend.  After 10 years, he still surprises me, but in a good way.  In fact, in the best of ways.  After ten years, he makes me laugh and smile and think, and he is the only person I want to keep me warm on any night, even when I don't need to be kept warm.
Me and Elvis, Las Vegas, 2010
December 2010,
Death Valley Trail Marathon




.._..--~\/~--.._..
Thirteen things I want to do in 2011.._..--~\/~--.._..

13.  I want to hire a dog whisperer of my own so that the world's greatest dog becomes even more awesome.

12.  Three words: Sub-Nine. Minute. 10K.  (Or at the very least, I'd like to break one hour on a 10K)

11.  Reach 137 lbs, which is 20% bodyfat. (According to my Tanita, I started at 40% bodyfat, and am now around 31%. )

10.  I'd like to break two hours in a half marathon (current PR is 2:24, so I have a ways to go.)

9.  I'd like to break a 5 hour road marathon (current PR is 5:13).

8.  I'd like to break a 7 hour 50K trail run.  (current PR is 7:53).

7.  Finish up my coursework.  Forever.  FOREVER!  HAHAHAHAHAHA! 

6.  Get my final internship placement at either the VA or Adult Protective Services.  I think I'm ready to try  working with grownups now.  (My fantasy) would be to get a job that I'm applying for at the VA this spring.  If I did, there is a loophole that allows one to make a job that they've been at for less than 6 months as their internship.  If that happened, I could graduate in August.  As it is, I'm looking at May 2012.

5.  Follow all my training plans for 2011.

4.  Finish the Jemez 50k, that I had to DNF on last year.

3.  Finish the Rocky Racoon 50 miler (February) in under 14 hours, and the final Ghost Town 38.5 in less than 10 hours (January).

2.  Eat, well, cleaner.  I started eating meat again in 2010, but I let my eating get a little sloppy.  I need to back up a bit. There were far more fried things and things soaked in butter than was needed for 2010.  

1. Beat Sweet Baboo in a race.  He's going to raise his eyebrows when he sees this.  Now, I realize how crazy an idea this is.  But everyone has an off day, right?  I don't expect to make this goal in 2011.  It might take longer.  It might be a 20 yard dash.  In fact, I may never make it.  But the goal and the challenge will keep me busy and working.

...
...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've eaten far too much this week. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13) This week has been a very, very, very bad week.  And I've been a very, very, very bad girl.  On Friday, one of my coworkers walked by me and mentioned, "oh, hey, Sarah has baclava in her office".


Ohh-hh-hhhh-hh!

I have a few weaknesses. Fried chicken (especially wings).  Mellowcream pumpkins.  Chocolate-covered cherries.  Chocolate-covered pretzels.  Nearly any kind of Hershey's kiss.  Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  Yoo-hoo.  Chilled, fresh, boiled shrimp.  Fruit breads.   (Okay, I guess there's a lot of weaknesses...)

But baclava.  I took a piece.  And then another.  And......then another.  No, I did not look up how many points it was - I didn't want to know.  But finally, after I ate all three pieces, I did.  and it was a shock.  between 6 and 9 points per.  I basically blew out a day's worth of points, in a week that i was recovering and not running much.

So that night I went home, and ate broth and vegetables and felt hungry.

TOTALLY worth it.

12.  Last week, I had a meeting at my college about my final year, which is just an internship.  I got there a half hour early, went into the computer lab, then to my meeting, and then as I was walking to my car I couldn't find my keys.
 And then, unbelievably, as I approached my car I realized my car was parked, keys in it, unlocked, and running.  Jeez.  They should just put me a home and get it over with.

For the record, I've done this before, except last time I left it running while I taught high school all day.

11.  I started my speedwork this week.  Here is the profile: okay, scratch that.  For reasons I'll explain below.

10.  This week Sweet Baboo became Captain Baboo (still Sweet).  He joined the Army National Guard, something he's been thinking of doing for a while.  They needed a psychologist for a new mental health initiative, and he has prior military experience, so they offered him a very sweet deal.  Access to the base, 2ndary health benefits for both of us, retirement after 14 years (he has 6 year prior military experience)...and big fat incentive bonuses for getting a psychologist to join the guard.  Suh-weet

AND, of course, I get to see him in uniform, whenever I want.  :-))))))

9.  This past weekend, we had our annual "bling" party.  The partiers took off and left me all sorts of naughty food items: a tray of Krispy Kreme donuts, homemade truffles, bottles of wine, cookies...oh, my.  Look for my weight ticker to tick up a bit during the next week.

8. Saturday I started out on what was supposed to be a 20 mile run.  After 5 miles I knew that given my cold and the 2 marathons I did the past couple weekends, it was too much, too soon.  I was moving pretty slowly on the way back, maybe a 12 minute mile, and then about two miles from the car, it happened.  Pain.  Pain that got slowly worse, until I walked the last quarter mile.  Pain between my Achilles and my calf.  DAMMIT.  It's Monday, and it still hurts.   I've iced, and taken Advil.  I hope this goes away soon.

7. It's Thursday, and this still hurts.  I'll be putting heel cups in my shoes and trying to run in THAT.  Dammit.  Dammit, dammit, dammit.

6. Today I gave an IQ test to a kid with an IQ of 137.  But she can't make an "angry" face, or describe what an angry face looks like, because she doesn't know how to read faces.  That's a bit of a handicap.  You don't know how to behave around people if you can't get a read on how your behavior is affecting them.  interesting.  my job is sooooo interesting.

5.  At the same time, though, I have moments of self-pity and doubt, usually triggered by something stupid. I look around me and see people my age who have established careers and accomplishments and I am, essentially, doing the work of a 24-year-old fresh out of grad school.  It's a little depressing from time to time.  It doesn't help that I can't go run it off.  I have to keep reminding myself that I'm starting over, and that's that.  Suck it up, princess.  Life's tough all over.

4.  Thing that triggered my latest round of feeling like a peon was when I went to a psych hospital that wanted to transfer a kid to us, to assess the kid.  I'm of the opinion that some receptionists in those places are drunk with power.  This one asked if I had an appointment (I had, but nobody told her), told me to wait, told me to lock up my assessment items, and then told me that since I was taking my assessment items with me, I would have to be searched.  At the end of all that she informed me that since I had a cold, I wasn't going to be let in anyway.  It took every bit of strength I had to lift my chin, walk out, and not tell her what a bitch she is.
At times like this I take things on and take them in and assume it's me, something about me, that's at fault, and I'm a huge loser.  Hence, #5.

3.  A little poundcake, and some wine, and I felt better.  Thank goodness for the women I work with.  I'm convinced that they  just spend all their off time baking stuff to take to work and Christmas is their favorite time of year.  This week we've had banana bread, zuchini bread, pound cake, fruit cake, all manner of cookies, bars, tarts, and a casserole or two.  My blood is pretty much flour, oil, and sugar at this point.  It's going to be a hard crash after the holidays, when I go through baked good withdrawal.  I'm getting pretty used to my 10 am and 2 pm sugar fix

2.  Have you ever watched a movie with someone who continually states the obvious, "Oh, my gosh, he's got fat hands." "Wow, that ship exploded to pieces" "Oh my gosh, he fell in that hole."  How do you stop from throwing objects at that person?  Any ideas are welcome.  I have to bite my tongue not to yell, "I know he fell in thh hole BECAUSE I WAS WATCHING IT TOO SO SHUT THE F*** UP!!"
No, you don't say that to your guests.  It's unseemly.

1. I mentioned that  last weekend we had our bling party.  If you don't know what that is, it's when you get together with your other insane multisport friends and everybody wears their bib numbers, hats, socks, finisher's medals, awards, whatever, from the year.  Last year someone had a Boston finisher's medal, and we were all, ooooo AHHHHHHH.  And there are awards.  Baboo got an award for most run miles for 2010.  I mentioned that I got an award: "Most Improved".  I got a stopwatch.  :0)

To have your super fast and fit friends to give you an award like this is pretty darned gratifying.  My goal, for 2011, is to get it again.

Cheers.  Happy Holidays.  Go run off some egg nog.  Or pound cake.

...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nothing like a good run to get you going. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,



13. I'm completely OCD about the scale. I check it twice a day MINIMUM.  It has stayed pretty reliably on 150--a pound up here, a pound down there--since June or July, I think.  My clothes fit the same, I weigh the same.  So how come I live in fear of gaining weight again?  Why am I so convinced that I'm becoming the pudge monster?

12. Second cold of the season, so far.  THIS is my reason for switching to working with adults eventually: they don't seem to be the germ factories that children are.


11. My oldest son doggie-sits for us when we travel.  I have always bought him a large (for multi-day visits) or small (overnight) lasagna to eat.  Then today, I thought, why? He's put on quite a bit of weight since leaving the military.  I'm not contributing to that. I will not be one of those moms that pushes "comfort food" on her kids.  So, he got a Health Choice Cafe Steamer instead.  Sorry, kid.  Run a few 5ks with me, then we'll talk lasagna.


10. I'm looking very closely at this race: 3 days of Syllamo, in March.  Why?  Well, it just so happens that *I* turn 46 that weekend.  What better way to celebrate life than by trying to kill myself?  Now, I'm pretty sure I can get through the 50K on Friday, and the 20K on Sunday.  Just not so sure about the 50 miler on Saturday.  In fact, it may be the case that while Baboo is doing the 50-miler, I spend my 46th birthday in a hottub, waiting for him to finish.

Tucson half mary
2005

Tucson full mary
2010
 9. Coach Baboo has devised a new training plan for me.  The weekly mileage will be similar, but laid out differently. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I am to run about 2-miles thusly: 1/2 mile run warm-up, one mile at 90% intensity, 1/2 mile cool-down.  Then on weekends, back-to-back long runs, working my way up quickly to at least 20 miles each Saturday and Sunday.


8.  The (#9) 2-mile run, by the way, is called "speedwork."  The term speed being rather loosely  applied to me.


7.  I've had people look at me, alarmed, and step away a bit when I let loose with one of my wet, juicy coughs.  I use the hand sanitizer all the time, and I cough into kleenex, but people are freaked out so I lie.  "Don't worry, it's just an asthma thing" DON'TLOOKATMEINTHATTONEOFVOICE.
I have to go to work. Those kids aren't going to commit themselves, you know.  Besides.  Where do you think I pick this stuff up?  That's right.  Children are germ factories.  

 
6. By Monday night, the quads were stiff, as in, "well, hellloooo there, we are your quads,"  I felt pretty good otherwise, though.  The cold hung in there until this morning, when I felt kinda normal.

5.  This past week, I completed my next-to-last semester of coursework.  Now all I have to do is clean my house before the weekend when my inlaws get here.  I have piles of things that are supposed to go somewhere (Goodwill, etc.,) and general cleaning to do.  I'm pretty excited about getting rid of piles of stuff.  A season's worth of "Hoarders" will do that do you. 

Hubba-hubba.
Still can't have him. 

4.  I must, must, must mention this: At the Tucson marathon on Sunday, Sweet Baboo realized his dream of qualifying for Boston.  His qualifying time was 3:30, and he finished in 3:28. 
So, we're Boston bound in 2012!
I, of course, will be head cheerleader - I did not qualify, and am unlikely to.  I have worked my way to the front-of-the-back-of-the-pack, not the back-of-the-front-of-the-pack where Baboo is.  The nice thing about Boston, though, is that due to the qualifying time it's over with pretty quickly. 

(In case you're wondering what is up with all these picture of herself, is she totally narcissistic or what?  Well, it's "or what". These may be the only race pictures taken of me that I've liked.  I may actually buy some.  They were taken at the Tucson marathon. 


3.  There is nothing like a good run to get you inspired.  I was pretty tired, a bit run down, a bit burned out, after Javalina.  Every time I tried to run, I felt slow, and heavy, and my legs hurt.  But Sunday, I finally felt back to my old self - slightly less slow.

2.  Tuesday night, I went to the grocery store.  And bought meat.  That's right: meat. I have't bought meat in over 10 years. I felt like Rip Van Winkle.  I haven't been in the meat aisle all this time - I avoided it, and called it the murder aisle.   I walked up and down the aisle, puzzling over what it was I used to buy, compared to what was available now.  I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I can't eat soy, and there's so much you can do with eggs.  Something had to give.  I finally settled on some frozen chicken breast fillets and lean ground turkey.  Ever had cheesy potatoes hamburger helper made with lean ground turkey after a run?  Mmmmmm.

1.  Have I mentioned diet cranberry juice and diet mountain dew (1:2 ratio)?  No?  Hmm.  But what is up with the people in my office who look at the 2l bottle of Mt. Dew and say, "that will kill you, ya know."  I mean, these are people who come in reeking of cigarettes.  Is there something that I haven't read?

Never mind. I don't care. I love it. BZZZZZzzzzzzzz.

I ignore the heart palpitations.

...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Marathon or longer #20: Things I did that you should never do: A race report

2 days before the marathon I started coughing.  I had a headache.  And a stuffy nose.

So.

4 days before this marathon I woke up with a sore, stuffy throat and a headache.  DAMMIT!  I took lots of OTCs and by the next day, the sore throat was gone, but the stuffiness remained, accompanied by chills and a generally shitty feeling, (I believe the genteel term is malaise.)


The day before, my nose was running clear stuff. Clear is good, right?  But then, the day of, I woke up with an aching chest, and when I coughed, it felt like I'd been stabbed in the sternum.  Shit.  I know this feeling, I had it back when I used to smoke: Bronchitis.

I can't say enough about the race organization.  The race sent buses to each of the associated hotels at 5 am that took us to the starting line.  There was also a parking area for everyone else and busses that took them to the start.  Our hotel opened up their hot breakfast bar at 4:30 am.  I had fried potatoes and, yes, I'll say it, bacon.  I don't normally eat bacon, but there it was, neatly cooked and drained, so what the heck.  I claim the salt drew me to it.

Very curious to see if DP reads this and comments on the bacon. Pretty sure she thinks this is magic food, and I've just supported her position.

I'd decided to just suck it up, and take 12-hour sudafed and then dayquil for the cough and ache to get me through the marathon.  Afterwards, I'd allow myself to succumb to whatever this is.  (Don't try this at home.  I'm reckless. I will not be responsible for anyone dumb enough to say, "well, Misty did it.")

The marathon start was cold, as all good marathons should be.  I donned a trashbag, but eventually found myself in a group of people huddled near the exhaust on a portable generator.  (Again: Don't try this at home.  Just because the carbon monoxid takes the edge off doesn't mean you should do it)

I was a bit worried at the beginning because I had forgotten to put on bodyglide, but it turned out okay.  Again.  Don't do this at home...

I seeded myself directly behind the 5:00 pacer, the slowest pacer they had.The first part is a short downhill, followed by a steep uphill.  Then some rollers before hitting the main road and a long gradual downhill.  The problem with running with a pacer, I discovered, is they're unwavering.  Even going up hills. so I fell into a habit of falling back uphill, then passing the pacer on downhills, but otherwise staying with the group.  Then, well, then I hit the quazi-nightmare Biosphere out and back at mile 10ish.

The biosphere out and back has a short downhill, followed by several steep uphills.  I had been well ahead of the pace group when hit turned into it, but while at the aid station pouring 6 1/4-filled cups into my bottle because there was no pitcher, they passed me, and I watched the pink "5:00" sign" disappear into the distance.  I never saw them again.

By the time I came out of the Biosphere out-and-back around mile 14, I was pretty demoralized.  My average pace had climbed from 11:08 to 11:45, and it was getting warm, and I tired and dizzy.  But I know that between miles 14 and 20 in any given marathon, I tend to lose my will.  I get angry.  I get sad.  Things hurt.  I get angry again.  Stupid hills. Stupid SUN!  After mile twenty, things get better.  I just have to hang in there.

To make matters worse, the Biosphere people handed out bottles of water, and ran out before I got there, so I twice came upon a scene in which volunteers were picking up half-drunk bottles of water, dumping them out, and putting the bottle in a bag. What. The Fuck.  Is that?

I was still in the throes of my "mile 14 to 20 now it's time to stop" so after turning back onto the main road I adjusted my pace by running 4 minutes and walking 1.  In doing that, I found that I could keep an overall pace of between 11:45 and 12:00. I revised my finishing goal to beating a 12 minute overall pace, hopefully breaking a 5:15.

The problem was that my legs were tired.  Maybe had something to do with that marathon-and-a-half last weekend. Dunno.  The dayquil was running out, and I started to cough, not often, and not hard, it was just one cough about every over mile or so, but when I coughed, the pain that shot through the center of my chest sent me reeling and I'd even stumble a little, exclaiming from the pain. I searched through my spi-belt: no more cough medicine.  

I ate a gel every half hour, and drank three long sips during each walk break. If I drink too much while running, I tend to cramp; If I drink too little, I start panting. I was starting to feel dizzy, and that was a bit concerning.  I figured that was related to whatever was going on in my windpipe. Or maybe it was the interaction between pseudofed and caffein.  Who knew.  What I did know was that the cough medicine had worn off.  *Cough* OW.  *Cough* OW.  

It got hotter.  Towards the end, there is a long uphill that is several miles long, and goes up in altitude about 300 feet, I think.  It's pretty damned disappointing, I'll tell you.  Then it flattens out a bit around mile 21 or 22.  By then my body had given up on trying to get me to quit, and i was feeling a little better, but tired.  My legs felt better.

about 2 miles from the finish, there is a 1/2 a mile or so, maybe not quite that long, steep climb.  I marveled at the people around me using the Galloway methond.  Throughout the race they stuck to it lock-step, regardless of where they were in the course.  I saw people running up hills and walking down hills, and I thought, whatever, buddy.  I hope it's working for you.

The very last 1/2 mile or so it *kind* of downhill, and then the finish line was flat.  In the last 4-5 miles I passed about 50 people walking, and was surprised at how good my legs felt.

I came into the finish at about 5:11 or 5:12; and holy cow I was happy about that. Breaking 5:15 was just a pipe dream.

I wanted some shade, and was worried about that cough. I went into the medical tent where there were alot of interns who were initially excited when I said "chest pain" and then seemed disappointed that nothing was really wrong with me.  I'd taken in about 9 gels.  I'd drank about 8 bottles of water.  I'd taken electrolytes.  My blood pressure was normal. They tried laying me down and tipping my feet up, but I started wheezing, so I sat up, and eventually left the tent.

I noticed a lot of people hobbling, leaning on friends and loved-ones, unable to go down the stairs without difficulty. I remember those days.  Sure, I could use a nap, and that damned cough was pretty annyoing, but my legs and feet were fine.  I went up and down the stairs with ease.  I guess this stuff gets easier after a while.

I took one of the free buses back to our hotel, and took a shower, and then I started coughing, and coughing up junk, and once I did that, my chest stopped hurting, but the people around me on the plane were not happy.  I lied and told them it was an "asthma" thing.

So there it is, a new PR. I'd like to thank my Coach, OTC drugs, fried potatoes and bacon.  I'm convinced that this is what got me to the finish line.  I also suspect that if I ran a race WITHOUT a bad cold, and without running 40 miles at marathon pace the week prior, I might be able to break 5 hours some day.  We'll see.

Remember. Don't try any of this at home.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fat Thoughts, a paragraph at a time. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary...

13.  Friday morning, while I was waiting to check in at the airlines, I observed a woman who was at the ticket counter for a really long time this morning.  She easily took up two seats.  Easily.  Possible three.  She didn't even fit into the extra-large wheelchair that she was in; she kind of sat forward in it, on the edge, because she was so wide that she couldn't sit back in it.  I don't know if I've ever seen a wheelchair big enough to accommodate someone that large.


12. I felt sad for her.  Sad, and well, kind of fascinated.  In a "oh, my, there's a wreck, I shouldn't look, but..." kind of way.  What was the rest of her life like?  When I sat in my airplane seat, there was room on either side of me between the arm rests.  I was drinking a sugar-free red bull. And half of a 7-layer bar. This time last year, I was drinking a full carmel machiato with whipped cream and the entire bar.

11. Could she walk up stairs at all?  Could she walk?  How DID she get so big? It was nearly six years ago when I started this blog, and back then I wore a size 16 (it was tight, but I wore it).  On a day in January in 2005, I walked up a flight of stairs at work, and had to pause, at the top, and catch my breath.  I wasn't running, I wasn't carrying anything--I was just trying to get 200 pounds of me up a single flight of stairs, not much more stairs than people have in their homes.  It was at that moment that I realized how bad things had gotten.  I mean, I was never particularly fit, but this was a flight of stairs, for christ's sake. It was the impetus I needed to act.

10. Now I go up stairs with ease.  Sometimes I bound up the stairs at work, taking 2 or 3 at a time.  I make the trip up and down the stairs a minimum of six times per day. When escalators are out, I walk up the stairs, and sometimes, I walk up the escalators too, to speed up my journey.  What about the woman in the airport?  Could she even move from the wheelchair to the bed?  How did she bathe?  When I sit in the tub for a nice relaxing soak, it's just a regular tub.  And now there's room on either side of me in the tub.  I can even sit cross legged, sidewards, and do a sudoku puzzle.

And it occurs to me now that maybe there's another reason garden tubs have become so popular.

9. This past week I had a family in my office, and one of the members was similarly large and in a wheelchair, and was so large that this person was nearly unable to get through the wide, wheel-chair accessible door into my office.  I had a moment of panic that we would not be able to fit her in there, because I didn't have any idea where we would conduct the interview. And, I felt bad for her. I don't know what it's like to be that big. I don't know what there experience is.  I don't know how they got that big.  I just feel bad for them, as bad as I'd feel for someone with some other kind of handicap that results in being stared at.  I know it's not PC to think of something like weight as a handicap, but I figure that anything that makes it harder to live your life is, in some way, a handicap.

8.  That last time I saw the woman at the ticket counter she was sitting with her family at a different gate.  I don't know how they got her on the plane.  Just getting onto our small Southwest plane it was salient to me how cramped it was.  The turn into the isle was tight.  Yet, when I walked down them, though, there was room on either side of me to move past the people who weren't quite in their row yet.


7. A man sat next to me the last time we flew.  He quietly asked the flight attendant for a seatbelt extender.  I nudged Sweet Baboo, but only becuase he had recent asked me what one is.  The man sitting next to me was really large, and sitting next to the window as he was, he took up nearly 1/4 of my space, and it was lucky that I had the space to spare.  I felt bad for him, too.  When I sat in my airplane seat last Friday, I noticed that the seat belt had been adjusted all the way to the end, to accommodate someone who was large . 

6. There's no real purpose in this post. It's mostly just me thinking out loud.  I don't know what the experience is of someone that large is, just as I don't know what the experience is of someone who has never been large.  I'm aware that it might not occur to people who see me, and don't know me, that I was once much larger, and filled with self-loathing and anguish at how large I'd become. I'm aware that they may assume that I've always been this size, and hate me, or assume that my genetics keeps me this size. So I try to be extra nice.  

5. When I was nearly 200 pounds, When I woke up in the morning, my ankles and feet hurt.  I passed it off to osteoarthritis, but I can't help but notice that since losing thes last 25 pounds, my feet don't hurt in the morning any more. So I can't imagine how painful it would be to be even larger.  

4.  My mother was up to about 250, I think, and I don't know what size she got to because she started cutting the tags out of her clothes.  I know that she spent at least a decade and a half not able to shop regular sizes.  

3.  My sister, now, who was the athletic one in the family, is around 220 or more,  I think.  She was up to 200 when her daughter graduated from high school, and I crossed my fingers that she would now start taking time for herself and get healthy.  However, she's gained even more weight. She is easily as large as our mother was. 

2.  My only daughter has recently lost weight, she told me proudly, and is down to 230. She tells me she weighs 230 no matter whether she's gained or lost weight.  No matter what she's done, she always weighs 230.  And, I had an Aunt who was over 250 at one time, and by the time she died, she was walking with a cane because her knees and ankles were wearing out.  

1.  I've never been that big, but I've been big.  All I can do is feel bad for them, and hope that they find some way to be happy.  I can be thankful that I've dodged that bullet, the one that causes people to stare, and wonder, and pity.

...

Monday, December 06, 2010

What happens in Vegas, gets posted on my blog.

Dear Diary,
This was my weekend: Marathon Double #1.  


Friday

Well, Friday we got up at the crack of "Oh, my god" and jumped on a plane to Las Vegas. We hit the rental car place, and were calling up Isaac/Fomula-ic for brunch.  He and JT met us at a place called "Hash-house a Go-Go," which bills itself as serving "twisted farm food", and where I had this concoction:


Look carefully.  This is a stack of belgian waffles, into which bacon has been baked, and then topped with two fried chicken breasts, and then fried leek on that, and then for some reason, a knife is plunged into the whole thing.  The brown stuff around the outside is not maple syrup, it is "a hot maple reduction," which Isaac said sounded sexy, and I agree.  I can imagine it in a novel:

 He walked toward me, wearing nothing but a hot maple reduction

In any case, I had two of the waffles and a chicken breast for breakfast, then boxed up the rest and gnoshed on it over the rest of the day. The waffles were good, the chicken was meh. I'm from the south.  I'm picky about fried chicken.  We then headed over to the Las Vegas marathon, which was nicely organized, and picked up our packet (it seems the larger the event, the skimpier the packets get) and seriouslylame chwag, which consisted of advertisements for different races (I got 5, 6, 7 of some of these--someone got lazy, or pissed, or something) and a couple of samples.

 Then we headed into the expo, where I bought:
Spi-belt
  • A spi-belt
  • a pair of green zensah compression leg sleeves
  • a pair of blue zensah compression leg sleeves
  • a pair of cheap sunglasses. 
Then we hit the road and headed for Death Valley, arriving late afternoon at the Furnace Creek Ranch where, we were proudly told, we could avail ourselves of the 'runner's special' wheat toast and fruit OR a cup (not bowl, cup) of oatmeal, for $8.50.

Yes. I know.  Me too. You can buy a silo of oats in the midwest for $8.50.  Who are they kidding?

The rest of the night, well until around 9:30 or so, consisted of me being awakened every 15 minutes by the outside door slamming shut.  Our room was right next to it, so every 15 minutes, or oftener, I'd hear click-SLAM!!  click-SLAM!!. I did not get much sleep.  But hey, who needs sleep when you're going to run 26 miles from Nevada to California?





Saturday

I ate my favorite chinese noodle bowl for 75 cents for breakfast pre-race.  Who needs $8.50 oatmeal?
Breakfast of champions.


For some reason, after 22 years, this race is pretty disorganized, at least pre-race. Once they get you on the bus, it's all good.

For instance, Sweet Baboo had signed us up at the same time, but the I (and only I) got threatening emails saying that I'd better sign a waiver and fax it back--or else!  


Or else...you'll have to stand in the late registration line!  

OOOOoooo!  Registration line!!!   BOO!


Since I. Am Lazy., I decided to take my chances, and you know what?  The "late registration line" was much, much shorter than the line for people who were registered. So there.  

When you pick up your race bib, you have to pay $10 park fee.  Not sure why that can't be part of the race entry fee.

Buses took us to the start line, on the other side of the mountains in Nevada, at about 3800 feet.  Here's a profile of the course:

The seasoned runners among you look at that long downhill and wince, knowing full well that it is not the gift you think it is.  I worked on hydration and such, but I use songs to cue me, and no headphones are allowed on this course, so I ate a gel every half hour, and drank from my hydration pack every half mile.

I met Kelly, who overheard me telling someone I was from New Mexico, and asked me if I wrote a blog, and I said yes, and she introduced herself, and then, well, she was gone.  She hauled ass up that hill!

The first 8 or so miles were a long, steady uphill, and , well, BOOOO-RING!  I got slower and slower, until we got into the more serious climbs.  It went from 3800 to 5200 feet over about 10 or so miles, drops down again, and then climbs sharply up to a view that is amazing, and everything after that is pretty amazing. 

In any case about mile 10, I was marching up one of the hills, watching the people way, way ahead of me (who I passed, later on) and another runner asked if she could run with me.  So I said, sure.

Nancy, as it turns out, is a Marine, stationed at Camp Pendleton.  She was wearing a sign on her back that said, "in honor of" and it had the picture of a Marine and his name.  She told me about how he was killed, while trying to save other Marines, and how he was awarded the silver star postumously.  He isn't a relative.  I'm not sure if she actually met him, although she may have, but that wasn't why she was doing the marathon in honor of him.


It turns out, I found out later, that what Nancy does is runs marathons, and every time she runs a marathon, she does it in honor of a fallen Marine.  She then takes her finisher's medal and gives it to the Marine's family.  She figures it's the least she could do.

Nancy was in the air force for about 10 years, but always wanted to be a Marine, so she switched over a few years ago. For those of you that are not in the know, the Marine Corps basic training is 16 weeks long, and it doesn't matter where you come from, even another branch, you have to go through it.  She knew this going in.  I knew about it from my very, very favorite Marine: Sweet Baboo.  Nancy, she's had a lot of interesting experiences, as one might imagine, and at one point told me I'd have made a good Marine, which I took as just about the highest compliment I've been given.

Nancy told me later that she was pretty happy not to have to run with what she referred to as silly, or snobby, or borderline-y type chicks.  I was, too.
Ooo-rah!

About 4 hours into the race, I told Nancy "My husband is probably finishing now," but I was so wrong, because he actually finished in 3:40.

Yes, that's right.  He's a freak, and he knows it.  But he's my freak.  He married me twice, and no take-backs.
So there.
This picture of Titus canyon was taken in 1979. 
I promise you, it hasn't changed.

 Nancy and I ran a good steady pace down a long winding trial through Titus canyon. 

Finishing time: 5:43ish. 

Sweet Baboo was waiting for me at the finish line.  We gave Nancy a ride back to her car, and then took off for Las Vegas,
(with a brief stop at Carl's Jr.)

===============

Back in Vegas, we checked into our hotel room at the Excalibur.  We were in the tower on the right.

The Excalibur
We got in at 5:30ish, and then called up JT, who has a girlfriend who swung us some tickets to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Rio.


It was. total. awesomeness.  And I did indeed eat all i could eat. 


Sunday
 
 We got up in early morning meet with the rest of the running Elvi over at the Shark Reef.

Now, last time we did this in 2007, the running Elvi and the couples who are getting married at mile 2.5 were put in the front corral, and led the race at the beginning.  After all, it's Vegas, right?

But then, well, the Rock 'n' Roll people took over the race, made it bigger, and slightly less interesting.  When we made our entrance, we came out to an empty area.  Then they made us go wait with everyone else, before finally sticking us in coral #14.
Can you see us? We're over on the right right in the back.
A Cher impersonator sang the Star-spangled Banner.







Himself, pre-race

Me, with Spongebob Elvis.  
We took off about 14 minutes after 8:00, (because 7:00 am is too early for some, so Rock n Roll changed it to 8:00 - wahhhh)

Sweet Baboo and I headed for the Venetian, where the wedding ceremony took place.

All the brides got a little boquet.

He married me twice.
No take-backs.
The ceremony was surprisingly sweet.

We both got a little verklempt.

Then we kissed goodbye, and Baboo took off to do a 4:13 marathon, including the ceremony.  

I did a 3:00 half marathon (including the ceremony) and suffered the whole way.  But I got medal #2 for the weekend, and the suffering didn't start until around mile 10, when my legs said, are you fuc#ing kidding us?

After the Las Vegas marathon, we gassed up the rental car, hit Subway and Starbucks, and then headed for the airport, where we had Cinnabons.  We were back in our own beds by 9:30 pm.

This morning, I hurt, hurt, hurt.  And hurt some more.  Himself hurts also.  I rode the elevator at work all day.


The end.

....

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Death Valley looms! BUWAHAHAHA! Thursday 13.

Dear Diary


13.  Dead Legs.  I'm feeling better.  But not sure I'm all the way back for two back-to-back marathons this weekend.  So, it's time to decide. I can run my ass off and try to beat the cutoff, by running faster than I ever have in my life for 23 miles the day after another marathon, or I can dress up as Mrs. Elvis, renew our vows, and then relax and settle into the half marathon.  I've decided on the latter.  I know I keep flipping back and forth, but I can feel that my legs aren't all the way back.  And I want to have fun.


12. Beauty Day.  The day before the Las Vegas Marathon, I'm doing the Death Valley Trail Marathon.  GORGEOUS.  There is a 6 hours cutoff, so sorry, no pictures.  I won't have time to meander.


11.  New Plans. I'm now registered for my first double-double in 2011.  So far, my 2011 season looks like this:

  • January: Ghost Town 38.5, which is going to be its last year.  My goal is to knock 1 hour off last year's time.
  • February: Rocky Racoon 50-miler.  My goal is to knock 4 hours off last year's time.  (I was emailed by the race director and told that I was, indeed, in the race.)
  • April 30/May 1: Country Music Marathon/Cincinatti Flying Pig Marathon DOUBLE.
  • May 7/May 8: Wisconsin Marathon/Kamazoo Marathon DOUBLE
  • June: Big Horn 50-miler?? I hope...I hope...  
So this means I'll have five new states in my marathon or longer collection!  Yay!


10.  Old Plans.  I'll be finishing my MSW coursework in April.  Then I start my internship in August.  That's when my race year effectively comes to a grinding halt, while I finish that.  




9. Short Cuts.  Last year I bought Sweet Baboo this book: 
Now, there were two important reasons why I bought Himself this book.  First, I thought he'd enjoy it. Second, and perhaps most important, I wanted to know what was in it and I'm too lazy to read it. Himself doesn't just read books so much as he absorbs them.  I then have a readily available resource, e.g., Himself, who can then tell me what's in it.

So far, I've discovered my ideal body fat percentage is 22%, at a weight of 137. And that animal protein has more bioavailability than vegetable protein.  This is an odd feeling for me, after nearly a decade of being a strict vegetarian.  Several friends have suggested that I saved a lot of lives during that time, so I've 'paid my dues'.

Anyway.  I had already started incorporating lean chicken and fish into my diet over the past six months or so, and I credit this, along with running, for my weight loss.  I drink scads of skim milk and sugar-free Nestle's Chocolate Quick.

which brings me to....

8. Weight Watchers. WTF, Weight Watchers?  I had it down.  I could estimate points based on caloric content.  Now you've changed your public domain formula to one that's secret.  The good news is, it now takes into account fat, fiber, AND protein.  Good for WW.  I'm interested in knowing if this will work as well for me as the old Weight Watchers.  


7. Indoor Running.  Progress continues to clearing out the 3rd bedroom, previously (and optimistically) referred to as "the study."  In fact, it was not a study, it was full of my shit that I hoarded instead of tossing.
Self, it's time to move on.  I'm no longer a teacher with kids who lives in a 2-story 2300 square foot house.  I'm now a mental health specialist who lives in a 1500-square-foot ranch.  I mean, seriously: Binders, page protectors,   compasses, protractors.  Who needs all this?  I gave away stuff, sent some stuff to Goodwill, and shredded other stuff.  The ultimate goal is to get the treadmill in there, maybe a cycling trainer setup.  This may well take me until spring.

6. Days off.  On December 14th, I'll have been at my job for one year.  That will be one of the two days that I'm allowed to wear jeans.  That will be my only reward.  Due to a freeze at the corporate level, I'm not eligible for a raise until December 2011.

5. Well, to hell with that. So last month I got a mailing for a corporation that handles mental health stuff for jails and prisons.  When I first sent in my resume, I didn't get a response, so after 2 weeks, I called, and I guess they had listed the wrong email address on the mailing - the woman I spoke to said she hadn't gotten a single email  or resume from anyone for my county.  Well, she has mine, now.


4. Ebooks. Amazon now has an app you can download for free to read Kindle books on your PC.  AWWWESOME.  Did I mention that one of my textbooks for next semester is on Kindle?  No?  Awesome.  Oh, okay.  Maybe I'm just being a techhie geek.

3. Job Stuff.  So like, interesting stuff happens in my office.  I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW AWESOME AND INTERESTING MY WORK IS.

Seriously.  I can't tell you. Dammit.  Do you know how hard that is for me?  I love to write my experiences.  But these ones, I can't tell.  Stupid Ethics.

2. But. I can tell you that RatBastard, the IT guy, is insufferable.  He's, like, watching me and shit. Yesterday he practically pounced on me for having a flashdrive in my computer, until I pointed out that the drive was assigned to me by the company.  Dude is seriously getting on my bad side.  He's not even all that good at what he does.  We have a printer that keeps malfunctioning, and he's futzing around talking about templates and stuff.  It hasn't even occurred to him that there's a driver issue.  I'm not going to tell him.  Screw him.  (Yes, I am that petty).

Also, I saw him earlier this week, and I was laughing about  Dilbert cartoon that was on my Dilbert calendar  YESILOVEDILBERTSOJUSTSHUTUP and he asked what was so funny, and I said, "do you have a sense of humor?  Can you laugh at yourself?" and he said, 'Sure'.

--> For the record, I now know that everybody thinks they have a sense of humor.  And nobody enjoys being the butt of a joke.

But anyway.  So I showed him this cartoon:

and of course, he immediately got all serious and said, 
"where, that depends on what you mean by usability"

Seriously.  He said that.  He got all serious and concrete about a DILBERT cartoon.  

Hence, hereforth, he is not longer ratbastard.  He is now MORDAC, THE PREVENTER OF INFORMATION SERVICES.


1. NERVOUS.  I'm kinda nervous about this weekend.  I had such a hard time coming back from Javalina. I won't be able to  be online until Saturday night because apparently, there's little cell phone or internet service in Death Valley.  OH, I LOVE THAT I'M DOING AN EVENT IN DEATH VALLEY, IT SOUNDS SO BAD-ASS!

But. The best part is...

is...

THIS (link)

Oh, YEAH, baby. I'll earn 50+ WW points doing the trail marathon. Guess how I'll spend it?

...