Friday, January 30, 2009

Notes on things shaped like pyramids.

So I’m sitting in weekly meeting #2 of The Challenge. The speaker at the front of the room is conducting a question-and-answer session. The current topic is, as always, one of the sponsors who is mentioned in nearly every email and handout.

You don’t have to use them, the speaker assures the crowd. But they’re so much easier that going it alone! Gawd forbid you sit down with charts and all that complicated stuff, when you can just measure scoops of powder and get all you need from “whole food” powder shakes.

There is a display of the products set up, and little anecdotes: You know, Kyle and I are just so busy when we get home, too busy to cook – so I just mix up a little shake, and voila! Dinner is served. All I have to ask is: Peanut Butter, or Chocolate?”

They talk a lot about toxins built up in our bodies that simply must be cleansed.

They talk about this a lot, even though there is nothing to support it in the medical literature. If you cleanse out the toxins, they say, you'll feel so much better. You'll lose weight. It. Will. Change. Your. Life.

I look around the crowd, earnest, hopeful faces. I hope future happiness isn't hinging on “whole food” powders, as they write checks to a promise to change their lives.

So why am I doing this? Well, the structure, and the proceeds go to charity. It's a contest, also, where your before-and-after pictures and essay are judged, so I joined for fun and, well, "the challenge." I have gotten some very good information about diet and exercise from the book they gave me and the handouts that is separate from the constant push to sell the product.

My stuff is from Kroger or Costco, including the 6-8 glasses of Crystal Light I drink despite dire warnings that Splenda is just one atom away from pool treatment and will just make me so toxic that nobody, not even me, will be able to stand me and Baboo may immediately divorce me. Or something.

I look around at the couples who are talking. They are clearly interested in the pitch. Some are disappointed when they find out the prices - Introductory programs are $200, $300, and up. I can't afford it, their faces say. That hopeless look makes them an easy target for a good pitch man to move in for the kill:

We give you the opportunity to earn money immediately every time you personally enroll an Associate with us. We offer you a one-time Product Introduction Bonus of $10-$80 for each new Associate you personally enroll, when they order an optional Product Introduction Pak at time of sign-up (within 60 days for a President's Pak).

Cheap, simple changes are easier to maintain. My weekly resistance-training plan and eating tracking is on SparkPeople, using my body weight or resistance bands. Since I can't run right now; I'm power-walking several days a week during lunch, with a longer hike on weekends. I've divided up my eating into 6 small meals a day and increased my protein intake and eat the bulk of my calories in the first half of the day. When I gain weight, it's because I ate too much and moved too little. Simple.

I notice a pretty, but very large woman sitting alone. She looks in her checkbook and then back up to the stage, considering. She's going to do it, I think. She's going to spend a couple hundred or more on this stuff.
Oh, do I know that naive, desperate feeling.

They couldn't say it if it weren't true, could they, she might be thinking, it must work...I want so badly to be thinner. I know I would be happier if I were thinner...

She looks hopeful. I’m hopeful for her. I hopeful that she eventually figures out that to feel better about herself, she doesn’t need all those white plastic canisters up on stage.
Canisters that are, ironically, stacked in a pyramid.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oh, I don't know, maybe the weather?

I'm calling to talk to you about your son's absenses--

His what?

--his absences. He's missed 3 days of class, and it's hurting his grade--

His grade? Wait. What absences? When? I haven't authorized any absences for him.

Let's like, every Friday of this month...


- one is unexcused, but the rest it looks like you called in and said he was sick. So, anyway, his grade in my glass has fallen to an F, and since he's a senior...

Why haven't I gotten any calls from the attendance computer?

Is your number 896-5610?

No. In fact, as I recall, that is the high school principle's number.
(and so on.)


Text messages, with 17-year-old son:

MOM: 2 DS. 1 F. ABSENCES on JAN 9, 16, 23, 26. U R IN BIG TROUBLE.







Wednesday, January 28, 2009

People who shouldn't be giving advice on vegetarianism.

I'm hating lunges a bit less these days. The first few times it was like: STEP - curse a lot, wobble - STEP - curse some more, try not to fall over - STEP - pretend to hear the phone ringing and stop to go answer it. But now, it is getting easier.


As I stated before, I'm determined to finish THE CHALLENGE as a vegetarian who sucks down a LOT of Splenda and hasn't had one single enema. And I don't want to come off sounding like I'm all that because I'm a vegetarian - it's my decision. What I'm annoyed about today is non-vegetarians or non-dieticians giving advice about vegetarian diets.

My platoon leader is supposedly a vegetarian, but doesn't seem to be a very educated or adventurous one.  She means well.

(edited: 1/29)

Here's her suggested daily menu "tweaks" (with vegetarian options, in red):

Breakfast: 3-4 egg whites, 1/4 cup of oatmeal

Snack: Protein shake with high protein and medium carbs
or 3.5 oz of tuna and a tomato

Lunch: 2 cups of lettuce, and 1 -5oz chicken breast or another lean meat

Snack: Protein shake with high protein and medium carbs,
or 3.5 oz of tuna and a tomato

Dinner: 6 oz lean meat and 1 cup vegetables.

Snack: Protein shake with high protein and medium carbs
or 3.5 oz of tuna and a tomato


Ugh! Bland. Boring. Restrictive. And hey, where is my fuel? Is it just me or are there next to NO carbs this entire day, after breakfast? How am I supposed to do any cardio at all on that? Plus, if you analyze this, you'll find that it's very calorie restrictive - I'd be afraid that it would throw my body into some sort of starvation mode. And my body doesn't need any excuse to hang onto fat.

Don't pee on my skirt, as Judge Judy used to say, and tell me it's raining; don't tell me that in order to eat realistically as a vegetarian that I have to drink meal replacements all day long, because that isn't realistic or sustainable. Here's my real daily menu (sample day):

First thing in the morning: I get up and drink 16 ounces of water.

Snack: Chocolate Protein shake with protein powder, 2 cups of soy milk, Splenda-based syrup flavoring, 2 shots of espresso, unsweetened cocoa.

Breakfast: Yoplait or Kroger Light non-fat yogurt with fruit & Kroger Active Life (high-protein, high-fiber) oatmeal stirred in dry. 16 ounces of water with peach green tea Crystal Lite.
(on weekends, I have an egg beaters omelet with egg beaters, fat-free cheese, and some black beans, veggies and salsa or maybe spinach and mushrooms with fat-free cheese on my omelet. AND YES, IT'S COOKED IN A HIGHLY TOXIC, NON-STICK PAN.)

Lunch: Boca or Morningstar Farms Burger with fat-free american cheese slice on a whole-wheat bun, some fat-free dressing, and maybe some mushrooms on it. I like to dress up my veggie burgers. A cup or two of veggies, and 16 ounces of water. Other options: egg-salad sandwich, hummus sandwich, or chick-pea salad sandwich.

Snack: Protein bar from Costco + more water with crystal lite. Sometimes, I have some V8 soup too.

Dinner: Egg-beaters omelet, or seitan, or a tofu dish. Veggies or (my personal favorite) a HUGE salad of field greens, dried cranberries, almonds, and low-fat blue-cheese dressing.

Snack: Fat-free cottage cheese with a bit of fruit or just salt-and-pepper. Or yogurt. Sometimes I fall asleep and don't get my snack.


I'm currently looking through vegetarian and vegan bodybuilding forums to get ideas for homemade protein bars. These things are rediculously expensive! even from Costco. And, they have a lot of saturated fat in them.

It's really, really, really cold today so I'm going to go climb stairs during my lunch hour.

That's all. Thanks for letting me rant.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random thoughts in the middle of week 2 of "The Challenge"

My hair is moving past that awkward, growing-out stage and approaching a point where I can tie it back if it displeases me. This morning, I decided that I liked my mirror image, and it was a good day.

This morning I was asked, by a coworker with no stake in the asking or the answer: Are you losing weight? Your pants look looser. It is rediculous how happy such an offhand question can make me.
Why, yes, the pants are looser, thank you. I've lost 6 or 7 pounds; before long, I may be able to expand my work wardrobe beyond the very narrow range that currently fits me and into the stuff that's been relegated to the "too small" section of my closet.

Issues: Contrary to questions I've received, I'm not, em, "gassy". However... (64 ounces of water a day) I am like the proverbial racehorse. Not in that I'm sleek, powerful and fast; more that I am in the bathroom All. Day. Long. I am NOTHING if not well-hydrated.
And, as I was telling DP, I actually feel better this week. My skin is clearer, and I feel less bloated. What felt like a very restrictive diet now feels more normal this week, and some of the nastier cravings have subsided. I'm averaging between 1600 and 1900 calories a day. My energy is good, too, and more stable, thoughout the day. I'm not getting the post-lunch sleepiness.
Maybe this is how I should be eating - maybe, for my body type, maybe I'm supposed to be getting more lean protein? It would fit with all the stuff I've read about endomorphs.
I am making use of stuff I can get at Costco, such as EAS protein powder, Premier protein bars, Yoplait light yogurt, Boca Burgers, Vanilla soy milk, and a Costco version of Egg Beaters (PS: Egg beaters are real eggs; they just have the yolks taken out.) The Yoplait light is fat-free and sugar-free. I switched from crumbled blue cheese/feta cheese to Wishbone light blue cheese dressing. Big savings with respect to saturated fat.

I had my first cheat meal last week, and it was a gargantuous bowl of popcorn, and even then my caloric intake for that day didn't go over 2100.

Resistance training: I bought a couple of resistance bands and a pair of "Pushup-Pro" things to make pushups easier on my wrists. I took these things to work, and started using during my morning and afternoon breaks in my office. My arms hurt. Ow. Upper body work is Tuesday/Thursday, and Lower Body Work is Monday/Wednesday. I work about 15 minutes, tops, each workout. Lunch time is walk (or, when the IT band heals) jog time.

I did not do the 18 miles I was planning on Sunday. I woke up feeling my IT band, and decided to take the day off. I think this Saturday I may return to spin, depending on how my IT band is doing. We'll see.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Thought for the Day

Saw this on a movie about the Tahoe Rim Trail Ultra yesterday:

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." (Emerson)

Also: Miss. Rachel gave me a fabulous blogger award:

RULES: list 5 things you're "addicted" to, then bestow the honor on five of your favorite bloggers.

My Five "Addictions" in no particular order:

1. Facebook Space Raiders - this is, admittedly, a pathetic thing to be addicted to. It serves no useful purpose, is not lovely, and does not make the world a better place.

2. True Crime. As in, I have Google alerts that notify me when something happens on a story I'm following. I'm especially fascinated by missing people, who then turn out to have been done away with by someone in their own household. They always get caught. It's just a matter of time. I get a distinct pleasure out of watching the process of them getting caught - ha. that'll serve you!

3. Sweet Baboo. When he's not around, I get bored, I eat all the wrong things, and I stay up too late, falling asleep in front of the TV. Everything's just off-kilter.

4. Gadgetry. I must, must, must at all times have a cell phone, garmin, and ipod with me. Even on my workouts. That way I'm connected, know where I am, and am enteretained. All at once. Yeah, I know. Loving the journey and all that, being mindful, shouldn't need music to feel the joy...Blah, blah, blah.

5. Coffee. "Stuff White People Like" notwithstanding, I like mine in the form of espresso (2x shot) with loads of Splenda and soy milk in it. Mmmm.

Five Fabulous Bloggers
Dread Pirate
21st century Mom
Trail Goddess
Run, Bitch, Run

BTW, I'm signing up for the Tahoe Rim trail run. No headphones allowed. I'm heavily dependent on my music, as I mentioned above. Any suggestions (other than lectures about why I shouldn't wear headphones)?


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Notes from the week.

Here's some graphs from LifeForm:

Training this week:
I power-walked between 2 and 3 miles Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during my lunch hour.
Saturday, Sweet Baboo and I did a 5-1/2 mile hike in the foothills behind our new abode. Tomorrow, I'll be power-walking 18 miles down Tramway and back.
That's a total of about 32 miles this week. Not bad for someone who can't run right now.

I'm going to be working this next week on bringing down the fat some: especially the saturated fat.

So, I went to the first "THE CHALLENGE" meeting this past Thursday. They provided us in the beginning with a really nice log book and guidelines for eating, and each time we go to one of these meetings I get one or two pieces of truly useful information that I wouldn't have gotten had I not attended.

But. the rest of the time Sweet Baboo and I spend rolling our eyes and masking our skepticism. And sighing deeply. I have never met a people so invested in the cleanliness of their colons and so eager to sell me something called Isogenics. No, I don't want to hear your success story and how much you owe it all to Isogenics. Thanks.

Puh. Leeze.

They gave us a checklist of things that make you toxic. Apparently, my body is a Superfund site. What follows is a short list of things I do that make me toxic:

...wearing makeup, coloring my hair, eating splenda, drinking tap water, drinking bottled water, (??) eating non-organic food, living within 100 miles of non-organic agriculture, bathing in tap water, washing my clothes with regular store-bought detergent, wearing deodorant and/or antiperspirant, wearing lotions and/or sunscreens, swimming in a chlorinated pool, driving my car every day, never having had a colonic...

In the contest between me and Baboo, I won: I'm the most toxic, mostly due to my vanity, although, as men go, Baboo is awfully clean and he was a close second. We have to have our priorities, right? I've claimed mine. Apparently, in order to be non-toxic, I have to be plain, ugly, sunburned, dry-skin, dirty, and smelly. I'm far, far too vain to be non-toxic.

Well, I'll show 'em. I'm determined to finish THE CHALLENGE as a makeup-wearing, hair-dying, water drinking vegetarian who sucks down a LOT of Splenda and hasn't had one enemas or colonic.

And that's all I'm going to say on the matter of poo and all things related to poo, because I personally never cared much for it in conversation except perhaps among the closest of friends seeking some sort of advice. Even when my kids were little I didn't talk about it, and couldn't understand why anyone would. The end.

Oh. And I bought one of these. and also one of these. I can't wait until they get here.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Title 9, Team Estrogen, and others need to know.

Thought for the day: Some endurance fashion that will just never look right on me. Accepting this is part of recovery.

1) Running skirts. RBR's post reminded me of my love/hate relationship with these. I own about eight of these little bastards. Oh, they are incredibly cute on the hanger, and on tiny little people like DP. I have some black ones, two pink ones, and a blue one. They are ADORABLE (high, squealy voice).
DP, goes on and on and on about how much she hearts her running skirts. And on.

But. I simply don't have the inner thigh clearance required to actually exercise in one of these. I am, hands down, an endomorph. Oh, I know what you're thinking, But, some have little shorts in them!

THOSE are the worst - the heart-breaking promise that is the little shorts. Within two minutes into the run they've rolled up as far as they can until they are, effectively becoming thongs, and then I spend the rest of the time pulling them back down again. I had one, just one experience with chaffed thighs when I wore one of these in a half marathon. Never again.

I'm not buying any more. I mean it. No, really. I do.

2) Low-rise pants and shorts or same with the waistband rolled down. Please. Do I even need to mention these? Unless I can get down to about 18% body fat, these will never, ever look right on me, and let's be honest: after carrying 8, 9, and 10-pound babies in the same 6 year period, muffin top takes on a whole other meaning separately from the Seinfeld reference.

3) My regular pants. How come when I gain weight, they get shorter? More importantly, do I want to know the answer to that question?

4) Hats/Beanies/Caps. I don't like what these do to my hair. I wear visors and bands instead. Yeah. I'm that vain.

5) Running Tights and capris in any color but black. I really don't at this point have the type of body that looks sleek in these clothes. Even in black I often wear extra jackets or shirts that I've discarded tied around my waste to cover up what I perceive to be my most glaring imperfections. I've tried bright red bike shorts (bad idea) and bright blue tights (even worse idea). Told you I was vain.


Day 4 of "The Challenge" rambling: It's getting easier. I find that the hardest part is getting started; after a couple days of working out meals I get into a schedule that works for me, and then it's just been a challenge to get in all my eating.

Even though I'm a vegetarian, it's been surprisingly easy to get in lean protein sources. For example, first thing in the morning I blend together 2 cups of vanilla soy milk, 2 scoops of vanilla protein, 2 shots of sugar-free coffee flavoring syrup, and a double-shot of espresso, and voila: 45 grams of protein. That's about 1/3 of my daily requirement on this program.

I tried Wishbone light blue cheese dressing to replace the fatty crumbled cheese that I tend to like on my salads, and it's pretty good. I heart my evening salads, to which I add a small amount of dried cranberries and other dried fruits and nuts, and my light blue cheese dressing. It's a daily treat that I eat with relish.

I'm about 3-4 pounds down. I'm still having trouble getting in all the water, but was notified by one of the Challenge organizers that I can add crystal lite, so that will make it easier.

Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, gets a daily allotment of about a million calories. Damnit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

OMG, I weigh HOW MUCH??

My first thought when I saw this was, how did Roman find that picture of my ass?

Then I looked again and thought, oh wait, no, her hair's too long.

Last fall after I ran Palo Duro my tibia was clearly damaged. AND I was unemployed, for the first time in my life. Well, partially employed. In any case, I sat around for a month or two feeling sorry for myself and doing NOTHING except maybe a couple spin classes here an there. And eating. Oh, yes. Eating eating eating eating. Then I started my new job with work clothes that were too tight. The kind of tight where you say, Okay, I can wear this, but I can't eat.

Or drink....... Or take in too much of a breath.

Still, I ignored the obvious and started my job, which involves mostly, well, sitting on my butt. Then I joined the world of the people who say CAN'T a lot with respect to training and exercising and then oh, how the butt did spread.

My come-to-Jeebus moment was this past Saturday, when I was weighed and measured for the "before" statistics for The Challenge New Mexico, 2009. I will post these when all is said and done - that's my vow, but for now I'll tell some of the ugly truth:
  • Size: 14. ish.
  • Weight: 175.
  • Body Fat: 36% or 41%,
    (depends on which impedance scale you follow)
That means...I'm carrying approximately between 63 and 71 pounds of fat. OF FAT. OF FAT.

I feel pretty ungainly, especially when--shudder--the day I reached for the pantyhose on the bottom rack. You might know the ones: They have a big Q on them. Like being Queenly is supposed to make me feel good in that respect.

No wonder my IT Band is pissed off. I'd be pissed off, too, if I was trained to carry a 155 pound load and suddenly was forced to carry 20 extra pounds!

I suspect that somewhere underneath all the, uh, fat that there are some muscles. Maybe I can just uncover them, and all will be forgiven. The purpose of the Challenge is to lose fat and build lean muscle. In order to build lean muscle I'm supposed to get something in the ballpark of 130 grams of protein a day, which I have never done, as well as resistance training, which I've generally, well, resisted. This is only a 10-week program, so I'm going to treat it like a jump start to having a leaner year.

Changes I have made so far this week:
  1. Switched from putting crumbled blue cheese on my salad and switched to fat-free blue cheese dressing. Savings: 55 calories and 8 grams of fat.
  2. eating 1 serving of oatmeal instead of 2. Savings: 170 calories.
  3. I power-walked 5K for lunch instead of sitting. My meals I eat at my desk. Burned: about 300 calories.
  4. No more mayonnaise, or fried potato chips. :-( b ye bye, my one true love...
  5. Switched from candy bars to a protein bar. Savings: 100 calories, and added 20 grams of protein to my diet.
  6. Eating 6 small meals instead of 3 big ones. First meal is a protein shake with sugar-free flavorings and espresso. Yummm.
  7. No carbs allowed after 5 pm. So, most of my workouts will be before noon on weekends, and during my lunch hour at work.
  8. Lots of fat-free dairy. Like, fat-free cottage cheese, fat-free yogurt, fat-free cheddar, fat-free dressings.
  9. Egg beaters instead of eggs. Savings: per serving, 28 grams of fat (I think) and 250 calories.
I plan to throw in enough extra calories and carbs to cover my weekly long runs, but only enough to cover them.

Caution. This is a 10-week program. I don't think I could do this for much longer than that. It's pretty restrictive, and especially for endurance sports you generally need more carbs than this.

So far, I'm really full from all the water and peeing constantly. You're welcome for that visual. We'll see how that goes. I'm using SparkPeople to track my eating, along with LifeForm. Spark people is easy to reach anywhere that you have an internet connection. LifeForm can be used without the internet connection on my laptop, plus it makes cool graphs. Which I'll post weekly.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Ghost Town 38.5: A DNF Report.

These aren't pictures from the race. There aren't any, I don't think. I just was looking at these pictures today as a reminder of what I've done.

Yesterday began inauspiciously when I stood up in the Porta John and heard a soft thud as my only asthma inhaler landed in the chemical toilet.
I turned around and looked, well, down - I could see it clearly, and it was within reach.

What would you do?

And what do you think I did?

Soooo....the other thing that was weighing on me, so to speak was the day before when I stepped, fully hydrated, onto an impedance scale for the beginning of the 10-week "The Challenge" program.

Weight:178 (clothed)..........BFI: 41%

I calculated that (.41 * 175 = a LOT of extra weight to haul up and down those hills) and that's a lot of fat that I don't need given that I'm neither living on the south pole NOR facing famine. So, I have a job ahead of me.

So, the start of the Ghost Town 38.5. The start, which was 25 or so degrees, depending on who you talked to, and 6 am, so it was dark. The first 12 miles were okay. I knew by mile 3 that I wasn't going to be running, but that okay: Even walking I kept a sub-15 minute pace. I was feeling pretty good, thinking, "I can totally do this." My IT Band didn't seem to mind the terrain too much...but I at a disadvantage. Not only have I not really been able to run in nearly 3 months, but was base I have is one that is for hauling 155 pounds or me around, not 175 pounds.

And Then. I hit The Spur, the first really steep uphill and downhills on the course. The way up was short and very steep, but covered with sharp, loose rocks (Baboo says it's like trying to walk on marbles), and when I came down - that's when it happened: my IT Band said, "Nope, no way, not here, I"m not havin' it." When I came out of the Spur I muttered to Baboo, who was corner-marshaling, "I'm in a lot of pain right now."

Prior to that the former last person passed me, a super nice lady who stopped and walked with me for a while, offering me some homeopathic remedy for pain. I'm not a huge homeopathy fan, but what the hell, I'll try anything at this point.
So I said, sure, and as they were dissolving under my tounge she said suddenly, "oh wait--you aren't a vegetarian, are you?"


"Uh, they have bulls' testacles in them."

Chew on THAT.

Anyway, Homeopathy notwithstanding, the pain would get so intense that it would bring tears to my eyes. But only on the steep downhills, you know? So when I came out of the spur around 15 miles, and by mile 16, I was still hoping that I could do this. All I had to do was get through the next 8 miles, and I'd be back on road that I could continue to walk.

I had a thought, which I'll share at the end of this, but the end result was that even though I was crying from the pain and pissed off, by mile 18, I'd set a new goal.

See, by then, I knew I couldn't finish. I knew that as bad as the terrain was, the return was going to be worse (I found out later that this section of the road is, essentially, a stream bed) that had climbed steeply uphill would have to be returned going downhill and I FURTHER knew that as much pain as I was in now, I just wouldn't be able to take it.

I can push past pain, and I can push past tired, but bundle them together, and they wear me down. By mile 18 my pace had climbed to 19 minutes per mile, and I wanted to get to the turn around before the cutoff time. I didn't want to be pulled. I wanted it to be my decison to sit down.

So I did. Followed by Sheriff's posse on horseback, I finally hobbled, dead last, into station 4 at the turn around, and asked if I'd made it. It's a small race, and mine was the only drop bag left so they called out my name when I rounded the corner into the station. "You made it!" they said. I'd cleared the cutoff time by 5 minutes.

I said, "Good! I quit."

They were expecting that, because apparently the posse had radiod ahead with things like, "she's doing okay on the uphills and the flats but when she gets to those downhills she starts limping really bad." I wanted to get to mile 20 because it was a nice round number, and because I wanted to pick up my drop back, and because I wanted to leave, not be pulled. So, I did. I left.

I was driven back in what can only be described as the most terrifying pickup ride I've ever had in my life, and then I stopped and picked up my other drop bag, and met Sweet Baboo at mile 12, who felt bad and thus was very, very nice to me. I should have taken full advantage of that as in, you know what would make me feel really good right now? lots of new clothes but by the time I saw him I'd had the time to reflect on everything, and I was disappointed and discouraged, but feeling a bit better.

At first I was telling him, and DP, "Maybe I'm not supposed to be a runner. Maybe it's just not my thing," and they were all, "Oh, pish, posh" and had many other encouraging words and advice for me. Baboo, especially, had a lot to say to me given that he had similar experiences in the past.

So, I've had a night to sleep on it and here's what I've come up with:

1. I went 20 miles. 20 rocky, mostly uphill miles, climbing from altitude of 5000 up to about 7000 feet. Not only that, but in the last 12 months I've completed 5 marathons, 2 trail ultras, and an Ironman. So, it's not like I'm a slacker or anything.

2. I'm starting The Challenge New Mexico, which is a 10-week program designed to lower your body-fat ratio and build lean muscle. You will see a marked difference in my attempt at the 50-mile Rocky Racoon next month. Yes, you read right. I'm still going.

3. Nothing hurts, other than my IT Band. My feet don't hurt, my calves don't hurt, and my thighs don't hurt, despite hauling me up and down a very challenging course over 20 miles.

4. The race director told me I would be considered an "alumnus" anyway, and would get early registration for coming back next year, if I wanted. (I do. I've never DNF'd on a race that I could finish.)

5. Let's face it. When you attempt to do extraordinary things, sometimes you will fail. Sometimes, though, you succeed; it's for those moments of success that you keep going. When you fail, well, you learn from that, and you go on to attempt other, extraordinary things.


Friday, January 16, 2009

What does it all mean?

As I obsess, pack, and continue to view the course map and profile for Sunday's run, I find myself asking, why do I do this?

Every time I do that the answer is different.

So this time, the answer is, because it makes me feel like I'm in control. 

I don't have a lot of control over things, and actually that's fine with me. There was a time that I was in control over most of my life, and I worked hard, and it was exhausting. 

Being in charge meant that when things needing doing, I knew that they'd get done, but it wore me down. I'm not naturally a leader. I just do my thing and hope it means something; I believe in the starfish story, and I go on the assumption that everyone I meet could be that one person to whom I could make a difference.

Leadership makes me want to break out in hives. So after spending about the first half of my life working and struggling and being largely successful in my endevors, I was happy to turn it over to someone else. Sweet Baboo is one of those natural-born leaders; he does all the planning and arranging, and he surrounds me in a nice, big bubble in which I am protected. There are contingencies for every possibility...I am insured and protected in every way I can be.


Every once in a while, I like to take a little vacation in setting a goal and meeting it under my own steam, through my own fortitude.  That's what running a marathon does for me, or finishing an ironman, or an ultra trail ran. I start out alone, experience my own little worry and drama, and  usually finish alone, and it's mine, all mine. 

No amount of planning will make up for whether or not I persevere.

So.  Sunday.

I have a turn around at mile 20ish.  I have 5-1/2 hours to get there.  There's another station at miles 34, and I have to reach that one by 4:45.  

In either case, no kidding, if I don't get there in time I get a truck ride back to the start line and I'm not allowed to finish.  This is done for safety reasons, but it takes away my "sure thing."  but you know, I need that every once in a while - that push, that extra element of my own, self-imposed bit of drama and danger.  

I've been for my pre-race massage; a little something different this time from Lorna, who does trigger-point stuff.  Don't know what the means except that her hands are crazy strong and it hurts like hell but when I woke up this morning, and all day, I haven't felt a whisper from my IT band since.  Orders are to stretch 2x day.  

Tomorrow I'll get up, drop off Mini-baboo at the DEP meeting, and then pick up Sweet Baboo from the airport.  Then we're going to have pictures taken for The Challenge.  Then we'll head down to Hillsboro for packet pickup. 



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Gear" review: Prowash Activewear Detergent for Big, Smelly Runners

Okay.  I'll admit it.  

I don't do laundry.  Sweet Baboo does it. There was just one too many incidents where I didn't check pockets and one of my lipsticks made it all the way through to the dryer...and, well, you get the story.   He doesn't trust me with his clothes, and that's okay, because I hate doing laundry anyway.  

I know what you're thinking, and no, I didn't do it on purpose.

So when ProWash wrote me and asked me to do a review of their new product, at first I was like, "Whatever.  Another detergent.  Well, at least it's free."   They sent us a box and we started using it.   After a month of using ProWash, I asked Sweet Baboo what his impressions are, and put together with mine, here are the results:

Sweet Baboo and I do things.  Sweaty things.  Beastly sweaty things.  Take last Saturday, for instance, when Baboo ran 60 miles.  Okay, 62 POINT 14, as he reminds me, often, he will not be cheated of any distance on that brutal run.  Trail running, for us bigger folk, involves a bit more than the usual allotment of odors and essences and grime and dirt.

So, in the past, we've used other detergent for activewear, and I won't name names.  Even though we were using it, each of us had at least one article of clothing that we noticed, when we first started working out, would immediately start, um, well, STINKING.   I had one shirt, in fact, that my teenage son had given to me.  I didn't wear it.  It was just too funky.  As Baboo said, it's like there were little stink particles that hid in the fabric and waited...waited...

After using ProWash a couple weeks, Sweet Baboo and I both noticed that this detergent got rid of all the smells in a way that the other activewear did not.  So it got rid of some clothes that I haven't been able to wear in over a year.  The running clothes have lost their smelliness, in addition to getting clean.  

2) We both like that it's HE, high-efficiency.  It's concentrated.

3) We like the packaging.  It's in a collapsable bottle, which takes up less space in landfills if you have a low-threshold of guilt, like I do.  And when you use it, says that you don't fill up a cap that gets all drippy and nasty.  Instead, you look at a line on the side of the package and use that to measure your dose.  

But the selling point for me, is the lack of stink.

You can get it online at Amazon and


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bandera 25K Trail Run

Today I picked up my computer, which has been in the shop since the beginning of December. It seems to be working - it's only shut down unexpectedly once, but that might have been becuase I'm installing new software and it needed to restart.

I did the 25K at Bandera on Saturday. I did it as a training run/power hike. It actually went pretty well, considering that it was my longest distance since October, when I did the 50K at Palo Duro. My training after that pretty much spiraled downward, as I'm about 99.5% sure that I developed a fracture in my left tibia.

In any case the Bandera, she was HARD, ya'll. Most of the trail was covered with fist-sized loose rocks. And here's the weird part, coming from someone who majored in geology in college: there appeared to be no reason for those rocks to be there. They were large, rounded rocks ranging from the size of my fist to the size of my feet. Rounded means water. This was practically the desert. There was no place for them to have rolled from. It was as though someone just came out with a dump truck and dumped large loads of rocks all over the trail.

And, as you can see, those rocks were on some very serious hills. I have to say this may have been the hardest trail I've ever done. They basically took the longer courses, removed the flat, runnable sections, and left in the hills.

And there was the yucca. They called them cacti, but they were yucca.

Not just yucca, but since Texas likes to do things really big, the leaves had serrated edges on them.

So. But.

Here's the deal.

I finished, and felt like I could have gone longer. My IT band was barking, but only on the downhills. My breathing, legs, and feet held up nicely otherwise.

Then, of course, I swelled up and retained a bunch of water and saw a number on the scale that I haven't seen since 2005. Yikes.

I'm taking it easy this week, hoping the IT band has been justly shown who is boss. Of course, there's a big difference between 15.5 miles and 38.5 miles. 23 miles, to be exact. But I feel pretty good about finishing it. My time at Bandera was slow, but the course was harder than anything I've ever done before (or plan to ever do).

After I was done, I ate the best grilled cheese sandwich. Ever. Then I watched Sweet Baboo finish his first "lap" (31 miles). Then I watched DP finish - she who seemed bright and fresh as a daisy at the end of a 31 mile trail run. Then I went to hang out and shower at Ma Baboo's house in Castroville. Then I came back near midnight to wait for Sweet Baboo to finish his 100K.

Oh, here's the other thing: Due to my ingestion of nearly a quart of chocolate soy milk before the race, I was in the line for the bathroom and missed the start - I was 5 minutes late starting. I hiked and power walked the whole thing finishing just under 5 hours.

And I was NOT last.

So There.

I'm ready for Sunday. I think. No, I am. I'm pretty sure.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

18 Confessions.

1) iPod rules. There. I said it. I hate All Things Apple, but I love the iPod. Or as DP calls it, the Precious.

2) It really is all about the bike.

3) The foam roller works.

4) When you Google me, you see a couple pictures of me, but also pictures of horses. And sometimes, strippers.

5) I should have listened to my mother way, way back in 1983. And 1987. And, probably, 1994. I'm not telling why.

6) I know where there's a bag of potato chips hidden right at this moment. They are not baked.

7) My pager battery has been dead for several weeks. I know this, and I haven't replaced it.

8) I've discovered recently that I'm actually pretty nervous before endurance events. Terrified, actually. It just doesn't look that way. It looks a lot like, laziness. I'm secretly pleased when things are called on account of rain, and the more terrified I am, the lazier I look.

9) I frequently change the time on my posts to mask the fact that I clearly wrote them when I should be working or sleeping.

10) I haven't sent out Christmas cards out since 2001.

11) Britney Spears' CIRCUS was released November 28th. It was in my iTunes library November 13th.

12) The skirt I'm wearing today is a size 14.

13) I have a southern accent that is largely extinct due to my efforts, but I will use in a completely mercenary manner.

14) I can, on occasion, be quite catty.

15) Because of this article I have purchased a large mesh strainer and a USB cord. I am just that combination of geek, lazy, and cheap.

16) I will eat stuff that falls on my kitchen floor. And I have cats.

17) There are three words that I have to lookup no matter how many times my word processor tells me they are misspelled: maintenance, embarrass, and license. I used to misspell conscience all the time until I saw the movie, "As Good As It Gets."

18) I still watch SouthPark. My excuse that I teach teenagers having disappeared, the truth is, I still watch it.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Hammers, Nails. Nothing in particular.

So, this morning, I was trying to get a new button sewn on my pants before I left for work. It had broken BROKEN. OFF. due to the strain on it of encompassing the ever-increasing me. However, I stopped briefly to go hang a picture because Sweet Baboo was taking a shower. These things are related: Baboo taking a shower, me hanging up a picture, and the fact that my hair looks like crap today.

I will explain.

So, not long after we first moved to the new house I was walking across the house one day with a small hammer in my hand and passed Baboo, who immediately deviated from his course to ask, with as much casualness as he could muster (trying very hard to keep the concern, anxiety, and worry from his voice,) Sooooo...where ya goin’ with that hammer?

Have you played this game? You might be tempted to answer with one of the following:

a) I’m looking for a rusty railroad spike to drive into the wall!
b) You know, I’ve had it with those damned cats...
c) I’m going to hang a picture on a nail but change my mind until there’s at least 20 holes in a small area of the wall.

Now, I’ve checked, and this is apparently a question for the ages, asked of many a partner to their significant other, mostly out of concern, sometimes out of a need to micromanage, always annoying.

To be fair to Baboo, I must confess that I have been known to do anything to hang a picture: My mother was a professional artist, and over the years I’ve assembled a collection of certain things that must be hung or it just won’t feel like home. I will generally, if provided with them, use the proper picture-hanging nail and hook, but if they are not available immediately I have been known to use, in this order: finishing nails, roofing hails, wood screws, bolts, rusty bits of metal, bits of hard wiring cut and sharpened to a point.

I have, furthermore, used the following when either a hammer wasn’t available or I was too busy to go look for one: rocks, the heels of sturdy shoes, the heels of lesser sturdy shoes, the back of a cordless phone, a meat tenderizer, spoons, forks, the flat of a sturdy knife, the handle of a screw driver, and a marble rolling pin.
It isn't that we can't afford stuff. We can. It's just that hanging a piece of artwork, for me, is a whole tenstion-release thing. It must be hung. Now. No, NOW. IT MUST BE HUNG. I CANNOT WAIT FOR A TRIP TO LOWES!

And I’ve left some awful holes. Not holes that couldn’t be patched, mind you…with some toothpaste and a wet sponge...many of my skills having never really evolved much further than dorm living, but the holes get patched, y'all. But. Anyway.
So it isn’t strictly for purposes of micromanaging that Baboo began following me through the house and asking me where was I going with that hammer.

He had bought me a tack hammer, and some proper picture-hanging nails and hooks, and I’ve been a good girl; I’ve been using them. Nevertheless, he has been following me through the house and questioning me about every decision I make to hang artwork of any sort...however kindly and patiently he asks, and he always asks kindly and patiently, but the stress of the ever-present question, though, has gotten to me to the point that I’ve determined that the best time to hang a picture is while Baboo is taking his shower.

Which brings me to this morning.

I had just enough time to sew on a button, but Baboo stepped into the shower and I realized that I had some prime picture-hanging time available, so I abandoned the button-sewing and dashed to spare bedroom to hang the picture, thereby squandering the available time to sew on the button. The button was sewn on after he got out of the shower, thereby squandering available makeup I have mentioned in the past, I'll wear makeup in an Ironman, so I'm SURE not going to work without makeup on and I was GOING TO GET SOME MAKEUP ON MY FACE, thereby using up the time to do my hair properly.

See, it’s all related.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Another >yawn< Weight Loss/Dieting Resolution.

Happy 2009! I've been too busy to make New Year's resolutions, so I've got some general goals. here they are:

1) Finish my first 50-miler.

2) Do 10 pushups. In a row (Yeah. Um, well, that was the resolution last year, and I got pretty close but then I got distracted and quit and am now back to a soft, noodly upper body. Perhaps, to punish myself, I'll make it 20. And video it.)

3) Still not eating chlorella. Or swimming in it, either.

4) OMG, I've gained enough weight during injury recovery and new job transition crap to have actually started developing a double chin! AND, my clothes don't fit! AND, my knees hurt when I run! AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!

Okay. Breathe.


First, I did a 4-mile power racewalk/hike with a tiny bit of jogging on New Year's day (Go, Me!) and one on New Year's eve, and I finally feel like my cardiovascular self is back to normal. I'm living at 6000 feet, which helps, I think, and I've been working on these trails a couple times a week all during December.

Of course, now that my tibia thing has healed, I'm having ITB issues. OH, HELLOOO MR. LEFT ITBAND. I THINK I MET YOUR BROTHER, RIGHT ITBAND LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME?


Still, I did the hikes averaging under the pace I need to finish at the Ghost Town next week NEXT WEEK NEXT WEEK, OMG!! But best of all, it's a doable sub-hour 4-mile trail hike/run loop right by my house . I LOVE having a known routine so that I can just get moving and zone out.

Second, I've noticed that I eat less without Mini-Baboo around. I think it's because of the creeping worry that, 'OMG, I HAVE TO EAT NOW BECAUSE THERE MIGHT NOT BE ANY FOOD LEFT SOON' that's been persistant in my life since my oldest child learned to open a refrigerator back in oh, 1986. (And you're not allowed to put locks on the refrigerator. I've asked.)

Third, I've joined The Challenge.

DP did this in 2002 or so, and since becoming My Official Dieting Boss Lady last year, DP often calls me up to tell me about such things. Usually, I hem and haw and give all manner of excuses, but not this is the jump start I need to get some of those pounds off that I gained during October and November while waiting for my tibia to heal.

I know that the extra muscle will help me in ultrarunning - I found that out at Palo Duro after doing 6 weeks of core work; it made a HUGE difference in how I felt after running 31 miles. Plus, as DP says, it's got accountability built into it, and you can get "free" information from professional nutritionists. Um, excuse me, I'm a strict vegetarian ultra runner - can you help me out with the whole carb thing?

Not to be outdone, of course (who wants a wife that can beat them up?) Sweet Baboo will be doing it with me.

It involves before (shudder) and after photos, skin fold tests, and weigh-ins.

As one famous blogger I know says, "Stay Tuned..."



 I'm no longer involved in multisport or endurance sports. I've started my own business, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety d...