Saturday, September 21, 2013

Call me Ahab.

Dear Diary,

This past weekend Sweet Baboo and I ran the Air Force marathon. We're on our way to completing all five military marathons this year, and have already done the Army, Navy, National Guard, and will do the last one--the Marine Corps marathon--in late October.

This one has been around for 17 years. It's held on Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, OH. There is a 3/4 mile walk to the start line, so there's your warning. But at the start they have Potty City, and there are two long double banks of porta potties with NO WAITING. One might tempted to hang out in one and nap, or just get out of the rain. Might. The full marathon is small, and you aren't too far back from the start line when the cannon goes off.

By mile five I had found my white whale.The white whale is that person in every race that I choose, for some arbitrary reason, to chase down. It clears my mind of the general despair and tendency to compare the race to an exponential decay function, which theoretically never reaches zero. In other words, the race feels like it's never going to end. Like Ahab I'm a little mad at the end of a race so this keeps me sane.

There are criteria for being my white whale. Usually they done something to catch my eye. Maybe they just gave, or I imagined that they gave, me a weird look at mile five, or they look just a bit too smug and cheerful while I'm suffering, or maybe it's something real like I saw them cheating or acting like an asshole. Maybe they run really funny and it must seems like I should be able to beat them. They aren't nice thoughts that put a person on my radar. It is what it is.

There are several reasons why I chose this particular gentlemen as my white whale.

First, he had a really stupid haircut. I believe it's referred to as a "faux Mohawk" and I'm sorry to say this, gentlemen, but everyone looks stupid in one.

Second, he had a really stupid tattoo. I think it was supposed to look like the muscles of his legs were showing with the skin peeled back, but it was badly done so just ended up looking stupid.

Bu most importantly, the third thing to make him my white whale was what happened around mile five. As I was reaching for a Gatorade in the outstretched hand of a volunteer, he ran up, reached across me, and snatched it away, inches from my hand.

Oh fuck no you did not just do that. It's on, buddy.

A major White Whale requirement, I forgot to mention, is that it looks possible to run them down. This guy was tall and muscular like Sweet Baboo but unlike Sweet Baboo he had a highly inefficient stride. As he sprinted away, his greying rooster hair bobbed in the breeze. He stomped down the course and out of sight. I figured he'd wear down eventually.

I'm patient in hunting the whale. I run along, seething, thinking, oh, I should have knocked that cup out of hand accidentally...that's what I should have done. I should have called him a dick to his face.

But I am a master of patience. And passive-aggression.

About mile ten, as I was coming out of one of the many potties on the course (this marathon had more potties at the start and on the course than any marathon I've ever done. It was a dream. No waiting.) I caught sight of him about a block ahead, already walking. I was almost disappointed, having built up in my mind a scenario where I passed him near the finish. I ran along, using a Galloway 4:1 ratio, and caught him by mile twelve, passing him easily. Despite several more potty breaks after that, I never saw him again.

Then I was bored. Stuff hurt due to my crappy training and the twenty pounds I've gained in the past year. It's a nice course, very runnable and it was great weather (a might steamy at the end, but hey, it's not supposed to be easy) fantastic volunteers and only a few rollers at the beginning and then again at the end. Nearly the entire thing is on the air base and the roads are closed or nearly so. I visited the potty some more, scored some Vaseline from the medical volunteers to protect the lady bits, but generally it was uneventful. I suspect I was someone's white whale because there were some folks working hard to pass me. Some did. Some did not. One guy ran around me and pivoted abruptly, running backwards in front of me, scaring the crap out of me.


I was confused at first. Pop quiz! Then I realized: the tattoo. Then I had to think. I sputtered, oh, I, uh, Kentucky!

Eventually I was at mile twenty-two, slowly grinding my way toward the finish. I was moving slowly, in a straight line, through an aid station and chugging some more Gatorade. Just then, a loud, grating woman's voice screached in my ear, look out!!!! I'm passing you on your left!!!

What the fuu---? I wasn't even moving left! The woman, a very smug-looking racewalker, waggled by me, looking very, very bitchy. And smug. You know the type. They're all, you with your running, why, I'm not running and I'm doing a marathon! And I just passed you! Idiot!!

Yep, I was sure that's what she was thinking.

And just like that, I had my new white whale.

Oh, it's on, bitch...



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Diets. Tuesday twelve.

Dear Diary,

12. I've been fiddling around with weight loss diets this year and have come to some conclusions:

  • Low carb. I work out strenuously a minimum if an hour a day, often two hours a day, and I NEED FUEL. And yes, I know there is one for athletes, it's just not for me.
  • Paleo is just weird. It's like a cult or something.
  • Mayo clinic is an excellent book to read about nutrion and portion control, rather than a diet.

11. There is one system for me that has worked, and that is Weight Watchers. I've decided to try it again. Problem is, doing Weight Watchers with Sweet Baboo is enough to make me eat a cake. For one thing, he gets about 129 points a day. I get 26 points. He walks across the house and earns another twenty points. I run six miles of trail and earn okay it's really a hike/jog about three.

10. Week 1. a disaster. One of the nurses brought in soft, fresh bagels from Einsteins. Am I made of stone? For the record, three bagels will wipe our your weekly points. Also, one of the techs eats bacon for breakfast. Every. Single. Day.


Mmm. Bacon.

Week 2 was just me being unable to say no to anything. Bacon...cupcakes...whatever. Kettle chips are my weakness. They are my Kryptonite.

Week 3. has been better. I'm slowly recapturing some of that willpower I used to have. I even was able to ignore the cupcakes with a pile of frosting on them, into which was stuck some candy corns. I ordered a coworker to eat the last two so I wouldn't have to look at them any more.

9. I've been good about getting to Olympic weightlifting three days per week. I started to run into some problems with my knees (achey) and the top of my lower leg (sharp, shooting pain) but then i started doing more yoga and my coach showed me a killer quad stretch and that went away.

8. I have "discovered" chopped salads, thanks to Subway. Mmm. Juicy. I toss them with Walden Farms stuff and a touch of balsamic because the Walden Farms stuff tends to be a bit sweet. Sometimes if I've been good, a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese. If I've been really good, a tiny bit of chopped bacon. Mmm.

7. It's amazing, isn't it, how much eating can get out of hand? I'm all, I don't understand WHY I put on so much weight...I eat like a bird! Yeah, right. An ostrich, maybe. I was eating family-sized Greek salads and large souvlaki pita sandwiches in one setting. So now it's a small greek salad and a single souvlaki on a skewar.

6. I've lost three pounds this week. In the past when I finally nutted up and used some willpower, I was able to drop pretty fast. I'm hoping this is a start. My knees and ankles are getting tired of all this extra weight.

5. I have a new running partner.

I know what you're thinking. It's either, why hasn't she been running or with the dog? Or maybe it's when did she get a dog? Chloe, or Coach Chloe as I call her, is a harsh taskmaster. She's a complete spaz, first of all. She totally freaks out when mountain bikes approach. It's a workout keeping her from leaping at all the dogs that are off leash DON'TEVENGETMEFUCKINGSTARTEDONTHATSHIT and she pulls like I'm waterskiing. I wear a getup that Sweet Baboo cooked up. It consists of a repelling harnass, repelling line, full strength carabiners, and a doggie back pack from REI.

She looks like a sweet little dog, but she's about 55 pounds of kick ass. We adopted her on 2009 and she's part Rodesian Ridgeback and part other stuff. Mutt stuff. She drags me running up hills that I would rather walk, and nearly kills me pulling down hills faster than I can safely navigate.


4. Week 2 of standing at my desk. The first week was tough. Not only was there a parade of curious coworkers (including one doctor who I call Doctor Drama, who breathed, oh, you're going to get in so much trouble from JCO because he is, after all, Doctor Drama) but i've been working out the practical aspects. More on this as it develops.

3. This Saturday Baboo and I are doing the Airforce marathon in Dayton. I already have Ohio, but we're trying to get on all the military marathons this year. We have already done the Navy, Army, and National Guard. The last one is, of course, the Marine Corps. Oooorah!!

2. Walden Farms also makes calorie free toppings. pair them up with Arctic Zero frozen ice-cream-alike stuff, and it's not awesome, but it's a very low calorie banana split, or sunday, or whatever.

1. For my Honolulu marathon trip, I have purchased: 1 pair of ex-officio convertible hiking pants, two sarongs, two pairs of flip flops, and two pair of sunglasses. Dreadpirate says that's all I need. Anything I missed?


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Burning calories when my body's not looking.

Dear Diary,

I hate that whenever I sign up for anything that involves having a profile, and I have to categorize myself as sedentary. I might run a lot but I sit for eight hours a day at work. I've also been trying to figure out why these 20 pounds keeps hanging on. I was speaking to a collegue who just had her hips replaced, and she went on a rant against sitting. It undoes everything, she said.

I recalled that in my last job I had to get work out of my inbox, which was down a flight of stairs. I would also print and fax using a machine that was downstairs. When I started that job, and began daily six to eight trips up and down the stairs throughout the day, I rapidly lost 20 lbs. In this job, I've put on 15 lbs in 16 months. I sit, sit, sit.

And then there's this excerpt from a reviewer on Amazon who summarized a chapter of the book, "The First Twenty Minutes":

8) Sitting adversely affects the health of even the well-exercised. Even if you exercise one hour a day, it does not counteract the ill effects of sitting for the rest of the day. It's important to break up the long hours of sitting, even if it's for a two-minute stroll. This was probably the most shocking discovery for me, who felt very virtuous by exercising every morning before my one hour drive to work followed by 8 hours sitting on a chair!

So, i found a flight of stairs near my office. It's actually two flights, leading up to the roof. I bought this watch

It has 12 alarms on it and instead of beeping it vibrates. This is nice for when you're in a meeting and need a reminder of the time but don't want to be obvious about leaving when your watch is leaving. It's also nice if you're hard of hearing or work in a noisy environment. I bought it primarily for doing therapy, but it also reminds me to take medication in the middle of the day.

I set alarms for 10, 12, and 2. Each time the alarm went off, I slipped on my flats, went over to the stairs, and ran up and down them, twice. This has the added benefit of doing some "high knees" which I badly need, as I tend to shuffle. I started doing this the week of august 30.

I'm also investigating ways to stand more at my desk. I'm kinda intrigued by this, because when I was a teacher, when I went back to school i would automatically drop about 10 lbs. i think this was mainly because I walked and stood almost all day.

Apparently it involves some jerryrigging and cushiony mats.

So here's my experiment:

I've spent two days standing at my desk. It reminds me of when I was a teacher and went back to school in August. Back then the first week was agony, lower back pain and foot pain. for my experiment, the first day, my feet hurt, so I brought an anti-fatigue mat from my kitchen. Ahhh. The second day, my hips ached a bit, so I walked around more. Better.

But, I felt more alert, and I didn't get my afternoon sleepy.

I'll keep you posted.



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