Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hello again

You know how April showers bring May flowers? I'm kind of hoping my April weight failure will bring a more successful May weight-loss attempt. I've got to refocus. I'm losing ground. I'm losing momentum. I'm failing, and I'm really sorry about it.

Needless to say, April has been bad for me. I ate bad 10 days this month, meaning only 18 were spent following my plan. You can see how I get on a roll: One bad eating day turns into multiple ones.

So much to update you on. Let's start with some good news: the step climbing!

I was supposed to climb 580 steps on Sunday for the Dominion Tower Step Up challenge. But it went so well (the steps were not as steep and not as deep as the ones I train on at the newspaper) that I decided to do it twice. So I briskly walked (without ever stopping or ever touching the rails) the tower twice. That's 50 flights and 1,160 steps! (I did pause in between the first and second go-around, so it was 25 flights at a time). It felt great to be trained properly. And I have faith I can do even more next year.

I had my doctor appointment this week, but as I expected, he didn't seem bothered by the weight gain or the weight-loss slowness or anything at all. I hate doctors. I really do. They never seem to believe a fat girl when she tells them she's trying to lose weight. Whatever. I had some tests taken so we'll see, but I don't expect them to tell me anything.

I haven't run much at all. I'm in the process of proofreading a book and moving to a new apartment, so I'm falling behind in the running area. But as I type, I'm dressed in my running gear and plan on taking a short trot in an hour before work. I just signed up for a variety of 5Ks and 10Ks (including two in Pittsburgh!), so I need to stay on target. And, technically, that Marine Corps Marathon training begins on Sunday.

I'll weigh in for you on Tuesday, but I'm going to start back over at Week 1.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Forgive me for not weighing in

I hope it's OK with you all, but until I meet with my doctor next week, I'm going to stop the official weigh-ins. It's affecting me in a negative way, and I really don't need that at the moment. I am still eating good for the most part and the exercise has gone well. I still weigh above 200 but not as high as 208. I think it was 203 last I checked. I'm treating myself to a pedicure if I can ever get back below.

I had a great run on Sunday. I only did 5 miles, but I ran the first 4.25 straight. I've been trying a new thing on my easy runs - seeing how long I can go without stopping to walk. It's cool to see progress.

Then yesterday, I did some speedwork. I ran three miles, and the last mile was my fastest - and it was below 12 minutes. 11:48, I think. It's definitely progress.

Because I had a hectic shift at work yesterday, I couldn't stair climb during the shift. I didn't finish work until 1:15 a.m., BUT I still managed to do the climbing when I was done. Interesting to climb stairs at 1:15 in the morning, but I didn't want to NOT do it. And I did the most I've done so far - 520 steps (25 flights). It felt good. I'll have 580 to climb on Sunday, but it will be much harder than what I'm doing now b/c now I get to go DOWN every 104 steps, so I get that reprieve. Going straight up is going to be quite a challenge. But I hope my training will help me.

My left leg is stiff today and hurting a bit (imagine that) so I'm resting today. Hope to do a nice slow run again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saved at the supermarket

I was in a pretty deep depression at work yesterday, and throughout the shift, I kept thinking about what I might buy for dinner. Perhaps I'd take out Italian, with a side of those Italian cookies I like so much. Or I'd just go to the supermarket and buy a bunch of crap. The BOX of Italian cookies I like so much sounded pretty good to me.

Then, before I left work, I read my blog, as far back as last August. First, I must say this: I'm sorry for always being such a downer. Man, can I complain.

At the supermarket, I passed by all the treats but kept going. I went to find a Weight Watchers ice cream treat I like so much but the store apparently no longer sells them. Which made me think of the other bad treats again.


My total purchase yesterday? $2.86. I bought one Lean Cuisine and left.

I don't think I've ever done that before.

Anyway, it wasn't all roses at home. I ended up having too much granola and Baked Ruffles. But I was glad I left the crap at the market. It's easy to give up on this journey because of the setbacks I've had, but have to at least continue trying.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Something is wrong

I'd been fighting for each of those 17 pounds I lost, fighting like you wouldn't believe, and it seemed like it was so much harder than it had ever been.

Now, I truly think something is wrong.

Yes, I over-ate this weekend. I ate bad things. Then yesterday, I made sure I was back on target and drank all my water so today's weigh-in would be realistic.

I weigh 208 pounds.

I gained 10 pounds.

I'm sorry but that's impossible. Impossible unless something is seriously, medically wrong.

I have a doctor appointment in less than two weeks, and while doctors never, ever can figure out what's wrong with me, I'll at least try to explain what's going on and see what can be done.

I'm trying to not be upset, but it's hard. I'm beyond upset. I feel like I'm being punished and I don't know what for.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oh well

Maybe it wasn't stress after all. Or maybe I'm still stressed.

Stomach pain is back.

P.S. I like the photo I added in the below post because you can see it right next to last year's Cherry Blossom post-race photo. While I was thinner last year, this year's smile beats last year's grumpiness.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stress effects

"You're going to worry yourself to death."

"Worrying about it isn't worth it; you'll make yourself sick and it will do nothing to change the situation."

I've said these things over and over again to friends and family throughout the years. I don't believe in worrying about the little things, stressing yourself out when doing so isn't going to help the situation at all.

So I honestly wasn't aware I was overly stressed last week. I didn't think I was actively worrying about anything. I was very wrong.

Last week, starting on Tuesday or Wednesday, I began having major stomach pains. They'd only go away briefly; I was living with the pain the majority of each day, sometimes even when I was trying to sleep. I was concerned, but I didn't go to a doctor because 1. I was too busy and 2. whenever I go to a doctor they tell me I'm perfectly fine and nothing is wrong, and that really gets old. I suspected stress because I had developed a cold sore, too, and that's usually a sign. But stomach pains hadn't been a symptom for decades. And the pains continued even after I finished my major proofreading job.

By the time I left for D.C. on Saturday morning - on my way to meet Greg and his family and get ready for Sunday's 10-mile Cherry Blossom race - I was in terrible, terrible pain. I was starting to realize that something could be seriously wrong, it being Day 4 or 5 of the pain. But the race was important to me (I had bailed on so many races in the past year and didn't want to do it again, and I had trained really hard for it). I was determined to run through the pain.

The night before the race was the worst. I couldn't fall asleep and had restless sleep from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., when I woke up for good. The pain was bad. I decided to get up and organize my race clothes and clean and organize things and put my contacts in, etc. I was, needless to say, more than ready when it was truly time to "wake up" at 5:15.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Perfect temps. Sunny skies. I was excited to see my sister at Mile 3 (she's in D.C. for a performance). My shin was a little tight and that concerned me a tad, but my goal was to try to keep a 13-minute-a-mile pace as much as humanly possible until I inevitably slowed toward the end. If I exceeded an average of 14 minutes a mile, they would pull me off the course.

The first few miles were great. When I crossed back over a bridge that was an up-and-back part of the course, I saw that there were many, many people behind me, including Santa Claus! When I saw my sister at Mile 3, I was pumped. When I got to Mile 5, I could feel myself losing a little steam. At that moment, a woman came up from behind me.

"I've been your shadow this whole time," she said. "You're at a great pace and you're so strong. What time did you want to finish in?"

I was a little stunned, at first thinking "I've been in your shadow" was an insult but shocked beyond anything when she continued. I stumbled out, "I just don't want to be pulled off the course. But I guess I'd like to beat 2:13."

2:13, as you may recall, was my time at last year's Cherry Blossom.

"Oh you can so do that!" she said.

It was then that I looked at my watch and realized how good I was doing. We had passed Mile 5 a little ways back and I had been running for 1:03 or so. I doubled that in my head. 2:06? Really? I could really blow last year's time out of the water?

Around this point, I had started the run/walk of 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking. So my time was slowing down a bit.

"I don't know," I told her. "I think I'm slowing down."

She told me to keep it up and she ran ahead as I stopped for my 1-minute walk.

I was still feeling good and was looking forward to Mile 6 when I'd have my energy gel and could feel even better. But ever since I was in the start corral, I needed to go to the bathroom, so I knew I inevitably would need to stop. I did - a little bit after I saw the MIle 5 woman - and took about 3 minutes off my time to jog over to the Porta Johns and back.

The rest of the race was good; when I realized that I could walk the rest of the way and still not get swept up by the bus, I was ecstatic. All morning (and for most of the race) I prayed and prayed: "Please let me feel good and finish." It was the best feeling in the world to know that would happen. I often looked up at the bright blue sky and thanked God for carrying me this far.

The last part of the race was killer - up a steep incline - and I started to walk again. It was then that the blue twins (as I had been calling them during the race - cute girls in matching blue shirts and blue ribbons in their hair) passed me and one said "We're almost there; keep going." I was beginning to realize at that point that not only was God answering my prayers, he had sent folks out on the course to keep me moving.

Based on where I was at Mile 5, I finished much slower, but I also had run about a quarter mile extra somehow. My watch logged me at 10.22 miles in 2:14:21. Which - insert happy dance - is a 13:09-minute-mile. Yes, back in "the day" that was considered a slow time for me. But my recent 10-milers have all been 14-15 or more. So it was quite an improvement.

The official clock reading: 2:14:17 (or a 13.26-minute-mile pace). So officially a little more than a minute slower than last year (but I ran longer and had a bathroom break). So I was beyond pumped. Not my worst 10-mile race. And it blew my training runs away (2:25; 2:28; 2:24).

Steps after I crossed the finish line, I was welcomed by the Mile 5 woman. She hugged me and thanked me and asked my name. Hers? Betsy.

This was significant to me because there's a woman who used to read my old columns in Wilmington who still reads them on this blog. I've never met her but she's a big cheerleader of mine, always reminding me of the Little Engine That Could with regard to my weight-loss effort. Her name? Betsy.

Needless to say, I felt very blessed yesterday.

(I also, thanks to my boyfriend, was able to meet one of my running idols, Joan Benoit Samuelson, after the race.)

And what about those stomach pains you ask? I had some after the race. But then...

I'd say 1 hour after the race ended, so did the stomach pains. Done. No more. Gone.

It was then I realized just what I had done to myself. I'm still a little blown away by it all. Unknowingly, I stressed my body so much that I caused myself pain.

I had also decided on Saturday (see prior post) to not think about my eating this weekend. I had (knowingly) been stressing about my weight for awhile: eating perfectly and seeing very minimal results. So this weekend I decided I would eat what I wanted but instead work on not over eating. For the first time in more than three months, I ate cake. And cheesey things. And a few French fries. And I didn't care at all. I know the weight will be up tomorrow, but, hell, it was likely going to be up anyhow. I will refocus tomorrow and devote renewed passion toward the stair-climbing effort and some speedwork. My next race will be a 5K, so I'd like to get myself down to my standard 12-minute-mile effort.

I learned a lot about myself this week. I never realized how much pressure I was putting on myself. I knew I would freak out about not doing well or failing or getting injured but I thought that was just normal runner mentality. No, this was different. This was doing more injury to my body that any physical injury has in the past.

I loved that race yesterday. Despite being last among the group I traveled with. Despite running a 10-mile race slower than a fast runner can run a marathon. Despite the race photos that still show a round face and too many bulges on my body. I enjoyed that course and I enjoyed that weather and I enjoyed pushing myself and feeling the love of fellow runners and God's blessings.

I hope to remember those feelings and focus on them. There was much beauty witnessed yesterday, and it had nothing to do with the cherry blossoms.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Very grateful


Today was a good day. The race went very well. I almost beat last year's time, if you can believe it (and would have if I didn't stop for a bathroom break). I pushed myself more than I have in awhile.

I have a lot to write about regarding the race, my diet and what stress did to me this week, but it will have to wait a little longer. It's been a long day and I need to sleep.

The long and short of it: I am very, very grateful. For many things.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Breaking point

It's been a hard week. I've had terrible stomach pains since Wednesday and my clothes are snug. I wanted to buy something new to wear this weekend and the clothes shopping experience was horrid. Left without buying anything. Went to wear an older dress today and looked like a cow in the mirror. Ended up having to wear my tight jeans that made my hurting stomach hurt more, and I felt like the people who saw me today (who hadn't seen me in awhile) looked at me up and down, realizing how much heavier I was since I last saw them.

I weighed myself before I left for D.C. this morning and it was grossly high. Despite doing absolutely nothing wrong. I practically cried in the kitchen (that's where I keep my scale) so frustrated because I don't understand.

I ended up eating bad today. Not over eating but not good eating. Had ginger cookies in the car on the way to D.C. Had chocolate cake after dinner. Decided that I wouldn't care this weekend about counting points. Decided I've really had enough trying so hard, which makes the failing so much harder. I'm not giving up; just taking a break from this stress. I do not plan on overeating, I promise you that.

The race is tomorrow, and I'm very anxious, which could be part of my stomach problem. I just want to enjoy myself on a beautiful cherry blossomy day. I pray I can. I pray that sweeper bus doesn't sweep me up. I pray I can come to some sort of peace with myself and this journey I'm on.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Perhaps it's because of my weight frustration.

Perhaps it's because I just finished a stressful proofreading job.

Perhaps it's because I'm really hungry.

Perhaps it's because I'm sitting right next to the damn stuff.

But I'm having a VERY hard time resisting M&M Thursday today. I bought a huge bag of Whopper Robin Eggs last night at Walgreens (and kept them in my car so I wouldn't be tempted) but now they're right here and I can smell them and they smell good. As do the M&Ms and almond chocolate kisses, etc.

Gonna be a long shift.

UPDATE: I survived the shift. Not a piece touched my lips. Still want those Robin Eggs, though.

I really wish...

I really wish I could understand what's going on with my stupid body. It is refusing to let go of this weight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thinking about that marathon

So it's time to start this marathon (or at least the training) going to happen? My goal in this weight-loss effort is to get to 175 by the time training (longer than half marathon distances) begins.

Here's where I stand:

Using the Galloway plan (run/walk training), I would start training May 2.

I would reach the 13-14-mile-run July 18.

If I can lose 5 pounds a month, I would be at about 180 by then. Using the same logic, I'd be at 175 by mid-August, when my mileage is to hit 17-18.

It's doable. Maybe not completely realistic, but not unrealistic yet.

I want to be at 175 before training begins because I want to do this the right way, and running such long distances in such a heavy body is just not healthy for my legs/joints/etc. And I also know that once training begins, weight-loss usually is much, much harder.

I had hoped I could be at 167 by the beginning of August, but with my scale wakeup call that I was heavier than I thought when I began, and some slow-downs, that's just not possible. At least I don't think it is.

I'm going to keep on keepin' on. It's kinda scary printing out that six-month training calendar. I'm reminded of last fall, and when I think about last fall, I start to get a little anxious. But I want to do this. I at least want to try again.

Week 13 weigh-in

Beginning weight: 216
Last week's weight: 198.4
This week's weight: 198.4
This week's loss: n/a

Total loss: 17.6 pounds
Left to lose: 32.4 pounds

Well, I prayed I wouldn't gain.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I've had a bummer of a weekend with a lot of work to do and just a layer of sadness hovering over me for some reason. So my mood didn't pick up when I did a preliminary weigh-in this morning and found a big gain. I swear to you I've done nothing wrong; despite my depression, I have not eaten one bad thing and have always stayed within my calorie allotment. I had to walk on Sunday instead of run b/c my leg was sore but I made sure it was a fast walk with arms pumping. And I kept up the stair-climbing all last week.


I have a cold sore (something I've gotten on my lip since childhood), which is always my cue that I'm stressing too much. And we all know what stress does to a body.

There are moments when I feel really good about the progress I've made, but other times when I feel panicky, like I'm never going to get back down to a healthy weight or I'll dive back into my bad eating habits. The anxiety can be overwhelming at times. I wish I knew how to tame it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A beautiful day

It was a gorgeous day and I was thrilled to begin it at the park, running. While I had to walk some of the 3 miles, my time was the best it's been in awhile and there were moments I actually felt like I was really running.

I'm just so very grateful for this day.

But now, back to work. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Memory Lane

I was looking for a photo on Tuesday and took a wrong turn down Memory Lane. It landed me in a photo album that is filled with memories from my most overweight years.

The "trip" was made even harder by taking another turn into a photo album filled with memories from my thinnest years.

I don't really recognize either of those people, but I'm happy to say I feel more connected to the latter.

A photo I'm including here is from a heavy - though maybe not the heaviest - time in my life. It was 1999, I believe. And it was during a trip to Kennywood with my sister. This year, at the end of May, we're going to return to Pittsburgh for a small trip and we were debating going back to the amusement park. We love it there and miss it, but it will be Memorial Day weekend and likely a madhouse.

But after seeing this photo again, I am even more determined to make the trip. I want a new memory and a new photo in front of the Kennywood sign. And I really want to ride those rides I couldn't back in 1999.

On another note, I had a good exercise day yesterday. On Tuesday at work, I made it to 416 steps; on Wednesday, I ran 4 miles before work and then did 416 steps again at work. I'm a little sore today, but hope I can continue the 416 all this week and perhaps try 520 next week. Perhaps. I've been taking some co-workers with me on my little mid-shift breaks and it's been fun. I try to recruit someone each time, though I tend to do it by myself most of the time. I think many don't like the sweaty mess that returns to my desk!