Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Guess you have to start somewhere...

So to make this post positive, I can only say today's "speed" workout will hopefully be the one I can look back on and say, "Look how much I improved!"

4 miles
57.15 minutes

Only able to "speed" for 1.5 minutes at a time.

But I got out there, thanks to a friend's invite to the "My Fitness Pal" website, where I entered my "calories consumed" and desperately wanted to enter "calories burned."

(A special, special thanks to all of you who have written to me and sent such kind, caring words. Your support means so much.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quitter or Realist?

As I approached Mile 3.5 on my Sunday long run, I made a monumental decision:

I am not going to train for a marathon this year.

I didn't make this decision because I was tired at Mile 3.5. It was simply made during a moment of clarity.

I was thinking about how slow I've gotten as the weight has piled on. How I plan for 15-minute-miles on my long runs. How I want to be faster. How I had managed to gain weight last fall, despite running 16, 18, 20 miles on my long runs.

And I asked myself: Do I want to run a marathon, even if it means I ran a marathon-while-fat? Is my goal truly to run a marathon, or is it to be healthy?

There's also this nagging part of me that wonders if I've been sabotaging my weight-loss effort because I DON'T want to run (train for) a marathon. My heart doesn't believe that. But my head does. Perhaps I never wanted to get to 175 pounds because then the marathon plan would be written in stone.

I don't know.

On my return 3.5 miles on Sunday (I only did 7 total), I took my earphones out and walked back. I listened to the birds and the trees and my heartbeat. And I made plans for a new goal: I'll train for a 10K, with the goal of setting a PR. This will mean harder workouts, but not necessarily the longer workouts that accompanied marathon training.

You may wonder why I don't just take the marathon plan down a peg and train for another half marathon. My heart has, indeed, been heavy wondering when I'd run one again. It's been more than a year, almost a year and a half, the longest I've gone. And part of me wonders if I'll lose that part of me.

But when I do train for longer races, I sacrifice speed. I don't do speed training for fear of injuring myself and not being able to run long. It's only when I bump up my activity level and speed train that I see results in my body. Two summers ago, that was what I worked on. I had a little list at the bottom of my training calendar where I wrote "best times" and tried to beat them. I haven't done that in ages. it's time I refocus on that.

I would like to reiterate something from a long-ago post: I don't want to run a marathon simply to mark it off on a life's to-do list. I want to be a marathon runner. I want to be that girl in the cute running skirt with toned legs and arms who runs long because it makes her feel good and alive and because she can. This marathon goal of mine isn't going anywhere. It's just being postponed (again) while I try to focus on something smaller, yet bigger: How to get healthy again.

I call myself the Fat Runner, and while I'm not ashamed to be that (hell, I'm RUNNING), I don't want to remain that girl because I haven't tried harder to NOT be that girl.

So what is this 10K PR I speak of? Well, I've run countless 10Ks, but I've never gotten below the time I reached in my very first 10K (when, yes, I was my thinnest). It was the Oak Island Lighthouse 10K, and I ran it in 1:11:30, which was an 11:30-minute-mile. I've gotten close to beating it. Two summers ago, when I trained for speed, I managed to get a 1:12:30 in the Marine Corps 10K. I felt awesome in that race and would have achieved a PR had I not run out of steam in the last mile.

I've been as slow as 1:23.

My last 10K, last month, was 1:19.

So I have a ways to go.

As I was walking back on Sunday, trying to be all Zen about the decision I made, I couldn't help but wonder about how people would view it. Would they think I'm a quitter? Would they think, "Of course she's not going to do it. I never thought she would"? Would they be disappointed I'm not even trying again?

Am I disappointed?


Am I a quitter?


But am I at peace with my decision?


And, right now, that's what matters most. I can't run a 10K looking back.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soul searching

Sometimes I feel like I'm living two lives.

I'm the girl who lost a lot of weight, who strives to be a runner and wear cute clothes. I'm the girl who loves to go out on long runs, get sweaty and grimy and muddy. I feel pride when I take hourlong spin classes, boxing classes. I read books and magazines on how to eat healthfully. I love being outside and feeling the sun on my skin.

But I'm also the girl who grew up fat and unhealthy, who became an obese and then morbidly obese adult, who succumbs to her depression by stuffing her face and avoiding the world. I'm the girl who will lose a few pounds, only to gain them back, sometimes in the same month, sometimes in the same week. I self-sabotage. I try to diet, but as I'm dieting, I think about how it won't last. How I'll always be fat. So I load up on fatty foods at the grocery store, avoiding eye contact with the cashier, with the world.

It's disturbing, living this dual life. Who knows which Diana I will wake up to. My personalities are extreme and I never have a little of each. I'm one or the other. In a big way.

This past weekend, I fell into a depression. My mind was swimming with all those things I try not to think about: Where is my life going? Will I ever have a family? Am I doomed to live a solitary life? Have I hit the peak in my career? With each question, I ate. And ate.

The scale zoomed up, of course. And I fell deeper inward.

They say awareness is the first step; acknowledge that you have a problem and then you can start correcting it. Oh, I'm aware. And oh, I've acknowledged. And yet here I am. At a loss for where to go now.

Of course I prefer runner Diana, healthy Diana, fit Diana. Of course I hate being trapped inside obese Diana, depressed Diana, lonely Diana. So it seems like a simple solution: Just be what you want to be. Do what makes you happy.

Unfortunately, the battle isn't always in my control. But I know, deep down, I have the weapons to fight. And fight I will.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Great race

Don't have much time to write (off to do a little more running before the temps skyrocket this morning) but I wanted to update you on the past few days.

First, my Friday weigh-in: 207.2, so I lost about a pound and a half. I was pleased.

Second, my Saturday 8K. I was extremely worried as I started running those first few steps. My legs felt exhausted. I could only think about my leg workouts at the gym and how they probably just wiped my little stumps out. But I was determined to plow through. (Oh, and I only had four hours of sleep, too.)

Turned out, all went just fine. It was blazing hot in the sun, but those moments in the shade - sometimes a whole stretch of a city block - were glorious and I always picked up speed at those points. After running the first mile, I did a run/walk. Then, during the last mile, as I thought about trying to just get through a quarter mile at a time, an odd, odd, odd burst of energy hit me and I was able to run almost the whole mile.

Yes, I was still insanely slow (1007th out of 1156) but it was a great run on a pretty day and I was pleased as punch.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Toot toot

(That's me tooting my own horn.)

I could be down on myself - why not? I weigh too much and have a serious eating problem. But I'm going to pat myself on the back today. I just got back from my boxing class, which followed a three-mile run/walk. And despite my exhaustion and feeling crappy after the run (I'm beginning to doubt I can ever run straight again), I not only attended the class and not only finished the class, but I kept up with the class. I boxed and kicked and squatted and lunged and stepped and (kinda) pushed up and crunched. I did it despite feeling like I was going to vomit. And when, after a hard set, I took off my hand wraps and the trainer looked at me and asked if I'd had enough, I said, "Oh, I'm not leaving."

And I didn't.

It sucked. And I felt very foolish, especially doing the frog leaps, with my big thighs flapping together for all to hear. But I never stopped. And I'll give myself credit for that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


God, I hate looking at myself in the gym mirror.

Monday, June 14, 2010

That was a tough one

Yesterday's 8-miler was tough, but I blame myself for every single step. I got up at 7 a.m. but decided to fall back asleep. Got up again at 10. Didn't leave my apartment until 10:45. Didn't get out to First Landing until 11:30 (oh, right, BEACH traffic; who'd a thunk on a summer Sunday at 11:30?).

It was HOT, and worse, HUMID and I had only myself to blame.

But I did it. It was hell. The first half was just fine, but the second half seemed to last hours and hours. I'm still having flashbacks of the internal struggle of getting through each quarter mile. The humidity was so bad it was hard to breathe.

Luckily during that last mile, I had an angel sneak up on me. A man who was running came to a stop behind me and said, "I could use the company." He, too, was soaked in sweat. He was finishing up 14 miles and, like me, was savoring the last drops in his water bottle. He only stayed a moment and then was off, but it was enough to get me moving.

Otherwise, the weekend has been OK. I did have an unfortunate run-in with a box of Reduced Fat Cheez-Its. I knew when I bought it I was going to regret it. But part of me was like, "Oh, I can portion these out into little bags." Yeah, right. Oh well. Could have been worse.

I meet for my consultation with my trainer in a half hour, then will spend the rest of the day (hopefully) making progress with this proofreading job. I got a lot done yesterday, but not nearly enough, what with my insanely late start.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One week down

I always think it's funny how pathetically out of shape some of my muscles are - and how I'm shown this the day after an intense workout. The pain started hours after yesterday's boxing class, but today....well, today I could barely roll over in bed to answer the phone. Every movement is accompanied by an "oomf."

But it's the good kind of sore, and while my schedule says to run today, I will not be doing so. I'm going to catch up on my proofreading job and clean and have lunch with a friend. And try to stretch a little in between.

The scale today: 208.8. So, technically 11.2 pounds lost since last week, but we know that it's not real. The first week for me, always, and especially after pigging out, will show a much bigger loss. Also, the morning I registered 220 was after a night eating Chinese food, which will just pack on the water weight.

But, yes, I'm happy to have made it a week. I worry a little about the weekend. But I'll have this book to keep me occupied, I hope.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nothing better

Let me begin by saying that, despite my late work hours, I really do love being woken up by the sun at 5:40.

It helped me today.

Now let me back up.

Five years ago, when I was a much thinner little lady, I loved, loved, loved my gym: the WAC, or Wilmington Athletic Club. It was so awesome, and my favorite thing was the kickboxing class. I wasn't any good at it, but it gave me a great workout.

When I moved to South Hampton Roads, one of the first things I did was look for a gym that had kickboxing (with, ahem, bags; none of this kicking the air stuff). I couldn't find one at all. I even called personal boxing gyms but what they offered wasn't what I was looking for.

So I was thrilled when I discovered that The Gym Downtown (less than a block away from my new apartment) had actual punching bags and a boxing class. I decided to give it a whirl this morning. The class started at 6:30. I set my alarm for 6.

But the glorious sun woke me up at 5:40 and so I was able to arrive nice and early. Max (truly, it seems, one of the coolest personal trainers - though I will always love the YMCA's Carol Ann) put me on the treadmill since I was there early. Then the class, which was brutal and awesome. There were only three of us, which seems to be the norm, and we started by jumping rope, then did circuits of different jabs for a half hour. Then we did circuits of other brutal exercises (you should have seen me look at Max with wide eyes as he demonstrated stepping up on a bench that came to my upper, upper thigh and then demonstrated the modified pull-ups). But I succeeded, and he seemed impressed that this big girl could work out. He was extremely encouraging and the other two folks in the class were great, too.

So I signed up for this great (and relatively cheap, compared to the Y) gym. Though if this 6:30 schedule continues (and I actually really liked it), I foresee many afternoon naps in my future.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 5

It's amazing how the way a person treats you can make or break your day.

Remember the lady at the gym near my apartment who made me feel bad? Well, today I decided to try out another nearby gym, also less than a block away (why Norfolk has two private gyms in a one-block span I have no idea). I stopped in on my way to work, and the guy at the counter was so nice. I asked about the cost (it's cheaper!) and told him that his gym was appealing to me because it offers boxing with real bags. "Well, I teach that class!" he said. He told me the basics of the gym, how we'd set up goals and talk about what's worked in the past and what hasn't, etc. Before I left, he invited me to his Thursday class, smiled and shook my hand. Never once did he make me feel bad about how I looked. He never made me feel like his class would be too hard for me. He was welcoming and it made my day.

So, I do believe I'll be joining The Gym Downtown, and I'm excited about some of the classes it offers. Working out at home just isn't working for me (you know, having to compete for space with a mouse and all).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh what a day

It's been a bad day.

I decided to start the day by going out for my 30-minute jog/walk, as my training dictates. I thought that, on the way back, I'd pick up my mouse traps at PETA. Because of that, I decided to take a backpack and carry my wallet, keys, cell phone and a change of shirt.

Before starting my jog, I veered off to this new gym that sits two doors down from me. I just wanted to see how much it was to join. The cost isn't horrible ($45 a month, much cheaper than the YMCA) but the woman who showed me around made me feel horrible. Looking at me (and, yeah, I admit I looked really fat and awful in my running outfit), she asked if I could take the stairs. She made comments about working my way up in spin classes. Etc.

Then I started my jog. Almost at the halfway point and about to turn around, my backpack broke and my wallet and keys spilled out. I scooped them up and continued. Then I realized I should check for my cell phone. It wasn't there.

I proceeded to walk all the way back to my start, then back again to the turnaround. No phone. I scoured everywhere. I went to PETA, bought the traps and walked home, scouring as I went again. My 30-minute walk turned into 2 hours and 20 minutes and more than six miles.

So while it's good I got in a little more of a workout, I'm still pretty upset about the phone. It was time for a new one, yes, but I'm worried about my contact information and being able to keep my number. I keep calling it but no answer. I picture it in a bird's nest or at the bottom of a sewer playing "Chariots of Fire" to confused birds or rats.

Speaking of ... the trap hasn't worked yet. Half of me (still holed up in my bedroom) wants to catch it. The other half doesn't. I don't know how I'll pick that thing up and drive it to green pastures. He better be cute. I'm not a wimp but I'm not strong, either.

I haven't decided if I'm going to join that gym or not, but I was left today with the image of me in the gym mirrors looking worse than I have in forever. It was embarrassing. My summer running clothes just don't fit right and make me look even worse.

But onward I go. There's another gym steps away from my apartment (odd, huh?) and I may see how much it costs...and if the employees treat me better.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Days 2 and 3

Well, Days 2 and 3 weren't as perfect as Day 1 but they weren't awful. I didn't "cheat," but I went over my points by a few. Today, the scale showed 215.8.

I made three big mistakes today as I resumed my training schedule:
1. I hit snooze.
2. I turned off snooze/the alarm.
3. I decided I didn't want to drive to First Landing because of my late start.

Getting a late start (out the door by 9 a.m., also known as 85 degrees) was because of my own laziness. I got plenty of sleep but decided I wanted more. I don't know if it was the heat or my obesity or my lack of exercise lately, but I could not run for long. I did the run/walk up until 2 miles or so and then ended up walking the rest. Toward the end of the seven miles, I tried to do some more running, but not much. I was exhausted and woozy. The heat did me in. I'm still feeling toasty and it's 12 hours later.

I also should have gone to First Landing. It's a much softer surface and it is shady. But, again, I was lazy and didn't want to drive out there. I need to recommit myself to going out there for my long runs because it's so much better for me.

As I was walking today, I thought about how my blog is pretty telling because when you don't see a post for a long time, it's usually because I've fallen off the wagon. So it was pretty funny to see my friend Julie's comment on my last post saying the same thing! It's true, I know. And I do want to commit myself to writing and to this training. I'm hoping now that I'm home with no trips planned and no big events in the works that I can get myself into a good schedule. The month of May really did me in.

A funny aside: I have discovered a new diet. It's called the Mouse Diet. You see, I have a mouse (or, heaven forbid, a rat) and ever since I saw the sucker, I have hunkered down in my bedroom with a towel under the door. Yes I am hiding from it until I can go buy a trap (humane trap, I hope). But in my bedroom, I have no access to snacks. Makes for a good way to avoid eating at night! Though let's hope this won't last long. I love, love, love my new apartment and can't believe this is happening. One of the big reasons I moved from my old apartment was because of bugs. Only to move and have rodents??

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 1

That sounds so funny to write - Day 1. But I made it through Day 1, and Day 1 was actually really hard for me (as most Day 1s are), so, yes, Day 1 deserves its own post.

I can't believe I'm back here again. Today's "settled" weight was 217, so I'm basically where I was in January. What a waste of all that effort.

For all the "woe is me" I did in the last post, I should update you on a few good things I did last week. I had signed up for two 5K races before my Pittsburgh trip, excited to have the chance to run in my hometown. I wasn't sure how successful I'd be or if I'd even do them both. But I did. And I had a great time.

The first one was on Saturday, an up-and-back course that was a very gradual decline on the way up and a very gradual (but noticeable) incline on the way back. I was slow, but it was great fun, as I had the chance to run with a childhood friend, who never abandoned me despite the fact I knew he could go much faster.

On Monday, I knew I was in trouble when I went to pick up my race bib number and I could barely make it up the hill (mountain) where the registration table was. The course was one big hill (mountain) after another. I knew the race would be hard (it was billed as a "challenging 5K") but I had no idea it would be THAT hard. But I walked it all and enjoyed making memories with my friend and his very cool family.

It was great to go back to where I grew up and run (OK, walk/shuffle/plod). Even better was the chance to share that with friends.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Food-a-holic hits rock bottom

So much to write, I truly don't know where to begin.

I just returned from a trip to Pittsburgh, where I ate my way from one end of the city to the other. Picture Pac-Man eating all those little dots and cherries, except replace the dots and cherries with ice cream and fried-everything and you've got my trip. Except Pac-Man is much more attractive than I was on this trip.

I already looked bad, worse than I had in years. And once I decided I was not going to diet on this trip (kind of like I hadn't dieted this whole month), I proceeded to exhibit signs of an alcoholic. An alcoholic doesn't just drink one glass. No, he drinks bottles and bottles until he is drunk out of his mind. With my food addiction, I ate until I was sick. And then I ate some more.


When I look back on the first three months of the year and how good I was and how frustrated I was with my slow weight loss, I want to scream at Old Me and say, "You're doing awesome. It's coming off and will keep coming off. You just have to stick with it and know that eventually you'll get there. The alternative is you GAIN and you don't want that."

(Yes, I know what some of you are thinking: "Diana, I DID scream those things at you! You just didn't listen!")

So instead of being at my goal weight this lovely June day, I am heavier than I was when I first weighed in back in January. Yep. And I officially did something I am incredibly ashamed of: I entered the sacred 100 pounds-lost territory I swore I never would enter. You see, back five years ago, I lost 150 pounds. I regained 50 pounds but swore I'd never enter those first 100 pounds lost. Today, I forced myself on to the scale. 220 pounds. It pains me to write that.

I am deeply ashamed.

As I sit here squinting out of eyes surrounded by face fat, I hate myself and what I've done to myself. I hate that my running has suffered and that I'm miles behind my running goals. I hate that I enter summertime that big, sweaty fat girl whose fat can be seen bulging from short-sleeve shirts and shorts.

Yes, today is a new day. Yes, I've said that countless times before. But, yes, I'm back and I will try again.