Monday, July 26, 2010

Past catches up

Today, a name popped up on Facebook that sucked the breath out of me.

The name appeared in a posting from a friend who friended him. As in, "so-and-so is now friends with so-and-so." I hadn't seen the name in years, maybe decades. But the memories of this boy, now man, are very fresh in my mind.

When my trembling hand clicked on the name and I saw his photo, I could see in the grown man's face his younger self, glaring down at me from over the school bus seat two rows ahead.

Middle school isn't easy for many kids, I realize. For me, as a fat child, it was torture. If we're given a certain amount of strength when we're born, I think mine was all used up by 1989.

I was made fun of at the bus stop. I was taunted in the classroom. I was looked down on by the gym teachers. But the terror truly began when I stepped on to the school bus each morning and afternoon.

It was my hell on wheels. Three boys, including The Ringleader, took teasing to the next level and hurled insults at me like candy from a parade float. To be honest, I can't recall what they said to me, with the exception of the time The Ringleader asked me if I weighed 300 pounds. Twenty-some years later, all I can remember is the intense fear I felt when I climbed onto the bus and saw their jeering faces. It's possible I can't remember specifics because, during those insult tirades, I likely shut down and went into protective mode.

Seeing The Ringleader's name on Facebook today brought back a flood of insecurities, not that I needed any more, thank you very much.

They say that your history makes you the person you are today. If that's true, I wonder what those years did to me and what part of my adult life has been shaped by that pain. Is that why I pull out my armor and try to shield myself from anticipated slights, even if there is nothing to shield myself from?

While the sight of this person's name caused me a little bit of anxiety today, and while I did click on his name to see if I could learn anything about who he is today, that's where the curiosity begins and ends. I don't hate him. I don't wish him ill will. I know people grow up and don't necessarily carry with them the same qualities as their younger selves. And I have long since forgiven friends who, when I was younger, taunted me in middle school.

Perhaps he hasn't changed. But that's not my problem anymore. And that should bring me peace. Because today, at age 35, the only person I need to protect myself from is myself. I need to love that girl on the bus and fight the insults I hurl at her when the scale goes up and, based on that, I declare her unworthy of love and kindness.

I've got to get off the damn bus.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I thought I was OK with it

Unlike last year, when I sank into a very deep depression after postponing the marathon goal, I thought I was OK with it this year.

I thought wrong.

Yesterday, I officially put my bib number up for sale on the MCM site. I got five offers within the next two hours. All those people ready to train and own that marathon experience. As I started doing the computer work to transfer the bib number, I began crying. I didn't realize it would be that emotional.


Well, it's 4:54 a.m. and I am awake. I started thinking about the transfer again and began to get extremely anxious. Heart beating wildly, can't breathe, etc. The idea of failing a second time, the idea that something I wanted so terribly is now gone again (and I am solely to blame) has me sitting in the dark, sans the glow of this computer, wondering if I can accomplish anything ever again. Passion for a goal obviously isn't enough for me.

It's hard. When you don't make progress at your job, when your personal life is untidy, you'd like to see a little success somewhere. And when you don't, well, it's kind of heartbreaking. Disappointing. Lonely.

All these folks out there making their goals happen and you're stuck on life's treadmill. You're chasing that carrot stick but going nowhere. So you stop, grab the damn carrot stick and eat it.

I guess life always seems a little darker (literally) when you can't sleep at night and you start to feel suffocated by failures. I know, I KNOW, my blessings outweigh my problems. It's just hard to see them in the dark.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week 1 weigh-in: Part 2

Beginning weight: 210.2
Last week's weight: 210.2
This week's weight: 210.6
This week's loss: +0.4

Total loss: +0.4
Left to lose: 43.6 pounds

I kinda hit my head against the wall after this morning's weigh-in, and it was one of those times I wanted to curl back up into bed and sleep the depression away.

Only it was 5 a.m. and I needed to get out to Virginia Beach for a 5K.

Somewhere I found the energy, laced up those running shoes and headed out to Fort Story. At 7 a.m., it was 88 degrees. And forts, alas, aren't known for their many trees and shady trails. No, instead I was faced with endless black asphalt and a blazing sun.

But with no timing chips, I didn't feel as much pressure. A good thing, because my legs felt like lead. Only 7 minutes in, I had to walk. But when I completed my first mile, I realized I had done it rather quickly (for me). It seems as if I may be getting faster during my running spurts.

My legs warmed up about halfway through, but, alas, so did the rest of my body. The sun was brutal.

I finished in about the same time as the 5K two weeks ago (but this one had hills). While I didn't show much improvement, I was just glad I got out there. It would have been easy to "sit this one out" because of today's temps.

This week, while not successful on the scale, was successful exercise-wise. I got out there four out of seven days (not including my daily 1-mile walks to/fro work), not letting heat or rain or humidity stop me. I'm not a poster girl for dieting, obviously, but all I can do is keep trying, keep running and keep the faith.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

That was a close one

I very nearly missed my boxing class today. I got up super late and it was 11:50 before I made up my mind that I'd go to the noon class. I'm glad I went. Though they still haven't fixed the A/C and it was 86 degrees in the boxing room, it was good to be there. (After all, it was cooler than being outside!)

Unfortunately, on the very last boxing exercise before moving on to other circuit training, my right hook left me in shooting pain in my elbow. Prior to the injury, my trainer kept saying I wasn't hooking correctly. I kept trying to fix it. When I grasped my elbow in pain, he simply nodded and said, "Yeah, you're not doing it right." Ya think?

Luckily, within 5 minutes or so, the pain had subsided to a dull thump. It hurts but it's more like a soreness now. I have a feeling designing tonight at work will be a painful challenge.

After class, which ended five minutes early, I decided to make sure I got in my full hour's workout (we also started about 10 minutes late) and I hit the treadmill, running for a mile.

I'm so glad I went to the gym. It was quite the struggle to get me there; I've just been so exhausted lately and I wonder if the heat is to blame.

Last night, I overate, but I did it healthfully (does that even make sense?). I went to this new Kebab Shack on Granby and ordered some chicken skewers. I had no idea what kind to get, so I got the variety plate. Ended up being a whole lot of chicken. It was grilled and tasted light. But, yeah, despite my full stomach, I ate it all.

Well, man, it hurts to type now, which doesn't bode well for work. Better go get the ice pack...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer

Just got back from a three-mile run.

After the first mile, which I ran straight, I felt like I wasn't going to make it any farther. I did a quarter mile on and off the rest of the way.

Now I see this on

Current temperature:
Feels Like: 107°
Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited.

Yeah, I'm a smart one...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The weigh-in is back

Remember the old weekly weigh-in? Back in the days of yore (the first four months of the year), I would bravely record the results from the scale each week, telling you where I'd been and where I was and where I hoped to be.

I stopped the weigh-ins for some excuse or another. But I realize now I need to bring them back. And what better time to start than the present.

This weight (the "beginning") is from this morning.

Beginning weight: 210.2
Last week's weight: xx
This week's weight: 210.2
This week's loss: x
Total loss: xx
Left to lose: 43.2 pounds

I've been having a rough time lately, and I admit, I'm pretty scared going into this weekend feeling depressed and hungry. (Hungry in spirit, not in stomach, though as you know, I tend to confuse the two.)

But I did a very Oprah thing and ordered the new book "Women, Food and God," which conveniently arrived in my mailbox this morning, along with "Run Your First Marathon" (yes, I've still postponed the marathon goal but I wanted the book nonetheless). I hope the two books will keep me focused as I slog through a lonely two days off.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fate on a treadmill

Sunday rocked. I ran/walked 7 miles, kayaked for an hour and felt great.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I was the laziest dog ever.

Missing Wednesday's run was killer because it was supposed to be my speed training. But instead, I simply sat like a slug on the couch, feeling guilty but depressed and unable to move.

Today, I managed to drag my lazy self to boxing class. Only to discover it wasn't going to be boxing class today. It was going to be...a speed workout on the treadmill.

Now, you know how MY speed training runs have been going. "Speed" being "better than a turtle's walk." So it was pretty hilarious when Max The Trainer said we'd jog for a minute, sprint for 30 seconds, "with the jog at 4.5 and the sprint at 9 or 10." In my head, I jumped off the treadmill, grabbed my bag and laughed my way to the elevator.

In reality, though, I humored him. I hit the "9.0" on the treadmill and watched with wide eyes as my feet flew every which way and my fingers stumbled across the keypad to un-humor him. I changed the speed to 6, and after the 30 seconds was up, told Max The Trainer that I considered a 10-minute-mile speed to be true speed. He then humored ME, allowing the change.

I was proud, though. I continued the speed workout for a mile, then had to take a short break to stretch my calves, then did another half mile, alternating between 4.5 and 6. The girl next to me, who rocks all our workouts b/c she has the core of an iron statue, couldn't keep up with ME. It felt good.

We finished the class with circuit training, where I managed to make a fool of myself on such exercises as the inverted crunch (couldn't get my body off the bench so I had to kinda roll off).

But I'm glad I can say I did speed work this week. I also signed up for the Wicked 10K on Oct. 30 at the Beach, so my new goal has been formalized. Maybe next time I'll try a 7.0 on that treadmill.

Or not.

(POSTSCRIPT: I just looked up what 9.0 on a treadmill translates to. A 6:40-minute-mile. Ha-ha-ha doesn't even begin to cover my reaction.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

5K: The do-over

I always have trouble sleeping before a big race. I'm usually very restless before a half marathon or 10-miler and can never get a wink in.

But who'd have thought I'd get that way before a 5K? A mere THREE miles.

Yet, there I was this morning, 3 a.m., unable to sleep. Then at 4. Then at 5. Then at 5:30.

And then, 30 minutes before the alarm went off, I slept.

And didn't want to wake up.

But off I went, eyes half open, to a 5K on a sticky, sticky morning. I was literally drenched before the start horn blew; the humidity was like a wet, soppy cloud that engulfed us all.

I knew from the second my feet crossed the start mat that I'd do better at this 5K than I did at last week's. My legs felt just fine, almost fresh. The race organizer said there would be water at each mile so I told myself to just make it to Mile 1 without stopping. Well, I guess when he said there would be water at each mile, he meant "somewhere within the mile." I ran straight until I saw the glimmer of cups ahead at the 1.5 mile mark.

I hardly drank a thing from my cup but I immediately felt nauseated. I threw the rest of the water over my already soggy body and pushed ahead. And by push ahead I mean I ran for a quarter mile, walked for a tenth of a mile, etc.

Then, up ahead, I saw a little boy walking alone (the race was for For Kids, which helps homeless families). As I passed him, I heard him mumbling/grumbling/making the kind of HURMPFH I make when I can't go a step farther. I told him there was only a half a mile left and he was doing great. Then I asked if he wanted to run with me.

We ran a little, walked a little, and he regaled me with stories of his other visits to the arboretum, his gymnastics class, his sister and mom who were behind us somewhere, and how the winner probably already won his medal even though he (the boy) was running AS FAST AS HE COULD!

I told him he was probably one of the fastest kids there. He said "maybe." Then he looked behind us at a boy a couple of yards away. "I have to beat him," he said. So we ran some more (this time, though, he took off in one of those kid sprints to prove his point; then he stopped, turned around and waited for me and we continued our jog/walk).

I honestly don't know if I would have run more without him or run less without him. But I'm glad I don't know, because it was a precious moment. When we reached the 3-mile mark and he saw the crowd up ahead, he sprinted away and crossed to the sounds of cheers and clapping. (And, yes, he beat that boy.)

And I finished 2 minutes and 20 seconds better than last week's race.

I was still slow, but much improved. The last time I had run that fast was in April, when, yes, I was more than 10 pounds lighter.

On a side note, I'm noticing a pattern emerging from my recent races. After I cross the finish, I run into a person (always a woman) who stops me and says thanks. Supposedly I am a good pacer. "I tried to keep up with you for the first mile," this latest woman said. "It was my first race." This follows two recent races where a similar thing happened. It's bizarre. But it's why I love running. Even overweight shufflers can inspire.

As can grumbling little boys.

Friday, July 9, 2010


So, I returned to boxing class a full two weeks after my last class. Big mistake to miss so many (though all of last week's classes were canceled b/c the trainer was on vacation). My legs are so sore! They actually were really tired going into the workout - so tired I felt pained during each exercise. Well, not pain. But tired-ness.

I'm giving my legs a break today, but I signed up for another 5K for tomorrow. I figure I can use it as my speed workout for the week, and I'd really like to see some improvement from last week's race. We shall see.

The weight has been going well, thanks to MyFitnessPal. I'm down 7.8 pounds from two weeks ago and am trying to prepare myself mentally for the slowdown that will soon occur. I really want to get back under 200 pounds again, but that may take another month. Or more.

Despite the heat, I've walked to work all week, and I really do love it. I always walk much, much faster on the way home, as it's past midnight and I always worry. So it's a good little workout before bedtime. (Can you call 8 minutes a workout?)

Well, my sore legs and I are off to an early, early shift at work, after a late, late shift last night. Let the yawns commence....(Do you burn calories yawning??)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


(According to my computer's memory, I've used this title "Blah" twice before. I need to think more creatively when I'm blue!)

Had an awful, awful 5K on Sunday - the worst in memory. My calves were so tight I had to walk most of the first mile. It was frustrating, though, because I felt like I had the energy to run, just not the legs to take me there. I actually thought about taking off my timing chip and leaving the race course, but the paranoid part of me thought that if I registered going across the start mat but not the finish mat, the race organizers would think I dropped dead and would call out the Guard to look for me. So I plodded away with a big ole frown on my face. I even took off my Uncle Sam hat during the walk portions.

(On a positive note, Greg finished first in his age group and ninth overall: I was very jealous, er, proud!)

I felt sick Sunday night into Monday and had to skip dinner and my Monday long run.

Today's "run" was pathetic and was more of a walk.

Tomorrow is speedwork day, and we'll see what happens. I need to stretch my legs and roll my calves today and really focus on them. I had plans to go to boxing class after my run this morning but my energy is sapped. Could be the 95-degree temps. I'm afraid if I go to class, they'll all look at me like I'm a weakling. I think I'll skip the run before Thursday's class and perhaps do some cardio after.

I didn't eat awful over the weekend, but I did overeat a bunch of crap last night. Don't know what it is about the end of the weekend that makes me binge. Perhaps I know that a strict diet week is approaching. Who knows.

Back on track today. That's all I can focus on.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Plugging along

I must say, I am loving this site. It makes me think about every little thing I eat and every opportunity to exercise. Anything to show positive numbers. The other day, I wanted to eat some pretzels (100 calorie pack) but I only had 68 calories left for the day. So I got up from my desk and did 312 steps to burn some calories first.

My easy run yesterday still was stuck around a 14-minute-mile. Tomorrow is a Fourth of July 5K, so we'll see what I'm truly capable of. I hope to do a 5K every month or so to see if my times improve. On Monday, Greg and I may go running in First Landing, where my hope is to put in miles but perhaps by simply walking them. We'll see how my calves feel. They've been rather tight lately.

I'm a bit worried going into this weekend. There are too many opportunities to eat. I was proud of myself yesterday, as I sat at my desk, gripping my computer mouse with white knuckles as huge slices of what smelled like heavenly cake were delivered past me. Folks lined up to get theirs, yet still slices remained when I walked past them to go to the printer. I thought about how much would calculate "one bite of cake" but then I just rushed back to my desk, sans cake.

Let's hope the rest of the weekend proves just as successful.