Thursday, July 30, 2009

Promises Kept; Food Diary Not

OK, so I became somewhat productive yesterday. Well, somewhat. I needed a new desktop computer, so I ordered a barebones kit. (I had put together a computer from parts somewhere around the days of the 386/486 - you youngsters just need to know that it was the snazziest thing a couple of decades ago - but haven't done much technical since.) It went together fairly well, but took quite some time. So, that kept me busy.

It also gave me an excuse to revert to oldish food habits. Dunno why, but it seemed to be some sort of weird association between geeky stuff and greasy food. Like overworked IT nerds flock to Doritos and Mountain Dew, I turn to Jack in the Box after certain events. Apparently, putting together a computer is one of them. Odd.

Of course, I'm not exactly back on track today, nutritionally, so I'm considering this a two-day free-day. The scale will certainly taunt me for a while, but it won't make me or break me.

On the bright side of things, two promises were kept. First, I promised the dog that we would go on a run this morning in lieu of yesterday's walk. I know (think) she didn't understand what I said, but I did, so I had to keep that promise despite the siren grip of the comforter. No training plan today. I just headed out for a walking warm-up, a solid run, and then a walking/jogging cool-down. It was sort of refreshing to just run for running's sake; I'm going to have to add it in regularly. (And let us not forget that I do have a 5k in a few weeks, so I'd better get my running feet in gear. I insist on setting a new PR in that race.)

The second promise was my weight lifting promise. Two days a week, Monday and Thursday. Who did I promise that to, anyway? Was that just myself? Hmph. Well, all the better, then. So, despite still futzing with some software that doesn't want to install on the new computer, I made it to the gym. I'm at a weird spot where some of the weights/reps randomly drop. Well, not quite randomly; one thing goes up and another goes down. Today, my lat pull-downs went back up after dropping Monday, but my, um... well, nevermind. I guess nothing really went down, but certain lifts I expected to go up (in either reps or weight) didn't go up.

Since I had wasted daylight with the computer, I hit the gym a bit later and at a busier time than normal. While I normally try to avoid eye contact, preferring instead to imagine a gentler version of the mocking scorn I'm "sure" they really have, I let myself notice a few glances today. Now, I'm certainly not anything that would draw most guys' eyes (yet), but I wonder what a couple of them were thinking today. I didn't sense any amusement or negative vibe at my efforts today. If anything, the few guys that looked my way at all (most were, naturally, in their own worlds), well, they seemed to almost have a look of admiration. I don't know if it was because I didn't have a pair of pink dumbbells in my hand, or if it was because my form isn't as bad as I always fear it is, or maybe they were actually somewhat impressed to see how much I'm lifting.

No, strike that last one. I'm really not lifting that heavy (yet). I do lift heavier than many of the women (but not all), and heavier than many of the older men (it's a hospital gym, after all), but I don't think that I'd be raising any eyebrows of admiration.

I'm going to take it a different way. It's not that they're looking at me differently; it's that I'm getting more sure of myself and more comfortable with myself. You know, I like the feeling. In fact, I'm really starting to like lifting again. I mean, really starting to like it. I might even work it into my schedule more. Try to act a little less surprised, will ya?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I know this is no excuse, but I'm just not feeling it today. There are so many options for being productive today. I could go to the school and start organizing my new classroom. I could continue my spring cleaning at home. (Yes, I do know it's Summer. What's your point?) I could probably clean my car.

Regarding more fun and active options... I slept my way past a decent hour to go running (any time after 7:00 and it's just icky hot). I procrastinated my way past a decent hour to go cycling. I could go swimming, but... well... meh.

Maybe I'll take a nice long soak in the tub. That's productive in its own way, right? I mean, relaxation is important. So is reading. I could do both at the same time. That's kinda productive, right?

Yeah, I know. I'm not buying it, either.

I guess I'll just sit here and think about it some more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Adult Physical Fitness Test - Part II

In January, I discovered and subsequently took the President's Challenge Adult Fitness Test. (You can read my thoughts about the test back then here.) I had planned to retest quartly, but three months went by and I "missed" the deadline. I then thought about three tests a year, and then May 25th came and went. But there's no way I was going to test fewer than twice a year. Even my procrastination has its limits.

So today I retook it. Well, except for the 1.5 mile run. I estimated that time off of my recent 5k race. So, if anything, my time is a little slow. This policy of estimating rather than going out and running 1.5 miles is not likely to change any time soon, so that metric will still be consistent.

On with the show. Here are my results from January and my results from today. Cue the horns!

OK, so let's look at the results. My running, half sit-ups, and sit-and-reach have all improved. That's good. My push-ups have stayed stagnant. That's a little disappointing, but understandable since I actually haven't been doing any push-ups. (Although I haven't been doing any sit-ups or stretching exercises, either.) I had hoped that the related exercises I'm doing would help my push-ups; apparently that's not the case. I'll have to put push-ups into my next strength routine.

I'm somewhat bemused that I get the same response of "Obesity, Very High Risk of Disease" for my body composition for the two BMIs and waist circumferences. You'd think that a difference of 38 pounds and five inches would get a somewhat different response. I mean, I know it's a computer and it's only spitting out data for given input, and it's not like it knows that that was me back then, but you'd think it would have more options for what to spit out at people at various levels. (And, yeah, I know BMI is garbage, but it just would be nice. That's all.)

OK, let's put the weight and belly measurement aside and look back at what matters: fitness.

I've gone from an overall score of the 23rd percentile to the 40th percentile. So, in that hypothetical room of 100 people, I've jumped over 17 people. Hey. That's not too shabby. I've also gone from above average in one area to above average in two areas. That's not too shabby, either.

You know, I think I may feel a little something of the opposite of disappointment in these results. Obama and his six-pack would be proud. You know, if he had time to care.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Swimming Like a Fish. A Slow Fish, Perhaps, but a Fish Nonetheless

As you may or may not know, the crawl and I have been reluctant friends. I grew up on the breaststroke. Wait, even better: the German breaststroke where your face never touches the water (as you see in the wikipedia shot below). I mean, it was good and all. It got me from one side of the pool to the other, but it was certainly never going to be anything I'd do much for exercise.

As a child, I would wail if any water touched my face without me planning on it. Even then, I would tightly hold my nose before getting my face wet. It wasn't until I met a very patient instructor in sixth grade camp before I learned how to blow bubbles and bob under the water while clutching for dear life at the edge of the pool. But that was it. The heads-up breaststroke and bobbing at the edge of the pool. (Yes, I did grow up in San Diego. Why do you ask?)

A few years ago I decided I wanted to learn the crawl. I bought what I'm sure is a good book... designed for improving proficient swimmers. I taught myself what I thought was the crawl. After being told that I looked like I was being electrocuted, I bought a book and DVD on the Total Immersion method and started reteaching myself the crawl from the bottom up. It's been an on-and-off journey (as has nearly everything), but I'm starting to really "get" the crawl.

Yesterday, I crawled 500 yards without a break. Twice. Add in warm-up, cool-down, and interval laps, and it was a swimmer's mile, despite planning on less.

Did you catch that?

No, not the 500 yards nonstop.

But, yes, that was a first-time event.

The other thing.

Yes, intervals!

Ye Gods!

Even better: 50 yard intervals.


What posessed me? Well, I was noticing that, while my laps were becoming more and more (and more) comfortable, getting to a point where I could almost feel myself falling into a groove, requiring very little conscious thought to complete each stroke, my laps were also becoming slower. I wouldn't really have thought it possible. In the earlier days of "full stroke" crawl swimming, I would hit around a 1:12 per 50-yard pace. My record was something like 1:09 per 50 yards. In fact, attempts to swim faster would backfire, and I would actually go slower.

But now, I was averaging something like 1:16 per 50-yard lap. I was more comfortable, but I was slowing down. I'm sure the one fed into the other, but it wasn't the direction I wanted to go.

Was I getting too comfortable with the crawl? Was I getting, in a way, lazy? There was only one way to find out.

I decided to do a 50 yard "sprint". Actually, I think I had only intended to do a single length, but I continued on to the full lap out of habit.

When I completed the 50 yards, I checked my sportcount and was amazed to see the time. 1:03 and change. Wow. (OK, maybe you wouldn't be excited about shaving off six seconds, but I sure was/am. That's like... wait a minute... carry the one... almost a nine percent reduction in time!)

I caught my breath (something I once had to do in the middle of a length 25-yard crawl) and went on a slow recovery lap. Rinse, lather, repeat. Well, once. That was enough for the first time.

I'm certainly no Dana Torres, but I'm definitely becoming more fish-like. In my thirties. Who woulda thunkit?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Glimmer of Home in a World of Flatsploitation

I painted a somewhat bleak picture about the (mis)representation of the overweight in television yesterday, so here I am today to post a follow-up.

The glimmer of hope? Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva. (The Style Network's Ruby deserves an honorable mention, and it is on its second season, so there's hope to be found in more than one place.)

To be honest, I looked forward to Drop Dead Diva with a touch of trepidation. Would it do the right thing? Would it delve into shallowness? Would it be misunderstood like Shallow Hal (which, actually, was a fat-positive movie, though most people didn't stop either laughing at the visual gags or scolding the skinny actress portraying the fat girl's "inner beauty" enough to understand that.)

If you are unfamiliar with Drop Dead Diva, let me give you a quick summary of the pilot: Insecure overweight lawyer (Jane) gets fatally shot. Gorgeous and shallow girl (Deb), whose big ambition is to become a Price is Right model, T-bones a fruit truck and dies. Slender Deb manages to escape the afterlife, but ends up in the oversized body of Jane.

I know, right? It soooo could go either way. Well, it could have. The good news is not only is this a good show, but it appears to be great. I waited until the end of the second episode to decide this. (It was the best I could do.)

How much do I love Drop Dead Diva? Enough that I'm going to provide a bulleted list. I know, right? I didn't even do that for my over-long review of my Garmin! Alright, on with the list!

  • Brooke Elliott's behaviors change tangibly from playing Jane before and after the soul switcheroo. This is good because it's hitting on the idea that peoples' responses to sizeable women is not always about the size; it's often about the attitude. (I remember an advice columnist once telling an overweight man that the reason he can't find a date is not because he's overweight, but because he acts as if he should apologize for taking up everyone else's air.) Note that this is not sending the message that all fat girls are insecure. From other cast, it's clearly sending the message that insecurity was part of Jane's problem.

  • But it's not all about attitude; Jane is sometimes treated differently because of her size/appearance. When Jane goes for research in a bar, looking fairly nice, she's treated "ok", but her hot friend gets a free drink. Her boss treats her like a welcome mat, even when she starts to assert herself. (There's even a bit about how she should think like another overweight woman, well, just because they're both overweight.)

  • Jane is brilliant. Is this playing against the stereotype that blonde girls (like Deb was) are ditzy? Not really. It's made very clear that Jane has/had a high I.Q. so, like her insecurity, this is specific to Jane. The same stands about Deb's previous average (or so) intelligence.

  • Deb, her svelte figure a thing of the past, finds herself (or Jane's body?) drawn to donuts and chocolate. Hmmm... possible stereotype, but they're covering that a bit with the notion that the body feels comforted in certain places and with certain foods. Since it's been made clear that hormone levels and other body/brain chemistry affects cravings and hunger, it's not outlandish. Beyond that, this is a tv show. Play along and appreciate the thought.

  • Stacy, Deb's friend from a previous life (now Jane's friend, of course) tries to help Deb/Jane by helping her lose weight. This, she thinks, will help Deb get her life back. Her clumsy attempts at helping Jane (for example, she changes Jane's drink order to cut calories) are not only a bit funny, but make the viewer sympathize not only with Jane, but with Stacy. We know she means well, but the problem is obvious.

  • I'm not sure that Jane will decide to lose weight. I'm pretty sure she won't. This is a good thing.

  • Deb/Jane hasn't magically figured everything out (yet). She is sad when she sees herself in the mirror. She is flummoxed by the changes this new body brings. (Comfortable bra, anyone?) She doesn't quite "get it" when people treat her differently or, ironically enough, when she finds herself treating an overweight woman with a little bit of improper judgement. She's torn and mixed up, but she's learning.
I'll admit that I was a little taken aback by one particular moment in the pilot. Deb/Jane is with her guardian angel, Fred (played by Ben Feldman who reminds me more than a little of Chachi), and she asks him to make her skinny and hot. (I'm paraphrasing.) Fred responds that he's not a miracle worker. I wanted him to say something else. Something more like, "I can't make you skinny, but hot is a lot closer than you think." Or something like that. I'm not a script writer.

But I think that's part of the journey that Deb is on. She's got to figure that out for herself. Let me tell you: Brooke Elliott, the leading lady in this show, already knows that she's hot. Her character still needs to figure that out.

Let me make that clear. Jane isn't a woman who's unattractive because she's fat. She's unattractive for all the right reasons: poor styling, poor attitude, poor self-image. Let's compare Brooke Elliott in and out of character. (It should be fairly obvious which is which, but I'll tell you anyway that Jane is the top photo.)

Photo credits: The-F-Word (who, by the way, gets it wrong by bashing the show long before it actually aired) and access hollywood.

Sure, the show may be sappy tripe at times but, for the most part, it gets it right. This makes me happy.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I recall an old episode of E.R. It's probably the only episode I can remember anything about. An illness was spreading through the hospital and it was hard to pin down. They finally realized that it was a staff member who was not washing his or her hands after using the restroom. Now it was just a matter of discovering the lazy, unclean idiot.

Please don't let it be the fat guy, I remember thinking. Don't do it, I silently pleaded. You see, I knew about the stereotype.

Sure enough, it was the fat guy. Of course. Because, according to the world of television, overweight characters are lazy, unintelligent, or both. (Or worse.) Look around and you'll see the stereotype played out time and time again. It's awful, and it reinforces itself. Fat characters are, the majority of the time, hapless fools or idiots, and often slovenly and lazy. One noteable exception was Camryn Manheim of The Practice... but she had to challenge the producer to a game of chess for the right to be cast despite her weight. (She later won an Emmy for that role, for what it's worth.)

This is not my imagination. If you're interested, you can read more at pubmed. Though there are exceptions, it appears that television is not improving much in this area, and it continues to reinforce those stereotypes. It's nearly impossible to find an overweight character not cast in a role of a socially inept fool with a poor work ethic.

Worse yet, producers appear to be more brazen as they create television shows which actively exploit the overweight. The Biggest Loser is, thankfully, an exception. But, wait, is it? Do you get the word play in the title? Even the winner is, surprise surprise, a loser. Deep down in my gut, I feel that the show would have, indeed, exploited the contestants if it weren't for the good, strong hearts of Bob and Jillian, the trainers who succeeded in making it a - for the most part - positive show.

I've already talked about my fears with More to Love here. My suspicions have yet to be confirmed there, but I can see unabashed fatsploitation on Oxygen with Dance Your Ass Off. In fact, ironically enough, I had high hopes for that show. I imagined a show of empowerment and positivity. I even played along until I saw them dance on the first episode.

Every outfit, or nearly every outfit, for the overweight dancers had an exposed belly. Seriously? Just in case we missed the "grotesqueness" of it all, the episode was titled "Shake and Rattle Those Rolls". Seriously? Seriously. My hopes at a positive show of overweight people meeting physical challenges were dashed. Here are a couple of examples:

(Photo credit obvious, but here's another link.)

Just try and tell me that the folk in wardrobe weren't told to purposely make these women look worse. I mean, I agree that overweight people can be (are) beautiful, but they - like everyone else! - need to dress properly for their bodies. There's no way they couldn't have dressed either of these women better. Instead of putting them in flattering outfits, they dressed them to make a point: "See how obscene these fatties are? Isn't it gross?"

Well, yes. The outfits are gross. But they are't.

Subsequent episodes haven't gotten much better. The third episode involved a stripper pole. Um, yeah. Real subtle.

Joel McHale, on The Soup, said it well: "Dance Your Ass Off continues to be the biggest exploitation of overweight people since they started putting cookie dough in ice cream." Let's face it: If The Soup is calling something exploitative... Well, that's saying something, isn't it?

Let me leave you with this: There is good news out there in tv land. But it will wait until tomorrow. I've babbled long enough for one day.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Uphill Against the Wind... Both Ways!

If you ride, you've surely noticed that the first five minutes of any ride can be some of the most difficult. You struggle until your body loosens up, the endorphins start to kick in, and you find your groove. That difficulty happened today. Only it wasn't for the first five minutes; it was for the whole hour and a half.

What a hard ride! Yeah, it was hot, and yeah, there were some hills, but nothing I haven't tackled regularly. I was slow, and I was weak. I know it's impossible, but it sure felt like I was pushing uphill and against a headwind both ways. I finished the ride, but I seriously thought about sitting down at the side of the road and pretending I had a flat. (Come to think of it, I should have been able to easily avoid that glass I rode through. I wonder if that was my subconscious trying to create a flat.)

Anyway, I finished, and I (sort of) enjoyed the scenery despite the weakness. Sorry I didn't take any pictures. Really, today's ride reminded me of why I love Reno and have developed a "meh" feeling towards San Diego. The overdeveloped city down by the overpopulated seaside can't hold a candle to the Reno area's beautiful fields and untouched mountain ranges.

About an hour into my ride, I finally hit upon the reason for my weakness. (At least what I believe to be the reason.) I gave blood on Tuesday. I didn't recover quickly the last time I gave blood, so I was planning on waiting until winter to give again, but they called and claimed to be low on my blood type. I really had to think long and hard before agreeing to go in and donate. But I gave in, I gave, and - so they claim - I saved three lives. I guess that's worth it. No, I know that's worth it. It's not like I have sponsors counting on my performance, so if I can do good I should. But hear me now, United Blood Services: I sure as heck won't be donating right before any event, so plan your phone calls carefully! (Please.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gravity Always Wins

I haven't been doing much training lately because, other than being out of town, I'm back to planting a ton of litte bitty plants. I'm almost done, so I do plan on hitting the gym (and the weights) tomorrow. (For the record, gardening and composting are righteous workouts in and of themselves.)

Nevertheless, with a lack of anything else to say, it's time to tell the story of my right leg. You see, back on Memorial Day, I learned a lesson in physics while on a bike ride. I was on paved path A. I realized that I wanted to be on paved path B, where my friend was. I had already come to a complete stop. I looked down and saw some gravel between path A and path B. OK, no problem, I thought to myself. I know it's gravel and I'll be fine since I'm aware of it and it's only, what, five feet?

Um, yeah. Little did I know that under the gravel lay an inch of fine powder and silt. I barely had time to think, Oh, this might be a bad idea, before I found myself on the ground. It had happened so quickly that I don't believe I even had the time to consider about unclipping.

Awful road rash, and not even a macho story to go with it. For those with a strong stomach, you can find pictures chronicling the wound and the healing process here. The first two pictures are on the same day (one shortly after the accident and one at home after cleaning as best I could). After that, it's a picture a day until I got bored. It looks quite a bit better now, but I'm still taking steps to reduce scarring.

This might be a good time to mention that I also have a purple big toenail on my right foot, a souvenier from my kayaking trip. The strategy was, "If it looks like we're going to roll over, just get out." Sure enough, we did dump somewhere down the river, and my toe found a nice rock. People assumed that the purple toenail and the roadrash were related, but they weren't.

Now, onto more recent events. While in San Diego, as you know, I went running. Let me tell you something: If San Diego won't spend the money to fix their sidewalks, then there's no hope for any other city's sidewalks. They are absolutely awful... Bad enough, I daresay, that I felt a little homesick. On one run, I pondered the terrible state of the sidewalk, and noted that I should probably pick up my feet a little.

About a block later, I stumbled. I have no idea on what, but I stumbled. This time, I was able to think it through in slow motion. Oh, shit. Wait, no, I can stumble my way ouf this. Just step a little bit, oh, here I go, and... DAMN. Mere inches away from my old road rash, I have another wonderful bit of road rash. Beautiful.

So, let's recount: A purple toe and about twenty-five square inches of road rash, earned from three separate events.

I have no idea what my right leg did to gravity, but it's sorry. It would like to call a truce. The white flag is flying high.

Now, onto another tidbit. For the record, I always carry a camera with me on rides. However, the camera is rarely used because, while I enjoy the splendid views, I'm rarely willing to stop to take the picture. That's the weird irony of cycling: I ride to beautiful spots, but am unwilling to stop and take any pictures.

But then I read, in VeloNews's Race & Ride Guide, a little blurb about a particular camera. In it, is this tidbit: "Having a smal, flat, digital camera with a big back screen and string loop is key to snapping quick shotts while you're rolling, without crashing." Wait, do people really snap pictures while riding?

I slowly recall that I read this charming and funny blog post by Fatty of Fat Cyclist (no relation). I hadn't thought it through at that time, but it does confirm that, indeed, people do click and ride.

You know, when I was in elementary school, I rode my bike while reading a book. I may have only done it once, just to prove that I could, but I did do it. I wonder if I should work on the skills necessary to take some photos while rolling. I might be able to do it, with some slow practice.

My right leg begs me not to even try.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Again

OK, I've returned home and returned to reality. The scale tells me that I've gained a whopping 3.4 pounds in the last week. Luckily, I don't give a crap what the scale says. Well, that's not quite true. I take the number my scale spits out and enter it into an app on my iphone that averages my weight and then gives me a "true weight". This bump (and, probably, the week without data) is throwing off my average.

But... Bah. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Either I've gained a few pounds, in which case I'll lose it again and consider being more vigilant in the future, or it's water weight from less-than-ideal nutrition during my "free" week which I'll lose again. Same difference.

What's more important (much more important) is that I had a blast in San Diego, with not a small part of the fun taking place in either my running shoes or a cycling jersey. (I wanted to spend some time in my cute swim dress, but that didn't happen. Bummer.)

Have I mentioned how much I love the ability to take a route from (ahem, after checking the distance and elevation profile), or create a route, upload it to GPS Kit (or Trails) on my iPhone, hook the iPhone up to my handlebars, and follow a route without having to constantly look for street signs? It's absolutely fantastic. I was able to leave my mom's inland house, cruise down to the beaches, tour around, even take an unplanned detour, and return "home" without any stress. Here's one of the trips I took, in all its "satellitic" glory:

The first time I did this, though, I made the mistake of listening to music over bluetooth. The iPhone battery did not survive the nearly four hour ride (with sightseeing and lunch). I was able to remember enough of the route to make it back "home" without a problem, but I stopped by a construction crew to make sure I was going the right way on one long road. Just in case.

"Excuse me, but XYZ Blvd is this way, right?"

Long pause as they all stare and blink at me.

"Yeah," a woman finally says.

"Thanks, that's what I thought."

As I'm just starting to pedal off, the guy halfway in the ground pipes up, his voice a little uneasy, "You have a long way to go."

I respond, a chuckle in my voice, "Oh, I knew that!" and ride off, grinning broadly to myself.

Actually, I was only about three miles away from the street I was asking about. They might have been a bit surprised to know that, when chatting with them, I was somewhere around mile 37 of my 42 mile ride.

I didn't have the battery problem when I switched to using my shuffle for music and letting my iPhone only worry its little head about GPS. With enough tweaking, I could probably get it to guide me through a six hour ride.

I might just have to describe the system in greater detail later. For now, let's just say that this will change how I go about visiting and cycling in unknown cities. I think it's time to stop daydreaming about a long cycling tour (we're talking weeks, here) and start planning it out. I really do.

I wonder how I'll recharge my iPhone... Hmmm... One slight flaw, but not an insurmountable one. Man, I love technology.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Issues Old and New

Just popping in to say hello.

I wonder who coached my mother. She doesn't know about this site (I think), but she's been great. In fact, for a while, I was waiting for her to say something about my weight loss. I had expected her to say something right away, but... nothing. I started getting a bit angry, actually. I mean, come on, it's been 50 pounds since I last saw her. (I know, she can't win. If she says something, I resent it, and if she says nothing, I resent it.) So, finally, she said something. Twice. And nothing since.

Honestly, mom, that's perfect. Thanks. You couldn't have done better if I had written a script for you.

But today I hit true awkwardness: My sister. She's also fought with weight her whole life. It's been a bit harder for her, and she typically hits higher highs than me and doesn't quite get as low as I have in the past. Today she sees me and, well, it's not great. She has that expression on her face... I guess it's the one I'd have if the situation were reversed. I feel guilty (sort of) yet proud for losing weight, and she feels frustrated (sort of) for not and not a little resentful of my success.

Well, we each have to walk our own paths, but that doesn't make it any easier.

A while later, she brings it up again and talks about her recent attempts at weight loss and I - being the idiot that I am - offer help.

She laughs. "Help?"

"Well, you know, not help, but, you know, if you have questions..."

Oh, this isn't getting any better.

I finally grow a clue and shut up.

And, again, I remind myself that I'm not going to let myself derail my journey over any awkwardness or weird dynamic in my family. I've picked my path, I've worked hard on it, I'm enjoying it, and I'm looking forward to what it holds for me further down the line.

I feel bad that I can't help her on her path, but maybe that's the point. She needs to find and face her own demons. I can't fight them for her. In fact, for all I know, I may be one of them (as my mother has been one of mine).

Regardless, I do hope she finds her own path, whether it's discovering joy at her current weight or working to a lifestyle (and body) in which she'll be happy.

I wish I had been smart enough to say that.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Can I Just Bring My Bathroom Scale?

My name is Karen, and I'm a data-a-holic. And I'm afraid of this upcoming week.

I'm going down to visit my mother. Let's not even talk about the issues that brings up. She's going to be so happy that I've lost all this weight... and I'm going to be uncomfortable about it. Why? Who knows. I know I don't, and I'm pretty sure even my therapist hasn't figured it out yet. I guess it would have been a good idea to bring it up at our last session, so I could come up with some strategies, but... Oh well, hindsight. I guess I'll just have to repeat in my head, "I'm doing this for me, not for her, and who cares if she thinks otherwise." Maybe that'll work. If not, I'll improvise. No way I'm going to let my "mom issues" derail my progress, dammit. Hmm... I guess we did talk about the issues. Oops.

Anyway, back to my addiction. If you've been following me and my progress at all, you'll already know that I border on OCD with my penchant for meticulous number-crunching. I weigh my food to the gram. Seriously. And I log it all, of course. I weigh myself every day and take my bodyfat reading every day, both so that I can enter them into "averaging" software. I count every calorie I burn (or try to) so that I can maintain (or at least shoot for) a particular caloric deficit.

For the next week, I won't be doing any of that. Well, I might try to use her ridiculous spring bathroom scale, but it'll throw off my numbers.

I'm already feeling withdrawal.

Yes, I did seriously consider bringing my fantastically accurate digital bathroom scale.


No, no, no... I won't bring it.

I think.

For a week, I'll have to do it like "real" people do it. Watching my portions, listening to my body. Eating when I'm hungry and not when I'm bored. Exercising for the adrenaline rather than the caloric burn that allows me to eat a little more.

Yes, I'm nervous.

I'll still track my workouts for my training logs (and for the challenges over at daily burn), but that'll be it.

And I'll be doing it while visiting my mom.

Yes, this week will be interesting.

Wish me luck. No, really. I mean it this time. Or, if you prefer, wish me sanity. It might be nice to know how that feels.

Race Report

OK, time to cover yesterday's race. It was a lovely area, a beautiful day, and a good turnout. Assuming they have the I-Can again next year, I plan on registering.

Let's get the pressing question out of the way: I didn't medal.

Oh, that wasn't the pressing issue? I guess not. So, how did I do in "my own race"? I ran it well enough. Well, most of it, at least. See, I knew there was a risk when the description said, "relatively flat neighborhood streets," because the question remains: Relative to what?

The start was on a hill.

Upon the starting... um... yell, I trudged upward, optimistic that this would be the worst of it. The truth is that that little hill was the steepest portion, but that wasn't the only hill. We made a quick left and found... another hill.

A woman beside me panted, "I thought this was flat."

I smiled and nodded. I then replied, "It's OK. The hills give me permission to walk," which I then proceeded to do in a short while. I walked only occasionally and only uphill. (I scratched my head a little at the people who ran uphill and then walked at the top; I figure that's a little backwards, but whatever works for them, I guess.)

I lost sight of most of the pack early enough, dropping off from most of the runners and leaving the walkers behind me. I caught back up with a few runners who didn't understand the importance of pacing (or, it seemed for at least one couple, training). That's OK, I was running my own race. You understand.

The odd thing was that, every time I looked at my watch, I was maintaining a pace between 11:00 and 12:30, or thereabouts. I must only have looked when I was really booking, though, because my overall pace doesn't reflect those speeds.

Somewhere around the middle of the course, I fell in line with a young lady (or, perhaps, she fell in line with me). She didn't have much stamina, but made up for it with moxie. She'd run at a decent pace (not sprinting, but faster than me), and then settle in for a walk. To her credit, she didn't seem to do the "stay ahead of the fat lady" that I spoke about here from my last 5k (about two years ago). She was simply racing her own race, a little at a time. But we were leap-frogging.

We were until we got near the end, that is. I like to kick it up at the end, so I did. The instant she saw me right behind her shoulder, she kicked it up herself. Now, this was probably the wrong attitude to take at this time, but I figured: Hey, she's not in my age group, I'll let her have this, and steadied myself. No, I didn't slow down, but I didn't push as hard as I could have right before the chute.

In retrospect, I regret this. I also regret not pushing hard enough for most of the 5k. I should have been much more worn at the end, so I was clearly holding back too much the entire time. Sure, I probably would have walked a bit no matter what, but I think I could have done better, gone just a little faster. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the run immensely; I just suspect I could have done better. So, what to do? That's right, I already signed up for two more 5K events.

My time? I don't know my official time yet. I didn't see a clock at the end, and we weren't using chips, but I did see someone with the little hand-held doo-dad which I suspect was used to record official times. I know I wasn't last overall, but I may have been last for the registered 5K runners. (I couldn't tell walkers from runners on their board.) Well, I'll find out soon enough. I should have been able to approximate my time with my Garmin, but, unfortunately, I clicked it off a little late. It reported 40:37. (Argh! Close enough that I could have easily beaten my PR.)

Honestly, considering the (mild) hills, I'm pretty happy with how I did. Now I'll really have to get going on the interval work so I can pulverize my PR at the next 5K (in late August).

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Silence Is, Um, Silent

Sorry I've been lax in posting. It's not that I'm slacking; I just have nothing to say. I've been hitting the gym, but going light on the running/cardio because of my upcoming race. I also am gardening like mad because we just had 200 or so (no exaggeration) little plants arrive and I'm the only one in the house who can plant them. Sigh. Even while on vacation, life can get in the way.

For kicks, I looked up my last 5k time (from way back in October of 2006): 39:15.5, 42nd in my age group (out of 61). This is about the pace at which I've been running for long, steady runs, so I'm not expecting to PR on Saturday. Of course, a lot has happened since then and now, so if I even come close to that time, I'll be pretty satisfied.

My eating habits have been all over the map lately. Not bad, not good, just... well, just ok. I have been maintaining a slight deficit overall, and the scale is starting to creep downward again. So, there's that.

OK, enough babbling. If you're in the mood for more, check out some of the blog links I added in the sidebar; they're normally pretty good. (Or I wouldn't have listed them, right?)