18 Mile Long Run Mantra

I sit here now freshly shaved and showered with my calves encased in bright pink compression sleeves. Like a girl less than half my age, I’ve just used a sharpie to write on my right arm and my left foot. A poorly scribbled bird with the words “faith, hope, pride” occupy the slim inside of my wrist while only a single word is scrawled on my foot: everyday.

I can most closely compare my emotions of late to a deflated, over-used bouncy ball. It can no longer reach the highs it once did and finds itself more quickly plunging to the ground. I wrote a post yesterday going into great detail about some of the reasons I feel this way, but in the interest of internet attention spans and keeping on topic (maybe someday I’ll be an editor — even if it’s a night school writing class) I will give you the following summary:

  • Working two jobs is emotionally taxing. Not only do I have less free time (I’m an introvert remember) but the reasons behind the need for the second job add their own level of stress: money.
  • Marathon training. I feel like I’m not doing enough. Between feeling terrible and achilles pain (which caused me to back off training) I’ve been worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare my body (and mind) for 26.2 miles of work.
  • Health issues. I haven’t been feeling well. I mentioned mental health, but physically, I’ve been feeling off. Why?
  • My lady bits are out of whack. I’ve had issues in this department for a long time, but this year they’ve been worse. I’ve missed work and it’s impacted my life. My last pap was abnormal and showed atypical glandular cells. This is apparently a pretty rare result and warrants a colposocpy from an OB/GYN (which is not rare). I had that on Tuesday. It also warrants an endometrial biopsy. I was prepared for the colposcopy and the possible cervical biopsy (which they did because there were spots seen), but the endometrial biopsy was a surprise. No need to imagine any of it, it’s not pleasant. What I did not expect was the intense emotion I would feel after the appointment. I’ve spontaneously cried in the ladies room at work, I’ve yelled, enraged, at other drivers and I’ve contemplated every bad thing this could mean.  THANK YOU, INTERNET.  The thing is, if they say “nothing is wrong” why have a felt so terrible month after month? Anyhow, name an emotion (other than the joyous ones) and I’ve likely felt it this week.  And if I even so much as think about “I wish my mom was here to talk to” I start to cry.

Okay, so there is my summary. But that’s not even the real topic of the post. That’s your back story.

Tomorrow, my long run is 18 miles of which 6.2 will be run as part of the Plaza 10k. I’ve been very anxious about this. However, tonight at the ripe hour of 7pm as I was working on my pre-bed night before a long run ritual – expanded race edition — I started singing and dancing. I felt…relief? What I was singing was Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” While not the most mellifluous, my voice gradually opened and soared — like birds (if birds sound like chipmunky frogs.) I kept repeating “don’t worry, about a thing…every little thing is gonna be alright.” Singing is believing.

I shook my booty — unafraid (okay a tiny bit afraid) of pulling a muscle or using too much stored glycogen the night before a big run! But I realized, there isn’t anything else I can do. I can’t make biopsy results appear any faster or change their result, I can’t get out of the run, I can’t change the weather or my body or anything really. But I can control my thoughts and my attitude. I can sing about those three little birds and hope my neighbor doesn’t think I’m drowning in my bathtub.

When I finally got in bed to carry out the official “wind down” I thought, “why not give myself any inky reminder of that kitchen karaoke performance?” Why not draw on myself like a twelve year old. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo on my wrist ever since my mom died last year, so why not test it out? A bird tattoo and/or a meaningful word or phrase is exactly what I had been considering. But I haven’t been able to decide between several words: faith, hope, pride. In the last voicemail my mom left me she said “I’m proud of you every.day. of my life.” It’s stuck with me. I hear her voice without even having to listen to the recording. It’s carried me at times the way knowing she was always there carried me.

Three little birds: faith, hope, pride — everyday, I’m alive.


Confessions by Katie

For the past month or two I’ve really been thinking about adding meat, eggs, dairy and seafood back to my diet. I started with dairy in the form of yogurt and then finally added cheese last week (but in very limited quantities.)

Last Sunday, I ate chicken. It was in my burrito bol from Chipotle. It felt strange, but it tasted pretty good. “Okay,” I thought, “I can do this. I can eat chicken sometimes.”

However, today when I tried to eat chicken on my salad it was not the same. I had about 2 bites and I didn’t like the taste and I didn’t know why I was even trying to eat it. I still don’t like the idea of an animal dying to feed me. I don’t need help increasing bad cholesterol, I don’t like the idea of animals living in captivity or factory farming and blah blah blah everything most vegetarians and vegans will spout and everyone will tune out (including the spouter.)

What was really unsettling to me was why after over a year of no meat I was suddenly thinking about adding it back in when none of my core beliefs or feelings had changed.

Today with fork to mouth it clicked in my brain. I’ve been depressed. My mood has been out of control up and down, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty down all the time. That leads to feelings of indifference. Which can lead to no longer caring about things you once cared about — like say, animals dying to feed you.

Secondly, I’m tired of feeling different. Maybe no one cares. But it gets tiring to be the special diet restriction person. “Grabbing a quick bite” doesn’t really exist for me. Part of that is my choice, but a big part isn’t. LORD, I’d LOVE to be able to just go eat without caring. Or eat without getting sick. Grab a sandwich or a taco or a burger. But food is more than just tasty stuff I put in my mouth. It’s ethics and feeling shitty and nutrition. I can’t eat without thinking about nutrition any more. Sometimes that leads to over-indulgence because it gets so tiring to try to be so perfect all the time. I try to thnk about all the things I CAN eat. And there are tons and plenty. But add in social dynamics or lack of money or time and it just spirals into a web of indecision.

My problem with eating for nutrition is that I also eat for pleasure. Food has always been something I could enjoy. My escape. Comfort.

We recently had an ice cream sundae bar at work and instead of my usual non-participation, I had a scoop of ice cream with half a banana and some Hershey’s syrup. And someone of course commented. “Hey, Katie is eating what we’re eating!” I do usually have something in those settings, it’s just not usually what is being provided.[ Generally, that’s due to the whole no-gluten thing. Lately, I’d even been thinking about testing the gluten thing again. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was all in my head. I mean, that’s what the media wants. And then I accidentally ate carrot cake with whole wheat flour and DEAR LORD did I feel like hell. I didn’t know what it was at first, but once I realized what it was, it matched up perfectly based on timing of consumption and symptoms. Dumb.]

The other part of the equation is weight loss. I am FREAKING out on some level about my body and my weight loss. Even though I see messages every day about loving your body and accepting yourself and I know I’ve lost 90 lbs, I am still unhappy. I still only see a fat blob. I have freaking acne that won’t go away and a protruding belly that I fear will always be there. After losing 90 lbs and running 4 half marathons — I’M STILL FAT.  Not only am I still fat, but acne covered and homely. I haven’t worn makeup in ages (partly because my skin is so sensitive and partly because I’m lazy.) I just don’t feel attractive on any level. Yay depression?

With the depression has come a real struggle to avoid emotional eating and make good food choices. I thought if I could make myself eat things like chicken, I could help my weight and fat loss. People always talk about lean protein. Maybe I could do a week or two of lower carb and high protein and drop some weight fast! Yes! That’s the ticket.

Any how, I’ve been trying to deal with the emotional roller coaster and I’m lucky because I have good friends who have been there for me when I’ve vacillated between wanting to lash out in anger at people and when I’ve wanted to put my head down and cry. I’ve honestly just kept expecting to wake up and suddenly feel okay again. That hasn’t happened. It doesn’t work like that. Not really. I’ve added on to this taking “THE pill” for the first time in 16 years to help with some issues and so far it’s just exacerbated most of the demons. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll normalize in less than 3 months. There are other factors that are large contributors to my stress, anxiety and depression but I have word-vomited long enough for now. Just please know, I’m not being a nancy-pants. There are real things, valid things, to be causing my feelings. And even if there weren’t; even if I just felt this way with no reason to which to point (and part of it probably is that) that would be okay. (I have to tell myself that. I still have trouble believing it.) So, thanks for reading if you did.

The Darkside

So mainly randomness today.

I’ve spent the last few days feeling very unmotivated and far from my “I want to hug the world” self. This generally happens once a month (ahem) but differs in intensity. This month for whatever reason is one of the more intense months. My irritability is near the surface and my attitude in the pot. I can usually hold back on food cravings during this week unless the emotional side is off kilter. So this week I’ve had gelato, candy, macaroons and accomplished none of my chores!

The only thing that seems to excite me is the anticipation of a new running route. The only time I’ve run through downtown KC was for a race. The streets are closed down and there’s hundreds or thousands of other runners. It feels safer. You don’t have to worry about traffic so much and you can just go. Tonight’s run is a different story. I’m setting out on the streets of downtown Kansas City because they offer a challenging terrain (hills) and a change of pace (ha!) My next two major races also start and end in downtown KC (Hospital Hill Half Marathon and Kansas City Marathon) so I need to get some practice running in the area.

I’ve been feeling pretty negative about my running lately. After my non-stop workout challenge I had some pain in the back of my leg (still feel it in the morning) so I decided to take a week off of running. When I did run again, I felt so slow and off. Flashing back to my training the last few weeks, months whatever, and honestly, I haven’t logged that many running miles. I’ve been doing tons of cross training: yoga, Pilates, personal training, elliptical, spinning. While these are all great for overall fitness and I truly enjoy them, I know that to improve in running and get past some of the blahs, I need to actually RUN.

Anxiety has been playing a part in my performance. As has negative self talk (why are you so slow? so-and-so is better than you.  is that my fat bouncing? gazelle, you are not.) Instead of enjoying the challenge of running, I’ve been indulging in the darkside of running. The doubts. The fears. The lazy. (Okay, I know I’m not “lazy” — but I’m not dedicating myself as much to running.) I dread my long runs. DREAD. Hours of boredom. Alone. Where will I run? Having to drop water. (I might get a belt but as a gal with a sizable midsection, belts are pretty unappealing.)

Anyway, this post is dripping with negativity and I know I need to KNOCK IT OFF. I still enjoy running. I do! I hope switching it up today will be a good step towards getting back into a routine. Hospital Hill is only 2.5 weeks away! And soon after, I need to start my training schedule for my first ever full marathon! I mean wow. I’m still excited and hopeful about that so not all has been tarnished!

P.S. Somehow I was lighter on the scale this week when I totally expected to be the same or heavier (after all that eatin!) Bodies are weird.

P.P.S. I said this stuff to someone today and I really need to take my own medicine:

“At least you got out there. Some day you will look back and realize how far you’ve come. Never feel bad about your stats. They just are. They reflect the workout not you.”

Running from Fire

Sitting on my couch draped in my red blanket, I feel safe. Sadly, that sentence is now out of date because I’m currently at work. My toes are a little frozen and I’m draped in a drab green blanket. (Hey, blankets are awesome!) I started this post a couple weeks ago — like I started 3 other posts. Apparently, one should finish writing and then hit “publish.” Whatever. But, in truth, more than my blog is stuck in “draft” mode.

Universe, I’m putting it out there: I’m afraid of running. That thing that I glowed about? That thing that consumed me for months? I’m terrified. While the rational part of me knows it’s ridiculous and I need to just push through, the other side of me, the what-the-heck do I call it side, is pretty freaked out.

After the half marathon in November I kept running – just shorter distances. And then I got busy and it started getting colder and I realized I liked wine and lounging on Sunday mornings and not having wind burn on my face. I felt disconnected and disheartened with my running group as I never made a connection with any of the other members. Now I’m out of the running habit and not sure I can do well.

You see, I was really disappointed with myself. Even though I beat my previous time and barely walked, the level of effort I expended (physically and mentally) made me wary. I want to be fast, ferocious and strong. I want to be lean and FAST. I don’t want to feel like a heffalump clump-clomp-clumping along. [No offense to heffalumps; they are cute and purple and have cool friends.]

I’m fighting an image and a goal. I’m fighting a desire. I’m fighting the fact that I still have a lot of work to do before I reach my goal. These goals of mine are at times overwhelming and entirely exhausting and I’ve been at them for a LONG time. I needed a break, which I took, but I’m finding that getting back into action adventure fitness weight loss ass-kicking hero(ine) mode is not a smooth transition. I suppose my expectation shouldn’t have been that I’d hop right back in and everything would be peachy. Struggle will never leave. Seriously, I’m just ready for the part where I’m good at running — and that’s a big part of my current issue. I’m not really that good at it. I’m not terrible and I probably could be good – some day — DAMN YOU, SOME DAY! — but I also have this perfectionism thing. I need to be the best (or one of the best.) Instead of using this as motivation to keep going, I’ve let it stop me and feed the doubt until I’m terrified to try.

So tonight my goal is to make myself do it. I shall run (though on a treadmill because brrrr!) And then I shall make myself do it again. And I’ll set a new goal or two. And I’ll achieve them because somewhere inside this terrified, purple heffalump is action adventure fitness Katie — heroine of her own life. (cheesy!)

I’m a Color Runner 2012

At least that’s what the headband says.

I did it. I ran. I jogged. I walked a little.

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 – 5k (and then I got up today and did a 5k in my neighborhood.)

Color Runner
See. Read the headband.
Closeup of face post Color Run
Tan lines – okay, paint lines.

MY FIRST RACE NUMBER BIB! (It’s on my fridge now.)

Showing the coverage and the bib
#7386 – that’s me!

Hi! Remember Me?

So much has happened in my fitness life since I last wrote. I’ve tried new classes: yoga, zumba, and belly dancing. I’ve discovered I can actually run a full mile without stopping (on a treadmill and outside!) My clothes aren’t fitting anymore because they are too BIG. I have so much more confidence and less fear about trying new things.

So now you are caught up. I’ve been having trouble the last week or so with my eating and routine. Whenever I get lazy about one thing (like doing the dishes or laundry) it seems like it snowballs into all the things (food prep, cooking, bringing my lunch to work, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, keeping to my full workout schedule, not eating processed foods, etc.)

I’ve tried to merge some of my old life with my newer fit life. Not working so great at times. My body simply doesn’t like alcohol or processed foods. It may not like a lot of grains and it may hate soy. I’m also eating less and less meat. It’s kind of expensive and I am finding myself more and more sensitive about animals. (I tried to befriend two geese after my run on Friday night. I stood and stared while Goosey1 slowly waddled away from me. Goosey2 seemed to feel safe enough and continued sitting, perhaps waiting for a cue from Goosey1 that would indicate true danger.)

So, my focus this week is on getting back into my routine. Getting the flow. Tackling the little things while they are little, instead of having to spend an entire Saturday and Sunday catching up.

This week’s plan:

Monday: Morning workout with Cheryl (this is a great way to start the week when I feel so off track) – smoothie and oatmeal, spinach salad with cherries, feta (if I have any), roasted red peppers, black beans, and vinegar dressing, banana!, dinner probably egg white omelet. Plan rest of week’s meals because I didn’t make myself do it today.

Tuesday: Grand Jury Duty in the AM so breakfast of oatmeal & egg whites before I go, SNACKS (some sort of portable fruit like orange, almonds so I don’t make myself sick like last week.) Running in the evening (at the gym if it’s raining or super wet – if it’s nice out I’ll be outside)

Wednesday: Maybe Zumba in the evening, maybe yoga sculpt (it was almost all men last week so that makes me sort of uncomfortable)

Thursday: Evening Yoga or day off.

Friday: Morning workout with Cheryl! (rescheduled from Thursday)

Saturday: Special end of March Madness Group Bootcamp with Cheryl. I won’t lie. I have fear about this workout. Maybe because I’ll be working out with other people who train and I don’t wanna be the slow, uncoordinated, weak, fat kid.

Sunday: If I don’t take Thursday off, this will be my rest day. I think I might get up and run though. At least a walk.

So there it is. Now I can hold myself accountable. Now YOU can hold me accountable. I might even simply my routine to just my training workouts and running with stretching/yogay stuff everyday. My neck and shoulders are so often in pain and crackly that I probably need to focus more on stretching.

*sigh* Must get myself back in sync. I mean, this week wasn’t awful (okay, today’s eating was horrible because I ❤ cookies and scones and I didn't feel great because I had a couple vodka sodas last night) but it doesn't meet with my standards and my stomach hurts from the fact that I apparently can't handle more than one boozy drink.

I think my biggest challenge is how to interact with people everyday when I am so particular about what I eat, drink, and how I move. How do I go out with friends? Ah Bartleby. Ah Humanity.

Update on December Goals

So, I wrote out my goals a few days ago. How am I doing?

  • Fit into the jeans I grew out of recently by ChristmasI’m getting there! They are still a tad too tight to wear comfortably.
  • Hit my Dec #GoTheDist goals (log 50 miles and 6 strength sessions) – I’m getting behind in my miles. I’m at just over 9. I have 2 strength sessions logged with one of them being the hour long Project Poolside last night. I killed it. I really did.
  • Stick to my high protein, high veggie, lower carb diet until Christmas (gets me back on track with meal planning and getting my veggies in!) – I added grains back in my diet on Monday after only eating protein, nuts, and veggies for a few days. So far, so good! I did eat some chocolate candies today, but I’m trying to be kind to myself about that. There are a few days in the month where it’s okay to say yes to that urge. Just don’t go crazy. So, I was pretty moderate but serving sizes are a total joke.
  • Workout 5 days per week (Funny thing about being active; you have to BE ACTIVE!) – FAILING! Gosh I like sitting on my ass playing on the internet and napping in the afternoon with my cats. I had a particularly nice nap in front of the fireplace this afternoon – on the floor!
  • Remind myself it’s okay not to do high intensity, high stamina workouts EVERY TIME I workout (perfectionists mount up!) – Yeah, I’m still sucking big time on this. Project Poolside isn’t exactly low energy.
  • Make sure each workout is at least 20 minutes – Yep, doing good on this one when I work out. Once I start I usually go at least 30 minutes. The first 10 is the hardest. And even harderest is the step out the door or pushing the on button on the dvd player.
  • Track my water consumption better (this one is really hard now that I’m not working) – I’m not logging it well at all but I am definitely more aware of drinking it.  Special cups with straws help.
  • F*&% THE SCALE!  (This time, I have pictures and I’m going to measure so I have a better idea of what’s actually happening. I want to lose fat, gain muscle and slim down. F*&% the numbers on the scale as long as the other 3 things are happening.) – I feel thinner. I know I’m doing the right things for my body. I won’t get on the scale until January unless my trainer (YAY! I contacted a personal trainer!) makes me. I’ll do it for science.

Also, my “before” pictures that I took of myself DISAPPEARED from my computer. I looked at them after I uploaded them. So weird. Time to check the Recycle Bin. I’m not stoked about taking those pictures again, but I will if I have to. IT’S FOR SCIENCE!

And So It Goes

Sometimes I simply ignore or do not act on something if I am unsure. And so it goes. This leads to the issues compounding and becoming more of an issue, or it presents an entirely new solution. I wrote earlier this year about the lap-band procedure that I was pursuing. I felt desperate and out of options. I needed and wanted a change and it was a viable solution. It still is a solution. But I don’t know that it’s my solution.

Instead of taking a definitive action of canceling with the hospital, I’ve simply swept it under the rug. The cost was high! I felt like a failure! I was afraid!

And so I kept trying to eat right and exercise more consistently. I kept trying to make the lifestyle changes that will help me live. Because band aids get gross and dirty and they tempt you to keep ripping them off.

My health and happiness deserves more than a stinky band aid.

Do Not Quit

Fifteen down and ready to be skinny. As I did my hip circles tonight (good for stretching out the hips) I watched my front pooch waddle. I am too young, too pretty, and too interesting to have a front pooch waddle. There’s a technical term for it, but for me it’s the one part of my body I truly hate and truly want to see gone. It’s also the last place I notice a  difference when I lose weight and inches.

My top weight this year was 246. Yesterday, I was 231. So, I am down 15 pounds from my highest this year. I set a goal for myself to be down to 229 next Tuesday when I do my weigh in. It means drinking enough water, getting enough sleep (more on that in a minute), monitoring my caloric and nutrition intake, and oh yes, exercising.

I am currently in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a client visit and while I did not manage to get up in time to work out this morning, I fully intend to rectify that by rising early tomorrow and getting some good sweat minutes.

Enough of this – NO QUITTING – and I will lose the waddle. I WILL LOSE THE WADDLE.


The Mighty Have Fallen

Injuries scare me. They test you. Will you revert to old habits or will you find a way to work through the injury?

After a solid run of alternating the 30 Day Shred with cardio at the gym, I noticed the pain in my knee was worse – in fact, it was persistent. My knee began to get stiff and sore with little movement. I realized that this was not the kind of pain that exercise and “pushing through” would make better. It was going to make it worse.

I haven’t worked out since Wednesday. I went out both Thursday and Friday nights, had a little drama to deal with on Saturday, and on Sunday mild housecleaning and walking around Home Depot and Target made my knee sore and stiff. Crap. Pain not going away.

I’m now trying to rest, ice, compress, and elevate (R.I.C.E) my knee in hopes that it will heal quickly. Never did I ever (ha) think putting a knee brace on would feel so good or have so much impact. Never did I ever think putting ice on my body would feel so good.