Home Stretch

IMG_1064It’s go time.  And it so is.

I have been following a rigid training plan since MAY, when 70.3 training began.  That’s a lot of gluten-free waffles.  I’ve probably peaked at least three times.  Races are often described as the “victory lap” at the end of a training cycle.  After eight months, some significant emotional challenges, and about a gillion miles, I’m beyond ready to put this training cycle to bed.  If I sound demoralized, I’m not at all.  I’m just a bit overcooked.  Very ready.

Goal-setting and planning for this race has been a bit of a conundrum.  I registered for CIM a few weeks before I dropped out of Augusta, needing a big challenge I knew I could enjoy meeting.  When I transitioned from triathlon to marathon training, I was a bit nervous about my past tibial tendinitis or ITB issues flaring up.  To avoid injury and increase enjoyment, I experimented with walking breaks during my long runs.  It was wonderful.  I felt very strong and unbelievably calm.  No joke, I actually enjoyed my twenty milers!  They were faster than my first marathon pace (even with a break every 9 minutes) and recovery was really quick.  I figured I would transition to continuous long runs once I had ramped up my mileage without injury.  But I just never did.  For runs ten miles and fewer, I ran through but all my significant long runs had regular breaks.

I didn’t have any ego issues with frequent walking breaks initially but now I feel slightly less comfortable with them.  I’ve debated several different race plans:

9 or 10 minutes running / 1 minute walking

Pro: I’ve trained this way.  It’s very psychologically comforting to know that there’s always another break on the horizon, usually before I need it.

Con: It’s awkward to stop, especially early in the race.  I have to run faster to maintain my overall pace.  My walking breaks may not align with the aid stations.

Straight running

Pro: Running pace is slower since it’s continuous. Ego boost.

Con: Much more physically demanding.  Haven’t run anywhere near that far continuously in over a year.  Much more challenging mentally.

Walking at aid stations

Pro: Similar to my training.  Running pace can be a bit slower since walking breaks are less frequent.  Walking breaks are proactive enough to stave off fatigue later in the race. Won’t back people up.

Cons: Walking breaks aren’t quite as often but hey, it is a race….

I’ve settled on the compromise option: walking for 0:45-1:00 through the aid stations beginning at mile 3.    I will PR this race, without question.  By how much, I’m not sure but I’m aiming for >4:30 (10:17 pace) which is totally doable, even with walking breaks.

This race marks the end of my Beginner Chapter.  My intention for CIM is to enjoy (relatively) easy racing one last time.  In the new year, it’s time to get brave and get fast!

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#AFIProject Update

Remember my #AFIProject?

No?  No problem!

Basically, I’m watching all 100 of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 films.  I’m watching them from 1 to 100 (as opposed to 100 to 1, chronologically, or randomly) and using the revised list from 2007.

I considered including this on the blog regularly and sharing some comments about each film.  Well, I’m on #67 so that ship has sailed.  Instead, I’d like to share what I’ve watched so far and whether I LOVE, Really Like, Like, or think it’s a Great Movie but Not My Fave (GMBNMF).  Here we go!

1. Citizen Kane (1941) – Like

2. The Godfather (1972) – LOVE

3. Casablanca (1942) – LOVE

4. Raging Bull (1980) – LOVE 

5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – LOVE

6. Gone with the Wind (1939) – Like

7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – LOVE (biggest surprise of the list so far.  I loved loved loved loved this movie and did NOT expect to!)

8. Schindler’s List (1993) – LOVE (and can never watch again because I was absolutely inconsolable for the entire film and day.)

9. Vertigo (1958) – Really Like

10 .The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Really Like

11. City Lights (1931) - LOVE

12. The Searchers (1956) – GMBNMF

13. Star Wars (1977) – Really Like

14. Psycho (1960) – Really Like

15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Like/GMBNMF

16. Sunset Blvd. (1950) – Really Like

17. The Graduate (1967) – LOVE

18. The General (1927) – GMBNMF

19. On the Waterfront (1954) – LOVE

20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – LOVE

21 .Chinatown (1974) – LOVE

22. Some Like It Hot (1959) – Like

23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – GMBNMF

24. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Really Like

25. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) - LOVE

26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – Really Like

27. High Noon (1952) – Really Like

28. All About Eve (1950) – LOVE

29. Double Indemnity (1944) – Really Like

30. Apocalypse Now (1979) – Really Like

31. The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Like/GMBNMF

32. The Godfather Part II (1974) – Really Like

33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Really Like

34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – Like

35. Annie Hall (1977) - LOVE

36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – Really Like

37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – LOVE

38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – GMBNMF

39. Dr. Strangelove (1964) – LOVE

40. The Sound of Music (1965) – Never seen it and couldn’t get it on DVD, Netflix Streaming OR Amazon Instant.  Weird.

41. King Kong (1933) - Like

42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Really Like

43. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – Really Like

44. The Philadelphia Story (1940) – LOVE

45. Shane (1953) – GMBNMF

46. It Happened One Night (1934) – LOVE

47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – Really Like

48. Rear Window (1954) – Really Like

49. Intolerance (1916) – Like (FOUR HOUR SILENT FILM, FYI)

50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – Really Like

51. West Side Story (1961) – LOVE

52. Taxi Driver (1976) - Really Like

53. The Deer Hunter (1978) – Really Like

54. M*a*s*h (1970) – Like

55. North By Northwest (1959) – Really Like

56. Jaws (1977) – Really Like

57. Rocky (1976) – Really Like

58. The Gold Rush (1925) – Really Like

59. Nashville (1975) – Like

60. Duck Soup (1933) - GMBNMF

61. Sullivan’s Travels (1958) – LOVE

62. American Graffiti (1973) – Like

63. Cabaret (1972) – Really Like

64. Network (1976) – Really Like

65. The African Queen (1951) - Like

66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Really like

Truly, I haven’t disliked any of the films.  Even my least favorites were engaging and worth seeing.  There have definitely been some major surprises.  I didn’t expect to ABSOLUTELY LOVE Lawrence of Arabia but I can’t wait to watch it again!  I also discovered I adore Charlie Chaplin!  That’s exactly why I’m doing this project and it’s so much fun!

What’s your favorite movie on this list??

 

 

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RACE RECAP – Diablo Trail Adventure Half Marathon

Is a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing an appropriate long run for a road marathon?  Probably not.

Can I resist a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing?  NOT REALLY, APPARENTLY.

My Happy Place!

My Happy Place!

It was a stepback week and I had a 13 mile long run scheduled.  Why not get some climbing and downhill running practice with my favorite race presenters: Brazen Racing?

My mantra for this race was “Don’t be dumb; it’s a TRAINING RUN!”  After my thrilling and unexpected AG place at Drag N Fly, I could feel a little competitive frisson.  My strategy was the same as last time: hike the hills, run the flats and downhills.  Keep the running pace easy.  Not difficult to do on this course, right?

That's a lot of hiking.

That’s a lot of hiking.

Because I’ve run the 5K event twice, I was familiar with the first hill.  It’s not long but it’s fairly steep and can really zap your energy.  I promised myself that no matter how many people ill-advisedly surged up the hill, I would not.  But I did.  Whoops.  I didn’t run fast but I did run.  Thankfully, it didn’t have any negative impact.  I enjoyed the downhill that followed, accompanied by an UltraRunner Podcast.  Music makes it hard to keep my pace in check, especially so early in a run.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Another climb with some narrow single-track followed.  I love this kind of running!  The trail got a bit backed up but thankfully everyone wanted to hike/run around the same pace.  This was the first of many times I observed people huffing and puffing “running” while I hiked at exactly the same pace.  I appreciate the pride that comes with running an entire trail race but honestly, I’ll take efficiency over pride.  Especially when the PACE IS IDENTICAL.

Careful where you step!

Careful where you step!

The next five miles were pretty uneventful.  Hiking the hills proved to be a great strategy, as usual.  All that Dailey Method thigh work powered me up, with minimal challenge.  Each time the trail leveled, I was happy to begin trotting again.

I knew that after mile 8, it was all downhill.  I love to run downhill but my right IT band was not loving it.  I took it easy and focused on lifting my inner thighs and hamstrings to support my knee.  Thanks again, Dailey Method!

You're never fully dressed without a smile!  And these sunglasses!

You’re never fully dressed without a smile! And these sunglasses!

When I reached the final miles, I was running far faster than I should have been for a long training run but it just felt so good!  It was also awesome because this course has been my nemisis.  Each time I ran the 5k, I would be so zapped by the hill that I would always stop to walk on the way back, even downhill.  Super frustrating.  NOT YESTERDAY.  I smiled each time I ran through a spot that had kicked my ass in previous years.  This time, with ten miles in between!  I’m getting a lot stronger, physically and mentally.

One challenge during this race was fueling.  I decided not to carry my handheld water bottle because it contributes to asymmetry that causes my IT band issue on the right side.  This was not a good choice because the aid stations were at 1.1, 2.7, and 7.8.  I thought there was one more.  I took my time to drink several cups of water at the second and third stations but it wasn’t enough.  I took far less fuel than I planned (since I didn’t have water to drink it with) and a vague headache showed up around mile 8.  After the race, I made a beeline for Ultima and food.  I had a couple oreos and a LOT of electrolyte drink.  My head hurt so much, I squinched my eyes shut trying to get it to release.  I wandered over to the standings to see if my AG places had come in.  1-4 were already in so I headed home, by way of an enormous Diet Coke and some curly fries.  Very happy, in spite of the headache.

So, I finished with a time of 2:39:47.  Cool!

Wait, wasn’t I psyched to break 3 hours before?

Yes.  I took FIFTEEN MINUTES off my trail half marathon PR.

WHAT?!

There were 500 fewer feet than the other courses but fifteen minutes?!  That is a testament to the mindfulness practice I’ve adopted.  I didn’t have any negative thoughts or fears, even when I knew I was under-fueled.  I stayed present in my body and ran the pace that felt right.  Which was my 5k pace at the end.  Woah.

I am thrilled for CIM and even more thrilled for it to be over so I can do some serious goal setting.  Time to level up!

BOOM!

 

 

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Twinsies!

Happy Halloween!  I dressed up as LOLA!

 

 

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“………mom?”

We look at that.

We look at that.

Sneering in a box.  Classic Lola.

Sneering in a box. Classic Lola.

Have a wonderful Halloween!  Eat ALL THE KRACKEL!!

Mindfulness – Part One

About a month ago, I began to live more mindfully.  Since then, I’ve attempted to write about it several times and found myself stuck every time, including now.  These changes have been so profound, even in a short amount of time, that I can say that it has changed my life.  Consider this the first of many posts about the topic.

Fundamentally, I am trying to be present in my mind and body at every moment.  Truly *being* where I am with no thought of what’s coming next, unless I’m purposefully planning.  The only unhappiness and anxiety I have in my lovely life is a product of worrying.  When we worry, we use our creative minds to remove ourselves from present contentment and place ourselves in an imagined future where something is going wrong.  Put that way, it sounds like a terrible way to live but it is so common!

Recognizing that in this moment everything is fine can be really powerful.  In the first few days of thinking this way, I noticed 2-3 times per day that I felt anything other than contentment.  That’s it!  They were fleeting moments that dissipated as quickly as I noticed them.  I was truly amazed by how content I was, even when sitting in traffic, waiting in lines, etc.  If you’re just *being* with your thoughts, your music, your podcasts, the sunshine…everything is pretty nice!  Of course, not every moment is fine.  Someone may say something hurtful, a driver might do something dangerous that frightens or angers you… Those are still realities of life but we can choose whether we let those moments pass quickly or dwell on them, forcing ourselves to re-experience the hurt/discomfort over and over again.  No thanks.

I can get daunted pretty easily and daunted typically equals very unhappy.  However, when I’m actually doing the daunting things, they always go well!  I love my job and whether I’m teaching a voice lesson, a Dailey Method class, or singing, I feel this amazing sense of flow.  I’m so fully engaged that time seems to speed up.  I leave each activity feeling more alive than before.   My motivation for actively seeking presence was to feel as engaged and positive outside of those activities as I feel when I’m doing them.

To eliminate feeling overwhelmed, I committed to stop looking at my calendar.  Instead, I take 5-10 minutes each day to sit down with the next day’s schedule and set an intention for each activity.  I think about what each student, class, or workout needs.  I make a little notation in my phone and boom, the day is handled.  I can spend the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of today being in today!  I’ve also noticed how much time I truly have when an activity is contained within it’s allotted time (instead of being thought about all day).  4 lessons and 2 DM classes isn’t ALL DAY, it’s only 6 hours.  That shift has allowed me to reclaim and enjoy a whole lot of previously squandered time.

Birthday Notes!

Birthday Notes!

Around the time this all started, I had a wonderful Dailey Method workshop with Lorna Samatas, owner of The Dailey Method – Elmhurst.  The topic was “Theming Your DM Class” but much of it was about mindfulness techniques.  One concept that I really took to was the idea of “arriving” in a space.  The idea is that when you cross a threshold into a new space, it’s a mindfulness trigger.  You take a moment to pause and consider why you’re there and what you hope to get from the experience in that space.  My Dailey Method students have responded well to this as a way to truly begin their practice.  I’m using it everywhere from entering a rehearsal to retreating to my bedroom at the end of the day.

Without question, this has significantly changed my running.  I will explore this in a subsequent post(s) but I want to tell you that last week’s 17 miler and yesterday’s TWENTY were both amazing runs.  I was *calm* the entire time.  I didn’t have any dread or fear of the distance.  At the beginning, I had no sense of how long I had to go.  I simply ran.  I noticed physical sensations, noticed ebbs and flows in my energy, noticed clouds, noticed my own happiness.  It was tremendous and couldn’t come at a better time.

Happy from beginning to end!

Happy from beginning to end!

There’s a lot more I want to share and now that I’ve gotten this first post through my fingers, more will come soon!

Please ask questions or share your favorite mindfulness tips and resources in the comments!

 

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Goin’ Galloway?!

Oh hey!  I’m running a marathon!

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A few weeks before I pulled the plug on Augusta 70.3, I registered for CIM.  To many, registering for a dovetailing marathon while struggling with my present goal would seem insane.  I considered it for months and didn’t discuss it much.  It felt like a really good idea and as I described to a few people, “I just needed a win.”  Obviously running 26.2 miles isn’t an easy win but it’s an endeavor that feels exciting.

One important consideration is overtraining.  70.3 training started in May and while it wasn’t run heavy, that’s a long time on the training train.  Since I’m genuinely looking forward to this race, my mind is cooperating well.

Body….is mostly cooperating well.  Two weeks ago, I had 15 miles on my plan and 5 miles in, my ITB rebelled. My knee joined the protest, and I had no choice but to turn around and head home after 5.  Ruh-roh.  Since then, I’ve rested when I felt like I should and backed off my mileage.  I travelled to Seattle to celebrate my stepmom’s 60th birthday (60’s themed party!) and then returned home to celebrate my own birthday.

Mad Men....with an iPhone.

Mad Men….with an iPhone.

Last Tuesday, I turned 32.  I celebrated with a fantastic spin class (BORN THIS WAY was the first song!!!  WHAT?) and Dailey Method with the always energetic and amazing Susan.

The next day, I embarked on my first 32 year old run: 10 miles.  I decided to employ the Galloway method (running 9 minutes/ walking 1) in the hopes that I would get through a longish run without discomfort.

It was absolute joy.  One of those runs where you can’t stop thinking how amazing you feel and how you wish you could bottle the feeling and HowCanEveryRunBeLikeThisEveryTimeForever!!!!

I never needed the walking breaks so they were a pleasant (and frequent) surprise!  I intended to keep a long run pace (10:30-10:45) but I could barely keep my running segments above 10.  It felt really good.  I kind of totally get why people favor this method.  My average pace was faster than it should have been but the run felt easier than it should have felt.  Maybe it was just the day?  Maybe it was the buoyant energy of a new, even age?

Maybe NOT.

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Yesterday, I ran 15 miles using the same method.  I felt FANTASTIC.  Same deal: all the running segments felt nearly effortless and hovered around 10mm.  Stupidly faster than I should be running my long runs but I absolutely could have had a full conversation (if another person on earth were insane enough to run 5 loops of the same lake).  Oh, and today?  NO PAIN OR STIFFNESS WHATSOEVER.  I took a spin class this morning.  Didn’t even feel like I ran yesterday.   Absurd.

So….maybe this method works really well for me?  Maybe my marathon goal should be faster?  Who knows.  I can tell you that I am absolutely not bothered by running “only” 90%.  That’s still a low A, thankyouverymuch.  I took a lot of pride in running my entire first marathon but using this method to get safely to both the starting line and a PR doesn’t bug me. I’m not sure at this point if I’m going to stay with Galloway but I will for my long run this weekend and continue to evaluate from there.

YAAAAAAAY MARATHON TRAINING!  It really is my favorite.

Ever do a run/walk method?  Thoughts?  

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Marathonaversary!

A year ago today was one of the best days of my life!

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There were certainly challenging moments but running 26.2 was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.

So favorite that on 12/7, I’m going to do it again at California International Marathon (CIM).

Here’s hoping for another finisher picture that happy!

Race Recap: Drag N Fly

Well, this may be the most successful and wonderful race I’ve ever run.  BOOM.

No disrespect to my tremendous first marathon experience, but today was also very special.  With the 70.3 off my calendar, I’m free to race whatever the heck I want!  Brazen’s Drag N Fly was right up my alley: challenging elevation with gorgeous views at the top.  Since I’m trained up to half marathon distance, I went for it!  Yesterday, my calves were feeling a little crampy and hips felt slightly achy.  I contemplated dropping back to the 10k this morning and now I’m so glad I didn’t.

Pre-race went smoothly.  Up before dawn, waffle with prosciutto, easy drive, easy parking.  Bib pickup was super quick.  Brazen Racing is just the bomb.  Even the pre-race briefing is funny and fun.  Their organization, food, course marking, and energy are all top notch.  Highly recommended.

So, here’s what we’re dealing with:

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet.  So, extrapolate...

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet. So, extrapolate…

My race plan was to hike anything that resembled an incline, run anything that went down, and do my best on the flats (Drag N Fly.  Get it?).  Almost immediately, we faced the first major climb.  The sun was already shining and people were starting to suffer.  I felt really good and pumped, especially when I thought about how satisfying it would be to run back down that sucker at the end!  We were also rewarded with glorious views when we reached the top.

Climbing

View from the top.  Unreal.

View from the top. Unreal.

As we climbed higher and higher, I couldn’t stop looking back behind me.  It still completely blows my mind that I can travel that far and that high ON FOOT.  The novelty of trail running absolutely has not worn off and I was grinning from ear to ear.  Especially once we headed downhill!

Throughout the race, I felt happy and calm.  So weird.  I certainly recognized that the climbs were difficult.  The first three miles were really challenging but I only had a few moments where I was daunted by the distance.  I truly felt happy and overwhelmed with gratitude the entire time.

Brazen is excellent at marking the course with ribbons and flour. In the pre-race briefing, the race director joked that people would still go off course.  Today it was me!  Only for a moment and it was during the first downhill.  I was having so much fun, I missed a weird turn!  It cost me about a minute and made a couple folks laugh.  The race went so well, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it but you better believe I was much more aware of red ribbons for the rest of the run!

It’s hard to give a mile-by-mile report because I was running by feel and not married to hitting specific paces.  Throughout the entire race, I stuck to my strategy of climbing the hills and running the descents.  I was shocked to see 8:50-9:20 consistently on the downhill segments.  I was unconcerned with pace, only vaguely hoping to beat my time from Bear Creek last year.  The only descent that slowed me down was some really technical and steep single track.  I absolutely love that type of running though.  Brain firing, feet finding the perfect place to land.  LOVE IT.

Yes, that's THE TRAIL.

Yes, that’s THE TRAIL.

Before I knew it, it was time to fly down to the finish.  I had fueled well, hydrated well (cold water at the aid stations was heavenly) and had plenty of heart left to get me home.  I had passed many people and hadn’t been passed by anyone.  I also realized that I hadn’t seen any females around my age since the last one I passed.  I had a fleeting thought that maybe the cherry on this delicious sundae would be to place in my AG for the first time.  My trail times are not impressive and it wasn’t my goal so I didn’t take the thought seriously.

Foreshadowing!!!!!

As I cruised into the finish, I tearfully told a volunteer that I was having the best race ever.  It was tough to keep pushing through to the finish but I did with a huge smile.

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!  Peace out, hills!!

Came in, walked around and had a delicious IT’S IT.  The true San Francisco treat.  Chatted with some folks and then headed over to see my place.  The results hadn’t been updated but only 1st and 2nd place in my AG had come in.  There was a chance for 3rd!  I didn’t get my hopes up since I’ve been 4th so many times but low and behold……

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT!  WHAAAAT?!

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT! WHAAAAT?!

SUPER STOKED.  There are several reasons why this is not an impressive accomplishment but F*CK THAT.  I’m thrilled.  This was a huge goal of mine and it’s both unbelievable and completely perfect that it happened after running this perfectly executed EPIC race.

Celebrated with Chairman Bao, a lovely lengthening Dailey Method class, Ici Ice Cream and then an unexpected salumi date night with my handsome husband at Adesso.

So basically, best day ever.

 

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The Elephant in the Room

Note: This post may offend.

I went to college in 2000 a bit overweight and with a history of some depression and anxiety.  Early into my freshman year, I got into a relationship that would last four pizza-filled years.  My “freshman fifteen” was closer to fifty and by sophomore year, I was nearly two-hundred pounds for the first time.

#tbt

#tbt

During my sophomore year, my depression became untenable.  I was crying constantly.  I did not want to continue.  My poor boyfriend had no idea what to do.  He was very loving and complimentary but also had issues.  As we bonded and “coped” with food, I gained more weight which fueled my unhappiness.

My situation eventually got so desperate that I sought help.  I went to a small music conservatory that was serviced by the health center at Northeastern University.  The doctor I saw listened to me describe my debilitating sadness and anxiety.  Somehow in the conversation, I disclosed what I understood of my mother’s mental health issues, including the medication she took.  The doctor said that I likely had similar brain chemistry and after a ten minute conversation, prescribed me the same SSRI.  She did not ask me if I was on any other medications that might be affecting my brain chemistry (aka oral contraceptives.)  We did not know each other.  The doctor did not know how complicated my relationship was with my mother and how difficult it was for me at that time to be told that I had the same issues as her.  One of the sources of my anxiety and depression was the feeling that, like my mom, I would never be happy.  This prescription compounded those feelings and set me on a course of inconsistent self-medicating and new fears.

In the same year, I had instability in my right knee to the point where it felt like it would buckle with every step I took.  I went to the same health center and the doctor had me stand up and take a few steps.  He said: “You have probably ground off all the cartilage in your knee cap by standing hyperextended.  There’s nothing that can be done.”

Nailed that diagnosis, Doc.  F*cking lazy idiot.

Nailed that diagnosis, Doc. F*cking lazy idiot.

At no point in either of these appointments did either doctor address the elephant in the room: my obesity.  The simplest explanation is usually the right one.  How could these medical professionals look at my body and not ask me what I was eating and if I was ever moving around?

Near the end of college, I lost about 30 pounds with Atkins and felt much, much happier.  My knee didn’t bother me and my depression was much less intense.  The underlying issues were still there but by taking control of my eating and having success, I felt in control of my life for the first time in a long time.

The next year (around the time the top photo was taken), I had gained the weight back and more.  I was in graduate school in New Hampshire and my depression was more intense than ever.  The last thing I wanted was to talk to another person who would confirm that I was on the same lifelong miserable trajectory as my mom.  I did not want to keep going.  Self-preservation thankfully won out and I went to the University health center.  This doctor listened and patiently deciphered the occasional word between sobs.  He asked me if I was on any kind of medication.  I had recently switched birth control but I assured him that it wasn’t the birth control that was the problem, it was me.  He wasn’t condescending but he urged me to discontinue the birth control and see if I felt better.  If I didn’t, we would move forward with treatment.

Within a day, I was fine.  Well, as fine as I had been in five years.  It was miraculous.  And I was furious.  What if all those years ago, I had simply discontinued my birth control?  Why didn’t that doctor address my situation similarly and save me so much grief?  Relief revealed the strength I needed to pick up and move back to California.

Six more years of yo-yo dieting, depression, anxiety, self-discovery and gradual progress got me to the start of this blog and the start of a completely different life.

I tell this story for context.  What I’m actually interested in discussing is the culture in which medical professionals do not address the most obvious cause of health problems: obesity.

Did I have irreparable cartilage damage?  NO!  I WAS TOO HEAVY FOR MY JOINTS.  Did I have a mental illness that required medication?  NOOOOO.  I was short-circuiting my brain several times a day with massive amounts of refined sugar and as I gained more weight I was destroying my self-esteem by living my mother’s life instead of my own.

Both of these “diagnoses” were wildly inaccurate but they came from doctors so I believed them and folded them into my identity.  They impacted my self-esteem and choices for nearly a decade.  Perhaps the first doctor felt that discussing my body would be too damaging for me to bear at that time.  Well, you’re a doctor.  Figure out how to talk about nutrition to a depressed young woman so you can help her.  That’s your job.

Now, it should go without saying that nutrition and activity are not the only solution, nor are they easy to address.  There are all types of situations in which therapy, medication, and other interventions are necessary and helpful.  Also, changing your eating is hard work.  Facing your fears and becoming active is hard work, especially if you’ve never done it before.  Untangling a lifetime of experiences and issues to face yourself and eventually love yourself is possibly the hardest work of all.

If one of those doctors had told me to eat more healthily and become active, I probably would not have been ready to hear it.  I recognize that.  But I accepted what they did tell me so maybe I would have filed it away.  Maybe I would have come to a healthier lifestyle sooner if it had been suggested.  Especially if it had been suggested by every doctor I saw.

Everyone deserves love.  Everyone deserves self-love.  Everyone deserves a healthy, vibrant body to live their life in.  If someone isn’t healthy, if someone is obese, they absolutely deserve love and respect.  If they have health issues or low self-esteem and they’re obese, it is not unloving or unsafe to acknowledge that physical condition and address it.  It’s simple and vital.

Thoughts?

 

 

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Good.

It’s been a few days since I pulled the plug on Augusta and I feel good.

Early Tuesday morning, I took a tear-filled, sleep-deprived Dailey Method class.  It was emotional to connect to my strength as I fully came to terms with the decision to quit.  At that point, the blog post was just a draft that I had sent to my husband, dad, and a couple close friends.  A few of my Dailey buddies were in class.  I shared the news with them and they were nothing but supportive.  Shed some tears, got some hugs and headed home to face the logistics.  It was difficult to pull the trigger but once I did, I felt completely fine.  I got a partial flight credit and a nearly full refund on my TriBike Transport.  I was able to cancel my car rental and I also saved the money I would have spent on food and swag during the trip.  I lost the full race entry and the full cost of hotel because the person I was planning to share with is still racing.  Whatever.  It’s nice that I got anything back.

I was blown away by the readership of the blog post.  People sure are intrigued by a quitting story!  I got some lovely messages and support from folks in all areas of my life.  Some of them read a bit like a pet or dear, distant aunt had died: “would you like to take a walk?  would you like to go get ice cream?” which is sweet and funny.  I have to admit, I was a bit put off by the suggestion of having a party on race day.  Like, a quitting party?  No, I’m good.  At the risk of sounding ungrateful for some of the support I received, several folks started to talk about success and failure which I did not address in my post.  I agree that I successfully learned new things about my body and my preferences.  I also agree that “success” and “failure” can have broader definitions than just whether or not I completed the race.  But really, I trained for something for five months and quit three weeks before completion because I just didn’t want to do it.  I wouldn’t call that a success worthy of party.  I also don’t feel like a failure loserface.  I feel like me.  With a LOT more time.

My own little quitting party.

My own little quitting party.

At this point I don’t have even a single [smallest unit of measurement] of regret.  It was absolutely the right decision and I’m already barely thinking about it.  Do I have future plans?  Of course.  Not quite ready to share them but I assure you, all this fitness and hard work is not going to waste.

Ever quit anything significant only to find that it’s totally no big deal and it’s almost like none of it ever happened? :D

 

 

 

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