Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BED Rears its Ugly Head

There are many disease I hate and wish didn't exist.  There are those that we see all the time and that steal loved ones from us way too early. Like cancer.  There are those that cause young, healthy people to physically deteriorate over time, sometimes stealing their physical abilities before they've hit middle age.  There are those that effect children. Their precious lives are shortened drastically. They have different abilities that sometimes make life a struggle. There are diseases that limit people mentally. There are disease that make people feel like prisoners in their own minds.   There are diseases we can see and others that we don't see. Diseases are horrible. Researchers work tirelessly to find treatments and hopefully cures.

BED (Binge Eating Disorder) is one of those "hidden" diseases.The exact cause is unknown, but believed to be one or a combination of things such as genetics, changes in brain chemicals, depression or other emotional issues, and/or unhealthy dieting. No one knows exactly why they get this disease and once it comes on, it doesn't seem to go away.  There are medications to help treat the symptoms but much like other similar "disorders" it's a fight to stay in recovery. Learning triggers and ways to prevent binges is a key.  I've worked through it before and had a lot of success losing weight; nearly 200 pounds at one point, settling at a comfortable 170-175 pounds lost at one point in time.

A few years ago, when I changed jobs, I didn't have insurance for a bit and stopped taking the medication that helped me.  Combine that with having a new boyfriend (about four years ago) and I gained quite a bit of weight back.  I allowed his bad eating habits into my life on the weekends, which slowly creeped into weekdays.  Then I moved and with greater access, it was easy to just "give in." I recognized it again, finally, just over a year ago and went to the doctor. I've lost about 45 pounds. And I've stalled.  I can't seem to lose anymore. I haven't been able to figure out why.

Until yesterday when I was talking with someone else who struggles.  I'd been ignoring binges that had started to occur. Sure, I've had better control in the last year but without owning up to some of the symptoms of my binges, I've been lying to everyone, including myself. I guess I just blocked out those things... My trigger hasn't been emotional like it used to be.  Well, I guess boredom is an emotion, so I guess somewhat. I continue to work out and eat mostly healthy but those times that boredom sets in and I can't find myself satisfied, binges occur.  I've also find that trying to restrict myself leads to me feeling angry, which results in a binge.

Thinking of the past is also a trigger. I get so pissed off when I see how skinny I was (and still didn't think I was) in 2012.  My thoughts of comparing myself now to then has been a trigger. I've gotten upset with myself and binged. I was ignoring them so I'm not exactly sure of when or what happened, but I know that binges did happen.

Recently I've been doing a cleanse to detox.  This cleanse cuts out a lot of foods, which is hard.  After a week, I allowed myself one real meal.  I acknowledged it and moved on. Back to the cleanse the next day (yesterday). Then last night I did it again. Then I saw someone with an unhealthy food that I, in all honesty, don't even like.  And I wanted it.  I didn't get it but when I went to the store to get healthy groceries, I gave in and bought it. Then ate it after I got home. Which made me feel bad. Then I said "screw it" and ate nearly an entire bag of Skinny Pop popcorn.  The big bag.  I felt all the classical emotions after. And I felt physically ill. My stomach hurt. I binged.  I ate way more than necessary, or normal, in a short period of time.  I guess I was getting tired of the cleanse and that's all it took. The "I can't have that" mentality got to me and it triggered me. I noticed myself getting annoyed with my boyfriend when he'd say "oh yeah, you can't have that." I'd tell him,"No. I am CHOOSING not to have that." And everyone assuming the detox is for weight loss. While that is a (short-term) effect, that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it to get all of the disgusting toxins out of my body and to help get me back into clean (super clean!!) eating again. The binge made me realize that, maybe two weeks is too long for me. I was doing well until week two started. Maybe a week detox is a better option.  Too weeks is, apparently, a trigger. As is allowing others' words to creep into my own thoughts.

Today, I am back into the detox with a somewhat different mindset, but also still very angry with myself. I'm really working to journal it out and move on. What's done is done. All I can do is be honest and get back on track.

So, that's what's new with me...

Today is a new day.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Race Report

The Run the Bluegrass half was one of the races on my race bucket list. It's slogan is "America's Prettiest Half Marathon," and that slogan is not a lie.  It was SO beautiful!!! The race was in Lexington, KY at Keeneland (horse racing!). My Aunt, Uncle, one of my cousins and his fiancee live there, so my Mom and I turned it into a long weekend trip, which was fabulous on its own! Family time is always precious and the race was just one of the highlights.  It was the first race that my Mom saw me finish (she and my Dad were too busy talking during my first half and missed me coming in - I will never let them forget that). And my Aunt was there to see me finish too. They waited in the cold, layered in clothes, gloves, and equipped with hand and foot warmers just so that they could see me finish. That meant so much to me. 

Some of the course was on Keeneland property but the majority of it was on country roads by some gorgeous horse farms.  At one farm, some horses (who looked to be a bit young yet) followed us! It was SO cute!! They saw the group coming and started galloping right along side us.  They looked like they were having such a fun time.  We saw lots of horses out, but even just the views of the hills and fields was something spectacular. If you can appreciate the calm beauty of nature, you must do this race!

You may also want to appreciate, or at least accept, hills. Kentucky is hilly. There are some hills that aren't so bad and a couple (especially one) that are freakin' hard. It's definitely one of those "gently rolling hills" types of races. But the views make it all worth it. As the soreness fades from my legs I can only remember a few of the hills... The rest are kind of a blur.

I took my pace a little slower than normal; or tried to. I knew that there would be lots of hills and I'd done some short incline workouts, but no long runs. This was one of those races that made me feel recharged as far as my love for running. It felt so good. For most of the early hills, I just slowed my pace going up, and let my legs fly as fast as they wanted on the way down (within reason because I didn't want to fall and log roll down a hill, so I did engage the quads to slow myself down a little bit). The weather was, in my opinion, perfect for running. That morning was chilly; in the 40s and cloudy. That's huge for me because the sun can play a HUGE factor in how well I perform in a race. Damn fair skin. Other than hydration stops, I think I only walked part of one hill early in the race. Then, just before half way, the hills seemed to grow.  It was around mile six that I went "okay, now this is serious." We were up and right back down; then right back up.  This continued with few flat spots.  Because I took the pace a little slower, I reached the half way point a bit behind my usual pace, which I expected. Actually I thought I'd have a super hard time and planned to take the entire time allowed to finish (I did not).  Anyway, so that continued. And then just before mile nine there was a nice turn and downhill that almost flattened out for a short distance.  Then as I crested the top of that next small hill, I saw that going down was a lot bigger.... And going up looked steep.  

It was mile nine.  Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the mile nine hill (for the half; I believe it's mile four-ish (?) for the seven miler) is the beast.  Seriously, it's the Mother of all hills.  Mile nine is also Meg's Mile.  If you aren't aware, Meg Menzies, was out for a run with her husband one morning and was hit and killed by some idiot drunk driver. After her death, Meg's Miles (also look at it - Meg Smiles) was born. Meg's husband Scott has been very active in honoring Meg and keeping her memory alive. There was a poster with Meg's smiling face on it that said "Meg's Mile." I heard Meg's story when it happened and have often thought of her on runs (#run4Meg is very popular in social media too). I looked her picture and felt emotional for a second. Then I thought, "okay Meg, help me out here.  I have you and Mav on my mind." And Ed (that Dad of two of my good friends who passed away the night before) was on my mind too. I jogged, slowly, up part of that hill, and then I walked a bit.  I got to the top and jogged again. Correction: I got to what I thought was the top.  You see after that curve, the hill actually kept going and curved, and then it curved again before it was done. I swear that thing seemed like mile ten should've been waiting at the end. In reality, mile ten was at least half a mile away. 

So, mile nine came and mile nine went.  Didn't die. Was super tired for a bit and mostly walked to mile ten. I did have a few short jog intervals in there but I walked too. I did the same until I saw mile 11 approaching. Mile 11 is the beer mile.  As we came into mile 11, the aid station was set up with water and Sword on one side and beer on the other.  It was a small amount of beer. I've never accepted the beer during a race before. This time? I drank that little cup with pride. I don't know if it was the beer, the super fun guy at the aid station, having backed off for two miles, or something else but suddenly I felt better.  By this time I'd long past the point of wondering "do I still have legs?" I mean, I know that they didn't fall off but I couldn't actually feel them. It was like they'd gone numb. But they weren't numb.  It's odd to explain but I just trusted them and went with it.  I started to run again; actually run not just jog at a slower than normal pace (I was naturally slowing down some but not as much as between nine and 11. I still included some walk intervals because I was getting tired, but then I'd have a sudden burst where I was like "I love life!" and I'd run again. I guess those last two miles were all over the place. I jogged slower, I was on pace, I walked a bit. But they were all over the place in a good way. Most blogs I'd read said that people gave up on even attempting a PR early on. I was aiming to finish in less than what I expected. And? I did. And? I finished strong. I turned the corner and saw about 1/4 mile before the next little turn into the finish straight away... We were hidden behind a building so I even continued my slower pace in there. Then I saw the finish and I picked up the pace a little. And then I freakin' sprinted and silently cursed out some people who I was sure were going to ruin my finish line pic and I'm proud of that finish. Damn proud, actually. I don't think I've actually hit a hard sprint into the finish of any of my half marathons. I've ran through them but sometimes it was a very slow jog. This one was different.

I was nervous about this race and all of it's hills; which I'm sure are actually gently rolling if you're not running up them. The course was described as "technical." I was afraid something bad would happen and I wouldn't finish. I thought "soooo do they sweep people in this race?" I even thought of changing to the seven miler (until I thought of the medal and the accomplishment and how very badly I wanted both). In all honesty, even though it wasn't my fastest, it felt like one of the best. Maybe the best. My finish was actually right in the middle of my other four races. Most importantly I had that awesome, freeing feeling while I was running. I felt like I was flying going down some of those hills. The time passed and in the few moments of "what am I doing" that I had, giving up wasn't an option. I kept looking at my watch thinking "I'm not doing too bad." I was passing people even toward the end (even into the finish!). My legs are still a little sore today and that race was hard, but I feel great. What's really great is that I would've PR'd that day if it had been a flat course. Probably by a lot, because those flat spots felt amazing to me; even the early hills didn't feel bad. 

This race definitely made me feel something I don't think I've felt since completing my first half.  I felt emotions and I felt such a huge sense of pride in that accomplishment. I think it was all those hills.

And to give credit to the hills; I now plan to continue to do short incline interval runs at least once or twice a week. Given the level of soreness in my legs and glutes, that will be a great way to work on some awesome leg muscles and to lift and firm the booty. 

Run the Bluegrass wasn't just a race that I crossed of my bucket list or a race in another state (but yay for state four!)... It was a race that showed me that I can continue to make progress and overcome whatever challenges are thrown at me. It reminded me that I'm strong and can accomplish the goals that I set for myself.  RTB made me experience running in a way I haven't in a while. I felt the love. And now I want to go murder some more hills!!!


Princess Half Marathon Race Report

This is a little over a month overdue, but better late than never!!

I did my second PHM at the end of February. It was a nice, but too quick, little trip to Florida.  The weather was perfect! I got some sun, had some fun, and ran. There were a couple stressful calls from home so there were moments that things weren't so amazing but everything is looking up for those who were involved in those situations.  There were almost a couple deaths and that began a very rocky month for the two of them.

So the trip itself was wonderful. Disney is always an amazing experience. And, I think I fell even more in love (if that's even possible) this trip! I managed to do the Four Parks, One Day challenge and it was... Exhausting! I slept very well that night!! I'm already contemplating my 2018 trip. I really want to do the Glass Slipper Challenge (GSC), so if I were to plan correctly and register immediately, I might make it in for next year.  There are a limited number of participants and it sells out quickly. the GSC is 19.3 miles; the 10K and the PHM.  I'd like to be there for the 10th Anniversary of PHM but I also want to branch out and experience a different race (Wine and Dine Half) as well as a different time of year to visit. I'm sure it's pretty much the same in November as it is February.

I got up early the morning of the race and did my morning race routine. I dressed as Belle this time (which was planned before I knew she'd be the featured princess, so that made me even more excited!). Belle is my favorite princess (one of my dogs is named after her), so it was only natural that I dress as her. I'm surprised I hadn't done so until now! Other Disney Princesses I've dressed as (for races) are Cinderella; PHM, Aurora PHM Weekend 5K; Ariel Halloween 5K; and now Belle for this year's PHM. I was on a bus before the cut off, but the line was SO long, I was cutting it a little close. Last time I did PHM I took a later bus and got right on. It was a different resort though, so Pop must've been more popular for runners. I was there early enough to check my bag and eat my little breakfast. I had forgotten about the little walk before the race corrals. I think I had a 5K in just from walking around all morning.  I was in my corral in time to do some stretching and just to get in the zone.

The race went really well. I didn't really pressure myself for time this time because I knew what to expect. With roughly 28,000 runners there are spots where it gets crowded and bottle necked. I just ran... I didn't pay much attention to my Fitbit and honestly don't even remember my exact finish time. After the sun came out I stopped at every aid station that offered sun block because I'm sure I was sweating mine on. And there were several hours between when I put it on and when the sun came up! I even stopped to stretch and get some biofreeze.  I was really laid back with the race and just wanted to enjoy it. I had my typical problem of slowing down with the sun beating on me and the temperature heating up quickly (it was actually pretty cold before the race and at the start!). So, sunblock and good hydration it was.  It definitely wasn't the worst race I've ever done (time or how I felt), but I also took my time. I did have a couple moments of "okay, I'm over this!" but that's because I was getting so dang hot and hadn't applied sunblock. I also wasn't quite a fan of their sunblock.... It was just sitting there to grab at will. And it was a spray.  I wish I'd had someone to spray me because I think I would've had better coverage and wouldn't have had to get so much. Also, it did not appear to be a sport sunblock which I prefer because it handles sweat.  That's a very mild complaint; not even a complaint, really.

It was a great race, I felt pretty good after, and had a fun time! I attempted to drink around the World again after the race.  I didn't do so well (again) however I did better than last time.  I split a couple drinks just so I could say I had something in those countries, but I got too full too fast. I really think that people who drink around the world are either a big ol' mess or have a strategy in place... My strategy would be to devote an entire day to Epcot and that purpose. I think that people must start in the morning and stay all day; or start early and take a mid-day break (and nap!) then go back to finish.  Or maybe they divide it over a couple days or evenings. I think I'd do better going a couple different evenings when it's not as hot. We were there for several hours and I think I made it 1/4 of the way this time; well between 1/4 and a 1/2.  Had I attempted the whole dang thing, I'd have been sick. It is not an easy feat... Next time I'll have a plan and will accomplish it!

Once again RunDisney put on an awesome race and I had tons of fun!!!


Two Months and a Little Extra

So far behind; yet again!

I'm not even going to do much of an update... Life is good! Still working out, still mostly eating healthy. Love me some yoga, spin, and running. I'm not doing as much with weights but am finding a way to work that into my routine again. After seeing a pic of the back of my shoulder, it makes me want to lift again. That muscle looked ah-mazing in the picture!

I have two race reports to write so I'll focus more on those. And, as usual, I'll try to post more. I'd like to... As always... Siiiigh. So little time.