Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Excerpt

I decided to share another piece of my book. For some reason, I love the last sentence of this excerpt. My other favorite sentence is from a chapter where I describe the moment in which I became anorexic. It's still amazing to me that I had a full running career at such a young age. Many people don't know that I had bouts of bulimia. They were rare, and I can't even remember anymore what it was like to throw up intentionally. I think having several illnesses in which I couldn't help but throw up has permanently cured me from any thoughts of ever considering that path. Really, the meningitis episode where I was yarfing every time I sat upright will always come to my mind. The only things I could eat for several days after I started to recover were pineapple and cooked noodles. I will forever love pineapple as a result. It's not just that I like the fruit- it's that I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see pineapple, like "aww- that's what saved me!" So yeah, I had a few episodes of bulimia mixed in with the anorexia. Mostly though it occurred during transitional phases of my life. I think it has been close to 15 years since I last threw up, and I'm relieved that I don't ever think about it.

I think some anorexics get really offended when they are accused of being bulimic. I know I did when I wasn't throwing up, as if anyone with anorexia is more pious than anyone else. Still, it's somewhat understandable, mostly because of the stigma associated with bulimia.

Anyway, here's another little sample of my writing:




Chapter 17- My Secret

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” - Orison Swett Marden

I never told my coach about my problem with food. I kept it a secret from nearly everyone except my family, and that was only because my sister caught me throwing up in the sink after sneaking into the kitchen early one morning to binge and purge on ice cream.
My coach agreed to take me back on the team, and we started a training program to get me back in shape to race. Soon I began running a little bit at a time. My pelvis was holding up nicely. No more sharp pains plagued me and I could walk with a normal gate again. I had missed track, but the summer was approaching and I knew I could train in the mountains with the team to get ready for my last year in high school.
At my first big cross country race that year, I was terrified. I had established myself as the top runner on the team again, but my confidence was waning. There was a new girl on the running scene I had never run against. She was solid and fast and swam varsity on her swim team in addition to running both cross country and track. Her dad was a former military man and dictated all her workouts. On her days off in her spare time, she did pull-ups and extra sets of intervals under her father’s supervision. She eventually developed severe asthma that cropped up during and after races. I was so nervous at the start of the race that I could hardly breathe. It seemed no amount of yawning could fill my body with enough oxygen. My legs felt heavy and tired. I tried to keep my focus off this new threat, but my eye kept wandering to her warm-up movements.
When the gun went off, I felt overwhelmed as I found myself in the middle of the pack. The new girl had shot out for the early lead, and I could hardly see her in the distance. I tried to keep calm as I sensed the panic rising in me that I may not be the runner I once was. Soon however, I started to reel in the other runners ahead of me and settled into gradually closing the gap between myself and the leader. Toward the end of the race I was running side by side with her and all of a sudden I felt it; a switch turned on and I was back. I surged, giving everything I had, and passed number one to take the lead. As I lunged for the finish, the fire that had lain dormant throughout my injury was burning fully inside me again. I crossed the line just a few seconds ahead of second place, but that was all it took for me to know this was going to be my year.
The relationship between me and my coach felt strained, but I did as he asked, usually. I had learned that rest was not a bad thing. I felt it was important to take days off even though my coach was a bigger fan of easy days. Unfortunately, my days off would sometimes lead to binges and occasional purges as well. I constantly felt fat at just around 100 pounds. My weigh-ins caused me growing anxiety, and I sensed that my coach was concerned about me getting too fat. The occasional purges not only helped the weight stay off, they allowed for some occasional relief from the pressure. I was a more relaxed runner, and this unhealthy eating regime did not deter me from having a stellar season. I set a course record on every course I ran and won state, becoming the first girl in Colorado to ever win state twice in a row.  During the off season I entered a few road races and ran an incredible 35:15 10k, setting a course record in the Run for the Zoo Race in Denver.  After a night of stress-related binging and purging or, in my case just eating what others would consider normal amounts and purging, I won the Midwestern Championships and again qualified for Nationals in California. I was however starting to feel more fatigue as the overly long season of racing dragged on. I ended up seventh at nationals and felt ready for a break. Unfortunately, track season was right around the corner so my break was much too short.
By the time track season started I had already run under 11 minutes for the two mile indoors. There was no real indoor season for high school athletes, so my coach had me run some open races at the university indoor tack meets.  As our own high school track season wore on, my general fatigue grew. I was undefeated going into the state meet, and my coach was determined to have a new state record in the two mile for us. What should have been a walk in the park turned into a long clumsy jog around the track. It started the day before state. I was too fat. I knew it. The scale tipped at a whopping 102.
Fearful of the added weight, I asked him if the one or two extra pounds would affect my race the next day. “It will probably slow you down,” he said. I had no idea how to take that statement. I felt so guilty I threw up what I ate that night. I was so distressed by the time the race actually rolled around the following day that I had lost sight of my goal, setting a state record. From the gun, I got out in front and just settled. I ran comfortably. The battle in my head raged on; come on, pick it up vs. just finish the race and be done with it. About three fourths of the way through, in mid stride just as I was heading into the turn, I caught sight of my coach and I knew I would have to face him, face myself, my fatness, my apathy and my failure. I thought about the girl who had run off the track mid way through nationals in the 10k in a college meet. She just ran off the track, jumped off a bridge and tried to kill herself. She ended up surviving. She lost the use of her legs though and is confined to a wheelchair. A bitter irony, but she claims she is happier now than when she was under all that pressure and stuck in her obsessive training. By the time my foot hit the ground I just felt detachment. “Fuck it, I’m tired,” I thought. I tried everything possible to pick up the pace, but had nothing to give. My body would not respond and my mind wavered.  I finished in over 11 minutes and when I faced the man who had led me to greatness while watching my suicide, I saw the disappointment in his face. I felt like I was an absolute failure. I still won, but my perception was that I totally lost in his eyes and as a result in my own.  I still had one last race to get through in the summer, a two mile national cross country race. I finished fourth in another apathetic race. I had reached full burn-out at age 18. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kinesio tape is teh AWeSoME!!!

I used to joke about needing duct tape to hold my falling apart body together. Well, now there's kinesio tape, so move over duct tape!I wish I could win a lifetime supply of the stuff. Right now I'm using it for some support on my foot, of course. It's great, because it sticks directly on your skin- no pre-wrap needed. It's all stretchy and strong too. Great stuff.

Saturday I may have bit off more than I could chew when I decided to be all hardccore and attempt a combination run and bike workout. Basically, I ran 8-10 minutes hard up NCAR road, and then jumped on the bike for a solid workout. I could tell I wasn't willing to push to get my heart rate up as much as I usually do on the bike, but my main goal was just to get through it, as sloppy and unattractive as it might have looked. I know I'm struggling when I don't give a fuck about form and start singing along to the radio/video/pandora during the harder intervals. But I must have looked at least half way decent on the run part, because I passed a biker up on the steeper part of the road. When she passed me back on the flatter section, she said she was impressed. It was way cool and made me feel good to get some kind encouragement! Still, I have a long, long way to go. My foot isn't even close to 100 percent yet. However, I'm glad I can pick it up a little on the hills. It's less taxing on my body than going all out on the flats- more like doing a tempo run. I probably could have used a shower mid workout, but, dripping massive amounts of sweat aside, all was fine. Once I start back with rehab, I think my progress will be more noticeable.

Until I can attempt some real running workouts and even consider racing, I'm living vicariously through blogs from and related to the fleet feet racing team, Meggan's Running Blog and a few others.  I even watched the USATF 1500m final for women. I'm getting a little bit better about watching races. It's still tough, but I do better when it's a previously recorded video, and I know the outcome. This was a hard race to watch, as Christin Worth Thomas, who was leading the entire race, got out-kicked at the end. What a ballsy race though. I so admire her for pushing the pace like she did. What a brave lady.


 

Christin Wurth-Thomas leading the race

 

 In some unrelated news, I tried some Patric Chocolates. These chocolates won the National Good Food Award this year. A friend of mine and I tried the Madagascar single origin 75% dark chocolate, and the dark milk chocolate, one of the best things to happen to chocolate in a long time. Again with the indecision! I used to always wish that someone would invent a chocolate bar that would be a dark bar with swirls of milk chocolate in it. This is the same concept- mixing dark and milk chocolate or adding milk to dark chocolate, smoothing things out and taking away any bitter bite. The dark bar was a tad bitter. Some people like that kind of bite. It's the same thing with coffee. Some people prefer various hints of spices or a smoother cup. I say that the Madagascar bar could stand a hint more sugar, but the texture was nice. It was hot, so we ended up consuming wads of chocolate. The texture was something between being melted and remaining solid. It was almost chewy as a result. Overall, the dark milk chocolate was something that will remain on my mind as an outstanding bar. I could have stuffed the entire thing in my mouth with no regret. God, it was good. And I got it at Piece, Love and Chocolate, where they have a really nice selection of chocolate bars in addition to all the other chocolate treats they carry.

 

 

 

 

 












 

 

 


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indecision solution

In general I like to avoid being overly critical, but there are times I can't help myself. I jumped into a big debate after Roger Ebert tweeted that comment about Ryan Dunn, who died in a car crash. In my opinion, there's no need to take pot shots at a dead person, hurting his family and friends in the process. Later Ebert composed a more appropriate response with an apology for tweeting a bit too hastily. It's too bad he didn't say that in place of the tweet. I have to admit, I've joked about other people. I'm not all that proud about that, but I do have limits. And when someone has wronged me or done something I feel is ultra shady, it's a bit easier to stoop to those kinds of levels. Still, I attempt the high road, even if sometimes I don't always succeed. In fact, I can think of such a case recently, but all things considered, I did the best I could in a really shitty situation. Still, I've had to really work on not behaving like an asshole in retaliation, because I know looking back the high road will feel a whole lot better in the long run. It is funny to dream about outrageous revenge stories though. My friend is the king of this kind of thing and always has me in stitches telling me what he thinks I should do when I've been hurt by someone.

In saying this next part, I'm not trying to bash anyone or put anyone down, more present my side and how I view things. Recently I've been looking at different diets. There are plenty of vegans here in Boulder-both those who are holier than thou in their decisions to avoid using any animal products and those who are tolerant of others. In the past, I attempted to be one, but it didn't work for me. I was sick all the time, felt weak and constantly craved dairy and meat. However, I still toss the idea around in my brain, because I admire the part about trying to live in a way that doesn't exploit animals and the environment.

My problem is that I tend to have trouble getting enough protein. I also seem to struggle with getting enough magnesium. This is a mineral that, in theory, is easily obtained through diet alone. For whatever reason, my blood work often showed low levels of it. This and the protein problem were issues not just when I had the anorexia, but several times in my life. I do believe that every BODY has different nutritional requirements, and that some people flat out need more of certain things than others.

I have tested low in protein several times over the years, so I was intrigued when I happened upon a blog post by a lady who was suggesting where vegans might get their protein, or at least I thought that's what the post would be about, based on the title. Instead, it was basically some chick saying that she gets by just fine on a vegan diet-no data, no suggestions, just a statement (with nothing to back it) that one doesn't need to get all the essential amino acids in one sitting. This is only partly accurate, because if one consistently skips out on a certain amino acid for long periods of time, that theory doesn't fly. Actually, this results in a specific amino acid deficiency, not a true protein deficiency, so she's not completely wrong. Even an amino acid deficiency is difficult to produce outside of a lab setting, but anyone who might not always consume enough calories for the effort they put out could potentially be at risk. I guess my point is that there are people who do have protein deficiencies, and in my past world, it was actually quite common, not just in me, but in those around me as well.

It's true that most people (anorexics and athletes aside) would have a hard time falling into a protein deficient diet, even if there wasn't a focus on combining foods to get all nine essential amino acids throughout the day, but, despite the body storing amino acids for use later, it's important to eat a variety of foods in order to avoid any kind of protein or amino acid imbalance. Here's a much better article on the subject. This doesn't address absorption problems and other issues that might affect amount of protein needed in people, but it at least provides some good guidelines and explains much better what the blogger failed to. One problem with me though, is that I don't feel satisfied if I don't eat complete proteins or combine foods to get all the essential amino acids in one sitting.

When I was struggling to come out of the worst of the anorexia, I was having such a hard time finding balance in my diet. I was all over the place, going from eating pop tart and peanut better sandwiches to freaking out and eating salad upon salad. One of the biggest things that helped me regulate all of this crazy eating was making sure I got enough protein in my diet. Basically, I do much better with several smaller meals with protein at each sitting. Still, I completely admire and respect those who can become vegans and still retain their health. It's something I may work toward, but probably won't ever embrace fully. 

Veering away from the vegan concept, I mentioned Piece, Love and Chocolate the other day. Well, I have to admit first that I can sometimes be a little indecisive when it comes to certain things. 9 out of 10 times, I have a very clear idea about what I think, feel or want, but every now and then, I get tripped up making a decision. It used to be worse. I hated making a choice. Now, I don't seem to have an issue, unless it's about cake. See, I love TWO kinds of cake: Chocolate AND carrot cake. I had heard about chocolate carrot cake, but it didn't sound like something I would like. Really, it didn't sound like it would work. I was wrong. The chocolate carrot cake at Piece, Love and Chocolate is to die for. I no longer need to make a decision when it comes to the two kinds of cake! Ha!

Ooo and check out this cool cake they made and have on their website:
Rock 'n Roll cake. Yeah!


As far as training, it has been another somewhat slow week, but I'm feeling a little bit better than last week. I'm still squeaking more than talking, but I can at least utter actual words now. My foot is better. I'm out of the brace, but have the foot taped up and look like a dweeb when I carry my foot brace everywhere I go, like it's a security blanket. In fact, I was so nervous about running without it that I tied it to my back the first few runs, just in case my foot started to ache mid run.I need to get back into rehab, but I'm not scheduled to go again until July sometime. Sigh.

I'll end with a complaint about someone who very clearly has an eating disorder who asked a friend of mine if I was doing OK with the food. WTF? I mean, get your own shit together before you step into my business. I'm sure this person meant well, but considering I'm doing far better than she is and haven't really had issues like hers for years, I'm a little peeved that she would go behind my back and say anything to my friend about me. Fortunately, my friend tells it like it is and just flat out said that I'm doing fine, period. No need to go into anything more or discuss details. End of story.

Long ago in the running world, a friend of mine used to have a saying: Are you training hard or just not eating? I hope things have changed since that kind of thinking was popular.

Lately, my friends on facebook have me well, laughing out loud. I'm not sure why I'm finding some of the comments so funny, but I love that I have friends who both think outside the box and are not afraid to say some out there things in order to get a laugh. hee.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

People along the way

Uggh. What a week. I am out of my element on all levels, it seems. I suppose on the outside, it looks like I'm managing OK, but I'm a bit frantic inside my head. I want to sleep for days and not just because I've been sick all week. I have to admit, the sounds coming out of me are hilarious. The laryngitis makes me sound like a squeak toy. However, it's not so great when trying to help customers at work or have a conversation. I'm fatigued and annoyed that everyone keeps asking me questions, and then says, "what?" after my unsuccessful attempts to answer. Grrr. On top of everything, I guess all the stress has confused my body, and my period arrived two weeks early. What's up with that?! Sigh... It seems to always come at odd times- every time I've had surgery, etc..boom there it is.

I've never dealt with concepts of death well. When my dad died, it was surreal, and my emotions were all over the place in the following weeks. About two weeks after he died, I seriously thought I might come to blows with a lady on the trail, because she let her dog run up and jump on me. I think my glare was enough to tell her she better not mess with me, but my disproportionate anger was clearly spilling out all over the place. I seem to be handling the death of a sweet little dog I used to take care of much better, but it might be because I don't have a choice. Life goes on, as they say. Being sick allowed me to let some of the emotions go at the appropriate time. I guess my resistance is down, so stuffing any emotions wasn't an option. Ultimately, I'm afraid of death and don't understand it. It's the big fear of the unknown. I always found it odd that despite this intense fear, I was always bumping up against it with the eating disorder, almost as if getting close to the edge would allow me some kind of glimpse into what it might be all about. Sadly, I've never experienced any white light or comforting sensations the closer I got, more just flat out panic. The one time I had meningitis and let go, things were peaceful, but I think that was more the morphine than angels on my shoulder.

A few days ago, I started a much more uplifting blog post. I'll take a quick left turn and get back to that.

Throughout my running career, I've been fortunate to meet some wonderful people in the sport. In fact, I would say that the majority of runners I encountered have all been pretty outstanding individuals. Sure, there's always an asshole or two to be found in any group of people, but on the whole, the runners I competed against, trained with and had conversations with have primarily been cool cats. Even the girl who mistakenly thought the 4 mile turkey trot was the National Championships and tripped me, apologized after. I still get grumpy when I think of that. I mean, who the fuck rides someone's ass in a fucking turkey trot? Shit. And I kept running from side to side of the road, because I specifically wanted to not race that one. Oh but once she tripped me, it was on! I got up with a bit of rage and fury, and chased her down. My main goal suddenly became passing her no matter what, and I did, placing 3rd in the process. The fact that she was so apologetic after the race helped ease some of the anger I was holding. In general though, even my fiercest competitors ended up being friendly and courteous.

Living in Boulder, you can't help but bump into all kinds of renowned runners, from former Olympians to ultra legends- Boulder has them all. Here, the average house wife is a 3:20 marathoner in her spare time. I'm living among some of the best overachievers in the country. It makes it difficult to feel good about going out for a light jog x times a week.

It's interesting that in the podcast I did with Lauren Fleshman for Women Talk Sports Lauren wasn't as exposed to eating disorders in high school as I was. It's hard to say why that is. There are so many possibilities. It's possible that there were more girls with eating disorders in my high school because of the atmosphere, but it's also possible that there were unrecognized or undiagnosed eating disorders that Lauren didn't see at the time. It could also be that, as Lauren pointed out, there was more pressure in college, so less girls in her high school struggled compared to when she went to college. It's true that environment plays a huge role in the development of eating disorders. I do believe that Ann's statistics regarding how many runners have eating disorders is probably accurate. I mean, it's estimated that about 8 million Americans have an eating disorder. I assumed that's a diagnosed eating disorder. I'm sure there are plenty who slide under the radar. The point is that many runners struggle with weight, body image and food issues. It kind of comes with the territory. Those who escape it often say, like both Lauren and Lorraine Moller did, that they had shades of an eating disorder, or that they were in the gray area with it, not fully falling into the abysmal cavern like I did.

All of a sudden, I don't like this topic.

Tonight I am in the mood for fun. I went out and met a few friends at a going away party. It has been such a shitty week with my foot still sore (but fortunately getting slowly better), the cold lingering and the death of the sweet little dog. Also, I was feeling out of sorts, because I didn't even get to do a single hard workout. So it was great to hang out and talk to new and old friends. Sometimes I like to just put everything aside and linger in a good conversation or fun moment. Those can be all too rare in my life. I enjoy much of what I do, but sometimes the thoughts in my head are way the fuck too loud. Gah! So, being in the moment is a great place to be.

Ooohhhh AND another fun thing I did tonight was stop by Piece, Love and Chocolate! I have chocolate to sample, including a vegan walnut truffle. They were out of the hazelnut hearts, so I opted for that one instead. Mmmmm The place is awesome. I predict I will become a regular customer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ohh oh oh oh wooh ohh ohh ohh

Sometimes my life mimics the lyrics in a song, but I love more when lyrics that aren't really lyrics resonate. It's as if you can't put a finger or too fine a point on it, but it somehow fits. I love even more when lyrics are written out despite no real words being sung. Bah bah bah bah bah bu bu bah bah bah Ahhh ohh (TV on the Radio)Ooooooooohh waooooooooohh oohhhhhhh (Muse) etc. I want to make an entire playlist of songs with these kinds of lyrics. Speaking of lyrics, there are some funny, funny youtube videos of songs with just lyrics. It's amazing how words can hit you in a whole different way in a new context. For example, there's one video for Muse - Knights of Cydonia with lyrics that states at the beginning how it take a little while to get to the actual lyrics. Then, the "kool" guitar part and the "fast bit" are pointed out to the viewer. It makes me laugh every time.

I sometimes sing along to the radio or videos I have going when I'm on the stationary bike. Anything to keep the boredom at bay, I guess. I occasionally get the urge to sing when I'm running, but it's harder when you're bouncing up and down and more out of breath. My sister once said she got the urge when she was skiing. It was during a moment of being content with things rolling along smoothly. I guess you could say she was in the zone, and sometimes the urge to sing out, shout out or merely think extra loudly is an appropriate response. Last week I had one of those moments while running. It was just so nice to be making progress. That was before my little setback.

I went to the Dr. today. The x-ray shows that all is well as far as the surgery part. Woot!! On the other hand, because the two muscles that run under my big toe are not quite strong enough to do the supporting and stabilizing that they normally do, I tweaked them both, making my foot extra sore. It's a strain though, so it should be fine in a week or three. I'll be one week back in the brace and then will continue taping it the next week. If all goes well, it should be fine after that. And the Dr. told me it's OK to run in the brace. I just have to tone it down. he did laugh when I pulled out the brace. Apparently I'm a little bit hard on the thing. Actually, it was almost in tatters, but what an I say? I guess he had never seen anything quite like it, but considering the shape of my foot and how hard I was on it despite the pain, he wasn't surprised. Heh.

So, for the first time ever, I was almost glad I have a cold that floored me. I was in bed pretty much all day yesterday, and went extra easy today. I'm never glad to be sick, but I'm glad I don't feel like pushing it right now.

I have to say that I keep realizing more and more how incredible my friends, even just those on facebook and the net, are. I am in contact with some ultra cool people, and it makes the down times a little easier to bear.

During the podcast I did recently, I talked about how I took charge of changing my life. I wish it were that simple. The truth is that it took a long, long time before I was able to get out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it's just fine to stay in a comfort zone, but there are times when it's better to jump into the void. When your comfort zone is causing too much hurt and suffering to you or those around you, it's time to jump. I didn't go into detail about the hard road after the jump, but the most important thing was just to jump, not what followed, because that first step is maybe not the hardest but the most critical, especially if it's done with the idea of never going back.

Radiohead's Creep is stuck in my head.

Ahh well, another rushed post, but I wanted to give an update on the foot situation. I will survive!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Messin' with the Beez

Well fuck me. I had been doing so well, and god damn I was happy! Unfortunately, my foot is hurting. Now, before anyone goes off, saying I did too much too soon, let me remind everyone that both my Dr. and my PT patted me on the back for being patient and careful with my recovery. This is yet another "one of those things" that is quite possibly unrelated to amount of activity. I'm 95% sure it's the nerve damage. The good news is that it's not likely to affect anything structurally. The bad news is that it hurts like a son of a fucking bitch- shooting, burning pains that make even walking difficult at times. I tweaked it Friday when I stepped funny on the trails. The swelling is down today, so at least that's good. I put in a call to the Dr. I assume dancing is out for the next few days. OK, I'm no dancer, but I'd like to have the option, just in case a night on the town is in my near future. Uggh. Fingers crossed this will pass quickly. Good thing I'm still able to get on the bike without feeling like a microscopic army is stabbing my foot with sharp needles . It's quite possible that a shot of cortisone will help, and then the circle will be complete with a shot that first fucked it up and now one that might fix it. I'll tape it tomorrow, and see how it feels.

That's all for now. Sometimes I'm too tired and too absorbed in my own head to write much of anything beneficial. I'll leave it with the thought that this weeks was about as hectic as they come. I want to sleep for a week or three, and to wake up to a pain free foot. It is a tad better tonight.


Oh! I thought is was so cool to see that Zola Budd won the masters 5k and 1500 in Raleigh this weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gadgets and Dog Poo

It's quite amazing how far we have come in recognizing and treating eating disorders. I say "we", as if I had anything to do with it. Ha! When I first developed anorexia, I had never heard the term. Several years later, eating disorders were more in the public eye. During the podcast for Women Talk Sports, it was refreshing to hear Lauren Fleshman, who was coming from a completely different place in so many ways, talk about her experiences. I think it's hard for anyone who hasn't gone down that road to completely relate, but Lauren still has a good idea of what it's all about. It's possible that there are still eating disorders that go undiagnosed, but there is definitely more awareness around eating disorders these days. As a result, treatments have changed, and, especially in the running arena, coaches are more apt to call someone out if there seems to be an issue.

Running is a whole different sport than when I was competing too. To be honest, I don't even know what the fuck a garmin is, and the thought of running with an ipod, which I don't own anyway, makes me cringe. I like to think and be in my head when I run. Years ago when I started training with Bobby McGee, he asked if I timed my runs. I held out my wrist, showing him the Winnie the Poo watch with a cluster of bees floating around the little bear in the middle that a friend had given me. I told Bobby that I would guess how many times the bees circled the bear's head to get an idea of my times. In other words, there was quite a bit of estimating being done. He looked confused and told me I needed a new watch. Since then, I have purchased a simple digital watch and a heart rate monitor, and that's about as high tech as I will ever get, though if I could figure out what some of this new stuff does, I could potentially be interested. However, it seems a bit strange for someone like me, who is now running times slower than most weekend joggers around here, to invest in anything too high tech.



I suppose I was always one of those runners who didn't get all that into times. In fact, I don't really remember my training and even most of my racing times. I remember a few of the big ones:


Pikes Peak Ascent  2:39
Run for the Zoo 10K 35:15
PR mile 5:14

I think my best 5K was during the first half of a 10K, but I don't know what the time was...17 something. With the mountain course records I held, I don't remember any, only that the Vail Hill climb was very close to an hour, and I was bummed that I wasn't the first to go under that barrier. In general though, I was more about the race itself and the competition. I sort of let my coach keep track of time while I just ran.

Back then, training was simple in idea and yet so physically demanding. We ran hard. There was no motto about go hard or go home, you just went hard, period. My coach in high school did a so-so job of reining me in, but I definitely broke before I got out of there. Still, I heard horror stories of other high school programs around the area that were far worse in terms of pressure and excessive training, so I was relatively lucky. My first year in college, I had a coach who trained us more sensibly too, but moving back to Boulder, over training central, I became a number among many on the post-it on the wall. Oh, another day of running hard? Of course!You're sick? Just see how many intervals you can get though. You'll be fine. Anyone who could survive that kind of training, of course, did well. Unfortunately, burn-out, injuries and running flat from fatigue were more common than getting through it all successfully. These days, there are all kinds of programs for running. It seems so technical. And now there are people who are all about training over 100 MPW, as if that's some magical key to running well. I guess if you're training for a marathon you have to do a fair amount of distance, but I honestly can't imagine running that kind of mileage over any kind of sustained period. Actually, I can't imagine running that much in this body, period. I think I'd have to cross train to approach anything even close to the equivalent of that kind of training. But there are people who do it, and that's their choice. I'm always relieved to hear about people who don't hit those kinds of miles who do well anyway.



It's seems a little pointless for me to discuss my "training" these days. I will say that I have done a few hour long runs. I also did 1 hour 10 min on Monday, but I looked like a runner for only 50 of those minutes. I had to skip rehab this week and have missed out on way too much sleep. I notice that I tend to feel fat and crabby when I'm lacking sleep. It could be that my peanut butter addition has caused my jeans to fit a little more snugly too though. I don't know. I wanted to jump in a race this weekend, but I'm not quite ready. It would be cool to do it as a training run, but I'm not sure I want to make the effort with all that's going on in my life right now. I'm praying to the big Lassie in the sky that this dog in my charge will stop pooping all over the place every 2 hours. Poor thing is sick, and I'm selfishly thinking about how it's putting a cloud over my head and making things ultra difficult. Hopefully with the suggestions from the vet, all will be fine, and I will get some much needed sleep. That should make everything look brighter in my world.

And this is very random, but I'm very into this band lately:
AWOLNATION





Just a note: I'm up for answering any questions if anyone has them. I doubt I can give any advice on saving the planet, but anything related to eating disorders or running is right up my alley.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ultra Grrlz

Gz posted a video addressing the Western States 100 the other day. While I like the video and even admit that I got a little goosebumpy, I kept wondering where all the women are. Shouldn't someone create a video featuring the female competitors in this race and interview their boyfriends?


Ultras are a bit foreign to me. It hurts my brain to try to imagine running that many miles in one sitting. I've had plenty of friends who have completed ultras, and I've even known a few who have done well in them. I used to train with two guys and one woman who have all completed the Leadville 100, something I have no desire to do in my lilfetime.

Let's take a very brief look at just a few of the hardcore women in running. Most people think of Roberta Gibb and Katherine Switzer as the two ladies who made it all happen. What people fail to realize is that, while these two ladies were paramount in throwing distance running for women into the spotlight, women have been doing it for a long, long time. I'm not at all discounting the extraordinary courage and achievements of these women, but I'd like to make it a point to not leave out those who were opening doors long before these two made their debuts. Being a mountain runner, I naturally look to Arlene Pieper, the first woman to run the Pikes Peak marathon, as a role model. Actually, by completing the race, Arlene became the first woman on record to officially complete a U. S. marathon. That was in 1959, eight years before Katherine Switzer ran Boston. Marie-Louise Ledru is know as the first woman to ever race a marathon, but there were women long before her who were going the distance. In fact, in 1896, Melpomene, a Greek lady, ran the Olympic marathon course unofficially in a time of 4:30.

Though Anita Ortiz is considered more of a mountain runner, that is not her only forte. I was once in a race that she won in Colorado. I saw her at the start, and that was about it. My descents completely suck, so by the time I figured out how to get down the first big, muddy and steep, slippery hill, she was many, many minutes ahead of me and continued to stretch that lead throughout the race. During her career, she has been named the US Woman's Mountain Running Champion and placed 11th in the World Mountain Running Championships. As a masters runner, she won the Mountain Running World Champion and was voted the USATF Female Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. With all these incredible achievements, she is now proving to be an outstanding ultra runner as well. She was the 1st female and 9th overall at the Western States 100 in 2009.

Donna Perkins- In the Kettle Moraine 100, Donna became the first woman to win a 100 mile trail race overall. Back in my angry, I hate men days, I always wanted to win a race outright. I came in 3rd a few times, and I just missed out on the top 15 overall at Pikes, but I never won a race overall. Donna also did some impressive 50-100 mile races during her career. She was the first female in the Glacial Trail 50 mile in 2003, and also won the women's division in both the Jed Smith 100KM race and the Sunmart Texass Trails 50 mile race in the 90's.

Ann Trason - Ann is the goddess of ultra running. During her career, she set over 10 course records. I was lucky enough to see her run at the Leadville 100 one year when I was supposed to pace someone over Hope pass. They guy ended up dropping out of the race, so, being all carbo loaded and nowhere to go, I drove to Colorado Springs to run the Pikes Peak marathon the next day instead. My goal was to run to the top and drop out, because I wasn't ready for the downhills. The only problem was that I ended up in 2nd place at the top with everyone cheering that I could catch the leader. Someone put a shiny blanket thingy around me, stuck a banana in my hand and turned me around, gently shoving me down the trail. In a moment of complete irrationality, I thought, "maybe I can catch her!" So, like a fool, I attempted the descent, and promptly blew out my knee. I hobbled to the finish, dropping to 11th place. Stopping on that mountain means you probably have to wait around for a donkey ride down, or suck it up and get yourself either back to the top or down to the bottom. I had no intention of being carried out of there, so I limped, still attempting to run as I crossed the finish line. Anyway, at mile 50 of the Leadville race, Ann looked like she was running mile 3 of a 10K. That girl can MOVE! She set a course record at Leadville in 1994. Then two years in a row, she ran back to back ultras winning both the Western States 100 and also the comrades marathon in South Africa, which is actually 56 miles. Trason won the Western States 100 an unprecedented 14 times and set the course record for women, running the race in 1994 in a time of 17:37:51.

Krissy Moehl - Krissy started out running the 800. It's no surprise that she's hardcore. I find the 800 to be one of the toughest races, because it's high speed at a distance that doesn't lend itself to settling into a pace. While many ultra runners thrive on huge mileage, Krissy does better on a more sensible plan of 60 to 70 miles a week with some cross training thrown into the mix. Get her to the start line though, and there's no doubt that this lady can get the job done in even the most grueling races. She has won the Hardrock 100, among other ultras, and set a course record in both that race and the Hurt 100 in Hawaii. I have to add too that Krissy is involved in a program called "Girls on the Run" which focuses on teens looking at their own self-worth, choosing healthy lifestyles, and accepting a healthy body image through running.

There are quite a few more, including but not limited to Pam Reed, who became the first person to complete a 300-mile run without sleep, beating out Dean Karnazes in the process;  Diana Finkel, who won the Hardrock 100 3 times;  Lisa Smith-Batchen, the only American to win the marathon des sables; Lisa Tamati, who completed the Badwater Ultra; Jenn Shelton; Margaret Smith; and Diane Van Deren, all incredible ultra athletes wo have accomplished far more than most people could even imagine.


God, there's something so sexy about women who are tough and put it on the line. Karen O, will you marry me?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My new foot

I did feel much better after a day of slack. In fact, I did a little time trial and ended up running 3 minutes faster than I did last year. I mean !! I'm guessing that my new bionic foot is going to be an improvement over the old crippled one. Damn! Even though I felt a bit more fatigued than usual later in the day, I was still psyched to be running like that. I know my foot isn't quite at 100 percent yet, so I went for strong, steady and in control. Last year I was struggling with it. I knew I was out of shape, and I think I kept running outside of what I could manage, making hard runs even harder on all levels. Supposedly the course I ran is similar to running a 5k in effort, but I'm not sure about that. I could be a bit off on that, as I never quite figured out where the start line is supposed to be, only that it's somewhere around the little library on Table Mesa. The "course" goes from there to the top of NCAR. Last year I ran it in about 24 minutes. This time I was well under 21 minutes. I can't really see myself going out and running a 21 minute 5k though. It will be interesting to see what I can do down the road, but I don't think I'm in shape enough to translate an uphill run like that into a relatively fast 5k. Right now I'm just incredibly happy that my foot is coming along and I can run at all. From what the Dr. said, the minor swelling at night is nothing abnormal.


I don't remember if I went into all the gory details with my foot, but I thought I would do so now. I'm continually amazed that I was running the last few years. I guess I sort of got used to a level of pain, and accepted that my life would be like that. I would occasionally have moments where I would feel overwhelmed with it, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do. It all started when I had a stress fracture years ago. I assumed it was a stress fracture, because it felt like one and responded like one. My coach at the time and my PT also agreed it was likely a stress fracture. Eventually I thought putting it in a cast might be the best thing, so I went to see a podiatrist who very convincingly told me it wasn't a stress fracture. I argued that I thought it was. He insisted it wasn't, and said it was a neuroma. Of course when he said a shot of cortisone would get me running in three days, I was skeptical. Still, who wouldn't want to run in three days instead of having to wait three or more weeks? Well, two days later, I collapsed after my foot popped and I was flooded with intense pain. I went back to the guy who admitted he had no clue. A few days later I saw Dr. Jelinek in Boulder, who confirmed, guess what??- a stress fracture, and put me in a walking boot. It took some extra time to heal, but I was eventually back running, only my foot was never quite the same.



Apparently, cortisone is about the worst thing anyone can do when it comes to stress fractures, so over the next few years, my foot gradually got worse. From what I understand, the cortisone caused my tendons to deteriorate, and my entire foot shifted. Eventually severe osteoarthritis developed in 3 of the joints that was so bad the bones were starting to splinter. In fact, in one joint Dr Jelinek had to remove a portion of the bone. In the other joints, he was able to clear out the gunk and attach a super strong titanium/nylon stitching to the bone to take the place of my tendons. In short, I have a bionic foot. OK, not really, but it's better than being crippled.



Hrm. This is starting to be a bit of a boring post. The good news is that I'm still doing rehab, and things are coming along nicely. This is great, because I'm in kind of a weird place everywhere else in my life. As a result, I'm trying to focus on things that make me feel like I'm doing the right thing in life- writing, volunteering, running and doing some radio stuff. When things are so hectic in my life, these are the areas that keep me grounded and more happy. Fuck everything else. It's not that I'm unhappy at the moment, more that I'm confused and unsure of where I'm headed. Really, I'm excited about running and other things going on, I just have to not get ahead of myself, which can be all too tempting. Oh and therapy is going so well that I'm only supposed to go every other week. My therapist was happy to let me know that I truly am making progress. Wheww. That's a relief, because some of these issues were big, ugly and hairy. Obviously I have more work to do, and I'm sure different situations will bring up new issues. However, progress is progress. I'll take it.



I'm not sure what made me think of this, but my mom and I were talking the other day. I think I have mentioned a few times that my dad was a theoretical physicist. Sometimes I get caught up in the alcoholism and forget to mention all the very incredible things he was involved in and did. He was not involved in the Manhattan project, though he was asked, because he took a stand. He basically sacrificed his career because he was so anit-war. In addition to turning down Oppenheimer, he also turned down Teller, who worked on the hydrogen bomb, for the same reason. What my mom and I were discussing had nothing to do with this though. It turns out that my dad worked with Niels Bohr, who was eventually accused of being a communist, so Princeton sent him packing, despite the protests of my dad and several others. Eventually, Bohr would become one of the biggest proponents of determinism. This, of course, brings up Einstein and his famous quote. Often people think that Einstein believed in God, because his quote about how God doesn't play dice with the universe is taken out of context. He wasn't saying that to imply that there is a god. It was in reference to the universe being governed by deterministic laws, not by probability. My dad, of course, was in agreement. It's funny how people slightly alter the facts to support what they believe. I guess everyone does it on some level. I always come back to Harry Nilsson in The Point- "You see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear, dig?" I love that quote. Hee. Unfortunately, we all do it, which isn't so good though.



Well, I'm about to be late for my volunteer position, so I better jet. I got a call from a long lost but really good friend the other day. Her boyfriend proposed to her at the 50 mile mark of an ultra. She is awesome, and I'm incredibly happy for her, as she's one of those rare souls who always seems to exude happiness, kindness and tolerance. I thought I'd end on a good note, because a few of my last posts were not so uplifting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interesting Study

ANAD always has links to interesting articles relating to eating disorders. This one is about how people who have body-image disorders process visual information differently.