Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Head like a hole?

I ended up watching a bit of the Bolder Boulder race on Monday. Later, I went for an hour jog, not feeling all that great. I was in a funk the rest of the day, and my foot was a bit swollen. For some reason, I have been extra tired lately. All of this made the usual mixed emotions I get watching races more pronounced. It's true that I have been doing what feels like too much running around and work, but I think I might be fighting something too. So, today I am taking an extra and unplanned day off. I seem to need that every 4-6 weeks, even though I tend to take a full day off at least once a week. It's sometimes hard to allow myself that, even if I know I need it, just because I know I'm not training like I used to. Somehow I can get caught up in feeling like I don't "deserve" it, despite what my body is telling me.

I sometimes post in a running forum, and recently there was a thread about addiction. Many people don't see eating disorders as true addictions, but there are definite similarities. I don't know what the right way is to treat addiction. I don't even think there is a one right way for everybody. Sometimes AA helps people, and it seems others get by without it. Most people seem to think "tough love" is the best approach. I'm just glad I had a soft place to land with my issues, because I don't think I would be here otherwise. Countless times, people told my mom to take a this kind of approach with me. "Kick her out, let her fall," they said. She didn't. I think there absolutely has to be a way to set boundaries, yes, but that there can also be compassion and kindness in that. Most addicts I have known hate themselves far more than anyone else around them could. The last thing they need is a kick in the balls. A gentle shove in a new direction? Maybe, but I don't believe that it's necessary to cut ties completely, let them fall or force rock bottom to come more quickly in order to "help" an addict. Anyone who can provide unconditional love, set reasonable boundaries and offer support in these situations is a saint though. I wish I had it in me. I can't really say that I do at this point.

In my own case, I can't even count the number of times I relapsed with the eating disorder. In that way, it was very much like an addiction. However, even at more reasonable weights, I never felt quite right in my head. It was years down the road before I could feel a bit better with my thinking. After being voted most likely to succeed in the outside world after my second stay in a hospital, I relapsed in an ugly, hardcore way, complete with a botched and very lame suicide attempt. Looking back, I realize that being flooded with more and more anti-depressants was having the opposite effect, which is common for people who are bipolar. I shouldn't have been on Prozac, and yet my therapist kept increasing my dose as I became more frantic and depressed. Soon I wasn't even close to the person I had been before all the pills. So the attempt was more of a cry for help than anything. I generally don't do things half assed, but that time I definitely did. Then when I was sent back to the hospital for a short stay, I encountered another patient who had been in the hospital with me earlier. Apparently, our relapses coincided just perfectly. It was then that I realized just how difficult the illness anorexia is to conquer, and also just how fucked up the thinking of anyone with the illness can be. Some people may know about the fear of gaining weight that goes along with anorexia. It can get to such an extreme that even the thought of licking stamp or an envelope becomes a question of calories. Well, taken to an even more absurd level, this girl who relapsed at the same time I did eventually became afraid to swallow her own spit. It was tragic seeing her enter the hospital at a more normal weight, and then notice her again later, looking ghostly pale and emaciated, passing out on occasion due to dehydration. Coming out of the most extreme anorexia, I was put on anti-psychotic drugs. I kept thinking, "Dude, I'm not having a psychotic break from reality. I know all too well that what I'm doing is fucked up. I just can't seem to get out of this hell." But drugs were the way to go in extreme cases back then. So I was loaded up and sent on my way. Of course I didn't stay on the drugs very long, and, in a risky move, stopped cold turkey. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. Getting off the massive doses allowed me to return to myself a little bit. My thinking became more clear again, and I was able to make better choices. Still, there was no denying the chemical component of the illness, and I was lucky to find a few supplements that worked for me, keeping my moods more stable and my thoughts from becoming excessively dark again.

Wow. I can see that I'm not in the greatest head space at the moment. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. Sometimes even knowing that I'm doing the right thing can still feel a bit uncomfortable despite how far I have come. I think there's a fair amount of disappointment in knowing where I once was with running and where I am now too.

This really has nothing to do with anything mentioned earlier, but maybe it's good to change the subject.

I like my music messy. I know that's not an official genre of music, but I'm thinking there are a few songs that will get the point across: TV on the Radio- I was a Lover, The Slew- robbing banks, and quite a few things by Beck. It's interesting that crazy, sudden and even jarring sounds in music can be interesting and intriguing, but people often don't like sudden wild movements in life. Don't rock the boat, mess up the untrodden beach or snow, and god forbid you show your strong side contrasted with your vulnerable side. I don't know. Lately some NIN completely uncensored is what resonates with me. Today is a tough day. I'm blue, and need to figure out a way to keep from slipping down a hole. I hope that the break from routine will do me good and not make things worse. Wheww. Odd that sometimes being tough can mean backing off and not pushing through.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hippity Hop Races

In my book, I share some pretty intimate details about my life. Rather than assuming it's about wanting to take center stage, I'm hoping people will understand that my main goal is to help others who might be struggling. Whether the events in my life have been depressing, odd or funny, if someone can relate or possibly get something out of it, that's all that matters to me.

As I float or sometimes stumble through life, I constantly forget that not everyone is of the same mindset in the world. Well, that should be a pretty obvious observation, but I mean that I expect people to think along the same or at least similar lines, when it comes to wanting to have some kind of desire to be, well, "fitter, happier and more productive." It's always a shock to be reminded that there are people who will embrace the polar opposite thoughts and actions. Maybe it has more to do with perspective than actual outcome, because nobody can truly know what motivates someone to do either shitty or wonderful things. Unfortunately, FSM knows I've done some shitty things by mistake with every intention of doing what I thought was right (or at least wouldn't cause harm) at the time. I'm talking more about those who knowingly or purposefully inflict abuse. How do they sleep at night? Ironic that many insomniacs I know have a pretty functioning and engaged moral compass. This is just a random observation.

Wow I have felt a bit overwhelmed lately. I feel like I'm giving off all kinds of weird energy as a result, so I'm trying to get a little more grounded today. PT is awesome. I love it, and it certainly helps ground me too. I'm going to Avanti in Boulder. It's the complete opposite of those places where the main goal is to make you whimper and grimace as you white knuckle the table. I never quite understood how that kind of *therapy* could be all that beneficial, but some people love it.

I've got way too much to do, and sometimes that makes me go into paralysis mode, which seems a little counter intuitive. However, it can be all too tempting to want to turn over and go back to sleep in the morning despite the long "to do" list in need of attention. I used to wonder if simply crossing off items on the list without actually doing them would be beneficial in any way. The other day, even though I had to pee really badly, I debated staying in bed. Do I get up to pee, and then try to go back to bed? Do I hold it and try to ignore the pressure on my bladder while trying to get some much needed Z's? What a dilemma.

On the dilemma note, I accidentally squirted out a glob of shampoo big enough for a woolly mammoth while I was taking a shower. I was feeling guilty, but I couldn't get the stuff to go back into the squirt bottle. What to do, what to do. I ended up in a foam predicament or a bit of a bubble wonderland after using the entire thing on my head. I didn't want to waste it. Unfortunately, I think I wasted some extra water trying to rinse the whole mess off, and no, I didn't repeat after that! That aside, I am continually thrilled that I can step into and out of showers now without really thinking about it.

Although I have had moments where sleep versus the need to pee becomes a conundrum, that same problem can occur when having too much fun makes the urge to pee seem less urgent. It's hard to risk missing something fun or potentially fun in order to go pee. I hate the thought of missing out on something good. When I was little (I'm sure I will regret telling this story) I used to play with a bunch of older kids in the neighborhood. I think this was before I was even in school, and most of the other kids were several years older. Apparently my competitive nature was out in force even then. One thing everyone liked to do was have Hippity hop races across the lawn at my friend's house. I think there were three or four Hippity Hops, so we would take turns competing. I guess I had to pee, but was caught up in attempting to win, and well, I'm sure everyone can guess what happened next. Yup- all over the blue Hippity Hop. Uggh. I don't think I ever lived that one down, and nobody wanted to use the blue one after that, even though it was well washed and hosed off immediately after. God, how embarrassing. One good thing about runners is that they generally understand the need to "go when you gotta go" motto. I think I already shared a story about accidentally mooning the entire back parking lot before a race, when I made every effort to be discrete, shielding myself behind a dumpster away from the front parking lot, not realizing there even was a back parking lot.

I've gotten better about listening to my body. I used to fight it so much more. I'm actually no longer talking about peeing, in case anyone was wondering. I still struggle with knowing exactly what I need, but not like in the past. Once when I was running more, I had a day where I just knew my legs were completely flat and tired. To be honest, I was exhausted. Still, I was in the habit of keeping a routine no matter what, so I headed up to the trails. Shortly into my first descent, I tripped. It was one of those lovely flat out, too tired to catch myself falls, and I splattered myself all over the trail. I kept thinking how silly it was that I was running when I was so tired, so I sort of rolled over onto my back to catch my breath and watch the clouds for a bit. I ended up finishing the run, but with loads of conflict in my head. These days, I can get 10 minutes into something and know if bailing is the right choice. Yesterday I was tired, but after sitting on the curb to adjust the bandage on my foot, I ended up feeling better for the remainder of the run, which ended up being 50 min. It was probably more mental or emotional fatigue. I am definitely making progress.

I'm also making more progress on the therapy front. I've been dealing and communicating much better lately, even under the stress of some intense situations. I have also learned that it's OK to have an emotional reaction, as long as some rational thoughts can still get through. Hey, if you hurt my feelings, I'm going to react. I might even cry- deal with it. As a kid, I remember having this idea that it was wrong or bad to cry. I don't know how many tears I gulped, choked or stuffed down, but I know it wasn't healthy. I've been able to allow myself to be grumpy, depressed or wallow for a short time and then put it aside. My therapist told me it might take some time to really get through everything, and process all that repressed shit. Setting aside a little time daily or weekly can be great, because emotions can be released, and then it's easier to get on with the day.

Maybe I need more yoga in my life to get grounded. I used to take a class, and I still do a tiny little bit on my own. It is great for finding some balance. A friend of mine posted a article about yoga and eating disorders on her facebook profile. I really like the article and idea behind building self confidence through yoga. Plus, yoga is something that can calm the mind, and those of us who have slightly overactive minds can use a dose of tranquility in the thought department. Body acceptance is important in recovering from an eating disorder. Yoga is also teaching me to stay within what my body can manage, when my tendency has always been to push beyond that. This article showed that more aerobic activity was associated with an increase in eating disorders, while activities such as yoga were associated with better self image.

On that note, I think I need a bubble bath to help ease away some of this stress.

Radiohead Lyrics:
more productive
not drinking too much
regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)
getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
at ease
eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
a patient better driver
a safer car (baby smiling in back seat)
sleeping well (no bad dreams)
no paranoia
careful to all animals (never washing spiders down the plughole)
keep in contact with old friends (enjoy a drink now and then)
will frequently check credit at (moral) bank (hole in wall)
favours for favours
fond but not in love
charity standing orders
on sundays ring road supermarket
(no killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants)
car wash (also on sundays)
no longer afraid of the dark
or midday shadows
nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate
nothing so childish
at a better pace
slower and more calculated
no chance of escape
now self-employed
concerned (but powerless)
an empowered and informed member of society (pragmatism not idealism)
will not cry in public
less chance of illness
tires that grip in the wet (shot of baby strapped in back seat)
a good memory
still cries at a good film
still kisses with saliva
no longer empty and frantic
like a cat
tied to a stick
that's driven into
frozen winter shit (the ability to laugh at weakness)
fitter, healthier and more productive
a pig
in a cage
on antibiotics

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Facebook Fun

I pulled this from an old facebook note called "25 random things about yourself." That was back when surveys and games were more the norm on facebook, which reminds me that I'm due to start up a game of scrabble with someone sometime soon. I'm getting a little better about letting go, so I guess some things do change with a little work- other things not so much. Heh.

I'm not tagging anyone. If you want to play cool, if not, not a big deal. 25 things about you, or in this case, me.

1. I should be working at the moment.

2. I have a horrible habit of throwing my heart at people who have no interest in catching it.

3. Music makes my world go round.

4. Pirates and the whole pirate mentality are f'ing cool.

5. People who have to continually say, "I'm so (fill in the blank..spiritual, smart, nice, honest, good with kids etc)" annoy me.

6. When I was little, I was convinced that one day I would make things move with my mind.

7. My resolution this year was to tell people who suck to F off more.

8. I love sunshine and mild weather and have no problem complaining in a huge way when it's cold.

9. All this waiting for my book to be published is making me grumpy.

10. I have an irrational fear of many things including spiders, death and severe cold (I'm obviously avoiding one that everyone knows about me here)

11. Facebook pilfers massive amounts of my daily time in small increments. It's worse than a heroin addiction.

12. When people in Boulder ask if the faux fur on my chic little outfit is real, I long to tell them that it is and that I killed the animal myself with my bare hands.

13. there are a lot of things to come up with to reach 25...onward...

14. If I didn't have a heart valve leak, I would consume much more chocolate than I currently do.

15. I miss horse back riding.

16. I'm generally quite lazy and should have been born a cat, so that I could take many, many naps.

17. I actually like my job and the people who work with me.

18. Sometimes, I do shamanistic ceremonies and other things that make people think I'm nuts.

19. Radiohead is my all time favorite band, even though I'm in the habit of saying "this is one of my all time favorite bands" in regard to many, many oh so many bands.

20. It worries me that I have an addiction to shrimp rolls that look so obviously phallic. I also have an addiction to peanut butter..and cereal though, so maybe it's harmless.

21. I have dyslexia, so reading is painfully slow. However, I still love books.

22. Spell check is my God and I worship her to no end.

23. I have a love hate relationship with myself.

24. It takes me longer than the average person to get things through my thick skull, but that's mostly because I'm stubborn and will continue attempting the impossible or the obviously insane despite many repeated failures. Generally it has to nearly kill or at least break me in order for me to consider letting go.

25. (whewww) Several people already know that I have at least one other alias.

26. ok since I sort of skipped 13, I'll add too that running was once the only thing in my life and I did set some records etc. And I kinda miss that, but I kinda don't.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Dark Side of my Brain

May in Boulder brings the annual mess of a road race called the Bolder Boulder. Waaaaayyyyy back when, I ran that race. I think a few of my times are still listed in some big best of the Bolder Boulder times by year chart. The first time I ran it, it was sort of split into elite runners, and everybody else. I ran a few years when race officials split it into elite men, elite women, and everyone else. Now it's a million waves with the elite teams consisting of runners from around the world, starting after the masses of runners, joggers and walkers have crossed or staggered over the finish line. The elite course is also different than the main road race. It's more spectator friendly. Most years I was glad to be away from the crowds, usually up on the trails jogging. The last few years, I have been stuck, trapped in by the race itself, house-sitting for friends. I might have to plan a get away the night before.
To anyone running the big race- GOOD LUCK!!

I can tell that I have made progress with therapy. Of course I still have a long way to go, but I am getting better at catching things before I do my usual pattern-run, flounce, stick my head in the sand or throw out a bucket full of snark. My head is swimming lately though, and I'm kind of burned out on everything. Really, I'm trying to process too much, and that can lead to wanting to escape. I can see that I could potentially be well on my way to becoming a cat lady, which wouldn't be so bad, only my dark side of the brain can sometimes make my retreat look more like Pink Floyd's the Wall than a lady in a purple sweater with 26 cats. Either way, I'm feeling both like I want to flee the scene and also to attempt to not give up hope and plug the holes of a sinking ship in an emergency effort. Sometimes getting involved in the bullshit of others is worse than tackling what's in your own back yard. I feel sucked dry and emotionally spent for so many reasons. Plus, I keep getting that gripping feeling in my tummy, the one that makes me feel like I want to yarf. Fun stuff.

An odd thing occurred to me the other day. I had a thought. This isn't extraordinarily odd, but the "AHA" moment that followed was, especially because it hadn't occurred earlier. Let me explain that a bit further. My entire family seems to have a fear of abandonment, while all of us are completely fine and even crave alone time. It's one of those paradoxes of life. I always figured it had something to do with my dad being so unpredictable and not able to be *there* as a parent consistently. I'm now convinced that in the case of my half brothers, the fact that they often go into hanging on mode is more due to the fact that their father died when they were young. Meanwhile, my sister and I have a similar pattern due to a very different situation, a father who was too often drunk. In the end though, all of us are craving something we didn't get or get enough of as kids.

Right now I'm inflicting a little personal isolation on myself, trying to decide how much is for for protection, how much is due to sheer exhaustion and how much it even matters. I hate when my brain is like this, because I get these brilliant thoughts away from the computer, and can't even hold onto them long enough to write them out once I get to the keyboard. Sigh. It's like typing something on the screen, only to have it accidentally deleted, the words getting sucked into the *tubes* that comprise the Internet, never to be seen again. But it could also be like my brilliant night self and more rational morning self- thinking an idea is fantastic late at night, only to wake up and think, "what the fuck was I thinking!?" Let's hope so, because I thought I had someting important to say earlier, but it has been zapped completely from my brain.

I hate walking down a path littered with I told you so. It puts me in a British Band kind of mood. By the way, how did the The Libertines beat out Radiohead for the top spot of the 40 most popular British Bands today? That makes no sense. But really, I'm talking 90's British Bands- Britpop, if you will.

I can't figure out why Boulder kids are so pissed off.  I have had a few upsetting encounters lately. I mean, what-  "Man, my parents don't understand me, and growing up in the slums of Boulder is, like, so hard. My dad refuses to get my tennis racket restrung. Damn. I can't deal with that shit."

Now for my own complaining..
It's hard to believe that I'm still sore from the little workout I did on Saturday. I guess since I'm not quite 100 percent, it makes it a bit harder on my body. Rehab was good today though. There's a slight problem in my lower back/butt area, so I need to work on that. My right side is in need of some serious strengthening sessions, which seems odd, considering that it was my left foot that went through all the trauma of the operation.

My head is in a bad space tonight.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Be Too Much

People always seem surprised to find out that runners are people too. I mean they are human. For some reason, runners more than most other athletes, are expected to act like heroes, doing no wrong and saving the planet all while running 100 miles a week. And women are expected to be all little miss can't do wrong, but runners are merely people too-faults and all. It's great that there have been many true life super people in the running world. I just think it's bizarre that athletes, actors or anyone in the media is expected to act like a role model. I did think it was funny that a local news station did a full on report about a marathoner who apparently likes to get a little crazy dancing after hours. Good for her though. She shouldn't have to explain herself just because she happens to also be a fast runner.

I'm glad the last few days I have felt less ravenous. For some reason, earlier in the week, I felt like I wanted to dive into a big bowl of cereal, float around on a cornflake and leisurely munch away at the cereal below.  It was too soon to be wandering into PMS land, so I assume it was more due to increasing the running a little bit.

Speaking of running, I went to the track today. After a really short warm up, while still in my warm-up jacket, I ran a 7:40 mile in the wind and partly in the 2nd lane when I had to make way for two extraordinarily fast guys doing a super human workout. I probably should have done some strides or something before, but I wasn't aiming to set any records out there. I did't run all out, more just wanted to feel what it would be like to go a bit harder. I'm not even sure I could go all out running at this point. After the mile effort, I met a really sweet girl who was doing 800's, so I jumped in one with her, hoping she wouldn't lap me in the two loops around the track! She finished way ahead of me, cheering me to the end. I laughed, and told her how embarrassed I was.  I'm glad I didn't time it, because I think it was over 3.5 minutes. Yikes. I also knew I should  call it a workout, despite my head wanting to do more.  Part of me is very excited to run, but part of me knows where I am now and how far down the road actual running really is. Still, I ran an hour total today- my longest run yet, so it's a start. I just have to watch the imbalances in other areas, because those came out to play today. Rehab should help though.

Lately I've been thinking about all the limitations I put on myself throughout my life when it comes to diet. In addition to flat out restricting in general, I was also a vegetarian for a little bit, and I gave the vegan thing a try too. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well as a vegan, and almost immediately started feeling better once I added meat back into the mix. I admire those who choose a diet more for ethical reasons than simply to lose weight. In honor of all the vegans out there, I ate a tofu dog last night, and, while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't quite satisfying. So I added some cheese on top. Oops.  :/  As much as I admire those who are able to go vegan, I can't imagine going without dairy. My friend and I talked about it, and we came up with a list of things we would give up before giving up cheese. It might shock everyone, but chocolate was on both his list and mine. Yes, I could give up chocolate before giving up cheese! But giving up chocolate doesn't do a whole lot of good for the environment or any animals who might be living in not so great conditions, while giving up dairy possibly could. So now I have this moral dilemma in my head every time I pass the cheese section at the store. Sigh.

I'm cutting this short and in mid thought, because even though the end of the world is supposedly approaching, I still feel obligated to not be late for work.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

When I was writing my book, I got to sit down with some truly amazing individuals, from athletes to coaches. Lorraine Moller, Colleen Cannon and Diane Israel were just three of the exceptional people I interviewed. I loved the way that they challenged my thinking. Since my book focuses on my recovery from anorexia, our discussions centered around their experiences, struggles and thoughts on the matter. Despite anorexia being an intensely depressing subject, I had a blast interviewing Colleen, who never went down the all too common road of self starvation as an athlete. In fact, I would say that her story was pretty much the opposite of mine.

When I went to BYU my first year of college, there were three girls from Ireland on the team. These girls were solid in every sense of the word. They were mentally tough, physically sound and definitely not the average waif-like runner that was so prevalent in the 80's. In cross country, I was running 4th on the team. There was Jill, the three Irish girls, and then I was not far behind. The transition from always being in the lead to being 4th on a team was a hard one- big fish in a small pond to the opposite, no doubt. However, I was more focused on the fact that I was the youngest of the group and running well, despite no longer being number one on a team. The great thing about my coach at the time was that he never gave the girls a hard time about weight. On of the girls was quite a bit bigger than the rest of us, but what could he say? She was running well, so he just told her to keep training and let her weight do what it would.

Colleen is someone who has to be admired for not only being among the best triathletes in the world at one time, but for standing her ground when it comes to weight. Her coaches told her many times to lose weight and even tried to have her banned from the ice cream shop, but her solution and maybe even retaliation was to run well anyway. She broke a school record in the mile after refusing to mess around with diets, and then went on to become ranked 3rd in the world in the triathlon at one time. In the past, there was this ridiculous notion that being thin will make you a better runner- the thinner you are the faster you will run type mentality. It's as silly as thinking wearing a certain shoe will make you faster. I can't tell you the number of times when I was in high school, what I was wearing on my feet became a topic of discussion, as if it had anything to do with why I was running well. I do understand that if you're obese, chances are you're not going to be breaking any records on the track, but I'm talking within the normal range of weight for people here. Bobby McGee has trained all kinds of athletes of all shapes and sizes. What's more important in training than weight or shoes to him is knowing how to train for your body type. For example, one runner Bobby coached was a pretty heavy lady. Her body couldn't take lots of extra miles, so her workouts were more about speed and plyometrics. She also ran exceptionally well, despite not quite fitting the mold. If I remember correctly, she ran a 5:19 mile in high school under his coaching.

In my own experiences, I ran much better at a heavier weight. I broke all my course and school records my senior year when I was 8-10 pounds heavier than the year before. My running well had less to do with being thin, and more to do with how I was training. Plus, I had years of repressed anger that was a huge motivation at the time. Running to me was a big FUUUUUCCCKKK YOU!! to the world. I was angry. Fortunately, I eventually moved past that stage and was able to train in a more healthy state of mind and body, but in the beginning, all that anger and resentment pushed me quite far. What I'm getting at is that I had a purpose with it. Lorraine used to say that when we have a purpose- running to support a cause, get over a relationship ending or keep a place on a team- we will usually run better.

Of course now that I have said all this, I'll have to go into other things that improve performance.

Obviously running burns calories. Often runners are naturally thinner, because so much energy is used up running. But being thin doesn't naturally lead to being a better runner. It's true that V02 max will increase as extra fat drops off the body, but V02 max isn't the only thing that contributes to better performance. And this is only true up to a certain point, because once you drop too much weight, V02 max will not only not improve, but your body will start breaking down muscle to get the nutrients and energy it needs if those nutrients aren't coming in from outside sources. But weight, and really more fat percentage, is only one part of what contributes to a better V02 max. Testosterone, but not estrogen, will promote the production of hemoglobin. Testosterone also increases the concentration of red blood cells in the blood, while estrogen again has no effect. Generally speaking, metabolism and a lower fat level in the body can help improve performance, but this combination of factors really is only one aspect of better running.

V02 max aside, running well also has to do with being sound and efficient. It was found that people with a longer stride and those who were more efficient generally ran faster. There's something to be said about good form. I know that my performance improved tremendously when I worked on my form. I actually had horrible form for a runner, but once I started working on it, my times improved. Anyone who is genetically blessed will have an advantage, and in terms of body type, it's quite possible that I was. Running was in my genes, in my blood. In fact, my grandfather was a marathoner way back when leather shoes were still used for running! In the end, running or racing well has to do with genetics, a certin mind-set, the ability to utilize oxygen in the body well and good form. I think of race horses and how a certain kind of breeding makes the best racers. Ha- I wonder how that would work for humans! Yikes..

Hard work and dedication combined with sensible training will get anyone far, but to be among the best, there has to be a fire within, a passion for the sport and competition. I loved to race. I absolutely loved to test my limits mentally and physically, even though, like most people, there was a fair amount of fear to overcome every time I stepped to the start line. I'm no longer in that place, though I am having fun pushing certain barriers. Still, it's worlds apart from where I was when I was at my best, and I'm generally OK with that.

Grandpa Brittin

Now for my sad little "running" update part of the post:

I've been increasing a little bit. I have no idea when I will be able to really train running, but I've done a few 40 minute runs this week. Because I'm still limping just a bit though, I have to watch my knee and other body parts. Fortunately, I was issued a few more weeks of rehab starting next week. Woot! I did forget to mention to the doctor that I still have the nerve damage funky feeling going on, but I'll take that over what was going on before any day. Plus, I don't really want a shot in my foot after all it has been through. I think I'll let it go and hope that it keeps ever so slowly getting better. There's a part of me that really wants to run. I'm amazed that I ran the way things were before. It's hard to imagine now. And wow- less pain in life is an awesome thing! Go figure.

Monday, May 16, 2011


When I was little, I wanted to be a boy. I thought my dad would like me more if I were a boy, so I went on an anti-frilly rampage. Then, when I was in high school, I was so skinny that I sort of looked like a boy. In fact, at the Run for the Zoo in Denver, the lady at the registration table asked me if I was sure I was a girl when I handed her my entry. Granted, I had a hoodie pulled close around my face, but I was still offended. I peeked down my shirt, and said, "uh, yeah." Boobies, as small as they were back then, were still there. Grrr. Then I won the race and set a course record for women, so I wasn't so upset at her faux pas. Despite being 100 sure I'm female, I never got all that into shoes...until later in life. Unfortunately with the surgery, I'm unable to wear funky, elegant or very fashionable shoes until more healing takes place.

I'm not sure what made me think of this, but one thing I really don't get are the square fingernails. That would annoy the hell out of me. I'm easily bothered by my nails when they get too long, and shaping them in a square, despite maybe looking OK on others, would irritate me. I also saw this new way of painting the nails where a little "moon" at the base of the nail is not painted. I definitely don't get that and think it looks odd. I guess I'm just not at all into nail painting. In general, it looks fine on others, but I'm not one to have my nails done.

Recently, I have seen a few ladies wearing these boots that come up over the knee. It looks terrible. Now, if you have the whole goth look going on, and the boots have lots of straps and buckles, that's a different story.

Don't like


I'm not going to post each picture, especialy the one with the spider in the heel-good god that would freak me out!- but here's a list of some of the most bizarre shoes ever made. Uhh- fashion? Definitely not. Haute couture? I suppose it's like modern art- Some of it I just don't get. I thought it was funny that the Vibrams were listed. I'm surprised that Crocs weren't also on the list.

Some other thoughts about shoes:

I'm not a big fan of the ballerina slipper shoes, unless you're under the age of 5.

No go.

As much as I don't like the ballerina shoes for fashion, these are far worse:


I'll let it be known too that I'm not fond of people wearing Uggs with short little skirts in the summer. Again, if you're 12, it's not quite as bad, but as an adult, it makes you look ridiculous.

Unfortunately, I saw that more of those futuristic shoes are in fashion for 2011. This one isn't the worst of the bunch that I saw, but I still wouldn't buy a pair!


Apparently, very long and pointy cowboy boots are the latest rage for men who like to dance in bars.

Walking must be difficult

Of course, I can't think shoes and not post this video:
Sigh. I can't wait to go shoe shopping.

I have a Dr. apt later. I'm hoping to get a few more rounds of physical therapy. It's going to be a busy week, so I'm going to cut this short and get moving.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brain Pain

Has anyone else ever known something, but then, when it's verified, had a reaction as if the news came out of the blue? I'm having that now. Does that mean part of me was in denial? Does wishful thinking take over until the more somber news is verified? It's weird. Denial is a powerful tool. It keeps us on a more even keel, at least until the obvious can no longer be denied, and the shit spewing back out from the fan can no longer be ignored. Everybody duck! Often our bizarre actions are about survival. We shut down, pretend all is fine or sweep the big fucking secret under the carpet, so that we can keep things more tolerable in life. The world is full of cowards, and I'm among them, hopefully at least a little more aware of where my weaknesses are these days.

Have you ever noticed that it's the people who always claim that they put everything on the table who are the very ones who generally don't? Maybe it has something to do with them wanting to be less weak and admiring those who really do put things in the open with honesty and courage. I have a theory that the more people talk themselves up, the more the opposite they are of what they say. The more someone climbs up on that high moral horse, the more shady they typically are. The more they point a finger, the more there are 4 pointing back at them, and the more they fling names the more deserving they are of those very names. Of course I know that there are people who are honest and have a good idea of who they really are, but it's more that there are so many who are the opposite of what they claim. American Beauty comes to mind.

There are times when I feel like being bad. Sometimes I just need to be a rebel and smoke a cigarette, make some noise or make a bit of a mess. Obviously it's always better to take the high road, but it can be so tempting to follow the emotional impulses that can be so strong. It leads me to want to lash out, seek revenge and say nasty things. Everyone slips, and trying to catch yourself can be hard. Ultimately, it's like eating the wrong things though, and you know you won't feel good after. Knowing that if you stuff your face with an entire bag of chips you will get a stomach ache after doesn't always stop people though. People can be all too impulsive and go for the most gratifying option, even if it may cause harm, hurt or discomfort to the self or others down the road. It's a weakness when we knowingly do the wrong thing for that bit of pleasure in the moment. I may do this when I lash out after I've been hurt. I often wish I could take a bit of a humorous look at things in the heat of the moment or take a breath and try to understand the point someone else is trying to make. My brother used to be so unaffected when my dad drank. It was pretty mind boggling, because he could laugh it off and not get so fucking hurt. I wish I were more like that.

To be fair, the human brain is not exactly perfect for making decisions and practicing good judgement at all times. Evolution has made it complicated. Deliberative reasoning takes place in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the posterior parietal cortex. These regions are often in conflict with regions in the limbic cortex, which is more often associated with emotional responses. Mine must be quite active! One can only hope that the more evolved part of the brain wins, but it can be a struggle. By the way, there's a great book called Kluge that discusses the evolution of the human mind. This aside, some people will always be more concerned with feeding their ego and basic needs than challenging themselves and nourishing their authentic selves. Maybe it's merely a matter of recognizing that their brain is more active in the ancestral areas.

I don't believe people are inherently bad or even that with all my issues I'm forever broken. It's more that people can make bad choices, especially if there's some reward in terms of feeling good for a spell, no matter what the consequences. Keep in mind that I'm not writing this with any disapproving glares from my own high horse, I recognize my own faults (and many of them) in these areas as well. I'm starting to see how shutting down has been a way for me to protect myself. It generally backfires, but for a short time, it keeps things from getting too heated. Conflict is someting that can be intimidating. What's interesting is how these parts of the brain affect eating disorders. Those with anorexia tend to be able to delay gratification in an almost inhuman way. Binge eaters are generally not like that and eat despite the consequences of both the emotional regret and the physical discomfort to follow. What's also interesting is that we know doing something will not have any good consequences, and yet we do it anyway. It's one thing to know that eating onions will give you gas and then eat them on occasion, and quite another to know that downing an entire box of Oreos will cause all kinds of great distress and do it frequently.

When I allow it, I have an unusual ability to know things. I sense them, without being able to explain why I know. In the past, I had more premonition dreams and was far more intuitive. I'm still that way on some level, only I seem to constantly discount what I know. I rationalize, defend and talk myself out of what I am sensing. Maybe it's a form of denial, but I also tend to be overly influenced by my surroundings. I need to figure out a way to quiet my mind at times.

All of a sudden I'm exhausted. I'll leave things with a video that's stuck in my brain and finish my thoughts another time.


I have to try some of these Affairs chocolates. The reviews of the place are great. I feel like I need to travel more, and would love to go on a chocolate buying trip. I had so much fun when I was chocolate hunting in France. I need to go back. Apparently, the desserts and chocolates at Affairs are among the best in this country. Plus, everything comes in cute little boxes with ribbons on top! I think part of the reason Tee and Cakes is so successful is because they put fabulous desserts in really cute pink boxes. I bet one could put almost any dessert in a really cute box, and it would cause the price to go up by at least two dollars. I know a guy who thinks pies are the next cupcakes. I think he might be right- upscale slices of pie in pretty boxes with ribbons and a spork on top sold for a ridiculous price. People would pay, I swear!

The last few days, my mind has been a million miles away. I can't seem to get very into my workouts, so the harder sessions haven't gone all that well. I've gotten through them, but I feel like I'm dragging some and not on top of things as much as I could be. It's amazing how sore and tired my legs are feeling from the little bit of added running that I'm doing. I'm also doing more walking without the brace, and even have gone without taping my foot now and then too. I know it's not quite there yet, but things are coming along, despite some extra fatigue this week.

In some incredibly depressing news, a new report showed that more children under 10 are suffering from anorexia than ever before. 82 percent of those with anorexia in one report were girls, but boys also suffer from the illness. Apparently it's difficult for pediatricians to recognize the symptoms in children before it's too late. It wasn't clear why this is, but the result is that more children are dying from the disorder. In an interesting article, it was shown that social networking influences body image. This is nothing new, but what's alarming is just how much media affects the rate of eating disorders, especially in children. It's downright scary.

Eating disorders of all kinds are more common these days, and I believe that people reach some sort of acceptance because there are so many people struggling. It has become OK to binge or restrict, because everyone else is doing the same rather than dealing with the underlying issues that cause these kinds of behaviors. There was an article about Alexis Bellino, one of the real housewives of Orange County, who has had an eating disorder since she was 12 years old. She has also had many surgeries to enhance her body. In the article, she gives credit to her husband who got her to stop counting calories. Later she admits to not eating less than 900 calories a day, which is not only a starvation diet, but blows that theory out of the water. Maybe she meant that she counts the calories less than she used to. Sadly, she is one of those people who believes that once you have an eating disorder, you always will. I have heard a few ladies say that being in a relationship helped them get over some aspects of their eating disorder. I can definitely see that, but it's important to have enough self awareness and self confidence to feel good and make the right choices, boyfriend, So or spouse aside.

Back to chocolate news-

Tonight I got to try some CocoNova. It was interesting. At first I wasn't sure I liked it, but the cocoa flavor builds and becomes more intriguing. The three of us who tried the Cherry Cacoa all felt that it grew on us. We were skeptical at first, and because this product is not milk based, the first taste seemed a bit watery. In the end though, we liked it well enough to finish off the bottle. I thought it would have been really good served warm. The cherry flavor was nice, because it was subtle and natural-no artificial flavor here. It was good.

Wow. Considering it's about 1:30 AM. I better go to bed. I have no idea what I'm writing anymore, because my head is swimming. I'll have to write a more coherent post another time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogging trouble

Apparently someone managing this site has eaten my last post and spit out parts of it onto the computer screen. That kind of sucks.

Sticks, stones and wounding words

Thanks to GZ, who had not yet deleted the following from his reader, the post has been restored. I know it's no masterpiece, but I'm still glad it's salvaged. Check out GZ's blogs, by the way. You won't be disappointed! Thank you, GZ!!!

I was reading another blog I really like, and found one post that resonated with me, and, based on the many comments, quite a few others as well.

About 10 years ago, right when I was finally getting back on my feet after the wost of the anorexia, I went out for coffee with a guy.  I had a glass of water with my decaf, and he had some tea. This guy knew a little bit about my past, but hadn't seen me at my worst. We talked about the mundane, just to get acquainted, and out of the blue, he blurts out, "You look so meaty." My first reaction was to want to throw my glass of water in his face. My second was to want to flounce. I did neither, and, instead, very politely told him that after 20 years of anorexia, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. He didn't seem to get it. I then told him I didn't really care to have anything to do with him and left, never looking back or regretting the move. Then it was three days of fretting about whether or not I was too fat. I cut back on the calories a little, and the debate raged in my head. I asked my mom and a few close friends if I was looking a bit chunky. They laughed and said I was crazy to entertain such an off base idea. Fortunately, I came to my senses before I did anything drastic, but it was pretty amazing how someone spilling some careless words in my direction affected me so deeply.

Shortly after and also during my recovery from the illness, I was extremely and maybe even overly sensitive, a trait that still lingers. While my neighbors may have been trying to be nice by saying I looked good or healthy, I heard it as, "you're fat." It seems trivial, but for someone coming out of an eating disorder, words like that can carry a lot of weight, so to speak. And words have power. For those of us who struggle, negative phrases can get played over and over in our heads like a broken tape stuck on repeat and become part of our beliefs. It's important to be able to know that people sometimes say stupid shit, not realizing how it will affect others. The main thing is to be able to move past the words of others, no matter how biting or seemingly cruel, and continue on a healthy path.

The humidity is making my hair look like Helena Bonham Carter having an outrageously bad hair day. I forgot about the elements being inside on the bike so much. Yesterday it snained. It was a weird combination of snow and rain, but not exactly sleet. I had to think about what to wear on my little 20 min jog. The last few days my legs have been sore and tired, so running hasn't been quite as fun. It's amazing how sore I'm getting while running so little, but since I'm still biking, I'm sure that has something to do with it. Today I have an easy day planned.

(My hair is shorter and just a tad more bride of frankensteinish lately.)

I'm jumping all over the place, but I was tempting fate yesterday, and played a little Russian roulette regarding my heart valve leak. Knowing full well that too much chocolate can trigger a big old episode, I tested the limits, and ate one of those mini Cherries and Almonds in Dark Chocolate Chocolove bars. I was somewhat cautious, but it was still a bit of a risk. My chest was a little tight after, but I think the amount is right on the edge of what I can handle. normally I'm ultra careful when it comes to these things, but yesterday was one of those "oh fuckit" kind of days. Of course, I buzzed around on a chocolate high for a few hours after, and then crashed, even though I made sure to eat some sensible things too.

The chocolate bacon debate is still raging among a few friends. I still think that hickory flavor and chocolate do not go well together. It's like sticking a Hershey's kiss in liquid smoke and expecting it to taste reasonable. A friend suggested caramelizing the bacon, which does sound better. Maybe if the bacon were a honey bacon without the smokey flavor, it would be better. I have yet to find a chocolate and bacon combination that I like, but there are loads of the pair in desserts all over the place that sound good. I actually thought that the bacon maple pie (no chocolate) sounded more interesting. In addition to the pie, Tee and Cakes makes a chocolate bacon cupcake that is supposed to be tasty. I have yet to try it, but I know their double chocolate cupcakes are insanely delicious. Actually, I have yet to try something I don't like there. I used to joke that I wanted to get married, just for the cake. It's one of those things that I never really eat unless there's a celebration or it's my birthday. I might have to look into eating more cake, celebrations aside, because there are no wedding bells in sight around here.

Ohhh! One last note. I tried another interesting cheese from the new Alfalfa's Market. It was a very nice little goat cheese brie. Since it was part of the whole mother's day thing, I didn't do a full review, but I had a small sample that was very good. It was much more subtle than I expected. For $10.00, it was a great cheese. It came in an elegant square package, and made a great addition to the other foods I bought. There was a tiny bit of a tang that crept up and lingered after I tasted, which I liked. Man, that store is something else. It's quite upscale, but the employees all seem nice. The customers are not as uptight as the big Whole Foods crowd too. For some reason, it seems sprouts and goji berries can often put people in a foul mood.

Monday, May 9, 2011

One shoe.

I wanted to buy one shoe today, but I knew that would be impossible. After so many months of limping, I noticed that my left running shoe looks almost new, and my poor right shoe is completely flat. It died. There's no way to replace one shoe at the Boulder Running Company, so I had to purchase a new pair. I ended up with some Adidas, which kind of disappointed me. I hate Adidas, simply because I think their products generally suck, but hopefully the shoes will last longer than their socks. I once bought Adidas socks, and my cheap generic socks lasted several years longer than the "Three Stripes" brand. I'm rolling my eyes, in case anyone was wondering. I think I went three months with those socks before they were too full of holes to be of any use. At least the shoes are comfortable.

While I was shoe shopping, I took a look at the running shorts. I'm in desperate need of new running attire, as I'm getting a reputation for wearing what my friend calls Heinous Wear, by Lize. I tend to wear what's comfortable, even if it's pajama bottoms that are more holes than material, cut to make shorts. I couldn't believe the "running" clothing available though. Where are the 80's style, totally old school running shorts? I don't want zippers, draw strings, pockets, triple layers or a skirt. God, who the fuck runs in a skirt? OK fine, it's a fashion statement, but how uncomfortable. It's shorts with an extra layer of material over the front. What's the use in that? No thank you. I'll take a simple pair of running shorts. Oh that's right- they no longer exist! CRAP!! I'm thinking a trip to a used clothing store is in order. grrr.

Speaking of shopping, I tried on this ultra sexy, chic white and black striped dress at Goldmine. It was a tad too form fitting, but man, it was HOT! I was thinking maybe I might be able to pull it off, and then I exhaled. Oh yikes! I'm really impressed and glad that some people can feel comfortable enough to buy something like that anyway, but I couldn't do it. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me, but I couldn't see myself either sucking in my belly all day or letting it protrude for everyone to see. Maybe I needed the next size up or something. Unfortunately, the only size available was small, so I will never know. All that stuff about horizontal stripes making you look fat wasn't true in this case. Not buying the dress had nothing to do with the stripes. It was simply too tight. Sigh.

I ran up NCAR road this morning, and then about died in a harder bike session. I was having one of those days where I wasn't convinced that I wanted to do anything hard. I kept wondering if I could get through what I had planned. I did, but just barely. It was a sloppy, difficult mess. My mind was a million miles away, and my bike started squealing, which was horribly annoying. I think it might need some oil or something. I've had it since high school. There's paint all over it, and I have to tape my feet to the pedals, because the clips fell off long ago. Also, my shorts kept slipping, making my underwear go up my ass. This sucks when running, but with biking, it's downright distressing. I got through though, and I'm calling the trip on foot up the road my first real run, even though I was still wearing the brace.I even passed an older guy on his bike. He was super nice, and told me I was looking good. I'm out of shape for running, but I can sense some fitness in there from all the biking.

I'm in a complaining mood today, even though things are going pretty well in my life. I generally don't read too many blogs, especially running blogs, but there are a few really good ones out there. 80 out of 100 running blogs read like this: I got up, ate a banana, and put on my shoes. On my run, I felt OK. The first mile was hard. During mile two, I saw a squirrel.  <------------------- (this is an exciting and quite unexpected addition to the norm. Hooray for the squirrel making things less dull!) Then I got a side stitch. It hurt. Blah blah. Speaking of squirrels, last year I swear there was a squirrel conspiracy. They were out to get me! Twice I almost got bombarded by pine cones "falling" out of trees RIGHT as I was running underneath. I looked up to see a squirrel, sitting smugly BOTH times. Oh I am onto those little critters. Randomly falling pine cones, my ass. I know what's going on here. Books on anorexia can also read like a diary: Tuesday I ate a carrot. Wednesday I ran five miles, and then I ate a pea for lunch. I like more substance. I have no idea where my blog fits in. It often seems like a ton of "me, me, me" ramblings to me, but I'm hoping it's not a complete bore. Here's a blog I love. It's more than a running blog, for sure. I already mentioned the Angry Runner blog as a favorite, and there are quite a few others worth a look, but this is one I never get tired of reading:

Races Like A Girl 
Julie has it all- a great style, smart witty observations and the ability to keep anyone interested.

I shouldn't be so critical when it comes to running blogs. Sometimes even someone blogging like a diary can be interesting. I think it all depends on how it's written, what the deeper meaning is and how it relates to things outside running. By the way, I found this little "book" I had done when I was about 6 years old. I called it the dbook. I assume that because I was dyslexic, I couldn't decide between d and b, so I used both. On the cover is a cute little drawing with a lion on a hill and a few rabbits below. The story goes like this: One's (I think I meant once) a (I drew a lion, instead of spelling it out) was sitting on a hill. He had never seend land beefor. The hill was so hi he did not see land. The dbook end. haha. Oh shit, I was a messed up kid. I can't figure out what was going on in my head when I wrote that, because the lion was already on land. I must have imagined this lion looking out over the ocean or something, not realizing that there was flat land below. Who knows?? I have no idea why I mention this, but hopefully I have become at least a little bit better in the writing department.

Ahh well. I can't wait to get more fully back into running. I'm excited to see what I can do without the limiting pain. I have no idea when that will be, as my foot still gets swollen and sore at the end of the day. I'm now wearing tape, so that I can wear more normal shoes during the day. I was walking around a little bit like Frankenstein at first, but I'm getting the hang of it. Man, it does feel good to be in something other than running shoes! I'm not ready yet for sandals or heels, but hopefully that won't be too far off in the distance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Today is both mother's day AND my mom's birthday! I love my mom. She is awesome, and pretty much everyone who has met her agrees. I couldn't afford to get her a trip to France, her home country, so I got her a few things that would remind her of France: a bottle of wine, some sun flowers, gourmet cheese, pate, bread, chocolate and a few pastries. She seems very content, so I'm happy.

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On farts and other strange things

After a few days of feeling exceptionally good, I have kind of crashed. A few days ago, I did another 20 minute run (I think I'm going to hit 12 miles for the week!), and I was able to keep up with a random running housewife for about 7 minutes on a trail. It didn't feel right to pass her, so stayed a few feet behind, breathing hard but enjoying the effort. I'm itching to run in general, but today I'm dragging a bit. Still, the thought of being able to get outside and move is a good one.  


I have said this in a different time and place, but I always come back to it. I can't fart and not laugh. I try really, really hard not to laugh, but I can't help myself. I also feel the need to announce their arrival, like some natural disaster is about to occur. Sometimes if they slip out unexpectedly, I feel the need to say, "Oh my god, I just farted." This prepares anyone standing near for the foul aroma that may waft in their general direction. I've only ever been comfortable farting around one person outside of the family. It's possible I will have to change my diet so that I never fart again, or learn to be more comfortable around others. I'm usually too embarrassed to fart in public, but it's amazing how many are dropped without my consent.I would almost rather implode than fart, but one can only hold them in so long. The other day, one escaped at work, and my coworker and I couldn't stop laughing about it. At first she thought it was someone walking by, but I admitted my failure to keep it inside, which made us laugh harder. Apparently, I have made at least a little progress in the farting in public department. Still, I would much rather avoid it if possible. A friend of mine used to insist that arguing naked would keep things from escalating. Whether he was speaking from experience, I can't be sure. I say add a fart in the middle of a fight and see what happens. Could this be the solution to world peace? I don't know.

Have at it- your own personal fart board: FARTS

Humor aside, a strange phenomenon occurs with many anorexics. It seems the more uncomfortable with the body one becomes, the more bodily functions become an embarrassment. An anorexic seems to want to take up as little space as possible in the world, go unnoticed and avoid dealing with the human body in general. Sounds emitted, fluids excreted and other normal functions of the body can become more than minor annoyances in the world of an anorexic. As part of recovery, I had to look at all the little things that came so naturally to others, and question why they would cause me such embarrassment. It seemed like I was embarrassed to simply be on the planet.

On an all together different note, I let someone get to me last night. Normally at work, I can detach emotionally and keep calm and rational even in the most extreme situations. For some reason, though I hid it well, I let this lady and her extremely arrogant son push my buttons. I assume my emotions are still a little raw and on the surface, and that might have something to do with it. However, it's rare that anyone is that rude, even though I joke about it happening in Boulder quite a bit. Mostly people are pretty nice here. This lady took the cake as far as rudeness goes. I actually stepped outside for some air after she left. All was fine, but I was upset that I got so upset over the situation. Still, I have to give myself a pat on the back for not getting into it with her, and ultimately, taking the high road was the right choice...flipping her off behind her back aside, which, I admit was childish. Oh but it felt good after having to smile and nod as she screamed at me about how she felt someone else should do things.

The lady on the phone pointing at things for me to show her was rude, but at least she wasn't mean. I'm wondering when it became OK to talk on the phone and interact half heartedly with others at the same time. Someone needs to come up with a good phone etiquette brochure. I see so many parents who ignore their kids while talking on the phone, as if this counts as quality time when the kid is moping behind the parent who is obliviously gabbing away. Well, maybe it's just me.

Ahh well- enough complaining for now. I better take advantage of the nice day outside. I won't go into the angry lady in the electric cart who chased me off the sidewalk right now. I'm just glad that my reflexes are still in working order. Sometimes I want to curl up in a ball and not have to deal with other people. Wheww.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Sometimes at night as I'm trying to fall asleep, I get these thoughts that I think might be brilliant, so I turn on the light, jot them down and try again to drift into dreamland. I keep having dreams about a specific topic, but that's another issue. My problem is that when I wake up the next day, I either can't read my scribbles, or what I thought was so brilliant at night, no longer seems as earth shattering the next day. 

I've been thinking about those insect parts in chocolate bars I wrote about in the last post. I'm wondering how so many get in there. I mean, does a worker leave the back door open and then neglect to notice a long train of bugs marching into the chocolate vat? It's all very worrisome to me. CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR! Ick. Now I imagine little bug legs in my chocolate every time I go to eat some.

My first group therapy session was exhausting but good on many levels. Man, people deal with some shit. Everyone cried, and we all got small Chocolove chocolate bars to take home, which is a little bit ironic- don't you think? I opted for the dark chocolate with cherries and almonds in it. Mmmm. Well, mmm minus the bug parts. Friday I have an hour and a half meeting with a counselor. I'm definitely in the right place. However, I hate when someone hands you a pamphlet, and you realize your life mimics that of the fictitious character on the pages inside. The nice thing is that nobody is there to offer advice, judge or direct anything other than the meeting. Mostly they just listen, and provide a safe place to let us talk, which is exactly what I need at the moment. I often wonder if anyone would consider offering a not so safe place for these kinds of things. ??? Oddly enough, I got one more, "are you OK with the food" question, this time from a stranger. I really am. I know I can dance around the edge a little and maybe even look down the dark barrel of that gun, but I'm not about to pull the trigger and go down that road again. I am OK, really. I don't think as many people would ask if not for my past, and I don't think I have lost much if any weight.

Enough of the depressing stuff...

On my little jog, I somehow managed to go almost a minute faster than I usually do heading out on my 20 minute loop. I'm still in the brace, but it's amazing how much better things are with less pain. The only pain is from the surgery itself and also the nerve damage, which feels really uncomfortable and odd rather than actually painful. I'm still in shock over how much I suffered in the past. I just can't get over it. It's unreal to me that I sort of accepted that level of discomfort, and almost got used to it. In a way though, it kept me from feeling emotions. Sometimes it's easier to feel physical pain than emotional pain, and man, I can shut down in that regard, especially when it comes to anger and sadness. Unfortunately, it comes out one way or another in the end, and that's what I'm dealing with now-intense emotional crap all rising to the surface. And there's no way around it, only through it. So I'm wading through the muck and the mire, so to speak. Yes, hang me up to dry. I am looking forward to running once my foot is strong enough to handle some real miles though. It's actually quite exciting.I'm keeping my "runs" 10-20 minutes until my foot is stronger though.

Actually, back to the not so uplifting thoughts for a bit here. Because all this emotional stuff and stuffing feelings can be related to eating disorders, I think it's worth mentioning that feeling grounded emotionally is helpful when it comes to eating sensibly. That's pretty obvious. I know. When I was coming out of the anorexia, I had stuffed my feelings down so far in the past, that I was a bit of a wreck once I started eating again. There was something about eating that allowed me to FEEL again. Plus, I was just plain freaking out, because I went about gaining weight a little too quickly. I was starving, so I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, and then I'd cry after each meal. I felt so lost. I'd try to surround myself with people, just to get some sense of comfort. I really needed someone to tell me I was going to be OK, but nobody quite understood the fear, conflicting emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed I was experiencing. All the people around me saw was that I was getting "better" and gaining weight. But oh my poor head!

I still get that emotional overload at times. It's the very reason I flounce, deactivate accounts, defriend people and shut down. I once dated a guy who would occasionally defriend me on facebook. I asked him why he did it, and he said he got some satisfaction out of pushing that button. It was a statement, but it didn't mean that he didn't still like me. We joked about it, and have remained friends since. I asked him if he couldn't just tell me he was angry or upset with me instead, and he said that it had more to do with the action of putting his finger on the button and pressing than saying anything. it's funny- like the act of pushing this button sent a message and also allowed him to be more content for a little while, have power over the situation or whatever it was that made him do it. I'm the opposite. Deleting etc.. is anything but satisfying, and I generally do it in a state of being overwhelmed with emotion while feeling the need to flee. I do what I have done best for most of my life- RUN!

But I can't run away anymore. I need to be able to face shit, and it's finally happening. I've been too lost in trying to keep things shoved down and have kept people at a distance. I'm seeing things quite differently for the first time in a long, long time. I'm actually excited to be moving away from all the pain and the darkness. Of course, the meds and sleeping better are a part of all of this. Sleep is so important. Getting more sound sleep has definitely allowed me to process things differently. Still though, getting through the emotions that are coming up is helping tremendously too.

Up next...do I dare?? Let's talk about farts. Ha- I can't even write it without laughing. Next time...Farting Etiquette and other odd stories.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


OK, Time for smiley faces, unicorns, positive affirmations and loving comments about all the really great people in the world! Not. As much as I hate blogs in which the main focus is bashing anyone who thinks anything other than the exact same thought as the author, I'm not about to pretend I'm suddenly all up with people. On the other hand, I am moving forward which, for someone who tends to hate change, cling to the past and dwell on what could have been, is an improvement. I have to clarify, I'm not actually anti-people, more just like to keep my distance--usually. I do make exceptions. This is about as close to rainbows and glitter as I will get though:

Last night, while I was working on an article about pre-race meals, I had the TV on for some background noise. The computer I'm borrowing doesn't have a sound card, so Pandora is out. There was some reality show on where couples compete in order to win their "perfect" wedding. What I find repulsive, aside from the whole idea of competing in a reality show, are the contests where these people are forced to eat gross food or huge quantities of food. Someone always yarfs, and I generally refuse to watch. It really makes me sick. I can imagine how great for health extreme eating is. In this one case, the contestants hadn't been eating very much leading into the stuffing of the face contest, so I'm surprised more people weren't sick. I was lucky enough to catch one guy losing massive amounts of his insanely large meal before I turned the channel.

For someone who has had an eating disorder, the thought of eating enormous quantities, enough to gain 3 pounds in less than 45 minutes, is a scary one. That's a hell of a lot of food, and considering the stomach isn't all that big, I can imagine how much it would hurt to eat like that. But what really gets to me are the shows where bugs and shit (well, hopefully not literally shit) are eaten. There was some fear factor show where a girl ate a live spider. I can't even look at spiders! No way in hell would I ever intentionally eat one, though I have been told people swallow an average of 8 in their sleep in a lifetime. This is probably why I sleep with my jaw clenched shut. I've also read that the FDA has deemed it acceptable that a certain amount of rat hair and bug parts end up in chocolate bars. It's something like 60+ insect fragments per 100 grams. I try not to think of this when sampling chocolate.

Shows like this exemplify all that is wrong with the world: backstabbing, greed, overindulgence and an audience oh so eager to watch it all. Everyone's looking for their 15 minutes of fame, no matter what it takes, and if you can't get the fame you crave so desperately yourself, by all means, grab the coattail of someone who can! Of course with the internet, it's easy to take the mini spotlight, thinking people are reading every word in a blog, watching every second of a video or listening to every word of a song or interview posted online. Andy Warhol would be amused to know that 15 minutes of fame has been diluted to a few random moderately interested glances for everyone.


Back to reality. I ran another 20 minute jog. I'm still having to use the brace, but it's coming along. I get frustrated though, because my foot gets tired and sore if I go too long without the brace. Walking back to my car from work, I was wondering if the guy waiting impatiently for me to cross the street could see my limp. I used to rush across the street when someone was waiting for me to cross. Now, I'm limited, and really can't. I tried, but my foot started hurting. It made me feel both vulnerable, knowing I can't run or even really hurry the fuck up, and frustrated that I'm still limping and sore. Still, it's better than it was. Time...

I swear the human counterpart of this guy came into work today, and I had to help him:

Life is so fucking weird at times.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Self Esteem

Dammit. I knew I would have to address this at some point. I think it's pretty obvious from some of my recent posts that I sometimes struggle with self esteem. It's funny, I have to be very "on" at work, ready to spit out information about anything from the over 500 different artists we carry to art history to even dumb things like which local restaurant is better for a quick bite. I can't do my job and not have some confidence in what I say and do. It's the same with workouts. I'm not running, but I have to have at least a little confidence to get through some of the hardcore bike workouts I've been doing. In certain situations, I can be fearless or at least face my fears. Ok, I'm rarely fearless, but it happens. Running I go back and forth on-sometimes having courage, and sometimes feeling it's all too much. The big thing lately is that I recognize how I view myself affects how I interact with everyone else.

The unfortunate trend in my life, aside from being constantly put down by others, was that probably because of this, I learned that I could never do anything right. In 2nd grade, my teacher told me I wasn't putting enough effort into spelling. I was dyslexic, but nobody knew at the time. I would spend hours trying to memorize words, and still do poorly on the test. What's worse is that even when I did well, I couldn't hear it. In my manuscript, I write about an incident where my high school coach was quoted as saying that he felt I could quite possibly be the best female mountain runner in the world at the time. This was just after I had won Pikes, and was getting ready for the upcoming cross country season. He also mentioned that I possibly could have gone faster, but I started out a bit too quickly in the race. All I got out of the article was that I blew the race. Big black and white, all or nothing thinking right there. The whole part about me being one of the best in the world didn't even register until I reread the article years and years later. And that's how I have gone through life- assuming people think the worst, likely because I haven't been very happy with myself.

I can't believe that it has taken me this long to both notice and now address these issues, but I also believe that conquering big life and death issues, spending countless hours on achieving whatever goals in life and being isolated most of the time can make recognizing how one interacts with others difficult. There was nothing to address as long as I didn't let anyone close to me, and I did a really good job of that. Hell, I still do. The big question is how to change, and, as I see it, I need to work on myself, especially since the surgery, which simply caused another big blow to the old self esteem meter. Having to rely on someone else is the last thing to promote confidence. It was the same thing after the viral meningitis. It took some time to get back to being comfortable interacting in the world. This is where I think talking to someone will be useful.

I do have moments where I acknowledge that I am basically a decent human being or at least try to be, but there are also times where I feel I've blown everything, just like the race. It's interesting that all this stuff has come up just after the surgery. I suppose it's kind of expected, because tossing me completely out of my comfort zone (really more my safety zone) and into some unbearably tough challenges will naturally bring shit to the surface, and having to face myself with nowhere to run (literally!) I am forced to address it. I really wish I could have done so earlier, but I think I have spent so much time and energy trying to keep some balance with the food and exercise, I forgot to check what was going on with the rest of my life. I sometimes expect others to call me out on things I should be recognizing in myself. Life doesn't work like that. And still my confidence is entangled in the running, which really was the only thing that ever gave me a sense of being OK in the world at one time.

It's easy to be consistent in love when it comes to animals, even when they fuck up royally and puke on or tear up your most expensive carpet. I wish I could be as forgiving toward myself and others, and step away from the self hatred that so easily rises. It doesn't matter to a dog if you don't say the right thing or do things just so, all that matters is that the leash gets brought out a few times a day and food goes in the bowl at the appropriate times. It seems so fucking easy. And their self confidence definitely doesn't seem to be wrapped up in their looks or achievements either. Another lesson to learn from them. Speaking of animals, I saw the most adorable puppy the other day. It looked right out of a dog food commercial. I actually found an image that looks similar, only the brown around the eye on the one I saw wasn't as pronounced, and it was on the opposite eye:
                                                                So cute!

It's funny that when I was running so well I didn't have the confidence of a champion. If anything, it was a little bit the opposite. Today when I was attempting to run, I wondered what it would be like to race again. I'm so far from an actual run though. Still, I can feel that, the lingering surgery pain aside, my left foot is getting there. It will eventually change the entire way my foot lands. Last year I struggled to run two 7 minute miles with a short rest between. I'm embarrassed to admit that when under 6 minutes was my go to hard pace in my younger years. I know I'm fit on the bike, but I have no idea how fit. I know my heart rate on the bike, and if I could translate that to running, I'd be in good shape. However, biking and running are worlds apart. Then there's the confidence thing. Somehow, I will have to gain confidence with running again. First, however, I will have to merely run, and right now, my foot is not quite strong enough to do much. 5-20 min little jogs are all I am willing to do, because I don't want to end up with some other injury from the imbalance. Sigh. I just want to run, and I mean that in so many ways.

I've had a few more, "are you OK?" type questions thrown my way. I'm just sad. I'm not completely imploding or falling apart, I'm just fucking sad. I have to smile and be on top of things the majority of the time, so I guess I'm carrying it around somewhere. Still, I wish people would trust that I'm going to be fine. I have no intention of taking any big steps backward, no matter how upset I am with myself or any situation. As bad as things can be and seem to be, nothing is as bad as the hell I went through with the eating disorder. I will do whatever it takes to never go down that road again. That's all I can say about it. I will say that the meds help with my sleep a little bit, and I think that is a very good thing. And despite this feeling of wanting to cry quite a lot lately, the edge is still somehow softened.