Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not dead

I have the flu.

Enjoy this video while I'm spending most of my day in bed:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Things that make me cringe

Lately I've been slacking. I have a foot on my brain. The set-back is all I can think about at the moment, and I'll admit that I'm struggling to manage the pain. What worries me most is that I feel it on the bike, and I've never had an injury that affected me this much. It's hard to tell at this point, but it might be a tiny bit better today. Last night it was to the point where I couldn't really walk and my leg swelled up like a zeppelin. Fun stuff. If it is a pulled muscle, it should start to get better soon.

Last week, Diane Israel and I met to discuss a possible project I might be working on with Suzy Hamilton. It was wonderful to brainstorm with Diane, and I always feel incredibly inspired in her presence. During the interview, she mentioned that she occasionally sees women who are working out and are so obviously anorexic that it's scary. I always cringe when I see this, and in this area, I see it a lot. I hate to admit but it makes me angry too. It must have something to do with having been there at one time or knowing the way society is, realizing that people suffer so much because nobody is taught how to deal with feelings, the world at large and the pressures of our surroundings. The temptation is to want to go up to these types and shake them into realizing what they are doing to themselves. Diane and I know how much life we wasted, and that makes us want to reach out to these people and stop them from making the same mistakes. I know it doesn't work this way, but I wish I could give everyone a magic pill, even though there is no such thing, to help with recovery.

It's interesting, because while talking to Diane about addiction and the compulsive side of over-training, I am forced to look at my situation at the moment. My coach once told me that if you have to question it, you probably haven't crossed the line. The line refers to a point at which life becomes abnormal due to an addiction running you rather than you running your life. I'm still questioning. You know when you cross that line, because it's not fun. Everything becomes about doing rather than experiencing, and once on the other side, life has an unhappy feel to it or it loses its flavor all together. Still, I know I'm having to face some uncomfortable feelings about not being able to do what I want right now. I think the biggest problem is the conflict around exactly how much I can do and what, exactly, I'm dealing with in this situation. I know I'm not anywhere close to over-training, but I also am concerned that I'm feeling frantic with thoughts of having to take it easy or take time off again when I've already taken so much down and easy time. I guess this is all better than how it was in the past. I know that I will get through this, but I'm so reluctant to give up the little exercising I am doing, even when it might be a good idea in the end. The doctor did say to keep walking and biking, but I think he's right that the elliptical machine might be my best bet, even though that doesn't sit well with me. Of course, swimming might be even better for me, but I hate the thought of getting into the cold water. Maybe I can pool run in the hot tub.

I'm just going to be honest here, and say that I'm too distracted by my foot to write much at the moment. I think I'll focus instead on chocolate for a bit. I'll also make this very brief. I'm working on a little side project relating to chocolate, and I am very excited to be getting some samples next week. The samples will be chocolates that I might end up using in this little adventure, and yes, I am being a bit vague. In looking into various products, I have learned so much about chocolate origins, the chocolate making process, marketing and all kinds of little facts relating to both making and selling the stuff. One odd little bit of information I just learned, for example, is that oils from nuts used for decoration or in the item can combine with cocoa butter in the chocolate and eventually make the end product look less appetizing and discolored. Who knew? I'm sort of leaving everyone hanging, but I'll be back to write more once things are more settled in my life.

Other things that make me cringe:

Padded running bras
Overnight Oats in a jar
People who use the word EPIC to describe their coffee date
Finding out my opponent started our scrabble game with a bingo and I have four i's, two e's and and N.
Having to look up a word I know I know but can't define accurately
Having to look up a word I know I don't know and can't define accurately
My sore foot
The way people behave on most reality TV shows
The results of plastic surgery having gone wild
Getting my period twice in one month (again)
Finding cat puke on the chair at 2AM and coming very close to sitting in it
Unfunny jokes and cartoons

Oh! And hypocrites, but everyone cringes at those.

More later...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Move over Thin Mints...

I found a new love.

Chocolate Mint Macaron

That yummy looking treat pictured above is a chocolate mint macaron from Mageline's Confiserie:

Mageline's Confiserie Website.

I spent a good part of the day choking back tears. My doctor apt. for my foot was this afternoon. I was so worried, and my foot was killing me. My doc. is so nice, and after an initial exam, he reassured me that the surgery seems to have held. He did say that seeing me cry made him feel like he wanted to cry for me. This overwhelming feeling of loss when injured is something any runner can understand, I'm sure. He took an x-ray, just to be sure, but it seems to be something else. From the way my foot responded, it's likely a torn muscle- yes, another one, this time in my left foot! This one is a little tricky, because it's in a muscle that runs along where the surgery was. As bad as this sounds, it is a million times better to know it might be this instead of anything related to the actual joint. It is a set-back, no doubt, but one that leaves me with more hope than if he had said, "Hey, it's time to fuse the bone."

I'm going into this story about my poor foot in an effort to explain how grateful I was to find a surprise box at the door when I returned. I also found a letter in the mailbox that I had been wanting to receive. Two awesome surprises awaited my return.

Beautiful St. Patrick's Day boxes

Inside the box was a beautiful package of St. Patty's day macarons! I did something I normally never do and immediately popped a mint one into my mouth to soothe my sad and worried soul. Oooooohhhhhhhhhh how it took me up to cloud 9 for a moment! What wonderful flavors and textures were at play in my mouth. There is nothing more satisfying than perfectly balanced chocolate and mint, let me tell you. Mmm. I can't get over how delicious it was and how comforted I felt. Now my tummy and my taste buds are happy, my foot is pampered and taped up like a cocoon, and I am flat out relieved.

In case anyone doesn't know what a macaron is, I wrote a little blog post about them not too long ago here.

A BIG thank you to Mageline's Confiserie for the lovely surprise! So far, everyone I have sent macarons to has absolutely loved them. My favorite so far is the mint chocolate (imagine that!). I think my agent said her favorite was the lemon flavor, and my sister seemed to think the salted butter caramel rocked the house. There's definitely something for everyone in terms of flavors, and they are so darned pretty! Take a look at this lovely display at a recent event:

I think I will sleep well tonight.  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My left foot revisited

I'm going to make this a short post. Losing an hour in the annual spring forward incident has made me feel a wee bit off in all areas of my life this week. Then again, feeling out of sorts could be unrelated to the numbers on a clock.

After a few very short jogs, my foot all of a sudden is not feeling right. I've already had several meltdowns over it, but there's nothing I can do about it but "accept" it. That's one of those trendy terms that makes me cringe every time I hear or use it, but it's true that acceptance is better than fighting something that can be fought. Maybe my doctor apt Thursday will shed some light on what's going on, but for now, I'm trying to avoid thinking about the possibility that the surgery didn't take. 

Despite being overly focused on my foot, which leads me to be overwhelmed at times, other things are progressing nicely. I met with Diane Israel yesterday, and we had a fantastic interview. I have much to share at a later date. Meeting with her made me realize how important it is for me to continue what I'm doing and not get distracted by fears and worries about the future. Easier said, but there's something very comforting in being around someone you respect, love and trust. For me, it ultimately helps me find my own strength, even when it feels like I might be losing my footing. There are bigger issues to address right now than my foot. I won't go into too much detail, but I will be working on a really cool project with some pretty amazing individuals. 

I did allow myself to get all distracted with this Koney 2012 thing. Years ago, I read about the outcome of an election in another country being affected by bloggers. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I don't remember the details and can't seem to find any trace of it. However, similar things are happening today in Russia, Germany and even here in this country to some extent. Do I think posting a video to my facebook wall is any kind of heroic act? Of course not. However, what I love about social media is how something like this can truly rock the boat. This is the kind of thing my friends and I used to discuss when facebook and myspace first became popular. Of course there are many sides to this issue in particular. I have friends who travel to Uganda to do work with a group called Think Humanity, so I know the video is not as straight forward or accurate as it could be and there are questions about the legitimacy of On the other hand, the video caused people to talk and possibly do some research on the topic. I do love the Daily Show's take on all of it.

Daily Show- My Little Koney

It's looking like spring outside lately. I'm craving some long trail runs, but I won't know if I can run much at all until after Thursday. Uggh. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Recently, someone asked me to summarize my manuscript and discuss what caused my eating disorder, how I feel these things could be prevented in athletes and why eating disorders are so common in runners. Below is my response:

My manuscript deals with my life, but it also deals a great deal with the complex factors that contribute to an eating disorder. There's a genetic component, but it takes sort of the perfect storm of outside factors combined with internal wiring to actually cause an eating disorder to manifest. Often, I come back to what Diane Israel says about how people respond to stress. For those prone to eating disorders, when faced with overwhelming stress, the inability to self-regulate can lead to addictive behaviors. 

I'm not sure how detailed to get, but in my own case, I can say that I was definitely depressed as a kid. I think there is a tendency for those who end up having eating issues to have some kind of general imbalance, either depression, anxiety or some other brain chemistry problem. It's a bit like alcoholism in that many alcoholics are ultimately trying to self-medicate. With an eating disorder, there's definitely an aspect of control, and in my childhood, growing up with an alcoholic father left me feeling like I didn't have much control in life. Food was something I found I could manipulate, whether I was eating too much to try to feel comfort or not eating enough in an attempt to focus on that instead of my surroundings and feelings. When I ate less, I ended up feeling more powerful, but studies show that starving also affects brain chemistry. Unconsciously, I was probably trying to sort out my depression. Consciously, I was trying to exert control. Much of this had to do with two bad experiences I had in which I was taken advantage of sexually by men when I was a teen. That can be a common theme in those of us with eating issues, unfortunately. 

Along came running, the perfect sport to disguise and perpetuate my illness. Wow. I felt so in control and powerful, though I wasn't fueling my body the way it needed to be fueled. I had tremendous success right out of the gate, and I struggled hard with getting in over my head. I had such strict "rules" around how I ran, what and how much I ate and everything was so regimented. I had a hard time running easy and always wanted to push the edges, discounting what my coaches said. Runners are a different breed. It has been suggested that the brain chemistry of a long distance runner and that of an anorexic are similar. One has to be a little on the nutty side to run well, though going too far over the edge obviously won't lead to success. Those who can find balance in the sport are generally the ones who have both success and longevity. 

As far as coaching, I don't think my high school coach handled things well with me, but he also didn't know how to handle these matters. Eating disorders weren't talked about then, and few people knew what anorexia was. That said, my coach always let me manipulate the situation. If he weighed me and I was 95lbs instead of 98lbs, I would tell him that it was just that day that I hadn't eaten enough, and I would make promises to eat more. He didn't really fight me on it, because I was running so well. It wasn't until I got to college in Utah under a really great coach that I was held accountable. This coach would not let me train with the team if I was under 100lbs, and he stuck to that rule. I couldn't talk him into letting me run if I didn't make sure I was healthy first, and the end result was that I had an incredible season, running some of my best races ever, despite coming off an injury over the summer. His philosophy of heath first over running worked, and he had his women's team in the top three at nationals in cross-country time and time again. These women were solid runners. 

Unfortunately, I didn't stay with this great coach. It was when I came back to CU that I started really losing my footing and getting lost in my illness. I had one OK year running, but it was my red-shirt year. As my body grew tired and I started getting sick from not eating enough and over-training, my race results were affected. More to the point, I could feel that my head was no longer into running like it had been before. I started to lose who I was. I had thrown all my eggs in one basket, and that basket was breaking. I no longer knew who I was. By the time I graduated, I was tired...of everything. I sort of stopped living and just existed for a spell. I lost weight, didn't really run and became very sick, to the point of having seizures and fearing for my life. Doctors didn't think I would make it though the night at one point. While I was basically waiting to die, I started to realize the effect I was having on others. My family and friends were hurt, angry and frustrated with me. I had robbed them of a relationship with me, because I was so consumed with my illness. 

Eventually, I had a moment of clarity when I saw myself as I was for the first time ever, and I was shocked to see how skinny 80lbs or less really is on my frame. I hadn't been able to see that before, but I got a rare glimpse that forced me to take a leap into the unknown and attempt to get myself out of the large black hole I had slipped into over the years. 

What I think helped me the most was finding myself again. I had to rediscover who I was- not Lize the runner, but Lize the person. I had to ask, "What do I like? What are my passions? What are other things I like to do? What do I think?" So much of my life had been about controlling my food and running that I forgot that I used to like to draw and read and watch movies. I had to find new things I enjoyed and had to learn to be in the world, but mostly I had to learn to be OK in that world. I was so hard on myself and felt so insecure. I felt judged and looked down on, but, over time, I learned to accept myself. Eventually, I realized that all those judgments I thought were coming from others were actually coming from within, at least most of them were. Any outside of myself I had to learn to address or dodge. I had to learn that what counted was my opinion of myself. 

In the end, it is such a complex issue. Diane often talks about traits that many people with eating disorders have- things like being overly sensitive, emotional, withdrawn, intelligent and other things that one wouldn't always associate with an eating disorder. I will say it again, because it is such an important aspect of recovery and understanding about the illness: Diane feels that when we lose the ability to self-regulate in the face of trauma (and trauma can be any kind of perceived hurt or actual hurt, even feeling neglected or put down) we turn to addiction. The more chaos in our lives, the more we attempt to find control in maybe not so healthy ways. The way out of all of this is to address the underlying issues. What is that core wound? We can heal through self-awareness and self-love. Another big part of healing is service. All addicts need a way to give back, connect and be with others in order to move forward in a healthier way. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

All over the place

This blog post is gong to be a little bit all over the place. There are a few things I wanted to touch on that stood out in my mind throughout the week. The topic I wanted to focus on first is an interview I heard on the radio featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson. He brought up so many important ideas relating to funding research in space, but he also talked about heroes. I liked that he confessed that, rather than look up to one specific hero, he strives to emulate what he sees as the best qualities of many individuals in order to become something new and different in terms of a person. His thoughts can end up being a little controversial, because it means looking past someone's faults while admiring their good qualities. In terms of an athlete who also drinks, why can't his or her stellar skills on the field, track or court still be respected? In other words, take what can be admired and discard the rest rather than try to find someone who has it all. Ultimately, it's impossible to find someone who has ALL the attributes to be cherished in a person. A great example of this in my life is a friend who has so many positive characteristics, yet we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Do I toss her as a friend? No way, because she has far too much to offer and look up to in other areas of her life.

Now for some

An interesting question about pre-race warm-ups popped up in a forum I used to frequent. Last summer I ran two races. I had forgotten the time line for warms-ups, but it didn't matter for one, as the start was delayed by about 15 minutes. One never knows when a pre-race speech will be delayed or run long. In terms of racing, 15 minutes is a large chunk of time to be standing around or doing strides before the gun. However, most people agree that, depending on the distance, a 1-3 mile warm-up is standard. After this, tossing in some dynamic stretching and strides immediately before the start is a good idea. Most people agree that the warm up jog should be completed about 15 minutes or so before the race gets underway. I aim for about 10-15 minutes, but I always get antsy and start too early. It's usually fine, because the movement blows off some of that nervous energy,  but if the warm-up is done too far in advance, it can leave a runner feeling tired when he or she steps up to the line.

Rules are made to be broken though, because one of the best races I had was years ago when I was living in Utah. I drove about 45 minutes the wrong direction before arriving at the race course with about 10 minutes before the gun went off, just enough time to jog 5 minutes, run to the bathroom, switch into my facing flats and sprint to the start line. Though I don't suggest this short of a warm up, I did end up winning the race.

I was also reading about someone who is having hip trouble and thought it could be tendonitis or a stress fracture. My sister has a hip issue, but an x-ray confirmed arthritis. For her, yoga and some PT are helping. I bring all this up, because I'm starting to realize that injuries happen, no matter what level runner a person happens to be. I thought that because I had pushed things too far, I got injured more, and while that's partly true, there are plenty of people who aren't at an elite level who still get injured. There are also elite runners who don't deal with a ton of injuries. As with everything in life, there are many factors to consider, not just the amount and intensity of a training regime. In fact, I should add that my foot issue wasn't about over-training. Sure I had plenty of injuries that were related to doing too much too hard, but I've had some that were caused by problems completely outside of my training as well. I guess my point here is that we all have to deal with setbacks. It's a mater of getting through those down times and moving forward in new areas when they occur.

On that note, I have been attempting a few moments of jogging after about 3 months on the bike. After one 10-minute walk/run, my body was convinced I had done a marathon. Wow, I was sore and tired! It's crazy how different running is from the bike. Today I actually did a real run, though most would consider what I was doing a jog. I'm calling it a run, because it was longer than 10 minutes, and while I stopped a few times, I was moving OUTSIDE at something faster than a walk. Yay!

I'll bring up one last topic inspired by an ongoing debate several friends of mine are having regarding coaches. Some people are of the opinion that a good coach must be someone who runs at least as much or as fast as the person he or she is coaching. I am definitely not of this opinion and only had one coach who could keep up with me. My best coach in terms of keeping me healthy while running at my best never ran with me and didn't compete. He was fit, but I've also known great coaches who definitely didn't run at all. There are countless examples of coaches who either no longer run fast or never did who are able to get great results from their athletes. I can understand why someone might feel that a coach should have hands on experience, but I look more for someone who has a good understanding of physiology, knows all about the mental aspect of racing and training, can deal with the emotional side of training and racing and knows something about nutrition. Also, it's my personal opinion that a coach should be able to communicate effectively with his or her athletes. Of course, everyone is different and will have different requirements when it comes to a coach. It's interesting to get people's response when it comes to this topic.

As people can probably guess, I'm a little distracted with quite a lot going on lately. It's mostly good stuff, and I will have to spill the details at a later date. Until then, I assume my blog posts are going to suffer a wee bit.