Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Holy racing flats! This is going to shock my readers, but I'm full of positivity today. It actually started yesterday when I realized that I somehow managed to stagger my way through three weeks of consistent training without falling apart too terribly, all while under some pretty intense stress. After my little time trial on Saturday, my legs were pretty sore on Monday, despite my usual Sunday rest day. I was feeling pretty lazy, so I blew off my trail run and went for a short walk instead. After stopping by my mom's house and realizing that her observation about my entire left leg still being much smaller than my right is accurate, I wandered to the rec center for a short swim and some leg exercises, something I haven't done in years. It actually felt kind of good. Cheers to changing things up for once, because on my way to the trails this morning, I noticed that my legs felt pretty fresh. With a quick change of both plans and direction, I headed to the track instead.

Four laps in 6:58

I acted like I won the Gold medal. OK, not really, but I did mutter, "yes!" under my breath and did a quick little skip/jump/happy hop after looking at my watch. Before I get into the play by play, let me reassure you that I know my time is slow. However, I will explain why I'm giving myself a pat on the back. The first reason is that I have been terrified to go the the track. I don't mean that I have those little excitement pangs in my tummy thinking about it; I mean that the track puts a deep fear in me. I don't know if it's because I didn't feel on top of things when I went to the track last year or because I've been afraid to see exactly where I am this year, but every time I have headed to the track recently, I backed out, thinking, "I can't do this," opting for something else instead, a tempo run, fartlek or random intervals. The second reason I'm pretty stoked is because just two months ago, I accepted that I may never really run again. There are other reasons why I'm happy with my effort today, but I'll stop at three, and add that I saw room for improvement. I didn't go crazy on this one, and it helped me see that even with such obvious imbalance, I can still manage some faster runs.

I'm very content with the way I ran. I felt on top of things the whole way, which is much better than the way I have run in the past, getting in over my head early and thinking, "AAK!! I can't do this!" by the third lap. This time on the third lap, I told myself that I had it and to keep it together. I evened out my stride, staying just a tad outside my comfort zone to prevent any stabbing pelvic or foot pains before they occurred, and the last two laps, while slow, were smooth. Running solo is sometimes hard, especially when you don't have a great sense of pace, and, after so much time off, I'm pretty clueless. On the other hand, it's kind of nice to be able to push it on your own terms. After the four laps, I quickly moved onto the streets for two sloppy 6 or 7- minute tempo sessions. I wanted to keep my experience on the track positive, so I stopped before getting buried alive by my workout there. To be honest, I sort of lost focus and had a hard time pushing it on the streets. My foot was grumbling at me, and, before I started the whole session, I had sort of put it in my head to just focus on the track, which means I stopped focusing right after! I keep thinking back to when I could bang out 5 hard back-to-back miles at under six-minute pace in a workout. I think my heart and lungs can handle that kind of thing (maybe not that fast), but my body, especially with the limp, can't manage as well.

Yes, I have a LONG way to go. Right now I'm just trying to focus on solutions. I've been looking at ways to strengthen my weak leg and foot and attempting to stay within what my body can handle. It's a start. I just hope I can walk tomorrow, but today I'm celebrating the fact that I can run at all.

It has been forever since I last took a peek at the running forum I once mentioned that I no longer frequent, but I was glad to go on today. Someone had posted a link to a website that allows anyone to compare body size to Olympic athletes. For some reason, I find this little activity entertaining. Apparently I'm the size of one of the gymnasts from Australia and also one of the swimmers. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Saudi women making history

Shirin Ebadi

Years ago, I went to a lecture given by the Iranian Nobel peace prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi, a lawyer who has been exiled for expressing her opinions about the Iranian regime. Ebadi has been know to take many pro bono cases, focusing on women's rights and human rights. Though she is considered among the 100 most influential women, few people know who she is. Sadly, many people, especially people in the United States, have no clue what atrocities against women go on the the world. Just recently, a woman in India has allegedly been burned alive for failing to give birth to a son. In Turkey, a young girl was found dead after being buried alive by her father in an "honor" killing, because she was friends with a few boys her age. Brutal and senseless killings and abuse against women continue to take place throughout the world.

Even though I consider myself somewhat of a feminist, I can't imagine the courage it takes to attempt to stand up to outdated and unjust laws in countries where doing so will likely get a person exterminated or badly maimed. Stop the Worldwide War on Girls reported that acid attacks, mostly against women, are on the rise, not just in the Middle East.

"A brutal crime more commonly associated with Pakistan or India is now on the rise in South America: Jealous husbands, spurned lovers and, in a few cases, even perfect strangers are dousing women with sulfuric or nitric acids, literally burning off their faces. In Colombia, the horrific trend is terrorizing women and alarming officials. This year, about 100 cases of acid attacks — mostly against women — have already been reported in Colombia." 

Rather than get into a big debate about what feminism is, I think it's important to focus more on how human rights relate to feminism. In this country, it's easy to forget how far women have come and how hard first wave feminists fought to allow for change. So often, people don't realize that feminists are attempting to achieve political, economic and social opportunities and rights. When we can put on pants, paint our fingernails, study at a school, read a book at the library, go for a run or keep a job without fear of being attacked for any of these acts, it's easy to dismiss the idea that not all women have the same rights. Unfortunately, religion can sometimes further complicate women's rights, but that's a separate and messy can of worms that I will leave untouched for now. Feminists in the United States are are still pushing to have equal representation politically and attempting to create more fairness economically and socially. We have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. Those who insist that all feminists hate men (I'm sure some do) don't understand what feminism, on a worldwide scale, represents. 

When I first read about the two Saudi women participating in the Olympic games, the first time any females from that country have done so, my heart soared. Then I realized that this is only a small step in terms of how women are treated there. Unfortunately, while this is movement in the right direction, it doesn't mean that Saudi Arabia has opened the doors for women and girls to participate in sports. Gender inequality is blatant with strict rules prohibiting ladies from engaging in sporting events, even in government schools. There are no sports clubs or teams for women, and about the only place a woman can freely do a workout is in a health facility. Unfortunately, not many can afford to be a part of these kinds of services. There is almost no hope in terms of more equality there at this time, despite what looked like a great advancement with these two athletes being a part of the Olympics. On the other hand, perhaps sensing the perfect opportunity, the Human Rights Watch is trying to encourage the IOC to use this time to pressure Saudi Arabia into creating better conditions for women that would allow for sports facilities, clubs and sports education in schools. 

I admit that I'm still thrilled to see Wujdan Shahrkhani and Sarah Attar participate. I just hope that it's the beginning of something more, the first step in a long march for all the women in Saudi Arabia. What was not as much in the spotlight but equally important was the mention of the first woman from Qatar, Bahia Al Hamad, joining the Olympic team. Maziah Mahusin, a hurdler from Brunei, was also the first woman from her country to make it to the Olympics. Though these woman should be applauded for their bravery, strength and ability, it's unlikely that any lasting change will occur in terms of women's rights, especially in Saudi Arabia. Still, one can hope, and, if nothing more, it does raise awareness. 

All this said, I can't help but want to jump up and yell, "YOU GO GIRLS!!"

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I kept telling myself I was just doing a tempo run, which I did. The whole time I felt on top of things, like I could have gone faster, but guess who's disappointed running a minute and a half SLOWER than last year on the CU cross country course? I totally forgot how to run hard, but I am getting the tempo thing down. Sigh. I did slow down to yell at a lady when her dog jumped up and tried to eat me, but last year I stopped to tie my shoe. I guess it evens out in terms of lost time. Last year, I had company on my little time trial, and I think that helped me go harder. A running partner is something that's definitely lacking for me this year. I'm trying not to stress about the run this morning, even though I'm bumming a little. On the other hand, my foot's still sore and makes me lopsided, so I was watching it closely. Also, I haven't done much in terms of hard running, so I'll work on being OK with the training I did today. I know I put in a solid effort, because a woolly mammoth jumped on my back eight minutes into my cool-down jog. I ended up having to walk home, mostly because my legs were beat, and my foot said, "enough!" Still, I saw plenty of places I could have gone faster. Some of me holding back was fear, and some was about accepting that this wasn't an all-out effort. Funny how I can still get all down about it though. I go out and do what I told myself to do, and then I'm on my case about not doing better! I guess I was secretly hoping for one of those pleasant surprises, even though I know I wasn't pushing it as hard as I could. Oh well. 29:12 on the cross-country course isn't great, but it's not too horrible as a workout.

I have to add that this was a tough and extra long week. I was over booked with too much stuff to do and emotionally drained with all the tragic incidents that occurred. Plus there are lingering issues I've been dealing with that tend to resurface at random moments. Many of those came up when I was attending a memorial service on Thursday. Sometimes I shove things down, and then those things come back up in response to some other emotional trigger.

I did throw in a solid workout on Tuesday with some good hill repeats. I even hit a few of them around the same times as I did last year, so I really should be OK with where I am right now. Of course there is room for improvement. I just have to be careful, because I feel an occasional sharp pain in my pelvis when I'm into the hard stuff. Usually backing off and a minor stride adjustment fix it, which is good. I desperately need to be getting some PT, but I can't afford it at the moment.

This is really a short update. I have the sudden urge to crawl into bed and either sleep or cry before work. Maybe both will do me good. Actually, I'm too tired to cry, so a short amount of ZzzZZZzz time will have to suffice.

I hope I can catch some of the Olympic equestrian/eventing. I would hate to miss that. I'm not sure how many of the running events I will watch. For whatever reason, I still have a hard time bringing myself to watch those kinds of races.

I'm still craving a chocolate glazed doughnut the size of my head. I have no idea where this craving is coming from, as I generally prefer ice cream or cookies as a treat. Weird. When I used to run longer distances, I got some really strange cravings. I once got a hankering for some black olives on a long run and later craved a beer, something I rarely, rarely crave. It's very strange. When I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon, I had such a BAD craving for M&M's that I thought I might die. I saw a lady at the top with a plastic bag full of the brightly colored candy and was SOOOO excited when she offered me some. The disappointment was immense when I realized they were skittles! Drat. Skittles do NOT cut it when you're expecting M&M's. I passed. Still needing some energy, someone shoved a banana in my hand, and I was sent down the mountain. No chocolate for me that day.  :(

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pat Porter

The dark clouds and rumbling sky reflect my mood today. 

I sometimes wish the world would stop for a moment, so everyone could take a breath. 

Pat Porter

 It is with a heavy heart that I make note of another loss in the running community. Pat Porter was killed in a plane crash July 26th. 

My condolences to all of Pat's friends and family. He was such an inspiration to so many runners. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Terence “TJ” Doherty

I seem to be wading through molasses lately. Maybe this is what a particle lost in the Higgs field feels like.

Things feel foggy and dream-like but far too real, and while I'm holding steady, all things considered, I'm sensing how hard times are for those around me. Colorado has had a tough summer, and now tragedy has hit closer to home with the passing of an exceptional individual, a friend to many here in Boulder. Sometimes I'm just too sad to put words together in any profound or interesting way. I almost feel that I don't have the right to write about someone I met only a few times. On the other hand, I guess it goes to show what an influence a class act like Terrence can have on the people he encountered. There's a palpable sadness lingering in the air around here. I believe that there are certain people who are able to touch others no matter how brief the encounter. There are so many who feel the loss in our little community, from runners to friends and coworkers. This is a man who will be missed. Every time I saw him, he was smiling and looked content. His positivity was infectious.

Of course during times like this, the unfairness of life is evident. Dealing with so many addicts at various times, I've gone through life preparing for the bad news to come. When it arrives out of the blue and involves someone outside of my circle of worry, someone who seems to have a zest for living and a bright future, it somehow hits harder. Then again, how many times is death ever fair or easy to bear?

My deepest sympathy goes out to all of Terence's friends and family. 

A few others have written some nice posts in remembrance of a rare and radiant being. Here are two of them:



If anyone would like to help, I have included some donation information:


Three memorial funds have been setup on behalf of Terence in order to offset medical and funeral expenses; two have been established in CO and one in OH. Adrienne and the Doherty family are aware of these accounts. Please see below for information regarding how you can donate.


To contribute to the Terence “TJ” Doherty Memorial Fund make checks out to:
Terence Doherty Sr.
Flatirons National Bank
1095 Canyon
Boulder CO 80302

To contribute to the Adrienne Herzog Support Fund, please make checks out to: 
Molly Rector
Flatirons National Bank
1095 Canyon
Boulder CO 80302


A memorial fund to help offset medical and funeral expenses for the family has been set up in T.J.’s name at PNC Bank in Delhi (information below). The Delhi Fire Department, where T.J.’s brother and father serve as part-time firefighters, is also selling bracelets for the same purpose. If you would like to donate to this cause, please either stop by the PNC Bank in Delhi or mail your donation to:

Nick Lahni (Elder ’77) at:
T.J. Doherty Memorial Fund
c/o Precision Autobody Inc.
4333 Mayhew Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45238

Monday, July 23, 2012

Most controversial

Colorado has had such a tragic summer this year. I'm taking a moment to acknowledge the survivors and the families and friends of those who were involved in the terrible shooting in Aurora.

A memorial for the victims of the shooting

Rather than go into detail about or discuss the shooting, I'm going to focus on other things, though my heart has been heavy for many days now.

There are several long lists of the most controversial blog topics circulating this year. Some themes are obvious and haven't changed over the years: capital punishment, sex education in schools, internet privacy, sexism, the right to die/suicide, global warming, same-sex marriages and legalizing prostitution. Some issues threw me a little bit though. One list included the titles: "should the government ban twitter permanently," "Joomla vs. Wordpress," "The ethics of Valentine's day," "Are girls too mean to each other," and "Does age matter in relationships?" I suppose there are countless arguments that stir up controversy. I just figured that the most controversial topics would be ones I have at least heard a little something about, but I guess not. One of the funniest issues on the list is the right to beer. I'm not sure why that makes me laugh. I'm also not sure who has a problem with beer, unless it's a vague title and is actually an attack on alcohol in general. I can't be sure. Many of the titles on the lists are broad and open to interpretation.

It has been suggested that all bloggers are controversial, simply because we state an opinion. I believe that some stir the shit more than others though. Just jump onto the blog of a political writer if you don't believe me. In general, I don't find posting about your daily activities all that eyebrow raising, unless you're documenting an affair with a senator or describing your life as a gangster. Telling people how many miles I ran today or what kinds of odd thoughts floated through my head probably doesn't land me on anyone's watch list. In reading through the hot blog topics, I'm trying to figure out what, exactly, it is that creates controversy. It seems to be more than the topic at hand generating opposite viewpoints that causes increased interest, though that's a big part of it. I have found that discussing eating disorders can lead to people getting agitated, especially when bringing up those awful pro-ana websites. Should that type of sick commentary be banned? Unfortunately, probably not, as much as I HATE the fact that something so damaging is allowed. Still, when it comes to free speech and freedom of expression, even idiots and the sick and twisted have the right to say what they like. Too bad there isn't a focus on responsible speech instead of free speech. I hate to say it, but train wrecks do cause people to take interest.

Wow my brain is a million miles away today. 

Rather than dwell too much on why certain subjects are more controversial than others, I'm going to randomly pick one off the list and see what happens. Actually, I might touch on several issues on the list while addressing one big topic here.

Melissa Dalton

"Teacher and Student Relationships"

I really want to leave it at, "Sex with children is bad, m'kay?" However, it's not quite that simply put. There seems to be a problem when it comes to defining what is right and wrong when people see becoming a mature adult differently. Can a single age be the measure of when each individual becomes an adult? Clearly this is a broad topic. Instinctively, most of us cringe at the thought of teacher-student relationships, because images of Melissa Dalton or Grady Brown come to mind. However, some cases are not as clear cut in terms of an adult taking advantage of a child, or are they? Take, for example, the case of James Hooker,  a 41-year-old man, falling for his 18-year-old student. Most U.S. laws regarding consensual sex specify that the age limit is 18. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered too young. While the majority of us might shudder at the thought of this 41-year-old teacher making a move on his student, one could also argue that this type of relationship is legal. That's not to say some rules weren't broken though. What I find inappropriate in this case is someone such as a teacher in a position of authority not putting the brakes on and, instead, pursuing a student. And does anyone really believe that this guy wasn't looking at his student before she turned 18? There's creepy written all over this guy, not because he eventually had a relationship with someone half his age, but because he took advantage of his position as a teacher. Until it came out that this teacher had sexually assaulted a teenager years before meeting his young lover, one might have believed his fling was on the innocent side. Yeah right. Apparently, he is no longer teaching, and, after first isolating the girl when the two were living together and then getting arrested for his previous crime, the two are no longer together.

I'm often confused by people. Isn't there some point at which a rational thought jumps into the mix when someone is doing something that clearly crosses all kinds of lines? Take Lisa Nowak, the lady who was driving in her diapers on a mission to kill a woman involved with her lover. During all those miles on the road....in her diapers...there had to be a time or two that a rational thought jumped into her brain, no? I'm convinced there was at least one, "Hum, maybe 'm going a tad too far" thought. Then again, I'm probably thinking with a less frantic brain than this rejected woman. I guess people looking in on my odd world when I was struggling with an eating disorder might ask why the sensible thought to eat more hadn't occurred to me. I knew what I was doing was wacky though. I guess the big difference is the intentional or potential involvement of other people with the main characters in the headlines. Somehow they don't seem all that self-aware.

Getting back to teacher-student relationships, it seems that they go both ways, though I have read about more female teachers seducing boys recently. Oddly, in at least a few of the accounts I read for this blog post, the male perpetrator tried to blame the young girl, as if it's too difficult to resist the seduction of a 13-year-old child. That's a pretty disturbing thought. The more I write, the more I realize, it really does come down to my first sentence there, m'kay? It's quite simple. Having sex and pursuing a relationship after desiring one with a child is not OK. I guess when I look at my own situation, I'm pretty repulsed that a 26-year-old guy tried to have sex with me when I was 13. At age 26, there is no way I would have ever even considered any kind of flirtation or relationship with someone that young. It seems so wrong. Though there are some countries that allow child marriages, most have a rule about being at least 18. Obviously maturation beyond just the physical must take place in order to have a realistic connection with anyone. It's hard to imagine anyone, especially a teacher, thinking that a kid is ready for a relationship, no matter how "mature for her age" she happens to be.

Ick. I suddenly don't like writing about this. It's making me cringe.

Well, enough of that.  

I twisted my ankle, this time the right one, on Friday. It was fine Saturday, but yesterday and today it has been sore. The trails are a mess after all the hard rains, so running on them is a bit like running on cobblestone in heels, not that I have actually tried that. I'll make an assumption. One thing people may not know about me is that I taped my feet and ankles almost every cross-country race and mountain run all through high school. I had so many injuries and a few bad ankle sprains, so it was more of a preventative measure. Still, if you look for it, you can see the tape in most of my high school running shots. Unfortunately, I need to do this kind of tape job again right now, until my ankle is a bit less sore. Sigh. What an odd summer it has been!

My friend, Tape

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Toddlers and Train Wrecks

The first time I ended up seeing the show Toddlers and Tiaras, I was randomly flipping through channels on the T.V. and accidentally landed on it. I had no intention of actually watching the program, but my jaw immediately fell to the floor when a kid on the episode that was on, who was probably 5-years old, dressed in far too many frills, waddled onto the stage and started shaking her tiny butt, as if she were trying to imitate Shakira. It was a little bit disturbing, and it got worse as older kids with more provocative clothing took turns getting on the stage, each one dancing while taking cues from moms and fans in the audience. The whole show is one big train wreck that's hard to ignore. Immediately, I experienced a sense of "this isn't right," but I was in such a state of shock that I couldn't quite put words to why it seemed so absurd. Were these kids just having fun? It didn't look that way. For a brief moment, I thought Toddlers and Tiaras might be another one of those morally dumbfounding occurrences, but the more I thought about it, the more reasons why the show is so very wrong floated to the surface. I'm sure there are probably families who do these kinds of competitions in a healthy and enjoyable way, but that's definitely not what's portrayed in the episode or clips I watched, and it doesn't stop me with wanting to share what I feel is so damaging about these kinds of events. Apparently, Anonymous agrees with me, and I bet we're not alone: 

Image in Vogue

The first thing that's obvious, not only in Toddlers and Tiaras but in general, is that more and more, girls are being forced to grow up too quickly. It's also true that puberty it hitting girls at earlier ages, and it's not unheard of for girls as young as seven and eight years old to start maturing. According to one study, about 15% of American girls get their periods by age seven. Does this mean we should support the trend of adult merchandise geared toward children? Of course not. Stripper poles, padded and push-up bras, virgin waxing, Playboy school supplies, French Lingerie and thongs for kids sold before these girls even know what sexual feelings are all about is not a good idea. In fact, it's pretty upsetting that this happens. There's a creepy factor in pushing girls into being objectified before they can understand what it all means. These products go way beyond dress-up. I don't think anyone has a problem with little boys and girls wearing costumes or dressing in their parent's clothes. There's no objectification or disturbing implication in playing, and this kind of activity is not usually done with a mostly adult audience watching. 

More Vogue

Whenever looking at these controversial topics, it's important to consider what messages are being sent to young boys and girls.

 Vogue uses a 10 year old model

In an odd twist of irony, one mother who basically taught her kid to act the part of a hooker then got angry and sued a gossip site for objectifying her daughter. Um, didn't you just force her into that position?

Another upsetting aspect of the show is the typical family dynamic portrayed. Most of the families shown have a spineless father who goes along with everything the mother of the prima donna says with a soft, "yes dear," even when the mother is barking orders at the guy. There's the star, a daughter who gets pretty much everything she wants, mostly so she will perform. In doing so, these kids develop an over-inflated ego with ever more attention showered on them for all the wrong reasons. The focus is on how they're dressed and their looks, which is odd considering that they are forced to strive for a look that isn't even real with fake teeth, overly tanned skin, contacts, fake eye lashes, tattooed eye liner, loads and loads of make-up and inappropriate clothing. If any siblings exist in the family, they are either used to help support the mother's obsession of having a daughter crowned Ultimate Grand Supreme or ignored. Then there is the mother...

Stand back. I've got some shit to say here. Yes, I don't have kids, so who am I to talk? Still, I know enough about psychology to make some judgement calls, so I'm going to go for it now. Keep in mind, the following conclusions are mostly based on my impressions after watching Toddlers and Tiaras. I can't say for sure, but I would guess that there are a few people who would probably argue with what I have to say.

First let me state that all kids will naturally feel the urge to compete, and this can be a good thing. However, these pageants are not natural. What is apparent is that most of the mothers depicted on the show scream a strange combination of low self-esteem and sham confidence. They are clearly making an effort to live vicariously through their daughters. Instead of teaching these young girls about what true beauty is, the girls are taught to compete by flaunting their fake looks. Is it really any wonder that so many young ladies have body image issues and struggle with eating disorders? Nobody in these settings is taught that you don't need to look perfect in order to succeed. These people have no idea what true beauty is, because their identities are wrapped up in images created by pageant society. Really, it all comes down to money. These mothers spend lord knows how much money on dresses, costumes, beauty products, coaches, entry fees and props, so of course the pageant community wants these competitions to continue. Unfortunately, the mothers are completely unable to show any kind of good sportsmanship or good sense, unless their daughter is the undisputed winner.

In this ego-driven clan, it's not uncommon to see a pageant mother throw a real tantrum and go absolutely bonkers, because her daughter only won some lesser crown or because a lock of her daughter's hair was out of place. GOOD GOD, STOP THE SHOW! MY DAUGHTER'S SHOE HAS COME UNTIED! OH WHY, OH WHY? THIS IS IT. SHE WILL LOSE!!! THE JUDGES ARE AGAINST HER, AND IT MUST HAVE BEEN A CONSPIRACY. WAAAAAA!!! Well, the girls are the ones who throw the real tantrums, and people in Bhutan can probably hear the screams of little plastic lassies whose mini corsets are a tad too tight. However, nobody in these shows seems to be able to focus on anything more important or consider how their behavior might affect others. Again, it comes back to the messages being sent to children and to those watching these kinds of shows, which isn't a good one. 

Somehow these pageants reflect all that's wrong with this country. There's greed, a winner-take-all mentality and the pressure to be like everyone else in the group. Supposedly the little ones are judged on their personalties, but only if they fit in with what's acceptable in the beauty queen world. In other words, be yourself as long as you follow specific guidelines and look a certain way. Sometimes I can't quite put my finger on why I get an upset stomach, feel repulsed and recoil when I see these kinds of competitions, but then it becomes more clear when videos like the one below emerge.

In addition to a video of one mother waxing the eyebrows of her 5-year-old daughter who screamed in both fear and pain, I found this little gem:

Coming in August, Here Comes Honey Boo! I really don't know what to say about this. Hey, at least she's a tiny bit outside the norm when it comes to beauty queens. 

Is it just me or would anyone else prefer spending time with the main character in Little Miss Sunshine over any other contestants? 

Why can't we teach little girls that they are OK the way they are? 


I have two free CD's to give away! It's really simple, the first person to email me an address at lizefb@aol.com will receive two CD's by the Tumbleweed Wanderers

I caught them live when they were playing on the Pearl Street Mall before a performance in Denver. Here's a little sample of what they do:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It must be the pictures

I'm trying to figure out why the following post has close to 3,000 views while any other post on my blog has no more than a couple hundred or so: http://trainingonempty.blogspot.com/2012/01/objectification-of-women.html
I'd love to convince myself it's the writing or the content, but if that were the case, I think this other post here would have more than 200 views:  http://trainingonempty.blogspot.com/2011/03/fear-of-intimacy.html That one was one of my more emotional and heartfelt writing endeavors. I wonder how many views this doughnut will get:

Probably not too many. I'm sure the image of three topless women holding doughnuts would attract the interest of more viewers, right? I bet at least a few people are suddenly off googling that one. A friend on facebook pointed out this interesting little tidbit that makes me realize how much women are still objectified, even in this country. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that the images in my post are what generated a ton of views.

Here's something I don't do often; I'm going to talk about my training lately. I finally got through a harder week that included a "long" run of 1 hour and 20 minutes (super slow) on the trails, two harder sessions and a bunch of easy jogging between. Actually, the harder sessions were not that hard, but I was still picking up the pace. One session was a few short hill repeats followed by 3 x 5 minutes at tempo on the bike, and the other session was 20 minutes easy tempo on the trails. Yesterday I ran up NCAR road at a good clip, but it wasn't very fast. I think I was running just under 9-minute miles or something, but I did get my heart rate up there. True, it's all uphill, but that's still on the slow side, especially for pushing it. Then I bonked and couldn't really do the rest of the workout I wanted. Instead, I did some pick-ups in slow motion at the base of the hill and called it a day. I did notice I have some fears about going hard. In the middle of the workout, I sort of got uncomfortable and had trouble pushing myself. I was struggling, and the end result was that I sort of forgot to keep up the pace. I can tell I'm out of shape too, because even after an 11-minute effort that wasn't all that fast, my tummy started grumbling at me.

In other words, I have a long, long way to go. It's hard to believe that I used to jump into mile repeats and recover so quickly. Still, I guess everyone has to start somewhere. Naturally, I'm disappointed, but I now see what fears and issues I need to address. I'm still being careful and not attempting anything like the track, which is probably a bit too honest for me at this point, but at least I know I can put some effort into uphill running. I'll have to see if the imbalance is too much for the flat, faster stuff at some point, but right now I'm OK focusing on the hills. I'm still trying to decide if jumping in a race this summer is a good or a bad idea. Obviously I need to relearn how to run hard before I do that, but it's sort of tempting.

This is weird. My spell check must be on some kind of British kick or something, because it keeps wanting me to add a U to words that don't need one: flavour, colour, endeavour... Then again, adding a U might make me sound more sophisticated. Oh la la! Oh wait, that's French. Right O. Everyone keep your hair on! I'll figure it out, and it will just be the bee's knees. I'm teaching your granny to suck eggs, right? Too much? Well, Bob's your uncle.  heh.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I just looked back to a post from last summer, and I realized a few things:

1. I was stretching to write in a more creative way.
2. There was far more positivity in my posts. I had more hope then.
3. My fitness level was better and I was less afraid to jump into structured time trials and races.

So, apologies to my readers for my blog turning into one long Dido song. I'm going to make an effort to be a tad less depressing with my writing. Maybe now that I'm feeling a little bit better physically, improvements in all areas will be noticeable, though my hormones are still a mess. I think my ovaries are trying to spit out as many eggs as possible, because of all those years I missed cycling when I was amenorrheic.

I should also apologize for saying that I was upset reading about other runners who made a big deal about ONLY running 10 miles or being slow at under seven-minute pace. I've done the same thing in the past. I guess many runners tend to be hard on themselves. We all get a little frustrated being where we are in comparison to where we have been or would like to be. Then when we get where we thought we wanted to be, we end up wanting something more. But I was in a bad space when I made those complaints. Hell, I even grumbled last year when I ran a "slow" 5K that was under twenty two minutes. If I could run that now, I'd probably be pretty stoked, all things considered, but, no matter where we are, runners tend to want to improve. I'd probably have to face some kind of internal disappointment, no matter how fast I run, even if I "should" be happy that I can run at all.

Unfortunately, I have another rant or three before I start to make an effort to be more Yay Life!

This morning, I read a blog post by a "writer" who has several books published. These are e-books, but this person is technically published and selling work. Obviously, I've made plenty of grammatical and spelling errors in my blog posts over the years. I sort of cringe thinking about some. I don't always edit, I have dyslexia and I sometimes don't think clearly when I'm writing, especially late at night or at three in the morning when I get in the zone. There are times when I post a blurb and go back a day later to find a few too many mistakes. However, I do make an effort to write in complete sentences and use correct grammar. Plus, some days are better than others. Just try to get me to write well when I'm wading through PMS land-yikes. What struck me when I read this writer's post is how MANY mistakes were made. There were phrases written as if they were full sentences, there was obvious confusion in terms of coma vs parentheses vs colon vs semi-colon usage, and I spotted several incorrectly used words. In other words, this person isn't a very good writer. However, for whatever reason, the work sells. True, the writing wasn't as bad as some of the excerpts I have posted by reality T.V. stars, but I did find it odd that in one short blog post, there was a mess of both big and not so big errors.

I'm actually really hard on myself when it comes to writing. That's partly because I know that I've only been writing for a short time, and I don't consider myself a real writer yet. When I catch my mistakes, I kick myself a little too much and get embarrassed, even if it's one of those not so noticeable errors that everyone tends to make. When a subject-verb agreement gets screwed up, I'm on my case about it for the rest of the day, especially if I'm not the first to catch it. Generally, I'm more focused on content than writing style, but good writing needs attention in both areas.

Rant number two:

I think I might have a slight gluten insensitivity. Gah! That's so trendy. I HATE that I'm finding this out, but it seems to be the case. I'm not giving up gluten entirely, but every time I eat it, I notice symptoms that are unsettling. My neighbor has celiac desease, which is a a severe allergy to gluten and very rare. I obviously don't have that, but I feel the need to watch my gluten intake, mostly because every time I eat regular bread, I get a little swelling in my mouth and throat, just like with a mild nut allergy. It's very strange. Mostly I'm bummed because I LOVE bread. I know there are gluten-free alternatives, but nothing compares to a crusty loaf of bread served with butter. I figure I will keep my eye on it. I'm not going to eliminate gluten entirely, but I will continue to cut down on my consumption. Sigh.

A final rant:

I'm just finishing the book about John Cheever that was written by his daughter. It is so fucking depressing. Wow, what is it with good writers and alcoholism? Well, there's also the tie to depression, and, as an example, Anne Sexton's suicide was also mentioned in this book. Alcohol ruins everything though. Even though John Cheever eventually became sober, there was so much damage already done. One can see the sadness in his daughter's eyes, and I can so relate to her upset at being put down all the time. Maybe Cheever's life wasn't quite broken beyond repair, but much the time he was too sick to do a whole lot but complain and make the people around him as miserable as he was. I look at how my dad's alcoholism ruined his career, his family and his life, and I wonder how many other families are torn apart by the substance. I imagine quite a few. I guess having overcome my own addiction doesn't exactly put me in a place of authority on how to overcome addiction in general, though I know what it takes to go from a place of self-loathing and hopelessness to something better. The problem is that conveying that only helps people understand on an intellectual level. What needs to happen for change is getting it on an emotional level. Yes, it has to come from within, but nobody can describe how to get there or how that feels.

What saddens me more than anything is seeing the wasted potential of people struggling. I see two women I used to know drift in and out of tragically severe anorexia, and I know how their lives come to a standstill during those low points. Even at their best, I see the relapses coming, because they haven't gotten "there". All around me I see people consumed with getting their next fix, resisting their next bite to eat and drowning in booze, and it all seems so completely pointless. There's just too much suffering in this world. Sadly, those struggling the most often unknowingly become energy vampires, killing those around them the more they slip. Just look into the eyes of parents who have a child with anorexia or listen to the laments of a child with an alcoholic parent, and you will know what I mean. An addict's path is never travelled alone.

What I desperately wish is that I could explain what clicked in me when I made the effort to change. Ultimately it was a domino effect, a series of comments made by others combined with getting so completely tired of being stuck. My embarrassment of treating others badly and wrecking myself became more than I could bear. Somewhere in me, there was the sense that I knew it was my choice to stay sick or get well, but most of the time I was too afraid to take a different path. Then one day I did. I wasn't feeling good about myself, I didn't love myself, and I didn't even initially do it for myself. However, somewhere along the way, I learned to be less hard on myself. 

Now for something a little more cheery, eh? OK not really - maybe the next post.

Briefly, I may have found out a little bit more about my hormonal imbalance since I started this post earlier. It seems that even though all my hormones test low, my estrogen levels are too high compared to the other hormones. I'm going to try a few things to see if I can start feeling a bit better. I haven't deflated in months. It's really no fun, so I'm hoping the things I'm trying will prevent another early period from occurring.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I shared this photo on facebook that was originally posted on Stop the Worldwide War on Girls' page. Here is the original post:

A blogger at SkinnyGossip who claims to be a former model who now works in the fashion industry has essentially declared covergirl and swimsuit model Kate Upton... fat. Can you believe it? Read for yourself. And for the record, we strenuously beg to differ.

"Now, there's nothing wrong with an average girl like Kate being confident. She's pretty, she bangs down the runway like she owns it, and I totally commend her for her bravery... Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition — she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are 'striving' for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!" (Photo from landthieves.com)

In addition to the fact that the skinny girl blogger can't write well, her words are horribly damaging and unkind. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, of course. I don't have an issue with that, but to imply that the lingerie model is lazy and call her fat, complete with a resounding "eww" at the end, as if the sight of the model is repulsive, goes way too far. Is it any wonder so many young girls have eating and body image issues when you have crappy writers sending these kinds of messages? Keep in mind that this isn't the most flattering image of Kate, but let me put it to my readers: Do you think the lady in the photos here is fat? I bet there are millions of women who would love to have such awful body definition. <---insert eye roll. My guess is that the skinny chick needs to calm her nastiness with a milkshake. Shit like this pisses me off, and I'd love to get into a face-to-face debate with miss judgy pants. I doubt someone like Kate would give two shits about what some unknown blogger who doesn't know a thing about grammar is saying, but I still find the trend of women tearing down other women based on their outer appearance unhealthy and quite lame. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I shoved a guy

This song has been stuck in my head lately. It's one of my favorites by my favorite band, Radiohead. The last few months, I have felt trapped in a nightmare. More recently, I seem to have stepped into something a little better, though I'm still experiencing pangs of sadness that will probably linger indefinitely. What I have noticed is that running hard isn't as appealing when I'm hurting emotionally, physically or both. It's no secret that pushing it hurts a little or sometimes a lot. When I'm in a better space, this kind of pain can be manageable, and pushing it can even border on fun. Running lopsided, I have to be careful not to push it too hard, but today I did a moderately hard workout after a longer trail run yesterday. Considering I was a blob of tears about a month ago, thinking I probably would never really run fast again, I'll take this. Sure, it's not actually fast, fast, but it's also not a complete jog. 

Now for a mini rant:
You know how I was just saying that the trails are too crowded? Originally I thought it was only on the weekends, but yesterday it was the same situation. Even though I complained about the weather being cold and dreary, once the rain stopped, it was perfect running temperatures, for me anyway. I'm sure others would have found it a bit too hot. It really was beautiful. For whatever reason, everyone decided to head out to the Mesa Trail at the same time, so I was stuck running in a sea of people. It wasn't quite as bad as Saturday, but there were two big groups of kids that made forward motion nearly impossible. In fact, I passed one group twice, and both times I had to come to a complete stop and say, "excuse me" a million times in order to get some trail space. The kids didn't piss me off; I was exceptionally nice and thanked them when they did move, but the guy leading the group was an ass. Yes, I ended up gently shoving him when, oblivious to anyone on the trails, he almost stepped on me. He was in the middle of the trail with his group, and there was no way to pass. Frustrated when nobody would move when I asked, I stopped and walked, weaving my way through the crowd. Then, because he thinks he owns the trail and nobody else would ever be on a public path, he starts to back up without looking. Just as he was about to step on my right foot (the only good one I've got!), I put my hand on his backpack and gave a light shove. Grrr. He hardly noticed. Oddly enough, the little assembly of four year old kids walking on the other ridge gave me plenty of room to pass, which seemed strange given the trail was twice as narrow in that section. I made a point of showering them with plenty of friendly hellos and a big thank you. Mr. man needs to take a lesson on trail etiquette from these kids.

My foot does seem to be a tiny bit better. Tape is my friend. The tape job and exercises seem to be helping. I stand on one foot, and it's crazy how hard it is. On my right foot, I can plant myself and balance for a lifetime. On my left, I'm a wobbling mess. If I close my eyes, I fall over in a few seconds. For anyone who doesn't know, closing your eyes makes balancing much harder. Any flat fast race is out of the question. My big concern is still how much the improper landing pulls on my pelvis.

This guy is doing my foot exercise!

I'm NOT planning a hill climb...I'm way out of shape. 

OK, I do want to run with people again. I would even like to bounce ideas about training off someone, but I'm struggling with where I am at the moment. Looking into trail runs might be good. I just have to make sure I won't get on my own case in the end. I miss having a training partner.  :(

*****   **********   *****

AND! This is a total aside, but I need foodies, chefs, bloggers and chocoholics ! I'm starting a new project, and I need original chocolate recipes and a story to go with each one. Anyone who is cool enough and interested can email me at: lizefb@aol.com for more details.

Monday, July 9, 2012


After a week off from blogging, it feels like something is missing. It's weird how I created time to blog each day through June. This last week I felt like I was on vacation. It was kind of nice, but I also felt like there was something I "should" be doing that I wasn't. Unfortunately, the time that I wasn't putting in blogging wasn't redirected toward anything productive. However, I added another project to my list. I suppose starting  something new, even if it's only a concept at this point, counts for something.

Saturday was one of those days on which I was experiencing a mixture of emotions. People I know were heading to the  Loon Mountain race in an attempt to qualify for the US Mountain Racing Team, others had already run the Vail Hill Climb and still others were attending the wedding of two of my friends. I would have been happy to have been a part of any of those events. Instead, I was stuck at work after running a tempo run on the crowded trails near my mom's house. When some people wouldn't move aside as I was passing another group of people, I had to run on the uneven part of the trail in the middle. Seriously, I can't understand why the people who were strolling up the trail couldn't wait three seconds for me to finish passing the other group of people. They could obviously see that it was a bit of a squeeze, but here it's all about entitlement. I thought about stopping, but then I would have had to pass the first group again and I was already almost past them, so I continued. Oddly enough, after being pushed to middle part of the trail, I managed to navigate the scary part just fine, only to land on solid ground and twist my ankle immediately after. It's stiff and sore, but nothing too terrible. At the time, it felt like it was going to be a bad one. I had images of it swelling up to the size of a watermelon like the last time I turned my ankle on the trails. Fortunately, despite hearing a snap, it feels somewhat OK. Of course it was my left side, the same side as my bad foot. After a certain amount of time running, my foot often gets lazy. I suppose it was really my fault that I twisted it. However, I was already grumpy with too many people on the trails, so it's easier to put some of the blame on inconsiderate hikers. The rest of the day, a heavy sad feeling grew inside me as I longed to be racing or at least in better shape and able to compete. I still have dreams, even if I run slower than a three-toed sloth on diazepam.

But enough complaining. It was nice to see people achieving great successes and engaging in happy life moments, even if I wasn't there in person.

In the last few weeks, too many poorly written headlines have caused a rash of eye rolls around the globe. Unfortunately, most people don't actually bother to read articles, even when the headline seems far fetched. There was the one about the zombie cannibal guy who was found to have "only marijuana in his system," which wasn't exactly the case. In fact, IN the article, it clearly states that no test can detect all the possible substances that could have been in the guy's system, but what a great way to stir up controversy.

Now there's a headline saying that gyms are "banning skinny people." Before all you extra lean gym rats have a freak-out moment, take a breath and realize that there are just a few gyms who want to limit their clientèle to plus-sized members. In the same way that some gyms only allow women, these new gyms are focused on making larger gym goers more comfortable by not allowing any thin people to join. In one case only, skinny people are banned. How they define skinny is my big question. Somehow this doesn't sit well with me. I can argue about all the reasons it seems counter productive, but the bottom line is that it's one of those morally dumbfounding phenomena. There's no real reason why it should be wrong, but it doesn't seem right. Then again, it's that gym's right to select any members they like. Most, however, don't actually ban fit individuals; they just target a heavier clientèle. I'd be interested to know what other people think about this kind of targeting. Is it a good or a bad thing? 

The majority of the gyms that target a specific group of people will still allow anyone to join, and there are only a select few that actually outright ban certain individuals. In the case of discouraging skinny people to make larger folks feel more comfortable and encourage better self-esteem, I think these gyms are missing the boat. Self-esteem is something that should hold, no matter what the circumstance. If it's the gym's goal to teach body acceptance and better self-confidence, it doesn't make sense to do it in an environment that's so limited. If that truly is the case, call the gym a support group instead. I'm just wondering what happens once the gym-goer reaches her weight goal. Is she then encouraged or, in the case of places where skinny people are banned, forced to leave? The whole thing is weird. On the other hand, I get that this isn't a conspiracy against thin people. I guess I don't like the idea of exclusion in general, so something like these gyms for bigger people might take some getting used to, even though they may have their place. Again, much of the sour taste in my mouth is the direct result of poorly written headlines. Instead of offering the truth, that these are "plus-size friendly" places, a big controversy has to be created implying that thin people are NOT ALLOWED! What next, skinny people will be banned from McDonalds, so large people can feel OK about eating a Bag Mac? 

Before I go, I have to say that while I like the fact that we are getting some much needed moisture, this rain is a bit too dreary and cold for my taste. I don't mind a good storm at night, but I crave the sun during the day.