Saturday, September 29, 2012


There's nothing more embarrassing than tripping over nothing and falling while on a cool down run with people. I had all kinds of anxiety about falling on the downhill portions of the cross country race this morning, but leave it to me to get through all the tricky footing areas just fine and do a face plant on a flat dirt road. I don't even know what happened. My foot was feeling a little unresponsive, and the next think I know I'm on the ground. OK, it was sort of funny, because my first thought was that I wanted to put my head down and take a nap right there in the middle of the trail. The bad news is that I'm going to be sore, I'm sure. My hand is pretty messed up too. The good news is that I got through another competition in one piece! Let's forget about falling to pieces after the race for now.

The week leading up to the race wasn't a very good one. I was having some severe tightness and pain in my butt/hamstring area. That seems to be a really common injury in runners. My plan was to warm up and see if I could get my body to loosen up a little. All that rolling on the foam roller I did the last few days must have helped, because I did feel much better. I'm at the tail end of my period, so the excessive soreness I experienced earlier in the week could have been related to that. Some minor cramping caught up to me in the last half of the race, but I was able to manage despite some annoying little issues like that. Fucking hormones- grrr.

I had a great first lap. Maybe I didn't go out fast enough, but I felt good. It was really fun to be in such a competitive race, even though I knew my estimated time would put me toward the back of the pack. I felt like I was making an effort to pass people and did for much of the race. There was one girl who was exceptionally tough up the hills and on the flat, and the two of us kept going back and forth, passing each other. She pulled ahead in the end. I clearly need to work on my finish. I got a little bit frustrated in one section with a minor but muddy and uneven downhill. I think I muttered "Shit" at nobody in particular going down that thing, just expressing some inner turmoil. Sometimes those little down hill sections are more difficult to traverse than the bigger ones. My time wasn't fast: 27:13, which put me in 121st place. There were plenty of places during the race where I felt myself slacking, holding steady, not pushing it or caving into fear. I know I need to work on things, but it felt really good to have a solid first lap. I'm going to try to hold that image of racing hard but feeling good in my head.

Melody Fairchild was 2nd in an insanely fast time. Her amazing summer of racing continues. It was really cool that she introduced me to a few younger girls, some who were watching the race and some who had run. Oddly enough, a few of them knew my name. I always think I'm this total has been, and get a little flustered when people compliment me on my past running achievements,  especially knowing where I am right now. Overall it was a good day. I'm happy with it for now. Knowing how I was struggling this week, I'm thrilled that I was running at all!

Lately I've been thinking about self publishing. I still have an agent, but my contract can be terminated at any time with written notice. It's great to have an agent, so I don't want to make it sound like I'm not appreciative. My agent rocks. It's more that I really want my book to be out there. It's ready. I'm ready, and I think there are people who could benefit from reading it. So far there's a fairly big majority suggesting that I go that route. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm starting to lean in that direction.

I'm off to work in just a sec, so this is going to be another rushed and unedited post. I hope it's not too terribly written, but I wanted to get my thoughts out there after the race.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


This is the most amazing poem about eating disorders I have ever seen performed. "Fat" by Caroline Rothstein. 


I was going to write a post about running and how I get overwhelmed reading or seeing other people's training logs. Maybe it's a frustration thing, realizing that I'm not doing the huge mileage that other people can handle. Rather than dwell on that, I'm switching gears and writing about chocolate instead.  MMMmmmmmm Chocolate!

Recently, I had planned to write a cookbook about chocolate. I wanted to make it a fun thing, so I invited people to contribute recipes. It didn't pan out the way I had anticipated. I will share recipes I was given here and give links to the websites of people who were kind enough to contribute. The book is on hold indefinitely, though. Before I got this idea, I had been toying with the idea of starting my own line of chocolate bars. I made a few prototypes that went over really, really well. People loved the concept, and I think I have something there. Unfortunately, it came down to a time and money problem. Despite having someone offer to back me, I couldn't see where I was going to find the time to pull off starting a new business. There were some other things holding me back too. You see, the chocolate world isn't as sweet as one would think. On the other hand, I do have a long and lovely history with chocolate.

Some history...

Years ago, I took a French pastry class here in Boulder, given by Bruce Healy, author of "Mastering the Art of French Pastry." It was a wonderful class, though there was a lady from Dallas who drove our teacher crazy with her long fake nails. To be honest, it kind of grossed me out to see those bright-red things in the pastry dough.

In the class, I learned more than simply how to create desserts. We attended five morning sessions, each ending with lunch and samples of what we had created.  I was injured at the time and couldn't run, so I would ride my bike to class as part of my workout. The teacher taught us about the chemistry behind the recipes and about passion. There's no doubt that strong emotion in creating food translates into a better end product.

Shortly after the class ended, I planned a trip to France with my mom. Knowing how much I love chocolate, Bruce told me that a stop in the chocolate shop LeNotre was a must. He gave me the address in Paris, and told me that he knew the head chocolatier. Of course, finding this place became my mission once I got to Paris, but I couldn't seem to locate the store, even with the address in front of me. Nobody was able to help us, because the address apparently wasn't correct. LeNotre had probably relocated. My mom was behind me on this mission, so while seeing the other sights, we continued to search for LeNotre for three days.

Late in the afternoon of the third day, we decided it was pointless and aborted the mission, electing to go look at antiques instead. We wandered down a narrow little street, admiring the charming little shops. At one point, I found myself peering through the window of a very tiny pastry shop. I could see a display of chocolates inside. Just as I stepped back and said to my mom, "Look how cute this place is," I noticed the sign above: LENOTRE! We dashed inside in order to buy some of the most amazing chocolates I have ever eaten.


My love affair with chocolate continued throughout the years. I was much more involved in cooking and baking when I was younger, and I even entered some competitions, winning the chocolate Lover's Fling one year and getting a recipe endorsement from Better Homes and Gardens another year. I eventually worked in catering, made wedding cakes and also spent time cooking in a few restaurants. Probably my favorite job, even though I endured long, hard hours, was as the assistant chef at a little Italian restaurant in Boulder. I eventually took the role as their pastry chef, creating some wonderful ice creams including a deep, dark chocolate truffle and also a lemon-mint chiffon flavor. When I got really sick with the eating disorder, though, I stepped out of cooking completely.

Looking back, I know that I was baking and cooking, in part, because it gave me a way to be around food without eating it. There's no doubt that I had a passion for cooking, but my illness was a big factor in why I was involved at all. When I stepped out of it, I didn't know it would be for so long, and I eventually got to the point where I didn't even like to make an effort to cook for myself. For close to 10 years, a stir-fry was about as complicated as it got in the kitchen for me, no longer creating fancy 5-course meals for people.

Everything changed when I went to a little chocolate and wine tasting at a local shop here in boulder last year. I realized that the passion I had experienced being involved with food years ago had been squashed. A taste of something sweet in a crowd of people who were visibly enthusiastic about chocolate reawakened something inside me. Suddenly, I was thinking about jumping back into the chef's scene. I wanted to do something chocolate related.

After years of sampling chocolate as part of a fun radio show called "The Sex and Chocolate Show," I knew whatever I did had to include chocolate. An idea for a chocolate bar had been floating around in my brain case for a long time, but I hadn't thought about moving forward with it until after that chocolate and wine sampling event. It was time to see where it could go. Unfortunately, I would find that some dreams are more complicated to achieve than others. There's a lot to consider when it comes to starting a business, and I was about to find out that not everyone is supportive of newbies in the chocolate arena. On the other hand, I've met some amazing and kind individuals along the way too, and even though my bars may never make it onto any shelves, I have learned a huge amount on this bitter-sweet path.

Considering all my past posts about vegans, some may find it a little bit odd that I make some killer vegan truffles. The other day when I served them at an event, someone told me I should quit my job and go into making chocolates. He didn't know at the time that they were vegan. Perhaps I should put the bar idea on hold and focus on the truffles, but again it comes down to good ideas without the time to get things going...or is it more about fear?

Lize's Vegan Truffles

Someday I might go more into the specifics of all that happened to me, the good, the bad and the not so pretty. I won't name names, but I will put out a warning that if you have a good idea, be careful about who gets to hear it. It only takes one bad experience with someone to sour something that could be so wonderfully sweet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More vegan musings

I know I seem to be fixated on writing about vegans and veganism, but I've been discussing the lifestyle with quite a few people lately. I'm also having second thoughts about trying out the diet again, mostly because having my period every two weeks is kicking my ass. I have trouble keeping my blood iron in the low end of the normal range as it is, so I'm not sure I want to risk my health at this point. It's a terrible moral dilemma. I'm giving it quite a bit of thought, and in doing so, I'm getting all kinds of input from friends and family. I sometimes wish I could be as carefree as my friend who recently said, "I love cheese. It doesn't always agree with me, but I love it. No way would I ever give it up!" My dietary considerations aside, the whole vegan world, which can be somewhat of a cult here in Boulder, has obviously caught my attention, and I'm starting to see that it's not unlike some religions in which people who practice have differing opinions on what's acceptable or not.

Obviously as humans, we disrupt the lives of animals simply by being on the planet. If you live in any kind of structure - a house, apartment, condo, hut or shack, you have infringed on the habitat of some animal, bug or creature. If you eat anything other than air, you are responsible for disturbing the environment in some way, probably indirectly killing mice and other small rodents in the way of farmers cultivating crops for your benefit. I'm sure there are people who live as closely to the earth as possible, but I'm assuming all produce at the store, organic or not, has been protected in some way from aphids, ants and other pests. The number one way to get rid of annoying insects in organic gardens is to kill them either with natural predators or with an organic pesticide. Nets and other methods of keeping bugs out only go so far. Oh, but those creepy crawly things aren't cute and fuzzy, so they don't count, right? Still, it's intentional killing. That's not very morally correct, is it? It's fine to kill them to get a nice looking head of cauliflower though. It's OK to do horrible experiments on rats too, as long as the study "proves" that milk products cause cancer. Oh, I get it. The double standard exists, because it's just the way society is. We put more value on larger, cuter beings. Who really cares if the home of a field mouse it destroyed if we get a pretty crop of soy in the process? Several years ago it was estimated that approximately 10 animals per hectare were killed in accidents and other incidents related to crop farming. Even if this number is exaggerated as some claim, there's no doubt that millions of animals are killed each year. I understand that many vegans are motivated by the general concept of making as little an impact on the earth as possible. However, there a few extremists who claim it's all about the animals, forgetting the smaller, less huggable creatures living here with us. Where do we draw that line and is it an all or nothing issue?

Something that confuses me are the people who call themselves vegans, yet wear leather or fur. I suppose there are people who are strictly dietary vegans who differ from lifestyle vegans. A friend of a friend who calls himself a vegan insists that his leather shoes were bought from a used clothing store, so it's all good. This brings up some interesting points. Some feel that wearing leather advertises and indirectly supports the leather industry. Does faux leather and faux fur do the same? Some may not realize that leather is actually not always a by-product of the meat industry. Many animals are killed specifically for their hides. Other people feel that since the animal is already dead, it would be a waste to not wear the leather. I see both sides, but I tend to agree that wearing it sends a message of support, whether that message is intentional or not. I'm not sure if the same message is sent with faux products, but it's possible. It's also possible that the message sent with faux leather and fur is that anyone can look as good without using the real stuff.

As far as choosing a vegan diet for environmental reasons, I'm not convinced one way or another that a plant-based diet is better for this rock in space than one that includes some meat. All farming contributes to the greenhouse effect, period. One has to consider what kind of diet supports the most people too, because crop farming may use less land but there's no guarantee that plant-based diets will sustain people as well as diets that include a small amount of meat. In this area, I have to wonder if the same people who complain about others not respecting the environment because of dietary choices are the same ones who strap their bikes to the top of their big cars and drive 35 miles to cycle for an hour or drive 45 minutes every weekend to run a 5K race. Yeah, good job on not leaving a monster carbon footprint.

I understand there are many reasons to choose a vegan diet. The reasons include but are not limited to: health concerns, environmental impact, moral issues, animal rights and spiritual benefits. My conclusions are that every BODY is different with different nutritional requirements and different capabilities of getting those nutrients, and I might not be cut out to be a vegan at this point. I see that there are varying degrees of veganism. It's important to note that I recognize that my lifestyle harms other beings on the planet, and I'm not exactly happy about that. I also see that even people who claim to be all about a compassionate lifestyle are not always tolerant of others and are not always aware of their own impact on this planet. So, until something really pulls me in one direction or another, I'm going to continue to sit here on the fence and gather information. There is quite a lot to consider. I haven't completely given up the idea of trying a vegan diet for a spell, but my gut is telling me that I need to be careful with these kinds of choices.

Monday, September 24, 2012


That last 10 minutes of my run Saturday was brutal. I think I was done with about 15 minutes still left to complete. The dead man's shuffle got me home. I don't even know why I was dragging so badly, but it must have been a general fatigue type thing, not from the effort of that specific run. Lately I'm holding up OK, but I'm still dealing with a few minor, nagging issues. Really though, I'm just happy that I can run and train at all. The foam roller, stretching and strengthening are helping somewhat. I sort of wish I could get a shot of cortisone in my overly stressed out butt. The one in my foot helped tremendously. There seems to be a muscle in spasm in my backside too. AAK!

I slept in today, because it's my day off. The air is cool and it looks like rain might be on the way later this afternoon. Last time there was a downpour, I bailed on my run, not because of the weather, because I was having one of those days. A few days later, I was on a run when it started to rain, but it was more of a little drizzle. It was actually kind of nice, because the clouds covered the blazing sun and the water cooled the hot air. It got me thinking about all the times I got caught in various storms running in the high country back in high school and college. Waking up early wasn't as much of an issue in those days, but even rising with the sun didn't always get me up and down the mountain before the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in, covering the sky with dark gray clouds and showering me with either hail or rain.

One time, when I was running with two guys on my high school team, we made it to Roger's Pass just as some dark clouds were sneaking over the top of the mountain. We didn't linger at our highest point, quickly doing an about face once we reached the halfway point of our run. Usually our descents were a slow recovery jog down the trail, but all three of us knew we were about to be racing the approaching storm. Our pace quickened as the thunder rumbled in the distance and the sky went from piercing blue to black. None of us said anything after turning around when one of the guys said we needed to hurry down; we were too busy watching our footing on the rocky trail. Just as timberline was in sight, the first big clap of thunder sounded right near us. Shortly after we got into what seemed like the safety of the trees, lightning burst into the sky, and goosebumps erupted over my skin. I can only speak for myself, but I was scared. The three of us dashed down the mountain as the angry sky unleashed all its fury, first dumping buckets of water, then releasing pellets of hail. The lightning and thunder continued until we finally reached the parking lot, wet and cold but safe from the storm. We dove into the car and immediately turned on the heater, which seemed an odd thing to do in the middle of July. It was still dark around us. We let out some nervous laughter and talked about how crazy that experience was. It will definitely stick in my head as one of my most memorable runs! A short drive toward Boulder brought us through the darkness and back into sunny weather. It's wild how quickly the weather can change at altitude.

Well, it's time for me to stretch and think about getting out the door for an easy run, hopefully before any water spills out of the sky.

Some time ago, I posted a link to several short stories. I decided to go ahead and re-post one with the confession that it is my first try at a short story. I wasn't sure I wanted people to know I wrote it, mostly because I didn't want people to think it was non-fiction. To be clear, it and the novel I'm working on are pure fiction, which I'm finding is more difficult in many ways than writing non-fiction. People often say that bits of reality find their way into pieces of non-fiction, and that's definitely true for most writers. I see myself or the people I know in some of the characters I create. Even the story can have elements of reality in a piece of non-fiction work, but the beauty of fiction is that one can stretch and create more freely without having the limitations of accuracy and honesty to consider. If anyone would like to read my first short story, here is the link again. I believe you can read some of it before purchasing:  
There are a few little errors that have been corrected on the draft but, for some reason, weren't corrected on the published version. I'm not sure how that happened.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A short rant

I need to vent.

Living in Boulder gets tiresome with so many people pushing a certain lifestyle. It seems odd that everyone here is "spiritual", against organized religion, yet these same people are often a little too dedicated when it comes to sharing their beliefs about past lives, diets and training methods. I just want to make a few things clear, because I'm tired of hearing some incorrect or incomplete information relating to health and diet:

1. The iron in plant-based foods is not heme iron, which is only found in meat sources. Anyone who has been anemic probably already knows this. While people who go on and on about how iron is in plant-based foods are not wrong, they aren't addressing all the facts relating to iron and iron absorption in humans.

2. There are two main types of omega 3 fatty acids: ALA or alpha-linolenic acid, which is found in some oils, a few green vegetables, and nuts and seed; and a combination of EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Yes, the body can partially convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but one has to eat more foods that contain ALA in order to get the same amount of EPA and DHA found in fish oil. Again, those who claim that omega 3 fatty acids are found in plant-based foods are correct, but there's more to the story.

These errors aren't as bad as claiming that milk causes cancer and eating eggs is as bas as smoking cigarettes, but the information isn't as accurate as it could be.

While I'm at it...

3. If you believe something, please don't assume everyone else believes or should believe the same thing. It's fine if you believe that Maitreya will solve the world's problems, or, conversely, that he is the antichrist, but not everyone believes in these apparitions. If it works in your life as something positive, that's great. I choose to keep an open mind, but I'm also skeptical until some concrete evidence is presented, and I don't mean evidence in the form of fuzzy photographs with long winded explanations of what I'm supposed to be seeing.

4. Running 120 miles a week may work for you, but it's not for everyone, period. Huge mileage, doing doubles and running seven days a week are not the only ways to train.

As long as I'm venting, I'll mention that I think the street performer on the mall who has been playing the same Grateful Dead song over and over, every day, multiple times a day in the same location near where I work will drive me insane. It would be impossible to hear my favorite song that many times without wanting to drive a railroad spike through my head, so hearing a song I don't even like that much is pushing me over the edge. The worst part is not that the artist can't sing very well, it's that the song gets so stuck in my head that it plays in my brain on my days off too. Uggh. I want to gather an army of squirrels and train them to attack the guy's ankles every time he spews out, "Let's get to the point, let's roll another jooooint" in his gruff voice.

I have not been very productive when it comes to writing lately. I'm also a little bit crabby today. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Made to be broken

Liberty Bell Invitational
Records are made to be broken, so I have been told. I was never one to keep track of records or times. The only racing times of mine that I remember are my fastest 10K road race and my Pikes Peak Ascent time, 35:04 and 2:39 respectively. I probably already mentioned that my fastest 5K time was in a 10K race, but I don't know what it was. The other day, I was tagged in someone's Facebook photo of Jordyn Colter winning the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. She ran an incredible 17:01, breaking the previous record of 17:33.8 set two years ago by Elanor Fulton. Elanor broke my 25-year-old record on that course in 2010 by running less than a second faster than I did in 1985. I learned all this today. Originally, the poster of the photo thought it was my record of 17:34 that fell this year. I'm embarrassed that I didn't even know I had a course record still standing in 2009, and wasn't aware that it had been broken in 2010 either. I sort of figured Melody Fairchild had broken all my course records, but I guess one was left untouched all those years. Oddly, I had a sense of sadness knowing that my time was no longer the fastest on that course, even though it's really cool to see young girls running so well these days and even though I didn't know the record was still standing several years ago. I believe I still have a few school records in place at Fairview High, but I could be wrong. That's terrible that I'm so clueless when it comes to my times and records, but when I ran in high school, I was less about the time and more about battling my own limitations and demons. My coach kept track of times, distances and events, so I could focus on running.

If I'm not mistaken, and I'm sure I could be with a mess of so many past cross country races jumbled in my brain, the Liberty Bell Invitational was my comeback race in 1985. I was just off a HUGE injury, a stress fracture in my pubic bone. This was no hair-line crack either. I was running on a sore foot, and the limp practically pulled my pelvis apart. I was down with the doctor telling me I may never run again. When I started back, I eased into a few races, winning the smaller ones, but the Liberty Bell race was a major race. Elaine Strickland was on the scene that year, and she had no problem tearing up race courses in the area. She looked tough, and I was a little unnerved before the start of the race. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering a little too wildly, so I wasn't feeling very well when the gun went off and Elaine bolted to the lead position. My legs felt like lead as I struggled in no-man's land in between two packs of runners early in the race. Slowly, I began to gain on the lead pack, passing a few people, then a few more, until I could see Elaine up front. I don't know if any of you have had a moment in a race when things click, but I had such a moment in that race. I felt something switch, and my feelings of being overwhelmed and in over my head were replaced by a sense of power and control. Somewhere inside me, a fire was reignited, and I surged with everything I had, passing Elaine with about 800 to go and winning the race.


My foot seems to be doing better. The injection site is sore, but I can feel that I'm limping less when I run, which is awesome. I can't believe how much pain I was in before the cortisone. Now the discomfort is more manageable, much more manageable. My pelvis is thanking me for running with a more even stride.

I had fun tonight when I volunteered to help out at a little race for kids. The program is called Land Sharks, and I ended up being one of the race officials. Kids are funny when it comes to racing. I was directing the young runners on the course and said many encouraging words. Knowing that adults rarely respond to the cheering crowd, I was a little surprised when many of the kids had some interesting comebacks. There were about 10 youngsters who said, "thank you," in response to "good job!" A few little ones said, "I know" when I mentioned that they were almost done. There were also some tears, laughter and complaints of being tired. I was happy to see Bobby McGee there with his little boy. A former training buddy was there with his kid too. Fun times, for sure.

Oh! And my little prize from the race arrived in the mail! It was a bit late, but very much appreciated. I didn't even have to beg for it.

I'm too tired to edit this, so excuse any mistrakes. :P

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I didn't get my little prize for getting 2nd in my age group at the last race. Someone told me that because they ran out of 2nd place prizes at the event, everyone who didn't get one would receive something in the mail. Mine never arrived. I'm all about prizes now and was thrilled at the thought of getting one. The people at the Aids run were extra generous, and I got some much needed running attire with the gift card I received. It was awesome, so no prize this time left me a little disappointed, even if I know my times are too slow to really deserve prizes. It's funny how a gift certificate or discount coupon will make me jump for joy these days. In the past, I couldn't accept any rewards for my wins. Looking back, I sort of feel like I got gypped. I lost out on money, not a lot but $400.00 here, $50.00 there; prizes; gift certificates and other goodies. I got to keep trophies and ribbons, nothing more. Most of those are in a box somewhere, packed away when my career ended and I hated running and everything related to it. Obviously I'm in a better place now. When I was running well, I looked at it like I was making these kinds of sacrifices in order to show how dedicated I was to the sport. I had a future in running, and I didn't want to jeopardize my eligibility. There were NCAA rules to face and also restrictions around qualifying for the Olympics. Back then, there were no trust funds, so any prizes won in road, mountain or track events had to be forfeited. In Lorraine Moller's book, "On the Wings of Mercury," she mentions that some runners accepted prize money under the table. Most of us younger runners didn't do that, mostly because we were being guided by our coaches. I took a strange pride in denying myself the awards, even though each refusal to accept anything brought with it a twinge of sadness. With the new system in place, I now see that the old rules were ridiculous and unfair.

I go into this more fully in my manuscript, so I'll leave it at that.

This week has been a tough week. An extra low mood hit somewhat out of the blue. I see the foot doctor today, and I'm hoping that will bring good news and with it better spirits. After 10 minutes of running yesterday, I decided to bail. I was fighting it for a long time, feeling pretty tired, very emotional and also experiencing all kinds of little twinges and pains. I bailed shortly after getting out the door. It was perfect weather to stay inside and nap before work, so in a way I don't regret it. Still, I'm frustrated with the foot pain. It's not good. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad I can run. I can even race, sort of, but it's hard to be in this place, knowing how limited I am. I would love to have that feeling of being able to go all out without worrying about this pain, that weakness/imbalance or any stiffness. Man, it's a whole new way of running for me. Let's see how fast I can go on one leg without my hamstring falling off my bone or my pelvis breaking, basically. Of course it's better than nothing, but it's also not quite where I want to be. Yesterday I just wasn't feeling well, so that made everything seems as dark and dreary as the weather. As much as I like fall, there's always a sadness in the air. I prefer the sun and heat of summer. The thought of winter puts a shiver of fear in my soul. I need to move somewhere warm or find a way to live somewhere else for a few months of the year.

I'm back from the doc with a foot full of cortisone and the good news that the main joint is still holding steady. There are some minor things going on, like a freaked out muscle that doesn't want to relax and some knots of stitching that don't want to dissolve, but, overall, it's good news. The stitches are what cause the shooting little pains, especially at night. If I want, I can have those removed in an outpatient procedure, but I think I'm going to hold off on any more cutting, for now. I can deal with those kinds of nerve pains for a while longer. Ouch though, those shots hurt, and OUCH again a few hours later after the numbness wore off and the swelling increased.
Yeah, that hurts, and no, that's not my foot.
All should be well by tomorrow. I even got the OK to run on it. The best news is that I should be able to keep training, and with the cortisone doing its job, my foot is supposed to cry out in pain much less. Let's just hope that the cortisone has calmed that angry muscle.

My doctor is the best. He's truly great and is always trying to help me get back on my feet, literally and figuratively. Most of his patients are older, and I always see my doc treat everyone with such kindness and compassion. We talked a little bit about prolotherapy and stem cell treatments. One of his patients is getting some stem cell therapy for her back. Apparently, money isn't an issue for her. It will be interesting to get the report once she has tried it. I've met a few people who have tried prolotherapy with success, but it's expensive. The stem cell stuff looks more promising, but it's also WAY more expensive. So, when I'm a millionaire, I'm going to fix my pelvis and anything else that's wonky. Until then, weights, stretching and rolling on the foam roller will have to do. Hopefully I'm through my little dark mood and will start feeling better, both physically and mentally, soon. At least I know the main joint in my foot is OK. That's a big relief. These other pains can be treated or dealt with one way or another.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Whenever I hear someone taking about addiction being a choice, I immediately think the person speaking probably hasn't lived it. While it's true that addiction of any kind is a choice, it can definitely feel like a force outside ourselves. That's because it's not about willpower. Addiction involves a mental aspect, but there's always a physiological component and some would say a spiritual angle too. Sometimes the core wound that's driving the addiction can be so buried, it's nearly impossible to uncover and overcome. For 20 years, people told me to just eat more. Nobody could understand how stuck I was. There was a part of me that begged to be free, but the dictator inside my head had a strong influence on my actions. When the situation got really bad, I would do things knowing I was risking my health, but I couldn't seem to stop. Even after having seizures, I would restrict my food intake to the point of getting heart palpitations and experiencing weakness. Yes, I had a choice, but it certainly didn't feel like I did. The power that my addiction had over me was enough to make me take very dangerous risks with my life. Sitting on the other side, I now understand how frustrating it is for others who want to help.

One person's crack
I have a friend who complains about over eating. He can't seem to stop a binge, even when he knows he's heading for one. In much the same way that an alcoholic might find his car turning into the liquor store parking lot without even thinking about it, my friend will find himself at a restaurant ordering eggs benedict with the works, even though he doesn't feel all that hungry. It seems that being aware of his problem is only part of the battle to overcome it. So far, any advice has been met with either, "I've tried that," or "That doesn't work." I often feel like he's searching for something he may never find. It takes great courage to take care of yourself when fighting an addiction, and when that involves change, it can be even more of a challenge. Believe me, I understand the pull of a binge. I had bouts of bulimia in the past, so I know how out of control one can feel. Does it really come down to a choice though? I think there's more to it. If it were as simple as binge or don't binge, I doubt so many people would be struggling. The body has all kinds of needs: emotional, nutritional, physical etc., and when any one of them isn't met, it can cause trouble.

As an example, when I was starving myself, it affected my brain, and, strangely, I had more thoughts about being fat and feeling ugly than when I began to feed my body properly. What's even more bizarre is that I felt completely out of control when I was eating but not getting enough protein. Looking back, that was probably the most miserable time in my life, even though I was trying to head in a better direction. I fell into a pattern of eating all kinds of sweets, things I had deprived myself of for years. As a result, I wasn't getting what my body really needed. I was eating, but I wasn't feeding myself the nutrients my body craved. The weird result was that I wanted MORE desserts. A friend helped me see my errors and encouraged me to eat differently. It helped. Once I addressed all my nutritional needs and I gained weight more sensibly, I slowly began to have fewer thoughts about my size. I also lost the intense cravings for foods that weren't so healthy. I'm not going to deny the amount of work I put into changing. I can also acknowledge how difficult it is to know where to even begin. There is so much to consider when it comes to addiction and how to stop.

As much as I hate to say it in this way, you have to love yourself enough to do the right thing. This doesn't mean you have to emulate Stuart Smiley, but it does help to be kind to yourself with both your thoughts and your actions. So much of overcoming addiction has to do with being OK in the world. I know what a struggle it was and still can be for me, so I don't like to push this idea too much on others. However, it's essential to address how your feelings about yourself contribute to certain behaviors. Even just accepting yourself is a positive step forward for those of us who have trouble seeing our worth. Much of my own addiction stemmed from feeling insecure, not being heard and feeling like I had no control in my life. I let people walk on me, and my self-esteem wasn't very good. It all played into how I managed my life. I also had to consider how I was treating others in the throes of my illness. When you love someone else enough to do right by yourself, it shows how addiction really can come down to a choice. I've known many women who stopped starving or purging because of children, a lover or a relative. That's often where it starts, and only after does it become about doing it for the self. Deep down, recovery has to be for the self, yes, but it can start by recognizing that our behavior affects others.

In other news, I seem to have pushed my cycle to one period every 3 weeks, which is better than one every 2 weeks, but it still sucks. I don't know how people train through this shit. No way could I race like this, which is why I don't register for anything until the day of the event. Saturday I bonked after dragging myself out the door for 3 x 6 min at an easy tempo pace. My foot is still a little sore too. I'll be making an appointment to check in with the doc sometime soon. Well, that was a very random addition to this post.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Make it better

That last post was lame, except for the links. As promised, here's a post filled with all kinds things:


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grumbling gone wild

I'm crabby lately, in total Grrr mode. My foot was hurting yesterday, plaguing me with sharp, stabbing pains. My immediate thought was another stress fracture from trying the orthotics my Dr. gave me that seem to roll my foot to the outside. The hot spot didn't hurt running, but it was definitely sore throughout the day. Rather than fret and complain about it, I'm going to lash out at others. Ha. Ultimately, I just have to be careful and see how it goes. It's taped and feeling better this morning, so I'm guessing it's probably a soft tissue thing. I hope. Man though, I envy people who are chronically sound!

Despite my efforts to be more positive or at least more informative in my posts this summer, I seem to have fallen in the habit of being overly critical. I can't help it right now. The state of the world is getting to me. Blogging is therapy though. No wonder we're all so whiny! I'm joking, of course, only maybe not in my case. Maybe having to deal with the public most days at work is part of my problem. I work in an art gallery. There are plenty of nice clients. I can't deny that; however, watching some people with money screw over those who are struggling is draining. It's always a pleasant surprise when that doesn't happen. Whoever thought that the trickle-down theory would work consistently has never met a man with too much money on the hunt for a bargain. You see, rather than those with money who can afford something actually paying for it, very often they are the ones who demand the biggest discounts. It's always the guy with three houses who makes the most insulting offer on a piece, but because everyone else is desperate, he almost always gets his way. Oddly, those who save and scrimp to buy something rarely ask for anything off the piece. It's all very backwards, and I often leave work with a sick feeling in my stomach. Unfortunately, it's just the sad reality of how things are right now.

Lately I have become tired of reading blogs in which the author is either WAY too up with people or CONSTANTLY a Debbie Downer. "Give me real, don't give me fake," as Chris Martin would cry. I think I have a nice selection of blogs on my reading list though. It's just that I occasionally stumble onto other blogs not on my list. Hey, it's great if you happen to be blessed with an injury-free body and sane mind, but shame on you for flaunting your high spirits if you're putting people who often struggle to get through the day down in the process. Is it necessary to take that little dig instead of simply explaining what you do? For those of us who don't wake up at the crack of dawn and leap out of bead singing, it's not about not wanting to see a sunrise or not wanting to achieve success, it's about dealing with the cards we were handed. When your body hurts all the time, for example, it's harder to skip out the door with a smile on your face at 5 AM, especially if your night was a chain of cat naps instead of 8 solid hours of rest. Good for you that you don't have to struggle through the downs though. That's awesome. I just wish you would stop judging people who don't do the exact same routine as you, and quit assuming my occasional lack of enthusiasm or confidence means I'm fundamentally flawed. I have a hard time believing anyone is happy and feels good and motivated ALL THE TIME, but maybe it happens. (These perpetual upbeat writers are the Rebecca Blacks of the blogging world.)

On the other extreme, there are the ones who say 20 million times that they're out of shape, drunk every night and hate all people on the planet. "I'm falling apart, but I'm still better than you, because I BLOG!" Yes, we get that you think this. You said it in the last 700 posts. I'll admit that I sometimes get caught up in reading those types of passages, because they're often well written. There are a few of these blogs that are extremely well done. There seems to be a correlation when it comes to bad moods and good writing. (Excuse me, my insecurity is spilling out all over the computer screen.) Sometimes the dark posts are funny, which I assume is the intent. Most of the time it's too fatiguing to hear the same complaints repeated ad infinitum, but I'm more drawn to these types than the overly upbeat crowd. Gee, I wonder why? I do make a few exceptions and read the "Yay life!" blogs when the writing is good, and I'm not at all opposed to positive blogs as long as they seem legit. I just question the ones written by people who never have a bad day, ever. (Reading the gloomy mood blogs is like listening to Interpol. It is SO cool at first, but three songs later, I've had enough.)

Sigh. No more ripping on others though. I promise my next post will be all unicorns pooping cupcakes and baby animals in tea cups. No really, I get that complaining about others serves no purpose. I was having a moment. Plus, it got my mind off my foot. Even though it's very much the trend, I will refrain from excessive criticism, at least for a little while. Before I do, I will say that I cringed when reading a passage by someone I admire as a writer. I guess even the best make mistakes, though using that instead of who is becoming quite common. I say this knowing I make plenty of errors, so who  am I to judge? Still, what's up with all the commercials with terrible grammar lately? Treat you body good? Really? Argghhh!

I'm on a road to nowhere here, so now for some something a little less negative...

As I said, I'm very happy with the list of bloggers I follow. I already mentioned Horse Junkies United as one that I really enjoy, but here are two more blogs I recently discovered: Great writing, wonderful critiques sprinkled with bits of dark humor and the occasional musings of Sid Pink. What's not to love? Finally someone has made running extra long distances seem cool. These guys are the punk rockers of the running world. I can't say that I suddenly want to run 100 miles, but now I feel the urge to hear and read about those who do.

I can't remember exactly the breakdown of equating music genres with running events that some friends and I created. It was something like the following:

Track = classical (very controlled and precise)
Cross Country = heavy metal (messy and rough)
Mountain Running = grunge (a little more messy and not as popular)
Ultra Running = punk rock (extremists)
What I do now = soft rock  :/


I've always been a little intimidated by ultra runners. After limping across the finish line of the PPM one year, I vowed I would never race down a mountain again. I couldn't walk for days after that. It's scary to think that the marathon is only a quarter of those 100-mile races. My knee stopped functioning about 20 minutes into my descent. It wasn't pretty. I'm just not good at running when there's a drop in elevation. These days, my long runs are anything over an hour. Hats off to those hardcore athletes who go the extreme distances. I don't know how you do it.

Since I brought up music in this post, I might as well direct people to my channel on youtube. I haven't been updating it recently, but there are some interesting playlists, including one that got me through many, many, MANY stationary bike workouts when I was stuck in a cast and unable to do much of anything else. The channel can be found at the following link:

Oh! Using this little tool, I discovered that I have a world record in the 10K:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Well, that did not go well

It has been said that you have to be willing to fail in order to be great. True, if you don't get to the start line of a race because you let your worries get the best of you and never attempt, for example, how can you win the race? In my world, getting to the start line has sometimes been the hardest part. There are injuries to avoid, fears to wade through and the challenge of waking up with enough time to get to the event. Obviously I'm not alone in this. I suppose it's the same with writing. If you don't risk putting it out there, you can't get feedback and grow. In the same way I get too in my head before I run, I fret and worry about every post I publish, every article I submit and each story I complete, afraid my writing's not substantial or appealing enough. I look at passages in my novel and have no clue if they are good or not. I've decided that fiction is in some ways easier and in some ways much harder than non-fiction writing. Non-fiction writing is about finding an interesting way to say something, and fiction writing is about finding something interesting to say.

Today I didn't quite risk failing. I got to the start line, but I didn't run the race I wanted to run. I did push the 2nd mile a bit, but I'm battling something, probably something in my head more than anything. Maybe it's a fear of pushing it too hard. Will I break? I don't know, so I get just a little outside my comfort zone and settle. I keep thinking, "ooOOOo I'm running fast...or am I?" Obviously, if I have to ask, I know I'm not, but I'm not sure how much more to push it or really how much more I CAN push it. I so wish I had an occasional training partner to encourage me and keep the electrical activity occurring in my frontal lobe more mellow. The bottom line is that I need to have more fun and be more social with running.

I probably shouldn't have used vegans as an example in my last post. It may have come back to haunt me today. Even though I explained it was a select few who tend to cite studies incorrectly, some people assumed I was making a big generalization about all vegans. I wasn't. I guess with the literature and information available that's legit about the benefits of a vegan diet, why mess around with studies that don't accurately show that? Just to show that I really do admire non-meat eaters, I have decided to take the 30-day vegan challenge. I think. OK, maybe I'll make it two weeks and see how it goes. It has been a long time since I was a vegan. When I tried the diet ages ago, I lasted less than a year, but I did give it a shot. I hope I'm smarter about how to do it in a healthy way, and I think there are more options for vegans these days. I'm not sure when I will start the challenge, probably in October, maybe sooner. I figure if I can resist chocolate for three months, I can do just about anything, right? On the other hand, giving up cheese is going to suck. I'll keep everyone posted, though I don't want to make a big deal about it. I don't see myself avoiding animal products forever, but I do want to give it another try, just to see how I feel.

Here's why I'm wondering if karma came to bite me in the ass today. I wasn't feeling 100 percent going into the race. I'm not used to running early, and my legs have felt kind of tired and heavy lately, despite resting well the last two days. Mentally I'm just struggling, and that's probably my biggest issue. It results in a HUGE lack of confidence. However, I felt OK on the warm up, and after the gun went off, I was running comfortably with the lead pack. We were climbing a very small hill, and, unfortunately, I ended up on the inside, right next to the edge of the street. Well, hell, it's a fun run, so no need to worry, right? Wrong. I saw it happening before it did, but I didn't think it would, if that makes sense. Around the first corner I got cut off by a lady wearing a "Go Vegan!" shirt. Yes, she stepped right in front of me, and there was no sidewalk to jump on at that corner. I got pinched out of place, my stride got fucked up and I let it get to me mentally. SHIT! As the race continued with me struggling to find my pace again, I kept thinking, "Really? You're going to cut me off without a word in a fucking 5K?" Maybe she didn't sense me. I doubt it. I can't imagine running that close to someone and not sense it. Well, I'm just glad that I don't race like that- never have and never will. It's dirty and lame, especially in a TINY little race. I guess it's an eye opener though. I've been out of competition way too long. In the past, I would have died before I let someone like that beat me, but that was when I was tough, sound and fit, the perfect winning trio. Today I had to shrug and let it go, locked in my broken body.

The funny thing is that after the race, I talked to this incredibly sweet lady who finished ahead of me, and she invited me to run with her group. Unfortunately, they are in the next town over, but I hope I can do it every now and then. The first thing she said after mentioning the group was, "You should join us. We're not snobby." Ha! I hadn't even told her about being cut off at that point!

I did throw in a few good surges around mile 1.5 to mile 3, but it was too little too late. I never got into 2nd gear. Plus, for whatever reason, I was expecting a big hill, which would have lifted my spirits. Looking at the map before the race, it looked like an enormous mountain was planted in the middle of the thing, but the entire course was as flat as a crêpe. The whole race I was like, "Where's the fucking hill?" Huge disappointment. I later found out that the first portion of the race was a gradual uphill. Oh.

My foot was sore after the run, which alarmed me. It seems to be better with some massage and stretching, but it did make me want to cry, mostly because of the worry. Again, my body is so far behind my heart and lungs. I could have held that pace for quite a while longer as long as my body would resist breaking, which tells me I didn't go fast enough. It also tells me that I'm not in horrible shape. I just need work, lots of work. I also need to figure out something for the chronic soreness in my legs. All in all, it was an OK effort. I ran 7:15 pace, and I'll have to be OK with that for now. There's clearly room for improvement. I'll add that I'm glad to have completed another race, and I even landed in the top 5. Yes, my time was super slow, but it's OK. Oh, and I got 2nd in my age group behind the vegan chick. Grrr.