If Oprah can do it...

June 30, 2011
I have my first running injury….
It’s not really that bad, I have strained my left calf muscle.  Thought it was a cramp, but it wouldn’t go away.  So, no running since this past Sunday L  I was doing so well!  I did part of my last run just short of a mile without stopping…and I was down to a 13 minute mile too…and no more pity looks from passing motorists.
I have a sneaking suspicion my injury is due to my old sneakers.  The Nike Max Air sneaks are super stylin’ but probably not classified as serious running sneakers….so I’m headed to the Ski Rack this weekend to get fitted for real running shoes.  And to prove how committed I am to doing this right…I’m not going to complain if the only color they come it is orange…or teal.  For the first time in my life, what I put on my feet will not be a fashion statement...It will be about cushioning, flexibility and pronation control. (Google it, I had to) But, Oh please God…let the best sneakers for me come in Pink!!!
So as I sat convalescing with my ibuprofen and ice pack, I spent some more time reading about running. I came across an interesting article about Oprah's first marathon experience and how she trained for it.  Now for years I loved Oprah, but I have to be honest and say I was a bit over her by the time she called it quits.  After watching her shows, she had me feeling so guilty if I was consuming food with high fructose corn syrup, not wearing the right bra, not contributing to kids in third world countries or anything to prove I was not “living my best life”. The guilt associated with being an Oprah fan was almost as bad as it is being Catholic…almost.
Anyway, back to the running…Oprah was about to turn 40 and wanted to lose some weight yet again…sound familiar??  So she consulted with her personal trainer Bob Greene about how would be the fastest way to lose it.  He said running.  He took her out for a run to see how she would do and she did her first mile in 17 minutes.  Ah-Ha Moment!! I beat Oprah!!!!  Over the next year he put her on a training schedule to build up her endurance, strength and take off the weight.  When she ran in the Marine Corps Marathon she was 70 lbs lighter and ran it in 4 hours and 29 minutes.  (Conversely, Al Roker ran the NYC Marathon in 7 hours and 9 minutes…poor guy was being followed to the finish line by the street sweepers.)  Now, I still have no idea how much of the marathon I will be running next year…way too early to tell…but since I can’t afford to have my own Bob Greene, I can follow the regime Oprah paid for…and see where it takes me.  And I can assure you, whatever distance I do run, no way I’ll be wearing this get up…

My Fat Suit

June 23, 2011
I once weighed 300 lbs.  Well, 301 to be exact…but what’s a pound once you’ve hit 3 bills?  Not proud of it…I ate my way to every freakin’ ounce of it.  Not going to blame it on a thyroid problem, slow metabolism or say I was “big boned” (those would have to be dinosaur bones!!!) I just wouldn’t put the fork down.

Like the hair?  I used to think that if my hair was big enough it would take the focus away from how wide my hips were…like it would all be proportionate??  Teased up so big I could carry my wallet and car keys up in it!  And look at those chubby cheeks… I think I look like Gweneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal when she was wearing the fat suit…only problem, I couldn’t take mine off like she could when the director said “Cut”.
So how did I allow myself to get to that size?  Well, like Mark Twain said, Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…and we all know that being overweight isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom of the problem.  Don’t know if I’ll ever find out what “the problem” really is…probably would take the budget of a small country in psychiatric bills to figure it out.  I had Gastric Bypass surgery in 2001…and lost 135 lbs.  I would sneeze and lose 10 lbs!  Of course, go from regularly eating a medium pizza all by yourself to barely being able to eat one piece…and that will happen! But, I didn’t change the how’s and why’s of eating and gained about half of it back over the next 8 years.  The Doctor operated on my stomach not my head…should have been the other way around!
Then, turning 40 was looming large on the horizon.  I wasn’t freaking out about getting older…Hey, I still act like I’m 10…I just kept wondering to myself, do I really want to spend the second half of my life like I have the first half?  I literally woke up one morning and said “ENOUGH!” I’m too much of a control freak to let this warped relationship with food win.  I decided to completely turn my life around…it’s amazing…this eating right and exercise shit really works!!  I’ve seen how unhealthy and unfit I can be…now I’m going to the opposite end of the spectrum and find out how healthy and fit I can be.  So on to the running….
I’m now running regularly outside.  I have mapped out a course in my neighborhood which is exactly 3.1 miles…if I want to run a 5k by the end of summer, I better practice on 5k right??!!  Not running the full distance yet…at times it’s run a minute, walk a minute.  Lungs are being so stubborn!!  I had to stop for a second this morning after making my way up a small incline (fine, go ahead, laugh) when the driver of a CCTA bus stopped and asked me if I needed a ride… “No,” I said in between gulps of air, “I’m…in…training…”  He shook his head in bewilderment and drove away…leaving me in a cloud of bus exhaust.  Thanks a lot Ralph Kramden.  I also think I need to invest in a  Runner’s Belt so I can haul some water with me…getting a little parched on my run.  It would be embarrassing if I were caught kneeling on someone’s lawn, mouth positioned over an automatic sprinkler head waiting for it to come on….

A Very Brady Runner

June 16, 2011

I ran five miles this morning!!!!....then I woke up.  F@&%ing alarm!!

So, what I could not quite accomplish last week…I have this week!  5 / 1 x 5 = HAPPY!!!

And I have done it three times! Still huffin and puffin, the benefit of the handfuls
of spinach I am eating will take a little while to kick in, but I feel I am making progress!  And the endorphins afterwards!!!  Wow wee! They should sell this stuff…well, I guess they do...but it’s a felony if you’re caught buying it…I’ll just run, keep it legal.

I have been doing a lot of reading about running; how much I should be running, how I should be running, when I should be running...Everyone has an opinion! I especially love the article a male, who calls himself an expert on everything running, wrote on the benefits of selecting a good support bra. Really? Well unless you are sporting an impressive set of man boobs Sparky, I’m not buying what you are selling!  Men always think they are mammary experts…And what is this I read about Runner’s Butt!?!  That running builds up your hamstrings and glutes to make the perfect bum!? Sign me up for one of those!  No more calling me Frannie Flat Ass!  I’m even going to get a T-shirt….

One of the reasons I was reading so much about running, was to answer the question about how fast I should be running…3.2 on the treadmill seems like I’m running in slow motion, but 4.5 makes me fear I’m going to fly off the back and hit the wall!  The answer I have found to be most consistent is that I should be able to carry on a conversation…is that with full, coherent sentences??  Another answer I liked best is that you should be able to sing “Happy Birthday” or the theme song to your favorite TV show… I think I’ll work on this.  My favorite TV show theme song is “The Brady Bunch”…but I have changed the lyrics to make it more interesting:

Here’s the story…Of a head strong lady,
Who decided she would go out for a run
She was kinda out of shape, a little heavy
But she would get it done

Till she spent about ten minutes on the treadmill
She realized she was being a little smug
That this goal of running any distance
Was going to require a lot of drugs
Or smaller jugs
and lots of hugs
That’s why now she passed out up on the rug!

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

June 9, 2011
This is what I feel like sometimes when I’m running…but the shoes are cute!
I have completed my first week of training!  Can I get a “Hale-freakin-luah”!!!  I have improved a little…down to a 14 minute mile!  Small children and the elderly with walkers are passing me…but that is fine, this is a process.  I have worked out a schedule of running every other day along with my regular work out schedule…I believe that failing to plan is planning to fail.  I also have an incredibly short attention span, so to keep bright, shiny objects from distracting me, I put it down on paper and refer to it often…see, it’s on my bulletin board above my computer…along with the VCM course map! 
Now THAT’S motivation!!
The running schedule I have adopted, for those of you keeping score at home, is a plan to get me ready to run a 5k race by the end of the summer.  It has me running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute and doing this 5 times in a row.  That is why it says 5/ 1 x 5 on the schedule.  At first I thought it was a fraction equation, which almost caused me to give up on the whole thing…because I’m not really strong in math…Ok, it causes me to drool on myself and stare off into space with a goofy look on my face.  Anyway…this schedule will be increased each week until I am running for a full 30 minutes…and the trumpets will blare and confetti will come streaming down.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to run the 5 minutes 3 times and the walking breaks are 2 minutes in duration (5/ 2 x 3 = SAD)…because,  I.  Can’t.  Breathe.  Which is kinda a problem…when you want to run a marathon.  After a conversation with my dear friend Carissa (who is a medical wizard…really, she’s had training…has fancy documents to prove it!) it turns out I have an iron deficiency and am anemic…hemoglobin levels and iron stores are in the basement…coincidently where the treadmill is, but this is not helping.  So I will be adding supplements and changing up my diet tout suite!!!…and will be strong to the finish ‘cause I eats me spinach! Hey, I yam what I yam…

Good vs Evil

June 4, 2011

Little devil sitting on my left shoulder:  “Why are you putting on those stupid sneakers again?”
Little angel sitting on my right shoulder:  “Because she has a very important goal to achieve!”
Devil: “Cardiac Arrest is a goal?”
Angel: “She’s getting better, down to a 15 minute mile now!”
Devil: “Wow! Turtle Magee is making some headway!”
Angel: “Yes she is! Today she is going for her first run outside!”
Devil: “I’ll alert Essex Police…no, this person isn’t being chased…she WANTS to do this!”
Angel: “Yup, and her goal is to do 1 ½ miles…”
Devil: “1 ½ in a row? And how is she getting back?  Rescue doesn’t provide Taxi service…”
Angel: “She’ll make it back, and I will bet you it will be with an even better time too!”
Devil: “Stop!  My laughing is starting to hurt my stomach!”
Angel:  “You won’t be laughing when you see her next year at the start line wearing her VCM Bib number!”
Devil: “Yeah, but I might be at the finish line…”
Angel: (Shoves the Devil off my shoulder) “You Go Girl!!”

Day One, Mile One

May 31, 2011
As I stood at the 23 mile marker of the 2011 Vermont City Marathon, cheering on the runners and helping direct traffic (really people, you have to get there right now!? Have you heard this city puts on a Marathon each year???) I felt such admiration for these individuals, these warriors…Rock stars really…the culmination of all their hard work and sacrifice I was privileged to bear witness to. I was inspired. I want to do it, I thought to myself, I want be a part of this awesome experience! Wait, wait a minute…pause the Chariots of Fire soundtrack playing in my head…You are 41, your BMI puts you on the cusp of the overweight/obese category and the only running you have ever done is the running up of your credit card balances…But really the only way I could fail is if I never began. It would have to start with the first mile. I can run a mile, right??  What’s it going to take me, ten minutes?  I can do anything for ten minutes. Start with a mile…let’s see what I can do.
Today was a warm day to end the month of May, 84 degrees when I got home from work. Running outside was not a smart option.  My basement, where my treadmill resides, was a cool 64 degrees. The added plus to the cooler environment was no one could see me.  But, I would be alone…in a basement…would the dogs channel their inner Lassie to alert the Rescue squad when they recognized the thud of their master passing out and hitting the concrete? Stay positive, I’m not going to die, I’m just going to run a mile for crying out loud!  I tied up my Nike Max Air sneakers, put my hair in a high pony tail (at least I would look cute) and took my first few strides towards my goal.
I’ve heard, when running inside, you should keep yourself distracted; turn on the TV, have music playing, do anything but watch the display…I knew this, but somehow that’s all I could focus on after the first minute.  No, I told myself, listen to Darren Perron tell me the news, count how many floor joists make up the basement ceiling, mentally re-organize the Christmas decorations lined up on the opposite wall…but my eyes kept going back to the display.  Ohhh, this is going to be ugly.  10 minutes came and went….and I had only just passed the halfway mark!!  Keep going, you can do it!  I kept chanting to myself…heart pounding, knees screaming, sucking so much wind I’m sure I was changing the atmosphere above…People do this for fun!?!  The last 30 seconds my stride closely resembled Quasi Moto’s gait…Sanctuary! Sanctuary! I screamed as I repeatedly slammed the “down” button to slow me to a stop…It took me 16.34 minutes!!! To run a mile! Just ONE mile!! I am officially pathetic, I can walk faster than I can run….It’s got to get better, I will get better!
And so begins my goal, I AM going to run in the 2012 Vermont City Marathon.  It might be only the 1st leg of the relay (3.1 miles)…after the first day’s results, this might be the sane, realistic option.  Maybe as part of a two person relay (13.1 miles)If God gives me strength and a new set of lungs…but if I start making noise of conquering the whole flippin’ 26.2 miles the first time out…shoot me, I have succumb to mad cow disease.  It would ONLY be 25.1 miles more right?  And I have a whole year…Here I go!!!