Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weigh in / Long run

Well, I gained a pound this week. Although I'm not pleased about it, I'm not going to dwell on it either. My food choices last weekend were less than stellar, and my bum knee has definitely affected my ability to exercise.

Against my better judgment, I went for my run this morning. At 6:00 am, I was out of bed and getting ready. After last week's chafing fun, I purchased some Bodyglide, which I slathered all over my waist before putting on my shorts this morning. Next on the agenda was Tylenol and a banana, water, and diet Sunkist. I've never had soda prior to running, and I don't know what made me want some now. It was not a good idea. It gave me stomach cramps.

I wanted to get in 9 miles. As I made my way to my parents' house (the halfway point), my knee hurt progressively more with each mile. Thank goodness I opted to wear my iPod. The music kept me going forward when I wanted to do was turn around and go home. At my parents' house, I had a bottle of Propel and a slice of toast with peanut butter. My folks weren't home. I paced around their living room for a few minutes, wondering if I should continue on my route, or call Angie and ask for a ride home.

Part of running a marathon is pushing through physical and psychological discomfort. I didn't want to wait until October to see if I was capable of doing that, so I decided to continue running. My knee didn't hurt much on the way back, but I still decided to shave some distance off the workout, for a total of 8.3 miles.

It was probably stupid of me to push myself today. All the experts say you should never run through pain. By tomorrow, I suspect my knee will be retaliating. Still, I'm proud I had the resolve to keep going.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Exercise on Demand

For Time Warner Cable subscribers, there's a whole world of free personal training to be found, and you don't even have to leave your living room. It's called Exercise TV. Channel 150 has been on our boob tube quite a bit lately. You can take your beatings from celebrity trainers such as Jackie Warner, Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, Kathy Smith, and Billy Blanks, just to name a few. I think the idea is that they hook you with free workouts, and just as you're getting the hang of a particular video, they pull it from circulation in hopes you'll purchase the DVD from their web site. Every type of exercise you could ever want is there. Abs, cardio, kickboxing, yoga, weight training, belly dancing- you name it, they have it.

My current favorites are the segments by Jackie Warner, of Bravo TV's Workout fame. She currently has 3 workouts, each lasting about 20 minutes. After doing the abs routine, I was sore for days and days. As weird as it sounds, I love the feeling of really sore abs. Her upper body workout is equally brutal. Since my knee is still hurting, I haven't done the lower body workout, but I'm sure it's just as much of a bitch as Jackie is.

Tonight I tried an upper body workout with Kathy Smith. She was too peppy for me. At one point, she let out this crazy "she-wolf" howl that caused me to almost drop my dumbbells on my toes. WTF? I also did something called "Incredible Abs," which, incredibly enough, made me feel like I was going to die.

If you have a channel like this, give it a try. It's a great way to try different workouts and get outside your comfort zone.

Tune in tomorrow for a weigh-in report. I fully expect a gain, due to my poor food choices last weekend, as well as my low running mileage. I'll be attempting a 9-mile run in tomorrow morning, but I reserve the right to cut it short if my knee acts up. I'll let you all know how it goes. Until then, goodnight!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I tried to run tonight, but about half a mile in, I realized it just wasn't going to happen. My knee was stiff and slightly painful, and I just felt "blah." Part of me wishes I'd kept trying, but I know I need to heal.

My lack of exercise tonight left me feeling bummed out, as if I'd failed somehow. I wanted to numb those feelings with food. I went into the kitchen and looked for something to eat. My usual binge foods weren't around; no peanut butter, yogurt, or fudge pops. I ate about an ounce of beef jerky, then a little cereal. Still, I wanted something really decadent, like an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's, or a couple candy bars.

I went into the kitchen again, hoping to find something that wasn't there before. On a whim, I stepped on the scale. Of course, I realize my weight goes up dramatically as the day goes on, but the number I saw scared the hell out of me. I'm not going to say what the number was, but it got me the hell out of that kitchen.

My fear of regaining all the weight I've lost is palpable. That's one of the reasons I'm reluctant to take a break from running, even though my knee is telling me to slow down. If I slow down, I don't burn enough calories, then I gain weight. It's simple math.

In Alien, Ripley puts herself into a cryo-sleep hibernation chamber after blowing the alien into space. I want one of those chambers, so I can rest without any changes to my anatomy or physiology.
Why haven't we figured out that technology yet?

Okay, I'm done with my pity party.

Hospital Hill / Runner's knee

Next week's dinner menu is now posted on the sidebar. I'm trying 3 new recipes next week, so I'll let you know if any of them are particularly wonderful. There are a few of the tried and true dinners on there as well. Tuesday night is ALWAYS corn dog night. It's the law.

You might wonder what the sweet potato mania is all about; it's in preparation for the Hospital Hill 10K on June 7th. I'm gonna get my carb on. WOOT!

The Hospital Hill Run is the oldest organized race in Kansas City, and from what I hear, it's very difficult. The word "hill" is in there for a reason, I guess. Now that I think about it, the word "hospital" is probably significant too. Hmmm. There is a half marathon portion, a 10K, and a 5K. Since I've done several 5Ks, and I'm not quite ready for a half marathon, I thought the 10K would be a good fit at this point in my training.

I have a serious concern about participating in this race. My left knee has been hurting since Saturday. After much online research, I'm convinced it's runner's knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. I'm supposed to rest, ice the area, stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint, and not run until the knee is pain free. Whatwasthat?
Um, not run?

The idea of not running is depressing. I never thought I'd be the girl saying "please oh please, let me go for a run." In fact, through all the embarrassing years of physical education, I was the girl saying "please oh please, don't make me run." I was the girl who failed her P.E. exam because she couldn't run a mile. I was the one who couldn't jump over the hurdles and collapsed in a humiliated heap on the track.

Okay, that's all somewhat dramatic, but I just wanted to illustrate how much things have changed for me. Not to brag, but I'm proud of my running accomplishments. I want to do more, not less.

Against my better judgement, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill last night. I was stiff, but pain free, thanks to Tylenol. Afterward, I did some stretching, then I put a bag of frozen corn on my knee. It still hurts today, but the pain is more muted than yesterday.

The Hospital Hill folks already have my registration money, so I have every intention of going through with it. I'm not a religious girl, but today I found myself praying to the running gods to fix me as soon as possible. Not only do I have this race coming up, but I already paid quite a chunk of change to a local running group, which starts next month. Then, there's the marathon to consider. I don't want to panic, but these are the things that are going through my mind.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Whenever I'm in doubt as to how much my life has changed over the past year, all I need to do is think about my magazine subscriptions. It's quite a commentary on how my interests have evolved.

Before I started my path to a thinner me, I was a pop-culture obsessed foodie. I wanted to prepare the richest, most decadent recipes while learning all about the latest in celebrity sightings and break-ups. I subscribed to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Entertainment Weekly, Every Day with Rachel Ray, People, Real Simple, Oprah, and Martha Stewart's Everyday Recipes. Whew! That's a lot of dead trees. Sorry, environment.

These days, we get Cooking Light, Women's Health, and Runner's World. Okay, fine- I still get People and Oprah. However, I don't plan on renewing Oprah, and People was a gift from my grandmother.

I'll always be a foodie, and I love getting new recipes. Cooking Light does a great job of taking everyday comfort foods and giving them a healthy twist. I've liked virtually every recipe I've tried. I subscribed to Women's Health on a whim. It's okay, but it contains a little too much "girly" stuff for me. I don't care about make up or fashion, nor do I see how those things are related to health. That's probably not one I'll renew. Runner's World is a different story. Every time I pick up that magazine, I'm immediately inspired to go for a run.

What do you subscribe to?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh...the chafing

Things that make you a runner:
1) You call it "running" and not "jogging." - CHECK
2) You own a sweat-wicking garment. - CHECK
3) You know what Gu is. - CHECK
4) You've chafed. - CHECK

Ever heard of runner's chafe? It's a very real thing, people. Be afraid. Be very afraid. In the books I've been reading about marathon training, they all refer to the dreaded chafing that can, and probably will, occur during longer runs. They suggest slathering yourself with Vaseline or Bodyglide prior to long runs to avoid this...erm, sensitive issue. Somehow, I thought it would never happen to me. I was wrong. The waistband of my shorts is apparently more constricting than I'd realized. After my 8 mile run on Saturday, I was in the shower. When the soapy water hit my belly- OUCH! I looked down and saw where my skin had pretty much rubbed off. Lovely, eh?

I'm a little nervous to think about the other places I may chafe in the future. Inner thighs? Nipples? Under the boobular area? Perhaps I'll just fill the tub with lubricant and take a dip prior to my next run. Then, I can just slide
down the sidewalk on my belly, like a penguin or something.

The epidermis is totally overrated anyway.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Amy Thompson Run to Daylight 8K

Reasons why I didn't want to do this race today:
1) I consumed roughly 4.7 million calories yesterday. My belly felt like one of those yellow barrels they shot at the shark in Jaws.
2) Since my long run on Saturday, my left knee pops every time I take a step, and pain shoots down my shin.
3) It was rainy.
4) My fancy sweat-wicking t-shirt was dirty and I was too lazy to wash it yesterday. Busy with the 4.7 million calorie festival.
5) I was just in a pissy mood, thought I'd have no fun, and race poorly.

Reason why I made myself do the race anyway:
1) I mentioned it on the blog and didn't want to back out.
2) I already picked up my t-shirt, and I wanted to earn it.
3) Those timing chips they give you have to be handed in, or else you get fined.
4) I wanted to eat barbeque today and not feel bad about it.
5) Sometimes we just have to suck it up.

I'm glad I went. Angie and I found a parking spot about 1/2 a mile from the starting area. By the time we walked over, it was time for me to line up.

This was the 7th race I've run. I've never worn my iPod during a race, but I felt it was necessary today because I needed all the motivation I could get. You know things aren't looking good when you wonder "How much farther?" only 1 mile into a race, especially when it's a 5 miler. About 2 miles in, it was really raining. I didn't have my hat, and my glasses were getting soaked. I could hardly see. Just then, I heard a woman mutter "I'm glad I wore my contacts today" as she passed me. Tripping other runners is frowned upon, right?

I don't want to make a habit of using my iPod during races. Technically, it's against the rules, even though everyone does it. Today, however, I'm so glad I had it. My selection of running tunes helped me through miles 2-4, when I thought I'd have to stop and walk because my knee hurt so bad. Then, suddenly, my knee completely stopped hurting. Endorphins kicking in? Possibly. A more likely explanation is that ibuprofen rules.

My finish time was 47:17. Not too shabby, considering I was in pain, bloated, and in a foul mood at the start. The mood-altering effects of running are quite amazing, as the picture below clearly demonstrates. For the record, I am not stoned.

Now that I no longer feel like the Ice Queen with a bum knee, it's time to get my BBQ on. Woot!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekly weigh in / Long Saturday run

First, thanks to all those who commented on my last post. I appreciate you sharing your own stories and opinions. It gave me some valuable perspective.

I'm a little embarrassed to discuss my weigh in this morning, but I think it's important for me to be honest. The world of weight loss can't always be perfect and happy. I'd love to sit here and tell you I maintained or lost this week, but I'd be lying. I'm up two pounds from last week.

However, I tried on a pair of size 10 jeans yesterday and they fit. This exact same pair of jeans did NOT fit me a couple weeks ago. When I start to get discouraged about the number on the scale, I keep trying to remind myself that I'm not getting bigger.

When I started doing research on marathon training, one of the books said that I could expect to gain pounds and lose inches, and that's what happened this week. So, why am I less than thrilled? I think it's because I had a few slip ups, and I can't help but feel I would have seen a different number on the scale had I not made so many poor choices. I've started seeing a therapist, and my hope is that she'll be able to help me figure this stuff out. During my first appointment yesterday, she spent a lot of time explaining that everything I'm going through is very normal. That's great and all, but this is a "normal" I want no part of. I need to change.

Speaking of change, let's change the subject...

My training schedule today called for an 8 mile run. I awoke at 5 a.m. to the sound of crashing thunder and pounding rain. Rain is no big deal, but lightning is another story. As I tried to fall back asleep, I became resigned to the likelihood that I'd be doing my 8 miles on the treadmill. When I woke up again around 7, the thunder was gone. I ate a banana, drank a bunch of water, and hit the road. It was only barely sprinkling, and the roads were nearly deserted. Four miles and 40 minutes later, I arrived at my parents' house, where I hydrated and ate a Gu gel. My dad asked me if I wanted a ride home. When I told him I'd be running back, he looked at me with a mixture of pride and disbelief. I was dreading the run home, thinking it would be really difficult, but it wasn't. It was another one of those perfect running days, when all the variables came together and it seemed almost effortless. I could have gone much farther, and knowing that made me feel pretty damn good.

Be sure to tune in Monday for a race report on the Amy Thompson Run to Daylight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Binge: what does it mean to you?

Yesterday I managed to resist Lamar's donuts, which were brought in by a coworker. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lamar's, it's probably better that you don't know how delicious they are. There were one dozen donuts at the beginning of the day. By 4 pm, there was one left. One lonely donut staring out of the box. Of course, the treat table is right by the refrigerator where I store my afternoon snack, so I had to look into its poor little donut eyes, just begging me to eat it. But I didn't. Angie and I have still been making our daily promise to stay on track, and I didn't want to break my word.

Fast forward to today. Angie wanted to take the day off from promise making, which I understand. In the back of my head, though, I still promised myself that I would stay on track.

Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine has to contend with birthday cake every day at her job? Welcome to my world. Today it's coffee cake. Usually, my strategy is just to stay the hell away from the treat table. Simple geography- out of sight, out of mind. Except today, it wasn't out of mind. In fact, it's all that was on my mind. Eventually, I rationalized that the path to many of my previous binges (if you can even call them that) was denying myself a small amount of what I really wanted in the first place. So, I decided to just go try a bite of the damn coffee cake. This was getting silly.

That one bite was really delicious. In fact, it tasted so good that I cut myself a small slice. That slice was so wonderful that I had another. I tried to savor each bite, knowing that a binge eater wolfs down her food too quickly and gets little or no enjoyment from the process. Those two slices were gone pretty fast, though.

Was this a binge? What defines a binge, anyway? I thought I was clear on this, but I'm reading a book on the subject, and now I'm not so sure. Some experts define it in terms of the volume of food consumed, and some refer to the speed of the act. Others take into account the "loss of control" factor. There's no real definition... no real diagnosis.

Now I'm sitting here analyzing whether eating two stupid pieces of coffee cake was a binge or not. It's kind of ridiculous. Do I feel like it was too much? Yeah, probably. Was I out of control when I was eating it? No, I don't think so. Do I feel guilty now? Yup, a little, but it's not the end of the world. Do I overthink these things? DEFINITELY.

I'd really love to hear from you readers on this. What does binge mean to you? If you've had eating problems in the past, did you binge? What on? If you've never had an eating problem, I'd like your opinion too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Menu / The perfect run

One of my favorite parts of the week is figuring out what will be on "the menu" for the following week. I love making meal plans, writing grocery lists, and then rewriting the list according to the geography of the aisles in the grocery store. I know, I know. I'm a total freak. But it's fun for me, okay?

Anyway, I think I'll start posting my weekly dinner menus on the sidebar. If I get a particular recipe online, I'll be sure to link to it. You'll notice that I'll repeat a lot of stuff from week to week. Routine is good for me.

Subject change...

Last night's run was easily the most enjoyable run I've ever had. All six miles were virtually effortless. I found my groove, I was in the zone... however you want to put it. I tried out my new $35 sweat-wicking t-shirt, which wicked the sweat as promised. The fabric felt cool, airy, and light. Even though my breathing was labored, I never felt overly fatigued or out of control. The weather was absolutely perfect. The running gods were smiling on me. Yay!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cubicle prison

All I can seem to think about today is running. When I went home during lunch to let the dog out, the beautiful spring weather beckoned me.

Don't go back to work, Morgan. Get your shorts and shoes on, Morgan. Let's go for a run, Morgan.

Since we're off on Friday anyway for a long Memorial Day weekend, I figured it would be bad karma for me to play hookie. So, I pouted as I forced myself back into the dark, cold, corporate fortress that is my office building. There's so much meaningless noise in my workplace; I can't think. I'm ready to hear nothing but my feet hitting the pavement, with maybe a few lawn mowers and barking dogs thrown in for good measure.

I have 6 miles to log tonight. I've spent a good part of the day visualizing the route I'll take. If I concentrate really hard, I can smell the cut grass and the occasional exhaust fume from a passing car. Heaven.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Saying goodbye to Lane Bryant

Today I called the customer support line for Lane Bryant, and a nice gentleman named Antoine answered. When I told him I wanted to cancel my Lane Bryant credit card, he expressed his sadness that they were losing me as a customer (or at least he read it from his script very effectively). He then asked why I was cancelling.

"Well, um, I kind of lost a lot of weight, so I don't need the clothes anymore," I said sheepishly.

I don't think that was the first time Antoine heard these words. In a very rehearsed way, he mumbled some congratulatory sentiment and proceeded to cancel the account, but not before offering me a coupon if I stayed. I'd allotted my entire lunch break to accomplish the task of cancelling this account, but it only took about 5 minutes.

Cutting up that card felt pretty awesome. Still, a very small part of me was afraid, as though I was snipping through an umbilical cord. What if I need to shop there again someday? That fear lasted about 5 seconds, then I went back to feeling awesome again.

My next step is to get rid of all my old clothes. I started going through my closet this afternoon, pulling out all the items that are too big. After I finished tossing the clothes on the bed, the closet was nearly empty, and the bed had become Mt. Muumuu. After doing a little happy dance at the base of Mt. Muumuu, I came to the realization that I really need some new clothes! The only piece of wardrobe I'll keep from my 264-lb. days will be my size 26 jeans, which will serve as a reminder of how far I've come. Everything else will be donated.

So long, Lane Bryant. You were there for me when I needed you. For that, I thank you. Still, it's time for us to part. Go push your bedazzled blouses someplace else, because I'm outta here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Steps to the Cure 5K

Participating in this race was a must for me, since it was a benefit for the Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland. My grandmother suffers from Parkinson's. It's difficult to watch the progression of this disease in someone you love. I remember when I was a child and the tremors developed in her hands and head. In recent years, she's lost about 90% of her coordination. So, this was really important for me to do.

In addition to our regular bib numbers, they gave us another bib to write the name of a loved one we were running for. I had this pinned to my back during the race:

Several family members came to watch the event. Angie, my parents, three uncles and two aunts all cheered me on. It was great having them all there, but I'll admit it made me really nervous. I was afraid I'd do poorly and embarrass myself.

When I picked up my packet a couple days ago, the race coordinator was telling me what a wonderfully flat course it was. Eeeesh. If that was a flat course, then I have a lot to learn about
running. I wouldn't say it was hilly, exactly, but there were quite a few generous inclines and declines. It was a lot like last week's race. There were several occasions I wanted to slow down to a walk, but I had three factors motivating me. First, I tried to remember that my grandmother doesn't have the ability to run (or even walk more than a few assisted steps), so I could definitely get through a few minutes of discomfort to honor her. Secondly, a good chunk of my family was there, and I didn't want to look like a chump. Third, I knew there were bananas and water a couple miles away. Family, fear of embarrassment, and food- the motivation trifecta.

In previous races, I haven't had any water at the halfway point, but today I felt like I needed it. Sadly, most of the water wound up down my front instead of inside my mouth.

When I was about 0.10 miles from the finish, I spied the clock and it said 27:00 on it. Crap. I wanted to break my record, but I only had 48 seconds to do it. Digging deep, I found the energy I needed and kicked my legs as hard as I could.

I made it in 27:40, which beats last week's time by 9 seconds. Whew, that was close!

My family members gathered around and gave me big pats on the back. At this point, I was really out of breath and thought I'd hurl at any second, so I just smiled and remained silent, trying to collect myself. Finally, I was able to talk and tell them about the experience.

It was so wonderful supporting the Parkinson's cause. During a speech after the race, a special award was given to a volunteer who raised over $12,000 for the charity. She said it was a thrill knowing one of the dollars donated might be the dollar that finally cures Parkinson's disease. That brought tears to my eyes.

After the race, I had the best (and longest) shower of my life, then Angie and I headed out for a well-deserved gigantic salad and cupcake. Everything tastes better after running your ass off, so those calories were definitely not wasted.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekly weigh-in

As I stepped onto the scale this morning for my weekly weigh in, I was 't sure what to expect. Would I gain from my binges earlier in the week, or maintain? I'd pretty much ruled out a loss. I was very pleasantly shocked when I saw 159 staring back at me. I'm in the 150s!!! The last time I saw that number was probably in junior high. Amazing!

A couple weeks ago, I bought some size 10 Bermuda shorts. They were really snug and gave me a muffin top, but I decided to buy them for motivation. I put them back on this morning and they fit perfectly.

I know the number on the scale shouldn't have the power to dramatically lift or lower my mood, but damn was I happy about seeing that number today. In fact, it gave me the little push I needed to get through this family party tonight. Thanks for your comments on how to deal with the situation.

Angie and I have decided to bring our own food. I'm thinking a nice mixed green salad with grilled chicken, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and feta sounds almost as delicious as lasagna. Okay, I'm lying. But at least I'll know that I'm eating the best food I can to prepare for my race tomorrow.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a full report on the Parkinson's Foundation Steps to the Cure 5K.

Friday, May 16, 2008

When lasagna attacks

Things are still going well here. I'm staying on track and haven't had any falls from the wagon since Monday. My self-esteem is on its way back up.

I got a call from my mom today. My uncle is in town and my folks are having a family dinner at their place tomorrow night. She's making lasagna, and let me tell you- her lasagna is freaking awesome. Of course, the following day I'm running in a 5K race, so there's no way I can eat lasagna the night before. Carbo-loading is a very important thing to do, but only if you're running in a long-distance race. For a 5K, you're supposed to eat light the day before. It would weigh me down to the point that I'd feel sluggish and tired during the race. Also, Angie and I agreed that we'd give ourselves a little treat on Sunday after the 5K is over (I'm thinking a huuuuge salad and a cupcake at The Mixx).

So, my mom expects me to attend the gathering and watch everyone else eat lasagna while I munch on whatever I choose to bring for myself.


I'm irritated. I know it's not her responsibility to serve healthy meals every time there's a family gathering. I understand that. Even so, she doesn't seem to grasp why it's so difficult for me to resist awesome food when it's nearby. Or, if she does, she doesn't seem to care. Plus, making that lasagna is a ton of work for her. It would be much easier to throw some chicken on the grill, but she shot that idea down faster than it could come out of my mouth.

Honestly, I don't want to attend the party at all now. People will be wondering why I'm not eating the same food as everyone else, which is embarrassing for me. Of course, if I don't go, people will be ticked off. I'm also concerned that I'll say "screw it" and eat the lasagna anyway. No, I won't do that. I don't care how good it smells.

To my readers- what would you do if you were in my place?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bonnie Franklin style

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions. Last Saturday, I broke my previous 5K time and I was on top of the world. That same day, I felt like a failure for making bad choices at a family barbeque. At that point, the vicious circle (binge = guilt = another binge) kicked in, and my poor choices continued into Sunday and Monday. I was seriously concerned that I was on the path back to obesity. My behavior was reminiscent of the old me- a "me" I don't ever want to be again.

My girlfriend Angie struggles with compulsive eating as well, and she has been equally frustrated by her choices. On Monday night, after succumbing to a frozen yogurt craving, we were wondering how the hell to break out of this sabotaging pattern we'd found ourselves in. We made a promise to each other that the next day would be full of only healthy choices and on-plan eating. Just one day. We weren't going to worry about the day after that or the weekend. Bonnie Franklin style- One Day at a Time.

Tuesday went really well. Since I'd made a promise to someone else, it was a lot easier for me to resist tempting foods. Angie stuck to it, too. Before bed that night, we made the same pact for the following day. This is the third day of renewing our promise to make good choices, and so far it's been a wonderful system.

Angie's workplace is like a battlefield of unhealthy foods- it's even worse than my job (which is pretty bad). She works with a guy who constantly orders pizza, Chinese food, and Philly cheese steaks for the entire department. The "treat area" is very close to her desk, so I know it's been hard for her to smell the aromas and watch other people eat that kind of stuff. I'm really proud of her.

In other news...

I made an appointment with a psychologist for Friday, May 23rd. I spoke with her on the phone and she seems very nice and easy to talk to, which are obviously the qualities one looks for in a therapist. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also received a nice compliment from a coworker today. She came up to my desk and very quietly whispered that she normally doesn't comment on others' weight loss, but she thought I was looking very healthy. I can't remember exactly how she worded it, but it was very thoughtful and kind.

Now that I've rambled on forever, I think it's time to go. Until tomorrow...take it one day at a time!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Spirit of the Marathon

The Kansas City Marathon is months away. I haven't even started my official training program yet, although I'm running around 20 miles per week. Right now, I'm basically training in preparation for the more difficult training that looms ahead. In June, I'll join a local running group that offers instruction, group runs, and a specific training guide for my goal of running 26.2 miles on October 18, 2008.

When I think ahead to October and imagine myself running in the marathon, my stomach starts churning and I get sweaty and tense. I can envision myself crossing the finish line and breaking into tears of happiness and exhaustion. I'm nervous, but so excited.

There's a film called The Spirit of the Marathon which chronicles the experiences of both amateur and elite athletes. Since the film isn't available in my city, I've never seen it. However, I bet I've watched the preview on YouTube at least ten times. Each time I've watched it, I've gotten chills and almost started crying. I dare you to watch it and not be moved!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Taking steps

One good day. Today I'll be reciting that mantra. I've planned meals and snacks that are nutritious. This morning, I ran 2 miles on the treadmill, and I'll do another 4-6 miles tonight. So far, so good.

I've given it a lot of thought, and I think would be a good idea to see a therapist. Losing all this weight has wreaked havoc on my thought processes. Isn't that strange? One would think that I'd be in a great state of mind. Don't get me wrong- about 58.7% of the time, I feel great about myself. As I said yesterday, however, I'm still hurting inside. Losing weight improved my body, but my mind still thinks I weigh 264 lbs. I think this plays a big role in my bingeing. Since I still feel like I'm obese, I subconsciously do whatever I can to get back to that state. It's time to get help.

So, I've emailed a few therapists in my area who specialize in eating/self-esteem issues. I already got a reply from one, but unfortunately she doesn't take my insurance. I'm going to keep trying, though.

I also did a search on Amazon for books on binge eating, and I found one that looks helpful. I put it on hold at the library and hopefully I'll be reading it soon.

At this stage, my goal is to gather as much information as possible about the problem I'm facing. I'm not the first person to go through this, so there's got to be a wealth of research on self-sabotaging behavior. Knowledge is power, and I'm ready to get the power back.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Things are getting scary for me. The past few days, I've made a lot of poor choices with my eating. The problem is getting worse, and not better.

Although my decisions haven't made themselves apparent on the scale, it's only a matter of time if I continue on this path. A binge is a binge, whether it's a Big Mac or a bowl of high fiber cereal with fat free yogurt. It's not about what I'm eating, but rather what's going through my mind as I'm eating it.

Lately, I feel like I'm living a double life. Part of me is an athlete. I'm training to run a marathon. I eat the foods that nourish my body, and I feel strong and self-confident. Then, this whole other person comes out. She's extremely insecure, afraid of being alone, and unsatisfied with her body despite all the hard work she's done to improve it.

I know I'm not in a place to give advice to others right now, but I'm going to anyway. For those of you who are trying to drop the pounds, please hear this. Try as hard as you can to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself AND with food before you lose the weight. I know that's hard, but try. If you don't feel good about yourself now, don't assume you'll feel better after slimming down. There are no guarantees.

This can't go on. I have to figure this out, because I'm not gaining that weight back. I refuse.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Giving in, staying strong, and breaking down

After the race yesterday, we went to my cousin's lake house for his annual barbeque picnic lunch. You know me- I always have to have a plan. The plan this time was to eat chicken and veggies. Did I stick to the plan? Of course not. What's the point of even having a plan if I'm not going to stick to it? I ate a ton of food. No alcohol this time, but I more than made up for it when I saw the macaroons and brownies. My proud father was telling all my family members about how I'm a runner now and I'm training for the marathon. A few came up to me to ask me about it, and I tried to explain the difference between a 5K and a marathon with a half-chewed deviled egg in my mouth. Nice.

The weather played a role here. It was a cold, rainy afternoon. Had it been nice and sunny, I would have played volleyball or horse shoes, because my cousin had these games set up. However, since it was all nasty, everyone huddled in the tent where the food was. Close proximity to a buffet is the kiss of death for overeaters.

I felt guilty the rest of the day. On top of that, every tooth my mouth was aching. I had a similar problem a few months ago, and my dentist told me that I probably clench my teeth when I'm stressed out, which leads to the throbbing pain in my jaw, face, and all my teeth. I opted to skip dinner and watch movies with Angie.

At about 6:00 pm, I got such a craving for more unhealthy food. I wanted pizza, and lots of it. I kept looking to Angie, hoping she'd just ask me what kind of toppings I wanted. Really, I was looking to her for permission and also to have a partner in my binge. That's such a terrible thing for me to do. But, she never did pursue it. After about 30 minutes, the craving passed and I no longer had a rabid desire for all things crusty and cheesy. Thanks, Angie.

I went to bed alone at 9:30 and cried until I passed out. I cried partly from the physical pain in my teeth, but mostly they were tears of defeat and exhaustion.

It's amazing to me how I can have such highs and lows all in the same day. In the morning, I broke my previous race time by over a minute, and I was on top of a cloud. Then, I made a few bad decisions and I may as well have been a doormat.

Today I'm grateful for the pizza I didn't eat.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Run for the Dogs 5K

Before I forget, my weigh-in this morning was a pleasant surprise. 160!

Now, onto the race report.

This was a fun event! The Run for the Dogs 5K was a benefit for the Heart of America Humane Society, so there were a lot of animal lovers there with their dogs. Held in the Lakewood area of Lee's Summit, Missouri, there was beautiful scenery, and we couldn't have asked for better weather- 50 degrees and overcast!

Angie and I milled around for a bit and picked up some fun freebie stuff from the various sponsors. We opted not to bring Buster (aka The Enchilada Thief) since he's not too friendly around other dogs. But, we were able to pick up some doggy toys for him. Right at this moment, he's happily nibbling away at a squeaky bone.

Anyway, the "starting gun" of the race was kind of a joke. They had us line up, and then about two seconds later some dude quietly said "ready set go." Everyone kind looked around, confused, and then started running.

I'd like to take this opportunity to call to your attention the fact that I'm wearing shorts. In public. This is huge, folks. Sure, I've worn shorts on my morning runs lately, but there really isn't anyone else on the road at that time of day. Here I am, with real live people all around me, and I'm in athletic shorts. The best part is, I wore them proudly. There wasn't even one bit of self-consciousness involved. What a great feeling!

So I ran. The new shoes were feeling good, the scenery was nice, and I felt strong. So, I pushed a little harder. Mistake. About halfway in, I started to get extremely winded and tired. Twice, I had to stop and walk for a few seconds. People started passing me. I don't like it when people pass me. I really need to learn to save my energy for the end, but that's harder to do than it sounds.

Overjoyed is not a strong enough word to describe how happy I was to see that finish line. If I'd had any energy left, I would have kicked harder, but there was zero left in the bank. Hell- I was overdrawn.

There was no clock at the finish line, and I don't wear a watch, so I had no idea what my time was. Angie told me I was the 7th female to cross the finish line, and I was in 28th place overall. Later on, I peeked at the results, and my time was 27:49! That's a minute faster than last week's race. Sweet!

After the 5K, there was a 1-mile walk that Angie participated in. I stayed by the food and waited for her. She was the 5th or 6th person to finish, which was awesome. She had a great time.

Then there were contests for the dogs, like Best Kisser, Best Costume, etc.

What a blast! We'll definitely be back next year.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Nervous / New running shoes

Tomorrow is weigh-in day, and I'm predicting a gain. I've been hovering around 160-161 for several weeks, but lately I've been getting complacent. Little indulgences here are there are starting to add up. After each slip-up, I've recovered by repeating my mantra: "I can't gain it all back overnight." Well, that may be true, but I still could gain it back over time. Every once in a while, I have to have a heart-to-heart with myself and recommit to the whole lifestyle. Seems like it's time to do that again.

I'm toying with the idea of stepping on the scale more frequently. Back when I was weighing in daily, I was more vigilant with my diet. It's something to think about.

In other news...

You might remember from yesterday's post that I picked up a new pair of running shoes yesterday. I'm reading all these books about preparing for a marathon, and the first thing they all say is that you MUST go to a specialty store and get fitted for a proper pair of GOOD shoes. I've been pretty bad about that in the past. I'd go into the discount store, try on a couple pairs, and walk out with the first one that fit me. I have big feet, so it's always difficult to find shoes that are comfortable.

So anyway, I went to Garry Gribble's Running Sports and was promptly approached by a running shoe expert. He had me walk around a bit so he could get a feel for my gait. He got close to the floor and looked at my feet very seriously, like he was trying to solve the conflict in the Middle East. After a few strolls around, he informed me my gait was very normal, which I was happy to hear.

With apprehension and embarrassment, I told him my shoe size, expecting him to say "Sorry, we don't carry clown shoes here. Go to the big lady shoe store." To my happy surprise, they carry shoes for those of us girls who are well-endowed in the foot department. He went to the back and came out with a bunch of different kinds. I felt a tad bit silly running around the mall to test them out, but I wasn't going to drop $100 for less than perfection. After a few tries, I found my perfect pair and I was sold.

I walked out of the store with my purchase, excited to get home to try them on the treadmill. Let me repeat that. I was excited to get home to the treadmill. I laced up my new white-and-pink running shoes and hopped on. Seriously, people, it was like running on a cloud. Like butter. Why didn't I do this sooner?

Tune in tomorrow for a report on the Run for the Dogs 5K!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Addiction transfer

Addiction transfer. Maybe you've heard of it. Say you have a problem with addiction or compulsion. Take me, for example. I think it's safe to say I'm a compulsive over-eater. I also have a problem where I get addicted to a certain food (like the cereal problem or the frozen yogurt problem).

Anyway, the idea behind addiction transfer is that we trade one addiction for another. From what I've been told, folks in AA tend to become coffee addicts. I've also heard stories of women who have gastric bypass surgery, then become very promiscuous after losing the weight. Since they can no longer consume huge amounts of food, they look for other ways to fill the void.

Food was (and still is) very much an addiction for me. I think about it all the time. Planning my next meal is something that occurs while I'm still eating the current one. Thankfully, a little planning never hurt anyone when it comes to weight loss.

So, when I'm not eating, what fills the void? What addiction(s) do I transfer to? There are a lot of things, really. Running, blog writing/reading, list-making (yeah, I'm weird), shopping... I have lots of "mini-addictions" that happily keep me occupied if I can't be participating in my monster addiction.

Clearly, some of those behaviors aren't dangerous, but a shopping addiction could really get me in trouble. I'm not rolling in money, but I sure do like to purchase products. Thankfully, I really did need all the stuff I got today: new running shoes, shorts, 10-lb dumbbells, and Gu packets. I also got some stuff for Mother's Day. The point is, the little high I got when the receipts were printing reminded me slightly of that "warm feeling" I get when I bite into something really delicious. Just another thing to watch out for.

An even greater high, however, was when the running store guy looked at my I.D. He looked at it, looked at me, and said "Morgan, it looks like you've lost a bunch of weight!" You can't beat a rush like that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cinco de Uh-oh

I seriously overdid it last night.

A good friend was visiting from out of town. She knows I hate going to bars, so she asked a bunch of us over to her parents' house (where she was staying) to have some Cinco de Mayo celebrating and catching up.

I planned to indulge a little. Have a couple of drinks, some good food, etc., without feeling guilty. This morning, I don't feel guilty. Not one bit. That's because the only feeling I can muster right now is OhmyGodI'mgonnadie.

I ate so much food it was unbelievable. Embarrassing. Tons of chips and salsa, guacamole, tortilla soup, chocolate chip cookies, margaritas, and beer. Nothing I ate is that bad if you just have a small bit. But the fact is, I had 4 chocolate chip cookies, and they weren't small. The Cookie Monster has nothing on me, people. He's an amateur. I estimate I consumed roughly one avocado tree and one tortilla chip factory.

The other people who were there hadn't seen me in a while, and my weight loss was definitely noticed. However, when they saw how much food and drink I put away, I saw a few of them mentally scratching their heads. How can she eat so much and still lose that kind of weight? Well, the out-of-control behavior I exhibited last night was not something I'm proud of, nor do I intend to repeat it any time soon.

Now, because of my apparent inability to control myself, I've spent the entire morning evacuating an entire Mariachi band from my intestines. Ole!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

AM vs. PM workouts

When it comes to exercising, I'm not a morning person. Unfortunately, I'm not a mid-day or evening person, either. Most of the time, it seems like a chore no matter what time of day I'm sweating.

I've found myself increasingly busy lately, so it's been difficult to figure out exactly when to do which exercises. In the past, I've preferred to do weights in the morning and cardio at night. Yesterday and today, however, I did my runs in the morning. At the buttcrack of dawn, to be exact. When I set out for my 5 mile run today, the sun was just peeking out from the horizon. I was alone with my thoughts and the sound of my feet pounding on the pavement. It was really nice.

Something I've noticed is I'm not as hungry during the day if I do my cardio in the morning. If I do weights in the morning- oh my god- I can't get enough food.

What have your experiences been with AM vs. PM workouts? I'm curious to get other perspectives.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My first sweat-wicking garment

It's official. I'm a runner now. In anticipation of my summer training for the marathon, I purchased my first sweat-wicking t-shirt on Saturday. I can't believe I spent $35 on a t-shirt, but I suppose I'll feel better about it this July when I'm running through the split-pea-soup-humidity of Kansas City. Summers in my lovely hometown are pretty brutal. Of course, this will be the first summer in a very long time that I'll feel okay about wearing shorts, so I suspect I'll be much more comfortable.

Speaking of shorts, I also got some running shorts on my shopping excursion. Perhaps I've mentioned before that I haven't worn shorts in public since I was about 13 years old. This morning I ran through the streets of my neighborhood wearing my new shorts, and feeling the cool air on my legs was awesome and strange. I passed a few other people on the sidewalk. No one looked down at my legs in disgust or horror. When I made eye contact, I never saw "I can't believe she's wearing shorts" in their eyes.

Yup, I care way too much about what other people think; it's true. That's something I'm working on, and I'm getting better. Still, whenever I conquer something in my thin body which felt uncomfortable in my fat body, I get a little nervous. As my brain catches up with my body, a more confident and care-free person is emerging.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Argh! / Congrats to Jennette

When I picked up my packet for the Dragon Dash 5K the other day, I opened it up and noticed that they'd registered me as a male. Not a huge surprise, considering the fact that my name is androgynous. So, I called them to get it corrected. No answer. I emailed them, and never got a reply. The morning of the race, I went to the volunteer table, flashed my boobies, and said "See? I'm a girl!" Okay, I didn't flash my boobies. But I explained the situation and they wrote it down and said they'd get it corrected before the results would be posted.

So, imagine my dismay when I checked the results page today and they still had me down as a dude. The way it looks now, I'm the 30-year-old man who finished third-to-last. Not so great. However, if you take my official finish time of 28:52 and plug it into the "females ages 30-39" category, I came in FOURTH!!!! This is freaking awesome, but no one will ever know because those stupid idiots think I have a damned Y-chromosome. I'm so pissed. I wrote them another email. Grrrr.

on a brighter note...

Most of you who read this blog also read Half of Me. Jennette ran her half-marathon yesterday and did an awesome job. You should go to her blog, read all about it, then tell her how awesome she is. I'm about to, myself! Go Jennette!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Corinth Dragon Dash 5K

This race was what I like to call a beeotch. It was very chilly, kind of windy, and I was feeling kind of heavy from all the food I ate yesterday at the party.

All proceeds of the race went to a local elementary school, so there were a bunch of kids everywhere. I'm not a huge fan of small, young humans. They bug me. The Culver's Frozen Custard mascot was walking around, and a bunch of the young boys were like, "Let's jump him! Let's knock him over!" Poor guy. Or I guess it could have been a girl. We'll never know.

The starting gun went off and everyone sprinted out of the starting area. It was insane. Remember the episode of Friends where Phoebe runs? It was like that. Body parts were flailing. I was trying to pace myself, but I felt like I had to speed up just so I wouldn't be last. Everyone was going so fast. Of course, they all started to lose their breath and slow down, so I got to do my "Mwa ha ha ha!" laugh at them. The race wound its way through the local neighborhood. It was hilly. I was getting passed by kids and their 30-something parents. It was discouraging, to say the least. I'd given up hope of repeating, let alone beating, my previous 5K time of 29:42. I don't wear a watch while I run, so I had no idea how long I'd been going.

I tried to keep my eye on a woman about 50 feet in front of me. I just had to stay close to her and I'd be fine, I thought. Her pace was steady. Toward the end of the race, she stopped to tie her shoe and I passed her. It was all downhill form there- literally.

At the finish line, I saw Angie snapping my picture. She's so sweet for coming to all my races to support me. She'll be joining me in next weekend's Run for the Dogs, which benefits the Humane Society.

Anyway, as I came into the finish, I didn't even look for the clock. I was just so exhausted, I wanted to get that chip off my shoe and go find a quite corner to puke in. I felt sick. My ears were buzzing and I was all tingly. That's the way I feel right before I faint. Somewhere in my foggy brain, I heard Angie tell me I came in under 29 minutes, which is a personal best for me.

I really didn't care. I wanted to get some water and get the hell out of there. I smiled for an "after" photo, even though I felt like total crap.

The best part of this race was getting home so I could take a hot shower. Now that I've had some time to rest, I'm extremely proud of my finish time, especially because the route was so damn hilly.

Angie and I will be driving to her home town today, where there will be a hot dog roast and some catching up with her family. I'm really looking forward to it and don't plan on feeling guilty for indulging.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Over-eating on rest days

One would assume that I'd be hungrier on days that I exercise. I'm burning more calories, so I should crave more calories, right? Not so much.

Take today, for example. It's the day before my 5K race, which means I don't work out. The goal is to conserve my energy and eat healthily. I was doing a really good job on that until about 4 o'clock this afternoon. The company I work for is participating in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, and the kick-off party was today. I'm embarrassed to admit how much food I ate. A barbecued pork sandwich, a hot dog, some chips, 3 chocolate chip cookies, and a beer. That's not that bad, but then I went home and ate dinner with Angie too. There was absolutely no reason I needed to eat a second dinner. It's not as if I need to carbo-load for a frickin' 5K. Ridiculous.

Oh well. It's not the first time this has happened, and it probably won't be the last. It's just frustrating because I had a very specific plan for how I needed to eat today. I'm hoping my race time won't be affected. We shall see.

5K May

In honor of my one-year weight loss milestone, I've decided to run in four races this month. The first, the Corinth Dragon Dash 5K, is tomorrow. It seems like every time I've run a race, the temperature has been in the low 40s. The forecast is the same for tomorrow. Standing around, waiting for the race to start, I'm always freezing cold at these things. I'm sure I'll be begging for cold temperatures this summer when I'm training for the marathon.

I'm still trying to get into the "I'm a runner" mentality. Part of me still feels like sort of a fraud for saying I'm a runner, but I don't know why. After making my final decision to train for the marathon and posting my plans on the blog, I felt very nervous. What if I'm crazy and/or stupid for doing this? I know people with less running experience than me have successfully completed marathons, but can I be one of those people? Most experts recommend a minimum of one year of experience before signing up. At the time of the marathon (Oct. 18th), I'll be just shy of that mark.

I've had a few people try to convince me I'm making the wrong decision. They say I'm not ready, the training will kill me, I should do a half-marathon first...yada yada yada. Here's the thing- this not a decision I took lightly. I know the training, especially the long Saturday runs, will be grueling. I know the marathon itself might very well be hell on Earth.

I'm still going to try. I know I can do this!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My 1-year anniversary

One year ago today, I started taking steps to a healthier life. It's hard to believe that I was 264 lbs. at that time. I was always tired, sluggish, and feeling disgusted with myself. It was time for a change, and I was finally ready.

I'd heard one of the best things you can do when you start a weight loss program is write down all your food and exercise, so I started doing that. That first week, I didn't do much to change my diet. I was just trying to get a sense of how much I ate on any given day. I ate more than the "normal" sized person, but the quantity wasn't what disturbed me. What disturbed me was the quality, or lack of quality, in the foods I chose. Also, nearly every night, I ate before bedtime. I wasn't exercising. There it was, on paper. Concrete data for me to see, and not imagine away.

I was fat, and I was sick of it.

It was the perfect time of year to make changes. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years were long behind. The weather was nice. More fruits and veggies were in season. I started taking our dog on brisk walks to the park. As cars drove by me, I was sure all the people were looking at my beet-red face and thinking "Man, it's a good thing she's out walking, because she really needs the exercise. " It was frustrating to be so winded after a 25 minute walk, but I knew I would improve with practice.

As the days, weeks, and months went by, I became stronger and the pounds came off. I had many, many setbacks. Most of the setbacks were minor, such as small binges every couple of weeks. I had one pretty major setback when I injured my back and didn't exercise for two months. Still, I knew that one of the characteristics all weight loss success stories is perseverance. Even when I screwed up, I had to keep going.

In the last year, I've traveled about 670 miles on my feet, either walking or running. That's enough to get me from my hometown of Kansas City to Denver, and then some. I've run in 4 races. I've gone from a size 26 to a size 12. I've lost 103 lbs.

Sometimes it's scary to think that I'll need to be on top of the diet/exercise game for the rest of my life. That doesn't mean I'll never have another cheeseburger or pint of ice cream, but I will have to be vigilant for the remainder of my lucid days. I suppose after I get really old and all I care about is bingo, I can forget about exercising and logging what I eat. Until, though, this is my new life. Exercising. Eating the good stuff. Falling off the wagon and getting back on.

I'm okay with that. It's worth it.