Monday, June 30, 2008

Fighting, Part II

When we last left our heroine, she was precariously perched at the edge of a potential chocolate chip cookie catastrophe. Did she do her planned workouts? Did she go to McDonald's and buy massive quantities of cookies?


I did my weights and the 3 mile run, and I didn't get cookies. I thought about them the entire time I was on the treadmill and debated whether or not one cookie was worth the trip. The more I debated, the hungrier I got. I wound up eating two bowls of cereal and a sandwich- more calories than if I'd eaten the damn cookies in the first place. At least they were useful calories; there was fiber and protein and all that good stuff, and not just sugar and butter. But it was still irksome that I blew it like that.

In other news, I have a 5 mile run scheduled for tonight. Tomorrow, my running group is holding an informational meeting for first-time marathoners. Hopefully I'll get some new tips.


It's 7:47 pm. I finished my dinner over an hour ago. All I can think about right now is getting 3 chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate milk from McDonald's. Have you guys tried those things? The cookies aren't warm, but they somehow figured out a way to make the chocolate chips melty and gooey anyway. Pure evil.

When the craving hit me, I just said, "Oh no, not again." I stared at Angie with that look that I get. She knows exactly what the look means and doesn't need me to tell her that I want something decadent. I sat there and pouted for a bit, angry that the craving entered my mind in the first place, and wondering what would happen. I honestly didn't know if I would succumb to the craving or ride it out. I still don't know.

Angie informed me that the McDonald's cookies are 160 calories each. "That's not that bad," I replied.

It's now 8:06 pm and I still want to cruise through the drive through. However, I decided to put on my workout clothes and do a weight training video. After that, I'll see how I feel about running 3 miles. If that goes well, maybe I'll go to McDonald's and get one cookie. Maybe.

To be continued...

Happy Monday

It's Monday again. Mondays are normally a day I dread for the obvious reasons. The joy of the weekend is over, and I have to go back to work. I look forward to the day when I can say "I get to go to work" rather than "I have to." I realize very few people really love their jobs, but I want to be among those who do.

My food choices weren't quite as bad as they normally are on weekends. I definitely over-indulged at dinner both Saturday and Sunday nights. I ate frozen yogurt both days, as well as peanut MNMs and popcorn at the movies. Still, there were no real binges.

You may have noticed I'm up 2 pounds from last week. My clothes are getting a little snug and I'm not feeling as energetic as I have in the past. I'm sure this is due to a combination of factors. I've obviously been eating more on the weekends than I should, but I'm baby-stepping my way back to reality. It seems like each weekend is progressively less destructive. Also, I increased my caloric intake by a couple hundred calories in an effort to better fuel myself for all this running, as well as to stave off binges. I think it's helping, but it's really too soon to tell. If I continue to gain weight (or, more importantly, feel like my clothes are getting tighter) I'll have to reevaluate my diet.

I had my second group run on Saturday, and I ran 12 miles instead of the 10 I'd planned. That's almost half the distance of a marathon! My feet, legs, and butt were on fire by the time I was done, but it was good pain. It was pain that told me I'd worked hard. I still can't believe how much faster the time goes by when you're running with a group. It's amazing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ultra Endurance

Every year in July, up to 90 people gather in Death Valley to run what is frequently described as the world's most difficult footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon. If you're crazy enough to want to run this 135-mile race in 120+ degree heat, you can't just fill out a registration form and expect to be signed up. Potential participants must be veterans of ultra-endurance racing. Every applicant is scrutinized to see if he or she has what it takes to compete. And, if you do get in, the rules require that you bring a support crew with you to make sure you don't die somewhere along the way.

The notion of the ultra athleticism is something that I only recently became aware of. While "normal" running events like marathons get tons of media attention, many people have never heard of ultra marathons. I was at the local discount bookstore a few weeks ago when I came across a book called Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. I bought the book and read it at every opportunity. I only put it down when I had to work, sleep, or run. Its author, Dean Karnazes, is apparently human, although one might argue that after reading about his exploits. This guy frequently runs 50-100 mile races, and has won Badwater. His most recent stunt was to complete 50 marathons in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days. The man has 6% body fat. Yup, I think he might be a cyborg.

My little 26.2 mile jaunt in October is chump change compared to what these athletes go through. The world of ultra endurance is so intriguing to me that I can't stop learning about it. I rented a documentary about Badwater called Running on the Sun, and was blown away. One runner had so many problems with his toenails that he just decided to get them surgically removed. Another runner started having hallucinations of other runners that weren't really there. I covered my eyes more than once. I also cried a lot (big shocker, I know).

The more I learn about these events, the more crazy and masochistic I think these people are- and the more I want to do an ultra marathon myself. For now, however, I'll have to settle for running 10 miles with my training group tomorrow. Hopefully my toenails and mental acumen will remain intact.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Thanks to all your comments, I'm now convinced I need a new driver's license. As soon as I have the money (I'm broke from paying my shrink), I'll be in line at the DMV.

Today I also decided to increase my caloric intake. The last time I did this, which was in February, I was extremely reluctant and nervous. I was worried I'd stop losing- or worse- gain. Still, the pounds kept coming off, albeit very slowly.

Ideally, I'd love to lose another 10 pounds to get to 150. With marathon training, however, that probably won't happen. I've decided it's okay for me to go into maintenance mode until late October. I've gone to countless web sites and entered my information into their calculators, and I'm definitely not eating enough. This could explain why I binge every few days. I've felt really hungry lately, but sadly, I'm never 100% sure if my hunger is real or imagined.

My hope is that my desire to binge will subside if I give my body a little more fuel each day. Just like last time, I'm nervous. I'll probably see a gain on the scale for a week or two, then it should even out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Expensive healing / driver's license

As you may already know, I've been seeing a therapist for my issues with food and weight. After only three sessions, I know it's helping. I'm having fewer binges than before, which is great. Getting the bill, however... not so great. I've happily been paying my $25 copay each visit, knowing that the remainder of the fee would be submitted to my insurance. I knew I'd have to pay out-of-pocket to satisfy my deductible, but I was shocked to open my bill and see that I owe almost $300.00. Eeeesh.

I really like my therapist and want to continue, but I may have to start going once a month rather than every two weeks.

On a completely different note, I lost my driver's license the other day. I looked in my wallet and the spot where it normally sits was empty. I got really panicky, because I had no idea where I'd left it. The day they took my photo for it, I probably weighed at least 260 lbs. Of course, at the time I lied and said I was 200, so that's the weight that appears on my license. As I thought more about that, I was kind of glad I'd misplaced it. What a great excuse to go get a new one! And, this time, I could proudly say I weigh 160 lbs. and have it be the truth for once. Then I started pondering what outfit I could wear and practicing my smile, which I think always looks strange in photos.

At that very moment, I got a phone call from my bank. Apparently I'd left my license in the tube at the drive through. Crap.

Monday, June 23, 2008


In my opinion, having a routine is one of the essential ingredients in a weight loss success story. Honestly, the fewer choices I have to make about food on any given day, the better. Monday through Friday is very routine for me. Even though I'm not exactly happy at my job, I can pretty much expect the same things to occur each day I spend in my cubicle, which is a good thing:

Reply to mean emails, avoid treat table
10:30: Eat a snack
Reply to mean emails, avoid treat table
12:00-1:00: Go home, eat lunch
Reply to mean emails, avoid treat table
2:30: Eat a snack
2:35 -4:00:
Reply to mean emails, avoid treat table
4:00: Eat a snack
Reply to mean emails, avoid treat table

Weekends throw me off. Although we make tentative plans, there is no set schedule to tell me when and what to eat. Everything seems haphazard and spur of the moment, even though it's not. It's just because I'm out of my routine that things seem crazy. As you may guess, this poses a problem.

On Saturdays, I do a long run, which makes me feel ravenous the rest of the day. Out of a sense of entitlement and also real, physical hunger, I allow myself to eat more on Saturdays. This usually means we'll go get a huge salad and the world's best cupcake at The Mixx. It never ends there, though. Saturday night there was the Chinese buffet. Sunday, we went to our favorite Indian buffet. Oh, and let's not forget two trips to TCBY, the bag of Reese's Pieces at the movies, and the spicy Italian sub and giant cookie I ate for dinner last night.

Needless to say, I spent much of the weekend in a self-induced calorie coma. It doesn't feel good when I do this. I enjoyed the salad and cupcake, but after that, everything was a blur. As we drove to the Chinese buffet on Saturday night, I felt like I was about to steal money from my grandma to buy drugs or something. It was a feeling of pre-regret, like I knew I was about to do something really, really wrong. I did it anyway.

Today, my body is trying to rid itself of all the toxins I fed it. "Monday Detox" is becoming a regular occurrence. This can't continue. While I understand the need to have an occasional indulgence, this doesn't mean I need to go completely nuts all weekend long. My goal for next weekend will be to avoid buffets. Baby steps.

This is a learning process, and even though I've screwed up countless times, I bounce back and start again. I haven't binged in a week, which is a pretty long time for me. The "it's not in here" note on the refrigerator is still working its magic.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's not in here

A few days ago, I taped a big sign to the refrigerator door that reads "It's not in here." The sign is large and bold, and it catches my eye the moment I walk in the kitchen. Since I put that sign up, I haven't had a binge. Granted, that was only Monday, but given my track record lately, I'm pretty happy. There have been moments, especially in the evenings when I'm packing snacks for the following day, that I've wanted to get out the cereal and yogurt and go to town. "It's not in here" has stopped me, time and time again.

Delaying gratification is something I've never been good at. I'm an only child, and although I'd like to think I wasn't a brat growing up (some may disagree), I will be the first to admit I was spoiled. I'm not trying to blame my parents for my problems, but I do think this played a role in my present eating dilemma. When there's something delicious to eat in my general vicinity (like today someone brought PIE to work- dammit), it's a constant argument between two selves. The rational part of me says it's not the last pie that will ever cross my path. The primal, instinctual part of me kicks in and tells me I must inhale said pie until the pie is no more. Whichever "self" wins the battle is dependent upon my stress level and whatever else is going on that day.

Today, the pie remained safe from my grasp. Sure, I wanted a piece pretty damn badly, but the rational part of me won. There will be other pies. I can wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The 411

It's official. I just registered for the Kansas City Marathon. According to the confirmation email I just received, my bib number will be 411. Clearly, they understand that I have all the information everyone wants to know, so they just went ahead and bestowed that very appropriate bib number. Good for them for recognizing the obvious.

Now, back to the real world...

Holy crap. I just signed up for a freaking marathon. Am I insane? Not only am I planning on running 26.2 miles without being chased by a bear or a policeman, but I'm paying to do it?! Obviously, I'm mentally ill. Now that there's been an exchange of currency and they know my name and address, I must admit I'm a little apprehensive. Will I be ready? Will I hit the Wall? Will it hurt?

All I can do is my best. There is a lot of work to do between now and October. I'm glad I have the support of my loved ones, the guidance of a renowned running group, and a lighter body to carry me through. I can do this!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be my Dorothy Boyd

It's only Tuesday, and I'm already planning next week's menu. Bored of our usual selections, I looked through my food journal to see what I was eating one year ago.

As I scrolled through the food logs of diet past, I noticed how disciplined I was back then. We hardly did any cheat meals, for fear of totally falling off the wagon and going back to the old lifestyle. Even when we did eat at a restaurant, we meticulously researched the calories and worked the meal into our plan. My binges occurred maybe once a month; these days, it's 2-3 times per week. Granted, my workouts back then were tamer. I also had the tenacity, resolve, and empowerment that comes with a brand new decision to change one's life.

My food logs in recent months tell a different tale.

Sure, I still count my calories and log all my food and exercise, but my logs are littered with cheat meals and binges. That tenacity to eat as healthfully as possible seems to be waning. Everything's good in the exercise department, so that's something. Still, I'm a believer that diet is 80% of weight loss.

I need to rekindle that spark and drive that got me to this point. If there's ever a time I've needed a kick in the pants, it's now. Now is the moment to reaffirm my goals and recommit to evolving into a healthier person. My new mission statement: I WILL FIGURE THIS OUT!

So, in the words of Jerry Maguire:

Who's coming with me? Who's coming with me?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mourning fat Morgan

After running 10 miles on Saturday, I hobbled into my therapist's office for a head shrinking session. There was one incident I was particularly motivated to discuss with her, and that incident was the total and utter binge that occurred on Wednesday, June 11th. This was a binge that left me physically ill, morally wasted, and questioning the worth of my life. It was a bad day, as you may remember from my earlier post. By the way, that post brought in more comments than I'd ever gotten, and I'd like to thank you all for your support. It truly helps to hear from you, so please keep the comments coming.

My therapist asked me how I felt emotionally after the binge. I think she expected me to say I felt guilty and angry for having no self control. I really felt none of that, though. The feeling I had most was total despair.

"You're grieving the death of your former self," she told me, without missing a beat.

I'll be the first to admit that sounds pretty cheesy and psycho-babble-y. Still, a light bulb went off brighter than ever before. The old me is gone, and I miss her. I miss being able to eat a half gallon of ice cream and not feel bad about it. I miss the days when I didn't have to worry about getting a workout in, or how I'd cope with a pizza party at my office.

She explained that many people who go through dramatic weight loss experience a mourning period, in which they grieve the loss of their former fat selves. There's no quick way through it. Just as though a family member has died, I need to go through the gamut of emotions and deal with it.

Angie suggested having a funeral in which I bury my old fat pants and play Taps. A good idea in theory, but I don't have a shovel or a bugle. So, I guess I'll just have to say goodbye to fat Morgan in my own way- the occasional binge, followed by blogging and crying in my cubicle.

In other news, I've opted to run the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon on September 14th as a warm-up to the KC Marathon. After successfully running 10 miles the other day, the idea of running 13.1 miles seems a lot less daunting.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My first 10-miler!

I just ran 10 miles. That's just crazy to me. The craziest part is that it was fun and it went by in no time at all.

Today was my first run with my new training group. When embarking on my marathon training quest, at first I was resigned to run mile after mile in solitude. Then, one day it dawned on me that would really suck. Also, I didn't want to carry a water bottle around on these long weekend runs. The local group I joined has about 400 members, but they are broken down into smaller pace groups. Each week, there's a new route with aid stations set up every 2 miles.

I arrived at today's location at about 6:45 a.m. I was nervous on multiple levels, but that quickly evaporated because the second I walked up to the starting area, the 12 minute mile group was about to head out. I decided to go with that pace group. Yeah, I'm a much faster runner than that, but the coach said to start out conservatively. The goal of these long runs is to increase your endurance, not your speed.

Normally, I'm not a very outgoing person. I'm not the type to walk up to a stranger and say "Hi, my name's Morgan. What's yours?" But today, I thought it would be in my best interest to put myself out there, so I did. I introduced myself to another new member, and the two of us wound up running the next 10 miles together. We talked the entire way, about family, running, life, and cooking. She asked me how I'd gotten into running, and I gave her some background on my weight loss. When you're not paying very much attention to how much running can suck, the time really flies by.

After the run, there was a pancake breakfast where I met even more people. As we ate our pancakes and sausage, we dished about last weekend's Hospital Hill run and how difficult it was. When I shared my finish time with the group, they quickly informed me I was running in the wrong pace group and I needed to be with the 11 minute mile folks, so I'll give that a try next time.

So, yay for running 10 miles AND enjoying myself simultaneously. Woot! Oh, and double woot for getting back down to 159 lbs. today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The fountain of doom

There have been numerous occasions on this blog when I've complained about the ridiculous amount of treats that infect my workplace. On any given day, stroll around my office and you'll surely find something to eat. The other day, in a very public display of humiliation, I gorged myself on approximately 20 mini Snickers (no, I'm not exaggerating), pizza, chips and salsa, and cake.

Today, they had a ranch dressing fountain.

You know those fountains... the ones where they normally put chocolate, right? Well, some genius decided it would be an awesome idea to water down some Hidden Valley and put it in a fountain. When I walked into the surrounding area, the smell of ranch permeating the air about made me lose my lunch. I really hate the stuff, so thankfully I was in no danger. It was so gross. A bunch of us were standing around it, wondering what other dumb things one could put in a fountain. Jams and jellies were my vote. Someone mentioned peanut butter, then someone just said butter.

I was afraid you wouldn't believe me, so I actually shot some video of it. Here you go.

My first tag!

I've been tagged by Topher over at I'll Run for Donuts! I'm supposed to answer 5 questions about running, then tag 5 more people. So, I'm tagging... KC Tri Chick, Jaime, Running Chick with the Orange Hat, Abby Runs, and April Anne. I'll go to their blogs and let them know they've been tagged, and then hopefully they'll answer these questions, then come back here and let me know.

1. How would I describe my running 10 years ago?

Let's see...nonexistent. 10 years ago, I was a pack-a-day smoker who weighed about 200 lbs. I'd just gone through a terrible breakup and spent most of my time crying and pining away for the person who'd just dumped me. Running was the last thing on my mind.

2. What is your best and worst race experience?

I've been in 8 races so far, and all of them were special to me. It just won't be possible for me to pick a favorite. They were all meaningful for different reasons.

For the worst, I'm sorry to say the Dragon Dash 5K was not a pleasant experience. First, they screwed up and listed me as a male. This skewed my results and also was embarrassing. Secondly, I pushed it really hard and seriously almost passed out after crossing the finish line.

3. Why do you run?

I'd love to tell you that I run because it's a spiritual, zen-like meditation for me. That, however, would be a lie. My main reason for running is to maintain a 100-lb. weight loss. When I first starting losing the weight, walking was enough to keep the pounds coming off, but not anymore.

Now that I've been running for a while, I find that I do get a sense of enjoyment from it, but this feeling typically arrives after the run is over. I've experienced the runner's high once or twice, but it was fleeting, and I'll likely spend the rest of my running life trying to feel it again.

Really, there are lots of reasons I run. I like to go to races and be part of a community. There's definitely a sense of accomplishment after I complete a run. The solitude is nice. My calf muscles are insane. I run because, finally, I can. When I was obese, just running to the refrigerator was a struggle. I run to inspire others. My girlfriend just ran her first 10-minute mile last weekend, and my dad came to the track with me last night to try his first steps as a new runner.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

You are only competing with yourself. Unless you're an elite athlete, let's face it- you're probably not going to win a marathon any time soon. So, don't worry about how fast so-and-so ran whatever race, or how many miles your coworker logged last week. It's all about what works for you.

So far, I've not received any bad advice. All the runners I've encountered are kind, helpful people, and they want to see you succeed at your goals.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.

I spend an unnatural amount time in front of the mirror flexing my arm muscles. Like, several minutes every day. It's weird.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ring of Fire

Yesterday was, to put it mildly, devastating. I ate more unhealthy food than I care to admit. Recently, my "episodes" have mainly included foods that could be considered healthy- cereal, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, etc. Yesterday, though, it was all junk, and a lot of it. I'm not proud to sit here and type this out, especially since this is a weight LOSS blog. I know many of you come here for inspiration. However, I need to be honest, or else what's the point?

I fell into such a dark state of mind yesterday. More than once, this scary thought crossed my mind: "What's the point of living if every waking moment is spent thinking about food?" Life seemed pointless. Not good.

Of course, when all this was happening, I was at work. Crying in one's cubicle is apparently frowned upon, so I tried to suck it up and choke back my tears. I went around to a couple coworkers' desks and vented a bit. There are a few people at my job who know about my struggles, and they're always sympathetic. Even though they listened and offered support, I still felt extremely alone, like no one truly understood.

It wasn't until that evening, when I had my first meeting with my new running group, that I perked up a little. New members were supposed to pick up our materials and do a meet-and-greet with the coach and other members. As I sat there and listened to others' goals of completing their first marathons, I once again became inspired. My self-loathing melted away as I heard a woman in her 50s talk about her upcoming triathlon.

My body is now punishing me for the damage I did yesterday. I've never suffered from acid reflux, but this morning my esophagus is burning Johnny Cash style. Ring of Fire? Get it? Hey, at least I'm making a feeble attempt at a joke. That's a step up from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I have to confess

Just a couple hours ago, I wrote about how great I was feeling after being on the wagon for 2 days. Not 30 minutes later, I was eating cake, mini-snickers, and chips at work. Why did I do that?! We have a new head honcho at our office, and twice he has bumped scheduled meetings with my group. I think this is both annoying and disrespectful. It implies that he thinks our time isn't important. Anyway, I was feeling pissed off, so I ate the stuff that I'd avoided earlier in the day out of a sense of entitlement.

To top it off, the suits are treating the whole company to pizza today. I have my lunch of lovely leftovers all planned out, but will I able to resist the aroma of pizza? It's going to be tough.

My therapist and I were talking about the "all or nothing" mentality that is so prevalent in the weight loss world. Part of me thinks this day is already f***ed and I should just eat the pizza.

My last post was called "ups and downs," and this is a prime example of that.

Ups and downs

I think we all go through the peaks and valleys of being both enthused and annoyed by diet and exercise. I'm certainly no exception. From my "I can't wait to run attitude" in previous posts, one might think I never get tired of it. Well, I do.

Last night, I had a 5-7 mile run planned. Exactly how long I ran would depend on how my legs were feeling. Before even hitting the pavement, I was dreading it. There was no particular reason; in fact, all the variables were lined up for me to have a great experience. The weather was pleasant, I had no specific aches or pains, and I still needed to try out my new Hospital Hill sweat wicking t-shirt. Still, my heart just wasn't in it.

If I wasn't trying to maintain a 100-lb weight loss, I would have just skipped it. But, once again, my accountability to myself, as well as my blog readers, kicked in and I put on my running shoes. One great thing about publishing my planned workouts on this blog is that I'm a lot more likely to follow through.

My run wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great, either. I don't think a single endorphin made an appearance. Additionally, I almost got run over twice, and I think I ingested 3 insects. But, at least I did it. I got in 6.3 miles and felt better for having pushed myself.

In other news, I'm happy to report I haven't fallen off the diet wagon since Sunday. I know 2 days doesn't seem like much, but when you think about food pretty much 24/7, it's a big deal. Without all the sugar and other junk in my system, I feel upbeat, strong, and confident. It's still a struggle not to eat 5 bowls of cereal sometimes, but for now I'm staying on top of it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Falling off the wagon on race days

I fell off the wagon a few times this weekend. After a racing event, I seem to be particularly vulnerable to all-day caloriefests. I have a few ideas why, but nothing jumps out as being "the one" correct answer.

My first instinct is that I've just put my body through a great deal of stress, and so it rebels by sending me signals to eat. It's a basic, primal, chemical reaction. A malnourished caveman was almost certainly the first one to be outrun by a predator. It's my body's way of saying "fatten up so we don't get eaten by a mountain lion, okay?"

Another possibility is that there's some degree of emotional let-down after a race. Even though I'm usually pleased with my performance, there's always that nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me I could have done better. This could lead to emotional eating.

Finally, it could be that I'm just hungrier than normal because I burned a ton of calories.

Who knows what the answer is... certainly not me. All I know for sure is that today is a new day, and I'm ready to start over.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hospital Hill 10K

As you already know, I woke up at 5 am. I was suspiciously calm and not at all nervous. Reportedly, lack of race day nerves is actually a negative thing. The fact that I wasn't nervous wound up making me nervous, so then I was in good shape. I ate a leftover sweet potato and pecan pancake (these things are awesome), then we were out the door.

Angie and I got to the site by 6:30. As we were wandering around, Topher came up and said hi. We chatted for a while about the looming KC Marathon, and how we cope with long Saturday runs. It was great running into him and getting to know him a bit.

My dad called and said he couldn't find a parking spot, and would miss the start. That was okay, because the finish is way more important to me. I lined up, and we were off. The 10K folks were running with the half-marathoners for the first part of the race, and it was amazing to look ahead and see the sheer number of runners. A woman I passed had a bib pinned to her back that said "Lie to me and tell me we're almost there." I thought about telling her exactly that, but we were only half a mile in and I didn't want to be a jerk.

Mile 1 was easy, but after that I quickly found out why they call this thing Hospital Hill. I'm quite sure that first hill lasted approximately 50 miles. It took Finally, I crested the top and picked up the pace.

So, like Forrest, I just ran. It was humid, hot, hilly, and hard. The 4H club of doom. I'm really exaggerating- it wasn't that bad. Around mile 5, it turned into a downhill race, so I ran faster. I arrived at the finish line not wanting to pass out or puke, which was a nice change. My time was 1:03:13. My goal was 60 minutes, so I came up short. I'm not upset, though, because the terrain and humidity were definitely factors. Next year I'll do better!

I'm sorting through some pics and video, and I'll be sure to post some of that as soon as I get it together. Now it's time for a big salad and a cupcake!


It's a little after 5 am on a Saturday morning. The sun has not yet risen, and here I am, awake. It just dawned on me that the next 19 Saturdays will begin just like this. The alarm will go off, I'll wonder why the hell I'm leaving a perfectly comfortable bed, and then I'll prepare to run.

Hospital Hill starts in about 2 hours. I'm as ready as I'll ever be! Tune in later for a full report.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Do you know the Donut Man?

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is I'll Run for Donuts, which is written by a funny guy named Topher. In his blog, he talks about two of his passions: running and donuts. Clearly, we are kindred spirits.

Because I've been mentioning it way too much, I'm sure you're all aware I'm about to run the Hospital Hill 10K on Saturday. The packet pickup started today, and I was eager to go pick up my loot. Without telling anyone, I quietly slipped away from my, 3:45 to drive downtown. Yup, I just left work. Didn't even tell anyone. When I arrived at the designated location, there was a long line. I scanned the crowd to see if there were any familiar faces, but didn't see anyone I knew. There was this one dude who I thought I'd seen before, but I couldn't quite place him. Finally, as I was leaving the building, it dawned on me that it was Topher. Like an idiot, I said the first thing that came to my mind: "Hey, aren't you the donut guy?" He was nice about it, but I think I probably scared him. (Topher, if you're reading this, I'm sorry if I scared you. I promise I'm not a stalker.) Poor guy. I introduced myself and we wished each other luck in the race.

If you'll remember, that's the second time I've experienced randomness in the blogosphere. I wonder who I'll meet next!

Now it's time for me to hop on the treadmill for a quick 3 miler. I'd like to do my run outside, but tornado-spawning storms are expected any time now. This will be my final run before Saturday's race. I'm determined to enjoy this experience, because it's my last race until September. Seriously, these events are addictive. It's an addiction I'm more than happy to have, though.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Triple corn square with black bean sauce

I'm trying some new recipes this week, and tonight we had "Triple corn squares with black bean sauce." Let me tell you, this stuff was good. At first, I was a little concerned the portion size wouldn't be large enough for my mongo-sized appetite, but I found it to be filling.

This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Vegetarian Cooking. We've made 4 recipes from this book, and have enjoyed them so much that we continue to make them frequently.

Triple Corn Squares with Black Bean Sauce
serves 6, prep time 10 minutes, total time about 35 minutes

1 can (14 to 15 ounces) cream style corn
1 can (8 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 pouch (6 1/2 ounces) golden corn bread mix
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup salsa
chopped cilantro, if desired

1. Heat oven to 400. Grease rectangular baking dish, 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 inches.
2. Mix cream corn, whole kernel corn, muffin mix (dry), margarine or butter, and eggs. Pour into baking dish.
3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until casserole springs back when touched lightly in center.
4. During last 5 minutes of baking, mix beans and salsa in small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Cut casserole into squares; top with bean sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve immediately.

Per serving:
calories: 380
calories from fat: 125
fat: 14 g (saturated 3g)
cholesterol: 70mg
sodium: 830mg
carbohydrate: 58g
dietary fiber: 6g
protein: 12g

Here's what I did differently. First, I accidentally used a regular sized can (about 15 oz) of whole kernel corn, because I didn't see the 8 oz. notation. I couldn't find a 6.5 oz cornbread mix, so I grabbed the 8.5 oz Jiffy mix and used the whole thing. I used an 8x8 dish and cooked the cornbread for about 35-40 minutes. I left the cornbread slightly undercooked because I like that texture. Dry, mealy cornbread is worse than no cornbread at all!

Since this makes 6 servings, Angie and I will get 3 meals out of this recipe and it was pretty inexpensive to prepare.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner

I'm getting excited for the Hospital Hill 10K this Saturday. I'd like to tell you that the tangible rewards of these races don't mean anything to me, but I'd be lying. I love getting the t-shirt and all the other fun stuff that they usually put in race goodie bags. According to the web page, this year is a good one to sign up for this race. The t-shirt is a "tech tee," meaning it is sweat-wicking. They're also giving us visors and backpacks, as well as medals to all finishers. THEN, there's a pancake breakfast. Is it wrong that I'm more excited about the pancakes than anything else?

I've had a race virtually every weekend for the past 5 weeks, except for last weekend. I found myself waking up automatically at 5 am, missing the nervous butterflies, wishing I had a bib number to pin on. As I did my solitary 8 mile run, I gazed longingly at other runners as we crossed paths, hoping one of them would talk to me. At a stoplight, an older gentleman runner asked me how I was doing, and I just said "I'm in pain!" He said he was too. We chatted about Hospital Hill momentarily. He was signed up for the half marathon, but didn't think he'd even make it to the starting line because he was injured. I wanted to keep running with him and chat, but he told me to go on ahead because he was slow. Um, like I'm Flash Gordon with my 10 minute miles?

I'm really looking forward to starting up with a running group in a couple weeks. As my long Saturday runs approach the 10, 15, and 20 mile marks, I'll need actual human beings to keep me going. There's only so much motivation an iPod can provide, right?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Enjoying food

A couple weeks ago, I decided my feelings toward food had become somewhat twisted, so I decided to find a therapist. I had my second session yesterday, and one of the first things she asked me was this: "Morgan, do you enjoy food?"

Sounds like an easy question, right? I leaned back on the cool leather couch and gave it a moment of serious thought. Clearly, I used to enjoy food too much. This is how I ballooned up to 264 lbs. so quickly. Food was a way of life. There was one year Angie had a job as a food columnist for a local magazine, and we visited the most extravagant restaurants on their dime. I was in heaven. We considered ourselves "high rollers" of a sort, getting to eat at the most decadent and expensive places in town (and a few dives, too).

So yeah, I enjoyed food then, a lot. When I started losing weight, things changed. I wasn't taking much pleasure from food anymore. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact I was eating healthier;
I found ways to make our meals tasty as well as healthy. It was something inside me. The more I scrutinized every little bite I put into my mouth, the less I enjoyed each bite.

I've talked a lot in the past about our weekly cheat meals, trying to figure out if they are a helpful or hurtful part of my lifestyle. On one hand, it gives me something to look forward to, and helps me to not feel deprived the rest of the week. For example, because I know I'll be eating a cheeseburger and fries on Saturday, it deters me from driving through Burger King on Tuesday. On the other hand, there's not much point in having a cheat meal if it turns into a cheat day, or even worse- a cheat weekend. That only leads to weight gain, guilt, and then more eating. The vicious circle that we all know and love, right?

Yesterday, the hourglass on my therapist's table drained the sand from the top to the bottom as we discussed the idea of cheat meals. I told her we were going to an Italian buffet that night, and then asked if she thought that was a good idea.

"Can you enjoy yourself during the experience, then not feel guilty afterward? Then, can you get right back on track and not let it snowball into a whole cheat weekend?" she asked. She said it was okay to kick myself once or twice if I really overdid it, but the point was to monitor my self-talk and talk to myself just as kindly as I'd talk to a friend.

Hmmm. All good questions. Right then, I made a goal to enjoy every bite and feel good about myself afterward.

I ate a lot of food. An embarrassing amount. It's difficult not to overeat in a buffet, as I'm sure many of you are more than aware. As I went back for a second plate, and then a third, I kept saying, "I'm enjoying myself. I don't feel guilty. As soon as I walk out of here, I'll be back on track." And you know what? All those things were true. Yup, I overindulged, but it was all delicious and worth the calories. Today, I'm feeling good about myself and there have been no desires to raid the kitchen or hit the drive through. Goal accomplished!