Friday, October 31, 2008

Bacon tastes good...

... mayonnaise tastes good.

Perhaps you were expecting me to pull a John Travolta and say "Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good." Nope, sorry. I had to tweak that classic line from Pulp Fiction just a little, because there was no better way to introduce you to this lovely product:

When I first saw this on my friend Michael's blog, I thought it was a joke. Nope, it's real. Baconnaise. Can you believe that? I thought I'd seen it all with the fountain of ranch dressing.

I don't know what's worse: the fact that there is such a product, or the fact that I kind of want to try it.

*Morgan hangs her head in shame.*

Have a happy Halloween! I'm going as a jar of Baconnaise.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't Get Any Bigger

I've never had a one night stand, but the thoughts and feelings I had this morning were eerily similar to what I would think the "morning after" guilt feels like. Literally the moment I woke up, just two words came to my head. Binge. Guilt.

Although I've managed to stay away from fast food since Sunday (quite a big deal for me lately), that doesn't mean I'm not susceptible to binges. Last night, things were going really well. It was my second day on the wagon, and I was feeling great. Then, for some stupid reason, I thought I should have a tiny snack before bed. Looking back, I don't even remember what that first morsel was, but it was the catalyst for what came next. Lots of toast with Laughing Cow cheese. Fiber One toaster pastries. Low fat string cheese. All healthy things when taken separately. Together, a perfect storm of gluttony.

This morning, I grabbed some freshly-laundered khakis and pulled them on with ease. "Oh good, maybe things are turning around," I thought. Buttoning them, however, was a whole different proposition. Nearly in tears, I took them back off and put on some jeans. They're snug too, but they don't cut off my circulation. They are size 12 jeans, for those of you who are curious. When I was on my way down the scale, size 12 was like the Garden of Eden of the pants world. It was the first size I'd wear in years that wasn't considered "plus." Now that they're tight on me, they are a warning, in huge, red, flashing letters: DON'T GET ANY BIGGER.

Logically, I know I don't look like this anymore:

But, I feel like that on the inside today.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Punisher

I've started to live in fear of putting my pants through the washer and dryer. It seems like each time I do, they get a size smaller. Wishful thinking, I know. My pants aren't getting smaller; I'm getting bigger.

At my personal trainer appointment on Saturday, the trainer put me on the scale, and measured my body fat as well. The body fat percentage was 30%. I'm not quite ready to reveal my weight to the world wide web right now. However, I promise, no matter what the number is- I will post it on Saturday. I just want a few days to see what I can do.

Apart from my showdown with the scale, my appointment went well. When I entered the facility and met The Punisher (as he will be called henceforth), I was slightly taken aback when I saw he wasn't a beefcake. In fact, it looks like he's eaten a little too much beef and cake lately. I'm not one to judge a person's fitness on his or her size, though. As I've seen time and time again, overweight people can often put skinny people to shame with their physical abilities.

He put me on the treadmill for a few minutes to warm up. I wasn't very enthused about being on the "dreadmill" after a long run that very morning, but it was only a warm up. He then put me through several circuits of weights, cardio, squats, crunches, and even some boxing. Switching exercises so frequently kept things interesting and moving along.

When I walked out (after pre-paying for 4 more sessions), I wondered if I'd gotten my money's worth. For some reason, I was expecting to be beaten and bludgeoned into a tenderized, weepy pulp. But, I wasn't even sore, and I wasn't sweating very much.

The next day, I was whistling a different tune, and the name of that tune was "When Oh When (Will My Thighs Work Again)." The Punisher hath reigned his sneaky, delayed-onset torture upon me. To add insult to agony, he gave me homework. I did my first assignment tonight, and I'm sure I'll be even more sore tomorrow (if that's even possible). My next appointment is Thursday.

I shall now hobble to bed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This just in: Morgan turns down a free cupcake

The wagon. I'm on it. Again.

I met up with my running group at 7:30 this morning with the intention of putting in 6 miles. Should be chump change compared to last weekend, I thought. Not so much. I got it done, but it was more difficult than I thought it would be.

After we were done, we got breakfast and then popped into Macy's. They were having a big 150th "birthday" celebration, and there was a huge tower of cupcakes. White cake. White icing. Sprinkles. If you're a newer reader and unfamiliar with my love of cupcakes, you can catch up by reading this post.

I turned it down, which surprised my friends, and me as well. Part of the reason I turned it down is because I was finally able to book an appointment with a personal trainer, and I'm meeting him at noon today. I didn't want my first session to be tainted by cupcake confessionals. I haven't even met the guy yet, and already I'm afraid of him giving me a scornful or disappointed look.

I'll be sure and write a post about the experience. Hopefully I'll get a good vibe from him and want to book more sessions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rethinking my image

Wednesdays and Fridays are my nights to go see my grandmother at her nursing home. On Wednesday, I brought along pictures from the marathon to show her. Old people love to look at pictures. Grammy likes it when I bring my camera and hook it up to her giant TV so she can see everything on the big screen. It somehow makes her think that I'm technologically savvy because I can do this. She's always telling the people who work there that her granddaughter "works on computers." It's cute.

Anyway, I've heard many overweight people say that they didn't realize how big they were until they saw a picture of themselves. As I was viewing my image over and over again on a TV the size of my previously obese torso, I took notice of something.

Take a gander my mid-section there. It's gotten bigger lately. Sure, I'm all smiles in these photos, and I have my medal to hide behind, but who am I kidding? I'm gaining weight, and it's only going to get worse unless I take some action. Weight loss, in my opinion, is 75% nutrition and 25% exercise. No matter how many miles I'm running, fast food is not good for me. Running a marathon does not suddenly turn McDonald's into health food.

I also have come to the realization that I'm putting my health in the hands of others too much. I'm not taking responsibility. Angie and I are sabotaging each other right and left. There's no malice in it. It's not as if she wants me to gain my weight back, nor do I have that wish for her. However, we still manage to enable each other with all this junk food. That has to stop.

None of the 6 personal trainers I've emailed or called have contacted me back. I took that as some sort of sign that it's not time to get back on the wagon yet. Ridiculous! I can't believe I'm making those kinds of bargains and excuses again.

Like many people who struggle with weight, I seem to have a split personality. One half of me is the confident person who can run marathons, plan and prepare healthy meals, and stick to a routine. The other half is an insecure glutton who can only think about where her next junk food fix will come from. My brain is a boxing ring, and both of these personalities are duking it out. The glutton seems to have won the last several rounds. It's time to turn things around.

I went ahead and signed up for the Gobbler Grind half marathon next month. I plan on running 3-4 days per week. I'm also excited to get back into strength training 2-3 times per week. I had to give that up 2 weeks before the marathon, and I can't wait to pick up a set of dumbbells again. I really love feeling like a strong, buff bitch after a weights workout. More than anything, however, I MUST get my food choices back under control. That's the key.

During my heaviest years, I didn't like being photographed. As I lost weight, I stopped hiding and started smiling for the camera. I don't want to hide again.

Now what?

With the marathon behind me, I'm looking for a new goal. My running friends are all thinking about their next race. Maybe a 10K or a half-marathon next month? Hmm.... I don't know. Am I ready for that?

All my running books say I need a few weeks off from hard training, especially after the beating I've just put myself through. I haven't exercised since Saturday. At first, I wasn't physically able to exercise, since I could hardly move my legs. Yesterday, however, I was pretty much back to normal. It was strange and surprisingly uncomfortable to be watching The Biggest Loser from the couch, rather than the treadmill. I felt guilty. In fact, the post-marathon depression that I've heard about is here, big time. Yesterday I felt incredibly down. I kept thinking that I'll never again feel like I did when I crossed that finish line. I'll never have another first marathon. Still, there's nothing I can do about that, so I have to try my best to move on.

I put in a few emails to some personal trainers around Kansas City. I figured a few sessions would be a good idea. Now that I don't have the "I'm a training for a marathon and I need a lot of carbs" card to play, there's no reason why I can't lose the weight I gained during training.

My next move is to just plan my next move. There are lots of options. I just have to research them, pick something, and get on board.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Medal

Here's a close-up shot of the medal I earned after the marathon. It's about the size of my palm, and it's nice and heavy. Very cool!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Kansas City Marathon

Wow, what a day it was. Yesterday went by very quickly, even though parts seemed excruciatingly slow. This may be the longest post ever, so get ready!

The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. I hit snooze twice, then tumbled out of bed around 4:45. When I took the dog out, the first thing I noticed was the temperature. It was cold, in the low 40s. I saw what looked like snow covering the pavement and driveway. Then I realized it was just the moonlight bathing everything in its gentle glow. I took a moment and looked at the stars, which I rarely am able to see here in the city. Beautiful.

After some Eggo blueberry waffles and a big glass of water, I broke out the Bodyglide and went I was careful to get all the spots I'd missed on previous long runs. I got dressed and affixed my timing chip to my left shoe. By 6, Angie and I were out the door and on our way to the starting area, which was at a place called Crown Center. We found a parking spot a couple blocks away. I noticed a few runners doing short jogs in a effort to stay warm and loose. I opted to save my warm-up for the first couple miles of the race. We met Topher inside Crown Center. Topher and I had been emailing about starting the race together, and I'm glad it happened that way.

I then noticed a huge cowboy hat bobbing through the crowd. My dad wore the hat so I'd notice him, and it sure worked. It was good to have him there to give me hug before the start, and I appreciated him coming. At about 6:50, we went outside so we could get our spot in the pack. We located the pacer we wanted to follow. Topher and I were both hoping to keep up with the 4:50 pace group, meaning we would hopefully finish the race in 4 hours and 50 minutes. We found the pace leader and kept her in our sight. I hugged Angie and Dad, and waved to them as they made their way to the sidewalk to see us off.

Before we knew it, the gun went off, then we just stood there. We shuffled forward a bit, then just stood there some more. With an estimated 8000 runners participating, it took roughly 3 minutes to reach the starting line. Finally, my shoes passed over the mat of the starting line, and we were off.

The strategy of our pace leader was to warm up at a conservative pace for the first couple of miles, then settle into a more consistent pace for the remainder of the race. Topher and I chatted as we ran. He's a funny guy, and he helped me keep a light, upbeat attitude. Thanks, Topher!

The first few miles took place in downtown Kansas City. We ran through the revitalized Power and Light District, then headed by Union Station, then up the huge hill behind Liberty Memorial, where Barack Obama would be holding a rally that very night. By mile 4 I was already winded, but I smiled for a photo when I saw my dad and uncle at an aid station.

We continued through midtown, then through the Westport area. At that time, Topher needed to make a pit stop in Quicktrip. He said he'd catch up to me in a bit. I was still keeping up with the pacer, but I was starting to get lonely without someone familiar by my side. When the course split, and the marathoners split from the half-marathoners, I really felt alone. After going through the aid station at mile 8, I heard my name being called from behind me. I looked back and there was Topher. I said something like "Boy, am I glad to see you," and we kept going. Now we were heading through the area known as The Plaza. It was strange and awesome to be running right down the middle of Ward Parkway Blvd., a normally busy road that's lined with huge houses and gorgeous trees.

Around mile 12, we encountered the dreaded Sunset Hill. I ran this thing in training, and let me tell you, it's a bee-otch. It goes up, then plateaus, then goes up some more. Every time you think you're done, you're wrong. I was huffing and puffing, as were many of the people around me. It felt pretty awful to be so winded even before the halfway point.

Then, I saw the familiar cowboy hat in the distance. I approached my dad and he started running with me. "Hey Dad" was all I could muster. He told me my mother was up ahead with the camera. Once again, I put on a smile. Here's a blurry photo I love:

We got to the halfway point, and my time was 2:26, almost 10 minutes more than my half-marathon time in Omaha a few weeks ago. I tried not to be discouraged by that fact.

That's the last time I remember seeing Topher. I was kind of out of it, and all I could think of was that I'd be seeing some friends and family at mile 16. The pacer was still in front of me, but with every mile that went by, I wondered whether I'd be able to keep up with her.

I was overjoyed to see familiar faces when I reached the southernmost point of the race. Here's a picture of my mom, Uncle Burr, Aunt Lucy, and Uncle Pat holding up a big sign for me:

Then, I saw a dude taking pictures of me. I didn't see his face because he was behind a huge camera. When he put the camera down, I realized it was a coworker friend of mine, Michael. He ran with me for a block or two and asked me how I was doing. I honestly can't remember what I told him, but I probably sugar-coated things so I wouldn't look too wimpy. Then, another coworker friend, Eric, rode in on his bike and said hi. I felt so lucky to have such a big support system out there.

Speaking of support systems, it was right then that I saw Mandy on the curb, ready to run the next 8 miles with me. I was so elated to see her that I gave her a one-armed hug as we ran.

We got to the next corner and saw Angie, my friend Noelle, and running buddies Pritha and Ellen, all cheering me on. Mandy asked me how I was doing, and I didn't feel the need to sugar-coat things for her. "Could be better," I said. She spent the next few miles talking to me without expecting me to talk back, which was very sweet. At that point, every word spoken was an effort, and I still had 10 miles to go.

A couple miles later, I saw my friends Mary and Bing holding up a big sign for me. The pace group leader (who I was still miraculously keeping up with) told me I had the best support on the course, and I believed her.

Running, running, and more running. At mile 19, I was in bad shape. I realized there was no way I'd be able to keep up with the 4:50 pacer and survive to tell the tale, so I bade her a silent goodbye and slowed down to a glorified trot. Better yet... a shuffle. The Wall had found me. I told Mandy I needed to walk for a minute, so we slowed down even more. She offered me the bottle of Gatorade she'd brought along. I wanted Gatorade, but didn't want it. I was hungry, but the idea of food sickened me. My brain was a mushy, pureed haze. This feeling would continue for the next 5 miles.

When mile 20 arrived, so did Pritha and Ellen. They were there to run me to the finish line. I wanted to hug them, but I could barely even talk, let alone lift my arms. They kept telling me how strong I was, and how well I was doing. They were trying to pick me up, out of my funk. It was a sweet and valiant effort, but I was still feeling awful. I could feel blisters forming on my feet, my hips were grinding, and my legs seemed to be made of lead. I was also having a hard time forming coherent sentences. It was as if I was drunk, and not in the "I'm slightly buzzed and having a great time" way. It was more like the "everything is spinning and I'm gonna hurl" way. By now, I'd pretty much kissed a sub-5 hour marathon goodbye. I was at peace with that fact. I knew I'd finish, and that was my primary goal.

Mile 22. Another big hill that never seemed to end. Slowing to a walk yet again, I saw my folks up ahead. "There are my parents. I'm gonna lose it, you guys," I told my friends. My dad walked down to my side and I started crying.

My mom wanted a picture of me with my "Running Girls," but she was having a hard time getting a shot while we were still moving. Finally, I just said "screw it, let's stop for a picture." This was the only time I stopped moving during those 26.2 miles. Here we have Mandy, me, Pritha, and Ellen:

More running, more running. I'd run for 5 or 10 minutes, then need to walk again. It seemed to go on like this forever. At some point, I glanced back and noticed there was still a pace group leader behind us. In a foggy stupor, I asked the girls if they knew what pace group that was. Pritha ran back to check, then came back and said it was the 5 hour group. Hearing her say that was the medicine that brought me back to life.

Although I still had to walk every now and then, I picked up the pace as much as I possibly could. I kept looking back to see how close behind me they were. "They're still behind you," the girls kept reassuring me. "You're going to make it."

Miles 24 and 25 clicked by relatively quickly, when compared to the previous 5. I distinctly remember Ellen saying "You're going to remember this for the rest of your life." They were going to drop out and let me run the last mile by myself, but I asked them to stay with me, because I still needed them. I asked that they remain with me until just before the finish line.

Mile 26. Only 0.2 miles to go, and for the first time that day, the words "I'm almost there" were true. I heard the echo of the finish line commentator's microphone. After rounding a corner, I saw the finish. I thanked my friends as they dropped behind me and onto the sideline area. Then the tears started flowing. I'm crying now, just writing about it. I saw the clock. 4:59:50. I took every little bit of strength I had left and kicked up my heels. As I crossed the mat at 4:59:58, I threw my hands up in happiness. I would later learn that my official chip-time was 4:56:50, because it took those 3 or so minutes to get to the starting line after the gun went off.

Through all my training , I'd looked forward to the moment of crossing that finish line and having a medal placed around my neck. When the moment occurred, however, I completely forgot about the medal. All I cared about was finding my family and friends. It's a blur, really, and I can't remember the order in which I located everyone. I found my friend Patty and her daughter, Sophia. Patty was in tears, which made me cry even more. I saw my parents and and hugged my dad. I was bawling at this point, and he was crying too. He kept saying "You did it!" over and over. My mom hugged me and said she was proud of me.

I went to the other side of the finish area and hugged Angie and Noelle.

Somewhere in there, a volunteer knelt down to cut the chip off my shoelaces. "You can lean on me, if you need to," he said. And I did. Another volunteer gave me water, and another gave me one of those space-age mylar blankets. Then, a nice woman hung the medal around my neck.

I found my running girls and hugged them all. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for what they did for me that day. Every step I took during miles 19-24 is dedicated to them.

I was ready to head home. We walked a couple of blocks to the car and I finally was able to sit down. On our way home, we stopped by my grandmother's nursing home so I could tell her I was okay and show her my medal. It wasn't one of her good days, but I could still tell she was excited and happy for me.

Then home, then a shower. I was having some stiffness and soreness, but nothing too bad. I went into our dining room and saw that Angie had put a giant "Congratulations" banner on the wall, and she bought me a beautiful "26.2" silver necklace. Isn't she sweet? She has been so patient and supportive during all of this. I'm extremely lucky to have such an amazing partner.

That evening, we threw a casual pizza party with 30 of my closest friends and family to celebrate. Everyone seemed amazed at how well I was getting around. I was pretty amazed, myself. Granted, I had a few beers, but I was limber and loose. I probably could have gone for a run if I'd wanted to. I didn't want to, though.

It was a perfect day. Everything happened just as I wanted it to, and nothing went wrong. Even my "bad miles" were part of the package. I expected to have a low point, so that doesn't count as a negative point for the day. After the festivities were over and we went to bed, I just stared at the ceiling and thought over the day. What an amazing experience.

When I woke up early this morning and tried to move my legs, there was much protest from my body. My entire lower half is its own entity, and it doesn't want to do much of anything. Getting into and out of chairs is a major event which requires much planning and strategy. When leaving a room, I make sure to think if there's anything else I need to grab, because who knows when I'll be able to walk in there again? The zombie walk that plagued me after my longer training runs is back with a vengeance. For fear of scaring small children, I haven't ventured out of the house much today.

Still, I'm on cloud nine. I did it. I ran a marathon. I never thought I'd say those words, but here I am saying them.

The End

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Hey everyone! This is just a short note to let you know I completed my marathon, and lived to tell the tale. The tale, however, will have to wait until tomorrow, because I'm tuckered.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your support yesterday, and in all the days/weeks/months leading up to this. It's been a long, difficult, and wonderful ride, and your kind comments have meant the world to me.

I promise I'll post a full report and more pics tomorrow.

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here I am about to cross the finish line:

Friday, October 17, 2008

This time tomorrow...

...I'll be around mile 5 of the race. Holy crap.

At this moment, the calm before the storm is here. I took the day off work so I could relax, attend the fitness expo, and mentally prepare myself for the race.

Now, I'm going to ask everyone a favor. Could you leave me a comment, just a sentence or two, with something I can think of during the tough moments of the race? It can be funny, inspirational, cheesy...preferably not mean.

I hope all the lurkers will come out of their lurking closets as well. I need you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Practice makes perfect

Lately, whenever I do a run, I've been pretending it's Saturday and I'm on the marathon course. Tonight on the treadmill, I was doing an "easy" 4-miler, yet my legs were feeling sluggish and all I wanted to do was get on the couch and watch The Biggest Loser. Instead, I imagined I was at mile 22, with 4 more miles to go. The most I've run during my training is 22 miles. Those last 4 will be uncharted territory. So, I pictured myself running up the hill on Harrison Parkway, the last big hill of the race. There's no doubt I'll be hurting at that point, and I will surely question whether I can endure the last 4 miles to get to the finish line.

Then, I imagine how awful it would feel to give up with only 4 miles to go. So, I keep running. Every minute drags on, much like my toes drag as I take each step, but I keep running. People on the roadside cheer me on, telling me I can do it. I keep running. One foot in front of the other.

After an eternity, the 26 mile marker appears. Only 0.2 miles to go...this, I've been told, should be my "victory lap." It's time to smile, cry, laugh, scream, and be at peace with whatever has transpired. I cross the finish mat, raising my arms triumphantly in the air. It's over.

Are you all sick of hearing about this marathon yet? Don't worry, it will be over soon enough.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What will happen?

People keep asking me if I'm nervous about the marathon. At this very moment, I'm not. Like all the major milestones in my life- getting my driver's license, graduating high school, getting a "real job," and turning 30- the marathon is just this thing that's going to happen in the future. It's very much like death in that way.

It seemed very far away when I started training back in June, and it seems very far away now. According to my little countdown widget on the sidebar (stolen from Topher), the marathon starts 5 days, 8 hours, and 55 minutes (give or take) from now. That's the reality. A very finite amount of time will pass, and then my size 11 shoes will shuffle over that starting line. When I think about it that way... yeah, I'm fucking nervous. Terrified, actually.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm nervous. Even though I know I'll be in a lot of physical and emotional pain toward the end, I know I can finish. So, fear of failure is really not what I'm concerned about. More than anything, I suppose I'm afraid of what will happen afterward. Will I want to do it again? Will I swear off running forever? Of course, it goes without saying that I'm scared of gaining the weight back. Running has been the thing that's enabled me to eat like a pig and only gain back a dozen or so pounds. What if an innocent, post-marathon celebration of pizza and beer becomes the catalyst for me becoming a statistic?
These are the things that are on my mind.

So, when people ask if I'm nervous, I find myself saying things like, "Oh, I'll just be glad when it's over. The training has taken so much time out of my life, and I'm ready to get my life back. I'm not really nervous." That's a lie. I may even believe the lie as it's coming out of my mouth. However, when I really ponder the possibilities of that day, as well as what lies beyond it, my stomach rises to my throat and my heart pounds.

What will happen? There's only one way to find out, and that's to go through it. I have a feeling this will be both the longest and the shortest week of my life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nearly-nudist running

As I was watching Spirit of the Marathon and crying my eyes out because it's such an emotional film, I noticed that the elite female runners wear... well, underwear... while racing.

Exhibit A: Deena Kastor:

Last Saturday, I donned my usual shorts and headed out for a 10-mile run. Every couple of minutes, I would notice my shorts riding up between my thighs, causing some discomfort and much annoyance. I'd keep having to either correct the problem by hand, or run a few steps in an unnatural motion so that my shorts would fall back into place on their own.

As an experiment, I took a different approach when I did a 4-mile treadmill run last night- a minimalist approach, if you will.

I ran in my underwear, and I liked it. Yup, it was just me, my Hanes-for-Her briefs, and a sports bra. Oh, and my running shoes. It was pretty liberating. All my jiggly bits were bobbing all over, but it was comfortable.

For those of you who regularly run with me, don't worry. You won't have to see me in my underwear anytime soon. I still plan on wearing my shorts to the marathon. Sure, underwear is light and airy, but where would I put my GU gels?

On second thought...don't answer that!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nature vs. Nurture

Those are my relatives. They're a fun looking bunch, aren't they? Those black dresses and sullen, bearded faces give me the warm fuzzies. I don't know if it's really true, but I've been told by several people in my family that one of my great aunts (not pictured) was one of the last people in the United States to have a lobotomy. Gosh, I'd never have guessed. They look so stoked to be alive... particularly the second woman from the right. She's clearly the family jokester.

Sadly, this post isn't about lobotomies or black taffeta. Instead, it aims to pose the question:

When it comes to being overweight, are we born into it, or grown into it?

As I look at the picture above, I notice that none of my relatives seem overweight. Perhaps they were too sad to eat; it certainly looks that way. The more I think about it, I realize that no one on my dad's side of the family is fat. Sure, a few of them may have an extra pound or two, but I have no obese paternal relatives.

The only people I know on my mom's side are my mother and my grandmother. Both have struggled with weight issues in their lifetimes. I never met my maternal grandfather, but pictures reveal a handsome man with kind eyes, and a portly physique. Both my mom and grandmother have hypothyroidism; so do I. This has been shown to slow metabolism and cause weight gain. All three of us now have it under control through medication.

That takes care of the "nature" side of things.

As far as "nurture" goes, I think that played a big role too. I'm not here to blame my upbringing for my weight problems, but I will say that food was used as a bargaining tool as I was growing up. Decadent treats were offered in exchange for a job well done. Dinners out were used as rewards. I remember when I used to spend the night at my Grammy's house every Saturday. There were literally no limits to the amount of food she'd let me eat. I have lots of "food memories" there. It was at her house that I learned about the smooth, velvety goodness of Swiss Miss Chocolate Pudding. I ate my first blueberry muffin there, and had my first (and only) experience with olive loaf. She was what my friend Mary calls a "feeder." To her, food was love, and boy did she ever love me! Even now, approaching 98 years old, living in a nursing home, she finds ways to be a feeder. She has a drawer full of Nutter Butters, bananas, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish that she hoards from the cafeteria, then tries to get me to eat when I'm there.

Even so, grandmothers the world over pepper their grand kids with sweets and treats. Lots of parents occasionally bribe their children with McDonald's for getting their rooms clean. Not all those kids wind up overweight or obese, but for some reason, I did.

For me, I think both genetic and environmental factors were involved. One way or another, I was destined to get fat, then get thin, then get kinda fat again. So here I am, about 10-15 lbs. overweight (again), and trying to get back to my "fighting weight" of 160. Maybe half of my genetic make-up isn't on my side, but hopefully the environment will be for the foreseeable future.

Fit and fat?

We had a fire drill at work last week. After we were cleared to go back inside, I opted to take the stairs rather than the elevator. As I moseyed up to the 7th floor, I took notice of a woman a few steps ahead of me. She was huffing and puffing like The Big Bad Wolf on a StairMaster. The fact that she was out of breath wasn't particularly amusing; what was interesting was that she probably only weighed 115 lbs., maybe less. She was skinny as a rail and totally out of breath. I was 170+ lbs. and feeling fine. I must admit, it was pretty awesome.

According to governmental standards, I'm overweight. However, I'm very physically fit. I can do push-ups, run for miles and miles, and take the stairs without breaking a sweat. Gone are the days of flunking basic fitness tests. I'm strong now.

Even though I can do all those things, I'm sure I would be appalled if I knew my body fat percentage. I pity the fool who runs behind me and is privy to the jiggling of my thighs as each foot hits the ground. I run like a lumberjack on painkillers. Trust me- there's nothing graceful about it.

I'm not sure there's a point to this post, other than things aren't always as they seem. To the casual observer, I probably look like an average, slightly overweight woman. Most people would never assume I could run a mile, let alone a marathon. It's fun to surprise people. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ready for Monday

I've had better weekends.

I was looking forward to spending a lot of couch time with Angie, enjoying the feeling of having no obligations, and just being content. It didn't work out that way.

Let me back up. We had pizza on Friday night, and this of course affected my weigh-in on Saturday. You may have noticed I gained 2 lbs. this week- the same 2 lbs. I lost last week. When my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and run. I almost didn't. However, my friends were expecting me to be there, so I went. I got 10 miles in. I was feeling so sluggish and exhausted that I just couldn't muster another 4 miles in order to log the 14 miles I wanted to do. But, 10 is a lot better than nothing.

After our run, we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I must have been one of the only Midwesterners who had never visited this lovely establishment, but I was finally indoctrinated. They were having a breakfast special which included a brownie with your eggs and bacon. WTF? Is no meal safe from chocolate anymore? I opted for the buttermilk pancakes with turkey sausage and scrambled eggs. I figured a 10 mile run earned me some light, fluffy, pancakey goodness with real maple syrup. Cracker Barrel was really the high point of the weekend. Hmmmm....

After watching a lovely horror flick called Midnight Meat Train (you won't want to eat beef again for a long, long time) with Angie, she went out, and I was left to my own devices for the afternoon. For some reason, I was feeling incredibly sorry for myself and lonely. I called a lot of people to talk, but no one was around. Even my 97 year old grandmother was too busy playing bingo at her nursing home to chat with her seratonin-depleted granddaughter. When an emotional eater gets lonely, you'd better lock up the refrigerator. I was on a war path. You can imagine what happened next.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, Angie was sick and spent most of the day in bed. This was obviously out of her control, but I was still bummed out. More loneliness, more eating. The weekend breezed by, and I have nothing to show for it except for a distended abdomen and a bad attitude.

Now I'm feeling tired, bloated, foggy, and more down than ever. My heart hurts- and I'm hoping it's because of the depressed mood and not hardening arteries. When will I finally learn that food will NOT reverse any negative emotions I'm having? I hope it's soon, because these jeans are feeling awfully tight.

I'm still not giving up. As long as you're reading blog posts from me, that means I'm still trying. When a weight-loss blogger stops blogging, then you really have a problem. Hey- I still managed to run 10 miles on a stomach full of greasy cheese and pepperoni (gross), and although my size 12s are tight as a mo-fo, they're not what I'd call "muffin top tight." Things could be worse.

I'm still here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taper time

Even before I started my official marathon training, I was looking forward to the "taper phase," in which I gradually reduce my mileage before the big event. Taper time is finally here. Less running, no cross-training, and more sitting on my butt. I like the taper phase already, and wish we could have gotten acquainted much sooner. I'm ready to be done.

With the big day only 2 weeks away, I'm starting to wonder what life will be like after I cross the finish line. I must admit I'm really burned out on running right now, and I'm excited to try out a different routine. I've been thinking about taking spinning or boot camp classes at a local gym, but we'll see what happens. I don't want to commit to anything now, because there's no telling how I'll feel after running 26.2 miles. Maybe I'll hate it, and my running shoes will collect dust for a few months. Maybe I'll catch the marathon bug and want to do another one right away.

I've heard about people getting the "post-marathon blues," almost like postpartum depression. There's all this build-up, preparation, and hard work put into it, and then all of a sudden it's over. Training has definitely been my "baby" for the past few months, and part of me will probably be sad it's over. The other part of me will be doing a happy dance...after I regain use of my lower body.

Subject change...

Tomorrow is Saturday, so I'll be stepping on the scale. I've been (mostly) off fast food this week, but I did have one slip-up. I'm predicting that I'll either maintain, or gain a pound. Check the sidebar tomorrow for an update.

Also, I'd like to thank everyone who checks in to read about my silly life. Your support, tips, and words of inspiration always make me happy. Every time I see a comment come in, I get excited. Please keep them coming!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cauldron of Doom

I've done several posts about the fact that my workplace is one big, free, unhealthy vending machine. Who can forget the Ranch Dressing Fountain of Doom? That's something I don't think I'll ever forget, although I've certainly tried. Sometimes, at night, I can still smell it... *shudder*

Okay, I feel a panic attack coming on. Enough about that.

I went over to visit a friend in another department, and this is what greeted me:

Cookies. Snowballs. MNMs. Mini-donuts. Chips. Crackers. Candy bars. It's October 1st, for Mr. Goodbar's sake. Halloween is 30 days away, and already we have a cauldron full of full sized candy bars. FULL SIZE!

See that Nestle Crunch bar on top? I wanted that. I also wanted the Reeces cups, the Twix, the 3 Musketeers, and the Butterfinger. Want to know the weird thing? I don't even like Butterfinger. I kept digging through the cauldron of chocolaty goodness, and beneath all the full sized bars, I finally found some of the itty-bitty ones, which are a little less scary. I located a fun-size Nestle Crunch, which was 60 calories. Back at my desk, I carefully unwrapped it, as though I were Charlie looking for the Golden Ticket. I smelled it, noted the texture of the little rice bits within the chocolate, then took a bite. Mmmmm. Then I took another bite. Mmmmmmmmm. Then it was gone.

And so it has begun. October through April is "treat season" at my workplace. Starting now, the availability of treats will go from "constantly in the background" to "completely in your face all the damn time." From Halloween until Easter, the level of temptation will be on red alert.

It's barely autumn, and already I'm ready for spring.