Room 101.

I've figured it out.  I found out what is in Room 101.  And much like Winston discovered, the thing in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.  My Room 101 - it is full of sugar.  You read that correctly.  Sugar.  Sugar is probably my own worst fear.  My worst nightmare.  How can something so small, so inanimate have such amazing power over one person?  I don't understand.  I'd probably survive having my face gnawed off by rats easier than being locked in a room full of processed, chemical ridden, sugar based food.

It has been a challenging week.  I was overtired before Monday even started.  Busy weekend.  Every minute packed full.  My food started to slip on Saturday.  I don't remember my snap point, but I do know that by Sunday afternoon - I was eating macaroni salad and chicken katsu at a little Hawaiian joint in Palmdale.  Long Sunday, no time to prepare food for the week.  I ate a bag of Trader Joe's sweet potato chips for breakfast and lunch yesterday.  Fajitas for dinner.  Late night again.  And today - well, the downward spiral continued.  And the downward spiral included a cupcake at lunch and two mini butterfinger bars after dinner.  I feel yuck.  Stiff.  Sore tummy.  I knew it.  I know better.

I went to Monster Fitness last night to look at pricing.  I was immediately turned off.  That rank smell of Globogym.  CrossFit, you have spoiled me so.  The music was so loud, I could barely hear the 100 pound muscleless sales lady trying to explain how great all the classes were.  Machines were empty.  That was a change from a typical Globogym at rush hour.  We passed by about 20 people dangling off their own TRX.  I couldn't quite understand how some of the moves they were doing were natural, realistic, or relevant to improving oneself.  I'm not in a position to judge right now, but man, oh man... I was just irked.  The boxing class was so-so.  Boxing is a good workout.  But not when your'e in a room with 30 other people and one instructor that probably can't see you.  What in the world do you get from that?  When "Briana" asked if I had any questions, I inquired about their rowing machine.  She said they had one, pointed to it, then mentioned that only two people in the entire gym ever use it.  I don't know what kind of quality the machine was... it was definitely not a C2.  "Briana" then told me she tried it for about a minute and that was just too much for her.  Needless to say, I won't be returning to Monster Fitness anytime soon. 

I had a dream last night I was exercising.  My body is mad at me.  I can tell.  Now I have to get off my rear end and either get to WODing in the garage or paying a hefty premium and working out in Palmdale.  I miss CrossFit CalCity.  But I don't miss the daily drive.  (sigh) 

I know this was more of a gripe fest than anything.  I guess that's what's happens when I'm on sugar overload.  So here's my next goal - the next blog post will be action based.  What did I do to escape my room 101?  And what am I doing to move my body again?  At least I'm still on the journey... even if I AM getting dragged behind the wagon from which I fell.

Off to bed.  If nothing else, I can at least get 8 hours of sleep, right?  Okay, 7.5.  Close enough.


"If you can't do this in less than a 10 minute pace, you should only focus on the 1/2"

I did a lot of thinking on Sunday morning.  About 3.5 hours worth of thoughts rolled through my head.  I walked a half marathon Sunday.  I took a giant bite of humble pie, laced up my shoes, and drove down to the site where I ran my very first half marathon four years ago.  Four years later, I wish I was blowing my old time out of the water... but instead, I walked.  The whole course.  And finished near last.  Which is fine - because here's what I got out of it:

1) I walked 13.2 miles on Sunday before most of you were awake.  (Yes, 13.2.  Someone didn't measure their 1/2 marathon course very well)
2) I crossed a finish line with some of the fastest Boston Qualified marathoners.  I may never get to do that again.  Yeah, I will probably never do that again.  Very inspiring, though.  What it took me to walk 13.2 miles, it took those guys to run twice that distance... 26.2 (or more?) miles.  It felt good to watch them go by.
3) I finally came up with a reason to buy new shoes... my old ones are almost three years old and they are a half size too big.  And I'm tired of blisters.  So the next day - new sneakers.  NOT for running.  But for other miscellaneous athletic activities.  They're not as comfortable as my Kayanos... but they're also not as expensive.  I figure if I'm trying to teach my body proper form in everything I do, all that expensive support and cushioning is actually a colossal waste of money.  There's plenty of science around it.  Just Google it.
4) Two marathoners were walking back up the course as I was walking the last mile of my 13.  And one of them said "if you can't do this in less than a 10 minute pace, you should only focus on the 1/2."  For a brief moment, I wanted to reel around and deck him.  I knew he wasn't talking about me, but I wanted to stand up for all my friends that have run and are currently running marathons and finish slower than 4 hours and 20 minutes.  Then I thought about it a little bit more... and maybe he's right, maybe he's not... but I'm taking it as a personal challenge.  Dear Curmudgeony Santa Clarita Marathon dude, one day - I'll be WAITING for you on the other side of the finish line.

Its been a crazy week.  Out of town for class for two days.  Catching up at work for three.  And cramming in all the Harry Potters before the beginning to the end hits the theatres next week.  Not a good excuse, I know... but that's how its been going down for the past week.  Needless to say, Matt and I will be starting OVER with Week 1, Day 1 of C25K next week.  AND I'm joining a gym.  A globo gym.  But I'll suck it up because they offer kettlebell classes and I know that at least one of their personal trainers is CrossFit certified.  That doesn't really mean MUCH... nothing will compare to Bob and his awesome CrossFit den in California City, but the drive was just killing me and time was too compressed.  So point is - I have to start doing MORE and with the TRX, kettlebell, and boxing classes scheduled and laid out in front of me, it gives me a few options to go and blow off steam after work.

Food update - doing well.  Chowing down on some hibiscus flavored coconut water sorbet as I type.  Focused on meat and veggies as best as I could all week.  No muffins.  No bread.  No cake.  No toast.  Fruit, veggies, meat.  Sunbutter and carrots.  V-8.  I did have a baked potato at lunch today.  It was all that was left in the fridge ready to eat - along with leftover steak kabob from dinner last night.  I wouldn't say I'm doing amazing, but I'm much happier the way I'm eating now than a few weeks ago.  Still haven't touched Panda Express.  My zipper and my wallet are very content.  And do you know how amazing it feels for all the aches and pains and stiffness and bloat to slowly go away?  That's how I know all of that is food related - as soon as I shove a cookie in my mouth, it all comes back.

This weeks goals?  Keep eating right... work on eating even better.  Get back to run training!  Its too much fun to miss!

How is YOUR journey coming along?


Week 1. Day 2.

Done and done. 

Still no bad carbs or sugars.  Avoided a nice refreshing glass of 7-Up last night and went for the water.  I don't even drink soda.  Its amazing what addictions can do to your body.  Never got in my mini-WOD or my pull-ups.  But I ran... Pose, barefoot, and fast (enough).  Dogs were happy.  I think the hubby was, too.  Tonight I'll be foam rolling the calves.  Barefoot running sure does take its toll when you're getting back into it.  At least its worth it.


Strike a Pose.

I always get annoyed when people throw Bible verses out there... all out of context and communicated in a way to perfectly align to the point they are trying to make.  Well, get ready... I am about to be one of those people -

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
          Proverbs 11:2

You want to know what I did last night?  I ran.  Day 1.  Week 1.  Couch potato to 5K.  A month ago, two months ago, a year ago... I was too good to start over.  I refused to humble myself and admit that I was slow and weak and needed to return to square one in my health and training.  When I was running marathons, I was a high maintenance runner.  Ask my "run support" husband that stood patiently for 5+ hours with ice cold Coke, frozen coconut jelly beans, and a bag of peanut butter pretzels.  You can look at pictures of my pre-race layout of a Garmin, number with safety pins pre-attached, ready to mix Accelerade with bottled water, my already frozen Accelerade (with bottled water), and perfectly cut PB&J sandwiches - no crust... it makes my mouth dry.  I knew it was obsessive.  So was spending three hours preparing a seven hour "marathon mix" for my iPod.  And all for what?  To finish a race.  I wasn't fast.  I wasn't strong.  Even my best race was slow by marathon time standards.  But I kept racing, I kept racking up medals... but never did anything to improve.

I look back now and I want to laugh.  PB&J?  Coke?  Pretzels?  6000 calories was a lot of expended energy during those races - but I was fueling my tank with junk food.  No wonder I wasn't getting any better (or thinner!).  After three years of my downward spiral and a total nervous breakdown two weeks ago... I've taken some time to stop and pray.  To humble myself.  I'm not an elite athlete.  And how can I possibly help and encourage others who want to improve their health if I don't serve as a beacon of health and fitness myself?  This week, I'm taking the next few baby steps on my journey.  Protein and veggies.  Lots of veggies.  No grains or non-produce carbs.  No dairy.  Back to my roots.  If I start with the food, I can make arrangements and plans to accommodate the fitness later down the road.

Day 1.  Week 1.  20 minutes of alternating running and walking.  Matt and I took the dogs with us.  And during the whole run, all I could tell myself was "its okay to start over.  Its okay to rebuild.  You can't break through the original barriers without completely rebuilding a new, strong foundation."  Guess what.  Great Day 1.   I ran fast.  I ran barefoot.  And I ran Pose consistently for the entire time I ran.  No foot shuffles, nothing.  With humility, comes wisdom.  Its not up to me to succeed.  Its up to me to humble myself, to put my faith in God.  I'm just going to enjoy the ride - no matter how fast or slow I may be moving.

Finished the evening with 10 assisted pull-ups in the garage and a yummy bowl of black bean soup to feed the metabolic furnace.  (I know, I know - legumes, blah blah blah.  Baby steps, remember?)

Tonight's agenda?  More pull-ups.  Maybe a mini-WOD.  Whatever it is, its better than sulking on the couch with a Popsicle.


Runny mascara, shiny black shoes.

I broke my husband's heart tonight.  I am certain of the moment I heard it snap... I saw it in his eyes and in the change in his stature.  And it was all my fault.  Tonight, I have hit bottom.  I won't go into the long drawn out story, but if I lay on the bed and cry much longer - I'll get a headache, my eyes will be swollen for the next 24 hours, and absolutely nothing will get fixed.  My husband is running for a political office here in town.  Its a position on a board of directors and he's running against a 20 year incumbent.  To him, its a big deal.  Tonight is a "Meet the Candidate's Night" at our local community center.  I didn't plan to go.  For other personal reasons, both for the sake of our business and personal relationship - I'm remaining neutral around the whole thing.  But tonight, he made it a point to ask if I would go.  To listen to what he had to say.  To give him tips.  He insisted he appreciates my input.  I think he's being a sweet husband, but maybe he really does care about what I have to say regarding his campaign "sound bites."  In any case, I had about seven minutes to get ready... and once upon a time... (its so hard to NOT look backwards sometimes) I would've touched up the  mascara, thrown on a cute little dress and heels, grabbed my purse, and ran out the door with him.  I couldn't do that tonight.  I looked at him before I went into the bathroom to start with the mascara.  His light blonde hair, damp and crisply combed to the side.  His neatly pressed green button-down dress shirt, collar set perfect around his strong neck.  The dark khaki pants, perfectly creased set gently atop his very very shiny black shoes.  The black shoes that I could see my reflection in had I stepped in close enough.  As I combed my oily roots and dried frayed mousy brown hair, I looked at my less than perfect skin and the looming embarrassment started to well up inside.  I thought I would be able to hold it down for the next hour and a half... keep it at bay.  I wasn't so lucky.  I looked at my ragged black and gray striped shirt that I had worn to work today - strands of Miss Ellie's coarse coat spread across my shoulders and chest.  The shredded collar line and stray black strands of thread seemed to curl up around my neck and take hold onto my throat.  I refused to go into public looking like that - especially as a representation of my husband.  I didn't want to do that to him.  I looked at those shoes... glaring back at me... ran into the closet, knowing deep down what was about to transpire.  I grabbed my only nice shirt left.  The last "L" in the closet that isn't a sweatshirt or t-shirt or ratty tank top.  A J.Crew collared shirt with french cuffs.  Black.  As I buttoned it up, the feeling of suffocation worsened.  The black threads had let go and now a corset was tightening up around me.  It was as thought someone was pulling the strings with all their might.  I remember hearing my husband say "Do you need the cuff links?"  Almost in perfect inharmonious timing, the front buttons of my shirt popped back open as I squealed "No.  I'm too fat for those, anymore."  I couldn't look down any further past my waist.  I knew what a disaster I must have looked like.  Chorizo stuffed into a casing.  And when I glanced back at those shoes, my heart started to crack apart.  There was not one other shirt, skirt, dress, blouse, or otherwise in that closet that I can even put on anymore.  I told him to go.  Just go.  The polished shoes started towards me... presumably for a hug.  I took a step back and reiterated my utter embarrassment, fear, and moment of misery in two words.  "just. go."  It was the steps between the closet to the laundry room when it happened.  The light and love in his eyes went dark.  The glowy beautiful blue dimmed into a sad dismal gray.  His entire body slumped as though he had been assassinated.  Perhaps that is the case, because that is exactly what I feel I did to him tonight.  Selfish.  Embarrassed.  Sad.  Uncomfortable.  Nervous.  How could I possibly let three years of terrible choices... around food, around exercise... how could I let it all culminate with this?  A moment of total let down and disappointment when my husband asked for me.  When he verbalized (which is not common, so I know when its important) his need for my support.  And I let him down.  I heard his heart break in that moment.  And after I gave him a hug, my eyes filled with tears and I watched as the blurry black shoes walked out the door.  I bawled for a few minutes.  Getting angrier at myself for even letting it get this far.  I prayed.  I asked God for help.  I pet the dogs.  And I grabbed my Robb Wolf book... as if reading it in that moment would melt the pounds right back off.  I sent a text to my friend - a beautiful amazing woman who shares in my strife.  A fellow marathoner that is a woman of God, a leader, a support system, and my closest friend here in California.  Then I came to write on this blog.  To spill my misery to the world... to share my time of humility with the world wide web... and anyone that happens to stumble across my mumblings.

I'm at a fork in the road of my journey.  So early on, too.  But tonight, tonight I saw that this is nothing like decisions I've made in the past.  Everything I do now impacts the two of us - me and the husband.  Its time for a little tough love.  Or maybe a lot of tough love.  From God.  From my husband.  From myself.  I have some new decisions ahead of me... and the guiding light from this point forward will forever be those shiny black shoes and to never ever see them through watery eyes and runny mascara.  Never.  Ever.  Again.


Oh by the way...

A little slice of motivation that is a good reminder a few missteps aren't the end of the world and how to recover from them:


And by the way - today's lunch is a nice big green salad with shredded chicken and some olive oil and vinegar dressing.  Take THAT, Kobari Beef and Orange Chicken!


Panda Express: We need to talk. . .

. . . Its not that I don't like you anymore, because I do.  I swear you must have crack blended into your sauces (or maybe its just the sugar), but it is time I say goodbye because you just aren't good for me.  You drain my wallet and make my pants tight and I just can't have either of that taking place anymore.  So for now (and hopefully forever) - this is goodbye.

Week 1 Journey Update:
Matt and I walked the dogs four times this week. . . one time being about twice as far as the others, so he inquired if that could count towards my "five" for the week.  Baby steps, right?  And I can't beat myself up over 'failures', rather acknowledge my accomplishments.  So we'll settle for four and a half.  The walks are quite enjoyable, especially now that this desert weather is cooling off consistently.  The dogs love getting to scope out their neighborhood turf, the hubbs and I get some quality time, and most important - we're out moving around and getting fresh air.

What's on the agenda for this week? 

Week 2 of my journey -
Goal 1: Continue walking in the evenings.  At least 4x during the week.
Goal 2: Plan and pack lunches.  We are blessed every week with beautiful organic produce from Abundant Harvest - its time to fully take advantage and pack salads and veggies for lunch.  Two days will have me out of the office. . . but I'm planning to pack protein heavy snack(s) and remind myself that not stopping at Starbucks or Carl's Jr. isn't the end of the world. . . and that actually stopping is more likely to be the end of the world - a healthy, nutritious, diabetes-free world.  So yeah, I'll just stick with some lunch meat and carrots. 
Where did this week's journey take you and where are you headed next?


I want to be a strong daring swimmer when I'm 75...

My husband and I subscribe to a weekly organic produce delivery group called Abundant Harvest.  Each week, our bright beautiful crate is packed full of local fruits, vegetables, herbs (not the "California herb" - I'm talking basil, mint, lemon basil, thyme...) and there is always an information sheet placed nicely on top.  I love reading through the stories about the growers - where did my pears come from and what kitschy story accompanies them?  There is even a little recipe card that incorporates a good all-encompassing selection of recently delivered goodies.  A few weeks ago, I tried a fabulous eggplant soup.  It was rich with tomato, roasted eggplant, and basil.  I ate most of it in a few days and forced myself to freeze enough to satisfy me once the temperate drops, if it EVER drops (winter takes its sweet time out here in the desert).

This week's info sheet was nothing too exciting.  Recipes didn't really jump out at me like some others have... and I was just skimming through because the Opinion page of our local newspaper was already occupied by my husband.  Then all of a sudden - a few paragraphs sucked me in and I realized how pertinent they were to motivating MY lifetime journey.  Below is the actual text from my Abundant Harvest fact sheet for the week:

     "A few weeks back, I mentioned to my mom that I like to swim from the lawn to the dam and back in the summer so on her 70th birthday, she swam from the lawn to the dam then Paul rowed her back.  This year, on her 75th BD she swam across, had a picnic with Paul, took a nap, and then swam back.  Two miles at 5,000 ft. elevation's an admirable accomplishment.  Way to go mom.  I can see the headlines now: 'California Woman swims English Channel on 80th BD.'  Really, if you think about it, it's just one stroke then another until you get to Dover."

One stroke, then another...  its so simple.  And so accurate in everything we do.  Nothing is out of reach if our bodies are well prepared.  That marathon is just one step at  time... one foot fall followed by another footfall... one mile, then another.  And it shouldn't matter if we're 25 or 75 - if we've taken care of ourselves, eat right, get lots of sleep, move our bodies... swimming across a lake should be a piece of apple (no pie here, just the delicious nutritious fruit!)


Continuous Improvement... Stop focusing on the finish line.

Have you looked at your photo album lately?  The one with all the pictures of you as a baby, all cute and cuddly... untainted by an obsession with weight and diet?  What pictures are on the pages after the baby pictures?  I'm willing to bet its not a picture of you in a coffin or a bunch of people standing around at your funeral.  They're more than likely pictures of you growing up - a face smothered in cake, a proud trophy wielding soccer player, a high school graduation.  A landmark birthday party, maybe?  Age 5.  Age 13.  Age 16.  Age 18... these pictures mark the big events in life's journey.  There was always a "what's next" that we used to look forward to.  It struck me this weekend that for some reason, the focus for growing - doing more - getting better - we have completely lost that when it comes to our health.  In this time of little work and the desire for instant gratification, we focus on the finish line, the end game, the grand finale.  "When I get to my goal weight... "  When you get to your goal weight, what?  Then what?  The journey is over?  It struck me this weekend that we get all wrapped up around "before" and "after" pictures...  "After" should be an ongoing evolution of change - change for the better - a continuous improvement - a kaizen.  YOU sitting here at present day: THAT is a current state of you...  a moment-in-time "after", if you will.  But it is only a moment in time.  We should strive for more.  I don't ever want to focus on one final "after" picture ever again, much like I don't ever want a picture of my own funeral - that is the only point in my entire state of being that I will no longer have the freedom to improve myself.  My goal - my own personal goal is to spend the rest of my life's journey doing everything I can to improve myself mentally, physically, nutritionally, and faithfully so that when I do reach the final finish line... I will know I've done everything I can to keep improving myself to be the best I can and go out with a very satisfying bang.

So what's my point?  Why am I wasting your time with this blog?  Because I want you to come along on this journey with me.  I want to know that you, much like me, won't be satisfied with losing 20 pounds and then gaining 30... just so you can continue to focus your energy on losing weight.  Let's lose weight, let's get our eating habits nutritionally sound and stabilized, and my most favorite - let's start training.  For something.  A 5K?  A 10K?  The CrossFit sectionals?  A triathlon?  

I was a marathoner once.  I also used to weigh 147 pounds.  And so often, I would look back and think "wow - I looked so good"... but when I REALLY look back, I realize there were always components missing.  My nutrition was lacking.  Cupcakes burn off really fast running 26.2 miles.  My legs weren't nearly strong enough and I was never really trained well enough to go fast... only to finish.  So I'm giving up on looking back and I'm giving up on focusing on one finish line.  Its time to put the puzzle together - and start the journey to a lifetime of continuous self-improvement.

I saw this magnet this weekend and for a brief moment, my inner little voice shrieked "THAT'S ME"... until my sound solid stable self insisted that there is nothing worth going back to.  Instead - I WILL be as thin as all my life's choices make me.  And now that I've seen the hard-core haunches on those hottie CrossFit champions, being thin is nothing worth wishing about.  Just sayin'.
Week 1 of my journey -
Goals: get out and start moving.  At least five days this week, I am going to move my body.  (its a challenge to not want to go out and force my way through a 20 mile training run, but just getting out and moving is a vast improvement over my "current snapshot")

Where will your first week take YOU?