Monday, September 09, 2013
Well, guys, I'm here!
I haven't given up!
It's been a very, very busy last month for me. Mostly, I got to spend a lot of time with family and in front of a sewing machine. I spent five very magical days travelling to and enjoying DragonCon. I had a great trip. I've also been eaten by work. So, now that all of that is over and I have a moment to breathe I can finally let you guys know what I've been up to.
Last month there was my family reunion and a lot of time spent sewing a costume I didn't ultimately wear. The reunion was fine - I ate a lot of food - and it was nice to see family I don't see all too often. The sewing and abandoned costume were not that much fun.
It was rough - my Mom and I usually work on a costume together and this year, well, she abandoned me. It was rough. I mean, all I wanted was a little help or attention and all she wanted to do was play games on her Kindle. I literally felt like a five year old who was making too many demands. If I could go back and do it again I would have just sewed at home, I could have figured it out on my own :(
So, I ran out of time at the end of my Agent Hill dress and wound up abandoning it for the sake of my own sanity. It was tough. I know I could have worked harder; but, I was just so tired by the end of it that I decided I wanted to keep my sanity and forgo the chaos. I'm glad I did.
I had a great time at DragonCon - I totally had my first year without worrying how I looked in costumes. Sure, I wasn't AMAZING, and I didn't get tons of attention; but, I didn't mind. I felt confident and healthy. I wound up bringing Squirrel Girl, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Phoenix, and Claptrap. It was a nice time. I really have some awesome pictures that I'll post later.
So, what am I up to now? Well, I'm currently weighing in at 187. Which is frustrating. But, it's okay. Tonight I have plans for my first stab at five miles since my injury and I'm so excited. I can't wait to tackle a course I haven't done for a while tonight. My calories are at 1200 for today - and I haven't had dinner yet. I'll have to figure something out when I get home.
Oh! I ran the Liberty mile last month and I'm proud to say I've chopped 90 seconds off my mile time since last year. How awesome is that!
I updated my front page with my planned races. I have the EQT 10 miler hanging out there like a spectre - I really need to get my butt in gear for it!
I hope you guys have all been well. I'm so glad to finally have time to get back to the Spark :)
Friday, August 02, 2013
Good morning everyone.
I wanted to thank all of you for your kind words and supportive comments on my last blog. I think I should take one moment to clarify - I don't think that there is anything wrong AT ALL with people who want to compare their times and compete with one another. I, personally, am having an insecure, uncomfortable moment with it. It's MY issue. Do I think anyone in my running groups thinks less of me because I run slower than them? None of the ones I would consider friends and good people. I wanted to express in my blog how -I- felt about not being able to 'compete' with times that are far beyond anything I can ever hope for. That's all. It leaves me feeling inadequate, and like I said I don't expect people to stop competing because it makes -me- feel bad.
Because, really, it comes down to my being able to have pride in what I can do. I can run for three hours at a time, giving it my all. Can a person who runs a half marathon at a 6 minute mile pace do the same? Can they compete a marathon at that pace? Not many people can. So, I get my jollies off the fact that I'm running for a longer time - even if someone can cover the distance in half the amount of time :)
Now, onto another rant that I think I will save for another day. I happened upon the following on Facebook (Source: https://www.facebook.com/AdiposeActivist) yesterday:
Youíre fat. Get off your fat ass and get some exercise.
Okay, Iíd love to. Letís get some workout clothes!
Oh, we donít have your size. Fat people donít exercise so thereís no market for it. Have some menís sweatpants and a manís t-shirt.
What about my boobs?
We donít have sports bras for you either. Thereís a few specialty shops, if you want to spend hundred of dollars on a bra youíre going to sweat all over.
I guess Iíll just double-bra. Now, I need a gym membership.
Oh. Okay. I guess.
*dirty looks at fat woman* *makes a big deal out of sanitizing anything fat woman touches* *complains to gym about having to look at fat people* *generally treats fat woman like sh!t*
Iím not comfortable here at all. Maybe Iíll just go for a walk.
Hey, fatty! Donít crack the pavement!
*condescending* Oh, itís so great that youíre trying to lose weight.
Iím not. I just want to get in better shape.
But you have to lose weight! Youíre so unhealthy!
YET ANOTHER PASSER-BY:
Mooooo! Look at the cow!
Yeah. I donít think I want to be out here anymore. Maybe Iíll just buy some home exercise equipment.
SPORTING GOODS STORE:
Sorry. The weight limit on our equipment is 30 kilos less than you weigh. Youíll have to lose some weight if you want to exercise at home. Have you tried a gym? Or maybe just go for a walk?
Iím out of ideas.
Havenít you lost any weight yet? Fat people are so lazy.
I can't think of any better way to express my opinion on this post than how I did in the comments section:
I stumbled on this and while I completely understand where it's intentions lie (and there are kernels of truth within each of the examples) there is something to be said for having the strength to triumph over perceptions and our own self-doubt. When I weighed 230lbs I could relate with every single thing up there. So, I decided I wouldn't pay attention to the "moo's" and laughter and degradation. I took responsibility for what I wanted to do and I DID it. It was slow. It was painful. I got healthy. I'm still getting healthy. Sure, all of those very real situations suck - and they kill any positive feelings of empowerment people may be developing; but, it's up to the individual what they do with them. You find a way. You get an exercise DVD. You double up bras. You don't look 'cute' for a little while. You choose to remember that what you're doing isn't for anyone but yourself. You choose to love yourself - and in doing that you're able to make any changes you want to see. The negativity spread by posts like this one makes me very sad - and only reinforces people's thoughts that they will always be the way they are because no matter what society, industry, and their own self-talk tells them so.
I've been very ranty lately. I think it's all the time I have to sit around and think - and the lack of almost medatative activities I miss engaging in (like running and yoga and biking.) So, I'm cooped up in my own head - and it's not turning out to be the most positive experience.
Still, what do you guys think? Am I totally off base on my feelings on this particular post?
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Preface: I'm not looking for a lot of cheering on for this blog. I just want to vent. Believe me, this blog is more cathartic than.. update-y. I have sat debating for a while if I ought to share this post with people on Facebook as well. I'm not sure how some of my friends will react to it. Still, since I have chosen to share it, I hope my friends will take it for what it is: Catharsis. I know it's not completely rational and I do know all the cliche sentiments that go with how I'm feeling. Also, some of the rants below are not 'pointed' I don't expect activities or opinions to stop, I just want to be able to express how those opinions and actions make me feel.
I woke up this morning and like I always do I opened up my Facebook app on my phone and checked to see what's going on. Yes, all the DragonCon groups are still going strong in preparation for the greatest Geek Fest on Earth. Yes, people are still beating levels of CandyCrush and begging for lives and moves to be sent post-haste. And then there are the usual posts on my running groups. "Anybody up for 6 at 8:15 pace today?" "Can anybody tell me what 5k's are coming up in September?" "
It wasn't the usual that bothered me for the most part.
But, well, there were two posts that just felt like a knife in the gut today. (and please, when I say what they were, don't go all cliche on me...)
The first one was the "What's your goal time for the one mile race?"
The second was a comment about how the race was "just a mile."
Maybe it's a function of where I was a year ago - and where I find myself now.
The Liberty Mile was my very first race. I ran it when I weighed 204lbs and I did my mile at 11:36. When I did it, I had just transitioned from the start-stop C25K method and was learning that just because I was breathing a little heavy didn't mean I had to stop. I was so proud of that 11:36 mile that I did without stopping. (Recap here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5020617) ) I remember vividly feeling unstoppable.
I also remember when a mile was a daunting proposition. I remember when 3 minutes of continuous movement felt like a monumental victory and eight minutes of running felt impossible. I remember how I spent a wickedly hot summer (90 degrees plus each day) training for a goal I had set of completely running a 5K.
And now, where I'm sitting right now with three half-marathons to my name, I find the idea of a mile scary. One single solitary mile frightens the crap out of me - posting what my hoped for time is turns out to be even more frightening. Well, scary might be the wrong emotion to convey, it's more of a humiliating thing. Others are posting their goal times and it feels like a men's measuring contest (see what I did there?) - hoping for 6 minutes or 7 minutes. Low 6's or High 5's. Sub-8's. For this girl who remembers when breaking 12 minutes was a lofty proposition and who still DREAMS of getting to sub-11... well, you can imagine why in the face of single digits it doesn't feel quite so.. monumental anymore. I wasn't blessed with gazzelle genes. I didn't treat my body for many, many years in a way that would enable exercise to become comfortable or feel do-able for me. Now, though, after two months on the sidelines I'm significantly worried that even if I'm cleared to run the race I'm going to be so much slower than I was last year. Eight weeks without running - what does that do to someone?
When you've never run or are new to running, a mile is never 'just' a mile. It's probably between 10 and 15 minutes of complete uncertainty, discomfort, and self consciousness. I'm finding that when I'm returning from injury I'm feeling that exact same way. I'm feeling uncertain about what my body can do. I have this feeling that there's going to be a fair amount of discomfort headed my way. I know I'm feeling uncomfortable in my own skin as I've felt all of the positive changes I worked so hard for start to disappear.
I think I've also lost a bit of my mental edge, too.
I'm not writing this because I need cheered on. I'm writing this because I think I need to share where I am with people. I don't talk much off of Spark with people about how being sidelined has taken it's toll. I whine a bit with the rest of the people in the weight loss study; but, I'm trying not to do that.
A mile isn't 'just' a mile - not for me. Not for a lot of other people. 13 minute, 12 minute, 11 minute miles may still be miles - but they feel like a putting 1996 Camry next to a high-octane, beautiful performance car. Both cars move - but one just seems to much more.. flashy. So much more beautiful. So much more like it's something built to do what it does.
Where do these feelings leave me? Well, I'm not sure. I'm still in limbo. I actually just got my confirmation call for Monday's doctor's appointment. I'm just kind of left to bob and flow with how I'm feeling, with the completely unintended feelings that friendly postings stir up. I just wanted to get it out there.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Well, the title of my blog is misleading. I'm busy, just not at work.
I hate weeks like this. I especially hate them in my current condition. Firstly, I don't have any billable work to do. That means that I'm doing a lot of reading and research. A lot of organizing. A lot of trips to the water cooler. A lot of stuff that while sometimes interesting and valuable often feels like busy work.
After all, I have to come to work. I have to give them my 40 hours. It's just that right now my employer doesn't have any billable work for me to do. So, we get to make up things that might be valuable (like researching current trends or organizing a binder of workproduct for future reference); but, ultimately just feels like the word-search game or crossword puzzle passed out by a substitute teacher when your regular english teacher is out sick.
If I weren't laid up I'd love this time. I can come in early and get a run in over lunch without pressure to get back in less than an hour. Or, I can go for a nice long bike ride. However, I'm stuck with a much more.. loose schedule, beautiful weather, and no fun to be had.
Also, when the weeks are like this, it means that I won't have any overtime. Right now it's looking like I'm going to be down between 8 and 12 hours unpaid. It's lame.
So, what is going good?
Well, we're at t-minus 28 days to get my costumes done. Let me give you a list and status of everything!
Gambit: 85% Complete! - All sewn up and waiting on replacement leggings to arrive by mail. I splurged. I know. I bought these AMAZING 'bionic' leggings made by an Etsy shop called Mitmunk. They're sub-dyed lycra leggings with an awesome print. (For the curious, 'dye-sub' or 'sub-dyed' or Sublimated Dye process is ALWAYS preferable to screen printing! Screen print is like what you find on many printed sports jerseys - those wide swaths of plastic printed on fabric that ultimately comes off as you wash it. Sublimated Dye essentially dyes a pattern or logo onto the fabric, making it part of the fabric. It may fade or shift color; but, it's going to hold up MUCH longer than a screen print. It's also, usually, a finer level of detail.
1. Jean Grey / Green Phoenix: 80% complete! - I got my suit yesterday and I'm feeling fabulously confident in it. Some Spanx will ensure that the spandex doesn't go up my bum and the cut and the belt are much more flattering than a plain old suit. My only complaint is that the 'belt' is attached to the suit and notable to be shifted. AS it is right now it sits up on my waist when it should be on my hips. We'll chalk that up to my long torso. Right now I'm waiting on my red wig to turn up and then I'll do some test shots to share! The last thing I need to do is be brave and cut holes in the suit for my high heels to slip through. After all, Jean does have the look of thigh-high high-heeled boots.
2. Lady Deadpool: 100% Complete! - Really, it's just a suit. However, I have to say I'm considering leaving her at home this year. I bought a new suit and the way it's cut has TOO MUCH excess fabric in the crotch area (but, also, not enough up the back.. So I wind up with a rather obscene looking butt crack..) I do Lady Deadpool and my brother does Deadpool, and these are the only costumes we ever do that 'go together.' I feel kind of obligated. However, I don't 'feel good' in this costume. I'll take a photo or two this week to share with you guys. You'll see what I mean.
3. Battlestar Galactica Double Tanks: 95% complete! I've decided to get some aviator sunglasses to go with this puppy since everyone calls me Starbuck anyway. Though, I don't NEED them. So, this is practically 100%
4. Agent Hill Formalwear: 65% complete! I'm sewing this one from scratch. It's coming together slowly with the most work coming in doing the satin applique of the SHIELD emblem on the lower back. I meant to take progress photos.. I'll take some at the next sewing session. Oh, I also need to find shoes. That's important.
5. Legends of the Hidden Temple: 100%. Also compatable with Legends of the Hidden Tem-Pool (A deadpool mashup.)
6. Claptrap: 5% complete. Oh, man, this is this year's biggie. The bro and I are making Claptrap costumes. Claptrap is a robot from the Borderlands video game series. He's hilarious and annoying. We're essentially taking refrigerator boxes and cutting them up. They're going to be a 22" square at the top and a 16" square at the bottom. Pretty big. People in elevators are going to hate us. Right now we have about 80% of the supplies, the start of a concept of how to put it together and a prayer. these guys are going to be hard. But awesome. And hard.
7. STar Trek Original Series Dress Uniform: 100%. I got my dress, my boots, my tricorder, and I'm not afraid to use them!
So, that's where most of my time is going lately.
I had my check in phone call with the study yesterday. Things I admitted: I haven't been tracking my food. I haven't been wearing my armband. I haven't been weiging myself. I haven't been happy. We agreed that I'd at least try to keep my hand out of the candy jar at work. So far today I have consumed 4 mints. Not terrible.
I'm PRAYING that I get the all clear from the doc to run next week. God, please, I need this.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Good morning everyone!
What can I say, blogging once a week is about all I can tolerate at this instant. I'm killing myself at work trying to put in as much overtime as possible to accrue vacation time so as not to be forced into taking DragonCon off unpaid. So, for example, I came in on Sunday from 3:30 to 8 and worked on stuff. The problem is that only billable work is supposed to count toward my overtime. so, while I have already put in 5.5 hours of OT and yielded 2.75 hours of PTO for my efforts - if there isn't an onslaught of billable hours I will have a very difficult time making up all the time I need in order to not take a few days unpaid.
So far I am estimating that in less than ideal conditions I need between 16 and 24 hours of accrued PTO. So far I have managed 8. So, I'm halfway to my minimum goal. I'd be willing to take a half day unpaid so I can leave on Wednesday afternoon. We have a very long drive down to Atlanta and leaving on Wednesday allows us to get to the Convention and rest up before the festivities. Of course, all the plans right now have me coming back to work the day after the convention - in which case I will be useless. This is not how I planned for things to go down.
Between my Dad's health issues and my own surgery my 3 weeks of time off has melted away. It is what it is. The good news is I already put my student loans into forebarence so any additional financial consequences of my year of tough luck won't ding my credit.
In terms of how I've been keeping up with the lifestyle, I'm going to say I've done pretty crappy. I haven't tracked anything since my last blog and I've developed some nasty habits.
First I'm finding it impossible to get up on time for work. Hello sleeping until 7:45.. This means I'm not only getting to pay $14 a day to park in the close parking lot; but, I'm missing out on 2 miles of daily walking.
Second, since I'm running late, I'm enabling myself to stop at Dunkin Donuts each morning on the way. After all, I'm not walking past my bagel shop. So, not only am I not getting the benefit of the walking I feel like I'm doing more caloric damage (It's really only a 25 calorie difference between my bagel thin and a donut; but, still..)
Then, on top of all that I haven't been leaving my desk over lunch to get my walks in. So, there goes another 60 minutes of exercise.
Let's not even talk about my less than wholesome dinners, candy jar mayhem, and lack of self control in pretty much any food related context.
All of this has amounted to a gain of 5-6lbs over time.
What have I learned? That my bad habits are not only hard to break; but, they're going to land me back in the land of 190 in no time. That idea doesn't make me happy. Not even a little bit. So, I'm going to do everything I can to get back to it. The goal, right now, is to be around 180 for Labor Day. That's all I want.
What I am glad to report is that I'm back in my contact lenses with no pain, discomfort, or issues. I still have an air bubble in my eye, so that makes my vision a little bit distorted (And full of glares); but, I FEEL better with my contacts rather than my glasses. It's nice to have that one little thing to be back to normal.
The next doctor's appointment is in August. I'm hoping he tells me I'm allowed to run by then. As you can see, I've updated my race listing on my page to reflect everything I've dropped out of as well as what I still have on the charts. I feel confident I'll make it to the November races - the Liberty Mile is the one that I think I may still need to drop, unfortunately.
Alright - I'm going to go for my walk. Sure, it means I'm going to be at work until 6PM; but, I'm not giving up anymore of my accrued overtime/ my fitness goals. I can stay late. It won't kill me.
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