Monday, September 05, 2011
A few things have happened recently. First off, I turned 49 on the 2nd (hence the song -- many thanks to Pseudobritchick for reminding me of it). One more year and I will hit a new running division. This is a much smaller division, at least in the 5Ks that I run. And so I have a chance to actually crack the top 3. Keep in mind I don't think I've seen more than 5 women in this division unless I run a really big race but hey, I could use the kudos.
Today I ran my 22nd 5K and did okay, finishing fourth from last and in about 44:10. Official results will probably be posted in a day or 2.
But -- let me tell you about the gal who finished last.
She was, I am guessing, about 225, 250 lbs. or so. Probably in her 30s.
She was also in a regular wheelchair.
The course is uneven and there are wooded portions. There are two bridges that you go over. There are sticks everywhere, evidence of Hurricane Irene.
And things that you or I would not see as hills -- they were hills to her. And, we talked to her afterwards, and she said that the paved portions all sloped over to the right. So even what didn't feel like even a slight hill was still an issue for her. She said she had to steer with her left hand while pushing with her right. It could not have been easy -- plus it was another overly warm and humid day. She was redfaced at the end of it (as was I).
She finished in about 1:06 and some miscellaneous number of seconds.
Results will be up soon, as I stated above. And then I will know her name.
She says she's going to do the Marathon in April. And I want to know who I'm cheering for. I sometimes go to the Marathon. I live pretty close to where Heartbreak Hill ends. I hope I see her.
Hell, when I grow up, I wanna BE her.
Go, CATHERINE, go!
Monday, August 29, 2011
So we did have rain, and a few gusts, and there was some cellar water, but that's all gone and it's a beautiful day. I don't mean to gloat -- I hope it doesn't sound like that -- but we emerged with no issues after Hurricane Irene. Down several streets, though, a tree fell over power lines, and we saw branches on another street that took out a cable line (Mr. J and I went out in it last night).
Otherwise, nuthin'. I am well aware that a number of people are dead and, even in Mass., 700,000 people are without power as of this morning. But we are fine.
And it does make one wonder about hype versus reality. I do not wish to get into a political discussion but some of this was definitely overhyped. Then again, I am certain that the government did not want another Katrina fiasco on its hands. And the original models were rather dire (we were originally told that we could get 6 - 10" of rain. I think we got 1 1/2" or so).
It's a balance. Panic too many people without reason, and they won't listen to you next time. Warn too few people and people die in their homes or engage in foolish risk-taking. Hell, half the time they do that anyway.
And, here in weight loss land, I suppose the balance is somewhat similar, and is as difficult.
Read too many dire warnings about your health and, if they don't come true, you can often find yourself continuing to tempt fate. That is certainly what happened to me for years. I was over 300, but my cholesterol and pressure were just dandy and the doctor's finger wagging felt meaningless. Hey, I'm fine! Pass the butter!
And then no warnings or few warnings, and people think you're uninformed. I had people tell me they were concerned, and give me magazine articles and the like. Well, duh. I know this stuff. Not. Helping.
I see this all the time on Spark, where people want to know how to help their kids, convince their spouse, etc. and I think a lot of them have forgotten what got them started in the first place, on the path to wellness.
I doubt it was a magazine article or an overly dire warning of an event that seemed remote.
I get the feeling it was something truly personal, and I bet a lot of it came from within.
For me, it was when my doctor just sat me down and said, "Look, I have no idea how you haven't become diabetic up until this point, but you are on that path. And it might not happen this year, but it will happen. You are continuing to increase the odds every year. And one day it's just going to happen."
And at that point, I realized that it wasn't just some idle, empty threat, that she really meant it and I was on a pretty destructive personal path.
But I had to come to it on my terms, in my own way.
So -- people ask -- how can I help others to see the light?
Well, I hate to break it to you, folks, but you probably can't, because diet evangelists are just as annoying to the non-dieting overweight as I am sure ex-smokers are to smokers. It ain't personal; it's just that they are not receptive to the message and you are gonna turn blue in the face and no one's going to be helped and all that will happen is that you will both become frustrated and resentful.
Instead, I think, be a good example. Be a resource if someone asks. Don't ram the lifestyle down their throats. Just live it. When I was working, I would eat rather spare lunches. Usually, if the company ordered something in for a lunch meeting, I might take a small salad without dressing, or just have my own soup with me. And I would sit and do that. I wasn't deprived and I wasn't isolated. But people saw.
Or I would go out walking at lunch. And people would notice.
Did they change? A little. Sometimes these things can seem glacial. But I know that when most of those people went out to lunch with me, they would often curtail what they were eating. Did I make them feel guilty? I didn't mean to. I was not trying to. I was just eating my lunch. That's it, nothing more. No lectures, no holier than thou nonsense. Just, "I'd like a salad, please, dressing on the side. And water's fine." If someone sees a lecture or a holier than thou attitude in there, I wish they'd point it out to me.
And people would come up to me and tell me -- because of you, I just started Weight Watchers. Or, you've inspired me. Or, where do you walk around here, it looks like fun. Can I go with you some time?
That's it, folks. No overhyping, but no ignoring of it, either. Is it perfect? Hell no. I'm sure that most if not all of my former coworkers are back to their old ways. I don't promise to change the world, by any means.
I think all that we can hope for is to change ourselves, and hope that that change seeps out and touches others.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I ran my 21st 5K on Saturday.
And that continues to be a weird and amazing # of times and, each time I add to it, I continue to marvel at the fact that I only first started running (read: jogging, walking and wheezing) them in June of 2009.
Now, this was not a great race. I found myself feeling awful about halfway through the first song. It was horribly humid out (although not super-hot) and that just sucked the life right out of everybody. I could feel myself getting very, very red in the face and all I could think of was: this is why I carry a cel phone with me on these races. 'Cause I might find myself needing a ride in a nice vehicle with a siren.
I persevered. I was able to finish, and I actually only hit the middle of the song right after the finisher song. It was the fourth-worst time I have ever had. One reason is because I have, again, gained a bit. But it was also the godawful humidity. My husband was wheezing, and so were a lot of other people who were younger and clearly weighed less than I did. To me what is truly amazing is that, for the three times I did worse, I actually weighed less (in fact, for this particular race, I weighed the most that I have since I have started doing these). In fact, one of those races was run when I was 39 pounds less. That is no typo. Wacky.
And so I am here, folks, as something of a poster child for the fact that these can be done even if you are not near goal, even if you wheeze and snort like a Clydesdale, even if you pant like a Labrador Retriever. They can be done when the weather is bad, including hot, cold, rainy and humid -- I have run 5Ks in all of these conditions. The only weather conditions I have not run a 5K in are snow and a hurricane. They can be done when you are in a weird head space and they can be done when the scale is unkind. They can be done when you feel fat. They can be done when you feel it's just not gonna happen.
We are on an incredibly tight budget these days, but we are making money for doing these. Part of it is because they often support causes that we believe in (this one was to support a land trust called the Cape Shore Foundation). And we get free tee shirts and whatever swag they are handing out (we've gotten 4 pint glasses already, and 4 finisher medals between us). But it's also for the socializing and the fun. And, it focuses our efforts. It just seems to drive us more to "train" for a 5K, rather than just endless walking and jogging that, bottom line, doesn't seem to get us anywhere, at least not spatially.
But it does get us somewhere emotionally. I cannot begin to tell you how people clapping at the end -- for me, yes! -- how that makes me feel. And it is weird. I was always the last one picked for sports when I was a kid, and I was not an overweight child at all. I was just ... last. For whatever reason, save for exactly one time that I still remember from a good 30 years ago, I was ALWAYS last.
And I am often the last runner (for this time, I actually beat 10 people, which shocks me). I am well aware that one of the reasons I get applause is because people (a lot are regulars) see me and think: okay, now they're gonna hand out the prizes. Yay!
But I don't really give a damn why they are clapping. Perhaps, by then, it is oxygen deprivation, but I like to think they are applauding for me. It is my personal 5000 meter dash at the Olympics.
I do these even though I know that the only chance I've really got to ever be in the top three for my age group is to age into a smaller group and, perhaps, trip my competition as they sprint by me. But I don't care.
So -- quit worrying about how you're going to look, or even how it'll hurt for a day or two afterward (It will. Now you know.). And just go out there and do it. I'll be out there, too, wheezing like an old-fashioned locomotive, trying to trip you.
Monday, August 15, 2011
So, last Wednesday (not Friday) I went to a networking event for young hip happenin' entrepreneur types.
And, as usual, very little actually was accomplished. But it looks good, right?
It's funny. These are the kinds of things that you're always told to do when looking for work. Go out and meet people! Trade business cards! Smile! Show, in five seconds, how TOTALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME YOU ARE!!!
Yanno, I did the networking thing for a good year.
And out of it I got an equity-only role at a company that, let's face it, is not on the fast track to funding. Lovely guys -- I adore them! -- but we are not gonna be skinny dipping in a pool full of cash any time soon.
Hence I go to events like that one.
And, it burns me up, really. Not that the event was bad. It was fine. And I know that a lot of it is me. It is me not wanting to deal with the nonsense. It is me not wanting to do the superficial bit any more. It is me tired of hearing about yet another wacky idea that isn't past the drawing board stage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know Twitter was once like that (micro-blogging? How droll!). So were a million other ideas.
So much of it is perception. It is Junior High all over again. It is -- is she wearing the right whatever? Is she young? Is she ...
Yep, there's that.
Yanno, lots of people look at the overweight, the obese and the first things they think are ...
I don't try to lose weight in order to please a bunch of yahoos like that. And I don't want to work for them if they suddenly love me because I am within spitting distance of 199 versus having been in spitting distance of 350.
It is amazing, and it is disturbing, how we judge each other, and we are judged. And it's based on appearances.
Did we not learn anything back when we were 13 years old, and it hurt, either us or people who didn't deserve it? Didn't we get it? Don't we get it NOW?
I challenge you - anyone reading this - to go onto the page of someone on here who is bigger than you are. Look around. They hang out in teams with names like "Must Lose over 100 lbs.". You know 'em.
I challenge YOU. Yeah, YOU.
Go to at least one of those people and tell them something positive. Give them hope. And make it personal. Not just, the pictures of your daughter are cute. Yeah, the daughter is cute. But what about the mother?
I challenge YOU.
And then it really will rule.
Monday, August 08, 2011
My husband is a wonderful man with several jobs around here. He is the main garbage dealer-wither. He does the bulk of the laundry (I do most of the putting away). He does much of the post-meal cleanup (I do most of the prep). He does a lot of the yard work (I deal with the car). It is, we feel, a pretty equal partnership.
He has two jobs, though, that are pretty much just his: bat removal and killing the big bugs.
Now, bat removal, fortunately, doesn't happen too often. I tend to scream like an extra in a cheap horror flick and hide under whatever is available to hide under. Last time, it was the desk where I am sitting right now, so I got to be up close and intimate with the constellation of dropped (milk-free) Cheerios that are all over the immediate floor area.
Then there is the ritual slaughter of the really big bugs.
This morning, I was going downstairs, minding my own business, you know, thinking about getting a water refill and selecting a particular flavor stick. You know, the great mysteries of life that we all ponder at about 9:30 AM.
When, on the window sill just above the window seat (this house is over 100 years old so we have wacky nooks all over the place), I see --
It is HUGE.
Okay, not huge.
But it is close to an inch long.
Black as midnight, with antlers, er, antennae. A beetle.
Now, it shouldn't really matter, right? It is neither a termite nor is it a roach. And it's nowhere near where I normally hang out. For it to get here, into the computer room, would probably involve a few beetle generations, assuming it could (a) find a mate (b) raise the children to continue the quest to find the computer room and (c) pack enough food and beetle sweaters for the journey (that area gets kinda chilly in the winter).
I am safe, right?
Now, Mister J has already gone to work.
It's just me and the beetle, and the constellation of Cheerios which are still underneath this desk.
Perhaps the beetle wants the Cheerios? Perhaps the constellation is a subject of their songs and stories, their myths and legends?
DOES IT WORSHIP ME AS THE GODDESS THAT I AM???!?!?!?
I hit it with the newspaper, of course. And I scoop it onto the tray that I am taking downstairs. I get the tray to the kitchen sink.
And -- eek! It moves!
Now I get the neon hunter orange flyswatter that we keep for just such occasions and I tip the tray so as to get it to land on a placed paper towel and then I give it what-for.
Take that, you jespah-worshipping, Cheerio-coveting, window seat-squatting minion of Satan!
Normally I would provide a burial at sea, but the paper towel precludes that. Therefore, a standard burial is provided, straight into the dark blue waste can in the kitchen which fortunately has a heavy enough lid that it would take an army of beetles -- even huge mutant black Satanic ones -- to lift.
I sigh and survey my dominion. I get my water refill (orange flavor stick, for those of you keeping track at home). And I go back upstairs, secure in the knowledge that being a Sparkie has truly helped me to gain confidence and overcome my fears.
But I still ain't touchin' no bats.
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