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Why I hid my weight tracker: or disordered brain blues ...

Friday, December 24, 2010

So, I've been within a 5 lb. window of my basic weight goal for over a year now. I shoot for 126-127 and sometimes I'm a bit lower and sometimes a bit higher. It depends a lot. My measurements also waver a bit - sometimes my waist is 26˝ (yay) and sometimes it's more like 27.5˝ (boo) but I know that's usually due to sodium, hormonal stuff, etc. rather than real weight gain or loss.

Honestly, these numbers are so fleeting. They really only tell you about your body as it is *right that second*. A lot of the swings are due to fluid retention, how much food is in your stomach, whether or not your muscles are being repaired (and holding water) and hydration levels.

I know this. I can talk about it and sound like a sensible human being.
I'm not, though. I'm experiencing some mild (and sometimes not so mild) signs of disordered eating - mostly in my thought about calories in and out and exercise. I didn't really experience this until I started the process of maintaining. When I was losing, I wasn't feeling like this. I'd get a little weird if I ate too much and went over my calories for the day or didn't hit my burn for the week, but I didn't completely break down and lose my shi! over it. Not like I do now, at least.

I am thinking about what I'm allowed to eat and the exercise I have to do 95% of the time. I worry about my weight constantly. I stress about burning enough calories when I work out. If something prevents me from working out I feel like I don't deserve to eat anything but my bare minimum amount (around 1300). I feel like a failure if I go over the low end of my calorie range. I don't really consider it a range, most days. Most days it's a game to see how close I can get to exactly that low range number... how few calories more than that I can take in. I feel pleased when I hit it exactly - bummed when I'm more than 50 calories higher than the minimum.

When I eat things I haven't planned I beat myself up - literally and emotionally. I scream at myself for being so weak, for being a fat stupid failure who's going to pork back up again. For not just controlling my self and not being such a stupid cow with a grazing mouth. I feel like I'm slipping whenever I relax.

The thing is, it's mostly mental. I think that I should be working out more/harder, eating less. I should be doing this or that. But I don't. I've been eating and exercising moderately and my clothes still fit the same. My stomach varies day to day (sometimes it looks good, sometimes flabby) but I generally feel pretty stable in my size. That said, the real pain is between my disordered self saying "eat less, move more, fat cow, getting fatter, eat less, you suck!" and my behavior being healthy. Whe I'm working out like normal I'm eating 1600-1800 a day, which is low to mid-range in my calories. I'm sometimes hungry but I'm not ravenous or starving feeling. I don't lose loads of weight, I haven't really lost anything much lately.

So, this disordered me is going "eat less, move more, be smaller" and my brain is saying "eat and exercise moderately, maintain your health." The brain is winning and that ticks the disorder off(!) and causes this crazy rift in my mental state. I feel BAD for Not doing what I know is Not Healthy or Good For Me. I feel bad for eating more food and not killing myself with overexercising. I feel bad that I'm not doing what that disorder brain is demanding. I feel like a failure for daring to eat more, for daring to take two or three rest days a week if I need them. For doing an easy workout a couple times a week in addition to harder ones.

This week is my post-marathon recovery week. I hate it. I hate how I feel. I know I should be recouping. I know that in the last nine weeks I've raced two marathons, raced a half and run a number of long training runs (14, 16, 20) in cold, unpleasant, rough weather. I know that I've got niggling injuries from doing so much to my body and I need this time to start healing. I KNOW that. But I still feel like a failure. I haven't done any exercise since Sunday's marathon. Nothing. The voice in my head is screaming at me right now just since I wrote that down. It makes me panic a bit to have been so lazy for so long. :( I haven't even really been doing stuff around the house - I just feel so wiped out and blah. Nothing seems important so I'm just laying around with my feet up. :/

I'm eating relatively low calorie (1400ish?) since I set my info to hardly any calories burned via exercise (really, it should be none and my daily calories should be lower but I'm not willing to do that) right now. Since I have to rest, I can't eat like I'm working out. I have to just cover my bases for BMR and eat a tiny bit lower to avoid gaining while I'm healing.

I've been frustrated to the point of tears twice lately. Wanting food but feeling like nothing I want is "allowed" within my current range.

I hate this.
I'm better currently than I've been in the past. I've had some really rough times in the past couple months - disordered brain peaked for a while there and I had a number of total meltdowns - but it's still rough. No one really mentions that maintenance might be even harder than losing - or, if they do, it's worded more about the physical. No one talks about the emotional turmoil of maintenance. I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking I should cry you a darn river - here I am at my goal weight, "thin" and where so many would like to be - but it's true. Your brain can be the most cruel thing on this earth. And being a formerly fat person in a now less than fat body is like visiting a strange country where you don't know the language or the culture. And the natives can be cruel or even deadly if you misstep too much.

I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not sure I'm improving my mindset.
Being able to talk about it at all is probably a good sign that things are getting better. At my worst, I wouldn't ever admit to this. At my worst I was in denial and would have said I was fine, never better, totally cool.

I'm angry, though. I'm angry that I'm thin now and I'm more at war with my body than ever. Being thinner and STILL not perfect is hard. You keep going "maybe perfection is five pounds away? Maybe ten? If I lose more, do more, will my stomach finally look like hers? Am I so close to a body like in the movies/magazines/etc. but since I'm stopping here, I'll never know that?" The impulse is to keep losing, see how small you can go, how low that scale can drop, how small those pants can get.

All this is why my tracker is gone. I need to STOP focusing on these relatively arbitrary numbers on the scale and focus on how I feel and my health, rather than my appearance. I need to start judging myself like I'd judge another person. I don't know their weights, I don't feel that they have to weigh a certain amount to have worth or be attractive. I just take them at face value. How people take me.

No one can tell if I'm having a "fat" 128 lb. day or a thin 125 lb. day. It's just not visible to most normal humans. In addition, I don't know why that gain happened. It could be water, food, TOM, time of day... my weight fluctuates all day. The weight I am on the scale is one frame in a film full of them. It tells me nothing about worth or success or value - it tells me what my body, at that second, weighs. Nothing more.

Honestly, it's not a piece of information that's very useful.
If I feel like I look lean and then weigh in higher that ruins my day. If I feel like I look pudgy and then weigh in with a loss, I feel better. This is wacky.

I'm going to focus on how I feel and my health, how my clothes fit, what my body can DO rather than focusing on how small I can make it look. I have a soft belly, toned arms and legs, slim hips, graceful shoulders - this is a healthy, strong woman's body. It isn't worth less due to not having a six pack or fitting into a size 0. I need to keep that in mind.

Not sure how I'm going to handle the disordered brain/voice. It makes me miserable and, honestly, should be taken care of. I'm not sure I can do it alone - I might be looking into therapy to try and get a better grip on that. As it stands, I'm usually a few seconds away from swinging into bad brain space. I feel it, even now, right on the edge of my conscious mind. Too much food. Can't believe you haven't exercised this week. Loser. Failure. Fatty. Slipping...

Hard things.
Things more folks should talk about, IMO.
We need to know we're not alone. Just saying "maintenance is hard" isn't really admitting that it can feel more like an ED than losing ever did. It glosses over some genuinely bad bits - how to get this brain and this body, as it is now, to mesh? How to stop chasing after perfection and how to stop hating yourself? Why is it never enough?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGOLEDIVA 2/16/2011 12:50PM

    You know- I was and am just like that! In my YOung Dumb and Stupid blog- I wrote about feeling exactly that way! And I was 120-125 on a normal day and 117 for pageant or bikini competition.

I have gained and lost 100's of pounds. The last time I got really thin- was in 1999 and I went from 156 to 126 in 6 weeks( no kidding) I was eating 1000 to 1200 cal a day and working our 2-3 HOURS a day. I remember being happy about my 125 weight- and fitting into all the old clothes I loved so much- but I also remember holding that 117 target in my mind.

Now at 200 pounds with 70 to lose- I find myself more forgiving. Here are some things I do now that I didn't do then. When you choose your food- pick things you love then try to make them healthier. I love French toast but the regular version can have as much as 1000 cals and 40 grans of fat! I started making it with sara lee bread( 45 cals a slice plus protein) I more then doubled the protein by using 1 egg plus 1/2 cup egg substitute- mixed with a teas cinnamon and a pack of stevia. Then I use the syrup for diabetics- 10 cals per half a cup. I can have a huge stack of 3 pieces loaded with syrup and still not hit 300 cals for breakfast. So don't use food to "punish" yourself because you are right- that is a classic ED symptom- and one that strongly show in both Bulimia and anorexia- so you are right to notice and be concerned.

The other thing is the need to exercise. I'm with you on this one too! I remember being able to RUN!! UP!!! a 45 degree mountain everyone else was huffing and puffing on- In step aerobics- everyone else used a 6" step- I used a 24" CHAIR! That competitive spirit can really hurt you in the long run as you're finding out with the healing and hurts in general- and it doesn't get better with age lemme tell ya. But- if you're addicted to the seratonin/endorphin levels you get from exercise- how about swimming when your body can't take the running? It's much easier on your joints( which running tears up!)

But last- I agree with some of the others- you have seen the warning signs...you know you're teetering on the edge of a full blown ED- why not get help. Once you go over the edge- IF you go over the edge- you won't be able to seek that help voluntarily. Plus- allowing your cal intake and your exercise expenditure to control your life like that is no way to live. And losing the weight and getting healthy physically- only to BECOME very unhealthy mentally is not a fair exchange.

And yes I know you may be thinking 'who is this fat woman telling ME what to do"...but I was a skinny woman most of my life- your size actually. And I placed myself in situations where I had to be thinner than I needed to to compete on a regular basis. I got fat...well the reasons don't matter cuz this is about you...but trust me when I say I know enough to fill books about health, exercise and eating right...I am also friends with numerous girls who had full blown ED's. And what I see in this blog really makes me concerned for you. You and I joined spark about the same time and I am kicking myself for getting away from it for a year cuz I could have been your size again had I stuck with it- but I back now- and this time - I fell like I have a better outlook and attitude towards it. But count your blessings- you have achieved amazing things with your weight- You can handle this too!


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RUTHXG 12/29/2010 12:26PM

    So happy I just stumbled onto your blog. Hurray for honesty! And you really can get free of "disordered me"--with good therapy you'll find ways to soothe her disordered fears & memories. You already have lots of wisdom, evidenced by your thoughtful analysis of the problem. Down the road I hope you'll consider writing a Daily Spark blog post to reach other people who struggle with maintenance. You are not alone!

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HEZLIZZIE 12/26/2010 12:56PM

    I think that it is incredibly important and brave of you to put your uncensored and honest thoughts out there on your blog, my wonderful friend. Thank you for trusting us on SP with this glimpse into your mindset and your struggles with maintaining.

Taking your weight ticker/tracker off of your SparkPage is a really big step, especially if not seeing it there when you log on will be helpful in not being 'ruled' by the number and allowing that singular form of feedback about your body at that moment in time to affect your self esteem. At least I'm hoping that's what happens with me, because I removed my tracker from my page, too. Yay, us!

Talking about your disordered inner voice so openly is something you know I really applaud because it's by talking about it that healing occurs. I'm so worried when I hear things like that thoughts of your calorie intake and exercise/calorie expenditure ratio ate at the forefront of your mind 95% of the time, and your self harm behavior really scares me. I'm seeing so many red flags waving.

I can absolutely relate to having the post-marathon blues and being a bit frustrated about taking adequate rest after the race. I started a new strength training program this morning, and that has helped me switch gears and make my inner dialogue/self esteem more positive.

You are more than enough. As you are. In this moment. Exactly, exactly as you are.
* channels Mark from Bridget Jones movie *
Please make an appointment with the therapist that specializes in working with people struggling with Eating Disorders you were referred to. You are an amazing person and friend, and you deserve the very best in life; in health, in emotional well-being, in self love, and in recovery from your 'disordered brain'. These blues that you have been feeling are NOT going to stick around forever. You are stronger than the disordered thoughts are. You make the rules.

I love you. Please let me know what I can do to help. Sending lots of virtual hugs and love your way.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIV2RIDE 12/25/2010 9:04AM

    As I was reading this I felt like you were looking into my own life and brain. This is exactly how I feel most of the time. I've been like this since I was a teenager and that's a really long time for me. I'm obsessed with what I eat, how much of it I eat, how thin I want to be, always comparing my stomach to others (mostly those in fashion or health mags). I workout 7 days a week because I'm afraid I'll get fat if I don't. I workout hard those 7 days. Then I got to the point that I wanted to fuel my workouts so they would be better especially when I started cycling. I want to ride a century race and you can't do that on no fuel and always trying to be the skinniest person in the room. I had to ditch the tracker AND the scale. I would weigh myself constantly. SP also became an obsession. I would eat something or drink something and immediately have to enter it. Now I weigh about once a month, first thing in the morning. I only track once in a while but I still track my exercise every day. Seeking professional help is a good thing. For some reason we try to seek perfection but are never satisfied with where we are. I hope that you can find peace and find a way to love the yourself. You are a wonderful and beautiful person JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

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JLITT62 12/24/2010 6:43PM

    I'm so glad you mentioned therapy, because I wanted to mention it, but I didn't want to offend you or make you angry, either.

Yes, maintenance is hard. Yes, it is mostly mental. But I've felt for a long time that you are on the wrong end of it being really hard -- that you need help. And I also totally understand how easy it is to leap from being concerned about being healthy to having an ED or close to it.

While my experience isn't the same as yours, I can tell you the first time I lost a fair amount of weight I really was thin. Thinner than I realized at the time. In fact, my MIL was showing us photos from my SIL's shower (a LONG time ago), and I really almost didn't recognize myself.

And I have struggled so for the last 20 years . . . I don't want that for you. Try counseling. You can always stop or switch if it's not working, but you owe it to yourself to investigate it. Because you're awesome, just the way you are (and yeah, I'm aware that's kind of contradictory).

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MBSHAZZER 12/24/2010 6:09PM

    Thanks for sharing. I think you should look for professional help because you seem really, really distressed.

I have never had an ED but I struggle with OCD and from what I've researched, the two are very similar. I know how hard it can be to feel trapped - your case, trapped by food and exercise. For me, I was trapped by my "things", which always vary. I would feel so jealous of people who could just be "normal" about stuff whereas I would have all of these obsessive thoughts and just be unable to participate in life. Just as a quick example, before I was even sexually active, I was convinced that I was pregnant and / or HIV+. Later obsessions were around eating certain foods at certain times. Even though I mostly have a handle on things now, I still need to eat certain foods from certain plates / dishes. There are certain foods I would not eat even if I were in danger of starving to death. I have certain "tics" around exercise and I am fairly certain that my Garmin is not helping things!

Anyway, I just want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings but with help, things can get MUCH MUCH better.

Another thing to think about is the endorphin rush you get from running long distances. It is totally normal to get depressed after a marathon, when it is physically impossible to run. You are no longer flooding your brain with all of those endorphins. I thought I would have a really hard time with my taper, but it was a breeze. It was the 2 weeks after the marathon that were torture.

Anyway, feel free to drop me a mail if you want to talk more. Sending you


Be kind to yourself....

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New super tasty treat! SO low calorie - guiltless numminess.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

So, I read this great blog at http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com. Katie is pretty awesome and comes up with fab recipes. I made her protein-y brownie batter pancakes this morning, for instance. I did a couple alterations (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-det
ail.asp?recipe=1351619) and ate a huge 10 pancake serving for 320 calories, 20 grams protein! YUMMO.

Anyway, that's not the point.
The new thing that I'm into is agar pudding! It's so cheap, low calorie and filling.

The basic recipes is this:
10 oz. milk of choice (I use unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze - 40 calories a cup!)
3/4 tsp agar powder (get it at asian markets for super cheap)

Put the agar in the milk and slowly bring it to a boil. Simmer a couple minutes then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly on the stovetop and then put it in the fridge. It will gel up and chill in about 30 minutes or so. It'll actually set faster but I like to let it get a bit cool, too.

Once you have the agar/milk combo set dump it into a food processor, blender, magic bullet, Ninja, etc.

Add the following:
Stevia (or sweetener or choice) - I use about 19-21 drops which is the equivalent of about 2 tbs of sugar sweetness. The agar is flavorless and my milk has no sugar so it needs a bit more. If you use sweetened milk, you can do less (or no) added sweetener.
2 tsps of extract of choice (I've done butterscotch, vanilla, coconut, caramel... all good)
About 1/4 c. water. Start with 2 Tbs and add more if needed.

Blend blend blend. If it's not smooth enough, add more water.
It'll be sort of fluffy and smooth when it's good to go. Taste and see if you need more sweetener.

Transfer to a bowl and pop in the freezer so it gets good and cold. NOM.
Since agar, stevia and extracts are non-caloric it's basically like drinking a big cup of almond milk (with all the vitamins and minerals, protein, etc.) only you get the satisfaction of actually eating solid food. It's only 50 calories for my version and I feel MUCH more satisfied than if I'd just taken in those calories as a beverage!

Katie's original recipe is here:

She says the base makes 2 servings, and it might if you're using a decadent milk (like Westsoy's seasonal chocolate peppermint or Silk Soy Nog) but with the Almond Breeze, I feel totally justified in eating the whole bowl. ;)

Give it a try. :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZAEZAE 12/31/2010 4:02PM

    I love chocolate covered katie too! I found her through the blogger ' heather eats almond butter'. I've never heard of agar, what is it?

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MBSHAZZER 12/5/2010 1:14PM

    I don't like pudding (it's a texture thing for me) but you can BET I am making those pancakes, stat! Thanks!

PS - I just looked up your recipe and distressingly, there was an advert bar on the side - "sponsored by Eggland's Best"... GAH!!!!

Comment edited on: 12/5/2010 1:16:46 PM

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GRAMPIAN 12/5/2010 5:12AM

  Will do: sounds interesting. emoticon

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Very Delayed Marathon Race Report...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yeah, I didn't forget.
I should have written this while it was still fresh and I was on the marathon high! I sort of hit the post-marathon doldrums and lost all motivation for pretty much everything.

So, I'm going to try to do this as best as I can(!) and see if I can capture some of the marathon high again for just a little bit. We'll see!



Race was in Mankato, which is a couple hours from my stomping ground in St. Paul. I did an early morning shift so we could leave in time to get to Mankato for the packet pickup and expo. Checked my bags about a billion times, fed the critters and hit the road. Pretty sure I conked out on the drive as I'm am prone to doing. ;)

We found our hotel and checked in and then it was off to the expo! Really small little guy (compared to TC marathon expo - which is a MONSTER) but Aaron and I dug through just about every headband that Bondiband had until I found one that mentioned marathons! I wanted a 26.2 one but settled on "virgin Marathoner". Yeah, I know. It was pretty funny to me, too. But I'm a dirty dirty weirdo.

Super hungry at this point - time to eat some carbs! I'm a little jumpy about GI stuff so I wanted to find safe food. Stuff I've eaten before and know will not rise from the bottom of my stomach to wreck unholy vengeance upon me come race day. I had my heart set on vegan pizza from Papa John's. I could eat breadsticks! For a GOOD reason! LOL. GPS insisted no Papa John's even though I GOOGLED it, darn it! Vegan food was not plentiful in Mankato so I checked my pre and post race options well before we left. Decided to head to the hotel and see if they knew if PJ's was around. Lo and behold, we spy a PJ's delivery truck while heading back to the hotel. This made me happier than is cool to admit. ;)

Unpacked my stuff and obsessively prepared my race stuff. Pinned on my number, attached my chip and laid out all my clothes. Prepped brekkies for the morning (raw chia overnight oats with almond milk, pumpkin and cinnamon) since I was, once again, all about safe food! Ate loads of pizza and watched a couple (too many) episodes of Dead Like Me on lappy. Went to bed a bit later than expected but not too bad!



Got up on time without too much trauma. Two alarms on our phones plus wake up call, FTW. Got dressed, feeling absolutely SICK with nerves. Put on my awesome Team Vegan shirt (back says "Go Vegan Go!") Ate (most of) my VOO/chia blend. Had a banana and some water. Went potty as much as humanely possible. See above re: GI issues phobia!

Headed downstairs to catch the shuttle to the start line. It is dark and spitting rain. Yay.
The start is PACKED. This is a small, inaugural race but the Half peeps and Full peeps are starting together. I think this is cool now. Later, I will hate them and their being done when I still have 13.1 miles left to run. Jerks. ;)

It's dark! And still rainy!

But I'm smiling. I'm cold, mind, but I'm SMILING and cold!

The sun starts to rise as we mill about...

And mill about...

Then we are off!
As chance would have it, my pacer is a gal I've had pace me before. :) She's pretty rockin'. Becca says she'll pace us to mile 10 where our second pacer will join us. Becca will then split off at 13 and leave us with our second gal (who's name I forget - Lori, I think.)

I love running with a pace group, btw. I've done it a few times now (three times with Becca! She paced me at the Monster Dash Half the next weekend after the Marathon...) and it's so nice to feel like you have a group that's pulling for you and totally sharing the experience. Plus, it gives you someone to talk to! I had my iPod "chicklet" but I never turned it on.

Nothing much of note in the early stages. I was running with a gentleman who was running after a huge weight loss, with a pacemaker and after back surgery! He was being filmed for the news(!) so whenever we saw the cameras we all teasingly called Don to make sure he got close to us so we'd be on the news, too (and we WERE!)

Mile five and all smiles...

Around mile 7 or so my quads started to seize up. Not painful, just tight. I shook it out but didn't want to stop and stretch for fear of losing my pace group. In hindsight, I should have stretched! The legs didn't let go for the rest of the run. :/ Pacers would say things like "this pace should feel easy to you, still. You should be feeling no pain right now." Eep. I swallowed back some serious dread on those words. My legs felt heavy and tight and clenched - pre pre-charliehorseish. Before it gets painful. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Mile 15, looking like I'm fresh as a daisy.

Legs are like marble slabs, though. Still, the dread is gone and I'm able to mostly enjoy the day. The cloudy rainy cold badness is gone and it's a lovely day for running. Not too cold or hot, not humid or windy. Just cool enough and no beating sun. Score.

I'm going to take this minute here to give MAD PROPS to my awesome boyfriend. That man drove all around the city of Mankato to meet me at mile markers. He was at the start, mile five, 13, 15, 19 and I think 21? plus the finish. He brought me coconut water cans, medjool dates (when I realized there actually were NO carbs at any of the water stops! NONE! and my supply was low in my belt) and his smiling face and cheering. He even got some other people to cheer for me by name at mile 19. :) He's awesome and I appreciated his support so much. Yay Aaron.

Around mile 19? we hit a HUGE downhill. Steeeeeepppp. My tight quads HATED this hill. Everyone around me was like "yay!!!! downhilllll!!!" and I'm going "*bleeped for expletives* this downhill *bleep*... ow ow ow". My legs are getting tighter as time goes on and I'm feeling worried again. I do not want to cramp up. I'm determined to stay with my 5 hour pacer to the bitter end! I will triumph. But owwww.

Pacer Lori gets me talking about the rat kids for mile 19-20ish and I'm blessedly unaware of my legs as I talk about them and their adorableness. :) We trade tofu recipes and I do a refrain of my "being vegan is so awesome and man, do I love food!" song that I love so much.

Still smiling at mile 20. I'm obviously mental by this point. Why am I smiling? Poor Jeremy next to me looks so tired. :( I went oooohhhh, when I saw this pic of him! I feel like he looks.

At this point Aaron informs me that there are goats coming up. Goats? What the heck? Did he say GOATS? AM I GOING CRAZY?! It was mile 20. My sanity is at low tide, people. And yeah, I think he just actually said goats.

And then there were goats!

We went through a petting zoo(?) type deal. No sooner did I see the goats (and say a very enthusiastic hello) did roosters start crowing in the next pen. Then the cows saw me and started to moo. I was JAZZED. I started informing the cows and chickens that "yeah, I'm Team Vegan! I'm running for you guys!!" *thumbs up to barnyard critters* *barnyard critters go ape and moo and crow like rockstars!* I take this as them cheering, thank them, and keep going. As soon as I'm out of the zoo area, they go quiet again. Best part of the run.

I am on a farm animal cheering section induced high for the next two miles.
Things don't get dire until mile 25. My pacer and I are now alone. All the boys have dropped back behind us. Lori tells me we're way over pace. We've got a 2 minute buffer. She waves me on and tells me to go go go and beat her. I can come in under 5 if I keep the pace. My legs are concrete encased in fire rolled in fire ants. And they are mad fire ants. I keep going.

It is at mile 25 that my body declares it's So TOTALLY Done. That last mile is the longest mile I have ever run. I keep looking for the mile marker for 26. SURELY it must be soon? SURELY!? I mean COME ON!!! I am nearly in tears, I'm exhausted. I see the marker! Hooray!

And then... the worst! That .2 miles is the killer, my friends. They don't tell you that part. That .2 can break you. Worse, I had to turn TWO corners before I could see the finish and the masses of cheering people. I find some fuel in the tanks left to do what feels like a sprint (but might be a slightly faster zombie death shuffle, my perspective is skewed!).

I finish!

I sob as I get my medal and shirt and get asked by 52 race people if I'm okay. I'm not sure if I'm crying with pain, relief, pride or some crazy hybrid of all of them. I drop my banana while trying to open it with shaking hands. I cry more. I get a new banana. Still crying.

I find Aaron and realize my legs are broken.
I can't even lift my knee enough to clear a curb without help! I decide I DO want my shiny space blanket, after all. It's so iconographic! I want that! I wince my way back down the curb and get my blanket.

Back to all smiles (I'm not moving so my legs don't want me to die at the moment).

I cheer some of my fellow pace group people in, drink some coconut water and eat some carby foods. Then it's off to the car (slowly) and into the car (slowly). I find that I have to freefall into the car seat and then move my legs into the car using my arms. They are broken and will not move.

Off to Panera for a big bread bowl. Haven't had but two of these in the last year (first one was after my 20 mile training run). Thumbs up for carbs and ear to ear grins (I'm sitting, so my legs don't want me to die at the moment.)

Then we hit the grocery store for vegan ice cream, cookies, stock up on my favorite PB2 (defatted powdered peanut butter!) so I don't have to order online and get some car munchies. Head home - call mom and dad and my bestie, HEZLIZZIE, checks in with some support and love. :) I am tired and thirsty and still ravenous. I eat and drink and snooze and wince.

I am a marathoner.

Home for a hot shower complete with Lush adzuki bean peppermint massage soap - tingly! - and liberal tiger balm. I can lift my leg enough to get into and out of the shower. This is progress.

My friends Scott and Abby are waiting for us at their home with homemade pizza, two types of vegan apple pie and lots of congratulations. :) We have a great night and a fun time. I can barely move but I'm happy.

I have to walk downstairs backwards for three days, don't gain the ability to swing my legs into the car for two days and get sore shoulders from using my upper body to raise and lower myself onto the toilet, couch and any other seat. My toenail is a goner.

I'm a marathoner.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GODZYFAN 11/30/2010 11:38AM

    I am in tears reading this. I am SO PROUD of you! I know I don't know you but you are so inspiring to me and I really hope I can run a marathon someday or even my first 5K at this point. I am lying on the couch while my foot is still suffering from PF and I haven't run in 2 weeks and I feel so miserable and want to give up. But reading this has really helped and I just want to say thank you. I love that you are a vegan too and loved the part where you told the animals you were running for them. Congratulations on being a marathoner!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLITT62 11/25/2010 8:03AM

    Congrats! And happy Thanksgiving! I'm sure there will be nommy veganess (not at my sister's home, unfortunately).

And I still think y'all are crazy . . . . who would willingly inflict fire ants on themselves, after all?

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SERENITY4LIFE 11/23/2010 7:45PM

    AWESOME report!! Thanks so much for sharing. You are AMAZING!!Way to go Marathoner!!


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HEZLIZZIE 11/23/2010 4:20PM

    I forgot to mention how great it is that you're documenting the struggles and frustrations you had in regards to eating after the Marathon. It's really important. Maintaining is NOT easy, especially when being at your goal weight is a new phenomenon, and it's great to see people talking about it. Thank you!


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HEZLIZZIE 11/23/2010 4:12PM

    LOVE IT!! Yaaaayyyyyy!! You are amazingtastic! * hugs with pride *

Loved to see all the pictures. And I second the "hooray for Aaron" props! :D

Can't wait for December 19th. Woooo hooooooo!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MBSHAZZER 11/23/2010 9:45AM

    GREAT report! Congratulations!!!

I thought I would be on a high after my marathon, but I was also in the doldrums. I think it's normal... all of the running you did to prepare causes lots of endorphins. Then you are physically unable to run for quite some time, so there is an endorphin low.

I hope you are able to run comfortably again! Nice job and a big WAY TO GO!!!


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LEONALIONESS 11/23/2010 9:26AM

    Thanks all!

And yes, Schwinner, I ran the whole thing save walking while drinking my coconut water. Too hard to drink and run! I think I walked maybe 5 minutes, tops? Woot.

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LIV2RIDE 11/23/2010 9:07AM

    Awesome report! YOU ARE A MARATHONER GIRL!!! You rocked it! I'm sure all the emotion afterward is normal. I've never run a marathon but I can imagine it is a very emotional experience. emoticon

I love BondiBands. They are pretty cool. I have quite a collection. I like that they are so cheap. Glad you were finally able to find one you like.

I find with most race events (even cycling) there aren't any vegan options unless there is fruit. I always have dates in my bag just in case. They work really well for me. I'm sure it's all that sugar but at least it's not candy.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SCHWINNER! 11/23/2010 7:28AM

    Great race report! I laughed out loud several times :) This is amazing - did you run the entire distance straight through? YOU ROCK!

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MARLIE13 11/22/2010 10:32PM

    HAHAHAAaaaa!!! I loved your report. Loved loved LOVED it! So many good things and I was chuckling through the whole thing. I wonder if I would have been able to run a smaller race like this for my first one. I swear all the people kept me going. You did good!

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ERPARA 11/22/2010 10:00PM

    Congratulations on pushing through and finishing! Thanks for sharing the great story and pics!

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HEALTH4LYFE 11/22/2010 9:15PM

    Congrats on a great race and pace. I was also quite sore after only 1/2 and had trouble descending stairs for the next few days. Of course, going to a concert for my daughter that night and shopping the next day probably didn't really help either. emoticon

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REBASO 11/22/2010 9:10PM

    Enjoyed reading your story - and try not to feel bad about eating - don't you get to eat whatever the hell you want on the day you run a MARATHON?!!

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GOBUNK 11/22/2010 8:43PM

  Congratulations on completing the marathon! I could hardly move when I was near the finish line of my Half! I kept thinking how anybody could do a full and if one can, why! Ha! So, congrats again for attempting and then finishing!

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Eggland's Best... O_o

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I am SO sick of seeing Spark shill for this absolutely atrocious company.

Yes, this will be a vegan/AR post. If you don't want to read it, please back click rather than read and leave po'ed comments. You were warned. I do hope, however, that most people will want to know rather than just ignore it because it makes them uncomfortable...


Full disclosure, I don't like ANY egg producers and if I could wave a magic wand and take one animal based food out of the human diet, I'd pick eggs without hesitation. Yes, eggs before meat. Eggs even before veal. I don't support "cage free" eggs... I support egg-free diets. Even cage free birds are crowded, debeaked, force molted... and the hens for cage free eggs come from the very same hatcheries as their battery cage brethren.

Those same hatcheries were involved in the bad press recently when the general population was shocked to hear (from the United Egg Producers, themselves, even) that male layer breed chicks were killed upon birth by being ground up in wood chippers or tossed into plastic bags/dumpsters and left to suffocate or starve to death.

"Cage Free" eggs are a bandaid. It's a largely meaningless term that doesn't come close to meaning what the average consumer thinks it does. You think cage free and you see Old McDonald's farm with a happy flock of hens guarded by a cocky rooster pecking in a barnyard. Or out in the grass, sunning and dust bathing. You don't think this:

(note the sheared beaks)

Fact: "Cage Free" is an unregulated term. "Free Range" is also unregulated. Producers must have the hens have access to the outdoors. In many cases this means a small door in one wall of the shed that goes into a tiny concrete yard where only a handful of hens could fit. Organic also only regulates the food the hens are given - it must be organic feed: no pesticides/herbicides, no animal by-products. Organic eggs are still laid by confined, debeaked hens 99% of the time. How about pasture raised or small farms? Where do they get their chicks? If it's from a hatchery then the same things hold true for them as the larger factory producers re: male chick disposal. Are they still debeaked? Most of the time, the answer is "yes" to both questions.

But, more specifically, about Eggland's Best...

The company is being cited for false advertising.
Why false advertising instead of animal cruelty? Simple. Chickens (and other poultry - rabbits are included as "poultry" too, btw, which makes so no sense.) aren't covered by the Humane Slaughter Act. What is done to them can't be fought as it breaks no laws(!) Any practice that is "industry standard" (read: whatever most farms do) is not illegal. Even if it's blatantly cruel. Even if we'd be screaming bloody murder if it was being done to companion animals.

It sickens me that Spark would continue to give "Eggland's Best" this advertising.
I understand that a lot of people either don't know about egg production, don't want to know or don't really care but I felt the need to say something and at least offer some information. It's better than just flipping off my monitor or preaching to the choir at home.

Flame on.
I really don't care what folks think about this post or if someone gets upset.
The chickens can't talk so I have to talk for them. A little discomfort in a reader PALES with what the hens go through to put those cheap eggs on so many tables.

Tara asks, "please go egg-free!"

Even starting slowly by gradually reducing the amount of eggs you eat until you can phase them out entirely helps the animals. And, honestly, there are only two items I can't veganize due to them requiring copious eggs - meringues and angel food cake. Which are absolutely not worth hurting hens for, IMO. Period.

Need links to egg-free version of your favorite recipes?
Want help baking without eggs? Note me or comment (or request I do a post) and I will tell you what I know about baking and cooking delicious, egg-free goodies and meals.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GODZYFAN 11/19/2010 11:12AM

    I couldn't agree more! And good on you for speaking out! People need to open their eyes to the truth. I encourage anyone to watch the documentary Earthlings to learn about the cruelty done to animals in the name of food, clothing, entertainment and profit! As I said to my gf the first time I watched it as a former meat-eater, it was the damn chickens that got to me! Not the cuddly cows or pigs or other farm animals but what I considered the "least attractive" of them, the egg-laying chickens that were in the battery cages that really got to me and made me want to go vegan.

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ANNE7X7 11/10/2010 12:38PM

    I'm not a big egg-eater, especially after seeing the movie Food Inc. It's disturbing what they do to those poor animals!

I already don't use a whole lot of eggs, but i think I will try to cut back even more. Chia seeds and flax meal are also good, healthy replacements to eggs in baking.

Thanks for sharing this!

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LIV2RIDE 11/10/2010 7:24AM

    Great blog post!! I'm sending the article to work so I have time to read it. Eggs and raw meat are two things I never could stand to touch. When I did eat animal products DH bought me restaurant gloves so that I could cook. Ewwww!!! Thankfully I am now vegan so it's not a problem. Thanks for the post.

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SCHWINNER! 11/10/2010 7:20AM

    Rescue chickens?! HELL YES!!!! I will totally check into that when we're ready! I never would have guessed!!

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PISTOLDREAMS 11/9/2010 7:18PM

    I applaud you for this post! I'm really grateful for people like you because a lot of times I avoid these kinds of topics as I don't enjoy arguments in the least bit. I've been vegan since I was 16 (almost 3 years now) and this has a lot to do with why I chose it.

The truth shall set us free (and that includes our animal friends). emoticon

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LEONALIONESS 11/9/2010 4:57PM

    MBSHAZZER: I like Ener-G egg replacer. It's basically just a blend of starches, mostly potato, that works well in most baked goods that call for 2-3 eggs, max. I also make a lot of recipes where there isn't exactly an egg replacer involved. Most have some sort of binder (I like pumpkin or bananas, actually) and then a leavener like baking soda or powder. Flaxseed or chia seed "eggs" also work really well. :) I tend to gravitate towards the Ener-G or fruit puree/b.p. versions, though.

SCHWINNER: If you can find rescued hens, that's a great way to get eggs as humanely as possible (while still eating eggs). We're lucky in the Twin Cities because we have an urban chicken rescue! Chicken Run in Minneapolis. That's where I met Tara. :) A lot of backyard chickens cause problems due to people ordering chicks online. Those chicks come from the same bad hatcheries and are debeaked already. :( Plus, the chicks are sent via USPS(!) and many die in transit. Compounding the problem, it's relatively hard to sex chicks (especially as quickly as workers have to work) so a certain amount of roosters get through and are sent to people. The layperson can't tell they are roosters until they are a quite a bit older. That's when people dump them. :/ Chicken Run has a lot of roosters who were abandoned in busy city areas who are now looking for forever homes due to this.

Chicken Run has loads of good info about backyard chickens. They are, of course, focused more on hens and roosters as companions but the information is good even if you'd eat the eggs. If you adopt via a rescue, you'd have a friend for life. :) The chickens at Chicken Run are so friendly and personable! Like dogs/cats/rats/other companion animals. They like people and are so smart and fun! I'd love to adopt a small flock eventually. I'd not eat the eggs - I'd break them open so the hens could take the nourishment back instead - but I don't think it's cruel for others to do so as long as the hens are family members and are treated as such.

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SCHWINNER! 11/9/2010 4:17PM

    I love eggs... and thank you for shedding some light onto this uncomfortable topic. I have wanted my own backyard chickens for years, and this only fuels that desire more.

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MBSHAZZER 11/9/2010 3:11PM

    I'm not a big egg fan... something about eating an unfertilized chicken just grosses me out. I mean, would you eat your own eggs? It just doesn't make any sense, aside from the atrocious treament issues. (completely unrelated side note - I was talking to a friend of mine who has her tubes tied. I asked what happened to her eggs every month and she wasn't sure... which led to the question - if she jumped up and down repeatedly while ovulating, would she get scrambled eggs???)

Plus, one thing that I can never understand is that the "cage free" eggs come in a PLASTIC container! WTF??? It's completely environmentally unfriendly!!

I find that 2 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of cornstarch is a good egg sub in baking... how about you? What do you use as replacement?

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Full post later, I'm off to have dinner with friends.

I finished even with my quads feeling like clenched angry baby fists from mile 8 to the finish (yes, seriously. NO idea why!) I finished ahead of my goal, even AND ran uneven splits(!) On legs that felt like death.

They feel worse now, OMG. And other things are starting to sing - knees, etc.
Getting into a car and drive the 90 minutes home = fun.
My thighs are so tight, it's crazy. "Iced" with a really cold water bottle in the car and then took a hot shower once I got home + tiger balm. Gonna do some Arnica, too.

488 overall out of 577 finishers. 57/78 division First Half: 2:30:21 Second Half: 2:27:26
Gun Time: 5:00:31 Chip Time: 4:57:47 Average Pace: 11:22

I feel so proud.
I haz a medal! And a shirt! and a SPACE BLANKET like in the movies. :D

Also, thumbs up to carbs!

Yes, I ate a whole dang breadbowl at Panera. We also shared some coconut milk ice cream, gluten free cookies and I had a frappachino. I burned 2600(!) calories and my body wanted sugar in the worst possible way. I regret nothing! ;)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GODZYFAN 11/3/2010 10:34AM

    CONGRATS!!! I can't wait to get there myself! But great job! Enjoy this accomplishment!! emoticon emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/27/2010 11:12AM

    Way to go! emoticon

And love the pic with your rats...

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ANNE7X7 10/24/2010 10:49PM

    That is SO awesome! Amazing time and you look fabulous!! Cannot wait to hear the full report!!

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MARLIE13 10/24/2010 7:15PM

    Ooooh congratulations! I am sooo excited and happy for you. Great job!

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SERENITY4LIFE 10/24/2010 5:21PM

    Way to go!!! AWESOME Job!! Sorry about the quads (mine were hurting too, but not until mile 20...no idea why either. Good news...it does get better!! :0) ).

You ARE a MARATHONER!! Woohoo!! Is it a great feeling or what?!



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MBSHAZZER 10/24/2010 11:06AM

    AWESOME!!!!! Fantastic job. YOU DID IT!!! FWIW, my quads did the SAME thing & that had never happened to me in training.

Enjoy your recovery. I recommend an ice bath - it will really help!


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JLWOF1 10/24/2010 10:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIV2RIDE 10/24/2010 9:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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FRECKS96 10/23/2010 9:27PM

    AWESOME!! Congrats!

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MOMONTHERUN1 10/23/2010 8:35PM

    Great job! emoticon

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JLITT62 10/23/2010 8:24PM

    I never doubted you would do it! So proud of you.

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ELISELOVE1 10/23/2010 8:09PM


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CASSARM1 10/23/2010 7:47PM

    emoticon AWESOME!!!! Congrats!

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