Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wonder Woman

During our workout yesterday something very strange happened - Hyam's elbow dislocated.  Right there in front of us, while doing an inverted plank it just popped right out.  Thank God she was leaning on both arms because without that stability it surely would've popped right out of her skin.  Yes, it was that bad.

I'd like to say that we all reacted calmly and helpfully, but truthfully most of us had no clue what to do.  The lone guy in our group (who is obviously an amazing person because he puts up with us twice a week and is always in good spirits) pulled it together quickly enough to ask "What do you need us to do?"  while the rest of us stared in horror.

What did she need us to do?  Nothing, of course, because she's Hyam and she's not just another pretty face with rock hard abs.  She's a frickin' rockstar.  She somehow, despite the pain, mustered up the strength pop her elbow back in on her own (while the rest of of gawked).  Push - POP - and then "okay everyone -  feet on the quad for tricep push ups."  Ummmmm....okay.....

She finished the class with just a little less than her normal gusto and a lot of  "Are you sure"s and "Hyam, don't do that!"s.  We could all tell she was in pain - not to mention that we could see her elbow swelling like a balloon -  but we stood by our fearless leader lunging, squatting, curling and wondering - "who the hell is this woman anyway? Wonder Woman?  She-Ra?" Nope - she's better than that -  she's Hyam. 

And yes, I want to be as awesome as her when I grow up.

Feed a Fever & Sweat a Cold?

I could feel it coming on a few nights ago - a stupid, stinkin' cold.  Not the kind of cold that knocks you on your butt, but rather the kind that makes you feel just bad enough to pout but not bad enough to miss work.  There it was - creeping it's way into my body.

I tossed, turned, coughed, and sniffed throughout the night, finally retreating to the guest bedroom so the Spicy Chicken wouldn't have to suffer too (he needs his beauty sleep, you know).  After a few hours of fitful sleep the sun rose and I was moving, albeit slowly, into my day.

It was Wednesday which, as you know, means a morning workout at Clay, followed by an afternoon at Leadership Charlottesville. I'll admit I considered "calling in sick" but thought better of it seeing as I just vowed to y'all that I wouldn't miss any more classes.  Besides, it was just a little cold.

When I got to class I made a bee-line for Hyam, making sure to let her know that I was a little under the weather.  I didn't want her to think I was slacking off (or call me out in the middle of class for doing so!).  I won't lie - it kind of sucked.  This cold had made it's home not in it's usual place - my sinuses - but was rattling around in my chest making breathing somewhat of a chore.  I tend to find breathing in class difficult anyway, so this was particularly challenging.  I took a few extra breathers, coughed out a little phlegm while everyone else was doing lunges, and slacked off a little on some of the cardio, but I survived.

Actutally, I did more than survive.  By the time the hour was up I actually felt pretty good.  My chest had almost cleared, my headache was gone and I was starting to feel human again.  Had all that sweating cured my cold?  It felt like it.

For years the Spicy Chicken has swore to me that when he got a cold that "sweating it out" made him feel better. I thought he was crazy, though it often seemed to work - at least temporarily - for him.  I did a little research (emphasis on little) to see if there was any basis to the "sweating it out" theory and didn't find much to substantiate it.  Ironically, however, I did open my Real Simple magazine last night to find an article on dealing with colds that suggested "cardio" as a remedy.

At the end of the class one of my classmates said "You are either going to feel much better tonight - or much, much worse."  And she was right.  If you watched my C'ville Plugged In segment tonight you know which one came true.  Is it bad to sleep with a bottle of Nyquil?

In hindsight I realize that it wasn't smart to put my own needs ahead of the health of my classmates and I would've been better off to keep my germs at home. So my apologies to them for my lack of discretion on this matter.  Hope to see you all happy and healthy on Monday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Down Side of Up

There are times when being bipolar works to my advantage.  For instance, last Friday I ran about 10 errands, managed to clean the house, walk the dog, write 5 articles for SuzySaid, finish a draft for a magazine, draft 3 blog posts, bake cookies, make dinner and cart the kids around to their activities all before 5pm and was rearing to go that night.  It also worked great in college when I needed to stay up all night to study (yes dad, I did that occasionally) and definitely worked to my advantage when I had two kids under the age of two - neither who slept through the night - and a husband who traveled every week. 

One of the disadvantages, however, is that I have no choice about when these "ups" are going to hit.  Last night, for instance, was not great timing. I slept for maybe a total of 2 hours - none of which was uninterrupted. I sat up, wide awake until 3:30am.  Once I laid down  it wasn't working so switched from bed to couch to guest bed to guest couch without ever falling into a deep sleep.  Sometimes I even eat during these periods of wakefulness, something I've almost managed to mitigate in the past few months (last night I ate two granola bars, however). I have no idea how long this will last or when I will crash, but I know eventually I will.  In the mean time, however, I have to figure out ways to both use this unbelievable amount of energy, as well as contain it when necessary (like during my 4 hour Leadership Charlottesville session this afternoon, for instance).  

Of course there are ways to treat these manic episodes pharmacologically.  Through the years, because I'm not truly diagnosed as bi-polar, but rather cyclyothymic, we've determined it works best for me to be solely on an anti-depressant.  I'm thankful for this, as mood stabilizers, quite frankly, scare the hell out of me (lithium? no thank you).  I've been dealing with this for many years so I've learned to keep my episodes in check fairly well, but occasionally I find myself talking too much and too fast (even more than usual), buying a few more pairs of shoes than I should, or, of course, eating uncontrollably.  

And if I don't catch myself I can always count on the Spicy Chicken to say something "helpful" like "Are you feeling a little manic today?" which always pisses me off....because he's right.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Nothing tastes as good... skinny feels."  This quote was made famous by Kate Moss a few years back.  I'm not up for debating Kate Moss but I would argue that it's not so much being skinny that feels so good, but rather being healthy and being strong.  

(Plus, I'm fairly sure if given a few minutes I could come up with a list of things that come pretty close to tasting as good, if not better, than being skinny).  

This is what feeling good looks like to me!
Healthy, strong and thin! 

I got up this morning with a renewed sense of what I needed to do and how I needed to get there (making a public promise to get back on track is a fairly strong  motivator).  Still, I found myself calculating the time it would take me to get everything I needed to get done before I could  crawl back into bed. That desire, however, disappeared quickly while at Clay this morning.  

I'm not going to lie - getting back on that bike wasn't easy.  I struggled through some of the challenges, but it felt great.  I worked off over 500 calories and walked out of there ready to start checking things off my list.  

Here's the crazy part - what made me feel so great wasn't  a Diet Coke (I haven't had one) or the leftover donut from Carter Mountain (it's still there) or a few extra hours of sleep (though I could still use those) - but rather eating a healthy breakfast and exercising. Go figure.

Who feels good now, Kate Moss?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


One of the hard parts about writing like this is that you 
have to admit when you're struggling... 

I've gotten a little off track the past few weeks.  I have a million excuses as to why (marriage, kids, dogs, friends, work, life, commitments, laziness....) but in reality none of them really matter.  These things will always be there in some way, and unless I find a way to work around them my weight problem will always be with me, too. 

I've spent hours justifying to myself that donut that I ate at Carter Mountain today - the class I missed last week for a work meeting - and the extra cocktail (or two) I had during the UVA game...  What it comes down to, however  is that if I truly want to change I have to keep my priorities straight - with with my health coming first.  I lost track of that a few years back and look where that got me.

I've even found myself thinking "Well, I've only gained back a few pounds..." Only a few pounds???  It took me weeks to lose those pounds!  Plus, it's SO much more than that.  I have no energy, I'm not sleeping well, and I feel all around crappier than I have in months.  How in the world did I Iet this happen? It's pretty easy, actually, which is why I need to stop myself RIGHT NOW. 

So, I'm vowing today to get back on track.  I promise to:
  1. Not miss any more classes with Hyam this program 
  2. Start logging my food intake on a regular basis
  3. Limit alcohol consumption 
  4. Make my health and fitness a top priority in my life, and
  5. Get off this plateau and back on track!
It feels good just to say it - 
imagine how great it will be when I do it! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I made an amazing discovery today...I have ribs!  

Ok, you're right, I do have a biology degree so I actually knew they were there somewhere all along protecting my lungs, but I hadn't seen them in years so I was having a hard time believing it.   But there they were today, poking out at me.

Ok, again, you're right.  "poking out" might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but when they've been covered under so much for so long, any view of them feels pretty major, so can we go with "almost poking out"? Please?

Wow - if I keep doing this exercise thing I may even find out I have hip bones.  I seem to remember seeing them back in the 90's - what are the chances they're still there? 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Feeling Comfortable in My Genes

This is a post I wrote a few weeks ago when my mom was visiting. 
 I wasn't sure if I should post it or not. Still not sure...

Today was a momentous one for me in relation to my weight loss in a couple different ways.

First, you know that pair of jeans in your closet that doesn't fit you anymore but you still hang on to because you absolutely love them and you're just so sure you're going to be able to fit into them again?  I fit into mine today!  The cutest pair of Banana Republic cropped boyfriend jeans from over 6 years ago that I wore only once (before seeing my gorgeous, skinny neighbor in the same pair and realized they didn't look anything like that on me) and vowed I'd get my big 'ol butt in them properly some day.  Well, today was that day!

Secondly, it was the first time I'd seen my mom since I started this weight loss journey five months ago.  Let me first state that I adore my mother with all of my heart.   However, in addition to being wonderful, kind, caring, thin, and beautiful she also has a slight obsession with weight (namely mine).  It's kind of difficult to write about because not only do I not want to hurt her feelings, but it's been a contentious issue for many years - one that rather than argue about we tend to sweep under the rug. I am only brave enough to write this now because I know she can't read it as the only computer in our household happens to be in my hot little hands. Sorry mom.

Don't be a hater though. My mom's mild preoccupation with my weight is truly out of love. She wants me to be happy and healthy - there's nothing wrong with that.  Considering my genetic make-up it's normal to be concerned about what could've happened to me if I were to have continued to spiral out of control (hyper-tension, heart disease, cancer....and that's just the first page of my dad's medical history!).  Sometimes, however, the way in which she expressed her motherly love felt more like disappointment to me that it was meant to. 

What it comes down to is this: my parents raised a perfectionist.  I was this way not because they expected perfection from me (they didn't), but because that is how I was (am!) wired.  When I got older, however, I found myself doing everything possible to shake that damn perfectionist because I had realized something...I was not, nor would I ever be perfect.  Once I realized this it occurred to me that no matter what I did I was obviously going to let everyone down so might as well just become the antithesis of perfect which, to me at the time, was fat.

That didn't go over real well for Joycy because a) she loves me b) she loves my family c) she knew I was hurting and using the fat to hide that - she's my mom after all, she can see through anything (even layers of adipose tissue!).  So when my few extra pounds appeared to be turning into an extra 40 pounds she took notice and attempted to help.  The only problem was - what's that old addage - you can't help someone if they don't want to be helped?  That was me.

Things are different now, though, and I just couldn't wait to show her that her little girl was done hiding. She was, not surprisingly, thrilled to see the changes.  

Yep, even at 37 years old a daughter still craves her mother's approval.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So last time I wrote I was whining about how freaked out I was about the Real Girls Run.  I'm happy to report that I not only survived, but I felt pretty darn good about it.  Getting there wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

My stomach continued to churn the entire car ride there - so much so I was a little afraid I'd have to stop at McDonald's to hit the restroom and "accidentally" get swept up by an Egg McMuffin.  I treaded on, however, and was thankful that I did.

Fortunately I ran into a few friends immediately after arriving at the race. I was fine until I realized the iPod I had spent hours creating an amazing playlist on wasn't working.  I knew this was a possibility - it was, after all, a 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle (read: O-L-D) but I couldn't believe it was happening just a few minutes before the race started.  I'd never actually run without music before and was fairly sure it wasn't possible, so ran back to the car to grab my phone.  By the time I got there, however, the old iPod somehow started working (maybe because I stopped beating on it?) and I was saved.

A few minutes later we were off.  I felt surprisingly calm and comfortable at the beginning - a feeling which, miraculously, stayed with me for the entire race.  I did what most novice racers do - let my adrenalin get the best of me came out of the gates a little more quickly than I should have.  I was, however, able to handle the bulk of the race at an average of a 10-minute mile.  It's not a fast pace, but one that worked well for me at this point. 

Ironically, my shins, which have been the biggest hindrance to my running career,  didn't bother me one bit.  Even three days after the race they felt fine.  Thanks again adrenalin. 

I saw Court, the girls and my mom as I rounded the last corner.   When they came into view I attempted to sprint to the finish line.  My legs, however, weren't really on the same page as my brain, so I'm fairly certain I may have slowed down rather than sped up.  It was a pretty pathetic ending, but at least I made it.

My official time was 39:17.  Slow, but complete.  I was happy that I did it and actually felt good enough after to start thinking about signing up for a few more.   First up is the the Cale 5K Fun Run on October 30. M has been participating in the Running Club at school for the past month preparing it, so that's one we won't miss.  And then I think I may have committed to a Turkey Trot or something like that in Minnesota at Thanksgiving with that crazy marathon running friend of  mine. 

Wait....isn't is freakin' cold in Minnesota in November????

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's Time

In a few minutes I will be walking out the door to the "Real Girls Run" - my first race in about 6 years.  I use the word "race" only because this is what it is technically is, but for me there will be no "racing".  For me it's just a little 3.75 mile jog along the Rivanna River.  

Who am I kidding? It's so much more to me than "just a little jog" for me.  I am terrified. While I am starting to enjoy running, I am still NOT a runner.  And even though I am starting to enjoy running I actually loathe running with other people.  It's "only" 3.75 miles, which I realize really isn't that far - my BFF did a frickin' marathon last weekend and she's still alive - but she is a runner (and is absolutely amazing!) - and for me 3.75 miles might as well be a marathon - it will feel like that to me at least.  

Truth be told it is taking everything in me not to crawl back into bed right now - that and the fact that I've blogged and tweeted about doing this damn race to millions of people so there really isn't any turning back now.  On the other hand, the beauty of being an on-line writer is that most people don't even really know what you look like so maybe nobody would notice if I wasn't there?  They probably wouldn't notice, nor would anyone really care, except me, that is.  I guess it's time to face my fears. 

See you at the finish line!