Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The down side.

The first year of the twins life I sat around blogging, watching You Tube videos and eating frozen burritos. Naturally, I gained 25lbs on top of the 20lbs I should have lost before getting pregnant with the twins. I was just thinking of losing the weight when I luckily got pregnant (and I mean luckily). When I was in my second trimester I decided after seeing some very poor shots of my pregnant self, to cut back from four slices of toast for breakfast to only two. In my ninth month, I took up walking two to three days a week in the hopes of bringing Sean on naturally.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy with Sean contemplating weight loss, exercise and my love of food. I want to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, all the weight gain was causing me to be less than merry. However, I was ready and seemingly more determined after Sean's arrival. I set many weight loss goals for myself and hoped that my small 5' 2" frame would one day see the 120s on the scale again.

It took several long months, a lot of running and even less bread, but I took the weight off. I even took off more weight than I had planned. My clothes started to get truly baggy and everyone was commenting on my weight loss. It made me feel good, at first.

Then I upped my running goals and threw in a half marathon to the list of races to tackle this year. I finally managed a few 20 plus running weeks and I lost a few more pounds. I am happy with my new body, for the first time in well maybe forever I am happy with this strong body that can run 13 miles and bear three children. I'm proud of this body (OK, maybe not the stomach but everything else, really).

However, lately more and more people have been making jokes or other unnecessary comments about my weight. (Several people apparently think the "be careful, soon we won't be able to see you when you turn sideways" comment is funny. It isn't.) I have been told I look 'gaunt'. I have been told that I have lost weight when I haven't lost any weight. It was starting to get annoying.

Then I went and got the worst case of strep throat I have ever even heard about. My throat swelled so badly I couldn't eat or drink. I went to the doctor and got an antibiotic. Then my throat got worse and I couldn't even swallow my own saliva or the horse pills the doctor had prescribed. I was dehydrated and my milk was drying up. I went back to the doctor pleading on paper because I couldn't talk. They gave me several shots in my derrière and finally, six hours after the anti-inflammatory shot I was able to swallow some water. Unfortunately, being sick cost me four pounds. Four pounds I really didn't want to lose. The comments began to rush in.

So I ate. And I ate. Six powdered donuts for breakfast, a whole pizza for lunch, then another lunch two hours later of Macaroni and Cheese followed by a whole can of green beans and chocolate chip cookies. I ate around the clock, at midnight and 5 a.m. I ate all the foods that I had strayed from since having Sean because I know they are not the best foods for me. I ate and ate and yet people still made comments about my weight.

At this point, I have gained back the four pounds I lost plus one more for good measure. But I am starting to get annoyed. My BMI is in the healthy range and I am already eating somewhere around 4,000 calories a day. I've thought about it a lot this week because the comments are beginning to truly bug me. Am I supposed to feel bad for finally losing the weight? I feel as though I am eating more than I should be and eating even more of the wrong foods to try and avoid the ridicule or speculation that I'm not eating enough. My mother-in-law's boyfriend commented the other day that I have no bottom and am too thin, Todd comments that I eat enough for three people. I truly feel like screaming "leave me alone" at the top of my lungs like a moody teenager and slamming the door to my bedroom.

For the first time in my life I was managing a healthy lifestyle. Running and cycling four days a week, more whole grains and leafy vegetables, less powdered donuts and cherry coke. And I thought it was working. Now, however, I don't know how to handle my detractors. Are they really worried about my weight or are they a little jealous? A few months ago all of my friends kept telling me I must have a thyroid problem because of my weight loss. When my hormone levels came back far more normal for me than usual, I gathered a sense of disappointment from a few of them.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do but I do know that if another person says "Go ahead, have another slice of Cheesecake, you look like you need it" I don't think I should be held responsible for what I may do.

However, if it's Heavenly Chocolate Cake I'll probably just sneer and have another helping.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where I Stand

I spent lunch time today eating things covered in powdered sugar (donuts and banana cake for the most part, but I also tried a Chocolate Chip Cookie that way, I think I may need counseling) and analyzing my 5k race times. It's the sort of thing the obsessed and deranged do. But I saw a pattern of improvement emerging.

Here are my times for the nine 5k's I've done since I began running (now almost 8 months ago can you believe it?) :

If you take away the Girl's On The Run Race that I do not believe was a real 5k (how else can you explain my 25:15 time?) and the two trail runs I did in February you see this list of numbers:

When I look at it like that, I see a marked improvement on my 5k street races over the past six months (the first was run in October). You see, I spend alot of time looking at numbers. ALOT of time, time I don't even have. I study my numbers, I study other people's numbers, I cross reference years of races in my age division and then study those numbers.

I see it now. I could never run for exercise. I just don't care enough about weight or bulge to make any change to my lifestyle on those factors alone. But call it training, sign me up for a competitive event, and you will see a whole new side of me. I knew I was a little competitive, but at times I disgust even myself.

My wonderful husband lectures me on competing with myself, beating my own personal records and striving to do the best for myself. That's wonderful. I even understand what he's saying. However, I want to compete. I want to pass the person in front of me and I want to place. I am becoming increasingly competitive actually. To the point that if I don't think I am going to run very well, or didn't get decent training in, I don't even want to run.

Two weeks ago we had a big run. I had been looking forward to it ALL YEAR LONG. I cross referenced the numbers. I got a tummyache. I worried that I hadn't trained enough. I went out two days before the race and did my first ever true speedwork out. A slow mile. 4x400's with two minutes jogging in between. I calculated splits even. When on the last 400 I maintained a pace under 7 minutes, I threw my hands up in the air like I was an Olympic Gold Medalist. It was pathetic. But I was confident. I was ready to set a new PR.

And then I got sick. Really, really sick. The kind where you lose five pounds you really didn't want to lose so you go around the whole next week eating everything you can covered in sugar. The worst thing about getting sick. I didn't get to run in that race.

Lots of people I know would have swallowed their loss and moved on. I couldn't. I can't. I am still depressed that I didn't get to run that race. There is something about racing that makes me pick up the pace, makes me work myself harder. And then there were my rivals, a couple of girls who ran cross country in high school were running it (I also study entry lists, sick I know). I was looking forward to competing with them.

I have a theory about why this running hang-up. You see when I was younger I liked to run. Actually, what I really liked to do was sprint. I thought I was fast. I thought, with training and determination, I could be even faster. I thought about joining the track team. Or trying out anyways. I shared my dreams with my father and a few friends. All of them told me I couldn't do it. They told me that I couldn't just decide in high school to pick up running, that those people already on the track team had been running for too long and I could never catch up. The one I remember the most was my dad though, he told me that I couldn't do it and that he didn't even really think I would stick to it so basically, why bother. So instead of proving him wrong, I listened to him. I couldn't be a runner I decided, it was too late for me. I started instead, to tell myself I couldn't run. I told myself that for over the next ten years.

In the past six months I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that I have a competitive streak sure, but I've also learned that I can endure a good bit of pain and discomfort. I've learned that I can commit to something and stick to it. I've learned that having something, especially as a parent, that is just a tad bit selfish, is good for your well being. I've learned that I can be a hard worker, that I am determined and stubborn. I've learned that it takes me two miles to get warmed up completely, and then I'm good for five to seven miles before I start getting physically exhausted. I am still learning, both about racing and about myself. I'm also learning about parenting. My father should never have told me I can't. He should have been my biggest cheerleader. He should have told me, even if he didn't believe it, that I could make it happen if I really wanted it.

I got sick and didn't run for ten days. I rested and napped when the kids napped. Yesterday Todd took me running and his mom watched our clan. Todd pushed me to run further than I had ever run, 13.5 miles. Today, I can barely walk, but I feel incredible. A year ago I told myself I couldn't run 200m, yesterday I ran further than a half marathon. I'm starting to tell myself that I CAN run a marathon. That I can endure. That I am strong.

Whether or not I'm crazy or fast, running is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

And to us. Todd has always loved running. Now it's something we can do together (even though I am still a bit slower than him and I can't quite tackle the distances he can). We can go to dinner with the kids, and we can watch movies at bedtime and talk on the phone at lunchtime. But going running together, stuck out there alone for hours at a time on the trail, I really think it's brought us even closer together.

He is after all the one person who has always, always said that I could run. I guess I just didn't want to believe him.

I guess one more time admitting he was right won't hurt me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'll Return To You

I know, I know. It's been like a month. But if you'll recall my last post was about having absolutely no time. I've even thought of giving up on the old blog, I just can't seem to give it up.

It's been a heck of a month. Or a little over. Sean had surgery. Sean did fine with surgery. Mom (me) surely suffered more than he. I had to organize, prepare and delivery several hundred dollars of baby gear for a local consignment sale. I made enough money to buy the kids spring clothes but have yet to find the time to do such frivolous activities. We went to Richmond and ran our first 10k. I did well. Better than I thought I would. Then I stopped running. Or so it feels. We've just been so busy. We threw a large Easter Egg Hunt Brunch with twenty toddlers and several hundred eggs. I ate coffee cake, quiche and casserole leftovers for days. The kids got to have Cadbury Eggs and Jelly Beans for the first time ever. We celebrated Easter with meals too large for even our families size. We went to the first ballgame of the season to see my nephew throw out the opening pitch. We went home, an hour later, disappointed by baseball players who won't play ball in the rain. Sean pulls himself into a sitting position and yet still refuses to open his mouth for solid foods, from apples to green beans he's just not that interested. We went to birthday parties with dirt cake and birthday parties where we were treated with convertibles and little ponies. We had dinners out and a few, if I might say, truly delicious meals in. We went to Target 47 times. The Walmart and Kroger 13 times. There was Romp 'N Roll and playgroups at churches. There was lunch and dinner at La Carreta, once in the same day even. There were trips to two children's museums. We took the twins hiking for the first time, even if it was only a mile. Then, well let's see, I got sick. That is another post.

I think that catches us up.

There is another thing. You know that movie Watchmen. Well when it came out I was probably the least interested person you could find, there were lots of conversations I overheard but didn't take part in and several magazine articles I turned the page on, but somehow it eventually ended up on our Netflix Queue and then in our mailbox. So we watched it. It began with this intro to which I looked over at Todd and said "I think this movie really wants me to love it already." But then can you go wrong with Dylan? If you haven't seen the movie and this intro doesn't move you, you probably won't like the movie but if it does and you have Netflix...