Sunday, March 30, 2014

The post about a historic road race

My pre-race run from Saturday.

  • This is going to be a running post. It was an important weekend for me. Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my race. The Around the Bay 30K Road Race celebrated its 120th year today. It's the oldest road race in North America. Older than Boston. But Boston is the oldest marathon which began in 1897 three years after the Bay.
  • Yesterday I was itching for a run. I just wanted to get out and stretch my legs for a bit. I decided to do a short and slow (6:45/K) run. I ran 3.9K and went faster (6:19K) than I wanted to. I felt good and it really was a short jaunt. A nice warm up to today. I didn't "carb load" Friday night or yesterday because I never do. I did however eat a small sweet potato with my dinner. 
  • I went to bed as early as I could muster. I was starting to get pre-race jitters last night. It was snowing when I went to bed. And it was staying on the ground. It was gone by morning. I fell asleep around 11:30 pm, woke up at 2:30 am, then woke up again at 4:30 am. I got out of bed at 4:45 am and made coffee. I also chatted with several of my UK tweeps and got a lot of love and encouragement. Thanks guys:) Happy Mother's Day to all my UK readers who are mothers.

Top left: The finish line in FirstOntario Centre
Bottom left: My starting sign...and huge zit!
Right: All kitted up and ready to go.

  • I was pretty anxious as the morning went on. The anticipation of the race was making me nervous for sure. And because I had so much time to kill, I was getting more and more stressed about it. I have never run 30K before in my life. And I always get anxious before a long run in anticipation of my toes cramping due to Morton's Neuroma
  • This is the first race I've run solo. My hubby dropped me off near the starting line about 20 minutes before gun time and I stood around. Mother Nature finally came through. It was a beautiful sunny day. Warmer than forecast. People were leaving their clothing behind at the start. I think I dressed okay. I had on two upper layers and had my sleeves of my outer top pulled up to my elbows.
  • I was way at the back of the corral because I am slow. I also wasn't planning on starting out fast at all. And I didn't. I stuck to my plan. I let everyone pass me and didn't try to keep up with anyone. I ran a good 5K just loosening myself up. Around 6K, I started passing people. 
  • They changed the route this year which added 4 hills to the first half of the race. Now I drive the Burlington Street overpass all the time. I never realized how freaking hilly it was before. As I got to about 7.5K, I already knew that my run was not going to go the way I wanted. I tried so hard to keep my form up, and I could tell that my big toe on my left foot was starting to go numb. Morton did not disappoint. By 9K, the toes on my left foot cramped. I ran through the cramps and walked through the water stations for some temporary relief. By the time I got to 11K, my right foot also cramped. I'm not gonna lie. I wanted to cry. I had to run 19 more kilometers and both my feet were already in pain. 
  • I put music on at this point to get my mind off of my feet. Around 13K, the 3:15 pace bunny came up from behind and started running with me. I had no idea I was running better than a 3:15 finish at that point. My aim was to finish...but to finish under 3:30 if I could. So I stayed with the 3:15 group for a few more kilometers. They were doing walk/run and I was doing mostly run. I was only walking through the water stations at this time. 

Worth all the pain.

  • I saw Monica at the 15K relay exchange and it's around there that I lost the 3:15 group. My feet were in bad shape. I figure that once I got onto North Shore Boulevard, I'd be in better spirits because it was the home stretch and I ran that route 3x during training.  I knew exactly what to expect. Once I hit North Shore, I had to start doing some random walking because my feet hurt so badly. I was eating my energy gels and would take my time sucking back the gels and drinking my water. I was also limping at this time. This is when all the hills on the back half of the Bay start and I could feel my legs getting tired.
  • So I kept on running and walking when I couldn't run any more. I ran all the hills and just did my best to keep focused. One thing I can say is that the energy along the route is awesome. The back half is run through a residential neighbourhood and everyone comes out to cheer you on. Some people even set up food and drink stations. And they blare music for you. I spent all my time high 5ing children and elderly people. 
  • By the time I reached "Heartbreak Hill" (the last HUGE hill of the Bay), I was limping a lot. I ran up the hill without stopping and my quads started to cramp up. When I got to the top I had to stretch a bit before I could go on. Once you reach the top of Heartbreak Hill, there's less than 4k to run. And it's downhill. Sounds like a piece of cake right? The last 3K were the absolute hardest kilometres I have ever run in my life. I could see FirstOntario Centre and it seemed so far away. I had to walk a couple times during the final 3K because my feet were in so much pain. And I questioned my sanity and asked myself why I thought that running this race would be a good idea. It's a hard run for someone just coming off an injury.
  • When I finally ran into the stadium and crossed the finish line, I felt a huge wave of emotion come over me. I didn't cry because there is no crying in running. But boy was I emotionally spent. The mental stress that I went through for 3.5 hours just reached a crescendo and I had to walk off to the side and breathe deeply. I didn't have a panic attack, but I needed to pull myself together. 
  • So here are my stats. I came in 5155/6762 (This number does not reflect the relay teams that ran). My gun time was 3:34:44. My chip time was 3:29:19 (I just made it under my 3:30 goal). My pace was 6:59/K.
  • I met up with my husband and son. They missed me crossing the finish line. My husband brought a change of clothes for me and I couldn't get to the washroom quickly enough to change. As I peeled off my sweat soaked clothes, my calves seized up. I actually couldn't move for a few minutes. And my entire body was sore. I got a prime blister on the sole of my foot. That is new. And my second toe on  my left foot is bruised under the nail. I may just lose another toe nail. I went 2 years without losing any nails and in the matter of 5 weeks, I'm going to lose two. Lovely.
  • I stood at the mirror in the woman's washroom and started chatting with someone who congratulated me. She asked if I would run again next year. After all the bitching and moaning and complaining and pain I just put myself through you think I would have answered differently. But I looked her straight in the eye and said, "absolutely"! And I meant it 100%.

Top: Last year Monica ran the 30K and I ran the relay.
Bottom: This year Monica ran the relay and I ran the 30K.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The post about a busy week, race shirts and what foxes say

My Friday run had me feeling hot, hot, hot! I dressed waaaay too warm:)

  • I've had a busy week with work and life. Monday night I had my first therapy session with a new therapist. I liked her. She asked me a lot of questions and really listened to my feelings about my anxiety and stress. And she didn't give me the old "side eye". Something that bugged me about my last therapist was the double take she gave me when I told her I had self esteem issues. Felt a touch judged by that reaction. New therapist had lots of great stuff to say about Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). My first session for that is April 8th. The only problem with this therapist is that she's very busy and does monthly sessions. That's okay though because I'm doing the MBSR as well.
  • An interesting angle she talked a lot about was Neuroplasticity. Apparently my brain needs to be re-wired. She compared it to someone who loses a limb and has Phantom Limb Syndrome. The Mirror Box therapy used for that takes three weeks of consistent use before the patient can get permanent relief from the pain of the phantom limb. She said there was definite merit in the picture therapy that the previous therapist suggested. Taking photos and seeing the good in myself needs to be done consistently before my brain will switch. This could be tricky. I'm tired of talking about my pictures already. And I don't do it consistently.
  • I was with a client early on in the week and we passed a young man who was smoking a Calabash pipe, wearing an Elmer Fudd hunting cap and zebra stripped clogs. He also had on a mohair jacket. My client looked at me and said, "Either he's mentally unstable or really confident". Now the young man did stand out, but he carried himself with an "I don't give a f**k attitude". So he was definitely confident. And eccentricity is never boring.
  • Tuesday was not  a great day for me. I got anxious while I was with a client. The weird thing about that was that he was one of my less stressful clients. I still had a panic attack in the washroom of the Pickle Barrel. And the worst thing? I was getting cocky (because I thought I was in control) and didn't bring the Adivan with me. So I dealt with it, felt nauseous all the way home, then popped one as soon as I walked in the door. They work like a charm, but I felt weak for having to take one. It was my first time.
  • On Wednesday I got an email from the Around the Bay organizers. Our shirts were going to be available for the expo this weekend! My hubby went and picked up my kit for me yesterday. And lo and behold, the shirts are PURPLE! Love it! My favourite colour! Can't wait to don it for my recovery run on Tuesday...or maybe Wednesday. Lets see how long I can last before I have to run again after the race.

This shit is real now!!!!!!

  • Thursday I went to see my mechanics for an oil change. We go way back. They've known me for about 14 years. Now who knew that one of them also dealt with a lot of stress and anxiety a few years back. Swear to God, I had one of my absolute best therapy session with my mechanic. He has read so much on Neuroplasticity it's not even funny. He gave me tons of good pointers on how he dealt with his anxiety. His anxiety issues were different than mine, but he totally got me. And he's always so full of nice compliments about me. So when I started with, "you're not gonna understand what I'm going to say to you..." he nodded and said, "I've said that to people for years about me. I get it!" 
  • Friday was spent in my car. I drove from Hamilton to Kitchener to Scarborough to Hamilton. It was wet and drizzly, but 10C. I wore a blazer for the day! And I was stuck in a lot of traffic. Especially across the top of the 401 in Toronto. Hate the 401, just say'in. So I did something I haven't done in a long time. Like since before Finn died. I did Rock'in Soul Friday. For those of you who are new here, Rock'in Soul is me sitting in traffic, blaring the tunes, singing along, and making eye contact with as many people as I can. It was fun. There was a lull in the rain and many people had their windows down. I got a couple of people singing along with me. A dude who sang part of "Baby I Love Your Way" (Peter Frampton), and a woman who sang "Don't Look Back in Anger" (Oasis). Loved singing with the woman. We were beside each other because she was the passenger and she switched her radio station to mine so it was in stereo. Fun times. I still got some dirty looks, but it made me feel good!
  • So tomorrow is the big day. I'm running the Around the Bay 30K. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. This is my first race back post broken ankle (broke my fibula back in September), and this will be the furthest distance I have EVER run. What makes me most anxious are my issues with Morton's Neuroma. My toes cramp pretty badly during long runs. So I know that the last 10K or so (when I'm running all the hills) will be painful. I'll likely have to walk the cramps out a few times. But I'll finish. I've already run 25K. What's another 5? 
  • This week was scale back week and I only ran 3 times as opposed to 5. Unsettling to say the least. I'll be raring to go tomorrow. My issue is that during a race, I tend to start out too fast. I'm going to hang back for about 5K, then pick up my pace. It usually takes me 5K to get good and warmed up during a long run. That's when I'm totally in control of my breathing. That is my strategy. We'll have to see if I stick to it!
  • Here's Julien's latest YouTube video. (What does) The Fox (Say). I've never seen the video before, or listened to the song too much. I've heard Julien singing along when he's wearing headphones. Julien sings, I finger dance and hubby and I argue about a morse horse. And yes, I stand corrected. They do communicate in mo-o-o-o-orse...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The post about who keeps me healthy

Julien and I during the early years.

I was emailed by Dr. Mario Trucillo last week. He is the Managing Editor of the American Recall Centre. It is a brand new website devoted to providing health and wellness news in layman's terms. This month's campaign was about hip replacement awareness. You can read about that here.  Dr. Trucillo asked if I would agree be part of their Who Keeps you Healthy campaign. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to discuss my favourite subject. My son. So this blog post is dedicated to the person who motivated me to make my lifestyle change and who continues to inspire me daily to maintain my healthy habits.

In January 2007 I weighed 265. It was the lowest I got my weight down to in years. I used weight loss drugs to get those results. But my experience with weight loss drugs has been consistently the same. I would initially lose the weight, only to gain it all back (and sometimes more). I needed to get my weight down though because my husband and I were planning on getting pregnant. Being morbidly obese was not a good start for a healthy pregnancy. I was on 2 types of blood pressure medications and got winded walking up the stairs. I figured it would take a while for me to get pregnant because of my size, but we were successful our first month of trying.

Miracle of miracles, I had a healthy pregnancy. No gestational diabetes, and no hypertension. For the first time in years, my blood pressure returned to normal and I was taken off my blood pressure meds. The only hiccup? I became anaemic. But other than the anaemia and gaining 45+ pounds, I was healthy as a horse. My guardian angel (in the form of my mother) was looking down on me for sure.

Julien was an overdue baby. I delivered him at 41 weeks via caesarean-section. I laboured for 12+ hours with little progress. I would not dilate more than 4cm and that was with Pitocin to induce labour.  It wasn't until I was getting stitched up following surgery that the doctor looked over the curtain at me and said, "You know you can never deliver vaginally right?" Um, NO! Apparently my pelvic bones are fused and won't widen. Julien was born with an indent on his forehead where he was trying to get through the birth canal.

So my first weeks at home as a new mother were spent in a lot of pain. I weighed over 310 pounds just before delivery and weighed about 295 post-partum. I was back on my blood pressure medications and an extra one for the anaemia too. I was nursing Julien so I figured that gave me license to eat whatever I wanted. I had to get all the nutrients in there to feed the baby! I stayed about 300 pounds throughout Julien's infancy. It was easy. I was on maternity leave and home alone with a baby all day who had little mobility. That meant I didn't have to move much either. I just ate and took care of the baby.

I went for my first (and only) appointment regarding weight loss surgery when Julien was a year old. I was feeling desperate, but also figured it would be an "easy" way to drop the weight. I met with a Bariatric doctor and he convinced me that weight loss surgery was the only way I was ever going to beat obesity. I got put on the waiting list for Gastric Bypass surgery and was told I'd get a call in two years. And just for the record, WLS is not an easy out for weight loss. The diet following weight loss surgery is more restrictive than the diet I followed to lose weight.

So I continued to exist. Waiting for the phone call that was going to free me from obesity. It never came. When I tried to call the Bariatric doctor's office, I learned he lost his license for sexual misconduct with female patients and was practising in Mexico. This was spring 2011. That summer my family travelled to Williamsburg, Virginia for a family vacation.  Julien was 3, I weighed around 300 pounds. We went to Busch Gardens and Julien wanted me to go on rides with him. I attempted get on one that was a kiddie ride, but big enough for adults too and couldn't fit. It was humiliating, embarrassing and devastating because Julien didn't understand why I wouldn't go on rides with him. I watched my husband step in once again and realized that I had been watching him grow up, but not actively participating in his life.

I knew I had to make lifestyle changes once and for all because if I didn't, I'd miss my son's childhood. Or worse, he'd pick up my horrible lifestyle and have the same struggles as me throughout life. When we got back home, I made an appointment to see my family doctor again. I got put on weight loss drugs again, got a referral made for weight loss surgery again, but he also made a referral for a metabolic diet clinic in the Greater Toronto area. This clinic was covered by our Universal Healthcare Plan, and even though my doctor warned me that it was a difficult diet for some to follow, it was free. I certainly wasn't losing anything by checking it out.

By the time I got the appointment at Dr. Poon's Metabolic Clinic, I had already dropped 11 pounds using weight loss drugs. My first weigh-in at the clinic was at 286 pounds. It was not an easy diet to follow. I had to give up all the foods I loved. Refined sugar, processed carbs, grains, dairy, fruit. Phase 1 of the diet consists of lean protein, leafy green vegetables and most vegetables grown above ground. I gave myself two weeks to try it out. After the first two weeks, I lost 11 pounds. That was incentive to keep going. I stayed on the diet for 15 months and lost 121 pounds. I did get a consult for the weight loss surgery in December 2011, but declined the offer for an appointment.

I started running when I weighed 230 pounds and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It hurt, it was uncomfortable, it was mentally challenging, but I stuck with it. I promised Julien I would go on rides with him the summer of 2012, and I was not going back on my promise. I've been a runner for two years now and I have run numerous races including 2 half marathons. In September 2013, while training for my first marathon, I broke my ankle. I was unable to run for 10 weeks. It was a very difficult time for me and I fell into a bit of a depression. Something I continue to struggle with today.  This Sunday I will run my first post-broken ankle race. The Around the Bay 30K Road Race here in Hamilton, Ontario.

I've been on maintenance for 16 months and I've lost another 8 pounds. I currently follow the Paleo lifestyle for maintenance. My total weight loss from my highest recorded weight (310 pounds a few times over the years) is 153 pounds. I am a binge eater and struggle with thoughts of binging daily. Sometimes it can be consuming. But when I feel like I'm weakening and I think I want to binge, I remind myself that nothing tastes as good as enjoying my son's childhood. I am able to be the mom that he needs. A mother that can watch him play, and participate. I am living a life right now that I never thought possible and I can honestly say that if not for my son, I'd likely still be struggling with morbid obesity. He was the inspiration that got me healthy and continues to be my daily motivation to stay healthy.

Julien and I during the past year. He got bigger and I got smaller.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The post about acupuncture, a late race shirt and the oldest road race in North America

Top left: I went out for Run Club today
Bottom left: I forgot I had Adidas Response trail shoes with only 150K on them
Right: My ATB race shirt from last year.

  • Talk about forgetting stuff! When I had drinks with my old running pals last Friday, one of them mentioned acupuncture for my Morton's Neuroma.  I never thought about this before. I have since read several forums on the internet and there are some success stories. I don't know if it will actually work for me, but I'm willing to give it a try. I've pretty much exhausted every other avenue and acupuncture is covered under my work's health plan. So it certainly won't hurt. I'm going to explore this further after I run the Around the Bay (ATB) next weekend. I don't want to do anything different before the race. 
  • I got an email on Friday from the organizers of the ATB.  Apparently there is a labour disruption by truckers at the Port of Vancouver which is preventing delivery of the shirts. This means I will not be getting my shirt when I pick up my race kit next Saturday. It's not that big a deal because I never wear the race shirt on the day of the actual race. I have to earn it first. But I do like to wear my shirt for my recovery run later in the week. Oh well, I guess I'll wear last year's shirt for this year's recovery run.
  • I am beginning to get very excited about running the Bay. I only have 3 more runs before race day. Three more runs and 7 more half-assed sleeps. It's a historical year. This will mark the 120th year of the race. It's older than Boston, but Boston is the longest running marathon. I have my last half marathon (Niagara Falls Women's Half) medal hanging from my rear-view mirror. It will be nice to replace it with a commemorative ATB medal!

Some historical photos of the Around the Bay. (source)

  • This morning I went to Run Club at the Running Room. I haven't seen a lot of those runners since last spring. Probably May? I ran with Monica and Dawn. Monica was running 10K and Dawn was feeling under the weather. She'd been battling the flu all week. Dawn wasn't sure if she could do 10K, so I said I would stay with her and if she wanted to do less, that was fine. We all ran 3K together before Monica went off on her own. Dawn wasn't well and decided to walk back to the RR. I ran ahead of her for a couple of kilometers, then ran back to her to walk the rest of the way in. So my 10K was cut in half. It's all good though. The 1st rule of Run Club is you don't leave a buddy behind. And I was actually only slotted to do 6K today anyway. 
  • I may just run 10K tomorrow morning. My first appointment's not until 11am and it's in Hamilton...Hmmmmm. That would have me running 6 days in a row. BUT, BUT none of them have been long runs. This is my scale back week and I'm not sure how I'm going to fare. Three short runs is all I get? This may not be good for my therapy.
  • Yesterday I ran 7.27K. I felt like I was sluggish because my legs were getting tired. Although my legs were tired, my breathing was steady. My heart rate was up the entire time and I would think I was having a good run, then second guess my good run vibes. My form was still slightly off because I was still clumping along. So bad form and tired legs made me feel like I was dragging my ass a times. Imagine my surprise when I finished my run and saw that I ran my quickest pace ever. I have never run 6:06/K. Not even when I busted my ass last May and tried for a sub 30 minute 5K. So all my whining and moaning about the snow and ice was actually helping me because it was building up leg muscles I could use at a later time. Who knew? This means I will be running another 5K race soon. I have to get the sub 30 for sure this time. Although my legs were getting tired, I could have given more.

My best pace EVER!

  • Tomorrow night I have my second therapy appointment. It's really my first one again because I had to switch therapists and I'll have to start all over again. I got a phone call from the coordinator tonight confirming my appointment. That was a nice touch. The last therapist just called me 10 minutes before my appointment to tell me that she was going to be 10 minutes late and she ended up being 20 minutes late. Then she called in sick last week and couldn't book me again for two weeks. I just hope this therapist is more reliable.
  • Julien wants to be a YouTube star. He follows this boy on YouTube who has his own channel and he wants to be just like Evan. All I can say about Evan is he uploads a lot of videos. Like once a day. I'm not sure why I get notifications every time he does. I thought I changed that in my preferences, but I think Julien keeps adding it back. So he wanted us to do a video of YMCA as a family to upload on YouTube. I warn you right now, you will never get the 3:45 it takes to watch this video back, so proceed with caution. Our only direction was that we were not allowed to sing over him so hubby and I mouthed the words. I need to mount my phone next time. It would would be a lot less shaky then. It was a fun thing we did together. My kid is not camera shy, that's for sure! Next up? The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?). Kill me now:(

Friday, March 21, 2014

The post about a good deal, a good meal and Pharrell

Top: My very boring, but very filling meal. Tuna cakes, cabbage and broccoli.
Left: An angel I do not like.
Right: My $10 Army Surplus Jacket from Old Navy.

  • I had a pretty uneventful couple of days. More pictures than words I think. Thursday morning I ran 8K. It wasn't bad, but I felt a bit off still. My feet were pounding the pavement so I know that my running form is off. I clomped along and could hear my steps. Not good. You're supposed to run like you're sneaking up on someone. People were turning around 100 meters in front of me to see what was behind them. Still I managed my 8K with a 6:45 pace. I'll take it. Not my best time for sure, but I'm just glad I ran. Almost talked myself out of it.
  • Today's run was better. Six kilometres at a 6:32/K pace. Still not feeling 100%, but better. I have gotten extremely efficient at running hills. I did lots of hill repeats during my training, and my last 3 LSD's had lots of hills. When I run through down town, there are a few good sized hills to contend with. My pace does not slow, and my breathing stays relatively the same. Hill repeats, although boring, are a good thing for sure!
  • I hate looking at my legs while I'm sitting down. So I did what any insecure woman would do. I took a picture while waiting for Dr. Pitt. I'm posting it because I know it's not as bad as what I envision in my head. But I still think I have thick legs. 
  • Today I got to wear my $10 Old Navy surplus jacket I bought a few months back on clearance. That is not a "self love" exercise/photo. I'm just showing off my frugal fashion find. And I had a good hair day:)

This is exactly how I feel during an anxiety attack.

  • I faxed over the referral for the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy yesterday. They called me today and can see me on April 8th. That was much quicker than I anticipated. I thought I would have to wait a bit, but no. Even knowing I have an appointment lined up makes me feel less anxious. That and carrying Lorazepam around in my bag. I may never use it, but it's comforting to know it's there.
  • Although I am back on social media and reading a lot of blogs, I am not commenting and I apologize. I just don't feel like I have much to offer in the form of inspiration or encouragement. I need to get rid of the clutter in my head, and I'll be back. I absolutely appreciate all the support I have received from my social media outlets. You guys rock! Thank you for being in my life. I appreciate you. 
  • A short post because I honestly don't know what to write tonight. Writers block? Maybe. Or maybe I'm just boring:) Either way, Julien's not boring. I leave you with a snippet of him singing his favourite song. Happy by Pharrell Williams. Don't like seeing myself like this so much, but my face is dark, so it's all good. And he's super cute, so it cancels out any of my insecurities. Enjoy:)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The post about a broken body, my resting heart rate and a medication consult

My therapy homework from this week. 

  • I have been slacking big time in my therapy homework. So I decided to do it earlier in the week and did back to back postings. I tried to look deeper at myself and not just come up with the same lame things I say about myself. So in the photo on the left (taken Monday) I said I liked my dimples. They only showed up after I started losing weight. I like the shape of my face. I look much different than I envisioned myself when I finally reached goal. I thought my face was naturally rounder.  I liked the mole on my left cheek. It was a pimple that I picked at relentlessly when I was in  my 20's. I slept well the night before and felt pretty on Monday. The photo on the right was taken on Tuesday. I was waiting for a client during a medical appointment (1.5 hours) and made use of the bathroom mirror at the doctor's office. The photo's grainy, but I wanted a full body shot. I  like the shape of my body. I like the shape of my legs. They look strong. I like the shininess and healthiness of my hair. I don't colour it and I barely have any grey.  It's still not easy to say nice stuff about myself, but I think I'm getting better and at recognizing my positive features. 
  • I woke up Monday morning and felt like I had been tackled by a bear. And not Pooh, but a Polar or Grizzly bear.  I had some of the whiplash going on, my arms were sore and my knees and hamstrings? Achy. I felt like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz when he was rusted. I was not in good shape. I felt broken. I went to have a quick drink with my girlfriend Elin for St. Patrick's Day, and she reminded me how lucky I was to have not slammed my face into the pavement. Not only would I have smashed my nose, but possibly my teeth too. Instead I just ended up with dirt on the tip of my nose and some in my mouth. Dawn kept telling me to spit, I swallowed.
  • I ended up working from home on Monday (thankfully). My right shin and fibula were achy. My shin was still swollen. Swollen enough that I couldn't zip up my riding boot on that calf. I wore them yesterday, so the swelling has gone down. I was supposed to run yesterday morning, but my neck was still stiff and my back and arms were achy. So I reluctantly took another rest day. While beating myself up over this decision, one of my Tweeps reminded me that elites (world class runners) view rest and recovery as important as training. And since elites are the big kahunas of running, there is a lot of merit in that statement. Thanks for the sound advice RS:)
  • I did run this morning. I was going to try and belt out an 8K, but I was sluggish and it was slippery out. Although it was drizzling, with the temperature hovering around zero, it made the sidewalks slick. I managed a 6.4K run with a 6:37/K pace. I was also running in shoes that are dead. That means that they have too much mileage (900+K) on them to be effective runners anymore. I'm broke for a couple more weeks, but after the Bay, I am buying myself 2 pairs of new runners. The Running Room has a warehouse in Toronto, so I am going there. You can get shoes for 50% off. 
  • While running today I noticed a lot of aches and pains emerging. Some are from the fall for sure, but my right hamstring has been acting up. Even before I fell. I think I am going to need physio again. I'm going to wait until after I run the bay. Starting Sunday I start to taper my runs. I only have 3 runs next week leading up to the race. I honestly just want to finish it upright. And since this is my first time running a 30K race, I'll get a PB (personal best) regardless:)
  • Today I got a phone call from the service that provides my therapy and they told me that my therapist is sick this week and won't be able to see me again until April 2nd. I got real emotional when they told me that. My first session was 2.5 weeks ago, she was 20 minutes late and cut my session short.  By the time I'd get in again a month would have passed. How is that helpful to someone who needs to talk to someone and work through issues? So I was assigned a new therapist. Which means I get an appointment much earlier (Monday), but also means I have start all over again. Not impressed.
  • So I had my medication consultation with Dr. Pitt today. I last saw him in the fall after I broke my ankle.  He walked into the examination room, apologized and turned to leave. I called him back and he chuckled saying, "I didn't recognize you for a moment".  Now Dr. Pitt has known me my entire adult life. That's like 24 years. And he saw me very frequently when I was morbidly obese because I was always seeing him for my blood pressure. So I said, "You still expect to see me overweight". And he admitted that that was the image he had of me in his head. Fair enough. That's the image I have of me in my head too.

  • First the good stuff. My blood pressure is 126/64. That is not too shabby considering 2 years ago I was on 2 blood pressure medications. And my resting heart rate is 55. That means I am an athlete baby! But I already knew that my resting heart rate was nice and slow. It's just not as good as it was. When I went to urgent care for my broken ankle back in  September 2013, my resting heart rate was 49. That was awesome. Perhaps once I join the gym, I will get back there.
  • Right now my body is achy. But not achy from the fall or being over worked. It's achy from tension. It's a strange sensation when I touch my chest, stomach or middle back. It tingles in a painful way. I mentioned this to my doctor today and he said it is from feeling so anxious lately.  Depression and severe anxiety can cause this type of painful sensation.
  • Dr. Pitt and I discussed my anxiety/depression. He said that I was likely suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which causes the anxiety. I was not too keen about going on an anti-depressant and we agreed I didn't need one at this time. He said that my demeanour was much different now than when I suffered from depression in the 90's. Then I couldn't even get myself out of bed in the morning. I'm not that incapacitated with the depression right now. I just know that I don't feel happy. But when I have an anxiety attack? Those throw me right off. So he did prescribe me Lorazepam (.5mg) to be taken only if I have a severe attack. They are addictive, but he said if I only take it a few times a week, that is fine. I'm hoping I won't need to take them at all.
  • We also discussed my therapy through EAP, and he said that if it didn't work out for me, I could access Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It is offered through his office and covered by our health plan. I explained to him how I still view myself in my mind as being morbidly obese and he said that this type of therapy is helpful in dealing with anxiety and stress. The thoughts of my body image racing through my head cause me lots and lots of anxiety and stress.  I may just refer myself anyway. I have the signed referral from Dr. Pitt. I just need to fax it. It certainly can't hurt.
  • This week has been better for me. I had a panic attack on Sunday, but have been pretty good since. The sun was shining Monday and Tuesday. Today it was raining but mild. The temperatures, although still below seasonal, are getting warmer. It's a definite step in the right direction. I feel some stress and anxiety from the upcoming 30K race on the 30th. I think once the pressure of that is gone, I'll be able to relax and refocus. I'm going to fill the Lorazepam prescription and keep it with me in case I have a panic attack while with a client. That is the only time I'll take it. I don't like the idea of addictive medication. But I dislike the idea of being completely incapacitated while with a client more. 
  • Talking through a lot of my issues is going to be the most helpful for me. That and running/exercise. Although my sleeping is still a work in progress, every day gets a bit clearer. I need to recognize my own value and stop over extending myself to others who don't deserve me. Helping others is what I do for a living and I can't help but fall into the trap of being a serial "people pleaser". It's what I've done my entire life to keep "friends" when I was morbidly obese. Instead of focusing so much on what others need, I need to focus on what I need.  I deserve happiness. So that is what I shall have.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The post about my last LSD before the Bay and falling flat on my face

The best picture I could get before my phone froze.
That's the Bay behind us:)

  • I feel shattered. Not emotionally, but physically. Today I ran my last LSD (long slow distance) with Dawn before the Around the Bay 30K at the end of the month. I did not want to run. Thank goodness Dawn was there to motivate me.  It was sunny and clear and -20C with the windchill. My phone froze around 15K, so my running app shows we were 10K short. But Dawn's Garmin clocked the whole run. We ran 25K.
  • I was feeling bitter when I picked Dawn up this morning. Angry at that crazy B**CH Mother Nature. Every single long run I have done this winter has had some issue with the weather. Either snow or extreme cold or both. Yesterday morning I ran wearing 2 layers without gloves for the first time since November. The temperature dropped during the day and night and it became bitterly cold. And that's what I ran in today.  Today I wore 3 pairs of socks, two layers on my bottom, 4 layers on my top and two pairs of gloves.
  • So Dawn and I head out around 8:45am. We ran out of Dundurn Castle again so that we could run all the hills on the back half of the Bay.  I tripped once on a piece of frozen dirt around 4K in, but didn't go down. Then at 8.5K I tripped on another piece of frozen dirt and went down face first. If I didn't clench my neck, I would have slammed my face right into the pavement and broken my nose. Instead I got dirt on the tip of my nose. I did hurt both my knees, my right shin and my boobs!  What to do, what to do. I got up, walked it off for a few minutes, could see that I could still walk and started running again. Hardcore or stupid? I'm going with hardcore. Although my shin was swollen when I got home, I iced it and spent the afternoon on the couch. I feel okay right now, just sore from impact. My shin is going to sport a lovely bruise for sure, but my fibula is intact!
  • When I first went down, I thought about my fibula right away. It hurt when I started running again, but the further I went, the less pain I felt. I didn't start to truly hurt until I got back in  my car to drive home. I dreaded walking into my house and stripping off my clothes to get into the shower. When you run long distance, your skin has a layer of salt from sweat. And it itches. I was also stiff and sore everywhere. Dawn and I decided that if we win the lottery, we are going to hire drivers, carriers, strippers and chefs for long run days. The drivers to take us to and from our long run destination, the carriers to carry us into our respective homes, the strippers to take our gear off and the chef is self explanatory. I'm gonna keep playing the lottery.
  • During the run I saw a few people I knew. Love seeing familiar faces. Tons of people out on the Bay route running their last LSD. Runners are so supportive. Even seeing people I don't know? Everyone is so encouraging and complimentary. Runners ROCK!

My awesome run from Saturday. No gloves (and I got my nails done),
6:15/km pace, and only  2 layers!!!!!

  • On Saturday morning it was mild and the side walks were clear. I procrastinated leaving for my run, but once I was out my door, I just took off. I managed to run my best practice run pace post broken ankle. And pre-broken ankle. I ran 6:11/km at the Chocolate Race 5K last May. But I was trying to get a sub 30 minute 5K. Although I ran well yesterday, I wasn't as fatigued as I remember after running the Chocolate Race. Definitely a boost to my diminishing runner's confidence.
  • I met up with a group of runner girls on Friday night. We were discussing races we've run and races coming up. It was a lovely evening and a good catch-up session. Some of these ladies have crazy racing schedules. I'm so glad I made the decision not to race any more after the Bay. I'm going to focus on going to the gym (yuck), getting faster, and teaching in the next round of running clinics. No pressure, no crazy training schedules. Just running for fun. I really need to step back. Since I began running, I have never not had a race I wasn't training for. Except when I broke my ankle (while training). And as soon as I could run again, I started training for the Bay. I will run the Meredith Hagan 10K trail run (June 21). I've run it two years in a row and it's for a good cause. And the Stockholm Half Marathon (September 13) with Tanya of course. After the half, I'll get another 2 month running hiatus before I have to start training for the Bay again. 
  • I burned 2000 calories during my run today. Try as I might, I can't replenish my calorie deficit for the day. I did eat (a bit) before leaving on the run. I had 2 gels during, but my recovery meal was pretty lame. This eating to run isn't as easy as it sounds. Surprisingly enough, regardless of how little I eat before a long run, I never feel like I don't have enough energy. Do not follow my example though. It is important to fuel before runs.
  • I had a really bad sleep last night. I don't think I took melatonin. I can't remember. What I do remember is going to bed at 11pm then waking up at 2:30am, tossing and turning for 2 hours, before falling asleep again at around 4. I woke up for good at 5:45am. While I was tossing and turning, I was anxious as all get out. My stomach was in knots. I don't know if I was nervous about the LSD? Or maybe I was having a premonition about my face first fall. Either way, I had reason to be nervous about my run today. But honestly, it took away any anxiety I actually had about running the Bay. If I can run 25K in the cold of today with the mishap that took place, and my crampy toes (almost forgot about them), I can run 30K. Piece of cake. Not the ideal way that I wanted to gain confidence, but I'll take it:)

Feeling tired and sore on my massive couch:)
I do not have a black eye. Just bags from tiredness!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The post about some long over due homework and being defeated by Mother Nature...AGAIN!

Taken this morning.

  • I have not done my therapist's suggested homework in 9 days. Laziness? Not really, it's just awkward to say nice things about myself. Well that's not completely true. I can say lots of nice things about my character, but my appearance is a different story. So this morning I took a picture and I'll tell you what I said about it. It was pretty lame. I like my hair, I like that I wasn't wearing make-up and looked okay, I like the white shirt I'm wearing, I like that my eyes are smiling. That's it. My very good friend Liz added to that list on Facebook and I loved her list. She said she loved my gorgeous brown eyes, the natural colour of my lips and my super cute freckles. I like those things about me too. Thanks for getting me to look deeper Liz:)
  • I forget about my freckles. It's not easy to see them in pictures. They're more noticeable in person. I got them in the 90's while visiting South Africa during their summer. It happened during a braai on Boxing Day. In case you're wondering, braai is Afrikaans for barbeque. I spent 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen and got a horrible burn across my nose. Once the burn blistered and peeled, it left freckles. And I still got em. The moral of this story? Always wear sunscreen!
  • Wednesday morning I woke up at my regular time. Waited around till 7am and headed out for my run just when the snow started flying. I was working from home because we were expecting 20cm of snow. I got a 6K in and my pace was slow (7:03/km). I'm blaming it on the elements. Although it was just the beginning of the storm, it was snowing sideways in my face and it hurt! There was also a light dusting of snow on the ground which made it slippery.
  • Thursday morning I woke up and was supposed to run 7K. I just could not get my head around it. There was 20cm of newly fallen snow, it was -25C, and the roads/sidewalks were not cleared. Normally I would accept this challenge, but I felt defeated yesterday morning and decided to switch out my rest day. I ran my 7K this morning which means I run tomorrow morning (6K), then 25K Sunday before I get to rest on Monday. The Bay is 2.2 weeks away. I don't even know if I'm anxious about it. I just want it to be done.
  • This morning's run was brutal. Is there not a law about clearing your walkway after a snowfall? I ran through snow that was soft and sand like. And I ran through down town, so a lot of the uncleared snow was in front of businesses. My quads were on fire when I got home and they're still a little sore.
  • After the Bay, I don't think I'm going to train for anything major till I go to Stockholm to run the half marathon with Tanya in September. I want to get into the gym so that I can work on getting stronger. I'm still going to run, but I just wanna run for fun and fitness. Training is a lot of pressure. And with all that's been going on lately, I haven't been enjoying running as much as I did. I want to LOVE it again. So I think if I take the pressure away, it'll get better. And I want to teach another running clinic. I'm joining the gym after I run the Bay. 

Left: Pictures of my baby girl, Elsa. She passed away in 2005 from cancer.
Right: How I don't see myself unless I look in the mirror.

  • In the comparison photos above, I can definitely see how much work I put into getting fit. I do like the way I look on the right. But that's not how I look in my mind when I don't see myself. Someone asked me if I had Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I do not. When I see myself in the mirror, I have a hard time believing that the person I'm looking at is me. Since I'm not in front of a mirror all day, my mind wanders to the way I have seen myself the majority of my life. And that is where I get stuck. I need to get unstuck! I can't ever forget about who I was, but I need to move forward and work on accepting who I have become. 
  • Last night I went out to dinner with my childhood friend Nokomis. We hadn't hung out since January 3rd, so there was lots to catch up on.  Last year we saw each other once. But you know the kind of friends who no matter how long you spend apart, when you see each other again, it's like time has stood still? That's Nokomis to me. We've done much better this year. I've seen her 5 times in a 5 month period. That's a HUGE improvement.
  • I have been taking melatonin for about a week. My sleeps are definitely deeper and I get about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep now. That's an improvement from the 4 hours of interrupted sleep I was getting the month before. My eating has been improving as well. Thank goodness! There were times when I was worried about how I was going to stay fuelled for runs. Especially the long runs. But I have been hungrier and I'm eating enough. I haven't passed out during a long run yet. I've only got one more long run before the Bay. I'm looking forward to getting it over with:)
  • My anxiety has been better this week. I have been able to recognize when I'm getting anxious and preoccupy myself when I need to. The only thing that worries me is that I'll have a panic attack while with a client. I work with a hard to serve population and I have found myself getting anxious while with clients. Stuff that normally wouldn't phase me has started to affect me. Although I was hoping to not have to go on medication , I may need something to help me with the anxiety. I see Dr. Pitt on Wednesday for a medication consultation. 
  • Today it is sunny. The snow is melting, and although it's going to drop to the negative for a few days on Sunday, the temperatures are all in the pluses after that. Spring is really and truly coming. That in itself makes me happy. And makes me look forward to running on cleared side walks. I can't wait to go running on my favourite trail where I used to walk Finn. I can't run on it in the winter because it's not cleared. That will make my heart happy for sure. Running where my beautiful boy love it so much:)

From the archives. My last walk with Finn.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The post about Mcdonald's fries, my best pace ever and pictures of my beautiful boy

Sweet potato fries at Mcdonald's?

  • Yesterday was a pretty good day for me. I spent the day driving around Scarborough with a client looking for housing. We stopped into Mcdonald's and lo and behold, they had sweet potato fries. Paleoish?  I'm not sure what they deep fried them in, but I'm sure it wasn't anything Paleo acceptable. Meh, I had to try them anyway. They were okay, but I didn't feel great after eating them. Likely the bad oil they used. And if I remember correctly, I never felt good after eating Mcdonald's.
  • I had dinner with my dad yesterday evening. It's become a bit of a routine for us. I swing by every other Monday and we go to Swiss Chalet for rotisserie chicken. And my dad loves his pie. He always has coconut cream pie with coffee after he eats. And he always asks me if I want a piece too. He would be over-joyed if I ever said yes. But we all know that won't happen.
  • Last night I had the pleasure of meeting some awesome ladies at the Dr. Poon support group in Scarborough. I wasn't planning on going until the last minute. I wasn't sure if I'd feel up to it, but I'm glad I made it out. Luana gave me an awesome long hug at the beginning and end of the meeting.  That made me emotional both times. It's been a real long time since I've been held in a tight motherly embrace. Thanks Lu:) xox

My GPS effed up. One day I'll run a 5:45/K pace. One day...

  • This morning I had a decent run. It was dark and +2C when I headed out just before 6am. My GPS messed up big time. According to my running app I ran 9.5K in 55:01. Not bloody likely. That would make my pace 5:45/K. If I shave another 30 seconds per kilometer off that pace, I'll qualify for Boston! Yay me! Yeah, not going to happen. My real stats are below the messed up stat. I really need to shave 1:30 off my kilometer and keep up that pace for 42.2K in order to qualify for Boston. A pipe dream since my feet will never cooperate and let me run a marathon. Ah Morton's Neuroma problems.
  • Remember when I ran two Sundays ago and it was -22C and I ran 21.1K? I got frost bite on the second toe of my right foot and my toe nail has turned blue and I think it's going to eventually fall off. Gross right? BUT, it means I have arrived as a runner. I have never lost a toe nail yet. This is important shit. I will keep you posted and document the journey of my funky toenail. Sorry:(
  • Mother Nature is sticking it to me again. The past couple of days the temperatures have been in the pluses. Tomorrow we are getting 20cm of snow. Thursday morning it's supposed to be -26C for my morning run. And then Friday and Saturday we go into the pluses before the temperatures drop again. With my luck, I'll be running the Bay in a blizzard. There is no rhyme or reason to these erratic weather patterns. Mother Nature is a witch.
  • This Sunday is my last long run before the Bay. Dawn and I are going to tackle 25K and the hilly part of the course again. I'll map out a route using the gmap-pedometer. I used to use it all the time when I was teaching clinics. Speaking of teaching clinics, I'm supposed to be teaching one right now. I wish I was but I know I'm not well enough to inspire anyone to run right now. I can barely inspire myself. I'm hopeful that I'll teach the next round which begin in June.
  • Last night I forgot to take melatonin before bed and I woke up at 3:15am. I stayed in bed till 5am, before finally getting up to make coffee and get ready for my run. I took the melatonin tonight before I started writing this post. I need to get a good sleep tonight. By this afternoon at work it was painful to keep my eyes open. And I wanted to burst into tears several times. I didn't do it, but the feeling was definitely there.
  • I have been neglecting the homework my therapist gave me big time. I haven't taken a selfie (except running ones which aren't too flattering) since last Wednesday. I should be more mindful of the the exercise. I know there's merit to it. I need to respect the process. Perhaps I'll feel up to it tomorrow.
  • This morning I went to the March of Dimes with a client to learn about their employment programs. They have a specialized program for adults with physical and developmental disabilities. I was standing with my client and I hear a woman say, "Ma'am? He's going to stroke your hair". She sounded panicked and when I turned around, I came face to face with Allan. Allan is a non-verbal man of about 45 who was part of the specialized program. He put his hand out and gently stroked my hair while his caretaker apologized profusely. She went to grab his hand and I told her to let him touch me. He wasn't hurting anyone. She backed away and I let Allan have at my hair for the next 5 minutes. She explained to me that he is drawn to anyone with long hair and likes to touch it. He rubbed my hair to his face and said "mmmmmm" when he smelled it. That was the Moroccan Oil. When I had to move on with my client, Allan had the biggest smile on his face. My client leaned into me and said, "Why did you let him touch you?" I just smiled and simply said, "Because it made his day, and mine too."  And it really did. 

Just because. Not a day goes by that I don't think about my beautiful boy:(

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The post about my 2nd runniversary, a 23K run and an anonymous comment

Half way into our 23K run today.

  • Yesterday was another bad day down in the books for me. Not sure why I was feeling so anxious and panicked. I just was. I ended up having a full scale panic attack while I was folding my laundry. I had to hide myself away upstairs for a few minutes until the feeling passed. It's not good, when although they scare me, I'm beginning to get used to them.  I've only had one therapy session, and although we touched on the self esteem issues, the therapist asked me a lot of stuff about my past. Things I'd rather forget about. Those thoughts could be sparking some of my attacks.  I know that I have to talk about this stuff though. It's just easier to forget than to remember.
  • Today was a MUCH better day. It was my 2nd runniversary:) I began running on this day in 2012 and I couldn't run for one minute straight without stopping. Today I ran for 23K with my running gal Dawn. That's a half marathon and then some. Although it was a slow run, and we ran all the hills in the back half of the Bay, it was awesome. We were awesome! And we looked awesome! I am not forcing my smile in the photo above. It was sunny and crisp and during the run it smelt like spring (AKA as shit). That was definitely a mood booster!
  • When I got home, I ate, showered and spent some time on Twitter (so much for my SM break). I had the afternoon to myself because my husband and son went to visit my in-laws for the day. My burden feels lighter as I type this. Although yesterday was a bit of a write off in regards to my mood and the (lack of) chores I got done, I kicked ass today. I ran 23K in the morning, made dinner, did laundry, wrote reports, cleaned up the kitchen and even went grocery shopping after dinner. I think my long run this morning was very therapeutic for me. And I got an extra hour of day light today. Good stuff all around.
  • I have my blog comments on "moderation". Not because I censor comments. I have published every comment I have gotten (unless I accidentally deleted it, and yes that has happened). I moderate comments because I get about 10 spam comments a day. And I don't want commenters to have to do the captcha. I have rarely gotten a negative comment. Myra and Caron likely remember my last negative comment:) Yesterday I got a negative comment. You can read it below.
I have read your blog faithfully for some time now but will no longer. Your friend us right, you've become a vain "look at me, look at me" individual. "Do I look good? Do I need bangs this way or that way? I'm getting looked up and down by the Tm Hortons clerk young enough to be my son...." OMG good thing you are finally in therapy. Yes, EVERYONE has issues but for goodness sake, get over yourself. You have a son who probably could use you more than you wasting your time looking in a mirror and taking selfies in public bathrooms. Good luck with everything, you definately are going to need it. Instead of having the "poor me" attitude take charge of your life and use your strength to focus on all you do have, which is more than most in this world. Having llove and family is a blessing, figuring out hair, makeup, a French manicure and which angle to take the most flattering selfie is downright sad and enough reason to get yourself into therapy. Kudos on that.

  • Now, my first reaction when I read this comment? It upset me because I felt badly for having displeased someone. I am always trying to be a people pleaser and I hate it when someone feels badly about me. That being said, the anon comment has some truth to it. I do need validation. I am very unsure of myself. I'm not confident enough to make decisions about my looks. You should try coming clothing shopping with me. Completely exasperating. Ask my girlfriend Linda. We spent hours at Reitman's, and I ended up returning everything I bought. I figured that since I consider all the women (and some men) that read my blog friends, when I post questions, I'll get honest answers. I'm not offended if you don't answer. 
  • Anon is absolutely right, everyone does have issues, but no one (except those closest to me) knows anything about me except for what I have shared on my blog. And I do share a lot.  But what you read here is only the "tip of the iceberg" of my issues. I won't discuss those things on this forum. They are too personal. I would never judge a person I don't know. So I will not judge my anon commenter. That person also has issues and I know not what they are. But trust me, if it was as easy as getting over myself, I wouldn't be in the funk I'm in right now. I wish I could get over myself. Life would be so much easier. 
  • As for the selfies? When I see myself in the mirror, I still can't believe that the person looking back is me. If I think I look good that day, I'll take a snap shot. It's good for me to look back at those pictures again when I'm not having such a good day. And since this blog is about me and my journey and struggles, I'll post them here if I want to share. And when I'm wearing something that I got from Value Village that was a particularly good deal, I like to show off how frugal and savvy I am:)
  • I do have a lot to be thankful for. And I am. I have a great family, a home I love, a career I enjoy. But the issues I'm going through right now, have nothing to do with those things. They have to do with skeletons in my closet that I have been neglecting for years. These past experiences most definitely played a role in why I became obese in the first place and why I struggle with my self-esteem now. I would never judge anyone's struggles regardless of how trivial they may seem to me. I have not walked in that person's shoes. Unless you have lived in my skin, you can't assume that my issues are insignificant.
  • I began writing this blog to keep myself accountable while I lost weight. Over the past year, I continued to write this blog for my readers. It was no secret that I was struggling with posts sometimes. I am writing this blog again for me right now. It is a good form of therapy for me. Blogging and running. I know that my struggles with self-esteem are not my own. Just from the number of blog comments, emails, Tweets and Facebook comments that I got when I admitted my depression let me know that many others share my struggle. If sharing my journey will help someone else, then it's worth it for me to put it out there. My very best wishes to Anon. I'm hopeful that you will get help for some of your issues too.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The post about a heart to heart with an old friend and a shit day

I wasn't actually planning on posting again until after my long run on Sunday, but I had brunch with a childhood friend today. We talked about all kinds of stuff and of course we got to the topic of the moment. My self esteem. She told me in a very loving way, that I have changed over the past year or so. She said that I have become preoccupied with my looks. She is bang on. I have become preoccupied with my looks. She mentioned that previously I never put too much effort or worry into the way I looked. And that is true. I was morbidly obese and didn't really care too much. I wore whatever I could fit into and was comfortable to wear. Was I physically comfortable? Nope. But I was emotionally comfortable because it was all I knew. She said that it seems as though I am not comfortable in my new body and that brought tears to my eyes. That is without a doubt 100% true. I was more emotionally comfortable being morbidly obese.

She has never had an issue with her weight, so she admitted that she didn't know what I was going through right now. When I explained how I can't feel good about myself regardless of what other people see, I could tell that was really hard for her to grasp. I gave some examples.  If I'm in a crowded room and there are rows of chairs set up and an empty lone chair in the middle of a row, I'd rather stand for 2 hours than sit in that chair. The reason being? Because I wouldn't want to embarrass myself when I can't fit. Even though I would fit. When people look at me on the street, both men and women, the first thought that goes through my head is that they're judging me because of my weight. They could like what I'm wearing, or just being friendly, but I always think negatively. And then there's the comparing myself to others that I'm standing beside. I did it again today on the mirrored elevator at work. I was standing beside a petite woman and I looked huge beside her.

Although I have been on an upswing the past few days, today was not a good day for me. I felt insecure and self conscious all day. I felt exposed, anxious, and large. Very large. My mood sucked. It was sunny and 3C. It was a beautiful, almost spring day. And I felt like shit inside. I have been neglecting my homework from my therapist big time. I haven't taken my picture and "liked" stuff about myself since I did it for the first time on Wednesday. And thanks to everyone who left me nice comments on my blog, Facebook and Twitter. I appreciate you:) Perhaps I need to start posting on my social media outlets again and do my picture exercise to keep myself accountable. If I know no one is going to see it, I won't do it. But if I have to post it, I'll be more likely to complete my "homework". My therapist eventually wants me to videotape myself. Yikes! That's going to be difficult to stomach. I've been on video, but never where I'm just sitting and talking into a camera. I'm anxious just thinking about it.

I know that this new journey of mine is going to take time. I can't expect miracles to happen overnight. I have to be patient and trust the process. On a positive note, I took melatonin last night and was asleep by 10pm. Although I woke at 4:30am, I got 6.5 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep and did not feel groggy when I woke up today. That is huge for me. And I dreamt. I know I dream every night, but I haven't remembered a dream for months and months and months. Likely because I'm not sleeping deeply enough. So tomorrow I'm going to start on a more positive note. I'm going to get my picture taken and gush about myself. Maybe "gush" is too much. I'll like no less than three things about myself.

I will do my homework assignment today with an older picture. Check out that comparison photo below. On the left, I weighed about 185 (which I maintained for weeks, maybe two or three before gaining about a 115 pounds again), and was a couple weeks shy of my 30th birthday. My hair was coloured, my nails were too long, I wore too much make up, my eyebrows were over plucked and I was a smoker. I gave up smoking the winter of 2000. That is what I looked like when my hubby and I first got together. The picture on the right was taken a couple of months ago. I will say that I think I look better now than I did when I was 29. I don't colour my hair, and other than mascara and lip balm, I am not wearing any make up. And I look happy. See? I'm not all negative. I can see positives in myself.

The 14  year difference. 

Today I feel a bit defeated.  Not just with my self esteem, but with my confidence in everything. I was at work till 7pm doing something that should have only taken me a few hours. I should have been done no later than 5pm. But there I was with the cleaning crew working way past quitting time. On a Friday night no less! I know that I am the only one who can change things. I have wonderful, supportive people. Both in my real life and in the virtual world. You all rock! Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm wiping the slate clean. The only downer about this being the weekend? I have paper work I'm still catching up on. So I'm working. But I know I'll feel lighter once I get caught up. I'm on a role! I turned that negative into a positive! Enjoy you're weekend.

No Grains, No Gains - Health benefits of my diet

A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about the health benefits of my diet. Now, there are a lot of sceptics out there regarding the Paleo diet. I followed a low carb, high protein, low fat, low sodium diet to lose weight. I decided to go Paleo for maintenance. I'm a binge eater, and the thought of eating my trigger foods again (processed carbs and refined sugar) caused me MUCH anxiety when I reached maintenance. So I made the conscious effort to not eat those foods again. I had already gone 16 months without them, it made no sense to me to start eating the foods that got me to 300 pounds in the first place. 

Many nutritionists, athletes, doctors, people in general believe we need carbohydrates to fuel. I have been a long distance runner for over a year. I started training for my first half marathon in December 2012. I was not eating processed carbs at that time. Although I do eat carbs, they are carbs found in fruits and vegetables. I have never "carb loaded" before a run. I don't need to. I use a sports nutrition sportive to fuel my long distance runs. Two scoops in a cup of water is all I need. I can't eat a lot before I run. What I eat following my run is the most important. Lots of protein to repair muscles.

So moving on the the benefits, I always eat until I am full or very satisfied. I don't measure portion size (except with nuts), count calories or fat. That gives me such freedom. True, I leave out a lot of different foods from my diet, but I'm okay with that. I enjoy the way I eat. It seems that it's the people around me who have issue with my diet. The snide remarks, the looks I get sometimes when asked about why I'm not eating certain foods. I get the eye roll sometimes too. But that's okay. It's my body, it's my decision. And there is scepticism in the unknown. I get that.

I have great skin. Right now it's not looking it's best. But that is due to the stress I'm going through (which has nothing to do with my diet). I did have a break out this week and a cold sore formed on my lip, I haven't had one of those is a very long time. But back to the topic under discussion. I have pretty good skin, everywhere. Not just my face, but it's soft and even toned. At 43, I still get the odd pimple here and there, but I think that has to do more with wearing make-up than anything else. 

I also have really good hair. I never had hair loss issues during my weight loss (common with low-carb diets). And my hair, although in desperate need of a cut and shaping, is in healthy condition. All my new hair growth is brown. I do not get my hair coloured, I have very little grey. I honestly had more grey hair 5 years ago than I have now. Not sure if that has to do with my diet, but what else could it be? People have often commented to me that I look younger now than I did five years ago. I have to agree with them.

My doctor, although supportive, was concerned about my blood tests and ordered 3 in the last year. My blood is perfect. I am not deficient anywhere, and I am no longer anaemic. I developed anaemia when I was pregnant with Julien and was unable to shake it for years. My blood test from a year ago showed that I had regained all my red blood cells. I also eat A LOT of eggs. I do not have high cholesterol.  

I used to have a lot of stomach issues. You know, nasty stuff, like gas, heartburn and general stomach upset. Gone, gone and gone. And I know you all want to know about my toilet habits. I used to have "issues" with that. A thing of the past! I'm relieved to report that I am a very "regular" person. Probably for the first time in my life.

Since being on maintenance, although my weight hasn't dropped significantly (8 pounds), I have gone down in size. I was wearing size 10 in December 2012, and now I wear size 6. That has to do with the running, but being on a diligent eating plan has definitely helped as well. Processed carbs turns into sugar in your body which is stored as fat. Since I don't eat them, I never worry about gaining fat. I have gotten leaner due to diet and exercise.

Besides having boundless energy, being able to long distance run without issue, having the resting heart rate of an athlete, and just feeling good overall, I wouldn't trade how I physically feel at this moment for anything to eat. That is why it is so easy for me to stay on plan. If you felt as physically good as I do everyday, you'd get it. That is one of the most asked questions I get, "how do you resist eating all the good food"? I do eat all the good food. The food that is good fuel for my body. And I feel like a million bucks. If that's not motivation to stay on track, I don't know what is!

Now take a moment and check out the health benefits of my best bloggy friends. I love writing in this type of forum because we all have different experiences to share. Take a look and leave a comment if you have a moment. Tell them Leigh sent you. Have a good weekend:)

Against the Grain
For Life
Living the Life
Garden Girl

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The post about my first counselling session, therapeutic massage and melatonin

My first real smile in a while...and a good bang day:)

  • Today I felt semi-normal for the first time in a long time. I put on make up. Did my hair. Smiled. I had my first therapy session and a massage right afterwards. Therapy went pretty well. I wasn't sure I would click with the therapist when we first started out. She was pretty scattered and 20 minutes late! But once we started talking, I enjoyed her approach with me and she gave me some useful advice that I will follow up with. She has treated self esteem issues before, in a very similar case. She also gave me home work. She knows I write a blog. I'm supposed to photograph myself and say what I like about my photo. So here goes...
  • I took the photos this afternoon. I like my neck and collar bones. I liked my hair today. I like the shape of my eyebrows (I plucked them myself). I like that I didn't force my smile today. I liked what I was wearing today. That's all I got for ya. I'm supposed to do this everyday. I won't be posting this everyday. No need to bore you with my self love. But it's a start.
  • Right after my counselling session, I went to see my massage therapist. I haven't seen him since before Christmas. He thought I broke up with him and was seeing someone else. I assured him that I was not. My body was in desperate need of a massage for sure. He gave me a general tune up and I gotta tell you, I was tense and anxious the entire time. He kept having to tell me to relax. I haven't felt this self conscious in front of him since he began massaging me over a year ago. He told me I looked great. He also told me that he could feel definite muscle definition in my glutes and hamstrings. So the hill repeats (#peachreps) did build up my ass muscles. Hearing him compliment me was hard though.
  • We talked a bit about my self esteem issues. He totally got it, and he told me that he often forgets that I was morbidly obese. He's never read my blog or seen a before picture of me. He told me that he massages a lot of athletes and that we all have similar body types. That was interesting to me because I figured if anyone could see my imperfections, it would be him. I've booked to see him again after I run the Bay. I'm going to keep on top of the massage. It's definitely therapeutic. Although I was tense for most of the session, when he flipped me over and worked on my neck, I almost fell asleep. Maybe I'll pay him $80 just to do that for an hour next time!
  • Everyday things seem to get a little easier. I actually got work done the last two days. I was able to focus and be productive. This has lightened the load on my shoulders too. Once I'm caught up with my paperwork, I should be less anxious. I have the next two days planned out. Although I'm seeing a couple of clients, I have everything that I need to do organized in a nice neat pile. It will be done by Monday for sure!
  • My last two runs have been better. I ran in daylight both days. Daylight savings time is this weekend. The days get longer, but the morning gets darker:( So I run in the dark again starting Tuesday. For a few more weeks anyway. I think I have a touch of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) on top of everything else. This has been a brutal winter. Especially to run in. I am so done with it. Even when it is bitterly cold, if the sun is out, it lifts my spirits a bit. 
  • My emotional state is improving. I haven't cried for a couple days. That's progress right? That in itself is a huge difference from last week. The photos below depict what my emotional state was a week ago. I only had enough time to put my hair behind my shoulders and I went from looking relatively normal to crying. My husband asked me something, but in his defence, it could have been "what did you have for lunch"? Bottom line is this. I am healthy, my family is healthy. I have a good job and lots of people who care about me. I have a lot to be thankful for. There are people who are really suffering and way worse off than me. I need to put things into perspective and carry on. Simple right? So why does it feel like a vice grip is crushing my chest most of the day? That is what I need to escape. I think the answer is in my therapy, getting better sleep and the changing seasons. I have a doctor's appointment on the 19th to discuss medication. I'm hopeful that by then I'll be doing better on my own. Two people have suggested melatonin to help me sleep at night. I think I'm gonna give it a try. It's natural and is also said to be effective in treating SAD. I'm getting some tomorrow. I need to stop being SAD and work on being glad...

See how important good posture is?