Monthly Archives: September 2005

9/30/05 The Bell of the Ball (37)

Friday. Feelings. I’m feeling strangely peaceful this week despite the hustle and bustle going on. Workouts are back in full, I have a lot of work-work on my desk (which seems to get more complicated every time I go back to it.)

Yesterday was a long day and I can’t believe how much I crammed into it. I started by meeting Steph at 6 a.m. and walked up to the park for practice with our coach. OMG was that a hard workout!! We did sprints/squats/sprints/squats and then a bunch of calf and quad busting exercises. It was hard. I was able to do everything but the bunny hop thing (ten little bunny hops then three big bunny hops) — that hurt my knees so he gave me more squats to do instead (I need to land softer but I wasn’t able to do it). All the jumping and calf work was to give up more push in our run. Two ways to get faster, more reps or longer strides (not too long though, just longer within your range of motion). The push from your calf is what gives you the length. We also had to do quick steps, BACKWARDS! Then we had to do this hopping thing on the long benches in the park. One foot on the bench, one foot on the ground hopping with the foot on the ground and hopping with the foot on the bench. I was too uncoordinated, but Stephanie picked it right up. Must be all her years of dance training.

When I got back from practice I had to head right down to the gym for my Thursday workout with Vanessa. She took pity on me when she saw how exhausted I was and only made me do a few core exercises and then spent the remaining time doing stretching exercises — even those hurt. I think those exercises probably did me more good than another workout would have anyway. I was already starting to turn into a pretzel.

After that I went for a massage with Leslie. She’s really good and digs down deep in my muscles. I’m experiencing a lot of aches and pains in my back and in my rotator cuff. She explained that if I’m not breathing properly during my pilates sessions these would be typical injuries – particularly with a pull move — it is essential to breath through the pull. I told her I’m still new to pilates and I admitted that sometimes I can’t get the breathing right if I’m concentrating on other things like scapula, transverse, knees bent — oh yeah, I’m supposed to breath too! I have graduated to being able to concentrate on two things at once, but not three. She recommended that I make the breathing always one of the two!!! LOL

So all that was finished by 11 a.m. and then I had to get to real work! Geesh!!! I had twisted my body sufficiently, now it was time to twist my brain.

After work I went for another acupuncture session. I should have scheduled stuff so that I wasn’t doubled up like that but those were the only appointments I could get. Plus I felt these were all very important things to do in preparation for Saturday. It was a very tough session. He worked on both of my legs and we found some pretty tender spots. I asked him about recommending something I can take while running to eliminate pain (instead of aspirin which is supposedly not good for you.) He gave me some pills which are called hit pills used by martial arts practitioners. The ones he gave me are called San Qi 17. I’m practicing with them today because he said sometimes they are hard on the stomach. If they work, I can take them tomorrow during the run after mile 10 if I’m experiencing pain.

Finally I went out for a farewell party for my good friend Corinne. She’s leaving for Charleston to start a new life there. Major kudos to her for embarking on a new journey of discovery. It takes real guts to do uproot and start somewhere fresh. I admire her so much for taking on this adventure. I’ll miss her a lot. I had fun hanging out with my tennis buddies last night. I haven’t played tennis since May and I’m really not going to be able to get back to it full time in the next two years. It’s just too hard to do swimming, biking, running AND tennis. I would like to just play socially once a week to keep my skills and friendships in maintenance mode. (The friendship part is more important than the tennis part.)

(This is a picture of me and my friend Corinne — a beautiful person inside and out. And she is a great tennis player too!)

When I started playing tennis again in 1998 (after a hiatus of 16+ years) it changed my entire life. I made a whole new set of friends. We traveled together, partied together, oh yeah we played tennis together too. I had been living in the city for 14 years and it became like living in a different city altogether. Many of those friends I consider sisters and brothers now we have gone through so much together. When I think of my friend Corinne heading off to a new city, I realize how frightening that would be to many people. But she has one HUGE advantage. Good forehand = new friends. If you can play tennis you are welcomed anywhere. Corinne has one of the prettiest tennis games amongst all my friends — truly classic strokes, excellent form and she’s the ONE person who actually gives ME good advice on the court. She doesn’t comment often but when she does, she’s right! She’ll be the Bell of the Ball in no time. (Get it? Bell of the Ball? Geesh, forget it!)

Anyway, I’ll miss my good friend, but believe you me she’ll be seeing a lot of me. I already checked out the Charleston triathlon club and they run a whole sprint series during the summer. In addition there is the Kiawah Island triathlon, The East Coooper Coastal triathlon and the New Wave triathlon — all in lil ole Charleston. Can you say Road Trip?!?!?!


This poem is dedicated to my friend Corinne, it’s a classic standard, for good reason!

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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9/28/05 Serenity (39)

Wednesday. Wisdom day. I heard Wynona Judd on Oprah yesterday talking about her weight struggle. So much of what she had to say described me to a “t.” She’s not as far along in her battle with weight as she had hoped to have been by this time (a year later) but she summed it up best when she said to Oprah “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m sure as hell not where I was.” I think that sums up my feelings right now too. I’m not where I thought I would be, but the amount I have learned about myself and am continuing to learn makes me realize that I have come a long, long way. For me, the being receptive to and confronting myself with my own truths have been the most meaningful changes. The weight will keep coming off as I learn to put myself first and stop the judgments.

This week (it’s only Wednesday) has not been a great week for weight loss, but I can still say I’m on plan. Even though I went over budget on Monday and Tuesday (ended up having french fries with my veggie burger last night and that put me over) I documented everything I ate and counted all the points. I can say this for sure — had I not written it down, it would have been worse. Yesterday, for example, I was very cautious all day knowing I had to go to our team function in the evening. Writing down the points forced me to make different choices during the day than I might have made otherwise. To me, that is being on plan.

At practice last night we had to do a 5 mile “race.” When we checked in we had to give them our time estimate to complete 5 miles. Our goal was to come as close to our estimate as possible. I estimated 59:22 as that had been my best result for 5 miles in a race so far this year. I came in 40 seconds slower at 1 hour 2 seconds. Bummer. But really I ran it as fast as I thought I could. Later, coach Michael said if I didn’t feel the burn in my lungs I did not run it as fast as I could. I laughed and said “I try to avoid that feeling of burning in my lungs.” I guess when you are racing that is max effort. I still feel good about the run last night because I felt I was even in my effort throughout the entire 5 miles. I did shorter, quicker strides on the uphills and lengthened my strides on the downhill and really tried to lengthen my stride on the flats.

After practice I asked coach Michael how to expand my lung capacity because that is what I feel holds me back. I just can’t get enough air in there. He said you can expand it a little by practicing pushing it harder. I’ll wait until after the marathon for that. Right now I just have to make it over the finish line on Nov. 6th. According to Coach Ramon — we cannot get any faster between now and marathon day. I feel unprepared to run a marathon. I want to run a bunch more 18 & 20 milers to get comfortable at that distance before I try to tackle 26. He says that’s too much. He says at this point the important part is to not get injured. I have severe reservations. I want to know I can run the 26 before I start, not find out during.

Sometimes you just have to place your trust in the process and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to trust Weight Watchers in believing if I just keep going to meetings, just keep trying, I’ll lose more weight. I’m going to trust in my coaches that if I do my 20 mile run this weekend, a 12 mile run next weekend, an 18 mile run the following weekend and then the San Fran 1/2 marathon on the 23rd that I will be as prepared as I can be for Nov. 6th. I think they don’t want me to do that second 18’er, but I have to see how this weekend goes. I will trust the process and if I don’t cross the finish line it will not be because I didn’t try!!


For some reason I think today the AA serenity prayer would come in handy:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

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9/27/05 Week 36 Check In — Facing Reality (40)

Forgot to report my weekly check in on Monday — my home scale confirms WW and I’m back to my 30.5 pound loss. Unfortunately, I’m afraid my heavy partying on Sunday and my hangover bingeing yesterday will probably wreck my chances of weight loss for this week, but I’m just going to hunker down for today, tomorrow and Thursday and hope for the best.

I ate a lot yesterday. I was picking at all the party leftovers and not even hungry. I think this is one of the worse side effects of drinking too much. The points for the alcohol I could handle — the extra food the alcohol made me eat I could not. I was too afraid to actually itemize the foods I was eating so I didn’t write them down. My hangover made me too lazy to be accountable.

This morning I woke up renewed and decided to face my fears. Know thy enemy. I sat down and itemized everything I put into my mouth yesterday. Yes, it was ugly. Yes, I used up all my points and then some. But, the good thing is, I didn’t sweep it under the rug. I counted it up and faced the consequences of my actions. I would like to say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but that would not be true — it was pretty bad. But there is a strange relief in knowing exactly how far over the edge I went. In a way it helped me back on track. Had I decided to just chuck the week because it was ruined anyway, the damage could have ultimately been even worse.

I consider this stepping up and being accountable a NSV (non-scale victory) in WW terms. It’s very similar to facing a financial debt problem — unless you tally up your whole financial picture and put a plan in place you’ll never get out of debt. The more you sweep under the rug — the more there is under the rug!! But if you sweep under the rug and then lift up the rug to see what’s under there — there is a chance to clean it up before the opportunity to more under there comes along.

Today my workouts start again full force. Tonight we have a five mile race with the marathon team — we have to give our time estimate before we start the race and then whoever comes closest to their estimate wins. I’m going to estimate 1 hour 1 minute, but I’m going to try my hardest to do it in 55 minutes — I’ll be happy to lose the race but do a faster time. Afterwards we have a team dinner. I’ll earn some activity points by doing the race but I will still have to be cautious.

Tomorrow I have Pilates to which I am going to add short 3 mile run. I want to add a little extra running to my weekly calendar because I don’t feel prepared for the marathon.

Thursday morning I have another a.m. workout with our coach. Last time we were video taped and learned some speed drills (which I haven’t been doing….) in the evening I have a party to go to which will be difficult because I don’t have any extra points left to party with. Guess it will be diet coke for me, unless I run a little extra in the morning.

Friday is day off and leading to the biggest run of my training on Saturday — 20 miles. Can I say I’m a little nervous about this? I’m more than a little nervous, I’m downright frightened. This is going to reveal a lot about where I am in my training. But, like my bingeing yesterday — I won’t know my real status until I face my fear and do the twenty. Only then can I assess how far I have come and how far I have to go.


“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”
Oprah Winfrey

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9/26/05 Happy Birthday (42)

Monday. Mindfulness. Okay, once the fog lifts from my cloudy brain — I’ll be mindful, right now I’m just trying to recuperate from my birthday hangover. Happy Birthday to me, wheeeeee….. Had people over here last night after the tri and we consumed wayyyy toooo muuuuuccchhhh wiiiiiinnnnee. But, fun time nonetheless — all my favorite people around me, great way to turn 46.

I started my day with a pilates session and that was a big accomplishment considering my hangover.

So the triathlon. Okay, it sucked, big time. I had that choking thing happen to me in the water and I never recovered. Bummer too, because I was flying through that water, I made the turn at 11:12 which means if I had finished by swimming I would have had a personal best in the water — could have been 20-25 minutes. As it happened I was choking couldn’t catch my breath, was coughing and had to do the back stroke for the remainder of the swim. I still finished in 30 minutes which is pretty hysterical (I don’t swim a 30 minute mile!). There was quite a current pulling us in and rumor has it the course was shortened due to heavy current further out. I had the opportunity to race a personal best with even the 30 minute swim but it didn’t happen.

Basically I never caught my breath. I was oxygen deprived for the whole race. I was coughing and hyperventilating the whole time. I felt no energy and I basically bonked on the bike and how I made it through the run (walking most of it) I’ll never know. I ended up finishing in a heartbreaking 4:01 — had I had not stopped to go the bathroom so at least it would have been 3:59!!! (Yeah, like a 3:59 would have made me happy.)

But, I say so what!!! Here are the things I learned yesterday.

1) I like the fact (although in retrospect it may have been stupid) that it never occurred to me to quit. Lying in bed this morning I thought to myself, “gee, you were really out of it and really hurting, why didn’t you just stop, put on your flip flops and cheer everybody else in?” It just didn’t occur to me. Quitting is not an option. I’m not sure that was really the smartest thing to do, but I appreciate the fortitude.

2) They can’t all be good races because then how do you know you’ve done something remarkable when they are all good? Next year, when I go back and blow through that course I will have something to be proud of. This year I created my Everest. Next year I will climb it. Don’t you worry Westchester Triathlon, I’ll be back!!

3) Races are a metaphor for life. You can prepare all you want but it is the unexpected that gets you every time. I spent all week resting and pampering my legs and they never even got a workout because I spent the whole time coughing and choking. Ironically, I never felt so much as a twinge in my legs. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for me and yet it turned out to be such a bad result.

4) You learn more through disappointing races than you do from successful ones. I can’t tell you what I learned at St. A’s this year because everything went so well. I learned a lot yesterday.

5) I have great, great friends and I am very, very blessed. When I got to that last hill I knew I couldn’t make it up. Stephanie was standing there in her flip flops and I said “you are going to have to run with me up that hill, I can’t do it.” And she did. God love her, I’m sure she was not expecting to have to do that. Afterwards my apartment was filled with people who are just so nice and so supportive I felt really blessed to have them all in my life.

6) It is still an achievement to finish. The marathon is probably going to be pretty ugly too, but crossing the finish line is crossing the finish line. As my coach Christine said “If it was easy, everybody would do it.” I still finished ahead of everyone who didn’t cross the start line. I still got another medal to hang on my doorknobs (and those are oh so important — just kidding.)

7) It is easy to handle success, strength is shown in handling disappointment. I took a big personal step yesterday. I worked very hard on not judging myself. I kept repeating to myself “observe, don’t judge.” Try to learn something from this debacle and keep going. The result is the result — it does not mean I did not work hard.

8) Bad races make better stories. Nobody remembers the average races. You remember the ones where you had a personal best (St. Anthony’s) and a personal worst (Westchester). Memphis, New York city fade to black. I’ll be boring people with my choking story for years to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll figure out the cause and it will help someone else down the road.

9) At any given time — there are different definitions of success. Sometimes success means running at your fastest pace ever because that is what your body is capable of doing. But sometimes you are only capable of walking. If your goal is to move forward and the only way you can do it is by walking — it’s still a success as long as you pushed yourself to your max.

10) And let’s not forget one of my favorite sayings “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I am secretly hoping that come marathon day I’ll be struggling and I’ll say “yeah, but it’s not as bad as that day in Westchester.” It will give me strength to know that I can still make it through even if I think I am not going to make it. There is always room for one more step. That’s the beauty of all of this — there is still room to grow.


Even Babe Ruth struck out a couple of times. The important part is that he got up to bat again. just me, nobody famous.

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9/24/05 For Michelle (44)

Today I dedicate my blog to my friend Michelle who is going to have a great day tomorrow celebrating life and survivorship.
Saturday. I feel strangely calm and in control. I had my weight watchers meeting yesterday and I lost the 4.5 pounds I put on last week so I’m happy about that. But I also know these are just numbers. The important part is the scale reflects that I have made an adjustment and I’m back on course. I was strangely calm during the week and went for long periods of time without being hungry. I was very aware that I was not waking up hungry — which for the last umpteen years is how I have always woken up. I usually wake up because my stomach is growling — I know, weird. I’m the only person I’ve ever heard say that. But for me it really is breaking a fast.

I’m not going to jump up and down and yell it’s acupuncture, it’s acupuncture, but I feel really different. I went for my second session yesterday and he worked on my right leg which started hurting as soon as I left his office on Monday. I joked with him that my right leg was jealous of the special treatment my left leg got. He worked almost 2 hours on me yesterday. I asked him to continue treating my appetite because I just have this gut feeling that it is working. I just feel different. Yesterday I ate breakfast at 6:30 (not 5 a.m. like I usually do). Then I ate again at 1:30. I was hungry by 1:30 but usually I would have eaten at least 3 times in between 6:30 and 1:30. I usually have a non-stop grazing going all morning until around 1:30. Yesterday I didn’t eat from 1:30 til 7 p.m. and I was fine. I couldn’t believe it. No dropping blood sugar no fatigue. Can I just say, “strange and unbelievable” one more time so I don’t have to keep using those two words over and over again?

As for my legs, I have my fingers crossed, my arms crossed and I would cross my legs too if I didn’t think it might cause them more harm than good. When I left his office yesterday my legs felt like running. I didn’t, but they felt like they could just let loose and go. So I’m hoping and praying that come Sunday they feel good and all of this week’s pampering has paid off.

I’m trying really hard to stay in the moment regarding Sunday. I keep finding myself thinking about my times — if my legs feel good I might be able to do this time or that time. What if my swim turns miraculously good? I realize this is destructive thinking. The idea that I can only be happy if I have a good result. I am deliberately avoiding thinking about what happens when I get out there and my legs don’t feel good? Will I throw my hands up in disgust? Will I start to cry? Will I pack it all in? Of course not….. (right?)

Then I think of my friend Michelle who will be competing in her first Olympic since going through chemotherapy. Wow, what must be going through her mind? I want to reach into her mind and say “don’t judge, just observe.” But before I convince her, I must observe myself.

I’ve been doing a lot of homework this week on my Buddhist studies and I’m realizing that I’m catching myself in a no-win trap. None of this exists anyway. It is useless to worry about what may or may not happen. Even if the best of my dreams come true or the worst of my nightmares come true — it’s fleeting, it is not a constant, it is over before it starts. The moment my knees give out that’s in the past. Sitting here at my desk worrying about my knees or my time is wasteful — my worry will not make it come true or not.

The things I want to say to Michelle really apply to me. “This is a momentous occasion. Not because we are here competing as athletes and there is a chance for us to fail, meet or exceed expectations. It is a momentous occasion because we are alive. Period. We are here celebrating life.”

So my goals for Sunday have changed. I want to run into the water on Sunday and yell “yee ha!” I want to splash and swim and stretch my arms out as long as I can and swim, swim, swim. I want to feel myself reaching out into eternity. It’s my favorite part of the event. The feeling of being one with the water. Then I want to run out of the water with a huge smile on my face and dig my feet into the sand and run up to transition. I want to feel every grain of sand and every blade of grass. I want this for Michelle too.

I want to hear my friends yell “go, go, go!” and laugh at the absurdity of it all. I want to jump onto Sylvia and take off feeling the wind drying the salt water from my skin — a little cool in the shade but then warming as the sun slowly stretches awake. Then I want to feel my core tight as a rock as I pedal full circles with my legs engaging — quads, calfs, hamstrings and gluts — pedalling faster and faster until I am like the breeze itself. My breath will be even but deep into my diaphram. I want to savor every breath and feel that I am alive. I want this for Michelle too.

Then when I come back to transition I want to smile as I hear the clop, clop, clop of my bike shoes on the ground which always makes me thing we sound like a bunch of horses. I’ll slip on my running shoes and they will feel like old friends. As I leave the transition and run up that grassy hill, I’m sure I’ll feel the heaviness of my legs but I’ll hear and see my friends cheering and I’ll see some coaches and I will know I’m with my sangha — my people — and this is where I am happy to be. I want this for Michelle too.

Finally I will be alone with my legs on the road. No matter I feel, I will feel it. I will embrace it. Freedom and pain equally will be welcomed because no matter what I feel I will be alive and in that moment. There is something to be observed in every moment. I want to feel alive. And this is what it is all about — celebrating life. I will celebrate my life and Michelle’s too.

Crossing the finish line is like icing on the cake. I’ve already had the experience — it will be hard even if it is not painful. I want to tackle that final incline that last year just beat me to a pulp, I will not back down. I will take that hill even if I have to crawl. That hill will remember me because I will be present and it will acknowledge me. I will represent! I hope Michelle will be there to cheer me in, if not, I will be there to cheer her in!!

The clock is just the clock. It matters not — it is simply a measure of time. It is not a measure of experience. It doesn’t matter if we are faster or slower than last year. Of course, great if we are. But if not, if the clock says 4:07 again, am I less of an athlete? I know I am not. Did I not try as hard? Of course I will have.

The clock and the scale have similar properties. They are guides not goals. At our meeting yesterday we talked about the scale and how important it is to not use that as a judge but more as a compass. When I gained 4 pounds last week it didn’t mean I was failure just as when I lost 4 this week it did not mean I was a success. It meant last week I was not on course and this week I was. I’m not going change something when one day that scale shows a magic number. I’m also not going to stop just because it gives me an answer I don’t like. I’m still going to use it to guide my course. If I was out to sea and I wanted to be going North and my compass told me I was going East, would I stop checking the compass, would I throw it overboard and say it is not necessary to check the compass? Of course not, I would adjust my course and keep going — checking my compass as needed. By the same token, once the compass says I am heading north, it does not mean I will stay heading north.

The clock is the same way. As I’m racing I will use it as a guide to indicate where I am and if I am on track. Once the race is over, it’s over, the time on the clock is not going to change. At some points in my life, the clock will show it took less time or more time — it doesn’t say, but she gave it her all or she was recovering from chemotherapy or it was her first run without pain. I may not like the answer it gives me (I want it to say North but it said East), but I have to take it as a reading — nothing more. There is no magic mirror that tells me I’m the fastest of them all. All it says is a number. And, the only magic is in how I choose to use the information.


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9/23/05 Before and After (45)

Friday. Feelings. OMG only 45 days to the marathon? Is that enough time left? I’m very nervous. I know it is going to be very hard, but I’ll get through it somehow.

I think this is very interesting having a taper week so close to marathon time. I’m sure it is unusual — most people don’t take off a week in the middle of training, but what the heck, I rarely walk down the conventional path. In some ways I think this might make me stronger. Giving my muscles a little break — a chance to repair and then come back at them with a full assault next Saturday when I attempt my big 20 mile run (Oh Lord, what have I gotten myself into?!?!)

Yesterday I had my body poked and prodded by 3 different people. First in the morning before work I had a massage by Leslie who is really good. She seems to find knots in spots I didn’t even know were there. I think she is going to be instrumental in a successful marathon. Then at Lunchtime I went to my physical therapist and she worked on straightening out my leg. I have one leg that won’t straighten all the way and my acupuncturist (who is also a physical therapist) said that I should be able to straighten it. Miracle upon miracle, my regular pt Cynthia got it straightened by doing something called sliding. She pushes down on the thigh bone (the femur) while pulling on the tibia. It took a half hour and she had to wrap a seat belt around her and pull (it didn’t hurt) but it worked. For the first time in years I can fully straighten my left leg — cool. I know, I can hear you all the way crosstown, “what? she couldn’t straighten her leg and it took her years to figure it out?” Seriously I asked everybody about it — nobody could fix it — they all just said that was the way it was. It took my Acupuncturist to say that’s nonsense. Who knows, maybe this will help me bend my knees more?

Finally my tennis pals and I went down to Aveda after work for facials. (We went to the institute where it is very cheap $45, but we had a great time). Then we went to Aquagrill where I spent all of my extra points (or close to it) on a fancy dinner out. Quite the luxury.

So I have declared this birthday week because of the unending pampering and reconfiguring I have been awarding my body. I can’t wait until Sunday to see if any of this has made an impact. I would call this week massage tapering.

Today I have Pilates with Erica — she promises it to be a stretching session. Then I have my WW meeting. I think I am down the weight they thought I gained last week, but with their crazy scales, who knows?! (Yes, it’s their scales, not me and I’m sticking to that story!)

So here’s a testimony to my bravery…. I submitted an essay to Weight Watchers in order to try to win a $5,000 shopping spree. The essay was not that interesting — they limited me to 150 words — Hah! My p.s.’s are more than 150 words!!! Anyway, to make it “creative” I included a before triathlon picture and an after triathlon picture of before and after I lost my 30 pounds. To demonstrate my bravery I will share them with you here. First picture is before and happens to be one year ago at Westchester Triathlon. Second picture is after losing almost 30 pounds at St. Anthony’s Triathlon in April.

You aren’t brave until you publish photos of yourself in triathlon clothes. No matter what your weight!!!


I was leafing through a magazine where there was a before-and-after picture of a woman who went from a size 5 to a size 3 by liposuction. Was she serious? I’ve cooked bigger turkeys than her “before” picture.
Erma Bombeck

God rest her soul she was funny.

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9/22/05 Taming the Marathon (46)

Thursday. Thanksgiving. I am most thankful for my health. I think I am getting stronger and fitter and I feel I am making movement toward a healthier me. I realize that I have a long way to go, but I am now just starting to see some improvement in myself.

What a luxurious taper week I have treated myself to for my birthday. Acupuncture, massage, pilates and physical therapy and no swimming, biking or running. True luxury! Wow, this must be how Oprah did it for sure!! I can’t wait to see how Sunday turns out. Will all of this stretching release the runner within or will it release muscle sprains that have been lurking on the sidelines? I’m worried that some of my muscle tightness is just hiding more latent injuries. But better to find out now than on November 6th!

My physical therapist had to pull out of the triathlon on Wednesday due to tear in her hip. Her doctor told her it was from too much running and not enough of a break. She asked me “how do you keep going without injury?” I laughed, what do you mean without injury? What do you call my knees? I think she thinks because I keep running I have no pain. Yes, sure, my pain is better than in the Spring but look at everything I had to do to get here — Doctors, orthotics, physical therapy, gym training and dieting. And, I STILL have knee pain. (BTW, those herbs I am taking for my arthritis are soooo disgusting. I hope they are worth it because they just gross!)

I’ll be upping my pilates work outs with Erica this week and next as Vanessa is out of town. I’m so shocked at how many different exercises there are to do on the reformer and the cadillac. I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now and we do different exercises all the time. I went yesterday and will go again on Friday and Monday. Pilates sneaks up on you. You think it looks easy because everything slides around but you need to use such isolated control to make the carriage stay still or move. It’s a real lesson in mind over body. Trying to find that focus and keep it is a real challenge. This seems to be a lesson being taught to me on many levels in my life right now.

Last night I went to my first class in Buddhist studies. Very interesting except I couldn’t stay keep my eyes open. Something was wrong with me yesterday and I kept trying to nap all day but couldn’t. I tried to work but couldn’t focus. I felt groggy and slightly under the weather. I think it might be some sinus or allergy thing. I went to class last night and had to keep my eyes shut through most of it. Although I could hear the teacher, opening my eyes hurt too much. I hope they all thought I was meditating! LOL!!

One of the books we are reading is called Taming The Mind and walking the Bodhisattva Path (by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche — see p.s. below). Our first step in Buddhist studies (besides learning 14 million Indian and Tibetan words) is to learn the practice of Shamatha or taming the mind. It’s the first step in learning to meditate. I won’t go into all the details here, but I find it interesting to observe how much my mind wanders and how little control I have over it. I find it similar to the first time I had to run around the reservoir and had to walk every other lamp post. I’m looking forward to learning to control my mind as I see it will help me in so many areas of my life — work, running, weight loss. Hey, if I find enlightenment on the way — extra bonus!! (I’m not sure I’m allowed to make enlightenment jokes, so let’s just keep that between us!)

Food has been going extremely well this week. I don’t know if it is the acupuncture (he tapped my “appetite” nerve as an added bonus on Monday) or if it is the low grade whatever I had yesterday, but yesterday afternoon for a period of 4 hours I wasn’t hungry!! Miracle!!! I actually found a moment’s relief from my constant thinking about food. Could this possibly be the start of a new phase of food contentment? Forget enlightenment, I just want to reach Weight Watchers Life Time Member Status. (Okay, okay, no more enlightenment jokes — pretty sure I’m going to get kicked out of the shedra!)

Although I didn’t spend the day thinking about food it sure showed up in my dreams last night. I dreamt I won a ten minute shopping spree at the grocery store. I could go through the grocery store and just throw anything I wanted into my cart. At the end of ten minutes I had to rush the cart to checkout and everything in the cart would be free!!! It was such a detailed dream. I went first to the deli where they had trays of stuffed shrimp. I took them all. Then I ran over the section where they had smoked salmon and threw that in there. Then I didn’t know what else to get so I started grabbing things for my family. I remember grabbing sausages thinking “oh someone will eat them.” I grabbed whatever I could throw in the cart. Every time I got to a section and the clerk wasn’t paying attention to me I would say “I won the ten minute shopping spree!” and they would stop what they were doing and help me. At the end I raced to the checkout stand and the clerks were all excited to check me out. I remember a couple of things. I remember I was alone in the store — I had no friends or family around me and I felt bad that I didn’t have time to let anyone know about my good fortune in case there was something they wanted. The other thing I remember is at the end when I started pulling everything out of the cart I found a frozen turkey. I thought, oh how fortunate, I didn’t even know I put it in there. We can use it for Thanksgiving.

That’s it. Nothing more. Strange food dream. But my motto is better to dream about it than eat it!!!


p.s. Get this!! Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche — spiritual leader with a long sacred lineage is….. a Marathon Runner!!! Yep, in Sept. 2004 he finished his 3rd marathon in the Edmunton Marathon. In April of 2005 he did the Boston marathon in 3 hours 10 minutes and 55 seconds. Now, THAT is my kind of spiritual leader!!! (okay, okay, last enlightenment joke, I promise!)

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