Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Gentle Realignment (and racing updates)

I asked for help and boy did I get it.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me, to the 30+ people who commented on my post, to the emails and messages I got on FB, and the text messages friends - thank you so much.  As the support poured in, I felt buoyed and walked through my day feeling lighter.  I forget sometimes, or didn't even realize in some ways, how many people read my blog.  It's like the human condition sometimes drives us to shame and self-loathing, which perpetuates the negativity, but once we shine a light on our pain, once we share it with another human being, that alone helps it to start dissipating.  And then, to be reminded that I'm not alone, that I'm not crazy, that I'm stronger than I am remembering at this moment, the I feel your pain, the understanding and compassion, the tips and links and welcomes - it really does help.  And I think it broke me out of the worst of my funk.  I wasn't able to do it on my own, but with support, I could.  I wish I had time to respond to each and every comment but it's late.  Just know if you told me to visit a website, I did. And I reflected on every tip, every suggestion and all the feedback and ideas.  I accepted all the virtual hugs and just basked in the support.  Thank you.

That's not to say I'm flying high with motivation, that hasn't happened yet, though I know it will sooner or later, it always comes - and then goes, and then comes again....  If you're a regular reader here you know I've been through these slumps before.  But this was different, this was the first one in maintenance that really had me scared.  I'm feeling less scared now.  Still not sure what the future holds, not feeling clear and certain that I'll get back to where I was, but not so afraid that all is lost and I'm a quick path to total relapse.

My food is still kind of eh.  I'm making improvements. No more random candy bar/chips/junk purchases.  Now it's just the food that makes its way into my orbit through happenstance - the ice cream cake in the lunch room, the pot luck goodies at the kids' preschool graduation, the pistachios Miguel brought home from work.  And then there's the more clear choice to indulge, like after a movie last night I decided to stop at a restaurant that has my all time favorite dessert.  I was in San Francisco (which doesn't happen all that often anymore) with no limit on my time (which also doesn't happen all that much anymore but is happening more now that I'm carving out some time for myself).  I stopped at Chow in the Castro and had their Ginger Cake with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.  omg, it is SO good.  And funny, I didn't feel all those negative feelings.

Ginger Cake (pictured here without the yummy ice cream)
The difference?  It was a conscious choice I made to indulge.  It wasn't something that I did reluctantly, wishing I wasn't doing it.  I'm not saying it was a great choice in light of the few pounds I've gained and how I've been feeling about the food I'm putting in my body, but it was still my choice and I felt fine about it.  [random aside: I was just googling the cake to see if I could find a picture to share with you, when I found an entire article about it - I told you it was good - including a friggin' recipe!  I might have a problem here people.]

Anyway, my point is about how our mindset, motivations, expectations, judgments, etc all work together to manufacture how we react to and feel about things.  My eating has been out of control not so much because of what I ate (though admittedly this is part of it) but about why and how I ate.  And because of that, my feelings about it are not good.  I remember on Monday when I was buying and eating the candy thinking, "Michelle, you know this does no good, when the candy is gone, you are only left with bad feelings, you don't truly want this."  Obviously that did not change my behavior in that moment but it contributed to my writing my last post, which was the step I needed to take to shine a light on my self-inflicted suffering so that I can begin to let it go.

I didn't mention in my last post that I'd returned to the gym on Tuesday for my first post-half-marathon workout.  I decided this whole week is going to be a recovery week given that between being sick two weekends ago and tapering for the half-marathon I had not been to the gym in exactly two weeks.  Which, light bulb!, might have contributed to my meltdown.  Ya think?  Aaaanyway, I went back on Tuesday and started with spin class.  I could only stay for about 30 minutes but it felt good to rock out with my fellow gym rats.  Then I did back/biceps/core, doing less sets than normal overall.  My back has been hurting less - though I still need to get to physical therapy - probably mainly because of the lack of exercise.

I took Wednesday off from the gym as I normally do, resisting the urge to try and squeeze in a workout to "make up" for Monday's day off.  I took the kids to storytime at the library, meeting up with some mom friends, and then we had a lovely picnic in the park afterward.  In the evening, as I mentioned, I went into the city for dinner (roasted chicken, potatoes, black beans, soup at Regalito Rosticeria) and a movie, a documentary as part of SF DocFest.   Oh and dessert, which you already know all about.

I hit the gym today, starting with a treadmill run.  I increased my speed from 6.4 with 7.4 intervals to 6.5 with 7.5 intervals.  I don't know why, it just felt like a good time to step it up.  I know, this is recovery week, so I decided while I was running to do 2 miles instead of 3.  I hit two miles in a bit under 18 minutes and decided to run for an even 20 minutes, so in the end I ran 2.25 miles.  Always pushing the envelope, but it's my own envelope so it's mostly ok.  After the treadmill I did chest/triceps/core.  Pushups were almost impossible with the deep scrape on my palm, but I figured out if I did them on dumbbells they were manageable.  Again, I did fewer sets on most of my stuff.

I left the gym and quickly headed to my kids' preschool for their end of the year party.  It was a potluck and there were all sorts of yummy foods.  I had a bit of this and that, and went a little crazy with the sweets, but I'm feeling ok about my choices.  Not thrilled, but ok.  I am gently nudging myself back to my routine, which is always what works best for me.  There's a time and a place for strict eating but now is not it.  I find I react better to a loving, gentle realignment of my true goals and desires with my behaviors.  Ohhh, realignment - I like that word.  Like getting your tires realigned - no judgment, just adjustment. 

So, there you have it.  A weight lifted, a HUGE thank you, and some gentle realigning.  Now...for some race-related news...

1.  The time-keepers at the See Jane Run half-marathon made adjustments to our official time for the drawbridge delay.

2:09:45 for a 9:55 pace - YES!!
2.  I did not get selected in the Escape from Alcatraz lottery for 2014.  So I'll be volunteering next year and trying for 2015.  But my lottery days are alive because I just threw my hat in the ring with the Marin Tri Club to run in the Nike Women's Half-Marathon here in San Francisco on October 20th.  

3.  I decided not to do a full marathon this year.  It's just too close to the Santa Cruz olympic distance triathlon I'm doing in late September.  I've been wanting to do a longer distance triathlon since before Marek was born and this is my year.  At least I hope it is.  I was hoping to go cheer my runner friends on but the Nike is on the same day so if I get in, I can't.  But if I don't, I will.  And I'm also out for the Tri for Fun in June.  The friend I was doing it with had to drop out and we have since decided to do something else this weekend.  I'll probably do the August one as a prep for the Santa Cruz. 

4.  Santa Cruz....there's a TriMore Fitness informational meeting for their 12 week training leading up to the event.  It's in early July and their program starts in late July.  I'm definitely going to the info meeting and we'll see if I feel like I can handle the 3x a week group workouts. 

5.  I signed up for our local 4th of July fun run, the Firecracker 4 Mile. I got a discount on the entry fee and it was just too good to turn down.  You might remember my grumbling about this race last year because of the hills.  WTH, who puts hills in a fun run?  Still, I ran my first ever sub 10:00 minute miles.  Let's hope I can match that this year.  And I guess I can't grumble about the hills, this year I know what I'm getting into.

That's all I can think of for now.  I've already started adding a few ideas for 2014 - The Wild Boar run, the Dipsea (if I can get in), and possibly a half-ironman (if the olympic goes well enough).  Knock on wood that I stay healthy enough to keep up with all these crazy-fun ideas!

ps - I'm hungry right now and I'm going to eat what I used to eat when I was hungry at night, a string cheese, instead of what I've been eating lately, dinner rolls.  Healthy choices = good feelings = improved confidence = healthy choices.


  1. Michelle, Good for you. Glad your train is moving in the right direction. I can tell you feel like a weight is lifted. Keep up the awesome work!

  2. So glad you are feeling uplifted - you uplift us and it's nice to give back!!

  3. Michelle, I'm a relatively new reader (I learned about you from your Half Size Me interview) and I wanted to express how sorry I was to hear about your struggles. I want you to know I find your blog to be one of the best maintenance blogs I read (if not THE best). I not only find ur success inspiratational but just your honesty and realness to be just as uplifting.

  4. I haven't checked in on you in awhile, I'm terrible about keeping up with anything, even though I have you linked to my blog. :) I probably hadn't been here in a year. You've done SO WELL! I'm really proud of your progress. I'm about to leave the 190s and I love seeing your weekly weigh ins there, it gives me hope. My goal is 165 and seeing you meet your goal, exceed it, and still be doing well has energized me tonight. Thank you for that! Keep on keeping on sister. We're in this for the long haul; even in maintenance we are who we are inside and while we can be better, healthier versions of that, we aren't immune to our humanity. Take care.

  5. Good for you going for all these new experiences! I hope you get into the Nike race…that sounds awesome. I’m jealous of your tri feats as currently I can only just barely swim 200 meters. That’s not even enough to do a sprint distance. I’m hoping to try for a tri next summer…have to work on my swimming, tho. I like the use of alignment in regards to your efforts in controlling your eating. I may have to steal that. Teehee. Anyway, I wish you luck in getting selected for the Dipsea…I think you’ll really enjoy that if you make it in! OH! And great placement in your AG!!


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