Square One. …okay maybe Two or Three

I have not been taking Weight Watchers seriously for quite a while. If WW was a church, it would be safe to say that I’ve back-slidden and forgotten the hymns.

I’m not going to tell you how much weight I’ve gained because it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that my new clothes from Title 9 that I was soooo excited about just barely fit now. My activity level is down, even while training for the Marine Corps marathon.

How can I train for a marathon and still gain weight? By following this easy plan:
1) eat whatever I want while thinking: “I’ll run it off.”
2) don’t track food or activity
3) fail to remember that running 3 miles is only worth 5 points and a second helping of speghetti is worth 13.

Weight loss is achieved by creating a calorie deficit. Even if I ran 10 miles and thus earned 14 points, consuming 42 points (two cookies, some chocolate milk, a hamburger, Grandma’s cake…) will earn me a weight gain. Even I can figure that out.

I’m disappointed in myself, however, I have determined to get my mojo back. I will return to my routine: a meeting every Friday, tracking and measuring, accruing Activity Points every day, drinking water like a fiend, blogging and recording goals… I know the system works; I just have to work the system.

With vacation behind me, FRG duties coming to a head, and school starting soon, I am quickly eliminating my excuse file.

So be prepared. Friday morning I will attend my first meeting in months and the scale will make me cry and I’ll vent again. …but that just means that I have a loss to look forward to next week.

Cheers, all! Here’s to getting my groove back.

Bataan 26.2

this is a long post…settle in

I completed the Bataan Memorial Death March in the Civilian Light category of the full march (there was an “honorary” course which was only 14 miles). It was the hardest thing I have ever done, mentally and physically.

Let me be clear: there are others who completed this course faster than me, with more weight on their backs, and with less pain. I salute those folks. I hope they don’t judge me, but I really don’t care if they do. All marathons are personal.

My intent was to participate in the Heavy division, but the folks at the airport didn’t like what I had in my pack. Since I’d only had 3 hours of sleep, it never occurred to me to take out the prohibited items. I just took the bag back to the car and chalked it up to “everything happens for a reason”.

The morning of the march, I ended up starting out with 25 pounds:
100 oz of water, 1 liter of coconut water, Gu’s, Sport Beans, Shot Blox, almond butter with honey, 8 pairs of socks, mole skin and blister pads, baby wipes, sunscreen, a small camera, and a change of undies. (in a Camelback pack) What I forgot: sunglasses. It was 0530 and I’d had less than 4 hours of sleep…totally spaced my shades when I got to the parking lot on post.

Clothes:
Wicking hat, sports bra, unit PT shirt, undies, compression shorts, running skirt, watch, pearl earrings, 2 pairs of socks, shoes, and gaiters. My rings were left in my car. …along with my sunglasses. :P

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For breakfast I ate half a banana, some almond butter with honey, and coconut water. This is a significant change from what I usually eat on race mornings: coffee, oatmeal, and water. I haven’t had coffee for…a month? now, and I really think this helped my gut a great deal.

During the opening ceremonies, the National Anthem was sung by the local high school choir and then original Bataan Death March survivors were introduced, Army HALO jumpers gave a little demonstration, and then …then they did Roll Call. The survivors present answered loudly, “Here!” and then they called the names of the survivors who’ve passed away since last year. The silence was deafening. And they played “Taps”. And they fired artillery (which boomed and echoed off the mountains in a cacophony which rattled my bones). And I cried. And then we started the march to the thudding strains of the song which, I’m sure, is a requirement for every race ever run: “Eye of the Tiger”. Only it took forever to get everyone started, so after “Eye of the Tiger”, we also heard “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, and “Trouble”.

The pace was relaxed and just before we crossed the starting mat, the survivors shook our hands and told us, “Thank you.” I jogged/walked the first two miles to warm up a bit, (pavement) then ran until mile 7 (all dirt/gravel/sand). This was a huge mistake. Had I known what hell was waiting ahead, I’d have strolled as if I were at the park. At mile 7 I used the porta johns and had a snack of a banana, an orange slice, and coconut water. The uphill climb began then.

And it didn’t stop until mile 12. From mile 8 to mile 12 was pavement.

At mile 11, my nose began to bleed, either from the altitude, the sand, or both. At mile 12, I changed my socks, ate some more, and stretched a bit. It was back to sand/gravel at that point. After mile 14, MWR was selling hamburgers, chips, hotdogs, and sodas. I bought a burger and chips, but couldn’t eat 1/3 of either one. My bottom lip had cracked open. Blood from my lip and nose dripped onto my food and I took that as I sign that I should just get up and move. The terrain was morally hateful: the inclines were steep and many. Just when I thought I was finished going up, I’d round a turn and find another 50 yards to go up. At mile 15.5, I stopped at an aid station and found this:

the medics were thrilled. They took their sweet time (about 30 minutes) draining this and other blisters and bandaged me up. It turns out, they took their time because they thought I was quitting. When I declined a ride in the sag wagon, they looked surprised, but wished me luck. At mile 17, I saw a grown man sitting on the side of the road crying. At mile 18.5 the pavement finally began again. At mile 19, it was my turn to sit on the side of the road and cry.

I had only 7 miles to go, but this was my Wall. My brain was screaming at me to stop. My feet and legs couldn’t scream because they had died back at mile 16. My back ached, my face hurt…I wanted to quit. …and then I saw a soldier carrying a heavy pack stumbling along, weaving all over the road like he was drunk. I hopped up to him and asked if he was okay, if he wanted me to walk with him to the next aid station. He said he was okay, but company would be nice.

So we hobbled along together to mile 20.5. He told me about his dog, his new girlfriend, his recent deployment to Afghanistan. He told me about his politics, his mom, and his finances.

When we got to the aid station, he met up with his group and said, “Thanks. I’ll see you at the finish line.”

I got my feet patched up again (the medic here was new and he took a solid 45 minutes to patch me up.)  and realized that I had less than a 10k left to go. I could not quit. I told myself that I had given birth to three children without drugs, surely I could go 6 puny miles.

At mile 21, “The Sand Pit” began. Loose, shifty sand that betrayed my feet…uphill, downhill, around corners…it was exhausting. At mile 22 I called Toy and cried again. She and her Jim talked me through to mile 23, giving my a pep talk and much needed love. At mile 24, I passed a dude puking. At mile 25, I saw people cut the course and I wanted to kill them. I ran from mile 25 to the finish line in the dark.

I crossed the finish line 5 minutes before 8pm. The photographers were all gone and only the dedicated volunteers remained. As I crossed the mat (and heard the glorious “beeeeeep!” from my chip), a volunteer looked me in the eye and said, “Congratulations. You survived. That’s all that counts.”

I cried. I found a chair, put my filthy hands over my face, and I wept with every ounce of anything I had left. My brain played a broken record of, “I did it. Jim will be so proud. I did it. Jim will be so proud.” I wept from pain, from pride, and from the realization that as bad as this was for me, the original marchers had it infinitely worse.

There are no finisher’s medals for this march. I stopped taking pictures after mile 19 because I was trying to not fall/puke/die. I think the only evidence of my completion is the finisher’s time posted on the event website. (feel free to look me up…I’m almost at the bottom of the females’ civilian light section. They don’t have my age for some reason, but you can see my finisher’s time. No DNF for me!) I plan on taking my t-shift to a tailor and having it altered so that I can wear it out and about without feeling frumpy.

I made Toy and her Jim promise to never let me sign up for this race again. Now, though, a week later, the soreness is gone completely, the blisters have healed, and all that remains is the pride. …the memories of the folks I met on the course, the mountains, the sunshine, the flowers. …and really, all I had was 25 pounds. What’s ten more pounds, right? ;)

…I think I’ll go for a little run tonight.

4 days to Bataan

Four days to this:

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…aaaaaaand this:

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…which is also this:

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And afterward, I’ll be this:

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(this isn’t my photo, I found it on Pinterest…)

So, right now, I’m all:

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…and then maybe my hubby and I can go dancing:

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And then he’ll

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… 4 days… So many hours…not enough…too many…

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Paper Zombies & Cute Shoes

I finally went to the range this week. I don’t even remember the last time I got to kill paper, but I made up for lost time by throwing 250 rounds down range.

Target #1:

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I got her phone, too. :)

Target #2

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It was at this point that my shots began to drift to low/right. I also began to do that anticipatory jerk thing that tends to plague me after about 100 rounds. To test this, I asked the dude in the lane next to me to load my magazine with anywhere from three to seven rounds, but not to tell me how many. Sure enough, after 4 shots, my wrists anticipated a recoil which never came and I jerked. After some breathing exercises and some dry firing, I tried again. This time the dude loaded 3 and on the 4th trigger pull, I was smooth again. (thank you, Jim Lane, for teaching me this exercise!)

This is target #3:

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The 1st two shots were right where they needed to be: one in the forehead, the other in the mouth. The rest of the shots were for fun, some off-hand.

I also got some new heels on my range day:

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I can’t normally wear heels for very long because my sesmoids start screaming at me after about 15 minutes, but a thought occurred to me: if I can train myself to run 26.2 miles, surely I can train myself to wear cute shoes. So, to this end, after Bataan next week, I will wear heels every day for ten minutes or so, adding 5 minutes each day. I will continue my stretching and strengthening exercises and rolling my feet around on a golf ball to ease the discomfort. …seriously, I can make it through natural child birth, marathon running, and Angry Beavers episodes, I should be able to wear heels.

….that’s the plan, anyway.

Now begins the count down to Bataan. I’m hydrating, thinking about packing, and stretching. Only shake-out runs from here on out to calm my nerves. No weird foods, no chocolate.

Thinking caaaaaaaalm thoughts.

No I’m not. I’m freaking the heck out, is what I’m doing. I’ve got butterflies the size of Mothra in my gut every time I think “Bataan”. See?! There they go again. Maaaaaarathoooooon. Bataaaaaaaaan. Twenty six point tooooooo.

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I’m gonna go stare at my blisters some more.

Team Fisher House

Howdy, there! As you know, after much agonizing and belly aching I’ve signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. I’ve also signed up to be a charity partner with Team Fisher House. (and for those of you marathon “purists” out there: I secured my race bib first and then signed up for Team Fisher House.)

Please find this link to my fundraising page. For those of you who have a blog of your own, I’d sure appreciate a shout-out or a spot in your widgets! Thanks! (not to lay the guilt on too thick or anything, but today is my birthday and you could totally give me an awesome gift my donating on my page…)

here’s the whole link to make it easier to copy and paste: http://www.active.com/donate/FisherHouse2012MCM/AWinste2

Bataan is just a couple of weeks away…yikes! and also squeeeeeeee! and then dooooooooood! but mostly squeeeeeeeeee!!!

Track: You’re Doing It Wrong

Okay, so you remember how much I love the track, right? Well, while at the track this morning, the top of my head nearly came off.

Pardon me, while I rant this out.

It was 97 degrees at 9am. On the track was my oldest son, me, a few older women walking the outside lanes, and a Super Jock doing 100’s on the inside lane.
Enter: Pains in My Ass. (four teenage girls)

The girls are walking in a row, a la Reservoir Dogs, iPods blaring, in the inside lanes.
Oh. Em. Gee.

I will discuss religion with you. I will chat about our differences in political views with a smile. I will even ponder veganism. I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever get over people walking incorrectly on the track.  Never. Ever.

So.  The Super Jock comes from the back side of the track at what is probably a 65/400 pace (to be read “hauling serious ass”), and here come the girls.

Giggling. Chatting.  Wearing shorts that were panties in a former life. On the inside lanes.  Right where Super Jock is headed.  And he has the right of way.  And they aren’t moving.  And this is where I…

a) watched in horror as the Super Jock left foot prints on the backs of the girls

b) watched in horror as the Super Jock had to break his stride and go around the girls

c) politely reminded the girls of track etiquette

d) none of the above.

Answer: d.

What I did: waved at the girls, gaining their fickle attention, and used my Wish I Was a Drill Instructor Voice to tell them to get out of the way because WALKERS USE THE OUTSIDE LANES AND THEY BETTER MOVE BEFORE THEY GET SOMEONE HURT.

They moved.  The Super Jock whooshed past, nodding in my direction (I think…he was pretty blurry).  The girls called me a bad name.  I informed them that they could call me whatever they liked, but the fact remained that the Rules of The Track are simple and finite and they’d best learn them.

…and then I said something that made me sound so frickin’ old…

“This isn’t the mall, sweetheart.  People come to the track to work.”

Again: Oh. Em. Gee.

Anyway, ….there it is.  My morning at the track.  And as the girls walked away, still mumbling and giggling and calling me names, and the Super Jock took his marbles and went home, and the older ladies kept walking in the outside lanes (because they’d obviously taken the time to respect the track), I played tag with my son. On the infield. And then taught him about Track Etiquette and stupid girls who willfully break the rules.

And then my son rolled his eyes at me.  …I can’t say that I blame him.

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When you’ve finished rolling your eyes at me, please don’t forget to enter my “Hip Girl’s” giveaway! …I promise not to yell at you in Gunnery Sergeant Hartman manner…unless you like that sort of thing. In which case, “TAKE YOUR TIME, SWEETHEART.”

Fartlek is Funny, I Don’t Care Who You Are

Fartlek: means “fast play”; to run with joy for no other reason that to enjoy one’s own motion. However…fartlek, a term which here means: to snigger like a 2nd grader because one just said fart.

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I love tracks. All tracks. They make me feel fast, even though I’m joyously and ridiculously plodding. I’m a “clydesdale”, you see, which means I’m a fatty-boom-batty who runs and therefore deserves a special class. Its fitting, really, because of that one pilates instructor I had. “Mrs. W, you have the ass of a clydesdale. Do try to control where you put it.”

That guy irked me.

Anyway, for no other reason than I need to post something today, here is a list of some of my favorite tracks:

1) Republic High (now middle) School, Republic, Missouri. The first track I remember. It was cinder, left orange stains on my shoes and shins, and crunched deliciously underfoot. Shawn Berry was the track star back then and he lapped me like NAASCAR. The football players would sometimes be out there. Football players = The Meyers Twins. ***sigh*** yeah…that was a great track…

2) KO Knudson, Las Vegas, Nevada. I took Early Bird PE so that I could take an extra science class (because I rock nerd-dom all over the place like that) and we started out on the track every. stinking. morning. Even when we were just going to learn ping pong or square dancing.  It was a winding track that went through a park and was the first “squishy” track I remember. I felt like I was running on clouds. …or pencil erasers. It was gray and always wet with the dew of the desert at 6:20am.  I was on that track when the chlorine factory in Henderson exploded and also when we got the aftershocks of an earthquake in California.

3) Kickapoo High School, Springfield, Missouri. My boyfriend (now husband) ran with me there, then, late one night after we’d played in the sprinklers, he asked me to marry him.

4)Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There’s a huge oval track that lies in front of “Old BAMC”. At night, that track is peaceful, dark, lit only from ambient lights from the street and officer housing. It wasn’t squishy when we first got there, but rather black asphalt that had treacherous potholes and bumps. In the heat of the day, that track smelled like “Texas!-fresh, black oil.” I trained for my first half-marathon there.  I was regularly lapped by Wounded Warriors testing out their prosthetic legs…they were all like glittering, sweating gladiators.  I cheered for them as they passed me.  stomp-click-stomp-click-stomp-click

5) Hedrick Stadium, Fort Bragg, NC. This was the finish line for my first long race, the one that made me think about a full 26.2, the Army Birthday 10-miler. I was dead last and got an IV when I finished…but I finished and my husband and kids were there to cheer me on.

6)Dough Boy Stadium, Fort Benning, Georgia. Dough Boy Stadium is…old. It evokes That Old Timey Feeling of The Great War, perfectly curled hair, and hot peanuts. I ran on that track after my third child was born; its where I trained for two more half-marathons and taught my kids about Prefontaine and Kara Goucher. My husband held our new-born son while I did 4×100’s.

A track is a lot like church: they are pretty much the same wherever I go, always welcoming, and always surprise me with their size and beauty. They are an oval friend who embraces my failings, celebrates my successes, and never judges. The track is just glad I showed up.

Don’t forget to enter my “Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking” giveaway!