Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby steps, Hollie. Baby steps.

I've been beaten down, battered, bruised, broken, exhausted, convinced I was dying and yet I've never just given up before. I've always pushed myself through things. I've made choices that considered others over me. I've stayed at jobs far longer than I should have. I've kept people in my life that don't really deserve my friendship. It's mostly because I don't give up.
Most people love that tenacity. I mean it’s a blessing and a curse.
Last night I set out with my friend in tow to her fitness center in her housing complex. I wasn’t feeling great but I figured I would see how I could do. After thirty-two minutes I gave up. I was losing my breath, my head was pounding more than I wanted, and the last straw was the moment when I felt the urge to faint.
I wasn’t pushing too hard, I was running regular, and it wasn’t an extraordinary amount of time that I had run. Yet there was a reason why I had to quit.
It was funny because yesterday I got my yearly reminder to fill out my survey as part of the Intracranial Hypertension Registry.  When I say funny, I mean a bitter reminder.  I had gone a full year without any relapse. Tuesday I had my first battle in over a year.
In October of 2008 I came back from a conference in Cleveland for work. I knew something was different. I had a numb leg and terrible headaches. I couldn’t concentrate of reading a computer screen or reading any books for school. I thought maybe it’s my eye sight and got an eye doctor appointment. One picture of the back of my retinas and I was off to a Neuro-Opthamologist and a Neurologist.  It was confirmed that I had some papilledema which indicated swelling of the brain. Well a whole mess of MRI, CT Scans, and Spinal Taps confirmed that I had nothing wrong with me. Yet the pain had gotten worse. It was no longer a 5 on the pain scale occurring every other day; it was an 8 or 9, occurring daily for hours – with small episodes that were like shocks stopping my entire system.  
I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension – which means swelling of the brain, for no apparent reason, with no underlying cause. It was known to be prevalent in young obese women. By August of 2008 I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.  I was on major seizuremedicine and Botox for pain management.  My life had drastically changed. I decided to fight back, get a personal trainer, and take on weight, pain, and life all at the same time.
I did really well with it. I lost weight. I managed my medicine. I had my own apartment. I met someone who took care of me when I was riddled with pain. I did really well with all of that. But my pain wasn’t going away with the use of all this medicine. I also knew I was going to leave my job and its associated health benefits.  I weaned myself off of the medicine, I started going to an acupuncturist, and I put in my notice at work and found a part time job on a cupcake bus that I loved. 
Then there was the accident. I was injured and forced to rest for three months. Then I was jobless for six months more.
I’ve been at my new job for about forty-five days.  If you are my friend on facebook or twitter you’ve seen small posts about my frustration.  So job was/is causing stress due to wanting to work but not having any major projects. There was a girl, who is the coolest, and I got my hopes up – so there was change within two weeks of friends, going on dates, back to friends.  Then a work conference where my panic attacks came back, then a game night where I talked about my past and wondered when the hell I gave up and took the easy route of being back in the Capital District when I fought so hard to leave.  All of those things piled into one with no real release for me because at times I refuse to cry; well you can say I was stressed out.
My body noticed.
Tuesday I was at home and I had an occurrence. A shock riddled through my head, causing everything to stop. No one was home and I was alone when it happened. It's terrifying. I try to hide it as best as I can. Some of my close friends have seen this happen. Once it happens it makes me nervous.
I knew it could affect how I felt when I was running.  When I ran, I could feel every vein pumping in my head. I could hear every throb in my ears and when I cooled down to walk I could still hear it all. Then it felt like I would faint and I gave up.
I posted to my facebook that last night was the first night I ever gave up. Instantly my soulfriend posted that it’s happens to everyone and to take note and then move forward. I love her for that. I love her for much more but for that last night it was good to know she was there.
So I’m nervous and I am taking it slow and I am looking for ways to not be stressed at my work situation. I am reaching out to more people about my life and my feelings. I am asking friends to support me so I don’t go back to negative outlets and the girl I have a crush on, well I am pretty sure that she’s one of the healthiest people to enter my life in awhile, so I dig having her around in the friend capacity.
I’m going to try week 4 day 3 again on Friday and i'm trying to manage the pain. Baby steps, Hollie. Baby steps.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So fresh and so clean

When I look back at pictures from last year or two, I cringe. It is crazy to me how much my body has changed. Yes, I have dropped a considerable amount of weight and currently I rest at a plateau of 247 that I have not been able to break. I’m ok with not stepping on the scale to test my current weight because I feel better than I did before. I recover in under a minute from hard exercise and I can push my heart rate up into successful zones.
All of these things are good to me.
What I am excited about is clothes.  Although I am a dapper dan, I am kind of the girliest of girl in regards to fashion, shoes, etc.  There is a huge part of my persona that is dress good to feel good and most of it came about during a trip to Minnesota and being around a very put together friend.  
At times it was hard to put together outfits that I enjoyed at the weight and size that I was. There were so many things that I wanted to wear but just couldn’t. As I lost weight I was able to wear items that I had bought with the ability to “leave a jacket open” that I could finally close and button the jacket. It’s a bit accomplishment when you are able to have those moments.
All of my dress clothes that I wear for work are over two years old. This means they are all fairly big on me. I’ve worked at buying shirts that fit my shoulders and show off the slimmer me. Yet I’ve not bought any pants, so I end up wearing pants that are hanging off my hips or that had buttons on them to trim the waist.  I had seen a pair of pants that I liked on sale online and I bought them in a smaller size than what I currently wear (they are actually 2 sizes smaller). I figured that I would just hang onto them until I lost enough weight to fit in them. Through my mom’s encouragement when they arrived I tried them on.
They fit. No sucking in the gut. No wearing slimming undergarments. They just fit.
So I’ve got just a little bit to go before I am able to finally & comfortably fit into the “dream outfit” I had picked out when I first starting losing weight and getting into shape. Then I’ll have to pick a new one. 
"Ain't nobody dope as me I'm dressed so fresh so clean
Don't you think I'm so sexy I'm dressed so fresh so clean
Ain't nobody dope as me I'm dressed so fresh so clean
I love when you stare at me I'm dressed so fresh so clean"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Long Haul

I think why I run, is to remind myself of how good I am.
I know, this sounds cocky. What I mean by it is, running is hard and at times painful but somehow I find the way to fight through it.
I hopped on the treadmill last night after a very long day of over thinking. I set the playlist and started the warm up. I was thrilled with only fifty-two minutes compared to Saturday’s Sixty-three minutes. I tested out some new stretches before starting and had found the most fantastic compression short that helps with the chafing issue. I rocked my blue headband, blasted a whole lot more Ke$ha than one should really ever own, and I started my work out.
The way the treadmill is set up in the back room allows you to look out of the window a bit. I try not to look down at the timer while I’m running inside because outside I never get to see how much time is left; I just trust the announcement that is made through my headphones.
Each work out runs the same way, five minute warm up then right into running for my allotted time, into walking/recovery, back into running again. The application counts down how many times it repeats and I can see a 4 out of 8 right underneath walk or run. So I know how many repeats I have left. The first two times of running are fine, the next two I’m often trying something new with form or speed, then the 4-6 repeats are the toughest. The ones where my asthma is very close to kicking in, where my shin decides to become tight, where my stomach decides to revolt from the stress of the day, or where my shoulder gets really annoyed at the movement.  In other words, it gets really difficult.
I often have this dead gaze while I’m running. Any member of my varsity volleyball team could describe the look. They also could describe the anger grunts that would follow my serve. These things come out while working on a hard part of my run. The grunts come out, the dead gaze is staring at the colorform’s craft decals my mother decorates windows with.  Often a squirrel is shouted at in my head.  At least once I tell myself to quit and get off the treadmill. It is always at least once.
Last night fighting through all the thoughts in my head throughout the whole day, while being on the treadmill having your legs feel exhausted because you are pushing yourself. Well, it reminded me that I can do the long haul, that I’ve always been able to do the long haul. A few of my friends reminded me of that last night through some great emails.
So I know it’s not going to get better instantly but I know I’m good for the long haul.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding Focus.

The past week was all around rough for me. I was at a conference, I was sick, I was having panic attacks. Since I was sick I chose not to run. There is no point of running myself into the ground with exhaustion. I managed to get through the work week and found myself looking forward to the weekend. I knew I would run on the treadmill Saturday and I had fun plans all weekend long. There were moments of remembering why I love my life, my friends, and why I love myself.
I am proud of myself for this weekend. Yes, there are things I am not proud of as well but I know and understand why I made those choices. Emotional eating and running back to comforts that I probably shouldn’t, yeah those things made me feel guilty but they also made me feel good. Guilty harmful pleasures are like that.
So I’m using the dance technique of “Spotting” for the rest of the week.
I don’t want to lose my focus, lose my center, and lose myself.  Finding a point to return to when you are spinning out of control but you can't just stop you have to keep going.  On my drive into work today I completely disconnected from everything.  It is part of my old coping methods and I am trying to change it. So for now, running will be my spot, my center, and my focus.
Saturday’s run was good. I stepped on the treadmill and started my warm up then I looked at the amount of time for the run. Sixty-two minutes. I was like “holy fuck” I’m going to be on this machine for over an hour. Then I thought about it and remembered that I’d be running for over two hours eventually. I took a deep breath and I began the run. Sixty-two minutes later I had logged in four miles. This is awesome. Because The Boilermaker is 9.6 miles and you have three hours to complete it. If I can walk/run four miles in an hour then in three hours I could do twelve miles (statistically).
Tonight I’ll jump on the treadmill again. I didn’t bring anything to work to do my run right after. It’s just a bit too windy for me right now. So I’ll drive home, get changed, run for an hour, and then eat – shower- sleep.  I’m trying to trick myself into being excited about my training run. I’m trying to spot. Because the work day is long when you have nothing to work on and when your mind is idle – well that’s when the harmful thoughts can do the most damage.
So 30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge, do your trick. Be my power song today and I promise to spot.

Friday, March 25, 2011

a little under the weather

I've been at a conference the past two days. My body is also fighting off something fierce.

Running resumes tomorrow. Blogging on Monday.

sorry kids.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Running down a dream

At Christmas time my friend had said to me “soon you’ll be running 5K’s as an easy warm up run.”
I thought he was crazy when he said that. I mean, I knew he wasn’t crazy I just hadn’t imagined it.
Tuesday the treadmill was all set up, I got up early, and I plugged away on my C210K and finished up the third week. I was running at a clip of 5 mph when running and walking at 3.2 mph while walking. When I last ran on a treadmill my running speed was 3.7 mph.
As I ran my full 57 minutes I kept looking at the distance traveled. I was approaching the 2.8 miles that I normally run while training. I went past that. Then I hit 3.2 miles (an actual 5K) I threw my hands up in the air and was excited – but I was still running. At the end of it all it was a full 3.5 miles.
3.5 miles that I didn’t train for.
3.5 miles that I wasn’t putting on a race bib for.
3.5 miles that I was running at 6:30am before going to work.
It was a training run. That means walking & running. It took me 57 minutes to walk/run 3.5 miles. It gives me hope. It tells me that worst case scenario with The Boilermaker would be right at the three hour limit. After training several more weeks and getting to the point of full running, well who knows where I will be.  It’s kind of cool and it makes me smile.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There are reasons why I run.
1.       It’s free
2.       I can do it on my own
3.       I can listen to music
4.       To prove it to myself I can
5.       To save my life.
This past week I had gotten an email from a friend commenting on how skinny I looked in my facebook profile picture. She wanted to know my secrets.  Here they are:
1.       I rarely have more than 3 alcoholic beverages when going out.
2.       I “go out” maybe 3 times a month.
3.       Those beverages are basically scotch & ice or bourbon & ice.
1.       I bought small plates from the 1950’s.
2.       Portion size is the key to success.
3.       I give in every Friday to at least one craving.
4.       I love savory over sweet. (so having a sweet tooth isn't an issue but slices of pizza are)
5.       Clean Living magazine recipes.
6.       Keeping a food journal on my phone.
Exercise (reasons why I do it)
1.       Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.” (it keeps my depression & anxiety in check)
2.       The words Morbidly Obese, wherein Morbid = death.
3.       Vanity, as I would like to look good naked. (good = happy for myself)
4.       The applications on my iphone make it so much easier to track progress.
1.       Keeping track is important.
2.       Following through is hard.
3.       Success is in the little things.
4.       Pounds are not my goal markers.
5.       Non-Food Rewards are important.
For some it sounds too easy and for some it sounds too hard. It can be hard. It is hard, was hard. I’ve gone absent from my food journal for a bit but I’m still cognizant of what I am eating every day. I’ve given in to eating out again, so I’ve got to relearn my habits for that. It’s not easy but ultimately I’m trying to gain my life back.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I’m not talking about the awesome old school Atari game where you jump over alligators, swing on ropes, and jump over quicksand. I’m talking about pitfalls, downtrodden moments, the dirty, too much information, very embarrassing, kind of gross moments.
There are pitfalls to running.  Every runner’s website has articles about the pitfalls. Like “Embarrassing Running Problems”
I have a few pitfalls going on. I’m working with sore feet as I had blisters last week and while they were healing one callus has now decided to crack and that hurts like hell. I’ve let them air out, I’ve soaked them in salted water to toughen them up, I’ve put Neosporin on the cracked part. They are fine when I am running. I put powder in my shoes, I have wick away socks, and my feet stay very dry. (It was my dress shoes for work that caused the initial blisters) It’s just that I’m paying for them now as I am wearing a different pair of dress shoes with black synthetic athletic dry socks.
Another reason for the hair cut last week was that the sweat occurring on my head was gross. It was clogging up my scalp and leading to a lot of breakouts on my scalp and around my hairline. It’s a horrible feeling and it makes me look like I’ve got a little problem with how much I scratch my head.
Lastly, the worst thing…is chafing. I’ve got all the items to help avoid it. Powders, Bodyglyde, Desitin. All of these things suck in one way or another. Either it’s not enough or it’s too much. When I’m running I can deal with the chafing, I can run through it. The painful part comes when taking a shower. Hot water on raw skin is just awful.  Also bleeding unexpectedly through clothes because of chaffed skin – not cool.
It’s not pretty but it’s honest. It takes time, learning how & why these things occur, and how to help them heal that helps in the long run.

Friday, March 18, 2011

let’s talk about hydration

Hydration Station

First thing to note, I am not hung-over. I am however dehydrated. Yesterday I walked 1 mile at lunch with my co-worker, ran 2.8 miles after work and that led right into dinner & evening activities.
While doing some reading on and a few articles friends posted on Facebook, I knew that I was not the young whippersnapper who would be balls to the wall with a drink in her hand. I did know though I’d be partaking in a beer after a run. Upon reading “Alcohol and Running: Do they mix?” and “Why do hangovers seem so much worse as we get older?”  I knew to handle my drinking like I normally do. Drink the good stuff and have a glass of water in-between drinks. This is how I roll. Makers Mark on the rocks & a glass of water. Two drinks, three waters. Yet last night I had spring fever (really I had twitterpation) so the urge to run around and play was strong. So it was a margarita on the rocks salted while at dinner and two waters.
My friend and I then rolled over to Putnam Den. We were there to see Sirsy . (who always puts on an amazing show) I was asked to represent an Irish Car Bomb. I haven’t done that in ages, like maybe 2002. So I chugged down my pint of Guinness & Bailey’s and told myself to wait. Told myself to get a glass of water but I didn’t. The next two drinks were there for thirst sake. I should have realized it. The Guinness at end of the evening was to round out my evening; so five drinks over six hours, responsible…except for the lack of hydration.
Upon heading back to my friends to crash on his couch I started to realize I had cotton mouth. I got a glass of water when I settled down for the evening. At one point in the evening my right leg just cramped up, like jolted me up in pain cramp. I knew in the morning I would need water, maybe some potassium, and a bit of protein. Then I was kept awake all evening by a cat in heat.  So I am not hung over but I am severely exhausted.
I go back and forth on what I drink when I know I’m dehydrated. Something’s are for taste and potassium (VitaminWater – Revive), other’s are to remind me to keep drinking water (Liter of SmartWater), then the 2nd coffee of the morning – that’s just to keep me alert. Yes, I know it’s a diuretic – that’s why I’m drinking more water.
Hydration is something I’m going to have to learn about. I didn’t run in the heat before so it will be a challenge to my body. has some good articles. I like their “4 Key Hydration Tips for RunnersBut for now, it’s quiet in the office. It’s a Friday, most people are in relaxed clothing, catching up on their gossip. Me? I am on my second cup of coffee with my shoes off, coaching myself on how to get through the day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Off Topic: The Last Eight Months

“I need a place to spend the day,
Where no one says to go or stay,
Where I can take my pen and draw
The girl I mean to be.”
– The Secret Garden
What happens when you wake up and you look in the mirror and see a face you haven’t seen in almost a year?
I’ll tell you. You question if the past year even happened.
Since the middle of July I let my hair just grow. I was avoiding the hurt in an unusual way for me. Normally, I steep & wallow. This time I took the advice of everyone else, jump into something new – someone new. I had made poor decisions regarding the attempt of being friends with my ex-girlfriend while casually messing around with someone who was in her six degrees of separation circle. I had a nice little fohawk, my hair was subject to my nickname of Jimmy Neutron, it was part of my identity – it completed my notion of Dapper. This woman understood my butch dynamic; I didn’t have to explain anything. So it felt easy, although it was not easy.
After the exchange of hurtful words, a few “forget you’s” and the statement of never contact me again (as we were both to blame for the demise) I knew that the old feelings I tried to escape and cover up with bravado and machismo were still there behind everything. I decided to no longer be “Jimmy” and to be Hollie. I grew my hair out, became busy doing shows, dedicated time to running and then got a job.
The past two weeks I had been contemplating cutting my hair. Several things occurred to spark this decision. 1. It was the 3rd time that a man did not know I was gay at first sight. 2. I had money to get a haircut. 3. Warmer weather with thicker long hair was not conducive to my running. 4. It was difficult rocking a skinny tie with this wavy bouncy hair.
When asking for opinions about my hair I knew that there were several women who’d be heartbroken about my “long” locks being chopped off.  Then there were others who would be excited to see Dapper Dan come back into the picture. Then a good woman reminded me to do it for myself and I took a few days to think about it. The next morning I had to blow out my hair, it took 20 minutes, it took several products, it took too much time and the end product was really big hair. I made the decision to cut it.
The Aftermath
I went in yesterday and got a razor cut (which is my favorite type – I like the sound the razor makes on my hair) and I walked out with my fohawk. It was a beautiful spring day. I was in short sleeves. I almost put the top down. However, that is when it hit me. I was in Albany. It was a beautiful sunny day. I felt good. This doesn’t freak most people out. Me, it makes me relive things. One of my friends hates that I live in memories. Yet, I know its part of my makeup. I looked in the mirror and in an instant, the past eight months disappeared. The past eight months have been my strongest and I hate that one look in the mirror made me question it.
The same good woman who reminded me to get a haircut for myself, reminded me to take baby steps, then in our last conversation she reminded me that short hair or long hair, it’s still the same Hollie. While I know it’s true, I just have to get used to the differences. I was hiding, from a lot of things. Now, I'm done hiding.
“I could never rescue you
All you ever wanted
But I could never rescue you
No matter how I tried
All I could do was love you hard
And let you go”
– The Last Five Years

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Post Workout MacGyver Kit

Sometimes you'll have the ability to shower at the gym or at a friend’s house, other times you need to pretend to smell good. I used to keep a kit in my office and one in the trunk of my car for such times. When you commute 45 minutes to your place of employment and your girlfriend lived only 10 minutes away, you start to stay there more often. It was then that I realized I needed a MacGyver kit so I didn’t look like I had done the walk of shame the next morning into work after staying at my old girlfriend’s house.

My schedule is last week led to a hectic and often disheveled appearance. Mainly it is because I was waking up, going to work, and then I had something in the evening hours. It’s great I like to keep busy but I also am trying to keep to my running schedule. Take Wednesday for example, I woke up late just barely made coffee and then got to work with my giant gym bag in hand. My gym bag has a few small essentials encase I need to clean up for a night on the town. Thankfully tonight I am using a friend’s house to shower up after my run to make it to a social engagement that I would prefer to not be smelly at. So my post workout MacGyver kit did not need to be reassembled.

What is a MacGyver Kit you ask?

The other day I read a great post about a woman’s MacGyver kit, it showed a great bag that you could easily sew. I figured this would be a lot nicer than my current situation of having everything in the top drawer of my office desk.

What do I keep around? There are a few of these awesome personal wipes (with various uses) that are tablet size and will increase when you moisten them.

I also like keeping this shampoo bar in my bag because you can also use it as a mild soap too.

But for those times that I can’t shower but I was cleaner looking hair, I reach for the Psssssst. (most often this is in my trunk bag) The packaging is also just really cool.

Then I keep a travel toothbrush, travel toothpaste, deodorant, Advil, travel size lavender baby oil, chap-stick and a protein bar or shake packet. In the trunk of my car I usually also pack old sneakers, a pair of khaki’s, a change of undergarments, a t-shirt, thin sweater, and a baseball cap in a neutral color.

It’s come in handy several times over. I used to make kits like this for graduation presents. Things you'd need in a residence hall, or things you'd need as a commuter student. You'll see that perfume, body spray, etc. isn't on my list. The lavender baby oil is usually a replacement for scent & as a way to keep my skin really smooth. I just find it hard to keep my perfumes not freezing, or evaporating. (I have an travel atomizer but I have yet figured out how to open my Jo Malone without breaking the bottle.) 

Call it what you will; me being nerdy, my inner girl scout of always being prepared, my swagger life style. I just like to smell good. I am pretty sure my friends, co-workers, and dates appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


“No matter who or what is eating ya, you show it and you’re dead.  You are cutting a hole in yourselves for them to stick in a red hot umbrella and open it wide.  Man you wanna get past the cops when they start asking about tonight? You play it cool. You wanna live in this lousy world? Play it cool. I wanna get even! Get cool. I wanna bust! Bust cool. I wanna go! Go cool.” - West Side Story
Sometimes running has this effect on me.
When I was little I used to get so angry. I wanted to hit, to flail, to rage.  I wanted to act out and well often I did. Because of this I wasn’t allowed to have things. My bike would be off limits at times because I would take it out on my things. So then I knew I could use my feet. I could run down my street as fast as I could and my tears would stream out and away from my face and I could feel that rush of pain in my lungs, in my heart, in my feet.  I got it out of my system.
I still use running like this. Sometimes there is pain that you just don’t want to burden people with. When it’s the same cycle of rinse & repeat.  I get that feeling and well I also get the urge to run; to run as fast and hard as I can. While I won’t run as fast & as hard as I can, I will still run.
I think about haters. I think about semantics. I think about 45 minutes of freedom.
So – I’m about to bust cool.

In with the good air...

In with the good air...out with the bad.

The thing that I find rather funny about running is how much consentration it takes for me. There is often a checklist of things I need to remember for my run to feel successful.

  • Blue compression socks
  • Tying my left shoe differently than my right
  • Slight lean forward from the ankles
  • General upright posture
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed
  • Eyes forward
  • Exhale on your left foot.
That last one might sound a little odd but it's the key to happiness in my run. When I run, if I exhale constantly when my right foot is hitting pavement I will always get a side stich. It is my least favorite thing that can occur. Normally I have to stop, take a moment, press into my diaphram and stretch out the side - then I have to be consious of my speed.

Besides remembering to stretch, remembering to breathe on a certain rhythm is a difficult transition for me. In general most of my life I have been told to focus in on my breathing. I've tried meditation, tried Tai Chi, tried to focus while singing. They say stress can slowly melt away if you breathe easier and relax. For years those things were a mystery to me.

The other evening I could not get to sleep. I'd like to say it was just the change in daylight savings time, or the large brownie I ate, or the fact that my mind was completely somewhere else. I was anxious and I couldn't get to sleep. At about 1am I finally broke down and put on Rod Stryker's Relax Into Greatness. (My aunt, who teaches yoga had sent me a copy of the CD right after my accident.) I took a couple Formula 303's, started the CD and got myself into a state of relaxation.

The begining of the long session (50 minutes compared to the short session of 30 minutes) gets you to focus on diaphram breathing. Placing your hand on your diaphram and being consious of the sound and movement that occurs. As your breathing becomes more relaxed the sound lessens and the movement is natural. You walk through each muscle group, noticing it but not consentrating on it, and then loop back through them in reverse order. You also think of a mantra to say, something positive that you want to reinforce. I repeated "you are beautiful" - it's intersting to me because it stuck, I swelled with happiness and felt it all come in with each breath.

I know it sounds corney. I know it. Yet, I finally fell alseep. I felt relaxed, content and happy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Run my hood.

Week 2 (C210K)

Running in my neighborhood usually occurs on the weekend. I ran on Sunday and it was the same as every run I've had in my neighborhood.  I see the same people out walking their dogs, have the same dogs try and chase me, and know that when my C210K tells me to "run now" it's often in the same spots. I know where the pavement is uneven, know when I hit a mile before my application tells me. 

When I trained using my C25K it was warm out, people watched me run, some said good morning. I imagined that people saw my progress. I never imagined people saw the awkward faces I make, or the shouting at myself to "fucking get through it." But people see those things and hear those things too. For one part of my run I am on the main drag of our town. I know what I think when I see someone running or biking early on the weekends. I think that person is crazy. Mix in some weather that you'd need a jacket for and most people driving past you think you are crazy.

Here is what is crazy for me. It's week two of running. When I was in about week five of my C25K training this was my neighborhood run. It was 1.62 miles for a total time of 31.31. It's week two and I'm almost at 3 miles in 48 minutes.
Week 5 (C25K)
Right now in C210K's week two I run for 1 minute and walk for 4 minutes and I repeat this eight times. In C25K's week five I was jogging for 5 minutes and walking 3 minutes for a total of 31 minutes.

Do I feel good? Yes I do.

D., reminded me to stretch out really well after my run. So it was stretch central on the kitchen floor. Then it was a glass of water, two aleve's and my ice packs (with a little Ellen Page on the big screen)

On a side note, I was watching Whip it. If you know me, you know that was a big thing for me. To consciously choose to put the movie on and enjoy it without any associations.

A lot of good things happened to me on this run today. My running image shifted. I talked briefly about having a mantra or running image in my post 9 Weeks ago I never really let anyone know what my image was. I mentioned it once to one person. It used to be one person at the finish line standing there cheering me on. Now, it's larger. It makes me smile. It's my image and I probably won't give it up to anyone until after The Boilermaker.

Friday, March 11, 2011


That is how I feel this morning.  I don’t have enough time after work to run and I had time this morning but it was still raining & foggy. I didn’t even bring my workout bag in case I left early.  I very well could have worked out on the bike too.
My mom assured me that it’s alright and that I can run Saturday or Sunday. Sunday is my next scheduled day, so I will pick up from there. Tuesday my brother is picking up the treadmill he purchased so at least I’ll have another option.
Do I feel guilty? Yes. Guilty enough to not look my blog schedule without downward sheepish eyes? Yes.  I just don’t want to give myself easy excuses. Weather is an easy excuse for many people. In September and November I didn’t mind running in the rain, I actually liked it, right now, not so much.
It makes my reference article for the day even more of a guilt trip for me. Still, it was a good article and it reminds me of why it’s ok to work out in the cold weather. Maybe motivation will come to me and I’ll do a few laps around the office and several flights of stairs.

Still, I feel like a dirty cheater but a dirty cheater with a heart of gold. Yeah, that’s it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From human to hardcore

When I started running back in September I wasn’t documenting my pitfalls. I was just letting my running application send notifications to Facebook and twitter that I completed another day in the couch to 5K training plan. Sometimes people would comment on my Facebook with words of encouragement or by talking of how they wished they could do something like that as well and that I made it seem easy. I often replied that I never told people about the crap involved with my training to run.
I made the decision this time to document my trials and tribulations. Let me be the first one to say that last night’s run was hard. It was hard for several reasons. I had a timeline of getting my run in, showering, and making it to an event. I was running a new route because the park roads were crappy the last time I ran there.  I was running in direct traffic.  I was running into the wind, I hit a puddle in my last ten minutes and had a cold and wet foot.  I had some shin stiffness and cursed myself for forgetting my compression socks.

I tag my runs on Nike +, it asks how you felt. Yesterday was a so-so tagged run. Running into the wind in the already cold air was difficult; difficult to keep motivation, difficult to keep paying attention to cars, difficult to avoid slush and puddles. It was hard on my lungs too. At the beginning of each week, when you increase the time you run compared to the time you walk, well for my asthma riddled lungs it rejects the increase in use.  I will phlegm up, spit more, and then I hear myself cough and wheeze for the next day until I have to return to running again. It’s not attractive.
Last night my plans shifted a bit but I still met some people out for a social engagement. As we sat down for dinner I felt my legs deaden, I knew after sitting for an hour it would be difficult to move around again.  I was passing out by 9pm and excusing myself from my company to then drive 45 minutes home and just take some Aleve and pass out.
Today my legs are heavy. My left knee has a bit of residual pain. My long term goal is what is replenishing my motivation because at times I let the idea of “a 15K is crazy” enter my mind last night.  So I have doubts too, I just have a history that tells me to push through my doubts and to endure the pain.  I’m just human trying to head to hardcore.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Mixtape

"A mix tape.
He made a mix tape.
He was thinking of me,
Which shows he cares!
Sometimes when someone
Has a crush on you
They'll make you a mix tape
To give you a clue." - Avenue Q

I am a machine, a robot. When I run or workout I like to have music. It can be inspiring just look at my post about my Turkey Trot and "Dog Days Are Over" Not only am I a machine, I like to think I'm an audiophile. I'm no hipster with my music being all mysterious and saying things like "you've probably never heard of them before". I like everything - well except non mainstream Metallica. I just need things to have a good beat to them and be up tempo for when I am working out or I need them to be inspirational.

While I still stand by my motto of don't date a girl that quotes Justin Beiber, I must admit I have at least one J.Beibe'z* song on each play list dedicated to training runs. My recent play list of 10K Training Jamz is filled with all the pop tunes of the mainstream radio. Things I don't have to dedicate my mind to listening carefully to. Basically J. Beibe'z* song to me is just the chorus over and over again of "I will never say never".

Well, I've been checking out some music lately that has been on constant repeat. I like it. It makes me feel something. Yet it's slow and of a genre that I don't usually put on a mix-tape for training. I actually listen to the lyrics and it's like full "whoa". So it got me thinking about other music to run to. Could I run to some of my symphonic music, could I find enjoyment in jam band music, although I like the rock will the German lyrics of Rammstein throw me off, do I own enough Sirsy songs to make a upbeat run possible?

I will keep listing what my play lists are. Occasionally they are mix-tapes I've made for other people. (Yes, I am that guy) But I want to know what you listen to that gets your blood pumping, what you listen to when you work out, or when you escape the day? Maybe, if you are nice enough you can give me a theme and I'll make you a mix-tape and you'll live in infamy.

* Is to remember not to take myself seriously and to note my inner hipster heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just a little bump.

I have a bump on my left leg. It has been there for a lengthy amount of time. It doesn't hurt but it does bulge a little when I exercise. Yes, I know this needs to be checked out by a doctor. In 42 days, i will be able to take care of that with a handy new health insurance card. This occured during my C25K training and I bought compression socks to help with circulation in my lower legs because everything that I was reading was pointing to a vascular issue.

Let me stress a few things; 1. it does not hurt, it just bulges. 2. if something hurts after you exercise and its painful not just sore - go to the damn doctor.

I also did not get to run yesterday. That's ok, I have flexibility written into my schedule. Yet, running tonight is a rough option because I have an invited preview of my show tonight. So being sweaty and tired is really not the greatest option. So I'll run on Wednesday and try to get my run in, shower and make it to Albany at a reasonable time for a bit of planned spontaneity. (it's how I roll kids)

I can't double up on Thursday because that's opening night of my show and then I'm back to an original schedule on Friday. I just make the shift in my Google calendar and make a mental note. I still biked 8 miles at a 3:45 pace, still felt good getting that bit of exercise in. It's just a little bump in the journey, just a little bump.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh, Mother Nature

It's crap outside and it's a training day for me. It actually crappy enough to delay my morning work commute and have me working from home for the first two hours of my day.

Because of the snow that has fallen upon freshly melted and wet roads well i have lost all hope for running outside today. I have some flexibility in my training schedule, it just sucks because my life week isn't as flexible so I've got to do some getting up super early to get things back where they need to be.

So do I cross train today on the bike, or do I rope a friend into letting me use their workout facilities in their HOA building, or do I put down ten dollars to use the YMCA today. All things that pose their own interesting limitations. Cross training is no problem, I know what to do on the bike. Yet, I really would prefer to do some strength training and well doing that here at the house is a little difficult due to space restraints.

Using my friends HOA building & the YMCA have the same limitations in the aspect of using a treadmill to try and run. Now, if I was running an actual 30 minute easy pace run it would be simple. But it's run for 1 minute walk for 4 minutes and repeat 9 times. I've yet to try doing this on a treadmill as how do I make the speed increase & decrease every 4 minutes without having to really do much to the machine? I am sure there is some way, I just don't know what that way is.

The YMCA has an additional limitation for me. $10. I know it sounds crazy but I can't seem to stress to people that I literally have a bank account with $75 in it that has to get me to the middle of next week before I have any financial frivolity.

So I feel a little stuck because I actually want to work out. It makes me feel better and I feel like I am moving forward in a very large goal.

Right now though it's get through my two hour delay, see if the snow has lightened up, and then make a plan about my fitness needs for the day.

If anyone has any suggestions, or guest passes for the YMCA in Saratoga or a gym in Schenectady, or has a treadmill that they would like to invite me to come and use...I'd be happy to gain such information.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The key is to be flexible

While I’ve heard this several times over in my new job, I’m really looking at flexibility in some new ways.

I know the key to my post run recovery day happiness will be if I can stretch out my stiff hips. I know my IT band is the route of all evil to my left side. I’m also figuring out my left side big toe just does not want to stay flat while I run, causing my shin to get super tired. From all the reading I’ve been doing the main suggestion is stretching.

I’ve picked up a few stretches along the way from tried and true websites, videos, and personal trainers. Yet stretching my hip flexors and my IT band remain the hardest areas to fully stretch out. It would be alright if most of my daily job wasn’t sitting at a desk for 8 hours, with a 1 hour morning & evening commute where I’m sitting stationary as well.

I am taking a look at a sports stretching class ($95) at Back in Balance Massage in Latham and I’ve found a few new stretches to try from the book 4 Hour Body I’ve thought about Yoga but I’m just not there yet.

I woke up sore and I’ve been at work for an hour or so and already feel my body just tightening up. I know that I will get used to all of it again. I’m just having a spell of complaining, followed by slow movement while I am at the house and my parents commenting on it. I have a run on Saturday that I am hoping the scattered showers stay away from while I am running. Just because I’ve taken on the battle of running in cold weather doesn’t mean that I will enjoy cold wet weather mother nature.

The weekend is always my challenge. It a food challenge, an alcohol challenge, and a motivation challenge. I know I’ll get up and run on Saturday just keep those fingers crossed and keep singing Blind Melon’s “No Rain” for me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Off topic.

Hotel Kilo.

That’s my new band name. Oh, you haven’t heard about my pension to randomly create band names from random morning thoughts? I actually have a continuous note on my iphone where I can quickly type in a new band name.

Some jems are:
Free Beer & Afterbirth, Pansy Bowls & Flats, Ginger Haired Jesus, The boy I’m banging from Calcutta, Heroes of the Torah, Gyro Station.

Sometimes there are song titles from our first albums as well. Songs like:
She does make a mean fuckin cookie, Fred Savage Says, Too hungover for sunshine, Trippin over children, Quick thinking & canola oil.

This all comes from “getting the band back together” – my band is a group of awesome women who live in New York City. I see them every six months to a year and it’s always crazy when I see them. The band was formed at The Slaughtered Lamb in Greenwich Village where we all picked band rolls (I’m lead singer) and commiserated over beer & fried food, our bands name? Chub Rub & the Backfats, first single – Big Joe’s Jugular.

A few months later we lost a band member due to a relationship break up but we reformed the band with another single lady who I reconnected with. Let me set the record straight. We are in no way a real band. It’s just a bunch of misfits who like a good time. However, I’ve picked up the habit of thinking up band names. Usually I test them out with (insert band name) tonight, live at the Buckhout. If it sounds ok, then it sits in my band name list. Some times we break out into "side projects" or "solo acts" but it's just a silly way to say this is my group of friends and it's become an intersting habit.

So this morning the name Hotel Kilo came into my head for several reasons. I was thinking about alphanumeric code that we used on the radio in Washington D.C. working for NYLC and I’d be Hotel Mike, but I always hated that. Hotel Kilo would sound better I thought but what would I associate the Kilo with. Then the associations flooded inward. The ex-girlfriend’s name started with a K and so I put our real names together again and it was a sucker punch straight out of nowhere.

See I am going through an awkward patch, where you hear an awesome love song and it makes you feel something but you don’t know where to place the emotions. Do you place them with the ex who you are dead to, with the woman who you took a chance with and failed miserably and you are still getting over rejection, or find shiny new infatuation?

Then I thought about how close Hotel Kilo sounded & looked to Hello Kitty and well my love/hate relationship with that Sanrio toy and its cult following are still something I try to steer clear from, so I want to hate it but I am digging the name Hotel Kilo.

It’s all random but it’s what’s on my mind during my morning commute.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First day out

"To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first." – Shakespeare

I need to keep reminding myself of this quote. That it’s not my speed but it’s my endurance, strength, and mental focus that I am trying to train. Speed, well that will come eventually most likely during training for a race after the boilermaker.

I brought all my stuff into work so I could change in the bathroom and drive over to the Saratoga State Park to run through the trails there. I started to change and I reached in my bag thinking that I had my compression tights to wear under my shorts. Nope, I had grabbed my shirt instead so I was just rocking some shorts. Shorts in winter weather when you aren’t going to be working up a huge sweat make one particularly cold. Yet, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.

I got to the park, started up my C210K app and my Nike+GPS app and picked the appropriately named “F*ck you, I’m prettier than you” playlist and set out on my little run. I forgot that the first week is a lot more walking than running. Each path that I set out on would eventually fall prey to being closed off due to winter snow. Ended up running from the theater parking lot, past the theater, up to the clubhouse, and back to the parking lot like three times. It equaled out to 2.3 miles and that for the first time out made me feel really good, since 1.6 miles was my first time out during C25K.

What I noticed this time around was when it told me to run, I actually ran. During C25K I “old man jogged” each time I had to run. I focused a lot on my form and breathing when I did C25K. So when I started running my 30 second intervals I remembered slight lean forward, head up straight, loose arms bent at the elbow, with each step bring heels towards the butt as much as I could.

I found myself going a farther distance when I ran, actually ran. Yes, I was winded when I was running harder than my old man jog but I knew that is how I would build in the weeks to come. That if I pushed myself harder than my 5k training but not to the point of hyperventilating, well I’d be in better shape and run a little farther and faster.

Tonight I get my paycheck for one day. (Yep, I started one day before the pay cycle ended) So with that one day pay I’m buying some wind pants. I figure I will need them as Thursday looks to be colder than yesterday and I’m now in the mind set of every other day and trying to keep to the schedule. Now, if those park roads would just get a little cleaner, I’d be a happy camper.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Runnin' Rhino

I have 131 days to prepare to run 9.3 miles.

With my couch to 10k program app for the iphone I have 13 weeks of planned training. I then have four weeks of dedicated race training.

That's a total of 39 running days. 26 cross training days dedicated to my fitness level.

Then 12 race prep days and 12 cross training days until I go to Utica for The Boilermaker.

It's crazy.

Each time I talk about The Boilermaker race I keep thinking of The Boilermaker Special & my days working at Purdue)

Now, why do I have a beautiful rhino on a treadmill who’s trying to become a unicorn at the top of this post?

Several reasons, yet most stem from this shirt being one of my motivating factors in my fitness.

I started out with an XL shirt (It was cut off me due to my accident but my mom Frankenstein stitched it back for me) and now I have a size Large of the shirt. I decided as long as it’s reprinted at I’ll get a new one each time I shrink out of the old one. So my health and fitness goals aren’t related to pound loss. They are related to can I run up the 3 flights of stairs to get to my desk and not be winded, or can I buy a size medium rhino shirt and not look like a stuffed sausage in the shirt. Long term I know how many pounds I want to lose but I also know if I focus on that I’ll get tripped up.

So tonight I run. Tomorrow I will let you know how that run went. Right now I’m looking forward to it.