The last Propel

Two years ago, tonight, at 10:10 pm, I had my last drink of Dr Pepper. I haven’t had a soda in two years.

Tonight, at 10:10 pm, I had my last drink of Propel and the last of obvious sugars for at least 30 days. This is the goal. The subconscious goal, of course, is to take this well past one month and into the year…we’ll see…

My friend at work, Jazmine, is also joining me on this little fast. Here are the rules:

1. No sweets (this includes things like juices with tons of sugar).
2. No fried foods.
3. No eating past 7:30 pm at night.
4. Reasonable portions and all things in moderation.

SG Marathon Expo day

Woke up after getting about 9 hours of sleep.  This is a huge accomplishment.  It’s hard for me to sleep the night of the marathon, so any anything I can get, a few days before, really helps.

The plan for today is to go for a two mile run (keep the legs loose), go to the expo to get our race packets, then rest up.  I’ll try to keep a better record of what happens today, just in case it can help a future race.

Down

Yup.  I was right.  I’ve gone through a couple of days of no energy (ran 5, anyway, yesterday).  Had my clothes all ready to go, this morning, but stepped outside to feel the air.  Too cold for how I feel.  It was around 45 degrees, which is nothing for cold running, but too risky for my symptoms.

So I’ve got 20 miles for the week.  Decent, but a long run is supposed to happen, tomorrow.  Supposed to go 20-22 miles.  Heart rate is a bit high, which I assume means my body is fighting.

Will have to take this hour by hour, in regard to tomorrow’s plans.

I have worked very hard to get into running shape, this year, after dealing with pneumonia.  Can’t afford to lose my fitness, but can’t afford to get sick, either.

This is a fine line.

The 10 pm sin (and why I've decided to stop eating)

I hate it when people create totally alarming headlines or blog post articles, that barely have any truth to them.  And yet this post.

For as long as I can remember (which may not be that long, depending on who you ask) I have eaten up until I fell asleep, which was sometimes as late as 1 or 2 am.

This hasn’t really been a problem, except for the last 20 years of my life (I’ve been really putting on the weight.)  But after hearing, reading and finally accepting the idea, I’ve decided to give my appetite a curfew.

My sister has joined me in this effort.  We’re making 10 pm the cutoff time for food.  Drinking water or whatever is good.  No curfew for water or fluids.  There’s a catch, though.  After this first week, the curfew moves to 9:30 pm.  We move the curfew by 30 minutes each week until we reach 8 pm.

This is my goal cutoff time for food.  I think that it will help to curb my appetite and encourage some more weight loss.

This started on Monday and so far, I haven’t eaten anything after 10 pm.  What’s interesting is that I haven’t really felt like I’m starving when I wake up.  I’m hungry, but I’m not desperate, or anything.

In a couple of days (Monday), we move to 9:30 pm.

 

*gulp*

Turning the ship around

This weekend, I had the opportunity to spend time with my family in Saint George, Utah. It’s a great place to visit and possibly better place to live.  It has warm temperatures (ok, it can get brutally hot) and winters aren’t so frostbitey (please add this word to your dictionary if it’s not jiving with your compter’s spellcheck- it’s awesome.)

Coincidentally, the inaugural Ironman half distance was on Saturday.  As soon as I found out, I was immediately jealous.  Jealous of the participant’s new shirts, bragging rights- pain, even.  When you love to race (or at least “complete”) physical endurance races, sometimes, if you’re like me, you feel like you should be in all of them.

Throughout the day, as my family drove around St. George, we noticed people struggling on bikes and running on foot, in the heat of the day.  A few times I told Wendy, I’m glad I’m not doing that, which actually means “I sooooo wish I was doing that”.  She knows this, by now.

At the end of the day, we managed to find a table at Outback Steakhouse, among all of the hardbodied and chiseled athletes.  I kept thinking, “Hey, I do what you do, but you guys look TOTALLY different than I do”.

Then I realized:

“You will never look like, feel like, have as much success as these people, because you aren’t sacrificing the same things they are.”

BAM.  There it is.  It’s time for action.  Here are some of the thoughts that I’ve had, since that moment in Outback, as I gorged on a 12 oz steak while accepting several refills of Dr. Pepper:

1.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to lift my knee to my chest (or at least be able to tie my shoes by lifting my leg, rather than crouching down to it.

2.  I can’t sprint (or at least run an 8 MPM) for one mile, anymore.

3.  I drink at LEAST 6 12 oz cans of DP a day (some days, many more.)

4.  My teeth are going to fall out.

5.  I weigh 30 pounds too much.

6.  Races are much more enjoyable when you can actually compete with yourself.  When you are just completing them, it’s not nearly as satisfying as shattering a PR.  (Note to Brett C:  A PR is a “personal record”.

7.  When I sing, I need to breathe more (gasping, maybe?)

8.  I can’t talk while I run, anymore.

9.  At this rate diabetes is probably making its way into my future.

10.  I don’t look like a runner.  I miss looking like a runner.

11.  Nowadays, I subconsciously walk around with my stomach partially pulled in.  That means I think I’m fat.

So it’s time.  It begins…

now.

Swimming as a life skill

By the time you reach 10, you know how to “swim.”  You can paddle through a swimming pool, doggie paddle, maybe even do a few laps.

When I was in Boy Scouts, I earned my swimming merit badge, but I truly didn’t know how to swim.  If I’d been dropped in the middle of a lake or wide river, I’d have been in trouble.  Driving by Utah Lake, Lake Oroville and other bodies of water left me with a feeling a slight panic.  I’d imagine how easily I could drown in that water.

It wasn’t until I decided to do my first triathlon that I decided it was time to really learn how to move through water.  Watching videos on Total Immersion online, I put what I learned into the public pool in Lehi.  At the age of 35, I learned how to really swim.

The furthest I’ve ever swam, continuously, is 4 and a half miles.  The entire world looks different to me.  Utah Lake looks crossable.  Lake Oroville looks like a place waiting to be explored.  Bodies of water are not a place to drown- they are places waiting to be swam in and discovered.

You should take at least a year and really explore your ability as a swimmer.  Learn as much as you can so that, even if you don’t end up saving a life with your newfound skills, you might just enjoy your vacations a little more.

A St George nightmare

I keep having the same reoccuring nightmare:

Sleep doesn’t come easy.  On the morrow, I will be thrown into a situation where I will be expected to have no mercy on perfect strangers, friends and family- and they will have no mercy on me.   I am jolted from sleep, hours before the sun comes up.   A death-grip of solemnity falls upon the house.  I am given little to eat.  My mother has tears in her eyes, knowing what is about to befall us.  She hugs and kisses us, knowing that, if and when she sees us again, we will likely appear disfigured and, in some cases, unable to walk.

We are herded onto busses.  In some cases, there is no room to sit.  Some stand.  Some sit on the floor.  None dare to talk above a whisper.  We are driven high into the mountains and –eventually– we are instructed to get off of the bus.

It is freezing and we are wearing only scant clothing.  Cruelly, there is only  one small fire  per three hundred people.  There is little warmth.  I notice that, in some cases, children who can’t be older than 14 are here.

When the fires give way to a lack of fuel, we huddle on an asphalt road for warmth.  There must be over 20,000 of us.  We are comforting each other, promising that everything will be ok.  We make solemn oaths that, if we are to survive, we will find each other, somehow, at the end of it all.

A gunshot fires and a terrified scream erupts through the mass of humanity.  We run.  Some of us run to get away from the cold and stay warm.  Others run in search of food and water.  The rest of us run, simply because, well, the rest of us are running.

There is little food, if any.  Water can only be found by running or walking for miles on end.

We march and run over inconceivable hills.  For some of us, the only motivation is that, if we stop, THEY WILL pick us up and take us somewhere, but where, exactly- we don’t know.

After what must be 15 miles, the mob appears, lined up on both sides of the street.  They scream and yell at us.  Some hold signs that we are supposed to read.  I cannot read the signs.  Exhaustion and fatigue have taken hold of me, and my eyes are so blurry that I can only imagine what mockery is scrawled across the multi-colored poster board.  A person next to me tells me that they were able to make out one message:  “You’re almost there.”

“Almost where?”, I wonder aloud.  Toward the end?  What happens at the end?  Do we die?  Find relief?  Receive instructions for our next Event?

Tension builds and I soon realize that these signs are just a part of the torture.  We are not almost there.  Pain is not temporary and I am not a Kenyan.

Some finally succumb to their bodies and collapse on the sides of the road.  They are cared for, but all- all are picked up and taken away.  In a sort of tragic silver lining, their torture will soon be over.  But mine continues…

The mob continues to taunt us.  There is no end to their shouting at us.  The noise is unbearable.  At some point, I notice that my body is shaking.  My knees burn and I feel that at some point I won’t be able to take another step.  My feet feel like all that is holding them together is my shoes.

But then I see it, what must be The End.  Even if I didn’t want to press forward, there is no escape.  By this point the mob has pressed in on either side of the street so that there is no escape.  I can’t turn back, because the rest of my tortured friends are still moving, like zombies, toward the evil and faceless organizers of this “sport.”

So I continue with them.

And finally, we are close enough that they begin the final insult to our already withering bodies- they mock us, individually, over the loudspeaker.  Finally my own name is derided.  And just as I’m about to cross over into all that my captor’s have waiting for me…

I wake up.

It’s one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had, and it is vivid.  It feels so real.  I keep having the same one, over and over, about once a year.

What does it mean?

#stgeorgemarathon