Friday, July 15, 2016

Really struggling lately

After I initially lost just over 100lbs., I was able to maintain my weight for about 7 years. I fluctuated +/- 5-10lbs on a monthly average weight depending on my training (and overtraining), but I stayed within my ideal weight range for a while. In the last 3 years that has not been the case and it is really upsetting me.

I KNOW some of this is purely excuses, everyone has them and I KNOW there are solutions and things I can do to change things up, but I guess what I am getting at is IT'S HARD. REALLY HARD.

A series of unfortunate events has caused some of my unhealthy behaviors to return and my fitness and nutrition habits have suffered. First, I was laid off from my job in 2011, which actually wasn't a bad thing, but I lost access to my gym and all my gym friends. I stopped doing strength training completely and focused only on running and biking and occasionally swimming if I had a triathlon to do. I have no doubt this caused me to lose muscle mass and metabolize food differently.

The biggest event with the biggest impact was the bombings in 2013. I was not injured, but I was definitely scarred for life and have some very real symptoms of PTSD. For weeks and months after the bombings I had awful nightmares (and I still do occasionally). I worry about things I never used to worry about. I take notice of things I probably never thought about before when in public or large crowds. Fireworks and loud noises still startle me and sometimes make me cry. As a result of these things I began drinking more frequently. (from 2010-2012 I didn't drink at all) After the bombings, I would have 3-4 beers just to get to bed at night and when neighbors set off fireworks I'd sit awake in bed shaking and crying unable to get back to sleep.

I slowly got back to somewhat of a normal routine and tried eating vegetarian in an effort to switch things up and put better fuel in my engine, but got exhausted easily and gave up after about a year of no meat. In 2014, I was laid off again and stressed out because I had very little severance pay and finding a new job took a lot longer than it did in 2011. I got a new job and I love it, but the location makes it difficult to run near work and even more difficult to meet friends to run after work, and when things are not convenient and easy, they just don't happen. There is a fitness center onsite and I am a member but the managers, the atmosphere, and members are just not as fun as the gym where I initially lost weight and started this journey.

As a result of the weight I have gained back, I am A LOT slower and running is A LOT harder. This makes me not want to run. It makes me embarrassed to run with friends that are faster than me. It makes me ashamed of my race results, I finish, yes, but dead last definitely takes the wind out of the sails, so to speak, and doesn't feel like a great accomplishment anymore. It makes me try to find reasons NOT to sign up for races I used to love because I don't want people to see me there and see me fail.

All of this breaks my heart and I am really struggling to climb my way out of this hole but keep falling deeper and deeper into the abyss. I am hoping that in sharing this struggle and getting it out there, I can find the strength and determination I had almost 10 years ago now when I first stepped on a scale horrified by my own body and how big I had become. I need that back. I need to start over. I KNOW I can do this. I've done it before. It's frustrating to find myself creeping back to where I started but I want to stop and reverse this course and get back to my healthy weight and happier self.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Another month gone by....

Wait, what?!?! It's July? How did that happen? The short version of June is 50 mile bike ride, 10 mile training run, Mount Washington Road race, Midnight Sun half marathon in Iceland, followed by spending the weekend of the 4th of July completely off the grid in northern Maine for 4 days.

Looking at the last 4 weeks (including this week) I have been or will only be home for a total of 7 days. And every other weekend for the next two months is already booked with something fun and the "free" weekends have 16 mile training runs penciled in.

Now for a little more in depth look back. First the 50 mile bike ride: Best Buddies Challenge from Carver to Hyannisport. It was hot and hilly and the first long bike ride I have done in probably 2-3 years. I felt it, but it was still fun for sure. Lobster bake at the end and a free Beach Boys concert with Tom Brady and Jullian Edelman, not too shabby.

Then the Mount Washington Road race, 7.6 miles up the tallest mountain on the east coast. It was a lot harder than I remembered it being three years ago, but I am older, heavier, and a lot slower. It took me exactly an hour longer than it took me in 2013. I finished in 3:16. The weather was perfect, maybe even a little too hot. Still had a great time and checked off a few more items on my list while in the area. Gave a $100 bill to a stranger and saw the famous road sign in Maine that points to Mexico, Poland, Moscow, Paris, etc.
The $100 bill was something I had in my wallet since 2013 after the bombings, intending to give it to a stranger on or near Boylston, but the moment never felt right so I held onto it waiting for the right moment. We had a waitress at a small pub in Jackson, NH that was clearly working harder than any of the other waitresses there and she took great care of us making sure we got our food fast and even a snack before because I was HANGRY and ready to kill and eat a small child. She checked back with me to make sure I was doing ok and not ravenous anymore and offered chicken noodle soup to help out too. All the tables near us with different waitresses were still waiting for their food when we paid our bill. She was incredible.

The week after Mount Washington I went to Iceland. Words cannot describe how amazing it was. Volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, icebergs, deserts, lush green countryside, sheep, Icelandic horses, sunlight for almost 24 hours a day, elves and trolls, lagoons, monster trucks, pits and bits (figure it out)...... and the Big Lebowski bar. I can't wait to go back again.
Got home from Iceland and packed for the holiday weekend in Maine. My family owns a camp 3 hours north of Portland and about 15 minutes from the Canadian border. It is so remote that you can only get to it by boat or by logging roads and hiking through the woods. Once you get past Skowhegan there isn't really a lot up there except moose and white water rafting companies, but that's what makes it so awesome. There is no electricity, no running water, no TV, barely any cell reception, nearest major town is over an hour away, nearest small town is 15 minutes away and on the Canadian border. It is the most peaceful place, full of fond memories, with nothing to do there but relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. It was really hard to leave and come back to reality and civilization.
Anyway, I am back to reality, even if only for a few days before going back to Maine for a half marathon this weekend. I doubt I will even have time to do my laundry before I leave again. My favorite hoodie smells like campfire and I kind of love it.