"I've decided that perhaps I'm bulimic and just keep forgetting to purge."

-- Paula Poundstone

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Come Monday …

I feel like such a weenie. And I know the longer I feel like a weenie, the more I'm just mentally psyching myself out. So I'm setting a start date to break through this Epic Weenieness.

On Monday, I'm starting the Couch-to-5K Program.

I hate to run. It's hard. So running a 5K sounds almost inconceivable right now.

[caption id="attachment_472426" align="alignright" width="288" caption="My senior year. The hoop earrings make the uniform really pop."][/caption]

But the developers of the Couch-to-5K App (read a thorough description about it here) and friends who have used it tell me that even beginners can work their way up to running a 5K with this program, hence the "Couch" part of the name.

So, I bit. About a week ago, I paid my 99 cents and downloaded the Couch-to-5K App to my iPhone. So far, I pretty much just swipe through my phone, look at the pretty blue icon and make sure it's still there.

A couple of times, I've gone in and changed the voice and avatar of my "personal trainer." (I think I'll start with "Billie." "Constance" seems too sugary sweet, and "Sergeant Block" is too, well, sergeanty.)

But that's about as far as I've gotten. I get to the "Week 1, Day 1 Workout," and I freak out.

I start to have scary flashbacks of high school basketball conditioning — the long runs up the football stadium steps, down around the pond, back up the steps and back around the pond.

There were the "Indian Runs" around the perimeter of the school gym where Coach would yell out the name of one of us from the back of the pack, and we'd have to race to front. Or the "Suicide" sprints.

Or — oh God, I'm getting sick just thinking about them — the runs around the outside track circling the football field. One day during conditioning, as the marching band practiced in the parking lot nearby, I blew chunks EVERYWHERE as I crossed the finish line of a measly 1-mile run.

And that was, well, a few years ago. Now, here I am at age 30-something thinking that running 3.1 miles sounds like a good idea?

For some reason, when I start to lose weight, I think I have super powers or something. It was just a month or two into my weight loss last year that I signed up to do the Warrior Dash. Kapow!

But during that race last summer, I walked it. Sure, I climbed, slogged and jumped my way through nine out of 10 obstacles of everything from mud to fire to rope walls, but I walked the entire 3.1 miles.

I wanna run it.

I signed up for this year's Warrior Dash immediately after last year's race. It's the last weekend in July. I have time to prepare.

The Couch-to-5K App claims I'll be running a 5K in nine weeks if I follow the program religiously. We'll see.

I've been back on the weight loss wagon, having lost 20 pounds since Jan. 1. I'm down a total of 48 pounds since my all-time high in 2010, but it's been a roller coaster. I put quite a bit of weight back on during the second half of last year and have spent the first weeks of 2012 just working to get that back off.

But I'm working it. I'm tracking my calorie intake daily on the Loseit App with laser focus.

And come Monday, I'll actually hit the trigger on the Couch-to-5K App Week 1, Day 1 Workout.

But ol' "Billie" better be ready. I've been known to blow chunks EVERYWHERE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adventures of the Elusive Herpes Eye

Dude. I've got The Herpes Eye. Again.

I know, I know. I usually only write here about weight loss. But there's been absolutely none of that going on, yet I'm itching to write (no pun intended).

My truths tend to be stranger than fiction, and my Herpes Eye is no exception. Plus, I think it's hilarious if past lovers Google "herpes" and my blog pops up. And so, I'll write.

(Grandma: If somehow you've magically gotten the Internet, there are no past lovers. It's just for comedic effect. Ha ha?)

[caption id="attachment_472418" align="alignright" width="360" caption="This is a form of The Herpes Eye. This picture is not mine, and this is not me. I don't have face blisters. And my eyebrows are better. A little."][/caption]

So, back to The Herpes Eye. And how I've got it. Again.

First things first: It's not what it sounds like. OK, it's exactly what it sounds like. But I'll go ahead and answer the question I've gotten for 15 years: No, my husband did not have "bad aim." That is not how you get it, Perv.

It all started in 1996-ish. I was in college, heading into finals week before Christmas break, and I got The Herpes Eye, more eloquently known as Herpetic Keratitis (Type I). It's the same virus that causes cold sores, but it attacked my eye.

This happens in relatively few people. I'm among the few. What an honor.

I'll spare you the details, but I almost lost my left eye. The light from even a TV was excruciating. I lost driving privileges for what seemed like forever. I was sent to Vanderbilt Hospital for fancy eyeball photographs and analysis. My cornea is scarred, and talk of a transplant still comes up from time to time.

I spent that Christmas break in agony and was hit with it again a few weeks later when I was trying to start my new classes while making up my missed finals in my old classes.

Ah, memories.

But after that second round, I had not had any recurrence of The Herpes Eye until this week. I caught it very early this time, and the cornea specialist says my virus "clusters" are not in my direct line of sight where my previous scarring is, so my vision likely won't be affected.

And thanks to some pretty expensive drops, I'm already relatively pain-free.

Oh yeah: The drops.

When I went to the doctor Tuesday morning, I was given a sample of Zirgan, a new eye gel that I later found out would cost me $120 (and the pharmacy would have to order it — remember, I'm in "the few").

So I called the doctor and asked for another sample to get me through until my next appointment, scheduled for Thursday. They told me they didn't have any more samples, but I could come back in that afternoon because the cornea specialist was now in, and she would write me a different prescription.

So on Wednesday afternoon, I was given a prescription for Viroptic. It's been around "for at least 20 years," the doc says, so cost and availability shouldn't be an issue.

I go back to the pharmacy, drop off the second prescription and am told it would indeed be cheaper — only $99 — but they've never heard of it and would have to order it.

What the eff — $99? So I call my husband and have him call our insurance company to see what the deal is. Turns out, each person in our family has a $100 annual deductible on medicine, and guess who hasn't had any prescriptions filled yet this year. That's right: This gal!

(OMG. This story is friggin' long. Is anyone still reading?)

So, I go back to Pharmacy #1 and tell them to give me back my prescription because I have like one drop left in the Zirgan sample and can't wait for a delivery the next day.

"Gurrrl, we gotta save that eyeball!" says the same pharmacy tech I've dealt with for two days. "Word," I say, taking back my prescription.

("Word?" I have no idea how that came out of my mouth.)

I drive across the street to Pharmacy #2 and hand them my prescription. "They don't have it across the street," I tell the pharmacist. "Well, I'm willing to bet we don't have it anywhere here in town either," he tells me.

"But this has been around for 20 years," I say. "Twenty years 40 years ago," he answers.

Oh my God, what does that even mean, I think. So, "Oh my God, what does that even mean?" I blurted out.

I could feel my pulse pounding in The Herpes Eye at this point.

"Oh wait! I found one," he says. It was a few miles away in Zilwaukee, so I grabbed my prescription again and flew out the door.

At Pharmacy #3, I handed her the prescription and tensed up as she gave that "What the hell is this?" look. "Another store already told me you have it," I said. She looked for a good five minutes before finally finding one last bottle in the back of a refrigerator.

"Well, I sure never heard of this," she said, quite obviously looking at my Herpes Eye, back down at the bottle, and back up at my Herpes Eye again.

"I'm one of only a few," I tell her, lifting my glasses and leaning in to give her a better look.

"What an honor," she says, stepping back a little.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

My God, I'm a Warrior


I had given up on it about a month ago. Well, I had given up on myself about a month ago.

That's when I decided I wasn't going to do the Warrior Dash.

I had signed up for this "mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell" back in January. At the time, I was a few weeks into a renewed commitment to weight loss and exercise. I was in a groove. I was winning. An adventure in which "warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with kick-ass music, beer and warrior helmets" sounded right up my alley.

And then March hit.

I made the St. Patrick's Day 5K Walk in Bay City (my second 5K in the past year, in addition to the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge walk) the grand finale to a weight loss challenge between a co-worker and me. In the first three months of the year, I lost nearly 30 pounds (a total of around 50 since last year).

And then I stopped. Screechingly, if such a word exists.

I didn't start gaining weight, which is remarkably different from all other times in my life, including last year, but I did stop all weight loss efforts after three months, which seems to be my M.O. for some reason.

For three months, I have the dietary discipline of a devout nun and the training regimen of an NFL pre-seasoner. And then … nothing.

So, it was during this March-through-July period of, uh, maintenance (sure, we'll go with that) that I decided I must've been high when I registered for the Warrior Dash. There was no way I could scale walls, belly crawl under barbed wire and slosh through mud throughout a 5K in FREAKING JULY. I still can't run much without getting dangerously winded in any type of weather.

I decided I wasn't going to kill myself. Or even worse, embarrass myself.

And then Friday hit. Facebook friends started talking about their excitement, their nervousness, their giddiness about the next day's race. "The Craziest Frickin' Day of Your Life," organizers claim.

All around, there was Warrior Dash camaraderie. Pep talks. Smack talk.

And I felt like a loser.

I said as much in a status update, and my friends came to the rescue. They reassured me that they were nervous. They were out of shape. But they were going to try.

So would I.

I hit the Warrior Dash trail at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. I had heard one report of a broken leg near the fire jump. These things happen, I reasoned. Then about a mile into it, I moved to the side of the trail to let an emergency cart pass as it carried a woman on a stretcher, her leg and ankle in a makeshift brace.

A skinny woman. A woman in much better shape than I am. I trudged along, saying a little prayer now.

God answered my prayers right afterward when friends Tim and Ilona came up behind me, asking if I wanted company. A few minutes later, my pal Kristy yelled my name. She had decided to hold back and wait for me.

Any of the three of them could have finished a lot faster, left me in the mud. But they stayed beside me.

The four of us cheered each other through each of the 12 grueling obstacles. Together, we rolled over junked cars, climbed walls, jumped fire and trudged through mud that sucked at our shoes with amazing force. (I saw four abandoned shoes near my waist at one point. There had to be many more sunk deep near my feet.)

Of the dozen obstacles, I abandoned only one: The Great Warrior Wall. It was here that an ambulance was parked, lights on, as emergency personnel worked to hoist a Warrior on a gurney, her neck in a brace. I grabbed the rope and made it a good third of the way up, having promised myself that I would attempt every challenge.

Then I looked at the woman on the gurney, who obviously had fallen off the wall on the way up. My arms shook. I couldn't get sure-footed. I heard my heart pounding in my ears. And I looked back down at the woman on the gurney.

I accepted my limitations and went around.

I went on to finish the race in about an hour and a half. That is damn near the worst time I saw. I did nothing with grace. My friend Matt said my entry into the last obstacle, the "Muddy Mayhem," was the ugliest and most awkward he saw all day.

But I finished.

As I sat in the sun afterward, listening to music and celebrating with friends, I sipped a beer and looked around. Every single person there was smiling, most especially me.

For on this day that I was sure would kill me, I realized that for the first time in a long time, I felt alive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Really, we're both winners

[caption id="attachment_472384" align="aligncenter" width="575" caption="Hey, who are those hotties? Oh yeah ... it's us!"][/caption]

Cue the music: "Weeee are the champions, my friiiennnnnds …"

And we'll keep on fighting to end?

Well, yes and no.

For me and Alan, this "fight" is over. I won our competition.

This morning, I was down 5 pounds from last week, bringing my weight loss in this competition to 28 pounds.

That also brings my total weight loss since last March to 52 pounds!

Alan went to a rip-roaring bachelor party and wedding in Phoenix over the weekend. He says he stayed on mainly a liquid diet all weekend, consuming about a month's worth of beer.

Yet somehow he stayed the same weight — 185 — with a total loss of 20 pounds since we started this rivalry Jan. 3. He was just 1 pound from winning. (Awww.)

He does look amazing.

Which is why I declare us both champions (though I still get the prize … hey, what's my prize?).

That fight 'til the end? It will go on — individually.

Alan says he wants to lose 15 more pounds, and I need to lose another 100.

Yes, really.

I have motivation. I am RUNNING the 5K Warrior Dash in July and, lord willing, the 10 Mile Crim in August.

On Sunday, I walked the 5K in Bay City. I'm proud to announce that my time was nearly 4 minutes faster than when I walked the 5K last August in Flint.

They're small steps, but they're adding up … to the tune of 52 pounds so far.

So Alan owes me … something. Especially beyond the doughnuts he had waiting on my desk at work this morning.

Any suggestions?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Standstills and jiggly bits

Holy weight loss standstill, Batman.

Despite the fact I finished nearly 3,000 calories under my weekly budget, my weight stayed exactly the same.

Here's looking at you, female cycle and water retention.

Alan lost 2.

That means I still have 5 to lose to win the competition, and he has 3.

I am really looking forward to a breakthrough this week. I will be working out all week to prepare for a 5K walk before the Bay City St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday.

Alan, on the other hand, is leaving the state at the end of the week for a bachelor party and wedding.

I'm hoping it gives me the edge.

And edge I need. After I get through this 5K walk, I'm going to start training in earnest for this summer.

If you remember, I am doing the Warrior Dash in July, and then I plan to do the Crim. Yes, 10 miles. I'd like to sign up for the run so that I can run as much of it as I am able.

I've got a long few months ahead of me.

This morning during my 3 miles on the treadmill, I did something I've never done: I jogged the last quarter mile.

Oh my freakin' jiggly bits.

I FELT like I was going to die. However, I did not.

It's a teeny tiny start, but it's a start.

Have a good week.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the homestretch

What a difference a week makes.

I feel like a completely different person from the whiner who posted here last week, and am grateful that all members of my family are on the mend after a week of illness.

As for weight loss, Alan and I are coming down to the wire, and we're still neck and neck (and any other cliches you'd like to insert here).

I stayed the same this week, keeping my weight loss since Jan. 3 at 23 pounds.

Alan lost 1 pound, bringing his total loss to 16 pounds.

Our competition is whoever loses 10 percent of our weight first wins. I have 5 pounds to go (for this competition), and so does Alan.

Neck and neck.

(And that also means if you know math, you know how much I weighed in January. Yikes. Forget it immediately or I'll keeeeel you.)

I must kick it back up a notch. I've done great with my food lately but have slacked off on exercise.

Tomorrow morning: Back to the gym.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mom Card revoked

I'm writing this from the kitchen table. Usually I'd be on the couch, but this corner of the kitchen is really the only place in the house that doesn't make me want to cry right now.

Wow. I am such a baby who probably needs to turn in her Mom Card. But seriously.

The house, which I had shockingly kept in some bit of order lately, is again turned upside down in an amazingly symbolic homage to the health of my family for the past week.

It all started when my husband came down with the worst cough I've ever heard. He missed a few days of work last week and was finally diagnosed with bronchitis over the weekend. A steroid shot and inhaler have helped, but he still sounds bad.

By the end of last week, we got a call from daycare that our 2-year-old had barfed all over his favorite shirt: Popeye. Disaster on many levels. He has had violent diarrhea that continues even today, which comes with … all moms chime in here … violent diaper rash. Lovely.

By Sunday, I was down. I got my child's vomiting and diarrhea, but instead of my husband's chest cold, I got something new to the mix: a head cold. So in addition to running back and forth to the toilet for four days, I've felt like my head and face have been constantly squeezed in a vise.

My husband (whom I can not thank enough for taking care of us all while we've been sick) has returned to work and continued to heal, and my son appeared to be doing well except for the poops … until yesterday.

Yet another trip to MedExpress revealed yet another ear infection. Oh fun.

That calls for another antibiotic, which almost always leads to more violent diarrhea, which leads to … all moms chime in here … more violent diaper rash.

We got our son to sleep at a decent hour last night, only for him to wake up and want to lie on the couch with Daddy. He felt so bad, what do you do? You let him hang out on the couch.

What happened next can only be described as a Power Puke that left little untouched with mostly red juice, soaking our couch cushions, blankets, pillow and the 2-year-old himself. So at midnight, we were throwing the kid into the bathtub, blankets into the washer and we were deep cleaning couch cushions.

Good times.

That pretty much catches you up on why I didn't have a weigh-in report on Monday. My weight-loss pal Alan weighed, and he said he stayed the same — even after walking 10 miles the day before.

I also drug myself onto the scale Monday after one of those bathroom runs, and even after I was Poopy McPukesAlot, I had lost 1 pound.

I don't care. Not this week.

I just want us all to be well. I have such a greater appreciation for anyone who deals with a chronically ill child or family member after this past week. I couldn't handle it. I am weak.

And I am sitting in the corner of my kitchen trying to actually get some work done for a very understanding employer, wishing I was well enough to rejoin society, trying not to think about the condition of the house or the pain in my head, trying not look at the couch cushion that is still drying and trying not to cry.

It's not working so well.