MS Walk 2011

I once met a woman with MS. Her mother was my college!sister’s Godmother. During thanksgiving, we went to visit her at the hospice center where she lived. She was completely immobile, her hands looked like arthritis had played a dirty dirty trick, and her eyes wandered about the room, constantly looking for something new.

I don’t remember her name. I do remember feeling terrified. Multiple Sclerosis is a relatively terrifying disease, with many stages, symptoms, onsets, and no cure.

On Friday afternoon, I got a text from my friend, asking me if I was going to be attending this 4 mile walk, to which I responded, “There’s a walk this weekend I don’t know about?!” as we were figuring out the details, I registered for it online. There was no fee, just a suggested donation/raising of funds for $50.

Saturday arrived, and my friend picked me up half an hour earlier than originally planned, because her friend thought there was something we needed to be early for. Turns out she was incorrect, and her friend showed up about 20 minutes after we did.

We all chatted, and one who was in the army offered me some unsolicited advice on how to lose weight. It involved interval running, and building up to a set amount of miles. “When you let your heart rate go back to normal, and then raise it, and repeat that cycle, the weight just drops off like that!” she explained to me with a snap of her fingers.

I was quite happy to explain to her that I was already doing something similar, though, as with everything, when I start talking to strangers I tend to start stuttering, and lose my confidence, therefore trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for me, ( I don’t remember her name) she had a 5hour Energy, two red bulls and a handful of other ridiculous energy boosters that may or may not have been laden with sugar as well. She continued talking to me, telling stories and eventually drowning out the speakers as the “race” was beginning with her chatter.

The countdown began, runners were called to the front. I was right at the imaginary starting line, and decided, “What the hell! I’ll start off jogging.” And so I did. For about… 25 seconds. And then my legs started hurting real bad.

The last time I got any real mileage outside was probably the end of September when it became to cold and rainy and dark to continue walking home from work. Since then, I’ve used the treadmill and elliptical machine, and the difference was stunning. My first shinsplints set in, and my legs felt like lead. My music was bumping, and I tried to get into it, but singing while walking always leaves me a little breathless. So I started to really focus in on my breathing, the “left-right-left inhale right-left exhale”.

At the end of the first mile, there was a station with port-a-potties and volunteers handing out water and orange slices. I grabbed an orange slice gratefully, bit down and sucked out as much juice and pulp as I could in one bite, then threw the masticated carcass in the trash, about two yards head. I kept going. At that point, I noticed the pain in my legs had gone away, my breathing had evened out, and I wanted to finish as quickly as possible, so I picked a place to start jogging, and went to a predetermined place to start walking again.

I did this again and again. Of course I forgot to count how many times this happened, but I would say no less than 7 times. Each jog wasn’t long, maybe 10 or 15 seconds, but it was more jogging outside than I had done all year (which is to say, I haven’t jogged outside at all this year) and I was pretty happy to do it. At one point I really hoped we were already on mile three. I was ready for it to be over. Just as I was wondering how far left there was to go, there was a sign posted that said, “Congratulations! You are half way done!” Instead I pulled my shoulders back and marched onward. (I think I used that sign as a starting place for a jog, actually.)

The MS Walk took place at Lake Hood, which is right next to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. It is the busiest float plane lake in the entire country, however it was still frozen over while we were out there. We saw a handful of planes take off, and one even held up a hoard of walkers just in front of me.

Finally I could see where the walkers were turning off into the parking lot where the race started. I considered jogging the last bit of it, I felt I had it in me, but when I saw that the walk truly wasn’t timed, I decided to just walk instead. As I was turning the last and final corner into the parking lot, I saw a car full of my new friends, waiting for me to finish! It was nice to see them cheer me on. I finished the four miles in approximately 1:08, according to my friend’s timer. 17 minute mile average. Pretty slow, I think, but I’ll take it. Its better than not finishing at all!

Afterward, I grabbed a hot dog and some water. We ate them in her car, and I got ketchup on my face. She drove me home, and then I took a long bath, and a 4 hour nap. It was a good day. Perhaps next year I’ll actually try to raise some money. I sure would like a teeshirt!

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Food Log 1/26/11

Breakfast
1 bagel with cream cheese, 1 cup poor mans mocha (drip coffee + hot cocoa) with 1/2 serving vanilla whey protein, handful of cashews

Lunch
1 serving “traditional lentil soup” by “healthy choice” (Or as I like to call it; GROSS), 2 oz hummus, 1 serving wheat thins, 1 16 oz can pineapple in its own juice.

Dinner
4 beef flavored vegetarian taquitos, 3 tbs cheese, 2 tbs sour cream, 2 tbs southwest salsa; diet pepsi. fiber plus bar.

Snack
3 dried apricots, handful of cashews.

So right now, I have lots of food to make certain items, but nothing that really makes a meal. Thats one thing that always bothered me about vegetarianism; I always feel relegated to the side items. No main course for me.

Sunday Breakfast

I had dreams of English muffins, eggs, bacon, cereal with chocolate milk, pancakes and sausage gravy. Alas, my household is missing most of those items today. But that’s okay. I made do with some left over split pea and ham soup, that I decided needed a little cheese. So I threw some in, heated it up. I didn’t realize I still had so much left. I ate at the counter, and after a few minutes, I became auspiciously bored, and decided to grab some grapes, and head up to my room and start reading Mindful Eating 101.

After I couldn’t handle sitting in my room on such a glorious day, I went for a walk. I just discovered Running Map . Com, which for some reason surprises me. It surprised me greatly to learn how much I was walking out of necessity. All together, if I ride the bus, I walk about 1.25 miles every day. Some days I get a ride home, and so the number would be half that. Sometimes I walk home, and the number turns into twice that. It depends on the weather. But I thought it was interesting to actually know the distance! So I plotted out an easy walk, which took me into a neighboring hood, and all together was about 1.32 miles. It was super easy, and I probably could have kept going, but I have other plans for today that require me not getting worn out before it begins. Perhaps I’ll share the details of that on a later day.

But now I know how easy it is to get that small walk in, it only took about 30 minutes. I can see myself walking that a couple of mornings a week before I go into work. I felt very energized afterward. It was inspiring. I’d also like to eventually expand my miles up to two by the middle of June. I think right now I’m just re-familiarizing myself to my body. We’ve been out of touch for a really long time.

Hit a Roadblock

I haven’t eaten when I wanted, or what I wanted since I got to work because I don’t want to take pictures of my food in front of my co-workers. I have a very open office, and there is no good way to take pictures unless everyone is gone.

No one leaves until 5 pm.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t eaten, or been able to take the pictures… just that I’m delaying the gratification of eating until no one is around. I don’t want to be sneaky about my food. I’ve been sneaky about my eating behaviors in the past, but the past is dead and today is new, so I just want to eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it without feeling guilty about it. I understand, accept and realize that in this light, its probably not in my or anyone else’s best interest. I guess what I mean to say is, eating isn’t something I can avoid without consequences.

Lesson learned today: If I’m going to pack my lunch, the pictures need to be taken before I leave the house!

Also, I know I need to be patient with myself. This is all new, and its not going to change over night. Disclosure: I had a Bahama Mama Fruit Punch Slush Puppy. It was not all that. Mama did not taste like she had been vacationing recently. It was 12 ounces and I regretted every single sip, even though I finished it.

100 calories

It was dark, and I was getting angry at my roommate for having feelings, and really really wanted a brownie. But I didn’t want to take another picture of the brownie…. I’m still working on my lighting situation. Anyway, instead of having a brownie, I went for 100 calorie Oreos which don’t taste like Oreos at all, really. I also chugged some chocolate soy milk. Probably not more than a cup’s worth. I was trying so hard not to have that brownie. It almost caused me physical pain to walk away from it. I ended up leaving before Clueless ended because I knew if I stayed down there I would eventually give in to every craving, and binge eat like I haven’t binge ate before!

I need to remind myself that its okay if I eat a brownie. Its not okay to eat 7 of them. That doesn’t matter today. It was all tied into emotions, and I’m paying close attention to those this time around. I was frustrated about something completely unrelated to food, and went in search of it. It only makes sense that I have the healthier of the two.

My hunger is like a Prima Donna- Someone needs to tell her to SHUT UP

For breakfast this morning, I decided that I needed to have some more protein in the morning, and had a bowl of Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! cereal with chocolate soy milk. I remember it tasting a bit sweeter when I was younger (knowing this, I employed the chocolate soy milk instead), but I wonder if that was also because I was a vegetarian at that point in my life, and therefore everything tasted a little different. Today though, it was just what I needed. I started eating around 11 am, and realized that because of my new “get to work on time, instead of 20 minutes late” routine, I was actually already running late. And of course, I chose the cereal that would take longest to eat. You can’t just shovel this into your mouth. Well, you can, but then you have to chew. This cereal requires chewing- commands it even. But I learned something; that Kashi GoLean Crunch! is definitely worth my time 9 grams of protein per serving. Its been three hours, and I’m still comfortably not hungry.

Its an odd thing for me to distinguish between “Not hungry” and “full”. If I’m not hungry, then its generally because I’m full. Today, I was not filled by my cereal, and hours later I still don’t really feel like snacking.

I will admit, I have been sucking on this for a while, however. Its Fuze green tea (freshly brewed) mixed with lemonade and sprite. Cause its my fave.

For lunch, I stopped by Subway (I wanted to eat fresh) and for some reason the same panic always rises over me while there. There are way too many options, and the way they have their menus set up causes me great distress, because I can never find anything. I considered getting the foot long of the day, which on Tuesdays is Meatball Marinara. That one happens to be my favorite sandwich, but I decided to pass, because I knew it would only be seconds before the red sauce squirted out of the back of the sandwich and down my brand new gray tank top, which already has a splash of chocolate soy milk on it today. I thought about a tuna salad sandwich, but the idea of eating tuna that I didn’t prepare myself always makes me a little ill. The line was shortening, and I couldn’t make up my mind. What I really wanted was a roast turkey breast and roast beef sandwich with avocado, but alas, Subway does not carry the avocado… at least not in Alaska. So I decided that I had to have chicken breast. Making decisions at Subway is basically the hardest thing ever.

Finally it was my turn, and I asked for a chicken breast salad. I don’t usually get salads at subway, but I’m trying to make healthier decisions, and what with welcoming myself back to the real world where things never change quite the way you want it to, I’m happy with the salad choice. On top of my two cups of iceberg lettuce is spinach, tomato, onion, black olives, Parmesan cheese and honey mustard sauce. (I’m not really sure if its just dressing or just mustard, or if its some kind of happy in between thing that I’m not presently aware of.)

At about 2:30, I felt some hunger pains. Normally my first reaction to those feelings is “I Need Food NOW!” It is very rare for me to go, “oh, it’ll pass.” These pains, they’re like a prima donna lazing in her bed, in satin and chiffon, ringing a bell and demanding more food! I am Cinderella, helpless to these demands- I must obey. Some how I forgot how to say, “FUCK YOU, you lazy bitch!” or, “No. Not right now.” I’m starting to though, and that’s the important thing to remember. I left my desk at work, and walked around the block. That seemed to make the feeling go away, and plus it got me moving.

I realized that I hadn’t been drinking water today, so I filled up my 24oz. National Guard water bottle. I joined that with some blueberry granola, and munched on that for a while.  Perhaps next time I pour myself some granola, I will make a game out of how long it takes me to eat it. Today, it didn’t last very long. I also ate it infront of my laptop <— violation of rule 2: Thou Shall Not Eat In Front of Back Lit Screens.

One may also notice that I’m not exactly keeping track of my calorie intake. Right now, even though its rule, I don’t want to focus on the actual intake of calories, I want to focus on my intake of food. Sometimes I feel like we break things down so much we forget to look at the big picture. Today, I want to follow my progress through out the week, see where my weak choices are, and where my strong choices are, and then reconfigure for next week. Losing weight is going to take time, and consideration. How can I limit how many calories I inhale, if I don’t pay attention to what I’m inhaling? How is eating 1700 calories worth of popcorn for my day’s total caloric intake going to do in any good, if I forget to acknowledge the soda I drank with it?

I spend a good portion of my day, a lot of days, eating the right thing. I eat cereal, and sandwiches, and baked chicken. Then I’ll eat 10 cookies and a glass of milk. Then I’ll grab some chips, and a soda to wash it down. I snack and snack and snack, and that adds up. Its usually at home, at night, when I’m not doing anything but watching TV and wondering why I didn’t wake up with the body of my dreams already in place.  Tonight, I know I’ll munch. My house was built for those who have munchies. We have 5 different kinds of chips, and that’s not including the crackers, or the items you usually put on chips and crackers. Like cheese.

But tonight I am feeling very mindful. I feel like I will probably make chicken of some sort, and I have half a cantaloupe that needs to be eaten before it goes bad. Plus I bought some organic baby carrots, and I still have some strawberries and grapes!

When I was younger, we didn’t waste food. every bite got eaten. We were too poor to do otherwise. <—excuse for eating the cantaloupe. I want it, just not today. If not today, it might be too late. I guess we’ll find out.