Sunday, January 17, 2010


As so often happens, on a Sunday when I've been thinking, "I should go to church but I don't feel like it," and then I break down and go, it turns out that had I decided to stay home I'd have really missed something.

Today it was Chapter 9 of II Corinthians, which contains the familiar verse, "God loveth a cheerful giver."

I haven't been.

In the context of the sermon, it was mostly about material gifts, but I started thinking midstream, this isn't about my money or my hand-me-downs, it's about me.

I have not given cheerfully of myself. Not for a long time. I've given grudgingly, often with expectation of fair play. I'll do X for you if you'll do Y for me. Or, correspondingly, I won't do X for you if you don't do Y for me. As well as, since you don't do Y for me, I won't do X for you. Maybe if I stop doing X for you you'll learn you should be doing Y for me.

Doing X in expectation of Y isn't being a cheerful giver. Jesus didn't say, "I'll die for you IF you...." He just did it.

Unconditional giving. I hope I'm up to it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Snowflake Chase 5-miler 2010

Well. You didn't know I was working up to a race, did you? Neither did I. At least, not until the Pittsburgh Marathon, which is May 2.

Anyway, I decided, what the heck, there's this Snowflake Chase 5-miler, less than half-an-hour away, why not go see? Other than SavageMan, it's the first race I've run since the Austin Marathon in 2008. Based on my current lolly-gagging workout times, I thought I might pull off a sub-55 at Snowflake.

Son of a gun. My time was 47:00. I had to bust ass to get it, but it predicts a 4:36:55 marathon finish. Now, if were to lose 10 pounds, it could take 20 minutes off my marathon time, right? I think that's the formula, 2 minutes per pound of weight loss. Or maybe it's 2 seconds per minute per pound. Ten pounds, 20 seconds, would turn 10-minute miles to 9:40 miles, which again, would do it if everything else goes absolutely perfectly.

Suddenly a Boston Qualifier of 4:15 doesn't seem so impossible. Except, I worked so hard today for just 5 miles..... keeping that up for 21.2 more miles seems.... well .... impossible.

Average pace was 9:43, which is EXACTLY what I need at Pittsburgh.

I wasn't sure where I'd stack up in the age groups today. From 25-29 on, the AG winners' times being called out were 5-10 minutes longer than mine. But when the RD started with the 55-59 women, suddenly the times dropped like rocks and I placed third (out of probably three.) Nevertheless, I was only a couple minutes behind the AG winner. I have noted, since starting running a quarter-century ago, that my AG has some FAST WOMEN.

Well, on to marathon planning, and working on the 10 pounds. As I've described, I haven't been doing all that well at Weight Watchers. It only works if you work it. Imagine that.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


My mother has a treadmill which she actually walks on sometimes. At 88 she doesn't go outdoors if there's snow on the ground, so she got this treadmill a couple years ago and has spells of walking on it at 1mph for 5 or so minutes twice a day.

It's snowed here nearly every day for the last two weeks and been bone-chilling cold. I got in an 11-mile run last Wednesday when we visited our daughters in Columbus, OH. It was cold but the roads were clear.

The last 2 days, I've done an hour a day on the elliptical while I was working at the gym. Today I was off, so I just did an hour on Mom's treadmill.

It's set on a little incline, which made it hard to keep up even 12-minute miles. You can change the incline but you have to take off these little support legs and reposition them. Too much trouble, when the small incline can only make me stronger. I took walk breaks of about a minute every 5 minutes, since it was too soon after dinner, which felt like it was in my throat rather than my stomach.

Still kind of a bummer to run for an hour and see only 4.3 miles when I've got this delusion I can run a 4:15 at the Pittsburgh Marathon, May 2, and qualify for Boston. Yeah, I'm on this qualify-for-Boston jag again. It's not gonna happen unless I get my weight down around 115. And that's not gonna happen if I keep eating like I have been.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


First off, I'm just plain addicted to eating. It doesn't even have to be anything I like. My husband bought butterscotch-ripple ice cream b/c he knows I don't like butterscotch. I ate it anyway. (Butterscotch is one of maybe 5 tastes I really do not like. Others are: okra, hard-cooked egg yolks, liver, wasabi.)

I don't have to be hungry either. I can be not-hungry and still eat something I don't even like just to be eating.

My mother, whom I dearly love, used to make me eat things I didn't like so that maybe I'd "learn" to like it. Mostly, I did, with the result that I now eat anything that's not nailed down, whether I like it or not.

While I was hiking, I couldn't eat enough. I was ALWAYS hungry and trying to eat ENOUGH and still lost 20 pounds. I've read that rebound weight-gain is a common problem for long-distance hikers. I thought I could keep it from happening to me :-(

I'm watching "Biggest Loser" as I write this. Maybe I'm petty to quibble about 10 or 12 pounds. But I hate the way I look in mirrors, of which there are plenty at the gym where I work and in my mother's house. They're a constant reminder, but they don't keep me from eating myself silly.

Monday, January 04, 2010


To control your weight, or lose if that's your intention?

Low-fat? Low-cal? Low-carb? Weight Watchers? Weigh Down? Do-it-yourself?

I'm currently going to Weight Watchers but it emphasizes low-fat/low cal and I don't really believe in that. I believe more in fat-burning via limiting carbohydrates, and/or in eat-when-hungry, don't-eat-if-not-hungry, stop-when-full.

Except I can't stick with any of those for more than half a day. Actually I can't stick with WW for more than that long either.

I WANT FOOD!!!! I want lots of food, even though in a global sense I consider it vaguely obscene to have to plan and follow programs (even pay for them) to lose weight when in so many places it's impossible to get enough to eat to achieve a normal weight.

But we live where we live, including in the body we live in.

It's hard to believe that just a few months ago I was too thin.

Not anymore. I ate my way right back to the size I was when I started hiking last April 1. I would have been OK with putting back 10 pounds, but not all 20 plus a couple more. I have moments (heck, out with it, call it days, weeks) of self-hate and self-disgust because I can't reign in my desire for food.

Unlimited salad and leafy greens don't cut it. Weight Watchers calls anything that's mostly water a "Filling Food" and says eat them liberally, they'll keep you full longer. Like fruits and vegetables and lean protein and skim milk. Fat-free milk is called a "Filling Food" whereas milk with any fat content is not. Tuna packed in water is "filling," while tuna packed in oil is not.

I guess anything works if you work it. Which I mostly don't. For more than half a day.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


So at the annual turning of the year, you're supposed to make a resolution that's going to change your life. Or several resolutions.

I better take this to my other blog, "Ellie's List of Lists."

One thing I do want:

I just turned 58, three days before Christmas. I would like to enter my 60's, two years from now, in the best physical, mental, and spiritual shape I've ever been in.

Or at least the best physical shape.

I still want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. That will probably have to wait until my mother is no longer physically with us. She thinks she can live alone, but I think differently. I didn't realize how disabled she is, until I started living with her. She can't live alone. I can't leave for more than a few days. AT is off for an indefinite period of time.

But granddaughter Abbie, who will be 7 at the end of this month, sounded very excited last night when I suggested she and I take some hikes with backpacks and stay all night in tents. I said hike for the afternoon, make camp, fix supper, sleep in tents, and hike back the next day, and she said, "No! LOTS!!" She still has trouble saying all that's in her head but I said, "What, more than one night?" And she repeated, "LOTS!! Nother night, and nother night, and nother night!!"

Well, maybe not THAT much -- how much mileage can a smallish-for-age 7-yr-old handle? -- but maybe a couple nights. Abbie would be a fun little backpacking partner.

Her dad, our son, likes it, too. Maybe he and I could do Maryland together on the AT. It should only take 4 or 5 days.

Anyway, I have to take care of myself so that in 5 or 10 years I can thru-hike. I'll be that year's Old Lady of the Mountains.

As for getting my life into some form of predictabiliby, purpose, and plan..... guess I'll go over to Ellie's List of Lists.