Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting myself through a bad day (long post)

I started running in large part to get some damn sleep.  During 2008, I suffered through almost constant sinus infections and was on some serious antibiotics at least six times in that year.  Allergies combined with the sinus infections meant I wasn't getting a lot of oxygen into my system as I slept, leaving me tired and then exhausted each day.  For some reason (well, it has to do with the oxygen part of the equation), this then translates into insomnia.  So:  sick, exhausted, can't sleep, get sicker, more exhausted, really can't sleep.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

I was tired (heh) of taking pills to fight this.  The allergy meds, the antibiotics, the sleep aids, Tylenol to combat the headaches from my sinuses and lack of sleep.  I'd drink more caffeine to fight the headaches and keep myself awake.  By the beginning of 2009, it was taking me at least three hours to fall asleep each night and to top it all off I wasn't sleeping well through the night (usually my insomnia manifests as difficulty falling asleep but not staying asleep).  This was frequently even with Ambien. 

In early January of this year, I was in downtown Cilleyland for some reason (I live and work in the 'burbs).  As I sat at a stoplight I noticed these banners on the lightpoles.  They were advertising the Fanconi Anemia 5K Valentine's run.  I kind of went, hmmm and made a mental note to look up "Fanconi Anemia."  About a week later, I was downtown again and saw the banners again.  Remembered this time to look up "Fanconi Anemia" and also the 5K race

Now, I've told the story about my evil junior high gym class and how I basically haven't run in any intentional way since 1984.  My only experience with racing came in May 1987 when my senior service club worked at the inaugural 1K (yes, 1K -- I remember thinking that 1K was really really long) on the Klahanie plateau in Cilleysquah where I grew up.  I still had the t-shirt until very recently.  Like, August recently. 

So, no race experience, no running unless we're talking axe murderers or illegal zombies (zombies should shuffle, dammit!).  But for some reason, looking at those banners, I thought a 5K race was something I should sign up for.  Other than I knew I'd have nothing else to do on Valentine's Day (ironically, the race wasn't on February 14) and that maybe if I started running I'd not only maybe get healthy but I'd also exhaust myself to the point where I'd pass out, I have no idea why I decided to do this. 

But I did.  And I've done about 15 races and a few walks since.  See my wall of shame fame:

I even have a couple of medals!

Through this all, I have not lost a single pound.  Not a single, solitary goddamn pound.  I know I've lost inches -- I went down a size -- but no pounds.  In fact, in the past six weeks (I declared a scale moratorium two weeks ago) -- you know, since I've started this training thing -- I was gaining weight.  Bastards.

All this leads to why I'm having a bad day.  At least, while I wasn't losing any weight I seemed to be getting faster.  Running was getting easier.  And then I came to today.  Running was tough.  I wasn't all that fast.  To top it all off, the first pair of pants I put on this morning felt a tad snug around the waist.  Bastards.

Part of the huge case of my blues is that I'm feeling fluffy.   If you're a woman, or a married guy type person, you understand that women feel fluffy once a month.  Some women even feel fluffy two or three weeks out of every month.  Thankfully, I am not one of those women.  I have a few fluffy days, and I know I'm having fluffy days, and then I move on.  The scale goes down, the clothes fit great and even feel a little loose, and so on.  But there is almost always one day in that fluffy time, one day where I feel fluffy extraordinaire AND I'm in a bad mood. 

Today would be that day.  It even landed on a Monday. 

To make myself feel better, I was googling things like "running but not losing weight."  Lots of reassuring stuff that I already know (but I'm feeling fluffy so I need the support) about how muscle weighs more than fat, people are prone to gain weight when they first start training, yadda yadda yadda.  Yeah, but crap, I've been doing this since January.

Except I really haven't.  I was running sporadically at best.  Often I'd only run on race days.  With the training, while my times haven't seemed to improve all that much on the whole I don't feel like I will die afterwards.  I can function later on on race day.  Amazing!

But after five weeks of training, nada.  I think I'm doing everything right.  My calories on average hover around 2,000 a day.  I don't eat a lot of sugar crap.  I work to limit my caffeine intake to two diet sodas a day, with leeway for a third on weekends.  I'm a little heavier on protein than I should be (meat is my downfall) but I still have a good ratio of carbs/protein/fat.  I rarely drink alcohol.  I should have more variety in my fruit and veg but I do eat them (at least two servings of fruit a day, around three servings of veg).  On this training plan, I run four days a week and bellydance for another. 

My lingering concern is that I'm not eating enough.  I'm due for my annual with my doctor, so I think in addition to the blood work I'm going to ask her about whether I should consult with a nutritionist.  It would mean keeping a food diary again; I hate to do it for the simple reason that you usually can't find what you're looking for.  I cook a lot and real food is the hardest thing to log in, particularly when your particular recipe (or no recipe at all) doesn't have nutritional data.  Like the chicken tetrazzini I made last night.  I'd have to input the entire recipe and then figure out my serving size to get even a semi-accurate calorie count.   Maybe I'd only have to write down what I ate and the size?  That would be ideal. 

Sigh.  Big sigh.  Well, I feel a little better having consciously worked through all I'm feeling.  Now I think I will have a banana.  And some water.

Cheers (more or less),
the CilleyFluffyGirl


  1. What a bummer...I know you are not alone. I have read some runners who gain weight during Marathon training.. So sad... Feeling Fluffy is not fun!! I hope the Dr. Visit goes well

  2. I was fortunate enough to only gain 1-2 pounds for this round of marathon training (a couple friends gained 5+), but it is hard to be a hard-core runner & not gain weight. That being said, I totally got myself a nutritionist, and will be going back to see her soon because now that marathon #1 is on the books, I want to lose 10-15 lbs before the next training round starts.

    It's hard to figure out the correct balance of calories & exercise, I think, especially for people who are crazy & training for marathons. :) Let me know if you want any more info re: my nutritionist! I will post an updated plan on my blog as soon as I have one from her.