Sunday, December 18, 2011

Where to Begin?

It’s been a while and have been way to busy and scattered to write a blog entry.

Had a birthday – turned 37 on the 10th of November. Difficult to believe I’ll soon be 40, but time marches on. In some ways I’m proud of what I’m accomplished, but in others, frustrated on how far I’ve yet to go. I guess we all have these issues.

I ran my first half marathon, and it was nothing short of awesome. At the time I started training I thought it would be a one and done, but now I can’t wait to run my next, so I’m keeping up the training, running 7.5 miles every other day or so along with the weight and interval training. I’m torn between a half that happens in Philly in September, or the one I ran this year in November. I’ll (try) to keep you posted!

Work has been hectic, between working two jobs. I’ve finally had my first day off since the day after Thanksgiving. Working retail again for the holidays has been interesting to say the least. I’m paid well for the position I’m currently in, and am grateful for it. Minimum wage is way too low for what the average retail worker has to endure year round, not to mention during the holidays. It’s good to get a reminder from time to time – I high recommend everybody work in a retail employee’s shoes at least once in their lives. Perhaps we’d all be a bit kinder and more understanding. At least that’s my two cents.

Time is short with Christmas a week away. Wishing you all well and hope to write more consistently going forward!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where In the World is Beth?

Not hanging out with Carmen Sandiego…or Matt Lauer for that matter.

Some of you know the drill by now…lots of updates, then silence. Usually that silence means I’ve either (a) seen something shiny or (b) am in a rut and don’t feel like being a Debbie Downer. This time is a combination of both.

The something shiny – my new part time job (catch up: working as a makeup artist for a cosmetics chain, going from store to store when events are being held). I have to say that despite my attack of the nerves, it’s going really well! I was terrified the first day driving in. Would the other kids be nice? What would the customers be like? Would I be able to get the hang of things fast?

Answers: The other kids were beyond nice, they were so kind and embracing of this new kid, not only at the first store I worked at, but at the all of the other stores since. The customers, for the most part, are like most – it’s the old 95%/5% rule – 95% are terrific, but you remember the 5% that are more trying. I try really hard to remember the 95% and remember that everybody has a bad day. As for getting the hang of things, “Fake it Until You Make it” has been my motto when I’m feeling less than confident, but most of the time, I’m feeling good.

As for the rut – well, I’m afraid to say I’ve been up and down. As most of you know, I struggle, like many, with depression and take a daily medication to treat the symptoms. I’m not ashamed, and I don’t shy away from talking about – if I was diabetic and had to take insulin, I’d be honest about it. I have a condition that I’ve struggled with ever since I can remember, and I need to take a pill to be at my best. Unfortunately, from time to time, I need to have that medication tweaked, and sometimes it takes me a little while to realize it. This was one of those times.

I’ve also struggled with my maintenance – a week or two OP, then a week full-fledged off. I’m working on balance, not depriving myself and forgiving the weeks when I’m not OP or working out as hard as I know I can.

I think I have the depression under control at the moment (thanks to a new med and a $95 co-pay), and while I’ve put on a few pounds, I’m still about five pounds under my goal weight, which I’ve been at for over six months now.

My half-marathon training took a little bit of a setback when I got an infection in the nailbed around one of my toes, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to run most of it. My philosophy now is that I want to finish, it doesn’t have to be pretty, but I want to cross that finish line under my own power, even if it’s crawling on my hands and knees.

Working the next couple of days, but hoping to stay on track and get in some good workouts.

In closing, I read this today, courtesy of Karina Smirnoff of Dancing With the Stars via her partner J.R. Martinez, and I wanted to share it – “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up”. My days of falling down may not be over, but my days of refusing to get ups are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to Square One

I cannot believe how spectacularly I let the wheels fall off this week. I know I’ve said it before, but I really mean it this time.

Since Saturday, which was the last time I did any kind of intense exercise, I have eaten like the Beth of old, although I have not allowed myself French fries or pizza. The only workout I’ve gotten in was a session with my trainer last night and a 15 minute walk on the treadmill before that. And my ass was dragging.

I’ve had doughnuts, bagels, white bread, peanut butter, soft pretzels, bacon (although only once), ice cream (both full fat and low fat), cake, 2 mozzarella sticks (only 2) and Lord knows what else.

Why? I’ve been depressed, some of it relating to my own stupid issues (feeling awkward in public, being single, daddy issues), some of it due to 9/11 anniversary over-load. I also had the stress of starting a new part-time job and feeling nervious, and also just not giving a damn.

Now I’ve got weigh in coming in tomorrow, and I’m again going to have a gain. I know I’m still under goal weight, and heck, I think I even weigh less than I did at the beginning of the summer, but it’s still difficult to see the scale creep up. I also feel bloated and my stomach feels pouchy.

I feel like I’ve become a poster child, one that I’ve secretly enjoyed, for weight loss, but feel some stress from from it as well. I know I need to keep the weight off for me, and I do, but I also feel like I will have let people down yet again if I gain the weight back, or worse, just fulfilled the expectations of those who are waiting for me to gain the weight back.

I need to strip all of that away, and remember what got me started in the first place – not being happy with how I looked or felt. Wanting to do things, like run, that I couldn’t do at 230 pounds.

I feel sluggish today – the garbage I’ve been eating is filtering through my system, dragging me down from an energy perspective, and I know that is affecting my mood.

I know I can do this, and I can do it for more than one week at a time. It’s time to stop acting like an idiot and do the right thing. So, I’m going to wrap up this blog entry, eat lunch in about an hour, and then hit the treadmill. Maybe not a run, get in a good walk. I need to stop growing roots to the chair and get back to basics.

Time to grab that rope, tie a knot at the end of it, and hold on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Two Blogs in One Day...What the What???

Don't get excited...this is an easy one. Just because I can, I thought I'd share my playlist from Saturday. I love hearing what other people listen to on their runs and workouts, and am always on the hunt for new music. Please share yours with me!

Opening Song: Remember The Name - Fort Minor (if you run, bike, whatever - just listen to it - seriously - you'll love it)

You Had Me From Hell No - John Rich/Lil John (nice mix - Country/Rap, good for a sprint - definately helped on Saturday)

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster - Geri Halliwell (who doesn't want to go faster during a race?)

Because We Can - Fatboy Slim (From Moulin Rouge - the chorus - We Can! Can! Can!)

Don't Turn Out the Lights - NKOTBSB (yep, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys - loved them then (well, NKOTB at least), still love them now)

Hung Up (Remix) - Madonna (those who run seem to have all the fun)

Born This Way - Lady Gaga (Need I Say More?)

And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going (Remix) - Jennifer Hudson

A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Vs. JXL (side story - was inspired by the story of Edison Pena, one of the miners trapped in Chile this time last year. He is a runner and huge Elvis fan. He ran every day while trapped in the mine, while wearing construction boots he retrofitted so he could run. Once he was freed, he ran the NYC Marathon with a bum knee. At the time I added this, last November, I was inspired by his story. I still am)

I Disappear - Metallica (I call it "The Fat Albert Song", but I'm dating myself. The opening line is "Hey, Hey, Hey" Those of you over 30 will get it!)

Sexy! No, No, No... - Girls Aloud (British Girl Band - no back story - just a good pacing song)

Bale Out - RevoLucian - Profanity laden song mixed by a DJ who loved Christian Bale's freakout on the set of Terminator 2. I tend to chant this at the end of a run, thus freaking people out, I'm sure (Am I gonna quit? No, no, fuck no!) It's a good "wall song".

I Fell, I Ran, It Was Awesome

Did you ever have one of those dreams where you find yourself in some kind of public situation doing something stupid? Like being naked while making a presentation, or showing up at the royal wedding in cut-offs and a trucker cap?

How about pratt falling at the starting line of a race with a couple thousand participants? And that fall, graceful and gazelle like, being captured by a local news camera, and seen by at least one person who knows you? Oh, and it’s not a dream.

Yep, that happened to me on Saturday at the LIVESTRONG 10k in Blue Bell.

Here’s the story….

As most of you know, and I’m planning to forward this to some sponsor’s who don’t follow my blog, so bear with me. I’ve shed upwards of 95 pounds over the course of about 13 months now. I’ve been following Weight Watchers and exercising, and part of that exercising is running. Last fall, while still losing, I ran in two 5ks, slowly, but I ran and I finished. In January, shortly after New Year’s Eve, I decided to set a goal for myself – a big one – as part of my continuing education so to speak. Maintenance is a tough part of weight loss, and I refuse to let it be my downfall this time. So, I’ve signed up for the half at the Philadelphia Marathon this coming November. Up until this past January, I had never run more than 3.1 miles at a clip, and for those of you not in the know, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, so I knew I had some work to do.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked on increasing my runs. I’m thrilled that I’m up to 9 miles at this point, and have been actively looking for 10k races so I can get more experience. When I saw the LIVESTRONG organization was holding a 10k practically in my backyard, I signed up.

Given the cause, I reached out to ask for donations – cancer has affected way too many people in my life, although I’ve been fortunate enough not to lose anybody in my family. A classmate died a few years ago from lung cancer, and many friends have lost loved ones because of this horrid disease. I was able to raise just over $200 toward cancer research and support.

I asked my sponsors to let me know who they were donating in memory or in honor of, and I had their names on a paper pinned on my back. As I stood at the finish line, I was in awe of the people wearing Survivor shirts. On any given day, I can come up with some pretty good excuses not to run – I’m pretty sure cancer would have me throwing in the towel. That these people were running 6.2 miles is pretty incredible.

I somehow wound up toward the front of the pack as we lined up, but I was ok with it. Some of the guys were rammy, but eh, I figured it was part of getting pumped up. They counted down, yelled go and the air horn sounded. I started off while pressing “RUN” on my running monitor and play on my iPod.

Then it happened.

I felt myself falling. It was fast and furious. I knew I couldn’t right myself. I landed on my elbow (I had a water bottle strapped to that hand), knee and palm. The lid of my water bottle flew off. I was disoriented. I do recall some kind people lifting me up. Not knowing what else to do, I ran. I didn’t want to get in any more peoples way than I already had, but honestly my first thought was “That’s it…you’re done. Turn around and go home”. Then I saw her - a Survivor wearing a head scarf – the trademark of someone who had lost her hair in treatment.

Pardon the language here, but then I thought “Beth you asshole, you skinned your knee (I hadn’t felt the elbow yet). These people have had or may even still have cancer. Run you jackass.”

So I did. The Survivors were inspiring – especially the ones who passed right by me. Thinking about the loved ones of my sponsors carried me through. I’m sure many of them fell during treatment, literally or metaphorically. I’m sure they wanted to stop, but they didn’t have that choice. They had to continue.

Despite my start, I actually had a great run. I’m thinking the adrenaline had a lot to do with it. The last mile was rough, but I ran across the finish line in just under 50 minutes, with an average 7:42 minute mile.

I’ll be back next year and plan to stay vertical the entire race. I hope some of you will join me and will be as inspired as I was.

Side note: my father got home from golf yesterday – he told me that one of our old neighbors saw me on TV. I said, oh the race? He said, no, you falling. Sweet. Oh, and to quote my friend J – “That is such a Beth thing to do”.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moving Forward

I feel like I owe an update from Tuesday's post.

First of all, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everybody - those of you who I asked for help, those of you reached out and those of you have supported me from afar.

The past few days have been better - not great, but better. I am in a better place than I was on Monday I'm happy to report.

The payday loan consolidation business is still least one company is still emailing and calling (thus freaking me out) while the negotiation process proceeds, but each day gets a little better. I'm really trying to hold onto this feeling, this moment, so I remember to never allow myself to get in this situation again.

Dodging phone calls, asking to borrow money from friends and family is not pleasant. It's actually humiliating, but I'm trying to work through this as a learning process.

My part-time gig is coming together, and I'm really excited about it. Not going into names, but it's as a freelance consultant for a cosmetics company. I'll be going to different department stores in the area when they have events (product launch, GWP, PWP or other events) and working directly with customers and helping with their skin care and make up needs and concerns so the regular staff can focus on their normal business. I love playing with makeup - I have a brush roll that even I think is a bit over the top (see: shopping, impulse control issues) so I think this will be a great fit for me. It will be feast or famine as far as hours, but I think that may be a good thing, and one of my friends does the scheduling, so no chance of being overworked or abused. I just need to leave the debit card at home when I work so no temptation of spending while in the belly of the beast.

Food and stuff, well, it's always going to be an ongoing process, isn't it? I binged over the weekend, mostly due to stress, but on some level, I frankly wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, as much as I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it. I have gotten my workouts back on track - and I'm happy to say that I'm also gradually cutting down. I still do a hardcore workout (and by hardcore I mean a 60 to 75 minute high intensity cardio like the stair master or a run) 5 or 6 days a week, and I still work with my trainer twice a week (thank you dad for that "scholarship"), but I'm not doing the double hardcore like I was some days and I'm giving myself a day off.

Weigh in may not be what I want it to be this week, but that's life. I had a hard week, I also got my period (hello! TMI!) and crying only burns so many calories. I need to not only accept, but embrace the fact that weight is variable - that it will fluctuate regardless of what I eat or do. Even if I gain 5 pounds, I can lose it, and I'm no where near my heaviest weight.

I'm trying to embrace the credo of Be Kind To Yourself. I had a therapist who said this to me, and at the time, I frankly thought it was b/s, but now I'm seeing the reality of it.

So there it is, the latest update. BTW, running in my first 10k this Saturday for LIVESTRONG (here's a another plug - if you can and want to donate, here's the link to my fundraising page: Fingers crossed the weather holds out and it will be a great run for a great cause.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I hate Mondays. Not to be cliché, but they never really have been my favorite day. As a kid, before I got on anti-anxiety medication, Sunday was the day of the butterflies fluttering about my stomach, nervous as hell for the week ahead. I didn’t go to school in a gulag, although Catholic School did seem like a military prison at times. But Sunday, for whatever reason, filled me the dread of not knowing what was to come, or dreading what I knew was to come – a test, a paper or dealing with things I didn’t want to deal with.

Yesterday was the prime example of why Mondays suck. My work day started with waking up in a blind panic, having overslept and missing my workout, which is as important as my coffee anymore to getting the day started right. I proceeded on my way to work, realized halfway there I didn’t grab a fresh sports water bottle for the gym. I had a partial left over (don’t gross out- I was going to empty it and rinse it when I got to work) that I threw in my purse when I got out of my car.

I put my purse down, and realized to my horror that the water bottle, which was about ¾ full, was now empty. As in 0 water left in the bottle, and the contents pooled in the bottom of my purse. Direct on top of my iPod, check book, pressed powder compact, etc.

On the bright side, my purse got a long overdue cleaning out, literally for the surviving contents, physically for the stuff I had to toss. My iPod is currently hiding in a vat of rice and I’m hoping for a recovery.

The rest of the day went downhill, and it went downhill quickly.

As I mentioned, I did some dumb stuff financially. There are reasons for it, reasons I need to talk to a professional type person about, which is going to cost more money, but things I need to deal with. Somewhere around 3:30, I panicked, and realized that once I paid my car payment, car insurance and gym (which requires a 30 day cancellation notice if I were to cancel) I was going to be seriously overdrawn. Forget the fact that it’s the middle of the month and I don’t get an infusion of cash for another 2+ weeks.

I reached out to some people for help, which thankfully came through, while I’m getting affairs in order (selling things I no longer need and use, getting a part time job) but essentially ended my day sitting at my sister’s island in her kitchen sobbing like I haven’t in a long time.

I’ve come to the realization that there is shit I haven’t dealt with, and haven’t wanted to deal with, for a long time. I’ve been dealing with it any way except actually dealing with it or feeling the emotion – up until a year ago, eating (thereby stuffing the feelings away), now running (actually running away from my problems) and other times, shopping. It’s all been about avoiding feelings I’d rather not deal with, rather not feel – loneliness, low self esteem, and in some ways, anger.

The shopping that needs to stop. I won’t go into the psychology of it here, but suffice it to say, I need to deal with it, and retail is not the answer. I’m getting that under control, and trying really hard to pay off the debts I’ve incurred.

Some real life changes are also in order. I haven’t really been happy with myself in a long time – I thought losing weight was going to do it. All that’s done is make me healthier (yay!), thinner (yay!) but it hasn’t changed the inside problems that I need to get to the core of. I suspect that much like my financial situation, things are going to get worse before they get better, but after talking it out, crying it out, and sleeping on it, I know that they will get better because I’ve got plans in place.

Today started out with oversleeping again, but I think my body needed it. I felt like a wrung out dishrag last night – bloodshot eyes and head hurting from crying, face puffy from the same. Today I suspect my face looks a little worse for wear, and my mind is still preoccupied, but I need to power through. Gym after work, straight home and one foot in front of the other.

I know I’ve asked for this before, but I’m going to ask again, whoever is out there, whoever reads this. Please keep me in your prayers – whether they are to God, Jesus, Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’m keeping you in all in mine as well.