Tag Archives: Can someone cure cellulite already

Back to Basics

Yesterday the doctor confirmed what I’d already known (and have known) for months years now: I am very anemic. While this is information that concerned doctors have been warning me about since the age of 16, it’s usually something I ignore like the stubborn idiot that I am. For example, it’s probably not good to be gasping for breath after climbing one flight of stairs, or blacking out whenever you stand up at work. Believe it or not these are symptoms that I’ve learned to live with over the years, and even laugh at. However, once my running became affected, I decided to start taking better care of myself. According to the doctor, my current hemoglobin level is 7. A normal level is 12. As he put it, I’m running on a half-empty tank of gas.

It’s no secret my race times have drastically slowed in the past year. I used to blame my accident (that whole getting hit by a car thing), but now I’m not so sure. I think it’s more of a combination of health, too many long distance races, running alone, and abandoning speed work and strength training. I’ve been unhappy lately with my slow running and that ever-increasing number on the scale, so it is no wonder that this article I read resonated with me so well:

Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter

In the above article, the author talks about how years of running marathons and eating as though she could justify every empty calorie lead to a steady weight gain, and slower race times. She took charge of her health and running progress by training for a mile race (yes, one singular mile), eating cleaner, and training with weights. Obviously, training for shorter distances means more sprinting and speed work, which we all know burns more fat. She lost the weight and beat her mile goal as well.

I was completely inspired by her progress. Why had I been treating marathons as the be-all-end-all of race distances? A fast 5K, and even mile, takes lots of hard work and training as well. Also, there’s no way I’m ever going to get faster running slow, long, distances every weekend. I made a goal then and there to train hard for a 5K. My 5Ks lately have been disastrous, with average times around 29 minutes. I’m thinking a realistic yet challenging goal would be sub-26 minutes. I’ll be following this plan by Hal Higdon to get myself there, as well as incorporating more weights in my week, oh and taking my iron pills like a good girl:

Hal Higdon’s Advanced 5K Plan

Being the impatient and impulsive creature that I am, I decided to start working towards this goal NOW, instead of waiting until next spring/summer when there are literally 50 5Ks any given weekend. Thanks to RunMichigan.com, I was able to not only find a winter 5K that’s exactly 8 weeks from now, but also a mile race in Milford on November 28th as well! Granted, both are marketed as more “fun” races, but I’ll be having fun kicking so much ass. You know what else is fun about smaller distances? Smaller registration fees! I’m sure my boyfriend is happy to hear that.

But Laura! Don’t you have two winter marathons to train for as well? Yes, unfortunately. I figure I can train for both by still doing a long run on the weekend, but not killing myself mileage-wise during the week. Hopefully the extra speed work will contribute to faster marathon times as well.

I’m excited for a new and refreshing running goal. If all goes well I can work towards a 5K PR in 2016, and get back that running mojo that once allowed me to run a 50-minute 10K on a 85 degree day in August (I still can’t believe I did that!!). Also, if I sign up for any more full marathons for 2016 you have my permission to stab me repeatedly.

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Head Like a Hole

You know how normal people will start a meal and then quit when they’re full? Can you tell me what that’s like? I’m afraid my life-long attitude toward food can be best described through the following Louis C.K. quote: “The meal isn’t over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.”

I’ve always had a gluttonous appetite. My tendency to polish off an entire row of Fig Newtons in one sitting, or an entire DiGiornio pizza by myself, made my childhood fat and miserable. I lost weight due to an extreme growth spurt in middle school, only to gain the weight back due to a new-found Ben & Jerry’s obsession. Finally, at the age of 15 when I tried on a size 12 bathing suit, I decided something had to give. I went on a diet, started running for the first time in my life, and went down to a size 6.

Sounds like a success story, right? Wrong. No amount of weight loss can erase a lifetime of being taunted, ridiculed, or made to feel ashamed for being overweight. The emotional damage carried with me as a teenager and lead to my first eating disorder- binge eating. In order to stay skinny I’d starve myself most of the time, and then binge like crazy when I couldn’t take it anymore. My mother had a habit of overbuying when it came to food so no one in the house really noticed. I estimate that during this time I would polish off thousands of calories in just a few short hours. How did I not gain 100 pounds? Well, I’d spend two hours on the treadmill  and not eat for a day or two afterward. It all evened out in a sick way.

The binge eating fell by the wayside in college when that void was filled by binge partying instead. I met my future husband, we graduated and got married. I was eating like a normal person around the time of our wedding, but afterwards the “happy” weight starting creeping up on me. None of my clothes fit and I hated seeing myself in photos next to my thinner friends. Instead of saying to myself, “Perhaps I should lay off of the frozen pizza and late-night snacking,” my solution was bulimia.

It started off as “maintainance”, throwing up a few times a week after a particularly large meal or if I ate something decadent. It soon evolved into throwing up after every dinner, and not long after that, throwing up everything I swallowed. I was soon bingeing and purging up to four times a day. I lost 20 pound in three weeks. Needless to say, people began to notice and ask questions.

After over a year of lying to my husband, family, and friends about my frail appearance and frequent bathroom visits (not the mention my hair falling out and the rash around my mouth, lovely!) I decided enough was enough. It’s been two years since, and while I still struggle with the beast of bulimia, I can happily say I have it mostly tamed. Running had helped tremendously- you can’t run on an empty tank. And though I sometimes look in the mirror before a run and focus on the cellulite and flab I see in the mirror, I always see a strong, healthy, and happy person in the mirror when I return.

We live in a culture of body shaming, and I don’t see that ever changing. I need to learn not to let my negative body image hold me back from enjoying life. I am happy that I am able to write about my eating disorders as something in the past and not in my present. One of my proudest moments in life was crossing that finish line at last year’s Charlevoix Half Marathon, and as I posed for photos with my family afterwards, never once did it cross my mind, “Do I look fat?”

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