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Couch to 5k

3 Day Limbo

Now I know I have diabetes. But I’m not really doing anything differently until I have my first diabetes education class on Tuesday. I know that I’m going to have to start Testing on that day. (they told me to bring my little blood-testing machine) I know I will survive all that, but sometimes I get overwhelmed with thoughts of having to prick myself and draw my blood X number of times per day, like… for the rest of my life? I’m experiencing these last three days of somewhat ignorant somewhat bliss, my fingertips intact for a little while longer. I have to admit I am feeling some grief over this. But in the midst of this, I’ve also had some incredibly happy times.

The Springsteen concert on Wednesday was awesome. And last night my friend E and I went to the newly-refurbished incredibly beautiful Fox Theater to see… The Moody Blues!!! To say that it was a TRIP is an understatement. I don’t even think I could describe it in a way that would give it justice.  Crazy psychedelic graphics, and hundreds of grey-haired hippies, pulsing flowers and floating clouds, and just… groovy, man. E and I had our mouths gaping in complete disbelief. Also shock that we KNEW 85% of the songs BY HEART even though we had not heard them in probably over 30 years. It was just… trippy.  And way more fun than I’d had in a long time. It felt good to laugh and dance and be goofy.

My Couch-to-5k training continues to go well. This morning I wanted to get in a run/walk before WW and my friend M wasn’t available so I went with my trusty iPod and ended up definitely running more than my 2nd-week workout dictates. I’ve discovered that my PERFECT jogging tempo is to Cat Stevens’ “Wild World.” (la la la la la la) I really felt like I could have kept going a long time. But I had to go to my meeting and…

I lost another pound. That was a good thing. One more to TWENTY! I don’t think I’ve ever lost 20 consecutive pounds before. (just the same ones, over and over) I’ve weighed less than I do now, but after starting out at a lower weight, so I never lost that much.

In spite of the weight loss, I have to say that WW really turned me off today. The leader was talking about food substitutions, you know, to deal with still be able to eat our “old favorites.” And she said her favorite, most awesome thing was a Diet Soda Cake. I was like… wha?????? She said it basically consists of taking a box of cake mix (ie box of chemicals) and switching out the egg and oil for… a can of diet soda!!  So it’s basically nothing but a chemical cake. I’m thinking, could ANYthing be more gross than that??

And it just kind of underscored my feeling about WW really just hawking prepared foods filled with crap. The idea made me wince: a box cake made with DIET SODA? Okay, I’ll stop ranting now. But ugh.

Yesterday I went to visit another friend who is one of the most fashion-savvy people I know. She is my personal “What Not To Wear” consultant. Anyway, she was purging her closets and gave me 2 bags of unbelievably COOL clothes! Including a very adorable Little Black Dress and a cute grey skirt. Now, I have not worn either a dress OR a skirt in probably 15 years, so to try these things on and not be repulsed beyond belief was a milestone that made me incredibly happy. And really nice jeans! And a plaid jacket with A BELT!! It’s probably been 15 years since I’ve worn a belt of any kind, other than a bathrobe one. 🙂

So, I’m carrying on. I’m hanging in there. Part of me is trying on the idea that maybe this diabetes thing could be some bizarre Gift-In-Disguise.  It’s not going to let me off the hook.  Which is what I really need.

Medicine by Dr. Bruce, and Re-Adjusting

Well, the Day of Wallowing is over. So now begins the week/month/year/lifetime of trying to figure this all out. I want to thank all of you lovely wonderful people who commented, emailed and DMed me yesterday after my distressing/distraught post. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH those comments buoyed me up. Truly. I am grateful, so grateful, to every single one of you. Your comments made me well up with warmth and a sense of being truly taken care of. So THANK  YOU.

Last night it helped immmmmmmmensely to have tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. At first I really didn’t even want to go, I just wanted to – you know – WALLOW – but it seemed stupid to pass up such an event, and I am so glad I didn’t. It was great medicine.  When he started out with “Badlands” –

it aint no sin to be glad you’re alive

it gave me a big lump in my throat. And then he’d yell periodically into the audience, “Is anybody aliiiiiiiiiiive out there?” and I had to jump up and down and yell affirmation to that. I’m still alive! Hell yeah!

I got up in the morning and did my 2nd session, 2nd week of Couch-to-5k with my buddy Mary. It was a lot better and easier than earlier in the week, which was great. So it felt good to start the day with some affirming exercise.

Then later in the day I got down to some of the business of dealing with this diabetes thing.

  • I signed up for a bunch of diabetes-related blogs, forums and Tweets.
  • I registered for Diabetes Education classes, which begin next Tuesday. They said to bring my glucometer (blood testing machine). I have to say, this put a twinge of fear/resistance/oh noooooo into my heart. I had a moment of the heaviness of FOREVER. But then I breathed it through. I really do think this is going to have to be one day at a time.
  • I got an appointment to see the opthamologist this afternoon. I had just read this sobering account of Mary Tyler Moore’s (type 1, not 2) diabetes, and how her vision is really starting to go. This made me so sad and scared, so I was glad they had an immediate appointment.
  • The good news: I don’t have any “vascular complications” in my eyes.
  • The bad news: (watch out, I’m about to rant) The eye doctor asked for my family medical history. I said I didn’t know, because I was adopted. She said, “You’re adopted?? Oh, that’s so cuuuuuute!”  I almost launched into an Arlo Guthrie yell (a la “Alice’s Restaurant”) “Kill! Kiiill! Kiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllll!” but I refrained.
  • Rant #2: as if it was’t bad enough being told that being adopted is “cute” it reminded me ONCE AGAIN of the absolute wrongness,  indignity and danger of not having access or knowledge of my family medical history. Now maybe I don’t have a genetic family history of diabetes. But maybe I do. And if I do, and I had, say, KNOWN about it, five years ago, maybe I could have diagnosed/dealt with this even earlier. Who knows. But it just SUCKS so much to have no idea about these things. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG in every way possible.
  • I filled my prescription for Glucophage/Metformin and took first dose at dinner tonight.

So, I did everything on my endocroinologist’s check-off list. I bought a book about diabetes.

I’m a little thrown off in terms of the diet thing right now. I think my primary concern is figuring out what to do to keep my blood sugars “under tight control” which is what the opthamologist said I must do if I do not want to go blind. (OK! OK! I will!!!) Hopefully what is good for the blood sugars will also be good for the weight and it will all sort of work itself out. But right now I don’t have it in my to count the points or calories. I’m just sort of hanging on.

Off the Couch

OK, so due to semi-popular demand (thanks MizFit!) I am going to write about my extremely nascent running experience, specifically with Couch-to-5k, which I began… yesterday!

Earlier in the week, I did an actual 5k (walk/run combo) around the wonderful Lake Merritt. I have not circled Lake Merritt in wayyyy too long, despite its proximity to my house, and I wonder why I stayed away so long. (umm, maybe because I was on the couch) Anyway, it is a great training ground because its perimeter (I just looked it up: on the walking path, NOT the sidewalk) is exactly 5k, which is perfect.

Lake Merritt is called “the jewel of Oakland” and for good reason. It’s beautiful. It has a totally awesome bird sanctuary. It is incredibly diverse in terms of race, age, gender and socioeconomics. You see EVERYone going around the path on Lake Merritt. It made me feel so happy to be there. There were couples, and girlfriends, and tottering little old people, and babies and dogs (even though they are really not allowed) and super fit young athletes, and lots of people huffing and puffing, and just EVERYone. I went around sundown and got to see the pretty “circle of lights” light up, along with the gorgeous historical streetlamps. So it was great to be there.  I took my iPod and it took me exactly 41 minutes to go around the lake, I’d say probably 40-50% running. Not bad.

So I thought I was in FINE shape to do this Couch to 5k training, and even contemplated (HA HA HA HA!) skipping ahead to week 2 or 3 because I was feeling so ridiculously overconfident. I posted a notice on Facebook and a bunch of friends said they wanted to do it with me! (now THAT is one of the absolute COOLEST and best things about FB!)

My friend M happens to do some work in the same office as me. We met up in the office yesterday and at first we were going to go to the Lake, but realized we both were squeezed timewise b/c we had to pick up our kids at a certain time. So instead we went to one of Oakland’s OTHER jewels, ie. Mountain View Cemetery. This is where my trainer often takes me and runs me up and down the steps and ramps. It’s a beautiful and intense outdoor gym!

The first 3 sessions of Couch-to-5k consists of this: warmup walk for 5 minutes, then 60 second run, 90 second walk, 60 second run, 90 second walk. Keep going for 20 minutes.

Now. I scoffed at this workout. I was like, that is too easy! HA HA HA HA. I did come to eat those words. I was nervous. We walked from the office to the cemetery, which was more than five minutes. When we got into the gates, M set her very cool sports watch (she is a very accomplished gadget geek, which is one of the things which makes her an excellent running partner!) so that it would beep at 60 seconds, 90, 60, etc.

She said, “Go!” We set off on our first sixty. Can I just say that these were some of the LONGEST sixty seconds EVER? (dwarfed only perhaps by sixty seconds of being in active labor) I was rather stunned when it was over and I was so happy to be walking. For some reason, the 90 seconds went by quicker than the 60 – how is that? 🙂

I think we did 8 or 9 circuits of each, which was definitely more than 20 minutes, because we were late leaving and I was late picking up my kid and she TOTALLY let me have it. And I was beet red and sweaty. It had kicked my butt – the easy one! Ack!!

We do our 2nd set of this tomorrow, down at the Lake. My friend C is doing it “in tandem” on her treadmill. And I am meeting my other friend K on Sunday in San Francisco, since she was so eager to join in as well. I am happy to have all this company. But I am still chagrined that the first set of this workout was not as easy as I had imagined it would be.

Only one way to go from here, right? Onward!

My Pattern (it seems)

Now that I’ve be At This for about ten weeks, I am beginning to see a distinct pattern. I lose weight. I’m happy. Then I sort of “relax” in one way or another. I plateau or gain weight. I get bummed out. I re-double efforts. I lose weight.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Part of me says, wow, won’t you ever learn? and part of me thinks that this is just a natural ebb and flow of things, that I can’t be super ON all the time. So I’m on for a couple of weeks, get a little slacky for a week, see the results of being slacky, then get back on track.

It’s also about trying different approaches. I feel like, for now, the Mindful approach is good but NOT ALONE, and that it has to be in conjunction with some sort of Math approach (ie, counting points or calories). I just got a little too loose when I thought I was being mindful last week. Part of it was the inordinant amount of Eating Out that happened, and I think that is always a bit of a slippery slope. Part of it was that I had stopped counting in the interet of being more “mindful” but I think I don’t know my body OR the true content of various foods, for this to really allow me to lose weight right now.

I gained .8 lb at my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. BOY do I hate seeing that little “plus” sign!  It wasn’t even a full pound, but still, it irked me. I went directly to my meeting to the gym where I proceeded to spend one hour on the elliptical. At the end of the hour, I had burned 600 calories and “traveled” 5.2 miles. Plus I was sweating rivers. And I wasn’t totally burnt out or exhausted, I just felt like I’d done what I needed to do.

I am getting more into this idea of running a 5k. Does ellipticaling a 5.2 MILE mean that I can run a 5K? Next time I go to the gym I am going to do the treadmill instead of the elliptical. My feet do not particularly like the pounding that running takes, but I want to see what happens.

A few people have told me about this Couch-to-5K (isn’t that a great name??) program that has worked for them. It sounds completely do-able and sane. I just downloaded their podcasts so I can start it. And I actually registered for an actual 5K run! I have been so run-o-phobic for SO LONG (in spite of being on my high school track team, that was back in the stone age) that this is nothing short of a miracle! I feel pretty confident that I should be able to do this by May.

So my commitments for this week are to:

  • eat breakfast every day
  • bring lunch to work every day
  • only go out to eat maximum of 2x
  • exercise 45 minutes x 3 days, and 60 minutes x 3 days

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