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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Warning....aka this is not about training but about life...

so this is my blog but yes it is on the Internet so it is available for anyone to read.  Sometimes I chose to just write about my training, both for DR and for ultras, other times I choose to write about things I struggle with or things I am just trying to wrap my head around.  So far I have not received any backlash and honestly I don't really think there are many people out there reading this....still I worry that this is a post that people will read and not have a positive reaction.  I may offend some, and I am not one of those people who go about trying to "live outrageously loud" so I don't like to make people uncomfortable and stir the pot...I am the kind of person that believes in stirring my own pot, but leaving other peoples spoons alone....unless of course they poke me with their spoon..but this post is not that kind of post...


I feel the need to get this out there because it seems like something someone should be talking about, not necessarily me as I do not have the expertise, nor the impartiality needed to create a dialogue for change...and yet I need to talk about this and feel I have some right to do so because of my personal experience.

I will not mince words but put it right out there.  I have a question for you...how many women have been sexually abused at some point in their life and now struggle with some form or another of disordered eating? Based only on the men that I have dated from age 36 to the present 4/4  men have in past relationships and or present relationships (post me) dated, married or are presently dating or engaged to women who have been sexually abused and as a result now have some form of disordered eating, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder.   4/4!!! These four men have had in just their forties dealt with at least two partners who were abused and dealing with serious disorders. 

If my pool is just the men I have dated in the last 8 years...what if I had the chance to add in ALL the men I have dated?  4/4 has stopped me in my tracks...

After speaking with these men I have come to some conclusions based only on their experiences.  For these women the abuse seems to have happened prior to true adulthood (14 through 23) and yes I don't consider the college years to be the epitome of adulthood now that I could realistically have a college aged child. None (that I am aware) involved any criminal complaints being made against the perpetrator and most of these women did not tell family members (and if they did it was when they were well into adulthood).  All of the perpetrators were known to them friends and or friends of the family .  One of these men actually dated a women between me and his present girlfriend  who was also abused and spent 6 months in a facility dealing with anorexia...so for him that means the last three women he dated were abused and suffered disordered eating! I was honestly floored when I started to put together the pieces of the puzzle together and this only after talking with R the other day who is going through a very difficult time with his present girlfriend and her anorexia. It is causing him so much heartache and I can't help but wonder what the hell is going on that the last 4 years of his life have involved loving women who could not find a way to love themselves?

So I can't get it out of my mind...If given a random room filled with women, say 100 women ages 25 through 65 what would be the percentage of women who have been sexually abused?  How many have struggled or are struggling with this fact and as a result they are unable to see themselves as they really are? They are unable to look in the mirror and see their beautiful smile but instead see something ugly and or abnormal...I can't stop thinking about it.  I brought up my sadness, confusion and in a way anger to Doc and he brought his IPAD to bed and started to look up the connection between disordered eating and abuse and I was shocked...I had no idea...there were many studies done on the connection between the two....and here I was for so long too ashamed to even talk about what I was going through because I thought no one would understand....and now I realize I am not alone...when I walk through a crowded room the odds that there are others just like me are the kind you throw all your chips in...the kind of odds you can't lose, and this makes me horrified and yet at the same time a small part of me feels comforted to know I am not alone. 

For those of you that have read my blog you know I am living with disordered eating..I will never be cured, but I am at a point in my life where I have some control over it.  Now I know there are others out there going through the same things I went through and I am still now dealing with... and I feel I need to talk about it...to put it out there.... to demystify it and to make it less hidden and secretive.  What is kept hidden and not discussed can unfairly bring about the heavy weight of shame and this shame can cause so much pain and sadness.  I have come to realize through much internal and external work that I have nothing to be ashamed about....still if so many women are going through this why didn't I know about it? 

I was told by a friend NOT to write this blog that it will piss people off and or worse make people feel things that I had no right to illicit in someone through the words of a blog about running and training...

I thought hard about this, and I agree with some points that this person made and yet I am still writing this knowing full well it may not be helpful.....Is this blog post the same as yelling "we are drowning" when a boat capsizes in the middle of the ocean?  People know what is going on but do they need someone to yell out the obvious?

yes I think so........

I originally decided to share my issues with BDD and disordered eating last year as a result of being mired in what had become a swamp of shame...I was just so tired of carrying the goddamn burden...I wanted it gone..I wanted to feel light...

I think I have something to say, whether or not its valuable?  I am not sure.... I know it helps me to say it here in this blog and if that is the only result of this post than it was not for naught...

I can share with others what I have been through and give,
not quite advice per say,
but maybe hope
hope that there are others who have been through this
and no they have not necessarily found a  "cure"
(I believe I will always live with disordered eating)
not a cure
but a way to live with this...
the key word here my friends being... 
LIVE.... 
we are beautiful...beautiful in a way that really matters....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Triad aka not another person running for a cause...good grief...

Yes I admit it and yes I am sorry but I have started my fund drive again for ovarian cancer research and  I know I know you may want to punch me in the nose..

There is nothing worse than the family member, friend or coworker that announces to everyone on FB, twitter or interoffice mail

Please donate money to ____ as I am training to run a 1/2 marathon wearing swimming flippers

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trailside Inn is worth the ride aka a really fun weekend at camp

First off  I have to admit that Doc and I often spend adventure weekends in the back of the truck (we have a special air mattress and tent for the truck) or in the cheapest place we can find.  Neither of us needs luxurious accommodations to enjoy a weekend away,...it is more about what we are doing when we are not sleeping that really matters. Now having said that...the Trailside Inn was AWESOME.  Friday after work I quickly grabbed my race bin and some bars and jumped into my car to make my way to Pittsfield for Saturday's camp.  I was a bit tired and now that I have to wear glasses it is much harder for me to see when driving at night...god I am not pleased with some aspects of getting old...  I got into Pittsfield around 7 and stopped in at the Clear River Inn's restaurant/bar.  I have stayed here and ate here before for Summer DR 2011 and for training.  I am not comfortable in fancy restaurants. I HAVE to sit at the bar or in the bar to truly enjoy my drinks and dinner.  I got a great seat next to the bowling machine and enjoyed quite a few f bombs of the bowling participants along with my chili and grilled chicken salad and glass of pinot noir.  I call this place a dive bar and I mean that as the utmost compliment...I always search out bar/restaurant/pubs where the locals go to hang as those are the places I feel most at ease.  Sitting alone at the bar watching Nascar highlights from 1979 was enjoyable in and of itself but even better was the people I got to gab with.

Filled with good food and good conversation I left to drive the remaining few miles to the Trailside Inn.  The racers doing the camp got a free nights stay that Friday night as the camp did not begin till 6 am.  When I got there I saw Dan G right off the bat and was so happy...he is just an all around nice guy...we ended up sharing a bunk room with a gentleman named Seamus and another guy from Canada who was lovely but sadly I forgot his name.  The Inn  is really beautiful...simple, elegant with loads of rustic obviously hand man artisan furniture of reclaimed wood...it was far better than any place I have ever stayed in...it felt like a real holiday!  I threw my stuff in the room and headed out to the fireplace living room where Don was waiting for the racers to gather for our meeting.  It ended up just being a group of us hanging and talking.  The highlight of the night for me was just sitting across from Don and gabbing about life and kids and change and searching for personal bliss...it seems Don has found his and I am so happy for him...we are both over 40 and past all the rigmarole of youth...it is now time to use what we have learned and do what we love instead of what we feel we have to do for whatever personal hurdles we have placed in front of ourselves..

I got a pretty good nights sleep but forgetting my earplugs made it difficult to avoid the strange snoring from one or two of my bed mates ; ) up at 5:15 to get dressed and attach my last minute things to my pack and we headed out to the living room.  Jane was there and a few new people as well as Andy I gave him a hug and we were out the door for a 4 or 5 mile run to Joe's place (we met Joe on the way as he jogged out to meet us) We ran on the main highway with our full packs and headlamps..it was a bit icy but I chose to run in my micropikes and lash snowshoes to my pack just in case for later...I had my ax, change of clothes, bladder, food, bungee chords extra headlamp tissues and wet wipes, first aid kit and a few miscellaneous items i just leave in there so it wasn't too heavy.  I ran up front with Andy for a bit talking about my training (running) and then ran back to run with Jane and gab with her...she had a way bigger pack then me but was hauling on the road.  We had a most excellent gab and ran a bit with her friend Jordan and his friend Dana.  I love Jane...as women in our forties we are at a different place then  younger racers who are well younger and stronger than us old biddies...we want to be competitive but we need to focus on being competitive with ourselves and not against others...there are always bigger and stronger and faster than you and the older you get it is harder to compete in DR stuff..I become a better ultra runner but note that I am losing a bit of my strength...I think both of us are alike in that we are not even mildly concerned with where we finish...we would just like to try to finish : )

I like her attitude...we also talked about our personal hurdles we are working to overcome so I felt connected to her in that was as well.  When we got to Joe's we took off shoes and made our way inside to workout ...within 5 minutes I was stripped to tights and sports bra and bare feet...300 burpees right off the bat...and I am not a fan of burpees...I was sweating...my burpees are not attractive in the least but I felt them : ) Jane's were far prettier : ) then 110 jump pull ups and then these spartan squats then Joe showed some stretches to us and then back into clothes...someone had thrown our shoes in the snow so I ran out with another guy and grabbed them.. Packs back on and off for another run to Amee farm.  When we got there Don was waiting with a big smile on his face. Our first task was to build an igloo that fit 11 people : ) we had to dig the snow out from around the greenhouses then fill buckets then make the bucket "snow bricks" then we had to build them into an igloo..I just filled and carried buckets back and forth.  My gloves were soaking wet so note to self i need a waterproof pair for things like this...we were running out of time so Jane, Laura a Spartan employee and I agreed to do an extra 500 burpees to give the guys more time...we split the 500 into 150 each. then we got back into filling buckets..when the igloo was done inside the greenhouse to grab water and Don made us do another 100 burpees on rocks..ouch...then we had the choice to do the next task as a team or an individual.

I chose individual and we found out that the task was the fill a spartan sled with 12 inch pieces of wood and then drag it to the top of Joe's mountain to give Shrek's cabin wood.  We had to cut the pieces to exactly 12 inches so Jordan Dana and I worked together to fill our three sleds and Jane grabbed her saw and started in on hers.  The four of us although individuals decided to make the trek together.  We decided to take the much longer way to the top via a trail to Joe's house then up Tweed River drive to where we chopped wood at Summer DR then straight up Warman to the cabin...the others took the shorter but in my mind steeper route by forging the river then straight up...I had so much fun with these four seriously it was so hard to pull that sled on the up but it was a great workout and the company was awesome.  We assumed that there would be more snow on Tweed River drive so we were slightly taken aback when we saw the road was pretty well plowed...pulling the sled across the pavement was wicked hard and we tried to stick as close to the sides as we could to have it run over at least some slushy snow!  This was just what I needed in terms of WDR training as running ultras does not mean I am ready for death race stuff : )  I was really pleased with my staying power for this task though and although it was tough I had so much fun with those three.  Jane needed to take off when she got her sled up past Joe's house on Tweed as she was exhausted from the long overnight camp the week before... she headed off to run the 5 miles back carrying my snowshoes the sweetie!!!

When the three of us got to the top of Tweed and we started to pull sleds up Warman well I got only 1/4 way up the 1/2 mile stretch and due to time (had to be on the road by 6 and it was close to 5 and I had 5 miles at least to run back to Trailside) I decided to fill my arms with as much wood as I could and carry it up to the cabin...Jordan joined me and Dana went another trail to try to pull his sled.  At the top we met only one other racer and Laura the volunteer.  She said we were the second and third people (Dana was right behind us with his full sled) to make it and Don had gone down to look for the others. We emptied our wood  and Laura offered to drive me back to the Inn.  I ran down with Jordan and Dana to our two sleds hugged them both goodbye as they took off with Jordan's sled for the last 1/4 mile and I pulled my sled back down the 1/4 mile to the bottom of Warman and emptied the remaining wood in a pile then I pulled the sled to Laura's car.  She threw the sled in the back drove me to the Inn and we said our goodbyes.  I stopped at the Pitstop for a vege burger smothered in peanut butter on rye bread, a bag of pretzels, a cow tail and 4 Swedish fish got gas and I was on my way home munching away happily.  Bob was home from ice climbing before me he started a fire and I was exhausted and pretty quickly went to bed.

Sunday I got in a run and the gym so I was happy happy ...Bob and I ended our individula adventure weekends lazing in front of the TV with the furry babies where I proceeded to eat everything I got my hands on : ) what else is new?

Overall I owe a big thank you to Joe and Andy and Don and the volunteers for so much fun, the other "campers" for great attitudes and to new friends Jordan, Dana, and Jane whom I feel really blessed to have met...I am thankful for these opportunities given to me and the experiences I have had...my definition of bliss seems to grow each day....

Friday, January 11, 2013

What exactly makes you a DR badass aka shut up and just do the race

I was all set to go and join in on the suffer fest that was last weeks DR camp...kinda...actually I was not that excited because well..umm...I hate water....I hate it when its warm... so freezing cold water I can definitely do without.    Still I was going to go and try to keep my bitching to a minimum.  Then I realized that I had had the GAC fatass date wrong.  It was the same Saturday as the camp...so that afternoon I made what I now know was the wise decision....I blew of camp for the run...and I was sooo glad I did....I'll admit it when it comes to water I AM A HUGE BABY...

I love DR...I love Andy and Joe and many of the other athletes that I have been blessed to meet.  I love Pittsfield, VT and Amee Farm and I love those gorgeous trails. These trails that I have run, hiked and snowshoed on are super important to me.  The PEAK 500 is pretty much my favorite race and the race I am so proud of in terms of my ultra running.  I signed up for DR in 2010 because I believed it had a lot of running and hiking involved and that is what I love....but now the race is so popular the RD's have to up the ante to get people to quit : ) So one thing to do is to include some crazy water stuff .....Summer, Winter and Team (Team to a less extent this year but I bet that will change next year) water immersion is expected.  Water is not a problem for many people but there are enough people who can't swim, or swim badly or have such low body fat percentiles that the water just really causes an issue...and for them it is the water that is their greatest challenge.

I really, really HATE water.  Seriously there is no way to express to you my absolute fear, loathing,and  panic when faced with water...warm, hot, cold... does not matter...I hate it...Summer DR 2011 forced me to learn to swim as I almost drowned in June doing the overnight river hike and those 8 pond  swims (well I learned to doggie paddle with my head lifted out of the water but that is still a form of swimming). Up until then I preferred running or walking on the beach to going in the water..I always run away when the tide comes in because I hate the feel of the water on my toes.

Now when it is an actual DR RACE I will go into the water...its a race if you want to finish you do what ya got to do...but a camp? I am questioning the intelligence of my participation in water immersions at a camp...water immersions are dangerous for me in two ways...I can barely call what I do in the water swimming and I have been hospitalized 3 times due to hypothermia during a race and this was due to continuous down pouring of rain not even immersion in water...so going in water at camp? Well that just puts the people I am with a risk because I am not really capable of saving myself if I go in a pond and have the "shock" reaction gulp water and or fall under ice or get caught in a moving river.  There is really no such thing as "training" for water immersion in that you can train your body to not experience the 4 phases of cold water immersion...yep you can go in water to test clothing out...but repeatedly immersing yourself in the pond or lake near your house all winter "training" for WDR is not worth it. You can learn to prepare yourself with the right clothing and mastering safety precautions, but there is no way you can train yourself so freezing water feels "less cold" because you have submerged yourself in it every weekend for 2 months...

The majority of people on the planet are NOT Navy Seals nor are we the caliber of athletes that Navy Seals are nor are the majority of us the genetic freaks of nature that can train themselves to a point that they can deal with cold water immersion for long periods of time without suffering (some of the people involved in DR 2013 seem to think that they are this top caliber athlete...until they actually do the race...prior to the race there is a whole hell of a lot of chest thumping. I feel that the majority of people who brag about their winter water immersion training are suffering for absolutely no reason.

Some people combat cold water immersion at WDR by buying a wet suit.   This isn't an option for me. It is fine to do so..its a free country and nothing in the DR rule book (as if there is one) says you can't compete in a wetsuit.... I just personally feel a wetsuit defeats the purpose of water immersion at DR..it is supposed to suck...and you are supposed to suffer....and if you can tough it out you finish and if you can't there is no shame in quitting... come back next year and try to maintain the suffering long enough to finish.  I have finished two DR's and quit one...no shame in that. Now this is MY opinion only and I am not telling anyone to not buy/use a wetsuit. I will not buy a wet suit for any DR event..... if I can't suffer through the water immersion at a race then I feel  that I don't deserve to be listed as a finisher...just my two cents.

I will HATE going in water no matter how many times I do it.  To finish second at WDR 2011 I had to fully immerse myself in the freezing water of a pond for 60 seconds and yep I will admit it I cried like a little girl...but I did it...I did not "train" for it I just sucked it up did it and thanked the baby Jesus profusely when it was over.....this year at WDR if I have to go in water (and I know I will) I will be absolutely, totally and completely miserable...hands down I will be afraid and cold and I may not finish due to this fear and this hatred of cold...and that is on me...if I can't suck it up I don't finish...we all have our weaknesses and water, especially cold water, is mine.

So to get to the real point of this post.  I was talking to another DR person and mentioned that at this camp this weekend if they go in water I may not go....and this person knows I can't swim and that I have problems with hypothermia.   This person proceeded to call me out saying how could I feel right about letting everyone else do all the hard work at the camp while I sit by...basically  if I decided not to do water immersions at a DR camp I was weak, not a team player nor a DR caliber athlete (side point this person said he was going to buy a wetsuit and I did not tell him not to in fact I said what a good idea... : )

Needless to say...I was incredulous and honestly hurt this came from someone I considered a friend.

My response to him went something like this:

I have nothing to prove in terms of DR. To you nor any person other than myself.   I have 2 skulls that are proof to me that when faced with difficult things I can look deep within myself and suffer through being cold, scared, and or in pain. WDR and Summer DR are not team races (unless you personally chose to run them that way staying with a friend or two for the entire race). There is a TEAM DR I did it and I was a team player and I even helped other teams so don't tell me that I slack off or I let people work hard while I sit there picking my nose...because that is absolute bullspit.  This past summer I was late to DR and I suffered for it...Joe and Andy made me do more crap along with one 3 other racers then any of the other 200 racers.. our group was 4 racers: 2 people each carrying their own  boulder while the other two racers carried a slosh pipe.  I carried that pipe with one other racer up that entire mountain while everyone else had teams of 8-10 racers to share the load..so don't tell me I am a slacker.

I love DR and when my life was filled with loss and sadness and my health was at its worse and I did not know if I would see 2011 come to an end..well I needed DR to take my mind off of all the sorrow and pain...I am so thankful to Andy and Joe for giving me something to focus on when everything else was so dark...I owe them so much and I made sure to let them know this...But now it is 2013.  I am in a good place in terms of my health and I am thankful for every day..I have love and amazing friends and a great job.  I have no dragon to slay.....

DR is fun and exciting and challenging and filled with both fear and laughter, joy and pain...but it is not the be all end all......so I will not define myself by it nor will I base my worth on whether or not I ever finish another DR...I will go and race because I love the majority of people who do this race and except the parts that involve water...it is really fun...

It really saddens me that some people now feel justified to judge other people who do DR as badass or not badass..seriously?  Are we twelve years old people?  I admit I have used the term badass to congratulate people and or motivate people but I have never ever... nor would I ever.... use that term to compare two people and say one is a badass while the other is not....that is just beyond juvenile.

I can only judge myself in terms of what I put forth..

So my response to this person who judged me and thought they were in the position to tell me what kind of athlete or person I am..I am usually not a mean person but you have pushed my buttons so here it is

before you judge me look in the mirror...

You post EVERY single thing you do to train for DR on FB
You constantly post shirtless photos of yourself carrying logs...
You bragged incessantly about finishing a DR camp....

How bout this....shut up and just go do the race...and actually finish

....then you can brag
        ....if you feel the need
                 ....about being a badass....
                         ...again just my two cents here.

Final point of this long drawn out post:
DR is an amazing experience and if you want to do it go for it!!!! It is fun and Joe and Andy are wonderful and the people you meet are some of the best people...just try not to get so caught up in DR so that you feel you are "better" then others or somehow more dedicated or worthy...

When DR was my main focus in life I was not more worthy then others I was just going through a really hard time and DR was all I had
and guess what folks.....that is just plain sad : (
if DR is ALL you have and if DR is what you are basing your worth on I am telling you from my own experience.....
its only a race my friends..its only a race....