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Back on the wagon…

Back on track…

Blah, blah, blah. There’s a thousand ways to say it, and no easy way to do it.

I love Kelly from BMI. I do, I love her. She’s the most amazing combination of sweet and tough, and I needed that today. I emailed her yesterday to see if we could have a phone chat (as much as I love BMI, it’s totally nowhere near my office and not that close to my house). She called me today and I told her everything.

She knew I’d hurt my back and that I’d had a run of bad, stupid, trivial but irritating illnesses. Today, I told her everything. I told her that I haven’t journalled in months. I go to the gym and then get sick and don’t go for another 7-10 days. I haven’t run since the end of January. I haven’t swum in over a month. I go to the gym and I walk on the treadmill or bike or do a half-ass attempt at weights. I joined a fancy new gym and my per-visit cost is currently at about $10 (I like it to be more like $4). I regularly check to see what the value of my house is and calculate how long I could live off the proceeds of sale if I got laid off from my job. I eat for no reason. I go to the grocery store (frankly, mostly for medications) and I buy crap to soothe myself because I feel sick and sluggish and tired and can’t physically relieve my stress because I’m sick but I’m gaining weight and I had to buy a new pair of dress pants. I didn’t get them hemmed yet, but everything’s tight and touching my belly and I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate my body.

I hate the way I perceive myself because I gained weight (again). I hate the way I stand there and look at crappy food choices and stay “tomorrow”, or “whatever, you’re already fat” and buy it anyway, even though I know the f’ing impact of eating that food on my body. I hate that I can’t just eat one. I hate that I have to take so many stupid anti-depressants in a day and I wish I could get off them but that way lies dark and twisty and terrible roads.

I don’t really like myself that much right now, which is probably why I’m feeding myself what I know is crap, and which I know causes cholesterol issues and liver issues and heart issues. I’m treating myself the way I feel about myself, which is to say that I really don’t matter.

That triathlon is the living embodiment of what I hate about myself right now. I had plans. I was going to do better this year than last time. I was going to train for that bike and run so that I could do them quicker. But I’m going into the triathlon probably 20 pounds heavier than last time (thank you, depression and lack of impulse control). I had two months of muscle issues or infections/viruses which have lowered my physical fitness level below what I’m comfortable with. I have no motivation to do anything. I paid for a lot of group training that I haven’t participated in, which has not helped with the 20 extra pounds.

Kelly told me that the question is not whether or not I can do the triathlon. I could do it. I could come in last but still finish with no training at all because even my current level of fitness is still pretty strong. But that’s not how I wanted to do it. I wanted to do better. And yes, there will be other triathlons, but where is there a guarantee of that? Where is there a sign saying that I’m going to lose that weight again and my infections will go away and I’ll be able and willing and enthusiastic about training?

I am a perfectionist, and this to me feels like failure. I’ve had to deal with failure a lot over the past few years. Failed relationships. Failed career plans. Failure to manage to get things to go my way. Failed fertility. Failed vacations. It gets harder to remember the things that aren’t failures when you keep chalking up the crap.

I know that this is a symptom of my mental health issues. I do. I can list off the cool shit I’ve done over the past four years: I went through the northwest passage on an icebreaker, I went to India (also a failure, since I hated it), I lived in NYC for a month, I went to Coachella, I’m going to Chicago on Thursday, a Jay-Z concert in July, and a giant music festival in August. I have wonderful friends and great colleagues and lovely employees (though I sincerely wish I never had to have another conversation with any of them ever about job cuts, cause I’m getting a little too good at it).

I need to find my motivation. I need to find a reason to care about me enough to treat my body with more respect. I’m not asking for your ideas because if you tell me to look at a picture of myself that I hate, I’m going to have to hurt you. And I like you too much for that.

I’m going into BMI on Tuesday to see Dr Freedhoff and Mark the Nutritionist and Kelly who told me today to not beat myself up, but to just go to the gym for 20 or 30 minutes every day. No need to get sweaty. Just go into the building and absorb the atmosphere. Sit in the sauna. Hang out in the hot tub. Lift if I want to, walk if that’s what works, but to go.

For Kelly, because she’s so awesome, I’ll go tomorrow. And I’ll walk a lot in Chicago. And hopefully I’ll find some motivation. Motivation that doesn’t revolve around my clothes not fitting, but gives me a reason to do something, to journal what I eat, to make better food choices. A reason.


So, in the last month I’ve had a bladder infection, an ear infection, a yeast infection (courtesy of the antibiotics for the bladder infection) and a sinus infection. I’ve had more fevers in 30 days than the past 5 years. I’ve taken so many different medications, I don’t even know what I’m sposed to be taking anymore. Hold up… I think I’m actually done all the drugs now.

Seriously. I am an infection bomb. What the hell happened to me this winter? Someone asked me who I had pissed off, but my karma bill is paid up and in a positive balance. I don’t have children. I don’t take public transit. The only things I have done differently is change gyms and start swimming.

For sure, the ear infection is from the pool. I thought I just had eczema in that ear, but no. That was just the early stages of the infection. Luckily, the nurse practitioner told me how to prevent it from coming back (1:1 vinegar and water in a little urine collection jar that he gave me, from which I will use a little dropper and swish it around my ears after swimming). I’m most excited about whipping out the urine collection jar at the pool. I think that’s going to go over really well.

On Thursday, I had just about given up. I shouldn’t have gone to work at all, but there was a presentation that had to be done and I have stuff to prove to my boss, so I went. The presentation went late, my boss asked me into her office to debrief and I was all “nope, fever, must put on PJs right now”.

You know what sucks? Fever. Also, fever when you live alone. I stopped by the grocery store to stock up on food that can be prepped in 5 minutes or less and is easy to swallow. Nothing quite like a sinus infection to raw up my throat. Interestingly, the fever made my face really raw too. Then I put on my PJs. On Friday I got up, had a bath, put clean PJs on, changed my sheets, and had a nap. Enough said. On Saturday I actually got dressed. I bought shoes and wool (there has been some scarf knitting happening, and it was very clear that I was not going to have enough yarn). I had a nap.

Today, I went for a 90 minute walk (including a short intermission at a coffee shop for my friend) with my new hiking partner (aka my former squash partner and friend, Barb). We WERE going to hike in the woods, but there was a snow storm on Friday and I can deal with frozen ground or mud, but not mud and snow. It’s just rude. So we did an urban (pavement) stroll through my hood.

I’m worried, though. I’m starting to think that I’m not going to be able to do this triathlon. That’s so much infection and back pain and infection and more infection in one winter that virtually no training has been done. And I’m very very out of shape. And heavy. And uncomfortable.

This triathlon is in 5 weeks. I’m going to Chicago for five days in that time, leaving me 30 days or thereabouts of training time. Can I achieve significant cardio fitness gains in 30 days? Is it possible to do that while still being a bit run down from repeated infection and really rather fatigued?

What do you think, readers? What would you do?

Exercise in frustration… get it? Oh, I crack myself up.

But seriously. I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because I went swimming the other night and my back started to cramp. Sure, I made it 40 minutes in the pool before it cramped up, but still. Sure, I realize I only hurt myself a month ago, but still.

I am so impatient. I want to be an athlete. I want to be good at stuff. I want to be awake, alive, alert, enthusiastic. And yet.

Right now, I’m sluggish and tired and cranky and sore. I have more days without pain than with it, but yesterday I ached all day. My massage therapist thinks my SI joint is inflamed, which started to freak me out until I read what that meant (it’s the tissue around the joint, not the joint itself, an important distinction to someone who has osteoarthritis) and it can take months, weeks, or days for the inflammation to go away.

So, I stretch. I stretched my butt at a meeting yesterday. I stretched my hip flexors in my office. I stretched my hamstrings in the house. I did baby back rotations in my bed. There’s a lot of stretching, people.

And I’m getting back in the pool tomorrow. Because it’s important that I am at least able to swim, for the love of pete. And maybe bike. Even if I have to walk instead of run, if I can just swim and bike on May 18th, I’ll feel better about myself.

This is a purely mental game at this point. A waiting game. A game of not pushing too hard, but still pushing forward.

If only I was a patient person…

Are sometimes hard to follow through on.

As predicted, it was a bit chaotic at work this week. I’m out of the office for the next three weeks, and an amazing amount of STUFF happened at the office while I was away and … yeah. Work makes me tired.

So, I went to the gym Monday and Tuesday (squash, ho!), took Wednesday off, went to the pool on Thursday, we had a snow event here yesterday and I was too scared to drive so I consider the battling of the snow piles and the shoveling to be yesterday’s activity and this morning I did not play squash, but instead dug out the end of my driveway from the last remnants (only about 18″ worth) of the snow plow, and cleared my front path.

The food this week didn’t suck. It wasn’t everything I’d hoped for. I made my prepared lunch four days, which is awesome. The fifth day, someone was going to Wendy’s, and even though it was FREEZING, her car was inside and we weren’t even going to have to put on our boots. Hello? Exactly. I think my friend was happier about my fries than I was – she had quite the shiver when she smelled them. I also ate the homemade pizza and salads all week, too. (Still not a fan of salad.)

I’d like some hero points for going to the pool when it was -25C outside, with the wind. First, getting in chilly water when it’s that cold is just shy of inhumane. Second, walking a block to the car after, with damp hair and cracking skin? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Couple of things went really well this week. First, people loaded me up with protein bars and suggestions for protein bars. This is good, because the more I work out, the hungrier I am, and a protein bar is a pretty decent ward against that. I’m constantly on the lookout for <200 calorie, >12g protein bars that don’t taste like chalk. This week, I got five just dropped off on my desk or hand delivered by friends. Awesome.

Also, I found a regular swim partner. I’m not the best at working out solo, particularly when I’m tired and cranky, but I’m really good at picking people up and going to an activity together. So, now I know I’ll be swimming on Thursday nights. I also really liked the pool at the Y, and am thus thinking about seeing about getting a base level membership.

And, I signed up for the BMI group triathlon training, at least for the bike and swim. Tuesday nights I’ll be swimming after squash, and Sunday mornings I’ll be biking. I think it starts in three weeks, so hopefully I’ll be fit and raring to go for our May 18th triathlon.

For the next three weeks I’ll be studying french, getting ready for my second attempt at the verbal french test. It’s downtown, so I’ll be able to meet friends for lunch. It’s kind of like a vacation where someone looks at you like they have no idea what you’ve just said every few minutes, six hours a day. All is well.

Next week, I will:

  1. Have lasagna for lunches, with veggies and dip
  2. Eat boiled eggs and cheese and crackers for snacks
  3. Have fajitas for dinners.
  4. Run/walk Monday, play squash and/or go to spin class Tuesday, take Wednesday off, swim Thursday, run/walk Friday, play squash Saturday, spin Sunday.

It’s all do-able.


Well, I’m a sucky blogger. It’s been almost three months since my last post. In my defence, this is a fitness and health blog, and there wasn’t really a whole lot of that going on. What happened, exactly?

  1. I went to NYC and wore the wrong shoes. Again. This resulted in me walking approximately 10 bazillion kilometres in pain (I hate my plantar fascia). With my Mum, who starts off by walking fast, whereas I warm up really slowly and then gradually speed up. Which ended up triggering more pain.
  2. I got back and decided to spend a few weeks stretching, icing, rolling, and resting. I rolled and rested, but stopped playing squash entirely due to the plantar fascia pain and didn’t replace it with anything but a half assed attempt at lifting.
  3. I ate through my stress and depression. In fact, I ate my stress for six straight months and changed medications, which was a process that really sucked.

The end result is a brutal loss of fitness combined with a sudden weight gain, resulting in Kerry feeling gross, unmotivated and wondering what went so horribly wrong.

Luckily, I have some great friends who reminded me that I actually enjoy being active and that there’s a way back. So, I went back to BMI and talked to them about what to eat when I’m working out. And I did some stuff like the Resolution Run (which I walked), and bike/run/walks at the gym with my best friend. Oh yeah, and I signed up for May’s Try a Tri, which I did two years ago, with the goal of finishing faster than last time.

Last week, I went on vacation and lay next to a pool for several days in a row. I read a book called Triathlon for the Every Woman, by a woman who writes the Swim, Bike, Mom blog. It was recommended by Allyson on the Losing it in Ottawa facebook group, which includes a number of women training for various triathlons this year. It’s a great book for chronicling the challenges involved in going from yo yo dieting and a sedentary lifestyle to completing a half Ironman. Which is insane, but it’s apparently the same price as therapy (note that I didn’t say cheaper – triathlon is freaking expensive).

I really liked the book, with the exception of how the author refers to her body. Instead of referring to it as strong and functional, she’s always calling herself fat. Look at the pictures on her blog. She’s not fat. She’s a size 10-12, and though that may be bigger for competitive triathletes, it’s pretty fricking awesome looking to me. Even at her heaviest (around my weight when she started training), she looked great. What I would give for a pointy chin like that.

Anyway, I came home from Jamaica and … didn’t go to the gym yesterday. I babysat, did groceries, and napped. But today! TODAY! Today I went to an 8:30 spin class. I was the only woman over 150 pounds in that class. And man, was it hard. The highlight was the use of a 6.5 minute long Swedish House Mafia song, until I realized that that meant 6.5 minutes of hill climbs. Also, there was a chafing incident that ensured that I will religiously follow Swim Bike Mom’s advice when it relates to what to wear on the bike.

I came home from the gym and ordered new bike shorts. Enough said about the aforementioned incident.

And I also ordered a Road ID, which is a bracelet that you wear when you’re out running or biking. Mine has my OHIP (health insurance) number on it, because I always feel like I have to have the card with me, and then I’m scared to death of losing it.

And then I went to the Running Room to get an assessment of my running shoes. See, for about 7 years now, I’ve bought shoes based solely on how they fit around my artificial toe joint, with no regard for their actual running function. Why? Because there was never going to be much running. But you know what? It’s hard to run, and I’d actually like to give myself the best measure of success.

So, I have high arches and need lots of cushioning and when I explained why (the artificial joint), the manager looked at the sales guy and said “Brooks. They’ve got that roll bar to assist in the toe off”.

Do you know what a roll bar is? I do, because it’s my favourite shoe invention ever. It’s a piece of something (usually graphite) that sort of sits between your heel and your arch and forces your foot to roll forward. That momentum helps you to toe off better. In combination with lots of toe cushioning, I’m hoping to reduce my dead foot feeling and my plantar fascia issues. We’ll see tommorrow, when I try them at the gym.

Also today, I made a shredded beef in the slow cooker. Well, technically it’s still cooking. Two small onions, 2 pounds of beef, 1/2 cup of bbq sauce. It’s going to be shredded beef sandwiches and salads for lunch this week, and pita pepperoni and pepper pizzas (seriously, I’m in love with that alliteration) with caesar salads for dinner. Snacks this week are boiled eggs, cheese and crackers, and veggies and dip.

My workout plans for this week are:

  1. Monday short walk/run on the treadmill.
  2. Tuesday rest day
  3. Wednesday spin class
  4. Thursday playing in the pool with Donna (who’s training for the triathlon but who hasn’t committed to it yet)
  5. Friday run walk at the gym
  6. Saturday squash
  7. Sunday spin class

I hope that mixing up the activities will prevent injuries. I’m going into one stressful week at work and then three weeks of language training. At the end of that, BMI’s triathlon training starts, and I’ll be into the group training of it all.

Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it  🙂


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