Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Soggy Half Marathon

So Sunday I ran the US Half Marathon through the nicest parts of San Francisco and inadvertently participated in a wet t-shirt flash mob. After weeks of sunny days, mother nature decided to rain exactly during my half marathon. It was 13.1 miles of pouring rain. The course itself was great because it was a longer version of the Presidio 10 I did this spring. There's always a rush you get out of running across the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, if I had windshield wipers on my glasses I would have gotten that rush, otherwise I could only see about ten feet in front of me. The rain was a pain in the ass in other ways as well. It added another five pounds of weight on me both in the form of wet clothes and wet shoes. The clothes got bad in mile 10 when my shorts began to slide off me and I had to periodically pull them up. And whenever I would step into a puddle, my shoes would get waterlogged. Oh, and at mile 4, my iPod gave out so I just running with no tunes.

On the plus side, I didn't have have problems with overheating or getting thirsty. And surprisingly, I has plenty of kick for the end. I am surprised I didn't just cramp up with being wet and cold but I didn't.

Being a wet, sodden mess, I was happy to just finish the race. In the end, I did just fine. I finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 59 seconds for a pace of 9:56/mile. That placed me firmly in the middle of the pack - 1292 out of 2976 runners and 316 out of 499 male runners between the ages of 30-39.

Three days later, I'm feeling pain free and am looking forward to running a 10K with my family on Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Enough with the rice and beans

So Feministe puts this very interesting post linking to a New York Times slideshow about what $1 will buy you. It's interesting and sad to see that you can buy a crappy meal with processed food or you can buy...ten organic blueberries. Should be eye opening for folks to see how your money goes and how badly supported non-conventional farming is because they need to charge that much.

BUT THEN....the comments. Oh the comments. The first comment brings out the tired tired tired point that rice and beans are cheap and nutritious. I just have to say. SHUT UP ABOUT THE RICE AND BEANS. Fine they got you through that two week stretch between paycheck entitlement asshole but please, once you got paid, I'm sure you went out for sushi or the Whole Foods salad bar. Because seriously, noone's gonna live on rice and beans for the rest of their lives. And condemning poor people to a life of rice and beans is a pretty asshole move.

There were time where I did live on a food stamp budget and I ate really well. But few people were in my position. I lived in a group house where we shared food. We shared chores so the same person shopping for groceries was not the person cleaning toilets. We had a list that the grocery person check the fridge and pantry to see what we were missing. Most of the folks had a car we could use to get the groceries. AND the prices at the Chevy Chase Safeway was like 30% cheaper than the SE Safeway.

For people of privilege to give these rice and beans prescription to low-income folks is just insulting. Folks may be poor but they deserve more than rice and beans. Oh and by the way, as a diabetic, rice and beans suck because they are high on carbs. So suck it clueless people.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sugar free along zabaglione

My biggest fear about being diabetic (apart from losing a limb or going blind) was having to eat sugar substitutes. As someone who believes in healthy eating and not eating chemicals, that kind of bugged me to the core. It took about a week to get over that because I like sweets and I like my eyesight and my limbs. So Splenda it is!

I wouldn't recommend sugar substitutes for everything. Basically because a lot of desserts have so much flour in them that they end up being crazy high in carbs even with a sugar substitute. So that leaves things that don't require much flour. I've had massive success with pavlovas and now I've made a pretty kicking zabaglione.

For those of you know familiar with them, a zabaglione is the base for a tiramisu - egg yolks beaten with sugar until they are pale yellow and the consistency of cake batter. I think the traditional zabaglione is made with marsala wine but you can change up the liquor. The zabaglione is then given more structure with mascarpone and lightened with whipped cream. Splenda is a great substitute and the tang of the mascarpone really covers up the icky aftertaste. I will say though, with egg yolks and whipped cream, this is not diet food.

Sugar Free Almond Zabaglione

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of almond liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup of baking Splenda (this is lightened to be a 1 to 1 substitute for sugar)

8 oz mascarpone (or cream cheese if you are in a pinch) at room temp
1 cup of heavy cream, whipped

With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer (or use your regular handheld), mix the first four ingredients until it's a pale yellow and looks like cake batter. Add the cheese and mix until perfectly blended. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cheese mixture to lighten and then fold in the rest. Serve with flaked almonds on top.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A great blog entry on Fat Hatred

This is so my story:

"She was convinced, absolutely convinced, I was in terrible health because of my weight. EVERYTHING was brought back to my weight. She blamed my hay fever on my weight. When she told me — not asked me, told me — that I was short of breath while climbing stairs and I responded that I was a runner, so no, she told me running was bad for me at my weight."

Just read it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Fat Acceptance Needs to Happen Now

A friend of mine recently got diagnoses with pre-diabetes. Looking at her numbers, they are actually better numbers what a lot of diabetes counselors would want their clients to achieve. She admitted she went to her doctor to talk about weight loss earlier so the doctor was on high alert for signs of "weight related" complications. As someone living with diabetes, I responded that it's always better to get into shape BUT her numbers were actually decent. Not great and not something to blow off but decent.

The big part of the conversation was about unpacking the fat hatred and fear she was experiencing. My friend is a big woman. She doesn't exercise regularly. And i don't know what she eats on a regular basis. My response was - it's always good to make healthy changes in your lifestyle no matter what you weigh. Your health will improve if you exercise more, eat more fruits and veggies and less starches and fats. But NONE of that guarantees you will lose weight.

Right now, I am about 12 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest weight. My blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels are what you see in athletes. And guess what, I am an athlete. My BMI stays in the obese range and I'm an athlete. I run 18 miles a week. I am preparing for my first half marathon after running a 12k and a 10 mile at an 8:30 minute/mile pace. And I'm fat. And that's not just my story. "STEVEN N. Blair, one of the nation's leading experts on the health benefits of exercise, is short and fat. Those are his words. The president and chief executive officer of the Cooper Institute, a nonprofit organization in Dallas dedicated to research on the relationship between living habits and health, Dr. Blair, 65, is 5-feet-5 and weighs 195 pounds. He's also a dedicated runner who habitually takes off for an hourlong jog. 'I'm a short, fat guy who runs every day,' Dr. Blair said in a recent phone interview. 'I've run tens of thousands of miles over the past 40 years, and in that time I've gained 30 pounds.'"

I asked my friend, "how would you feel if you could run 10 miles easily and regularly ran 18 miles a week and you were exactly the same weight?" Her response was - "pretty pissed."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More inspiration - Keeping it up

So I'm reading this tomatonation advice entry about someone who is beating herself up over having a letdown after a marathon and not exercising for a while after that. Suffice to say that she is being too hard on herself and giving yourself rest is the best thing you can do. I take a week off after a race and the next week I only do low-impact like the elliptical.

But key to this is making sure your goals are YOUR goals. One commenter recommended this guy as someone to keep folks inspired. I read the website and I am impressed. I am proud to be a penguin, knowing that I will be firmly in the middle of any pack I run. BUT I do better with each race and, on occasion, in costume. He makes a great point thusly, "We—the few, the proud, the plodding—very often train as much or more than faster runners. At a blistering twelve (or even ten) minute pace, a fifteen mile week represents a major time commitment."

As I've said before on the blog. It's about the doing. Our bodies are temperamental things. They retain weight. They react badly to medication. They get injured. Sometimes we can't control the body but we can control the mind. We can decide to do something. And we can decide to keep doing it. As I stay on this journey and get off course, the times I slack off means I get to start again. And in true penguin style I think this way, "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

In the words of Gloria Gaynor - "It takes a lifetime to become the best that you can be. There's no return and no deposit, so you have to like what's in your closet."

Monday, June 21, 2010


So today I went for my yearly opthamologist appointment to check on the health of my eyes. For those of you longtime readers, you may remember that the way I found out about my diabetes was an eye doctor found the beginnings of blood vessel damage in my eyes which led to the diagnosis. A year and a half later and a whole lot of better numbers I go back to the eye doctor and he says..."Are you sure you're diabetic?"


Unlike a lot of chronic disease, I actually REVERSED the effects on my eyes and there's NO TRACE of damage to my eyes.

Well that makes the running, the food long, the carb counting and the classes worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tip of the Week - Work events

Ok. Here's a quickie. Never go into a work event hungry. So if you've got that fundraiser at 7:00 pm. Go to your stash of fruit and nuts and have some. Because going to a buffet of appetizers hungry is as bad news as going to the supermarket hungry.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bay to Breakers 2010 - Kicking Ass

So Bay to Breakers. This year I couldn't get it together to do a costume. It would have been great if I did because it was COLD. Andi Never get cold. But being in a wet t-shirt for hours means you are a little more vulnerable to the elements. The funniest thing that happened was seeing a dead ringer for Sarah Palin - bouffant hair, lipstick, glasses - asking for her picture and her asking me why. She wasn't in costume.

I thought I did fine. Probably better than last year but not by much. I was way back from the start line because my shuttle bus was late so the time one the clock was 1 hour 12 minutes (a little under a 10-minute mile pace) but I know it took me four or five minutes to get to the starting line. Hayes street hill kicked my ass but the rest of the course was flat. My first three miles ended up averaging 10-minute mile pace (because I was walking the first half mile because of the crowds. I really cranked it up the last half. My mile five and six were something like an 8 minute mile. I slowed to about a 9 minute mile pace in mile 7.

And the verdict? I finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 40 seconds. That's an 8 minute, 56 second/mile pace. Sub 9!!!!! I would have never guessed but then again. Last year, with significantly less training I did 9 minute, 11 second pace. ROCK ON! It's seems to be a theme this year that I can't really gauge my speed and races seem to be a tougher slog. It feels like I am running slower but clearly I am not.

The funny thing is that the world is running faster because I finished 2875 out of 24303 runners and 726 our of 3201 people in my age group. That's worse than last year but it's all about the finish.

It's such a badly organized race. I will do next year for the 100th Anniversary and that's it. The logistics blow. I did a park and ride shuttle from Emeryville to SF that would drop you off at the start and take you back at the finish. Sadly, it was a mile walk to get to the damn pick up from the finish line AND it didn't leave until noon. Which meant I was sitting there in a wet t-shirt for two and a half

The hidden costs of Bay to Breakers is insane:

Parking for Park and ride - $10
Shuttle - $22
Replacement t-shirt to not get hypothermia - $15
A runners' fanny pack (because there's no bag check in) - $20

The best costume by far were two guys dressed as homophobe and hypocrite George Rekkers and his "travel companion."

And Jersey Shore references were thick on the ground at Bay to Breakers. Case in point:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wish me luck!

Bay to Breakers is tomorrow. I am gonna kick Hayes Hill's ass!