Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I have never been fat.  

I have never tipped the scale at more than one-forty and I have never lived with the notion that I am chubby.  And yet, as I have mentioned before, I am terrified by the prospect of gaining weight. 

I do not know where that comes from.  I know, through shameless family gossip, that some cousins have either starved themselves or forced themselves to throw up in order to control their weight.  I know that other members of my family have struggled with the consequences fad-diets and sedentary lifestyle choices throughout my whole life.  But as I already said, this has never been an issue for me.  I have never had much to complain about with my body.  By most people's standards, I look alright.

I am writing today's post because of something that has been bothering me.  About a month ago, a man at work commented that it looked like I was losing weight.  He said he noticed that I was drinking Slim Fast in the morning, and it showed, and "congratulations."  I was totally taken off guard.  I drink Slim Fast in the morning as a breakfast supplement because I am too busy/lazy to make breakfast.  About a week passed and he said it to me again, this time just smiling and saying "so skinny!!!"  Now I understand this was meant as a compliment, and I will not even get into the many reasons why I felt this was inappropriate, but it bothered me so much.  Workplace inappropriateness notwithstanding, I felt self-conscious. 

"Should I have been trying to lose weight?  Did I look fat before?  Do I look too skinny now?  Are people talking?"
It  makes me wonder why we feel this is the kind of thing that is ever okay to point out.  I could just blow the entire incident off as a guy who does not yet know where the line is in the workplace, but then a female co-worker said the same thing to me today.  I just smiled to myself and told her "Yeah, I don't know, I've heard that recently..." and trailed off.  I started to think how acceptable it would be to say to a woman "Your boobs are looking bigger.  New bra?"  I could not imagine it going over well.

It also makes me wonder where this insecurity comes from.  I looked at myself and tried to convince myself that I am not losing weight, that I do not need to lose weight, and I still think there is a nagging presence in the back of my mind that I can never be too skinny, and I cannot, under any circumstances, gain weight.  Did I get this from childhood?  I have been in sports for as long as I can remember, I took dance classes and was a high school cheerleader, and I have kept up my active lifestyle with running ever since college, and I remember my whole childhood not having any real issues with weight gain.

Somewhere along the line for me it became a paranoia, though.  And I wonder if it was the fact that my weight was a non-issue that made it an issue.  Like my mother and friends and ballet instructors all told me I had a good body, and my friends started to complain about their bodies, and suddenly I had this enormous pressure-- and the knowledge of what that pressure did to my family-- that turned into a fear of gaining weight.

That sounds so dramatic, but that is the best I can come up with.  And I need to attribute this insecurity to some trauma, right?

In any case, back to my point, I think we need to stop commenting on each others' body types all together, especially with unsolicited remarks, however harmless they are meant to be.... 

...because there are so many amazing qualities a person can offer the world that have nothing to do with the impermanence of their body type or number on their scale...

...because too much time is wasted in life with the stress over having the perfect body, and perpetuating that obsession is both inconsiderate and ignorant...

...because the circumstance under which someone is either gaining or losing weight may not be positively perceived or in their control...

...and because you never know how your comments affect a person's view of themselves, and what kind of blogging turmoil they will end up in as a result.

Thanks for walking through this raw neurosis with me.  Next time I plan on writing about a cool race I am entering next month!

Monday, March 26, 2012

back in the training shoes

Monday, March 26, 2012
4 miles
66 degrees

I just want to start this post out by saying that I have finally begun to run again after over 3 months of no training and I am so excited to have run again.  I did a couple of 2 mile runs a few weeks ago, but this was the first workout that I timed, and I felt really good running it, too.

I switched some things up so that I can hopefully be a little more proactive in preventing injury in the future.  I am wearing a pair of shoes that I have owned for nearly a year, but only wore on occasion before the injury.  I wear them when I run but I am also wearing supportive shoes when I am at work.

Translation: no more high heals for me.  

But all-in-all I've been very blessed to have a fairly easy recovery and hopefully an easy transition back into running.

I do not have much more to say about running, at least not tonight.  I have had plenty on my mind, but I just wanted to write a quick update on my recovery and re-commit to writing more regularly now.  I'm very excited for what the next few weeks will bring.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Saturday, February 18, 2012
bike ride-- 12.71 miles

Today I rode my bike for the first time since I bought it.  It had a flat tire that I had to change, so for the first two weeks I owned it, it sat on my front porch.  I changed the tire a couple of days ago, and today I decided to get off my lazy butt and ride around.  I hopped on the bike path near my house and peddled in one direction for a half hour, then turned around and peddled back.  It felt as though I could have possibly gone further, but I really did not want to push it because I have not been working out regularly in over two months.  What I did not realize until after I mapped the ride out when I got home was that it had a subtle decline the entire way to the turnaround point, therefore it was a slow incline all the way back home.  That was a little painful.  My heart was racing the last mile.  It felt really good, though; I felt like I was doing something athletic again.

I still have to fight the urge to run, even though I have begun developing some temporary substitutions.  That's what they are though: substitutions.  I know I have not really committed and given yoga and bicycling a chance, but there is a strong desire in me to run, and I have not yet been able to shake that.

I was watching Moneyball today (which was a fantastic film by the way) and just seeing a sports movie made me want to run out my front door.  Even though my foot does not usually feel uncomfortable, I can still feel the injury and it takes every bit of the small part of my brain that is reasonable not to say "whatever" and just go run.  Never mind the fact that I am still injured, but since it has been so long since I've run, I guarantee I would be disappointed when I'm completely exhausted after a mile... and in excruciating pain.

Aside from bicycling and running and injured feet, I have had something kind of major on the brain.  I feel like this roadblock in my running truly aligns with a very real roadblock in my life: approval.

Before I move forward, let me back up.  Things have been truly amazing in my life lately.  I am moving forward in my career and personal life and getting over all the hurt that last year brought.  My half-marathon kind of represented that for me: a triumph that was a long time coming.  But there is a big hurdle that I have yet to even address, and that is my need for approval.  It is a modern idol of sorts that I know I am far too invested in.  I need the approval of others.  In my job.  In my friendships.  In my life.  I need others to think I'm great, beautiful, cool, smart, nice, etc.  It colors everything I do.  Last summer I had a long conversation with my pastor's wife about what a hard time I was having with my divorce.  Exasperated, I said "...and to top it off, I know some day I'm going to have to explain to some guy's family that I was married for a short time and hope they don't assume that I can't commit to a healthy relationship and..." and I realized then what I was really saying was "I may not need to please my ex anymore, but I need to please someone, and it isn't myself and it isn't God."  My pastor's wife didn't even have to say anything.  I knew and she knew that this was a problem for me.

The issue, aside from what I've just laid out, is that I have no idea how to work on this flaw of mine.  I know if I don't, I won't be able to have a healthy relationship, because the only type of person that wants to be with a person who is desperate for approval is someone who is hungry for power and control... and I know where that ended up.

So here's the parallel: my life came back together again over the past year, and although everything is seemingly great, I know there is this trait of mine that will put me in the exact same paralyzing position if I don't fix what's broken, deep inside.  I ran this 13.1 mile race and I felt great, accomplished, and then it became clear that I couldn't keep doing that if I didn't fix this fundamental part of my body: my foot.

I want to keep talking about this, but this post is getting a little long, so I'll close for now by saying that the first step I'm taking towards repairing my running life is staying off my foot.  I hope to wake up early tomorrow and do another long bike ride.  I wish I knew an easy first step to getting over this need for approval.  Maybe it'll come to me on my next ride...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I want to write a quick post about some changes I'm making.

It seems that life's forward momentum provokes some changes in our routines that we would not have planned for ourselves, but have happened nevertheless.  Because of my foot injury, I have been posting silly entries on Pheidippides in an attempt to entertain myself and fill in the void that used to be running.

I want to redirect Pheidippides back towards running, spirituality, and personal growth, but I have become especially interested in and entertained by some short video-diary type-things I've been doing and I think I want to continue those posts.

So the time has come to create a second blog.  If you are at all entertained by me musing in front of my computer, then definitely check out the deputy to watch me in action.  Otherwise, I hope you are relieved to know that I'll be keeping the sophomoric entertainment to a minimum on Pheidippides.

Also, I know there are more people that follow this blog than there are listed publicly, so I figured out how to change the settings so that anyone can comment on my posts, even anonymously.

I am excited for what these changes will bring for both Pheidippides and the deputy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

am i a hypochondriac?

First things first.  I want to know why I have written "until next time..." on like three of the past five posts and no one has called me on it.  Talk about cliche.  I'm thoroughly disappointed in my writing.

Okay.  Now.  On to my post.

It is February.  So that means spring is on its way.  That also means that my least favorite time of year is also on its way.  It's the "Noel is sick for months on end because of pollen and mold" season.

For most of my life, I have had to suffer through springs and summers with seasonal allergy symptoms.  It started when I was a toddler and my mom said I always had a runny nose.  Then when I was a preteen I had chronic headaches.  As in all the time.  By the time I was a teenager, it typically just manifested into cold-like symptoms once or twice a year, usually at the beginning of spring and end of summer.

But as I have gotten older, it has gotten far worse.  First, I have noticed that I can physically feel when I'm having an allergic reaction almost as soon as I encounter an allergen.  It takes no time as all to feel my eyes burning and watering, my ears itching, my nose running, and my throat swelling up.  Second, I am now allergic to dogs and cats.  I love animals and I actually have a dog, but read hives to see what that love has cost me.  Third, and most crucial, I have actually experienced the cold-like symptoms for months at a time, costing me dearly in sick days at work and fun days outside of work.

Spring of 2010 was the worst season; I was sick all the time, eventually just trying to power through because I did not want to use all my sick/vacation days, I lost my voice several times (which sucked in particular because I was scheduled to sing the national anthem at the U.S. Airways Center for a Phoenix Mercury game that June), and I generally felt miserable.

So now it is February 15th and I am nervous as ever that I will be getting sick this spring.  I already had a cold in January that lasted about a week and left me with no voice for over a week.

Add to that: I work in some pretty questionable environments.  Since I do home-visitation social work, I sometimes start to experience an allergic reaction as soon as I walk into someone's house.  One client called me last week to tell me that they found mold in their apartment.  I was nervous to go, but I did not want to go to my boss and say "we can't bill for this family because I haven't seen them because I'm afraid of their mold spores."  That seemed like a reflective conversation that I did not want to have.  So I went as planned to the appointment.

But later that day and the next, I had a wheezing, gasping cough.

I wanted to write this post because I feel like that cough may have been in my head.  Like I was so nervous about breathing in mold spores and being sick that I made myself sick.  Plus I am still getting over that cold.

This is such a beautiful season in Tucson, yet it is so miserable if you have a swollen throat or runny eyes or are sleepy all the time.  I hope I'm not a hypochondriac.  It is just one more thing to stack on a heaping pile of emotional issues that I just can't handle.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

my dentist.

Okay kids, I have another video.  This one has some language in it that is not for younger audiences.

Enjoy.  I'll try to write more meaningful stuff soon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I turned 26 yesterday.

I have to say, it was a pretty fun filled day.  I woke up early and got my hair cut.  Nothing can set the tone for the day like a haircut, so I was really rolling the dice on that one.  But I have to say, it was a success.  I've been growing it out from a super short little pixie cut for a year and it finally looks the way I want it to look.  Success.

I went to my very first yoga class next.  I have been practicing yoga for about 9 years now, but I had never been to a class before yesterday.  I think there are a few reasons behind that... one is that I was a dancer for many years, and being a dancer, I am very competitive and very perfectionistic.  So being in a room full of people trying to learn something was so intimidating to me that I actually spent years doing it on my own by reading in books and following videos in order to learn how to do all the poses.  Then, even after I starting feeling comfortable with and even good at yoga, I still preferred to stay in my house and do it because yoga brought me a peace that I just did not think I was going to get in a class full of people.

I made the decision to go to the yoga class because I really wanted to get a good workout despite my foot injury.  I have to say, I really liked it.  I picked a class that was an intermediate level and I felt competent as well as challenged, which was perfect.  I actually felt so exhausted at one point that I had tears in my eyes, but it felt really great to be in such a supportive environment where I felt encouraged to keep going even when I was mentally exhausted.

The yoga teacher talked about "staying in the eye of the hurricane" which kind of meant focusing on balance and peace and calm.  She said that sometimes life starts to feel like the arm of the hurricane: the most chaotic, furious, and destructive part of the storm.  And in yoga, and in life, you have to focus on centering yourself back in the eye.

There was only one part that I would have left out at home, and that was that I had to grab the person's ankle next to me and he had to grab mine.  And he was SUPER sweaty and I had not painted my toenails either.  It was uncomfortable.  I was having a hard time staying in the eye of the hurricane at that point.

After yoga, I took Levi on a walk and then we strolled over to Jenny's house to grab some tea at the Raging Sage.  Jenny got Levi and me presents (we decided that even though Levi's adoption paperwork estimated his birthday at February 20th, we would celebrate on February 4th).  Levi got a squeaky toy and treats.  I got a necklace and a little knick-knack for my wall.  Here's a picture of us posing with our toys:

After coffee I did a little shopping then went to church.  Then my friend Laura picked me up and I went to dinner with a bunch of friends from all different parts of my life.  It was so awesome to see friends from all parts of my life come together and really click with one another.  After dinner we kept the party going at Che's Lounge.  I had so much fun.  The night came to a close and I went to bed a happy 26-year-old woman!

Levi was also very happy to be turning 2.

This was a really great way to begin a new year in my life.  I know I've hit some rough times and some obstacles that I hadn't anticipated, but this birthday was a reminder of the people who love me, the things I can accomplish, and the joy I am capable of feeling when things feel like they are desperately spinning out of control, right into the arm of the hurricane.

So excited to start this new year...