Friday, February 29, 2008

Basketball player improves on GF Diet

I read a story that was remarkable. An Indiana high school basketball player improved rapidly (increase in 20 point games, double digit rebounds, etc) after being discovered having Celiac and changing her diet. But the improvement in her performance isn't as remarkable to me as how quickly she was diagnosed. Kudos out there to everyone working on Celiac Awareness! Someone really helped her with a quick diagnosis leading to a subsequent recovery and impressive stats. Good luck at State!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Finished 6 week program last night

Last night, I finished a 6 week training program that was on Wednesday nights. It was put on by the local bicycle shop and was a good core workout, a little spin work and followed by a quick run through the park. The weather was nice and cool, making the run one of the most enjoyable I've had in a long time -- nothing like my 54 mile bike, 2 mile run brick workout on Saturday.

One of the things I didn't elaborate on in the last posting that maybe I should have is this concept of being "solid." After I was diagnosed and starting feeling better, I started feeling more solid. It showed up in funny ways. I would accidentally break things, like tree branches or furniture, that I bumped into or kicked (where before they had always won, and I ended up hopping around with a bruise).

Last night, as I was out running, I saw a new picture of what this "solid" feeling was like -- and it involved less weight and more core strength. I know it's pretty vague, but I thought I'd share because I think its a good result.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Starving to Death

I had a couple of conversations this week that took me right back to where I was five years ago -- the week of my diagnosis with Celiac.

The first conversation was at Weight Watchers. I signed up for the core plan and was going through the whole spiel with the instructor. She was pointing to a continuum of hunger and saying "you need to stop eating before you are stuffed and not get so hungry that you get desperate."

In a flash - I remembered back to that desperate hunger when I came home for the first time and realized whole swaths of the pantry were off limits. I recall being determined I was never going to put that poison gluten back into my system. Hunger is powerful and I remember being confused and at a loss, hour after hour, meal after meal, about what was next and safe. I remember filling those gaps with marshmallows, nuts and coke -- just buying myself time so I could think straight until I could plan the next meal. The experience drained me then and just going back there drained me again. I was surprised at how powerful the effect of that memory on me was. After all - it was nearly five years ago.

Since then, over time I "got healthy" - but my weight drifted up. I think I have a lot of positive emotion associated with that weight gain. To me - the gain has coincided with my improvements in health. So the extra pounds represented being more muscular, healthier, recovering quicker, even a "safety margin" of fat in case I needed it.

Which brings me to my second conversation. I was talking to a person from my cycling class about Celiac. I told him how, pre-diagnosis, I would drink four cokes with my Beligan waffle w/ ice cream dinner, go for a run, then go out with my girlfriend for Texas pecan fudge pie a la mode and not gain weight. He asked me how that was possible, and I explained that my intestines were so destroyed by my autoimmune reaction to gluten that the food just passed through without being absorbed. Even though I was eating, I was literally starving to death.

And when I said that -- starving to death -- I received one of those lightning-flashes of clarity. It struck me that my self-preservation instinct really drove some powerful thoughts and emotions for me around food. It's absolutely silly to think that someone with my means could starve in an country with such ready access to food, but in that twisty, emotional world, not everything makes sense and not everything is logical. These feelings around food, driven by my self-preservation instinct, are some of the strongest emotions I cope with. At (blessedly infrequent) times they've made me snap, be less of a person than I should be and driven me to tears. I realized that it's taken me five years to get the emotional space to want to do something about it.

When I finished an Ironman, half Ironman and marathon in the space of four months, it exploded any idea or emotion I had in my mind that Celiac could hold me back physically any more. With nothing left to prove physically, I've been thinking that the next step in my training is to finally drop the weight. Based on the conversations this past week, I've found that this next step in my journey may be much more about my emotions and mindset than anything else.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Two days a week

I'm working out two days a week with a little stretching here and there - Wednesdays with the tri team at Bicycle World and Fitness and Saturdays with the training series. I'll just see how that goes. I've felt like adding some more cycling in-between, so I'm sure that's a good indicator that I'm getting over my workout burnout.

I've decided I'm going to start losing weight, too. I'm not sure how yet (or how much of that I want on my blog).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Set Celiac Awareness Race Date - Swam yesterday

On the Celiac Awareness front - I reserved Bear Creek for October 25 for the Celiac Awareness Run, so I can start that whole ball rolling again... On a separate note, I was reading an article in a GIG newsletter. The doctor was saying that he encourages his fully healed, asymptomatic patients to think of themselves as "Celiacs, but not having Celiac disease." I think that encapsulates things nicely, so I'll start using that convention going forward.

I must be starting to get the hang of the whole "off season" thing. Last weekend I drove SAG for the bicycle training series I'm taking, and yesterday I swam, which felt pretty good, too. I haven't run in weeks - After a steady diet of workouts for about a year and a half. I'd forgotten how much fun taking some time off can be.

I haven't decided when to start back up with 3 times a week, but I guess my body will let me know when I can't stand not running anymore.