June 29, 2008

better than great

Last October while training for the Silverman I did many 4hr 45 minute bricks. They were a 4 hr bike followed by a 45 min run. That's a decent brick. Not as long as I will be completing soon considering IMAZ is still 4 months away. Last year on these 4hr 45 min bricks I averaged 12.5 miles an hour on the bike with a 12-13 minute per mile pace on the run.

Today I completed the same brick, but the major difference was I smoked the course that I struggled with last year. In the 4 hrs 16 minutes on the bike I completed 69.5 miles. That's a 16+ MPH ave. When I got back home & hopped off the bike I felt great! No fatigue in the slightest. I then completed a 4.1 mile run in 35 minutes. Today my biggest struggle was not continuing past the time my coach wanted me to train. I wanted to keep going. I felt amazing!!! I'm really feeling confident about IMAZ. My coach has got me on an amazing program that I'm getting phenomenal results from. Things are looking good.

my wife

I realize with 2 children at home and working 72+ hrs a week the only reason I'm able to train as much as I do is because my wife picks up more than her fair share of the load at home. I'm very grateful for her & all she does. I have the best triathlon wife!

The best kind of love weakens the soul and makes us reach for more. That plants
a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That's what she give me.
That's what I hope to bring to her forever.

June 28, 2008

Growing up

My son sat up for the first time today. Last week he weighed in at 20 pounds so he can face foreword in his car seat now. My children are growing up so quickly. To quickly. In each stage I see them in I think to myself "this is my favorite stage." But I'd be lying if I didn't say I missed the last stage with all my heart.

My precious daughter has learned what things are funny. When she sees or hears something funny, she'll laugh or say "that's silly Daddy". She heard someone tell a knock knock joke recently. She came up with one of her own & now tells me it 20-30 times a day. She says "Daddy, knock knock." When I say "who's there" she replies "it's me!". She says this with so much glee I can't help but to laugh. I laugh even after hearing it a thousand times.

It's so wonderful to see them growing up. But I so desperately wish they'd slow down. I do believe my wife & I are lucky that she & I don't take for granted the times we have with our children. We even catch ourselves smiling at one another when our children are having a fit or tantrum. It's not that we spoil our children when they are bad or encourage their misbehavior. It's that she & I are realistic enough to know we will look back at these moments in fondness & miss them.

When my daughter was 6 months old I took her to visit my Grandmother in Hobbs. It was just my daughter & I. My wife was stuck in Santa Fe with work. The 1st day there I gave my princess some food that gave her horrible gas pains. I held her all night as she cried. She cried louder than I thought any child as small as her could. Consequently my daughter & I were both tired & cranky the rest of the trip. But I remember that night as one of the most precious moments of her childhood because in between her crying fits she would wad up my shirt in her tiny little hand & keep hold of me as she slept. If I tried to move or lay her down she'd feel it because she'd have hold of my shirt. So she'd wake up & start crying again. I ended up not getting up or even moving much the entire night. I just held her up against my chest, rocking her gently in my Grandmothers lazy boy chair.

5 weeks ago my son who is 9 months old now started grabbing my shirt & pulling on me until I'd pick him up. He'd sometimes pull so hard he would almost pull himself out of my wife's arms. It's gotten to the point where he's so strong that when he pulls if I don't pick him up right away he'll stretch the collar of my T-shirt. Now most of my shirts have stretched collars. I'm not annoyed by that in the least. If anything I'm proud of the fact. The shirts I wear with the ruined collars give me an excuse to talk about my son.

Today my wife & I took my son & daughter to ride the train at the Albuquerque botanical garden. While on the train ride my son grabbed hold of my shirt, but this time instead of pulling harder & more forcefully until I gave in to his demand, he crawled into my lap by himself. This was a first. A very very big first. I'm excited he is progressing as a child should be. It means he's healthy & happy. But I became a little teary-eyed when he did that. I became emotional partly because of what he accomplished. But also partly because he grew out of a stage. There was no warning, no baby steps where we could watch his progress. He simply decided he was ready to move into another stage. As usual I wasn't ready. Them growing into new stages & me getting teary-eyed seems to be a common occurrence around our house.

I had no idea when each child was born I'd become more sentimental & unable to keep my emotions to myself. I must say, the birth of my children has made me a more sensitive person. I cry much easier now than before my babies were born. My eyes fill up at the drop of a dime now, & not just when it pertains to them. Anytime. I don't think it's that I'm weaker now. I think it's that my children opened up a part of my heart that I never knew existed. My children have made me a better man. They've taught me how to love unconditionally & how to forgive. How to better respond when I'm angered or slighted against. How to give more willingly to those in need. All these things God has been wanting me to do long before my children were born. Come to think of it, perhaps the biggest change since the birth of my 1st child 2 years 10 months ago hasn't been in my children after all. Perhaps it's been in me.

Cherish all the joys in your life. But take a moment to recognize where those moments came from & give thanks to Him.

June 22, 2008

Still standing

I took my family camping at Vallecito lake Colorado which is right right outside of Durango. We left bright & early on Tuesday, and returned late Friday night. The last non-triathlon vacation we had was last year about this same time. This trip was long overdue. We mostly did a lot of relaxing & family time. Since I've been working 72+ hrs a week since last September all that family time was a very special treat for all of us. I had brought all my training gear & had every intention of training each morning. Didn't happen. Not only did I miss 4 workouts in row, I also got hit with the "big one". I've been waiting for the "big one". I knew it was coming. I didn't know exactly when, but I knew it would come sooner than later. I have lost sleep over when it would show & how I would respond. Well it hit me this weekend, & it hit me harder than I had even had even feared it would.

What's the "big one" you ask? Eventually after I've lost weight I get hit with this overwhelming need to gain weight. I don't know why, I can't explain it. The "big one" is different than all the other binges I go on for the usual reasons of stress, overwhelming emotions, celebrations, etc. I know when the big one hits because its an uncontrollable & overwhelming need that goes beyond a physical craving like usual. I'm not sure if I can explain this properly, but it feels as if my body knows it's thin & there's an overwhelming need to thicken up. As best as I can tell when this happens to me it feels like I'm trying to build up emotional padding, & the weight is my defensive mechanism. When this feeling has hit me on the occasions I had lost a lot of weight I knew without any question to just throw away all my clothes I'd bought since I'd lost weight. There was nothing I could do but ride the binges to a new all time high body weight. I've gained as much as 60 pounds in a little over 3 months when the "big one" hits me. The only thing that's been consistent when this happens is that it's uncontrollable, & I'm unable to get back on the weight loss wagon for many many months. Usually years.

This time it hit me on Tuesday. No warning. But I recognized it when it hit. I'll save you the gory details. I recognized this binge & knew this binge was different from all the other ones. This was the one I'd been waiting for, it always finds me. From Tuesday until Saturday morning I had gone from 188 to 205 pounds. Yup, your reading that correctly. A 17 pound gain in 4 days. The amount I'd gained in such a short period of time wasn't unusual. The unexplainable feeling of comfort as I got visibly fatter each day wasn't unusual. But Saturday morning was unusual. Saturday morning I was happy -no I was elated! I had regained control. I may not know why the big one hits. But I know why this time was different. I have come to realize that my uncontrollable eating is not something that is happening to me because I'm weak. I didn't beat myself up by saying to myself such stupid things like "be a man, take control of yourself & stop eating!" I realized this was something that's a part of me. I don't know why. But it's going to happen. And when it does it is something that needs to be managed. It has nothing to do with self control or inner strength.

I tried to control the amount of eating I was doing (obviously I failed there). & I didn't dwell on what had happened thus far. I tried to minimize it to as small an amount of days as possible. In that aspect I did great! You may be thinking "dude, you gained the amount of weight in 4 days that took you 3 months to lose. What are you so dang happy about?". The point is my friend, for the first time in my life I was able to stop the downward spiral. I gained control. No, that doesn't explain it well enough. I stopped the uncontrollability. Yes, that's what I did.

I'm back to eating healthy. & now I'm armed with the knowledge that I can continue to live life eating healthy most of the time and being a relatively light & fast triathlete. I'm someone who can regain control of the darkest aspect of my life. Life is good, & with Gods help I'm in the drivers seat once again! I'll keep you informed how my 2 goals of getting below 200 again & to my ultimate goal of 185 is going.

June 15, 2008

societies accepted prejudice

I'm well aware that some of my posts about my overeating aren't pretty, & that some people will be uncomfortable with my rampant & destructive overeating. I am trying to keep a promise I've made with myself- to accept responsibility while at the same time striving to shed guilt & leave shame behind I don't think I am shirking if I say I don't believe that I could have behaved any differently than I had. There is a paradox at work there. At each particular moment & with every bite of food I took in, I had a choice. By eating so rampantly, I made the wrong choice again & again. But in a broader, deeper way, I don't believe I had a choice at all. Something was controlling me.

If the exact nature of the fat disease is beyond my understanding, some of it's implications have become painfully clear to me during the 7 years I was overweight to obese. During the time of 2000-2007 I had been shunned for dates, heard unkind nick-names, I came to know firsthand about our culture's deep biases against fat people.

Like every form of prejudice, those biases interfere with our being seen as individuals. Once someone got to know me I became a person. I was Cody. But until that point was reached-if it ever was- I was a stereotype, a silhouette, a cut out with a rounded shape not deemed to be attractive.

If the bias against fat begins as a prejudice regarding how we look, it ends up running much deeper. People tend to make all sorts of assumptions about those of us who are fat. They tend to imagine that in some perverse way we have chosen to be fat & that we could be thin if only we'd get a grip & show some discipline, if only we'd rise up off our fat behinds & get some exercise. In allot of cases its not that easy. Unfat people tend to blame us for our burden even though its our burden, not theirs.

Not only do many people disapprove of us for being fat; they feel perfectly free to show it. Even now, in the 21st century, as we are finally becoming respectful of diversity in things like race & gender, we as a culture still seem to condone sneering & smirking at fat people. Unfat people seem to think it's fine to stare at what we order in restaurants & glare if it doesn't meet with their approval. Fat jokes are still a staple of so-called comedy on TV & in the movies. Fat stereotypes still abound. A fat man is likely to be presented as falsely jolly or a pathetic man. A greedy politician will nearly always have an ample belly. A hero's side kick may be portrayed as fat, for comic relief. The hero of course will be lean.

These insensitive representations of fat people are bad enough if we think of fatness simply as a human difference. They become simply inexcusable as we accept the idea that fatness isn't just a difference but a disease. Can you imagine civilized people making jokes about any other disease the way they make jokes about being fat?

Now, even if you refuse to admit that fatness is a disease let me ask you, why is it ok for our society to treat fat people like they are diseased. If your friends with one, or God forbid you date a fatty, -as if being with a fat man cast doubt on their own attractiveness. Some of the people I've debated this with say its because fatness is a choice. We are fat because we are to lazy not to be. Its true, I can, & did, just like any other fat person could, take steps to become thinner, or in societies eyes become better looking & more attractive. A person who gets cancer, isn't it their choice to get treatment. If they are unsuccessful at that treatment, could any person in their right mind make fun of them or treat them unkindly? People make that choice to treat fat people poorly all the time. I felt horrid about myself every moment I was fat. I didn't like myself. Others made me not like myself, because they acted like they didn't like me. Others treated me differently once I got fat who had never treated me poorly before. I'll never forget the day a family member whom I loved & trusted pulled me aside & told me to be a good Father & husband I needed to not be overweight. Why would he say that to me? I was still the same person I was before I had gained my weight. I feel so bad for people who are fat because of the way they are treated. Treating someone differently because they are fat, being uncomfortable having to talk to one, or being disgusted if you are on a blind date with one is a prejudice. Think prejudice is to harsh a word? Could someone imagine the uproar there would be if someone actually suggested a person of color get some kind of treatment to become less dark so that they will be more successful, trusted, or even accepted? How virulent is today's bias against fat? I recently came across a study in which a group of collage students were asked whom they would least likely marry. When the results were tallied, it turned out these students would Rather be wed to a cocaine user, a former mental patient, a shoplifter, a sexually promiscuous partner, a communist, an atheist, or a blind person than someone who is fat. Welcome to a fat persons life. That's what people hint, & even say to us everyday.

Be nice, fat people are human too. We have emotions just like everyone else, if anything we are even more sensitive than most because we are so often the brunt of mistreatment. Don't treat us differently because we're the same person no matter what we weigh. Its not healthy to be overweight, but we shouldn't be treated like we are doing something wrong.

June 04, 2008

pain is my reward

After my DNF in Nov of last year I advised my coach Pete Alfino of Mile High Multisport that I was going to do everything within my power to lose weight so that I could be a better triathlete. My coach advised me that not only does being lighter make a triathlete faster, it also makes their bodies more able to handle larger training loads. Those aren't his exact words, I'm paraphrasing here, but that's the gist of it.

Apparently Coach Alfino thinks sub 190 is light enough to reward me with some serious pain. The month of June is going to be the hardest month of training I've experienced in my life. I'm really looking foreword to it. Here's the fun that I'm scheduled for in the month of June....
6th 10 mile run
7th 100 mile bike
8th off
9th 3100 yard swim
10th 40 mile bike
11th 60 mile bike
12th 40 mile bike
13th 3000 yard swim
14th 30 min run/1hr bike/30 min run/1hr bike
15th off
16th run 14 miles
17th 3400 yard swim
18th 1.5 hrs of hill work on the bike
19th run. 2 mile warm up. 5X800 meter intervals. 2 mile C/D
20th 3300 yard swim
21st 2 hr 45 min bike with 40 minutes at threshold
22nd off
23rd 14 mile run
24th 2850 yard swim
25th 1.5 hrs of hill work on the bike
26th run. 2 mile warm up. 5X800 meter intervals. 2 mile C/D
27th 3300 yards swim
28th 4 hrs of 20 minutes easy, 40 minutes zone 3. Followed up with a 45 minute run
29th off
30th run 30 min on treadmill

After this Ironman Arizona will be like a recovery day. This will be intense! This is why I call my coach "The Mad Scientist". I've got better results in any 4 months of being trained by him that I have in any year of being coached by another coach or any 1.5 years of self coaching. On top of getting in phenomenal physical form, this month will be the month that I get to my racing weight. Coach Alfino told me he doesn't want me losing weight once we get into the big blocks of Iron training. It would be entirely to exhausting on my body to be at a caloric deficit while putting in such hard & long training miles. So after this month, wherever I'm at with my weight I'll be just trying to maintain until the November Ironman Arizona.Thanks for tuning in. Peace!

June 02, 2008

long ride & more calories

I rode my bike from Albuquerque to Santa Fe on Saturday. It was a heart rate controlled ride, keeping my heart rate at zone 2 or below. That ride is one of my favorite training rides. It totals 56.5 miles from my Mother in laws house on Eubank & Academy to my house at the State penitentiary just south of Santa Fe. It is a very mountainous ride through the East side of the Sandia mountains, my starting point in Albuquerque is 6500 feet above elevation. My destination, Santa Fe is the highest state capital at 7000 feet above sea level. Last year that ride usually took me around 4 hrs 45 minutes This year I smoked my old average getting home in 4 hrs 8 minutes. On top of that I felt allot better after I was done. Last year I'd of been fatigued from that ride, this year I felt great. Training's going great. Things are not only on track, but even better than I'd of ever dreamed.

I weighed in today at 189.2 pounds. Two tenths of a pound from my pre-Buffman & Squeaky race weight. I weighed in at 189 even after 3 bad diet days. One of my triggers for overeating is exhaustion. Another one is obviously hunger. I had both at the end of this week. Long story short I've been working way to much recently & it caught up to me throwing me into a 3 day binge. I was able to minimize the amounts I was eating somewhat which was a change for the better. Overall damage apparently wasn't that bad. At least that's what the scale told me this morning.

Last week I had experimented by dropping my daily calories from 2200 to 1900 a day in hopes of speeding up my weight loss a little. I was a little hungry most of the time, but I felt I'd be able to control it. I was wrong This was the other reason I went into that food binge. Not sure how much of it was exhaustion and how much of it was an entire week of slightly lower calories than I need. But I've decided to raise my calories back up to 2200. 2200 calories a day may take much longer to lose this last 8-13 pounds, depending on if I decide to stop my weight loss at 180 or 175. But I figure its better to lose it slowly than to fall off the wagon from hunger & start the downward slide back to 292 pounds. Besides, those extra 300 calories sure do taste good throughout the day;)

June 01, 2008

over eating

Since as long as I can remember I'd overeat. Not just a little. When I was in 2nd grade I remember I came home after a particularly bad day & continued eating a large bag of chocolate bars until I'd ate so much I threw up. I had this horrible feeling of guilt. I hid the wrappers under my bed & tried to clean up & hide the mess so no one would know what I'd done. I knew I wouldn't get in trouble for eating the chocolate. That's what they were there for. But I was afraid someone would find out about how much I'd ate & think there was something wrong with me or think I was bad. No one ever told me or even hinted overeating was bad, but I seemed to know even then there was something not right or normal about what I was doing.

I've turned to food for comfort, stress relief, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, elation, or even to help ease my overwhelming remorse for having just overate. For years I was in a state of denial. I'd just chalk what I'd done up as a lack of inner strength. I'd tell myself I would never do that again. Each commitment to no longer go over board with the food would inevitably end with a binge on food, sometimes in a few weeks, sometimes as soon as the next meal. As long as I just keep telling myself I was weak it made me feel like I was normal. But convincing myself that I had a lack of inner strength made me feel like I was a pathetic excuse of a man. The lack of self control made me beat myself up. The more I beat myself up, the more I'd turn to food, the more I'd gain weight, the more I'd beat myself up. It was a horrible snow ball effect that very frequently sent me into a state of depression. Not to mention a weight of 292 pounds in 2003. In late 07 a guy who read my blog frequently & was also a triathlete with over eating issues tried to contact me. He was emailing me, & leaving messages on my phone. I wanted to talk to him because everything he'd said about eating disorders rang true deep down in me. But I still avoided contact with him because I didn't want to admit to having an addiction. I don't know why I was so afraid to admit I had issues with food. Once I finally opened my eyes to the signs of what I was doing & what it meant I realized its not some horribly dark or evil secret. What I was doing didn't make me bad. What I was doing wasn't even an evil thing. It was not the healthiest thing for my body. But I wasn't doing anything dishonest or hurtful to those around me. Perhaps at times it was annoying to my wife when a treat she was looking foreword to was gone, all of it. But I wasn't hurting anyone.

Once I'd accepted the fact that what I was doing was an emotional response & my way of dealing with issues, not some horrible thing to be ignored & hidden, I started to learn what things triggered my emotional eating. I've learned to figure out what emotions I'm feeling because I eat particular foods for different emotions. All that knowledge has helped me somewhat control my eating disorder. Its by no means "fixed". Simple fact of the matter is that I will never be able to stop my emotional eating, but there are things I'm learning that can help to minimize the overeating to one meal, or even a couple days rather than binging for weeks like I have more times than I'd like to count.

The most important lesson I learned is acceptance. It is a part of who I am. Its the way my body deals with stress or overwhelming situations. That doesn't mean I just say "ok, I'm stressed, I'm going to eat uncontrollably." But it does mean I am learning to accept that when it happens I need to realize it is what I do in these situations. If I beat myself up over it, it'll just get worse. I've learned to try to minimize it, but not dwell on it when I'm doing it, & not to dwell on it after I'm done. I try & stop, or simply slow down the amount of emotional eating I'm doing. If for example I had an entire day of uncontrollable eating. The next day I try & accept yesterday for what it was, not make it worse or happen again by beating myself up. I look at today as a new day. I often tell myself, "ok, yesterday wasn't a good day, but I'm going to make today a better day." No self chastising, no regret or remorse. Just optimism because today is a new day. That alone has helped immensely. I still have my eating addiction, I realize it will never go away on its own or even with help. But with the right mindset I have learned I can minimize the damage I do to myself physically, mentally, & emotionally. I'm now down to 189 pounds & this weekend I fit into a size 32 pants for the first time since my Junior year of high school. There is light at the end of this tunnel if you have the same problem. When you overeat, that is not a "bad" thing. It's how you deal with your problems. There is nothing wrong with you, it doesn't make you evil or abnormal. But most importantly there are skills you can learn to help you minimize it. When you binge eat, you need to learn to still like yourself. There are allot of people out there who do love you knowing about your food issues. There are even more people out there who would still love you if they found out about your food issues. So why shouldn't you like you too? Talk to someone who has a food issue, or talk to someone who is trained to help people with food issues. If you don't want to do that, get into contact with me. I'm not the most intelligent or articulate person, but I understand what its like & I don't want you to feel like I did for years. Don't be embarrassed because I guarantee you there are allot more successful people out there than you & I who have eating disorders. It doesn't make them less successful or likable. There's light at the end of this tunnel. I promise.