Remission: My Wife Is Beating Me

Couple running

CC 2012 Peter van der Sluijs

My wife has done very well with her attempts to get into running. She is into running. Big time. She is up to three miles, wants to run a 5k this spring or summer, and will run even with bad pain in her thigh. Her fat ass husband?

Well…

I’m easing in slowly. I was almost up to two miles, caught a cold, and ratcheted back down to a mile and a half. And I may have to rethink how I’m going back into this. I do better outside, but the treadmill has let me recover from December’s outbreak of SARS or bubonic plague or whatever that was that swept Chateau Nita during the holidays.

I’m proud of her because she didn’t think she could do it. I’m mad at myself because I gave myself a way to extend my deadline to run a half marathon, swapping the Flying Pig in May for the Loveland Half Marathon in October. But training starts in earnest in May, after I finish this year’s segmented trip on the Little Miami Bike Trail. I’m starting in March, but if I want to make the race in October, I need to be able to run five miles by Memorial Day at the very latest.

I’m getting there. I finish school in April, which will make it easier, but it’s frustrating when I have setbacks now. Still, I’m proud of my wife. She looks happier, says she feels better, and she may have to raid the second-hand shops soon. So if I can’t get to where I want to go fast enough, I can at least cheer Nita on.

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Remission: The Weight Coming Back Off

Jabba the Hutt

Lucasfilm

December proved to be a depressing chapter in my quest to lose weight and great rid of most, if not all, of the brown bottles in my medicine cabinet. Of course, I have to keep things in perspective. The version of diabetes I have is insulin resistance caused by eating a lot of…

Let’s not call it crap. Let’s call it really good but nutritionally suspect food. Because, let’s be honest, it ain’t Friday night without bar food.

My main focus has been running, and I made it to three miles a run before the perfect storm of sinus infections, bronchitis, and possibly the flu hit the Winter household. Happy holidays, folks. Try not to hack into the manger.

So New Year’s Eve, I started over again with a mile. Slowly. It forced me to abandon plans to run the half marathon event at this year’s Flying Pig Marathon. I can’t finish my last semester of college and go from couch to half marathon by May if I’m starting in the hole.

What I have done, however, is cut out more of the snacking. I still occasionally love my peanut butter, and I still hit the bar food every so often. But fewer pop tarts (which make me sleepy late in the day anyway) and fewer trips to the convenience store for candy have paid off in an immediate drop in weight. I started this past week at 272 pounds after ending 2014 at 279.

Snacking is the single worst culprit in weight gain, weight fluxuation, weight inertia (neither going up nor down). Oh, this candy bar won’t hurt. Oh, one donut won’t kill me. I won’t insult your intelligence and say I’ve stopped altogether. I have, however, slowed down on it. I still have one vice. At work, we have a cafeteria that serves breakfast. Every morning, I seem to find myself getting a biscuit and bacon. I love bacon, but grabbing it midmorning after having breakfast at home is not something I need to be doing on a regular basis.

But there are unexpected benefits besides a sudden drop in weight. I don’t get the later afternoon crash anymore. I also sleep better. I’ll take that. I’m sure exercise has a lot to do with it, but snacking less has to be playing a part.

So now that exercise and snacking are handled, I need to start looking at my regular meals.

I’ll ponder that over a beer and fried cheese sticks.

Remission: 2015

Running at twilight

(CC) BY-SA Tomas Fano

We’re down to crunch time for the Flying Pig. My goal is to run it in 2016. However, I’ve had to alter my plans somewhat. Part of the plan had been to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon this year. Only on my way to ramping up to a 90-day half-marathon training plan, the Winter household got hit with a wave of respiratory viruses. Get over one cold and another takes its place. This has killed running for both me and Nita in December.

It’s mostly over now.

In the past, winter has impacted our running efforts. It gets dark early. The cold temperatures are not so much a problem, but there is the danger of snow and ice. It’s not a matter of toughing it out. It’s a matter of staying upright and uninjured. Fortunately, this year, we have a treadmill. It’s enough to get back to the three miles a run I’d reached before Thanksgiving. One can do five miles on a treadmill easily enough. It has an aux jack like most modern car stereos, so I can listen to audio books while I run.

But I will not be ready for the half marathon this year. I have to get back to where I was before I got sick. Plus I have to finish my degree, which won’t happen until April. So instead, I’ve switched things up. I’ll be doing my annual weekend trek on various sections on the Little Miami Bike Trail starting this year in Springfield in March. Yeah, March. That’s going to be interesting if it snows a lot. Then the summer will be spent training for the half marathon. Which half marathon?

Well, I’ve decided to run the Loveland Half Marathon this coming October. That gives me an extra five and a half months (counting the full month of May as the Pig is run the very first Sunday of the month) to train. Also, I go into late fall with a head start on training for the full Pig in 2016.

Why am I doing this when my fellow cross-country runners from high school have stopped running due to knee and hip issues (and, let’s be honest, pressing golf games)? Simple. Training has the side-benefit of improving my health. I know I need to eat better. I already drink less. The exercise is the key to eliminating a lot of blood chemistry numbers that have resulted in lots of brown bottles in my medicine cabinet.

Plus it’s on my bucket list. I said when I graduated high school that I wanted to run a marathon. Should have done it years ago. I want to do it while I’m still relatively healthy enough for it.

Remission: A Little At A Time

Bike laneIt’s been rough trying to get the weight back under control. Our household is three adults now, two going to school and one working strange hours along with drum corps. It often means eating fast food or at odd hours. Compounding that is a job change. I’ve had trouble looking for ways to manage my lunch hours in a new area.

But the one thing I can control is exercise. As long as the weather cooperates, I can run. Getting back up to running three miles a stretch has been a challenge. But I keep doing it.

What has helped is the annual trek up the Little Miami Trail. This year, I plan to go all the way to Springfield, nearly 80 miles from Downtown Cincinnati when all is said and done. By the time I finish, I will be starting my final year of college (Helluva thing to say in your forties). That opens up a day each weekend to running.

The real challenge will come during cold weather, as it always does. This past winter, which seemed to last into May, I ran in place, or rather ran around the basement. Rough, but it did its job. Running outside has been the real challenge. I have to deal with the fact that I’m aging as I do this. So recovery times and building up endurance are getting harder to improve. On the other hand, doing nothing will likely be fatal. While most of the men in my family make it to their mid-70’s, every generation seems to have one or two people who die in their fifties. I don’t want to be one of them. I don’t even want to go in my sixties, which my father did (ironically a couple of days before a scheduled procedure to implant a pacemaker.) I have to get into shape. That last half of my adult life is turning out so much better than the first half. I want to be able to enjoy it.

Remission: Making It A Couple Thing

Jogging couple

CC 2009 Ed Yourdon

This summer, I had to restart my running program. I started walking up to two miles, but running? I needed a kick in the butt.

Fortunately, my wife is always willing to kick me in the butt. She saw me mapping out a mile run on the mapmyrun.com web site and asked if I was planning to do that eventually.

“Um…”

The next night. “Hey, honey. Let’s take a run together.”

Um…

We ran. I did a full mile. Nita ran about almost half a mile, walked a couple of blocks, and finished the run. We were both winded. Yes, I, the guy who said he wants to run the Flying Pig Marathon in a couple of years, was winded after running a mile.

But it’s easier to build up this time. We start at the same time, stretching together and taking off together. Nita’s endurance is building up. So is mine. Eventually, I’ll have to run a separate route as I get up to 2, 3, 4 miles and more. But working together, we’ve been able to push each other to get farther. Nita now runs in the park on days where I’m not running or I’m away in the evening. I’ve added my annual trek up the various segments of the Little Miami Trail to my routine.

The changes are slow and incremental, but we don’t want rapid weight loss. Rapid loss bring rapid gain, a sort of whiplash effect. I suspect that my fast drop from 310 pounds to 280 a few years ago also may have triggered Type II diabetes. So slower weight loss gives the body and the metabolism to adjust. Plus, when you lose slowly, your skin has time to reshape itself so you don’t have massive amounts of skin hanging off you when you hit your target weight.

Even when we don’t run at the same time, this gets more doable with a partner.

 

Six Things Diabetics Are Sick Of Hearing

Oh face

Actually, other things make you go blind, too.
Gregg O’Connell, Creative Commons

Diabetes sucks. You can’t eat a lot of sweets. You have to prick your finger, which is not as much fun as fingering your prick. (Ahem)They might, yanno, chop off your leg if it starts rotting on you. (Always wanted a pegleg, though. It’d be a hit on International Talk Like a Pirate Day.) You might even go blind.

For some, like me, it’s manageable. Pop a couple of pills, exercise, and watch what you eat, and life is somewhat normal. Others have to shoot insulin several times a day, since their pancreas is basically just bogarting space below the liver. For those with diabetes that bad, life is an adventure. And not the good kind. However, there is one hazard of diabetes that even those with the mildest cases cannot avoid once it gets out that you pee urine sweeter than anything at Dairy Queen. What are they? Find out after the jump.

Go ahead. You taste it.

Go ahead. You taste it.

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Remission: No More Excuses

running

(CC) BY-SA Tomas Fano

Winter has finally gone away in most of these United States. (Canada is still waiting. Sorry, Canada.) Which means the weather is finally warm enough to run. Am I doing it?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Day-to-day life has a lot to do with it. Rain had a lot to do with it. When you’re fully engaged in running with a schedule to keep, a torrential downpour might be a reason to stay inside.

Of course, I’ve had an interesting spring, dominated largely by buying a new car. The test drive and ultimate purchase occurred on a rainy Wednesday night when I originally planned to run. Too bad The Princess (my old, needy 2005 Neon) was not cooperating. So I retired her.

OK, genius. You have a new car. That took one night. What about the rest of those nights?

Ya caught me. I’ve been a bad boy. I should have been out there pounding the pavement, but after a long winter layoff, it’s hard to get back into it. This is the part where you expect me to say I’m not making excuses. Oh, bullshit. I’m making excuses.

It’s a bit dumb of me not to run because the exercise does so much for my health. Just this morning, I spent about an hour working on a proposed article for cracked.com entitled “5 Things Diabetics Are Sick of Hearing.” If I’d stick with the plan, I wouldn’t have to hear them. Or if I did, I could go, “It’s in remission, sweetie. Now save me a cupcake. Daddy’s got a grueling 10-mile run later, and he needs the carbs.” (People hate it when you beat a serious disease, but I’ll save that for the article. Maybe it’ll become a blog post here.)

It’s more than blood sugar, though. When I run, my blood pressure drops. When I run, my good cholesterol rises and the bad cholesterol falls. (I don’t have a problem with triglycerides, the third evil in the cholesterol axis. Treatment for that is its own special kind of hell.) I sleep better. I feel better. I look better.

Then I have to remind myself of a promise I made years ago. I am going to run the Flying Pig Marathon the week of my fiftieth birthday. Well, I have far less time now to slack off and start over than I did when I made that decision. And it’s getting harder to get my numbers back to normal.

So it’s back to the grind. Even if a mile and a half is a challenge right now.