Tag Archives: running

Cutting back on…sugar, and old habits

28 Jul

10:55 am

The past two days, I’ve tried to ix-nay sugar completely from my diet. Um, YEAH. Gotcha.

I’ve realized that cutting out sugar entirely, immediately–instead of weaning myself off–will lead to sugar withdrawal, which I guess I had a bit of yesterday: I was sad and lethargic, and felt like my brain was hovering around “off” for most of the day. Sigh. No more extremes. (And, with sugar, I don’t think it’s prudent to be so black-and-white about it.) So, I think I’m going to start by cutting BACK on Diet Coke–maybe one a day, if I need it, or two if I’m indulging. I’ve been drinking at least a liter a day regularly for about nine months?, several cans a day since I quit drinking, and at least a 20-ounce of regular Coke every day since about 2007. I’m sure I drank soda before then, but it was mainly coffee (in the day) and wine (at night).

I noticed I drink Diet Coke like I drink wine, fast and furious. However, there’s something more dangerous about drinking liquid sugar; you can drink and drink and drink, until you get sick, but you won’t black out or pass out. Which means, you can keep drinking more. PERFECT.

It was interesting to watch my mood swings yesterday, and me push through them. It was like I was on autopilot, and my sober mind had taken over. I DID have a craving to drink–a pretty big one. I haven’t really seriously thought of drinking for a while, and this was minor, but big enough to have to turn on the virtual “this is the shit that will go down if you drink tonight” movie in my mind. I counted the number of weeks I have left to get to 22, which was close to my last sober record of 158 days. But then, I took a magnifying glass to what, exactly, I wanted, and HOW, exactly, I was planning to effect that change. The “how” part was new: I’ve gotten myself to reflexively look at what is tripping my drinking switch, but never how to turn it off.

I could very clearly see that my sadness wasn’t necessarily brought on by a sugar low, though that was part of it. I was, and am, lonely. I don’t have many (any?) friends here. I don’t go out. EVER. I could admit to myself last night, on my run, that no, I still haven’t accepted let alone embraced socializing sober. It’s not as strong as it used to be, but I’m still convinced that “there is no point” to going out and not drinkin’. (By go out, I mean to bars and clubs.)

Then I thought, well, you have two neighbors who are free tonight, why not ask them to do something with you? Granted, I had planned to work yesterday, which means that Saturday night or no Saturday night, I am trolling the journals and (for a new project) slogging through complicated stories on the latest in cancer research and treatment–that’s just how I do. However, I didn’t ask, or invite. I think I might have felt better if I had forced myself to socialize instead of doing the usual, which is running alone on the beach and/or working on a Saturday night.

At one point in the run, I simply concluded that I am still living, in a way, like my “old drunk self,” simply without the booze. By that I mean, I still isolate (prefer to be alone), I just don’t do it with wine. It takes a LONG time to change our ingrained habits and defense mechanisms, doesn’t it?

It’s not easy for me to socialize, mainly because I FEEL like I don’t want to, but also because it’s just not in my nature (habit) to engage instead of isolate. “Make yourself available,” is what one of my old roommates used to tell me. That was over a decade ago. I was isolating then, I am isolating now. I guess maybe drinking gave me a way to isolate and not feel bad (or anything!) about it.

Sure, it’s nice to be alone sometimes, have a weekend by myself. What I do, though, hasn’t changed since I hung up my drinking shoes: NOT inviting people over, out, or IN to my life. I wanted to drink to avoid this realization, but that was pointless; there it was. I ran more. I wanted to drink to not feel slightly angry at myself, defeated, and sad. Within about a minute, or less, I had worked out that no, drinking would not fix any of this, and no, actually, I didn’t want a drink. What I wanted–needed–was real change. To feel better. And, how can I feel better? Change my habit of isolating.

The point is, the craving came and went, but I was able to see through it. What was making me want to drink, and what I could do–besides drink–to fix the problem. I was looking for solutions to the real problem, and not just a way to dodge the craving for wine. Wolfie has no clothes, as it were. I can see right through to your scrawny, starved frame, your salivating, dried-up tongue…FUCKING FUCK YOU, WOLFIE!

I am on Day…? 132. 19 weeks tomorrow. I suppose 22 weeks plus 4 days will be my immediate goal, but I’m truly curious to see what comes after six months. Will there be glitter? Balls of it? Will there be unicorns with sparkly teeth, smiling at me from a chorus line on the beach? Or, will it be more like a Broadway musical? Maybe a Broadway musical with glitter and a unicorn parade?

Unicorns and glitter balls all around!

3 Apr

1:11 am

So, I’m on day 15–actually, just finished my 15th day sober. For the fourth time. (Starting last June, I went 60 days, then 5 weeks, then (cringe) almost 6 months). And, you know what? Unicorns and glitter balls all around!

I’m going to take deep breaths more often this time. I’m going to celebrate my milestones, instead of gritting my teeth as they rush by. And I think that, while it’s going to be more difficult (that slip really dislodged the little voice in my head that is still on repeat somewhere, telling me that I can drink one day), it’s going to be more meaningful. How? Well…I think it’s simply getting back to believing the OTHER voice again, the one that says that I don’t want to drink. That is going to simply take work. Not necessarily commitment, or passion, or pink clouds, or planning or willpower. Just hard work. And, while it scares me a little to feel so…well, like, the tip of the pencil is dull and I want to stop writing, put it down, and look around; I know I can get back into the mindset again.

Anyway, yeah. Life is moving ahead. Job searching, grad school applying. I got back on the running horse today and did an easy 4 miles. I hurt my left foot the weekend before last on my long 7-miler. It’s taken over a week to “heal,” and it felt great to get back on the trail. The foot hurt a bit in the last mile today (like, felt inflamed), so I’m going to go back to my old shoes on the next run, see if the support might be better. If you want to train down here, though, beyond a few miles, you can’t really avoid going up and down the volcanic hills at some point…and pound-pound-pounding down them. Yet, all was well up until I got these new shoes, which SEEM to be a better fit, but maybe simply aren’t? Anyhoo…it’s a great incentive for me to stay sober; I associate running with sobriety, and the hard work taking it back; something that relies on my sobriety (and maybe vice versa).

So, yes, rewards. Treats. Celebratory high-fives with myself. Heck, let’s throw in some unicorn parades and glitter balls, too!

Day 5 of unicorns, glitter, and an arsenal of AWESOME

23 Mar

1:52 pm

Hi, guys. I’m back…! 😉

Aside from having had to endure a three-day (yes, I’m not kidding) hangover, and now, what feels like a stomach flu of some sort, I’m back on it: counting days (I’m a sucker for goals), running, doing my work, walking the dogs, and looking into some new professional and personal opportunities down here and elsewhere.

I have, honestly, thought of drinking. Why not, I’ve already fallen off? It was a quiet thought, and I guess–before I beat myself up about having it–at least I heard it, spotted the little fucker, and plucked it out/cut it down almost immediately! However, WTF? We all know that we have selective memory when it comes to drinking and hangovers, but yet…this was more like, an “in” for the wolf. I left the window open a crack, and that piece of shit was poking it’s stinking nose back in. (Though, maybe it’s my fault, as I left out the dog bed for it to sleep on; sure, a *dog* bed for a wolf, but a bed nonetheless. I should trash it, and lock him out for good, I know this now.) I can see how people can relapse; not necessarily go back to drinking like they did, but go back to thinking they can–isn’t this most of what is wrong, our thoughtful obsession with drinking, and how it’s supposed to do this and that and everything else for us, but does none of those things? Still, I CANNOT BELIEVE myself, actually considering drinking after feeling so bad for two, going on three, days.

The state of mind I was in, too, was telling: I felt low to the ground, sad, depressed, shaky, and in general, uncertain. There was this feeling of not being sure, about anything. I can’t even put my finger on WHAT I was trying to feel sure about, but there was definitely a disconnect between my feet, my heart, my head, my soul…and the ground. MY GROUND. That’s what I felt, and I did not like it. I like feeling the EXACT OPPOSITE while sober, actually. I have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the small yet magnificent sense of mind, presence of action, and general “on it”-ness I got used to feeling while sober. It’s this that comprises my arsenal of AWESOME, which is so much better than all the lame “tools” I thought I had to deal with life while drinkin’.

I’m feeling better, and about to embark on my 7-mile run today. Ha ha. Hahahahaha. We shall see. Of course, drinking on Monday night fucked up my running schedule, and when I finally got back on the horse on Thursday, I felt SO tired that I could barely keep upright. I wanted to lie down in the gravel next to my car, or better yet, on the side of the road, and go to sleep!

See you later, friends!

Off to the races…

23 Feb

11:22 pm

So, I ran my race today and DUDES, I felt GREAT. Not good, but GREAT, during like, 98 percent of the run! Over the course of the first 5 miles, we ran up 1,000 feet, and then the last 3 miles were all downhill–which, btw, pass really fast after you’ve been heaving uphill for 5 long miles.

I felt great. Did I say I felt great? Totally pain-free. WTF? Except for a minor accident yesterday during which I tripped over a rock while walking the dogs, stubbed my toe, and bruised it pretty badly (I KNOW, the night before the race I’ve been training for since December)–I didn’t feel any pain.

I came in 129th out of 677 women! And, 13th out of 73 women in my age group. YES! And, as I crested the last hill and looked out upon an absolutely amazing vista of ocean and islands and sleek, rising sun, I thought, I would not be doing this if I wasn’t sober. Period. I mean, really. I could have run the race, sure, but consistently being able to train ONLY because I was never hung over? That’s why I had endurance, and strength, over the course.

Anyway, I’m super-tired, but just wanted to say, Who’s up for a half-marathon? Training starts Monday. 😉

“Hill work” would be an understatement

9 Feb

11:14 am

HOLY shit. THAT was interesting.

Five miles pretty much all uphill. And, the downhills hurt more than powering up the uphills because my knees (mostly left–finally, the pain is back where it has been and should be?) hurt a lot going down.

Jesus. They don’t call it “8 Tuff Miles” for nothin’! To give you some idea, at about 5 miles, we reached the highest elevation of the course–999 feet. That means, sea level to 1,000 feet above sea level over the course of 5 miles. Like I said, all uphill.

I have to say–cheesy, but here it comes–powering up those hills (well, one long hill) reminded me a LOT of moving through getting sober! Repeating those moves that just don’t come naturally, like running up a sustained incline for over an hour, over and over until you can actually force yourself to do them! Or, going slow and not stopping, not stopping unless you have to. Breathing into the pain and breathing out–sitting with it (well, moving with it). Bracing for hard work, but knowing that you’ve got this, you’ve practiced your moves, all you have to do is keep going.

My legs felt strong, and that’s because I’ve been practicing this incline shit for a few weeks already. But, dayum! Gotta take a break before I go and pound more on these knees, yes I do.

And…yup, feels pretty darn awesome to have gotten up, gotten my ass over to the course, and run it–all before…8:30, I guess. My time was 1 hour, 5 minutes, 30 seconds. That’s 13-minute miles, which I’m pretty OK with seeing how the course was all uphill and I had to walk some of it and most of the steep downhills.

It’s also awesome to like, not thought it really all that astounding or medal-worthy that I got out of the house before the sun came up. Drinkin’ days? It never happened. EVER. Especially to work out or run a race. Years-never, we’re talking about.

Happy weekend, friends.

Moving on from thinkin’ about drinkin’, or, life after 90 days

12 Jan

1:54 am

Yes, folks, I’m actually not thinking that much about drinking. Say WHAT? I’m just kind of grooving on living, drink-free, and not wanting what I “don’t have” or wishing that “I could have fun.” (In fact, when I look around now, and see people on Facebook, for instance, lugging shittons of booze on like, ski trips with their significant others, I have to wonder WHY…but that’s another post.) It really is a rational thought *process,* convincing your brain–or re-setting it back to NORMAL–that being drunk does not equate to having fun. Much of my process of quitting drinking has actually been quitting relating drunkenness with fun, and stopping equating chemically-induced numbness with calm.

The other day in AA, I heard some woman lamenting the fact that she was still a “lunatic” until she started doing the steps. Well, if it takes you 11 years (as it did in her case) to realize that being drunk is not, actually, all THAT much fun (compared to having real conversations and doing real things with your friends and family), then… I don’t know. I don’t want to hate on AA again/anymore, but my 90-day chip meeting will likely be one of my last. At least for now. Meetings make me cringe; I feel very uncomfortable inside “the rooms.” But, I’ve realized that some people simply need that “tough love,” that rigidity, that almost thoughtlessness of approach–deviation from the formula can pretty much guarantee relapse, I think, for some people who simply want to stop drinking but can’t immediately (or ever, let’s face it) process the motivation(s) behind getting shitfaced on the regular. So, yeah. Check ya later, AA.

Anyhoo… So, I’m working on an editing project on memory–everything from how memories are encoded in our brains to memory and trauma–and I came across something that made me pause: problems with substance abuse and addiction, some researchers say, are actually problems with memory. For instance, associations, i.e., memories, take over when you think about drinking, which makes it hard to untangle the the associated memories from the getting drunk memories. How can I not want to drink when I’m at the beach, for example, when that’s what I’ve always done? When that’s what’s been encoded in my brain–thinking about one makes me remember the other, and vice versa. It’s why drinking becomes an obsession, I guess, because EVERYTHING makes you think about drinking. Like, I can’t forget all those times I drank at the beach so it makes it hard for me to go there and not drink, or not want to drink…unless they find a way to either erase those memories or replace them with something new or different. Therefore, can I truly be relieved of the obsessive thoughts while at the beach sober if I don’t work at minimizing or repressing these old memories? Interesting to read about an entirely new paradigm (that’s the word they used in the article, so I had to, OK?) regarding addiction.

It’s been a pretty slow past few days, which has been, literally, wonderful! Lots of dog walking, coffee drinking (decaf!), and reading/editing. I went running yesterday, and it was better than the first time. I liken my legs right now to baby giraffe legs–when I try to stand on them, they crumple. (While cute, it’s rather pitiful.) I think things should even out once I get on a normal (read: non-vampire) schedule, reign in the sweets (especially Diet Coke), and continue to push my legs a little longer each day/every other day. ‘Tread lightly’ is my mantra, and don’t worry about how far or how fast (“run” and “running” should be put in quotes until further notice).

Thanks, all, for your encouraging comments to my 90-day post! I honestly could not have done it without your support. Rock on, 93 days!

You’re ALL supposed to be on my blogroll…

5 Oct

2:32 pm

…but, you’re not! Must fix this tonight.

(For some reason — maybe I should tweak my widgets? — some of the AWESOME blogs by all of my AWESOME, ROCK-SOLID, INSPIRING sober bloggers aren’t showing up in my blogroll. This will change soon!)

On that note, I made it through one dinner sober while others were drinking, have to make it through another big one tonight, and then possibly one tomorrow night (which may not include booze, I’m not sure yet). THEN, I get to spend a LONG three whole days with my dad and step-mom in [Corn Belt state], where I must admit, the white wine in a box will definitely be calling my name.

BUT, hey, cravings come and cravings go. This is a fact. One that I really, well, approve of. (Yes, there are facts in life I don’t particularly approve of.) AND, I can do this. I really can. Last night, the whiff of wine made me feel sick, so I’m hoping even the IDEA of box wine makes me go, Oh, HELLS NO.

I have so many new insights I’d like to share re: this sobriety thing, but I must get outside today. It snowed here in [western state] last night, but it’s not too cold out right now. And, I really need to walk out some of the tension in my back. Good news is that the leg pain is subsiding = whew. Pretty soon, I think I’ll be able to start running again and get some of the harder-core detoxing and endorphins-releasing going on again! Thank God(dess).

See y’all soon!

I wish I could run, but my sciatic pain is killing me!

3 Sep

2:41 pm

I hate to be so incessantly whiney, but here goes:

I’ve been having major sciatica flare-up lately (I’m 38, but have been told I’ve got the back of someone in their 50s on my bad days!), which means, no running and no stretching, even. For those who are wondering, don’t spend 15 years glued to a desk chair for 10 hours a day. Sometimes, drinking would help this pain, but that was usually just a VERY lame excuse (it never really did) to drink!

Most of the time, I stretch at least once in the morning (my personal yoga, or, “me-ga”) and then I do yoga. Good weeks, I’ll do yoga every day. Bad weeks, not at all. I also run and hit the gym on the regular.

This week, however, not only am I having intense cravings, but I’m also PMSing — I feel more distracted/paranoid and depressed/irritable than normal. AND, for some reason, PMS seems to totally exacerbate any back problems I have, including muscle pain and sciatica pain. Lately, my sciatica has moved all the way inside my leg and down my hamstring. What does it feel like? Well, it always feels the same in my lower back, like someone slid a knife through the muscle right above my left butt and is twisting it continually. It throbs and burns. That’s always there. My left buttock feels sore and burns, and lately, my inner leg feels like I pulled a muscle. When I bend down, the pain starts around the outside of my left butt, shoots down around front, curves around where my leg meets my body, and then shoots straight down along my hamstring. Simultaneously, shooting pain goes UP from the front of my left thigh to the outside of my leg, and then triggers shooting pain down the center to left side of my left calf.

All in all, it sucks. I deal, mainly because I don’t know what to do about it. Yoga is out for this kind of pain (it makes it worse), and I don’t want to run because that just tightens my back and makes pain like this in my leg — it feels like an injury, not muscle cramps — worse.

Any ideas? I’m seeing an acupuncturist for a consult tomorrow, but…it’s $$$ and typically, this entire plethora of symptoms eases after I get my period. BUT, like I said in another post, my lower back vertebrae feel gross and clunky these days during some easy floor exercises and that seems very bad to me. If it’s like this now, in a fairly muscular, athletic person, what will it be like 25 years from now? And, is there any relief from this constant pain?

Input and advice much welcome!

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