Bike

Tell the truth, all the time, with compassion

Where to begin- it's been a while since my last post.  During that time, things have been quite a whirlwind.  It seems every time I was ready to post again, some new wrinkle would occur and I didn't know where to begin.  Between a mix of work, training, and trying to be a good friend, each has presented challenges. I don't know if I mentioned this in my last post, but recently I realized a few things.  First, I am letting my eating disorder win.  It has a regained a strong hold in my life, one that I had not realized.  It is forcing me to barely sleep, put exercise before friends, think constantly about food, and not allow me to be happy unless I have worked out.  I, alone, could not see this though.

It was brought to my attention that I was a pretty damn crappy friend.  And I am a liar.  But I didn't see it.  To me, I would just tell little "fibs" and validate them to myself as "oh, it's ok, I have an eating disorder, I have an excuse, it's not my fault" and that "it's the eating disorder telling the lies, not me".  What I didn't realize was that these lies actually hurt the people who cared about me! This brought to my attention what these lies were: telling my friends I don't like certain foods, that I'd already eaten, that I got caught up doing other things when I really working out that made me late for something, or bailing on a team workout so I could do some exercise on my own.  While I thought these wouldn't have an impact, they did.

For the first time in a long, long time, I actually have friends... who really care about me.  I've been a little transient since college, and thus haven't developed a close group of friends like I do now.  Even in college, my best friends, amazing people, but they never really understood my eating disorder, nor did I expect them to.  I could tell them, "sure, I'm doing really well!" and be totally lying.  So to be told now that things I had been doing and the life I had been living for years were hurting others was honestly, a brutal reality.

It wasn't until 3 weeks ago this really hit home.  Friends and  I went out for pizza, and while I did great eating the pizza, I was avoiding the crusts, saying I didn't like them.  The next day, I talked to J about this and she asked me straight up if this was true, and I had to tell her, it wasn't... and in fact I had lied to her face so that my eating disorder could win and I wouldn't have to eat the food.  Then, the next Wednesday, I was late to a 4th of July party that I said I would be on time to, but of course, was late because I "had" to workout.  That night, after the party, J and Felipe called me and said they needed to talk to me, immediately.  They came over, told me straight up the impact I was having on everyone and myself, and that it was going to be hard to continue to be friends with someone like that.  Through some tears and conversations, they wouldn't leave until I promised to get help.

Friday morning, I was in the therapists office and let her know evvverryyyttthhhiinnnggg that had been going on. From food to friends to family to exercise to sleep to body weight and medical issues.  Also all my habits and behaviors.  It was in doing this that I realized the incredible number of things in my life that this eating disorder affects. We met again the following Monday and furthered on the same discussion.  We arranged an appointment for the following Monday, and this time she suggested that Felipe and Jessica come as well. She also reached out my nutritionist/dietician and got a lot of feedback from her as well.

When that meeting came, Jess and Felipe expressed their concerns about what had been going and validated everything.  It was at this point that my therapist really got serious.  She said based on what she has heard from my friends and what my dietician had told her, as well as my weight, my behaviors, my emotions, my look, and everything I had told her, that she wanted me to go back to an inpatient facility.

I at first laughed, like, yeah right, like that's possible at all.  Then I saw that she wasn't really suggesting it, that she was serious about it and already had information on where she wanted me to go. I looked at my friends expecting them to be surprised to, but instead they just quietly nodded in agreement.  I couldn't believe they all thought this.  I don't look that bad!  I don't feel like I'm sick enough or thin enough to be there.

I went out to my car and through a couple tears and deep thoughts, began to realize the possibility.  I called both my parents and their responses were, "please please go."  Apparently they had been saying this and advocating it for a while now, I just didn't want to hear it I guess.

So I accepted it.  After a process of getting admitted, I fly out to Denver, Colorado, on Monday, where I will be entering the Eating Recovery Center for the next... however long it takes.  I'm going to have to take time off work which is really hard, but I have a fantastic boss who listened when I sprung this on him at 4:30 on Friday afternoon and supported me 100%.  I had to get in on Monday, and not later in the week.  If I didn't, I would have lost all my momentum to get better and probably gotten worse.  Already, I've noticed myself doing behaviors that I had been trying to eliminate--I guess to let myself be a sick as possible so it actually looks like I should be there.  Sick right?

I know this is long, boring, and most people probably stopped reading a long time ago and I don't blame you.  But here are the benefits I am going to get out of going back to treatment, fully committed this time to conquering this F-ing eating disorder for good:

  • I'll get my relationships back--with family, friends, and with exercise and foodMy heart will get stronger (literally) and I'll no longer be at a risk for failure.  As I've mentioned before, I currently can't get it really elevated

    My testosterone will increase and I'll be able to build muscle, etc. etc.

    I'll actually have time in my life to do other things besides, work, exercise, and cook

    I'll be a better employee

    I'll be able to think more clearly, learn better, and absorb more information, which will improve both my social and professional lives

    I will be a better friend.  I will be honest, caring, and someone to be counted on.  This will take time to prove to my friends again, but I have no doubt that someday I will be able to do this.  To those friends reading this whom I have lied to or hurt, I am sorry.  I am really sorry. From here on out, I am going to be the friend I've always wanted to be.

    And there are so many more.

I will also have a support team to come back to, something that was missed last time I was in treatment.  Not only do I have a fantastic support group of friends, I have a therapist, and nutritionist waiting who have gone through this entire thing with me.  I also have my friend and triathlon coach who can help me reintroduce exercise in a healthy, non-compulsive or obligatory fashion, and monitor me.  And help me learn to enjoy exercise, not make it something that I'm a failure if I don't do.

When I do come back, I will look different.  All I ask is that you please don't judge me, but help support me in my fight to be the real, honest, sociable, caring, fun Chuck, that I want to be.  Not "eating disorder Chuck"

Thank you all for reading.  I don't know much about inside the clinic, so this may be my last post for a while. I almost hope that I don't have internet access, as that's another thing prevents me from the sleep I need and more.

Be good to yourselves and hug the ones you love.  I ask for your support, whether you read or not, and hope you don't judge me any differently.

Thanks y'all! I'll be back soon.  And if you're in Denver, pay me a visit!

Chuck

Uniquely Normal

How do you define normal? Is normal something it’s good to be?  Of course not—we are all unique, all different, and each have our own special abilities and strengths.  However, there are some times when each of us as unique individuals come together to do normal things. Where am I going with this?  Well, first off, it’s the first time in a while I’m not just writing a race report so that’s a good start!  But I’ve had some talks with some really good friends lately that have been helping me put a lot of things in perspective.  One of the things I was reminded of was a previous blog post I did where I realized that I can’t let my eating disorder define me.  I can’t let the eating disorder be an excuse for justifying my behaviors.  Like, “it’s ok that I’m skipping swim practice to workout on my own—it’s because I have an eating disorder” or, “I’m going to eat dinner on my own instead of with friends because my eating disorder is making me do it, so its fine.”  No, it’s not fine.

Many of you know I basically follow a paleo diet (for me that’s no grains or legumes) and I work closely with my nutritionist to monitor this.  But something that was brought to my attention lately was—is it a good idea for someone trying to beat their eating disorder to be following a restrictive diet?  While I truly enjoy eating paleo and can’t really think of anything I would change, I thought this was a very good point.  It’s preventing me from going out with friends for dinner or other social situations… and maybe I’m just using it as a way to hide my eating disorder behind another diet/lifestyle. So as these conversations occurred I decided I should talk to my nutritionist about it.

Her response: HELL YEAH you need to go out and live life and enjoy time with friends and eat WHATEVER you want in those situations!  That’s normal!  And I also need to eat more!

Basically, she and I talked and while she is a proponent of paleo, as am I, she wants me to have those “cheats”, to not worry and go out with friends , and to just do some “normal” things.  She amended my meal plan to include at least one BIG cheat a week (or I should say “normal” meal).  For as hard as I train and for as strict as I eat the rest of the time, this cheat is mandatory (I’ll be honest, just writing this has my mind telling me “you’re going to get fat because your writing this”, but I’m ignoring it!)  But my other biggest fear hasn’t been “this isn’t paleo” but more “eating this will make me fat”, but I’ve got to get over it.

I also had a great conversation with my friend Jess and she said some things that really moved me and pushed me:

So did I do it? Hell f-ing yes.  I had a burger. At a restaurant.  No turkey burger, no lean buffalo burger; a real burger.  With cheese.  And avocado.  And sweet potato fries!  Do you know the last time I had a burger at a restaurant (a real one)?  I do.  9th grade.  My friend Anna’s birthday, and it was at Glory Days Grill and had 3 cheese and was delicious.  Then I became entrenched in my eating disorder and hadn’t had one since.  Well I did it.  And I’m not dead.  Here’s the burger I got from Square 1 Burgers here in Tampa!

And you know what?  I put in some serious mileage and training over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and I actually left this meal still starving!  Haha, I’m going to need a bigger burger next time… or maybe a pizza?

I’m looking forward to embracing life even more now!  I’m finally starting to make a good group of friends here in Tampa who I get to train with and I also got to hang out with them all on Friday night at Meghann’s place.  Living life less restricted but still being me is what life is about.  I’m never going to be 25 and single again! (Although, I’ll gladly change that “single” part lol)

So besides that, I’m redistributing my meals throughout the day, SERIOUSLY focusing on pre and  post workout nutrition, and overall sleep!  Training has also been really solid as well—Rock the W!

  1. What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?
  2. How do you feel about just letting yourself live and simply not stressing over useless things?

2012 Long Course Duathlon Nationals Race Reports

Another weekend, another race! The last of 3 weeks in a row--which is good because my body could some weeks of solid training to get me stronger for the next racing block.

This weekend I was in Cambridge, Maryland for the Long course Duathlon National Champions.  This was a 10k run, 70k bike, and another 10k run.  Thursday night I went over to my coaches place and we broke down my bike and put it in my new bike box.

This way, instead of paying for a bike shipping service, I can now travel a lot more and pay $50 (thanks JetBlue) to fly it for me!  Not too bad a deal.  The next morning, I boarded a crack of dawn flight and flew to my parents house in DC.  From there, we drove together to race site on Saturday, which was about 2 hours away, where we checked in and spent the night in a nearby hotel.

The race started at 7:00 on Sunday morning and we got there with plenty of time. I met up with my boy Ben, who I used to train with in Virginia Beach.  He’s still a beast and it’s a shame he had to pull out after one lap of the bike with because of a foot injury he’s been dealing with.

I was nervous about the first run, as in training, I don’t like cold (without a serious warm... or bike workout beforehand).  Luckily, when the horn sounded, this wasn’t an issue as my warm up and fueling were adequate. I felt pretty fresh being the only Wattie Ink racer there as well with definitely one of the best kits.  I’ve been using one of our sponsor products as well, Xtreme Endurance which has been helping recover quicker from workouts which I’e definitely needed with the current demands in my life.

The run was an out and back and the the bike was 2 loops of an out and back.  Both courses were with the wind going out and against it coming back but flat.

The first run I used my Garmin and, per coaches plan, kept the pace balanced and no faster than a 6:26 average pace (40 mins)- a sub 40 min 10k is still fast! But I wasn’t killing myself, but still working hard.  There was some serious speed at this race though and some of the competition was fierce.  My split was a 39:53.

The bike is where the wind became killer.

Everyone was mentioning it post-race.  Going out, I was averaging 22-23 mph or faster, but coming back it was close to 19-20... and I pushing hard to maintain that!  I didn’t get much passing done here so knew I would have some work to do on the run.  My only complaint is that turnaround was at and aid station, and therefore I didn’t really know if it were an aid station or the turnaround as well...and the guys there didn’t feel like saying anything.  I had to yell and them and they  were like, uh, oh yeah, its a turnaround.. There was no one near me at the time so there was no one else for me to follow to know and no signs.

Coming off the bike, the first .5k were directly into a headwind before I made a turn. This  was not the best way to feel starting a run, ha.  But luckily the course turned and then there wasn’t much wind till the turnaround. where I would running back into a slight  headwind. I could see a couple people in my age group 2 or 3 kilometers ahead of me and made my goal to beat them (well, duh right?) My Garmin somehow didn’t start, but I didn’t know this because I had it on a blank screen. The plan for this second run was just to ball out.  I ran this pretty hard too.

At 4k I could see another guy in my age group, who I knew I should be beating, going the other way at 6k, and I wasn’t sure if I could get him.  I kicked even harder at about 7k and was really pushing. At 9k I could that guy in front of me... then he started to intermittently walk and I was like “game on”, and started to seriously grind.  I passed with about half a Kilometer to go and heard him try to keep up for a couple paces and then he fell off.  My final split for the 2nd run was 39:52, according to the race results.  I felt faster than that though, but to run a sub-40 min off that grinding bike, I’m pleased enough.  It was the 15th fastest overall for run 2. I’ll take it, but room to improve for sure.

Overall I finished 45th and 5th in my age group.  Thus, I’ve qualified for Worlds in Switzerland in September! Am I going? Probably definitely not, lol.  The race itself is a 10k run, 150k bike, and a 30k run.  I don’t have enough time to be in seriously competitive shape for that distance.  Not to mention all the logistics of getting there.  And oh yeah, remember the hills I talked about in the Worlds Triathlon race in Las Vegas last year?  Apparently Switzerland makes those look tame.  No thanks.

Post race I made my parents stop a small beach nearby so I could jump in the Chesapeake Bay and cool my legs off.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t as cold as I had hoped, but still felt great.

After the drive home, I collapsed on my living room floor for a couple hours--not intentional, but I definitely knew I had left it all out there in Cambridge that morning.  My mom is awesome and made great pizza for dinner that night.  I usually eat strict paleo, but after races, and whenever I really want something (gotta live life, right?) I don’t worry about it for a meal here or there.  She makes great pizza.

Now comes a tough training block to get me ready for whatever race comes next.  Not sure what that is yet, but I know I have Age Group Nationals in August and probably local stuff before then!  We are rebuilding this year from the ground up, trying to establish greater speeds and power to allow me to get into the red zone like I haven’t been able to in previous years!

Thanks guys. Rock the W!

  1. What’s the farthest you would travel for a race? (any race)
  2. Did you do anything cool this weekend?

Crystal River Sprint Triathlon... and tubing!

Since this was just a sprint and I have a lot of pictures, I am going to spare you the narrative and just post a lot of pictures

Saturday was the first of a 3 part sprint Triathlon series in Crystal River.  This was a 400m bay swim, 15 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

Sprints hurt.

The swim was a running start from the beach.  Luckily there aren’t really any waves so I was able to work on entry and dolphining from a running start.  Not my best swim ever, but finished ahead of enough people to feel ok about it. I still know that I need a ton of work here, so I’m just going to keep grinding.

In T1 I opted, for the first time to go sockless since I felt it would be a good idea to figure out how I felt about this and my transitions need work as is.

The bike was fast and flat--a straight out and back.  Due to where I was, the course wasn’t too crowded so it was easy enough to pass people and also avoid any drafting.  This is good because while “drafting” can give that slight advantage, it does nothing to help develop my power systems. It was frustrating to see packs of riders coming at me in the other direction as I made my way on the back half of the course.

I finished the bike with and average pace of about 22.5 mph.  Threw on my shoes and bolted out on the run.  3 miles is no joke.  I set my Garmin to Heart Rate and just ran as hard as I could so that I couldn’t look at my pace. After pushing hard on the bike and pushing hard on the run, I was definitely feeling it (it was awesome!)

I kept thinking to myself, I do half Ironman’s??  How do I possibly do those runs?? But these are completely different types of runs. It tells me that I need to better develop the capacity of my heart muscle to allow me to go harder.

My pace for the run was 6:11 min/mile.  Pretty happy with that and 10th overall run.

Overall I came in 32/275 and 2nd in my age group.  The guy who beat me was pretty good, but did get a drafting penalty... No I shook his hand, the picture just caught me at an awkward time lol

Here’s the group we brought from XpMultisport--all the victorious finishers!

After the race we drove up to Rainbow River and spent the afternoon tubing down it in our Walmart Innertubes. The water was perfect and it was a blast.  And rope swings?  Hell. Yeah.

We also began swimming in the long course pool this week. One practice in and I really like it.  I think this is going to really help my stroke. Right coach?

This Sunday I am racing the Long Course Duathlon National Championships in Cambridge, MD. I fly out Friday morning and am really stoked but really nervous/exited to race. We will see what this race holds and who shows up.

Alls I know, when I toe that start line, I’m going to be ready to go and balling to win.

Rock the W

Do you know how to hurt?

I was mentally reviewing past seasons of triathlons and racing, and while I’ve gotten much better, I noticed that many of my times have been consistently good, but that’s it.  Just good.  I’m not happy with good.  Not only do I want to be great, I want to see improvement from “good”.  Good is fine if it’s continually improving.  For example, if your run a 1:30 half marathon and year over year decrease that to 1:29, 1:28, 1:27, etc, that’s awesome because you are getting faster!  But if you stay 1:30, 1:30, 1:30, year after year, you’re not making any progress in your training. That’s when it hit me—I workout hard and I know what it’s like to hurt… but I know how to hurt jusssst enough. I’ve said it before—you’ve got be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If I want to get better, I’ve got to realize that there are going to be some workouts where I collapse at the end of my run or hang onto the side of pool gasping and panting thinking it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever breathed in Oxygen.

And the same goes for racing—at the end of that half Ironman, I need to be able to kick into black-out mode for that last 5k of the run—and not have been holding back for that leading up to it.  I always try to currently, but when I try to go fast, it’s maybe 1 or 2 seconds faster per mile.  Insignificant.

So what’s the point here?  If you want to get faster, you’ve got to embrace the hurt (and also the recovery!)  I’ve been adhering to my coaches plan and we have been swimming as a group a couple times a week

It’s amazing what having your coach watching you and having competition will do to your effort levels.  I’ve set PRs each practice… and also almost drown.  Using paddles while having my ankles bound together with an old bike tube?  Not fun.  I enjoy breathing, actually.  Or 50m kickboard races against someone who is faster than you and seeing black as you try to catch them.

I love it.

Rest and repeat.  If you want to get better, hurt a lot, occasionally, go easy a bit, recover correctly, and know exactly what you are looking to achieve!

I've got a race next weekend so I'm stoked to see how it's going to go!

  1. Do you agree with me?
  2. What do you want to get better in?