Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fun Size and Football Genes

Happy Halloween! I hope that everyone out there gets a chance to enjoy the festivities, have fun, and eat lots of candy! Tabbitha - our cat, decided that this year she wanted to be an elephant named Babbette. So I helped make the eyes, while Nathaniel grabbed the tape and held her down, and I had the brave task of sticking them to her rear end. Even though Tabbitha was very excited about the holiday, she didn't think much of the costume process. Then again, who really would like getting paper eyes stuck to their ham hocks? So the eyes which I so painstakingly made, and Nathaniel and I who risked life and limb sticking them on her kitty- rear, only got to enjoy them for a few minutes. Because Tabbitha, we discovered, didn't have much patience or temperament for things stuck to her butt. So for a few minutes she went nuts chasing her tail, but eventually got one of the eyes off. It's lying in defeat next to one of our bookshelves. We are greatly amused by the fact that she's still got one eye on her butt. Apparently she doesn't think this is all that funny, so she's no longer hanging out with us, but instead sulking on her own, figuring out plots to take over the world, her back giving an occasional twitch from the adhesive eye. But I've got to hand it to Tabbitha, that she's been a very good girl, sticking to her diet of "Iams Weight Loss" cat food (and we've been pretty good parents not giving her extra treats!) When Nathaniel weighed her this morning, she was down from 18.2 pounds to 17.6! Way to go Tabbs! And lest you think it's weird to weigh your cat, Nathaniel is fascinated that a cat of her size can still manage to hurl herself at him and catch him off guard.

So while we're on the subject of weight loss, let's discuss the holiday of candy - Halloween!

While at the store the other day, I found myself beholding an entire isle of candy. Not a shelf, not a wall, an entire isle devoted to yummy delectable goodies. I was completely mesmerized, beyond words. It was unbelievable - Holy Cow! I was blown away by the choices, staring in disbelief at how many packs of various candy were crammed into each shelf, almost like insulation. Woe to the parents who bring their kids down this isle. Actually, wait - woe to the triathlete who's season isn't quite over yet. Sigh. Big sigh. Bummer.

Note to self: next year end your season late October, right before Halloween. Then you can indulge in ALL the candy you want, guilt free!

That was the problem. There was no way, no way I could purchase a package or five of these tasty treats. It was too much. I couldn't be trusted. I knew myself well enough to know that if I started in on a bag of snickers, peanut m&m's, baby ruths, butterfingers, or even worse peanut butter cups - all meant for the little ghosts and ghouls who never arrived on our doorstep because we live at a condo complex that has mostly retired couples (think of Del Boca Vista on Seinfeld) or young kid-less couples -that I would eventually pass out from a chocolate/peanut/sugar-induced coma, with dribbles of chocolate on my face, melted chocolate on my shirt, and only the empty, crumpled wrappers as a reminder of the carnage that had occurred. Nope. Not this year! (Not again.)

And why?

Because I'm racing my final, biggie, A-priority, gold-star, numero uno, big kahuna, most important, did I mention A-priority? - race of the season in something like 10 days, and don't want to ruin myself with one bad night. (I'm discussing candy, nothing else!). And it's not that I can't handle a treat or two, because as a rule, I usually do! But I've learned a few things about myself over the years, one of the most important is that when it comes to training and food, I tend to be an All-Or-Nothing kind of a gal.

Days when I train, when I go through tough workouts, when I've got really long workouts, or high intensity/high volume/evil-coach workouts, I'm really great about my nutrition and food intake. I make sure that I fuel before, during, and after, eat enough fruit and veggies, and indulge a little when I feel like it. As long as my weight stays stable and within reason, I don't give it much thought. On the other hand, my off-days or off-season days are the times when I'm not quite as careful with my nutrient intake. I still eat pretty healthy, but I tend to eat a lot more, and a lot more junk (go back to the peanut m&ms, extra helpings of dessert, and all the stuff that I don't usually eat during my season because it's not "healthy"). So the healthy eating and training go hand-in-hand, as do the off-season/rest days and junk intake. And when you think about it, that's a pretty bad cycle to be caught up in. It should be the exact opposite - dude, if you've biked for 4 hours, you should get to eat whatever you want! The off days should be focused on relaxing your body, repairing the tissues, and giving yourself the proper nutrients to help you along. Enough said.

So back to gazing mesmerized at the isle of candy.

I just knew that bringing a bag or two home, would invite certain disaster. And not that I'm in the business of self-sabotage, but let's be real. The last thing I want to do is lug around a few extra pounds with me while I'm racing. Believe me - I'll get my treats afterwards, but just not yet anyway. And why??

I'll be the first to tell you, I'm not a "naturally" thin person. I've been blessed with a football player physique, big shoulders, big arms, dense bones, lots of muscle tissue. Great if you're playing rugby or a contact sport (I was always good at ultimate Frisbee), but not so great if you have to do endurance stuff. My junior year in high school, I was the only athlete entered in both the 3200 meter run AND the shot put. I wasn't the fastest runner, but man-oh-man, I could lob that 8 pound shot clear across the field. Yes - those are the genes that I got.

I also got the genes that like to maintain a "heavier"/"denser" body weight. Wonderful if there's a massive famine and we've got no food, OR if I ever end of going on Survivor - but again, not great when I'm trying to stay long and lean. I joke with Nathaniel that when I get old, I'm going to have boobs down to my waist that are held up by my protruding stomach, and fat ankles, or "cankles". (Well, I don't really hope for that, just something that I've noticed is prominent among female relatives in really old family photos. But my Mom and my Sister give me hope. They're not like the others that I've seen. Mom is in great shape and takes really good care of herself, and Karyna got the "long and lean" genes in the family). Insofar as the bags of candy go - I would start, feel guilty about having a few pieces, and the just throw in the towel, figure the damage was already done, and then just finish off the entire sorry affair. Back to the all or nothing principle. Kind of like Bridget Jones - she ended up eating the entire contents of her fridge because of "An American Stick-Insect and Very Bad Man". At which point she was reduced to eating dry cereal and doing Vodka shots - something that even I couldn't do at this point ("big person" genes + very little alcohol tolerance = I'm not the greatest person to party with, because a few drinks and I'm asleep).

So there you have it. I can't be trusted with the candy. And believe me, I could probably do okay - but I've been know to sleep walk. And food has disappeared while I'm sleepwalking (another blog). The funniest incident was after Nathaniel returned from his last deployment, I bought him a box of Cheezits, his favorite kind. I'm not a big fan, but occasionally I'll take a handful or two. A few mornings after he got home, I woke up with the taste of cheddar cheese in my mouth. Hhhmmmm? As I walked into the dining room/kitchen, Nathaniel gave me a huge grin.

"I see you were hungry last night!"

"What do you mean?" I responded, my taste buds acutely aware of gooey-cheesiness on the inner part of my cheek.

"You ate the Cheesits last night - after I went to bed!" He showed me the empty box.

I was speechless.

He continued on, "But sweetheart, you really made a mess. I found a trail of cheezits from the kitchen, through the dining room, and into the living room. Look!"

I looked. He was right. This wasn't a cruel joke. The taste of cheese in my mouth was further affirmation of my midnight snacking. Great! I actually eat junk food, but I'm not even awake to remember or to enjoy it. Wonderful.

And to top it off - there were crushed Cheezit bits, ground into the floor after I had unknowingly trodden on them. The bottoms of my feet only further confirmed what had already been done,

I gave Nathaniel a guilty look, apologized for eating his treats, and then promptly wondered how many other times I've sleepwalked in the middle of the night and eaten different foods... Well I figured that if I was eating while I was sleeping, I must have really been hungry.

But Halloween candy is different. It's just there. It's meant to be handed out, given away to kids who celebrate the holiday, and not consumed in mass quantities by weight-conscious triathletes in the middle of tapering for their final race.

Back to the Isle of Candy. They all looked so delicious, so close... just a layer or two of plastic and I would be in direct contact with all of my favorite treats. But not yet. Not yet. My season isn't over, I still have work to do. Time is ticking down, and soon I'll get to enjoy all the treats I want (within reason... I've still got fat ankles to worry about), but this year will be different. This year I've had a purpose, set all different kinds of goals, and have steadily worked towards them. No, I haven't yet done everything I've set out to do, and there have been a few things that I wanted to get done that I wasn't successful at. But I still learned, I still put my head down and plowed through the tough times. I still did the work, put in the hours, the training, the energy, the money, the effort, the early mornings, the early nights, and I'm really happy with what I've done. It hasn't always been easy, but that's life. I've learned so many valuable things this season that I've would have NO CLUE about had the "bad" stuff not happened. My bike at Timberman was one of the most painful, disastrous, agonizing, and sad rides that I've ever experienced. But I'm grateful that I did - because the meaning and the lessons that I got out of it are far more valuable than one bad race/ride could ever be.

So yeah, I could buy a few bags of candy, eat a few pieces, and function fine the next day. And all in all, it probably wouldn't matter one single bit. But after all the work I've done, the lessons learned, I don't want to risk turning into Cookie Monster a few days before my race. After the blood, sweat and tears, its' just not worth it. So another lesson learned, I guess (especially after the candy coma fiasco 2 years ago. Let's just say that I haven't been able to eat a "fun" sized snickers bar without remembering painful indigestion).

And that was the entire point of this blog - or at least what I originally set out to write about. "Fun" sized candy. I enjoy eating candy bars as much as the guy or gal next to me, but "fun" size? Come-on! They're not fun, just the exact opposite. I get no joy out of eating something the size of my thumb. One, maybe two bites, and I've scarfed the entire thing! So before you know it, you've consumed 4 or 5 "fun" size bars, hardly realizing it because they're so bloody small. Just goes to show how mass marketing, bright colors, and clever ad campaigns are contributing to America's obesity epidemic. Fun size my rear! Fun size would be BIG - the kind of bar you can really enjoy.

Oh but wait - I've just found the big bars. They're not "regular" size or "extra large" or even "Huge"... no, they're the "Monster" bars. Ha ha. So Happy Halloween - enjoy the candy and chocolate highs, and please don't take all the candy. I'll be right there with you in about 10 days or so (not that I'm counting). You never know what I'll do for Peanut M&Ms or Peanut Butter Cups. In the meantime, I'll try to refrain from sleepwalking,while Nate hides the candy. But I don't know how much I'll be able to control it after November 10th.


Anonymous said...

Hey Marit--It's Kacie. I just tried to send you an email, but I labeled the subject line "hi" so NMCI deleted it and now I can't find it even in my sent items. Strange, but it's all good because then I decided to check out your blog, which is wonderful. I hope you and Nate and Tabbitha (I loved her Halloween costume) are all doing well. Take care and Happy Training!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Hi Kacie!! I just left you a avoice message on your phone - our conversation has been a long time in comming! My emails have gone astray!!! I can't wait to catch up - I'll talk to you soon!!!
PS - Don't kill youself mountain biking in the process! :)