Sunday, July 30, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I had another 'Are you OK?' day

After losing 80 pounds three years ago, I walked the roadways training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon, and a number of people said, "Good for you."

Now they're saying something different: "Are you OK?"

"Good for you" was said from the heart, and I always took it that way, but it also irked me because people would never say that to a skinny person walking down the street. They just wouldn't. It's only because I'm morbidly obese, walking in public, exercising, that people say, "Good for you." They were being condescending without knowing it. In my mind, I heard, "Good for you. Glad you got off the couch and decided to walk among the rest of us, fat guy."

After gaining all the weight back, whenever I walk the roads just trying to lose a little weight, people stop in their cars when I'm resting and ask, "Are you OK?" Last summer, it happened three times, and now that I've begun training for the Lake Placid Classic 10k race in October, I'm hearing it again.

Just this morning, as I was resting during my 1-mile walk on Ampersand Avenue, a woman in a car stopped and asked, "Are you OK?" She was worried because it was getting warm out in the sunshine. I told her I was just taking a break, and I was fine. I thanked her, and she drove away.

I actually like "Are you OK?" I prefer it to "Good for you" because people are showing genuine concern, as they would for anyone who may pass out on the side of the road, no matter their weight.

I wasn't about to pass out, but she didn't know that. I was just taking a breather. After walking a half mile on Monday around the Lake Placid High School's track at the horse show grounds (in the rain), I failed to walk again until Friday, when I walked my first mile in a long time on the Ampersand Avenue route, starting at my house on McClelland Street. It's pretty hilly, so I am getting a good workout.

After walking 0.7 miles during Week 1 of training, I tallied 2.5 miles during Week 2. I also weighed in at 450 pounds on Tuesday, July 25, a loss of 2 pounds since beginning my training. It's a small improvement, but at least I'm going in the right direction.

Only 10 more weeks to go.

Although I want to lose weight and get back to the Lake Placid Half Marathon, I'm not looking forward to the "Good for you" days again. I've flirted with the idea of making a training T-shirt that says, "Good for you," throwing it back in people's faces, but I've decided against it. Instead, I may get one that says, "Yes, I'm OK."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: Here's my plan to get out more

A week ago, as I lamented the fact that I feel like a prisoner in my own home — due to the shame of being so overweight — I began coming up with a realistic plan to get out more. My solution is to compete in this year's Lake Placid Classic 10k on Oct. 7.

After the treatment of leg ulcers in the winter, my legs lost a lot of strength, and it's taken this long — many days walking with the aid of a cane — to get enough strength back to walk without a cane. Now I believe I can take a slow approach to getting back to walking a half marathon next year. My first stop, a 10k (6.2-mile) race.

One of my problems, for the first month at least, is trying to find a place to walk away from the public. There really aren't too many options, other than walking in the woods, which I don't want to do right now. I want to train on the same surface as the race, or as close to it as possible.

Therefore, I've decided to spend the first month training on outdoor school tracks in Saranac Lake or Lake Placid. It's far enough away from the public, I'm around other athletes, and I can stop more frequently if I need a break. In the car, I've packed walking sticks for support and stability and a folding chair so I can sit in between laps. Right now, I take frequent breaks, about four or five every lap, but that will change as I get stronger.

I ended my first week of training today with a half-mile walk at the Saranac Lake Central School outdoor track. It was not a good opening week. On the first day, I could only walk up the street and back, about two-tenths of a mile. But it was better than nothing, which is what I did the rest of the week.

Only 11 more weeks to go.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the road, working toward a goal and meeting it. I enjoy the physical challenge and being around the running/walking community in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

I'm also looking forward to losing weight. As I've learned in the past, the training can only be effective if I lose weight as I tone up and get stronger. On July 18, I weighed in at 452 pounds, so I have a long way to go. I'm expecting major improvements on the scale if I am going to succeed on Oct. 7. That, however, is a battle in itself.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I'm a prisoner in my own home

There are so many things I can't do because of my excess weight, and more and more, one of those things is to go outside and be in public.

I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

One of the worst things I can do is look at myself in the mirror. I hate what I see. I'm embarrassed at what I see, and it's difficult for me to be out in public. When I look at myself in the mirror, it can take days to recover from the feelings of shame, embarrassment, depression and hate. Yes, it's at those times I hate myself the most, for what I've done to myself and for how I look.

I don't expect everyone to understand what I'm talking about, but there are more people who feel this way than will admit openly. This post is for you.

Just today, I was looking at a sunset boat tour on Lake Champlain. It would have been a perfect way for my wife and I to spend our 20th wedding anniversary, but I can't do it. Not because of my embarrassment about being in public, but because it is a boat and I weight 450 pounds. As I looked at a photo of the tour boat, I envisioned the difficulty of trying to get in and out of it, finding a seat that would fit (they are usually too small) and hearing the staff orchestrate the passengers in a way that would prevent me from tipping the boat to one side.

You laugh, but I've experienced that firsthand. When I took the pontoon boat shuttle to Chapel Island one time, the boat driver asked me to stand in the middle so I didn't tip the boat. That, my friends, was seriously embarrassing. While I understood, from the perspective of physics, I was outraged and will never take that shuttle again.

It's situations like this that I want to avoid, so the safest thing is to stay home. I have a hard time walking these days anyway, and I often have to use a cane. That's embarrassing enough, especially when someone asks if they want me to have them open a door for me. No! I'm not an invalid. Or am I? I certainly act like one sometimes.

Things have to change if I'm going to get out there again and start doing things in public. After all, that's what I want. There are so many things on my want-to-do list, things I haven't been able to do in years and things I've never been able to do.

I'm hoping today will be the start of a new chapter in my life, one that will lead me to freedom from these walls I've put up because of my weight.