Friday, August 28, 2009

11 Month Report

Last Monday was my 11th month. I realized it, but completely forgot about making a report. This is probably because nothing has really changed since last month. Same measurements, I look the same, about the same amount of hair falling out (still), can eat the same amount, etc. But I wanted to do monthly reports the first year, so -- for the sake of completeness -- here you go:

I went to see Dr. Awesome on Wed. for my "not quite a year" check-up and he was very happy with me and told me not to beat myself up so much as nothing I've been doing has resulted in weight gain. He also say I'm probably done losing. I thought so too, but then I lost two pounds! Hopefully, it's just water weight from my killer workout yesterday.

But I have also been working on eating more to my hunger and less to rules and that may have kick-started some more loss. I'm interested to see what happens next. I was a bit concerned that the upper range of my weight bounce was a bit higher than I wanted. So, if I end up bouncing around in a range where 113 is the upper limit and not the middle of the range, I'll be happier.

Here are my pictures. They were kind of blurry so I kept them small:

Oh, Dr. Awesome says he thinks my approach -- tracking everything -- is really the way to go and that I shouldn't think I'm crazy to get a $300 scale so I can track my body changes in detail. So either I'm fine or we're both insane! He did say he has patients who show up after a year and say everything is going great when they've gained 20 pounds, because they aren't tracking anything. I have to say, I've seen that myself.

So I need a way to lighten up that doesn't remove accountability. I need to lighten up because I am getting burned out on it and driving myself crazy. But I need to keep the records so I can analyze them when things go wrong. I'm thinking about putting everything down in a notebook and recording it online once a day instead of minutely tracking as I go. I don't upload my exercise to my spreadsheet every day so why put in my food every hour?

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"She can kick your butt"

That's what the tagline says for the blog entry I wrote for the Melting Mama site. I'm tickled pink. I can see muscles in my arms without flexing them today, too. So I'm feeling very strong and buff today. Whee!

Some background: MM asked for some guest bloggers with different surgery types from her to write for her site and I volunteered. There are currently five of us. Two sleevers, two DSers and a bandster. We're supposed to write about our experiences with our different surgeries. It will be different from what I write her, which is more my personal experiences.

My first entry is pretty long. But it does summarize 1.5 years of my journey! It's here, if you want to read it.

If people have ideas for subjects for future entries, let me know...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My new ironman scale

My new scale came!! It's a Tanita Ironman Innerscan Body Composition Monitor (BC-558) that tells me my weight, body fat percentage, muscle mass, hydration levels, BMR and a bunch of other stuff. It also tells you some of those numbers for each section of your body.

And it only cost $300.

Yes, I paid hundreds of dollars for a scale. It has similar technology to the doctor's office scales that cost thousands of dollars like my surgeon has. I was tired of having a scale that gave me a body fat percentage I couldn't trust. Plus, I used my birthday money and birthday money should always be used for something frivolous that you can't really justify.

Anyway, I programmed it in and got on and it said my body fat percentage was:


I'm not sure I believe that, but part of me does. If it's true, I absolutely do not want to lose a single pound more. (Not that I really did before this, but part of me was wondering how much of my spare tire was fat and how much was loose skin. I thought it was pretty much all loose skin, but it's hard to tell for sure by looking and feeling.)

It also says my left leg is more muscular than my right. That I believe. I clip out on my left, did my "spirals" on my left when I skated and my left thigh is bigger than my right. My arms are even though -- probably because of swimming and working out with Mr. Hot Stuff (my personal trainer).

It also says my legs are fatter than my arms and my visceral fat is quite low. I believe that too based on feeling myself up. Which I have to say, I do on a regular basis. I'm very thin on top, in fact. Thinner than I look because loose skin is masking my actual shape. But I'm pretty sure my panus still has a smidgen of fat in it and my thighs do too based on how they feel.

I'm supposed to get my annual physical with my PCP next month. I'm going to ask for a Dexa Scan along with my regular PAP and mam and lab work. Those are the most accurate for determining bone density and body fat percentage. Because I've had weight loss surgery and am entering menopause (I think) and osteoporosis runs in my family, I'm pretty sure insurance will pay for it. Then I can see how accurate my new scale is.

In the meantime, I read this in my instructions which may be of interested those of us who weigh ourselves a lot:

When is the best time to use my body composition monitor?

"Your body water levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day and night. Any significant changes in body water may effect your boy composition readings; for example, the body tends to be dehydrated after a long night sleep so if you take a reading firs thing in the morning your weight will be lower and your body fat percentages higher. Eating large meals, drinking alcohol, menstruation, illness, exercising, and bathing may also cause variations in your hydration levels.

"To get the most reliable reading it is important to use your Body Composition Monitor at a consistent time of day under consistent conditions. We suggest taking a reading before your evening meal."

Interesting. They also say elsewhere to wait at least three hours after rising and after eating before taking a reading. I always take my readings in the morning because, dehydration aside, it's the most consistent time for me in terms of when and what I've last eaten. But my readings tonight were taken right before dinner, at least three hours since my last meal just like they suggest.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My weekend with Murphy

Yesterday I went for a bike ride. The bike ride from hell. Okay, not really. I mean it was a BIKE RIDE. Those are pretty much always fun. But still...

The original plan was that my friend DK would ride her bike from her house to very near my house and then we'd ride together to the East Bay Bariatric Support Group meeting north of me. We are on the same team for next month's Bike MS: Waves to Wine event and both wanted to get in a long ride this weekend.

But I looked up the ride and from the intersection near me to San Leandro Hospital was only 16 miles. Sure, I'd have to do it in both directions, but I wanted a LONG ride, at least 40 miles. So I decided to drive down to Campbell and do the whole ride with her.

It started out okay. The ride was decent. Not gorgeous like driving through forests, but not scary either. Until we got to a part of San Tomas Expressway that was all torn up. I was trying to navigate the ruts and decided to jump a small lip onto the smooth road. At the last minute, my brain said "Bad idea, you won't make it" but my body kept going.

And I didn't make it.

So I was lying on the road with my bike on top of me in a very dangerous place. I eventually got my wits about me and got up and went over to the side of the road. I didn't think I had as much damage as my fall two weeks before, but I did rip open that scab and there was blood everywhere that would not stop flowing even after I "Wet One-d" it.

So we pedaled to the nearest gas station. We'd gone about 12 miles at this point so it was a good time to stop. We did the potty thing and I bought supplies and cleaned up. I even got some ice to put on it. Cleaning, bandaging and icing all took some time though. But we still had time to make the meeting.

However, the next part of the route was slightly uphill and our speed fell off. Then, right about where I would have been meeting DK if we'd stayed with the original plan, I heard an explosion and I just knew I had a flat tire.

Sure enough... flat as a pancake. Great. Now I had to see if I could change a flat by myself. I actually did okay taking everything off, but I didn't quite do it right when it came to putting it back on and I couldn't get the tire to snap back on that last little bit. So we flagged down another bicyclist and had him do it.

Then I filled the tire back up with my handy-dandy CO2 dispenser. Only to have it explode again. Damn.

I used to ride with two spares and one patch kit but I had recently ditched the second spare due to desire not to be an excessive weenie who is always over-prepared and carries too much junk with me. DK's tires are a completely different size from mine so I had to "borrow" a patched tube from "Guy Whose Name I've Forgotten". (I couldn't patch the two dead tubes because the holes were too big.)

So I pumped it up again and was trying to get all my various doohickeys back into my wedge when GWNIF noticed that my tire had a slit in it and the tube was bulging out of it. No wonder the first spare had popped!

This meant my ride was over. Luckily I was only a mile from my house so I just walked home. DK went on to the meeting. But all our adventures made her 20 minutes late. She said she got to make a big entrance though.

Plan B was for me to go buy a new tire (and more tubes) and meet her back at the fateful spot for the return trip. But after I got my tire fixed, it became clear I was done for the day. I decided to wash my bike (which desperately needed it) and take a shower (as I also desperately needed it) and see what happened. I was prepared to ride back since I had to go get my car and didn't want to put out Mr. Mac.

But DK was also done. She called right before my shower saying she was getting a ride back with someone from the meeting. She swooped by to pick me up, we went back to Campbell and I drove home. I spent the evening icing my knee and figured I'd had my adventure for the weekend.

Then I got up early to go to Santa Cruz for a club-sponsored Open Water Swim. When we got there, not only was the air smoky from the fires in the area, but the beach was posted as closed due to bacteria. Well, shoot! We'd gone all the way down there and might not get to swim.

But then some gals from the Santa Cruz Triathlon club showed up and scoffed at both the signs and our obedience to them. Those signs are up every week in the summer, they said, and we swim here all the time and nothing happens. So apparently they are CYA signs and not "We really mean it" signs.

So we went in the water. But we swam at the beach and not around the pier where the poopy sea lion live and spew their bacteria. I really want to practice going around the pier for The Big Kahuna, too. It's an intimidating looking swim. Plus, the sea lions freak me out a bit. I'm convinced they are going to come out and head butt me. (Or at least poop on me.) So I was a bit disappointed.

Plus, it was very cold and I was sure I'd die on the swim. Luckily it was colder out of the water than in it. In fact, I got warm right away and had a good swim.

I did feel the salt water on my scraped knee at one point, but mostly I didn't feel it. I was too busy swimming and working on my two-beat kick. I got off to a slow start because it takes a while for my wet suit to get full of water, but I caught up to some people who started before me and swam to the beach with them. So I was pleased with my performance. Then again, some people swam the course twice. I didn't have time for that, but I did have time to play around in the water waiting for everyone to be done. (Like I said, it was warmer splashing around in the water than on shore.)

Afterwards, I realized that I hadn't set my stopwatch so I have no idea how long I swam. We also aren't sure how much distance we covered. It's kind of hard to log a workout like that, but I'll figure something out. The actual swimming felt great though and I'm still in a good mood because of it.

We ditched the run after due to the air quality. This was probably a good thing because I probably would have done it and it probably would have been a bad idea. My knee isn't bruised like it was last time, but it stings. It also turns out that I did bruise my shoulder. It's a pretty small one and only hurts when I touch it and not when I move. But I should have iced it yesterday and now it's probably too late. My other knee has a slight bruise as well even though I did ice that one a bit.

Now I'm back home, trying to catch up on things, taking a nap, putting off rinsing off the wet suit and wondering if I'm going to come down with some disease because I swam in sea lion poop. Of course, I don't really think anything will happen. After all, I used to swim in the Delaware River as a kid and that water is completely disgusting.

Oh, and someone got my scale all wet and now the LCD display is barely readable. Guess I'll be getting that new $300 scale for my birthday after all.

Santa Cruz "Romp in the Park" Sprint

I am so not a morning person.

This was very obvious a week ago as I was shuffling my gear in a Santa Cruz parking lot trying to get ready for the Santa Cruz Sprint. First, I filled up one of my bike bottles with my Smart Water (it has electrolytes). Then I knocked it over and spilled half of it.

For my next trick, I got my bike off the rack and went to top off the tires. After successfully filling the front one, I got confused and ended up letting all the air out of the back tire instead of adding air to it. Oopsies.

I think after I figured out I had a lever in the up position that was supposed to be in the down position, I must have woke up a bit, because everything else went swimmingly.

I got a decent spot in transition and laid out my stuff. I had my new Rocket Science transition bag and it performed great. The included transition mat was a bit of a joke though. I may go out and buy a bigger one.

Unlike my last tri, I went through my pre-race rituals without incident. Got in the appropriate number of port-a-potty trips, warmed up with a nice 15 min. jog, and had the appropriate amount of pre-race nutrition. I did wait longer to put on my wet suit -- just as a test, since I often feel like I get into it too early. But I didn't like struggling to get into it on the beach so I am not going to do that next time.

We were able to warm up in the water more than I expected from reading how it would work on the web site. The water wasn't that cold either, once I made the initial plunge into the iciness. I think my new suit (size XS!) keeps me warmer. I did get knocked over by a wave trying to get into the ocean. So I watched how the young guys did it when their wave went off. Oh, that's right, you jump over the wave or dive under. I vaguely remember this from trips to the Jersey shore as a kid.

This turned out to be unnecessary as the waves broke perfectly for our wave and I didn't have anything to deal with. I just swam out to the first buoy, across to the second and back into shore. I had decent sighting until I was coming to shore. I couldn't see the finish line. But I still did okay. As I got out of the water, I looked at my stopwatch and it was only 13+ minutes. I'm sure that's the fastest I've swum a 700-800 yard swim.

Transition was quite a way away from the beach so I had brought down my flip flops. I was afraid of running over glass on the sidewalk. This turned out to be a mistake as I couldn't run in the things. I kept taking them off and putting them back on until I gave up and just carried them.

Because of the extra distance to T1, my official swim time was about 3 minutes longer, but that's okay.

I had added TriSlide to my routine for this race. I still had some BodyGlide on first, as I knew that worked, but I put TriSlide on top. My suit came off in record time! No more BodyGlide for me -- it's TriSlide all the way. In fact, I had the fastest T1 time in my career -- just over 2 minutes.

Then I got out on the bike and took off on the (essentially flat) course. I felt like I was making good time, but I did get passed a bit. I also passed some people. I decided that I would aim for all negative splits from here on out for this race. So after the first bike loop, I did my best to go even faster for the second loop. I'm not sure I succeeded, but I did manage to pass someone from two waves ahead of me and make him say "Damn it!" That was fun.

I also was able to gain on people due to better technical skills. They would slow down for the turns, but I didn't have to thanks to the bike-handling clinics I've been to. I just leaned into the curves and went for it. I love curves so that made up for the lack of good hills.

Then I ran into T2 and changed for the bike. Again, I knew my transition was good, though T2 is never the trouble spot for me that T1 can be. (I was just over a minute -- again my fastest T2.) Then out on the run course.

As I exited the shoot, two women zoomed past me. Crap! But we immediately went up a small hill and they were dying by the time we came to the top and I passed them and never saw them again. Then, I just kept running.

And passing people. And running. And passing. Oh my god, I might get through the race without any people passing me! I just kept going, telling myself "You're a strong runner" and "You are going to move up in the standings with this run" and it worked. I passed so many people and only one person passed me. Some 12 year old punk who started in the wave behind me. But I forgave him for being young and just kept going.

I came to the turn around, grabbed my water cup and thought "Let's negative split this bitch!" which is a phrase I read on a few days before my race. Again, I'm not sure I actually did. But every time I thought about slowing down, I'd repeat my new motto and push a bit harder.

As I got near the finish, a 26 year old and 44 year old passed me. It was all downhill so I leaned forward and went for it and was able to pass the 44 year old just as I crossed the finish.

They handed me a gorgeous Finishers medal, took my timing chip, and I went off to enjoy the Expo and wait for the results. Which were very messed up.

I didn't realize it at first so when I saw my name in first place in my age group, I said "No way!" Then I looked at my time and "no way." It was 30 min. shorter than it should have been. Eventually, they straightened it all out and I had dropped to 9th place out of 12th.

I would have been upset about that, but I was solidly MOP in the overall results and 7-9 place in my age group were separated by seconds. Plus, I had my first 10 minute mile pace in the run. I can do a 5k standalone with a pace of about 9:30, but I'd never done better than 11:45 doing one in a triathlon. And that one was only 2.5 miles, not a full 5k. So I was ecstatic!

All-in-all, I felt like the race was a big romp in the park and a lot of fun. I'm not sure I'll do it again next year, as I want to do less races, but longer distances, but I'll definitely do some Sprints as C races. They are good practice without making me take a week to recover.

Next stop: The Big Kahuna!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Doing things I couldn't do before

This comes up a lot on the Weight Loss Surgery boards. What can you do now that you couldn't do before? As someone who didn't get to be Super Morbidly Obese pre-op and who always tried to not let my weight get in the way, I often can't think of anything.

I was able to ride rollercoasters and didn't need a seat-belt extension on airplanes. I went horseback riding (though not very often and I worried beforehand that they'd turn me away). I rode my bike. I even wore a two-piece bathing suit to the pool!

It's not that my weight didn't impact me. I've written quite a bit in my blog about the ways it did. I was having trouble bending down to tie my shoes and I couldn't buy clothes in "regular" stores.

But I feel those restrictions are rather lame compared to other people's answers. Plus, my insistence for so many years that my weight wasn't impacting my life very much has given me a bit of amnesia about this sort of thing.

But when we were in Tahoe on vacation I did this:

It's not that I wouldn't have done it pre-op. It's that they wouldn't have let me:

Note the weight restriction. I would have been totally crushed to have gone up to do this and found out that I wasn't allowed. So the fact that I could do it has me a bit stoked.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

10 month report

I took pictures and measurements but never posted them. Here are the pictures:

No, I don't know why some months they post side-by-side and others they do not.

These are the famous Chinos I left in the dressing room at JC Penney's but got back. They are already getting big on me. I don't quite understand that, as my measurements just haven't change that much. In fact, they've changed so little, I'm not going to take them any more until my One Year anniversary post.

I also finished another collage. I had four more months to document that way:

Highest Gear + Incline + Clipping in at top of pedal stroke = Road Rash

I should have known that when I got in the car this morning and found it was not 7:35 am as I thought, but 7:50 am and that my gas warning light was on, that it wasn't going to be my day.

However, I was the first person to show up at our NTTS meeting place besides the coach, so I did catch a break there. I was afraid I'd be so late that they'd leave without me!

The ride was decent. We did UVAS in reverse and it's definitely easier that way. I liked the hill descents as usual. I didn't start to get a sore back until we were almost done, either. (And probably wouldn't have at all, if I hadn't experimented with getting into a bigger gear than normal.)

I was mostly able to keep up with everyone too. (All 3 of them. It was a small group today.) But I keep falling behind and having to push to catch back up. That was frustrating.

I don't understand why I just can't keep up to being with, if I can catch up. I do tend to hang back a bit, as riding in a group makes me nervous, but the next thing you know, I look up and the group is way ahead of me. Maybe I've tried to drink some fluid or do a gel or am messing with my gears, but sometimes I'm not doing anything in particular to slow myself down.

Speaking of gears... my front derailer is definitely messed up. I had a lot of trouble with it today jumping from the top to the bottom and back up to the top again with no stop in the middle. I'm going to have to have that taken care of. It's annoying because I paid extra to get the model with the Tiagra parts so I wouldn't have to deal with bad tolerances.

Anyway, after I did everything wrong at our water stop - stopped with my bike in the highest gear, started facing uphill, clipped in on the left at the top of the pedal stroke instead of the bottom - and then fell over like in a slapstick comedy, I had a small section the size of a quarter under my knee that was scraped. It didn't look too bad and we had already spent a good amount of time at the water stop, so I said "let's go" and didn't try to clean it up.

I waited for the next stop to do that. That's when I found out that the scrapes were actually pretty deep. I think of road rash as rather surface, but these were more like scores made with a knife. I still didn't think it was that bad though and was surprised when my kneed started bothering me about 10 miles from home base.

Then, when we finished, I looked harder and saw that the area under the gashes was swollen to twice the size of the other knee.

Oh... that's why my knee hurt. Duh.

It still stings right now, but isn't quite as swollen. I think I'll recover nicely in time for my long run tomorrow.