the 'suck' crayon is back in the box

I was standing under the shower, trying (in vain) to drown out the sound of the screaming children around me, when one of them flung my shower curtain open to stare inside. What part of the closed shower curtain and running shower caused her to think my shower stall might be unoccupied, I don't know.

Six months ago, I think I would've cowered a bit. Instead, I stared back at her, soapy scrubbie in one hand and bottle of conditioner in the other, and said, "Obviously, this one's taken."

Embarrassed, she tiptoed back out of the shower stall and closed the curtain behind her, then whispered an apology.

Meanwhile, the stampede continued outside. I had been slowly coming to the conclusion that I'd actually shown up on Take Your Wildebeest To The Pool day. When I came out of the shower a few minutes later, fully dressed and wet hair turbaned, I learned that three of the continually-screaming children I'd listened to during my post-swim shower were actually running around the locker room naked, no parents in sight.

I combed out my hair, straightened up my gym bag, and headed back to the front desk to talk to Mr. Boyett. He knows me now. I haven't been carded for the pool in weeks, and if I continue swimming at this rate, I doubt I ever will be again.

* * * * *

I've been pondering what to say here for a while. It had been bothering me for a while that all I had to talk about was the struggle of my workouts. I was starting to sound like a melancholy, one-note dirge, and it was getting to the point that even I didn't want to hear it, much less post about it for the forty-fifth time.

Then dragon*con ate my brain, and it didn't matter any more.

The short version of what's been happening lately is that I finally have an answer for why my workouts have been a consistent shade of 'suck' (a crayon that can be found between the puce and magenta ones on the second row) for the past couple of months.

I thought I was being lazy. (Go ahead. Laugh. Especially the locals. You know you're just dying to.)

According to the blood tests I've had, I'm borderline hypoglycemic, and the level of exercise I'm doing right now makes it worse. Sure, everyone knew it but me (especially everyone who saw my little sugar-crash stunt on the last day of dragon*con 2003) but hearing it from my doctor finally made it all make sense: the fatigue, the inability to sustain energy during long workouts, the sleepiness after meals.

So, workarounds and strategies abound. Eat a good-quality snack immediately before working out, and if it's a long or difficult one (swim days and weight training days), another snack immediately afterward. On weight training days, drink Gatorade instead of water. When in doubt, assume any non-evening tiredness or sluggishness is due to a blood sugar issue, instead of standard tiredness, and eat a snack if I can't immediately remember when or what I last ate.

So far, I'm doing a pretty mediocre job of keeping my blood sugar on an even keel, but I'm learning. I'm experimenting to find snacks that give me the calories I need (excuse me while I worship at the altar of Zone Bars and their ilk) and as a result, the workouts are starting to go better.

This whole process has been about learning how to take care of myself. Maybe I was always hypoglycemic. Who knows? It doesn't matter. The exercise is part of my life now, and I'm not giving that up. Not now. Not after what it's done for me.

* * * * *

So, for those of you looking for inspiration, here's the skinny. I'm down 24 pounds since January. I'm still very barely into size 14 clothing; I'm hoping to make everything 14 comfortable by dragon*con, which is a month away. (For those of you who don't remember, I was a size 24 in January.) A size 12 is not feasible by 'con; instead, I'll have to shoot for that happening by my birthday in October.

I am four pounds away from reaching the second most important weight goal I'll reach in this process (the most important being reaching the body fat percentage I've settled on as my 'goal'). If I'm careful and diligent, it's possible that I could reach this goal in the last few days before dragon*con.

I wanted a size 12. No, really, ephemeral weight loss gods, I can compromise…honest!

The rest - the clothing purchases and preparations - will just have to wait for the next post. For now, accept this as my apology for needing to divert my brain away to dragon*con-related functions for a couple of weeks.

Life's like that sometimes.


A good one to keep on hand... Take an apple (I personally prefer Granny Smith or other tart variety) core it and cut it into wedges. Smear a little bit of peanut butter onto the apple wedge and enjoy! If you want to prepare some ahead of time, you can lightly mist the apple wedges with lemon juice and they won't turn brown. Put them in a zip-lock bag and they'll keep for several hours. The peanut butter will give you a bit of fat and protein and the apple has a fair amount of sugar tempered with a lot of fiber so it won't spike your insulin levels. My severely-diabetic grandmother used to keep several of those honey/sesame seed candies in her pocket at all times. She swore by them for heading off a sugar crash. Once again, sugar tempered with protein.

If you don't want to have to deal with apples, some whole wheat crackers with peanut butter also makes a great snack that can be taken pretty much anywhere. That's something I like to bring with me to work or have on hand around the house.

If it makes you feel any better I had no idea about the hypoglycemia-exercise connection. As for snacks, be aware that crack is sugar-free. As far as I know. Not that I would, really. I'm just presuming.