Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Case Against the "F" Word

The worse thing a person can call me is “fat”.

Even though I constantly call myself that when I look in the mirror or can’t fit into my pants or am running too slowly on the treadmill, I would be heartbroken if I overheard this word being directed towards me.
Even though it’s true, I feel like this word is so offensive.

This is why I can’t bring myself to understand the torrent of Facebook pages, blogs and books where a woman applauds herself for being a “Fat Runner”.

*Note- I’m about to do something I rarely do and that’s hop on a soap box.

Why do we continuously put ourselves down in the name of empowerment?  Please, tell me the reaction you would have if your daughter or sister or friend, someone that you love unconditionally, was described to you as your “fat daughter” or “fat sister” or “fat friend”.

I recognize that “fat” is in the eye of the beholder and we all have our own body dysmorphic issues, but many of the women who write these blogs and books are not even fat.  They feel uncomfortable in their own bodies.  Many of us do.  But here we are, perpetuating the myth that if your body isn’t perfect then you’re fat.   And what is perfect anyway?

When I think about the positive adjectives that describe me or the titles I’m proud to wear, I choose NOT to negate them by adding another descriptive.  Sure, I’m fat. According to any BMI scale you will find, I’m obese. 

But if someone asked me to describe myself I would say, “I’m a daughter, a sister and an honorary auntie.  I’m a coordinator, a volunteer and a caring community member.”


And I don’t need to call myself derogatory names to get my ass on the road.  I just go do it.
It is a matter of believing in yourself because you can, not because you can in spite of how much you weigh.

Please understand, I have read the books and the blogs and I feel a fierce connection with many of these women, I just don’t agree with the label.

My dad is not the most eloquent guy.  He wasn’t coming up with gems throughout my childhood to teach me lessons or make me think.  He is a straight-forward dude and he once said something to me that I have never forgotten:

“Heather, don’t call yourself bad names.  Enough people in the world will put you down.  You don’t need to do it to yourself.”

Let someone else try to hurt my feelings and call me fat. 
I, on the other hand, am going to try my best to be a kind person to everyone, including me.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Be Your Own Advocate!

I have been preaching the theme, “Be your own Advocate” to my Summer Intern.  I use this for business so he will network and feel like he has gotten the most out of this summer.

I’ve also said it when discussing my very frustrating running injury.

The universe has decided that today is the day it is going to drill this lesson in my head.


I am in Grad School and I really like my program.  However, I chose this program both for what it offered and its convenience.  The local community college in my area offers a University Center where accredited colleges from all over can offer degrees to those who live here so they don’t have to commute. I am in one of those programs. However, the last two terms they have not offered any courses I have not taken.  Luckily, last term I was able to find an online equivalent for my classes.  I was not so lucky for Fall 2014.  
Not only did they not offer anything at the local campus or online, but they also didn’t have anything new at the next closest campus 20 miles away. (I live in Southern California, these are “LA Traffic” miles so we're talking a 45 minute drive). 
The only place I could go was 34 miles into downtown LA.  
Once I resolved myself to the course I would have to take, got ready to go to my boss with some difficult decisions about in and out times and stopped breathing like a dragon, I emailed my advisor.  I let her know that I knew this was not her doing, but I was very frustrated and would like to know who I could send those frustrations to.  I told her I understood that these changes would not come immediately, but I hoped my feedback would make the “powers that be” a bit more cognizant in the future as I highly doubt I am the only one with these issues.  The courses are not rotating properly and anyone who started around the same time as me, has to be having the same problem.

Within 30 minutes she replied that she had spoken to her boss and they had chosen to change out one of the courses with a different one.  One I actually needed…


I’ve had to be my own health advocate the last few months.  You may or may not know about my hamstring struggles.  We all know our health care system is a maze of messes and my insurance is no exception.  These are the steps I took to get a diagnosis:

  1.        Make appointment with doctor 3 months out
  2. .       Have work call a meeting the same time, try to re-book doctor, get pushed another month, choose to go to Nurse Practitioner
  3.       Tell her about hamstring injury, get referred to PT
  4. 2 weeks later finally get PT appointment, have to leave work early because PTs hours are exactly the same as work hours, have Therapist tell you that you have the absolute wrong body for running and that this first appointment –the consultation- counts as one of your 6 visits
  5.  Go to your next 5 visits, put in the work, have nothing change, get recommended for 6 more
  6.  Go to the next 6, have nothing change, email doctor in a panic, get doctor appointment
  7. Doctor refers to Ortho, takes two more weeks to get Ortho appointment, no more PT for now because you’re out of visits.
  8. FRIDAY 6/27: Finally get into Ortho, they request MRI
  9. WEDNESDAY 7/9: Never get MRI referral, email (and in the email write that you will email every day until you get your MRI) get MRI appointment that day
  10.   LAST FRIDAY 7/11: Two days later have Physician’s Assistant read MRI and tell you that you’ll need Cortisone Shots and you could probably run as little as 10 days post shot
  11. TODAY 7/14: Get a call two days later to come in for a consultation about the glorious shot
  12. Orthopedic Specialist Doc tells you that the shot is a bad idea. It’s too controversial and if it gets messed up even a little, you may need surgery. Recommends 8 more weeks of specific physical therapy. 
  13. 13.   Wait for PT referral…

I’m so terrified they’re going to send me to the same PT as before that I started googling all of the PTs on the list outside of my network and sent the Orthopedist an email with this fear and my video from the LA Marathon so she wouldn’t forget me.  I told her that I was going to find the absolute best person on this list and hopefully she could back me up and get me in.

Runner’s World

That brings me to the last thing.  I may not run for a long time, but my dream is to get back at it.  I want to run…far and fast.  

Runner’s World Magazine is doing a contest to be on their cover and I want that dream too!

Won’t you take a moment, click this link and vote for me each day until August 15th.  I would love to be in the Top 20 and right now I’m about 100 votes from there.

You can visit to help me make this dream come true!

If I learned anything at all today it is how important it is to advocate for yourself.  Rules are in place for a reason, but when dealing with your education or your body, use every power at your disposal to get what you need for a better future.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

I LOVE Kermie!

Today, it hurt.

Not my leg, it actually feels okay, but my heart.
Since being sidelined with something nutso happening in my hamstring, I’ve struggled to articulate how I feel because all of my emotions were defeated, sad and negative. 
But this morning, I was driving to work and I was watching strangers run in this perfect weather.  June gloom is in full effect, even though it’s now July.  It will burn off later and be scorching.  But it is perfect weather for a 7am run. 

And today’s emotion was easy to pin point.
I’m jealous.
I’m jealous of people who get to run. 
Jealous that they’re logging miles, wrecking shoes and burning calories.
I’m jealous of their sweat, of their aches and pains, of their loads of laundry.


In my mind, I know I have to take it easy and heal.  I am having a hard time convincing my heart that this is necessary.
I haven’t run in 64 days and I’m not sure when I’ll be back.
But today, with a leg that doesn’t hurt too badly, an MRI in my future and a swim planned for after work, I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time.
This has been a really rough couple of months.  Not being able to run has taken a toll on my emotions as well as my body.  

But I’ve learned a few things as well.
I learned that I like to swim, I just get bored easily.
I learned that I have to advocate for myself.  I’ve told at least 3 doctors and half a dozen physical therapists my story.  “I’m a runner”, I say, “I know we’re the worst and we don’t stop when we should, but I want to be better. I want to be healthy.  I need to run again.”

This has helped me stop comparing myself to others because no one I know has this injury.
And although it was a long time coming it has reminded me to take it easy on myself.

I was actually glad to be jealous this morning.

Jealousy is the first emotion I’ve had in the last few weeks that fired me up rather than defeated me.

So, although it’s not easy, I intend to stay green with envy until I can make someone else jealous of my miles logged, my shoes wrecked and my laundry pile growing.