How Can I Run Away from Food?

Trust me, I am a runner. I can run away from just about everything. I run away from people, to rejuvenate myself. I run in my thoughts to shut the world away. And I run to take care of my physical and mental health, nurture my soul. But, How Can I Run Away from Food? Why am I struggling?

Breakfast at Camping

Breakfast at Camping

Not that I am eating all the time. Perhaps I am, mentally. But I still have trouble throwing away left-over food. I am very good at ignoring eating and can avoid cooking. But that’s when life is all about me, a fantastic wish! My reality, before I became responsible for the well-being of another human, who deserves to be fed, and fed good meals. I am big on home-made food, and pack my child homemade lunch meals. Now, I have to wait until COM starts school to cut down on cooking or induced-eating.

I am not obliged to feed myself. Left to myself, I care less about preparing meals for myself. I survive perfectly on water and fruit, especially hot water. I may pick up couple of nuts, even though I should stay away from those “hip-hugging legumes.”! They are destroying me bad-slowly! Water is my life and companion, and tea. I binge on those two all day, all night.

But for Child OM (COM), I have to cook breakfast and dinner during the school year, plus lunch, when he is out of school in the summer. That’s when my food problems become gigantic. I am a social eater, I will eat because others are eating, not because I am really hungry. So, chances are, when I serve my child, I will serve myself a portion of what I made for dinner. My brain becomes too weak to convince my hands and mouth not to touch. Painful putting the food portions on my plate and into my mouth.

Worse, when COM does not eat all the food on the plate, he ‘gifts’ it to me, “Mommy, I do not want the food anymore, you can have it.” Like I am sitting around, excited to have it, right? When I am very terrified, but intimidated to say no, because I don’t wanna see food dumped in the trash, “when plenty of people around the world are starving.” Yes! I am eating for the entire world without food [bite me:)]! You should see my current body, looking like a fat jumpsuit.

I have my pregnancy and early postpartum weight. How do I know? I don’t need to step on the scale [fortunately I do not own one]; the fit of my clothes is enough to alarm me. How do I stop this weight from killing me softly, and pushing me out of my clothes that once fitted perfectly? How do I return to the body I so desire, when I am always caught up eating for two?

Now do dare jump ahead of yourself, about my “I am eating for two” remark. I am talking about eating my serving, and then eating COM’s left-overs, to avoid wasting food…blah blah blah…

But why do I have a problem with food? I am so active: I run and workout at the gym, doing both with all of my high. But whatever I work off comes right back unto me, with COM’s “food gifts”. I need to run away from food, until I learn to say. And I am starting right how….

More Birthday Celebrations – There is Only One Boston…..Marathon

On the eve of celebrating yet 21st Birthday….For-ever 21, get’t….To Boston 2015

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, for all the support I received toward accomplishing my dream of running the Boston Marathon!

Indeed, There is Only One Boston — Marathon!

From the start of mooting the idea of running Boston, I received love and support from friends, colleagues and family, till I finally accomplished my goal on Monday, April 20! What a feat! Do you worry, if you’re yet to declare your support for me; you can still donate to my fundraiser for Tufts Medical Center, my charity of choice for the marathon. I still have until end of May 2015 to accept your donation. Here is the link: https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you so much, for the many people who expressed their love and support for me, verbally, monetarily, emotionally, physically and communally! Lost for words! You are truly unprecedented!

What a marathon! As I said, this is the first marathon that I went in fatter, financially challenged and socially isolated. Just look at pictures from all previous marathons I ran sleek, slender and swift.

This time, I had no income to afford a running watTufts Teamch, after the strap on my Garmin watch broke. I could not afford to pay a couple of gym hours for strength training, or pay my registration fees for Boston 2015, or a hotel in Boston during marathon weekend. I had no pace-mate/pacemaker/pacesetter/running mate, and had to train alone in the Mt. Poconos. My fundraiser did not yield much, either, in terms of financial contributions, as much as I sent out an email every week.

Yet, the volume of support, directly and indirectly, solicited and unsolicited, declared and undeclared enabled me accomplish Boston Marathon with no glitch and plenty of satisfaction. While I trained alone in my Poconos neighborhood, I had plenty of ‘unseen’ and undeclared support from the watchful eyes of motorists, pedestrians and onlookers, who saw me pounding the area main streets, back roads and sports fields. No doubt, they were cheering me on, in sleet, snow, rain and below freezing temperatures, even though they did not know my mission was Boston.Coach Megerle

It all started with Coach Don Megerle giving me a spot on the Tufts Marathon Team. Thereon, I knew I had to get to Boston and run, and run damn good! How that would happen? I would worry later. Once the registration process with BAA opened, I innocently broke the news to Coach that I was frantically trying to mobilize the US$300+ registration fees. Surprise! He asked me to give him a call, and instantaneously find it! Fully registered and paid up, I did my happy dance, as news, updates and reminders started flowing in from BAA.org. With registration finally confirmed, I upped my training and preparation for Boston 2015.

Plus, Coach Megerle sent near daily running updates, schedule, motivational articles, advice on staying physically fit and focused, eating well and staying connected with the TMT and other freebies to the team. Just connecting with us, and making me feel a part of a team, from far away was super-good!

GoMebTo keep track of my mileage and stats, my phone came in handy on my runs, with three running apps, plus two other apps for tracking daily strides and activity. Two of the running apps had pre-scheduled marathon training plans, perhaps more than necessary, but each served a purpose.

My running shoes were really wanting of immediate replacement, both pairs were not eligible to run Boston. Along came my brother with magical ideas on how to obtain new shoes. Viola! I got myself two new pairs – my first choice of Newtons Distance to run the marathon, and an additional Brooks for training. Add to that, a sweat scarf, which served as a mouth mask, face mask, and head scarf, and two good running tights. I was all set.

Still, I had to find a place to stay during marathon weekend, and a ticket to Boston. I planned to take my son with me, so he could watch me run and cheer me on. Sadly, friends, who had hosted me the last time I was in Boston were having guests over during Marathon Weekend. So, I posted a message on FB, seeking for alternatives. Problem solved, in an instant of posting a message, and a couch readily available at the Mwosa Girls and Boys. They happily welcomed my extra-baggage aka child, giving me joyous relief!We can do this

We traveled to Boston two days before the marathon, taking two buses -The Poconos to NYC, then, from NYC to Boston. Got to Boston safe, picked up our Bibs and run package, took a couple of pictures, toured the expo, did a little bit of freebie hunting, made posters, and enjoy a coffee at Boston South Station, and shared an ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery until our host returned into town.

The entire Mwosa house was ready for us. The young boys, eagerly awaited this child of mine, and indeed enjoyed each other. For the entire four-day weekend in Boston, I do not think I saw him for a full hour. He did not care that he was sharing a room with ’new friends’, away from his mother! Nor did I have to worry about feeding him breakfast, lunch or dinner because the Mwosa parents had all that covered! They pampered me V.I.P. -style the entire visit, allowing me to rest before and after the marathon. They chauffeured me back and forth to the “T” aka “Boston Train”, when I could not find a cab, and they accepted my invitation to the Tufts pre-marathon dinner.

I gat thisOn the eve of the Sunday, Marathon, April 19, I did only 15:42 minutes of running, rested most of the day, until I went to dinner with my hosts. Typically, I don’t like eating the night before the run, for fear of shocking my stomach during the run. Since Tufts, was hosting us – the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) and family to a pre-marathon dinner, I went with child and our hosts. I felt compelled to eat something in keeping with “carb loading” advice, even though I don’t do “carb loading”; quite frankly, I don’t know what it entails. Dinner was good in taste, time of day and duration.

Marathon Day, April 20! Of course, in my typical style, I barely slept the entire night. Once again, my body clock woke me up close to two the morning, before my alarm clock went off. Plus, the jitters I have every night before  any big event did not allow me to sleep soundly throughout the night. I was wide awake way before scheduled time to leave the house for the “T”.

After two cups of tea and warm water, I set off to catch the T downtown. The T gate would not take my ticket! Another train rider gave me a ‘nod’ to go through without paying. Heard, there was some kind of “Boston Marathoners ride Free T Ride Day”. A woman on the T asked to take my picture – my short celebrity moment. She said, she too wanted to run the Boston Marathon, and wished me good luck! I got a few more “Good Luck Today” cheers, but most of the commuters were absorbed in themselves. Surprising, since the Boston Marathon is a Big Deal on Patriots Monday. Perhaps, they have had enough with their city being swarmed by ’26.2 miles Zombies’ from the world over! Don’t blame you Boston, I still love you!

On oN to Marathon Bus Loading Zone, with no problem. First, into the “porta-potties” line. While standing in line for the bus to Athletes Village, I saw a friend from Kampala Hash House Harriers. Yeah! What a joy! We boarded the bus together, and stayed together until our marathon wave started, then planned to hook up again post-marathon.Medals with friends

Everyone was allowed to board the buses to Hopkinton, MA, regardless of the Wave number. The ride was too long; felt like going to another country! Got there, and made another dash for the porta-potties! Yes! A woman gotta empty her bowels before hitting the marathon route. I don’t believe in stopping for the porta-potties along the course, even though I drink at each water refueling station. I say, nobody will know if you pee on yourself while running. Particularly on rainy Marathon Monday; who would even care? Except for that guy with a sign, “Smile if you peed on yourself”. So naughty!

I must say, the love and support along the route was phenomenon! No way I would have finished the marathon, the crowd support. Please believe me, because I am not a quitter, never thought of being one. Yet, the hills and hills and more undulating hills along the BM course gave me lots of temptations in my head, to quit. See, I run in the Mt. Poconos, with plenty of hills and steep climbs. I run below freezing, in temperatures before what we had on BM, I run in rain, wind and everything. Yet the hills burned me so damn good! Unfathomable!

I guess even more reason to celebrate my 3:49:02 finish. I know I was aiming for more, but that was much better than any pace during my training. Remember, I am fatter in size than all other previous marathons. I was amazed by the runners, outdoing themselves, like each was a professional! Folks were running, no jokes! Sweating it nice and each staying calm. I guess that’s the true meaning of being among the crème de la crème. The best there at this game of marathons.

The crowds gave us all the love, not just water and gatorade, but also oranges, water mellow, more water…And I heard, but sadly missed, the “Beer Stop” of the Boston Hash House Harriers. That beer would have given me wings! On consolation, there was plenty of Jumbo-Love especially at Mile 9, at the water points, and different points along the route, with plenty of “Kisses from the Wesley Girls, music and more cheers all the way to the finish line.

How gratifying to catch sight of the finish line! I always say, I have very high respect for anyone who can run a marathon in five Family celebrationshours! Don’t mean to sound obnoxious or condescending, but by three hours and a half, my legs are ready to give in! But that excruciating agony, is positively boosted by the exhilaration seeing the finish line. Every minute thereon counts, you push yourself to achieve better. Especially when crowds cheer on your like a champ!

My son’s grandparents drove all the way into Boston, bless their kindest souls, to watch and support me run.The grandparents deserve a big shout-out! All those times you were in the battle alone, training in the snow, freezing rain, while all others are tucked cozily undercover, it is so gratifying witnessing the love of anyone taking off their time to support you!  They traveling at night to Boston, came out in the rain and chilly weather, stood at Mile 9, waiving the poster they made with my name up high, waiting to see me run by. Then, unexpectedly, to finish line to welcome me with flowers, though I missed them, as I dashed off. Even grandpa who stayed in the hotel room, because the weather was conducive for his health, was glued to the TV the entire time, hoping to catch a glimpse of me run amidst the crowd. Then they stayed, until I was all done with the post-marathon reception on Tuesday, to drive us back to PA! Priceless!

I am so grateful for all who contributed to my run – as financial donors, cheerleaders, hosts, and admirers. MWith grandma Anitay friends and family in Boston, who I was not able to meet in person due to a tight schedule, but gave me a call or sent me messages. My son, who does not understand why I did not win, perhaps a manifestation of his ‘grandiose’ respect and confidence of me. I love my son, very much! I love to see his glow, whenever he sees me. I love everything he says. I am so glad he’s very flexible in different circumstances and different places. I run for him.

Running the Boston Marathon is not just about being part of phenomenon history. As I ran those streets, I thought of my best friend Phina, who would have lived the streets of Boston outskirts, along the marathon route, cheered me on, and waited for me at the finish with her contagiously perfect smile. I dedicate this run to Phina. We met in Boston and last saw each other in Boston. She like me was a beneficiary of the care at Tufts Medical Center.

Please join Phina (RIP) and I in celebrating Tufts Nutrition, Fitness and Health Programs by donating to my Charity the Tufts Medical Center. It would be a great honor to me, as I celebrate another 21st Birthday, tomorrow April 28, 2015. https://www.crowdrise.com/TuftsBoston2015/fundraiser/doreenlwanga

Thank you for all your love! Thank you!IMG_7416

Anxieties in “Taper Period”, six weeks to Marathon!

Here we go running

Here we go running

I am feeling rather anxious, as I get into the “Taper Period” before D-Day, Monday, April 20. I am talking about running the Boston Marathon 2015. This is my first “Big City Marathon”, since I entered the world of marathon running. I feel inadequately prepared, mentally, physically and financially.

Last time I trained for a marathon, my mind, pockets and body were all in the right places. I was a smaller size than I am now, went out there and did it, and had the finances to afford all the costs of marathon training and preparations. I was also in winter-free zone, sans the pains and agonies of training under snowfall, icy roads, whirlwinds and below freezing temperatures. I had control over my work and family schedule, which afforded me much needed time for marathon preparation.

My work schedule allowed me to train during daytime, before picking up my child from school. I had the money to afford weekly gym time, where I dedicated at least half a day to strength training, massage and swimming. I had a supportive family that afforded me the luxury of weekend running, with free and reliable childcare when child was off school. I had a running team to motivate me, train with, and pound Saturday morning long runs on hills and dirt roads. Plus, another smaller group for occasional Sunday runs, when I felt like going extra miles. I had really have limits – I just ran without a structured training plan. It paid off, very well!

Now, I am in a different geographical zone, with different weather challenges that affect my training mood and achievements. Still, I have gone out as much as my schedule allows me, and avoid missing a scheduled run because ‘I do not feel like’. Yes! I am now running on a pre-planned training schedule on one of those running apps. No! I do not have, one, but three running apps monitoring my pace, mileage and time, plus two other fitness apps tracking my daily steps, plus a charity app to which I donate all my run miles.

I have different schedule challenges, though. I am without reliable family support to afford me training time when child is off school. I now do my long runs on Friday, when child is at school instead of weekends when I do not have guaranteed childcare. Implicitly, I have to take Friday off work to put in the mileage and more running hours when child is at school. I am not as financially comfortable as last time around. I started earning a bit of an income very recently, but it cannot afford me the “essential-luxury” of gym time for strength training and massage. But there is advantage to a non-permanent/non-fixed job; I can afford to schedule work on my off-training days, and put in half-day work weeks, to allow more training time.

I guess because I am on a pre-scheduled training plan, I feel more pressure to meet my goals unlike when I had own-scheduled training plan. I also feel bigger in size and slower. I am running solo, without a social running group to motivate me. All that combines to make me a nervous wreck sometimes. I am hoping that I will afford to take my child with me to see me run in Boston. I am yet to find out if any of my Boston-based friends would want to watch him.

It is six weeks to go, and that feels like tomorrow. I do not feel physically ready to hit 26.1 miles. While I have woke up before and run 24+ miles on my solo run, I am yet to run 20+ miles since I started training for the Boston Marathon 2015. Today will be the first day I am going out to do 20 miles. Hopefully, slightly more mileage and great speed. I am yet to consistently do in-house strength training, since I cannot really afford gym hours. I tried my hands on fundraising from friends to afford me a few gym hours, but that did not work the magic.

Still, my spirit is not down and out. I know I will do it! On race day, I have an entire team to learn to pace with on race day. I hope I do not go too fast or too slow. I hope I can achieve my goal; won’t say here..Hoping to put in more strength training, and to take my child with me…to Boston…

If you still wish to support my training preparations, I will be more than happy to receive your donation. Should you wish to contribute to my obligation to fundraise for my running team at Tufts University, kindly click on this link https://www.crowdrise.com/doreenlwanga. Let’s support, health, wellness and fitness!

Good Luck Charms for Runners

To quote Ulysses S. Grant,

“Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished.”

I have my own superstitions, which I have also dubbed Good Luck Charms for Runners. Here is one, “If you run the first day of the month, you get good luck throughout the entire month. You will run literally all the 28 or 29 or 30 or 31 days of the month! Ok, maybe I made that up. At least I live by it, and it works for me! Try it; you may like it!

I consciously try to go for a run every first day, and last day of the month. So, I am ‘haunted’ throughout the month to stay on course. Plus, Monday is a Running Day for me, since I joined my first “Hash” with the Kampala Hash House Harriers (KH3) in Uganda back in 2011. Though now I physically run solo where I live [except once when I did the New Years Eve Run], I feel and stay part of a running community.

I virtually run with KH3 on Monday, even though their weekly six O’clock run happens before or after mine. I am subscribed to a couple of running Apps –Runkeeper, MapMyRun and MiCoach, through which I follow my running-mates around the world. Following my friends on mobile Apps helps boost my morale and commitment to keep running, always aiming to top the “Leadership Table” every week and at end of the month. I enjoy observing their running and other fitness activities, which boost my running morale.

Thankfully, I have started off March running the 1st day, and the 1st Monday. The last week of February 2015, I put in 47 miles in four days. My target of 50+ and five days did not happen due to a combination of necessary rest and conflict of schedule: Monday was a resting day, because I had ran 12 miles the day before in sleet and freeze; Wednesday became tres occupé for me, when I should have put in a run; I rested on Saturday because I ran 18+ miles on Friday, then went out on Sunday. This Monday, I did it again, because the schedule permitted!

I am glad for what I was able to do. Keeps getting better by the week. I am pounding the road, the tarmac and trying to put in all the mileage. It is cold, it is snowed out, it is icy, all the conditions that could discourage one from going out running. Especially, solo running is more dreadful! Thankfully, I sucked it up and did my mileage. I was not able to run the last day of the month, per my plan, but I ran the first day of the following month.

I always say that running the first day of the month helps fuel my running for the entire month. I didn’t do that bad at all this month. In fact, February is my best month, thus far. I broke many records: 1) Farthest Distance in a Month; 2) Longest Duration in a Month; and 3) Most Calories Burned in a Month. 🙌🙌🙌

Hopefully, March will march along so good for me. I need to put in those mileages, as the marathon draws nigh! And these Muzinos need a final rest.

Rest in Peace, Muzino

Rest in Peace, Muzino

So, if you still wanna support me on my journey in six weeks, please click on this link to make a donation that could afford me a new pair of shoes. Most importantly, please help me raise money for the Tufts Medical Center, on behalf of the Tufts Marathon Team I am running with. I would be most grateful!

56.7 miles in a Week averaging – F Weather!

Last week, I run a total of 56.7 miles, over six days, in an average of single digit weather. The weather last week was terrible with snow, ice and wind, all moving at high velocity. I had to suck it up and do what I have to do, run it. Success does not wait, nor does marathon training.

That is why we invest in YakTrax, to providing traction and run smoothly over snow. Proper running shoes, a warm jacket – there is nothing better than Free Country, a warm cozy pair of running socks – shout out to Cabot & Sons, plus head, neck and mouth gear smitten in Buff’s multifunctional wear. You should see me out on the road. I am all good to go. My mittens are with me, supplementing my Columbia gloves. Which reminds me that I lost one of them, and need a replacement, as well as a replacement of the running shoes.

I am proud of myself for 56.7 miles. I hope to replicate that, going forward. The first step is always a challenge, especially thinking of the gush of the wind awaiting my body once I step out of the door. I am grateful I am able to overcome that. Add to that, treading carefully the first 0.4miles of my route, to avoid slipping on icy roads. Sometimes I forget my YakTrak when I step out of the door, and have to walk carefully on the snowy sides. But even when I have them, some of the roads are too icy to take chances of falling, so I walk and my pace suffers. And Yes! I need to replace the YakTrax – wow! more money going out!

Did I say that the pace is also affected by wearing gloves? That’s right! Since I have to double glove – I am yet to find one pair of gloves that keeps me fully comfortable, I have to start the running Apps before starting the run, and that counts against me. The least of my worries, it should be. As long as I go out and do it!

Now I need to really go out and get some money, fundraising on the road for my charity. My ideas it to myself a mobile billboard, and collect any donations possible. Please help me raise money as part of the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) to the Boston Marathon 2015, to support research on nutrition, obesity, hunger and famine, and to sustain programs that promote health and wellness across the university and within our host communities of Medford, Somerville and Boston’s Chinatown. Here is the Link to my Tufts Fundraiser. You can also support me personally, as I train for the marathon

The Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition offers a very specialized program designed to study adolescent obesity. Dr. Christine Economos is the chairperson of the study, and is also the Director of Child Obesity 180 at the Friedman School. She is currently a committee member for the Institute of Medicine report, “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.”

According to our coach, Don Megerle, additional funds are also raised and donated to the Tufts Personalized Performance Program. This program was actually an offshoot of the original Tufts Marathon Team concept. The program educates and trains seniors at Tufts to become Life-Coaches in the fields of health, nutrition, and personal fitness. There are 15 seniors enrolled in the program, and they assist me during the year with various projects related to the marathon. Marten Vandervelde, Director of the PPP, ran the Boston Marathon with the TMT three years ago.

Runner’s Guilt

I am a runner, who tends to stick to a schedule, mental or written. Guilt engulfs me each time I do not run as scheduled [again mental or written schedule]. In fact, most of my schedule is mental.
I love running, because it is part of me. No! I do not run to lose weight [as I have been asked by several]; I run because I like it, to freshen up, to think, dream and plan, and I run to reclaim my happiness. I feel terrible when I do not go out to run. I feel like plenty of my time is wasted away, and robbed of me! I am not a happy camper when I do not run. Especially when my excuse is awfully ‘unthere’!
Like this past Sunday! That I continued to lay in bed, wide awake, at the time I usually go out to run! Excuse? I made myself busy working, when I should have put in at least an hour of a run.
I want to cry myself to sleep, for missing my morning run. Weekends are kind of tricky because i am a full-time mother till bedtime. From time to time, I have morning ‘baby watch-over’, like this Sunday. Moreover, the weather was beautiful! That would have been a beautiful run, but I did not make it happen.
I thought I would go out later in the day, when child was off to “play-date”. That did not happen, either. Child was so slow with his chores, mummy school and school homework, that we did not even have a chance to go out for a walk. I am still seated here supervising his mom-school assignment. Literally three hours later! How can this be? Talking, procrastinating, nagging and tantrums all add up to accumulate more minutes.
Trouble is, each time I miss a run, I spend more time procrastinating and beating myself up, than doing great work. Now let’s see what it’s gonna be like tomorrow. Whether I will be able to go out in the freezing rain to put in a run. Probably not, again! Sadly! School might be closed!  Expecting Freezing rain and sleet; not conducive for buses driving on our mountainous roads