1.) Name: Adrian aka “Chase Fear” in the blogging world.
2.) Age: 24
3.) City: Pittsburgh, PA
4.) Profession: Medical Assistant & Running Coach
5.) Been running since: January 2011
6.) What made you start? In the past, the mere idea of running made me cringe. I never viewed running as a sport because I saw it as a form of torture or punishment. All I had were painful memories from gym class where I recall barely being able to run for short bursts without being struck with fatigue and shortness of breath. Running always made me feel weak and defeated. I dreaded every single second of gym class, never hoping to run again following graduation. Even after I had lost the weight, it wasn’t until I met a runner in late 2010 that allowed me to change my outlook. This person already had ultra-marathons and the Pittsburgh Marathon under his belt and I often thought, why? WHY?! Why does he run so much? “It’s not enjoyable,” I thought. But the more I heard him talk about running, revealing his passion, the more intrigued I became. I started reading about running and came across the term most avid runners are familiar with, “runner’s high.” I didn’t understand it, and for some time, I don’t think I wanted to. Although, reading stories about this notion left me with a sort of empty feeling. I ultimately ended up craving the feeling for myself. I wanted to understand why people run, and more importantly, why my friend runs. It’s not something that can be explained by words alone. I did a lot of research on my own through magazines, websites, and asking my friend for a few pointers here and there. I began testing my limits on the treadmill in January of 2011 and once I discovered how quickly I was progressing, I didn’t want to retire my shoes anytime soon. I became my own motivator. When I showed a genuine interest in running, my friend convinced me to sign up for the Mt. Summit Challenge. The rest is history. I still don’t see running as a sport. I see it as a lifestyle. It’s what I do. This friend I’m referring to is no longer a part of my everyday life, but I’ve learned that people come into your life for a reason. Perhaps I was born a runner, but I just needed that extra push. He was there to open the door, and I will forever be grateful that I had the courage to step inside.
6.) Training program you follow: Since I’m bouncing back from an injury, I had to draw back to Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, but I may switch to Hansons Marathon Method for the Akron Marathon in the fall.
8.) Best run/running experience: The Pittsburgh Marathon. Read my novel long recap by clicking the 5,000 links below the picture.
9.) Worst run/running experience: It’s more or less a situation. Coping with an injury that placed me on the running sidelines for about 2 months was pretty challenging both mentally and physically, still is. I had a pretty bad breakdown which I talked about HERE. But I’m making progress one day at a time, or uh 1 mile at a time. This issue is very far from being completely resolved. Iliotibial band syndrome is a highly common and nagging injury, so I need to remain diligent about stretching and slowly increasing my mileage.
10.) Dream training partner: Kara Goucher. But simply meeting her would be enough.
11.) Training shoe: Anything from the Brooks Running PureProject collection.
12.) Favorite running route: Anything in the city of Pittsburgh or any route that the Steel City Road Runners put together because that means I get to run with very good company.
13.) Pre-run food: A banana, peanut butter, and some form of complex carbs (whole grain bread or oats). I like to cook oatmeal and scoop it inside of an almost empty PB jar, and then eat the oats out of the jar.
Post oats. Favorite PB ever.
14.) Post-run food: Starbucks Egg white, spinach, and feta wrap and a Venti SF Vanilla Blonde Roast coffee. Mmm!
15.) Training gadget: My Garmin 610 and a good pair of shoes.
16.) Goals? It would be pretty amazing to be able to qualify for Boston at some point in my life. Hey, even if I don’t qualify until I’m 50 years old, I’ll still be proud. Although, I’d like to qualify before I turn 35 as this is where the time bumps up to 3:40. I’d have to run a 3:35 marathon to qualify now. I also hope to complete a 50 miler at some point in my life.
17.) Upcoming races? A bunch; here’s a list!
March Mad Dash 10 Miler - March 9, 2013
Boston Trail Half Marathon - April 20, 2013
Pittsburgh Marathon - May 5, 2013
Rock ‘n’ Roll Pittsburgh Half - August 4, 2013
The Biggest Loser Half - August 17, 2013
Tough Mudder (maybe) - August 24, 2013
Akron Marathon - September 28, 2013
18.) Favorite non-running activities: Blogging (writing in general), sitting and chatting in Starbucks, spending time with Sean, shopping, listening to music, and anything that involves creativity. Really, anything that makes me smile is good enough for me.
19.) Mode of transportation (other than your legs): My car, so I can get to races, training runs, and the gym. ;)
20.) Music: I’m a music junkie, and I listen to just about anything and everything. However, my favorite artists are Taylor Swift, The Beatles, and MUSE - complete opposites, I know.
This is my story.23 notes
Current Weight: 120 lbs
Highest Weight: 230 lbs
Lowest Weight: 106 lbs
You can see how frail I looked before I started running.
Goal Weight: Happy and healthy. I’m there.
Favorite binge food? I don’t binge. That was my downfall in the past, night after night of binging on unhealthy foods. I didn’t come to terms with the fact that I was slowly killing myself until early 2009. I do treat myself on a weekly basis. My relationship with food is completely different as an athlete. I use food to fuel my passion for running. Distance running requires a lot of wholesome, nutrient-dense energy, especially carbohydrates. My favorite carbo loading meals for long runs are whole grain pancakes or whole grain pasta with tomato sauce. My favorite treat is frozen yogurt with all the fixins’.
Oh, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Mmm!
Favorite exercise? Distance running.
What makes you slip up? The only time that I take extra, unplanned days off is if I’m very sick or injured.
What makes you strong? Dedication and discipline. I’ve learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Running is hard. And, if I need a day of rest, I take one. It’s crazy how you can feel your body repairing itself during downtime.
How many calories do you consume per day? Roughly between 1,500 - 2,000 calories per day. It’s dependent upon my point within my training cycles. I don’t count calories anymore. I just sort of know and understand what and how much my body needs.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? I see Adrian. If I said that same exact statement in the past, it would’ve been meaningless. I didn’t know who Adrian was, and quite frankly, I didn’t care. I’ve finally woken up from this 20 some year ‘coma,’ and it has allowed me to discover myself in so many different ways.
Are you the fat or thin one out of your friends? This doesn’t and should never matter.
Are you depressed? At this particular moment? Nope. I do have rough days. Depression runs in the family, and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness still strikes me at random moments. Often times, I can’t even explain why. However, I can say without any regards, that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole entire life.
Ever been to a psychologist? No. I’m MUCH more open about my feelings and the things that are bothering me. In the past, my book was closed and left on a shelf to collect dust. Now, I often open up to my mom, my loving boyfriend Sean, or my close family-like friends. For the most part, they are able to lift my spirit enough to get me through my brief bouts of sadness. When that doesn’t work, I turn to running. A lot of people say that ‘running is cheaper than therapy.’ That’s because it’s true. When I run, it’s my own personal time to reflect upon my life. Sometimes, I even zone out and completely forget about whatever is stressing me out at the moment.
This adorable, handsome man keeps me grounded. I love you Sean! :)
Are you on any medication? Oh yes. I’m on Ventolin HFA, Asmanex, loratadine, and doxepin. If you haven’t figured it out, I do have asthma. I was diagnosed back in 11th grade following an awful episode of acute bronchitis. I’m also highly allergic to pet dander and dust. My doctor prescribed doxepin to subside my symptoms of cold urticaria (it’s also prescribed for people with depression/anxiety). Cold urticaria literally translates to ‘cold hives,’ which simply means that I break out in hives when I’m exposed to cold temperatures for an extended amount of time. For some unforeseen reason, the cold triggers an allergic response, and my body protects itself by releasing histamine, which in turn triggers the inflammatory response. It’s painful and itchy, and it looks horrible. It started back in 2007. I also take a sports multivitamin and glucosamine chondroitin MSM for my joints.
1. Favorite time to workout? Morning/mid-afternoon.
2. Favorite place to workout? The world is my gym.
3. Favorite workout shirt? One that is lightweight and made with a moisture wicking fabric. Although, my top favorite shirt is the one that I received from running the Pittsburgh Marathon. Good thing it’s a technical shirt. ;)
4. Favorite workout shorts? Nike tempo track shorts. The end.
5. Favorite song to listen to while working out? I don’t really have a favorite workout song. My favorite genre to workout to is rock. I’ll pick a random song off of my playlist: Monster by Skillet.
6. Weights exercise you like most? I like experimenting with body weight exercises like squats, lunges, mountain climbers, planks, inchworms, etc.
7. Favorite post workout snack? A big cup of coffee and a good PB&J sandwich is enough to make me a happy
camper runner. I also love cereal!
8. How do you get to your place of working out? I open the door and go outside.
9. Would you workout if you didn’t have to in order to stay fit and healthy? Yes, I love what running has done for me. I run to challenge myself. I run to be fearless. I run to clear my wildly rampant thoughts. I’m a runner, and I love every painstakingly triumphant moment. I sometimes think, “Why do I do this to myself?” But when I reach a new personal best or cross another finish line, that’s when I get my answer. I love the feeling of the ground pounding beneath my feet. I love the wind blowing through my hair and the sweat pouring down my face. An overwhelming sense of pride rushes through me every single time I lace up my shoes. Running doesn’t define me. I define running. I gained so much insight from running. I’ve developed new outlooks, built numerous friendships, and created lasting memories because of running. Running is an adventure, and I’m always up for the challenge. I’m chasing every fear that I’ve ever possessed, and I’m using these fears to drive me forward on a daily basis.
10. Favorite thing to do to pass time during cardio? I take pictures, assess my life, conjure up ideas, listen to music, and when I’m with a group, we talk about anything and everything.
11. How many times per week do you exercise? About 5-6 days per week.
12. What gets you most motivated to workout? Running is an amazing sport for many reasons. You just never ever know what’s going to happen, and something about that notion drives me. You have good days, and you have bad days. I also love being able to catch a glimpse of the world by foot. It’s miraculous how much I’m able to see/take in during a run, many things that I couldn’t possibly experience otherwise.
13. Do you work out alone or with a partner? I usually run alone during the week, but on the weekends, I prefer to do my long runs with a group as long as my schedule permits. It keeps me motivated, and I’ve met so many wonderful people through my local running club. Many of which, I now consider family. The SCRRC has truly changed my life. If you’re from the Pittsburgh area, I highly suggest that you sign up! :)
14. Any embarrassing moments while running or at the gym? Nobody was around at the time, but I did tinkle outside once. The Porta-Johns were locked, and my pea-sized bladder was about to burst at any given moment. This was right before I started a long run of 16 miles, so I couldn’t foresee myself beginning at an uncomfortable state. Post-run, I do find myself saying/doing dumb things until I start replenishing my body. My brain isn’t worth a crap after a super long run.
15. Water or sports drink? It depends on how many miles I’m running and whether or not I’m consuming some other type of fuel (GUs, Shot Bloks, Honey Stinger Waffles, etc.) GU + Gatorade = GI (gastrointestinal) distress…I experienced this issue during the marathon. NOT FUN.
16. Favorite thing about working out? The person that I become after a run.
Secondly, I love being a marathoner. It’s something that I hope to do for years to come. It’s a title that nobody can ever take away from me ever since the morning of May 6, 2012. It was life changing.25 notes
Daily intake before:
Mock rundown of what you ate before:
Breakfast: I would eat between 2-3 large (unmeasured) bowls of cereal. Cereal choices included sugary varieties such as Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. My choice of beverage was always pop (soda), usually Mountain Dew. I hated juice, water, and anything remotely healthy. I always made a point to overly stuff myself in order to avoid having my stomach growl in the middle of class. When that happened, I always wanted to cry, curl up in a ball, and hide for hours. That’s how embarrassed/ashamed I was of myself. I kid you not.
Lunch: In high school, I ate a fried chicken patty sandwich with a side of French fries every single day. Sometimes, I’d also go into the snack line and purchase a large soft pretzel with a cup of cheese. Upon graduating high school, my choices were primarily of the high-fat variety - chicken strips, French fries, and cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, and pizza loaded with high-fat toppings.
Dinner: Fast food. McDonald’s was always my first choice when it came to fast food. Before they put a halt (good riddance) to the super-size option, my go-to meal was a two double-cheeseburger “super-sized” meal, which naturally included French fries and a large fountain drink. I’d eat the entire meal thinking that it was completely normal and no big deal whatsoever. If it wasn’t McDonald’s, I chose Taco Bell. I’d get the taco salad, and I made myself believe that it was healthy because there was a minimal amount of lettuce buried under the ground beef, cheese, and sour cream. Let’s not forget the fried tortilla bowl.
Snacks: Snacking was my biggest downfall, especially in the evening. I’d lie in bed, while watching television, and mindlessly eat for hours upon hours. I could finish nearly an entire family-sized bag of Doritos and think nothing of it. I could also make a huge dent into a pint-sized Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream carton. And if I was feeling extraordinarily numb towards my feelings, I’d eat the entire pint. Sometimes, I’d also wake up in the middle of the night and rummage through the kitchen for snacks, which were always unhealthy choices (brownies, cookies, chips, pop, etc.).
Daily intake after:
Mock rundown of what you eat now:
Breakfast: 1-2 cups of coffee with Splenda, 1 whole grain English muffin, 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge, 1 egg with ½ cup egg whites, and 1 medium apple
Lunch: 2 slices whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, 1 tablespoon sugar-free grape jelly, 1 cup frozen grapes, and 3 cups loose leaf lettuce mixed with veggies and 2 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette
Dinner: 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice or whole grain pasta, 1 cup steamed broccoli or another veggie of my choosing (Instead of pasta, I’ll also sometimes choose a medium-large baked sweet potato.)
Snacks: snack options include: 1 cup Greek yogurt with a small banana, 1 Luna Bar, 1 cup veggies with 2 tablespoons hummus, or 1 cup whole grain cereal with 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
**My caloric intake varies throughout marathon training. For instance, 3 days prior to a scheduled long run (13+ miles), I’ll increase my carbohydrate consumption. My favorite carb loading meals are pancakes, stir fry, or pasta with tomato sauce.
I talked about my relationship with food yesterday, but I haven’t talked about my relationship with food now.
It was all in my head…
My biggest battle was following my weight loss. April 2010 marked the 1 year anniversary of when I began my journey to find happiness. At that point in time, I had lost a little over 100 lbs, the healthy way. I was proud that I had finally conquered the demons that I fought for so many years…or so I thought. With the positive feedback from friends and family, came the fear that I would gain the weight back and ultimately find myself alone in my bedroom binging on enormous amounts of unhealthy foods once again. I didn’t have the confidence that I needed to fully thrive. I focused so much on gaining physical health that I forgot to pay attention to what was going on inside of my mind. I found it very difficult to make the mental transition from 230 lbs to my current weight. Like I had done all too much in the past, I forced a smile on my face and bottled up my pain. I couldn’t make sense of my new life and fully allow myself to come to terms with no longer being Adrian, “the fat girl with a pretty face.” It felt like I was born again, and I didn’t know left from right. I had to slowly teach myself to actually live instead of being just a life.
In the summer of 2010, I suddenly found myself chained to the scale…freaking out over a single pound of weight gain here and there. I let numbers take control of my life in more ways than one. Not only did I weigh myself every single time I set foot into my bathroom, I counted calories in my head all day long until it drove me insane. I ended up convincing myself that it was “healthy" to consume as little as 800 calories per day. I brainwashed myself and lost all sense of reality. I was in complete and utter denial of the downward spiral that I was heading towards. Every time anyone in my life showed concern about my bony structure, I became very distressed, forcing myself to withhold the truth. I became overly obsessive with exercise and calories. If I were to binge, I’d immediately feel extreme guilt that would eat away at me for hours upon hours. I didn’t know how to treat myself and still feel healthy at the same time. Heck, I even found it difficult to consume certain healthy foods. For example, peanut butter? I avoided it because I thought it was unhealthy due to its high fat content. Now? I can’t even keep track of how many jars I’ve consumed within the last year.
I can’t even put into words how unhappy I was. My guilt was compensated through exercising uncontrollably with very little nutrition to back up my activity level. I even went as far as chewing food and spitting it out to lessen my daily intake, but still get that satisfaction of taste. My fears were, once again, taking over my entire life because I chose not to face them. I lashed out for no particular reason, arguing with my own mother over what I wanted to eat for dinner. It was terrible behavior that I’m not proud of, and I constantly wish I could take back. In a way, I feel like I blocked out any form of common sense and acted upon subconscious behaviors. I was exhausted, moody, and I’m certain my body was begging for a well-balanced diet. I lost my period for a long time. I had very little muscle definition, which caused me to feel abnormally weak. I ended up weighing as little as 106 lbs on a 5’4” frame (keep in mind the additional weight from redundant skin). I can’t believe I ever let myself get that far. I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum, over eating and under eating.
How do you now view food and health?
This question is going to take me into the 2nd leg of my journey…my 26.2 mile long journey. Upon losing 110 pounds, I was suddenly faced with a huge wall of fear, which was constructed with bricks depicting failure, depression, bullying, and a strong sense of worthlessness. Like I had previously mentioned, my caloric intake started reaching dangerously low levels in the summer of 2010, and I was confronted by concerned family and friends on more than one occasion. I was in denial, my life near the point of jeopardy…until I met a runner. In October 2010, an ultramarathoner came into my life, and I immediately thought, “Running? How can anyone actually enjoy running?” I was blind to the sport, only being able to envision painful memories of when I was asked to run during my high school gym class at a whopping 230 lbs. But, the longer I knew this person, the more that I caught a glimpse of his passion for running. He opened the door, and I found the courage to step inside.
Let’s just say that my curiosity got the best of me, and I suddenly found myself testing my limits on the treadmill in January of 2011. Upon transitioning myself to outdoor running and crossing my first finish line in April 2011, I never would’ve imagined that I could call myself a marathoner a year and a half later. Running has saved my life and allowed me to view food as fuel for my performance. I depend on proper nourishment in order to feed my passion. Since becoming a runner, I’ve stopped daily weigh-ins, I’ve gained 14 pounds of muscle, I consume twice as many calories, and I’ve learned to love and appreciate healthy, natural foods. Food gives me the energy that I need during my training cycles, and it’s still a learning process. Now when I treat myself, it actually feels like a treat. Cake tastes so much better when you don’t eat it too often!
My name is Adrian, and I finally feel alive.37 notes
It’s time to get personal again. Very, very personal.
How did you view food?
For me, food wasn’t a means of survival. My life became evolved around food. When I think back to my own relationship with food, it’s actually quite alarming how common it is amongst today’s population. I often ate because I had “nothing better to do,” but I believe the root of the issue was much deeper than keeping myself busy for several moments. Recently, I came across a quote by Ann Wigmore; “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." I read this quote dozens of times because it’s as if Ann knew me herself. You often hear about individuals who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc., but you rarely hear about food addictions. Food is cheap, easily accessible, and will always be legal, no matter the age of a person. Why? Well, we need food to survive (duh). What we don’t need is excess. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Unfortunately, these thoughts never crossed my mind every time another morsel of food made its way to my mouth. Food was my drug of choice, and it gave me intense feelings…almost like a high. It helped to fill an empty void. What I didn’t know is that I was slowly killing myself in the process.
How did this view affect you and your loved ones/family?
My relationship with food was something that was completely misunderstood. It’s hard to grasp the concept of difficulty unless you’ve personally endured it. My loved ones were naturally concerned, but telling the unwilling to break an addiction is like talking to a wall. The only person that I’m certain identified with me was my dad. He too was an obese child, and he took the road to good health at a young age. Now, in his fifties, he’s still maintaining a healthy weight. **Pats my dad on the back.**
My dad (left) and I (right) as young kids. Eery how similar they are.
My dad and I in March 2011.
My dad has always had trouble confronting people for the fear of hurting their feelings, so I can’t be mad at him for failing to come to me regarding my weight. It’s a very sensitive issue for most people. He just wanted to see his little girl smile, so he avoided discussing anything that could possibly make me sad. Still does. I had plenty of fears myself, and I know how difficult it is not only coming to terms with your fears, but confronting them as well.
Where did the eating habits stem from?
I have no clue how old I was here, but it’s very obvious that I was young.
As a young child, I was never taught what foods were healthy vs. unhealthy. I just ate whatever we had at hand. It was either that or go hungry. I also never understood portion sizes, so I ate until I felt full or sick to my stomach. My worst habits were developed through my own personal will since I often ate by myself. I feel like I’m to blame for most of it. No one forced me to make my poor decisions, but on the other hand, no one was there to stop me either. “I’ll only have 1 more chip.” That 1 chip turned into 50. Those 50 chips turned into a bowl of ice cream, a 2 liter bottle of pop, and so forth. Nutritionally speaking, I had absolutely no guidance (because I refused to find any), so I didn’t know the difference between right and wrong.
How did you feel emotionally?
I was an emotional basket case growing up. Depression is common amongst my family, so I often found myself in angst. The bullying and self-bashing certainly didn’t help the cause. I was left feeling totally demoralized. I never felt like my opinion mattered to anyone, so I kept my thoughts to myself. I felt ugly, stupid, disgusting, weak, useless, ashamed, lonely, and voiceless. I contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. The first time that I ever revealed this to my mom (upon losing weight), she cried because she had no idea that I was so depressed. I hid my feelings well by painting an obscure, crooked smile on my face day in and day out. “I’m fine,” I said. I wasn’t fine. In fact, I was light years away from fine.
So much sadness in my eyes.
Hiding from the camera.
How much did you eat for all meals, snacks, etc.?
I honestly wish that I could put my intake into definite numbers, but calories, measuring, and weighing were completely off the horizon. I ate multiple large servings during meal times on top of frequent grazing throughout the day. I didn’t know anything regarding nutrition, and at the time, I didn’t care. At all. For me, the bigger, the better. Being “stuffed" didn’t bother me because it allowed me to feel something, even if it was only for a brief moment. And, the more I had at my reach, the longer I was able to maintain that feeling. It wasn’t comfortable, but it kept my mind from wandering into darker places.
Where did you usually eat?
About 85% of the time, I ate alone in my bedroom. The only time I ever sat down for a family dinner was on a special occasion like a holiday or birthday. I’d sneak into the kitchen during prime time hours to get my hands on whatever I could find at the time (chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.). I’d bring the food into my room and mindlessly binge while watching television. Watching television wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. Food was a must. I can recall bringing a full bag of Hershey Kisses into my room and eating the entire bag in a single night. I preferred eating alone because I was completely safe from being judged and ridiculed by others. Eating with a group of people made me highly uncomfortable and caused a lot of anxiety.
Were you at all concerned?
Not in the least bit. A lot of people feel guilty after a binge. Me? I never even thought twice about it. I was in complete denial of my unhealthy eating habits. I’d try to justify my late night binging with an excuse like, “well, I had a salad for dinner.” Meanwhile, that salad was loaded with fries, cheese, and ranch dressing. To me, my life didn’t matter. And eventually, my room became a household garbage dump that was filled with wrappers, cartons, pop cans, dirty dishes, and so much more. My carpet, that has since been replaced, was stained with food, beverages, and God knows what. My lack of respect for myself was evident not only through my physical appearance, but through my personal space as well. I was at an all time low.