Monday, October 31, 2011

call the wah-mublance

I'm getting tired of writing about being tired (not to mention, darn PAST tired of being tired!)  After Saturday night's early bedtime, I slept in a bit on Sunday morning.  Dragged my tired self out of bed and off to church (tempted all along the way to just stay in bed.)  Thoroughly enjoyed church, but (despite being anything but bored) I yawned continuously through the service and tears ran down my face from the many yawns I more or less suppressed.  

A quick lunch after church and guessed it...back to bed, for most of the rest of the day (though I did manage to get up long enough to do a few basic chores...I'm getting behinder on those as I sleep so much of my days away.)

This morning, once again I needed a 30 minute nap before leaving for the office at 7:55.  Tired and foggy-brained all morning.  Finally felt quite a bit better during and after lunch.  Home at 5...on my back on the couch by 5:30.  It's 7:17 and I'm ready to sleep for the night within the next half hour or so.

I've worked up a document for my doctor appointment.  A list of supplements, my regular exercise regimen, some notes on the way I eat.  On the back side of the page, a history of this fatigue problem.  Putting it all in bullet points...yikes.  I'm glad the doctor is in 2 more days.  

Meanwhile, to exercise or not?  This morning, I didn't run, because it seems not fair to my employer if I continually make running a priority but cannot manage to stay at work a full day.  My hope was to leave enough of a reserve of energy for a full work day.  I guess it worked?  Tomorrow night I probably can't go to Zumba as I have a meeting at work that will run too late, I think.  Not a big deal, I reckon, since I'm so rarely up for remaining upright after work anyway.  

This feels like the whiniest post ever.  Good night, folks. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

biggest bike ride ever

Still amidst the exhaustion mystery.  After Wednesday's day home, Thursday I got up and made it to work...until 3 PM, when I excused myself to return home and to bed for the night.  Ahhh fun.  Friday I was able to work all day.  By 5 I was wiped out with a low-grade headache; back to bed for the night.  This morning my butt was dragging when I got up at 7, but by 10:30 I was up and out for a bike ride!  More on that in a sec.  It's not yet 8 and I'm back in bed.  No headache, not miserable...if this level of tired wasn't part of a pattern, I'd be ignoring it.  But part of learning to love my body is definitely listening to what it tells me.  Since it's been saying exhausted" for most of a month, I'll listen and rest, even when I'm not "wretchedly so."  If I haven't said so here yet:  I have a doctor appointment on Wednesday.  Help is on the way.

Now...back to that bike ride!  You might recall that last weekend I rode 36 miles.  The turn-around was hard for me; the trail was sooooo beautiful ahead.  But I'm always quite aware that going back home means not running myself out before turning around!  So today I cut through Rock Island and Moline on 14th/16th Avenue, shaving something like 8 miles off the early portion of my journey.  This left me able to go on down the trail a piece further, through Port Byron and turning around at Camp Hauberg, just shy of Colona.  Uhhh.  43 MILES!!!  Wooooohoooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!  Now you KNOW I'm dying to hit the "50" mark before the best of biking season passes.  

I have this new-to-me pair of exercise pants from a friend.  I wore them for the first time earlier this week to my first Zumba class, only to discover that I have Too Much Butt for them.  They rode down repeatedly throughout the class, causing me to have to tug them up every 10 or so steps...pretty sure those around me got a kind of "pants on the ground" show in between tugs.  Since I've been mostly riding in jeans, I decided to see if these pants could be repurposed to biking pants.  After all, my butt is stationary on the bike.  And I'm wearing black bike shorts under them, black t-shirt and black jacket over them.  So even if they shift southward...who's gonna know?  

One challenge:  Wilma has no chain guard, so I have to ride with pants rolled almost up to the knees so her chain won't destroy them.  The pants are kind of spandex-y, so I didn't trust them not to unroll themselves as my legs moved all day.  Solution:

Binder clips!  One per pant leg.  A trick I learned on a blog of a lady who rides regularly in dresses.  Tell you what:  it worked!  (And yes, I realize my legs are glowingly white...don't hate!)

The nice thing about my water backpack:  it's a great place to transport food.  Some nice "Nut Thin" crackers, a single-size peanut butter, and a stick of string cheese fit nicely in next to the water bag.  Great re-energizer, just past the half-point.  

Riding along the mighty Mississippi on a fall day is a real treat.  A couple of views from my ride can be found here if you're interested (blogger seems to be struggling to upload them to this page). 

Overall a fun day.  Now...the Aleve is kicking in, and sleep is calling my name...after all, it's almost 8:30, peeps! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

mysterious attack of the yuckies

Yesterday I woke up kind of sluggish, but managed my run...managed it well, considering the sluggishness, I thought.  Went through my usual morning routine...shower, breakfast with readings and grat list...and in the midst of eating and writing...all of a sudden I had to sprint to the bathroom, where I became quite violently ill.  WEIRD!  How can I be fine one moment and so sick the next?

I was mildly hopeful that the problem was just my cherry juice.  I've been drinking 2 tbsp of cherry concentrate diluted in 8 ounces of water on my run mornings, to address muscle and joint pain.  I don't love that stuff; sometimes it even makes my stomach hurt a little.  So I hoped that was all it was.  But within seconds, I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck.  I crawled back into bed, but was up in about 5 minutes putting on heavy socks and my hoodie, with the hood UP...I was getting colder by the moment.  From under the covers I texted work to let them know I wouldn't be in first thing, and then I crashed to sleep, HARD, as soon as I finally got warm.  WEIRD.  

I was also hopeful that sleeping it off for the morning would be good enough, since I had been well until 3 seconds before the upchuck.  But at 11 I was barely able to come conscious, and sitting up wasn't even an option.  More texts to work and back to sleep.  Later in the afternoon I was finally able to do big extravagant things like walking to the bathroom, and heating up soup, and (rather fearfully) carefully eating the soup in a reclined position, praying it wouldn't bring the same reaction breakfast had.

I was quite a bit better by bedtime...still wiped out, but more or less functional.  This morning, I THINK I am better.  Breakfast isn't doing anything evil to me.  I'm showered and though my butt is dragging, I think I can do work.  

Seems like this latest round isn't related to the several weeks of exhaustion I just recently's quite different.  Unless my body is just protesting differently?  

Color me puzzled.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

back up and at it!

When I surrendered to a week without running, I did it with some trepidation.  There was definitely a little voice within me estimating that I had just ended my running phase, and was well on my way to getting further out of shape once more.  It sounded like a voice of fear and judgment, so I just ignored it and took the week off anyway.  I took it off in more ways than I had intended to - didn't make it to my first Zumba class nor my next Kickboxing one.  Didn't get out for many bike rides at all.  Didn't even goof around with the balance ball and exercise mat.  It really was a week of rest.  

I am happy to report that things are looking good.  Thursday I spent the day in a marathon resting session, sleeping and resting and sleeping and not even noodling around on the computer, for the most part.  It was aggressive resting therapy.  :-)   It seems to have worked!  I am cautiously optimistic - that exhaustion held on for sooo long that I don't want to hurry to pronounce it "over" - but...let's just say I've had 3 good days in a row, and morning 4 is feeling pretty great too.  

So this morning I woke up 1 minute before the 5 AM alarm, ready to get out on the street.  It felt so good to get my ugly running shoes on and head out into the darkness.  I noticed something as I climbed the steep boulevard and then the giant doesn't run me ragged, walking up all of that anymore.  I am not out of breath when I reach the top.  I can remember breathing so hard I felt in danger of tossing my cookies at the top - now I'm just breathing slightly harder than usual.  Cool!  

I had wondered if I might need to go one step backward in my intervals, but I decided to assume nothing.  So after my 5 minute warm up walk, I did 3 rounds of:

3 minutes slower jogging
7 minutes faster running

And at the end I walked about 5 minutes of cool-down time.  I had told myself that I'd give me grace as needed.  The middle round is always the hard one, as it contains the uphill portion of the run.  I was prepared to let myself off with less than 7 full minutes of faster running, if necessary.  And I did get to breathing pretty dang hard, chugging up that (long, gentle) hill.  But I never felt like throwing up, and my legs never started feeling like jello, so I just went ahead and did the entire round as if I hadn't just been out of commission for a week.  HOW COOL IS THAT?!  

Here's what else:  I ran just a tad bit further than I have ever run yet.  Made it a full 2.2 miles!  Now mind you, when I started running clear back all those months ago, the C25K promise was 5K in something like 9 weeks.  And 5K is 3.1 miles.   Nonetheless, I don't find this to be a failure.  I'm duly impressed with being able to run continuously, no stopping, no walking, for 30 minutes.  That seemed impossible when I started.  I am a very, very slow runner, even when I'm doing what I define for myself as "faster running."  I'm still what feels like eons away from being able to move this body 3.1 miles in 30 minutes.  Know what, though?  I don't care.  I'm eons ahead of where I began, getting stronger and leaner, slowly over time, and that's success in my book.

Friday, October 21, 2011

digging for the why of exhaustion

Yesterday I took a sick day.  This exhaustion thing that I've been battling was worse than ever, and it was a day when I could move life around a bit without causing any major crises, so I did.  Slept from 8-12:30, uninterrupted.  Ate lunch and then dozed on and off in front of HGTV until 5.  Was up on the couch, having supper and looking at the computer a bit for a little less than 3 hours, and then back to bed for the night.  My body did not resist the opportunity for sleep and rest.  

Needing a day off work kicks this whole thing into a different category.  I've been fighting this thing for, I can't remember, either 2 or 3 weeks now.  But it's one thing to be wiped out yet able to work - quite another to start calling off.  This means I'm running out of time to figure it out.  If it's not better by Monday, I guess I'll have to see a doctor.  (This morning I feel GREAT and am hoping that yesterday did the trick.)  

Lots of people have put forth things for me to consider, and of course I've spent quite a bit of time pondering it on my own.  Possibilities that I have looked at and dismissed include:

  • Maybe I'm not getting enough calories.  Nope, I've looked at that.  While I'm making a lot of extremely healthy choices and eating a ton of veggies, this is still a very relaxed approach overall and I'm getting enough calories not to be tired from that.
  • Maybe it's a sugar issue.  I considered that pretty seriously for a bit.  I DID find that cutting out my morning smoothie helped with the morning sleepiness - apparently all that natural sugar from fruit along with the honey and cherry juice concentrate was just too much for my mornings.  But beyond an occasional dessert when I'm out and about, I don't do much sugar at all.  So it's not that.  
  • Maybe I'm not getting enough protein.  I suspected that at first, but then started being more deliberate, where protein is concerned.  I feel pretty confident that protein's not the issue at this point.
  • Some have wondered if I need supplements.  But I'm taking a B-complex vitamin along with C, Iron, Fish Oil, and Cinnamon.  A friend talked to me about Zinc, but after researching I am reluctant to add a supplement for that as "too much" is a dangerous thing and my very healthy diet should be handling that issue.  
  • A friend sent me a list of thyroid symptoms to consider, but the only one I have from the whole list is the fatigue.  So I don't think that's probably it.
  • Another friend asked in an email I read this morning whether there is a CO detector in my apartment.  I'll be checking on that, but I'd be very surprised if there were not.  
 Of course I started with the theory that my body is fighting a bug that I was exposed to, and I'm not totally over that theory.  I read someone on Facebook last night who said that bug is lasting a couple of weeks.  So I still think it's possible that I have that but my body (because of my very healthy living) is able to *mostly but not completely* fight it off.  Which is why I'm still holding out hope that this thing will leave me within the next couple of days.  

I hope that's true.  While occasional periods of fatigue have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, this time just doesn't seem to fit.  In the past, I think, a lot of it was related to depression and/or the fact that I just didn't live very healthy.  But I'm not depressed right now and I'm living healthier than I ever have.  In the past, I think, sometimes it was just because I was an overwhelmed single mom carrying too many loads at once.  And while I AM still adjusting to the changes in my life from the Chicago-to-Rock Island move, I wouldn't think the change should be enough to wipe me out this badly (though I guess I am 45 now and not 25, so maybe I just don't adapt as quickly...who knows.)  

Anyway I am so over talking about myself this morning, and I'd be stunned if anyone made it through this whole long ponder.  Just putting it all on the page, as sometimes writing things down reveals truths to me that I didn't see when it was all in my head.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

my body wnts to run, and i have a new red dress

My body is not impressed with this break from running.  This morning my muscles are complaining to me about it.  I expected only to feel relief for the break - this discomfort is surprising to me, but it's good.  I think that reflects a shift in the conversation with myself, and it's a good one. 

Last night I came home to a wonderful thing:  a box in the mail, so big I didn't even try to pick it up.  Just dragged it in behind me.  Inside:  hand-me-downs from a nearly life-long friend.  Clothes in my size, and a few in the next size down.  Mostly stuff for work, but also workout clothes and a couple of casual items.  Beautiful clothes, several steps up from the level of quality where I generally shop.  I spent my evening trying stuff on and getting repeatedly surprised at what I saw in the mirror.  Fun stuff.

My favorite thing:  a red dress.  Ohhhhh golly!  I tried it on first and then said aloud to myself that someone needs to ask me out, cuz I NEED to be seen in this thing!  Never had anything like it.  On second thought, I don't need to worry about the getting asked out thing...I think I'll save it for our big Christmas party at work, maybe.  I don't know.  I just know:  I can't believe I have something like that!  Love it, love it, love it.  

And love not totally hating the mirror.  Once upon a time, I'd have said I could never do anything but hate the mirror.  The fun part of that transition:  honey, I have NOT arrived.  I still have very many pounds to lose before I get even close to my healthy body weight. If I were to get specific about the problems with individual parts of this bod, I could wax long and eloquent...but as a whole, I've found the place of loving my body right here and now, right where it is.  

How did God do that?  

I don't know, but I'll keep embracing the process and let Him do it some more!

Monday, October 17, 2011

reset, perhaps?

Okay, so this weekend I traveled with some coworkers and my need for naps was kind of "on stage," ya know?  Like, sleeping clear through the drive to and from the conference and still going to bed very early at the hotel.  It came up in conversation, and left me looking again at all this darn exhaustion that's been dogging me.  

I'm tired of needing a "nap" before I leave for work in the morning.  Tired of needing a lunch time nap.  Tired of being tired, despite all these darn naps.  Working hard to figure out the nutritional angles and such.  And no, I'm not depressed (I'm getting that question a lot lately...but I think I'm experiencing too much peace and joy for this to be a depression.)

But yesterday a conversation with a friend convinced me that maybe my body needs a sort of "reset" just like we do when the computer gets all funkified.  So, I'm taking a week off from my morning run.  And yesterday I turned off the alarm and just slept 'til I woke up.  And last night I made myself turn off the computer and get under the covers at 8 PM.  The plan is to aggressively pursue rest for a week. Still planning on some bike rides and I start my Zumba class this week, so I'm not ONLY vegging - but "rest" will be the prevailing theme and priority this week, and we'll see if I can get this body re-set!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

darn tired

I have been fighting exhaustion for a week now.  I don't know if my body is just fighting the bug I was exposed to about 10 days ago, or if it's other stuff.  I theorized that maybe my smoothie was too much sugar in the morning (not added sugar, other than the 2 TBSP of honey...but fruit is heavy on natural sugar); I have temporarily suspended the smoothie, to test that theory.  I am much less sleepy in the mornings, so I think that was part of it (gonna have to figure out how to fit in some kefir and some fruit and that cherry juice concentrate a different way, I guess).  I've been having a hard-boiled egg mid-morning instead; I think it's a better solution.  

Another element that might be in play is that I might need more protein.  I'm doing great in cutting out a ton of refined carbs and such, great at eating massive amounts of fresh or frozen veggies, but I suppose I'm kind of light on the protein sometimes.  So I'm making a more concerted effort, on that front.  

I've been anemic my whole life, but I can't imagine that's what this is, as I am eating pretty well and also taking an iron supplement (and vitamin c, which helps the body metabolize the iron).  

Currently I am pressing into the "get more sleep" part of the solution.  I slept almost 11 hours last night (had to be asleep by 7 PM to accomplish that, and honey, I WAS...didn't even get up in the night for the usual bathroom run).  

I am making sure to keep exercising.  I don't think stopping a workout is a good way to beat exhaustion...the body needs and thrives on exercise, and I don't believe I am doing an unhealthy amount.  30 minutes of running, 3 times a week.  And most days I get 30-60 minutes of much lower-intensity exercise in the evening (bike ride, kickboxing class, etc.)  I don't think my exercise is the problem. 

Other than that, I don't know.  I just know I'm tired of being tired.  I've wanted a day off to just be in bed for a week now, but it hasn't happened...and looking ahead, it ain't happening in the next week, either, unless I end up putting the big HALT on life to make it happen.

We'll see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sharing the road with jerks, running and riding harder

Truth:  as a car driver, I don't like sharing the road with bikes and pedestrians.  The pedestrians look so small and vulnerable, and my car feels so dangerous when I see them in my space.  The bikes, I can always imagine just falling over sideways, right out of the blue, right as I am beside them...when it's  too late for me to avoid running right over their defenseless heads.  As a car driver, I prefer not to share the road with any of them, just for my own selfish self.

As a wannabe runner and a regular cyclist (who is finally working up the nerve to do some road riding and not only stay contained to the safety and the limits of the bike path), I am experiencing this from the other side.  I totally get that most of the drivers on the road probably wish I weren't there.  I understand.  If I were driving, I would wish I weren't there too!  

But I am surprised at the number of people who act out their "not liking it" in rather more unpleasant ways.  Examples:

  • Many mornings on my run, cars that are coming head-on choose to turn their lights up on hi-beam when they spot me.  Now mind you, I'm wearing a reflective vest and I think my shoes have reflective quality as well.  I am running as far over to the side as I can get (don't even suggest the sidewalk; those are in such a condition here that all I'd do in the dark is break myself if I tried that).  I'm visibly watching them, not just running along oblivious.  They gotta bright me?  Really?!  Note:  they NEVER go to high beams when they come up behind me, regardless of whether they are on my side of the road or not.  It's only when they are coming head-on.  And then I see their beams click back down to low just as they are beside me.  For real.  I don't know how else to interpret that than:  jerks on the road.  Come on, folks.
  • Many evenings out on my bike, I encounter those who act like fools as they pass me going in the same direction I am going.  People who hang back and honk, though I'm all the way over as far as I can safely ride, and they have plenty of room.  People who seem to buzz in as close as they can manage...they are nowhere NEAR the center line...or at least, they aren't until they get past me, having passed so close it felt like they were going to touch me...then they move back over to the left, once I'm behind them.  People who gun their engines hard when they are close behind me.  Note:  there are 3 categories of vehicles that do this to me:  muscle/testosterone vehicles, luxury vehicles, and those from the P.O.S category.  I've never had anyone in a car that gets decent mileage and is in decent shape and doesn't cost more than a new home be a jerk to me on the road.  Ever.  Disclaimer:  I considered some muscle cars myself this time around, and I also know people who drive muscle cars, luxury vehicles, and P.O.S vehicles who are nice, decent, and I don't think would be a jerk to a size 18 middle age lady in a dorky helmet on a bike (c'mon, jerks out simply existing I have conceded you are cooler than really gotta prove it with your asinine behavior...really?!)...I'm just saying, the jerks seem to always be driving one of those 3 kinds. 
Anyway that's not really very germaine to the topic of this blog, but it's been a rant in my head for awhile.  Now that it's on the page, maybe it'll shut up already.

In other news, my 3/7 run intervals got much easier this morning.  I will definitely be advancing to the next phase next week.  Also, on my bike ride last night I went about 50 feet further up the 17th street hill than I ever could before having to get off and push Wilma up the rest of the way.  Progress!  Now, in truth, when I got off to push her, I was breathing so hard that I was sure my organic pumpkin and flaxseed raisin brans and coconut milk were going to exit my stomach and splash all over Wilma and my purple zebra striped shoes...I pushed HARD to get that far.  But I did it!  I am coming to believe that it's important to push myself further than I think I can go in some way almost daily, if I am going to break through into new zones of obedience to God and love for this body that I have never lived before.

Just sayin.

Monday, October 10, 2011

bike update and pushing past fears

Okay, I keep thinking I have written about what's up with my bicycle situation, and then people who I know read me ask questions I thought I already answered.  Feeling too pressed for time to read back through my blogs myself to see what I've said, and knowing that the change in Facebook feeds probably means some friends don't always catch my blog now, I think I'll just take a minute to clarify.

After my last Chicago Critical Mass ride, I came home, took another ride on Lulu (just a little one, less than 10 miles), and when I got back to my building, she broke.  A big bolt and a big spring thing popped off and she lurched and her front end went WAYYYY down and I was amazed that I managed not to wreck while stopping and getting off.  

A couple of days later, I shared this story with a friend.  I was bummed.  Lulu was in my living room, wounded, waiting for payday so I could get her fixed.  The next day my friend dropped off a surprise at the concierge desk at work:  her bike, which she doesn't ride ever since an accident she had on it involving high speed and a 100+ pound St. Bernard.  A gift, not a loan.  I was overwhelmed - who gets gifts like that?!

The bike needed tuned up, so I still couldn't ride, despite having TWO bikes in my living room.  I lovingly cleaned 'em up and waited for payday.  Meanwhile I worked on what the new girl's name would's not that I think ALL bikes need names (it was never MY idea to name Lulu...she came with her name painted on her side), but how could I have one named and one not?! I had an idea, but I couldn't firm it up until I could ride her to make sure she didn't speak some other name to me.

Friday was payday; Saturday, both girls went to the "bike doctor."  They came home shiny and spectacular.  I was on my way to a birthday party, so there was not time for more than a quick spin around the parking lot.  It was official...the new girl's name is Wilma.  She has major shock absorption abilities, which makes riding her a whole other experience from Lulu! 

Yesterday after church and a nap, I finally had time for a real ride.  Struck out on Wilma, starting with almost falling down as we started.  I thought the only problem was that her handlebars sit differently than Lulu's...a bit of experimenting showed me that Wilma was just in WAY too low a gear.  I need some pedal resistance to heft this heinie up onto that high seat.  With that problem solved, getting on was no longer a big deal.

Oh BOY we had a fun ride.  With 24 speeds, she lets me adjust to hills and such much more adeptly than Lulu can.  I was so encouraged by the ride that I made a spontaneous decision:  I would leave the bike path.  When I reached the i wireless center, I cruised through the parking lot and started up that darn big hill on 12th street in Moline.  I was only able to ride about 2 blocks up, and then I had to push Wilma up the last 2 or 3 blocks.  Hoo BOY what a hill!  I was a sweaty, disgusting mess and out of breath by the top, with the scary ahead of me yet.

Except it wasn't scary.  I rode 16th street in Moline, which then changed to 14th street in Rock Island, turning onto 30th.  I wasn't brave enough to ride on 18th street; I stayed one block over in a residential area, just not willing to risk some cell-phone talking passer squashing me. 

I MADE IT!  I did it!  YAY!  And taking the streets saved me road-to-bike-path route to the i wireless center had been just over 8 miles; the street portion home was about 4.5.  So it ended up being not even a long ride after all.

I am very much enjoying the feeling of pushing past my many fears into a place of more freedom.  This is a particularly sweet part of letting God teach me to love the body I have.

May you notice your freedom today.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

tired, bike fixin' day, and the new mother arrives

Yesterday, it was very hard to get out there and run.  I had been tired to the point of feeling exhausted and sleepy for two days.  Thursday, I had responded to that feeling by eating several things that would only make it worse (I HATE IT when I lapse into automatic "seeking comfort" mode).  I didn't want to get out of bed to run.  Even after dressing and climbing the steep boulevard to get out to the steep hill before my run, I just wanted to lay down in the street and take a nap (not a good idea in the pitch black just before dawn, one supposes).

Well, I did my run anyway, and I measured improvement - none of the 7 minute faster segments made me feel like puking.  My knees didn't turn to jelly at any point.  Even feeling sluggish and unwilling, the run was better than the 2 before it.  The human body is truly a miracle.  With that said, I still think I'll do a second week of the 3/7 intervals, cuz it's HARD and I want some more time to condition into it before I crank up to the next level.

While I ran, I pondered why I have been so tired.  I live WAY too healthy to be that tired.  I mean, I know I need to get a little more sleep...but I ran on WAY less sleep as a single mom.  So that in itself is not the whole answer.  That's when I remembered that last weekend when I visited Chicago, several of my friends were at varying stages of some funky bug.  So...maybe I'm wiped out because my body is fighting that off.   The tiredness is my only symptom, but maybe that's just because my healthy living has helped my body fight better.  So I'm going to rest much this weekend, consume plenty of fluids, and get to the store for some echinacea.  I think I should help my body beat this, not just continue per normal.  

In other news, BOTH of my bikes are getting fixed today!  I'm pretty pumped about that!  Spent some time the night before last cleaning up the new girl, and she's purty.  :-)  Can't name her yet, though, cuz I haven't ridden.  Perhaps today.

Also, the kombucha is coming along nicely.  I didn't peek under the towel until last night; the SCOBY has grown a new mother.  This is how it's supposed to work!  I'm hoping to put up some pictures during the process, so get ready to be fascinated or grossed out or whatever.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

hearing my body, getting a new bike, and listening for her name

Yesterday I noticed that I haven't been paying attention to my body's recent signs that I have been unconsciously upping the volume, when it comes to food.  I found myself stuffed after my morning smoothie, realized I've been making the smoothie a little bigger every day, and realized my body has been protesting that, but I've not been listening.  I am so grateful for this "catch" and the smoothie will go back to its smaller size today.  Funny how old bad habits (like squeezing the maximum possible amount of food into a container) try to rear their ugly heads.  It's a journey, folks.  

Yesterday I received a most unexpected gift.  She doesn't have a name yet, though I have an idea (I just need to ride her first to make sure a different name doesn't suggest itself once I get on.) 

She belonged to a friend, whose last ride on her included a spectacular wreck, with a 100+ pound St. Bernard being the catalyst.  She's been parked in a garage on a farm since then, collecting dust.  So she wants some cleaning up and tuning up, but oohhhhhhhh she's a beauty!  A road bike!  This is what my son and the guy that fixes Lulu have been on me to try!  She doesn't have those ultra-skinny tires, and I like that about her - I kind of cringe every time I consider plopping this butt into the saddle of something that rolls on tires so skinny that they can hardly be seen.  

I have been resistant to considering a road bike, mostly because I love Lulu so much, but also because of that skinny tire thing AND because...dude...road bikes ain't cheap!  And this girl is a first-class lady, well beyond what my budget was going to afford me without many months of saving up.   Omigosh.  I am DYING!  I want to ride her so bad...and I am trying to wait until she's all tuned up (but tonight I might spin her around the parking lot, at least...)

Though I have one name in mind, and I need to ride and see if she tells me her name, I would also welcome the fun of your suggestions, if you have any.  Just sayin!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

kicking the butt of the voice of resistance, and needing a water bottle

I sure enjoyed my "no run" day yesterday.  Knowing I was missing out on running blocks of 7 harder minutes made sleeping in just that much sweeter.

This morning, I woke (per usual) about an hour before it was time to get up and run, for that foray to the bathroom that just stubbornly won't move back an hour.  As I crossed the hall, the voice of resistance that I think of as "my body" was already whining about the run.  I don't want to get up soon and run.  The new intervals are too hard.  I think I should just sleep in and skip it.  I can do it another day...

I dismissed the voice; the run has to be a non-negotiable in my life if there is any hope of it becoming a life habit and not just another phase I am going through.  An hour later, when the alarm went off, I made a pre-emptive strike against the whine that I could feel rising by saying aloud "Okay, I'm up," and then stopping per usual to make my bed the second I got out of it (this helps me to be less tempted to get back into it.) 

The 3/7 intervals are still hard.  After the first round, it took me 2.5 of the 3 slower minutes to regain breathing that didn't feel like collapsing.  I made it through all 7 minutes of the faster part of the 2nd round (mark that a 40-second improvement), but it took me 2 minutes 50 seconds of my next 3 slower minutes to get back to breathing manageably.  The third round was again looser joints, lighter steps, easier breathing...still, when I completed it, I didn't try to do my last 3 minutes as a slower jog; I just stopped and walked.  I was just done, though I was only 27 minutes into the 30 minute run.  Truth:  I'm not bummed at myself for this.  I am progressing.  Even my harder run is still a snail's crawl compared to "real" runners (whatever that is); I am still slow, awkward, and absolutely wiped out at the end of my run.  But it's progress, and despite the little resistant voice that wants to call off, I'm feeling pretty good about loving my body this way.

I finally need to look into a water bottle and belt, I think.  I never needed one before.  I just didn't run that hard and it's only 30 minutes, after all.  But now, with the breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, I am power-blowing by minute 3 of the 7 minute harder rounds.  Power blowing with spit spraying everywhere (call me unsexy), and desperately trying to swallow as I feel more and more dehydrated.  I don't think the water backpack that I use on my bike is a good answer for this...I think its shifting and sloshing would drive me nuts.  So I guess after this next paycheck I'll have to look at one of those belts and bottles (though I don't think I want one of those multi-bottle belts...they look like just too much to me).  I have no idea how I'll manage drinking while running, but I guess I'll figure it out.

After all, that's how this goes, right?   I am given the grace to know what I need to, when I need to...and generally not far ahead.  That works for me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

fermenting begins, b is for..., and the pace picks up but i don't chuck

Had a great Critical Mass ride on Friday night; I am amazed at the difference that raising my seat and putting on padded bike shorts makes in my comfort and stamina levels for that ride.  Good stuff.  

Picked up a kombucha "mother mushroom" from a friend while I was at JPUSA this weekend.  The mother mushroom is also known as a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) or as a kombucha patty.  It's not at all like what I thought it would be; it is amberish in color and has the consistency of soft rubber - it can be picked up with clean hands and it's not all ooshy-gooshy gooey like I expected it to be.  So now I have it floating in a batch of sweetened tea (the sugar is to feed to the yeast, not to my body) and covered with a towel on my counter, which receives no sunlight (sunlight is very bad for the SCOBY).    It will rest there for roughly a week, doing its fermenting thing.  Then I will pour it into smaller containers with a bit of pure juice in them, cap them tightly, and let them do a few more days of fermenting (this is the "double fermentation" method of making kombucha).  After that it can be refrigerated and is fizzy, sour/sweet and ready to drink.  

A friend was quizzing me this weekend on what's so good about be honest, I don't have all the details on that.  I know it is probiotic.  I know there are people at my former home who have strong testimonies of miracle cures they've personally experienced from drinking it regularly.  I read the label on my store-bought raw organic has a ton of "B" vitamins in it, which means it's probably giving me energy and preventing bitchiness (don't forget the slogan...B is for bitch, which is what I'm less likely to be if I take my B vitamins...)

In other news, this morning it was time for another upgrade on the run schedule.  I had it mentally together enough before I left that I remembered to check the tiny book.  Intervals for this week are:

3 minutes slower jog
7 minutes faster run
(complete 3 such rounds)

...with of course the 5ish minute warmup and 5ish minute cool down walks before and after.  I almost couldn't summon the courage to try it, mostly because lazy me noted that this is a lifetime change and if I keep moving forward so quickly, next thing I know I'll be running faster 30 uninterrupted minutes...a notion that makes me quite queasy if I consider it very long at all.  Still, since last Monday's advance was so shockingly easy, I decided to be brave and just do it.

YOWZA.  I did okay the first round...I mean, I seriously and truly thought I was gonna hurl in minute 7 of the faster running, and it took me 2.5 of my 3 slower minutes to get my breath back to where I didn't feel ready to collapse...but I did it.  Early in the faster part of the 2nd round, I stepped on a very large stick in the black, black dark and twisted my ankle pretty good.  I kept moving, which I determined later must've been a good thing...the pain passed and I don't feel it at all now.  I was only able to run 6 minutes 20 seconds of the 2nd 7-minute faster run....I was pushing for all I was worth, but that part was on a (gentle) uphill climb and all the starch just kinda went out of knees went wobbly and I had to slow down.  So I let myself have the 3 minutes of slower running PLUS the remaining 40 seconds that I hadn't been able to go faster before I made myself pick it up again.  The third round was much easier...all my joints had loosened up and I was in a better breathing spot.  

I had a few minutes of extra time at the end of the run because I was having one hell of a time keeping count in my head when it came to figuring out what my half-way point was for turning around.  So I used the extra 3 minutes at the end of the run to do:  1 minute of slower jogging and then 2 minutes of faster running.  

I'm pretty much in awe that I did all that.  Half an hour later, my face was STILL red like a tomato...I really got my pulse going pretty hard, I guess.

Feels like progress to me.  Happy Monday, all!