Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The gluten fog, and getting back to work

One consequence of the busy swim meet/triathlon weekend is that I totally fell off the Whole30 wagon (M.H. says, “Just call it a Whole20”). The first of my rules started falling by the wayside on Friday, and by Sunday night I had agreed to go out for pizza and ice cream—immediately before falling sound asleep on the couch, which I already told you about.

I hadn’t had gluten in MONTHS, and I could tell it was messing with my brain. I felt like I was in a fog for a day and a half, almost like I was feverish but without the fever. So I’m cleaning up my diet again and trying to get back to all my excellent little rules. I’m already feeling more like myself again, and this morning I cleaned a window well, so PROOF.

I was pretty excited to start getting some work this week from sources other than Sneezy—so long to the midsummer doldrums! Then I got more work and more work and more work, and what can I say? I so long for the midsummer doldrums.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Triathlon day

Here’s a race report for my amazing triathlete wonder-child, but from my perspective:

The alarm went off at 4:50 a.m., which is just a few minutes before the stupid birds start in with their squawking, so I’m kind of used to being awake at that time. By which I mean I was feeling pretty alert and excited to see Mik race. I was also nervous. I had driven the bike course with him on Saturday and had been shocked at the difficulty of it. I tried to stay positive in front of him, but there’s a not-kidding-around four-mile-long hill in there, and he’s just an inexperienced, overconfident kid riding a 30-pound mountain bike that he likes to keep in the same gear all the time.

Mik was nervous, too, but he had several friends there who were swimming on relay teams, so at least there were distractions.

He and the swim team kids put themselves at the front of the pack in the primo position, and I was glad that no one seemed to object. As it turned out, three of them were among the first four out of the water. Mik was fourth so I stopped watching the swim after that:

The first transition went well, but after that it was worry time for me.

But the worry wasn’t too severe, because he was back from the 16-mile ride in about an hour and 10 minutes. WHEW. I was not concerned at all about the run, because I knew he wouldn’t crash or get hit by a car, and he could walk as much as he needed to. But he must not have walked much, because I was surprised at how quickly we saw him again:

Bam! It turned out he was the only one in his 13-14 age group, but he was still delighted with his gold medal, and they announced that he was the youngest person to complete the full race.

He had about five minutes to savor his triumph and talk to his fans and then we drove him to the pool just in time for his first swim meet event of the day. He jumped into the pool and got a best time in the 100 breast, even though he was still wearing his tri shorts. He also had two more pretty decent events, and then he got to go home and play games on the computer.

M.H. and I still had several hours of swim meet volunteering ahead of us. It was brutal.

We got home around 6 and put on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I blinked and it was already up to the troll part. I blinked again and Galadriel was on the screen. I blinked again and Dex was home from his climbing weekend in the mountains to find his entire family sound asleep on two couches. I don’t know what happened after that because I put myself to bed. The end!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Itchy scissor fingers

Cutting my own hair turned out to be a really positive experience. I mean, it was fun, it was empowering, I saved money, and I liked the way it turned out. But even though everything was fine, I wasn’t quite satisfied with looking more or less the same as before. I had watched 4,000 YouTube videos on the subject and become convinced that what I really wanted was more layers around my face and a cute little side bang. 

So I ponytailed it up and cut it again, and this time you can really see the difference:

June 21 (haircut needed)

July 4 (DIY cut #1)
Just now (DIY cut #2)

Surprise! It also turned out fine. So I’m still pretty happy. But also a little concerned. 

Number one, there are, like, a million selfies on my phone now, which is bad enough in itself, but I think I accidentally just uploaded one of them to a photo stream created by swim team parents to share pictures of the kids. The kids swimming. I haven’t figured out how to verify that I did this or to delete it, but I’m afraid the stream is now 1,200 photos of blue pool water with tiny, unidentifiable arms and heads coming out of it…and one of my giant smiling face. 

(If any of those other parents are reading this right now, I would like them to know that I’m not really the self-absorbed selfie-taking type. Which I realize would sound a lot more convincing if I hadn’t just told you about the state of my phone right now and if I weren’t saying it on a blog where I’ve been chronicling hair developments on and off for about nine months.)

Number two, see those cute side bangs? They are borderline—not quite, mind you, but borderline—too short, which means I came perilously close to overdoing it. So while that was super fun and rewarding, I can not do it again for a while. Someone hide the hair scissors. (Note to M.H.: Don’t really. I might need them.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Some of my gear is getting a new home

I have been having fun outfitting Mik for the triathlon. He needs better running shoes? Well, his feet right now are clones of mine, and I have three pairs in my closet, one virtually new. Tri shorts? Here are three styles to choose from! Race belt? Sure! Water bottle cage? Coming right up!

We got the bikes out last night, and I was a little disappointed at first that Mik didn’t want to use my bike for the race (I was in “Use it or lose it” heaven by this point). But I agree that there’s too much weird, new stuff on mine—like the aerobars and the clip-in shoes—and it’s better that he ride safely on his own mountain bike.

But all this got me to thinking about how sad it is that I have all this nice gear lying around gathering dust (or rust). Surely I am not so permanently traumatized by the Ironman bike leg that I will never get on the thing again? So I took off the three-year-old race stickers and inflated the tires. I think I should also swap out the pedals for a regular pair that don’t require the extra step of putting on funny shoes. After that, one never knows what one will do (sometimes even oneself).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 10: In the groove

I’ve been eating and living about as well as I know how for 10 days now, and it’s getting much easier. Some of my rules are feeling automatic, and most of the rest don’t seem overly burdensome.

The big exception is that most days I have to force myself to “clean something” (meaning above and beyond the usual; I’m not living in a barn here). Oh, and I haven’t really been able to make myself to do any meal planning at all. Unless you count “making sure we always have some kind of meat thawed” as meal planning, but that’s not exactly what I had in mind when I made the list. Oh, well.

July was a great time to start all this, because I’m in the midsummer doldrums as far as work goes. In fact, if it weren’t for my new job with Sneezy, I wouldn’t have any work right now. That’s a bit scary, but because of that built-in 16 to 20 hours a week, it’s not nearly as bad as the usual midsummer doldrums panic. And, anyway, Dex is working now, so if we get desperate, we can always fall back on the hilariously tall stack of soggy $1 bills he has accumulated from the car wash in the form of tips.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Got that triathlon problem worked out

Given the state of my running ability, I decided to float the idea of NOT doing the triathlon relay to the kids, to see if they’d be disappointed. Dex looked at me like I was insane and said, “I was only going along with it because everybody else wanted to.” So no real surprise there. I was much more worried about what Mik would say, but he took one beat to consider and then said, “Well, then, I guess I’ll just do the triathlon solo.”

Well, okay! I was a little surprised he wanted to take on the whole thing without much time to prepare, but then I realized that he’s been not only swimming a ton this summer but also doing dry-land training and a fair bit of running. (That plus he’s a healthy 13-year-old boy and can do things adults like me can only dream of.)

Want to know a secret, though? From the way he’s been talking about the race, I’m pretty sure his main motivation is the fact that he told the local TV station last year that he was planning on competing, and he didn’t want to let down all the fans he supposes are planning to hold him to it. When you’re the sweetest thing ever, you DO have lots of fans.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The running news is not so good

So, this “Get serious about running” thing:

I’ve been outside for a short run every other day since June 30. Usually, I run until it feels like my calf can’t really take much more, and then I walk back home. I’ve been gradually increasing my distance, which is good, but I still can’t quite run a full mile before feeling like I’m on the verge of reinjuring myself (I just mapped today’s run, and it was 0.87 miles). Which is not good.

Every time in my life I’ve been in a running mode, I re-realize that it actually feels good and is kind of fun, but right now I’m also frustrated. Every part of me other than my left calf feels capable of doing much more. And now I think the smart thing to do—the “Get serious” thing—would be to scale back again to walking on the treadmill at an incline, at least some of the time, because that weak link is the thing I’ve most urgently got to fix if I have any prayer of doing a race at any speed in just over two weeks.

Friday, July 4, 2014

I cut my own hair

For a few months now I have had the idea that I should just keep my hair fairly long and simple and then learn to cut it myself. (I have a related idea where I get really good at this and, empowered by full control over the length of each and every strand, my hair looks the best it ever has and everyone starts asking me all the time where I get it “done.” So the usual trajectory for the ideas I get.)

Anyway, yesterday, I decided it had reached the point where it needed to be cut and spent half the day Googling “How to cut your own hair.” And then today, after showering, I pulled out the scissors, combed it into a ponytail sticking straight up, and whacked a bunch off in one snip. I think it looks basically the same, but it feels a lot better and the ends aren’t so scraggly:

I know I could do better, photo-wise, but I don’t really feel like getting up and brushing my hair and then finding an attractive background and a better angle and a way to show you the back. You’ll just have to trust me that it turned out fine and was really not that scary.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guessing game

Of all the rules I made for myself, which one do you think has been the most rewarding so far? You’ll never guess!

There are some that are helpful in the sense that I probably wouldn’t do them at all if I hadn’t made myself a rule: “Stop playing electronic games” and “Take walks,” for example. There are some that are satisfying because they are just so easily checked off the list, like “Make the bed” and “Take a liver pill.” And there are some that are great because they help me feel much better physically, like “Go to bed on time,” “Go to yoga,” and following the Whole30.

But my favorite one is “Eat only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.” (I quickly found that 9 to 5 is a better “eating window” for my schedule; same difference.) This works like some kind of magic. After a slight adjustment period, I don’t get hungry, I feel more energetic in the mornings, and it drastically reduces the amount of food I eat (and therefore have to cook). Plus, as to-dos go, it couldn’t be easier, since I don’t have to actually do anything.

I feel like I’ve raved these same raves before—so maybe it wasn’t so hard to guess my favorite rule, if your memory is better than mine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Day Two: Over the hump for now

Yesterday was Day One of the Whole30-plus-massive-to-do-list plan, and man. That was exhausting. I got through the whole list, but I was starving all morning while I waited for my “eating window” to open, I had to force myself to stand up while working, I made healthy snacks against my will, I had to draaaag myself to yoga, and all the while I was miserable because I couldn’t play 2048 (which just goes to show you: EVIL).

And then at the end of the day, M.H. and I looked at each other and we were like, Are we skinny again yet? Because that was ridiculous.

Today, though, I woke up feeling pretty perky (and not hungry), knocked off 75% of my list before breakfast—including a fairly decent run—and thought of six more daily to-dos I could be doing. They’re not going on the official list, though. I’m not stupid enough to make the mountain higher just because I’m having a good day climbing it.