Anyway I've just been lazy and eating a bunch of junk food, so I'll have some work to do to get back to where I was pre-vacation, but I am looking forward to getting back to my gym and working hard. I just hope my body cooperates with my efforts. Bleh.
Anyway I've just been lazy and eating a bunch of junk food, so I'll have some work to do to get back to where I was pre-vacation, but I am looking forward to getting back to my gym and working hard. I just hope my body cooperates with my efforts. Bleh.
But first I'm going on vacation.
Toby and I leave on Tuesday for Falcon Ridge. We're dropping Cleopatrick off with Josh and Mary for a three-week stay. I'm going to miss that kitten so much! I'm also really worried that he'll think we've abandoned him, but I know Josh and Mary will give him a good temporary home. I just wish I could communicate to him that I will be back soon and I love him and will miss him. Maybe he doesn't even care, as long as he's got food and water and a place to crap. But I will miss him anyway.
We're taking a redeye to New York, so we'll arrive Wednesday and then pick up the rental car and drive to WT's to crash for a few hours before heading upstate to set up camp. I'm so excited to share Falcon Ridge with Toby. It's the kind of scene he'll really enjoy. And he spent a lot of time with Eric last year and they're like besties, so I know that won't be a source of drama like it was last year. I warned Dan in advance that my obsession with Eric was a long-running joke in camp, but he was unable to take that in stride. Dan was also mad at me last year because I didn't teach him all the songs we were going to sing at camp beforehand. The thing is, we camp together because we all already like all the same music. (Well, a lot of the same music!) Also, I was kind of beyond the end of my rope in that relationship by this time last year anyway, so it really soured a lot of the experience for me...and I'm fairly confident that Toby will be the last partner I ever bring to FRFF with me.
After Falcon Ridge, Toby and I will go back to Brooklyn together and stay in my brother's place for a few days. Toby heads off to Edinburgh mid-week, and I'll go on to Cancun on Sunday for a week with my family. Then we'll both get back to Portland at about the same time, we'll pick up the kitty, and get the house ready for new carpets...which probably also means fresh paint before then, since there's no better time...paint party in Beaverton, anyone?
On the drive home, my eyelids started getting really heavy, and it was all I could do to make it to my bed at all before I was completely passed out. I had an alarm set for an hour later because I was going to pick Toby up and then meet another friend for a little evening hike. When my alarm went off, I felt crazy groggy, and never really could shake that for the rest of the evening. I had fun hanging out, but I just felt more and more off as the night wore on. I didn't have any appetite at all, either, which is totally abnormal for me.
( Possible TMI -- food poisoning description )
I woke up feeling gross but not ill. Normally I drive Toby to the train in the morning, but he insisted on letting me stay in bed, so he took a Lyft. But not before getting me more cold water and a breakfast bar to eat when I felt ready. What a guy.
I mostly slept until noon, then got up and showered and came downstairs for some food. I've been drinking carbonated water to maybe help my stomach feel better (though no signs of more barfing) and eating crackers for the last hour. I feel okay. Not great, but the worst is over, and I plan to still host trivia tonight. I'm glad it wasn't worse, because if it was the flu or something, I wouldn't be able to be a good host for Emily (if she even still wanted to come!) this weekend. But I think I'm on the mend. Just going to keep taking it super easy the rest of the day until trivia time, and definitely won't be drinking tonight. Then Em gets here tomorrow!
I did not nap at all yesterday. I'm kind of amazed at how the day went, actually. I got a lot of things done in the morning -- some work, some crafts, some chores -- then at noon, I met my friend Nick for a mini-adventure. I've been talking about wanting to go kayaking forever now, and as soon as I mentioned it to him, he found a place to go and told me we were going on the first hot day we had free. That was yesterday, so we drove down to Tualatin, each rented our own kayak, and got in the water. The Tualatin River is really calm -- we couldn't even tell which direction was "upstream." So we just rowed for a while. I'd only been kayaking one time before, and that was more "sitting in a boat on the ocean" than actually trying to move anywhere, so I didn't really know what I was doing. It took me a little while to get comfortable, but I was able to more or less control my craft. It was such a perfect day for it. Hot weather, cold water, clear air, quiet day. The homes that back up to the river there are amazing. They all have their own docks with lots of kayaks and canoes and paddle boards on them -- I was so jealous! I was like "Oh, *this* is why you would live in Tualatin." (It's a far suburb that's not very convenient to the rest of the metro area at all, so it's not as connected to Portland as burbs like Beaverton and Hillsboro are.) Even though the water was super calm, kayaking was hard work! Definitely a major core workout, in addition to arms and even legs a bit. I'm pretty sore now, but hopefully it won't last too long, because I've agreed to go to a rock climbing gym with a different friend tomorrow. I've never tried that before, so I have absolutely no idea how it will go. Hopefully I don't hate it?
After kayaking yesterday, I had therapy, and that's when the tireds really started hitting me. I was ready to go straight home and fall asleep after that. But I got some food first, and I was sitting in the cafe working a puzzle when Toby texted that he was on a train. I wasn't expecting him until much later, but since he was early, I decided to wait in town to pick him up at the transit center and bring him home with me. So we did that and then he and I worked on some of his house purchase stuff when he got here, played a couple of games, and next thing I knew, it was midnight and I was just then getting into bed. So I stayed awake from 7:30 to midnight, was active most of the day, and did no napping. Then I woke up again at 7:30 this morning. Which is why I will absolutely need a nap today. But this is the pattern I'm trying to establish, so I guess it's a good thing. I just didn't mean to go whole hog on day one.
My plans for today are pretty basic -- office, a little work, nap, a little exercise (nothing that will make me too sore for rock climbing tomorrow, though), and then a quiet night at home by myself, probably going to bed early.
Toby met me after my workout and we came home and made food, then I showered and we headed back out to hit up the Portland Pride Festival. It was really great. Such an atmosphere of love! I bought a t-shirt from a PAC there that says Bill for First Lady. I still love Bernie but I never didn't love Hillary, so I'm happily on board with her campaign now. I just hope Bernie keeps doing his thing in the Senate, and leverages his much bigger fandom to get some more progressive laws through Congress. One can dream. That's kind of why I'm opposed to picking a second-favorite politician as a running mate. Leave the good Senators in the Senate, where they actually have power. The VP is like being the understudy. You could be called up to the #1 job at any time, but most likely, you'll hang out offstage for the duration of your run and not really leave your stamp on the administration in any meaningful way. So as much as I love the idea of a Clinton/Warren or a Clinton/Sanders ticket in theory, the reality is we'd be much better off with a Clinton/somebodyawesomewhoisn'
Anyway Pride was great. In addition to my Bill for First Lady shirt, Toby and I both got new kilts. I've been telling him he's going to need one for Falcon Ridge (other than his formal tartan, which would be way too hot there), and it just so happened this place had some femme designs, too, so I got a purple one (of course!) and Toby got a navy blue one. They're kinda like Utili-kilts, but they're Portland-made. Stumptown Kilts. I love mine, and Toby looks just delicious in his. After Pride, we swung by his office to print some things for a craft project I'm working on. He was super helpful with the design aspect. I'll be posting that when I'm finished, hopefully in a few days :)
Came back home, played some board games, ate some foods, and now I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour! Also note that I got out of bed and was active all day long without a nap today. 10am to 10pm. Still a shortish day by most people's standards, but this is HUGE for me. All week prior, I spent an average of about 4 hours a day out of my bed. I wasn't sleeping all the rest of that time, I just wasn't doing anything particularly productive, either. So this is good. Tomorrow will look the same, I think -- up early to do an open house, then Toby and I have a craft project to work on, then off to game night. And Monday is the day I've vowed to start my "get up early and be productive" plan. In that case, early means before 8am instead of before noon. (Tomorrow, being a weekend, early means 10am.)
Actually I get that this is not a good thing to do regularly, and I felt pretty shitty about doing it today, even, BUT I obviously needed that recharge, and hopefully one full day of doing almost nothing will be enough. I'm subbing for another trivia night tomorrow, then have my regular gig on Thursday, and Pride activities planned for this weekend, so I won't be a total hermit much longer anyway.
Yesterday I talked to my therapist about momentum. I've been feeling great and doing really well in most things lately, but I fear what comes after I reach some goals. One goal that's really kept me pushing hard is the Couch to 10K program I've been doing. I'm finishing up the 11th week of that now, and I'm regularly running 5+ miles 3x per week now. It's good for me to push this hard and build back to 10K form, but my body is letting me know that this has to be a hard boundary for now. The 15-mile weeks are really hurting my feet and back, and until I get more recovered there, I can't add more mileage. I'm going to need to back down from this mileage, too. And anyway just keeping going at goal isn't as exciting. I don't see myself making progress. I need another thing that I can gradually build on and watch my fitness improve. That will not be adding miles to my runs. So...what to do? I'm thinking maybe speed workouts? Maybe even hire a running coach for a little added accountability? My gym membership is about to become free (Toby's office is picking it up for both of us, yay progressive benefits for domestic partners!), so putting that money toward a coach could be a nice thing to do for myself...but I'm open to suggestions. The 100 pushup program was good and I should definitely give that another go...but that's not enough of a workout to be my main thing on the days that I do it. Any good cardio suggestions? Maaaaybe swimming, but swimming at my gym is such a pain because of all the extra gear you have to manage, and taking a wet swimsuit home in a gym bag...meh. But it is an option I'm willing to consider. More likely in conjunction with other types of cardio rather than something I'd have to do 3x a week or something. We'll see.
I have a lot of feelings about Orlando, too. Actually I think that's where my fatigue comes from right now. Just all the things I'm seeing people say in defense of guns, in opposition of Muslims, pro-hate, anti-gay, etc. It's just exhausting. The gun debate is exhausting. A room full of kindergartners wasn't enough to move the ammosexuals -- what will be? I fear that every fucking person in the US will have to die by gun violence before there's a change. I know some of my friends here have guns and value their right to them. (I'm 100% anti-gun personally, but that's not something I'm fighting for politically. I'm mostly okay with responsible people owning guns. I'm not coming to take anyone's guns and I'm not advocating that the government do that, either.) But there's so much space between being able to own a gun, and being able to get a semi-automatic weapon without a background check in a matter of minutes. I don't get why the other side of this issue is so unwilling to budge. Why people who insist that their own gun ownership is responsible and legal want it to be so easy for people who are not responsible to get guns. I don't get why this is political at all. But the debate rages, with neither side giving an inch. And it's fucking exhausting. When will reason get through? I'm tagging this post under politics, because that's the existing tag that best fits, but goddammit, why is this even a political issue?! Massacre is bad -- we agree on that, right? Ugh. The latest massacre makes me sad. What makes me saddest is that it's not yielding any change.
I'm doing some work, though. I'm a lot more active in real estate than I was earlier this year, and hopefully that will begin to pay off. It's just a slow kind of thing. Buying and selling houses are not decisions made in a day, so any relationships I cultivate now aren't going to yield a closing for many months at least. Sigh. So I'm doing other things in the meantime. Uber driving. Trivia hosting. Airbnb renting. Flipping tickets on Stubhub. (I just bought my first Timbers tickets to sell and I feel so DIRTY.)
One of my favorite colleagues at Windermere is also in WW, and this week we started going to the same meeting and hanging out after. She's younger than me and got licensed about a year after I did, so she's just now getting going. We have some things we're working on together, and I'm looking forward to what that may yield, too. I had a really nice time hanging out with her yesterday afternoon. She's very like-minded and I just love her. She's also the first person I consider a peer who calls me Margaret. Heh.
Speaking of WW...down 18.4 pounds total. My goal weight is just 7 pounds away, but I set that when a 25 pound loss seemed monumentally difficult. Now I'm thinking maybe I could move the goalposts a little farther away. Bodies are funny. I don't remember what I weighed when I started my sophomore year in college, but I do remember that I was a size 12, and my roommate mentioned to me that she weighed 142 pounds. And that sounded really high to me then. I was not fit at all, and I had a bit of a belly roll, but I'd guess my weight was like 130 at the time? That was also the year that I started gaining weight like crazy. When I was at my heaviest, at age 22, I was 199 pounds. I wasn't going to let it tip over to 200. But I was still just a size 16 then. I am really tall, after all. It was spread out. But anyway I started working with my first trainer then, and she got me down to 166 over the next two years. 33 pounds lighter, and I went down to a size 14. One size down. (I was lifting weights and doing cardio that built my muscle up, but I hadn't changed my diet yet.) Then I joined WW and set my goal weight at 142 -- that number that had once seemed irresponsibly heavy to me. And I did get there. It was from a solid combination of exercise and diet, and at my smallest, I was a size 6 in most clothes -- 3 sizes down from when I'd been 130 in college, and a size I'd last worn before I hit puberty. I weighed 105 the last time I squeezed into a size 6, at age 14. Today I weigh 162 and I'm wearing a size 12 again. I imagine I can get down to a size 8 or so, but I'll be surprised if my weight ever dips below 150 again. Muscle. It makes a difference. (Also, that self-righteous 19-year-old who thought 142 was heavy? She can go fuck herself. Except she won't because she was afraid of vaginas back then.)
Which seems like a Big Thing to think about. But it's not, I don't think? Obviously Toby would be the groom in this scenario, but the fantasy is just about me. Getting one of those bridal portraits made that people will look back on decades from now and say "wasn't Margaret beautiful?" because decades from now that's what people will know me as, maybe? Or they'll be distant relatives who never knew I went by Meg. Anyway the point is the fantasy is really just about me. I think it comes from being happy with my appearance, and wanting to celebrate that. I think maybe that has a lot to do with why I never did want a traditional wedding gown before. I was never happy about how I looked and the photo-op was more frightening than fun to me. McKenzie and I eloped, but I did have a big wedding with Jeremy. I liked my dress, but it was far from traditional, and it didn't *look* like a wedding dress. And it turns out there's a part of me that wants that memory of myself. Some women have a biological clock that kicks in at my age, where they think about kids. I guess mine is working backwards or very slowly and I'm just now starting to fantasize about the things most girls think about as very young women.
I do like the idea of marrying Toby one day, but I'm in no hurry, and it's not something we've talked about AT ALL. He's also divorced (well, not quite -- separated for several years, finalizing the divorce this summer once she finishes school, because reasons), and I think both of us are more than a little gunshy about marriage. But we're committed and happy and I don't see that changing. And if I DO marry him one day, do I even want a wedding? Meh. Probably not. But I want the dress!
I really honestly think these fantasies are mostly just about me wanting to feel beautiful. I feel like I've worked hard and am proud of my body. For some reason I feel like a white satin gown is the way I want to show it off? I feel weird even feeling this way. But it is what it is.
Then I got a fortune yesterday from this little game someone gave me -- "Don't waste your time waiting for something that's never going to happen." Ha.
So, yeah, that's awesome. I haven't run a 10-minute mile in over a year and a half. I'm improving.
But here's the thing: when I was a 50-pounds-overweight 24-year-old, running for the first time in my life, I STARTED at a 10-minute mile pace. I ran my first 5K when I was 28, having lost a lot of weight but never having been a runner. I don't remember my exact time...something like 32 minutes, I think? So, you know, basically a 10-minute mile. And that was with hills. Almost all of my training nowadays is on a treadmill set to no incline. I've worked hard to rehab my body since my accident almost two years ago, and I'm finally *almost* to the point where I can run as well as I did the very first time I ever ran a race? Ugh, how frustrating.
My lungs can do it. My heart can do it. My muscles can do it. I don't get sore like I used to -- I'd push myself on runs and my calves and quads and hamstrings would be sore for a day or two after. Now I don't get muscle soreness. My back hurts. My bones feel like they can't hold me up anymore. This fucking car accident.
Don't text and drive, friends. The kid who hit me was probably texting. He was on a long straightaway and veered right into me without even touching his brakes. He admitted he wasn't looking up. I'm lucky I was in good shape before this happened. My injuries are limited to "not being the athlete I once was," instead of death or paralysis. It could be a lot worse, sure, but it's changed my life in a big, shitty way. I'm doing what I can to get better. But the time and effort I have to put into it just to get back to where I was before I ever ran a race is unreal. I used to have a goal to run a marathon before I turned 40. Right now my goal is a fucking 10K. Just to run a complete 10K again in my life. I've run dozens of them before. I've run 2 half marathon races and a zillion more miles of training. And now the highest I can allow myself to hope for is to be able to do something, with pain, that used to be easy for me.
Toby is over here now, though, and he is going to help me. He's still working right now, though, so I'm still procrastinating.
I downloaded a new "trainer" app that my doctor recommended. It asks you what your fitness goals and abilities are, and then it gives you workout suggestions. I did two HIIT workouts today. I think the fact that I told it I work out regularly already made it assume I'm more capable than I am, because holy fuck that shit was hard. Some of the items were not things I can do at all, so I modified them. At the end, you get to rate whether it was too easy, too hard, or just right, so I told it that it was too hard. We'll see what adjustments I get for my next recommendations. I think it's good, though. I know HIIT is a good thing to put into my routine...I just hate it so much. I suppose it'll get easier and I'll hate it a little less if I keep at it. We'll see...
C210K is going well...I'll do W2D3 today. So far the runs are not terribly challenging (no more than 90 seconds at a time), so I've been upping my speed. I doubt I'll be able to keep doing a 9-minute mile pace when I get into the longer blocks of running, but I imagine it'll help bring my speed up a bit, anyway. I know I have it in me to do better than the 12-minute miles I've been running since my accident a year and a half ago.
Last night I went with Ross to an art opening at a swingers' club. It was just an art show -- partying wasn't open until after we left. I've always been curious about this place. Dan always wanted me to go but it just intimidated the fuck out of me. Going for the art show was a pretty gentle introduction, and I'd definitely be willing to go back sometime in the future. Not sure how much I'd want to, uh, participate, but there is a dance floor and a bar, and the people I met last night were all quite disarming. So, yeah. Maybe something new for me to try one day.
I also went out on a couple of OKC dates this week. Not really dates so much as meetups with people I met on this dating site. Both guys were nice, and I can see being friends. Possibly more? But probably not. I'm just not feeling that interested in any more dating. I'm head over heels for Toby, McKenzie still has a big chunk of my heart, and most of my leftover emotional bandwidth goes to Ross, whom I really only see a couple times a month anyway. But for some reason last week I felt compelled to open a few of my more recent messages on OKC, and I felt like both of these guys offered conversations worth having (one opened with a story about scuba diving to see seahorses, the other told me he's ex-Mormon). Been talking to each fairly regularly and definitely like them both. Just don't really feel like I have room in my life for any more *partners* right now. I do like that I have the freedom to meet these people and that we're all on the same page, basically. They're in primary relationships, they understand I'm not really looking for anything, we're just meeting because it seems like we might enjoy spending time together. But not necessarily in a sexy way. And it feels normal. It's really nice to be able to let relationships happen as they may in my life, without feeling like I need to hide one person from another, or be dishonest in any way about it. And I feel like what I've got with Toby is really, really strong. So all that's good. There's just still a big pit of McKenzie sadness. And what I want for the future of that relationship doesn't really gel with what I want for the rest of my future, so I imagine it'll be a struggle to make peace for a long time yet. Right now I'm just experiencing the feelings as they are and not trying to force any changes. Learning how to accept what I can't control, appreciate my blessings, and do what I can to maximize the good. Sometimes even succeeding at it.
However, like with the SIBO diet, it's affecting my energy in a big way. I went for a run with Toby last weekend and had to stop for walk breaks shortly after 1.5 miles. I just ran an 8K two weeks ago! It's crazy disappointing to not be able to run even a slow 5K. I decided that the best way to deal with this is to accept that new diet = different physical abilities, and I need to adjust. So I downloaded the Couch to 10K app and I'm starting at the beginning. I'm hopeful that in addition to getting my endurance up, I can use it to improve my speed. I've never cared about running fast, but it's kind of ridiculous that before my accident, a 10-minute mile was easy for me but now it's a sprint.
With both WW and C210K, I'm anxious to fast forward to a few weeks into the program. It's hard to make big adjustments early only for the results to slowly get rolling, you know? I want to peek at myself 10 weeks from now, maybe 10-15 pounds down, running better...that's where I'll be, right? And also not aching for a chocolate binge? Here's hoping.
My drug trial also starts next week. Right now I'm tapering off of Prozac, so that I won't get seratonin sickness when I start the new medicine with the trial. I'm a little more irritable/grumpy than usual, but it's not a disaster so far. I am anxious to start that program, too, though.
I spent last weekend in Vancouver with Emily, Chris, and Toby. I had a great time but the visit was too short. Emily and Chris might be moving who knows where next year -- Chris is a biology PhD looking for a faculty position, and that could take them just about anywhere. I don't know how easy it will be to visit them, so I do want to take more advantage of how relatively close they are right now. Kelly and Dave, too. Sounds like they might be leaving the Bay sooner than later, and as much as I want them to come to Portland, it seems like their next stop will probably be somewhere else. I wish I had all the money so I could do all the travel :)
I feel both very busy and very lazy most of the time. My time is spoken for, but I'm not getting a lot really done...need to shift this balance. This is something I've struggled with for my entire life, though. It's not new. Just every time I think I manage a solution, it turns out to only be temporary. Sigh.
Mandolin is going well. I feel like sometime in the last month or so, I've leveled up. I'm still very much a beginner, but a few things have been clicking more and I've been enjoying practicing more now that I have more skills. I have a few huge books of traditional bluegrass tunes, and there's a lot in there that I know well enough to play and sing. It's fun.
My priority list is a little overwhelming, as a lot of items are high priority, but it looks something like this:
Keep focusing on health (physical and emotional), dedicate more time to mindfulness each day.
Work on getting the house cleaner, getting rid of stuff I don't need.
Taxes (this involves a scary conversation with my dad, which I'm sure will be fine, but is still intimidating and difficult to initiate -- I need to cash out some stock to pay what I owe this year, and any money conversations with my dad that aren't "look how well I'm doing with money!" are frightening. He controls the stock I need to cash out, because it's an inheritance from when I was a kid.)
Amp up my real estate efforts -- hold more opens, do more marketing, update my website
Food. Do better.
Another foster dog? Maybe?
Craft time. Craft time is very important. Part of the mindfulness goal, also part of the clean my space goal, because right now all my crafts are spread out everywhere and I need to organize this shit so its mere existence stops stressing me out. That's exactly the opposite of the point.
I've spoken to my GP several times about how I can make adjustments to make this workable for me, but she said she wants me to guide these decisions. I know my body best. Well, yeah, but I didn't know my body had SIBO, and I know nothing about the treatment of SIBO, so I'd really appreciate some hard guidelines. She keeps saying I can make adjustments "as needed," but that fudging the diet may cause it not to work. Well god damn, if fudging it at all could offset the whole thing, what's the point? That sounds pretty much like I really shouldn't cheat at all. I felt like we kept going in circles on this point, because she won't get more specific and I feel like I've sacrificed so much comfort to do this for a week+ now, I don't want to just give up or do anything that might unravel my progress. So she referred me to two separate specialists -- a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist.
I talked to the nutritionist on Thursday, did all the preliminary chatting and information-gathering, and set up an appointment as early as possible...which is this coming Thursday. Until then, she wants me to stick to the SIBO diet as I'm currently following it. Boo. My GI appointment is on Tuesday, though, and that should confirm for sure whether this IS SIBO (pretty sure it is) and the GI doc, not being a naturopath, may be more interested in putting me on antibiotics and taking me off the diet. Ideally I do want to treat the whole thing, not just the symptoms, so I do intend to follow a nutrition plan, but the one I'm on is NOT sustainable. And the more I research online about SIBO diets, the more contradictory information I find. The nutritionist says that's because it's highly individualized and will require a highly individualized plan. Okay. I just hope we can figure out what that is without having to completely change my life. I can change my habits, but I just can't/won't permanently remove all my favorite foods from my routine. Reduce and mix up, sure. Remove, no.
Ross threw his semi-annual shindig last night, and I went in knowing that I would drink (but only SIBO-approved drinks!) and possibly allow myself one treat, because it's basically a dessert pot luck. I waited for two hours or so, but then could deny my temptation no further, and reached for a small, store-bought chocolate chip cookie. I took a tiny bite. It was the most heavenly thing I've ever tasted in my life! I paced myself through the rest of the cookie, savoring every crumb. Later in the night, I allowed myself one more. It was divine. I danced hard, had a great time, and came home to return to the regular routine.
I woke up with more energy today than I've had in a long time. Could it be the carbs? Those two little cookies? Or maybe the mood lift from allowing myself that speck of joy? Perhaps. But then I was exhausted again by midday and took another epic nap (4 hours today). This diet is sapping my energy. I'm doing it because one of the worst symptoms of my SIBO is chronic fatigue...and right now I'm twice as fatigued. At the gym, I can barely manage the easiest cardio. Everything exhausts me. I've been sleeping 12-18 hours each day for the last four or five days. There is nothing left in the tank. Today I couldn't force myself out of the house a second time (I'd been out this morning, helping Ross clean up and then showing houses to buyers) to get to the gym. This is the first time since I set my goal on Thanksgiving that I have not run 10 or more miles in a week. I'm proud of myself for achieving so many weeks in a row, but super bummed that my streak is over. I hope next week begins a new streak, but I'm not sure my body will yet be ready for more running.
I am doing this diet for the long-term benefits, and I do believe they exist. But right now it's really bringing me down.
I had my follow-up with the doctor who did all my body analytics earlier this month. She had blood test results to go over with me and the appointment was also to start mapping out a plan to meet my goals for the coming months.
Turns out, I have SIBO, which is what the doctor suspected from my first visit. It stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. The bacteria that are supposed to live only in my large intestine have set up shop in my small intestine, and my understanding of what's happening is that they're robbing all the nutrients from everything I eat -- so the only thing my body is really getting from any food is calories. In my blood test, my sodium and cholesterol were both at the lowest end of the range -- which is crazy because I eat TONS of salt and eggs. So that's a prime example of the bacteria stealing from me, although if they want to take all the bad stuff, cool! Unfortunately they're also taking a lot of important stuff. I was deficient in all the B vitamins and zinc, and I had very few of the enzymes I'm supposed to have for liver function. It's not that I'm not eating well enough -- my diet has everything I need. But even if I take supplements, the bacteria will just keep taking all the nutrients. So they've gotta go.
Getting rid of them is where this starts to suck a lot.
I should mention also that the doctor is a naturopath. I wouldn't have chosen a naturopath over a drug pusher, because I do think a lot of naturopathy is woo-woo bullshit. But this doctor seemed pretty scientific about everything, and she has spent a lot of time listening to my concerns and talking to me about this, so I'm giving it a shot. I was a little scared to google SIBO at first because I didn't want to find out it was some bullshit diagnosis. I made Toby look it up for me and what he found actually confirmed that it's a legit thing. So that's good?
Some of the research says that you can treat SIBO and its recurrances with a short round of antibiotics. Great. Gimme that! But, my naturopath wants to do things the hippie way first, which I guess is not a bad thing. She said we'd try this treatment first and then if it doesn't have the right effect, we'll go more aggressive (drugs) next. The problem is that the program I'm on suuuuuucks.
I have to change my diet to starve the bacteria of the things on which they feed and thrive. Which is basically everything I enjoy eating. I have to go super low-carb, which is hard enough as a vegetarian, but also I have to cut out ALL soy and chickpeas. So even the meat substitutes I usually go for are off-limits.
My doctor warned me that this was going to suck. She warned me to warn my friends that being around me is going to suck. But she says the worst will be over in three days. I wasn't clear on whether I only had to be strict about the diet for three days, or if I'm supposed to sort of adjust and stop hating it after three days. Apparently I'm supposed to be super strict for three days, then I can slowly reintroduce carbs and soy over time, but I need to try to avoid them as much as possible for three months. During these three months, I'm also on a course of supplements that adds up to like 20 pills a day. Yay. I really hope this shit works. The doctor does seem very understanding about my concerns, and she's willing to work with me as much as I need to make adjustments. I'm just one day into this new diet (two more days of sucktasticness!), so I want to see if I can do the super strict way she recommends...but I'm glad there's wiggle room, anyway. Still would prefer to just take an antibiotic and be done with it in a couple of weeks, but I do suppose this is better for me in the long run, helping me get my metabolism back where I want it and such.
So the SIBO is an explanation of why I've been so fatigued all the time and why it's been damn near impossible for me to make gains in my fitness. My body gets no nutrients and my metabolism is slowed to a crawl. I really have felt like I've been trying harder than results have indicated. The diagnosis is good news in that regard. I just wish fighting it off wasn't such a huge uncomfortable adjustment.
Toby has been super supportive, though. He went shopping with me and has helped me cook lots of things that I can eat now. He's been coming to the gym with me, too. He's never used gym equipment before. The first time he got on a treadmill (last week), he was like a baby deer walking for the first time. Only he was running, so I was pretty worried about disaster potential :P But he got comfortable with it and settled in after a little while. I've also been teaching him how to use the weight machines and what to do with the free weights. It's really nice to have him there with me. I hope working out together becomes a regular thing for us.
So, yeah...mixed bag right now. I'm grouchy about my diet restrictions and craving tofu more than I thought a person could, but I'll live. I'm happy to have an explanation for some of the things I've been unhappy with healthwise and bodywise, and very happy to have a plan and a supportive doctor to help me overcome it. And Toby :)
Some things I'm supposed to work on:
Keep a food journal to go over at my follow up (but she just asked me to take pictures of my food, which is easy enough)
Change my gym routine to include more weightlifting and interval training for cardio
Spend 5 minutes a day doing meditative breathing exercises (they gave me a few app recommendations to try)
I know it's only been one day so it's easy to feel jazzed and then let the enthusiasm fade to oblivion, but I am super enthusiastic about this. The way the goals are broken down is super manageable, and there are measurements of EVERYTHING, which I love. I love tracking progress, and the mere fact that I'm going to be moving the dials for myself is incredibly motivating. There's just something about seeing it in personalized analytics that makes it so much more motivating than just studying up on health and fitness in general.
So yesterday I went to the gym after my appointment and tried an interval run the way the doctor suggested -- 5 min warmup, 10 min working as hard as I can, 5 min running at 50-60% exertion, then 5 min cooldown. It felt great, and the 10 minute section actually went by pretty fast. She wants me to do this kind of cardio 3x a week, mixing it in with the kinds of workouts I'm already doing. Lately I've been doing an hour of cardio most days, but only ever at like 60% most of the time. I can definitely see how increasing the intensity has its advantages. And shit, if it doesn't work, that'll show up in my next exam, and we'll tweak it :)
Today I went back to the gym with my take-on-the-world attitude. I got on the treadmill to do a 1-mile warmup jog, but I felt pretty good and just went ahead and did 3 miles. Then I did weights -- forced myself to do more than I usually do, both in terms of number of reps and weight. I had a little more in the tank after that, so I decided to see what an interval workout would be like on an elliptical. Usually on non-running days, I'll get on the elliptical for 40-60 minutes, crank it all the way up to level 3 or 4 (of 20, lolz), and mindlessly churn my legs while I play bridge on my phone. Today I tried a 5-minute warmup, then cranked it up to 16. That was WAY too intense...I could only sustain it for two minutes. I backed off down to 10 for the rest of the intense part, then did another 15 minutes on an easy setting, just to pass the time more than anything.
I know today's workout falls in the crazy and unsustainable category, and I know I won't be going this hard every day, but it felt good to WANT to work hard for the first time in a while...I consciously thanked my body when I was done, and then took my stanky ass home to have the greatest shower the world has ever known.
I feel good. I want to keep feeling good.
Also if you're in the Portland area, the Zoom Performance Lab does accept other insurance, and you can count your visit as your annual free wellness visit through the ACA, too. I highly recommend it. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back.
So the weight machines all have this big orange sticker on them that says "ALLOW OTHER MEMBERS TO USE THIS MACHINE WHILE YOU REST BETWEEN SETS." This is policy at most gyms, and it's common courtesy that most people follow, but not only is it policy at this gym, it's spelled out really clearly on every machine. Anyway. The whore machines as I like to call them (the ones where you either spread your legs wide and then squeeze them together to lift a weight or start with them together and then spread them wide to lift the weight) are set up side by side. They work companion muscle groups. Almost everyone who uses them goes from one to the other, alternating, until they've completed their sets. I'm often going back and forth with another person doing this at the same time. Some people prefer to do all their sets on one machine before moving onto another, and that's fine, too, but you still should let people work in with you. You don't need to take your rest ON the actual machine.
The past two days in a row, I've been doing the whore machines, alternating between the two, and some woman has swooped in and taken the other one while I'm on the companion machine near the end of my 3 sets. Both times, I just had one set left to do, and the woman came in and jumped on the machine I needed for like 20 more seconds. Not a big deal, because sets don't take that long and I can wait and whatever. Here's how this went each of the last two days:
Me: (finishes set as other woman sits down on my next machine. wipes down machine and waits near the other one for my turn.)
Her: (does one set, sits there and doesn't move)
Me: Do you mind if I take one last set while you rest?
Her: Oh I only have a couple more then you can have it when I'm done.
Me, in my head: BITCH, I only had ONE more. And do you not see that big orange sign that tells you to let me fucking have my set?
Monday started the same:
Me: (finishes set as other woman sits down on my next machine. wipes down machine and waits near the other one for my turn.)
Her: (does one set, sits there and doesn't move)
Me: Do you mind if I take one last set while you rest?
Her: (rolls eyes, makes a big production of getting up, doesn't pull the release that resets the leg pads back to a human position, so that I have to mount the machine like a baby deer learning to walk)
Me: (gets on machine, does my set, resets the pads, gets up and quickly wipes sweat off the machine, smiles) Thanks!
Her: (rolls eyes and makes a big production of getting back on the machine and checking the weight pin even though I didn't move it from where she had it.)
Seriously, my set took no more than half a minute, you could've used the one next to me (that I'm sure you're moving to next anyway) instead of standing directly in front of me and staring at me disdainfully while I do the exercise that has just derailed your whole day.
I really hate people.
You guys are cool, though.
I've been waking up early most days to exercise -- several early morning runs with Lorie, but also still seeing Ertan and going to Body Pump at least once a week. I'm still in a fitness rut, though. Running isn't getting easier, and I still struggle to get through what would have been breezy workouts for me before my accident. I hate how much I have to stop and walk. I hate how much I hate it. And I also hate being out of shape, and feeling like the work I'm doing isn't bringing any progress. The truth is I could work harder, I could eat better...but...I'm trying.
Dan and I were talking about planes today, and he was telling me about different planes' horsepower. Some of the planes he flies have less horsepower than a standard car, which I thought was interesting. Then I mused that I guess horses aren't really much good in the air, anyway. They're pretty heavy and would likely hinder a plane more than anything. They should use PEGASUS power instead of horsepower when talking about planes. I'm hilarious.
I got to see a lot of Gwen this weekend, too. I went over to Josh & Mary's house on Friday to play some games and snuggle their baby. They're working on sign language with her, so I asked what the sign for "aunt" is. We looked it up, and Mary said "Uh-oh -- she's going to think you're saying 'potty!'" The two signs are pretty similar. I guess some people would have a problem with this, but of course I think it's perfect. Just call me Aunt Potty! I went back over there this afternoon and divided my time between games with the adults and playing with 8-month-old (holy shit, already?!) Gwen. This baby is the best, you guys. She's so happy and playful and cuddly. She doesn't show much stranger anxiety with anyone, really, but she does seem to know who I am and to like me very much. It's pretty rewarding to have someone's affection when you can't even really communicate with them. I love this baby absolute bunches and I feel very lucky that I get to spend so much time with her. I still don't want/need my own, though. Maybe I'm finally old enough (or divorced enough?) that people will stop telling me I'll change my mind one day about having babies. My biological clock isn't telling me to have kids so much as it's telling me to enjoy being young while I can because that whole youth thing doesn't last forever. Except in my mind. Hehe. Farts.
Seriously if I ever stop laughing at farts, just euthanize me, okay? I don't want to live in a world where farts aren't hilarious.
Despite how miserable and low I've felt lately, I am taking care of myself. I tried a GRITplyo class for the first time at my gym yesterday -- that was sort of an accident. I went for BodyPump, but they'd changed the schedule on me. Pump was condensed from 60 minutes to 30, and the second half of the hour was GRIT. I kind of want to try GRITstrength, but I never intended to do the plyo class because plyo is hard and I hate it and it hurts. But a kind of magical thing happened. The class was so fucking painful and hard and awful that for those 30 minutes, I could think of nothing else but how much I hated being there. I know that sounds delightful and all, but it was totally a release from everything else that's been weighing on my mind lately. Maybe I can make myself keep going back. Big maybe. But...I do see the benefits.
Today I'm going on a hike with a friend who was traveling around Europe for a month, and then got back when I was out of town for most of December, so I haven't seen him for two months. It'll be good to catch up, but I'm a little concerned that I'm going to wordvomit all about the problems I've been having lately and totally ambush him with my personal crises. Will try to avoid that.
Z is flying home today for a very quick visit. We've both been so incredibly wrecked lately -- his boss and good friend died suddenly on Monday, and he is reeling from that. He decided we needed to hold each other and he is flying back for a day between assignments to make that happen. I'm really glad he's coming. I think I need it more than I realized before he told me he was. I think it will help us both a little.
Yet I agreed to go running on my lunch break. Because I am tired of being out of shape and I want to power through. But it may be wise for me to take another day off...
I need a massage.
After waking up early to make myself look business cardworthy, I went to a meeting and did Realtory things in the morning. Then I tried in vain to find an affordable place to get my photos taken when the photog couldn't make it to the meeting, and when that failed, I gave up and changed into my gym clothes for another session with Ertan. I guess he decided last week that our time off didn't set me back too much, because we were back at 100% pain today. The way he works me out is to set up a circuit of three different exercises at a time, and I go through the circuit three times, then we move on. Usually one of those three items is next-to-impossible level of difficulty, a second one is hard-but-not-as-hard, and the third in the group is usually kind of an active recovery thing. Today, everything was top level difficult. I'm sore. But I did it all. Ertan was proud. I'm proud. Woo.
I got the notice that sewing class was canceled after the gym, so I got to work on the website stuff instead. I need to link my custom domain to the site, get my work email in there (only problem is right now I don't know what my work email IS), get a newer photo of myself, and add something in that pathetically empty "Useful Links" field. I've written one blog post, and I'll try to post to that semi-regularly. I decided that quick blurbs about my favorite Portland things would be great fodder. That's a well that won't dry up. I'll also post more realty-specific things, too.
It also occurs to me that I should mention this to my friends -- I am only licensed in Oregon, so I can only be your agent if you want to buy or sell here, but if you want to buy or sell somewhere else, I can refer you to someone near you. Realtors pay each other referral fees for these things, and it can be a significant portion of income. So if you or anyone you know needs a Realtor, hit me up, even if it's not in Oregon. Pretty please? Kthx.