Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More than a Mantra

The idea of Harder2Kill was born from encounters with three specific people. Losing my father in ’11 was the start of the realization that if he had been healthier prior to cancer he might have been able to fight it. Fast forward a few months and in ’12 I meet two spectacular women whose life journeys taught me much more. These two women unknowingly laid the rest of the foundation for my approach to living - which is oddly about striving to be “harder to kill”.

One of those ladies is Louise Cooper. I’ve described her before as an elegant badass, and I’ve yet to figure out a better description. I’ve referenced her before because let’s face it, a lot of times WODs suck! And during the suckiest of them, I almost always hear Louise in my head in the moments that I really want to just stop.

Louise is just simply one of the most awesome human beings that I’ve had the privilege to meet, and she’s a person that even brief encounters are profound. Louise is considered a pioneer for women adventure racers. Long before Mark Burnett was producing adventure/survivor shows for TV. Louise was rappelling down cliffs, crossing deserts, trekking glaciers and tackling jungles as an elite adventure racer. Louise humbly dismisses any fuss made about her accomplishments – and perhaps why I’m gushing here about her is that her perspective on life and approach to living life profoundly affected mine. I can only hope to have a sliver of the grace, strength, courage, determination and humility this woman possess.

Louise is the epitome of Harder to Kill. She’s proof that no one is above cancer, but she is also proof that if you are physically strong – then you are able to be as aggressive as necessary to fight it. Louise has been on my mind for a few weeks. Learning through friends her cancer had returned – I was pissed off and worried for her. Angry about how cancer could have the audacity to rear itself again. I learned last night that Louise is attacking this head-on as she does any other endurance challenge and knowing she’s once again in the fight to win makes my heart happy.

Wheezy you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope for the opportunity to once again be on another adventure with you! Countless of us have benefited from your tow line. May all the prayers, “good juju” and medical advancements be the tow line that aids you in kicking cancers ass once again! You told me once, “The only way out it - is through it.” I know you will make it through. Last time, you ran Badwater five months after completing chemo! I am eagerly awaiting what goal you put in your sights for round 2. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Until it wasn't...

I’m 17 days into my 30-day Nutritional Reset. Week 1 – flawlessly executed. Yay Me! Survived Carb Flu. Survived a birthday party (it did help that it was at Chunky Cheese). Week 2 – I was rocking by this week. I felt better. I felt strong. I felt like this was going to be pretty easy. Until it wasn’t.

Still unsure how it all unraveled so quickly, but in a blur of carbohydrates and sugar I downed a piece of my daughter’s birthday cake. What ensued over the next few hours was a crazy woman with an “F-it” attitude (note to mom: Let’s just agree the “F” stands for Forget – so don’t ground me. I’m almost 40.) Within hours I had agreed to pizza, and the unopened wine I was so proud off was completely drained. Then neighbors arrived with more wine! Woohoo! Life was good. Until it wasn’t.

The next-day remorse was ridiculous. I was so guilt-ridden about it all – that I moped, whined and berated myself all day. Not to mention felt like crap, and with my rosacea turned up to 11 - I looked completely sunburned. Nice. It’s an odd feeling to direct your anger and disappointment inward. I didn’t let anyone else down. I only let myself down. So I can’t report Week 2 as flawless. Made it right to the finish line of the week and tripped head over heels with bad decisions. Sunday was a bad day for me. Until it wasn’t. 

I was tired of being mad at myself. I built the food plan for the week, refreshed the groceries. And yes, I threw away the remaining birthday cake. Week 3 – not over yet, but in an odd way I’m more steeled for success after flubbing up last week. Somehow through failure, I’m more determined to see this through now then I was in Week 1 and Week 2 (minus the 5 hours of carb/sugar debauchery). This Nutritional Reset has been an interesting experiment about my relationship with food. I’m not a foodie by nature. I like quick, cheap and apparently dirty food. I like things that come in boxes, brown bags and from drive-up windows. I like not thinking about food every minute of the day. But that lazy approach to eating is what resulted in being overweight. That approach is also why I stalled out on my fitness goals. The Lazy Gal’s diet was acceptable for me. Until it wasn’t. 

This experience has forced me to plan, think, read, prepare and most of all cook. I know pretty much what I’m eating and when and what has to occur to get it prepared. I read recipes now, save tips on extracting natural sugar from stevia leaves, and feel I’m “one good idea” away from starting a Pintrest page (something I wholeheartedly have resisted for a long time). The Nutritional Reset has turned me into a reluctant foodie, but each meal, snack and drink is thought out, planned, researched, shopped for and prepared. I have always been an anti-foodie because it all seemed like it was too much work. Until it wasn’t. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Sweet Life

My October nutritional reset started a week ago today. I plunged myself into a month long effort to rid processed foods from my life. I’ll confess that I backed off the kiddos transition. I’m going more stealth sneak attack approach with them. I thought I’d have more luck if they were unaware that they are on a gradual path to unprocessed foods. Some will say I wussed out. Perhaps.

With Week #1 down - how am I doing? Pretty good. Picked back up my lunchtime runs – and that helps me not fall to cravings in restaurants. Some people run for health. For now – I run to avoid sitting in a restaurant staring at a menu full of things I can’t eat. I did have a dull headache for a few days last week, but that subsided by Thursday. I think that was just my body adjusting to the lack of processed sugars and other junk it was used to having. 

What am I eating? I get this question a lot. Eggs, bacon, sweet potatoes, tuna, salmon, tomatoes, spinach leaves, apples and avocados. Pretty much combos of all of those things serve me well for bfast and lunch since both meals are typically eaten at my desk in my office. Dinner has been looking like chicken/pork/steak on the grill, more avocados along with grilled peppers, onions and squashes. I can get the kiddos to eat most things (including veggies) if they have been grilled – so we do that a lot! The wine bottle has remained unopened in my house for a week+ now (Yay me!), and I even survived cupcakes and pizza during a birthday party over the weekend.

I did fumble over chicken wings – but was tired of turning everything down during a social situation that drew way too much attention to my (empty) plate. I need to get better about having my own foods so that I can discreetly eat during social situations and not really bring attention to the fact that I’m somewhere that doesn’t have an option for me. It just gets awkward with the hostess, and then people I don’t know want to debate paleo vs what they think paleo is and end-up telling me about the success someone they know had on Adkins and South Beach. All well-intended, but… I’ve always lived, and survived, by social rules to not debate politics, religion or grammar – and now I’m adding dietary preference to that list of topics to socially avoid. Next time – just going to eat before going, keep a fake drink in hand and have a snack in my purse and/or claim a food allergy. People totally back away judgment-free from allergy claims.

For week one I kept the foods basic and within a known comfort zone My bravery in the kitchen is increasing, and I have a few recipes I’m looking forward to trying out on the crew this week. I'm past the hardest part of the nutritional reset. There is a pretty sweet life - without refined sugar - and I'm really eager to explore it. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Such a Nice Girl

Monday was a great day for me. For one – I was finally mobile again after rigor mortis settled in from Saturday’s WOD. Seriously couldn’t walk down stairs on Sunday without pain being involuntarily verbalized. Props to my partner Michelle – not sure what the split was on the 250 walking lunges – but I know she carried the load more than I did. On Monday I was so happy to be able to walk without the need to stifle profanities, and I was even happier to find out the WOD would be Helen.

Here’s why like Helen. She’s a nice girl b/c Helen doesn’t do squats or burpees or pushups. Helen is a lovely name for a lovely workout. But Helen wasn’t my fav part of Monday. During the strength segment we did 5 rounds of 5 Push Presses – building in weight. I started at 63 lbs – and each round increased by 10 lbs. At 93 lbs. and with encouragement of a classmate I did a few extra sets increasing in smaller increments making it to 108 lbs for 2 Push Presses. It was a fun moment of nudging past a comfort zone and self-imposed limitation. Thanks Jackie! J 

When I was going for my second Push Press – another classmate Terri took a pic. Now here’s the thing about this pic. I was such a badass in my own mind at that moment, but the pic proves that I am indeed still a dork. But the reason I love this pic, and why I’m sharing it here, is because it really captures the moment of achievement. I’ll always remember the classmates that were encouraging me and rooting for me. Helen wasn’t the only nice gal at C3 that night!

108# Push Press 09302013

3 rounds for time:
·        400m Run
21 KB Swings (53#/35#)
12 Pull-ups