Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seven Years

It was 7 years ago to this day that I headed down to Georgia for what would be the single most life changing moment of my life, my 2100 mi Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail.  

I chose to go into the wild to help me process my goals in life.  While out there I missed the start of a war, the capturing of Sadam Hussein, and a huge black out (it was always a black out in the woods). 

But I did get to live life simplified, push my body and mind to limits that I did not know possible, bond with my sister and 4 other folks that I hiked with, enjoy sunny beautiful views and torrential rain (2003 was wet!), get engaged (I heart Paul), and discover myself.

It is hard to believe that 7 years have passed, although looking at what has happened in my life since then I realize that it has been a long 7 years.  

In these fast passing years I got married and have been married for almost 6 years, graduated college and finally got a full time job, dealt with my father's leukemia diagnosis, got my MS diagnosis (still dealing with this), started running and ran 2 marathons, started swimming and doing sprint triathlons, received my Wilderness First Responder certification - ACA Canoe Instructor Certification - ACA Kayak Instructor - and ACA Adapted Paddling endorsement, and had a plethora of people come in and out of my life.

I will never forget my 6 months on the AT - they seem like yesterday.  I would give anything to be able to do something like that again right now and I had always said that I would do the Pacific Crest Trail, unfortunately with the new diagnosis that may never happen (that was really hard to write).  I would have to lie to say it was always easy out there, but I learned a lot about myself and it set the foundation of strength that I still draw from today, especially with all of this new MS stuff.

I leave you with my favorite quote, one that I look at daily to motivate me and to remind me that trying never hurts, because at least I tried.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." --T. Roosevelt, 1910


This post is dedicated to '5 Alive' (Cire, Ketchup, Speck, Diesel and Oopo!), I miss all of you and the amazing times we had out there!  Seven years, Holy @%*#!
 Love, Slickrock GA-ME 03

Monday, February 22, 2010

To marathon. or Not

I had it in my head that I wanted to do the AK marathon again this year.  In my mind I am thinking, 'what is the difference between last year and this year except that I have a name for what was happening to me'.   

At the same time there is this fear that I did not have before, the fear that I will get another massive MS attack and that I will hurt myself by training too hard.  I remember the day that my headaches started, I had done a small (3 mi) trail run in which I felt way to overheated and slow for my fitness level.  Was that a sign I was not picking up on, was my body telling me something, did THAT particular trail run cause my MS attack?

Errr!  These are the times that I wish that I could go on pretending that nothing was wrong and wishing that I had never gotten that MS diagnosis.  I do not want it to interfere with the things that I love, MS is so unfair at times.

I guess I will type out my marathon training plan, start it, and hope for the best.  I have until August to decide if I can do it and see if my body is cooperating, that is my deadline for signing up.  Fingers crossed and positive outlook (big girl pants as well), that is all I can really do.

Em & I finishing the AK marathon 9/26/2009 almost 2 months to the day before my diagnosis.

Weekly Workout Update

Mon Feb 15 - Sun Feb 21
  • Monday Feb 15 - 1700 y swim
  • Tuesday Feb 16 - 55 min cycle
  • Wednesday Feb 17 -off
  • Thursday Feb 18 - 45 min circuit training
  • Friday Feb 19 - off
  • Saturday Feb 20 - 30 min hike
  • Sunday Feb 21 - 2 mi run & 2 hours of cleaning

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day?

Like typical fashion, P and I decided to not exchange gifts for V Day, I was just glad to spend time with him (since half of the year he works weekends).  Although we spent the morning grocery shopping and the afternoon cleaning - romantic, hehe.

We were planning on making a fancier gluten & dairy free meal for the evening, but my Mom offered to make us dinner (along with my dad of course).  It is nice that my Mom wanted to tackle making a nice dinner for all of us (within the regulations of my diet).  She only asked that I make an appetizer (the one thing that I have not perfected-most of my old appetizer's were cheese and bread filled).

After finding gluten-free Worcestershire sauce & pretzels and noticing that corn & rice chex are gluten free, I decided to make a chex mix.  It turned out delicious, even after substituting dairy-free Smart Balance for butter.  I also made a very fresh tasting Guacamole.  Yum!

The most touching part came with dinner.  Some of you may know (some not) but my mother is an excellent cook.  She probably could have been a chef if she had really wanted to.  Anyway, she made a delicious cracked pepper & sea salt filet mignon, with skillet roasted potatoes and oven roasted asparagus (delicious).  For desert she made everyone else chocolate covered strawberries and a chocolate mouse but for me she made home-made dairy free tapioca.  Now this is not your store bought tapioca.  My mom used Almond milk instead of milk, sweetened with Agave nectar (I am not supposed to have much sugar), and with a bit of orange zest.  On top I got agave marinated fruit.  YUMMY!

Anyway, it was a very nice evening spent laughing with my parents and I was touched that she worked hard to make a meal that I could eat (even special desert).  A perfect valentine's day spent with those that I love.

Mom and I at Christmas!

Weekly Workout Update

February 8 - February 14, 2010

  • Monday Feb 8 - 45 min Yoga
  • Tuesday Feb 9 - off (sick)
  • Wednesday Feb 10 -off (still sick)
  • Thursday Feb 11 - off (come on am I better yet)
  • Friday Feb 12 - off (feeling better, but decided not to push it)
  • Saturday Feb 13 - 1 hour cycling
  • Sunday Feb 7 - 2 hours house cleaning
Crappy week, both the Hubs and I were sick.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Food Glorious Food

I have not been having anything really happen on the MS front, just the typical tiredness, intermittent numbing and lost vision.  ; D

BUT,  I am fully into my new food regimen (dairy and gluten free) and wanted to talk a little about what I have learned and my experience so far, at least all two weeks worth.
  1. Make sure that you have support for the diet changes.  I am so thankful that P loves me enough to make the changes in his life as well.  He has been extra careful not to contaminate anything I eat by washing his hands and making sure not to stick his gluten covered knife in the PB or margarine.  He has also managed to eat every dinner as gluten & dairy-free, making sure that I get the leftovers (over him) for lunch, since I cannot "run out" to get a gluten/dairy free meal easily.  Some family has already complained about my changes, so it is good that at home I feel supported.
  2. Plan your meals ahead. I learned very quickly that if you do not plan, then you go without.  Nothing like coming home after a full day of work and whatever else comes your way to find you have no plans for the meal.  Paul and I sit down together, plan out the week's meals and then go for a grandiose shopping spree.  I also purchased two allergy cookbooks, one gluten free woman who used her slow cooker every day for a year and made a gluten-free slow cooker cookbook from it (which allows me to have dinner ready by the time I come home) and another family friendly recipe book (which has easy to make gluten & dairy free recipes, easy being the key word).  This helps with the transition of it all.
  3. Make sure to take your supplements. Well, this is not for everyone, but after all of my blood tests I found out I was anemic, B12 deficient, and D3 deficient.  I am also no longer eating yogurt (and I could not stomach the soy yogurts) so I needed to get my "probiotic" acidophilus as well.  I am currently taking a Omega-3,6,9 supplement (for the health of my nerves), D3 supplement, Multi-vitamin, and an acidophilus complex.
  4. Don't concentrate on what you are missing.  It would be easy to get sad about the things that I cannot eat anymore, but instead I am trying to focus on what I can eat.  I am forcing myself to make made from scratch meals every day and guess what, my belly has actually appreciated it.  I won't be surprised if I lose some weight with the strict diet that I am following.
  5. Get a food that you can treat yourself with.   Right now I am obsessed with the Gluten, Dairy, Nut, Soy free Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle cookies that P found me at Giant Eagle.  They are delicious and have great ingredients.  Even P stole a few and could not believe how good they were.
  6. Lastly, know that you are taking care of yourself.  I was never a strict diet watcher, not super concerned what was in food (I liked healthy foods but I loved buffallo wing night as well).  I was surprised to find that gluten is put in things like salt and dressings to thicken them up cheaply.  I was also surprised that gluten is used in a lot of preservatives (almost all of your packaged foods), so if anything, I am even more happy to have made this decision.  Even pre-packaged gluten-free foods are for the most part fairly healthy, simple ingredients, so I know it has to be better for me. 
BTW, I am eating leftovers for lunch right now and it is delicious.  If you need a good hearty slow cooker soup, try out this Pizza Soup I am eating (from my gluten-free slow cooker cookbook).  YUMMY!  I added olives and nixed the cheese to make mine perfect for me.
BTW, those are gluten-free rice noodles
Tinkyada is the only brand to try (otherwise you will have a mushy mess).


Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekly Workout Update

February 1 - February 7, 2010
  • Monday Feb 1 - off (worked from 8 am - 8 pm & too tired to do anything)
  • Tuesday Feb 2 - 45 min circuit, abs
  • Wednesday Feb 3 - off (worked late again - hmmm pattern forming)
  • Thursday Feb 4 - 45 min circuit, abs
  • Friday Feb 5 - 2 mi run
  • Saturday Feb 6 - 2 hours of shoveling
  • Sunday Feb 7 - 4 mi snowshoe