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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week (or so) in review

I feel like I've really been off my game this summer.  Now that summer vacation is almost over, I'm trying to get myself accustomed to working out again and logging what I do for accountability.  This past week wasn't too bad, though all my running/walking together is less than a lot of you guys' long runs.

Saturday: 20 mile easy bike ride, hip started huring around 15 miles in.

3.5 mile road run -- 11:13 pace, which was suprisingly good considering my right knee was bothering me and I walked for several minutes.  Finally I decided to see if it was one of those body fake-outs where it just doesn't want to run and tries to convince you it's hurt.  Once I called its bluff, my knee shut up.

Sunday: orienteering meet with Jeff and J.  J wasn't particularly excited about the idea, but he had fun once we got there.

J finds the control
This was a 1-hour score-o, where you find as many controls as possible in the hour.  We started off taking a direct route to a control instead of following the road, and once again what looked on the map like an easy trail to follow quickly disappeared.  We made a wrong turn, got back on track, and found our first control with a little more searching.  Jeff is invaluable with the map.  He sees things MUCH more clearly than I do!

We found the next two controls without any trouble and then got mixed up again and lost a lot of time trying to figure out where we were on the map.  Finally, while Jeff was down in the brush finding a control, I was able to see what was actually ON the map rather than trying to bend it to match what was in front of me.  I told J, "Once I took a breath, it was easy to see."   Later on, as we were scrambling again I remarked that I didn't know where I was on the map.  He responded, "Just take a breath, Mommy."  :)

Monday: Started again with The New Rules of Lifting for Women's weight training program while J was at soccer camp.  Another thing I've been meaning to get back to all summer but never got around to.  Better late than never.

Tuesday night: Night hike at local trails with my family.  I made the boys go, and Jeff semi-begrudgingly came along.  I was glad they was there: the woods were a little creepy after dark, and I'd have been scared alone.  The slower pace was neat because we could see spider webs lit up by the headlamps, and when I stopped to see what was reflecting my light on the side of the trail I found out it was spiders.  Kind of cool.

Wednesday:  Met up with Lindsay for a run.  We started off walking until my Garmin picked up the satellites and quickly decided that 85 degrees and humid at 7 a.m. warranted a walk.  4 miles (which we negative split. :D).  While J was at soccer camp I did my assigned lifting.

Thursday: Was supposed to run trails with Lindsay and Krystal but decided sleep sounded better.  Instead, I ran 4.5 miles on the treadmill later.

Friday: Weight training

Saturday: Ran 5.3 trail miles, including a creek-running detour through a tunnel and out to the banks of the Missouri River.  My stomach hasn't yet figured out how to combine running with all these vegetables I've been eating, so that made for some GI unpleasantness.  Still, I didn't die on the run, so that's something.

Sunday: 37 miles on the road bike.  I was supposed to meet some friends to ride 52 but neglected to find out when we were meeting, so I started out on my own.  Trailnet, a local bike advocacy group, plans, marks, and runs SAG support for the rides, so it's a great way to get it some miles with a security blanket. :)  Instead of the ungodly heat we've been suffering, today was cooler and overcast -- we actually got a little rain!
Too little, too late to help the corn.  Not a good year to be a farmer, at all.
This is pretty much what all the corn fields looked like today. Very sad. 
The nice weather did nothing to improve my initial mood, though.  I really just wanted to be home in bed, but I made myself go with the reminder that if I only exercised when I wanted to, I'd rarely get off the couch.  I used to bike alone all the time, but now that I'm used to riding with friends I'm spoiled by the company.  And the gravel -- good grief, it was a gravelly route! Not so fun.  Within a few miles, though, my sour mood evaporated and I started to enjoy the day, talking to other riders along the route.

Unfortunately, by about 11 miles in, my left hip started really hurting again.  I had to work hard to talk myself out of the extra short route (~21 miles) and short (~32 miles) routes, but all my self-talk wasn't enough to convince me to do the long one today (52 miles).  There was a SAG stop at mile 18, and then I let myself stop again at mile 30 to stretch again because I was hurting so much.  By the time I limped to the finish I was ready to shove my road bike into the deepest corner of our garage.

Luckily, I guess, the hip (which then moves into the thigh and feels like misplaced shin splints there) has only been an issue on the road bike, but it's still frustrating to spend the large chunk of any longer ride in pain.  Today I tried raising my bike seat, which helped my knees but not my hip.  Other suggestions have been to get a professional bike fit (ugh, $$, but I've never had one and it would certainly be a good move) and to do more stretching to loosen my hip flexors.  Any other suggestions are welcome!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wuv...twue wuv...

Pensive Pumpkin tagged me with a pretty new blog award that allows, no requires me to share some new things with you.  Let's see if I can come up with 11 things...

The Rules

  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves.

  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.

  • Create 11 questions for the people you have tagged to answer.

  • Choose 11 people and link them in your post.

  • Go to their page and tell them.

  • No tag backs.

1. Do you find yourself creepily obsessed with anyone? I often wonder if I'm the only one who didn't outgrow the adolescent crush thing, since no one else seems to talk about it...
Creepy?  Who you calling creepy?  Blogs and facebook certainly feed my the latent stalker tendencies in us all.

2. How would you describe your style?

I'd totally wear this
Style? I'm not sure I've bought any item of clothing in the past 6 months that wasn't running or biking related. I like tall boots, jeans, skirts, dresses, and pretty much anything that makes me look thinner. I've been pinning all kinds of outfits on pinterest in the hopes that someday I'll wear clothes that cute. Actually, now that I just looked back at the style board I linked to, now I want to go shopping. Unfortuantely for my wardrobe, the Thunder Rolls registration fee takes precedence over new clothes.  But if it didn't....

Tall boots <3
3. If you could change professions without worrying about retraining, startup costs, or similar realistic concerns- what would you do?

I'd be a writer.

4. If you could go back to the version of you that lived ten years ago what (aside from winning lottery numbers and other financial gimmicks) would you tell him or her?

First, you are enough just who you are.  And second, don't wait around for somebody else to make things happen for you or hold your hand so you can do what you want.  Go for it.

5. Do you like your blogs funny or serious? (I ask this because these question things always make me trend serious, and I'd hate to alienate you all...)

I like funny blogs, but more to the point I like REAL blogs.

6. Shower or bath?

Shower to get clean, bath to relax.

7. Boxers or briefs?

I do like a man in boxers.  Especially plaid ones.

8. Word association: Halloween

Halloween party 2008 324
One of my favorite years...and not just because I convinced my husband to shave his head and paint himself blue. :)
Costumes.  Which involves a lot of work for me.  My mom used to HATE Halloween, and now I totally get it.  My husband's family is big into Halloween.  Every year we have a family costume (which is kind of fun, but a lot of work) and a party (which is a lot of work and fun, but scheduling it is a nightmare that leaves me wanting to strangle the high-maintenance people who don't want to be left out but want it to work around their many activities.)

9. If you had to choose a Nom de Plume (aside from whatever you might currently use on your blog or whatever) what would you choose and why?

My wonderful team has bestowed a number of nicknames on me, from Kage (which is pretty badass and I like) to Denny (the den mother taking care of everyone) to MawMaw (because I'm the oldest).  If I picked something it would probably be something Eastern European and mysterious, but since I lack the imagination to give myself a cool name, I guess I'll stick with theirs.

10. What conditioner do you use? I'm afraid my hair is fried. LOL

Ummm...usually one for color treated hair, thought I just bought this John Frieda shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair.  Unfortunately, there's only so much repair conditioner can do when your hair hasn't been cut in a year.

11. Do you hate me for choosing you? *evil cackle*

How could I hate you?  It does help that I'm ignoring the parts of the tag that are actual work. :)

Eleven things about myself:
 1. After having an Instagram account forever, I'm actually using mine a bit. So far, that's meant a lot of pictures of my kid and a few of trails.  Fascinating stuff.  My (very creative) username is kgeisen. 

Water + kids = joy
See what you're missing?

2. I paid all my bills this last month without even feeling nauseous.  This is good news indeed.  We even had a surplus of money coming after paying the last couple bills with my second check to pay extra on some medical bills. 

3. And then the air went out in our van.  The longest period of 100+ degree days and no air conditioning.  Awesome.  Thankfully, my car's air is going strong.  And you know who drives my car? Me. I'm going to look at this as glass half full: not Oh, waah, now we don't have extra money, but Thank goodness we had the extra money to fix the car.
4.  I ran a sub-9 minute mile on the treadmill yesterday.  That's huge news in my world these days.  As much as I hate running on the treadmill, my run was so much less terrible than my outside runs that it did prove to me the heat effect.
5.  I came late to the Stephanie Plum books, but I'm loving them.  Not great literature, but so fun.  I bought a stack at my mom's yard sale and have been reading through them at a pretty ridiculous rate.  Jeff was home from work the past two days and was underwhelmed by the reading:housework ratio. 
6.  I started weight training again, using the routines from the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  Im really enjoying it and hope that I can stick with it when school starts.  My legs currently hate me for all the lunges they had to do on Wednesday. :)
7.  I'm not ready to go back to work, but I'm really ready for my kids to go back to school.


8.  After nearly two years of wearing the same pair of running shoes that gave me blisters on any run longer than 5 miles (I know, I know...but see #2 above...nausea-inducing bill cycles aren't conducive to new running shoes), I replaced them with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline.  This is my first pair of Brooks, and so far I love them.  No 5+ mile runs in them yet, but I have a good feeling.


9. With the high temps, J and I have spent a lot of time in pools and creeks.  This one, while scenic, wasn't a very successful creek hike since this was the only non-sludgy stretch.  Win some, lose some.  I was disappointed, but he was perfectly happy to play together on the playground.  In 104 degrees.  Imagine my joy.  We did have fun on the teeter-totter trying to get ourselves positioned so that it would stay even.  I won't tell you just how close I was to the center...

104 degrees and he wants to play on the playground.
10. I played a 112-point word in Words With Friends.  I'm reaching, I know...this has been a really boring summer.

Hell yes I took a picture of it!

11.  I'm seriously considering doing the Advocare 24-day challenge.  The friends I have who've used the products have had great results and have loved them.  Anybody else have experience with these products/company?  Thoughts?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Actual training! and misc.

It's no secret that my training has been anemic this summer, basically consisting of big bike race, recover, big bike race, recover, little bike race. In this instance, "recover" can pretty much be understood as "sit on your ass and do nothing". That can only last so long before it turns into habit and your couch cushion has an ever-widening impression from the butt planted on it. Luckily, a combination of a big race upcoming race and active friends has finally gotten me moving again.

The race is a huge motivator. Luke, Bob, and I are competing in the 24-hour Thunder Rolls adventure race. The guys' frequent posting about their training has motivated me to get back on it and catch up with them. After being in pretty good shape when we raced at LBL in March, I really don't want to be the weak link here. Well, I don't want to be the weak link on the trek; I always am on the bike, and this race features a ropes course that is destined to have me in full internal-freak out mode...I'm just going to have to assume my Kage persona on the ropes. Definitely don't want to let my team down.

I ran twice last week with friends and did one road ride. Following that up with Saturday's Tour de Donut netted me a total of about 61 miles for the week. Both days on the road bike I had some pretty significant hip/thigh discomfort, so I need to figure out if that's just lack of training, a bike fit issue, or something else.

Sunday we played a couple hours of sand volleyball, and thanks to the insanely hot temperatures around here, the 95 degree weather felt perfectly comfortable. The heat was back during the week, though...we're seeing plenty of triple-digit temps this summer.

During Nathan's three hour of volleyball camp in St. Louis on Monday, J and I just hung out at Castlewood Park until it was time to pick him up.


We played for a while at the playground...


And then decided to hike in the creek, which was WAY more fun...


...And spent some time building a dam, which I enjoyed at least as much as he did. :)

If Monday was a total kid day, Tuesday was all mine. Team Virtus & friends have a regular training day, aptly titled Virtuesday. Every week I jealously watch the facebook posts about what's going on, but since they're 2.5 hours away from me, it's hard to get away. This Tuesday, I was free and determined not to miss out. After some juggling to get a babysitter for J (big thanks to my mom and Daniel's girlfriend who watched him!) to save me two extra hours of driving between home and N's camp, I loaded up my car with my mountain bike and running clothes.

My afternoon plans kind of fell through, so I had an 8-hour gap to fill between dropping off Nathan at his girlfriend's and meeting the guys. Being close to some great St. Charles County parks, I decided to hit up a couple of my favorites to run and ride. In retrospect, considering my lack of regular training and the 105 degree temperature, that was perhaps a little overambitious; regardless (or is that irregardless? :D), I started at Broemmelsiek Park.

Since I was already dressed in running clothes and haven't been at the park since November, I opted to get the lay of the land by foot. The singletrack is a mixture of dirt and rock trails through woods and a couple long stretches through restored prairie.


While "prairie" might conjure images of Laura Ingalls (or Melissa Gilbert) joyfully running down a grassy hill with her bonnet flying behind her, a more accurate image for my run would feature someone in tattered clothes crawling across blistering desert sands without even a cactus for shade.

Broemmelsiek Beautiful? Yes.
Hot? Oh. my. gosh.

Because it was so hot, I just ran when I could and walked when I needed to. It was a very low pressure run, which actually made it a lot of fun, even though I only made it about .5 miles before I tripped on a rock.

Broemmelsiek fall
My pace dropped even more drastically, not because I was so hurt, but because I naturally had to update facebook with this turn of events. Eventually my dead walk changed back to run/walk, and I managed to slog through 6 miles (big thanks to the mountain biker who shared his huge jug of ice water with me!). Because falling had reminded me why I don't mountain bike alone, rather than change clothes and head out on the bike, I changed clothes and headed to QuikTrip for a smoothie.

1.5 hours of driving later, I grabbed a new book and ate a slow dinner in Jeff City, savoring the air conditioning as long as I could before heading to Binder Lake to wait for the guys. By 9 or so, Luke, Bob, Jim, Stoney, Aaron, and I had our headlamps on and were ready* to head out on the trails.

*That's a total lie.

The guys were ready; I was dreading the ride. Neither of my two previous night rides have been great experiences, with falls and large amounts of walking. I wanted nothing so much as to climb back into my car and read until the guys got back from the trails, but who drives halfway across a state to not train? I started pedaling.

Most of the guys shot off down the trail, stopping occasionally to regroup. Luke was nice enough to hang back with me, and having his light to follow (not to mention company) was a huge help. Other than being terribly, painfully slow, the ride was surprisingly good. Hopefully what Luke lost in time he made up in entertainment value as he got to listen to me freak out, cursing my way across the bridge sections I had forgotten from last year's Tall Oak. I'm sure my tire tracks wobbled like a drunken sailor, but I somehow managed not to fall off.

I walked a couple of hills where I had to put down a foot and then couldn't get going again, but though I skirted the first two log piles (surprise! there's a log pile in the trail!), I rode over the last one no problem. We got back to the cars at about 11 p.m., and I had a text from Jeff: "Are you still there?" Not only was I still there, but we still had the canoe ahead of us. I'd told him I'd be late, but clearly my late and his are a little different. :)

Since the guys' "3 in a canoe" experiences have been...well...mixed, we all wanted to see how this would go before Thunder Rolls. Bob and I carried the canoe to the lake while Luke hid in the bathroom brought the paddles, and I think we all realized at the same time that there was no third seat in the canoe. I volunteered to take the middle, but the guys pulled the chivalry card (this only girl thing is a pretty sweet gig, even if it doesn't get me out of carrying the canoe), and Luke ended up in the middle. Thank goodness, because my MawMaw knees would have been unhappy even before falling on them earlier in the day.

This was my first time using a kayak paddle, and it was ok. Seemed like I was throwing water all over myself...little did I know it was going to get much wetter. We crossed the lake pretty quickly, talking about past and future races as bats swooped around us, which was very cool, and passing fairly close to a blue heron (?). I'm no fan of canoeing, but it would be hard not to enjoy a nighttime paddle with such good company.

Fun or not, I still had about 3 hours of driving ahead of me since I had to pick up Nathan on the way home, so we headed back towards shore. As we neared the beach, someone brought up headlamps, and Bob asked me how much mine cost. "Around $30?" I guessed, and he replied that he could handle that. It was kind of a weird conversation since the guys have way better headlamps than I do, but my slight confusion was interrupted as Bob uttered the phrase that will live in infamy:

"Just remember...if it's not tied down, it's not yours."

I had just enough time to think Huh? before the canoe flipped and I was underwater. The guys were laughing their asses off, having planned this earlier in the day (even going so far as to make sure I brought extra clothes because I was "gonna sweat half to death"). The lake water actually felt really good, and hopefully now it'll be smooth sailing in the actual race. We swam the canoe to the shore, carried it to the cars, and talked racing for a while. I finally changed into dry clothes and headed home sometime after 1, reeking of lake water.

I got home around 4 a.m. and had three hours of sleep before having to wake the boys and get Nathan to volleyball camp, and I was seriously dragging until I finally got a long nap after lunch.

Totally worth it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

To eat or not to eat, that was the question.

This was my fourth year riding in the Tour de Donut, but it was the first year I had to think about breakfast.  In the past, I've gone singlemindedly focused on eating as many donuts as possible, with both good and not so good results.  I don't even like donuts, but I've always felt that you can't go to a race called the Tour de Donut and not eat them.

After the sting of choking down 9 gigantic donuts last year to only come in 6th place and currently being at the heaviest I've been in a while, it was time to reconsider my game plan.  Last year I had been pretty sure I was capable of beating the third place time had I not stopped for donuts; this year I decided to test that theory out.  Rather than lose time stopping to shovel in sugar bombs, I planned to ride straight through. 

I was pretty comfortable with my decision until THE BET.  It all started when Bob took to the Team Virtus website to call out our teammates for their lackluster donut-eating performance last year...and it snowballed into something much bigger...or, I guess, smaller.  Something speedo-sized.

Wow.  That just happened.
I was torn. Ride my own race? Or stick closer to Bob to encourage him/witness the carnage?  It was a tough call, and when I left home this morning I wasn't sure which way my decision would fall.  So...breakfast.  If I was going to be hanging out at donut stops anyway, it would make sense to go ahead and eat them and try for a good donut-adjusted time, but if I was actually racing I'd need fuel.  I went light with a Greek yogurt and pack of almonds, and then I brought a Honey Stinger waffle in case I decided to skip the donuts.

Stepping into the growing heat and humidity at the race site, I was kind of dreading how the ride would feel.  It's funny; running races are generally nice and early, but the most bike races don't start til 9 or 10.  Thankfully, by start time the sky looked like it was considering rain.  The thick cloud cover that had moved in was very welcome!

About 1700 registered racers

The Tour de Donut gets more fun each year, with more and more familiar faces.  This year's included my Metro Tri Club teammates, Bob, blog friend Anne (who I didn't actually get to see until after the race...well, other than her hand waving), adventure racing friends Allie and Stephen, and an older gentleman I met while hanging out with J at cub scout day camp.  And then there was my friend Kim, who despite being married to my ex-husband is one of my good friends and always comes to the TDD to cheer/take pictures.

Waiting for the start
Photo credit: Kim
Though I've ridden in this race for several years, that huge pack of bikes makes me nervous, and I don't want any part of the fast front.  I'm much more comfortable lining up further back.  Way further back.

Seems like every year I'm riding on my own, and in the past I've passed people only to be quickly repassed and left in the dust, realizing too late that I was only feeling fast because of the front person's draft.  This year, I was determined to find the wheel of a faster person and hang onto it as long as possible.  The road was so congested that it took just over 2 minutes to actually get to the actual start line, so the chip timing was a nice touch.  Riding out of town was pretty slow with my first mile was at an 11 mph pace, but after that I picked it up and averaged 16-18 mph for the next few until finally hitting the 20's in mile 6. 

The first donut stop was around mile 9, and it wasn't in a very convenient location.  It looked like you had to ride out of your way a bit to get there, so I just skipped it and kept riding.  Shortly after passing the donut spot, a guy passed me and I jumped on his wheel.  He told me I was welcome to stick with him as long as I wanted, and I enjoyed a pretty effortless 21-22 mph in his draft for the next 6 or so miles (thanks, #1216!).

This year's Tour de Donut followed a new route, and in the weeks up to the race there was a lot of discussion/concern about the roads chosen and the amount of gravel on some of them.  Seems like there are always several bad crashes, and people were worried this year would be even worse.  I was a little concerned, but being the wimp that I am, I'm always pretty timid on gravel anyway.  I figured I'd exercise my normal caution and might be slow but would probably be safe.

Right around mile 15 we hit the area of most concern, a section of road that was covered in thick, mid-sized gravel.  Almost everyone around me immediately jumped off their bikes and began walking them across the gravel.  I slowed way down, figuring I'd ride until I had to get off and walk, but I made it all the way through.  I definitely attribute my Dirty Kanza experience with giving me the confidence to ride this section, though I was missing my more substantial tires. The biggest problem in this section was that the people walking stayed right in the middle on the smoothest line, but anyone I asked to move was really nice about doing so.

Unfortunately, I was so slow getting out of the gravel that I lost my tow truck, so I had to ride the remainder of the race pretty much on my own.  My pace took a hit over the next nine miles, dropping to mostly 17 mph with a few 18's in there, but by mile 23 I was hurting.  I'm not sure if it's the different positioning on my road bike vs my mountain bike or if it's just a matter of my very limited training on the road bike, but on Wednesday's and today's rides, my left thigh has gotten really sore.  In addition, my light breakfast had worn off and I was hungry.  I thought about grabbing that Honey Stinger but hoped that getting off my bike might help ease the pain in my leg.  Plus, who wants a waffle when they could have a donut?

Not me!
I parked my bike, ran over to the donuts, ate two (therefore doubling my goal), rinsed my hands, and ran back to my bike...after asking a very nice volunteer to wipe off my glasses on her tshirt (thank you!).  My jersey was soaked.  The whole stop took me less than 3 minutes. It probably would have been smarter to eat a waffle on the bike, but in addition to really needing to stretch my leg, my handling is unsteady enough that chances were good I'd crash while trying to open the package.

As I rode away from the donut stop, it started raining on us.  So much for having that lady dry my glasses! I was a little nervous on the wet roads, but everything went well and the brief shower only lasted for a few minutes.  My leg felt a little better, but it was still sore. My first mile after the stop was 16 mph, but the next few were pretty fast for me: 19, 20, 22.  They were all over the place after that, and I was counting down the miles to the end at 32. 

I'd been thinking that overall the course was easier than the old one, and then I hit the bigger hills in the last several miles.  Ouch.  Even worse was when I rode past the 32 mile mark painted on the road...and no end in sight. :( Yeah...the race was 34 miles this year.  Those last two miles were rough, not because the course was difficult but because I was sore and DONE.  In the last mile, this much older man passed me on a bike that looked even older and sounded creaky as can be.  Because I have no pride, I caught back up with him and clung to his wheel into the finish.  Thank you, Mr. Yellow Bike...my finish would have been even more pathetic without you.

I had a great time at the race, especially the first 15 miles or so.  Drafting off of a stronger rider was definitely a good strategy (I did offer to take my turn in front, but he declined), and I'm happy I managed to use that for at least part of the race.  I'm pretty disappointed in how much I struggled over the last six miles, but as more than one friend pointed out, that's where actually training might come into play.  With my focus this year on adventure racing and mountain biking, I think I've only actually ridden my road bike five times this year: February's Super Century, women's ride day back in April, a half hour trainer ride, 20 miles this past Wednesday...and today.  If you want to do well, you have to put in the work...and that's an area in which I consistently fall short.

Even so, my chip time of 1:56:59 was good enough for 8th place out of 111 in my age group (actually, my CHIP time is good enough for 7th place, but for whatever reason the standings are ordered by gun time) and 220/1438 overall.  Oh, and my paltry 2 donuts still gave me 9th place AG donut adjusted....and you just can't overestimate how great it is to go home without wanting to have your stomach pumped.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer of nonfiction

Wow, nothing much to say lately.  Seems like I've spent my whole summer recovering from long bike races.  And reading.  I have done a lot of reading.  Somewhat surprisingly since I love me a good novel, most of it has been nonfiction (full disclosure: except for rereading the Twilight series for the fourth time and, um, the Fifty Shades of Grey series).  Since I have nothing else to talk about, here's a brief recap:


The Blood Sugar Solution - I bought this one because my brother has been losing weight and I saw it at his house when I was there in May.  Basically, the premise is that the types of foods we eat are the cause of the majority of physical ailments today, and by changing what and how we eat, we can make huge improvements in our health.  The first part of the book goes over different systems food affects, and there are patient case studies to illustrate the point of how well Dr. Hyman's "solution" works.  Each section has a quiz that will help you determine if your system is affected and if you need the Blood Sugar Solution.

To be honest, I read the first few chapters and then started skimming.  While the quizzes might be a good diagnostic, to me it seemed like basically anyone would qualify for needing the blood sugar solution.  To summarize: grain is bad, sugar is bad, processed foods are bad, dairy is bad. Get rid of most of the food you have in your house.  The back of the book does have some recipes, and I'm going to try some of those, but like most "how to eat" books, for me it falls short.  Maybe because I couldn't stick with it all the way...

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

OK, I already mentioned reading this, but it fits in with the topic.  In Wild, Strayed writes about her solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Even a week or so after reading the book, it has stuck with me.  Having had my kids super early, I never had the opportunity to go off and adventure as a young adult with no responsibilities.  That said, I don't know if 19 year old me would have had the confidence to take off and hike 1000ish miles on her own.  39 year old me, yeah, she'd do it...but I'd rather do it with friends.  Who's in?

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer

On of my very favorite book is is Krakauer's Into Thin Air, so I couldn't resist picking this up on the Target book rack.  There are some definite parallels between the two "Wild" books.  Similar to Cheryl Strayed, Christopher McCandless took off into the...well, wild...as a young adult.  His story lacks her happy ending, but it was a fascinating read.  Both of them were somewhat estranged from their families, Strayed as her family kind of disintegrated after her mother's death, and McCandless in response to some things he learned about his family's past. 

Even before McCandless pulled away from his family, however, he was very strong-willed and independent, setting off on solo trips that I can't imagine letting my teenage kids do.  Of course, there didn't seem to be a lot of "letting" with him, either.  He did; he didn't ask permission.  As a parent, his story is in some ways one of the scarier things I've read.  You can't protect your kids from everything, but you especially can't protect them from themselves.  Very interesting, very sad story.

Nothing Daunted, by Dorothy Wickenden

I absolutely loved this story about two society girls who, unsatisfied with the options around them in Auburn, NY, took positions teaching school in rural Colorado in the early 1900s.  Written by the granddaughter of one of the women, the story fleshes out the numerous letters the women left behind from their year in Colorado.  These two ladies truly had the adventure spirit.   

A new school was built primarily to further education in the area but also to bring marriagable prospects into the male-dominated population, and Dorothy and Rosamond were the first teachers hired.  As a teacher, it added an additional level of fun for me as I read about their struggles to maintain discipline and create lesson plans.  Though both girls were college graduates, neither had any teaching experience...or really much practical experience at all, having lived in houses with maids, cooks, and other servants.  Still, despite growing up in very privileged families, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood thrived on the Colorado frontier. 

The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs

I've read and reviewed this book before, but since I'm currently rereading it I'll mention it here again (boy, you know your blog is getting stale when you're reduced to re-reviewing books you've already blogged about!).  I love this book.  It's funny, it's weird, it's interesting.  Basically, Jacobs, and agnostic of Jewish heritage, spends a year trying to live by the letter of the Bible, both the big rules and the obscure. While he is doing this with the express purpose of writing a book about it, he goes full in, from letting his beard grow (he'd totally fit in with the Virtus crowd!)...to refusing to touch his wife when she's Biblically "unclean" (she's both a saint and hilarious, such as the scene where she sits on every seat in the house so that he can't use any of the chairs)... to "stoning" adulterers...to attempting to "be fruitful and multiply" (with more success than he'd imagined). 

Having been raised with religion, it's interesting to view the Bible through the eyes of someone who doesn't believe (and I'd be willing to bet he knows the Bible better than the majority of people who are fervent believers), and it was fascinating to watch the transformation in his relationship with religion as he went through the year.  Really a neat book; whether you have a religious background or not, you'll learn something new, you'll be sure to laugh, and you'll be glad you're not married to Mr. Jacobs! :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lovely Blog Award

Caroline tagged me a while ago for the Lovely Blog Award.  I'd say Canada Day is a pretty appropriate day to finally get around to it! :)

The rules:

1. Thank the person who awarded the award : Thanks Caroline!
2. Tell seven random things about yourself that no one knows....ha...good luck with this as much as I overshare
3. Pass on the award to 7 blogger pals...this has been going around enough that you've probably all been tagged already.

Seven things...

1.  Bike injuries, part 1: After Dirty Kanza and again after Indian Camp Creek, my right pinkie and ring fingers were numb.  It took about a week to go away after DK, and it's still going on a week after ICC.  It was bad enough after Indian Camp Creek that I needed Jeff to help me wash my hair because I had a hard time using that hand.  At first it was kind of funny...haha my fingers are numb, I can't fully extend them...but I'm really over it.  My hand strength is way low, and you use your pinkie and ring finger for way more than you'd think.

Source: http://www.hughston.com/hha/a_15_3_2.htm
I'd emailed Karen, who regularly races long events, to see what she does to avoid this, and she sent me the above link to a page about cyclist's hand injuries.  Sounds like handlebar palsy.  I used the gift certificates I got in the race drawing to buy a new set of ergonomic grips for my bike...hopefully that'll help in my next endurance race...because it only took me a couple days to decide yes, there will be another one. :)

2.  Bike injuries, part 2:


Remember how I fell at ICC (twice) and hit my elbow (twice)? The hand injury is pretty annoying; the elbow injury is pretty entertaining.  I've gotten kind of a kick out of watching the technicolor shades wash across my elbow.  Weirdly, it hurts more now than it did in the first days after I fell, which thankfully still isn't all that much.

A fewdays ago
3.  Nathan, my newly 18 year old son, is in Texas playing in his last club volleyball tournament.  I woke up this morning bummed that I wasn't there, but money is tight and next weekend we're playing in the mud volleyball tournament that has been Jeff's family tradition for the past 25+ years.

Hannibal 2010

Luckily, I have some nice friends who kept me up to date on the matches...both of whose initial texts started with some version of "What's with your son's tattoo?"...a tattoo that was news to me.  I'm not in the anti-tattoo camp, but I am in the "anti-spending your graduation money on things like tattoos when you don't have a job or your tuition fully covered" camp.  Not to mention being very disappointed that he spent a week hiding it from me.  Like I told him today, if you want to make adult decisions, make them like an adult...and there's nothing grown up about doing something and then hiding it from your mommy.  Am I overreacting to be upset about this?


4.  I was very unhappy in my first marriage.  Not distraught like some terrible trauma just happened, but a constant, low grade "down" until bad seemed normal and not-so-bad seemed to feel like good.  I was miserable and my family didn't like him, but I was really committed to sticking it out. One day, I was talking about him with a girl who was very into astrologyand she asked what our signs were.  When I told her I was an Aries and he was a Cancer, she gasped: "That's the worst possible match for you!!  You're a fire sign, and he just dumps cold water over all your ideas." I was hit with an almost electric shock of recognition.  Yes! That's it EXACTLY.  Now, I'll occasionally read my horoscope, but I don't believe believe in them.  Even so, that was the first time I really thought about ending my marriage.  I mean, even the stars were against us.  (That said, it took him leaving me to end things.)

5.  It's flipping hot here.  Like highs between 105-109.  The other day we got in the car to read this on the dashboard temperature gauge:

WTF...like an over in there.
Some friends have experiemented with baking cookies on their dashboard and frying an egg on the ground.  I think the cookie thing more or less worked.

6.  We had a yard sale yesterday...because who doesn't make plans to spend the entire day sitting outside when the temperature is forecast to be 104 (and it's NOT a dry heat)? We had slow traffic for several hours, but we did manage to get rid of quite a bit of stuff.  Even better, packing the unsold items back away, I culled 8 grocery sacks and 2 large boxes of items to donate to Goodwill.  As God is my witness, someday our house will no longer be mistake for a Hoarders episode.


7.  We were supposed to head down to Meramec State Park to float the river today, but Jeff was concerned that it might not be a great plan since a) we weren't sure about water levels b) it was supposed to be really hot and c) we'd have to find a back from the end of the float to our car at the put-in.  My plan was to ride my bike the few miles back, but that brought up more issues from him.  The end result: we stayed home.  I know I could have argued and gotten my way, but often when I do that things work out for me to think I should have listened to him in the first place, so I tried to take staying home with a good attitude.  Our next plan was bowling (which might have been interesting in light of #1 above), but the bowling alley was closed due to a power outage, so plan C was a movie at the cheap show.  Very not the same as a float trip, but Battleship was surprisingly entertaining, and the part with the old Navy sailors brought tears to my eyes.

8. A bonus item!! Last night I finished reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.  In it, she writes about her 1,000+ mile solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.  It sounded pretty incredible.  I'm not sure I like her all that much, but I may just have a new item on my bucket list.