Monthly Archives: February 2012

2/27/12 To a Mouse

Monday. Absolutely exhausting weekend and in the end I’m in the same position I was before.  My hope for nighttime nursing for my father has failed.  A  lot of planning and a lot of work and all for naught.  I am back to square one.  More weathered for the wear.  I will say it was a learning experience.  I tried to put a lot of my studies into practice and in the end I discovered I have a lot more studying to do. I laughed at myself when my friend pointed out “Isn’t that what you told me is shempa?”  I laugh.  Yes, this is a good example of shempa.  That rising annoyance that consumes you because you are attached to something.  I am attached to a rock.  I keep trying to move the rock instead of going around it.  Wasting time.  It’s a rock, it’s not moving.  I can stand in front of it all day long, it’s not going anywhere.  I have to move.  Yes this rock is my shempa.  You’ve learned well, now go away I have to meditate on this.

Workouts last week.  One bike, One tennis, Two runs, One Walk, One shoot, One Swim.  Oops I didn’t do any core work.  But I did a lot of furniture moving, lugging, hauling, pulling — I think that constitutes a workout.  And I did mental pushups for five days straight.  That has to work a different kind of core.

Frustrated because by the time I got to do my long run on Saturday, the snow had started again.  I decided to run through it.  I only made it seven miles and gave up.  I just didn’t care that much to suffer.  I suffer enough.  I just don’t care to suffer for sports right now.  I know I’m losing my edge but if it doesn’t make me happy, I’m not doing it.  But I feel a need to exercise.  I feel it is helping me stay sane. Not to say I don’t find happiness in pushing myself, I do.  But I don’t find happiness in punishing myself.  So I tried to do another run on Sunday and it ended up being a five mile walk.  And that’s what it is.  I will try again this weekend.

Had a gun fit yesterday and that was the highlight of my week.  Really great gun fitter.  The similarities between getting my gun fit and getting my bike fit are many.  You shop around and find the best bike for you and then you have to get it fit to you.  When you are finished you end up saying “Oh, THAT’S how it is supposed to feel.”  Of course by the time we were done I was convinced I was going to learn to become a gun fitter.  It’s an interesting art.  And I need one more thing to study because I don’t have enough on my plate.

Back to New York today. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Back to square one.  Back to Beginner’s mind.  Start again.


I know I’ve shared this before but this sentiment from Robert Burns’ poem “To A Mouse” is part of a recurring theme in my life:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!



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2/21/12 Kindness

Tuesday.  Tennis cancelled this morning so I get to do a blog post instead.  Had a lot going through my mind last week (make note of this, make note of that).  Now I’ve forgotten most of it.  I guess the parts I remember are the important ones.

One thing of which to make note.  I have been feeling really good since I have been taking this new liquid Iron — Floradix Iron & Herbs.  I still like Pur Absorb this stuff is even better.  I am on my third bottle.  That’s some kind of record for me.  I hated taking my iron pills because they used to hurt so much.  This stuff?  I  take it every morning and every night.  I have no problem remembering to take it because I feel it working.  I do hold my nose when I drink it because the prune juice flavor is too harsh for me.  But for one second twice a day it so worth it.  I have not felt the low-Iron fatigue in at least two months.  I don’t bonk on my runs.  I don’t feel faint riding up Harlem Hill (though I am veerrrryyy sllllooww).  I did three loops with my friend Amy two weeks ago and I felt like I could have done two more.  I rode with Amy and Jan in the Fall and was falling apart after two and feeling light-headed and wanting to faint.  None of that now.  I feel awake, I feel alert and I feel like I’m getting strong.  I know this Floradix has something to do with it.  I’m drawn to it.  It is doing something.  I think because it is rich in B Vitamins as well that is it better than Pur Absorb.  April is my next blood test.  I can tell already my Iron level is going to be closer to normal than anemic for the first time in forever.

I did almost all of my workouts last week.  Missed two assigned ones but did three unassigned ones (shooting isn’t really a workout for anything but my arms but I’m counting it anyway!).   Got beat in a tennis match that I should have won.  She was very consistent but a very light hitter so I kept over powering the ball.  When I played defensively she made me run (never a good thing for me.)  Set was over before I had time to think my way out of it.  On the good side my serve was good and my volleys are coming back to be a reliable shot once again.  Only down side to that is I have to get to the net to use it…. oh well….

I’m up to 10 miles in my jog/walk thing.  I know this is not optimal but for right now I am employing a kinder/gentler kind of training.  If I get out there and I feel okay (which I do) I consider it a success.  A mere month ago I was telling my coach I could barely get through 6 miles.  Now the first 7 1/2 fly by and I only start to ask myself why am I doing this at mile 8.  That’s an improvement in my book so I’ll take it.

We have been doing mostly indoor bike workouts and I am starting to feel stronger. (Today I head outside because it is going to be near 50 degrees in February!)  I can find the 110 rpms now fairly consistently where two months ago 90’s were my all out effort.  I find it does help to have the coach walking up and down the line yelling out everyone’s rpms.  He seems to like the group embarrassment thing which actually seems to be effective with me.  If someone drops below a certain rpm he makes everyone keep spinning until that person gets up to speed.  It’s funny when everyone starts yelling “C’MON!”  I am just so grateful that I have not held the group up yet.  I did make the mistake of asking him to turn the overhead fans on  — I got a look and a quick comment “you goin to have fans in August?”  No…  I sheepishly kept pedaling and shut up.   Later in the workout he turned on the fans and I was the only one in a spot NOT under a fan.  I was soaked at the end, lol.  Last week we all got a “good job” which put a smile on everyone’s face until we had to go run for 30 minutes.  Man I have forgotten how much bricks hurt.  All kidding aside, my coach has been very kind and understanding while I am trying to fit Ironman training into my crazy schedule.

I’m spending a lot of time with my folks. My Dad is in and out of it.  On Friday I thought he was amazing, I honestly thought he was cured. He was laughing and we were doing crossword puzzles together.  Then he had two bad days in a row.  Up at night wandering and confused.  Yesterday he was tired and couldn’t remember anyone’s name. This is how it is going to be I guess.  We need more help at night.  Dementia patients often don’t know the difference between nighttime vs daytime so they wander at night and sleep during the day with no rhyme or reason.   I find myself jumping out of bed every time I hear a creak in the house thinking he has heading outside for another one of his midnight mystery tennis matches.  Time for the next phase of care.  The Hospice people have been great so far.  They send someone every day to take care of  my dad and let my Mom get out of the house.  The nurses come several times a week to check on him.  But now we need to add nighttime care because it’s killing my mother and driving me to exhaustion.  We start this week with trying out nighttime nurses.  Once I get this all set I think it will be a better quality of life for everyone.  Through all of this my dad remains gentle and kind which kind of breaks my heart that anyone who has lived a life of kindness should have to suffer at all.  But even in dementia there is the blessing of not remembering anything including pain.

On Sunday I was supposed to do a bike but frankly I was just too tired to haul out all my stuff and I had a long week.  I didn’t feel like going shooting either (man that shotgun is heavy!)  Just lugging that case around is a workout.  Then I have a bag full of ammo and that’s heavy too.  But I cajoled myself into going with my little mental trick.  I ask myself “what will make you feel better at the end of the day?”  I decided if I just got to the club and at least loaded my gun and shot one box of ammo, I would be okay with that.  This would be my first time going to the gun club by myself.  I was very nervous.  I don’t really know the protocol yet of shooting with others even though my instructor has told me everything.  I never actually just showed up to shoot all by myself.

I got there and everyone at the Hartford Gun Club is really nice to me.  They make no bones about telling me it is because I’m the only woman there!  I’m sure there must be some female members but I haven’t seen one yet.   It’s still off-season and it’s not crowded.  It’s just the die-hard guys out there shooting. I hear in the summer the place is packed.  But they are very nice to me, helping me fix my gun, telling me how everything works.  Always a cheery hello.  Very nice people.

I bought my tokens (you buy a token and put it in the machine and you get 28 clay discs shot out of the trap).  I learned you have to bang on the side of the box until the number shows up.  Very high-tech.  Then you have to turn the microphone on with a switch so when you yell “Pull” the disc will fly out by your voice command.  Note: I have to stop calling my gun my racquet and asking which court I’m assigned to.  Go to trap house 4, he says.

I went out to the trap houses and there were already people on 4.   You mean I was just supposed to go shoot with strangers?  I couldn’t imagine doing that at a tennis club.  They were very nice and welcoming.  Two guys shooting and their girlfriends watching.  They said they were not very good and I said this was my first time shooting solo.  We finished one round of 25 and they packed up to go.  (The girlfriends were nice and said they were cheering for me!)   They had been shooting already and were done.  Now another guy walked out and he looked like he knew what he was doing.  I felt nervous and not sure what I was supposed to do.  The guys told me I could keep shooting.  You would just wait until they are done with the round and join in.  Up to 5 people at a time.   I kind of stood there like a stump until the new guy waved me over.   C’mon.  I told him I didn’t know very much but I would try not to hold him up.  Well this guy Dave turned to be one of the best shooters in the club and one of the nicest people ever.  He gave me so many tips and spent time with me going over everything it was like getting a free lesson.

We shot a round of 25.  The pace was better with Dave than with the other two guys because they were really rushing and Dave didn’t rush but wasn’t slow, it just the right pace. I quickly noticed that Dave did not miss.  EVER.  I have a pattern where I hit the first five out of the box.  I get all excited and nervous that I’m hitting them and don’t really know why I’m hitting them.  Then I miss five in a row because I get all excited.  Then I start hit, miss, hit, miss.  I seem to get the ones that fly out to the extremes and miss the easy ones right in front of me!  I learned so much from Dave and I was just struck by his kindness.  He didn’t have to spend two minutes telling me anything but he did.  After we shot two boxes each.  He stopped shooting and just stood behind me and told me what I was doing wrong on each one I missed.  But at least now I am starting to understand WHY I miss the ones I do.   Then I hit the last five in the box without a miss.  I was happy.  (Although my coach Bruce keeps begging me to stop counting how many I am hitting or missing right now — that will come later, for right now it is just this one.)

We sat and talked about shooting and glasses and one eye versus two eye while we watched a guy getting rated.  He was shooting and a guy with a clipboard and paper was marking his score.  He was so smooth.   I want to shoot like that.  Not swinging my gun trying to get momentum to lift it up to my shoulder.  Not fidgeting.  Not hesitating.  Just lift the gun, see the target, shoot the target.  The guy never missed while we were standing there watching him.  Dave says “you’ll get there, I promise.”  I said “how can I get there when I have a hard time lifting my gun?”  You know what he said?  “Pushups — if you don’t have your gun with you in NY do pushups.” I almost died laughing.  Pushups!!  It’s a conspiracy! I can’t get away from them!!!!

So I left the gun club feeling happier than I had been when I woke up that morning.  On reflecting it seemed that my mood had improved by some random acts of kindness by strangers — the two guys who let me shoot with them, Dave who spent so much time with me out of just being a nice person and loving shooting.  (I think it helped that I had a Browning and he had a Browning too.)  And then I was thinking of my Dad how throughout my life there has not been a kinder more giving person.  My Dad never asked for anything and he helped everyone.  My Dad would have done what Dave did.  Saw someone just starting out and just help them.  Be kind, do something nice for someone for no other reason that that’s the right way to be.


I love this picture of my Dad playing football.  It shows how tough he was but at the same time always a smile.  He played 4 years of college and then played semi-pro until he started his family.

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2/28/12 Day 3

Wednesday.  Well it looks like I’m going to make it.  I’m definitely better today but I’m still hungry.  But now it is that dull kind of hunger like it is okay if dinner is an hour from now. I am acutely aware of how many food signals surround us.  Coupons for restaurants, pie shops baking in the windows, commercials on tv, pictures in magazines, recipes and dinner descriptions on facebook.  Everywhere I look the message is loud and clear — eat something!

I failed during my bike workout yesterday.  It was too aggressive and although I felt fine when I started, midway through the third set of intervals I just stopped. No fading.  My muscles just stopped.  It was kind of funny.  Sad but funny. I have experienced that once or twice before.  There is no dialog between mind and body.  The body just stopped and got off the bike without consulting my brain.  I would have been fine doing an hour of easy spinning but our workout was calling for intervals at 85% effort and some high-high cadence.  I got through those but halfway through the sets of stand for 30 seconds, spin 110 for one minute then 85% effort for one minute I just died.  I think I made it through3 sets of that before I just faded quietly into the sunset.  30 minutes into the workout and I was done.  It wasn’t a matter of talking myself into pushing harder.  I was just done.  Fine.  Live and learn.  That was probably not so smart in retrospect but I felt good before I started so I figured I would try.

Last night my mind was very clear.  Even now, I have laser focus.    I got more work done yesterday than I did in all of the previous week.  The mental clarity is almost worth the physical discomfort. Yes, yes, I downgraded it to discomfort from pain realizing that perhaps I was exaggerating just a wee bit.  My friend Meliss cracked me up when she said, ‘let me get this straight, you can last how many miles in the Sahara desert but you are feeling anxiety, pain and stress about hanging out alone in your apt with juice?’   I laughed for a long time at that one.  Yes, okay, I’ll admit it, when it comes to food I’m a big baby. Give me sand, give me hills but whatever you do don’t take my toast away.

I have a new found respect for people who do religious fasting like Ramadan, or the Buddhists who do the dhutanga practices or just the juice fanatics who do 30 day juice “feasts.”  My hat is off to you.  Maybe if I wasn’t training for Ironman….  But I really have to say to anyone doing training right now, just wait until your events are over.   Just concentrate on clean food.

I had such a clear mind last night it felt almost like a spiritual experience.   You know that total clarity you get when you meditate for a long time and then something goes click and you feel your perspective shift?   I had an uncontrollable urge to read Carlos Castaneda The Teachings of Don Juan.  I’m not kidding.  Something was telling me that I had to reread this 1968 diary of Shamanism.  I have his collection on my bookshelf but I hadn’t read any of it in years. I fell asleep sometime around midnight after he had taken six tabs of peyote and was chasing a dog around the yard.  It wasn’t quite as mystical as I remembered but I was mumbling something about fear being the first thing I had to conquer as I fell asleep with book in hand….

Today I feel definitely better.  I did a good swim workout and felt strong throughout even though every part of the workout description finished with “as fast as you can while maintaining good form.”  I did it and I didn’t feel wiped out.  So maybe just not workout so hard the first two days.  Or maybe the swim workout is just not as intense as the bike workout.  The other thing I noticed is I was breathing better.  Usually in the water I have kind of a congested chest.  I swim through it but I never feel like I get the air all the way to the bottom of my lungs.  Today I felt I was really breathing great.  Even now, I feel the air going deeper into my lungs.  I find that confusing though.  I don’t eat dairy so what is that I could be eating that could be causing that?

So I have two more juices to finish this cleanse and I can’t say good riddance fast enough.  I am glad I did it.  If nothing else for the mental exercise of facing my fasting demons.  I proved to myself (once again) that I’m not going to die if I just sit with the discomfort.  Maybe a little discomfort now and then is a good thing — maybe every 3 months it is good to go through this.  I do think there was something cleansed.  If not just physically, there is a bit of spiritual cleansing going on as well.  I think when you are forced to break your habits, forced to not succumb to temptation, there is a strength building there.  And I think I will think twice this week on what goes into my mouth and how often.  It’s like thinking you can’t get over that hill (and maybe you can’t) but you go further than you thought you could.  So for that strength building I am grateful.  But tomorrow man, I’m having something good to eat!


How could I not leave with a little quote from Don Juan:

“Warriors have an ulterior purpose for their acts which has nothing to do with personal gain. The average man acts only if  there is a chance for profit. Warriors act not for profit, but for the spirit.”
Carlos Castaneda

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2/7/12 Day Two

Tuesday.  I made it through the first day of my blueprint cleanse.  Wholey Chapstick that was not an easy day for me.  In retrospect I think it was a very good thing for me to go through.  My body signals ran the gamut of “feed me I am about to starve and die” to “I have a headache and I need to lie down.”  But what I really started to notice throughout the day was how much of it was mental.   I found myself having to question my body signals.  Really?  Do you really think you are going to die?  Stomach’s reply grumble, grumble, grumble.  Perhaps my penchant for the over-dramatic is the instigation for overindulgence.  The idea that I couldn’t eat solid food was really bothering me more than the fact that I wasn’t eating solid food…. if that makes any sense.

I wanted this cleanse to help break me of my mindless eating and I think it is doing that.  I am totally aware of the possibility of every morsel of food.  For that exercise alone I think this is a good endeavor.  As hard as this is, I think it is a very good thing to do at the start of a new season.

Yesterday morning was bad.  I was hungry, seriously hungry and I had a headache.  I was drinking the juices and a billion cups of herbal tea.  I had to lie down for an hour at lunch because I was really cranky and tired.  But I don’t think I slept that well the night before (maybe anxiety about the cleanse).  I did not go to swim because frankly I was too nervous to.  I thought I might pass out.

Around 5 p.m. I started to feel a little different.  My headache was gone and although I was hungry I wasn’t as painfully hungry as I had been in the a.m.  My mind seemed very clear. I tried to read a book about Raw food.  Big mistake.  It made me more hungry.  I decided to watch tv and became painfully aware of the food commercials.  Even the steak commercials were making me hungry.    I actually stayed up until 11 p.m. which is not like me.  I could have stayed up later but I forced myself to bed.  I was painfully aware (yes I’m going to use the word painful a lot in this post) that I went from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. with no juice (just chamomile tea.)  But I was okay.  I think if I had gone to bed sooner it would have been less painful.

This morning I tried to delay drinking my juice until 8 a.m. I actually slept well.  I was able to get work done this morning.  My mind felt clear.  No headache.   But I was starving.  Yes painfully starving.  I’m hungry in the mornings even when I’m not doing a cleanse.  It’s a bad time for me.  One of the instructions was if you are painfully hungry you could take half of the evening cashew milk and have it in the a.m.  I did that and it did seem to help.  More tea.  More trips to the loo.  It’s an epic amount of peeing.  Not from the juice, from the herbal tea I’m sure.

I was painfully hungry up until about noon.  And now I’m just normal hungry but it’s bearable as long as nobody mentions food.  I don’t want to talk about food because I want to eat.  On the instruction sheet they have some cheat foods you can eat in case you just can’t take it.  Eh, I don’t know if I’m to that point.  I’m very competitive so breaking would be like a failure and I’m not sure I can do that.  But one of the items on the list was vegetable broth.  When I read it I let out such a deep sigh “ahhhh, vegetable broth, wouldn’t that be a treat!”  Then I just cracked up at how silly that sounded.  A bowl of oatmeal sounds absolutely decadent.  (That’s NOT on the cheat sheet).

I am about to do my trainer ride.  I’m staying indoors for it even though the weather is grand.  I just don’t feel safe heading out this way.  But I feel strong enough to do it.  I will do my evening run because it is a short easy 5 miler and I think I can get through that.

My mind seems very clear.  I got a good amount of work done today.  And I feel like I have enough energy for some exercise.

But when I think that dinner time will soon be here and all I have to look forward to is another juice, I get sad….

1 1/2 days down and 1 1/2 days to go.




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2/6/2012 Tea and Toast

Monday. Oy, what did I do? I started a juice cleanse this morning and I’m hungry already. I haven’t even finished my first juice. I can already hear the mumblings… Why on Earth are you doing a juice cleanse you stupid person you? For a couple of reasons.

First and foremost is to cleanse myself of some bad habits. I don’t have anything chemical to cleanse myself of at this point. I don’t eat meat or dairy (for the most part, I was out at a restaurant last week and there was the goat cheese incident.) I haven’t had any alcohol since September. I would like to say I haven’t had any sugar since September but I went to a dinner a couple of Friday nights ago and had a vegan desert and then I served the obligatory chocolate after our book group meeting at my house and ate the leftover vegan chocolate cupcake I bought (so good.) But in the scheme of things there really is not a lot of sugar, flour, caffeine (yes I started drinking decaf again but only 1 cups of decaf in the a.m. and I can skip a day without dying).

I eat too much Ezekiel bread. As a matter of fact I believe that if left to my own devices I could exist on eating ONLY Ezekiel toast and Earth Balance spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s my go-to food and although it is a healthy bread there is nothing green about it.

I snack too much. Almonds here, banana there, almonds, ezekiel toast, almonds, banana. I found myself actually not eating any meals, just snacking all day on well, almonds, bananas and Ezekiel bread. And then a big salad for dinner. Sometimes I would have a salad a lunch too. But really just kind of grazing my way through the day. How/when did this happen? Not really keeping track of what is going on. What happened to 3 meals a day no snacking (my preferred method). What happened to a bean, a green and a grain? I don’t know. It kind of just snuck away from me. I eliminated starchy carbs and without rice, beans seemed kind of bleh. What happened to my daily green juice? I wiped some dust of my juicer the other day so I know where it is located.

The second reason I want to try the cleanse is to see if I can kick-start a better weight loss for February. In the month of January I ended up losing a whopping 2 pounds. That’s it. 2 pounds. Granted I didn’t gain 2 pounds but I wanted to lose 10 in January and 2 is not 10. I think not having a plan and a format did me in. And darn it, I can do better than that.

A couple of the people on my team are trying the blueprint cleanse. I normally wouldn’t go for such a thing but it is a juice cleanse and I am a big believer in green juices. I thought long and hard about it and thought okay I can do it for 3 days. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Just see if I can kick-start myself back into some good habits by breaking the connection to having to have Ezekiel toast for breakfast and too many pinches of almonds during the day. Of course I had to sign up for their Excavation plan (I keep calling the Evacuation plan which I think may be a more appropriate name). On the EXCAVATION plan, I drink more green juices, less sugar. Less fun.

So this morning I waited as long as I could before I dove into my first green drink. I had it while writing this post. I like the drink fine. I like green drinks. This one had ginger in it and I like ginger. I can understand if someone isn’t used to green drinks and/or ginger it would be hard to take but for me, it was right up my alley. Only problem is I would normally drink that AND have two slices of Ezekiel toast. I’m kind of looking at my kitchen right now with woeful eyes. Really? Whats the harm in a little…. Halt! Step away from the toaster…

I’m nervous about working out but I am just going to take it one step at a time. If I don’t feel well enough for the big workout then I will just do a light one. I will go swim after my 2nd green and before my 3rd green juice. I have an extra cashew juice the cleanse consultant told me I could have half of one if I felt the need for some extra protein after working out.

I prepped for my cleanse by watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” again. A great documentary if you have not seen it already. Very inspiring. Of course by the end of the movie I was chanting to myself 3 days? He did 60 days! I could do 60! I could do 60 and train for Ironman and lose 50 pounds and.. and.. and… Ugh, back to reality. I have to go swim this morning (tennis cancelled). I have this green juice to drink. The difference between my goals and the reality of the work I need to do to get there is vast. And there in lies my eternal quest, to have the big vision but also the diligence to complete each little step to get there.

Had our first brick workout yesterday. Kind of hurt to run after the indoor trainer workout. (Kind of? It really hurt, I haven’t done that in a long time.) I like the team a lot, they are very nice. Coach Hola is funny in a kick your ass kind of way. Funny how I can’t get the RPM’s to 110 when I’m on my trainer at home but in the group class with him telling us to shoot for 120, 110 seems like a bargain (which I think is the whole point of him telling us to shoot for 120).

I’m not really sure how it happened. It didn’t feel like we were doing very much and all of a sudden if feels like we are doing a lot more but I’m not really sure when or how that snuck up on me. But, so far I feel okay.

Finally rode outside on Friday, did a couple of loops of the park just to remind myself of what it feels like to be outside. I was bemoaning to my friend “this is SOO much harder than riding indoors on the trainer.” Then we had our team indoor workout yesterday and I was crying “this is SOO much harder than riding outdoors.” LOL, I have a lot of work to do.

Another hour and I can have my second green juice. Ugh this is going to be one LOONNNGGG day…..


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