Monday, September 24, 2012

WW3.5 Obstacle Course recap

Now THAT was fun!!!!

Saturday morning we headed to a field in Winnie, Texas not knowing exactly what to expect.

I've never been so ill prepared for a race/run. I didn't even get my clothes and shoes together the night before. I wasn't nervous at all.

During the drive to the race I started having some nervous doubts as I finally decided to look at the rules and pics of the race. It looked like there were some serious obstacles!

We arrive to a field where we had to pay $10 to park. Seriously, guys? I don't believe in paying to park for a race. Especially when it's in a hay pasture. But whatever.
 We pick up our packets and walk around. There was a lively atmosphere and people were dressed up in various costumes and laughing. Music was playing and the DJ worked hard to pump up the crowd.
 With bibs pinned and ready to go, we explored. Loved the random UFO.
 Bathrooms are kind of a big deal at races. This one had plenty of clean (that's a relative term for a port-o-pottie) restrooms and even stations to wash your hands! I loved the hand washing stations. What a great idea to have soap, water and paper towels at these things.
 The race begins with everyone on bouncy balls.
This was some hilarious stuff. People were bouncing everywhere and falling off balls. And when it was our turn to bounce I realized what a workout this was! Heart racing and we are just getting started!
We had a little more time before our 11am wave started so we walked around some more and enjoyed seeing others having so much fun and stared at those who had just finished and were caked with mud.

There was a cockpit that housed the DJ and equipment.

 Finally the 10:30am wave was off and we had to put cell phones and keys away.

We started off near the back on our bouncy balls. Neither of us fell off but there were a couple of close calls. One lady bounced on my foot which messed up her balance and she fell off. Just a casualty. WE have to move forward.
 The beginning is pretty non-eventful. We come to a few round bales of hay we have to climb. I thought it was soft on the other side so I bounced on my rear and thought I would then do a little graceful hop to the ground. Nay nay. That hay was HARD and I landed hard on my rear. No bouncing. Ouch! Tailbone and spine were not amused.
 We climbed and waded and crawled through mud pits and laughed as we both fell and slipped in nasty muddy water.

We jumped over hurdles. Ok, I crawled over them.

We used a rope to pull ourselves across a very nasty,deep pond. At least it was cool and we could wash some of the mud off ourselves.

There were long stretches of nothing in the back of the pasture that felt like taking a hike. No spectators, no cheering people, and all of the runners were gone. So it was just Chuck and I walking around a pasture and hoping we were still on the right path.

Every single obstacle was tackled and accomplished including a belly crawl through mud and climbing over a wooden wall, a cargo net crawl to a school bus, a plank walk over nasty mud pit to a plane part, a wall with a tiny board against it perched precariously over a foamy mud pit, a slippery log balance walk over another mud pit (this was the most worrisome obstacle for me), a dark tunnel crawl that ended in the engine compartment of a car, and others! I think they get some of their ideas from Wipeout.

All along we are laughing and having a great time. We even came up with ideas for future extreme obstacles like "Find the Hay in the Needle Stack."

One of the last obstacles was a tire crawl up the side of a boat then a climb down.
 Not quite finished with the mud yet! A belly crawl through some of the thickest mud ever. My arm was even getting stuck in it.  When we reached the end we made mud angels, gave each other a nasty high five and a hug then proceeded to the very last obstacle.
 Last obstacle included a muddy crawl through a tube, more mud.......
 ....crawling among huge beach balls then through one last muddy tube.
 Then we received a very cool medal. LOVE IT!

 The aftermath. Yeah, we were pretty gross. Even if we wanted to run this whole thing the muddy shoes were like carrying around cinder blocks. You'll notice I didn't call this a "race recap." We took our time and just enjoyed ourselves.
 The shirt started out as a normal sized cotton shirt. It stretched and became a dress during its abuse on the course. Can you see my bib barely hanging on? I think I left a couple of safety pins somewhere on the course. That was probably not a happy find by other contestants. By the way, I'm wearing a sacrificial pair of newtons.
 Time to get hosed off by well water being pumped from underground. Now that's cold!!! Sometimes the pressure would build up and the water would almost knock you off your feet. I got to hold the hose for a while and it was really difficult to keep a grip.

Time for beer and bbq which were all included in the cost of the race. Cheers! To the race and good times.

Some advice for these mud runs: bring a change of clothes, extra shoes, a hat, a towel, a garbage bag and a sheet.  The garbage bag is for your nasty clothes and shoes. The sheet is for a makeshift changing room around your open car doors. Yep, you change right there in the middle of all the cars but you're so tired you really don't care.

Hey! Did you know that the mud is moisturizing? And that the soft skin sticks to leather seats in the car? There was much pain as I peeled my leg off the seat once at home. I left behind a lot of Kelly. OUCH! That's skin, not mud.
 Then it was time to get cleaned up, wash off the mud from clothes and see what was salvageable, then head out for a celebratory dinner.

What a great time. If you'd like to participate in WW3.5 check out their web site for upcoming races. It really was a lot of fun and something that we both look forward to doing again. It is for ages 15 and up and a blast!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What is Normal?

Anybody here??  I've been a bad blogger neglecting my little spot on the web for a week. You know what it's like to have one of those busy weeks. Anyway, here I am!!

What is normal?
That has been something that I've been struggling with lately.

As a kid in school I was a bit of an introvert and never knew exactly what to talk about in social situations. My best friends were horses, chickens and my dog. I had my "happy place" in the woods or near a pond where I could be left with my thoughts and observe nature.

I tried to be more social as I grew up. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed. I just wanted to be like the normal folks who knew exactly how to dress and talk.

When I started to finally just be myself is when I made friends. Most of the time it was male friends because they seemed to be less judgmental than the girls. Then boyfriends would come along who didn't appreciate male friends so I'd lose those male friends. That's beside the point.

I really wanted to be normal but I did best when I was just me. People could accept it or not. I could be the honor student who hung out with people across the spectrum (from jocks to druggies) and it didn't matter. I was happy.

Fast forward several years to recently. I don't like having to eat differently than the typical crowd. While having oatmeal for breakfast, a panini for lunch, and whole wheat pasta for dinner followed by frozen yogurt for dinner may be normal for you, it sends my body into a tailspin.

Here's what happens to me when I eat like that: within the hour my heart begins to race followed by pounding of the heart. Within a couple of hours of falling asleep I will wake with a terrible anxiety attack that sometimes literally takes my breath away. The next morning I will wake feeling tired with bags under my eyes and will deal with cravings and slight depression. All day. That's not normal. Friends, I wish I was making this up but Chuck has witnessed this countless times. He tries to sooth me back to sleep when the anxiety gets too bad.

I finished my Whole30 challenge successfully then wondered, "Now what?" Do I eat this way the rest of my life shunning all brownies and wine for eternity? No more pizza ever? That doesn't seem logical but how do I live a balanced life and still be normal?

When I eat a low carb paleo/clean eating way, the anxiety and racing heart is gone. I sleep good and I have energy and there is no sadness. Weight comes off easily and I just feel.....normal!

In my efforts to be more social, I decided to go for a group bike ride with a meetup club. We were to go ride some trails then go to a hot sauce festival. Sounds like fun!

Got a bike rack for Dash.
 Chuck and I met the folks at a park then hit the trails. Got to see the Brazos River. Hmmm....I need to go exploring down there. Fossils are along the banks according to a geologist I met once.
 Chuck and fellow biker stopping for a water break on the trail. Another couple was off riding the tamer terrain of the sidewalks and road on a tandem bike.
 A map of the trails.
 We're riding around and the biking group asks if we'd like to go to lunch before we all head to the hot sauce festival. They want to go to a burger place. Chuck asks me, "What are we going to do?" See? I shouldn't have to worry about having a friggin' burger. That's NOT normal! People go have burgers all the time. It really hit me hard. So I told Chuck, "We go have burgers like normal people."

After burgers we all headed to the hot sauce festival.
 Loved this booth. So many sugar skulls!
 It was a pretty big festival with rows and rows of booths and lots of free hot sauce samples.
 There were so many colorful characters. All very friendly.
 That couple had a VERY hot hot sauce! The lady put one drop on a chip (normal people can have chips!) and gave it to me. My face was on fire! My lips tingled, my ears hurt and my nose started running. I coudln't even talk! This stuff was hotter than police grade pepper spray. It is 6 million scoville units and police grade pepper spray is 5.3 million units. HOT! I bought a bottle. Ha!
 The name is pretty self explanatory.
 In the end I came home with a few hot sauces and a sugar skull shirt. It was a lot of fun laughing over the heat with Chuck and guzzling back a diet coke to try to ease the pain. One lady at a booth took pity on us and was giving us crackers.
 We got home and gave the kids their souvenirs that we had bought and Rachel had this gorgeous cake ready. She did a great job. And she wanted us to all have a slice. Normal people can have a slice of their daughter's cake.
 And a little vodka to toast the weekend. And then it catches up and the heart races then begins to pound. Then anxiety wakes the abnormal person up at 2am and the anxiety persists until 3:30am when the abnormal person can no longer fight sleep while the normal husband rubs her head and tells her everything is going to be ok.

What the hell? I don't know of anyone else who goes through this. And if they do they haven't told me about it. I don't remember reacting this badly before. Is it getting worse? Or is it a sign that I'm getting better and becoming more sensitive?

And so I stop fighting it. I think it was Patsy Clairmont that said, "Normal is just a setting on your dryer." There is no normal. There is only what works for you. That is your normal.

I accept the fact that if I choose to indulge I will pay for it. Realizing that there will be consequences kept me from indulging in a treat yesterday. It just wasn't worth the cost.

Sometimes a splurge will be worth it. Special occasions, lunch with a friend, birthdays, bike rides with a group, vacation, etc. Then I will allow myself to enjoy it.  I only wish there was a way to avoid the side effects.

My normal will include using chicken breasts as bread for my BLT.
 My normal is usually wearing race shirts and shorts. I went shopping for some new blouses so that my normal will be wearing nicer clothes.
 My normal is eating good things like curry chicken and revamping my favorite recipes to make them lower carb.
I have fought and fought this but the fact is that normal for me may not be normal for you. And that's ok. We don't all have to be the same. It doesn't mean that one of us is better than the other. We all have to find what works for us.

I'm still working on finding the right balance after my Whole30. It may take a while but I'll get there.

By the way, I mentioned my first mammogram a few posts back......the results came back and everything is fine. YAY! We'll find out more about the atypical cells found at the gynecological visit in 3 months.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

Chuck and I went on a little weekend getaway trip because I had a Groupon (I'm not cheap, I'm thrifty) for a bed and breakfast in San Antonio.

The place was very Israel-centered. You drive through a neighborhood comprised of mobile homes then there is a huge gate and a flag for each tribe of Judah.
 Each of the 6 rooms was beautifully decorated.
 Sorry about the junk on the table and floor. This was Saturday morning when I'd already made myself at home.
 The breakfast/sitting area was spacious and bright. We learned that the B&B is used to support a children's home on the premises. This whole place was built by a church in San Antonio.
 I think they said there are 131 acres. There were horses right outside of our room.
 Friday night we head in to town. We got a front row parking spot at a restaurant but the wait was an hour long! So Chuck and I sat in the back seat of the car and had a couple of tequila shots from a bottle we had bought on the way.  When we got out of the car the alarm went off and everyone turned around and stared. Felt like we had gotten caught being naughty or something which made it even funnier to me. 

Saturday morning was bright and beautiful. Sitting on the couch in the sitting area waiting on breakfast.
 No pork is served here so it was turkey bacon and sausage. FYI:turkey bacon is not bacon. That is all. There were other foods but I didn't want to eat a breakfast too high in carbs. I did enjoy a pancake though.
 After breakfast we walked the property and found pig, deer, coyote and raccoon tracks.
 I spied a dry creek bed. So pretty up here!
 I have a thing for geology and rocks. Fossil hunting will keep me busy for hours! I always assume nobody else wants to hunt for them so I spend a good amount of time apologizing but Chuck assured me that he enjoyed it too. I could have spent the whole day by this little pond. Birds came to land. Fish were swimming. A breeze was blowing.
 We found a pretty decent load of fossils. The shell on the top has a quarter on it to show the size. Just oyster and clam shells.
 We walked 3.13 miles then it was time to get cleaned up and get some food! We were hungry. I found a place that Adam from Man vs Food had visited to try their Four Horsemen burger challenge. Chunky's Burgers and more. I was going for something a little less spicy.
 Time for a splurge. Sam Adams porchrocker beer with a lemon stuck in the bottle. Was pure heaven sitting on the patio outside drinking this.
 Brownies 3 for $2! The waitress was very friendly (You have the most gorgeous eyes!! hehehe) and even put a cute little note on the box. Haven't had a brownie in such a long time. Yep, just as good as I remember.
 We ordered two different types of burgers then split them. That way we get to try different things! No way we could eat all our food so we shared with some stray cats that visit the restaurant.
 One good thing about going when it's almost time to close, no one there!
 Got back to the room and there was a little barn swallow sitting on a fan blade. So cute I could have squeezed it!  We also saw a young coyote!!!
 They keep the hallway and fireplace lit with candles at night. There was also water, soda and snacks stocked. We went through a LOT of water, no sodas, and a couple of snacks.
 Sunday morning we said our goodbyes and headed to the Riverwalk and visited my favorite Texas gift shop at the mall.
 There's so much to see on the Riverwalk! And a cool front had blown in the night before so the weather was perfect.

I'd pull Chuck to the side sometimes and say, "Hang on. I just need to look around. I want to see it all."

 Such a happy little store. I try to visit it each time I got to San Antonio. Got a couple of shirts.
 The breeze, the cool weather, sights and sounds.....we just sat outside on a balcony and absorbed it all for a while.
 Can't visit San Antonio without going to the Alamo!!
 Then off to Mi Tierra for food and drink and to get the kids 10 vanilla filled churros. The atmosphere in here is just eye candy. It's another place I like to stand to the side and just take it all in.
 I got a watermelon margarita and Chuck got a mango rita. Yum!!!! The food is nothing to write home about but the drinks are pretty darn good.
 It was finally time to head home and we were both tired (mostly from having trouble sleeping because of pounding hearts due to the carb-o-rific meals we had) so we did whatever it took to stay awake. Rock Star with extra caffeine. I shoved brownies in Chuck's face while he drove. Sang to the radio. Acted goofy. Asked stupid questions. It was fun. :)

After a trip like that you need a couple of days to catch up. Monday night we had a little therapy. Wine therapy. Oh, how I love you, Malbec.

The Bad:

Before we went out of town I had my first mammogram. I didn't know they could make "them" that flat. And from various angles. It's just so humiliating. But you do what you got to do.

I had to stand there with my jeans on and nothing on top except a cape. A cape! And this woman just grabbed the girls and put them wherever she wanted. I tried to talk about the weather but it just made it more awkward.
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On the way to San Antonio I got a call from my doctor's office. The pap smear results were in and there were "atypical cells" on the test. They don't know what it is at this point and this is the first time this has ever happened. I will go back in 3 months for another test.

I admit that my heart sank when she told me that. I told Chuck and his face drained for a minute. But after consulting Dr Google it doesn't sound like anoything too terrible. So it's life as usual for me. I actually forgot about the test results several times while on vacation. Even made jokes about it after a while:
Me: Chuck, do you know how lucky you are? You have an atypical wife. Everything about me is different. Even my CELLS are different. You've got it good.
Chuck: *rolls eyes* No, you're not a typical wife.
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Another bad thing. Both Chuck and I experienced tummy aches and pounding, racing hearts after eating bad. I also had the added fun of anxiety.

I finally did some reading and found out that the body senses the glucose as a threat and adrenaline and cortisol are released as a "fight or flight" response. Maybe that's why the anxiety? Of course, that's an over simplified explanation but that's what it boils down to.

I want to experiment a little but it also seems to be not-quite-so-bad if I eat a carby meal then move around for a while. Like a carby lunch then go for a walk. Either I don't notice it as much or the GLUT4 receptors are opened up and the body becomes more insulin sensitive with the movement. Hmmm.....may have to experiment some.
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We ate a total of 4 splurge meals. What damage did it do? For both of us it was over 6.5 pounds GAIN. Not good. A lot of it is water retention because we both lost almost 2 pounds in one day after getting back to eating right.

Lesson: only indulge in a splurge if the food is really good because, otherwise, it's just not worth it.

The Ugly:

Friday night the sky was so pretty we turned off the porch light and walked onto the patio barefoot to look at the stars. You could see the Milky Way. So pretty.

Saturday night we left the porch light on because we knew we would be getting home after dark. And there were these critters everywhere! OMG, I was out barefoot the night before!
 This scorpion had babies on her back. No, I didn't kill it. I kill gnats, flies and mosquitoes. And bacon. That's it. And leeches. I don't like leeches.

It was a great trip. I think my favorite part was the hiking and collecting fossils. Second favorite part was giggling and taking tequila shots in the back seat of the car. How old are we again?  Least favorite part was leaving San Antonio.

Hope you had an excellent weekend too.  I'll be posting new recipes and cookbook reviews and fun stuff soon!