Sunday, December 11, 2011

Welcome to Crazy Town

I say that my life and home are crazy town in jest...but to know me is to know the truth of this because of this I only just recently realized it's been nearly a year since I last posted a single blog! So so sad on my part but a long break was needed...from this apparently, from racing, from training...from so many aspects of my life. This post is basically going to be one big catch up!

Going into this year I had so many lofty goals...and shortly after Palm Springs enduro weekend (first century ride on Saturday, half marathon on Sunday) I realized I needed a break. I never really took an off season or gave myself any time to just stop and breathe for a minute...I just kept hitting it hard and it all eventually caught up to me. So I stopped, cold turkey. I'm pretty sure I even had withdrawals. I raced only one other time this year and that was as the relay runner for the San Diego Triathlon Challenge...and I didn't even "race"...I just enjoyed the day with my best friends.

Now as the year comes to a close I'm starting to really feel the burn to train and race again. Now don't get me wrong, I haven't sat on my duff all year, I've been working out. And the payoff has actually been better then expected. I'm lighter, leaner, and stronger then I've been in a long time. I have paid attention to my diet, strength training, flexibility, and the balance of it all way more then I ever have before. But I've also learned to really listen to my much so that I buried my Garmin in a drawer and barely used it all year. I dug it out last week (actually I had to borrow Mike's) and took it on a run around Balboa park....lo and behold I had a 7:59 min/mile average for just over 5 miles. Not to shabby for not paying attention all year! This will mean nothing as I head into the new year with a completely new goal in complete an ultramarathon. Haven't officially decided on a particular race, but it will be a 50K (30 miles) and it will be early in the year...looking forward to that challenge!
But there have been many other recent changes in my life that are going to affect me greatly going into 2012. First and foremost my husband has once again deployed. He left just last week aboard the USS Carl Vinson and won't be home until spring or summer. It's our 3rd deployment since we've been married but our first in almost 4 years. It's been an adjustment getting used to his absence again...moreso for how to deal with two children who are now older and understand the magnitude of the amount of time daddy will be gone...but we've been trucking along and getting by. Christmas will be a bit more lonely...but time passes and he will be home safely again before we know it.

Photo courtesy of USS Carl Vinson photographers

Work is also going to be keeping me busy as we roll into the new year. I can't even believe I've been on night shift for almost 2 years now. I can honestly still say I adore my job and I'm so lucky to be where I am. I am constantly learning and growing...and I'm surrounded by the most amazing team of nurses and doctors I could ever imagine. In January I will start taking classes for my CCRN (Critical Care RN certification test) and hope to take the exam by the end of Feb. This is a pretty big deal in the ICU community as it a daunting test that will really force me to buckle down and learn the core concepts of the human body as they apply to the patient populations I work with. I'm excited, nervous, and really ready for this challenge.

On the health front there have been some recent developments that have made me ponder my own decisions regarding my health and the steps I can take to ensure I stick around for a long time. Though I always considered myself basically healthy since I ate well and exercised a ton, a recent blood test revealed I had elevated total cholesterol, my LDL was high and my HDL was low. I wasn't entirely shocked as both my mom and dad have bad cholesterol. So I gave up milk (since it was bothering my stomach anyway) and tried to reduce my intake of red meats. Shortly after that I went to see my primary care doctor for a routine checkup. At the end of the appointment she told me she wanted me to see an oncologist (I'm currently in the process of moving all my personal healthcare from Naval medicine to my own insurance with the health group I work for as I feel I get much better continuity of care with them). I felt like this was coming out of left field but she explained with my crazy personal history and my awful family history of cancer that she didn't feel she could follow me adequately enough. So I was sent for labs and a number for an oncologist. Of course I stalled for a while...but I eventually got around to making an appointment with him. Once at the office I was told that my blood counts were abnormal (seriously?) so now more tests are the waiting game. It was also noted the my cholesterol numbers were still not normal (guess I didn't really lay off the red meat like I said I would). I also got a referral to GI to follow up on the years of stomach problems I've had an hopefully get some answers (I went gluten free over 2 years ago and that has helped immensely but hasn't gotten rid of all my problems). After these numerous blows and moments of clarity I realized I needed to make a drastic change.
This realization happened to correlate perfectly with my viewing of a movie/documentary called Forks Over Knives ( The entire premise of the film is the ridiculous links between the main diseases of the Western world (cancer, heart disease, etc) and an animal based diet. Numerous studies have shown that if people eat a plant based diet they can essentially halt and even reverse the spread or development of these diseases. After watching the film and doing a bit more research on my own I was convinced (of note my dad went vegan a few years ago due to health reasons and has completely reversed all his problems...hello proof!). Even Mike realized that a change was needed (this from the most self professed carnivore I know!). So I have now embarked on a new journey...veganism. And tomorrow (Dec 12th) is day one. I've been playing around with recipes for the past few weeks and sampling new brands and foods. I'm feeling amazing and not deprived in the least. I'm tracking my nutrition as testing has shown that I have a great metabolism and with lofty ultramarathon goals I can't afford to skimp on nutrition or calories. It's been touch and go but I'm finally dialing in the ability to hit my caloric goals (roughly 2200 cals on a good training day). I will be blogging alot about my adventures in vegan cooking and eating to be sure....should be a culinary blast!

Vegan Sushi for our kickoff dinner!

I think that about wraps up my updates and it's officially time for me to get some shut eye...lots to do tomorrow (isn't that always the case?). Looking forward to getting back into the swing of training and learning how to adapt to a new life of alternative eating. :)

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