Monday, January 30, 2012

Resolution Adventure Race

Since we did so well first time out of the gate, we may have entered this race a little over confident. Well, not so much me, but I think Dave expected us to clear the course, or come real close at least. I, on the other hand, had a sinking suspicion that we may have just gotten lucky and that the Lighterknot just happened to play to all our strengths (navigation and...ok that's pretty much it) and not to our weaknesses. Sure enough the Resolution, held at Lake Louisa State Park was a different kind of race.

 The bike part, in our opinion, was much more challenging. It became evident from the start of our bike training that Dave appeared to be much more naturally adept than I, particularly in any kind of sand. I've been moaning about the fact that he having a Trek (a "real" mountain bike) vs. my $60 walmart special had something to do with our differences in ability. Regardless, when we were still missing 3 or 4 control points on the bike portion and I, much like our team name, was out of steam, his bike chain broke. So we had to walk through the sugar sand, which is what we'd be doing ANYWAY at that point as I was pooped. Once we got to the paved road though, he held onto my camelback and I towed him all the way in. As a result, we ended up with only 11 out of 14 control points and 7 minutes late, resulting in another lost point. End result being 35th out of 44 teams. We both tried to laugh it off as much as possible, but I know Dave was a bit bummed.

Lessons were learned. We need to keep our bikes in better shape and have the tools we need. Dave needs to catch up to me in regards to jogging endurance. (I dare not call what I do "running") I need to catch up to him in regards to biking endurance.

The best part was that one of my very bestest buddies joined us as well. Her husband is a hardcore bicyclist, so I suggested they form their own team lest we hold them back. And thus the Lost Ricans were born.

They ended up placing 36th. Liza definitely wants to race again, but I got the impression that Carlos would rather stick to regular mountain biking and road racing. Afterwards we were all so hungry, not only did we eat the Publix subs the race provided, we went to Olive Garden as well. 

For those Weight Watcher types playing along at home, the activity points earned after an adventure race are just about equivalent to a full day's points. Score!

January Madness

Dave and I did our first Adventure Race in October. It was the last race of the regular season. I named our team the Out of Steam Punks.

If you're unfamiliar with the sport check out

When we arrived I heard the old Sesame Street song playing in my head, "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong." Now, I've been to a couple of local 5Ks in my day and sure, most folks are pretty fit. But there are always a good portion of folks there to walk or who are just getting started who don't look so....athletic. Not so, here. I felt like I had wandered onto the set of Shape magazine shoot. To be fair, at subsequent races there has a been a little more variety in terms of body shapes, but talk about intimidating! As it turns out however, Sport Class ARs, and all all ARs really, are as much about the brain as the brawn. Thankfully, Dave is excellent at map and compass work. (I'm learning, and am good at spotting the Control Points when he gets us in the general area). So for us it was all about racing smarter, not faster. 

We ended up clearing the course and coming in 8th place out of 33 teams. We were overjoyed.   

November is the season championship race for the Elite Class, and they usually take December off. The new season begins in January. There were two races planned, with a weekend between them. There just so happened to be  a Warrior Dash scheduled for that free weekend. So as part of our Christmas present to each other we registered for them all. I'll create separate posts for each race. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12/29/11 - Melancholy

My husband and son took a road trip to Texas to see my husband’s grandparents. They’ve been gone four days. They should be home late tomorrow or Saturday morning. As predicted, I enjoyed the first couple of days of having the house to myself. It being in the same condition as when I left is a great luxury. But I am over it now and miss my men. No surprises there. 
What I do find odd is the unfamiliar, hard to describe, rather anxiety-like emotion that accompanies them being away. To be honest, it isn’t even constant. I am fine at work or at home. It’s the between-times. I took advantage of the opportunity of being alone and without obligations to leisurely browse the craft store and the mall yesterday evening. For the record, I do not mean to imply in anyway that my husband is a demanding or controlling sort, and having a moment alone is some kind of novelty. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the fact that there was no one at home, in even the most unassuming way, “waiting on me” left me with a vague sense of dread and unease.
It should also be noted that I regularly travel and am away for the weekend from my son and/or husband. Doesn’t bother me a bit. I enjoy, nay require the time alone to preserve my sanity and sense of self.
But being in home territory, knowing that it mattered to none, nor would it be known where I went or what I did? That was not something my psyche enjoyed. To many, I imagine the situation would inspire feelings of freedom. But to me, I imagined myself, as I sat in the mall bathroom, not as a balloon soaring free into the sky…but as an untethered, half-filled balloon whose weight of its string is holding it back from taking full advantage of what little helium it has left.  
Holy crapballs! I didn’t realize until I typed it out how differently that metaphor could be interpreted. For the record, my son and husband are my helium. With them around, I receive the support and love that both keeps me grounded and lets me soar. (They don’t make my voice sound funny) They are not the string holding me back from enjoying my helium (life). Just want that to be clear.
You know, maybe I should just stay away from metaphors.
But the point is, I’m not sure what this says about me. I think it is equal parts; I really love and appreciate my little family (which is great) and that I am terrified of being alone.

12/23/11 - Sleeping With Heavy, Smelly Things

Badger usually sleeps with my son, but he (my son, not the dog) was staying at my mom’s last night so I let Badger sleep with me.
1. He needs a bath and now so does my comforter.
2. It is amazing how much space a small dog can take up. I am quite sure that some manner of physics laws were broken last night.
3.  Unlike a self-respecting cat who will sleep on a corner of your bed, Badger insists upon trying to crawl into your skin while you sleep. Therefore, when I change positions I need to move him. Which is nearly impossible. I am sure this is normal for those of you with Shepards, Retrievers, etc…but this is a Boston Terrier. I am now fairly convinced that the dog is made of lead or that the forces of gravity work differently for him. 
I am afraid a wormhole may be developing in my bedroom.

12/9/11 - Not A Better Way To View The World.....

than between the ears of a good horse.
Not a better way to view the world than between the ears of a good horse.

12/8/11 - I Predict I Shall Very Stupid, Very Soon

We have two IT guys at work. One is the stereotype of every IT guy you have ever seen mixed with a dash of Comic Book Guy. He was downright rude to me for years until he realized I was getting into Steampunk Cosplay and was interested in attending some Cons. Now he’s reeeeal nice. Which is cool. When you get past his arrogant shell, he’s a neat guy.
The other is the opposite. He’s a big dude (in a kinda hubba-hubba way…for an IT guy) Obviously a Techie, but also a man’s-man. Sports, music, etc. We’ve been working together for 15 years, so we do have a bit of a rapport. (He called me an asshole the other day. “But it’s ok, I’m an asshole too”)
That said, we started arguing yesterday about the potential for time-travel. He said he read something that proved it was impossible. I said, “Poppycock!” Actually, it was probably something more along the lines of “Nah-uh!”
“They proved that stuff moves at different speed, relative to stuff to other… stuff…or something. You can’t say it definitely can’t happen,” says I.
So I found an article that actually explained in a coherent way what I was trying to say (time dilation, for those playing along at home) and sent him the link followed by, “Suck it, Nerd.”
So he sent me a link for the article he was talking about, and then I bullshitted some more and he, bless his heart, let it go. And now I realize I need to do me some book learnin’.
Therefore, I have decided to once again try to read “A Brief History of Time.” I checked it out once before and never even opened it. I also picked up Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “The Pluto Files.”
To balances things out I am also bringing home the DVDs, “Love Actually” and “No Strings Attached.”
Wish me luck.

12/5/11 - I'm Scared

As you may have heard, the Nerdist Christmas Eve Special on BBC America is going to feature Nathan Fillion, Simon Pegg, Wil Wheaton and David Tenannt. This made me realize that if they were going to film the entire thing at the same time, at the same location (which I know they are not), and a meteorite hit the studio it would destroy the majority of what creates and/or inspires my internet and podcast-based entertainment.
Scary thought.

9/9/11 - Geek Dreams

I can’t keep it to myself anymore…I had a sex dream about Wil Wheaton the other night. The kind where, if we worked together, I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye over the water cooler the next morning. I’m beginning to question the amount of time I’ve been spending pursuing the geeky arts…or rather following the lives of those who do. (Nerd-stalker?)
That said, with all The Nerdist I’ve been listening to lately, I really would have assumed my brain would have gone with Chris Hardwick as a go to, but nope. I’ll say this, if Mr. Wheaton is as um…talented in real life, Mrs. Wheaton is one very lucky woman.

9/15/11 - Trail Riders Stripper Academy

A couple of years ago my “horsey” friends put on a bachelorette party for one of our brethren, in her home. A stripper was hired and being true to all our predilections we requested he attend as a cowboy. That he did, albeit in his suburban interpretation. His hat was “cowboy” in style, but more akin to the type you would find in a party store, not what one would expect on any self-respecting cowboy or cowboy stripper as the case may be.
But we were willing to cut him some slack. Clearly, we knew what were getting into. Aesthetically, our new friend was Boyfriend-Hot, not necessarily Stripper-Hot. What’s the opposite of a Butterface? Don’t get me wrong, he was nothing any of us would kick out of bed, just not quite the Chippendale we were expecting. His dance skills…needed work. But what he lacked in a 6 pack and dance moves he more than made up for in youthful enthusiasm and eagerness to please. And most importantly, a sense of humor. He had one, and in our crowd that’s all you need to get by…we’ll do the rest. 
By the end of the 1/2 hour or so of  us molesting him…enjoying his routine, he’d more than earned his fee and tips. We invited him to retire to the parlor with our classy passel of ladies for a drink. Which shockingly, he did. Much good natured interrogating ensued. Not surprisingly we found out that he had only been “dancing” (it’s so cute when they call it that) for a few weeks. We’re an honest group if nothing else, so we felt obligated (led by our 2-time Iraqi war veteran) to inform him as to the ways in which he could improve his performance. Not only was he given suggestions as to the areas on his body he might consider improving, but moves were critiqued, as well as musical suggestions given. In a gentle and kind way, mind you. We’re not cruel. Perverse, crude, and rowdy, yes. Cruel, no.
After a couple of drinks and the War Vet’s phone number, our friend took his leave of us so we could continue the festivities. Which at that point, entailed decorating paper penii (sp?) for the Pin the Penis on the Stud game.
About 8 months went by and another girl in the group was getting married. Her Bachelorette Party was held at another friend’s home about 50 miles away. Though we had great hopes for our little cowboy, we felt a change was in order so a different company was called. We have all the patience in the world for newbies, but a professional was in order this time. We’d done our good deed for the Stripper Community, or so we had hoped. 
This Bachelorette requested a Fireman. The hour arrived and in he danced, complete with big helmet and visor. He worked the room for a bit with the helmet still on. This was more like it! The moves were more polished, the abs (and everything else) was much more in line with what we expected.
And then he took his helmet off.
It was the same guy.
Familiarity resulted in no less debauchery, I’m proud to say. But after we were donemolesting him  enjoying his routine, he joined us once again for drinks. We praised the improvements he had made and he puffed up like a peacock. The war vet ended up on his lap again so other parts may have been puffed up as well. We were so very proud. What was once an eager but untested young man, we felt we had a hand in turning into a capable, skilled professional who will continue to bring joy and woman-boners into the lives of countless ladies for years to come….or until he finsihes paying off his camaro and student loans. 

8/26/11 - Kicking Mountain Ass and Taking Names

Kicking mountain ass and taking names.

8/26/11 - And On That Day Some Ass Was Kicked

And it wasn’t my own for once. Husband, child and I were in Colorado recently for vacation. Rocky Mountain National Park to be exact. I’d been using the upcoming trip as a major motivator since I started doing Weight Watchers and working out back in May. As much as I wish it was, health and looks alone are not enough to keep me motivated. However, the experience of vacationing in the mountains and acting as if I was fit for the past several years, when I clearly was not, was a very good motivator. I also hoped to get my weight below the limits set for the various activities in which I planned to participate. And you know what? I freakin’ DID IT!
I felt good, GREAT! We were on quite a few hikes, that resulted in me having to bite my tongue and not give hubby and kid a hard time because they were sooooo slow. Now in reality, I know me. If their fitness level had been to mine, or I had gone on ahead, I would have gone faster for a while…and then probably pooped out and/or been sore at night like I’d always been in the past. The pace we went, I’m pretty sure, was actually the pace I needed to hike. But Gosh-Damn if it wasn’t awesome to go on a long hike and not regret the decisions 1/4 of the way through. Woot!
Despite walking 2 to 5.5 miles a day, up and down mountains most of 10 days, I still came home with 5 lb gain. A week later however, I am less than a pound away from when I left. Not surprisingly, I did not count points while we were away. I was ok with that decision, then and now. It was an experiment, if you will.  While we were away we ate wisely for breakfast and lunch. However, at dinner I ate whatever I wanted. We also had some kind of treat midday almost every day. We, uh, visited the local Cupcakery several times. So one of the lessons learned? If you get consistent exercise and eat “less than perfect” foods every few days, sure, you can probably maintain. But if you do it everyday, no amount of exercise is going to help you. 
Before I drown in a sea of “Well, DUH!” Let me explain. Despite being a college graduate, librarian for a good sized library system, and overall responsible adult, I am only really just learning that lesson. Or to be more truthful, I am learning how to put that lesson into practice. Which of course is a lot of what WW tries to teach us. 
Be mindful and be moderate. 
I started a binge the other nigh. Thankfully I was able to stop before it got out of control. Just another event that really makes me realize what a Food Addict I am. But (to me) it’s not about never allowing yourself that piece of you son’s birthday cake. It’s about being mindful of what you eat and then being moderate in your eating before and after that piece of cake. You know, like what sane people do?When I got back from vacation, there was a part of me that was hopeful that I hadn’t gained at all…hell, we were climbing mountains most days! But when I really sat and thought about what I ate, between the treats and dinners there was no hope. If I had been logging points the whole time it would have been abundantly obvious. Therefore without forcing myself to be mindful, via a food diary, there is NO hope in being moderate. The brain, or mine anyways, unless forced to face reality via something like WW Points will just rationalize like there is no tomorrow. Which is exactly why I was and am as heavy as I am. 

8/5/11 - Cause I'm a Winnah, No, not a Losah

Actually kinda feeling like both today. (puffs out chest) Found myself with a nice loss this week. FINALLY.Woot!
My morning walking buddy wasn’t feeling well and texted me at 6:00 am that she wasn’t going. I thought for a moment, “Meh, maybe I’ll skip it too.” And then I said to myself, “Self, you’re probably not going to want to go to the gym tonight so’se you can come straight home and spend more time with Husband as he’s leaving late tonight on his motorcycle trip. Annnnd you’ll probably want to go out to eat or something tonight so…GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED AND GO WALK FAT ASS!!”
And you know what?    I did!
I know! I almost tore a muscle patting myself on the back.
As I was packing my lunch I had a weird thought, which I should have recognized as a precursor of things to come. Just a little whisper of a voice that said, “Hey, it’s Friday you know. Why not just screw this packing lunch crap and get something GOOOOOD for lunch? You’ve earned it.” But it was a quiet voice, and not persistent, so I ignored it and packed my Smart Ones Mini-Pizzas and Diet Cokes and apples.
On my way to work I stopped by CVS to get some Claritin. Sweet Tap-dancing Christ on a Cracker! That whisper turned into a motherfucking YELL, “C’MON IT’S FRIDAY! It’s almost vacation time! Hell, your husband is leaving tonight! You’ve been soooooo good for so long. You deserve this. What? You gonna be a pussy and be a slave to everyone who thinks you need to be perfect all the time? Fuck them, go get yourself a big bad of peanut clusters and Ruffles.”
And for the first time, maybe ever, but certainly in a long while, I realized the absurdity of the voice and everything that went with it. I didn’t rationalize with it. I didn’t bargain with it. I just bought my Claritin and other non-food bullshit and walked out the door. 
And yes, I was careful to use the other hand to pat myself on the back so as not to develop an overuse injury.
That said, I don’t now where the voice comes from….clearly there is something loose in my head that just craves the fatty foods. Can’t blame it on a salt vs sugar thing because the voice was calling for either. Can’t blame it on being hungry or anything in that range as I had a very well-balanced and healthy breakfast. I’m a little afraid that it might very well be a far more deep rooted psychological issue relating to not wanting the attention that losing weight (ie:looking better) brings. I have my reasons for thinking that which I’ll save for another day…..but for today I would just like to focus on my victories of which there were a few today.
I may be a little coo-coo-crazy-bananas but I’m also starting to feel a lot fitter and general kick-ass-ey. Which is cool.

7/29/11 - On Supposedly Being Less of a Woman

In May of this year I had one ovary, my uterus and my cervix removed. The offending ovary had grown a cyst the size of a cantaloupe. Thank (insert deity of your choice here) it was benign. To be completely honest, I am not really sure why they automatically take the uterus out in such a situation, as the baby-sack had done nothing wrong as far as the Doctor was concerned. I’m not complaining mind you, I’ve wanted it gone since my husband got a vasectomy a few months after our son was born.
We were and continue to be 100% confident in our decision to create only one offspring. Therefore, once he was snipped, what point was there in my dealing with the monthly pain in the ass…er, vagina? I hate to complain, as I know many woman have far worse periods than I did, but even on the best months they were an annoyance.
I found myself in recent years feeling downright angry about Aunt Flo coming to town. The worry of bleeding through was always a real concern of mine…for good reason. Of course, I would be lying if I said it stopped me from doing anything; horseback riding, motorcycling etc. But it added an extra step and level of worry to whatever was going on that someone, namely someone with a penis, never had to deal with. It felt so very unfair, and quite frankly pissed me off.
And then the cyst arrived. There were a couple of weeks there when we realized that itcould very well be cancerous. That was to be honest, a pretty sucky time. The emotions and thoughts that go on during that kind of experience are another post for another day. But when I found out, that no matter what the biopsies said they were removing the uterus, I was elated. I said it then, and I’ll say now; if going through what I had to go through surgery/recovery means no period ever again, sign me the hell up!
As I researched the surgery and recovery (as a librarian is wont to do) I read about a surprising number of women who were emotionally effected by having their uterus removed, even the ones who got to keep their ovaries. They felt like “less of a woman,” as if their worth as a person was less than it had been pre-surgery. And I’m not talking about 20-somethings who had yet to breed. I’m talking about women who were already finished having kids. I was, and still am shocked. Besides the obvious analogies like, “Did you feel like less of a person when you had your gallbladder/appendix/etc removed?” there is this:
To me, those parts were a liability. Necessary at one point in my life, sure. But no longer. The uterus made me feel, if anything, less equal to my husband. He could hike, ride, travel etc with no concern about if he had packed enough tampons or pads or had somewhere convenient to go change them. Never mind never having to worry about staining a saddle (which I have) or anything else you might sit on. In my mind, losing my uterus and an ovary is as far away from making me less of a woman as possible. If anything, it makes me feel like I am more capable. Stronger. Less impeded. To my silly little self, it is akin to the Amazon women removing their right breast to make them stronger and more efficient hunters. So if removing some of my girlie bits (plus the gnarly scar) makes me feel like anything, it is that….a warrior.
What prompted the thoughts on this today? I still have one ovary.Therefore my body can still show all the normal signs of a period. I just don’t bleed. At weigh-in this morning, I discovered I gained a pound this week. I do feel a bit bloated so before I beat myself up too much I thought about the fact that maybe it is that time. A close friend at work and I had been on the exact same “monthly” schedule for over a year. I had to ask her if it was time, since I can’t keep track anymore.
And for that, I am a happy girl.

7/26/11 - On Being a Fat Skinny Person

I am sure it is no huge shock to anyone that losing, or trying to lose, a substantial amount of weight can be a real mind-fuck. There are the obvious similarities between drug addiction and food addiction, but that is a post for another day. What’s been on my mind lately is the body image ups and downs that happen during the process of weight loss.
I’m the first to admit it; I am a product of my generation and my country. I want it and I want it now! (Yeah. We know. Shut up Veruca!) Once I have decided to change my habits, I want to see results. Maybe not immediately but in a timely fucking manner.  
I’ve been doing Weight Watchers and getting a fair amount of consistent exercise since mid-May. I’ve lost 25 pounds. I’m still wearing the same jeans, but they are a bit looser. I’m able to fit into several shirts that I have not been able to wear in quite some time. My endurance/fitness level is greatly improved. When I am laying in bed and poking and prodding at myself I can feel that I am thinner. While I’m on it….you dopoke and prod yourself too right? It sounds odd, but it’s a good practice to get into. It is how I discovered the cantaloupe sized ovarian cyst….but again, a post for another day.
That said, I’ll have moments in the day when I feel like I am looking good…dare I say, a “normal” regulation sized human being. But then I’ll remind myself of how much I actually weigh (225 currently) or look in a mirror and realize, “Uh. No.To the rest of the world you are still a fat chick.” Let it not go without saying that I am aware that their are folks in this world who are fat and are ok with it. If you are, go on with your bad self. But I don’t want to be that way anymore. I don’t want to look it, I don’t want to feel it. It’s not because I think fat is ugly or because I think people will love me more if I am thinner. It’s because in my head I am not fat. The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer as, in my head, I am not skinny either. 
In my head I am fit. I am an athlete. I do not fantasize about being able to wear runway clothes or wear a string bikini. I fantasize about climbing mountains, and running, and mountain biking, and surfing, and riding dirtbikes and not needing help picking it up if I drop it in the sand, and getting on my horse from the ground without it being a freaking project.
I want to be, nay, I AM a badass. I’ve never let my size get in the way of anything. If I want to dance, I’ll dance. If I want to go to the pool, I’ll go to the pool. I’ve never, ever been one of those “people of size” who stop themselves from doing the things they want to do because they are embarrassed by their appearance. 
However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that my size is preventing me from enjoying the things I like to do at the level I would like. Hence, the desire to finally mold my body into the image in my mind.
The frustrating point right now is that the image is in constant flux. Unfortunately, the constant play in that body image results in a lot of mental stress. It’s funny, (not funny ha-ha) how before I had decided to make some changes, how less aware I was of my size. I suppose it is an ‘ignorance is bliss’ kind of thing. Don’t look at too many pictures, don’t focus on any full length mirrors, keep living life and my mind was able to convince me that I was indeed nowhere near as fat as my weight would suggest. Then thanks to some fun health related issues this year I was forced to realize that maybe, just maybe, it would behoove me to lose some weight.
And then the obsession begins. Initially I was sick over how fat I’d let myself become, but felt good about the fact that I was doing something about it. And then one starts getting frustrated that it is not coming off fast enough and the feelings defeat start. And then you get to the point where I am at now…the results are really starting to show, little by very little.
But I don’t know who I am anymore.
I went walking with a couple of friends last night. Both want to lose weight, but neither are what I would classify as overweight. We started walking the mile long bridge in our town and when I got to the top I started jogging, and proceeded to do so all the way down. Walked back up the other side, jogged back down. The other gals could not jog at all. Naturally, that made me feel pretty good. “Look at me! I’m an athlete!” When I came home, I felt good. I felt powerful. Weighed myself this morning and seeing that I’m still 225…BAM! I’m a fat-ass again.
It ain’t right. It aint’ healthy. But…and I know some people hate this phrase (suck it) it is what it is. I need to just keep on, keepin’ on (Am I good with the overused cliche’s or what?) and power through. So when will my mental image of a bad-ass athletic momma ever jive with reality? Without second guessing? I don’t know for sure…you’ll just have to stay tuned. Though I have a strong suspicion, as this is not my first rodeo, it’ll be when I can consistently shop in the regular section of a clothing store, or do cool things on vacation that don’t have me wondering if there is a weight limit I am going to surpass and/or quite frankly, when I get below 200 pounds.
But for now, I’m riding the crazy train and I don’t think it’s stopping any time soon. Toot! Toot

7/25/11 - Before & Laters

What’s a blog about a chick who is trying to lose weight without some humiliating photos?
The Befores were taken in the beginning of January 2011, and show me at about 251ish. Note the natural hair color and rocking skunk stripe.
The Afters are minus a gallbladder, cervix, uterus, cantaloupe-sized ovarian cyst, and about 25 pounds. They were taken this evening.

7/25/11 - Country Boys FTW!

We processed 10 Jumbo Cornish Rock Crosses Sunday morning. The Boy’s job was to weigh them. The fact that they were still warm creeped him out a bit, but he did his part. Country Boys FTW!

We processed 10 Jumbo Cornish Rock Crosses Sunday morning. The Boy’s job was to weigh them. The fact that they were still warm creeped him out a bit, but he did his part.

Resurrection of a Blog

Never did get far with this particular blog...the reasons why will become more evident as I start transferring the posts from the Tumblr blog I started in June.
Therefore the next several posts will be older stories/thoughts transfered from there. I'll put the date they were originally posted in the Title.