On turning 40

Well? I’ve officially entered into a new decade. So far, it feels okay. I can’t say that I’ve achieved anything that I had wanted to by this age, but I’m okay with that. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that, but finding that peace is also incredibly liberating.

I thought my twenties would be a time to embrace freedom of newly found adulthood. But no, they ended up being absorbed by severe depression. I’ll admit, I was surprised I made it to 30. But I survived it, I think in part to Calvin and Hobbes, The X-Files, D&D, and ice cream. Seriously, all four of those things can do wonders.

Just before I turned 30, I got diagnosed with PCOS and found out why I felt batshit crazy and I was able to get treatment and start to heal. I remember thinking, FINALLY, I can get my life back. I can do BIG THINGS! I can have BIG PLANS! And then shortly after my birthday, I got bit by a dog and went into the hospital with the risk of losing my finger and developing osteomyelitis. Luckily, I didn’t lose my finger, nor did the infection get in my bone marrow.

However, this event kicked off what would become a decade focused on illness, from years of PCOS “treatments” that made most everything so much worse (except the depression, oddly enough), to having my digestive system and my hair completely damaged by antibiotics, to a new found gluten allergy, plus the onset of severe adult allergies, and more. Fun times all around…weee!

I did not like this ride much, thank you very much. Please let me off. But, this too, I survived, or rather have been surviving since it’s not over. What helped through all of that was (and still is) my lovable cat Ruki, an addiction to more TV shows than I care to admit, and yep, more ice cream.

And now I’m entering a new decade…

I have no idea what the focus of this decade will be. If I get my wish, it would be focused on getting healthy and having massive amounts of fun. Yes, massive! I’m not making BIG PLANS or anything like that. Life is so messy and plans often have to be changed or altered or kiboshed all together. So, I’m trying to enjoy the small moments in between the mess if I can. I’m also trying my best to spend more time doing what I enjoy and less time being crippled by what I can’t do. And that’s that. :)

My birthday wish for you is that you take some time to enjoy the small moments too. They often get overlooked or forgotten, but there is something magical in them too.

Here, I’ll leave you with my favorite Zoe Keating song, “Optimist.” Have a fabulous day!

Easing Back Into a Regular Running Schedule

September Running Calendar

Look! I made a running schedule. Well, really I copied what was listed on Hal Higdon’s 15k novice training schedule.  I just changed “stretch” to “yoga” and added in that I ran 2.25 miles this morning. It’s a pretty light schedule, but I’m trying to remember to allow time for easing back into it since it’s been six months since I was able to work out regularly. I don’t want to injure myself or face-plant from overdoing it.

I’m excited to get back into it. Bring it on!

Hal Higdon Quote

What I learned on Whole30

It Starts With Food

When I started receiving allergy shots in February, I never expected my digestive system to fail, but that’s exactly what happened. Every time I ate, I got horribly sick. And since I’m still getting weekly shots, I don’t yet know if it’s just the shots or new allergies developing.

Anyway, I dove in an did some research and stumbled upon the Whole30. It’s a program that gets touted as the end all be all cure to everything, but it’s not. Really what it’s about is taking time to eliminate allergy related foods to give your body time to heal. You ditch all inflammatory foods. What’s more is you ditch sugar, which I thought could help me too because sugar isn’t so PCOS friendly anyway. It also focuses more on organic foods, which is good all around there.

I decided to give it a try. And let me tell you, what a frustrating experience it was! At first, it made me even more tired than I already was from the allergy treatments, irritable too. Oh yeah, fun times… But the experience was eye-opening too. I never realized just how hard it is to find foods that don’t have sugar in them. It really was about going back to the basics, with a few perks tossed in.

By the end of it, yes, I was feeling better, but I wasn’t 100%. I’m not even sure I was at 50%. My stomach still getting unpredictably sick. That certainly didn’t help when I attempted to re-introduce foods to see if I had any reactions, since guess what, everything made me sick again. Yay!

I think the problem is this: 30 days is not enough. When I had to remove gluten from my diet, I had to allow 3 months before I’d see any improvement. It took me 5 months before I was myself again. That’s how food allergies work. It takes time. I think for me, I should have done a Whole90 instead. Then, I could have gauged how I felt better. I tried to do that earlier this summer, but I let food related social obligations get in the way and then last week I had gluten contamination. So, I have to start over. And I will be doing just that, tomorrow!

But let’s take a look back at what I learned about the food. While there are many restrictions, I learned new ways to cook, and found simpler styles of food to eat too. Here are a few examples of pics I’ve been taking along the way:

Lettuce Wrap Tacos With Plantain Tortillas Stir Fry Spaghetti Squash Tessemae's Stir Fry Chicken Parmesan Berry Salad

I also learned about some great brands & products like Tessemae’s dressings and sauces,  Artisan Tropic’s plantain chips, La Croix sparkling water, and GoHunza’s Go Take a Hike trail mix. What’s more is that I found a wonderfully supportive Whole30 community on Instagram (and recipes too!).

I think the hardest parts are a two-fold problem. One, I do have a pretty bad ice cream craving that I have to work on. That’s gonna be hard. And two, socializing gets rough since so much of it seems to be food related and my options will be limited. Though, as long as I can get a fresh salad with oil and vinegar on the side, I’ll be okay there.

While I’m still feeling pretty cruddy, I’m looking forward to the journey and discovering new recipes. I’ll be chronicling this process on my new food blog, A Busy Life, Gluten Free, since I don’t want everything over here to be just food focused. I’ve already got meal plans going for the week too! For breakfast, it’s mini frittatas and for lunch, chicken parmesan with cashew cream sauce and zoodles.

Here’s to finding out what’s making me sick (and hopefully finishing these allergy shots soon too!).

New Food Blog: A Busy Life, Gluten Free

A Busy Life, Gluten Free   I’ve just started a new project that I’m excited to share. It’s a new blog called A Busy Life, Gluten Free. It will be a place for me to focus on my passion for food, and will offer tips, tricks, and healthy recipes aimed at not spending 12 hours in the kitchen. There isn’t much up on the site yet, but I figured it was enough of a start to be able to share it. I’ve also started taking photography classes. I have hope that my pics there (and here too!) will start to improve. So yay all around! :)

Life On Hold

I just noticed that I hadn’t posted here since last October. I don’t think I’ve ever let that much time slip by before. So, I thought I’d pop on and give a little update. Since October, much of my life has looked like this:

Nap here, please

It happens about as quick as the flipping of a light switch too. Talk about fun when you are trying to finish dinner before passing out, eh? Haha.

I’ve mentioned before how I started getting sick two years ago thanks to the onset of adult allergies. The gist is, I’m allergic to EVERYTHING. Yep. For me, it causes chronic migraines, sinus infections, nose bleeds, and extreme exhaustion. Fun!

I was undergoing treatment in October, but that’s when everything got worse.  Ragweed season hit and my meds had to be upped just to keep me from having daily migraines. By Winter, my doctor had decided that I needed to start up with allergy shots. I had no clue what I was really getting into there. Oy. Between the shots and the pollen, Spring was about the worst it’s ever been for me. Most days I’d wake with eyes swollen shut and I’d have to take meds just to get my eyes open. All my energy had to be put into making it through the work day.

What’s frustrated me the most through this process has been how it affected words. Talking, reading, writing…it all got very hard. And since I post on public accounts for work, you can imagine my concern there. No worries. I had stuff proofread. Haha. It also got in the way of my working out regularly. I almost fell asleep mid-jumping jack!

So life, for the most part, went on hold.

But now it’s Summer. I’m still not done with my shots, but I am finally starting to feel more like myself again. My thoughts feel way less fuddled. And that has me tentatively excited. I’m starting to schedule in more things (like photography classes – yay!) and finally starting to work on developing a food blog that I’ve been wanting to do for years. I also want to get back to working out. I just stopped typing for a minute so I could set my running shoes by the door. Maybe that will inspire me to go for a jog when I wake tomorrow. Hope so!

Anyway, that’s that. As my health continues to improve, I’m sure I’ll be chattier again. Have a fabulous evening! :)

Weekend Cooking: Cherry Sage Beef Stew & Breakfast Cookies

cherry sage beef stew

I tried a new recipes out this weekend and it’s super yummy. It’s called Cherry Sage Beef Stew. The recipe is from Sep/Oct issue of Simply Gluten Free Magazine.

I changed a few things though. The recipe never mentioned how to cook the butternut squash, which seemed odd to me. So, after I sauteed the onions, I tossed it all (except the cherries and pumpkin) in the crock-pot. I also added 4 cups of broth instead of the 2 it called for. It seemed like it needed more liquid to me. Near the end, I added the cherries and a can of pumpkin. So good!

I also made three batches of these fabulous breakfast cookies:

paleo breakfast cookies

They are addictive! I love that they are so great for on the go breakfasts. Plus, being able to store them in the freezer means I can make a month’s worth of breakfast at a time. :) The only thing I changed in the recipe was that I ditched the coconut sugar. They seem sweet enough without it. And these chocolate ones look amazing too. I’m gonna have to try those next!

Workout Recaps & Goals – Humidity & Snooze Buttons

Workout Goals & Recaps

Well? Running was a fail last week. The humidity is evil and I can’t run in it. *grumble grumble* Also, one the one day I should have been able to run, I got a little too happy with hitting that snooze button. Whoops.

So, let’s look at what I did do:

Wednesday, I had a strength class at Uplift and it was awesome. I did plank jacks for the first time! Woo! Usually, I had to do the low impact version of just stepping them. And this time I was able to do a few of them as actual jumps. Although, I freaked out when my shirt started riding up, exposing my fat. Eep! Nooo! :P

Friday, I had another strength class at Uplift and it too was awesome. First thing I did after class was to sign up for a Monday class too. Hopefully I can get back into running again soon, but a 3rd strength class is a good thing too. :)

Here’s what I have planned for this week:

  • 2 strength classes (I’m on the wait list for one day so that could turn into a 3)
  • 2 short runs, both aimed at easing back into it after a long hiatus (also aimed at getting me to stop hitting the damn snooze button so much that I miss getting to go on said run :P)
  • 1 yoga session
  • non-workout goal, figure out what I’m doing with my workout headers in these posts.

And well that’s that. What about you? Have any workout goals for the week? Do you find yourself constantly on repeat with your goals like me? That’s something I have to work on, only I’m not yet sure how I want to try to fix that. Anyway, hope you have a fabulous Monday!

A Knitted Fall Scarf

Fall scarf

I just finished this Fall scarf! Yay! Now if only we’d get some actual Fall weather….

This is made with Bernat Mosaic Yarn in the color medusa. I found it wandering one day and the colors intrigued me. So, I wanted to see what they’d look like knitted out. Since I’d made a potato chip scarf before, I thought it would be a good pattern to try out with this yarn too. Only this time, I made it longer and I love how it came out! The colors remind me of swirling Fall leaves. :)

And now it’s time to get back to my works in progress:

A few knitting projects

Hope you have a wonderful night! :)

A Fresh Start With Workout Goals & Recaps

Workout Goals & Recaps

Wow, I just checked and it’s been over a month since my last workout post. I have been working out, but I’ve been having a frustrating time of it. The end of August humidity wrecked me and then I injured my leg again (go me!). So, that was fun. Yeah. Mostly, I’ve had a problem with scheduling. I wanted to run in the morning, but the shock of just how dark mornings are now hit me. It made me depressed and I ended up just going back to bed. Then I tried to move my schedule so I’d run after work to try to enjoy what light I could, but that meant moving all my Uplift workouts around. I don’t like running the night before a workout at Uplift, because it’s too brutal on my legs. It’s a thing. All my schedule maneuvering amounted to nothing good though. I ended up not running much at all. I decided the best thing I could do was throw the schedule away. Be gone! Huzzah!

Now, I plan on just focusing on running when I can. And if my legs are still recovering from a run, I’ll just low impact everything leg related at my other workouts. And if even doing low impact work on my legs the morning after a run is too much? Well? Let’s wait and see what happens first I guess.

I think this week my goal will be just to run a few times with no mileage in mind and no trying to run faster. None of that. I just want to run for the fun of it. It’s been too long since I’ve done that and I look forward to it.

Oh, and Happy Fall everyone! It’s my favorite time of year! :)

Workout Recaps and This Week’s Goals

Hi there! Well, it’s Monday. *sigh* I hope you are at least having the best Monday you can have!

I’m trying to get myself out of a funk that I’ve been in all weekend. It’s the frustrations of dieting and working out and not really feeling much change. I lost weight the first week I ditched dairy and sugar, but that was all. And I gave those up for medical reasons, not to help with the diet. I really thought I’d lose weight this summer, but it hasn’t really worked as hoped. Now, I’m dreading having to see my doctor next month and hear those frustrating words that I’m so damned tired of hearing, “You have to lose weight.” Uh huh. Got something new for me? Yes, I realize that losing weight will help combat symptoms with my PCOS, but having PCOS also makes it a bear to lose the damn weight. It would be one thing if all the working out was starting to change my shape some, but it’s not. My clothes still fit the same.

I’m trying to push through this rut and to just keep doing my best and hoping that some day things will kick in for me. Mostly though, I’m in a grumpy “why bother?” mood. Fun times….

Anyway, let’s take a look at last week’s workouts.

workout recaps

What I planned on doing:

  • 1 running class (Oy!)
  • 2 strength classes
  • 1 short run
  • 1 longer run
  • 1 yoga session

Monday was another running class. I’m not even really sure what to say about these classes any more. I continue to just try to survive it. It was hot and I almost threw up. My chest pounded so hard too that I wondering if that was what a heart attack felt like. I did have a funny moment though, one of the runners jogged beside me for a bit and as we chatted, she made an interesting point.  She said that she thinks I can run faster than I think I can. I asked why she thought that and she said it was because I could talk. I found that interesting and it probably means that I should push harder next time.

But, here’s the thing. I’m not sure how to handle the rapid decline that happens to me after I stop running. Getting home always turns into a nightmare. My legs swelled so badly from the heat that I was hobbling more than walking to the subway. And then a cramp formed in my calve, which meant I had to keep it straight to get up the crazy amount of steps back out of the subway. Then on the bus ride home, I worried about whether or not I was gonna fall down the steps getting out of the bus (I didn’t!), but it’s always a concern since my legs lock up then. And once I got off the bus, the tendinitis in my foot and my joints in both feet woke up and that made the 8 blocks home and another set of stairs super fun.

This is pretty typical for what happens after these running classes. My legs and feet do recover usually by Tuesday night, but I really think I would do a lot better and wouldn’t be afraid of pushing myself if my body didn’t have such a meltdown after the class. Not having the difficult commute home would also be super helpful. I’m bringing my compression sleeves to the next class and seeing if that helps at all. Really hoping it does!

Tuesday was a rest day.

Wednesday, I had a strength class at Uplift and it was awesome. My gimpy hand is starting to hold up better when we have to grip a dumbbell with both hands. That’s a good thing because I’m always terrified I’m gonna drop it. Also, we did these one legged walking into push-up things that were oddly fun, even if I still can’t do a very good standard push-up, let alone crazy ones like this. :P

Thursday, I had another strength class at Uplift. What was I thinking? My arms were miserable! It was a great class, but maybe strength class two days in a row wasn’t the best idea for me. I took in then because I was off on Friday and didn’t want to schlep into the city just to work out. This was a new trainer for me and she was really good. We did some different moves than I was used to, and that was fun. I particularly liked this knee lift move we did for part of our cardio section and anything that involved punching.

Friday was an unexpected rest day. I wasn’t feeling so good.

Saturday, I had a yoga class at Stone Center for Yoga & Heath and it was okay. The focus seemed to be on poses that I can’t even do a half-assed version of (actually nobody in the class could), so that wasn’t too fun.

Later that same day, I went for a 4 mile run. I focused on trying to speed up. For the first 2 miles, I was able to increase my speed by 90 seconds each mile. For the second 2 miles, eh, not so much. I probably would have done better on this run had I not waited until the end of the day to start it. It took me all day to convince myself to go for the run though and that’s something I have to work on. Maybe going for another trail run will help me find the fun in running again. Ooh, or maybe a new to me trail too!

Sunday was a rest day.

So, not too bad on workouts this week. I only missed one run, which seems to be a pattern for me. Hmm… Let’s move on to the week ahead:

workout goals

Here’s what I have planned:

  • 1 running class (Oy!)
  • 2 strength classes
  • 1 short run
  • 1 longer run
  • 1 yoga session

Yeah, my workout plan in on repeat again. It’ll change up some next week, I think. What about you? Any workout goals for the week? Whatever you do, I hope you have a fabulous week!