Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Moving again!

Yep, I'm loading up my little car again! The photo to the left was taken the day I left Ft. Benning last November, and my car is almost as loaded again tonight! Tomorrow, I'll be taking the second load to my parent's house in Arizona--about half-way to Ft. Huachuca (which will be my home until early May) and spending Thanksgiving with Dad, Mom, Todd, Renee, and the boys.

I like moving (although I don't like the packing part!), but it's always a little bittersweet. I've formed some great friendships here in California, and I'll miss those friends when I'm gone. And my apartment is looking more like a corporate apartment again and less like my "home."

I'm looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my family--I just wish my monsters could be with me! Tyler is in Oklahoma, and Rachel is in Washington, but I get to spend Christmas with them (I can't wait to see them!). I'm thankful for Facebook--it helps me stay connected to the people I love when we can't be together.

I have much for which to be thankful . . . I am truly blessed!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Split Pea Soup--Who knew?

In my last post, I wrote about P90X and training for my APFT. Well, along with the training comes the nutrition piece. Not only have I changed my work out, but I've also drastically changed my diet, and it hasn't been easy.

I'm accustomed to eating whatever I feel like eating--pasta with rich, cream sauce, tirimisu, yummy red wines (not all of those together) . . . Yes, I do like to eat! And I'm active enough to get away with eating whatever I want to eat.

But I'm changing my ways to get as fit as I possibly can. Seriously. I've given up my favorite red wines (actually I gave up all alcohol, but I mostly drink red wine), sugar, and caffeine. I'm also moving away from dairy and gluten, and I'm paying close attention to everything I put into my body. I want everything to count. It's been difficult.

The P90X program has a three stage nutrition plan, starting with low carbs, then adding carbs in the next two stages so you can learn how carbs affect energy levels. I'm not really sticking to their program, but rather trying to eat the best foods possible, and eating carbs when I need the energy most.

I've been eating a lot of raw veggies, but that is getting old. So I was shopping the other day and saw a bag of split peas. I always loved my mom's split pea soup--it's comfort food! She makes it with a ham hock, and it's yummy! So I looked up the nutrition facts and learned that 1 cup of split pea soup has 29.9 grams of carbs (4.8 g fiber), 2.3 grams of fat, and 9.7 grams of protein credit. Not too bad! And I feel like I've eaten something substantial when I'm finished--not that I'm trying to lose weight. It just seems that everything healthy appears to be diet food!

I'll have to admit that my split pea soup is not my mother's split pea soup. I leave out the ham hock (ham hock adds a lot of flavor), and I barely add enough salt to taste it, but it's still good. Now I just need to find some other tasty, nutritional things to eat!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lessons Learned

It's been awhile since I've written--I've been recovering from pneumonia. It hasn't been fun, but I've had time to think about the past several months that I've spent here in California and what I've learned about myself during this time.

I began training with Team in Training for the Nike Women's Marathon the month after I arrived here, and I spent most Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings with a group of wonderful people working toward a common goal--finding a cure for cancer. I looked forward to those days and formed some great friendships along the way. 

On October 17, the goal was met and training was over. We all knew we would feel a let down--we were even warned about this. To add to the let-down, I became ill the following weekend. A month later, I'm just finishing the last round of antibiotics. Yes, for the past month I've been resting, doing my best to recover from pneumonia (another reminder that I'm not Superwoman!).

My doctor allowed me to begin working out again just this week. Now I have a challenge ahead of me--in a month and a half, I'll be at another Army school. The first week there, I'll be given a diagnostic APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) at an elevation of 4500-5500 feet. I've been training at an elevation of ~240 feet. Ugh!

So I'm using the P90X program to train combined with running (I'm hoping to add swimming to the mix as well). Monday was my first day with the program, and by Wednesday, my body felt as sore as it did after running my first half marathon (Urban Cow on October 3rd). But it's a good sore. Yesterday, after working on arms, shoulders, and abs, I planned to go for a run. That morning, I received a text message from a friend on the team inviting me to run with a group. I got my Wednesday run back! I didn't run very fast or far, but I was out there, and it was good! I'll be running with another group of friends this weekend--I can't wait!

Now I realize that I have a great need for both short and long term goals. I have a personal strategic plan (no, I won't share it here, but I wrote it almost three years ago, and I've seen positive progress), and my short term goals need to lead toward the long range strategic plan--I need to have a purpose in everything I do. The school that I'll be attending was part of the original plan, as was the half marathon. 

With Nike being over, I need another short range goal that supports the strategic plan. My last APFT score was 199 (my highest was 204). 300 is considered a perfect score, although one can score higher than that. My goal is to raise my APFT to 270 before March 17, 2011. This will be a challenge for me, especially after having pneumonia, but I like challenges. Achieving this goal will help me meet another goal--an academic goal. I'll write more about that goal in another blog post. 


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Getting my ducks in a row

One would think that a self-proclaimed cat-herder could get her ducks in a row.

October was a busy month for me. Very busy. And in the midst of my races (two half-marathons and one Warrior Dash--3.5 miles with 12 obstacles), I became ill. Apparently, the week after I got my flu shot, I was exposed to the nasty virus (presumably during the Nike Half-Marathon). The weekend after Nike, I had a full-blown case of the flu.

I didn't let the flu keep me from working though. Instead, I propped my fevered body up on pillows on my bed and worked all weekend. The following week, I worked from home until 24 hours after my fever was gone. But I still felt horrible and had a nasty cough that I knew wouldn't go away without some aid, so I made an appointment with my doctor. My doctor told me to "suck it up, and drive on."

OK, she actually told me that I would have to "ride it out" and that antibiotics are no longer prescribed for bronchitis. She offered to send me to another clinic for a chest x-ray, but I wasn't in the mood for another waiting room, etc, so I declined. I did contact my friend, Dexter, who is a doctor, and he verified that antibiotics really aren't prescribed for bronchitis these days.

So I plugged along. I considered canceling my last event, the Warrior Dash, but I really wanted to complete my three races, and this one sounded like the most fun! So I was a Warrior, and had a blast with my friends! But I felt horrible afterward, and I slept most of the next day. On Monday, I learned that I had pneumonia (via chest x-ray). I was subjected to a painful antibiotic injection with oral antibiotics to follow. Yuck.

Still, I  thought I was pretty "high-speed" until today. After all, I completed the Warrior Dash with pneumonia on Saturday--that makes me a true Warrior, right?

Not so much. The medical readiness section on my AKO page is showing "amber." That means I have some medical boxes to check-off before I am "medically ready" for deployment (No, I'm not currently scheduled to mobilize, but we need to be ready). I was amber because I was due for a dental exam and the second immunization in a required series. No big deal--I scheduled my appointments and was ready to check off my boxes (get in line, ducks!). Until today.

I had my dental exam yesterday--checked off box number one. My immunization was scheduled for today. However, when I showed up for the appointment, I was handed a questionnaire asking if I was being treated currently for any illnesses . . . Does pneumonia count? Um, yes . . . it does.

The doctor sent me away and told me to reschedule when I am well. Once again, I am discovering that I'm not superwoman (I sooo want to be superwoman!). I can work with a fever and race with pneumonia, but that doesn't make me a Warrior. At least it doesn't make me a smart Warrior.

It's nice to know that I have the capacity to do these things if I need to, but it isn't smart to push myself to these extremes when it isn't necessary.

Back to cat-herding . . . I guess I'm more of a cat than a duck.

Now where are those ducks, anyhow? It's time for them to queue-up!