26 June 2013

Emerald City Weekend

Seattle may not be home to the Wizard of Oz, but it is the "Emerald City."

While looking out over the city from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Building, both mom and I remarked about how green it was, how many trees softened the lines of the city.

But Seattle has some real gems and this last weekend I was able to enjoy several of them. The backdrop for the weekend was the Rock n' Roll half marathon, which was the perfect opportunity to be a mother-daughter weekend.

We were treated to a coffee date with the adorable Micah. A guy I'm just getting to know, but has been one of my brother's good friends for years. He is quickly becoming another "lil' bro" which makes me happy.

I had a food revelation at Cuoco with  their vegan carrot soup. Seriously. I want to go back to Seattle right now for more of that soup.

Saturday morning I woke to clear blue skies and a bright shining sun, not a shred of clouds left from the night before; perfect race weather! Since I was in corral 41 (and that wasn't even the last corral!) the estimated start time for me was 8:26 am, so I didn't even plan to be up at the start line until 8 am - an hour after the first corral started the race. As I was leaving the hotel, a gentleman looked at me and with a tone of pity asked, "Oh, could you not finish the race?" Panic set in - was I too late?? I quickly responded, "I have an 8 am start time." And then took off as fast as I could in the general direction of where I thought the start line was at the Seattle Center. As I topped the hill of Denny Way, approaching 5th Avenue, there were a stream of runners in front of me, mostly with bib numbers in the 35-38 corral, but low enough that I panicked even more - the waves were going faster than anticipated. I finally found my way to the start line and walked a little ways down and just jumped in a corral. I was warmed up from running to the start. With a few minutes to wait until starting I tried to stretch a little, but in no time I was off and running.

My goal for this race was simply to finish; I haven't been training like I should be for an event of this length. As long as I finished, I could pick up my "heavy medal" - the "Pacific Peaks" medal only available to those who completed the Portland and Seattle Rock n' Roll events. I do like my bling. :) But the only requirement was finishing, there was no need to go all out. But I am me, once on the course that hyper-competitive side comes out. I was keeping a great pace, my splits were looking good for setting a record (or at least matching my best time) - that is until mile 9ish. My second toe on my right foot started cramping and curling under, pulling on my Achilles so that I couldn't run.  It was the strangest sensation. I had to slow up, my pace slipped, ambition had to surrender to wisdom. Regardless, watching my average pace time grow on my watch with each mile split was disheartening. Although slowing down allowed "Dr. Dribble" to catch up with me. Have you heard of him? He is trying to set a record of some sort for doing the most marathons while dribbling two basketballs (or the fastest, or something). I kid you not, look him up. He didn't even stop dribbling at the water station, but had a gal pour water down his gullet all the while dribbling. And I thought I was crazy.
I ended up finishing right about my average time. I still got the Seattle finishers medal, just like the first person across the line; I still got the Pacific Peaks medal. (But dagnabit!! I was doing better!) Aren't they pretty?

Post race I indulged in not one but TWO venti iced coffees from Starbucks. Have I told y'all lately how much I love coffee and miss it horribly? Because I love coffee, in case you were wondering. And it was as delicious as I was anticipating for 13.1 miles. I may just possibly be back on the coffee wagon. We sat outside and ate our lunches from Whole Foods, basking in the glorious weather, and making new friends with Travis and his dog Daisy. With a touch of sunburn, we finally went up to the room which had an enormous soaking tub, perfect for muscles already sore and tightening up.

With an hour to kill before dinner plans, we headed downtown to the Columbia Building which has an observation center on the 73rd floor. Even though clouds and haze obscured the peaks of the Olympic range, the views were really great; it was a fun new adventure.

For dinner we met up with Julie and Rob for a fabulous evening of drinks, chips n' salsa, and conversation. Rob is one of those "lil' brothers" whom I have known since he and my brother became friends their freshman year of high school. He has grown up a lot over the years, but he still calls my mom every Mother's Day which makes him truly a gem in my book. Even though he and Julie have been together for years, and married last year, I haven't had a chance to get to know her, but Saturday evening was a great opportunity and I just adore her. I'm so thankful they made time to visit with us.

Sunday morning we were up and out of the hotel early to get across town to meet another gem of a friend at Starbucks. (More coffee!!! :} ) We blitzed through the highlights of the last year or so getting caught up on each others lives in the one hour before church started. Michelle and I decided to do a walk together sometime soon; I'm looking forward to having her delightful company for the miles - if you know of a good event coming up, let me know.

Church filled my heart with joy, because this church is the blessing of God on precious friends who started it last fall. Darren and Kelly have been through some rough times, and periods of uncertainty where it wasn't clear what God was doing. But He was preparing them and making the way for Imprint Church, where they are thriving and it is obvious God is blessing this work. I just love that family!

With one more Starbucks stop, we started the trek back south. A short detour in Tacoma to the Museum of Glass gave me my Chihuly fix that I missed in Seattle. We didn't go inside, except the gift shop, (and to use the facilities, after all that coffee, you'd need to go too!), but there is enough to see in public spaces to satisfy my art loving side for the time being. Although, I am planning to go back to Seattle this summer to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Seattle Center; who wants to join me?

It was a wonderful weekend, filled with wonderful people who I truly love. But the best of them all is my momma. We stopped in Lake Oswego for dinner at Burgerville and I sat there delaying the end of our quick trip, not wanting to drop her off. I'm so thankful to have such a great friend in her. Watch out San Fran - we are hitting you next - with my Momar as well!! I'm so excited I can hardly wait for October! Now that trip will be epic!

14 June 2013

Periodic Status Update

Over a month has passed since the grand auto-immune paleo experiment began, which means it is time for a self-reported check-in.

General paleo compliance -- 94%
Auto-immune paleo compliance -- 83%
(my very scientific & accurate guesstimation)

It is not perfect, but I'm okay with that. The goal is to have a straight 30 days of 100% compliance to the auto-immune protocol at some point soon; it will require more lead time to work up to that. There are a few hurdles to cross that just keep tripping me up. They are named: nuts, paprika, caffeine, and a tiny hurdle the size of Andre the Giant of cocoa powder.

And then there were a few instances that were not paleo, and therefore, obviously not AIP either. Absentee-brain moments. My sweet, thoughtful mother had bought me some groceries after my trip to Washington, D.C. One item was an organic heat & eat beef roast from Trader Joe's. She had made the comment, "It is organic, so I think you can have it." Awww... you think it's hard for me trying to figure out what is on the yes/no list, my poor mother is having a heckuva time! It seemed logical, but it wasn't until I was tossing the packaging into the recycle bin that I noticed soy was listed in the ingredients for the sauce. Dang it! I ate it anyhow. That blasted soy is insidious and is in e v e r y t h i n g. It is really hard to avoid. It is even in tea! TEA!?!?

Giving up coffee has been one of the hardest aspects. Harder than chocolate!! I started drinking more tea (lots more), which I love equally as well, but it just doesn't have that same texture and "kick" that coffee does. I counted down the days to day 31, when I would try reintroducing coffee. Attempting to stack the odds in my favor, I even made cold-brew coffee the day before hoping the lower acidity would help. Just the smell  of it in the house was euphoric. Giddy with excitement in the morning I made my first cup of coffee, and it tasted odd (had I lost my taste for it?). After finishing off the first cup, a fresh cup was made, and drunk. And then, my body told me NO MORE COFFEE!! Oh, coffee... how I love you. Why, WHY won't you love me back???

Even though nuts have sporadically been eaten, I have stayed away from them enough that when I do have them, I notice it - and not in a good way. Once I get more into a groove, and get this whole AIP thing more ingrained, I will eliminate the nuts completely until I can get my gut healed. First, I need to find a substitute for that glove compartment "emergency snack."

Has it been easy? Oh, heavens to Betsy, NO! But does it seem worth it? Yes. One of the hardest aspects was my cocky assumption that I would transition with ease. My logic was that I was mostly paleo already, becoming a little more restrictive wouldn't be so bad, cutting out my occasional indulgences wouldn't have much impact. I read a couple 'what to expect in the first 30 days' kind of blog posts and sort of blew them off with, "So little is changing, I'll probably just skim right over these phases." Reality is the opposite, not only have I gone through the 'slump' stage and the 'I crave everything - even things I wouldn't have normally eaten' stage, but they have lasted at least twice as long as the norm. There is a lot more balancing, tweaking, and experimenting to do until I figure out what my body needs. (And with my luck, right when I figure it out, it will change.)

I was hoping the results would be nearly instantaneous, miraculous even. Although I knew that was far from likely, I'm still a little disappointed it didn't happen. Yet, my main flare spot - my right middle knuckle has calmed down some. When I make a fist, there are four distinct knuckles again instead of one normal and one massive blob. It is going to take time, patience, and persistence in following the course. Other issues are starting to improve as well; my sinus allergies are improving, my energy level is more even, my (ahem!) digestive issues, etc.

Onward, ho!!