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Running On Plants 1

So! I did my longest run yet this weekend, although the heat had me walking a lot of the last few miles as I was finishing it up around 1pm. I did 15 miles and – other than the heat – I felt good.

And it got me thinking…I’ve not talked about how I’m fueling now as a vegan.

It also got me thinking…Why do cold showers get a bad wrap? They’re FANTASTIC.

But back to the vegan thing…

My main source of non-food running fuel (I prefer real food if I can do that, but it’s not always ideal) for last ultra season was the Running Gummy. Ever brand has their own, I didn’t mind the “Fruit Smoothie” flavor from Honey Stinger or the “Watermelon” flavor from Gu. But – as many of you know – gelatin is animal derived so that’s out. I knew that from day 01. What I didn’t know, was that there are several other ingredients that can be animal derived. As a matter-of-fact, Gu seems to catch people off guard because initially it appears vegan, but if you look at the addendum/comments in this write-up and this one you’ll see that bigger writers than I are quick to get corrected on this.

The point? It’s hard to tell.

And while I hate the word “vegan” for that reason “YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT, IT’S NOT VEGAN!” (This comes from BOTH sides, by the way, from vegans and omnivores) – I do try to stay vegan if I can and if it doesn’t go against any other ethical consumer issues I have. (Example: I buy locally made honey because A) it supports my local economy and B) It supports my local honey bees)) BUT! With running fuel, I’m flexible and have no ethical issues SO! I’m trying to stay vegan if I can.

This is the one I decided on: Strawberry Cliff Gel. It’s 90% organic, the ingredients aren’t scary synthetic, and I found several sources confirming it is vegan friendly.

THAT SAID. If you find a good sale on bulk, you’re still looking at about $1 each. And if you buy it by walking in a brick-and-mortar store, like I usually do, you’re looking closer to $1.75 each.

SO! If I need that super-portability (so tiny!) or if I need that caffeine boost, that’s what I use. But for that general, “Energy after 3 miles” type of need I’ve been carrying baby food with me! I’ve bought those squeeze apple-sauce type packets (in the applesauce section at Target) 4 for $2 – which is cheaper than the gels – and I’ve been running with those. They’re portable enough to fit in my hydration pack, don’t require chewing (like real food often does), but they give me a 60 calorie boost. Not as much as a 100 calorie boost from gels, but it’s a good trade-off for the feeling of eating real food and also for the cost.

I actually haven’t used a gel in weeks, I did my run Saturday entirely on applesauce packets. My energy level stayed FINE the entire 15 miles. It was just the heat that nearly killed me. The brand I’ve found actually has several flavors with the applesauce: peach, pear, berry, mango…so I’ve got a variety. I’m not sure how appetizing they’ll seem if I’m cold, but for now I love them. I look forward to my baby food breaks on my run.

So! That’s how my fueling has changed since I’ve been trying the vegan thing. I know you’ve been losing sleep over this.

And THIS is how I RE-fuel as a vegan.

And THIS is how I RE-fuel as a vegan.

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I Did Not Put This Book Down Until It Was Done. 5

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I picked up this book at 8pm the other night, got sick and couldn’t sleep, and finished it around midnight. IT WAS THAT GOOD. If I hadn’t been sick I might have put it down to sleep a bit, but I’m certain I would have not started my day the next day until it was done.

Now, you have to have a tolerance for a kinda-angsty teen girl narrator, which I have no problem with. But! A guy friend found it irritating and I didn’t recommend this to my husband for that very reason. If it had been told from the point of view of a teen boy, (I’m thinking like in The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) then it would probably be more relatable because it would be experiences he might be more familiar with. Now, I read the Sherman Alexie book and I’m a girl, so obviously genders can read other perspectives, but I just know my husband’s tolerance and I think he wouldn’t be able to get past the teen girl voice telling the story.

BUT IT IS SO GOOD.

Also? Did I already recommend The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry? I think I did already. At least I know I did in other places like Twitter or Facebook, but just in case I didn’t document it here…READ IT! It’s great. It seems like it’s going places and it doesn’t, which I loved. You feel like you’re seeing predictable plot development paths but that’s not where the book goes and I truly appreciated that. It’s a GREAT book club book.

I also finally got around to reading The Cuckoo’s Calling after my friend told me I’d like it. I had been worried that I’d be disappointed since it’s not Harry Potter, but I really enjoyed it. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I was pulled in hook, line, and sinker. I even bought The Silkworm because there’s 8 people in line for it at the library and I couldn’t wait that long to read it.

Next on my list: Landline and then The Land Of Stories (Book 3). What are you reading?

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Back On The Road Again 2

(Preface: This entry is SO LONG and SO RAMBLY. OH MY GOD. I AM SO SORRY.)

I used to pray the rosary. A LOT. Like, it was my Go To thing when I needed anything: comfort, strength or ease of guilt – I would pray the rosary. It was my favorite Catholic ritual (that and the Stations of the Cross, loved going to that) and many Lents I made it my “promise” to say the rosary every day during the 40 days leading to Easter.

I guess you could say that praying the rosary was my jam.

The thing I would meditate the most on – while praying the rosary – was usually: How can I be a better person? When I was young I would think about how I should stay away from the little white lies. As I got older I thought about how I should probably not be thinking those thoughts I was thinking. And then, towards the end of my stretch with the church, I meditated on how I was losing my Faith.

(Funny! Because I did lose it! HA! DO YOU GET IT?)

(Not at all funny.)

I haven’t prayed the rosary in – decades maybe? I don’t know. It’s been awhile. But lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I find myself doing a lot of self-reflection/meditation on the rosary topics of yesteryear: How can I be a better person?

I think I had reached a good point in my life where I was feeling like I had grown into a good person. I have done a lot of shitting on people in my life, so it feels good to be at that point where I can look at myself and think, “Yay! We’ve not been evil in a long time! Go us!” The overall feeling of the last few years has been: Kim Is Finally A Good Person.

But the last couple of weeks? I’ve been feeling that falter. I’ve been having a crisis of Faith again, but this time in myself.

I found myself recently experiencing some bitterness and jealousy of the good things that were happening to other people. It wasn’t long-lasting and it didn’t flavor much of my behavior, but feelings those feelings? Those negative feelings of bitterness and jealousy over something that was adding good into the world? Upset me. Good people make the world a better place. If good things happen to good people? I should be celebrating that…not be jealous.

Funny sidenote: When good things happen to bad people? I never feel jealous. And it’s because I know that I am still better off because I am a good person. I have a lot of Faith in the power of being good for someone who worships at no alter, don’t I?

Anyway! Bitterness! Jealousy! I was feeling it!

And man, I was hating myself for it. And it gave me horrible pangs of self-doubt and self-hatred and I went from tiny flares of bitterness and jealous to HUGE FLAMES of disappointment in self and I found myself falling down the pit of I AM SUCH AN AWFUL PERSON, WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN TALK TO ME? faster than I could say, “Downward Spiral.”

That’s where I’ve been recently: Feeling strong negative feelings towards good people, and then strong negative feelings towards myself for those strong negative feelings towards good people.

I’M HAVING ALL THE FUNZ!

It had gotten so bad that I didn’t even pay attention to two really wonderful compliments I got this week. One, a friend shared an article about raising Kind children and commented how she thought of me because I was doing a lot of what the article mentioned.

COULD THERE BE A GREATER COMPLIMENT? No!

Actually, yes. It came later.

I was discussing on Facebook how frustrated I get that Atheists get such a bad wrap just because of a few assholes and how that would be like me judging all Christians based on Westb0r0. (Misspelled intentionally. I don’t even want their organization showing up on my blog.) And then a friend mentioned the interesting note that he thought I was very much like Jesus for being an Atheist.

Now, THAT, my friends. Is the best compliment ever. We talk a lot about Jesus’ teachings in this house, even though we attach no religion to it other than, “What a good guy!” So that meant a lot to me.

For about two seconds. And then I was back to hating myself for hating the joy in other people’s lives. And I was back to feeling guilty for feeling bitter. I started worrying that I was becoming a Bad Person and I found myself eating all of the foods in all of the land.

It’s just been a negative couple of weeks. I even found myself very bitter towards a certain spouse of mine for forgetting my birthday (I don’t care about gifts! I just wanted someone to mow the grass for me for one week!) and not helping me prep our house for Family Dinner. And then – while I know that practically those are very good reasons to be bitter – I do not support bitterness at all. It manifests into ugliness and there are ways to deal with that so that they don’t turn you mean. And I usually deal with those things better. And I wasn’t. I was soaking in the bitterness from having to mow the lawn or vacuum on my birthday, I was feeling bitter over the success of others, I was turning into someone I hated and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be friends with me.

Can everyone say: DOWNWARD SPIRAL!

And then I got sick last night. Again. I have this INCREDIBLE sensitivity to raw vegetables/legumes/some fruits. It’s not entirely consistent because it depends on their ripeness but sometimes things like bananas or fresh almond butter or edamame make me SICK. Like, severe abdominal pains for hours, sick. And last night was one of those nights. (DAMN YOU EDAMAME!) I was soaking in a hot tub, crouching in the fetal position (it helps!) and just wallowing until it passed. When it started fading I pulled open my phone and started just poking around social media to distract myself. And BAM! I had the most wonderful, kindest, most beautiful message on my phone from a friend. Basically telling me I’m a good person.

And y’all? It tore me up.

I just need to get out of my own head. I need to remind myself how I made it this far in my journey towards Awesomeness. By taking baby steps. By not expecting perfection, but celebrating progress. By recognizing when something needed to be changed…and working towards changing it instead of wallowing in guilt over that thing that I am hating about myself. These are the things I do to stay on the road towards BETTER instead of setting up a permanent camp in the town of Good Enough. Good Enough is a large town that has a lot of access points, it’s very easy to stop trying because, eh, I’m fine as I am. I should celebrate those moments where I see concrete evidence of work I need to do because that means I’m still on the road to BETTER instead of just being satisfied with Good Enough.

And, oh Lord, there is plenty to keep me on that road. And normally I just work on those things and leave the guilt and the shame on the side of the road somewhere. But I got sucked into that spiral and I couldn’t get out and you can’t travel forward when your circling one point of shame and guilt over and over and over again.

So, yes. I have areas I need to improve on. I always will. And standing around thinking about those things instead of working towards improving them does NO good for NO one.

And I’m grateful for my friend taking the time to send me that lovely message to yank me out of that spiral downward and put me back on the road forward. My goal is never perfection. My goal is simply to always be on the road towards BETTER. To never stop in Good Enough, and to never get sucked into a shame or guilt spiral. So, I’m back on the road again. Thankfully. I’m recognizing the errors I’ve made and the bitterness I felt and I’m looking at ways to deal with that so I can see the success of the good people in my life and celebrate it because good things happening to good people makes the world a BETTER place.

Here’s to avoiding spirals of guilt and shame, here’s to traveling towards BETTER instead of settling for Good Enough, and here’s to always spreading joy by telling people the things they might need to hear.

Okay. I’m ready to roll again. Let’s get this party started.

Oh! And this beautiful thing happened! That's how bad my shame spiral was, I didn't even give this the celebration it deserved.

Oh! And this beautiful thing happened! That’s how bad my shame spiral was, I didn’t even give this the celebration it deserved.

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The Sadz Demand To Be Felt. 6

I’ve found myself a little sad these last couple days because I seem to be missing my Dad a little more than usual. I’m dealing with the sads by eating all of the vegan foods in all of the land. I’m going to be the first morbidly obese vegan in the history of the planet.

So, I sat down to write yesterday morning like I always do and just couldn’t because I was all, “Wah. The Sads.”

It’s funny because, to my logical brain it makes sense that some days I’m going to really be sad about missing my Dad. He’s gone! I loved him! That makes sense! But the insecure emotional side is all, “FIVE YEARS, Kim. No one wants to hear you still whining about your Dad FIVE YEARS later.”

But Day 2 and I sat down to write and all I could think was, “Wah. The Sads.”

The funny thing is what has triggered this sadness. Well, one thing is funny and one thing is interesting. The first thing is: My laptop is dying. It’s been struggling for awhile but it seems it might be knocking on deaths door. It was a gift from my Dad and my Brother in 2008 and my Dad died in 2009. This means I am super-duper sentimentally attached to the thing and when I look at it on the table, knowing it might not power back up again (issues with batteries, power supplies, and fans…also the hardware is now too old for any updates in software) and I tear up a little.

Basically, my laptop is making me sad. Which my Dad would find funny.

The other thing which is more interesting than funny is that I’m really getting into Ironman Mode. Donnie has been training so hard for months already and we’re almost to the 6 week countdown. (That’s not a real thing to anyone but me, by the way.) And man, my Dad would LOVE to see this. First of all, he loved Chattanooga with all of his heart. Second of all? He loved Donnie. In 2005 he traveled out west to see my brother do an Ironman and he came home just fascinated by the whole thing. He’s the first one who told me about strippers. (I love saying that sentence. It never stops being funny.) Strippers rip the wetsuits off the athletes after they come out of the water. He thought my brother was insane, of course, but he loved being there witnessing the insanity. And I think he’d really love to see the same insanity in one of his favorite cities.

So. Laptop. Ironman. Missing Dad.

Thanks for letting me dump out my Sadz all over the place, I kinda annoy myself blogging about that stuff, but then the Not Blogging about it makes it worse because Blogging is my therapy so, you know, I’d save us all time if I just got it out on Day 01.

And so that I don’t just end this entry on a “Wah. I has the sadz.” note, I’ll add a little bit of exciting news to the mix.

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Someone passed the swim test at the Y and finally got his white band! He didn’t stress as much about the test as his sister did (she can swim a 600yd workout and still hates that they make her retake the 25m swim test at Kid’s Night Out) but he hadn’t passed it yet because they don’t let you take a Swim On Your Back break as you cross the 25yd pool, and my kids love those breaks. I’ve taught them if they panic, or get too tired, flip on their back, don’t go to the side. So, great life lesson, not so great with passing the swim test so you can swim without your Mom by your side.

But he did it! He is so very excited!

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