Monday, 29 January 2018

Inferno. The download and the 10DW. Plans a and b.

Melbourne has been positively INFERNAL the last few days, though thankfully the cool change has come through this evening. Our evaporative cooling chose the few days before the heatwave to bite the dust. The repair guy told me the cooling unit was 17 years old, which was an excellent innings for a cooler. I duly ordered a portable aircon on the internet - dispatched to the warehouse last Wednesday. I went to the Toll warehouse to see if I could collect it  on Thursday, but I was sent away, that they could not possibly retrieve it for me. Hence we spent the weekend with a small portable aircon which was far more effective at making noise than at cooling.

I had my solo embryo downloaded yesterday. It has been a fairly emotional run up. I have been feeling the progesterone flu hard. Wanting to cry at this thing or that thing (or nothing much). Feeling irritable. Wanting to eat all the things. Fortunately, not all of these things occur at the same time.

In the US, it's called the 2WW, the 2 week wait - the period of time between the transfer and the pregnancy blood test. In Australia, it's 10 days. The 10DW (10 day wait) is tough. You have to avoid soft cheeses, alcohol, spas and saunas. It's hard to forget about, and just a matter of getting through the days as best one can. I have come up with a list of strategies.

Things to do
  • put shampoo-in rinse in hair to make the colour a bit brighter
  • Get eyebrows waxed
  • Get pedicure
  • write papers
  • See I, Tonya
  • Draw things
  • Raid freezer and cook things from it
  • Read my book
For the day of the test, I have decided that I will get the blood test drawn early in the day, and get the results rang through after my clinic is finished, in the late afternoon. I don't think I will manage if I have the results and have to work after. Either way. I will arrange to meet up with my fella for some quiet time to let the results sink in.

I have plans for if the embryo transfer doesn't work out. I have put a paper in for presentation at a conference in Vienna. I have made arrangements with my internet diet guru friend to help contain (not eliminate, contain) any comfort eating and/or drinking that may occur. I will book in some 1:1 training with my crossfit coach to nail some skills

I have no plans for if the pregnancy test is positive. It's been so long, 2 and a half years. I may find it hard to find the joy in it, such will be the fear of having another miscarriage. I will need to think of some ways to nurture myself and my partner through this period, also. I have no ideas. Maybe a google search?

Another great distractor is that we are looking at doing a knock down rebuild for our house. Lots of internet browsing at house designs.

I also bought myself a pair of shoes. I can't get the image pasted here, but google Senso Mackenzy heel in ebony. They are beautiful. I could not find them new online, but I found a pair in my size on ebay, pre-loved. They are badass shoes. I saw them on a girl in a cafe and she told me the brand, I tracked them down. Commitment.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

#fitAF, My fitness story.

This post might be boring to anyone who is not me.

The above is a picture of myself power-cleaning 42.5kg, I am mid-air. I am blurry because it is a fast movement.

I go to crossfit 5 or 6 times a week. I see my box-mates more than I do my family or non-crossfit friends. Hence it is quite a big deal in my life. So I am gonna write about it.

I am now coming up to 3 years since I joined the Holy Church of Crossfit, and I can say with confidence that it is the best thing I have done, fitness wise. It is not for everybody, but it is for me.

I was never a fit or sporty kid at school or even really uni. I had my greasy nose in a book most of the time. I could not jump high or run fast, which was a big deal back in the day. Yet I am willing to bet that many of my athletically talented primary school contemporaries are now sliding into a middle age spread, and can barely touch their toes. (Though I have stalked Narelle, my school arch-enemy, on Facebook. She is a personal trainer who says things like "dream believe achieve"....I can't even. Silly Mole.)

I started running a lot when I had a bout of depression in my late 20s. I was not particularly good or fast at that, but I worked my way up to a half-marathon. I was running to "lose weight". I didn't lose a lot.

I had a second bout of depression, then a divorce. I upped my game to a full London marathon (distance ran proportional to trauma - here is hoping I never wish to run an ultramarathon), but got injured after so stopped. I trained with a now defunct running group. I still catch up with the women who I met there. Fabulous women, about 6 of us!

About 4 years back, I started doing some boot camp stuff with a lady whose alias shall be J. A lady in her late 40s, she was clawing her way through the menopause, one knee-destroying, crop top wearing, laser skin rejuvenation marathon at a time. At the time I thought she knew her stuff. She had a garage gym set up. She would look us up and down after we came back from holidays to see whether we had gained weight. She did not believe in positive reinforcement, and didn't like it when we cheered each other through a workout. She screamed and yelled. I trained with her for about 18 months. All the while, I was coming to an increasingly firm conclusion that she was, in fact, a bit of a cow.

One day, I had a tough day at work, and was in the thick of writing up my PhD. I did not go right to the end of a stair run, and one of the other bitches girls who was there dobbed me in. J yelled at me to do it again. I said "No.".

I never went back after that.

I had been a bit curious to try Crossfit, but it looked a bit scary. The official intro video showed fit people doing scary things. I ramped up the courage to call the owner, to see if I could try, and to outline my concerns. I did a trial session and from then on, I was hooked.

Soon after I started, I did run for the kids, and sustained a nasty sprain to my ankle. That cooled things for a bit. Then I had the infamous pregnancy/miscarriage event of 2015. I didn't train that hard until I finished my PhD at the end of 2015/early 2016.

The main improvement I have made since doing crossfit is in my strength.


I am in or near the "Strong" category relative to my body weight for all the moves listed above, except that I cannot do an unassisted pull up.

There are things that I can do that I could never do before I started, or even a year in. For example, we did 100 sit-ups for time yesterday. I did that without taking any more than a 2 second break.

I have been introduced to the wonderful world of Olympic lifting. I still giggle when I ask coach to come and watch my snatch. I clean weights better than I clean plates. 

I am not very fast, but I can jog 5 kilometres when the fancy takes me. I might struggle with 10 but it would not take me too long to train to it.

As with most things, though, most of the limitation occurs in the mind. There are a few things that I have not made much progress on - pull ups, kick up to handstand, and box jumps being the main things.

I realise that the error that I make with these is that I expect improvements to be made in large chunks rather than in small increments. These are "can or can't" movements but there are levels in between. I need to train with that in mind. Thankfully, our coaches have designed the program that allows us to make continuous incremental improvements without having achieved the complete movement. The coaches also let us know we are improving. I nearly did a kick up to handstand today! Not long now.

The other error that I make is that I compare myself to others, and get discouraged when I see other (often younger, skinner athletes) people pulling ahead of me in a workout. Hence, I have taken to consciously blocking them out and focussing on my own game.

I also used to freak out and slow the hell down when I got uncomfortable. I learned to deal with discomfort and work to the edge of it.

These skills - chipping away at things, enjoying the process and the millimetre increments, focussing on my own game, and dealing with discomfort - have bled over into other areas of my life.

That, for me, is the most powerful thing.

Also, though I have a bit of a belly and am fatter than when I thought I was fat, I have far better body image. I cringe when I hear women telling other women about "fat burning" or "not getting too big". and things along those lines. Crossfit delights in strong women, who sweat and cuss and grunt and have muscles and hand calluses. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Triumph and Disaster. New Year Resolutions.

Happy new(ish) 2018, readers.

I've been meaning to write for a few days now. Touch base, check in.

I've had a good Exmas and New Years' period.

On Exmas day, despite the fact that a guest was heavily pregnant, I was near to my best self. I cooked a great meal and was a good hostess. I did not cry and only required one nap, and this was because I went out a bit hard on the campari spritzes, and followed it up by serving negronis. My pavlova was demolished. We had just enough food and not too many leftovers. I consider it a win.

We went to the Barossa Valley in between Exmas and New Year, for my fella's birthday. I got a taste of some Grange 2013 at Penfolds MacGill estate, at the bargain basement price of 50 bucks for a mouthful, with some other posh wine tastes thrown in. A bucket list thing ticked off.

NYE was spent at home with my fella and dog. We had a nice meal cooked at home, and some bubbly. As I slid between my clean sheets at 2230 hours I applauded my life choices - no jostling crowds or small talk with people I barely know. Sleep is good.

I have been working throughout the festive period, and generally keeping busy. With the break in IVF proceedings, I have managed to forget about it, which has done me the world of good, and turned what might have been a stressful time into quite an enjoyable one.

However, there is the small matter of the embryo in the freezer, which I am having deposited this month. It's like the screws have tightened and I am feeling stressed about it, again. My plan of psychological attack during the period will once again be "one day at a time".

Work wise, I have had a bit of unsettling news. I work in a few different locations, some job roles I like, one I don't. I have been looking to ditch the role I don't like, but just waiting for another job role to fill it. Gradually my role in another place has been expanding, under the supervision of a supportive boss who I admire. I had told him that I wanted to work more with him, and that I appreciated his mentorship.

Anyway, today I rolled up to do some work and researchy things. I went and said g'day to this boss's secretary. She looked upset, and asked me what scope I had to do further work. She then went on to explain that the boss was sick, the exact nature of the illness unclear, and he asked me to fill one of his roles while he was undergoing treatment which would take at least some months.

The potentially good opportunity for me to do some good work (and ditch what I don't want to do), and do my mentor proud, is wrapped up in the very shitty news that he is ill and may not even be around to mentor too long. I can't imagine what he must be going through.

I've learned that life does not often look like what we thought it would. The extension of that is that good opportunities, rather than being presented on a silver platter, are sometimes wrapped up in dirty newspaper.

I've also learned that being an adult is hard. The older we get, the more we hear about illnesses, divorces, loss. We are dodging bullets. We hope that one does not hit us, as we see people close to us fall. There is often very little sense to how and who the bullets hit. All we can do is live our best life.

With this in mind, I have come up with a set of NY resolutions that do not involve slimming. I wrote these a little while ago.

1. To (definitely) visit Wilson’s Prom and Far North Queensland. Maybe also Europe, Galapagos amd Costa Rica (depends...)
2. To draw a picture once per week, or write things.
3. To always have nicely groomed eyebrows
4. To see a fillum one a month, at a proper cinema
5. To give others more compliments and encourage them.
6. To give myself more compliments
7. To be patient with myself, practice things I am not good at or that are time consuming but important, and just plug away and not worry how long it’s taking. To be in love with the process rather than the outcome.
8. To wear more bright lipsticks
9. To eat and relish fruit and veg in season
10. To keep my hands well moisturised and free of too much callus (life of a crossfitter...)
11. To ensure my footwear mostly meets the brief of stylish but comfortable
12. To keep a list of things to do if I feel bored/stressed

13. To do 5 minutes of decluttering per day because it is legit good for the soul. 
14. To say yes to fun things.