Waging war in the urban jungle

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 years ago

7 years ago tonight I thought I knew it all.  7 years ago tonight I thought I was prepared.  7 years ago tonight I thought I knew what I was getting in to!

7 years ago tonight, I was wrong.

7 years ago tomorrow my life changed completely and I am forever grateful for it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And so it begins....

I had foolishly hoped to avoid it....

I should have known I didn't stand a chance.....

It has arrived....

The obsession of a lifetime for my oldest has been passed on to my baby boy.....

Paulo bought his first Pokemon deck on Friday. 

Lord...give me patience....patience to listen to him ramble about their HP, their attacks and the weaknesses, patience to listen to the cartoons playing on the TV, patience to play with him (thankfully right now he thinks you play with the cards like you play War, this works for me!) and most of all patience to play different people, a lot of different people.

It's already started, he's various Pokemon and I'm a Pokemon trainer and we ad lib our parts, mimicking what he's seen in a Pokemon cartoon or a book. 

You see, Paulo loves to play different people.  It is a true passion, some might say obsession, of his.  He loves to take on different personalities, become animals, characters he has read about or seen in movies, we play pretend all the time.  Seriously...every single day....multiple times a day.  When I feel like my head is going to explode and I just cannot take it anymore I remind myself that someday, sooner rather than later, he won't want to play different people with me and then, then I will miss it.  To be honest I will miss it a lot.  It's a special thing between us, oh he'll ask Dad to play sometimes and Grandma gets called on to the stage from time to time but us?  We play all the time.  Yes sometimes it makes me crazy but it is so important to him I try not to shoot him down when he asks.  There are times when I have to remind him that I like to be Momma and actually have a real conversation with my son.  He's usually good about giving me that real time...then we go back to playing different people.  I have been waiting for him to outgrow it...for the last three years, he's shows no signs of slowing down.

This weekend though we got a whole new source of inspiration....Pokemon...seriously, patience, and lots of it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lead me not into temptation....

I stopped by the office this morning when I took Paulo to school and was greeted by a lovely woman holding out a plate of....brownies.

I'm still in the thick of my cleanse.  I declined. 

What struck me though was that they didn't even look all that appealing-no offense to the baker.  But when I looked at them I actually a negative reaction. 

This is new.  This would not normally happen.  I looooove sugar.  Sugar and me we go way back, I used to put margarine on a spoon and dip it into the sugar bowl.  I would eat my Halloween candy in days, not weeks, not months, days.  Nerds.  Gummy worms.  Lick-m-aid.  Chocolate.  Snickers.  I loved candy.  Candy however does not love me back.  Candy makes me a bit crazy.  Whacky even.  It's not pretty.  I know it won't make me feel good but still sometimes I find it hard *read impossible* to resist the little temptress.  But today, today I stayed strong and held my ground and politely declined the brownie. 

That's a big thing.  For me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

To break a fast and other things I've learned

Sunday's dinner
My first ever juice fast ended Sunday night when I peeled and ate a banana around 5:30.  It was a very interesting experience.  I can fully understand now why fasting figures so prominently in many religious rituals.  When you are not spending time consuming solid food it really does free up some time to think about who you are and where you are and if you're really where you need to be.

I feel like I learned quite a bit last weekend. 
  • I learned that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen regardless of what I'm eating, or not!  I still had a family to feed this weekend, while it might have been a lovely experience to have a whole weekend to myself...might? who I am kidding, it would have been!...that just was not my reality.  I still prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for my husband and children.  But I did find that by my not eating the food it freed up time for me to clean while they were eating so I was able to get out a wee bit faster.
  • I learned to take my time with drinking my juice and to drink it from a pretty glass.  I have inherited my parents old purple fancy glasses, I think they might be brandy glasses, but I'm not sure.  I know my Dad has told me that they would sit after all of us kids went to bed and have a drink with those glasses.  That is what I used this weekend, my Momma and Daddy's fancy purple glass. 
  • I learned I really can survive two days without solid food. 
  • I learned that I feel great on a juice fast.  Seriously great!  With the exception of a stressful moment Sunday morning when my kids wouldn't stop bickering I felt calm and peaceful all weekend.  Even when life threw a curve ball Saturday night I didn't flinch.  Paulo mysteriously spiked a fever Saturday evening as we were getting ready to go to his school talent show and spaghetti dinner fundraiser.  So instead of going to have fun with his school we stayed home.  He was super bummed, he planned on performing in the talent show, but there was just no way to go.  By Sunday he was nearly back to his old self and today he's back in school like nothing happened, very odd.  In the past I have not reacted well to late minute changes of plans but Saturday, no big, baby's sick, stay home, make some spaghetti for the boys myself.  Easy.  It should always be that easy, but it isn't.
  • I learned a little first hand about cleansing reactions.  I've heard about reactions like skin break outs, aches and pains, colds and flues when doing a cleanse.  I also learned that they're not that bad and I can just push through them and when I clear the woods I will feel awesome.
  • I learned that when I'm fasting and taking control of my health I have the courage to address some things that fester beneath the surface with the people in my life and I learned that when I address them....nothing bad happens.  That's a big one for me, I grew up in a WW3 environment, every little conflict would dissolve into screaming, yelling, threats to move I've really struggled with overcoming that ingrained fear.  
  • I learned that I really liked this and I plan to do it again in a couple of months.  While weight loss was not my #1 priority I will admit it's nice to feel my pants a little looser today.  But more importantly I feel vibrant.  I feel alive.  I feel good, despite my little cold, and I know that this is an important piece to my health puzzle and one I will incorporate on a regular basis.
Now, back to dinner, I fixed myself a large salad and topped it with a spicy cashew cream from Susan's Rawmazing website and followed that with a plate of steamed butternut squash, asparagus and a baked yam.  It was delicious.  I will admit that by mid afternoon Sunday I was really ready to eat something!  While I hadn't really felt deprived or even all that hungry during the process I missed chewing food.  I love my veggies juiced but I prefer to crunch them!

I am still in the middle of my cleanse and I look forward to this week of getting back to working out, I had some aches and pains and low energy last week, and getting into the sauna to further help my body along it's cleansing path.  It's been great so far, I can't wait to see how I feel by the end of the week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 6-Cleanse

Health, what is it?  What does it mean to you?  My health, my family's health, it means so much more to me that the mere absence of disease.  It means feeling vibrant, feeling alive, glowing.  But how to get there and stay there?

I felt like I finally turned the corner Thursday, by Wednesday I was feeling more like myself but still very very tired, but Thursday and Friday were much better days-energy wise.  Mentally I feel calm, which if you could see inside my head on a normal week you'd know is a marked change.  Physically I'm doing fine, I'm not pushing myself much to exercise this week, trying to listen to my body in that department, I definitely want to fit in some yoga this weekend before getting back to regular running next week.

Today is Saturday, the start of what I had designated my juice fast.  I've never done a juice fast before so I'm not 100% sure how my body will respond but so far...so good.  I've been up for a while now, Paulo has a small cold and his throat and stuffy nose woke him at 5:45 so he was kind enough to wake me.  Fortunately for all of us I had listened to my body and gone to bed early last night.  We managed to sneak in an extra hour of snuggle time but by 6:45 he was ready to go downstairs.  Now, after a typical Rodriguez Friday night this would have totally set me off.  Normally there's the pre dinner drink(s) and normally I stay up late trying to catch up on junk that we've DVR'd during the week.  Today, when my baby needed me, I was ready and willing to take care of him and I'm grateful for that. 

All in all I'm feeling very good about my food based cleanse, my Spring cleaning of sorts.  I have another week to go but I'm not at all worried about that, I know I will feel great when it's all said and done.  The process is not only a physical cleansing but a mental one as well and there have been some issues that have come up that I feel ready to face and that too is a very good thing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 3

I'm three days into my Spring Cleanse and I must say....it's a hell of a lot easier than last Spring!  I credit that to the fact that I have been living **mostly** clean all year.  That said, I do feel like Spring is a great time to really evaluate the diet and take on a cleanse if you're so inclined.  I know from last time that I felt great when I was done.  I had a lot more energy and felt more clear headed.  Did all my new found good habits last?  No, the coffee slipped back in, the extra drinks here and there came back along with the accompanying sugar monster episodes.  But I remember how great I felt when I was done.  I felt accomplished, peaceful, calm and it was all accomplished through food and I want to feel that again.  Food influences my mood.  This year I'm changing it up a bit.

This Spring my cleanse period is two weeks down from last year's three, two days of that will be dedicated juice fasts, this weekend in fact.  I've never done a juice fast but I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm forgoing coffee, sugar, wheat, dairy, soy and alcohol.  I'm eating TONS of fresh produce, grains like quinoa, rice and millet, I'm eating beans and occasionally fish and eggs.  I'm drinking what feels like gallons of water and herbal teas and drinking green juice daily.  Already I feel better.  I will say though I'm missing my caffeine.  Without any java I'm fighting to stay awake past 8:00!  I know my body will re adapt, I just need to get over the shock of the first few days.  I have had tiny twinges of withdrawal headaches but nothing to get too worked up about. 

To be honest, sometimes I wish I could just eat whatever I want and ignore the consequences but the bottom line is I like the way I feel when I eat clean.  I'm calmer, I'm happier, I'm more at peace and feel more patient.  I just wish it wasn't so much darn work sometimes!  It's easy to grab a bag of chips and nosh away it takes time and effort to make sure I have my fruit washed and cut up for the day, but darn it, I'm worth it and that's what I need to remind myself of again and again and again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Race day recap

Sunday morning was coming very early for me.  I set my alarm for 5:00 am and went to bed early Saturday night.  That never happens!  But, I wanted to be my best for my first 10K race. 

I had been warned about the energy of the group by my dear friend, SM.  How you can feel the excitement.  The nerves.  The joy.  She was right, you can, I did.  I arrived at the Convention Center by 6:30, almost a full hour before my group set out. People were milling around inside the Center, stretching, chatting, preparing.  I made a dazed loop around the vendors and decided at the last minute to buy some gloves.  I've been running with some knit pink reindeer gloves when it's cold, and it's been cold a lot!  But I forgot those gloves at home and it was really cold yesterday.  It was only 34 when I got up and by the time I got the Convention Center it was a balmy...40.  So I made a quick purchase and watched as the 1/2 marathoners filed out to start their race.  

Last few minutes to stay warm!

After some stretching and more people watching it was time for my group to head out to the lobby and outside to the starting area.  There is such a buzz of energy before the start.  People are laughing, talking, smiling, but there's also a tinge of nerves-or maybe that was just me! 


Waiting for the start!
Soon it was time to get serious about starting and the 10K participants flooded out into the street to line up.  I found my pace marker, 10+ minute mile, and waited, a little nervous, wondering if I could really do it, wishing that I had a runny buddy with me.  Soon enough I didn't have any more time to wonder and the countdown started, then we were off!  There was so many people crammed into such a small space that I barely felt like I could shuffle my feet let alone run!

Soon though the space opened up and we had more room to breathe and get the legs moving.  We were sent off by a drum band playing and two rows of young volunteers yelling, cheering and shaking pom poms.  I will admit that this moment actually made me very emotional.  Something about running between these two rows of young people who are likely benefiting from the services that Albertina Kerr provides and having them cheer me out of the gate on my first race....I got teary. 

Heading over the Steel Bridge
We started across the Steel Bridge into downtown Portland.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning.  While it had started out very, very cold, it was now blue skies and the sun was rising up behind us.  The city looked so peaceful and fresh! 

Heading into downtown Portland

Downtown Portland is a really beautiful place and Sunday's route took us right along the water front where we could see the evidence of Spring in the blooming trees.  At this point, I'm just buzzing along, feeling great and more than a little surprised at the fact that I-Miss I Run If Someone's Chasing Me-is actually participating in a 10K race with 980 other runners.  Totally surreal moment for me.  I never, ever thought that I would do that....ever.   I always envied runners and I secretly wanted to be a member of their super cool club, but I never thought I could and I found myself thinking...well what do you know?  Maybe I am built for this!

Beautiful Portland Sunrise

We made our way over the bridge and along the water front for a few miles.  At this point I was regretting my decision to forgo my IPOD.  I knew that there was music along the course, there was a mix of live music and DJs stationed along the route and for some reason I assumed that I'd be able to hear something most of the time.  Uh no.  Not so.  Basically there was music every mile or so but in between was just me, myself and I.  After a short while of kicking myself for my lack of Black Eyed Peas I actually started to enjoy the silence.  I was able to hear the other runners and have that motivate me plus able to really hear my own breathing and the sounds of my feet hitting the pavement, it was rather...zen.  While I love my IPOD and my running playlist I think I will revisit the silent zen running. 

The climb up to Barbur Blvd.

Almost half way through I found myself facing the first sizable hill.  It was by no means a monster hill but after running a while I could feel the extra effort it took to get up the incline.  What kept me going was the knowledge that at the top I would find a water station anddecline!  
Yea for declines!
I finally spied a mile marker on my down hill journey and was thrilled to see I was about 1/2 way done and still feeling great.  I had not yet needed a walking break, or a potty break, and I felt that I was making good time.  I was enjoying the experience of running with 100's of other people through my city.  I drive these streets so frequently but when you're running on them you see things differently, you see things you hadn't noticed before and you can really appreciate the views our city has to offer.  I grew up here but on Sunday, I saw things differently than ever before.

Almost home!
Mile marker five and the euphoria kicked in!  I realized that I was roughly 11 minutes away from finishing my first 10K and I had still not needed a break!  I had goals for Sunday's race.  One of those was to finish in under 65 minutes.  Another, unspoken, goal was to run the whole thing.  I knew at this moment I could make that goal if I made it up the last big hill back onto the Steel Bridge.  This was also the moment when I started getting passed by the 1/2 marathon runners that left 20 minutes before my group and ran twice the distance!  I was in awe of these athletes as they cruised right on past me on that home stretch.  There were some amazing runners out on Sunday.

Tired and happy runners!
When it was all said and done I wandered back into the Convention Center for some snacks and to have my finisher's picture taken.  They had a great spread of fruits, granola, lara bars (my fav!) and bagels-which did not appeal at all.  I sat for a few moments to eat and watch the other runners.  I saw one of the 1/2 marathon runners that blew past me holding her baby who looked to be about 10 months old....again, awe!  After that it was time to wrap things up and get back to reality.  Groceries needed to be purchased, bread needed to be baked, life needed to be attended to.  I went about my day on Sunday with a permanent smile on my face, not a huge grin, just a small smile.  I proudly wore my race shirt to New Seasons.  When the checker asked if I was doing anything special that afternoon I told her I'd done something special that morning and ran a 10K.  I was proud of myself, I still am, and I'm already looking forward to the next race!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This is it!  The big day is here, the day I've logged over 100 miles in preparation for.  My first ever 10K race. 

I have two goals for this morning:
  1. Finish.  Seriously, just finish the race.
  2. Finish in under 65 minutes, looking at my pace this should be doable, I'm just not 100% sure how the course looks, i.e., how many hills will I be taking on?
I'm excited and a little nervous.  I was more nervous last night though, nervous that I would oversleep, turn off my alarm, miss the race entirely.  Rene set his alarm for 5 too just as back up, they went off at the same time....it was loud....but I got up. 

It's a chilly morning, my thermometer says 34, I'm already looking forward to the 10K I signed up for in May where I doubt I will have to layer up quite so much!

I'm off, send me good thoughts at 7:30 Pacific time!