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bear by san

March 2017



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writing plot octopus

is anybody alive in here? is anybody at all in here?

Some of this post is about fitness and weight loss stuff, and could be triggery to those that find such things triggery.

I donated blood today! First time in a year and a half (I was having iron level issues when I started eating a more flexitarian diet, and got refused several times. I seem to have a handle on THAT nutrient now, at least.) and for the first time, I gave blood via the shiny new apheresis method, where they take two units of packed red cells, centrifuge it, and give you back your plasma and a bunch of normal saline to bring your blood volume back up.

It took a bit longer, and my arm got cold (the saline is at room temperature, so it lowers your body temperature a little--and in New England in winter, room temperature can be pretty chilly!) but the result is that they get twice as many life-saving red blood cells, and I get to feel like a contributing member of society for a while. ;-)

Supposedly, it takes 650 calories for the body to rebuild one unit of blood, so I'm eating at maintenance today. Which is an awful lot of food, it turns out, given my training schedule--a little under 2500 calories.

I am about to shrink out of my skinniest pair of jeans. I've been weighing in at 178-179 for several days now, which is very encouraging. I'm not actually particularly concerned with losing the fifteen or eighteen pounds to my goal at this point, although I mean to keep working on it. I'm not in any hurry, though--that's mostly just to take some more pressure off my joints running and climbing. 

So close! And I'm so happy with my body these days. It does so much, so efficiently, and feels good doing it. I am strong and fleet of foot, and I love that.

Speaking of which, I ran a twelve mile long day last week, which kind of kicked me to the curb for the rest of the day. I need to pay more attention to nutrition while running (carbohydrate and especially electrolyte replacement) when I'm running for longer than two hours. Shamefacedly, I have bought some sports drinks.

And today I did 4.9 miles in 49 minutes. Despite it being cold enough that breathing was a bit of a challenge. I can't wait until it warms up into the 30s. Anything over 25 and under 65 is a pretty comfortable running temperature for me. 20 is a bit much on my tender alveoli, and below that I'm good for maybe two miles before I run out of oxygen.

Thursday, I have a much shorter long run--9 miles--on the hilly route. I guess I'll find out what giving away two units of red blood cells has done to my stamina.


In other news, I have broken 60,000 words and 300 pages on Steles of the Sky. There's still a heck of a lot of work to do--but I'm feeling pretty confident in my ability to do it. The book is more or less cooperating, and although the scene I am working on now is kind of a mess of [Go back and put in this brilliant idea later] notes, and a few [insert awesome banter here] notes, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm working well within myself, and I think I will even be able to take Boskone off without too much guilt.

Which reminds me, I will be at Boskone. And a bunch of other stuff this spring--check the Bear Appearances tag! 


It is such a good feeling to get better at something through practice. It almost does not matter what. As kids we experience it a lot. As adults, not as much. I am trying to find more things in my life that do that for me.

Also I love your octopus!

I didn't actually learn how to learn until I was 30. Then a light went on, and I figured out what nobody had ever taught me as a kid.

Now I can't quit. ;-)

The octopus thanks you!
A discovery for quick electrolyte recovery: save your pickle juice, and have a hit after runs. Fighters in the SCA taught me this trick many a moon ago, and it's served me well through run and bloodletting since.

Now, unless you enjoy the taste, it's a bit of a shocker during the adjustment period, mind...
Wayyyyy too much sodium.

besides, what you need on a long run is carbohydrates and electrolytes during the run. Otherwise OJ diluted in water works just fine.
First - congratulations!

Second - have you tried any of the power gels or chews for quick carbs? I started needing something on longer bike rides last summer. After a bit of experimentation, I've found most of the flavors of the Hammer gels to be the best for me. I even like the cappuccino ones (but don't like coffee) which have caffeine as well as carbs. They're harder to find than the GU, which seems to be more popular (at least with cyclists).
Thanks! And congrats to you! Nice riding!

I've tried the gels and chews--I started needing a carb boost at about eight miles/75 minutes of running--and I realized after using a few and reading ingredients that they were thinly disguised corn syrup. So I've switched to dried fruit (apricots are great--taste good, bite size, don't dry your mouth out like sports chews) and organic gummi bear/Swedish fish knockoffs. ;-) Much cheaper and probably slightly better for me.

I think for runs longer than 11 miles, I need a carb beverage with electrolytes. I had serious nausea issues after this last run--not just running out of steam during it. So I'm going to be trying a couple of brands of sports drinks, and probably adding a squeeze of OJ or lemon juice to it.
Congratulations on getting the weight down. I lost 60 pounds over the course of 2011 ago, and after regaining 10 of them at the end of last year, I've found myself struggling to remove them yet again. I sincerely hope you have better luck than I do in keeping them off.
For me, it's not so much about weight loss as being healthy and active. Being at a weight my body finds comfortable is part of that, but I find it works better for me as a means to an end rather than a goal unto itself.
Actually, being active and healthy were my motivations as well -- blood pressure, cholesterol and sciatica issues are what drove me to get serious. I think the thing that was most disconcerting about putting some of the weight back on (and having to take it back off) was that it resulted from my becoming lazy and slipping back into all the unhealthy habits that I thought I had broken myself from after 19 months of concerted effort. More dismaying was how easy it was for me to fall back into those bad habits.

Anyway, that's probably more than you needed to know about me. I'll just end by rephrasing my original comment -- I sincerely hope you're able to avoid the trap of falling back into old habits and maintaining all the new, healthy ones you've developed. :-)
Thank you for your concern.

The hard part is always dragging yourself out of bed when it 5 degrees out. *g*
I've already learned so much from you about writing (the brackets! I'd never have finished without brackets!) and now I need to start paying attention to body-stuff, too. I don't ever expect to train for a half-marathon -- I just started Couch to 5K (again, after hosing my knees and ankles last spring) and I don't have any goal of running a race, but I *do* want endurance.

And maybe a better handle on the brainweasels.
Yeah. Keeping the brainweasels back is a very good reason to get off the couch.

And good for you! Also, running gives added endurance for gothing all night.

PS, I miss you.

nobody but us in here, nobody but us

When gas prices spiked up near $4/gallon, suddenly the 45-minute drives to the Places of Gothing got a lot less manageable. :( But I'm thinking about next month.

Re: nobody but us in here, nobody but us

No promises--I'm on deadline and will be doing all kinds of book launch travel in March--but give me a heads up when you decide to go.

Re: nobody but us in here, nobody but us

Well, the one I was thinking about for next month is in New Haven, but if Haven in Northampton works for you, can you carve 2/19 out of your deadline-crunch? As that's my actual birthday!

Re: nobody but us in here, nobody but us

Happy birthday!

And... maybe? It depends on money and other things, too. What's their schedule these days?

Re: nobody but us in here, nobody but us

Still every Tuesday. as far as I know. I'd have to check.

Re: nobody but us in here, nobody but us

All righty then.
I miss you too. We should do something about this.
Wish I was able to attend Boskone. Seeing you, Steve Miller and Sharon Lee on a panel together would be so interesting.

BTW, how did you come up with "Matociquala?" It sounds like it might be from some Native American language. (Sorry if I missed a previous explanation. . .) Reminds me of RLS' Samoan nickname, "Tusitala."
Go you! I've lost 25 lbs since Jan 2, and am just about down to my fighting weight again. It's amazing how much easier it is to run without that extra weight.
Augh, you people who can do rapid weight loss. *g*

Ah well, I'm getting there.

(What I mean to say, is congratulations! and go team you. ;-))

Edited at 2013-02-05 09:12 pm (UTC)
You gave red cells? That is hardcore. I give platelets and plasma and love the apheresis machines. They're why I'm able to give so frequently. I'm a platelet factory but red cells not so much. With the machines, the threshold is somewhat lower for a safe donation and I don't have to wait the full two months.

I mean, red cells. You have red cells. Wow.
That apheresis thing sounds cool, I'll have to check if our local CBS guys have that.
Giving blood! Wooooo!

I will get there, some day. I am currently walking endlessly through the Marshes, with a twisted ankle.
Oh, those fucking marshes. I remember them well.
Oooo -- I was thinking about going to Boskone...
It's a good con!
wow. you're an inspiration!
So are you, smoothieman.