Category Archives: goals

Diary of a Strong Mom: Fighter Class

I’ve been taking punching class for two months now and I can tell something’s improving. It might be my stance, it might be my pivot – it certainly ain’t my kick – but I’m getting through the initial Wow, I Suck At This into a more nuanced, Yes, I Suck At This But I’m Learning And It’s Okay.

Those first few weeks were rough, though. No, scratch that. The second few weeks. The first few, I could still rely on the newness of it all, jokingly add that I’ve only been to one or two classes. Now I’ve been to more than a dozen and I hit that wall of feeling like I should be at least good at some part of this already.

Learning new things is rough, especially when you’ve gotten really good at other things. I keep wanting to point at my running or my lifting and be like: look! I’m not bad at these. But those have nothing to do with this. I’m comfortable with those, I know the moves, I’ve even taught some of my friends how to lift. But every aspect of punching class is new and uncomfortable and trying to remember 6 different things at once while also getting up real close to a bunch of sweaty men.

Recently I was in class and failing (spectacularly) again at some key movement and all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and leave. I dreamed of joining a Crossfit box and getting back into doing something I knew well. Of feeling confident in myself again and, even – sometimes – being at the top of the class.

Thankfully I signed up for six months of classes, so giving up simply wasn’t an option. Well, not without feeling like I’d just wasted a bunch of money. So I stayed and then I came back and I came back again.

And then one day the teacher told me I’d improved a lot since August. As an aside, he mentioned that there were one or two things I could change in my stance, but he didn’t want to overwhelm me with the details and I should go home feeling proud of my progress.

I stopped him and told him no. I didn’t want to go home feeling proud. I wanted to go home knowing I was bad at this, but that there was something I could improve. He nodded, and then proceeded to show me those two things, and they made a difference, but I’m still not any good at it.

Then I realized: that’s okay. I need to stop fighting the discomfort and embrace it. I need to stop trying to prove I’m good at something I’ve only been doing for a few weeks. I need to listen and watch and ask all the questions and practice and get better and then, and only then, will I be able to kick ass.

At that point I also stopped pining after my Crossfit days. I’m not pure Warrior class anymore. Now I’m taking a level in Fighter. And I’m finally enjoying the process.

But one thing I’ve learned from this so far: I am really not good at being bad.

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Diary of a Strong Mom: 3.1 miles in (less than) 31 minutes

30 minutes, 24 seconds, to be exact.

I think I could have gone faster. I started out stiff – we arrived with 10min to spare, so I didn’t have much time to stretch or warm up. I just went and did it. So the first mile was basically my warm up, the second was what I should have been running my first mile, and the third was painful and fast.

But it wasn’t as awful as I had feared and I managed to stay relatively consistent throughout. I wish I could have broken 30min, but I’m happy to have a new PR regardless.

Plus, every time I start to think that I should’ve gone faster, pushed harder, done better, I need to remember how far I’ve come. This time last year, I couldn’t even walk a mile, let alone run three. Six months ago, I was just starting to run two miles again. In the meantime, I’ve only been able to run 2 or 3 times a week. I still weigh 10lb+ over my pre-pregnancy weight.

My fastest 5k before this was 31-ish min, and that was back when I was 20lb lighter and doing crossfit. Before that, it was 32-ish min in high school.

I’m 30 going on 31 and I broke a PR I had from high school. I should probably just let myself be proud of that for a second.

Where do we go from here? Well, I want to break that 30min barrier, of course. That shouldn’t take much, but it’s a nice goal for the next two months.

I also need to figure out a way to fit lifting back into my life. Squats and other strength exercises will help me towards this goal. I just need to find a routine where they fit. And on top of that, I want to keep going to the MMA/punching class. I’m really loving learning how to fight.

One of Dr Lady’s labmates said the sweetest thing when she told him I was learning MMA: “She’s already scary enough.”

Yes, that is indeed my ultimate goal.

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Diary of a Strong Mom: August

What!

Why yes, that is a sub 20min 2 miles. The first time I’ve done that in, well, ever. At least that I’ve been tracking. I am well on track to run my 3.1 miles in sub 31 minutes. Hell, I could have slowly jogged the rest of the last mile and still hit my goal.

So of course, the competitive side of me wants to try to hit sub 30min. My fastest 5k ever was 30min and change, so that would be an epic PR for me. And even more empowering because I weigh the most now (outside of pregnancy) that I’ve weighed in well over 15 years. So to be able to PR my 5k time right now? Yeah, that’ll be the best birthday present to myself.

Aside from running, I’ve also taken up a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts aka Fighting 101) class three times a week. It was largely in response to all the anger and frustration that I’ve felt with the news and a certain president lately, but it was also a present to myself to help me Get the Fuck Out of the House. I work at home and, while this is absolutely amazing and gives me time to work out and write, it’s also incredibly isolating.

So now three times a week, I help get the baby into bed, pull on some shorts, and head 2min down the road to a studio where I’ve been learning how to kick, block, grapple, and punch. It’s a lot of fun, except I somehow pinched a nerve the first week and so had to ditch the last two classes. But I’ll be back tonight. Just, maybe, I’ll take it a little easier.

And for reading all that you get ONE BABY PHOTO because tomorrow she will be 10 months and then you will get ALL THE BABY PHOTOS.

August DITL

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Strong Mom & Blueberries

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First, blueberries.

Ever since I knew we’d be moving to Michigan, I was excited about picking berries. AZ is great for a lot of things – hiking, sunsets, bat watching – but its produce is abysmal. Still, we made the 2 hour trek out to the orchards every fall just to pick apples and pretend it wasn’t 90+ degrees.

July hit and with it the realization that, well hot beans, summer ain’t gonna be around much longer. Last year the warm weather stretched well into October, but I know the north is fickle and there’s no guarantee we won’t get an early frost this year. Plus, berries are only in season for a few short weeks (see: weekends). So we’d better hop on it.

We hit up a patch that was supposed to be an hour away, but due to random construction, ended up being two hours. By the time we got there, the clear day the weather forecasters had promised had become cloudy and misty. We pulled into a muddy parking lot still speckled with other cars and figured we wouldn’t melt and, well, it was better than a hot, humid day.

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Aside from my shoes getting drenched, it was perfect. We took turns holding Lady Jr & an umbrella and picking blueberries. It misted and rained and misted again. There were a few mosquitoes, but far fewer than there could have been.

The blueberries were perfect. Lady Jr kept stretching for the leaves, so I guided her to a clump of blueberries and she pulled one off and ate it. Then she ate another one. And another. She just kept plucking blueberries and eating them and I was so amazed I didn’t stop her. In hindsight, I should have, because she ended up puking blueberries all over my shirt. Whoops.

Chubby baby arm

Oh well. I bundled her back to the car, cleaned us both off, then put her in the carrier. Together we walked up and down the rows of blueberries and she fell asleep with her head back and her arms crossed under her chin.

Two hours later we were home again and I was rinsing off the blueberries (nine pounds!!). I offered one to her, but apparently it wasn’t fresh enough. Fair.

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And now, a strong mom update, because finding time to update in general has been tough, y’all. Mostly I just wanted to say

I ran a 9:13 mile! Aaah!

I haven’t run a sub 10min mile in easily 2 years. I am not a speedy person. I am a lifter and I am tall and I am big. So getting that close to 9min is a big achievement. Now to hit my goal of 3.1 miles in 31min, I just have to do that twice over. Considering I had to warm up with a 10.50min pace and then had to walk for a bit after, I’m still a ways off, but…

That’s what goals are all about, right? Pushing your limits and being surprised at what happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stuff my face with blueberries.

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Sleep Training: Night 5

Ugh.

We pushed through last night. She went down without a hitch around 7.10pm. She rolled over and we watched her eyes slowly close on the monitor. But we didn’t celebrate. We knew better.

8.50pm she woke up crying. I’d been about to go to sleep. Instead, I poured myself another glass of wine and put headphones in. We started the soothing waves. No pacifier this time. 3min. 5min. 7min. 7min. 8min. I was near my breaking point. She was still crying. I said one more wave. And, as if she was just waiting for it, she fell asleep after another 2min of crying.

Lady and I stared at each other. It had taken 40min, but Lady Jr had fallen asleep. I dream fed her and went to sleep myself.

And then she woke up two hours later. An hour later. And then every hour after that. I got up at 5am to pump and write. She woke one more time at 5.30am and I helped her get back to sleep – then she stayed asleep until 8am.

So: no change. Maybe I should have let her cry when she woke up each time but after the first one I wasn’t awake enough to remember what time it was or how long it had been or if I’d fed her or not.

And now I’m sitting here even more exhausted than usual because at least usually I go to bed before 9pm. The line between functional and not is very very thin for me lately and I’ve been straddling it most days, but something as stupid as getting one less hour of sleep is enough to throw me off. And so I frantically googled for advice, support, anything this morning, but every time I read that someone’s baby “only” slept three hours or omg, maybe you shouldn’t expect baby to sleep for 10 hours at this age, I started crying. I don’t want her to sleep 10 hours. I want her to sleep 3.

Lady urged me to take a nap during my lunch hour today, but I have so much to do. And what’s 40min in the grand scheme of things when really I need a week’s worth of sleep? I need to be stronger. I have to be stronger.

I told myself we’d be done if we couldn’t get through last night, but we did. Now I’m telling myself we’ll be done if nothing improves after two more nights. I can’t think any further out than that. I’ll just keep coping as I was coping until she’s old enough – and it’s warm enough – to move her crib to the office.

Or, according to some wise soul on the internet, most sleep issues resolve around 15 months. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but only 10 more months, right? Right?

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My New Life

Maternity leave is officially over, but I don’t go back to work until Wednesday. I negotiated (see: asked for) a three day work week and got it, no strings attached. Just the vague, unspoken agreement that someday, I’ll go back to full time.

I doubt that day will come.

I guess I’ll still be working full time, just not at that one job. My parents pack up and leave town today, ending their two and a half months of helping out and watching the baby. I’m excited because this means I can finally see how writing with a baby will work. I’m also worried because it’s going to be just me and the baby for two days a week. Alone.

I’m sure it’ll be fine, but this will be the first time I’m truly on my own for long stretches with the baby. Before, someone would usually eventually show up so I could pee/eat/brush my teeth. Now I have to figure out how to do all that on my own. I had worried about this more a month ago, but Lady Jr has become a lot easier to handle in the past few weeks. And now I think it’ll be doable. But still. The worry lingers.

Anyway. Now that my parents are gone and I’m back to work, my new life really begins. Two days a week alone with baby, three days a week working with baby at daycare and then weekends. Between all of that, I also have to write (and edit) 100,000 words by May.

Daunting, but doable.

Is it weird that I’m just really excited to finally get into a new routine?

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The Thing I’ve Been Hinting At

Two and a half years ago I started writing a book. I wrote and then rewrote and then edited and then re-edited it much I had several others before.

One and a half years ago I signed with an agent based on that book.

Six months ago I heard an editor was looking to get a second read.

Three months ago I heard the editor was taking the book before their editorial board to see if she could get approval for an offer.

Two months ago – literally a week after giving birth – I heard the editor was taking the book to marketing – the last hurdle.

Then things started happening quickly. Could I write two more books? What would that look like? I talked on the phone with the editor and my agent and laid out my thoughts, my plan. That evening I heard from my agent – we had an offer.

Three agonizing days later I got details. One agonizing week later, my agent officially accepted the offer. Lots more back and forth, then silence as we all waited for the slow gears of publishing to churn out the official word. But. But!

It’s officially official. From Publisher’s Weekly:

Tor Takes Debut Fantasy Trilogy by Doore

Diana Pho, an editor at Tor, acquired world rights for K.A. Doore’s debut fantasy trilogy, Assassins of Ghadid, in a deal brokered by Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary. According to Armada, the trilogy centers on a desert city “where control over water means control over both life and magic itself.” Pho added that Doore’s work draws on “the cultures of sub-Saharan Africa and ancient Egypt” as well as queer romance. The publisher expects to begin publishing the books in winter 2019.

The fun! part is that the book they have, the one that’s done, is going to be the second book in the trilogy. Which means I have a whole ‘nother book to write ASAP, which is what I’ve been trying to do while juggling a newborn and postpartum recovery. Let me just be the first to say that it’s not easy. But anything worth doing, especially a dream I’ve had and worked towards for such a long time, is going to be hard.

So whew, phew, and yay! I can finally talk about this.

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