The Smell of Chlorine

goals, swimming, training, triathlon

Yesterday, I put on a swimming suit that made me look like a seven year old. I went to the college rec center, tried to find the entrance to the swimming pool, sighed with relief when I found it, and sighed with further relief when I found that there was only one other person in the pool. I awkwardly sat my towel down with my flip-flops and hopped in. I struggled and then gave up on my swimming cap, put on my goggles, looked at the clock, and began to swim.

When I was younger I was a water bug. I have baby pictures of me about to burst with joy being in the pool. Afraid of the water? Not me. I remember taking swimming lessons, but I do not remember not knowing how to swim. I wanted to be at the pool all day every day. I pretended to be mermaids with my sister, constantly trying to touch the bottom of the 12 foot (I was maybe 7 years old at this age), diving off the diving boards, and ate all the glorious Swedish Fish in the world (always associated with summers at the pool for me, 1 penny = 1 Swedish fish, people!). My oldest friend, Paige, and I would hang out at her grandparents fish farm (doing what else?) swimming in a large pond.

I’ve never been afraid of the water. This is probably why I opted to take a ship across to Europe rather than fly for our honeymoon. This lack of fearfulness around water has probably led to some irresponsible decisions. I mean what kind of parents let their elementary school kids swim in the middle of a 20-30 feet deep lake without life jackets? Mine. In their defense, it was the nineties and we were strong swimmers.

lifepreserver

Rocking my Minster Marlins swim suit. Life belts? Who needs ’em?* 

 

By the time I was the age when I could start swim team, I was at the pool all day. I was never very good, never went to regional championships, and was usually in second or third heat, but I have blue ribbons from those heats! I swam back and breast. I remember really enjoying it until I got old enough to be “too cool” for swim team. I did one year of winter high school swim and did not swim again.

I have been playing around with starting to swim again for awhile. After the half-marathon, I kept telling myself. I looked up beginners swim work outs. I bought a suit, some goggles, and a few swim caps. I watched a few youtube videos on form.

And yesterday was the day. The smell of chlorine evoked so many memories. It reminded me of the time I did not use goggles, opening my eyes in the chlorine, and swam so much this way that I could not open my eyes because they were so red and painful from the chemicals. I laid on the couch with a wash cloth over my eyes. It reminded me of the time Paige and I spent all day at the pool swimming and planning on how we would clean the Miami-Erie Canal while making large taffy like creations with fruit flavored tootsie rolls. It reminded me of the weird “beep” the start at the beginning of a race would make. A lot of these memories are from around twenty years ago — that’s how long it has been.

My first swim work out called for only a ten minute swim. Swim one length (25m), wait 30-45 seconds, swim another, repeat. I could only swim five laps…so 250 meters. And I was wiped out exhausted. I know this is not very much at all. I know there are swimmers who do 3000 meter work outs. I’m pretty sure my form was garbage, I kicked my feet too much, and towards the end I was struggling with staying in a straight line (actually, I struggle with this while walking too). But I was satisfied and happy.

I already cannot wait to get back in the water again. My goal for this next twelve-week training period is to try to swim twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. The pool is closed due to finals (I think most of the lifeguards are undergrads), so I will not be able to swim again until next week Friday. I’m already excited for it, hoping to get in just one more pool length. I’m looking forward to smelling like chlorine again.

xo, Ali

*Just kidding kids. Be safe.

 

Race Report : Trail Half-Marathon in Pinckney, Michigan (April 28, 2018)

races, running

This is long.

Where to begin?

I’ll start with the night before. I’m a graduate student. I live in a college town, meaning I live right next door to college students. The majority of them are amazing, scarily bright, and are some of the best people to share a campus with. Then there are my neighbors who threw a party the Friday night of my race. I suspect this is karma from my own high school and college days. Weirdly, I felt really calm about it. Like, “its ok, I slept well last night” kind of calm. I set three alarms for 4:00, 4:10, and 4:15am for the next day.

I’m not sure what time I fell asleep. I tried not to look at my phone. I don’t think I slept well. But I woke up to footsteps. That wasn’t right. I was supposed to wake up to my alarm. But instead, there was Bruno. “Hon, you awake?” I could hear my alarm going off, over and over again. It was 4:30.

And you know what. I still stayed calm (very different from my marathon, where I was on the verge of a meltdown the whole morning). I felt grateful, grateful that Bruno woke up early enough that I could still get a shower in (yeah, I did that. Lack of coffee does not leave me with much options to wake up). I ate what has been my standard breakfast the last few weeks: ground beef, carrots, bone broth, lots of olive oil. Bruno packed some super plain gluten-free oatmeal for just in case. Like in water nothing fancy. I did not want to have any stomach issues. I had some rooibos tea. I packed a Results tea (tea so good that I am starting not to miss coffee that much) and a water bottle of grape Nuun (the best flavor) for the road.

I had everything packed the previous night, so around 5:45 am we hit the road. The race website said headphones were discouraged, so I played my pump-up jams for the road. Dixie Chicks, “Ready to Run.” LL Cool J, “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Pink Floyd, “Run Like Hell.” Republica, “Ready to Go.” Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks.” Toto, “Africa.” Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight.” Matthew Wilder, “Break My Stride.” I ate half my oatmeal. Drank my tea and Nuun. I had golf balls underneath my hamstrings that I kept rolling around on to prevent them from getting too tight from the drive.

We arrived. And it was cold. I was starting to regret my choice of shorts, but at the same time grateful that I brought gloves. We had only forty-five minutes, so I quickly checked in and got to stretching. About quarter till eight, I took a salted caramel GU and decided to get in one last bathroom (ok, ok, port-a-potty) trip. By then the race was about ready to start.

I could not hear on the announcer the paces for the waves. It was super muffled. I just assumed (correctly) that the first wave was probably not for me. I hopped in the second one when I heard one woman ask, “Do you know what pace this is supposed to be?” And another woman respond, “I have no idea.” I figured, what the hell, let’s get going.

On the drive, I told Bruno I had no idea what to expect as it was my first trail half. If it were a road half, based on my long run paces, I would have probably tried to shoot for under two hours. But I had goals that “if doable” I would try to go for them. They were: a. Stay around 10:50 pace. b. Try not to walk. c. Run under 2 hours 30 minutes.

Goals a. and b. went out the window within the first mile. The first four-ish miles we were definitely packed in there. We would come to a hill or a turn and we’d all be waiting to get through. I would start to move and then halt again. I really did not mind. It kind of helped make it feel like a real community event. “Hey, we’re in it together through these hills.”

After around mile four it started to thin out. And I was planning on trying to really pay attention to each mile, just so that I could put it on here, but I didn’t. All I can say is that I was really enjoying myself. I also about ate it several times. Luckily, I stayed upright for most of the run.

On the hills. During training, there was a road I would go up and down just because it was just one mile long hill. I was not sure that it would be enough. I think it was. I mean I still had to hike some of the hills — particularly a gnarly, long one around 11 or 12 miles (so close to the finish too!), but when it was more rolling, as long as I was paying attention to my footing, I could run through it just fine. What I’m basically trying to say is that although the hills were tough (my butt still hurts), the hills were not torture or impossible. Thank God for Mauck Road.

On running no head-phones. I have never ran so long without music or a podcast before. I was surprised when I reached half-way. I was afraid that without headphones the whole thing would be a slog. I do not even remember what I thought about. I just was really in it. It was not until probably around nine miles that I thought, “I could use some music right now.” But by that point, 4 more miles did not seem too bad to be sans-music. Also, I had seen a few people try to pass those with head phones and have to repeat “Left. Left. LEFT!” that I was glad not to be “that” person.

On my body. I felt really good most of the time. As I said, it was not until the last couple of miles that I began to feel mentally and physically tired. I was nervous about my foot and hamstrings going hay-wire, but nothing went wrong. My left foot did hurt a bit for about a mile and then kept quiet the rest of the run.

On nutrition. I had a GU at mile 5 and mile 10. I felt fine. They worked. I’m just not so sure if GU is something I want to continue with out of concern for possible stomach distress. I want to figure out something else. But I felt strong and fueled most the run. Friday night I had salmon, a huge amount of sweet potatoes, green beans, and zucchini for dinner, so that seemed to work for me.

On nature. I know Michigan is beautiful. I mean I see it in the fall and the spring. But this trail is lush. There is plenty to catch the eye (just don’t trip!). My favorite moment was running over the bridge that separates the two lakes. I wanted to just stop and look, but wanted to keep going/not get in anybody’s way.

On the people. I only saw Bruno at the beginning and the end of the run, but there were plenty of people on the trails who cheered. I passed a few high school or junior high (I can’t tell how old the young’uns are anymore) who made high-five lines, an adorable family who were handing out high-fives, the guy who kept shouting, “You look fantastic! You are kicking so much ass right now!” and plenty of people who were just using the trails who had a kind word to say. Not to mention the runners themselves. There was a woman I kept playing leap-frog with and we would laugh and joke with each other each time one of us would pass the other. Plenty of “good job’s” and cheers from other runners if you ran hard up a hill (which I did do a few times). It was a privilege to share the trails with such people.

On finishing. I did not cry when I finished (more on that in just a bit). But I did start to tear up around mile eleven or so. I mean I was so close to being done. The whole race just flew by and I could not believe that I was actually doing it. I had waited so long for the day and it just was turning out perfectly. I was so grateful. The huge hill at the end of the run quickly ended my sappy feelings. But they happened. About .3 or so miles from the finish, there was a dude with a huge boom box blaring “Renegade” by Styx. Confession: I love Styx. I once saw them in concert with REO Speedwagon when I was 11 with my mom. I shouted, “YEAH! STYX!” And then promptly tripped, but did not fall. I knew the race was a little over half distance, so I did not know when to just gun it. But someone told me over the hill it was a straight shot to the finish line, so I just bolted. I bolted hard. I can’t remember if it felt hard or not. I knew I was within about a minute of goal c (which at that point I had kind of forgotten about) I have not seen my finish line pictures yet, but I bet I look something terrible. They will also show me chicking a guy within twenty feet of the finish line, so there’s that. Most importantly, though, I did make my c. goal: 13:4 miles in 2:29:45, average pace 11:15/mile (really, it was ALL over the place).

trailhalfmarathon

We went to the Hell Hole Bar afterwards. I celebrated with a bacon cheeseburger and a Bell’s Oberon. Both of us were exhausted on the drive home. When we got home, I took a lavender sea salt bath, put my legs up the wall, and tried to nap. The rest of the day was spent vegging. I ate some ice cream (I totally blew up my food allergy elimination diet — and have still been paying for it).

It was such a great day. I am still so grateful for every minute, every mile of it. Even during the hills, I could not help but smile. When I was wavering on signing up for another race (as my reward) later that day, Bruno said, “Just do it. You looked so joyous today.”

Next up: Flirt with Dirt Dirty Duo in June (5k & 10k) and The Legend Half-Marathon in August. That will complete the Serious Series of trail races. It has been easy to future-trip and look ahead, but this trail half-marathon was truly a beautiful beginning of races for me.

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles (Race Week Edition) : April 23-29, 2018

monday miles, running

It is done. I had an amazing experience on Saturday running the Trail Weekend‘s half-marathon. It was truly the best and favorite race I have run thus far. I am so excited to write all about it. I have so much to say. I plan on writing my race recap tomorrow, so for now, here is the week leading up to the race.

4 / 23 : MTV Pilates, Romwod for mobility.

4 / 24 : Morning — I had pretty bad insomnia the previous night (is insomnia ever not bad?). I felt terrible, but my run ended up feeling pretty ok. I kept having to tell myself to “slow down there, buddy.” 3 miles. JasYoga Hip Strength Stability. Afternoon — Yoga for Stress Relief (lack of sleep-induced meltdown) and Romwod.

4 / 25 : Jasyoga hip mobility. 2 mile run (you mean I cannot do more?). Romwod.

4 / 26 : JasYoga Hip Strength Stability. 2 mile run. Romwod.

4 / 27 : Romwod. Plenty of legs up the wall. I ate salmon with sweet potatoes and zucchini for dinner. I drank some Tea Forte Retreat tea and sat in the bathtub with lavender salts while I re-read one of my favorite essays on writing by Ann Patchett. Bruno slept upstairs in hopes that I would sleep more soundly. I still managed to sleep terribly.

4 / 28 : 13.4 miles. I know that is a little over a half-marathon, but you’ll get to read the full story tomorrow!

4 / 29 : JasYoga High Mileage Reset, lots of legs up the wall, Romwod.

Total : 20.4 miles. Each one filled with endless gratitude.

And now, I’ve got a chicken, a whole freaking chicken, waiting for me in the oven.

xo, Ali

 

 

Ready to Run

running

Saturday is the day. I am going to run the trail half-marathon for the Trail Weekend in Pinckney. It will be my first trail race and my third half-marathon. It will be the first time I have ran a race in two years. I have always wondered if it seems like running matters less to me. I have struggled with calling myself a runner in the last year or so, because I’ve been running for almost six years and have only run a couple of races. I’m not a competitive runner, running more to complete rather than to compete.

Plus, I have been exhausted with telling people, “I’m training for x” only to have it fall through due to injury or even worse in the case of the Air Force Marathon when I had an ovarian cyst rupture only a week before the marathon. Heart-freaking-breaking. I have barely told anybody I have been training for a half. Granted, the life of a graduate student can be kind of solitary: “Hi, Rousseau. Guess what I’m doing when I’m not writing about you and reading you?” But still. I’m too afraid that I’ll jinx it.

Those are the thoughts I have been carrying with me through my training. Not the most positive, but they have crept in. I had a few panicky moments with being sick throughout March and even the other week when my left foot acted up. And guess what: I feel fine and my foot does too. The most bland diet in the world and picking up golf balls with your toes will do that you.

Mostly there have been amazing moments. The routine of running. I mean I love the rhythm of a running schedule. I love seeing the weeks drawn out. I love what it adds to my life. I love checking off the days and seeing the race draw near.

Then, there is the running itself. I do not understand it when people say running long can be boring. I think three mile runs can be boring, never a long run. Miles change you. I believe that. I do not come back the same person I left. I come back more resilient, more thoughtful, and most importantly, more joyful. I think the kind of tired I am when I come back from a long run is one of the best feelings in the world.

Saturday I went on a ten mile run. I was not planning on it. The plan called for a twelve mile run, but with my foot problems, I was not planning on running at all. It felt fine enough that I thought ten would be ok. Bruno and I ran together Saturday afternoon. And it was a hard run. My legs felt tired. But at around mile seven, coming down a hill (of course), I just threw my hands up in the air danced around, looked back at Bruno, and like a total goober yelled, “I am so happy! I just love running!” And then shuffled the last three miles back home.

30825471_10211473505299683_567536596_o.jpg

The last ten mile run.

 

At first I thought I did not know what to expect for Saturday. Hillsdale does not really have technical trails. I have maybe only ran on real trails a handful of times in my life. The Potowatami Trail is supposed to be hella hilly. I tried to train on as much hills as I could. I am not sure if that will be enough. Even though I went through the full half-training plan, the last couple of weeks has been wonky with being sick. Before that ten on Saturday, I was worried I lost fitness. I can be a real worrier.

Here is what I can expect: I can expect to get my ass kicked in the best way possible. And I know I am going to love every step of it. I know that I will rejoice at just being out there, even if I am going over a gnarly hill. I will think what I thought a couple weeks ago when an ice cold downpour began mid-run, “I love suffering!”* I know that I will see the beauty of the Pinckney parks, which are supposed to be some of the best in Michigan. I know that there is a good chance that when I cross that finish line on Saturday, I will cry. I am tearing up just thinking about it.

I have not taken a single mile I have ran for granted. Every step has been a silent prayer of “thank you.” Running is a joy.

I cannot wait for Saturday.

xo, Ali

*To be clear, I love voluntary suffering.

 

Talkin’ Insomnia Blues, Pt. II

health

I was up until 4am last night/today. And I woke up around 7:30ish today. If ever there was a slow moving zombie, that would be me today. I think the worst part about not being able to sleep is not necessarily how tired I feel, but how overwhelmed I feel. Little things feel like big things (as in, hello administrative tasks that should have been done a couple weeks ago).

Unfortunately I am not a productive-type insomniac. I am more of a let’s search zillow for Connecticut coastal homes, search through someone’s facebook photographs to see what brand of bike they rode in their 70.3 Ironman (it was a Trek road bike in case you are wondering), look up the price for said bike, search amazon for gluten-free, grain-free brownie mixes, search amazon for grain-free “flours,” and of course, researching the hell out of insomnia-type insomniac. Not to mention I filled out the goal-setting section of my new planner, thought about my work out schedule post half-marathon, determined which local CSA I would like to get my veggies from this summer, researched local farms for local meat, and scanned through Kelly Starrett’s Becoming A Supple Leopard.

I do usually start out embracing the insomnia, but as time goes by, I usually start to get more anxious. Mainly the concern revolves around: how am I going to get things done tomorrow? And it is a fair question. Usually post-insomnia days, I am groggy, grumpy, and if I do not develop a headache, it is a miracle. Mainly it is hard to think. I still get stuff done, but not the best. And mostly the day is spent feeling like I am running to catch up with the sun.

Do you deal with insomnia? Any advice or tips? I’m already on the not drinking coffee, not drinking alcohol, no screens (at least until the insomnia kicks in) before bed train. I take magnesium. I drink tea. I think grateful thoughts. Is there something I’m missing?

xo, Ali

 

 

Monday Miles : April 16 – 22, 2018

monday miles, running

Here we are! The last Monday Miles before Saturday’s half-marathon. My first race in almost two years!

I woke up this morning super excited. Like irrationally excited. I have been sans-coffee for about a week and the amount of energy I had was a miracle kind of excited. I keep thinking of the plan for Saturday morning. I will wake up at this time. I will eat this. We will leave for Pinckney at this time. I will probably have an itinerary for Bruno by Wednesday. Would it surprise you that I’m type-A?

This week included three runs (finally). I have some new shoes. My feet feel mostly pretty good. I had a good massage on Friday, so I am ready to go.

4 / 16 : AM – Yoga with Adriene, True Day 11, Soften. PM – Romwod for mobility.

4 / 17 : AM – 3 x 45s plank. 50 clamshells. 2 x 15 fire-hydrants. 40 minutes cycle. Throughout day – 3 x 20 pick up golf ball with foot. 3 x 20 calf raises. PM – Yoga with Adriene, Day 12, Center. Romwod. Lots of icing of left foot. Better? But still cranky.

4 / 18 : 40 minutes cycle, 2 mile run. Hips, IT Band, Core. Romwod.

4 / 19 : 3 mile run. Hips, IT Band, Core.

4 / 20 : Romwod.

4 / 21 : 10 miles, baby. I was not planning on doing this, but figured why the hell not. I purposefully kept it slow, went the hilly route, and mostly felt good. I was tired, but I think that had to do more with running later in the evening after a day of running around.

4 / 22 : Jasyoga Sunday Reset.

Total: 80 minutes cycle, 15 miles run.

Alright! Only a few more days to go!!

xo, Ali

Favorite Things : April 14-20, 2018

favorite things

Plans for this weekend: relax. Run ten miles(????). Relax some more. And maybe, just maybe nerd out and play Dungeons and Dragons for the first time at the local comic book store. I am trying to maintain weekends as weekends. That is, I just want to take the time to read some books out on the porch because it is sunny, do some laundry, and clean the house up.

I’m feeling pretty good. The elimination diet to figure out allergies is going well although I am getting pretty bored eating the same foods over and over and over again. I did get sick out of nowhere yesterday around lunch-time and ended up having to miss my Wilderness survival class — but almost every day was like that in March, so one time getting sick a week is actually a significant improvement.

Without further ado, this week’s favorite things.

I am feeling this so bad right now.

I suspect that I will be going into this half-marathon a little less trained than I wanted to be, but this made me feel a lot better.

Bad science news about wine!

Great article about a hike in the Grand Canyon.

Note to self: You cannot outrun a bad diet. Repeat. You cannot outrun a bad diet.

I’ve made it a point to check my bank and savings accounts every day — and I agree with this article, it helps!

I love skincare (I own like three things of makeup and the rest of my bag is alllll skincare) and I am sorely tempted by these products.

I sit on a tennis ball for my hamstrings on all long drives.

How to drink more water.

Last, but not least, I am nowhere near as fast or athletic as Devon Yanko, but this post on dealing with chronic illness had my heart.

Have a lovely weekend!

xo, Ali

 

 

Dissertation Update

dissertation, graduate school, Uncategorized

I started chapter four yesterday. Or is it five? I turned in chapter three a couple weeks ago, but with the craziness that comes with the end of the semester by advisor will not be able to get to it. I told him that I thought it might be better as two chapters, but that I needed a break from working on it. I tell you this. I can talk your head off on Rousseau and Christianity right now. And right now, I need a break.

I asked if I could just start the next chapter instead and return to chapter three or chapters three and four, and was given the a-ok. So I’m back to writing and have about a thousand words written (and approximately ten thousand more to go!). I appreciate that it can be a total mess and imperfect, whereas with chapters three/four, I was in the state of “will it ever be good enough?” When I start something new, I can just turn on some tunes, open some Rousseau, and go. It feels good.

So far, the goal, the plan, the ideal, is to have chapters three, four, and five done, turned in, and approved by the end of this summer. That leaves one chapter left with a year of additional funding. I think I can handle that.

xo, Ali

Gonna Take Some To Do The Things We Never Had, or Why the Music Video for Toto’s Africa Exemplifies Life in Graduate School

books, daily life, graduate school, music

IMG_4754

This post brought you by the greatest song in the world: Toto’s Africa

And now for something completely unserious.

Toto’s Africa has experienced a renaissance. From its use in Stranger Things (don’t do it, Nance!), ubiquitous club hit, to being the internet’s favorite song, it is going to take a lot to drag us away from Africa.

But what much of the commentary has failed to recognize is the deep similarities the music video has with life in graduate school. As far as I know, none of the members of Toto have ever attended graduate school, but alas, I think the music video certainly characterizes the several years some of spend between undergrad and (hopefully) getting a real job.

Before you begin, watch the video here. Watch it twice, because of its greatness.

  1. The amount of time spent in a library. This one is probably the most obvious. I know my college library now more than I ever did as an undergrad. The only difference here is that where the library in the music video is themed “African safari,” the one for mine is themed “America.”
  2. Constantly looking through books for information. I just need that one quote…now where was it? Looking, looking, looking…oh, maybe it was a different scholar who said that. Like the lead dude in the video, if you are in graduate school, you are constantly trying to put the pieces together. That means a lot of book scanning.
  3. Looking for books. How much time do graduate students spend looking for books in the library? How much time do I spent looking for books in the library? An inordinate amount, most likely. Not included are the times when you are just distracted by books on shelves unrelated to research topic. I cannot be the only graduate student who falls into the shelf abyss.
  4. That feeling of being hunted. Is it fear of failure? Imposter syndrome? Or is it chasing time? Deadlines? Too much to do in too little time? I’m not sure I know what causes all the books and bookshelves to fall over in the music video, but I think I understand it.
  5. What does it all mean? After watching Africa’s music video, one might be left thinking, “Huh? What just happened?” One of the google results that pop up when you begin searching Toto Africa is “what does it mean?” The same question can come up on particularly tough days of graduate school or even certain difficult texts (I’m looking at you, G.W.F. Hegel!).

And there you have it. Five reasons why the music video for Africa by Toto is like graduate school. Am I Buzzfeed worthy yet?

xo, Ali

Sans-Coffee, but with Hope

health

I am on day two sans-coffee, sans-sugar, sans-gluten, sans-dairy, sans-all-my-favorite-things-to-eat. I’m grateful my endoscopy came back clear, but I had another bout of stomach problems on Friday complete with a lot of insomnia, anxiety, all the usual woes. Nothing as bad as what it was in March, but enough for me to say, “Let’s just find something to figure this out.”

Dr. Google highly recommended this book, so now I’m following the elimination phase for the next couple of weeks until I start adding food in to see what is causing the problem. Her plan is a little too restrictive for me insofar as it is especially low-carb. I don’t want to mess around with that with the half coming up, so I’m following it, but plan to have some non-grain carbs (sweet potatoes, beets, etc.) with every meal.

So far, so good. I felt hungry yesterday, but ate more today, which helped. Mostly I think the hardest thing will be boredom from lack of food choices, but it is only for a couple weeks. I know I can get through that. I get that it is a necessary part of figuring out what foods are causing my problems and what foods are not.

What really is sad is the lack of coffee. Rooibos tea in the morning just does not kick it in the same way. And I would know. I had a low-grade headache all of yesterday. And then, I accidentally took a two hour nap this afternoon. But — some good news — I already noticed that I did not have as much acid reflux as I normally do and I am hoping in time it will help with my insomnia.

I’m feeling a little more hopeful today. I think sometimes going to the doctor and waiting, waiting, waiting makes me feel more passive, rather than an active participant in my own health. I’ll admit to being a little bit of a control freak, so it clearly is enough to drive me little bit crazy. But I can do something. I can start with what I know. I clearly have some sort of allergic inflammation going on, so hopefully this will be the beginning of feeling much better.

xo, Ali