A Lesson in Sushi


I took this picture yesterday while on my break at work. I took the picture, because I was feeling proud of myself for stepping beyond my comfort zone. The photo was supposed to be a memento of shaking off the silly fear that has kept me from having sushi again more than 7 months after first trying it. For the record, I did like the sushi I had 7 months ago! While I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat all of the sushi, I did expect that I could eat a good portion of it.

My expectations were not my reality. I ate the first piece and found myself chewing just a tad longer than normal. I started on the second piece and felt a threatening tear sting the corner of my eye. My throat constricted, rebelled, and I fought against the urge to gag. I managed to finish the piece I was struggling with, but I ended up throwing the rest in the trash, feeling defeated and hungry.

Maybe I wasn’t fond of the crab, I thought. Sure, I’ve had crab before, even in the sushi that I had months ago, both real and imitation. The rice and cucumber seemed tasty enough, so perhaps I just wasn’t keen on the crab. Although it had been seven months, I do recall enjoying smoked salmon, yam, and veggie sushi over the crab.

What possessed me to pick up some sushi for my lunch yesterday anyway?

At the gym yesterday morning, my coach and I were talking about my nutrition and eating habits. This is something we talk about with some regularity. He is my coach and personal trainer, so it only makes sense that we talk about it. I’m in a food rut right now, which is also something that happens with regularity. I am uninspired & unmotivated to cook. My schedule demands that I be mentally prepared by planning ahead, and yet, as much as I am the sort of person who thrives on planning ahead, I am struggling to do so with meals. Michael made some suggestions, including sushi, to which I commented on the fact that I haven’t had sushi for many months and that I’ve been afraid to try it again.

I don’t even know why I have been afraid. The last time I had sushi was a positive experience. The days leading up to that sushi day were amazing, and I felt like I was on top of the world. Precious friends had given me a wonderful gift. I had just competed at my first Provincials, where I had broken a couple BCPA records. I was on an emotional high and feeling great. I spent an evening with my friend learning how to make sushi, and it was good. 

Since that night I have been reluctant to try sushi again. I have told myself that I lack experience with sushi, that I cannot simply walk into a restaurant and order sushi for lack of knowledge and experience. I figured that since my kids would never even give sushi a try, there was no point in trying to incorporate sushi consumption into my life. Mostly I was afraid that I wouldn’t like sushi the next time I tried it. What if that first and last experience was a fluke?

My lack of planning and current displeasure with food inspired me to give sushi a try yesterday. In all honesty, I have thought about having sushi several times over the past couple of months, but that slight twist of fear has always prevented me from doing so. I work next door to a sushi place. Sometimes they will bring over some sushi for us, and I’ve always left it for my co-workers to enjoy, never trying any myself. After the brief discussion with my coach yesterday, I realized just how strong this fear has been and that irritated me. It seemed silly to be afraid to try sushi again, especially when my previous experience was a good one. My character is stronger than that! Or I think it is. Should be. And so, I got sushi. Sushi that I couldn’t eat.

While I would still like to say that the crab was the culprit, the truth is likely a combination of factors which include the crab and also the events that took place the morning after that sushi making night. I don’t need to share the details here now, but I have never before been in such an emotionally upsetting and devastating situation. The tragedy was not personally mine, but I was there. I was emotionally affected, and that weighed on me far more than I have ever acknowledged or admitted. Would it honestly be that much of a stretch to think that there is a connection between my fear of having sushi again and the trauma that took place that morning?

I remember a moment during my first pregnancy, when I was sipping on a sparkling flavoured water. Clearly Canadian Wild Cherry. My favourite! Although I didn’t have morning sickness very much at all, on that day, as I sipped my beverage, my stomach rolled and I heaved it all into the toilet. I could never drink Clearly Canadian again.

Maybe this sushi thing is like that? Perhaps. Yet, I don’t know. Aside from the Clearly Canadian, I’ve never had a similar reaction to any food. Okay, so I’ve never had an experience quite like this either, but I still think that I ultimately do like sushi. There will be another time for me to try sushi…just maybe not crab.



This Girl’s Got Goals

I have a little notebook of goals that I began a while ago, check back with from time to time and then forget about for a while. Some of the goals are quite specific in terms of time or place, while others are open-ended. I think the last time I looked at this notebook was early in the year, but yesterday’s front squat PR brought my little book of goals back to the forefront of my mind. So today I dug it out of the basket it had been tucked into along with my vast assortment of notebooks, journals and books of interest. How happy was I to look through my list of goals and discover that I could check off several of my goals for 2016!

  • do multiple unassisted chin-ups (on February 5 I did 2 chins from a dead hang)
  • break my National RAW records (on May 14 I broke them all, even if I can only claim two of them for new National records)
  • set a class 1 total with 100% RAW (May 14)
  • break my BCPA Provincial records (on June 26 I broke one of my two records)
  • break the BCPA Provincial bench & deadlift records (on June 26 I broke the bench record)
  • compete 2-4 times, including Provincials (I’ve competed twice so far, including Provincials, and I’m set to compete at Westerns next month.)
  • try sushi (June 28)
  • cut to 148 pounds for the May 14 competition without killing anyone (Despite a moment of panic at the weigh-in, I made it!)
  • deadlift twice my bodyweight (May 14)
  • get a tattoo (July 14)
  • squat 250 pounds (oh so close…248 pounds on June 26)
  • compete at Westerns (barring some unforeseen complication I will be there in August)

Not only is it exciting to see what I have already accomplished so far this year, it is also encouraging to see how close I am to reaching some more goals. Maybe I’m not quite there yet, depending on the day, but I’m ever so close to:

  • deadlift 3 plates (315 pounds)
  • breaking my BCPA Provincial total record
  • breaking the BCPA Provincial deadlift record
  • front squat of 200 pounds

Of course, there are other goals on my list and I add to the list as they come to mind. In fact, I added a new one tonight. With today’s announcement of the roster for Westerns and the knowledge that I have one other competitor in my age/weight class, I am no longer content to show up at Westerns and merely do well. I want to win!


Sushi Sampled

I am 44 years old and, until this week, I had never, ever had sushi. I know what you’re thinking. How is it possible to have never had sushi?! Well, when you grew up in small town Saskatchewan and the only ethnic food was Americanized Chinese take-out, your exposure to a wide variety of flavours and textures is quite limited. Although I certainly now live in an area with more options to choose from, I’ve mostly stuck to what I know, which is why I had never had sushi until now.

I had a ‘walk & wine’ date with a girlfriend earlier this week; however, when I arrived at her house, she was in the midst of making sushi with her family. The walk was scrapped, and I was introduced to sushi instead. Little hands helped me make my very own sushi roll. I sampled two pieces and some homemade pickled ginger; I survived. In fact, it was not bad. My biggest worry was the seaweed, but it wasn’t too bad. No raw fish involved in this sushi which suits me just fine. I’d have sushi again.