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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Mardi Gras!

Everywhere else, it's Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Runner's knee!

Oh, no! My runner's knee is hanging around, so I am taking some time off in hopes that it goes away. Meanwhile, I am doing quad and hip strengthening (like always...), but any additional advice is very welcome.
ice pack tucked in a knee support
Doing leg lifts...
With a tiny tote bag full of barbell weights

It's weird that it feels ok after I warm up, but hurts when I'm inactive.
What does this mean for the marathon in February? Not sure. Chunks of time off when it should be peak week doesn't bode well for a long race, so I guess I will see how I recover and how long it takes. If I feel better but only have four days until the race, I will skip it. But if I can get a good couple of weeks in, I will probably be fine.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A night alone

Last night the Intergalactic krewe of Chewbacchus rolled in the ghetto down St. Claude. I was not present. I have little interest in Mardi Gras, no interest in a rinky-dink walking parade, and negative interest in anything Sci-fi, which is the theme of Chewbacchus (although, hats-off to their name. I do so love a clever pun!).
David wanted to go, though, so I cleverly arranged to meet with friends and then backed out at the last minute, leaving me with a pleasant night alone. What did I do with my time?
- Read a book at the park
Audubon Park: my favorite place.

- Did a long series of exercises purported to help runner's knee
- Made chocolate brownie cookies, because I haven't made anything but king cake in weeks
- Cut my hair, including bangs. I haven't had bangs in years, but I think they make me look slightly less ancient and haggard.
Make-up free picture is gratis. I think my wrinkles give me...character. 
And then I indulged in a big-time guilty pleasure, which is eating loaded quesadillas in front of the contestants of The Biggest Loser. I know this is dreadful, but I like eating good food while they can't.
I take out the fine china when David is gone.
I don't follow the show, but my dinner did taste better while they ate water and a Kellogg bar.

Friday, January 29, 2016

This year's Louisiana Marathon review: rendezvous number five

I didn't enjoy this year's Louisiana Marathon as much as I have in past years. I'm sure a lot of that had to do with my own poor race leaving a bad taste in my mouth, but there were other things - signs of growth - that made the race less fun than it's been.
There are still some things the race does wonderfully well:
- beautiful course
- lots of course support
- very organized pre-race, and always a lot of bathrooms
- meaningful charity partnerships
Some things were even better this year, like the T-shirt, a soft bamboo technical T that I will be wearing around just because it's cute. I think this is my favorite race shirt ever!
Gender-specific; full and half got different T's

But then, I didn't love some new developments:
- The price. The cost for this race is astronomical: the half was $140 at the expo! That's just completely unwarranted.
- This year, post-race, half the vendor booths were empty. So you get a wrist band for a certain number of food or drink punches (I think it's 6 punches), but besides the Vegan Village of cold, gross quinoa and a salad booth (it was in the 30's, no thanks), there were only a few people serving food. I ended up giving my punches away at the beer tent!
- The way the race handled the DQ of the first female finisher was a little unsettling. Granted, that's a tough call, and again, I know she was warned. But I feel like that move was done more to benefit the race (which would like to bid for the 2020 or 2024 Olympic trials) than the runners (who were expecting a family event, which is the image the race portrays). The lack of consistency in the rules and the level  of professionalism expected is confusing. It doesn't welcome elite runners, and it intimidates the local fast set.

So I'm on the fence about registering again for this one. It's still a great race, but I've run it before, so I might sit it out in the future.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thoth ball

Eh. A lot of people in gowns. A lot of tuxes. A lot of pageantry. Some bands. Not enough utensils.

I bought black and white gloves and it came down to a game-time decision - white gloves won.
White gloves win

So tired my eyes are closing
The ball starts with TWO HOURS of introducing the court, which is always interesting for about 15 minutes. We have kings and queens here? They take themselves seriously? I'm supposed to rise for the king's entrance? You know, all that. Then they start introducing seven dozen pages and ladies in waiting, and I lose interest. After that is the ball, with dancing, open bar, and food. It doesn't even start until ten! I wasn't drinking, and it's hard to eat while wearing opera length gloves, so not super thrilling. Basically the whole point of the ball was to dress up, though, so we accomplished that. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Carnival Time!

An early Mardi Gras this year means that we've been cramming all our Carnival activities into just a few weeks.
Like, making my ball gown for the Thoth ball. This year it's a muted teal satin halter. I bought the fabric a long time ago - I grab fabrics I like whenever I see them - but now that I'm working on it I'm discovering that it's really cheap and thin. It's very hard to work with.
Whenever I use satin, I use it inside out: the sheen is so much more elegant on the back of the fabric.

We're also eating plenty of king cake. Last week we had a king-cake tasting party to go to, and of course I made a cake (this was traditional filling; nothing fancy to confuse peoples' palates).

The party was small, and some guests brought drinks or savory food instead, so we ended up with just three cakes to taste - and I GOT THE BABY IN ALL OF THEM. What are the odds?! Do I have to buy three more cakes now?!

David's been busy with last-minute parade details. The other day I took his car so he could bring mine in for a brake tag on his lunch (because, you know, when you're a lawyer you get to eat lunch. If you're a pharmacist you just have to starve to death). I stopped to do groceries on the way home, and when I opened his trunk, it was full of hundreds of nerf footballs, all blowing out in the windy lot! I had to run and chase foot balls down (while clutching a loaf of bread).

Next up? Parades, our block party, Thoth, and our newest Mardi Gras hook-up: friends with a balcony on St. Charles!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Post-race track

I didn't feel sore this week at all, despite a Sunday half-marathon. It just wasn't a race effort, for whatever reason. Much to my disappointment! I'd rather be sore and have a fast time versus feeling fresh as a daisy and racing a slow time.

So I rolled out of bed and went to the stupid cold track on Tuesday. It was ten degrees warmer than Sunday, but I layered up - short sleeves, long sleeves, jacket for the drive, hat and gloves. I ended up shedding the long sleeves and hat for the workout portion, but I kept the gloves on.
The workout wast 5x1k with jog across the field between each rep. I felt ok, but I was, again, pretty slow - running between 4:03 and 4:09! That might be residual race fatigue...or I am actually just getting slower.
My cute little track at 6:45 am.
I stayed after for a cool down, drills, and stretching, so I got to see the sunrise.

Advice, please: muscles feel strong, joints feel like they usually do (dreadful), endurance is good, speed is nonexistent. What should I do? Coach me!