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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A priest, a Porche, and a picnic

Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend and thanked a military member....
We spent Saturday cleaning up and making things pretty around the house, but after church Sunday we headed out to Mississippi to celebrate David's sister's birthday. Her friend the priest was there. With his Porche. Everyone needs to stop giving money to the Catholic church NOW, obviously.

After lunch we dragged two innocent little nephews to the beach for a harrowing photo shoot. Let's just say loving playing at the beach is not the same as loving having your picture taken at the beach. I had to console Jacob after the ordeal by reading a musical card to him...about 7000 times. 

Monday passed too quickly... after a blistering hot run (and a hurting leg...this injury is really taking a while to resolve!) my sister-in-laws and I walked the 2-mile bridge to the beach where David met us with picnic supplies. We ate on the beach, then played around and got crispy and red. We used sun block, but it seems like a burn always sneaks up on me and I don't realize until too late. I already had hundreds of new freckles after my really sunny 5 mile run; now they're camouflaged on a hot pink background.
How was your memorial day?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

National Running Day discounts

June 1st is national running day. (How silly! Every day is national running day! )
In celebration, and to sucker you in, Rock n Roll is offering some deep discounts when you register on June 1, only.
SAVE $26 on any Marathon
SAVE $13 on any Half Marathon
SAVE $10 on any 10K
SAVE $5 on any 5K
In other news:
My hospital is going smoke-free May 31st. WELCOME TO THE 21st CENTURY.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NAIA Nationals

My little brother Abe is in Indiana this week for NAIA nationals. 
He's competing in the marathon.
He's the #2 seed in the nation in this event. 

I still have trouble wrapping my head around this. Abe? Little Abe, my charge for many years (we divided the kids up to make babysitting easier when we were growing up; Abe was "my" little boy)? Abe, the overweight teen? Abe, the freshman, who was never coached until this fall yet holds five school records?
That kid really amazes me!
Since the marathon favors older runners, not only is Abe the youngest runner, the entire field is pretty small. There just aren't that many college students running marathons competitively. Hopefully he'll place and be all-American! I wish I could have taken off work to be there.
Who wears short shorts?

He's racing Saturday, so I will keep you posted!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I can't run

Well, until my leg stops feeling like every night I shut in in a wood stove for fun, I probably shouldn't run. And I've been really good about staying off it, except for two 5-ks' (SO not worth it).
To remind you, I bought new shoes that were stiffer than I was used to and a full size too small...but I wore them anyway because I'm cheap and there weren't any larger sizes on clearance. After two ten milers the shin pain started; I've since self-diagnosed it as a stress fracture.
That's kind of cool because it gives me a "free" break from running. I mean, who can mock my laziness when my bones are ready to snap in two at the slightest impact?
Well, it turns out that inactivity makes me grumpy and pimply (fact), so I had to scrap that plan and come up with alternative forms of not-being-fat.
Problem? Almost everything hurts. I tried elliptical because everyone says it's low impact, and I can watch some of the NBA finals that way (we don't have ESPN or TNT). Surprise, it hurts if I put the resistance above 14. Anything under 12 makes me feel like I'm just bouncing my muscles, so that leaves me a very narrow range (hard to do intervals alternating between 12 and 13...boring). And truth be told, it hurts regardless - it's just more of a nagging ache that all out pain.
Running is out, except for races I already paid for.
Walking is even kind of out.
Cycling seems ok but I refuse to get up early enough for my gym's 6 am spin class, so I have been either borrowing my hubby's bike for rides in the park (fun, but I find it very hard to push myself and feel worked-out this way) or hopping on the exercise bike and cranking up either resistance or speed. I went to a spin class once...yeah, only once, I don't even remember how I got up that early... and the teacher told us not to let the rpms go under 120, so I aim for 120 - 140 throughout and keep that up for 30 - 45 minutes depending on how late I woke up. It's gets me sweaty as least.
The other exercise I've returned to is weight lifting. I used to lift weights every day when I was an undergrad. The perimeter of the south campus was exactly 2 miles, and the gym was in one corner, so I'd run one or two laps and end up at the gym (back then the run was just my warm up for the weights - I was slow and uninterested in running!). Then I'd do my little workout, alternating lower body days with abs/arms days. Somehow more running and more distance from my gym led me to forget about weights, only lifting one or two times a month, which did nothing but make me mildly sore for a day. Now that my work is close to the gym, it's easier for me to go, and I want to continue incorporating weights in my workouts. I like the "good-sore" feeling and the muscle tone.
The plan for now is to keep cycling and lightly ellipticaling and stay off the leg for another week. Friday is the Greek Fest 5k, and I am signed up. Initially I planned to run it and see how my leg felt after, but I'm considering skipping it (HORRORS). The reasons I might be ok with skipping it are:
1. It's a cash-prize race, which means all the fast people come out of the woodwork. My current 5k times would put me in 20th place compared to last year's finishers. In my current injured state I would probably finish even slower, and loathe myself.
2. My sister in law is having a birthday party at Greek Fest, and who wants to show up all smelly and gross to a party?
3. The only reason I ever signed up for any of these 5ks was to run one under 21 minutes, which I haven't done yet. And given my current limping, I absolutely won't do it next Friday.
In other words, I'm trying to make myself feel ok about skipping it. What do you think I should do?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foody Friday: bulk cooking

I cook a lot of beans. It comes from growing up poor, I think (I like to say dramatic stuff like that). Plus I like beans, what can I say? I have simple tastes. We have them once or twice a week, or until my husband complains.

This is basically what I do: Throw beans in the crock pot and cook them like this. Come home from work and start rice - make a double pot and save half for later in the week. Prep sausage and veggies and flavoring; add some to beans and freeze the rest in small batches.
I use turkey sausage to decrease grease

Here's what I made last night: I chopped 2 pounds of hot smoked turkey sausage, 4 celery stalks with leaves, 2 green peppers, an onion, and 4 clove of garlic. I stirred it up and microwaved it for ten minutes, then added seasoning: bay leaf, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, Tabasco, and some Tony's. I stirred it and microwaved it for another 6 minutes. I divided it up into 5 batches, so I can get 4 more meals out of this. Yet I only had to do the work once. The next time I make beans, I just defrost the sausage mix in the refrigerator and add it to the beans as soon as I come home. This gives the flavors time to blend.
I always make sausage, rice, beans, biscuits, bread dough, pizza dough, and roasted vegetables in bulk. Are there any foods you always cook in bulk?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dress it up

My new pharmacy has a small counseling room so I can talk to patients in private. It was looking a little bare, so I painted a picture for the wall. This is actually a large painting and I swear in real life it isn't crooked...darn Blackberry pictures. My baseboards are black so the frame matches.
I have two similar frames that hold 11 x 14" art; I just need to think of something to put in them. They'll go on the blank wall next to the wall above. Any ideas? I think I need to stick to the New Orleans theme, but since they're smaller it can't be too detailed. I was thinking two musicians, or maybe one of an oyster and one of a shrimp. Any other ideas?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Groceries in the ghetto

On the way home from work last night, I had to stop to buy milk. I live uptown, which means I have exactly zero grocery stores nearby (well, there's Roberts on Claiborne, but it's so expensive I shy away. However, they have the best French bread in town so I still make the occasional trip just for the bread!). I decided to make a quick stop at the Sav-a-Lot right by my old, the ghetto. So, I parked and got out, and was almost run over by a security guard chasing a shoplifter. The guard collared the man and they began struggling and shouting obscenities. I shrugged and went shopping.
Right outside the store another security guard was insisting a shopper put out her marijuana cigarette before entering.
So this Sav-a-Lot is repulsive. It reeks of sour milk, rotting fruit, and expired foods. There are heaps of dirt on the floor, and sadly - since it's inner city - there are about six vegetables (I mean actually six, not six different kinds) but a whole aisle for Little Debbie. There were long lines, so I parked my cart in one and ran to get my milk. I put my groceries on the belt, but it was broken and never stopped running. My groceries and those of the man in front of me tumbled to the floor. In the ensuing melee (BTW you do NOT want to get all up close to the Sav-a-Lot floor), the cashier rang my milk up with  the other guy's groceries. I pointed that out, but she shrugged. "Ain't got no manager, can't void," she said. So I pulled out my wallet and bought my milk back for cash from the guy. At least he was a good sport about it.
At Sav-a-Lot, you bag your own groceries, but they were out of bags. Luckily I bring my own, but I left the watermelon I bought unbagged. In the parking lot a young man walked up and gently but menacingly shoved my cart towards my car as I unloaded. "Hey," he said, "I can have that watermelon?" "Uh, NO, go buy your own," I snapped. I do not like people trying to take my food. I slammed my car door...but I could not back up because behind me a car was taking too long to pull out, so another driver had gotten out and was now engaged in a loud verbal war at the driver's window. Because that's apparently how we solve our problems. I drove the wrong way out of the lot and dragged my hard-earned groceries home.
I miss my old work neighborhood so much.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Al Briede 3 mile race review and recap

The review: This is a big race for local high schools, and it benefits Brother Martin. Lots of runners show up for both the 1 mile and 3 mile race, and quite a few track teams are present as the student rate is just $10! It's a popular race honoring Al Briede, who is 89 years old but still shows up every year. He started the race 44 years ago, making it one of the older races in New Orleans (well, the Thanksgiving race is like 102 years old, but whatever). I like that the pre-registration discount extends until less than a week before the race. The course itself is in City Park and it's pretty, flat, and fast. Post-race refreshments are plentiful, but again...who's eating at 9 am? During hotter years (this May is oddly cool), the 8:30 am start easily makes for 90 degree running weather.
The recap: It wasn't any 90 degrees this was beautiful!

I was running injured and completely unpracticed (I ran two short jogs this past week and that's it) so I didn't have high expectations. For me, if I skip even one day of running, my next run features painful extensor muscle (along the shin). I don't know why this happens, but it has always plagued me, so I expected to deal with that plus a darn fracture, worsened by my lack of practice. However, on my side was the gorgeous weather!
Since I didn't have anything to lose, I wore my new Saucony Racer Rides. Normally I wouldn't wear brand new shoes and style for a race, but it's just 3 miles and I figured this was a throw away race anyway!
Turns out I love my new racers! Yay! Light as a feather! Holy cow my quads are huge. 
I got to the start with not a second to spare, thanks to catching every single red light on the way, and I didn't warm up since I didn't want to waste a step on my hurt leg. I started out feeling good except for pain along the fracture; for the first two and a half miles I ran 6:30 - 6:40's. The pack thinned quickly (I started closer to the front this time), so by half a mile we were settled in. After the first mile I started edging up, but I didn't know my place since I hadn't seen who was leading me. As it turns out, I and another girl were trading 2nd and 3rd position for most of the second half of the race. I pulled ahead of her by mile 2, but at mile 2.5 my leg quit. Just walked off the job, just like that. No unemployment for that sucker! I can usually run through pain, but this was severe, stabbing pain and I was automatically limping. So I basically finished limping and sort of crying (I mean, it HURT) and the girl behind me passed me. I would have tried to catch her if I knew we were 2nd and 3rd because she caught me close to the finish line, but I had no idea whether I was second or twenty-second! I finished third but I was so obviously in pain that the sweet and kind race volunteers made the EMT come see me. But I'm stubborn so I said I was fine and walked off. But they put me in a golf cart anyway and I had to eat humble pie and be humiliatingly driven to my car.
So, that was bad. I obviously must take time off running, especially since now it hurts even when I stroll. I promise I will do that. But on the positive side, I know I have some speed in me. Even injured and un-trained, I did ok. When I'm 100%, I fully plan on kicking some 5k butt and making my sub-20 goal!

Friday, May 13, 2011


I think I have a stress fracture. I fractured my tibia because I wanted to be cool like Janae and SUAR. Actually, this is undiagnosed, but I have sharp, localized pain when I run or do stairs and actually when I first noticed the pain I could run my finger under the bone and feel a big egg (which has since subsided).
The other kind of egg, I mean.
 I think this happened because I was wearing too-small shoes: it occurred shortly after I bought new shoes that didn't fit and the pain started after two back-to-back ten milers, one of which was kind of fast.
So, the big question is, do I HAVE to rest it? I can deal with the pain if it's ok to run through it. I think a little running will just stimulate bone regrowth, right?
Also I have two races coming up, one this weekend, and I am NOT wasting the entry fee, so DUH I'm running that one at least. And actually I ran last week's 5k having already concluded that this was a stress fracture, and other than having to limp home I was just fine. So can I just ignore it and it will go away???
By the way, I am upset that this happened before I had a chance to publish my slightly arrogant "How to avoid injury" post. Trash that draft!
Are any readers doctors who can tell me it's ok to keep running, since all other forms of cardio make me want to slit my wrists?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Best troubleshooting ever.

I just bought a little coffee pot for work. (Now that I'm the boss I'm taking care of the IMPORTANT stuff).
The directions are hilarious.
 I love the solution to "The coffee is not brewing": "Wait for the power to be restored".
Also a treasure? "The coffeemaker only brews water". Solution, of course, is to add coffee grounds to the basket.

I personally think that people who require these troubleshooting tips are probably dangerous when caffeinated.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Étouffée 5k - Or, "I failed"

Saturday morning I ran a 5k kind of last minute. Our busy lives, dealing with Alfred's passing, my new job, etc has distracted me from the running scene, and I missed out on two 5k's I could have run. Suddenly this one appeared. It isn't hosted by the track club so I didn't get the usual email notification, thus I didn't find out about it until last Wednesday.
I decided to run it. Remember, I had a goal to run a 5k under 21 minutes. Well, here was a 5k! I had not started to train to increase speed at all (or distance for that matter - I've been majorly slacking) but I am running out of 5k options and the heat is increasing, making my chances for speed even worse than they are naturally.
The medals are crawfish...cute.

Turns out that the race is really fun. It's hosted by the Junior League and had all kinds of post-race food and entertainment. The only problem is that 5ks are so short, who wants to eat jambalaya and have a beer at 8:30 am? Anyway, they did a great job putting the race on and a great job advertising, too. There was a big turn out, so I guess I was the only person who didn't know about it! The course is entirely in Audubon park, so it's very pretty (although you have to share the track with regular runners and walkers).
So. I ran the race. I started too far back and too slow; then I sped up and did a good job of checking my Garmin for pace, but after that I fell into pace with another runner for a mile and too late realized that he was gradually slowing (and so was I). I finished in 21:26, almost exactly my last 5k time. It was good enough for third female and first age group award, although I didn't stick around for awards.
I'm disappointed that I have not improved my 5k at all. I know you can't expect to get faster without actually doing the speedwork (duh), but I should at least be able to apply my experience from my two previous 5ks. I failed at my goal.
What I want to say about this is, it's ok to say out loud that you failed something. Failed is a "bad" word, I know.. But we can't always give ourselves a break or we'll never improve. I read a lot of articles and blogs and books that excuse failure. People declare a specific time goal, don't make it, and declare that their goal was unrealistic. Books tell you to set goals, but recommend you have A, B, and C goals. Stories end with, "I didn't finish the race, but I did run farther than I've ever run before!". Articles encourage a positive spin on a bad race: "Every finisher is a winner".
But let's face it. We're not winners all the time. We set goals because we think they're valuable to achieve. We shouldn't devalue those goals just because we didn't attain them. The goals are still valuable: WE fell short.
I failed to achieve my goal in Saturday's race. I probably failed because I didn't prepare. That means I need to work harder and try again. If I excuse this failure, and tell myself that I should be pleased with placing or content with a free bowl of jambalaya, I bet you the bank I'll never run a faster 5k. Instead I'm admitting and accepting a failure and using that failure to motivate myself to improve.
Do you find that we no longer like to admit when we fail? Am I making any sense at all? Or is this just the MSG from dinner talking?

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm not the world's worst sister!!!

A few weeks ago, I came in from a walk and picked up my phone. I saw a missed call and my heart sank. It was from Joey, my little brother who joined the army. Right before they took the recruits' phones away for good, the boot camp directors (I'm pretty sure there is another term for would never guess I was a military brat, I'm so uninformed!) allowed one last phone call. Joey called me, and I didn't answer. I felt like a jerk listening to his message ("Don't call me back, they're taking our phones away after this,") and cried for a week.
Today I stepped outside for a minute to - OF ALL THINGS - spray-paint some cheap earrings gold because the plating wore off, and returned to see a missed call from a number I didn't recognize. I listened to my voicemail and couldn't understand a word, but I heard Joey's voice! I could not believe I'd missed his call again! I tried the number back, and it was busy. I tried four more times and each time I dialed I heard a busy signal. I decided to wait a minute and try once more, and to my surprise the phone rang and an unfamiliar voice answered. I asked for Joey, and the voice said, "Um, he'll call you back." Click. I waited, confused, but a few minutes later my phone rang. Joey was calling back! It turns out the guys got turns on a pay-phone, and when I called back a surprised soldier answered. True to his word he fetched Joey, who called me.
Joey and I caught up a little. He's doing well, although he's completely exhausted, and as it turns out is a crack-shot (oddly, since he's half blind. His glasses are helping now, but it's not like he's had any practice!). I asked about his knees, since he has an old and severe knee injury, but he told me they haven't been hurting him. He's made some good friends and is "avoiding the losers" (his phrase). One of the non-losers is the chaplain, which can't hurt, right?
I feel so much better after the conversation. He sounded cheery and upbeat and boot camp doesn't seem to be wearing him down at all. He said it was hard, but no harder than he expected. I know he's physically very fit, so I was mostly worried about his mental stamina and his old knee problem, and I was reassured on both points.
Joey, wondering why his family won't answer his phone calls

Best of all, I'm no longer the world's worst sister.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I love this - Dollar Store Cleaner

How can you not love something called

...Foaming bathroom disinfectant cleaner".
Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I chose a career in pharmacy because....

...the drug reps feed you lobster.
These crappy Blackberry pictures are why I'm not a food blogger...that and the suspicion that you'd get sick of seeing granola bars scarfed in lieu of lunch.

Dinner at Drago's was charbroiled oysters, salad, lobster, and cheesecake.

Question of the day: Do you eat the lobster liver? Because it's the best part. All juicy and full of toxins.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Run

Since my new schedule started, I've been trying to follow a strict regimen: Upstairs by ten (generally asleep by eleven - I just need a set time to start getting ready for bed, reading, setting out clothes for the next day, etc), wake up at six. The goal is to workout before my work day starts at nine and so far, so good. I haven't been very good about getting in longer runs, especially since I'm still trying to figure out the fastest route to work and want to give myself time to play with new streets and "shortcuts". Today is my short work day - just 6 hours, since I work 9 hours on other days - so I did ten miles this morning, and it felt good to get a longer distance in.
My only problem with this schedule is that I just don't like running in the morning. I feel sleepy and sluggish. I have been running on an empty stomach, even though I know coffee would help. I just don't want to have to make two pots (obviously I HAVE to have coffee after running, too,  to get me through the work day!).
Maybe I need this mug.

So, thoughts on morning running...

Do you have to have coffee or food first?
How far do you run on work days?
Why does morning running suck so much...or is it just me?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's been a long decade.

I hope Bin Laden's death brings closure to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, and brings a sense of safety to all of us in the free world.
And thank you to our armed forces for protecting us during this long decade.