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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

I'm at work today after closing at noon Tuesday to go home and prep for the storm. Isaac was what I expected, only more so: category 1 wind and rain, but lots of rain: the storm moved so slowly we've been soaked for almost two days. Ugh. New Orleans is fine, but some outlying parishes are in trouble. A locally-made and incomplete levee in Plaquemines Parish breached, badly flooding a neighborhood (which was under mandatory evacuation), and I'm just hearing that a dam on the Tangipahoa River is expected to fail in Mississippi, which could be a huge problem in the areas along the river. Other areas with flooding include those where the levees overtopped (only slight, and unfortunately a product of the excessive rain), along the north of the lake, and places with poor drainage.

My work never lost power, but our house has been without power since Tuesday night. Last night when the gusts died down we drove to David's parents' house. Their neighborhood has underground wiring and never lost power. I reopened my store today but we are pretty quiet! The hospital is still on lock-down so there just isn't much business.

David's work was cancelled for the rest of the week, and he is at home salvaging frozen foods (we already had an emergency ice-cream eating session). We expect to be out of power for another day at least given the widespread outages, but we're lucky to have family with power. Sleeping with AC is the best!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aw, heck.

Not again!
The weird thing about this is the coincidental similarities to 2005:

- In 2005 the weekend of the storm there was a preseason game in the dome - just like this year.
- In 2005 I was in Monroe, La the week before Katrina. Back then I was in pharmacy school; I drove down to visit my boyfriend (now husband) the Friday before the storm. This year I was in Monroe this week, too, teaching a class.
- In 2005 the neighborhood was crowded with families moving their kids IN to apartments for the start of the school year at Tulane and Loyola. Meanwhile the locals were moving OUT to evacuate! It was such a mess! This weekend, too, was a flurry of unloading and goodbye kisses and new tenants.

Let's just hope this guy weakens and turns.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weight training: keeping my whole body strong

I'm kind of sort of starting to slowly run again, just a little, under close supervision. Honestly the pain is a tad worse or about the same as it was before I started seeing doctors or PTs, and I'm happy with that. After all, it's not like I couldn't run with this pain before. I did multiple 20 milers and ran two subsequent marathon PRs with the same nagging pain. Kind of wish I skipped the whole go-see-a-doctor-before-this-gets-worse thing.

In the meantime, I'm trying to make sure I don't neglect strength work - since that seems to be my ticket to injury. Even though I have a gym membership, I don't use it often: it's not near the house, so it isn't convenient if I just want to do a quick 15 minutes of weights. I only go there if I have a pressing need to see sweaty old men giving themselves hernias on the ab machines.

I'll leave these in the living room à la frat boy.
Instead, I've been doing a some workouts at home. For starters, I got some dumbbells (That word always reminds me of when my brother Joey was walking around the house with a dumbbell in each hand - kind of showing off - and my mom commented, "Hm, three dumbbells." Isn't she sweet?)
I bought these online from Walmart and at $20 for the set, they're a deal. Other dumbbells were in the neighborhood of $60 each. The minimum weight is 5 lbs; the max is 30 - should work for my purposes.

Then I decided it was time to try some full-body workouts, since otherwise I would just look at the weights in the corner and nod my head in contentment at the great price I got (which is really a great neck workout guaranteed to prevent double chins).

So I went to the library and got two workouts from both the Biggest Loser trainers. I did the one by Bob and it was ok, but it's an entire hour so I split it into two workouts. That means I probably didn't get the benefit of the whole workout. It does also have a 15 minute quick workout, which I haven't done yet either. I had to return the DVD but of course I copied it to itunes. I think that's ethical...I mean, I already didn't pay, it was a library borrow. And it's for personal use. Anyway my lawyer husband did it for me, and he ought to know, right?
 I haven't tried Jillian but I assume she yells at you.

Since I left my core out last year and ended up injured, I'm also paying attention to my core. Core is pretty easy to fit in, and there are plenty of choices, so I do something different every time. One option is the Pilates workout on Yoga Download.  I like it and it's mostly core. Of course I do the free class (in case you haven't noticed, I'm cheap) and there's a little glitch with it - the workout mp3 doesn't match the pose guide; it kind of skips a section. But you can figure it out yourself so I just pause the sound while I do that part.

So that's how I plan to stay strong and develop imbalance injuries. And there's nothing like getting all buff just in time for cold weather, covered-up clothes either, right? Right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's up in my life...

- The large house next door has an empty apartment. It's been empty since the end of the school year, and since then the fire alarm has been beeping every 15 minutes. It has me on a hair-trigger temper. Look at me wrong and I'll slap your face.
- I went to a surprise birthday party last week for a member of my running club. I got to see all those crazy kids again. They're all running without me. I thought we discussed that if I got injured, nobody was allowed to run?
- Abe moved out. He's been on my couch since getting back from Denmark a month and a half ago; finally he found a place. It is disgusting. I helped him clean and I have never seen a place so filthy. It took me an hour to vacuum just his bedroom, that's how dirty it was. I'd die before living there. But the kid does need to get out of my house.
- David and I are looking for another church. We've been at the same church since we got married, but as time has passed both the demographic of the church and the safety of the neighborhood has changed. I'd like to go to church with other people our age, and I don't relish going to church in the ghetto. So it's time to look for something else.
- Lately I am obsessed with extra sharp cheddar on whole wheat saltines with hot red pepper jelly. So delicious.
- It has rained every day here for weeks. My basil and mint plants have gone crazy and turned into a big savory forrest, but my rosemary hates it.
- My husband actually ventured to ask if I would let him observe in the kitchen. This is the man who can't cook cold cereal, so I'm hoping for a kitchen miracle that involves me not slaving over the stove for an hour every day.
- Example of slaving? Spicy swiss chard and fresh mozzarella salad with homemade green onion sausage in a rice crust. Maybe I need to just make a darn ham sandwich and call it a night.
- David and I got together for dinner with most of his study group from law school this weekend. I realized to my surprise that David was the only member still in his thirties...and I was the only person there in my twenties of course! We're all getting old!
- This week I'm driving 5 hours to Monroe, La, to do a training program for some pharmacists. I was expected to drive there and back in one day, plus squish in a 4 hour class. Oh, and this is on the day when I am only scheduled to work 6 hours. I said no thanks, I'll take a hotel please. Sheesh!
- A new sushi place is coming to my neighborhood, this one just blocks away. I'll surely die of mercury poisoning.

What's up in your life?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's fun not to run.

The benefits of injury:
- I have ten toenails
- I can snooze my alarm
- Sometimes my hair isn't sweaty
- I have free time
- I can use light-colored polish on my toes
- I've saved hundreds in race fees
- The permanent maroon scar under my jog bra, it turns out, is not really permanent
- The only callouses on my feet right now are from high heels
- I'm making my Saucony Kinvara I's last even longer
- I haven't bought Gu in almost a year
- My grocery bill has gone down to a reasonable amount
- At least one fewer load of laundry a week
- I remembered I have other hobbies
- There are days when all I wear are real clothes
And last but not least, I don't spend the last few seconds before drifting off each night in a momentary confused panic about what my morning run schedule calls for!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A discovery!

I went in to the PT Tuesday and we made a shocking discovery!

I have scoliosis!
Oh wait. I already knew that. I just forgot to tell my doctor(s) or PT. I just totally forgot about it. I get the idea that this could have been sort of important information for my docs to know. 

I was lying flat on my back on the table and the PT noticed that one hip bone jutted higher than the other. Then he saw that one rib cage was concave instead of convex and asked me about scoliosis. Well, lots of people have mild spinal curvature, so I never thought much about it, but the shifted pelvis is causing muscle shortening and pain - initially from overuse and not enough strengthening exercises, now exacerbated by chronic inflammation. 
This is good news and bad news.
Yet another set of PT exercises...

The bad new, of course, is that the root cause is something I cannot do anything about. The good news is that I've run without pain before, so I should be able to do so again - and now we know for sure where to target. For example, my quads always appeared to be very loose and healthy, but now my PT is having me stretch the right quad since it has been incrementally shortening.
I woke up the day after my first day on the new exercises and was so sore and stiff I couldn't walk. That's not good, but maybe it means I'm hitting the right areas!
I'm going back to PT next week so I will keep you updated on any progress! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I've been tagged!

By these two ladies:
EMZ. The incomparable EMZ. The 24-hour tread-miller, racer and runner extraordinaire!
And by Jayloh. No, not J-Lo. This Jayloh has a cuter family!And she's my partner in injury right now, poor us.

The Liebster Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Rules for receiving this award:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs. ;)

So. Here we go, my eleven things:

1. I am not scared of spiders, but I don't like other bugs.
2. My contact prescription is 20/695. Ouch.
3. Along the same lines, if I take my contacts out I immediately fall asleep. If I can't see anything, why stay awake?
4. My lips are always chapped.
5. I carry a water bottle with me at all times.
6. I've only been to NYC once and I kind of didn't like it. Isn't that terrible?
7. I started drinking coffee when I was ten, which is nothing compared to my brother Sam, who at age three used to help himself to coffee in his sippy cup!
8. I read the Dear Abby column in the paper every morning to remind myself how normal and peaceful my life is.
9. I don't like soda at all.
10. When I sneeze I get chill bumps all over my body. I thought this happened to everyone, but apparently not.
11. The only team sport I ever played was soccer when I was five, and I spent the whole time running away from this kid named Antonio who kept trying to kiss me.

And now for part 2:
EMZ's questions:
1. Favorite social media?
Facebook. It's how I stalk my siblings.
2. Favorite post workout meal?
Scrambled eggs and club soda.
3. Clean the house or do yard work?
Clean the house. We don't have a yard and we do have gardeners for the tiny square of green in the back!
4. Favorite gift you've ever received?
When we were just dating, and right after the devastation and financial strain of Hurricane Katrina, David bought me diamond earrings. That really meant a lot to me. He proposed 9 months later.
5. Do you look most like your mom or dad?
Good question. I have my mom's Armenian coloring and broad face, but my nose and mouth look like my dad's.
6. If you could go any where in the world - where would you go?
All the places.
7. Workout alone or with a group?
Usually alone.
8. Favorite song at the moment?
You know, I've been humming "On the street where you live" a lot!
9. Three qualities of your best friend.
Loyal, clever, kind.
10. Favorite Olympic event?
Men's figure skating.
11. Why did you start blogging?
To have an online journal.

Jayloh's questions:

1. What is your favorite run/race/activity you have participated in?
I felt best about my Louisiana Marathon performance, but the Baton Rouge Beach race might be my favorite.
2. Do you run with a group or solo?
Both - group runs for speedwork once a week; alone the rest of the time.
3. What part of the country do you live in:
New Orleans. It's its own country.
4. What is your favorite machine at the gym?
I like the decline bench, but it's not really a machine. Well, it's a simple machine. The ramp.
5. What healthy dish do you like to make?
I'm a big fan of beans and rice. Cheap, easy, healthy, delicious. A pound of beans is less than fifty cents.
6. What is your favorite easy snack food?
Cheese and crackers.
7. What brand of athletic shoe do you prefer?
Saucony at the moment. Used to be Karhu before they got famous.
8. Who is your favorite athlete?
Right now it's Leo Manzano!
9. What sport do you wish you could compete in the Olympics?
Is there pie eating?
10. Red, white or blue:
White. Always classic.
11. Favorite Travel Spot:
Atlanta...because my godchildren live there! And my sister! Win-win!

And part three is where I tag other people and leave my eleven questions!
1. Peanut butter and?
2. Underdog or fan favorite?
3. What is your earliest childhood memory?
4. Worst race fiasco?
5. Favorite vegetable?
6. What do you think the speed limit should be?
7. Favorite sport to watch live?
8. What did you eat for breakfast?
9. Name the Olympic sport with the worst scoring system.
10. Red wine, white wine, or beer?
11. If you splurge, is it sweet or salty?

Now I tag people! How about three runners I follow and learn from?
Tia, super speedy running mom
Ginny, a fellow hot-weather runner: only she has hills, too!
Katie, a marathoning mom who runs with a team

Sunday, August 12, 2012

THE ELLIMPICS: Gymnastic all-around attempt!

I'm so grateful to XLMIC for hosting the Ellimpics, a chance for the injured runners amongst us to showcase their talents in other sports. 
She's been wowing us with elliptical 10ks that smash my running PRs. I, however, chose to participate in the gymnastics all-around competition. 

My first exercise?

Vault was a resounding success, and the strength of my vault definitely foretells how I'll do on the rest of the apparatus. It certainly mattered when it came to event #2, bars. 

Bars gave me a little trouble. 

But I'm pretty good at bars since I've had lots of experience, and I pulled out a strong performance. 
Home-field advantage on the bars.

I think I nailed that one, especially the move named after myself: the Gracie. It's brandy, vermouth, and fresh mint over ice. Not the most difficult out there, but so smooth.

Unfortunately the biggest challenge was the beam. I completely muffed that. 

That's not Jim Beam. That's some kind of cooking whiskey.
You know what they always say, it's hard to do back flips and somersaults with only a few inches of Beam. I'd need at least a pint. 

With just one more event to go, I was worried about my score. Luckily it was my strongest event: floor. 

The thing about floor is that I'm just so comfortable with it. And I really have my technique down: I am so relaxed while competing. 

My overall score? Well, there were some big deductions on beam. Then I had some wobbles on bars, but I really stuck the landing and that counts for something. And I pulled out a great floor routine. How do you think I scored???

Thanks XMLIC for a chance to compete in the Ellimpics! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

In which I stump the doctor

Here's how my latest ortho appointment went down:

Dr. M: Why are you soaking wet?
Me: I got caught in the rain.
Dr. M: Hm. You didn't run through the rain, did you? I said no running.
Me: [exasperated sigh] No. I walked. I'm in heels.
Dr. M: So are you all better? Because I have no idea what's wrong with you.
Me: No. Still hurts. What are you going to do about this?
Dr. M: Well, PT never hurt anyone...
Me: Except me.
Dr. M: You can try a topical NSAID...I mean, if you think it's inflamed...
Me: Hey! You're the doctor! You tell me if it's inflamed!
Dr. M: Are you taking any supplements? Calcium and vitamin D might be useful.

You get the gist. We're at our wits' ends. To make this visit more awkward, we had to do the lovely groin palpation. Honestly I don't care. He's a doctor. Palpate and be done with it. But Dr. M is terribly shy and embarrassed about it and refuses to make eye contact for the whole rest of the visit. I find this kind of funny, but I think my laughter is not helping matters.

I went for a run the day after the visit. It hurt. Everything hurt. And I'm out of shape. Oh, and it got hot out, too. I forgot about the stifling heat.

So. No improvements over here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My new hero

Leo Manzano.
From USA today

What heart! After his gutsy qualifying performances I knew from the very start of the 1500 he'd be on the podium. Here's a guy with more skill, talent, and soul than built-in ability (He's only 5'5"). It's such a pleasure to watch him race!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forget the Olympics.

Preseason is here! And the Who-Dat Nation celebrates the return of the Saints with style. Lots of style. Really, I got this embossed invitation in the mail and I thought I was invited to a wedding.

Nope, just our neighbor's Saints game party.

He cleverly named his house "Randisle", a play on the barrier island Grand Isle, a vacation destination and a poor place to live in case of a hurricane. 

He even had his cups emblazoned!
I've given up on the camera timer. Phone and mirror to the rescue. 

We went over for a little, and I broke out the swingy Saints T-shirt I wore for the Louisiana Marathon last January. But I left after a few minutes: it was hot and crowded and I couldn't see the game! I left David to represent and walked home to watch by myself. I brought my Randisle cup with me. Good thing there isn't an open container law here.

Of course I've been watching the Olympics, too. Even though I'm a pathetic sprinter, I love watching the sprints; and watching Farah and Rupp go one-two in the 10000m pretty much made my summer. I was banking on Rupp on the podium - I just knew he had the savvy to pull that off (and Farah's presence couldn't have hurt, right?).

What have you been watching in the Olympics? And are you ready for football season?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bloggy Love

I won a fab giveaway for a Nuun bottle with Nuun from Caroline the other day. It took me forever to get it because my work post office likes to keep interesting packages and go through them, so I thought maybe I'd be healed up and ready to run by the time I got them. Unfortunately I'm still injured, so the Nuun is still untasted! And no, I've never actually tried Nuun before, so it will be a big surprise.
Thanks, Caroline! And I hope YOUR injury goes away soon and that it isn't the same thing I have  :(

And speaking of blogs...
Melissa gave me the Beautiful Blogger award, reserved for only the most beautiful amongst us. Haha.
So beautiful. 

I'm supposed to tell you seven random things about me, but I'm running out of meaningfully random things, so instead you get seven random tidbits from this week.
1. The druggies have been out in force this week, I don't know why. I had to notify the DEA about four people just on Friday! One of them was attempting to create a fake identity to fill a prescription under, since in Louisiana we track all controlled substance fills.  But since you have to show a government ID I busted her.
2. I had another business trip this week, and it was with my boss and another coworker and his boss. It's stressful to travel with your boss.
3. While on said business trip the other  employee, no names mentioned, had 19 drinks in the course of the evening - all dirty martinis except for two cucumber margaritas - plus a shot of tequila. I was floored. I have never seen so much alcohol imbibed at one time. I should add that it was his birthday.
4. On the return flight, I ran into a couple from my running club. They were returning from a checkup at MD Anderson. I was shocked to hear this because I didn't even realize the husband had cancer. Actually, he had a stem cell transplant right about the same time I started running with the group, so I didn't know. And he ran through the entire recovery period! He paced his wife to a 3:50 marathon this spring - her goal was to break 4 hours.
5. While watching the Olympics I made a sweater for a friend's new baby. Now I'm working on some embroidery.
6. I started taking fish oil - and I never take any supplements! - in hopes that it will help with my adductor tendon issues.
7. I accidentally bought something called a "slimcado", a reduced-fat avocado. It was unpleasant. Apparently it's the fat that gives avocados their delicious creaminess. This fruit was hard, watery, and slightly sweet - almost similar to a cucumber or honeydew melon. Not at all satisfying.

I should be passing this one on, but as usual I'm so late getting around to anything that I think it's made its rounds if you would like to participate, help yourself, all you have to do is prove that you really are a beautiful blogger by producing a picture at least as hot as mine above.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Amazed by Houston

Whenever I take a business trip to Houston I'm amazed that its inhabitants are content to undergo such brutal commutes every day. That place is a hot mess. The admin at the offices we were visiting told me that in a year, her commute went from 30 minutes to over an hour. In a giant SUV (the only car they sell in Houston, apparently).
I just can't believe how much driving people do just to complete everyday tasks. Crazy.

By the way our ride to the airport was a $78 taxi fair, took over an hour, and involved being pulled over by a cop for unsafe lane change, during which time it was discovered that our driver had a valid license, but not a chauffer's license. And we had to lie and say we were just his friends and he was just borrowing this taxi. Anything to get to the airport on time.

My short trip was to attend a conference that I actually got a lot out of (shocking, I know!) and was a good chance to talk to peers from other pharmacy systems. Of course, now I'm on clean-up mode at work and have a booming headache. I brought workout clothes for the trip, but our tight schedule didn't leave time, and I ate junk for every meal since food was provided. Now I feel fat, gross, and ill. But I slept in so no workout this morning: it can wait until tonight. I needed the sleep, too! The rest of the week I'll try to get back into a routine and eat some fresh foods. I haven't had a piece of fruit in days!

How do you stay healthy when you travel? I actually brought some granola and an apple in case I was in a snacking situation and needed something less junky than what I could find, but having our meals chosen for us certainly limited choices for the most part.