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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nike's best

A few months ago, I reviewed a new pair of Nike shorts: the Crew, a kind of cheap option for running shorts. But just a couple of weeks into ownership, one pair developed a hole in the key pocket! I contacted Nike customer service, and they asked me to mail them the pair for inspection. Shortly thereafter, I received a voucher for $35 to the Nike online store. The company policy is to give a voucher for the price of the product new, which is nice, and the whole process was pretty easy. You do have to pay to send your item to them - no shipping label provided - so I can see how it may not be worth it. These shorts were light and flat enough to stick in an envelope with a couple of stamps, but shoot, Fed Ex is like ten bucks a package! And if Nike decides that the damage isn't due to workmanship, you're just out that ten dollars (not sure if you have to pay them to return ship to you or not; I do know that you have an option to ask them to recycle your damaged item, rather than return it to you, if they choose not to refund you).

So now, here I am, with $35 worth of Nike product to buy, but - I don't know what to buy! I used to wear tempo shorts, and the last two pairs I owned lasted for many years. I also ran many, many races in a pair of black Nike shorts I got on Ebay that I think are tempos, but fit a little shorter and slimmer. I like these shorts a lot, because lately tempos seem voluminous and big all over, which fast becomes uncomfortable in sweaty conditions. So if I could find something like this I'd buy it. I still have those shorts, but I "save" them, so I rarely wear them; a second pair would be nice.
Crescent City Classic, my 10kPR...in black tempo shorts

Acutely tearing already damaged hip labrum thanks
to many misdiagnoses - and winning overall female -
in black tempo shorts

Marathon PR and one of my funniest race pictures...in black tempo shorts.

If you know what variation these shorts are, and if something similar is still available, let me know! Otherwise, what's your favorite Nike running product? Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Career twist

I got an MBA, I've been killing it at work, and I've been here for a while - the next step is to move into management obviously, right?
Well, no. It would make sense. But I have now turned down a promotion three times. I did get the MBA with the assumption that I'd eventually be forced to move into management and out of my pharmacy, but with another restructuring (we've done one every year for three years) it looks like I might have a loophole. And I'll take it.

I just kind of want to stay a pharmacist. So the career twist is that I want to stay just where I am. I know it's not a smart longterm move: never turn down a promotion! But a promotion would take me totally out of patient care, and straight into a very different area of work. I'm not ruling out an eventual move up, but for now I want to stay with my patients.

And as for career incentives, well, I'm never really sure what's next with my company. Since management roles keep changing, I could be setting myself up for a job with less interest to me, or one that could be eliminated in the future. But a pharmacist? A pharmacist is always needed.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Showing my age

Ten birthday miles
Happy birthday to me, I can't wait to go grocery shopping and then buy a new mop tonight!
Woot.
I feel every bit of 35 as I try to take care of my rogue knee. I went to my doctor and he's not concerned. Imaging showed no damage or even signs of arthritis (yay!), so he thinks it's an inflamed fat pad under my knee cap. I'm supposed to take some antiinflamatories, but you know how that usually goes - I am kind of anti-NSAIDs.
Meanwhile, I switched out my regular shoes, since my last pair had close to 450 miles. Better safe than sorry!

This morning I ventured out with the group for 2k cutbacks with 3 min jogs, which I ran (far behind the others) in 6:54, 6:42, and 6:38 pace. Not bad considering it was 92% humidity (but only 80 degrees). Now off to celebrate at the grocery store...because, yeah, I saved my least-favorite chores for tonight.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Frostbitten

I'm actually sitting here shivering in 69 degree weather. Somebody call an ambulance! My fingers are turning black and falling off!


But really. I hate that the gulf is full of hurricanes, but who can complain about cool weather? Today we had an aerobic run on schedule: eight to ten miles of "90-95% marathon pace feel". You know what? That's kind of hard to gauge in this weather. I met up with a small group, and the miles flew by at about 7:11 pace. In warmer weather, I'd be at 7:30, maybe 7:40. But this was conversational pace, so we went with it. Here's hoping that the old adage is true: fall PRs are built in the summer!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wal-mart running haul

A few weeks ago, my long run brought me home miserable and limping, my feet covered in blisters. I took my shoes off to discover that there was more hole than yarn to my socks. And they weren't alone. Almost all of my socks were threadbare. It was time for a Wal-mart trip. See, I only wear Wal-mart socks. They're cotton, they're cheap, and I'm used to them. As for durability...well, that aspect could be improved. A six pack costs $6.97 and usually lasts me two years.

Now you know I can't possibly drag myself to that outpouring of God's wrath at humanity, Wal-mart. Luckily, you can order online, and luckily, I could add enough Smucker's peanut butter to my cart to qualify for free shipping. And at the last minute, I threw some tank tops in the cart:

These tops were $3.93, and since most of our local races have started offering cute, every-day T-shirts instead of tech T's, I am running out of tops to wear. These claim to be wicking material (up for debate; I'd say they're moderately wicking), are sort of billowy, and have a racerback. They're oddly tight in the chest, not usually a problem for me (although I do have a broad chest/back, I'm not exactly Dolly Parton, so this is a rare problem in a running shirt). I give them 2/5 stars, except nothing at Wal-mart can ever qualify for 5 stars in my mental rating system. I withhold that final star because putting "five star" and "Wal-mart" in the same sentence violates my sensibilities. So it's more like 2/4, or 50%. Good enough for me. I'm not picky.
What are you running in lately? What are your go-to running socks?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Running is just whatevs

I can't say I'm LOVE LOVE LOVING running these days. I'm feeling indifferent because:

  • It's not a terribly warm summer, but it's always hot and really sticky and I feel disgusting
  • We've had a really rainy year, and I've been running in ankle-deep water often. I don't usually mind running in the rain, but this has been excessive. I need to dry out!
  • I'm not seeing any speed progress?! 
  • I am a tad injured. First my calf a few months ago, now my right knee keeps filling with fluid post-run. I hate this "it doesn't hurt but I'm not 100%" ambiguous nonsense.
Post long-run. 
To help with my knee, I have been doing these exercises. And boy, was I sore for the first few days!
You know what would make me feel better? I cooler day and a race or two. I need to find some race to run! 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Helping Houston

Twelve years ago, it was New Orleans that was flooding, and Houston opened her arms to evacuees. Now, Houston needs our help.

What better way to remember Katrina than to serve those facing the same challenges today?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Earned it!

They don't give them away to anyone: you have to earn one!
I am not freakishly tall...we just skew short as a club! 

And somehow I did, through my mediocre paddling along...but hey, here's inspiration to really show up at my next race. I've got a Powermilers singlet now!

Paige, Dave, and I all earned a singlet. Paige and I are training for Houston together...for now. Girl is FAST. She'll be blowing by me in no time. But for now we're good training partners: I am a better pacer, but she is faster. We balance well!
Tonight we did 4x1 mile at half marathon pace with 3 minute jogging rest, followed by 4x100m strides. We did them on the winding walking path since the track was really chewed up. We had some trouble with time because Paige and I were getting different readouts on our Garmins - hers always says we're running faster than mine does. It felt...oddly easy. Don't ask me how. It was ten million degrees. But we were just cruising. A harbinger of faster workouts to come? I hope so!
6:40, 6:38, 6:42, 6:48 (goal was 6:45... like I said, we have pacing issues!). We came off the last one feeling fresh and intended one more, but coach shut it down. So four it was.

Tomorrow, just five recovery miles. I kind of like this training plan thing!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Done!

That's a wrap! Last test done, and in a few weeks I'll officially have my MBA!
Getting ready to take my final final

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Training commences

I guess when you train with a group - and a real training plan - marathon work starts a lot earlier. We're already getting started building our base for Houston in January!

Track Tuesday was the beginning of longer workouts, and it was amazing - because despite rain early in the workout, the weather turned out gorgeous. It was the first time I've run in weather under 80F in months!
(This weather prediction lied. It was 96 on Wednesday.)
We were doing 6x1000m at 6:45 with 2-3 minute jog, so the easy pace and ample rest felt good, too. The only problem occurred when my group switched pacers - I can pace pretty well on the track, but Paige is newer to track and struggled to get the pace right. After a rep at 6:50 and one at 7:00 (!), I was forced to take the leader spot over again. After the 1000ms, we finished with 4x150m strides with a walk-back rest after each one. Altogether, we ran 6 miles plus 3 in warm up and cool down. Then we enjoyed some of the beautiful sunset:


Hopefully the combination of longer, slower reps plus leg-turnover-encouraging strides will get me ready for a fast race in January!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the schedule: Houston!

In response to overwhelming peer-pressure, I registered for the Chevron Houston Marathon in January.

My running group, the Powermilers, is competing as a team, and that means that a huge group of friends will be going (I think maybe 20 of us are running). I jumped on the bandwagon for a few reasons:

  • Our team coach? president? all around good guy? (and also my acupuncturist) Jimi offered to write a group raining plan, and it makes sense for me to be doing the same race as everyone else (or at least a race on the same weekend). 
  • After two marathons in which the final miles were basically solitary non-confinement, I miss the crowds (both spectators and runners) like I had at Twin Cities. Especially as a women, big races are helpful: at my pace, I'll have plenty of people around me at all times. This won't hold as true for faster guys, but it does for my finishing times. I might get some help pacing that way!
  • Houston is pretty close, and flights are cheap.
  • I already registered for RnR New Orleans, like I do almost every year, but that stupid race is in MARCH. It will be 80 degrees here in March. I'll take a shot at Houston in January and hope for the best.
This is pretty long-term planning for me! Got any winter races on your schedule already?


Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend recap

My weekend was delightfully laid back! It looked like this:
School: Just some studying while I watched the track and field championships. I'm so excited to only have one test left!
So, these championships: Obviously I'm loving our steeplechasers, especially our women and their 1-2 finish. And I'm really excited to see Torie Bowie kicking butt and getting better. She gets credit for the 4x100 relay, too. Things I'm not so thrilled about include NBC's egregious ignoring of Paul Chelimo's 5000m bronze - they did not even mention his name until going into commercial break, and here is a man who has served his country twice, both in the U.S. Army and representing us as a runner - and our men's 4x100 relay finish. Silver was weak. And I'm in camp Gatlin-is-a-drug-using-cheat.
Long run splits
Partying: Saturday night was a surprise birthday party for Dave, a member of my running group. His wife did a great job planning his party: for one thing, the "surprise" was that she told him an hour before the party that they were having a huge birthday blowout. So it was nice and easy for the guests. Surprise parties stress me out! And she is also a great cook, so the food was delicious. The only problem was the timing: late nights with wine don't bode well for long runs early the next day.
Running: I really need to get a grip on my weekend running, or really my running schedule altogether. Right now I'm taking either Thursday or Friday off, but I'm doing my more intense strength/weights that day. That's leaving me sore for the weekend, and then I feel obligated to take advantage of the available time on the weekend and run long both Saturday and Sunday. But it's hurting the quality. Saturday I did ten miles, mostly easy, but I threw in two sets of 5xhills, with full recovery after each set. It was brutally hot and humid, and I came home with the kind of drenched exhaustion I'd normally feel after a hard workout. I think I overdid it. Sunday morning I was slightly hungover, dehydrated, tired from Saturday, and sore from Friday, so yes, that long run sucked.
Soon after we started running, our pace starting to drop to the 7-teens and 7:20's. At our first water stop, I told the rest of the group to expect me to be back of them: I just can't - and shouldn't - run my long runs at that pace. I dropped down to 7:40's instead. My overall pace for the 14 miles was 7:46, and I'm fine with that. I generally like my long runs to be a lot faster than many people run them, but no faster than 30 seconds over marathon pace. Seven-forty-five is exactly 30 seconds over my current race pace. Of course, when I got home, I realized that I had clocked a 9:20 first mile, which was in no way accurate: I'd forgotten to stop my watch when I reached our meet-up spot (in reality, I booked it to the park, because I was running late!). So my overall pace was actually off - too fast. Still, an improvement over some of the 7:30 long runs we've logged, although I did miss having company!
Chores: You don't really need to hear about me cleaning my house, do you? No, I didn't think so. But I did repaint some frames for my dining room. I bought these rather beautiful gray frames, which you can see here:
This is actually a watercolor I did for my brother,
but it's the same frame - they were buy one, get one
free, so I bought four. 

But in my dining room, gray didn't work. There were too many dark woods and no other gray. It was too light, and there were too many wood colors happening in one space. So I repainted the frames, and also moved them to the higher shelf on our mantle, and I like it much better.
Now the frames pick up the color of the Japanese screen and
the fireplace - both a brick red color.

And that's about the extent of my artistic endeavors this week. Some weeks I'm just not that creative!
How was your weekend? What are your highs and lows of the championships?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My cadence is crap

I did this brief foray into Strava this Spring, and while I ultimately deleted the account, it did have some useful features.

One thing I've noticed (besides the hilarity that is the elevation here: I'll run ten miles and only see elevation go up or down 1 foot!) is that my cadence is TERRIBLE. Like, so bad. If 180 is the goal, I'm nowhere near. I'm usually under 170!
Now, for my tempo run last week, I hit 179 at 6:50 pace, so maybe it's mostly speed related. Maybe my slow-down-and-speed-up steps when I stop and start affect my average (it does seem like runs where I stop a lot have a lower cadence). But if that's the case, wouldn't other peoples' cadence show the same thing? And I can see their cadence on Strava, and everyone else is much closer to 180 (some are over 180!).

By the way, once I deleted Strava, I can view the same data on Garmin Connect, like this run from Saturday: it's a typical moderately-easy 8 minute pace run, but my cadence is just 168. It does seem - although maybe I'm looking at this wrong - that my cadence is worst at the beginning of the run. Do I just need to find my groove?


So, what should I do about this? Does it really matter? Does higher cadence correlate with faster race times? Will taking more steps help me stay healthy?

Has anyone ever increased their cadence? How did you do it? Did you notice an improvement in time or decrease in injury?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Track torrents

Was the rain done? Could I actually run NOT in ankle-deep water?
Ah, no. Not at all.
David stuffing my shoes with paper for me
Our Tuesday track was at Pontiff playground, which, interestingly enough, Jefferson Parish purposefully floods during rainstorms, with pumps dumping into its bowl of green space. It was dry enough for track by Tuesday night, though - for a minute. Two reps into our 6x800, it started raining, and by rep three, we were sliding in mud on the cinder track. I was working with Paige, and we agreed to complete our last two reps on the roads, but that was barely better: my shoes have little traction, and again, we were sloshing through ankle-deep water. Our pace suffered!

We could have done a few more reps, but we called it at six: the minimum the workout called for. I was just sick of it. I'm at the point where all of my shoes are soaking wet!

Today we started building a base for upcoming marathon training. Most of the group is doing a winter marathon, and at present we're looking at evaluating our fitness to ensure our paces and goals make sense. Then we'll start training in earnest. I just hope I can stay healthy for the duration.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekend happenings and floodings

Last week was crazy for both me and David. I can't believe how much work piles up in just two days off! We both headed into work with plates full, and my week was complicated by a personnel issue (what else is new?) and the first of the month - always the busiest day in pharmacy. Then I also had a test for school and a couple of evening work events, so we hit the weekend exhausted!

I got on the road a little late Saturday, but I managed ten easy miles anyway. I didn't want anything hard, because I did a workout Friday night (it should have been Thursday morning, but I had my test schedule for Thursday at 6 am! And then I woke up too late Friday to fit it in before work). So Saturday was a warm 8+ min mile ten miler - no hills, no strides, no anything with any particular effort.

After that sweaty run, I cleaned the house, then entertained my friend Celeste for some afternoon cheese and wine. Celeste is a busy neurology resident, and hasn't been running much, which makes me sad. I miss running with her! She biked over from her place in the Marigny, and got caught in pouring rain, but since the rain had stopped while she was at our house, she decided to bike back. We offered to give her a ride, because we were actually going the same way since we had plans in the French Quarter, near her house, but she likes to bike and declined. She biked off, and we left shortly after - only to realize that every neighborhood besides ours was flooding! The rain had started again, and we were actually close to flooding in our car. We managed to navigate out of the water, but David's bumper got swept off in rushing water! We realized when we got home that many other neighborhoods flooded badly. Celeste got home safely, but in double the normal time, and water was thigh-high on her in some places!
See more, with video, at http://wgno.com/2017/08/05/widespread-flooding-hits-new-orleans-saturday-afternoon/
See slideshow here 

We ended up rescheduling our Saturday night plans (visiting my college roommate) for Sunday, and got Thai takeout and watched an episode of Endeavor instead. I rarely watch TV, but this series is so good!

Sunday, I hesitantly joined the rest of the Power Milers for our long run. The ground was soggy, but the forecast claimed a 0% chance of rain, so we'd be fine...right?
Nope. I and eight or nine others endured pouring rain for the majority of the 12 mile loop (14 for me, since I run to and from the start), and I was pretty miserable. I usually don't mind running in the rain, but I was kind of over the weather at this point, and my contacts kept getting dislodged. A new girl has joined us, Morgan, a speedy athlete and former swimmer for Tulane. I felt so bad that this was her first group long run experience! She was a trouper, though. Our loop circles almost the whole city, and parts were still flooded, with cars and garbage all over. Some of these neighborhoods have flooded over and over, unfortunately.


Waterlogged feet

Since we start at 6, I had plenty of time to make a pancake breakfast before church. But our walk to church was a deluge, too! Finally, the rain cleared in time for lunch. We agreed to meet my college roommate, Bekah, for lunch on Frenchman. I was glad she and her family squeezed me in to their vacation plans. I almost never see her, and I got to meet her little baby girl finally, who is named after me!
Roomies! 

Once we were back home, I finished up some chores and did some cooking, but I also squeezed in some time for track and field Worlds while "studying" (more or less. The book was open). It was nice to get some relaxation time in this weekend! We've just been on the go too much.

How was your weekend? Has your summer been dry, or a wet one like mine? 


Friday, August 4, 2017

Celebrating ten years in Denver

David and I decided to take a quick (Wednesday night - Saturday afternoon) trip to Denver to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.
Yeah, ten. I can't believe it's been that long. I swear we JUST got married! We aren't the spring chickens we used to be, but we are still madly in love, so we thought a little celebration was in order.
Look at that cutie, all happy to be married. 

We picked Denver because we thought it would be a nice break from the hot weather here in Louisiana, and because there are direct flights from MSY. Ain't nobody got time for layovers.

The trip was short, but we had a great time. We spent the first day at Rocky Mountain National Park, which is the only part of the trip of which we took pictures. There was a brief period of rain, but it was while we were in the car anyway, so for the rest of the day we had some beautiful views of the park.

Snow in July! 

At 12,000+ feet - which feels pretty rough for us, since we live at 32 below sea level! 

The next day we did a tour of the state capitol (one of my favorite things to do when I travel), had brunch, explored some of the shopping areas in downtown Denver, and then had an afternoon beer flight at a brewery. Since Friday was our actual anniversary, we celebrated with a lovely dinner at Rioja, located in the cute Larimer Square. Our dinner was delicious: the entire meal was incredible (and I loved the deep magenta tempranillo we selected to go with it), but my favorite part was the dessert. We split a goat cheese and fennel panna cotta with fresh cherry compote and sorbet. It was incredibly good. The fennel was dried and sugared and added a piquant contrasting crunch to the creamy panna cotta. Just amazing.
And a card from the waitstaff!
We were flying out Saturday, but we had time for the Denver Art Museum and lazy glasses of wine on the hotel patio (leftover from the night before - we couldn't handle a whole bottle!). We stayed at the Art, which David picked because of my enjoyment of Art, and I loved some of the little perks they offered, like complimentary ride service within 2 miles of the hotel (they dropped us off at the rental car place Thursday so we could get a car to drive to the park - quite convenient).

I did go running while I was in Denver, and it was 15 degrees cooler with super low humidity. It felt heavenly, even at altitude (since I live BELOW sea level, going up a mile is tough). Cheeseman park is a mile from our hotel, so we ran there on Friday and Saturday. I always like running in new places, and the park had a pea gravel and dirt path that was an interesting change of surface.

And now I'm back and somehow SO far behind at work. How does that happen? I only took two days off! Crazy! But it was worth it to get away!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New shorts: Nike Crew

Précis: These shorts were on sale, but they're kind of too short and the brief fits weirdly. I do like how cool they are, though.
Full text: I started running low on shorts after all my Nike Tempos died at one time (first the key pocket wore through, then all the seams began to come undone. I don't resew seams on running clothes usually because of chafing concerns). This batch of shorts was six years old, though, so they served me well. 
I began looking for replacement shorts, and eventually found the Nike Crew at 6pm.com. The truth is, I would have preferred more Coeur Sports shorts - they're my absolute favorite, no-chafe, comfy waist, two big pockets shorts. But for some reason I decided to wait until I had a coupon code for another pair, and get something less expensive in the meantime (I've kind of been dropping Christmas hints, too). The Nike Crew were just $14 on 6pm, so I got two identical pairs. 


Description: 
The Crew is a fitted, woven short with a flat elastic waistband. To allow stretch for movement, there are knit stretch panels on the side of the leg. 
Cons: 
  • The 2" length is a tad short (but I knew that going in)
  • The built-in brief is a little loose, while the fitted shorts are kind of tight, so it bunches a little.
  • There is only one pocket
  • To get the fit right, I had to tighten the drawstring - in other words, the stretch waistband isn't elastic enough on its own to stay up. I don't love that, because I'm lazy and don't want to have to retie my drawstring every time I wear these.
Pros:
  • The material is light and cool for summer
  • The pocket is in the top of the waistband, which I find most secure for keys compared to envelope-style pockets.
  • No chafing...yet. Per ten mile test run.
  • This is kind of lame, but I really like the dark blue color I got. It's less red-based than navy, darker than royal - just a lovely shade.
I'm sure these will serve in the meantime, but my next pair will be the old faithful Coeur shorts! Why mess with what you love!

Monday, July 24, 2017

So much support

I only own one pair of athletic compression socks. They are CEP socks I won on a blog giveaway, and once in awhile I wear them.
But I actually prefer these:

They are high compression medical socks, and I like that they have open toes. I get some support for my tired feet, but I don't get squished toes. I don't like that cramped toe feeling, especially since I have such a wide ball to my feet. Of course, you will notice that at $30, they are not much cheaper than athletic compression. But you can often find them on sale, buy-one-get-one-free, or coupons. Plus, as a Walgreens employee, I get a discount. For me, they're cheaper PLUS they are much higher quality.

So if I'm wearing compression, it's often these stylish beauties.
Do you wear compression socks, and if so, do you wear them for recovery or running?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer runs and life updates

Sure, I'm totally in shape and not
completely out of breath after every
single run (also, dang, that sweat-soaked
shirt! Ugh, summer!)
I am working my way back from time off rather painfully. I didn't do any cardio while I was off running, so not only am I out of shape aerobically, I also have some creaky joints and muscles suffering from disuse. But running has been going pretty well.

Right now, I'm on my very last class of this long, drawn-out MBA (due to program changes that limited how often classes were offered, my initial spring graduation date was extended to summer; my last four classes were taken alone rather than doubling up). Luckily, this class is not at all demanding, so I don't feel a time crunch affecting my running. My last class was seven weeks long, and every week required me to:
- read two chapters
- take a diagnostic quiz for each chapter
- take a quiz for each chapter, with content based on results of the diagnostic
- write a 1000 word essay
- complete an assignment (variable)
- take a 50-question test.
You know what that meant, of course. It meant that the essay content was pathetically poor, because the volume of work was just too great. Such a waste of time, and so little real learning involved! So I'm really enjoying this class, which is based entirely on your grade from three exams, no busy work required.

Anyway, I hit 40 miles this week, and did my first workout back: a fartlek I barely survived (it was very humid and I'm very out of shape). I also did some hill repeats today, since I think they really help with stride economy, glute strength, and power. I'm still doing my myrtles and some hip strengthening before every run, and I either do a quick stretching routine or a short strength routine post-run. Some routines I use are Coach Jay Johnson's "Grant Green" routine, a Runner's World strength routine, a glute medius routine, Peanut Butter Runner's 100-rep core workout, or a Nike training club stretch and strength routine. It varies - but about ten minutes max.

I'm feeling pretty strong, but honestly, my calves (yes, both!) don't feel 100%. I don't know if they're just weak, or tight, or what, but I keep feeling the need to stretch, and I often get sore after a short run. Hopefully all that works itself out soon - I've got races to run!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Spillway Classic trail 3 miler

I decided to carefully run the Spillway Classic, since it is just a 5k and it's slow and easy - it's on the trail. It sounded safe, and I promised to take it easy.

Timing for the race was going to be an issue: It started at 8 am in Norco, a good 35 minutes from the house, but I have church at 9:30. I'd have to run the race, drive home, shower, and get to church in an hour and a half. It would be cutting it close, but I thought I could do it. I left the house at almost 7, but that cut it a little close. The parking at the spillway was a mess, with no one really directing to the open lots, and plenty of cars parking on the roads or in very muddy fields. I found a spot, but then packet pick up was a mess, too - as usual at NOTC races, there wasn't any good signage, and for some reason the line for pre-registered runners was separated into n-z, a-e, and f-m...in that order. Not surprisingly, everyone was in the wrong line! I don't know why the track club doesn't invest in some whiteboard signs that they can put up where the line forms to tell runners which line they are in. But I got my number and had time to get in a mile and a half warmup before the start...because it was delayed. Of course. The packet pick up was such a mess that the race start was postponed, which meant that I was REALLY cutting it close for church!

I knew from experience that position matters in this race: it starts on a narrow levee for a mile, then you descend into the swampy woods and a narrow trail. It's really hard to pass on the trail, and the levee can be crowded, too. So I lined up closer to the front than usual. I planned to go hard on the levee (well, as hard as I could, since it is dirt and large gravel and I was in flats!), and then pick and stomp through the mud as best as I could. I sprinted out with the gun, but I was definitely not close to the start for the girls: I was probably 9th or so along the levee. Mile one beeped at 6:27, which was perfect.

The levee was hot, hot, hot, and pretty rough on my feet. I knew it was my only chance for speed, though - the woods were definitely going to be really messy as we've had a lot of rain recently. Sure enough, by the time we turned and charged down the slippery levee into the swamp, I could already hear the splashes of runners ahead of me.
That's my teammate in the white hat, and I'm behind him in orange putting my shoes back on!

Immediately, we were in a puddle over my knees. And immediately, I regretted my shoe choice. I was wearing my old Musha flats, saved just for this purpose: I'd never wear shoes I want to keep to this race! But the mud sucked them right off my feet. Luckily, I managed to hang on with my toes and shoved them back on rather than lose them forever in the muck. I trudged through, and was rewarded by semi-dry trails ahead. Man, was I winded after that! And the toes of my shoes were full of packed mud. The rest of the first mile was sort of dry; at least, it was more mud than water. I had gotten a little separated retrieving my shoes in the first big puddle, and I followed the guy in front of me...off course! Luckily we both realized it, not too late to cut through the woods and rejoin the race. I'd lost my position by several runners, including one girl I saw far ahead, so by now I assumed I was way back. The first big puddle cost me - mile 2 was 8:29.
We had several more puddles to wade before we were over, and then the hot run on the grass to the finish. Mile 3 was 8:17.
Emerging from puddle #1
I was a little annoyed at myself at the finish for not sprinting it in. I am still in recovery mode, but I was only seconds behind the girl in front of me, and should have tried to catch her - especially when I figured out that I was closer to the front than I thought. Several girls got lost! I finished in 23:17 gun time. I'm not sure my exact place, but I won my age group. I was covered in mud (although I caught myself and prevented any outright falls during the race), and ran over to the fire trucks to shower off. Then I jogged to the car, toweled off, put my shoes in a bag, and drove home. Somehow, I managed to shower and walk to church on time for the 9:30 start! I was still pouring sweat, but I made it!
#proof (although, really, I suppose I could have taken this at any time, haha)
I was happy with today's race, for the most part. I ran the best I could on the trails, didn't fall, had a solid first mile, and didn't hurt. It will still be a long road back to racing fitness, but I think this was a safe race with which to ease back in.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Testing speed at the summer series 2 miler

My injury and the weather collaborated to ensure that I didn't miss a Summer Series Free for All race this year. Since I went out with a bang finishing first female at the last summer series, and came back at the next summer series a month later, I didn't miss any of these free 2 mile races. There would have been one sandwiched in the middle, but it was cancelled for rain.
I obviously wasn't going to be racing this one. I just got back from injury, and a casual 2 miler while out of shape isn't the way I want to re-injure myself! I talked to Jimi, who did my acupuncture, and we discussed a fast-ish mile to see how I felt, then dialing back for the next mile. That would allow me to still run the race without attempting two fast miles just a few days in to comeback.

I wanted to be at the race because the Powermilers were sponsors (we provided food), so this sounded like a good option. I drove over to City Park straight after work, and it jogged through stifling humidity to the start. It wasn't a terribly hot night, just really humid after an afternoon of hot summer rains.

I ran into a couple of the guys during my warmup, and they cheerfully informed me that there was a 100 meter stretch of ankle deep water near the end of the course. Great! It seems that drenching new shoes is what I do at these races (last race I stepped in a puddle in my new Musha flats; this race, I wore my new New Balance 1400s). I shrugged and lined up - I'd done about a mile and a half warm up, no strides or anything. I did get closer to the front this time, and the start wasn't as terribly crowded as the last race. I was clicking along nicely, felt fine, but my half a mile, I knew that my effort was too great for the pace I was running. I began to feel like I was struggling as I drew close to mile one, and my breathing was labored. I hit mile one at 6:13 and began dialing back. Behind me, a friend kept shouting, "Pick it up! Catch yellow shirt! High schoolers come back!" but I was too winded to explain to him that I was running mile two easy. The truth is, if I'd felt great, I probably would have tried to race this thing, but since I could barely breath, I wasn't tempted at all.
Basically walking. What am I doing?! 

I practically walked across the finish line with a Garmin 12:56, and after lamenting my lost fitness for a while, joined the guys for some fried rice courtesy of the Powermiler track club!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First steps back

I finally got brave enough to get out for a run, and it was a success!
I started out with my usual return-from-running: three miles. It's long enough that it doesn't mask the injury by simply being too short of a run to irritate the injury, but it's not so long that it would be overdoing it. Since everyone in the sports medicine world recommends starting with intervals, I interspersed my runs with walking for a total of about six miles. And it was fine. I actually felt some tightness in my calf on the injured side, but it was the back of the calf. By the next day, everything felt 100%. It was like I'd never been injured. Phew! I probably took off more time than I needed (a month), but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Plus, it was time for a break. I haven't had one since the fall, and that's probably a contributing factor to the injury.

That, plus three new pairs of shoes in a short time span, and ramping up miles, and continued high intensity of my long runs. As I ease back in, I'll need to reconsider some of these things to avoid a re-injury. I also need to stop skipping my strength workouts!

Unfortunately, I have both a 2 mile race and a trail 5k this week, both of which I'll probably have to skip, just because it's so soon. Bah! Bad timing! Oh, well. There will be other races, right?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Not yet

I'm still doing mostly weights: no running yet for me. I've tried short (just 100 yards) runs twice, and felt twinges, so I'm being quite cautious. But I'm not in pain right now.
Look! Going downstairs with no pain! Tulane,
please clean your garage stairs a little...

I had two sessions of acupuncture and they both improved my pain and mobility a great deal, but that last nagging tugging in the muscle didn't go away until I broke down and took naproxen. I don't like using NSAIDS when there could be bone involvement (I think this type of injury progresses to a stress fracture, and NSAIDS inhibit bone growth), but I've also noticed that sometimes persistent inflammation in a hard-to-reach area really responds to medication. In the past, I've done three or four high doses of NSAIDS, and that knocked the inflammation out. This time, two 500mg tablets of naproxen left over from hip surgery THREE years ago (Wow, I can't believe that!) got me over the pain hump. And now I'm just patiently waiting the requisite week or two before another try at running.

I'm ready to get back to running. I have races coming up - some short summer distances - and I'm starting to feel gross. For some reason, this running break I PACKED the pounds on, even though I was doing other workouts and was only on a short break. I don't normally gain appreciable weight with a break like this! Perhaps it just coincided with some particularly festive eating, but I'm starting to feel bleah in my clothes, so I'm ready to return to a normal routine.

I can hardly wait to get back out in that 90+ degree weather. Oh yeah! How's your summer running going?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A foray into acupuncture

As my calf pain continued into a second week of injury, I was getting miffed that it still hurt to walk. I wasn't healing very quickly. My body has been pretty resilient this year: I have not really had a break, despite running two marathons in three weeks, so I suppose I can't grudge my joints some down-time. But I want to get back out there for some of the short, summer races, so I looked for some help healing.
Naturally, I decided to go see Jimi at Crescent City Acupuncture. He's the talented fellow who writes the Power Milers workouts, and Allison recommended him; he'd treated her similar calf pain before.

I've never had acupuncture, but Jimi explained that he'd be treating the tissues near the bone to recruit healing cells to the area and stimulate muscle fiber reorganization. So... kind of like dry-needling, but if you say that in front of Jimi he'll probably have a stroke (and never speak to you again). AND. I have to admit that he is right. I've had dry needling before, and I thought it was effective, but acupuncture was much more targeted, and I felt results much more quickly. Dry needling non-specifically stimulated healing to a large area of affected muscle, and as a result, not only did it take longer for the damaged areas to heal, but it sort of gave me that not-quite-satisfied feeling, like when you just can't dig deep enough with the foam roller. Acupuncture hit exactly the irritated spot, and after 20 minutes of electrical current application, felt immediately better. I think a big difference is in the depth of the needle placement: I felt like dry-needling was very uniform. The same needles were inserted to the same depth all over, with varying success. But Jimi was able to insert the needles much more adeptly: he got some into the back side of the bone, and I could tell at once that he'd hit the right spot.
Waiting room full of Runner's World: always a good sign!

I am now a total acupuncture apologist. I walked up the stairs to my appointment with a limp. I walked out without pain. Amazing! That was last night, and the effects have mostly remained. I still have some pain when I stand on my toes or do heel lifts, and NO WAY would I tempt fate by running yet, but I am 75% better. I'm on my way back!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Series 2-miler

 I managed to work my schedule in such a way that I could run one of the Summer Series 2-milers at City Park this year. It was a hot night, and surprisingly windy, but I actually felt pretty good pre-race. That was unusual, since I don't always do well at night races (mostly stomach issues from lunch timing).
I chose that night to break in my last hoarded pair of Mizuno Mushas: I finally had to give up on the maroon pair I'd been wearing for years (they had under 400 miles, but for a flat, that's a lot). I parked about half a mile from the start and jogged around Big Lake to pick up my number...and immediately stepped into a puddle up to my ankles. So much for brand new shoes. I took them off and wrung out my socks and insoles, then continued my warm up.
Dirty new shoes :(

I did about 1.5 miles warm up two shorts strides - only because the ground was so wet that there was no room for anything else. I could have done strides on the race course, but everyone was lining up and I felt silly and self-conscious out there warming up with a bunch of fast people. Where this sudden abashedness came from, I do not know, but I'm sure it didn't do my race any favors. I also wandered several rows back for the start, for the same reason, and I'm really annoyed at myself for that, because a. I knew this course is on a narrow walking path and is pretty congested, and b. I JUST had a bad race start because I lined up too far back at the Greek Fest 1-mile. So what's wrong with me?!

Anyway. Back to the race. We started, and I was clogged up in a bunch of kids. Kids everywhere. Kids left and right. Kids bunched in front. So I struggled and fought through the hoards for at least the first half-mile (including a bunch of barefoot kids - I'll write more on that later). The rough start meant that I not only dodged and wove a lot in the first half, resulting in a slow first half-mile and too much energy expended, but also I (of course) overcompensated on the second half of mile one. By the time I hit the mile in 6:14, I was panting for breath. The second mile was definitely harder for me: I was really trying to keep my pace even, and that's tough when you are running my pace: I'm right at that pace sweet spot at which many people can run one mile, but may not be able to sustain two miles. As people around me gradually slowed, I had to make sure I was dialed in to my own pace, and not pacing off them. This is a problem I face in shorter distances, and I did ok this time. As I approached the final turn, a guy yelled, "First female!" and I realized that I didn't have a CLUE as to my place. I also couldn't remember who I'd passed, and when, and how close they may be to me: I was in such a crowd at the beginning that I couldn't remember anyone specifically. So I just gunned it to the finish!
At the finish!

12:29. The clock actually said 12:19, which is very close to my PR, but my watch read 12:29. That means that I've run two races this year in which the clock was wrong! What the! But anyway, it was a win for the women, and that's always fun, even if there aren't actually places/awards at these races (it's actually more fun. I love these easy, short, low-pressure summer races).

I am both happy with the win and a little annoyed that 1. I ran the second mile one second slower than the first and 2. I'm not under 12:20. I should be able to do that! So that's my goal for this summer IF my injured calf gets better in time for the free races. It's actually a little better today, so I'm hopeful!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Injured, by Jove!

Bah! I was doing so well, I thought, but then injury struck! I have...a thing...wrong with my calf. Or shin. Or something.

I just put support everywhere to see if that would help.
A week and a half ago, I'd felt a knot in my calf, and took a few days off to let it loosen up. But I didn't give it enough time, and after last Tuesday's workout, my leg started to hurt. By the next morning, it hurt to put weight on it, and honestly, that hasn't really changed. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I can feel a lot of inflammation around the insertion points of the posterior tibialis. Although I feel the pain up on my shin, it's somewhat relieved by wearing arch compression. That makes sense, since that's where the distal insertion point is (if my tenuous grasp of anatomy serves me right). I discovered this minor fix because my leg hurt a lot while running around barefoot at the beach this weekend with my charming godchildren. It felt better once I put shoes on, so I decided to try arch support.

I'm not sure what's next. It's unusual that the intensity and quality of pain hasn't changed a full week after the initial injury, with total rest, but I'll give it another week before I decide if I should see a doctor. I've had a similar pain before, but it went away with rest, so maybe that's all I need.

Meanwhile, I'm missing some of the  free summer 2 mile races, so that's the worst!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Searching for a speedy shoe

It's time to retire my Mizuno Mushas, the shoe I've been wearing for track workouts and the occasional race for the last five years. My pair is getting old, and I can tell - I'm getting shin pain whenever I wear them. Since Mizuno doesn't make the Musha anymore, I decided to try the New Balance 1400. At first, the 1500 appealed to me, since it is also touted as a stability shoe, like the Musha was (apparently, neither one really offers any stability). But the descriptions of the 1500 were of a heavier, softer shoe, and in fact, sounded more like an everyday trainer. I opted for the 1400.

Aren't they pretty? So was the price - $59 at 6pm.com. My immediate impression is that they are more cushioned than I expected, softer than the Musha. But I haven't run in them yet. Pre-run, my expectation is that they'll be a good shoe for races or fast stuff on the roads. They might be too squishy for the track - or, they might feel totally different while I'm running compared to just standing here admiring their color. I'm itching for a fast tempo in these babies!

What are you wearing on the track these days?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

PMTC long runs

Since I joined the Power Milers, I've been accompanying them on their Sunday long runs. This is quite the shift for me: I've always been a Saturday long run person, and I genuinely enjoy running in this beautiful city to kick my weekend off. Something about a long, easy (or not easy!) run through the streets and park as the city wakes up is very invigorating for me. I'm already one of those annoying happy people, but I positively love life after my Saturday long runs. 

To make the switch to Sunday, I tried doing just six on Saturday, but it wasn't the same. It felt just like a weekday. Instead, I've been doing an easy ten, which leaves me fresh enough for a not-at-all-easy fourteen at 6:00 am the next day. 

Six am.
The time is an adjustment, too, but going early is the only way I'd be able to make it to church, anyway. 

The group runs the well-known "city loop", a route that takes you from St. Charles to Carollton to Esplanade to Royal to St. Charles again, starting and ending at Audubon park. I've run the route before, but it's been years, and I'm enjoying the chance to see the city again (for local readers, there is another route also called the "city loop" that goes down Canal, but that is most assuredly a knock-off city loop. #fakeroutes).

Even though these guys are fast, I've always found a few people to run with, but here's my concern - they're running much faster than my typical long run. Even though I run the 1.5 miles to and from my house very slowly, I've been averaging 7:30's for fourteen miles. That's fast for me, especially in hot weather. When I was doing Hanson's, I was running 7:40 - 8:05 for long runs of up to 16 miles, because their plan does not call for "long slow distance". I liked that, because I don't believe in long slow distance, at least not for me. I've done that before, and I get slow and I get injured. I prefer my easy pace runs to be shorter, usually eight and six milers during the week. But I digress. The point is, these long runs are too fast for me. 

However! They are also easier than I am used to! And that is because the group takes long breaks. Now, I am not one of those runners who thinks you can never pause your Garmin, or has a problem losing ten or even fifteen minutes on a long run - sometimes I stop for traffic, sometimes I stretch or do leg swings, sometimes I need a bathroom break, sometimes I see friends, and ALWAYS I stop for water (in the heat of the summer, I sometimes stop on every loop around the park, and it's less than 2 miles around!). But these long run breaks are much longer than I'm used to. At the start and stop of the run, I wait around with the group a lot - we rarely start on time, and we wait for everyone to finish at the end - so some of the breaks are just before we start and after we finish, while I still need to jog to and from my house. I don't mind that. But during the run, we break at two firehouses for water. It's cool that we have a good relationship with the firemen, and they let us use their bathrooms and drink from their hoses. Man, though, those breaks run long. So many bathroom breaks. So many conversations. Every time I've run with the group, our two scheduled breaks have stretched to five minutes apiece!

Since I'm running at a pace that's a little uncomfortable for me, I notice the breaks. I catch my breath and rest, and that means that the breaks are too long. I'm turning these runs into intervals! And that's not the goal. I kind of want to say something, but I'm a new member and the slowest one, so I would feel kind of foolish. What should I do? Bring up the break length, or put up and shut up?How do you feel about breaks during your long runs?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Good news!

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was in a panic about a health scare a family member had. I am thrilled and relieved to report that I have good news! So since I am no longer discussing a potentially fatal diagnosis, the whole story is that my sister called me a month ago to tell me that she was on her way to an appointment with an oncologist. She had had her routine yearly check-up the week before, and got a call at work telling her that her lab work was very concerning, and that she had been referred to a hematologist for the next morning. She emailed me a picture of her lab results from the online portal while she was waiting to see her doctor, and I was stunned to see her white blood cell count at 0.2 (or 200 per microliter). Normal is 4.5-12. This was extremely concerning to me. Her neutrophils, of course, were very low, too; her red cells were normal in quantity, but she presented with ovalocytes and burr cells.
I was terrified that she had leukemia, but of course, her oncologist needed more lab work. In addition to more specific hematology labs, she also ordered hepatitis C and HIV tests, in case there was a viral cause for white cell death.

And thus began weeks of waiting. And praying. And anxiety. And worry. And sadness. I was convinced she had cancer! About a week before my sister's follow up, her doctor ordered another set of labs, which my sister dutifully had drawn. Finally, her appointment day came, and I was so relieved when she called to say her doctor had all but ruled out cancer. Her latest WBCs were up to 3, so...still low, but bouncing back. And her cells looked normal. If her numbers aren't in the normal range at a 3-month follow up, she'll have a bone marrow biopsy, but otherwise, her doctor thinks she was fighting a severe virus, perhaps an Epstein-barr virus.

What a relief! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Greek Fest 5k and surprise mile

The Greek Fest 5k is usually my worst race all year, so I was pleasantly surprised with Friday's good-all-things-considered race. David and I carpooled and got to the race together. We were cutting it closer than I would have liked - we got there at 6:30 for a 7 pm start - but it turns out I was worried for nothing: David had already picked our packets up, and there was no bathroom line, plus I read the site wrong - the 7 pm start was for the mile. The 5k started at 7:30. So I was standing around in 86 degrees waiting to warm up until closer to the race, and feeling nauseated. My technician keeps bringing bugs to work - or I'm harboring a parasite, who knows - all I know is, I've been sick to my stomach WAY too much lately. Luckily, a nice doctor hooked me up with a Zofran, but I still didn't feel too hot and hadn't eaten much (I actually ate a yogurt in the car on the way over - I thought it would be easy to digest and ready calories). As I waited, I heard them announcing the start of the mile race, and for some reason decided to run it as a warm up. I threw my T-shirt at David and was like, "Hold my shirt!" as I ran to the start.
Big mistake. I was behind a million kids. And I stayed behind them until almost the turn around. At about 1/3 of a mile in, I was at 6:20 pace! Help! I gunned it, and I was at 6:10 right after I made the turnaround point, and then I just ran hard to the finish. 5:57. Ack. Totally thought I could run much faster than that for a road mile! And I will someday - I just need to start, you know, at the line. Not behind every child in New Orleans (although I have to say, kids running the mile are super cute. I love how dedicated and tough they are. A mile is HARD for a little kid!).
Please ignore the bloated stomach and face of misery. 

The problem with that mile is that it was too fast for a warm up - it tired me for the 5k. And it wasn't fast enough to be a decent race on its own. I basically ruined both races!
Between the hard mile and the tough conditions (sick, warm out, not-totally-flat course), I expected little from the 5k. Even as I waited for the gun, my calves started tightening. I also realized that I'd forgotten to bring my iPod, and I've gotten used to using music in races. "Well," I thought, "It didn't bother me in the mile, so maybe I don't need it." When we started, I ran off too fast, although it was hard to tell because the mile one marker was way off and I wasn't glued to my Garmin. I pulled ahead of two girls, but I saw that one of them is a lot faster than I am, and assumed this was a workout for her or that she'd pass me later (she did, but it must still have been a workout - she's usually much faster than she was that night). The breeze on the lake wasn't murderous, but I could still sense the headwind when I turned around. As I headed back, I noticed that I was hunched and plodding, and kept reminding myself - pick up your feet! Pick up your pace! I started to tire a lot by the end, but I really perked up when I saw the clock. My tired 5k could still be under 20! I scooted in at 19:51. I didn't love that I fell apart at the end a little - 6:24, 6:31, 6:34, ten seconds between miles one and three! - but I did like that running a 20-in 5k didn't feel that hard. In fact, it felt like taking it a little easy on sore and tired legs.
I'm happy that the workouts we've been doing with the club seem to be helping my speed. Obviously 19:51 isn't exactly an Olympic time, and actually it's much slower than McMillan thinks I should be able to run for the distance, but to put it into perspective, I've only run sub-20 four times in my life. Two of those times were after I started training with the Power Milers. I'm sure my times will dip for the summer as the temps and humidity create challenges, but in the fall? I bet I've got my speed back!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Playing Catch-up

Nothing much has actually changed over here.
Still in a very frustrating medical waiting game.
Still have no employees (why is our hiring process so lengthy?!).
Still have classes.

The only big change is that I think I cured myself of my shellfish allergy by exposure. Don't try this at home, blah blah blah, but I ate shrimp every day until my rash lessened, redness reduced, and finally even the itchiness went away. I don't think I'll feel comfortable diving into a crawfish boil just yet, but I have nine months to worry about that (the season's over). The process sucked (rash all over for two weeks? Not fun!) but the results were worth it: I ordered arroz con mariscos at a new Peruvian restaurant, and had nary a reaction!


On the running front, the biggest news is that I was third at the Barathon, with a recap to follow - a much better showing than last year, where I didn't even drink the beer.
Bar...four? Five? 

Unfortunately, I have also started having that annoying inner knee pain associated with high mileage, probably because I ran 60 miles last week including a race, thanks to the race falling on my day off and me not planning for that. Last time this pain started up, I took time off, and that took care of it: I might have an off week in my future.

In the meantime, I have one more race: the Greek Fest 5k is tonight, and even though it's always, always, always a bad race, I'm ready to run it again. Mostly because afterward I get a gyro!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nothing good to say

Sometimes bloggers or Facebook friends will annoy me with vague posts, ones that seem crafted to garner attention, ones that nonspecifically beg prayers or offer universal threats. I'm about to run the risk of becoming one of those people. But hopefully I can write a post that is honest, yet not exploiting others in my life.
I haven't posted much lately because I haven't had anything good to say. I've been facing a lot of challenges, and in addition to being very busy, I haven't had the heart to write anything. Some of the stressors I can tell you all about:

  • Another vice president visit to my store (Two in three years! Why?!)
  • A promotion for one of my pharmacists - that's a good thing, but she'll be leaving, and that's a lot of upheaval. Plus we'll miss her, and it will entail more and more training.
  • Firing an employee
  • Working short a technician during a very busy period
  • Attempting to replace an employee.
  • Negotiating with both my own company and my leaseholders to expand my site
  • Being denied time off: I have only had a single day off all year, and that was when we closed for Mardi Gras.
  • Leading our community group solo while David attends meetings those nights
  • Hosting a weekly Bible study at 7 am Fridays
  • Starting another MBA class and figuring all of that out
  • The misery of an all-over rash and allergy (which is still hanging around)
  • Down one car for repairs, with the other flashing a check engine light
Everyday life stressors, plus some. It happens. I can deal with it. But it's all been magnified because I am very worried about a loved one (and here is where it gets vague).  A few weeks ago, a loved one texted me some results from a routine medical visit, and it was very concerning. And while it looks very much to me like cancer, and this person had a rushed oncology appointment right away, we don't have answers yet. We're waiting for additional labs to come back, and honestly, the waiting is worse than just getting bad news. I have already resigned myself to the worst possible diagnosis, and I'm vacillating between grieving and hoping that I'm over-reacting. And I might be. There are multiple benign explanations for the questionable results, and any one of them is a very reasonable answer. 
So for now, I'm just kind of anxious and sad and concerned and hopeful, all at once. Thanks for dealing with my vague-post and my general apathy for the last few weeks!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Adult onset allergy

Last week was my break between classes, so I had a small dinner party at my house, since my tight schedule had prevented me from entertaining for a while. As we were eating dinner - which included shrimp - one of my guests asked, "What's wrong with your arm?"
I looked down and my arm was bright red and swollen, and, now that I noticed it, it itched. So did the rest of my body. When I could unobtrusively slip away from the party, I ran up to the bathroom to discover a rash from my stomach down (my chest, shoulders, back, and face are clear; the worst is on my stomach and arms).

Much to my sorrow, I think I've developed an adult-onset shellfish allergy! This is terrible news, because I love shellfish!
The timing is bad, too. The company vice president of operations is visiting my pharmacy today, and I look like a lobster. Hopefully I can keep the itching under control so he doesn't think I have some kind of gross nervous tick.

This is my only food allergy (outside of a minor problem with eggplant that has improved with age). Do you have food allergies? Any adult-onset? Any success stories with overcoming them?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Weights for runners

Ever since all my injuries and surgeries, I've been putting a greater focus on strength, even though I may not always have time for extended gym workouts. One of my favorite half-hour workouts is below. It's adapted from this article, made to suit my own home gym equipment (which is just dumbbells).
The reps listed are on the lower end of an appropriate range, but that allows me to complete the whole workout in 30 minutes or less. I'm currently using my adjustable dumbbells with the 7.5-lb plates, so with the bar, probably 16 or 17 pounds each. If I want a harder workout, I add reps, or add a core workout at the end.

Posture:
  1. Push ups on dumbbells. Three sets of ten.
  2. One-legged bridges: 25 per side
  3. Russian twists with weights, 3x10, sitting on cushion to add challenge.
Stability:
  1. Clams x 50 per side
  2. Hip side plank dips, 3x10 each side
  3. Side leg lifts, 20 per side
  4. Side bridge: Put one foot up on shelf, step, or stable chair; lift other leg up until feet touch and lower back down to ground. 10 x 3 per side
Strength:
  1. Romanian deadlift, weighted, 3x8 reps per side
  2. Deadlift, weighted, 3x 8 reps
  3. Dumbbell on shoulders squats, 3x10 sets
  4. Bicep curls 3 x 8 reps
Power:

  1. Step or box jumps, 3x10
  2. Jump squats, 3x 5-10
  3. Four-square jumps. Set up imaginary square; jump from corner to corner (alternate directions; don't pause) x 10
  4. Lateral jumps 3 x 6 reps (back and forth is one rep)
  5. Kettlebell swing plus shoulder press x 10 per side