Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Workout Update

I didn't run the Boston Marathon on Monday, but I kind of felt like I did in the form of being exhausted from cheering for the athletes as I watched the live feed online.  I was so, so happy to see Meb Keflezighi win the men's race - his gratitude about being an American, about being able to run and race, combined with his genuine niceness is heartwarming.  Running buddy Julia and I both signed up for text alerts for Chris Field, who is the race director for our BCS Marathon, so we spent the day cheering him on as well.  

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I'm pleased to report that last Saturday's run went much better than the previous one, and I attribute it to getting there early and doing a quick walking warm up - as it turned out, Amy arrived at the same time Jeff and I did, so I grabbed her and off we went.  It was actually nice to catch up when we weren't running/panting, so there was that bonus as well.  We walked to the corner and back, which turned out to be nearly one mile.  A few minutes later everyone else had arrived and we all set off running...and I wasn't hurting during the run!  What a nice change!  Now, my heel/Achilles is still bothering me, but I've been stretching it like a madwoman and at least I managed to make it through a longish run without wanting to stop and cry.  Hurray for small favors!

All in all, we ran 3.7 miles, plus I walked nearly a mile.  Nice way to start out my Saturday.  Jeff behaved himself and only walked one mile, and his foot felt pretty good afterward.  I think by (finally) easing into this, he's going to be back to running with the group soon.

This week Jenny and I are continuing our walk/runs - yesterday we walked one mile, then ran 1.5, then walked another mile.  We're at the park enough that we see the regulars, like the woman riding her bike around the paths, and another woman training her adorable border collie puppy.  I'm really enjoying our routine!

P.S.  If you missed it, I snuck in a review/giveaway post for Insoles and Beyond yesterday...it's open to everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Insoles and Beyond Review and Giveaway!

Today I'm doing a quick review of Sole Softec Thin Sport custom insoles courtesy of Insoles and Beyond, a family-owned small business.  They contacted me to see if I'd be interested in trying out a pair, and as luck would have it, I was in the midst of my "is this pain plantar fasciitis or is it my Achilles?" problem, so I happily accepted - hey, I'm willing to try just about anything to keep running, and shoe inserts sounded pretty normal compared to a lot of remedies.

I thought the customer service provided was great.  I narrowed down my choices to a few pairs, and consulted with Ashley, who advised me on which one would probably be best for my issue and the shoes I wanted to wear them in.  I ended up going with a thinner insole because I didn't want my running shoes to fit any tighter than they already are.  I was intrigued by the Softec insoles because you can customize the fit by heating them up in your oven for a few minutes and then putting them in your shoe and standing on them for a couple of minutes.  Custom without the extreme expense of true, podiatrist-ordered custom insoles, which worked for me and my budget (yes these were free, but you know what I mean).  They fit great in my shoes:
Happier shoes.

I like the feel of these insoles, especially the arch support.  While they didn't instantly cure my pain (and I didn't expect them to, in all honesty), my feet feel good after I've run and/or walked on them - I think I've logged close to 30 miles - so I'm pretty pleased with the insoles, and I'll probably order a pair for my Danskos next winter, since I'll be going on year three with those shoes and I think they could use a boost at this point.

And now for the fun part - Insoles and Beyond has offered a pair for one of my lucky readers!  This giveaway is for a $50 store credit so you can choose whatever you need for your particular issue and type of shoe.  Shipping is free to U.S. residents, but they do ship internationally for $14.95 (which can be part of the $50 credit), so that means this giveaway is open to anyone who resides anywhere on planet Earth, woohoo!  To enter, just leave me a comment saying you're in.  Be sure to leave an email address so I can notify you if you win.  I'll announce the winner on Friday - good luck!

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a pair of insoles for free; opinions provided are all mine.  Giveaway prizes have no cash value and can only be used to buy merchandise.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Aching and...Aging?

Aside from the whole "I'm Loud, I'm Proud, I'm FIFTY" thing, I rarely think about myself in terms of being a certain age.   Age is what you make of it.  I'm convinced your physical age is just a number...except that lately, I'm beginning to see a difference in people younger than me.  Not in attitude, but more in physical ability.

And I don't like it.

Let me explain - it's not that I resent anyone for being able to do more than me, but rather, I'm realizing that the reason so-and-so seems to have an easier time with running might be because they are 10 or even 20 years younger than me, and their bodies aren't rebelling with random aches, pains, and such nonsense.  Their joints, tendons, and muscles are still in their heyday of youth, while mine seem to be turning into the cranky old man who's waving his cane, yelling at the whippersnappers to get off his lawn.  Quite honestly, it's annoying to be doing something "good for you" and hurt while doing it.  Some days it just makes me frustrated to think that I'm up and out there early on a Saturday morning, while others are sleeping (not even sleeping IN, just sleeping to a normal time) and they are the ones who aren't hurting!  Makes me miss my sedentary days - well, somewhat miss them, in a "things seemed better back then" nostalgia which probably isn't completely true, but indulge me for a moment.

Lately it feels like I'm having one thing after another pop up.  From my right ankle, to the bone spur on the top of my left foot, to the new pain where my big toe meets the foot (apparently related to that bone spur).  From the hamstring injury that is still hanging around, to the Achilles pain in my left foot (or is it plantar fasciitis?).  Instead of things going away, it seems like they're just piling on.  And that's just the bottom half - don't get me started on my elbows and weird nerve pain in one wrist.  This is beyond annoying and frustrating.

I'm not pushing myself too much with the running, not in the least.  I read other running blogs, and I'm not doing anything near to what many others do in terms of mileage or frequency of running.  But then, I usually think to check the age of these bloggers, and sure enough, I'm quite a bit older than them.  So is it age?  Do our bodies really start falling apart?  I want to say no.  I want to will it to not happen.  But I fear it IS happening, with or without my acceptance or permission.

And I don't like it.

To (mis)quote John Donne Dylan Thomas (thanks, reader Genie!), I will not go gentle into that good night.  I will rage against the dying of the light...because this is unacceptable to me.  I reject the notion that my body is getting too old to do whatever I want it to do.  And so I keep on, but with pain.  Which tempers both my enthusiasm and fun.  Is this just how it's going to be from now on?

I don't like it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Mishmash

I can't believe it's almost Easter.  How times change - with no kids around, we're not doing much of anything, although I did stash a couple of Cadbury Creme Eggs for Jeff and I to have on Sunday.  To be honest, it's kind of a relief knowing that there won't be the temptation of an Easter basket full of candy to sneak...please tell me I'm not the only parent who swiped candy from their kids?  I, er, the Easter Bunny used to buy all the good stuff that I liked just in case taste-testing was necessary (it ALWAYS was).

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Last month while I was in North Carolina, I woke up one morning to find an email from PayPal with details about a purchase I'd made...only, I hadn't bought anything recently except for a couple of cute buttons.  Plus, I actually had money in my PayPal account - but it was all wiped out.  I don't have a lot of play money, and to see it disappear like that made me feel sick.  I disputed the transaction, changed all my passwords, and eventually the money was returned.  We had to get new debit cards after the Target fiasco (luckily we didn't have any issues other than the potential of our account being compromised), and since then I've only used our credit card, to protect ourselves.  But I thought PayPal was safe.  I guess nothing is, really.

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I've been busy getting things going for the upcoming season of running club - while we won't start our official training until July 12th, there's a lot of things that need to get done beforehand.  We are even starting a new program for people who want to just train for a shorter distance...we're calling it Fit 5, and people can train for a 5K and/or a 5 miler - there are two races in the fall that work with the training.  I'm excited about getting people started who might be too intimidated to attempt a half marathon - hopefully this might seem doable to them.  Mostly, I just want people to have fun and enjoy getting a little exercise!

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Sit and Knit update:  I've been sitting, and I've been knitting, but I don't have a lot of progress to show for it - that's what happens when you have big projects.  Well, I did knit two bowls that I'm going to felt, but I still have a couple more that I want to knit before I bother my friend who has the top loading washer that's necessary to finish the felting process, so no pictures of them yet. 

This is the top I'm making out of that yarn I bought in SLC:
This is done with the intarsia technique, which is why each ball of yarn is in a Ziploc bag.  Every time I change colors, I have to twist the yarn and maneuver it around.  Plus, part of the pattern had me doing a stitch increase every four rows on the blue section, so I had to keep track of that.  I finally finished that part, and now can just knit and purl away for another 3.5 inches before something changes with the pattern.

Here's the progress I've made on my grassy scarf - I finally got to change colors!  This thing is taking a while to get through, but it's not like I'll be able to wear it until next November, so it's all good:
 
 
If you look closely you can see the subtle color variations in each section - this is because I'm combining two different colors of yarn per section.

I think I need to knit another baby hat soon, just to get some project completion satisfaction.  Hmmm, maybe I'll knit a pink and brown striped one to go with the blue and brown striped hat. 

Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Workout Update

You may have noticed that I haven't participated in very many races this spring, which is something of an anomaly compared to previous years.  It's partly due to the ebb and flow of local races - several that I've done in the past aren't being held this year (Teal Ribbon, Run For Shoes, Downtown Derby/Love Run, SRPH Fun Run, Joe Conway, Rock the Mind) - and partly because I ended up being in North Carolina for two that I was going to run (GLOW run, Girls Just Want to Have Fun run).

The few others that are being held, well...I'm just not sure about.  The Run for Remembrance that we did last year at the TEEX fire training school will be on May 10th this year at 5:00 p.m.  Let me repeat that start time:  5:00 in the afternoon.  In mid-May.  I don't think I want to subject myself to running when it most likely will be super warm AND with the sun beating down on me.  So that race is a probable no.  The chicken race (Ukraine 5K) that we did last year is May 3rd, but it's mostly on grass this time, which I usually avoid because I'm chicken (haha) about turning an ankle on hidden rocks.  There's a color run in a couple of weeks, but really, that was a once-and-done event for me.  And some obstacle runs are coming up, but again, I'm too worried about hurting myself and not being able to run at all to want to do any races like that.

While I mostly enjoyed participating in the local races (aside from that bout of anxiety about racing), I'm not a runner who HAS to do all the races.  So this year looks like I'll mostly be a runner, period.  And I'm OK with that.

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Last week I ran/walked a total of 8.6 miles.  Can you tell I'm enjoying the off-season?  I'm dealing with some pain so I'm hoping that by not pushing it, I can get whatever is bothering me to heal without having to completely take some time off from running.  After a few walk/runs with Jenny, I've come to realize that running feels much better if I've had a good warm-up before I start.  We walk for a mile before running; on Saturday, I stretched for a couple of minutes and jumped right into my run.  Everything hurt (well, not everything, but a lot), whereas it wasn't that bad on Thursday.  So I'm going to make a point to get to the park early on Saturdays and walk a mile before we all gather for our run.  I'd rather set my alarm a little earlier and do that than feel like everything is falling apart during the first mile I run, you know?

Yesterday, it was freezing when Jenny and I met up to walk/run.  We were bundled up like it was the dead of winter instead of mid-April in South Texas:
BRRRR!  It was 41 degrees, with a north wind making it feel even colder!

I will say that the brisk weather contributed to a very good run, though.  We ran our intervals so fast that we couldn't even talk - it was nice to put out that much effort, for a change.  Normally my runs are at a pretty leisurely pace.  What can I say...I'm a relaxed runner!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aww.

Sweet Civi, the little pet rat we gave our youngest for Christmas just over a year ago, died unexpectedly yesterday morning.  I know many of you aren't rat people, but she was a dear pet with a huge personality and will be greatly missed.  Rats generally only live about three years, but losing her this early is heartbreaking.  She was a brave little thing - shortly after she went to live in her new home, she escaped from her cage and had a grand adventure, culminating in eating a bunch of Goldfish crackers.  Gotta love a pet who ends an escape with a food binge, right?
 Civi liked everyone but especially loved her owner.  I've never seen a rat sleep on someone like she did with our youngest...it was the picture of contentment for both of them when that happened.  I'm sure there will be more pet rats in the future, but Civi won't be forgotten.  RIP little Civ.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Mishmash

Jeff was out of town this week, and I'm trying to make my meals a little more well-rounded (I've been known to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast and dinner many times) and healthier.  I stocked up on ready-to-cook Jenni-O turkey burgers and 100 calorie packs of guacamole, and I also found a kale salad mix at Sam's Club to try:
 
It was good!  I've not been a huge kale fan, but this was shredded enough, plus mixed with other ingredients (shaved brussels sprouts and radicchio) that the flavor didn't seem too strong.

I also filled my fridge with fresh pineapple, cantaloupe and strawberries.  I keep saying that once I'm not training for a half, I should cut back on what I've been eating...and well, my last half marathon was the end of January, so it's time to actually do that, especially now that I'm not traveling to other states where apparently I have to try all the new things.  Did I ever mention how much weight I gained when we moved from California to San Antonio, Texas?  Not only did we get to know our new city via restaurants, we discovered things like chicken-fried steak and gravy, puffy tacos, and all kinds of fried foods.  At least now when I am experiencing food in a new state, I stay away from the fried stuff.  Progress, right?

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It was all things Anchorman 2 last week:
I was so happy to get this!  Then I realized that all the good stuff was on the Blu-Ray DVDs...and we don't have a Blu-Ray player.  Well, not yet - Sam donated his old one to us when he moved, but it's still in Plano.  Soon, Ron Burgandy...SOON.

Jeff also found the ice cream:
Would it be weird to admit I washed out the container after we finished the ice cream and it's now on my collectables shelf?

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Now that life has settled down, I am back to knitting a lot.  I had so many ideas and new yarn that I spent several hours on Ravelry, going through patterns and choosing yarn for them:

Most of these are smaller projects, which are nice to intersperse with the bigger projects that I'm doing (the grassy scarf, the pink shawl, and a top made with Utah-purchased yarn).  I made two baby hats already:
This one look me just over an hour - credit chunky yarn and very large needles!  Pattern is Twisted Taffy hat; yarn is Malabrigo Rasta.

I am in love with the colors of this hat, so much that I want to knit a tiny cardigan to go with it:
Stripes!  Blues and browns!  Ahhh.  Pattern is Chunky Organic Cotton Baby Beanie; yarn is Madelinetosh DK and Vintage in Bloomsbury and Teddy Bear colorways.

Of course, these hats would look immensely cuter if I had a newborn baby to model them.  But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the quick satisfaction of making such cute little things.

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I added a new tab at the top of my blog - Recommended Reading.  I've listed some of my more memorable posts, just in case a newer reader might have missed them.  It was fun zipping through my archives to choose these posts, and made me see how much I've evolved since starting my last diet, and this blog, nearly six years ago.  Dang, I kind of miss those days of newness, when trying on clothes and discovering that things fit was such a wonder, and being surprised at what I was capable of, exercise-wise.  I've said that I started this blog so I could remember all the work I was putting into losing weight and I'm glad I took that trip down memory lane, as I had forgotten a lot of my effort.

Have a great weekend!