Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WWU - Not a Whole Lot of Running Happened...

The last time I ran was on Thursday!  What can I say, life (and weather) got in my way.  But let's rewind to that Thursday run - Cary and I met for our usual 6:00 am run.  It was 75 degrees - who knew that would be the high for the day?  Yep, a front came in and cooled our area down less than an hour after we finished our run...go figure.  Oh well, it was a good run and our pace was great, even with the warm weather.  And if I recall correctly, we not only ran up both of the tougher hilly parts, but we managed to chat the entire time, as well!  I call that a victory, because a major part of running with friends is the side-by-side therapy that goes along with the run, and making that happen during the hills is good!

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We were out of town for the long weekend, and didn't even pack our running gear, partly because we knew we'd be pretty busy, but also because the weather was supposed to be stormy.  Which it was.  If you've seen the news, you're probably aware of the terrible flooding that a good part of Texas has experienced.  We planned on driving home from north Texas later Monday afternoon, but a really bad storm was predicted to come in, so we headed out early.  Turns out, not quite early enough...we were about 45 minutes from home when an emergency alert came over the radio, saying there was a tornado warning west of us, and headed our direction!  Yikes...we were out in the middle of nowhere, so we just kept driving and hoped for the best (although Jeff had plans involving the low-lying bar ditch if we saw a funnel cloud)(which to me seemed like we might survive the tornado but then the flood would get us)(luckily we didn't have to make that decision).

The storm hit just after we went through the little town of Franklin - we could see it coming:
 Talk about driving into the eye of the storm!

And then it hit:
Wipers were going full speed, while we'd slowed down to a crawl, with our hazard lights on.  Believe it or not, there were cars just ahead of us, but we couldn't even see their tail lights most of the time.
We got to Hearne, where the power was out for the entire town.  It was starting to flood a bit - you can see the car ahead of us was going through some deep puddles.  Not sure why they didn't move over one lane, like we did - it wasn't as bad there.
And then, about a minute after we got through Hearne, the rain (mostly) stopped - we were ahead of the storm.  We made it home just before the storm hit our town, whew!
I don't think I've ever seen our backyard this flooded in the 15 years we've lived here.  Front yard fared a little better, except for the river on the side coming from the backyard.  And the grassy area in the center of our cul-de-sac?  Filled to the top with water!  It IS for drainage, so it worked properly, but it was weird to see it get that full in a very short timeframe.

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Believe it or not, after all that rain, we got up yesterday morning to run.  It wasn't raining, but when we got outside, there was lightening and thunder in the distance, and quite honestly, I wasn't exactly feeling great about coming across some displaced giant snakes in the dark (this was at 5:00 am), so we ended up letting Paco come out and we walked in circles around the grassy area for about a mile before calling it.  Points for trying, right?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Mishmash

One of the Texas taglines is "It's like a whole other country" but I don't think they meant that literally...however, Google Maps seems to think that the town of Frisco (near Dallas) is actually located in Uzbekistan:
Since I've been to Stonebriar Centre, I guess I can say that I've been to Uzbekistan?

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The war over Jeff continues.  Henry had the unmitigated gall to lie next to Jeff, which meant Kip had to take the top of the couch.  He was shooting daggers at Henry, who acted like he had no idea Kip was even there:
If looks could kill...

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I was one of several hostesses for Cary's bridal shower last weekend - we had so much fun putting everything together, and I might be biased, but I think it came out so pretty:
We had a brunch, with a cereal bar, donuts, mini quiches and fruit.  I broke out my Fiestaware and love how festive the tables looked!
CC pouring milk onto her "suicide" bowl of cereal...remember how, as a kid, you would take a shot of every flavor of soda from the fountain into your glass?  She did that with all of the cereal.  I think having Cap'n Crunch, Froot Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Cocoa Puffs brought out the kid in all of us!
We played several games and then Cary opened her gifts - this picture made me laugh when I uploaded it later, because there was an errant roll of toilet paper in the background!  Yes, we designed wedding dresses out of toilet paper, and created a backstory for each one.  My team did a Vegas dress for the bride on her seventh wedding!

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It's Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, which means Monday is a holiday.  We have plans, so I'll be back on Wednesday - hope that won't mess up those of you who know what day it is by my posts, LOL!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WWU - Snakes in the Rain

I had a couple of good title options for this post - I could have called it Two By Two By Two Plus Canines Equals Nine...darn it, so often I have nothing, and today I had two good ones!    That title refers to how we paired off for our run on Sunday - Jeff and Brian, with Koda-dog, Cristy and Andi with Bella-dog, and Cary and I with Abby-dog. 

Anyway, our run on Sunday started out with the temperature at 76 degrees, plus heavy humidity.  This was the morning after a day of indulgent eating, so I was already feeling a bit on the sluggish side...combine that with the weather, and it felt like I was barely moving.  But about a mile and a half into the run, it started pouring rain, which cooled us down, so it ended up being a decent run after all.  However, we weren't without an adventure (because running in a downpour wasn't enough of one)...

Now, I've seen my share of snakes - mostly dead, thankfully - during my years of running, but on Sunday, we ran by the biggest snake EVER...it was about six feet long, no joke.  It always feels extra startling because we're moving fast toward it, and we usually don't realize that there's a snake in the road or on the sidewalk until we are practically on top of it.  This thing was huge - about as thick as my forearm, and like I said, really long.  At least it was obviously dead - it was in the gutter and had been run over by a car.  But wait, there's more:  this was the second snake we ran by that morning.  The first one was pretty big, but probably only two feet long.  Cary and I came upon it so fast that there was some screaming and jumping happening...you know how a cartoon character looks when their legs turn so fast that they have wheels for legs?  Yeah, that would be me.

I know the snakes are just looking for dry ground, what with all of the rain that we've had...the land is saturated and it doesn't get a chance to dry out between storms.  Logically, I feel for the snakes.  But that's when I'm sitting at my desk.  When I'm sharing the same road with them, all empathy goes out the window and I want them GONE!  I had a big case of the heebie jeebies yesterday morning as we ran in the dark - thankfully, we didn't come across any snakes, but we were definitely on the lookout and were a bit jumpy as well.

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We ran three miles on Sunday, doing 2:1 intervals.  Yesterday, it was just Jeff and I running, so we decided to run without intervals.  We did one mile, then took a very short walking break, then ran another mile.  I was glad to see that I could still run without having to do intervals, and really, I didn't particularly need that walking break - but I took it anyway.  It's so much warmer than it was just a month ago, and it's making running more of a challenge, so I might as well relax and just take it easy...no need to push it, because I know I can run a decent pace when the weather is cooler.  We've hit the summer running temps already and need to adjust our expectations for running.

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I discovered the greatest way to style my hair on Sunday - seriously, people were complimenting me on how good my hair was looking at breakfast after our run!  If you want to replicate it, here's what you need to do:  First, start off with hair that not only hadn't been washed in two days, but make sure there is plenty of hairspray left in it from the day before.  Scrape into high ponytail, plus wear a headband.  Go for a run and sweat a lot so your hair gets sweaty and gross.  Then run an additional 1.5 miles in the rain, so your entire head of hair is soaking wet.  Remove headband and take down ponytail, create a semblance of a part with your fingers, and boom - best wavy hair ever!
Good hair selfie...wonder if I can replicate this for a wedding in July?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Year Seven

I can't believe I've been blogging for seven years now.  My gosh - I honestly just started this blog so that I would be able to look back and be reminded of how hard I was working to get the weight off, in hopes that I wouldn't end up doing my usual complete regain.  I never imagined I'd still be here, seven years later, not only blogging, but also connecting with so many of you.

I could talk numbers, but it's no longer important to me what size I am, or what I weigh.  I am so relieved to be free of that - I tell you, it was quite the eye-opening day when I realized that not only did the numbers police not exist, but also that no one really cared about the exact number on my scale or on the label in my clothes.  Being at a healthy weight is one thing; obsessing over a specific number is another.  I let go of all that several years ago and have never felt better about myself. 

Do I have the body I envisioned I'd have?  Nope.  Am I disappointed?  Eh, not anymore.  I will say, I was pretty surprised when, after I'd lost 100 pounds, I did not look like a model.  My arms were flabby and I had way more loose skin than I thought possible, my stomach never got flat, and my thighs were still pretty hefty.  I discovered that weight loss in your 40s gives a different result than weight loss in your 20s - that, and the fact that by the time I started my last diet, I'd spent a couple decades being overweight, so my body didn't rebound like it used to.

I have come to terms with how I look now.  It's 100% better than May of 2008, I can tell you that!  And really, I have a strong, healthy body that pretty much allows me to run and jump and do crazy things, plus I have the energy to go along with all of that, so I'm grateful that I made the effort to lose weight.  I've done a hell of a lot of living in the last seven years, experiencing things that at one time I just thought were for other people.  Nope - turns out, I was one of those people.  Seven years ago, I started out on what I thought was simply a weight-loss journey; I had no idea how much more it would develop into.  Thanks for coming along on the ride with me!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Mini is the brand that just keeps on giving - a couple of days ago I found a package stuffed into my mailbox...turns out it was all this:
So many fun goodies!  My second favorite thing is the Mini-shaped paper clip, but my first favorite is the tiny Mini:
It's a USB drive, and it's adorable!

I am still loving my car, and apparently I love the color so much that when I got a pedicure this week, I walked out to my car and realized that I'd chosen the same color:
OPI needs to rename this color "MINI Electric Blue"!  Wet car because it's pretty much always raining over here.

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Recently, we found some inexpensive planter pots for the backyard; it was dry for a few hours last Sunday, so we zipped over to Lowe's and picked out some plants and got them potted before the rain returned.  They aren't arranged where I'd like them just yet - Jeff wanted to line them up on the sunny side of the patio.  I just laughed - there is no sunny side at the present time.  He can dream, anyway.
Far left:  old Sago palm, then we have a Japanese Aralia, then a Sizzling Pink Fringe Flower, then the green planter is holding an Emerald Wave Sweet Bay, which is supposed to be edible and smells pretty good, and finally, in the blue pot, we have a Silvery Sunproof Lily Turf. 

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A recent text conversation between Helen and I had me wondering if I'm so technologically-impaired that I need to chuck my iPhone for a Jitterbug:
I texted her the sound of my vacuum.  I didn't mean to do that.  What's worse is that I don't even know how it happened!

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 Pattern is a mishmash of Susan B. Anderson and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's basic sock patterns; yarn is from Twisted Fiber Art's fall yarn club, colorway is Cabana.


Well.  I honestly never thought I'd knit myself a sock, much less a pair of them.  After trying to knit something akin to a sock a while back, and not only intensely disliking the process but hating the finished product, I wrote off socks as not my thing.  And I was perfectly OK with that - after all, just because I knit doesn't mean I have to knit everything.  But somehow, after looking at sock patterns, I actually understood most of what they were talking about.  So I went for it...and BOOM.  Socks.  Plural.  That I can actually wear!  

I'm pretty proud of these - sure, there are some mistakes in them, especially in the first one.  You can see in the close-up picture in the bottom left that the sock on the left has a hole near where the heel flap begins, and also, the stitches picked up on the heel flap are a little off.  But the second sock has no hole and the picked up stitches look much better, so hey - I'll take a little improvement along with the learning process.  I think using a heavier yarn rather than traditional sock yarn helped me to get through these fairly fast, which kept my interest going, as I didn't get bogged down in the process.  I have some yarn on hand that I'm making another pair of socks with, this time going toe-up instead of cuff-down.  Socks...who knew??

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Workout Update

I promise you, I've been running consistently.  Year-round.  But my last few runs have made me wonder if I've been imagining that I was running, when in reality I was just sitting on the couch.  The switch from our decent weather to the pure hell that is Texas heat and humidity has wiped me out.  And it's not just me - six of us set out for a run on Saturday morning, and six returned, but holy moly, we ALL were wiped out.  Only one of us ran our intended distance, and that fool was feeling even crummier than the rest of us (can you tell the fool was Jeff?) - it's incredible what 76 degrees, 90-something percent humidity, and dead air can do to ruin a run.  Obviously we need to become re-acclimated to the warm, humid weather, and also, I think it might just be worse than usual, based on how often it's been raining (seriously, if I wanted to live someplace where it rains every day, I'd pick Maui), but geez, what a let-down to realize that running just a few miles can still be so challenging!

We recovered nicely with a really good breakfast, so that saved the morning.  And time spent with my running buddies is always fun, even when we feel like we're dying.

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Speaking of the weather, it's been another rainy, stormy week.  Yesterday Jeff and I woke up and dressed to go running, but when we stepped outside, it was raining a little too much for us, so we hopped in the car and drove to Planet Fitness.  I have to say, it felt good to do the 30-minute circuit again.  And while I usually am really careful about only wearing my running shoes to run, since I had them on, I didn't bother changing them before we went to the gym.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover how nice the cushioning on my shoes (Hoka Clifton) felt when I did the steps in-between the weight machines, but that put me in a bit of a dilemma, because now I want to wear those shoes for the gym, too!  Hmmm...comfort over cost?  Not sure what I'll choose.

I have to say, using some of the machines makes it obvious that my left hamstring/glute is still weaker than my right.  There's a machine where you do one leg at a time, and I struggled to move it with my left leg, but when I switched to my right leg, I was slamming that thing upward - kind of funny, but also pretty telling that I need to work more on strengthening my weaker side.  A good reminder - now, I just need to take action!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The BFF Miracle Body Buffer!

I think by now my regular readers know that I'm fairly skeptical when it comes to "miracle" products...there's an old saying about taking things "with a grain of salt" and I tend to take things with the entire salt shaker.  So, you can imagine my attitude when I saw the BFF Miracle Body Buffer being demonstrated at the Cap10K expo in Austin last month.  I glanced over, dismissed it, and then took a step and was reminded that my left leg, from the hamstring down to my Achilles, had been bothering me yet again.  I headed to the booth (luckily it was not crowded - I'm pretty sure that if I'd had to wait, I would have moved on), got the quick spiel on how it works and tried one out.
Action shot.

Holy moly.  I used it on my always-tight calves, found the knotted area, and within a couple of minutes, felt so much better.  I worked my calf muscle area down to my Achilles tendon, and when I stopped using the BFF Buffer, I could flex my foot without pain!  Of course, I then went to work on my hamstring (yes, in the booth - this thing felt so good that I didn't care who saw me working the back of my leg and glute at that point) - I felt a noticeable change within minutes.  By that time, Jeff had wandered in, and I made him try it on his hip - he's got a funky issue where his foot will hurt, but it stems from his hip getting tight.  He quickly became a convert because his foot pain went away after a couple of minutes of buffing.

At that point I was adding up in my head how much it costs for a massage ($80), which I rarely do (hello cheapskate), how much it costs to visit our chiropractor ($45), which helps reset me for a couple of weeks at best, and how much this magical buffer cost.  Jeff was on board, so it didn't take long to whip out my credit card - their expo special pricing helped, I'll admit - but honestly, the idea of being able to get this kind of muscle pain relief any time I wanted, at home, was the deciding factor.

The BFF Miracle Body Buffer is an orbital hand held massager - Jeff jokes that it's like a car polisher, and he's kind of right.  It has a cushioned foam pad that you cover with either a soft fluffy cover, or one that you can use with creams for more of a luxurious massage, or a fine sandpaper for hair and/or callous removal.  It's electric and has a 12-foot cord.  You use both the flat side and the edge for massaging - I love the edge for digging in right at my most knotted up areas.  It's not cheap - but if you've been dealing with chronic muscle pain, I think you'll agree that sometimes you get to the point of deciding that you'll spend whatever it takes to get rid of the pain.  I have been using my BFF Buffer for nearly a month now, and I love it so much that I took the steps to get an affiliate link.  You guys know me - I don't push a lot of products, and I definitely tell it like it is when it comes to reviews.  I've spent a lot of money over the years on products and services to make my body not hurt, so believe me when I say that this BFF Buffer has been worth every cent.  

The fact is, I do things that my body rebels against.  Running makes me hurt, especially on my left side.  I haven't mentioned it much lately, because I'm sure you guys are about as tired of reading about it as I am with feeling it.  The harder running that I did this spring, to hit my goal of running a 5K without stopping, put the hurt on me.  I was pretty bummed about it because I don't feel like I'm doing anything super crazy, but my body seems to be a delicate flower when it comes to running.  I'm not going to stop running just because I hurt - there may come a time when I really have to give it up, but that time is not now.  So I look for ways to ease the pain.  I stretch, I foam roll, and I beg Jeff to use the Stick to roll out my calves (he can put more pressure on them than I can).  Sometimes I end up taking Motrin, but I try to not do that, unless the leg/foot pain wakes me up in the middle of the night.
Using it after a run.  A couple of minutes on my calves is enough to move the lactic acid around, release the muscle tightness, and all I'm left with to remind me of my run is my runner's high (OK, and sweaty clothes).

The BFF Miracle Body Buffer retails for $250.  I know - it's not cheap.  But I'm telling you, it's been a game changer for me.  I use it just about every day, for a few minutes, and I'm practically pain-free.  It helps with everything from my plantar fasciitis pain (I can take that first step out of bed in the morning without it hurting) to my hamstring tug, and the nice thing is that I can easily use it on just about every body part that is hurting, except for one tiny area in my back (I blame my short arms for this).  It's easy to operate and isn't too heavy or cumbersome for me to hold - and the best part is that I've become much more proactive about massaging my legs because the results are so much better than if I try to foam roll or use the Stick.
 
Here's everything that comes with the buffer, including some stickers, should you feel the need to give it some personality.

If you are interested in purchasing a buffer, click here.  I have a 15% discount for my readers - use the code JOURNEY15 when you check out.  There is a one-year warranty on the buffer, and it comes with all the goodies in the picture.

P.S.  Not only do I use the BFF Buffer on my legs, but I also use it on the thumb joint area of my hands - they get really painful with knitting, and it will hurt so bad that buckling my seat belt, especially with my right hand, makes me wince.  The first time I used the buffer on my thumb joint, I discovered that I could flex my thumb across my palm with no pain!