Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fall Marathon Frustration!

When asked to describe characteristics about me, I would think any of my friends would include on that list the fact that I am a planner. 

I like to know what I'm doing and when, and when I make plans, I can be counted on to follow through.  I'm not saying I always have a plan, there are plenty of weeknights like last night where I come home from work, we eat dinner at home and watch tv, and then go next door to visit with our neighbors, or just go to bed.  But there are also many nights with plans.  Tonight, a social run followed by dinner with running buddies. 

But in terms of long term plans, I'm also very good about those.  When something is important to me, it gets put on the calendar, and I plan around it going forward.

Well, as you know, I am planning to use 100% of my work vacation days (and likely a few personal days) in October and November for our trip to China. 

The rough plan is to fly to Beijing, be there for a couple days to explore, run the marathon, then head out on travels, going to Xi'an, Chongqing, Yichang, and then Shanghai. 

After Shanghai, we figured we would probably fly straight to Chicago and spend a few days in Chicago and Milwaukee for my brother's early November wedding.  Then we'd fly home from there. 

But if the marathon was a bit earlier, we may fly directly home from Shanghai (well, not direct of course, since there are no such flights, but as close as we can), and then just fly up to Milwaukee or Chicago the following weekend for the wedding. 

Either way, lovely plan. 

But then lately, we've been seeing in the WSJ the fares to go to China on Emirate.  Not too expensive.  And we'd possibly be able to do a few days layover in Dubai, which is also on our list of places to go.  Sweet! 

Yesterday, hubby spent several hours tinkering with searches, routes, dates, etc.  Everything in the WSJ about it seems to be true -- competitive fares, decent routes. 

Definitely seems like we could layover in Dubai at the end of the trip and then get back to Milwaukee for the wedding.

Part of me wants to just buy the tickets now.  Even though I know what a pain it is when you have international travel involving multiple flights booked many months in advance -- it seems like once a week, you get some email about a change to your itinerary.  Sometimes it's just the flight number.  Sometimes arrival or departure time changes by a few minutes.  Sometimes it's the technical operator of the flight.  But dozens and dozens of emails "changing" that itinerary. 

But like I said, part of me just wants it all booked.  I can deal with reading the changes every week. 

But I can't book tickets because ... I STILL don't know when the Beijing Marathon will be!!!

Yes, in all likelihood less than 8 months before the marathon, and they haven't announced the date yet.  WTF?  Don't they know people kind of like to plan marathons many, many months in advance.  Most people need at least 4 months to train, and since many good marathons fill up quickly, most runners lock in the one they want to run as soon as they can. 

I'm sure it will either be Oct. 14 or Oct. 21, but it's kind of critical to know which. 

I have been checking the website, boldly announcing the race on Oct. 16, 2011, for months now.  I've sent a few emails to the "contact" email address, and received an automated response in Chinese indicating my inquiry has been received.  But no response.  I go to the website at least once a week to look for the 2012 date.  Nada. 

This week, there is finally a countdown of days posted (227), and a cool logo that says 2012 (no actual date, but at least indicates they're planning to hold a 2012 event), and this makes me 90% certain I know the date (Oct. 14), but I'm reluctant to completely rely on that, particularly when the two other sites that list the date aren't official sites (but both didn't have any date listed as of last week, so maybe there's an official announcement only in Chinese?).  Why won't they just announce it already and put up a registration link??!!  Or at least publish the date so we can book travel??

Sometimes I wish everyone liked calendars and planning as much as me. 

The funny thing is though, for my fall 2013 marathon (Berlin), not only have they already announced the date for Sept. 2013, they've announced when registration opens for the 2013 race (in October 2012).  Beijing still doesn't have the date clear, let alone the registration date, and race day is about 7.5 months away...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Forging Ahead

So I'm officially getting sick for the first time in 2012.  Not too bad, considering I usually seem to get a few bugs over the average winter.  Went to the doc in a box last night and was given antibiotics.  I had assuemd there would also be steroids, and was a bit disappointed there weren't.  I want to get over this as fast as I can -- and I'd assumed a shot or pills would help. 

I need to be better by Saturday to be exact! 

Today feels about the same as yesterday, certainly no worse, which is good.  I had a very restless night last night, as did hubby, but he seems to be a bit better today.  He actually went back to the doctor yesterday and they ended up doing chest x-rays and all because he has some fluid in his lungs.  But if he's finally turning the corner and starting to improve, hopefully it won't hit me quite as hard, and I'll be just a couple days behind him. 

Saturday is my last big day of walking.  This week I'm lining up friends to meet me and keep me company for the 9 hours. 

There are so many things I'm going to try to do differently from last time.  While this walk will be likely identical to my last one in terms of time (and it will be completely identical I'd expect for mileage), I am going to try to wear what I'd like to wear on race day (and that means wearing the weighted pack for the entire 9 hours; last time I wore the pack for 6 hours and the weighted vest for 3), and finally, I am going to work very hard at getting my hydration and nutrition down.

Last time my hands swelled like crazy after about 7.5 hours of walking.  By the time I got to 9 hours, I was worried my wedding band would either split or cause permanent damage to my finger.  So this time I'm going to hopefully take in more sodium, more water, and more calories.  I'm also going to attempt to keep my arms somewhat bent, more like in a running position, which will hopefully stop some fluid from pooling in my hands.

I'm also going to leave the rings at home, and I'm going to wear one of those funny hats with the little brim all the way around, since I've been advised to wear something similar to that on race day.

Today I'm going to take the final step in preparing for the marathon -- I'm booking my plane tickets.

And I'm officially going alone.  I was hoping a friend of mine who lives in San Antonio would be able to join me, but she can't.  Hubby can't because he leaves for Italy 2 days after the race.  And most of my friends here are either busy that weekend (there is a big half in Dallas), or male (and hubby would be peeved if I went with a guy, no matter how platonic it is). 

The idea of going alone doesn't really bother me that much.  I don't know that anyone else would want to have the same experiences there that I do -- I want to go hear the survivor stories, and spend most of the day before doing stuff like that.  And I like the idea of being able to wholly set my own schedule.  The time when I'll most miss having a friend there will be when I actually strap on the pack and set off.  Most mornings here my bestie tightens all my straps and everything.  I will likely have to rely on a stranger to do that, but I don't think that will be too difficult. 

But after plane tickets are booked, there's no going back in my mind!

Monday, February 27, 2012

FMM: Beauty

I had a non-weekend.  I spent ALL day each day in a running coaching certification class.  It was fun and informative.  But it didn't feel like a weekend.  I cooked both nights.  I'm worried I'm getting sick, hubby has been sick for about a week with an upper respiratory infection, and I fear I'm getting it.  Sore throat, stuffy nose, ugh.  But I'll plow through this week because Saturday is my last long (9 hour!) walk with my pack. 

So, time for Friend-Making Monday. If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Take a few minutes to share what makes you beautiful, and don’t be shy! I know we’re often our own worst critics, but there’s something beautiful about every single person reading this. And today seems like a good day to reflect on what makes us beautiful so let’s do it together. (Come on…this will be good for all of us!)  Leave out all of the negative stuff, and concentrate on the beauty that’s within you – seen and unseen.

FMM: What makes YOU beautiful?
I am very reliable.

I guess I like my wrists.

My husband says the sparkle in my eye and my shiny personality and my loving smile.

I do like the color of my eyes. 

I try hard to do a lot. 

Ummm, this list is kind of lame.  I might have to add to it later today -- not feeling very beautiful right now...

Now it’s your turn to share what makes you beautiful! Don’t forget to go to and post your link in the comments! Happy Monday friends.

Okay, coming back after lunch.  Definitely afraid I'm getting sick, may swing by the urgent care place on my way home from work tonight in hopes of getting a shot and a prescription. 

Here's my supplement:

I am almost always able to see both sides to anything

I can be very analytical

I am loyal to my friends and family

My legs (without thinking about shape) have been able to accomplish so much more than I ever would have expected 10 years ago in terms of running and fitness

My teeth are pretty straight and pretty white in spite of myself...

My skin is generally clear (again, in spite of myself)

I am good at planning and being efficient

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I think I can be very critical sometimes, and I have trouble deciding if it's appropriate or too much in some situations. 

This morning on the Today Show, the direct quote was (this was discussing a woman from Pakistan who was nominated for an Oscar):  "her ailing father suddenly passed away." 

Is it just me, or is that incredibly stupid and nonsensical?  I feel like I should be able to expect more in a prepared clip that is broadcast nationwide by professionals.  Either he was ailing and he passed away, or he was healthy and he suddenly passed away. 

Arrr... does this even bother normal non-critical people?  It's probably just me.  The grammar on the Bachelor drives me crazy too.  The people always "I" when they mean to say "me."  As in "I see a future for Ben and I." 

Ah, deep breaths.  I should go back to yoga more often and maybe I'll be so calm I don't even notice stuff like that! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lenten Plan

I have been trying to come up with a good way to mark Lent this year, and nothing has come to mind.  So I decided to do something I've done before -- no more chocolate.  I hate doing something so trite, but there just hasn't been anything else that struck me.  I would rather do something that reflects some connection to God, like doing X community service hours per day/week, or planning to do daily spiritual reading, or committing to attend church x times, or something, because I think that's closer to how I view the purpose of a Lenten sacrifice, but I'm just not sure I'd do those things.  Especially since my weekends are really full until the weekend following the marathon (marathon is 3/25, so my first free weekend day is 3/31!!!).  But let the record reflect my weekend plans are all things I want to do -- getting my running coaching certification, marathon training (including another 9 hour walk and another shot at trail running), having out of town company, etc.  Either way, I didn't think taking on something that takes time would have a high chance of success. 

Cho-CO-late (sung to the tune of Jump-ON-it) isn't usually something I eat very often.  But at some point in the last few months, I opened a big Costco bag of Ghiardelli squares that had been sitting in my desk for months, and I've been plowing through them, eating 2 or more per day at work.  There's just no need for that.  Fruit is a better snack, and I know it.  I enjoy the chocolate though, so this is somewhat of a sacrifice. 

I got more Ghiardelli squares for Valentine's Day, but those will just have to wait for me until Easter. 

Maybe I will still try to squeeze in some positive acts.  Trying to compliment someone every day?  Spiritual reading at least once a week?  Church more (that's easy, since attendance is currently minimal for me, but I have major church issues here, too numerous to discuss, but anyone who knows much about the Episcopal diocese in Dallas and my personality will understand I suppose)?  Community service regularly?

Also, not really related, and I hate talking politics, but does anyone else think Americans would go bat$hit crazy if someone burned a bunch of Bibles, the same way people are going crazy over American soldiers burning the Qur'an?  Maybe it's just living in Texas, which is dangerously close to the Bible Belt, but this strikes me as a very common reaction to the burning of a sacred book.  I hate that this happened.  It feels so disrespectful and makes me kind of sad.

Monday, February 20, 2012

FMM: Travel

What a fitting topic for today's post -- travel! We just got back last night from what I expect will in retrospect be considered one of my favorite weekends of the year! After a couple days with my husband's best friend, we went to Mobile for Mardi Gras with my best friend and her family, plus her new family -- her husband and their twins, plus a bunch of friends. So much fun!! My dress for the ball (a Nicole Miller!) was a big hit and it was fairly comfortable. Unfortunately, my shoes were not comfortable. Crazy. I wore them in a wedding in October and they were great, but not so at the ball. By about midnight, I was taking them off as often as possible. We danced a lot, so we'd be on the dance floor, I'd look for a dry spot (it's supposed to be no drinks on the dance floor, but people en masse seemed to disregard that this year), then take off my shoes and keep them under my dress. The dress has to be floor length according to the dress code, so it just made the dress look too long, but so much more comfortable! But walking home was painful, to the point that I walked halfway back to the hotel barefoot. After some rain and after Mardi Gras. Talk about disgusting! But I think I was intoxicated enough it didn't bother me as much as it would in reality!

Anyway, I'll see if I can add a few weekend pictures at the end of this post. But now, on to the designated topic:

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Travel

  1. Where did your most recent trip take you? Last week we were in Alabama for Mardi Gras with friends. Got home last night.
  2. Is there a place that you’d like to visit that you haven’t yet? If so, where? Tons. My list, in order I think, is Israel, China, Egypt, India and South Africa. And that's just the top 5 -- the list is long. As I said, I've been to about 45 countries, and I'd love to go to the other 145!
  3. Do you travel lightly, or do you cram as much into your luggage as possible? Is it possible to do both? I attempt to avoid checking luggage as much as possible, including when going to Europe (though it doesn't always work), but I try hard to get a lot into my bag. We almost never take road trips, but when we do, I pack heavy -- try to bring everything I might possibly need. But I'm much happier just taking a single manageably-sized bag on a big trip.
  4. Do your eating and exercise habits change when you travel? If so, how? Yes, with exercise I tend to mix it up more or take rest days when travelling. At home, it's a constant routine of boot camp and running with friends, with some yoga, spin or whatever mixed in. But on the road, I'll run solo sometimes -- just running somewhere new can be a big change as I mentioned last week -- yikes, LOTS of hills in Alabama! -- but sometimes I'll also do things like using weight machines (I usually prefer body weight stuff, and sometimes use small 8-10 pound dumbbells, but on the road, I'll sometimes play around in a gym), trying a new class (my one and only Zumba experience was while on vacation in Sweden), doing things like renting bikes, kayaking, whatever. My exercise routine is a lot less regimented on vacation, but still fun. My eating changes for the worse though. We don't eat out a lot at home, but of course do a lot on vacation. Sometimes we'll do crazy things like making sure we eat pizza and ice cream every day. And I drink on vacation, but in a standard week at home, I don't usually drink at all. As I posted last week, maybe it's a good thing I don't get as much vacation time as I'd like! That could be quite dangerous for me.
  5. Tell us about a place you’ve been that you’d like to go back to. We go to Calabria in southern Italy pretty much as often as we can. Hubby has family there. We got engaged there. We got married there. Some day we want to move there. It's unlike a lot of the rest of Italy in my mind because it is not full of tourists. It's much more authentic. It's very beautiful, mountains and sea, and then beautiful churches and streets in between. We were in Florence one time at a restaurant and some awful loud American woman was whining at the waiter, "you mean you don't take dollars???!!!" Oh, we were mortified and glad we usually speak Italian on vacation instead of English because we did not want to be identified by that woman. It just doesn't seem like something that would happen in Calabria because that woman would never be there in the first place. I love the routine of the towns there. Getting your coffee in the morning, the big lunch, sitting in the piazza during the afternoon or evening, a small dinner, a lovely stroll. Ahhh, I wish I were going with hubby next month -- it will be the first time he's gone to Italy without me since we got married...
  6. Do you prefer to travel at a certain time of year? We usually like to take our big overseas trip in the spring or fall. I love getting out of Dallas in the summer, and we always go home to see my folks in the winter, but overseas works best for us in the spring or fall.
  7. If you had to choose, would you go to the beach or the mountains? Tough call. I would not object to either. I think we had this question before on one of these Monday posts, and I said beach, but today I'm in a mountain mood. I think it was running all those hills in Birmingham!
  8. Have you ever needed a passport to travel? Not in 2012 yet, but I will of course when we go to China in the fall. In my life to date, I've been to Europe, Asia, Africa and South Africa -- so I guess my missing continent (that I want to visit) is Australia. I've had a passport with stamps since high school I guess (before that I'd been to nearby places like Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, but no passport needed).
  9. Do you collect anything in your travels? I love foreign coin currency! And I often get something else small that reminds me of the place, though I did one major overseas purchase -- a beautiful silk rug for our living room. My best friend collects shot glasses, so I usually try to look for one of those, but not so easy to find in non-touristy places.
  10. Where do you plan to go next? March travel for me will be to White Sands, New Mexico for the marathon!
Now it’s your turn! Don’t forget to come back to share a link in the comments at! Happy Monday friends!

Mardi Gras in pictures:

Alabama = Mullet (but he was the dj at one of the hotels and did an awesome job!)

One of my best friend's twins:

Ah, and another amusing site -- check out the mustache of this guy watching the parade:

COC parade:

MOT Ball:

MOT queen:

People dancing (note that this picture is clearly taken from a seated position!):


Bad food (I ate a funnel cake):

Friday, February 17, 2012

Holy Hills!

So Dallas has one clear exercising upside -- you can run outdoors pretty easily year-round, and one clear exercising downside -- it's flat as a pancake. 

We're staying with hubby's best friend in Birmingham right now (leaving today for Mardi Gras in Mobile), and all 4 of us went for a run yesterday.

Hubby's friend mentioned as we set out that we're in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  He wasn't joking.  Within a quarter mile of their house, we were on a decent downhill.  Dallas-sized.  But that was followed by an uphill worse than any I've seen in Dallas.  And I even drive to special places sometimes to run hills!  That was followed by a slight down, and then an even bigger up.  Followed by a long, gradual downhill.

There was a little loop in their neighborhood that was about 1.2 miles, so we just did that several times.  My training schedule, ironically, had 5 miles of rolling hills scheduled yesterday.  I'd just assumed that if I ran at all (I did consider just resting, per my PA's advice, but my ankle really is fine), it would just be flat and easy.

Surprise!  I got my hills in, undoubtedly even more than I would have if I'd met my buddies in Dallas! 

I love flat marathons, and am always surprised by the many people who prefer slight rolling hills.  Now I understand.  Most of the rest of the world is used to slight rolling hills, or even big rolling hills.  Just a Dallas disadvantage I guess. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vacation Efficiency!

I'm feeling quite proud of myself right now.  I'm on day 2 of my working vacation and looking back at my day 1 accomplishments -- wow!

I think I mentioned before that my only real complaint about my new job is the low amount of vacation time.  And it's not really low (and actually, it's not my only real complaint, I also really wish we had an on-site gym).  I get 2 weeks vacation, and 2 weeks personal.  And eventually, if I use little enough personal time one year, it will roll over to vacation. 

But 2 weeks for someone whose family doesn't live nearby and who loves to travel overseas is just not a lot. 

For 2012, I am attempting to use ZERO vacation days before October, so that I can use the full 2 weeks in Oct and Nov to cover our trip to China (though I might have to tack on a few personal days too). 

Well, since we like to go to Mardi Gras in Mobile (my best friend and her family always go, as well as a bunch of her friends from our law school and some of her college friends), and since we also wanted to visit my husband's best friend who lives in Birmingham, it meant that I was going to find a way to make this trip without taking vacation. 

We had originally planned to fly to Birmingham on Wed. morning, then rent a car, and ditch it on Sunday at the Mobile airport.  But flights were expensive and I was hesitant to do that because it would have really sucked up a lot of my day Wednesday, time during which it would have been hard to work.

Hubby likes driving a lot, and we've done this drive once before, and we have a free rental car right now, so we decided to drive. 

Yesterday, we hit the road around 7 a.m. and got here to Birmingham around 5:45 p.m., with a few pit stops for gas and a sit-down lunch. 

I started working around 8 and worked basically all day.  I had my laptop, and even though I wasn't online, I was able to plow through so many emails and bills and records. 

It was insanely productive!

At work, though I don't love working this way, I tend to deal with whatever comes up each day.  I often have things I want to get done, but depending on what comes up during the day, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.  One of the things I frequently back-burner is reviewing records.  Often it's something that just has to be done eventually, no deadline or anything. 

Even though we're moving to paperless at work, I have a huge (over one foot) stack of paper sitting there at all times waiting for me to review. 

Yesterday, I got through inches.  I love it!  I was able to just type my notes in a Word doc as I went and turn pages as the miles passed.  I have trouble reading a book in a car, but for some reason, records review with pages and a laptop worked very well. 

It was a wonderfully productive day to be getting through stuff without handling emails and phone calls, and just my daily list of cases I want to check on. 

Maybe I should do working vacations more often!

Today, hubby, his best friend and his wife, are all hanging out in the living room, talking, drinking coffee, and I'm here in their study, eavesdropping and occasionally piping up in the conversation and working (but now blogging) away. 

Today all 4 of us will go for a late morning run, hubby and his friend will go pick up hubby's tails for the ball, and I'll work on emails and phone calls and the daily list of cases, but tomorrow, another car day, I'll get through some more records. 

It's just a nice change of pace and I love it.  Makes me feel like things are much more under control.  And my vacation days used remain at zero!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Running Buddy Moving Bummer

A cool pic I found on Facebook that's a good summary of how I feel about my running buddies:

I'm not sure if it's big enough to read, but hope so.  I didn't know how to clip out the "mi piace/commenta" part in the bottom left (that's what you get for "like/comment" if you FB in Italian). 

Oh well.  Even though I'm not running with my running buddies right now, I know I will soon.  I still see them pretty often, but I can't ask them to slow down several minutes per mile to accomodate my new weighted pace.  So instead I'm making new running buddies for now.  But one of my best running friends (well, actually just one of my best friends, though we met through running) has been so supportive she's even done a couple races with me at my weighted pace.  And for my big walks, lots of my running buddies have come out to slog a few slow walking miles by my side.  I'm lucky.  I can't imagine being motivated enough to run solo, and even if I got out there, I think I'd just get so bored. 

I know I've written it before, but the group I've run with for years has become among my core friends.  Some of the group I see outside of running, but even for the ones that I only see (or used to see I should say) a few days a week for our runs, just having all those hours of time to talk about everything takes the friendships to a whole new level.

I feel like I've been through so much with that group -- first dates, break-ups, marriages, deaths, divorces, moves, job changes, injuries, people-making.  And just all the discussions that go with all of those things.  Talking out relationship stuff, daily frustrations, thoughts about our jobs, etc.  It's like therapy in some ways, but really, it's just friendship.  The running part just adds to it -- working together toward our goals, and then being there for the big PR, or the big bust, sometimes those end up being big moments in our lives. 

Guess that explains why I'm still pretty sad to have learned that one of my running buddies is moving away.  He's not in the core group I run (well, ran) with a few days per week, but someone I'd run with in the evening every so often.  And someone I'd race with and drink with.  I've now lost two good running buddies to California -- bah!  One followed his now-wife to the San Fran area, the other went to LA for a job and took his family with him.  Now I'm losing one to St. Paul.  And I've lost 2 more this year to injuries (though one was people-making before that, so she really hadn't been back long).  When I'm done with this weighted marathon I wonder who will be left!  I know the ones who haven't moved are running without me, I'm just looking forward to rejoining them.  Thankfully there are still some left...

Monday, February 13, 2012

FMM: Before Photos... or not...

I survived the weekend.  Walked just over 27 miles on Saturday.  My goal was 9 hours on my feet, and I was just a bit shy of that (I ended up at 8 hours, 48 minutes).  Whew!  18 miles with the pack on, 9 miles with just the vest.  But still carrying the full weight the whole time.  The absolute furthest I've ever gone in a day -- I think I'd maxed out around 26.5 miles before (NYC marathon, running from bag check to the start added about .3 miles to the full).  So a new PDR (personal distance record).  Crazy!

My ankle felt rock solid.  I now have 2 theories about what might have caused the pain -- either those side plank exercises, or indoor laps at boot camp (which include multiple left turns, including one sharp one that leads straight into an uphill).  I was running at camp this morning and I really felt it in my ankle on that sharp turn and incline.  I actually asked the instructor if we could reverse the direction for a while and he let us.  That seemed to help a lot.

I've always heard running the same direction on a short track can be bad for you.  Usually when I'm on a track, it's a quarter-mile outdoor track, and that's big enough that I've never had trouble.  But some of those indoor tracks are short (at my in-laws' gym, it's something like 8 laps to a mile!), and I can see how that would eventually build up to some problems in your body.  Repeated and frequent turns always the same direction just can't be good for you.

So for now, I'm going to follow doctor's orders -- kind of.  I think I'm going to wear my vest tomorrow morning for my run, but it will be slow and easy.  And then I'm taking a break I think while I'm on vacation.  This morning at boot camp it reminded me -- jumping rope does great things for my heart rate.  Almost like running, though I didn't do it long enough today to get it that high.  But I'll bring a jump rope with me, and maybe I can try to do some other exercises while we're gone, and maybe walk some.  But likely no running, and very likely no weighted running.

And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't checked out Bikram studios in Alabama!  Schedules aren't as good as the one here in Dallas (we usually have 6-7 classes per day to choose from, there at most there are 5).  But it might work around lunch time on Thursday.  An added bonus to that would be dropping some water weight before I have to wear an evening gown on Saturday night!

Anyway, the big pain from my looooong walk was the bottoms of my feet.  Again.  I blistered on the ball of each foot, basically right below my second toe.  About the size of a quarter on my right foot, about the size of a dime on my left.  Holy schnikees, that hurts.

And my hands and forearms swelled like crazy.  Hubby said that was from wearing the pack for 18 miles and perfectly normal.  I'm used to mild swelling in my hands on long runs, but this was unparalleled.  I was worried my wedding ring would snap off.  I had welts from my Garmin -- I always wear it in the same hole, and it's usually a bit loose, but it was hard to even take off this time.  I didn't even recognize my hands as I was driving home.

But after the rest of the day Saturday napping and keeping my feet up, then a pedicure (and sleeping in, instead of running) on Sunday, and I'm feeling better, aside from the blisters, and even those are getting better.

The plan is still to do one more 9ish hour walk on 3-3, and then taper down for the marathon, but keep the running miles fairly steady (and low, around 25ish per week).  

So I'm going to make a half-@ssed attempt at today's Friend Making Monday, though I can't bring myself to do photos...

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Before Photos (or Not, in my case)

  1. Are you on a weight-loss journey?  Have you lost weight in the past? Are you trying to lose it now?  I'm not really on a weight loss journey.  I was heavier about 5 years ago, and then in 2007 I added a boot camp to my running routine, and then in early 2008, I started to really clean up what I ate.  That all really changed my body shape for the better, and my weight went down a bit, but not as much as I expected really based on the changes in my body.  I guess it's the whole "muscle weighs more than fat" thing.  I'd love to lose some weight now, but at the same time, I'm more focused on meeting other health goals.  And if those happen, maybe the weight will evaporate away along that journey.  Though I weigh myself most days (and record the weight on New Year's and my birthday), I don't worry about the scale too much.  
  2. Do you like being in pictures, or do you shy away from the camera?  I don't mind being in pictures, but I mostly love taking pictures, so I'm usually not in many.  I think I have a poor memory, which is part of the reason I like having photo memories.  
  3. Does looking at old photos of yourself motivate you?  Not really -- I barely even identify with the old pictures.  I'm more motivated by looking at people who can do what I want -- watching the studs at boot camp, watching the people who pass me in races, etc.  I want to be stronger and faster, and I like looking at those people to motivate me.  
  4. Weight-loss bloggers, do you post progress pictures on your blog? N/A
  5. Will you share a before photo with us (even if you don’t have an after yet?)  Sorry..., can't bring myself to do it.  Plus, I've really been at the same weight-ish (probably within 5-10 pounds) since about Spring 2008, so I'm not even sure how readily accessible those pictures are.  But looking forward to seeing other people's progress photos!  
Now it’s your turn! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments at!  Happy Monday friends!

Friday, February 10, 2012


My ortho's PA is worried that since the pain is pretty much right on my ankle bone, I may be headed toward a stress fracture.  I'm allowed to walk as long as there's no pain, and run w/o weights for a week.  And he suggested I do bleachers.  Ugh.  He's really good because he addresses injuries while trying very hard not to compromise your fitness.  He said bleachers would be good for strengthening my quads but with less impact on my ankle. 

He thinks giving it a rest for a week or two will be all I need to do.  Whew.  He said I can ice and take tylenol, but the important thing is really to let it recover. 

So I'm walking tomorrow and then maybe taking off Sunday.

As for the rest of the week, how conveeeeeenient that I have to lay off right before Mardi Gras, where I plan to eat and drink until I feel ill on at least one of the days!  Haha.  Guess it lines up pretty well -- now I won't have to wake up and try to run off the indulgences, doctor's orders! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sore or Injured?

Something is wonky in my left ankle and I can't tell if it's something to worry about or not. 

I ran last night, 5 miles at the social run.  I planned on going very slow and easy.  I was running without any weight.  While I'd think that running without weight would make me run faster than I used to because I'm getting stronger with the weight, that is not the case.  My body is adapting to a slower stride and pace, and it's slowing me down whether I wear the weight or not. 

Anyway, Wednesday nights are my one run each week without the weight.  So I ran the first 2 miles pretty easy, and then I had volunteered to lead the group going 5 miles, so when we got to the water stop at 2, I called out to see who there wanted to do 5, and several people joined in to run out another half mile.  But since those people were already hanging out at the 2 mile water stop, that meant that they were running faster than my friend and I were.  So we picked up the pace and ran a fairly quick 3 more miles. 

By about mile 4, I was having some pain on the inside of my left ankle.  But I never fell or rolled it or anything, so I have no idea why. 

I was able to finish up the run, and went out for Mexican food and beer with a bunch of people and pretty much forgot all about my ankle. 

This morning I could feel it when I woke up, but I went to my group run anyway.  It was 5 miles and at a very easy pace, so I figured I'd be okay. 

I could feel my ankle in less than a quarter mile after the start, but it never got too painful.  I was able to finish the 5 miles feeling alright, and I got home and iced it for a little while. 

By the time I got to work though, I could feel something wonky in there. 

The odd thing is that at boot camp yesterday, we did a lot of exercises in the side plank position.  We were doing one-armed presses, and we were doing something where you're in a side plank and you just raise and lower your hips (if you're looking at the exercise, if you're doing it, it's more like moving your hips side to side).  Several years ago, something in my ankle or calf hurt a lot and I blamed it on those side plank exercises. 

It's the only thing I can think to blame.  I really hope that's what's causing the pain, because I would expect that kind of soreness to go away in a few days, as opposed to a real injury, which would be quite inconvenient! 

Either way, I think I'm going to opt for a rest day tomorrow, and maybe on Sunday as well.  I haven't taken a day completely off in a couple weeks, and yesterday was a double workout (boot camp in the morning, social run in the evening), so maybe this is just a little warning sign, my body waving a caution flag. 

I'll honor it!

Just to be safe, I made an appointment with my ortho's PA for tomorrow morning...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nothing to Report

Just don't have much to write about, and haven't for a few days.

Work is work.  I've felt completely buried for the last couple weeks, and that's kind of a beat-down.  But as of yesterday, things are a bit more under control.  I have two major headache cases to work on today, but if I could actually make progress on them (as opposed to getting derailed on some emergencies...), I'd be thrilled.

I'm stoked for vacation next week, though it's not really vacation.  We're going to visit our best friends (separately, first going to see his best friend for a couple days, then mine for a couple days) for Mardi Gras.  But I'm not taking vacation, so I'm going to be working during the day each weekday.  In some ways, that will work out very well.  First, hopefully, I can work on a few long-standing projects without distraction and really make some major headway.  Second, since during the week we'll be seeing hubby's buddy, it will give them some time together.  I am assuming his wife will be working too.  I've only met her once before and she was very distracted that week (they had a friend of hers in town and he didn't speak more than about a dozen words of English and was very demanding, so she was translating and explaining constantly).  It'll be nice to get to hang out with her more.  But I have to get a lot of work done too!

Part of my blah or quiet feeling may be this weekend, looming large on my radar.

Saturday is going to be almost wholly consumed walking.  I am going to attempt to walk 27 miles, the longest amount of time on my feet in my entire life probably -- even counting days in Europe or something where I tend to walk almost constantly.  I am planning to start at 6 a.m. and I won't be done until about 3, maybe later.  Yikes!  I'm nervous about what to eat and when, and I'm still trying to nail down the schedule with friends so I won't be walking alone.

Sunday is going to be a group run for 8 miles if my feet survive the day Saturday.  But after the run, life is going to suck.  I have to find a dress for Mardi Gras.  I have two possibilities (one worn before), but I'm not even sure either will fit.  I need to try them on this morning (remember what I said Monday about procrastinating on tasks I don't like??), but I have a feeling I'm going to be stuck shopping on Sunday.  Ugh.  And then packing so I'm ready to go.  I want to finish the packing on Sunday so that Monday night I can watch the Bachelor, and Tuesday night we can do whatever we decide to do for Valentine's Day.

And did I mention that last week Wed night at the social run I found out that one of my favorite occasional running buddies is moving away at the end of Feb?  It stinks.  He's a fun guy, always game for a run followed by a beer.  My husband jokes that this guy only runs alone or with beautiful women, never with guys, which is a funny observation.  So I told him I'd cancel my plans for tonight so we could run together again, then our last run will be 2 weeks from now -- since we're on vacation next week.  I hate when people I like move away, even if they're pursuing great opportunities.  And he's moving somewhere I'm not inclined to visit, and I already have a cousin there, so it's not like it's a bonus free place to stay.  Sigh.  Life keeps going, I'll make new running friends, sigh...

So that's a whole lot of nothing exciting in my world!

Monday, February 6, 2012

FMM: Habits

I had another very active weekend. 

Friday we went to lunch at the sculpture museum here for an alumni event for my grad school, then I had a decent afternoon of working from home (super-productive morning), and we got ready for a dinner party.  Second dinner party of the year.  We had a couple over and they brought their son who was about 10-12.  And we had a friend of mine over, though he left around 11, having just flown back from Rio yesterday and still having a lot of jet lag.  But among the 5 adults, we somehow drank 4 bottles of wine and 2 bottles of beer.  Yikes! 

That alone was enough to make me want to spend hours outside Saturday doing something active! 

Saturday we dropped off my car because my anti-lock brake light has been coming on.  From there, we headed out to suburban hell.  But there's a big lake out there with trails.  I was seriously feeling repulsed on some levels -- all these people in all these cars, parking in all these parking lots for all these chain stores.  It was kind of disgusting.  I have no idea what my problem was.  I guess I sometimes forget that Dallas has all that.  We live really close to downtown and we have a little bubble of about 10-15 miles in any direction from our house and we very rarely go outside of that unless we're going to the airport.  Heck, I tend to stay within a much smaller radius than that -- I go a couple miles south to downtown to workout, about 5 miles north from our house to go to work, a couple miles north from our house to run, and we usually go out in our neighborhood, but occasionally will head about 10-15 miles north or a couple miles south.  It was just very blah until we got to the lake.  And even at the lake, hiking on the trails.  You'd be walking and hear a car horn or a plane overhead.  Ugh.

I'll have to post later about our first day of walking on trails.  We both survived but one of us fell.  And it wasn't me.  I rolled my ankle, but not badly.  But I learned that I am a lot less balanced wearing my pack.  I'm glad I'm spending some time practicing. 

After about 10k of walking, we went out for lunch in the burbs to wait until my car was done, then came home to nap and clean.  Then yesterday I went running (wearing the vest) with my half-marathon training group.  I really should have added a few more miles on to that so I'll be ready for the marathon distance, but oh well.  But post-run, we had a running friend's belated birthday breakfast celebration, then I spent most of the day working on learning Chinese and organizing some random things in the house (bottom of the china hutch and the linens drawer).  Nice weekend.  Didn't do anything special for the superbowl -- actually watched very little of it. Usually I like the commercials, but they weren't doing anything for me, so we ended up watching a DVR'd episode of Southland.  I'm so glad hubby isn't a sports junkie -- it would work if I was too, but I'm just not. 

So, since it's Monday, figured I'd do another Friend Making Monday topic post. 

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Habits

Are you proactive, or do you procrastinate?  It depends on what it is, but for something I don't want to do, I procrastinate though I'm always trying to change my ways.  One of my least favorite work-tasks is reviewing (and approving or rejecting charges on) invoices from defense counsel we hire to defend suits in various states.  I don't mind this on 99% of my cases, but exactly 3 attorneys always seem to have problems.  Bills are way too high, blowing budgets, etc.  And when I have one of those invoices where I know I'm going to have to reject a bunch of charges and send an email explaining why this isn't acceptable, I put it off as long as I can.  I'm trying to be better about just doing it, but it's hard...

Do you eat breakfast everyday? If so, what’s a typical meal like?  Yes, twice!  I eat a granola bar before I workout, then for my official breakfast (a couple hours later), I make a sandwich with a whole wheat English muffin, two veggie breakfast sausage patties and a piece of cheese, and then I drink a smoothie made of spinach, frozen fruit and soy milk -- and during the week I remember to take my vitamins with breakfast usually. 

How much time do you spend watching TV on an average day?  There's really only 1 show I'm watching right now (The Bachelor), so that's 2 hours per week, but I DVR it so it's a bit less than 2 hours.  I also usually watch about 5 minutes around 5 a.m. while trying to confirm the weather before I go exercise.  But I also usually turn the TV on in the morning as soon as I get home from working out and don't turn it off until I leave for work.  I don't really watch, but it's on in the background.  So my answer is probably that the TV is turned on for about 2.5 hours per day here on average (about 1.5 in the morning, and about 1 in the evening). 

Do you talk on the phone, or do you prefer e-mail and/or text messages?  It depends.  For work, I always prefer email -- I like having the documentation.  With hubby, we usually text during the day if we need to communicate about something.  With friends who don't live nearby, I'd say the phone.  With friends who do live nearby, I like email to set up logistics and most conversations happen in person.

Do you exercise in the morning, afternoon or evening? Morning every day (though sometimes I'll take off on Friday, Saturday or Monday) no matter what.  During a yoga challenge, evenings too.  But now that I'm on a yoga break, I'd say I work out about 2 nights per week too -- usually running with friends.  I should add in a few more walks or something too, but oh well.  Afternoon exercise is only on the weekends in the winter (and that replaces a morning workout). 

Do you take time for yourself regularly? If so, how do you spend that time?  I guess most everything I do is for me -- working, working out, socializing, cooking, reading, volunteering.  No one makes me do any of that, I like my job and want to pay bills and buy things and travel and retire.  I am pretty happy with how I spend a vast majority of my time.  I guess sometimes I'll do things that hubby wants me to do, but that's usually something I want to do too.  I'm struggling to think of something (other than maybe cleaning), that I've done lately that really wasn't something I wanted to do. 

How often do you make your bed?  The rule in our house is whoever gets up last makes the bed, so that means I make it every Sun, Mon, Tues, and sometimes on the other days, it just depends on hubby's work and workout schedule.  It usually ends up being that I'm up first on Thursdays, but I tend to sleep later most days. 

Do you plan meals? If so, how far in advance?  About once a week when I make the grocery list, I try to plan 1-2 dinners for the week (and hopefully enough to yield leftovers), and then we're fairly flexible about what night we'll eat it.  Usually my choices are 1 crockpot meal, so we eat that whatever day I have time in the morning, and sometimes I'll make 1 more elaborate weekend meal.  And Sat nights are usually pasta with red sauce -- carb-load tradition.  The exception is if we're entertaining, when I always plan the entire meal usually about 2 weeks in advance. 

Do you wake up at the same time everyday? No, but I wake up at the same time on the same day each week.  So every Tues and Thurs, I get up at 4:42.  And every Sunday I get up at 4:55.  And every Mon, Wed, Fri, I get up at 5:00.  Saturdays are the only day that vary -- around 6 if I have a race, around 5 if I'm doing a long walk, around 8 or 9 if there's nothing in particular planned. 

How often do you brush your teeth?  In the morning at some point, and then before bed sometimes depending on what I ate and how tired I am.  Once a day is a given, but beyond that, no guarantees. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to go to and link up in the comments! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yoga's End

The bottom line is that I felt like over the last couple weeks I basically had to choose what I wanted more:  yoga or sex.  That's not a good place to be.  There just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

Seriously, this is an example of my time from last week Tuesday:

3:30 roll over as hubby's alarm goes off
4:15 roll over again as I hear the front door close as hubby leaves to go running
4:40 alarm to wake up
5:00 leave the house
5:15 start running with friends
[5:30 hubby leaves house for work]
6:45 get back home
6:45 breakfast, reading blogs, watching the news, showering, making lunch, getting ready for work
8:45 get to work
8:45 work all day, lunch at my desk with internet amusement or more work
5:45 change into yoga clothes, back to work for a bit longer
6:05 leave the office
6:20 arrive at yoga
6:30 yoga class
8:10 leave yoga studio
8:20 arrive home
8:20 make and scarf down dinner
8:45 shower
9:00 into bed exhausted, hubby already asleep

Ugh.  So I had already kind of decided that when my month of yoga ended at the end of January, maybe I'd take a little break.  I was barely seeing my husband and he was NOT happy about the 30 day challenge.  I guess I should be glad he wants to be with me.  Unfortunately, his schedule doesn't work for him to go to yoga with me often, but that wouldn't have helped -- his complaint was that we weren't seeing each other and talking enough.

I once read a post on a blog about how much Ironman training interferes with your relationships and sex life.  I think a yoga challenge is probably a smaller version of that -- only a month, and not quite as many hours a day, but if you do the yoga in addition to a regular workout schedule, that's about 3 hours per day spent working out or driving to/from workouts. 

I'm proud of myself for doing the 30 day challenge.  I started Dec. 28 and officially ended Jan. 28 -- 30 classes in 31 days.  I missed Dec. 29 and Jan. 6, but I did a double on my last day, Jan. 28.  And of course I went on Jan. 29 too, just to round out the weekend, but that was it.

I already miss it so much, but oh, I like having more time at night too.

I feel like I'm already becoming less flexible, feeling more bloated, more stressed.  But maybe that's all in my imagination.  Yesterday was a stressful day at work, and probably would have been, even if I'd had yoga at night.

I feel like I made a lot of progress in the second month of doing Bikram almost daily.  There were several postures where I felt like I wasn't even close in my first class, and then after two months, there was a major difference.  If you know Bikram, these are the postures where I think I improved the most -- standing head to knee, standing separate leg stretching, triangle, toe stand, wind-removing, locust, and fixed firm.  But I don't know if the names for the postures are the same at every studio.

I think I was proudest of fixed firm.  In the first class, I thought it was ridiculous.  I was not even close to having my hips on the floor, and I couldn't get close to going all the way back.  Within a few classes, I could go back and get my shoulders on the floor.  But the big breakthrough for me, believe it or not, was in the second set of my very last class -- my hips touched the floor while I was sitting up for the very first time.  My hips had grazed the floor a few times while I was laying back, but they'd never been on the floor at the outset until the very last time.  Crazy!  It was like my body knew I wanted to do it right once.

Second proudest was probably standing separate leg stretching -- my forehead touched the floor solidly for the first time about a week before my last class.  If you saw me do it, it wouldn't be so impressive -- my legs had to be about a mile apart for me to get that low, but I was happy to have done it.

In terms of benefits to doing it almost daily for 30 days:

No unintended pregnancies (haha, but seriously, in light of that birth control pill recall that was announced today, thank god there wasn't much time for sex!)

No illness the entire time -- and usually I get at least one cold in January, but nothing this year (it's also warmer though, so who knows about causation)

Sat up straighter at work (I noticed this) and better posture in general

No injuries while running, hard to say if this was because of yoga or not, but having just gotten going with the weighted running, I'm happy to be injury-free

Reduced soreness from strenuous exercise -- did yoga after the San Antonio marathon and after my first 18 mile weighted walk, both events that could have knocked me on my @ss for a few days, and I really think it helped

Better eating -- oddly enough, after class I'd be starving, but I never wanted to eat garbage then, just whole and healthy foods

Felt thinner, leaner, more toned.  Didn't take measurements, and weight just seemed to be water weight, but I felt good!

Calmer.  No joke.  Hubby had a car accident during my last week of yoga, while I was in class, and when I finally spoke to him, he was surprised at how I reacted.  The accident was unquestionably his fault.  And I wrote before about how unsympathetic he was when I had my accident on Christmas day -- he actually said to me something to the effect of there being no such thing as an accident, just bad driving.  And in my case he was right, I was driving too fast for conditions.  And in his case, he was following too closely and made an unsafe lane change.  Not an accident at all, just bad driving.  And I think during non-yoga time, I probably would have given him some crap about it, but I just didn't.  I've barely thought about it.

There you have it!  30 day challenge complete.  I'd like to keep doing yoga about once a week, but I have to come up with a plan for that.  Not sure how it will work since our Bikram studio doesn't have a good sporadic attendance plan.  I may just pay for the regular months and not use it much, but I hate doing that because I'm cheap.  I may try to do yoga at home.  I may try other studios.  But for this week, I'm just going to enjoy having a normal evening life again.  Monday night I hung out at home after getting to work late.  Last night hubby and I went out to dinner.  Tonight is my return to the social run -- it's that time of year again, a bunch of social group runs leading up to my favorite 5k of the year (St. Pat's).  Tomorrow night is Italian conversation group.  Friday night we're having a dinner party at home.  Saturday I'm taking my car in and hubby and I are going to try to walk/run on some trails (my very first time).  Ahhh....