Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm knot into yoga

I picked that up as a bumper sticker several years ago and it's true.  Ironic, then, that yesterday I scored a Living Social deal for 20 yoga or mat pilates sessions for $20. 

Does anyone else hate yoga?  Wait, let me rephrase:  Does anyone who currently has ovaries and/or for whom ovaries were a standard option on their particular make and model hate yoga?  Because it seems to be a chick thing that ovaries and yoga go together.  I do like the idea of yoga, but the actual execution has never been my thing.  I like a lot more violence in my sports.  Like football.  And running.

Not that yoga can't be violent.  Every time I have tried yoga in a formal class-type situation, I've pulled the shit out of one shoulder or the other.  I'm guessing it's a combination of it looks easier than it really is and having shoulders that like to separate from my body. 

But I'm going to give it a shot.  My orthopedist wants me to do some cross training in this next marathon phase.  And I'd like to regain some of my childhood flexibility.  When I could do stuff like this:

The gal on the right?  No joke, when I was about 8 to 10 or so I could do that.  (I probably could've done like the gal on the left too but I never tried.)  Then the boob fairy came and I couldn't do that no more. 

So, wish me luck that I'm knot going to dislocate a shoulder or a hip or anything.

the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning to drive

Growing up, we never had normal cars.  When I was little, before my parents split up, we had what were actually considered to be cool cars.  A Dodge Charger. 

Like this but brown and without the hood thingy.

A Ford Maverick. 

Ours was blue but otherwise identical.

An Opel Kadet.  I don't remember that one so I can't post a pic.  I think it was around a '68 or '69.

Later, we had cars with quirks.  Most of that was due to having ten year old cars (a '70s vintage Cadillac, one of those boat sized station wagons, a 1973 Ford pickup) with no fuel injection.  So you had to warm them up.  For about an hour before you could go anywhere.  If ever you had to get going before the car was warmed up, you had to keep one foot on the gas and use your other foot for the brake. 

The 1973 Ford F-series pickup -- we called it Old Blue -- was the first car I ever tried to learn to drive in.  It was an automatic and I'd never driven a stick so I didn't have that right foot/left foot coordination thing going on like you have with a stick shift. 

Ours was a slightly lighter shade of blue.

I say "tried to learn to drive in" because one day we had to go to the grocery store and since it was close my mom said I could drive.  I had my learner's permit and I'd done some driving at that point without incident.

All in a fully warmed up truck.

For some reason we couldn't wait for the truck to warm up fully.  Mom said no problem, just keep your foot on the gas and use your left foot to brake.  Okey dokey.

All went relatively well until we had to make a right turn.  Remember, this is a gigantic full size 1973 Ford pickup.  It's made of steel.  Gravity works.  And did I mention that there was no gas pedal?  You had the metal prong thingy there, but no actual pedal covering it. 

So, I've got one foot on the gas non-pedal and one foot on the brake.  And we need to slow down to make this right turn.  My mom's yelling at me to slow down and I'm pushing down hard on the brake.  Except my braking foot is currently on the gas.  So we're actually going faster with every second.  Towards this poor guy in his car who is waiting to pull out of the street I'm trying to turn on to.  He's in a little Honda or Toyota.  I'm in this steel tank and approaching ramming speed. 

His eyes got SO BIG. 

I managed to make the turn at about 35 mph, fish tailing the back end, the whole nine yards.  Miraculously missed that poor guy who probably was now sitting in a wet seat.  I immediately come to a stop at the curb and I turned to my mom and yelled "I told you I couldn't drive with my foot on the gas the whole time!" 

My mom switched places with me.  

That was in early 1986 and we still laugh about it until we cry to this day.  In fact, we just talked about it last month.  Most of their cars now, you get in them and you drive away.  However, they do have a truck -- sadly, not Old Blue, it retired many moons ago, but not before it blew out a rod one day while I was driving on the freeway to high school -- that has starter or solenoid problems, necessitating one person behind the wheel while another is under the hood using a screwdriver to get it started.  Last month my stepdad skipped the person behind the wheel part, which resulted in the truck flying backwards and taking out their garage door.  And luckily not him or the many highly flammable and/or expensive to replace items in the garage. 

That incident with Old Blue was also when I wouldn't let my mom teach me how to drive anymore.  She's a little high strung and hysterical shrieking while hanging on to the oh shit handle and slamming on the imaginary brake does not lend itself well to a learning envirnoment.  My stepdad was out of the question -- one of us would end up dead -- so the task fell to my dad. 

My dad was the most awesome driving instructor.  He took me out in his 1984 full-sized Ford Bronco.  (Tanks are good cars in which to learn how to drive.)  I loved that Bronco.  I didn't want to destroy it.  But he said I wouldn't and so off we went.

Dad's was dark brown with stripes down the side.  I loved that SUV.

Through no fault of the Bronco, those with stick shifts had a what is known as a granny gear.  Meaning you don't use first gear unless you're in four wheel drive and hauling something the size of a T-Rex.  A little odd but you get used to it.

The first time he took me out, somehow I had problems negotiating a turn (I was an excellent driver on the straightaways) and ended up bonking into a low stone wall and sort of in a ditch.  I was prepared for all sorts of yelling and screaming about how I was the village idiot, but my dad?  Just said to put the car in reverse and back up.  So I did.  A reminder that we needed to start in second gear and off we went.  So mellow.  I think I could've blown the car up and he just would've shrugged and said it was just a car.

And that's how I learned to drive.

the CilleyGirl

Monday, May 23, 2011

Keeping a'breast of the situation

Hidey ho my Cilley fwends!  I hope your weekend was spectacular.  I loafed and I shopped.  I'm going to have to just say no to shopping until this Saturday.  When I make a Target run.  And buy some soda.

But that is not why I am here!  I was chatting on facebook with a friend who is rather amply endowed in the chestal region.  I found out today that she's had a bit of poundage creep of late and most of it has found a home in her boobies.  Leaving her extremely well endowed on an otherwise tiny frame. 

Her daughter has been helping her do a little running and being me I pointed out that she needs to have (a) good shoes and (b) a good bra.  I wanted to pass along some of my tips to her to you.

Pretty bras:  Pretty bras are hard to find if you are a DD or up.  Usually your color choices are white, beige, or black and your style choices are laughably flimsy to steel-belted industrial grade with nothing in between.  But if you are willing to mortgage your home and/or your first born, Nordstrom's is the place to shop for jumbo bras. 

In most stores, the full-figured bra area is tucked away in the side and there's one rack with the aforementioned blah choices.  If you can call it a choice.  Bland or ugly are your choices.  You're usually looking at a range of sizes from A (mosquito bites) to DD (cantaloupes).  At Nordstrom's the full-figured area is smack dab in the middle AND it's just for the bigger ta-tas.  It starts at DD and goes up into J and K.  I'm somewhat of a tit sling connoisseur and even I'd never seen bras this big before outside of an industrial setting.  In fact, I had problems finding ones SMALL enough for me.

Basically, Nordstrom's has the next step up from the "regular" bras.  Kind of like having the entire juniors department replicated in the plus size department.  Which never happens, right?  But for Nordstrom's it does.  At least for bras.  So you've got all the colors and styles that the teeny titties get.  Just without the five square yards of padding in each cup.  And best of all, prices aren't that bad.  My friend was telling me she was getting hers for $120 at a specialty shop.  I found her one at Nordstrom's online that had been marked down to about $60.  Most are around $80 and a lot are of French or UK manufacture.  People who recognize that the boobs, they are a bigger. 

Sports brasTitle Nine has the best selection I've found of sports bras that actually do what they are supposed to be.  No uniboob.  Unless you're into that kind of thing.  Sports bras with underwire.  Sports bras with clasps -- in the back, only baby boobies get front clasps -- of typically four to five hooks.  Adjustable straps.  Colors!  In the past I've also found larger sports bras at Nordstrom's but Title IX has a much wider selection and they're all tested and rated by women with actual breasts. 

In case you're wondering -- and I know you are -- I wear Moving Comfort's Maia bra.  They advertise it as the 2-in-1 bra and that is exactly what it is.  It is as if you are wearing a regular underwire bra underneath one of those evil one-piece tank bras.  Except without the dislocated shoulder getting it off.  My favorite Title Nine bra is the Last Resort bra.  Looks like a flak jacket, doesn't it?  I've actually tried this one on and I couldn't get myself squished into it in under five minutes.  Too many hooks!  I couldn't commit that much time to my breasts every day so I stick with my Maia.  Lately I've been wearing it as my daily bra, it's just that comfortable.

Now I just have to find a decent swimsuit where I don't become my own flotation device.

the CilleyGirl

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Those who can't run, coupon!

As I've mentioned before, my new hobby is couponing. 

It takes time and organization but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.  Just like running, it is completely addicting.  Saving 50% or more off your grocery bill?  Awesome!

Of course, all this saving means I have been spending more.  I can't keep doing that.  The spending part, I mean.  The saving, bring it on. 

Actually, in retrospect most of the spending is because I broke two of the cardinal rules of grocery shopping:  (1) Don't shop hungry, and (2) stick to the list.  There were a lot of things that weren't on my list, weren't on sale and for which I didn't have a coupon that I tossed into my cart because I was both hungry and thirsty.  Those impulse buys equated to nearly a third of my total purchases. 

Some of the deals I scored:

If you "like" Walgreens on Facebook you can get a $5.00 off coupon good for Nature's Made calcium (100-130 ct).  I was able to print two, although you can only use one per customer -- I'm going to go back and see if it works again because this was a great deal.  The calcium/magnesium/zinc 120 ct was $5.49, meaning I got this for $0.49.  I've heard some other shoppers finding it on sale for $4.99 making it free.  Can't beat that!

Pedigree canned dog food -- the stuff my dogs threaten to slit my throat for if I don't feed it to them twice a day -- was on sale 10 for $7, making it $0.70 a can.  It's on sale at PetSmart right now for $1.00 a can and regularly $1.10 a can but I have seen this as high as $1.69 per can.  With a combination of coupons I was able to buy 22 cans for $8.80 or $0.40 per can.  Plus this was one of Albertson's summer promo items; each marked item gets you one playing card containing four playing pieces plus a coupon.  The playing pieces go on a board, kind of like McDonald's monopoly game, and if you get all the pieces per prize you get that prize.  Grand prize is $250,000.  I got 22 playing cards just from the dog food.

I also got a different brand of canned dog food at Target.  Between sale prices and coupons, I got 22 cans for $15.25.  Not as good of a deal as at Alberton's but I figure I'm set for canned dog food for close to a year.

I found hair color on clearance at Albertson's.  Three were normally $9.99 and one was normally $8.99.  They were marked down to $6.50 and $5.75, respectively.  I had 3 $2 off coupons plus one $1 off coupon.   Total retail price usually $38.96 and I got them for $18.25 for a savings of 53%.  I'll either give them all to my mom or use one myself. 

At Target, between the sale price and a coupon I got 40 lbs of Pedigree dry dog food for $16.99.  I just checked PetSmart's website and right now you can get a 20 lb bag for $12.99. 

The challenge is a blast.  There are plenty of couponing blogs that do much of the work for you to match up coupons to sales.  I got Nivea lotion for $1.54 down from $4.54.  Sure deodorant for $0.50.  Colgate pro whitening toothpaste plus a toothbrush for $1.24.  Sally Hansen nail polish for $1.14 each.  Four of those big bottles of shampoo -- a good brand too - for $1.84 each after you factor in the $5.00 Target gift card I got for buying them.  In my first two weeks of couponing I've saved $196 and had a lot of fun.  Try it, you might like it!

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've got happy feet

... but a slightly sad soul.  The good news is that the leg is doing great.  Yay!  The bad news is my mom won't be able to come visit this weekend as planned.  Boo! 

Mom phoned this morning that she was at the hospital for suspected appendicitis.  It turned out not to be her appendix, which was good, but she does have colitis.  She'll be doped to the gills for the next several days and just not feeling well in general for about a week so no get-away weekend for us.  I'm hoping I can get a refund on her surprise excursion; I'm a little tired of giving up money these days.  Curse my organized, planning-ahead little self!  We're hoping she'll be able to come down in a couple of weeks.  Since I don't need time off for the Vancouver marathon anymore, I've got plenty of vacation time to use.  (I'm still probably taking this Friday and the Friday of the marathon weekend off though.)

In other news, I did a shopping trip on Sunday and got about $320 worth of groceries for only $160.  It literally pays to pay attention to the sales!  I filled up a whole shopping cart to the brim -- I don't think I've ever purchased that many groceries in my life.  Most of it was sports drinks.  Powerade, Fuse, Propel Fitness Water and Vitamin Water were all on sale 10 for $10, and if you bought ten of any of that combination you got an instant $5 off, making them 50 cents a piece!  I bought ten of each and now have a pantry stocked full of healthy beverages.  My bladder and kidneys seem a little grumpy lately so it's nice to have plenty of electrolyte drinks handy.  I also found the Gatorade G2 powder again; it comes in these great 20 oz serving size pouches.  Saves on space and plastic.  I also scored a great deal on pre-marinated pork tenderloin filets:  at $10.99 each they were buy one get one free, I had two $1 off 1 coupons that I then doubled.  Bottom line:  Two yummy pork tenderloins for $3.50 each. 

Since my mom won't be here this weekend, I'm tentatively planning to go to the gym to try my leg out on a recumbent bike.  Bike riding is not my favorite thing as an adult but the recumbent bikes do circumvent my main complaint -- that the bike seat makes my ass hurt -- so maybe I'll rediscover my childhood love of cycling.  I don't want to lose too much fitness because of the stress fracture.  Swimming will have to wait until I get a swimsuit that I am able to swim in.  All mine are for being in a pool, not for actual swimming.  And it's tough to find one that thoroughly fits the girls.  My mom hates the suit I wear most often, she doesn't like how low cut it is.  I wear it anyway; it's not like I'm doing cleavage on purpose, I swear.

the CilleyGirl

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th will be bad... but Saturday the 14th will be worse!

Anyone ever see that movie?  Extremely cheesy but very funny.  Wonder if it's on Netflix?

I've been busy trying to get my boss out of town for a few days.  Of course, his being gone coincided with our last huge deadline until the end of June, so that was fun.  Yesterday involved several phones repeating the same information.  Yes, we filed on that one.  Yes, that one.  We talk about something else, then.... Yes, we filed on that one.   Go away, go play golf and drink tequila and STOP CALLING ME.

But now I've just learned that Blogger went boom yesterday so even if I'd had time to write it would have disappeared into the ether. 

The leg is doing very well, knock on wood.  The aircast is fabulous.  I want to marry the makers of the aircast.  Only one tiny flaw that I have discovered -- which may only be particular to me, who knows -- is that because it holds in the sweat and it is compressing a thick sock to my leg for hours at a time, my skin was starting to slough off.  I took off the cast last night when I got home and scratched my leg and the skin parted under my nails like tissue paper.  It was one of the more fascinatingly gross things I've encountered in a while.  I decided to give it a go without the cast today so that my skin could get a breather (literally).  And so far, so good!  I've been able to get around without any pain.  It's only now at the end of the workday that the muscle over the actual fracture is starting to itch.  I'm going to try the weekend without the cast so long as I am home; I'll wear it when I run errands.  I've heard it is going to start raining again tomorrow; I won't have to worry about coordinating a cast with shorts and sandals. 

In other good news, I can get a partial refund for the Vancouver USA marathon.  Yay!  I have the option of turning it into a credit for next year's race but that's just too far out to plan for me so I will go with the moolah.  Ideally I'll be able to put it towards a new pair of running shoes.

Speaking of moolah, since I can't run my new preoccupation has been couponing.  If you haven't seen the TLC show Extreme Couponers, check it out.  Absolutely fascinating.  My goal is to save enough money to finance a ten day trip back east next fall for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I figure I'll need at least $1,500 to $2,000 to do everything I want to do:  fly to and see D.C., see Rhode Island (and maybe drive up there from D.C.), visit New York City again and spend more than six hours there.  I'd love to tour the White House, see the Smithsonian, see as much as the Atlantic Ocean as I can, hit as many states as I can, eat lobster for a week straight.  And this would be at the end of October so the fall colors will all be out, right?  That would be cool to visit some of those funky New England towns and go leaf peeping.  Maybe I'll even write my congressman and see about a tour of Congress.  The possibilities are endless!

Plus there's also the Marine Corps Marathon.  Actual marines!  Just watch, the Marine who gives me my medal will be a chick.

And if I can really do well at couponing (or just saving money, period) then I can go visit RG in Amsterdam!  Woo hoo!!!!

Happy weekend!

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get a leg up

It's official:  tibial stress fracture.  Boo!

I had to miss the Cinco de Mayo half, so that translates into an $80 shirt for a race I didn't run.  Hopefully it's a tech tee (I think so) that fits well (they're mailing it to me).  At least then I can incorporate it into my running wardrobe. 

I got a confirmation from the Vancouver USA marathon that I am entered.  I checked to see if they did have a refund policy -- they do!  Yay!  But the last date to get a partial refund for any reason was May 4.  I was diagnosed May 6.  Boo!  But.... now that I read that again, I'm wondering if the distinction "for any reason" means that they'll take pity on me.  I'd like to get some of my money back; that's another $80 race. 

As I mentioned earlier, yesterday was the day to see the orthopedist.  He was a nice guy, despite his "I only run when chased" crack.  He confirmed the stress fracture; official diagnosis is tibial stress fracture.  I'm off running for at least four weeks, when I go back in to be re-x-rayed.  I'm supposed to be totally off the leg for as long as I have pain.  One day of crutches really really really sucked.  I'm constantly getting up to make copies, take stuff to people, pick stuff up from people -- particularly heavy files.  I couldn't carry anything with the crutches, so I started to wheel myself around the office in my office chair.  Lots of fun on the tiled floor, not so fun on the carpet. 

Thankfully, the medical supply rep got me set up with an aircast Monday night and I'm able to walk on that for short periods of time without any pain.  So nice!!  It's a really cool device.  There are three plastic plates to it -- a lot like shin guards -- that are lined with plastic air pockets.  Two go on either side of the lower leg, all the way down to the floor, then the third goes on your shin.  You strap the whole thing tightly to your leg with velcro straps and off you go.  The idea is that the plastic supports and the compression transfers the stress that is normally put on your tibia and fibula to the surrounding soft tissue.  I don't have to sleep in it, which is good because that would be uncomfortable.  I have a terry cloth sock that I wear on my leg; you can do a bare leg but it doesn't breathe well so I found it uncomfortable to do it that way as it every time you move it feels like you're sitting in bare skin on a vinyl restaurant booth seat.  I can fit a sneaker around it and I think a pair of sandals; if I do a bare leg I could wear flip flops.

Isn't it sexy?

I am so happy to not need the crutches since I learned very quickly that they are not compatible with either (a) big boobs or (b) big boobs and an underwire bra.  I told that to the orthopedics nurse, a skinny little minnie, and she said "oh, a good excuse to wear a sports bra!"  To which I'm looking at her name tag and responding "yeah, my sports bras also have underwire, Miss Perky Tits."  Miss Perky Tits wasn't really her name, by the way.  It was Perky Tits, R.N.  I think she prefers to be called Sarah though.

But still, four weeks off.  What I need to do is take this time to get my diet back on track.  I can't keep eating like I am training for a marathon when I can't even walk for more than short periods of time.  I knew that to be the case when I wasn't really do the marathon training either.  Hence the five pounds I've gained and the clothes that are feeling a bit snug.  I am cleared to swim, and if I don't have pain while in the aircast I can use a recumbent bike and then an elliptical.  Once I can don't have pain without the aircast, same activities.  No running until I'm re-checked by the doc. 

Now I just need to learn how to swim.  Or maybe buy some water wings.

the CilleyGirl

Friday, May 6, 2011

Update on the leg.

Saw the regular doctor today.  They took x-rays and there is a suspicious spot in the area where I am having the pain.  The next step is for the radiologist to officially read the x-rays and I have an appointment with an orthopedist on Monday to get the verdict.  The doctor did recommend that I stay off the leg altogether so I've got a prescription for crutches to fill this weekend.  Except for playing around with other people's crutches when I was a kid, I've never had to have them before; this will be interesting. 

And the half marathon is definitely out for this weekend.  Oh well, it was supposed to rain on Sunday anyway.  Plus a 7:30 a.m. race start is much too earlier.  Now I get to sleep in!  (I'm trying to stay positive...)

the CilleyGirl

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holding my breath and icing my leg.

I've been debating on if/when to write about this.  I don't like to borrow trouble; why worry about something that may not even be?  But there has been enough to where I've become fairly certain that I have developed a stress fracture.

You may remember from a couple of weeks ago that I was having some calf pain after a run.  It felt like a deep muscle strain.  I happened to be at my doctor's office about three days after that started.  Because I was flying on a plane the following day, she checked it out as she was concerned it could be deep vein thrombosis. 

Another three days or so after that, that pain went away and I forgot about it.  Until this week.  Saturday I had a great long run, 14 miles.  As I've mentioned, I have been working on my form so that my legs would have more even usage.  This was because lately I was only having achy quads while my hamstrings and glutes felt absolutely fine.  After Saturday's run, I had some aches in all three muscles groups, with the achiness being less in my quads. 

Sunday my legs were tight, particularly the right.  By Monday, the left leg was about the same, maybe a little better, but the right leg was much tighter -- particularly the inside of my right leg around the calf.  Tuesday wasn't much of an improvement but I intended to run five miles, planning to stretch well beforehand and figuring that my legs would loosen up as I ran.  And as I started to run that turned out to be true except for my right leg below the knee.  There, the muscles felt a little looser but a deep, throbbing ache started up instead, focusing on a spot right below my calf muscle.  I stopped several times to stretch and make sure it wasn't swollen or warm (it wasn't) but the ache never got any better.  It seemed to reach a threshold where I could have kept running if I absolutely had to -- the ache was relentless though I thought if I had some more Advil (I'd taken two about two hours before that) that it would have helped it -- but I decided to cut the run short at three miles. 

Walking back into the gym almost hurt more than when I'd been running.  In the locker room, I put the leg up on the bench while I started gathering my stuff together to leave.  I palpated my leg and from that angle the inside shin bone was very prominent -- I just about squealed when I pushed on the bone right underneath my calf muscle.  By the time I left the gym, the ache had decreased a little bit but I still could feel it every time I put weight on that leg.  Same after I got home and RICEd it. 

Wednesday it continued to feel a little better, particularly after I switched to Aleve instead of Advil, but again it seems to have reached a certain threshold where it's not hurting more but it's not hurting less either.  And still, even just when I'm walking.  The longer I'm on that leg, the more it starts to ache.  There's even a small achiness when I'm not on it at all. 

So, after consulting Dr. Google and comparing it to every other muscle strain I've had before, I think my lack of base miles is finally catching up with me.  As well it should.  I know that increasing mileage too quickly is a recipe for injury.  Yet I did it anyway. 

I'm going to try to get into my doctor tomorrow to get her opinion (and she is also a runner, so she gets it) or at least talk with the advice nurse to see if I should skip my primary care physician and go straight to a specialist.  And while I don't want anyone to say that I do have a stress fracture, I'm hoping that if they're gonna that they can skip the pricey scans and just stick me in a boot or whatever.  This also means that I'm not going to be able to run my (extremely expensive) half marathon race this weekend, and probably that Vancouver is out too.  Another reason I'd rather not make this any more expensive than it has to. 

If you have them to spare, please send healthy leg/no stress fracture/win a small lottery prize vibes my way :)  I'll be on the couch, icing my leg.

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Can you run 10,000 miles in your lifetime?

I was browsing around the Marine Corps Marathon page this afternoon -- this is my number one destination marathon -- and saw a little link at the bottom from Aetna that asked "Can you run 10,000 miles in your lifetime?"  At first glance, that seems like a lot but then I did the math.  If you ran 500 miles per year for 20 years, you would run 10,000 miles.  If you're one of those crazy people who run 1,000 miles per year (or are one of those people who actually do the miles your marathon training plan calls for ahem), then you'd reach that goal in ten years.  Anyhow, I think 10,000 miles in my lifetime is a pretty cool goal so I think I will put together a sidebar widget that tracks that for me.  Once I figure out how many miles I've actually ran to date.  I think it's something like 20, but whatever.

Yes, I've been a bad, bad CilleyGirl, pulling out long runs without the base miles to back them up.  Shame on me.  And my sore foot is reminding me just why the base miles are important.  I am going to the gym after work today, I swear. 

Back to the Marine Corps Marathon.  As I said, this is my number one destination marathon.  I admit with some reluctance that a large part of that is that it's probably the only marathon that would actually impress my stepdad, but there is a real coolness factor in that actual Marines put your medal on you.  And I found out today that they give an actual award -- the Penguin Award -- to the official last place finisher.  Totally worth aiming for that one.  Oh, and while I would want to run this in under six hours, the course does have a seven hour limit.  I've messaged a friend of mine who lives in D.C. about invading her house next year (2011 is sold out) for this.  We've been friends for about 18 years now online, but have never gotten to meet in person.  I've also never been to D.C. so it would be so great to finally get to meet her, do the marathon, and see D.C.  Plus I have other online friends on the east coast, one in Rhode Island (I've never been there either) and one in New York City (where I have been, but only for about five hours), that I've known just as long and also never had the opportunity to meet in person.  If I could manage the finances, I'd love to be able to spend a week back east, sightseeing with long time friends.  Hmm, Dear Santa....

Almost gym time! 

the CilleyGirl

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Awww, weekend over

What a great weekend!

First, Portlandia had some SUN.  And I was able to get out there and enjoy it!

Saturday, Julie and I did our long run.  The schedule called for 16 miles but we didn't think it was a good idea to make a big mileage jump and risk injury so we planned to do 14 instead.  Having been out sick from work for a good part of the week, that worked out very well for me.

This was a great run for me.  We got a somewhat earlier start than usual, although the sun did catch up with us by the end of it.  I hadn't thought the clouds would burn off until much later so I foolishly did not wear any sunscreen.  My left arm got pretty crispy from a inch below my elbow to an inch above my wrist, and I'm well on my way to that fabulous running capri tan on my legs. 

We did the Burnt Bridge Creek trail over in Vancouver.  I ran this once before last year and except for the calf injury I came away with, I liked the trail.  This year, no calf injury!  I feel like my overall cardio fitness is much better than at this point last year, as well as the best it's been all year. 

Unfortunately, Julie wasn't feeling the same.  A suspected combination of dehydration and too-tight shoelaces left her with horrible leg cramps for the last four miles.  Because I was still feeling good and I have my half marathon next weekend, I ended up running ahead in the last two miles or so.  Our original aim was to finish 14 miles as close to three hours as possible; I was hoping to hit the 13.1 mile distance in that as well.  We weren't able to make that, but I was able to run out the half distance at 3:14:35 so I am hoping that bodes well for a time close to -- or maybe even under! -- three hours for the Cinco de Mayo half next weekend.  With a goal of getting under six hours at Vancouver, this is where I would need to be at at the halfway mark.

I worked on my form during the run and was happy to have much less fatigue in my legs, not only during the run itself but afterwards.  I focused on keeping myself over my sit bones and what felt to me like slumping my shoulders forward but in actuality was my not pulling them back tensely.  (Did that make sense?)  I also had a bagel and a half and 20 oz of gatorade about 45 minutes before our run, and drank 20 oz of gatorade during the run.  I still had a post-run headache, but nothing like what I usually have.  I was able to function afterwards, which typically I have trouble doing.  Today, my legs are tired and a little sore but I can move around pretty well.

It probably helped that I did several hours of yard work today.  It got up to about 67 degrees today, and I took advantage of that (and of how well I was feeling) to mow what lawn I have as well as re-edge the area and then lay down bark over where the grass won't grow. 

Here is a picture mid-project.  The grass has been mown and I've re-edged the area.

As you can see, there are only a few clumps of grass in this area plus a whole lot of moss.  What you can't see is the area up against the deck where nothing ever grows.  It's basically a big mud pit all the time, and the favorite place of my dogs to dig up rocks and grubs and dirt and then eat it.   In the bottom right corner is the ramp I got for my dogs to get up the stairs more easily, with the help of RR's CSN giveaway. 

Here's how it looks now:

Much better!  Well, except for the part where now I need to re-bark the rest of the yard so it doesn't look so dingy.  I found out that you can buy broken open bags of bark at the home improvement store for 50% off.  That meant that of the eight bags of bark I bought today, four of them were only $2.07 each.  Score!  I would have bought more but (a) I bought all the marked down bags of bark they had today and (b) more probably would not have fit into my car.  Once I return those aluminum cans you can see at the top of the picture (I have about eight bags in all, plus one in my office), I'll have some more cash to put towards this project.  Since I rent this doesn't add any value to the house that I'll get any benefit from so I don't want to spend too much money.  At the same time, it is nice to have a nice yard.  I'm hoping that Ginger will want to hang out in the newly barked area; when I put the ramp in, it went in over her favorite spot to lay in the yard.  This should be a much better alternative for her. 

Now I just need the grass to grow.  I bought some grass seed today that is guaranteed to grow anywhere in any conditions, even on concrete.  We'll see.  My yard gets more sun and water now that I had the landlord trim the trees way back last year but there are parts where it never seems to take.  The whole area I want to have as grass is only about 400 square feet.  The whole yard isn't even 900 square feet.  Not much bigger than my apartment, actually.  I have a garden weasel-type tool that I'll use to aerate the bare spots then I'll lay down the seed and see what happens.  It is supposed to be nice again after Monday so I can work on it in the evenings.  And keep those legs limber!  I also want to get lettuce going in some pots and maybe some basil and some flowers.  Which reminds me -- has anyone grown broccoli before?  I saw some plants and wondered what it's like when the broccoli grows.  It is more like fruit on a tree or more like cucumbers on the ground?

When downloading the yard pics, I found the ones I took at my grandparents'.  I didn't take very many, but I did get some cute shots of their basset hound Happy and the kitty.  I'm also posting one of the CBS dog of how she splays her legs when eating a bone.  No wonder she has problems with her hips!

the CilleyGirl