Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A bit of running, a lot of walking, and a birthday . . .


Before I dive into this little blog post, I'm just going to briefly say how much I'm saddened by the stupid terrorism that happened in Paris last Friday night. I'm not going to go off on a political rant, or say that I know what needs to be done to stop this crap from happening again. I don't pretend to know the answers. I just feel for those in Paris, Beirut, Kabul and other parts of the world that deal with this all the time. I'm actually going to try and keep this blog nice and light, but I had to at least acknowledge the events of last weekend, lest you think I'm an asshole. And I'm not. At least I don't think I am.


So back to my regularly scheduled blog post.  After my last post (which was last Tuesday), I bought some K-T Tape in an attractive fashion color of coppery beige and taped up the foot.  The kids and I were off work / school for Veteran's Day last Wednesday, so I decided to try out running on a soft surface and with the foot taped.  Connor and I headed down the Outback, and I had hopes we'd be able to go a couple of miles on the grassy trail. Alas, at the edge of our subdivision the powerline easement becomes completely overgrown, so we only went about 1/2 mile before going back into civilization. And that was enough time to realize that the foot still sucked. The tape helped some (maybe??), but it was uncomfortable enough that I was REALLY conscious of the foot the whole time.  So when we turned around we just came back along our usual route. Total Distance:  4.20 miles. Once I realized that running was probably a bad idea, we were basically just out for a stroll. We stopped to pet cats, take photos of spiders and butterflies, etc. It was a nice walk, though.


Connor, after we'd already transitioned to walking.

Giant banana spider right over our heads late in the walk.
These guys are really big (several inches long, when you include the legs).
And creepy, if you aren't into spiders. Which I'm not. 

Random butterfly.

After reading the experiences of another runner who was positively diagnosed with a Plantar Plate Tear (by a an actual doctor, not WebMD), I decided to order a metatarsal pad, which is placed under the ball of the foot and is supposed to position the foot to take some of the pressure off the bad areas. After the tape didn't really provide me much relief on Wednesday, I gave the metatarsal pad a spin on Saturday morning. Yeah, that didn't work so great, either. I didn't find the pad comfortable, at ALL. Walked most of the 4.35 miles.

Ducks, seen on the walk portion of my Saturday jaunt.

After my week or so of self-experimentation, I've decided I need to lay off the foot for a while. I still intend to get to the running store and check out some Hoka's, but that won't happen until next weekend at least, so I'm just going suspend the running until then.  It's not like I'm training for a marathon next weekend or something. And frankly, this week promises to be fairly busy in the evenings with homework, and other miscellaneous stuff going on.

On Saturday, I celebrated another trip around the sun; yes, my birthday is 11/14, in case you want to pencil it into your calendars for next year :-). I turned 45 years old. Gulp. The funny thing is, I still kind of feel like someone who's in their 30s. I guess I've gotten used to saying I'm 40-something, but I don't feel like "mid-40s". Oh well, as they say, age is just a number, right? It was a nice day, though. Had the run/walk in the morning. Took a long hot bath with a good book. We all went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner (yes, this is "fancy" for us), and then we watched the latest Terminator movie family-movie-night style. All said, a lovely day.

Unfortunately, Sunday we realized Cailyn's hamster was not in her cage. We found her later and our fears were realized. We think one of the neighbor kids must have either dropped her and not fessed up, or didn't close the cage well. It was unexpected, but she had basically lived out her anticipated life-span (she was over 2-years old), so it wasn't a complete tragedy. Cailyn was sad, but took care of burying Peanut herself next to their "fort" out in the Outback.  RIP Peanut.


Moving on, Cailyn has now told me she wants a guinea pig. I said no (at least for now). I'm tired of the kids getting pets and then they become my pet. Though purchased for Cailyn, Peanut was clearly "my" hamster. Same as Sky is now "my" dog. I just don't think my kids are up for the responsibility of a pet. Not to mention the fact that Sky apparently doesn't like any other small furry living things. Basically, her goal in life is to eradicate them from the planet.  She pretty much ignored Peanut as below her dignity, but cats? squirrels? Yeah. I think a guinea pig would fall under the "prey" category.

It's been a fairly busy week so far. Work. Had a site visit to our Fellsmere Grade Emergency Spillway Project yesterday. Lit the firepit and enjoyed the evening with the kids last night. Tomorrow my son has his very first Middle School Band Concert.  And I'm already looking forward to the weekend.  It's Humpday, everyone! We're halfway there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Right (@#$%*) Foot

Last night (Monday) I got home from work at about 6:15 pm.  Cooked dinner for the posse (chili and tacos).  Then, feeling motivated and empowered, decided to go for a run, since I hadn’t gone out since last week.  I ended up completing 3 miles, but I’m not going to lie, it was mostly walking.  My right foot is becoming a serious issue. 

Fast forward several hours later. Last night at about 2 am, my dog bounded into the bedroom and did a small bark to wake me up.  She’d had “digestive issues” earlier in the day, so, freaked that we could have an explosive digestive mess, I bounced out of bed and let her out back.  Turns out she was on a mission to chase something.  Intruder? Raccoon?  Wildebeast?  I don’t know. In any case, I was awake and not falling back to sleep. So (in what was probably a stupid move because I’m insanely tired now), I got on the internet and looked into my foot issues. 

After 2 hours of surfing the internet in the middle of the night, I’m now a “foot expert” and thus have determined what my problem is: A plantar plate sprain. All joking aside, the symptoms of this type of injury uncannily match my symptoms. The bad news is it’s kind of a pain to get healed if it’s really what I have.

Before I dive into the particulars, I’d like to take a moment to note that it is EXTREMELY dangerous to search for medical information on the internet. No, I'm not talking about the possibility of misdiagnosing oneself. It's WAY worse: the photos will curdle your blood!  There are some people out there with some seriously messed up feet!  I mean, really.  I’m not a hypochondriac and I rarely go to the doctor unless it’s a major issue. But by all that's holy in this world, how do people let their feet get to the state of decrepitude I saw in some of those photos last night without seeing a doctor????  It scared the bejeezus out of me, I can tell you. I'm not even going to post any of the really scary ones. You're welcome.

Me, looking at gross feet photos last night.
There are some things you can't un-see.
And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

A plantar plate injury refers to damage to the strong supporting ligament of a toe, located on ball of foot. 

Symptoms:  Runners will typically describe intense pain near their 2nd through 4th toes in the ball of the foot that gets worse while walking or running. (This is me!) If you have pain beneath your 2nd, 3rd or 4th metatarsal, and it gets worse with walking, jumping or running, you may have a Plantar Plate Sprain. 

See that?  That's pretty much where my foot hurts, except on the right foot.

“During walking or running, your toes naturally flex upward. At the same time, your body weight – all of it – is supported by the bones in this part of the foot and the plantar plate. The plantar ligament is a relatively small structure, so you can see how easily it might be damaged. Injury to the plantar plate is usually caused by overuse, such as from running; obesity, which puts too much body weight on the ligament; or wearing high heeled shoes too often which locks the forefoot into a flexed position and requires the plantar plate to carry all of your body weight.” Text taken from this site.

Another site says:  “Most commonly experienced by middle aged women whose feet have a tendency to overpronate or roll in, a plantar plate tear is often a cause of persistent pain and swelling in the ball of the foot. It is also commonly associated with a bunion and a hammer toe.”

So you are at risk if you are a chubby, middle-aged woman runner who lands on your midfoot when running and who already has a bunion. That’s pretty much me. I don’t have a severe bunion, but ever since my mid-20s when I wore high heels, I have had some minor discomfort in the joint of big toe on my right foot when I run and walk (never been bad enough to freak me out). I don’t appear to over-pronate (which means landing on the inside of your foot), but otherwise this is me. What I noticed in my run last night was that because of the pain in my bunion toe, I tend to land more on the ball of my foot to relive the pain in my big-toe joint. I think this may be what has caused my problem in the past month or two. 

My feet.  Thanks to Grandma Pogue, they're wide.  They kind of look like hobbit feet,
don't you think?  But without all the hair / fur????  But note that my right foot doesn't
look deformed or swollen or bruised.  Deceptively normal, in fact.  Oh, and forgive
the pathetic pedicure.  I paint my toes myself, and I was in a hurry this morning.  

This, on the other hand, is the right foot of a woman with a seriously unfortunate bunion.
See, my feet don't look so bad now, do they??
The various stages of this injury are:
  • Grade 1 Sprain is a ligament that was overstretched which results in microtears and ligament laxity.
  • Grade 2 Sprain is defined by partial tearing of the ligament resulting in more severe pain and possibly, partial joint deformity.
  • Grade 3 Sprain is a complete tear of the ligament and results in intense pain with obvious joint deformity.
From what I can tell, I have a Grade 1 Sprain. It hurts when I run and walk, and sometimes at work when I’m wearing my low heels or stupidly rest with all the weight on the balls of my feet. I don’t appear to have any freakish deformities (yet).

At any rate, this may be something I ultimately need to see a doctor about, but from all of my reading (on maybe a dozen web pages, including the Running Institute of San Diego, which had a lot of good info), it appears that in the early stages of the injury it can be treated using "conservative" methods.  They say you’ll know if the injury has progressed if your pain gets worse or you develop a limp following activity.  (from http://www.sdri.net/running-injuries/plantar-plate-sprains/).

Note:  I’m nowhere near a limp.  I’m just at the whining stage right now.

So what do they mean by conservative methods? Basically "conservative" means "not surgery". And the following:
  • Icing the injured area
  • Anti inflammatory medications like Aleve or Advil to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Strapping the toe into a downward position to align it in order to help the tendon heal
  • Custom orthotics
  • Off-loading body weight via felt padding in shoes
  • Footwear modifications like purchasing new running shoes that are stiff and provide a LOT of cushion beneath the ball of the foot
  • If your case is severe, a special boot or shoe to keep weight completely off the ball of your foot
In the cases of severe tears, they advise stopping running.  For like 3 months. Sometimes longer. However, my case appears to be minor. I’ve identified the problem early.

So, my plan for now? 
  • Treat the injury myself and only go to the doc if it isn’t getting better.
  • Stock up on ibuprofen and start taking it on a regular basis for the inflammation.  This sounds simple, but I’m notorious for not remembering to take medicine (or vitamins) on a prescribed time-table.  Will probably need to implement an alarm on my phone to remind me.
  • Get some sports medicine tape and tape the toe as shown in various YouTube videos (I told you I was an expert - look out world!)
  • Get some new running shoes that are stiff and padded.  I may go for Hoka One One’s.  They’re renowned for being uber-padded.  They’re also renowned for being uber-expensive.  But my birthday is next week and I already have some gift money (thanks parents!) that I can use toward the cause. In any case, my plan is to hit the local running store (1stPlace Sports) and have the experts advise me.
  • Get some arch supports and something to support the ball of my feet.  I’m pretty sure 1st Place Sports can help me out there, as well. 
Right now I’m NOT going to stop running.  I want to see if I can help things with the above interventions first.  If after a few weeks, I honestly don’t see an improvement, then I solemnly swear I’ll stop running.  And if it still doesn’t seem better, then I’ll take the step to see a doc about it.

Stupid middle-aged foot.



Taylor Creek Reservoir

This is a "Work" post with a few interesting photos.  Well, I think they're interesting.  You might just yawn.  But in case anyone is interested in what I do, read on . . .

Last Thursday I went on a site visit to Taylor Creek Reservoir, which is down in central Florida, on the border between Osceola and Orange Counties.  Out in the sticks, but kind of close to the City of Cocoa. This is the main project I'm working on right now. This levee and reservoir were built by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) back in 1969 to provide flood protection and water supply to some of the surrounding communities.  Since that time, it's eroded quite a bit and is in need of repair.  My agency, which manages the levee, is tasked with rehabbing the levee to raise it to the original elevations it was designed for and to fix areas that have eroded, adding a couple of emergency spillways and putting in a levee toe drain.

I went on the site visit to just confirm some things in preparation for developing my next set of construction drawings (I'm at the 60% Design Stage).  I was hoping to see some cool wildlife - often I see some really great stuff on my site visits. Alas, this time the cool critters were apparently hiding or at a party somewhere else, and my photos are mostly scenery.  And some cows (well, bulls).

Smoke in the sky!  
When we got to the levee, we noticed a CRAZY amount of smoke in the sky.  It was really cool looking. We weren't sure where it was coming from at the time. Turns out it was smoke from a controlled burn our agency was doing on another of our properties in the area. Controlled burns (aka "Prescribed Fires") are used to burn the underbrush, which helps prevent wildfires, helps restore and maintain natural plant and animal communities (especially those which are fire-adapted and require fire as part of their life-cycle), and even helps control tree diseases. Here is a cool link to our website which talks about "controlled burns".

Another smoke view, along with a view southward on the levee with TCR to the west (on the right).
A levee is basically the same as a dam, though there are technically differences that have to do with the amount of water which is retained. In reality, this "levee" should be classified as a dam, but USACE called it a levee when they built it, so that's still what we call it. In this case, it holds back water from Cox Creek and Taylor Creek to form the Taylor Creek Reservoir.

Gopher Tortoise burrow.
Gopher Tortoise.
Note: I didn't see any actual gopher tortoises during my site visit.  I just thought you might like to see what they look like.
Photo credit: St. Johns River Water Management District
Gopher tortoises are endangered species here in Florida.  Unfortunately, it isn't a good thing when they build their burrows in our levees because it causes erosion and makes the levees less stable. We're in the process of relocating the gopher tortoises from this levee to other areas where they can live out their lives in gopher tortoise domesticity, without wrecking our stuff!

Bull in the house!!!
This levee lies in the middle of pasture land, and while the cattle aren't supposed to get up onto the levee, they do. Somehow Mr. Bull managed to push his way inside this structure (which controls the spillway for the levee). Happily, he moved on to greener pastures by the time we left, so we could close everything back up!



Nice view of Taylor Creek Reservoir.
And that was the highlight reel of my site visit.  I also have tons of photos from the day of unattractive bridges, culverts, wet spots, filled-in gopher tortoise burrows, etc.  But those aren't nearly as cool.  Hope you enjoyed the highlights of my day . . .

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week of 11/1/2015 Running Update

Warning: this post is all about running.  If you don't care about my running, you may want to skip this one and wait for the one with my recent pics.  Coming soon.

-------

Let me start this out by saying that since re-starting my blog and writing about my running (among other things), I've debated with myself about whether I should put my running statistics out here on the internets verses just talking in generalities. See, if the actual stats are out here, God and everyone who stumbles on this blog will bear witness my plodding paces. It’s especially embarrassing because I know some of my good college friends and even cool bloggers I follow are out running 10 and 20 milers and doing marathons all over the place. And not just marathons!  One of my favorite bloggers completed a 100-mile race just a few months ago. Not that they’re likely to read this blog, but still, those athletes make me feel like a poser, and really………….really………….out of shape, and really.............really.............slow.


Me running verses EVERY OTHER RUNNER running.

But then I told myself, “Relax, take a deep breath. It’ll be OK”. After all, I’m not putting myself out here as some running guru.  I’m not pretending to be Ms. Uber-Fitness Florida and offering coaching tips.  This little bloggie corner of the internet is mainly to give me an outlet to spew about my running, maybe my efforts at healthy living (which have their ups and downs) and to provide me with some accountability. And I figure my parents and other family members will read it for the kid-content, if nothing else :-).

If I want to document my growth as a runner and athlete, and maybe even provide companionship for anyone else who decides to get back in shape or start running, then I need to not be a chickenshit, man-up and just put the stats out there.

My mantra.

So, that said, here’s what happened on my runs this week:

Sunday, November 1, 2015. 

I briefly touched on this one in my post from 11/2/2015, but I figured I’d recap here, for consistency.  I’m going to try to do these updates on a weekly basis.  Unless I change my mind and go back to writing them out on a case-by-case basis.  This blog is a work-in-progress.


The time change (reversal of daylight savings time, which happened Sunday morning) was good to me.  Sort of.  I woke up stupid-early (like 3:30 am, maybe?) due to a bad dream and the time change messing with my brain, and when it was clear I wasn’t going to be falling back to sleep, I made some coffee and started my day.  So by the time daylight arrived, I was fairly awake.  And it was still quite cool outside, which is hit or miss here in Florida in the fall.  

Total Distance:  4.06 mi
Total Time: 58:40 min
Avg Pace:   14.27 min/mile

Sunday was really a lovely run.  It was pretty, it was cool(ish), I felt good, I was caffeinated.  All the elements came together and gave me a sweet little run.  Other than my annoying right foot pain, I have no complaints!

Oh, and one other thing that cracks me up: when I look at my splits, I can clearly see that I go from very few walk breaks in the early miles to more and more walking - my pace is slower every mile - no negative splits here! But still OK. And I should add that my walking is really slow unless I consciously think to myself, "Move your ass, Girl!" So when I walk, the pace drops a LOT, even if there is some running going on during that split. Clearly, the goal is to get to 0 walk breaks!  Hopefully will be soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015.
Got up butt early and was out the door by 4:45 am.  Yes, you read me right.  The other day I called my workouts “intervals”, but in reality they’re actually fartleks.  Yes, that’s a word, and it isn’t a bodily function. Farklek training involves “periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running," but not at regular intervals. My method of fartlek training is essentially running until I feel like I’m going to die, then taking a brief walk break until my heart rate drops and running again feels like a viable life option. Lather, rinse, repeat.  What can I say? I’m just happy my breaks have become much fewer and shorter in duration compared to, say, back in July.

Total Distance:  3.78 miles
Total Time:  52:19 min
Avg Pace:  13:49 min/mi
Critter Count:  8 (yes, 8!!!) live toads
           2 squished toads (I think – I didn’t really want to look too close)
Kids, just say "No" to Pop Tarts.
           0 slugs (must be out of season!)

And for the jerk who left your dog’s crap in the middle of the sidewalk?  I hope karma bites you on the ass when you’re least expecting it.  Happily, I didn’t step in said crap, or I’d be feeling WAY less charitable. 

Another happy run.  My right foot still bothered me, but it wasn’t debilitating. I wasn't too freaked out about it still being so dark. And I felt good. Even though it was early and I’d had a couple of glasses of wine the night before. And some cheese and salami.  And two pop tarts.   At least this effort should have burned off the pop tarts – so I’m calling it a successful run.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015.
Quick and easy 1-miler after work with my oldest.  He's training for a one-mile fun run at school the week of Thanksgiving and he's doing great. We went 1/2 mile, then walked for a bit (maybe a little over a minute?) then ran the rest of the way back.

Total Distance:  1.02 miles
Total Time:  13:13 min
Avg Pace:  13:00 min/mi

I thought this was excellent, given that we walked a bit.  Map my run says our actual running pace was about 12:00 min/mile, so not too shabby!

Weekend?
I'd love to regale you with the running adventures that I had this weekend, but the truth is, I didn't run at all. IDK what the deal was, but I just didn't feel like running. What can I say? Some days it happens! So I had a nice relaxing weekend off.  Did some (a LOT of) reading, watched some TV. Took the kids to another friend birthday party (this time at Rebounderz, the trampoline place). Saw an old work friend at Rebounderz, which was nice. And last night was Walking Dead / Talking Dead night. Awesome! So no running, but a nice weekend nonetheless.




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mission: Trail Running

My posse, Kanapaha Park, Gainesville, FL. September 2012.
At the suggestion of my outdoorsy brother, Allen, I’m going to try some trail running to see if it helps my annoying foot pain.  (And FYI for those not in the know, I have 3 brothers, all younger than me). 

Allen says he switched to off-road soft-surface type running several years ago since its easier on the joints.  Makes sense. Sign me up!

Frankly, it’s kind of silly that I haven’t tried trail running before now, because I LOVE to be outdoors.  I LOVE to hike. Once upon a time, the kids and I would go hiking almost every weekend – or at least once a month. That was actually a goal of mine a few years ago: for our little family to have at least one adventure per month; something outside the usual routine.  Clearly, I need to revive this practice.

I have to admit, even when we were doing all that hiking, I don't think I ever broke into a trot. Looking back, its a shame. There were plenty of lovely places I could have run in the woods. Probably would have been way cooler than running on the roads, too!

The hiking we did as a family was primarily in city-type nature parks, but it was still hiking. And we all loved it! But then we moved from land-of-nature-parks Gainesville, Florida to suburban St. Johns County, Florida, where decent parks are few and far between. And life happens, and I got into a routine doing the usual weekend stuff:  running in the neighborhood, hitting the pool or the beach, chores, laundry, life.

Just a portion of the trail brochures
about 15 feet from my office.  
So do you want to know the ironic thing?  I work at the St. Johns River Water Management District.  We are an agency of the State of Florida, and among our primary missions is LAND MANAGEMENT.  Meaning conservation areas.  Natural areas.  All of which provide public access (since the lands we own are “public lands”).  So I’m kind of embarrassed that I haven’t taken my posse to any of the local conservation areas to hike. Not only that, but my office is on the floor with the Land Management Group. They’re basically my work neighbors. I walk past the trail brochures every day on my way to the kitchenette.

And just to plug the recreational opportunities for anyone who lives or visits my neck-of-the-woods:

So, back to me.  That’s what this blog is about, after all, ME, ME, ME!  (Um, just in case it wasn't clear, I'm joking.  It's a joke.  Even I'm not that self-centered. I think.)

In the interest of figuring out where to go / what to do, I strolled down the hall to talk to one of my Land Management besties.  Karen knows where I live and suggested some possibilities close to home.  So (drum roll) here they are – my preliminary list of places I want to either (a) take the kids hiking or (b) consider for trail running. Note: I’m going to briefly list and describe these here, and then assuming I visit them, I’ll do a more in-depth description (with photos!).  I'll also note that our properties aren't set up primarily for recreation or scenery - it's conservation of our State's water resources.  So that said, I'm not sure how scenic any of these are.  My bro now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, it's wicked pretty out there.  We don't have that here.  That said, these are the sites I plan to explore in the very near future, either running or hiking . . .

Bayard Conservation Area – probably the closest to my house, this one is only about 10 minutes away and I drive past it every day on my commute.  It’s in Green Cove Springs, the town right on the other side of the St. Johns River from where I live.  Depending on the loops you take, you can hike over 10 miles in this bad-boy, and it appears that there’s at least one “landing” area on the St. Johns, which sounds pretty.  Hunting is allowed in here, though, so I’ll need to time visits here to avoid getting shot, which would be a real bummer.

Gourd Island Conservation Area – This one is about 20 minutes away from my house, and I’m not sure why it’s named Gourd Island because it isn’t an island.  Looks like easy access from the Interstate (I-95) and has 4.1 miles of trail, total.  Downside?  It’s one big loop, so if you go in and decide to bail or the weather turns on you? You’re screwed and will need to complete the loop to get back to your car.  Might be a good trail run option, though.  Seems like it would be hard to get lost on. 

Aside: Since I’m a trail running newbie, I’m not sure if I’m likely to get lost or not.  I think I have a good sense of direction, and none of these areas I’m looking at are in the middle of nowhere, so I’m thinking I should have adequate GPS coverage.  This isn’t backcountry hiking, after all.

Julington-Durbin Preserve – This preserve really threw me for a loop because I had no idea it was there.  I know this area (about 25 minutes from my house, easy access from I-95) and just didn’t know it was up there.  Doesn’t seem like it would be very scenic (other than trees), but it does provide over 6 miles of trail.  Definite running possibility.

Stokes Landing Conservation Area – This one was highly recommended by Karen.  She’s been there and says there’s a picnic area and observation tower overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway (this is the waterway that separates the mainland from the barrier islands – and it’s always pretty).

Twelve-Mile Swamp Conservation Area – Seems like a swamp. I’ll give it a “possible” rating, but doesn’t seem like it’d be scenic and only has 2.8 miles of trail.  Might be good for the kids, though, since it isn’t too long.  And it is really close to my house – maybe 15 minutes?

Moses Creek Conservation Area – Has over 5 miles of trail, but this is another “swamp” type area.  There is a supposed “observation point”, but I can’t tell if its anything cool.  Think this would be one for me to try on my own before bringing the posse with.

-------------

So.  Goal for this weekend?  Depending on my motivation level on Saturday morning, I think I’m going to give Gourd Island a shot. And, weather permitting, take the kids to Stokes Landing for some recreational hiking. 

With that, I'll leave you with photos of some of our hiking, back in the day . . .

John Mahon Nature Park, Gainesville, FL. November 2013.

Cofrin Nature Park, November 2012.

Hiking with Grandpa Pogue, Loblolly Woods Nature Park, Gainesville, FL.May 2013.

Horsing around, Loblolly Woods Nature Park, May 2013.

Kids with their dad, Cofrin Nature Park, Gainesville, FL, February 2013.
Kanapaha Park, Gainesville, FL. April 2013.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Update - 11/2/2015

I’ve been sick.  Not deathly ill.  Just a cold.  But still annoying.  And I feel cause & effect at work here.  For the past three weeks-ish, I’ve been in a negative spiral. 

Me, last week (recovering from the Great Birthday Party Camp-Out Extravaganza)

I should have seen the cold coming from a mile away. 



It’s synergistic.  if you’re making bad choices, it leads to more bad choices, and when you’re making good choices, its easier to keep making good ones. In other words, once I’m on a roll, I tend to stay on a roll. Or an object in motion tends to remain in motion. The important thing is getting back on the horse. (Trying to see if I can use the MOST clich├ęs in one paragraph!)

So that’s what I did this weekend. Got back on the horse.  I’m finished with birthday parties and Halloween and work deadlines for a while, so it was the perfect time to reset and save myself from going down the dark path to Mordor. Or a fat(er) ass. It's a metphor.

Funny GIF, but am I the only one who's extremely
bothered by the terrible grammar? And lack of
capitalization! Who's with me???
Friday I was still feeling fairly crappy.  Sore throat.  Tired.  Headache. But I picked up some Emergen-C,  stocked up on cough drops, and drank all the water. 

I was feeling better by Saturday morning, so I did 6-miles, interval-style.  It was awesome.  Really, one of the better runs I’ve done in a while.  My average pace was 15:29, which would suck if I ran the whole time, but that included plenty of walk breaks, so I was totally pleased with it. I was very happy to get the distance in, but I have to admit that my right foot is really bugging me.  I think my new shoes are too big or something. The joints on all my toes hurt like the devil after I’ve gone about 1.5 miles. And the arch even hurts a bit off and on.  I might get an insole, but I really think what I’m going to do is go to First Place Sports, the “real” running store here in NE Florida, and have them size me. It’s been forever since I’ve been sized by the experts, and I’ve gained weight and a bunch of years since then, so I’m probably overdue.  Hopefully that will help.  It does annoy me that my new-ish shoes aren’t working out for me, though.  And I will say, this doesn’t feel like an injury – really it feels more arthritis-type achy.  I’m hoping a good fit will help me out.  That won’t happen for a couple of weeks, but I’m already looking forward to it.

Things you see when running in Florida.
No, we have no gators in the pond.  I think the sign is just to scare people.
So, regardless of the foot owwies, I didn’t want to squander my valuable weekend time, so I went for another run on Sunday morning.  And you know what?  Running is weird.  The foot still bothered me, but I had a totally awesome 4-miler (again, interval-style – I’m still trying to build my endurance, especially since I was a slacker for the past few weeks).  Average pace? 14:27 min/mile.  Again, I’m stoked.  My actual running pace is around 11 min/mile, which I’m totally fine with at this point.  YAY.  Though I do hope this is the last post in which I'll admit to being "stoked" over a 14:27 min/mile average pace. I want to look like a runner, not a trotter. Wait, that didn't sound right at all.  But you know what I mean.  Onward and upward!

Ridiculously pretty Sunday morning run.
Before it turned into Florida and got ridiculously hot as well as ridiculously pretty.

Other stuff that happened this weekend?  Oh, yeah, Halloween!

My posse.  Of course, because "Florida" and it was ridiculously hot, my youngest ended up bailing on the awesome all-black "party" suit and changing into an old pirate costume.  I'm all for my kids actually breathing while scoring loads of candy.

Halloween overachievers 1.

Halloween overachievers 2.

Other than all that fun stuff, the weekend was fairly relaxing.  Hanging out in the back yard.   Trip to the pool. And a long, lovely nap on Sunday. I needed it.

Me and the dog.  Yes, I'm wearing my son's flip flops.  Mine broke.  Note to self:  Buy yourself some new sandals!!



Oh, and since there's probably no chance of me ever becoming a "foodie" blogger (because I suck at cooking and really don't enjoy it all that much), you won't see 3,000 food pics from me.  BUT, I was rather proud of my taco salad yesterday:

Isn't it pretty? Ground turkey, avocado, cannelini & kidney beans,
cucumbers, salsa, jalapenos, cheese. I may not be a super-duper cook,
but I can make a salad to rock your world.  Well, as much as a salad can
rock one's world.  

Ok.  Guess that's all for today. The plan for the week?  Runs on Tuesday & Thursday.  Will keep you posted. . .