Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun For Friday - Crazy Stories

Today I will be spending a good portion of my day at the doctors' offices. I have to get a CT scan to see if the blood clot is gone and to make sure there were not any others in my lungs. This sounds simple enough except that I am insanely claustrophobic.

Have also I mentioned how much I hate needles? Well, I do. Not only do I have to do another flipping blood draw, but they will be giving me an IV. So, double needles plus being stuck into a tube, all adds up to one very very anxious Heather.

My sister is going with me though. She was already off work and offered. We'll be there for the scan then both going to get our hair done before having to go back for the results. Jason will come to the doctor's office later when the results are in. He just couldn't take off a full day to sit around, and I don't blame him. The hematology/oncology clinic is absolutely not a fun place to be.

Speaking of fun, let's jump right into some fun for the day. I know I will need any and all laughter I can get.

I almost went with another theme for Fun For Friday, but then I was inspired by Anna's post about helping her sister deliver naturally (and that's not what was planned, yikes). It reminded me of being there for my best friend's son's birth - but not so much on purpose.

So, I thought I'd share some randomly crazy stories. And you had better share some too!

Delivering a baby - I ended up accidentally being there when my dearest friend gave birth to her 2nd son and almost having to catch him. No joke. She had just signed papers for epidural and was told she was about 4 cm dilated. Nurse left and then my friend started saying she was pushing and couldn’t stop and that was that. Baby was there! Her mom and I were scrambling to find gloves. Her poor dad put a magazine over his eyes. Chaos. Pure chaos.
This is the gorgeous mama; she'd kill me if I posted the picture of us from that day!

Dancing on tables - Yes, I did. And not even on Spring Break. Ok, I did that too, but I had on some amazingly awesome pants and felt that I needed to show them off. To. Everyone.


Dancing on stage - In New Orleans, I literally cleared a dance floor. My sister, a friend, and I had gone into a bar (not the start of a bar joke mind you) and this guy asked if I wanted to get on stage. Hellz to the yes! Our hubby's were off elsewhere doing shots or something I'm sure. I realize now that he was just getting someone up there to get others to start dancing. But at that time, in that moment, it was all me. I threw my purse to my sister - a la hold my beer and watch this style.

Slapping a guy - Yep, I slapped a guy at a bar one night because he gave Jason a crazy look. No, I was not drunk at all either. We were at a piano bar with another friend and this incredibly drunk guy stood right in front of me, also in the line of sight of Jason. And he was swaying around coming close to knocking into me, burning me with cigarette. Fun stuff. But he was totally blocking our view of the stage too.

Jason kept saying, "Down in front." Finally, I guess he heard and turned around and gave Jason this crazy, kickyourass look. I didn't even think, just reacted and hit the guy as hard as I could in the shoulder. You should have seen the look on his face (not to mention Jason's and our friend's who thought they were about to have to get into a fight). The guy's friends pulled him away though realizing how drunk he was.

Peeing in police station parking lot - You read that one correctly. More specifically it was behind a cop car in the police station parking lot of downtown Atlanta. We had been to a rave at a place called the Underground (I may have that wrong, it's not the undergound shopping area mind you). It just happened to be near the police station. I just happened to have to go to the bathroom, very very badly. Sorry, but ladies you understand right - when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Ok, I should stop now. I'm pretty sure my dad is going to have a mild heart attack (sorry dad). Your turn!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Hubby, Furbabies, Spring

I'm thankful ...
  • That Jason made this Vegan Shepard's Pie last night. Without my prompting, he used smashed cauliflower for the topping. I may try to get the recipe written out for Tasty Tuesday.
  • For sunshine that finally came out Wednesday, along with warmer temperatures and less wind.
  • For my furbabies
 
  • For the colors of spring, especially purple.
 
 For this guy.

What are you thankful for today, or this week, or in general?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just Livin' and Way to Go Wednesday

Just Livin'
Well, I guess it's kind of a low-key week so far. Been doing a lot of studying for my ISSA Personal Trainer Certification. Getting in my workouts.

I got in a super chilly, 6-mile run with my friend Tuesday morning. I thought it was spring, and I thought I lived in the South. But, it was a brisk 23-degree windchill kind of morning. Oh, and dark. Gotta love that it's pitch-black again at 6 am...or not.

I will say, I won't complain too much because I know that summer will hit in full force before we know it. We rarely have a transition period to adjust. One day it's 40 then the next day it's 80 and it just goes up from there.

I've had lots of people continue to ask about Heath. So far he's doing much better. He was even trying to play ball last night. But the vet did say that there's really no follow-up or anything that can be done other than maintenance with new food for liver "health." Eventually, he will succumb to this disease.

Part of me wants to take it farther, go for a second opinion. I can't stand the though of losing this sweet boy. So much of what I've read said to remove the gallbladder. Of course, that came with it's own set of complications. But our vet has never really even brought that up.

What's even worse is that he went from being (seemingly) fine to in the vet hospital within a day's time, how will we really know if he's starting to get sick again? That's worrisome to say the least.

I guess Maddie thinks Heath is better, though, as she's back to her old antics again. For the first few days he was home, she was actually rather calm. And for her, that's still up a few notches. Kind of scary really ;-)

Way to Go Wednesday  
Lots of running accomplishments this week to share for Way to Go Wednesday. As always, I definitely want to hear your shout outs too!

Regina at Life's Run for a PR at the Azalea Trail Run 10K, and for getting out of comfort zones racing out of her city AND state.

Pavement Runner does it again with a sub-4 Marathon!

Bonnie at Life to the Full for a great half marathon (and possibly catching the racing bug).

Mindy at Road Runner Girl also did the Azalea Trail Run and used her super powers to beat last year's time.

Liana at Run to Munch for a PR and 2nd place female in a recent 10K.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What's in Your Fitenss Closet?


This post is courtesy of Mr. Pavement Runner who had the great idea to do a blog post about our "fitness closets." Sometimes it's nice to have an inspired post idea I must say.

Mine is more fitness drawers and baskets, but that totally counts right? We do have a closet that houses our bikes and a few fitness items, but mostly everything is crammed into drawers or spilling out of baskets around here.

This drawer houses mostly warmer weather running gear and anything I'd wear to workout in at the house or the gym.

If it were properly folded and organized, you'd find:
  • 4 pairs of Saucony running shorts - Ignite split short
  • 1 Saucony tank
  • 2 Brooks tanks (one sheer mesh and one black and white)
  • 1 short-sleeved Saucony, 1 short-sleeved Asics and 1 short-sleeved Brooks
  • An assortment of sports bras that include Champion brand, Saucony, Brooks
  • And a host of Nike shorts and tops that I will only wear at home - old, booty shorts ;-)
  • I usually try to cram in my running hats as well - mostly Nike and 1 Brooks.
 

This drawer houses more of the cold weather running gear. And it's grown this year I must say.
  • 1 pair of Under Armour compression tights with matching top (love) 
  • 2 pairs of Champion brand tights (Target clearance) 
  • Capris: Nike Capri, 2 pairs of Champion Capris and my favorites, Brooks Infiniti Capri.
I have a wide variety when it comes to long-sleeved tops. I have some that are lighter, then gradually they increase in weight. My favorite for cold, windy weather is a Brooks Infiniti Hybrid Wind Shirt. I have also fallen in love with Mizuno tops. I have a couple of Saucony shirts and some Champion brand that I picked up on clearance.

I also love my Brooks Nightlife gear for dark runs. Safety is so important for runners and I love that they have an entire line dedicated to being seen. 

Next up is my shoe basket. I have a hard time parting with my shoes. But I have started taking them to a local running store to be donated. Right now my basket o' shoes includes:

  • 2 pairs of Mizuno Wave Rider 16 
  • 3 pairs of Brooks Ghost 5
  • 2 pairs of insanely old Saucony that I was wearing for lifting
  • Not picture are my newest loves - Merrell Barefoot that I wear around the house and for lifting
  • Also not shown are my cycling shoes 

I tend to try or want to be loyal to a brand, but find that there are different things I like about different brands. I have loved my Brooks shoes, but right now they aren't right for me/my feet. But I still love their apparel and always will. I think it's high-quality, absolutely made for runners, and also fun and fashionable.

I've started wearing Mizuno shoes and they seem to be a better match for my feet right now. I've been liking the tops I've gotten as well. Everything seems to be high-quality.

Saucony is another brand that I tend to turn to. Not for shoes, but for apparel. Always great quality, fun colors, and great fits for me.

Oh, and we do have yet another basket of fitness gear that holds our gloves, my Spibelt, running sunglasses, our headbands, caps, flashing/blinking lights, and RoadIDs. 

Are you a brand loyalist? Do you have a fitness closet or drawer(s)? Or both?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fun Facts Friday - Furbabies

If you've read my posts this week, you know we've had a super sick dog. Our Heath Man has spent most of the week at the vet. He was diagnosed with Gallbladder Mucocele.
Gallbladder mucocele causes obstruction of the gallbladder's storage capacity due to the formation of a thick, mucoid bile mass inside the gallbladder, impairing its ability to function. The accumulated bile may extend the gallbladder, resulting in necrotizing cholecystitis – tissue death due to inflammation of the gallbladder.
It's pretty serious. He's been a very very sick boy. And we've been very very worried fur-parents as you can imagine.

Thankfully, he started to finally eat, drink water, and potty yesterday afternoon. He was still mopey, but they thought it might be because he was getting depressed and missing us. So, they let him come home. When he first walked in the door, he was his super chipper, bouncy self.

He ate about half of his dinner, then pretty much laid down the rest of the evening, not nearly has peppy, but certainly better than he had been on Monday. Still kind of hard to watch. Of course, we have no clue what the medicines' side effects could be. He's on 4 different meds. We all know how meds can affect us too. So I would assume they'd be the same for dogs.

Basically, we have a long road ahead and are just hoping and praying that he pulls through. That the medications and the new diet help. The only other option might be surgery, but the mortality rate with that is really scary too.

But, it's Friday. And I want to be happy (even though it's cold and rainy here). Since I've been talking about my furbaby this week, I thought it was only appropriate to keep up with that "theme" for Fun Facts Friday.

  • I have had 4 cocker spaniels - clearly I'm a loyalist. 
  • My first cocker was Abigail (Abby, AbbyLuLu, Turkey Butt, Absters) all black with one white speck on her chest - I had her for 14 years. 
  • My second cocker was a rescue named Erin, a blonde cocker. She had been an owner surrender and a rescue organization saved her on St. Patrick's Day. They thought she was 5, vet thought 8. She had kidney disease and we lost her after only 5 years.
  • Third cocker is Madeline, a Black-white Parti. We adopted her from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Cocker Rescue. She's a total wild child, spazoid.
  • Fourth is Heath, a rather rare Sable Parti. We adopted him from a cocker spaniel rescue in Oklahoma. He's such a ham and a complete love bug!
Case in point - Heath hugging my friend Jessica
  • I'm a huge proponent for adoption. Yes, they may come with problems, I'll admit that. Like Erin's kidney disease, Heath's genetic blindness, Maddie's craziness. But ultimately, it's worth it. 
  • We tend to have a lot of nicknames for our dogs. Sometimes I wonder if we just confuse the crap out of them. 
Abigail: Abby, AbbyLuLu, Turkey Butt, Absters, Abs 
Madeline: Maddie, Madsters, MaddieMadMad, Madness the Badness, and sometimes a few choice words 
Heath: Heath Man, Bubby, Bubsters, Heathy Man, Heathy Dude
  • Each one has had a completely different personality with their own quirks and eccentricities. 
  • Abby would make a "lululu" sort of noise mostly because my mom taught her that. She'd say "Abby Lulu" and Abs would respond back (even when mom was on the phone).
  • Maddie acts out a lot. When she's mad at us she'll get in her bed, on the couch, or in a chair and flip upside down, rolling around, make a guttural noise. It's quite funny to watch.
  • Both Maddie and Heath have these insanely long eyelashes. 
  • Abby hated baths and learned that she could go limp and it made it SO hard to bathe her. Maddie scoots up right under the faucet. 
Your turn - share something about your furbaby (if you have any). Rescues? Crazy habits? Crazy nicknames? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sick Furbaby & Way to Go Wednesday

Heath Update
Just a quick thank you to everyone who's sent happy thoughts, vibes and love for my Heath Man.

We had hoped he would be home last night, but the vet decided to keep him overnight. This always makes me crazy worried of course. We found out that he has Gallbladder Mucocele.

While I tried to stay away from the internet and searching about gallbladder issues for dogs, I ended up breaking down and searching after we got the diagnoses. I really want to know as much as I can. To know what to expect, possible treatment options, etc.

Our vet wants to go with the options recommended in the article I linked to above. Mostly medication, a change in his food to include more liver boosting nutrients. But I've read other articles that suggested surgery was a better option. But then I read others that suggested an even higher mortality rate post-surgery.

Any vets out there who want to weigh in? Apparently when Heath had health issues last July and they thought he had possibly gotten into poison because of the test results that revolved around liver function, it was really this gallbladder disease. But because his body isn't processing bile, it can show up as problems with liver function as well.

When he started getting sick Monday, we were panicked thinking he had gotten into poison or something somehow. Kind of like we had assumed previously. We hadn't put out any poison, but you just never know what a dog can manage to find.

At least we know the cause. But now onto a solution. And that's the scary part of course. And what's even worse is that he's not responding well to the meds and IV yet. He's not eating. And he's not coming home tonight and maybe not for a few days. It's just breaking my heart.

Way to Go Wednesday
It's that time of the week again! More running PRs, PDRs, and just flat out sticking with it (life, running, whatever).

Kalli at Fit and Forty Something for her first full marathon - the LA Marathon.

Kristin at Stufmama does it again with another new PR at the LA Marathon.

Angela at Happy Fit Mama for hitting a new PDR of 20 miles!

Amanda aka Miss Zippy for another full marathon completed, and though not the race she'd hoped for, she did it and is finding positive perspective.

Kristina (SpaBettie) and her dad. If you know Kristina, then you understand this important shout out.

Who would you like to give a shout out to?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Treasures - Inspiring Blog Posts

I thought I'd do something a little different today. I could blather on about how I plan on running after work, about the weather. Actually, right now I'm really worried about our little Heath Man. He got really sick yesterday and is at the vet today.

I'm trying not to panic, so I thought I'd take a positive route and share some great posts I've read so far this week. I truly love all the inspiration I get each day from so many of you.



Candy Fit reminds us not to fall into The Comparison Trap. Such an important reminder.

Laura at Mommy Run Fast talks about accentuating the positive and shares how she manages to stay positive during down times.

Carla at MizFitOnline shares are thoughts about eating in In A Food Fantasy What Would You Eat?  Such a great perspective, always insightful.

Jessica at EatDrinkBreatheSweat reminds us that we all need our Me Workout Time.

Lisa at Run Wiki wrote a beautiful post "Pain Does Not Define Me," in relation to her training for the Boston Marathon.

Tiffany at Matters of Course shares how "Stuff" is a Four Letter Word. And I'm thinking she's right!

Heidi at Banana Buzzbomb asks the question "If Fitness is About Your Health Then Why do You Hurt Yourself?"A really great post and perspective on working out and pushing too hard, too often.

Are there any great posts you've read recently? Feel free to share!

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Block Party

This weekend turned out to be pretty fantastic. The weather on Saturday was simply perfect - sunny, right around 80 degrees. Perfect weather for spending the day outdoors.

I started my day of outdoors with a run. It was already 60 degrees and crazy windy. In other words, I was hot and ticked at the wind. I know it's totally irrational to curse wind. But I do; I did. Out loud. The run was good, but hard at the same time. I am always amazed at how hard running is after just taking about 12 days off. That doesn't seem like much, but somehow it is.

But, I soaked up the sunshine and enjoyed all the newly blooming trees, bushes, flowers. Though, I should have planned my route better. The return was all south and west. Guess which way the winds were blowing.


Next up was a St. Patrick's Day parade and block party. We had friends going downtown to watch the parade (they have kids) and we thought we'd meet up with them and just enjoy the day. The parade was ... well ... different. No floats. Lots of cars, motorcycles or just random people walking and dressed up in green.

We headed over to our favorite Irish Pub - Dugan's and finally managed to snag a table. It took a while though. We ate and then stepped outside for the block party events.
There was some live music, several vendors and such. But it was more about being outside and visiting with friends really.

Did you do anything for St. Patrick's Day?

Since we celebrated on Saturday, Sunday was much more low key. It was also 30 degrees colder and raining. I did get in a leg workout and lots of studying. We ended up going out for pizza then spent some time playing pool at the house. I should have done chores, but pizza and pool was much more fun!



Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun Fact Friday - I AM a Runner

I hope you bear with me. This is definitely not the typical Fun Facts/For Friday Post. But, I think it falls into a "Fact" at the very least.

I don't know exactly why, but after yesterday evening's run, I started to think back to and reflecting on my running transformation. Maybe it's trying to figure out why I'm so hell-bent on running despite being injured?

You see, honestly, about three years ago I still refused to call myself a runner. No joke, look back at my past blog posts if you wish. Or, better yet, you can check out the post where I specifically say "Why I'm not a runner." Oh, and notice the date is July 2010. So, um, not that long ago really.


For some reason, I associated calling myself a runner with having an all-consuming passion, running crazy distances, or crazy-fast paces, and being in an elite secret club. What I didn't understand was the deep-seeded passion that comes with running. Ok, so the first point does end up being valid.

Yes, I enjoy the challenge of getting faster, running farther. Hello half marathons and PRs.
But it's so very much more than that. It's not at all elitist like I had assumed. Fast runners (like my friend Amy) still embrace slower runners. Hello, she runs with me and has never once complained about me slowing her down. We cheer each other on, fast, slow, injured, whatever. We "get" each other and that's all that matters.

For me, running is something I never thought I could do. I have severe asthma, though not exercise-induced. Before I found Singulair, I couldn't go for hikes without resting (usually using inhaler) let alone running anything more than say 1 minute.

So to ever expect to be or even want to be a runner? Not even on my radar. I was always a dancer. I loved (still love) ballet deep in my soul. I lived and breathed it. But where I live, not much for advanced adults. You eventually get tired of the competition and pettiness you see dancing with 16-18 year old girls.

Long story cut short - Jason introduced me to running. One day I looked up, looked around, felt present in the moment and fell in love. It's not always easy. Actually, it never is. That's the awesome thing though. You have to work hard so you feel so much pride from it. Accomplishment.

I firmly believe that there's a huge misconception from non-runners or self-proclaimed dabblers of running that those who do call themselves runners find it easy. I mean, I know I thought that. But - Nope. Always work. But satisfying? Yes.

And can you fall in and out of love with running? Absolutely. I've definitely gone through periods where I dreaded lacing up my shoes. But usually there's a reason. Overdoing it or getting all up in your head - overthinking, planning, plotting, forgetting to let go. But then you have that one run...that one run that makes you remember exactly why you fell in love. Does this sound like a relationship? Maybe it is. There's give and take. Love and hate. Passion.

And honestly, this post can also describe my passion for lifting weights. I know there's a lot of debate about being a runner and a weight lifter. No, I won't ever do a fit comp, but man, I do seriously dig lifting weights. It's a different passion for me. But the same sense of pride and accomplishment as running.

So, if you run - you ARE a runner. If you lift weights - you kind of are a weight lifter. Just sayin'


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things I'm Loving or Not Loving

I had a completely different post planned for today - talking about nutrition and what people often think of as "healthy" foods - but decided to back off that one until I can sort through my thoughts better. Basically it boils down to so much misleading information, misunderstanding of information, media hype and general acceptance (like why do we accept that companies put corn syrup in BBQ sauces?).

Of course, I'm not a nutritionist, definitely not an expert, so I wasn't sure if I was just setting myself up for backlash. So...I decided to go with at Thursday Things type of post - some Things I'm Loving and Not Loving.

Things I'm Loving
  • My bike Trainer
  • Mizuno Wave Rider 16's 
  • Nuttzo
  • Love Grown Oatmeal (and granola of course)

  • Warming temps
  • Daylight past 6pm
  • Flowers in bloom

Things I'm Not Loving
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Doctor's visits
  • Blood draws 
  • Trying to memorize all the muscles, insertion & origin points for the ISSA Personal Trainer Cert.
  • Dark mornings so no more gorgeous sunrises

What are some of the things your loving or not loving lately?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blood Clot, Plantar Fasciitis and Way to Go Wednesday

Blood Clots & Plantar Fasciitis 
I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely getting twitchy for the weekend. It didn't help that I knew I had a follow-up appointment at 7:45 this morning with the hematologist. I just hate hate knowing that I'm about to have to have blood drawn. Doesn't make for a pleasant morning.

I also hate going to the doctor, waiting waiting waiting, and then not really hearing anything new. So, not really any follow-up news for me to report other than a scheduled CT scan at the end of the month to see if the clot is still there.

The scan will be of the clavicle area where the clot was and where I still have a weird pain as well as my chest just to see if I've had any clots in my lungs - as I did have shortness of breath previously. They never did take a scan of my chest initially.

On the upside, I did get to finally run this morning with my friend. It was my first run since my half marathon. I've been babying my foot like crazy. This morning was really about testing the waters to see how it was feeling. I've done nothing that resembled a run - not even a pretend run (like high knee jogs).

Despite the fact that it was in the 30's and pitch dark, and early in the morning, I was really excited to get out there for the run. I've definitely been missing my runs with Amy. I mean, really, it's hard to beat at great morning run with great conversation. Talk about a great way to kick off a day - or end one when we get to go after work.

Drum roll.....I got in 4 miles. They weren't fast (Amy is recovering from the flu), but they felt so good. Well, there was still pain, not pain like during the race. It's back to the pain that I was feeling prior to the race. So, I know that my foot is far from healthy. But I feel better knowing that I could actually run so the injury isn't as bad as it could have been.

I am bound and determined to figure out how to kick this plantar fasciitis to the curb. I do everything that's suggested (stretch, roll, roll calves, feet exercises, calf exercises, ice and repeat).  I tried orthotics and that felt terrible. I have started wearing minimalist shoes around the house to try to further strengthen my feet. When I danced, I never ever had any issues like this.

I know this injury stems from an imbalance and the fact that my feet are simply not as strong as they were from ballet. So somehow I need to find that and fix it. I should have gone to med school.

If you've dealt with plantar fasciitis, how did you beat it? Or did you?

Way to Go Wednesday
I don't know if I love Wednesday for the shout outs or that it means we're on the downslide to  the weekend. Ok, I think it's really the shout outs and hear your shout outs too!

Laura at Mommy Run Fast was at it again this past weekend with a 10k (6 days after her half mind you).

Heather at Through Heather's Looking Glass PR'd during her recent 5k.

Angela at Happy Fit Mama for hitting a new PDR of 18 miles.

Mrs. Stuftmama is at it again with another amazing half marathon pace. Rock.Star.

Monday, March 11, 2013

More XTrain Workouts

Rocking the XTrain
Monday hit me hard today. Not only was it just flat out Monday, we lost an hour as well. Talk about a double whammy. At least it was sunny again today though. That's always a plus, especially after Sunday was a wash out - as in, you needed a boat to get anywhere.

No running still, so that meant indoor workouts. Which really translates to an XTrain Weekend courtesy of Cathe Friedrich.

Saturday I went with Cardio Legs. I really enjoyed the workout (as much as you can enjoy being tortured mind you). She includes a plyo style exercise then follows that up with a weighted leg exercise. Definitely keeps your heart rate high.

It's definitely not a heavy leg workout, but since I can't do that right now, this works really well. It's one of those workouts that's kind of deceiving too. You know it's tough, but you are going non-stop and don't have time to really think about the aftermath. The aftermath is having to hang onto the railing when going downstairs.

Sunday I decided to go with Cathe's Biceps/Triceps/Abs from the new XTrain Series. I also tried out the first half of the All Out Low Impact HIIT DVD since I hadn't been able to try that one yet. The first half doesn't require the step and is about 18 minutes long. My foot is bothering me too much to attempt any jumping on the step, and my legs were too sore from Saturday's workout as well. In other words, don't do this workout the day after you do the Cardio Legs ;-)

Time with Friends
Saturday's weather ended up being absolutely perfect. I won't lie, I was kind of getting down about not being able to get out and run. But, I reminded myself that running in 75 degrees after recent 30 degree temps would have meant I would have been complaining about melting!

Luckily, I still got to enjoy the great weather. Our friends had people over for crawfish (clearly not my reason for going). We got to spend the rest of the afternoon sitting out on their deck. I'd say that's a pretty good way to spend a day.

Then as pretty as Saturday was, Sunday was the opposite. It was crazy windy and pouring rain. Luckily the temps hovered around 55, so it could have been much worse. But it certainly wasn't motivating.

I did manage to get a lot done around the house, including studying. I enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch with my bestie too - and we scored a table by the fireplace where we had gone to eat. Jason was nice enough to do the grocery shopping for me while I had lunch.

Then I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen prepping food for the week. I'm definitely getting into a better habit of this, and it makes such a difference during the week. I feel like I've given myself time back each evening since most of the cooking is done.

So basically, it was a weekend of some sweaty workouts, time with friends, and a bit of productivity. All about trying to find that balance right?

How was your weekend? Sunshine or rain?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun For Friday - Half Marathon Thoughts

Happy Friday! It's been a long one and I even took Monday off after the Little Rock Half Marathon to recoup. The crazy thing is, other than my foot problem, I felt absolutely fine. No real muscle soreness in my legs. In fact, had my foot not been hurting, you better believe I would have been out running on Monday.

Unfortunately, I pushed too hard and am sidelined again. Apparently I don't learn. I've tried really hard not to get down about not running this week. The first few days were ok. I got to try out more of Cathe's XTrain series and spent time on my bike trainer. However, the weather was rapidly improving -sunshine, warming temps, no gusting crazy winds.

I think it was even harder because I was still riding that post-race high. You know - thinking about running, looking at more races to enter (why doesn't AR have more races by the way), missing that long weekend run. Gotta love runner's amnesia for helping us all forget the hellish parts of a run sometimes. I suppose most of us would give up if we always remembered huh?

So, rather than whine and complain about not running, I thought I would reflect on and share some things from the race. I sure wish I could have taken pictures during the race. The Little Rock Marathon route always has amazing support, even when it's 25 degrees out!

For Fun for Friday - I thought I'd just share some tidbits that I remember from the race:

Photo taken by a friend - this would be around mile 1
  • The weather channel always lies about the wind speeds. 3mph was really more like 13.
  • I didn't get to go to the bathroom again right before the race. Maybe that's part of why I went so much faster - having to pee for 13.1 miles makes you desperate and port-a-potties start to look like an oasis in the desert.
  • I hate the traffic jam feeling when a race first starts and you can't get around people. So claustrophobic. 
  • So fun seeing live bands playing along the route - from heavy metal to gospel and even someone sitting on their front porch serenading us.
  • When there wasn't live music, people were often playing music on radios, or a DJ spinning tunes (mile 6), or even the random boom box tied up to a lamp post (mile 2).
  • When someone calls your name out, it's like you've won something special. 
  • I still can't drink at aid stations.
  • I love some of the random signs like "Did you just run a fartlek" and another one that was something along the lines of "Great Job Random Stranger" (totally paraphrasing except for the random stranger part) and "This is the worst parade ever!" being held by a child.
  • I almost wanted the cup of beer that one guy was handing out just shy of mile 8 - he's there every year. Carbs anyone?
  • Just before the beer guy, one group was celebrating (probably the fact that they weren't running) with mimosas in their front yard. I really wanted the mimosa by the way. OJ is healthy right?
  • Passing by your own house at 9.5 miles into a race is almost heartbreaking. Luckily, I didn't have a key with me or I may have stopped. Ok, not really, but it sure sounded like a fantastic idea.
  • Cold gels are really hard to take. I ran with mine in my hand for a solid mile trying to get it to warm up.
  • Hills suck, but long gradual, 1+ mile long hills suck even more. How do they find the route with as many mile-long inclines as possible?
  • The last half a mile might be the hardest - you see the end, you hear the end, but you just can't seem to get there and everyone is telling you how close you are!
  • Crossing that finish line makes it all worth it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cathe Friedrich's XTrain Series


Cathe Friedrich's - XTrain Series
Recently, I was lucky enough to receive Cathe's latest series (XTrain) to review. Those of you who've read my blog for any length of time probably have already gotten the hint that I am a huge fan of Cathe. I've been doing her DVDs for 8-9 (or more) years.

I was lucky enough to even go to her Road Trip three summers ago and meet her. She's just a sweet in person as you think she'd be from the DVDs. I think she's just a very solid instructor. She's enthusiastic, but not annoying. She is always good about showing correct form and for showing modifications for all exercises.

So, needless to say, I couldn't wait to dive right into the Xtrain DVDs. Especially since I'm trying to rebuild muscle lost after not being able to lift because of the blood clot.

I received the bundled set, minus the Ride DVD. I loved that the Xtrain Bundle set comes with a user's guide that also included 4 different workout rotations to choose from as well as the exercises included on each disc, the premixes, and even the weights she uses just to give you a general idea.

Unfortunately, due to my foot injury, I wasn't able to try out the Cardio Leg Blast or the All Out Low Impact HIIT workouts. But I most definitely will be doing those as soon as I'm able to.

XTrain Super Cuts
This is a fantastic, fully-body conditioning workout. Cathe uses dynamic and compound moves to hit every muscle group while keeping your heart rate going strong. This one is great because you don't need a ton of equipment or a huge range of weights. I think most at-home exercises would have the necessary equipment already. And if you don't, it's not expensive equipment either.

She only uses 5 and 8 pound dumbbells, a resistance tube (you could use just a band but you would need to be careful on the grip), a band to go around your thighs (she does have a special "firewalker" band but I just tied up one of my regular bands), and some sliding discs (paper plates work too). Oh and Dixie cups, but I just did the lunges without them.

So if you're looking for a full body workout but don't have a lot of time to do a down and dirty weight workout, this is a great option. You'll work all muscles; you'll keep your heart rate at a pretty decent level, and you won't be working out for hours on end. I also tried one of the bonus abs workouts at the end. One word: killer. 

XTrain Hard Strikes
I was super excited to try this one out. I absolutely love Cathe's MMA Boxing and Kickboxing workouts and was hoping for more of the same. While it's a really good workout, it isn't quite like the MMA workouts.

It's definitely one I will keep in my rotation of workouts, but probably not at the top of the list. I will say that I really liked the heavy bag tabatas at the end of the workout. You definitely don't have to have a heavy bag. I just used my 1 pound weighted gloves throughout the workout and for the heavy bag session. And if you have any agressions to take out...the tabatas will take care of that one I promise.

Tabatacise
If you like tabata workouts, then this one is right up your alley. It's amazing how high you can get your heart rate going in 4-minute intervals and just your body weight. But Cathe takes it to another level by including a step blast between each of the 5 tabata segments.

So just when you think you're done with the tabata round, she throws in an extra cardio blast using the step (with 2 risers on each side). This workout will leave you with shaky legs and a puddle of sweat!

Biceps/Triceps and Chest, Back & Shoulders
At first I wasn't sure I was going to like these two discs. I loved the idea of the supersets and trisets, but not the 16 reps. I definitely prefer heavier weights with lower reps. However, this one...it's not light weights despite the number of reps.

You still go with about 70% of your 1 Rep Max (1RM), so be prepare to work and work hard. You'll be praying to eek out that last rep throughout the workout.

It moves pretty quickly too. So you really don't get bored with the higher reps (if you're prone to that like I am). You don't need a lot of equipment with this one. Just your dumbbells, mat, resistance tubing, and a ball. She uses a stability ball to also engage the stabilizer muscles and the tube along with a weight to make the eccentric move more challenging.

And get ready to do a lot of pushups for chest. Cathe is queen of pushup variations, and she definitely makes use of them here. Not only various pushups, but tempo patterns as well. 

Burn Sets
Burn sets is another weight DVD for biceps and triceps and shoulders, chest and back. This one uses 75-80% of your 1RM for 2 sets of 10 reps and a 3rd set to failure. The workouts are done as straight sets, so you complete one muscle group before moving to the next. There are 3 exercises for each muscle followed by one final burnout exercise.

This is a great DVD with tons of premix options to choose from. You'll definitely feel the burn!
Post Biceps/Triceps Workout

Legs
This isn't your traditional heavy leg workout. Actually, it's not really a traditional weighted leg workout period. But that doesn't mean it's easy; trust me on that one. Get ready to feel the burn with this one.

I gotta say that if you're a runner, you'll definitely want to check this one out. It's a terrific workout for hitting the glutes, hams, inner/outer thighs - all problem areas for most runners.

You'll need either a paper plate or a sliding disc, band or firewalker band, and light dumbbell. Again, this isn't a heavy weight workout. But, it's a great conditioning workout and will definitely give your bum a lift.

Final Thoughts
I may be a little biased seeing as how much I have always loved Cathe's workouts. But I'm not just touting the XTrain Series as great because I like Cathe; I'm saying they're good because I firmly believe they are solid workouts and would definitely have purchased the XTrain Series on my own. If you don't have much equipment at home, but do have access to a gym, I would highly recommend the download option so that you could take it with you. I think that is a fantastic option to have. 

Disclaimer: I received these DVDs for free to review. My opinions, however, are completely my own. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Plantar Fasciitis Woes & Way to Go Wednesday Shout Outs

I wanted to thank everyone again for your many congratulations on completing and getting a PR at my recent half marathon. The support and words mean so much to me.

My legs feel absolutely fine after the race. I could have run yesterday if it weren't for my left foot. So right now I'm trying to heal my left foot. I mentioned that I've been having problems with plantar fasciitis in that foot and that it was the cause of much pain during the race. Since the race, I've been unable to walk on it very well. Lots of hobbling going on.

I've been icing it and trying to keep it elevated. But, I noticed that it's started to get some bruising, not horrible, but worrisome. Not sure if it's better or worse for it to be discolored vs red and swollen. However, this could be indicitive of a tear.
But, my bigger concern with the bruising is that indication that there's been bleeding. Being on Xarelto for the blood clot means my blood doesn't clot very well these days. Any nurses or experts out there? I'm so tired of doctors at this point that I am being stubborn and haven't made an appointment yet. I know. I know....

But rather than thinking about the foot, I want to stay positive and bask in my little victory just a bit longer. That means giving myself a pat on the back AND handing out some shout outs for Way to Go Wednesday.

Laura at Mommy Run Fast for getting another new PR at the Sugarland Half Marathon. She's one fast mama - 1:35:25 AND she took 2nd place in her age division.

Pavement Runner does it again - a PR at the Rock n Roll Pasadena Half. This guy is on fire!

Sarena at The Non-Dairy Queen for hitting a PDR of 8 miles on Sunday.

My husband for a fantastic job at the Little Rock Half. He's had his own set of injuries to contend with and still managed to pull out a great time, and would have gotten an even better one had he not stuck by me at the end.

My friend Amy for sticking with me for 11 miles while contending with a serious cold. I recall a lot of snot (inside joke, sort of teehee) and then managing to sprint out the last 2 miles for a 1:47 finish.

Your turn - let me hear your shout outs for the week!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, Chickpeas and Tofu

The inspiration for this dish came from a recipe I found on pinterest for Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Harissa from Familystyle Food. I had the cauliflower and chickpeas, but no harissa.

This of course made me more determined to figure out how to try and replicate the recipe sans harissa. I decided to use Sriracha to give me the heat. Plus, it's hard to go wrong with Sriracha in my book. I had read some recipes for harissa included coriander, so I decided to use that as a seasoning along with garam masala to give the dish a slightly Indian flair.

Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, Chickpeas and Tofu
Ingredients:
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
Very healthy amount of Sriracha chili sauce - to taste
2/3 cup orange juice
To taste: garam masala, salt, coriander
1 package extra firm tofu, pressed
1/2 white onion, diced
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
1 small bunch broccoli, chopped
Olive oil
salt
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions:
Mix orange juice, Sriracha, garam masala, salt, coriander together then pour over tofu and allow to marinate at least one hour, preferably longer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss broccoli and cauliflower with small amount of olive oil and salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake approximately 20 minutes (flipping at least once). Add chickpeas to the pan and bake an additional 20 minutes or until veggies are browed and chickpeas roasted.

At the same time, bake the tofu until golden brown and firm. Flipping at least once.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and garlic until the onions begin to soften and become translucent. Add in the remaining marinade from tofu and tomatoes (with liquid). You may need to re-season with more Sriracha and spices. If too thick, add additional orange juice.

When the tofu is done, cube and toss into the skillet. Allow to simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the liquid begins to thicken. Remove from heat and toss in the roasted vegetables and chickpeas.


Honestly, I had no clue how this was really going to turn out. But I was pleasantly surprised. It might sound like it's an insanely hot dish, but it's not as spicy as you might assume. I think the orange juice helps to even out the heat levels.

I love the aroma of the garam masala in this dish. So you have a nice layer of flavors going on as well as textures from the crunch of the chickpeas to the softer texture from the tofu. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Little Rock Half Marathon 2013

Yesterday I ran my 5th half marathon. This was the 3rd time to run the Little Rock Half Marathon. Three years ago, it was my very first half. Last year I ran it with Jason after pretty major injuries and not running for 6 weeks. Not smart, but so satisfying to cross that finish line with my husband.

This year, more trials and tribulations. In December I discovered I had a blood clot and have been on medication since. I was told no running or even walking for that matter in the beginning. After weeks of no exercise combined with side effects from the mediation, I wasn't sure I would be running this race period, let alone accomplishing a 3+ minute PR.

I started the race with my friend, Amy (given clearance to user her name). She was starting to get sick on Friday and said that she'd run with me if she was still not feeling great. She was originally planning to try for a course PR. While I welcomed the company of my running buddy, I certainly didn't want to be holding her back. My plantar fasciitis decided to come back in full force just in time for the race, so I wasn't sure what I'd be able to do.

We started off slow, meandering around the crowds of runners and finally breaking free after the first mile. We kicked it into high gear and hit close to 8 minute miles for the next few miles, then slowed a little, maintaining an 8:12-8:15 pace. I was giddy mind you. My last PR was 1:53 so an 8:40 average.

The first 5 miles went by pretty quickly. A little cursing about frozen fingers and toes and crazy cold wind. But otherwise, really good. Miles 6-7 is all up a gradual incline, so fatigue starts to set in. And that's about the time my foot started talking to me.

By mile 8 (thankfully downhill), I was on the verge of tears. But no crying in running...or so I kept repeating. I knew if I stopped to walk or stretch I wouldn't get going again. Amy was awesome and just kept talking and cheering me on. Mile 9-10 is another all up hill sucky stretch. It also passes right by my house. Talk about a tease. I could just stop and walk inside.

I was definitely struggling and slowing down. I tried my best to maintain a decent pace. Lucky for me (not) my Garmin froze up at mile 6, so I had no clue what the pace was. I was just following Amy. At mile 11, she had it in her to sprint out to the finish and I absolutely encouraged her to go ahead. Around 11.5 I hear someone yell out "Hey sexy" and realize Jason has caught up to me. Amy and I had broken away from him around mile 2.

He could tell I was hurting and struggling. I thought he was going to pass me and get himself a PR. But he stuck with me for that last grueling bit. So, once again, we crossed the finish line together. He came in at 1:50 and I crossed at 1:50:01.

Tired, hurting, but so incredibly proud.



 388 overall, 24/465 in age division, 103/2758 women and 8:24 average pace


I have to thank so many of you for your amazing support, encouragement, texts, emails, facebook messages, tweets, and more. You know who you are my Sherpas!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fun For Friday - Public Restroom Quirks

This might seem to be one of those randomly out of nowhere posts. I suppose it is. But, it is Fun For Friday so that's a-ok right?

Yesterday, while in the restroom at work, I started thinking of some of the odd quirks I have about public restrooms. Yes, I'm sure you're thinking I'm certifiable right now. But, I know some friends who even refuse to use them period.

I've noticed I have a certain pattern and that there is definitely a restroom etiquette that some people don't seem to understand. I guess they never got the memo. Now, if you're one of these people I list below, I promise I still love you!
 Public Restroom Quirks
  • I always try to go to the same stall (at work).
  • I'm pretty giddy when I can get to the restroom when a lid is still up because it means it's clean and no one else has used that toilet yet.
  • I will admit that sometimes I'm too lazy to hover. Gross, I know. 
  • I get really annoyed when someone tries to talk to me when I'm in the restroom. Let me pee quietly please and thank you. Friends are the only exception to this rule.
  • And do you really need to have a phone conversation while sitting on the pot? Do you really think the person on the other end of the phone wants to hear you or anyone else peeing? I'm thinking no.
  • I realize that some people just like to be neat and tidy, but when someone starts to wipe down the water off the entire counter top, I feel like it's a statement against me somehow. 
  • And while I get annoyed at people wiping down the sinks, I really get annoyed about people being so lazy as to not pick up their paper towels if they don't make the waste basket. I feel like that's just rude to the cleaning people.
  • I don't understand how and why some people don't flush the toilet and I won't use the toilet if it's dirty which is funny because I'll use a port-a-potty (though that's usually out of desperation).
  • If it's...um...stinky...please don't spray a shitton of fake florally spray to try to mask the stink. It just makes for a more disgusting fake flowered...um...stink.
Ok, your turn. Any restroom quirks? Do you talk on the phone on the pot?