Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Raced My Bike!!

Exactly two weeks after picking up my BEAUTIFUL new bike, I decided to try out a bike race. I've "raced" before if you count a one-time attempt at Seward Park where I was dropped from the pack almost immediately, but Saturday was an honest-to-goodness real road race.

I had been eyeing this race, Vance Creek Road Race, for a few months, but when my bike delivery was delayed, I started having doubts. Sure, 24 miles is no big deal, but I was hoping for a month + of bike rides leading up to the race, not a very-jam-packed-with-other-things 2 weeks.

I waffled. Maybe I should race. Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should find another race later in the year. Maybe I should wait until next year. I was worried about doing something embarrassing or causing a crash. It was also hard to tell if the BF thought it was a good idea or not. Cycling is his thing. I'm curious and intrigued by bike racing, but my very frugal self is not thrilled at the idea of how much $$$$ it takes to be on a cycling team. I was also not thrilled that my only option as a non-licensed rider was to sign up day of (+ $5), rent a one-day USA Cycling License (+ $15), and rent a WSBA number (+ $5). That's a lot of money just to try something out. I didn't want to commit to buying an annual USAC license ($70) and WSBA numbers ($25) to find out that I don't like racing. I'd have to do at least five races to justify that cost. Regardless, I decided that I was going to do the race - one of those rare times where the "maybe" actually turns into doing something. Anyways, I digress....

We woke up at a pretty normal time. The BF had helped me clean and prep my bike for race day the night before. He made breakfast, I packed lunches, and we were on the road right on schedule.

I kept having mini moments of panic on the drive where I'd wonder what the heck I was getting myself into. Was I really going to race my bike? How stupid am I? I'd talk myself down, telling myself that it was just a fast bike ride with a group. There was nobody to impress. I would have been riding my bike at home if not at the race. Phew, ok. It felt like my heart was racing the entire time.

When we reached the race, I saw Holly - one of the BF's teammates who would be in the same race as me. She was key in convincing me to do the race. Since the BF was racing later in the day, he helped with the finishing touches on the bike - checking tire pressure, etc., and put it on the trainer so I could spin a bit before the race.

I registered for my race, stood in a very long line for the port-o-potties, changed into my cycling clothes, and was ready to race. Through some magic, I had picked just the right clothing and layers to stay warm but not overheat for my race.

I was following Holly's lead when we lined up for the race and somehow ended up in the second row. Panicked thoughts of "WTF am I doing up here?" went through my head. The BF's team has a saying that "Nothing good happens in the back", but I was worried that I wasn't skilled enough to be where I was. I saw Megan from Nuun in the pack. She came up and gave me some last minute advice that was very appreciated. The BF had done a pretty good job of preparing me to race, but every reminder helps.

The race started neutral - a lead car controls the speed of the group up to a certain point. I should point out here that the race starts by going down a big hill, and I, for one, am not yet confident in my ability to corner on downhills. Scary stuff.

When the group first started off, it just looked like chaos. People were vying for positions and figuring out where to be. Going down the hill the first time was scary. Cycling so close to people and not knowing if/when/how the speed is going to change is terrifying when your front wheel is an inch away from someone else's back wheel. There was a lot of "Braking! Slowing! Braking!" going on.

As the pacelines began to form, I found myself near the back of the pack. It wasn't where I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to move forward. There was a little bit of a yo-yo effect going on where the group would go around a corner and speed up, so as one of the last riders in the group, I'd have to chase to catch up after making it around a corner. It wasn't too exhausting though. There was a girl in the group who was also relatively new to racing, and she was not following wheels or paying attention to her position in the pack which made me nervous to be behind her. I can't say if I was any better, but at least I was in very back.

This course had a big hill to climb to the finish. My field did 2 laps of the course, so we went up the big hill twice. I knew it was coming, and secondary to finishing the race, my goal was to make it up the hill once with the pack. I fell off the back partway up the hill. Another one of the BF's teammates was back there with me, and she shouted tons of encouragement at me to catch back on. OH, how I tried!! I was no longer with the group, and near the top of the hill, the follow car finally passed me. Officially a dropped rider. Oh well.

I passed another one of the BF's teammates going uphill. I told her great job and continued on my way. Now, the GLORIOUS thing about being a dropped rider at the top of the hill is that you can descend however you want. Speed down that thing, cut corners, no need to "watch your line", and scaredy-cat me could hit the brakes here and there when a corner seemed too terrifying.

I was having fun going down the hill when one of the BF's teammates caught up to me. She was blazing down the hill and shouting at me to grab her wheel. UMMMM, I guess I should have told her before the race that I wasn't very familiar with following wheels, but she was determined that we work together to catch the few riders we could see ahead of us. Alright, guess there's no time like the present to learn new bike skills. I think I did ok, but I went in front and pulled a lot because I was too scared to follow her wheel properly.

We worked together until an unfortunate turn into the farmlands. I started to turn the corner and knew it was not going to end well for me. I screamed "Bad corner, don't follow me, ahhhh!". I went off the road and into the grass on the opposite side of the road, but I stopped while standing up. The BF's teammate went ahead to keep chasing the people ahead of us and was my carrot for the rest of the race. I took a second to take a deep breath and was quickly on my way again.

The last 6 or 7 miles was a solo ride for me. I think I did a decent job of keeping my speed up even though I was alone. I did take time before going up the hill for a second time to take my winter gloves and sunglasses off so I could see and shift. Just before the finish, the main group from the morning men's race came flying by. I stuck to the shoulder and spun easy across the finish line. DONE!!

Not too shabby for a first bike race- I finished 24th/30th with a final time of 1:24:21, just shy of 11 minutes behind the main group. Wooo! Was it fun? Pretty much. I still need to work on fitness (duh) and handling skills (super obvious). I told the BF that I REALLY need to learn how to follow wheels - that's the next skill to pick up. After that, I'd need to learn how to move around in a racing group.

Will I do it again? Maybe. It still seems pretty pricey to me. For now, I'm just going to work on riding more and improving my skill. We'll see if another race catches my eye.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Run the Snohomish Women's Run with me on May 18th!

The sun is out today, and all I can dream about is going on a long run. Yes, dream. I'm still not running more than about 4 miles at a time right now. Re-training has been slow. However, I have 2 half marathons coming up next month. I'd better get prepared!! I was contacted by the RD from the Snohomish Women's Run asking if I'd like to run the race. Even if I have to walk part of it, how could I say no? I was happy to see what a great charity they contribute to - The Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. The t-shirts seem pretty cool too. They are at least great for pajama tops. The best parts, though, is that it is an event catered towards women but without all the frilly frou-frou stuff, the course is limited to 500 people, there aren't a lot of hills, and you get a medal! If you want to join me, please use the discount code below! If you don't want to run, I urge you to consider volunteering for the race.

Discount Code:

This code will work for both of the following events:

Snohomish Women's Run
Sunday, May 18, 2014
http://snohomishwomensrun.com/ (registration open!)

Snohomish River Run
Sunday, October 26, 2014
http://snohomishriverrun.com/ (registration opens in late May!)

Here's some info about the women's run:
  • Same course as the Snohomish River Run so you can come back in October and beat your time! 
  • This race is limited to only 500 runners for it's first year, so sign up soon! 
  • Course is closed off to traffic and is super flat, a perfect PR course!
  • There will be pacers for the Half Marathon for the following times: 1:40/1:50/2:00/2:10/2:20/2:30
  • Offering prize money and for top 3 overall women and also prizes for the last finisher in both the Half Marathon & 10k. =)
  • Personalized bib numbers as long as you register by 4/25! 
  • Think of your favorite "go to" casual tee, you know that buttery-soft super comfy kind. Yep, that's what we get! 
  • We are also looking for lots of volunteers! We can't pull off a great race without the help of volunteers. There are lots of ways to help out before the race and volunteers receive 50% off discounts for a future event. =)
  • Our Charity Partner, or non-profit beneficiary for the event is The Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. Many people don't realize just how important this organization is to hundred of victims and children each year within our community.  There are many ways for people to help. One, is to register for the race and make a donation during their registration checkout. We need to fill up the race, since it is a smaller race 500 participants isn't a huge number so we need registrations so have money left over to donate! Also, there are ways for people to contribute by donating new or gently used items. Click here: http://www.dvs-snoco.org/wishlist for an extensive list of items. Examples of items can be running shoes, clothing, beauty products, bedding, etc. When victims come to DVS of Snohomish County, they come with the clothes on their back and that is about it.
Here's a look at the shirt, medal and bib number sample: 

Inline image 1
Inline image 1

Sound interesting yet? Here's the discount code again and the link to registration:

Monday, March 31, 2014

March in Review

March- Ahhh, spring is here!! In between the rainy days, we've been getting some glorious sunshine and pretty perfect workout weather. March was slightly better with the workouts, but not my much.

Total Miles:
Swimming - 0 (wah wah - wasn't looking forward to another allergy attack so I avoided the pool this month. Maybe I'll start again in April?)
Biking - 37.1 miles Outside, 3 1-hour spin classes
Running - 21 miles - Sad, but nearly double of February's!!
Hiking - 6 miles
3 Sessions of Physical Therapy

Total Hours: 14 Hours - 3 more than January or February

Highlights i.e. What I've Been Up To:
Physical Therapy - 3 more sessions of PT this month, and I just got the "all clear" last week. All clear of what, you ask? Well, all clear of my non-specific aches and pains. It's clear I have more work to do and progress to make, but as long as I keep doing my homework and my drills and thinking about my form, I should be good. Also, stretching, all the time. My tight calves are still tight. Chronic... :-/

Hot Chocolate 5k-
I ran a race and didn't blog about which makes me feel terrible since I won a free entry from Kim. I was originally signed up for the 15k, but PT said NO WAY! Instead, I got to get up extra early for the 5k that started at 6:45AM. I literally parked, lined up in a corral, ran the race, got back into my car, and drove home. I didn't even get the Finisher's Mug of chocolate things. It was an ok 5k. My performance was very average.

Saying Goodbye (for now)-
This month, two local running bloggers announced they were moving out of state. So sad!!

I started off the month attending a farewell brunch for Robyn. I know she's going to be happy back in Colorado, but I am going to miss her SOOO much. Ahh, can't wait to see you in a few months!! By the way, that is Nicole's Baby J in my arms. He's pretty cute.

This past Saturday, I had coffee with Karla who is moving to LA, but I am a bad blogger and took no photos. We were so busy talking that I completely spaced it. This means no more visits with her and Baby H.

Pi Day-
I couldn't let the nerdiest day of the year pass without celebrating. Luckily, it was a good weather day, so I celebrated by wearing the favorite pair of TOMS. Let's be honest, I just wrote about this so I could show you all my cool pair of shoes again.

Start of Cycling Season-
The BF or fiance (we really haven't come up with a better reference for him yet) is a cyclist. Not the kind that rides steel bikes with big commuter bags - he's all about super light, carbon everything, speedy, spandexed racing. The local racing season started at the beginning of this month, so I've been out to a couple of his races on the weekends. The long drives plus a day of watching and cheering racers on is pretty exhausting, but the BF has had a good start to the season, placing first in his category on the second race of the year.

Nuun Energy Party-
Nuun had an Energy Release Party for their new Nuun Energy Product. I will be writing about Nuun Energy soon, I promise! It was great to see some of my favorite faces there and have a chance to chat about running and training.

Allergy Testing-
This was a not so fun part of this month, but it was VERY necessary. After a sniffly cold in January or February, I never quite recovered. No, there was no sinus infection, but I was just sneezy with a congested and runny nose. The BF encouraged me to see a doctor since I was so miserable. 2 horrible things about this - the 5 days of no allergy medication prior to the test and the no-scratching part once the test is started. I had really strong reactions to a lot of things, and they stopped the test early since it was so obvious. Luckily, my symptoms involve mostly my eyes and my nose. Treatment isn't very different than it was before - the same OTC allergy medication along with a few prescription nasal sprays. Allergy shots are a possibility in the future, but the doctor thinks I can manage my issues with medicine for now.

Wedding Season-
We had a few friends get married right out of college, but this is really the year of weddings for us. Saturday night, we went to our first wedding of the year for one of our college classmates. It was a wonderful evening, and it made us excited for our own. We actually wish ours was happening sooner. Also, RentTheRunway.com is amazing. I rented a dress for the wedding, and it was perfect. I had an excellent and very handsome escort too.

Yesterday, the BF and I had our engagement shoot with Andy from Studio 517. He was great. We were awkward at first, but I think we got better through the shoot. It was really cold and really windy. I'm impressed they made my hair look so great.

And finally, MY BIKE IS HERE!! Behold its beauty!
Pedals & Water Bottle Cages Have Already Been Added

Books I Read This Month:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Currently Reading:
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan - I've spent all month slowly making my way through this book. It's a long one, and it's been a busy month. 

Movies I Watched This Month:
Divergent - I went to go watch this with my runner/blogger friend Amy, who I met at the Highlands 5k. Thanks, Gametiime, for "setting us up". :)

Current Ache/Pain:
Running. It's not really an ache/pain as much as an "I've lost my fitness, I feel awkward with this new form, this sucks" sort of thing. Oh well, practice means improvement right?

Current Wish List:
That running were easier? I know, I know- give it time.

Current Drink:
Water - I'm really exciting like that.

Recipe Discovery of the Month:
Swedish Meatballs from Damn Delicious - I made a double batch of these. I read that the two types of meat is REALLY important, but how to get ground pork at a grocery store? I'm still not sure. I tried to ask the Safeway Butcher to make some, but he lead me over to the bacon/sausage section and pointed to the small, pre-packaged stuff. I was going to have to buy 4 packs to get the amount needed. Luckily, Issaquah has a "real" butcher shop, and they had it. It still wasn't cheap, but I got what I was looking for. I forgot to saute the onions before adding them in, but it was ok. The gravy recipe that goes along with this is AWESOME. The BF and I were both licking our plates.

Current Song:
Pompeii by Bastille (still)

Current Excitement(s):
Riding my bike a lot more. The next few days are supposed to be really sunny.

How was your March?
Any movie recommendations? 
Anybody want to go on a bike ride now? :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Adventures in Physical Therapy: Exercises and Drills

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My previous post talked about my shoe and gait analysis with Neal Goldberg at Footwork Physical Therapy and showed how things are changing. Let's refresh with the diagnosis:
1 - Very tight calves, Left calf worse
2 - Weak hips / Gluteal Muscles
3 - Collapsing Arch
4 - Heel Strike Running Form

First things first, stretching. My tight calves are causing a lot of issues, so the cure is to stretch as frequently as possible. 

Second thing - core work. In order to make any forward progress with Neal, one has to have a good udnerstanding of their core and how to activate their core muscles (including the ones in the lower back and upper buttocks). 
Third Thing - Strengthening Exercises:
To address the weak hip and glute issues, I was given a general set of exercises. You will see them listed in all running magazines.
Hip Side Adduction - Source
The Oh-so-lovely Clamshells - Source
I also have single leg squats and balancing exercises to do to work on my stabilizer muscles. For the squat exercises, Neal's golden words are, "It's not how far you can go, it's how good your form is." Good to know as I can't squat down very far while maintaining good form.

As for lower leg strengthening exercises, I do some exercises that involve a stretchy band as well as some exercises that involve plantar flexion. Google will easily give you some results.

Finally, I have running drills to do right before running (and sometimes during my run when I feel like my form is starting to fall apart). Have you soon this video before? I remember seeing it a year or two ago. This basically explains my drills and how I'm changing my running form. If you don't care to watch the tower construction, skip to about 5:40 and watch the rest.

The overall message is that the articles in running magazines about strengthening exercises are legitimate and that the exercises really help. Having better core strength and knowing how to activate your core is useful for any athletic activity and everyday life. I'm thankful that I went to PT before I had any serious injury and was able to do the work and see results so immediately.

Do you ever do the suggested strengthing exercises from Magazine Articles "just because"? Never before, but now I'll take them a little more seriously.
If you've been to PT before, are you still doing your exercises?
What strengthening exercises and running drills do you do?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Adventures in Physical Therapy: Shoe and Gait Analysis

As you may know, I was having some bothersome aches and pains while walking and running. I had some heel pain/aches while walking and some sharper shin pains while running. After meeting with a Sports Medicine Doctor who found nothing seriously wrong, I was referred to see a Physical Therapist to either be fitted for custom orthotics, to get physical therapy, or both.

Luckily, I was already familiar with the Physical Therapist the sports doc suggested I see - Neal Goldberg, owner and PT at Footworks Physical Therapy. Neal is a former cycling teammate of the BF's. For several seasons now, the BF has gone to Neal for bike fits, cleat adjustments, etc. I was a bit nervous about how he'd handle runners, but just before my first appointment, Martin Criminale (also a former cycling teammate of the BF's), a cyclist-turned-ultra-runner, posted about a shoe and gait analysis he did with Neal on his blog. After reading that, I had no doubts that Neal would be able to help me.

At my first appointment, I brought all of my running shoes. These were Hoka Stinson Evos and a very, very expired pair of Brooks PureConnects that I hadn't found a good replacement for. Neal did several tests and then videotaped me walking and running on the treadmill to analyze gait, shoe choice, and hip strength.

First up - Walking. I'm only going to show what it looks like when I walk in my PureConnects. It's hard to tell how they serve as running shoes, but it's obvious to see how tight my left calf is and how I'm accomodating it in my walking gait. You can see me flip my foot out to the side before taking another step.

The second thing Neal looked at was hip strength. From behind, a runners hips should stay level. I happened to wear my Oiselle shorts with an orange waist band this day. You can see how much my hips drop with each stride. This is bad. You waste a lot of energy running like this. It also means you have some weak muscles. Here's how it looked:

Third step was running on the treadmill. The first day, I ran in just my PureConnects and Hoka Stinson Evos. My issues in these shoes are most obvious in the PureConnects. My left leg is worse than my right. When I run, you can see my arch collapsing (watch how my inner ankle rolls in and how my calf goes in the opposite direction). You can also see that I'm heel striking.

The collapsing arch issue isn't as obvious in the Hoka Stinson Evos, but that is just because you can't see it. The Hokas themselves are so substantial that the collapsing arch isn't very visible. However, you can still see that my ankle rolls in.

From the analysis, Neal thought that I should be in a more supportive shoe - something has a sturdier insole and won't collapse right along with my arch. he gave me a list of "moderate support" shoes to try. I went to Fleet Feet Seattle to try on shoes. This is important because they take video of you running in the shoes. This way, I could find which shoes from that category worked the best. I wasn't surprised that Brooks Adrenalines were my favorite. I got the shoes a few days before I was scheduled to see Neal again so I tested them on several runs. Each time, I had to stop at about 2 miles because of a stabbing pain in my left arch. He took a new video at my next visit. As you can see, I still have some issues in these shoes, but overall, they are a lot better for me. (One of the questions I still have for Neal is why he wouldn't prescribe an even more controlled-motion shoe for me - I'll let you know when I get an answer. On another note, I can still wear Hokas on trail runs - apparently you can "get away with murder" if you're running trails. Not that it is  a smart idea, but I do love my Hokas.). 

Don't forget that between all these visits, I've been doing strengthening and other PT exercises. Once I had the new shoes and the new analysis, Neal gave me a few new PT exercises, a set of running drills, and we talked extensively about changing my foot strike. We also talked about what sort of pain was okay to run through. With the new running form, I still have a bit of a burning pain in my left arch. It's okay to continue running as long as it isn't a stabbing pain. I took the advice and the new exercises and spent a week testing it out. My new running form is FAST! I busted out a 7:22 mile without even thinking about it. Mind you, I typically average 9:00 - 9:30 minutes/mile. After a week of running with the new form, Neal did another analysis. This was just this past Thursday.

I'm showing a lot of good progress, but there are still issues. I took home a new set of lower leg and tendon strengthening exercises to see if I can prevent my arch collapse. My cadence is looking good. When I have my core engaged, my hips drop a lot less. It's hard to see in this video since it's not taken from behind, but you'll notice that I spend a lot less time on each step, and my hips look to stay pretty level. I'm set to go back in two weeks for a final follow up. For now, Neal doesn't think that I need custom orthotics which is fine (and cheaper) for me. I'm excited about the changes I'm making, and although I haven't been running a lot, I have been running better. In my next post, I will talk about some of the exercises I'm doing, but I'm not going to give away all of Neal's secrets - he's the Physical Therapist, and I'm paying for his expertise. If you're a runner in the Seattle area, you should seriously consider visiting him for an analysis.

Have you ever had a running gait/shoe analysis done by a Physical Therapist?
Do you have custom orthotics?
Have you ever changed your running gait?

Monday, March 3, 2014

February in Review

February - Another "slow" month, but at least by the end of February, I was headed down the road to recovery from my non-specific running injury, aches, and pains. I see progress. Daylight hours are also getting longer which means I'm much more motivated to do things.

Total Miles:
Swimming - 2500 meters - 2 swims this month, 2nd one ended in a bad allergy attack and spending the rest of the evening feeling like I had the flu. More on that below....
Biking - 22.7 miles Outside, 3 1-hour spin classes
Running - 10.2 miles. Measly, but that's how you heal. Slowly.
2 Hours of Physical Therapy
1.5 Hours of an outdoorsy workout similar to AdventX led by a friend...
1 Hour of Elliptical (in which I barely broke a sweat...)

Total Hours: 11, just like January

Highlights i.e. What I've Been Up To:
Physical Therapy - I've been to PT 2 times now. Conclusions are that I have really, really tight calves that aren't bending properly, I've been running in the wrong shoes, and I have weak gluteal muscles. We'll see how PT turns out, but I may not need custom orthotics. That would be fun. By fun, I really mean "expensive".

Sports what? The Seahawks won the Superbowl! That's cool, I guess, although the victory parade really messed up my commute home after work.

Wedding Stuff - Tons of dress fittings, finally getting invitations out, ring maintenance (6 months already?!?!), picking out wedding bands (we found my wedding band, I have an idea of what to get for the BF- I just have to go back and pick out a specific one), trying to create a wedding registry at Macy's (which didn't go so well so we're sticking with Amazon and maybe Target), and more. Did I mention that I'm a matron of honor and a bridesmaid in 2 other weddings this year, and the BF and I are attending an additional two weddings as plain old guests? It's going to be a very busy year.

Time with Friends - The BF went away to a cycling training camp over Valentine's Day/President's Day weekend. I spent that time consuming food that I like, watching movies and shows that the BF doesn't care for, and just hanging out. Robyn wanted to see Frozen that weekend as well, so Nicole and I met up with her, and we chatted at Panera afterwards.

Books I Read This Month:
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt

Currently Reading:
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Movies I Watched This Month:
The Lego Movie
City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments
Don Jon
The Spectacular Now (didn't finish it / too weird and depressing)

Current Ache/Pain:
PT Exercises - Man, those gluteal strengthening exercises BURN. Ouch.
Left Arch - After about 2 miles of running, my left arch feels awful so I have to quit, but I've run in my new shoes about 3 times.
Look at my beautiful new shoes!! Brooks Adrenaline
Allergies from Swimming - The pool at my new gym is kind of murky, and after a swim there on President's Day Weekend, I spent the rest of the day blowing my nose and sneezing. It felt awful, like I had a cold. Even Benadryl wasn't helping. Internet research says that I'm not reacting well to chloramines, and I either need to find a new, cleaner pool to swim in or find a workable solution to the attacks like using a Nettipot post swim or nose plugs. Benadryl pre-swim isn't cutting it. :-/ UGH. I just want to swim and feel okay afterwards.

Current Wish List:
For my bike to be here. Silly storms have delayed it. I'm told it's probably in a shipping container in some port somewhere.

Current Drink:
Nuun Energy - Find it here: http://shop.nuun.com/
I haven't tried it yet, but it's on it's way - just released today. Last month, I was drinking Strawberry Lemonade Nuun when I wasn't feeling so well.

Recipe Discovery of the Month:
Minestrone Recipe from The Seattle Times - I didn't find this recipe, the BF did. He sent the link to me with the words, "This looks amazing." which translates to, "Would you please make this for me, please?". I actually made it yesterday (in March), but whatever. It was hearty and delicious. I recommend MORE pancetta and more diced tomatoes than what the recipe calls for.

Current Song:
Pompeii by Bastille

Current Excitement(s):
Waiting for my bike - new, expected ship date of Friday, March 7th - any day now....
Wedding Dress! - Alterations are done, so I get to bring it home (and stow it in my closet) on Friday. The only missing piece is a sash I have yet to pick out.
Getting back RSVPs
Getting through PT - I hope I only have a few more sessions.

How was your February?
What is your drink of choice lately?
Do you sweat on the elliptical? Am I doing it wrong??
Do you have issues with swimming and allergies?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

January In Review

January- Stutters and starts this month. Slow beginnings to the year. February will be better, I promise.

Total Miles:
Swimming - 2250 meters - I finally joined a different, much closer gym.
Biking - 37.8 miles - Shocking, I know.
Running - 44.2 miles. Ouch. Going to get better at that....

Total Hours: 11

Highlights i.e. What I've Been Up To ALL January long:
Doctor's Appointments - Not very fun, but I feel like I started the year off with a bunch of medical stuff - an appointment with my endocrinologist and getting a new dental crown. :-P

Bike Shopping - I bought one!! I picked the perfect day to go test ride - sunny, just a little bit chilly, and not a cloud in sight. 

Oiselle Sample Sale and Blogger Run/Brunch - I came away with only one thing - a Lux Layer. It's pretty much to most comfortable thing I've ever owned. I got to meet up with a bunch of bloggers and run beforehand. Then, we went to brunch. It was great.

Wedding Nonsense - Dress fittings, Photographer Interviews, Bridesmaids Duties for another friend's wedding (I'm a bridesmaid in 2 weddings this year!!), Running back and forth between Staples and UPS and office stores for printing and cutting quotes. 

Knitting all the things - I made myself a knock-off of the Katniss Cowl. The neck piece took quite a few evenings of knitting, especially because I restarted the piece several times with several different patterns and several different needles sizes.

Books I Read This Month:
Wool by Hugh Howey 
Slow month for books as well - nothing I started was that engaging.

Currently Reading:
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Current Ache/Pain:
Left Heel Ache/Shin Pain - Good news though, I saw a sports medicine doctor yesterday. Luckily, she was similar to me with her approach - no unnecessary x-rays or diagnostics. Did you know that stress fractures can be diagnosed with a tuning fork? Cool. She spent a lot of time asking questions and poking/prodding my heel and shins. She watched me walk and run up and down the hallway. She checked out my hip alignment. She looked at my leg length. She checked out my foot shape.

Diagnosis: No major injuries. No glaring stress fracture. The heel pain is likely from a new pair of shoes. If it continues, I'm supposed to find a silicon heel insert for my shoes. The shin pain is most likely muscular. I was given some new shin muscles warm-ups to do before running. She thinks that my left leg is slightly longer than my right leg. I opted not to get the x-ray to confirm this. I received a 1/8" foam pad to put in my right shoe. I also have a forefoot varus (this link helps explain it a bit)which makes my stride somewhat inefficient and can lead to more overuse injuries. I have a prescription for orthotic inserts (definitely getting) and PT (if the PT/orthotics guy thinks I need it).

Current Wish List:
I have to say that I've been pretty blessed this past month. I purchased a bike, made some wedding related purchase. It leaves me not wanting a lot. I've been trying to figure out my wedding jewelry, and while browsing Etsy, I came across this. If not so $$$, it would be perfect for a science geek like me. It's the molecular representation of Seratonin, the hormone known for happiness and calmness. 

Current Drink:
So boring, but drip coffee with some Vanilla Caramel Creamer

Recipe Discovery of the Month:
Nothing new, but this Mexican Casserole is a favorite - we made it for the superbowl:

Current Song:
Dark Horse by Katy Perry. I can't get it out of my head!!

Current Excitement(s):
My new bike is supposed to arrive sometime near the end of the month. Hurry, please, Bike.

How was your January?
Are you doing anything new in the New Year?
What have you read lately that was a page-turner?