Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week in Review 3/21/10 - 3/27/10

Sunday:  4 mile run, 3 mile walk with Abby
Tuesday:  4 mile run
Wednesday:  12 mile run
Thursday:  20 minutes yoga
Friday:  6 mile run
Saturday:  4 mile run

Total Running Miles:  30

The 12-miler was really nice and I feel good about doing a half marathon on April 10.  It has been really nice to not have to try to work in long runs for a spring marathon.  The past week was full of events that left my head swirling.  Suffice it to say that the running was great therapy. 

Life in the kitchen was also busy.  Last week was super simple, but this week I somehow made a list of time-consuming meals.  There was lots of shopping and prep work, but we had some mighty tasty dinners.  The only meat product came in the form of beef broth for the french onion soup Jerry made for us on Sunday.  That was followed by pasta with veggies with garlic breadsticks;  Soy (fake chicken) sandwiches and potato salad; wraps with hummus and falafel (a first for me to make) and sweet potato wedges; bruschetta and breaded zucchini sticks; and my all-time favorite veggie loaf made with lentils and veggies and cheesy goodness. 

It seems that as a family we are definitely headed in a more meatless way of life.  About a week ago Jerry and I went out for a walk with the dog.  When we returned we were met by Abby in the kitchen looking distraught.  She told us that while we were gone Gina had watched a video about meat production in the US.  Apparently it was quite graphic and disturbing. Abby tried to comfort Gina as best she could and now the two them really are taking the vegetarian thing to the next level.  They have asked me to pack their lunches as the school offers little in the way of meat-free options.  I thought my lunch-packing days were over but it seems  I have a few years left!  I have always said that eating healthy is hard work, but in my opinion it is so worth the effort. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two Hours on the Towpath

With no work scheduled for today, I decided to make the spring pilgrimage to the Towpath for a nice, long run.  I love the towpath for several reasons:  it's soft to run on, the scenery is lovely, it's quiet.  I dislike the towpath because it can get really boring and I usually feel somewhat afraid being there alone.  I spend the first mile or so in hyper-vigilant mode with ears on and eyes wide open.  You never know what or who could be lurking in the shadows.  Today I was even more unnerved because of the extremely dense fog.  I took a before and after picture standing at station road looking out at the Rt 82 bridge.  Check this out! 

It took about an hour for the fog to lift.  My plan was to run for one hour and then turn around.  I always run slow on the towpath so I figured that would give me at least 12 miles.  The run was pretty uneventful save for the red-winged black birds who waited for me on the boardwalk.  For several summers I was literally assaulted by a red-winged black bird who built his/her nest near the path where I run pretty much everyday.  They are evil.  Pure evil.  During that time they would swoop down at me, fly into my shoulders, peck at my head, all the time they would be making that chuck, chuck, chucking sound.  I was severely traumatized!  It was the furthest thing from my mind today.  I had just turned around to head back to station road when I saw and heard them all at the same moment.  I started shouting "No, no, nonononononono, Oh God, Oh !@#$%!"  My shadow was in front of me.  Why was I moving SO SLOW?  I made it to the end of the board walk and felt like a complete idiot.  No one was around, thank the Lord!  It got me thinking about fear and how it sneaks up on you like that.  I try to live a "No Fear" kind of life but all it took was those stupid little birds to remind me today that I am not fearless.  I hate them.  I really do.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week in Review 3/14/10 - 3/20/10

Monday:  4 mile run, 30 minutes treadmill walk
Tuesday:  1 hour yoga, 10.1 mile run
Wednesday:  4 mile run
Thursday:  30 minutes yoga, 2.5 mile walk/run with Gina
Friday:  4 mile run
Saturday:  6 mile run

Total Running Miles:  30.5

Great week for running.  Tuesday's 10 miler was unplanned.  I headed out for 6 shortly around noon and it was so nice out I quickly changed the route to make it 7 miles.  I started thinking that the weekend was going to be busy and it would be great to get a long run out of the way, so I made the decision to stay out in the sunshine and complete a 10-mile route.  It felt pretty good even though my feet were not prepared and I did not have any water on me.   Maybe the Vitamin D is kicking in!

Abby started track and clocked a 7:22 for her first 1-mile time trial.  I'm so impressed with her ability and her desire to do well. 

Gina also got back to running this week and is gearing up for the 5K on April 10.  She was a little bummed at how bad it felt to hit the pavement again.  I tried to explain that swimming is a non-impact sport and it will take some time for those muscles and joints to get used to weight-bearing exercise.  She ran 3 times and I think it got a little better for her each time.  Here's a photo of Abby and Gina as we headed to the bike path on Saturday morning.  The bike path is full of the sights and sounds of spring - lots of spring peepers and other frogs, turtles, birds and deer.  I walked leisurely with Mia while the two of them ran the length of the path and back.  I had already done my 6 miles earlier and Jerry was in CVNP doing a 25 mile training run.  It was a great feeling to head back to the house knowing we had all been out and about for the morning - even the dog!

Last night we taught the little people at church so we played hookie this morning and did not go back for service.  Instead we went out to Burton for the annual pancake breakfast.  There are 4 different venues to choose from.  This year we decided to do the rustic setting of Century Village.  Apparently so did everyone else in NE Ohio!  We waited about an hour in line to get our pancakes, sausage, applesauce, juice/milk and coffee.  All I can say is it is well worth the wait for REAL maple syrup and REAL butter.  It is just one of those things that you can do once a year and be satisfied by the sheer goodness of it until the next March rolls around.  Here is a photo of part of the line!  We then visited some of the horses that were "out back."  I love anytime we can be around animals and that much nature.  It is such a nice break from our everyday routine and chaos.

I liked the meals we had this week.  Things were pretty simple but no one complained.  We had mac-n-cheese and apple salad; veggie enchiladas; baked potatoes with broccoli cheese sauce; english muffin pizzas; california rolls and egg rolls, and for St Patricks Day we made sandwiches with pastrami, cole slaw, russian dressing and swiss cheese and served them up with baked sweet potato fries!  Last night we went to Panera after church and caught up with some friends.  That was a great way to end the week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coffee, Tea, Vitamin D?

Last week I had my yearly exam with my gynecologist.  She is the 4th ob/gyn I've had over my life and I really like her.  I never feel like she's rushing me out the door and she seems to hear what I say concerning my health and history.  I only see her once a year but I think it's really important to feel comfortable at that very important appointment.  My previous doc could have been dubbed "Ugliest Doctor in Cleveland" which is kind of good when he's your gyno but it was so bad it actually distracted me as I tried to figure him out!

As I was driving to her office it dawned on me that I had been rushing around and not even really paying attention to if there was anything I needed to talk to her about.  I spend most of my mental energy on other people and their issues.  I made a quick little list in my head - um I don't seem to have the energy that I used to, I'm kinda achy, I seem to gain a pound or two a year, etc etc.  I'm sure she hears the same thing patient after patient, day after day.

The appointment went pretty much as I expected but I was surprised to have her tell me that I should start taking vitamin D.  I have heard some of the buzz lately and have glanced at a few news articles but I haven't done any hardcore research on the topic.  I'm not a big fan of supplements or pills so I tend to avoid anything that says "take this and you will be healed and live to be 100."  She rattled off a long list of things that vitamin D is supposed to be helpful for.  Achiness, depression, lack of energy, it is good for breast cancer prevention, high blood pressure, asthma, oh the list went on and on.  I almost stopped on the way home to buy some so I could start immediately; however, I wanted to do a little google research on my own.

I discovered a lot of interesting websites and information.  I particularly like this one at Medical News Today.  I got in the car and drove to Walgreens where I found the last two bottles on the shelf (it was BOGO so I had to get two).  Apparently lots of other people are considering supplementing with vitamin D.  I seriously wanted to pop one in the car but I waited till I got home.  So we'll see if I feel any different in a few weeks!  Most importantly I don't think it is going to hurt anything or cause any side effects.  I'd like to think I could get all the vitamin D I need from the sun but just in case I will continue to take it in pill form.

The only other supplements I use are a probiotic and flax oil.  I have been taking flax oil for about five years.  I use a blend from Barleans called Essential Woman.  I mix it into yogurt every morning, add some fruit and kashi grains and call it breakfast.  It seems to keep me a bit more emotionally balanced throughout the monthly cycle.  If you think I am crazy, please ask my family what happens when I stop taking it!  I can't buy it locally anymore so I have to order it online but it is well worth it.  I swear Jerry and the girls would drive to Canada to buy it for me if they had to!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week in Review 3/7/10 - 3/13/10

Monday:  4 mile run, 30 minutes yoga
Tuesday:  6 mile run
Thursday:  6 mile run
Friday:  6 mile run

Total Miles:  22

Spring has sprung!  Spring, sprang, sprung!  I don't even know if those are correct words but it is so nice to have some new weather vocabulary instead of winter, snow, grey, and gloom.  I had to modify my schedule and could only run 4 days but I didn't mind.  I had some nice trips to the bike path with Abby and Gina and even resumed walking Mia around the block.  I wasn't crazy about the free yoga class on YogaToday last week so I opted out.  As soon as I heard her say "Arm Balancing" I knew I was in trouble.  I have a hard enough time balancing on my legs so I just didn't even go there.

So Saturday and Sunday were the Lake Erie USA swimming Gold champs at Cleveland State.  There are about 120 swimming events from Friday - Sunday for kids ages 10 to whatever.  In the open age category I saw entries from people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.  Gina swam on Saturday and Sunday.  She swam in 4 relays and 3 individual events.

Here is how it went down.  Up at 5:30 am, left the house at 6:30am.  Arrived at Cleveland State around 7:05.  Pre-meet and warm-ups lasted until 8:50am.  During this time there is nothing for a parent to do but sit, talk, read.  The pool area is super bright, super loud with 100s of kids swimming warm-ups, music is blasting, the announcer is announcing meetings and information, coaches are yelling and blowing whistles.  I am usually mentally exhausted by the time the meet starts!  Once things get going it is fun to watch all the kids we have known swim their events - but it still seems to take forever!  Gina swam 2 relays and her 50 Free on Saturday.  We left at 2 pm and got home at 2:30.  She wore the new FastSkin suit and did alright.  She was disappointed.  Sunday was basically a repeat but it was SO dark when we left the house.  We listened to Juanes (her favorite Spanish singer) in the car.  I almost fell asleep at a red light!  She swam 2 relays and 2 individuals.  Did not get the time she hoped for but we talked it out and all is well.  I had to be a timer on Sunday afternoon which squeezed the last bit of activity from my nervous system.  I don't really like being that close to the pool, surrounded by excited kids screaming in my ear; starting and stopping the stopwatch and the timing mat plunger, writing down the time before they start the next heat.  It was nutty (for lack of a better word!) I ache from sitting on those concrete bleachers and standing on the pool deck for so many hours on end. When we got home at 3:30 on Sunday we both became giant lumps on the furniture covered by blankets.

For Gina one of the highlights was making a new friend who is on her team but practices at another pool.  She is blind and relies on our head coach, Charlie, to call to her in the water or tap her on the head with a big long pole thing when she approaches the wall.  Every time she swam the entire place erupted in applause.  How cool is that. 

Abby is not sure if track starts today or Friday so we sent her with running clothes and fingers crossed.  She really needs some good running with friends to offset some of the crud that goes on in middle school.  Friday we met 3 of her friends at the bike path so they could run together.  We are hoping to do lots of that this summer.

God Bless Jerry for getting in his long run on Friday night and then holding down the house while I was at the swim meet all weekend.  You cannot live this kind of a lifestyle without lots of teamwork.

I think we did some pretty nice eating this week!  On Sunday we made burgers - I did actually buy real beef burgers and then made soy burgers as well.  I'll be darned if no one wanted the beef burger.  Poor Jerry had to take them for his lunch several days in a row.  I know now that I can stop offering that option.  After that it was tofu stir-fry with lots of veggies and noodles; pasta bake with zucchini and eggplant; pierogies and broccoli salad; pasta salad and one night of leftovers.  I like throwing in a "leftover night" every now and then just to make people appreciate a good, warm fresh meal.  It works every time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 10, 1989

Twenty-one years ago today Jerry and I went on our first date!  It's so hard to believe that I have now known and loved him for 21 of my 43 years.  Bizarre....really bizarre.

Every year Gina and Abby ask us what our first date was so here goes (at least this is what I remember!)  The weather was wonderful!  This is what happens when you take two country kids and put them together - the first thing we report is the weather for the day!  I remember it because it was almost 80 degrees and really unusually warm.  I drove home from working at Cleveland Clinic in my "Little Blue" Acura Integra with the window down and had to exit 90East because of an accident.  I made the drive to my apartment in Euclid along Lake Shore Blvd full of anticipation for the big date with Jerry that night.

He picked me up and I was relieved to see he had a normal, nice working SUV!  It was a Chevy though and I was from a Ford family but I had already broken the rule with my Acura so it shouldn't matter too much.  We went to Shooters on the west bank of the Flats in Cleveland and had a really nice dinner.  He even paid for the whole thing which was remarkable considering my last few boyfriends were not really all that generous.  From there we strolled to Club Coconuts where we proceeded to dance the night away.  This is the part where Gina and Abby drop their jaws to the ground and stare in disbelief.  Yes, we danced and no one kicked us out or anything for our bad dancing.  We laughed and had a great time.

Upon arriving at my apartment door, #1413 of the Americana, the world's smallest apartment ever, he leaned over and gave me a kiss and said goodnight.  It was pretty much the perfect date and I went inside my apartment realizing that this one was different - in a very very good way!

The next morning we met up for a walk through Euclid Creek Reservation and it has pretty much been continual adventure from there!  We've had our ups and downs, both figuratively and literally, but I Would Not Change A Thing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week in Review 2/28/10 - 3/6/10

Sunday:  2.5 miles outside with Abby, 2.5 miles on treadmill
Tuesday:  5 miles, 30 minutes yoga
Thursday:  10 miles
Friday:  4 miles
Saturday:  6 miiles

Total Running Miles:  30

Hellooooooooooo March!  There is something really sweet about the arrival of March.  We have been blessed with several days of sunshine.  I can see my daffodil and hyacinth bulbs poking up through the ground, and how about that grass!  It feels like the bulk of winter is behind us even though we all know there is more snow in the future.

I was really pleased to get in 30 miles this week.  I am not far behind a marathon training schedule.  Last year at this time I had a 15 miler under my belt.  This week's 10 miler felt just right though.  There is something so magical about springtime long runs.  I am now looking forward to the half marathon scheduled for one month from now. 

Gina was supposed to swim this weekend but we canceled since her stomach was not its usual hungry self.  She was feeling nauseated and did not feel like eating.  She especially did not feel like trying to squeeze her body into that new swimsuit.  I started her on some pepcid and she took it easy yesterday.  I think the stress of the school year caught up with her and that is her body's way of sounding the alarm. I've always tried to teach them to listen to their bodies.  She seems much better today and has Gold Champs at CSU on the schedule for next weekend.  Break out that Fast Skin swimsuit!

Abby got in some nice outdoor running this weekend.  She ran while Gina and I walked the bike path both yesterday and today.  I also took her out shopping yesterday for new running clothes.  She needed some technical shirts and some tights for the first cold days of track.  She is so tiny though!  It makes buying good running clothes a bit of a challenge.  We found a few things at Target:  pants, knee-length tights, and a long-sleeve pullover.  Then we went to Dicks where she found 2 awesome, fun, short-sleeve shirts, a long-sleeve LiveStrong shirt and a pair of wind pants!  It cost me an arm and a leg but she was grinning from ear to ear! 

Jerry was out early Saturday morning and managed to get in a nice 18 miles.  It will be this way till August:  Saturday morning is usually reserved for his long run.  The girls and I get really used to him being out of the house.  It's always a transition when we have him hanging around on Saturdays!

Food was tricky this week.  We managed stuffed acorn squash; ham and pea pasta; yucky disgusting fish that no one but Jerry could stomach with rice and broccoli; a mexican lasagne with soy crumble and avocado mixed in the layers; and delicious Tuscan vegetable soup with french bread to round out the weekend.

I'm hoping for lots of sunshine and fresh air this week!  Goodbye snow!?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poor Porky

Porky is one of the many names we have created for our golden retriever.  Her AKC registered name is Bella Mia, but over the years we have resorted to calling her many other things, some of them not so nice.  She was plain old Mia for a long time and then Jerry lovingly bestowed the name "Dorkus" on her.  Dorkus turned into to Dorky, which rhymes with Porky and now she just wags when we say anything in a high squeaky voice.

A few weeks ago I wrote about her adventure chasing the coyote through the backyard.  Her paw was bleeding a bit at the nail bed when she came in after that, but it stopped and it didn't seem to really bother her.  I noticed though that she licked it all the time.  I finally got a good look at it the other day and decided she needed to go to the vet.

The vet visit was a big long stressful event.  She dislikes going to the vet even on the very best day.  I knew this visit would involve bloodwork for her medication renewal and lots of poking around at her paw.  Abby agreed to come with me for moral support.  The vet decided to sedate her and remove the nail saying it was too long to cut, etc etc.  It was also infected.  She apparently did well during the sedation and we picked her up a half hour later. Here is how she looks with her bandaged paw and elizabethan collar.  Not a happy camper.

As always, Dr Gilbert is tending to the wounded.  He is such a curious cat.  It is going to be a little bit crazy until Saturday keeping the bandage dry considering the enormous amount of snow and wetness in our backyard.  Press-n-Seal wrapped around the bandage is doing a great job so far.

So even though yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny, almost-spring day, I could not manage even the smallest of runs or exercise.  The day was packed with work and the vet appointment, then dinner, filling out the class ring form, and helping Gina study for a spanish quiz.  Some days are like that but it still made me irritated.  Sensing my growing bad mood, Jerry skipped his planned evening run and cleared an area in the backyard for Mia.  I'm hoping for a good long run today and a much needed trip to the grocery store.  If I manage those two things I will be satisfied with my day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week in Review 2/21/10 - 2/27/10

Sunday:  8.0 miles outside with Jerry
Monday:  1 hour yoga
Tuesday:  4.5 miles treadmill
Wednesday:  4.0 miles treadmill, 30 minutes Just Dance (Wii) with Abby!
Thursday:  4.8 miles treadmill intervals
Saturday:  8.0 miles treadmill

Total Running Miles:  29.3

I was happy to get two 8-mile runs in this week.  Both took the exact amount of time (71 minutes) but one was outdoors in the sunshine with Jerry, and the other one was indoors in the basement on my treadmill with a TV remote in one hand trying everything possible to just pass away the time.  Gina eventually came down and did some yoga so at least I had someone to talk to.  During the week I discovered that it could be quite fun to watch hockey while running on the treadmill!  U-S-A, U-S-A!! 

I officially signed all of us up for the April 10th Spring Classic races in Strongsville.  I will do the half marathon and Jerry will supervise the 5K run with Gina and Abby.  I love the idea of us all piling in the car and driving over there to run.  It's not my favorite half marathon - I did the fall version with Jerry probably back in 2002 or so.  He was "pacing" me and we ended up going 1:48.  I seriously wanted to kill him by the last couple of miles!  I swore I would never return to that race but here we are..............I'll shoot for something around 2 hours and then plan my goals for Cleveland Half in May.  That 1:48 will surely stand as my PR forever.  My last attempt on a half resulted in a 1:56 and I was shot.

Abby ran outside with me yesterday!  It was a bit windier than we expected so her little lungs were doing overtime.  She, of course, pulled away from me in the first half mile but then we reconvened at the school and walked a couple of minutes before resuming our run back to the car.  Track tryouts are supposedly in two weeks.  I know she is more than ready for a one-mile event but it is a totally different beast than her 2-mile cross-country event.  Yes, she can cover one mile easily.....but just how fast can she cover it is the question to answer.  She really rocks when it comes to running - such beautiful form and strength.  I couldn't stop smiling yesterday as I followed her down the bike path!

I tried to feed them well this week.  School seems super stressful for all so I really feel the need to limit junk and increase good stuff.  We started the week with a french toast casserole for Sunday nights dinner.  Monday was a pasta tossed with fresh herbs and breadsticks.  We had Cuban sandwiches (turkey and ham, dill pickles, mustard) and Veggie Burgers (non soy) later in the week.  Tortellini Soup and grainy bread for Friday night's dinner and good old pizza on the weekend.

Jerry is entertaining us with his early case of Burning River nightmares!  It seems so far away but we are all really looking ahead to that fun fun day!  We are also counting the months till our Adirondack vacation which now seems so simple - all we have to say is March, April, May and we will be there!