Wednesday, October 30, 2013

running's my favorite

Hey peeps! Long time, no blog.

So, I've been trucking along, loving our new house, walking a lot, working even more, running a few races and trying to resist the siren call of gluten-filled goodies.

Did I mention that I got a 5k PR with my non-running, non-training plan? No? I haven't mentioned that yet?  Well.......

I got a PR! It was in the Women Run the Cities 5k. (I was signed up for the 10 mile but I downgraded due to my joints, blah, blah, blah....) Anywhoo, I have no idea how the hell it happened but I'll take it. Look, here's a picture!

I've run some other races too, a few trail races, some new ones I haven't run before.... all with the goal of having fun, seeing running friends and finishing.

Here's a little collage of my running exploits since my last post.  (Ok, maybe "collage" isn't exactly the right word; its more of a collection of photos.) Here goes!

Women Rock 10k in August. Yeah, it's another race that I downgraded in distance, but whatever. At least I got out there!

Muscle Milk Woodsy. My favorite trail race. The hills of Murphy Hanrehan park kick my ass every time!

Monster Dash 10 Mile.  I loved this woman's shirt! 

Salomon Autumn Trail Series #4. I'm digging the trail races.

Urban Wildland 5k. It was the husband's first sub-30 5k!

Run for the Apples 5 mile run through an apple orchard. I met all these women on the internet. Seriously.  I love the internet!

Before and after at the Monster Dash 10 mile. Yes, those are turkeys on our heads. And I got to wear the skull arm sleeves that I couldn't wear last year. Bonus!  

As another bonus, the friend that I ran with (and who purchased our awesome turkey hats) is a midwife. So I knew that if my uterus fell out mid-race, I'd have a professional by my side, and would suffer no ill effects.  Plus, she's an absolute blast and one of my favorite people in the world, so I knew it would be a fun 10 miles.

Speaking of the midwife - she invited me to run the Fargo Marathon with her next spring.  My response? I did what any rational, reasonable person who has been backing off on distances all year would do - I signed up for the marathon.  

I never said I was smart.  What can I say?  Running's my favorite!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

graduations and moving and skin cancer, oh my!

Yep, life has been kind of busy lately.  Here's a brief synopsis:

DD with her diploma.  Yep, she has a shaved
head. Why?  Because she can. Gotta love her!
The husband and I (along with my wonderful mama) traveled to Arizona to see Darling Daughter (the oldest of our five kids) graduate from college. Exciting for her, but dang, that makes me feel old. Two weeks after graduation she moved to Washington State. She's still sorting out what she wants to do with her life. She's a smart kid and she'll do just fine. And her being in Washington State gives me a great excuse to visit the Pacific Northwest!

We have one (Sweet Step-Son #2) graduating from high school this year as well. That leaves us with one bird left in the nest - Darling Step-Daughter will be the focus of allllllllll our love and attention until she graduates from high school three years from now. Lucky girl!

Which leads us to topic #2: Moving
I'm excited to move but am really going to miss my porch!
Since we are down to one kid, we are downsizing and moving to be closer to DSD. We put our house on the market and after three weeks of house showing hell, we sold it. House buying angst: We found a house that we liked very early on in the process (a week or so before putting our house on the market), and made an offer (contingent on our house selling). Of course, it was a multiple offer situation so our contingent offer, while not being completely rejected, was not accepted either. DSD loved the house so much that she wrote a very sweet letter to the owners, describing how it was the first house we'd looked at that we could actually see ourselves living in, and that she was so excited to have her dad back in the city, and asking them to please accept our offer..... One of the sweetest letters ever!

Wonder of wonders, the day we found out we had an offer on our house, we also found out the deal on the house had fallen through and the sellers accepted our original offer without a counter! Talk about a crazy, fast-moving day! So now we are packing, getting rid of items (interested in a free piano, anyone??) and arranging for the big move on July 1st.

No tidy lead-in to topic #3.
Remember that I am a pasty-skinned, fair-haired Irish lass?  And remember my melanoma scare from two years ago?  Well, I went to my dermatologist for my annual head-to-toe skin check and had noted a couple of sketchy-looking spots on my skin.  Long story short, in April I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. (NOT melanoma, thank God.) Two spots: one on my back (which was cut out) and one on my finger (which was frozen off - the spot, not the finger.)  Last week I had my follow up appointment with my dermatologist, and it seems that the spot on my back (which was "narrowly excised," meaning, cut really close to the edges of the tumor) doesn't want to go down without a fight.  So now I'm doing 6 weeks of a chemo cream to fry it off of my skin. On the upside, if you have to get skin cancer, this is definitely the one to get. It's more of a pain in the ass than anything else. I was already kind of a nut job about sunscreen so now I'll be even worse....

So yeah, this is supposed to be a RUNNING blog, right? And how much running have I done in the last couple of months? Not a lot. (If you recall, I was also recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and have been dealing with some serious joint pain.) I skipped the Green Bay Marathon in May, and just yesterday transferred my bib for today's Minneapolis Half Marathon to another runner. That sucks.

But....... I have been following a gluten free diet for a couple of months now, and I'm happy to report that it does seem to be helping my joints! I've also continued with walking 2-3 miles most days, started a weekly yoga class at work (Vinyasa flow which kicks my ass every time), and have been doing a plank a day and a progressive crunch challenge. (as of May 31st  - 152 planks and 2320 crunches since January 1st!)  So today I downloaded a training plan from for the half marathon I have coming up in August.  It's a beginner plan and seems like it might just be doable....... baby steps to get me back in the saddle, right?? Yee Haw!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

say a little prayer

For all of us.... but especially for those who were and are in the middle of it all.

Such a sad day with much suffering and innocence lost....

Friday, March 29, 2013

back in a sec.....

I'm not ignoring my blog, really.  I've been busy doing this stuff....

Getting a Pedicure!  Sadly, since I haven't been running all that much, all my toenails are intact.  I only get a pedi when I'm going on vacation.  Which is exactly what I did!

Letting my trail shoes explore new terrain.

Seeing wildlife!  I think they're really pterodactyls.

Running (yes, RUNNING!!) with my sister-in-law from Indiana.  

Hiking, too!

Running here.  

And running here.  It did not suck.

Seeing views like this.

Hanging here. This also did not suck.

Letting my feet go to their happy place.

Seeing more wildlife - that brown blob is a manatee!

And spending quality time with my honey.

I'll be back soon!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

it ain't heavy, it's my bread

Had I known this I would have
given up gluten years ago. #cellulite
When we last left our intrepid heroine, she informed us that she had received the dual diagnosis of, "You're old, and you have arthritis."  We have been on pins and needles waiting to hear what she is going to do to combat that devastating combination!

Nora will stop referring to herself in the third person now.

A pan of what we thought was gluten free lasagna.
That was before I discovered sausage does indeed
contain gluten. Dammit - so close to being gluten free!!
After Dr. Wonderful told me I'm old and have arthritis, I asked about the possibility of a gluten sensitivity.

He said it was really not likely.

Hearing his opinion made me decide to try going gluten free for a month or so and see if there was any improvement.

I started at lunch last Saturday (had to do some shopping first!) and it really hasn't been too bad.  It's a learning curve for me, however. Things I thought were gluten free are not, and I ate them in the last week so I guess I haven't been truly gluten FREE, more like gluten frugal.

Part of my gluten-free lunch one day this week:
salad with honey-dijon dressing, and for dessert,
Annie's Vanilla & Cocoa Bunny Cookies and
chocolate covered pretzels.  The other part was
the lasagna with gluten failure.  
So I've been doing lots of research and trying to sort out what I can and can't eat.  It's been an education. Many soups have gluten in the broth. It's used a filler in all kinds of food so you really have to look at labels. I found tasty treats at Trader Joe's, and turns out there is an excellent GF store a few miles from our house. And Cub Foods has a surprisingly huge selection of GF foods!  Also surprising - the cost of GF bread products. And some of the loaves could serve as effective door stops.  Holy crap, I swear they weigh about 10 pounds, and so far, I haven't found a bread product that can be used to make a sandwich. If they're not toasted, they're pretty disgusting. I'm sure there's something out there that will work; the search will continue.  But hear this: If my GF experiment works, I'm going to learn to make my own bread. I could go broke trying to satisfy my carb whore tendencies.

Even more crushing news: I found out that envelope glue contains gluten. (Stamps too!)  Such a disappointment! First I had to come to grips with the fact that the occupation of "Hand Model" would never be listed on my resume. Now I have to give up the dream of appearing on "My Freaky/Disgusting/Attention-Seeking Habit" and showcasing my compulsion to lick 5000 envelopes a day???? This sucks!!  I'm never going to be famous.

Annnnnyyyyywhoooo.....Allow me to say goodbye to a few of my gluten-filled friends I can no longer hang with:

  • Oreos
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Grey Goose Vodka
  • Oreos
  • Cottage cheese
  • Clif bars
  • Chocolate Malt-O-Meal
  • Oreos
  • Boca burgers
  • Steel cut oatmeal
  • Did I mention Oreos?

But the friend to whom I most hate to say goodbye?


That's going to be a tough one. (If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I adore my sippin' tequila.)

But I adore running even more so if this experiment works, it will be well worth it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

yep, I'm still here

Ok, here's the deal.  I haven't been posting lately because I've been dealing with A LOT of joint pain and every time I started to write something, it sounded either bitchy or whiny.  I mean, I know I call myself Bitter Hag and all, but I don't really like to sound bitter. At least not all the time. Just for special occasions.


Here's how it all went down.  I saw my ob/gyn for my annual and mentioned that I'd been having serious joint pains in both hands, both knees and both ankles and the knee pain in particular has been making it incredibly painful for me to run....I first noticed the hand pain to September 19th (I know this only because I was getting a dye job and hair cut. I measure many milestones in my life by their proximity to haircut appointment dates.)  So I was talking (and probably gesturing wildly) to my hair dude, when all of a sudden my finger joints were KILLING me.  It was really weird.  The severe pain lasted a few weeks and then subsided quite a bit to a mild, dull ache. After that, I started having pains in various joints that would come and go with varying pain severity levels, but the knee pain really took off in early January and hasn't let up.....  So my ob/gyn suggested I see my primary care doc....

My primary care doc looked at my red, swollen joints and said that obviously, something is going on. She drew a bunch of labs and said that even if all the results are negative, she was going to send me to a rheumatologist because my joints look so unhappy......Did I mention that I have newly emergent bone spurs on some finger joints, too? The end result is red, raised lumps on my joints. Guess I can give up the dream of being a hand model...

Back to the saga......I finally got to see the rheumatologist last Friday.  He spent an hour with me, flying through a bunch of review of systems-type questions (Do you have ringing in your ears? When was your last period? Have you had feelings of depression in the last two weeks?), asking about my family history, and then said, "Well, your labs are all normal, there is no inflammatory process going on. You're healthy. You're just old. You have arthritis."

Yeah, I'm 47.  Turns out, 47 ISN'T the new 32. Damn.

So I asked about the sudden onset of pain in BOTH hands, BOTH knees, BOTH ankles.  I mean, I've had my share of running related injuries, and I'm used to the general sorts of pain associated with running, but this is totally different and gee, the last time I checked, I don't rely on my hands much during the running process.

His response to the question of sudden onset? "It wasn't."

Huh?? It wasn't?  Oh good, I'm glad he cleared that up for me.

He then went on to say, "People always ask me, "why me?" "why now?" and I tell them "because that's the way it happened" and "because you're getting old."  Is he for real?? I was so frustrated when I left his office.  I don't know what I was hoping to hear, but I guess thought (or was hoping) that I was going to walk away with some type of action plan that would help me get back into running. I also realized that he never asked me why I was there to see him.  He didn't seem at all interested in hearing what my concerns are, and definitely didn't get what a big deal it is for me to NOT be able to run.

Whoops.  I guess this post ended up sounding both bitchy and whiny.  Sorry about that!  My next post will be all about what I'm going to do to try to combat my pains. I promise it won't be an ongoing bitchfest, I'll keep it positive!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

first race of 2013 AND the unveiling of marathon #4!

Here's the weather we woke up to.
The New Year's Day tradition continues.  To help ring in the new year, the husband and I ran the Polar Dash 5k.

It was kind of cold out yesterday. Bitterly cold, according to the weather channel. (You'd think I would embrace the bitterness, but I don't.)  13 degrees below zero where we live. I like to run in the cold, but dayum, that's COLD! Luckily, it was a balmy 5 degrees below zero in Minneapolis (where we would be running) so we had nothing to fear.

Choices, choices..... trail shoes or running shoes??
I like to wear my trail shoes when running in the snow but
wasn't sure how snowy the course would be.
The deciding factor was not knowing how to attach the
timing chip to the laces of my trail shoes (they have
speed laces and can't be "unlaced".)
Running shoes it is!
Have I mentioned that I hate being cold?  HATE it.  So we're on our way to the race, talking about how freaking cold it is, and the fact that we're crazy to be doing this, blah blah blah...... and I asked the husband, "How did we get started running this race outside, in winter, in Minnesota anyway?  What possessed us to do it the first time?"  And he just looked at me and said, "Ummm, you found something on the internet called "Couch to 5K" and for some inexplicable reason, started running.  I have absolutely NO IDEA what drives you to do what you do. I just go along for the ride!"  He's a fun date.  I'm glad he likes me!

The worst part of the race experience? Using the porta-potty in sub-zero temperatures.  Not a pleasant experience. We'll just leave it at that.

Uber flattering photo of us in the start corral.
The run itself was fun. My only observation/complaint is that there are so many new runners and walkers (like the Diva Dash).  While I think it's fantastic that so many folks were out (especially on such a cold day!) but a little etiquette would go a long way......walkers start towards the back of the pack, don't walk 4-5 abreast on the narrow course, etc., but having said that, it was really more about getting out and running on the first day of the New Year, and less about "racing" so all in all it was a good time.  And the crowds thinned in the second half so we were able to pick the pace up a little bit which was nice.

As the husband and I were walking back to the car after the race, we were reflecting on the fact that though we had bitched quite a bit about the cold before the race started, we certainly never regretted getting out and running.

Our glorious splits:
Avg Pace

So there you have it.  First race of the year - Done!
Garmin Electra's documentation.
I just like this picture because Sherman is in it.
Oh, and I signed up for marathon #4!!  Green Bay Marathon on May 19, 2013.  As a Vikings fan, I'm a little torn about running through Lambeau Field, but with time, I'm sure I'll be able to work through that issue.