Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Growing Peanut: 7 months

Peanut Growth is now approximately 66% complete, and we're now in the home stretch. Some days it's hard to believe I've spent half a year pregnant; other days I wish it were March already because I just want to meet her. Plus, it'd be great to evict her so she stops massaging my bladder with her little hands every time it gets full. I love my little Peanut but that is an extremely creepy sensation and I would like it to stop.
28w0d
Oof, there is definitely a baby in there now. 

In the past, I've read a lot of articles that wax poetic about how great pregnancy is, how fantastic you'll feel and all that blah-blah. I don't know how anyone managed to get so high off the pregnancy hormones because for me, at least, it's been pretty boring. The only difference is that I have a tiny human growing inside of me, I get winded going upstairs and I can't jump in Zumba. I haven't had any wild mood swings and I'm quite capable of doing 95% of what I can do when I'm not pregnant. I'm grateful, so grateful, for that fact because it means that we're a healthy pair, me and Peanut.

Lately, I've been daydreaming about what she'll be like when she gets here. Things that I wonder about now:
  • Will she have hair when she's born? Will it be brown?
  • Will her little eyes be brownish-blue like mine were?
  • Will she look more like her daddy at first?
  • How big will she be? (My obstetrician guesses 7lbs 6oz.)
  • Am I going to go stir crazy on maternity leave or will I love it?

It's starting to feel surreal that if Peanut is cooperative, we'll be bringing her home in ~12 weeks. My thoughts generally go like this:
We are going to have a baby. Holy sh!t! A TINY HUMAN that is completely dependent on us to care for her and teach her. That's slightly terrifying. No, that's really terrifying. But aww! Peanut! She's going to be so cute and ours. I'll get to dress her up, tote her around and snuggle her!
However, nowhere in the thought process do I become terrified, or even really frightened, of the birth aspect. I guess I just don't see a reason to infuse a natural process with fear of pain. I mean, yes obviously, it's going to hurt some but it's not like there isn't an end to it. And, honestly, I'd like everyone to keep their horror stories to themselves because just like everyone's pregnancy, the birth is going to be completely different.

6 months
5 months
4 months
First Trimester Recap
Announcement

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Nursery: Part Two - Prep Work & Painting

I'd originally planned to do all the prep work, trimming, painting and finishing details while Eric was in Vegas. I had this lovely idea in my head that between myself and my family we could get everything done while he was there and he'd come back to a beautiful room. He maintains there's no way we could have gotten it all done in a single weekend and he might be right. We'll never know for sure since he didn't go, and I can continue to pretend it was feasible.

Regardless, part one is complete. Work began on Black Friday and wrapped up this past Sunday, with everyone including my brother, my parents and Eric pitching in to get it done so quickly. The ceiling and closet walls got a fresh coat of ultra flat white, while the main walls are now bunny gray. I chose the bunny gray because I knew it would pair well with the leftover mountain peak white from the trim downstairs.


For the trim, I took one look at the mismatched baseboard on the long wall and knew that it had to come off. It's really not that hard to find a 16' piece of baseboard trim, so why a piece that was a quarter inch shorter needed to be poorly rigged to the preexisting taller piece is beyond me. I'm going to guess it was laziness or idiocy. Probably both.

Anyhow...

I didn't feel like taking all the casing down this time, so I enlisted Nate to use liquid sandpaper/deglosser on it. It didn't seem to work as well as I'd hoped but I'll definitely try it again (in another room) myself when I'm not so full of baby.

As for what's left with basic room prep, there are only a couple of things. I have to figure out what to do about the main door; it's now a different shade of white than the trim surrounding it and it looks terrible. I also have to figure out how to handle the closet doors, but they're semi-functional (when installed) for now so I'm leaving it on the to-do list.

Part One: Design and Planning

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bad Habit

Food is not a crutch.

Food is not a crutch.

FOOD IS NOT A CRUTCH!

If I just keep saying it,  maybe I will stop trying to eat every sweet thing in sight. I had an extremely aggravating day at work; complicated recursion problems entangled with a glaring overuse of global variables. If that sentence made no sense to you, just go with I'm really annoyed at the person who wrote this code because it is a gigantic disorganized mess. And I can't stand gigantic disorganized messes. I just can't. It makes me want to tear my hair out and/or eat lots of sweet treats.

I always thought I wasn't an emotional eater when I was losing the weight. I stupidly believed that because I didn't want to eat when I was sad, that meant I wasn't eating my emotions. I'm obviously an oblivious idiot sometimes. Frustration definitely qualifies as an emotion and it's the one I know drives me to the cookie jar...and the candy jar...and the chocolate peanut butter container.

I guess I'm sharing this right now because even though I've been pretty successful at maintaining my loss long term, it's always a challenge.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Growing Peanut: 6 months

I have little sausage fingers now. They're all puffy and occasionally a little achy. Sooo, it's not really surprising that my rings stopped fitting a couple weeks ago. I wanted to wear them on a necklace but I can't get over my (possibly irrational?) fear of the chain breaking. Then my rings would disappear into the nether, stolen by ring gnomes, who are closely related to the sock gnomes that will surely take up residency in my house when there are baby socks to steal. I plan to foil them by only purchasing one color of baby socks in giant packages.
24 weeks and I actually blew dry my hair this morning.

On the bright side of swelling and puffy things, my ankles and feet still look normal. Three (why do I have three? I don't know) of my pregnancy books say that that's a common side effect starting soon, but I'd like to think that the fact that I cannot sit still at work helps. I'm extremely fortunate to have a sit-stand station at work, and to have convinced a coworker to loan me a monitor stand. I can stand, sit in the chair or squat down onto the monitor stand whenever I feel the need to switch positions. And if there were an award for most trips in and out of my work area, I'd win it by a long shot. I have to pee every freaking 45 minutes, because someone decided she likes to kick me in the bladder.

I'm making sure that I get at least a half hour of walking in most days of the week, one to two Zumba classes and two Reformer classes in each week. If I don't get my walk in, I have an especially difficult time sleeping, so it's become that much more important. Plus, I'm pretty sure it helps me haul my ever larger body up and down the stairs at work without huffing and puffing.

As far as Peanut goes, she seems to enjoy throwing dance parties in my uterus at 3AM. Or maybe I just feel that way because it's the time I have to get up to pee every night now. She also likes to have dance parties after I've had some orange juice. Sometimes I'll drink the orange juice in the morning now because it's fun to feel the little dance party when I'm awake.

But other than the normal things I've already mentioned, I'm a pretty boring pregnant patient according to my doctor.

Boring is good.

Monday, December 1, 2014

That Post about the Weight Gain

I've opened and closed this post about eighty-trillion times because I really haven't been able to make my thoughts on this subject into anything that resembles coherence.  I'm going to try though, so bear with me.

Am I worried? A little bit and sometimes. I certainly don't think about it as much as I thought I would. I spend a lot more time focusing on what Peanut is doing in there. I eat when I'm hungry and so far that seems to be working. It doesn't help that I'm experiencing food swings instead of mood swings. I'll think I want something but by the time it's actually time to consume, I want nothing to do with it. This does not apply to my favorite lunch staple of grilled cheese though.

I pretty much always want grilled cheese.

Now that we're talking about grilled cheese, I totally want one. I think I need to do some research on making different grilled cheeses. Plus now, that it's on my mind, I think there's a Cheeseboy in the Natick Mall. Oh the possibilities. Sorry, this post wasn't meant to be about tasty cheese sandwiches.

I've gotten completely off topic. Let's try to get back to it.

So, yeah, I worry but then I remember I'm growing another human and not just getting fat.  I remember that I'm not mentally broken as I used to be; my mindset has completely changed from the before pictures and it has changed even more since the after pictures. Mostly, I think my self-efficacy outweighs the fear of the possibility of actual weight gain.  As such, even when I am concerned, it's not the overwhelming fear I felt after I first made goal weight.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Nursery: Part One - Design & Planning

Unlike the last room that I gave a makeover, this room doesn't have any particularly terrible features that are driving me to fix it up. Instead, the drive to overhaul this room comes from what I'm attributing to my nesting urge. This is going to be a moderately long post, so you might want to settle in with a small cup of coffee.

Design
I spent a lot of time looking over those cutesy bedding sets before I knew Peanut was a girl. I'd been hoping to find something neutral and adorable. There was nothing that struck my fancy though. Everything seems too polarized to people who know the sex of their baby. Plus, the overwhelmingly purple and pink sets were just too much for me. Disheartened by the lack of adorable and neutral bedding, I decided to peruse the nursery design ideas on Houzz. I noticed the wall decal trend was pretty popular, so I headed over to Etsy to have a look around.
Cherry Blossoms and Pandas by
Surface Inspired
As soon as I saw that decal, I knew that I had to have it. I also wanted half of the cherry blossoms to be dark blue with the other half light blue, similar to the cherry blossoms at the bottom of this. The decal gave me the perfect idea for a theme. I could take what we had done for our wedding and twist it to make it cute and nursery appropriate, which means cherry blossoms, pandas and squirrels. I'm not huge into the whole Pinterest thing, but I've been using a board to collect all my thoughts and ideas as find them. I definitely have a pretty thorough vision in my head about what the final product should look like and I'm excited to get it there.

Planning
Now that I have the vision, it's planning time! I've broken it down into stages that make sense to me and are organized enough to keep up a series of posts.
  • Basic room work
    • I'm still on my crusade against the crappy baseboard trim (ugh, it's so bad) so replacing that is a must. The casing trim isn't as bad so I think with a combination of sanding, wood filler and deglosser it can be left and repainted.
    • Prepping, painting and basic room setup
  • Furniture
    • I've got a tentative room layout but don't have any of the furniture yet.
    • Obviously it's hard to represent, but I intend to have the rocking chair angled from that corner into the room. It's not going to face out the doorway.
  • Closet Organization
    • The room isn't big enough to get a real dresser and still have it feel open and uncluttere, so I'm going to be installing some wire shelving in the closet. It's adjustable so it'll be able to grow with the kiddo.
  • Decor Details a.k.a the finishing touches!
    • I'm planning on making my own curtains and a slip cover for the rocking chair and foot stool I've chosen.

I've definitely got a few more minor pieces of things I want to do on my list, but they don't really fit into the series of posts specifically for the nursery. They'll probably just end up being their own individual ones.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

POW!

About three months ago, I had the opportunity to join a new project at a different facility doing completely different (but still software) work. It was intimidating at first, leaving everything I'd known for seven years behind but I got over it. I've got a lot more self-confidence than I did when I started my career seven years ago. The new tasks they have me working on are interesting and going to work in the morning is much less of a chore when you enjoy what you're doing.

On Wednesday last week, I was deep in concentration, attempting to solve a problem that required a directory name to be prefixed to an object's name in a makefile. I had 16 different browser tabs open, my earbuds in and my Amazon Prime Dubstep station cranked. All perfectly conducive to cranking out a solution in under an hour.  I'd just finished adding my last change to the file when Peanut decided to remind me she was still there.

She had to have wound up for that kick because she's still pretty small and it takes a lot of force for me to really feel her doing her ninja workout in there. She clocked me so hard that I actually jumped (easily startled much?) and completely lost my focus.

I guess this parenting thing starts early.




Friday, November 7, 2014

Growing Peanut: 5 months

The four weeks between my previous appointment and my appointment this past Monday were excruciating. They felt longer than the time between my positive test and my first appointment. And that was 7 full weeks! It was even worse than waiting for Christmas morning as a little kid because it had been 8 weeks since I'd last seen Peanut on an ultrasound and I wanted to know how things were going in there. First thing of interest, Peanut is a girl! The tech measured all of her little bones and organs (which are perfectly normal, yay!) and she's weighed about 10 oz on Monday.

The tech had no problems measuring all the little Peanut parts but when it came time for to get a side profile shot, she was not agreeable. She kept putting her arms in front of her face and turning her head just slightly away. Clearly my aversion (and Eric's) to cameras is genetic.

This is the best of the four I brought home:
Look at that little face!
Impatience aside, I've entered a pretty calm time in my pregnancy. Most, really all, of my first trimester discomforts are gone and none of the third trimester ones have reared their ugly heads yet. Sure, I get a little bit of pain in my round ligaments on occasion but it's not nearly as bad as the back pain I dealt with last summer. I'm currently counting myself as a lucky person to feel this comfortable. Stairs are still rough but I'm just going to keep using them since I feel like I'm going to need to learn to have some endurance for my growing belly.

Let's move onto the 5 month selfie. Oh what fun! I took this one in the morning so I look barely awake and have puffy eyelids.
Yep, definitely heading into the looking pregnant stage.
At this point, I've also resolved that I give approximately zero poops about what my weight is currently. I'm eating reasonably and Peanut's growing well in there. If it's a problem, I'm sure it'll come up at a prenatal appointment but until it does, I'm just going to trust my body to do it's own thing.

Previous Peanut Posts:
Week 13 (First Trimester Recap)
4 Months

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Preggo Probs

This post is going to be like first world problems, but for pregnant women. Specifically pregnant Sarah problems and  I'll call them "preggo probs"  (thanks for the name Bijal!) in an effort to seem hip and cool when I'm so not.

Stairs
I have a set of 24 stairs (I count stairs in my head whenever I use them. This is totally normal.) to go up to get to my desk. Before pregnancy, I'd bounce up these stairs no problem, and be able to carry on a conversation while doing so.  Now? I sound like a blown horse by the time I get to the top and yet somehow I can manage to do an entire hour long Zumba class without sounding that way.

No idea how that works but screw stairs. Seriously. I hate them right now.

Mysterious Craving of Mystery
I briefly mentioned this in my four month pregnancy post, but I felt that this needed a more in depth description. The cycle of mysterious craving of mystery goes like this:

Get home from work, starving but not quite ravening. Open fridge, stare at contents. Be generally disgusted by thought of eating any of the refrigerator inhabitants. Open freezer, stare at contents, continue to be disgusted by thought of eating anything. Repeat process with pantry. Give up, go upstairs and flop dramatically onto the love seat in the office, bemoaning the lack of food in the house. Go through list of dinners that I could make with Eric, proclaiming I want none of them. Wander back downstairs 20 minutes later, find something marginally palatable but generally unsatisfying.

Side Sleeping
My pregnancy research indicates that sleeping on your left side is best for the baby because it maximizes blood flow to the Peanut. Great. Okay. From personal experience, I know that I hate sleeping on my side and especially my left side.  (Very) Early on, I purchased a Snoogle Mini from Amazon to help with hip alignment. It's pretty snuggly and it fits me fairly well. It's not making me overheat yet, but that might change the more pregnant I get. 

Despite all that, sometimes I just can't get comfortable on my left side and so I have to flip over in bed. Normally this is not a big to do. With a pregnancy pillow? It's on par with a Broadway production. First one must extricate the hooked pillow part from between ones thighs, then decide whether to go over the body or under the body with the whole pillow. I have found that neither method stops me from puffing up the covers to the dismay of my bed companion. I only anticipate this becoming even more difficult. I may have to just be rolled over by said bed companion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Growing Peanut: 4 months

I think I'm going to stick with monthly Peanut updates because week to week gets tedious. And I know none of you care what fruit the baby is supposed to resemble now. P.S. BabyCenter, you could actually pick something accurate instead of saying it's the size of an avocado and 3.5oz. No avocado that size is 3.5 oz.  And I would know since I love avocados. I wrote a whole post dedicated to them and all that jazz.

And honestly, I'm not finding enough change on a weekly time frame that warrants me spending precious time writing the post. Sleeping is more important than blogging. Now, without further ado, let us get onto my most favoritest of favorite (I'm not sure if that's dripping with enough sarcasm, you'll have to tell me) part of this post: the selfie!
Teeny tiny little bump @ 16w4d
I was going to start a chart of body statistics but eh, whatever.  Right now I'm at the top end (oops?) of my weight range (144.8) but I'm not concerned. I'm sure it'll even out in the end. It's not like I'm going crazy and stuffing my face full of food.

Peanut
I had my second prenatal appointment exactly a week ago and it went well. So well, in fact, that I don't have much to say about it. Peanut's got a good strong heartbeat which the nurse found right away and all my lab results from the first appointment were normal. My next appointment will consist of the anatomy ultrasound and a regular appointment. If Peanut cooperates, we'll be able to find out whether Peanut is a he or a she. If you want to guess the sex, you can leave a comment down below. There's no prize for getting it right though!

Body Changes
In the first trimester update, I mentioned my nausea had mostly left and that still stands. Occasionally, I'll have a day where my body just decides to be nauseated and it's exhausting but it's so infrequent that I don't mind it as much. My most frequent (and strangest symptom) right now is a complete lack of appetite. I'll have days where I'm not nauseous but no food appeals to me even though physically I feel hungry. I'm a slave to the mysterious craving of mystery that I would really like to stop being so damn mysterious. It's bizarre and frustrating at times and it's totally the reason behind why I'm not stuffing my face full of food.




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dining Room Facelift: Part 5 - The Trimmings

It's done, it's done, it's finally done! And it only took about 8 months to complete, which is not the speediest of timelines.
My family came down in June and helped us put up all of the new trim. We're very grateful for all their help because I think it probably would have taken another six months if we'd had to do it all ourselves. As it was, once the trim was installed, it took me a two more months (and a lot of help from Eric!) to get holes filled, sanded and painted. I'm attributing that delay entirely to first trimester exhaustion.

It's now my favorite room in the house, even without any finishing touches. It just helps make the house feel more like ours. As far as finishing touches go, I think we'd like to eventually find a buffet, a mirror, a rug and several pieces of artwork. Additionally, I need to get a new set of table linens because my old set of bright red is no longer suitable. I'm in no rush now though because, honestly, I have a nursery to plan. :)

Dining Room Facelift: Part 1
Dining Room Facelift: Part 2
Dining Room Facelift: Part 3
Dining Room Facelift: Part 4

Friday, September 19, 2014

Growing Peanut: Week 13 (First Trimester Recap)

Last week of the first trimester, woo! According to BabyCenter, Peanut is as long as a peapod and nearly an ounce. I haven't started showing yet:
Disgruntled Sarah selfie @ 12 weeks
I guess this pregnancy thing means you guys actually get selfies of me. I've always regretted not taking progress pictures when I lost all the weight, so I'm hoping to avoid a similar regret with pregnancy.   Don't get used to it though, I hate selfies. And hashtags. I hate those too.

Anyhow, moving along!

I can feel my waist getting thicker though and my hips have been achy for a week. Granted, it's hard to tell with my pants since I've been in maternity jeans for about a month now. I felt like a sausage stuffed into my normal jeans and being comfortable became #1 on my importance list while I was nauseated 95% of the day for a month straight.

At this point, I've put on three pounds which is a perfectly reasonable amount for the first trimester. Early on I said to hell with trying to plan what I wanted to eat since I couldn't stomach the thought of a lot of foods that I actually enjoy like peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal...the horror! Orange juice and white toast were a go-to combination for many days. Fortunately, my nausea started to go away around week 11 and I've had an appetite again.

The biggest change that I've noticed is my skin has gone into oily overdrive mode. It's a throwback to my teenage years before birth control. My face feels like an oil slick by 4pm despite having been washed around 8am. I'm definitely going to have to rework my entire skin care routine for the duration of the pregnancy, but more research is required.

I don't really know what else to report about it so far, but I'm willing to answer any and all questions that people have!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ch-Ch-Changes

If this blog were an actual room in reality, there would be dust bunny tumbleweeds rolling across the floor. And crickets. Actually no, you know what, the crickets would probably all be little desiccated corpses at this point. So, now that I've painted a sufficiently morbid picture of how little I've tended to my blog over the last 12 weeks, I will show you what I've been working on.
Yep, working on growing a tiny human.
Tiny human (henceforth known as Peanut) is due March 25th and I'm 12 weeks today. It's hard to summarize the feelings I've had over the last 12 weeks, but foremost among them were general digestive upset, excitement, joy and impatience. The nausea and bloating have been slowly abating over the course last week, and I'm profoundly grateful for that. The impatience is set to last because I'm just that excited for my little Peanut, growing inside of me.

Seeing Peanut on Monday and hearing the heartbeat (steady at 153!) was the coolest thing I've ever experienced. Every time I look at the ultrasound picture, I smile. I'm pretty sure I spent more time just looking at the little picture than actually writing the post. Now that I'm now longer keeping my happy news to myself, the blog's dust bunnies will be eradicated. I have at least five half-finished posts just sitting my Google drive, waiting for the moment when I could share them. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rubbed Wrong

Nike Tempo shorts used to be my go-to workout gear. I had ten pairs in a rainbow of colors, from black to hot pink. I loved them. They didn't ride up and they prevented the dreaded inner thigh chafing, a.k.a. chub rub. So when I started doing the running thing again a few weeks ago, I put on a pair and went for a run. Much to my dismay, however, they didn't perform the way I remembered. Instead, they rode up constantly (step, step, pull down shorts, repeat) and allow my poor (not so little, apparently) thighs to touch and chafe.

At this point, I suppose I could have purchased some Body Glide. That wouldn't have solved riding up issue though. I don't know about anyone else, but having to pull my shorts out of my crotch every other step doesn't make me enjoy my runs. Naturally, this meant I had to go shopping for more exercise clothes. I'll take any excuse that lets me buy more workout gear.

I had recently noticed that there was a crazy prints trend happening in sportswear, but apparently I jumped on the band wagon after everyone else got off. This was the only pair of printed capris I could find:
The cheetah print makes me go faster, right?
I think they're completely adorable, and they make feel a little silly in a fun way when I wear them. Eric thinks they're ridiculous but I think that's his job as my husband. While I was shopping, it seemed that the 80's was making a comeback because all the non-clearance clothes were a wide variety of fluorescent colors. I snagged a more modest pair of dark blue compression capris from the clearance rack though. I reserve the fluorescent colors for the winter time when I'm doing my best moving traffic cone impression.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's finally over.

The DietBet ended yesterday and my final weigh-in wasn't enough to win my money back. I'm a little aggravated about it, but I'm trying to be positive. Because despite the loss, the entire endeavor was pretty successful. I lost four of the pesky 10lbs that I gained over the last two years and I started regularly running again. I'm only doing two miles maximum; I need to feel like I can keep proper form for longer than that before I add on. No more getting hurt, dagnabbit!

I want to start racing 5Ks instead of, you know, just finishing them. To that end, I convinced Nate to sign up for the Northborough Applefest 5K with me on September 20th. I'm not sure if I'll actually make a training plan schedule for it though. I'm going to try a different approach, one where I have a set of different workouts that I can select from based on how I'm feeling that day (or week). The whole one-size-fits-all training plan doesn't work well for me since I have to pay extra attention to my form now. It's better not to convince myself that I have to run x number of miles that day, despite the fact that my hip or lower back are bothering me. Those are the days I should work on stabilization and strengthening the weaknesses.

The last four weeks were a dietary challenge (nightmare, really). I logged my food and set my calorie target at 1350 kcal. Most of the time, I was ravenously hungry and a complete cranky pain in the butt. I had zero tolerance for any level of irritation:
I spent a lot of energy reminding myself to at least attempt civility.
The entire month made me wonder how I even managed to make it to goal weight in 2009. It's difficult to remember how restrictive I was at that stage in my life. I remember feeling like a giant know-it-all brat who didn't want to listen to anyone who might be concerned about me. In retrospect, a lunch of 12 almonds, 6 Triscuits and a package of dry tuna does not sound healthy. Or delicious. Or edible. I have no idea how I did it. Over the last four and a half years, I've cultivated a more or less healthy relationship with food. It's not perfect, but that's okay. The most important thing is that I remain mindful of and honest about my eating habits.



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giving Up Heels

Back in early 2012, when I still subscribed to Runner's World, I read that they had awarded best debut to a company called Altra. At that time, I was on a hunt for running shoes that didn't make my toes go numb if I forgot to lace them correctly. I decided to investigate the shoes which had had such a stellar debut. The infographic on this page and the gender specific page won me over immediately. I purchased a pair of the original Intuition model directly from the Altra website and anxiously awaited their arrival.

I had spent some time researching the barefoot trend and I owned my a pair of Vibrams, which were mostly collecting dust in the closet. I'd tried them but I found the toes to be too stiff. They never felt comfortable during a run, even on a treadmill. I still use them occasionally, but only when I know I'm going to be walking on soft ground. Anyhow, back to the arrival of my highly anticipated Altra Intuitions. They arrived and as soon as I put them on, I knew I'd never go back to my New Balance 790s. As evidenced by this old picture of my feet, I took them for a treadmill test run immediately:

Why do runners always take pictures of their feet...?
These shoes were so comfortable that I quickly broke my "Running shoes are for running" rule and wore them to work. I wore them to Zumba, and then I wore (and peed on) them while hiking in Arizona. I loved them to death. It's all good though because I snagged two pairs at a steep discount from Left Lane Sports when the Intuition 1.5 released.  After such dedicated love and wear, I realized the shoes were changing my feet. One day as I was putting on my pretty red patent flats, I noticed how painfully squished my forefoot felt. I figured I could tough it out, but after just two hours at work, I gave up. I couldn't do it; they hurt my feet way too much.

I researched, and researched, and researched shoes that were designed not to squish the crap out of my forefoot. (P.S. I'm totally a Katy fangirl.) Eventually I found Vivobarefoot and have subsequently purchased not one but four pairs of their shoes:
Fourth pair not featured here because it's summer and they're a pair of snow boots.
I've worn a pair of Vivos nearly every day since I purchased my first pair. I've also started packing a pair of them in my handbag whenever I go to formal events that require dressy shoes (read: heels).

It's been almost two years since I gave up wearing any shoes with elevated heels. I don't miss the squished forefoot pain. I don't miss blisters on my heels from slippage that came from wearing traditional shoes. I don't miss it at all.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What I Miss Most

We went strawberry picking early on Saturday morning. I brought our little point and shoot with us, fully intending to take a few pictures, but was deterred once I saw how crowded it was. The place was packed with kids, which is actually kind of genius on the parents' part. Picking strawberries is so much easier when you're close to the ground and have naturally absurd levels of energy.

After the strawberries, we didn't do much this weekend. I spent most of it either playing the Tiny Tina DLC for Borderlands 2 or reading The Dresden Files. The DLC for Borderlands 2 was recommended to me by a friend and I got it as part of the Summer Sale on Steam for a measly $5.  It's awesome because I get to shoot orcs in the face with a shotgun and because the designers had a good time poking fun at fantasy game cliches.

Borderlands Wiki (source)

I went for a run on Sunday before noon. I went without agonizing over the decision and I almost felt like I did before I got all hurt and junk.

3.22km running  + 0.44km walking home
I say almost because I can't ever go back to simply lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. During my last round of physical therapy a summer ago, my therapist suggested that I work through the set of prescriptive exercises (especially the breathing one) any time I wanted to go for a run. Since then, I've actually been a little frustrated that going for a run requires that little extra bit of effort. I miss the simplicity, the only bit of effort being to get myself out the door. But I don't miss it enough to just disregard the need to establish a better movement pattern. Recently, I came across an article on Breaking Muscle, The 3 Elements of Training and How to Order Them, that drove home the point and got me to accept that my little warm-up perfect for me.

This is my favorite quote from the article:
Movement skill refers to how well ingrained good form is in a lift or exercise. We’ve all been there - that point in a workout where fatigue starts to creep in and form starts to deteriorate, that feeling of not being able to get your body to do what you’re trying to make it do.

I have years worth of terrible form ingrained for pretty much every exercise ever. Worse than that is the fact that I have poor posture ingrained from years upon years of extended computer usage. I know this; it's why I went to physical therapy for two years in a row.  It's why I am diligent about my twice weekly Reformer sessions. So all that said, there is absolutely no reason for me to not be diligent about spending five to ten minutes working through my prescriptive exercises and checking in with my body before I head out the door.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dining Room Facelift: Part 4 - Fun With Colors

It's been so long since I wrote the last post, I've completely forgotten where I left this series. Presumably, I left it at the stage where paint was needed since someone (I won't name any names here, but you know who you are!) had painted these on the walls with the samples:

Obviously my favorite was the squirrel. Not so sure about the abstract art in the low right though...
The actual painted samples (and not the featured artwork) solidified the choice of colors and I went out to get some latex primer, a gallon of the primary wall color (cement gray) and two quarts of the accent wall color (normandy). Eric showed interest in helping me paint, but after a single coat of primer on the largest wall, he'd had enough. That might be because I primed the other three walls in the time it took him to do the one. And maybe that the latex primer I selected wasn't overly friendly to work with. It dried rapidly, so it needed to be applied quickly to stick to the wall.

After two coats of primer, the walls were ready for the good stuff. The viscosity of the paint surprised me; it was thick. It rolled on easily, with hardly any splatter. I didn't even buy the expensive roller covers either, so minimal splatter was an achievement. After such a lengthy prep period, it was rewarding to have the entire room painted with such speed.


To say that I'm merely fond of the end result would be an understatement. I love the colors and how they work together. I keep walking into the room when there's a bit of sunlight and saying, "Oh I love it!" You can hardly even tell that there was some heinous chair rail just a little over six months ago.

Dining Room Facelift: Part 1
Dining Room Facelift: Part 2
Dining Room Facelift: Part 3

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Graze

Disclaimer: On occasion, I like to share some of my favorite things on the blog. I have not been compensated in any way for this review.
 
Ever since Foodzie stopped their subscription service, I've been looking for something to replace it. I tried KLUTCHClub last year but wasn't enamored with it. It just wasn't what I'm looking for in a subscription box. I spent a good amount of time researching other boxes, but couldn't find anything that really appealed to me. So, when the little Graze leaflet fluttered out of a magazine I was about to throw away, I was intrigued albeit skeptical. The first box was free, so I figured why not?

Graze isn't exactly what I liked best about Foodzie. However, it is interesting because I'm always looking for fun, healthy and different snacks, especially ones that I don't have to prepare myself. I also appreciate that they value quality over quantity (small suppliers vs. mass production!) and that they employ a nutritionist who advocates for portion control and healthy benefits in each of those portion controlled containers.

Depending on the schedule of your choosing (weekly or biweekly), you receive a box with four snack packs on the Monday of that week. There are two types of boxes, the nibble box and the calorie counter box. The only difference between the two boxes is that the calorie counter box is limited to snacks packs that are 150 calories or less.

If you're interested in learning more about Graze, you can check out their FAQ page here. And if I've interested you enough that you're willing to give it a try, you can sign up using my friend code. The friend code gets you the first and fifth boxes free and I get a dollar off of my next box or to donate to the Graze school of farming in Uganda.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Final Thoughts

I've finally made it to the end of this rather lengthy series of posts, a full two weeks after vacation actually ended. The last two days of the trip don't warrant much description; we self-disembarked and headed back to the Mayflower Park, before making a beeline to The Crumpet Shop. It's possible that I'm obsessed with crumpets now. It's also possible that there will be a crumpet recipe post in the near future.

With all that said and done, I'd like to share a couple of things that didn't quite fit into the recap posts.

Packing for a cruise is different than packing for a non-cruise vacation.
I hate packing. A lot. I always feel as if I've forgotten something, even when I haven't. Eric is the same way and the night before vacation seems to always end up with arguments because of this. It doesn't even help if I make physical checklists to go through as I pack; I still feel edgy and anxious the entire time. Packing for the cruise took our neuroses and brought it to an entirely new level. See, thing is, when we pack for a normal vacation, I just shove x number of t-shirts and y number of underpants into my suitcase. I always feel okay with what I've packed so long as I have enough underpants to wear a fresh pair every day. Totally reasonable, right?
Totally rocking the smart casual here: black skirt, grey silk blouse and navy wool cardigan.
Eric likes to take pictures of me eating apples for some reason.

The cruise, with its smart casual dress code, warranted a little more thought than x number of t-shirts, y number of underpants. I didn't want to pack a bunch of t-shirts if I wasn't going to wear them. That just takes up space (and weight!) which is already at a premium when it comes to suitcases and airlines. I ended up packing a black skirt,three blouses, two cardigans, an extra pair of non-ratty jeans and a couple of my sweater dresses. For shoes, I packed all three pairs of my Vivo's and not a single pair of high heels despite formal nights. I can't walk in high heels on dry land, no need to try my luck at sea. I managed to wear all but two of the outfits that I packed, so I must have done a pretty darn good job.

Arriving at the departure port a day early makes life easier.
On the shuttle to the port, we met a couple whose luggage had been temporarily misplaced on their flight to Seattle. They, like us, had arrived a day early which gave the airline enough time to recover and deliver their luggage. Arriving a day early is definitely a sound decision if it's feasible.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 8 - Victoria, BC, Canada

Our last port of call was Victoria, British Columbia in Canada. The ship didn’t dock until late afternoon, so we spent the first half of the day wandering around the ship, which was bustling with activity. From an art auction to a silly show called Celebrity Chef, a poker tournament in the casino and dancing in the main hall there was something happening everywhere. The hurried hustle and bustle feeling of the last full cruise day was palpable.

The ship docked in Victoria a full 20 minutes earlier than scheduled and got cleared for passengers to disembark quite quickly. Our Victoria excursion involved a trip to the Butchart Gardens followed by tea service at the Empress.

Butchart Gardens was beautiful and the size of the gardens were astonishing. I think they said it takes somewhere around the order of 70 full-time gardeners to maintain the property. One of my favorite things to do with my camera is photograph flowers, so this excursion was a treat for me:
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This one is my favorite of the bunch.
I won't clutter up this post with a bajillion pictures of flowers, so if you're interested, they're all up on my SmugMug (link to the top right). After the flowers, we went for a late night tea at the Empress Hotel. The food was delicious (or maybe I was just starving) and the forced company was alright. I've never been great at small talk with strangers, but Eric did alright for the both of us. Just before we packed up to leave the Empress, I realized that it was a Fairmont Hotel, making it our second tea at a Fairmont. With tea time complete, we piled onto the bus and our driver took us for a brief tour around downtown Victoria before returning us to the port.
 



Monday, June 16, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 7 - Sea Day #2

Sea days, in my opinion, are a little bit boring. I understand their necessity and they are good days to just kick back and relax, but I still get a little bored. I spent most of the second day at sea hiding in the upper level of the ship’s library. I watched people go up and down the elevator while I edited all of the previous days’ recaps, nibbled on a coffee eclair and sipped a macchiato. There is a fascinating diversity to people who cruise, both crew and guests. While I was people watching, Eric was napping and catching up on missed sleep or or something.

The only highlight of our second sea day was a reservation for formal night at Murano.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 6 - Skagway

Skagway is a quaint little town with an Old West frontier feel. They have wooden sidewalks and I fully expected the saloon to have the traditional saloon doors. It probably never did though because Alaska is cold and keeping heat in seems like a really great idea. I actually found Skagway to be cleaner and more well-maintained than either of the previous ports. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that it is much more tourist-centric. Our excursion guide told us only 500 people live in Skagway year-round, but maybe double that come up for the tourist season.

As for our excursion, we went to see the sled dogs. It’s currently their off-season so they are just pulling a bunch of tourists around in a loop on carts. It doesn’t seem nearly as thrilling as pulling a sled through the snow would be but the dogs didn’t seem to mind at all. The cacophony of barking upon our arrival was loud and energetic.

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I think we were both surprised at the fact the dogs didn't look anything like we expected:
Definitely not a husky, mostly just a fancy mutt. Also, this is an awesome picture. Good job Eric!
After two circuits on the dog-cart, we piled back into the vehicle for the ride down the hill to see the puppies. If I’m honest, the puppies were the only reason we ended up on this excursion and I'm pretty confident that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Our guide joked that if it could, the excursion would just turn into the puppy tour. There were two four-month old dogs, two 12 week old puppies and a litter of 11-day old puppies whose eyes were not even open yet.


The one I held was a fussy little dog, mewling and crying from the moment our guide let me hold it. I eventually got it to calm down a little by snuggling it against myself and keeping it warm. However, the moment I tried to hand the puppy to Eric, it started crying like I was torturing it. I couldn't get it to calm down so I just gave it back to its mom. It was probably my icicle hands. :(

Our excursion concluded, we headed back to downtown to go souvenir hunting. I picked up my remaining requisite ornaments and we headed back to the ship for a relaxing and quiet lunch. After lunch, we lounged around our stateroom until the Zumba class at 3PM. It could probably go without saying, but Eric didn't attend class with me. He just followed me to the gym so he could get in some treadmill time.

There's not much to say about the rest of the evening; it followed our established routine of dinner, walk, casino/tea, then instant sleepy time upon return to stateroom.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 5 - Juneau

I don't have a lot to say about Juneau because I think that the pictures should just speak for themselves.

Orcas!

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Seriously guys, orcas!

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Who cares about humpback whales when there are orcas? Not me.

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I've wanted to see orcas in the wild ever since I was eight or nine. That was the age when I wanted to be a marine biologist. I used to watch this one nature documentary about orcas repeatedly. Then one day I saw Jaws and no longer wanted to be a marine biologist. Computer programming seemed like a much safer alternative.

After my exuberant little girl glee-fest, we went to see Medenhall Glacier. It stunning in its own right, but we only spent 45 minutes there and I was a little too busy reliving the orca-sightings in my head.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 4 - Ketchikan

The first port of call was Ketchikan, AK and our scheduled excursion was a hike through the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is a temperate rainforest, so we came prepared with rain gear and insect repellent wipes. Neither of us wanted to spend the rest of our vacation covered in itchy bug bites. The hike was guided, which was a blessing and a curse. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about all the plants in the forest, but he went on and on (and on) about Sasquatches. Fortunately, the scenery was beautiful enough that I just focused on taking pictures while he was rambling.

Since our shuttle driver, the crazy guide and the welcome sign boasted that Ketchikan was the best place for salmon, we decided to have lunch in town.



Except that the restaurant was out of salmon. Yep. Out of salmon. And while I know it’s not salmon season yet, with a sign like that you can understand my disappointment.

Ketchikan had several souvenir stores near the dock which we wandered around after our salmon-less lunch. I foolishly (though I didn’t know this at the time) only purchased my standard ornament souvenir. I figured that there would be plenty more shops with the same stuff at the next port like most touristy areas. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I’m a little sad I missed out on a couple things I wanted. Oh well, lesson learned for next time!

With the souvenir hunting complete, we returned to the ship for our deep tissue massages. My left shoulder sounded like rice crispies as my masseuse worked it and it made me miss the monthly massages I used to get before we bought a house. I always feel more limber and less scrunched up after a massage. By the time we finished, my tummy was growling like crazy. The daily leaflet recommended the roasted milk-fed veal in the main dining hall that evening, so we decided to check it out. It was hands down the best dinner of the entire cruise for me. I had scallop crudo, the veal, and an itty bitty little chocolate lava cake for dessert. Every dish was just perfect; the crudo was light and bright, the veal rich and savory, and the lava cake was chocolaty with just a hint of sweetness.

By this point, we'd established a post-dinner routine. We went for a walk around the ship, to aid the digestion of our three course dinner and ultimately ended up in the casino. Eric played either blackjack or craps (I can't remember anymore) while I wandered off to pick up a ginger tea at the cafe. I was definitely utilizing my beverage package! Once Eric gave up on the casino, we headed back to our stateroom, where I proceeded to fall asleep instantly. There was just something about the gentle rocking of the boat and the engine vibrations in the aft that knocked me out cold.

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's definitely Monday

Check out the awesome way my Monday morning started:

I'm sparing you the gruesomeness that is the front of my middle finger.
I was fantastically uncoordinated this morning. So much so in fact, that I shut those two fingers in my car door, dropped my lunchbox and my car key. My car key gracefully bounced under the adjacent car, while I hopped around swearing profusely. Many f-bombs were dropped in the parking lot this morning. It took a couple of minutes before I gathered my composure, crawled under the other car to get my key and proceeded directly to the nurse's office. She gave me a goody bag filled with bandages, a disposable ice pack and the cutest little reusable ice pack ever.

It's so cute and little! I'm keeping it.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully, thank goodness. I'm just happy I didn't break any fingers because that would have put a pretty big damper on my workplace efficiency.

I went for a run when I got home:

It's the return of Beepy!
I know it probably doesn't look like much of a run. Since it's only 2.58km and 16 minutes long but it's 16 minutes of running where nothing hurt. No butt pain, no back pain. Nothing. It just felt good to be out there, even if it started raining the moment I stepped outside the door. I finally feel like my running could be on an upswing again.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 3 - Sea Day #1

Our first full cruise day was a scheduled at sea day and upon waking I knew I was going to need some Dramamine and my Sea Bands. The motion of the ship was mildly reminiscent of the vertigo spell I suffered a few months ago with the exception that the floor actually did move underneath my feet. It was certainly not as bad, but I did spend most of the day on the precipice of queasy.

If you watch Top Chef, you’ll recall that the cheftestants (what a stupid word) from Season 10 cruised to Alaska towards the end of their season. I’m pretty sure that season of Top Chef was what inspired this vacation. Celebrity Cruises is known for their food quality, so it was inevitable that we would pounce upon the opportunity to talk to the chefs and explore the galleys. The tour was genuinely astounding; there are somewhere on the order of 150 chefs on board this cruise and somewhere around 70 people committed to solely to sanitation. Each restaurant has its own galley and there’s an entire refrigerated section on deck two. They are clearly committed to providing quality meals to the guests.

Our first formal night went over well, though I felt a tad under-dressed and self-conscious. I didn’t pack any of what little jewelry I own and wearing make-up always makes me feel like people are staring at me thinking, “Wow, her make-up looks like a five-year old did it!” Eric assured me that it did not look that way but I just can’t help myself. It’s pretty ironic that wearing make-up makes me feel self-conscious.

After dinner, there was a Cirque du Soleil style show that was mildly entertaining. Unfortunately, my jet lag, the Dramamine and the gentle rocking of the boat had my eyelids drooping the entire time. After the performance, we went back to the cabin and I barely managed to make it through my nightly routine before I fell dead asleep.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 2 - Embarkation Day!

As noted in the previous day’s post, we knew were definitely going back to The Crumpet Shop, and that is exactly what we did for breakfast. I ordered a bowl of groats with soy milk and honey, and a crumpet with fresh raspberry preserves on the side. Eric got some sort of savory crumpet with cheese and a tomato on it, I think. I’m not completely positive because I was too fixated on my groats. I’m not sure if I've ever mentioned it but I love oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal with a cup of coffee is my perfect breakfast. It just helps start the day off on the right foot. After breakfast, we wandered around Pike Place Market for a little bit. It was quite early, so there wasn't much to see; the stalls were restocking and preparing for another day.

The shuttle to the docks arrived around 11:15, and after much ado with seating arrangements, we were off. The port was remarkably like an airport, with the exception that our AquaClass ticket got us into our own special line. A line that was a great deal shorter than the regular one and because of that fact, we made it aboard before an hour before the stateroom was even ready. So, we explored:



Some key observations from our exploration:
  • The cruise was definitely geared towards an older crowd. There were very few children on the boat. We appreciated this.
  • One could easily get fat in this environment. There was food everywhere.
  • This ship is really just a giant floating hotel.
Dinner was already decided upon, as we had reservations at The Tuscan Grille. It was a delicious dinner and I managed to take not a single picture of it. I did, however, manage to get a picture of dessert. Because really, dessert is the best part:


Eric spent most of dessert laughing at me because I kept attempting to maximize the surface area of my dipping items. Delicious chocolate is not to be wasted. He even stopped me using my spoon to eat the chocolate as if it were soup (meanie!). We wandered around for the rest of the evening, until we both decided the motion in the fore of the boat was making us nauseous. We retired to our cabin in the aft of the ship and promptly fell asleep.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Alaska Cruise: Day 1 - Seattle

Travel day started at 3:30AM as it almost always does. It was my turn to drive us to the airport, so we piled our ridiculous amount of luggage into my Rabbit and left around 4:30. We’d planned on using the economy lot ($100 savings!) but about halfway there we realized we’d left too late to comfortably park there and take the shuttle to the terminal. Central parking was the only other convenient option so we ended up there.

We rode the escalator down to the check-in area of Terminal C, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t been in that terminal since I left for Australia in 2006. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that was just a little over eight years ago. Time just seems to pick up speed every year. I digress.

We used one of the many, many Jet Blue self check-in kiosks and got into the baggage drop line. A coworker had warned me that the line for the baggage drop had a tendency to be ridiculously long. He was right, but we got there early enough that it didn’t take too long to get to the front. Security was mostly uneventful, the only surprise being that I didn’t have to take my shoes off. A pleasant surprise, to say the least.

I was glad that I had downloaded a movie to my Kindle Fire the previous night because the in-seat TVs didn’t work at all for our row. I only wish I’d downloaded two because one did not cover the entire length of the flight. We landed in Seattle just before 10AM PST, claimed our baggage and hopped on the Link Light rail to Westlake Station. I’ve got to admit, toting our three pieces of luggage around the city was less than enjoyable. They’re pretty obnoxious to maneuver up the escalators. Fortunately our hotel, the Mayflower Park, was only two-tenths of a mile from the station.

Our room was ready upon our arrival and we were extremely grateful for that. It gave us a chance to freshen up a bit before we set out into the city to explore Pike Place Market. While we’ve been to Seattle before, we didn’t explore the market as much as we’d have liked. Stop one was The Crumpet Shop:


I’d read about the The Crumpet Shop in one of my Cooking Light issues and immediately became obsessed with going there. Seriously, totally obsessed. I was even a little bit scared that it might not live up to my possibly overblown expectations. It did live up to them though, and more! While I only had a single crumpet with lemon curd and a cup of coffee on the side, I knew we’d have to go back the next day because they had groats on the menu.

After finishing our crumpets, we set out into the market proper. We saw the flying fish guys, found an excellent little doughnut stall, and wandered by the original Starbucks. However, I often find that I’m easily overwhelmed by lots of sound and people, so I found it hard to truly appreciate the uniqueness of it all. And being that we were both relatively exhausted, we headed back to our room to turn in for an early night. Eric fell asleep a couple hours earlier than I did, but the only reason I made it until 10PM PST was because of Fireblood by Jeff Wheeler.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Let's make a bet!

You know the sayings that people use when they’ve resorted to old eating habits, things like falling off the wagon or getting off track?

I hate those sayings with almost as much passion as I hate the use of the word dieting. You are always on a diet; a diet is what you eat! Getting off track or falling off the wagon implies that there’s only one way to eat correctly, which is completely untrue. It’s a disordered way of thinking about your eating habits and I just refuse to use that term to describe what’s been going on with my habits.

Making poor choices would be a far more accurate assessment of what’s been happening with me. And that’s not to say that the occasional bit of fried food, prepackaged food, sweets or bread (in my case) are poor choices. The problem emerges when they become a mainstay of your diet; that’s when I think it’s time to reconsider.

Being on vacation for the last week has provided me the requisite distance to do exactly that.

I’m not happy with where my weight has gone. I’ve gained 10lbs since I first got injured two years ago, and while obviously my lack of regular running has contributed, it’s more than just that. I don’t cook as much as I used to and I fall back to prepackaged meals far too often to feel truly satisfied with my food choices. I’ve become complacent and about meal planning, procrastinating it to the point where it never gets done.

I’ve tried to motivate myself to remedy this, but I haven’t been successful. I need a good kick in the butt and that’s why I’ve decided to start a four week DietBet game. For anyone who isn't familiar with the DietBet concept, it's pretty simple. The goal is to lose 4% of your starting body weight in 4 weeks. You'll be required to take pictures of your scale with a code word at the weekly weigh-in, but that's it.  I don’t want to completely open it up to the public, so if you want to join in drop me an email using the little email link at the top right of the page. The game will start next Monday and run for four weeks, and depending on how it goes, there might even be a follow-up game.

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's been awhile.

And no, that's not a reference to the cheesy Britney song. Shortly after I wrote my maintenance post, I caught a nasty cold which sidelined me from most activities for a week and a half. After I'd recovered, work took precedence and I didn't have a lot of time to think about myself let alone the blog. And then the moment work calmed down, the stupid cold came back in full force. The trash bin full of used tissues last Monday can certainly attest to that. April was a pretty aggravating month, to say the least.

Now I'm just left with a runny nose and an occasional throaty cough, which I took with me to the Westborough Spring Festival 5K yesterday. Sibling solidarity seems to be the only way I can make it through a race lately, so Nate signed up to run with me. He's a pretty good running buddy, it's too bad that he lives really far away.  I think we'd run more races if he lived closer.

I woke up at 6AM to eat my small breakfast and sip my coffee while playing Diablo 3. There was hardly any traffic so Nate arrived a full half an hour early, just before 7:30. We checked the weather (professing our love of the new Weather Underground) to figure out what I should wear. I ended up in running tights, a hooded long-sleeve t-shirt and my favorite Nike sweatshirt complete with thumb holes and hood.  I do love me some hoodies with thumb holes in the sleeves. I'm confident that I'd wear them every day if I had enough of them.

I allowed Nate to drive us there but this was a concession on my part; he's pretty talented at making me carsick. We arrived around 8AM, picked up our bibs, fancy performance tees and headed back to the car to drop them off. It's at that point I finally realized that I'd unintentionally made us over an hour early because I thought the race was at 8:30.  Oops!

Normally, I'm a nervous wreck before races but somehow this one just wasn't inspiring the same kind of anxiety. I don't know if it was because I hadn't trained at all or that my only goal was to not walk at all, but it was liberating. I started the race feeling calm, with pleasant thoughts of just getting that day's workout in. We made it to the first mile marker before I could tell Nate was going to have a rough time. Only a quarter mile later, he had to stop and walk. I slow-ran-jogged-whatever next to him but he waved me on, told me to go on ahead without him. I felt bad but we don't operate with a no-man-left-behind policy so I went.

As I crested the last hill of the course, I saw the water station waiting. I took a cup from a waiting hand and attempted to drink the water. I think maybe 10% (maybe more like 5%) of it got in my mouth and the rest of it was just all over my chest. Clearly, drinking from a little paper cup while hauling my ass down the road is not a skill I've mastered. I politely tossed the cup to the waiting volunteer with a trash bag and kept on. I passed the two mile marker and that was when I started having to conjure the little positive voices in my head.

I reminded myself how far I'd come in the two years since I'd last set my PR at this very race. I've overcome two separate but related injuries; I've strengthened and stabilized with a single-minded purpose. So it wasn't surprising that I heard the encouragement of my physical therapist in my head. And then I heard the encouragement and compliments of my Pilates instructor. You can call me crazy but it was the voices of those two that got me to the end of this race without walking.  I'm profoundly grateful for the encouragement and guidance they have provided over the last two years.

The clock read 32:29 as I passed the finish line, but I didn't care. I quickly made my way to the end, grabbed a water bottle and walked back to cheer Nate on at the finish. He finished in 34:07 and we headed straight home. I'm not sure when I'm going to start training in earnest again; perhaps soon or maybe in a few months. Running the race made me realize how much I miss the quiet solitude and peace of mind that running gives me, but I certainly don't miss the anxiety of race day.