Wednesday, March 8, 2017

An Overdue Update


As outlined in my recap of the Austin Marathon, I had the suckiest marathon of my marathoning “career.”  I finished with my slowest time ever.  But you know what?  I finished.  I didn’t give up.  I listened to my body and I didn’t get injured.  Though my hamstring was bothering me a fair amount for a few days post-race.

 

As a result of the marathon, my PT decided to let me take the week off from any work sessions and I just had 2 soft tissue appointments.  Those were Monday and Saturday.  So I didn’t have PT at all on Thursday like I usually do.  So I made plans with David to meet him for lunch at our favorite SoCo (S Congress Ave) food trailer, Burro Cheese.  After the marathon, I had gotten the distinct pleasure of trying a new-to-me one of their sammiches and it was absolutely delicious, called the VIA 206.  Going into Thursday, I didn’t know if I’d try yet another one of their sammiches that I hadn’t yet tried (I’ve had the Waylon & Willie, sans pepperoncinis, the Burning Mac and the VIA-something, which had balsamic fig jam on it, but doesn’t seem to be a regular offering per their online menu…booo).  I ultimately decided to just get the VIA 206 again.  It was really good.  It was funny because the cashier remembered me from the marathon!  Right next to the Burro Cheese food trailer is a Juice Austin trailer, so we were checking out their menu and all decided to get a juice each.  I opted for the Grind me up Scotty which has cold brew coffee, spinach, bananas, peanut butter, almond milk and I think one more thing in it.  It was delicious!  It’s always fun hanging out with David and his roommate, Ragan. 
I’ve managed to lose about 10 pounds since February 20th and I’m pretty stinkin’ happy with that.  I’ve felt a lot more balanced and less stressed lately, so I know that has everything to do with it, I’m sure of it.  A few weeks ago, I just randomly stopped one of my OCD behaviors that I really hate that I do: chew on my cuticles.  Then, in the past week and a half, I have stopped eating as much.  I mean, it’s not like I’m not hungry, because I am.  It’s more that I just don’t have the overwhelming urge to eat when I’m not truly hungry.  This makes me sooooo happy!

 

Last weekend, I went and saw the movie Split.  I loved it!  There were some awkward scenes, but it was really well written and acted.  There’s a nice twist in the final scene and you realize it’s a sequel to another movie from a few years back (nope, not going to spoil it for you, you’ll just have to watch it!).  So awesome.  Total nerd moment for me!

 

Last week on Sunday night, my friend Hannah and I went out for karaoke.  There was hardly anyone there so I got to get up to sing 5 times!  I sang 3 songs that I have never sang before and I think I totally rocked them!  It was 2 Amy Winehouse songs and a Gretchen Wilson song.  Then I butchered a Tina Turner song that I’ve sang before but couldn’t remember how the verses went (oops), and then of course rocked my usual Duffy song.


Physical therapy last Monday morning was pretty kick ass.  We’re no longer focusing solely on my hip drop issue.  Now, we’ve moved onto speed and power!  So the sessions are more like personal training/run coaching where I get more of a nice workout in.

 

Last month, a friend regifted a Wi-Fi all-in-one printer to me.  I thought it was a superior model to the one I already had, however, it’s not.  Soooo, I did some online window shopping and found a printer I really, really want.  I had already sold my old printer to a friend, so I was kinda stuck with the new one.  So, I opted to make it a temp printer and then next month I’ll buy the way nicer one that I’m now eyeballing.  It’s got lots of excellent stats, plus it’s attractive…which is always a good thing, no matter what you’re talking about.


I had really bad allergies that may have also been a cold.  I’ve been on the border of miserable as a result.  My sinuses keep closing up, forcing me to use this god awful OTC nasal spray.  I try doing saline rinses, but it’s not helping with the swelling up in there like it usually does.

 

Saturday I did 2 running events.  The first was the Warrior Dash obstacle course 5K.  I LOVED the obstacles.  Didn’t really care too much for the muddy trails between them, but I enjoyed myself for the entire hour and 36 minutes it took to complete it…haha.
 
 
 
 
 
 



Later in the evening I ran a half marathon.  It went horribly.  I have lost so much fitness over the last 2 months…it’s practically depressing.  I know I’ll get my running mojo back again.  I’m just hoping it’s sooner rather than later, you know?  I mean, in December I ran a really hilly half in 2:03 and change.  In January I ran one in 1:59 and change.  Saturday’s half?  Yea…2:39:59.  Ugh!  This shall pass and I will be stronger because of it.


Sunday, I had to go pick up a super cute stamp and die set I ordered online from Joann’s…it’s a little cactus holding a sign and there are like 6 or so different sayings you can stamp into the sign!  Love it.  While I was there, I picked up 2 reusable bags that I couldn’t resist.
 
 


Then I had the party for the finishers of the Distance Challenge.  I got my ¼ zip pullover.  It’s a nice color of orange.  I really wish it was an actual jacket of some sort…either a rain jacket or something along the lines of the Rock’n’Roll series jackets.  Oh well.  Maybe next year, right?  I ended up with 3 very tasty free beers because people kept giving me their drink tickets!  I didn’t win the raffle I put my raffle ticket into.  Oh well.
 
 
 


Then, Sunday night was karaoke again with Hannah, and this time Heather went with us.  I attempted a new-to-me song and I don’t like the way it sounded to me, so I won’t be doing that one again.


Monday, I got a text saying my new metal food dehydrator was ready for pickup at Walmart.  It wasn’t supposed to be ready until after 6pm, but it was ready early!  YAY!  So I went and picked that up and am so excited to use it this weekend!  I’m going to make some salmon “jerky” (aka: salmon “candy” because it’s not all the way dried out…just like half dried…the way I make it).  I haven’t had it since before my plastic piece of crap Ronco literally disintegrated last year sometime. 



I’ve discovered that I love seaweed snacks.  I’ve been eating the heck out of them lately.  They’re so satisfying and low in calories.  A great filler food.  Plus they’re high in all sorts of good for you things.  And I think they’re quite tasty. 

And now for some pictures of my cats...







Monday, March 6, 2017

Embracing a Gluten-Free Life


Last summer something began to dawn on me.  Whenever I would eat processed carbs I would get (this may get a little TMI, just sayin’) heart burn, gas, headaches, and achy joints.  As time went on, these symptoms got worse and worse.  After a lot of thinking, I think it all started after I’d lost about 80 pounds.  Sure when I was at my heaviest I had heart burn all the time.  All. The. Time.  I was so incredibly uncomfortable in pretty much every possible way.  The heart burn went away the more weight I lost.  Then at about 80 pounds lost, that’s when I started noticing that processed carbs didn’t really agree with me.  But I was in denial.  So while I would attempt to abstain from them, it never lasted long.  Usually I would abstain during the week and then on the weekends it was whatever goes.  Burgers, pizza, you name it.  I mean, I didn’t go hog wild, but I did allow myself to eat at least one meal of whatever I wanted to eat. 

 

Last summer when my doctor switched me to a new medication, I no longer had the urges to shovel food into my face all day every day.  I dropped about 25-30 pounds pretty quick and was totally in love with my body.  One side effect of this weight loss?  Increased sensitivity to all processed carbs.  All of them.  The level of my symptoms went up so many notches at this point.  Then over the following months, my symptoms not only continued getting worse, but new ones started popping up.  Now it seems I get eczema, or at least an eczema-like rash, on my hands.  It’s itchy and scaly and I don’t like it. 

 

I finally put 2 and 2 together and accepted the seemingly obvious fact that I have either developed a gluten intolerance or I had one the whole time but the symptoms weren’t obvious or whatever.  It’s been a struggle to say the least.  I did discover when I tried paleo for a little bit late last summer into the early fall that I felt fantastic.  There are absolutely no processed carbs on a paleo diet.  Lots of protein and natural carbs (fruits, veggies and the like).  Due to another medication change I regained almost all of the weight I had lost over the summer, much to my frustration.  The urges to stuff my face came back.  The boredom eating, the anxiety induced eating.  You name it. 

 

Finally, the last few weeks, I’ve made an actual effort to be as gluten free as possible.  I love gluten free bread.  It’s so tasty and dense it’s quite satisfying.  Also recently, those urges have gone away yet again.  I’m down about 10 pounds and have just another 10-ish pounds to go to be where I was last summer.  I’m starting to like what I see in the mirror again and am happy with my progress.  I’ve noticed over the last few weeks as I’ve mostly abstained from food containing gluten that if I do eat anything with gluten in it, it hits me FAST.  And it’s not pleasant.  So I’m going to make a continued concerted effort to remain as gluten free as possible and truly embrace it as my new life.

 

I’ve found all sorts of gluten free substitutions for my favorite foods.  Rice pasta is perfect if I want pasta.  Or shirataki noodles are also a great option.  Annie’s Organic has a fantastic gluten free mac’n’cheese!  I’ve discovered that a nearby bakery has gluten free scones on Tuesdays…not sure how that’ll really work for me as I’m usually working overtime at work on Monday nights and am dead to the world Tuesday morning.  Maybe I can figure something out.  I’ve also discovered that so many places cater to gluten free, albeit for an upcharge, but it’s still nice to know and I don’t mind paying the extra money to make sure I’m not miserable.  Jason’s Deli for instance has a gluten free option.  There are multiple places where I can get a burger with a gluten free bun…Fuddrucker’s, Hopdoddy’s, Twisted Root to name a few.

 

It’s a completely doable life, I just have to embrace it and accept it as how my life will be now.  Will I be 100% abstinent from gluten?  Probably not.  I will probably have the occasional item containing gluten and I will suffer the consequences as a result.  At least until my symptoms get so bad that they are not acceptable at all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Austin Marathon Expo & Race Recap


This is my second time attempting to type this up.  The computer I was working on froze when I got about a page typed up, then it crashed and rebooted.  And didn’t save a thing I had done.  Nothing.  All gone.  Ugh!  I almost gave up, but then thought better of it.  So, here we go!  Again.  Haha.

 

Alright…so where was I?  Oh yea…expo time!  The expo is normally held in the Palmer Events Center and is a pretty extensive expo as far as vendors go.  However, THIS YEAR, they moved to the Austin Convention Center and I’d say had less than 50 vendors, even though one vendor touted that there were over 100.  Yea, right.  Sorry, but I don’t think so.  I mean, I didn’t count them, but there was no way there was over 100.  Anyway, I got my packet super easy.  They emailed out our bib numbers the day before the expo started so I was able to walk right up to the booth that had my bib and retrieve it.
also ran into my friend Eva at the expo
 


After my bib, I went and picked up my very nice, lime green gym bag with an adjustable shoulder strap.  I love this bag.  Love, love, love it.  The only problem is that since it’s a gym back, the bottom is mesh and therefore isn’t going to be super durable for me since I want to use it for work.  So I plan to buy some rip-stop fabric, remove the bottom and replace it, that way I won’t be afraid of it tearing or wearing thin and all my stuff falling out.  But other than that little “issue” I absolutely am in love with this bag!


After that, I got up my shirt.  I did like the COLOR of the half marathon shirt over the color of the marathon shirt, but it’s still a really nice shirt I have already worn twice with pride.


There was a little virtual scavenger hunt at the expo.  They scan your bib and then they match it up with this little bracelet with a chip in it and you go around the expo to select vendors and scan your bracelet.  It was a little annoying because I had a hard time finding this one scan point, but I finally found it.



As I was wandering around the rather disappointing expo for a major marathon, I did manage to find a couple things to buy.  First up, of course, was the Greenlayer official merch booth where I bought a hot pink official hat (I always buy a hat now if there is one available for the race).  Next, I discovered the Run Janji booth where I perused their 50% off rack and found a pair of multicolored running shorts with a leopard print. 


The Cap10k had a booth and they were handing out these really nice keyrings for anyone that registered at the expo.  I went up and told them I was already registered and could I possibly get a keyring and the guy winked at me and slid one my way.  YAY!  It’s so pretty.  I have put it on my key ring right next to the Austin Marathon key ring I got back in 2014.
 


I also won a whistle from the Austin American Statesman newspaper.  I shall put it on my hydration pack with a small carabiner for use in an emergency.


The 2 things that I didn’t buy but kinda wish I’d had the money to buy were this little knuckle stun “gun” thing that was only $45 and I could get it in pink and it was small and easy to hold.  The other thing was this really cool sports bra by a brand called Handful.  But, really, I have MORE than enough sports bras so I really don’t need another one right now…so there’s that.  But it was really cool.  Something I’d be more inclined to wear after I’ve RElost the 15 or so pounds that I’ve gained back, of course. 



I got home and at this point, the night before the race, I have NO CLUE what I’m going to wear.  I was thinking I’d do what you’re not supposed to do and wear the pair of shorts I bought at the expo because they are so pretty, but I put them on and walked around the house a bit and I’m pretty sure if I wore them for 26.2 miles that they would chafe the outer part of my thighs.  I’m sure they’d be okay on a shorter run, though.  What I settled on, after trying on various things, was my INKnBURN red wave singlet and my INKnBURN “ISO” (unicorn) sport skirt with my Altra IQ’s…and some compression ankle socks to avoid blisters since it was SUPPOSED to be raining the entire race.
 


Thankfully, that weather report was a big fat lie.  But, it was still fairly humid and quite warm out.  Definitely NOT ideal for running a marathon.  Anyway, I got up dark and early and got my stuff together and headed out the door about 15 minutes after when I wanted to.  I got to the start area with 35 minutes before the gun but I like to have at least 45 minutes of elbow room, just in case, you know?  Anyway, I got to the start area and wedged my way into the 4:10 area to try and avoid as many walkers as possible, though there’s always a few unless you start with the elites…yeeeeeeaaaaaa…no.  I had my pace band all ready to go.


As I walked up to the start line, I walked past the Paramount Theater and they had a special message for all participants:


The first little bit as we ran down congress I was spot on my pace.  I felt great.  I was spot on my pace for the first 8 miles, actually.  Then I hit the 15k mark and my pace was starting to slip.  Not much.  Just a little.  Just a few seconds.  Then we turned onto Veterans Dr. and went up that little hill and even though I didn’t stop running, it knocked me down by over a minute over the pace I should have been going.  Then when we turned onto Enfield I slowed even more as I walked for the first time.  However, I was still doing “okay” until about mile 12-12.5, which is where I really started to walk.  At the half mark, I took off and threw away my pace band.  I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore.  Then I started trying to make it better.  I took a picture while making a funny face.


Shortly after that, I had my first piece of bacon.  Then a couple miles later I had another piece of bacon.  Throughout all this, there were also shots of beer being handed out.  I love running thru neighborhoods.  People stand outside their houses with all sorts of stuff…bacon, beer, margaritas, fruit, nuts, jelly beans, girl scout cookies, and so on.  During the final 5k, there was a group of people that were handing out entire, unopened cans of beer.  Yes please!  Have I ever told you how much I love spectators?  Well I do.  They are the bomb and they make a crappy race not crappy.  Like totally…between the wonderful, posts, messages, comments, texts that I got from friends and family during the rough parts of the race and my all the wonderful spectators, my marathon didn’t suck half as bad as it totally could have.
bacon #1
 
bacon #2
 
beer me!  why the hell not?!!?!?


That being said, I walked…a LOT.  I’d say at LEAST a total of 4 miles were walked…but probably more.  I had an official finish time of 5:31:13.  Worst. Marathon. Ever.  For me.  New person best at the slowest time?  Gotta think positive with this one as much as I can!  I have never wanted a marathon to be over as much as I wanted this one to be over, from mile 15 until the final stretch, I wanted it to be DONE.  Also, I have never, ever worked so hard for a medal in my 4.5 years of running.  Never.  So, I’m thinking of putting this medal in a shadow box and giving it its own special place on my running wall.
 


After I finished and got my medal and water and snacks (which weren’t all that great, sadly), I headed over to Burro Cheese and got me a fancy grilled cheese sammich.  This one had jack cheese and balsamic fig jam on it.  Sooooo good!  They told me that the first sammich they made was small so they made me a second one!  I love Burro Cheese!  They’re so awesome!


As I was taking the pic of my awesome grilled cheese sammiches, I noticed my Distance Challenge bracelet and was like “oh yea!  I need to go get my magnet!” so I headed over there to get it, plus some better snack goodies from the Distance Challenge tent. 


Then I headed down Congress to Lavazza to get a Nocciolato espresso (I think I spelled that right…it’s an espresso with Nutella and walnuts and whipped cream…and it’s amazing).  I did not order said espresso to go, however they brought it to me in a to go cup.  I guess they were trying to tell me something.  But they could have at least brought me a plastic spoon.  So I was a little peeved about that…but also found the humor in it.


Later that day, I found my official split times.  You can see the 20K is where it all started to go horribly wrong.  Before that, it was great, then good, then okay…then boom, the entire undercarriage of my running car got ripped out from under me.


And now the Austin Runners Club Distance Challenge is COMPLETE!  I excelled at 4 of the 5 races and I’m pretty happy with that. 


Monday night after the marathon, I decided to just check and see if the official photos were ready yet and they seemed to be ready!  And they had an amazingly awesome deal where I could download ALL of my images for just $30!!!  So I did!  That’s just a kick ass deal, I couldn’t take the chance that the price would go up in a couple days.  There were instantly like 4 or 5 that were favorites of mine.  The vast majority of my pictures look pretty good!  and that’s saying something because usually a couple are good and the rest are horrible.  These photographers were really good this time around and I’m quite happy with my photos!  And, in no particular order...
obviously just crossed the finish line as I'm stopping my garmin
 
this guy looks like he's annoyed I'm running...HA!
 
 
kinda annoyed she didn't get the whole backdrop in the picture...it was pretty
 
putting on the breaks
 
running thru UT campus
 
my favorite official photo ever...looks like a paparazzi shot!  lmao!
 
happy to be done
 
so happy this photographer got this whole backdrop as it's amazing!
 
happy to be almost to the finish line!!!




 

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