Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scenes from St. Louis

Whenever we go to St. Louis, I can't help but hum this little song:

"Meet Me In St. Louis" was a favorite of mine before I even met Husband - it just worked out nicely that it happens to be his family's home town too. We headed there last week for his cousin's wedding and enjoyed some brisk but beautiful fall weather before having to cut out trip short because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Super Storm/Frankenstorm Sandy.

A boy and his Arch.

I insisted on touching the Mississippi because I never had before -
Husband's reaction: "You know it's dirty and gross here, right?"

Prarie Dogs at the St. Louis Zoo

Love the perspectives in this photo. The Takin were perfectly lined up!

I am also slightly obsessed with the highly-reflective KPMG building

Even the fire hydrants are Italian on The Hill!

Husband hanging out with the guest of honor at the wedding reception.

Showing off our vampire teeth (reception favor!)

And then a nice picture to round things out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Positives

It's rare for my to look at the bright side of things. I'm a pessimist and have been for as long as I remember. Heck, when I worked at the Symphony, my nickname was Maiden of Grief.

But I'm going to set aside my MoG power ring for a little bit and take an entry to look at what I have gained as a result of my injury.

1. The loss of the marathon and cessation of my training gave me a lot of time at a period when I was feeling insanely overwhelmed. I wasn't letting on in my blog, but just looking at my calendar for September and October was really making me feel sick and overwhelmed. Honestly I could not have chosen a worse time to attempt my first marathon, as nearly every single weekend in these months was packed with various activities and travel that we had committed to before I decided to be a nutball and throw marathon training on top of it. I was having serious anxiety about how I was going to fit in my long runs on top of this mess, especially with all the travel.

Next fall, I will not be planning a bunch of travel on top of my training. Then I can also partake in the Sports Backers training team (which I opted not to do this year because I was going to miss too many weekends) and have that support and structure to rely on. And as an added bonus, Marathon Winer is moving back to Richmond, so we will be able to train for Richmond together!

2. Being forced to engage in cross training activities that I previously avoided like the plague has made me realize how important it is and actually made me enthusiastic to continue with swimming. Even though it was rough to start, once I got a few trips to the pool under my belt, I started to enjoy it a lot. Of course this may have been because swimming is infinitely better than my other exercise option, stationary biking (lesser of two evils and all).

Whatever the case, I am committed to keeping at least one day of swimming in my training schedule from now on. I'm even considering attempting a sprint triathlon in the spring/summer... something I never would have done if I hadn't broken my foot. I still can't believe I just say the "t" word.

An added bonus is that I usually can convince Husband to go swimming with me and it always makes me happy exercise with him.

3. Guns. One of the phrases I hated to hear the most when I was on crutches was "at least you're building awesome upper body strength!" I didn't CARE about upper body strength, people. But damn. They were right.

4. Bonding time with my buddy Teka, a former co-worker from the Symphony affectionately nicknamed Viceroy of Anguish. We shared a cubicle and were the doom and gloom team.

MoG + VoA

When I was cleared to stationary bike, I convinced her to put a standing YMCA date on her calendar every Friday. Having my b*tching buddy next to me for the 40-45 minutes on that torture device made time go by a lot faster. Aside from b*tching, we are just having a good time hanging out with each again.

5. A good excuse to delay children for another 12 months. My latest mantra for avoiding procreation has been that I have to do two things first: go to Italy and run a marathon. Italy is on the calendar in May 2013 and if I had run the marathon in November 2012, I would have been out of excuses.

Thanks to my broken foot, marathon is pushed to November 2013 What a shame! SUPER SCORE on this front.

6. A more full appreciation of being able-bodied. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one very much. These days, I'm even thankful that I can do laundry without assistance. That says a lot.

7. A more thorough knowledge of the health insurance and medical billing process. I always knew our health care system is royally effed up, but having to navigate through the weird bills that I've been getting has made me realize just how completely ridiculous it is.

I had to start a spreadsheet (creatively called 'Broken Foot Bills') to ensure that I am not paying multiple times for the same service or visit because I am receiving bills from so many random places and doctors that I have never heard of. It has taken me hours to do and I shudder to think of what people with real health problems have to go through.


Look at that! The break wasn't the end of the world like I was so sure it was going to be. Imagine that. I'm not grateful that it happened, but I am glad that I have been able to get something out of the experience other than mad crutch skills and the ability to pick up marbles with my toes (thanks to physical therapy).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Celebrity Crutches

I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog yet, but I'm a life-long Washington Redskins fan, as is the rest of my family.

Me, Mom, Dad, and little bro.
(on a side note - Good God I'm glad my brother decided to shave his face.)

With Mom and Dad at the Oct 7th game this year.

And poor husband has gamely adopted the Skins too.
This past Sunday we were watching the game against the Giants when Fred Davis got hurt. He had to get to the sideline using an all-too-familiar-to-me hop technique. Later on he reappeared...

Photo Source
Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post

With a boot and crutches that look EXACTLY LIKE MINE.

After I got over the excitement of having matching durable medical equipment with Fred, all I could do was feel bad for the guy, who apparently ripped his Achilles. Not cool. For an amateur runner, being taken out and put on crutches with a boot was torture so I can't imagine how bummed he must be.

Chin up, Fred. At least you already have mad upper body strength and the bank roll to hire someone to open swinging doors for you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Humble Pie

So, you think you're hot stuff because you can run 15 miles without stopping?

Or can easily attain full expression of Tree Pose?

Well then. Let's see how well you do when I toss you in a pool.

I thought I was in GREAT shape at the end of August. I had run over 500 miles this year and was totally kicking butt in my Vinyasa yoga class.

And then I got into a pool to swim laps.

If you immediately want to feel like a completely out of shape schmuck, go jump into a pool.

It'll be a nice big slice of humble pie.

My first attempt at lap swimming was downright embarassing. It was September 22 - 3 weeks to the day after breaking my foot. I wasn't very excited about the prospect of swimming laps, but felt pretty confident that I would be good at it. When I was a kid, I was always a strong swimmer. I consistently placed higher than me age group in swimming lessons... I remember a particular year when I was in elementary school and placed in the most advanced class with a group of boys who were at least in 9th grade.

During the summers, I spent hours a day at the pool that my family belonged to. My best friend Abby and I were very evenly matched and would constantly race each other and see how many laps we could swim underwater without coming up for air.

So, when I got into the pool in September 2012, I (for some crazy reason) assumed that I would still be a good swimmer.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. VERY wrong.

That day, I was barely able to swim 400 meters in 20 minutes, taking long breaks in between each 25 meter lap.  Apparently mad swimming skills don't stay with you after a 15-year hiatus.

Although I was tired and annoyed that I had no stamina whatsoever, I enjoyed swimming that day. In the water, it didn't really matter that my foot was broken. I didn't feel gimpy or handicapped when I was in the pool. I could move fast(ish) and didn't need anyone's help. It was heavenly.

Now, nearly a month later, I am up to 1000 yards or meters (depending on whether I am swimming at the downtown Y or the Chester Y) and feeling like I'm getting some stamina back. I'm finding swimming to be exponentially more fun than the stationary bike, which I pretty much hate. Despite my improvement, I still feel like the most out of shape woman in the world when I can barely swim for 25 minutes at what seems to be an incredibly slow pace. I was running 15 miles... now I can barely swim half a mile. But I am going to commit to the swim. Once I do start running again, I'm thinking it will be the perfect cross-training exercise. And maybe someday when I'm not quite so pathetic, I will attempt a sprint triathlon. Who knows.

Big plans are the only thing keeping me going!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Resolution Check In

Running - Goal: Run at least 500 miles this year; run at least 1 half marathon
[Seeing as how I broke my foot and all, I'm going to include miles biked in brackets.]

Through September 31

January: 47 miles
February: 72 miles
March: 80 miles
April: 69.5 miles
May: 76 miles
June: 81 miles
July: 67 miles
August: 108 miles
September: 14 miles [44 miles]

Total for the year: 614.5 miles [658 miles]

Reading - Goal: Read at least one book per month

January Books
Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Bray, Libba - A Great and Terrible Beauty

February Books
Moran, Michelle - Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

March Books
Massie, Robert K. - Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Sussman, Ellen - French Lessons
Gilbert, Elizabeth - Committed: A Love Story

April Books
Clark, Colin - My Week with Marilyn
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus

May Books
Raybourn, Deanna - Dark Road to Darjeeling
James, P. D. - Death Comes to Pemberley

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3: A Storm of Swords
James, E.L. - 50 Shades of Gray (for the record, I hated this book)

July Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Feast for Crows
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Mantel, Hillary - Wolf Hall

August Books
Dunant, Sarah - The Birth of Venus

September Books
For the first time since I started this resolution, I failed on my book per month. I am still reading Anna Karenina and it is proving to be quite the task. I began it in August and I am currently 56% of the way through. So I'm going to say that even though I didn't finish  a book in September, I have read quite enough to safely say that my resolution isn't broken. When I'm finally finished with Anna, I plan to read a mindless, quick, best-seller to cleanse my brain!

Currently reading:  
Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina

Movies (no resolution; just to keep track)
The Artist
Underworld: Awakening
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror
Men in Black 3 
Magic Mike
The Dark Knight Rises