Monday, May 24, 2010

Good News & A Good Weekend!

The Good News... I went to see the doctor on Friday afternoon and I just need to do stretches before and after a run.  I've over stressed the connective tissue where the top of my thigh muscles connect to my hip area.  The doctor gave me a series of stretching exercises that I need to do before and after a run.  He also suggested to use Advil before I go on a run too.  He also laughed and just shook his head at me when I asked if I was okay to run a 5K on Saturday morning,"You push it to the limit, don't you?

Saturday a 5K Run....
Friday night was pouring and pouring rain...I was getting concerned about being able to enjoy a run on Saturday morning.  On Saturday morning, it was still raining a bit.  I showed up with the intent of just picking up the bag of goodies, but it started to clear up as the run/walk was supposed to start.  The were over 250 participants for the Utah Diabetes FUN Run & Walk 2010.  The course wove through the research park area of the University of Utah Campus.  It ended up being a wonderful course that I kind of "wogged" (walk-jog) my way through.  It felt good to be running again without pain and I rushed to get in line for a free massage afterwards.  Then I waited around for the raffle.  They had some REALLY good prizes, and they also did medal awards for the first three in each sex/age categories.  I was fifth in my category... out of 9!  It was a very FUN event and I'm putting it on the list for next year.

Saturday night...
I had a fun and entertaining dinner with the "Widow's" group: Laura, the Popette, Em, Not-So-Good, and myself.  Here's some photos of us...

Sunday morning...
It was a sunny but very chilly ride up Emigration Canyon with my friends, Diane and Kym.  Here's some more photos...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paying SATAN to Get My Car?!?!?

Yesterday my car died in the parking lot at my work. Today my mechanic calls and gives me the total…. $666!! WHAT!?!? I told him that was an unlucky number and I wondered if the car might be possessed for that price? He laughed, and I continued on asking if he could add $1 or take off $1 just to get away from that total. After I hung up, I got the idea that some where along the lines I must be paying off SATAN to get my car back!

The car had acted up earlier in the morning yesterday. But I just thought that it might be a dead battery. So after I ran the daily mid-morning errand to the post office for my work, (where I left the car running while I ran in) I turned the ignition off waited a bit and then tried to restart it. Nothing happened except for the normal battery of noises that usually happen when you turn the key. Uuh ohhh~!  I had a major "Oh SHIT" moment.  In hind sight I should have driven straight to the mechanic.  But hind sight is 20/20.

I went in and asked one of my co-workers to take a look at the car. He pulled his car near mine and proceeded to see about giving me a jump. Nope, still the same noises! It wasn’t turning over. He then checked the battery with a volt meter. The battery was good. He checked out a couple of other things and then told me it was probably the starter.

I called my mechanic friend, Jim. He said to have someone get under the car and hit the starter with a hammer. Sometimes it will jar the starter enough to get one more start out of it. By then my co-worker was off to a job site and it was left to just me to do this. When Jim started to explain where the starter was I could feel my eyes glazing over. Mechanical and I don’t mix. I was up shit creek without a paddle, and on top of it I was supposed to go see the doctor later in the afternoon.

So after I rescheduled the doctor’s appointment I then called back Jim. I convinced him to come attempt to hammer my car’s starter during his lunch and I would buy him lunch in exchange. I wanted to avoid the tow charge if at all possible. So while Jim was under the car and hammering the car’s starter with a huge rubberized hammer I keep turning the key. Nope! It was still no good.

So after about 10 minutes with no obvious results and the battery was running low from the strain. Jim called the tow truck to come get my poor dead station wagon. I was disappointed this was the first time since I’ve had that car that it hasn’t started. The only other time that I had any major problems was when the transmission gave out while I was on a vacation along the Oregon coastline about 4 years ago. Otherwise it has been the most reliable car… but I tell you when you pay a total like this you tend to get a little suspicious that maybe in the future things cold go sour. Let’s hope not!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Strange Dreams Again!

I'm blaming it on the Cajun pasta I had for dinner last night... Or maybe I should blame it on what I saw at the opera last night?  Hmmmm, it is curious.  But here's the strange and ever ridiculous dream that I had last night...

So I'm on a large 70-3 triathlon but a girl friend and I get lost half way in the 13.1 mile run.  We end up in what's like a ghost town in the desert.  But there's a bright shiny red phone booth at the end of a row of abandoned wooden buildings.  Of course, neither one of has a map with us.  We figured we would follow along with the rest of the group on the triathlon.  Well, THAT did work!  DUH!?  There's no one in sight.  They (the other competitors) left us quite literally in the dust; in a barren desert ghost town.   

The sun is beating down on us as we are standing and looking around.  There's nothing but sage brush and sand for miles around.  I feel like I'm boiling just standing there; and the thought of running has gone out the window.  "Should we see if the phone works?", I say to my friend.  She shrugs and we go to the booth.  I open the door and it's air conditioned!  WOW!

We both squeeze into the booth, and I pick up the phone.  There's conversations all ready going on.  It's like a party line, a few woman are gossipping about a neighbor.  I speak and excuse the interruption.  I tell them that a friend and I are lost during a triathlon race and are in what appears is a ghost town with this bright red shiny phone booth.  They knew right where we were.  One gal says that someone is on their way.

Within a few minutes a beat up green Chevy pickup pulls up next to the booth.  A skinny tall guy with a big straw hat climbs out and says," You ladies looking for a lift?"  The hat is so big all you can see is his mouth that has a toothpick hanging out and a square jaw line.  "Sure", we timidly say.  We climb in and keep close to the door on the other side of the truck.

Next thing I know we are outside an old farm house, and the truck door is being held by an evil Aunt Bee.  "Wells!  You all juss' come on in and make ya self at home."  We enter the old farm house and both start to sit on the old rose colored sofa.  "Now why don one a ya help me in the kitchen!," as she grabs my arm.  "We'll put somethin' to drink.  Yous got to be thristee."

It's a huge warm yellow kitchen with cute matching gingham curtains.  "I'll make ya some of my MAR-Ga-Ritas!"  The evil Aunt Bee sneers (maybe it's a smile)," They are FAM-ous in thess here parts!"  She grabs glasses and fills them with ice.  Then comes what looks like small pellets of salt that she mixes with the ice.  Then out of the freezer she grabs a bottle of peppermint schnapps.  OMG!  I think my stomack just turned over!  She pours it over the ice/salt mix and then grabs some sliced lemon and garnishes the side of the glasses.  She hands me two of the glasses and we head out to the front room.  I hand one to my friend, and I cough to cover the laugh as my friend's face first puckers then grimaces.

AND then I wake up!  Talk about leaving you hanging! Darn!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cycle Salt Lake Century... A Beautiful Day!

Saturday was just an amazing day to be out riding the Cycle Salt Lake Century.  The weather was just right; nice mild temps and maybe occasionally a light breeze.  Just BEAU-TI-FUL weather!!!  And to top it all off I was out biking with friends and just taking it easy.  What a wonderful way to spend the day. 
We (Diane, Kym, and myself) rode 75 miles.  We were planning on shorter 67 miles but missed a turn.  This is the third time I had done this ride and I was in auto-mode and I missed a turn.  But I knew the area and we quickly were back on course.  The gals were teasing me about being the "Human GPS" and that I was voice activated.  But what can I say when you put about 5000 miles on a bicycle in a year you really get to know the roads.  (Top Photo: Kym, myself, Patty, Trisha, & Janice.  2nd photo: Kym, Sofia--check out those socks!, Kim, Diane, & myself.)

Sofia and Kim did 80 miles.  They are training to do their first century on the Little Red Riding hood ride in June.  This was the longest ride that Kim had ever done and she managed to pull through.  You Go Girl!
(Photos: Diane smiling, Kym and Janice chatting, and  the ever pleasant Patty.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Wonderful Way to Start the Day...

The hips are feeling better to day.  I didn't have to crawl out of the futon this morning.  I even managed to catch the Early Morning Wake Up ride.  A nice easy slow paced bike ride before I came into work today.

On the way to the Early Morning bike ride, I watched the sun rise.  It was like watching a fire rise from the mountain.  It was amazing with all of the colors and I wish I would have had my camera with me.  Darn!  It was at home but here's one I took last year about the same time of year on my way to the bike ride.

I really enjoy these morning rides.  There's a group of about 9 of us that are regulars on this ride.  I refer to it as a gab session on wheels.  It's a fun group and we've all known each other a few years.  We are kind of a cantankerous group.  We poke fun and take verbal jabs at each other as we bike along this regular route three mornings a week.  I'm the young one in the group; and sometimes I remind them that I'm TOO young to remember certain things.  One of my common jabs at them.  I guess you could say that I get to take out a little early morning frustration out while biking along.  I tell my friends it's like taking an early morning walk on a bike.    It's a wonderful way to start off the day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sorry! It's Not Covered Under Warranty

The pain is back in my upper front thigh areas and hips.  It seems to be in more in the hip joint; deeper this time and it has me somewhat concerned.  I ran 3.1 miles yesterday on the "dredmill".  I thought I would be okay after doing a fast paced walk of  5.5 miles last Friday night.  I felt good after the walk and had no problems.  I managed to do a total 75 miles on the bike this weekend with no problems.  But last night as the night wore on and I started feeling a bit of pain in those areas again.  Then this morning I woke up and literally crawled to the foot of my futon.  OUCH!  The pain's back!

I stretched and it seemed to help a bit.  I'm walking a bit bowlegged-ly today.  I keep telling myself," Think of taking small steps; small steps."  Normally during lunch on Thursday's I go upstairs and see what the oil painting class is painting.  But no today.  NO climbing steps today; unless I have to.  I'm almost dreading going home to where those three flights of stairs await me.  OUCH!  Sorry if I'm sounding a little whiny here, but this is new to me.  I usually can just brush off most pain; get up and get on with life.  But this is affecting how I walk which is frustrating!  I hope I'll be okay tomorrow and this weekend for some bike rides.  I promised Diane I would ride with her for the Salt Lake Cycle Century on Saturday. 

But I can't help but ask...What's going on here?  Is it running on the dredmill?  Is it the way I'm running?  Is it the newer pair of shoes?  Or is there something else going on?  I'm fine after biking.  I didn't have any problems before the half marathon while I was training for it.  So what's going on?  Was there something during the half marathon that happened to my body that I didn't notice?  Maybe I'm just falling apart, and I'm going to need some assembly required.  Old age is setting in, and darn it; I'm stuck.  

Hmmmmm....I'm thinking I may have to go to the doctor's office for a visit.  Darn it!  I'm going to call in and see about getting it checked out.   I can just see the Doc saying to me as if I was a car or an appliance (my imagination running wild here..),"Its just your average wear and tear on the body.... Sorry that's not covered under the normal warranty.  You didn't think to purchase the extended warranty with the special exclusion clause, did you?  So, sorry."  And me thinking to myself... "I'm totally screwed!  Gee, and I paid the $25 for the office visit to hear this?!?"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Loose Change for Loose Women... A Birthday Celebration?

Mother's Day was my friend Laura's Birthday, and she came up with a wild idea to celebrate her birthday.  No average birthday party for this gal!  Two years ago she had a "Pot Party" at a local nursery where we all got to buy a piece of pottery.  Then we picked and chose what to put in our "pot".  This year Laura called us all up and stated that it was a "Loose Change for Loose Women" Party that would take place at Barnes & Nobles.  She certainly makes life interesting! (This is the same woman that took me--who's afraid of heights-- for my birthday 2 years ago to an Indoor Sky Diving Experience.) 

WHAT?!?!?!!  After my jaw finally was retrieved from the floor, the first image that went through my mind was all of us, women, showing up at Barnes & Nobles with our bras full of change.  I could just hear us jingling!  The second thought was that surely we would be banned for life from THAT Barnes & Nobles!  But thank goodness that was not what Laura had in mind.  What this themed party entailed was all of us gals was saving change left over from purchases for the week prior, or finding loose change around the house or car.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES were we to empty out any piggy banks.  This was to be change that we discovered at home in those sofa cushions, or under the seats in the car, or that we acquired from purchases for the week prior.  Well, it was a good excuse to do a little spring cleaning in the house.  I cleaned and straightened my car.  I managed to accumulate about $3.34 over the weeks time.

So we are rather causing a bit of a scene as we empty out our baggies, socks, and jars of change on to the table at Barnes & Noble.  We put all of our change into a big pile.  Then we sorted and counted.  Then it was how and what to do with the change.  We figured out about $5 per person in the end.  Thanks in big part to our friend Jim, the donut man; who had given 51 coins to Laura for her birthday.  He also lent us the use of a jar that counted money as you put it in.

So we took shifts up with our part of the money and placed our order with the guy that was at the Starbucks counter in the Barnes & Noble.  He was so nice about the whole counting change.  We ended up tipping him in change before we left.  We all managed to place drink orders and with the benefit of Laura's Barnes & Nobles Membership Card we were able to save enough to also order some food too.  We ended up with a yummy lemon raspberry bar, a large sour dough soft pretzel, and a Reeses' peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie that we all shared.  Delicious!  We were quite the noisey group as we chatted and enjoyed the fest.  Here's myself and the birthday girl below...(She's talking with her hands again!  Such the Italian!)

Emmey also brought a little present for Laura which here she is using....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One of My Favorite Places to Run/Walk...

A park called Liberty in Salt Lake City is one of my favorite places to walk-run-bike.  It's about 2 miles from my third floor walk-up. It's not more than a few blocks from home as I'm heading towards the park that I find myself along tree line streets that contain a hodge-podge of bungalow houses, gingerbread cottages, ranch houses and combinations of what I don't know.  Among all this variety I find porches shrouded in vines where porch swings lightly sway as the occupants eat dinner, people watch, or strum a guitar.  Meanwhile, I walk by a variety of plants -- tulips, wisteria, lilac, rose bushes, flowering trees, evergreens, and the common variety of oaks, and elm trees that seem native to the Salt Lake City areas. 

I love the scenery as well as the people watching that I can do all along the way.  A family of five are out for a walk; the youngest member a boy costumed out from head to toe in spider man gear holding on shyly to Mom's hand as his older brother and sister race on ahead.  The gentleman strumming on a guitar trying to get the rift just so.  The older couple that are having an early dinner on their porch with their TV trays standing in front of a wooden bench where they are sitting together.  A mom overseeing her young son riding his bike with training wheels.  Various people mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and bushes.  People walking their dogs.  One guy having his dog pull him on his skate board.  The dog looks like he's having a blast as the guy yells," Mush!"  A father and a very young daughter feeding swans in the park.  Families having BBQ and picnics.  Young teens playing volley ball in the sand pits.  All this adds up to my favorite path for a run/walk.  These are all pictures that I took while on a walk Friday night after work.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hockey Pucks, Mother Hubbard & Menu Planning...

FYI, you can not make baking powder biscuits with gluten free soy flour. I found this out the hard way on Sunday when I tried to make something to go with my late morning cup of coffee. I ended up with yellow orange-ish hockey pucks that had slightly burnt edges. I was out of flour, sugar, a half cup of salt, part of a jar of peanut butter, and a couple of cans of diced tomatoes.  My cupboards were in competition with Old Mother Hubbard and I was really stretching to make something out of nothing. I guess its one of those lessons best learned the hard way that you REALLY can’t make something from nothing. Later in the day I finally broke down and actually went grocery shopping. My freezer was barren, my refrig looked like a bachelor’s, and the cupboard had a few items but nothing that could really be put together to form a REAL meal. ( Photos of cupboard and refrig before grocery shopping.)

I got into my head an idea while I was putting the grocery shopping list together that I would try meal plans from a new book that I got: The 1200-Calorie-a-Day Menu Cookbook. Since I finished the Perfect 10 challenge, I have been experiencing a roller coaster with my weight staying within an 8 lbs. area. I really would like to lose those 8 lbs. and another 8 to 9 lbs. less would be nice too. So with that in mind I took out my new book and explored between the covers. Now I realize with all of the running, biking, and what-not that I do in a day 1200 calories is not enough but my thought was that it was a good healthy base to which I could add to. Ideally I would be adding healthy items like more fruit, veggies (I could try), granola bars, and sports gels to give me more calories for my workouts.

The book advertises quick easy recipes that are designed in a whole meal layout; 350 calories for breakfast, 350 calories for lunch, 400 calories for dinner and a 100 calorie dessert. The meals are well-balanced. My thought was that I was starting from scratch why not take advantage of it and get only items for the plan and force myself into eating healthy low-fat meals. So, off to the grocery store I went after putting together a list with a 14 day idea of a menu plan that included a few extra fresh fruits, fruit juice, and granola bars.

I came back from the grocery store two hours later $145 less rich and had to make 5 trips lugging groceries from the car to my third story apartment. Talk about a workout! If lugging groceries was an Olympic Event I could see myself in the running for at least a sliver.

Bright and early Monday morning, I started the menu plan. It took a little planning and prior putting together which was really counter to the way I usually operate with food. I’m normally hungry and then just grab what looks good or hit a fast food place. Planning is the key to making this work, and it’s going to need to become a habit to make this work. Here I am getting up 15min earlier to put together my breakfast and lunch for the day to take with me. I also am quickly putting my change of clothes for the office as I had planned to go to one of my early morning club bike rides. A good way to start the day is with an easy paced 11 mile bike ride.

The meal plan….

Low-fat turkey bacon
Whole wheat English muffin with a Tbsp. of low-fat cream cheese
A Bartlett pear cut up

Curry tuna salad in a whole wheat pocket pita
A medium sized banana

A medium sized banana

Spicy crumb topped chicken
Sweet corn
Non-fat vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries

Well, I did pretty good sticking to the meal plan except for the banana. Instead, I had an organic peanut granola bar that I picked up at REI before I did the Monday night club bike ride. I was really hungry prior to the 15 mile bike ride and needed a bit more than just a banana. I was really proud of myself that after the bike ride I didn’t give into my urge to take the short cut through the drive thru for dinner. I went home instead and made the spicy crumb topped chicken with the sweet corn that I topped with a bit of black pepper and Molly McButter. It was yummy and I was on the plan; who knew that a plan could be tasty. I also want to say that I REALLY like the curry tuna salad. It has a bit of sugar, pecans, and crunchy celery. Yum!

I'm still on the plan today and heading off to lunch to enjoy some more of that curry tuna salad.  YUM!