Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deck Them Halls, Ya'll!

The Thanksgiving break so far has been great! But before I get into details about that, I want to remind everyone of something I'm sure your mom said to you at some point in your life - "It's better to give than it is to receive.". And since the holiday's are upon us, I want to share with you some ways you can give if you are so inclined.

1) We have some good friends who have a 19 year-old son who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I can't remember the exact type, but it's a rare one. They have a caringbridge site, so if you are so inclined to go over and leave a nice message, I'm sure they would appreciate it. We've known the family (three generations worth) for a long time and they are wonderful people.

2) And if you like helping out those with cancer, head on over to this site and enter a chance to win something for yourself while helping two families with kids going through transplants. Marey has a daughter who has fought cancer and is doing well, but not all families have the same outcome. Having a transplant is a huge deal physically as well as financially. Every year Marey helps out families who need it by hosting fundraisers, so if you want to help, head on over.
3) Another way to help kid's that have cancer is to head over to Host An Elf . While there, you can buy one of "Catie's Elves" for yourself or donate it so that a child with cancer will receive it this Christmas. Or, if you want to help out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), then when you buy a regular elf, as you are checking out, you can click on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LLS.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'll just say that the Thanksgiving break so far has been great! I've been able to "sleep in" three days in a row and still get in a morning workout. Today I even got in a 7 mile run outside which felt great!!!
The best thing is that, following holiday tradition, we've gotten the Christmas decorations up both outside and inside, we've spent some time with family and good friends, we've watched some football, and we've even done a little Christmas shopping. It doesn't get any better than that.
I'll leave you with a few pictures of our holiday decorating. And for those of you who are curious, we put up three trees. One in the living room with all the traditional ornaments and the ones that have meaning (like ones we buy from our vacation spots, etc); a Disney themed tree in the office where it can be seen from the road; and a small, puny tree (that was the first tree my husband and I ever had) in the dining room which can also be seen from the road. Enjoy!!!

Being Silly!

putting the ornaments on
the finished tree in the living room
a handmade ornament
they were so cute when they were little :)
the stockings
Santa's plates (these were bought last year from Marey when she did the fundraiser)
the finished Disney tree
our puny little tree (I can't find the tree skirt, so I'll probably have to get a new one)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Ready For A Break

Last week was a busy week, and I'm ready for the Thanksgiving break!!!

I've been going to the chiropractor twice a week for the past month. Luckily he is 10 minutes from my house, but it still takes time to drive there, get adjusted and get home. I've had to push my workouts to later, which then means dinner is later. But, the good news is that I've gotten in some pretty normal workouts over the last week.

I'm an avid reader of the forum. One of the coaches who posts on there kind of put out a "challenge" to become a stronger cycler over the winter/off season/whatever you want to call it. I decided to follow along and do the workouts to see if it improves my cycling for next spring. I've got my road bike on the trainer upstairs, so I was set. The workouts started last week. Tuesday and Thursday I was able to get them done. There were some fast intervals in there and boy was I drenched with sweat when I was done. I think it's going to be good.

I also got in a couple of runs last week, but skipped Wednesday's workout to go help celebrate a milestone birthday of one of our cyclists with TNT. It was worth missing a workout for. Then Friday night, we headed out of town for a soccer tournament. We had about a 3 hour drive and stopped for dinner along the way, so needless to say I didn't get a workout in on Friday.

Saturday we got up at 6:00 so my son could eat breakfast and we could get to the fields by 8am. It was soooooo cold (in the high 30s at game time). I was layered in clothes and wrapped in a blanket and still cold. After the first game we went with several team members to eat a real breakfast (the hotel only had cereal and the boys were hungry after the game) and then back to the hotel where I managed to get in a 30 minute nap before it was time to head back to the fields. After the afternoon game, we headed back to the hotel for about 30 minutes and then headed for an early dinner before the 8pm game. I was cold all day long. They played much better in the third game, but it was too little too late and it wasn't enough to put them in the finals.

After the game we headed back to the hotel and I caught the last of the OU/Texas Tech football game. I'm an Aggie, so those two teams are in our conference and I was interested in the outcome.

Since our boys were not in the playoffs, it allowed us to "sleep in" Sunday morning. I can't really sleep late and was awake at 6:30. I thought about getting up and going to the hotel gym to run on the treadmill. And then I closed my eyes and thought some more. It was cold and I rarely ever get to stay in bed. And the kids were still asleep. And the bed won. When we finally got up, we ate breakfast and went to watch the other team in their 10am championship game. That was a great game that went into overtime and then into penalty kicks to decide the winner. When all was over we headed home, stopping along the way for a late lunch.

When we got home it was time to wash clothes, grocery shop, get the kids ready for school. And, the Ironman Arizona was Sunday, so I wanted to watch what I could on-line (an Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, followed by a 26.2 mile run). I know I've said it before, but if you ever have a chance to watch part of a televised Ironman, you should. Especially the end as the final participants cross the line. Everyone starts at the same time and there is a 17 hour time limit for completing it. Everytime I watch, I want more and more to do one some day. I've done marathons, so I know I can cover the distance. I've done a century ride, so I'm good on the bike. And I feel fairly confident that I could swim the distance with the training. It's just putting them all three together and figuring out nutrition that's the hard part!!! I just need to find the right Ironman and the right time of year so that I can get in the HOURS and HOURS of training. I'm hoping to go volunteer at one next year and experience it in person.

And after reading on the forum some updates on how people were doing, I felt lazy for not heading to the gym Sunday morning, so I headed upstairs and did the cycling workout I needed to do. Then I watched some more Ironman before heading to bed.

Today was back to work for a short work week. Another chiro adjustment and a 5.5 mile run. We are staying home for Thanksgiving this year and we've decided we are not doing anything. I may not even get out of my pajamas. Unless the guilt gets the better part of me and I end up exercising. We'll see what happens.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and safe travels for anyone traveling.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Letter "W" - an interesting observation from my son

Saturday afternoon we were running errands after my son's indoor soccer game. As we were headed home, we got stopped at a red light. My son looked at the street sign - Wells Branch Parkway. Then he asked "why is a w called double u"? And then he said, "It should be called double v". Hmm. Maybe he's right.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Update on The Back

After resting all day Saturday, I got up Sunday and felt I needed to do something. We had decided to go to the Creekside Service at our church at 11:00, so I had plenty of time. I got on the trainer and rode my bike for about 15 minutes. I didn't want to push things, so that was enough.

Monday I had my second adjustment. Pop. Pop. PopPopPop. It's amazing at how many pops the chiro can get out of my neck. After I got home, I got on the treadmill, set the speed at 4mph and walked at a 1.5% incline for 30 minutes.

Tuesday - well, those of you who know me well know that Tuesday's are yoga days. I was able to do much more this week than last, but still had to do the beginner or intermediate poses on some of the poses, whereas I normally do advanced on almost all of them. I can tell the left side is still tight.

Wednesday. Part of the original gift certificate to the chiro included a 30 minute massage. I LOVE massages. And that massage was tonight. Ahhhhh. I could have fallen asleep. And the massage therapist actually massaged hard and she actually found some areas that bother me that other massage therapists never find. I'll be going back to her for sure. She also mentioned a different kind of massage that sounds interesting. She said it's good for really flexible people who can't get stretched out enough by themselves. Ummm, that would be me. I need to look over her brochure and give her a call back.

After the massage I had my third adjustment. The back isn't popping as much as it did the first time, which I take as a good sign, but the neck just keeps popping. Dang desk job and computer work. I've tried to not spend as much time on the computer, but when your job depends on it for the most part, there's not much you can do. I may look at moving my monitor/keyboard or something to see if it will help.

I think I'm going to try the treadmill again tonight and see if I can get in a slow jog. Still don't want to push things, but I'm ready to get back at it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh My! That Felt Good!

So, this morning I went in for my follow up with the chiro. It was pretty interesting. The x-rays show that my hips are out of alignment (one is higher than the other) by about 1/4 to 1/2". He could even see the difference in the wear on my shoes (and I can't). That's the root cause of my problem. The other thing is that most people have some curvature in the spine in the neck area. Not me. Mine is straight (probably from years of a desk job using the computer). He said that every time I sneeze, all that pressure goes straight down my back and affects my lower back. And those of you that know me well know that I sneeze a lot. Interesting.

After going over the x-rays, the outlined treatment plan, the costs, etc. he did my first adjustment. I've always been a "popper". I know I shouldn't, but I've been able to pop my neck, my back, my shoulders - basically if I felt it needed to pop, I'd pop it. But popping isn't the same as adjusting and man, I've never heard my body pop like that. And it felt good! And my back doesn't hurt as much right now.

But, he told me to rest for the rest of the day today. He said if I want to exercise tomorrow, I could either walk on the treadmill at 4mph and a big incline, or I could get on my bike on the trainer. I go back Monday for another adjustment. I know some people don't believe in chiros, but I'm giving it a shot. We'll see what happens. And maybe if he gets my hips aligned it will help my running and maybe I can run faster. A girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sidelined and Frustrated

Sometime in the last week or two, I did something to my back. I don't know what I did. It could be any number of things, but I first noticed it last Sunday. As I was getting ready for church, it felt like I had slept wrong and I couldn't really turn my head. I figured it would go away on its own. And it did somewhat.

Monday morning, the pain in my upper back/neck area was gone, but I felt something in my lower back when I would sit or stand. Didn't hurt when I was walking, and it didn't hurt when I ran, so I did my normal Monday workout. Same thing Tuesday and Wednesday. During my short run Thursday I noticed I could feel it just a little bit. I figured resting Friday and Saturday would be good and I'd be good to race in the Race for the Cure on Sunday.

My body had other plans. I could barely move on Saturday. It was a struggle to get in and out of the chair to watch my son's soccer games. Sunday morning I felt a little better, but still wasn't sure that I could run. I met the other people from my church who were going to walk the course and we headed downtown. We went through the "expo" and got all the free goodies and then got ready to head to the start line. It was decision time.

I had not put my chip on my shoe yet. If I wasn't going to run for time, I wasn't going to run and I wasn't going to have the chip reflect my time. I did a few test "jogs" to see what I thought and I could feel the pain. And the final straw that made my decision was that after I turned my Garmin on, it froze. It wouldn't register a signal and it wouldn't turn off or anything. I took that as a sign that I was not meant to run, stuffed my chip in my pocket, and headed to the start line for the non-timed runners and walkers. And so I walked the course with my parents. And it took a while. But I got to experience the race from a different perspective.

I got to read the backs of people that had "in memory" or "in celebration" on their back. I got to cheer on runners who were struggling up the hill. I got to stop and pat the dogs who are out there every year to cheer everyone on. And I got to spend almost an hour talking to my parents.

I spent the rest of Sunday resting. And Monday morning I called a chiropractor to make an appointment. At our church's Fall Festival a few weeks ago, I bid on and won a gift certificate to a chiro for x-rays, exam, adjustment and massage. I figured this was the perfect time to use it. They couldn't get me in until Tuesday. And all they did at that appointment was ask what was hurting, take x-rays, and do some heat sensor thingy on my back. They told me to make a follow up appointment to go over the x-rays and to start treatment. Only thing is that between their available times and my schedule, they can't get me in until Saturday morning at 8:30.

I'm frustrated. Other than my back, I feel great and want to be out running. I go stir crazy not exercising. I did go to yoga Tuesday night after the chiro. I wasn't able to do all the poses, and I definitely stuck to the beginner poses on the ones I could do, but I think it helped to stretch things out. I felt a little better this morning, but still not 100%.

In the three years I've been really exercising and training for endurance events, I've never been injured to the point where I can't workout. I've had muscle issues and minor pains, but they've gone away with a day of rest. Not this time. And I'm frustrated.