Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Kind Of Town

A brief respite to the mid-west to reunite with my best friend from high school and spend time with my sister and family was exactly what I needed.

My sister Donna and brother-in-law Jaime picked me up from Midway, then it was all about relaxing!

The next trick is to recall everything else.

The last time I saw Linda was the day before she packed everything into a large U-Haul truck and moved with her son to Michigan to be with her (then) husband. That was about 15 years ago. I was wondering if she would have changed much, but I was happy to see that she was the same Linda I knew back then: full of life, fun, and always embellishing on a story each time it was told. Yeah, we're older and have added a few wrinkles to our faces, but in my eyes she still looked exactly the same as when I last saw her.

At the Grand Lux Cafe for lunch

My sister played tour guide a little, and we mostly spent time around Michigan Avenue for sight seeing and shopping, but mostly shopping. I'm not a big shopper, and I guess it's because I don't have my sister and best friend to go shopping with. I'd be in serious debt if I always went shopping with those two.

Donna and Linda playing tourist. This is right before we dumped money on shoes and other stuff we really didn't need but had to have.

We made our way into the old Marshall Field's building, which is now Macy's. Linda spent her younger years of childhood in Chicago and remembered when Marshall Field's was THE store to go to. They had everything. She remembered being able to buy groceries and barrels of laundry soap there, along with clothes, and going out to a nice dinner. I guess it's somewhat of a sore subject, that Marshall Field's is no more. The building markers still indicate that it is the Marshall Field's building, but the signs are all Macy's.

The mosaic tile ceiling at Macy's, AKA Marshall Field's.

Donna had the foresight to make reservations at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock tower around 6:30 PM, before sunset. The views were spectacular.

Linda only had two days with us, as she had to get back to work, but the time we had together was bliss. I hope it's not another 15 years before we see each other again.

I was also able to spend some time with one of my nephews, Kyle. He's quite the character. He's written and produced a few plays that were in production, and able to pay the crews and actors, but never made a profit. He's now back in school working on the small screen, as in commercial production. He's an interestingly funny fellow. He also has a job renting out apartments, which keeps the bills paid. He took us out for Thai food somewhere near Lincoln Park.

Kyle and Donna

My other nephew, Brandon, never made an appearance. He's the one who recently graduated from college with a degree in Political Science and had a rather cushy job at a law firm in Chicago. He decided being in law wasn't for him, so he quit his job and is now attending classes at one of the culinary schools in Chicago to become a pastry chef. He's also working part-time in an Italian restaurant near Wrigley Field as a sort of a sou chef and whatever else there is to do, like wash dishes, etc. When he finishes culinary school in Chicago he wants to trek on over to Paris, France to attend the Cordon Bleu. The bank of mom and dad were rather surprised with this change of career path, but actually happy that Brandon had the where-with-all to do what makes him happy. He currently wears a uniform to class, which includes an ascot. (I so wanted a picture of him in uniform!) Kyle is relentless and often comments about the ascot, getting under Brandon's skin. Kyle has thus renamed Brandon "The Angry Chef."

On Sunday, Donna and I did a very touristy thing and took a tour ride on a red double-deck tour bus. The weather wasn't that cold, it was around 60 to 65 degrees, but once the bus got going we froze our asses off, especially when the bus went near the lake.

Brrrrr! Wearing our "mom" sunglasses... By the way, a large purse on your lap does not keep you warm!

After that informative, yet freezing tour, Donna insisted that we go out to a late lunch at a traditional Mexican restaurant called Adobo Grill. It's right next to Second City. It's real Mexican cuisine, not the typical smothered in cheese tourist crap. They served things like moles and real, freshly made margaritas. It was a little on the pricey side but well worth it. I'd go back just for the margs... They were THAT good!


Dontcha just love my sister's post tour bus, wind blown hair? I inhaled that guacamole, by the way.

While we were seated, the rain came. We were quite thankful that we were no longer on the bus tour. We would have been drenched! This is the view from our window-side table at the restaurant:

The guy with the bike had to wait until the rain let up.

After our wonderful meal and margs, the rain stopped and we went for a brief walk. As we crossed the street we came upon two preppy guys, probably in their late 20s to early 30s. One of the guys said "hey ladies!" I reluctantly responded with "Uh, hey?" We walked past each other and one of the guys smacked Donna on the butt and said "Now, that's what I'm talkin' about!" They just kept walking in the opposite direction. They looked like they had been drinking. We just kept walking on our way and then came upon a Pier One Imports, and darted in there to regroup. WTF was that??? My sister was dumbfounded and flattered all at the same time. There was no use getting bent over that incident, we just kept going, but sort of laughing about it at the same time. It was weird. I suppose we could have made a big deal about it and called the cops, but after a Pier One purchase and a short while, we just got a taxi back to the hotel and called it a day.

I did manage to get in some haphazard running while I was on my trip, but I'll leave those details for my next blog post, along with some other pictures. I'm afraid I'll blow up Blogger if I post everything now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009's song:

Girl's Nite Out - Tyler Collins


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Girls Nite Out

It's more like a girls long weekend out...

See you next week!

Yesterday's song - Couldn't Stand The Weather - Stevie Ray Vaughn


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Couldn't Stand The Weather

After last Saturday's run and gardening (*ahem* dirt digging), I felt great. Later that night we got an invite to head out to a restaurant/bar to hear a Stevie Ray Vaughn cover band. The restaurant/bar isn't usually the first place I think to go to because my food is either not prepared properly or I end up getting sick. Why would this time be any different? I had lemonade, chips and salsa, and a very small rolled beef taco - cheese scraped off. Not a lot of food by any means, but something made me ill. Oh yeah, the band was terrific - They did version of Little Wing that blew us away. I wished I could have stayed for the next set, but I wasn't drinking ( I was the DD), and my stomach was quite uncomfortable. I ended up spending most of my Sunday in bed. Go me.

Sports Rehab:
A lot of exercises to engage the hips, which required twisting, squatting, and lunging, plus burpees, abs and other plyo type exercises. I'm pretty good until the burpees. He wants me to do at least 10 (two sets total = 20) , but I have to do two sets of 5 instead... I know, there's always something to work on.

Activity: Run - Treadmill
Date: 04/21/09 05:00 PM
Distance: 2.35 miles
Time: 0:25:00
Speed: 5.6 mph
Pace: 10' 38 min/mile
Calories: 237

Today things were changed up per B's suggestions. Instead of doing 4 minute intervals for 40 minutes, I did one HIIT pyramid, then did consistent, shorter intervals - an all out pace for two minutes and marathon pace for 1 minute, over and over again until the 20 minutes were up. I didn't do an all out effort for most of those 2 minute segments. I'm somewhat reluctant to give an all out effort due to the fear of getting re-injured. I was able to hold an 8:00m/m pace for some of those, but not any faster than that, which is still not an all out effort. Yeah, I do want to go faster, but I'm not masochistic, either. The remaining 5 minutes was a cool down jog.


As Californian I consider myself to be quite spoiled with the mostly wonderful weather. The temperatures get higher or lower than 70 to 75 degrees and the Californians have a tizzy. It's supposed to be Spring, yet it feels a lot like the heat of August. It's been in the 90s and 100s, maybe in the high 80s in some areas. I'm not ready for summer-like weather, yet. My poor flowering plants are a little burnt. I really have nothing to complain about. I'll be heading out to Chicago to visit my sister and one of my best friends from high school in just a few days. Their weather is MUCH cooler and I was told to back for just about every weather. I have a feeling I'll be over packing.

I have a certain 5 year old boy asking a lot of redundant questions. I need to go...

Saturday's song:
Where Do You Go? - No Mercy


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where Do You Go?

Activity: Run
Date: 04/18/09 07:48 AM
Distance: 11.51 miles
Time: 2:14:29
Speed: 5.1 mph
Pace: 11' 41 min/mile
Calories: 1107

This was almost a no brainer. We ran at the bay. I probably could have fit in another mile, but that would have meant running around the parking lot next to Sea World several times to fill in the distance. The stats say I ran 11.51 miles. I wasn't trying to shatter any records with my slowness. Ha. I'm so glad we opted out of running with the track club today because it would have been tough. I would have completed the mileage, but I would have been good for nothing afterward, and we have a full plate of home improvement items to take care of today.

The weather today is stellar. I didn't have the foresight to bring the good camera, because some of the flowers were just beautiful. Wild yellow daisies were everywhere, and the park & rec folks planted several drought tolerant plants that showed purple blooms. Maybe I'll go back with the good camera just for pictures. I did have my cell phone and did manage a few pictures, but they don't do the flowers or the bay any justice whatsoever...

After the run we visited our favorite dive for Halla (French) toast and Bloody Marys. One of the windows we sat next to was covered with stickers. Somehow, this one applies to how some of our non-running friends look at our running - they think we're psycho:

Yesterday's song:
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham - Run-DMZ


Friday, April 17, 2009

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go


Activity: Run - Treadmill
Date: 04/16/09 11:00 AM
Distance: 4.01 miles
Time: 0:42:00
Speed: 5.7 mph
Pace: 10' 30 min/mile
Calories: 399

Yesterday was 40 minutes of 4 minute intervals on the gym treadmill. The last two minutes were the treadmill cool down. I was able to go a wee bit faster without killing myself and took a minute off my m/m average, even with the cool down.

I feel pretty good. Not so toasted like Wednesday.


I'm still waffling between attending tomorrow's track club long run or just doing my own thing. It's a 17 miler starting at the Oceanside Pier. Part of the reason why I'm waffling is because of the drive up. It's about a 35 minute drive up the interstate, which means trying to wake up my non-morning person of a husband early enough to arrive on time for the 6:30 am warm-up run and stretch. If it were a matter of just jumping out of bed, throwing on some running garb and taking off then we'd be OK, but we need to eat a small something at least an hour or more before we leave, and just getting my husband to wake up and eat breakfast in the wee hours of the morning takes a while. It's not the train run or a race day so there's no motivation for him to get moving. You know I'd be bitching at him to get a move on because we'd be late. I intensely dislike being late for anything. My other option is to run at the bay, which is less than a 5 minute drive down the road. No bitching involved. I'm sort of thinking running at the bay seems better and better all the time. Of course, the down side to not attending the track club's long run is that we won't get to see all of our friends, which is a big motivating factor for these longer runs -- hence the waffling. We'll see what happens.

I'm suddenly craving waffles.

Wednesday's song:
It's Not Over - Daughtry - Barbie2be


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Not Over

Sports Rehab.
3 rounds of:
Barbell squats - 85 pounds X 10 reps, burpees X 10 reps, walking squats (monkey walk) with a medicine ball, three types of lunges with about 10 reps each, one set had three different stances.

I am toast. Again.

Did anyone happen to catch Biggest Loser last night? I only watched the last half of it, but I caught the segment when the one contestant found out she had a hip fracture. That's pretty much what happened to me, but when I started hurting and sought medical advice, they misdiagnosed me, so my problem manifested itself to the point of needing surgery. I was glad they aired that piece because you never think something like that can happen to you, especially when you feel you've arrived. I'm glad they showed her moving on and doing well.

Here's the only picture from last week's run. No beautiful beach scene, just the streets of Del Mar. I don't know who the guy is.

Photo courtesy of the SDTC

Saturday's song:

Climb That Hill - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Climb That Hill

Activity: Run
Date: 04/11/09 09:39 AM
Distance: 14.25 miles
Time: 2:42:44
Speed: 5.3 mph
Pace: 11' 25 min/mile
Calories: 1376

Today's long run with the track club started at La Jolla Shores - right on the beach, and went up the coast to Del Mar and back, but we came back through Torrey Pines and by UCSD. This run includes a huge (killer) hill with a pretty steep incline. I did OK and felt really good about this particular run. I'm not beat up like I was last week. It was also drizzling and much, MUCH cooler than last week's run. It was perfect running weather. I was prepared for the weather this time. I wore my leggings for the entire run, but had an huge pair of old running shorts in my car, which I put on after the run, then jumped in to the water to cool down my hot, swollen legs in the 50-something degrees water.

The water felt good once I got used to it. I went half-way in.

It also looks like I'm going to lose a toenail. The big toenail on the left foot is nice and purple, doesn't hurt, but feels weird. I wish it would just fall off already. I briefly thought about photo documenting the toe, but I'll spare you all.

Thursday's song :
I Second That Emotion - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Miss Rachel


Thursday, April 09, 2009

I Second That Emotion

Yesterday's Sports Rehab:

Squat matrix with less reps but heavier weights, upside down Bosu ball squats and lunges with weights (hard!), several plyo exercises, hamstring curls with the stability ball.

B mentioned that I've come a long way since day one at rehab. He said we could take the workouts to a different level now, and he could start coaching me with running, if that's what I wanted. Then he asked me about what my long term goals were, as far as distances and speed. I mentioned concentrating on the half marathon distance and he seemed to think I could easily get to the point of a sub 2 hour half marathon, based on the progress I'm making now. I was kind of surprised to hear that he wanted to coach me. In most situations they assess if a person has gone as far as they can with rehab, sort of like they did with me at Kaiser, but they usually release you and suggest that you can come back at any time, but it usually means you're done. I guess B thinks I can go beyond rehab and offered to coach me. Wow. This conversation made my day. It was a boost to my ego, for sure!

Other Stuff:

We all know about vanity sizing. A size 10 in 1969 is a size 2 in 2009. I didn't realize vanity sizing was also happening in children's clothing, particularly in girl's sizes. Sometimes I'll 'troll the kid's section for athletic tops because they usually cost less than if I bought just about the same thing in the women's section. I usually hit up the boy's department because like the colors, such as red, burgundy and royal blue, and I can usually fit into a boy's size medium or large, depending on how stretchy the fabric is. Yesterday I happened upon a clearance rack at Target in the girl's section, just to see if I could find anything that wasn't too juvenile looking. I found two athletic tank tops that had an interesting print for about $7 on clearance, one in bright blue, L and the other in bright pink, XL. I was concerned that the girl's L would be too small. I even went into the Women's department to compare the girl's L and XL to the women's XS and S. No difference. It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't fathom fitting into a girl's size L because there was such a difference between the cuts in girl's and women's clothes. There was no way I could think of squeezing that small of a top over my head. I figured for $7 each I couldn't go wrong. Both tops fit, and the girl's XL actually seemed a little bit big. The thing that really gets me (more than the sizing issue) is that the women's tops I found that were equivalent were not on sale, but double the price. Hmmmm... I've also 'trolled the men's department for solid color athletic tops, mostly looking for particular colors, and sometimes the tops are cheaper there, too, but it's usually a bit tougher for me to find a men's S. It never hurts to look, but why are the women's sizes always jacked up in price?

Food For Thought:
Do you own a scale? How much does does scale weight mean to you? Does that number control every bit of your day, or would you rather not know? Would you rather go by fitting into a particular pair of jeans or rely solely on what the scale says? Do you weigh in daily, several times a day, weekly or not at all? Does a spike up or down in weight control your mood that day? Blogger MizFit brought up the scale issue on her blog. It made for some interesting comments, but I mostly agree with MizFit. I do own a scale but I'm not obsessively weighing in -- I weigh in weekly. The scale doesn't control my moods. Water retention happens and my weight temporarily spikes up, but I don't get all depressed about it, or feel like throwing a party when the water retention weight goes down. I often use the scale before and after long runs over 6 miles, just to keep an eye on hydration or dehydration. I tend to go by how my clothes fit. Check out MizFit's blog post along with the comments: "The Power of the Scale."

Tuesday's song:
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens - Heffer Blog (AKA Alice)


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Last week the it was the kid's turn to bring home Lion from school and report on what they did. The kids (or parents) are supposed to document Lion's visit in some way. We documented the visit with this photo:

Saturday's song:
Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Locomotive Breath

"In the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath
Runs the all-time loser
Headlong to his death
He feels the piston scraping
Steam breaking on his brow
Old Charlie stole the handle
And the train it won't stop going
No way to slow down."

Activity: Run
Date: 04/04/09 8:15 AM
Distance: 15.85 miles
Time: 3:04:15
Speed: 5.2 mph
Pace: 11' 38 min/mile
Calories: 1536

Today was the famous train run with the track club. We take a 16 mile train ride up the coast and run back.

I was expecting cooler weather, per the forecast, but it warmed up. I had thick leggings on and I was a little too hot, and I believe that contributed to the heaviness of my legs on the last 5 miles. It was not pretty at all! People kept asking me if I was OK. In the first half of the run my splits were around 10:30m/m to 11:00 m/m. The second half all of my splits were in the 12:00m/m range, pushing a 13:00 m/m. I had calf cramps... That usually happens with the lack of hydration and/or electrolytes, but I thought was prepared. I'm thinking the warmer weather and lack of back up plan clothing were the cramp culprits. I walked when I needed to, and ran in just about the last three miles. I turned off my GPS a little too soon, but my actual mileage is around 16. I was also experiencing some DOMS from my big butt workout on Wednesday, and I wasn't exactly running on fresh legs. The point is that we all cranked out 16 miles (we didn't have a choice, since it was a point to point run) and we have the rest of the weekend to recoup. Yay us.

After the run we went out to breakfast with a group of runners. I knew most of the people there, but there were a few newbies in the group. One funny thing, people were actually pointing and laughing at use because we were all walking rather wobbly. Any who, I wasn't really hungry at that time, which surprised me. I just burned off over 1500 calories and I wasn't hungry. WTF is wrong with me? The restaurant had all of my favorite breakfast foods, like pancakes, French toast, waffles, omelets, etc. I ended up with one over easy egg , an English muffin and cranberry juice. That is so not me. Normally, after a long run, I could scarf down a huge plate of French toast with strawberries, plus coffee and juice, and still want more.

Back home, and after downing a couple of Aleves, the husband and I are feeling just spiffy.

So... How was your Saturday morning?

Yesterday's song:
Baby Got Back - Sir Mix A lot - Run-DMZ


Friday, April 03, 2009

Baby Got Back

Random Stuff

Last Friday we celebrated the birthday of one of my coworkers, Pinky. I think I've posted how crazy our office is, with some of the nick-names, silly pranks and overall goof ball stuff that happens. A while back, Pinky could not remember the words "garbanzo beans." She kept calling them "bolitas," which is a Spanish term for "little balls." We had no idea what she was talking about. She kept on saying "you know, bolitias, those little white things you put on salad." Huh??? At the Christmas party someone brought the fixings for a salad bar, and several bowls were put out on the buffet table with all kinds of fruits and vegetables for the salad. In one of the bowls were garbanzo beans. Pinky points out the garbanzo beans and exclaims: "Bolitas!" We all started busting up, and we just didn't let it go -- We never let stuff like that go... Fast forward to last Friday. We were enjoying being out celebrating, and it comes to gift time. This is what I did, I mean, GAVE to Pinky:

Since I don't have Photoshop, I just did some cutting and pasting, then photocopied the label onto photo quality paper, and put the reworked labels on the cans of garbanzo beans... I also found several recipes from the internet that included garbanzo beans but changed the words "garbanzo beans" to "bolitas." Pinky got a big kick out of it, and so did everyone else. Yeah, we're all dorks, but we always have a good time.

Wednesday at sports rehab I graduated to heavier weights. I don't remember how heavy (they were heavier than normal) but let's just say it was no longer just a 5, 8, 10 or 12 pound dumbbells. I did barbell squats, perhaps about 50 pounds worth, maybe more. Then B (my therapist) said my butt is gonna get big -- then something about muscles... Then I replied with "my husband is a butt man." Ha. After that workout my posture, stance and walk felt more straight, more normal, if that makes sense.

For those of you with critters, especially cats, you know that an empty box or bag is just the perfect place for a nap, even it it's too small... I try to keep my shoes in the boxes they came in, mostly for ease of storage, and I don't end up with a pile of shoes on the floor of my closet. Any way, this is what I came home to right after my big butt workout -- I couldn't put my shoes away for a short while:

Tomorrow is the train run with the track club. We take a 16 mile train ride up the coast and run back. I think I'll be just fine, as long as I take it easy and keep moving the whole way. Cooler weather is in the forecast, and that will make for a pleasant run.

Tuesday's song:
Heartbeat - Buddy Holly, Madonna, Paris Hilton, etc. - Barbie2be, She Do Run Run