Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday's song:
Another Christmas Song - Steven Colbert - Barbie2be


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Christmas Song

It just wouldn't be the holiday season at my house without something needing repair. *SIGH*

We had every intention of joining the track club for the last run of the year. The route looked like a lot of fun, as the route ventured through Christmas Card Lane, and it was only a 5 miler -- very doable, and I think my calf could of handled a very slow run.

It was not to be.

We spent our entire morning figuring out what was wrong with the washing machine. The washing machine wasn't cycling through the spin cycle or draining. Michael thought it might be clogged, but when he took the pump out, the culprit was a quarter lodge inside the pump, and it thrashed the pump. We found a parts place in town, but the part won't be here for three weeks.


This means we'll either be lugging our laundry to our in-law's house or finding a near by laundromat. Of course, this is happening right before Michael and I leave for our two week trip to Mexico.

We're looking ahead. That's all we can do.

There is a warm and fuzzy Christmas edge this post.

On Wednesday we took Evan to the annual Rotarian Christmas party. Santa happened to make a guest appearance with gifts.

Evan was about to burst with excitement. Santa happened to know that Evan is 6 years old and loves cars. Evan was amazed that Santa knew so much about him.

Santa even knew exactly what Evan wanted.

A remote control monster truck!


Last Friday's song:
Continuum - Jaco Pastorius


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon Event - Part 2

Still with me?

Back to the souvenir shop...

Renata and I stayed somewhat warm for a while, but I wanted to find the medical tent for a couple of Tylenol and ice for my calf. The medical tent was somewhat hard to find. It was way across the venue, on the other side of a huge trailer, tucked away in a corner. Not good. My calf was cramping, but not that bad, but it was still far away, and I couldn't imagine what it would have been like for someone who was really hurting. Yikes. Renata stayed in the souvenir shop to wait for her husband, Gil. Once I found the medical tent, received some Tylenol and ice for my calf and a little rest, I felt better and got up to look for Michael. He finished his race in 2:42. He was just a couple of tents over with a few San Diego Track Club members. We managed a quick photo op with them and one of the running Elvi:

Me, Donna, a running Elvis, Kelly , Michael.

We made our way to the beer, saw more RU people, then started towards the gear check area. It was about that time we found Dawn. She was slowly making her way into the vendor area, looking for the medical tent. She was hurting and needed some attention. We helped her make her way to the medical tent, which was WAY across the venue.

Thumbs up! We made it to the medical tent!

Once Dawn was settled, Michael and I made our way back to the gear check, which took some time, gathered our belongings and made our way back to the medical tent to check on Dawn. I guess she must have been OK because she was gone by the time we got back. Sometimes a little rest, Tylenol and ice is all you need just to get up and going.

By this time my phone was chiming that I had a few text messages. I just missed AKA Alice. She had finished a while ago and was already settling down somewhere for some breakfast. Renata texted me that she found her husband and they were also sitting in one of the hotel bars to keep warm. I guess that was our cue to take off, too. We walked through Mandalay Bay to get back to Luxor (the hotels are connected), and while passing by one of the bars, we ran into Mitch and Doreen from the track club.

Mitch, Doreen, Michael, Me.

After chatting for a while, we all decided to grab some lunch at a deli near by within the Mandalay Bay hotel. Hot soup and a hot pastrami sandwich never tasted so good. It was great catching up with Mitch and Doreen as we talked about our future race plans and Las Vegas happenings.

Some place between Mandalay Bay and Luxor was this huge Christmas tree. We decided it would be a good spot for a photo :

Christmas card potential?

We finally made our way back to our room to crash. I really couldn't sleep but I just showered, iced my left leg/foot and rested. (Our room didn't have a bathtub, so I couldn't fill the tub with ice.) We needed to rest since we had plans with everyone from RU for dinner and dancing.

Yeah, dancing...

I thought I was going to over pack, but it was quite the contrary. I under packed the going out clothes. 3 pairs of pants but no dressy tops. I had a dress I could easily accessorize with some bling, but I forgot the bling. I had planned on wearing black tights with short boots with that dress, but when I went to put on the tights, they were a child's size. *GAH* The package was mislabeled. No back ups.* No dressy tops. I couldn't go without tights or hose because my left leg was so bruised up. Did I mention it was cold???? Well, it was COLD. Michael of San Diego found a Fredrick's of Hollywood within the confines of Mandalay Bay and bought me some black hose. Those almost didn't fit right, the waistband kept slipping down, but they had to work. I could no longer wear the boots, so I wore the heels I brought. (At the time, being on heels didn't feel all that bad.) Luckily, we made it down to the bar and found some of our group looking rather sharp, and we joined them for a martini:

Eventually, the entire group made it to the lobby, all dressed up and ready to go out. There were about 20 of us all together, and took a couple of limos to the restaurant and night club.

Other people were taking pictures at dinner, so we didn't get too many dinner shots. We sat across from people who happened to know a few of our neighbors from our previous address, and even attended the same high school as Michael, just several years apart. Someone pointed out that the breakfast menu had waffles, but breakfast was not being served. Waffles sounded delicious, but I was so hungry that a crummy little mint seemed like a delicious confection.

The night club was in the same area as the restaurant, and we were supposedly on some list, but come to find out we were not, and we were supposed to wait in line behind the infamous velvet rope. Someone in our group, a very smart, pretty, leggy blond said something to the bouncer and, somehow, we all got in. I'm not very savvy at that kind of thing, so I was rather surprised that all 20 of us got in. Michael snagged a few photos of us at the night club, which soon became very crowded.

The lady in the middle jumped in between the two blonds (who were with our group) and started dancing with them. It was awesome.

Michael took a lot of random shots like this one...
Don't know the guy on the left, but that's me, Renata, Gil, and Bryan in the front.

After a while it was kind of tight in there.

You know the saying "What happens in Vegas stays it Vegas?" It should be changed to "What happens in Vegas shows up on Facebook."

Michael and I left about 12:30 am, and I heard that everyone else left around 1 am...

By the time we made it back to our room, it was probably about 1 am. I happened to look down at my feet and noticed that I was now donning cankles -- calves and ankles become one. Yikes. I needed ice. Luckily, our room was right near the ice machine. I don't remember too much about what happened after icing the feet, but I'm sure sleep was involved.

Monday 12/7


I had only two drinks the entire night, therefore, no hangover to deal with. My feet, or I should say my left foot in particular, was still rather swollen. Getting out of bed was interesting. My feet didn't want to cooperate. (Remind me why I thought wearing heels after running a half marathon with an already injured calf would be a good idea.) I downed a lot of water and a couple of naproxen and put my feet up for as long as possible while Michael made some calls to the office and followed up with clients. I was craving breakfast in a big way. (Remember, at dinner the night before, someone saw waffles on the menu, but it was the breakfast menu.) I woke up craving waffles. I had to have waffles. We eventually made it down to the buffet, where there was only about 30 minutes left for breakfast. As we made our way through the line, the staff was already replacing the breakfast with lunch items. *Panic* Luckily, for me, there were still plenty of breakfast foods still out, including waffles... fluffy Belgian waffles... with butter and maple syrup... Whew.

As Michael and I were enjoying our breakfast, Justin, his girlfriend and their friends came down for breakfast. They were looking a little sleep deprived and planning to drive back home right after eating. We briefly talked about the trip, the run, the night out, shared some of the photos from the night before, and went our separate ways.

For us it was more rest, some shopping at the outlet mall (which did nothing to help my calf and feet), and dinner back at the buffet. Michael originally wanted to walk up and down the strip that evening, but it was raining, plus my swollen calf. The outlet mall was all I could deal with. I know. We're in Vegas opting NOT to go out.

Tuesday 12/8

It was actually nice to have that Monday to putz around. Once we arrived home on Tuesday, it was back to business for Michael, and for me it was attending my office holiday party, and getting out all of the Christmas decorations. (Evan requested decorating the house many times. I had to oblige, even though I wasn't planning on putting up the big tree this year, just the small one.)

How can Evan escape childhood without making a star out of cardboard, pasta and foil? Evan was really excited to create this star with me. The star now resides a top the rock pine outside, next to our front door.

The left calf is still sore and the left foot is dealing with water retention due to the calf injury. All I can do a this point is RICE, stretch and massage. I go back into RU next Wednesday. I thought about posting pictures of my calf and ankle/foot, but the swelling has gone down since Las Vegas, and most of the discoloration is gone. My ankle was about the size of a grapefruit. I just didn't think to take pictures of it when it was at it's most "ripe."

Before I forget, we stayed on the 13th floor. I didn't think hotels in the USA had 13th floors, which are normally reserved as a utility floor. Superstitions, I guess. I had no problem with 13. We were running a half marathon, 13.1 miles.

Other happenings...

Michael and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary on Friday, 12/11. I looked up what the traditional and/or modern gift would be. For 27 it's furniture. I never knew that. It doesn't look like I'll be seeing any new furniture soon, but I was surprised with the roses Michael brought me, even though we agreed on no gifts this year since we went to Las Vegas. We kept the day simple and went out for sushi at our favorite place in our neighborhood. Cheers.

We still have our trip to Guanajuato, Mexico. Our friend, Sam, is thrilled to be taking us to his home town and brought us several brochures and maps of the area. We'll be staying with his family for most of the trip. We're keeping everything no-frills and packing as light as possible. He even mapped out routes for us to run on, if that's what we decide to do.

Saturday's song:
Loose in Las Vegas - Monty Byrom & David Neuhauser - From the "Deal" soundtrack


PS: Do you know how many times I've edited this post due to glitches and minor typos? *sigh*

* Where was Tim Gunn When I needed him? It wasn't in the budget to buy an outfit just to go out for one evening, otherwise, I would have trekked to Macy's for some sort of ensemble, or at least some inexpensive bling/accessories.

Loose in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Maraton Event - Part 1

It has to be in two parts, mostly because of pictures, but the day of the event felt like three days rolled into one. I guess waking up at 4 am and going to bed at 1 am the next day had something to do with it.

I'm still not rested, but I've unpacked. Life has been busy since returning from Las Vegas, so I'll update as best as I can.

Friday 12/4

Made it to Vegas with little to no problems. Our flight was delayed for about a half hour, due to weather delays in the Midwest.

After checking into our hotel room at Luxor, and figuring out the elevator, we walked over to Mandalay Bay to pick up our race numbers and swag.

After a few times around the expo and scoring on some free Pearl Izumi socks, a red knit cap (came in handy), Elvis sunglasses and a ton of other non-essential items, we finally connected with AKA Alice:

She looked so put together and ready to go out. I looked like I needed an early bedtime! I don't know if it was the dry Las Vegas air or the smoky casinos, but my eyes puffed up almost the minute we arrived in Las Vegas. Oh yeah, I even met "Walter." I wasn't thinking, otherwise I would have gotten pictures of AKA Alice and Walter together.

After the expo, Michael and I went in search of some place to eat. It turns out that a sushi bar in Mandalay Bay had happy hour prices on select types of sushi and sake. We were there just in time to take advantage of happy hour.

Back at Luxor - Checking out the swag...

Nothings says "Merry Christmas" like Vanilla Gingerbread Gu. No, I haven't tried it yet.

After a walk down the strip, a brief stop in Walgreens, and a snack at McDonalds, we called it a night.

Saturday 12/5

We actually slept in. I've been waking up at home about 5 am without an alarm, so it felt weird to wake up at 8 am. After a coffee at Starbucks, we were back at the expo to look for more friends. I don't know why we spent more time milling around at the expo, it was kind of a waste, but we did see a few people from the Rehab United group, and walked up and down the strip with them. A long 4 mile walk was probably not the best idea but it was nice to get some fresh air. We also stopped inside a high end mall that just opened that weekend, just to see what it was all about.

Renata, Jessica and Me getting in a stretch. Those cylinders were illuminated ice. Security told us to get our feet off the display.

No trip to Las Vegas would be complete with a few architectural photos from Michael.

We parted ways with our friends and went back to the sushi place for our carb load dinner. We had the same happy hour meal, just left out the sake, and added a huge bowl of rice. We spent the evening in our room and rented a movie and snacked on pretzels filled with peanut butter. I know, not real exciting, but with the race the next morning and an early wake up time, we needed to keep things simple.

Sunday 12/6

Race day! We woke up at 4 am because we needed to meet the RU group down in the lobby at 5:15 am. I'm glad I had the where-with-all to purchase bottled mocha frappachinos at Starbucks and a couple of pastries the night before because that place was PACKED first thing in the morning. We kept the frapps cold in the ice bucket. It worked well!

Down in the lobby, we saw a couple of the RU people and then waited for everyone else to trickle in. As we were waiting, we noticed SEVERAL people starting to come back in from a night on the town, still all dressed up and blingy. I'm not quite sure if it was the "walk of shame" or they were still party-ing. Someone jokingly commented "gee, I wonder if they're running today?" My PT Bryan showed up, then eventually Justin and everyone else was there. It felt like we were about to go skiing, more than running. It was so cold. We all went outside to do some warm up stretches and then have a photo op:

Click photo to embiggen

I'm sort of on the left middle, with the reflective strips on my shoulders blaring. The guy right below me to the left with his tongue sticking out is Bryan, and guy at the front far left on the bottom row is Justin. Renata and her husband Gil are donning the white trash bags. Everyone else is either a part of the Run Fit program or RU staff. Photo credit to Michael.

After the warm up, we all went and dropped off our gear and waited in our numbered corrals. I was in #17. I couldn't get Lucy to cooperate, so I scanned the crowd for someone with my kind of Garmin. A guy was kind enough to show me what I was doing wrong. I had the right sequence down, I was just trying to hurry myself and missed a step. It really isn't that hard, but when you're half asleep and freezing, things just don't fall into place as they normally would. I called AKA Alice, but she ws still trying to get to the gear check area, which wasn't close, so we never hooked up. There were pre-race fireworks, the National Anthem, and then we were off, sort of. I started the run with Renata and Kristen. It took us about a half hour plus to get to the start line, since they were letting people go in waves. It was cool that the jumbotron at Mandalay Bay showed the runners.

I ran about the first two miles with Renata and Kirsten, but my calf was still tight, and I felt their need to go ahead of me, so I told them to just go ahead. I kept a relatively steady pace through the entire race. I was allowing myself some walking if I needed to, but it never got to that point.

Somewhere around mile 6, I think, maybe after the 10K point, I came upon Dawn, blogger Running Pink Chick. She came with a group from Canada. In the huge sea of people, I was so happy to see her. Since my camera went kaput on me right after the start of the run, she whipped out her camera and too this shot:

We ran together for a short while, but I had to keep my pace so my calf wouldn't lock up. It really lifted my spirits to run with Dawn.

I kept scanning for AKA Alice and her day-glow green race shirt, but no such luck.

After the turn-around that took us through a little neighborhood then back down the strip, I saw Renata waiting in line at the restrooms. Amazingly she caught up to me around mile 9, and we ran about 2 miles together. She pulled slightly ahead of me, but I always had her in sight. Around mile 1o.5, maybe 11, this Chippendale's dancer guy ran in front of me. He was wearing nothing more than the starched white collar, cuffs and bowtie, and black briefs, oh -- and running shoes. That's it. I kept thinking this guy had to be freezing or he was going to freeze something off...

As I approached mile 12, my left calf started to complain. It was stiff for the whole race, but it started to pinch and nag. I told myself that it's not a marathon, and I could manage 1.1 more miles. I did have the Zensah's on, which were a tremendous help. I don't think I could have run the entire HM without those. As I rounded the corner at mile 13, a huge group from RU waiting were there at the corner and yelled my name. One of the guys had a camera and I stopped and posed real quick for a photo,then ran my last .1 mile. I'll post the photo if I can get it.

Ran through the finish line! According to Lucy it was 2:30:00. Official time was 2:29:57. It felt good to squeak by in just under 2:30. It was my slowest half marathon, but with the calf issue, I felt quite satisfied. I ran the whole way.


We got the bling!

After the race, and gathering up post-race eats like bananas and oranges, etc, Renata and I decided it would be a good idea to hang out in the souvenir tent because it might be warmer. It was probably a whole 10 degrees warmer, but it made a difference.

To be continued...

Tuesday's song:
Leaving Las Vegas - Sherly Crow - Southbay Girl - Planet Ynnep Running


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Leaving Las Vegas

Back from Las Vegas...

Official results:

Distance HALF MAR
Clock Time 3:01:07
Chip Time 2:29:57
Overall Place 9882 / 17827
Gender Place 5326 / 11322
Division Place 264 / 814
Age Grade 51.1%
Pace 11:27
Ttlrace 17827
Ttldiv 814
Ttlsex 11322
5 Km 35:23
10 Km 1:09:23
10 Mi 1:53:24

This was my slowest half marathon ever, but considering I blew out my left calf just 5 days prior, it was FRIGGING COLD, and I couldn't feel my limbs, I'm happy with my time. I was going to be OK with 3 hours running with an injury, and squeaking by just under 2:30 by seconds feels (in a way) like a PR, even though it really isn't.

Once I'm rested and unpacked I'll post a full on trip and race report, complete with photos, or maybe not. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? We'll see.

Thursday's song:
Every Body Hurts - REM - Mel - 2nd Chances


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Everybody Hurts


Last night was the last group workout for the RU Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon/Half Marathon event. We retested our pull-ups, push-ups and med ball tosses. I was able to improve on everything. After that we did some fun group exercises. With about 10 minutes left, I was feeling pretty good, no major aches, I didn't push myself, and having a grand ol' time, until something in my left calf suddenly and unexpectedly popped.

Insert your favorite cuss word here_________.

If I didn't say it, I was thinking it.

Pain, pain, pain, PAIN.

I yelled over to our fearless leader, Justin, and I hopped on one foot, the right foot - the one with PF, to the stretching cage, just to have something to hold onto. Justin had one of the assistants ask me about what hurt and had me attempt a simple calf stretch.

Insert another favorite cuss word here_________.

On a pain scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst, it was a 9.

Once the class was over Justin came over and asked me all the standard questions, had me attempt a few more simple stretches then massaged my calf and leg a bit. I'm glad I've remembered all of those Lamaze childbirth class breathing techniques from 20 something years ago *cough*, because I really needed to focus my attention off my calf. Once that was done I was at least able to walk, then I iced the calf and went home.

First thing this morning I went back into RU and Justin worked on my calf. There was immediate relief and it wasn't as painful as it was last night, yet it's still sore. It's now about a 4 or 5 on the pain scale, which is a major improvement. We can't figure out, exactly, what caused my calf to cramp/spasm so badly. Stuff like that just happens, and any athlete is bound to have some sort of injury. I'm just surprised that I wasn't doing anything strenuous when the cramp/spasm occurred. He thought the compression calf sleeves would be a good idea, so after my RU visit, I trekked out to Road Runner Sports and bought a pair of blue Zensahs. These things rock. The relief was immediate and I wished I had a pair ages ago. Ah well.

I think I have about 4 hours in which to finish the half marathon. No need for speed and I think I can finish it in just under 3 hours. I had a good HM time at Silver Strand just a couple of weeks ago. I can cruise LV and do things like take pictures and actually stop at the hydration stations. I'm looking forward to it! My husband may actually come in ahead of me for a change.

Tuesday's song:
I'm OK - Christina Aguilera - Katiefeldmom



Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm OK

The computer is up and running!carrot I'm not sure what was wrong, but my husband ran some tests last night and this morning, and it hasn't shut off yet, and it's been longer than 3 minutes.

Speaking of up and running, now I get to figure out a few things, like Lucy. I can post links direct from Garmin, but I'm still working on posting pictures of maps and such. I am not very techy, and I know a lot of this is probably elementary to most people, but I've learned my computer skillz on the sly. ("Hey, what does this button do?") It will take me a while to get it together, but once I do, those maps and such will be everywhere. Yes, a computer course is in my near future and is on my list of things to do in 2010, right next to acquiring full time employment. Any how, here's a link of this morning's run from the Garmin site:

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Crown Point

I'm ready as I'll ever be for the Las Vegas RNRHM, sore foot included. Oh yeah, I have plantar fasciitis. Go me. It's not that bad, just a minor annoyance. I thought it was just the toe, but the toe ache is a a part of it all. Going for a PR is no longer in my mind, but I know I can go the distance, and thank goodness it isn't a whole marathon. Bryan has worked on my foot a few times and I've been icing it, rolling over a frozen bottle of water, wearing comfy shoes, and taking naproxen. I can't do ibuprofen - my lips swell up bigger than Angelina Jolie's - really - and it does nothing for me in that respect. I plan on taking a couple of weeks off from running after Las Vegas.

I haven't looked at my Google Reader yet, but I'm guessing it's rather full. It may take me a while to catch up on everyone's happenings, not unless I hit "mark as read" for everything and just start from scratch. I'll try not to do that.

By the way, we had some pretty good rain the day after Thanksgiving. We just need a little more.

Friday's song:
A Day Without Rain - Enya - Planet Ynnep Running