Running Turns into Tae-Bo on Rainy Days

I decided not to run because of the rain last night – I wear glasses and it’s kind of hard to see when they’re covered in water droplets.

Plus… puddles. 

So, I tried to find a good workout alternative on Youtube. I wanted to do one of the dance / zumba videos but couldn’t find a really good one. They were all a little too fast. Now, I can handle the speed, but the problem is in the apartment – the walls & floors are not super sturdy. The floor bounces a lot when we simply walk around, and everything on the shelves shakes, so hopping, skipping, and jumping are out of the question unless I want to destroy everything and possibly fall through the floor. Jumping jacks are a death wish. Even the TV wobbles back and forth! Ah, apartment living. 

I did a tae-bo video instead and stood on the sturdiest spot in the apartment for my workout. Pretty good workout! I also did a few planks for a combined 60 seconds the other day and the muscles around my middle are feeling it! Whew. 

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Trail Running at Mercer County Park

My husband agreed to come on a run with me, although he would be walking and I would just run ahead of him a little bit and then run back to him. It was a bit chilly today but once I started running, that didn’t matter too much. I was planning to retrace my steps from the last 5K I did so I could train on semi-hilly paved paths, but there was a March of Dimes happening at the park so there were people crawling all over those trails. We had to go the other direction, into the woods, on unpaved path ways with some rougher terrain. It was a lot more isolated and it was definitely a good workout – hills up and down, tree roots to hop over, brush on either side of the path to avoid. We turned back after about 1 mile so round trip it was probably around 2 miles. My GPS watch didn’t start tracking from the beginning of our workout and we did a lot of walking, so I didn’t bother trying to beat any records or anything. Another 1.5 miles to add to my total for the week! I’m upping the ante on my workouts a little bit by adding some mileage and intensity to different runs throughout the week. Finally, the weather is nice enough to stay outside for longer than 15 minutes!

Boston Marathon World Run and a really lackluster attempt at HIIT training

Monday was the Boston Marathon. Before I was a runner, I thought marathons were impossible and ridiculous and the people who ran them were absolutely crazy. Then I became a runner and realized that maybe they weren’t crazy, but they must be in really good shape because there ain’t no way I’m ever going to be able to run 26.2 miles. I think I’ve even said in a previous post that I might aim for a half marathon as my biggest goal as a runner, but now I’m starting to think about Boston…. It’s floating around in my head although I’m not really read to say out loud, “I want to run a marathon.” I did tell my husband I wanted to run a marathon and he said, “You should.” Having only run 5Ks before, I feel a little crazy for dreaming this dream. I think I would need to get serious about training and find a really good training plan. I need someone to tell me exactly how far to run, what kind of workouts to do, etc. I kind of flounder when it’s up to me to figure it out on my own. 

Well, I didn’t run a marathon, but I did participate in the Boston Marathon World Run! I pledge 2.62 miles, which is sort of a long distance for me on a normal run day. I wasn’t sure at first that I’d be able to do the whole thing as a run and I started planning that I would run maybe 1.62 miles and then bike the rest. I glanced at a map to sort of gauge the distance of various routes before I headed out. I wound up running the whole 2.62 miles in about 45 minutes, and I actually ran almost the entire time!  I am so proud of my virtual medal. 

I decided to do a HIIT workout in place of my regular interval training, which basically means I decided to run my intervals a little longer and harder than normal, and it didn’t really go as planned. I started out trying to run 1/4 mile intervals but just couldn’t keep up the speed the whole time so I shortened the distance to 1/8 mile and even then had trouble keeping the intensity up the whole time. I was aiming for 8 intervals with about 90 seconds – two minutes of recovery in between. I tried to run my fourth one harder than the others (although at that point, “harder” kind of didn’t mean anything anymore.) I think I wound up doing 6 intervals and heading home – I just couldn’t catch a deep enough breath to recover enough to keep going. So, not exactly how I wanted the run to go, but I think I got the point across a little bit, trying to push my lungs and legs to keep going even when they’re tired. I’m also hoping that all of this faster running will actually help me run faster without getting so winded. 

Hopped on the scale the other day…. still 245. Really? This is getting weird. I’m eating vegetables (and eating better in general, but VEGETABLES.) and I’m working out more than ever but I’m not dropping any weight. My pants fit a little looser and I think I can just about make out a collarbone… and I was able to zip up a dress on my own that I used to need assistance with! I was sort of hoping to go down a size by this point. I mean, really it’s been like, 8 months since I started running seriously. I try on shirts that used to fit great a few years ago and they still don’t button and it’s just really frustrating. 

Visiting Greystone & Also The Emergency Room

Greystone Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey, that is. It’s surrounded by public parkland and there are several geocaches there. The state is also planning to destroy one the old main buildings – an iconic Kirkbride building. Dr. Kirkbride designed a building with a central administration area and two symmetrical wings on either side to separate male and female patients. It is long and thin when viewed from above but it’s incredibly imposing when viewed from the front entrance. His design has become part of the history of mental health and unfortunately, New Jersey finds it easier to simply tear it down than to take up one of the many offers to renovate or rehab. Typical and disappointing. Anyway…

My friend Carrie and I visited the grounds to take a few pictures and find a few geocaches. We were out for a few hours, and the weather was sort of perfect for geocaching – not too chilly and not too hot. We found seven or eight caches and called it a day. The hike wasn’t super strenuous although some sections gave me a decent workout (both up and down) and I’m sure we covered at least a few miles.

We went to lunch afterwards but had to cut our day short because I had to rush home to help take care of my lovely cat. The next day while I was changing my shirt…. I look down…. and on my arm…. no, rather, IN my arm is a tick! AGH! I had checked myself out for ticks a little bit the day before, but obviously not well enough! I actually yelled to my husband, “Help me! There’s a tick in me!” He put olive oil on it, which for some reason made it stand up straight out of my skin which made it easier to grab with the tweezers and he was able to wiggle the whole thing out, head and all. At that point it actually seemed pretty dead. Still…. we went to the ER. It was Easter Sunday & nothing was open, and I wouldn’t even be able to call a doctor’s office to schedule an appointment the next day, and I figured I would have to get some wonderful antibiotics that make you sunburn and prevent you from eating chocolate. Which was the worst thing ever, because, I repeat, it was Easter Sunday. Since it had been in there less than 72 hours, the doc dug around in my arm a little to make sure it was all gone, gave me one dose of the antibiotics instead of two weeks worth (the Center for Disease Control in the US recommends only one dose if the tick is completely removed within 72 hours), gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way.  I guess it’s possible that it still transmitted Lyme, but it’s not likely…. still, I’m paranoid about every ache and pain. Oh, and apparently doxycycline is rather harsh on the stomach, because about half an hour later, I got incredibly nauseous and threw up the pills. So, I got to take another dose. Yay.

So, in conclusion…. wear bug spray if you’re going into the woods. After your hike, check yourself for ticks. When you get home, take off your bug-sprayed clothes and put them in a bag so you can wash them as soon as possible, and check yourself AGAIN for ticks. Then shower. Same rules apply as with spiders: if you find a tick, set everything on fire.

 

The Story of Bug

This is the story of Bug, who ate four feet of yarn on Thursday and ruined everyone’s Easter weekend. Bug is our nickname for our cat, Zooey. She is lucky she’s adorable and fluffy and semi-sweet because otherwise, I’d kill her.

She did eat yarn on Thursday. Quite a bit of yarn, in fact. About four feet. How in the world did she fit it all in that little furry body? The stupidity of our pets when it comes to eating inanimate objects will never cease to amaze me.

I had been planning a hike with my friend Carrie on Saturday, so I stayed home all Friday and monitored the Bug to see if she’d either puke it up or poop it out. Apologies in advance, because I know that medical stuff kind of grosses people out (not me so much, obviously) but I won’t get too detailed with the gross bits – if you’re not interested in reading about our adventures in the animal digestive tract, skip to the next post to read about my hike (and subsequent tick bite and trip to the emergency room!)

So obviously some of the yarn didn’t fit in there because she puked up about five inches of yarn on Saturday (while I was eating lunch with my friend after our hike). My husband took her to the vet and they did an x-ray. Thankfully, they didn’t see any obstruction (obstructions caused by strings and ribbons and yarn are called a linear foreign body). The doc said she didn’t see anything concerning at all on the x-ray, but they could tell she had poop inside her (isn’t that interesting? you can see poop on an x-ray), so they gave her some fluids and a high-fiber diet to try to push it all out. I rushed home, found some gloves, and started going through her litter box. Yes, it’s icky, but I had to check in her poop for yarn to track how much came out. I found two six inch lengths of yarn in the litter box on Saturday. We were supposed to go to my in-laws for Easter dinner, but I wanted to stay with Bug just in case she threw up again (which she did… no yarn though) or in case she pooped yarn and it got stuck on the way out (which has happened before).  So I stayed with her all day on Sunday, and I took a half day on Monday, because she just … she wasn’t herself, and hadn’t pooped in two days & it seemed like a long time. It was probably just because she’d thrown up so much and didn’t have a lot in her stomach. Finally on Monday morning… we had poop with yarn in it! 30 inches of yarn. 30 INCHES OF YARN. She feels much better now and is totally back to her old tricks. and we have learned another lesson about how crafty our cat is, because that yarn was inside a drawer in the bedroom, and I can’t be sure that she didn’t open it herself.

What does this have to do with running? Well, this is the reason I didn’t go running all weekend. I actually put my squat challenge on hold as well, just because I was really so worried about the cat. I have been keeping up with the handstand challenge, and I am almost able to do a 45-second plank!

 

Runner’s World Power Yoga for Runners

This is the yoga session I did today.

Power Yoga for Runners

I’m just posting the link here so I can find it easily when I want to do this again. Some of these stretches are really good, but some of them are a little difficult when you’ve got thicker thighs or some belly in your way (like I do.) There are also a lot of other poses on that page that look like really good stretches.

Quick Question: Am I the only person who can’t do push-ups on my knees because it hurts my kneecaps? I tried putting a pillow or towel under my legs to help but then I just slide around.

Squeezing in a Friday Night Run

Last night my husband and I were going to a dinner with a bunch of my co-workers. Then my husband got a cold… so my sister came with me! It was an incredibly slow day at work – it usually gets slow right before a holiday for some reason. Like, mind-numbingly slow. Like, so slow I can’t even find work to pretend to do to look busy.

I rushed home and went out for a quick run. Since I’ll be doing a long run on Monday night, and maybe going for a long hike tomorrow, I decided to get my fast run out of the way. I wasn’t very speedy… I tried to ignore my watch and just speed up and slow down as my body needed but I didn’t get much of a workout that way. It took me 17 minutes to complete a mile and at that point I had to head home and shower and get ready for dinner.

Today I am doing some yoga and maybe I’ll find some other workout videos to do. I have the day off, but I am sort of home-bound on poop-watch (yes, poop-watch) because I believe our cat Zooey (AKA Bug) ate some yarn, and I need to make sure she doesn’t start throwing up or acting strange. This is not the first time we’ve had issues with the cat eating stringy items (shoelaces, bits of balloon, cell phone chargers cords) but this is the longest item she’s ever eaten so I’m hoping it all passes ok, because if the yarn gets stuck, the only other alternative is surgery. She loves (to eat) yarn. Freaking cats.