Battle plan

I had my podiatrist appointment last week, and it went way better than I expected it to. I had a bunch of x-rays, and nothing is broken or out of place, which is a big relief.

I had to give this guy my life story of the past 8 months: how it happened, what I’ve tried, which doctors I’ve been to, how it used to feel, how it feels now, what I’ve been doing exercise-wise, where I got my orthotics, the whole nine yards. When I described how the piano came flying toward me and crushed my ankle against a concrete step, he was horrified. When I told him I ran a marathon on it, he was incredulous, but pleased in the sense of “well, if you could do that, it can’t be that bad.”

There’s no name for what’s going on with my foot and ankle, with is annoying because it makes it cumbersome to describe. It’s not like “runner’s knee” or “IT band syndrome” or anything like that. Basically, that piano bashed the ever-loving hell out of some ligaments that tried to heal themselves and became knotted up with scar tissue and adhesions, which are stiff and inflamed, which prevents my foot from having a proper range of motion, which my foot adapted to because it’s lazy, which causes more swelling, which irritates some nerve in my foot, which makes it tingly and achy.

Solution: deep tissue “massage” and intense “stretching,” AKA torture. Basically, they are going to squeeze and smash the scar tissue out of me with assorted torture devices. I’m set to go to therapy twice a week for three weeks, then then see where I’m at.

While I was there, I also had him look at the custom shoe inserts I had made over the summer, and he was somewhat baffled. They cast the molds correctly and they fit my feet fine, but apparently they used a much stiffer material for the bottom half than what is common. Typically, they use a softer cork so there’s a bit more give when your foot hits the ground, but mine is really dense and stiff. He made a few adjustments and they’re fitting much better, but he said he’d like to replace the cork on the bottom with something more appropriate, so I’ll probably look into that after I see how therapy is going.

I ran 1 mile on the treadmill after going to the doctor Thursday, then Dan and I walked about 7 miles on Sunday. I don’t think my ankle is quite ready to pound the pavement just yet, and I’m definitely not comfortable dropping any money on race registrations, but I’m feeling much more positive about the situation and closer to running “for real” again.

Unfinished business

I’ve only run a handful of miles since my marathon all the way back in mid-October. It total. It doesn’t feel good. My foot and ankle actually feel worse somehow, like my arch has fallen and I have no support through it.

Ever since I got back into running after a hiatus in college, I’ve noticed a trend: I pick a race, train for it like crazy, have some minor issue that I don’t take time off for, race and am disappointed with the results, then get sidelined because the minor issue becomes major. It sucks. I have wasted so much time the past three or four years recovering from stupid injuries when I could be building on my fitness levels to get faster and stronger. As a runner, it’s in my nature to be a hard-headed idiot, but it’s time for me to learn some lessons and get it together so I’m not constantly saying “if only.” “If only I hadn’t hurt myself. If only PT weren’t so expensive. If only I had a few more weeks to train.”

I’m ready for 2014 to be a PR year. As proud as I was after running my first marathon, hindsight and perspective have left me wanting more. I still haven’t attained my sub-2 half marathon goal, the one I set back in 2011. Why? I was so burnt out and sour after my first attempt that I stomped off in the other direction and did nothing for a while. Then Dan broke his leg, and I didn’t have the time, let alone the finances or energy, to sign up for something else and try again. Then inertia took hold, and I wimped out of really pushing myself toward that goal and settled for running races in distances I’d never done before. Automatic PR, right?

I’m Twitter friends with a lot of runners, and it’s driving me bonkers seeing all of the “I signed up for _____ as my spring marathon!” and “Just registered for ___!” posts. I’m freaking jealous! I want to feel like I’m achieving something quantifiable, something I can chart and compare and say to myself “this is better than last time.”

Now that the holidays are over and we don’t have any travel or excitement on the agenda, it’s time to tackle the scary questions: What in the hell is wrong with my foot, and what will I have to do to fix it? Will I ever be able to run pain-free? Will I ever be able to run long again? How much is this going to cost? I have an appointment with the podiatrist next week, so hopefully I’ll have some answers soon. Until then, my current race times will be burning in my brain, and my subconscious will be whispering “you can do better.”

32 years

Today marks my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary. I already said it in a Facebook post, but that is a long time. In that time, they’ve moved more times than I can count in three states, built 2 houses, successfully raised 2 kids [jury’s still out on that third one ;)], fed tons of hungry teenagers and college kids, and shown everyone around them what true, unconditional love looks like.

I’m proud to be part of a family that has made it as a unit for this long. I’m thankful to have such a great example of love and selflessness, to have something so amazing to aspire to.

Happy anniversary, mom and dad! Without you, I wouldn’t be here.

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Suckers!

Caught in the rain

When Dan and I moved to the city almost 6 years ago, we fell into an unofficial tradition of taking Sunday walks in the fall and winter. It was a good way to explore our new neighborhood, get some exercise, and have some time together. Over the years, that tradition has morphed from just going on a walk to going on a walk to a deli and getting lunch. We haven’t been home much on the weekends lately, so this past Sunday was really the first such walk we’ve taken this season.

The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and it was almost 70 degrees. Walking to the deli was a no-brainer. As we set out, I commented on how warm it was. It’s about 1.5 miles to the deli, and around the halfway point the wind seriously picked up. It was the kind of wind that flings dust and leaves into your eyes and stings your shins with debris. As I looked up, I saw it: a huge, ominous cloud, rapidly traveling toward us.

At first, it was a refreshing sprinkle. Nothing too intense, just enough to cool us off. But then the rain started coming down harder, the wind became violent, and, within a minute or so, we were soaked to the skin. Blocks from the deli, no shelter to be had.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

It reminded me of the crazy weather we’d get when we lived in New Orleans. My brother and I would take our giant golf umbrellas outside and jump up in the air, hoping the wind would carry us away.

Getting caught in that storm made me feel like a little kid again. My one and only worry was just trying to escape the rain. It was so simple, a problem with minimum consequences that could be easily solved.

We got to the deli in record time, sopping wet and ready for some food… and a beer.

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Yes, this was all for us. Yes, we ate it all.

By the time we ate and finished our beers, we’d gone from soaked to damp. The sky couldn’t have been clearer on the walk home, and we were dry by the halfway point. It was like none of it had ever happened.

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A tree in our neighborhood that blew over during the storm. I told you, it was windy!

This year has been pretty stressful for us, but I’m hoping that 2013 will be kind of like that storm. Intense, but over fairly quickly. It might leave behind a little damage, but nothing that can’t be fixed. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll feel like kids again for a minute.

We did some fun stuff.

We’ve actually been doing some pretty cool stuff lately, which is nice! I feel like we’re always “soooooo busy” all the time, but then people ask me what I’ve been doing and I don’t have a good answer. Which means I’m not spending my time very fruitfully.

I’ve been a big slacker about hitting the gym. I never did make my goal of hitting my one spin class for the week whenever that was, and I only got to the gym once last week. No good! I usually post my workouts on Dailymile, but they’ve been so underwhelming since the marathon that I haven’t bothered lately. They send a summary of your week’s workouts every Monday, and I was met with the dreaded “Your friends miss your training :(” Sad face. Sorry guys, I miss my training too.

Speaking of which, I finally got the custom insoles for my shoes and… THEY DON’T FIT. I went back to get them adjusted and haven’t tried them out yet. They were causing a lot of pressure and soreness on the arch of my right foot, as well as making my heel slip out of my shoe. The left one (for the foot that isn’t messed up, figures) is totally fine.

Now that the boring news is out of the way, let’s move on to the important stuff.

Nail news: I had time for a few manicures over the past couple of days, nothing too time-consuming or elaborate. Not that they ever are, but whatever. If nail art isn’t your thing, skip ahead to the BEER.

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First up is matte and gold. The burgundy is yet another mini from that old OPI set I have that doesn’t have any names on the bottles. I put 2 coats of Essie Matte About You on top, then dotted the gold over that (also from that OPI set). I had a hard time getting a good picture of it, but it looked pretty cool, minus, the parts that are outside of the lines (cleaned those up later). Unfortunately, like most matte manis, this started to chip pretty soon. Probably within 36 hours. Boo.

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Mani #2 was a modern twist on a classic French tip. I started with 2 coats of Maybelline Express Finish in Racy Red and painted the tips with two coats of Ciate’s Ladylike Lux. Topped the whole thing off with a generous helping of Seche Vite topcoat. Yes, it really was that shiny! It held up, chip-free, for several days. This is one of my favorite from my latest manis, and it was so easy.

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Big news! I made my first polish, hooray! I got my polish-making kits in the mail a while ago, but couldn’t really experiment with them until last week. I was aiming for something a little bolder and darker, but this turned out pretty. I need to get some little scoops to make adding mica to the base easier to measure. This is a combination of purple and copper mica, with a little bit of a dark gray mica that had a greenish-purple sheen to it.

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And official mani #3 [the previous one didn’t count, it was more of a swatch to show off my new color :)]. Two coats of Sinful Colors in Shock and Awe with a chevron pattern of Marc Jacobs in Petra on the tips. Love the MJ; it only takes one coat and sparkles like crazy with some Seche on top! This is the mani I’m currently rocking. I’m hoping it’ll last through Thursday.

Friday night, we went out to celebrate my brother’s birthday a few days early. None of the pictures turned out, given that it was really dark everywhere we went. That makes it sound much more scandalous than it was, though there was karaoke involved.

Saturday, Dan and I signed up to go on the SIP Club tour of the Schlafly Taproom.  Unlike at the Bottleworks, where they have tours regularly, tours at the Taproom are typically reserved for special events, auctions, etc. (or at least, that’s what the guide said). We went last year and had a good time, so signing up for 2013 was a no-brainer. We only RSVP’d for two (Dan and I), but the amazing Jeffery, a.ka. the nice dude in charge of the tours, looked the other way when he saw we had a third.

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Third wheelin’. Yep.

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Safety Dan, part deux.

After getting a short lecture on the history of the brewery and its surrounding area, we suited up with some fancy goggles and headed to the dungeon/basement for the good stuff. They had some Pi Common, a California common style of beer that can only be found at Pi restaurants, hanging out in the conditioning tanks. Wouldn’t you know it, it was ready to sample! So sample we did.

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Pours out of the pigtail.

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Dan taking a sample/talking shop with the tour guide. “Ooh, is this beer?” “Yes, this is beer.” “I like beer.” “Beer is good.” Something like that.

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More suckers in line for free booze.

There was some more beer talk, then we made our way to the back of the basement, where they house conditioning tanks that contain some of their big standards. Yum. History/trivia time: the logo on the far left was Schlafly’s original logo, which the marketing people axed once the company started to distribute to grocery stores. The rest of the logos you can see were designed by local tattoo artists and are variations on the fleur-de-lis.

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“Here’s some more beer.”

Next up was the cask room, where they ferment their sour beers. It used to house the boilers back when the building was a printing press. Now it’s the mad brewers’ laboratory.

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Potentially delicious science experiments in the making.

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“Take a picture of me in here.”

After all the boring stuff was over (just kidding…) it was time for SAMPLES. We had about 20 minutes to drink as much of the beer as we wanted. Within reason. Our options included the Hefeweizen, Tasmanian IPA, Old English Ale, the Biere de Garde, and something else I can’t remember. The TIPA and Biere de Garde were my favorites. There was also an assortment of cheese, toast, and cured meats.

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BEERS!

It was a really fun tour. If you’re on the fence about joining the SIP Club, just do it. For $25, you get a rad imperial pint mug, 20 oz. beers for the same price as 16 oz., 10% off store merch, and invitations to cool stuff like this tour. Come on, you know you want to. At the end of the tour, we each got a really nice sampling glass with the original dragon logo on it, a sturdy bottle-opener, and a Schlafly sticker. Not bad!

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The end!

Long weekend

Dan’s dad has been in town from Phoenix since Friday, so we’ve been out and about all weekend. Friday was pretty low-key; we dropped by Talayna’s for some pizza, then headed back to our place to hang out in the backyard with the fire pit. It was a little too windy, so the party stayed inside, but we had fun – and stayed up way too late nonetheless.

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Photos of the century. Google+ will save photo bursts of 5 or more shots as a GIF. (click the image to see it in motion)

Saturday afternoon, the boys hit up the Loop to grab some food an check out records while I spent a few hours recovering from Friday’s festivities. BFF Lacy and her Mr. were in town from Madison, and she and I hit up our friend Nikki’s wedding while the boys went to a Blues game and drank all the beers!

Sunday was the big family chili day, which I somehow managed to not get any pictures of.

We took today off work and hit up Crown Candy. That place has always been a staple in St. Louis, but it really took off once it was on Man vs. Food. There’s usually a line out the door. We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, which is nothing.

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Malts and chili. You can’t see it, but there’s about 2 lbs of candy under the table. Don’t worry, we didn’t only get malts and chili; the guys also got roast beef sandwiches, and I had a turkey club the size of my head.

After consuming our body weight in malts and bacon, we went to the zoo to avoid a food coma. Tons of animals were out! We got to see the sea lions being fed, which I’d never watched before. The day started out chilly and overcast, but it warmed up even though the clouds never really took off. We were going try for an A-B brewery tour, but it was closed for Veterans Day.

We weren’t really thinking about the holiday when we planning our outings, so I’m glad that zoo was actually open! I head back to work tomorrow, but was great to walk around the zoo in such wonderful weather without any big crowds.

Next on the agenda: The Silver Ballroom, then a lazy night at home.

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All work, no play…

Well, you know.

This week has been all about work. I’ve been buried at regular work and with freelance work, so my days have been spent in front a computer or checking emails on my phone. Not the best.

I was so tremendously sore from lifting on Saturday that I took Sunday and Monday off from the gym. I hit it hard again on Tuesday (lifting from the New Rules) and now I’m so sore that I had to take today off. I’m going to force myself to do do some kind of workout tomorrow; I shouldn’t be this sore after a few 40 lb. squats (pathetic, I know)!

For dinner on Sunday, Dan and I combined forces to make some roasted red pepper ravioli stuffed with goat cheese. Dan made the dough and rolled it out;  I assembled everything. We don’t have a handy dandy ravioli tray – yet – so they looked a little wonky but tasted great! We dipped the finished product in store-bought marinara and in an olive oil/balsamic/herb mixture I cooked up. We rounded out the meal with spinach salads topped with feta, proscuitto, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette. Not bad for a Sunday night.

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Dry ingredients with roasted red pepper mixture.

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Let’s add a few eggs in there.

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Ball O’ dough.

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Pasta maker! Actually, that would be Dan. So, pasta presser? Roller?

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Sheets of delicious pasta!

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Sheets of delicious pasta being stuffed with goat cheese.

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Aerial shot of the pasta battle station.

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My handy work. I used a pizza slicer to cut them into squares.

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The finished product! We were going to try a few drizzled with honey, but we forgot. Maybe next time.

Last week, I ordered some nail polish making supplies that finally arrived on Monday! Unfortunately, I’ll probably be too tied up with work to be able to experiment much this week, but I hope to play around with them some time this weekend. Trust me, there will be (multiple) posts on that!