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.

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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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Belated Week 5 recap

Sorry for the belated update! Week 5 went really well; I got in all of my workouts, did a little strength, had a session with my chiropractor, managed a long run on a “week night,” and I think that’s it!

Monday
Plan: Rest
Actual: 1.5 mile walk on my lunch

Tuesday
Plan: 3 miles easy
Actual: 5-mile tempo run (9:19 avg)

Tempos. When I think about them, I dread them. For some reason, interval workouts are less scary, I guess because you get rest periods between hard efforts. At any rate, I feel like I need to work on my sustained hard efforts, so tempo runs will continue to be in the forecast. 1 mile warmup, 2 @ 8:42, 1 @ 8:30, 1 cooldown. Made sure to vary the incline on the treadmill a lot, so I got some good climbs, too.

Wednesday
Plan: 5 miles
Actual: rest

Thursday
Plan: 3 miles
Actual: 3.1 @ 9:14

“Treated” myself to a run in Forest Park. I don’t usually bother driving somewhere to do a run, but I was going to be in the area and decided to take advantage of the change in scenery. The sun was really, really hot; the difference between it and the shade was shocking.

Friday
Plan: Rest
Actual: 10 miles @ 9:54

Had friends/relatives staying with us over the weekend, and I really just wanted to chill out and not wake up early. The weather was fantastic, and I felt great the entire time. I did start to get really hungry around 8 miles in, though. To date, 10 miles is the longest I’ve EVER run in training (I’ve done 2 half marathons), so this was a big win for me mentally. I wasn’t even too wiped out afterward, and my legs were tired but not trashed the next day. It also felt good to see a sub-10:00 average pace after weeks of sloooow runs.  Some idiot did act like he was going to trip me (I guess he thought it would be funny), which really startled me and caused me to almost trip off the sidewalk trying to avoid him. Thankfully nothing bad actually happened!

Saturday
Plan: 10 miles
Actual: Rest

Sunday
Plan: Rest
Actual: 3 miles @ 9:20

Did this one in the middle of the day, in the blazing sun. It was 88 with a heat index of 91, but I actually felt pretty good. Had it not been so hot, I would’ve extended it. I finally feel like I’m starting to acclimate to the heat and not run 10-minute miles all the time!

Now for week 6, a cutback week that I plan to take seriously, unlike last time. My long run is only 7 miles, which will be a nice break from the past few weeks. After this week, I’ll be 33.33333333% done with my plan. Still feeling good!

I do what i want!

I was talking with a friend about how some people feel the need to comment on what I or other people are eating: “Oh, that looks healthy,” “Yuck, I don’t like beans,” “Wow you always bring homemade stuff. I don’t know how you have time for that,” “I’ve never seen you eat a piece of cake before! Are you off your diet?” “You know avocados are bad for you, right? Too much fat.”

Just because I’m eating a salad doesn’t mean I’m sad!

I don’t know why, but it really bugs me. I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt and say that most of them don’t mean anything by it, but there’s there other group of people who say that stuff to judge, like they want you to explain your choices. It’s annoying.

I’m allowed to eat what I want, when I want to. I’m allowed to enjoy healthy and not-so-healthy stuff. I can eat a kale salad for lunch one day, and 3 chili dogs the next [see: 4th of July]. I don’t need to explain myself to you, and you don’t need to explain yourself to me. We can all just eat what we want. I don’t ask you about what you’re eating or lecture you on why having a frozen meal or McD’s for lunch every single day isn’t good for you. I don’t comment that Coke you’re drinking is bad for you. I don’t draw attention to your meal just because you’re opting to have a salad for lunch instead of your usual burger and fries (it goes both ways!). People like variety. You don’t have to eat one way all the time!

My general rule of thumb is that unless I’m genuinely interested in the recipe or something looks really good to me (and I’d like to re-create it at home), I don’t comment or ask questions about other people’s food. It just seems rude to pester someone or give a running commentary on what they’re eating; you have no idea what their history or situation is. Maybe they are recovering from an eating disorder, just found out they have a food allergy, are trying to eat healthier, were craving some chicken nuggets (ahem), or just grabbed a bunch of random leftovers from their fridge. Instead of scrutinizing other people’s choices, take a few minutes to evaluate your own. Then do what YOU want! Eat happy, and mind your own business.

Protect yourself

I’m a fair-skinned redhead, but I have the good luck to not sunburn easily. Even so, I wear SPF 30 on my face every single day, and SPF 50 on my face and body every time I run. EVERY TIME. Doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, cold, warm, raining, cloudy, etc. It takes an extra 2 minutes, and I let it soak in while I eat my pre-run banana and peanut butter toast. That extra 2 minutes is nothing compared to the 10 years it’ll take off my appearance over time and the reduced risk of skin cancer it provides. If you’re not taking care of your skin, you’re not taking care of your body, even if you eat right and exercise. So lotion up!

No, I don't spring for Clinique sunscreen. I use the cheap Target stuff, and it works like a charm.

A pledge to NOT run.

Nearly three weeks after my half, my foot is still giving me trouble. I’ve done a couple of short runs to test it out, and the results were less than pleasing.

It doesn’t hurt when I’m actually running, but when I’m sitting around or walking, there’s a constant, searing pain in the bottom of my right foot, right where the arch turns into the ball. My achilles also feels tight, as does the tendon along the bottom of my big toe. The pain isn’t crippling by any means, but it’s really uncomfortable and highly annoying. I’ve been icing, stretching and massaging everything, which seems to help some. If anyone has a clue what this could be or how I should treat it, feel free to share.

So, in an odd commitment, I’m pledging to NOT run until Nov. 1.

I won’t be using the elliptical, either. Nothing that requires me to stand on my feet. I’m going to hit the weights really hard and use the stationary bike. Ideally, I’d be able to aqua jog or swim laps, but I don’t have easy access to a pool. My goal is to get this foot healthy ASAP so I can run some good races this winter and decide if I want to do the Go! St. Louis marathon in April.

Weirdly, making a goal to not run for such a long time is probably going to be more difficult for me than training for the half I did. I get so impatient, and I really don’t want to lose the endurance and fitness I worked so hard to achieve. I’d also rather not put any of the weight I lost back on. However, a short time off now will prevent me from taking a long, long time off later.

Eleven days of no running, here we go!