Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

I saw a photo similar to these on a blog I read over the past week although I can't remember which one.  While on Sanibel Island the other day I thought I would give it a shot.

There are lots of posts on resolutions & goals this week.  I made a resolution several years ago to no longer make resolutions.   I now set goals for myself.  My goal in 2012 is to get over this injury & get strong.

Regarding the injury - I have both my MRI results back. Hip is clean but lower lumbar has three minor bulging disks although all are the normal height.  One disk shows signs of desiccation but is also a normal height.  I suspect this has been the case for some time since I have pretty severe scoliosis.  I am done with PT for now.  There really wasn't much more they could do.  I will continue on with my chiropractor although I am scheduled to see a new chiropractor the 3rd week of January who is certified in ART.   I have heard good things about ART as well as this chiropractor - fingers crossed!

Regarding getting strong - I am starting the New Year with a Pilates Reformer class on Monday evenings, an Injury Rejuvenation class (foam roller/yoga/Pilates) class on Tuesday & Thursday evenings & P90X videos 3x a week.  I will continue to swim 3 days a week plus I want to start spinning again 1x a week.   This plan will take me through March.  I will re-evaluate how things are going at that time.  

Happy New Year!  I wish you all a happy & healthy 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blogger Gift Exchange

I participated in 2 different blogger gift exchanges.  Both included socks in the gifts but no cards with info to which exchange it was for.  So I guessed.  I had a 50/50 shot but in typical fashion I guessed wrong!

I received my Secret Santa package the night before we left for Florida.  It was from Courtney at A So Called Runner.  I wore the Feetures on the ride down to Florida - they are nice comfy socks.  I wore them again on my 1 mile jog.  I am looking forward to trying out the bars.  They look yummy.

Thanks to Courney at 3rd Time's a Charm for hosting!

The other blogger gift exchange that I participated in was hosted by Jill at Run with Jill.  Thank you for hosting Jill!  I am looking forward to participating again next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in St. Pete

We left Lexington on the 23rd.  Apparently a lot of other folks were heading south too.  After 16.5 hours we finally made it to St Petersburg.  Here is the photo story of our vacation so far.

All loaded up 
We have Christmas colored kayaks!
I couldn't resist taking some pics of Karma during the drive.
Christmas Eve with Steve's Family
Scott, Donna, Me & Steve after our Christmas Eve morning walk on the beach
Christmas Eve boat ride 
Steve, his Mom, Me, his sister Donna, his Dad
Best Christmas Eve in recent memory
Christmas Day
Karma & I walking on beach while Steve ran

Enjoying Christmas morning on the beach
Christmas afternoon swim in the Gulf
1/2 mile swim in Gulf
First wetsuit hickey.  Salt water is abrasive...duh.
Christmas Night after watching sunset
Monday we went kayaking at Anna Maria Island
We kayaked with dolphins but sadly no pics
Silly sunset picture
Tuesday I ran a mile.  A whole mile non-stop.  Yes, I realize I could have speed walked this fast but I ran it.  Not completely pain free but not too bad either.  I was pretty darn happy!  
Blistering fast!
Dinner with Kara 
and Steve & Larry
Donna & Steve the morning we were leaving
Karma is sad that we are leaving St. Pete
 Now we are in North Fort Myers visiting my Aunt for a few days.  Why does vacation always fly by?

Hope y'all are have a great holiday season!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

41 Things – aka Happy Birthday to Me

To celebrate my 41st birthday today I thought I would share a few things, 41 to be exact, about myself with you. 
    1. I like to type y’all but I don’t ever say it.   At least I don’t think I say it & if I do I probably sound like a goofy Midwesterner saying it. 
    2. I have lived in 3 states.   Indiana, Illinois & Kentucky.  I have family in none of these states.  I do have my husband’s family in Kentucky but none of my own family.
    3. I love sweets, cookies, chocolate, cakes; you name it although I could live without pies.
    4. Speaking of sweets, I used to eat so much junk food at school parties I would end up in the nurse’s office with a belly ache.
    5. Somewhere around 27 or 28 I learned self control in the junk food department in the sense I no longer eat them until I get a belly ache.
    6. I have never considered myself an athlete…more of a gym rat. 
    7. I made the 8th grade basketball team.  It was a pity pick.  I scored 2 points in my basketball career.  It lasted all of 1 year.
    8. I was much more successful at softball but I didn’t play much after 8th grade.
    9. I can relate to Sue Heck.  Why?  See #10-14 below.
    10. I lived in Indiana until 1985.
    11. I had braces for 4 years in junior & senior high school.
    12. I had braces again for 4 months in 2006. 
    13. I was on the cross country team in 8th & 9th
    14. I always felt pretty goofy in junior high.
    15. I graduated high school after summer school my junior year. 
    16. I didn’t go to college right away.
    17. In fact, I was 23 before I started the College of Engineering.
    18. I have worked for 3 different companies since graduating college. 
    19. Two of those companies no longer exist.  Hmmm.
    20. I have been laid off once.  That is how I ended up in Kentucky.
    21. I met my husband on the first day of my new job. 
    22. At the time we worked in the same department. 
    23. We no longer work in the same department. 
    24. He works on the 3rd floor.  I am on the 4th floor.
    25. We got married in 2007.
    26. I was 37, he was 49.
    27. He has 3 kids & 9 grandchildren.  I still can’t say what that makes me. 
    28. We went to Rome for our honeymoon.
    29. We own a big goofy camper. 
    30. We still have his & hers homes although we live in mine.  I really hope that changes in 2012.  I want ‘our’ home. 
    31. I used the word goofy 3 times above.  Apparently I like the word goofy. 
    32. I like to say Sheboygan.  I kinda wish I was from Sheboygan so I could say it more often.
    33. I would love to do a race in all 50 states.  I am not picky about distance or type.  I just think it is a cool excuse for vacations. 
    34. So far I have done races in 6 states.   Well, 8 if you count my teenage years.  Florida (1/2 Mary), Tennessee (1/2 Mary), Georgia (Tri), North Carolina (5K, Tri), Utah (1/2 Mary), Kentucky (1/2 Mary, 5K, 10K, Tri), Illinois (5K) & Indiana (5K).
    35. I have owned 9 cars since I turned 16.  ’67 Cuda, ’80 Z28, ’81 Accord, ’89 Celica, ’86 Prelude, ’98 Civic, ’00 Wrangler, ’01 Eclipse, ’04 Pathfinder.   On average, I get a new or new to me car every 2.78 years.  I have owned the Pathfinder the longest.  My husband bought is in 2004.  In 2006 (or was it 2005? I can’t remember.  Must be that age thing) we traded in the Eclipse for his 1500.  I have been driving the Pathfinder ever since.
    36. I love older homes.  Someone told me the house you grow up in is the style of house you will always be drawn to.  Not sure if that is true or not but in my case I think it may be.  My parents bought an old drafty house in Grabill, Indiana when I was 5.  We lived there until I was 14 when we moved to Chicago. 
    37. I lived in Chicago proper from 1993 – 2003.   During that time I lived in 6 different neighborhoods.  Uptown, Old Irving, Ravenswood, West Loop Gate, Edgewater & Jefferson Park.  My favorite was 6301 N. Sheridan.  It was the first property I ever owned.  It was a 1 bedroom condo with views of the Lake Michigan.  It was 25 stories & built in the 1960’s.  The owners were a combination of retiree’s & young first time home buyers.  If you walked into the lobby at 3PM you would think it was a retirement home.  I loved it.
    38. Speaking of home ownership, I have owned a condo, a townhouse & now a single family home.  They all have their cool factors but single family is the way to go for me.  Although, if I didn’t have Steve I would be hiring out all the yard work!  I am not a fan especially because of #39. 
    39. I have lived in my current home for over 8 years.  I think this is tied with the Grabill house for the longest time I have ever lived anywhere.
    40. When I was 39 years old I was diagnosed with severe allergies.  Thanks Kentucky…I love you too.  Since March of 2010 I have been getting allergy shots every week.   I am really hoping to graduate in January to every other week. 
    41. I love Asheville, NC & think I would love living there.  I wish my Mom would move there so I would have more of a reason to go.
Well there you go - 41 random facts about me.   Congratulations if you made it through the list.  Imagine how I feel blowing out all those candles?

I should probably say Merry Christmas too since we will traveling tomorrow & spending holidays with family in Florida.    We are driving so we can bring all of our toys & Karma!  Right now I am looking forward to the road trip but I imagine an hour into it I will be whining about 'are we there yet'?

Merry Christmas y'all!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vila Acupunture Mat - Guest Reviewer

Over the summer I succumbed to another one of my impulse buys.  This time it was the Vila Acupuncture mat.  I had high hopes for this thing but once I received it I only used it a couple of times.  Why?  It was just weird to me to lay on it without a top on.  Go figure.  Guess I am a prude or something.

My friend Rian was looking forward to hearing my review but I really didn't use it enough to justify a review.  While I was cleaning in November I decided to make wall art out of it.  I took a picture of it & tried to text Rian.  No such luck because my phone stinks.  It wouldn't send the message.   
Coincidentally Rian emailed me a day or two later asking about it.  He was having some back issues & was wondering if it was worth buying.  I couldn't answer but told him I would box it up & send it to him to try out.  Of course, in typically blogger fashion I asked him to write a review  :-)

So here it is!

Vila Acupunture Mat Review - by Rian Sanders 

My friend, Andrea, asked me to be a guest blogger in order to do a review on some wall art that I came across. At first, I thought this was a strange request, yet considering Andrea is the person that sent me this wall art I figured I may as well write about it.

Unlike Andrea, I did not hang this on the wall. Instead, I laid on it. That’s right…I laid on it. I was mixed with emotion the first time but decided…oh well, why not. Heck, this is something that was just days earlier hanging on Andrea’s wall and here I am laying on this thing. Something was just not right here. As a few more minutes went by and my skin drifted deeper and deeper into this wall art, the sensation of pain was soon replaced by a sensation of invigoration. I laid on this thing for about 30 minutes. Wow, I was amazed that my back actually started feeling better. In fact, it was the best my back felt in weeks.

My friend was not a big fan of this wall art. Just as it pained her to see this hanging on her wall, it brought a slight physical pain to me yet after some time, the physical pain turned to relief. Relief from back pain.

If you have experienced tightness in your back, pain of some sort, etc, you may want to pick this up for a small investment of around $35. However, instead of using this as wall art, first give it a try as it was originally intended. One person’s wall art is another person’s acupuncture mat.

May not work for everyone, but it sure works for me.

Check it out….HERE

Rianman at Ironman Wisconsin (IMOO) 2010

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday Weekend in Louisville

Saturday Steve took me to Louisville for my birthday weekend.  He booked a room at 21C & made dinner reservations for Proof on Main.  Both were amazing.  21C is a hotel & a museum.  I have never seen or stayed in anything like it.  A couple of friends met us for dinner & we had a great night.  Proof has great cocktails & great food.  The only complaint I have is that it was the noisiest hotel I have ever stayed in.  All night long there were people walking back to their rooms making all sorts of racket.  Made sleeping pretty difficult.

For some reason, I wasn't much in the mood to take pictures Saturday night but here are a couple that I took Sunday morning.  

The only thing I really wanted to do on Sunday besides getting coffee was check out the Fleet Feet store.  I had read that they do gait analysis when fitting you for your shoes.  Since Coy's post about her Mizuno experience I really wanted to get into some new shoes.   We got to the store about 20 minutes before it opened.  Thanks to the lousy night sleep I was tired & a bit cranky.  Also, I was wondering if this was a really good idea since I am not running yet.  There was someone in the store that came out & yelled at us to let us know they were open so I decided we should just go in. 

Jeff, the owner, immediately introduced himself.  I explained to him that I was looking for some new shoes but was suffering from Piriformis & probably wouldn't be able to run.  I had my new Mizuno's on.  He took a look at them & said they were too small for me.  He also told me this style is for larger runners.  The cushion is really hard on the Wave Creation.  He explained it like a heavy duty spring that needed a lot of force to get it to move.  He didn't blame the shoes for my injury but did say it probably didn't help the situation. 

After sizing my feet (I am now an 8) & watching me walk he brought up a lesser cushioned neutral shoe.  He brought out a pair of New Balance, Saucony & one other brand that I forgot.  They all felt so much more roomy in the toe box when compared to my Mizuno's.

I decided to give the treadmill a shot.  I started walking then dialed it up just enough to run.  Jeff video taped my gate.  It revealed that I am a heal striker (which I already knew) but also showed that I run with my toes pointed out which I didn't know.  The video confirmed that I should run in a neutral shoe.  I tried out the other 2 pairs but settled on the New Balance.
I have never owned such a bright pair of shoes!
While talking with Jeff he said he was also suffering from Piriformis.  I asked how he was treating it & he said mostly with trigger point therapy.  He took me to another area of the shop.  We both got on the floor where he demo'd some trigger point areas.  He showed me 3 different areas to work with my lacrosse ball.   Two were specially for the psoas muscle which was new to me.

While I was rolling around on the floor Steve was also trying on new shoes.  He deserves them since he is running.  Me, not so much but hey it is birthday week & I get to call the shots.  They are now sitting on the floor next to my lawn mowing shoes, aka my Mizuno's. 

I highly recommend stopping in at Fleet Feet if you find yourself in Louisville.  The service is top notch & the staff is really knowledgeable.  If only they had a magic wand to fix my piriformis it would have been a perfect experience!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Secret Santa Sock Swap!

I am feeling super spoiled right now!  I came home from a far from stellar swim workout (mental note - stick to the AM swim times!) & had a box waiting for me on the kitchen table.  I knew the chances were pretty good that it was going to be from one of my two secret Santa blogger swaps.

It turns out it was from the Secret Santa Sock Swap that Courtney is hosting.  For a split second I thought about waiting for Christmas to open it but quickly decided to open it now!  Not because I am impatient or anything but since we are leaving Friday & I am not sure how much blogging I will get to do over vacation I wanted to give my secret Santa a proper thanks in timely fashion!  Plus it is my birthday week & I get to call the shots. hehe - I love being an adult. 

Here are all the cute things Michelle picked out for me!

So cute!
Maximized the Secret Santa!
Seriously?  I have never seen these before.  Check out the stopwatch!  Love it!
Body wash & lotion in the bag
Journal & Calendar
I almost tore into these bad boys.  I was starving after swimming!

Smells good enough to eat.  It made my mouth water.  No kidding!
Super soft fun socks!
Yeah, foot scrub.  Something my tootsies can always use!

 Michelle - you out did yourself girl.  This is A.W.E.S.O.M.E!   Thank you so much!!

Courtney - thanks for hosting.  I can't wait for next year!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Team Aquaphor - Season Recap

The Team Aquaphor season wrapped up on December 15th.  Unfortunately, it ended more in a whimper than a bang but I did still manage to meet all my team objectives. 

I was one of 200 athletes that raced from April 15th - December 15th.  I had so much fun following fellow team mates during their races & reading their race reports.  Everyone did amazing things this year.  I was so honored to be a part of this talented group of athletes.  In total, the team raced in over 1300 races & passed out over 50,000 samples of Aquaphor.   I personally raced in 6 events, 5 triathlons & one 5K and handed out 200 samples plus one large jar of Aquaphor to Coach Susan.

If you are interested in applying to be on a team in 2012 check out Active Ambassors.  Either on Facebook, twitter or the web.  This year they accepted entries in February & team selection was at the end of March.  They will post openings on Facebook for sure.  It was a great experience & I highly recommend it to anyone!  Oh and don't think you need to be an elite athlete to apply!  They accept all ranges of experience, which is how I ended up on the team!  :-)

Here is my season recap in pictures:

The Gear!
The Samples!
The Sampling!
Treacy at Tri for Sight
Atlanta Iron Girl
TNT Run Team

TNT Run Team
TNT Walk Team
TNT Tri Team
TNT Tri Coach Susan Bradley-Cox
BTC Time Trial
TNT Run Team
Lexmark Run/Walk Group

The Races!

BTC Time Trial
Fellow Teammate in Atlanta
Atlanta Iron Girl
Atlanta Iron Girl

French Broad Challenge
French Broad Challenge
French Broad Challenge
French Broad Challenge - 3rd Masters Female!!
Markey Women's Cancer Triathlon
Markey Women's Cancer Triathlon
Laurel Lake - 1 mile open water swim practice
Lake Logan International
Lake Logan International
Lake Logan International

Lake Logan International
Lake Logan International
Tri for Sight Relay
Tri for Sight Relay - 3rd Place Female Team!
CASA 10K w/Lexmark Run/Walk Group
OK that was pretty cool.  Looking at these pictures reminds me that even though it didn't end the way I had hoped I still had an awesome season!  I had so much fun & got to train with so many cool people.  Honestly, I am not sure which I miss more, the training/races or the camaraderie.    I just LOVE this lifestyle & cannot wait until I am healed & healthy to get back at it!

Thank you Team Aquaphor & Active Ambassadors for such a great season!!!

Race Reports
CASA 5K - October 1, 2011 Race Report HERE
Tri for Sight Relay - September 4, 2011 Race Report HERE
Lake Logan International - August 6, 2011 Race Report HERE
Markey Race for Women's Cancer - June 26, 2011 Race Report HERE
French Broad Challenge - May 28, 2011 Race Report  HERE
Atlanta Iron Girl - May 15, 2011 Race Report HERE


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