Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Qucik Update and More Vacation Photos

I've been back to running for over a week now. I'm taking it slow, literally. I've decided this comeback would be the perfect time to finally get to running barefoot and in my Vibrams full time during my road runs. I've also decided to do low heart rate training. There are sooooo many LHR training methods out there! I decided to go with the one that I know some other ladies, that are plagued by injuries as well, are following. So, I'm following the Maffetone Method, many times referred to as MAF (maximum aerobic function). The pace is quite slow for me, about a 13:00 min mile, but it's the pace I need to safely ease into barefoot/minimal running anyway. I won't bore you with details since it bores me but you basically don't go out of your MAF zone until you've built up your base if ever. Many people swear by it and others try it and abandon it pretty quickly due to the frustration of having to go so slow. I'm hoping to stick with it and have it pay off. Hopefully after a good month I might break 13:00 min mile. I'm up to 2.25 miles in my VFF with the last half mile of my runs being barefoot.

I'm also going to see a sports chiropractor in hopes that getting my lower back worked out will straighten my imbalances out. I had many accidents back in my equestrian days but I had one that left the right side of my lower back pretty messed up. Since 1997 I've rarely had a day where I didn't feel some level of pain in my lower back. I had a few adjustments in 2000 that helped a lot but didn't take care of it completely. After one adjustment and a tiny bit of ART my back feels better. I can feel that I have a bit more  movement in that area but it still feels really tight compared to my left side, which makes my whole right side seems stiff when I run. I have my second appointment tomorrow and hope to be feel even better. I will probably be doing a total of 4-5 sessions.

Now on to some more vacation photos! From our trip to the Quinault Rain Forest in Washington. It lived up to it's name and rained on us. Not a nice drizzly rain like we all envision the PNW usually gets, this was a good soaking rain. Even with the rain it was beautiful but the rain did dampen our spirits after awhile and after a few short hikes we did the rest of the Quinault Rain Forest loop drive in the car.
First small hike, still fairly dry.

The world's largest known Sitka Spruce Tree. You can't tell from the picture but I am soaked to the bone.

Waterfall seen from the comfort of the car.

We actually enjoyed the dreariness of the day. It would have been better if we had proper rain gear though.

Beautiful view of the base of the surrounding mountains. I wish I could see this kind of beauty every day.

I hope everyone is having a nice start to fall! Stay tuned for more pictures, next time: Astoria, Oregon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What a Beautiful Day!

It's not just a beautiful day because it's overcast and 60 at 11:00am. It is a wonderful day because I had my follow up appt at the Orotho and was cleared to start running again! I have to start at 1-1.5 miles for the first two weeks. That's fine because I'll take what I can get at this point. I'm also cleared for easy hiking since the ortho doesn't want me trail running for about 6 more weeks.

Tomorrow I will don my running clothes and hit the nice flat greenway for a run! I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. Then Friday I might head to the Ridgeline trail for an easy hike. I hope it all goes well. There is  a little voice in the back of my mind telling me that things might not be all unicorns and fluffy bunnies tomorrow. What if the ortho is wrong and I'm not ready? What if my ITB decides to join in the fun? I will ignore that voice as best as I can and hope for the best and be prepared for dead unicorns and fluffy bunnies.

Happy running everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Vacation in Pictures- Seattle

 Here are some photos from our Seattle portion of our dream vacation. I'll try not to bore you with too many words.

One of the first things we did after we arrived and had lunch at Pike's Brewery and Pub, The Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium was really enjoyable, probably one of the best I've been to, not that I've been to a lot. I wish we could have gotten some pictures of the sea otters since I've not seen them in person before. I was surprised at how large they were compared to river otters.
Super cute river otter that put on a show for us. Unfortunately the show involved the large rock closest to us and marking his territory, if you know what I mean. Thank goodness  for the glass divider.

The under the dome portion of the aquarium. Simple yet super cool effect.
Pictures from my Sunday hike with Kay at Discovery Park.
Poor little abandoned rabbit population. I don't think I've ever lived anywhere that had a feral domesticated rabbit problem.
The shortest lighthouse I've ever seen.

I love the personality of the beaches in the Pacific Northwest. Such a huge contrast to what I am used to seeing on the gulf and east coasts.
Salmon going through the fish ladder at the Ballard Locks.
Sculpture at the Ballard Locks.
That is all for today of my super fabulous photos from the Seattle portion of our vacation. Next up will be photos of the Quinault Rainforest.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dream Vacation Hangover- part 2

Let's see if I can remember what I had babbled on about in my eaten by the interwebs part of my previous post.

Upon arriving in Portland both the hubby and I felt right at home. It seemed so relaxed and down to earth. It's a super pedestrian and bike friendly place. We took a short cab ride to our hotel only to find out later that day that we could have taken public transportation for free! Oh well, now we know for next time. Since we arrived early our room wasn't ready at the hotel. The concierge placed our bags in a secure closet so we could wander aimlessly around the city for a few hours. The first thing on the non-agenda was to find a Starbucks so the hubby could get some Chai Tea Latte for the second time that day. He was attempting to overdose on it while we were in the PNW since Starbucks are few and far between in the south. We don't have a Starbucks, yet, in our little town. We have to drive a whole thirty minutes to get to one, oh the humanity. Our aimless little stroll around the city helped us to come up with more activities to add to our busy tourist schedule.

The first night we decided to take a free street car to Deschutes Brewery. The stop where we caught the street car had the most awesome shop called Crafty Wonderland on the corner. I peeked in real quick and made a note to go back later. I went back on our last day there and bought something for each of us. I could have gotten more. I got a super cute shirt by Little Lark for Emmett. (I've already ordered a surprise grab bag of shirts for Emmett and will be getting us adult sized shirts to match his) I could have spent some serious cash in that store but I was fairly restrained and think we managed to keep it in the double digits.

Dinner at Deschutes Brewery was good. But, the beer sampling was the best part. My favorite beer was the Black Butte Porter  and the Green Lakes Organic Ale gets and honorable mention. One big thing I learned on our vacation is that I'm not a huge fan of IPA's and tend to prefer the stouts.

Our second day we actually spent on the Oregon Coast. We rented a car and drove first to Fort Columbia (just across the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon). It was a fort in a lovely location but it wasn't as cool as the forts on the east coast since it doesn't date back as far as the east coast forts.  We then headed back across the super long Astoria bridge for lunch and to check out The Goonies house. This was pretty cool since the owner is a big Goonies fan and allows people to come up and take pictures, she'll even give tours of the house. The house next to it is for sale for a reasonable price if you're looking, or if you feel like buying it for me just let me know. We also went by the Oregon Film Museum which houses lots of Goonies memorabilia.  We also went to the Astoria Column to get a better view of the surrounding area. I'm proud of the hubby for going up since he really doesn't like heights. It was a long climb up the stairs but worth every quad burning minute of it.

We left Astoria and headed south down the Coast to Ecola State Park. Absolutely gorgeous! I didn't want to leave. I really could live almost anywhere along the Oregon coast and be beyond happy. Indian beach at Ecola park was where the La Push beach scene from Twilight was filmed. We sat and enjoyed the beach watching the surfers attempt to catch waves for a long time, followed up by checking out the life in the tidal pools. We finally tore ourselves from the beach and headed into the town of Cannon Beach right next door to the park. We found an awesome tiny pizza shop to eat at called Pizza a'Fetta. This is totally my kind of beach town! Anyone want to buy me a vacation house there? I promise I'll share.

The rest of the stay was just as awesome as the day in Astoria. I'll just wrap most of it up with a quick list:
-took a 3 hour boat tour down the Willamett River to the falls. Not as cool as the Seattle boat tour but still a good time.
-visited the Japanese Gardens
Tiny Park
-visited the smallest park in the world, Mill Ends Park.
-had lunch at Cupcake Jones (they serve frosting shots, absolutely genius!)
-went to a wine tasting on the east side of the Willamette river with another of my make-believe interweb friends (this one from a running forum) and had an absolutely fabulous time!
-went to breakfast at Bread & Ink in the Hawthorne neighborhood, yummy! We wandered the hood for a bit after and fell in love with the area. Sadly after checking zillow.com I discovered we can't afford to live right in the area and would have to go at least 15 blocks out. (insert sad blue face)

Enjoying the show on the lawn with the hubby.
The last thing we did while on vacation was to go see The Decemberists at the amphitheater at the McMenamins Edgefield. Before the show we ate dinner at the pub there and did more beer sampling. This time I fell for the Terminator Stout. (must find some local NC beer to take the place of all the yummy PNW beer, I already miss the beer and I'm not a big drinker.) The show was great. The lawn at the amphitheater was lovely and the weather was gorgeous. I got a bit choked up at the end of the show knowing our dream vacation was coming to an end. We seriously fell in love with Portland. It lived up to our expectations and more. It just felt like home to us immediately, felt natural to be there among the natives.

The only thing I forgot to do in Portland was to visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft. I was sooooo excited about going there. But, in all the excitement about the other exciting things, I forgot to go. I think my craft geek status has been revoked due to this error. Hopefully one day I can be reinstated as a true craft geek when I find a way to move there and visit the museum.

So, now I'm suffering post dream vacation hangover. I'm sad to be gone from Portland and my body is trying to readjust to east coast time. For now I will daydream of Portland and work on a plan to move us out there and become residents of Portlandia. It's an awesome place to be. After all the dream of the 90's is still alive in Portland.

I have lots of pictures to share but I'll put them in another post in a day or two since this post became quite the novel. I'm sure I'll remember other things that I must bore excite you with about our vacation as well.

Dream Vacation Hangover- part 1

Ecola State Park

Last week the hubby and I finally got to go on our dream vacation! For many years we have fantasied of moving to Portland, Oregon. The only problem with this fantasy was that neither of us had ever been there. We loved it based on rumors, stories, pictures, blogs, movies, etc. Seems silly to love a place you've never been to. So, a year ago we discussed going for a visit. This year we finally put the discussion into action.

Since I have two AWESOME friends in Seattle, Washington we decided to start our trip there then head to Portland. We flew into Seattle on Saturday around noon and planned to leave for Portland via Amtrak Tuesday morning. So we had a packed two and a half days in Seattle.

Tara and me on the boat tour.
For many years I have  had a make-believe friend, Tara, that I met via the interwebs horse forums. She has always been awesome on the phone and via the interwebs. She was gracious enough to pick us up from the airport to take us to our hotel. Upon meeting her for the first time it felt like we'd be friends in real life for ages. I am beyond thrilled that she lived up to all my expectations that I had created in my imagination. She and her husband were a lot of fun and good sports to visit with us so many times in just a short few days. Tara and my husband got along so well that I'm sure if I let them loose somewhere they'd get in big trouble with their very similar senses of humor.

Kay making a bridge at Discovery Park look good.
On Sunday I met with my old trail running buddy, Kay, from Charlotte. She took me on a hike around her local trail at Discovery Park. Then we went into Ballard to eat lunch. We picked a not so stellar Indian restaurant but stopped to pick up cupcakes on the way back to make up for it. It was great to see her again and made me long to be able to run with her again on our favorite trail in NC.

In the two and a half days in Seattle we:
-ate at Pike Brewery and Pub twice, loved their Kilt Lifter Ale!
-walked around Pike Place Market
-visited the Seattle Aquarium, very nice aquarium with lots of cute sea and river otters and seals.
-ate at Sweet Iron Waffle, twice
-drove to the Quinault Rainforest- it lived up to it's name and we got drenched! Totally worth it since it was beautiful.
-did a 2.5 hr boat tour around Seattle with Tara and her hubs. This is where my hub and Tara really got their goofiness on.
-Sunday morning hike and lunch lasted most of the day due to the traffic from Hemp Fest. But again worth it to hang with my trail buddy again.
- ate at Pintxo with Tara and her hubs.
Huge jellyfish at Discovery Park. Kay's hand demonstrating the size of the unfortunate creature.
World's largest Sitka Spruce tree.

Yummy ale and mac & cheese at Pike's!

Lovin' the train!
After the whirlwind adventure of Seattle we boarded a train to Portland on Tuesday morning. I've never been on a train other than subways, els, and short distance trains between PA, NJ, & NY. The comfort of the long distance train was awesome! There was lots of leg room and leg and foot rests. The train ride wasn't as scenic as we had hoped but it beat driving or flying down to Portland.

Holy crap! I had a whole bunch about Portland but it didn't publish. Guess I'll be making a second vacation hangover post, sigh. More to come...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lake Logan Aquathlon 2011

I had been looking forward to the Lake Logan Aquathlon for several months (1500 meter swim & 5k run), excited about venturing into a new sport. Sadly, we know that my high hopes for being able to compete were shot when the Orthopedist told me no running for six weeks due to being on the verge of a stress fracture. I decided to go ahead and go to the event and at least do the swim. I couldn't get any money back at that point so may as well make the most of it.

I switched my attitude from competitor to mom on vacation for 24 hours. I did decide I would at least attempt to walk the 5k so I wouldn't have a DNF. The weather forecast was iffy for the weekend and I was worried that it would storm and ruin my camping experience and even worse cancel the swim portion!

During the drive up there I ran into some really bad rain and was quite worried what the weekend had in store. Turns out when I arrived at Lake Logan it was dry as a bone! Sweet. I picked up my packet and asked a few newbie questions then headed off to find my camping spot and set up my tent.

Once I got my tent set up I grabbed my camera and checked out the venue. I took a peek at the mysterious and fear inducing transition area. Ha, you don't look so scary, for now.

I checked out the dock where we would be exiting the water. Then I walked over to the bridge and checked out the HUGE lake. The water didn't feel all that cold, very similar to the temp of the water at the YMCA. The water by the exit dock was cold but that was a teeny tiny fraction of the swim. At this point I started to contemplate the need for a wetsuit. Seemed everyone was opting for it. I figured I'd try it out. If I didn't end up liking it there would be no big loss since I wasn't really competing.

My night of camping was uneventful, other than the guy in the tent next to me that snored. OMG, don't camp in a group campsite if you snore! It's just rude! Thank goodness for my ipod.

I spent my morning getting my first body marking, setting up my transition area, and picking up my chip. Everyone I spoke with was really nice and helpful. I watched the experienced people and hoped to pick up some cool tricks. If I did see any cool tricks I've completely forgotten them now. I eventually put my wetsuit on and made my way over to the start of the swim with everyone else. I enjoyed watching the sprint triathletes head off for their much shorter swim. It is interesting to see everyone's swim style. There was even one guy that was breast stroking the whole sprint swim instead of freestyle. That looked really slow going, but, at least he was out there getting the job done.

Our turn came to swim and I was actually pretty calm, probably because I had no pressure on myself. I enjoyed getting a view of the surrounding mountains with each breath, that was amazing. I felt like I did really well sighting on the way to the first turn buoy. That all changed once I turned around the second one. There were fewer buoys and the other swimmers were well spread out by then. There was so much more empty space and my right pull started to kick in. I felt like I needed to sight more because I kept drifting to the right back towards the start dock instead of under the bridge to the exit dock. I thought I'd never get to the bridge. Once I finally got close the current from the stream that fed the lake made me feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream, ugh. The water was much cooler there but was very welcome at that point. Thank goodness they had people there to help us onto the dock since I felt a bit disoriented upon standing up.

I thanked my helpers and started my slow march to the transition area. I took my time in transition since there was no reason to rush. I kept an eye on how others were going about things. I struggled to get my wetsuit off my legs and was glad to see it gone. I got all my gear on and grabbed two fig cookies since I knew I'd be out there for a good long time. I hit the potties too since I figured there wouldn't be one on course. My transition time was around 3:30min. Not too bad for taking my time. I now know what I will and won't do next year in transition. I won't be wearing a wetsuit next year either. I'll save that for truly cold water.

I'll admit it was tough to have everyone cheering and being all overly supportive when you're just walking. I felt so silly but I thanked everyone who was giving me support. I just wanted to wear a sign that said, "No running for 6 weeks on Dr's orders, I swear I can actually run." After I got past the thick crowd of spectators I almost cried from disappointment of having to walk. I did my best to turn that around and enjoy my walk. I admire my fellow competitors and took in the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. I had one runner that tried to get me motivated to run with her. I told her I was walking on Dr's orders and she gave me kudos for not letting that stop me from having a good event. I had several other runners ask if I was okay. I really enjoyed the friendliness of the triathletes, very similar to my beloved trail runners.

I was happy to reach the finish. I was second to last in the aquathlon. The only reason that happened was one swimmer took nearly an hour for the swim. But, I'm fine with it. I learned a lot that day. I learned that I definitely need help with the swim if I want to be competitive. It took me 32 mins for the swim, that counts my walk to transition. My watch gave me just a hair over 30 mins. With that time I was 9th out of 13 women in the swim. The winner swam in 20 mins! Wow, I've got some serious work to do. I now know next year I will wear a swim suit only for the swim and run. I'll have some shoes I can slip on easier and I'll skip the potty break.

I'm looking forward to next year. It was a beautiful place to visit. I hope I'll have a much improved swim time and I'll be uninjured so I can run instead of walk!

Sunrise at Lake Logan:

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Blog Name- Adventures of Broken Mom

Just a quick update. Last week I went to the orthopaedist to check out what I thought was a soleus pull in my right calf. Sadly I was wrong. It was worse than that. I was told I am on the way to a stress fracture on the inside of my right tibia if I don't take a break from running. I was shocked that my tibia is where the pain originates, never did I dream of poking around the inside of my tibia for pain when this latest injury cropped up. When he poked my tibia in the spot next to where I thought the soleus pull was I about hit the ceiling.

Of course the second he finished with the sentence, "No running for six weeks," I broke down and cried. I blubbered something to the effect of there goes everything. He tried to tell me all is not lost that I will run again. But I continued to sob and rattle off my three big races I've been looking forward to and specifically training for are all out of the equation now. He gave me some tissue to get the snot under control and I tried to compose myself. He assured me this was nothing that happened from bad training or over training. I just had some bad luck recently and put my foot wrong at some point, which is easy to do when you are a crazy trail runner.

I am finished with week one of rest. I've officially taken myself out of 2 of my 3 races. The only one I'm still doing is this weekend. I know, I've been told not to, but it's an aquathlon, Lake Logan. I could have gotten some of my entry fee back but I couldn't get my camping and pre-paid cafeteria meals back. So I'm going ahead and heading to the event on Saturday afternoon, hopefully with Laura (my reason to tri). I'll camp and enjoy a quiet evening away from home then have a lovely 1500 meter swim surrounded by beautiful mountains and call it a day. For me the challenge is the swim anyway. I'd like to see how I measure up in a race situation with my swimming. I'm still quite a newbie at it and hope this is a good learning experience for me.

So no Blue Ridge Relay or Medoc 10 mile trail race. There is always next year. Now that I have a tent, and no ordinary muggle tent, I can afford to travel a bit farther for some trail races. (Feast your eyes on the Hobitat.) I won't feel so bad going out of town for a short race if I'm only dropping between $10-$25 for lodging. Medoc Trail races are planning on holding some spring races for the first time next year, a 5k and 15k, so I think I'll head up for that since they are such a fun bunch of runners.

On the bright side: I don't have to run in the summer heat any more. I will be a stronger swimmer at the end of my 6 weeks. I also have more time to craft, something I have felt either too busy or tired to do this summer. I've even pondered maybe trying mountain biking to see if I could be an off road triathlete. I'm not convinced I'd do all that well on a mountain bike. Thank goodness for USNWC where I can rent a bike and ride the trails before investing in something I won't like.

Well, so much for a quick update, more like a novella. Hope everyone else is still in one piece. Hopefully I'll have a fun report after next weekend.