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Another setback

April 21st, 2014

I spent my weekend in flip flips because those are the only shoes I could wear comfortably at the time. This is due to some new running shoes I tried last Sunday that destroyed my feet and made putting on just about any shoes painful. That meant no running or even much walking for a while. It was incredibly frustrating. So how did this happen? I’ll tell you.

I took a personal day off from work the week before last because I had a few things I wanted to get done – specifically, get some new running shoes. My ankles hurt a bit after the Seal Beach 10K two weeks ago and the pain only got worse during my two runs following the race. I was convinced I needed new shoes because nothing I’ve tried so far has worked for me. Out of desperation I went to two different stores to get some options. The first place I went was the New Balance store at South Coast Plaza. Not that I’ve loved what I’ve purchased there so far, but being able to get running shoes in narrow widths is what keeps me going back. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but let’s move on. After explaining my problems the salesperson brought me a pair of their new Fresh Foam 980s. I wasn’t expecting much, but they felt really good when I tried them on and walked around a bit. And since they weren’t too expensive I bought them to at least try. I’ve already spent so much money looking for the right running shoes – what’s a little more? Maybe if I kiss enough frogs I’ll find my prince one day. And by “prince” I mean some shoes that don’t kill my feet when I run! But I digress. When I left the mall I went to Snail’s Pace, a running store in Fountain Valley, because I thought they would have many more options to alleviate my ankle pain. On my first visit there I got the Nike Zoom Structures that I absolutely hated so I was hoping for a different outcome this time. I explained my situation to yet another salesperson and he assured me that I need stability shoes to correct overpronation (despite my reservations). I tried on three different pairs and ultimately chose the Adidas Adistar Boost shoes.

To make a long story short, I ran six miles in them and they destroyed my feet (as I alluded to in the first paragraph). I didn’t even realize the extent of the damage until I put on the shoes again three days later. There’s a piece of plastic on the exterior of the heel for structure and stability that must have dug into my heel bone and bruised the hell out of it. It was so painful that I almost started crying when I tried running in them again. Those suckers are going back to Snail’s Pace this week for sure. As of this evening I think my feet are finally feeling good enough to try running again (in some different shoes, obviously), which is good news because I’m supposed to start my half marathon training plan soon. I will try the New Balance Fresh Foam shoes tomorrow and see how they work for me. One thing’s for sure, they can’t be worse than the Adidas!

Happy Easter!

April 20th, 2014

Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #42

April 18th, 2014

Chocolate chip cookies #42: Based on Cookies and Cups’ Soft Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 4/5/14.

Once again, I tried a fairly basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but with one unique ingredient to mix things up. As much as I love a classic cookie, I’m always on the lookout for variations. How else would I have discovered coconut chocolate chip cookies or bacon chocolate chip cookies? And this time around the result was superb. Believe it or not, adding malted milk powder to chocolate chip cookie dough makes the cookies really delicious. The end result doesn’t taste like malted milk, but the powder gives the cookies a little extra flavor that they wouldn’t have had without it. The batch of malted milk chocolate chip cookies might have benefited from a tad less flour, but they were still extremely popular with my co-workers and friends. And since I’ve got quite a bit of malted milk powder left over, I will definitely be making these again soon!

P.S. I’m working on a more substantial post, but I haven’t finished it yet. Inspiration to write has been scarce lately, plus I’ve been trying to limit my computer time right before I go to sleep. I’m going to try and do better this week, but I won’t make any promises this time!

#tbt – UF graduation photo 2002

April 17th, 2014

Wordless Wednesday – Crossing the finish line

April 16th, 2014

Resolution #2 revisited

April 15th, 2014

As part of my 2014 resolution #2 I started taking Accutane on March 4th (one week after my surgery, as requested by my dermatologist) and so far my skin is looking better than it has in years. This is partially because I’ve only gotten two pimples in the last six weeks (although one of them happened to pop up right before I got my new driver’s license photo taken so that was fun), but also because I’ve been very diligent about my skin care regimen to ward off the side effects of the medication. The most common of these are dry skin and chapped lips, and I’ve definitely been experiencing both. My lips are constantly peeling so I apply balm frequently. It’s tons of fun. As far as the rest of my skin goes, I use a lot of lotion. Living in Los Angeles makes my skin pretty dry to begin with, but the Accutane has made it worse. My face gets two applications of moisturizing cream per day (one with SPF in the morning and a night cream in the evening), and the rest of my body gets a liberal layer of Vaseline Intensive Care Repairing Lotion after my shower. I started using that stuff years ago when I was working in DC and the winter weather there wreaked havoc on my poor skin. Vaseline has always been my favorite brand of lotion and the repairing variety is amazing. It’s not greasy (unlike the Eucerin lotion I tried a few weeks ago – yuck) and it absorbs overnight, making my skin feel great in the morning. But besides the run-of-the-mill dry skin I’ve been dealing with, I also have random little rashes in the weirdest places. Most notably, on the backs of my hands. My dermatologist said it was normal, though, and it’s gotten better with nightly applications of Aquaphor. Fortunately for now the side effects are manageable, and all of this will be worth it if I have clear skin at the end of the treatment. Actually, I’m already really happy with the results after only six weeks! But since Accutane is supposed to be a long term acne solution so it might be a while before I know how it works for me. The good news is that I haven’t I’ve had any of the other more worrisome side effects, like depression or headaches, so things are going well so far! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on my future progress (whether you care about it or not!).

Sunday matinee

April 13th, 2014


April 12th, 2014

I know I’ve written about this a lot, but please indulge me one more time while I describe the events of the Seal Beach 10K last Saturday. This was my first race and it was a very big deal to me!

I woke up at 6 AM because I needed to eat breakfast (a raspberry and banana smoothie) and then have some time to digest it before the race started. After that I relaxed for about an hour before I had to get ready to leave. When the time came I slathered myself with sunscreen (this was atypical since I usually run at night), donned a Gator t-shirt (since the Final Four game was that afternoon) and running capris, laced up my running shoes (that’s a whole other post that I need to write), and headed out the door. Luckily I just live a few blocks from the start line so I got there quickly. Before the race started I met up with a group of Boeing employees to take a group photo. I only knew one other person there, but it was still nice to feel like part of a group. A few minutes before 8 AM I made my way to the back of the mob of people running the 5K and 10K races. I am an extremely slow runner (~11 min/mile at my fastest) so I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way when the race started. I didn’t go all the way to the back of the line, though, because there were a lot of strollers there than I didn’t want to dodge! Once 8 AM rolled around and I finally crossed the start line I ran my first mile very slowly, but that turned out to be a good warm up because every mile after that was faster than I expected. Much to my surprise, I only walked two brief intervals over the 6.2 mile route which coincided with the two water stations at miles 2 and 4. I estimate that I ran all about 0.3 miles of the whole race so that was an improvement on all of my training runs. It wasn’t warm that morning, but the sun was very bright (no cloud cover that day) and there was almost no little shade. I was sweating like a pig, but really enjoying myself. I didn’t break any records, of course, but I finished the Seal Beach 10K in 1:15:24 and averaged ~12 min/mi. Not bad for my first race! After crossing the finish line and drinking a bottle of water, I walked home (did I mention how nice it is to be a local?) for a much needed shower. Not that running a 10K is really that great of an accomplishment, but I was really proud. And it made me think that I just might be able to run the Disneyland Half Marathon that I’m registered for in August! Very encouraging!

Foodie Friday – Rosemary pecans

April 11th, 2014

I know, I’m the worst blogger ever. Please forgive me. But some days you just have to do what’s necessary – and yesterday I just had to go to bed at 8:30. I was really tired. Not that a single early bedtime explains my pitiful blogging over the last week, but it’s representative of a lot of things going on right now. I promise to do better over the weekend. But for now, on to the recipe!

This recipe is so simple that I feel like a bit of a fraud posting it, but it was a bit hit at Thanksgiving. At the time my dad was sticking to a low carb diet so he couldn’t sample any of the four kinds of chocolate chip cookies I made for the holiday feast. So for him (and for the health conscious folks at our Thanksgiving dinner) I roasted some almonds and pecans with different seasonings. Not only is roasting nuts ridiculously easy, but the result is really tasty. This recipe will even satisfy the vegetarians and vegans in your life! These rosemary pecans were very a very popular appetizer at the Thanksgiving dinner we attended. I will definitely be making them again!

2 c pecan halves
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt

In a medium bowl, drizzle the pecan halves with oil and stir to coat. Then add the rosemary and salt and stir to evenly coat the pecans with the spices. (I wish I’d had some ground rosemary for this recipe because a lot of the crushed rosemary fell off the pecans. If you have a spice grinder this would be a good time to employ it.) Spread the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 deg F for about 20 minutes, stirring once, or until the nuts are toasted. Be careful not to burn them! Enjoy!

Based on In Sonnet’s Kitchen’s Rosemary and Sea Salt Roasted Pecans.

Wordless Wednesday – Doctor Who workout gear

April 9th, 2014