#tbt – Funny story from Halloween

I went to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland with some friends back in October. Since I didn’t have a proper Halloween costume I decided to just wear my Rapunzel running shirt with a flowered headband and my hair in a braid. It was barely an homage to a costume, but it was the best I could do on short notice. The shirt is purple and says “Rapunzel” on the front, with a long strand of blond hair printed on the back. The first group of friends I ran into that evening was a family with an adorable three year old daughter. They were all dressed as Monster’s Inc. characters which was awesome. My t-shirt-as-a-costume was lame in comparison, but it was far too warm for me to wear my Emperor Palpatine robe (pictured above at last year’s Halloween party – it was still too warm to wear it then as well). When the mom saw my shirt, here’s what she said to her daughter:

Mom: “Who is she dressed up as? What does her shirt say?”
*pause*
Mom: “Oh wait, you can’t read.”

This made me laugh so hard! It took mom a few seconds to remember that her daughter was only three years old and had no idea what my shirt said. Luckily the blonde hair printed on the back was enough for her to recognize that my “costume” was Rapunzel-inspired. Then she insisted that I accompany her on a roller coaster (child-friendly Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toon Town). It was the beginning of a great Halloween-themed evening at Disneyland with friends and their kids.

Emergency M&M’s

In February we had some unseasonably warm days. (After a relatively short and mild winter this really annoyed me. Summer is going to be here soon enough without it arriving in February.) On one of these scorching days we were discussing this phenomenon over our cubicle walls at work when I got an instant message from one of the guys who sits across the aisle from me. It went like something like this:

Him: I just remembered I have a bag of M&Ms in my car!
Me: Ha ha ha ha!
Him: I put it in my center console during the winter for emergencies.

Maybe I’m uninformed on the latest in snack trends, but I’d never heard of emergency M&M’s before! I laughed so hard after this conversation. He was so worried that the peanut M&M’s in his car had melted into a puddle of chocolate, nuts, and pieces of candy shell. He ran to his car shortly after expressing his concern and was happy to discover that the individual M&M’s were still intact. Crisis averted! So when I opened my Sunday paper and I saw an ad for these to-go containers of M&M’s (see above photo) I just had to share it with him. They seemed a timely and well-suited solution to his mobile winter sustenance situation. If you’re going to leave M&M’s in your car “for emergencies,” they might as well be in a decent container!

Long overdue update

Happy Easter everyone! It’s been far too long since I wrote anything, I know. It’s been a busy month! But before I write anything about this latest holiday let me catch up on some of the events from earlier this month. The good news is that I’m getting back to running regularly again. I’m still pretty out of shape, meaning my lungs feel like they’re on fire when I run at even the slowest possible pace, but at least my leg isn’t hurting anymore. As of my last post I had run one time without pain and the orthopedist gave me the green light to ease back into my normal routine. So that weekend I made a bit of a judgment call (that a friend of mine questioned, actually) and ran two 5Ks, the Country Music 5K in Anaheim on Saturday and the San Diego 5K (in San Diego, of course) on Sunday. I was actually registered for the San Diego Half Marathon, but after not running for a month I knew I wasn’t ready for that distance even if my leg wasn’t bothering me. I’ll try it again next year. I felt great during the 5Ks (with the exception of the burning lungs from having lost all of my endurance), but my leg started bothering me again the next Monday. I was concerned that I did indeed have a stress fracture, which the doctor warned me was a possibility, so I made a follow-up appointment with the orthopedist for the next week. Unfortunately my cold also had a resurgence after those two 5Ks. I guess I was overly ambitious that weekend after being injured since early February and sick since the end of my vacation because I felt horrible on Monday and Tuesday.

The next week was busy as well. Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day so I had to represent my Irish heritage, but I realized that I don’t have a lot of green apparel in my wardrobe these days. My green North Face jacket would have been perfect except the spring weather was too warm to make it a feasible choice. I do have a couple of great St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts, but neither would have been really work-appropriate. (Hello Kitty is perfect on the weekend, but I generally avoid cartoon characters on my clothes when I go to the office. Except maybe on Fridays.) So I donned my dark green pants and a black shirt and decided that the outfit was sufficient for a weekday St. Patrick’s Day. However, just as I was arriving at work that morning one of my co-workers asked me why I wasn’t wearing green. Really? Do green pants not qualify? It turns out the dark green threw a lot of people off that day so I had to defend my St. Patrick’s Day participation a few times, but at least I avoided being pinched. The next day I went for a 5-mile run after work and I’m happy to say that my leg felt mostly fine. I hadn’t seen the orthopedist yet, but I was pretty sure that the lack of pain meant that I didn’t have a stress fracture. This made me really happy because I was registered for the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego that Sunday and I really didn’t want to skip it. They have four candy stations along the course! How could I miss that? I knew running 9.3 miles would be a challenge at my current fitness level (or lack of it), but I figured I could complete the race without any ill effects as long as I didn’t push myself too hard. The course turned out to be incredibly hilly and challenging, but I survived and I’m glad I did it. It convinced me that I can ramp up my mileage in preparation for my next half marathon in April. Let’s hope I can put this injury and illness combination completely behind me soon. It’s been long enough!

Slowly improving

“There have definitely been a lot of obstacles so far! What’s next? Hopefully nothing serious! I’ve registered for way too many races already this year and I don’t want to miss any of them!”
3/27/15 webpage post

One year later and I’m in almost exactly the same situation. Not only am I recovering from another injury, but I’ve also signed up for far too many races again. I’ll never learn, huh? Luckily things are starting to look up. Last night I ran four miles with no pain! It’s a miracle! I was so nervous when I started running, but when I finished the first full mile without hurting I celebrated a little. I was on the Seal Beach Pier at the time so I probably looked pretty silly to everyone who was taking a leisurely walk at the time, but I was too happy to care. My leg was really stiff while I was running, but I made it four miles without feeling that sharp pain that stopped me in my tracks during the Princess 10K in Orlando. Not that I broke any speed records. Besides protecting my leg from potential aggravation, let’s remember that I hadn’t run in almost a month so I was seriously out of shape. But the huffing and puffing and the slow pace didn’t bother me one bit since I wasn’t in any pain. I am experiencing a good deal of soreness today, in the area of my leg injury and other spots too, but that’s to be expected after my hiatus. Despite the improvement, I still went to the orthopedist today to make sure I don’t have a more serious problem than a pulled muscle or whatever. The physician’s assistant agreed that I just have some inflamed tendons in my hip, so that was good news. But when she called the doctor in for a second opinion he warned me that it might be a stress fracture in my pelvic region. It’s unlikely, but he wants me to get back into running slowly just to make sure. This means no San Diego Half Marathon this weekend. Oh well. I’m not all that disappointed because I can simply do the 5K instead. It’s a long way to go for a 5K, but there’s No way am I going to push myself too hard and risk being too injured to participate in some races later this spring. The doctor said that if my leg doesn’t continue to improve or if it starts hurting again I’ll have go back for an x-ray. I’m confident that I’ll be fine, but the only way to find out is to run some more. I’m on it!

Still struggling

Unfortunately I missed the Coaster Run on Sunday morning. I was so disappointed that I still felt terrible due to my cold/flu when my alarm went off early that morning. It didn’t help that it was pouring outside either. We don’t get much rain here in Southern California so it was beneficial for our drought-stricken little corner of the country, but not so great for outdoor activities. Still, if I’d been healthy I would have ventured out to Knott’s Berry Farm to earn my medal anyway. This stupid illness has caused me to miss two races now and I’m getting pretty fed up. My improvement seems far too slow for my liking. After nearly two weeks my head and chest are still really congested and simply walking around the grocery store makes me light headed. It’s so frustrating. Not that being sick is the only hurdle in my path right now. The pulled muscle or whatever in my leg doesn’t seem to be healed yet either. I haven’t run since the Princess 10K (and that was less than a half mile of running before I was in too much pain to keep going), but I can still feel some tightness in the affected area and it concerns me. I made an appointment to see on orthopedist on Thursday to make sure I don’t have a more serious problem. Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion. I’m planning to go for a short run tomorrow night to see what sort of state my body is in. One way or another, it will be a good data point to give the doctor on Thursday. Also, I’m registered for the San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday and I’d like to know what my chances are of participating. I’m still planning to go this weekend even if I have to switch to the 5K because I refuse to miss another event that I’ve paid for. But if I’m not in pain I think I’ll do my best on the half marathon. Fingers crossed that my test run tomorrow goes well!

#tbt – Here I go again

This time last year I was ramping up my running again after suffering from IT band problems in January and February. The Coaster Run 5K at Knott’s Berry Farm was my second race after about a month of rest. I actually dropped down from the 10K to the 5K because I knew I wasn’t ready for the 6.2 mile distance yet. I was so happy to be running without pain again, but I had a long way to go to get back to my previous fitness level. Running a few miles through Knott’s Berry Farm was a lovely way to work on that goal, at least! Fast forward to today and the 2016 Coaster Run is this Sunday. Once again I’m registered for the 10K, but as of this morning I realized that it was going to be too much for me to handle. After sustaining an injury four weeks ago and then coming down with some cold/flu combination at the tail end of my Orlando/Bahamas vacation I am not in the greatest shape right now. This is really frustrating since I’d been really consistent and fairly successful with my running since the beginning of the year. But when I had to leave work early today because I was feeling so rotten (I guess working a full day yesterday was a mistake) I knew I needed to lower my expectations for the race this weekend. Not only have I not run in almost a month, but my head and chest congestion aren’t going to make the endeavor any easier. (Not to mention the fact that it’s supposed to rain cats and dogs on Sunday.) One way or another this weekend is going to be interesting. Hopefully, like last year, the Coaster Run is my first step on the road back to regular and pain-free running. I’ll let you know how it goes!

More recent difficulties

Forgive me, but I’m going to whine a little bit more. As much as I loved my trip to Orlando and the Bahamas (which I will elaborate on in another post), there were a few snags. Most notably, I’m stuck at home right now with the flu, a really bad cold, or some combination of the two. It sucks big time. It all started on Thursday afternoon when my mom and I watched “The Force Awakens” on our Disney Cruise. Between then and dinnertime I developed a sore throat. I could have caught something from anyone on that ship (despite the borderline obsession with cleanliness on the cruise), but my money’s on the girl sitting next to me in the theater who was coughing up a lung. When the sore throat hadn’t gone away by the next morning when we docked in Port Canaveral I knew I was sick. Assuming I just had a cold I got some Zicam at the first available CVS and took it regularly for the next three days. I didn’t feel too terrible the next couple of days so I thought I was going to get off easy with this illness. Then on Sunday it took a turn. I went to work for a few hours to sort through all of my emails that I’d piled up while I was on vacation and get some boring administrative work done while no one else was around. I felt surprisingly good so I was contemplating going to spin class the next day to get some much needed exercise, but at 2 PM my sore throat got exponentially worse. I headed home earlier than I originally planned in order to rest. But as I was lying on the couch watching the Oscars I started feeling achy and shivering like crazy – all signs that I had a fever. And the thermometer confirmed it. Now my “cold” was looking more like the flu. So instead of going to work on Monday morning I went to urgent care and got a prescription for Tamiflu. The doctor wasn’t optimistic that it would help me very much (he said it was more effective last year than it has been so far this year), but he said I could try it anyway. So this was a long-winded way of saying that the most memorable souvenir from my trip was a nasty cold/flu that’s kept me home sick for two days. The only benefit is that I’ve been forced to rest my pulled muscle that I sustained nearly three weeks ago.

Speaking of which, that pulled muscle I first wrote about before I left for Orlando caused me a lot of problems while I was on vacation. When the Princess 10K rolled around that Saturday morning I hadn’t run at all in over a week in an attempt to let my body heal. I had no idea how I was going to fare during the race. I started out the 10K running slowly, and I felt pretty good at first. Unfortunately before I reached even 0.5 miles my leg was hurting so much I had to switch to walking instead. Limping is more like it. It took me nearly the rest of the 6.2 miles to feel somewhat normal again. Obviously I wasn’t quite healed yet. I was really happy to be wearing arm warmers with my short-sleeve shirt because walking didn’t keep me very comfortable on a chilly Florida morning! I crossed the finish line knowing that running the half marathon the next day was out of the question. Neither was skipping the race. I wasn’t going to risk further injuring myself by running, but I also wasn’t going to throw away the opportunity to complete the Glass Slipper Challenge (and earn my pink Coast to Coast medal after the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in May). So I walked it. The entire 13.1 miles. And it was so boring! It took me nearly 4 hours to complete the Princess Half Marathon, but I did it and collected all of my medals afterwards. The last race of my trip was the Castaway Cay 5K on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. I knew I wasn’t ready to run yet so I walked the 3.1 miles with my mom on Castaway Cay. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting course, and it was really hot and humid that morning, but we finished the race (not dead last either!) and earned our medals. And then we bought Castaway Cay 5K shirts! Those are my two favorite souvenirs from the Disney Cruise. So over the course of my nine-day vacation I completed 22.4 miles of races, walking almost that entire distance. I’m proud that I did it, but I hope I never have to repeat it! Once I recover from this cold/flu/whatever I’ll give running a try again. I have to be ready for all of the spring races I’m already registered for!