Ailments

I have a confession to make. January is just about halfway over and my house is still fully decorated for Christmas. I justified leaving my Christmas tree up until after I got back from Orlando due to the fact that I didn’t finish putting it up until December 18th. I figured this weekend I would put on a movie, take down all of the holiday decor, and put it away for another year. But then I got sick. After a couple of days of denial I realized I had a cold on Thursday. The symptoms were pretty mild at that point so I hoped I would avoid a serious illness. Unfortunately I wasn’t that lucky. When I ran the Star Wars 5K at Disneyland on Friday morning my lungs were burning during the race, but it didn’t seems to negatively impact my performance. More on that in another post. However, by the time I left work that afternoon I knew I was deteriorating. Yesterday my cold symptoms were in full swing so I spent all day either in bed or on the couch watching TV, dosing myself with DayQuil and NyQuil. So much for the productive weekend I’d planned on. And then instead of the hoped for overnight improvement I actually felt worse when I woke up this morning. Unfortunately I had flu symptoms. My diagnosis was confirmed at the CVS Minute Clinic where I got a prescription for Tamiflu from the doctor. Fantastic. Another day of zero productivity. So my Christmas tree is going to stay up for a little longer, it seems.

Being sick does have one tiny upside, though. It’s forced me to rest which has been helpful at healing a running-based injury. During the marathon last Sunday I hurt my right foot. It didn’t bother while I was running for five and a half hours, but it was pretty painful afterwards. I was having some problems with my knee during the race and I think I subconsciously adjusted my gait to try and protect it. That is probably how I hurt my foot. I did a lot of walking around Disney World the three days after the race even with the pain because nothing was going to keep me from park time while I was in Orlando. To be cautious I went to see my podiatrist the day after I returned to Los Angeles and he told me my foot was probably in a pre-stress fracture state. He likened it to a hanger that’s been bent several times so that the metal is hot, but not yet broken. Fun, huh? My instructions were to take it easy for a week or so to prevent a fracture from happening in my bone’s current weakened state. Funny enough, I didn’t have any foot pain after I got back from Orlando so I figured I was on the mend. Being a rebel, I wasn’t really intending to follow my doctor’s instructions. Case in point, running the Star Wars 5K the morning after my podiatrist appointment was probably not the best idea, but luckily my foot felt perfectly fine over those 3.1 miles. After that positive outing I thought I’d be able to resume my workout regimen over the weekend, but then I was struck down by illness. This cold/flu has brought on a period of forced rest over the last two days, and that will continue at least through tomorrow while the Tamiflu hopefully takes effect. Fingers crossed that I feel better tomorrow!

New shirts

I’m spending the weekend sick at home with a wicked cold, which always seems to happen when I get back from vacation. With all this time spent on my couch in front of the TV I figured I’d have plenty of time to write some decent blog posts, but my brain isn’t cooperating. I can barely breathe, I have a lovely cough, and I’m reaching for my Rogue One Kleenex box pretty often. Doesn’t that sound like fun? So instead of working on my marathon recap post(s) I am writing about something silly instead. Silly is about all I can handle in my current state!

I used some of my down time over the holidays to clean out my closets, my dresser, and all of my storage boxes, and in the process I assembled a huge pile of clothes to donate. I seriously filled up the entire backseat of my car with bags. The discarded clothing was a mix of items that I haven’t worn in ages, items I don’t really like (i.e., ugly race shirts), and items that no longer fit since I’ve lost weight. It was a relief to drop off all of that stuff at Goodwill earlier this month, and also to have some free space in my closets and drawers that used to be filled to the brim. Even after reducing my wardrobe by getting rid of all that I still can’t believe how much I own. Which is why my acquisition of six new shirts (not including my Disney World marathon shirt which was included in my race registration) over the last week or so is pretty ridiculous. First of all, I picked up two of these shirts on my trip to Disney World (see bottom left of the above photo) – a Magic Kingdom 45th anniversary shirt and an Iron Man shirt from the Uniqlo store at Disney Springs. (If you’re a Disney fan and haven’t seen their line of shirts at Uniqlo yet you are missing out!) Next, I discovered that a package containing my Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival shirt (bottom right) arrived while I was in Orlando. I contributed to the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter over Thanksgiving in 2014 so I guess it’s about time! Then I went to the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend expo on Thursday at the Disneyland Hotel and rounded out my new collection. Not only did I get the Star Wars 5K shirt that came with mt registration (top left), but I bought two shirts from New Balance that struck my fancy (top right). I feel pretty ridiculous to acquire all of these shortly after donating so much to Goodwill, but it seems I have no restraint when it comes to graphic t-shirts. At least I’ve got my weekend outfits covered for a while!

Sick day

On my flight from Dallas to Los Angeles yesterday I started sneezing. I dismissed the first few sneezes as simply caused by dust or irritation, but after several more I started to think I was getting sick. That theory was confirmed when the sneezing continued, followed by some nasal congestion, after I got home from the airport. So I ended up taking a today day off from work to avoid sneezing all over my co-workers. Such an inauspicious end to the Thanksgiving holiday!

I was hoping that spending the day at home recuperating would give me ample opportunity to write an extensive webpage post about Thanksgiving. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. First of all, I ended up sleeping until 10 AM. I can’t remember that last time I did that. Obviously illness and jet lag took their toll on my body. And then when I woke up I remembered that my kitchen was lacking in a few basic staples that I needed this week, so threw on some clothes and went to the grocery store. When I was back at home I curled up on my couch with my laptop intending to do some writing, but I got distracted. Not only did I have a wealth of TV shows and movies on my DVR to watch, but it’s Cyber Monday so there were a lot of websites I had to visit to discover what deals were available today. So I spent the better part of the day watching episodes of “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” (interspersed with FXX’s “The Simpsons” marathon), and placing orders for everything from running clothes to sunscreen. The Cyber Monday sales saved me a lot of money so I’m happy about that. Eventually I ran out of excuses so I started writing this post. It’s fairly pathetic given all the free time I had today, but it will have to do. I still have several chores I need to do tonight so that I’ll be prepared for tomorrow. This cold is mild enough that I’m confident that I can go to work tomorrow. At least it won’t be another wasted day!

Old shorts, new pants

Last Sunday I decided to go to Disneyland. I hadn’t been to the parks since before Labor Day (pre-Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend) and I was beginning to suffer from withdrawal. I was hoping that September meant I could wear some jeans, but unfortunately the forecasted high for Anaheim that day was 104 deg! It was going to be the hottest day we’d had all year (after our mostly mild summer). Since long pants were out of the question I pulled out a pair of shorts that I bought earlier this year instead. But when I went to put them on I was thrilled to discover that they are way too big! I had to dig deeper in the drawer for a pair of shorts from last year (pictured in the above photo at EPCOT last November), and even those were a little baggy. That was an amazing feeling. I knew I’d definitely been more comfortable in some of my old clothes recently, but the shorts were a surprise. I didn’t realize I’d changed that much already.

On Labor Day I started Nutrisystem. In spite of lots of exercise (obviously a lot of running and, more recently, the addition of weight training) and what I thought was a relatively healthy diet (except for my soda addiction) I hadn’t had any luck dropping the weight I gained last year when I hurt my knee. My body was just clinging to the extra pounds and none of the small changes I’d tried seemed to make any difference. I knew I had to do something drastic to jump start the weight loss process. So one day I took the plunge and place my first Nutrisystem order. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I started the meal plan the day after the Disneyland Half Marathon and started getting results immediately. I won’t lie, I was hungry ALL THE TIME, but I lost a pound a day during that first week. It was like a miracle. The weight loss has slowed a bit since then, but I’m keeping at it. Based on how much I exercise I eat a little more than the system allows, but I think it’s necessary. The other day I realized that some of the new pants I ordered from Old Navy recently (during a 50% off Labor Day sale online) were feeling loose. Not like I’ve lost a full pants size yet, but I might be getting there. Will I be disappointed if all of my brand new pants don’t fit in a month? A little, but I’ll be much happier being smaller and lighter than I’ve been in about a year and a half. And running will be easier too. We’ll see how it goes!

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!

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!