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Friday, September 28, 2012


So, I ended up going to the doctor yesterday.  They did a urine test, a throat culture, a flu test, and drew my blood.  The results of the blood test are still out, but everything else came back negative, so the prognosis?  "Probably some kind of virus."

Today, I decided to take the day off work so I could get some extra rest.  I think I've been trying too hard to just plow through this ick, but I think I clearly need some rest.  I slept this morning for an extra 3 hours.  It was pretty awesome.

Hopefully, by the time the blood test results come back, I'm feeling better.

As for the running, the doctor was not totally for it, but wasn't totally against it either.  I take that as a green light on at least getting short runs done to keep the streak active.

I'm too sick to work, but dammit, I'm not too sick to run! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday's Wondering

I have been running a low grade fever for 7 days now.  It's my only symptom (that, and a fever's accompanying side effects: chills, aches, fatigue).  I manage it easily enough by taking two Advil first thing in the morning and two in the late afternoon; while the Advil is in effect, I feel pretty much fine, but when it wears off, I feel like shark farts again.

So, using the all-knowing, and of course, trustworthy, powers of the interweb, I have determined that I either have a common virus or I have cancer.  Oh, WebMd had 91 other possibilities mixed in there as well: In case you're wondering, a low grade fever is THE most generic symptom you can exhibit, so it pretty much qualifies you to have everything from Lyme's disease to AIDS.

Thus, for you dear readers, who also have all sorts of interweb medical expertise, I have two questions for you:

My one question at this point is this: Should I go see an actual doctor?  I keep thinking, "Eh, this is gonna pass in another day.  A doctor is just going to charge me my co-pay, tell me I have a virus, and send me on my way."  But then another day passes, and I wake up and still feel like warm poo.

My other question, which I may be far likelier to ignore your advice on, is this: Is running right now advisable?  Because I'm still running.  Not much -- 3 miles a day -- but I haven't let this break my streak (today's run was day #89: I really can't stop now!).  Like I said above, with Advil, I feel alright and the exercise is manageable, but it does tire me out, thus, the short duration.  I also wonder if I'm doing myself in any favors in shaking whatever I've got by powering through the running each day.  Still, if I quit now, and then I suddenly get over this temporary plague, I would KICK myself for breaking the streak!

Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Do you think this fever will kill me and that I'll then re-animate as a zombie?  Thats' really the worst case scenario, right?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

The weekend was a whirlwind of airports, the wedding, and more airports.  But I had a lovely (but brief) visit to DC and the wedding I attended was nice -- and probably the most unique wedding I've ever attended (can you top a gay, Wiccan wedding among the weddings you've attended?  if not, add it to your to-do list!).

I got back home Saturday night and was simply pooped.  A combination of flying, the Drammamine necessary for me to fly, wine at the wedding, and still not feeling "right," left me exhausted.  Yesterday, I played catch up with household chores, and even with a nearly 2 hour afternoon nap, I was still beat at the end of the day and still not feeling good.  So, I went to bed when Norah did.  At 8 pm.

This morning, after 11 hours of sleep, I think I am better.  I seriously don't know if I've been sick or what -- it's like I have "kinda sick" symptoms but not totally.  It's weird.  (I also had very strange dreams last night; fever dreams?  I don't know, but I can tell you there were zombies.  And I haven't been watching or reading any zombie stuff as of late.)

Despite the travel and the not feeling on top of my game, I did keep up with the running over the weekend, although I'm sad to report that I totally missed out on great running in DC (weather was PERFECT).  There just wasn't time for more than a short treadmill run in my hotel early Saturday morning.

I'm hoping that this week is a week of routine -- I could really use a "regular" week -- and I hope I get over whatever "bug" I've had.  I've been alternating between chills and sweats for almost 4 days now, so if I'm not over it soon, I'm certain it's the plague.

Friday, September 21, 2012

1 Miler

In a streak, there is always the safety net distance of completing at least 1 mile in a day to keep a streak active.

That's what I fell back on this morning.

Last night, I had a weird night's sleep: I woke up at midnight with chills.  I felt sore, achy, and cold.  Then, a few hours later, I woke up completely drenched in sweat.  I either have the little virus that Caleb had (his only symptom was a fever, so I still don't know if he had a virus or was just teething), or I'm going through menopause.

When I got up this morning, I just wasn't feeling "good."  Nothing in particular was paining me or making me feel ill, but I sorely wanted to just crawl back into bed and sleep a few more hours.  Since that wasn't an option, I went out and just did the 1 mile minimum.  It was slow. 

Now, I have class and then I'm off to the airport for my trip to DC.  I doubt there will be an opportunity for me later this evening for more miles, so I think I'll just have to let that 1 miler stand as today's run.  So far this week, I'm logging the lowest mileage since June.

Eh.  I suspect the world won't end.

Ayhoo...I'm looking forward to getting some extra winks on the plane and reading my book.  Enjoy your weekends!  Check ya later.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Minimum Requirements

This week has been a bit...busy.

My SIL was in town visiting for a few days.  Caleb was sick (or just teething, I don't know, either way, he's been a Crab Apple).  And, tomorrow, I leave for a day away to attend a wedding in DC.

It's not overwhelming or anything, but combine the irregular week with seemingly low levels of energy (maybe I'm getting sick, or teething?), and I have just been scraping by each day with the running.  3 milers all week.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  It has kept the streak active, and 30 minutes of running each day is still decent, but for it to be Thursday and to have only run 15 miles so far this week...well, it feels like I'm being a slacker.

Perhaps I'll perk up over the weekend (I'm looking forward to being able to run Saturday morning in DC -- I better get some autumn temps!), and then next week presumably will be back to a more normal routine for our family, and hopefully, for the running as well!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Robot Commentors

So, what's the 411 about comment settings on blogs? 

I always used to have the word verification, but I know that since Blogger changed it and made it more complex, some readers have a hard time deciphering it and just give up on trying to comment (and I know from reading some others' blogs that it IS a pain).  So, I removed the word verification.

And now?

All kinds of spam is filling my email via the comments section.  Sorry, "Anonymous," I have no need for prescription drugs or to contribute money to a disposed Nigerian prince.  It's annoying.

Because I open my email and I get all excited at first: "Ohhh!  25 new comments?!"  And then I discover that it's all just random characters cobbled together or an add for knock-off Louis Vitton purses.  Nerds!

Does anyone who doesn't use the word verification get this much spam?  A few of you, I note, use the comment moderator, is that better or more of a headache since you have to approve each comment?  Should I just accept the robot comments and be happy robots are even reading?

Let me know your thoughts as blog writers, and preferences as blog readers.  "Anonymous"?  You can just butt out of this discussion; take a little robot siesta.

Monday, September 17, 2012


bore'mill (bor'mil) n. A machine designed for the ease and convenience of running that inadvertantly creates almost universal running lethargy in users. Frequent users may find that the machine's reptition and tedium induce intense user boredom and unusual fatigue.  Especially on a rainy Monday morning (which, for 8 academic years has always been a holiday, but was determined this year to NOT be an academic holiday) when the user slept poorly.

Such users may find that instead of running an intended 6 miles, he or she can only eek out 3, and even that may feel strenuous.

Users of this nature may be named Jess.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

Nearby, there's a "Nature Trail" -- ie, a 1/3 mile loop of spared swamp in the middle of suburbia -- and often I take the kids there to walk.  It's relaxing for me because I don't have to worry about cars, and it's more scenic than a regular walk in the neighborhood, and in 1/3 of a mile, these two find more than enough sticks, pine cones, rocks, etc to fascinate them.  That 1/3 of mile typically takes us 30 minutes to walk.
Anyhoo, this afternoon, I decided to take my camera along and snap a few kid pics along the trail.
Caleb struttin' his stuff:

Norah posing with a weird look on her face.  She was very proud of her outfit today (when she picked it out, she emerged from her room and asked: "Hey guys, does this look cool?"  I told her it was totally cool.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell her about not wearing white after Labor Day!), so she was actually sorta, kinda cooperative about pics.  Still, I told her to "smile natural" and I mainly got looks like this one:

Halfway through the walk, there's a long boardwalk over the swampy part, and Norah refers to this as the "Troll Bridge."  It's her favorite part.  Starting from here, she had a series of pics wherein she posed with hands on hips in each one:

Typically, Caleb gets tired toward the end of the walk, and he's not adverse to just laying down in protest.  Here, he was initially looking at some plants between the slats of the boardwalk, and then he just gave up, and was like, "Nah, I don't think I wanna walk anymore."

On the other hand, it takes a LOT to wear down Norah; here she is burning off a little extra energy:

After the boardwalk, Caleb was ready to ride, and Norah is all too happy to push him.  She often doesn't watch where she's going, though, so I have to keep steering them out of the pine needles.

At the end of the walk, there was a nice breeze, and Norah declared: "Ah! It's a nice summer day!"  I informed her that it was, in fact, fall now.

Her: "What's fall?"

Me: "Well, in other places, fall is when the temperature gets cooler and the leaves change color."

Her: "What leaves change color?"

Me: "All kinds of leaves.  They turn red, and orange, and yellow!  But, here in FL, we don't have that.  It's basically summer all year."

She thought on that for a moment and then said, "Yeah, I like summer."

Most people do, I told her.  Me?  I always miss autumn.  Come mid-September, I'd be totally willing to trade 90 degrees and green leaves for crisp temps and colorful leaves.  Enjoy it, if that's where you are!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Foto Friday

So, this is my little hambone right now:
I ask him to "smile!" and he* does it:

Norah, however, when I ask her to "smile," I get this artificial smile where her eyes aren't even open:

Or, she just flat out refuses me and keeps picking her nose:

Kids in this generation have to be THE most photographed...ever...so I understand Norah's camera-weariness, but in general, being 3 is an obnoxious age that seems filled with bossiness, bargains, and demands; so it's nice to still have Caleb be my "baby" and smile nicely for the camera.  I'm sure that, soon enough, he too will ignore me and/or give me the fake smile.

*Something else I'm appreciating about Caleb, and his age, right now: He eats!  Simple enough, right?  Not for Norah.  She treats each meal like a hostage situation.  If she had a panic room, she'd use it when we called "dinner!"  Caleb, on the other hand, eats everything (veggies? yes, please!  meat? sure!) and eats it ALL.  Shows too: He grew 3 inches and gained more than 3 lbs the past 3 months.  He doubled in clothing size.  The one upper hand Norah has in this comparison?  She's potty trained.  Yup, that's about all I can come up with right now...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ego Boost

One of the best parts about running on the treadmill at the campus gym is being flanked by students, most of whom are a traditional age: 18-22.  So, why is it awesome running next to them?

Because I out-run them, that's why!

99.9% of the time (yes, I conducted a scientific study), I either run faster and/or farther.  This morning, for example, I ran 6 miles, and in that time, I got new tready neighbors 3 times -- one girl merely walked at a 1.5 speed for 10 minutes (I don't know if she went off and did something else more strenuous, but that pace/distance is about enough exertion to only burn the calories off a Tic Tac).

This is like a fuzzy blanket for my ego: I'm older, but when it comes to running, clearly, I'm more awesome.

Or, perhaps, I'm just WAY sweatier and smellier so they're eager to move along. 

I choose to go with the previous theory.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looking Back

I initially forgot that today was 9/11, but then on my way to work, NPR had a segment on the memorial services being held, and suddenly, I was reminded of the significance of the day.

Every generation has a day like today: My grandparents remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed, my parents remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, and I distinctly remember where I was when the Twin Towers were hit.

I was in a graduate seminar in poetry.  We were studying an Emily Dickinson poem.  Because if you're an English graduate student, that's what you spend your time doing: You sit in a conference room with 8 or 9 other like-minded-literary-nerds and explicate the bejesus out of a work -- "kicking the dead horse" my friend used to say.  For hours.  It's awesome.

Anyway, I remember, we were taking a break, so we all emerged from the room we had been in and there was chaos in the hallways.  SOMEthing was happening, but we had no idea what.  Quickly, we learned that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center, but at that time, no one knew why -- initially, everyone thought it was an accident.  At that point, someone had wheeled a TV out into the hallway where faculty and other grad students were gathering, and they flicked on the TV and there we saw the second plane hit the second tower.

Everyone just gasped.

WTF was happening?  No one seemed able to comprehend what we'd just seen.  It was clear with that footage that that 2nd plane had steered, purposely, into the tower, but the very idea seemed incomprehensible, absurd.

And then, it was break over, and we went back to our studies -- although I can't remember if we held a full class after that or if we left early since everyone was so distracted and confused that focusing on metaphors seemed too much for our brains to comprehend.

Later that evening, I went to work at the restaurant where I was a server.  The restaurant had decided to remain open, but that was clearly pointless; it was dead that night.  I think I had one, maybe two tables, and then we all just packed it in and went home to watch the news repeat the footage of that second plane over,  and over, and over, again.  I went to bed that night feeling shocked and confused.

All of that is what I thought about this morning as I ran my 5 miles on the treadmill.  Around me, were students who were all children when the planes hit those towers, and I wondered if the event carried as much weight in their collective memories since they were so young when it happened (although, for me, I do remember how tragic it was watching the Challenger explode during take off -- we watched that on TV at school, I was in 1st grade; we'd been studying space exploration in preparation of that launch; watching it explode was surreal).

So, here we all are 11 years later.  I teach some of Dickinson's poetry in my literature classes, which seems fitting to me: Towers fall, wars are waged, people are changed, but poetry -- and literature as a whole -- remains steadfast in capturing the diversities and universalities of the human condition.  No matter the day, or the circumstances, it is always worth reading.

Where were you?

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Shoes

Last week, Kathee asked a significant question: "If you are running THAT many miles, how often are you changing shoes??"

Short answer: I'm not changing my shoes.  AT ALL.

I've been running in my current pair of Brooks Adrenalines for more than 1,000 miles.  Holes are literally wearing through the tread.  But...I think they still have some life in 'em.

LOOOOOOOONG answer:  I no longer buy into what shoe companies have long led me to believe about how I should change my shoes every 300 miles.  And, in that vein, I'm not really sure there's any benefit, at all, to wearing "running" shoes.  Yes, I've gone hippie in my thinking.  Kinda.

For the longest time, I made fun of my beloved runner friends who decided to ditch their shoes, either for minimalist shoes, Vibrams, or for full-out barefoot.  I dismissed barefoot or minimalist running as a trend, and often joked that for each pair of Vibrams, they should sell a vial of patchouli.

Then I read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" and I had to admit: He had a well-reasoned argument against running shoes, especially the typical stability shoe that most of us run in.  So, I went experimenting.  Earlier this year, I tried two different minimalist shoes: Brooks PureConnects and New Balance's Minimus.  I feel a gave each one a fair shake, but in the end, neither really worked for me.  I pretty much flat out hated the PureConnects, and while I think the Minimus are comfy for everyday walking around and some light running, ultimately, they felt too flat to me.

So I went back to the pair of Brooks Adrenalines (my stability shoe, brand and model, that I'd been wearing for years), and it was like slipping back into a pair of comfy sweat pants: Ahhhhhh!

Arguably, there are MANY other pairs of minimalist shoes out there that I could test out, and there are always the Vibrams and the totally barefoot approaches, but here's what I think about that: Nah.  Why keep testing new shoes when I have shoes that I like and that work well for me?  Same with barefoot running.  I love to scamper through grass barefoot as much as anyone, but I couldn't imagine setting out for a 6 miler on the suburban sidewalks where I run without any shoes.

And here's the lowdown for me: I haven't had any running-related injury in more than 6 years, and when I did experience injury (ITBS), I attribute that more to inconsistent/inadequate training than I do to any shoe failure.

But, all that being said, I return to what I said before: I don't necessarily think I need to frequently replace my shoes; I think they can hold out much longer than what shoe companies prescribe (clearly, their motives are questionable in this debate).  And, I can't say that "running" shoes work well for every runner. 

So the long and short about how I feel about shoes?  Wear what works, for as long or as short a duration as they work.  Only time and experience allow us each to find what works best for each runner.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend Wrap Up

Phew, what a weekend!

It included Saturday swim lessons, a 4 year old's birthday party, a 33 and 39 year olds' birthday party, and Disney on Ice.  Plus the week's regular shopping: Publix and Target.  Jerry would probably include on there the start of football, and I should probably add that too since he's so distracted managing his bazillion fantasy teams on Sundays that he's pretty much useless for 17 weeks.

I managed the bare minimum running (a 3 miler yesterday and a 4 miler today), but I fit it into a weekend where I feel like we jammed a whole month's worth of acitivities into 2 days.

The reward, however, for being so busy?  Norah was lights out tonight at 6:15, and Caleb was in bed at 6:30.  I feel like I gained an extra 2 hours of my life!

That being said, I'm sorry, but I'm not spending that extra time blogging.  I think I'll go read and go to bed.

Wish I could sleep through until next weekend!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thousands of Things Thursday

The running continues on, but there's not really anything to report there.  So, I figure I'll jibber-jabber about the kids today.

This pic, below, is from last weekend, at our friend's son's (Mason, who you may remember me heroically freeing from the confines of our bedroom two weeks ago) 1 year old b-day party.  His actual b-day is today, and Norah is sitting with her friend Rylee, whose b-day is also today (we like to keep things tight in our circle of friends).  Look how sweet Norah is smiling here.  She never smiles like that when I want to take her picture.

So, Norah Beans, what's she up to as of late?

Well, all kinds of stuff, actually.  She turned 3 a few weeks ago, you know, so now she's got a full-blown LIFE.  Complete with exta-curriculars and everything.  She's taking swimming lessons on Saturdays right now, and she's doing Zumba on Thursdays.  Zumba, right?!  It wouldn't have occurred to me either, but her school offers it and they had a free class last week, and turns out, dancing around like a wild person to wild music is right up Norah's alley!  We always knew some kind of refined dancing wouldn't really jive with her personality, but this?  This makes sense.

She's also a chatty-Cathy lately.  We do all kinds of talking now, and some of our riveting conversations have included the following pertinent information: Tigers are kinda scary, but she likes kangaroos; she wishes she had a Tinker Bell on hand so she could fly -- she needs Tink's pixie dust; and, can you believe this?  Some kids at school do NOT have Scooter dogs!  The very idea, right?  (Their parents must enjoy not waking up to dog yak first thing in the morning.)

Lastly, we can't seem to get her out of our bed lately.  She's like a case of bed bugs and our bedroom is like an NYC hotel room.  Sometimes she waits until the very wee hours of morning, like 5:30 or 6 am, to sneak in; other times though, she just appears there around 2 or 3 am, and I only know she's there because I wake up with her leg draped across my neck.

Between her delivering a roundhouse to my head each night, and Scooter crowding my feet each night, I either need a bigger bed, or Norah does -- so I can go sleep in there!

This dude just remains the cutest little bugger ever.

Contrary to his sister, he is not talking much, though.  Oh, he talks, he has a handful of "words" -- words in the sense that Jerry, Norah, and I know what he's saying but would just sound like the screeches of a pterodactyl to anyone else.  But, despite not saying much, he's understanding basically everything now, and that's handy because I can now issue commands.

"Go get your shoes," "put this in the trash," and his favorite: "go get a towel and clean this up."  Strangely, the dude LIVES to wipe up messes off the floor.  He practically races to get a kitchen towel when either he or Norah spill.

But, already, he can also be a real shit pickle: Hitting, pulling Norah's hair, coloring on the floor with markers (this one is gonna give Jerry a stroke one day -- you can practically SEE the veins in his head collapsing when he spots Caleb + markers), eating Norah's art supplies, playing with the toilet plunger (another bane of Jerry's existence), and one of his favorite mischievous activities: unrolling every square of T.P. in the house.  We just have piles of toilet paper now, nothing stays spooled.

I guess he has to have extra-curriculars too!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

August Tally, Day #66, and that Fresh Fall Feeling

August was not the epic running month I had hoped it would be.  There were many small interruptions and events that made for a busy month to continue with my streak and to aim for some mega mileage: Norah's 3rd birthday and birthday party, I was sick (twice), we had the start of the school year, and we had TS Isaac sweep through.

Considering all of that, I can't complain.  It wasn't an epic month, and my goal week of a 50 mile week slipped (temporarily) out of my radar, but I still had a very solid month, running a total of 150 miles and adding 31 more days to my streak.

September will likely be just as busy as August -- our calendar is already pretty full -- but, I figure it's always better to have a busy life than an empty one, and the running will get done alongside such a full schedule, I'm sure.  Today, I only felt like running a measly 3 miler on the gym's treadmill, but the weather has actually been slightly pleasant the last few days, so I'm looking forward to logging more miles tonight in the great outdoors to round out day #66 in my current running streak.

As for other September running goals, I have three: Keep the streak going, aim to run that 50 mile week, and return to HM shape by adding more long runs to the weekly running.

September always feels like a fresh start for me since it's the start of the school year, and since I was 5, I have always enjoyed the back-to-school feeling -- like Tom Hanks' character says in "You've Got Mail," "It makes me feel like buying school supplies"!  I wish here in FL we had true autumn weather to match the change in season, but I will just have to settle for reading your accounts of that.

If you like the fresh feel of fall too, you may want to read Gretchen Rubin's new book about her attempt to start fresh in fall (if you read her other book "The Happiness Project," this promises to be just as fun a read):

It comes out today.  I want to read it, but right now I'm engrossed in "Game of Thrones" -- all kinds of medieval drama there that I'm so caught up in that I've been dreaming about Starks, Lannisters, and White Walkers, oh my!  And, by-the-by, the HBO series by the same name is just as awesome as the novel.  Watch it.  I command thee!