Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jinx! Padlock!

Do you remember playing this game as a child?  When two people say the same thing at the same time, one of them, or a random listener, can shout, "Jinx!  Padlock!" and then the other person (people) can't speak until someone who isn't padlocked says their name three times.  Other versions include, "Jinx!  Buy me a coke!" and "Chin!  Dada!" which is really only the version Baby plays as she tags along after 6 y.o. and repeats everything he says.
Hard to believe this kid would follow his parents around the house, asking them questions to which he already knows the answer so that he can say what they say at the same time in an attempt to "padlock" them.  Not!  What's hard to believe is that there might be something more annoying that a child could do for weeks at a time.
We have "played" this "game" a lot (lot lot lot lot) during the past several weeks, which might be the reason why I keep thinking of jinxes.  Let me clarify- I am not a superstitious person.  I believe that there is actually an Ultimate Plan for my life, and that luck, jinxes, and the like do not, in reality, even exist.  I typed those last 2 sentences with great conviction, and I definitely stand by my wise words.  However, you will never again see me wearing my Buccaneers earrings on game day.  They lose every time I have them in!  Once, I wore them during the first half of the game which was, in typical Bucs fashion, a disaster. I removed the earrings during halftime, they came back out and won the game.  But I'm not superstitious.  So, all of the jinxes I'm about to describe are certainly not actual jinxes.  Jinxes don't exist.  (Unless you and the person sitting next to you just read 'jinxes don't exist' aloud at the same time.  Then you're both padlocked.  Ha!)

The Speed Jinx

I love my running group.  You would not believe how kind, supportive, encouraging and motivating this group of runners is.  Aaaaannnndddd, one of the kind, supportive, encouraging, motivating friends (I won't mention any names) totally jinxed my pace.  June 14.  5 a.m. group run.  Afterward, as everyone chatted and basked in the knowledge that their stink was undetectable amidst the stinks of those around them, this particular KSEM friend said, "So, you're like never even in the 9s anymore, huh?"  He was right.  In the 2 months prior to his comment, nearly 40 different runs, only 5 had been over a nine minute/mile pace.  In the 2 months since, only 1 of my nearly 40 runs has been under a 9 minute pace, and that one was at 8:57.

Lucky 13?

I registered for the race of my dreams on July 13th.  I used a discount code to save $13.  The code was LUCKY13.  All of which, of course, means nothing bad.  How could a number have any power over me?  It isn't as if typing a 1 and a 3 would somehow magically make my calves hurt or something...

The Best Laid Plans...

Every mile carefully plotted out in a lovely calendar purchased specifically for my marathon training plan.  Pace goals.  Rest days.  Projected weekly mileage increases.  Ink color coordination.  For someone who loves lists like I do, and loves writing with sharp pencils on blank spaces like I do, planning marathon training was blissful.  But, as they say, "the best laid plans of mice and men and marathon running wannabes oft go awry."

What If...?

Maybe it's a genetic trait.  My aunt discussed anticipatory worry on her blog a while back.  Maybe I've got a previously undiscovered anxiety disorder.  Regardless of the origin of this habit, I often (like, really, really often), try to think of every possible thing that can go wrong, despite my firm belief that it's impossible to do so.  Without fail, it is the things I don't think of that do go wrong.  My conclusion, which makes complete sense in some part of my brain, is that if only I had thought about a stinking stress fracture (maybe just a stress reaction) that would put my legs on the couch instead of on the road for all these weeks in the middle of my training, it wouldn't have happened.  Here are some of the things which will now not happen to interrupt my training or spoil my first marathon:
- Stress fracture during the race
- Migraine race morning
- Getting lost on the way to the start line
- Hotel not having our reservation
- Super cold weather
- Super hot weather
- Vomiting
- Forgotten running shoes
- Abduction
- ACL tear
- Car accident
- Snake bite
- Surprise pregnancy
- Bad fall
- Dehydration
- Leg amputation after a shaving cut from a rusty razor
This, by the bye, is a pretty small sample of what I've found to worry about.

Missed Wood Knocking Opportunity

My calves were sore, first, but I kept running.  The pain wasn't terrible, and once I was a few miles into each run, they would feel better.  Then, there was that long, hilly run.  My left knee started to sing in awful harmony along with my calf, and kept feeling worse and worse with each passing day.  Probably 8 different times, I said to different family members and friends, "I'm sure it isn't anything serious.  Nothing broken or torn or really damaged."  Do you think I knocked on wood any of the times that I said those words?  Nope.
This image shall serve to remind us all that I did, at one point not so long ago, run.  I even outran all but 1 person in my age group this time, and earned a medal.  Oh!  And remember how I used to smile?!
Knocking on wood is pointless and silly.  Certainly, doing so wouldn't have changed anything.  Right?  Right.  Although the knee pain wasn't getting any better, and the calf pain was still there, I tried every few days to run a few miles.  The last time I did so was Saturday.  I limped/hobbled/made horrid faces for the entire 1.5 miles, and while I showered afterward, I kept distracting myself with reminders of how many times I had been in worse pain. (Pre-epidural.  Migraine.)  With ice, the swelling went down, but the spot on my tibia which felt as though a very mean, very tiny person was chiseling away, did not feel better the next day, or the day after.  After spending some way too much time researching, and after shrieking my way through the hop test, I'm pretty sure that I have a serious problem.

So, here I sit, trying to be calm, trying not to vomit every time I think about/hear about/see anyone running.  I've decided to take a few weeks totally off from running.  If all goes well, I'll still have over 5 weeks to prepare for my first marathon.  No, that isn't even close to as much time as I had planned, but it is better than no weeks.
If all goes poorly, well, I'm sure there's good reason.  I'm also sure that my marathon will not necessarily be the one that I can't get out of my head right this minute.  I will rest.  I will stay calm.  I will smile.  Eventually, I will run.  My legs will carry me where I want to go.  My regular pace will, again, be less than 9 minutes/mile.  I will run a marathon.  And, I will resist the urge to knock on wood as I type, because I'm not superstitious.

My advice for you today is to run when you can run, and rest when you need to rest.  Oh, and have yourself a listen to this!

Do you believe in jinxes?

Do you worry about things in advance?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This One is Really About Cheesecake

Cheesecake which was inspired by running shoes, of course.

Last week, I dragged (drug?) both children with me to my favorite running/sporting goods store to try on new shoes.  My well loved Brooks Trance 11s had taken me about 200 miles over the recommended limit, and my calves were feeling the effects of the wear and tear.  Unfortunately for me, Brooks Trance 11, size 8, is not to be found. That is, unless you're some shoe-finding god and can get me a pair?  Seriously.  Color doesn't matter, size does.  I tried on the new Trance 12s, among others, and eventually settled on
this bright and shiny pair.  They are the 19th version of the Asics Gel Kayano, and when I was told that this was the only color they had in my size, I started to really like it!  Turns out, they call it Raspberry/Mango/Lime.  It's hard to see, think about, or say those words together without your mouth starting to water a little.  While on my 12 mile run last Saturday, my second run in the shoes, I came up with the recipe for The Cheesecake.

The first thing I did was make fresh lime curd.  It was much easier than I expected, and much more delicious than I had hoped.  I could have eaten the entire batch, still warm, with the biggest spoon in my kitchen.  I didn't, though.
I may have accidentally forgotten to scrape the pan with the spatula until after I had put the batch in the refrigerator.  I definitely did not lick the pan.  It was still hot.
Step two was to assemble the cheesecake.  I usually start with this basic recipe, and then modify it to suit my latest whim.  This time, I used the graham cracker crust, but left out the sugar.  I also reduced the amounts of the other ingredients in the recipe by 1/3, to make room for the items I was adding.  I stirred in chunks of fresh mango once I was "aah done" with the "wowed" mixer.  Baby still hates loud noises.
Nothing to do with cheesecake, not a recent picture, and displays our playroom at its messiest.
See?  This picture isn't nearly so cute as the one above.
I poured the lime curd into the crust first, then added the mango chunked cheesecake filling.  All the while when the curd was curdling and the cheesecake was baking, then cooling, I was preparing the fresh raspberries to play their part.
Sugar, lime zest, and a splash of lime juice.
After several hours of flavor melding, I put the raspberries in a saucepan with a splash of mango Juicy Juice and a smaller splash of red wine.  I let all that simmer for a while (time enough to take a photo),
or, like so many Chopped contestants would say, "Then I let all that reduce while I ______" as I filled in the blank with "kept my daughter from climbing into a time-out chair and tumbling out on her head".  Finally, I strained out the seeds, and after letting the raspberry sauce cool for a while, I spread it atop the cheesecake.
Then, I cut out a slice, and took a picture of The Cheesecake and its muse.
Cheesecake + Kayanos = BFF
I don't know why I placed my lovely, nonsticky running shoes on the kitchen counter.  What seemed important was to find out if the colors on the shoes were actually raspberry, mango and lime.  They are not.  But that's okay.

Of course, I ate the slice I cut from the cake.  Then, I determined that if I ever had to choose one food to replace Husband, like, really had to had to, it would be this Cheesecake.  I must say, I made all the right choices.  The crust, being not too sweet, balances wonderfully with the sweet and tart lime curd.  I worried that the raspberry sauce would be too rich, but when it is combined with all the other flavors, it is just plain perfect.  And just when I thought the treat couldn't get any better, I bit into a juicy chunk of ripe mango.  True story- I sent my sister the following text message:
I kinda want to lock it away and keep it all for myself, like I'm its abusive boyfriend, claiming, "Nobody else can love you like I love you!"

My advice?  Don't touch The Cheesecake.

You thought I was obsessed with RUNNING?  Ha!

If you HAD to choose one food to replace your partner, what would it be?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do You Need a Time-Out?

If you're my dear, sweet, beautiful 16-month-old Baby, then your answer will be an emphatic, "YES!"  Her new form of entertainment goes a little something like this:
Slap Mommy
Slap Bun-Bun (her favorite stuffed friend)
"Hey!  Hitting hurts.  No, Ma'am!"
"We do not spit."
Slap whatever surface is closest 
"Do you need a time-out?"
Nodding so vehemently that it looks like whiplash is next on the menu, "Yeh"

Now, her punishment is not going to sit in her time-out chair.  I've tried 4 different spots (3 chairs and a step), and as soon as she sits down she starts to grin, then giggle.  She absolutely loves it.  She has also figured out at what point I'm about to "let" her get up, and will scream, slap, or spit again in order to keep being "punished."  The threat minus the follow through has been working pretty well for a little while.  We usually only go through the routine once a day, and then she moves on to headstands or unnecessarily violent bun-bun kisses. "Mmmah!  Mmmah!  Mmmah!"

I brought 6 y.o. to Sea World last week to (finally-it has been open all of 2 1/2 months!) see the new Expedition Antarctica ride and penguin exhibit.  The ride was kinda boring, but I did enjoy the 2 extra staging areas that made it seem like the line was moving quickly.  And then, we exited the wild car on our right, and there was snow and ice and cold winds and workers wearing parkas and PENGUINS!  
Not a google image.  My own picture!

I haven't done any research, but I would still venture to say that this penguin enclosure is one of the first of its kind.  The barrier between us and them was only waist high, to me, and that was only closing in the giant aquarium.  I'm no zoologist (or ornithologist, or even psychologist, despite all my years in college) but it seemed like the penguins were pretty comfortable in their new home.  In fact, some birds hopped the fence to welcome us...or something.

4 times in the 5 minutes we were there, a penguin waddled into the crowd.
When the employee picked up this guy, we got a very close look at how penguins defecate.  In fact, the front pocket of 6 y.o.'s shorts betrayed the evidence of his closeness to the penguin's poopy protest of being picked up and put in time-out!  

Don't you just want to smooch his cute face?
6 y.o. was sent to his room a few times today, mere hours after the adorable photo above was taken.  Summer is wearing on him, I think, as is constant contact with Baby and me.  He claims he is feeling "only excited" about starting first grade next week.  Husband and I, however, would be okay with having him home for some more months, despite his backtalk and whiny, whiny, whiny whines.  

I have also taken a time-out this week, but not because I deserved it.  At least, I don't think I did.  I haven't been out for a run since Saturday.  That last run, brought to you by the number 7 (for different shades of pink I was wearing), the color pink, and the letter P (for pain in the knee), was my longest training run to date.  I had been experiencing some usually-bearable calf pain for several weeks, and had been disappointed by my performance in some of my recent runs.  
Pictured here: only 6 shades of pink, unless you count my sweaty face.  My sister borrowed my pink watch.
Also pictured here: evidence of my half-bag-o'-chips-per-night habit.  
So, like any dumdum runner, I ran 12 miles in a pretty hilly neighborhood.  I was quite pleased with my pace and with how I felt during and after the run, but I did feel a twinge in my left knee around mile 9.  I've now been limping around for 3 whole days, except for a 4 a.m. jog up and down the hallway to figure out whether or not I should join the running group for a 5 a.m. run.  Not sure if this is good or bad, but the pain is significantly different from the IT band pain I experienced a few months ago.  I'm still doing the IT band stretches that helped before, though.  Each time during this week that I think I'm successfully ignoring the pain because it isn't so bad, someone comments on my limp.  Therefore, I'll rest another day or so, I guess, and try to enjoy my time-out.

My advice for you, totally not given because misery loves company, is to take a time-out.  Whether you just want to sit in a big girl chair and will spit, slap, and scream your way there, or whether you want to greet the strange beings staring at you while you swim, sleep, and poop, giving yourself a little break will be helpful.  Don't believe me?  Fine.  But I think I saw you limping. ;-)

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You too, robot.