Thursday, February 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Everything's Relative

Today I've decided everything is relative, especially weight.  You know how they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."  Well I say, "One man's fat is another man's skinny."  I often refer to myself (mostly in my mind) as fat.  But, here's the thing... I wear a size 4 mostly and sometimes a 6 (hardly obese right?).  So while I realize I'm not exactly fat per se, I still struggle with my body image.

Often times I'll see people who really are struggling with their weight and then I feel guilty for picking myself apart.  I feel overwhelmed by my body "issues" and wonder where to start and how I'll get to my desired destination.   I then realize what it most feel like to someone who is severely obese and I'm reminded to be thankful for what I have.

On the other hand, as I type this, I figure there are people who are reading who are saying, "you're really not that skinny."  Or I'll see a picture of myself and literally have to turn away in disgust.  Or I'm reminded of the time one of my friends said to me, "I just wish I could wear a bikini like you and not care."  I know she didn't mean anything by it, but I knew that meant I didn't look good in my bikini, but she thought I wore it anyway because I just didn't care.  She didn't mean to inadvertently tell me I didn't look good, but I heard her loud and clear.

So which side of the fence do I find myself today?  Am I fat or am I skinny?  The answer is.... I don't know any more.  I don't even trust my own judgement.  I was reminiscing with my friend today and we talked about a trip we took in 1999 (I believe) to Cancun.  I thought I was HUGE.  I remembering being embarrassed to walk around in my bathing suit and afraid everyone was staring at my imperfections.  It wasn't just something I said, I really believed I was fat.

Now I'd KILL to have that body and I'm hard pressed to find a flaw.  You see, everything is relative and I apparently I can't even trust myself to be the judge.  So starting loving yourself just the way you are and don't judge yourself, because maybe you can't be trusted either.

Megan, Myself and Jen (left to Right) 

Tipping the scales. How did I let myself be seen in public.  
P.S.  How 'bout that hair???????

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Injury Update

My last run was on December 30th.  I can't believe it has been so long.  Eight and a half weeks to be exact.  I wish I had really great news to report and could tell you that all this rest has me feeling so great.  The truth is, my legs (BOTH) still hurt.  They have definitely improved (they no longer hurt at rest, and the intense pain in my butt has gone away), but they are nowhere near 100%.

I am beyond frustrated.  I don't really understand what I could have done to myself to cause me to require so much healing time.  My doctor talked of microscopic tears in the muscle and I guess the damage is pretty extensive.  I mean that's the only thing I can guess because why else would my legs still hurt after 8 weeks of rest.

Now you have to realize that we aren't talking bed rest and obviously I still use my legs every day, and that's when I'll notice that I'm still in pain.  I'll bend over to pick up a laundry basket or I'll be mopping the floor. When I worked for 10 hours the other day, my legs were throbbing by the end of my shift.  So to say that I've COMPLETELY rested for 8 weeks isn't exactly the entire picture.

I promised myself that I would not attempt a regular workout until my legs feel 100%.  I know that, no matter how badly I want to be able to workout, it wouldn't be worth it to try too soon.  It will only set me back and what good is that going to do me in the long run.

The thing is, I thought that I'd be feeling so much better by now.  I'd say I'm about 50% better now.  If it's taken 8 weeks to get to 50%, is it going to take 16 weeks to feel 100%?  I sure as heck hope not!  I can't imagine it being April and just getting back to running.

My pain is so puzzling to me and I keep looking for a bigger reason for my muscle soreness.  Then I remind myself that I had an MRI and obviously it is what it is.  I've strained my left hamstring and have microscopic tears in my muscle.   That's it.  No more.  No less.  It's hard to deal with, but it's the facts.

I WILL continue to rest, but I can no longer stay out of the gym.  My doctor originally told me that I could swim if I swam with a float between my legs and, quite frankly, I thought he was nuts.  But it's not him that's nuts, it's me.  I'm going nuts sitting around my house and doing nothing.  I've got way too much time on my hands and I'm becoming something I don't want to be.

I wore my Austin Half Marathon shirt today and I felt like a fraud.  I didn't run 13.1 miles in Austin.  Do I even deserve to wear it?  When I posted my pic on Instagram (momswimbikerun... follow me) my friends reminded me that I do deserve to wear it.  I'm still an athlete and I need to act like one (even if it's with a float between my legs).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: Backsplash

I know we just moved into our house and you probably wouldn't expect a "remodel" post.  It's not really a remodel, just the addition of a backsplash.  When I saw spaghetti sauce splashed up on the wall by the cooktop I tried to wipe it up.  Uh yeah, magic eraser... you erased some of my paint too.  I immediately knew I had to get a backsplash-- something I could easily wipe down.

I usually play things safe and go the traditional route when it comes to the "style" of my home.  I really love the modern look of a tile/glass mosaic backsplash and I wanted to go for it.  I think the black cabinets and stainless appliances in our kitchen automatically give it a modern feel, so I figured adding a modern backsplash would blend.

So I sent George to Lowes with a general idea about what I wanted and he facetimed me when he got there and I chose my tile.  Efficient no?  I would have gone with him, but I had a sick kid at home (turns out Nicholas has pneumonia).  Anyway... I love my tile choice.  Gorg!

A little hard work by George...

... and my backsplash was complete.

I really am in love with the way it turned out.  I think it just changes the whole look of the kitchen.  I'm currently trying to decide if I want to change out the switch plate and outlet covers to a dark brown.  George likes the white.  Could that be because he doesn't want to part with his time and money?  Hmmmm?

What do you think?  Do you like the turnout?  Would you switch to the darker outlets and switches?  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Susan-- Pharmacist

Once upon a time I was a full-time pharmacist...

I worked 12 hour days
I filled over 600 scripts in a day (and was the only pharmacist on duty).  Ok that only happened once but still.
I would talk on one phone and be on hold on another
I took calls
I counted pills
I counseled patients
I got refills authorized
I got medication prior authorizations
I was a cashier
I mixed antibiotics
I made over the counter recommendations
I was good at it

What?  I was.  I'm a good multi-tasker.  I'm fast and efficient with my time and I get the job done.

As the number of kids I had increased, the number of hours I worked decreased.  I moved from working at the busier Walmart to a much slower paced Sam's Club.   Eventually I left Sam's Club to work in a closed pharmacy filling mail order prescriptions (high cost injectables).  It was my BEST pharmacy job ever.  I no longer had to do the long list I shared above.  I just had to check prescriptions for accuracy all day long.

Then we moved to Texas and I didn't work for two years.  I no longer identified with being a pharmacist.  Not because I wasn't (I do hold a doctorate degree that NO ONE or NOTHING can ever take away), but because it wasn't a part of my day to day (or even week to week) life, it just didn't seem  who I was.  I started to fear that I didn't know how to be a pharmacist anymore-- that I somehow wasn't good enough or wasn't worthy of  the profession.   Could I still do it?

So when I moved back to Pennsylvania (where I am a licensed pharmacist), I signed back on with Sam's Club in the hopes of regaining that part of my life, but I was scared.  I feared that I'd lost my touch and I didn't know "how to be a pharmacist" anymore.

Well today my friends I worked my first day back in the pharmacy where I was the only pharmacist on duty.  You know what?

I worked 10 hour day
I filled about 100 prescriptions
I would talk on one phone and be on hold on another
I took calls
I counted pills
I counseled patients
I got refills authorized
I got medication prior authorizations
I was a cashier
I mixed antibiotics
I made over the counter recommendations

I was good at it.

It feels good to be back.

In case there is any question.... This is still mom swim bike run up in here.  I know there's not a whole lot of those things going on, but don't worry we won't let this little J.O.B. get in the way.  Oh nosiree.  I am working on an as needed basis covering shifts for vacations and other pharmacists' days off.   I hope it amounts to 2 or so days a month.

Oh and we still have that hamstrings to deal with... I'm PATIENTLY resting.  More on that later.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Austin Trip: Post Marathon and Last Day

After the marathon we had plans to all go to brunch together.  Several of our friends had run the half marathon and a few more ran Bianca in from the 19 or so mile point.  So there was a large group of our running friends there to support one another.  It's such a nice feeling!  

I have no idea why Julie and Val aren't in this picture 
They really were there
Anyway, there was a lot of hugging and congratulations for the marathon runners. 

Bianca had so much love and support for her and it was pretty amazing.

All my friends were pretty awesome to Tracey too and I think she felt the love and congrats for a job well done.  

All of these ladies are amazing.  All wear so many hats and are still able to take time for themselves and kick butt running.  I am so proud of all of them.  Most of them set a PR at this race. 

Val and I were really hungry waiting for our food.  It's awfully rude to make the spectators wait so long for food.  So I ate my weight in chips and complimentary queso.  It was so so good.  

Tracey enjoyed her post marathon Diet Coke.  She and I both quit on January 2nd and vowed we wouldn't have a sip until after the marathon.  I stayed strong and only drank water at brunch, but I did cave and have a Diet Coke later in the weekend.  It wasn't that good.  Yeah I said it... whatever.

I can not even begin to express what running has done for my life.   I mean, clearly all the obvious things like being stronger and healthier, but so much more importantly all these wonderful people.

Without running I wouldn't have the relationship with these ladies that I do now.  I wouldn't have the unconditional love and support I get from these friends.

I feel so lucky that somehow running came into my life, but I feel even luckier that it also brought me all these ladies and many more.  I know it's sappy, but it's true.   Tracey and I met at a soccer game for our kids, but running is what brought us together.  She convinced me to run my first half and I know, without a doubt, that it is because of her that I continued on the running path I did.

Without ever having met Tracey, I would never have met these ladies either (with the exception of Val because we actually bonded of baseball and beer... she just happens to be a runner too).   I saw Julie running one day and then later when seeing her at the kids' school asked her to join me in a run.  Bianca's daughter and Ella sparked a friendship, but I don't know if Bianca and I would have developed our friendship without running.  Bianca brought Karla into the group after a chance meeting in Walmart after overhearing a conversation about her running a marathon.

We are definitely all brought together by running, but all these girls are more than just running buddies to me.  They're my TRUE friends.   I miss each of you so much and hope that the miles will never keep us apart.  Thanks for letting me take Tracey home with me.  ;)

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and this time is no different.  It was really hard for everyone to say goodbye.

What's with my spare tire??? I swear it's the shirt!!! 

Until we meet again my friends.  Live to Run to Live!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Austin Trip: Austin Marathon Spectator Recap

I'll admit that after picking up my packet on Saturday, I was sad to not be doing the Austin Half Marathon.  It's hard to want something so much and not be able to do it.  I know I could have run this race, but it would have been slow and it would have set me back so far in my healing that it just wasn't worth it.  Still, it was hard to not be able to run.  Val and Julie can relate because they were both supposed to do the half as well, but they too are injured.  

Come marathon morning, however, I was extremely excited that I had a 6:00 am wake up call and not a 4:00 am wake up and I was just damned excited to cheer for my friends.  In some ways cheering is even better than running!

The girls and I made our signs the night before.   I was trying to be funny, but neither of them really got the joke.

Isabel's said, "My mom runs faster than your mom."  The girls added little I love yous at the bottom too. 

Ella's said, "Run faster my arms are getting tired."  We got a bunch of points and a few chuckles along the course so I guess the signs were appreciated.  I'll have to remember when I'm running in the future to let the sign holders know how much I like their signs.  Ha!

David (Bianca's husband) worked his sign too.

Little Sophia (Karla's daughter) looks a lot better.  Sorry David.

The first place we set out to see the girls was at mile 8.  We arrived just at the first male runner was passing and let me tell you that sucker was FAST.  I swear if I hadn't seen his legs moving on the pavement, I would have thought he was riding a bike.  He was so fast and just glided along.  It was amazing to see.

Pretty soon, however, the "regular" runners started coming by and we waited anxiously to see our girls.

Shortly, we got their 5k split and they seemed to be right on pace (maybe a little slow, but I assumed that was due to traffic).  Nevertheless, they showed up at mile 8 just at the time we expected.

Of course at mile 8 everyone seemed happy and full of energy.  They handed off their long sleeve shirts and gloves (it was 40 degrees at the start) and were on their merry way.

Our goal was to see them next at mile 12.  Julie had planned out where/when we would see them and she did an AMAZING job.  We basically parked 100 yards away (or less) from each spectator location and it worked out PERFECTLY each time.  

We got to mile 12 with plenty of time to spare.  Julie and I stopped in the restroom at the grocery store close by and the kids played while we waited. 

The temperature was warming up nicely and the sun was shining.  It was an absolutely perfect day for standing around and cheering on the amazing athletes.

We had a lot of fun cheering on strangers.  I know how much it means to hear your name called and to be given words of encouragement so I tried to cheer and clap as much as possible.  

The 12 mile mark is just at the top of a killer hill, so people were looking for a little love from the spectators at this point.  2 thumbs up for spectating!

Pretty soon we saw OUR ladies coming and they all looked happy again.  They seemed to be in great spirits and, as far as I knew, there were no complaints.

I was so happy that Tracey was running with Karla and Bianca.  It felt nice knowing everyone was together. 

I left them at mile 12 no longer feeling anxious, but feeling relaxed.  Everything seemed to be going well and everyone seemed happy.  Our next spectator spot was at mile 22.  I'm so glad we decided to go to mile 22.  Mile 22 is where things are usually pretty ugly during a marathon and I wanted to be there at that time to offer my words of encouragement.  

Obviously there was plenty of time between miles 12 and 22.  We stopped at Starbucks and got a coffee and still had a long time to wait for the girls.

We were getting the girls' splits on our phones so we knew that Karla and Bianca had split off from Tracey.   The only thing is we didn't know why.  Tracey was running about 2 minutes ahead of Bianca and Karla at the half marathon split.  I started playing out every scenario in my head as to what may have happened.  We wouldn't allow ourselves to think anything "bad".

As the 20 mile split popped up and Tracey was now 8 to 9 minutes ahead of Bianca, I knew something was "wrong".  Obviously, they hadn't just gotten split up due to traffic on the course.  It was clear that Bianca had slowed down.

Again, waiting and agonizing over what it could be just sucked.  I hoped that it wasn't something terrible and that Bianca wasn't suffering too badly.  I should state that I wasn't really worrying about Karla because Karla is accustom to running a much faster pace.  Karla was running this race just to support Bianca.  Her goal was to literally stand by her friend's side during this race.

Despite my worry over Bianca, I was also excited.  I was excited because at the 20 mile mark Tracey was right on target to meeting her goal of finishing in less than 4:00.  I was so giddy with excitement for her.  I was anticipating what I would see at mile 22. Would she be ok? Happy?  In pain?  What?

So many people were coming up on mile 22 looking strong, but so many were also limping, cramping, asking for cheers of encouragement and just down right suffering.  So I had no idea what I'd see when we saw Tracey.

When she finally came up, she seemed to be running strong, but as she rounded the corner she gave me a head nod that said no.

She was smiling, but I could tell she wanted it to be over.  As she ran past we all yelled and screamed and I told her she "had this", but that head nod made me worry.  I started to cry.  I cried because I knew she was tired and struggling as anyone does in the last 4 miles of a marathon and I cried because she was so close to making her goal and there was nothing I could do to help her.  I just prayed.  Prayed she had enough left in her to stay strong for the last 4.2 miles.  

After Tracey passed I sat with worry over Bianca.  Where is she?  When would she be coming?  We got her 20 mile split, and despite slowing down, the wheels had in no way fallen off the bus.  She was still running a pace I could only dream of.   I didn't know what to expect when I saw her.  I just hoped she looked happy.

And she did.   She put on a smile for all of us and waved, but as she passed and David ran up to her I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't happy.  Again, this is mile 22 of a marathon.  I wouldn't expect anyone to look happy.  The fact that she could be smiling at all (fake or not) was a good sign.

Apparently at mile 11 Bianca started to cramp up in her calves.  The pain was so intense she had to stop several times to massage it.  When they'd stop Karla could actually see the ball of muscle tightness and you could see it actually moving (pulsating?) inside her skin.  I give her credit for running through that. Bianca is one tough cookie.  I have no doubt about that.

As soon as Bianca and Karla passed we hightailed it out of there to make it to the finish line.  We made it to the fishing area in what I thought would be just under the 4:00 mark.  I prayed that I would see Tracey.  I waited and waited spying everyone coming down the hill and I didn't see her.  I kept asking Julie and Val if there was anyway we missed her.  They assured me there was no way we could have missed her.

Suddenly 4:00 pace group came up and I still hadn't seen Tracey.  I was so sad, she hadn't met her goal (or so I thought).  I hit refresh one last time on my phone and her time popped up.  She had already finished and must have shortly before we came up on the finishing area.

My friend, my awesome, awesome friend Tracey, finished in 3:56 crushing her previous marathon PR by 9 minutes and beating her gaol by 4 minutes.  In case you don't know Austin is a VERY hilly and challenging course and I am amazed at what this woman was able to accomplish!  You are so inspiring Tracey.  I am so glad I got to experience this with you!  I knew you had it in you all along.  I will always believe in you and be here to support you!

I got so flustered knowing that Tracey had already finished that I immediately bolted to the actual finish line to greet her.  I didn't want her to be there at the end with no one there to say congratulations.  I handed off my camera to Julie and went to see Tracey.

It turns out Tracey waited inside the finishers chute for Bianca and Karla and I should have waited to see Bianca and Karla finish.  So yeah, I didn't get to see anyone's big finish, but I know those moments are for THEM anyway and not me.

As you would expect, Bianca and Karla were pretty emotional.

 Karla had seen her friend suffer for so many miles, yet they had made it to the finish line.

How awesome to finish a marathon holding your best friend's hand.  AMAZING!

Bianca is an amazing woman on so many levels, but she had all kinds of obstacles going into this marathon.  She injured her IT and was sidelined for awhile. She came back, but her longest training run was just 18 miles and she only did that once.  Her training wasn't what she hoped it would be.

Her race also wasn't what she hoped physically.  Although her IT held up, her calf cramping was pretty severe.  To hear Karla describe it was painful and Karla would tear up telling us how much pain Bianca was in.

Amazingly, despite all the hardship, Bianca still PRd this race and finished in an astounding 4:14.  I mean seriously!  How does one have that kind of time even though her legs didn't work starting at mile 11?  I'm awed and inspired by Bianca (and Karla of course).

It should be noted that Karla was also injured going into this race.  Karla sat out over 4 weeks prior to this marathon doing no running AT ALL.  Her longest training run was just 13 miles.  She didn't even start running again until about 2 weeks before the marathon.  Sheer will and determination got Karla through.  I also think it was her big heart and the love she has for Bianca.  She wanted to be by Bianca's side and she was, literally every step of the way!

Thank you ladies for allowing me to be part of your special day.  Thank you for being my inspiration and thank you for allowing me to be your friend.  Races may come and go, but our friendship will be here for a lifetime.  I may not have run this race WITH you, but my heart ached in your pain and it jumped for joy in your success.  I love you both and couldn't be prouder of your accomplishments!