Monday, March 30, 2015

Snowshoeing Weekend in the Mountains

Living in Phoenix, there are a lot of things that I take for granted. January motorcycle rides, January pool parties, January hikes in the mountains…..okay, basically doing ANYTHING outside during the winter.  Of course, on the flipside, there are lots of things that I don't realize that I miss until I am reminded of them. Case in point: Snow.  I can't remember the last time I saw snow.  (My son likes snowcones? Do those count?) I know that it was well over 12 months ago, probably closer to 18 months. So, when the opportunity presented itself to hang in the mountains of Colorado for a weekend, I jumped at the opportunity faster than….well…my son when I tell him that he can have a snowcone.

One thing to note, this trip was actually the weekend before last.  I've been so busy catching up from work after being in the mountains that I haven't had a chance to blog about it. :( But, since I figure that me seeing snow is sort of like a solar eclipse, it is worth the wait.  Also, similar to a solar eclipse, if you stare at some of the pictures of me for too long, you'll go blind.  You should probably wear a welding mask while you read this, just in case.

The purpose of the trip was actually twofold.  First, to hang with Laura and see her new house. Second, to play in the mountains like the sexy ski snowshoe bunny I know that I can be.  So, when I got there the first thing that we did was go check out the house.  Laura posted about it, but obviously I needed to go through it with my HGTV honed decorating eye and suggest all SORTS of necessary improvements.  Things like a ball pit room and a (water?) slide from the loft to the living room. Obviously, I will not be visiting again until these necessary improvements have been made. I'm not a barbarian.

The back stretching teeter at Laura's new house. 
Good for stretching your back and/or pretending like you're a vampire.
Team Edward for life.  KIDDING, that warewolf dude's muscles can tear my shirt off ANY day.

With my back all stretched out and my thirst for blood stronger than ever, we headed to the mountains. Because my stupid leg / butt is still stupid hurt and I can't stupid run I decided not to attempt skiing for the first time since High School (15 years **sobs**) and planned to snowshoe instead.  My physical therapist used to be really into shoe shoeing and gave me the green light to go as hard and as fast as I wanted to.  And I quote, "You're not going to hurt it anymore than it already is".  Not exactly the vote of confidence that I was looking for, but approval is approval.

Aspens for days

We rented a condo with a big group of 10 other people - rather, 10 strangers that I had never met before.  As I am sure that it is no shock to anyone reading this, I can pretty much strike up a conversation with anyone and proceeded to do that for most of the weekend in varying states of soberness.  A lot of the people who were there were currently/previously traveling consultants which made for lots of fun trips down memory lane. Having left almost exactly a year ago, I entertained them with stories of "doing errands mid week" and "paying money for flights vs using points". 

Hydrating with whiskey is VERY important when you're at altitude

Don't worry, I also added "cups with animal horns" on Laura's "new house must buy" list

The condo we rented had amazing views and was ski-in ski-out if you're into that sort of thing.  Most importantly it had an amazing hot tub and a well stocked fridge because I am most definitely into THOSE types of things.

Looking out on Vail at first light

Most of my weekend was spent snowshoeing all over the mountain with various groups of people.  There are predesignated snowshoe trails, but at least from what I could tell you could essentially walk on any ski run so long as you didn't get hit by a skier.  (Of course, I'm sure I was breaking some sort of random rule, but oh well.) Because I am a tight ass I didn't pay for a lift ticket, so I was on my own to walk where I wanted to go.  Which, I thought, was sort of the purpose of snowshoeing in the first place, so I was okay with it.

Jeans, running shoes, and borrowed (girl) snowshoes. I'm practically a professional ski bunny.

I honestly didn't quite know what to expect from it, but here are a few first thoughts after my first time out:
  • Turns out, unlike what I was imagining, snowshoes now aren't those massive wicker basket things! In other news, gas is no longer 20 cents per gallon and we won WWII! Hooray! Today, they are mostly very light metal and plastic with sharp teeth on the bottom
  • Speaking of those sharp "teeth" on the bottom, they enable you to go anywhere that your feet will take you!!  We went straight up the side of steep blue square ski runs and even went bushwacking through the forest between runs
  • Just like picking a fight with a 4 year old, going downhill is something to be done with great caution. The snow was pretty bad while I was there and in the afternoon it was VERY hard to get traction in the 4" of slush.  That meant that I sort of skied down a few hills on very tired legs


This picture really does the incline ZERO justice

Snowshoeing is a freaking workout! It didn't help that it was sunny and 50 degrees in the middle of the day, but I was totally warm in a long sleeved tech tshirt and jeans. I tried to "run" a bit with them but mostly looked exactly like you would expect a person running with snowshoes to look (awkward like they have something stuck in their butt).  So, instead of speed, I mostly got the workout from going UP.

I assumed that I would be really sore as most of the incline had me on my toes bouncing up, but I was shockingly fine!  I will attribute that to either the altitude slowing me down, the biking building those muscles up, or the whiskey making me feel no pain. In all seriousness, I think it is the biking because I didn't feel limited by the altitude at all.  So, yay biking!

Lunch on the mountain ($26 for a turkey sandwich.... uuufff)

Soaking in all of the snow
(through VERY squinted eyes)

Evenings were filled with lots of laughs, plenty of stories, and who am I kidding I fell alseep at 9:30am one of the nights. Par-tay. The best part about being in a vacation area is that the little villages at the bottom of the mountain are essentially chock full of restaurants.  Fortunately, these places do NOT charge $26 for a turkey sandwich....it was maybe like $20. :)

Sweaters, Colorado beer, unfinished wood beams, and rocks on the wall
We're straight out of a Colorado tourism brochure

But, before I knew it, it was 3:30am on Monday and my alarm was going off telling me it was time to head to the airport to go back to Phoenix. Between all of the consultant talk over the weekend and the early Monday flight, I had a lot of dejavu from my own consulting days.  I haven't traveled regularly for work for 2 years or so, but I really fell back into a groove. Coffee and a yogurt, emails on my phone, breezing through security while bleary eyed from too little sleep.... all reminded me of a life that I lived for a pretty solid 10 years. Old habits die hard, I suppose.  I hesitate to say that I miss it (because I DO NOT) but something about it was certainly comfortable.

Mmmmmm, airport coffee

The trip was really really fun.  Flagstaff, AZ is only 2 hours north and has very similar conditions to where I was so I need to plan to get up there sooner rather than later. Or, I could just head back to Colorado and see if me being on skies is as hilarious as I assume that it would be. It would probably be like something out of America's Funniest Home Videos where the guy tries to split an Aspen Tree with his crotch. If nothing else, I'll have to head up and make a few more tourism pics. 

Home sweet home.... to 65 degrees at 6:30am. Cripes.




Friday, March 20, 2015

Funny Foto Friday: The fish was coming onto ME

Quick update on my running because (through the magic of the internet) I'm currently on a flight to Colorado! I'm trying to remember how long it has been since I've seen snow and I think it has to have been between 16-18 months ago.  It will be a shock to the system for sure.  No guarantee that I won't pee in the snow make snow angels.

Physical Therapy (really, more of Active Release Therapy) is going well. I went both Tues and Thurs of this week and each time I can feel that he is doing stuff, but it certainly aches afterwards (which, he said is normal).  However, since my issues are in my upper hamstring and glute, I basically pay someone $75 to rub my ass for 30 min. I have to think that there are WAY cheaper places to go to get that kind of service. Craigslist, probably. 

Anywhoo, I've been busier than the poor soul who has to airbrush Kim Kardashian's Instagram photos so I honestly wouldn't have had a ton of time to run even if I could.  Silver lining I suppose.  ON TO THE FUNNY!

Look, I can't help that EVERYONE thinks I have soft, kissable lips.
Isn't having big fish lips in fashion?


IT BETTER NOT! They might lose their eligibility! 


How I end every work email: Finally, get off my lawn.


Finally, a picture of my son. Who, is NOT sick in this picture... Just very very comfy. Happy Friday!

Daddy, bring me my chopstick!! (Chapstick)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Butt Hurt

I've been butt hurt more times than I would admit: A few years back when they stopped selling French Toast Crunch cereal, when my son tells me that he loves Paw Patrol more than he does me Transformers, and even when the Starbucks guy thought that only TWO pumps of creme brulee syrup was going to be enough (seriously, what was that guy on???? Everyone knows that four is the appropriate amount!!!  Ugh).  But I'll admit that I had rarely been butt hurt by running. That is, until a few weeks back.  Like I bitched about said before, I am dealing with a bit of pain in my upper hamstring and glute muscles - a literal pain in the ass.  Well, I finally went to the guy with all of the letters behind his name and the results were mostly encouraging with a bit of an ominous caveat.

Ironman sign in the waiting room


After plenty of questions, poking, and heavy petting deep massage he said that I likely had injured something before and had built up a bunch of scar tissue and adhesions among all of the soft bits in the back of my leg and butt (hamstring and glute). It finally gave way and I aggravated it a month or so ago. He said that I'd need to see him 2x a week for a few weeks and after that we can go back to running. HOORAY! Or, rather a test run.......

The reason he said that it would only be a test run is because all of the symptoms I was speaking to also pointed to a hip stress fracture or a femoral neck stress fracture.  Bummer.  Fortunately, he said that with the rest I've already taken and the rest that he is going to make me take, if there was any of that it would be mostly healed by the time I'm running again. As a buddy of mine said today, if that IS the case, it would be my 4th stress fracture.  I have the bones of a brittle old woman.

So, still no running at least through the end of the month. Ugh.  I think the thing that I worry most about isn't not getting to run, it is NOT missing running at all in the first place. During my last two longer injury breaks, after some period of time I got into a routine - one that didn't include the sport I love, foxy boxing. The worst part?  It didn't bother me all that much. It seems that while a habit takes 21 days to form, it takes about 2 months for me to unlearn my running habit. After that time I barely know it exists.

I love running, so I'd rather not lose it KThxBye

Fortunately, the doc said that I could still bike and do essentially anything else I wanted to that was moderately low impact. I'm assuming he meant swimming but LOLZ I don't swim. I'm biking more now than I ever have (110 miles last week, but FAR fewer this week) so hopefully that will keep me firmly addicted to the endurance lifestyle my appetite (and waistline) has come to enjoy.  If not, I suppose there is always Foxy Boxing!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Funny Foto Friday: Swinging Break Time!

Whew! What a week. Work has been so crazy that I barely have enough time to breath. So, instead of long winded posts, you’ll get blurbs between gasps.  Enjoy!!

I booked an appointment with a Physical Therapist / Chiropractor / Active Release Therapy / Acupuncture guy. You should see the number of letters this guy has behind his name. It is like a game of scrabble. DC, ART, AIS, FIAMA ----- WTF!!!  After my super complaining post before, I thought that it was time to actually do something about my stupid leg. Much to my dismay, complaining about it wasn’t fixing it.

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The guy that I am going to came independently recommended by a number of people. (4 people suggested him… probably because they were blinded/confused by the letters after his name.) The only issue? He is “out of network” with my insurance.  I’m not exactly sure how much that means I have to pay him, but I’m guessing that I won’t be able to pay him with my arm and my bad leg, he is probably going to want the good one.

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My son and I went to a karate tournament last weekend (cheering, not participating). The highlights of the trip were obviously the popcorn and hearing my son yell things like “kick her in the face!!!” My son has a bit of bloodlust.

Daddy, I'm going to drink my popcorn through my licorice

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As many weeks as possible, I try to grab coffee with one of my best friends on Saturday morning – usually after a run. Unfortunately, he lives 25 miles away. Since I’m now biking full time, I’m going to take the opportunity to bike there and back tomorrow for a 50+ mile trip. I’m not sure if this is a good idea or a terrible one, but I’ll be sure to blog about the adventure. When I told my boss that I was going to do it, he told me to bring cab fare as a backup. Jerk.

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Finally, I haven’t had a ton of time to mindlessly surf the internet, so here is a random pic I found earlier in the week.  Even the garbage men need a break once in a while.  Happy Friday!

"Honey, how was your day?"
"Oh you know, the usual. Picked up some trash, swung on some swings."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Injury Update: Running is my missionary position

Unfortunately, there still isn’t an update on my running. My hamstring doesn’t get sore when I bike, but my knee still gets angry if I go for more than an hour. I guess I’ll consider that progress? “The key to a happy and fulfilling life is to set the bar VERY low and beat all (very low) expectations”  -- Motivational tips by Adam, or possibly Homer Simpson.  Right now my fitness expectations are so low that not getting winded while getting another beer from the fridge is considered a success. #Winning

Quick update: I ran 2 miles at dusk last night (pic to the right) and it went okay… but my butt / hamstring are still sore today. Arg.

I really don’t like biking all that much. I don’t have many good reasons to not like it, I just don’t.  I feel like a lot of my complaints stem with all of the new “gear” that you need to bike.  Special shoes, helmet, water bottles, spandex, crotch padding – an equipment list that reads like a chapter in 50 Shades of Gray.  The reality is that I probably have MORE gear for running, I’ve just been used to slogging it all around for the last 10 years. Running is my missionary position. So I suppose I just need to suck it up, strap on my helmet and crotch pad, and dive in. Please sir, may I have another.

My head is HUGE!!
So, begrudgingly I HAVE been biking. I set up my bike trainer in the living room and have been binge watching Netflix.  All the while I’ve been dripping sweat onto a towel I set under the bike, on the floor tile, on the table….. I sweat more than Miley Cyrus in church.  In fact, I think I set a PR for drips coming off my nose on Monday with one coming every 2 seconds (literally). Fortunately, I have been able to keep my heart rate up to mostly what it should be at around 160 BPM which is approx my long run HR.

There are a lot of reasons to LOVE  biking. You can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, you get to feel the wind in your hair, you get to be all pompous and not waive at friendly runners, etc. But, for me I feel like biking is a lot like eating brussels sprouts. Sure, they are healthy for you, they even taste good if prepared the right way (read: bacon). But, I’ll be damned if I don’t feel like I’m eating a fart with every single bite. In fact, I think that the love child between the way Brussels sprouts taste and asparagus make my pee smell might be something so terrible it could be used to interrogate Taliban prisoners.

This issue has gone on long enough that I’m going to actually look into professional help. That is a big step for me as I am generally cheap enough that I do NOT like to spend money for someone to tell me to “just rest”. I’m going to look into Active Release / Chiropractor / Physical Therapy and see where that takes me. If nothing else, I hope that they’ll tell me what I am doing wrong and how I can mix things up a bit. Because 10 years of missionary position running is a hard habit to break.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Funny Foto Friday: Fitness Burger

The irony of not running is that I have a lot more time for blogging on my running blog. The double irony is that I don't have a lot to talk about.  Doh.

This hurts my arteries just looking at it.  
Although, you do have to be amazed w/ her hand holding technique. Happy Friday!



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Awkward High School

Running update: There is no running update. Leg still hurts.  Although, I’m trying to hit the bike as much as I can while not regressing.  (Except for today, due to scheduling conflicts. GRR.) 

Swans have that gray furball stage before they become a swan.  Butterflies are ugly caterpillars for most of their lives. Me? I had years 5-33 that seem to have been quite awkward. I’ll grow into my skin eventually.

This weekend I met up with a friend that I went to High School with and she was ever so gracious enough to bring a few pictures of me during my.....shall we say, "awkward" stage.  I don't have many pictures of me looking like this (in spite of having glasses and braces for years and years). These should make EVERYONE feel better about themselves.  Enjoy!

STAND BACK LADIES, the man of your dreams is coming through
If I can’t fix your heart, at least I can fix your computer


Thankfully though, once I shed my Sally Jessy Raphael glasses and braces, I turned into the stud muffin that you all know and love – as long as you can look past the big teeth, big nose, small head, annoying personality…..

Pittsburgh, baby. PITTSBURGH. (I think I've posted this before)
(I have never been to Pittsburgh.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits: Phoenix Marathon Weekend!

Stupid Leg is Stupid
For the last 2 weeks I have done what you’re supposed to do:  More stretching than Saturday night in the bedroom a Russian ballerina, lots of biking with a very gradual buildup of running miles 3,4,5 over the last week. I was getting enough sleep (for me at least), drinking the appropriate amount of injury beer (copious amounts), and was essentially being a good little injured runner.  So, to say that I was anything but excited for my “long” run on Saturday would be an understatement. I was planning to go 12 miles.  My hamstring was super tight the first mile or so, but it loosened up and I was off and running. (And then I pooped on the side of the trail at mile 8, but I digress.)  90 minutes later I was done, no worse for the wear (except for the poop part).  Nope. WRONG.

Beer fixes everything
(Up to and including how attractive people think I am - THANK GOD)


While I was cheering on the Phoenix Marathon course, it got tighter and tighter like a Russian ballerina to the point that on Sunday I was limping pretty hard – not the fun pimp walk limp but more the gimpy runner type.  I am SOOO frustrated that I had a pretty major regression and am essentially back to where I was a month ago.  I’ve taken the last 2 days off from all exercise mostly to mope around but also to hopefully regain pain free walking. I honestly don’t know where to go from here, but I can already see the spring marathon season slipping through my fingers which makes me equal parts sad and frustrated. Maybe I need to switch to injury wine to help heal?

Switched to wine.  Worth a shot to fix the leg?


I’ll Try Anything Once
“What is the worst that could happen?” is a common phrase uttered around these parts – second only to “Look, I’m sorry but it really itches and you’re going to have to get tested too” “hold my beer and watch this”. There are few things that I won’t try at least once. Wearing makeup is one of those things. More to come on this later, but to tide you over, here is a pic that I took that very well could be my new twitter profile pic:

If you want to win, you have to dress like a winner



Marathon is as Marathon does
The 2nd biggest marathon in Phoenix was this weekend. There were TONS of out of towners in to run the race – including Hollie @ FueledByLOLZ who stayed with me. Of course, I only got ONE picture with her that didn’t turn out great :(

Spectating.... like a bull.


The course starts in the mountains and rolls through not scenic Mesa neighborhoods to finish with a net downhill and an overall fast course. The great thing is that it is only 8-10 miles from my house so I was able to go to mile 17 and cheer everyone along as well as at the finish line. The race seems to be pretty well organized, but I heard of a few growing pains that hopefully will be fixed soon. I'll let Hollie and others give you the play by play of the race, but it seemed like most had a good-enough race in spite of the strong breeze and warmer than normal temps.

Best thing about the future is that it is never ending


Wait, Kimmy Gibbler?  Yes. Kimmy Gibbler.
So I met Kimmy Gibbler from Full House this weekend (aka: Andrea Barber). Let me just pause a moment to let that sink in……..  She is friends with PavementRunner and RunEMZ who were hosting a blogger meetup.  The best part?  She is a real live runner!!  Check her Instagram feed – it is essentially all running stuff.  I think I might be in love with Gibbler.



Old marathon buddies!
Finally, as you might imagine, I’m a busy guy. I have Buzzfeed to read, Netflix to watch, my calendar is pretty full. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I don’t see long time runner friends NEARLY often enough. Leave it to a marathon meetup with a bunch of out of towners to get us locals together.

Back when blogging was less about top 10 training tips and more about family weekends, Demi, Lauren, EMZ, and Jeff (not present because he is a loser) got together frequently for group runs. Lives got busy so we don’t do it anymore, but it was still really fun to seemingly pick up where we left off.
Demi, me, RunEMZ, Laren, and Hollie
The band is back together!