Monday, June 27, 2011

Hitch-hiker thumb

Well, this is me and my new friend.  Allow me to introduce you - blog friends, this is hitch-hiker thumb; hitch-hiker thumb, these are my blog friends...

You might ask what happened and how....Well, here is the story...

On Saturday evening, around 6:45 p.m., I was beginning the preparations for our dinner.  We were going to be having two new recipes (Yakitori and Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs).  I got my trusty mandoline from Pampered Chef to cut slice the potatoes.  I was using the mandoline just as it should be used and then things went terribly wrong...  I sliced a huge chunk out of my right thumb. 

I immediately grabbed several paper towels and ran over to the sink.  I ran water over my thumb to get some of the blood off, so I could see if the wound was really deep.  It looked ok, so I just kept pressure on it.  I figured it would stop after a few minutes and I could put a BandAid on it and move on with the rest of my dinner preparations.

After 30 minutes, it was still bleeding pretty heavily.  The hubs and I decided that it needed to be checked out.  I called my insurance and started trying to find an in-network urgent care.  The issue was that it was almost 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night most urgent care offices were closed and I refused to go to an emergency room and spend my entire Saturday evening there.  Luckily, the insurance representative directed me to an office that was open, but only until 7:45 p.m.  I jumped in the car and high-tailed it over to their office, arriving at 7:25.  I quickly checked in, apologized for coming so close to closing time, and filled out the necessary paperwork.

Within a few minutes, I was in the room and being taken care of by a very nice medical assistant and PA.  The PA used some betadine to clean my thumb, then he used a topical numbing agent before giving me a shot.  After I got the shot, I started feeling like crap and I said to him "...We have a problem.  I am burning up and I feel like I am going to throw up on you..."  He asked the medical assistant to get me some water and he leaned me back on the table a little.  He quickly stitched me up - 4 stitches.  After letting me relax for a few minutes, he bandaged me up with some nice gauze padding and a pink wrap.  I figure if I have to have stitches, it may as well be cute.  I was in and out of the urgent care in 35 minutes - a rare thing indeed!

After leaving the urgent care, there was no way that I was going to fix dinner.  One, I was in pain; two, I was quite annoyed about what had happened.  I went to Peace China and got us some yummy Chinese takeout.  After dinner, I huffed and puffed a little more about being frustrated about my hand.  I kept saying over and over that "...things like this don't happen to me..."  Well, they do now. 

I have to keep my hand, especially my thumb, dry until the stitches come out on Wednesday.  It has been quite interesting trying to do things around the house, at work, etc.  I didn't realize how useful my thumb actually was until I couldn't use it.  So, here's to my new friend, hitch-hiker thumb.

Dress for Success

Several months ago, after the "Great Closet Clean-Out", I donated a ton of work clothes to an organization called Dress for Success.  I first learned about the organization from a coworker, Gayle.  While she didn't give me a lot of information, it sounded like the perfect place to donate my too big suits, jackets, slacks, and miscellaneous blouses,  In late March, the News & Observer ran a piece in Midtown Raleigh News about the local Dress for Success affiliate.  After reading the article, I decided that I wanted to volunteer as an image coach.  I quickly emailed and asked to be added to the email list for future volunteer opportunities, etc. 

Since then, it seemed like I had a conflict every time there was an opportunity - until last week...  I received an email from the Raleigh boutique manager asking if I wanted to volunteer one Saturday per month.  I committed to volunteering from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the 4th Saturday of each month.  This past Saturday was my first day and it was nothing short of awesome.

I got to the boutique around 9:30 a.m. so that I could get a quick "orientation".  I was paired with another volunteer for a little while so that I could "shadow" her.  Unfortunately, the boutique was quite busy and a little short-handed - I was quickly on my own to help several women.  While each of the clients were different, they were all very much the same when it came to finding an appropriate interview suit.  They were so appreciative.  They all left with big smiles on their faces.  It warmed me to the core.

If you have a Dress for Success affiliate in your area, I would encourage you to donate any and all gently-used work apparel to them - suits, jackets, slacks, long sleeve blouses, cardigans, shells, business-casual wear (khakis, etc.), and even jewelry.  Maybe you will even become a volunteer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Rules of Lifting for Women - Stage 1

I recently purchased the New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLW) after reading a ton of positive reviews on other blogs.  After my half marathon, I decided that I was going to stop using personal training services at my gym and focus on lifting through the information in this book.  (I love personal training, but it is very expensive and I can think of a lot of things I would rather spend my money on... like cute, new running clothes, pedicures, etc.)

I started reading the book and enjoyed the information.  While I will not be following the nutritional guide (I prefer Weight Watchers), I will try to incorporate as many of the ideas as possible.  The book explained everything very well - detailed yet concise. 

Yesterday was the day... I downloaded a set of tracking charts and set out to do the workout yesterday afternoon.  Since I had the time, I figured I would do Stage 1, workouts A and B.  I don't know if I will continue to do both workouts on the same day, but it wasn't terrible yesterday. 

The exercise that scared me the most was the prone jackknife.  When I read about it in the book, I had visions of myself looking like a complete idiot and falling.  Thank God my gym has a women's fitness area.  I got a ball, got near a wall to help stabilize myself and got to working.  It really wasn't all that bad, but boy do I feel it today!  While is isn't the most graceful position, it is pretty damn effective.

Overall, the workout went well.  I liked that it was simple to follow, relatively quick, and I could tell I got a good workout. 

Here's what the first two sessions entailed. Squats and lunges were supposed to be body weight only, but that seemed too easy so I modified it.

Stage 1 workout A

  • Squats -- 2 x 15 w/ 30 lb bar
  • Pushups -- 2 x 15 (I am gonna conquer the pushups sooner or later.  I hate that I have to do them modified)
  • Seated row -- 2 x 15 @ 60 pounds
  • Stepups -- 2 x 15 on step bench (5 risers) w/ 15 lb weights
  • Jackknives on ball -- 2 x 15 (I was supposed to do 8, but didn't realize until after I had done 2 x 15)
Stage 1 workout B
  • Suitcase squats -- 2 x 15 @ 40 (This was supposed to be a deadlift, but my trainer saw me and suggested suitcase squats instead.)
  • Wide-grip Lat pulldowns -- 2 x 15 @ 60
  • Shoulder presses -- 2 x 15 w/ 10 lb weights
  • Lunges 2 x 15 w/ 15 lb weights
  • Ball crunches 2 x 15 (Again, supposed to be 8, but I didn't realize until after I had done 2 x 15)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SURPRISE! - Jason's 36th birthday

Well, this surprise has been a long time coming and now I am super excited to write about it.  We were able to keep it (pretty much) a secret until the morning that we left.  Here's how it all went down.  (Warning - it is a long one...  I am just so darn excited that the trip was a success and I am worried I will leave out a detail.)

My hubs is a huge Tampa Bay Rays fan.  Their Triple-A team is the Durham Bulls and we usually have a mini-plan each year.  Anyway... He has been dying to go see them in person for a while.  It isn't easy for us to get to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, so we have been trying to see them in a city close(ish) to us.  I checked the MLB schedule as soon as it came out at the end of 2010.  Lo and behold, it was a miracle - they Rays were playing the Baltimore Orioles the weekend of the hubs' birthday!  The little gears in my head immediately started turning!

In late-January, I mentioned the idea to my mother-in-law.  After talking to her, the final decision was made - we were going to Baltimore.  We purchased great tickets (behind home plate) for one game and pretty dang good tickets (down the 3rd base line) for another game.  We made plans to ride the train to Baltimore on Saturday morning and return via train on Monday.  It was going to be great!  It was also going to be a big surprise!

About two weeks before his birthday, the hubs started getting a little antsy about birthday plans.  My mother-in-law loves to make a big deal out of birthdays and she hadn't really said a lot.  During that week, he also came in the office while I was working on an email to my boss about being off work - of course, that made him more curious about the birthday plans.  I told my mother-in-law about her nosey/sneaky son, and we started coming up with our little white lie...

My mother-in-law and I created a fake birthday weekend trip.  We decided that we were going to "go to Wilmington for the weekend".  We told the hubs that we would be driving down to Wilmington on Saturday morning.  We would be spending the afternoon around the waterfront area.  That evening we would go to Fort Fisher Aquarium because my father-in-law needed to attend a reception for a special project/event, then we would go to a nice dinner.  We told him that on Sunday, we would do some shopping, exploring, and relaxing.  He seemed to fall for it, but as time went on I had a feeling he thought something was fishy....

On Saturday morning, my in-laws showed up at our home around 8:45.  My mother-in-law decided that the hubs needed to open his birthday gifts before we went on our "field trip" to Wilmington.  Here's what happened next - see the video on YouTube.

We loaded up and took the train to Baltimore for the weekend.  Here are some pictures from our weekend...

The happy birthday hubs at the train station
My father-in-law at the hubs at the game on Saturday evening
Happy hubs with some NatBoh's beer
My mother-in-law and the hubs at the game on Sunday afternoon
It was a wonderful weekend!!!  We had a great time.  I think that the hubs was genuinely surprised and would probably say it was the best birthday gift he has ever gotten!  We were able to see a lot of former Durham Bulls and that definitely helped me follow the game more (I am totally not a sports fan). 

YAY for an awesome weekend!  Happy birthday to my dear hubs, Jason!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Runner's World Daily Kick in the Butt

Every morning, I get an email from Runner's World - Daily Kick in the Butt.  Most days, it is a quote that mentions running, etc.  The quote yesterday was:

Running improves my relationships with my family, my friends, everyone around me.  And while my running is personal, it's also something I give.  Running can be given. -- Tony Sandoval, M.D., winner of the 1980 US Olympic Marathon Trials

This quote could not have come at a better time.  This quote also could not be more true, especially for me.  The two weeks after the half marathon, my chiropractor recommended that I not run.  Those two weeks were extremely hard on me because of how much I enjoy running.  I felt like I wasn't as "in control", calm/relaxed, etc. 

Last Thursday, I went on a run and immediately felt better.  I felt relieved of some invisible burden.  When I went to work the next day, I could feel myself just being in a better "place".  While I have always enjoyed running, being without that release for two weeks helped me realize how wonderful a gift running really can be - a gift for me and a gift for those around me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer's here and it looks like there is no end in sight

I knew that summer was inevitable.  However, I wasn't really counting on the heat and humidity showing up almost a month earlier than last year and not letting up...  I am not ready for this reality.  I am not ready to be absolutely soaking wet from head to toe after a short 3 mile run.  Of course, I don't think Mother Nature gives a flip about what I want or need.  Summer's here and she's here to stay.

On Monday, Sarah and I ran the Oak Park Trail and had to stop several extra times to walk because of the direct sunlight and heat.  No bueno.  It was during that run and after guzzling a quart of water when I got home that I truly understood why people told me not to complain about running in the winter.   

Morning runs are definitely part of summer running, especially in North Carolina.  This morning, we got together at 5:30 a.m. at Shelley to run.  Looks like there will be a lot more 5 a.m. wake up calls - at least until September or October. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

National Doughnut Day and the run from hell

Today is National Doughnut Day.  Even though I have received numerous emails and Facebook messages about claiming my free doughnut at Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts, I have ignored them.  I have ignored the messages for several reasons: 1) I am not a huge fan of doughnuts; 2) a doughnuts has between 6 and 9 points plus values on Weight Watchers (about the same as a mini sub from Jersey Mike's; 3) I can't imagine waiting in the line to get one.  

So, for those that are doughnut fans, don't mind the nutritional information, and don't mind waiting in line - go get yourself a free doughnut!  You can thank me for the reminder later :-)

On Wednesday afternoon, my chiropractor released me to run again.  I had only run once since my half marathon (May 14) and caused a nagging knee pain from running too far, too fast, too soon after my half marathon.  I have been babying my knee and spending a lot of time in the gym for the past few weeks and I was dying for a run.  Yesterday was the day....

I got off work at 4:30 p.m.  I headed to my normal little spot on the greenway with my iPhone and water bottle.  I was determined to do 4 miles at my normal 3:30/1 interval.  I knew that I had missed running, but I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I got going.  There is just something about being on the trail that makes my heart happy.

Everything was going well until the turn-around point.  I turned around at the 2 mile mark.  That's when it started to hit me - it was unbearably hot and humid.  After completing a 5K, I decided to walk the rest of the way home.  I am glad that I stuck it out for a 5K, but at the same time I am a little annoyed that I couldn't do the full 4 miles.  It was just too damn hot!  If yesterday was an indication of what hell feels like, I sure as heck hope I don't end up there.

I am feeling great today!  I have no knee pain at all - yay!  Hopefully the weather this weekend will be a little bit cooler and I can get in a run at Shelley Lake or on another greenway trail.  Time to get back in the saddle!   

Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Running Day (one day late)

Yesterday was National Running Day.  I would have loved to have been on the greenway, even with the ridiculous heat.  Even though I couldn't run yesterday, I got something better...  I have only run once since the half marathon on May 14 because of a nagging knee pain/issue.  My chiropractor re-evaluated my knee yesterday afternoon and said I could go back to running!  YAY!  It is hotter than hell in North Carolina today/this week, but I am planning to hit the greenway for a little bit after work.  Can't wait!!!