New Shoes

My last few jog/walks left me achy… and not in a good way either.  Ankle pain, inner shin pain, knee pain and a little bit of foot pain do not make me want to be the active person I know I am.  These new pains had been slowly coming on, and I’d been steadily ignoring them.  I knew that the pains just meant that I needed new running shoes but I simply didn’t want to spend the money.

Why is it that I can justify buying so many “throw away” objects, but I can’t justify spending $50-100 on my health?  Is there some little voice in the back of my head that’s telling me my health isn’t worth as much as my daily Starbucks?  And if so, why am I giving it so much power over me?  I’ll have to think on that and work towards understanding that it’s OK to spend money on fitness equipment I’ll use every day.

Either way, with these new pains ruining a perfectly good walk/jog yesterday, I broke down and went shopping for new running shoes.  Every website and blog out there says that it’s important to go to a running store to have my gait/stride/foot analyzed so that I get the best shoe for me.  But seriously?  I’m not driving for an hour to buy a pair of shoes.  No matter how much I love to shop, I can’t justify that length of a drive when I don’t consider myself a runner.

I went down to the local sporting goods store and tried on a bunch of shoes.  I decided that I wasn’t going to pigeon-hole myself into the cheapest pair I could find.  I’d go for the ones that felt the best, even if they weren’t the most affordable.  I found a pair that felt pretty good.   I walked around a bit in them.  Jumped a couple of times.  Walked around a bit more.  Tightened the laces.  Walked, jumped.  Tried on another pair. Went back to these ones.  I really liked the arch support in this particular style of Asics, and best of all, my legs/ankles/feet didn’t hurt!  I bought them and took them home.

This morning, I got up, put on my new running shoes and did a couple of sparkpeople videos.  My ankles started hurting towards the end of the first video.  I realized that my foot had slid around inside the shoe and somehow the arch support was nowhere near my arches!  *sigh*  this isn’t good.  So I’ll take them back on Friday and see if I can exchange them for another style or size, or just get my money back.

If all else fails, I could always trek on down to the running shoe store.

4 pounds = visible results?

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for SparkPeople, a free social networking website dedicated to health and fitness.  I’d been tracking my food, water and exercise.  I’d been making sure to do cardio and weights and yoga, and making healthier food choices whenever possible.  On Wednesday I weighed myself and found that I’d lost 4 pounds.  Not bad, right?

Well, on one of my walks around the block at work, just after I’d signed up for SparkPeople, one of the patrons saw me and made a comment.  “Hey Librarian!  Enjoy your walk, but don’t lose too much weight – I love a lush woman!”  He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd if I needed to… but he obviously recognized me.  I just waved and kept walking.

On Saturday I was handing out tickets to Martin Yan’s cooking demonstration when the same guy came up to my table.  He smiled and said “Keep walking, you’re looking great!  What’s it been, about 5 pounds?”  I smiled and said “Just about.”

I’m not sure if the guy was hitting on me, being a creepster, trying to be supportive, or just being friendly.  But I wonder if any of you have seen visible results just by losing 4 pounds?  The only thing I notice is that my rings spin around a lot more, but other than that I don’t see anything.  What do you think?

Laundry Blues

I’ve got the laundry blues… but not in the way you think.  For most people, the laundry blues are caused by the fact that they have laundry to do.  For me, it’s because my washer and dryer are never available for me to use.  I know you’ve all heard me complain about this before: one washer and dryer for four households to share.  If people aren’t considerate it can be a nightmare to get your laundry done.  I know of at least one neighbor who packs their laundry up and goes to a laundromat to avoid the headache.

I’m lucky, in a way, because I have the ability to do laundry at my mom’s house when I take care of her on Fridays.  I really don’t like doing it though.  It just feels weird sometimes.  And other times I just don’t want to stay there that long.  But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

I’m only bringing this up (again) because I have all of this beautiful fabric to wash, cut up and sew back together… with no means to wash it in the first place.  Our laundry room is in use again.  So now I have to wait until tomorrow when I’m at my mom’s to wash fabric and clothes.

It’s actually one of the biggest reasons for us to buy a house, besides getting away from the murderers, thieves and thugs that we know as “neighbors”.  The washer and dryer are a household appliance that I lust after.  A decent stove is another.  Oh yeah, and a working heater.  *sigh* the things I’d do if I owned this place.

Well, that will change soon.  We’re on our way to home ownership, hopefully sometime this summer but definitely by the end of the year.  I just have to be patient until then, right?

12-hour Work Day

When I first started this job, I didn’t see anything wrong with working a 12 hour day once each week.  I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, that I would just pack a lunch and a dinner and that everything would be fine.  But over the past couple of years I learned that the 12 hour day is a bit more complicated than all of that.

Since I’m on my feet for most of those 12 hours, comfortable shoes are a must.  That means no high heels, and no flats that give me blisters.  In general, comfortable clothes are a must.  They usually need to handle me crawling under a table, or climbing a step stool… but they need to look professional too so that our patrons don’t raise their eyebrows when I approach them as “the supervisor.”

I’ve also learned that the food is an issue too.  DH likes to eat dinner with me, even if it’s really late at night.  The problem is that I’m really hungry around 6:30pm, but I don’t get to leave work until 8pm.  That’s an hour and a half of waiting for dinner.  I could always eat two dinners, but doing that is why I’m in the shape I’m in.  I’ve also tried bringing an extra snack, but my body is used to eating an actual meal around 6:30 and a snack only makes it want more food.  I’ve also tried just waiting a little longer to eat on Tuesdays.  You know: snack at 11:30 instead of 10, lunch at 2:30 instead of noon, snack at 5 instead of 3, dinner at 8:30 instead of 6:30.  I’ve learned that pushing it all back, just makes me more likely to graze on the junk food in the break room.  I’m also a bit crankier because I have that vague hungry feeling all day.  *sigh*  I guess the thing I’ll try next week is bringing a lunch and a dinner with me, and then eat a snack or drink a cup of tea while DH eats dinner.  Let’s hope that works and that DH doesn’t feel neglected by it.

Any other suggestions, internet people?

Shamrock 5k Fun Run in Dublin, CA

I did my first 5K ever today! It was a completely different experience from the treadmill or from jogging in my neighborhood. I started toward the back with the strollers and other “slow” people (those that need 13+ minutes for a mile), and quickly realized that their idea of slow and my idea of slow are two different things. Everyone in my group was walking! And they were in my way. Seriously, who goes 6 abreast holding hands and literally blocks the entire road? I know it’s a “fun run” but really? Oh well, I found my way around them and got started.

I actually jogged about half of my first mile and felt pretty good. When I needed to walk, I walked, and when I felt ready to jog, I jogged. Most of the people around me did the same thing. They called out 13:46 when I passed the first mile marker, which is about average for me.

The second mile somehow went faster. I’ve never had that happen before. And that was with a hill. I kept with the same strategy as with the first mile and made great time – they called out 26:46 as I passed the 2nd mile marker. 13 minute mile – super fast!

The third mile was on a paved trail road called the Iron Horse Trail. It looks like a fun place to jog/walk normally (if I lived in the area I’d go there). The only downside was that the trail was narrower than the 2-lane road that we were on before, so it was harder to get around the people. DH was in the spectator area, cheering me on and taking my picture.  I still followed the same routine, but my time suffered because of it – 40:40 at the 3rd marker (almost a 14 minute mile).

With only 0.1 miles to go I ran faster and passed the finish line at 41:03. The only thing I have to compare this jog with is my treadmill run, which was 44 minutes for the same distance. So with that comparison, this is a personal best! Go me!  According to DailyMile, my average speed was 13:14 per mile.

On the downside my left thigh is killing me. I know it’s because my stride babies my left knee quite a bit and my quads are a bit on the weak side. I’ll do some yoga and some walking until Wednesday, when I’ll get back to jogging and strength training again.

So excited! I can’t wait for my next 5k!

DH Cooked: Tlalpeno-style soup, guacamole, and hibiscus margaritas

The week is almost finished, and I just realized that I haven’t blogged about DH’s Sunday cooking adventures!  Yikes!  This week, DH and his friend did the grocery shopping without me, because I was doing that Shop Hop.  They actually did really well, even though they didn’t know how to tell the difference between parsley and cilantro.

One of the most amazing drinks we had on our honeymoon was a hibiscus margarita.  It was fruity, flowery, tasty and the most amazing shade of magenta ever!  DH has been on a quest to re-make that margarita ever since.  Imagine his excitement to see dried hibiscus flowers in the Latin section at our grocery store.

Hibiscus Flower Syrup

DH used the hibiscus flowers to make a simple syrup.  He found the recipe online somewhere, but it basically involves hibiscus flowers, lots of sugar and some water.  Heat them all together on the stove and then simmer until the mixture reduces.  Use a cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a pitcher/pyrex measuring cup.  Then refrigerate until cool.  Once you’re ready to serve, mix the syrup with good tequila and serve.

Hibiscus Margarita

DH thought that the margaritas tasted like watered down Kool-aid.  I thought they were OK, but needed something more – maybe more tequila?  His friend BL said that they were good.  I’m not sure what to do differently with them… any ideas?

Next DH worked on his guacamole.  He’s become a bit of a tomato snob, so he used campari tomatoes instead of the regular roma tomatoes that seem to always be $1/pound.  I can see where he’s coming from – the romas have less flavor than the others – so I don’t mind the extra expense.

Campari tomatoes

Basically, for this recipe, you chop up 4 medium tomatoes and add them to the food processor along with 4 avocados, lime juice, 1/2 an onion, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro or coriander, 3 red fresno chillies, and salt.  Blend until the consistency is right, and serve.  The flavor on this was really, really good.  But the consistency was a bit too smooth for us; we definitely prefer a chunkier guacamole.

Mmm... guacamole

Finally, DH tackled the Tlalpeno-style soup.  This style of soup originates from Tlalpan, a suburb of Mexico City.  Put about 6 cups of chicken stock into a pot along with 1/2 of a seeded dried chipotle chili.  Bring it to a boil, and add 2 whole chicken breasts.  Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.  I misunderstood those directions, so DH ended up simmering the chicken and the chipotle chili separately.

Simmering chicken

You’re supposed to shred the chicken when it’s done cooking and set it aside, but we like ours chunkier, so DH chopped it into pieces instead.  Then, you pour the stock and chili into a blender and blend until smooth before adding it back to the pan.  Once the blended stock is back in the pan, add a chopped up avocado, 4 sliced green onions, salt and pepper, and a drained can of garbanzo beans.  Don’t forget to put the chicken back in too!


Top the soup with shredded cheddar cheese before serving, and enjoy!  I really liked this soup.  It was flavorful, full of broth, and light.  Perfect for anyone looking for comfort food on a diet.  As we were eating, though, we could tell something was missing.  It wasn’t until cleanup that we realized that DH forgot to add in the garbanzo beans!  It was still really tasty though.

Ready to eat


I could see a lot of improvement between last week’s cooking attempt and this week’s.  DH is showing a lot more confidence in his cooking ability.  It’s great to see him so enthusiastic about something new!

Exercise update: 3/11/11

I started out feeling kind of down on myself about this jog because of all the times I had to stop and walk.  It felt like I had to do it soooo much more often than on the treadmill.  But then I remembered, that jogging on the treadmill is kind of like “virtual jogging” while doing it outside in the wide wide world is “jogging in real life.”

Jogging outside is going to be more difficult than on the treadmill.  You have to deal with the weather, the changing elevations, the cars, crossing streets, and trying not to run over little old ladies in the process.  Jogging on the treadmill keeps you at a constant speed, elevation and keeps you out of the weather, traffic and streets.  It’s just different.

I also realized that I was jogging farther than I ever had before.  When I first started exercising, I could only jog for the length of 2-3 houses before I was too winded to go on.  Now, I can jog 3/4 of a long block before I need to walk.

With all of this in mind, I definitely feel good about this jog, and I’m not nearly as scared as I was about the 5k on Sunday.

(1.9 miles at 13:46 pace)

Rough Evening = Poor Sleep

I did not sleep well at all last night.  It was a vicious cycle of dozing for 20 minutes or so and then being wide awake for 10 minutes before I dozed off again.  So you can imagine that when the alarm went off for my 6am run I was totally not feeling it.  Seriously.  I was dizzy from such poor sleep.  I turned the alarm off and decided to get up with my husband’s alarm in 40 minutes.  Imagine my surprise to be wide awake at 6:30.

I’m wondering how much of my poor sleep last night had to do with having to call the sheriff at work yesterday.  There were 3 kids fighting at the library.  The kids that were watching the fight pulled the 3 off each other when I went over there and started yelling.  I can be pretty scary, I guess.  I kept the 3 fighters with me and waited for the sheriff; the other kids scattered.

While we were waiting for the sheriff, one of the kids was sobbing and begging me to let him leave.  When I told him that I couldn’t and that he needed to wait for the sheriff to talk to them, he said “You don’t understand, my parents beat me.  My step-dad kicks me in the back and punches me.  My mom doesn’t do anything about it.”  Then he wrapped his arms around our security guard and couldn’t let go.  My heart was breaking.

We’re not mandated reporters, but when the sheriff arrived I pulled him aside and told him what the boy said.  He said that he would tell the school resource officer, and that the other officer would take care of things from there.  He also indicated that he thought the boy was saying something along the lines of “Oh my God, my parents are going to kill me” that kids say when they’re getting in trouble.

I’ve seen that reaction so many times that I feel like I can tell the difference between a child saying “my parents are going to kill me” and one saying “my step-dad kicks and punches me, please let me go so he doesn’t find out and hit me worse.”  I feel like I can tell the difference between resignation and outright fear.  I don’t hold out hope that this boy’s situation will be improved.

This child was on my mind for much of the night last night, and is still there this morning.  I know I’ve done what I can to get him out of that situation, but I worry that I did make his situation worse by not letting him leave and find a way to hide his injuries from his parents.

3 more days

Until my 5k.

I still don’t feel ready.  Maybe that’s because I’m not ready.  I can barely jog a mile and I’m somehow going to go for 3.1 miles?  I know I’m going to do a mix of jogging and walking, but I still don’t feel ready.  I don’t even know what I’m going to wear.  I know that sounds silly.  Ugh.

As the days tick by I can feel myself getting a little bit more panicky.  Is it bad that I wasn’t this nervous about my wedding?  Oh well, nothing much I can do about it now except relax, do my best, and not forget to turn my clock ahead before I go to sleep the night before the race.

I did yoga again this morning.  It was kinda nice, and it was definitely easier than Tuesday’s yoga.  Downward dog and the plank are still challenging to hold for very long, but I know that as my upper body gets stronger I’ll be able to hold those poses for longer and longer.

I need to think of a prize for my weight loss.  I always do better with a goal and prize in mind.  If I remember right, last time it was a nice dinner out for 10 lbs.  A new fitness video game for 20 lbs.  A massage for 30 lbs.  A new hairstyle for 40 lbs. And a new wardrobe when I met my goal at 45 lbs. I didn’t meet the 45 lb goal so no new wardrobe for me.

I’m working on 29 lbs, so what if I break it down as:

  • 10 lbs = haircut (it hasn’t been cut since my wedding!)
  • 20 lbs = Facial, manicure and massage (that gets me back down to my pre-wedding weight)
  • 29 lbs = wardrobe (gets me back down to a healthy bmi)

Any other ideas for prizes?

OK, gotta go to work now.  Yesterday involved a medical emergency, hopefully today will be much calmer.

1001 Books: Metamorphoses; Chaireas and Kallirhoe; The Princess of Cleves

In this post you get 3 for the price of 1!

As part of my 1001 books personal challenge I read:

  • Metamorphoses by Ovid: Ancient Greek tales of metamorphosis told in beautiful language
  • Chaireas and Kallirhoe by Chariton: painful.  Utterly painful
  • The Princess of Cleves by the Comtesse de La Fayette: Easy language, but a really boring read.

Sadly, I don’t remember much of the actual stories.  It’s like once I finished reading them I blocked the bad memories.  Well, to be fair Metamorphoses was actually pretty good.  It was nice to re-learn the Greek myths that explain how things came to be (why mulberries are red, why certain flowers grow together, etc.).  The language used was beautiful and simple to read.  It was one that I could see myself referencing again in the future.

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