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Being a Domestic Dud – Part One: Cleaning Failures

IMG_6670Exciting news in Denver, Colorado!  Casa Bonita has put up their holiday lights!  Nothing says Happy Holidays like horrible Mexican food and festive holiday lights!

 

Now, back to the topic at hand.  I am a domestic dud.  My domestic failures fall into two main categories – cooking and cleaning.  I am equally bad at both but in very different ways.  Today we are focusing on my failures in cleaning.  I know that cleaning is not really anyone’s favorite thing to do, but the funny thing is I actually enjoy the act of cleaning.  There is something comforting in cleaning – starting with a dirty house and ending with a more clean and orderly house…it’s such a feeling of accomplishment for me.   The only problem is that even though I have a sense of accomplishment and a cleaner house, I am definitely not the best cleaner in the world.

 

From the outside I actually appear to be a fanatic about cleaning.  I am always vacuuming and spraying cleaners and wiping up spilled drinks and while I do like the feeling of a clean house, I am REALLY bad a “deep” cleaning.  One of these areas in particular is dusting.  My better half always makes fun of me so obsessed with cleaning but still having one of the dustiest houses around.   Like Adam’s Family dusty.  The majority of our picture frames and the corners of our rooms have cobwebs and dust hanging around like we have decorated for Halloween (which we have not).  To prove the point let me tell you the tale of Charlotte.

 

IMG_6672We have a spider in our bedroom that has been in the corner since shortly after we moved in (her name is Charlotte – hence, the tale of Charlotte).  When we first moved in she was busy making a web, catching bugs, and I couldn’t bring myself to kill her so we just left her be.   But, at some point Charlotte left this world but her little body remained.  I left it alone in case she was just sleeping, but over several months that outcome become less likely.  At that point, it just seemed pointless to get rid of her so I just let her be in the corner of our bedroom and there she’s stayed for several years.  Every once in a while, my better half and I will look up at her and think about how we are going to transport her to our next house.  Charlotte’s carcass (and her spirit) are officially part of the family.  A normal person who is concerned with real cleanliness would not let this happen, this spider would have been disposed of and the webs she left behind would have been destroyed long ago, but as a domestic dud, that just isn’t me.  I have bouts of OCD cleanliness and then it passes and I go back to a pattern of keeping everything clean enough so we don’t get rodents.

 

IMG_6675Next, let’s move on the bathroom.  From the outside looking in our bathroom is usually pretty clean.  The one thing I can’t control is the HAIR.  I can sweep or vacuum the bathroom and within seconds the floor is covered with hair again.  I know I lose hair but with the amount of hair on the bathroom floor I should be completely bald.   The more alarming part is that the hair is 85% people hair and 15% dog hair.  I can count on both hands the number of times I have actually seen the dogs in the bathroom.  How on earth is their hair getting in to the bathroom at this frequency?  So, I continue to sweep, but honestly some days I just don’t have it in me and soon the floor will go from smooth white tile to a slightly fuzzier hair coating and I’ll just let it go.

 

The final stop is the kitchen.  I love having a clean kitchen but I absolutely hate cleaning the kitchen.  It is a place I cannot wrap my head around finding the right techniques to really get it clean.  I actually look forward to moving so that I have a fresh kitchen to start all over with.  I clean the microwave about every two to three years after the coating of rice and other food remnants get to be too much and I can never, ever, EVER seem to get the stove clean.  No matter what I do, or what tips or tricks I read about, there always seems to be a layer of grease or oil near the hood of the stove that I just can’t get rid of.  Please don’t even get me started with the refrigerator.  Why is it so difficult to keep the refrigerator clean?!  Sometimes I’ll be taking the milk out and I will find pine needles in there.  How on earth did sap and pine needles get into the refrigerator and why are there so many expired condiments in there!   While the kitchen is never filthy, it just never feels really clean either.

 

The good news is that my better half isn’t a cleanliness fanatic and so he doesn’t seem to notice a lot of the stuff that drives me mad (aside from the dust).    So, I’ll just keep things under control enough to keep the rodents at bay and maybe one day I’ll finally get bit by the domestic bug that will teach me all I need to know to really have a super clean house.

 

Stay tuned for Part Two when I share tails of my inability in the kitchen!

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Life Goals of a Failing Blogger

i told you soLast week when I was posting every day on my blog my better half said: “you better pace yourself.”  I politely nodded and thought “what does he know I have lots of ideas and tons of time, I’ll be able to keep this pace forever!”  That was the day before I went back to work after a week off and a vacation that never happened.  That was after a week where I had all the time I wanted to sit at my computer and write anytime I wanted.  I could stay up late writing because I had nowhere to be the next morning.  Now when the alarm goes off I have to be at work.  This whole work thing gets in the way of this whole doing whatever you want whenever you want thing, doesn’t it?  So, lesson learned.  Advice taken.  I will pace myself.  So, you should probably expect about three posts per week and anything more you can consider a bonus!

 

 

IMG_6655Before I get too far let me catch up on our weekend first.  Saturday we went to Fort Collins.  Our trip to Fort Collins had a mission but we turned the day into an adventure.  Better half went climbing at Horsetooth Reservoir and I got a start on our holiday shopping and then we met up for lunch to complete our mission.  Our mission was to get a replacement pint glass from Coopersmith (the best brewpub in Northern Colorado).  I “got” (aka stole) one for my husband when we first moved to Fort Collins and it was one of his favorite glass.  Coaly Dog knocked it off the end table a couple of weeks ago and smashed it into a million pieces and my better half was heartbroken.  So we returned to Coopersmiths on Saturday to get a new pint glass (an actually pay for it – because we have jobs now).   We had a great lunch on the patio, bought a new glass, visited Jax (an awesome outdoor store), tried a new brewery (shout out to the Gilded Goat) and headed back south where I promptly pulled in to the driveway, opened the door to the backseat and the pint glass rolled out of the backseat into the driveway and smashed into a million pieces (AGAIN).  Mother f(&@er!!!  I feel horrible and my better half is still bummed.  So great trip but mission FAILED!

 

Since we last chatted December has snuck up on us.  It’s officially 21 days until Christmas.  In my world, that means it’s 5 days until the end of classes, 9 days until the end of the fall semester, and 16 days until my next vacation starts.  Lots to do in very little time!  I need to do some sort of holiday shopping, prepare for our journey across the United States trapped in a mid-size car with two bigger than mid-sized dogs, and wrap up everything I need to wrap up at work before the new year.   With all of that to do, I have also decided I am not waiting until the new year to start my new year’s resolutions.  I have never liked the idea of new year’s resolutions and so instead I have set updated life goals and I want to start them today!  I have come up with three broad categories and within each category, there are more specific goals. Seems easy enough.  The setting the goals is always the easy part, it’s the sticking to them that always tends to be a little more difficult.goals

 

So, without further ado, my three goals:  eat, run, blog.

 

eatEat –The main focus of this goal is pretty simple.  Eat better.  More specifically, stop eating like a child.  Cool it with the processed food and focus on eating more natural food.  Instead of taking the easy way out and eating packaged food actually take time to prepare meals and take them to work for lunch.

 

runRun – Get back in to running.  It seems like the problem with my foot is going to be a problem whether I run or not so I NEED to get back into running.  Not running is driving me absolutely crazy (and probably those around me as well).  I’m going to start slow and rebuild my base and stamina and I have a goal to run at least one race every month in 2018 and run at least one 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  December will be spent rebuilding stamina and my first race will be January 1st, 2018.

 

blogBlog – Find a regular routine for blogging.  I have to take life into consideration.  I work full time (actually usually more than 40 hours per week) and I have lots of other stuff going on like running, teaching, making sure our house is clean enough we don’t get rodents, we have clean clothes, and sometimes we have food on the table.    So, I need to realistically figure out when I can find time to blog and make it a regular part of my routine.  I love doing it and I want to make it a regular part of my life.  And I know how much you all love to hear me complain!

 

So, expect to be hearing a lot more about these goals and my successes (and failures) along the way.  But, hopefully this time next year I will have lots of great things to report on my life goals.

 

Have you started thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions or updating your life goals?  What’s on your list?

 

 

Vacation…All I Ever Wanted

This morning I am supposed to be curled up in a plush, king size bed in the Paris Las Vegas, potentially nursing a slight hangover from too many jello shots and strawberry daiquiris after a fun night on the Strip.  Instead, like every other day, today I woke up in my regular queen size bed in Denver with my, not as plush, Ikea down comforter.

 

Since it is Thanksgiving I will start with what I am thankful for and then I will catch you up on the last 24 hours.  I am thankful that the engine of my plane to Las Vegas shot flames out of it on the runway instead of in the air.outfront-flames-on-a-plane-320

 

Yesterday morning started like every other morning.  Up at 6am to give Paterno Dog his epilepsy medicine.  Once the dogs had been fed and Paterno Dog medicated I jumped in the shower and got dressed and turned on the local news before waking up my better half.  9News was a bundle of great news including: information that the trains at the airport were down  (yes, the trains that take you from security to your terminal and are the only way to get to your plane);  the train to the airport was also down (but that is old news for Denverites so no one actually uses the A Line to get the airport if they actually have to get there at a specific time);   and to top it off I-70 was at a standstill from I-25 to the airport (just a short 15 mile stretch) because of an accident on a connecting interstate had traffic being rerouted.  The last tidbit of information provided by 9News was that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day for Denver International Airport  (Yippee).

 

Based on all this information our 9am departure soon became an 8am departure and I had to do the unpleasant job of kicking my better half out of bed and forcing him to shower and pack in about 10 minutes so we could get on the road so we could sit in traffic.

 

23794987_10212333271979415_83985911584266709_nFirst stop was to drop the pups at Camp Bow Wow.  This usually simple task became more complicated with the roads around Camp Bow being closed and having to follow several detours to get to their parking lot.  I love the feeling of watching precious minutes tick by and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  Upon checking the pups in we overheard someone mention that Coaly Dog needed to be in a “special” kennel. Turns out last time she was there she climbed out of her kennel…twice. Now she needs a kennel with a top so she can’t escape.  We are a little surprised by this news because no one mentioned it to us when we picked her up last time.  We think all is good and then we see them putting a sign on the kennel with a warning because she can unclip the hook they use to close the kennel and can let herself and Paterno Dog out of the kennel to roam the kennel and harass the other dogs stuck in their kennels.  While this information was slightly disturbing, Camp Bow Wow seemed to have it completely under control and we were running late to continue our journey to the airport so we left them in their capable hands and headed out.

 

Mt. Elbert LotBack on the road we headed towards the airport.  There was a little stop and go traffic when we got back on the interstate but luckily it opened up pretty quickly and we were flying down the highway towards the airport.  Once getting to the airport we headed to the long-term parking (how naïve we were that we needed long-term parking).  The usual long-term lot, Pikes Peak, was full so we were directed to the long-term lot, way in the middle of nowhere, Mount Elbert.  After getting our parking ticket, finding our parking spot, taking pictures of where we parked the car, we were on the shuttle headed towards the airport.

 

DIA SecurityOnce in the airport, we had a little less than two hours before our flight was scheduled to leave.  We headed to the Spirit Airlines counter and quickly checked our bag and headed to the security line.  If you have ever flown through DIA you know that our security lines are amazingly fast.  I have lived in Colorado over 14 years and I am always amazed every time I fly through DIA how quick and easy security is…until yesterday.  As we headed towards security I saw the longest line I had ever seen.  The wait time was at approximately 38 minutes and I have never waited over 10 minutes.  Turns out we couldn’t even see the end of the security line.  Once we reached what would usually the end of the security line we were directed to the end of the actual line which was snaking into the baggage area.  Most people were waiting patiently and DIA even had snacks available for the waiting travelers and gave us all a piece of delicious Hammond’s Candies.   Suddenly, out of nowhere, the line started speeding up and we were almost sprinting through the line.  No one really knew was what going on but no one was asking questions because suddenly we were getting closer to security very, very fast.  Once we actually got to security we realized what had happened.  TSA had made the decision that travelers didn’t need to remove their shoes or coats and didn’t need to take any electronics out of their bags (I wasn’t aware that these protocols were optional, but apparently they are).  Not doing these two little things sped up security and people were flying through.

 

300px-DIA_Train_1Once through security, we followed the hordes of people down the escalators to the trains that take you to your terminal.  Heading down the stairs you could see the masses of people waiting for the trains.  One train came every several minutes and as many people as humanly possibly were stuffing themselves on to it to head to their flights.   We missed the first train but were towards the front of the line for the next train.  After a slightly longer than normal wait there was an announcement that said the trains were once again experiencing an operational malfunction and would be repaired as soon as possible.  The crowd became restless and lots of people were grumbling about how they were going to miss their flights (liked this wasn’t on every single person’s mind), but we waited…and waited…and waited.  After about 20 minutes the trains started running again and we stuffed ourselves on the next train with hundreds of our closest friends and hoped like hell that the train wouldn’t break down before we made it to Terminal C.  Luckily, we made it in one piece and were ready to head to our gate.

 

SpiritOur two-hour window between when we arrived to the airport and when our flight was leaving had been gobbled up by security and the broken train so we arrived to the gate with just a couple of minutes to spare.  We patiently waited for Group A and B to board and finally it was time to go!  We scanned out tickets, filed on to the plan, found our seats, I took my Dramamine to avoid any motion sickness and to hopefully catch a quick nap before getting to Vegas, put my carry on under my seat, and FINALLY laid my head against my headrest.  We listened to the quick safety talk and we were off.  With it being such a busy day it took a little while for us to taxi out to runway, but finally it was our turn!  We rounded the bend to the runway and I waited for engines to kick on and the plane to race down the runway.  Well, the engines kicked on, but there was no racing down the runway.   The engine on the left side of the plane made an absolutely horrible sound and then FLAMES flew out of the back.  The pilot shouted “Stay in your seat, stay in your seat” over and over again over the intercom and quickly drove the plane off the runway.  Once we were safely off the runway the pilot came back on the intercom and said that he had gotten an indicator that something was wrong with an engine (potentially the indicator was the horrible sound and flames) and that we needed to return to the terminal so a mechanic could take a look at it.  Once we returned to the terminal we deboarded and they told us to stay near the gate for updates.

 

I think it’s important to mention at this time that I took Dramamine about 30 minutes ago and it was starting to kick in…I was not feeling 100% and could have really gone for a quick nap.

 

cancelledAfter about an hour, and several updates from the Spirit Airlines staff telling us they didn’t have any updates, Spirit cancelled our flight and told all 300+ passengers to go back to the main terminal, pick-up our check baggage and return to the Spirit Airlines counter to get rebooked on another flight.  My better half and I immediately jumped to action.  We snaked back through the airport, back on to the malfunctioning train, back to the main terminal, past the still crazy busy security, to baggage claim.  I sprinted to the Spirit counter in hopes of beating the 300+ passengers (I DID!) and get answers faster while my better half went to retrieve our baggage that we had dropped off just a few hours earlier.

 

To say the Spirit Airlines staff were displeased to see the hordes of people from our flight would be a complete understatement.  I actually saw them fighting over who would have to deal with us.  But, because of my mad sprinting skills I was third in line and got to talk with a representative pretty quickly.  The Spirit representative gave us three options:  1) we could fly out Wednesday at 6pm, fly through San Francisco and get to Vegas after midnight; 2) we could fly out Thursday on the same flight we were scheduled for on Wednesday (and then we would have ~24 hours in Vegas); or 3) get a full refund + $150 vouchers and head home.  Even though I have been actually dreaming about going to Vegas and having an actual vacation we decided to get the refund and turn our vacation in to a staycation because the other options just seemed exhausting and with our luck from the day we were terrified we were going to get stuck in California, or worse, our plane would burst in to flames.

 

After pulling the plug on our flight we made some calls and cancelled all of our reservations.  Everyone I talked with at RentalCars.com and Travelocity.com were so helpful and we got all of our money back and they waived all of our late cancellation fees ( I just think they all felt really bad every time I mentioned our plane caught on fire).  Dejectedly, we headed back to the shuttle to long-term parking (see, it really wasn’t long-term parking at all), paid our $8 and headed back to Denver.

 

If I didn’t need a vacation before our experience yesterday I REALLY need a vacation now, but that just isn’t in the cards for us right now.  Good news is we have a couple days off and then just two and a half weeks left of the semester before another break.

 

My new mantra…”I think I can…I think I can…”

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Guest Post: Finding My Forever Family

IMG_4559Hi! My name is Coaly and I am a one year old, black lab mix.  I am guest blogging today to give my mom a break!  I wanted to share a little bit about my story and how I met my new family.  I hope you like this and, if you do, I’ll write every once in a while to tell you what I’ve been up to.

I don’t like to talk about the beginning of my life so I am just going to start from when I first came to Colorado…The nice people from the The Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue made plans to move me from Arkansas to Colorado in hopes of me finding my forever home.  So, on September 28th, 2016 I was put into a cage early in the morning and loaded in to the back of a U-Haul with a ton of other barking, yappy dogs.  I didn’t really know this was the start of my long journey to find my forever home, but it was definitely a big change from my days in the pound.   We rode all day, picking up new pups along the way, until we ended up in a parking lot in Aurora, Colorado.  There was a Petco close to where the U-Haul stopped so I already had a good feeling about this place!  Once we had arrived a volunteer got me out of my cage, walked me down the ramp and there were two goofy people waiting for me.  They seemed really excited to see me but I was a little skeptical – who were these random people standing in the middle of huge parking lot waiting for me?!  I had no idea who they were or where they were going to take me, but I was pretty excited to be off the hot, stinky, U-Haul truck.  The goofy people were super nice to me and they had TREATS so I decided to play along and see where this relationship was going.  I was on my best behavior while the rescue checked me out and microchipped me and before too long I found myself getting in another car!  I thought my travel was over for the day!  But, this car was much nicer and the goofy guy stayed in the back seat to keep me company while the goofy girl and a giant, furry dog sat in the front seat.    We drove down a highway with lots of lights and buildings for about an hour and then the car slowed and pulled into a driveway.  We got out of the car and the goofy people took me and the furry dog to the backyard of a house.  The yard was HUGE!  There was lots ofIMG_4572 room to run and a big apple tree.  I was so excited to be out the car I just ran and ran and ran.  I did stop to check out the furry dog who I found out was named Paterno.  Paterno seemed cool, but maybe a little lazy.  He liked to play for a little bit but seemed to get tired quickly and always wanted to lay down.  After we played in the backyard for a while the goofy people took me inside the house.   Inside there was a couch, some comfy chairs, a bed, and a basket full of toys – this place seemed alright.  The goofy people took me in a room where there was a cage set-up just for me.  It had a big fluffy blanket inside and even though I had no intention of hanging out in the cage it was nice that they had set it up for me before I got there.  I was a little upset that my cage didn’t seem to be in the same room as the goofy people and the furry dog, but I could work on that later.  After I checked out my new digs IMG_4564I found that there was a bowl in kitchen just for me.  The goofy people put some Puppy Chow in the bowl and I scarfed it down – and then I ran over to eat Paterno’s food too.  The goofy people seemed a little upset that I was eating Paterno’s food but I was REALLY hungry.  Remember, I was in that hot truck all day and I was super skinny – you could see all my ribs – of course I was hungry!  For the rest of the night I explored the house and the yard and decided this was a pretty nice place to be and the goofy people and the furry dog seemed pretty nice and they seemed to be really excited to have me in their house, so I would give it a try.

I have to admit I was not very clean when I met the goofy people.  What can you expect after riding in the back of a U-Haul for over 12 hours?  After I had settled in to the house a bit the goofy people got a hair brained idea that they would give me a bath.  Before I could even realize what was going on I was in the bath tub with the goofy girl and the goofy guy was standing guard to make sure I didn’t try to jump out of the tub.  I pretended that I didn’t really like the bath but it felt SO good to get clean and the belly rubs and scratches behind the ears were heavenly.  After it was over the rubbed me all over with a clean towel and I felt amazing!  I ran all over the house rubbing my wet body on all the furniture.  It was so much fun!

Once it got dark outside it was time to go to bed and the goofy people took me to the room with my cage in it.  I was less than excited to get in the cage, but I finally did and the goofy people said good night, turned off the light, and closed the door.  Now comes the embarrassing part – I started to cry and whimper and I just couldn’t stop.  I was so lonely and scared in this new place and I couldn’t help myself!  Luckily, the goofy people took pity on me and came to visit me in my room.  While they didn’t let me out of the cage (Rats!) they did stay and keep my company.  The goofy guy even laid next to my cage for the entire night so I wasn’t so scared!  I think I might like it around here…IMG_4568

While I was a little nervous at first being in a new place with new people and a new dog, it didn’t take me long to decide that this family was pretty cool and I would adopt them.  I love my big brother, Paterno, and I while sometimes he acts like I bother him I know he really loves me and I am keeping him young by playing with him ALL THE TIME!  I love the goofy people too and they keep me pretty busy too.  I run with my mom and go for hikes with my mom and dad.  I recently heard them say that next year they think I’ll be big enough and strong enough to tackle my first 14’er.  I’m not sure what a 14’er is, but I am really excited!  I may be bad every once in a while,  but it’s never on purpose, and I am trying really hard to be better.   But, I do have to remind my people that I am still a puppy and I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks so much for reading my first blog post about how I met my family.  I can’t believe I’ve been with my family for almost a year!  My life might not have started off good, but it’s definitely great now!

Do you have anyone in your family that found their forever home?  What was their story like?

What a Pain in the….FOOT?

In running you are always warned about doing too much, too fast.  When a problem or injury occurs, it comes back to the reasoning that you did too much, too fast.  While I absolutely believe this reasoning – it’s true to many aspects of life – hearing these wise words while you are in throws of an injury is just ridiculous.  I’ve already done the damage, now what?  I don’t want to hear about what I should do in the future, I want to know what I can do right now to stop this pain.  And then, HOPEFULLY, I will remember the wise words as I ramp up training again (but, then again, I am a runner, so I might just forget them when I tie up my shoes for my next 10k training run).

So, you might wonder what my most recent rant is about, and what I abuse I have caused my body recently.  So…let’s start from the beginning….

In mid-Spring I decided I wanted lighter, faster running shoes.  I went to my local running store and talked to them about my gait, running preference, etc.  They watched me on the treadmill and came back with several suggestions.  I understand that finding the right shoe is extremely important in avoiding injuries in the future and that you need to find the right shoe for you because everyone is different.  I was up to the challenge to find my next dream shoes.  I diligently tried each of the suggested shoes.  Making repeated trips from the shoe area to the treadmill and running about a quarter mile with each new pair.  After about eight pairs and two miles on the treadmill I had narrowed down my choice to the Newton Motion V.  The shoes felt great and I was intrigued by Newton’s Action/Reaction Technology. There are lugs near that ball of your foot that, in Newton’s words, “creates a responsive, trampoline-like cushioning system that provides quicker bounce-back and loses less energy than a traditional foam-core running shoe.”   The sales person explained that this bar of lugs would improve my running form and help me to run on the balls of my feet inside of the back of the foot where I tended to run (but have deligiently been working on changing).   I admit the shoes felt pretty weird with this raised bar across the ball of my foot, but I was promised I would get used to.  I was super psyched to get out with my new shoes and I have to admit my first runs in the shoes I felt lighter and was clocking faster times.  So, I was a convert.  The Action/Reaction Technology still felt strange but I was ready to get used to it for the results I was getting.  After runs I did feel some tingling and numbness in my toes, but thought that was pretty normal and the feeling always went away, so it wasn’t causing me any concern.

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We are headed past the llamas to the top of the mountain at 15,000+ feet

Fast forward to June 2017.  My husband and I are taking our dream trip to Peru.  The plan was to fly in to Cusco, Peru, acclimate a little to the elevation and then do the Lares Trek and head to Machu Picchu.  The Lares Trek is an Inca Trail alternative that is less crowded and while it doesn’t take you directly to Machu Picchu, it takes you over a 15,000+ foot pass and takes you completely off the beaten path where you see stunning mountains, lakes and valleys and get to walk through villages and meet the people who live in the Lares Valley.  While I was most concerned about making it from 8,000 feet to 15,000 feet to the top of the pass that actually turned about to be the easier part of the trek.  (Yeah for no altitude sickness – living in Colorado really does pay off!)  The air was definitely thinner but I felt comfortable scaling the mountains to reach our pass.  The trip from 15,000 feet back to 8,000 feet is what took the toll on my body.  The trail was made up of loose rock and at times was pretty steep.  The constant pounding on the ball of my feet left me with the familiar numbness and tingling in my toes (just on my right foot).

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We came down from the top of that mountain, a 7,000 foot descent.

One the third day of our trek when we finally made it to Auguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu we were dirty and exhausted and so excited to turn in our hiking boots for flip flops.  After one of the best showers I had taken in my entire life I noticed that the numbness and tingling in my right foot was not getting any better.  I mentioned it to my better half and we decided that it was just the pounding I put on my foot as we descended 7,000 feet.   I didn’t really give it much more thought because we were in an amazing place getting ready to see a wonder of the world the next day.

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Beautiful Auguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu

Fast forward again to August 2017. It’s been almost two months since we got back from our amazing trip and we have settled back in to the dull drums of “regular” life.  Pretty much work, work, and more work.  Unfortunately, my toes were still feeling numb (just a few toes on my right foot) and I decided I needed to suck it up and find out what was going on, so I set up an appointment with my primary doctor.  My health insurance requires you always start with your primary doctor for any problem and they will refer you on to a specialist if necessary.  I completely understand the reseasoning behind this, but when it’s hard to find an hour to sneak away from work it’s even harder to find a couple hours on a couple different days to see a couple different doctors.  Anyways, I went to my primary doctor and she was a little stumped.  She sent me to go get x-rays to see if there was a stress fracture (there wasn’t) and then referred me to the orthopedic doctor.  A couple days later I found myself at the orthopedic doctor and he briefly looked at my foot and diagnosed me with metatarsalgia.  From my understanding, and the wise words of WebMD, metatarsalgia is a condition in which the ball of your foot becomes painful and inflamed and can be caused from running, jumping, or wear shoes that don’t fit right.  After my diagnoses, I decided to take it easy on my foot for a while.  I have cut down on the running and have been following the majority of the doctor’s suggestions, but I haven’t had any relief.  My toes are still numb and sometimes my foot feels like its cramping up.  Since my trip to the doctor was less then satisfactory I decided to do some of my own research on metatarsalgia and found quite a few articles about how switching from traditional running shoes to Newton’s can actually cause this problem.  While I thought it was from our hike in Peru, it turns out the problem had probably already started long before our hike and the 7,000 foot descent was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I found the following on Newton’s blog “Forefoot pain, also known as ‘Metatarsalgia,’ is a condition indicated by pain and inflammation under the ball of the foot. This is increasingly prevalent in runners who are making a change to minimal footwear, barefoot running and Newton Running Shoes. As with virtually all running injuries, forefoot pain is a result of doing too much, too fast, too soon.”  The blog then goes on to explain that I shouldn’t blame the shoes, but rather something I did, or something wrong with my foot that was there long before I switched to Newton’s.  This is kind of frustrating because they obviously know this is an issue, but no one at the running store who sold me the shoes said anything about it.  Yes, I should have done more research prior to my new shoe purchase but I was also hopefully that if this was an issue someone might have mentioned it to me.

Fast forward to today.  My toes are still numb.  I’m still trying to figure out how to make them better.  But, they are numb whether I run or not so I am going to lace up my good ‘ol, trusty Brooks (with new arch supports that will hopefully help), and get back out there in hopes I can salvage my training for the Lake Powell Half Marathon in October.

Has any one else has similar issues with their feet?  Any suggestions or words of wisdom you can share on what you did to make it better?

disclaimerDISCLAIMER:  This is not an anti-Newton’s story.  I honestly really liked mine and wish they worked for me – I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone was going through anything similar.  This experience has definitely opened my eyes to how shoes can have such a huge effect on our health and injuries and is going to change how I approach my next shoe purchase.  

A Prisoner in My Own Home aka Snakes in the Mother F*!#ing Yard

DSC_0019I used to love my backyard.  It was my oasis, my getaway.  After a long day of work, I would love to hang out in the backyard with my better half and the pups.  Grilling and eating dinner on the patio, setting up the pool to cool off with the pups on a hot summer day, and lounging in the hammock and reading a good book.  This summer everything changed.  This summer I could count on my hands the number of times I’ve just hung out in the backyard.  That is because of the invasion of the Plains Garter Snake, scientifically referred to as, Thamnophis radix.

exclamation markIMPORTANT NOTE:  I almost passed out doing a little snake research to make sure I was telling you the exact type of snake that has been terrorizing me and now I feel the need to burn my computer just because of all the snake pictures I saw, but I did it all for you!

It started in early summer when my better half saw a garter snake near the foundation of our house while he was on the patio brewing beer.  He took a picture of it and that picture seriously gives me nightmares – I didn’t even see the live snake, the picture was enough!  From that day, I knew that there was at least one (possibly HUNDREDS) of snakes slithering around my house and yard and it gives me the serious Heebie-jeebies. 6957636  I seriously haven’t been able to go into our backyard very often.  I will briefly go out when I get home from work to let my better half know I am home and will venture outside if the dogs need my assistance, but other than that I has been a prisoner in my own home.  Just writing this post is causing me to break out in a cold sweat thinking about those little buggers hanging around my backyard.

Yesterday I was letting the dogs out and there he (she?) was…slowly slithering across the patio towards the grass…another garter snake!  I had worked for weeks to convince myself that the snake that was hanging around months earlier was long gone.  My better half, who was so kind as to chase the snake out of the yard so I could let the dogs out, let me know that while he was chasing the snake he saw another one (HORRORS!) and that it definitely wasn’t the same snake as before because it was much smaller.  Leading my mind to come to conclusion that it was the baby of the first snake and that again there were HUNDREDS (a garter snake can have 30-40 babies at a time with the record being 98 babies at one time…98)of snakes hanging out around my house.

From my short (and terrifying) research on the Plains Garter Snake I have found that they indeed live in Colorado and that they could potential terrorize me year round because Plains Garter Snakes do not hibernate, but instead partake in brumation (AWESOME!).  I did, however, some across a list of the Plains Gartner Snakes predators.  It appears that I am now in the market for some hawks, birds, skunks, raccoons, foxes, badgers, minks, bullfrogs, and a house cat.  Domesticated dogs were nowhere on the list of risks to garter snakes – thanks for nothing Paterno and Coaly.

So where did these little buggers come from? For almost five years I have found our backyard to be a safe haven to everything going on in the world and now it’s been taken over by a slithering enemy.  It appears we live in a prime snake area.  Garter snakes are commonly found living near water sources such as streams and ponds, but can also be found in urban areas and vacant lots.  This pretty much describes our current yard situation.  We live next a goat farm who has been flooding the irrigation ditch between our houses all summer and the vacant lot behind our house is currently being turned in to a Starbucks.  So, next time you see a cute goat or enjoy a nice beverage from Starbucks remember the terror they are causing me!

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Okay, so why I am sharing this really strange phobia with you?  Well, because my Year of Yes. This year I am going to be braver and I’m was going to try new things, but I have realized that there are certain places I have to draw the line when it comes to putting myself out there and snakes is one of them.  So, while I am still committed to saying yes more, I am still saying no to hanging with the garter snake in the backyard and I’m sure as hell saying no to ever stepping foot in to the snake house at the zoo.

question markSo, make me feel better – what’s your phobia that you are just going to live with?

 

 

 

 

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

00000-liarIn my last blog post (remember the one WEEKS ago when I said I would write more), I wrote “if you have time to complain about being too busy, you obviously have some free time.”  Apparently writing this simple little sentence made someone, somewhere, very angry and they decided to put me in my place.  I’ll start by admitting this one of the busiest times at work.  A new semester means wrapping up an old one and starting a new, all at the same time.  It means freaked out student who need career guidance NOW.  And it means that there is so much energy and excitement that you can get caught up in which may cause you to over extend a little.  Over the past week, I have gone in early, stayed late, and worked weekends.  I worked almost 60 last week and my endless to do list just keeps growing and growing.

I haven’t gone for a run, strength trained, or been to the gym in over a week.  I haven’t felt like cooking (this isn’t much of a surprise), going out after work, or even turning on my computer to even look at other people’s blogs in the evening.  I have become a couch potato who binge watches old ABC Family shows on Freeform and goes to bed before it gets completely dark outside.  Then, the next day I am up when the sun starts rising and I start the same routine all over again.

lp

In just under 9 weeks I have my third half marathon in Lake Powell.  I am woefully unprepared.  I know I need to train.  I spend time each week updating my training plan, erasing the previous week when I only finished maybe one training session.  As I plan out my new training plan I tell myself that Monday I will start and nothing is going to stop me from my plan.  I will get up early and run or workout before work.  I know it’s going to feel good, that it’s going to set the stage for the rest of the day, but when the alarm goes off I tell myself that the plan can wait another day, I’ll start tomorrow – today I will just enjoy another 25 minutes of sleep and then I’ll go in to work early.

When I sat down to write this I thought I was going to prove to myself that you can be too busy, you can complain about it, and you can prove you don’t have any time for anything else.  But, instead I just feel like a whiney twit who, if they can write this post, obviously has a little free time.  So, no more excuses.  No more do overs.  No more waiting until Monday to start again.  The writing will get more regular because I realized I have a lot to share.  I haven’t even started to tell you all about our amazing trip to Peru!   So, I leave you with a picture from a Peru and a promise to fill you in on the details of our trip.IMG_5987