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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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I’ve Lost That Loving Feeling…Or Really Just Any Feeling in My Foot

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I am a career counselor at a community college and I feel like I have been going non-stop since the middle of August.  To say this semester has been busy would be a complete understatement – this semester has been completely insane.  I have no idea what has made it different than any other semester but it has been shear madness!  Today is my first day of fall break and tomorrow we leave for Las Vegas – I am beyond excited!  I need a break from work and life more than anything right now.  Of course, things can’t be that easy, you can’t get a few days away without first paying the price.  Paterno Dog was sick all weekend with stomach issues and had to be switched to a rice diet to get his tummy back on track and late last night I found a weird bump on Coaly Dog’s ear that needs vet attention before we can drop her off at Camp Bow Wow first thing tomorrow morning before heading to the airport.  The joys of being a dog parent!  But, I am trying to be optimistic and get through the day by repeating “In-n-Out Burger…In-n-Out Burger…In-n-Out Burger” over and over again and dreaming about a Neapolitan milkshake and a margarita (or daiquiri – I’m not picky) the size of my head.

So, this little mini rant wasn’t even the purpose of why I was writing today.  I was going to give you an update on my foot which has been injured since we got back from Peru in June.  In September I first told you about my foot and told you about being diagnosed with metatarsalgia and what I had deemed were the suspects of how I had got metatarsalgia (hiking, running in Newton’s, etc.).  Since then my toes on my right foot have still been numb and nothing really has seemed to help them.  After going to the ortho doctor in August I drastically cut back my running as per their request but, I was still half-heartedly training for the Lake Powell Half Marathon.  I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run the half in the middle of October, but I wasn’t feeling any pain when I was running – just the constant numbness, so I was tentatively planning on running it or at the very least walking it.  After loosely following the doctors’ orders for a couple of weeks without any feeling returning to my foot I followed-up asking about next steps.  The ortho doctor made two suggestions: one was to get an EMG to make sure there wasn’t any nerve damage we were dealing with and two was to schedule a second opinion with a foot and ankle surgeon.  Both seemed liked solid plans so I got both appointments scheduled and was ready for my next plan of attack to figure out what was going on with my foot.

 

22549726_10212105313560597_8252096818915267053_nIn early October I went to the neurologist for the EMG.  I was extremely nervous for the EMG because I had never been to a neurologist and have never had any testing like this before.  It was actually pretty interesting, but I have to be honest, it was not the most pleasant experience I have ever had.  First, the doctor stuck probes to my legs and sent different levels of currents through my leg and foot in different areas to see how the nerves reacted.  Some were pretty light while other currents were very strong and would lift my leg right off the table.  After that test, she then inserted a needle into the muscle in the back of my lower leg and conducted some more current tests, these were my least favorite and kind of made me want to throw up.  After about 45 minutes of testing, we were done and the tests showed absolutely nothing, my nerves were all behaving normally.  It was at this time that the doctor mentioned that the EMG wasn’t really good at diagnosing nerve issues in the foot.  (This would have been good information at the beginning of the test).  But, at least we were able to rule out any bigger issues.

 

After ticking off nerve issues from the list it was back for the second opinion with the foot and ankle surgeon.  I was already a little nervous because surgeon was in his title instead of just doctor and soon after meeting him he did let me know that he did prefer to fix problems through surgery, which was slightly concerning.  He looked over my foot, my x-rays, my nerve conduction study and once again diagnosed with atypical metatarsalgia.  Meaning I really only have one symptom of metatarsalgia, the numb toes, and no real pain.  He immediately started talking about how he felt that my issues stemmed from my tight Achilles and he could solve all my problems my simply cutting open the back of my lower leg, elongating my Achilles and stitching me back up.  This would only take me out of commission for about 4-6 months and it wasn’t a guaranteed fix for my problem of numb toes.  I let him know, very firmly, that surgery would be my absolute last resort.  Mostly because there was absolutely no guarantee that the surgery would improve the numbness in my foot because my symptoms did not clearly match those of metatarsalgia.  I like to gamble, but not when it comes to cutting into my own flesh.  So, we compromised.  He gave me a cortisone/steroid shot to see if that would give me any relief from the numbness and put me on a new stretching regimen.  After the steroid/cortisone shot I got no relief.  My toes were still numb and absolutely nothing had changed.  As you can imagine my frustration and desperation level was continuing to grow.

 

22555212_10212105312640574_8935000541392214211_nWhile all this was going on we were getting closer and closer to the Lake Powell Half Marathon and before I knew it, it was the middle of October and time to pack up the car and head to beautiful Page, Arizona.  I decided, probably against my better judgment, to run the half marathon.  In all fairness, I had asked the doctor about it and while he didn’t seem thrilled about the idea he did say that it probably wouldn’t hurt my foot any more.  So, on October 21st I successfully ran the Lake Powell Half Marathon.  It wasn’t my fastest time, but it wasn’t my slowest, and I ran the majority of it and it felt amazing to be running in such a beautiful place.  I think I really took in the experience because I knew that after this half I would be hanging up my running shoes for a while and really be focusing on recovering and so it was just a great experience.   Yes, I had pain (by the end it kind of felt like someone was stabbing me on the bottom of the foot), and yes, my toes did feel number (if that was even possible), but I was proud of myself for overcoming adversity and achieving a goal I had set for myself.

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Okay, back to reality…the race is over, the glow of success has faded and my foot is still freaking numb.  The cortisone/steroid shot hadn’t worked AT ALL and I am feeling pretty frustrated and hopeless.  So, I reach back out to the foot and ankle surgeon to talk about next steps.  As I suspected (and was avoiding), the next step was to completely rest my foot.  My doctor wanted to put me in an old-school plaster cast (the one where you can’t shower, or drive, or function).  I asked if a removable walking cast could be as effective and he was agreeable.  The main reason for my request was 1) I have to drive work and 2) I already had a walking cast (for my right foot) from when I was battling from plantar fasciitis (oh the good ‘ol day when my biggest problem was plantar fasciitis).  The main purpose of the cast was to rest the foot and NOT TO RUN!  We decided to start with two weeks and see where we were after that.  Two weeks came and went and I got absolutely no relief from the cast.

 

I’m really not sure where to go from here.  The fact that none of the suggestions from the doctors have helped at all and the fact that my symptoms don’t really line up with metatarsalgia makes it really difficult for me to even start considering surgery.  But, the doctors don’t have many more suggestions except surgery.   I am not a believer in alternative medicine (my better half is even less of a believer) but I am frustrated that I am willing to try anything.  Even when that anything is something like going to a chiropractor because I have read some articles where it was helped people with similar situations.  I’m not a person who doesn’t believe in modern medicine, I believe, and respect, doctors and medicine, but I have had a really bad bout of care and advice regarding both my foot and my sinuses lately so I have become a little jaded and skeptical.  Add to that the fact that running has always been what centers me and makes me sane and I haven’t been running in over a month, so my decision-making abilities are at an all-time low.

 

I wish I was writing to tie the saga of my foot up in a neat little bow, but here I am six months later without any answers or solutions…but still a very numb foot!  So, this is just more of an update and if anyone out there has any suggestions or ideas I am all ears. 

Will the Real Jolly Runner Please Stand Up?

I had so many hopes and plans when I started blogging.  First I was going to blog all the time.  In my head, I had (and still have) so much to say but every time I sit down to write I always find myself worried about how people will react to what I write.  I don’t want to 1zmkfomake anyone mad, or upset anyone, or worry anyone and so I stop writing.  I delete my half-written post and try to think of something else to write about that has absolutely no controversy. But, halfway through that new post, I am completely bored out of my mind and once again stop writing and delete another half-written post.  This never-ending cycle of writing and deleting has put a huge damper on my plan to blog all the time and instead, I have turned in to one of the most sporadic bloggers of all time who pretty much only talks about dogs, running, and hiking – not really the most controversial or exciting topics out there.

I dipped my toes into sharing my true feelings early this summer when I wrote a post about how I felt when people gave me, what I felt to be, less than genuine encouragement during races and I got a backlash from some people telling me that I needed to think about how my post made people feel who give encouragement during races.  They said I was purposefully making encouragers feel bad when all I was trying to do was giving another person’s perspective.  I wasn’t purposefully trying to do anything other than share my point of view.  I did want to open a dialogue about what goes on during races and was hoping for an open, accepting exchange of opinions rather than accusations.  Apparently, I have too much hope for mankind that we could successfully achieve that goal.

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So how do people do it?  How do you share your life with people?  We love to share when everything is going awesome in our lives but the reality is that is just a small portion of our lives, the other portions of our lives are either extremely boring or overwhelming stressful and scary.  How can you write about what scares you and the turmoil’s you are facing without worrying or upsetting everyone around you?  If I was writing to the faceless masses this would be easy but I know that people I know and love read this as well and I don’t want to do anything that upsets them.  I honestly feel that some of the things going on in my life might help other people, or at least others can relate to – unsuccessfully balancing work and life, my inability to cook edible meals other than casseroles, making the choice not have children and dealing with everyone and their brother asking you why, having medical issues that you can’t get answers to, parents who aren’t 40 anyone (because WTF I’m almost 40), and being a runner who is not a size two (or four…or six…or eight); but I also know that some of the topics can be upsetting and aren’t the most comfortable conversations to have.

rainbow-chalk-labSo, with all that being said, I guess this is just a fair warning that the real Jolly Runner is going to stand up and start sharing a little more and going a little deeper and hopefully finding their passion to write again.   If you are looking for rainbows and puppy dogs you probably won’t find them here (well, you will find some puppy dogs), but here are some great sites to visit:  Best of Cute Golden Retrievers and Top 20 Beautiful Rainbows Around the World.

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?

 

 

 

 

A Machu Picchu Selfie

In my attempt to write more I have been exploring the world of writing prompts.  Just some quick inspiration to get my creative juices flowing.  In my search for writing prompts I came across the Mama’s Losin’ It blog.  Every week the blog emails me five or six prompts that will hopefully inspire me.  So…this is my first attempt to be inspired.

One of this week’s writing prompts was to share the story behind your current Facebook profile photo.  This seemed like the perfect prompt because I have been promising to tell you all more about our trip to Peru and it just so happens my profile picture is from Peru.

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In my picture, you will notice a handsome man and a beautiful mountain.  This is a picture of my better half and myself at the entrance to Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu in the background.  We arrived at Machu Picchu on the next to last day of our visit in Peru.  We had started out visit in Cusco, hiked through the Andes mountains on the Lares Trek, spent a night in Aguas Calientes, and finally arrived to one of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu.  We arrived to Machu Picchu with our guide, Ronnie (thanks Kandoo Adventures!), and made our way through the crowds up a steep walkway to a platform overlooking Machu Picchu.  When we arrived at the platform the fog was so thick you could hardly see four feet in front of you, let alone Machu Picchu.  The feeling of disappointment was overwhelming.  I couldn’t believe that we had come all this way and there was the potential we wouldn’t see anything.  Ronnie encouraged us to just wait a little bit and within minutes you could see a small blue patch of sky.  The clouds parted even more and the blue patch grew bigger and bigger and suddenly Machu Picchu was in front of us.  The first views of Machu Picchu were absolutely amazing and utterly breath taking.  You read about places and you see them on the internet and on television, but being there in person was completely different – it was magical.  We spent several minutes on the platform taking in as much as we could, snapping pictures and feeling completely awe struck. After taking in the views we moved on to start our tour and let the other visitors to Machu Picchu enjoy this amazing experience.

My profile picture wasn’t actually taken during our first stop to the platform.  After our first stop on the platform Ronnie took us on a spectacular tour of Machu Picchu.  During the tour, Ronnie gave us an insider’s view of the Lost City of the Incas.  After several hours, it was time to say good bye to Ronnie and my better half and I suddenly found ourselves alone at Machu Picchu (well, alone without a guide – there were still thousands of other people there).  We stood in line at the entrance for a second time and headed back up steep path to the platform to get another birds eye view of Machu Picchu.  This is where we took this picture.  So, my profile is a Machu Picchu selfie.  I love so much about this picture.  First, I feel we look like how we felt, happy and excited.  Secondly, it’s in an absolutely beautiful place in the world and right after this photo we climbed the mountain in the background of the picture and thirdly, I am sporting my favorite alpaca hat that I bought several days earlier on the streets of Cusco.

This was just a quick sneak peek from our Peruvian adventure.  I will be sharing so much more over the next couple of weeks!

What’s the story behind your current profile picture?

MamaKats