Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best in 2007!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Taper Run

In spite of the dire warnings from my friends at, this morning turned out to be just fine for running. The sky was overcast, with streaks of darker gray, like a striped blanket, but no rain.

My foot was a little sore, and I don’t think a mostly-concrete run did me any favors. But it was so nice to get out there on my old routes again! And it was only for 12 miles. It’s taper time, after all.

I came upon an unusual sight on Memorial Drive. I was about a mile outside the loop, trotting along past the huge fancy houses, with traffic zipping along to my left, when I saw a flock of birds on the sidewalk up ahead of me. As I got nearer it became obvious that they weren’t pigeons, crows, or any other type of urban bird. They were too big for that. But what kind of birds would be flocking on a sidewalk in front of a ritzy mansion under construction, next to a busy four-lane road?

I got closer, and the dominant one in the flock took a few steps toward me, while a more timid one hopped off the curb into the street. Bad move. I didn’t want it getting hit by a car, so since the circular drive of the house was available, I walked around. The dominant bird and I exchanged suspicious looks while the rest of the flock clucked.


I’m still not sure what type of birds they were. Some houses around here have peacocks, but these clearly were not peahens. They looked a little like wild turkeys, but were the wrong color. I think they were guinea fowl, or something closely related. Just what they were doing on the sidewalk in a rich neighborhood alongside a busy road is anyone’s guess.

A little later I ran past the roadside garden I’ve mentioned here before. Cabbages were doing well, I noticed, and there were a few grapefruits still ripening in the highest branches of the grapefruit trees nearby. This reminded me of an odd sight from a few days ago. I was driving through a very poor area where I swear only hope and imagination were holding the houses together. And would you believe, there were orange trees full of ripe oranges, all rotting on the tree! Uh, yeah. While I don’t agree that everyone is capable of pulling themselves up with no one’s bootstraps but their own, still. . . Come on, people! Free healthy food! Right there in your own stupid yard!

What’s wrong with some people?

Anyway, my third cool sighting of the day was a geyser. Okay, it was a broken water main, but the water was spraying nearly two stories into the air like Old Faithful, or like something you’d expect to see in an over-the-top Las Vegas hotel lobby. All it needed was pretty colored lights around it. With so much water being lost, you’d think the city would be all over it, but apparently not. There wasn’t a repair vehicle anywhere in sight.

So that was today’s run. I saw Mary for a massage on Thursday, so my legs were still recovering and a little heavy. But I was just so glad not to have to do a gym workout. I need to save my mental stamina for the last few workouts of my taper, when I’ll be doing a lot of time on the elliptical machine.

This has been a good week off for me. I’ve taken care of some errands, done some running along the bayou, done some writing and blogging (still taking email addys for anyone wanting access to my new writing blog), and just generally catching up on things. I got the fabulous news tonight that the university will be closed on Tuesday due to the federal holiday honoring President Ford, so that makes me a happy camper. An extra free day, followed by just a 3-day work week! I’ll also be taking off the Friday before the marathon, and the day after the 'thon is MLK day, which we have off. So it looks like I won’t be fully back into the grim weekly grind until the fourth week of January, which suits me fine.

And to close this post on a worrisome note, Dan is sick. I’m trying not to completely freak out, but it’s a chest cold, and for the last two years in a row, I’ve gotten bronchitis at exactly this time of year. If I had someplace else to live right now, I'd go there. Really. I swear he better not get me sick before my Birthday Marathon. I’ll have to kill him or divorce him. Maybe both.

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run – bayou trails
Wednesday: 6 mile run – bayou trails
Thursday: 45 minute spin
Friday: 30 minute elliptical
Saturday: 12 mile run


I have created a new blog, where I have loaded the entire text of my novel, Tin Soldier. Other writings will be posted as time permits.

This is a restricted blog, to keep my work publishable should I decide to start querying again. If you are a friend and/or regular poster here and want an invitation, send me your email address and I’ll get you signed up!

If you don’t want to post your email address in the comments, send it to me at uhamp “at” yahoo “dot” com.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas and Beyond

We all had a great Christmas.

Dan and I opened our gifts on Christmas Eve because we had to be at my parents’ house early the next day. I got a lot of books I wanted, and a mouse that is revered by Photoshop users. And Dan displayed his psychic skills by buying me a photo printer. I almost bought one a few weeks ago, so I’m glad now that I didn’t! Dan loved the leather jacket I bought him, so I didn’t feel too bad that the other stuff I gave him was pretty basic—books, music, and a nifty little drink chiller than plugs into a computer’s USB port. (He saw it in a catalog and couldn't live without it.)

On Christmas morning, we found that Santa had dropped off gifts for the fuzzies. Pixel loved his catnip, and Tidbit got a lot of mileage out of her gift basket while Dan and I had our traditional Christmas morning panettone and watched a Buster Keaton short.

And then it was off to my parents’ house!

It was great to see my father. I hadn’t seen him since our trip to New Mexico last summer. I got so full on homemade salsa, cookies and fudge while we waited for dinner to be ready that it’s amazing I had any room for turkey and stuffing. But I managed, as I always do. Because I was still recovering from Saturday’s 23-miler, I decided to not worry about calories in vs calories out for once and just enjoy myself. It was nice.

Gifts were surprisingly good this year. Usually my parents give me any old thing, without appearing to give any consideration for my likes and dislikes. But this year all but one of the books was right up my alley, and I was happy to also get a fancy cross-cut paper shredder—another item I had been thinking of buying, but hadn’t gotten around to yet.

I gave Tidbit calendars to everyone this year, and they were a hit. My brother loved his guitar tuner, and mom gushed over her gifts, especially the Belleek teapot, but later seemed more interested in stealing my alpaca wrap. I told her if she wanted one, to just say so and I’d get her one. Jeez, she’s greedy!

Dad and I spent some time looking through the pictures in the rare book I bought him. It’s the only book (except for a 30-page pamphlet I bought several years ago) about his mother’s home town, which was destroyed by flood in 1929. Dad and I were excited to find that one of the book’s photos was of the roundhouse foreman who gave my grandfather his first railroad job. Dad is going to show the book to his older siblings when he gets back to New Mexico, and I’m looking forward to hearing what else they notice in the pictures that corresponds to old family stories. The really weird thing about looking at those old photos is how substantial it all seems-- houses, shops, main street, roundhouse, depot, etc. Go to the site today, less than a hundred years later and there's nothing at all. I've wandered all around the area, unable to find so much as a brick. Ozymandias, anyone?

We got home later than I would’ve liked—a little family goes a long way with me. There can be as many as five different conversations going at a table of seven, and it confuses me and leaves me wondering who they all think they’re talking to, since everyone is talking about something totally different. In other words, no one in my family listens to a damn thing.

So yeah, in spite of the good gifts, good food, and fun looking at the book with my father, I was glad to get home.

Today was a quiet day. I spent the morning doing some de-cluttering. I also got my fancy new mouse working, set up the photo printer and shredder, and installed a shelf by my desk to hold my CDs, mini-camera (a new item for long runs), etc. That took me until 1:00, and by then I was eager to go for a run. I did 5.5 miles and although my quads protested the entire time, they feel so much better tonight! And my injured foot is doing well, too. I was worried I would mess it up with the long run on Saturday, but oddly, the run seems to have helped. Either that or the tape. Probably it’s the tape. Tape cures everything.

Tomorrow is going to be for errands, I think. I’ve got several of them, and it’s already going to be Wednesday. Where does the time go?

Today’s Workout
5.5 mile run – bayou trails

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

If you were good...

Maybe you found a treat under the tree this morning...

Merry Christmas and Holiday Blessings to you all!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I had to get in that last long run. I’ve spent the last few weeks in an involuntary taper (at least from the standpoint of running), and was anxious to get his final piece of my training finished.

It was an interesting dilemma, though. With tendonitis still making the top of my right foot too tender for shoes, going for a run seemed like insanity. If I ran barefoot like a Kenyan, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I needed my shoes!

To prepare for today’s run, I had to do the following:

• Kinesio-tape my lower back
• Kinesio-tape my right hip and IT band
• Kinesio-tape my right foot and ankle to prevent swelling
• Ace bandage my lower right leg, also to prevent swelling
• Creatively lace my right shoe and leave it loose
• Cho-pat strap left knee, to combat minor patellar tendonitis issues

Uh, yeah. Sounds crazy, now that I think about it. But somehow when you’re in the middle of all that, it doesn’t seem so completely nuts. It’s just what you do.

I had wanted to run to University of Houston as my last long run, but when I headed out the door I had no idea how long I would last, due to the issues with my foot. I told Dan I might be gone five minutes or five hours. One thing I did know, though, was that I didn’t want to be 10.5 miles from home in a questionable neighborhood and find I was having problems. So I went to Memorial Park instead, where I would never be more than two miles from home—easy limping distance, should things get ugly.

And as it turned out, all was well. The tape kept my foot from swelling, and the shoe was loose enough that it didn’t give me much trouble. I felt strong throughout the run, and the park was much less crowded than on a typical Saturday morning. Doing six loops was a bit of a mental stretch, but I reversed direction every other loop and had a nutrition schedule for each loop. That helped. It also helped that I hadn’t been to the park in awhile. I think if I had been up there once or twice a week, every week, like in the fall, I would’ve lost my mind. But instead, I just focused on getting the job done, and it wasn’t so bad.

I finished my six loops around the park, did a quick loop around the bayou (small loop), and headed home. I was pretty clear-headed, considering, and my pace was good throughout. I even had a little kick at the end!

So I’m definitely ready for the marathon, and now I just need to aggressively treat my tendonitis, get a couple of massages, and enjoy my taper.

Due to the challenges of the last two months (first my hip, then my foot), I don’t have a goal time for this race. I was quite capable of four hours before all this stuff started happening, but I hit the 18 mile mark today at 3 hours, so I’m guessing I’ll run the marathon in something between 4:15 and 4:30, depending on all the usual unknowables.

But really, I just want to get there healthy and finish. I’ve had something go wrong for this marathon every year, and haven’t made it to the starting line since 2001. I’ve got three weeks to heal my body and keep from getting sick. Three weeks of paranoia. It’s gonna be fun, kids!

Today’s Workout
23 mile run

Friday, December 22, 2006

Product Review: Spinervals Autumn Country Training Ride

I was pretty excited to find that Coach Troy has a new video series called Virtual Reality. The first (and so far only) video is Autumn Country Training Ride. I put it on my Christmas wish list, and my husband presented it to me yesterday (ahem- NOT Christmas) with that romantic phrase so dear to female hearts, “Here. I didn’t feel like wrapping it.”

Easygoing bunny that I am, I saw the forest for the trees and was thrilled to have a new spin video, no matter what the date or method of delivery. And today I tried it out.

Let me start by saying that riding through the Maryland countryside with Coach Troy is fun. Watching the scenery made the time go by fast. I was disappointed, though, that we didn’t do more climbing. Instead we spent a lot of time in small gears at a high cadence, which made it a tough workout for me. And unlike other Spinervals workouts, there were no rest breaks. Oh, Coach Troy would suggest slowing down at stop signs, but there weren’t a lot of those, and we only slowed enough to make the corner before Troy was off again, urging us poor fools at home to stay on his wheel.

So it was, for all intents and purposes, 50 minutes without a break. And also unlike other Spinervals videos, this one went right up to the 50 minute limit. The cool down was afterwards and not included in the stated workout time.

It was a good workout, and quite a departure from Coach Troy’s other stuff. If you like his other videos, you might enjoy mixing it up with this one. And if you don’t care for the other Spinverval workouts, where there’s nothing to see but a bunch of other cyclists suffering, this ride through the autumn countryside might just be the right one for you.

I’m looking forward to seeing more in the Spinervals Virtual Reality series!

Recent Workouts
Monday: 45 minute elliptical
Tuesday: 45 minute spin
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical, 15 minute stairmaster
Today: 50 minute spin (Spinervals 1.0 Autumn Country Training Ride)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bring Your Bunny To Work!

Tidbit had long wondered just what I did every day. So today was the unofficial Bring Your Bunny To Work Day.

First order of business was for Tidbit to find her office:

Where she immediately settled in with a cup of coffee and did some number-crunching.

Then she took a break for lunch:

And after lunch, was dismayed at the amount of work that had piled up in her in box:

Caught slacking!

A gentle reprimand later, and she got back to work:

And even won an award!

Now where's that paycheck???

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I'm buried in a last-minute avalanche of to-dos at the office, trying to get some things done ahead of the break. But Tidbit is getting in the spirit on my behalf!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tidbit's Feline Friend

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Non-Run

No long run today. I wanted to do my 21-miler, but I’m still dealing with tendonitis in my foot, so it’ll have to wait until next week.

I have to admit I’m starting to get nervous about the marathon. I know I’ve got an excellent base, but after backing off the running to accommodate my hip, and now backing off even more to let this tendonitis heal, I find myself worrying. If I meet with no further catastrophes (like bronchitis again), there’s no reason I won’t do the race and finish, but unless I can get back to near-daily running very soon, January 14 is going to be hell.

But what can one do?

I’ve made good progress with my foot this week. I finally got rid of the swelling, and I was moving at normal speed (fast!) instead of gimping along when I went to run errands today. So it’s just a matter of being patient for a few more days. I can do my 21-miler on the 22nd or any day after that because I’ll be on break from work.

Oh, and how am I speed-healing my tendonitis? You guessed it—tape! Maybe I should start a poll: How many body parts will Bunny have taped on marathon day?

So as not to feel like a complete slug today, I did a one-hour spin and had a salad for lunch. Okay, the salad was sort of breakfast + lunch because I was so busy this morning preparing gift baskets for co-workers and running around to different stores to get last-minute items that I entirely forgot to eat breakfast. And then it was 2:00 and I knew if I sat down with my big Greek salad from Café Express, I would never get on the bike. So I set up the bike, did a torture session with Coach Troy, then finally was able to eat at around 5:00. So I guess that means my salad was breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Oh well. I’m one of those people who can get too distracted to eat. I quite literally forget. There’s a term for this, but it eludes me at the moment. The flip side, though, is that when I’m bored I immediately turn to food as “entertainment.” Weird, I know. They say you should only eat when you’re hungry, but no one ever says what you’re supposed to do if your hunger pangs bear no relation to whether or not your body actually needs fuel.

But I’m rambling now.

This past week was nearly non-stop at the office, and I’m expecting Monday to be more of the same. Tuesday ought to be a little better, and it will likely be a ghost town by Wednesday and Thursday. Very nice. Maybe I can get caught up, or at least do something about the growing piles of paper on my desk.

I’ve got big plans for the break. My father will be in town, for one thing. And I want to re-vamp my Writings blog, add some things and switch some or all of my blogs to Beta. I also want to write a short story or two, do some editing, take some photos, clean my apartment, get my bike tuned up and the wheel issue resolved. . . Oh, yes, I’m going to be one busy bunny!

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 45 minute elliptical
Friday: rest day
Today: 60 minute spin

Thursday, December 14, 2006


It's all about having that one true friend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Okay, my new blog pal Thomma at Tennessee Text Wrestling has tagged me, probably in polite retaliation for my laziness in not linking to her from my sidebar yet. LOL! Hey, what's the upcoming holiday* break for, if not for blog maintenance?

Four jobs I've had:

1. Bartender at a 5-star restaurant
2. Locksmith assistant
3. Computer tech support
4. Bookkeeper for a jazz club

Four places I've lived:

1. Muncie, IN
2. Fresno, CA
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Houston, TX

Four favorite foods:

1. Indian (any kind)
2. Cookies (any kind, but especially oatmeal-raisin)
3. Ice cream (cookies and cream or vanilla)
4. Flan

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. This Is Spinal Tap
2. The Life of Brian
3. Pandora’s Box
4. (anything with Buster Keaton)

Four TV shows I enjoy:

N/A (I haven’t watched more than the occasional documentary or news report in years)

Four places I've traveled:

1. Maine
2. Vermont
3. New Mexico
4. Washington, DC

Four places I'd like to visit:

1. England
2. Spain
3. China
4. Argentina

Four websites I go to daily:

1. Bloglines
2. Evil Editor
3. BBC News
4. Arts and Letters Daily

Limiting the websites to only four was tough! And TV was quite a stumper, too. Even as a kid, I didn't watch much TV. And how come there's no books on this meme? I supposed I'd be hard pressed to name only four books in any context, though, so maybe it's just as well.

Speaking of books, I'm currently reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin in the new Natasha Randall translation. It's sort of the Ur-dystopian novel, and I'm really enjoying it. It's occurred to me that a lot of the "classic" dystopian novels follow a theme of "male central character, content/resigned with his lot in a totalitarian state, meets female agent of chaos/rebellion." Isn't it interesting that in so many of these novels it's the woman who sees the totalitarian state for what it is and inspires the male central character to seek his own truth and meaning? It's actually a sort of reverse Adam and Eve, if you think about it-- the female tempting the male from the wilderness toward Heaven.

I bet someone could get a doctoral dissertation out of this, if no one has already.

* For anyone who gets their knickers in a twist over the use of the word "holiday," get over it. The context is Christmas + New Year's. More than one holiday in one break = "holiday" break. It's only a Christmas break if I have to go back to work before New Year's. Which I don't. Thank God, and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I don’t have much to say about today’s run. It was an easy 15, no new routes or anything. I have a little tightness in my hip tonight, but nothing like before, and I think some trigger point work will fix it. I’ve also been dealing with some pain on the top of my right foot, which is something I’m prone to. I think it’s tendonitis. I don’t know why I get it, but it happens so often that I know how to deal with it. More tape.

Anyone who has not yet bought stock in a kinesio and sport tape company should do so now!

My office move has still not happened. Our facilities guy keeps stringing me along, saying my furniture will get rearranged to my specs, and it will happen soon. But each time the date arrives, he’s got another reason why it can’t be done. I’m at the point where I want to just move in, anyway, but I know that as soon as I do that, one of two things will happen:

• The Great Missing Part will arrive and I’ll lose the better part of a workday while they rearrange my furniture and I have to put everything back in order again.


• The facilities guy will feel like the pressure is off, the rearrangement will never happen, and I’ll have to sit with my back to the door FOREVER.

It’s frustrating, and worst of all, some people are acting like I’m trying to avoid moving. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a lot of big plans for my new office and new role in our organization, and I can’t do what I want as long as I’m in my old workspace, where people keep calling me or coming by asking for help with things that are no longer my job. Basic customer service says I need to help, so I do. But it takes time from the things I’m supposed to be doing now, and so many things have changed that I’m really not able to be efficient in my old tasks, anyway. Every day I show up grumpy to still be in my old digs and I go home even grumpier.

So I’m rapidly being ground down by state university inefficiencies that make it take forever to do a very simple task, like rearrange some modular furniture. I’m trying to stick to my principles (I shouldn’t have to sit with my back to the door, and if they say they’ll fix it soon, they should fix it… soon), but I have a feeling I’ll be forced to cave on this issue soon.

If I do, I’ll just have my office door closed all the time. So there. We’ll see how much they like that!

In bunny news, Tidbit is becoming a mountaineer! Apparently she found a way onto the back of a rather large stuffed chair that’s tricky even for the cat. But she’s been in an adventurous mood lately, sneaking into the bedroom if the door is open for even a minute, and things like that. I guess she’s just feeling adventurous.

Recent Workouts
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 45 minute elliptical, with intervals
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical, with intervals
Thursday: 40 minute spin
Friday: Rest
Today: 15 mile run

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting Carried Away

First cold run of the season!

Feeling lazy, I got up later than I really should have and it took forever to get ready to head out the door. All that winter gear! And having to tape up, too! There are only two reasons why cold-weather running is not completely evil: less sweat and more pockets. I love my fleece vests for their pockets!

My plan for today was to do about 13 miles to Rice University, around Hermann park and home. I skimped on nutrition, since I really don’t need much for runs up to about 15 miles. I know it’s heresy to admit it, but I’ve trained my body over these past seven years to not need a constant calorie intake. I experiment with what kinds of food and drink work for longer distances, but I’ve found that almost anything is fine. I think my stomach is made of cast iron. It tolerates damn near anything. And I’m so used to running on low fuel that when I do fuel up, I can really go!

But I digress.

So I set out this morning, late, with only two little packets of Amino Vital, thinking I was going to run 13 miles. And then like a fool, I ran about 18.

See, when I got to Hermann Park, I decided to take a little jaunt on that bridle trail along the bayou I discovered a few weeks ago. I had cut my previous exploration short and now I wanted to see just how far that particular trail went. But to my disappointment, the trail was blocked at just the spot where I had stopped the previous time. So I crossed the bridge and started running back toward the park. I stopped at a water fountain along the way and noticed another little trail. I followed it, but it wasn’t very interesting. It led me to a sidewalk along a busy street and around the corner, back toward the park. It was longer than if I had stuck to the trail along the bayou, but was leading me nowhere new.

This could not be allowed.

So when I got back to where I could see the Shell station at MacGregor and Highway 288, I decided to see if the trails I thought ran along MacGregor were where I remembered. And they were! I had walked them once, many years ago, in a March of Dimes walk, but I hadn’t been entirely certain where to pick them up, it was so long ago. And I tend to be very cautious about running off toward parts unknown when I’m by myself. But this was too good to pass up, right?

So I ran along the MacGregor trails, having a great time. There are a lot of stately old homes along this street, mysteriously fallen into disrepair with peeling paint on the columns and weeds in the yards. But the bayou and trail are well-maintained, and I watched a chocolate lab chase egrets on the bank, near the water. And I saw an unfamiliar water bird. It was big and gray with a long pale beak. It was on the other side of the bayou, so I couldn’t get close enough to see it clearly. I wonder what kind of bird it was?

I ran what felt like about two miles, but as near as I can tell on Gmaps, it was more like a mile and a half, because I stopped just short of Scott street. By now I had the sense it was late. (I don’t run with a watch when I’m injured because it only tempts me to push too hard.) So even though I wanted to see if I could run all the way to University of Houston, today was definitely not the day. And there were no water fountains. In spite of the cool weather, I was getting thirsty. And I needed a restroom, too.

So I headed back to Hermann Park and availed myself of the clean restrooms and water fountains, which greatly improved my quality of life.

By now I was more than ready to be finished with my run. Once you have the sense that it’s late and you should’ve been home by now, it’s over. Getting your brain to shut up and let you enjoy your run is next to impossible. So I ran the four miles home from Hermann Park with a steady pep talk running through my head, wishing Dan would show up looking for me and take me home. I’ve never wished that before, but I was undernourished for a run of this distance and was tired, too. I had only slept three hours the night before.

So I was really glad to get home, and even happier to have no hip pain. Kinesio tape rocks! I may look like The Mummy, but I can run, so who cares! It was after 11:00, but I was able to ice down, shower, do my foam roller/stretching/leg massage thing, and get dolled up for lunch by just after noon. Not bad!

And then I spent most of the rest of the day sleeping. I needed it!

Today’s Workout
Long Run: ~18 miles

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bunny, It's Cold Outside!

After days and days of warm temps and humidity, we finally got our first cold front.

It was 68 when I got to work this morning, and I felt foolish in my tights, wool skirt and sweater, carrying my coat. I didn't feel any better walking in behind a woman wearing a breezy summer skirt and sling-back pumps. Had she not read the same weather report I had?

The temperature dropped all morning and by noon was in the low 40s. By the time I left for home, it was in the 30s with winds gusting to 25 mph. I sure was glad to have my coat!

I wonder how Miss Summer fared?

Recent Workouts
Monday: 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: rest, not feeling so good
Thursday: 35 minute spin

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I got on the bike today, since I didn’t want to push my luck after yesterday's successful run. My back was taped, but not my leg. To my surprise, I found I was pedaling in a different way than usual. My right knee didn’t drift inward, and my left leg was doing more work. I hadn’t noticed in the past that my right leg usually pushed more than my left, but now it was very obvious.

Have I been doing this on the run—pushing harder with my right side than my left? It would explain a lot about the recurring tendonitis in my right hip, wouldn’t it?

Biomechanics are a funny thing.

Today’s Workout
90 minute bike -- Spinervals

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I’m having some interesting results with the kinesio taping.

My tape arrived just before Thanksgiving, along with so many other things I had ordered as Christmas gifts, that it took three trips to get everything up the stairs. Naturally, one of the first items of business was to tape myself up and see how it felt to run. I did 9 miles on Thursday, with no hip pain.

So today, the plan was for more tape, and more running. I picked out a 12 mile route, but went on and did 15. Still no hip pain. I think I may be on to something!

Here’s what’s interesting, though. Since I started taping (first with ordinary sport tape, and now the kinesio), I’ve had zero low back pain, but my quads are killing me! I’ve always had weak quads, an odd thing in a runner. Even at the peak of my triathlon and weightlifting obsession a few years ago, my quads remained stubbornly weak in comparison to everything else.

And now that I’m taping, my quads are really getting a workout. I can only conclude that there was something in my biomechanics that was causing me to use every other muscle but my quads, thus perhaps leading to the hip trouble.

So what am I taping? Lower back, for starters. I have some instability there that core work hasn’t seemed to help. The tape should help make my core work more effective by making it harder to inadvertently use one muscle group to the exclusion of the others, which is what is probably happening.

And I’m also taping my right IT band, all the way down my thigh to my knee. I suspect this is overkill, but until my taping manuals arrive this week, I’ll stick to what seems to be helping.

In the meantime, my new Julstro book arrived, and it’s full of new trigger point therapies that I’m looking forward to torturing myself with. I already had the e-books, but it’s really hard to read the computer screen when you’re on the floor with a tennis ball digging into your thigh.

So at this juncture, I feel like I’m back on track for the marathon in January. I’m not cured, and for the short term it looks like I’m going to be a little slower on my pace and a lot quicker to tire because of the extra work my quads are doing now. But my gait feels more efficient, and I’m optimistic.

Yeah, yeah, I should be seeing a professional. Find me one who will do more than slap electrodes on me and charge a $40 co-pay per visit for the privilege of not fixing my problem, and we’ll talk. Tonight I don’t have so much as a hint of an ache in my hip—first time in about three weeks. As long as I don’t go creating entirely new injuries for myself, I think I’m back in business!

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 9 mile run
Friday: Scheduled rest day
Saturday: 15 mile run

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Among her many blessings, Tidbit is thankful for YOU, her friends.

Here's wishing a bountiful Thanksgiving Day to you all!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Random Monday Stuff

I did an experiment Sunday, taping my IT band before my run, just to see how it would go. It felt great, but the tape lost its stickiness around mile four. But I had no hip pain during or after the run, so it was a qualified success, and I have ordered some Kinesio tape and books that will show me the correct way to use it. I also have a book on order from Julstro to help with trigger points, so we’ll see how all of this goes. (Note: I have one of the older Julstro books and it’s been a sanity-saver!)

All this stuff costs about as much as three co-pays to a physical therapist who probably won’t make any attempt to fix my real issues. I’ve been running for nearly seven years now and the only success I've ever had with soft tissue injuries was when I quit trying to get "help" and just used my own good sense and whatever informational resources I could get my hands on. I wish I had confidence in professionals, but I just don't any more. Massage excepted, of course. And no, I still haven’t gone to see Mary. This might be a good week for it, though.

I had a visitor on Sunday. There is an orange cat who lives downstairs, and we’ve become friends. On Sunday, he met me in the parking lot, chirped at me and stuck close to my heels as I climbed the stairs, then snuck in while I struggled with my bags and packages at the door. The bunny gate was up, so I wasn’t too worried—Orange wouldn’t get very far. But the reaction from my own animals was amusing. Brave Sir Pixel hissed and ran, while Tidbit took a few hesitant hops toward the bunny gate and sat there, head up, ears alert, watching Orange to see what would happen next.

Not much happened. I set my bags down and sent Orange on his way. But now I know who runs the show around here—my feline predator is a hopeless scaredy-cat, while my long-eared prey animal is either very brave or dangerously stupid. Or perhaps just astute. Orange is a love. I really need to find out his name.

It’s a slow week at the office. Lots of people are out already, and the attrition is scheduled to increase as the short week wears on. And a good thing—it will give me a chance to pack up and get moved, since my new office will supposedly be ready for me late Tuesday or by Wednesday at the latest.

Oh-- I'm also nearly done with my Christmas shopping! How cool is that? Like other years, I did nearly everything online and packages are arriving daily. It's fun, since I love getting stuff in the mail, even if it's not really for me. In fact, when it's a bill, I prefer that it not be for me. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: 30 minute elliptical

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Update

Well, my husband made it to see The Who, after all.

He had a rough time of it Friday night, but by mid-morning he was out of pain and groggily puttering around. By early afternoon, he was ready for Indian food. I had done an abbreviated morning workout so I could be available if Dan needed me, so I was short on calorie burn for the day and had to content myself with just one trip through the buffet line, and only one little piece of naan. Not much fun.

Work is getting more interesting. It looks like they are finally going to get the furniture rearranged in my new office on Tuesday so I can move in. It’s that modular stuff, so it’s not simply a matter of pushing here and pulling there. It had been set up so that one had to sit with one’s back to the door in order to work on the computer, and I wasn’t going for that.

I’m anxious to get moved in. I was reluctant before, because there wasn’t enough help in my old department and I had some projects to wrap up. But now I’m finding that my presence in my old office just encourages people to keep relying on me for things they shouldn’t. I’m supposed to be functioning in a different role, and as long as people keep pulling me in two different directions, I’m not going to have a chance to be effective at much of anything.

I also see some potential for new and fun workouts after I get settled in at my new location. Since I’ll be back on campus, I can take my workout clothes with me and run around campus after work, finish up at the rec center and lift a few weights. I’m pretty excited about all the possibilities.

And in other runner/triathlete geekdom, I nearly swooned with delight when my new arch support insoles arrived in the mail with TWO free pairs of Coolmax socks!!! For a brief moment, my world was complete.

Finally, anyone who has been reading Diana’s Diary will be pleased to see that I’ve spent some time improving the archiving and navigation features. I’ve listed all fictional diary entries in the sidebar and added previous/next navigation features to each individual post. I’m also thinking about making some sort of descriptive headings to the sidebar for quick navigation to specific entries or segments of the story, since it is rapidly becoming more of a darkly picaresque novel than just a blog. For a work of fiction, Diana’s Diary sure is giving me a lot of real-life headaches!

I guess Dan will be home soon. He called a couple hours ago to say he and his friends were going to get something to eat. I said to call again if he’d be in later than 1:00. We don’t tell each other what to do, but checking in is a must, even if it’s just to say, “I’m not dead or in jail, and here’s my new ETA.” I hope Dan gets most of his post-concert babbling out of his system with his friends, but hearing about The Who will be a vast improvement over hearing about his job, so I suppose I’ll just count my blessings.

Today’s Workouts
60 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes bike (Spinervals)


This is so not cool. Dan has another kidney stone. And he and his buddies have tickets to see The Who tonight.

Poor Dan.

Update to follow.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Santa Claus Is Coming!

It's getting to be that time of year again!

Be sure to check out Santa's Blog for all the holiday updates! Remember--if you've been good, Santa might just leave something under your tree this year!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

DSL Update

It’s great being married to tech support.

And unlike me, Dan is really good-natured about working on the weekend. I can’t stand having to tinker with things once I’m home—anything more complicated than turning the computer on puts me in a snit. I was once in tech support, myself, and I'm very "been there, done that" about the whole thing. But to Dan’s infinite credit, he always takes on these little home tech projects as if they were the realization of his fondest dream.

Well, to be fair, he also wanted to buy Guitar Hero II, and going to Best Buy to look into replacing our router (since we decided we’d rather buy one than wait for a free replacement) was the perfect excuse. Hell, I don’t care what he does with his money, after he’s paid his share of the bills. Just get my DSL working again, pay the light bill on time, and I’m a very happy chica.

So yes, I’m pretty happy this evening.

Today’s Workouts
60 minutes elliptical, 30 minute treadmill run

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Making Do

Today has been a day of compromises.

My hip is acting up—something I’ve been reluctant to talk or post about, using the brilliant logic that a problem not written or spoken of does not exist. Right. I don’t think the recurrence of this injury has to keep me from the marathon in January, since I’ve got plenty of time to fix it, and it actually doesn’t bother me too much when I’m running, only afterwards. But that’s the early warning sign, and I’m taking it seriously. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to proceed from here.

I’ve tried physical therapy in the past, and each therapist I went to fixed something, but never the actual problem I went to them for in the first place. I’m willing to invest time and money in something that will solve the problem, but given my past experiences, I’m feeling a little wary right now. I’ve actually had better success diagnosing and treating my own problems, than going to a professional.

This is a soft tissue injury, not a bone or cartilage problem. I’ve had the hip x-rayed and had an MRI, so this isn’t something necessarily beyond my ability to correct on my own. But I also think my biomechanics are out of whack, which I probably can’t fix alone. I’ve got a touch of patellar tendonitis in my left knee and some other kind of tendonitis in my right hip, so the signs of a biomechanical problem are definitely there. So I’m wondering if the PT who fixed my Q-angles (when I really wanted help with swelling and tendonitis in my foot and ankle) can help. He’s into tape. Seriously. He puts super-adhesive tape in different places and it makes you use your muscles differently, correcting imbalances. But would he really help my hip, or would he just end up fixing something totally different?

Besides, I’ve got a roll of duct tape right here. . .

So while I dither over whether or not to blow a few hundred bucks on therapy that probably won’t help, I have decided to back off the long runs this weekend. I spent this morning in the gym doing elliptical and running on the treadmill. I’m no fan of the treadmill, but at least it’s a stable, level surface, which I sure can’t say about the bayou trails. In fact, my hip started nagging me again almost exactly two weeks after I started doing the bayou trails again, so that could be part of the problem. I love those trails, but they’re uneven and probably do me no favors.

My short-term plan, then, is lots more work on the foam roller and with my trigger point ball, and limit my workouts this week to the elliptical machine and treadmill, instead of running around on uneven surfaces. I need to also go see Mary (how long have I been saying that?) but work is so crazy right now that I just don’t see it happening. I suppose I’ll have to make the time, no matter how big the hassle, since there’s no way to do it conveniently.

The other way I’m making do today is with the computer. I woke up from my post-Indian food nap to find our DSL wasn’t working. The lights on the box were orange and buzzing, and when I tried to reset it, the box failed completely. Dead. Nice. So I’m on the laptop, on dialup tonight. Isn’t it just our luck that the DSL failed on the weekend, adding to the delay in getting a new box shipped out? I’m glad, though, that I’ve kept paying for my dialup service. It came in handy on vacation, and it’s preserving my sanity tonight. I can live with a slow connection, but none at all would simply not be acceptable.

But these are pretty high-class problems, as far as things go. Dan is going to try to find another power supply for the DSL box tomorrow, just in case that’s the problem. And in the meantime, I’m still connected (slowly) with the world!

Recent Workouts
Monday: 4 mile run
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: rest day
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 90 minute elliptical, 60 minute treadmill run

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tid Bits now available

As some of you may recall, Tidbit is a published author. Her book is now available from Shutterfly.

She and I make no money off this-- I'm just putting it out for sharing, in case anyone wants to order a copy. Or just go take a look!

Tidbit regrets she cannot autograph copies of her book, but she will nibble pages upon request.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Explorations and Other Stuff

I have found a new place to run!

A few weeks ago I thought I saw some trails by Hermann Park, but didn’t have time to check them out. So since today’s long run was a recovery run (relatively speaking), I kept an eye out for those trails. It turns out they’re the Hermann Park Bridle Trails, for the stables that I have never seen, but that I’ve heard about for, oh, nearly 30 years. They’ve become almost fictional to me, but now I can at least vouch for the existence of the riding trails. They run along the bayou, but I’m not sure how far they go. I went about half a mile, then crossed a bridge and came back. My IT bands are a little tight and I didn’t want to go traipsing off to who-knows-where today. Hermann Park was the farthest point of my run, so there was no way to shorten the run on the back end, should I get carried away with my explorations.

I’m going to Google the bridle trails, though, and have a plan for next time.

On the way home, I stopped at a couple of yard sales. One was of no interest to me—mostly kid stuff. But the other had a gorgeous desk lamp that I immediately coveted. It was $10 and I only had $5 and didn’t know these people, so I was reluctant to ask them to hold it for me. So I figured I’d ask Dan to stop there on our way to lunch, and if the lamp was meant to be mine, it would still be there, right?

And it was! Yay, me! I’m moving into my new office soon, and now I have a nifty lamp for it!

That’s all my news for today. Tonight I’m watching/listening to the live feed from Ironman Florida. It’s so cool hearing them announce the names of my blog friends and watching them cross the finish.

All the more reason for me to be careful with this hip and make sure I get back to 100%. I so want that to be me some day, crossing the line at an Ironman event. Weird injuries have always been my limiter. Things happen to me that seem to happen to no one else. I think I’m just put together wrong—something I noticed even as a kid, as the only girl in ballet class who couldn’t get anything even approaching proper turnout. So I guess I just have a longer road than some folks. But I know with consistent and patient training, all things are possible.

Congrats to all my friends who toed the line at IMFL today! Every one of you is a champion!

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 45 minute elliptical
Friday: rest day
Saturday: ~14 miles

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints

The funeral for Dan’s uncle was today. The church was very warm, and since it was a Catholic service, we sat there in sweaty stuffiness for two hours. Talk about suffering for your faith! I’ve never been able to decipher the secret code Catholics use to know when to sit, when to stand, when to kneel, etc. But I’m slowly getting enough practice to at least fake it most of the time. There’s something comforting about the participatory nature of Catholic services, and the way everyone seems to be on the same page about what to do next. It’s a totally different vibe from the “sit still and listen” passivity of the Protestant culture I grew up in. Plus, Catholic churches are pretty. Always something to look at. And most of the music is good, too. I’m a sucker for minor chords.

Anyway, in spite of the lack of air conditioning (Come on—it’s Houston! We need a/c all year long!), it was still better than a day at the office.

The cops gave us a great escort to the cemetery, which was one I’d never been to, full of winding roads, little ponds and creative monuments. I had never seen such a diversity of statues—not just your run-of-the-mill angels, of which there were plenty, but also life-size bronze animals and marble secular statues of people reading or doing other things that they had loved in life. I think I’d like to go back to this cemetery just to look around. In New England, I like wandering the cemeteries to read the headstones and ponder. But at this place, I think it would be more like a museum tour. I would go for the art.

Anyway, I was surprised at how short the graveside service was. At my paternal grandmother’s funeral, almost exactly three years ago, it seemed we stood out there forever, with the cold winds blowing down off the New Mexico mesas while the priest read things over the coffin. Me and my female cousins had been pallbearers and we hadn’t expected to be so long outside. Consequently, we had left our coats in the cars and stood huddled together by the grave, arms linked together for what warmth we could share, while gusts of wind whipped at our skirts.

But today, it seemed Dan and his cousins had hardly gotten Uncle Jerry’s coffin into position, when it was over. We all lingered awhile, no one wanting to be the first to go. To me, the hardest part is getting in the car and driving away, leaving the loved one behind. But eventually everyone was ready, and we went back to the church for food and visiting. It was a pretty good time, in spite of the sad occasion, but I was glad when it was over and Dan and I came home. Dan changed clothes and went to his aunt’s house to hang out awhile longer with his family, and I checked my email and then went for a run. Since it was three o’clock on a weekday, I had the trail at Memorial Park almost all to myself, and it was wonderful!

In other recent news, I attended a 3.5 hour meeting on Monday, of which less than 30 minutes was new information for me. The meeting was called by our CIO and attended by both of my bosses, so there was no hope that I could sneak out or find a means of even mental escape through writing and doodling. By the end, I was sympathizing with animals that will gnaw off one of their own legs to escape a trap. If I had thought it would’ve helped, I think I might’ve given it a try.

And finally, in light of Dan having taken two days off this week because of his uncle’s funeral, it’s not looking good for him taking time off for us to go San Antonio next weekend. His boss has had a death in the family this week, and I’m in the middle of an office move, and it’s just not a good time for taking extra days off. And it’s probably just as well. A November marathon was a little ambitious, in light of my lingering distrust of my hip, and my “A” race coming up in January. I’ll sign up for the local 25K, though, which will be in a few weeks.

The weather is turning cooler tonight. They’re predicting highs in the sixties tomorrow and Friday. It’s about time. One of my neighbors has wind chimes, and it’s nice to listen to them, making music on the leading gusts of the cool front.

Must be the season of the witch.

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run
Wednesday: 6 mile run

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

This blog has been sadly lacking in bunny pics lately...


Want to hear something scary? I woke up feeling fine. Yeah. Twenty-one miles yesterday, and I was ready to go again today.

I’m freaking out.

What’s even scarier though, is that the San Antonio Marathon organizers finally posted their elevation chart and it looks like the last eight miles are uphill! OMG! Yes, I know San Antonio is hilly. I used to live there. But Austin is in the Hill Country, too, and their marathon course is flat. Vermont isn’t just hilly but mountainous, yet the Covered Bridges Half Marathon has a near-constant elevation drop throughout the course, with the exception of one rather nasty hill around Mile Eight.

So not even in my nightmares did I think San Antonio’s course would be all uphill for the last eight miles!!!

I’m going to check the route against a topographical info site sent to me by it’s only fuel, and see what I come up with. If it’s really a sadistic course, I might have to sit this one out and try for next year. I haven’t been training on hills because I feel like I’m still building myself back up after last year’s debacle with my hip. I can handle some hills in a course, especially if I’m not really racing. But eight straight miles uphill is just stupid.

And finally, not scary but just sad, Dan’s uncle passed away last night. We got the call this morning, while I was out running. Given Uncle Jerry’s advanced Alzheimer’s and diabetes, as well as the other health problems and organ failures he was experiencing, I think living (if you can even call it that) had become the really scary thing. Dan is handling it well, given that Jerry was his favorite uncle and a father figure to him. He’s out running now, and was practicing his guitar earlier. It’s a sad time for him and his extended family, and there’s probably a mid-week funeral in our future.

Today’s Workout
6 mile run


My 21-miler went well today, in most regards. It was a perfect day for it—cool at the outset and warming up just enough to be pleasant.

I started off in the dark so I wouldn’t finish up too late. It was my first time running in the dark in a long time, and I’d forgotten what a problem that can be for me. My right eye no longer corrects to 20/20 and I’ve always had an astigmatism, so judging the trails and curbs is tricky without good light. But it forced me go out nice and slow, which is a good thing.

I went up to Rice University, did the loop around campus and started back. This was when I first started having little twinges in my hip, and I think it was mainly due to the cambered surfaces I was running on. When I would hit a level patch, the annoyance would go away. With no real reason not to continue, I went to the second part of my run, which was a loop up Memorial to Chimney Rock, and back on Woodway. Luckily the construction at the 610 Loop is mostly finished and I didn’t have to make any detours.

Once I was back inside the loop with about three miles left to go, the hip started bothering me more often, but once again, only on questionable surfaces or when I stopped for water. My calves were pretty tight at this point, but I started my run with tight calves, so that wasn’t unexpected. Other than those two things, I felt really, really good. It was one of those “run forever” days when my mind and body were primed and ready, and if I had been running a marathon today, I would’ve done great. Even my mental state was good. I never got bored or started wishing the run was over. I even toyed with the notion of going longer, but I had to take my lunch date with my husband into consideration, so I finished up as planned.

Tonight I’m leaning strongly toward signing up for San Antonio, two weeks away. I think the hip problem is a tight hip flexor, which can be dealt with pretty easily. The pain doesn’t manifest itself in the hip flexor itself, but when I use my trigger point ball, that muscle is really tight, and loosening it seems to help. The pain I’m feeling is probably either referred pain (your body doesn’t always hurt at the point of injury) or it’s from other muscles tightening up to compensate for the hip flexor issue.

If I’m right with my self-diagnosis, I can resolve this problem without much trouble. And I’m usually right about soft-tissue matters. It’s only when I try to do the “right” thing and go to a doctor that I get sucked into months of treatments that never solve the problem or even result in a correct diagnosis. Let’s not even go there.

My biggest worry about doing San Antonio is hills. It’s a hilly town, no two ways about it. Not only have I not trained on hills, but they would likely pose the same problems to my hip as cambered surfaces. This is something to consider seriously. I’m wondering if scheduled walk breaks and walking any really big hills would be sufficient to ward off trouble. I’m going to try to find an elevation map of the course (no luck so far) and get an idea what I would be up against.

Tonight my hip is bothering me a little, but I’m going to see how it feels in the morning and try for my regular Sunday Six if it’s okay. That will probably tell me better than anything else just how I’m really doing.

Oh—my time for 21.3 miles today was approximately four hours, including warmup and cooldown, pit stops, buying water, and an extended snack break at Turtle Pond, which sadly, seems to no longer have turtles. I didn’t wear my watch, so I only know the time I left and the time I returned, with no precise minutes and seconds. I don’t like to wear my watch when I’m injured or recovering from injury. It messes with my head and makes me try to go faster than I should.

I'm spending a quiet night at home tonight, no Halloween parties or anything. I spent so many years in the restaurant business that I still call nights like this "Amateur Nights," and I avoid going out, if at all possible.

Recent Workouts
Monday: 4 mile run
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run
Wednesday: rest, not feeling well
Thursday: 45 minute elliptical
Friday: official rest day
Saturday: 21.3 mile run

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vote for Tidbit!

Tidbit has entered a Halloween Pet Costume Contest at Shutterfly. Drop by and vote for her or tell your own furry pals to sign up and win prizes!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Miscellany

I admit it. I was a slug this week. My excuses are:

• flooding on Monday (why not go to the gym?)
• tired (go to bed earlier!)
• family issues with Dan—he wants to talk (but not all night)
• tendon in top of left foot kind of sore (might have a winner here!)

But all in all, I was lazy. I could’ve gotten on the bike. I could’ve gotten on the elliptical trainer. I could’ve (gasp!) gone for a swim. But I didn’t.

Today’s long run was a “short” one, since I pushed the distance last weekend. I hadn’t gone up to Rice University in awhile, so I did that, and did Hermann Park while I was in the vicinity. It was really nice, and I saw what might be some trails near the Hermann Park golf course. The sky was threatening rain, so I didn’t go investigate, but I’ll have to take a look next time I’m over there. I have lots of running routes, but I’m always looking for more. I get bored easily, and really long runs can be brutal on my mental state once I’m past the three hour point.

In other news, Dan’s mother is finally home from the hospital. Home, not in assisted living, like we recommended. She lives with Dan’s half-sister, who we've been told treats her like a servant and today we were informed she’s not feeding her or helping her with anything. Dan is beyond furious. His sister lives with her mother to save on rent and childcare, and you’d think the least she could do is heat a can of soup for her mother who is recovering from back surgery, right? And yet we’re having a nearly impossible time convincing Dan’s mother to move out. It makes one wonder just what the truth really is over there. Dan is getting really tired of making other arrangements, only for his mother to dig in her heels and refuse to leave a situation she complains about constantly. If there's something wrong, MIL should leave. If it's not as bad as she says, I wish she'd quit complaining and giving Dan fits.

And as if that weren’t enough, Dan’s favorite uncle is dying. He’s had Alzheimer’s and diabetes for a long time, and now organs seem to be failing left and right. It’s hard on Dan, since he grew up without a father. This uncle was the closest to a real father he ever had. Still, I believe there are things worse than death, and the condition his uncle is in now, is one of them. So I’m hoping the end comes soon and painlessly, since an improvement to his quality of life (pain, confusion, and lots of sleep) does not look possible.

Not much is going on with me, thank goodness. There’s talk about moving my office back on campus sometime before Thanksgiving, but until I actually see progress happening on that, I won’t be holding my breath.

And I find I’m spending a lot of late hours working on my fictional character blog. It’s fun, and I think it’s giving me some much-needed distance from my “real” writing. But when I took the project on, I think I had no idea how quickly it would consume me. Writing tends to do that, I guess.

Finally, I’m trying to decide what to make of iPod costumes. A sign of the impending apocalypse? Or merely bizarre? Kinda cute, any way you look at it.

Recent Workouts
Monday: 2 mile leisurely walk to take pictures of bayou
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 6 mile run
Thursday: total laziness
Friday: designated rest day
Saturday: 13+ mile run

Monday, October 16, 2006

Water, Water, Everywhere

True to forecast, it rained most of Sunday and Sunday night. Since my office becomes nearly inaccessible when there’s street flooding, and since there was a broken water main there on Friday, I sent email to my department’s early birds, asking what was up. The verdict:

• Water in building: In pipes (good) and in a few ceilings (not so good)
• Water outside building: underpasses filling up

The flooding underpasses were enough to make me decide to stay home until I could be sure I would be able to make it in, but then I got word that the university would be closed until noon. Yay!

I wiped off my lipstick, got back into my comfy bathrobe and settled in with the cat, the bunny and the husband, to watch a little of the traffic and flooding on TV. After a bit, Dan went to get us some coffee, and I settled in at the computer. Since I did have some important work to get done today, I set up the laptop with VPN and leisurely worked on office stuff while reading the news of the day on my other computer. Bliss!

As it got closer to time to make a decision about going in to work, I managed to catch a news report about two women who had died in their SUV in a flooded underpass—one of the two by my office! If one is flooded, the other one always is, too. If an SUV can't make it, neither of my little cars can do it, either. So it was a definite work-from-home day for me.

And boy, did I work! It was go, go, go, all day, while bands of storms boomed and crashed outside my window. But it was all pretty low-stress, even though three o’clock came around and I realized I had been so busy that I hadn't eaten since breakfast around 8:00. So I had some lunch, wrapped up a few last items, talked on the phone with one of my bosses, and since he and all the other senior management had gone home by this point, I decided to call it a day.

The rain was easing up by this point, so I got dressed and went outside to check the bayou. I’ve seen it a lot higher than it was today, but it still made for some good pics.

Here’s one of my running trails:

Here’s where the track meets were, weekend before last—ready for sculling races now:

Another trail to nowhere:

No, trees in Houston don’t typically grow in water:

I think I could’ve gotten even better pictures if I had followed the bayou toward downtown, where I understand it jumped the banks. But Dan would be coming home soon, it was getting dark, and since I was encumbered with umbrella, camera and phone, I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I might have to do anything acrobatic to get around flooded spots. So I headed home, but not before getting this shot of the tops of the trees near the Waugh Drive bridge, where the resident bats were chittering like mad. The bayou usually runs quite low, in a channel just beyond that first line of tree tops:

Yesterday a bayou, today a river.

As I said, I’ve seen worse. But this was still a pretty good size flood.

Back to the salt mines tomorrow!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Groovy Retro Rabbit

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Eighteen Miler

Today’s long run was a mixed success. I got in at least eighteen miles, probably a little more because I had to detour around construction. When I already know my route, I don’t wear my GPS. Gadgets tend to make me focus on numbers, instead of just enjoying being out in the world. A lot of times I don’t even wear my watch! But unexpected detours become problematic without the GPS. I think today’s detour added as much as half a mile to my route, but I’ll call the whole run eighteen, since that was the original plan, and I know I ran at least that much.

The detour was kind of fun, since it took me past the police department’s stables. Like most women, I went through a pre-teen “horsey” phase, and they still always make me smile. I think the police department stables are the old Pin Oak stables, but I could be wrong. There’s an annual Pin Oak charity horse show that I attended once or twice with my mom back in my horsey days. She’s an extrovert and would always end up making friends with someone when we toured the area where the horses were stabled during the show. Those spontaneous friendships would result in me getting to ride one of the show horses (at a slow walk) around a parking lot. And of course, the show itself was always a lot more interesting for having specific horses to cheer for.

Anyway, I got to see the police horses today, and that was fun. The only other thing notable I saw today was a lot of broken eggs on the footbridge that takes me from the park by my apartment across Memorial Drive. I initially thought maybe some kids had been dropping eggs onto cars passing by underneath, but I could see no evidence of eggshells on the street below. They seemed to all be on the bridge, as if someone had had an egg fight there.

I felt strong throughout my run, and the biggest problem was just psychological. 18+ miles is a long way to go and takes a long time. It’s plenty of time to ponder and sort things out in your mind, but it’s also long enough to start wondering when this stupid run will be OVER, already!

At my last stop for water, about a mile and a half from home, I felt a suspicious twinge in my hip. It didn’t keep me from running the rest of the way home, but in the past when I’ve had one of these twinges, it would invariably become a serious problem within about three miles. So I was expecting to have a lot of problems with my hip once I was home, but oddly, it hasn’t been bothering me a bit. I’m not sure what to make of this. Should I treat it as a fluke, or as a San Antonio deal-breaker? I’ll have to give the matter some thought. At least the San Antonio Marathon isn’t known for filling up, so I’ve got time for a 20-miler in a couple weeks, and that ought to answer all my questions.

The weather forecasts are predicting rain, rain, rain, all day and night tomorrow. We’ll see how correct they are. It might turn out to be a good day for elliptical or a spin session.

Recent Workouts
Monday: laziness
Tuesday: 45 minutes elliptical
Wednesday: 6 mile run
Thursday: 40 minute Spinerval
Friday: official rest day
Saturday: 18+ mile run

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Photoshop Tidbit

I've been playing around in Photoshop a lot lately, as anyone reading my other blog has noted. So I thought I'd play around a little with some bunny pics.

Like this one:

And this one:

"Short" Long Run

Just a “short” long run today—thirteen miles, give or take a few tenths. I’m going to try for 18 or 19 next weekend and if that goes well, I’m signing up for San Antonio. November 12, peeps! Anyone interested in joining me, let me know! It’s not an A race, or even a B race, for me. This is a tourist-class marathon, with all the emphasis on having fun and avoiding injury so as not to jeopardize my training Houston on January 14.

“Marathon Season” is in full swing around here, and I spent the first few miles of this morning’s run dodging thundering herds of training groups, and scooting around stragglers. There was also a track meet of some kind going on along the bayou. The main events were down by the water, but I still had to weave my way through packs of kids doing warm-ups, and crowds of parents and younger siblings coming to the event to watch. I stayed out of everyone’s way as best I could, and it helped that the organizers had marked off their area with little white flags, but it was still a bit of a mess.

But after I got to Memorial Park, things got easier. The park wasn’t stupidly crowded, and once I was back on Memorial Drive, heading toward Chimney Rock, I was blessedly alone. Just me and my thoughts. The construction at 610 and Memorial was about done and I had no problems there, so I was feeling pretty good about it all. But once I had gotten to Chimney Rock and turned onto Woodway to head back inside the loop, I started thinking it a bit odd that there were no other runners out. Usually I see at least a few in this area.

I got to the Loop and had my answer. The whole stupid underpass was blocked with construction. There was no way even a lone pedestrian could get through, because it was clearly a hard-hat area. Great. By this point I really needed a restroom, there was nothing close by, and the quickest route back to the park was blocked.

I think my detour back up to Memorial Drive added an extra quarter mile or more to my scheduled thirteen miles, but I haven’t bothered to do the calculations. It doesn’t much matter, anyway. I finally got back inside the Loop, got to the restroom on the picnic loop side of the park, and couldn’t immediately find toilet paper. This had the potential to be a very serious crisis. But then I found some toilet paper, and all was well.

The track meet was in full swing by the time I got back to the bayou, with tents down by the water and various kinds of carrying-on. Once again, most of the action at the trail level was kids warming up and families coming and going, so I and the other recreational runners didn’t get in the way of anything important. But it really is painful to have to weave and dodge late in a run like that. I wish non-runners had some appreciation of that fact. Maybe they’d be a little more considerate about staying off the smoothest part of the trail if they don’t need to be there, and maybe they’d keep a tighter leash on their dogs.

That was about it for today. Dan said he thought I’d be home sooner, since I told him I was doing only thirteen miles. He knows I can do a half marathon sub-2, especially under nice cool conditions like today. So I had to remind him that the 2.5 hours I was out there included warm-up and cool-down walks, detours, getting my own water, and a rather lengthy pit stop. Not to mention that I wasn’t racing the distance.

There’s just no pleasing some people.

Recent Workouts
Today: 13+ mile run (exact distance unknown)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mid-Week Check-In

Not much happening here. Work was a little dull on Monday and Tuesday, but I finally got to meet with one of my bosses Wednesday morning and now I have some clarity on how to move forward on some projects. And since my other boss is out the rest of this week, I think I'll have no distractions from actually working on these projects.

I did a short bayou run on Tuesday, the first time I’d run the bayou trails in awhile. I had been avoiding them because I think the hills and the uneven paths aggravate my hip. But I did 4.5 miles and the hip feels fine. I can’t say the same about my quads, though. It’s scary how quickly we lose certain types of fitness!

I came home from work Wednesday really dragging. It was hot outside, my quads hurt and I really just wanted to eat and take a nap. But I knew if I didn’t do something, I sure wouldn’t want to later. So I forced myself out the door and did a nice 5 mile to Memorial Park and back. The funny thing is that once I was actually running, I felt fine. Not tired at all!

There’s a lesson in that, somewhere.

Recent Workouts
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4.5 mile run (including hills)
Wednesday: 5 mile run

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I found this old picture of Tidbit this weekend. I took this around the time she first came to live with us. Although she was already full grown, note how skinny she is, and how her head seems too big for her body. When I got her from the shelter, she was malnourished and only weighed four pounds. She weighs almost ten, now.

Six Miles And A New Project

I really surprised myself today. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be doing any running, given how my hips and IT bands were stiffening up by the time I finally went to bed. But I set the alarm anyway and figured I’d see how I felt in the morning, and sure enough, I was good to go! Six miles!

When I went to Central Market to pick up some lunch, I got even luckier. My favorite massage therapist was there and I had been needing some work on my neck and shoulders for a long time. He beat up on me for 45 minutes and I feel so much better now! Too bad the little massage kiosk at CM is for chair massage only. I wouldn’t have minded some work on my legs, too. But being able to turn my head is a really nice feeling, and I’m not complaining.

Okay, as for my new project. Sorry, but I get a little shy about these sorts of things, and this project in particular is one that maybe only fellow writers understand. But one of my characters has given me a lot of trouble—so much so that I had to change the ending of my second book. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that it’s part of a trilogy. Now I can’t begin the third book because leaving the protagonist of the second book alive is problematic. So I’ve given my character a diary (also linked via my profile) and I’m hoping she’ll take good notes about what she gets up to, now that she’s exploring the no-man’s land between my second and third books.

Like I said, it’s the sort of thing that probably only another writer would understand. There are quite a lot of fictional character blogs out there, including ones written by novelists on behalf of their own characters. It always seemed a little strange to me, but I can see now how it might be a useful tool. We'll see how it turns out.

If you drop by, there’s a post that explains the blog’s background and purpose in a little more depth. It may be deadly dull, except to me, for all I know, so I’m not looking for a following. But if any of my friends are weird enough to want to play along, I’ve left the comments enabled. Until I get the graphics right, those might change from time to time. And the font style isn’t supported in Firefox. But there may be something I can do about that, once I have a chance to talk to a few people who know about these things.

And that’s about it for happenings around here. My MIL is still in the hospital, learning how to walk again after getting her broken lumbar vertebra fixed. Just thinking about it is enough to make me want to take three extra calcium tablets and go run another six miles!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 6 miles

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Seventeen Miles!

Today’s run was seventeen miles, and it went pretty well. The way I planned my route was not intended to play head games with me, but it did, in a good way. By the time I hit the last five miles, I was in an area that I usually get to early in a run, so even though I’d been out there for two hours already, it felt like I was only getting started. It helped that I have tentatively begun a new creative project and had a lot of ideas spinning around in my head. It sure made the miles go by fast!

It wasn’t a very eventful run, but I saw a lot of running groups out this morning, and I overheard some guys talking about 24-mile runs while I was getting water at Memorial Park. They were training for the Rocky Raccoon trail run, and I was a little envious. I’ve always wanted to try ultras, but since I’ve had such disastrously bad luck just getting my mileage back up to marathon standards without injury, ultras have remained out of the question.

The only problem I had today was tight calves. They had been tight before I started, and by the last two miles, the situation was pretty bad. My endurance sport friends know the drill—as long as you keep moving, it’s bearable, but as soon as you stop, everything locks up and you find yourself staggering around like Frankenstein. I thought I would die before I could get settled in to ice down once I was home, but Tidbit kept me amused by bouncing all around the living room like she was on springs. I don’t know what got into her today!

Once I had iced my legs, I felt a lot better, and I followed up with my usual routine of foam roller, stretching, and leg massage with my own personal blend of massage creams that leave my legs all tingly for awhile. Tonight I’m ready to bounce around the room with Tidbit. If I keep having successful long runs like this, I might just sign up for the San Antonio Marathon. Anyone want to join me? It’s November 12, and I’m not running it as an A race, since I need to stay uninjured for Houston in January. In fact, if I do San Antonio under 5 hours, I’ll be mad at myself. I would be running it just for fun and taking lots of walk breaks.

I got some reassuring news today—my university’s proposal to buy a piece of property on the other side of town fell through. Yay! I know it would’ve been a good deal for a lot of people on an academic level, but they were threatening to send all of us with “non customer-facing jobs” out to the new facility. That would’ve meant instead of a 10 minute commute, having to drive about an hour each way. That was not happening. I had been scrambling to apply for other jobs as it looked more and more like the deal might go through, but now that it’s not, I can relax a little. Moving your job across town when your “town” has the approximate square mileage of Guatemala is just so not cool. If I wanted to get jerked around like that, I’d go work for a corporation, where I’d at least make more money and have employer matching on deposits to my retirement account.

I’ve got a new creative project in the works, as I alluded to at the beginning of this post. I’m still tinkering with it, and trying to decide if I like it, if I want to continue with it, and just what I really want to get out of the exercise, but I’ll post more on that either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Recent Workouts
Monday: 4 mile run
Thursday: Rest
Wednesday: 6 mile run
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 17 mile run

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Long Rabbit

Gardens and Bones

An unexciting rest of the week led into a fairly ordinary weekend, which has been nice.

I made an odd discovery on my Saturday run. At the corner of a busy intersection bordering a ritzy neighborhood, someone planted a garden on the little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. I saw eggplants, peppers, squash and other veggie plants. And on the other side of the sidewalk, abutting the wall to a very posh-looking estate, was a row of banana and grapefruit trees. The grapefruits were mostly green, with a few showing the faintest early tinges of yellow. Of course, the strangest thing about all this was its location. You’d think rich people with ginormous yards could plant their eggplants and bell peppers somewhere other than right next to a busy street. So whose garden was it? The maid’s?

It’s funny, the little things you encounter on a run.

In other news, my MIL is in the hospital this weekend. What seemed like a knee problem two weeks ago is actually a stress injury resulting from back pain due to a burst fracture in one of her vertebrae, the result of osteoporosis. We’re hoping the results of the bone biopsy will indicate they can fix the problem easily, but Dan gets the impression from her doctors that her bones are quite brittle.

So here’s a note to you ladies out there: Eat right, get moving, and keep moving! Your body won’t keep laying down calcium on your bones unless it thinks it’s got a reason to. Give it a reason, and give it the materials to work with.

Thus ends today’s public service announcement.

Recent Workouts
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday: 30 min elliptical
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 14 mile run
Sunday: 6 mile run

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

La Chubbette

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tidbit and Friend

Not-So-Blue Monday

I had a very nice surprise waiting for me when I got to the office this morning—an email from a writing contest I had entered, saying that I had won the First Chapter competition! Yay, me! It’s not a huge contest or anything, no big prize, no fame and fortune, nothing like that. And for all I know, there could’ve been only three other entrants in the First Chapter division, and they all sucked. But it’s still a nice thing to go into your office, all sleepy and grumpy because it’s Monday and you’ve got a lot of work to do, and find out your creative work has won a small award.

After that, it was go, go, go… all day. Spreadsheets. PowerPoint. Reports. Lotsa phone calls. Yuck. But it made the day zip right along, and I went home feeling like I had been very productive. It was such a good start to the week that I followed it up with a short run. And even that went better than expected. It was sunny and humid when I left the office, but by the time I got home, changed, and headed out the door, some clouds had begun moving in and it was cooler out. I only needed to stop for water once.

In sum, it was a pretty darn good day, for a Monday!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: 4 mile run

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday Long Run

Today’s goal was 16 miles. I was a little unsure how that would work out because I’ve been having twinges in my hip again, but I selected a route that would keep me on flat, level surfaces throughout, and gave it a go.

I ran into a problem when I got to Memorial and Loop 610, where the road was closed due to construction. I almost thought I’d have to backtrack, but I managed to find a way through the site, near where the workers’ cars were parked and far from the actual work going on. The only difficulty was that the area was so full of thick, slimy, mud that there was no way I was going back that way.

The next problem I encountered was the place I had planned to get water was no longer there. That’ll teach me to not check that particular part of the route for more than a year! And since I would have to find a new route back to Memorial Park, I didn’t know when or where I would get water. I knew logically that I would find some within a couple miles, but it really messed with my head to not be sure. I felt thirstier than I should’ve at that point on the run and I thought about water way more than was necessary.

And all for nothing. I found a place with a gloriously ice-cold water fountain within a couple miles of my now-demolished first choice stop, and I have a new running route into the bargain. Instead of a boring out-and-back, I can now do a loop.

Uh, yeah. My creativity doesn’t manifest itself in new running routes nearly often enough.

I finished my 16 miles with no hip pain. Tonight it feels like it wants to act up, but I may just be thinking about it too much. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. If it’s bothering me at all, I’ll do a Spinerval instead of my usual Sunday six-miler.

Today’s Workout
16 mile run

Thursday, September 14, 2006

L'ordinateur est arrivé!

Yay! My replacement computer is finally here!

It took all evening of Dan setting it up for me, re-installing patches, docs and software, but I’m back up and running, and I’m very happy!

I’m just hoping now that this new machine will prove as reliable as the one I had for eight years. Or that it will prove even half as reliable. Anything but have to muck around with all those cables again! Where do they come from? Why so many? I seem to have way more cables behind my desk than are actually required for all the things I do. They must be back there breeding new cables, or something, twisting around each other like spaghetti.

Anyone need an extra cable? I’ve got ‘em!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 40 minute elliptical
Thursday: 4.5 mile run

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


A few years ago I applied for a position. Although it wasn't with the division I've worked in these past ten years, it was the type of job that was the next logical step on the career ladder in my profession. I made the final cut and had lots of great interviews, but they ended up bringing in an outsider.

It happens. And truth to tell, his qualifications were better than mine.

But now he's moved on and much to my surprise, the people who interviewed me last time called me and invited me to apply again!

Now, I'm not vain enough to think that they didn't call anyone else or that I wouldn't once again lose out to someone with superior qualifications. In fact, if someone else is the better candidate, I would hope they would get the job. My sense of fair play would be offended, otherwise.

But... how totally cool that they remembered me and asked me to toss my hat in the ring!

It's nice to be thought well of. Lots of warm fuzzies here today!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Rainy Run

I had a pretty good week at work, and was glad that having Monday off meant no late afternoon Monday meeting. I find late afternoon meetings annoying because since no one can end a meeting on time, these things tend to drag out interminably and stick me in the worst sort of traffic by the time I can finally make my escape and head home.

I continue to wade through my list of way overdue personal projects, and I’m happy to report that I’m now down to only two important ones: go see the doc to get my asthma meds renewed, and take the comforter to the laundromat so I can use one of the big front-loading washers. Too bad there's no good way to combine those two errands.

Other than that, I’m about done! Okay, I still need to find out what’s wrong with the a/c on the RX-7, but that project is penciled in for October, so it doesn’t really count.

In other news, I’m still without my new computer, in spite of Dan’s best efforts. Dell is sending me another one, so I hope it will be here Monday. All the more reason I’ll be pissed if our Monday afternoon meeting drags on forever.

Today’s run was supposed to be a relatively “short” long run, with a focus on speed at the end. It didn’t turn out that way because it started raining during the last three miles. Between the mud and reduced visibility, no way was a negative split realistic. But I finished the twelve miles feeling fresh and perky, and that was good. And I refrained from seconds when Dan and I went for Indian buffet, so the whole calorie thing probably worked out okay.

It looks like they’re forecasting more rain for tomorrow morning, so while I didn’t mind getting caught in it today, I think tomorrow could turn out to be an elliptical sort of day. I may be dedicated, but I’m not a glutton for punishment.

Recent Workouts
Last Sunday: 6 mile run
Monday: 90 minute elliptical
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6 mile run
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical
Friday: rest
Today: 12 mile run