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