Thursday Things

1. Happy birthday to me! :D I’m officially a mere 365 days away from being able to rent a car. Let the countdown begin! Hahaha. Having my birthday fall during peak week of marathon training makes things a bit…challenging, to say the least, when it comes to celebrating. On the one hand, I like to treat peak week as marathon week, especially in terms of nutrition and rest, in order to practice for the marathon. On the other hand…it’s my birthday, darn it, and I’ll do what I want! I don’t have to run today, and there have been rumblings around the office of going to Portillo’s for lunch, since September 18, incidentally, is National Cheeseburger Day along with National Let’s Celebrate Bethany Day. Plus I <3 Portillo’s, mostly for their cake shakes. Which does present a different dilemma: if we do, in fact, go to Portillo’s for my birthday, should I get a cake shake, or just the cake? I’ve never had just the cake, but I don’t expect to get cake in any other capacity for my birthday…and cake shakes always leave me with tummy aches, which are not conducive to happy birthdays in my experience. But they’re so good. Life is hard, you guys.

Other than that, I anticipate a rather low key birthday. I have PT this morning (because really, who would I rather celebrate my birthday with than my BFF, my PT? Haha. Another struggle of peak week: trying to find time to go to PT.) and dinner with a couple of friends from college this evening, plus spending my day at work, of course. I don’t anticipate doing anything this weekend, either, since I’ve got a kinda sorta enormous run coming up on Sunday. Oh well. All the more reason to celebrate with reckless abandon once the marathon is over ;)

2. I found an artifact in my library book!

cta30daypass

Well, “artifact” may be a bit of a stretch, but still. Part of me wants to hang onto it as a piece of CTA history (now that we’ve switched over to Ventra and you don’t see these sorts of passes anymore), but another part of me wants to leave it in the book so the next person to check it out gets the same surprise on page 123. Decisions, decisions.

The book, in case anyone is interested, is When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenwaldt and follows the story of Irma, an immigrant to the United States from Italy in the late 1800s. I used to love historical fiction but haven’t read any in years. Anyway, I enjoyed the book, though it did occasionally feel like Schoenwaldt was trying too hard, but overall I found it to be a good read, if you’re in the market from some historical fiction!

3. On Tuesday, I was chatting with one of my friends from dance. She was telling me about preparing for a piece she had recently danced in, particularly one especially difficult combination, and how she had been seeking advice from other dancers she knew. At one point, she mentioned a Sonya, and when I looked at her quizzically, she was like, “Sonya Tayeh.” At which point I FLIPPED.

MY FRIEND KNOWS SONYA TAYEH. Like is on a FIRST NAME BASIS with Sonya Tayeh. Sonya Tayeh, for those of you who are unaware, is a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, and is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. See below:

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After probably lambasting my friend (“You’ve known me for TWO YEARS and you’re just NOW telling me you know Sonya Tayeh?!?!?!?!?”), I also realized I can now officially refer to Sonya Tayeh as a “friend of a friend,” which just may be the best thing of my LIFE. This also means, according to The Oracle of Bacon (God love the Internet), that I am only four degrees of separation away from Kevin Bacon, which, in turn, means all of you are now only five degrees of separation away from Kevin Bacon. You’re welcome for that insight.

(This whole experience made me wonder if I have, in fact, been fewer degrees of separation away from cast members of SYTYCD than I was aware of. The dance world seems to be a bit small, not entirely unlike the running world, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of my teachers secretly knew SYTYCD choreographers and have been holding out on me all along.)

Have you ever found something interesting inside a library book? I once found notes that had clearly been passed between friends in a library book. That was exciting. I also once wrote nice little notes in college and stuck them in random library books. I hope someone finds them someday!
Do you know anyone famous? Or, alternatively, have cruel friends holding out on their famous connections?

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Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

Monday, September 8: Personal Training + Physical Therapy.
Another Monday, another PT day. Personal training went all right. My shoulder area still hurt, so my trainer had me do some tennis ball rolling and I discovered a couple spots that were SO sore. Ouch ouch ouch. I still managed to do all my exercises, though, mostly because with all this shoulder pain, nothing has ever particularly aggravated it (other than carrying my work bag on my right shoulder, which I stopped doing last Thursday).

Even though I didn’t originally want to, I did end up telling my PT about my shoulder when I went in for physical therapy on Monday. He checked it out (my first non-leg related injury screen! Haha) but didn’t have much to say other than it felt “ropey,” which seems to be a go-to description for my muscles. He gave me a couple stretches to try, which did basically nothing, but A for effort?

Tuesday, September 9: Dance.
My shoulder pain improved by leaps and bounds Tuesday, and I enjoyed my first ache-free day in a week. Or rather, “enjoyed.” Having no more shoulder pain gave me ample opportunity to obsessively worry about anything else that hurt and/or convince myself I’m dying. If I had a penny for every time anxiety beat rationality over the course of this marathon training cycle (or, rather, over the course of 2014 in general), I could afford to register for every Disney race in 2015.

Then I went to dance and ruined everything :( I really thought I’d be fine, given how great I felt all day Tuesday, but probably 15 minutes or so into hip hop my shoulder started to ache. I considered bailing on break entirely but decided to stick around to see what I could do. Not much, as it turns out. After giving it my best effort for 20 minutes or so (and being reminded by one of my friends to, “Stop if it hurts. It’s not worth it,”), I spent the rest of the class hanging out at the barre watching everyone else dance.

Wednesday, September 10: 9 miles in 1:33:58 for a 10:26 pace.
You know those runs where you’re all, “I do NOT want to do this. I do not want to do this even in the slightest.”? Yeah. This run was one of those. I slogged through nine miles and fought a mental battle against what I wanted to do (i.e.: go home) and what I needed to do (i.e.: keep running) for just about all nine of those miles. I was SUPER over it by like mile four, which made for a loooooooong last five miles. I didn’t do a good route-planning job, either, and passed I think four different intersections where I normally turn to go home while I still had several miles to go, which did nothing for the whole I-want-to-quit thing. I did, however, finally make it up to the brand spankin’ new track at Wilson and took a lap on it, which was AMAZING. The track is still so, so soft and so, so pretty. There were a ton of people out there, too, practicing soccer or doing track work or just walking laps, and I thought that was pretty cool.

I also realized on Wednesday just how out-of-control my blister situation has become.

blister

See how it juts out a bit more on my left big toe than my right? Yeah. That’s a blister. Or a blister/callous, really, at this point. I guess it’s a good thing you can’t find Asics Gel-Cumlus 15s anywhere anymore, because even though I’ve liked running in those shoes, they do not play nicely with my feet.

Thursday, September 11: 5 miles in 49:22 for a 9:52 pace.
It was COLD! Oh so COLD! Oh my goodness, you guys, I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts on this run and didn’t overheat at all. THE BEST. I also learned on this run that Google may not be the most reliable way to pre-measure a route. A coworker asked if a store not *too* far from my neighborhood still existed, so I said I’d investigate on my run. Though I knew where the store was, I had never run around that area before, so I tried to use Google Maps’s walking directions to plan my course for the day. I had a perfect five mile loop course per Google, but while running realized I definitely was not going to hit five miles if I followed the course exactly and had to add in a few blocks. Obviously not the end of the world by any means (and it’s nice to have something practical to think about while running!), but good to know for future reference in case I’m ever Garmin-less.

Friday, September 12: Physical Therapy.
Alternatively, “An injury screen I paid for.”

As I mentioned last Thursday, my GP diagnosed my shoulder pain as a brachial plexus injury, further feeding into my suspicion that my doctor is bonkers and I should never go to her again. I emailed my PT, per his request, after my doctor’s appointment to update him and expressed my doubts about the diagnosis, so he said he’d take a closer look at things on Friday. This ended up being the bulk of my appointment on Friday (which was fine, since only my knee had been bothering me lately, and it got me out of doing too many exercises :P ). He did all sorts of things to try to figure out what was going on and came up with pretty much nothing, other than, “Well, you don’t seem to be broken.” (Questionable, though I think he meant in the bone sense, not in the overall, “You’ve been seeing me for one thing or another for literally 14 weeks at this point” sense. Haha.) He told me to take the meds my GP prescribed (more on that in a bit) and if things didn’t get better to make an appointment with my sports doc. Anyone want to place bets now on the likelihood of me not breaking up with my PT post-marathon like I originally intended?

Saturday, September 13: 13.98 miles in 2:23:59 for a 10:18 pace.
Soo…it was cold Saturday morning.

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Real cold. (Relatively speaking, I suppose. Not compared to last winter!)

As I’ve said approximately 234837 times before, I’m for sure a cold weather runner. That being said, I really don’t like 30s or 40s. If it’s any colder or warmer than that, it’s easy to dress in a way that’s comfortable both pre/post-run and during the run, whether that’s bundled up to high heaven or in shorts and short sleeves. When it’s in the 30s or 40s, though, I feel like it’s hard to find that line between what’s warm enough to keep you comfortable when you’re outside not running while cool enough to keep you comfortable while you are running. I ended up going with capris, a short sleeve shirt and arm sleeves, which was great while I was running, but definitely did not do much while I was not running. Brr.

Annnnnyway. We ran fast. Far faster than I wanted to run, really. I assume we managed to be so speedy thanks to the cold, but personally I wasn’t feeling it. My right leg, in particular, definitely was not feeling it by the end of things. Meh. After the run, I went out to brunch with my CARA buddies, which I think is one of my new favorite Saturday activities. I’ve really made much more of an effort to be connected to the group this year, and I think that’s made a HUGE difference in my experience with CARA. I genuinely look forward to the time I get to spend with them, even more so than last year, especially since they “get it,” you know? Some of my other friends have been…less than understanding about the whole time commitment aspect of the marathon, to say the least, this year, so it’s nice to have people in my life who get why I have to be in bed around 8:00 on Friday nights and don’t scoff at my more-than-once-a-week 4:45 a.m. alarms.

So. About this whole shoulder situation. My GP gave me a script for prednisone (a steroid) and baclofen (a muscle relaxer) to clear up my “brachial plexus injury.” Since I am 1000% convinced she misdiagnosed me, given my COMPLETE lack of ANY symptom associated with a brachial plexus injury, the fact that my PT was not able to recreate (or, really, create) any pain associated with a brachial plexus injury when specifically testing me for that, and the fact that I have not recently been in any motor vehicle accidents, football tackles, and it’s been almost 24 years since I was last born, I’m SUPER ambivalent about taking any of these drugs. I mean, to be honest, I’m ambivalent about taking drugs just in general. Ibuprofen and an acne antibiotic are as hard as I ever go. And even though my GP, my PT, my sports doctor, who I called on a Saturday (sorry Doc…) to see if prednisone during peak week was a bad idea, AND the pharmacist all said I’d be fine taking the medicine…I still haven’t taken any of it. I just…I don’t know, team. It doesn’t seem worth introducing a brand new drug into my system–especially a drug that makes you feel like Superman (but only makes you feel like Superman, and does not actually make you Superman), increases your heart rate, makes you retain water, AND suppresses your immune system–at this point in marathon training, ESPECIALLY to treat a condition I really, really don’t think I have. I filled my script, so maybe after the marathon if things continue to not be great (and/or I haven’t gotten a different/accurate diagnosis) I’ll give it a shot, but for now I think I’m going to hold off on the drugs.

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Thursday Things

1. UPDATE: I do not know how to count. When I said last Thursday that my birthday was three weeks away, I really meant two. As in, it is now one week away. September 18. That’s what I was getting at. Now you know. Moving on…

2. Unless you’ve spent the past 48 hours or so hiding under every rock you can find and, for reasons I would never begin to pretend to understand, decided to return to the world via my blog, you probably know Apple announced its brand spankin’ new Apple Watch on Tuesday. (I, somehow, managed to tune into the livestream of the event right as Tim Cook got to the “One More Thing…” bit. I know, I know: my timing is impeccable). I have several thoughts related to the Apple Watch, and, since I imagine 99 percent of my readership comes here for my commentary on technology, you get to hear my thoughts! Lucky you!

Thought #1: My elementary school dreams have come true. I so clearly remember sitting on the school bus in elementary school and imagining a watch on which you could watch TV. I’m not totally sure that you can “watch TV,” as it were, on the Apple Watch, but since I believe all the apps on your iPhone show up on your Apple Watch, if you have Netflix, I’d imagine that app translates to the watch, right? ANYWAY, moral of the story: I envisioned this as a seven year old. Does that entitle me to a free Apple Watch? I think it should.

Thought #2: My six-month-ago dreams have come true. Or maybe more like my three-month-ago dreams. Earlier this year, I got an activity tracker, and when a coworker was asking me about it, I remember saying it was all right, but what I’d much prefer would be one device that could serve all of my fitness needs, so instead of having a Garmin and an activity tracker and a heart rate monitor, I could just have one thing that did it all. Boom. Apple Watch. And if you take those things into consideration, the $349 price point doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable. If you figure an entry level Garmin costs $130, a Fitbit costs $100, and a basic Polar heart rate sensor costs $70, that’s $300 right there. $49 more gets you all that, plus everything else the Apple Watch can do. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to go out an buy an Apple Watch, because I already have everything that can do all of those things, and I’m so poor I don’t even want to go out to dinner for my birthday, so obviously a $349 toy is a bit out of my price range. But taking that into account, I think $349 sounds like a pretty solid deal.

Thought #3: The whole tapping function is WEIRD. I mean, I *guess* it’s not totally skeevy that you can send a message from your Apple Watch to someone else’s Apple Watch to get their attention, even if it does seem unnecessary. But the sharing your heartbeat thing? Man, unless you think you’re having a heart attack, that’s just weird. Why would you EVER want to feel someone else’s heartbeat against your own wrist? That sounds like something gag-inducing lovers who call each other “Snookums” would do, and I personally try to avoid that kind of behavior.

3. So I went to the doctor yesterday re: my shoulder, and…idk. She told me I have a brachial plexus injury. Wikipedia and the Mayo Clinic say that you get these injuries playing football or by being in a car accident, and that symptoms include an “electric shock” feeling down your arm, numbness, and weakness. Incidentally, I have had exactly none of these feelings and have been in exactly none of these situations. Now, I know Wikipedia is not a doctor, butttttt…idk. IDK. Sometimes I feel like my doctor jumps to conclusions/prescriptions at an alarming rate, and it doesn’t do a whole lot for my confidence level :/ Granted, I’m also a hypochondriac and had talked myself into thinking I’d need an x-ray, MRI, and probably had a hidden heart condition and was on the brink of death, because that’s just where my mind goes in these situations. But if anyone in Chicago happens to have a GP that they know/love/trust, I’m all ears.

4. toast2

Success.

Thoughts on the new Apple Watch? Or iPhone 6?
Do you have a good doctor? And if so, can I steal them and make them my own?

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