The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Body Parts

In my quest for 13Sixteens by the end of April (the More Half Marathon in NYC), I have been spending time on weekends walking. So yesterday I mapped out a 5 mile loop through the neighborhood surrounding my gym. I decided I was going to push the pace, and as soon as I got going on the paved roads, I felt it in my shins. Now I know how you get shin splints, but this subsided as I warmed up. Next I noticed my hip flexors. Moving faster is partially dependent upon lengthening my stride, and that’s what got my hip flexors in the action. This also seemed to subside as I got into a steady pace that was working for me. Next I noticed my Big Toe, which is pretty much a chronic problem. That seemed to settle down to background noise. It was just there. Then I started to feel my little toe, and I knew I was getting a blister. But I kept going....... until I got sharp stabbing pains in my little toe, from a freakin blister. I stopped and tried to rearrange my sock, but nothing was helping. The poor little piggy was very sensitive to touch, and as soon as I put weight on it, the sharp pain would return. I didn’t know blisters could do that! I could understand some discomfort, a chronic aching feeling, but being brought down by shooting pains in your little toe-- that’s like telling your teacher the dog ate my homework. I also realized I had forgotten my phone, so if I wanted to call DH to pick me up, I couldn’t (Hi honey can you come and get me, my little toe hurts). I had no choice but to hobble back to my car. Luckily it was only another half mile. The good news is that prior to being brought down by the big bad little toe blister, I was averaging just under 15 minutes/mile. I think I need to find a shoe store with sales people who know what they are talking about and find a pair of shoes that I can wear with my orthotics and get this shoe/orthotic/sock/toe thing figured out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Thursday is my day off, and I had to hang around the house waiting for the kitchen dude (we are going to do some kitchen upgrades), so I decided to do some cooking. I bought a nice piece of wild caught scrod and prepared crunchy fish. The nice thing about crunchy fish is that you can use up vegetables that you have on hand.

Take a piece of firm white fish, like scrod, about 1.5 lb and place it on an oiled baking dish. Season with lemon juice and pepper. Place tomato slices on the fish and then sprinkle with chopped veggies-- onions, peppers, zucchini, snow peas, carrots-- whatever you have.
Combine 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1 tsp dried basil, 2 Tb oil. Spread the crumb mix over the fish. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes.

I only had cherry tomatoes so I sliced them up with some scallions and cilantro, and instead of using raw veggies, I used some leftover grilled veggies. A 1 lb piece of fish was perfect for DH, son #1, and me. It was super delicious.

I also roasted some root vegetables-- sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips. Couldn't be easier-- cut them into chunks, toss with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, move them around the tray after about 20 minutes. I sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar on them when they are all cooked. They were sweet and delicious, gonna have yummy leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

DH and I both love fish but we are trying not to eat farmed fish because of environmental consequences of fish farming as well as the inferior nutritional quality. Wild caught fish is fairly expensive, so we no longer eat fish once a week. Tonight's dinner was a real treat! Although I don't think I want to go all the way back to a vegetarian diet, I'm trying to be more conscious of eating less meat and eating better food. Today's cooking was a good step in that direction.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

326,800 yards

My Masters Swim Team coach sent out a New Year’s greetings email. He attached a document that listed all the parameters of every swim workout we have done over the past year. Most of the workouts are unique. I don’t think there are 156 workouts, but its very close. There is pulling and swimming and kicking, there are drills, there is stroke counting and hypoxia and diving off the blocks, swimming with a giant rubber band around your legs, learning flip turns. There is free, fly, back and breast strokes. Its all there (There are also a couple of parties and breakfasts at the diner). And he calculated all the yardage. The yardage varies from 2300-3700 yards for a 90 minute session. If you made it to every workout three times a week and swam every yard, you would have swam 326,800 yards in 2009. That’s just over 183 miles, or 3.5 miles per week. I didn’t swim nearly that far. I try to swim twice a week, and I usually don’t cover as much yardage as the faster swimmers. Plus I was out of the pool with an inflamed shoulder for 3 months. But here’s the thing-- it’s never been about how many yards you swim. I am by far the slowest swimmer on the “team.” Sometimes I am a nuisance to the other members of the team because they either have to pass me or wait for me. But I have never for even one moment felt unwelcome or ridiculed or unworthy. There have been a few people who have tried swimming with the Team but haven’t lasted very long. They swam about as slow as me (well, nobody swims as slow as me), and I think they were expecting a more nurturing instructional coach, not a grueling 90 minutes of oxygen deprivation. Although I did get more instruction when I first joined the team, the emphasis has always been on becoming more efficient and fit. I have never regretted getting into the pool and doing what I can do. As a result, I have become a better (if not faster) swimmer and my overall fitness has improved. It didn’t take 183 miles. It took realistic expectations, a good coach, some great (and inspiring) teammates, and a willingness to just do my best because I can’t do any better and my best is awesome.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Hmmmm, now what?

Son #1 loves movies. A few days after he came home, the DVD player was pressed into action and we have been borrowing movies from the library. We were watching a very long movie, Once Upon a Time in America. It’s a 4 hour epic that required 2 evenings of viewing. We were 3.5 hours into it when the DVD player died. It just stopped working and it could not be revived. Dead. This was very annoying because we really wanted to see the end of the movie, especially after investing 3.5 hours over 2 evenings. But we had a real problem-- how do we get the DVD out of the very dead DVD player. We had to engage in serious electronics surgery. It required several screw drivers (phillips and regular), scissors, and the willingness to use brute force to break through plastic pieces to gain access to the DVD. But we had to be careful not to damage the DVD. It was actually quite fun! Part adventure, part reverse engineering. We were able to watch the final half hour of the movie. The following day we made a trip to Best Buy. Now we are Blu-Ray enabled. Nice upgrade.