Some Photos of Me Not Running and then Me Complaining about Running

I don’t know how to use technology and accidentally published this post before I was done writing it. Sorry to my email subscribers that got an incoherent mess of a post. Here’s the incoherent mess I meant for you to read:

Ok, last talk about this vacation because it was a month and a half ago. Time is flying and I’m not sure I like that. Anyway, besides the port stops, we had our usual shenanigans on the ship. We leisured, we ate, we drank, wash, repeat.

We also went to see a comedy show while we were at sea that had a Russian tango opening act which 1) was a super weird combo and 2) we much preferred to the comedy. The actual comedy show was so bad that we left after 10 minutes and at least a dozen others were filing out of the theatre too. We also saw Passengers one night but that’s about all we did that didn’t involve eating and drinking. You get it, it’s a ship. So here’s a photo drop of some of the fun and we can move on.

The day we left – sunny and perfect.

What most of our days at sea looked like – relaxing with drinks while watching the ocean.

What most of our nights looked like and one of the few times that Cheyanne and Ricky decided to be seen with us.

What most of our post-dinner snacks looked like. (Keke could not handle how that pizza was placed on my plate.)

Happiness just before the sadness of the terrible comedy show.

One day I mentioned to Keke that I was bummed we didn’t have any towel animals for the first three days of the cruise. I guess our room attendant was nearby and heard me. I came back to my room later that night to find an adorable towel animal zoo!

We found a sad moose in full costume with his head in his hands which had hubs and I laughing hard, but he spotted us, quickly jumped up, and became happy moose again.

We took advantage of happy moose.

Hubs’s appetizer order of scallops. Two. minuscule. scallops. Why even serve that?

The one dress up night that I participated in before I couldn’t fit in my dress anymore.

The day Keke and I decided to be twinsies and reactions were either hard, cold staring at us like we’re idiots or people laughing and wishing they remembered to bring their camera with them from the room. Pink fluffly leg warmers = apparently crazy in Alaska.

And finally our one sunny day at sea. We sat outside for hours in the sun (at a bar, duh) watching the mountains. It was glorious and chilly!

Running. Ugh.

Over vacation plus the month following, my running stopped completely. I decided to get back into it seeing as how I have a race in 6 months, but my body was not having it. Usually, even with time off, I can run a good 3-4 miles. This time, I couldn’t run more than a quarter mile at a time without my ankles hurting so much that I had to walk. After I walked for about a minute or two, the pain would go away. I blamed this my weight gain, but I’ve gained weight before, ran, and never felt pain in my ankles. I thought maybe I just needed to ease back into it, so I ran short spurts for a few days in a row thinking my mileage would slowly increase. It didn’t. I finally decided to get the sport’s massage I’ve been putting off. I’ve had my calves raked before when I couldn’t run during training for the Chicago Marathon and it helped immensely, but it’s expensive.

I got the massage two weeks ago and it was so painful that when my massage guy was working on my feet, I was actively trying to get away from him. My feet felt bruised for at least a few days after. They felt better but just really worked over from all the knots and tight muscles. After the bruised feeling went away, I tried running again. One ankle definitely felt better but the other was still hurting so I haven’t been running since. I have appointment this Saturday for another massage and I’m not looking forward. I’m hoping the ankle problem is just tightness in my calves and feet and a few sport’s massages will work that out.

In the meantime, I joined a fancy-pantsy spin place in town called Cyclebar. I haven’t been to a spin class in over six years so I’m glad to get back to it. I’m also hoping it will help get some of my endurance back until I can run again.

Has anyone else had problems with ankle pain while running? For me, it’s not in one particular place. It’s just the circumference of my ankle feeling like I just can’t take another step without my ankle giving out.

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Last stop, Victoria, B.C.

We finally made it to the last stop on our cruise, Victoria, British Columbia.

You may notice that thing in the sky that’s been missing our whole trip. I believe the locals call it “the sun.”

We were definitely overdressed as it was 75 degrees F and sunny, but that worked out for me since I forgot to put on sunscreen. My scarf stayed on since I *hate* getting sun on my chest. No future old lady chest for this girl.

First, we walked from the port to this cute little dock area with private boat house residences and boat restaurants. Keke loves Mexican food more than most things. Below you can see her b-lining past all of us to her homeland. Unfortunately, she was unimpressed that she found the one Mexican place ever to not serve margaritas.

The boat houses were super cute but I would hate boatloads (literally) of people walking around and creeping on my house every day.

After creeping on all those boat houses (I’m not beneath doing it to someone else), we stopped for some 10:00 in the morning ice cream. I got the best birthday cake flavor ever (that flavor is usually 50/50 with me) while hubs channeled his inner Canadian with moose tracks.

Or maybe he’s just channeling his inner Lindsey who loves her moose tracks.

They also had a flavor called Tiger Tail that is orange-flavored ice cream with black licorice swirl. Gross. We did not have that but Keke (who is Canadian) insisted it’s delicious. I’ll take her word for it. Those are two of my least favorite flavors and I hope Tiger Tail stays in Canada forever.

Again, we didn’t have anything planned excursion-wise in Victoria and thought we’d just wing it once we got off the ship. Cheyanne and Ricky decided to do their own thing while Ken, Keke, hubs, and I found a whale watching tour at the dock area that we really liked and booked. We had an hour and a half before our tour so we walked from the dock area to downtown to catch the sights before our tour – like the B.C. Parliament building.

Victoria is the capitol of B.C. and is more populated than Toronto. So how about that for some trivia, aye?

We also saw boats in a harbor.

And a mirror on a wall.

Ok, so looking back on my pictures, we didn’t walk around that much. I think we were all done souvenir shopping by that point and just wanted to do something fun. I will say Victoria is really lush and pretty. There are flowers galore everywhere and one of Victoria’s main attractions is a botanical garden. But as Cheyanne said, “we’re seeing all the flowers for free by walking around. We don’t need to pay to see more flowers.”

After a short walk around the harbor and a quick beer stop, we walked back to the dock area to meet up for our excursion. Our excursion was with Eagle Wing tours. I mention their name because I thought they were great and again, we had a great tour guide. Our guide loooooved to talk and I believe he had just gotten a Marine Biology degree, so he knew his stuff and we learned a lot about marine life and Victoria that I absolutely don’t remember.

Ken’s face in the picture above makes me giggle.

The tour supplied us all with pants, coats, hats, glasses, and sunscreen. It was HOT in those jackets when we were on land but it was freakin’ freezing out on the water. Still nice. But freezing. I do love me some cold weather.

First we watched some whales. We saw one do a deep dive and followed another one for awhile that was just swimming. Not a lot of whale action but still nice to see what we did and to be out on the water. Then we made our way over to Race Rocks ecological reserve to see the poor, male sea lions that didn’t get a mate for the season.

That is the life right there. The stinky life, but the life nonetheless. Still, they are literally the losers. The entire reserve is all male because the ladies picked their hunks already and were off procreating somewhere. Maybe a nice hotel room. But these dudes have to wait for their chance again next mating season.

And finally my personal fave, we got to see Ollie the otter.

He’s hard to spot among all that kelp but holy crap if that isn’t the cutest animal in existence, I don’t know what is. He rolled around to get his belly wet and waved his little otter paws. Dawww. I love otters so much. I wanted to take him home with me. I guess Ollie has been hanging out there by himself for several years now. He’s an independent man, that one. I gotta respect that.

After our whale watching tour that turned into a sea lion and Ollie fest, we didn’t have much time left so we had to get back to the ship. Still we had a great time on the water all day. There were some really crowded whale watching boats out on the water and it was nice to be in one that held about 12 people total where everyone respected each other’s space.

So back to the ship we went for our last night where we managed to close down a bar. It was fun but a terrible idea because we had to be up early the next day to get off the ship. Keke requested Kesha for me because that is the only way you can get me to dance, and it was all downhill from there. I did have over 20k steps on my Fitbit so at least there’s that.

I have a few pictures left to share next post so we can get this vacation business over with and move on to me complaining about stuff.

 

 

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Skagway and Dyea

After our day in Juneau, we took it easy that night since we were arriving in Skagway the next morning. We didn’t have anything planned in Skagway and after our Juneau disappointment, I really wanted to find something fun to do. Instead of booking an excursion on the ship, we decided to see what they had to offer off the boat. We found a little excursion hut run by M&M Excursions. That was the same company that ran our cancelled excursion from Juneau. They already had great intial contact with us, notified us of our refunded Juneau excursion immediately, and were overall pleasant, so I felt pretty good going with them.

Our first choice excursion wasn’t available (train ride then bike ride) so we went with our second choice which was just a bike ride through the rainforest and the ghost town of Dyea (pronounced DYE-e). The timing gave us a couple hours to walk around town beforehand, so it worked out perfectly.

We also visited a lot of the local stores.

It took me more time to get that than it ever should have.

If you go on a cruise to Alaska and  Juneau and Skagway are two of your ports, I recommend waiting to buy souvenirs in Skagway. We noticed Juneau was far more expensive and had the same stuff (but less of options). We were annoyed that we bought a few things in Juneau that we found cheaper and better in Skagway.

Before leaving, I had read that Blockbuster Video was still a thing in Alaska and several stores were still thriving. I think it has something to do with spotty internet up there, but I can’t quite remember. Anyway, I was excited to visit a Blockbuster and relive my youth. Unfortunately, we did not see one but we did run across a surviving Radio Shack. The most diverse Radio Shack in the land at that. Not only did they rent videos there (and have new inventory)!

But they also sold mattresses.

(You did not read that incorrectly.)

(I’ll let that sink in for a second.)

If a Radio Shack sells mattresses in Alaska, does it make a sound?

After touristing a bit, we stopped at the Skagway Brewing Company for lunch and a drink.

I can’t remember what anyone had, but we all liked it a lot and it was later recommended to us by a local, so we felt like we made a pretty good decision in picking it.

After lunch, we met at a nearby bicycle shop for our excursion. We had a short van ride up to the excursion area and were briefed on what to do for traffic (slow down and pull to the side) and what to do for horses (slow down and pull to the side) and what to do if we saw a bear (sing loudly together, but what song to sing was not covered in the brief unfortunately). We all picked up our bikes after that and were off. I will tell you, there is nothing like getting on a mountain bike to tell you that you need to stretch your hips. Sweet mercy, who has that leg span?

We followed our guide on some pretty rough terrain. There was a lot of uneven dirt road and gravel so staying on the bike and off my face was a challenge. We stopped in a bunch of areas and our guide told us about the history of Skagway and Dyea, which was really interesting.

Long story short, back in the day Dyea and Skagway were in competition with each other because they were the closest cities to salt water ports and catered to miners and traders. On April 3, 1898, Dyea has a massive snow avalanche that killed over 70 people. This is today’s view of the landslide site and the cemetery where most of the people killed in the avalanche were buried.

The landslide gave Dyea a worldwide negative view that started to keep traders and travelers away which basically led to Dyea’s downfall and let Skagway step in as the new leader instead of sharing the trading limelight, which Skagway did not want to do. This is the last standing building in Dyea – the front facade of an old real estate business.

We continued our bike ride to what was the Dyea waterfront area during the Klondike Gold Rush. This is what it looked like in the late 1800’s.

This is what it looked like while we were there.

Still a beauty.

Finally, we made it back to our starting point – the Chilkoot Trailhead which was one of the routes to the Klondike gold fields.

The bike ride took about two hours and we all loved it and our tour guide. Our guide was super into the history of Alaska and you could not tell that he was telling these stories to people several times a day. I appreciated that. It’s always nice when people seem to enjoy their work. Also something randomly interesting to me is that the locals called the continental U.S. the “lower 48” while Hawaii calls it the “mainland.” #themoreyouknow

After our bike ride, we rode back into town and stopped at the Red Onion Saloon for drinks and a pre-windjamming snack of a giant plate of nachos.

See us in there?

The saloon used to be a brothel and the upstairs has since been turned into a brothel museum. All the servers were dressed the part, which was fun, and they had brothel tours for $10 pp.

Another long story short, back in the day when a miner came into the brothel and wanted to go upstairs with one of the girls, the miner picked the girl he wanted in an interesting way. Behind the bar, there were 10 dolls that resembled and represented the 10 girls working upstairs. The guy would choose the girl by picking the doll behind the bar. The guy would pay his money, go upstairs, and then the bartender would lay the doll on its back to show that the girl was busy. Once the guy came back downstairs, the doll was put back upright to let everyone know that girl was available again.

The museum was pretty neat and filled with a lot of original antiques from the gold rush days. Again, our tour guide was awesome and I highly recommend checking it out. The tour was only 20 minutes long and worth the $10.

I tipped our guide at the end and she insisted I put the money in her boobs, so there’s also that to look forward to.

After the Red Onion Saloon, we moseyed back to the ship and enjoyed our general shenanigans.

We also learned you could eat the little flowers from the spruce trees during our bike ride, so we tried that out.

I recommend sticking with the nachos.

And that was the end of Skagway. We loved it there and were sad to leave.

The next stop on the trip was Victoria, BC. But I’ll save that for the next post otherwise this thing will never be published. Until then!

 

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Alaska Things

Last time we left off, we made it to cruise day. We checked out of our hotel and Ubered over to the port to meet up with Ken and Keke so we could get some early “windjammin” in. The buffet on Royal Caribbean ships is called Windjammer, and we have henceforth made it a verb. So our inside joke since our RC cruise to Mexico is that we windjam. We invite each other to windjam if we know we’ll be eating a lot and if our pants don’t fit, we windjammed too hard. But when we are on the ship, the windjamming is strong in all of us.

Ok, got off track there. I’m glad we got to the port early, because even as a Gold member, the lines to check in were crazy. Our friends, Cheyanne and her husband Ricky, were also cruising with us, but they arrived a bit later, just in time for the computers to shut down. It took them two hours to get through the line and the ship left over an hour late because of the back up. Thank goodness we missed that. I would not have been a happy camper. This was the line when we were there and that was already poking at my newly discovered claustrophobia.

While Cheyanne and Ricky were waiting in line, Ken, Keke, hubs, and I were already eating, drinking, exploring the ship, and checking out the port views.

Our cruise was 7 nights and it stopped in Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. The first couple days of the cruise were at sea. I’d love to tell you that I spent my time seeing shows and being active, but we just windjammed and bar-hopped for two days straight. It was pretty gloomy and wet for half of the trip, so we used our imagination and drank champagne while taking in the “scenery.”

I did walk by the gym so that was pretty active of me. I also managed to climb the stairs instead of take the elevator for three days and ended up getting a stair badge I didn’t even know existed on my Fitbit. #fitbunnymom

Our first stop was in Juneau.

Stole the pic above straight from Cheyanne. I swear she was on the trip with us with her mom and her uncle. They all managed to allude my camera most of the trip. I do not understand how this happened as the girl loves a camera on her!

Back to Juneau. Juneau is an extremely small town and it’s Alaska’s capital. It was also the only port where we had an excursion planned. We booked a Mendenhall Glacier Trek which was an hour kayak to an ice cave that you can explore and then afterwards, you’re able to walk on top of the glacier. We were all really excited about this excursion, but…it was cancelled because the water was too choppy. Whomp, whomp. We were all really bummed.

Another tour guide tried to get us to book a helicopter ride and told us his excursion was the only one still running and all the other helicopters had been cancelled. I don’t know how he thought that was an enticing offer as I could barely see the mountains in front of my face from the ground. I was not about to pay to not see them from the sky too.

Instead, we all took a bus over to the Mendenhall Glacier because that’s what we really wanted to see. We hiked about a mile up to it and the weather cooperated for the most part.

Mendenhall Glacier is in the middle and on the right is Nugget Falls. Even in the gloom, it was still beautiful in person. I don’t think the pictures can do it justice. We spent some time getting close to the falls and taking pictures. I’m glad we had the experience, but it wasn’t what we had been looking forward to for 6 months so we were all a little meh about the day.

One thing that was really cool was seeing large chunks of blue ice floating in the water during the cruise and around the glacier.

We spent a couple hours at the glacier and falls and finally made our way back to the bus, just in time for it to start raining again. So we didn’t get lucky with our excursion but at least we did get lucky to not get caught in the rain.

Once we were back in town, we stopped at a tavern to have a drink and some dinner. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was the only tavern in town, they were insanely crowded, and had very entertaining liquor pricing.

Hubs and I split the reindeer sausage (delicious) and the crab cakes (super meh). We walked back to the shuttle to the ship afterwards because it was a little crowded in the restaurant for our taste. We were also pretty annoyed that we had to pay for the shuttle but no one ever took our ticket both ways.

So overall, Juneau is a really small town and there’s not much to do there so we didn’t love it. The whole excursion cancellation really put a damper on the area for us too because we were all *so* looking forward to seeing an ice cave and walking on a glacier, but what can you do? We made the most of our day, got back to the ship, and resumed our nightly activities of excessive drinking and windjamming.

Our next stop was Skagway which was infinitely better. More on that next post. 🙂

 

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Seattle Things

Two weeks ago, I returned from a nice, long, and probably my most deserved vacation. We flew out to Seattle for a couple days, then went on a 7-night Alaskan cruise with friends. Vacationing with friends is the best. Not the best on my liver or pant’s buttons, but it’s still the best.

We flew to Seattle on Wednesday and checked into this super cute boutique hotel called The Maxwell. They are part of Staypineapple hotels and have a pineapple theme (with pineapple cupcakes each night!). The room had wood floors and was super modern, clean, and comfy. I know I took several pictures of the cuteness that was our room, but for some reason they are not on my phone. Which means I must have taken it with my GoPro that was fully charged and ready to go but hadn’t been used in three years, so I think the battery died from lack of use. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I was on the cruise. I guess if you don’t use it, you really do lose it. Anyway, I have only cell phone pictures for the whole trip, and sadly none of the hotel except this one of hubs about five minutes after we entered the room.

Our good friends, Ken and Keke, flew out on the same flight as us but were staying with other friends that lived near our hotel. So they Ubered with us from the airport to the hotel so we could do some exploring before meeting up with their other friends.

We were starving for food and adult beverages after the long flight, so our first stop was a pub next to our hotel called McMenamin’s. McMenamin’s has only OK Yelp reviews but awesome food and service in our opinion. I had fish and chips, hubs had a fish sandwich with some amazing spicy tater tots, and Ken and Keke had a burger. All delicious.  Again, no pictures except for this one I got of the ceiling.

oh hai, dapper, juggling merman.

From there, we started exploring the area a bit. I’ve been to Seattle once before but it was hub’s first time, so we walked over to the Space Needle and got our tourist gold star for the day.

That day ended with a few beers at a local pub and an 8:30pm bed time because we took a nap that turned into a sleep.

The next morning, we walked to breakfast at a place called Citizen.

Man, we loved it there. We went back a second time we liked it so much. The atmosphere was chill, they were playing good music, the food was awesome. Just an all around good vibe. Hubs ordered a turkey, raspberry crepe that sounded terrible to me, but was surprisingly delicious. I ordered it the second time.

I also got a mimosa and a spiked iced coffee because when you can’t decide, you get both.

We walked around after breakfast for awhile and played Pokemon (Oh yeah. Someone out there still plays that game – and it’s me!) and did a little sight-seeing on our own. This was also the day that news broke about Chris Cornell and, as he was from Seattle, it was big news there. The local news stopped us and asked if we wanted to talk on camera about him but I was wearing no makeup and did nothing with my hair so that was not going to happen. But it was still kinda cool to be asked.

We met back up with Ken and Keke at our hotel around noon where we were waiting like special snowflakes in our special chairs. I prepared my face and hair accordingly in case someone wanted to put me on camera again. (They didn’t.)

We walked from the hotel down to Pike Place Market.

By the time we got there, we were starving and ended up eating at some place we just picked so we could all still be friends instead of what might have happened had we continued to go hungry. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was overpriced and mediocre. I didn’t take any pictures, but I ordered a cornbread salad which literally had no lettuce. It had cornbread – with salad toppings. I guess I should have seen that one coming.

After lunch, we were ready to actually see more sights now that we were on friendly terms again. We walked over to the gum wall.

Six months earlier, all the gum was removed for some renovation of the area. So that is fresh-from-the-mouth goodness.

We also walked through the market and quickly found the baby kidnapping area.

And took my favorite picture of the whole trip in front of the fish throwing area.

That was not intentional. Hubs was taking a picture of us on the left while a stranger took the one above. I laughed so hard at that picture when I first saw it, I almost needed to run to the baby kidnapping area.

As the market was closing for the day, we found this awesome little comic shop. Ken, hubs, and I each bought a mystery box. If you’re not familiar, they are little boxes where you can get one of 12 to 15 characters, and each character has a different ratio of being able to get it. We all got exactly the character we wanted, which never happens. Seattle luck, perhaps? All I know is we were three excited, high-fiving nerds. I got the Rick and Morty mystery box and got my little Mr. Meeseeks!

After our sight-seeing, we met up with Ken and Keke’s friend Tom for a few beers at an Irish pub that was just off the main market street.

Then Ken and Keke went back to Tom’s house while hubs and I walked back over to the Space Needle to get some dinner.

I know dinner in the Space Needle is the touristy thing to do, but I did it last time I was in Seattle and quite enjoyed it. So I wanted hubs to check it out too. We both had a great time. An expensive time but a great time – with an amazing view.

By the way, our other friends that were in town could not get a reservation for dinner there. Both times I’ve been to the Space Needle for dinner, I have not had a reservation. I just ask the host for a table. The host pretends they’re crazy busy, calls someone, and magically, they have space. So if you can’t get a reservation or don’t have one, I recommend that approach.

We ordered a bottle of wine with dinner and finished it, which basically meant I was finished for the night. We walked back to the hotel (or so I’m told) and I pretty much passed out. The next day, we boarded the ship. So more travel fun in the next post!

 

 

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Three Months Later

Summary: Lots of words. Not a lot of pictures.

It’s been awhile. Again. I’d like to say I’m back because life has slowed down a bit, and maybe I am. But also, maybe I’m not. Here’s what’s been going on and (spoiler alert), it’s been a lot of steamy dook. But it’s slowly getting better.

I deferred both of my races this year which is probably no surprise given that I posted about not feeling them and then life went downhill in more ways than one. So now, I will be running those halves in January and March next year. I have some time before training needs to start which is good because summer is here and that also makes me not feel running.

The steamy dook I was referring to started toward the end of my semester (Novemberish) last year. Somewhere in there, school started majorly stressing me out. Taking two graduate classes and working full time while still trying to have a social life, do chores, take care of Pants, and not completely ignore my husband is hard. My semesters can go either way. I’ve taken two classes at a time and thought, “This is it? How am I getting credit for this!” or they are like my last two semesters where I have no idea how I will ever get through them without a breakdown.

Around this time, I started losing a good amount weight without trying. If you know me at all, I’m always trying and never losing. So probably not trying that hard.  When the weight started coming off, I thought I was doing something right! But looking back, it was just stress. Which, duh Paula, you posted about being really itchy for over a month, barely sleeping because of it, and finally going to the doctor, just to find out it was stress symptoms. Once my semester ended, things started to get a little better. But then I found out my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer mid-December and things weren’t better anymore.

On December 31, I went on a cruise to Mexico with some great friends which was such a fun getaway but still peppered with thoughts of, “Should I even be here when I’m so worried about my brother?” While writing this, I realized that I didn’t mention the cruise on the blog, which is a shame because we saw some awesome things and had an awesome time, and there was lots to talk about. Plus, I was still stress-skinny, so even though I was miserable on the inside, I looked great! I got the see the Chichen Itza pyramids and live my life dream of going to a swim-up bar.

The Spring semester started and it was probably the worst of them all. I intentionally took only one class with group work (my program is mostly group work) because group work can be stressful. You know how you sometimes have those shitty co-workers that can’t do their job and make your job harder? That’s also the problem with school group work. I had two other people in my group – one who was great and one who wasn’t. The “wasn’t” almost put me over the edge because she could never understand anything, never do her work correctly, and was full of excuses why which generally involved blaming anyone but herself (including me). I have text messages from her that are just unbelievable.

Suffice to say, I have never experienced anything like it before. This was coupled with constant worry about my brother and a project at work that was driving me insane. Imagine a customer that hates everything that your company does and constantly asks for it to be redone in a slightly different way that causes a ton of rework. So for a full year and a half, I made zero forward progress because the client kept going back to square one and therefore, so did everyone else. It was maddening. So I dealt with that at work all day, came home and dealt with my two stressful classes, and then worried all night and day about my brother and how much it sucked to be so far away from him. This led to a stress smorgasbord, if you will, and resulted in me breaking out in full body hives on the day I was supposed to get on a plane to see my brother. Which incidentally, that flight was cancelled, and caused me even more stress because no one knew how much time he had left.

My work let me work remotely from California for a month so I could be near my family, which I’m really grateful for. I was relieved there wasn’t a billion states between my family and I anymore (cue Tom Hanks explaining to his son how far Seattle is from NYC in Sleepless in Seattle), but that was still an extremely stressful situation in itself. I’m not complaining and wouldn’t change it but it is what it is.

Fast forward to today – I’m on a different project at work (FINALLY), my classes ended a couple weeks ago (the most deserved A’s I’ve ever gotten), and  while I’m still struggling with losing one of my favorite people on the planet, there’s a part of me that is at peace because he is. This has of course led to me gaining all that weight back (another, different stress!), and my running taking the fast train to Suck Town.

So that’s what’s been happening and I’m kinda decompressing from all that. I just finished Felicia Day’s book You’re Never Weird on the Internet. It’s SO GOOD and it inspired me to pick back up here because it’s something I enjoy. So hopefully I’ll have more, and possibly non-complainy things to talk about in the next couple weeks.

 

 

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Thank You

Thanks to everyone for all your comments on the blog and on Facebook about my last post. Even though I didn’t respond to each of them personally like I usually do (that would be too emotional for me right now),  please know that I appreciated all of them. It’s heartbreaking to see how many people have gone through the same thing but also gives me a little comfort that I’m not alone.

I’ve been coming across older pictures of my brother(s) lately and they’re making me smile. Like this one:

And this one:

I think my nails are painted red in the above picture? I was saucy then!

Anyway, I wanted to share a recent memory about my brother. Many years ago, he wrote a book. (Because of course he did. He’s awesome and write books. It’s about business so don’t get too excited. I told him it would probably be a good cure for my insomnia.) About a month ago, he was signing a copy of it for me. I’m pretty sure he was covertly trying to get rid of copy because he has a ton them. I also already have a copy, but I really liked the sentiment.

During this time he was tired a lot. He would take naps during the day, but also he could fall asleep in the middle of a conversation for a full minute, wake up, and be right back in the conversation where he left off. Or he could fall asleep while eating, wake up, and lift the fork to his mouth like nothing happened. It was kind of impressive.

So while he’s signing his book for me, he falls asleep for 15 or 30 seconds, wakes up, and keeps writing. Except, he was definitely in a different mind set when he opened his eyes. He finished signing the book, read it, and started laughing. He showed it to me and said, “That’s about right for my life right now. I’m keeping it.”

Extra funny because I was staying at his house, sitting right next to him, and he had no reason to call me.

It’s a little sad and funny all at once, but I’m glad I’ll always be able to look back on this and remember that story.

 

 

 

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Bittersweet

I made a conscious effort to start blogging more often in mid-December and even wrote a couple posts within a week to get back into it. The day after my last post, and the morning of my flight home after visiting my brother in San Diego, he told me that he was just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and that he wouldn’t be around to see next Christmas. Here I am less than 10 weeks later and he’s gone.

So needless to say, it’s been a really rough couple of months for my family and I. I don’t like to get *too* personal on the blog, not because I’m afraid of putting stuff “out there” but because that’s just not my personality. I also don’t want to not write about him because he’s on my mind all the time. So I decided I’d put together some of my thoughts:

I’m heartbroken that your time was cut short.

I’m heartbroken that you were in so much pain.

I’m heartbroken for your three kids that lost an amazing father.

I’m heartbroken for my mother who had to outlive her son.

I’m amazed you were able to become an ordained minister (what?) while you were sick to officiate your best friend’s wedding.

I’m amazed by the outpouring of love and support you had from your friends and family near and far (that even the hospice nurse couldn’t believe).

I’m happy that I was able to spend the past month with you.

I’m happy that you we’re able to keep your sense of humor somehow through the whole thing.

I’m happy I was able to tell you how much I love you.

I’m happy I had the chance to say goodbye.

I’m happy I was with you for your last breath because I know you would have done it for me.

My brother wanted his life celebrated, not mourned, so I will remember you, not as someone who is sick and in pain, but as the fun, funny, intelligent, level-headed, advice-giving, concert-loving guy you were.

I will remember you for all our fun evenings together.

I will remember you for giving me away at my wedding when Dad couldn’t.

I will remember you as the guy with an amazing sense of patience and giving. (Where did that come from? Because I certainly don’t have it.)

I will remember you as the guy that always took care of me when you could.

I will remember you as the guy that took care of everyone else.

I will remember you as the guy who loved his family more than anything.

I will just always remember you.

 

 

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West Coast Leisuring

Hello from San Diego!

I’m out here visiting my mom, brother, and nephews and living the life of leisure. My nephews picked me up from the airport which was a whole new realm of weird since I knew them when they were zero years old. HOW ARE YOU A MILLION FEET TALL AND DRIVING ALREADY?

That’s a picture from last year since I haven’t gotten a group picture yet this time.

My days consist of waking up in the morning, going for a run, eating, napping, and eating. It’s the life I’ve always dreamed of. Speaking of running, my runs have been getting better. I haven’t tried a speed run yet but my breathing on my regular runs has improved as long as I’m not running up a damn hill. Here are a few views from my runs:

That is a season the locals like to call “fall.”

The whole itching thing has also gotten about 80% better and I’m assuming it’s from my school semester ending and the increased amount of nothing I’ve been doing. I don’t think the steroid pack that the doctor prescribed helped anything and the cause was psychosomatic like she said. I tell you, there is nothing more irritating than going to the doctor to find out your problem is in your head.

I go back home to Orlando tomorrow and I’ll be sad to leave. It’s fun getting spoiled by family and having your mom hand you $20 bills because “you look like you need it.” In the meantime, I’m going to finish the second batch of cookies my mom made and soak up the lack of humidity while I can.

 

 

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That Running Thing

As I mentioned before, I’ve been back to running. I took a nice, long, five month break where I would run when I wanted to – usually just a couple miles, one day a week. I’ve been running regularly for a couple months now. Two short runs (3 miles) during the week and a long run (8-10 miles) on the weekend. I haven’t been talking about it because everything has been fine and boring. Until recently, that is.

terrible

A couple weeks back, about a half mile into a 10 mile run, I felt really short of breath and nauseated. I had to stop for a bit to get my bearings but finished the run by walking half of it. I figured the cause could be nutrition. I never eat before a run that’s less than 12 miles, and I was feeling particularly hungry that day. So I brushed it off as a one-time weird thing and maybe I should start eating before my shorter runs. The following week, I tried to do my two week day runs. The speed run turned into a jog/walk and the other I gave up on after a mile. And that’s about how all runs have been going since: my chest feels heavy when I run and I feel like I’m not getting enough oxygen and basically half ass it.

About a week later, I started feeling really itchy. EVERYWHERE. It was mostly happening at night and in the evening and mostly on my stomach, back, and legs, but still pretty much everywhere. I thought it might be allergic to something new so I took an allergy pill for a few days and that didn’t work. I thought I might have dry skin, so I tried lotion after showers and that didn’t work. I would shower and aggressively loofah myself to exfoliate and that didn’t work either. I haven’t changed my detergent or soap and nothing else is different so I couldn’t figure it out. The itching was maddening and it starting keeping me awake at night. Google told me I was dying from kidney and liver failure so I went to a walk-in doctor only to find out that it’s most likely stress/anxiety (which is what my mom said when I told her about it but I really enjoy verifying the health of my kidneys and liver). So I’m wondering if that’s what’s affecting my running too?

The doctor prescribed a steroid pack (for itching) and Benadryl (for sleeping) to see if my symptoms lessen. (They have a bit but ehhh, not enough.) My school semester ends this week and I have a vacation coming up that I’m hoping will help me relax and destress so everything can get back normal.

So here’s my problem: I have two races coming up and the first one is on January 14. That’s a pretty tight schedule for my less than stellar running, so I’m considering skipping it. Or walking it. I dunno, I just know I WANT THAT MEDAL BAD.

jacksonville_cleanimages-1

So pretty.

In an effort to pep my running self up, I bought a new pair of running shoes.

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Those are the Brooks Glycerin 13s. I’ve been running in the 10s for awhile now and I like everything about them except the 10+ ounce weight. I was going to switch to the Ghosts because they’re a couple ounces lighter but I just couldn’t pass up a 50% discount.

So that’s my running update, or lack thereof. Even if my running doesn’t improve by race time, I’ll still have a new pair of shoes to hold me close at night.

 

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