Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PT is scheduled :D

Just got the paperwork in the mail, and I'm all set for 3 sessions of PT, starting on February 15th. Would have been nice if it was a bit sooner, but that's okay. The aleve seems to be doing its job okay. My leg only bothers me a little when I'm running. But, lying down (like right now) it is quite unhappy. But, so long as I can run, I'm okay :)

On a side note, I am amazed by how happy I've been the last week. I didn't quite realize how much running really did help my moods until I started up again. I'm like a new person :) My body is also slowly but surely turning back into itself again. With non running and a boyfriend, it was morphing into something else altogether. I'm 2 lbs down since last week and I swear the pants are a tiny bit less tight. I'll be so happy to have things fit right again! Running just naturally makes me want to eat healthier (and makes me happier so I don't want to eat so much comfort food!)

Lovely lovely running :)

(Planning something between 4 and 6 today between classes around the track! its c-c-c-old today- low to mid 40s- but it should be nice. So long as some freezing rain doesn't start up! I don't want to go to my 2nd class soaked...)

I'll report back later!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mmm...rainy run :)

I woke up this morning just before 8 (without an alarm, thankyouverymuch) and was feeling good enough that the 4 I had planned seemed sure to happen. I hadn't run with music in a while so I decided to laze in bed (reading about fractions for a lesson I'm planning) while the ipod was charging. At about 9:30 I finally forced my way out the door. The clouds looked a bit heavier than when I woke up, and it seemed a bit colder, but I was optimistic.

I drove on over to the track and, just as I parked, noticed a few droplets on the windshield.

hmm...

By the time I was out of the car and my coat was zipped, those drops made some friends and things were getting a little wet.

Running around and around (each lap was 1/2 a mile) was tough, with rain flying almost sideways in the wind. It varied from heavy to lighter, but that darn wind never let up! I'm battling the beginnings of a cold right now, so this probably wasn't the best thing for it, but otherwise things were good, so there was no way that I was stopping!

My legs actually felt surprisingly great today. They were a tiny bit sore, but the good "i've just been running" kind of sore that I haven't had in a while. On the last lap, I finally turned off the ipod, and the cacaphony of raindrops hitting the ground filled the air. Oops...probably should have turned off that ipod earlier. It was beautiful, and I didn't get to enjoy it for that long. The good (?) thing is that since its going to likely be very wet for a while hear, I'll have plenty more opportunities to run in the ran with only the weather to keep me company :)

Driving back home, I got that overwhelming feeling of giddyness and happyiness (anyone who has seen me at the end of a good run will recognize it) and was just so thankful for the day.

I'm now all showered and warm (my body is still feeling tingly in a good way from the run) and reflecting on this week. 20 miles completed in the last 7 days, which is the biggest week for me in ages. And overall, I feel pretty good! Hopefully I can do around that (or even...25?) next week, making the weekend run closer to 8 or 9.

Of course, the challenge here is that my time is going to become increasingly more limited once again as running reclaims its rightful place in my schedule. Not sure yet how that will effect things but hopefully it'll be relatively workable. The good thing is that I have a just over 2 hour chunk of time tuesdays and thursday where I can run during the school day, and wednesdays I'm generally done about 1, so perhaps it won't be too hard to fit in weekday runs after all!

Anyways, for now, I just want to keep up what I've been doing. PT will start up relatively soon (I hope!) and then things should just keep getting better!

Hope everyone is staying safe and dry on this lovely wintery day!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wind

After non stop pouring rain all day yesterday, I awoke today to hear an odd sound.....silence. Well, not quite silence as I could still hear the wind blowing through the trees, but there was no pitter patter of rain, no drips falling from buildings and trees. And there was a curious light coming in through my blinds.

I immediately reached over to my phone and called Ed. "Honey...it's not raining!" "thinking about a run?" we both agreed that we should take advantage of this break and within a half an hour (okay, 45 minutes...I was still sleepy!) we were on our way down to west cliff to do our usual 5.

As we approached the run, the trees in our sight were being whipped around and it became apparent just how windy it was. Hmm...perhaps shorts were the wrong option today? Stepping out of the car, it was cold, and I was glad I had a running partner to make sure I didn't just crawl on home.

What made this run amazing was the state of the ocean next to us. This run is great because you are running pretty close to the edge of the cliff (hence the name "west cliff") and are quite close to the water for most of it. Usually the waves here are pretty subdued since we're still in the bay. However, today the ocean was alive with its forceful waves. The water was a brown slate with white froth a constant. The undulating surface kept rolling more and more powerful walls of water towards the cliff, pounding them into the rocks. Sea foam was literally flying through the air, like a mix between a snowball and bubbles, getting caught in the plants or floating across the road. Perhaps this is the coastal version of snow. A small clump of sea foam danced around my feet as we ran.

Before we knew it, we had reached our normal turn around point. I really wanted to hit 20 miles this week, which meant that I needed 11 this weekend. My leg was feeling okay, so I asked Ed if he wanted to keep going. "Oh! we're already here?" He was doing great too (and, might I add, pushing me at quite a good clip) so we continued on my old normal route, going around Natural Bridges and up across some train tracks. I was intially thinking of just going out for another 5 minutes to add on a mile out and back, but time was going quickly, and so I decided that doing 7 for the day sounded perfect. With just one minute until the 10 minute turn around, Ed started getting hungry and ready to go back, but I guilted him into sucking it up for that last minute. His main concern was that that extra minute had us running a relatively good downhill and he didn't want to go back up. But he stuck it out.

The journey back was tiring (mostly, I think, from the pace) but once we got back to the ocean, the weather was a perfect distractor. Lots of people were out, equally entranced by the ocean. I'm not sure I've even seen water like that before, but it was mesmerizing and beautiful. The ocean spray misted us multiple time as huge sheets of whitewater seems to be propelled straight into the air. I've never enjoyed running in wind before but this was amazing.

About a tenth of a mile from the end, Ed looked to me and asked how much further we had to go. I pointed ahead and explained that we parked, not at the big blue house, but the block after that. "Do you mind if I run back?" he asked. "Go for it". And like that, he was gone. Of course, I like to think that what I was doing was running too, but I let that point slide :) Apparently he was just ready to be done. The speed he put out getting to the car reminded me of how much faster than me he really is, and makes me appreciate even more him running with me. As he sees it, though, he pushes me physically, but I push him mentally, since his mind gets tired of running after about an hour :)

I'm hoping to put out an easy 4 tomorrow to get me my 20 miles a week total. It's not much, but its amazing to be running this much again. I'm definitely trying to be careful with the leg (Icing it as we speak) but running just makes life seem so much better. Ed always thinks I look best after a run, and he explained today that he thought it was because running makes me so happy that after a run I just seem to glow.

Still glowing here on this blustery day :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And the Prognosis is....


Damage from the last storm. The roots of a huge redwood that, had it fallen towards where Ed is standing instead of back, my car would have been no more! This picture relates more to the second half of the post :)

So...I've finally seen a doctor.

Wait.

I did already see a doctor....

I guess the big news is that I saw one within 30 miles of my home, and so am finally going to get physical therapy!!!!

I love my new doctor. She is nice and good, and, when telling me about what I should do, her first words were, "well, running is what you love, so we should keep you doing that"

Yep....fabulous :)

Her best guess (or I guess diagnosis) is that there's a pinched nerve thing going on, that has something to do with my L4 and L5 vertebrae (I know the L4 L5 and the nerve are mixed up in some kind of injury thing....not sure exactly how)

My current treatment plan includes taking an aleve 2 times a day for two weeks and then heating my back and leg before runs and then icing it after. It's her belief that running won't make the leg worse, so I'm taking that as my green light to ease back into things. I'll still take it easy until I see a physical therapist, but I feel like things are looking up. The physical therapist is treating me for "leg pain, back pain (not there so much, but my doctor wanted to give them the leeway to do back things), and a lazy kneecap (hopefully it'll stop popping out of place!).

I've had two wonderful runs in the last three days down on westcliff (I don't know...I'm feeling trail shy lately!). I did 4 miles monday and 5 today! Today's run was lovely with breaking waves and the odd spectacle of a world war two era (?) huge plan doing circles around the bay launching parachuters out of it. It was fun to watch, and I wasn't alone in my spectator role. I'm still not sure what was going on, but it was a nice distraction. Five miles is the furthest I've run in probably over a month, and it was just lovely :)

Monday's run was a little more exciting. Since it was a holiday, Ed and I enjoyed a lazy wonderful day. The weather here has been c-c-c-old! (Jean, please refrain from telling us what "real" cold is...this was cold to us, okay?!? :) ). Ed has a thing against running in the rain, so we went out in the afternoon as the weather was seemig to turn

or so we thought.

As we starting driving down the hill *plitter-platter* rain started coming down. "Honey?" "You'll like it" I told him "promise"

Now, I've always been a big proponant of rain running. However, somehow these rain runs seemed to have been when the temperature outside was in the 60s and the rain was refreshing and just right to keep you from overheating. We began the run in the mid 40s and very wet! It wasn't seeming like quite the greatest idea.

But, we ran. I love running with Ed (that was the activity of our first date after all) and we hadn't done it in a while, so it was still great, if cold. The rain stopped and we warmed up a bit, enjoying the jade green ocean with its white peaks and thunderous roars. As we passed the mile and a half marker (invisible yet present) it became noticably.....wetter.

Soon, rain was coming down in torrents! Ah....that's right. This is what I love! Apparently just a sprinkle doesn't cut it. I need full on soaked to the bone downpour. It felt wonderful. And then..."honey? This is pretty hard....I think it's hailing". No..... I put out my hand, and sure enough ice was landing in it. It started stinging a bit, but it was beautiful and funny and cleansing. We chose that as as good a turn around spot as any, and within five minutes we had left the storm. The sun began breaking through the clouds, playing a light show on the waves and blinding us with the reflection. I kept breaking into smiles and giggles and could only justify myself by explaining, "it's so beautiful!" Ed admitted that running in the rain actually was pretty amazing. Looking up to campus and home, the sky was an ominous black, clouds heavy with the threat of rain. But on the waterfront, the sun was piercing the cold air, drying our clothes and exposing the luminous nature of the world all around.

Indeed, it certainly was beautiful

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another Strange and Unusual CA creature

While this creature isn't located only in California, it is still very unique! My class has been learning about them for weeks now, and we finally took a field trip to go and see them. The males of this species can weigh up to 3 tons and the females, 2 1/2 tons. Their babies weigh 75 lbs at birth and can weigh up to 600 lbs once they've weaned! That's because their mother's milk ends up with 55% fat content by the end of her nursing period. Imagine that! (If you're wondering, I now also know that they can hold their breath for up to an hour if they need to, that males fight for control over a harem, that the males fight for dominancy, and that the large nose is seen as a sign of strength in the males. Aren't you impressed by my 4th grade knowledge?)

So....what are these?

An adolescent male resting on the outskirts of the dunes, away from the crowd


A harem with a few males on the outskirts


mom and pup


A male showing his dominance


video

a male on the move

The day was beautiful and we all had a blast. We did a total of 3 miles of walking, which was nice. I was in charge of half our class and didn't loose anyone, which made me very thankful :)

A beautiful view from the visitor's center

Small hikers on the trails

Sand dunes and ocean

Winter plants

Beautiful beach


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I went for a run :)

(I know, I got tagged, but I'll have to wait until I have a bit more time and a less pressing announcement :) )

So, I went to the gym today with every intention of just doing weights, keeping that self imposed break, and hoping that it was doing something.

that lasted about 15 minutes. I tried weight machines and got bored, fast! Then I got on the stairmaster, which seemed to be the one machine that didn't really bug my leg way back when I was trying to recover from Firetrails the first time. I lasted one minute.

Then I figured that, really, this probably would bother my leg as much as going outside. And it was gorgeous out there! Clear day with ocean views.

So out I went. I alternated with running and walking laps, stopping to stretch about every 1/2 mile or so, taking it easy. All told, I ran 2 1/2 miles and walked 1 1/2. And it was glorious. I felt like myself again. There was also a wonderful scene that I saw on my last lap that made me really smile. Now, since this is UCSC, even though I'm going around the track, I'm not that far from nature. So, as I'm walking along, two small deer come running out on the hill above the track. They came out and crossed the pathway, and then looked around and suddenly realized "hey, there are these people things, everywhere!!!" I could see them look a little nervous, planning some kind of escape route. One, more nervous than the other, saw a break in the flow of people traffic on the pathway and just bounded away, quick as a flash. The other deer was looking the other way, and suddently seemed to realize that his friend was gone. He looked up, and saw a similar gap and "bound!" away he went too. Watching small deer bounding is really amazing :)

My leg didn't really bug me much during the run, though now, lying on my bed, its murmuring to me a little, but only a little. It does seem that lying down exacerbates it. Hmm...

In other good news, I made an appointment with a doctor up here to get my leg checked out so that hopefully I can get the northern california PT train moving. It's next tuesday, so hopefully it won't be long. I'm also going to be better about asking good questions (like, will running make my leg worse?) I'm hoping that things will be moving along again.

How nice to post about running again for once :D

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Classroom Craziness!

Sorry for the dearth of posts as of late (isn't dearth a lovely word? I was taught it Junior year of high school through a short story that has always given me a smile when I use it). Student Teaching and the new quarter have begun, and, wow, is life going to be busy! My new classroom is 4th grade, and very different from first. So far it's going okay, though I really miss my little guys and the constant interaction I had with them. This age is so independent! I'm already getting antsy about teaching, and will get to do my first mini-lesson friday morning. As it's the buzz all around the nation, I thought it would be fun to do a lesson on the presidential primaries :) There's an awesome site for kids, Kids Pick the President, which has candidate information, a calendar displaying all the caucuses and primaries, On how we elect the president, and message boards so that they can chat with like minded kids. While the message boards could be seen as a bit questionable with internet safety and all that, the other sections are wonderful (for adults too, if you need to brush up on some facts). The best history lessons are about the history that is being created right now, so hopefully it'll go well :)

I'm not sure if I've shared this already, but I have officially decided to also get my Single Subject Credential in English as well, which is really exciting, but intimidating. Lots more work to do, but hopefully it will make me a better (and more hireable!) teacher :)

Running isn't happening right now, as I've realized that making sure I'm running at least once a week doesn't seem to be helping my leg. With over a week of rest at this point, it is doing a bit better I think. The full leg soreness isn't nearly as pronounced, so I'm thinking rest (and stretching) is good for now.

I'll try to keep up better with blogs, perhaps catch up this weekend, but this is going to be a busy quarter! Thanks for having patience :)