Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shiny New Motivation

PT Chris concluded my Mizunos were doing something funky to push my feet to the outside, and I have to admit she's right. There's even a noticeably stretched-out spot where the outside of my foot is being forced out. I'd thought maybe it was my imagination, because $110 running shoes that three experts at a running store helped get you fit in shouldn't do that, RIGHT?!


Anyway, she's got a strong hunch this is the source of my foot pain. That in retrospect, developed at exactly the same time I bought the Mizunos.

Anyhoo, she ordered me some super comfy squishy inserts and send me on a quest for new, non-Mizuno running shoes.

I scored these today. They're awfully comfy. And props to Asics for offering wide width now. Here's hoping they do the trick...

Asics Gel 1140

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Schrodinger Can Kiss My Ass

As a geek, I always found the whole Schrodinger's Cat thing a properly amusing occasional punch line, and for a time even contemplated buying the t-shirt.

I never imagined I'd wide awake in the wee hours, holding the handle to a bathroom door I was afraid to open because my obsessive nature couldn't stop pondering the sick mind of a freaking Austrian physicist.

Or that I'd feel guilty for being on the wrong side of the door, no matter which side it was.

I certainly never imagined this scenario would play out over and over again at 12:30. And at 1. And 3. And 4 and 4:40 and 5. And 6 and 7.

I imagine he'd be interested to learn that it does appear possible to exist on a horrible, simultaneous gradient of alive yet dead.

I've also never been less pleased to have a hypothesis definitively proven. In this case, the simple solution to remove the qualifier 'might be' from 'might be lymphoma.' And I never thought I'd be disappointed if you told me I never again have to worry about having a 4 am hairball unceremoniously horked on my pillow.

Goddamn am I going to miss that sweet, snuggly, absurdly irritable, slightly brain-damaged three-legged cat.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Heart PT Chris

My plantar fasciitis has gotten pretty bad again lately - enough to hold me back from working out and slow me down if I try.

I was running an errand a few days ago and happened to be driving by PT Chris's clinic, so I popped in to ask her what she thought of those nubbly stick roller things and stretchy sleep socks (she said go ahead, btw, in case anyone is debating them).

We chatted for a few minutes, and even though she had 3 patients there she insisted on taping my foot (which took the pain away for several days) and then we talked about running shoes. She's not convinced I'm in the right ones, and one reason (of many) I take seriously is last time I saw her she and I had just bought the same shoe, which I now know she wasn't satisfied with.

She's got a light schedule this week, so she told me to drop by again with my running shoes so she can evaluate my stride and help me decide on new ones. She's also going to get me another set of orthotics for the new shoes she wants me to buy.

And I'm not entirely sure she's even going to charge me for the visit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Reason Cable Doesn't Suck

I still had an hour of sunlight when WH got home tonight (I do heart the DST). I was also tired, cranky, bloated, crampy... and did I mention tired?

So while WH took over feeding Baby Bear, I plopped down on the couch, started channel surfing and found a random cable channel broadcasting what it called "Classic Triathlon."

Well, you can't pass THAT up, right?

It was Kona from 2006. The one where Blazeman came back to watch. From a wheelchair. While talking about how he won't be there to watch next year.

Suddenly that whole tired cranky crabby thing didn't matter any more. I dragged my chubby ass upstairs, got geared up (first time in two years I've worn my Under Armour thermal with thumbholes!), got the dog and got out the door.

Holy crap had I forgotten how glorious it is to run in the chilly early spring weather. I didn't even mind the ankle deep puddle across the path.

Would you believe I pulled off a 13ish minute mile? It was just that one, flanked with a couple of comfortably walked half miles, but for me - especially now - that's fast.

So, here's to Blazeman. And random cable channel boots in the ass when we need them.

Calorie Nazi Status Report

It's been a month since I re-enlisted with The Calorie Nazi, and except for Aunt Flo and a little predictable water weight, things are moving along pretty well. I lost about 4 pounds this month, which for me is a lot.

I learned a long time ago not to focus on numbers because I'm inevitably disappointed. Because my thyroid problem makes it excruciatingly difficult to lose weight, I learned that if I just focus on weighing less at the end of a year than I did at the beginning, I'll eventually make my goal weight.

But this is going so well - and yes, I'm aware saying this will probably jinx it - that I can't help saying it...

if I stay this (surprisingly reasonable, manageable) course, I am on track to lose my 'dare to dream' goal of 36 more pounds in 2009. I've never lost more than 24 in a single year, and I usually only manage about 12.

Oh, and if I do make it, that will be a total of 82 lost.

I'm just sayin'. Even in the midst of bloaty chocolate craving crabby madness I'm holding my own. First time in a few years I've felt this optimistic.

(In other news... the plantar fascitis came roaring back in the last week, which is ridiculous because I've been down with a cold and haven't done anything to upset it.)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Vacation Report - Day 3 Photos Part 2

Most of the beaches on Eleuthera seem fairly open to the ocean, are often isolated and were always completely deserted. Apparently having an entire beach to yourself holds pretty darn true in general on this particular island, even when the weather is at its finest.

While this is a very cool thing for confident ocean swimmers on days with great weather; you can understand MY reluctance to take a dip on my own in choppy seas with the only hope for help if something went awry was WH driving the rental beater (that broke down on us once) into town and calling the Coast Guard.

Broken Boat Beach is on the Atlantic side, which I found ironic because on the entire trip our 40 minute dip in the Atlantic ended up being the closest we would come to having a Caribbean experience. Basically, there's a long coral reef that reaches around the beach like a protective arm surround a clear, gorgeous, shallow sandy area dotted with small coral reefs. It's further protected by a second, larger reef a hundred yards or so offshore, so even with 30 mph winds and pretty choppy seas, this little spot of heaven was calm enough to swim. (Notice I said "calm enough" and not necessarily "warm enough.")

Road to Broken Boat Beach.

Short path from where to road dead ends to the beach.

View to the North up Broken Boat Beach.

Me, wondering why on earth I am about to take off my cozy warm sweatshirt and jump into the water.

While the beach was relatively calm compared to, ya know, the Atlantic Ocean... the swells still pushed us around quite a bit and in the end we weren't brave enough to swim all the way out to the encircling reef. We explored several of the "small" coral reefs that were closer in to shore (each was at least the size of an SUV, which was fine for us snorkeling newbies). These photos were taken with a cheap disposable underwater camera, so the quality isn't great. We were just happy to have proof of our endeavor.

Ooooh! Coral!

Hey look, another heap o' coral!

The obligatory underwater shot.

Before we left, I ditched the awkward snorkel situation, donned my beloved Vanquishers and did a short swim out as far as I was brave enough to go.

Yay me! Swimmin' in the ocean and not having a panic attack!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Vacation Report - Day 3 Photos Part 1

Saturday morning was overcast and windy with an occasional sprinkle of rain. We'd done almost all the sightseeing we wanted the day before, so I spent the early part of the day bottling tomatoes with the neighbor.

I grew up growing our own tomatoes and watching my mom can them, plus I started canning them myself a few years ago. It was too chilly to do anything else, so figured it would be a nice way to spend a morning.

I was incredibly impressed with the resourcefulness of the island residents. They spend the year collecting beer bottles, and that's what they use to put up tomatoes. The family I spent time with puts up between two and three thousand bottles, which are shipped over to Nassau to be sold in the market. It's apparently a common way to earn money in the winter, which is when tomatoes are in season on Eleuthera.

Bright and early Saturday morning, washing and slicing tomatoes with Flo (Cindy's MIL) and Cindy (neighbor, car rental service, taxi service and caretaker for the house we stayed in).

I was intensely curious about how strict they were regarding sterilization... the question was answered when Cindy gave me a stick to help unclog the funnel.

Cindy's husband Richard grinds while Cindy and I fill bottles.

Filled bottles ready for caps.

Filled drum, ready for the boil.

The start of a two hour burn.

Stacks of previously finished tomatoes, ready for shipment. Our efforts this morning added about 500 more bottles to the pile.

After we finished up with the tomatoes (and WH finished fixing Richard's computer, which he did in exchange for airport taxi service) the sun was peeking out and it was in the low 70s. We didn't want to miss our only change at hitting the beach and this was the best it was going to get, so we headed out.

Ocean Hole was very close to the beach we planned to swim at, so we popped by for a quick look on the way.
Obligatory park sign.

Ocean Hole, looking dark and ominous on this overcast day. I've heard it looks beautiful and blue when the sun is shining, and lots of people will jump right in.

Wonderful Husband is much braver than I am and got closer to the edge than I would. It wasn't just that the water looked dark and creepy, it was low tide and the water level was low enough it would have been very difficult to get out.

We gave Ocean Hole maybe 10 minutes, then we set off for the beach we'd been told about by our friend's husband. Apparently it's common for him to spend up to 8 hours swimming, snorkeling and spear fishing for lobster. It's called Broken Boat Beach, but so few people besides him ever go there his friends just call it K's beach.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Vacation Report - Day 2 Photos Part 4

We'd heard from multiple people that we should try to have dinner at Northside, and we'd heard we should call Rose ahead of time. Here at home that means a place is packed and you should make reservations, right? Not so much on Eleuthera. More than one place was listed as "call ahead" and we discovered it means "to make sure someone is there and it's actually open." And when they refer to a restaurant by the owner's first name it's often because they're IT. If they're not around, it's just not open.

It was 6:00 on a Friday night and Northside was one of the most-recommended places we'd heard of, so we figured we'd be fine and set off.

Directions to Northside Inn:
- Head south to Rock Sound
- Drive through Rock Sound, squinting into the dark hoping to find Fish Street
- Ask the kids walking down the road where Fish Street is
- Notice the street sign for Fish Street several yards down Fish Street (you have to know where it is, then after you find it the sign's all "hey, you found it!")
- Drive east on Fish street until you're convinced you're going to fall into the ocean. Turn left.
- Follow the road until it ends at a rocky, sandy hill with a treacherous looking narrow dirt lane your rented beater can't possibly navigate. Say a prayer and go for it.
- Try not to drive off the cliff into the ocean or hit the dog who runs out to greet you.
- Sit in the pitch dark for a minute (while the dog barks madly outside your car), debating if you're at the right place.
- Ask the guy who pops out of the house if the restaurant is open. Wait while he goes to ask his mom if she feels like opening the restaurant.

Believe it or not, the meal with Rose at Northside was worth every effort. Enjoying her company and cooking again will feature prominently in decisions I make about future vacations.

The restaurant is a big covered deck off the back of her house. That night it was quite cold, with the wind howling fiercely off the Atlantic. It was like having a chorus of angry ghosts serenading our dinner.

Rose's dog Teddy, our charming dining companion.

Rose's cat Joey, the evening's entertainment.

One of the few pictures of me from the trip - I had the camera most of the time.

Rose cooks from her heart. There's no menu and dinner is what is fresh and on hand. This was sincerely one of the most memorable meals of my life, made even better by a lovely conversation with the charming Rose. (whose picture, like a complete moron, I failed to take)

This simple but spectacular dinner consisted of Bahamian rice, cole slaw (made on the spot, and the most crisp delicious version I've ever tasted), sliced tomato (locally grown, in season and stolen from WH's salad), fried grouper, fried conch and fried plantains.

Rose offered to take our picture, and I'm glad I accepted because I realized later it is literally the only picture of us together on Eleuthera. It really is so remote and isolated there are rarely other tourists to take your photo.

We learned were only the 2nd customers Rose had that week (our economy is doing serious damage to theirs). When we left she told us she was glad she opened for us, and that we had been the answer to her prayers. She'd agreed to donate 5 new folding chairs to her church but couldn't afford to pay for them. Our coming to dinner solved her problem.

I'm not a person of faith, but I have to admit it feels good to know something as simple as the decision to forge on through the dark in search of dinner accomplished something more than simply filling our bellies.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Vacation Report - Day 2 Photos Part 3

The trip to Glass Window and back took about 5 hours, and by then I'd managed to come down with a migraine. So, we took a nap and then headed across the street for a sunset walk on Tarpum Bay Beach.

This particular beach is rocky and covered in evidence of ocean life. You can't take two steps without finding yet another conch shell or chunk of coral. It's not a place you can go barefoot, but it's so darn cool you don't really mind.

In the half hour or so we managed to get in before the sun went down, we noticed the tide had come in a decent bit and brought considerably warmer water with it. We were tempted to wade in at that point because it was the most comfortable water we'd seen so far, but heeded the warning about sharks feeding near shore at sunset and headed back home.

Coral washed up by the tide.

A sardine shell.
(All kidding aside, there was an enormous amount of garbage everywhere we went. The other thing we saw everywhere were signs warning of fines and jail time for littering. I found it very disheartening.)

Sand and shell outcropping.

Hurricane blowdown.

Losing the light.

Vacation Report - Day 2 Photos Part 2

Glass Window on Eleuthera is reportedly the narrowest strip of land in the world. It's a teeny little strip of rock connecting the north and south parts of the island, and it's common for the Atlantic to have its way with the bridge spanning it. We learned that it got its name from sailors who saw it from the Atlantic and said looking through it to the Caribbean was was like looking through a window at a pane of glass.

Locals told us the bridge is often shut down because of waves crashing over it, and while some people have figured out how to time getting over the bridge between waves others have been washed over in the attempt. It's currently under construction - again - because it was taken out by a hurricane. Again.

It was a visceral thing for me, literally standing on top of the juncture between two oceans. The day we were there the winds were gusting to about 25 mph, so it was safe to be on the bridge, but the waves were most definitely coming over the actual rocky strip below. We learned that it is technically legal to climb down to the rocks, but it's far from safe even on the best days and that particular day it was out of the question.

The view facing North from the rocks just a few yards past Glass Window Bridge, where you can clearly see the Atlantic to the East and Caribbean to the West.

The Atlantic from the hill just past Glass Window Bridge.

The Caribbean from the hill just past Glass Window Bridge.

View of the Caribbean from Glass Window Bridge.

The Atlantic spilling over the rocks to meet the Caribbean.

This treacherous rocky area is about 100 yards North of the bridge on the Altantic side. Definitely worth a cautious trip across to see the cliffs, but only if weather permits. This is the kind of place people could easily take a wrong step and die, and there is no rescue service or medical care on this island.

Rocky area near Glass Window on Atlantic side.

The view that awaits those brave enough (or dumb enough) to make the trip across the rocks.