It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

March 31, 2011

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Super Star Bloggers!

First off, I have been a bit needy this week – what kind of goggles do I need, should I user a pacer, etc…so THANK YOU to everyone who took time to provide great feedback and comments.  You guys all ROCK!!  I think I will wait a few weeks to make that call on the pacer.

I'm sending you all a great big bear hug (that's Jim not me)!
And thanks to those of you who take the time to read my blog every day.  I still can’t believe it – I have 72 followers – how did that happen?  I’m just a below average athlete who doesn’t have a whole lot to offer you, but man do you guys have a lot to offer me.  I am truly inspired daily by the AWESOME blog community!

That said, I wanted to give a few shout outs to some of the awesome things you guys are doing:

Jason at Cook, Train, Eat, Race – Jason is competing in his first Half Ironman on Saturday.  Good Luck Jason!  You will be amazing and your blog is one of my favorites.

Hannah at More Than a Marathon  – Hannah is completing her first Ultra Marathon on Saturday.  She is an awesome marathon runner and she will totally ROCK it!

LB at My Reason to Run – LB just finished her very first Triathlon and she did GREAT of course!

Cory at Fast Cory - He just ran his first 50 Mile Race and he did the first 24  by himself!!

Rose at Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri - She just ran her first 50 Mile Ultra Marathon.  She rocks!

Also, if you haven't already - sign up for the Next GREAT Virtual Race.  The Jelly Bean Race is a 5K or 10K hosted by Jess at Run with Jess.

I know I probably didn’t catch everyone, but honestly everyone out there in the blogging community is so great.  You all do amazing things every single day.  Keep up the GREAT work everyone!

Who would you give a shout out to?

March 30, 2011

To Pace or Not to Pace, That is the Question?

My next half marathon is just 4 ½ weeks away.  My longest training run to date has only been 6 miles.  I had really hoped to get in a strong training cycle for this half marathon, but due to my back injury I started training late – probably a little too late.  My longest run going into the Half will be 10 miles – and that will be the weekend prior to the Half.  Not ideal, because other than race week I have no real taper period, but I think that’s ok, since my training cycle has been fairly short.

I’ve mentioned before in my blog that I’m a very slow runner.  I know, I know – “slow” is relative – but no matter how you slice it I’m slow.  I have completed two previous Halfs with times of 2:52 and 2:50 (that’s a 13:07 and12:58 pace).  I only trained for 6 weeks for the first Half and a full 16 weeks for the second Half.  My biggest problem in the second one was that although I trained and trained hard, I didn’t train for hills and it was a very hilly course. My average pace time on shorter runs is between 11:30 and 12:00 – so I was really hoping that if I didn’t have to walk any in this Half, I would be able to set a new PR.  If I just maintained a steady 12 minute mile pace my time would be 2:37. 

So, I was considering using a pacer during this race.  In both of my previous races I just ran – by myself, no friend to run with, no pacer.  However, I just looked at the OKC Race website and they only offer pacers up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.  That would be an 11:26 pace.  Last week I ran 6 miles at exactly an 11:26 pace – but that was only 6 miles.  I’m not sure I could maintain an 11:26 over 13.1 miles at this point.  I really don’t think I will have it in me to run the whole thing.

So, what are your thoughts?  Should I run with a pacer of 2:30?  Would it be good to push myself – or would that be pushing myself too much?  Have you ever used a pacer in a race?  Did you like/not like it?  I could always start with the pacer and if it was too difficult I could leave the pace group.

Help, I need opinions! 

March 28, 2011

Rebuttal Interview – with Jim at 50 after 40

Well, my dear sweet husband  Jim at 50 After 40 interviewed me for his blog, so I thought it was only fair to interview him for mine too.

Disclaimer:  While the bloggers in this interview are real, comments appearing in this work are fictitious.  Any resemblance to comments made by real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Michael:  Jim, you are obviously an awesome runner, why not take that to the next level and get into triathlons? 
Jim at 50after40:  Well, I really only like doing things I’m good at and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be any good at swimming or biking.  Also, I really don’t like being “chicked” and my wife is the best triathlete on the planet.  I know she would kick my butt in a race and I just couldn’t live with that.

Michael:  Your blog slogan is “Be Great Today”.  If you always have that on your mind, you must be the world’s most awesome husband – you know helping your wife out around the house and just trying to be great all the time. 
Jim at 50after40:  Well, I’ve found that if I try to use Be Great Today in my personal life that I use it up to fast.  I have to save it for race day so it really has some mojo.  Plus, if I’m always doing awesome things everyone will expect it all the time and I won’t get a much needed pat on the back.  For instance, if I leave my stuff all over the kitchen table most of the time, and then I clean it up – I get a huge Thank You – do you think I would get a thank you if I kept it cleaned up all the time?  I think not.

Michael:  If you could change one thing about your wife Michael, what would it be?
Jim at 50after40:  Change something?  Why would I do that?  Michael is perfect in every way.  It’s so cool how she always has an opinion on things and knows the exact right way to do things.  I mean she is constantly giving me ideas on self improvement and telling me the best way to do things.  It’s really great!

Michael:  I heard that Michael saved your life once.  Tell us about that.
Jim at 50after40:  Well, we were on a weekend vacation in Branson and BAM - this huge fish came out of nowhere.  I was lucky Michael was there or I probably wouldn’t be here today.  She’s always doing awesome things like that for me.

Jim - being swallowed by large fish

Me saving him

Michael:  Speaking of vacations, tell us what your ideal dream vacation would be like.
Jim at 50after40:  Well if Michael had her way we would go on baseball vacations all the time – or better yet never leave the house.  Personally though, I would love to take Michael on a lavish beach vacation and just sit back, relax, and bask in the sun for at least two weeks – that would be the best.  Michael would tell you that it’s me that doesn’t really like vacations, but that can’t be right – who doesn’t like vacations?

Oh the places we could go.
Michael:  If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing (including your wife), what would it be?
Jim at 50after40:  My baseball collection of course.  Come on, Michael is a big girl – she could save herself and of course Jack (she wouldn’t leave without Jack). 

Thanks for sharing with us today Jim!  You are truly a superstar husband and athlete.  Be Great Today!

March 27, 2011

Got Goggles? Need Suggestions.....

I desperately need a new pair of goggles.  Any suggestions from my triathlete and swimmer friends would be great!  I wear contacts so I need something that fits well and doesn't let water in.  I usually end up with rings around my eyes for at least 4 or 5 hours after swimming - not very attractive - and I'm not sure if it's good for you either.  Are there any goggles that don't do this?  Seriously, any suggestions would be helpful.

My best fish impression

Weekly Recap:  I had a great week of working out.  I think I am finally back.  My back is almost fully recovered.  I have been taking things slow - easing into my workouts again but last week I logged decent numbers.  I have a way to go to get back to a normal training schedule, and I will officially start training for my first Olympic Distance Tri in a few weeks, but I was happy with my workouts this week.

Swim - 1200 Meters (could definitely be better - but I did make it to the pool one day this week)
Bike - 40 Miles (indoor trainer)
Run - 10 Miles (could still be better but I did get in 3 days of running this week)
Other - Hot Yoga - 2 hours

Next week I plan to up my running to 4 days and get in at least two swims.  I also need to start incorporating abs/core and weights into my training again.


The West Coast Veggie Burger - My new favorite thing at Ingredient.  AWESOME!!  I know it has to have like 10,000 calories.  It is a handmade veggie burger with tomato, spicy sprouts, sliced avocado and garlic aioli.  All on a hearty, grainy, wheat bun.  Sooooo good!

March 26, 2011

Cupcakes, an interview, and a GREAT "long" run!

Well I completed my first ever Virtual Half Marathon on Thursday.  Thanks to Jason at Cook Train Eat Race for organizing The Cupcake Marathon (and Half Marathon).  I really thought about entering the marathon (it would be my first every marathon), but I knew that since I had really just started running again after my injury I had better not push myself too hard and I'm glad I didn't - I only logged 19.1 miles over the course of the 2 weeks of the virtual race - oh, I wouldn't have wanted a DNF in my records!

 So, I guess technically I now have a new Half Marathon PR - My over all time was 2:37:07 - even over the course of 5 runs, I still only managed an overall time of 11:59 per mile.  I'll take it though, I'm just happy to be running again!

Today I had a "long" run of 6 miles scheduled.  It was about 30 degrees, wind speed of 15-20 mph, and snow - Wahoo!!  The ideal running conditions.  Anyway, in spite of that I had one my my best runs yet.  I felt strong and virtually pain free.  I ran the first 5 solid; I had to stop and walk a bit in the 6th mile when I was heading straight up hill, into the wind, and the snow was pelting my face.  My overall pace was 11:26 and at mile 5 my overall pace was 11:19.  I was seriously happy with my run today.  Check out mile 4 - SMOKING - at least for me :)

Miles - 6
Time - 1:08:37
Pace - 11:26
Splits:  1 - 11:32; 2 - 11:27; 3 - 11:18; 4 - 11:05; 5 - 11:13; 6 - 12:02

After my run, I came home and stretched and enjoyed a nice recovery smoothie.

Smoothie - YUM!
Apparently I was interviewed without my knowledge by Jim at 50 After 40.  While this interview is totally untrue - it is seriously funny!  I may need to interview Jim soon for my blog :)  If you aren't reading Jim's blog you should check it out.  He's an amazing runner, super funny, and best of all my hubby!

March 25, 2011

Blogging is Hard

Wow, it's been a crazy week.  Work is really picking up, and now that I'm healthy and pretty much injury free I've been dedicating alot  more time to training again. I haven't had time to blog and I think I'm having withdrawal.  Three out of 4 nights this week I didn't get home until 9pm.  I just haven't had any time to blog or read other blogs.  How do you guys make the time to fit in everything?

Quick updates:

* Finished the Cupcake Half Marathon - will post more tomorrow
* Finished week 3 and almost week 4 of my Vegetarian Challenge.  Last week is my final week.
* My back has really been feeling pretty great (I'm at about 85% I would say)
* Last night was the last night of my Winter Cycle class :(  Although tough, I will miss my 2 hours of cycling every Tues and Thurs night
* It's supposed to snow here this aren't we past this yet?  We have been teased with several nice days, and now the weather forecast for the next 7 days is in the 40's again.
* Jack is the world's best dog! 
* I can't wait to catch up on everyone's blogs this weekend.
* Happy Friday everyone!

Jack - Too cool for school.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan - with Roasted Tomatoes

March 21, 2011

Those Legs Look Like Tree Trunks

First, I opened my mail today and what did I get?  My Great Giveaway Win from Rose at Eat Drink and Be Meiri.  If you haven't checked her blog out yet - do - she just ran an Ultra Marathon and she is awesome!!

My box of great stuff!

I won lots of really cool stuff from Rose - 5 really fun pairs of knee high running socks, some more running socks, a cool water bottle, some great workout bands and a Chi Running Book. AWESOME!!

Hello Kitty Socks

Rose sent me a handwritten note that said she couldn't wait to see me in the socks.  Does this count?  You are supposed to wear them on your arms right?

WARNING:  This is about to become a body image post!


When I was in 7th Grade, I lived in Edgewater, FL - just a few short minutes from the beach.  All the kids at school were surfers or wanna be surfers.  I was a wanna be.  Anyway - "jams" were really, really popular.  Jams were just long shorts.  To be super cool you wore your jams with high top converse tennis shoes.  

Me, looking super cool in 7th grade
My Grandmother Myrtle - who really was an awesome, amazing woman, but who also said anything that came to mind said to me one day when I was getting ready for school in my super trendy outfit "Oh my honey, with those long shorts and high top shoes your legs just look like two big tree trunks."  I was devastated.  This was the first time in my life I realized I had big legs.  And I really do.  In 7th grade I was probably a size 4 or 6 in women's and about 110 pounds.  I was relatively small all over, but my legs were big.  As I got older, my legs were always the biggest part of my body.  I felt disproportionate no matter how thin I was.  I still have an issue with the size of my legs, but it's not all in my head - they are big.  I've learned to accept it, but still don't like it.  To put this in perspective, most people my size can wear tall boots.  I can't, unless I buy plus size boots - seriously I'm not lying.  Don't believe me - if you are a female measure your calf - it's probably between 12-14 inches, my in 16.5!

Anyway, I hate to have pictures of my legs taken.  I tried.  I tried to take some pics in the socks, but I'm just going to have to work up to it.  So I provided a sneak peak......maybe one day I'll be brave enough!

So enough of that.  Let's talk more about GREAT Giveaways.  Are you following my husband Jim's blog  - 50 After 40?  He has designed a great sticker that he's giving away.  Check it out.  It's really AWESOME!!

March 20, 2011

Running Against the Wind...and other stuff

What a great weekend.  On Friday night I headed straight from work to Springfield, MO with my sister Tracee to go visit my niece Ashley.  It was Ashley's 20th Birthday.  It's so hard for me to believe Ashley has grown from a sweet baby girl to a beautiful woman.  And if I found it too hard to believe, all I had to do was remember what we were going to do first - look for her wedding dress!!  Yes, Ashley is getting married in November.  We headed over to David's Bridal and she began to try on dresses.  Of course everything looked beautiful on her, but in the end she found "the one" - she will be the most beautiful bride on her wedding day - sorry - can't share any pics yet :)  After finding the dress, we headed over to a Japanese steak house (Ashley's favorite meal) and had our month's worth of sodium.  Ugghhh...I always feel like crap after I have eaten at those places. 

Tracee and I then headed back to our hotel where apparently on the third floor they were either racing the 50 yard dash or herding some elephants until about midnight.  The next morning we hung out a little more, did some shopping and had lunch with Ashley before heading home.  After I got home Jim was in the mood for a movie so we went to see Limitless - was just ok.  I thought it was kind of boring - well except for the part where you get to stare at Bradley Cooper - he's pretty easy on the eyes.

So this morning I got up and prepared for my 5 mile run.  It was a great day - it was sunny mid 60s.  However, there were also 20+ mile per hour winds.  Those winds were awful.  I did a 5 mile out and back loop.  The first 2.5 miles the wind was at my back and I was thinking - wow, this isn't bad at all.  It's so nice and warm and sunny, but then I turned around and the next 2.5 miles I was running directly against the wind.  There was one point when I was running up a large hill against the wind and I looked at my Garmin, my pace was 15:20 - really??  At that point I decided to take a walking break.  I ran the first 3 miles of my run - wahoo, but I have to admit, I walked alot of mile 4 (mostly all up hill), and ran mile 5.  Overall I finished in 61 minutes - so I had an average pace of 12 minutes 12 seconds.  It wasn't speedy, but I never am, so I was pleased overall.

When I got back from my run I took Jack for a couple of cool down laps - both mine and Jack's favorite part of running.  Jack enjoyed the winds much more than I did because that meant lots and lots of smells in the air.  It was hot out - at least for Jack.  He was really thirsty when we got home.  Jack only drinks out of the bathroom faucet.  I have no idea how this really happened, but it did.  So now he is totally spoiled.  After a drink Jack was tired and ready for a nap!  I stretched, took a couple of ibuprofen, and iced my back.  I'm hopeful my back won't be too sore later today.  Fingers crossed.

Jack - Happy Dog on a walk!

All Smiles - but squinting a little bit in the sun

Getting a much needed drink from the faucet

Jack sticking his tongue out at me!

Resting after his walk

March 16, 2011

I Would Like to Thank the Academy

I feel like I have won an Oscar or something.

The overwhelming positive response to my last blog was just amazing and all I did was sign up for a marathon......I can only imagine the responses I will get as I train, and then finish said marathon.

Seriously - thanks to all of you!  You made me feel great about my decision and if I had any self doubt, you have made me feel like I can do this!

It was 68 degrees when I got home from work today.  Man, I love the warm weather.  I went out for a 2 mile run - an actual run, no walking for me.  I know it's only 2 miles, no major accomplishment, but after the problems with my back for the last month it feels like an accomplishment.  I finished in 23:02 - so an 11:31 pace.  Definitely not speedy, but honestly, not bad for me.  Have I mentioned before I am an extremely slow runner??  Possibly the slowest runner on earth.  The plan is for a 5 miler on Saturday - I think that run will be pivotal in deciding if I can do my half marathon on May 1.  I am very hopeful it will go well.

Just for Fun!
Jack - I love this dog!

March 15, 2011

Well Now I've Gone and Done IT............

signed up for a MARATHON that is!!  Holy Smokes - I did it.  I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon next January.  I am excited, nervous, anxious - you name it - I am it!  I know I have a long, long road ahead of me to train for 26.2 but I'm ready for the challenge.

Other exciting news for today I won a Blogger Giveaway too.  Thanks to Rose at Eat, Drink, and be Meiri for the AWESOME give away!! 

Lastly, my back is continuing to improve.  So far this week I have gotten in 2 miles (on the treadmill), 1000 Meters of swimming, and 2 hours of cycling!!!  Another 2 mile run in the morning.  Wahoo.....I feel like me again!

What a GREAT Tuesday! 

March 14, 2011

March Madness - Week 2 Recap

Before I recap my vegetarian challenge I wanted to talk a little bit about basketball - just for Chris K at The Manly Runner.  Chris shared his disappointment with me last week when I apparently hooked him in with the title, but then didn't even mention basketball.  Sorry Chris, so here goes. 

When filling out your NCAA tournament brackets this week - be sure to pick Morehead State University to go all the way!  Morehead State is my alma matter, and relatively unknown college in Morehead, KY.  But they are on fire - winning 12 of their last 13 games.  They will be going up against Louisville and Rick Pitino (former UK coach).  It will be a Kentucky vs. Kentucky game.  Plus, one of my very good friends from high school is the Athletic Director there.  Sooooooo.........Go EAGLES!!!

Vegetarian Week 2 Recap

I probably didn't do as well this week.  I still didn't eat any meat, but I ate out a couple of times (eggplant parmesan from Olive Garden - yum), and maybe some Starbucks.  Ok, I can't be perfect all the time.  I might have enjoyed a Cadbury Egg on Sunday as those things are AWESOME!!  Anyway, I had a little more sugar and a few non-whole foods this week, but still did fairly well overall. 

I'm still feeling good, but there were a couple of days this week I felt a little weak.  I'm not sure that I'm getting the proper daily nutrition.  I know that you certainly can get the proper nutrition as a vegetarian, I'm just not sure I know exactly how to do that the right way yet.  I am still reading the Thrive book, and I also got another book from a friend at work.  I haven't started reading it yet.  Any help from my fellow vegetarian readers would be great.  If I am eating alot of healthy whole fruits and veggies - should I be counting the amount in some way?  My main protein source has been nuts and beans - as well as dairy.  I'm not too interested at this point in trying soy meat substitutes - plus I'm not sure how I feel about them yet.  Anyway - thoughts, ideas???

My favorite dish this week - Tostadas.  Yum.  Corn tortilla, black beans, corn, red peppers, onions, tomatoes,  romaine lettuce, cheese, avocados, salsa and some red wine vinegar and olive oil; a close second were veggie lasagna roll-ups.


Lasagna Roll-ups

Speaking of being a vegetarian - I know there are alot of schools of thought on this - and some people think you can't excel at sports without the protein supplied by meat.  I received this article from Roxanne that I thought I would share with you - 15 Famous Athletes Who Are Vegetarians.

On a totally separate note - this is the view from my back door this morning.  Seriously???  Haven't we had enough snow for one Winter.  I took a vacation day today to get some errands done - yep it's going to be just awesome getting out in the snow and muck again!!!

March 13, 2011

I am a Triathlete and a GREAT Giveaway

So, I went for a swim this morning!!!  Wahoo!!  Only 500 Meters, but that's the most swimming I've done in a month, um truth be told probably two months.  I was surprised by how good it felt to be back in the water.  So within the last 4 days I have gotten in a swim, a bike, and a run!!  I am so excited - I AM A TRIATHLETE.  I was really beginning to wonder.  My back feels really good today after my run yesterday.  Another total plus.  Now I just need to watch myself.  I am finally starting to feel better, and I just need to remember to ease back in to things.  I really just want to get out there and go full force again.....patience Michael.....patience.

After two beautiful Kansas City days on Friday and Saturday, it's cold here again today and the weather is calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight.  It's not alot, but I was totally hoping the cold and snow were over until next winter.  Oh well, it won't last long and after it passes we are supposed to have a week in the 60s.  I have never been more ready for Spring!!

So Tuesday, is super D-Day for me (decision day).  The Walt Disney World Marathon registration opens.  My friend Michelle is signing up and she wants me too also.  It would a first marathon for both of us.  We wouldn't run it together because she runs alot faster than me, but we would at least be there together.  My husband Jim said he would run it with me, but I don't think he really knows how bad that will be - I mean I will probably run around a 6 hour marathon.  That's a long, long time to run.  Michelle and I were having a conversation one day, and we both said if we ever ran a marathon we would want to do Disney because it would kind of distract you from the whole running thing and bam, here we are.  I really want to do it - but that's a big commitment - I've never ran anything longer than the 13.1.  What do you guys think?  Should I sign up?

Now on to the GREAT Giveaway.  Rose at Eat, Drink, and be Meiri hit surpassed 100 followers and to celebrate she is having this AWESOME give away!!  I really didn't want to tell anyone else about it, because I totally want to win, but it's a requirement to win.....conundrum!  Anyway, even if you don't want to enter you should check out her blog.  She's got a fun sense of humor and it's a really great blog - and she posted some fabulous Halloween photos of yours truly and some other fellow bloggers in a recent post.  So go....what are you waiting for....check it out!

All the cool stuff Rose is giving away!

March 12, 2011

They're Always After Me Lucky Charms!

Me & Jim Pre-race
 33rd Annual Westport St. Patrick's Day 4 Mile Run

My husband Jim and I headed out to the Westport St. Patty's Day run this morning.  What am awesome morning.  The race didn't start until 10 am and the temperature was right around 50 degrees and sunny, with winds of only 10 mph.  Soooooo much better than last weekend's run.  It was still cool in the shade before the race, but racing temps were about perfect.

Gotta have a pot of gold
I really took it easy during the race (since last weekend's 5K really messed my back up again). I had decided beforehand to walk the hills and run the flats - there weren't many flats.  It's a pretty hilly course.  I didn't even wear my Garmin, but Jim did and I think he said at the end our overall time was a 12:55 pace.  Wow....getting faster every minute.  That's ok though, I'll take it since I did walk quite a bit.  I am happy to report that I think my back is in good shape.  It was a little tight, but nothing like it felt last week after my run.

Me & Jack
 It's a really fun race.  It's in an older part of our downtown area and people really go all out.  There are tons of people in costume and of course they even have costume contests.  I of course had to get in the spirit - Jim at least wore green.  I even got Jack to "represent".  Check out that cool 4 leaf clover necklace.

Hopefully, hot yoga with my friend Cindy tomorrow and a swim too.  I got in a two hour bike on Thursday, and my back actually felt better when I was done.  I am so hopeful, that I am FINALLY starting to heal and can get back to my regular workout routine this week.  I see a small.....very small glimmer of hope that I may be able to do that half marathon in 7 weeks.  But I'm still not sure I can get in enough miles in time.  I am not giving up hope yet!

Me Running

Jim - great running form!

Jim & Me

Race Start

The full look - green is my favorite color

one of the many costumes

March 09, 2011

Backin Up!

Well, my bad back got me to singing this very classic auto tune the news song -  The Backin Up song.  Have you guys seen this before?  This is actually a lady in Kansas City who was interviewed after a robbery.  Her interview got auto tuned and the rest is history.  It's a classic.  Enjoy!

I found out later she was a psychic and they interviewed her on the radio station I listen to.  This lady is a complete trip!  This has absolutely nothing to do with training or racing, but hey it's funny!

March 08, 2011

Cupping...not to be confused with Spooning

When Jim and I first got married - he used to ask if he could "cup" with me. I said do you mean "spoon".  He was like whatever, it's some kitchen utensil right?  He was a little confused - but more on cupping in a minute.

Now, an update on my back.  My run Saturday kind of got my back all out of whack again :(   I saw my chiropractor yesterday and he was like "wow, your back is really bad, wow I didn't expect your SI Joint to be so locked up" - is this supposed to make me feel better?  Anyway, I'm continuing to keep doing what I can.  I know it's something I'm going to have to deal with over the next few months.  So frustrating.  I am signed up for a 4 mile run this weekend.  Hopefully it will go well.  But I may have to scale back to biking and swimming only - we shall see.  I know getting back in the pool will help strengthen my back muscles ....however, I had this very interesting thing done during my massage on Saturday - Cupping - has anyone ever heard of this or had it done?  It's very, very interesting and it leaves large reddish/purple circles all down your back which the therapist said could last for up to 2 weeks.  My husband Jim said, please honey don't go swimming, people will think you are a freak or have something seriously wrong with you.  They have faded quite a bit already, so I'm hoping I can swim on Thursday.

This is exactly what my back looked like
 So what is cupping?  It's an ancient Chinese therapy using glass or plastic cups to create localized pressure by a vacuum.  The vacuum inside the cups causes the blood to form in the area and help the healing in that area.  Another healing aspect of cupping therapy is through the release of toxins in your body.  The suction from the cups can penetrate deep into your tissues causing the tissues to release harmful toxins.  It triggers the lymphatic system, clears the blood vessels, and stretches and activates the skin.  It's a very interesting process.  I thought it was kind of painful, but I guess some people find it relaxing.

See, doesn't that look relaxing?  Ouch!
Anyway, it wasn't a cure all for my back, but it was worth a shot.  How about you guys, have you ever had any weird therapies or treatments for pain?

March 07, 2011

March Madness Week 1 Review

Roasted Red Pepper Soup & Grilled Cheese
I finished my first week of my March Madness Vegetarian Challenge.  I did complete the entire week meat free.  Remember, I am not doing vegan - so I did have milk, cheeses, and other dairy.  I not only ate vegetarian but I really tried to focus on eating whole foods and cutting out artificial sweeteners.  So I completely cut out soda and other processed foods.  My experience was mostly positive - I had a great energy level and I got to try some new dishes.  Another plus was that I dropped a couple of pounds without counting calories or anything else.  The main downside is that it's hard to find anything to eat that is "fast".  I spent alot of time in the kitchen - both cooking and cleaning up.
Veggie Chili and Cornbread

I ordered a couple of books from Amazon - both are vegan books. I didn't find alot out there on Vegetarian eating.  One is Thrive - The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.  I am only a few chapters into this book, but it's pretty interesting so far.  I will do a full review when I finish it.  The other book is a cookbook, The Happy Herbivore.  I tried three different recipes out of the book - adapting them to vegetarian.  I made black bean burgers - they were ok, corn bread - it was a little better than ok, and carrot muffins - these were awesome. 

I'm definitely still learning and I need to focus more this week on making sure I am getting enough nutrients from my meals, but I'm ready for week 2.  My food photo skills are not the best.  But a couple of shots of some of the items I made this week.  Thanks to Jason at Cook Train Eat Race for the Red Pepper Soup recipe and Aimee at I Tri to Be Me for the Veggie Chili recipe.  They were both awesome!

Carrot Muffins