Friday, April 30, 2010

My first acupuncture experience

Today's post is going to be rather choppy, because I'm watching The Mentalist with my super hot boyfriend while I type this.  Note:  I find it fun to refer to him as my "super hot boyfriend" or simply "boyfriend".  It's amusing to say and makes him laugh too.  Oh, and I also like to tell him that I think he's "super delicious".  Does anyone else find that Tmobile commercial to be hilarious?!?!  Check out the YouTube Video:

Rockstar Seven Mile Run!

Thursday morning Caitlin and I met for our 7 mile run.  We split a pack of Powerbar Gel Blasts (raspberry is not as delicious as the strawberry banana).  We both had a lot of energy for the whole run, which made me a believer in those gel blasts.  We finished our 7 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I can't believe we have already made it up to 7!  I am so excited!!!  We are going to force ourselves not to increase our long distance run next week, so that we keep ourselves free from injury.

New Lunch Treats

I was not paying attention the last time I went grocery shopping, and I purchased Dannon greek yogurt.  So far, I like this brands consistency the most.  I think Chobani has better options for flavors, but the Dannon was less chunky. 

What I also tried this week was egg salad made with plain fat free yogurt (I did not use greek yogurt in this case).  I had read about using yogurt instead of mayonnaise, and I thought that was brilliant!  I am not a fan of mayonnaise, but I do like egg salad.  I used one whole egg and two egg whites.  Then I added some dijon mustard, plain yogurt, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Delicious! 

Acupuncture Experience

Yesterday I had my first acupuncture treatment in hopes of curing my tinnitus.  I would like to start by telling you all that I am a major wuss when it comes to pain.  I hate getting shots and will jump around and yell, "Wait, wait, wait, I'm not ready!"  It's pretty pathetic.  For this reason, I was getting more and more nervous as my appointment time approached.  I made myself my favorite green monster smoothie to make me happy.

My appointment was at a school for Eastern Medicine.  When I arrived at my appointment I was excited but nervous.  The student doctor (I apologize; I'm not sure of the exact title) who helped me was really very wonderful.  He asked me lots of different questions, and analyzed my tongue and read my pulses (there are 12 different pulses, if I remember correctly).  I mentioned that I have been having really crazy dreams, the kind where you wake up and think, "WTF?"  He mentioned that balancing my chi with acupuncture will help me sleep better.

The student doctor made me feel at ease and explained everything that he was doing.  He answered all of my questions (I had a lot), explained different aspects of Eastern medicine, and was patient with me when I said, "wait, wait I'm not ready yet!"  I went into the appointment with an open mind, and I made sure to ask questions and try to really understand what was going on.  I won't lie, some of it was a little confusing since I am not used to hearing much about Eastern medicine, but several times it reminded me of things I learned in yoga class. 

The anticipation of pain was the worst part.  I could feel the needle going in, and then after a couple seconds I forgot it was there.  Occasionally there was a little discomfort, but I mentioned it, he gently moved the needle, and I felt fine.  There was only one spot that hurt, but the amusing part is that it did not hurt until after the needle was removed.  I literally said, "that needle in my right foot is stinging" and he said, "I already removed that one."  Weird. 

I had needles placed in each hand in the spot between my index finger and thumb.  There were also some in my foot near the inner ankle area.  These four places are known as the Four Gates (if I remember correctly) and can be thought of as opening the windows and doors in your home to allow wind to travel through.  Only for the body, it allows your chi to flow.  According to Eastern medicine, tinnitus is linked to kidney imbalance, so needles were placed along the meridian that is linked to the kidneys (Forgive me if I am not accurately describing this, but this is what I remember... if there are any experts out there, please feel free to correct me).  There were a couple needles around my feet/ankles, on each leg between my foot and knee and just above the knee, on the top of my head, between my eyebrows where the "third eye" is said to be located, and a few around my right ear (the ear with the ringing). 

As he was inserting the needles, I made a point not to look at them.  First, I was supposed to be breathing deeply and relaxing, and second I was afraid I would freak out.  When he started to remove them, I asked if he would tell me before removing one of the last needles that I could see.  I wanted to look at it, but only right before it came out.  He sat me up and I got to see the needles in my legs.  I asked if I could take a picture for my blog, and he said yes, so I have some pictures to share with you.

Is my tinnitus cured?  Not yet.  I didn't notice much of a change in my ear ringing during while the needles were in, but I did feel warming and sometimes even slightly numbing sensations in the rest of my body.  After the needles were removed, he gave me a neck/head massage that I do think helped a bit.  I was told that since my tinnitus came on suddenly and only approximately a month ago, that hopefully only a few treatments should show an improvement.  I think I may go back next week to try it again, and I hope I can get the same student doctor.
My hand was shaking, which is why it is a little blurry.
Do you see the needles by my feet?

Jessica's Birthday

Right after acupuncture, I had to run home and get changed to go out to dinner.  We were celebrating Chris's sister's 24th birthday.  His sister is also a Jessica Lynn (only I spell my middle name with an "e" at the end: Lynne).  We went to Kobe steakhouse and ate delicious food!  We got a few pictures before we left.
Chris and Jess
Chris and Jes
Jay and Jess

Fabulous Friday

I was pretty tired when I woke up this morning, since I did not get up until late.  Caitlin and I did a 0.6 mile warm up then for the next mile did random intervals.  We would pick a point and sprint to it, then walk to another point, and repeat.  We had planned to jog the last 0.4 miles to make a total of 2 miles, but instead we walked.  We both were tired.  I have not done interval training in quite a while, so I was excited to do them, but also got tired pretty quick.  Next time I think we will alter our approach. 
Tonight Chris and I went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  We refer to it as CPK, but I have to admit that the first time he mentioned CPK I thought, "cabbage patch kid?"  I had a slide of pepperoni pizza and some hummus with greek salad and pita.  The sugar free peach tea is delicious!

Starfish Story and Operation Beautiful

Caitlin@THP mentioned in her blog about the critics of Operation Beautiful say " the act is too small to have any real impact on body image."  While I immediately disagreed, it reminded me of a story that I read years ago.  This story really spoke to me then, and I will never forget it.  I wanted to share it with you all, because I think it has a great message.  According to one of many websites I found while Googling the story, it is paraphrased from "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley, 1907 - 1977.

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."
 I hope this story touches you as much as it did me.  Making a difference in even one life is still making a difference.

I had to get my oil changed on my car this week, and while I was at the dealership I put an Operation Beautiful note in the woman's restroom.  I hope that it made someone's day.

Well my show just ended, and I need to do my ab work-out before going to bed.  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! 

Acupuncture post coming tonight...

Last night I ended up going straight from acupuncture (I survived!) to dinner to celebrate Chris's sister's b-day.  I will post all about it tonight!  Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big plans for tomorrow

Tomorrow morning Caitlin and I have a plan to run 7 miles!  I think we can do it!  Then after work I am going to my first appointment for acupuncture treatment.  I am hoping that it will help my tinnitus.  No, that dreadful high-pitched ringing in my right ear still has not gone away.  I am both nervous and excited about the appointment.  I will be sure to let you know how it goes! 

Today is a rest day from running.  I am getting ready to do my ab work while catching up on Glee.  Then I need to get some sleep, so I will be well rested for my run tomorrow.  Today has been a great rest day!  I hope you all enjoy your rest days too. 

I'm afraid I really don't have anything else to report today. Well I hope everyone has a wonderful evening, and be sure to watch for my blog post tomorrow to hear about my exciting Thursday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Soooo sleepy today!

I have been sleepy all day.  Yes, I probably should not have stayed up to read my fun book before having to wake up at the crack of dawn to run this morning.  But the book was so good!  (I'm working my way through the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.  I am currently on The Body Farm.) 

This morning Caitlin and I ran 4 miles in 45: 31 for an average pace of 11:22 mi/min.  We are taking tomorrow off, since I need to get an oil change in the morning and am tutoring in the evening.  We plan to run Thursday and Friday, and I am hoping to meet up with the running group on Sunday.

Yesterday I did the Whittle My Middle I work-out, and tonight I did the C&K strength training.  I have decided that for a month I am going to start by doing the first on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I will do the latter on Tuesday and Thursday.  Next month I plan to do both every week day, but I figured I'd start out slower so I can build up.  Also I am still working on making it a habit and not forgetting about them.  I seem to remember right before I need to go to bed. 

Nothing much to report other than what I have already said.  I hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Monday, April 26, 2010

An awesome run and a busy weekend!

Friday morning Caitlin and I met to run 5.5 miles.  We tried Powerbar gel blasts in the strawberry banana flavor.  It reminded me of a gusher fruit snack (remember those?), and they were delicious!  We ran at a comfortable pace.  When we neared our finish (conveniently planned to be at Panera Bread for breakfast), we both were feeling great.  We felt so good that we decided to go to 6 miles.  As we were approaching 6 miles, Caitlin mentioned that she could not wait to tell her boyfriend that she almost ran a 10K, so I suggested we go the extra 0.2 miles.  Then she said she wanted to run down to the next stop light.  I loved it!  We ended up running 6.31 miles in 1 hour and 11 minutes for an 11:11 average pace (I forgot my Garmy, so we just used Caitlin's).  The run really was amazing!  I love that she is as excited about running as I am. 

After work on Friday, I drove home to visit my family and celebrate my sister Renee's 26th birthday.  On Saturday my mom, Renee, my niece Joy (Renee's daughter who will be 2 in June), and my brother Robert went to the zoo.  My youngest sister, Clara, had to get ready for prom.  We had a wonderful time at the zoo!  Joy and I fed the giraffes.  I took Chris's D70 with me, and took TONS of pictures (almost 600 by the time the day was over).  I have a lot to learn still, and I used the auto focus, but I still had a lot of fun taking pictures.  Especially of my little niece!

After the zoo, we went out to lunch then home for some ice cream cake and celebrating.  My little brother played the guitar for us.  He is now taller than me!  I am officially the oldest and the shortest out of all of my siblings.  Then I ran off to take pictures of Clara and her fiance, Josh, before they left for her senior prom.  They looked wonderful!!!  My sister is a knock-out! 

I have attached a ton of pictures below.  Also, Caitlin's boyfriend has run several marathons, and he suggested we look up what our marathon will be serving at the water stops and make sure we practice with that.  We found out they will be giving out GU and Activwater.  Activwater is a low calorie sports drink.  They are not easy to find in my local area, but Caitlin found them down south.  She brought me one (strawberry kiwi power flavor) today, and it tastes pretty good. I will have to pick up some more the next time we visit Chris's family. 

Finally, I want to wish Happy Golden Birthday to Caitlin@HTP!  26 on the 26th!  Now I'm off to do my ab work-out then go to bed.  I have a run in the early morning.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Joy and Robert
Joy loves to smell the flowers

Mom has a new friend

Joy and her grandma
Joy and her Aunt Jes
Joy and her Mommy, Renee

My little bro
I Love her hair!
Feeding the giraffes

The penguins are my favorite (and the otters)
Smiling because she is not supposed to be jumping on the couch
My adorable little, bro.
My knock-out little sister
Clara and her fiance, Josh

New post coming soon....

I had a busy, busy weekend out of town and hope to write about it all tonight!  There was also an exciting Friday run to tell you about!  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Great 3 miles this morning!

I'm afraid I don't have much to talk about today.  I need to finish watching Glee (LOVE IT!) then get back to reading journal articles.

This morning Caitlin and I ran three miles.  It was wonderful after we finished, but my legs were tired during the run.

Mile 1:  11:04
Mile 2:  10:57
Mile 3:  10:29

Remember my left-over chicken turned awesome pasta last week?  I made it for dinner tonight, only it also had some left-over sauteed mushrooms and onions added to it.  Delicious!  Left-overs for lunch tomorrow. 

Want to try Yoplait Greek Yogurt?  Check out this give-away at A Healthier, Happier Bear!

Happy Hump Day all!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crazy couple of days, more greek yogurt, and an awesome 3 miler!!!!

Before I forget to tell you all, due to that one spot on my abs that is still sore from the 8K race on Saturday, I have decided to re-start the challenges (whittle my middle and 10 minute strength training) next week.  To be completely honest, not doing the ab challenge made me forget about the push-ups.  I swear, next week it is on!!!

Yesterday I spent all day at jury duty.  Oh and on my way there I was almost in a bad accident.  Some idiot decided to make a left-hand turn from a right-hand lane and nearly hit me.  I don't think I have ever slammed on my breaks so hard in my new car.  After jury duty, I did my grocery shopping, lots of cleaning, and was so tired that I just went to bed early.  This morning I spent the entire morning with one of my local police officers watching surveillance footage in an attempt to find the person who scratched my car.  Unfortunately, nothing came of it. 

I did not get to work until noon, and I was so flustered about the car situation that I forgot my gym bag.  Caitlin and I had planned to run together after work.  I was really bummed.  I really wanted to run, so as soon as I came home I changed into my running gear and headed out the door.  When I started running, my legs felt like they were made of lead.  I had this crazy desire to see if I could run three miles under a 9 minute pace.  Today, it was hard!  I did it though!  I only stopped once somewhere in the first mile, because I had to wait to cross the street.  I do not remember the last time I looked at Garmy so often.  I was really tired at the end, but felt great once I cooled down.  I am really happy that I did it!  The sore spot on my abs did not really become a problem until the last quarter of a mile.  The best news is that my knee felt great!  I spent lots of time stretching, and I'm feeling really good right now. 

Mile 1:  8:56
Mile 2:  8:49
Mile 3:  8:46

Remember when I said I had tried Greek yogurt for the first time?  That brand was Chobani.  I enjoyed the taste, but only after I stirred it for a while.  I was used to eating Dannon Light n Fit which is a lot less dense.  The grocery store was out of the fat free Chobani, so I ended up trying Stonyfield Farm Oikos.  I have to say that I liked the consistency much more!  If anything, I think it is a better transition for me to get used to the thicker yogurt. 

On another good note, my adviser likes my topic idea for my candidacy.  He said he is interested to see where I go with it.  YAY!  Caitlin and I have a run planned in the a.m., so I am off to read a couple journal articles, then some of my fun book, then bed.  I hope you all are having a great week so far!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Additions to blog and ab pain

I am working on improving my blog, and I have added a "My Story" section (see tab above).  It is rather lengthy, but sums up my running and blogging life.  I am really excited about my future plans and marathon training. 

I spent the day relaxing, catching up on my blog reading, writing the added section, and shopping.  It was a pretty good day, although uneventful.  I wanted to run, but I don't think I could today.  Remember that horrible cramp that I got while running the race yesterday?  Well it resulted in a very sore spot on my abs today.  I mean really sore.  This has happened once or twice before... once when I tried to run through a side stitch near the end of a 5K, I ended up with a sore spot for a few days.  Last week I only did the Whittle My Middle ab work-out for 4 days.  I skipped Friday in hopes of not being sore for the race... perhaps it was a bad idea to start right before a race.  I had planned to make-up the ab work-out this weekend, but it didn't happen.  Oh well.  This week is a new week, and I will make up the missing day. 

Right now I am watching the movie "The Invention of Lying", sipping on a glass of wine, and relaxing.  Tomorrow I have jury duty, where I will spend my time sitting around and working on my candidacy.  I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

GR8 to DON8 8K Race!

This morning I picked up Caitlin (my friend and co-worker) and her boyfriend Ryan, and we headed out to the race.  The race is for a really cause.  In the past, I have told both my mom and Chris that I would like to have my organs donated when I die, because I want others to be able to benefit when I am gone (of course my mom's reply to this was, "I will go before you." and Chris's reply was, "You will be very old before you die, and they won't want your old organs."  Hehe.  Yes, I'd rather not think about losing him either.)  The race shirts are AWESOME!  They are adidas performance shirts, and by far the coolest race shirt I have ever received.  I also got a mini jar of jelly in my race bag!  After our packet pick-up, we met up with Caitlin@HTP (that's right, two Caitlin's in one race), who is such a wonderful person!  We took fun pictures (some on this blog post I borrowed from her blog), then the race started.  Unfortunately I started the race with a cramp (lame), but for the most part my knee felt good.  There was only once when my knee was sore, but it passed.  
Caitlin, Ryan, and myself.
Photo taken by Caitlin@HTP
I wanted to run at least a 10 minute pace, but did not want to push my knee too hard.  I have a problem with racing and not fully pushing myself, but I kept reminding myself that I have never run an 8K race before, so no matter what I was going to get a PR.  While I do not normally look at Garmy until the end of my run, I kept looking at it and was trying not to be disappointed by my pace.  I almost reached my 10 minute per mile pace goal; unfortunately, at the very end of the race I had the worst cramp that made me stop.  I was disappointed and embarrassed that I had to stop and just barely missed my goal (final time of 50:19 with a an average pace of 10:04), but I have to admit that racing an easy pace and chatting the entire time with Caitlin@HTP was fun.  I think the easy pace is exactly what I needed for me knee, because it still feels great.  It was also really awesome to get to know Caitlin@HTP outside of Blogland. 
I also have to say that I am super proud of my friend and co-worker Caitlin, who finished with her boyfriend Ryan right after Caitlin@HTP and I finished.  This was Caitlin's first 8K too, but it was also one of her best running times, which is great!  I am so happy for her!

After the race, we said good-bye to Caitlin@HTP, then Caitlin, Ryan, and I drove around before deciding on Einstein Brother's bagels for breakfast.  I had a very delicious fruit parfait!  YUM!  Then I took them back to Caitlin's and went home.  After a shower and a nap, Chris took me out to lunch at one of my favorite bbq restaurants called Wildside BBQ Bar & Grill.  I have a delicious pulled bbq sandwich with sweet pickles and side salad.  If you are in the area and love bbq, I highly recommend you check it out.  There is outside seating available, and they are a dog-friendly restaurant.  It is also close to a wonderful little park that is great for an after meal stroll. 
While at the race,  Caitlin@HTP ran with a hand-held camera and took pictures.  She had this awesome little belt for holding her camera, which is something I have been wanting.  She told me that she got it at a local running store, so I had to head out there after lunch.  I think the belt will be great for running with a camera as well as a cell phone for when Caitlin and I are running in the early hours of the morning or for when we start heading out for trail runs (which I hope to do).  I not only purchased the awesome Spibelt in purple, but I also got a new pink running shirt (that Nike style is my favorite... it fits great and is very comfortable), cool adidas running visor with reflective strips, some sport beans to test out on a longer run, and a fun license plate cover for my car (it says: Runner Girl, I Run Like a Girl).  Needless to say, that store is dangerous, but I had some Easter money to spend. 
Finally, I did not do the ab work-out last night, since I was worried about sore abs during my race (which I had anyway), but I plan to do it tonight.  I am tempting to go for a run, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to not push my knee too much. 

I hope that you all are having an absolutely wonderful weekend! 

Also, thank you so much to people who have been commenting on my blog.  I attempted to find a way to add a reply button to Blogger, but that resulting in my downloading a virus on the other laptop... yeah, I definitely will not be trying that again.  So until Blogger adds a reply feature, or I switch to a different blog site (not very likely right now as I like Blogger for everything else), I will reply to your comments by posting an additional comment or replying via e-mail if necessary.  Please check back.  I apologize for the inconvenience, and I hope to find a way to reply in the future.  I greatly appreciate your comments!!!  THANK YOU!