Saturday, September 5, 2015

San diego part 2 FOOD, conference food!

Here's the part every person with food restrictions frets about. . . dining out and attending conferences!   Well, I'm here to say San Diego is the PLACE to go if you have food restrictions!   
First night in town was on our own. My roommate and I went to Edgewater Grill. Their GF menu was slightly smaller than the regular menu. It had a LOT of options.  They even gave me half an avocado on the side as I'd asked.  

Interestingly, the waiter said he'd check on the GF dessert, since i have to be soy free as well. I did say I cannot have soy protein or oil, but can have soy lecithin (and the people on the soy allergy Facebook page, it's really amazing how many people can have one part of soy but not another or some can't have any kind of soy at all)..  Anyway, the waiter came out at the end of the meal and said that they "could not legally serve" me the gluten free dessert because they weren't sure if it had soy in it or not.  I thought that was quite an interesting and unique way to phrase the "we're covering our butts" sentence. 

After travel, and trip back from Point Loma:  32,894 steps, 3500 calories burned and the night wasn't over yet!  
Good morning, San Diego.  View to the east from our balcony.  During the day I wouldn't even have noticed the mountains, but they're lit up so nicely with the dawn. 
I actually had clothing set aside to workout on Friday morning, but when I woke up (first at 330 pacific, then at 600), my body said "no thank you" to that and I just got ready for the day. 

Last year at this pancreatic cancer (volunteer) conference I had to request the gluten free meals at each buffet and wait about ten minutes for a plate to be brought up. .. and keep an eye out for that wait staff so I could get the plate from him/her. This year. . .   Oh, THIS year, I was happily surprised.  However, I spoke with a woman with three food restrictions and she said last year was great for her, but she was having problems this year with getting food.
Everything was buffet and it was ALL labeled!  

Day 1: Breakfast 
Okay, I brought the Chia seeds from home. Otherwise, all gluten free. :-) 

I wasn't sure about these guys during our break, so I snagged several packages of popcorn that was safe. . . and snagged a few more for the next day. From last year I knew there was no popcorn offered the second day. 
I did later have these little pastry macaroons and they were very good.---->  but I wasn't sure if the 'Gluten Free Dairy Free" dessert was soy free, so I didn't have it.  
Lunch Day 1:  My own UDIs bread I brought from home (I generally don't have an issue with large holes in my UDIs), Great salad with kalamata olives, asparagus and swordfish. YUM.  I wanted to take two slices of fish, but decided against it. I wish I had. It was fabulous. 
Afternoon snack was dried fruit and cheese cubes on skewers.  They had rice krispie snacks there marked GF and I saw a couple people ---whose tags said they were gluten free--eating them. I asked if they knew for sure what they were. These people asked why. I said, because Rice Krispies officially have malt in them and they stopped making the GF version. OH, they said. One then said she didn't really need to be GF, just eats that way at home, the other stopped eating hers.  I didn't mean to be a debbie downer, but I was curious if they'd verified with someone.  Apparently the answer to that question was 'no'.   

Dinner the first night was basically appetizers around the terrace.  

I stuck with the spicy red snapper fish, shrimp, and tuna sushi.  It was delicious and so fresh!  Reminded me of being in Hawai'i which was appropriate as Friday night was themed luau :-) 

12,450 steps isn't bad for being in a conference most of the day!  

Conference Day 2.  First things first. I awoke at yoga time/central time and said, "No, 3:30am is TOO early to go to the gym when I have a full day ahead of me."  I fell back asleep until 6am Pacific time. (I really don't know how the east coasters do the time change!)  I headed to the gym. I hate that there's not a lot of air movement in these places. I do love the treadmill system they have though. . .I entered that I wanted New Zealand and I ran with the scenery of the southern island. I did the same last year and really enjoyed it.  After fifteen minutes on the treadmill and sweating badly, I decided to do some yoga and some squats with the kettle ball.  There is *always* THAT guy in the gym though, isn't there?   I tried to tuck myself back into an alcove, but there was a guy moving around on the stationary weight equipment and stopping often on each one. There was also the guy doing the "phew, phew. phew" breaths lifting heavy weights.  For some reason I thought the "hmmmmm" comment came from Guy A and not Guy B.  Creepy enough, but I was doing yoga flip dog at the moment and was really creeped out by whoever did that.  Thankfully Guy A left soon after and no more pervy noises were to be heard.  Back in the hotel room I was cursing having brought my hair straightening products when I should have just brought my 'leave it curly' stuff instead.  I did get a good 45 minutes in of exercise which I was happy to have done, considering all day meetings were again ahead.  

Breakfast was more of the same.  Eggs, yogurt, fruit.  I did snag some cream cheese packets for the trip home on Sunday though. I figured they'd come in handy with my bread.   I did ask for some of the gluten free breads, if they had any left, as the plate was empty. The manager not only brought me some, he also brought me the label from the package so I could verify I could have it all. Almond flour, no soy :-) 

The mid-morning snack was dried fruit. No cheese today, regardless of what that sign said!   
Lunch was out on the terrace again (fabulous place, great weather, great views) for lunch.  Everything was again labeled and since it was Marriott, I just had to find the guy in the odd colored shirt to ask him ingredient questions for the soy issue :-)  
Seriously, I love this Marriott and their food signs!  
My lunch:  salad with Kalamata olives and goat cheese, fish and chicken, and the pistachio tart thing that I just ate the cherry filling. 
As I was leaving, they were bringing up more GF treats as they ran out.  
They brought up a plating of three things and one looked foamy. . . it did have soy . . . but they looked SO yummy. They kindly offered to find me something else, but I was actually pretty full after lunch so I declined. Plus, it was humid and hot and they didn't need to run around trying to find me something.   

Saturday's afternoon snack time rolled around. . .we'd been having fun in the meeting, plus we'd had meetings with the same groups yesterday as well, so we started relaxing around each other.  We head out into the break area and find that we can get NAKED. . . Naked juices that is.  Geesh, what were you thinking?!   Some people had never had them before. They did actually have a straight up OJ one, which I'd never seen before, so I grabbed it. Most of the others had blueberry in it. (yuk).  I love blueberries baked in things, I like the smell of blueberry juice. I cannot stand the taste of blueberry juice or fresh ones.   

No one really knew what the Mango Panna Cotta meant besides 'cottage cheese' maybe. but Mangos--see my explanation of blueberries.  The blueberry almond clusters had everyone grabbing more. Apparently they were divine.   

After two days of conference (yes, we actually did meet and just not eat!), we had the awards banquet
Goat cheese and pecan salad pictured with the gluten dessert   

I love places who know how to do gluten free RIGHT.  
You want to know what the only difference was between my dinner and every one else's???  
Everyone else had a sauce poured over it.
Yes, that's it, just a glaze that had gluten in it.
Otherwise, we all had the layered potato, a round of beef with mushrooms, a fish, green beans and the lovely carrot.  
The gluten free dessert.  I ate the raspberry and chocolate sauce. 
After the awards, we had some dancing to do and chatting with old friends and new ones. Finally headed to the room around midnight!  Ach, so late!  Because it'd been more than 24 hours, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of my motoactv steps counter or calories burned. Drat!  

I got up about 6am to go for a run, deciding to spend this time outside along the waterfront. It took me about half an hour to go a mile and a half because I kept stopping to take pictures and look at the beautiful scenery!   There were the naval ships at Coronado Island, the sun rise coming up behind the bridge to said island, and a Dole container ship preparing to unload.  Heading back to the hotel I came up to the San Diego Convention Center home of the Comi-Con :-)  

This is the Freedom Flame presented by Mexico to the citizens of San Diego.  
I thought it was beautiful with the early morning sun reflecting. 

I grabbed a banana and headed off to the airport. My Lyft driver had actually played baseball (back in the 80s) for the local team in my city!  Pretty cool.  Then we kind of connected when he asked why I was in town, I shared it was for a pancreatic cancer conference and he said  his wife is a pediatric oncology nurse.  I think that has to be one of the hardest professions.  He said too that he attends the funerals with his wife.  

At the airport, I met other pancreatic cancer people and then I had the opportunity to get bumped from the flight.  (YEAH!) Free money, AND I got to get home before my plane would have even left the connecting city!   Thank you for different hubs into my regional airport.  The bad news ended up being that we had to fly around the connecting city for a while because of weather, which meant we arrived at the gate five minutes before my flight started board. . .and I had to run from Detroit A70 up to A40 to get to the connecting terminal and run over to the mid C gates!   Glad I wore my workout pants and not the bluejeans! One doesn't see many people running in airports anymore, but I was one of them Sunday!  

I arrived home before my original plane was even suppose to land at the airport--almost 12,000 steps later, and I was surprised it wasn't more.  
The dawn announcing Sunday morning.  
I'll leave you with this gorgeous view, and the ask to pay it forward, whatever "it" is. 
Be kind to another person, pay for a coffee, volunteer at an event or more.  Help make this world a kinder place, a better place, than how we may have found it.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

San Diego (part 1) sightseeing, run, problem

Conferences always bring so much angst to people, let alone those of us with food restrictions! Before heading out though, I made up some meals for The Mike to enjoy while I was gone. Half cup meatballs he could pair with some pasta, a mexican lasagna, and cubed and baked butternut squash. 

Wednesday I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken getting groceries done, meals prepped and baggage *packed*.  Sometimes I'm good at packing and this time I just seemed to want to toss in five outfits for two days of meetings!  Not to mention shoes! How does one decide on just one pair of shoes? 

I had the luggage in the car Wednesday night and got up just before 4am to head to the airport for my 7am flight.  (yeah?).  I got about three miles down the road when I said, "I'm hungry. oh, snap, where's my food bag?"  U-turn back to the house to get the bag from the refrigerator, kiss The Mike good bye (again) and he was awake enough to know I was leaving (he didn't know I'd left before), and I was on the road again.   Flight:  Iowa to Twin Cities to San Diego.  I found other pancreatic cancer volunteers heading to this conference, as well as a researcher who wants me to get in her group. With my Melanoma and mom's pancreatic cancer, there's a chance that the two can be related (which is pretty much Pres Jimmy Carter's family history).  

When I fly, I always try to get the window seat, figuring to leave the aisle seats for those with longer legs, plus I enjoy looking out the window at the scenery.  Square fields in the midwest, round crop circles (from irrigation) in western Ks, Ne and Colorado.  As such, I got to see. . . . THE GRAND CANYON in all its glory. We had  been over it enough to go from the little canyon (below left) to the large canyon (center) when the flight attendant made an announcement and everyone threw open their window shades and leaned out to see. . .even my seat mate who thought 

Canyon of the Grand variety.
East half of Grand Canyon
When I had gotten to San Diego I met up with others at the luggage carousel to carpool to the fabulous hotel. I checked in, arranged for a LYFT ride and headed over to Point Loma to explore the historic lighthouse and run/walk back to the hotel.  [If you don't know what Lyft is, it's like a Uber, it's a car service with some local driving his or her own car to take you to your destination. All billing is done through your smartphone/email. In San Diego, a taxi would have been a $50+ ride to Point Loma, Lyft was under $25--with tip] I always take my glowstick/whistle with an angled end on runs with me, and it came in handy for peace of mind on the lyft ride too. 
The direction from which Cabrillo would have arrived at Point Loma. National Park info
Mountains in far distance = Mexico, island out to the front and left =Coronado
I was surprised at how mountainous the peninsula was. I expected it to be lower to the ocean.
I wondered around Cabrillo National Monument for about an hour. I kept to the paths at the top. If I'd had the car, I'd have taken the liberty to enjoy the paths down to the ocean, but I didn't want to get too tired before I started my return.  I enjoyed my snack of Chobani, talked with some bicycle locals who were doing a photo shoot of new carbon fiber bikes, and then headed back to the hotel. Distance: about 10 miles.  I started out running. . . at least until I got to this:  
Just outside the park was one the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  It's odd to see brown grass, but this area had signs it was undergoing renovation.  Perhaps they're putting in a hardier, drought resistant grass?  Major General Joseph H. Pendleton (namesake of Camp Pendleton) is interred here. I didn't see his resting place, but I found several men from Iowa and spied the resting place of a female WW2 veteran.
So then I start running again and worked my way up the peninsula. One of the gift shop ladies at the national park told me the peninsula is about 3 miles. Wow. It took me an hour an a half to go 3 miles. hahahahahaha.  One has to have  a great attitude when exploring a new city!  
Because of the severe drought, I was quite content to see all the brown space. I thought it interesting signs had to be placed here and there around the city.  There was a meeting on desalination going on at our hotel. Oh, how I would have loved to have been part of that event!  

On my way to Point Loma, I had a small Nalgene bottle of water in my waist pack CamelBak mine is an older design of this one. Knowing I'd want to stuff  things into it, I didn't take the bladder. .. well, that and it had some penicillin growing in it since I rarely use the bladder,  so I had the small Nalgene bottle and then a small Fuji water bottle with me as well.  I refilled the Fuji bottle at the cemetery and continued on my way.  

I enjoyed running back through the quiet neighborhoods and little shops.  I found it interesting that in Iowa we park cars on the sides of the streets as well. . . we just don't really have people parking boats outside their homes though!

About 3.5 miles from the hotel yet, it seemed to be getting hotter. . and I was taking longer than I thought, plus it was actually humid in this city!  I figured part of the sluggishness was from having five hours of sleep and still being on central time while in the pacific time zone. While the body said 5pm, the clock said 3pm. By this time I had half a bottle of water left and stopped inside the police station (it was right on the running path) to ask about a refill. The kind woman there did refill my bottle with blessedly cold water, and then kindly told me I should wear a hat to prevent my face from getting red in the heat, it'll lead to skin cancer she said.  I tried to explain my face is always red when I run and she didn't understand. Ah well, I've already had skin cancer too-and the melanoma showed up between my toes in a non-sunny spot!  Plus, the sun was mostly at my back. I was more concerned about getting burned there, and kept reapplying the sunscreen I had (I had smartly taken a mini spray can which worked for my back!).   Okay lady, yeah, next time I'll wear a big wide brimmed hat while I run. Uh-huh.  

Thank you Police Dept for your really cold water
I carried on for a bit further and then came upon this park I wanted to explore.  Almost directly across from the airport in San Diego is the Cancer Survivor's Park. Part of why I was in San Diego was for leadership training for Pancreatic Cancer and we want to double the survival rate by 2020. It's currently 7%. Plus, now I'm a Melanoma cancer survivor.  
I thought this sculpture was quite moving.
Entitled "Cancer.  .  . There is HOPE".
Sculptor: Victor Salmones
According to the plaque: "The back five figures are cancer patients and their supports preparing to enter treatment, represented by the maze, notice their fear, determination and hope on their faces in contrast to the joy of those of the front three, signifying successful treatment."  
Throughout the park there were signs to helping those with cancer and the steps they must take:   
1. Cancer 
2. Commitment 
3. Knowledge
4. Treatments
5. Physical Welfare
6. Mental Welfare
7. Positive Thinking

As always happens, by the time you get to the last mile or two of a run you have that energy back and you can just visualize the finish line even if you can't see it.  I was so ecstatic when I saw "Marriott" on the side of the building!  
My badge of honor today. . . dirty legs.

I went out to dinner with my roommate for the trip, bayside seating, spied the coast guard doing some excursions, and had a fabulous slice of salmon with veggies and a side of avocado :-)  
This concludes part 1. . .
part 2:  Conference food to make you drool :-)  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting back to it.

Toe surgery in April, finally able to do some walking without immediate discomfort in May, and by the end of June I was able to successfully put on my toe socks. However, along the way I was in the dumps that I couldn't workout or do much.  I tried doing some yoga, but that pulled on the stitches and the sore toe.  It took a while for me to even be able to put a running shoe on and then even longer before it felt comfortable to wear.  I could go to the gym and workout the rest of the body without being able to wear shoes. I had someone ask me why I wasn't swimming---um, stitches, and such couldn't swim like that and after stitches were out the doc said to still be careful about things for a week or two.

I was lamenting this to my yoga instructor last week, who broke her arm earlier this year. I was like, "you were such a stud about it, coming back to teach a week after you broke your arm and I was just hanging out on the couch after a simple toe surgery for melanoma".   

She said an incredibly insightful thing.  People were really concerned about her getting back to doing things with a broken arm and they think something broken is so horrible, and that I was having people think that having a surgery wasn't necessarily a big deal, but every surgery, every blockage in our path is something we have to work with and no two injuries are the same!  Also, that I also needed to wrap my head around the part that I had surgery on the part of my body that holds up my weight, Quirky! Oh, TA DA! Light bulb moment!  Right. Even after surgery, even in July and August, I am still flexing my foot as I sit on the couch or chair or wherever, so that I can keep stretching the skin that was pulled tight to make up for the inch of skin I lost. Every moment I'm still trying to find something to get me back to where I was and I can never go back to where I was, I can only go forward from where I am
I was SO excited the end of June was I *finally* able to put on my toe sock. It was still tight on that toe, but I was able to get it on and that's what counted. 

Then I went for a run and my lungs just were not happy with me. I felt like I had lost so much fitness level in the three months since surgery and that I was never going to get it back. BUT it turned out that I was coming down with some kind of ickies and that the lung capacity may have been reduced by that. 

In July I really just focused more on stretching, and getting to the gym to do weights. The gym we go to is a company one where The Mike works.  It's usually empty of people, or maybe one or two people there, unless you're there at 4:30pm.  It's nice to have a place to yourself and not worry about other people watching you, but it also means that we don't have a lot of machines.  Treadmills, ellipticals, one bike, one row machine, free weights, and a few weight machines, stability balls and weight balls. That's it.

My routine will focus on: 
Leg press/sled; 
leg extension/curls;
bench press weight bar; 
lateral pull downs; and 
row machine.

I was only doing two sets of fifteen reps on each machine, and-except for the leg press- was really letting the body choose what weight to do.
Let's examine what to do incorrectly when going back to the gym: 

1. Think you can lift a good deal of what you use to be able to lift: 

Get to the gym to find some ding dong didn't take the 200# weight off the Leg Press.
(two 100# plates with no hand hold holes). 
What to do. What do do.  Okay, let's just drop one of the 100# weights and leg press 100# because hey, you use to be able to Leg Press 150# and it's been a while since you've been to the gym, but "come on, it'll be like old times". UGH. ---lifted too much and my inner thighs hurt for the next three days, which meant:  no gym for the next three days. 

I also wrote a note on paper towels to remind people to remove weights from the machines so someone else can use the machines. And, if it wasn't done, it wasn't going to be my fault if one of the weight plates broke if I moved it off the Leg Press machine!  

Does there *really* need to be a (2) on this list? 

After getting the soreness out of the legs, I went back to the gym. 

1. Leg Press I started at 70# and that was quite well for me. Three reps of 15 each and after a few sessions, I included the calf workout on there too. 
2. Leg ext/curl 50#  3x15
3. Butterfly 40# 2x15
4. Lateral Pulldown 50# 2x15
5. Weight bar for chest press 3x10 
6. Crunches 2x10 straight, then to the sides. 
7. Row machine. 3 minutes (gasp, I recall when I did 10 minutes, but NO. I'm not going there. I am going forward from where I AM, not where I was). 

The first day back after that sore time, somebody put the big weights on the leg press *again*.  So I made another note.  I don't know who it is that's pressing 200# on the legs, but you'd think that person would be able to lift them off afterwards too!  

This first day back there was an older, retired couple in there on the treadmills. The woman told the man that I was on the leg press and he came over to ask me questions.  I told him how to release the sled, how to stop it, put weights on it, etc. Then I asked him if he wanted to try it while I was there (so I could supervise him if anything went wrong).  "No," he said, he didn't "want to embarrass" himself.  So cute, but so sad too.  I realize it's an age thing, a male thing, and a pride thing.    He did tell me the following week that he was on it and was doing good, at 50# and asked how much I was doing, seemed sad that I was doing 70#. I reminded him that I have been a runner, and he reminded himself that he is about 60 and has not done a lot in the way of fitness in too many years.  I said, 'you're here now and that's what counts!'.  

After several sessions of going to the gym doing these, I get to the gym one day and there's another guy using the weights. Great, I'm thinking, I'm going to have to share!  Turns out it also threw me off. I was trying to do my game, and then on the leg extension I was really struggling with the last set.  It wasn't until I went over to write down what I had done that I realized I had done 3 sets of 15 reps instead of 2 sets!  Progress! and no wonder I was struggling on those last ones!

Progress, wherever it is, embrace it with where you just were and know that it will take you to where you want to be!   


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Want to Run. . . Easy as 1.2.3.

The surgeon told me I should wait at least a week before running. I ended up waiting another month.  I figured this just meant more healing time!  Actually, the underside of my toe/foot pad was pretty raw, as I had skin that softened and then had to be cut away, like a blister almost.  I've been building up that skin by walking with the brown Born Sandals, helping The Mike with the fence (and standing on the feet for 4 to 12 hours in my boots), and generally just trying to use the foot. Something I found I cannot do:  push on the shovel into the ground with the left foot --that pulls at the top of the foot. It's not something I would do normally, but since I managed to trip getting into the car a month ago and bruise my right foot, I thought I'd mix things up.  
I try and try, but I still cannot get my left foot into my black Born sandals(above right), nor can I get a toe sock over the surgical toe.  

I thought I'd go for a run on Running Day (June 3) but that didn't happen.
Instead, my first run was Thursday, June 4.  I went about 2.8 miles that day. 
Clothing layout:  Athleta capris, Under Armor tank, Fox River socks and a race long sleeve shirt in case it was chilly(do you hear the manical laughter for Iowa June weather and 'chilly').  
Okay, I'm all dressed and ready to go for a run.

My thoughts include: 
Eek, will I be able to do this?  
Will people laugh at me trying to run?  
Will my toe hold up to the pounding? 
Will I need to adjust my foot and shoe?  

I grabbed my waist water holder and put in a 8 oz container of water in one pouch and my phone in the other.  I did remember a house key as well!  

I started the watch and went out the driveway. No music today, just going out to enjoy nature, my neighborhood, and see what the body can do.  I actually made it further than I expected. I thought I'd have to stop after a couple blocks in the neighborhood. I ran a little over half a mile and then took a walk break and re-evaluated. My body felt good-but strange to be running again. My lungs were not happy with me (the reason I started walking) and half a mile is more than I thought my aerobically denied lungs could do.  The next mile was a combination of running and walking. Running about a block, walking for a little bit, and then walking again.  When I got to the gas station I had the option to turn left and head home, or turn right and keep going on the loop.  I turned right. I didn't see anyone else on the street at all, but a few blocks down the road I was passed by this sprinter dude out of nowhere---and not even a "on your left" out him either!  Once I got past the water tower on my loop and to the next street I decided to just walk the last mile home.  I figured I had gone out for my first run in two and a half months and didn't need to twist my ankle or anything. This lasted for about half a mile, then I ran a block, then stopped at a garage sale(!  turned out to be a smoker's house-GAG!), then headed on home with just walking again. 
My time obviously wasn't my best, but it was my best run after surgery and recovery!

Since I am starting over again, I made sure to do a lot of stretches when I got home!  
Adorable minion box from amazon.  Had to share the cuteness of it. 

After the run, I ran some errands, then worked in the yard with The Mike --we're replacing our fence-- and had to take a pic of the pedometer at the end of the day.  15,000 steps!  No wonder my feet and legs were a little sore.  

The Mike has a sweet tooth which I do tend to feed.  I had an "ah-HA!" moment earlier in the day with the Immaculate Gluten and dairy free cookies. I decided to cut the cookie forms in half and make 24 instead of 12 cookies.  Each one does make a jumbo cookie and half of that would be good.
It worked quite well! 
One's missing due to cookie monster. 

I spy. . . . 
Out in the yard, one of the fence posts we set looked a lot like a curious and shy four legged creature. 
It just so happened that "What Does The Fox Say?" came on the radio about the same time we were setting this post.  :-)  

Fast forward to Tuesday, June 9. I signed up for my first race!  I verified with the organizer that it would be fine to possibly walk most of the course.  

What type of race is it, you ask? 

A Prediction Race!  

The local organizer has had a couple of these before, but I've not participated because they were(are) at 6:30pm and I am a morning runner, I had to get up for yoga, I was tired after work, I wanted to _______.  I had so many reasons to not do one, and then this year I thought "why not?".   $10 entry, included dinner too (which I didn't realize). 

In the car, getting up the courage to get out into 94ยบ weather. . . quite unusual for June. 
(Shades stayed in the car for the race). 
The race director/organizer did let people choose to adjust their times because of the heat.  I didn't need to, because it was just heat, not humidity, and he also changed the course to be run on shaded trails and not the open road.  

Whoa! Cool number. . . and a reminder that running IS as easy as 1-2-3. One foot in front of the other, faster than you walk.  That is the basis for running!

Only 44 people showed up this evening, though more were anticipated.  Perhaps the heat did scare a few people away.  We started in the parking lot and headed into the trail system. Pretty straight forward route. Keep to the right on the way out (two possible turns, but stay to the right). At the cone, turn around and then stay to your left on those return possible turns.  We finished up into the parking lot through a chute area. 

What is a Prediction Race?
In a prediction race, you sign up with the time you think it will take you to finish the miles. Tonight's course was 3.1, a 5K.  How long do you think it will take you to run this course?  If you're a runner who is very consistent, it should be fairly easy for you to predict your time. If you're a runner who has taken several months off and haven't really run 3.1 miles in over three months, then you might be slightly off in your prediction.  

No watches, no phones, no music, no timing chips, no finish clock at the chute, nothing that could aid you in how you're running, nothing that would make you sprint at the finish.   A person who completes a 5k in 50 minutes might actually wind up in first place.
I was off my time by two and a half minutes---in a good way. I over estimated how long it'd take me. The good news? So did the lady who finished slightly ahead of me, we both put down the same minutes (different seconds). 

What makes the races by this director the best?  He takes care of his runners!  
Ice cold finish washcloths for everyone! 

The Finish
Remember that part about stick to the right, then after the turn, stick to the left?  When I finished there was talk of the leader/fast guy who never came back to the parking lot. EEK! What happened? His racing friend had no idea what happened to him either.

After the race, there was pulled pork, BBQ, sauce, buns, chips;  ice cream, m&ms & Hershey syrup.  Not knowing what was all in the pork, I had myself the following: 
The chips were not too salty after a run and the ice cream became a drink, which was tasty. 
We all cooled off, ate, and then had finish prizes and door prizes.  Awards went to the top 10 people.  The 10th person was off by about 30 seconds, the No. 1 finisher was off her predicted time by ONE SECOND.
The gentleman who got lost? He showed up as everyone was heading to their cars. I have no idea what happened to him, but glad he came back in one piece.  

A reminder to get a full body check by a dermatologist for Melanoma and pay attention to your body. If something is new or feels weird, get it checked out!
Fight Melanoma
Fight Breast Cancer
Fight Pancreatic Cancer
Fight Cancer 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May brings new adventures

Oh, it's been so long since I've written, and so much has happened!  

I had a meeting with the oncologist. She ran blood work and it was fine. I'm not really sure why they run this, since the cancer wasn't advanced to where it was in my blood system.  I found out eating mac and cheese for lunch (even with half a can of tuna) 45 minutes before a blood draw probably isn't smart. Never thought of what my blood sugar would look like with the pasta carbs!  

I had to ask the oncologist. No one has ever said how advanced it was.  I had Stage 1 melanoma and it was almost to Stage 2.  It was good to catch it early. She said she normally sees people who have Stage III and IV. (EEK!).

The part I was seeing on the preliminary pathology reports was, "Clark's Level II, Breslow's Depth 0.5mm, nonulcerated.  Radial growth phase is present.  Vertical growth phase is absent. . ."

This made me think it was Stage II, but she said Stage I.  :-)  

I am SO lucky to have had that itch on my foot January 16, 2015!  It's the only reason I looked between the toes.  

It was such a great feeling to walk out of the doctor's office without the stitches!  Unfortunately, getting them removed was a different story.  It looked like I had 5 or 6 stitches. Turns out I had 8 and a couple were sunk in a little bit, one was sunk in even more.  Turns out the scab I kept having show up was where the worst offender was located.

Doc had a student/resident with him again, different one this time (third so far).  The nurse just stood to the side, as did the resident, so I held my pinkie wide open from the ring toe in order for the doc to have access---good think I wore a skort, lol.  I watched him remove most of them, but told him I was being a chicken and couldn't watch him dig for the hidden one. He finally got it and I assume I held the toe and foot steady for him.   I had bleeding afterwards from the hidden stitch and left the office looking like the above in my favorite Born sandals.  Doc commented on the "polish".  I told him I had to do something and since I couldn't use the toe spacers for polish, I opened my Jamberry stash of peel, heat and stick "wraps" for polish.  Above is Cabana.  They stayed on for about a month.

I have to go back in 3 months (not really sure why) to the surgeon.  I had to ask when I can run again and he said to wait at least another week to ensure I don't burst open my new seam.  Hmmm, I think I'll wait a few more weeks!  

Weekend breakfast:  Beelers Bacon, scrambled eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese, fruit, and UDIs whole grain with seedless blackberry jam. 
After the wound cleared up:  The toe had skin peel/exfoliate from the top and bottom.
The skin at the base of the toe is pulled tight. This is where the skin was removed on the interior of the toe webbing in the largest diameter.  
As such, the bottom is pretty painful and I'll have to work up to getting a callus or thicker layer of skin from where the outside layers came loose.  
Don't laugh:  I think my foot looks stained, but that's just how it always looks. 

TA DA!   Running shoes!  I can't get my Injinji toe socks on, so I went with my second best, Fox River no show ankle socks. Love these for under 5 mile runs.  No run today, just a nice long walk.  
May 13:  It felt SO good to get the shoes on. I was PUMPED for a walk. Figured a couple miles. Put on my sunscreen, my waist belt with a 8oz bottle of water and my cell phone and out the door I went. 

Um, yeah, so that didn't go so well. I wanted to turn around a couple blocks away. I made it half a mile away, to the trail head, and turned around to come home. Total time:  30 minutes. Yes, it took me that long because I kept stopping to adjust my left shoe.  Still too much pressure over the toe area. I think I'll sit with the foot propped up for a bit more.
Hubby and I did a new project. We had to move the grape vine fence in about a foot --something about 50 years ago they didn't really survey the property when it was created and the end post was an inch on the other property.  Hubby researched and created a nice tight fence for the vines and we strung them up properly. Then we added some pizzazz to the posts with the copper tops :-)

By "we" I really mean "him".  I should say hubby did this. I pretty much watched from the house. I think I was out on my feet for maybe an hour one night when we were stringing up the vines.

May 15: I decided to try this walking thing again!  One of the local jewelry stores has a treasure hunt contest. It takes the advertising dollars and puts them into cash or store credit and hides them around town on the trail/park system.  I went out looking today for the treasure. Pretty much a very slow walk with lots of stops. I found the following, but no real treasure. I was out longer than I expected (two hours, versus the planned one hour) and the toe was tender, but not completely angry with me. 

May 17 weekend was graduation for my hubby's oldest nephew!  Can't believe M is old enough for graduation, nor that The Mike and I have been together as long as he's been around!  
My sister and niece came to the open house and my niece--while she didn't say this to me--said that she was surprised to see me without a bandage on my foot!  I still was wearing open toed 'dressy' thong/flip flops with ankle strap, but the suture wounds had healed and I was going with no gauze.  It felt good to be that way, and I was surprised anyone noticed!  

After driving home, hubby and I went treasure hunting for a nice walk. Two hours in a car was long enough for my legs/ foot and his sore back.  
Beautiful river sunset.

May 19:  a chilly cold bicycle ride
Hubby laughed at me. . .I don't know why. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Most of my long socks are toe socks, which I still can't wear.  Thus, I wore my Susan Komen breast cancer socks my sister --fighting breast cancer--gave me.  The regular mountain bike cycling shoes are a little hard on the toe area still, so I am wearing my cycling sandals. 
Perfectly formed (okay, the roundest I have made in a long time) Chebe pizza crust with milled chia seed in the mix.  

Memorial Day weekend:  May 23 we worked on replacing our really old fence. Not sure how old it is, but we had it when we bought the house.  The nice older man-backyard neighbor said it had been there about 30 years if not longer.  I have been feeling pretty good about the foot. Friday night The Mike and I were out working on tearing the old fence out and the toe felt good for those three hours in my old ROTC boots. 

Saturday, I wore a cushy pair of my Fox River socks and we were out there for a good solid day--over twelve hours-- with breaks for lunch, dinner, and a few moments where I sat on a bucket.  For the most part the toe felt good. Mostly this was due to the whole foot hurting from being in the boots all day. The feet felt like I'd run a marathon.  The toe was red, but it didn't hurt any more than normal. [Fence is still not done]  
Sunday it rained all day and Monday morning. We spent Memorial Day watching PBS shows on those who Gave All so we can be free. Monday afternoon we went back out to do some tidying up. After about an hour my toe was getting rubbed the wrong way. It felt like a blister had formed at the knuckle/joint with the foot, but there wasn't anything there. I had on different socks I rarely wear and wonder if that played into the pain.  When I started favoring the foot, I called it a day, which was really only an hour after that. 
The toe is healing. 
This is about what the toe looks like most any day. Still red below the toe knuckle. A little weeping still occurs at the one suture site (the red dot if you can see that).  
Beautiful evening for a walk.  
[No, we did not walk along the tracks, nor did we cross the bridge. Safety First!]

This morning, Thursday, I decided to try on my other Born sandals. . .these are obviously a little more tricky to wear than my normal pair. 
First thing, I did GET my foot into the position and it felt okay. 
Second thing I noticed, when I tried to walk I knew that wasn't going to go well.  
Baby steps in the progress. I'm happy to know I can at least get the foot into the straps.  
The strap on top of the toe is going to take a bit longer before it'll be happen for an outing.
Interestingly, the strap between the toes didn't bother me. I wasn't sure since that's the suture site.

I have my dermatologist appointment this afternoon for my three month checkup. I can't believe it's been three months since I found out I had cancer and had my initial full body check for any other abnormalities.  Hopefully he'll give me something for my irritated skin from the Virginia Creeper that was growing on the north side of  the fence.  It's like poison ivy to me.  Even with full length pants, snap full length shirt, gloves and such, I still managed to get a case of the itchies.  It's actually the mildest case I've had though :-) 

Happy days. Explore new foods with the gluten free lifestyle and embrace change: it will happen whether we want it to or not.