Friday, March 24, 2017

Art Night at the Cottages

Matt's studio is in a gorgeous park; his is one of six artist cottages set up along the river, but they're not close to the road and don't get lots of foot traffic. During Art Fest, we constantly hear, "I've lived here for decades and had no idea these existed!" It doesn't help that most of the cottages had been empty for quite awhile before Matt moved in and started Upriver Ceramics.
So, in an attempt to get the word out, Matt and his fellow artists have started a monthly Art Night where the cottages will stay open late. They invite guest artists to come set up as well. This Tuesday was their first "event." We weren't expecting a huge turnout because this was a new endeavor, but we were happily surprised!
People came in waves throughout the evening to check out the various artists.
Some of the crowd outside Matt's studio.
Steve had a presentation going with some of his bigger pieces; I LOVE the lamps made of pieces of real mangrove roots.
John worked on a painting in full view of our guests.
Around 7:30 I walked over the bridge to pick up tacos for everyone - there's an authentic Mexican restaurant that sells $1 street tacos on Tuesdays, so it's pretty perfect that Art Night is going to be on a Tuesday each month.

Quick side story: When I got to the front of the line to order, the young man did a little double take and then broke out into a huge grin. "I think you were my teacher!" I immediately recognized him - he was my student 7 or 8 years ago, in my first or second year teaching! He gave me a big hug and pointed out his mom, who was working on filling orders. It turns out his family owns the restaurant!
Mm, nothing tastes better than food grilled outside!
Anyway, by the time I got back around 8:30 (taco night was slammed!) the artists were cleaning up. We ate our tacos and then called it a night. I don't usually stay out so late on work nights, but it was worth it.
I'm so excited that this first night was a success! Matt sold a couple pieces, including my favorite, "Forbidden Fruit."
Remember this piece? Well, it went to a good home.
I think this will be a great tradition the artists are starting, and I hope it only continues to grow.

ABK

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Calf Update & I Need Some Advice

Last Friday, I went to a see a sports medicine doctor about my calves. I was going to go in April when I have spring break, but Elizabeth suitably freaked me out and convinced me to move the appointment up.

Dr. Cintron took a very detailed history - I was glad I have a blog because I was able to pinpoint when the pain started and how it progressed over time. She palpated my calves and had me do a few stretches, none of which hurt. My calves only hurt after certain exercises or while running.

Sometimes they are tight early in a run and then loosen up 30 minutes in; sometimes they feel fine and then get tight a mile in.

She was skeptical that I have a strain or tear in both calves, but ordered an MRI anyway, which I will have this Friday. My followup with her is Monday afternoon. I hate that this is an ordeal; I wish it could just be diagnosed and over with.
In the meantime, no running or high-impact exercise. (What am I supposed to do for cardio?!) I'm on a regimen of taking Naproxen twice daily to combat any inflammation I may have. Before I left, the nurse set me up with some ice and TENS therapy (she was glad to hear I have a TENS unit and was using it at home) and then gave me a massage with Biofreeze.
I hate icing. SO COLD.
She also printed out some stretches for me to do with explicit instructions not to overstretch. I'm very inflexible so I'm totally guilty of overstretching frequently, but I'm going to be good!

So, that's the deal for now. I'm not sure if I'd rather get definitive answers from the MRI (which would mean bilateral strains/tears somehow) or not. No strain would mean possibly a less serious issue, but it could mean compartment syndrome, which Dr. Cintron did not rule out.

I wish I could run just to test the pain and be sure it's still there; I've been resting so long I'm starting to doubt my own memory! But maybe if the MRI is negative, she'll stick me on a treadmill to get some results.

Any advice for getting some cardio while I'm avoiding high-impact exercise?

ABK

Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 3/13-3/19

Monday: We revisited a favorite leg circuit. I was tempted to be done after 3 rounds but after a bit of rest I came back for a 4th!
Complete each exercise for 30s, and repeat 3-5 times.
Tuesday: Rest. I wanted to run because we are having a freak cold front this week, but my calf appointment was set up for Friday (I moved it up) so I decided to wait to run until after that! (Afterward, I wished I had gotten in one more run because then I'd have a fresher memory for my symptoms.)

Wednesday: Some core work via Blogilates.
Thursday: T25 upper body with Elizabeth! I miss running, but I'm really loving being back into a daily workout routine of any kind right now!
Friday: Rest/Recovery. I left work early for my appointment at the sports medicine doctor. I didn't feel much up to a workout afterward. I'll post about the appointment and all that later this week.

Saturday: Matt and I went thrift shopping...not exactly a workout, but I'll count the walking as at least being "active"!

Sunday: Rest. We cleaned out the breakfast area of the kitchen - finally! - and moved some boxes into the attic.

Not a very solid week, but getting there! I just never feel I'm really having a good workout week unless I'm getting my runs in.

ABK

Friday, March 17, 2017

I May Have a Problem...

Disclosure: I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador and do receive a discount for my purchases. None of the links below are affiliate links because I'm too technologically-challenged to set that up.

So, last week I went a little crazy. I have been waiting and waiting to load up on spring Skirt Sports stuff because they release the new styles a little bit at a time and I wanted everything I had seen in the ambassador teaser. I did give in and buy the Lioness in the new color back in February because I wanted it for my race, but otherwise I was waiting.

This week, a giant package arrived and I immediately tried everything on and had a fashion show all by myself. Who's ready for some super awkward pictures?!
The haul: Super Girl tank in Sidewinder; Redemption Capris in Stargaze; Pocketopia capris in Sidewinder; Hover skirt in black; Cascade skirt in Persevere; Go Longer short in black.
I totally underestimated how much I'd love the Persevere print in person. The Stargaze print isn't new, but I waited on buying it because I'm not a huge fan of blue. Once more, I was surprised by how much I loved it in person! I'm sensing a pattern here. (No pun intended!)
First I tried on the Super Girl tank with the Hover skirt. I need to return them both for smaller sizes; the SG is supposed to run small but seemed to run true to size for me; I shouldn't have sized up.
The SG has a pocket in the built-in bra and three along the lower back! It's a perfect cycling top but I'll be wearing it for running, of course.
The Hover is the lightest skirt I have ever tried! The shorties underneath are mesh and the skirt is so fluttery. It's hard to tell in the picture but there's a slit and the skirt is kind of an "overlay" style. I'm anxious to have it in a smaller size so I can wear it!
Next I tried on the Go Longer shorts. Lately I have been wanting slightly longer, airier shorts and thought I'd give these a try. I usually wear the Redemption Run shorts, which have a 4" inseam. These have a 6" and look a little long for me in the photo, but in person they're perfect! Plus, they're super comfortable and exactly what I was looking for.
I changed into my Wonder Girl tank for the rest of my photoshoot so I wasn't mixing crazy prints. I love this tank top; it runs smaller than other Skirt Sport tanks, which works for me because their tanks tend to be a little on the loose side. And I love the built-in bra.

Anyway, the new piece here is the Cascade skirt. I have this skirt in three prints now, and it's no wonder...it is just so cute! I love the tiers and it's so lightweight in this print!
I own four (or five?) pairs of the Redemption capris. My only annoyance with them has always been the lack of pockets, which the new Pocketopia style corrects. These capris are lightly compressing, don't slip down or ride up, never give me camel-toe...and are basically just super fun and bright!
The Sidewinder print is by far my favorite Skirt Sports print these days. They really hit it out of the park with this one - even Elizabeth, who swears by her Walmart running gear usually (which is totally fine!) is now seriously considering picking something up because Sidewinder is just that irresistible.

The new Pocketopia capris have a pocket on each leg that easily fits my cell phone and other goodies. I rarely get to run in capris because...well, Florida...so the pockets aren't always necessary, but they are good to have anyway!

Both of these capris have a zippered pocket in the back and a key pocket in front. The Pocketopia run a little less compressy than the Redemption; they're slightly stretchier, too.

And that's it! I am so excited and ready to run...if I am ever able to run again.
Just kidding. Kind of.
If my little splurge piqued your interest, remember to use the discount code 1SSCAPT20 through the end of March for 20% off your purchase!

Which of the prints do you like best?
Do you like wearing loud/bright workout clothes?
What is a must-have feature you look for in workout clothes?

ABK

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Keepsakes

*Edit: My mom's fear that I would actually toss any of these photos made me realize I didn't make my conclusion clear enough so let me preface this post by saying that this is really kind of a reflection on minimalism, which is very popular right now, but I don't find anything particularly great about tossing things that have sentimental value just because they're not necessary. My photos and letters are technically worthless and I may be a packrat, but I'd never be able to part with them...and I don't want to. 

I am a little bit of a hoarder. Not like the sick kind, but like the I can't let go of sentimental stuff kind. I've been attempting to consolidate some of my old things into just one or two boxes for storage, but I've been struggling.

I thought I'd share a few things I've unearthed recently in my attempt to spring clean. I just can't seem to part with this stuff!

First, I have an ugly, beat up shoebox full of old photos and the like. I feel like most people have a box like this.
Old, goofy photos of me and my siblings; pictures from our old neighborhood in Ohio; love notes Matt sent me while we dealt with being long distance; a funny coaster from a bar in England; photos of my old pups; postcards of some of my favorite paintings from the Tate Gallery.


In that top-center photo, we are putting on a show for our parents. We used to choreograph dances and perform. We were very talented.

Of course, an old Rampage shoebox can't hold everything. I have a bad habit of collecting notebooks and photo albums.
Hm. It looks so neat and tidy for a bag of hoarder-stuff.
First, I have some of the first books I ever wrote. In elementary school we "published" books. You'd write a story in class, choose a binding fabric, and volunteers would sew them into little books. If yours got a gold seal, you were chosen to read it to the principal and you got a toy out of a prize bin.
There's also a copy of a play I co-wrote in 6th grade. It actually became a school performance. Pretty neat.
Besides old schoolwork, I've held on to some things that I'm just not sure how to get rid of.
My old karate medals.
A signed copy of a Sugar Ray album. I met them when I was 15; they were super nice.
A pack of feminist tarot cards because for awhile I thought maybe I'd become a witch.
My cap from undergrad graduation. All the AXOs decorated our caps with a lyre.
Of course, I also have albums full of photos I rarely look at. Here's a glimpse at the important memories I'm saving in my freshman scrapbook.
I was obsessed with recording names for "future children." Ironic, now that I'm child-free.
I do have some things worth keeping among the random piles, though. My bat mitzvah guest book and Hebrew name certificate are important keepsakes, but the certificate is illegible due to water damage.
I wonder if I can get this restored somehow...
Going through some of this stuff has me wondering, what's the point of keeping it past a certain time? I rarely go back and look through these letters and pictures, and most of the photos don't mean much to me anymore. But for some reason, I still can't let them go!

I mean...are we supposed to shred or recycle things like this? Or are we saddled with it forever? Will I look through them someday when I'm 80 and be glad I held onto them?

I can't help but think that yeah, I will. Maybe I'm just enabling my hoarding, but...better safe than sorry, right?

Do you have a hard time letting go of sentimental stuff?
Do you have any schoolwork from when you were a kid?
What do you do with old photos, etc?

ABK

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Weekly Workouts 3/6-3/12

This week's workouts start on Wednesday. That's just how things go after races and time off! I've been resting my calves obsessively, so no running this week. Not running means we're going back to some of our old videos and workouts, which has been nice.

Wednesday: T25 with Elizabeth and Stacey! We haven't done T25 in a hot minute and it definitely humbled me. What a tough workout!
It's so awesome to have Stacey joining us!
Thursday: Some Blogilates. I've been neglecting my core for awhile and I could tell.
Friday: We put together a circuit that focused on core and upper-body, but was really kind of "whole body". It felt really good.
Complete each move for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
I rested/stretched through the weekend. I'm hoping to get at least one short run in this coming week. We'll see how the calves take it!

I'm excited to start Monday this week and truly get back into a routine!

ABK

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday 5: My Week in Pictures

For today's Friday Five 2.0, I'm bringing you something short and sweet. My week in pictures/screenshots!
Sunday: The last art festival of the season.
Monday: Dinner with one of our best college friends, who we haven't seen for nearly 10 years.
Tuesday: Elizabeth and I found out we were awarded a bonus we qualified for at the end of 2016!
Wednesday: International Women's Day. Matt told me he couldn't wear red that day because he had to be in his work uniform, but...
Thursday: Spending time at the studio after work.
Happy Friday! 
What did you do this week?

ABK

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

When I Need a Laugh

First of all, thank you all so much for your helpful comments (and emails) about my last post. I have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor set for April 10 and hopefully something good comes of it; in the meantime, I'll be doing some yoga (thanks, Kristina) and trying intervals and maybe some shoe testing (thanks, Karen). I'll also be relying pretty heavily on classroom workouts for a little while.

Speaking of, this week, Elizabeth's and my third musketeer is joining us for workouts! She has been wanting to join but had some scheduling things to figure out. Now, though, she'll start joining us for classroom workouts after school. I hope she doesn't mind sweaty selfies!
We have been looking forward to her joining us for MONTHS.
I've been pretty exhausted and bummed because of my leg drama, but a few videos I watched this week made me laugh/lifted my spirits, so I'm sharing them for you guys!

Guys, runners take things really seriously and are super intense about stuff. Why don't we treat everything we do with the same gusto?!
Also, who's to say just because I'm taking pictures in my active wear that I've been active that day? There's a whole new genre of clothing completely designed around looking athletic but lounging hardcore.
This isn't running related, but with the new Beauty & the Beast coming out (starring my woman-crush Emma Watson), I had to share this. B&tB is my favorite fairytale ever - Disney or otherwise - because I love a bookish brunette heroine. Cinderella may be played here by one of my all-time favorite actresses, but Belle wins hands down.
Finally, anytime I'm feeling really quite bad, or even just a little blue, this song lifts me out of it...or at least makes me feel a little less alone. It's funny, poignant, and honest. The second stanza is especially apropos these days, and the end always gives me chills. I can't recommend it highly enough.
(Sidenote: If you like genuine musical talent with a splash of irreverent humor, Tim Minchin is for you. I have lost hours down the YouTube rabbit hole listening to his performances. If you think you may like him, definitely watch Storm next.)

These videos got me through Tuesday. I hope they bring a little joy to your mid-week surfing!

What other hobby do you take as "seriously" as running?
Are you a fan of athleisure?
Belle or Cinderella?

ABK

Monday, March 6, 2017

When Your Mind and Body Don't Line Up

I want to run more 5ks in 2017.

I really have missed so many things about racing: the motivation, the training, the chance to just put the hammer down and give it everything I've got...

I miss the days of knowing I'd have the chance to run one fast, intense, short race a month, and I think when I have a bunch of 5ks on my schedule, I stay in better shape.

My mind is all made up about it. I am searching for races and ready to register.
Just a few races to think about from my local running club.
But my body is fighting me. My calves are still causing me problems. I can't get through a run without some kind of walk break and some kind of discomfort. I want to see a sports medicine doctor or something, but I'm uncertain of where to start or what could really be done. The hypochondriac in me thinks I have compartment syndrome, but obviously I'm never going to find out what's actually wrong and how to fix it if I don't go ahead and see someone about it.
We've all been here.
I hate seeing doctors for things like this. In my experience, it takes a long time and multiple visits to truly find a cause and cure; it takes time and money. Still, I've gone ahead and set up a consultation with a sports medicine doctor for April, when I'll be on spring break.

In the meantime, I think I could still power through 5ks, and maybe even try some longer races using the run/walk method, which worked really well at Gasparilla and which I've been curious to test out since. That may not be a smart decision, but I don't want to have to put my running on hold.

It's frustrating that my mind and body aren't on the same page right now, but I'm tired of harping on my calves. They seem to be the subject of every run!

Obviously, before I do something drastic - like give up running completely - I definitely need to seek a professional opinion first. Fingers crossed that we get to the bottom of my issues!

Have you had good experiences with seeing a sports medicine doctor?

ABK

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Mighty Fine Engagement

After my 15k last weekend, I hopped into my car and drove down to Sarasota, where I showered and napped at my parents' house and then made my way to Matt's dad's for Scott and Robby's engagement party! (I have to say, it's sometimes convenient that our parents all live near each other!)

Robby is currently living in Ohio and learning to renovate and flip houses while Scott finishes his residencies for PA school, so this was just a small gathering for family and a few of Scott's local friends. They'll be moving to Seattle once they've both finished their respective trainings; having them here together for a mini engagement party was a treat!

Here are some photos of the evening's festivities!
Their engagement photos are SO cute!
We played some yard games and just hung out while the sun was still up.
Matt with the grooms. They're so handsome!
Matt and Robby playing ladder golf. 
Enrique, Katie, Scott, and Leighanne playing some cornhole.
Then, Matt decided we all needed to learn to ride the OneWheel.
Here's a little video of everyone testing it out. It's my third time on the OneWheel and I must say, I'm pretty good now!
video
Of course, no party is complete without cake! This one was especially festive.
I'm so glad I was able to make it! I was worried I'd be late because of Gasparilla, but everything ended up working out. By the end of the night, I was absolutely exhausted, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything!

Did you have an engagement party? Matt and I never did! We only did bachelor/bachelorette parties.
Did you do pre-wedding traditions? We took engagement photos but they were cheap and lame; we got married before Pinterest existed!
Have you ever ridden a OneWheel?

ABK