Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Yep. I think I might be certifiable. chickencuckoo

I spent yesterday in bed. I am pretty sure old people like me are not made to bounce off the ground. I’m going to be really bruised, but the upside is that I didn’t break a collar-bone or an arm or a leg or my spine.

I can say that not only am I not cut out for getting bucked off horses, I may not even be cut out to ride them. We’ll see.

We did a change in strategy over the weekend. I just didn’t have it in me yesterday to fight.

So, because I didn’t sleep last night worth a hill o’ beans because I was too sore, I did what most people would assume I would do: I went for a run.

After nearly 6 months off, I figured I was so pea pickin’ sore that I might as well tackle it now, so the new soreness will be absorbed by the stuff that’s already here. I’m pretty sure the turkeys across the road could have lapped me had they wanted to, as slowly as I was going.

Nonetheless, I got 3 miles in. While I’ve had a have a hard time lifting my arms the last two days, I figured my legs should be ok.  Any new aches I’m going to get will just have to join the others……………

Ya. Pretty sure I’m crazy. 😯

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Down 750 feet in one minute. Down some more, for a total of 830 feet, underground.

Where can one get this exhilarating experience?

Grab your gear, and let’s go spelunking!

Or don’t grab your gear and just sit back and enjoy some really bad pictures I took yesterday……………… 😆

(Yes, I really DO have a life on occasion, and sometimes that happens on the actual weekend, which is why you’ve no doubt noticed my lack of Trefextra weekend writing.  :lol:)

My brother and his family (wife and four kids, all of whom are pretty evenly matched with mine age-wise) are on a trip out west. As all of our kids have gotten older, I think we’re finding ourselves in a “last vacation before they go off and leave us forever and ever and ever” mode. Ok, well, at least the older ones are getting close to graduating from high school, which means our time is limited to drag them around while they’ll put up with us.

Surprisingly, we rated a visit. 😀 I’ve tried to convince myself that they came to get the “farm chicken experience” before getting their “dude ranch experience” in Phoenix tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the reason. 😉

No, really, they came to see us.  😆 And lucky for us, they were willing to carpool with us down to Carlsbad Caverns. We’ve been there a few times before, but have never taken this particular tour.

Before you whiz past my drivel to get to the awful pictures, can I just say one thing?

If you have a bucket list, this national park should be on it. I promise you- there is nothing else like it, anywhere in the world. Really. Even if you’ve gone to other National Park caves, like Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, you will not see anything like this anywhere else. (my brother and his family just went to Mammoth Cave last summer, and they all agree that Carlsbad Caverns was very different much more interesting, fwiw)

Even though we’ve been there several times, it never gets old. There is no physical way to remember everything, and honestly, it’s just so incredible, you can’t see everything in one shot. You could spend a lifetime in there and still see something new each time.

Yep. This isn’t just your average deep, dark hole. Obviously, I could go and on and on, but I’ve already spent 6 hours sifting through pictures and re-sizing so I can share them here. And, unless you get there in person, there is no way to get depth and scale, which is unfortunate.

Before we get started, here are some links you’ll want to check out later:

Carlsbad Caverns, National Park

Cavern History

So. You can either ride the elevator down or hike down. We were planning on hiking out, so we decided to take the elevator down so we wouldn’t miss our tour. The hike in or out is 1.25 miles, and covers a depth of 750 feet.

To give you perspective, this is the equivalent of a 75 story building. There are guidelines for hiking in or out, as you can imagine, because they are not real happy if they have to hike down and rescue someone. The hike both ways takes about 45 minutes to an hour, so if you have a scheduled tour, you’ll want to be sure to take your travel time into account.

The people coming down were all saying there was no way they were going to hike out. The rangers told us they’ve had to rescue more people who were hiking down than hiking out, which I thought was interesting.

When you get to the bottom, you’ll think you are in a space ship of some sort.

They do sell some stuff, but we didn’t hang around, so I’m not sure if they sell anything different down in the cave than what they are selling in the gift shop on the surface. They used to have a little cafeteria down there, from what we’ve heard, but we have never seen any food available. Be sure to eat and go to the bathroom before you hit the trail.

Because we were doing the guided tour, we bypassed the self tour, and did that after. A few years ago, they closed off the rooms on the King’s Palace tour because people were destroying the stalactites. They did a count, and in a period of 3 years, over 10,000 stalactite points had been taken or otherwise damaged. The ranger told us that they continue to get end pieces mailed back to them, years after they had been snapped off. Sad.

Let’s go over some verbiage:

Stalactites: hangy downies

Stalagmites: growing uppies

Soda Straws: baby hangy downies

Like my technical terms?  😆 If you want actual definitions, here you go: National Parks Glossary- Definitions and Images.

One of the first things we saw was a dead bat, still hanging on the wall.

See the scary face?

I would NOT want to be under that when it came crashing down!

Looking straight up at the ceiling

Scary-faced dude

Can you see the hippo?

This is an actual ladder used by the guy who discovered the caverns.

Wormhole in the ceiling....well, that's what I'm calling it. 😉

Surprisingly, there are insects that live way down there in the dark. In this case, it’s a cricket, and what happens to it is straight out of the movie Alien. Don’t read this next part if you are easily freaked or grossed out.

This cricket is drawn to the water that’s down in the cave pools. This is the same water that the horsehair worm lays its eggs in. The water- with the worm eggs- is drunk by the cricket. When the worm is mature, it sends a homing beacon of sorts to the cricket, which is then inclined to go back to the pool. When it gets to the water, the worm explodes out of the host bug, emerging from its innards. Of course, the host bug is killed.

Apparently, there is a kind of roach that is affected this way as well. Since roaches (in addition to candida {aka yeast}) will no doubt be on this earth long after every other form of life has expired, I am not too worried about some of them getting possessed and exploding.

Nope, I am not making this up. If you’re not too grossed out yet, you can read more about it here.

Moving on!  😆

This was a single large dome mushroomy structure; I just went around to get pictures of all side, because it was just that amazing! There was water pooled all underneath it, although I’m not sure you can see it well on pictures of this size.

What you can’t see in the top picture is that it looks like a stage with a bunch of dolls; hence the name. 🙂

At some point, we had finished the self tour area, too, and it was time to leave. We had already been there over 3 hours, and the natives kids were getting hungry. It was time to figure out who was going to hike out….

Now, bear in mind that it’s been in the low 90s the last few days. Because the cave stays a constant 56 degrees, I was wearing capri jeans and a hoodie. (You’ll be proud of me, though- I left the gloves at home :D) I was not looking forward to being sweaty in 56 degrees and then emerging into 90 plus heat. Not much a person could do about it, though. The hike up was not too bad overall, we didn’t think.

This reminded me of being in Seattle………  except going uphill all the way, of course…….

As we were nearing the top and could see daylight, we could hear the incoming folks saying,” Wow, look at how cool it is down here already!” Yep. It was pretty darn hot when we got to the top.

One thing we learned was that bat guano (bat poop, which used to mined there) smells a bit like chicken poo. 😆  I have to say, though, I took a poll, and most of the kids agreed that our chicken poo wasn’t as strong smelling as the guano.  😀

Cave entrance/exit on the surface........

Amphitheater for watching the bats fly out at dusk during the summer. Very cool stuff!

Desert landscape, fwiw.

That's the Visitor's Center over there; you can see the distance from the cave entrance.

It is DEFINITELY worth the drive or the flight, no matter where you are coming from. What I really like about this is that there are numerous tours you can take, or you can just do the self-guided tour. As we were coming out, there was another tour headed in, completely geared up with hard hats with headlamp, elbow and knee pads. When I grow up, I might have to think about trying that one!  :mrgreen:

All told, we figure we we traveled about 4 miles total. No one confessed admitted to being exhausted from the walking, but we all did sleep well last night.

Whew!  Did you make it to the end without falling asleep? Thanks for letting me share my pictures of nature’s finest, um, garden gnomes. 😉

I’ve kept some of these pictures pretty large, so you might be able to see more detail (like the water, for example) if you click on them and view them in another window.

Here are some more links you might find interesting:

Cave activities

Natural features and ecosystems– you will not regret the time you spend on this section!

Good Professional pictures

I didn’t take pictures, but you may have heard there was a fire last year that resulted in the park closing for a little bit. While you can see the burn scars, much of the plant life is coming back, and there is new growth.

If you have a National Park near you, be sure to get out and visit. You’d be surprised what you might find in your backyard!

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Woe is Me! I’m Injured :(

Yep. Bad news, that.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I pushed it. I used ill-fitting equipment. I didn’t stop when I got tired.

Now I nearly have a blood blister and I’ve got some throbbing going on. I changed my strategy, and even though there was an audible pop, I kept right on trucking. I think I may also have a pulled muscle.

Bowling. It can really get you!  😆

Parental units are here visiting, so we went bowling. I haven’t been bowling in a long time, mostly because I really need my own ball because of the ill-fitting balls here. But today, I decided to risk it, and I may be paying for it. I ended up changing balls once the pain in my thumb was getting bad, and that’s when the popping happened every time on my release. It was better than the alternative, so I went with it.

And, despite my running, I used muscles in ways I’m not used to using, so I’m feeling it. I never expected to get sidelined by bowling……….. I do remember thinking, “I really ought to just stick to running because it’s easier……….”

Heh. I think I just need to do it more. I’ll have to add that to my list. 😆 Maybe Santa will bring me my own bowling ball.  We’ve considered it numerous time, but have gotten sidelined by other ventures, like chickens, for example.

Maybe I can trade the bowling ball for more chickens………….. 😀

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In my cruising around the internet, I’ve stumbled across her.  (ok, not really stumbled since the story was linked from one of my running site, but hey….)

Apparently, there is a lady out there running in a bikini. And flip-flops, some say (I think they are huraches, which some do actually run in….). She has (obviously) been dubbed  “The Bikini Jogger.”

I think she’s just a minimalist runner, and there is nothing wrong with that.  😀

Apparently, she is setting a trend, although the “Speedo Imitator” isn’t as bold with his foot attire.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of a trend gets going here…….  😆  (no, sorry, I won’t be climbing on that bandwagon any time soon, lol)

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Or maybe not. I don’t know. It may be too early to tell.

Remember that last post where I was saying my pain level hadn’t increased despite my mileage increase? And that I wanted to be careful not to get injured because that would be an excuse not to do the 10 k?

Ya, well, humph. Saturday I kinda sorta upped my mileage again, by 1/2 a mile.  And it felt ok, more or less. I was feeling the hip by the end, but it wasn’t killing me. Sunday I took off because I upped my mileage on Saturday and J wasn’t home in the morning to go roller-blading while I ran, so I had enough excuses to pass. And hey, since my hip was still a little sore, I thought it would be better to have a break.

Monday came. Hip still pretty sore. Had to stop (!!!!!!) while out after about the first mile, because the front part of my hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point where it darn near felt frozen. Stretched it out and it was bearable; no incline work, I said, until I got it sorted out.

Tuesday came. Hip still sore, but I took it slow, and while I did some incline work, it was 1/2 mile less (total; 1/4 mile each) and here again, I went really slow.

Oh. My. Stars. I napped in the afternoon, and by the time evening came, it was on constant throb. Now I have two points of pain. I’m thinking it’s the normal bursa pain and then new stuff I think is some kind of hip flexor/iliopsoas tendonitis. Achille’s tendon. Extensor tendonitis. Iliopsoas tendonitis.

Do you see the pattern?? Yes, I know, I am dense. When one has connective tissue disease (and since Raynaud’s is a symptom of mixed connective tissue disease), you never know what is going to go haywire next.

Anyhow. Hunny is convinced that the pain is the result of running on pavement. I think it’s probably the combination of increased mileage and being in a flare. In hindsight, when I woke up on Saturday with swollen eyes, I should have not increased my mileage, and just to be safe, I should have probably done my running indoors. And then Monday and Tuesday when they were still swollen-same thing. Meh.

I medicated last night so I could sleep. Pain is not as bad today, but it’s not good. I can do a bit more stretching without having my breath taken away, so that is good.  I think. We’ll see what tomorrow (and some additional targeted exercises and stretches) brings. I haven’t registered yet for the race, but I still really want to.

And the clock is ticking. The only other race on the horizon is in December, and I am not sure how running in the cold (because of my Raynaud’s) is going to play out.

But hey- the upside is that I did manage to find a cheap pair of sunglasses that I think will work. They are not terribly dark, but since I’m looking down much of the time, I think they will be ok.

So, bloggy friends who have dealt with this, please give me your two cents! Push on? Ditch the race this time?

The only thing I actually know is that I am headed for a nap right now.  😆

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Do y’all remember on VFF post #4 when I said I wouldn’t bug you but every 100 miles? Yep, it’s that time!  😀

Since you can probably tell I’m still wearing them and still running, you have probably assumed that all is well in happy-running-land, and you would be correct. I won’t bore you with all the details this time, but let’s get some summary numbers (because I’m anal like that :lol:).

Total VFF/miles record #5: 105

Total yearly miles to date: 552.56

Total VFF miles to date: 243

Miles before VFFs: 309.56

October total thus far: 49.5

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that I am contemplating a 10k early next month. When I first had this stupid idea stroke of genius, I was a month out. It goes without saying that I will wait until almost the last minute to register if I decide to.

I’m still working on the minutiae of running outdoors. My biggest issue, I think, is convincing hunny that I am not going to kill myself. I can’t just shrug off his concerns entirely, because when/if it goes south, he’s the one standing in the gap and picking up the pieces (read: taking over the household and taking care of me while I’m incapacitated). I am hoping I have enough time to show him that there won’t be an explosion of badness because I’m running outside.  😆

What’s noteworthy is the increase of mileage. I’ve increased by 1.5 miles and added a day, which means an addition of 12.5 miles a week. At this point, I am going for distance and not speed.

Within the daily miles, I’ve added incline training (my treadmill is so old that back when I got it, it was something to have any kind of incline, particularly combined with a space saver model. This means I have three levels of what I fondly call low, mid, and normal. 😀 ). Today I did 2 miles of incline work; 1 low; 1 mid.

What’s important to know about these two newer things (increased mileage and incline work):

  • I am not following the “don’t increase more than 10% a week” rule.  😆 You’ve already figured out I generally don’t play by the rules, unless I have a compelling reason to.
  • My pain levels have not increased. Because I am thinking about trying that thing next month, I don’t want to get myself in a position where I’m injured and can’t do it. I have noticed more hip soreness, but I’m trying to counteract that by upping my hip strengthening exercises. Injury is just one less excuse for me to have to think about, as I try to talk myself into it.  😆

While I have had some soreness, it’s not prohibitive. It hasn’t slowed me down at all to this point <knock on wood>. In reality, I think if I had 2 months of prep time, I’d certainly jump in with no reservations. I’m looking at two weeks and some change. We’ll see.  😆

On the one hand, I have the voice that says, ” Your mileage is fine- you can do this even if you have to walk some.” On the other hand, I have the voice that says, ” You’re freaking nuts.”  😆

Where I’m landing today? Today, I am encouraged by my bloggy friend runningthriver who ran a half marathon recently and then will run a marathon a short two weeks later. Today, I’m thinking that if this mother here could run a marathon and then deliver a healthy, full-term baby 7 hours later :shock:, maybe I can do a measly 10k…….  😎  :mrgreen:

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Take a wild guess about what I’m griping about this time…..  😆  Ya, more shopping.  *sigh*

Normally, I am not real picky about stuff, nor the lack of it locally, with the exception of a few things. If I can’t find it locally, I’ll go online and order. No biggy.

Pants are generally one item (unless they are sweats) I won’t order online. Usually I won’t order shoes online, but since Vibram has a very clear video on sizing, I followed the directions and was able to order online with no issue.

The one item I cannot make an exception for and order online (unless it’s ridiculously cheap) is eyewear. For all practical purposes, this really means just sunglasses. Before I agree to wear something on my face, they have to fit. And they have to be dark.

Even though I have transition lenses in my eye glasses and I got the darkest ones they have available, they don’t tint darkly enough. The result is that I wear polarized sunglasses over my regular glasses.

Because of my Sjogren’s Disease, I have all kinds of issues with my eyes. The biggest issue is the recurrent cornea erosion. In a nutshell, this means that every time I blink (literally- every time), I stand a chance of my cornea sticking to my eyelid and ripping off. I’ve had this happen during the day, but the most critical time for me is before I open my eyes in the morning.

Over a year after the first episode, and after being in his office for “blips” at least once a month (but usually more), it finally came to a head when, after going in to see my eye guy 4 times in a single day, his daughter called him out of a meeting around 7 pm at night (even though I had seen him a few hours earlier before the office closed) and he met me down at his office.

The determination was that there was no way my cornea would last for a 200 mile emergency drive to have a stromal puncture done. This dealy is where they take a needle and poke it in all over your cornea, which helps the epithelial cells grow “feet” an attach into the deeper layer, and thereby, encourage healing.

I didn’t have that kind of time, though. At that point, my entire cornea was filled will fluid and was mushy; rolling around in my eye and ready to rip the whole thing (including the deeper layers) off. Ya, not good. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy more painful than unmedicated childbirth.

The only viable option we had was to have him use a scalpel and scrape that top layer off. I am not exaggerating when I say that that man saved the sight in that eye. After the eye got to the point where we could take some time with it, we decided to try a more permanent solution.

I have punctal plugs in both eyes. Yep. For a fact I can say I have silicone implants.  😆

On my left eye, we started with top and so far, several years later, it’s ok. In the right eye, I have plugs in both the top and bottom ducts. He had never done top and bottom on anyone before (and none since as far as I know), and he has been doing them for years and years in a desert climate where a lot of people take advantage of this procedure.

Now we know it was the Sjogren’s that caused the problem. At the time, we were stumped, and thinking it was leftover from autoimmune disease. Turns out, it never left. At one point, at the annual state-wide convention, I was one of the case studies, and they were trying to figure out how to heal my eye and get it to stick.

Now having this information, it should come as no surprise as to the why my eyewear is so important. I’ve spent several years (and a chunk of change) trying not to go blind. Having proper eye wear is critically important to me.

I can’t leave the sides exposed; wind can go across, dry out my cornea quickly; I blink, and there it goes.  Something gets in there? Scratch, and there it goes. My eyes don’t heal normally. This kind of injury usually repairs quickly- the cornea has the fastest healing tissue in the body. Two of my kids have had scratched corneas, and by the next morning, they were more or less back to normal. Me?  I’d be a week out and still have a grossly swollen eye, sitting in the dark, trying to de-juice my cornea.

The Sjogren’s also leaves me highly sensitive to light. Bright light is extremely painful. Glare is painful. So don’t go yelling at me to take off my glasses just because you want a picture without tinted glasses in it!

Anyhow. I gots ta try ’em on. They gots ta fit. They gots ta fit right.

And I’m annoyed that I can’t find anything but $100+ glasses locally. Honestly, the eyes/glasses situation is one of the biggest reasons I run indoors. Now that my oldest dd is going to run with me, the dreaded shopping has begun. Still, because of the house gremlin running around here, I don’t feel like I can spend that kind of $$$ on something that may get taken before I even get to wear them for the first time. See the dilemma?

I think, before I invest in glasses, I will try to find an old pair and hope they don’t bruise my nose. Then, if being outside doesn’t kill me (like hunny thinks it will), I’ll be in a better frame of mind to think about finding the right ones.

Next, I’ll have to think about gloves and arm warmers for my Raynaud’s……. 😆

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