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Archive for the ‘Vibram Five Fingers’ Category


*sigh*

You may remember my most recent running shoe conundrum….. if you can’t bring yourself to read the blather, here’s the nutshell: My Vibram Five Finger Bikilas got a hole, and it was time to replace. I hemmed and hawed, eventually getting two new pairs; the See Ya Lses and the KMD Sport Lses.

Back in March, I had posted that the See Ya Lses were not wearing as well as I hoped, and to stay tuned. So. Here we are. :/

Much to my dismay, I have had to change to my backup pair after only 500ish miles. I’m disappointed. I was only about 100 miles in when, after washing, one of the toe pockets was sporting a small tear. As time progressed, the hole got bigger. But I still ran.

My last visit to Hunny, I seriously debated about whether or not to take my backup pair, leaning heavily to leaving them home. Boy, was I glad I took them! I don’t know if it was a combo of the hilly terrain and temperature, or just the high road heat, but they are trashed. My last day, the one toe was all bruised, not to mention black from the road grime. BOOOOO! 😦 😦 😦

VFF1

VFF2

VFF3

VFF4

VFF5

Since I had to retire the See Ya Lses, I’ve moved into the KMD Sport Lses. It’s a heavier shoe, which I could do without. But if it wears better, it might end up being ok. I’m hoping the toe pockets will stretch a wee bit, because a few toes hit the end more than I’d like.

Anyhow. That’s that, and now I know.

Bottom line= ok if you don’t mind replacing your shoes earlier than you want to. Lightweight= yes. Durable= not really. Would I buy again= probably not. I find myself really wishing they hadn’t changed the Bikilas…… meh.

At least Queen rocks on {even though Freddie can never be replaced!}!

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2014


Alrighty then. Clearly, I’ve been slacking. It seems the combination of farm life and absent Hunny kills my motivation for writing. Here’s my lame attempt to get sort of caught up….

My mileage stunk for last year. I was trying to bribe myself to finish the painting before I allowed myself to run. {snort) At some point, I said, “Screw it!”

Last year, I only managed to run 332.21 miles. Seeing at I’m already at 108 and some change for this year {which is still sort of dismal} you can see that running was more or less ‘meh’ last year.

And I was dealing with some leg issues. Seemed like I’d get over one sore spot and find I had another. I finally broke down and got some compression calf sleeves, which really seems to have been a huge help. Hopefully, I can ditch them completely before summer hits, because I HATE HEAT.

You may remember that I logged over 1,400 miles on my previous pair of VFFs and had to get a new pair. I’ve gotten just over 304 miles on the new pair, and they are not wearing nearly as well as my others.

While I have the spare pair, they are heavier. Heading into the heat of the summer leaves me wondering if the See Ya Lses will get me through so I don’t have to wear the others when it’s hot. We’ll see. I’d really rather not have to order another new pair, seeing as the Vibram website got hacked and my information was compromised. {Yes, I know there are other places to buy them; I just always start there- and they were on sale!}

Not only are the soles starting to wear, but several months ago, one of the toes got a small hole in between the toes. I don’t think these are nearly as well made as the Bikilas. If they ever go back to the original sole {and not the beefed up one for transitioning folks}, I would be inclined to buy the Bikilas again.


Did I mention I had to get new ear buds? AGAIN?! If memory serves, this was right around the time I had to get new shoes, so that piece of stunning news might have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Anyhow. You know I’m seriously picky about what goes in my ears when I run…… I was nearly distraught when I discovered they no longer were offering my Nike Vapor ear buds. I nearly gave up running. *sigh*

But, because I am a trooper and decided I needed to deal with this horrible, life-altering news, I bit the bullet and got myself a pair of YurBuds. Because I was a former behind-the-ear fan, I got the ones that go behind the ear. You are shocked, I know.  focus-100-for-women

Did you see that ^^^^^ there? You know, that part where I said a FORMER fan? What changed my mind?

The YurBuds. I hate the over-the-ear model. HATE. THEM.

Sure, they swivel. But they also come completely apart. And trying to get them in and over the ear without popping them off requires a mirror and tweaking, etc. Seriously? I want to put them in and GO.

What I have discovered, however, is that I don’t need the over-the-ear feature. Nope. I don’t. YurBuds actually stay in the ear like they are supposed to, so the next pair will not have that boat anchor feature. Besides that issue and the one ear piece cover trying to come off all the time, I am actually quite impressed with them. They are ok. And they actually don’t fall out, which is good.

Fortunately, I don’t need to use them a whole lot, courtesy of my new treadmill, which has an mp3 port. My old one finally died after almost 20 years and thousands of miles. Given how much it rains here and that summer is coming {eventually}, I knew it was time to pony up and make that investment. I don’t have a non-blurry picture of this stunning piece of equipment, but I found a good NordicTrac with the same size motor as my old one. Motor size does matter, kids. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lest you think all I’ve been doing while non-writing has been avoiding painting and running, I will let you know right now, mister, that I HAVE NOT. Well, ok, I have been avoiding painting. BUT. I’ve done a lot of knitting. And, I have more peeps. 😀

So, let’s recap. Running in 2014 was pretty sucky. Not a total loss, but this year will be better in that regard. Unless my man comes home, it will likely be as stressful. I am not a good single parent, I’ll tell you. But running will be better, and darn it, there really is stuff outside that has to get painted soon, nevermind everything inside……. stay tuned. Or don’t. 😆

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I’ve been hearing Sarah Brightman {with Andrea Bocelli} in my head this last week; ya know, because life is a soundtrack and all that jazz.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I hate shopping.  I hate shopping so much I’m seriously thinking about making a category, just so y’all can kvetch with me. Erg.

So anyhow.

June of 2011 brought me to a critical point in my decades of running when, thanks to my chronic illness{s} and my plantar fasciitis, I realized something serious needed to change if I was going to not only walk without pain, but continue running. I spent a boatload of time researching, as I do with all things. I am not prone to leaping into fads, and do what I can to avoid them. By the time I got around to ordering my hobbit feet,  aka Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, I was pretty much at my wits end, and at the end of options to try. Bikila VFFs

I knew there would be a period of time to transition into them full time, which I wrote about. I also promised periodic updates, which I managed to keep up with up to the point we moved. My last post about my VFFs was in May of 2012, when I hit 1,000 miles. I am sad to say, my running tanked when we moved. It was sporadic at best, and it’s taken me over 2 years to log close to another 500 miles. 😯

There has been SO much to do on the farm; not just chickens and horses, but painting the whole house, including doors, windows, and all the miles of moldings. I haven’t gotten a whole lot finished, but I did manage to get the really bad blood spatter painted over. I still have curtains to make for every room but one. And that’s just inside. I have a ton to paint outside, too.u

With Hunny away for work and me basically single-parenting day-to-day, I reached a point where it was time to get back to my running. In many ways, it’s been really tough to have to build my mileage back up. I started at 4 miles and worked my way back up to 5 miles {and some change}. Hah!

I think I’ll prolly have to hold steady through the summer, unless it cools off, because wow. I left late this morning at 7:15 and it was 80 degrees when I got home, with a 90 something % humidity. Coming from the desert, the humidity while running takes some getting used to. I make a point to leave early, but overslept today.

Over the course of the past week, I’ve noticed spots on the bottom of my shoes getting really thin. I am not a fan of gravel, which my road in either direction is, for nearly 1/2 mile in the one direction I regularly go. I had been looking online periodically for my next shoe, and have been extremely disappointed to see that my beloved Bikilas are not made any more. They have the Bikila Lses, which have laces. And then they have the Bikila EVOs, which have a thicker sole and are for folks transitioning into minimalist running shoes. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I briefly thought about turning my Komodosport LSes KomodosportLS into my running shoes, but honestly, I’d rather save them for wearing for the rare occasions I’m not wearing flip flops or boots.

In a mad dash, I got online and ordered what I could find that looked like it would work. I ordered the See Ya Lses from the Vibram website. I was really excited when the See Ya Lses came today. I put them on, and then got really disappointed. seeyalses

Vibram has changed their US sizing. Instead of measuring your foot as before, now they ask you for your shoe size. I don’t know about you, but I notice that with traditional shoes, like clothes, the size is variable to the shoe. Frustrating! 😡

They are too big. Like, by at least a size. I tried them on and wore them around the house. Not only are they too long, but they are too wide. Any Vibram that has the laces are made for slightly wider feet, which I have, but the fit on these was just plain wonky.

Perhaps the most concerning feature was the heel. If you look at the pictures, you can see how the heels on the See Yas are pointy. That part right there is much taller, and digs into the back of my Achilles. I had them on for not even an hour and had a pressure mark on the back of my foot when I took them off. My plan is to return them for a smaller size and see if the right size makes a difference in that part of the fit.

Another thing I had read in some of the reviews, is that because they’re largly mesh {aka, “breathable;” and  is hard to see from these pictures, but is pretty clear on Zappos.com}, folks have said they are not good for winter running unless you wear socks. And we all know what my sock situation is like!

Earlier this eveing, I spent several hours online looking for other Vibram models; thus, my conundrum. I went back to the Vibram website to see what else they had. Right now it’s slim pickins’ because they just had a huge sale and are out of stock on numerous models. After hunting for hours, I ordered another pair from Zappos.

The Vibram KMD Sport Lses are, as near as I can figure, the updated version of the Komodo Sport Lses. kmdsportls How ironic is that?! I figure, if I still don’t like the fit of the See Ya Lses, I can send them back. If I like them, I can wear the KMDs during the colder months if I don’t want to wear socks. At the very least, they have the notched heel like I’m used to, with a bit of cushioning there, too. And, if I love the See Ya Lses, I can hang onto the KMDs and wear them when the others need to be replaced.

Of additional concern are the reviews that say all of these models wear out quickly. We’ll see.

My original Bikilas, as I mentioned, have lasted just over 1,425 miles. By the time the others get here, it will be close to or over 1,500.

1426miles.2

 

1426miles1

The foot bed in the right shoe has started to rip, and in that same shoe, the whole foot bed is wrinkly because the adhesive is shot. The upside is that it didn’t really bother me. Two days ago, I ran the last mile with what I thought was a pebble in one of the toes, only to discover it was actually a little black beetle that was still alive!

And then today, the gravel got me hard in the middle of my foot.  rockSeeing as that is not part of the foot that generally comes into hard contact with the road, you can tell I was distracted by one of the dogs who I to run back to the house because, as a border collie, she wants to run circles around the cars that pass us on the road. :/

So, as much as I hate to, it’s time to say goodbye. I am hopeful that I actually can find another pair of VFFs that I like as well, and is as well made. There is something really fantastic about not having to change out your running shoes every 300 miles!

Here’s also hoping I can get this song unstuck from my head…. 😆

 

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khznWuH3VTs%5D

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We all have them. In my mind, my milestones are points in time which are usually “firsts” and often, experiences that may not be duplicated. And usually, it’s somewhere on a journey, that has a definite beginning, middle, and end.

In this case, I have no idea where the end is, but I clearly remember the beginning. While I should have hit this particular milestone a while ago, I am finally to it.

Yep. That’s right. I’ve got 1,000 miles on my Vibram Five Finger Bikilas. (ok, you can throw confetti as long as you promise to clean it up later  😆 )

Do you remember? I first wrote about them June 16, 2011. My very first VFF run, I went a stunning 1.5 miles.  😆 After 34 days of transitioning from my Asics to my VFFs, I was finally in them for the full 5 miles.

As you can imagine, I’m pretty anal with my documenting (as if you didn’t know already!  :lol:). I’ve always kept track of the mileage on my shoes, just because it’s good to know how many miles they’ve seen, so if you starting getting some issues, you’ll know whether or not it’s time to change them out.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am not to really have to worry about that! Anymore, I just keep track of total mileage, and because I really have no idea how long they’ll last, it’s just interesting to keep track of the miles. I’ve heard VFFs last a really long time, so I’m going to put them to the test!

So, here are some stats:

  • 1,000 miles run
  • 3 races to date (2 10ks and 1 Half Marathon)
  • 34 days to transition to full-time at then current mileage
  • 156 days of running which =s
    • 6.41 miles each run, on average
  • No idea how many times they’ve been washed, but it’s a lot.  😀

Where am I am these days?  Let me tell you, the heat is kicking my butt, big time. The hotter it is, the more I swell. The more I swell, the worse I feel, and the more NEED to run to help flush out the swelling. But, the worse I feel, the less inclined I am to run. Blah.

My initial goal for the yearly mileage game is 1,200 miles. This means I need to run 100 miles a month. My normal average is between 30 and 50 miles a week. You’d think, then, that it would be no problem and I’d be over the goal at the end of the year. And if I was a normal person, you’d be right.

Instead, spring hit, and brought 90 degree temps. We’ve already been over 100, and most recent weeks, we’ve been in the mid to upper 90s. Blessed be, we’re getting a cold front and some supposed rain blowing in. This could not have better timing, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

December was a rockin’ month, with 205 miles.

I took a break in January and logged 118 miles.

Mileage for February was 115.1, with my half marathon giving me that leftover tenth. (Have I mentioned that I generally like nice, neat, round numbers?  :lol:)

And then I hit a flare and it got hot. March totally tanked, and I only managed 44 miles. That put me 56 miles behind that month.

April was marginally better, but I had a few weeks where I didn’t run at all, which also killed my mileage. I ended the month at 81 miles, which left me still 42 miles behind.

At this point, I’ve only got 21 miles this month, and this should be a taper week since I have a 10k on Saturday. Can you see the struggle?  My Wednesdays are now free, but this is a week I need to cut back and try to save my legs for Saturday. We’ll see.

Since the cold front is moving in, it’s supposed to be signifincantly cooler. The high on Saturday should only be 82, which means it shouldn’t be too hot for me. In theory.

A few weeks ago, I did change my mileage for the game down to 950. I don’t need the pressure of feeling like I’m so far behind that I’ll never get caught up, because it’s too easy to let that become a self-defeating thought pattern. I am, however, still running with the original goal in mind, and we’ll see how it goes.

Are you wondering what these 1,000 miles shoes look like? Don’t mind the post run sweaty wetness…….  😆

1,000 miles! Reflectors are still reflecty!

 

Look! No holes yet!

Because my life has been a soundtrack lately, this one will take you to the commercial break. (Sorry about the ad, though!)  :mrgreen:

 

 

 

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Race Report


Near the end of Holiday Challenge, I checked out the supposed race schedule (looking at last year’s races) to see what was coming up. The first thing for 2012 was a race that had the normal 2k walk/run and 10k walk/run. What it also had left me scratching my head.

It also had a half marathon. Well hum.

I have to admit that a HM has *never* been on my bucket list. That’s 13.1 darn miles. That’s a really long way, y’all.

I mean, it’s not as long as a regular marathon (not on the bucket list) or a super marathon (often 50k) and definitely not an ultra (100k- yes, they really do exist, and no, that will NEVER be on my radar or bucket list), but still- it’s nothing to sneeze at. A 10k, for example, is not quite 1/2 of the Half. For someone who struggled a few years ago to stay out of bed and awake for over an hour without doing any running- the idea of running that long and longer was not something I even remotely entertained.

And the half has never been on my radar.

Until that holiday challenge………….

It goes without saying that I am not particularly fast. The miles I was cranking out weren’t at blazing speeds, to say the least. But it got me thinking that I might be able to do a half marathon and not die. So, I thought I would give “training” a go with a 2 month lead time and see where we landed.

Late January and early February brough a round of illness, which stunted my weekly mileage and gave me an entire week off. I think the low point was something like 8 miles for the entire week. My pain level has been higher overall, although it’s gone down the last few weeks, which was the only reason I thought I would give it a try.

During the last few weeks, I had resigned myself to just finishing it and making myself be happy with that. My two goals were: 1) finish in under 3 hours (yes, I told you I was slow) and 2) not walk. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t barf either, but I wasn’t convinced I could put that on the list.  😆

This distance had really been messing with my head, and to be honest, this was one I was not looking forward to. Ya, I could have done the 10k; I could have chosen not to do it all. But then I felt that pushing myself all those weeks would be for naught, so I needed to just bite the bullet and do it.

So I did. I didn’t die, and while my time was better than I had estimated, it wasn’t a personal record or anything. Total time was 150:02 (2 hours, 30 minutes, and 2 seconds). That gives me 11:27 minute mile.

When we started out, my truck said it was 30 degrees outside. No biggy. I was pleasantly surprised to cruise past the 10k turnaround feeling pretty decent, and not like it had taken forever to get there.

And then we turned the corner. And it got windy. The turn wasn’t what got me- but the headwind blowing solidly at least 15 mp did. I hadn’t been pushing to begin with, and having that block of knowing the route and how far it was, it totally made me want to be conservative.

My “training plan” has always been to regularly run the distance of the race. That didn’t happen this time; mostly because I was sick combined with things coming up that didn’t give me all the time to do the long runs. When I compared what I was doing with training plans that are out there, they’d have one long run a week; some of them didn’t even make it to the mileage until race day. So, I convinced myself I’d be ok because of my mileage base.

(Can you tell I’m coming up with excuses? :lol:) Now I know that I need the miles under me so I don’t have that little voice of doubt nagging me, making me question. I didn’t necessarily want to be cautious; but I was because I didn’t want to peter out at the end. I also changed up my breakfast, which I’m not sure if that didn’t help or not.

And then there was the lady I nearly walked in on in the bathroom. She started off running with her husband, but he’s done more training than she has. When I saw her walking, I felt like I’d be able to pass her. And I was planning on it. Until I caught up to her and she said, “I’ve been waiting for you. I don’t know if I can finish this.” Before I caught myself, I said, “I’ll push you to the end. You can do it.”

Well, shoot. This was nearing the end, with about 2.5 mile left (best estimation). This is the time when I change my pace and really push. But now I felt bad, because I didn’t want her to stop and I kinda told her I’d stick with her. So I paced it with her and finished slightly ahead of her. She thanked me profusely at the end again saying, “I couldn’t have finished it if you hadn’t stayed with me.”

At the end of the day, I think that’s what’s important to me, more so than finishing times. I like to see the really fast people telling me “good job” as they are blowing by.  😆 I like to see the camaraderie of people encouraging one another.

I was not happy to see the guy running crazily in front of me, doing his best not to allow me to pass. I don’t know if it was the pink skirt or not, but he was pretty determined not to let me get by. I did, of course. But still.

And then there was the other guy that who raced me as I was closing in on him- this reminded me of being at a stoplight, and then gunning it so the person next to you can’t pass you. There are always those who speed up so they are going faster than you, which means you can’t pass unless you go faster. I got around him, too.

So. While initially, I thought my time was much better than anticipated and was feeling really good, in comparison to my other two races, it’s my slowest race time. Meh.

I don’t know that I’ll be doing the next half marathon because it’s going to be in September, and I cannot run outside in that kind of heat. At this point, I’m not planning on it. But darn, it would be nice to do another one and see if I can do better.

I’ve had a soak in the jacuzzi, but I am ready for a nap.  I’m gonna go eat my race banana and then read until I fall asleep…………

At least I’m on track for my 1,200 miles this year, since this race puts me at 217.1 for the year and means I’ve got 838.3 VFF miles on this pair of shoes………………. *sigh*

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Yep.  I did, I’m ashamed to say.  I knew better, and I did it anyhow.

At first, I conned myself into thinking a little wouldn’t matter.  And you know how that goes- once you have a little, well, heck, you might as well go for broke and do what you want and have a lot, right?

And then, the really twisted part of my brain joined in and said, “It’ll be an experiment, and then I’ll know for sure one way or the other.”

Epic fail. Big time bomb.

And truly, the only one suffering is me. Go me for allowing my stupid stubbornness to get the best of me and letting myself con myself into not just falling off the wagon, but staying off the wagon. 🙄

I think this started on Thanksgiving. I “allowed” myself to have some dinner rolls, and thus, I started the fall off the gluten-free wagon.

I didn’t have any really bad effects initially. Indeed, I was flying high when my rheumatologists gave me the green light to run, and actually forbade me to stop. I started increasing my mileage and joined the Runner’s World Holiday Challenge. My mileage was good and I felt great.

I really thought, in my heart of hearts, that the worst with the diseases was behind me. How could it not be? I’d conquered the bulk of the pain; the plantar fasciitis (a kind of connective tissue) was all but resolved thanks to my Vibram Five Finger shoes, and my chronic tendinitis issues seemed to be on vacation. Systemic inflammation was down considerably, which I considered to be a major victory.

And then came Christmas week. I am pretty sure it was the combination of not napping/getting my feet up in the afternoons and the normal stress of the season that did me in. Christmas morning, I managed to crawl out of bed around 8 am and was back in by 10:30 am where I spent the rest of and entire next day.

That week, I had run 52.25 miles, and things were feeling a bit achy. In a matter of two days and a few hours, I had gained 12 lbs of fluid. Even with my continued running, I was swollen, pitting, and generally feeling like crap. This was by far the worst flare I had hit in several months. It took about a week, but the pounds dropped off.

The pain, however, remained. The first week of this month, everything was still hurting. As the pain increased, my mileage varied, as I decided to do some shorter runs to see if that would help. Stomach unease was a near constant, which meant I was doing overall a really good job staying away from the sugar cookies, knowing they would exacerbate things.

When we got the crud going around, though, the only thing I was interested in was raisin bread. And this is when the twisted part of my brain really took hold and let me fall completely off the gluten-free wagon. I mean, I was already in a lot of pain, so why bother not eating what I wanted to, right?

Shame on me. I know better.

I had nearly tricked myself into thinking I was “normal;” that I could eat “normally” and make “normal” goals and things.

Shame on me. I know better.

Part of the reason I started running eons ago was so that I *could* eat and not feel guilty. That was my reward (well, one of them) for running: the ability to eat ice cream or chocolate and not feel guilty. 🙄

As part of my research on my conditions, one theme I had run into repeatedly was the gut connection to inflammation. I’ve been tested for Celiac, and apparently there was no “intolerance.” The thing is, you don’t have to be completely intolerant, nor do you have to have an allergy to something to have it affect you and give you adverse reactions.

Yep. Sensitivities can cause all kinds of things. There is a difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerance. I’ve undergone extensive allergy testing. By this I mean a series of over 300 injections where the “bump” is measured for allergic response (you’re going to have a bump; how high the bump is determines the level of your allergy). From what I remember, wheat was not one of my allergies.

We know that the gut/intestines – the enteric or intrinsic system- has its own nervous system, which has as many neurons as the spinal cord.

Did you get that?

Let me say it again- your digestive system has its own nervous system that has about the same number of neurons as your spinal cord. How does this work? One example would be to think of someone who is clinically brain dead (has no electrical activity in the brain) and yet survives artificially, with a feeding tube etc. Did you ever think about how that works?

How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being is a really good article to get you started.

I’m not going to go into a lengthy lecture about anatomy and physiology, but I WILL say that what we eat is FAR more connected to how we feel and act than most people think. Conditions like ADD/ADHD and autism often respond to dietary intervention and are often exacerbated by food with certain food colorings and additives like MSG.

There is stuff in food (like wood pulp, aka cellulose) that we don’t have the ability to digest. And then we wonder why we can’t?

There is much evidence and continuing studies that show a link between gluten and autoimmune conditions and pain. Celiac and arthritis, for example, have a link. (Celiac Disease is NOT an allergy to gluten, it is an autoimmune disease; some children with wheat allergies can outgrow the allergy.) Studies show that Sjogren’s and Raynaud’s both have links to gluten.

And gluten is in all kinds of stuff- it’s not just bread; it’s not just connected to wheat, and it’s often hidden (like whey in hot dogs, casein in tuna, or MSG being called “natural flavorings”). Gluten can be found in vitamin supplements and some medications. Most grains can have gluten, so it’s not safe to say “I’ll just eat oatmeal” because there could be (and often is) cross-contamination. Wheat free does not = gluten free.  😦

I often wonder why people are more agreeable to treating illness with artificial chemicals than they are to think about what they are eating. Is it just because processed foods are easier? (ok, I admit, this feeds into my theory of a “right now” society whereby people want things right now; easily, without having to think or work, and I believe that treating it with a pill is the route most people chose just because it’s “easy”.)

I DO think people want to take the easy route, and in some ways, I am no exception. You probably already know we don’t do a lot of processed foods and we LOVE the eggs we get from our chickens.

Gluten-free options are not abundant (nor cost-effective) where I live. And, since it’s really only me in the family that is affected, it’s hard to justify spending the $$ and having the rest of the family go gluten free. So that leaves me more or less where I started (bear with me, please, while I whine :D)– cutting out what I can on my own and hoping I see results.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. At this point, I’m nearly 100% sure that I’ll see results and my pain level will once again decrease. I’m going to miss my raisin bran.

If, in a few months, I start to complain about wanting to load up on breads and grains again, would y’all just poke me, please?

Thank GOODNESS I can still eat popcorn……………

**Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Don’t shoot me or try to sue me if some of this information isn’t spot on or is debunked in 50 years. I’m just a regular ‘ole person scouring the internet and researching what I can. If you have experience with any of this, PLEASE leave me a comment!

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Have you looked?  Do you usually look? 

~~WARNING!!!! LONG POST AHEAD!!!~~~~  😆

Every year around this time, I end up laughing sardonically to myself.

“I just love a clean slate!”

“New year= new beginnings!”

<gag> I mean, really? Do people really believe this? Like, nothing from the past year is going to follow them into this year because it’s a “new calendar?” Or that because it’s the new year, things are just magically going to be “better” because the time meter has been reset?? The short answer is yes, apparently they must because every year, they say the same thing.

Ooooooookkkk- back to reality! I love history. I just don’t live there. 😀

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Yep. It’s true. The key here is learning.

So many times, people do the same things over and over, each time expecting a different result. Doesn’t work that way. Never has; never will.

Learn something from the past, get over it, and move on already. Play the hand life has dealt you instead of moaning and groaning about better days (like when you were in high school). Don’t let the past keep you trapped, because you can’t escape from self-imposed imprisonment. It’s just not happening.

Get rid of your grudges– they keep you enmeshed, even if you don’t think they do. Why are you continuing to let that/them/him/her/it continue to have that kind of power over you? They don’t care about your grudge, and it’s going to damage you far more than it will them. Let it go……. but learn from the experience- don’t forget it; protect yourself from something similar happening again.

This is why we need to periodically look back. For me, it’s a measure of taking stock- where have I been? What went right? What needs work? Were any of those things things I actually had control over?  😆

Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a minute so we can see what my frame of reference is:  2010.

~~~~~~~~~~Intermission music~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh hey. I see you’re back.  🙂

The big rant there, about the medical billing? Yep. It’s still broken. The one bit of information I redently learned from my insurance company was “All emergency room doctors are contractors. None of them work for the hospital.” <gasp!>  😯

That was news to me! I thought only smaller community hospitals were cursed with that! I have no real way of confirming this information, so if you have some kind of concrete evidence, would you point me at it, please? Thanks.

Why, you might ask, is that even on my radar? Well, in August, dd #2 (my now 10-year-old) ended up in the ER with a concussion. I kid you not when I say that the hand of God was on that situation from the get-go, because financially, it could have been a WHOLE lot worse than it turned out to be. (I mean, of course the hand of God is in everything all the time- this was one situation, though, where a person could see it really clearly and know it for what it was.)

Explanation: We here, in our rural community where a larger city is 200 plus miles away in ANY direction, have 2 hospitals. One is relatively new; a private, physician owned venture that is really, really nice. Thanks to the cuts in Medicare and Obamacare, it can’t expand nor can it sustain itself, so it’s being bought out by the other hospital. I’m not sure that’s happened yet, and it’s besides the point.

So, when J started vomiting after goofing around with siblings (something I did not witness), I knew it was time to take her to the emergency room. I’m pretty well convinced that the other hospital will kill you unless you are mostly dead anyhow (ya, this is the one where the head of ER services told me “Everyone has pitting edema in the morning- you are just fine besides the connective tissue disease issue. Get off the internet and stop trying to find something wrong.” Yes, really. Nevermind those pesky chronic illness that other COMPETENT medical professionals have diagnosed.  🙄  😡 ), so my thinking was to take her to the other ER because surely, it had to be better.

Indeed, it was. We were in and out in 2 hours; the CT confirmed a concussion but no bleed (which was a huge relief, because that’s an airlift out). In reality, we were the only ones there.

That was early August. It is now January. A few weeks ago, I got another bill from the emergency doctor’s contracting service, which turned into nearly 2 hours (yes, really) of time waiting on the phone. First, I had to call the service to find out why they hadn’t billed insurance again. (We had already had this conversation in October.) They said they had, and insurance said it needed more information from me.

??? I hadn’t gotten anything from insurance, so I called. Insurance said they couldn’t find a record of a claim. Interestingly, the hospital bill and the labs had been completely paid for by the end of September- apparently, the hospital, which took my information- was able to properly bill insurance with no problem. Somehow, the ER doctor service wasn’t able to take that same information and do anything with it. That bill was for nearly $750.

When I called insurance, it showed that it hadn’t been billed at all. The next logical step was for the insurance company to call the ER doctor service to try to straighten it out- all with ME still on the line……..Granted, most of the time spent was just being on hold, but still…. 2 hours later, it was finally determined that the ER doctors hadn’t actually billed the right place, but now it should be on the right track.

How does this stuff happen?!!! You give your information a single time; to a single person. This person enters that data into the computer, for goodness sakes. And every one but the one gets the billing right? Maddening!

But wait- there’s more!  😆 As it turns out, the new hospital doesn’t actually HAVE pediatric services.  Yep. You read that right. They can deliver the bulk of the babies for the community, and they treat adults, BUT, they cannot admit pediatrics because they are not equipped to do so.

AND NOWHERE WAS THIS INFORMATION POSTED OR OTHERWISE SHARED WITH ME

You’d have thought that when we showed up, there would have been a note or something posted- or the person taking our information would have said, “Please be aware that if she needs to be admitted, we are going to call an ambulance to transport her to the other hospital.” Had I known that, I would have taken her there to begin with (where a dear friend actually works in the ER).  It was a given that if she had had a bleed, it would have been a chopper ride out- but first, they would have transported her to the other hospital by ambulance, too, because they are not equipped to do that there for peds.

WTH?!!! Pardon my french, but really? You don’t think you should tell someone that kind of information when they come in with a child that clearly needs medical attention? But see, fortunately, this is where God was clearly *overtly* in charge, because there was no bleed and things went well, all things being considered (we didn’t come home with something like MRSA….).  But when my friend called and let me know what was more likely to have  happened- wow. Just wow. Do people not have consciences?

I think we can conclusively say that medical billing is broken. And while our medical system is broken, I’m still inclined to think it’s considerably better than other countries with socialized healthcare, where people have to wait for eons to get surgeries and other services. At least here, I, the consumer, have the option to shop for doctors, even if I have to fight the payment ring-around-the-rosey later.

I think we can check that off the rants for 2011.  😆

Let’s see- the Stuff issue remains, more or less. Getting a Kindle has been hugely helpful in not adding to the pile of books, so that is good. The other stuff- *sigh*.  Work in progress.

I will say, though, that unlike 2010 which I was glad was dead and buried, 2011 actually DID have some really good points.

I missed not doing our usual travels. I think we all missed not taking out usual vacations. This was due completely to the addition of CHICKENS! If you’ve been reading along, you have no doubt figured out by now that I am totally crazy chicken lady.  :mrgreen:

Not a *single* regret here for getting chickens! Santa even brought Mama some chicken lanterns for Christmas, which add to the chicken calendar, magnets, and ornaments for her birthday.  😀

We’re hoping to get the chicken arrangement more automated so when we do hit the road again, we’ll have it set to where our chicken sitter only really has to come once or twice a day to collect eggs and make sure they all put themselves to bed.

Of course, all of our girls are grown up now and they are all laying eggs. One of these days, I’ll actually get around to taking pictures of the chicken condo, the girls, and their gift of eggs!!  😆

The other “big” thing for me this year came in the form of running shoes. The change to Vibram Five Fingers has been absolutely monumental for me. Because I’m not running with as much pain, I’ve been able to increase my mileage and enter races. 2011 brought me 2 10k races. 

Year end totals for running: 935.76 miles. At the beginning of the year, my goal was 500 miles. At some point, that changed, and I was looking at 800 miles. When that goal got close, it changed to 900. The last few weeks, I had changed the goal again, to 950 miles. 😆

The last week bit me in the rear, though, as I hit a pretty major flare on Christmas Day followed by a tummy bug. I only logged 43.5 miles for last week; my monthly total for December was 205.

How does that break down with the shoes? 308.56 miles were run in my Asics, which leaves 627.2 in my VFFs. I’ll continue to update periodically on my VFFs, as a measure of keeping track of the longevity of these treds. The Holiday Challenge finishes today, so stay tuned for the update coming soon!

Overall, 2011 wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, it was considerably better than I had hoped! That being said, I can’t confess to having unbridled enthusiasm for 2012.  While I’m cautiously optimistic, I’m probably just too cynical.  😆

2012- looking forward to good things and firsts- like going and collecting eggs, because we haven’t collected eggs at all this year.  😆  And then a run, since I haven’t run at all this year………………. 😆

What are your goals for the coming year?  Do you set any?  Have you looked in your rearview mirror yet?  😀

 

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