Sunday, March 30, 2014

Run, Meg, Run

Last week, I ran six miles, setting a new personal best for distance without stopping (and I don't count pausing at a traffic light to wait for the pedestrian light to change so I can cross safely as stopping, even though I find it annoying to pause like that). With my 10K race on the horizon, I've been trying to steadily--

Oh, who am I kidding? I got a heavy dose of "I'mma do it" and instead of adding a quarter mile here, a quarter mile there, as Matt the Reasonable recommended, I just strapped on my running shoes and took a six-mile run (previous best being 5 miles).

A 10K is 6.2 miles, so today, I set out to add at least that much. With my iPhone set to Map My Run, I cruised down my normal starting path, the GPS pinging from the little pouch I wear over my bottom.

It was an amazing run today--there was a definite chill in the breeze, but it was sunny and nearly cloudless after a full day of rain yesterday (with more expected tomorrow). The air was clean and fresh in that way it is after a good soaking. I felt faster than I was last week, and ran much of my route with a smile on my face.

Who am I, anyway?

It wasn't all easy. There's an uphill bit in mile 4 or 5 that is butt-kicking. It's not particularly steep, but it is a long hill, and I definitely lost some steam going up. Miles 5 and 6 were easier, but I was still slower than I'd been earlier in the run, and definitely ready to see my last half mile.

The last half mile is always the same--a stretch of road from one major intersection to another. If there's wind (there's almost always wind, even just a little), I'm running straight into it. Mentally, it's the toughest part of my run, but I'm even conquering that.

As I finished, lightly slapping my hand against a light pole at my "finish line," I took my phone from my pouch and checked the time. Not only did I add four-tenths of a mile to my route, for an awesome 6.4 miles, I only adding one minute to my time. Where last week, I ran 6 miles in 1:09, this week, I did 6.4 in 1:10. I can't wait to see how this translates to my next 5K (in May).

I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. Of course, I'm also gnawing on the walls (that run burned over 700 calories) and my legs are slightly rubbery. But I feel amazing. I can run longer and longer distances. I can run faster and faster.

I can run.

In the end, that's the most amazing part. Today's route took me by the Lincoln Kaiser Permanente facility. Back when I used to have Kaiser for my health coverage, the only time I visited the Lincoln facility was when I had a bout of sciatica--the bout that sent my Dad to 24 Hour Fitness to ask about getting me a membership for my birthday. Today, I ran by it somewhere in the 5th mile, and grinned as I remembered all that I've accomplished. I'm so glad I'm not in that place anymore.

I've got this 10K. At first, I was doubtful. It was one thing to push myself for four miles, but I'm proving to myself that I can keep pushing those limits.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #71)

The major theme for this week was Holy Snot Rag, Batman.

Meaning, I had an attack of hay fever/some weird cold/creeping crud. And I whined a lot.


No pics today. Whoops.


The one good thing about having allergies? Look how
green my eyes are when they get irritated.

Tissue, and more tissue.

I took a peppermint tea bath on Monday. IT WORKS.

Mom and Dad got back from a trip to Louisiana on Monday
night. One stop was a visit to the Tabasco factory.

Teeny, tiny Tobasco.

I guess this is a "thing" in Louisiana.

Rainy morning at a large suburban high school.

Raindrops on roses...

You probably know what's coming next.

Yup. Whiskers on kittens. 

My purse.

As I sat at Fusion, waiting for a no-show piano student,
I got a tornado warning on my phone. So I went home,
but stopped on my running path along the way because
there was a small crowd of men with cameras.

Sure enough, we saw some funnel clouds.

I went home quickly, and sat and watched the coverage
with Mom and Dad. Fortunately, no major damage, no

Bubble wrap!!!

By Thursday, I was using Halls to keep singing. 

But I was able to get out for a short run. The clouds were



A first period sub gig meant taking tea with me.

I've been seeing these on bushes and they are so very
pretty. Very soft, delicate petals.

Kleenex pack. 

Subbing (fourth period) for an art teacher. 

High school art classroom.

Bird brain?

Rainy Saturday. I finished my chores by 10:00 this morning,
and have basically been sitting on my butt ever since.

This coming week will be busy, and next week, I'm going on Choir Tour to Disneyland (so extra-crazy). Then I have Spring Break (recovery time). Then it's the end of April into May and things get insane. Yup.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Every once in a while, I sit here and go through pictures on my computer. This afternoon, as the rain comes down and my sinuses throb and my nose drips, I'm giggling over pictures of a young Harley Dude. How I miss that little moron.

But the pictures do make me smile.

Baby Dude

Bow to the Queen, Little Dude.

I have no doubt he started it.

Those feet!

Hangin' out with Mom.

Forever my favorite pic of him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overdoing It

I woke up on Sunday and promptly started sneezing. "Hay fever," I thought, before popping a Claritin and setting out for my six-mile run. These days, not even constant sneezing can keep me from my Sunday run. I simply tied a rag around my waist pouch (used to carry a house key and my phone) and breathed through my mouth.

As the day wore on, the allergies didn't let up, and in the couple of days since then, my head has felt stuffed with cotton, I've been a fountain of mucous, and I've also been stuck with a raging case of The Crankies. Just ask my students, used to a good-natured, humorous teacher, who yesterday snapped, "Look, I don't even want to be here. I want to be at home, in bed, with the covers over my head," and who today snapped, "Look, I know you're determined to hate this new song but we're doing it in May so get learning it."

Every week I print out a To Do List of things I want or need to accomplish that week. Some things are non-negotiable, like paying rent at my storage unit, a meeting at work, etc. Others can slide from this week's list onto next week's, like "working on the ongoing choral library clean-up" and other tasks along those lines. I list them more or less in order of priority, and I feel a lot of satisfaction as I tick them off my list. While it's rare I actually complete a whole list in a week, it gives me something to strive for. And this week, I have a pretty full list.

With our choir tour coming, and other craziness as the end of the school year approaches, there are more and more things that simply need to be accomplished, and this week, I find it hard to focus. My body is reminding me to rest for a few days, to allow it to get better, but my brain is screeching at me to GET STUFF DONE!! With as busy as my schedule is--the high school, the private lessons, SCSO, my regular workouts--I'm pretty set in the times I need to be out and the times I can be at home.

Yesterday, I had a few hours between school and SCSO to come home and relax. I read for a bit, dozed for a bit. Finally, after dinner, I got dressed and put my contacts back in...only to stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and think, "I have no business driving a car."

I called my section rep to let her know I wouldn't be at rehearsal. As foggy as I felt, a 45-minute drive and two-and-a-half hours of singing just wouldn't be good for me. Then there's the drive back home. She was very understanding, as I rarely miss rehearsal, and I know my voice sounded terrible.

But here's how I roll--I felt guilty. I'm supposed to go to choir. I have to justify to myself staying home from an activity I pay to do, when the reality is I have no business being out and about when I feel this crummy. And take a sick day at work? You must be joking. I'm not contagious, and there's stuff needing doing. So I tough it out, and feel guilty when things fall by the wayside a little bit.

As I said to Mom this afternoon, "I really need to give myself permission to slow down a little." She gave me that timeless Mom Look and said, "Yes, you do."

That's easier said than done. I take my responsibilities very seriously, and I enjoy what I do. It's hard to feel like I'm letting myself and others down. Let's not even start on how I feel about missing a run this morning. But I am learning that in order to do my job well, sometimes I have to step back from it and let my body have a moment to rest when it's telling me, "Lady, slow down for a minute." Which is what it's telling me now, as "hay fever" seems to be moving more towards, "You've got a cold!"

So I soldier on, but I'm giving myself time to rest as I can grab it. Instead of staying at work this afternoon, I came home for some pajama time before my private lessons start. I'll go to the gym tomorrow, but do light duty. I'm making myself go to bed earlier, relax with a book a little more, drink a lot of water. I know, in another day or two, I'll be back to normal.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ugh, Blogger


I don't know why my previous post was highlighted in white, and it won't let me change it back to normal.


Songs About Hay Fever

Yesterday, my yearly bout with hay fever hit me like a semi truck. Let it be known that I still managed a six-mile run (my longest ever!) because I breathe through my mouth and am able to tie a hankie to my clothes for the duration.

But otherwise, I feel like crap, and if I sneeze one more time, I might cry. Actually, sneezing is making me cry. My eyes won't stop watering. 

So, of course, I have to have a sense of humor about it. Here's some new lyrics I've come up with.

To the tune of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer":

Meggie, the red-nosed sneezer,

Had a very snotty nose.
And if you ever saw it,
You would think it really gross.

All of the other people
Used to stare and back away
They didn't want poor Meggie
To go sneezing in their face!

And then, my old standby, to the tune of "Deck the Halls."

Deck your ears with sounds of wheezin'

Fa la la la la, la la la la!
'Tis the season to be sneezin'! 
Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Don we now our comfy clothing

Fa la la, la la la, la la la!
Blow our nose, allergies loathing
Fa la la la la, la laaa laaaaa laaaaaa!

I actually stayed home from choir tonight. My head feels like it's stuffed with cotton, I was not in a mood to teach today, my throat hurts (all the sneezing and post-nasal drip), and I'm bloody tired.

I just hope it doesn't turn into a sinus infection. No time for that.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Week in Instagram (Week #70)

This week's pics started on Saturday night.


I attended the band's crab feed.

I'm not a huge fan of crab--or any seafood--but I ate some.

I was high bidder on this lovely basket. All for a good cause!

However, I did not win the ukelele in the raffle. Darn.

Tiny chocolate treble clef.


Jelly beans...which prompted a long and impassioned
Facebook status update conversation amongst my friends:
Does anyone really eat the black ones? 

Sleepy Beauty. 

I disturbed her, and the result was adorable. 

Lady Fuzz, Duchess of Lincoln, begging for belly rubs.

I wore green to the gym, of course.

And I (briefly) wore my ridiculous hat at school.

I got a great note from a student, and it was just...needed.

I'm going to have to get help keeping these alive.

Green shoes at choir practice.

Good morning, Sacramento Valley! Off for a good run.

They're not excited about tour or anything. 

It was a red boots kind of day.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Three miles for my first run of Spring 2014. 

On the front walkway.


A cup of tea and the Lion Cam? Perfect end to a busy week.

Then I got busy cleaning the fridge. 

I did some major organizing in my room this morning,
including getting all of my ducks in a row.

Top left: Quackers, Daffy, Flasher
Top right: Libby
Bottom Left: The minions
Bottom right: Beezy
Top: Chico
Right: Biggie and Harley
Bottom: Cali...the original.
Left: Sassy and a little glass duck

I washed RoPro today, even though it's supposed to rain
this week. She was covered in bird poo.