Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Moral of the Story is…Don’t Attempt a 12-Mile Run When Hopped Up on Cold Medication!


So, interestingly enough, my Sunday post for today ties into my last post. But it is a 180 in a sense, since this post shows how much of an idiot I can be. Since taking that “unplanned day off“, I ended becoming more sick. On Friday morning of our SWATCA Teacher’s Convention, I woke up feeling like a bus had run over my body after running a full marathon. My head was pounding, my sinuses were clogged. My throat burned when I coughed. I was just feeling oh-so-lovely. I half-ass got ready for convention, and made my way to the University of Lethbridge at 7:30 am. If this had been a regular school day, I would have strongly considered calling in sick-and I don’t call in sick. I went to the chairperson’s breakfast (I was chairing a secondary mathematics assessment session at 10:30) and forced down some tea and watermelon. I apologize to anyone I came in contact with that day because I either a) looked like death b) ignored looking at you c) ignored talking to you, or d) all of the above.

As soon as I dropped off the evaluations for my session, I drove straight to Shoppers Drug Mart and did a rare thing for me-bought some OTC medicine. I wanted to cure this thing fast. After talking to one of the techs, I decided to go big or go home. I bought a box of Tylenol Complete-Cold, Cough & Flu PLUS mucus relief! The bullet points on the package were made for me–nasal congestion, dry cough, headache, sore throat pain, aches, pains & chills…this would save me.

I religiously took my two capsules every six hours. I took a nap with Snoopy (the beagle is truly the best medicine!). I also made my “I am sick, feel sorry for me” dinner-two packs of ramen noodles with only half a packet of the sodium blast. I was going to these CRAZY extremes because I had a goal-to run 12 miles with marathon club Saturday.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a ton better. My body didn’t ache (but I didn’t take into account the mass amount of drugs in my system causing this revelation). I got up at 6:30. Had some oatmeal. Hydrated. Dressed in appropriate layers. Bid my husband ‘adieu!’ and drove to Runner’s Soul. I could do this.

I had the wise idea to run with the marathon trainers today instead of the half. While I am only doing half marathons this year (my full won’t be until the Goofy Challenge in January 2014) I wanted to get 12 miles in, as my first half of the year is next Saturday-The Hypothermic Half in Lethbridge. . So, I set out with it in my head that I would do a 10-minute mile pace, drink lots of water from my Osprey water backpack, and I’d be good. It’d be that easy.

OK…any of you in Lethbridge or Alberta know how windy it can get down here. Saturday was, excuse my French, fucking ridonkulous. Any direction you turned, the wind was against you. I tried thinking positive, thinking it would get better...but that never happened. Anyway, I ran the first 5 miles pretty solid. I was feeling great. I was on pace, going slower than normal, but sticking with the plan. Honestly, after the first 4, I think I said out loud all theatrical and such “I’m a third way done!” I really had it in my head that running cures the common cold.

Then, I hit Bridge Drive. Please take a second to look at this map, though it doesn’t do justice:

The wind was piling in, the incline was steep, my throat was starting to burn, and my chest was hurting. I kept my head up and lifted my knees, taking smaller steps. But I had to walk. My chest was pounding so much and I started panicking. I didn’t want to quit. I basically power walked straight into the wind for 3/4 of a mile up Bridge Drive. Once I got to the top, I was going to start running again-I didn’t want to quit. So I started a slow jog, but then almost burst into tears. My body was giving up-Tylenol Complete can only do so much.

I smartly had brought my cell phone in my backpack and called my husband. I asked him to pick me up from the westside Tim Hortons. I felt defeated. When he got there to get me, I apologetically said “I’m Sorry” for no reason. What was I sorry for? Making him come get me? Being an idiot? Oh yeah-I was sorry for not listening to him….because before I left this morning, I forgot to add he said “I really don’t think you should be running.”

He’s sitting on the other couch right now as I type this. He told me yesterday he wanted me to title this blog as “Always Listen to Your Husband.” I won’t do that, but I will say that he was right. And I was an idiot to try to do otherwise yesterday. I came home, took a shower, and drugged myself up more. I made my same lovely “feel sorry for me I am sick” dinner, and went to bed by 8:30 pm. Yes, I even feel better today than I did yesterday, but that’s the power of these drugs-it’s hiding the fact I am still sick.
I ran 6 miles yesterday. 6 miles sick. 6 miles I shouldn’t have even run. But, in my mind, I was supposed to run 12 miles. Initially, I was pissed I quit. This is only the second time in the past 9 years I had to stop and call someone to pick me up. . I still need to learn when it is more important to take a day off, and that it isn’t the end of the world. My legs and my body have been conditioned to this type of running over the years, so I will be fine this coming Saturday for my race–as long as I take care of myself first. It’s not like I am going out there trying to win a title or get my personal best. I am going out there to run for my dad–which is why I think I put the pressure on myself to run too soon. But, please note–if I had been able to call my dad to pick me up at the top of Bridge Drive on Saturday, I would have gotten in the car and his first words would have been “You’re a ::insert swear here:: idiot Andrea. You should have just stayed home.” And I would have responded-“You would have tried to do the same ::insert swear word here:: thing!”

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

In my medicated mind, this picture exemplifies how I wish my drive home from Bridge Drive had been.

Taking an Unplanned Day Off


When I make my training calendars, I stick with them pretty dead-on. Having the calendar to check off as I go really keeps me in line. Having what I am supposed to run on a given day written down makes it official, something I must follow. I was gone in Los Angeles since Saturday, and I even stuck with my vacation modifications. I did a solid 9 mile run the day before leaving, did a 3.3 mile run in the sand from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach and back. I even went on a 2-mile run last night about an hour after getting home. I had an awesome pace going!

But, I sit here now at 3:54 pm on Thursday, Feb 21…I am suppose to run 6 miles. And I am sick.

My throat has had this draining feeling since late Monday night while in California. My ears are achy too. My body isn’t achy or sore-I am not injured. But I am scared to push myself just too far when I don’t feel 100%. Hell, I don’t even feel 70%. But then I feel like I am letting myself down by not going on this run. I know, it’s just one run. Does anyone else ever feel like this, when you are supposed to work out and then you don’t? I know the circumstances are different-it’s not that I am blatantly just avoiding it, or that I am hungover. But I am still sitting here thinking I should bundle up and suck it up.

My first half marathon for the year is one and a half weeks away. I am going to push out 12 miles on Saturday in preparation. Will taking today (and possibly tomorrow) off really hurt me in the end? What does everyone else do when they feel like a pile of junk during training time? It probably is for the best, because maybe I will just end up more sick. And my legs have the mileage already built up by now. Perhaps an unplanned rest day is the cure for the common cold…?

Disney 1993-A Dash for Splash


Our second family trip to Walt Disney World was in October 1993. Got to love the state of Wisconsin for having Teacher’s Convention during October and getting some days off of school! (Though this isn’t the case there anymore). Traveling to WDW during this time frame always had us running into other families from Wisconsin. It was the perfect time of year for a WDW vacation-time off of school, off-season, low crowds, cool weather. This year was particularly cool, however, as stylish 1990s windbreakers and other apparel make cameos in many photos.

We stayed at the “NEW” Port Orleans Resort. It was new at the time, and simply called Port Orleans. Now the original Port Orleans has been grouped to the Dixie Landings conglomerate and this group is called Port Orleans collectively. The part that still has a piece of my heart is the French Quarter side. Maybe it was my dad’s French-Canadian roots that had me loving this moderate resort more than the deluxe Polynesian. It was quaint and adorable. I thought the pool, Doubloons Lagoon, was pretty sweet. But I really loved the beignets! Port Orleans ‘French Quarter’ originally had the food court, which it still has, Scat Cat’s Lounge, and the now extinct Bonfamille’s. We weren’t as crazy back in my early Disney years-sure, we still made it for rope drop, but weren’t the first ones in line. That being said, there were a few mornings when we actually had a leisurely breakfast at Bonfamille’s. They had Mardi Gras masks for kids to colour, and I saved all mine during that trip. They served the delicious beignets with breakfast. Mmmmmm… die for!

This was also the first year Splash Mountain was open for us on a trip. My dad was actually very prone to motion-sickness and wouldn’t ride roller coasters or “spinning-rides.” He was hesitant about heights. All in all, he really wasn’t a theme-park ride sort of guy. But he still loved WDW, went on any ride he could, and we never tried to push him to do ones he couldn’t handle. But he could handle Splash Mountain. Probably due to the fact that the drop isn’t too high and its just the one. I also think he felt like he should at least give it a try.

These years of Splash Mountain were when you could literally run to it after rope drop. A dash to Splash! We had read in guides about a shortcut to Splash Mountain in Frontierland, which to us made sense, since every minute counted. For those of you who never experienced an old-school Magic Kingdom rope drop, it was quite the rush. You got through the turnstiles at park open, went up to the land you wanted to enter, waited at a rope with cast members. At the given time, the rope would drop, and then you had a literal free-for-all. No cast members were there to slow you down. I personally now think the reason why my dad was a willing participant in riding Splash Mountain was because of the thrill of this race to it. We ran into Adventureland, over the bridge, and took a quick right through the shortcut-a tunnel of sorts housing restrooms on the way to Frontierland. We had picked off a whole bunch of people who had been ahead of us at the turnstiles-success!

Nowadays after rope drop, the rope doesn’t really drop. It gets held by two cast members who slowly walk you to that E-Ticket attraction. Yes, you get there before everyone else, and you are still first to ride, but it isn’t the same rush. Sometimes you are lucky and the cast members have a faster stride. And sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just stormed over that damn rope. I probably could have convinced my dad to try it. Not sure what they would have done if he had!

So I just joined #Twitter…let the hashtags begin


I joined Twitter this morning during my prep period with the help of a fellow co-worker. I had a Twitter account once before-but it was only used to Re-tweet that I was at La Cava del Tequilla at EPCOT so I could get free chips and salsa.

This will be a ‘modified’ account, in the sense that our school has started an ‘initiative’ of sorts—#WClove. (Not W CLOVE, but it stands for Winston Churchill LOVE). It’s a hashtag for staff and students to tweet out acts of kindness and things that are great about the school. It’s in the test mode and the student council found out about another school that had done it.

So I use the term ‘modified’ in that I will be following teachers, disney-related items, running-related sources, heart disease research information, and educational items. I’ll leave all my craziness to my Facebook. But I figure this will be a great tool for me to learn and utilize within this web page to get the word out more for what I am doing.

Follow me @Wisc07

That’s Wisc ZERO 7, not OOOOOHHHHH 7.

Make Health Last


On this Valentine’s Eve, I saw a commercial for this initiative from the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Make Health Last. Click anywhere on the text here and you will be directed to the site. Really liked the commercial, and find the site appropriate and strong. Happy heart month-take care of yourself and the ones important in your life…cherish everything


Race Reflections-My first full marathon…what was I thinking?


Mad City Marathon
May 29th, 2005
Madison, Wisconsin
Time-4 hours 27 minutes 38 seconds

My first full marathon. I can’t clearly remember the moment I decided I would train for a full, though, I know it was sometime halfway into my sophomore year at UW-La Crosse. My roommate Katie and I became best friends with Matt and Nick up on the second floor of Angell Hall. The four of us, and a circulating group of others, would always hang out-play video games, drink, and the like. Matt was a former high school track athlete at neighboring Whitnall High School, and we most likely saw each other at track meets during high school. We grew up ten minutes away from each other and didn’t know we’d become friends during University. Matt got the idea in my head that I could do a full marathon-he made us a training calendar, I signed up for the Mad City Marathon, and there was no turning back.

Training for a marathon obviously requires more mileage than a half. Matt and I would occasionally go on runs together, but we never stuck together, as he was always blocks ahead. We got really good at winding our way through the beautiful city of La Crosse….university trails, the bluffs, down by the Mississippi…I’d even run to Minnesota! (Because I could!) Training for marathons in university worked well because of the class schedules. I remember during this second semester I had three classes on Tuesday and Thursday, all in a row, starting at 1:00 pm. I had more than enough time to get up in the morning and do my running. One thing to note is that I didn’t have any fancy running gear. Probably the same Nike shorts I had in high school. A crappy sports watch from Wal-Mart. Socks with holes in the toes. Crappy cotton tank tops and white beaters. And shoes that I thought were good running shoes, but were really just labelled as running shoes in Kohls Department store.

The race weekend came. My ex-boyfriend Mike and I headed up to Madison the night before and stayed with a friend. I remember not being able to fall asleep that night. I probably slept four hours and got up at sunrise. I met Matt and his dad Steve down by the Capitol in the morning-this was the starting line. I didn’t know what the hell I was getting myself into!
The Mad City marathon course changes slightly year to year, but the basics are always there. You start at the Capitol, run through downtown, out down through some very nice neighborhoods….but the real bitch part occurs when you enter the nature reserve. You can hear crickets. Not just because you are in a nature park, but because there are no people there cheering you on. It is empty. You just wanna scream and be done! This particular year, they also had the nerve to make you run up a swirly cement incline after exiting the nature reserve. You know. One of those cement slides the goes up to an overpass….then we ran over it, to just go down the slide again. Pain. You circle part of the circumference of Lake Mendota and also run by some people having more fun than you trying to hand out beer as a water station.

The race was so quintessential Wisconsin that you ended at Brat Fest. I have now done this race 4 times and never have I ever gotten a bratwurst after, though I always think I will.  I finished with a time of 4:27. Really respectable considering that while I trained, I was clueless. I remember walking around feeling like a rock star after. But then, on the way to the car, I became a drama queen and crashed. I sat on the sidewalk and made mike go get the car to pick me up because I couldn’t walk anymore…..when I took a shower later, I could barely lift my legs over the tub to get in. I felt 100 years old.
Two days ago, my husband Dan and I went on a 4 mile run. He’s starting to get into running, but just shorter distances. 4 miles is his max right now. Anyways, when we were running I made a comment to him that when we were done today, he would have completed the distance he will be doing at the Moonlight Run in Lethbridge on March 9th. His response-“And I’m paying to do that, why?!?”

I bring this up because after he said that, I thought of all the races I’ve paid to do. All the money I’ve paid to run these crazy distances. I paid to run that 26.2 miles in Madison. I felt like glorious garbage after. And I have kept on paying to run more and to feel like even more garbage after. But feeling like garbage after these races can never feel better.

What does heart disease look like?



You can be a man or a woman. Short or tall. Old or young. Fit or out of shape. It may sneak out of no where, to surprise you when you least expect it. It cannot be vanished, just diminished. It does not get cured, just healed. The scar hides the internal pain-on the surface, you may not be able to recognize there is an issue.

You may be in shape, you may watch your diet, you may follow the rules. But you still may be at risk. Know your risk factors including family history. You owe it to your self.
Five months after triple bypass surgery….43 years old…the surgery gave him 9 more years. Made every moment count.


My thighs will always touch…..and that’s the way it is


This is not a diet blog. This is not a food blog. I will not be telling you how YOU can lose weight and look better. I will not be preaching on how YOU must eat.  I am not trained in those areas and do not have the proper knowledge that makes me a professional in the field.  I do have my own personal experience.  So, I may reflect on past experiences that made me feel better, or worse, and why.  You can take it as food for thought. 

As part of the marathon club through Runners Soul, I had the chance to try the “Bod Pod Composition System” at the Sports Science Institute in Lethbridge, Alberta.  It is basically one of the most accurate ways to measure your BMI and all that jazz.  I now am the proud owner of a printout that lists my percent fat, percent fat-free mass, fat mass in pounds, fat-free mass in pounds, body mass, body volume, body density, and my estimated resting metabolic rate.  There is no silly water submerging or caliper pinching. Just sit in the “Bod Pod” for 50 seconds, twice, and its all measured.

I was anxious in the pod, not knowing what to expect.  I really despise weighing myself, as I do not think that number accurately depicts my body.   Like most young women, body appearance and numbers have always been a stressful point. You want to look and feel perfect.  I realize now that since I workout, I gain muscle, and this weighs more than fat. When I was a more intense high school athletic participant, and hadn’t gone through any body maturity, this didn’t go through my thick head.  We had pom pon practice four days a week for three hours a day in the summer.  Track season started with captains practices in February.  Why was I never skinny?  Why did my thighs still touch?  I was solid, lean, muscle, working out more than most kids my age, but I didn’t feel ‘thin.’  I’ll admit-I tried to change it.  From November 2002-February 2003 of my senior year I went on a unhealhty mission.  I didn’t see it as a bad thing.  I just intensified my workouts, limited my food intake, and cut out foods which I had no need to ignore.  I got addicted.  I saw results.  But i put my body and my well-being at danger.  In late January I distinctly remember feeling so weak at the WACPC State Pom championships.  I had lost weight, but in the process lost that muscle which kept me strong and going.  Thankfully, people close to me intervened and got me on track.

I realized that if I tried to change and alter my body type, it would have to be under extreme and unhealthy measures.  I have always lead a healthy active lifestyle.  I generally eat healthy, always eating breakfast to start off my day.  But…I’m 5’3″.  I have a mixture of my mom and dad’s build. There’s no way I would ever be a stick.  I have come to accept that.  Throughout the years, the number on the scale sometimes still gets me down.  But I remember back to my 18-year-old self at my lowest adult weight.  That number can mean so many things, and at that point it meant weakness.

What does my typical week day look like, food consumption wise?  Well, I have a cup or two of coffee and either a bowl of oatmeal or a cereal like Cheerios.  I pack a lunch for work, and it usually includes a sandwich with free-range ham, cheese, onions, and lettuce.  Oh, and hot sauce.  I LOVE hot sauce.  I also have fruit and veggies.  I drink as much water as possible during the school day, but not too much, since the staff bathroom is inconveniently located what feels like MILES away from my classroom down in skid row.  I’ll snack on triscuits or tostitos after school (tortilla chips are my downfall).  Dinner is something usually homemade with free-range beef, a starch and veggies.  I have a beer or two or a glass of wine each night.  I feel like I eat healthy, but allow vices in moderation.  And this is important.  I recognize the effects too much cheese has on your body.  It’s bad for me!!!!  But, I’m from Wisconsin and if I was lactose intolerant, I might cry.  I am trying to cut back-cheese is my drug.  But, will I ever cut it out completely?  NO.  Moderation….mod-er-a-tion.  Craft beers and wine tasting are a pastime and hobby for my husband and I.  Yes, my body would overall be healthier if I cut these out completely.  That dreaded weight number would possibly decrease.  But it’s something we enjoy.  With proper moderation and exercise, my body can still be healthy while enjoying these things.

Back to the Bod Pod.  What did it say?  I’ll admit the key details all right here:

Resting Metabolic Rate-1287 cals/day

% Fat-25.8%

Body Fat Rating-Moderately Lean

Fat Mass-36.331 lb

Body Mass-140.625 lb

Do I feel 140?  No.  Do I feel like I look 140?  I don’t think so.  I was surprised this was the result.  I’ll admit that this ‘weight number’ hit me like a rock.  It always does.  But, I took a step back and breathed.  This isn’t the end of the world.  I am older than I was when I was 18 (duh).  My body has changed.  And all my clothes still fit.  If I tried to make myself any less than 140 it would have to be under extreme measures.  And is this worth it?  Hell no.  As long as I keep running and doing what I do in the kitchen, and even enjoy my pints of beer, I have accepted that it’s OK if my thighs touch.

Lead an active, healthy lifestyle and be proud of who YOU are.