Long Time No See!

My last post here was two years ago, right around the time I decided to start my freelancing business. That’s been going very well, but the running and blogging have clearly not.

The blogging gave way to work requirements. Most of the blogging I’ve been doing has been for clients – you can see some work samples here, if you’d like.

I’ve discovered something about myself as a freelancer/worker bee, which is that I have limited time to actually get any work done, and so I essentially decided that I wanted to get paid for any work that I do. Thus, this blog got de-prioritized.

As far as running goes, after giving myself a lovely case of posterior tibial tendinitis at the Rain Run a couple of years ago, I was never really able to get back to running like I was before the injury – and ultimately just gave up on it. Part of it was that I figured what it really needed was actual REST. Which turned into an excuse to not run at all, work out in a very limited way, and continue eating like it was going out of style.

You can imagine how well that has worked out for me.

Every so often I’d try to start running again, but as soon as I’d add any mileage the ankle would start cracking and popping again. That was my clue that there was still inflammation around the tendon. So I’d back off again.

Well, this last month I made a couple of decisions.

One is, I need to make my personal projects (like this blog and my business website) more of a priority. I like writing, and doing it for other people is a great way to get paid. But it might not be such a great way to build my business long term, or to get personal satisfaction out of my work. I mean, I DO get personal satisfaction, but I’d like to do work that is more reflective of my creative side and what’s inside me. If that makes sense.

So, I decided to revive this blog.

I also decided that I wanted to get back to running again. But this time, I’m going to take it slow, and bring the family along with me. So I’ve committed to doing some 5ks with the family, which means we’ll have to train. We just finished our first one on Saturday. Very proud of my kids for making it (even if there was some complaining from the 7 year old for a significant portion of the outbound leg of the race. Can’t blame him…it was pretty hilly on such short legs).

The kids have always loved to run and thought racing was pretty exciting. The husband tolerated it pretty well except for having to be up for a 7am start time. And I made it without any ankle problems. So all in all, it was a win.

This time, my  return to running is based on trying to share my love of running with the people that I love, not on trying to burn off the excess calories I may have consumed, or trying to continually race longer distances until I  break myself down again.

I’m back. Care to join me?



Planning and Organizing

Planning and organizing are, shall we say, not my forte. I get things done primarily by sheer force of will and the ability to stay maniacally focused on whatever I’m doing until it gets done. But I’ve never been much of a list-maker, an ahead of time things-doer, or even any sort of reasonably organized person.

But now that I’ve returned to work, all of that is going to have to change. Because I am now juggling my fitness and running commitments (and it is an important one to me – keeps me from losing my sanity), what has essentially become a full time job as a freelance marketing consultant (you can follow that link to see the bare bones website I spent about an hour on one night), and my duties as a wife and mom – all of which I am currently doing without benefit of regular child care with kids that have not yet returned to school.

You may be wondering how it came to pass that I am working without having bothered to arrange for child care first. You may want to return now to read the first paragraph about the not planning thing.

What happened was, I sort of accidentally fell into this job. I put my profile up on a freelancing site thinking it would take me a few months to find enough work to stay busy. Instead, it only took me about 10 days. I know this is not everyone’s experience and that I am actually really lucky. But the thing with freelancing is, you don’t really like to turn away work because of the fear that clients will go to someone else and then not be around when you need the work. And so you end up taking more on than you normally would.

And then you end up trying to figure out how to squeeze in your daily commitment to exercise, your personal hobbies and interests (such as this blog), talking to your kids and husband, being available for them when they need you, and other little things such as the preparation and consumption of food.

We had Hamburger Helper twice this week, and one day we had frozen Salisbury steaks and Mac and cheese (and were damn glad to have it).

All of which makes me realize that I am going to have to get a lot better about planning and preparing meals ahead of time.

And I also realize that I barely know where to start. Anyone out there got any good tips out there for juggling all this? Any good ideas for weekday meal preparation? I’m making friends with the Google on this topic but am also open to advice.

End of Summer

August went by in a blur. Between kids, camps, family vacations, surgeries and starting a business I basically have been running like a crazy person since the beginning of the month. I am looking forward to kids going back to school so I can figure out what all just happened.

Starting with kids – we have now reached the part of summer where I am glad they are going back to school but realize that there really is a reason they start selling all the back to school stuff in July. I’m not really prepared to send them, and time is running out to do anything about it. I guess I’ve reached the part of this parenting gig where I no longer feel much guilt about that.

I did do the whole back to school list for Oleg, because it’s kindergarten and that is a big deal. However, aside from buying a few outfits for Max, I am completely unprepared for him to go back. My lack of preparation is not helped by the fact that his school has not assigned teachers to the 2nd grade yet, therefore, no back to school list has been sent out. I bought some pencils and an eraser and that’s about it. I promised him a new backpack but don’t know when I’ll be able to get out and buy one.

School starts in 7 days and 2nd grade will just have to wait.

The main reason I am feeling pressed for time is that Max had a tonsillectomy yesterday, so I am housebound with him until he’s healed up, which should be right around the time school starts. He has been a good sport and super brave but shopping is not happening. The school will get their dry erase pens and baby wipes when I’m darn well good and ready to go buy them!

Because we’ve had better things to do around here than buy a bunch of school supplies that near as I can tell get stuffed into a giant drawer and never used anyway. We had fun vacations and camps to go to. Max got to go to beach camp on Jetty island in Everett where he spent the whole entire week becoming insanely tan, making new friends and learning all about the local seashore ecosystem. He had a great time.

I also decided that I would start freelancing when the kids went back to school in September, and decided to start laying groundwork to find writing jobs before the end of summer. I figured it would take time to find enough clients to really worry about, but what actually happened is that I ended up with a full book of business right out of the gate and so am getting a crash course in how to juggle competing priorities. And had to hire a babysitter.

Then we went on a roadtrip vacation to California. We drove to Portland, stayed overnight at the Benson Hotel, ate at the Original, breakfasted at Voodoo Donuts, and generally did our best to keep Portland weird for about 12 hours.

Then we drove to Sacramento via Crater Lake. After staying in Sacramento for a couple of days we roadtripped again to my aunt’s cute little beach house in Santa Cruz. We played on the beach, rode the rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.



I also accidentally ran 4 miles while we were in Santa Cruz. I didn’t get too sore after, which gives me hope that my ankle is finally on the mend. We’ll see how it goes.

Then we came home and Max got his tonsils out. And with that, summer is drawing to a close.

A Clean House is a Canvas

A clean house is apparently just a canvas for my children to defile. We had a cleaner in this morning and 15 minutes after she left, I had to sweep up a giant pile of dirt. Seriously? I give up. Oh who am I kidding, I gave up on having clean floors a long time before today.

Oh well. Life will go on and my floors will be dirty and that is just the way that it is.

My return to running has been slow. I still feel the ankle is off, though there’s no pain. So for the foreseeable future I will only be running a couple of times a week. I’ll just have to do a lot of cross training instead. I am actually having to stay out of the pool now also, because it was giving me a chemical burn on my scalp. I guess I am just a delicate little flower.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I had returned to working part time. Well, that has been going gangbusters. I think I must have a hard to find skill set (can write, understands technology things) because I have found several great clients who are going to be keeping me busy for the next few weeks. Which is great news for me, not such great news for my kids. Apparently when you are a mom, you can’t just decide “I’m going back to work” without advance planning. Because when you don’t have a babysitter, and your kids are used to having your full attention, it is a hard transition for them when they have to entertain themselves. I hope they will get better at it. But also, I think if I am going to be this busy I need to hire someone to help. Nice problem to have!

Since I’ve been working again, I can see that my old workaholic tendencies are still latent – though to look at my house you would never know I am a type A person. I guess bottom line is that I don’t care about housework unless someone is coming over. I am externally motivated – and anyone who knows me knows that this is true. I’m what my grandfather used to call a springbutt – that kid in school who has all the answers and always has their hand in the air. Volunteers for everything. Gets good grades to validate their own existence. I love any opportunity to measure my worth in another person’s opinion. Runs races to prove to themselves that they are faster than the majority of other people in their age group (or, you know, if I was fast enough I’d be trying to win – I take whatever validation I can find I guess!)

A psychologist would probably say that these are not good things, but the good news is, it does make me good at my job. And motivates me to run, too!

Eat and Run Mom Runs Again!

Howdy! I’ve been a busy bee, not much time to post up in here, so this is a quick update in bullet format.

1) I am out of my brace and have very slowly started running again. I’m taking it slow. For instance, today I ran a couple of miles, interspersed with some walking, just playing it by ear to see how things feel. So far, so good. I do find I get a bit stiff and clicky for a day or so after, so I am only running once every two days. It will be a while before I can add miles but I definitely feel improvements happening and that is good.

2) I decided I would go back to work in the fall, so I got my resume and LinkedIn profile all ready to start looking for work as a freelancer. I am returning to my first love, which is writing and marketing. Anyway, two days after updating my linked in I got a recruiting call, and a couple days after that landed my first freelance gig. It was small potatoes, but it felt good to be working again after so long – like hey, I can still do this.

3) Today, I landed a job rewriting all the marketing collateral, website and a white paper for a small consulting firm out of Los Angeles, and have another proposal going out to manage the social media presence of another company.

So that’s what is happening. I am suddenly busier than a one-armed paper hanger and feeling all sorts of work-related mom guilt, but on the other hand, I am happy to have the opportunity to use my brain for something other than armchair psychoanalysis of my kids.

My New Favorite Beauty Products

Beauty products are a funny thing. When I was young and wrinkle free with nearly perfect skin, I spent a lot of money on products to correct problems I didn’t even have. Exfoliants, anti wrinkle creams, blemish coverup, you name it, I tried it.

Now I am older, and dealing with all the fun that goes with being in my 40s. I don’t know what this season of life is like for men, but for a lot of women, this is apparently the time in your life when you get to deal with wrinkles and pimples AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. Not cool. Anyway, my skin has a lot going on right now, and so, I actually find that it is happier with products that do less.

I have also learned that price is no indicator of quality or safety in a lot of cases. You could spend $30 on a bottle of skin toner only to find that the only active ingredient is a chemical normally found in nail polish remover. A little healthy dirt starts seeming like less of a problem when you read the ingredient lists on some of these products.

Basically, I am looking for products that “do” as little as possible. The skin is what it is, and the more I leave it alone, the better it seems to look. My new and absolute favorite beauty product is actually an old favorite from my 20s that I forgot about: witch hazel.

It’s cheap, it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it works for many applications. It tightens pores and refreshes tired skin. It soothes burns, bruises and bug bites. It make your under eye circles go away, for heavens sake! It even seems to help with some new redness that has recently started cropping up on my cheeks. What’s not to like?

It is actually pretty amazing all the things witch hazel can do. Everyone should have a bottle, as it is extremely useful.

And the best part is you can get the generic witch hazel at any drug or grocery store for about $2 a bottle. Sold!

My next favorite is another oldie but goodie that I had forgotten about. Back when I used to be a big spender on beauty products, I had a roommate who used cheapo Dove beauty bars. You know the stuff – it’s not soap, it’s basically a bar of lotion. I always wondered why she used it until I once ran out of soap and had to borrow hers. I had to admit that it made my skin feel pretty nice.

I never converted over to it though. I liked how it felt, but was still convinced that spending more meant I would find magic in a bottle. So I forgot about his little gem until recently. Ever since I started swimming, I have been struggling a bit with dry skin that is irritated a bit by the chemicals in the pool. So I’ve been looking for a soap that is unscented, good for dry and sensitive skin and doesn’t contain parabens or other cancer causing chemicals.

On a whim I decided to give Dove another go. I went with the Dove Unscented Beauty Bar for Sensitive Skin, and was immediately sold on it. After washing, my skin didn’t feel dry or tight at all – it almost felt like I didn’t even need moisturizer. It’s so gentle I can even use it on my kids (one of whom has somewhat dry and itchy skin) and it makes their skin soft and clean too. It seems to be a lot more gentle, and makes my skin feel less tripped and dry than the Olay and Basis bars I had been using before.

So that is the basis of what I am doing to keep my skin happy these days – Dove bar and witch hazel. I top it off with color correcting moisturizer with SPF, slap on the Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment and I am out the door.

If I were going on a date or to work, I might also throw on some eyeliner, mascara and a red lip but otherwise I am just looking for a fresh and natural look.

That Time I Caught Crabs

No, not that kind of crabs.

As you know from the title of this blog, I like to eat. One of the things I like to eat is crab. It’s expensive, but fresh local Dungeness crab is just about the best thing to eat around here in the summer.

However, I never buy it. It’s expensive, like as said, and usually if you get it at the grocery store, it isn’t all that fresh. It can be sort of a crapshoot. Plus, I’ve always wanted to catch one myself. Crab – not “crabs.” So one of the things I determined I would do with my kids this summer is to go crabbing.

On Sunday, our family spent the day at the Kayak Point fishing pier. In 6 hours, we caught about 20 crab – unfortunately, not one of them was a keeper. They were all girl crabs or undersized. But we got bitten with the crabbing bug and learned a few things.

One thing we learned was that cat food will attract the crab better than just the chicken we were using. We caught a couple of crab with just chicken, but not many. We were watching what other people were doing though, and the setup we saw people using with a lot of success was cat food in the bait box, and chicken outside the bait box where the crab can actually eat it. The cat food attracts the crab to the trap, and the chicken keeps them in until you can pull the trap up. Theoretically.

We also discovered when we got there that although we had plenty of food, we had forgotten plates and silverware, so we had nothing with which to eat the food. So since we needed those items we decided to get some cat food too.

Two hours later just as the tide was starting to run (crabs move with the tide, apparently) we had cat food and put it in the bait box, with chicken outside on a big metal hook. We finally started to see some real success. In the next 3 hours we caught a lot of crabs – which was a fun biology lesson for the kids even if we didn’t get to keep any.

We had enough success so that the boys and I wanted to go crabbing again in the afternoon on Monday. We had to go to a fishing pier closer to home and we got skunked again, but we still had a good time. The boys don’t seem to care about actually catching anything we can keep – they just like to see and touch the crab, eat ice cream and play at the beach. They told me they are down to go crabbing pretty much any time we have a few spare hours – so I would say our first foray into crabbing was a success even if there are no crab in the fridge yet.

Hips and Glutes – Also Important in Swimming

Being somewhat bitter about having to swim in the first place, I am determined to get the most out of being banished to the pool. So, even though I am not actually a swimmer or particularly interested in becoming one over the long term, being stuck with it short term has made me get interested in various points of technique.

Right now my big area of concern is my kick because it has no power. Why does it have no power? Because of the exact same problem I have as a runner – tight hips and weak glutes. These are two problems that make me a 9 minute mile runner instead of the 8 minute mile runner I’d like to be.

Not coincidentally, it is also likely part of my issue with the posterior tibial tendinitis. It’s an overuse injury, but one that I might not have been prone to if my hips and butt were doing what they are supposed to.

This hip and glute problem carries over into swimming, apparently. So, I figure that if I can fix it in the pool, it might also help my running.

From what I have read, it’s a two-part problem – in order to get more power from the kick, I need to engage my glutes and have more flexibility in the hips (glutes apparently can’t engage when the hips are stiff – which makes sense since they are in opposition).

How does one do this? There are 3 things to focus on:
1) Keep the knees straight – don’t let the knee do the work the hips should be doing. The knees shouldn’t be locked, but they shouldn’t really be bending much either. Straight but soft.
2) Think about squeezing the butt while kicking- this gets the glutes activated and puts the kick motion into the hips instead of the knees.
3) Point the toes. This helps the water move in the right direction, and keeps the ankles from acting as a drag anchor.

I’ve always been relatively good about the knees and toes, but the butt squeeze seemed to be the missing piece of the equation. Without it, keeping knees and toes straight meant I wasn’t getting power from them, but I wasn’t getting it from the hips either. So I had no power coming from anywhere.

Incorporating the butt squeeze definitely added some speed to my kick but I also note that it makes me WAY sorer than I’m used to being when I swim. So, it must be doing something, right?

The other piece is to loosen up the hips. I try to stretch them but most of the stretches I know don’t seem to do all that much. They always seem to get the quads – the hip flexors get sore, but they never seem to get more flexible.

So I decided to consult the trusty internet and found this helpful video.

I tried it and it seems like one I can actually do on the pool deck. Also, it feels like it gives a good stretch to the hips without stretching or tightening the wrong things.

It’s Working!

Well, it may look funny, but it seems like it is working – the brace on my ankle, that is. I’ve been wearing it for about 3 weeks, and I can honestly say that my ankle feels markedly better. Very little discomfort remaining even when I walk around a lot. There is a little – so no running – but lots better.

It also almost never makes makes the crunchy noise, the technical term for which is apparently “crepitation.” I literally am decrepit I guess.

I haven’t been blogging due to several factors. I am working on a project which I will eventually unveil on this blog – but not yet. It will be a surprise but Im really excited about it. I also haven’t been able to work out due to the ankle and pool closures at my gym. And finally, because of a family vacation over the last week, from which we returned yesterday.

I am hoping to get back to swimming now that the pool is more available. I am also planning to continue wearing the brace through end of July. If things are feeling good at that time, with no pain or crepitation, I will start easing back to dry land exercise and PT, and maybe begin running again by September.

Fingers crossed that it keeps working because I really miss being able to run on these sunny days!

Sexy New Footwear

After a couple weeks of waiting and spending a lot of time in the pool, I finally had my orthopedist appointment today.

The good news is that the MRI shows no evidence of a tear to the tendon. There could be a small one that would only show up if they opened it up surgically, but he doesn’t see any need to do that as I am still able to lift up onto the toes which indicates that the tendon is mostly still sound.

The bad news is, the tendon is still pretty inflamed. There is a lot of fluid around the tendon which is pushing on everything around it and making it sore, and according to the doc will probably take a while to subside. How long, he can’t say. It just takes as long as it takes.

He likes my plan of staying in the pool and doing the occasional spin class, and basically says that if it hurts, I should not do it. And no running until I can get through all my daily activities without any pain. When I am pain free, then I can start doing therapy band work and then work my way back into running.

I am still hoping to ease back into dry land running towards the end of the summer, but basically there is no way to plan for it because the ankle is in charge of the timing. So I will hold off on putting down those entry fees for the fall triathlons.

He doesn’t seem to think that I need an orthotic over the long term, but says I should go ahead and get some inserts like SuperFeet green to assist with the over pronation that is at the root of the problems I am having.

He also wants to immobilize the foot a bit more for the day to day activities while it is healing. So he gave me one of these lovelies…


Ain’t she purty? That’s gonna look awesome with all my summertime shorts and skirts! I just need an extra large sandal to pull it off – maybe something gladiator-style would work?

I know you’re jealous that I have all the fun, but oh well. We can’t all be fashionable.

Your turn! What is your favorite summer footwear? Have you ever had a supposedly minor injury that would not go away? How did you cope? Tell me about it in the comments!