We’re ba-ack!

From the honeymoon, that is.

It was lovely.  Honestly, this post will probably be pretty light on text, because, well, we didn’t DO much.  And it was glorious. 

Since we love driving and road trips, and saving money, we decided to road trip it to and from the honeymoon cruise.  So…Kansas City to New Orleans.  A 14 hour drive, if you were to do it straight through.  But that’s no fun.

We left early on Friday morning and drove through the day until we arrived in Memphis just in time for dinner.  It was when we sat down here I realized, “Ahh, vacation!” for the first time.

We went to Bosco’s, a brewery/pub type place.  Tim relaxed with a beer.

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The beer was awesome.  The food (we got individual pizzas) was just so-so. 

 

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We stayed the night in northern Mississippi, and drove from there to New Orleans (about 6 more hours) on Saturday morning.  Our cruise was on the Carnival Triumph to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.

Embarkation was kind of a clusterfuck, frankly.  We sat in traffic to get parking at the Port of New Orleans for at least an hour.  Once we parked, it was long line after long line after long line in the heat to get everything checked in and secured and whatnot.  I get that it’s necessary and all, but it was a pretty big buzzkill.  We also got a notice that because of the oil spill, we’d be leaving at 9 pm rather than 4 pm, which would have been nice to know beforehand so we didn’t have to get up at the asscrack of dawn to get there on time.  But, alas.

Eventually we made it through and got on the boat and took  pictures.  New Orleans!

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After all the travel hectic-ness, I needed a drink.

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With an umbrella, naturally. 

One of the nice things about Carnival was their beverage policy.  Although the cruise did not include the cost of soda or alcohol, they allow each guest to carry on (not check) a 12 pack of soda and a bottle of wine (not hard liquor).  We each carried on soda, so we didn’t pay for that all week, and a bottle of wine, which contributed to two fun, boozy nights.  We did end up buying a few mixed drinks, but the prices were reasonable (about $5 for an Absolut vodka/tonic, about $7 for a fancy mixed drink or top shelf booze) and the drinks were STRONG. 

Here is a montage of what we did pretty much the entire trip.

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Read and laze.  Yes, I got sunburned.  I swear to you, it was accidental—no joke, Tim and I used an entire spray can of SPF 30 the first day on the boat and we both got burned anyway.  I’d brought two cans, but the aerosol thingamajig was not working in the second one, and the store on the boat was closed, so we spent our second day in the shade!

Our first port was Progreso, Mexico.  We didn’t get off the boat for very long—we just browsed around a duty-free shopping area near the dock.  Nothing too exciting. 

Progreso is not the most scenic.

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The second port was Cozumel, which I don’t have any pictures of.  We did debark that day and take a snorkeling tour, which was fantastic.  I’d never snorkeled before, but it was so much fun!   Definitely the highlight of the trip.

A few random photos inside the boat.   The lobby:

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The barstools that made us crave Reese’s:

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Our stateroom:

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Assorted towel creatures:

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And the ONE picture we got together on the whole honeymoon:

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My impatient debarkation face:

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All in all, we enjoyed cruising.  While we decided we’d probably both go on a cruise again, we’d probably not go with Carnival.  Here are the pros and cons, in my opinion.

Pros:

  • Service was great.  Our stateroom steward and dining room waitress were both very nice and helpful, and all the other Carnival employees were perfectly attentive and polite.  They were really a highlight of the trip—anything we needed or wanted, they would get it for us.
  • The boat was very clean and well-staffed. 
  • Cozumel was a beautiful port.  We didn’t see enough of Progreso to judge it fairly!
  • The drinks we ordered at the various bars were all really good and made strong.
  • I really liked the breakfasts on board, especially in the main dining room!  The omelets I had were great, and I liked generally that the portion sizes were fairly small so you didn’t overeat too much.
  • We really loved the excursion we booked in Cozumel through Carnival.
  • They show movies outdoors at night, and we really enjoyed (re)watching the most recent Harry Potter movie with a bottle of wine on our last night!

Cons:

  • My biggest issue was the food.  We agreed that the Lido deck (buffet style area) was about one click up from college dorm food, and the main dining room was maybe two clicks up.  We had a few things that we really liked (Tim had lamb he said was great, I had a few good pasta and fruit dishes), but everything else was pretty unremarkable or just kind of bad.  But, we recognize you get what you pay for, and we were on a budget. 
  • There was one show we wanted to see the entire cruise—a comedian—and the lounge was packed, standing room only, when we showed up 20 minutes early.
  • SMOKING.  It seemed like everyone on the boat had a cigarette dangling from their mouth or fingers the whole time.  It was really annoying.  If there were non-smoking areas on the boat, they weren’t enforced.
  • I did not like being constantly hounded by photographers to take cheesy posed photos.  We said “no thanks” every time, but it was a little annoying after awhile.

Anyway, just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt!

After we debarked, we set out to explore New Orleans for the day, mostly with our stomachs.  Our first stop was for beignets and coffee at the iconic Cafe du Monde.

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We split an order of beignets and whoa, they were good.  (But, you know, it’s pretty hard to screw up fried dough coated in sugar.)

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We walked around the French Quarter for awhile.  It was HOT!

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You guys, I have a confession to make.  Our second gastronomic adventure of the day MIGHT be my #1 highlight of the entire honeymoon.  (Um, except spending lots of time with my husband.  Right.  Tim > ham sandwich.)

For lunch, we visited the John Besh (who is kind of a total hottie, and OMG did I just say hottie?) restaurant Luke.  (There is a dotty thing over the U, but I am too tired to figure that one out.)  I am 99% certain this was the best meal of my life.

I ordered the Croque Madame.  In normal terms, a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and a fried egg on top.  With French fries.

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You guys, I cannot even explain this sandwich.  It was out of control good.  Everything.  The egg, the ham, the bread, the cheese…to die for.  I mashed up the yolk so the whole sandwich was nice and eggy and ate it with a knife and fork.  It was obvious the ham was not just HAM, but…god, I don’t know.  Made from a golden pig, or something. 

Tim liked it, too.  He got cochon au lait, which was basically some kind of pulled pork and ham sandwich with cherry mustard, Emmentaler cheese and cornichons.  I tried a little and it was also from the same gilded pig that made my sandwich.

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We spent the afternoon exploring the garden district (no pictures, because I was driving) and then set out for our final gigantic decadent meal of the day at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA.

28975_861971051100_15908788_46920072_3742017_n 28975_861971240720_15908788_46920075_3395408_nMy meal was just okay.  Tim raved about his, though, and we both loved dessert there.

On Friday, we drove through to Tim’s parents’ house in southern MO, stayed there for the night, and drove the last few hours home this morning.  It feels good to be back, although I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale for work Wednesday through Sunday!

In other news, I went to my favorite running store today and bought the running shoes I hope will solve my problems—neutral, wide width, half size larger New Balances.  They feel like clouds on my feet.  Cross your fingers that these will be “the one.”

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Can you believe marathon training starts officially in a WEEK?  Not me.  I’ve missed regular running and racing with all the wedding mania that’s been going on the last two months!  I’m working on finding and registering for some races in June and July to keep me occupied—we’ll see how it goes!

Did I miss anything big?  What happened in the blog world last week?

Good omens

Today, Tim and I met for a lunch date at The Mixx. I was really impressed with their giant salads last time so we thought we’d try again.

I’ll take good omens in any form I can get them.  Like our order number.  (I feel like Kath!)  13 would have been better…but I’ll take it!

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I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with Brie on a pretzel roll.  (I would probably eat a dirty sock if it was on a pretzel roll.)0407 002

I was nonplussed.  The chicken was basically the dry, cut up kind they put in salads, and it was just not good.  And it took them 15 minutes to get it to me!   Next time I’ll get a salad again.

More pretty springtime porn:

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Aside from the allergies, I love spring.  There’s a reason we’re getting married in May, and it’s because of all this gorgeous junk out there.

After the gym, I went for my last official run of my training plan!  I did two fast miles in about 18:30.  I felt great while I was running, but once I stopped..my left knee, shin, and ankle started aching.  I took the aggressive approach—I put on my Zensah compression sleeves immediately, and went home and massaged my leg with ice cubes for awhile.  Pain gone!  I’m going to take it easy—REALLY easy—until the race, and keep icing and foam rolling and crossing my fingers.

In other news, some components of various bridesmaids’ gifts arrived today!

The most adorable baby hat ever:

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And a Colts sweatshirt for the die-hard fan:

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Annnd the RSVP count shoots up again—67 yes, 44 no, 93 delinquent. 

This week has been pretty boring, but the fun starts Saturday!  Here’s what’s going on:

  • Saturday: Half Marathon! 
  • Sunday: Second bridal shower with Tim’s family
  • Monday: Get fitted for orthotics!
  • Tuesday-Thursday night: Vegas, baby!  I’ll be at a conference for work.  (And I’ve never been before!)
  • Friday-Monday: Napa Valley

Whee!  I’m excited.

Any must-sees in Vegas or Napa?  (I’ll be at Caesar’s Palace!)

Coffee Craving

Today I’m out in the wilds of rural Missouri for work.  You know what this means?  When you leave your house in a rush, thinking “oh, I’ll stop for coffee on the way,” you should remember that there is no such thing as a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts in rural Missouri.  There is Quik Trip, which has coffee that tastes vaguely like fuel and is not worth the $1.29.  And that’s it.

It was a long, coffee-less drive to get where I’m going.  Generally, I’m not a coffee-needer to get going in the morning.  I usually brew one cup in the Keurig, and rarely finish it.  But with Daylight Savings, and sore running legs, and driving,…all morning I was dying for coffee, or at least something coffee-flavored which would give me the illusion of being caffeinated.  Ugh.

I had to be somewhere for a few hours in the morning and then had to go somewhere else about an hour away for a few hours in the afternoon.  I was absolutely determined to get something coffee-like.  Sometimes, friends, we have to settle.

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McDonald’s sugar-free vanilla iced coffee.  Full of crappy chemicals, I’m sure, but goodlord did it taste good (and pick me up mentally for awhile.)

I also packed my lunch in my favorite Fit n’ Fresh lunch container so I wouldn’t have to stop.  I had an Everything bagel thin sammich, strawberry Chobani, and granola, eaten in my car.  I’m a classy lady.

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I was done with my stuff by 3:00 and checked into my hotel by 3:30.  I decided that I was going to check out the hotel gym.  Hotel gyms kind of creep me out.  Even though I stay in half decent places…they make me feel icky.  I don’t know, I have weird mental blocks on some things.  (See also Home Depot, condiments, and birds.)  But, today, I packed workout clothes and shoes and was determined to at least give it a try. 

I was impressed with the gym.  It had three treadmills, two ellipticals, a recumbent bike, and free weights (complete with loud, grunting, Jersey-shore-type dude).  And every machine had a TV ATTACHED RIGHT TO IT JUST FOR YOU!  Love.  TV makes running 35% more tolerable.

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I watched Stacy and Clinton, naturally.  I had 3 miles on the schedule today, but I figured I’d do tomorrow’s 5 today, so I can get home after a night away a little sooner tomorrow.  And really, what the hell else am I going to do here?

So yeah.  Ran 5 miles, kept at an easy 10:00/mile pace since my legs were still a little twitchy from yesterday and sitting in a car all morning.  Even though the gym was nice, it was really hot and I sweated approximately six gallons. 

I showered and then went for the epic “What’s for dinner in this strange town?” question.  My options, according to my GPS and eyes, were Bob Evans, Shoney’s, Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Cracker Barrel. 

Now, I’m not one to shun fast food entirely.  I love me an occasional McD’s breakfast and I get cravings for Arby’s.  But the thing is, I want to eat that food WHEN I WANT IT.  Today, it all sounded gross to me.  Specifically, I was craving two things very strongly during my run: cut fresh fruit and peanut butter.   More and more, lately, while I’m running, my body will say, VERY clearly, “Feed me THIS when you’re done.”  99% of the time it’s something healthy—peanut butter, fruit, and eggs have all been very common ones lately.  I don’t mean to be all crunchy and shit, but who am I to say no?  My body is like a stupid puppy—I should reward it when it does something right, like say “I want healthy food.”  So I do.

Obviously, with limited options, it wasn’t going to come from any of those places.  So I took a cue from Susan and hit up the grocery store next to my hotel instead!  (In my pajamas, no less, because I really didn’t want to put on my work clothes and heels after a run.)

The results?

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Total?  $13.46, for a big container of fruit (grapes, mangoes, honeydew, canteloupe, pineapple and strawberries), a Dannon Greek yogurt (which I LOVED, BTW), a 6 pack of Nature’s Own Whole Wheat bagels, natural PB (I went for the slightly less natural version to avoid messy stirring in a hotel room), a diet coke (I know I know) and a Cadbury egg for dessert!  Exactly what I wanted.  (I obviously only ate 1 bagel with PB, and about half the fruit—it wasn’t great, unfortunately.)

I hope my per diem covers full jars of peanut butter.

Anyway, it was delicious, filling, and hit the spot and I’m glad I didn’t hit the drive through. 

What foods do you crave, healthy and not-so-healthy?  On the healthy front, like I said, peanut butter, fruit, and eggs are big…on the not-so-healthy front, I’ve been dying for ice cream after long runs lately!

Action plan

Hi, friends!

Today was an on-the-go, traveling-for-work kind of day.  No complaints, though—I was home by 4!

And who says you can’t eat healthy on the road.  I packed another green monster and drank it as I drove!  They are still best fresh, but I made this one this morning instead of the night before and it was considerably better. 

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I rounded things out with a PB&J.

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Anyway, after work, I got home and guess what?  We got two RSVPs back!  One was from my mom, saying that she’s coming (duh), and the other was from Tim’s great-aunt and uncle with this lovely note.

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They got married in the same town we are…62 years ago.  Whoa.  But they are not coming.  Total so far?  3 coming (me and Tim included), 2 not coming, 199 people…undecided.

After I got home, I decided to visit the running store again after yesterday’s most heinous run.  I packed up all my old running shoes, since Bob had mentioned wanting to see them last time I was in.  And then I figured I could donate them there, because lord knows I’m not using them and five pairs of running shoes=major closet space.

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My friends at the Sports Medicine Store (and no, they are not paying me—I just really like this place) recognized me as soon as I came in with an “uh-oh.”  I explained to them what was going on—the intense rubbing in the arches, the tender knot in my shin/calf directly above my right arch—and, apparently, in all the excitement of Saturday, I missed the memo that I’m not supposed to be actually RUNNING in the arch supports for a week.

I think I got confused because they sent me home with the arch supports IN the running shoes.  So, apparently, I need to put the insoles in my shoes and gradually build up to wearing them all day just walking.  Until then, they said I will be fine to run in the shoes with the regular sockliner in them.  Back to the drawing board!  As always, the staff was super nice.  I bought a pair of socks just because I felt bad they had to deal with my crazycakes again.

Promise: if I make it through my half marathon with happy feet/shins/calves, I will bring the staff at the Sports Medicine Store cake balls.

Anyway, I’ve also been reading some about heel striking versus forefoot striking.  I think I’m a heel striker, which is apparently the worst thing you can do for your body, so I am going to play with my gait a little tomorrow to see if I can feel any difference if I attempt to strike with the front of my feet rather than my heels.

SO.  Tomorrow is long run day—another 8 miler.  Here is my superfab action plan for not crashing and burning.

  • Eat.  Last week I was barfy afterwards because I didn’t eat enough during the day.  I am going to eat a slightly larger breakfast, pack a bigger lunch than I usually do, and a bigger-than-normal snack for about an hour beforehand.
  • Hydrate.  But not too much.  I get sloshy if I drink 3 of my 24 oz. water bottles before a run, but 2 or 2.5 is okay.
  • Foot care.  To prevent arch blistering I am going to use Second Skin pads and moleskin on both arches.  I wore it on my left arch on Monday and very much liked it.  I will also not be using the arch supports tomorrow, just the sockliner. 
  • Leg care.  Apparently the knot-type feeling I have in my right leg is a little bit of internal bruising of some sort from the arch supports.  I’m going to ice it tonight and wear my Zensah compression sleeves tomorrow.  (I would wear them when I run, but I think I would be too hot!)
  • Asthma.  Take my medicine.  Duh.
  • Fuel.  I am deciding whether to try the much-touted Chocolate Outrage Gu or the assorted flavor Sports Beans I picked up today on sale.  Decisions, decisions.
  • Mental.  Download the couple fun songs I tagged on Shazam to keep the beats interesting.    Bring a post-run snack so I don’t eat the steering wheel on the ride home.  Attempt to protect asscheeks from chafing.  Embrace the hardcore!  Eat the ellipticalizers for breakfast.

Anyway, that’s my plan.  Hopefully one of these days everything will fall into place.

What’s your favorite mental tactic to get through a long run?

Dog Jog

Hi from the road!  I’m shacked up in a nice hotel for the night.

Thankfully, I got to sleep in a bit this morning because I was traveling.  I needed it.  Last night I had a bit of a breakdown–I’m stressed about working a lot, about running, about money, about the wedding…it’s just a lot for me and I tend to deal with it by sobbing dramatically for awhile.  God bless Tim.

Anyway, I didn’t feel like running this morning, but I did anyway.  I figured hey, it’s just two miles, piece of cake.  And it was!  I ran outside with Milhouse, and it felt so good.  He slows me down with his sniffing and peeing on things, which is exactly what I needed.  The two of us happily jogged around our neighborhood for about 25 minutes.

My running buddy was tired out.  I let him off the leash, he drank some water and went right to sleep!


Then I showered and got on the road.  I stopped for lunch at Subway.  I usually travel on fairly desolate stretches of highway, so it’s clearly the best option by a mile.  I love their roasted chicken subs!  I never eat chips at home, so they’re a nice treat when I’m on the road.

Then, I drove some more, did my work thing for a few hours, and then stopped at a Panera on the way to the hotel.  Turkey and gouda on tomato basil bread…yum.  (I may or may not have a brownie for later too.  Shh!)

As much as I hate being away from Tim and the animals, I think a hotel night is exactly what I needed.  If I was home, I’d be trying to clean things and do laundry and pay bills and pack my lunch.  I’m here in my room now, and seriously, I’m just going to chill…watch some TV, read some blogs, and relax.  After five days in a row of running, I seriously need to veg a little.

In other hilarious news, my race photos from Sunday are in.  Check out the series of three finish line shots.  Hilarious.  I swear.  I am not photogenic AT ALL.  I should probably be concerned about this for the wedding.  Thank god we have a great photographer.

Also, I got a few more questions about my heart rate monitor, so here goes:

  • Do you wear it below your bust every time you use it? Yes, that’s where it picks up your heartbeat.  You can’t really put it anywhere else!
  • When do you wear it as a watch? I don’t, because I’m usually dressed up for work, but you could wear it without the chest strap as a regular casual watch it you want.
  • Do you input your weight? Yes.  When you initially set it up, you input your gender, weight, and height.  You can change it at any time.
  • Does it count calories burned AND heart rate at the same time? Yes.  The display shows your current heart rate with a tiny “kCal” followed by a number in one of the screns.  You can also toggle between screens: time of day, duration of workout, and heart rate/calories.
  • Does it work for swimming? Yes!  I used to swim a fair bit and wore it without any issues. You’re just not supposed to push the buttons underwater.
  • Have you ever had the battery changed?  Was it difficult? I haven’t, but I have heard it’s pretty easy–I think you just send it in to Polar.

Anyway, I’ll be back in KC tomorrow night–I just hope the snow holds off long enough for me to get home!

Anyone else have a question for me/something you want me to talk about or show you in an upcoming blog post, fitness-related or not? Leave a comment!

(Not) Up in the Air

Hoo boy.

Long day.

Breakfast was the same…raisin bran a la Holiday Inn. And a side of vitamins. It’s a good thing I’m an excellent pill taker, because those fish oil capsules are yooge.

I did my thing for work.  Then, before making the 2.5 hour drive to the airport I found an Au Bon Pain. Lunch was a big fruit cup, a pesto-Brie-chicken sandwich, and water.

After awhile on the road I had to stop for a pick me up–a Diet Coke and two Hershey’s minis out of my work bag.

I finally got to the airport and did some annoying back and forth about whether I’d be delayed or not. Turns out my first flight was delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes, but I’d still make my flight from St. Louis to KC.

I arrived in STL about 15 minutes before my flight was supposed to leave. All the food lines were long, so I hit up the newsstand for a snack and some reading material for the second flight. I boarded on time, ready to go, around 6:30.

And we sat. And sat. And sat. For over two and a half hours at the gate, waiting for someone to sign off on something. I wanted to eat my arm I was so hungry. I always have an emergency snack in my bag…except that I’d eaten it at about 3 o’clock.  Finally we took off for the 40 minute flight to KC.  I snacked on some peanuts.  Thank goodness for airline peanuts, right?

So, now, at long last, I’m home.  It’s lovely.  I missed Tim and the animals.  Southie clearly doesn’t want me to leave again.

I’m off to take a shower and pack my lunch for tomorrow!

What’s been your worst flying experience?

Moo.

I feel like a cow, because I’ve been grazing all day long!

I had to do something for work from 11-2 that didn’t allow for any eating lunch time.  So I planned ahead with my most favorite Fit n’ Fresh icepack lunch container thing.

A big turkey sandwich, a clementine, and a packet of trail mix left over from my Crimmus stocking.

I ate the trail mix on the way to the thing around 10:30.  It was pretty good.

Then I downed the turkey sandwich around 2 on my way back to work, and the clementine in my office around 3, along with this guy:

Consequently, I never really felt FULL at any point today.  I like snacking, but I like having a big meal in the middle of the day to hold me over.  I wasn’t hungry, but I like feeling full.  There’s a difference.

The benefit of skipping my lunch break is that I left work at 4 instead of 5!  Hooray.

Today’s run wasn’t the best.  My calves felt so tight and my legs generally felt like lead.  Blistersquatch is taking over my foot.  It is now the size of a mouse.  It hurts like hell when I run.  Since it’s on the arch on the inside of my foot, I tend to roll my ankle to put more pressure on the outside of the foot.  By the end of the run, I could feel a shooting pain up my shin, and I was in a lot of pain.  So, I ran three miles–slower than usual, in about 29:30, but I did it.  Then I hobbled back to my car and drove home with pain shooting up my leg the whole way.

Here is a helpful Paint diagram of what happens to my feet/legs when I run.  Note that my left leg is normal, right leg is messed up.

I should have included some radiating pain lines, but I forgot and I’m too lazy to go edit.

Oh well, what can I do other than wait for it to callus over and deal.  It is what it is.

Tell me about your fitness war stories!  What’s the nastiest thing that’s happened to your body while working out?