Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day in the life of Xaarlin, Saturday edition.

Couldn't resist making a "Day in the Life" post because so many others are doing it today, and because last Saturday was so crazy!

5am: wake up hit snooze x20, piss off L.

6am: get up and go to the gym. But first take a photo of the gorgeous sunrise.

6:22am: Run 3 fast miles.
Photo from another run where I was goofing around.

6:45am: take a shower, have a coffee and quickly get ready.

7:25am: leave with CB for his vet appointment.

7:35am: CB decides he doesn't want to go to the vet and stops half way on our walk/run and wont budge. People begin to wonder if I've stolen my own dog due to his resistance for going on a walk with me.

7:40am: We finally get to the vet and he backs out of his leash and starts running around the parking garage.

7:45am: I corral CB and we go into the vet and find a long line. I appreciate the time the vet techs/office staff spend checking in each pet to listen to our issues etx. Luckily it moves fast enough.

8:00am: I run home one mile from the vet in jeans.

8:10am: I eat a ham egg and cheese croissant in record time.

8:20am: We leave for the train. (Because I worked out late, and because I left late to the vet, I was thinking we would miss the train)

8:40am: after a brief hustle to the train, we are seated comfortably.

10am: arrive Gary Indiana and walk to the 18th street brewery.

10:10am we start waiting in line for the 2 hours until the brewery opens. We were there for their special release of Hunter Coconut stout. <Spoiler Alert: It was worth the wait>

11:15am: still waiting in line. The vet calls and we discuss our next steps with CB. He has been drinking too much water for the past few weeks. No other symptoms. I agree to additional blood work to figure out what is causing him to drink every last drop.

11:30am: we are still freezing our asses off outside.

11:50am: The line starts to move and we can go inside and buy the Hunter Coconut.

11:55am: we buy our allotment of Hunter Coconut and find a seat to enjoy some beer!

11:59am: I buy a round of Hunter Coconut for L, my Daad and I so we don't have to open our bottles. It is delicious and chocolaty and coconuty and everything I had hoped it would be and more.

12:31pm: I drink a delicious Cone Crusher IPA from 18th Street

1:05pm: I go in line to buy another beer for my Daad and L.

1:06pm: I drink a Bitches Bank imperial stout from 18th Street. Man was this one delicious. Stout with cinnamon and other spices- almost reminded me of a boozy Mexican Hot Chocolate or mole in the best possible way.

1:15pm: I go use the rest room before hitting the train and take a photo of this sign.

1:20pm: we walk to the train

1:25pm: we get on the train.

2:47pm: we arrive Chicago

2:54pm: arrive Porkchop and get food.

3:24pm: arrive at my place, chill for a while.

5:15pm: leave to go pick up CB

5:30pm: go to Whole Foods.

5:38pm: go to the vet. Wait a very long time because the Vet was in a surgery. Speak to the vet for 10 minutes. Get some answers, get recommendations for more tests to find the underlying cause of the excessive drinking. Elevated kidney enzymes indicate the possible onset of early stage kidney disease or early stage kidney failure. Vet doesn't seem too concerned at the moment, so I breathe a sigh of relief- especially since CB has been acting normal- the only thing out of the ordinary was the excessive water consumption.

6:30pm: head home with CB.

7:00pm: Arrive home and chill the rest of the night.
9:18pm: While trying to go to sleep, I start crying thinking about how my dog will not live forever. And while there's no serious diagnosis, my mind goes to the worst. I start researching home remedies for kidney disease and info about changing his diet and go to bed because it's been a long day and I am drained emotionally and can't stay awake any longer.


WOW that was tiring to write.

And now that I've looked it over it was kinda boring and tedious to read. I must work on my day to day activities to make them more interesting for blog content. But, the more I think about it, This is a somewhat usual Saturday for me- minus the vet visit.
Until next time.

--Xaar

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday CB!

So today, January 15 is CB's birthday. I got him from the humane society in Greenville, SC when he was 10 weeks old. I counted back 10 weeks and 1/15/2005 became his birthday. Tonight we have some special celebrations planned.
The day CB came home with me, I remember like it was yesterday. I just don't remember him being so small and spunky. But I renamed him, because I could never have a "Rusty" in my house.
Full of awkward intensity since 2005.
After living briefly in South Carolina, we moved to Mexico for a few years. Then all the way to San Francisco. CB loved SF and running around Chrissy Field. We are convinced when he is dreaming, with paws twitching, that he is dreaming about running free in Chrissy Field.
In California, he also visited wineries.
In 2011, we moved to Chicago.Along the way we stopped at the oddities on route 66- such as the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. He had a blast running around without his leash!
Sometimes he would even dress up to go to "work."
Other times, we weren't sure what he was up to.
He experienced his first blizzard in 2011, and has pretty much hated the snow ever since.
He never likes to cuddle.And always shakes off after I scratch him.
He even has an imaginary friend....
He makes our small family complete.
And he brings me so much joy.
Seeing him happy melts my heart.
He's been my running buddy for a long long time.
He loves Fido to Go and "helping"out in the truck sometimes.
We cannot wait for Frisbee season again.
I seriously cannot believe I've had CB for almost 10 years, almost a 3rd of my life.
Happy Birthday little bear dog! I love you!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: All the stats!



2014 surprised me- in regards to working out. While I ran 581 miles less than last year, I cycled a lot and added swimming to the mix. I worked out a total of almost 12 days!

I am most surprised that I ran 161 times, averaged 45+ minutes and 5.29 miles each run. I really thought those numbers would be lower, but with Spring marathon training, it brought the numbers up.

I also spent 1.85 days of 2014 doing Physical Therapy. Not a surprise at all. But the time adds up quick.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I logged 544 beers in 2014, with 82% of them being unique check ins- beers I have not logged in the Untappd app since I started using it in late 2011- which is pretty much when I started getting into craft beer. I drank 448 unique beers that I've never had before in my life in 2014. Now many of those came from sharing bottles and sampling at beer festivals, I also actively seek out unique beers while at restaurants because it's super boring to me to have the same beer over and over again. There's so many amazing craft beers being brewed, I want to try as many as possible!

My "top" brewery of 2014 was BrewDog with 30 beers, followed closely by Goose Island with 25. I did drink a lot of BrewDog beer while at the BrewDog Bar in Sao Paulo in November, so it makes sense.

Here's a list of my most frequently checked into breweries:
I was not surprised at all to see that DIPA (Double IPA) and IPA's accounted for almost  25% of my beer consumed in 2014. Those generally make up my favorite beers to drink. I thoroughly enjoy Imperial/Double Stouts in the winter, so having those make up my 3rd most frequently checked in beer is no surprise. I am in love with sour beers, so for that to be 4th, is right where I expected.
Now, as for 2015 resolutions, those aren't my jam. I don't believe in setting myself up for failure at the start of the year with a bunch of wishes or dreams just because the masses are doing it. (The difference between a goal and a wish is a goal has a plan.) I feel most "resolutions" are just wishes- to lose weight, to do this, to do that, but there's no plan in place to get to the destination (and not enough discipline to follow through). Asides, making goals or "resolutions" once a year is pretty sad. What about the other 364 days in the year to make a change? Every single day I'm evaluating and analyzing my life and how to make it even more amazing. I don't wait for things to come to me, I go out and make shit happen.

2014 was by far the best year for me, but I also said the same for 2013, 2012, you get the idea. I accept nothing less from my life.

2015 will be another amazing year, I have no doubt!

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: A Huge Disappointment

I went into 2014 thinking this was the year I'd finally have another breakthrough in the marathon, that I would smash all of my PRs, that I would be injury free. Little did I know at the time, 2014 had something else In store for me.

I started the year out strong. Running outside when I could- which wasn't very much do to the extreme cold polar vortex shit that descended upon Chicago.

I was happy to see the pancake ice again swaying in the lake.

I ran long runs on the treadmill before work nearly every week that I was training for Knoxville. Yay for waking up at 3am to run 20 miles before work on a Thursday. Yay.

All that work paid off when I ran my 2nd fastest marathon ever on a hilly beast of a course. I was nearly all smiles for 26.2, which was exactly what I needed after I blew up at Fox Valley in 2013 due to fu$king hormones.

I took some time off running post Knoxville. I thought- maybe I could run another late spring marathon and BQ!

I went for a run one night while it was kinda stormy at the end of April. It was gorgeous. I remember speeding up the last 4 miles to out kick the fast approaching storm and get some burgers from 5 Guys.
The last photo I took before my cankle returned.


The next morning I ran on the treadmill and a familiar pain started in my calf/ankle. I was devastated. I knew that the Tendinosis of the peroneal tendon had returned.

I took some time off, and it started feeling better so I ran the inaugural Original 5k put on by fleet feet. But I knew that I had a long couple of months before I would be able to run again.

I started going to PT, something which lasted 4 months. I started lap swimming in a pool.

I even got to the point where I thought doing a triathlon would be a good idea. Because so much of the race would be activities which wouldn't hurt my ankle.

I knew my old blue specialized bike would be up to the challenge.

I even bought a wet suit so I could practice some open water swims, because I was "all in" for the TRI.

The triathlon was a blast and I was so happy to finally give a multisport race a chance.


After 4 months of PT, including 4 weeks of absolutely NO RUNNING, I graduated and started running little by little again. Of course now it was cold out and not my favorite time of year to run. I love sweating my balls off during the summer. Layering up and freezing to death just sucks for me.
But I was happy to be able to run in hot weather for a week in Brasil. It was springtime there after all.

So 2014 was a huge disappointment for running (once again). I didn't get a single PR and got injured again. I only ran 3 races, only one of which I actually "raced."

The interesting thing is that I feel 2014 was one of the best years athletically for me. I ran a decent marathon, learned how to swim (beyond the dog paddle), completed a triathlon, and most important- took care of myself by going to PT.

In May, right after the tendinosis returned, I contemplated giving up running entirely. I've been plagued with injuries for as long as I've been running- 15+ years and felt it was no longer worth it to continue on with these injury cycles and damage my tendons further. But before giving up entirely, I gave PT a shot. Best. Decision. Ever.


After more consistent running including long runs and fast paced runs recently, I finally feel the tendinosis won't return. With 3 days left in December, I will surpass my 2013 December running mileage.

So while 2014 was a huge disappointment for my running, It ended up being the best thing that could have happened to me because I finally got the help I needed to sort out the imbalances and weak hips which were causing chronic issues for me.

So here's to a much better 2015. It can only get better from here.




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Shoes and running,and clarinets and making beer...

Ive been lacking motivation to run. Summer is my favorite time to run- i love the heat, and the chance to wear as little clothes as possible. Winter = dark, icy, and cold. None of which are conditions I like to run in. I trip a lot, I dont want to injure myself on ice, and the cold makes my hands feel as if my hands have been smashed with a hammer. Sitting on my comfy stationary bike has been my workout of choice lately...
It's pathetic for me to not even break 20 running miles a week and i've only done that 2 times in the past 6+ months. But, PT and my long term vision for ending my injury cycles have been #1. Now that i'm overcoming my anxiety of running more miles, I want to have goals. I want 2015 to be the year of the PRs!

Black friday, cyber monday whatever. I bought 2 new pairs of running shoes- Nike Zoom Fly and Mizuno Wave Hitogami. Both are extremely light (because those extra ounces add up, yo!) and feel pretty good- they have different heel to toe drops, but I am always about variety.  Different shoes for different workouts and all that jazz. Gotta keep the muscles engaged and on their toes.
Saturday was on the warmish side, so I took CB for a run. He saw some Canadian geese and had a great time running 5.5 miles with me.
Post run I made beer. Not any of that extract/syrup shit, but legit all grain brewing.  We have a one gallon set up which is perfect for our apartment.The "standard" home brewer would make 5 gallon batches. I cannot fathom making that much beer. I made an extremely hoppy IPA and if all goes well, in 2-3 weeks I'll have a delicious beer to drink.

The various stages of brewing- the "mash" process where the grains are soaked in hot water to get their flavor and sugars into the water. The OMG delicious smelling hop pellets for "the boil." And our fermentation vessel.
After the mash in, I had 2.5 lbs of spent grain left over. I could have tossed it out, but there was a precious pup who insisted I make biscuits.
With the spent grain I added flour, peanut butter and eggs to make the dough. *No hops are in the spent grain. Those are poisonous to dogs.
The pup supervised me and made sure all the ingredients were perfect.
The pup was drooling while "supervising" me. CB and one of 11 dough balls.
I used my new bear cookie cutter to make 74 bear cookies for CB and his BFF Tomoe. My oven was filled with spent grain biscuits!!! And I still have half the dough left in my freezer! I even taste tested a leg of one of the bears- and it was ok. Not overly sweet or flavorful. But CB approved. Spent grain can also be used to make bread.
To back track a little, On Friday evening I restored all my clarinets. I cleaned their wood bodies, I oiled them, I waxed the outside and cleaned their corks. For the first time in almost 4 years they saw the light of day. It was oddly relaxing to do this- something I had not done since I lived in Mexico and played professionally in an orchestra. It has been a struggle for me to enjoy classical music since leaving Mexico since it brings up so many mixed emotions. A story for another day...
I did all of this because I want to play again. It's taken me 4+ years to actually want to play them again  and before I could do that, I needed to perform the necessary maintenance on them. I would hate for them to crack because I didn't oil their wood. Thankfully they were all in great condition. I've played a few times now- only the Bb clarinet and plan to play the bass, my favorite, soon.
My Clarinets: Eb, Bb, A, and my favorite: Bass Clarinet.

Sunday I went for another run outside. It was cold and windy. I had originally planned to run 8-10 miles, but after going into the freezing headwind for 3 miles, I called it at 6. I just cannot handle the cold. I did another 2.5 on the treadmill once I returned.
The waves were crashing on the sea wall which, despite the cold, was so mesmerizing to me.
I am excited to build a good base going into 2015 and start chasing the goals I had to put on hold during 2014.
I just need to figure out what those goals will be...