Monday, April 29, 2013

The Kestrel has landed

I had a simply miserable morning at the doctors office. Ive been really sick for quite a while now, Im not talking the flu or a stomach bug, and getting to the bottom of it is becoming time consuming and exhausting. Today I had to have a whole blood panel taken, 7 vials, thats a whole armful and to add to my misery they were fasting tests so I was thirsty and hungry on top of my usual tired, awesome.

To add to my misery I had to drag along Emma aka Horridness to have food intolerance tests for her ongoing gastro symptoms. Now my Emma doesnt like drinking, doesnt like doctors and definitely doesnt like needles, so this appointment was doomed from the start. The doc tried to take blood from the normal spot in the crook of her arm but that wasnt happening so instead we opted for finger pricks and dabbing drops of blood onto a special card for testing. Usually it takes one or two fingers to achieve this. My special dehydrated angel took 5 attempts and needed a bandaid after every try. Way to go Emma. 2 and a half hours later we were on our way. That has to have been the longest blood draw appointment Ive ever been to.

To cheer myself up I headed right to Performance Bike to collect my new tri bike. They've had it for over two weeks but now shes looking pretty in my garage. I was too exhausted after all the mornings antics to put it on the trainer and try it out, so thats on the cards for tomoro. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Rave Run Chicago

A while ago I spotted a Zozi deal for The Rave Run downtown and thought, well why not. Its an untimed event which suits me and my gimp foot and its also for a great cause. Plus it looks major fun. 

Im a big fan on Disney's lights to music events and even though I knew this wouldnt be on the same scale, I thought my Emma would enjoy it, plus Elizabeth told me that taking Emma out for the night would be one of the best birthday presents she could ever have(!).

The event actually moved locations sometime in the week so we were redirected to Grant Park- Arvey Field, so parking was fairly easy. When we arrived at the race it was packed with people, mainly adults. There were plenty of toilets and a huge main stage blaring out rave music. The SWAG had included a cotton tee and a flashing bracelet and we wore extra glow sticks and makeup.
The course travelled along the LakeFront Path and then turned around to head back to the park. Thankfully it wasnt too dark as the day had been awesome and warm and the sky was clear. We could definitely feel the temperature drop but it was dry with no wind so we most certainly could not complain. There were starting corrals and the start line was where it usually is for Grant Park races. Sadly there were no mile markers, so we had to rely on our watches.

We were given bottles of water and there were only bananas at the finish line so we quickly left and headed off to Subway before driving home. It was a truly fun event but after all the standing on the grass by left foot was toast and I only managed two miles of the course.

Value for money: Yes I had a Groupon style deal
Would I do it again? No probably not. One and done as they say.

I have a teenager

The start of a hectic day.
My baby is 13. No biggie I hear you say, well no, probably not to most people, but its one of a gazillion major milestones that will be happening miles away from the rest of our family.

So how does a 13 year old spend their birthday? well that can be a tricky one. Clearly, they are too big for bounce houses and they cant chat to each other during a movie, so I had planned an awesome day of pampering and playing. 

First off, hair and nails at Capri Beauty School in Oak Forest. The girls had a blast getting their nails and hair curled and a beauty school party is a great experience for the client and the beauticians.
Quick bite to eat, then it was off to party no. 2 at Dave and Busters in Orland. Food + video games = 10 happy kids and an easy party for the parents. I highly recommend it and the food is pretty great. The party assistants also insisted on doing the full clean up. :) Kerching.

After all the party fun it was back to our house for some gift opening and relaxing, before I had to dash off to the Rave Run at Grant Park. More birthday fun tomorrow, when we enjoy a truly delicious lunch with Kelly and family. :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Run for Boston 5k & what running means to me.

My good friend Kelly is currently spending every waking minute working on the Run for Boston 5k This is an official or virtual event, so choose whichever suits you best. 100% of the registration fees goes to the official Boston Charity, so go ahead, stop reading this and sign up now.

As part of reminding ourselves what the Boston Marathon or running means to us, bloggers have been asked to submit a post about their own running experience. So heres mine.

Clearly, Ill never run Boston, but Im as sure as sugar that Ill be in the crowd on the finish line one day. I picked up running the same way as everyone else did, to get in shape, but I also wanted to meet people and make new friends and boy did I do that.

So ok, I cant keep up with the majority but I like to hurl abuse at them as they run past me and they laugh right back, cos thats the one thing runners have, a kick ass sense of humor. I mean, what kinda people get up at 4am to go and run 3 miles? or to drive 2 hours to a 13.1 mile race only to turn around and drive home again. Its insane right? Well no. Thats not how runners see it and thats not how I see it.

If I arrange to meet with someone at 6am to run 4 miles and avoid the heat, then I try my hardest to be there, no matter how exhausted I am. I DO NOT want to let anyone down. I feel responsible for their workout aswell as my own. I dont want to change their plans just so I can sleep longer and I dont want to be left high and dry myself. I always prefer to run with a partner or two, then alone.

So imagine this, you've arrived to meet your running group at 6am on a beautiful but chilly Sunday morning when you could have easily hit snooze after having a few margharitas the night before. You realise you've forgotten your gloves, at least 3 people will always have a spare pair and are totally willing to give you them, or even remove them from their own shivery fingers so that you can wear them. WHO DOES THAT? Normal friends dont do that, they tell you to suck it up or shrug their shoulders at you. Runners will purposely stock up their cars with "just in case you forget shit" just so they can share it. We are a rare breed. We can be compared to new mums who over pack their bags just in case the newborn needs a week's full of crap during a 20minute dash for milk and bread.

So could you find a more sincere or caring friend, well yes maybe, could you rely on them, probably. If they don't run and don't understand the attraction of running, would you be life long friends?    hmm ....well thats a different story. So if you aren't a runner and need to expand your circle of friends consider trying it. You'll hate the running part but the side effects are pretty awesome. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy St Georges Day

April 23rd is St George's Day. Its not a bank holiday although everyone back home would love it to be, you might see some flags as you drive down the back streets. :)

St George's Day is known as the Feast of Saint George by Palestinians and is celebrated in the Monastery of Saint George in al-Khader, near Bethlehem. It is also known as Georgemas.

Countries that celebrate St George's Day include England, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Macedonia. Cities include Moscow in Russia, Genova in Italy, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Beirut in Lebanon, Qormi and Victoria in Malta and many others.

I recently stumbled upon a cute facebook page celebrating St George's Day. check it out and Happy St George's Day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting on my nerves!

Today I went for some nerve tests downtown.  Around 3 years ago, through a neuropathy support group, I met Dr Roberto Segura of the Chicago Peripheral Nerve Center. As doctors go hes really nice. He's attentive, understanding and non-patronising.

Not my foot!
Periodically I have a nerve conduction study (NCS) on my legs. Its painful and unpleasant for me. I have hyper sensitive feet and cant bare to be touched so the act of someone attaching an electrode and zapping my brains out isnt all that appealing.

I know Dr Segura does some kind of measuring on my feet because I always leave covered in pen. Im not technical enough to know why, Im guessing the length of the nerves or even where the muscle branches.

I was born with flat feet and recently had the arch reconstructed in my left foot
When I stand my feet look like this.
after discovering in 2011 that I had trapped nerves in my ankles, also called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

The tibial nerve was trapped and I had surgery to release it. My recovery was fairly quick but my symptoms never got better.
Ive had the calcaneal sliced off and moved over to stop pronation. Cool right?
Todays tests showed the entrapment is back and I am waiting for a conclusive report from Dr Segura. I do not plan to have any more surgeries and Im hoping its scarring and that massage and acupuncture can help.
Until then Ill continue my post op therapy and train for my century bike ride. :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pound vs Dollar

It still tickles me that I can travel far around America and not have to change currency. Coming from a fairly small island all of my childhood and married life I travelled outside of the UK to warmer climates and always had to change currency. The year we moved to America the dollar was almost 2 to the pound, it made half price living for a while :)

Today marks the 30 year anniversary of the pound coin. I remember(vaguely) pound notes and I most certainly remember when the pound coin came into circulation.

When I moved to America I found it fascinating that all of the dollar bills are the same color, its actually very confusing and unnecessary and is one of the reasons I always charge my purchases. That and the fact that after 5 years I still have no idea which coin is which :(

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Post surgery therapy

Tape is holding my foot together
3 months and one day ago I had my left foot reconstructed. Ive had pain in my feet for almost 5 years and my podiatric surgeon recommended reconstructing the arch to see if that will help. The doc explained that the surgery was pretty significant and that the recovery would be long and slow, that was no joke.

I had 4 procedures done, 2 tendons in the arch shortened, my achilles lengthened and my heel bone sliced off, moved and then screwed back on. Ive since had to have the screw removed due to an on-going infection.

So I have a foam roller which has been cut down the length. I do inversion and exversion exercises by rocking my foot. It helps with bilateral strengthening. My inversion totally sucks! and its very hard to keep my knee still.  Then I turn the roller around and do dorsiflex and plantarflexion movements. My dorsiflex has improved a lot since my achilles was lengthened.

Next is the stretchy band. I like doing stretchy band exercises. Its the same movement as the roller only with tension.


Most mornings I'm pain free but by midday I can barely walk, I always try to make therapy even with the soreness or do my exercises at home. Its pretty light therapy right now. Ive only been fully weight bearing for 2 1/2 weeks and I have a completely new gait to contend with which feels really odd. So for now its going to be a very slow on-going process.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday is juicy

I woke up at 1am this morning with the worst heartburn from last nights post dinner snack. In fact my heartburn was so bad I thought I was having a heart attack and was very concerned. 

Turns out I'm fine, so I decided a Monday kick start was in order.

This mornings juice is aptly named "the rough one" because that's exactly how it tastes.

The ingredients are, Kale, Carrots, Beet, Alfalfa, Celery, Spinach, Lemon and lime. 


I made a substantial amount so that I could sip it all morning. 

I totally regret that ewwww thankfully its going down easier with a nice caffeine free green tea, infused with lemon.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Riding the Plank

Im training for a couple of significantly long bike rides due to the fact that I probably wont be able to seriously run again until 2015, thats right another 2 years. If I cant marathon on my feet then I can marathon on my butt right?

I recently purchased a new bike but I wont get it for another week, because Performance Bike are assembling it and fitting me to it but more on that later.

Nick and I signed up for the Tri Smart 101: Ride to Support Breast Cancer Research in September. With routes of 10, 38, 61, 77 and 101 miles along low-traffic roads, rest stops roughly every 20 miles with beverages and snacks, as well as SAG support, I intend to rock out the full 101 where Nick will bail at mile 38 #soproud.
Hes still refusing to wear a jersey!!
As, Nick only has a heavy duty mountain bike, yesterday I had the pleasure of accompanying him to Richards Bikes in Palos Heights for a fitting. My hubs is clearly out of the normal bike fitting realms at 6ft 7 and will probably need something made for him. But after some great customer service by assistants, who clearly know what they are talking about, we left with a brand new Trek for him. (whatever)

After last weeks training on his mountain bike, the tall one positively flew this morning. There was some feedback(bitching) about the "sharpness" of the seat but other than that he was a very happy bunny. 22 miles in 1hr 50, not fast but we did have to stop at every road to cross and the wind kindly changed direction and speed on our return leg.

He doesnt know it yet, but Im planning a midweek interval ride for him :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My neuropathy work

May 13-17, 2013 is Neuropathy
Awareness Week!
Imagine laying awake all night with painful, burning, tingling, numb feet??? Yes even numbness hurts. 
1 in 15 Americans have neuropathy according to the Neuropathy Association. How does someone get neuropathy? There are several ways,
Four years ago, I started with foot pain and began the long journey to find answers and relief. Seven doctors later, I now have a greater understanding of my symptoms and when I found Dr Segura of the Chicago Peripheral Nerve Center we decided to work together and start a support group.
I formed the Illinois Peripheral Neuropathy Support Group in April 2012. The group is free and meets once a month. Our aim is to educate those who are experiencing the symptoms and offer advice.

The support group is currently relocating to Crest Hill Illinois, and we will be meeting during the summer months.

For further information email Jenny.


Running Blogger Survey

Heres my answers although I use the term "runner" very loosely. I consider myself as someone who registers for a race because everyone else has!

Best Race Ever Chicago 10k

I by no means rocked a fast time, but I really enjoyed running along the Lake Front and Im signed up to gimp-walk the same race this year :)

Three Words that Describe My Running

Slow. Painful. Slow.

My Go-To Running Outfit
I have wayyy too many running clothes and have no idea why I just end up wearing the same thing.

But I always choose some kind of compression capris and a loose to almost over sized shirt. I nearly always over heat and I hate compression on top.
(at some point someone will take an awesome pic of me running while looking awesome. Until then this is all I have.)

Quirky Habit While Running
Im not sure if its considered quirky but I always check out and take a mental note of everyone elses outfit. In fact ask me what you were wearing I could probably tell ya.

Morning, Mid-day, or Evening
When I first started running it was in the evening to warm up for kickboxing. When I was marathon training the heat was unbearable and I had to start early in the morning. Now I prefer running late morning.

I Won’t Run Outside When It’s
Icy. Im petrified of slipping.

Worst Injury – And How I Got Over It
I've never had a running injury although my lower extremities feel permanently injured.

I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When
I completed my first half marathon and received my first ever medal. Palos Half May 2011
Next Race Is
The Rave Run April 27th 2013, although this I consider to be just a fun event and not a race.

Link up your answers to the Running Blogger Survey!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deals, deals and more deals.

Im a huge deal finder, in fact I really cant resist the Groupon style sites and my iPhone is full of deal finder apps, LivingSocial, AmazonLocal and Groupon to name but a few. More recently, Ive purchased Tinley Park Roller Rink deals for the kids and "Authentic" English Tea for Two, where Kelly and I enjoyed a warming lunch after a very chilly half marathon race in Busse Woods, Schaumburg... more here.

So when I spotted a permanent eyeliner deal on AmazonLocal I thought heck why not? who doesnt want to wake up with perfect eyes?

The appointment was with Cosmetic Enhancement Clinic and I have to say their website is a little misleading as the beauty technician is actually based inside Marc Anthony on La Grange Road in Orland. Needless to say I was 30mins late because I didnt know this and I was actually considering turning around and heading home.

On arriving the consultation probably lasted 5 mins but I was good with that as I was clear we had an understanding that at no point did I want to look gothic, evening or panda, so the technician set to work.

In the car as soon as Id left the appointment
To prepare myself I had watched the procedure on YouTube, which I never can be sure whether that is a good idea or not. On this occasion it was because I was in no way prepared for what was going to happen.

I knew the procedure was permanent but had no clue it was tattoo'd onto the eye lid. Tattoo..that means pain right? I have three other tattoos so I know how stingy it is, but a needle on the eyelid thats just wrong?.

Few hours later when the swelling had started going down
The technician began by cleaning the area and then applying numbing topical cream and covering while the process began. We chatted for a while and when the technician decided my eyelids were sufficiently asleep (why not ask me?) she set to work. Holy Sh*t  

I had asked her if it hurt and in her best honest voice she replied the experience was different for everyone, which I took for a "yes its going to hurt like hell". Well guess what, it did.

The needle bore deep into my lash line as she held back my upper and lower eye lids and I wriggled around on the bed in the worst stinging pain. #Unpleasant

Five more numbing topical applications later, I was rithing on the bed in discomfort and we agreed after a couple of minutes to finish and apply ice. Now Ive had two children, 3 foot surgeries and 3 tattoos and Im no baby, but holy smokes the experience was totally horrid.

I am due to return in a month for a follow up and maybe a little bit more work, but at this moment in time I wont be going. The next time you see me have a close look and see if you can see any of the lash enhancements :-).

My Favorite Juices

I normally follow Jason Vale's juicing program using the app on my iPhone but whats a girl to do when she runs short of a vital ingredient??? Improvise. So now I make up my own recipes and Im pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

Ive come to realize its great to make up your own juice but its important to ensure you create a good balance. 
A very "green" juice seems more detoxifying than a sweeter juice but the flavor definitely suffers the greener the juice is.

Kale is definitely a flavor killer and I learnt at Juicing Class that its not always a good thing to supplement the flavor with extra apples and carrots which are very high in natural sugars. So now I have to experiment with natural flavor enhancers, lemon, lime, beet and oranges are some of my favorites.

I guess now I have to research what flavors others add to their juices. 
Do you have a favorite?


Juicing Class @ Whole Foods Orland Park

Tonight, I was very excited to be attending a free juicing class with my best biking buddy Lynn. Most people who know me, know that Im a big fan of juicing and this class was held not far from me at the newly opened Whole Food store in Orland Park and was organised by Health From Within of Orland 


The doc was running late so while we waited for him to arrive we were sent off on a scavenger hunt for the 6 fresh produce ingredients that were included in the "Mean Green Juice" created by Joe Cross in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Cucumber, celery stalks, green apples, kale, lemon and ginger

The winner won a book but sadly it wasnt me as I was gimping in my walking boot. :(

Not long after we were introduced to Dr Matt Spangler who began his presentation by firing some pretty horrific health and nutrition facts at us from WebMD. I wished we had had a copy of his notes to follow as he spoke, it would have made it far easier, as we were in a noisy open store and Dr Spangler wasnt mic'd up.
We were given a taste of the Mean Green Juice which isnt one of my favorites and definitely tastes "healthy". It has quite a kick as it includes a lot of Kale and it is one of the main juices in Mr Cross's plan. We were also given a sample of Whole Food's own freshly squeezed juices which apparently have a great shelf life because the air is removed from the bottle. Lynn didnt drink hers and I must admit I preferred the juices I squeeze better than Whole Foods own flavors.
Dr Spangler listed the benefits of each of the ingredients included in the Mean Green Juice and how they benefited the body. The benefits juicing has on the body is endless and even if a person doesnt fast, juicing as a supplement should definitely be encouraged. Some of the information Dr Spangler provided was mind boggling and made me rethink my own children's diets especially their cows milk intake.

After a quick fire Q&A I was able to grab a quick pic before we left two hours later. I really wanted to ask a few questions but I could see the doc's time was pretty monopolised and I was sure he was keen to head home.

Ive read up a lot on juicing since Ive started at home so a lot of the information wasnt that new to me but I can see how it would help newbie-juicers kick start their way to a heathier lifestyle.

Tonight the turn out was around 40 people and Dr Spangler interacted really well with the crowd. I was dismayed when we did not receive a proper introduction on Dr Spanglers background but that didnt seem to matter too much as we werent being offered medical advice but more, eat more fruit and veggies which clearly everyone already knows.

Was the class helpful? YES
Would I attend again? YES

The set up however was a little crowded as they were expecting only a small handful of people. I would have liked to have seen juicing stations so that we could have tried some different recipes ourselves.