Seen on the run (November 11, 2018)

Cold, beautiful and really, really slow.

I am ridiculously slow and cautious on the leaf-covered rocky trails now. I’m so worried about spraining my ankle again. It’s frustrating and I hope I get over it soon.

It’s nice to have such a patient training partner, though.


IMG_20181111_101704194_HDRRiprap/Wildcat loop

Poison ivy

This poison ivy has brought back the anxiety crazies.

I noticed the first spot on my arm on Wednesday, July 5. By the end of that day, I had a big patch on my right hip and some spots on my inner thigh. For the next few days, some smaller spots showed up all along my arms, stomach and upper thighs. Since the biggest spots were on my right hip and upper inner thigh, I figured that the poison ivy oil was on my shoes and when I put my shorts on, it transferred to the inside of my shorts and onto my body.


I threw out those shorts (they were old and not good for running anymore anyway).

For the record, I always take my shoes off before I change my shorts. Except the Sunday before I hadn’t. Because I usually change out of my sweaty wet clothes in the woods at the trail head. But the day before I’d found a tick crawling on my shoe when I did that. And a few days before that, I’d found a tick attached to me. So I didn’t feel like changing in the woods. Instead, I pulled off the Blue Ridge Parkway at a picnic area to change. It was still fairly early in the morning though, so it was deserted. Ever since I’d read about the Seattle runner who was attacked in a bathroom, I’ve been leery about deserted restrooms. I really wanted to get out of my soaked clothing, though. So I went in and quickly checked all the stalls. I then changed as fast as I possibly could, while standing with my hand holding the main door closed. So I didn’t take my shoes off. Until I got back to my car. Then I put them on the floor in the back of my car. Then probably into an old grocery bag with the rest of my wet clothes to carry into the house.

It wasn’t until this Tuesday, a full week after finding the first spot that I started thinking about everything that I and my shoes may have come into contact with, though. I started thinking about this because after a few glorious days of not finding any new spots, some new patches showed up on my wrist and lower thighs.

Since my last major anxiety flare up, I’ve been doing really well! I can’t say exactly what I’ve been doing to get it in check, but I think the main thing was cutting way back on my training. I’m pretty sure that I was over-training last summer, trying to follow my half-ironman training plan. I also started doing gentle yoga everyday (that only lasted a couple of weeks) and cut way down on caffeine. I still make 6+ cups every morning, but I only use 2 scoops of regular and the rest decaf.

But dealing with this poison ivy is making me feel pretty crazy again.

It’s not helping that I’m not getting much sleep because the itchiness is keeping me awake. And thinking that everything I touch could possibly have urishiol on it is driving me mad.

Today I scrubbed down both pairs of my running shoes with technu, and then washed them in the washing machine. I also used the technu to scrub down my steering wheel and seat belt, and washed both of my backpacks and all of my reusable grocery bags, because any of them may have been on the floor of my car. The hairbrush that I keep in my car and my windshield visor are on the floor now, and since I don’t want to touch them, I just plan on leaving them there indefinitely.

Watching this You-Tube video initially made me feel a little better, but now I’m scrubbing my hands three times after I touch anything. Soon I may not have any skin left to scrub. The video said the Dawn dish soap works better than anything else, so I used some from a bottle that someone had left in my apartment long before I moved in. The date on it was 2009. After scrubbing my raw, open-sore arms with the stuff, I became paranoid that it was contaminated with god-knows-what and all of my sores were going to get infected, so I doused them with alcohol and went and bought a new bottle.

See? Crazy.

None of this has kept me from running in the woods, though. I’m heading to the mountains tomorrow. I’ll just be scrubbing like crazy afterward.

And searching for ticks.


Keeping life simple (why I didn’t join ACAC)

If I joined ACAC within two weeks after my 30 days for $30, they would have waived the initiation fee.

It wasn’t an easy decision. I wanted to join.

A big part of “keeping it simple” for me is living well within our means financially. We’re doing fine right now, but we don’t have any car payments. Both of our cars are getting old, though, so that could change. My work situation could change, too. Anything could happen in the next twelve months.

Just thinking about signing a year-long contract was making me anxious.

I don’t want to feel anxious.

I tried to find a way to rationalize it, or at least bring the cost down to a reasonable amount, but I just couldn’t do it.

First try: The $89.50 per month fee is about the same cost as one session with a therapist. That didn’t really work, though, because I stopped going to therapy as soon as I figured out how expensive it is. One of my main stressors is spending money. How is spending so much money just to talk to a therapist supposed to help me become less anxious about spending money?

Second try: I found out that Kurt’s work offers a “gym reimbursement.” As long as I attend twenty-one times every three months (I had been 15 times in the 30 days), they will reimburse us up to $75 per quarter. That would bring the cost down to $64 per month, which is not too far off from the $51 I’m used to paying.

But then I realized that I could use that same reimbursement on the $51, which would bring┬áthe monthly fee down to $26. Not only that, but at my other gym, I could pay for only two months per quarter if I wanted (or one, or none…)

Third try: I could give up my little splurges, like coffee and breakfast at Bodo’s or Whole Foods after my morning work-outs, and the expensive nut butters I’ve gotten in the habit of buying whenever they’re on sale (I’m talking about you, Nuttzo!)

But I don’t want to give these things up. And the difference is, I could give them up if I needed to. I haven’t signed a contract locking me into paying a monthly fee for them.

One of the reasons I love running so much is that it is so simple. I don’t need a gym. The reality, though, is that I have a lot of injuries (real and imagined.) If I want to stay in shape, I sometimes need other options.

So, I’m back to using the Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center and Carver Rec Center.

Right now, I’m headed out for a run and afterward, I’m going to grab some coffee and a muffin!