Friday, October 28, 2011

honor your body

Yoga teachers love to use that phrase, "honor your body", quite often during classes.  It can mean a variety of things, usually the teacher will say it after they've taught several levels of a posture and it is a gesture toward taking the level that you are best suited for instead of pushing yourself toward injury or pain.  I've been struggling with how to write this post because, in all honesty, I struggle with honoring my body in so many ways.  During teacher training, I somehow lost my way and did pretty much the opposite of any honoring.  I got competitive with my classmates, my teachers and most of all myself and quit listening to the signals of pain.  I thought if I tried a little harder, folded over a little deeper, that somehow I'd heal myself.  Instead of backing off when things were painful, I pushed myself further into some pretty painful injuries that have affected the entire backside of my body (and into the front side of my right hip) since July.  It took me way too long to ask for help or listen to my internal signals.  But despite that it's been a hard lesson to learn, it's been valuable.  It makes me a better and more understanding teacher; it has taught me to slooooooow down in many ways; it's given me the opportunity to get back into my running more than I probably would have; I've learned to appreciate my healthy body so much more.  I've always been a big race crier but now it means even more to me since I had a brief experience of being limited in what I could do with my body.  I'm thankful to have this vessel that does almost everything I ask of it and I have to learn to treat it even better.

I've been getting better about exercising after not doing much during chiropractic treatments.  That part has always come more easily for me.  Once I get going, the feeling of movement and the yoga buzz or runner's high is alluring and it's not that hard for me to get with the program.  I've completely modified the way that I practice yoga to be more gentle to my entire body, but most especially my back.  But the area in which I always struggle is my food consumption.  I do not honor my body by paying attention to what I fuel it with or listening to my body's signals that it's full.  I bought a huge bag of gummy bears this week and ate a bowl of them yesterday.  I constantly battle with food and I've been spending too much time at the grocery store while hungry (see the above gummy bear purchase).  I have to quit making excuses and stop pretending that a steady diet of cheese, bread, candy and beer will help me get further into the healthy weight range for my body (I mean, I exercise for a living, there is NO excuse to be in the top of that range).  I like fruits and vegetables, I just need to incorporate them more into my diet and work harder to make that the basis for everything.  I don't believe in low-fat foods as a general rule, since they often compensate with sodium or chemicals, but I can't continue to always over-slather everything with real butter and cheese.  I am tired of constantly battling between a 10 pound range.  I hate having "fat clothes" in my closet just in case.  I want to feel good about my weight 90% of the time, as opposed to the 10% of the time that I do now.  I want to look at pictures and think "I look happy" instead of "I looked like that?".

I read a post from another blogger yesterday that struck a chord with me.  I'll spend obscene amounts of money on yoga clothes or running/biking gear, yet I don't care to spend the time and money necessary to work the best foods into our diet.  I have no excuse for that.  Why spend the money on great clothing that performs well for the outside of my body and not spend the money on foods that not only please me but fuel me in the best possible ways on the inside?

It's time I finally took the time to truly honor my body, in all the ways that it means.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

let me update ya

I've stopped going to the chiropractor.  It's been a week now with no chiropractic related treatments.  My neck is just now starting to feel back to normal (did I ever mention that she had this odd fascination with my neck- WHICH IS JUST FINE thankyouverymuch!), my back is still sore-ish but I can sit without feeling awful and that is more than I can say when I was getting "treated".  I was having trouble even finding comfortability when I was sleeping at night and that was never a problem until I started going to the chiro.  Funny how none of those ominous signs were the real reason I stopped going.  I just didn't want to pay the bajillion dollars and follow her treatment plan that went until MARCH!  MARCH?  WHAT!  Um, NO!

When I got her "plan" and saw the way-too-high number to pay on the bottom (and also, you should know that this shockingly high number only went through my 2011 treatments and we'd have to start paying again in January for those treatments until MARCH!), I started calling around to physical therapy places.  Turns out PT is also a gigantic pain in my butt.  I had to visit with my primary care doctor, which I suppose was ok since I needed to find one anyway and I like the lady I met with, just to get a script for PT.  The place she wants to send me to took 3 business days to finally call me back and they can't even get me in for my initial evaluation for another week (the first place wanted me to wait even longer).  I can't even imagine the grotesque amount of money it's going to cost and our new insurance here in Texas just plain sucks.  (I'll save my rant about high deductible insurance and how it totally punishes people with minor issues and basically gives you good coverage only when you've had a ridiculous chronic problem for ages for another day.)  But my hope with PT is that they say it should only take me 8 sessions, or about 4 weeks, to complete whatever plan we agree upon and if I haven't seen results, we'll move on to something else (probably meeting with a surgeon and I pretty much refuse to have back surgery for this, I'd rather just live with nagging pain).  It's not treatment until MARCH! so I'm happy with trying this route for now.  Plus, PT is more active, meaning that I'll be doing some exercises to get the area around my problem stronger and maybe even get "worked on" which I'm hoping means a massage.  We'll see.

AND... I would just like to CLARIFY for all the people who think they are my doctors.  My injury is opposite of what happens to most people.  I don't feel any pain when I'm standing, walking or running.  I have been guided to be doing backbending exercises for low back strength.  My injury is from over stretching during forward folding (like putting my face against my shins when either standing or sitting with legs extended).  So everything going on with me is pretty much the opposite of what all your other friends with bulging discs have had to do.  Until someone tells me I can't, I'll be running as much as I can.  It is the one time I feel no pain and when I mentally don't feel old, decrepit and defeated (which is totally the opposite of my normal attitude toward running).  Not being able to do yoga full-time has been very difficult for my psyche.  The studio used to be the one place where I felt strong and good at what I was doing and not having that right now has not been easy for me, mentally.

I did break the chiropractor's rules yesterday and went to yoga.  My primary care doctor said I'm smart enough to listen to my body and take it easy.  It's extremely difficult for me to not take everything to the ultimate maximum of my capabilities, but I felt SO DARN GOOD when my class was over yesterday that it's worth the mental effort I have to put forth to restrain myself during class.  My back is a little tight but it's more sore from the yoga class and a run Adam and I went on last night.  It's the first time in a LONG TIME that my body has been sore in a good way, not in pain.  I'll wait to see what my PT thinks after my evaluation next Monday and modify what I'm doing from there.

On an awesome note, we ran the Uptown 5 miler on Saturday.  It was a great course through uptown and downtown Dallas.  I finished in 52:16, which is less than 11 minute miles and that always makes me happy.  Adam rocked the race in 45:38 and we both finished 12th place in our respective divisions.

It was a great race and they were giving out grapefruit flavored La Croix at the finish.  I have a new obsession.  You should get some before I buy the grocery store out.  And yes, I am a race marketer's dream.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the anatomy of a run

Adam runs with our Garmin so all of these are approximate guesses.

Yesterday around 3:00 p.m.:  I realize that I'm not going to fit a bike ride in and I email Adam to see if he wants to run 5 slow miles on the Katy Trail for a tune-up as we are racing a 5 miler this weekend.

Mile 0:  When we start talking about distance and turn around points, Adam lets me know that it "hurts his hips and knees" to run as slow as me so he'll be going on ahead.  He'll let me know where the turn around point is when we pass each other on the out and back.  GRRRREAT.

Mile .3:  I have taken off ahead of him because it takes him nine years to put on all of his running equipment and we all know he'll pass me at the beginning anyway.

Mile .5:  I can no longer see him in the distance.  Boo.  I am slow.

Mile 1:  Ok, I've been running for a little longer than 10 minutes so surely I have made it a mile.  1 down, only 4 to go.  I've got this.

Mile 1.2:  I see a girl I recognize from somewhere and spend the next few minutes trying to figure out where I know her from.  Was it high school?  College?  The sorority?  I never figure this out despite passing by her again on the way back.  Maybe high school?  I vaguely remember not liking her all that much then and wonder if I'd like her now.

Mile 1.5:  Finally get my breathing under control.  I feel like I am running very fast (spoiler alert:  I'm not).  This is one of those brief moments in a run where I feel like I own this run and could go on forever.

Mile 2ish:  Pass Katy Trail Ice House.  Internally curse the smokers on their patio.  Seriously?  YUCK.  Think for awhile how awesome the trail is and how nice it is to be surrounded by a community of bikers, bladers, runners and walkers.  Also see a million cute dogs out for their evening walk.

Mile 2.3:  See Adam and he tells me to just go all the way to the end of the trail and turn around at the American Airlines Center entrance where there are two silver posts.

Mile 2.5:  See the AAC, the silver posts and turn it around.  Look at watch, 26 minutes, which is a little slower than I want to be running.  Proceed to climb hill and take sip of water from my Camelback and then almost choke.  Have trouble getting breathing back for the next couple of minutes.

Mile 3:  This is where things get really tough.  My legs start screaming at me more than my lungs and I realize that I haven't run a distance of note since the last 5K, which was October 1st.  Start feeling angry at myself for not running more since it's not bringing me any back pain and I was feeling so good about my running during the last race.  Spend some time in a general malaise.  Feel myself slipping into a slower pace but not really able to do anything about it.  This isn't going to be an out and back with a negative split (running the second half faster than the first).

Mile 3.3:  See probably the third black cat on the trail and start wondering if there is a feral cat problem in Uptown Dallas.

Mile 3.5:  Think about how awesome Dallas is.  See some of the same people over and over since Katy Trail is so short, you have to turn around at the end points a couple of times to put in any serious mileage.  Look for Troy Aikman, who is supposedly a trail regular.  Think about dinner.  Think about wanting to finish ASAP.  Think about how happy I am that my back isn't hurting!

Mile 4:  COMPLETELY MISJUDGE where I am and think I've crossed over the last main street and pick up my pace for what I think is the home stretch.  It's getting darker so every time I see a streetlight I think I'm coming to the end.  Luckily, Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream" comes on (BEST RUNNING SONG EVER) and I keep pushing despite thinking "I should be done now.  I should be done now." over and over in my head.

Mile 4.5:  TOTALLY cursing the fact that I've never ran this route before.  Looking for Adam around every tree and every corner.  Pushing through all of the pain in my legs and starting to wheeze pretty bad.  Actually, I think I might have been wheezing since mile 1.  I don't think there was any need for me to say "on your left" to the three people I passed, I'm sure they heard me coming.

Mile 4.9:  See Adam, practically jump for joy.  He meets me at the stopping point.

Mile 5:  Turn off heart rate monitor and spend the next few minutes being pissed off that it took me 56 minutes to run 5 miles.  I so desperately want to be a little faster but it might just be time to accept what I can do and be happy and proud of that.  Spend the next few minutes hacking up a lung and wheezing like a smoker with emphysema.  Complain about feeling decrepit but deep down, feel good that I can go and throw down a solid five miles after not running (and mostly slothing around with my back problems) for the last 18 days.  Know that I can get better and will get better about running again.  Secretly hope that it's a tad bit warmer on race day because my lungs much prefer it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

photo dump

While uploading photos from my camera the other night during our post-things-on-Craigslist project (anyone need a TIVO? or super contemporary dining for two set?), I came across a bunch of photos from the recent past that I hadn't done anything with.  So without further adieu, a few photographic moments from the last couple of months:

This disaster scene is the only picture I ended up with from our going away party at the world-famous Higgins Tavern.

A craptastic photo I took on our first night as Dallas residents on the rooftop of The Bone in Deep Ellum.  We keep meaning to go back and we need to!

Higgins' big day getting rescued from the pound.

Can you tell he was a little skittish?

Or maybe just overjoyed at being relatively free.

This was about two seconds before I made the ill-fated decision to roll down my window.  (He totally jumped out and ran back toward the pound.  I guess the pound is better than a home where you get abused though.)

Addison Oktoberfest.  I had to ride the swings.  SO SO FUN!


Our neighborhood is filled with quite a bit of random art and sculptures.  There are several sets of giant (like 3 stories high) robots with these silver chicks.  Adam had a seat on one.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

happy anniversary

One year down, one million more to go (because, obviously, we're gonna live forever).

It's been a roller coaster but I think where we've ended up is right where we're supposed to be.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

adventures with higgins

At lunch with Jennie the other day, I was telling a couple of Higgins stories and she suggested that they are "blog worthy" so here goes.

Unfortunately for this first one, I didn't have the foresight to take any pictures at the event.  Dog rescues are a close cause to my heart, even more so after our experience at the pound and our good luck with Higgins. I follow Whole Foods on Facebook and Twitter and saw that they were hosting an adoption event and that for $7 they would bathe your dog.  Higgins is not really a fan of baths and they can be a process for us, so I figured that donating some money and having him get a nice bath that we didn't have to participate in sounded like a pretty good deal.

Obviously, since this was at Whole Foods, it was no ordinary bath.  They had baby pools set up in a tent in the parking lot.  The dogs that were bathed before Higg Man were two little yorkies with their posh princess owner.  It was hilarious.  He was bathed in "gourmet" shampoo and even got aromatherapy behind his ears.  His parting gifts were treats, a fancy dog meal to eat there and one to take home.

This chicken-brown rice- veggie combo was one of the many choices that included quinoa and lamb.  I'm almost tempted to take a bite of it myself, it's probably better than most things I cook for Adam and myself.  (Don't worry, I won't, that's gross.)

His other latest escapade was attending Camp Bow Wow.  We need a place to overnight board him when we go out of town for shorter periods of time (it's not really worth it to drive him down to San Antonio for just a weekend).  To attend Camp, you have to bring the dog in for a minimum of a three hour "interview".  I seriously felt like I was taking a child to preschool.  I dropped him off on Wednesday morning and they said he was welcome to stay all day if I liked and since I had lunch, errands and a chiropractor appointment, I figured it would be good for him.  Plus, it had been raining all night into the morning and I figured he'd do well to run off his energy with the other pups all day.

When I returned to pick him up, they gave me this:

It may be a titch too small to read but it's his first day "report card", complete with a hilarious picture where he is just about to jump up and get the camera girl's treat.  He passed his camp interview and made friends with dogs named Fausto and Jackson.  HILARIOUS!  Adam put his report card on the fridge because we are totally ridiculous like that.

He also got to take professional pictures with my friend, Kate, of Kate Gavos Photography two weekends ago for our Christmas Cards.  He's living a posh existence, my friends.  Two months ago, he was just a Pound Dog but now he gets to live as the main Nard Dog.

Friday, October 14, 2011

the state fair

Despite the fact that both of us are native Texans and spent more than half of our lives here in the great state, neither Adam nor I had ever made the trip to Big D for the annual State Fair.  Seeing as how the trip is only one DART stop away from our humble abode, we felt that a visit was pretty much mandatory.  Admission is RIDICULOUS ($16?) so we went on Wednesday night and were able to score our tickets for only $2 and a donation to the Kroger Can Drive.

Obviously, we visited Big Tex.  He talks in a rather creepy voice and told us really random things like having clean hands while eating is very important (to which I said that I couldn't believe he wasn't advertising for So-and-So anti-bacterial handwash placed in strategic locations around the fair, but no, it was just a really odd PSA).

Fletcher's Corny Dogs.  Duh.  Do people go to the State Fair and not get one?  Although, next year, I'll try the Jalapeno/Cheese one.  I just felt it was important to have the original experience this first time.

This "walking taco" was Adam's Favorite.  He's so lucky that I did my State Fair research and found out what the supposed best items were via the Dallas Observer blog.  This was Nacho Cheese Doritos (sadly, they were out of Flame flavor) with taco fixins piled all over them straight into the bag.  It was not walkable at all, rather messy in fact, but we both enjoyed it.  I'll have to remember that idea because Doritos would probably make a rather glorious base for nachos.  Sadly, the lettuce and tomatoes make this hands down the healthiest food we dined on during our visit.

Fried Oreos.  Adam was still feeling hungry as we were making our journey around the Cotton Bowl in a vain search for the award-winning Deep Fried Salsa.  We were choosing at this booth between Fried Snickers and Fried Oreos, so I told Adam to ask the lady working the booth what her pick would be.  She did not steer us wrong seeing as how there were four Oreos in an order.  DELICIOUS.

Still searching for Fried Salsa, we took an unpictured visit to the Wine Garden area and sampled the State Fair special wine and visited with a lovely man from Fall Creek Vineyards, where I have participated in a grape stomp (random childhood Jen fact).

The nightly parade came around right after we toured a few of the animal visits.  I LOVE PARADES.  Adam has never been to Fiesta in San Antonio and I'm determined to change this and do it up right come April.

We walked all over the entire fair with nary a Fried Salsa sighting.  I asked some people if they had seen it and they handed us a map that was probably more confusing than aimlessly wandering.  We went back to the general vicinity of where the map claimed the salsa was and had to ask at another booth.  Turns out Deep Fried Salsa hides at the "Taste of Cuba" booth.  ODD.  I was so happy to finally taste the goodness that I completely forgot to snap a picture.  Just know that it was in fact, a salsa ball made with tortilla chips and fried with queso for dipping.  I want to go back before the fair closes next week just to get more of it.

We searched for a funnel cake that was only 11 coupons (most were 12) and several of the booths had different pricing on various items.  We stumbled upon the Deep Fried Cookie Dough booth and Adam was sold.  In retrospect, this was a good thing, because I was able to pawn 2 out of the 3 dough balls off on him instead of dominating half of a funnel cake.

For the record, the Oreos were way better.

I want to go back, but Adam claims that his stomach can't handle another night of eating like that.  LAME!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

road to recovery

So after my cute little "I'm going to get my attitude right" post on Monday, I proceeded to be in a foul, cranky mood.  I wasn't feeling any relief.  At my appointment with the chiropractor that afternoon, I told her I was feeling the same, if not worse, and they made me an appointment for an MRI on Tuesday evening.  I wasn't exactly happy about that but I was interested in getting some answers.  I have this knot to the right of my lumbar spine and I've been thinking since July, when I started feeling the pain, that it was cancerous or something awful.  I am my mother's daughter, "worst case scenario" might as well be one of my middle names.

And the MRI itself, those things suck.  Why did no one tell me?  The form that I had to fill out had me all upset and nervous because I have a permanent retainer and I was afraid the magnets would pull my face into the machine.  And the machine itself is GIGANTOR and crazy looking.  When I saw the tiny chute that I had to fit into, it did freak me out a little bit.  I'm not claustrophobic, but it was freaky.  How do obese people get in those things?  Once I got in and we got going with the loud picture taking, it almost started sounding musical to me and I would zone out into a very savasana-like state.  Before I knew it, the tech came over the speaker and said we only had one more picture to take and that it would be two minutes.  Adam said I was back in the room for over 30 minutes but luckily it didn't feel that way.

When I got to the chiro yesterday, she said she had my MRI reports in (a day early, when does that happen?) and that she was going to call another doctor quickly and then we'd talk about it (so OBVIOUSLY my mind went to OH MY GOD she's calling the ONCOLOGIST and I'm going to die). She was just double checking with the doctor that made the report to make sure she was understanding it all.  I am an idiot.

We talked about the report, I have two bulging discs, just as she originally suspected, that are becoming more inflamed/aggravated when I do forward folding in yoga.  I have some options for recovery but my first choice is to try her decompression table, which basically involves me strapping in, face down on a table that uses pulleys and the dropping of the ends of the tables to pull me apart while my back is in extension (a slight backbend).  It sounds dramatic but it actually felt FABULOUS.  Of course, the table work isn't covered by insurance (but steroid shots into my spine are partially covered, because THIS is what is wrong with our health care system and America loves to treat things the most invasive way possible instead of allowing the body to heal itself with some assistance and a little bit of work on my part, WTH).  But this is not the time or place for my 8,000 word diatribe about all the things wrong with health care in America.

So, long story short, I did my treatments yesterday, spent the evening walking around at the State Fair (instead of sitting down, which is more painful for me) and felt better than I have in a LONG time.  I taught a class of VERY beginning students today so I did more yoga than I have in weeks (but taking it extremely slow and very easy on myself) and it felt good for the first time in a long time.  I'm not supposed to do yoga right now and I plan to take that seriously, but it did feel good mentally to know that I am slowly working on this healing process and that one day, I'll be able to enjoy my practice again.

This whole thing is, unfortunately, very much my fault.  I put a ton of pressure on myself to finish my certification in 8.5 weeks and put pressure on myself to take poses more extremely than my body needs.  One of my favorite instructors in Chicago always said "Go where you go" when we were in particularly tough postures and I need to remember that and go where my body wants to go, not putting my face on my shins just because I think that will make me a better yoga teacher and better person.  I'm not as good as a teacher now because I am limited, but even that challenge is teaching me to hone my words and describe more vividly what I want my students to do.  I will grow from this mostly because I'll learn what yoga really is; it is not competition with myself or anyone else.  It's just "going where I go" and learning to accept that for what it is.  Now that I know I don't have some flesh eating blob living inside of me (the knot is nothing to worry about and lots of people have them- the pain I feel more so on that side of my body is because one of the discs is bulging toward the right), it's much easier to feel comfortable about where I'm headed.  I am looking forward to learning how to take care of my spine.  I'll be a better teacher to others when this is all over because I know now just how infinitely precious my mobility is!

the wedding that was, part 3

After riding up on the boat, we joined our cocktail hour about 30 minutes in.  If I'm totally honest, the next hour or so was really stressful for me!  We were pulled in about 100 directions during the cocktail hour trying to see as many people as we could.  When we finally went inside for dinner, I was so anxious about greeting everyone (I've been to too many weddings where I never saw the bride and groom) that I wasn't even hungry.  While the coordinator, caterer and DJ were coordinating the buffet (Mexican food, of course, this was a very San Antonio event, after all), Adam and I were served and I think I told him he had less than 10 minutes to eat.

Somehow, we made it to every table and I think and hope we saw everyone.  When I looked around and saw full plates in front of everyone, I started to relax again and enjoy the night.  When it was all over, our only complaint was that it went by too fast...

Adam's groomsmen gift was custom Chuck Taylors in colors that represent the guys sports teams.  In order L-R:  Bayern Munich, University of New Mexico, Virginia Tech, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Green Bay Packers, LA Lakers.  (not pictured:  my dad, whose colors were green and blue because he supports no sports teams and was lame and had to go back to the hotel because he forgot his speech and to change shoes- he was a hot mess).

Cake cutting and there was no face smooshing at this wedding, just for your information.  Notice the original Lane Stadium (Virginia Tech) plan was scrapped post-Blackhawks Stanley Cup win.  Our friend, Brooke, made the epic 16 layers for Adam as our wedding gift.

After a particularly funny moment in a best man's toast...

Our first dance as husband and wife was spent mostly by Adam stepping on my dress, but lovely nonetheless, because we chose a funny song (Whatever It Is, by Zac Brown Band).

My dad and I relived our awesome moment on the football field with a fabulous rendition of My Girl.

Adam and his mom cried and danced to Josh Groban (which thankfully our DJ tastefully edited the six minute song, You Raise Me Up) and I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house.  I can't remember where I was during this because it was super awkward and I didn't know were I "should" have been.  From this photographic evidence, it appears I am talking to my brother.

Despite my dislike for it, "Shout" was my mom's #1 request and I had to acquiesce so the oldies would have something to dance to.

My brother and his girlfriend, who was also a bridesmaid and one of my besties from college.  He calls this his "cutting a rug" picture.

These are our two awesome friends that ended up marrying each other last June.  Good times.

This was the last dance of the night (Sweet Home Chicago- Blues Brothers Version) and we still had a packed dance floor.  We had the best guests on the planet and even my sweet Grandmother made it all the way to the end of the night, at a huge surprise to all of us.

We left in a blaze of glory and crushed up cascarones (confetti eggs, yet another San Antonio tradition).

Being the World Champion Wedding-ers that we were, we made it to Pat O'Brien's for a bit of the after party, although I'm still upset that we missed the drinking from the Stanley Cup that took place shortly after our departure.

We wouldn't have done it any other way.  It was perfect and it was so representative of our personalities.  Our wedding party was amazing (even with one at 8.5 months pregnant) and we had a blast dancing the night away with our rockin' families and closest friends.  The only thing that makes me sad about it is that we live so far away from so many of our guests (now and then) and we'll never have the opportunity to have them all in one room again, well, at least until our 10 year vow renewal.  Vegas, anyone?

*all photos, except for the last one, which was my own, are by the lovely Caitlin Hudnall of Caitlin's Creations Photography

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the wedding that was, part 2

Texas weather can be notoriously crazy but we couldn't have asked for better on 10/16/10.  I want to say the high/low was something like 80/60, which was just perfect to not need a jacket, nor be sitting in a sweat pile.  It was worth the 14 month wait to get married in the fall.  

Our ceremony was VERY short, which was just fine with Adam and I.  An old family friend and former pastor at my church was our officiant and he basically let us choose the flow, the style, the readings, music, etc. and it was very much "us".  As on any wedding day, it wasn't without a couple of kinks (including a missing marriage license, whoops!) but nothing that we had to worry about.  It was perfect in my eyes.

Mini snafu:  My mother (bright blue) had trouble lighting her portion of the "unity candle" so my mother-in-law came back up to help her.  This is especially funny since I had asked my mom at the rehearsal to practice lighting it and she refused.  HMMM...  my dad and I were wondering what could possibly be taking so long!  

The look on her face is so TYPICAL Nancy.  And hilariously appropriate.  Better not to be able to light the candle rather than one of us faceplant.  Thanks for taking one for the team, Mom.

This is quite possibly one of the coolest pictures we got of the day.   The photographer's assistant shot it from the balcony.

Go time for Dad and me!  He managed to keep it together during our walk down the aisle.  I'm 99% sure I walked way too fast.  

AND we're married!  After what was probably a 10 minute ceremony.  You're welcome, guests.

From there, we traveled downtown and the wedding party got on a river barge to ride from our hotel to the reception site.  This was hands down the best thing we did and when the venue coordinator mentioned the possibility to my dad, it pretty much sold him on the place.  We even got to ride through the Arneson River Theater during a rather rowdy Tejano concert.  Ballers.

Cocktail hour, complete with mariachis, was being held on the 3rd floor balcony of the International Center on the San Antonio Riverwalk.  As we started to pull up, the announcement was made that we were coming via riverbarge.  It was awesome to see our guests lined up along the balcony.

The boat ride was perfect.  While I claimed all along that it wasn't a big deal if the weather foiled our plans, in retrospect, it was such an unforgettable part of our day.  Ironically, it was probably the cheapest part of the day! 

Next up:  Party Time (and the last in this fabulous little series, I promise)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the wedding that was, part 1

We (ahem, I suppose it's only me these days because Adam doesn't want to come here and tell our three readers (hi, Mom!) how happy he is to be in Texas) started writing in this space during a difficult time in our journey that brought us here to Dallas.  I am so happy I revisited blogger because it's been fun to already look back and see the wide range of emotions that we went through.  I can't imagine how funny it will be to read the early angst-y entries in 5 or 10 years.

When I stopped blogging before, it was mostly because I had pigeon-holed myself into writing about running and my charity walk, which I wanted to take a break from.  But also because I had no work life to speak of (as I would not have discussed the family that I nannied for online) and I spent most of the remainder of my time bouncing back and forth from Chicago to San Antonio to spend time with my ailing grandmother and do all of our wedding planning.  While I adored reading wedding blogs, I didn't want to blog the step-by-step particulars of our wedding beforehand.  I still have no regrets about that.  I have a fantastic album made by our wonderful photographer and 150+ guests to reminisce about it with.

But, as our first anniversary rapidly approaches, it seems appropriate to remember what was the best day of my life so far.  And if I'm quite honest, I'm not sure what could approach it, as I don't think the days of my potential children's births will be quite the same awesome party.  Please excuse the fact that I broke the posts up.  I realize that is one of the most annoying things a blogger could do but I want to do the day justice.

Part 1 is pre-wedding:

Adam and the guys got dressed in the fellowship hall of my childhood church.

Some poker may have happened, not sure how Presbyterians feel about gambling...

For us ladies, getting dressed was SLIGHTLY more of a project.  Getting my dress tight enough was a THING requiring many people.

I always thought the Bride's Room at church was so regal and I'm not sure I ever imagined that it would be me getting ready in it one day.  (Also, not sure that I was prepared for not being able to put on my own shoes and garter, HA!)

We did a "First Look", which took some convincing on my part because Adam wasn't originally on board.  In retrospect, it was 100% the best decision we made.  It made us both much more relaxed and we only needed about 10 family pictures after the ceremony.

It also afforded us time to walk across the street to take pictures in front of this doozy of a mural, that I've heard my photographer made famous by having a huge canvas print of this shot in her office.  I've seen it pop up with other couples on her blog.  It's very San Antonio, which was what we were going for.

With our entire wedding party, they were all great sports and we couldn't have asked for a better posse to stand with us and they were all the life of the party at the reception.

Next up:  ceremony and travel to the reception. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

closing up shop on the pity party

My back is still jacked.  The chiropractor thinks I have a herniated disc in my lumbar spine (low back- L4 if you want to get particular, due to my symptom of wrap around pain in my glutes and the front of my hip).

I have had two treatments at the chiropractor and since Friday, I've been faithfully icing it at least three times a day.  The icing part may not sound like much, but I have this thing where I really hate to ice anything due to an unfortunate skin burn incident during the marathon training, where Adam told me to quit being a wimp and I ended up with a faint discoloration on my right leg to this day.  I've been banned from practicing yoga, which does affect the way that I teach somewhat, for the time being.  I have three (expensive) treatments on the docket for this week.  But the worst of it is that I'm not feeling any relief yet.  My x-rays came out fine, there was a tiny white spot on the vertebrae where she thinks I'm having the issue that is a little arthritic looking but nothing that we shouldn't be able to correct.  After two more weeks of treatment, I'd have to have an MRI for a closer look at everything if I haven't felt any improvement.  I won't think about that happening yet, because it a. ties my stomach in knots and b. it's not going to be necessary.  I will feel better soon.

It's been a difficult and emotional process for me.  I don't like being limited in my mobility but I also am in either sharp pain or discomfort about 70% of the day, especially when sitting down.  I can't seem to find a single seated position that feels right.  I feel awful for anyone who has chronic spinal pain, it's AWFUL.  I spent several days having a personal pity party and luckily Pinkberry is a drive from the house so I have been too lazy to actually go there despite lots of whining that I want it.

Having this giant pity party hasn't done anything for me.  It's actually really stupid.  I am young and healthy and my body will heal itself if I am patient and give it time.  I have nothing to feel sorry for myself about.  We are here in Texas, where the temps are still in the 80s everyday instead of inching our way toward the long, hard winter.  I have hardly opened our coat closet (and we actually HAVE a coat closet)!  We are celebrating our first anniversary this weekend and even though we've had some crummy things happen this year, overall, I can look back and say that our relationship is the best it's ever been and we've strengthened our marriage by dealing with hardships together.  I am doing EXACTLY what I want to do as far as my own work, I have my dream jobs and I'm getting to spread my passion and love for yoga and running all around.  We have friends all over this area who've opened their homes to us and come to visit ours.  We have enough room in our home to properly host our families.  We have Higgins who is the dearest soul of a dog.  We are happy and feeling truly satisfied with our lives.  Just ask Adam about his life here and he will tell you he loves his job and that he can play golf or go to the driving range several times a week (he'll also tell you that he's getting better at golf, ha!).  I have a little thing going on in my back but it hasn't limited every activity for me, I can still do anything that doesn't involve a lot of bending over.  I will be fine and I firmly believe that once I get my mind behind it, I'll start to feel better.  It's been easy to think about the large birthday I have in another month and a half and think of myself as old and decrepit, but that's not the right attitude to have to fix this problem.  Consider this pity party OVER.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

the saddest race ever

On Saturday, the Running to Drink posse met up (minus a couple, BOO!) for the Vineyard Run in Grapevine.  Spoiler alert:  we all falsely assumed that it was a 5K.

It was GORGEOUS WEATHER, I was wearing my long-sleeved thumbholes running shirt for goodness sake!  I had been biking and Bikraming all week and taking Higgins out for mini-runs so I felt good about my "training" progress since the week before.  I wanted to run hard and see where that took me.  Unfortunately, I can't remember my exact 5K PR from a race two Februarys ago in San Antonio but I think it was something like 29:20.  My goal is to one day finish under 29:00, which would be lightening speed for this old tortoise.

I love the small races here, it's so much easier to run faster when you aren't weaving in and out of, oh, 35,000 other people (ahem, Shamrock Shuffle) and I started out with a decent pace.  I felt really good on all the hills and just kept pushing my pace as fast as I could without ralphing or having breathing problems. When we got to the end, I looked down at my heart rate monitor and realized that I was hauling some serious butt.  I crossed the finish line at less than 26 minutes, but I just knew that there was no way I'd actually ran quite that fast.  My time from the week before was over 31 minutes!  I saw Adam and at this point I had a couple of tears happening.  Running that hard always makes me feel a rush of conflicting emotions:  disappointment that I gave it my all and was still slow, appreciation that my body can run at all, etc.  I think my first out of breath words to him were something to the effect of "there was no way that was a full 5K, right?" and he said that the announcer was apologizing to everyone because the race was only about 2.75ish miles instead of the 3.1.  He said that the lead cyclist made a wrong turn on the course somewhere so we got a little bit shorted.  I was so disappointed because I was still running pretty close to PR pace, and either way, I would have most likely broke 30:00, which is always an accomplishment for me.  What a bummer!

Our next 5K on the schedule is 10/29 so I guess I'll go for the new PR then, but this one was a little bit of a heartbreaker.  Luckily the Mimi's Cafe Strawberry Lemonade Mimosas that I had with brunch smoothed over the disappointment.

Monday, October 3, 2011

everything hurts

I'm taking three days completely off of exercise, which for my life here in Dallas is pretty drastic.  I've been  on the move pretty much since we landed here but my problems that originated in my low back, caused issues with my glutes and have moved back to my low back aren't getting any better.  I got on my bike yesterday morning and it didn't feel good.  I rode to White Rock and pretty much rode right back home because I couldn't ever get comfortable.

I have these knots-like objects in my low back and they are KILLING me right now.  I can't even sit in a hard backed chair without feeling a bit of discomfort but I'm in a great deal of pain anytime I lift.  I've tried every remedy that I can think of on my own but the time has come for me to breakdown and visit the chiropractor.  I'm not looking forward to it because I'm angry at myself for "letting this happen" and I'm mad that my body won't heal itself.  And also, doctors of any kind make me marginally uncomfortable and I hate spending the money on it.  I hope they just prescribe me with needing lots of massages, ha!

So, Higgins and I are taking our rest days and going on a mini-vacation to San Antonio.  He's super excited to meed his Uncle Milo Dog.  I'm super interested to see how he deals with a four hour car ride.  No bikes, no running, no Bikram and I'll come back 10 pounds heavier from overindulgence on bean and cheese tacos :)