Friday, October 31, 2014


I already told you about one of my students who's a star on the THS soccer team. Well, now I'd like to tell you about Reza, a star in the IT world.

Reza was highlighted in Thursday's Tigard Times. Despite being just 17 years old, Reza, a senior in the THS CE2 program, is the chief technology officer of an international Internet start-up company.
Reza is especially gifted when it comes to computers. 

“We haven’t found anything that he can’t do,” Vontarga Techonolgy’s CEO Reid Iford told the Tigard Times.

I'm so proud of Reza! :)

Click HERE to read the whole article.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spooky treats

One of my very favorite parts of my job used to be cooking with my CE2 students. Working together in the kitchen allows me to really connect with my students and create awesome bonds. The experience also teaches them important kitchen skills (and MATH skills) -- and provides yummy treats to share with the class.

Unfortunately, all my added duties have my schedule packed, and I no longer have time to spend in the kitchen.

But yesterday I squeezed in a little kitchen time for some super-quick rice crispy treats - with Monique and Jazmin!
Neither girl had made the sugary treats before, and they were impressed by how quick and easy they came together. We added food coloring and sprinkles to make them festive. I let the girls do their own decorating, and Jazmin chose yellow coloring and rainbow sprinkles. Monique picked orange color with Halloween sprinkles.

I also let my helpers lick the spoons while I do the dishes.

It was great to be in the kitchen again with my students! And everyone enjoyed the afternoon treats :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pile on the Miles in November

You know I love a challenge!

RunEatRepeat, this fun runner-blog I read, is hosting a challenge to help folks get moving and pile on more miles than pounds during November. She'll be giving away prizes all month for people who set goals and stick with them - and check in regularly for accountability. 

It doesn't have to be running - whatever it is that you do to get out and move.

I signed up because I can always use some encouragement... and some free stuff would be nice, too!!

Join me?? :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

4 winners

October was an especially good month for us at the Road Runner Sports Discovery Run.

It was a zombie theme, and I asked for a little face paint (since I'm a big sweaty pig and didn't want my whole face to melt away)
The "survivors" got a 5-minute head start, then they released the zombies to chase after them. We were supposed to rip pieces of tape off their backs, but I only caught up to a couple young kids. It was way too awkward to grab the kids, so I didn't collect any extra points.

Tim and Sean joined us for the scavenger hunt and ran all over town with us, collecting raffle tickets as we went. Brad and I also spent $200 on two pair of shoes and a bra, netting us a whole bunch of blue tickets for the super-special in-store raffle.
Sean's number was called, then Tim's, then mine... and then Brad won the in-store raffle - worth $450!!!!!! He got free Mizuno shoes, a free race entry, free clothes from Road Runner and a subscription to a running music service!
What a fun night! And then we went to grab dinner at a taqueria - YUM!

I loved hanging out with these fellas - and us ALL winning was an awesome bonus :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Run Like Hell 10K (10/26/14)

I raced this weekend!!!!

I've been taking it easy with my Achilles injury, but with my recent diagnosis, PT work and clearance from two doctors, I decided to go for it at Sunday's Run Like Hell. I've run a couple races in the past few months, but the last time I really went for it was March's Shamrock Run

No costume but sporting my Halloween colors:
I didn't plan to race the 10K. My primary goal was to finish the race, probably doing 10-minute run intervals. My second goal was to run the entire thing, but I figured my endurance wasn't up for it since I haven't run that far in months. My stretch goal was a PR, which I've set the past two years at the Run Like Hell. But that was just silly talk.

I started off feeling good, enjoying perfect temps and lots of crowd energy. I kept the first mile comfortable and then sped up a bit to see how it felt. I was able to push just a bit but still feel good, so I kept it up.

Soon, I saw that I was inching closer to my 10K PR pace, so I thought I'd keep up the pressure and see what happened. There was a pretty stiff headwind in some of the sections, even causing me to grab for my hat a few times. But I kept stomping through the puddles and dropping my pace, astonished that a PR was possible.

I walked through the first two aid stations, just enough to grabbed a little sip. (The second one was NOT water, despite the volunteer telling me it was water! Quite a yucky surprise) Then I skipped the last one, knowing the end was near and it was time to push hard. 

I was prepared for the uphill finish, and I kicked as hard as I could to the end.

Brad finished about 10 minutes ahead of me and was there with the camera:
Go, go, go!
Sucking wind and trying to smile for the picture:
Man, that felt amazing! AMAZING!

In my head, I thought last year's PR was an 8:52 average. So when I finished at an 8:49, I was absolutely elated. PR!!!!!!!!!!!
Then I got home and looked up last year's race and saw that my PR is actually 8:47. CRAP. SO FRIGGIN' CLOSE! So sad. 

Then I came to my senses and remembered that I just ALMOST, ALMOST PR'd after not training and barely running for months. WOOHOO!!!! Yeah, I'm really excited about that.

Check out my splits... not perfectly negative like last year, but pretty darn good:

1 - 9:13

2 - 8:54
3 - 9:02
4 - 9:02
5 - 8:39
6 - 8:27
.28 - 7:43

I really credit my cross training. Most of my non-running exercise in the past several months has been kickboxing and spin class - really intense stuff that pushes my anaerobic threshold. I could really tell that my lungs and heart rate were under control until the end of the race.

Oh - so how'd my heel do??

I felt a little pain at the very beginning, then it seemed to warm up and settle in. Throughout the race, I felt no more stabs of pain, though I could "feel" my heel - kind of a tightness. It was sore immediately after but feels fine today.

Eryn also did the 10K and set a big PR for herself!!!
Racing sisters in matching warmups:
Mike joined us and ran the 5K, his first in a really long time. He did awesome, too!

And Brad did the same thing I did - thought he PR'd and then ended up missing by just a few seconds. OOPS! Perhaps we should look at our previous records before we head out instead of relying on faulty memories :)
Mom and Dad ran/walked the 5K:
The whole gang of happy racers:
This is a really great race! We've enjoyed running it for several years and will keep coming back. Next year, with the correct number in my head, I WILL set a PR :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trapped... at 3 a.m.

What were you doing at 3 a.m.? We were doing this:
A crash woke us from a dead sleep, and I told Brad to go make sure everything was OK with the 6-month-old kitten we've had about three weeks. 

Poor Brad was in a stupor and not making much sense, especially to my 3 a.m. mind. He couldn't find the cat, and he kept saying he couldn't open his office door. "What do you mean, you can't open the door??" "I can't open the door." I thought he'd gone 'round the bend!

Well, we keep a folding chair behind the door in the office. The cat knocked it over and wedged it between the wall and the door. She was stuck inside, and we absolutely couldn't open the door.
Brad went outside to see if he could peek in the window and see what was going on. But... the blinds were closed.

So we got out the yard sticks and felt around, deciding the chair must be in this position:
We didn't have a lot of options: bust out the window or bust down the door. Brad turned on his engineer mind and brainstormed mechanical solutions. Here's what he came up with:  
He stuck our Big Agnes sleeping pad under the door and started to inflate it. A couple minutes later, it shoved up the chair just enough:
I figured the cat would come streaking out, but she just stood there ready to play!
The problem (yes, Brad painted his office walls neon green!):
Brad wanted you all to see how it worked:
That, right there, is genius! It's so nice to have an engineer in the family :)

The cat was so excited to see us up and at 'em at 3 a.m. Play time!
 Good times :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dark, damp run

Tuesday was run day, and despite the damp, pitch-black morning, I hit the road at 6 a.m. for my intervals.

Brad joined me for the warmup but then headed back to the 'ole Wood Gym for a tempo run on the treadmill. He muttered something about not being able to read his Garmin in the dark.

Fortunately, the rain let up just about the time I left the house, but it was sure warm, windy and humid out there!

Lights, reflectors and a high-vis shirt - safety first!
I managed about 3.5 miles during my run/walk. Then I did my PT on the front porch while cooling down.

When it was time to hit the showers, a tiny bit of sun was showing:
A beautiful way to start the day :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

5.5 miles, new kicks and endless shrimp

This was a big weekend of fun. It started with a rainy Friday night watching my Tigers stomp the West Linn Lions! Still undefeated!

Saturday morning we were up early to squeeze in a run before a day of activities. Brad joined me as my newly graduated heel stepped up to 5-minute run intervals. In all, I did 5.43 miles of running and walking - the farthest I've run in a while.
The foot did good. I felt it just a couple times, with very minor pain.

This was my longest run of the week, then on to 10-minute intervals next weekend!

I wore my new kicks!
I have a collection of new running shoes in my closet, as since my last pair has about 250 miles on them, I pulled out a new pair of Saucony Guides. The pink and purple went with my shorts!

Even though we hit the road at 7 a.m., it was so warm. The sunrise was gorgeous (as always), and this was the view when we finished:
After stretching and showers, it was off to the REI used-gear sale. We wondered around for a while, snagging a new pair of Guides (used once!) and a few odds and ends. By then we were starving, so it was on to Red Lobster for Endless Shrimp!

We'd been seeing the commercials and decided Saturday would be a good day to indulge. And we did indulge:
We tried all six flavors and really liked the Sriracha shrimp. Oh, and those Cheddar Bay Biscuits!!! We both ate too much, but it was so good. YUM :)

Next was a stop at the Art in the 'Burbs show at Alberta Rider Elementary School. We wondered around but didn't see anything we couldn't live without, so we moved on to the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin.

The place was packed, but we did manage to sneak a peak at the first race:
After all that excitement, Brad napped for about 3 hours! A good way to spend a fall Saturday.


No. 41

I spent some time reading this week, curled up in my blanket, enjoying the rain. I finished off No. 41, Corinne Holt Sawyer's Murder Ole:
The THS castoff was slow to start, the mystery not even starting until about halfway through. But it was a good story with some twists. A simple, but good, read.

Oh, and I DO use my Fierce Fitness Kickboxing wrist-wrap brochure for my bookmark :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Well, that was fast!

I went in this morning for my second PT appointment and "graduated"!

After I warmed up on the treadmill and did my prescribed stretches, Dr. Laura measured my ankle flexibility and found me to be at 15 degrees. I was at 10 degrees at my Tuesday appointment!

She said I was progressing better than she anticipated. Laura said there wasn't anything else she'd suggest and I should just keep stretching and massaging with my little dolphin. Same prescription but now I only have to do it three times, twice a day:
We canceled next week's appointments and booked one for Oct. 30 just to make sure I'm still doing OK.

In my first appointment, Laura had mentioned possible hip weakness. But today she had me do more one- and two-legged squats. She said it was much better - my legs had likely been compensating for the tight ankles.

I've also had several pain-free runs in the past week! So all this time, I guess I just needed to loosen up those calves. HA!

Here's to forward progress and back to running :)

Oh, yes

After a rough kickboxing class (I was just too pooped to do well) and dinner with Lindsey, this was the rest of my Wednesday evening:
Our first fire of the season, along with the Toy Story Halloween special and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV. Oh, and I made some pumpkin muffins, too.

We also made some Christmas plans with Brad's family. WOW - I can't believe the holidays are just around the corner.

Happy, happy fall :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Let's heal this heel

After last week's diagnosis confirmation by my podiatrist, I made an appointment for physical therapy to get specific exercises to get this Achilles tendonitis under control.

I came out of my first visit with some easy stretches to loosen my calves: 
Dr. Laura measured my range of motion and discovered my ankles bend just 10 degrees on each side. She said 15-20 is considered "good." Oops :)

Laura massaged my left calf for a long time (felt SO good!), then stretched my ankle joint. After, I measured at 15 degrees!

So my homework is to do these stretches and to keep up the self massage to get those things loose and take the pull off my tendons. I go back Friday and again twice next week.

I've had several pain-free runs in the past week or so, and I've feeling so optimistic that things are finally healing up after months and months. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My student, the soccer star

Credit: Tigard Times
See that guy in green? He's one of my CE2 students - with his picture and several quotes in the Tigard Times!!

Alex is a senior in our program, working hard to graduate. He also scored the go-ahead goal for the Tigers in the second half of last week's Newberg matchup.

Click HERE to read the whole article.

YAY, Alex!!! :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pain-free trail run!

Eryn and I are helping this year with the THS marching band. Because we had a competition Saturday in Vancouver, we decided to run the trail at Lacamas Lake in the morning.

It rained hard all night, and the trail was drippy and a little muddy. But the temp was warm - about 60 degrees - and it was perfect!
Fogging up!
We had to drive two cars anyway, so we parked one at the west end and then drove to the east end to start our one-way run. Eryn and I walked the first 5 minutes to warm up, then we parted ways and did our own workouts.

Still nursing my Achilles tendon issue, I run 3-minute intervals with 1-minute walk breaks between. I felt great, so I ran hard and fast! Once I hit the end, I ran back until I found my sis, then we finished together. I ended up with 4.21 miles.
The weather was terrific. The trail was gorgeous. My legs and lungs were strong. But the best part? It was totally pain free! The uneven surface of trails has been a big irritant to my weak tendon. But it was FINE! No problems at all. WOOHOO!

Click HERE to read more about the lake. It has an interesting history.

Eryn and I stopped at my in-laws' house for quick showers before heading to Evergreen High School.

And, of course, we need to refuel:
My first Pumpkin Smash Jamba of the year :)

Our strong run was followed by two good performances by the Tigard High Marching Ensemble. A good day, all the way around! :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Adventure Thursday: Tryon with Dad

Dad and I had a little Adventure Thursday fun at Tryon Creek State Park.

We spent an hour going up and down the trails, huffing and puffing and sweating lots in the 70-degree heat. (SOOOO done with being hot!)
Thanks for taking time for an adventure, Dad!

This was my fifth day in a row with a workout buddy! Brad, Connie and I ran Sunday. Brad joined me Monday for spin class (with Connie!). Tuesday was a moonlight run/walk with Brad. And Wednesday was kickboxing class with Brad, Lindsey and Brittany:
Solo workouts are great, but so it having a buddy :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

No. 40

No. 40 was The Rain Catchers by Jean Thesman - another THS castoff.

I really liked the story in this one. It's about a girl being raised by her grandmother in a house full of women. She goes on a few adventures and deals with some heavy issues.

But the writing style was very strange. Have you ever watched a TV show where the setting is on for blind viewers? Where they describe each scene out loud? That's what this felt like. It's written very matter-of-fact and in first person, present tense. It took a while to get used to the unusual voice: 

"I'm brushing dog hair off my skirt and I look sideways at her. Her dark head is tipped against the back of the porch swing and her eyes are shut."

"Muffled laughter comes from the porch roof and paint chips shower down on the railing."

"We fall silent, almost drowsy. It's nearly four o'clock on a hot June afternoon at my grandmother's house."

Does that feel weird to you??


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bike to school day

I celebrated Bike to School Day with a spin on Sherm under this amazing morning sky:
Gorgeous, right? It was cool but not cold - perfect for biking.

Last night, Brad joined me for a run/walk under the full moon. We did just over 4 miles in all. (Brad took off his vest before the pic)
We've worked out together every day since Sunday! It's been a fun week - and kickboxing tonight! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Um, where's my bone?

If you've been following my saga, you know that I injured my Achilles tendon in February, likely from overuse/calf tightness.

I've tried pretty much everything to make it better: rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, different shoes, stretching, massage, acupuncture, cupping, IASTM, some PT moves.

The frequency has lessened over the past eight months, but I still get a stabbing pain when I run. Since our insurance was changing in October to a lower-deductible plan, I made an appointment with podiatrist Dr. Mah, the guy who did Eryn's foot surgery earlier this year, to have it officially diagnosed and scanned.

Yesterday, Dr. Mah confirmed that I do, as I suspected all along, have insertional tendonitis. So instead of the whole length of my tendon being inflamed and irritated, it's just the part where it attaches to the bone. Supposedly, this kind is extra hard to heal. Hence the eight months with little progress. Yippee.

Wanting to rule out a spur or another growth like the one I had removed from the same heel in high school, we got a couple X-rays:
Looks like a heel to me. BUT... Dr. Mah was stumped. He said I'm missing a considerable amount of bone on the back.

After some discussion of my history, here's what he thinks happened: When I was 16, an orthopedist removed what has been described to me as a "fibrous tissue mass". Mah thinks the doctor also took off a chunk of bone. WHAT?! I had no idea.

On the left is a "normal" heel from the Internet. Compare it to my bone:
Mah said it's supposed to be square, like the one on the left. Not all jagged and funky like mine.

I called Mom, and she also had no idea they'd removed bone! It's been 22 years, but she's going to call the orthopedist's office and see if there's any chance they still have my records.

Funny thing... I have few memories of the surgery and recovery and such. But I distinctly remember waking briefly in the middle of the operation. I was laying on my stomach, and I looked up and saw the anesthesiologist sitting at my head. I had an epidural and was numb from the waist down, but I could feel pounding radiating up into my body. A few seconds later, I was back out.

I mentioned this to my acupuncturist while we chatted during a session. She said, "What in the world were they pounding while removing a tissue mass??" WELL... apparently they were whacking away at my bone!

So Mah said that while my tendon is supposed to attach the whole length of the bone, mine is anchored to a much smaller space, putting all the pressure on one area. No wonder it's irritated. Surgery is possible but not likely to help - and could make it worse.

I got really nervous, thinking he was going to tell me that I must stop running or my little tendon, hanging on by a thread, will explode. BUT... that's not what he said at all!!!!!

I asked several times, just to make sure I was hearing him correctly. Dr. Mah said that as long as I can handle the pain, I can keep running. And the pain level has never been bad, maybe a 2 or 3 on the 1-10 pain scale. And it's not constant at all - just jabbing here and there. The pain has never been the problem - I was just afraid to do permanent damage.

Mah said I need to stretch a lot to keep get the calf flexible. I also need to get the tendonitis under control, so he suggested this lovely contraption to stretch while I sleep:
Isn't it great? I slept with it for about half the night before I had to rip it off. :)

I am so, so, so happy! I have a real diagnosis and a plan. And I have a doctor's clearance to run!

Dr. Mah said he doesn't even need to see me again unless it gets worse or something. Maybe someday it will explode, and then he can do that surgery. Meantime, I plan to run and run until I can't run anymore :)