Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catch-up entry! First few months of 2010.

I’ve been busy! I’m playing a little catch-up here…

My first few months of 2010 have been pretty amazing. I’m feeling really fortunate and blessed to have so many special people in my life and the opportunities to do some fun stuff. I’ve had quite a few outdoor weekends, some at home, and I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of really great friends… and one amazing husband! It’s just been a really good year so far. I am one happy girl!!

My first camping weekend was the very last weekend in January in the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine as part of a backpacking meetup that Randall put together. I don’t have any pictures from this trip because my camera took a poo on me, but we had a new hiker with us this weekend that took some video – Graham was new to our group, and for his first trip, he did amazingly well! Especially for being kind of a chilly, wintery weekend, he seemed very well prepared! After the hike he put together a really nice video, which I’ll post below.

I got there Friday in the early afternoon and parked at the Mauthe Lake Campground and hiked about 6 miles to meet the rest of the group at the shelter. It felt good to be out, but I did realize that my toes and knees weren’t completely healed from the Frozen Otter yet. But it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. When I got to the shelter there was a nice warm fire started already, and we made some food and had some drinks. The next day we hiked back towards Mauthe Lake campground and a little beyond to the next shelter. The trails were really solid with packed-down icy snow. It wasn’t necessarily slippery, just really hard. I brought my saucer sled, so I took that down a trail, and MAN! You really flew on that thing! Because the trails were so hard-packed down, there was almost no friction – it was scary-fun!! I almost hit a tree every time I went down – it was a rush!

Saturday night we had mexican and I made some tiramisu to pass around (which is messy and hard to make in the cold... and I know doesn't fit the mexican theme, but it just tastes good. :) I was sad to go, but I couldn’t stay overnight Saturday night because I wanted to be back in time for church the next morning. So I hung out around the fire until everyone was pretty much ready for bed, then I hit the trail back to my car. It was a good first trip of the year!

Thanks to Graham for putting together an awesome video!

February began a busy Lent season with church. We had Lent services on Wednesday nights, and we’d practice for choir after that. We were also at church on Sundays, and sometimes for both services because Adam leads the congregation during our later praise service, and he’s also part of the praise band. So he was always really busy working on all that and keeping the church's sound system in constant check! I did get a few chances to get together with our Pastor’s wife, Laurie, to do some flute duets. It was really fun to play with someone during the services. I also played my flute with a song our choir did on Easter Sunday, and it went really well. I really love all the people at church, and it really just makes me feel happy when I go. So Lent and Easter was busy, but left me feeling full for sure!

I also went on a girl’s weekend in Wisconsin Dells. It was a bit of a low-key weekend compared to last year’s trip, but it was really nice to get together with all the girls and just hang out and relax. We rented a condo as a group and drove down there on a Friday. We went out to dinner at a restaurant in the busy area we were staying in. It was one of those water park hotels, so there were kids running around everywhere! It was crazy! After dinner we went out on the town and didn’t get home until really late… and maybe had a few too many bevvies… but we sure had a blast! On Saturday morning we all woke up slowly and ended up sitting around the condo most of the day eating and watching TV movies -- with commercials. I don’t think I’ll ever like the movie “Notting Hill” after that weekend! I swear it was on for 5 hours! Sunday we woke up, packed up and head home. Oh, and Sarah and Heidi surprised us all with “Box Tour” t-shirts! That was really cool… and a really nice surprise! It was really fun having us all wear them when we went out. It was even more fun seeing people’s reaction to them… they would look at us like, “Does that say what I think it says?” :)

Here’s a photo that was taken of us girls at work for a staff favorite photo!
In the middle of March we had a meetup in Upper Michigan at a rustic cabin in the Porcupine Mountains wilderness area. We stayed at the Gitche Gummee cabin – it has no electricity and no running water, but it did have a stove inside that we could cook on and a pit toilet… (LOL -- after reading through this, I realized I made it sound like the pit toilet is on the stove or something... but since it made me actually laugh out loud, I had to leave it in! So, actually the pit toilet was a separate little thing outside! :) Our group normally goes backpacking, so this was living easy!! We had a lot of fun on this trip… our cabin was literally right across the road from Lake Superior, so we were able to walk out there at any time and enjoy the beach.

Lake Superior shoreline
I know that I had a severe case of cabin fever – what an ironic term since I cured it by having a cabin weekend – but I think everyone else was feeling kind of the same thing… we got up there Friday night and just kind of let loose. We ate, drank, laughed, hung out by the fire… I wore my new ginormous shades the whole weekend… it was a lot of fun. During the night Friday night I woke up (with my sunglasses still on) and realized my sleeping bag had fallen to the floor (I was on a top bunk). That wasn’t a big deal because I was sweating my BUTT off! It had to be over 100 degrees in that cabin – and I’m not even kidding!! I tried to get the window open that was by my head, but I couldn’t figure it out in the dark, and I was trying not to wake anyone. So I snuck down off of my bunk and head outside to the pit toilet. It felt amazing – was probably 32 degrees, but I didn’t care. When I walked back into the cabin I just started to laugh! It was so freakin’ hot in there you could hardly breathe! Then I realized that half of the other people in there were also awake from the heat – but everyone was trying to stay quiet hoping to not wake anyone up!! I walked around the cabin at that point and opened all the windows… then we were finally able to get a few zzz’s before the night was over.


Around the campfire Saturday night

Saturday morning we all woke up slowly and made some breakfast, then gathered our gear and went for a dayhike towards Lake of the Clouds. It ended up being about a 9-mile hike, and was just what we needed after a late night around the campfire. It was beautiful to see Lake of the Clouds off in the distance all covered in white ice and snow, still. The sun was shining and the sky was blue – it almost felt like spring, except that the wind still had that crisp wintery bite to it yet. But we were all just happy to be in the woods with each other! On Saturday afternoon, after our hike, we all head down to the beach to watch the sunset. We played some lawn darts and took some pictures, then head back across the road to the cabin where we ate some more and had another campfire. Sunday we just packed up, cleaned up, and head out. We all stopped at a brewpub in Minocqua for a hearty meal together before we all split ways.

Thanks to Graham again for another fun video! What a way to remember fun weekends!

I’ll do another couple of entries in a bit so I can do a little recap of April and to catch up on the highlight of March – Adam graduating from ITT Tech!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catch-up entry! Frozen Otter aftermath

I guess I’ve been busy! I haven’t written an entry here for quite a while! But I’ve had so many fun things happen and some amazing adventures coming up that I figured it would be good to get some update/intro entries written.

Well, if you’ve visited my blog in the past, you know the last thing I wrote about was the Frozen Otter. That was a great experience, and today I am still seeing some of the aftermath from that. 64 miles is a long ways to go, and doing it in 22 hours really pushed my body passed its comfort zone – which is one of the reasons why I do it. After the race I got some nasty blistering underneath my toenails. They got really swollen and were very painful so I went to the clinic and had them drained (I know, yuk, right!?). I kept draining them for a few days and finally let them dry out on their own. After another week or so of babying them and applying a lot of triple antibiotic ointment to them on a daily basis, they hardened back up good as new – and they turned a pretty tie-dyed color! It looked like I was wearing some super-funky nail polish! I questioned each day whether or not they might fall off. Well, believe this – only ONE WEEK AGO I lost my first toenail from the Frozen Otter!! 3 months after the fact! It didn’t hurt either, so queezy tummies can subside. I know it’s hard to understand the thought of losing a toenail not being painful – this is the first one I’ve lost, so I know! Before this, whenever anyone mentioned it to me, I would cringe too. But seriously – an ingrown nail is waaay more painful than this was. I taped it up during my Wednesday treadmill run last week, and afterward I just very gently pulled the tape off – with no pain – then gently pulled the toenail off – with no pain. It was crazy-weird! My toe looks SO naked now… I was really getting used to the purple tie-dye look. But my left big toe is still that weird purple color, and so are a couple of my little toenails. I imagine those will fall off in time too, but I’m in no hurry. :)

In addition to the toenail thing, I’ve been dealing with another “Frozen Otter aftermath” experience in the past couple of months. About a week after the race my right knee was a little swollen – I mostly noticed it when I bent it sharply. A bulge would stick out on outside of my knee and it looked sort of deformed – and that was the only time I really felt any sort of pain. I applied some RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (well, I didn’t do the compression part – so I did RIE instead). It didn’t seem to help. I took ibuprofin and that didn’t help, either. It wasn’t bothering me during my workouts too much. It really only bothered me during specific movements involving landing on a straight leg (like jumping jacks) in aerobic classes. I finally decided I better have it checked out. My doc took an x-ray and told me there was edema (swelling) in my knee. Well, I knew that! So she had an MRI scheduled. I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor and told me the MRI results. I had a baker’s cyst on the back of me knee (this is why me knee looked all wacky when I bent it sharply). The baker’s cyst is pretty common – people can have them their whole lives and not even know it. It’s just a fluid-filled sack in the back of your knee. But my MRI showed the reason for the extra fluid was due to some cartilage wear on the inside of my kneecap. Doc said there’s like a little flap of cartiliage that’s being irritated and causing the extra fluid. The only way to cure that is to smooth it out with orthoscopic surgery, but I opted to try a cortizone shot first. I didn’t notice any effect from the shot until about a week later, and I’m happy to say right now that my knee feels almost back to 100%. I’ve decided I’m not going to even think about surgery until there’s a point when pain gets in the way of doing the things I love to do. I don’t want to start digging around in there until I have to.

So that’s that. The aftermath from the Frozen Otter. I’ll take it with a smile, too. I’m really proud of myself for finishing that sucker, it was an awesome experience, and I wouldn’t take it away to have perfect knees and fresh toenails. I know the consequences of my crazy-crazy… and I’m okay with it.

Well, I suppose that’s good for now. I’ll add a few more entries in a bit. I’ve got a couple of weekend camping/outdoorsy things to tell about – with some pictures! Adam graduated, and that’s super-awesome, I had a girl’s weekend getaway, a very busy Lent and Easter, and I’m getting very excited about a vacation that Adam and I are planning! So I’ll have a couple more updates coming.

Oh, and Happy Earth Day!