Some ramblings about running shoes

I have worn running shoes daily since the age of 32 or so on the recommendation of a podiatrist I saw for plantar faciitis.  So although I am not a very experienced runner, I am a very experienced wearer of running shoes.  I have worn running shoes for running,  schlepping around, fitness walking, and a heck of a lot of dog-walking.  In deep snow or pouring rain, I wear boots, but otherwise, you can bet I’m wearing running shoes.

I began fitness walking when I quit my nine-year-long smoking nonsense and this was my first introduction to the formal athletic shoe.  Prior to this, I wore cheap canvas “sneakers” that you can buy anywhere, and while these have rubber soles,  they are not technical shoes meant for distance walking.  I was walking six to eight miles a day at least, so I needed a supportive shoe.  I started out with walking shoes, but eventually graduated to running shoes.

What I learned, from this podiatrist and from knowledgeable shoe fitters, is that my feet require a very supportive shoe.  I tend to pronate–a lot–and I need a good arch.  Many shoe makers have models that are supportive.   Some do not.  Some brands make only supportive shoes.  I believe one of these brands is Brooks, and these are said to be the most supportive shoes. A handful of runners do not pronate and do not require–or prefer–a supportive shoe, however.

I also take out the insole and put in Spenco arches.  There are many kinds of Spenco arches available, and many other good brands of arches around.  I would advise trying out different types of insoles.  You may be surprised that the insole provided by the shoe company isn’t exactly what is right for your arch and your foot.  Also, an insole designed for running or cross training provides lots of padding where you need it–in the heel especially–that you don’t get with the insole that comes with the shoe.

I have got to be one of the toughest customers to please, however.  I try on a bunch before I’m satisfied.  I have returned shoes a number of times.  I have given up on shoes when they didn’t work out after a month and bought new ones (ouch!).  Three times, I ended up with defective shoes, twice from the same store, and once I bought a defective pair without knowing it and wore them, and wondered why my feet hurt so much (these were Reeboks).  Finally, I figured it out.  Yes, running shoes can be defective and if they are at all uneven, take them back right away.  Your feet deserve perfection.  You wouldn’t settle for a defective TV set, would you?

Okay, some buying advice: Don’t try to save money by buying a cheaper model.  Good running shoes all cost about the same.  As of today, April, 2011, expect to pay maybe $100 to treat your feet well.  If you can find the same shoes as a discount, great, do so, but don’t buy your shoes at K-Mart and expect your feet not to hurt.  They will.  I tried on shoes at Target once and couldn’t walk ten steps in them.    This is your body.  These are your feet, your knees, your hip joints, your back.  You can cause permanent damage if you don’t wear the right shoes.

Where to buy: Buy your shoes at a running store where the shoe fitters know running and can measure your feet and watch you walk.  They will know what kind of shoe is best suited for your feet and gait.  Go on a day that it isn’t raining, so that you can run in them outside, and wear running clothes that day, or something you can run in.  Just about every running store will allow you to run in the shoes outside.  The running store I go to allows me to return the shoes, if I don’t like them, for credit only.  Do check into the return policy and keep this in mind.  I did exchange a pair once.  Ask questions and talk to the shoe fitters about your needs.

I have heard that some people can get good deals online.  I would only do this if you are getting the exact same model you already have.  Check into shipping costs and return shipping costs.  Remember, again, that shoes can be defective, so you don’t want to spend a whole bunch of money sending them back if they are, and then having another pair shipped to you.

Your feet change over the years.  Mine did.  They got longer over a period of just a few years in my 30’s.  They are narrower now.  Nonetheless, I think everyone already knows that shoes are all different.  Depending on the model, I can wear a 6 to a 7-1/2, N to W, though generally I wear a 7, and I look for the narrower models.  My current shoe is the Adidas Women’s Supernova Sequence, or I think that’s what it’s called.  They are blue, white, and silver, size 7.  I’m on my second pair.  My running has been great in them, and I have no complaints.  When a running shoe is good, it’s good, and it serves me well.  I give these five stars.  I’ve also owned Nikes (all of them five stars, IMHO), Saucony, Asics (boo), Brooks, Mizuno, Reebok (which I told you about), and one other brand I can’t recall.  The shoes with “gimicks” I have not liked.  I just like a plain, simple shoe that does what it is supposed to do.  I have had best luck with Adidas and Nike.  But everyone is different and has different feet and different needs.  Don’t just listen to me.  Go with what feels good to you.

I definitely differ with the “experts” on one thing: shoe break-in.  They say that running shoes don’t need to get broken in.  Sorry, folks, they do.  Every single pair I’ve owned–now, you consider, I have lived 18 hours a day in running shoes for the past 20 years now so I know what I’m talking about–has required break-in.  I don’t mean just your foot adjusting to the shoe.  I mean your shoe adjusting to having a foot inside it and something hard under it.  They’ve just come out of the factory and they need to get to know you.  I’d suggest schlepping around in them for about three days, and give them a good walking, too, before you run in them.  You’ll be glad you did.

The “experts” do say not to run a race in a new pair of shoes.  This I agree with completely.  I’ve got the same model of shoes that I had before, so I’d be able to race in these fairly soon, but if I had a model that was new to me, I’d give it a good 50 or more miles before racing in the new shoes.  Again, I am inexperienced and I have only raced once, so I don’t know, but this is what I am guessing.

How do I know when to buy new running shoes?  It’s obvious.  They “die” suddenly.  I can tell you almost the exact moment.  I get all kinds of lacing issues.  The laces are too tight one minute, too loose the next.  I start to feel like the balls of my feet are touching the pavement.  The arches seem too high suddenly.  The “bounce” is gone from the shoe.  The soles are worn, but not completely.  If the soles are really, really worn, then I’ve waited way too long to replace the shoe.  My last Mizunos died while I was walking to the gym one day.  I knew it, and replaced them as soon as I could.  My feet were so happy.  They say you should keep track of your mileage and replace your shoes every 500 miles at most.  I replaced the last pair of Adidas after 450 miles.  I saved the last 50 miles of the old pair for walking the dog.  The shoes died today, a few hours ago, and I don’t think I can wear them anymore.

Do not wear used running shoes bought at tag sales or anywhere else.  You wouldn’t use a used toothbrush to save money, would you?  This is your body.  Treat it well.   If you have to wear dress shoes to work, change out of them quickly and get into your running shoes as soon as you can get away with it.  Don’t wear high heels–ever.  These were probably invented by men to handicap women.  High heels are incredibly dangerous.  They give you bad posture and numerous back problems.  Imagine running after a bus in them.  You will miss the bus for sure.

They say you should use your running shoes for running only, and have another pair for schlepping around, because of the way the shoes get worn down.  I have no opinion on this because I have never tried having more than one pair.  All I know is that for my feet to stay healthy, I have to wear these shoes–not sandals, not high heels, not loafers.  Just treating my feet well.  It is our feet that, for most of us, hold up our entire body–our legs, knees, hips, spine, neck, and head.  It is our feet that provide most of our transportation over our lifetime.  And when we are comfortably laid to rest, our feet will be at the very bottom of our coffins, waving at the last pallbearers as they carry us home.

Day Five on Antibiotics Following a Tooth Extraction and….

…finally, finally, I am feeling better.  The cold symptoms seem to be clearing up.  I didn’t wake up with the usual flaming sore throat and mouth, just a little bit of one.  I have a cough and sniffles, but that, too, seems to be improved.  I am a still concerned about the adjacent tooth, which doesn’t seem to be completely infection-free.  But it is vastly improved from before.  I have a much cleaner set of teeth and mouth than I have had in several years.  I am proud of the teeth I have that remain.

I think tomorrow I’ll go running.

Lentils…how to cook…single serving, and more

I thought I’d share my recent experiences with lentils:

I researched lentils, and every source says to cook lentils one part lentils to one and a half parts water or broth.  The amount of time needed to cook the lentils varies, I’ve found.  Green lentils are the most common kind, and the ones I buy in bulk take about 45-50 minutes to cook.   Some types of green lentils take somewhat less.   I guess it depends on the source.    Boil the lentils and water together, then lower the heat and cook.  Watch the lentils and “test” them to see if they’re to your liking.  Make sure you don’t cook them more than you want.  Add water if needed.

If you buy lentils in bulk they are cheaper than if you buy them packaged.  Either way, they say it’s a good idea to wash and sort your lentils before cooking.  This is because they may contain stones.  I don’t do this because I’m just plain lazy or stupid; however, I have yet to encounter a stone.

Lentils are high in fiber and protein, and another nice thing about lentils is that they take much less time to cook than dry beans.  Also, they are versatile, and have a nice flavor.  They are fun, too.  You can season them a different way every time you eat them.  You can add different veggies, or even fruit, believe it or not.   You can make them into soup or stew.  You can eat them hot or cold.  You can probably eat them in a sandwich, though I have yet to try this.

Here’s something I have for lunch frequently.  This dish serves one:

RICE AND LENTILS FOR ONE

1/4c lentils
1/4c brown rice (I use medium grain)
Maybe 1/2t curry
A dash of Mrs. Dash Table Blend (optional–I always include this)
1 bay leaf (optional–I generally don’t include this, but every time I have, I have used a bay leaf that has accidentally broken in half, so I have used only half of a bay leaf)
1t garlic-flavored olive oil
6-7oz water or more–experiment and you will know exactly how much you will need for your lentils, rice, cooking method, and taste

Cook the rice and lentils with the bay leaf for 45-50 minutes.   Keep an eye on the mixture and add water as needed.  You will notice that when these are cooked, the lentils have floated to the top.  Add the curry, stir and allow to sit for a bit.  Then add Mrs. Dash and oil.  If the dish is a little cooler than you’d like, cover and pop it in the microwave for a very short time and then stir.  Enjoy.

This mixture will easily fit into a 10-oz thermos, but no matter what I have done, I haven’t been able to keep the mixture piping hot in the thermos even for two hours.

TMI MAYBE: Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that last Wednesday I had a molar extracted and I have been very limited as to what foods I can eat.  I have to be very careful that nothing ends up in the “hole” left by the tooth (and gets stuck there).  Regular cooked lentils are out of the question.  Also, hot foods are not allowed for the first week or so following a tooth extraction.  So if I’m going to eat lentils, I have to overcook them to the extreme and then cool them.  This means preparing them way, way ahead of time.  I use two parts water to one part lentils, cook them forever until the water absorbs and the lentils are without a doubt mushy, stir them well to ensure that this is the case, and then allow them to cool.  I took a giant leap and added thinly sliced banana this morning.  Yes, banana.  It was morning, after all.  It was time to have banana on my cereal.  I didn’t know how to season this mixture, so I didn’t.   You know, it wasn’t bad.  As you regular readers know, I am a very weird person.  Aren’t we all a little strange, in our own ways?

Have a nice day.

My third full day on antibiotics and….

I still feel just as sick as when I started the antibiotics on Saturday.  I guess I should give this a chance.  I have a headache, sore throat, cough, swollen glands, and runny nose, and there is still swelling around my mouth area where the tooth was extracted.  I keep wondering if maybe that adjacent tooth is still infected.  The doctor said the infection had spread to that tooth, and that it would clear up once the bad tooth was out of there…well, maybe it hasn’t.  I’m no dentist.  But it’s my mouth and my whole mouth seems to be on fire.

Trileptal reduction–dose cut from 600 to 300–it's been over a week now–progress report

I’m okay with it.  I’m sleeping fine.  I’m definitely not manic.  I am not having crying jags as I was before I got on Trileptal, nor am I emotionally labile.  I am not having ups and downs.  I am not going through eating binges.  My eating is progressing about as you would expect.  My commitment to improvement in that area has increased because of circumstances in my life that give me motivation to eat well and maintain a healthy body and mind.  This has nothing to do with the Trileptal except that the lowered dose has improved my running ability, lessened my chances of injury, and has allowed me to run on the treadmill in addition to running on the track.   So I guess it has a lot to do with the lowered Trileptal dose indirectly improving my feelings about my body–and, my ability to care for my body sensibly.

Let me explain to those of you just popping in out of cyberspace: Trileptal has the side effect of ataxia.  It’s a common side effect.  Ataxia is a weakening of the extremities, namely the wrists and ankles.  You don’t notice it in your wrists unless it’s pretty bad, and in that case, you might have a little trouble typing, or you might drop things or have trouble lifting things.  But weakness in the ankles means you “sway” while standing.  It is noticeable if you put your feet together and hold your arms out in front of you.  But for many, it affects walking.  For me, it meant leaning on something while waiting for the bus, and needing to stand with my feet separated.  It also meant–I know this sounds silly–feeling like I was falling over when I bent over to pick up Puzzle’s poops when we were out for a walk (Puzzle is my dog).  Another thing was that although I could walk fine, my gait had changed.  My feet were not aligned; they were separated considerably.  I developed shin splints from walking.  Eventually, I sprained my ankle!  Eeks!  It healed quickly.  I was only lucky.  When I tried to run, I found that I ran on my heels.  I was completely unable to run on the treadmill.  This would NOT do.

When I complained to my doctor–sorry to bore you regular readers, but I know that people google me and pick up these posts–my doctor said it was the antipsychotics, and told me, “Just stand with your feet apart!”  No, Dr. P.  No, no, no no.  Without her permission, I cut the dose in half.

It’s been a week now.  I have yet to tell anyone on my treatment team what I have done.  I plan to tell Dr. P next time I meet with her.  I’m absolutely fine, and the Trileptal is helping me just as much at 300 as it did at 600.

My medications are as follows: Risperdal 3, Synthroid .1 (for my underactive thyroid), Lamictal 600, Topamax 300, Trileptal 300, Abilify 20.

So you see, I’m on three anticonvulsants.  I felt it was safe, therefore, to go down on the Trileptal with no ill effects.  I do not have seizures.  This was confirmed by the neurologist I saw a couple of weeks ago.  Even though going down on an anticonvulsant can cause seizures anyway, I was protected by the Lamictal and Topamax.

Originally, I was put on Trileptal in January while at McLean Hospital for emotional lability and binge eating.  Trileptal worked wonders for both.  I wasn’t binge eating at McLean but I strongly felt the urge.  You can tell when the urge is gone.  It also helped with depression at the time.  I do not believe it helps with depression now.

I was put on Effexor toward the end of my stay at McLean.  Without Dr. P’s permission–this is the only other time I have done this–I stopped the Effexor.  I had to do this because Effexor caused binge eating.  It was a shame, because Effexor helped with depression, but it wasn’t worth it.  As soon as I stopped the Effexor, the bingeing stopped–thank goodness–that is a Hell I do not want to go through again.  Both times I have made these changes in medication without Dr. P’s permission have been on weekends when Dr. P isn’t available except on pager, anyway.

So right now I’m fairly happy with my meds the way they are in terms of my psychological stability.  I do worry about my slight case of Tardive Dyskinesia in my right hand.  It was worse for a while there.  It has–believe it or not–lessened over the past few days.  You could see it when I put my hand in my pocket.  It is only in my right hand.  It doesn’t affect my handwriting or typing or ability to perform any task.  It is there when I hang my hand at my side.  The doctor at the community hospital denied that I had TD, saying she didn’t notice a thing, and that what I had was not TD, but a tremor.  No way.  It is TD.  There is no doubt in my mind of this.  It lessened when we halved the Risperdal (this Dr. P and I did very, very carefully last year).  Of all the “atypical” antipsychotics, Risperdal is perhaps the most likely to cause TD (I’m not exactly certain of this so don’t quote me on it).

The future of my meds: I wonder if someday I can lower my antipsychotic medication–the Abilify and Risperdal.  I wonder how much the Abilify is actually doing at this dose, but I know how difficult it has been to lower Risperdal in the past.  I have no desire to lower the anticonvulsants any further.  I think all three are essential and are helping.  I worry about the TD and want to speak with Dr. P about it–again–next time we meet.  I will keep you informed.

For those of you bored by medication talk, I apologize.  For those of you who are interested, stay tuned.  There are tags for “Trileptal ordeal” and “Tardive Dyskinesia” on the sidebar that you can click on for more posts.

UPDATE: I lowered the Trileptal to 150 June 7th due to further “swaying.”  At the time, I was not running because of a really bad knee injury.  I couldn’t even walk without crutches.  I figured the “swaying,” which had suddenly returned, was going to cause a problem on crutches, a danger in fact.  I lowered the Trileptal by cutting the 600 tablets into quarters starting the night of June 7th.

A week later, I began some serious bingeing (on food).  I had already gone through a period of bingeing on 300 mgs Trileptal, but hadn’t thought that this was caused by the lower dose.  I just wasn’t thinking straight.

In between all this, my injury had been diagnosed as an arthritis flare-up.  I didn’t even know I had arthritis in my knee, but it all made sense: I had fractured it in 1999 and at that time was told that this could happen.  So I was advised by this specialist not to run or walk for fitness.

In other words, the treadmill was out.  So last night, I did some thinking, and realized that I had made this promise to myself, that if the bingeing returned, I would return the Trileptal to its original dose.  Trileptal stops the bingeing.  No more treadmill = no necessity to eliminate “swaying.”  I’ll live with it.  I do not want to live in Bingeing Hell.  Anyone who has an eating disorder knows this place.  You do not want to go there.

So that is how the story went.  Have a nice day.

 

I feel lousy

I started on antibiotics yesterday and should feel better tomorrow or the next day.  Meanwhile, I feel pretty sick.  I didn’t know tooth extractions could do this to you!  My tooth was quite infected, and the infection was spreading to the other tooth.  Yesterday, my whole mouth felt like it was a sore throat.  Not really pain per se, that you would take anything for, but sore and inflamed.  The extraction area was inflamed.  My throat felt sore.  This morning, I had a headache, and I took Tylenol and a caffeine pill, and eventually the headache went away.  I sort of had chills yesterday and had to bundle up when I went out to the convenience store to buy a few things.  Today, I’m okay in this warm weather we’re having.  I am also fortunate that my voice has returned; however, my voice seems to be a couple of octaves lower than usual.

My mood seems to be better today than yesterday.  Yesterday, when I woke up, I was strongly affected by this sickness.  I didn’t want to move around or do anything.  I questioned my usefulness in the universe.  I didn’t have any motivation to do anything.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there.  I also hadn’t slept well at all the night before.  I went to bed at 8pm last night. I was exhausted.

When the body is thrown off, our moods are affected as well.  This is well-known.  One must take care of one’s body to keep on top of one’s mood and other mental states.  I am always thrown off when my body is out of whack.  This was the case when I had to stay up all night for the EEG (brain wave test) I had a couple of weeks ago.  My body wasn’t right after losing a night of sleep.  It took a couple of days to even out.  Imagine what I did to myself over the months and years of starvation I put my body through (1980-81, 1986-87, other years I can’t recall, and 1995 until around 2000) and also the years I spent binge-fasting.  Imagine what I did to myself gaining and losing about 110 pounds of weight between the end of 2000 and mid-2009.  Imagine what I did to my body when I was on Seroquel, during which, while I was not allowing my body adequate fuel, I was still gaining weight!  Seroquel caused not only blood sugar issues and binge-fasting, but caused me–believe it or not–despite the devastation I felt about my body size, to give up on my weight for about six months.  All these–extreme weight gain and loss, starvation, extreme eating, low weight, and blood sugar issues–are taxing on the body, to say the least…and as a result, taxing on the mind.  Let us not forget the mind!  Our brains cannot operate without adequate–or with too much–fuel!  (Let us not also forget extremely low self-esteem as a result of weight gain–we ED’s feel this more than most people.)

So now I am sick.  My body is way, way off.  I feel slowed down.  I feel distracted by how crappy my throat and mouth feel.  I feel distracted by congestion in my head and chest.  I feel distracted by swelling around the extraction area.   And of course, as always, I feel distracted by my eating disorder.  At this exact moment, I don’t know what’s worse.  Believe it or not, this physical illness MIGHT actually be more powerful than my ED.

Maybe I should get sick more often?

Naw.

Tooth extraction update

Given that the tooth I had removed was abscessed, it’s a good thing I had it out when I did.  An abscessed tooth is very serious.  I have heard a story about someone who died of an abscessed tooth because they couldn’t find a dentist who took Medicaid who could extract it for him.  I was fortunate to find the wonderful dental surgeon in Medford who could take me right away.  He is so nice that I want to marry him.

I had the tooth extracted Wednesday.  Thursday night someone called me, and I noticed I was losing my voice!  Was this due to lack of a tooth?  No, I don’t think so.  I was coming down with something.  Friday I woke up with a sore throat and feeling generally miserable.  Still, I went to the gym and walked two miles on the treadmill.  I deliberately didn’t walk too fast because I knew that if I did, the tooth opening might start to bleed.  That plus I felt kinda tired.  Walking home from the gym, I felt completely wiped.  Absolutely.  Last night, I had trouble sleeping because I felt so crappy.  This morning I felt depressed, slowed down, miserable, and headachey.  I took Tylenol, as I did yesterday, and took a shower, and felt a little better, but I have phoned the dentist, and they have called in an antibiotic for me.  I am completely thrown off by this.  I am no longer afraid that the tooth will bleed again, and I have never had pain from the extraction–why, I don’t know–but the infection from the abscess has exhausted me.

I am doing fairly well with eating.  Yesterday, I ate a potato for breakfast, tuna on a roll for lunch, and sardines for dinner.  I had a potato with broccoli for a bedtime snack.  I also had some Cheerios alongside my sardines, which I softened in the microwave.  No, I did not mix the sardines with the Cheerios.  I had a banana and a very nice navel orange with my meals.  I had to soften the roll for the tuna in the microwave a little.  I had OJ and milk.  I use powdered skim milk.  I buy the 8 quart box of powdered milk and mix it all at once in two gallon containers, and use it all before it goes bad.  Actually, it keeps a long, long time in the fridge.  These meals were very, very inexpensive, and were okay given I had a sensitive hole in my mouth.  I cooked everything very well.  I rinsed well with warm salt water after eating, as instructed.

What happened when I woke up this morning?  I said to myself, “I want to go running.”  How silly.  Reality set in.  I’m not going running for a while now.  The hole isn’t going to bleed; of this I am certain now.  But I have absolutely no energy, and won’t for a little while.  I doubt I can run for any further than a mile without becoming exhausted.

It’s something to look forward to, though.  I will feel better.  Someday, I will run a 10-minute mile.  Someday, when I feed myself well, gain a little weight…I am hoping to race again..down the road…I will tell you more about my NEXT 5k………soon.

Party!

Frank and I are having a party.  We are having cupcakes.  He is baking his chocolate cupcakes from a mix at his place on Maui, and I am buying a chocolate cupcake from Kick Ass Cupcakes in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. I will bring the cupcake home, and then we will eat our cupcakes together at our respective homes.

Frank has always wanted me to eat chocolate cake when I celebrate something.  He had suggested it for my birthday, but that didn’t happen.  I was in McLean Hospital on my birthday this past January.  My birthday sucked.  Even the staff at McLean forgot to get me a cake.  Not that I would have eaten any.  Actually, when they finally remembered the cake, days later…nope…I didn’t eat any.  And no, it wasn’t chocolate, not that that would have made a difference.  I have spent a number of birthdays in hospitals.

But now, we are celebrating something new and special: Frank is legally changing his name.  He is keeping Frank and changing his middle and last names.  The name change should go through very soon, and when it does, we will have the name-change cupcake party.

It is also the beginning of spring, of rebirth.  Snow is melting, and in case you were wondering: yes, it does snow in Hawaii.  Even though it hasn’t dipped under freezing very much lately, we still have a huge pile of snow back in the patio where I can see it from my living room window.  What a view.  It will take till mid-May to melt it all.  But now, the time of the name-change, can be the starting point of this melting.

It is the time to welcome in a new, fresh way of seeing the world, to cast off old ways, and to step into the sun.  It is the time to be strong and healthy.  It is the time to run like we’ve never run before, whether the wind is behind us or against us, because it is always within us.  It is the time that our age will not stop us from living our lives.  It is the time to be happy.

I am not going to worry about how many calories are in the cupcake.  I will set my eating disorder aside.  I will set aside all negativity I have around “junk food.”  There is no “junk food.”  There is good food out there.  There is food in every flavor you can imagine, some food in interesting shapes, food wrapped up in boxes, food with candles, food with funny names you can’t pronounce, food you drink or slurp, food that melts in your mouth, and food that melts everywhere and gets all over your clothes and makes you laugh.

So why should “fattening” come into the picture?  What creep invented the fact that if you eat certain foods in certain quantities, you will “gain weight” and “get fat”?  What a concept!  It is time to change the name of “Diet” to “Die.”  Let’s just kill it, okay?  Maybe we should change “Weigh In” to “No Way In.”  Because very, very soon I’m going to barge my way into Kick Ass Cupcakes and buy that chocolate cupcake and bring it home and eat it with Frank.  And we are going to have a grand celebration.

A sixth tooth removed today

Actually, this makes seven if you include one that was removed years ago.  But six have been removed this year alone.  I had my wisdom teeth out and one other in February.  Just now, a few hours ago, I had another removed.  This one was cracked in two.

The dental surgeon said the tooth was abscessed, and that the infection was spreading to the other tooth already, so it was a good thing I was getting the tooth out now rather than later.  An abscess can be really, really serious, and you can die from one.

I said to myself, “Gee, I can think of something else I might have died from,” but didn’t say that out loud.  Yes, it’s a good thing I’ve gotten this tooth taken care of.

I showed up at 11:15 and was out of there by noon.  The appointment was for noon.  I guess they had a cancellation.  Forty-five minutes ain’t long.  The dental surgeon didn’t need to take x-rays because he’d already taken them last time I was there.  Nothing showed up on the x-rays, but he could see the crack with his naked eye, anyway.  No x-ray needed there.

Now, who the heck came up with the expression, “Naked eye,” anyway? Aren’t all eyes naked?  Who would put clothes on their eyes?  Or do glasses count?  Do eyes have to wear bras?

I felt a little pain on the bus on the way home.  I do not feel pain now.  I don’t think I’ll need the painkillers, but I have some anyway, from the last extraction.  I didn’t take any of them.  I take Ibuprofen for whatever ails me, but I guess so far I haven’t needed it much.

They told me not to run even on Sunday, and to start off walking.  I’m going to go nuts not running.  But right now, I’m very, very tired, and need some rest.

Coffee before running?

THIS IS ONLY WHAT I KNOW FROM MY LIMITED EXPERIENCE AS A RUNNER:

My intro, for those of you just popping in out of cyberspace:  I ran for about a year in my early 40’s.  I stopped when I broke my leg.  I picked up finally last October.  I turned 53 in January.  I took a little time off in the winter but am back at it with a vengeance.  I run an 11-minute mile.  My goal is to run a consistent 10-minute mile. Before my time off, I was able to sustain a 10-minute mile for a quarter mile, but that was it.  Now, I’m comfortable running an 11-minute mile for over three miles.

Okay, so here’s the deal with coffee:  I normally drink a strong 16-oz cup of coffee every morning.  I brew six tablespoons of grounds to 16 ounces of water.  That’s slightly stronger than most brewers recommend (they recommend 2T for every 6 oz water).  I grind my own a little finer than recommended, so this also makes a stronger cup.  That’s my morning coffee.

I do like to drink coffee a bit before I run. It doesn’t bother my stomach.  I like to have it about an hour before.  I feel that it enhances my run.  I was told by a trainer at the gym that some people have “caffeine poop-out.”  This is when the caffeine suddenly stops working.  This happens all at once, and it is very, very dramatic.  The runner can lose energy, strength, and speed very quickly and suddenly when caffeine poop-out occurs.

I can confirm from experience that caffeine poop-out is real.  It has happened to me twice and it’s definitely a bummer I don’t want to repeat.  You don’t want to drink caffeine way, way before you run.  I don’t drink it more than an hour before.  It goes through your system real fast if you’re running, and makes a dive, apparently.  This I do not know scientifically, only from what I feel in my body.

So here’s the reason I’m posting this. This is what happened today.  Real dumb.  I felt tired, so I had–yes–a second 16-oz cup.  This one about an hour after the first.  Then a bit later I went to the gym for my run.  And I used the coffee as an excuse not to drink water before running (note: another no-no).

I was really thrown off to begin with.  I don’t run at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I am a morning runner.  I had eaten lunch at around 11:30, a little early so that it would digest before running.  I left the house at 1:30 and had some orange juice before I left but wasn’t sure that what I’d had nutritionally was okay for running.  And very, very little water and all that coffee, which was the “substitute.”  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I’ve been running 3.25 miles and walking .75 miles.  Well, after walking .25 on the treadmill and then running two miles, I didn’t feel right at all.  I was sweating too much.  After 2.25, I continued to sweat, and it wouldn’t quit.  Finally, at around 2.6 miles, I returned to a walk.  I traveled a total of 5k (.5 of it walking) instead of 4 miles.  I realized that coffee is no substitute for water before a workout!  And 32 ounces of coffee before a workout, for me, is too much!

I did check my pulse as soon as I returned to a walk.  It rapidly went down by 10 beats per minute, almost instantly, as I slowed the pace, and continued to slow down. This is always the case.  I rebound–fast.

But still, I cursed myself for being so stupid.  I bought some Gatorade on my way out, and drank it, and just had some orange juice.  And I’ll have a good dinner.  Promise.