Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sleep, Run, and Dentist Day

What a cold and windy spring day. I almost wore gloves while I was out for my run. Apparently I recovered pretty well from my “too tired to care” day yesterday ( The lower intensity combination/variable workout yesterday probably helped too since I was able to do some road intervals where I picked up the pace every few minutes. While I thought that the wind was bad at 8:30 a.m. it got worse the rest of the day. Other than having to spend an hour in the dentist chair, I spent the rest of the day home.
The last few times I visited the dentist, I’ve been getting anxious and my blood pressure would rise. I told the dentist that it was not the fear of the needle, drill, or pain that made me anxious. It was having my blood pressure checked that did. When I check it at home, it’s normal and even low at times. Once I think about going to the dentist, it starts rising. It’s almost like performance anxiety and I find it hard to relax when those thoughts pervade my mind.
I’ve been taking my MP3 player to the dentist lately to listen to audio books so I can relax and decrease my anxiety level while they’re doing my treatment. Unfortunately, listening to it is not working very well because when the drill starts whirring, it drowns out whatever I’m listening to. Nevertheless, whatever parts I can hear helps distract me from the procedure the dentist is doing. So I’d say the technique works 50/50. Since I had a good run today, I’m sure that helped keep my serotonin levels high too.
Good sleep last night + a good run + getting a dental treatment out of the way without my BP shooting too far up made for a good day.

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How Will You Run Today?

None of the usual guidelines of training applies when you are permanently injured. Hills, intervals, tempo runs, long runs, and plyometric exercises (example above)? Forget about it! Those were things you might have been able to do when you were not in pain. You can try, and you might get faster momentarily but you end up worsening your injuries sooner or later. So why is there still a constant need to improve aerobic capacity and endurance when you just end up in pain that derails your running? You’ve accepted that you have gotten much slower in recent years and only because your injuries keep you from achieving what you think your cardiovascular system can still do. You can only modify your natural stride so much before other imbalances appear. It feels more like “will your PTTD plagued ankles allow you to run today, and what about next time if there is one?”. Yet despite everything you go through, you still persist because it is the one thing that you love doing. When I say “you”, I really mean “me”.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too Tired To Care

I was so tired coming off night shift on Wednesday morning that I was in bed by 8:25 a.m. I even struggled to stay awake while driving back home even though it was only four miles away.  Usually when I’m off from work the next day, I don’t hit the sack until past 9. Forget about catching up on Facebook updates and other websites I normally visit when I get home. My pillow was more inviting. Never mind that construction workers next door were remodeling the unit. With my ear plugs, their noise bothered me nary a bit. I didn’t wake up until my alarm jolted me awake at 1 p.m. when I usually wake up before that happens. Staggering out of bed to use the bathroom and such, I also could not get started working out until way past 2 p.m., due to feeling drained and having no motivation. Some days just happen to turn out that way. Nevertheless, I managed an hour of aerobic exercise by breaking it down to 15 minutes each on the elliptical trainer, stairmaster, upright bike, and recumbent bike. It was so satisfying to break out a sweat and finish the workout despite my mental and physical tiredness. I hope I feel more refreshed tomorrow after having a good night’s sleep. It’s supposed to be a running day after all.
Now to catch up on DVR’d American Idol and Glee while doing laundry. Ah, the life of a single man…

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Run Like A Slug

A crummy run is better than no run at all. Even if it feels bad, it always feels good when you’re finished. It was a sluggish run on Friday morning that lasted all of 50 minutes which is too short for most runners. I blame the sluggishness on the high protein diet I’ve had the past two days. My body is a carbohydrate craving machine and without it, it sputters. My running conditioning has also suffered since I’ve been doing other forms of aerobic exercise while trying to make my ankles heal. Regardless of how badly I felt during the run, finishing it gave me a huge relief at the end. At least I got to run.
On Sunday afternoon, I had another uncomfortable run but with better results at the end. I don’t usually run in the afternoons anymore but my schedule was screwed up due to a dentist visit last Thursday. After an hour and ten minutes of the 4 minute run/1 minute walk workout I had covered 7.12 miles which was an average of 9:50 pace. Compare this to my 50 minute sluggish non-walking run last Friday which only covered 5.11 miles and 9:48 pace. You see, there is very little difference between running non-stop and the run/walk combination because I’m able to push the pace a little bit more during the 4 minutes that I’m running while giving my ankles a break and also able to cover more distance. Should I just do all of my runs that way then? I’m considering it seriously.
I finally downloaded the entry form for the Wrigley River Run 10K coming up on June 12th. It’s in my neighborhood and it benefits the community. I filled out the form and a check and dropped them off on my way home from work Monday morning at the organizers' house which was nearby. I ran it last year after not having done a 10k for almost two decades. Here are the two entries I posted about that race: and . I’m not sure how I’m going to run it this year. Run/walk, or run non-stop. I’ll decide depending on how my ankles hold up till then.
It just occurred to me, slugs don’t run, they crawl. Perhaps I’ll try that sometime.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Me Cook? Oh, Please…

I don’t cook. I may be accused of being a kook sometimes, but I am not a cook. Well, let me rephrase. The extent of my cooking is limited to the crock pot because it’s hard to undercook or burn food in them. Not to sell myself short, I can also bake fish in the oven and boil water for ramen noodles. My mother was a very good cook but I never inherited her skill and talent. If I can help it, the food I cook would consist of only one ingredient, usually meat seasoned with garlic pepper, seasoning salt, or lemon pepper. The only time there is more than one ingredient is when I make soup. In that case, it would be meat with bagged vegetables. Sounds so much like what a bachelor would do, wouldn’t it?
 There was a sale on pork spare ribs a couple of days ago so I bought a pack and when I got home I saw that there were three racks in the package. I took one and froze the rest. I added seasoning salt and pepper then put the rack in the crock pot and fired it up to cook on low heat for twelve hours. In the past, I would have set it on high for four hours but the flavoring doesn’t absorb very well in that short a time, especially since I don’t marinate the meat. The last couple of times I cooked meat at low heat and longer, I noticed that the seasoning absorbed through the meat better.
 The last time I cooked a rack of ribs was about three years ago and it was beef. I stopped doing this after my cholesterol level went up because there was a lot of fat in the beef ribs. The pork ribs on the other hand appeared to have lesser fat and easier to separate from the meat. The plan was to add some barbecue sauce after the meat cooked because if you add it while cooking, the sauce thins out, just gets oily, and doesn’t stick to the meat. After cooking for about seven hours, the pork ribs appeared done and so that’s what I had for dinner. Upon sampling it first, it was tasty enough not to need any barbecue sauce. The lower heat, slower cooking technique, worked very well. The meat was tastier, very tender, and even browned on top (although not as brown as the picture above). I think it was done after six hours so that’s probably what I’ll do next time. I finished half a rack during Wednesday’s dinner and the other half on Thursday. I don’t intend to eat that much meat in so short a time because I’m concerned that it will raise my cholesterol again, but at least I discovered a way to make the food I cook taste a little better.
So goes my successful but boring cooking story. If you are still reading at this point, I thank you graciously J.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Intensity, Intensity, Intensity

Updates: So far I’ve managed to keep my weight at a steady level while being unable to run last week. As long as I make a good effort of keep up the intensity of my stationary bike and elliptical machine workouts, I seem to be able to burn close to the same energy as running. I only say close because it doesn’t feel exactly the same. Even the elliptical trainer makes my ankles hurt when I start going faster because I still have to move the ankle joint. The only difference is there is no pounding against the ground so I can do interval training on the low impact machines.
Aggravating my injury has been happening too often in between brief recoveries. This is my new reality. The pain never really disappears and PTTD is progressive because it doesn’t heal, it just gets worse. With the poor balance caused by my ankle problems plus dizziness higher up in my head, I’m surprised I haven’t fallen yet.
As the elite men ran their last 7 miles in Boston on Monday, I started my own 7 miles from home. I wanted to watch the rest of the race while running on my treadmill but I was being considerate of my neighbor downstairs who would have complained of the pounding noise I was going to make. So I ran outdoors instead.
What a satisfying run/walk on Monday. I completed 7 miles in an hour and 10 minutes which was the same pace I ran 6 miles without walking in an hour last Saturday. This run/walk method is really something. I can still run with some intensity while saving my joints and sanity. 

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flash Mob At Ralph’s

There was an 8 hour sale at Ralph’s grocery store last Friday from 1 to 9 P.M. Just before it started, two checkstands were open with hardly anyone in line, but as soon as the clock struck one, as if a flash mob had suddenly appeared and the lines soon filled up that they had to open more checkstands. The customers must have picked up the sale items and at exactly 1 o’clock the rush was on to the cashiers because I’m sure the cash registers were programmed to give the discounted price at that time. One Asian lady picked up the wrong sized cereal boxes (they were a dollar each on sale), had to be given her money back, argued with the cashier, and delayed the line I was on. I can’t be upset at her because I’ve picked the wrong product before and I’m sure the people behind me at the time were also got impatient with me. I’m only writing about this because it was a strange sight. No lines to long lines in a flash. Is this what happens when there’s a sale at Macy’s or Nordstrom’s too? Well maybe this wasn’t so strange after all because it happens at all stores every year during Black Friday.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Gooing My Running Shoes

This has nothing to do with goos or gels that runners and other endurance athletes ingest to maintain their energy levels. I’ve been looking for Shoe Goo to try to repair my running shoes because I wear out the heel edge of the outsoles so quickly even though the midsoles still offer support. Shoe Goo used to cost $1.00 when I first came to the U.S. When I last checked with Runner’s High Store, they were selling it for $8.00 so I checked around and called a few shoe repair shops. The closest one sold them for five dollars but they were out of stock and wouldn’t be getting any more for three weeks. The next one named Jack’s Shoe Repair, the man who answered the phone asked me how many gallons I wanted. Gallons? That confused me. I didn’t know Shoe Goo was sold in gallons. I told him I just needed a tube. Turns out he was pulling my leg. He was selling them for $6.75. Good enough.
I’ve been wearing out the soles of my running shoes too quickly this past couple of years. That means my stride has gotten heavier and more unbalanced with all the aches and pains I’m having with my ankles. So instead of buying new shoes, I thought I’d try Shoe Goo first because it was worked pretty well in the past. Two of my most recent Brooks Addictions with the most worn soles were to be my test shoes. I slathered a coat of the goop on the shoes and left them to dry. The next day, I checked the shoes and as to be expected with thick liquid products, they follow gravity so my first coating was not enough. I put some tape on the edges of the heels to make a barrier so the goo doesn’t flow over, then put on a second coating. When I checked the next day, the tape had done its job and the shoes were more level. I’m going to let the goo cure and dry for a couple more days before I try running in those shoes.
With the amount of Shoe Goo I’ve used, I almost finished the whole tube. I should have listened to the old man at Jack’s Shoe Repair and bought a gallon instead.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Long Beach Grand Prix & Running Into Gnats

It’s Long Beach Grand Prix weekend and for those of you who have only been running in the past 10 years, you may not know that there used to be a Grand Prix 10K race which started and finished near the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose (Howard Hughes’ wooden plane which has since moved to Oregon). I was running with the Runner’s High club at the time when my 10K time was in the 48 minute range while the fastest guys in the club were in the low 30 minute range. Anyway, just a memory from a now defunct race.
                Okay, about recovering from my most recent ankle setback, I sort of ran last Thursday and managed to do an hour of the 4 minute run/1 minute walk Galloway training technique. It was mostly a slow shuffle but certainly not my slowest since I started training more that way. On Saturday, I was able to do an hour test run at a 10 minute pace. Not too bad especially since I wasn’t expecting to be able to run so soon. The surprise was not that I was able to run an hour but that I was able to run at all. I have to admit that an hour was a stretch considering I’m supposed to be making my ankles heal. I resisted the urge to pick up the pace even when my breathing loosened up. Okay, maybe I did pick up the pace for about a quarter mile before my ankles reminded me to slow down and said no thanks, not today. The aerobic engine is still working but one of the axles is broken while the other needs grease.
It never fails. Every spring I always run into a swarm of gnats. You can’t avoid them because by the time you see the swarm, it’s directly in front of your face. All you can do is close your eyes and turn your head. Since you are sweaty, some of the gnats inevitably end up on your face, hair, and shirt but hopefully not in your nose and mouth. Yuck!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Experimenting With Dish Soap

For several years now I’ve been using Sunsations, Rinso, or Ajax brand soaps to do my dishes. I’ve read from a magazine, newspaper, or internet article awhile ago about people who cut their expenses by using dish soap as shampoo and it works just as well to clean hair (I've never tried it). The brands I mentioned above are the cheap kind and in turn they are very watery and don’t lather too well. You have to use more to be able to cut the grease from the dishes. So I had a “what if” moment when there was a sale on cheap shampoo a couple of weeks ago. Since shampoo is thicker than the dish soaps I use, would it work just as well to clean dishes? Cheap shampoo when on sale costs about the same for the same fluid volume as cheap dish soap. After all, they have the same basic ingredients, right? So I decided to give it a try. Thinner dish soap = more drops or thicker shampoo = lesser drops. Well, doggone it, shampoo works just as well if not better than dish soap in removing oil and grease from dishes! And you end up saving money because you have to use lesser of it. Not only that, your dishes smell better because there are more varieties of scents that shampoos come in. Most dish soaps only have lemon scent or unscented. My conclusion: cheap shampoo works better than cheap dish soap for washing dishes.
I know it sounds weird and I don’t know how many people have tried it, but I may be using shampoo to wash my dishes from now on. Would you dare to give it a try?

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Personal Vendetta or Witch Hunt?

Several weeks after I blogged about the fire alarm and intercom system at work ( that got me in trouble thus receiving a final warning (, and despite my charge nurse reporting the same thing using the proper channels, our findings have not been addressed or maybe just totally ignored.

 I’m starting to believe what my friends have been telling me all along: that the safety officer/head of security has made the incident a vendetta against me by reporting my blog to the human resources department instead of looking at our concerns. I have not arrived at this conclusion easily, but the actions of the two departments who handled my write up didn’t seem to be concerned about how the alarm system did not work so well. Rather, they chose to find fault in the messenger instead of addressing the message. Maybe they took offense when a lowly employee found something they didn’t foresee.
This may be unrelated but there has been a rash of write ups against the Mental Health Unit staff in recent weeks, so maybe the administration is on a witch hunt for one reason or another.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to walk the straight and narrow path so they would not find another reason to counsel me again, or worst, fire me for exercising my freedom of speech.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twilight Zone-like

Hello?! Is anyone out there??? (cue Twilight Zone music).
Coming home from work Sunday morning after my overnight shift, it was eerily quiet in our condo complex. No toilets flushing, no small kids laughing, crying or running around, no dogs barking, no cars going in and out of the security gates, and no neighbors heard moving about in their living quarters. In other words, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. If not for seeing one neighbor parking his car in his garage outside the complex when I got home, you would think that I had entered The Twilight Zone. Is 8:00 A.M. too early for a Sunday morning? None of my neighbors are young, Saturday night partying types, so it was very strange to go home to such quietness. It made for a very good daytime sleep for me. 
Ever had one of those days?

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Dizziness Diagnosis

I went to see the ear, nose, throat (ENT) specialist last Friday and after giving me the tests that cops give to DUI suspects, he didn’t find anything physically wrong with me. He said that my condition could be caused by a virus and that the dizziness can disappear anytime as mysteriously as it appeared. Nevertheless, he ordered an MRI for me to rule out any abnormalities to the inner ear that he could not see with his otoscope. I will have to wait until the insurance company authorizes the test, find out which hospital the procedure will be done, then make an appointment. When that is completed, I am to return to the doctor for more information.
 When I asked the doctor if my condition had anything to do about Mal De Debarquement syndrome, he appeared not to know anything about it, so I didn’t press the matter especially that he had an intern with him. His preliminary diagnosis was vestibular neuritis and said it wasn’t a fun thing to experience and then asked me if I was prescribed Meclizine by my primary doctor. It’s a medication for motion sickness like Bonine or Dramamine which I already tried but didn’t have any effect on my dizziness except make me sleepy. So the ENT doctor told me to stop taking it. Since what I have is supposed to be a virus, the antibiotic nasal spray given to me by my internist didn’t correct my problem because antibiotics only work for bacterial infections.
So far the dizzy spells continue but they appear to be lessening in frequency and duration. I’m not sure if that’s just my altered perception of things. I’ll just have to wait for my body’s own defenses to conquer the virus. Come on BODY, get on with it!!!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Resisting The Temptation

It was so tempting to go out and run last Saturday morning even though I cancelled my 12 mile appointment with Cyndi. Just to go out and do a slow and easy Galloway run would have satisfied my cravings. Still being in pain however, I managed to hold myself back and did the elliptical trainer and a treadmill hill walk instead.
 To think that I already had the warning signs of impending injury in the two weeks preceding, I still persisted on trying to improve my pace and distance. Now I have to keep myself in check to give my tendons a chance to rebuild, recuperate and recover. I can’t say that I didn’t expect this to happen. Looking back to previous blog posts and the past years’ training logs, whenever I approached 10 to 12 miles of running without walk breaks, my ankle tendons suffer. With this type of injury, you can only hope it will not happen too often or too soon between recoveries. Like I mentioned before, I’m learning about my breaking point.
 In the meantime, I’ve been working out on the elliptical machine, recumbent bike, and upright bike and so far have managed to keep my weight steady. That’s it for the non-running part of my week. Four days and counting but the temptation to hit the road keeps on beckoning like the forbidden fruit of Eden.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again!

All I can think about is a line from a Johnny Mathis song “There I go, there I go, there I go, there I go again” or from a more recent artist, Britney Spears, “Oops, I did it again”. What am I trying to say? As mentioned in one of my posts a few days ago, I’ve been concerned about how my ankles have been feeling due to some hard workouts I’ve done in the past few weeks ( A few hours after Thursday’s undeveloped run, I felt a very sharp pain on my right ankle (in addition to my left ankle which was already hurting because I compensate with that leg). I was hoping that a nights’ sleep plus a day off from running would make the left ankle feel better. I had no such luck.
 I tried to delay calling Cyndi to beg off from running on Saturday morning to see if the ankle felt better, but after icing, elevating and bracing it numerous times without relief, I finally had to tell her that I had to bail from our 12 miler.
It appears that I have reached my ankles’ breaking point again. I’ve noticed this in previous breakdowns: when I get to a certain distance during long runs (usually 10 to 12 miles of non-stop running), my ankle tendons start to break down. It is at this point that I think I should be doing the Galloway method of running. In my case a 4 minute run and 1 minute recovery walk, until I finish the goal distance. That way, I am still able to cover the miles while giving my tendons a break. That was how I was able to finish a marathon last year. The problem with this method is that it is hard to find training partners who are willing to run and walk.
I have mentioned before that running continues to be a learning process. More so with the Posterior Tibialis Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) I suffer. I am learning how far and how hard I can run until I reach my breaking point. This week, I not was not only at the brink of disaster, I may have gone over the brink. I will be taking a few days off from running or maybe a couple of weeks, depending on how my ankles feel. I hope the tendon didn’t tear again like it did in October 2008.

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An Undeveloped Run

Thursday’s run was one that never developed. Usually it takes a couple of miles before my legs and lungs get warmed up, then everything loosens up. For some reason there was nary a bounce in my stride from start to finish and I felt flat all the way. My shoes felt like lead weights keeping me from lifting my feet off the ground. Well, you get the idea. It was not a feel good run. Sometimes you have one of those days when what was supposed to be a routine run turns into a slog where you just manage to put one foot in front of the other. I was surprised I even finished an hour. My ankles are still hurting and I hope they hold up for the 12 miler planned for Saturday morning, and that they don't get worst.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

My First Audiobook Experience

Okay, so no more smart phone at work (which I don’t have), or using the company computer (which I hardly do). So what to do, what to do when not a creature is stirring not even a mouse in the middle of the night? Please don’t tell me that reading is not allowed either, or in this case listening to audio books.
 During my short stay on this earth, I have never listened to audiobooks which I’m sure was invented ever since the dawn of recorded media, from vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassettes, CD, DVD, and now MP3 players. I was an audiobook virgin until this week. There are a lot of websites that you can download public domain audiobooks for free and this is the particular site I went to: . So I decided to give it a try. The first book I downloaded was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was always a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories. During my freshman year in college in Manila, I bought a lot of those paperbacks and read them more than I did my textbooks. That, and playing too much tennis. Oh my, the history of my poor study habits at the time L.
                I copied the files to my cell phone and while patrolling the hallways while doing my 15 minute rounds, I listened to the stories. I made sure I only inserted the earphone in one ear so I can still monitor for other sounds. The narration was pretty clear but I encountered a problem with the controls of the cell phone. The buttons were so sensitive that I would inadvertently stop or pause the story and because the menu navigation was not intuitive, I had to search for the story again, start at the beginning, then fast forward it to the spot I was previously listening. To say the least, it was a bit frustrating.
The next day, I copied the files to my dedicated MP3 player and assigned a playlist for the audiobooks. This method worked better except when I paused a story too long, the device turns itself off automatically to save battery life. Then I would have to fast forward the story again. But, it was a better experience than the cell phone.
I’m sure when I become more used to it and listen to these books on tape more often, I’ll figure out how to navigate my rarely used MP3 player. I’ll be getting more low intensity exercise too, by walking up and down the hallway frequently. So this becomes another case of multitasking: doing my job, getting some exercise, and learning more literature.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Sunday Earthquake

I went to an Easter Sunday lunch party at my cousin’s house and in the middle of the festivities someone said there was an earthquake and the house was swaying. Well I didn’t feel a thing because my head was already spinning when it happened due to my dizziness problems as previously mentioned here: ( If I was alone that day, I wouldn’t have known the difference. When the shaking stopped, the party continued and as usually happens, karaoke ensued afterwards, but not before the Lakers game was finished. After all, we all have our priorities.
 I always bring my karaoke machine to these parties and just in case someone wants to do it, it is available. Besides, what party with Filipinos in it will not most likely include karaoke? Thankfully, our singing last Sunday wasn’t bad enough to make the earth shake again. If it did, the epicenter would have been at my cousin’s house.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On The Brink Of Another Disaster

Because I’ve been doing some interval workouts in midweek, my cruising speed for the long runs has improved somewhat but to the detriment of my ankles which don’t recover fast enough. I’ve been pushing them to the brink this past couple of weeks and it seems like it has finally caught up with me. Going into the last two miles of Saturday’s run with Cyndi, I felt a sharp pain on my right inner ankle and I started to drag that foot the rest of the way because I could not push off from with it. Although the pain came and went, I didn’t like the way it felt. I cannot run hard two of the three days that I run in a week anymore or else my ankle tendons suffer. I like the feeling of being able to make a hard effort but my ankles usually disagree with me.
I wanted to run Monday morning but I had to find an excuse not to do so. First my ankles were still achy from last Saturday’s run and second the weather outside looked wet and dreary. Not only that, because I’ve been compensating with my left leg, my knee hurts slightly too. So I needed to pull myself back from the brink of another disaster and give my joints a break from the pounding, so I worked out on the elliptical machine instead. I was watching a French movie titled “Le Premier Cercle” and that kept me distracted even during the hard part of the programmed workout. After an hour on the elliptical, I did another twenty minutes on the recumbent bike to finish the movie.
After taking a couple of days off to make my ankles recover, I dared myself to run on Tuesday afternoon. The first few tentative steps didn’t give me too much discomfort even though I was mostly supporting my weight with my left leg, so that was a good sign that I didn’t tear the right ankle tendon again. You cannot imagine how appreciative I was for being able to do an hour of the 4 minute run with 1 minute walk workout. Thank goodness for the little things which bring great satisfaction.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Final Warning! How I Got In Trouble Due To Blogging

               In case anyone is wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately, it’s because I feel like my wings have been clipped or the wind has been taken out of my sails, partly through my own fault. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a fire drill at work and this has gotten me in a whole lot of trouble: . The problem was I sent that link to the safety officer of my workplace to read about my concerns regarding the fire alarm system. He in turn forwarded my email to the human resources department who addressed the issue in a different manner that I totally did not expect. It was not the content of the blog that they scrutinized but the time of night I posted it. The time stamp on the bottom of each blog post gave me away. My mistake was that I was not supposed to be blogging while at work. If I did it during my break time it would have been okay. When they looked at my time card and compared it to the timestamp of the blog, they got me where they wanted, regardless of whether my concerns were legitimate or not. They also looked at other posts and saw similar timestamps. I received a Final Warning counseling for that.
                I usually post at that time of night because, in another country, that is when my friends are ending their day and most likely to go online and read it. Well, losing my job is not worth the small number of hits on my blog just so my friends can be updated. I regret the error of my ways wholeheartedly and for my Good Friday penitence, I swore that I will not post during work time again.
Although I feel that my concerns were legitimate, it was the time and method of my reporting it to the proper authority that I erred. I was hoping that they would have been at least a bit appreciative for my bringing a problem to their attention. In the end, I realize what I did was stupid and I exercised poor judgment for sending a link. Now that I’ve received my final warning, I wonder what they are going to do to address the problems with the fire alarm system. I haven’t heard from them about that yet. After all, that blog was written not as a criticism but as a safety concern for the patients we serve and the people who work in the building. I suppose because I’m at the bottom of the totem pole, I don’t get a response to my concerns, but they can find reason to write me up for a final warning. Because I have no defense, what can I do other than go meekly with my tail between my legs. I don’t know if they missed the point of my email or ignored it completely and just considered the time stamp of the blog. However, I accept their verdict. You can be the best worker in the world (which I’m not), but if you take a slip like this, nothing is going to save your job.
A few years ago, the Dixie Chicks made a documentary movie called SHUT UP AND SING. I should do myself a big favor by keeping a low profile, just do the job I’m paid to do, stop writing, and just SHUT UP AND WORK!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Another Target Run

          When I last saw my doctor two weeks ago regarding my dizzy spells, he told me that if I didn’t get any relief from the treatments he prescribed, to call his office so he could give me a referral for an ear, nose, throat specialist. Since my symptoms have not dissipated and although I’m trying to adjust to the condition, I took my doctor’s offer and asked for a referral.
           I was supposed to pick up the papers from the office so instead of driving there, I turned it into one of my target runs again. On Maundy Thursday (please excuse my Catholic roots), I thought I was going to accomplish two goals: put in a run while picking up the referral paper. It turned out I met three goals instead. I ran to my doctor’s office to pick up the referral, and since the ENT specialist was in the next building, I walked there to make an appointment instead of going home to call them on the phone, then ran back home. Workout done (a tad over six miles), chores finished, fuel and time saved, had the rest of the day free.

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