Friday, December 23, 2016

All I Want for Christmas

Is my two front teeth. SO I got a gum graft today.

Earlier this year, I was told by my dentist to make an appointment with a periodontist asap because I was in danger of losing my bottom front teeth.

So I saw the periodontist in June. He recommended a gum graft in order to protect my teeth, because there was too much exposed bone beneath the gum line.

Let me explain how a gum graft works. After stabbing you in the mouth with giant needles of lidocaine four times (at least by the fourth time, you really aren't feeling ANYTHING), the periodontist then slices off tissue from the roof of your mouth (better let him know which side you prefer to chew on, because the side that he takes the tissue from is going to be unusable for at least a week), sutures it up so you don't have a gaping hole in your palate, and then sews that piece of tissue onto what's left of your gums to protect the exposed bone. He then stabs you one more time with lidocaine so that you at least have one more hour after the procedure is over to drive yourself home before intense pain sinks in. The whole process takes about 90 minutes, and you're awake the entire time. Meanwhile, you spend the following two weeks praying that the graft holds and new connective tissue starts growing (you assume it's going to be two weeks because that's when you have to go back to get the stitches out) so that you don't have to go through this misery again. That two weeks includes drooling all over yourself and probably taking most of your meals in liquid form.

Sexy, isn't it?

Anyway, after he explained all of this to me, the office assistant let me know they would need to receive a pre-authorization from my insurance company and that the process could take a while.

By "a while," they apparently meant six months. Now, I probably could have been more proactive in nagging my insurance company to provide the approval sooner, but... would YOU rush to get yourself a Frankenmouth as outlined above? Didn't think so.

bad teeth from eating disorder
You'd still be my friend even if my teeth look like this, right?
When the periodontist called me last week to let me know my pre-authorization had finally been granted, I paused. I really didn't think the days leading up to Christmas would be the best time to have this done, especially because I'm traveling to New Jersey and Pennsylvania next week to see my family. But over the course of the last few months, my employer had decided to change our insurance provider for 2017, meaning if I didn't get it done now, I'd have to wait for the new insurance company to provide authorization, which could take yet another six months. I also don't know how much of this procedure the new insurance company would cover, but my guess is that my employer is trying to cut costs and I'd be stuck with a larger bill if I waited.

So I had the surgery today. And now I regret it.

Because I can't have coffee for two weeks. (No, I don't count iced coffee or cold brew as coffee. Eww.) I actually can't have anything hot, which sucks because I'm headed to the arctic tundra next week.

Also, I tried quitting coffee earlier this year, and I didn't even make it a day. So this should be interesting.

I'm learning now what it's like to eat only for the purpose of staying alive. Trust me, food is bringing me absolutely no joy right now. Quite the fitting end to 2016 for me, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, December 16, 2016

DIY Gifts for Runners

If you know someone like me who must have #allthemedals, probably one of the most thoughtful things you can do for that person would be to help them solve the problem of what to do with those medals.

Let's face it, medals are pretty useless. Who decided that the award for completing a foot race should be a piece of jewelry that is way too big, too heavy, and too weird to wear the day after the event is over?

Medals are pretty good, however, at covering patches of bare wall in your house. You could hang your medals with a hammer and nail, easy enough - but that's boring. And puts a lot of holes in your wall.

You can also find medal hanging solutions at most race expos, but they'll generally run you $50 plus. I saw one vendor at my first runDisney expo during the Wine and Dine Half that sold a solution that would let you mount your medal, race bib, and a photo in one, which was awesome but had a hefty price tag of over $100! No thanks, I'd rather put that money towards running more races!

So I just bought a shadow box at Michael's craft store and made this myself for $20:

Disney Half Marathon running medals

This worked as a great way to commemorate our first runDisney race. But, as you may know, we've done quite a few more races in the last three years. So check out what we made this month with things you can get from Home Depot:

More Disney Half Marathon running medals

Here are the things you need for this project:

Wood
Wood stain
Galvanized pipe
Metallic spray paint (galvanized pipe is pretty dirty - clean it well, then spray the heck out of it)
Flange
Guy with a drill

Do I really need to give step by step instructions on how to make this? Just make sure you measure appropriately to be able to drill into your studs, you want to make sure it's well supported so you can add all of your fancy runDisney medals to it.

Here's the best part - mine is already looking pretty full, right? But if I start running again and need more space, the solution is super easy:

Disney Half Marathon running medals holder

I just need to unscrew the cap and add on another length of pipe! If I get an elbow fitting, I can really have this thing run all over my home office.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

See Cows

I've been taking a lot of morning walks while I figure out what I want to do with my life. Walking is pretty enjoyable, especially here on the Florida Gulf Coast now that it's bragging season. Dude, I get to see some cool things around here, too. I see dolphins pretty much every day. They're like the squirrels of the ocean to me now.

But manatees are NOT something I get to see every day, even though they came off the endangered species list earlier this year. So I was beyond delighted to see a mommy and baby manatee yesterday!



Actually, manatees are not that hard to photograph. They are huge and really slow and hang out in shallow water. I'm just a terrible photographer.

I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with manatees when I went scuba diving in Crystal River a few years ago and learned that they are pretty curious about people. I was going to put my tank on in the water, so I threw my dive gear over the side of the boat - and within 30 seconds, a manatee poked his nose above the water to sniff it. During my dive, others allowed me to pet them. One even rolled over for belly rubs.

So, yeah, I had to restrain myself from jumping in the water to go cuddle the baby manatee. Good thing I saw something else that distracted me:

Manatees seen while running


Pikachu wearing a Santa hat is pretty much the cutest thing in the Pokémon Go universe.

So I put him in a gym. Normally, that would be flawed strategy because he's kind of weak and super easy to defeat. But I figured other players would leave him alone because he's so damn cute, and I could hold the gym and earn lots of Pokécoins over the next few weeks:

Santa Hat Pikachu seen while running


Really, what sadistic a-hole is going to go in and beat up on Pika Claus?

The bullies from Team Valor, of course. They didn't even let me leave the park before they took over.

Pokemon Go seen while running


snook74,  I wish Pokémon Go had in-game messaging, because I have some choice words for you. But I suppose the only thing I can do is take down any gym I see you at in the future. Who's with me?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Slay, Belle

Two Christmas parties. In the same day.

For a socially anxious introvert that works from home and may now be slightly agoraphobic... well, that's a fate worse than death. 

My super charming and extroverted husband has secured his spot in our new community, earning us invites to multiple holiday soirees. It's been a while since I've had to put my social game face on. 

Man, this means I'm going to have to find something to wear that isn't a runDisney race t-shirt and yoga pants. Should I bring a gift? Bake something? Can I bring my dog? Show them just how inappropriate I can be with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity? Can I leave early? Can I come up with a good excuse not to go?

I don't know. Maybe Siri knows. 

I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. There just isn't enough alcohol in the world to get me through the day.

Maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong. Maybe this is exactly what I need right now. Maybe I'll meet someone that can help me figure out what I want to do with my life. Or become a new running buddy. Or at least go see Rogue One with me when it comes out next week.

You totally got this, Nicole. 

Imma go get my Christmas on. In the meantime, here's something I found at CVS:

video

Really, they can just brand anything Star Wars now, and people like me will buy it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bucket List

I met someone on Friday night who had run Ragnar Florida Keys in the past, and she informed me - to my dismay - that I might have missed my shot at ever doing this relay race. Apparently, the residents of the area got tired of the race and denied Ragnar the permit to do it last year. It caused a big shit show for Ragnar because teams had already registered, booked flights, etc. The race still shows up on the website as "Coming Soon" but who knows if "soon" will be during my lifetime.

She is doing a Ragnar Trail relay here near Tampa next weekend. The trail relays are a little different in that you camp out instead of sleep in vans like you do for the road relays. My only experience with trail racing was pretty miserable, so I think I'll pass on Ragnar trail runs. I'd still like to do at least one more relay at some point in my future, though. Ragnar Napa Valley might be cool.

If running and I ever become friends again, I've got a pretty long list of bucket list races I'd like to hit.
  • Ragnar (any) - see above. Of course, I'll need a team to be able to do this, so I'm not thinking this is going to be my first option out of running retirement. 
  • Princess Half - a women's run at Disney World, usually held in February. 
  • Tinkerbell Half - the Princess Half counterpart at Disneyland, only it's cooler because A. it's at Disneyland and B.you get a PANDORA medal. Oh, and if I do both the Tinkerbell Half and the Princess Half in the same calendar year, I'll get a special pink Coast to Coast challenge medal!
  • Dopey Challenge - a back-to-back 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon at Disney World. You get SIX medals for doing this. And here I thought I was cool with my four medals earned doing the Avengers Half last month. Of course, I have to run a full marathon to earn these medals, and I've never done that before. 
  • Disneyland Paris Half - I'm just adding this to the list because if I do a Disney race in the states and then do one here in the same calendar year, I'll get the "Castle to Chateau" medal!
  • Hot Chocolate - this race must have been invented for me. They just brought a hot chocolate run to Tampa, which is in two weeks, but Imma wait on this one. My only worry here is that I'll get too distracted by the chocolate and won't actually finish the race. 
  • Rock n Roll Las Vegas - Running the Vegas strip at night sounds awesome, but night races are challenging because they start after my bed time. 
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon running
Note runDisney still will be taking most of my money in future races. Maybe I never should have done that first race...

If you've run any of the above, how was it? Leave a comment and let me know which one I should register for first after my break from running.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Identity Crisis

2016 is the worst, isn't it?

I'd be way excited that we're in the last month of the year, but frankly, I'm not all that optimistic for 2017 either. I had some time to go back and read a few things I wrote around this time last year. My god, was I naive. I need to be much more analytical about how I do things from here on out.

I've quit running, which was my intention all along for 2016 as shared in my very first blog post. Resolution achieved I guess? I was just hoping to do it after I hit a personal record. I don't think I'm done with races forever - I still think about running the "Dopey Challenge" (a back to back 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon at Disney World) and a Ragnar Florida Keys (if I can get my American Odyssey Relay teammates to think about coming down this way. Or find 11 new willing mental patients to join me).

But I'm going to wait until inspiration strikes before I break out my running shoes again. It might be a while.

So now I find myself with a lot more free time and nothing to fill it with, which has given me exceptional clarity into how much of my identity was tied to hard core fitness routines over the last 15 years. I'm having a hard time thinking of what could fill this void going forward.

I've taken to crowdsourcing ideas, so if you've got one for me, leave a comment. So far, things like knitting, sewing, and quilting seem to be popular responses. It seems as if the only things out there for me are old lady hobbies.

Old lady hobbies don't include running
We're both short and old.
And I guess I have to be ok with that. At this point in my life, I can't expect to pick up a new skill and eventually become the best in the world at it.