Diva legs

marathon legs

The conversation went something like this past Sunday:

AGMA:  I really need you two to try a bit harder.

Legs:  Ahem – lady, we’re going as fast as we can.

AGMA:  Look, I gained 3 pounds carb loading since Thursday and hydrated like a pro for the past two days just for you.  And I’ve been doing a great job taking in nutrition on the run. You two have everything you need to go faster.  So what’s the deal?

Legs:   Yea – thanks for doing all that, but we already told you…we’re moving as fast as we can.  Seriously.

AGMA:  I admit I didn’t have the best training season this winter.  My 23 mile training run was a long 6 weeks ago.  But I did 18 miles two weeks ago.  That’s gotta count for something!

Legs:  Well, that could actually be part of the problem…   Six weeks was really too long ago for your long training run.  We know you tried to make it up a bit with the 18 miler, but two weeks really isn’t quite long enough for us to fully recover from that.  We’re still a bit undertrained and tired.

AGMA:  Complain, complain, complain…

Legs:  You can’t get away with that stuff at your age.  You’re not 35 anymore you know.

AGMA:  Ouch!  That hurts!

Legs:  How ironic…we’re hurting right now too.

AGMA:  But ya’ll did so well in Chicago last year.

Legs:  For heaven’s sake – that was 12 months ago!  You were 8 lbs lighter, Ms. Chunky, when you ran Chicago, it was cooler and Chicago is a pancake flat course.  By the way, what the hell is with these hills today??  Did you know there were going to be hills in this run??

AGMA:   Kinda…  But seriously, you both need to pick up the tempo.  I really wanted to finish with a time around 6 hours and 30 minutes.  At the rate you’re both going, I’m not gonna do it.

Legs:  Oh boo hoo…now that’s a real 1st world problem right there. Do we need to remind you that you are running today, against our advice, while you have a raging cold.  We mean, who does that??  We tried to tell you this morning not to get up and run.  But nooooooo…..

AGMA:   OK – you don’t need to remind me.  Trust me, I really wanted to turn the alarm off this morning, take some cold meds and go back to sleep.  But three other people are doing this race because I talked them into it.  I couldn’t not show up at the start.

Legs:  Uh…yes, you could have.  But that’s beside the point now.  We’re over 22 miles into this thing.  We promise you we’ll finish, but it’ll be on our terms.  Got it?

AGMA:  Good grief.  I’m totally dealing with a couple of divas.  But, okay, I guess…

Legs:  Glad to see that you’re being more reasonable.

AGMA:  But when I cross the finish line, can I get some action down there?  Like prancing or leaping or maybe a little dance?

Legs:  Bitch

(The Legs did indeed keep their promise and finished the 26.2 miles in a very slow 6 hour 41 minutes and change.  AGMA was grateful to them that they enabled her to finish her 7th marathon. And, despite their petulance, they did provide several leaps at the finish then proceeded to ache for the next 3 days to spite her. )

 

Stronger

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Disclaimer:  Always checks with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.  And then take their advice with a grain of salt.

AGMA has issues.

I think some of you know that by now.

For the most part, they are charming foibles that only endear me more to my good and extremely patient readers.

Some, not so much.

The quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”  has always been a favorite of AGMA.

Honestly, I didn’t know that it was from Nietzsche.  The first time I heard a version of it was on WLW radio in Cincinnati in the 1980s.

There was a DJ named Gary Burbank who created around 17 incredibly funny radio personas during his nearly 27 years with WLW.

One of Burbank’s most interesting characters was Smilin’ Blind Muddy Slim, the 60- Minute Jelly Belly Toejam Man.

Seriously.

Smilin’ Blind was a Blues man who had had a rough life but stayed optimistic.  His favorite saying was, “What does not kill you, will only make you stronger.”

Be it Nietzsche or Smilin’ Blind, there’s a lot of wisdom in that phrase.

Some of AGMA’s issues are not strictly “Oh my God, is she crazy?” type issues.  Yes, I like young men in spandex on bicycles, fantasizing about my next tattoo and sharing stories about my latest colonoscopy.   To name a few.

But I also have been having more physical issues.

This does not make AGMA happy.

But I’ve decided that I am just going to ignore them.  And it’s kind of working in a weird sort of way.

I have a disintegrating L3 vertebra with a compression fracture, significant multi-faceted spinal stenosis between my L4 & L5, a variety of bulging discs and scoliosis.

AND a partridge in a pear tree!

But I love to run and I’m training for a marathon (my 7th) in 2 weeks.

How is this possible?  I’m really not sure.

AGMA is a very slow runner which helps.  Actually, I’m a run/walker.  I use the Galloway Method of interval training and do 15 second intervals.

I started having pain in my right leg/hip last year.  Went to an ortho-pod for a diagnosis and a PT who helped me do as much as I could to mitigate the issues through dry needling and making some changes in how I sit, sleep, travel, etc.  It worked!  I was able to do the Chicago Marathon last fall – very slowly – relatively pain free.

Fast forward to AGMA’s starting to run this spring again after several months of being ill  and lots of traveling.  And very little running.  The occasional pain I felt in my right leg/hip now became a steady pain and started making it difficult to sleep.

Ouch.

A trip back to the ortho-pod and an MRI revealed the source of the pain as the previously undiagnosed significant multi-faceted stenosis between L4 & L5.  Basically I have stuff poking out from my vertebral body in the back and the facet joints in the front that is compressing the L4 nerve root that runs down the middle of those vertebra and goes into my legs.

Double ouch.

The doc said as long as I can stand the discomfort, running isn’t going to make the condition any worse, so have at it.  So I took her at her word and amped up my running.

But here’s the weird thing…

And as I increased my mileage, AGMA’s leg pain decreased.  Now, about 80% of the time, I have little or no pain in my leg.  But the pain consistently comes back when I don’t run for a few days.

It doesn’t make any sense.  But I’m going with it.

Last week, I tweeted my back on the left side.  But I kept up with my running and it started to improve a bit.  It really got better over the weekend when we were out of town and I didn’t run for 3 days.

But damn – it came back the day after we got back.

AGMA thinks it’s our pricey ($$) Sleep Number bed.  I tried adjusting my “number” last night to hopefully make things better.  I got up this AM feeling worse. It kinda hurt to even walk.

Oops!  Wrong number I guess.

But, it was a running morning and I was going to run come hell or high water.  Even if I had to limp my way through it.

Foolhardy, you say?  Stupid, you say? I don’t disagree.  I was second guessing myself for the entire 2+ miles of my run/walk thing this morning.

BUT…

My pain level before my run was a 7.  It was a 2 after I got back home. I realize it sounds crazy and counterintuitive but something happened during those 2+ miles that “corrected” whatever was ailing my poor back.

I don’t understand it.  I can’t explain it.  It doesn’t make sense.

But I’m going with it.

Is AGMA advising everybody to “play” through pain?  Not really.  As we age, we really do have to be more prudent.

And understand that I would never encourage anybody with any serious medical issues to go against their doctors orders.  That would be irresponsible and cruel.  And dangerous.

BUT…

I think what AGMA has learned is that, sometimes, we – people of a certain age that is – can be too careful.  Because we’re told that getting older is supposed to bring on more aches and pains, we passively accept that we can’t do X or Y anymore.  We let those aches and pains dictate our level of activity.   When sometimes, X and Y activity is just what our body needs to strengthen it and make it more resilient.

Inactivity can actually make things worse at times.

And to those of you who are still aghast that I ran with a sore back, AGMA did ice it for 20 minutes later on in the morning.  My nod to being prudent.  Feel better?

What does not kill us, will only make us stronger.

Aging gracefully my ass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your number?

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Back in March 2015, I wrote about the trauma of Hubs and AGMA buying a new mattress in “My last __________ (fill in the blank)”

Hubs thought this was going to be our “last” mattress.

Not even close.

After 3 1/2 years, we went mattress shopping again.

Turns out the “high quality” POSM (piece o’ sh*t mattress) that the salesperson assured us would last for 20 years (hence Hub’s “last” comment) was…a piece of sh*t.

There’s a special place in Hell for dishonest mattress salespersons.  Right next to dishonest used car salespersons.  And dishonest Federal Appeals Court judges who like beer. And reality stars turned treasonous politicians who think Nazi’s and white supremacists are “good people”.

Did AGMA say that out loud?

After 3 1/2 years, we each had a huge divot in our respective sides of the mattress.  It was so bad that, if either one of our cats tried to lie in the middle while we were in bed, they would roll into whatever black hole divot sucked them in.

We always found them, but AGMA couldn’t escape the nagging suspicion that they had journeyed to an alternate universe briefly though our mattress wormhole.

My side was approaching National Park status in terms of depth and width.  Okay, realistically maybe only Georgia State Park designation.

AGMA Canyon Recreational Area.

The mattress death knell sounded when  I went to an Orthopedist.  After an X-ray of my spine, I found out that it could be used as the letter “C” on a Sesame Street episode.

Perhaps this is why AGMA has been having chronic hip & leg pain after every run since February?

My doc referred me to a spinal physical therapist.  AGMA recently chronicled the subsequent encounters with dry needling in the rear from said physical therapist in “A day in the life…”

The first thing my great PT suggested was that AGMA change the way I sit in the evening when watching TV and working on my laptop.  Instead of slouching on the couch which is sooooo very comfy,  I was to sit in a straight backed chair with a bolster at my lower back.  This would help put the natural curve back in my back and relieve a bit of the pressure on the spinal discs that have been smooshed by my wonky vertebrae.

Noooooooo!!

But AGMA was a good patient and did as instructed, although I initially pined for my uber-comfy spot on the couch.  Pined AND whined.  But, happily now, 2 months later, I love sitting on my straight backed chair and NEVER sit on the couch anymore.  It’s too uncomfortable.

This is good.

The second thing my saintly PT suggested was to get a new mattress.

This was not a tough sell to AGMA.  I hated the POS mattress. But I was a bit worried how Hubs would take it.  I mean, this was going to be his “last” mattress right?

Thankfully, he also recognized that our POSM was a POSM.

We talked about trying to get a prorated refund from the POS mattress salesperson, but ultimately decided that the return probably wouldn’t be worth the effort.  AGMA felt confident that he wouldn’t give up without a fight.  And he’d probably want us to buy another mattress from him.

NEVER!

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on AGMA!

In 2015, I thought there was a seemly unlimited number of mattress choices.

In 2018, there really is an unlimited number of mattress choices.

Beside traditional mattresses that you can buy in department stores, or POS and non-POS mattress stores, there is now a plethora of foam mattresses!  Memory foam, cooling foam, therapeutic pressure relief foam, countering support foam, firm foam, smooshy foam, and more!

You can order the foam ones on the internet.  Your mattress is delivered to your door in a box.  You “simply” unroll it, give it some time to “plump up” and put it on your bed.

Voila!

But who wants to do all that work?  Do you have any clue how heavy a foam king sized mattress is?  And what are we supposed to do with our POSM?

And what firmness foam do you get?  They are rated soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, firm, extra firm.  WTF??  And layers…how many layers of foam do you get?

They all come with a trial period so if you totally get the firmness level wrong or you just don’t like it, they send somebody to pick it up and you get a refund (sometimes minus delivery fees – gotcha!)  Then what, since you’ve already gotten rid of your old POS mattress?  And, if you order another one of a different firmness, how do you know you’re going to like that one?

Too many unanswerable questions for AGMA…

So we ended up buying the most expensive air mattress in the world…a Sleep Number bed!  But it was on sale…

No worries about delivery – they deliver it (for $199 that is…) And they cart away your old POSM.  And they have a 20 year guarantee (pro-rated after the first 2 years that is…)

And you get a 100 trial period.  If you don’t like it, they will pick it up and give you a full refund (minus the $199 pick up fee that is…)

But what sold AGMA was the ability for Hubs and I to adjust the firmness to our individual preferences.  Insane!

This might be TMI, but I’m a 40 and Hubs is a 45.  Yeah – I said it…

And guess what?

AGMA’s back and hip have been feeling a whole hell of a lot better…

So between the dry needling and sitting differently and sleeping on a better, more supportive mattress and doing some exercises, AGMA just might be ready to run that marathon on Sunday.

Sunday????

Holy sh*t!

So if you’re in Chicago on Sunday and want to catch a glimpse of AGMA in the flesh, come down and watch the marathon.

I’ll be the one in the white hat, blue shirt and running shoes.

Aging gracefully my ass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day in the life…

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I know that ya’ll have been wondering what my ‘typical’ day might look like.  “How does AGMA pass the time?” is a question you probably ask yourself on a daily basis.

Understandable.

Let’s use today as an example of a typical, dysfunctional day in my life.

While my day usually starts around 6:30 AM or 7:00 AM, I slept in a bit.  What??  But I had good reason.  Last night Hubs and I went to see….

…wait for it…

Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle!  Yeah – THAT Jon Stewart and THAT Dave Chappelle.

With special guests Michelle Wolfe of the 2018 White House Correspondence Dinner fame and Chris Tucker of the Rush Hour movie franchise fame.

AGMA stayed up way too late gaffawing the night away.  But it was epic!

At 7:20 this morning, our cats, Gux and Max, made it known that they were over this sleeping nonsense, and that I needed to get up chop chop and feed them.  I went back to bed after depositing kibble in their bowls.

I got up again at 8:00 to clean up some food that Max puked up.  On our bedspread.

Delightful.

Hubs and I discovered about 20 minutes later that the REST of the food expelled by Max was in a huge pile on our bed sheet in between our pillows.  Glad I didn’t try to shimmy over to snuggle Hubs.

Double delightful.

With the washing machine now swishing in the background, AGMA got ready for the day.  This required I look in the mirror which is always a shocking proposition in the morning.

Washed, brushed, curled and flossed, it was time to take care of some work stuff.

My little Ebay business is picking up again so I needed to get a package ready to ship.  4 English china teacups and saucers.  Scary.  I know I used too much bubble wrap.  AGMA’s  anal in that way.

With the package sealed and labeled, now I needed to figure out if I had enough time to go to the USPO before my physical therapy appointment.

My appointment was in 40 minutes.  I still hadn’t had breakfast, the post office is 15 minutes away, then another 25 to my PT appt.

Just enough time if I grab a banana, put in a mobile order at Starbucks for a mocha, and get all green lights.

Unknown…how long of a line there would be at the Post Office.

AGMA’s always willing to roll the dice.

All green lights?  Not nearly, but there was no line in the USPO and I managed to avoid some accident brouhaha near Starbucks.

I got to my 11:00 AM appointment at precisely 10:59 AM.

It’s a charmed life!

My PT specializes in spine issues.  This is good since I recently found out I have a nasty case of scoliosis in my lumbar spine.  Really nasty.

Bummer.

But it explains a lot.  Since February, running has caused me a lot of hip pain and, later at night, radiating pain down my entire right leg.  Really ouchy stuff.  Difficult to get comfortable.  And I was limping like Chester on Gunsmoke (not everybody’s going to get that reference…)

This has been cause for concern.  I’m supposed to run 26.2 miles in early October as a charity runner.  Friends and family have donated over $2100 to the cause.

AGMA. Must. Run.

Exercises over the course of several weeks proved unsuccessful, so last week my PT tried “dry needling”.  Yeah – it’s just like it sounds…

He exposed my cellulite infested right buttock and proceeded to poke needles into my hindquarters.  It’s sort of like acupuncture, but the needles go deeper and into muscle tissue.

AGMA only yelped twice.

THEN he hooked some of the needles up to an electrical current.  He let my rear end pulsate for 15 minutes.  It felt like simmering butt stew.

But it helped immensely.  There are still some sensations down my leg, but no hip pain during my runs.  And my limp is still there, but it’s much reduced.

So AGMA showed up to my PT appointment today and said, “Bring it on!”

Because there’s been a bit of numbness in my right foot the past few days, he put even MORE needles in this week.  And he turned the current up so that, every now and then, one of my lateral rotator muscles in my rear would start to jiggle.  Like jello.  Cellulite jello.

AGMA kinda wanted a cigarette afterwards.

I’d love to have a picture of the whole set-up, but couldn’t figure out how to ask him without him thinking I was a bit of a freak.

Maybe next week I’ll try a selfie.  Of my butt with needles sticking out and little electrodes hooked up to them.

I am a freak.

And now I’m at Dancing Goats reading blogs, making comments, answering comments and writing this post.

Cats puking on the bed, speeding to the Post Office, shoving a banana down at a stoplight for sustenance, getting electrified needles stuck in my rear, blogging….

Pretty much a typical day for AGMA.

Aging Gracefully My Ass (literally…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my…

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Yeah I did!!

That was fun.  I think.

AGMA’s not sure that I’ve ever thought of a marathon as fun, but this was probably as close to being fun as one can get.

No – it was definately fun!

To relieve the burning question you all have – I did finish.  Barely.

But let’s start from the beginning….

We arrived in Pauillac on September 7.  Pauillac is in the Haut-Medoc region of Bourdeux.  The wine in this area is spectacular.  But since AGMA was going to attempt to run/walk 26.2 miles (42KM) in two days, I needed some restraint.

I was semi-successful.

It was difficult.  There was/is wine everywhere.  Everywhere.  Good wine for very little $$. Great wine for very little $$.

There was wine at the little Expo.

Every marathon has an expo the day before (or sometimes two days) the run.  The runners pick up their running “bibs” (with their number on them and timing chips on back) and get a goodie bag (ususally).  There are also booths and displays from vendors trying to sell you running “stuff”.

This one had wine.  Lots of it.

Then there was the pasta “dinner” the night before the marathon at Chateau Livran.  For 1500 close friends.  That started – started mind you – at 8:30 P.M.

It was beyond description so I’ll just post a few pictures.

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The calm before the storm…  Because of Hubs mobility issue, they let us into the dining area early.

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This was a man who was dressed like a woman who evidently decided that undergarments were for the weak.  This was evident when he lifted his arms to dance or bent over, which he did frequently.  Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

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Each time a new wine was served, the wine stewards marched out to music each carrying 6 to 8 bottles.

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The first of 4 bottles of wine – all from different wine Chateau’s – they brought for Hubs and I, and a couple from England we were sitting with!

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And then everybody danced.  And danced.  And danced!

OMG – the French sure know how to have a pasta dinner!

AGMA tried to be restrained.  I only sampled each wine and probably had 2 glasses total. Others were not quite so restrained.

Ah, to be young again.

I felt it was a poor decision for others to dance when they were going to run a marathon the next day.  Tut, tut…

That is until the band played Pharrell’s song, Happy.  And Earth, Wind and Fire’s song September.

Yup.  AGMA joined in the party.

Hubs and I tore ourselves away from the party and headed back to Pauillac at 10:15 P.M.  This was BEFORE they served dessert.   At that point, we’d been served 4 bottles of wine between 4 of us.  Who know how much was served after we left…

Every party needs a pooper right?  An AGMA pooper.

Thankfully, the marathon didn’t start until 9:30 A.M.  And AGMA was stealth in planning this trip – we were in an AirB&B in Pauillac, about a 10 minute walk to the start of the run.  And the finish.

So I got a good night’s sleep.

Thank God.

I’m not going to go into details about the run.  AGMA will just say it with pictures….

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Vikings!

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1st of 20 wine stops

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I saw this guy finish!  He ran 26.2 mile wearing an Eiffel Tower.  Yikes!

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The theme was 33 RPM because it was the 33rd running running of the marathon.  Lots of hippies, rockers and, especially Elvis’.

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Lots and lots and lots of men dressed as women.  tRump would have a fit.  Or try to pick one up…

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The guys in red had inflatable dinosaurs on them!  Normal for a marathon really… NOT!

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OMG – I got behind the sweep wagon!  If you are behind these guys at the finish, you don’t get a medal.  AGMA hauled butt after I snapped this!

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Just another Chateau to drink at!

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Caught guys (again, dressed as women…) peeing in the vineyards while I snapped a picture of one of several beautiful rainbows during the run.

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AGMA stems afterward!

There was a naked guy who had nothing but his bib in front of his twig and berries who threw up at one of the wine stops.  That picture might be TMI…

So AGMA finished.  I got the medal.  I got the backpack.  I got the bottle of wine.

Official time…slow.  Let’s just say I beat the sweepers, but I’m pretty sure they slowed down along the way.

This was a good thing since I was over 6 hours and 30 minutes…

I’m sore.  And still tired.

But boy, was it fun!

Next year?

 

Parlez-vous bucket list?

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AGMA’s getting ready for a bucket list experience.

Okay – it wasn’t really on my bucket list, but then again, I don’t really have a bucket list.

Well, I do, but it’s a dynamic list. Most things get added after I’ve done them.

It’s also a mental list. God forbid I writing/type anything down. That would be a bit too ‘restrictive’. And concrete.

AGMA likes flexiblity.

It’s just soooooo satisfying to add things to my mental bucket list after I’ve done them, then mentally check them off the list.

I think there might be a diagnosis for that.

Hubs and I leave on Sunday for 23 days in France.

What?? 23 days?? Are you crazy?? Are you rich??

23 days in France. Yes. Maybe. No.

We made the airline reservations way back in January right before the inauguration. Getting out of the country for an extended period seemed like a really good idea at the time.

Still does.

And we caught an amazing sale. $394 RT per person from ATL to CDG.

Yeah we did!

And we were heady at the prospects of Hubs impending retirement and no restrictions on vacation length anymore. We really didn’t think through the budget restrictions we would have after retirement…

But AGMA’s a ‘value’ travel planner so I think we’ll be okay.

Lots of Airbnb’s and budget hotels. But they all have good reviews, so no bed bugs. Hopefully.

And lots of ‘value’ meals. We need to cut back on calories anyway.

AGMA’s going to try to post while we are gone. ‘Try’ being the operative word. I might just post a “Hello, we are in ______. Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.”

We’ll see how things go.

Getting back to the bucket list experience that I didn’t know was on my bucket list until February…

Since I was planning on running the Rome marathon in April, I figured AGMA would make 2017 the year of the international marathon. I started looking for a marathon to run in Europe during this trip.

And boy, did I find one!

It’s called the Marathon du Medoc and is unlike any other marathon in the world.

Turns out, it’s on many runner’s bucket lists. Who knew?

It’s in the Bordeaux region of France where some of the best wines in the the universe are produced.

So it would be natural that instead of water stops for runners, there are wine stops right?

Twenty (20) to be exact, from some of the top wine Chateau’s in the world. Actually, you can get water at the wine stops too, but seriously?

Wimps.

Aside from the wine, there are ‘nutrition’ stops. But instead of the orange slices and bananas and energy gels you get at a normal marathon, they will have breads and sweets and meats and cheeses.

BONUS – at mile 20…oysters!

Finally, all the runners dress up. Well – the fun ones dress up. Which is about 90% of the 8500 runners.

Hey, AGMA’s fun.

But AGMA has to schlep my costume across the Atlantic in my little suitcase. So I opted for compact, easy to run in and cheap so I can pitch it all afterwards.

And nothing says compact, easy to run in and cheap like HULA GIRL!!

Yes – AGMA is going to be a hula girl. But don’t expect any pictures. Nah baby nah.

I don’t mind exposing my chubby arms and midriff to a bunch of crazy, drunk French strangers, but to post a picture of Hula AGMA for the rest of the world to see…

Oh, the humanity!

The marathon time limit is 6 hours and 30 minutes. My fastest marathon was 6 hours and 10 minutes. And I thought I was going to die afterwards.

This does not bode well. Especially since there’s wine involved.

But then again, maybe the wine will help.

So AGMA’s decided not to stress about it and just enjoy what is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience. If I end up swimming in the pond at Chateau Lafite Rothschild for the afternoon, so be it.

Two things I know for sure. It’s going to be unlike anything I’ve ever done. And I’m gonna come back with some pretty good stories.

Aging Gracefully My Ass!

Catch you on the other side of the Pond.

P.S. If you are in the US and haven’t yet donated towards the relief efforts of the historic, devastating Texas floods, please consider donating today to the charity of your choice. Just make sure it’s legit… Love you all for your generous hearts and spirits!

Mr. Feder…Part Deux

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So I wrote a post last week while I was in the waiting room of a local gastroenterology practice.  Hubs was in the process of getting a colonoscopy.  I thought it would be a good idea to write about his prep.

Lucky for you, I came to my senses.

So…no post last week.

AGMA is out of control again.

I just got home on Monday from the first of  what will be three long weekends away.  Between February 24th and March 13th, I will be home for a grand total of 3 days.  Three days.

Out. Of. Control.

Last weekend, I did a half marathon in Florida.  I drove down with a friend and stayed at her 80 year old mother’s home.  Her mom was a wild woman cut out of the same AGMA cloth as yours truly.   It was a great time.

And I loved watching my friend’s mother “mothering” her.  It’s been about 25 years since I have been “mothered”…I forgot how (mostly) wonderful it was.  It made AGMA really miss her step-mother.  And feel a bit guilty that I didn’t appreciate her as much as I should have before first Alzheimer’s then the Grim Reaper stole her away from all of us.

Tomorrow, I go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

ZZZzzzz…

I know I’m nuts, but this is a trip AGMA really doesn’t want to take.  I committed to it last fall before life took a turn for the cray cray.  It’s an el cheapo trip – a friend is renting the condo and invited me to come along gratis.  And I’m using airline miles to get there.  And I don’t think it will be terribly expensive once I get there.

But it’s six days I’d rather be doing something else other than sitting in the sun and walking along the ocean.

Huh?   I know that 98% of you think I’m nuts.  And you would be right…

I get back on Tuesday next week, then leave on Thursday for Chicago to hang out with B & V (my very hip, awesome grandchildren.)  This trip, I very much want to take.  Always.

But I will be missing a long run that Saturday.   So AGMA has to make it up because I’m signed up for another full marathon on 4/2.   Yeah – I’m nuts.

I’m planning on running 20 miles by myself the Monday after I get back.

That sucks.

Right now, it feels like I’m running through grape jelly when I run.  I’ve never been fast, but my half marathon time last weekend was abysmal considering it was a relatively cool day and the course was pancake flat.

I blame the prednisone and the shingles.  And the grand Cheeto-head.  Of course.

Prednisone update…  My GI guy wants me to take the low dose I’m on for another 17 days.  I’ve been on prednisone since early December.   Don’t tell him, but AGMA’s planning on only taking it for another 10 days.  Shhhhh…

I’m so over it.

Shingles update…  The rash is gone with nothing but discolored areas remaining.  Again, TMI.  But now I’m experiencing what they call Postherpetic Neuralgia.  Yuck.

Postherpetic Neuralgia is when the nerves in the area of the rash fire on their own.  And often.  According to Dr. Diagnoseanythingontheinternet, this condition can last anywhere from a few weeks to forever.

AGAM’s rooting for the ‘few weeks’ option.

The weird thing is that I’m not experiencing pain.  I’m getting an intense tingling, itchy, ticklish sensation.  Like really intense.  Like so intense that I feel compelled to scratch and rub the area.

This has been somewhat embarrassing since the rash was on my left buttocks, left hip and left pubic bone area.  You get the idea…

Oh la la.

I read that a topical lotion with capsaisin in it can help relieve the sensations.  Capsaisin is what makes hot peppers hot.  It somehow blocks the nerve signals to the brain.

So basically AGMA would be rubbing a red habanero on her crotch.

Let’s do this.  Sounds like fun.

I had a corporate chair massage gig yesterday.  Since didn’t want to be constantly itching and rubbing my nether regions during the job, I decided to try a topical capsaisin product.

I used the applicator to rub it on.  I wasn’t sure the lotion was flowing so I made sure I put extra on.  Alllllll the way from my spine to just above my pubic bone in front.  I covered it good.  Real good.

Turns out, this was not a wise thing to do.

Round about 30 minutes into the job, the itching and ticklish feelings were intensified and joined by a burning sensation.  Like a 13 year old middle school male,  I couldn’t keep my hands off of myself.

At one point, I managed to take a peek at my waist.  It was bright red.  I mean, fire engine red.

Yesterday is now in the top 10 list of AGMA’s most uncomfortable moments.  Ever.

Too much capsaisin can actually cause burns on the skin.  AGMA thought she was SOL.

But then an amazing thing happened.  After nearly 3 hours of extreme discomfort, it suddenly went away.  Poof, goodbye.

No more itching.  No more tickling.  No more pain.

When I got home, I checked out “the area” and all the redness was gone.  Poof, goodbye.

AGMA felt like she did in the good old days before shingles.  Like four weeks ago.

The itching and tickley feeling came back around 9 PM last night.  Damn.  But not as intensely as it had been.

AGMA looked at the little bottle of the topical capsaisin by the sink.  With fresh memories of intense itching, extreme discomfort and semi-burning flesh, I decided to take extra ibuprofen instead.

As the old saying goes, sometimes the “cure is worse than the disease”.

I’m wondering if the Russians might like my almost full bottle of capsaisin lotion to use in their political prisoner interrogation program.

They’ll talk.  Oh yes – they’ll talk.

AGMA guarantees it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inked!

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Yeah AGMA did!

I really love this picture.  My fabulous ink artist (Joey) took it right after she finished my tattoo.

The agony and the ecstasy.

I know it looks massive but it’s not really all that large.  I cropped it so you can’t see the flab on my back.  Or all the brown spots.  AGMA had no idea I had so many brown spots on my back.

What’s that all about?

My tat’s on my upper right scapula (that’s shoulder blade to the non-anatomy geek) and the blue larkspur is flowing over my shoulder.  Kinda girly.

I’m so grateful to Joey for pulling together all my crazy, random AGMA thoughts and Pinterest tattoo pictures into a design that I absolutely love.   But I do realize that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea…

I wanted a running theme because I believe that taking up running when I was 59 totally changed my life.  For the better.  For the way better.

But I also wanted to incorporate my family in the design.  They are, after all, the most important thing on earth to me.

AGMA’s getting mushy.

So the flowers coming out of the soul (get it?) of my shoe are my family’s birth month flowers.  I knew you would be wondering…

Holly for December, snowdrops for January, lily and larkspur for July.  And violets for my  sweet, little baby granddaughter…who happens to be named Violet.

AGMA thinks there’s room for more flowers if my son and DIL decide to have a third and he/she’s not born in December, January or July.  That would be fun.

But I think I’m going to go back to Joey to get something else added.  In a couple of months. As soon as I recover from this first round.  It was kinda ouchy.

Beneath the stem, I’d like to add “2 Timothy 4:7”

If you look it up in the New Testament (NIV) 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

AGMA likes that.

Thanks for going on this fantastic journey with me!

Aging gracefully my ass.

 

 

 

 

V

big-apple

American Boomers, do you remember the old television show That Was The Week That Was? A 1960‘s precursor to the Saturday Night Live news segment, the show would take the news from the previous week and put a satirical, humorous spin on it. And back in the 60’s, there was a lot going on.

Like now.

But aside from the insanity, drama, joy and tragedy of our crazy world that has dominated the headlines in the past week, each one of us has our own personal story of the week’s insanity, drama, joy and tragedy.

At least that’s true for AGMA.

And for me, it’s been mostly joy. Immense joy.

I HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER!!

My strong, future President of a granddaughter, V, made her appearance 8 days early on October 30th – much to the delight of her mother who was pretty much over feeling like a whale… Weighing in at a decent 7 lbs 7 ozs, she is a carbon copy of her 22 month old brother when he was a newborn. This bodes well for her because he’s a cutie patootie.

But then AGAM’s hardly unbiased in these things.

And for all you Cubs fans – a World Series observation…

My little V was born last Sunday in Chicago to a household 10 blocks away from Wrigley Field. On that very day, the Cubs got a desperately needed win over the Indians to stay alive in the Series. On Tuesday, the Cubs won again to even the Series. And of course, we all know what happened on Wednesday…

Cubs win, Cubs win, Cubs win!

Coincidence that the Cubs did nothing but win after V was born? AGMA doesn’t think so…

You can thank me later Cubs fans.

I get to meet V on Monday.  I can’t wait to make her acquaintance! And see her big brother again who charms the socks off of me.

In the meantime, AGMA has just a little task to accomplish between now and Monday.

I’m at 12,000 feet right now as I write this, winging my way to the city that never sleeps. The Big Apple. The jewel of the Empire State.  Home of Jerry Seinfeld.

New York City.

It’s been 17 years since I’ve been to New York City, and that was a quick 24 hour in and out to take my son, V’s daddy, on a college visit. The last time I spent more than a day in NYC was in 1976.

I’m betting things have changed since then.

But AGMA’s going to do it up right this time and visit all 5 Burroughs. The hard way.

God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, 49,999 of my closest friends and I will be running in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Pray for me…

Because I’m slow and in the last corral to take off, and we set our clocks back on Saturday night, if I finish, it will be 5:30 PMish and dark. The first wave of runners will have already finished, showered and had a meal even before I even start running.

WTF?

But that’s okay. I think it’s going to be one huge party, and AGMA’s always loved a party! And because I’m slow, I just get to enjoy it longer.

And on Monday morning, I’ll hobble onto a plane to meet the first of the next generation of strong women in my family, my sweet V.

And when history is made the next day, Tuesday, November 8, 2016, and a woman is elected President of the already great United States of America, you’ll ask, “Coincidence?”

I don’t think so…

Every beat of my heart

growingbolder

Twenty years ago, a co-worker of my husband shared his interesting (but completely unscientific) theory of human physiology.  He believed that every heart was created with a finite number of beats.  When you use all the heartbeats up, that was it. Poof, goodbye.  You went over the rainbow post haste.

He used his theory to justify why he didn’t believe in any sort of exercise or physical activity. The faster your heart beat, the more of that finite store of heartbeats were used up. He believed those heartbeats were precious and needed to be conserved.

I wonder how that worked out for him?

No doubt he would have been horrified by me on Sunday.  I probably used up a good three months worth of heartbeats in six hours.  Yikes!

AGMA ran her second full marathon in her life.  26.2 miles.  That’s a lot of heartbeats right there.

What was I thinking?

Like my first 26.2 earlier this year, I was not fast.  “Not fast” being an understatement. As I wrote last February, I am turtle-like when I run long distances.  Or like the little engine that could, just chugging along.  I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can.  Maybe.

Little has changed since last February.

People still think I’m a bit off for starting to run marathons after 60.  To be honest, I still think I’m a lot off.

But, as you know, aging gracefully is not part of the plan…

My ass.

I’m careful. I’ve learned that there are certain physiological limitations of my aging body that demand some modifications and cautions when I run.  That’s why I do interval running.  Run-walk-run.

My muscles don’t have the capacity to work as hard or recover as quickly as when I was thirty.  I guess.  I was never really that physically active when I was younger.  A couple of 5K’s, exercise classes at the YMCA a la “feel the burn” Jane Fonda, racquetball and some tennis, but they were all short lived.

I kind of regret that…

But on the plus side, I didn’t really screw up my body by being uber aggressive at any particular sport or trying to out-downward dog the lady next to me.  Which is probably why I’m doing okay at running +60.  I’m a late bloomer.

Part of the “problem” is that AGMA’s drinking the Kool-aid of the Growing Bolder Facebook page.  Growing bOLDER. Get it?  Cute right?

Growing Bolder’s mantra is hope, inspiration, & possibility; that growing older doesn’t mean that you have to stop dreaming of new possiblities.  We can pick up old dreams or passions that were set aside during the busy years of work and family, or find new dreams to pursue.

And I promise, you don’t have to run a marathon to grow bolder. Or even a half-marathon.  Not everybody’s THAT crazy…  But you can still find new adventures to live no matter what limitations you might have.

Like The Golden Girls, we can still get into plenty of trouble.  Oh, oh – I want to be Blanche!

So two days after my run, I admit I’m still a bit sore. But not as much as you might expect.  Again, AGMA’s all about being careful…  Possibly excessively so.  I’ve got a lot of German in me.

And I’m experiencing a bit of the low-down, ain’t-got-nuttin’-to-train-for, post-marathon blues.  *sigh*

But I’m pretty sure it’ll all pass.

Until it does, I’ll just dream of using up even more heartbeats maybe zip-lining or kayaking.  Or maybe I’ll learn Italian or help people to register to vote or start delivering meals on wheels.

Or dream really, really big…

Running a sub-six hour marathon.

What???