Friday, March 31, 2017

Skinned Knees (Friday Five Edition)

Warning: This post contains pictures of skinned knees and blood.  If this is something that you rather not look at, please feel free to skip this post.

On my Saturday run I fell and skinned my knees pretty badly.  I was in mile 4 of 12 and tripped on uneven sidewalks.  Thankfully there was a training team running part of my route and their follow up car stopped to help me clean up.  Unfortunately I have to say this is not the first time.  Not even the first time this year.  I tend to fall on a run 2-3 times a year as I'm just a klutz.  Here are 5 things I've learned on how to take care of skinned knees.

Please note: I am not a doctor of any kind.  This is what I have found to be useful.  Please consult a doctor if necessary.

1. Clean the wound out -  The last couple times I have fallen bad enough to break the skin, I was lucky enough to have someone around who had baby wipes or a first aid kit to help me clean out my wound right there.  Other times, my run was short enough that I could finish my run.  On Saturday I found that if I didn't run into the other training team I probably would have headed back to my car because the cuts were pretty bad.  You can buy baby wipes individually wrapped and I used to carry them in my race belt.  I need to get back into that habit. 

After the run on Saturday.

2. Stop running - This is true if the scrap hurts you enough that your gait changes.  Mostly due to the adrenaline I was able to finish my run on Saturday, even though it was hurting towards the end of the run.  But when I tried to run a couple days later I found that the scab was forming and making it hard for me to bend my knee all the way.  I decided to continue the run, but just walk it.  I found that towards the end of the first mile the scab loosened up enough that it didn't change my gait when I ran.  It's best to walk or skip runs and not hurt something else.

3. Ice - Along with the scrapes there is also inflammation.  Once you get home from your run, after the fall, clean up the wound and then put ice on it.  This will help the healing process.  I know I do not usually think of putting ice on a scrape, but it does help.

4. Ointment - Using an antibiotic when cleaning out the wound will help if from getting infected.  After it's cleaned up and the scabbing process starts, the ointment that is my go to is Aquaphor to help keep the skin from drying out.  I use this for a lot of things, especially chafing.  Aquaphor is a lot like Vaseline except Aquaphor has other ingredients in it besides petrolatum that help it absorb into the skin and speeds up the healing. 

5. Dressing - There are different schools of thought on if you should cover up a wound.  My thoughts are it should be covered if your are doing something where it can get dirty or if clothing will be irritating it.  This week we have been lucky enough to have warm weather, so I have been wearing shorts as to not irritate the wounds.  But at night, because of the sheets I have covered them.  The first night I covered both knees.  After that, since one knee wasn't too bad and had a good scab on it, I stopped covering it.

I cover the would with a non-stick pad and use tape to secure it very loosely.

I found that I had some underwrap left over from something else (I really don't remember what).  Underwrap, also known as pre-tape, is a thin foam like bandage usually used as a base under adhesive tape.  I have been using that to wrap around the pad and lightly taped the wrap.  The only reason I have been doing that is to help keep the pad from being snagged as I toss and turn throughout the night.

Do you have any other tips about skinned knees?  Do you usually cover the wound 24/7 or just as needed?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Star Wars Light Side 5k & Disneyland 2017 vlog (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I'll be continuing on with more of my vlogs.  If you haven't seen the previous ones, here they are:
Today I want to share with you the 5k and the time we spent in Disneyland afterward.

First, the 5k.

Click here to read the 5k recap.

And then our time at Disneyland.

Click here to read the Disneyland recap.

And for those of you that are Star Wars fans, we saw the original trailers for Episode IV-VI.  I only caught Empire and Return of the Jedi as I wasn't expecting them to start with.  So here are the two of them.  They are very interesting to see how they advertised these movies back in the 70's and 80's before it became a whole thing.

Make sure you check out my vlogs about the 10k and Half!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Star Wars Light Side Arrival and Expo 2017 vlog (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Hey guys - finally got all my videos from the Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon Weekend edited together.  I separated them into shorter videos so that they were not too long to watch at once.  I had fun editing these together, so I hope you have fun watching.  First up is my arrival to Disneyland and the Expo.

Here are the links to the posts about each part of the trip.

Make sure you check out my vlogs about the 5k and Disneyland!

Have you ever stayed at the Disneyland Hotel?  Have you ever eaten at the Jazz Kitchen?


Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sign Language Class (Friday Five Edition)

Since I lost my job I have been trying to stay busy.  I was lucky enough to get some training money with my severance and they did not have to be IT classes.  After telling my mom that I was not going back for another degree (she is a college professor and loves to encourage me to go back to school), I looked around at the local classes to see what I would like to learn.  I saw that one was offering Sign Language classes.  I don't know what my draw to Sign Language is as I do not know anyone who is deaf, but I have always been fascinated by it.  I love watching the interpreters at live events.

1.  I learned the alphabet and some basic words when I was in second grade.  I went to a Montessori school and there I remember being taught these basic things.  Up to the start of the class I could still did remember the alphabet and a couple words like love, want, and day. 

2.  The class was a 6 week course taught through one of the local universities which as a vast non-degree curriculum.  The class was taught by a deaf person.  The first day there was an interpreter there explaining a lot of the details.  The rest of the classes there was not.  It is a little challenging to take a class without an interpreter there, but it made us learn a little bit more to communicate.  We would write on the board or finger spell things to get our thoughts across.  I do think I learned more without being able to rely on the interpreter.

3.  We played games.  I think this was the most fun and the way I learned.  Remember the game telephone where everyone sat in a circle and one person started and whispered something to the person next to them?  They would go around the circle back to the first person and what was said was so mangled it didn't make sense.  We played the deaf version of that where everyone stood in a line and the person at the back would show a sentence (or word spelled out) to the person in front.  It would go through the line to the first person, and like telephone, it was a mangled mess.  It was funny to see what it started at and how it ended. 

The other game we played the last week was that the teacher started with a word and each person would add one word to that sentence.   The sentence we ended up with on the last class was "Women love watching birds fly in the evening and don't love to eat cats or dogs, but they want many flowers on Friday".

4. The hardest part for me was reading the signs, especially when it was spelled out.  It's easy to practice signing, but if you don't have anyone to sign to you, it's hard to keep up.  The other students had said the same thing, especially about the finger spelling.  Your brain is so busy trying to figure out what letter it is, you forget what the first few were and then you can't figure out what the word is supposed to be.  And it doesn't help that I'm a horrible speller.

5. The American Sign Language (ASL) sentence structure is different from the English language.  Like when you are speaking Spanish, the adjectives are always after the noun and in English the adjectives are before the noun.  In ASL the questions are backwards for the most part.  Instead of "Where were you born?" it would be "Born Where?". 

I have really enjoyed these past six weeks, though I feel like we haven't scratched the surface.  Luckily there is another 6 week course taught by the same teacher.  And I have already signed up for it. 

What other languages do you know?  Have you ever learned Sign Language?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Local Races (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So there really isn't much going on in my life now that I find exciting enough to blog about.  Then a friend reminded me of the Tuesdays on the Run topic of local races.  This is something I haven't blogged about yet, so I thought I would tell some things of one of my favorite local races.

In Richmond one of the biggest races is the Ukrop's 10k.  Last year it was the 4th biggest 10k in the US with 23,127 finishers.  The race is so big that probably the first fourth of the field is done before the last person crosses the start line.  This is also the first race I have ever done.  This was back when I was just a walker.  It is a great race that encourages all people to come out participate.  They have tons of band and every inch of the course is filled with spectators.  They even have a costume contest.  The best costume I saw at this race was from Disney's Up where the guy dressed up as a by and above him he carried a full blown house and balloons.  I wish I had a picture of it.  It shuts down Monument Avenue, which is a beautiful road to run.  All of the monuments are beautiful, even if basically all of them are Civil War Heroes.  The houses and architecture is some of the most beautiful in Richmond. It's a great race for beginners as they encourage walkers, which is the way I participated my first few years.

The local YMCA put training teams together all over the city.  They train advance runners as well as beginners and walkers.  The first time I participated I didn't think it was a big deal.  I wasn't even close to thinking about running, but I walk a lot.  How hard could it be to walk 6 miles.  Well in the first mile I pulled my quad and hurt the rest of the way.  The next year I joined the YMCA walk training team and did a great job of walking it all.  I did the walking training team for the next few years.

The one thing I hated about this race was that it was so hard to find a parking spot.  It's all street parking minus a few inconvenient parking garages.  One year, even though I was signed up, I spent an hour looking for a parking spot and finally gave up and just went home.  It was so frustrating that I vowed not to do the race again.  They listened to the complaints and a couple years later they started a shuttle from a couple different places and it works out perfectly with no stress.

When I started running, this was the first race I ran the whole thing.  I again joined the training team and the first week when we did one mile I ran the the whole mile.  Then the next week when we did two miles, I ran it all. And so on each week, I kept running the whole thing.  I couldn't believe that I was actually running more then 5 minutes at a time.

Most of the running community runs this race every year.  All of my running friends usually meet at the expo on Thursday night and go out to dinner and celebrate.  Then on Saturday morning we all meet up at the shuttled parking lot and head down to the start line.  We go to the local coffee place and stand in line to go to the bathroom and we make our way to the start line.  Then we meet afterward and go to brunch.  Most of us do not care about our time and are just out there to have fun. 

I signed up for this year's race which is April 1st.  I'm actually looking forward to the fun weekend with running friends I haven't seen in awhile.  Come back to read my race report in a few weeks!

Have you run the Ukrop's 10k?  Have you dressed up for a race to try to win a contest?  Do you have expo/dinner/brunch traditions with running friends around local races?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My New Running Goal (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So as I have been running I get thinking (as everyone does).  I really haven't had a lust for running and really don't have a goal race this year.  I'm signed up for the Ukrop's 10k and the Star Wars Dark Side Weekend but my goal is to just have fun during these races.  So as I have been running I've come up with a new goal.  It's not big or anything, but it's something for me to work towards.

For my midweek run I have a 3, 4, and 5 mile loop that I can do in my neighborhood.  I've been doing these loops since I started running.  When I started running I didn't know anything from anything.  I didn't know about dry-fit clothing, GPS watches, running blogs, or even the walk/run method.  While I didn't know anything about the walk/run method, I naturally started out that way.  I would run the down hills and walk everything else.  I built up my running by not only running the down hills, but also the flat parts.  And then before I knew it, I was running the whole 3 miles, including those nasty hills.

So why am I getting into how I started running, when I'm talking about goals?  I had always ran my midweek runs, weather they were 3, 4, or 5 miles, then on my long runs I would do a walk/run.  Over the past two years, I have lost the ability to run the full 3 miles and would walk/run them.  I think some of that had to do with marathon/Dopey training.  Some of it came from gaining weight.  But once I started to walk/run the midweek runs, I just continued to do so.

I now want to build myself back up to running the full 3 miles (and 4 and 5 as I get up to that).  I want to be able to run my midweek runs like I used to.  For the past few weeks I have been working up to it without even thinking about it being a goal.  And now that I am getting closer, I know I can do it.

What is funny is that I'm going back to the way I did things in the beginning.  Even after all my years and knowledge, I go back to what I know and what I know works.  I have been walk/running the first mile as a warm up and then skipping walk breaks for the last two miles.  Run the downhills even if I'm on a walk break.  Now I'm not only skipping the walk breaks if I'm on a down hill or flat part, but I'm skipping them on some of the hills.  I push through even though I'm out of breath and want to stop.  I know I can keep going.

I know it will take me another month or so to get there naturally and not to push myself, but it's a small goal to work on.  Then maybe from there I can work on the 4 and 5 mile loops.  I know it's a silly small goal, but it is what I've started to work towards in the last couple of weeks.  I am still not wanting to do a lot of long distances this year, so this is a perfect small goal for right now.  Maybe it will help me with my 10k time for my Disney proof of time.

Do you make yourself non-race goals?  Do you like to set smaller goals instead of bigger ones?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood 2017 Part 2 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Another boring week so I'll finish up my day at Universal Studios.  If you haven't had a chance to read the first part, take a moment and do so.

If you want to catch up on the previous posts, here are the links.

At the top of the stairs was Springfield (from The Simpsons).  This is a ride that doesn't move like a roller coaster like the rest of the 3-D rides, but moves the car you are sitting in around to make it feel like a roller coaster.  And this ride spits on you as well.

I headed to the Studio Tour.  I had been looking forward to this all day.  It's the only thing I remember from the time I was there when I was 9 years old.  Probably the only original ride left.  And the only thing I remembered from the ride was Jaws.  I really hoped that they still had it on this ride.

At this point my phone was not only running out of power (it wasn't even mid-day, I was sad) but also running out of storage space.  I needed to delete some things to be able to take any more pictures.  This ride was a tram with several cars.  Each tram has a tour guide, who explains the things that we are seeing.

There was the sign from the neighborhood of Back to the Future.

There was the town from The Good Place.  "What the fork?!?"

Then we went into a building (still in the tram) where the King Kong experience was.  It is 360 (all around you) 3-D of King Kong fighting T-Rex.  It was cool to look anywhere and see part of the fight.  Until it spit on me.  Bleck.

The ride continued on and we saw other city streets.  And then we headed into another building.  Here they made it look like we were in a subway station and an earthquake happened with a huge flood.  They did make it look like the water might come up and get us.  It looked real.

Then we headed out and around and there was the lake from Jaws.  What I was so excited to see.  And just before Jaws was to jump up and "attack" the tram, my camera died.  But it was exactly how I remembered.

 We came around and saw the Bates Motel.  They had an actor come out with a "dead body" and put it in the trunk of his car.  Then he would see us and chase us with a knife as we drove off.  I wish I got a picture of that, as it was a fun idea to have an actor out there.

Then we headed into another building to see the Fast & Furious.  This is another 360 degree 3-D experience.  While I have never seen any of the movies, it was fun to see the car chases all around.  Of course till they spit on me.

That was the end of this ride, probably the most exciting of them all so far.  I rebooted my phone and thankfully that helped give me a third of my power back.  I decided to keep an eye out to see where I might be able to buy a charger for the dang thing.

As I was walking around to the next ride, I saw the Animal Actors show was about to start.

This was a show about the animals in different movies and TV and the tricks that they teach them.  They had everything from dogs to cats to birds and even rats.  The dog that they had on stage is the same breed as my parents' dog.  Just as crazy as my parents' too.  I wasn't sure if the misbehaving was part of the show or not.

 I then could tell I was really getting in a bad mood.  I needed to eat, my blood sugar was dropping fast.  I walked around for what seemed like ages trying to find just some sort of sandwich and fries.  I finally got what I wanted and headed to the last few rides left.

They had a Walking Dead exhibit.  I really wasn't sure what to expect at all and it turned out that it was more like a haunted house maze where things jump out at you.  And it's more scary if you don't have a line of people in front of you so you would know where they are jumping out at.  And I didn't have anyone in front of me.  That was some Halloween fun!

 As I headed around I found Scooby and Shaggy.

And Beetlejuice.

I passed the Shrek 4-D and decided to do that one.  This is a huge theater where they show a 3-D show and move your seats.  And as part of the 4-D they spit on you.  The show itself wasn't all that great and then the spitting made me hate it.

I decided to head to the Special Effects Show.  

This was really cool as they showed different things from sound effects, to fake fighting, to even a man on fire.

Yes this is a real man on fire, walking around for about 18 seconds till they put him out.  And no harm no damage.

And then I headed to the Despicable Me ride and saw the girls from the movie.

I went into the Despicable Me ride and as they were getting everyone in their seats, they started to entertain us.  It was looking like there was a problem and they were trying to get it fixed.  But in the end they decided to just give us a fast pass and have us leave and come back. 

I went out and got a picture with some Minions and went back into the ride since it was still open.  I ended up on the same side and it seemed to work right.  It's a big room where they have about 6 rows of 15 and a big 3-D screen.  The seats moved up and down but did not go anywhere.  The 3-D was fun and the story OK.  And then it spit on me.

By this time I had done all the rides and I was thinking it was getting to be time to head back to the hotel.  My knee was holding up fine, but I was really getting tired.  I ran into Dracula then and was swooned.

I decided that I wanted one of the smaller versions of the doughnut from the Simpsons and a hot Pumpkin Juice from Harry Potter.

The one in the case is the full size.  The one I got was still bigger then a normal doughnut.

As I was standing in line for the hot Pumpkin Juice I saw this kid sitting and reading.  He looks exactly like Draco Malfoy.  Seriously.  We all wondered if he just happens to be there or if he is an actor that looks like him and gets paid to sit and read a book at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant.

On my way out, I ran into the Mummy and told him a "That's what she said joke" and just kept laughing.

I ended up walking back to the hotel as I didn't want to fuss with waiting for an Uber.  It was really a nice evening and it was fun to see the real world outside the park.  I ended up getting my pizza that was promised to me and ate part of that doughnut for dinner.  I repacked everything and crashed.  I had another early morning to head home.

All and all I really do love Universal.  Most of the rides are the same between Hollywood and Orlando.  What I did hate about it was every ride except one spit water into my face.  Is that really necessary?  I was thinking of doing Universal Studios Orlando as part of my trip to Disney World in April, but all the rides are almost the same.  Maybe next year I'll do Florida again as it is defiantly a park that is tons of fun!

Check out my vlogs of the trip, including the ones for Universal!

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood 2017 Part 1 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So it's been another boring week for me, so instead of hashing out those details, I thought I would get into the last day of my trip after the Star Wars Light Side Half.

If you want to catch up on the previous posts, here are the links.

I left the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday night and headed to Universal City.  I found a hotel, El Royal Hotel, less then a mile from the park and got an Uber there.  I got to the hotel and they told me that I didn't have a reservation.  What?!?  I had my reservation email printout with me.  They said that they did have a smaller room and they would knock some off my bill and buy me a pizza for dinner.  I asked to have the pizza the next night since I had already eaten at the Catal.

The hotel was nice, and my room was tiny.  Like enough room for a bed and a desk with not a lot of room to walk around the bed.  I didn't mind since I was really just there to sleep.  I got my plan together about what rides to hit when and what is a not to miss.

The park was open at 9 a.m. and since I bought my ticket online I got early admission.  I could get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at 8 a.m.  The only time I have ever been to an amusement park when it opened was when I went to Disneyland a few days earlier.  There people were lined up an hour early and they let us in to wait on Main Street for 30 minutes.  I assumed it would be the same at Universal so I got there about 7 a.m.  Boy was I wrong.

I took an Uber to the park even though it was less then a mile away from the hotel.  My knee had been hurting all weekend from my fall and I knew I was going to be walking a ton throughout the day.  I got to the front of the park and there was no on there.  At all.

I wandered around and found the gates and where I would need to be.  Then I wandered down to City Walk.  I was hoping that something would be open, like a Starbucks to get something to eat.  No one was around and nothing was open.  This sure was not like my experience a few days earlier.  It was odd.

I had been to Universal Studios once and City Walk once on a different trip.  The first was when my friend was getting married and one evening we all went to Universal.  They had a bunch of front of the line passes and we rode a handful of rides.  I don't remember much of the park except maybe the Mummy ride as I was just following everyone else around.  The time I was at City Walk, I was there with the same friends for a premiere of a movie.  Maybe I'll do a Throwback Thursday about that, as it was a lot of fun.

I got back to the front gates and sat on one of the walls and waited.  Slowly a few people showed up and finally they let us through security.  Then we had to wait some at the front gates.  I talked a little to the lady as I was still first in line (weird, right?)  She exchanged my printout ticket for a real ticket and my front of the line lanyard.  About 20 till we were allowed to head in.  But like Disneyland they stopped us at the end of "Main Street".  When it was about 8 a.m. they walked us to the entrance of  The Wizzarding World.

I made a beeline to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  I have been to Universal Studios Orlando twice and this is the same ride that they have there.  It is an indoor ride.  Through a seated ride, it takes you through the Hogwarts Castle and over the grounds.  It uses a ride you sit in like a roller coaster but incorporates the 3-D screens to make you think you are in a different place.

The line getting to the ride was really cool, it had a lot of stuff you would expect to find in the castle like the moving pictures, Dumbledore's office, and the sorting hat. 

This ride is great, I ended up riding it 4 times in a row since I knew that after that the lines were going to get long.  I didn't even use my front of the line pass, just the single rider line. The only thing I did not like about the ride was that it spit in your face.  In fact all rides I went on, except 1 spit water in your face.  It's irritating and gross.  They are trying to incorporate that 4-D crap and really that's not worth it.

After that I headed to the only other ride in the Wizarding World, Flight of the Hippogriff.  It also is a ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

It's more of a kiddy ride, and is a real roller coaster outside.  It was still fun, but only a one time ride.  The best part about this ride was that it didn't spit on me.

By this time it was about the time the park was opening for others and you could tell it was getting crowded.  I decided to get some breakfast at the Three Broomsticks Restaurant.  I had the french toast and it was good.  I tried Pumpkin Juice for the first time and I have to say that stuff is sweet.

I went into all the shops.  Everything was like you were in the Harry Potter world.  There was also Ollivanders where they pick a kid from the audience and had them pick out a wand.

And there was the Hogwarts Express.

I decided to get a Butterbeer as I walk to the next ride.  Mmmmmm is that stuff good!

I headed down to what they call the lower lot.  You take 4 sets of stairs (or escalators) down.  Down in the lower lot are three more rides, the Mummy, Transformers, and Jurassic Park.

I do have to say the views are amazing. 

I went to see the Mummy first, I remember this not only from my one other time there, but also from Orlando.  It's a fun ride.  It's a roller coaster type ride inside.  It includes some fire special effects which was different.  And guess what, it spits in your face.

As I headed to the Transformers ride two of the Transformers were having a meet and greet.

The ride is also inside and it is a car like coaster which also uses 3-D technology to think you are helping to blow up and save a city.  I believe that it's the same ride as the one in Orlando.  And yes, the ride spits on you.

I then headed to the Jurassic Park ride.  I was a bit hesitant on riding this as it was a water ride.  It was getting warm and I was hoping not to get too wet.

I didn't get too wet and some of the robotics for the dinosaurs were really cool.  This ride really doesn't spit, but you still do get somewhat wet.

I decided that I was done with the lower level and started to head back up.  As I was getting to the stairs one of the dinosaurs was coming out for a meet and greet.  It looked like someone in a puppet type suit and was really life like.  They even played at the fact that he was dangerous and needed chains to keep from killing everyone.

This post is getting really long, so I'm going to split this into two.  I'll have the second half up next week.  Please come back to hear how I wrapped up the day and my trip to California!

Read it here!!

Also, check out my vlog about my day at Universal!

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.