Pho Pho Pho

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Hi lovers!  I know it has been a few days, but it was a few well-needed days of rest that I spent with my dad between DC and New Jersey.  More on that later.

But I wanted to touch base about something I talked about after last weekend, when my quest to find pho, a Vietnamese soup, was finally somewhat resolved.  Also ramen.

So about two years ago, when I was training for my first marathon, I swear (and barely anyone remembers this, so it’s almost unbelievable), that Whole Foods, in their sushi section, had bowls of real ramen, with an egg and everything in it.  I ate it religiously as “second lunch” as I was ridiculously hungry during the training cycle, and seemed to do well with the sodium.

Soon after, WF set up a pho station, complete with fresh jalapenos, and I went on the quest to find a bowl of pho and real ramen somewhere in the Triangle.

Saturday morning, after we’d worked at the expo, some of the folks posted some pics from a spot called Pho Pho Pho on Facebook, and the decision was made then, especially after one of the folks there told me that the Sake Sangria was on point.  I mean, duh.

So after a short convincing period, Austin and I headed out to Pho Pho Pho on Glenwood, that was so new (about 4 weeks old), that it didn’t really have a sign out front, and I had to rely on an old episode of bar rescue to find it. Totally not joking about that, but that place was a total creepy dump before.

Anyhoo, so we got there, immediately ordered a few drinks, and got to ordering on the menu from this adorable server who had a smile permanently on!

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This is what I ended up with – a pho ramen mashup that only cost about $10, but came out in a bowl that was without a doubt large enough for two meals. I ate as much as I could, then poured the rest away for lunch the next day.

My verdict after waiting for like a year or two for some legit pho is that this place is legit. Good soup, good noodles, and great drinks, and I can’t wait to go again. (Seriously, I asked Austin to take me again tomorrow.)

Now, since pho is such an awesome sore throat/replenish your sodium food….what’s your favorite sick food?

Weekend Review

So my weekend started long, long before Friday at 5pm.

Tuesday evening, I stayed up until 2 am, getting my ducks in a row for work because Wednesday morning, bright and early, we were headed out for our Annual Director’s Retreat at work.  The day kicked off with a scavenger hunt downtown, and then we boarded an activity bus for Lake Gaston in North Carolina.

The home we stayed in was beautiful, and the first thing I did when we got there was hop on a paddleboard, and paddle around the lake, despite the fact that I haven’t really done it before.  But I’ve seen it done a ton in the tabloids, so I picked it up pretty quickly.

Lake Gaston

Because I’m still fairly new in this position (I’m only about a year old), I often feel guilty about taking time away from my computer and my email, but it was so nice to spend time sleeping, running, and paddling around the lake, without my phone going off, or without someone walking into my office with a problem that needed to be fixed then and there.

While I was there, relaxing, I continued to worry about my knee and hip.  I was resting (somewhat), taking a ton of Aleve, and hydrating, but some residual knee pain from this bad boy…

Rugby Injury

…which resulted in a fracture, some crutches, and some physical therapy, started to creep back. After I talked to my friend Google, and then the Physical Therapist, she told me it was most likely that I had a small tear in my right meniscus, and that I needed about two weeks of swimming, cycling, foam rolling, Aleve, and that the tear should take car of itself.

And there went my plans for a marathon.

I was a little disappointed, but relieved that I wasn’t making the pain up in my head.

Knee Brace

I was able to pull out some of the braces that Dr. Miller gave me when I was on crutches, healing that fracture, and make use of them for the first time in years. But I made the decision then that I would meet a friend who was running her first full on Sunday, and pace her for a few miles, and that was that!

Pho Pho Pho

After working the expo for a few hours on Friday and Saturday, I convinced my hubby to take me to this new place in Raleigh, Pho Pho Pho, since I’d been looking for pho nonstop since I had it from Whole Foods a few years ago, and hadn’t had a great bowl since.  It was AWESOME, and I was served enough to save some for lunch on Sunday after the race!

Race Day

The night before the race, I was able to sign up for text tracking for my friend Liz, who was running her first full in Raleigh.  When I got the text that she had passed the 13.1 mile marker, I started getting myself together, and walked down the street from my house, which was right between miles 16 and 17.  I spotted her, and we headed out.  My hip felt okay, and knee felt good, so my plan to just run a few miles turned into 5, which turned into 10ish.  Oops!  But I got to see my friend through her first finish line, and she finished her first marathon with an impressive 4:45 time, which was her goal!  And I got to test out my legs before going into a two-week break, which is supposed to fix me up.  Cross your fingers for me!

I had a nutty weekend.  What did you do this weekend!

Poison Control

Allergic Reaction

If there was ever a question in my mind about my husband’s love for me, he smashed it today.

Let me back it up.

I’ve completely been overdoing it the past few weeks.  Staying up working late, teaching multiple classes, running home and running a vacuum, and doing the best impression of super career woman and wife that there has ever been.  So last night, after I came home late from work, I kissed Austin, and told him that I was going to take a bath to relieve some of the achy-ness I’ve had in the same knee that I broke a bone in a few years ago.  Whenever I’m stressed or wearing myself thin, that knee reminds me to dial it back.

So, earlier in the day, I bought a bottle of real Aleve (the generic was not doing it), and I pored over my choices in the Bengay section before selecting some Capzasin HP for folks with Arthritis.  I figured that it would help my knee and my hips.  When I got home, I jumped into the bathtub and soaked in water so hot, that sweat started dripping down my face.

I got out, dried off, and grabbed the tube of the cream.  I put a little on my hip, then on the front of my knee.

Nothing.

I made sure to get the back of my knee.

Again, nothing.

So I started to get dressed.  Grabbed a pair of compression tights and compression socks and started to work them on when my hip and knee started to burn.  The burn grew exactly the way it would when you eat a little piece of habanero.  Silent, than louder and louder.  I made my way out to the great room.

“Babe, I think we need to call 9-1-1.  I used some Capzasin and my skin is on fire.”

He looked up from his iPad, recognized I was in some pain, and asked,

“We need to call 9-1-1?”

I begged him to help, and he Googled it.

“I think you’re having a reaction to it”

First we tried vinegar on a paper towel.  We got me back into the shower, and ran cold water over me while I tried to wipe the oil off.  As soon as the water would stop hitting me, the burn would start again.  Every single solitary expletive I know crossed my lips.  And finally, we had to call poison control.

The woman I spoke to was a saint.  When I told her the percentage of the cream, 0.1%, she breathed, “oh boy,” before she told me what I needed to do.

“Are you rinsing in cold water?  That will set and solidify the oil in your skin.  You need hot soapy water, and do you have Maalox?  That will help.  Nothing like Pepto, it contains asprin.  Try that, and give me a call back and let me know how you’re doing.”

Austin poured baking soda on me.  Poured vinegar on me.  Filled his hands with hand soap.  Sipped a bear while I muttered the most filthy words the english language has to offer.  And grabbed the soap from the kitchen sink when nothing else would sud enough.

Allergic ReactionHad to avoid showing you guys a nudie to see what the cream did to my hip.  But it’s not good.

Word to the wise.  Go with the weak stuff when it will tingle burn the top two layers off your skin.  Here’s to a good Wednesday.   

Easter Weekend

Hammock

This weekend was a much-needed exercise in something I’m terrible at.  Sitting my ass down and relaxing.  It’s been a rough, rough week or so at work, and my body has been really upset with me.  Hips ache, Aleve is on a drip, and rest has not been as restful as I would like it.  That’s a completely different post for a completely different day, however.

So I started the weekend on the couch.  I didn’t have to work on Good Friday, and though I thought about it, I could not physically bring myself to open that laptop and answer the emails that had begun to roll in.  And it was for the best!

I was laying on the couch and received an awesome phone call from a friends who let me know that she and her husband were expecting!  How cool!  It’s getting weirder and weirder. Me and my friends are continuing to do adult things, and yet, in some ways, I feel like a kid still.  At what point do I become an adult?  My husband and I are talking about our home, our dreams, our travel, perhaps even plans for kids, and yet, I still find reality television hysterical.

But at any rate, after I spent some time on the couch, and did a slow few miles around the neighborhood, when I realized that I’d made no plans for the evening.  A friend texted, stated that she was in a similar plight, and we made plans to meet at the Whole Foods for dinner and drinks.  It was nice because I didn’t get too crazy, and I fell into bed with Austin at the end of the night.

Saturday, we didn’t do a lot, BUT we did make a great purchase in a mandoline to make chips out of sweet potatoes.  It was okay – I think next time, I’m going to roast the chips in my vegetable dehydrator.  I also was extremely pleased – my 13.5lb bag of Arm & Hammer finally arrived from Amazon, and I got to start some spring cleaning, along with the Bissell that showed up.

I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!
I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!

Easter Sunday, we met some friends for brunch, grab some more cards for me to write some letters, and when I was away running a lap in the State Park, Austin put together a hammock that’s been sitting in the house all winter.

Hammock

It was a great, restful weekend, and were leading up to a nutty week. I’m gearing up for tons on Monday, our staff retreat, as well as hydrating throughout for a big race on Sunday, which I don’t even want to talk about right now.

What were you up to this weekend? 

The worst April Fool’s Joke Ever

via mtv.tumblr.com

First, I have to address the fact that I truly feel that Jesus is smiling down on me with all of the pop culture goodness that has been bestowed upon me this week.  All culminating to the Roast of Justin Bieber that popped off on Monday night.

Now I’m going to be the first to admit, that I love me some Bieber, and saw him in concert from the nosebleeds with a friend, also in her 20s at the time.  The concert was awesome, and the best part was the entire thing.

Now, I had some apprehensions about this roast.  I mean it seems like a pretty transparent attempt to take a beating for acting like an ass these past few years (all of which I heartily enjoyed, including his deposition tapes, where he wore a curtain-inspired jacket and mouthed off to officers of the law.  Now, I’m not big on spanking, but that child needs a hearty ass whopping.  I’ll give it to him ;)

Now the finest part, the part that renews my faith in the ridiculousness of humanity, was when Bieber-dummy was lowered in a harness while a Gospel Choir sang him in.  About 3/4ths of the way down, Bieber plummeted to the ground.  I shouldn’t have been laughing, but I was.

via mtv.tumblr.com
via mtv.tumblr.com

Moving right along…

So yesterday was April Fool’s. I’m really not big on pranks. They make me upset. Except, of course, when Justin Timberlake was told that the IRS would be seizing his possessions, and he cried after the officer stepped on his acoustic guitar. Other than that, I really don’t appreciate pranks, because I don’t like being scared or thinking that I’ve ruined someone’s life. Call me old-fashioned.

So in 2005, my parents were driving me back from Pittsburgh, as I was slated to attend the University of Pittsburgh.  Spoiler Alert:  I ended up at Elon, and was beyond pleased with my decision.  I would probably be very chilly had I gone to Pittsburgh.  But driving back from Pitt, I got a call on my flip phone from my sister.

“Hey…your job called. ”

I was working for Atlanta Bread Company, my first job, and was so proud of myself.  I worked hard, and at the end of the evenings, when the night was over, my manager would allow us to take treats from the bakery home in a brown paper bag, which me and my mom loved, because we have a wicked sweet tooth.

“They said you’re fired.  Something about you taking something?  Were you allowed to take the bakery?”

I was freaking out.  I kept screeching, “What?!”  My mom was flipping out and all of a sudden, after I’d been allowed to freak out for a minute or two…

“April Fools!”

I looked at the phone in disbelief when my mom snatched it from me.

“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO SOMEONE WORKING THEIR FIRST JOB?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

And that, my friends, is the worst prank every played on me.

Any of you had jokes played?

(Responsible) Pet Ownership

Two Saturdays ago, I peeked out into the yard and noticed a large black pinscher mix in the yard.  I was on the porch, and thankfully, Coco wasn’t outside with me because the dog seemed to be truly unhappy that I was in her space.  I’m assuming her, I could be completely wrong.  Anyhoo, so I looked at her, she looked at me, and she began to growl and bark, seemingly guarding my own yard against me.

I put two and two together, and realized the dog belonged to a neighbor.  We’d had problems with these dogs before.  Often, when we’re working out in the yard, the dogs will run back and forth behind their fence, barking and growling.  It’s always made me nervous, but at the same time, I’ve trusted in the fence to hold the dogs back.

So the dog shows up in the yard, very unhappy to see me.  I sort of squealed for Austin, who was at work in the office.

“Babe!  Babe!  There’s a black dog in the yard!”

I heard him scramble to his feet, and run onto the porch where I was.  The dog continued to be nasty, but didn’t get any closer.  And as suddenly as the dog appeared, I heard a female voice call the dog back, and the dog was gone.  I was a bit rattled, but didn’t think much of it.

On Saturday, prior to me running around in the State Park, I let Coco out.  She’s old and addled with anxiety so she won’t go far.  And just as soon as I let her out, she turned around and began pounding the door.  I looked, and right behind here was his big black dog.  This time, mere feet from the door.

“Babe!  That dog is back!”

Austin was pissed.  The dog was pissed.  So he slipped by the dog, and went to the neighbor’s door to knock and ask them to bring their dog inside and not let it come back.  And of course, no one was home.

We were at a loss.  The dog was just being a dog, but was a potential danger to me, but more so to Coco, who, despite her wild amount of adorableness, is a senior dog, and would be killed.  I mean, she has like four teeth (we had to get a few pulled when we got her for her health), and that bitch had a full mouthful of teeth from what I could tell.  We shouldn’t have to deal with someone else’s dog coming into our yard where we pay our mortgage to make us afraid.

We called an officer down, who pounded on the door.  They first ignored him, and opened when they realized it was an officer of the law.  The officer asked us if we wanted to witness a citation, but we declined, hoping that the officer coming around would be enough to get the message.  But in reality, I’m not afraid of a lot, and I’m afraid that the dog will attack me, or worse, Coco.  I can take care of myself, but I’m supposed to care for Coco.  I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to her.

I’m not sure what to do.  I’m hoping the neighbors got the hint, and it won’t be an issue.  But I have some nagging worry that every time I’m out in the yard, that dog will show up.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this except to express my discomfort.  I’m uncomfortable with this situation, but don’t want the dog “punished” necessarily, but I need for them to step up.  I don’t want to do anything that will get that dog sent to the shelter, but I can’t be comfortable with her running around.

What do you guys think?

3 Things I did this weekend.

Clothing Tags

Hiiiii!

I hope you had a good weekend!  I can’t stop eating, which I’ll explain later.  (I am not pregnant).

Three Things I Did This Weekend.

1.  Started, then finished the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.  

Kimmy SchmidtBefore you get all judgey, and comment about how I need to get a life, I will say in my defense, that I did not go to work on Friday, and that I had some time on Friday, which allowed me to finish like half the season.  I really liked it because I connected well with the humor.  It was culturally pertinent, and really smart.  Plus “Kimmy,” (Ellie) is hysterical, and plays her role perfectly,  Definitely recommend it!

2.  Worked at Fleet Feet.  

Clothing TagsI’ve been doing this a good bit.  There are a few weeks in the spring where there is a LOT of racing, and because the weather gets so nice, people rush to get their new shoes, socks, and apparel.  I love the job, and it doesn’t hurt to get a surprise paycheck sometimes in the middle of the week, right?  I had a good, busy day there, but managed to chuck a container full of clothing tags on the ground.  I never really got around to cleaning them up, so I feel bad.  A preemptive apology to whomever it was that will have to refile those :(

3.  I paced an Ultra Marathon.  

I did this a few years ago.  This time, I went in armed with a little more knowledge.  My runner, Genno, was extremely prepared and organized.  We spoke on the phone in the weeks leading up to her race.  She expressed that she’d wanted to get in under 24 hours, and we chatted about when I should meet her.  On Saturday evening, I hopped in the shower about two hours before I estimated that she’d hit the first aid station once again.  Big shoutout to Austin to doing math for me.  I hit the park about 20 minutes before I ran into Genno, and off we went!

Now, keep in mind that I had never met Genno before, and only run in the same circles as her.  But we did not stop talking for virtually the whole run, which spanned just over 12 miles in chilly weather.  We talked about her husband, my husband.  Her marriage, her daughter.  Her time at the church.  And she honestly had some great insight on having kids as an active woman.  It was really fun!

Umstead Ultra

When I finally got out of the park and to the house, it was after 3 am, and I hopped into my married boudoir without taking a shower.  I’m sorry sweetie, I know that’s disgusting.  I woke up 4 or 5 hours later feeling okay, but like the pollen and dust in the park had aggravated my allergies.  I felt a little sore, but a lot swollen.  Also, I’m SO hungry after running all night.

I can’t say if a 100-miler is in my figure,  but I will say that I will pace again, and would love to meet someone like Genno.

What did you do this weekend?

Insomnia and Running

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

I’m not in good headspace at all today.  I think it’s a combination of things – I’ve had a really tough week at work, which I understand happens, and I think that’s colored my attitude a bit.  I keep having to remind myself to consciously choose to be in a good mood.

Well, until this.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Zayn has left One Direction. I mean I was already in a mood this week because he left the tour, and now this?! What!!? Let me say this, Zayn is the best vocalist in the group PLUS he’s the best-looking, all dark and handsome. I hope whatever’s going on with him, that he eventually finds his way back to the group for a triumphant reunion album.

So let’s talk about something that’s been an issue for me and how I deal with it.

Since about 2008, I’ve had some issue with sleep.  Part of it was the recession.  With my father working for a large bank, it was a really stressful time for the family.  I started to take out loans to finish out school, gave my my study abroad time in South Africa, and began to worry full-time that my father might lose his job, that his work would affect it health (which it did), that I would end up homeless, that my disastrous relationships was coming to and end, and so on.

Emotionally, my sleep has always been affected in some way.  In period of deep anxieties or depression, I would sleep endlessly, and feel sluggish, an ailment aggravated by the fact that I was eating poorly, drinking, and not at a healthy weight.  But since 2008, my body responds to stress by not sleeping a ton.  At the height of my post-grad job search, I would wake up at 2 or 3 after falling asleep around 11 or so, and watch entire seasons of shows on Netflix, paint my nails, and text friends with similar sleep issues.  On more than one occasion, I contemplated calling out of work, but chickened out because I thought that my insomnia was a silly excuse, instead, opting for a nap, or fueling my work with coffee and water.  But at 27, after a few years of sleep issues, I’ve figured out ways to combat insomnia, especially as it pertains to my running.

Rules for Living with Insomnia

  1. Embrace that shit.  Often, insomnia will thrive on the knowledge that you’re becoming terrified to lay down, for fear that you will lay there for 3 hours or so.  Embrace it.  Physically communicate with it, and approach it head-on.  Tell yourself that you won’t be awake forever, and guess what?  You won’t!
  2. Chill on caffeine, especially after certain times.  You know your body.  For me, I don’t need to be drinking much caffeine after 4pm, and I usually don’t feel it at night.  If you must sip on something, opt for half-caf, or decaf, which contains a smidge of caffeine.
  3. Skip the workout at night.  I am by no means someone who is super comfy with working out early in the morning, but I won’t work out at night, unless I plan to be up for a while.  Your endorphins are flowing, blood is pumping, and ideas are flying around your head.  Save that for the morning, or even midday, when you start to hit a slump.  But skip it before bed.
  4. Don’t work at night.  I work on the blog at night, but as far as work-work, I need to put it down after 7 or so.  If not, my mind is absolutely full, and doesn’t want to shut off for bed.
  5. Mostly skip the screen, but if you must watch some telly before bed, make it mindless.  If it’s bloody, terrifying, or involves Nancy Grace, you probably need to skip it.  It’s not doing your brain any favors that close to bed.
  6. And finally, if you DO find yourself awake in the middle of the night, do something quiet therapeutic, and healing as you try to get back to sleep.  Read a book.  Knit.  Watch something stupid and silly on television.  But don’t start on a project that will take you 4 hours to finish, cause guess what?  You will literally be up for DAYS when you mess with stuff like that.
  7. Okay, this is the for-real last one.  But if you haven’t slept, skip the run.  I’ve made the mistake of running while sleepy, and twisted an ankle, found myself injured, or made poor decisions while navigating the sidewalks.  Sleeping is a time for you to heal.  If you haven’t had enough, skip the workout, head to bed early, and try again in the morning.

And there you have it!  Worst comes to it, take an Ambien once in a while and enjoy how beautiful your skin looks after a full night of sleep.

Have you ever suffered from sleeplessness?  What do you do to combat it? 

Totaling a car.

Totaled Car Guide.

Stay with me on this post.  It seems a little weird, but stay with me.  [Also, don’t be a dumbass, I’m not a lawyer, or an expert, but this is a loose guide to what needs to happen to you when you wreck your car.]

So a little over two month ago, I totaled my car.  And seeing how it was the first time I totaled my car, I sort of went blindly into the entire process.  So let me help you out cause accidents happen.  Which I hate, but they do.

Totaled Car Guide.
Totaled Car Guide.

No one plans to total his or her car. However, if you plan to fail, blah blah blah.

So prior to totaling your car, maybe even back when you purchase the car, there are a few things that you MUST do in order to protect yourself in the event that you wreck your car a year, two years down the road. 

  1. Do you have a loan?  If there is any way on God’s green earth you can avoid a loan, AVOID IT.  Here’s why.  If you still owe money on a car when you total it, you are still responsible for the money that is left on the loan.  That’s where this comes in…
  2. Gap insurance.  When you purchase your car, and if you have to go the loan route you must purchase gap insurance.  It’s something that should be offered to you when you’re in the pit of hell that is the finance office at a dealership, but if it is not, ask about it.  This will protect you.  Let me explain.  You buy a car, and you finance it.  When you total the car (which I hope you don’t but hey, accidents happen), the insurance company will give you money for how much the car is CURRENTLY worth, often based on prices of similar models sold recently in your area.  It will NOT automatically cover what is left on the loan (hello interest) which can really screw you.  So get the gap insurance, which is pretty marginal, and will be added into your car payment.
  3. Save every piece of documentation related to you car at the time of purchase, and get maintenance records on the car.  If you have a loan, the bank who technically “owns” the car has the title.  If you own the car outright, place the title, along with paperwork related to the car in a folder inside a fireproof safe in your house (which you need for all sorts of important things).  DO NOT LOSE THAT TITLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

So a few years down the road, say you get into an accident.  Here’s what you need to do, and what will happen.  

  1. You wreck your car.  For those of you who are nosy (kidding!) I was completely at fault.  I was preoccupied with what I viewed as a troubling reading on my blood pressure, and ran directly into the back of a Rubicon, which was unscathed.
  2. Call the police.  Whether you are at fault or not, call the police, and be completely honest with them about what has happened.  Remain calm, because they will note if you’re acting like a weirdo on the report, and ask the police officer to provide you with this handy information exchange card with both yours and the other driver’s name on the card.  Take pictures at this point, and get the officer’s name, just in case your accident results in any sort of lawsuit.
  3. Once you get home or to somewhere safe where you are calm, call your insurance company armed with your policy number and information about the accident.  Explain to them that you would like to open a claim.  The person on the phone will likely not know what the heck they’re doing, and will take some precursory information.  They will open a claim for you, and provide you with a claim number.  Copy this down, and be prepared for your individual claims person to contact you in the day or so following.
  4. Your claims adjuster has called you.  He or she will ask you a few more in-depth questions about the accident.  Now, in the case of my accident it was pretty cut and dry, and the accident was my fault.  He asked for some details about the weather, then provided me with addresses and names to 3 or 4 preferred shops where they will look at your car and perform an estimate.
  5. Get an estimate.  You’ll drop your car off, and in a few days, they’ll give you and the insurance company an estimate.  They might tell you that it will cost 2k to fix.  They might tell you it’s totaled.  In my case, it was totaled, so..
  6. Go to get your personals out of the car.  You have no idea when they’re going to haul your car off – I learned this the hard way and had to drive down to Fayetteville to a sketchy yard to get my things.  Make sure to grab your tag.
  7. The insurance company will send a letter to the bank, asking them to release the title to them.  The bank will release the title.  The gap insurance will kick in, paying off the remainder of your loan.  And you’re done.

It’s a lot of steps, and it was a LOT to learn, but glad to know, and so thrilled to be able to share that info with other folks.

Now…have you ever gotten into an accident?  Was it silly?