Archive for June, 2009

I bit my tongue and nearly bled to death

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Actually, it’s almost impossible to bleed to death from biting your tongue (though you could choke to death on the blood if you bite all the way through it). Still it can be VERY painful and is bloody to the point of being grotesque.

I bit my tongue eating pizza at dinner Friday, and honestly believed it was nothing. It hurt, and I could feel a knot the size of a marble emerging on my tongue, but I didn’t taste blood and no one alerted me to blood running out of my mouth or anything. After dinner, I took Ayla for a walk and, when I returned, there was dried blood at the corners of my mouth. Yeah, yuck!

It gets worse. I brushed my teeth, rinsed, and the sink filled  up with blood! I looked at my tongue and there appeared to be an inch-long piece of flesh dangling from it, backward and down my throat. I panicked, certain that I was going to pass out, if not pass away.

But I didn’t. Instead, I spent more than two hours repeatedly placing and replacing gauze in my mouth to soak up the blood from my self-inflicted wound. Exhausted, I finally wedged an extra-thick piece of gauze between my tongue and the roof of my mouth, gritting my teeth to keep the “dressing” in place until I fell asleep.

I did fall asleep, and slept through the night…only to wake up with my face, tank top, and pillow covered in blood. Unable to get the bleeding to stop and ready to pass out from what I thought must be lack of blood, I headed to the ER.

Although, oddly enough, I was only one in the place when I arrived, I didn’t see a doctor until a child with a cold, a woman about to give birth, and some homeless guy, in turn, each passed through the door marked “triage.” All the while, I continued to sop up the blood that WOULD NOT stop pouring out of my tongue! I’m not kidding. As soon as I removed the gauze, releasing any pressure on my tongue, my mouth filled up with blood.

I’d been bleeding for nearly 15 hours by the time I made my way to triage, where the doctor evaluated my tongue for sutures. He took one look at my “laceration” and calmly told me that it’s a clean, even gash and should heel nicely without treatment! No, I didn’t want stitches, but I thought he might have “glue” or something to STOP the bleeding.

The bleeding slowly tapered off over the next couple of hours, leaving a massive, swollen lump on my tongue that I was afraid to let touch food or brush until today. I’m happy to note that I must be “healed.” I accidentally brushed my tongue earlier tonight and…no blood!

Bike Your Ride – Kids in Tow

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Although more of the world’s workers ride their bikes to work than drive themselves there, most bicycle commuters in the United States are male and do not have children at home. I suppose that makes me an oddity of sorts.

Although I biked in Los Angeles as well as in very bike-friendly Davis, California while I was going to college, it’s taken me a while to resume commuting after moving to the COLD northeastern United States and becoming a mother. Once I returned to California, weather was much less of an issue. But the “kid problem” multiplied from two toddlers I couldn’t imagine hauling all the way to preschool, before continuing on to campus, to four children between four and 14, who nearly always have something going on in the afternoon.

A month ago, summer school (I’m teaching; the kids ARE NOT attending) presented an opportunity for family commuting that I couldn’t pass up. It seemed so perfect…the “big kids” and I could drop Olivia at her summer program and ride the remaining 6.5 miles on to campus, reversing our route in the afternoon. We did have to purchase a couple of road-worthy bikes so that we could “take” the hills here in Western Riverside county, and Parker, who’s been riding a one-speed BMX bike, could keep up. But otherwise, we had everything we needed.

Our first day was rough. We left late, didn’t know exactly where we were going, and carried way too much – though we didn’t have enough water or a band aid for Parker’s knee. He fell off a curb and crashed, blood “gushing” down his shin…yeah, right. (If YOU want to avoid our folly, check out this Quick Primer on How to Ride Your Bike to Work at Lighter Footstep. Paul Dorn provides more extensive advice on his Commuting Tips page.)

It’s now the end of the week and I think we just about have it. I’d like to improve our time, but just getting back and forth without the WHINING I endured on Monday is fantastic. I actually had to demand that the kids NOT say, “Mommy, stoooooop!” another time. Honestly, I passed them going uphill; I didn’t “desert” them. “I’ll wait at the top of the hill,” I explained over and over.

I knew that commuting would help us all stay fit, reduce auto-related costs, and – eventually – increase and improve family time. What I didn’t realize was how much the kids would appreciate their INDEPENDENCE. While I’m teaching, they can go just about anywhere on campus, see a movie or get lunch at University Village (yeah, just about every college has one), or go rock-climbing at a nearby gym. Going to campus with mom has gained a whole new cache.

Maybe there’s hope. I can see it: “New Trend in Mommy Groups: Family Commuting.” There are already KidzTandem bikes inspired by the SUV’s much-coveted seating and cargo space available for commuting with children. Check out these and other commuter bikes. You too CAN “Bike Your Ride.”

This One’s for the Girls

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Warning: This post may be TMI* for the average guy.

*Too Much Information.

For the record, MY breasts DO bounce!

My own sisters recently had the nerve to suggest that I no longer need to worry about top-notch support in my running bra because my faithfully “restored” breasts (seriously, once I’d weaned my youngest daughter, I wore my wedding bra to see my surgeon and simply asked him to “put it back”) do not bounce. They are wrong.

We all – even the smallest busted among us – know that the typical “athletic tank with shelf bra” does not provide enough support for high impact sports like running, and duly save these for yoga and climbing. But I really thought that Skirt Sports Marathon Tank, which claims to provide women “of A-D cup sizes with the freedom to run in a tank without a bra underneath” would prove to be THE exception. Unfortunately, it was not.

Yes, I, who NEVER runs in a new sports bra without testing it on a dash or two up and down the stairs, actually put my new Marathon Tank on and set off on a 6+ mile run. I guess I counted overmuch on the influence of triathlete Nicole DeBoom, who founded Skirt Sports, to ensure a bounce-free run.

The first mile or so – warm up – wasn’t too bad, but once I picked up the pace, oh boy! It was worse than ANY of my initial postpartum runs. Uncomfortable and, ultimately, painful.  I managed to complete my run at a considerably slowed pace, punctuated by repeated tugging at the back of the shelf bra. By pulling it as far down my back as possible, I could create more compression in front for a limited period of time.

On the off chance, that my experience is unusual, I did a little research. While there’s virtually nothing on the specific question of whether or not restored, reconstructed, or surgically enlarged breasts bounce, there is some useful information about "exercising with breast implants". In short, women with breast implants require the same, if not more, support than any other woman with the same size breasts.

Boopster at ShapeFit.com recommends a “supportive sports bra,” essentially for comfort.  And 34DD, bounce-free at PEERtrainer urges readers to check out the selection of “serious sports bras for larger-chested women” at Title 9.


Fiona Bra by Moving Comfo

I couldn’t agree more. In fact, check out the Fiona Bra by Moving Comfort, available at Title 9 and REI, among other women’s athletic apparel retailers. The Fiona bra was my favorite, until I discovered Victoria’s Secret’s line of VSX Sport bras.

My Slowest Mile

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

I clocked my slowest mile ever today. According to my Nike+ sensor, I ran a whopping 1.2 miles in 25 minutes!

Naturally, I thought there must be a problem. I’d had to restart my workout repeatedly during my run, but thought that either my sensor was “dying” or systematically losing contact with my iPod: My sensor was attached under the laces of my running shoes, so maybe it had slipped; my iPod was tucked too snugly into my back pocket, so maybe the receiver was being jarred loose; and Ayla had been pulling me willy nilly whenever she heard or sensed another dog.

The answer turned out to be “None of the above.” When I kicked my shoes off, I noticed that my Nike+ sensor was gone!

I sent my sons back out to retrace my “steps” on their scooters. Thanks to my quick thinking – and,  yes, the boys’ superior scootering skills and bionic eyes – “we” found my sensor. It was in the street a little over a mile away.

I won’t know for certain that my sensor survived its trauma unscathed until my next run, but my perosnal record has. I deleted my record-setting 20.8-minute mile.

Quick Time

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I swear time has passed more quickly since our son, Parker (now 8 years old) was born, but I rarely FEEL it on a daily basis. Until last Monday.

Sunday was a lazy, catching up kind of day, so I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour sometime before midnight, meaning that I  woke up on Monday with a nearly full night’s rest “under my belt.”

Still, after just moving through my usual morning “ritual” – yoga and short meditation, breakfast, email/shipping/scheduling, and journaling/blogging – it was already late and hot before I started running (after 10 AM). I was back in under an hour, showered, worked on an article for a bit, and it was time (3 PM) to pick up Livy from pre-school! Shopping for Reiley’s birthday gift – a unicycle – errands and rock-climbing with the boys consumed the remaining time until dinner (6:30 PM-ish). After dinner and dishes, the kids and I walked Ayla maybe two miles, tops. I went back to work while they were showering and preparing for bed, and by the time I finished kissing each one good night, I was wiped out. It was only 9:30 PM!

I could have fallen into bed and a blissfully long sleep, but settled for a nap before getting back to work before the 11 PM news was over.

I was sleepy ALL day yesterday – Tuesday – but managed NOT to nap.

Today? I slept in…until 7:30 AM. Yippee! I’d love to NAP NOW, but have to run – really, 6 miles or so in the morning’s sticky June gloom – before I’m off on full day of meetings, appointments, climbing practice, Scouts, and a birthday celebration.

Reiley is 12 today. How time “flies”!

FOUR Sisters, Our Baby Brother, and 26.2 Miles

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I knew running a marathon would be challenging. I didn’t expect it to be so much fun!

Terri and I had been training – consistently – for more than 16 weeks to complete our first full marathon; about two months ago, Jeanna managed to persuade another sister, Francine, and our youngest brother, Danny, to join her and a friend in the marathon relay. Last Sunday was THE day: the annual San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

Getting to the starting line was an event in itself.

We arrived in San Diego Saturday night, just in time to pick up our race numbers, tech tees, and “goody bags” before heading for the Expo. After buying out the New Balance booth’s remaining stock of running skirts, we attempted to browse our way to the exit. No luck. One security guard followed Danny and me, while his buddy watched Francine. In response to every one of Danny’s arguments, which included lost revenue (shouldn’t you guys be encouraging us to BUY?) and other “prey” (there must be 200 OTHER people to harrass!), “our” security guard loudly and intently pointed the way out. At the exit, he cautioned the attendant at the door NOT to  let “these two” back in!

Back in our room – yes, all FIVE of us shared ONE double room – you’d think that Danny, as the only male and youngest member of the family would volunteer to sleep on the floor. Not a chance. He had the nerve to plop down on the bed and flip some basketball game on?! It was a short game (for Danny, anyway) because I demanded he turn the t.v. off when I climbed into bed between Jeanna and Terri (slightly more room there than between my remaining sibs in the other bed) to read.

Although I was the last one to fall asleep, I may have gotten the most shut eye. Terri was up in the night to quiet the snorers (apparently, I just “make noises” and so was left alone) and then woke everyone but me before dawn when she turned on the lights to eat and dress for the race. I was awake before Terri left (with her Team in Training buds) at 4:30 AM, but didn’t get up. That turned out to be a mistake.

Jeanna, who was running the first leg of the marathon, and I left the hotel for the trolley in plenty of time, but missed THREE “special events” trollies that rolled in and out of the TRAIN station while we were waiting on a platform at the TROLLEY station! By the time we reached the starting line, the “Star Spangled Banner” was ending; we started behind the “walkers.” Not an auspicious beginning, to say the least.

The first half of the run, at least, was more festival than work out.

Granted, I never saw the elite runners who, according to Francine, who ran the final leg of the relay, practically glided past the 21-mile marker. But once I moved ahead of the walkers, the range of running performances was as astounding as it was entertaining. I passed more than one Elvis and a jogging juggler, followed a banana (think “Fruit of the Loom”) for a while, and witnessed a genuine beer run as two or three male runners raced to snag a two-ounce cup of beer.

This was all IN ADDITION to the bands, cheerleaders – especially the guys with enormous balloon boobs! – and hydration “theme rooms.” It was all…almost…enough to distract me from my aching feet, but not quite. I swear the miles from 14 on got longer and longer…

The important thing is that ALL of us made it!

After dodging walkers, retying my shoes to restore circulation in my toes, and treating an asthma attack, I crossed the finish line in five hours and 7 minutes, just ahead of our relay team, and over an hour after Terri, who finished in less than four hours!! With a 3:56 time, she placed in the top 10% of her division. Just call her “Speedy.”