Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things: Summertime Edition

Besides all the fun I'm having discovering our temporary new "home" -- I've mostly been using that as a distraction. Let's just say it's been a frustrating few weeks on the side. It is not easy to work in TX with an AZ nursing license, through an agency in CA, who's compliancy company is in FL.

However, things are finally coming to terms and I hit the ground running tomorrow! I have never been so excited to save lives! I miss the ER. This may sound very weird, but every time I hear ambulance heart would sink.

"I want to help!!! *tear*", I would say.

It's amazing what a 3 week hiatus from working will do to this girl. Let me tell you, I am not feeling rejuvenated . I used to think I wanted to live in the 1940's -- where women were trophy wives, homemakers, and wore adorable house dresses. I take than statement back!

So to adorn this post with a little positivity, here are a few of the things that bring utter joy and happiness to my soul, in regards to summer. Summer ties with Fall as my favorite season. I like them both equally but for completely different reasons.

  • Swimming in the lake. I could stay in the water from sunrise to sundown. I didn't care how pruney my hands became or how blue my lips would get. (We lived in MN, and it was rare that the water was warm)
  • Swimming as an adult -- I miss our pool in AZ (and everything else about our house). Afternoons of sunshine, books, good music, friends, margaritas, and guacamole bring me great happiness.
  • Natural highlights -- every summer my hair gets blonde highlights from the sun. For the past few years I'ved dyed it, but this year I'm letting it go natural.
  • The smell of sunscreen. *ah, the nostalgia*
  • Cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. Growing up, the centerpiece of our meals would be a huge plate of fresh produce from my Mom's garden. You can't say you don't like cucumbers & tomatoes until you've tried them fresh from a garden! 
  • Banana popsicles. My favorite variety of popsicle - and it's funny I like these so, because I hate bananas.
  • Flip flops. Although I do wear these year-round in Tucson....
  • The Aroma of fresh-cut grass. I don't get this treat very much in AZ. But living in San Antonio I do, and it's heavenly. (however, it does make me sneeze like non-other)
  • Evening walks. Because the sun stays out later....I relish in the late evening walks to unwind.
  • Gin and Tonics with lime. Nothing cools you off like the refreshing bite of a G & T, I must admit.
What are your favorite things about summer? This list could go on and on!  Here's a photo that beams summer happiness to me (it was taken Memorial Day weekend camping)

This quote is rather fitting.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Local Brews + Goat Cheese and Beet wrap + Silver Screen = Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

We went on a double date Friday night to a local hot-spot called the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. And this did not disappoint. In fact, I would be elated if one of these came to Tucson!

It's exactly what it sounds like -- it's a movie theater with a bar that serves dinner. I initially wasn't drawn to this, as usually the food available at movie theaters isn't very healthy and is way too over-priced. Typical Theater = $7 for a ridiculous-sized glass of coke to wash down the $8 butter soaked popcorn that is large enough to feed a family of 10. No thank you.

Not at the Drafthouse, though!

As you enter the theater, the first centerpiece is this bar with a huge selection of tap beers -- including many local brews. (They also serve wine and do have a full bar) I would call the vibe a little bit on the "punk rock"/eclectic side. It has a selection of punk music softly playing in the background, and it's just a different vibe from your typical movie theater.

You are next led to your theater, where the chairs are set up in rows like any theather, except your have a bar-table in front of you -- for placing orders, your drinks, and food.

As I said before, the menu is different from your typical selection at a movie thater. They have everything from burgers to kale and sundried tomatoe pizzas. I went with the Goat Cheese and Beet chicken Wrap. I must say I was very impressed. Ryan had the Hatch Chile burger -- which you can't  go wrong with!

Not hungry for dinner? They also serve a large selection of snacks such as hummus, fried pickles, bottomless popcorn (for $6, which is actually a descent deal), ice cream sundaes, and Guiness shakes!

My biggest word of wisdom is buy your tickets in advance. We tried going last weekend, and the movies we wanted to see were completely sold out (30 minutes before showtime). And this week we lucked out and got the last 4 tickets! These shows definitely sell out on the weekends!

This was definitely my kind of movie theater experience, as it was a little different from your typical show! I highly recommend it. I know they are present in major cities throughout Texas -- and I believe in CA, NY, and Missouri....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

UV Index, Heat Index, Humidity - terms that describe hell for a runner!

Below is a pretty accurate depiction of ME running this past weekend. Okay, so it's an older man - but that is exactly what I did, and exactly how I felt. So I thought I'd know, to really "take you there"
There was a time in my life where I lived in a "cool climate". I now kick myself for not just relishing in that cool climate as a runner.

For the past 5 years of my life, we have lived in warm climates. I will admit that in terms of lifestyle -- I love living in a warm climate! I love that you can go outdoors 365 days of the year. Snow/Ice never affect my day.

But as a runner, it can be rough. June-September are the hardest. Right now in Tucson and San Antonio (where we currently reside)....there is very little respite from the heat, if any at all. The mornings can be 90 degrees at 5 am, and it only gets hotter.

In San Antonio, the weather app on my Iphone tells me it's 74 degrees. I kick my heels in a fit of joy!

Then I step foot outdoors. And I wilt. Actually, I am engulfed with the dense, heaviness of 80% humidity and a narrow dew point.........and then I wilt to the ground.

You start running, and the wind briefly makes you think you're okay! Then you get to an unshaded area, the sun penetrates your soul, and it dawns on you that "maybe I should have rode my bike today....." or ran on the tredmill at the indoor, air-conditioned gym.

Hm, what a concept.

As you run along the trail, you realize there are not many runners out there. You realize "Holy shit it's hot and miserable!"

It's almost hard to breathe, as the air engulfs you and feels heavy...

And this is where I discuss a few options/pointers on exercising in hell:

  1. Plan your route near water fountains. One things I've found is city parks/routes tend to have water fountains along the course. Otherwise, purchse a water belt.
  2. Hydrating is obvious. But also use the water fountain to cool yourself down! Evaporative cooling is the best method -- splash water on your face and neck, face the wind, and you will temporarily cool off!
  3. Dry fit clothing is the way to go. Cotton may be "The fabric of our lives" -- but not if you want to survive the heat. ;)
  4. Shield your eyes from the sun, so you're not squinting.
  5. Keep you noggin (or head) open to release heat! Visors are the way to go.
  6. Don't push too hard -- your heart has to work harder in the heat to cool you down.
  7. With that being said, training in the heat has a similar effect to training in altitude. Because your body has to work harder to maintain life (I'm exaggerating a little here) -- when you do run in a cooler temperature, you will have more endurance and you will tire less easily. It's because your VO2 Max is increased!
  8. Control your breathing. Synchronize your breathing with your stride. Breath in for 3 steps, breath out for 2. Find a rhythm that works with your stride!
  9. And obviously -- If you start feeling dizzy, weak, blurred vision, chest pain --'s not worth it, my friend.
Post hydration is crucial, too. I got myself in trouble this week with that. (Ended up with a horrific headache and nausea). Push fluids and Eat foods high in H2O to supplement (watermelon, grapefruit, grapes, soup, cucumbers)!

Exercising in the heat is not for all people. For example, my husband can handle it much better than me. I tend to sweat a lot, and therefore require more fluid replacement than he does. Every body is different - so listen to it! Gym memberships and biking is always a cooler option! ;)