Monday, June 25, 2012

Perks to studying for the NPTE

The NPTE (ie. boards) will officially be over a week from now.  I dare not disclose how nervous, confident, or otherwise I am until it's well over and results are in.  I am just really looking forward to it being something in my past instead of my impending future.

For now, I'm just studying like it's my full-time job, and my hobby, and what I do in my sleep.  I'm on pace though, so I've at least thwarted a total meltdown, so far.

The secret though is that there are some perks to studying all the time:

1. I finally have time to paint my nails.  I never paint them because I can never sit still long enough to let them dry.  I was also trying to keep them "interview appropriate" until now.  Now, base coat, study, 1st coat, study, 2nd coat, study, top coat, study... and done.  Too bad I won't leave the house for anyone to see them.

2. I am totally getting my money's worth out of my deck furniture.  I've bee spending 3 hours a day breaking in my deck furniture since I put it up a few weeks ago.  It will be all warmed up for some serious relaxing when I'm ready!

3. I've all but abandoned "real" clothes in favor of comfy duds and the occasional bikini.  It's hot on the deck!  I would totally understand if someone studying for boards went a few days without showering.  I shower because I'd like it when the hubs is willingly in the same room as me.  If it weren't for him...
Official study uniform.
I did give in and cleaned up that laziness for a birthday celebration at Hofbrauhaus last weekend though.  That was pretty much my only brush with society though, outside of running necessary errands.
Photo credit to the person behind the birthday girl's camera.
PS- I paid $10 for that outfit at Loft; I really adore sale racks.

And for all the PT/fitness/running nerds, I have to share a close up of this shirt.
Aren't they cutest little endorphins you've ever seen?

Whether it was high school or college- where did/do you like to study?  Library, outside, coffee shops, home on the couch?
I prefer outside, with Starbucks/Panera coming in a close but less-economical second.  I'm pretty useless on my couch.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A milkshake never tasted so good

This little cup has been the highlight of my day.  I had to endure an endodontist appointment this morning.  (Take care of your teeth kids- root canals are no fun!)  That was followed by a TB test and FBI fingerprinting for a new job.  It was also "sweat on the eyelids" kind of hot outside, and I did a lot of walking.
Milkshake only- I'll spare you the pictures of my crooked smile.
With 90+ temps and my mouth still half numb from anesthesia, the obvious treat was a cappuccino milkshake from the best ice cream shop in Pittsburgh the world. Seriously, if you are ever in the Pittsburgh area, you deserve a visit to Dave & Andy's.  If you're not hungry, just walk by to smell the fresh waffle cones; even that would be worth the trip.  

My favorite ever flavor is the black raspberry cookies and cream.  Yes, that's just one flavor, and I highly recommend it.  There are new flavors all the time though, lots you've probably never seen anywhere before.

Disclaimer: I am a physical therapist; not a dentist.  A dentist would probably advise against immediately bathing your teeth in creamy, sugary, coffee flavored goodness minutes after a dental procedure.  Probably.

Now back to studying for the afternoon.  Though I'd much rather be back where I was yesterday afternoon...

Monday, June 18, 2012

99 Workout

I had seen the "99 Workout" popping up a lot on Pinterest.  The image drew me in with the whimsical colors and fun layout.  How hard can something be if it's that pretty?
Don't be fooled.  This workout means business.  It was well into the 80s outside, so I swapped the run for 11 minutes on the elliptical in the AC instead.  I followed it to a "t" aside form that though, and finished in just about 65 minutes.  It felt tough while going through the reps, but despite being red and sweaty I didn't feel exhausted at the end.  Let's be honest though, 99 reps of anything is going to feel tough while you're doing it!

Totals: 484 jumping jacks, 484 crunches, 484 leg lifts, 44 pushups, and a just over 8 minutes of wall sit... plus a 11 minute cardio burst to top it off.  Not too shabby for a quick 60 minute workout!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter.... surprise

The best study fuel is obviously that made of chocolate and stuffed with peanut butter.  I saw a picture of these sweet little treats on Pinterest and knew I needed to make immediately.  Literally, I carried my Ipad straight from the couch to the kitchen and got to work within seconds of seeing a picture.
My study fuel, and sub-par photography skills.
They are heavenly.  So heavenly that I sent more than a dozen to work with the hubs and tried to pawn them off on my family that stopped over to visit.  I could have eaten all 36 cookies myself, in a day, without even trying.

I found the amazing recipe HERE, and surprisingly made very few changes.  I used Dark Chocolate peanut butter in the chocolate dough and chunky JIF in the filling instead of the creamy.  That was the only change, and they're incredibly tasty.

17 days and counting left to study for my board exam... I think I need about 17 more batches of these cookies...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Antisocial gym-going

I am pretty antisocial once I set foot in the gym.  Sure, I'm at least polite and friendly if someone smiles, but I'm not out to make friends.  I'm here to get my sweat on, alone.

I put in my earbuds as soon as I walk in the door, and I don't take them out until I'm changing out of my shoes.  I'm even guilty of keeping my earbuds in even if my charge has died.  It's pretty much the opposite of when I run outside, which I've absolutely never done with music.
All sweaty- and the earbuds just came out.
I like to drown out all of the noises.  The gossipers and cell phone talkers, the squeaking and clunking of cardio equipment, the Bigfoot-esque thumping on the treadmill, and what's usually awful music that the gym has pumping through their own system.  Not to judge, but one of the gyms I frequent is guilty of blaring Spice Girls circa 1998.  Another (very small) gym I go to has 4 TVs, all usually playing different stations at a "just loud enough to bug you" volume.

I like that it gets me in the zone, hearing nothing my tunes in my ears.  It pumps me up, keeps me going, and helps me block out anything else that I may have "carried in" with me at the end of the day.

And the last reason, and one I sometimes almost feel guilty about, is that I just don't want to talk to you.  Whoever you are, other people working out around me, I don't really want to strike up conversation while I get my sweat on.  Sometimes I can tell that people are talking out loud anyways, hoping someone will respond, but I can't really hear them anyways.

Sometimes people talk anyways though, and I promise I don't bite their heads off no matter how badly I sometimes want to yell "Can't you tell I'm not as friendly as I look!?".  Usually it's just a polite question of whether I'm done with a piece of equipment, which I always appreciate.  Other frequent chatters include guys asking how the Pigeon pose isn't incredibly painful, or someone commenting on not having the balance to do Bosu squats.
Photo Credit:
A friendly middle-aged man made that Bosu squat comment yesterday, saying he had no idea what the "thing" even was until he saw me squatting and lunging on it (FYI- hundreds of other things you can do with a Bosu!).  I made the mistake of mentioning that I'm a PT, and that we use them with patients a lot.   I tried to not be rude and get back to my workout while he chatted about his own ailments and upcoming surgery.  It's not that I don't care, or even that I'm not interested, I actually kinda dig hearing those stories.  But not between my sets at the gym.

Where am I going with this?  I know some people are just natural extroverts that love to chat up strangers, and some people go to the gym specifically to socialize (especially when the Silver Sneakers crowd rolls in).  I can't blame those people, and I can't say that a gym would be a bad place to meet someone if you're single.  But I've witnessed some chatters that just don't realize when their intruding on someone else's workout.  One chatter in particular yesterday kept talking to a 20-something girl that clearly wasn't interested in chatting.  It's like personal boundaries just disappear for some people.

I don't see me dropping my earbuds and trying to not look too friendly habits anytime soon.  I like my space, I don't need a date, and you can chat to me about your carpal tunnel later.  For now, I'm getting my sweat on solo.

Question of the Day: Are you a solo sweater?  Gym chatter (I won't judge!)?  Block it out with earbuds?  Anyone else get as irrationally annoyed by chatters?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cucumber Salad

What happens when you are home studying on a Saturday night, and your hubs is off shooting a wedding?  You make a large container of cucumber salad and call it dinner.  Partly because it is so yummy on a hot day, but also because I doubt the hubs would touch it.  It was delicious, but it was (not surprisingly) not terribly filling either.  So it was followed by a few leftover chicken mozz raviolis.
Please ignore the "I just studied in the sun for 3 hours" flush and exhaustion, thanks.
The salad is super easy to make, perfect summer food, and if the calorie calculator was right, the whole bowl only had ~63 calories.  Not too shabby for a side-dish, since most people wouldn't eat the whole thing themselves like I did anyway.
- One medium/large cucumber thinly the sliced (the thinner the better!)
- A quarter of a large onion, sliced (I don't eat much of the actual onion but it makes the flavor!)
- A "splash" of vinegar
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Lots of salt to taste (I am super generous with the salt in this recipe BUT I know, personally, that my sodium is always a bit low and I can afford and can benefit from the little extra- not everyone can)

3 Steps:
- Mix it all together
- Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour or so, and it's even better the next day if it lasts that long
- Eat!

Question of the Day: Any foods the are pure summer foods for you?  Cucumber salad and tomato salad top my list!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Your hip bone's connected to your...

Most people think they know where their joints are: hips, knees, ankles, toes, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.  There's another little joint that most people don't know exists until it starts to dysfunction.  Ok, yes, there are a bunch of others as well, but that's not the point of this post.

The joints I'm talking about, and those I've been left awkwardly icing for the last few days are the Sacroiliac Joints, or SI Joints.  It means sitting on an ice pack by the way.
Inside the red oval- one on each side.
I got tangled up with another player during my soccer game Thursday night, stood up, but when I tried to walk away I fell back to my knees in pain.  All I knew was that my sacrum hurt, a lot.  I stepped off the field, slowly, and tried to stretch it out with no luck.  It hurt to sit, so I spent the rest of the game cheering from the boards.

I've been icing, stretching, and resting.  I may head to gym for some upper body strengthening later, but that will be the unfortunate extent at least for today.  And even that's probably not the wisest choice.  Even the most mundane tasks like picking up something from the floor or walking down the stairs can send quite a twinge of pain.

You see, the SI joint is a tricky joint.  It doesn't just move one bone or one limb; it's the core of so many movements.  It joins your sacrum, the most distal spine, to your pelvis.  The pelvis is home to your hip joint, and the chain goes on.  That "hip bone's connected to your knee bone" song really has some truth to it.  If you're back or legs are moving- chances are that your SI joints are in on it too.

I'm less than 48 hours post-injury so I don't even dare venture a guess at what's going on.  Sprain, strain, a little bruising, something worse, something better- who knows.  My SI joints (L more so than R) are just letting me know they're there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Amidst all the fun of hot sunny weather, pool time, and cookouts.... reality has been hanging out in the background.  The reality that is that I'll be sitting for my board exam in less than a month.  It means many more hours/days/weeks of studying, taking 5 hour practice exams, and then sitting through what's sure to be the toughest exam I've ever had the pleasure of tackling.

This would explain why I spent Friday evening on my deck.
With nothing but this monstrosity of paper keeping me company.  Ok, and a little cold beverage too.
At least it was a nice warm summery night.  I've always loved studying outside, and now that I've finally finished my deck it is my perfect little secluded naturey study spot.  The only distraction is playing "Guess what animal is making that sound"; oh, did I just make that game up?
That's the view off my deck.  My backyard is home to entire families of deer and turkeys, but I can see downtown from my front windows... and drive there in 5 minutes.  It reminds me of what makes the city of Pittsburgh so incredibly fantastic.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Running on sugar

I've started working again part time, just a day or two each week.  While I missed having a routine to get up for each day, I don't miss some of the little perks of days full of doing whatever I want.

Like making french toast for breakfast in the middle of the week, usually a weekend only treat.
Who doesn't love syrup puddles.
With cinnamon bread to make it even more amazing.
I only give in to this craving on occasion, but this stuff is amazing.
And doing that at least 2 days in a row.

After the sugar overload yesterday morning though, I did get myself to the gym to celebrate National Running Day.  I spent 30 minutes doing intervals on the TM before a 45 minute strength session.  It was my first run since the marathon, almost exactly a month prior.  It felt good, but it felt hard!  I felt in shape, but not running shape.

Monday was P90x chest and back, Tuesday was P90x plyo, gym yesterday, and soccer game tonight.  After a lazy few post-marathon weeks, I'm finally getting back my healthy habits.