Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Medical eponyms

I've spent a lot of time today on a useful website called whonamedit.com,which contains details about medical eponyms---diseases named after the doctor or doctors who discovered an illness. One of my favourite jobs as a lowly medical editor (back in the day...) was working on medical eponyms. These were articles containing a case report and description of a disease, and then a biography of the doctor.

The most interesting eponym I edited was on Munchausen's syndrome. This was not strictly an eponym because the disorder was not named after the first doctor to describe the disorder but rather after the character Baron von Munchausen, by a doctor called Richard Asher. Supposedly, Baron Munchausen not only travelled by cannonball but also formed a pair of broad wings. Clever chap.

No jokes about big balls please
Eponyms are quite fascinating to me, as someone who has studied etymology (word origins) as part of my work. This site is worth browsing for a few minutes if you are ever bored ;)

Monday, 28 November 2011

My first proper running injury

I guess it was inevitable I would pick up a serious running injury at some point, since I'm running so much these days.

When I first started running I remember an especially tough club run (fast, and a longer distance than I was used to). The next day my toes, feet, and ankles hurt so much and continued to hurt for the next 3 days. Fortunately I saw my sister, who is a physiotherapist, during that period, and she assessed my injury, diagnosed overpronation, gave me some exercises for my feet. She also told me to get a proper pair of running shoes, which I obediently did the next week!

I've been fine the rest of the year. I've had the odd niggle, but I've always put that down to dodgy knees or too many squats at circuit training! My routine now is to run twice during the week with my running club friends, and then on my own at the weekend, on Saturday morning (my long-run day) and Sunday afternoon (4-6 miles).

This weekend my in-laws were visiting, so I'd swapped around my runs. I ran 5 miles Saturday afternoon while tea was cooking, and then I planned an 8-mile run for Sunday afternoon during the F1. 2 hours of Sunday morning were spent digging my allotment, not something I'd planned to do!

The first 6 miles of my run were really great, nice consistent 9:15 pace (see the data pasted below). I'd got a bit confused about the route to take to make my run 8 miles, so by 6 miles I was in the centre of Letchworth with another 4 miles to run! And that's when the pain started in my left knee. Halfway up a hill, I got a sharp pain in the side of my knee. I stopped and tried to bend my leg, massaged it a bit, and tried to carry on. The pain was so acute I couldn't put any weight on my leg. I hobbled up the hill for about a third of a mile (not quite crying, but very close!) then attempted to run again. Still couldn't put weight on my leg. I could manage a walk though, so I carried on as fast as I dared. By the edge of Letchworth, and after nearly a mile of walking, I decided I would have to grin and bear the pain to get myself home. I managed no more than 11 min miles, which I recalled was the fastest I could run back in February and March.

I kept expecting (hoping) to see my husband driving the streets looking for me, since I was at least 30 mins over the time I'd given him. But he hadn't even noticed I'd been out for a long time! And he told me to stop moaning when I got in!

So here I am, lying on the sofa, leg strapped up with a tight compression bandage, and two bags of frozen peas in the freezer with my name on them. Hoping that I'll be OK by Friday for a quick test run around the village. Really really hoping.And really hoping the "worse case scenarios" my physio sister was describing aren't what has actually happened.

Meal-planning Monday: 28/11/11

I'm not very prepared this week. I've normally planned and written my meal plan on Sunday, but it's now lunchtime on Monday.

Really don't want to spend too much on food this week. We've had a busy few weekends with guests, so lots of money has been spent on nice foodie bits. I also have 8 pints of milk because no-one has been drinking it lately and I keep forgetting to cancel the orders! The freezer is full of half packs of everything too.

Bacon, egg, chips, and beans

Hubs' request, and I never say no to a polite request. Although I have to admit I'm not feeling the bacon love at the moment, so I might have a salad. EDIT: We had prawn salad and chips! Very tasty :)

Chicken, baked potatoes, and cauliflower cheese

Fish pie

Chilli and rice

Toad in the hole

I've not planned the weekend's meals yet. It was hard enough planning to Friday! Managed to get a pie in, and it's one we've not had for a long time too. Hope the kids like it. Going to make a rice pudding too, to use up the milk. Not made one of those for years!

Don't forget to check out Mrs M's blog for more ideas.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Meal-planning Monday: 21/11/11

Morning world. Another Monday means another weekly meal plan. I promised two pies this week because of last week's pie absence. Not sure that's healthy or possible. I've also promised my husband MEAT since he had to eat scallops and salmon at the weekend.

Here goes...

Homemade chicken and vegetable soup with crusty rolls

This is something I've not made for months. I used to always make a stewy soup from leftover roast chicken. Anyway, it's winter and its back. Hurrah.

Fish, chips, and mushy peas

It's Beaver night. What can I say? I lack imagination.

Lancashire hotpot

I'll be making a variation on the James Martin recipe because I've never used dripping to cook with and I dislike kidney with a passion.

Chicken with couscous

My children have requested couscous and I'm always happy to oblige a polite request. I'll make some sort of variation on this Moroccan-inspired recipe, without the fruit because my husband is averse to fruit in his main meal.

Cottage pie

I'm out in London town. My in-laws are visiting. This combination means I have to make dinner so that I don't get talked about in an unfriendly way.

Leaving free

Roast dinner (yet to be decided)

Two pies! Lots of meat! A child's request fulfilled. I am a genius.

Don't forget to check out Mrs M's blog either for other ideas and link-ups.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Meal-planning Monday: 14/11/11

The weeks are flying by at the moment. There's so much to fit in with school events and evening activities, and now pre-Christmas family visits are approaching. (Arrghh, Christmas. I've not given much though to that! *slightly scared*)

Anyway, this weekend my parents are visiting, so my meal plan has to incorporate their dietary requirements. My mum tries to eat a vegetarian diet if she can, or at least no red meat, and my dad is on a low-fat diet.

Chicken and broccoli pasta bake (using up leftover roast chicken from Sunday)

Fish fingers, chips, and beans (Beaver night! Easy tea needed)

Braising steak with mash and veg

Baked potatoes

Scallop and vegetable risotto (Sog concoction)

One day I'll remember to blog the recipe for this!

Poached salmon with boulangere potatoes and veg

Roast chicken

No pie this week :( I'll have to plan two for next week to make up for it.

Don't forget to check out Mrs M's blog for more ideas.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday run: 13/11/11

My 3-year-old daughter woke up at 6:50 am this morning and crawled into our bed, so I got up and decided to go for a run (I was planning to go at 7:30 anyway). Today I was trying out my new New Balance long-sleeve top. It's pink and very comfortable, so highly recommended for people who run and who like pink :)

I decided not to look at my Garmin for the entire run. I just wanted to run comfortably and see how I went, not to be bothered about pace or time. Felt good for the first two miles, then started to get pain in my knee, so I slowed down a bit. I'd had ankle pain the evening before but this didn't bother me at all. I went into a bit of a trance on the way back home, possibly the huge red sun hanging over the village was mesmerising me! Or the fact I was nearly home and was a bit tired!

Anyway, I've just looked at my stats and I'm really surprised and pleased. Consistent pace around 9 minute miles. The last half a mile was a bit slower because I took it easy through the village (and had to stop for cars).

Perhaps I should ignore my Garmin more often?!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Saturday run: 12/11/11

Woke up a bit late this morning (7:30!!) so had to sort the kids out before I could go running. I was eager to try out my new running gear; today I tried out my new hi-viz pink jacket :) Probably didn't need it because I was Sweaty at the end. But it's going to be great when the weather gets very cold.

Anyway, I decided to head onto The Greenway for a quick 4 miles. I took the first mile easy to warm up (9:38), stopping to admire seven grouse in a field. I know they were grouse only because they matched the picture on the whisky bottle. I'm definitely not alcoholic though.

Mile 2 was a bit slower, The Greenway was muddy (and uphill), and I stopped for a walk because I had pain in my "lower abdomen". The downside of having *some* medical knowledge is you start to think everything is terrible. So I'm thinking "prolapse" and then after a minute decided I just needed a wee.

During mile 3 I ran past the field where I'd previously seen A Lovely Horse. This reminded me of Father Ted, and I spent the next few minutes humming the song to myself.

Mile 4 was much faster, mainly because I was back on the road and nearly home.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Living the American Dream: part 7

The seventh stop on our American Road Trip is our final one.

May 10-12, 2003: Los Angeles

We set off early from Lake Havasu not wanting to miss too much of the day. Our route took us along Route 66 (Topock to Barstow). We were stopped by the police at the border with California and questioned about our itinerary and fruit and vegetables. That was fun. *safety first*

After another McDonald's breakfast at Barstow (I like them, yum yum), we drove into LA on the I-15. Six lanes wide each carriageway, this road means business. It was busy busy, and we were glad to arrive at our hotel, which was SWANKY! Lovely end to the holiday.

Me and hubs being as we are, we didn't rest, and jumped into the Jeep and headed to Hollywood. We enjoyed the best burger of the holiday (or we could've just been hungry) at Wendy's on Sunset Boulevard (living the high life). Living dangerously, we parked on a very dodgy side street just off  Hollywood Boulevard, then checked out the Walk of Fame, Mann's Chinese Theatre, and the Kodak Theatre.

Beatles on the Walk of Fame
Kodak Theatre (surprisingly)

Mann's Chinese Theatre
Tom Hanks has girl-size hands
If only Ric looked like Sean Connery too ;)

Slight sci-fi geeky explosion of excitement

Only in LA
We also saw one of the Backstreet Boys singing at a show by the Kodak Theatre, but no idea who it was or what the show was for, maybe he just liked singing.

We spent a bit of time driving around looking for the Hollywood sign, and the best place to take a photo. We got very close, and found some very exclusive houses while we were at it. Eventually, I had to jump out of the car to take this photo, and nearly got squashed in the process.

Squint or you'll miss it
Bit of random driving around on the way back, down Firestone Boulevard. I can't even remember why we thought that would be a good idea. Took us through some scary areas of LA. But, we "saw" LA, and that was a good thing.

Day 2 saw us head to Disney's California Adventure. The rumours are true, it is rubbish. We got a bus from our hotel and arrived early, managing to avoid the queues and FastPass our way around the rides. Soarin' Over California was excellent, but I cried all the way around California Screamin'. I think I got whiplash too because instead of the nice gentle start you get for most rollercoasters, this one rockets you up at the beginning. I was not ready and I moaned quite a lot as a result.

We left soon afterwards (not because of me, hubs has issues with spinning rides, it's his own fault) and spent the afternoon baking beside the gorgeous hotel pool. And a very delicious and expensive dinner was the perfect end to our honeymoon.

Here endeth the American Road Trip. Thanks for reading.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Meal planning Monday: 07/11/11

It's a very damp Monday today. Makes me crave warming food like mash and gravy. Mmmm.

I'm writing this post the day after my half marathon. I'm aching and still very tired. Eating food is the last thing I want to do, although it's very important for recovery. So I've had a think about what I need to eat and what will fit in best with our family activities this week.

Tuesday is a busy day because it's Parent's Evening followed by Beavers, this week my son "gets his woggle". All very exciting. On Wednesday it's the kids' swimming lessons, yes I've doubled my swimming pain and will be at the pool for a whole hour on Wednesdays. On Saturday my son is at the hospital for an appointment, so a home-cooked meal won't happen (anyway, I missed my Indian takeaway on Sunday because it was Eid). So here's the plan.

Sausages, mash, veg, and gravy

Beans on toast

Fish, chips, and peas

Spaghetti bolognaise

Chicken enchiladas

Takeaway :)

Roast dinner

Right, now I can go shopping for everything :(

Don't forget to check out Mrs M's blog later to see what she's having this week and everyone else who's linked up.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Stevenage Half Marathon

I'm writing this in a semi-drunken and very sleepy state. So please forgive any spelling mistakes...

So, November 6th, 2011. The 25th Stevenage Half Marathon. I signed up to run this event at the last minute (last minute for me!). I usually like to have several months to prepare for races but I only signed up for this a few weeks ago. I was "race-ready" though, because after finishing Fleetwood I wanted to maintain the distance I'd trained up to, so I'd been running 8 and 10 miles as recreation. I know, I'm mad.

A few other members of Stotfold Runners were running the event, Ed and Scott, and it was lovely to have them and their families around for support during the race and at the end. (My family are a bit "race-fatigued", this is my 5th race this year, so they stayed at home.) So huge thanks to them, and to Scott's family for driving me there and back and looking after me :)

So, my previous PB for a half marathon was 1:52:40 and my "secret aim-for time" for this race was 1:50:00. I really wanted to beat my PB but I wasn't sure I could because the Stevenage course was more undulating than Fleetwood. This course was run on underpasses and cycleways around Stevenage, and through Fairlands Valley Park, so lots of hills and slopes! But, with up bits come down bits as I always tell myself. We ran two laps of the course, the second lap being slightly longer through the Park.

I started slowly because I'm always being advised (nagged) by Pete L from running club to start slowly and build up speed. First two miles were comfortable, then I remembered I wanted to get a good time! So I started to up my pace. I took my energy gel at 5 miles (just after I ran past Burger King) and just before the second water station. I had a few slower miles after this, possibly because I was on lap 2 and it was a bit more uphill and a bit of a psychological downer. But I sped up through the Park (although I was overtaken twice), and got a lovely boost when I saw Ed's wife cheering me on! When I passed Burger King again I had a "moment" when I remembered being fat in January and I decided to really try and crack sub 1:50. So my last few miles were corkers. I'm not sure where my energy came from, or why I didn't fall over.

And I should say that I really hate finishing on a running track, those last few metres are killers. But when I heard "Come on Sarah!" shouted by Scott's wife Julie I found enough energy to sprint. I even heard another runner mutter "great finish" as I passed him :)

We got no cake at the end :( I hate bananas. I ate the banana I was given, but I hate bananas. Got a lovely silver shoe trophy though :)

Race data are below. Time was 1:49:54! Sub 1:50!!! *big smiley face* Position 307 (whoop). And, Scott finished sub 2:05, Ed sub 2:10. Well done to them :)

*sore legs*

*bit tired*

*need a sleep*

*looking forward to India Lodge takeaway later*

Friday, 4 November 2011

Living the American dream: part 6

May 9-10, 2003: Lake Havasu City, AZ

We only had one day at Lake Havasu, so we set off early from Scottsdale. It was a beautiful morning, and we made great time, even managing to fit in a McDonald's breakfast. (McDonald's restaurants in the USA are completely different to those in the UK (much more choice, better cooked food, still full of fat though).

So many McDonald's to choose from. Map not to scale.

At one point on the Highway we drove through a swarm of butterflies, which obviously became all dead and squashed on the windscreen of the Jeep. Was a very very strange sight, bit grim, bit interesting from a science geek point of view.

Lake Havasu is situated on the Colorado River, on the border of Arizona and California, and is popular for watersports and fishing. It is somewhat famous because some rich American dude bought the old London Bridge and moved it to the city.

We had a walk around and checked out the city sights (ie, "English Village with pub"). The whole area felt like an unfinished development, bit odd really.

We hired a jet-ski for a few hours to pass the time and headed along the Colorado River towards Parker Dam. That was so much fun, we saw loads of unusual ducks and geese, and enjoyed peeking at the little boathouses and holiday homes tucked away up little creeks. The "most amusing" part (apparently) was when we fell into the river, although I didn't enjoy it, or being cold and damp for an hour until we got back to the hotel. Minor point though.

The only photo I took, the view from our hotel room
The evening was spent eating houmous with enormous pitta breads because there were no decent restaurants nearby (we were staying at a resort on the opposite bank of the river, away from the City). And I think we watched Friends on TV. And I think it's safe to say we were glad to leave the next day.

Part 7 is coming soon and is the final part. (Please don't be sad!)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Living the American Dream: part 5

May 7-9, 2003: Scottsdale, AZ

The drive from The Grand Canyon to Scottsdale was spectacular. The distance was quite short (compared with our other trips) so we took the scenic route, along the edge of the Canyon, then down a few back roads. We passed through several tiny towns, sometimes just a gas station and a few dusty houses. *Bit scary* And of course, lots more cacti to admire.

Yes, it looked just like this.

We had to drive around Phoenix to reach Scottsdale. Skyscrapers and highways, busy busy. We had considered a visit to Biosphere, which is located south of Phoenix, as science geeks the place appealed to us. I also fancied visiting Old Tucson, the Hollywood Western film set. But in the end we never left Scottsdale.

We stayed at a fancy sports resort and made the most of the facilities by playing tennis, using the gym, and hiring canoes. Rather energetic for a holiday! We also spent a LOT of time lounging by the swimming pool, drinking free cocktails that the bar staff concocted for us (and lots more Strawberry Daiquiris, made with fresh strawberries *drools at the memory*).

Frosty strawberry-ness. Yum :)
We acted like true "Mad dogs and Englishmen" by taking a walk around downtown Scottsdale at midday. The heat was like walking through an oven. Dry baking heat, completely draining. We drank a lot of beer in small bars, as we were fond of doing throughout the holiday. Love the little local cafes and bars in America, you meet such characters. Also saw my first drive-through post office. (So lazy.)

Downtown Scottsdale

On our last evening we drove to a Mexican restaurant located out of town. We ate so much food, tacos and fajitas, and I was serenaded by a group of Mexicans dressed in big hats and with violins. I tried to disappear into the floor but it just didn't work.

And we forgot to take any photos because we spent so much time sunbathing and at other times were too hot to carry anything with us. Hence the blatant use of Google Images.

Part 6 coming soon :) Hope you can wait!

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