By: Revanche

Health and Fitness, March

April 1, 2013

March was WAY better than February. Hoo-rah!

I’m not back in the gym yet, but have extended Doggle walks on every nice day so that we both get our Vitamin D and stretch our legs a little more.

One night, I had this nightmare that PiC signed me up for a marathon, because he decided to run even more than that, and for some reason an ex-classmate I really didn’t/don’t like was going to run with me so of course I couldn’t admit that I couldn’t do it. Yeah, toughing out a marathon when you can’t run a full mile yet – that’s an awesome idea.

It’s probably an indication of how much desperately I want to be my “normal” self. The one who could run a mile without being utterly wiped out, or work out for a few hours and actually enjoy the process. Of course, that’s getting ahead of myself in a big way. It’s as frustrating to be this thoroughly out of shape as it was to be in debt; it feels like someone’s chained my wrist to my opposite ankle. Awkward AND limiting!

It would be amazing to have a workout buddy who can hang with me in the little leagues and work our way up together. Exercise is much more fun as a cooperative endeavor.

Ruth tumblred a thing about doors and pain

All true and so relevant.  I’ve never talked about it but I really hate doors, and heavy doors that remind me that I’m weaker than I used to be, or just plain make me look weak.  This is why I “shoulder” or “hip” doors instead of pushing them when I can.  There’s an amazing number of things that are much more difficult to manage b/c of pain: pocket doors, can openers, pots before food’s in, pots after food’s in, fancy cookware, lifting wet laundry in and out of washer and dryer. Round door handles suck, scissors suck, skinny pens suck. Yoga mega sucks because it’s so appealing, and not possible to do without hands/arms. Life is a strange thing viewed through the lens of what you can do or handle with only a very light touch.

It’s easier to dismiss said things I can’t do anymore or do well as jerks. All jerks. And then move right along.


Using different grains and making more from-scratch recipes has been on my mind a lot lately; it seems like it’d be easier to eat more healthy foods this way. I finally had the energy (and the ridiculous need to procrastinate) to experiment with a couple recipes: Pasta and Barley Soup and Bucatini All’amatriciana.

The Pasta and Barley Soup was incredibly easy:

1 cup of ditalina pasta
3 liters of vegetable broth
1 diced onion
lots of diced garlic
1 diced potato
1/2 c diced celery*
2 diced carrots*
3/4 c barley
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling**
Parmigiana Reggiano**

* I only used 1 diced carrot and substituted in one extra potato for the other carrot and for the celery I didn’t have on hand. So, extra carbalicious!
** For topping the soup and serving.

1. Saute onions and garlic.
2. Add broth and barley to simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the vegetables and pasta to cook for 6-8 minutes. Original recipe called for 6 minutes but I had to go to 8 minutes to fully cook through. Add salt and pepper to season.


I played with the ingredients a bit, cutting back on some ingredients (broth, pasta) to make a smaller batch. It was perfect for the first seating but needed extra broth for the next day reheating.

Your turn: what did you do in March to be a little healthier and happier?

15 Responses to “Health and Fitness, March”

  1. Linda says:

    I started riding lessons in March, which make me very happy and provide great exercise. I started the lessons to prepare for a trip to Scotland in October where I plan to do some riding (hopefully a couple half-day riding excursions). There’s nothing that brings me more happiness these days than my 30-minute riding lessons every Sunday. I wish I could fit in at least one more lesson each week. Heck, I wish I could be around horses and/or ride every day. I know I’d be a much happier person if I could!

    • Revanche says:

      Riding lessons! WOO!
      And Scotland, that sounds so very exciting! I used to pore through riding adventure travel deals where you got to ride every day for a week or 10 days. *drool*

      And I agree – horse time is always more happy time!

  2. Sense says:

    Hurrah! for feeling better. I think the approaching warm weather always makes things a little brighter. We’re still in shorts and t-shirts weather here (mostly) but can feel things getting cooler and the days much shorter already. I think it’s starting to take a toll–I burst into tears today for no real reason. Of course, that could be non-equinox related but I’m blaming the shorter days for now.

    I still go to physio for my broken shoulders. Not broken bones, but nonetheless broken. It is definitely frustrating to not be able to do the simplest tasks because of pain, not to mention the stuff you love–I can sympathize. I love my physio time each week, though. 1) my guy is like a therapist/friend. He listens to my shoulder complaints first, and then we start in on the rest of my life. He always remembers what I say from week to week, too. All while massaging me and making me feel better. Why can’t I find a guy like that (that I don’t have to pay)? 2) I am learning so much about how all the pieces of my body work together (or don’t). It’s fascinating how something as simple as shifting your weight on your feet ever so slightly can affect how your whole body moves. $18 a week well spent!

    • Revanche says:

      Warm weather does make life a little more bearable. Things aren’t warm enough for my taste but a brief visit to SoCal helped.
      So glad that your physio is good – listens AND makes you feel better physically? That’s a double boon. Who knows, maybe there will be more good guys in your future from here 😉

  3. I cannot wait for it to warm up in Chicago so I can actually enjoy the walks with Ralphie-pug..right now it’s about 40 and a bit blustery so he does his business and we hustle back inside! Can’t wait to run here too!

    Haha, I have nightmares about marathons too and I’m a runner!

    • Revanche says:

      Oh yeah, Chicago was RIDICULOUSLY cold a few weeks ago. PiC still went running but I consider him a little nutty on the matter!

      Good to know that real runners don’t always have GOOD dreams about marathons. 😉

  4. Serendipity says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling more like yourself! I’ve been trying to compete in marathons lately ( more specifically 5Ks) and I’ve been doing longer than normal walks. I had really wanted to lose 10 lbs by June 1st so I could feel more comfortable by the pool in a bikini. Hey Jude’s parents have a nice pool and I’m sort of anxious.

    • Revanche says:

      I love that you’re doing 5Ks lately – everyone has been talking about that a bit and making me want to join them. And the benefit to being able to run like the wind? You both look and feel better!

  5. Ms. S says:

    You’re right, it’s great to have a workout buddy. Glad you’re getting better and have extended your walks. I hope that progress continues.

  6. Jenny B. says:

    Glad to hear that you’re feeling better this month, hopefully it stays that way for the months to come. I always drool over your thoughts on what you should cook for dinner (on your twitter) and I am sure you are a pro in the kitchen compare to the novice over here (me) but I really ought to try the Pasta and Barley soup one of these nights! It sounds simple enough and quite hearty, mMmm!

    Eeps, I don’t know if I did anything in March to be healthier and happier. I am building up to a big decision to be happier in May so we will see how that goes!

    • Revanche says:

      My fingers are crossed on the health front. I’m definitely not a great cook but I’m willing to try new things so it keeps things interesting. Definitely let me know how you like the soup! It is so easy to experiment with that one, adding and subtracting ingredients.

      Now you’ve got me curious for May!

  7. Wrapped up the physical therapy — I’ve exhausted this year’s Social Security benefits for PT and of course can’t afford to continue going three times a week on my own dime. Or any times a week! 😀

    Sat in front of the computer a lot less. Apparently just sitting down contributes to the pain.

    Today: decided to kick the caffeine habit again, to see if the heart palpitations are connected to the coffee. Otherwise, on Monday it’s back to the quack. grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

    Several months ago, I changed out ALL the doorknobs in the house for lever handles. They are sooo much better than accursed doorknobs.

    • Revanche says:

      Lever handles: Genius for the hands! I never understood how much these “little” things added up to put stress on a system.

      Have you considered a standing desk? A colleague put together a homegrown version for about 70 bucks and has helped with the repetitive stress problems enormously apparently.

      My fingers are crossed that the heart palpitations are quelled by cutting off the coffee!

  8. Sharon says:

    I lurk on your blog occasionally and I sympathise very much with you re: your pain.
    Today I was on a forum and I read this, and I thought of you. The link is here:
    The lady there said she experienced an 80% improvement in her chronic pain condition.
    I hope it helps you. All the best.

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