A “Phull Phun Philly” Week

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Guys.  There was no school for Zach in August.  Or September, until the 11th.  After the beach, it was just me, Z and G.  So I decided to do a “Phull Phun Philly” Week (yay, alliteration), just me and the boys.  By the way, we just got back from the Academy of Natural Sciences today (aka: the “dinosaur museum”)…


Sunday: Spruce Street Harbor Park


Monday:  Chillin’ in the “‘hood”


Tuesday: Philadelphia Zoo


Wednesday:  Smith Memorial Playground


Thursday:  Camden Aquarium


Friday:  Home fun





Not gonna lie, kinda loving life right now 🙂




Verti-NO and a Stepback Week


OHHHHH Friends. Yet another random health mishap in the life of Mrs. Upsanddownes 😉  Let me set the scene:  it was husband’s birthday Sunday. I had worked a convention for Nest in the morning,


And then took Z to husband’s baseball game.


On the way home I stopped at Reading Terminal to pick up cannoli for the birthday boy.  At about three blocks from my house, I experienced a MAJOR dizzy spell like nothing else I have EVER experienced. I thought it was a fluke and continued to drive a few feet, but it continued.  So I pulled over and got out, putting my head between my knees to try to get my bearings.  I didn’t know what to think. I was SO scared. The following thoughts went through my head:  is there carbon monoxide in the car (is Zach ok!?!)?  Am I having a stroke?  Migraine?  (Never had one and my head didn’t hurt Brain tumor?!  ARGG  worst. feeling. ever.  Panic set in.  I somehow made it home, nursed Z, put him down for a nap and collapsed on my bed to “wait it out.”  It didn’t get better.  I tried to look at my phone and everything was spinning.  I just had this horrible gut feeling that something was REALLY wrong, so I called my neighbor to come over to watch Z until my mom came from the ‘burbs and I walked teetered to Pennsylvania Hospital’s ER.  Thank God I made it without passing out, puking, or falling over.  Long story short, I was there for about 5 hours.  It was kinda awful.  After some tests, it was confirmed that I had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). From the WebMD

What is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)?

Vertigo is the feeling that you are spinning or the world is spinning around you. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear camera. It usually causes brief vertigo spells that come and go.

For some people, BPPV goes away by itself in a few weeks. But it can come back again.

BPPV is not a sign of a serious health problem.

What causes BPPV?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a problem in the innerear. Tiny calcium “stones” inside your inner ear canals help you keep your balance. Normally, when you move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones move around. But things like infection or inflammation can stop the stones from moving as they should. This sends a false message to your brainand causes the vertigo.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is a feeling that you are spinning or tilting when you are not. This can happen when you move your head in a certain way, like rolling over in bed, turning your head quickly, bending over, or tipping your head back.

BPPV usually lasts a minute or two. It can be mild, or it can be bad enough to make you feel sick to your stomach and vomit. You may even find it hard to stand or walk without losing your balance.

 Anyway, it sucked.  But they gave me a great anti-vertigo med to use until the problem resolves itself.  I am so thankful it wasn’t more serious (and that I was home to feed Z and put him to bed).  It is so scary when you feel so out of control and don’t know what is going on!  Anyone else ever experience this?!  Horrible.

OK, so this week seemed like a perfect one for a step-back week from half-marathon training.  I have about a month until the big day!

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Funny, because Caitlin was just talking about stepback weeks. From her blog:

What Coach Marni calls an Active Recovery Week is basically a Stepback Week. What does this mean? Well, in any decent training plan for longer events, every month of so, you’ll get a break (in running training plans, you usually see about 25% less mileage during a stepback week).  Stepback weeks are necessary for two reasons: 

  • Physical:  Stepback weeks give your body a break and allow time for muscles to heal properly.  Avoiding injury is key, and stepbacks really give your joints and bones a break from the constant pounding of ANY distance training plan.
  • Mental:  Most importantly (to me), stepbacks give you a mental break.  Especially for a longer race like a half or full marathon or a longer triathlon, the training program is such a huge time commitment.  Stepbacks give you some breathing room and help boost your spirits.  I always come back from a stepback week ready to go!


AMEN.  This girl needed a stepback week both mentally AND physically (due to vertigo and heavy legs) this week. My average mileage has been 30-35 throughout training, but will be less this week in order to “step back.”  I will still do a long run so to stay on training schedule, but here is what my Stepback week has/will look like:

Saturday- OFF due to travel

Sunday- OFF due to vertigo

Monday- 4 miles, easing back after vertigo bout (also thought I could “jog” the crystals back into place LOL.  Really.

Tuesday- 7 miles (SPLIT: 4.25 hills on treadmill, later 2.75 easy)

Wednesday- 4 miles outdoors on track (was supposed to be easy but felt soooo hard, like one mile was really ten)

Yea, that pic pretty much sums it up.

Yea, that pic pretty much sums it up.

Thursday- cross train (elliptical?)

Friday- haven’t decided


Sunday- Long Run

Anyway, that’s the stepback.  How have you been?!

Community Run For Boston; For Jessica Downes

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I am typing this while glued to the TV in anticipation of the capture of the second perpetrator in the horrible terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.  I, myself, have been greatly affected emotionally by this incident, as it hits close to home and makes my heart hurt for all involved.  In fact, there was a Jessica Downes who was severely injured in the attacks and I have had some reach out, inquiring if it was me, in a strange coincidence, her name being Jessica K (maiden name same initial as mine) Downes, a fellow runner.  Both she and her new husband, married in August, lost a leg in the brutal attack.  Here is an article about this lovely young woman. Just heartbreaking. It is so hard to want to help and not know how.  I ordered an Adidas Boston Stands as one shirt, all proceeds going to the One fund.

And Yesterday, in a show of support and solidarity, Philadelphia Runner organized a community run for Boston.  From their site:

Philadelphia Runners Support Boston With Citywide Group Runs. Thursday, April 18th

Join local running groups, running stores, and running friends as we run across Philadelphia on Thursday night to show our support for our friends in Boston. Runs will meet at various locations throughout the city at 7PM. They will then run to City Hall where we will meet in the courtyard at 7:30 and then run together, as a group, down Market Street to Independence Mall (Market between 5th and 6th). From there people will disperse and continue their runs individually or with their group.

All runners and walkers are invited.

I donned a Boston-esque shirt

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and headed out to run down to City Hall.

photo 5

The scene was powerful, emotional and fitting.

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We then all ran down Market Street to Independence Mall where some more words and chants were heard.  It was a beautiful way to show support for those affected.  WE RUN BECAUSE WE CAN.  Much love.

Neighborhood Block Party- Memorial Day 2010

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I must start this post by saying singing, “Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, oh who are the people in your neighborhood?  They’re the people that you meet when you’re walking down the street, they’re the people that you meet each day.”


BOY do I like did I liked that show!  OK, flashback over…return to the present!

Well, guys, all I can say is…my ‘hood KNOWS how to partay!  We have the most amazing get-togethers for all of the “good weather” holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, etc.) and we do it up!  5-B STYLE, of course…






…In no particular order, of course!  There were also other goodies:




...and YUM

Let’s just say people had FUN…A LOT of FUN…maybe too much? LOL

Fun with friends…


Sorry, Husband, your man is off the market


This news WILL upset my Husband and ALL Philadelphia Phillies PHEMALE PHANS..hehe…J-Roll (Jimmy Rollins) has gone and got hitched.  I know…sad, but true…

According to Philly.com, the marriage took place in the the Cayman Islands this weekend. 

Congratulations to Jimmy Rollins and Johari Smith. Just days after an earthquake hit the Cayman Islands, their Saturday wedding went off without a hitch. The Phillies shortstop and Smith, a fitness instructor and Germantown Friends graduate, were married at the Ritz Carlton on Grand Cayman before guests including Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. Phillies President Dave Montgomery, hitting coach Milt Thompson and former MLB player Mario Diaz were also among guests and Rollins’ former teammate Bobby Abreu, now with the Angels, was a groomsman. Cayman Islands wedding planner JoAnne Brown Events Celebrations designed and produced the destination wedding.  (from www.philly.com)

That would have been a GREAT event to attend!  Look at the guest list!  Sorry Husband (this was his man-crush), I will be awaiting you with tissues this evening.

Here’s a link the the photog’s website (I know Husband will ask me for it :-))…

OK, bye for now!  Toodles!

Um, my dear, that might NOT be a “shin splint”


So, yesterday I tried to be “proactive” by going to a sports medicine doctor for some perceived “might be could be injuries.”  I had mentioned that I was planning on going and had made an appointment.  I was going to go to the 3B’s (Booth Bartolozzi and Balderston) but was referred across the street to Dr. Maenpaa, who trained under “the 3 B’s).

This guy is AWESOME!  The office that I went to is at 829 Spruce St Ste 308 Philadelphia, PA, but he also has offices in Devon and near Rittenhouse in Philly as well.  Anyway, Dr. Maenpaa was awesome.  He KNEW I was nervous by the fact that I could NOT shut my mouth (not really abnormal) and the look on my face…

It was SOOO cool.  He had me walk up and down the hall several times and observed my gate, my posture, my feet, etc.  Then he examined my shoulder.  The dude had the NERVE to tell me I needed to work on my abs to help my posture, to which I scoffed and planked it up for him for a few minutes (he asked!)…

Anyway, he was simply saying that strengthening the abs is good for the lower back, where I have pain a lot (due to being TOP-heavy naturally, thank you, and my poor posture).  OK, so here is the low-down on my two “pain places…”

1.  Shoulder- turns out that I have a “larger wing on my left side” (where the pain is behind my shoulder blade).  This means that if my right shoulder blade is, say, 3 inches to the right of my spine, my left is maybe 4 inches…does that make sense? So I am incredible imbalanced. This created much tension and resulting tendinopathy (can include both inflammation and microtears in the tendons, according to my favorite site webMD).  I have to get it xrayed because he fears there might be calcium deposits in there that he might have to “needle out.” I did not even ASK what the heck that meant, because if it is what it sounds like it is, I don’t wanna know!  For now, he is sending me to PT at a place around my house, where they will “work on it,” prescribed 800 mg. of ibuprofen, and after reviewing the x-rays he will tell me where to go from there.

2.  My shin- left shin has been “bothering me” (aka feels like a shin splint that won’t go away and hurts when I walk run and rest…cute).  He is concerned that it is a STRESS fracture!  OY!  Must get that x-rayed.  BUT, I recently had a Dexa scan which would have picked something like that up and it was clear, so if anything is there it is miniscule! 

Either way, when I got home, I jumped right on the treadmill (of course)…I will not “rest” until I am fully diagnosed..I know, stubborn.  I told them though, ” I didn’t get here from resting and I am certainly not going to leave here resting.”  I know, I must be a GREAT patient 😉  NOT!

So, after my run, I was sure to do some great stretching!  I did some yoga moves as follows…

"Butterfly pose" or "Baddha Konasana" to stretch out the groin

Forward fold with treadmill aid… (for the hammies) 

I also did standing forward folds like this:

The sanskrit word for forward fold is Uttanasana

Then, I did Janu Sirsasana on both sides…


(those pictures are from www.yogajournal.com love it!)

Finally, I banged out one of these babies

I had to ask Shiya what this pose was called- she is the best!  By the way, it’s called Bharadvajasana and she kindly directed me to this

Bharadvajasana I

which is what it looks like when you bind in this posture 😉  Thanks, Shiya!  Please check out Shanti Yoga Shala…offer is still standing to come practice with me there!  Email me at jessdownes1@gmail.com anytime!

Anyway, definitely comment/drop me an email if you have had any experience with those injuries above…I need all the help I can get, and given the positive mental state running puts me in, I’m not resting 😉


Oh, Mother Nature, you are TOO funny! ;-)

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So,  I guess it’s a good thing that most of our friends live in the city because the party that was supposed to be tonight has been hindered a bit by the snow I “ordered up.”  Husband says it will be nice for the holiday party atmosphere but I’m pretty sure he is just thinking “hmmmm more nuggets for me!”  heehee Oscar LOOOVES marking the snow!

Nice Osc.

Um yea.  So while we ponder that, more on last night’s run.  I am still soooo proud of myself and of course had to take a proof pic for myself!


Boy, did I look the part, huh?


And boy did I refuel!  Yumyum alert!

So I am actually NOT that sore today. I think it is due to the fact that post-run I have been busting out some yoga moves targeted towards certain areas of my body that I feel need a lil’ TLC.  Yesterday is was a LOT of forward folds, butterfly and some pigeon 😉 Above all, even though my practice is not as regular as I would like it to be right now, yoga has taught me so much about my body and mindfulness. 

OK, moving on to “Wrapfest 2009!”  Last night after my lil’ PR, I did some serious wrappy wrap!  Husband and I have a little routine we follow each year…I wrap and place the gifts on the steps leading upstairs, and then he arranges them under the tree- he is SOOOO good at it!

So , I also wanted to show some REALLY cool stocking stuffers I got the other night on my successful shopping hunt!

Heehee this NEVER gets old...who was naughty this year?!?!?

For my in-laws (guess which is for who!)

And these for a friend who kindly invited me to a post-holiday cocktail partay!

Hmmm…who will be the owner of these dreamy-smelling babies?!?!?

OK, enough blabbing for now 😉  Time for partay prep! See you soon, bloggies!


Oh, Whole Foods, what you do to me…

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I just LOVE Whole Foods and the dangerous awesome thing is that it is around the corner from chez Downes!  HAHA!  Anyway, tonight I went for some goodies for dinner- we ended up having such a yummy dinner (and all from Whole Foods)…jasmine rice, chicken simmered in a masala sauce for a looong time (until it was sooo tender), baby bellas and peas.  YUM.

So some random Whole Foods thoughts…

                                                                                                    I wish I loved (but dont)…

It always looks and smells so yummy, though!

                                                                                                …and DO love (but wish i didn’t)

If you don't know what it is, don't worry about it...it's embarassing

Looked SOOOO yummy (“naturally flavored” gummy bears in cool flavors like goji berry)…until I saw the price tag- that glass jar—-40 bocks!  woah.  nope.  not that much, i don’t like ’em…

And I LOVE Late July (both the products, like those below AND the time of year!)


Anyway, the trip night was awesome!  Hope yours was too!  What is YOUR favorite Whole Food or like-store (Trader Joe’s etc.) product????

“Don’t stop beleeving!”

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Not a spelling error.  Check out the coolest play on words I’ve seen in a while…GO PHILS!

ObviousLEE we don’t have to CHASE the pennant any MOYER but we still have to figure out HOWARD going to bring another one home. We have to keep ROLLINS up the STAIRS because its WERTH yelling with our hands in the EYRE and hanging off the LIDGE because it will all end in a VICTORINO in 2009. If they follow the MANUEL, the PHILLIES fans will be FELIZ and we will RAUUUL….. Go PHILLIES!