Thursday, July 21, 2011

False Start...Back to Square One and Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

My first run since "The Stress Fracture Incident" (I thought if I called it something official, I might feel better about it) was two Saturdays ago.  My runs/workouts have gone like this since that point:

Saturday 7/9: *First run* 3.4 miles outside, 9:18 pace (stupid, stupid, stupid)

Sunday 7/10: Hot Yoga, 1.5 hours (awesome, awesome, awesome)

Tuesday 7/12: 4.5 miles on the treadmill, first and last 5 minutes walking for "warm-up" and "cool-down" (as you'll note, each run getting progressively stupider) *Felt a slight twinge in what I would've characterized as my tibia, in the same spot that hurt before.  Did I stop?  No.* (SUPER STUPID)

Thursday 7/14: 45 minutes on the elliptical at level 5, 4.36 miles (I knew by now that things were starting to go downhill, so I thought if I eased off a bit and did this instead of running I might be able to save myself.  A weak attempt at easing off, to say the least.)

Sunday 7/17: Hot Yoga, 1.5 hours (again, awesome)

Tuesday 7/19: 3.4 miles outside, 9:05 pace (do I have to even say it?)

Today 7/21: 3.0 miles outside, 9:03 pace (*sigh*) *My tibia hurt slightly at the beginning of this run, better during the rest of the run, but ached noticeably after I got home.*

It's plain to see where things went wrong here.  RIGHT IN THE VERY BEGINNING.  I believe I may have posted something about how I "learned my lesson" on this injury thing, wherein I wrote this really "thoughtful" list of things I was going to do with this new might have even involved me laughing soulfully in a field of wildflowers or something dramatic like that...  The first thing on that list was, and I quote:

"I will start back slowly (as much as it is going to KILL me).  I'm just going to have to force this on myself."

Man, what a crock of sh*t!  Who writes this stuff??  Obviously, it couldn't be me...

So, I won't drag this out any longer.  My leg was either a) not ready to run yet or b) not ready to be pounded on in the less-than-gradual manner that I chose. (Or both??)  Now, the same pain is back.  It's not as bad, but it can't be ignored.  I told my husband that my thinking was that I would run on it like I wanted to and either hope I got lucky and things turned out well, or get unlucky, have things turn out less-than-well and realize that this gradual thing is actually a necessity.  Unlucky it is.  Water jogging here I come.

And, on to other things...It's time for

Thank you (I think) 50 after 40 Jim and Fast Cory for suggesting that I take part in this little exercise that seems to be all the rage these days in blogland.  So, you all know the deal by now.  You ask me anything you want, and I will try to answer your questions as honestly as I can (some names may have to be changed to protect the innocent, but I'll do what I can).  Now, I've never received more than 16 comments on any one post, so I'm figuring I won't get very many questions.  So, for those of you who do leave me a question, make it GOOD!  Hit me with your best shot!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Special Hidden Talent (aka SHiT)

Okay, so yesterday SUAR set forth a challenge.  She shared with us her Special Hidden Talent (which she termed her 'SHiT') and asked her readers to share their own 'SHiT' through commenting, blogging or vlogging about it.  I decided to go the vlog route, since my last vlog attempt was so horrendous that I could not even bring myself to post it.  I have to say, this vlog is not any less embarrassing, but isn't that the point of this exercise?  So, here goes...check out my SHiT!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Everything is Spiritual ~ Church and Hot Yoga

Sunday was an incredibly spiritual day for me.  No, seriously.  I think I wrote in my very first blog post about spirituality and a sense of connectedness to everything, but I've pretty much stayed away from the subject otherwise.  I'm not sure why.  I guess I've worried about offending some or making myself feel exposed or vulnerable.  But, quite honestly, my belief is that everything is spiritual.  And, if that's true, then it's something that should come through in all you do, say, write.

I certainly didn't come up with the phrase or idea that everything is spiritual myself.  In our adult Sunday school class, we watched a DVD of a presentation (lecture? sermon? talk?) called "Everything is Spiritual" done by a guy named Rob Bell.  I've seen a few other videos he's done and his ideas and how he presents them really speak to me.

You know how you can have a certain belief or sense of some truth but can't exactly put it into words, and then someone puts that belief or truth so eloquently into words that you feel like they've just solidified it in your own mind in a way that it hadn't yet been solidified?

Yeah.  That's what happened to me.

I'm not going to go into the details of his presentation, because I'm not sure I even can.  But, the idea that everything is spiritual rang so true. That The Divine (or whatever you want to call it) is not just in a certain place, at a certain time, with a certain group of people.  Rather, The Divine can be found everywhere, at any time and in everything.  Notice that I said "can be found" everywhere and not "is" everywhere.  This was one of the things that really struck me.  He says somewhere near the end of the presentation that "what you look for, you will find".  I thought that was incredibly powerful and empowering in so many ways.  The idea that your intentions and the posturing of your own heart will guide you to your truth.  Whoa.  I'm going to try to remember that each day when I wake up.  What you look for, you will find.

Everyone has different things that feed their spirit/soul.  For a lot of you who are reading this that thing is running, or biking, or swimming, or yoga, or cooking, or any combination of these things.  These are things that fill us up, make us feel more ourselves, bring us closer to what we might feel is our purpose.  I'm grateful to have the belief that these things, these any day of the week, any place on earth, any hour of the day kinds of things can allow me to connect with The Divine.  Everything I do, every interaction I have with another, is an opportunity to connect with The Divine.

And then there was Hot Yoga...

I've been wanting to try this Hot Yoga class for a while now.  It actually didn't look like it was going to work out for me to go on Sunday night, but as fate would have it, I made it there.  As I was driving there I was thinking, "So what do you do when it's 99 degrees outside?  You go to Hot Yoga!!"  Yeah, it makes perfect sense.  As I walked through the doors of the classroom I was hit by a Wall of Hot.  I immediately started to wonder what I was getting myself into.  I had already joked to my husband about passing out during the class.  I started thinking it might not be much of a joke after all.

The class was crowded but I found myself a spot near the back of class, and right near one of the industrial looking heaters.  Oh boy.  The two people I had inserted myself between (they were having a lively conversation when I came in and squeezed between them) were immediately friendly and included me right away.  It was my first time in the class but I already felt like I belonged.  Very nice indeed ~ I was already sensing The Divine here.  I was also sensing that it was hotter than hades.  Really, I was getting a bit worried about this.  The heat was making me feel almost panicky, like I just wanted to get up and run out of there.  It's unnatural to want to hang out in an oven, right??  But, as I looked around the room, no one else seemed to share my concern, so I sucked it up and tried to embrace the heat.

As the class began I made sure to take it easy and guzzle as much water as I could.  The teacher mentioned that the room was unusually hot because of the outside temps and the windows that get evening sun, and that the room was probably at about 100 degrees or so.  She was really careful to ask us to take frequent water breaks.

And then I started sweating.  I mean really sweating.  And it.was.awesome.  I could feel myself melting right into the room, right into each position.  It didn't hurt that she played some great music too--a huge plus in my book.  At one point, after some great poses and a great song ("Pass It Around" by Donovan Frankenreiter, by the way), I turned to the guy to my left and quietly said "This kicks ass!".  He just laughed and nodded, as if to say "Yes, girl who's name I do not know, this does, indeed, kick ass."

I was amazed at what my body could do at these temperatures.  My hamstrings tend to be pretty tight, but by the end of the class when we were doing our seated forward folds I could put my stomach on my thighs.  That does not happen under normal conditions.  I think I kind of lifted my head up to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing--um, hello, my stomach is touching my thighs people!!  But, *strangely*, everyone else just seemed to be doing their own thing.

The instructor said a few things that also really struck me:

1. Humility.  She mentioned the importance of humility, and that this is often not something that's encouraged in our society.  She was talking about it in reference to only doing what you can in a pose--not pushing your body beyond what it's able to do right now.  But, it's an idea that I think can be carried over to many other realms.

2. Be present.  Be here.  She encouraged us to be fully present in each pose, to let the mind-clutter go if only for a moment.  This is something I struggle with in my daily life.  Being fully present for my kids.  I'll continue to remind myself to be more fully present for them.

3. To receive, you must first ask.  I loved this.  It's okay to ask for what you need.  And, what you look for, you will find.

One of my own truths is that the sure way to happiness is a grateful heart.  I was so grateful for a day that filled me up so fully.  It's now Monday night, and I'm still feeling the glow of my encounters with The Divine.  And I'll continue to seek out The Divine in everything I do, in every place I go and in everyone I meet.  What you look for, you will find.

I'm sure this is a touchy or too personal topic for some, but how do you experience The Divine? (or whatever you like to call it!)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Running Gods Have Smiled Down Upon Me!

When I woke up this morning, I knew today was the day!  
I put on my running clothes, my running shoes...

my cheap Timex Ironman watch...

...even my RoadID wrist band.
(You know, in case I fell down 30 steps from my front door
and none of my neighbors could identify me.
The RoadID just makes me feel more runner-y, okay?!)

And I was off!
Well, almost...

My plan was to run only about a mile.  Okay, fine, I didn't actually have a plan.  I just figured I'd get out there and see how I felt.  I was so curious to see how it was going to feel to run again!  And I'd worked it up in my head that I was going to feel like passing out after about 15 steps, so I didn't expect to be able to go far at all.  As I was getting ready to take off my friend (aka Running Partner Extraordinaire) Karen's garage door opened and I saw that she was getting in her car to drive somewhere for her Saturday morning long run (she was starting to get tired of circling round and round our neighborhood to get enough mileage).  I stopped and waived at her and she came out to say hi.  When I told her I was getting ready to go running she said right away that she'd just stay in the neighborhood and run with me.  What a pal!

And we were off!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not, in fact, feel like passing out after 15 steps.  As a matter of fact, I ended up running 3.4 miles at basically the same pace I was running before the injury.  Karen even told me I should probably slow down a bit at the beginning since we were running a sub-9 pace at that point--I obviously had "horse out of the gate" syndrome.  It was warm and humid, but I didn't care about that this morning.  It was good times being back out there.  GOOD TIMES!

I am happy to report that my entire run was completely PAIN FREE!  I guess I had gotten really used to running with the pain because without it, I almost felt like my leg was numb.  You know that feeling when you've had the hiccups and they finally go away, but you're left with this sort of "phantom" hiccup feeling, like you're going to have a hiccup but it just never comes?  Well, it was like that, but with my leg...and not hiccupping.

After our 3.4 miles together, I came home and Karen went back out for another 2.5 or so...

Go Karen!!

So, I had considered taking a video clip of the first part of my run.  After seeing some fun vlog entries from Amanda at Runninghood and Jenn at Running SaneI thought it would be a cool way to document my first run post-injury.  Once I hooked up with Karen though, I ditched the idea.  But, I did record a little video clip of myself sitting on my front porch after my run, speaking very awkwardly (VERY AWKWARDLY) into the camera and sweating to beat the band.  And while I was doing that my neighbor (Karen's husband) came out to get his newspaper and there I was, just sitting on my porch, holding my camera at arm's length from my face, talking to myself.  Embarrassing?  Just a little...I lost it after that and had to start over.  The resulting video was so mortifying that I absolutely CAN NOT post it on here!!'s bad.  But, I still think the vlog idea is really fun, so maybe some other time...

I am feeling so grateful today for being able to get back out there and run this morning!

So, what do you think?  Do you like seeing people's vlog entries?

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm Gonna Run Again!

I feel as if I'm embarking on a new beginning of sorts.  Because, yes...

The time has finally come, people!
I am now clear to start RUNNING again.

I feel like this is the beginning of a new chapter in running for me.  A little more than a year ago, for the first time in a long time, I decided to put one foot in front of the other to see where running would take me.  Throughout the months that followed I went farther and faster than I'd ever imagined I could (I should mention here that I have a pretty crappy, limited capacity for imagination), and my hopes and expectations for my running just kept getting bigger.  I did some things right, and I did some things really wrong.  I went about running in a pretty haphazard fashion.  I didn't respect my body's signals and, in return, my body sort of stood there with it's hand on it's hip and said "Oh really?  We'll just see about that..."  My body decided to teach me a lesson.

The lesson was:  Hey doofball!  You just started really running a year ago, you're almost 35, and you're not doing a whole lot in the way of stretching, strength training, cross-training, or any of that other crap you could be doing to make this easier on yourself, not to mention helping you become a better runner to boot!

Well, ten-four good body! (ha ha, I made a funny. sorry.) I have had 6 long weeks to think about this lesson, and I read you loud and clear.  So, as I start over again, I want to make the best of this "clean slate" and here's how:

  • I will start back slowly (as much as it is going to KILL me).  I'm just going to have to force this on myself.
  • I will continue on with the yoga I've gotten back into.  Doing the yoga has made me realize just how inflexible I was and I understand how important the flexibility is in preventing further injury.
  • I will incorporate cross-training into my routine in the forms of yoga, spin and swimming.  Yes, I said swimming.  ACK!  It scares me just to write that out, but I've been inspired by Kris at The Heart and Humor of Being Human.  She recently began a swimming routine and made it sound doable even for a swim-a-phobe like me.  Now, I will say that I will not be doing a whole lot of this cross-training until the school year starts because I just don't make it over to our gym very often during the summer while my kids are home with me.  But, come September, when my kids are both in school and I'm working at the preschool, which just happens to be about 3 minutes from my gym, I should have no excuses.
  • I will start running more races and will look for a charitable cause to run for.  I see now that races are a great way to keep your training purposeful and on track, and running for a charitable cause gives your training real meaning.  I feel lucky to be able to do these things and should show the universe some gratitude by making it count for others.
In preparation for some early morning runs the alarm clock has been moved back over to my nightstand!

So, here I go...can't wait to start putting one foot in front of the other again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Firecrackers for Your Mouth -- Happy 4th of July!

It occurred to me that it's been a really long time since I've posted a recipe.  I love finding and creating new recipes and I love to cook.  Making food makes me happy!  So here's what made me happy today:

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos!

I found this recipe in the most recent issue of Cooking Light magazine and made it today for the second time.  I made a few minor modifications.

2 slices center cut bacon
8 oz. 1/3-less fat cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
14 small jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
Cooking spray

1.  Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (we have a gas grill that gets insanely hot, so we only turn it on to low).

2. Cook the bacon according to package directions until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan to drain on paper towels (I actually cook my bacon in the microwave or the oven) and, once cooled, crumble.

3. Combine crumbled bacon, cheeses, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a bowl, stirring to combine.

4. Spread cheese mixture into each jalapeno half.  Place peppers, cheese side up, onto a piece of foil that's been sprayed with cooking spray and placed on the grill.  Grill for approximately 8 minutes, until bottoms of the peppers are charred and cheese mixture is slightly browned.

I made enough for tonight and tomorrow night!

5.  Place peppers on a serving platter and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped tomato and cilantro.

They turned out beautifully and you might be wondering where the picture of the final product is, but my dang camera died!  So you'll just have to believe me when I tell you that they looked and tasted great.  They've got a perfect amount of heat to them, I love the fresh garlic and green onion flavor, the slight tang from the lime juice, and the bacon gives them a really nice smoky flavor.  Needless to say, I popped more than a few of these "firecrackers" in my mouth tonight.

What special foods will you be making for the 4th?

Happy 4th of July!  Enjoy your holiday and good luck to all those running races tomorrow!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Progressive Eating and 6am Yoga

It occurs to me that I haven't been talking about eating NEARLY enough lately.  I mean, I'm not running right now (FYI, 10 more days), so it's the perfect opportunity to focus on food for a while.  Many of you have heard of the term Progressive Run.

"A Progressive Run sounds just like what it means. The run gets progressively faster each mile. If you are having problems closing out a race or holding onto your pace in the later stages, I strongly recommend this workout."

But, have you ever heard the term Progressive Eating?  Probably not.  That's because I just made it up.  It's the kind of workout I imagine competitive eaters doing.  Possibly one of the grossest sports ever, but a sport nonetheless.  Well, the other day I realized that more often than not, I am a Progressive Eater.  You know, you wake up in the morning, breathe in the possibilities of a new day and eat a petite bowl of fruit with just a dollop of non-fat plain yogurt.  You think to yourself smugly "MAN I'm healthy!  Check ME out!"

Then 10am rolls around and you wonder what the heck you were thinking with that pathetic petite and dollop crap, and you fix yourself a proper bowl of cereal.  Phew, that's better.

Now it's 12:30 and you've obviously burned through that bowl of cereal by now, so you make yourself a sandwich and some Sun Chips (those are healthy, right?) and I'd love to say a side salad, but no, that would just use up sandwich and Sun Chip space.

3:00.  STARVING.  Fix another bowl of cereal possibly.  Maybe some toast with some more fruit.  But not a petite bowl this time.  You just eat as much as you can right out of the bowl you've got the fruit in or the blueberry or strawberry container.

**At this point in the post, you should insert the sound of a train chugging along at increasing speed, as if going downhill without the breaks on**

5:30.  Start making dinner and "taste test" everything as you go along.  Feeling kinda full from all your "taste testing" by the time you sit down to eat, but it's dinner time, you gotta eat.  Feeling like you might bust by the end of the meal.

And a good dinner it was.  That's a Cajun Hamburger under those avocado and tomato slices.
**Your family goes for a long walk/bike ride around the neighborhood between dinner and bedtime, burning at least 87 calories.**

Your after dinner "workout" leaves you with a huge hungry whole in your belly, so you must have another bowl of cereal at about 10:30.

And the train finally pulls into the's bedtime.

As I read back over this, it doesn't seem all that bad.  And most of what I eat is pretty healthy.  But, some days I do feel like a runaway train with my eating.

Progressive Running: good
Progressive Eating: probably bad
(you like how I leave my options open with the use of 'probably'?)

Mine eyes finally saw the glory of 5:30am this morning!  Since I haven't been going on my early morning runs (10 more days, if you didn't catch that first reference) I've been letting myself sleep in.  At first this seemed like a treat.  Then it started to get out of hand.  I actually slept until 8 o'clock one morning last week!!  AACK!!  This did not feel so much like a treat.  I felt like I'd missed half the day!  And I didn't feel more rested, I felt groggy.  Ick.  I did not want to do that again.  And, to be perfectly honest, I've really been missing seeing the early morning hours.  There's just nothing like being awake for the beginning of a new day.  So, yesterday I signed myself up to go to a 6am yoga class.  The alarm went off at 5:25 and I happily rolled out of bed.  I won't say I "popped up" or anything, but I didn't begrudge the awakening.  I drove to the yoga studio with the windows rolled down and the music up.  The sun was rising, the air was fresh (as fresh as it can be with 80% humidity anyway) and I was glad to be awake.  The yoga class was good.  Only about 7 of us.  I love to start the day with a good stretch.  I need to remember to make this a part of my routine even after I get back to running.

Are you a Progressive Eater?

Do you enjoy being up early in the morning?