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?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Sweaty, The Kona Ironman and Bacon (this is just for you, Amanda!)

Today I actually got sweaty.  WOOHOO!!  Man, I've really been missing that drippy, stinky feeling.

Did I go for a run, you ask?
No, I did not.
Only 12 more days though.
But, who's counting??
Oh, yeah...ME.

I was over at my parent's house and noticed the recumbent bike, that I'd forgotten they owned, in their office.  I just happened to have on my running capris, a sports bra, a tank top and my running shoes.

Because this is the sad state of affairs:
Me wearing my running clothes even though
I know I won't be doing any running.
Hey, if it makes me feel better, right?

And, while I would've scoffed at that bike a few months ago...

"Stationary bike?  Pshaw.  I'm a RUN-NER.  Duh." that thing looked pretty sweet.  Since my kids were busy watching Alvin and The Chipmunks on demand, I seized my opportunity and got on that bike.  I messed around for a few minutes with the Fitness Test mode and realized I was starting to get downright damp (I apologize if this is getting too graphic for some of you).  With this realization I decided to get down to business.  So I set that baby on manual, level 4 (you're impressed...I know.) for 25 minutes (not sure how I settled on 25...seemed more doable than 30 and less wimpy then 20, I guess.) and peddled my little heart out.  By 15 minutes into it I was feeling like this was actually pretty hard work, and yes, I was sweating!  (I actually just sang that word out loud as I typed it.)  I ended up going a little over 9 miles on my glorious little 25 minute bike ride.  Hooray for sweat!

So, The Kona Ironman...As I'm sure most of you know, this is the ultimate goal for those who do triathlons. Even a sprint triathlon would scare the hooey out of me, but I know that Kona is where you go if you're the best of the best in this event.  Well, this afternoon I got an email from one of my co-workers (we don't see each other over the summer since we work in a pre-school) who has a son who competes in Ironman and endurance races and does very well.  VERY well.  He just did an Ironman in Oregon/Washington yesterday and qualified for Kona!!  My co-worker knew how excited I'd be to hear about this and how much I'd appreciate her son's accomplishment.  I felt honored that she wanted me to know about it and was so glad to be able to share in her joy and pride.  Her whole family will be heading to Kona to cheer him on later this year.  So exciting!!  I told her if I were rich I'd be buying myself a plane ticket to come cheer him on too!!  I also asked her to tell him that he should start blogging about his road to Kona--I would totally read that!

Annnnnd, on to the bacon.  Amanda, this is just for you!  (Although, I just read about how sick you and your kiddos have been, so I hope this doesn't add insult to injury.)  I just found it funny today that we are a family that basically never has bacon in the house--it is a rare "treat" (not how Amanda would see it).  Strangely, ever since Amanda wrote this post about cooking bacon for her husband on Father's Day and how much she abhors it, and posted on Facebook about how horrible it smells, looks, tastes, we have had bacon THREE TIMES.  What the heck?!  Is Amanda working undercover for the pig farming industry and using some sort of powerful reverse psychology to get us to eat as much bacon as possible??  I don't know, but it all seems a little strange...

So, here's the offending bacon.  I do like to cook it in the oven vs. the stovetop to
avoid all that nasty grease splatter

Here's where all that horrible bacon went tonight, in a Broccoli Salad.

And just so you know that we do eat bacon-free food, here's a couple pics of some other food  we've had lately.  You know how I love to throw out random food shots on here.

Strawberry-Mango "Salsa Salad" that I made up.
Worked great as a fruit salad, but would also be totally delicious on a black-bean burger.

Fresh Tomato "Sauce".  I also made this one up.  (Do you see a color theme here?)

Here's the Fresh Tomato "Sauce" on top of angel hair pasta with fresh mozzarella and a nice grind of black pepper.  This is my kind of meal...

Do you like being sweaty?

Have you ever been to Kona to watch the Ironman?

Anyone else been bingeing on bacon since Amanda said it was gross??

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finding My Zen.

I took my kids to a friends' neighborhood pool this afternoon and on the way home something happened that almost NEVER happens where we live.  I got STUCK IN TRAFFIC.  Now, I realize that I am completely spoiled in not having to commute to a job every day, or even drive around town during times of the day when traffic is heavy.  But, I grew up in the DC/Baltimore area, so I know traffic and have had plenty of harrowing traffic experiences in my lifetime (have you ever driven the DC Beltway? Absolute.Torture.).  As I sat there today, at a complete standstill in a line of cars that I could not see the front of, with my kids asking me "Mom, why are we just sitting here?", a great sense of calm came over me.  Because, you know what?  There wasn't a darn thing I could do about it.  I had already snaked my way through some back roads to try to find a less congested path home, but to no avail.  So we sat, and waited our turn.  I turned up the music, I hung my hand out the window, I noticed how warm the sun was.  I felt pretty zen at that moment.

All of this made me think about how I've been fighting this injury thing.  I haven't really even accepted that I'm actually injured--there was no hard evidence, afterall.  Every day I wake up and wish I was going for a run.  Most days I even consider actually going for a run.  Just a quick one.  Could it really be that bad for me?  Then I step down with too much force coming down the stairs or quicken my step to cross the street to go to the mailbox and the same pain is there.  Again, I'm reminded that something still isn't quite right in that left leg of mine.  Fine, I surrender.  And that's really it:

I need to just surrender.
Because, you know what?
There's not a darn thing I can do about it.

It is what it is, and the more I try to fight it, the harder it becomes.  I do believe that the universe sends things your way for a reason, and the more you try to fight against them the more the universe pushes them back at you until you finally learn your lesson.  It's time to get zen about this injury and stop trying to fight against the flow of things.  I think if I can find a way to stop trying to take a shot at the universe, I could actually come out of this with grace and new found strength.  So, that's what I'm going to work on.

Here I am with my Zen face on.  Don't I look serene? (I also look like I just came home from a run which, sadly, is not true.  Geez, I suppose I could put on something other than a sports bra and a ratty tank top.)

There's my Zen legs.  That left one sure doesn't look stress fractured!

Things I have been doing, instead of running:

1.  Yoga - as many consecutive Sun Salutations (Ashtange style, baby!) as I can handle when I get up in the morning.  This has been a huge positive in what seems like a huge negative.  Man, was I totally inflexible!  I should've been doing this all along.  Who knows, maybe that was part of the problem.  Plus, I'm going to start teaching yoga to preschooler's this fall, so it would probably be good to be able to say that I actual do yoga.

2. Free weights - just some basic upper body moves with some old school metal dumbells we've got in our closet.  I think my husband worries that I might start to look too "beefy".  I don't think this will be an issue...But, I am enjoying focusing on my arms.  They're not lookin' too bad, if I do say so myself.

3. Eating a crap-TON of fruit - seriously, today I ate: a few handfulls of blueberries, a plum, half a banana, a quarter of a canteloupe and a whole mango.  Tomorrow ought to be interesting, don't you think?  But, seriously, I am aware that I'm burning a lot less calories these days, so I'm trying not to let that creep up on me.

Hey fruit!!
Get in my belly!!

Things I haven't been doing, instead of running:

1. Swimming - I've said this before, I am a horrible swimmer.  Plus, my darn gym is approximately 19 minutes away.  Not terribly convenient.

2. Cycling - Again, my gym is (refer to the above statement).  I actually called my gym last night to put my name on the list for this morning's 5:30 spin class.  Um, yeah...I didn't make that.  I think that kind of dedication is up on another level.  A level that I, apparently, do not aspire to reach.

So, I'm not expecting my cardio to stay where it was.  This might just be something I'll have to deal with building back up.  (Ommmmmm.)

Funny how running can be such a mental sport, because it seems that not running requires just as much mental stamina...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I did a bad, bad thing...

Sooooo...two weeks ago...before I'd gone to see the ortho doc who told me I shouldn't run for 6 weeks...I signed up to run a local 5k (Lee's Summit Night Flight).  I'd just started running again after taking two weeks off to give my left leg a break, and I was feeling good.  A friend of mine from work was going to be running this 5k and it was her first race ever!  I knew it would be fun to be there to see her cross the finish line and I haven't really run any races since I got back into running a year ago.  The only other 5k I've ever run was in 1997 with one of my best friends from high school (ironically, another night time race) and I'm pretty sure I crossed the finish line at something like 36:00.  So I was feeling excited to get out there and see what I could do now.

Well, after my visit with the doctor, I ruled out running the 5k.
You know, since you have to actually run in it,
and those were pretty much the only instructions the doctor gave me

And, up until about an hour before the race, I planned on NOT running it.  But, as the evening wore on, I was feeling more and more antsy to get out there and just run it.  The race start time was 9pm.  At about 8:15 we got home from watching a friend's baseball game and I was going to head right back out by myself to the race to watch my friend.  Instead, I changed into my running clothes at lightning speed, called my friend and told her I was getting dressed and would be there as soon as possible and would meet her near the start.  My husband and kids ended up driving me there, thinking they would just drop me off and let my friend drive me home.  I pinned my race bib on in the car.  We got there at about 8:35 (not bad!).  I saw Jim from 50...after 40 pass right by us as we walked from where we were parked to the start.  I knew he was doing his warm-up run.  It was pretty crowded at the start area but I was able to meet up with two of my co-workers (and saw tons of people we knew along the way--I kind of forgot it was such a popular local race).  The weather was beautiful, cooler than it has been and not nearly as humid.  I was pretty stoked (oh, you thought that was a word only surfers could use?).

As it got close to 9pm, I said goodbye to my husband and kids who were just going to stay to see us cross the starting line.  There were markers for where to stand for different pace groups, but I hung back thinking I was definitely going to have to take it easy (actually, I promised my husband I would take it easy).  So when the start was announced I didn't even make it across the starting line for about a minute.  I waved at my family and I was off.  It was really crowded and I was still assessing my leg situation (sore, but not too bad) so it was slow going for about the first half mile.  After that I was feeling really good and started to speed up and weave my way through the crowd.  When we reached the 1 mile marker, the lady called out something like 10:23.  I knew I could go faster than that and my leg was actually feeling good.  From that point on I felt like I  just slowly but steadily increased my pace as I worked to pass other runners.  I had a lot of "oops" moments when I'd almost get shoved out between two people or try to get between a runner and a parked car with what ended up being not quite enough room.  Generally speaking, it was great fun ( :  I finally started to feel like I was actually getting tired at about 2.5, but knew I was close to the finish.  I focused on each runner that I wanted to overtake and actually made it happen.  I was having a total blast!!  I crossed the finish at 28:58 with a chip time of 27:59, and there was my whole family cheering me on!  They'd decided to stay and see me finish!  It was pretty awesome.  I was pretty happy with my time, especially since I definitely didn't give it all I had.  I came in 9th out of 65 in my age group (a single-digit place!  isn't there a medal for that??).  No matter how I placed, I was so pshyched just to see my name in print on the results page.  I'm definitely feeling like I've got the race bug now...

I ran into Jim and his daughter, Madi, after the race near the food and water tables.  We got to talk for a few minutes, but I still didn't get to meet Michael!  Soon, hopefully.  By the way, Jim totally KILLED IT last night.  1st in age group and 15th overall, I believe.  And, his daughter Madi PR'd!  Very impressed!!

So, my leg felt really good while I was running last night and isn't feeling too shabby today.  I iced it for a long time after I got home last night and took some ibuprofin last night and this morning.  I'm feeling kind of unsure about the diagnosis at this point.  And, of course, I'd love to think that I really don't need to stay off the running for six weeks...what do you think??? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Blog? and Injured.

Whoa.  So, I've been gone for a while.  For more than a month, actually.  I wouldn't be suprised if most of you have completely written off my blog.  I think I almost did.  I tried to sit down and write a post about 8 different times in the past month, but it just wasn't happening.  I lost my blogging mojo, to say the least.

The month of May was a whirlwind of life events that seemed to capture all of my time and energy.  Let it be known that I am a terrible multi-tasker!  (I'm actually having trouble concentrating on writing this post right now because I'm also listening to music that I really like to sing along to.  I'm one of those annoying people who can't NOT sing a song when they know the words.)  So, when my routine gets thrown off balance I only have the mental stamina to take care of the absolute necessities.  Blogging does not fall into that category.  But, I have missed it.

So, here are some things that happened "while I was gone"...

My little guy turned 5 and graduated from preschool!

It got warm enough to bust out the "Mr. Mister" (aka the "kid wash")!  My husband built this a few years ago from PVC piping and plastic sprinkler heads.  It's become a summer staple.  The kids can run through it, ride their bikes through it, push toy trucks through it.  That picture of my kids looking like they're dead on our driveway is actually them enjoying the warm water--ha!

All of the 1st grade classes at my daughter's school put on the cutest Mother's Day concert with a little reception afterwards.  It was really fun.

My kids drew scary looking pictures of people picking their nose.  Huh?!

My super-smart, super-creative daughter did a presentation in her gifted class on dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures.  Here she is standing by the model of an Ammonite she made.  Her mind is amazing.

Last day of 1st grade with her basket of flowers and cards for teachers.

Oh yeah, and we ate in May too.

My husband and I also celebrated our 12th anniversary.  Crap, we're getting old!!

So, yeah, I'm injured.  Maybe some of you will remember a certain week in April when I was really trying to push my speed (I'm quite sure you've all committed this to memory, right?).  I did my first sub 25 minute 5k on the treadmill.  I thought I was pretty hot s#%t.  Unfortunately, what I was doing may not have been what my body was prepared for.  Not yet at least.  My left leg felt progressively worse after that point.  It was ignorable for a while, but continued to plague me.  The beginning of my runs usually started with a bit of limping (ridiculous), but usually the pain subsided enough to be tolerable for the remainder of the run.  I never iced, never did any stretching other than what was the norm for me, never took any anti-inflamitories, never even bought a foam roller.  For a while, I wasn't really sure what was hurting, and sometimes it was both legs.  I thought shin splints for a while.  Finally, about three weeks ago, the pain had gotten to the point that I was having pain in my left leg when I was just walking and when I would go down the stairs.  I was starting to hobble a bit.  Not good.  This coincided with a pretty busy few weeks in our lives with the end of school etc., so it was a good time to take a break anyway.  I took two whole weeks off, and I was feeling pretty well healed up (I will admit that I didn't think I was 100%, but I was 100% antsy to start running again.).  So I ran last week on Monday and Wednesday morning, both days a little less than 4 miles.  By Thursday morning the pain was back again.  Boo!!  I finally gave in and made an appointment with an ortho doc.  I felt kind of silly really.  In my mind, I just keep thinking "I just don't run enough to have actually injured myself.  That's for people who are REALLY training hard."  But, I guess the point is that I was doing more than what I had worked my body up to.  So, while the doctor didn't actually find any evidence of a stress fracture on the x-rays, he said that's likely the problem.  He said I could go get an MRI and a bone-scan, but it still might not show the problem and his recommendation would still be the same.  He called it an "injury of overuse", and suggested not running for six weeks.  SIX FREAKIN WEEKS.  And, what's worse, when I do start back up, it's supposed to be so painfully slow that I almost can't imagine it. 

**Okay, that's all the whining I'm going to do about this.**

So here I am, at the beginning of June, during the time of year when I'd be getting up early 3-4 times a week for a glorious early-morning run.  Sun rising.  Gentle, warm breezes.  Before my kiddos wake up.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a serious sense of loss at not being able to experience these runs for 6 weeks.  And I'm kind of at a loss as to what I'm going to do instead, because I want to keep as much of my strength and cardio as possible.  Swimming and a stationary bike (with NO resistance) are the two things the doc said I could do for cardio.  I am, quite possibly, the worlds crappiest swimmer.  Like, I still have to hold my nose to go under water.  Can't you just see me swimming with one arm, while the other pinches my nose?  I'm sure they can make me a diagonal lane since I won't be able to swim in a straight line!  Stationary bike = holy boring.  Plus, both of these things require me to go to the gym as opposed to just stepping out my front door.  But, it is what it is, and I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it and make the best of it.  I already posted on facebook that I plan on spending the next 6 weeks getting totally ripped arms and abs.  So, now I guess I'd better follow through with that...

Wow.  So that's what's going on with me, the long version.  I have been a totally crappy blogger, but I have been keeping up with other people's blogs.  It's been really fun to hear about everyone's races and training.  I'm looking forward to being able to share some similar stories...about 6 weeks from now.

I know plenty of you have experienced injuries.  What's your best  piece of advice for an injury newby?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Commit (verb): to obligate or pledge oneself.

I've been repeating this word to myself during my runs over the past week.
Commit to the distance.
Commit to the speed.
Commit to that damn hill that's rising up in front of you.  (Geez, could that thing be any steeper?!)

Because, when you're out there running (or biking, or swimming, or whatever), there are bound to be moments when you want to stop.  For me, there seems to be a lot of those moments.  But what's the point of being out there if I'm not going to just commit to it?  And, what I'm finding is that if I just decide that I'm committing to the run--the speed, the distance, that freakin' hill--it actually makes it a little easier, because I don't have to listen to that obnoxious internal struggle with myself any more.  I've already made the decision.  I'm committed.  Case closed.  So, one way or another, it's gonna happen.  Then I'm left to focus on the task at hand.

In other news, I went to my 'How to Teach Yoga to Kids' workshop on Saturday.  I got lots of good information and a great handbook that should be a good resource for next year.  It ought to be a real hoot trying to teach yoga to 3, 4 and 5-year-olds!  Ha!  But, the class served as a great reminder of how much I love yoga.  I love feeling limber and strong, and I love a good yoga push-up.  I remember falling flat on my chest when I first started trying to do "yoga push-ups".  Being able to finally do them with strong arms was probably my most proud yoga accomplishment, back when I was doing yoga on a regular basis.  Taking this class made me realize how much I miss yoga and want to get back to it.

Do you have a word or phrase that you use to get you through tough moments during your workouts (a 'mantra' perhaps?)

Most recently, I've been using 'commit' and--don't laugh--'beast'.  You know, like, "you're a beast, Lisa!!"

Do you allow yourself to have 'internal struggles' during your workouts, or do you immediately kick those thoughts to the curb?

Well, I'm starting to just kick them to the curb.  But, I've always been one to allow those thoughts to hang around and waste my time and energy.  No longer!!

Do you do yoga?  What kind?

My current yoga habits are very spotty, but I'd like to get back to being more consistent with it.  I love to take a good yoga class, but they're EXPENSIVE!  I used to do Ashtanga yoga which was really awesome.  I'd love to try hot yoga too.

By the way, I haven't given up on taking pictures, but my camera battery is dead and I can't seem to get it together enough to charge the dang thing!  Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well now, that wasn't so bad.

It turns out that I actually CAN run a sub 25:00 5K.
(24:48, to be exact)
Yup.  Who knew?
Got on the treadmill and ran one this afternoon, in fact.

Honestly, I didn't even want to run today.
(Molding the minds of seven 3 1/2 year olds for four hours wore me slick.)  

So, by the time I got into my car to leave for the gym I just sat there for a few minutes, trying to convince myself that I should still go.  Since I know that I've never regretted a workout, I was able to pull it together and do the right thing.  I wasn't going to have a very long time to run, so I figured pushing the speed would help me get in some more miles.  It was the perfect opportunity to try to string together those three (very separate) 8:00 miles I'd done on Monday.  

And, right here, I want to stop and thank Jenn at Running Sane for
commenting on Monday that she didn't think a 25:00 minute 5K
was out of the realm of possibility for me.
To have someone who is SO FREAKIN' FAST say that kind of lit a fire under me.

I'm also starting to realize that a lot of getting "better" (i.e. getting faster and being able to run farther) is

being willing to really challenge yourself.

And by "challenging yourself" I mean attempting things that might seem kind of ridiculous to you at first.  Because the closer you get to those things, the less ridiculous, and the more realistic they seem.  But, you have to be willing to put yourself out there.  That's hard for me since I'm not a person who likes to push myself to do things that may be uncomfortable.  I am also (*shockingly*) not all that fond of pain!

"I don't think you can become an outstanding runner unless you get a certain amount of enjoyment out of the suffering. You have to enjoy absorbing it, controlling it and—ultimately—overcoming it."—Derek Clayton in The Masters of the Marathon

I read that quote about a month ago and thought to myself that being an "outstanding" runner just might not be for me!  But, I think there can be a healthy mid-point between not pushing your limits at all and "enjoyment of suffering".  I don't know that I'll ever really enjoy the suffering, but I hope that I'm able to keep pushing myself beyond where I'm comfortable.  Because, really, that's the only way to get better.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Weekend in Pictures and Blogger Sighting!

So, this is what happens when my son and I play with the magnetic letters on the fridge.  We were trying to use as many of the letters as possible, and this is what we came up with.  We had a good laugh about it, but sometimes I wonder how my kids will ever have any decorum!!

The kids and I made a trip to Whole Foods on Friday.  While we were there I picked up some organic strawberries (pictured on the left).  The next day I bought some more strawberries (pictured on the right) at the grocery store, non-organic this time.  I had to laugh at the startling difference between the two.  Good grief, are the strawberries on the right what we've come to expect?!

After a week of making some very so-so meals (think boxed mac-n-cheese or scrambled eggs for dinner), Saturday night I made grilled asian-marinated salmon, sauteed spinach with tomatoes and onions and toasted pine nut couscous.  It was pretty darn yummy, if I do say so myself.

The kids set out their baskets for the Easter bunny, and they thought Jeremy and I should have ours out too.  You know, because we need the candy.

My son spent a good portion of Saturday evening looking out the window for the Easter bunny...I thought it was pretty sweet.

My daughter thought she should lay out a "cot" for the Easter bunny.  She figured he/she must get pretty tired hopping all over the world all night long, and might want to take a rest.  Our dog, Penny, thought it was pretty comfy.

After I took a picture of my son looking out the window, my daughter wanted to make sure I took a picture of her too.  What a ham.

On Saturday night, my husband turned our kitchen into a brewery.  I think he was in heaven.  I, on the other hand, thought it made the house very, very, VERY stinky.

All that brewing stuff takes up a lot of space.

Hmmmm.  Looks...yummy?

Somehow, I neglected to take any pictures on Easter.  I did, however, let my son snap a few shots.  I guess this is what happens when you let your almost-five-year-old son use the camera.

While I didn't take any pictures of our Easter meal, here's the leftover roasted asparagus (and some leftover salmon) that I put on my salad for lunch today.  It was gooood.
Saturday morning's run was so awesome!  My friend Karen and I ran 7 miles, and we both felt really good.  It was cloudy and cool, and not too windy for once--perfect running weather.  Her Garmin said we'd gone as fast as 6:28 during the run (probably on a downhill and for like 15 seconds, but still!), and our last half mile was at a 6:58 pace.  WHAT?!  That's definitely the fastest I've ever run, and it was even at a slight incline.  Pretty excited about that.  We also got passed by a local cycling club during our run.  I wish I'd had my camera with me because near the back of the pack of cyclists were three guys on roller blades!  That's a new one...

So, I think I've mentioned that Jim from 50...after 40 and Michael from Slowly Tri-ing live in the same town as I do.  A while back I realized that Jim and I also go to the same gym, and I wondered if we'd ever actually run into each other.  I go to the gym at pretty odd times, so I wasn't sure if our paths would ever cross.  But, he said if I ever saw him to rip out his earbuds and say hello.  Well, I didn't exactly rip his earbuds out, but I did say hello when I realized who he was today.  It was great to be able to congratulate him in person on his awesome Boston Marathon finish (PR!), and we got to talk for a few minutes about some local races.  He gave me some good advice on the Hospital Hill (10K) race that's coming up in June--I appreciated that.  And, I was able to send my good wishes to Michael who's running a half in Oklahoma this weekend.  So cool!

So, it was fun to meet Jim, but here are a couple reasons why Jim might think I'm a dork now:

1.  When discussing how he and his daughter had done the Groundhog Run (a KC race run in underground tunnels) last year, I asked "so, when is the Groundhog Run?"  He very patiently and politely said "Groundhog Day".  Hmmm, yes, that would explain calling it the Groundhog Run...good grief.

2.  It's possible that I may have had a booger hanging out of my nose while we were talking.

3.  There was something else dorky that I did or said, that my brain is now blocking out.

Anyway, it was good to meet you, Jim!
Today's run was on the treadmill.  It's actually been a while since I've run on the treadmill.  It was a good opportunity for me to work a bit on speed.  I was able to do three separate 8 minute miles.  PHEW.  It was pretty tough, and I was sweating to beat the band.  (Did I mention that I looked like a drowned rat when I ran into Jim?  I don't even want to THINK about how I smelled.)  And, while I was able to run the three 8 minute miles, I did take some short walk breaks in between.  I'd love to get to where I could string these together and run a 5K in under 25:00.

Well, it's time to pack the lunches!  Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend!