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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Happy Fall, Y'all!

When I was young, I loved the summer.  The hotter, the better.  Then again, I grew up in Connecticut, and now that I'm older and a North Carolinian, heat has new meaning.  Now, I love the FALL.  Everything about it.  The food, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple cider covered pretzels (<-- you know you want them, so head to Total Wine to get 'em), fall festivals at every park, library, church, winery, and brewery known to man, the food, my kids' excitement at costumes and candy, having to wear a hoodie yet still being able to wear shorts, the food, the smell of the air (<-- is that weird?), adding pumpkin to everything I bake, Halloween themed wine tastings, hurricanes (<-- just kidding, but since we've had two here, I figure I should mention), leafy designs in my coffee that I have no idea how to make myself, fire pits and s'mores, the start of Hallmark Christmas movies, the colors, the food, and most of all... 

Finally!  I finally feel like my legs have rekindled with the rest of my body.  After my 10 weeks of no running this spring, I started back right in the thick of the heat.  It was a struggle bus.  More like an 18-wheeler.  Pulling an RV.  With an airplane on top.  I seriously don't remember it ever taking this long in base phase to feel even semi-good again.  I routinely started having the negative thoughts of, "Well, darn.  Maybe I really am getting older and slower and, well, maybe I should just run to not get fat and because I'm a bitch if I don't, and I just shouldn't worry about getting faster anymore..."  

Then it got cooler, and I smacked myself.  After all these years running, and after how often I tell my runners how the heat affects them (~:45 seconds slower on average per mile per runner at the same effort at dew points above 60), I still let it get into my head.  So, needless to say, I'm back to a point where I look forward to heading out the door every day again.  And, I'm looking forward to racing again (I actually started dreaded it).  I've committed to a spring marathon and will run one or two shorter races before the end of this year.  I capped off a 65-mile week this week and finished up with a 12-miler with 5@ 6:20 in the middle.  Then I came home and ate three pieces of bbq chicken pizza with hot apple cider and the rest of Logan's candy from a fall festival last week (<-- he just asked me what happened to it).  omg.  #winner

Anywho, if you haven't hit your stride yet in this cooler weather, hang on!  It's coming!  It takes about three to four weeks to acclimate to hot weather (and you'll still run like shit; I just mean acclimate as in your body finally gets somewhat used to it), but it also takes a good week to acclimate back to cooler weather.  So, if you went out for a run on that first cool-ish day and didn't feel great, yep, not a shocker.  Like I said, don't give up... just keep going because it will get better!

Okay, so a slight digression here.  I will say, as I do get older (I'm 38), I do feel some differences from when I was, sayyyy, 30?  No, I do not think that you cannot get faster as you get older, but we DO need to adapt to the changes in order for this to happen.  For example, I know part of my problem on top of the heat was that it just takes my body longer to respond now.   So, I decided to stay in base phase longer during this cycle to give my body the time it needed.  It also takes me longer to warm up into a run, so I have added more miles before starting any tempo work, and I also need more rest after the hard stuff, so if I'm feeling beat up, I'll take a second recovery type day afterwards instead of just one.  It's almost like my body now needs a loud-ass alarm clock before it's ready to go to work...

  So, that's all.  It's a gorgeous fall day here, and I'm about to take the kiddos next door so I can drink wine we can play, eat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and watch football.    

Happy Fall, and Happy Running!

And now, a way-too-long pictorial of our fall so far...

Monday, August 6, 2018

I Don't Know

In Maine a few weeks ago, I gained the confidence that yes, my foot is going to be a-ok.  Having been back running for just over a month, I decided to be a bit of a jacknut and test it by running up a ginormo mountain.  Then I did it again.  Oh, and then I did it again two more times.  And yay!  No pain.  I was so happy and confident that even when I saw a bear cross the street about a quarter mile in front of me one day, I kept running towards it instead of hiding behind a tree and peeing myself.

I like to credit my Hokas (I run in both the Arahi and Mach models), nitroglycerin patches, and Body Helix compression for keeping my foot tame.  So, yeah, thanks, peeps...

But this is kind of where the goodness ends for right now.  Not gonna lie, running kinda just feels...hard?  Don't get me wrong, I'm still happier than a pig in shit to be out there, but yeah, I'm sucking some murky pond water.  My paces are not coming down as I anticipated them to at this point.  I have a few theories why...

* Yeah, so, it's hot.  I think when you start back in base miles when it's already 614 degrees and 237% humidity every day, it's going to take a little more time.  I've also decided that running in the heat makes me a little, shall we say, hongry? ... which would be like hangry, but instead of hungry + angry, it's hot + angry.  I discovered this ugly trait of mine on a run one day when a runner coming in the opposite direction said to me, "It's a beautiful day for a run!", and I responded, "It's bleeping hot as balls!" ...except I didn't say bleeping.  

* I don't sleep.  And I can't even blame my kids.  Well, except for the occasional kiddo wakeup at 4am to cover itchy bug bites with bandaids or give back massages, because why would you not request a back massage at 4am??  ...but no, I go into a massive deep sleep 2.7 seconds after my head hits the pillow, only to dream crazy things and wake myself up.  ...over and over and over again.  Like last week, try and figure this dream out... I was running through Winston-Salem, got lost, ended up at the Wake Forest track, which actually was the New York Yankee stadium, where Derek Jeter asked me to pitch for the team, except when I got up to pitch, I turned into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but I still pitched a perfect no-hitter game and ended up in the Yankee Hall of Fame.  What?

* I've gained five pounds.  Okay, yeah, no, this is definitely not why, but the thing that gets me is that I'm like, "whatever".  I really love wine and pulled pork nachos right now, and every day I say, "this is the day I'm going to be healthier", and then every day I fail.  And then comes the whatever.  I will care at some point, but I'm going on the theory that the extra el bees are totally, ya know, stored energy right now.  Okay, so yeah, seriously, someone smack me before I do turn into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man...

* I mean, I was on a buttload of medicine, including two antibiotics, for TEN WEEKS.  So basically, I had this resistant staph thing on my face that can actually develop from taking too many not-needed antibiotics over time, but the treatment was uh, antibiotics ...that turns out were uh, not needed.  Oh okay.  So yeah, ima 'bout ready to go back to school to get my medical degree because my trust in docs has gone down the crapper.  I'm also aware that I would survive about a half day in medical school before calling my mom crying and pleading to come pick me up.  So, yeah.  But really, I think my body is trying to bounce back from this influx of meds and is therefore giving me the middle finger when I head out to run, esp. when it's 614 degrees.

Yeah, so who knows.  But really, even though running feels hard and slow right now, I'm the happiest I've been in a looooong time.  Running gives me so much clarity; I find that anything I can't figure out or decide in life will always be realized when I go for a run.  I'm also able to cut myself more slack.  For so long, I'd drown myself in guilt; when I was working, I felt like I needed to be with the kids more, and when I was with the kids, I felt like I wasn't doing my best at work.  Now, it's okay if I stay at work a little later, it's okay if I take an extra night out of the week to meet some girlfriends for a glass (or two) of wine, and it's okay to opt for an extra hour of sleep in the morning if I actually have the chance to take it (even if it's with whacked-out dreams).  

So for right now, I'm enjoying running for what it is (beautiful!), and at some point, I know I'll pick up speed again.  I'll probably start adding actual speed work back in within the next few weeks to see how I respond.  I haven't selected my next marathon yet because I won't race one until I feel ready to go for my goal.  I've run eight marathons, so I don't feel the need to just go race another for shits and giggles...  I want to race when I'm really ready to go for it.

Honestly, it just feels good to be me again.  As I type, Logan and I are currently playing a mean game of "Who Can Stay Quiet the Longest?"  Yes, this game was my idea, and yes, it is genius, and yesssss, he really likes this game.  Yesssssss.  Life is good.  :)

Oh, and I didn't know what to title this blog post, so that's why I decided to just call it, "I Don't Know."  

Happy Running!  :)

 More Guilt-Free Date Days/Nights :)

 More Guilt-Free Friend Time :)

 More Loving on These Dudes :)

And it turns out that leg boots double back as kiddo-toys.  Win!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Running with Plantar Fasciitis & Post Tib Tendonitis

I finally feel somewhat back to normal.  Well, "normal" is relative, because I've never really been "normal".  More like that weird chick that says odd things at the wrong time.  Yeah, that's me.

But, I'm so happy to say that I've now been on SEVEN runs.  Whoaaaa.  Yes, seven.  THIS makes me feel like my normal self.  Happier.  More energetic.  Less anxious.  I'm still kinda dealing with that stubborn staph thing, and my throat is still slightly recovering, but being able to run, even just the three to four miles I've been covering, makes EVERYTHING okay.  What running does to my body and mind is truly amazing, and I'm so grateful for it.

I plan to keep my miles low and at recovery effort/pace for a while.  This is to both baby my foot/ankle in coming back and to build a strong base, as the longer amount of time spent building the foundation, the higher the peak in the long run...pun intended.

So, here's what I'm doing.  Like I mentioned, I haven't run more than four miles yet, right around 8:00 pace.  I basically run a set distance for three days straight, then take a day off, then bump up one mile the next day, then bump back down a mile the next day, before bumping back up to that one more mile for three days in a row.  Did you follow that?  Because I'm not sure I even did...    Yeah, so, basically, I'm running to a mileage threshold.  Once I'm confident my foot/ankle is ready at that mileage, I move on...

Lotssss of strengthening.  The minute I get back from running, I do calf raises on my stairwell, towel curls with my toes, dorsal and plantar flexion stretches, and then I get frozen cauliflower ice right on that sucker.  Okay, but seriously, Cooper eats a bag of frozen cauliflower every day.  Our freezer is overflowing with that mess...  weird.  Is this normal??

Mm k.  So what else.  What's been discovered is that my ankles, especially my problem foot/ankle, are extremely hyper mobile, which means, well, I'm messed up.  My ankles can stretch so far to the inside that it looks like they may snap off.  So yeah, that's not normal (I told you I wasn't normal).  This is basically a structural issue that I just need to learn to manage (baby what my mama gave me).  My hip and glut area is also very weak and tight though (yeah, yeah, tight ass...), which can also be contributing to my foot/ankle issues. So, with a PT, I'm having dry needling done on my hip/glut, trigger point therapy on my calves, and massage done to my foot with a graston-like tool that helps break up inflammation/scar tissue.  I'll also continue with ART therapy, and I have a nighttime regimen of resistance band exercises (monster walks, side steps, leg raises, squats; etc. blah blah).  

So yeah, this is all a lot, but I'm focused on getting it under control so I can really get back out there as I wish.  I'm sure all of this mess will get old after a while; it's sooooo easy to neglect stretching/strengthening; etc. post-run in favor of heading to the fridge for some chocolate and wine, BUT, it's super important.  So far all is feeling good, and it's fun being able to look forward to my next 26.2 again.

So, that's that!  I'm happy and healthy and hope you are too.  I'm very appreciative for all the support over the past weeks.  Runners ARE.  THE.  BEST!

Happy Running!

Friday, May 18, 2018

My Spring Marathon

"I think that taking some time to do what you need to do to get better will be best in the 'long run'".  Wise words from my brother-in-law (Thanks, Trevor :))...

Whelp, to say that this spring has not gone exactly as I'd imagined may even be an understatement, but that's okay.  Sometimes life throws us curveballs, and it just takes some extra patience, acceptance, and learning to finally knock it out of the park.  

My training and racing plans this spring were geared towards the Wrightsville Beach 5K, Monument Avenue 10K, and Broad Street 10-Miler.  None of them happened.  I've now been off running completely for nine weeks.  In short, here's why:

After some minor tooth pain, a root canal was recommended to avoid the potential for a bigger oral surgery.  In the meantime, my tonsils started being assholes again, resulting in four infections in six months, including one trip to the ER for oozing pus...mmm yummy (<-- sorry, TMI).  This was my last straw, so I finally decided to go for the tonsillectomy... uh, ya know, that I should have pulled the trigger on, like, 16 years ago.  So, I scheduled both procedures, only to get a culture back that week revealing a stubborn strain of staph taking up residence on my face.  Therefore, both the endodontist and surgical center wouldn't touch me with a 10-foot pole, canceling both procedures, and their concern sent me into a state of anxiety, resulting in panic attacks.  My body started aching all the time, and my blood pressure, normally very low, was stupidly high for me.  All the while, my heel was still giving me issues, so I couldn't run, and the nasty-feeling-air around the warm-nasty-feeling-pool was drying out my throat, so I couldn't swim anymore either.  I therefore had no outlet, blah-di-freaking-blah.

Fast forward to today, and I'm relieved to say that I'm on day 16 of my tonsillectomy recovery.  Tonsillectomies for kids are no biggie, but the older you are, the tougher they get (and since I'm an old hag in the tonsillectomy world, that shit was NO JOKE).  I wasn't allowed to work or take care of my boys for 10 days, was told to expect to lose at least 10 pounds (I only lost four, yay!), and I hemorrhaged on day six.  Not cool, peeps, not cool.'s over now, yay!  Although much improved, I'm still treating the staph, and I'll worry about the root canal a little later.  I had an MRI on my foot, which revealed plantar fasciitis, post tib tendonitis, and an ankle sprain (um, what?).  No bone issues thankfully, so as long as I can handle the pain (and I'll do some PT), I'm cleared to run.  Music to my big ears!  So, once the scabs completely fall off my throat (I gotta work on my TMI eh?), I'll see ya on the roads (err sidewalks), peeps!  My anxiety has calmed down thankfully, but it taught me a lot.  Anxiety was something I previously didn't understand, but I can now say that I wouldn't wish that shit storm on my worst enemy.

I'm not sure if a marathon will or will not happen this fall yet, but I'm okay with that.  It will happen when my body is ready.  In the meantime, I LOVE the fact that Atlanta was awarded as the Olympic Trials host.  Ya know, because I don't need to fly anywhere (<-- another anxiety.  Seriously, WTF is wrong with me??).  I often find myself daydreaming about being in the race, and it gives me chills, but for now, like Trevor said, taking this time to get better will only better me in my "long run".

I owe a lot of thanks to some awesome people in my life.  My husband for putting up with my shit, my parents and in-laws for uprooting their lives to come and take care of me and my boys, a friend that knew exactly how to handle a panic-attacking wacko, another friend with a sixth sense that drove to my house unannounced at just the right time to let me cry, an understanding boss, and so many others.  It can be easy to take for granted all the love and beauty around when we're constantly hearing and focusing on the crap and evil in the world, but throughout this spring, I learned how much good truly exists.  

So, I'll get there; the road just got a little longer!  And in the grand scheme of life, this is no big deal.  I'm a fortunate gal ... one that looks forward to seeing you out there on those sidewalks hopefully next week!  :)


My nuggets!  <3

Monday, March 19, 2018

Springing Ahead to April

I'm finding this blank page somewhat frustrating after not writing for a few months, so instead of staring at it any longer wondering where to start, I'm just gonna GO...

So during my Indy training, I had the beginning of what was plantar fasciitis ...the classic morning heel pain, but no discomfort while running.  After Indy, it started to flare while running, but nothing bad.  After a week off with the flu, my first run back was a three-miler, done in the snow while test running a no-bueno-for-me pair of sneakers that I now slam against a wall six times a day was given for free.  That's when shit suddenly got BAD.  From that day forward, a very specific spot on my heel started talking to me on every run.  Fast forward to now, and I have two possible diagnoses... a stress fracture of the calcaneus or a partial tear of the plantar fascia.  Regardless, I'm choosing to treat it as the worst case possible scenario to ensure full recovery, landing me in a boot for at least the next four weeks.  In the meantime, I can swim to maintain fitness (which I'm really enjoying actually!), but there isn't much else that keeps pressure off the area.  Fortunately, weekly ART therapy at EPC is helping my physical recovery, and weekly 750ml wine curls are aiding in my mental recovery...

When I think back to the summer & fall and my training before Indy, I remember having my shit fully together.  Okay, I don't know, maybe I didn't, but I know that right now, I feel like a burning-hot-all-over-the-place mess.  If you talk to me on Monday, I might tell you that I want a third baby, I'm going to stop working full-time, and that we're moving closer to family for help.  If you talk to me on Tuesday, I might tell you that wtf heck no I don't want another baby, and I can't wait for a week in wine country after I race the California International Marathon this fall.  On Wednesday, I might tell you a story about rummaging through my closet, feeling nostalgic over my old business attire, and thus prioritizing time to actually start marketing myself and my coaching more.  On Thursday, I'll probably feel reallllly mom-guilty about my thoughts on Tuesday and Wednesday, so you won't even be able to get a hold of me, because I'll be picking up my boys early from school/daycare to take them to the Science Center.  On Friday, just come and talk to me over wine, because, well, I know nothing.  CRAP!

...It's funny how not being able to run right now opens up more head space to focus on everything else, yet the reality is that I'm having a hard time focusing/prioritizing/balancing at all.  I've been very fortunate in my marathon career in regards to injuries, so I'm going on the positive here, knowing that I should be back at it by the end of April.  This gives me plenty of time to still target an OTQ this fall (I mean hey, if I can PR after taking 19 weeks off and gaining over 30 pounds, then this should be easy, right?! ;)), but above all, I'm looking forward to my CLARITY being restored.  So yeah, herein lies yet another perk of running ... it instills so much clarity and purpose and perspective in all aspects of life, not just running itself.

So come the end of April, I suppose I'll be looking at another blank page of sorts.  And while getting started again might at first be frustrating, at this point, I honestly just can't wait to GO.

Happy Swimming!  ;)

Who needs clarity when there's Doritos (definitely my kid)?  :)