Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of 2013 Part 2

Let post #80 for 2013 commence!

July

In July I went to the great nation of Peru! I didn't blog much between travel, marathoning and starting a new job...again but I did do recaps of my trip so obviously they win July.



August

There's no contest for August. Winner winner is the biggest accomplishment of other people's lives.



September

I got married in September which was awesome. But that's not the post that wins. The winner is my favorite post I've written so far.


There's no picture for this post so here's one...


October

I spent a third of the year training for a silly little race that I finally ran in October so let's talk about that shall we?



November

Depressed about my leg I've chosen Thanksgiving to be the winner here. Although I also didn't take any pictures. I was a bad blogger to finish out the year. 


Again, no picture so uh...


December

Post vacation honeymoon I had all kinds of good news that I will be bringing into the new year.



So there you have it. The end of 2013. I'm not big at looking back on things mainly because I'm too busy worrying about what's to come which is probably a good template for a resolution I won't be making.

But Happy New Year everyone! Be Safe and Be Well! See you on the other side :)

End of 2013 Part 1

I have to do this post in 2 parts because if I don't I'll have 79 posts for 2013 and I can't end on an odd number. Don't judge me. It's not nice.

As much as I enjoy closure, I don't enjoy year end wrap up things unless it's a countdown of best/worst pop culture moments. I don't really need to write a recap of my year because that's why I write a blog during the year. See? I can just look at what I want to remember!

I think this is the first year I actually wrote at least one blog every month. That's a big deal since I'm a historically unreliable blogger. Since I want to fit in, I'll do a recap of my favorite posts from each month. And then that will give me something to write about in part 2.

January

In January I started what would end up being a brief stint in graduate school and abandoned my dream of an olympic triathlon and got really sick for the first time in ages. But those blogs weren't interesting. The winner in this category is...




February

February was an unusually grumpy month and also when I turned 25. I think between grad school and growing up I was having all kinds of craziness so we'll go with a winner featuring cute pictures of my dog...



March

Although the race was in February, the recap wasn't until March. My Golden Birthday celebration was a 13.1 mile stroll through Disney World and it was as magical as I'd always imagined it to be!



April

I spent a lot of March/April gearing up for the Derby Festival mini (half) marathon which turned out to be a big fat bust. Worst race I've had in a long time which left me pretty disappointed. Not surprisingly, that race recap doesn't win for best post but another recap does.



May

May included a lot of impromptu traveling under less than ideal conditions. But I also wrote probably one of my second favorite posts ever.



June

I should probably choose the post when I told you all I was engaged. But that's not a very interesting one. In early June I had probably my first itty bitty spark to do a trail race, a trail marathon and eventually an ultra. But I didn't really know it until looking back on it now. I love being a race volunteer.



And we've now reached the end of part 1. Stay tuned for July-December! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back in the Ville and Back in Business!

Hey there everyone and Happy Sunday!

I woke up this morning finally recovered from traveling home from Puerto Rico. I obviously didn't need to recover from my busy week of nothing but making our way home Friday was a nightmare! I managed to get my om on during the 4 hour flight and go through everything that was good at that moment instead of pulling my fingernails off one by one to distract myself from the screaming children and barking dog. I think om-ing was a much better choice.



So what were some of those good things? Oh just the usual, I have a place to live, a nice guy hanging around, pets I like, the plane wasn't crashing, oh yeah, and I got my dream job!

I wasn't actively looking for a new job. My current position was just fine, not great but it was a positive atmosphere and work environment which is what I will always need in life. I hate changing jobs, I equate it to moving. BUT I also have a really hard time settling which has lead to more professional shifts than I'd care to remember. I decided when I took my current job I was happy and that I could stay until I saw something I absolutely HAD to have come up or finally hit a lightbulb that told me where to go. I was hopeful I'd just love what I was doing and never leave. 

And then I got on Facebook. My favorite running store was hiring for a marketing coordinator. In case you didn't know, my first career path and degree was Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Marketing. Apparently 2010 wasn't the year to graduate in that field because even with my many internships and doing literally everything right in college I couldn't find a job. But it's never been something I've been able to fully give up on so when I saw this posting I literally HAD to have it. 

On Friday I stopped by the store after work to talk to the operator who I knew loosely from the running circuit and from being at the store and group runs all the time which I took in my favor. We ended up just chatting for about an hour and afterwards I talked to some of the staff which was fun. I left feeling good and not just because I was leaving for vacation Sunday!


On Tuesday The Colonel and I were playing in the waves and finally came up for air to lay around and check in with the world. There was the email! I got the job! I'd done a great job of staying busy and not worrying about what would happen so that made it even sweeter when I got the word. I contacted the appropriate channels to get things moving and can now announce my latest career move to the world.

Or you know, the three of you.


On top of that, I've gotten on the elliptical twice in the past week totaling about 45 minutes and a little over 3 miles with no pain in my leg! I should mention that I self cleared myself for elliptical activity. I was supposed to go to good Dr. Smith in the morning for the all clear but in typical doctor's office fashion they bumped me until Friday. Since that would make nearly 7 weeks on crutches and 9 weeks since I've run a step on land I decided I was ready for the elliptical at least. I haven't had pain in my leg for quite some time and since the rule of thumb for stress fractures is "nothing that hurts" I decided if it didn't hurt I could do it...slowly. So I very slowly ellipticalled along hardly sweating or increasing my heart rate just to make sure I wouldn't regret it in the morning and so far so good. I'm also pain free doing planks and yoga!

Things are seriously good right now and I can't wait to start 2014 off on the right feet!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vegetarian in Puerto Rico

Hey friends! As you may or may not remember, I got married something like 3 months ago and The Colonel and I just got around to going on that little trip that comes after. Since snow is useless when one can't snowboard I decided to run away from it and soak up some vitamin D in the lovely land of Puerto Rico!

I'll have some pretty big news when I get back but for now here are some pictures to envy as you anxiously await the next installment.








Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ghost Mode and Some Random Facts

To appease the angry mob outside of my window all day and night, I now give you a new blog post.

As I'm sure you loyal readers have noticed, I've basically been in ghost mode since Thanksgiving. It wasn't deliberate at first but now it kind of is. I'm not really ready to blog about some of the things that have been going on and keeping me pretty occupied so I just haven't been blogging at all. In addition, I'm going on a real vacation next week and will be happily out of touch with society for 5 days.

BUT before I leave I thought it would be fun to follow suit with my Texan transplant friend Celeste from Our Fabulous Life in the Suburbs and give you a few fun facts about me that you likely don't know from just following my blog. Make sure you stop by the 'burbs and say hello to Celeste! Her blog is a completely different vibe from this one primarily because she not only loves kids, but also has one. And he's actually cute! Super cute! Which must be true since you know I can't lie about these things.

Anyway, on with the list!
  1. My first pet was a turtle I named Michaelangelo after the Ninja Turtles and I found him outside of a dumpster with my dad. I was kicking rocks and was about to kick him when his little head popped out! We kept him for a while and I fed him way too much lettuce.
  2. I can't actually tell you what size shoe I wear. Running shoes are always a little off from normal sizes but in my house right now I have shoes ranging from a kid's 4 1/2 up to a woman's 9. And they all fit. Go figure.
  3. I'm an excellent dancer. Actually I don't know if this is true or not but I love to dance and do it almost daily. For some reason it's one of the few things I'm always confident doing and I've never really received any negative feedback about it.
  4. I'm a junior national champion debater/public speaker. I competed in speech, drama and debate all through middle school and a little in high school and have an obscene number of trophies from invitational, state and national level competitions. To this day I'm still a really good public speaker but suck on a social interaction level which is weird.
  5. I've traveled to 5 foreign countries but have hardly seen anything in the United States.
  6. I really like fish tanks and have always wanted a salt water tank for some strange reason. I loved having a fish tank as a little girl and named all of my fish very clever and original names like Chelsea Clinton the 5 year old Catfish and Glowria the Glow Fish. I also had a beta fish named Napoleon all throughout college.
  7. I'm very afraid of birds.
  8. I once saw Kelly Rowland outside of a New York City H&M during a school trip and completely underreacted. I saw Nick Lachey outside of a Cincinnati hotel and completely overreacted to the point that he actually smiled and waved.
  9. I seriously considered dumping The Colonel if my cat didn't like him.
  10. I'm extremely particular about which size silverware goes with which type of food and almost never use tablespoons for anything other than measurements.
Ok, so now you know I'm a total freak. What about you? What's your inner freakdom?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Thanksgiving Time!

It's probably no surprise that I don't like Thanksgiving. Like...at all....

BUT like a good little 'Murican I celebrate with the best of em and contrary to popular belief, I also eat. Not a lot. But I do eat. Last year we went meat free which was awesomely impressive, particularly for my carnivorous and not at all interested in changing her ways mother. This year I'm not so lucky but that's ok.

The menu is planned, at least on my part and a big thanks to GreenBEAN Delivery for helping me with that part. Basically what happened is this. We usually get our bin on Tuesdays but the holiday changed the schedule so we got it Monday. With a Tuesday delivery I have until Monday afternoon to "customize" my bin, meaning replacing things I might not like for whatever I want. Well since everything shifted up a day I missed my chance to customize and ended up with what they gave me. Well done GreenBEAN because we hit a nice little Thanksgiving jackpot! Yams, Cranberries, Potatoes and the like.

So, what do vegetarians make for Thanksgiving?

Acorn Squash
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Muffins
CookiesCakesandPies

The muffins make a lovely breakfast and the squash makes a wonderful and hearty main course surrounded by the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce! Those are the foods I'm responsible for but my mom is usually good for some mac and cheese, deviled eggs and a bean dip appetizer.

I'm one of the lucky few who does not overeat and that's what I should be really thankful for. So many people struggle this time of year and I totally understand why. But as the saying goes, "Worry about what you eat between Christmas and Thanksgiving, not Thanksgiving and Christmas." It's true that it doesn't take much to sabotage your healthy eating habits and weight loss goals but keep in mind that there are a lot more meals throughout the year and if you're getting those meals right, it's ok to indulge (just a little!) for a few weeks.

I'm setting my food issues aside as best I can and (following doctor's orders of course) going to enjoy eating a holiday meal with my family. I'm also particularly excited about listening to Christmas music tomorrow night! Yep, I've managed to avoid it this year until after Thanksgiving and can happily overdose on it for a few weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shutting it Down

I came here to write my very last blog post.

This will  not be my last blog post, but I did have a bad moment recently...like an hour ago.

Allow me to explain.

Do you remember this post when I explained the ever-present inferiority complex I often find myself battling? Well it's been rearing its head more and more often lately and I'm blaming the stress fracture (which is hurting less and less each day! hooray!). Today was a bad moment. After spending most of my afternoon watching Ironman videos and putting a mere 20 minutes in on the bike I was feeling down. I've been obsessing over Ironman Louisville for the past couple of weeks which you likely know if we're friends IRL. For some reason it crept into my brain that I should go for it in 2014 instead of my original plan of 2016...which turned into 2015.

Long story short, I've asked my lovely friends and family repeatedly to talk me out of it. Tell me why I shouldn't do the Ironman! I even googled it. Nothing seemed to work, no answer was good enough. Other than the one in my head, that I couldn't do it. I wasn't fast enough or fit enough or good enough. If my love of endurance sports has taught me anything, it's that none of those things matter and more importantly, none of them are true. But what does matter and what is true is being able to convince yourself. It's ok to say you're crazy or you're slow. It's even ok to say you aren't fit enough...yet. But "I can't do it" is the recipe for self sabotage. Until you can convince yourself that the goal isn't too big, it always will be too big.

I'm not ready for the Ironman. Not yet. I desperately want to be but in the same way it took me years before a second marathon seemed reasonable I'm not going to rush another monumental goal. I'm not going to downplay Raleigh like I've been doing. Raleigh is good enough and I guarantee it will be a challenge. I spend too much time playing with comparisons. Raleigh is my race, just like every other race is. I have never raced for anyone else and it's not time to start doing it now.

source
The Colonel is great with me during these moments when I'm sulking that 70.3 isn't a big enough goal. That anyone can do it. That the people who are proud of doing it are all faster than me and fitter than me and better than me. They're allowed to be proud of themselves. But not me. He took me into our office/spare bedroom/Chloe the Cat's bedroom and showed me every one of my medals on my hanger. He grabbed the first one on the end and I immediately smiled. The Disney Princess Half Marathon! I told him all about the race. Talked about the trip, meeting Ali from The Biggest Loser, the humidity, pictures of Mulan, the works. He moved over to the next one. Oh. My. Gosh! The Ohio River Open Water Swim! Again, I recapped it, laughing and even feeling that drop in my stomach from remembering how I felt stepping into the water. We continued on in the same fashion, picking up a medal and me smiling and talking all about the race. I even got to reminisce on my very first 10k, how hard it felt, how fun it was to make that turn into the finish, to be the person running the longer distance race for the first time and I was happy with the memories. That is why I race. Racing is about the experience. My experience.

So I'm going to continue blogging, even if nobody reads. I'm going to continue to make a big, silly fuss over my plans and my accomplishments even if they seem small to everyone else. Even though I'm slow. Even though I'm not the most fit. Even though I'm crazy.

                                    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Updates on the Leg

I'm sure you're all wondering how my leg is doing and my food issues and whether or not I'm still alive. I'm happy to clear it all up for you! I am in fact, alive. I have missed blogging but with the no running thing I'm low on material.
Perfected carrying all my crap into the gym!
I've done some "aqua jogging" exactly twice so far and it's not as bad as it seems. It's only mildly terrible. Although I've only done it for 30 minutes each time. If I decide to get an hour or so in, things might be different. So far it's been a combo of swimming and then running since I've yet to allow myself more than an hour at a time at the pool. I know, I'm super lazy during the "off season". I'm going to try cycling this weekend or next week. I'm allowed to do whatever doesn't hurt so we'll give it a try and see. Before I knew I had the stress fracture I rode my bike a lot in place of running because it didn't hurt so I'm going to give it a whirl again. I've only been crutched up for just over a week but I can already tell things are getting better. It had gotten to the point that I felt a little pain in my leg all the time. Even just laying on the couch I knew it wasn't right although it may not have been particularly painful. Just from not using it at all for a week I've eliminated most of the noticeable pain which is awesome. I put weight on it from time to time when I'm brushing my teeth or in the shower and even then there's no pain. I won't be walking on it for some time but we'll see if a little cycling movement makes it hurt or not. I'm going to start with just 10 minutes easy spinning and then see how it feels after 24 hours or so before I do more. I do still have pain primarily when I'm sitting and the pressure from the chair on the backside of my leg aggravates it. That's sort of the tell tale sign of a stress fracture so I'm not surprised by that.

As far as the food issues. Well, you could say they're getting better. A lot of it is a mental game which is the hardest kind in my opinion. I'm upping the calories and trying to eat more but it's exhausting. I'm working hard not to be consumed with thoughts of food and calories but it's hard. I'm also trying not to let the pound and a half I've gained bother me too much. It fluctuates but I know I've gained at least a pound which I have to constantly remind myself isn't that big of a deal. On the one hand, gaining a little tells me I actually am increasing my calories which is good and the extra weight will likely fall off pretty quickly once I start ramping up my activity again. But then I have my fat brain which is terrified of the slippery slope and convinced one little pound will grow by 34 tomorrow morning. It's a delicate balance. I have to constantly try to look at it reasonably, first, it's seriously just a pound. It isn't actually 35. Second my clothes still fit, in fact better than ever. I'm in the grown up equivalent to the size I wore in college (7-juniors then, 8-grown up lady now) and that's awesome. So in addition to just eating more which is extremely difficult, I'm looking into vitamins and supplements that might stimulate some bone growth to avoid having this little issue again.

Making lunch time more fun by watching White Collar
 I also have very little soreness or fatigue in my upper body from using crutches like I was expecting. This isn't my first rodeo on them and I have memories of ridiculous soreness through my arms, back and shoulders and huge bruises under my arms from where I'd get tired and lean too much. Even my forearms hurt! And that was only for a week! So 6 weeks sounded tough but I really don't have any of those feelings this time which makes me super excited to be in such better shape. I do notice when I'm swimming that my arms are a little tired even when I first start and the next day I might have some extra muscle fatigue hanging around but it's nothing new and nothing worse than how I feel after arm day with my sister. Looks like I've been doing something right!

Someone's excited I'm staying off my leg more...
So tell me, what are your words of wisdom for getting some more calories? Please nothing like "eat a burger" or something. I'm talking quality, meatless calories. Any shakes or vitamins that you're a fan of?

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Verdict

If you follow me on instagram or twitter (yes, I've just learned how to use instagram and twitter) then you pretty much already know what the verdict is. Turns out that mysterious pain in my leg I've been complaining about yet ignoring for months is a femoral stress fracture. What does that mean? No weight bearing for 6 weeks (December 23rd) which means crutches and no running, walking or cycling.


Now that I've had time to digest the news I'd say I'm doing ok. Probably slightly under par. I am doing the stay positive thing and as much positive self talk as I can stomach and for the most part it's ok. I smile and am overly chipper throughout the day to keep the spirits up but by nighttime it all sort of rolls in and I just wanna stomp my feet and cry. I don't stomp, since that would just make things worse but I do sometimes get all teary and huffy and witchy.

Let's do a brief recap. Last Monday I had the initial appointment with the ortho and was scheduled for an MRI that Wednesday. That Wednesday morning I get a call canceling my MRI because it was scheduled at the wrong office. Thursday I get a call from the correct office and schedule my MRI for this past Monday. I get all dressed up at the MRI place and lay freezing on a table with headphones and a bad blanket for 40 minutes. This past Wednesday I went in for my follow up, get the news and head home on crutches. Yesterday was frustrating but today things are better.


I'm not too grumpy about being crutched up until nighttime. But don't they say everything's worse at night? That's usually when I'm just tired and my brave smiling face wears off. It doesn't help that I'm hardly home in the evenings before it's time to pack my bag(s) for the next morning and go to bed.

But my dear Colonel has put up with me like a champ. I was worried he would be too protective and want me to stop everything but he's been nothing but supportive and even went as far as to carry my packed swimming bags to my car for me last night so I wouldn't have to take so many trips in the morning. If he (we) has learned anything in the past couple of years it's that I may be tired and grumpy but I'm even worse when I don't get to take it out on myself. My success is measured by sweat.


In the meantime, I have to figure out a time to do my worldly thinking and internal blog writing since that was all previously done during those runs I loved and the ones I didn't feel like doing. I'm not a good enough swimmer to think and swim BUT I tried my hand at aqua jogging this morning per Coach Mike's recommendation and it went pretty well...I think. Once I get the hang of it maybe I can get some long thoughts in then. I feel like I've got a lot of exciting things in the cue right now but I haven't had the time to sit down and write/think them out. Hopefully I'll get back to being more regular soon. But if you simply can't get enough of me and waiting on me to finish one of my 13 blog drafts is excruciating, seriously head over to instagram and twitter and follow me. If you're not following me you're missing out on wonderful tidbits like my thoughts on the newest Superman, crutchin' to the gym, my cuddly cat and of course, what I'm eating.

So tell me, any thoughts about aqua jogging? Have you done it?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Food Issues and the Female Athlete Triad

This is a post that I've written and re-written, started and re-started about a hundred times but I think the recent developments in my injured status have sort of brought things to light and I feel like now is as good a time as ever to open up just a bit on this blog with something personal and probably something that effects more people than would like to admit it.

I can't say that I have or have ever had an eating disorder but I can confidently say that I have had and may still have a pattern of disordered eating. For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, there are a billion different definitions of who a "disordered eater" is but for my purposes I refer to myself as such because I do not eat like I would say a "normal" person does. It has nothing to do with being a vegetarian and it's not that I just don't eat. I also don't binge eat or have an obsession with healthy eating known as orthorexia. But I can't deny that I don't like to eat or activities that are centered around food (which so many American activities are), I feel some sense of guilt when I eat foods that aren't "good", and congratulate myself for "good eating" days. I've also been known to berate myself for "bad eating" moments.

This Hungry Runner Girl post and this one too does an excellent job of explaining something called the Female Athlete Triad. In a nutshell the triad is made up of three pretty serious conditions that result in decreased performance in the form of things like stress fractures and frequent injuries or fatigue. The triad consists of:
  1. Disordered Eating - Basically abnormal eating habits (eating too little for the amount of exercise being done included) and excessive exercise leading to the body not receiving enough nutrients.
  2. Menstrual Dysfunction - AKA abnormal or completely absent periods resulting from physical stress (excessive exercise), poor nutrition (undereating), or low percentage of body fat (not a problem I have although I did lose a significant amount of body fat in a relatively short period of time).
  3. Osteoporosis - Or as my high school gym teacher called it, "Osteo-bone-disease". Just like Dr. Smith said, lack of menstrual cycle halts the production of certain female hormones necessary in ensuring bone health. 
Put those things together and you get the triad and start down a bad path full of lingering pains and injuries, fatigue and fitness setbacks.

When I first started my journey to lose weight I was adamant about doing it right. I'd seen my sister and numerous other young girls and women in my life take the "cottage cheese only for 6 months" approach to weight loss and while it works to a degree it's completely unsustainable. I'd never had weight problems in my life until I was old enough to luckily understand a little bit about how the body worked so I sort of knew better. That didn't stop me from developing really unhealthy food habits. I wasn't so severe that I would binge and purge but I did restrict. I did go the route of "No chips (or other "bad" foods) EVER!" and would punish myself through exercise and internal insults when I would "slip up". When I first noticed my weight gain 3 years ago, I jumped into skipping meals and made a habit of not eating all day so that I could eat dinner with my then boyfriend (turned husband) without feeling guilty and without him knowing that I was restricting calories. Not eating does not lead to weight loss. I continued to gain through my diet of processed foods until I'd fallen into a pretty deep depression. I've struggled with depression my entire life so although this wasn't a new feeling, it had a new cause and that didn't make it any easier to get over.

Like many challenges, things had to get worse before they'd get better. At one point things had gotten so bad that I would eat snacks in the bathroom at work so that no one would see the tears streaming down my face because I was so disappointed in myself for even being hungry. This was during the time I was trying to track my food and calories to lose weight. I knew that food more than exercise impacted weight loss so while I worked out with some home DVDs during that time I honestly didn't have the energy to put in serious cardio time. I began taking doctor prescribed Vitamin D which you can read about here and it did wonders for increasing my energy. My increased energy lead to productivity which helped me to build some self confidence as I saw myself accomplishing things. I started cooking more and though I still had some hunger guilt I was able to overcome it most days and get into a much healthier state.

I won't say triathlon and running were the culprits but they were the reasons for my increased amounts of exercise. I love running and I love triathlon but I don't love eating. I had finally gotten to a comfortable weight and was proud of my achievements in fitness so I found a consistent food schedule that I have stuck with for a long time. The problem is that as my exercise increased, my food intake did not. Despite the Marathon Monster who demanded food, I became a pro at sticking to my schedule and ignoring hunger pangs that occurred outside of my normal eating hours. I continued losing for a few months before I hit a plateau with my weight and my menstrual cycle had stopped long before that. The problem was at that point I was happy with the weight I was at so the plateau and bodily changes didn't bother me enough to realize what was going on.

Fast forward and we end up here. The months of improper fueling have caught up to me and are causing me problems doing the very things I love to do and that have made me feel so healthy through this difficult time. Where I'm struggling now is with the idea of actually increasing my caloric intake. Yesterday I tracked what I ate which was difficult for me because I link tracking with the onslaught of my disordered eating but I started to see where the missing calories were. I noticed my daily lunch which seemed adequate to me is only 360 calories. The amount I eat throughout the day is fine for someone trying to lose or maintain weight but not if that person is as active as I am. If we look at it from a Weight Watchers perspective, I'm staying within my food points without taking into account my activity points. This morning was difficult for me as I got on the scale and saw I'd actually gained a couple of pounds. The logical side of my brain knows how silly it is to weigh yourself often and rely on that number for validation. The logical side of my brain knows that people can fluctuate between 5 pounds over 24 hours every single day. But it's hard for me to digest (like that play on words?) any kind of weight gain after I've been working so hard to lose.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of help from my fellow tri club members in particular regarding ways to increase my calories the right way. Last night I made my own naked burrito bowl with extra guacamole (Ole!) and this morning I added almond butter to my oatmeal which worked really well for some extra numbers and extra flavor. In the meantime if you have tricks for me to add a little more to my meals I would appreciate it very much. Please be respectful of me and anyone else you come across with any sort of food issue and keep snide or smartass comments to yourself (i.e. "Eat a burger!" or "I wish someone told me to eat more!"). Food issues are very difficult to deal with because unlike an alcoholic who can avoid a bar, everyone needs to see a kitchen.

Hopefully this has been some good information for everyone (men and women) and please leave some feedback on whether or not you think this type of thing is worth talking about. I'm here for you (sort of) and if you all think I should keep my blogging strictly to racing, training and pictures of my cats I'd be happy to consider obliging.

It's almost Friday friends so for those of us who don't work weekends, we're almost there!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Possible Stress Fracture Heard Around the World

I knew it was only a matter of time really before a big one hit but hopefully it's not as big as I'm afraid it will be.

Since I'm now an insured individual and the marathon is over I decided it was finally time to visit the ortho doc about this stupid leg pain. It's only been 2 months right? ...or 3... But I want to be in tip top shape before Raleigh so I made an appointment to get checked out. An hour and twenty minutes after my appointment time I was taken back to the little waiting room and threw on my pair of shorts I put in my purse so I wouldn't have to wear their terrible paper ones. I should've taken a picture. Work top and sweater with some gray short shorts. Hot stuff.

Dr. Smith came in (who I apparently saw in 2009 about my IT band after my first half) and was all sports analogies charismatic fit doctor I-won't-call-you-sweetheart-again-after-that-look-you-gave-me-but-I'll-still-call-you-things-like-champ-and-hotshot. He's actually a cool guy in the douchy cool guy way. The best part about the orthos is that they never judge you for waiting until after a big race to have things fixed. He asked how long I'd had pain and I said probably 2-3 months but I had a marathon to run. Instead of judgment he asked how it went. Dr. Smith, you're the best. He poked and prodded and then decided on an xray just to rule out a break or bone tumors (WHAT?!) and bet his house it would come back normal. He said he was really thinking quad strain or the dreaded femoral stress fracture. The xray came back clean and then he randomly (I thought) asked me about my menstrual cycle.

*WARNING! THIS PART IS ABOUT MY LADY PARTS! SKIP DOWN NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT THAT!

But if you're a female athlete, read on because this could effect you too.

I thought it was bizarre he asked me that but he's a doctor so I told him the truth (no nervous lying!). I probably never mentioned it here but up until September I hadn't had a regular period in over a year and went a good 8 to 10 months at least without having one at all. At first I thought it was awesome since I don't like or want kids but then I thought it was a little weird that I had nothing going on. Then I started to panic a bit and took about 150 pregnancy tests of varying brands at varying times which all came up thankfully negative. So like any good athlete who cares about their body, I ignored it and chalked it up to being evolutionarily challenged. (This is a joke I make about me and The Colonel since we don't have the urge to procreate.) Dr. Smith informed me that when your cycle stops it could be a sign of the reproductive system essentially shutting down for one reason or another which throws off female hormones which leads to a screwed up bone metabolism. Weak bones can equal stress fractures.

Well crap. So much for free birth control through slightly excessive exercise.

OK NOW YOU CAN START READING AGAIN!

I consulted my dear friend Google for symptoms of quad strains vs. symptoms of femoral stress fractures and it wasn't pretty. Bone cancer did come up of course since it's the internet but luckily the X-Ray wrote that off. Everything I read about femoral stress fractures was right on and quad strain was close but not quite. 

I looked for causes and found a lot of information regarding nutrition. I started to worry my vegetarian diet was the culprit but that isn't so. Plus I asked the doctor who clarified it isn't necessarily what I eat, it's more a problem of quantity. I know from random days of tracking that I run a calorie deficit far too often but I never considered it to be THAT big of a deal. For example, marathon day my Garmin predicted I burned over 3000 calories. The meal I ate after was a sandwich from Jimmy Johns which runs around 680 calories. I can't remember what I had for dinner but I know it wasn't much because I wasn't hungry. I replaced a few hundred calories as I ran but the numbers alone don't lie. Huge deficit. Today I calculated what I ate yesterday and my trail run yesterday morning which burned a Garmin estimated 900+ calories. Turns out I ate about 1300 calories and burned over 900. Doesn't take a genius to see the issue with that. 

So. Now we wait. My MRI to confirm or deny a stress fracture/quad strain is Wednesday afternoon and next Wednesday I see the doctor again. If it is indeed a stress fracture it looks like crutches and a lot of swimming is in my future. For a quad strain we can look at physical therapy. Either way, no running for a while which broke my little "running an impromptu half marathon THIS Sunday" heart. Thankfully I do have Raleigh hovering around which has enabled me to keep the focus on getting better and will hopefully keep me from doing anything stupid like "an easy short run" in the meantime.

This is NOT how I was hoping to start my relationship with my new coach :(

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Inferiority Complex

Don't worry, soon I'll be back on a training plan and will be able to actually post about the things I really like to talk about. Well, at least the things I think I'm good at talking about.

Training and racing is what makes me human. It's the one thing I feel that I have total control of (even though occasional injuries like to make me think otherwise) and it's my happy place. My pain cave is dark but there's great music in there.

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Anyway, the point of today's blog is to talk about how to handle that pesky inferiority complex. I don't know if any of you are like me but I have a hard time recognizing my own accomplishments. I had this discussion with Miss Jessica the other day:

Me:  She makes me sad that she's so hard on herself
Jess:  I'm pretty sure you're that hard on yourself in some ways, so there's something to think about
Me:  I'm not THAT hard on myself
Jess:  Maybe not hard, but I feel like you get disappointed a lot when you should be very proud!

Our conversation continued on about trail running and avocados and other bloggers, you know, the usual. But I couldn't shake what she had said. The person in question who was the original too hard on herself woman is one of our favorite bloggers who is absolutely amazing and reminds me everyday how lazy I am since I don't have kids and don't have to sleep for only 2 hours a night. Somehow I still feel like I'm tired and stressed and overworked. Since I couldn't shake it and she's basically my life coach, I reignited the discussion:

Me: Do you really think I'm that hard on myself?
Jess:  I don't know if it is so much hard on yourself directly, but it's like whatever you can do must not be hard or that big of a deal. If you can do it, it's totally achievable and you aren't that proud of it...like, "Yeah, I did a marathon. But it wasn't that fast and I didn't do 114 miles of other stuff first." where with anyone else, after taking several years off of running and then doing a marathon, you'd [be] like like, AWESOME! Great work!

Hmm...valid point. I went on for a little while in an attempt to explain myself but I still haven't quite been able to put my finger on what it is. This morning I likened it to an inferiority complex. I think we all have this when it comes to a certain someone or something. For some reason we start the comparison game and whatever it is we're doing isn't as good as someone else.

As an endurance athlete (one day I won't be uncomfortable calling myself that) that kind of thinking can get you into a lot of trouble. Comparisons can lead you to racing someone else's race or running someone else's pace which more often than not leads to injuries or crapping out way too soon because you weren't "racing within yourself." This frame of mind needs to carryover into everyday life but for some reason it's much more difficult. I am generally pretty good at not comparing myself to others when it comes to running. I know there are faster and longer runners but I know that I can cover some ground as well and occasionally at a pretty good clip. You see, I get running. It makes sense to me. I can rationalize it. But life in general? No way. Any activity other than running? Just as confused.

I considered quitting this blog over the past week because I wasn't a "good enough" blogger. I considered quitting on Raleigh before I even started because I wasn't "fast enough". I considered quitting even discussing exercise and fitness in general because I wasn't "fit enough". I have always been an exceedingly jealous person, peeking through the fence as that impressively green grass while standing in my own Hank Hill perfect lawn. I don't have that beautiful foresight in my own life to see things coming together the way I can see it during a race or in anyone else's life. If you're reading this, there's a part of me that is jealous of you. I may have never even met you but my evil little Blerch is feeding me reasons why I'm inferior to your (hair, athleticism, poise, smell, weight, fingernails etc.).

I don't have a solution to the problem and I'm sure it's frustrating to hear my complaints but the point is to let you know that I am working on it. I want to apply marathon brain to every area of my life...except for the things that are only appropriate during a long race.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Marathon Hangover

Well it was only a matter of time before the post-marathon blues set in. Earlier this week I was too exhausted to recognize what was happening but this morning I figured it out (with some much needed help from Jess) that it is the Marathon Hangover! The hangover is closely related to the Marathon Monster but it's much sadder. It's essentially the death of the Monster who is so desperately trying to hang on and beg for higher mileage to sustain its life. Alas, the Monster eventually loses, the mileage dwindles and you're left feeling sad, fat and bored.

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Or maybe that's just me.

Am I the only one who needs a goal to stay motivated? I don't exercise for the sake of exercise and being healthy although I'd really like that to be the case. Honestly, I run for the races. I train to accomplish something. Without a race I literally just go through the motions. I can ride my bike but I'm not going to push up hills or anything. I'll lift weights but not to have sculpted arms, just because I know I'm supposed to. Now if a race is coming I'll totally justify pilates (which I hate, please teach me to love it) because it'll strengthen my core for swimming/biking/running. I hate going through the motions.

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I really love the "Practice like you perform" motto and scream it at my speech team kids repeatedly just like my marching band instructor used to scream it at us. What's the point of practicing without a performance?

My way of thinking lands me here after every big race. Contemplating a move to New Mexico or Oregon, bored hungry, and threatening to quit my job to start my own business. None of these things are reasonable but when I inevitably and constantly ask myself "What's Next?" I got nothing. But I do know it has to be HUGE!

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I say all of that to say I'm still nowhere in my what to do next question. I have got to improve on the bike but don't really know where to start. I need to do some serious trail running so I'm read for a trail half marathon...someday. And I need to suck it up and finally see someone about my 2 month old quad injury before it starts interfering with Raleigh preparations. Speaking of Raleigh, who wants to hear about my coach?!

That will have to wait. I've got to look at more gifs and get back to you later.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Louisville Dream Factory Marathon Race Recap

Welcome friends to the blog of a two-time marathoner! SPOILER ALERT! I finished the Louisville Dream Factory Marathon with second in my (super tiny) age group!


I've said this about a billion times already to people not on the internet that it was truly the race you dream of! Leading up to race day the weather was sketchy at best and the day before was a miserable cold, drizzly day so I had my fingers crossed for Sunday. Luckily it was dry and calm when I woke up though very cold. I think it was in the low 40s so I was glad to have a throwaway shirt to wear for the first few miles. Otherwise it was sunny and pretty, a perfect day for marathoning!

I'd forgotten how different waking up before a marathon is than any other race. I put my timing chip in my shoe and planned to attach it in the morning since I always wake up super early for race days and I did but I didn't take into account how long it would actually take to put it on. It was one of the old school chips with the twist ties that affix to your shoelaces. Talk about tedious! I also had to remember to fill my bottles for my fuel belt, put in my applesauce (aka fuel) and sneak some pepto in there "just in case". For a normal race I feel like it's just get up and go but when it comes to carrying fuel it took me a little extra time to make sure I got it right. Finally I was ready and headed out the door with The Colonel who was going to drop me off and come back down to the finish 5-ish hours later. No use for him to stand in the cold on a spectator un-friendly (13 miles out and 13 miles back) course. We had just gotten on the highway when the uh oh lightbulb went on and I screamed "Oh my gosh!" The Colonel who was quite possibly more nervous about the race than me (I kept saying he was really nervous for his marathon...) almost wrecked the car. "I forgot to eat my breakfast!" What a rookie mistake, and one that I've never made before. I told him to keep driving and we'd stop at a gas station for...something. There was a gas station less than a mile from the start so we stopped there and I managed to find the snack bar with the least offensive list of ingredients and we were on our way. So much for nothing new on race day! Did I mention I was also wearing new pants?

Eventually we made it with plenty of time to spare and I met up with Autumn to walk to the start. The Colonel was pretty bummed he didn't get any start line pictures but I told him starting a race this long was nothing for me and that I needed him at the end so he finally agreed. We walked over to the start and met up with our speedy friend Ruth and saw our dailymile friend Melissa for the first time in real life!

Me, Melissa, Speedy Ruth and Autumn (I swear we're not actually this bulky! It's the layers!)




I should note that Speedy Ruth did a "fun" olympic tri that our local tri club put on in September and won. Like, finished first OVERALL. I'm pretty sure she was the 2nd or 3rd woman in the Dream Factory Half on Sunday too. We passed her at one point and she had her game face on. It was a great runner growl. Melissa is less speedy but that's no surprise considering she's an ultramarathoner...like 100 mile races and such. What?! Why am I even allowed around these people?


Anyway, it was still cold at the start and we were all just trying to kill time. It was a really small race and it started literally with a kid saying "Ready, set, go..." But anyway, we were off. All 4 of us started near each other but Ruth quickly took off and Melissa pulled away within the first mile. Autumn and I were determined to keep it slow and steady especially until the half turnaround at mile 6-ish to feel things out. It used to take me maybe 5 minutes or a mile to determine how I'd feel during a run. Now it takes like...5-10 miles. I know, who am I? We both said Mile 10 would tell us how we were feeling and we'd check in with our pace at that  point. We were planning to hold 12-12:30 min/miles but kept 12 and under for a really long time. There are a couple of crucial points in a marathon, at least for me. Mile 10 is when the warm up ends, Mile 13.1 is important just because it's your halfway point, Mile 16 is the proverbial "wall" so it's important to check in with yourself at that point to see if you're still on your feet and how you need to handle the last 10 miles and then the Mile 23-ish point when you're 5k away and probably want to die (but not really because that would be a waste of 23 miles).

Shortly after the half turnaround we came up on an older group and I jokingly said "Were you guys too stupid to turn around back there too?" to which the man in the "Marathon Maniacs" shirt responded "THERE WAS A TURNAROUND???!" I love runners with a sense of humor. We hit Mile 10 still feeling amazing! Not long after mile 10 we started to see the leaders come back through and they were looking tough but almost all of them managed a "Good job" or "Doing Great" which I always find to be a nice gesture. At our turnaround point Autumn and I realized we actually weren't DFL which was a nice surprise. We had a great half split at 2:35 (or 2:33 according to my Garmin) and were still feeling surprisingly fresh. The course was relatively flat and the perfect weather made it a smooth ride. We hit mile 16 and I told Autumn I was starting to hurt a little bit but could definitely make 10 more. She said she was surprised I was only hurting a little. Haha, pain is relative right?

Around mile 18 or 19 we finally split up which is part of our pact. We always start races together and if we can run together the whole time, cool but if not (like someone is hurting or just not having a great day) we split and race our own race. She stayed about a half mile ahead of me for the next 5k or so and I did some heavy fueling. I wasn't feeling bad but I wasn't feeling good and was down to only water in my belt which worried me a little bit. I grabbed some sport beans (another race day first) and ate a few with some water and took a few sips of Heed (and yet another first) which I did NOT like the taste of and walked a little bit more than I planned to. I knew I still had some ground to cover and was willing to take a time hit if it meant I'd finish strong. By mile 20 I was feeling alright again and picked up the pace. I just wanted to stay under 15 minute miles at that point so broke into a slow trot. At 21.5 I caught Autumn again and she said if she could call someone to pick her up she would. I told her that would be a waste of 21.5 miles. We did a do-si-do for another mile or two and I pulled away right around the 5k mark. At that point they opened the roads since it had been just over 5 hours and moved us to the sidewalk. I wasn't loving that since the race was marketed as a "no time limit" course but what can you do. 3 of the people we were ahead of at the halfway point passed us back and were about a quarter mile ahead of me through the last few miles. I couldn't have caught them if I tried so I just continued my slow trot. I was feeling a lot of pain and it actually hurt more to stop and walk so I ran most of the last 8k. I knew I wouldn't hit my goal of 5:30 and I knew that would worry my mom and The Colonel but I calculated that if I continued my pace I wouldn't be too much off of it and they'd be ok. I stuck with under 15 minute miles and wanted a sub 45 last 5k. Those were long, lonely miles aside from the traffic but I knew I was on my way to 26.2 x2 and I was excited! Like any good race there is a turn you make for the final .1 or whatever to go straight into the finish and I was glad to finally turn that corner. I wasn't glad that the road was full of gravel and potholes but what can you do? I kicked in whatever was left (um...nothing) and finished strong and on my own feet and without tears.

The Colonel wasn't expecting me so soon (soon???!) and missed the photo op. I don't care nearly as much as he does but he took some good ones afterwards. Speedy Ruth stuck around to see us finish and our friend Jennifer showed up for the fun too. Our tri club's social was held at the finish line so it was nice to see a lot of those guys around. Autumn only finished about 3 minutes behind me so I didn't feel guilty for forging ahead (although our mom hates our pact). We headed straight for the Sprite. There's something about racing and soft drinks that feel like some deliciously sinful endeavor. It's the only time I even consider drinking carbonation but man, I love that sugar after 5 and a half hours!

Me, Autumn and Jennifer
Getting my timing chip taken off
26.2 times 2 No Meat Athlete!
All in all, this was a great run. I had way more highs than lows and my pain cave wasn't too terribly deep. Sunday night wasn't too pretty since I was sore and couldn't get comfortable no matter how I sat but I was a good little runner and moved around a lot so I could stay loose. Monday at work was torture and all I wanted was a nap! The soreness is pretty much gone today and I'm already chomping the bit to run again...but after another nap ;)


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Marathon Style

I'm not a huge TBTer but in honor of a little race I have coming up I thought I'd take you back to where the journey to M2 (Marathon #2) started.

Let's bring it back to April where I watched Shalane Flanagan among others throw down on the Boston Marathon course.


I was participating in my usual "watch live feed online coverage of a major race while attempting to do something more important" ritual and got hooked in. Out of nowhere my brain said to me "Do another marathon." And my body said "Ok." And that was that. No profound realizations just simply, "I'm going to do another marathon." This was before any tragedy struck. This was early on when the Rita Jeptoos were finishing. The tragedy did nothing to sway my opinion, if anything it just strengthened my resolve.

Fast forward to June and marathon training had commenced. My most memorable run in the past 16 weeks was the very first long run on the calendar. It was about 380 degrees outside and at the time I was working a 6am-2pm shift in food services at a long-term care facility. It was a pretty physical job with a strict uniform (down to the very uncomfortable shoes) and even stricter time clock policy. No way I would be running at 4am to get finished and to work on time so I decided to go right after I got off. I changed in the locker room at work, walked through the halls with a big gym bag and running gear on, got a lot of crazy looks and headed out into the Louisville summer afternoon heat and humidity to run 5 miles, my long run. I made it the 200 feet to my car and was begging for anything to help me cool down. It wasn't quite Badwater hot but I'm pretty sure it was close. I met up with Autumn who was already cursing me before she got out of the car and we trudged up the steps to the Crescent Hill Reservoir to run around a body of water we'd rather be floating in. It was terrible. The heat hurt. My legs hurt. Everything was bad and right then and there I decided to quit training for a stupid marathon. 5 miles later the endorphins were keeping me sane but the euphoria from watching the magical finishes in Boston was long gone. I decided to go back to the drawing board.

Obviously I didn't quit. But that first long run made me question pretty much everything I'd ever known about myself in an hour or less. I was starting to get a little worried about what 5+ hours in my head would do for me. As the runs got longer so did my patience and aside from a few meltdowns - which are to be expected - long runs became the highlight of my weekends. Even in the rain, the heat and/or the humidity I was cruising along according to plan.



Of course then stupid me had to go and get injured. We all know how that's been playing out but before long I was able to run again, albeit not like I wanted to be.

Apparently Autumn was giving the camera the finger...

Over the past 16 weeks (or 4 months if you'd like to make it sound as long as it's felt) a lot has gone down and been learned. Traveling the road to the marathon hasn't been easy by any means but it's been mostly fun. Along the way I managed to get engaged, leave the country, switch jobs, move into a new house, injure myself, heal myself, injure something else, sign up for a 70.3, meet with a triathlon coach, pick up a second job, decide on a potential career path, get married and lose about 15 pounds from learning to eat more actual food. It's been awesome. 

It's weird to think that it'll all be over by Sunday afternoon (God willing). Autumn asked me during our last 8 mile "long" run what I was going to do on Monday and I had no answer. I have a cycling program I plan to do during the winter to get some chops up in that department and in January I'll start hard on Raleigh. There are some races I'm at least considering but nothing I'm willing to pay for just yet. In some ways I'm so glad to not have the "You Must Run!" command hanging over my head every week but it's become such a routine and lifestyle that it's also hard to say goodbye to. I imagine this is how I'll feel after an Ironman...times 1000. In the meantime, I read that I'm allowed to eat tons of carbs between now and Sunday so I've basically got an alarm set to eat potatoes and pizza every half hour. 

Happy Thursday Friends!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marathon Monday

Well my friends, we are now officially under 1 week until marathon day and I have a lot going through my head but am surprisingly less panicked than I was expecting to be. I'm still panicked.

Trust the training.

I'm panicked that my mysterious leg injury will flare up and cripple me. I'm panicked that I didn't get that 20 miler in because of said leg injury. I'm panicked that something will happen this week to throw everything off. Was I right to swim and bike in place of running when my leg was really acting up or should I have run through it? Or should I have seen a doctor and now my leg is too weak to carry me through?

Endurance events are hard. I don't think I'm shocking anyone with that groundbreaking sentence but there's so much more that adds to the difficulties than just the sheer distance. The great Kara Goucher once talked about how amazed she is by marathon runners who aren't professionals because not only do we have to balance training with another job but we're also out there a whole lot longer. 26.2 miles in 3 hours is a lot different than 26.2 in 5 or 6 hours and I unfortunately fall into the latter. My splits and pace and overall time won't be anything to write home about but the fact that I can grind it out for 5+ hours is worth mentioning. At least to me. It's also hard to do this stuff because despite seeing 45,000 people toe the line in Chicago yesterday, there's still a relatively small amount of people you encounter during your day to day life who will "get it" and it's hard for me not to be a little disappointed by that. Maybe it's because I've done a marathon before. Or maybe it's because I make so much more of a fuss over triathlons and Raleigh than this race but it's been a bit of a bummer how few people have actually even mentioned my race to me. I have the lifers of course who whether or not they get it have been there through every up and down of training and understand that it's a big deal to me but then there are those you expect to at least say something and nope. Nada. It's weird. It's still 6 days away and when it's not your life it's hard to stay amped over something that's still decently far away so I'll let it slide. But if I get back to my phone Sunday afternoon and don't have the obligatory "Good Luck" notes I'm coming after all of you!

Just kidding :)

This wasn't meant to be a downer post. There are some people I'm definitely disappointed in but for the most part I've done a great job of surrounding myself with really special and supportive people. I should really do a post about each of them one of these days although I'm not sure if they'd be comfortable with the resulting fame.

So what about you? Do you have something big and scary coming up or that you're ready to tackle? It doesn't have to be exercise related. In my mind a career change or physical move from one place to another are way scarier than any race I plan to tackle. Let's hear it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Inspiring Inspirational Inspiration

That pretty much sums up my weekend.

I'm a big fan of being inspired. I love watching documentaries and becoming obsessed with the subjects and their relentless pursuit of whatever random feat despite their randomly difficult circumstances. There's nothing like watching someone overcome something. Anything. I would watch a documentary of an aspiring hand model getting rid of a hangnail in order to compete in the World Amateur Hand Modeling Championships and start googling nail technician programs so that I could someday be equipped with the necessary tools to aid other aspiring hand models in the future. Not only am I easily inspired, but I also like to be involved.

The problem with my obsession with inspiration is that it always leaves me wanting more. It makes me want to go harder, faster, longer! *insert our collective immature giggles here* As I sit here fresh from watching 10 hours of coverage of the Ironman World Championships on Saturday and 2 hours of the Chicago Marathon this morning it leaves me having a hard time getting excited over my own impending accomplishments. I'm now less than one full week away from the marathon I've been obsessing over for months and in exactly one week from this moment I'll hopefully be doing exactly this. Laying on my couch with my dog and The Colonel, watching television and possibly blogging. The only difference is that instead of sitting here inspired and looking for more, I'll have been the one completing the inspiring feat and hopefully I'll be at rest. Not like dead laid to rest but I won't be searching, for at least one day. Maybe two. I'm not chomping the bit to jump into my next set of training but I am excited to increase some swimming and biking and add in all those fun things I got too busy for like yoga and pilates (ughhhhhhh).

Basically, although I'm super excited to race, I'm also excited to put the marathon to bed and see what's next. I know I have Raleigh looming in the distance but I'm ready to get into a new routine that isn't 4 days of hard, ass kicking, quad numbing, hamstring tightening running. I'm ready to smell like chlorine and wear curly hair, have a sore butt and rediscover my abdominal muscles. I'm ready to take some pressure off my hip and talk about something other than the monster.

As I said on Facebook this evening:
One week from now I'll be happily relaxing and entering recovery mode after a great race at the Louisville's Dream Factory Marathon and Half. It's incredible to think that after 3 years (more than 2 of which saying "I'll never do that again") I find myself one week away from a second 26.2 mile race. I may be 20 pounds heavier than the first time but I'm quite literally in the best shape of my life this time around and more appreciative than ever about what the time away from and the time spent marathon training has taught me about myself. My time won't be anything to brag about but finishing this time will feel better than I can even imagine right now. This is also a reminder to start designing your "Go Rennay!" signs now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

KT Tape to the Rescue!

How was your weekend?

It was a wet one here. Very, very wet. So wet in fact that we made The Weather Channel's Facebook page!


Yes, I liked The Weather Channel on Facebook.

Anyway, due to the weather both group workouts planned with a few of the lovely ladies from my tri club fell through so aside from a quick and hilly (oxymoron?) 3 miler early Saturday morning I didn't do much to get moving over the weekend.

Since I'm in a full taper now for the marathon (did someone say 2 weeks from yesterday?) in addition to wrapping myself in bubble wrap and preventative ace bandages I've also been trying out KT Tape to see if it could do some work on my mysterious leg injury and nagging hip ailment. I think the only reason anyone knows what KT tape is is because of the lovely Kerri Walsh, I mean, she's even on the box!

Anything I can do to A: replicate Kerri Walsh and B: cure myself before getting to the start I'm willing to do so I headed out to Fleet Feet and picked up a can of 20 strips to give them a whirl. I have no idea how they work. My mom's physical therapist has put them on her shoulder before and she told me they worked although she also didn't know how. I've gotten to an "It can't hurt" mentality so I was willing to try them out. I read the directions and promptly ignored them. WARNING: Do NOT ignore the directions. I bought them thinking I could just slap them on and go for a run. This is false. I tried it anyway and they came off pretty much immediately and didn't help my leg AT ALL. I vowed to follow the directions next time.

You're supposed to wear them for at least an hour before exercise and they are to be put on clean skin with no lotions or oils. As an extra precaution I also shaved my legs. Yeah, I don't always do this quite so regularly. Sue me. I watched the video again to make sure I was putting them on right and then gave it a try with some help from The Colonel. WARNING: Watch the videos or you'll have no clue what you're doing. I popped them on and then went to work and planned to run in the evening.

Peeking out from the bottom of my skirt at work

 Ready for action

Since I followed the rules they managed to stay on all day and actually did help my leg in some magical way. The test would be the run but the fact that it was helping in my day to day was a big plus! Autumn and I went for a little test run after work and I was really surprised by how much better I felt! Still not 100% but I'd say maybe 70% which is amazing! Afterwards I looked up how long I could wear the tape because it was feeling good and I really didn't want to have to buy a hoarder's stock of it (although I'm still willing to do so) and was glad to see it can be worn for up to 5 days at a time. I wore my first (well technically second) pieces for 2 days then took them off for a day. My leg felt better overall but I could feel the difference between wearing and not wearing them. They've been working so well I decided to give it a whirl on my hip. I can't pinpoint the pain in my hip and they have 2 applications. One for hip flexor and one for IT band. So I tried both and now know it's the IT band. No surprise there since my IT band towards my knee practically crippled me 4 years ago after my first half marathon. But I'm stunned by how well the tape is working. I've had the hip pain for a long time and even though it gets better at times it's always rough to go from sitting to standing. I put the tape on last night during Homeland (By the way, you NEED to be watching Homeland) and when I got up this morning it was feeling pretty good and just keeps getting better through the day! Still hurts if I really push on it but the movement part is going well and that's all I need for right now. Since I now have insurance (this is not an invitation to talk politics or healthcare. I just married the right person.) I'll likely hit up those fancy sports medicine docs (who will judge me for swearing by acupuncture) after the marathon to see what's going on. If it's a big deal I need to get things working right sooner rather than later so I can be in shape for Raleigh.

Speaking of Raleigh, I've decided to pick up a coach for this race so that I'm feeling confident and training to do the best that I can do. I have a lead on one that I'm super duper excited about but no spoilers ;) I'm planning to talk to him this week and hopefully I'll have something to announce soon! 

More importantly, on Saturday I went to visit my new legal in-laws and we went to a pumpkin patch. Oh how I love fall. The Colonel and I picked out our pumpkins and pumpkins for the kiddos. It was fun handing them out with we got home!