Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Top 2012

I have had one of the most outstanding years this year and I'm not sure it is possible to have a year that is even better.  The little things are what I will remember... For instance this year included zip lining, vacationing in DC, kayaking, fishing, karaoke, trips to Chicago, meeting new amazing friends, building relationships with old friends and lots of love!

Sure I was plagued with injury and now I'm spending this final week of 2012 sick but these are not the things I will remember. I should also acknowledge that 2012 has brought loss, tears, mistakes, frustration... but you have to put life into perspective. What is really important? I think the experiences I listed above are what matter.

Of course this blog is about my quest to becoming an athlete and here is what I have to say about that; Athletically not much has happened this year. I did my first Olympic distance triathlon, and had some of the best spectators a person could ask for. I also ran a half marathon and a few other small races but because of a stress fracture and PF that knocked me off my feet (literally) I did not accomplish anything all that grand.

So, you may ask, how am I going to top all the amazing things that have happened to me in 2012? My answer is simply this... I don't know and quite honestly my main goal is to continue living the way I have been living and I'm sure everything else will fall into place.

This wouldn't be a year end post if I didn't at least acknowledge my goals from last year and what I have accomplished.

2012 Revisited

Run Faster: I was accomplishing this until the stress fracture. Now I'm back to my 13 min/miles and loving running again. So, failed but with good results.

Run Chicago Marathon: Had to pull out of training due to very serious PF. I'm back to running now and will attempt Chicago in 2013 (if I remain uninjured).

Olympic Distance Triathlon: Wow, I did accomplish this and 30 minutes faster than anticipated! Never felt more accomplished!!!

Run a mile a day: Well this was just stupid to begin with... 72 days and over 250 miles in I found myself stress fractured. Will never attempt this again!!!

I had a mileage goal but I can't find it. I do know that I did not accomplish it. Need I mention the injury again? Probably not, but here is what I did this year: 698 mile ran, 30 miles walked during my recovery period, Over 1,000 mile biked, over 60 mile swam, Over 20 miles on the elliptical (again recovery workouts). That is over 1,800 miles logged. Not too shabby!

Blog 1 time a week:  I came close to this goal, but I'm going to be more realistic next year.

2013 Plans

Run uninjured and will shoot for 1,000 miles in 2013
Olympic Distance Triathlon
Chicago Marathon
Cap City Half Marathon
Blog twice a month

Sure I have athletic goals and let me be clear, my athleticism is only part of who I am as a person. I will still focus on developing myself as an athlete but more importantly will focus on my relationships, on my growth as a person, on the people I care about and hopefully that will lead to another 2012!

I sincerely thank all of the amazing people who are in my life and have entered my life this past year. It is because of all of you that I can boast about the great experiences this year!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It IS Worth It!

As many of you know I have struggled with injury after injury this year. I'm not going to ramble about it much  tonight because you can read about it here and here and here and here and here and here... I think you get the point. I have been whiny about my injuries this year, and that is only a sample of the posts about being injured: sadly there are more.

I was tracking facebook today and saw one of my friends post a quote about how running is hard on your body. My immediate internal response was, uh huh and you needed someone else to tell you that? But my public comment was much more forgiving. Bottom line, running is hard on your body but darn it, it is worth it.

Stress is also hard on the body. It doesn't just impact your mind... I was having a particularly perplexing day today and I really needed an outlet, a friend. I posted something on facebook about needing either a workout or a friend. I was lucky enough to get both. One of my friends read between the lines of the post and offered me exactly what I needed, some good conversation AND a workout. At 9:30, my friend Amy and I, met up at the trail for a quick 3 mile run. As we ran I remembered and experienced two very important things

1) Late night running is the best!
2) Running eases both the mind and the body.

You see, my friend Amy is a listener and I am a talker. Don't get me wrong, I am a great listener when my friends need me but I can talk with the best of them. Amy met me on the trail and I had a lot to say. I had many moments today that included me feeling scared, frustrated, happy, sad, anxious, etc. and then I felt abandoned when all I was looking for was a friend. Running allowed me to process all of these feelings in a healthy way and on top of it I had another great friend there to listen to me (By the way, I did let her talk too if you were wondering).

Basically, even though I was feeling slightly stressed and my body was tense, going for that run relaxed both my mind and my body.

So the moral of this story is this: If anyone ever tells you running is hard on your body, you better believe them; if they tell you it isn't worth it, run away!!! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Joy

Awesomely fashionable!
I have come to realize a number of things this past year that I have probably blogged about before, but a reminder is always nice. The most important thing? Don't take life too seriously...

I go in waves with technology. My use of social media ebbs and flows based on my mood and I have gotten to the point that running without my Garmin is totally worthless, or is it?

It is the Christmas season and quite frankly, I am not much of a Christmas person. The shopping is overwhelming, and people always seem to be cranky. Why?

I went to work today with all the wrong clothes for a very cold run. While analyzing the clothes a few minutes before the run, I realized I simply wanted to have fun...

Over the last few weeks I have found myself accidentally garminless. In some cases it was because I forgot to charge the darn thing, in others it was because I left my garmin at a restaurant and didn't have the energy to go and pick it up at my friend's house. While running those miles without the garmin I remembered what running was like when it was simply done for the sake of running and not because I needed to log a certain number of miles at a certain pace. I ran because I wanted to, that is all.

Some people come into your life to remind you of things. I have this optimism that does not waver. Sure I have my moments in the doldrums but I have this zest for life that was brought into my life with my athleticism and for that I am thankful! Talking with one of my friends recently I remembered that I make the choice to get out of bed on the right side. Think about that for a minute...

So today as I was singing "All I want for Christmas is You" (yes I was actually singing Christmas music at work today) I realized the Christmas season is what you make of it. Christmas is up in my house. The tree is up, the wreath is hung, Santa is sitting in front of my fire place, and darn it I like it! I decided Christmas is going to be fun whether other people decide to join my bandwagon or not.

As I was preparing for my run today (in other words getting dressed) I carefully pulled on my calf sleeves, shorts (did I mention it was snowing when we went out?) shirt and shoes (notice I didn't say socks) I made the choice that this run was going to be fun (regardless of how my body was reacting to my awesome overly fun Sunday night)!!! I told Jen I forgot socks and she came to the rescue with cotton tube socks she had in her drawer, I was realizing that I had a perfectly good turtle neck sweater that hadn't lived up to the sweat part of its name. I threw caution to the wind and decided that I would run in the tube socks and sweater. I also decided that I was not going to fuss with my garmin but instead enjoy the snowflakes, one of my closest friend's company and my big warm comfy sweater! Today I remembered the Joy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hugs are Underrated

My regular readers know what can happen when I am at a loss for words on my blog... I decide I am a poet; the quality of my poetry is arguable... Here's one for you that I am calling Hugs are Underrated.

Here I sit with little to say
Utterly surprising to many but hey
Great times have been had over the last two weeks
So summing it up means I'd have to pick peeks

A trip to Chicago to eat turkey and treats
Real friend and family time, nothing beats, and
Even some time spent with athletes

Utter chaos at the casino celebrating with friends
Never a dull moment for all who attends
Depending the moment over the last 15 days
Everyone had a role in my life that they play
Runners included, who gave me some hugs
Remembering that our friendships don't end with shrugs
Amazingly for me, I ran many miles
Today I sit back and enjoy with smiles
Everyone who hugged me decreased my need for yawning; so I'll continue
Dance like no one is watching

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where did all the Twinkies go!!!

I didn't even realize I liked Twinkies until they were gone. Unless, of course, I want to buy a box for twenty dollars or more on ebay... I have been to the grocery store, Target, UDF, Speedway and other random stores since Hostess Brands took a nose dive. I never had intentions of looking for hostess items but I found myself looking at the Twinkie shelves longingly, wishing I could have just one more. Gone...

When I eat, I eat understanding that everything I put into my body will impact my next work out, sometimes favorably and sometimes less so. There is a reason I prefer running on Saturdays. If I run on Saturday morning, that officially leaves Saturday night to eat less favorably and drink some beer all knowing that my body may suffer on Sunday. Take today for example, because of last night my desire to get to the gym for a swim, well, failed me. I had the best night last night; Started with dinner at the local casino, followed by a little slot action, a crappy jukebox, a stop at the waffle house and very little sleep. I ate a few desserts, a waffle (which was ordered based on smell), drank too many beers and quite frankly, although I was very chipper this morning (my friends will attest to this) I simply couldn't get myself to snap into action. Let me be clear. I have to regrets! Last night was unexpected and tons of fun. As a matter of fact I already started planning a karaoke night and an encore.

BUT, the truth is after a many hour nap I woke up knowing I destroyed my workout potential with all of my activities last night and instantly I wanted a Twinkie!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Overwhelmed

I have written about five blog posts over the last day and a half but nothing is coming out quite right. Quite frankly this is how I feel:

Columbus Zoo: He got me!

I know, kinda dramatic. I simply feel overwhelmed. I'm getting back into the swing of running, although being on the road for the past ten days has made my progress come to a screeching halt. Ran some, not enough. Walked at least three miles a day, not enough...

I acknowledge that this was a long (but positive) week, I worked too much, stayed up too late every night, woke up early every morning, traveled (and if you know me, you know that flying is extremely stressful for me), got to my car in the airport parking lot to a flat tire that was literally stuck on my car. I didn't know how to deal with a tire that was stuck. I was stumped. Who do you call at 10:30 on a Friday night to give you tips? Luckily I remembered my friend has a mechanical husband. I texted her and her husband called and walked me through three potential options, one of which worked. A task that typically takes me about ten minutes (changing a tire) took me well over an hour.

By the time I saw my car I was simply done, spent, tired and didn't want to fight with my car. I literally got in my car once this was all over and I burst into tears...

Once I composed myself I came to one conclusion:

I need to run!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Consistency


I know I spent a lot of time whining on my blog about the fact that I couldn't run for awhile this summer. Sure, I was being a baby but the reality is this... My foot was so bad that it made doing regular tasks very difficult, if not impossible. The final straw was when my friend and I went out to a balloon festival and I could barely walk around without debilitating pain. He simply said to me, do you really want to compromise all of the marathons in your future for this one event? Wow, did that hit a cord with me.

Shortly thereafter I found myself at the doctor's office (I should mention I will still squeeking out miles VERY painfully at this point). The Dr. asked me if I was getting my miles in. Yes. He asked me if I was limping while running. No. He asked me where the pain was. Bottom of my foot. He pressed around, I cried and he told me I have a very bad case of plantar fasciitis. Damn it, I dealt with this before but never so bad. He told me that as long as I wasn't limping I could keep running but I needed to shut it down the minute I started limping. He prescribed me physical therapy (which is a story for another day) and sent me on my way.

Within a week I was limping so badly while running that I was starting to feel injured everywhere. I shut it down... If you have ever had to shut something down that you love, you know how hard that can be. As I patiently waited for about four weeks for the PT office to do their job (as I said, story for another day) I consistently got worse and I wasn't even running. Seriously, I thought this was so messed up but figured it was part of the injury.

When I finally got into PT and was matched up with one of the funniest and very competent Physical Therapists I almost cried! The first evaluation session included an ultrasound, the most painful deep tissue massage, tape on my feet and a series of very simple stretches (toe raises, towl stretches and something called pro-stretch) I was assigned as homework until my next session, which didn't take place for about two weeks (as I said working with this office is a story for another day but quite infuriating). I did my homework compulsively and started feeling a little better, however my ankle started snapping with every step I took.

The physical therapist went through the same procedures and assigned me some exercises which included steam boats. I watched her demonstrate these simple exercises I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Well when I started doing this simple exercise I immediately began falling over. It literally took me about 20 minutes to do what now takes me about two minutes. I was weak...

I was still feeling some relief but the popping in the ankle continued. The next appointment included a quick evaluation of my hip flexor by a different therapist. She laughed and told me I was as hard as a stiff man, we laughed, she tried to correct the terminology, dug herself a deeper hole and gave me some stretches and exercises to 'release' my hip flexor. An additional therapist was intrigued by my snapping in the ankle and gave me some ankle exercises to strengthen my ankle.

Meanwhile I was getting my arch taped up at every appointment, doing my exercises compulsively and finally feeling results. I decided it was time to try running again. The first run was great, the next day was great and then I went to Chicago to watch my sister's marathon and the pain was debilitating AGAIN!!! I should mention that I did not do the physical therapy as assigned for the weekend. Coincidence that I felt pain? I think not...

I went to the physical therapist three more times, started running a little bit and realized that any time I slack on the exercises my foot flares up. In talking with the therapists I learned that PT is not only about the appointments but about the entire process. I started thinking back to when I was diagnosed with scoliosis about 14 years ago. My doctor assigned me exercises to do for my back and I still do them daily. Perhaps that is why I tend to not have back pain? The same applies to these exercises.

Now, I know that everyone's body is different and needs different care but I find it VERY  hard to believe that you can expect results if you do not do the homework. One of the most important things I learned through this process is that consistency is the key.

Who knew that a little pain in the foot could sideline someone for weeks, but it did...

Some people may read this and think that I was dealing with a little PF and should have charged through, however I can tell you that after the stress reaction in my tibia in the spring, I was simply not willing to take the risk of a more serious injury that could have sidelined me for longer than a few months. And, the honest truth is I could barely walk after any run. I will never regret taking care of my body!

I am back to running short distances and have set some goals but the primary goal is to stay pain and injury free which includes continuing my prescribed exercises consistently, after all it is what is keeping my pain to a minimum for now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Student Who Couldn't Pass

Can you believe I am envious of all the runners who ran 20 miles a little over a week ago? Well it's true. Yesterday I woke up thinking I could run again. Knowing better I hopped on my bike but called A to let him know I was going to join him and the others for our typical Monday run. Once again my body had different plans for me. I woke up this morning and almost fell to the ground when I took my first step. I have been in extreme pain ever since. The only relief I had was when I was on my bicycle for about twenty miles.

It is so frustrating when you do the homework but you still fail the class.




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Conclusion: Life is Good

As all of my regular readers know, I tend to fall off blogging when something is wrong. Well something is potentially wrong. Aside from having some crummy experiences on the trail over the past few weeks I'm feeling injured. Here's the story...

Three weeks ago I met my group up for a 14 mile run. Needless to say I was disappointed to learn that the full group was going to be coachless after the first mile and a half. I mean I didn't exactly pay to participate in a training program that promises coaches and end up running coachless for the second year in a row. That was only the beginning of a tough run.

Picture from the cavern
We ran and watched closely for the turn around point. It never came so we eventually used our judgement and turned around. I then had some stomach trouble. Ended up alone after about 12 miles due to a quick trip to the bathroom. Around mile 14 I saw I was approaching a water stop just to see the water being pulled off the course by the organizers. Ugh, waterless 14 miles into a 14 mile run of which I knew I had about 3 miles to get back to the starting point AND they knew someone was still out on the course because my keys were patiently awaiting my return.

About 15 miles into my 14 mile run, the breakdown began. I cried, I cursed my running group, I swore and then I ran into the most amazing dude ever. I stopped this guy on the trail and pathetically told him I didn't know where I was going and that I was 15 miles into a 14 mile training run. He looked at me sideways and decided he was going to help me out. He asked me if I had anything in me, I said yes and he said follow me. I should mention he was probably clipping at about 7 minute mile pace and graciously slowed down to my 13 minute mile pace to guide me back to my car. I couldn't thank him enough and I don't even know his name.

The following week it was much of the same. Coachless after 3 miles, sore foot, running with some good people, water on the course was not pulled away but my foot hurt. I did some mild training runs through the week and showed up the following week to the SAME story. Fourteen mile training run, coachless after 4 miles, extreme foot pain after the run, could barely walk the rest of the day...

Now please understand, I am grateful for the people who I have had the opportunity to run with. I am also grateful that I have a group that provides water every couple of miles but I paid for more. I'm not complaining, just noticing that the services I receive as a slower runner are not quite the same services that the faster folks paid for. Am I worth less because I run slower? I don't think so... So here's the deal, I am grateful for what I do get out of the group, but wish the services that were advertised were the same services I actually receive. But they aren't...

Wow, that felt good lay it all out there. The thing is, there is something to learn in all of this. First? Life hasn't been bad at all!

In the midst of all this running I have logged many miles in the pool and on the bike. Those cross training days have provided a great relief to the pain in the foot. I am thankful for these other options.

This was cool!!!
On top of it I have been to Bowling Green Ohio, the Ohio Caverns, shooting (guns that is), to Hopewell National park, a friend's house for dinner, bass pro shop, fisherman's warehouse, out to dinner and the list goes on.

I did receive a reality check when I was asked today if I was planning on going to the doctor for my foot. I sheepishly said no, but proceeded to call the office anyway just to learn they had closed for the day. I have great hopes that I will get into the doctor SOON and he will tell me to continue running and suck up the pain. Worst case scenario? I don't even want to think about it yet, but for certain I know the cross training and fun will continue because despite it all: LIFE IS (still) GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympics Say it All

I'm going to let the Olympics speak, for the most part, this week. I don't think there is anything I can say about my training that could even match up with some of the editorial pieces that can be seen while watching the Olympics.

Honestly, I was found whining and upset about my run on Saturday. There were many factors that impacted my attitude but when I spent some of my Saturday and Sunday watching the Olympics, I recognized I had nothing to fret about. So many people spend their days taxing their bodies for a living while I do it as a hobby. Rather than beat myself up about my shape, my speed,, I am going to congratulate myself for my persistence and accomplishments. I will not be winning any gold medals, but I have been winning self confidence and sense of accomplishment during this journey.

Two Amazing Athletes!
One of the things I am most proud of is my ability to take feedback, let it hang out there and own my misgivings. We are all human and there is always an opportunity for self reflection. Every time I push my body a little farther than where I thought it could go, I am expanding my mind and learning something about myself. The Olympics are amazing because many of the people who participate know they have no chance to win the event but they show up, toe the line and persevere. Why do they do this? Because of the personal accomplishment, to represent their country and because of personal pride.

I will be sad when the Olympics end because I will have to wait two years for the next winter Olympics and four years for the next summer games but what I have learned from this set of games is that it doesn't matter what sport you play, every time you challenge yourself you win.

Side Note

I can't finish up this blog without mentioning my two trips that have thrown a wrench in my training plans. Working out on treadmills, in the heat, on the road in the midst of work can take its toll. So what would you do while on the road? I train as much as I can and then enjoy a bit of the local flavors (literally). Here is a picture of the BBQ pit at the restaurant we frequented tonight.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Flaming Cake

I am posting this picture for those of you curious about the flaming cake:

Flaming Cake!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Think I Failed!

Last week, I rambled about the brick workout. I remember talking about how I needed to spend these last two weeks (well now one week) hydrating, eating well, mentally preparing and getting rest. 

So here is how I did...

First, yesterday was supposed to be my long run for the week. This is where I was going to begin mentally preparing for my triathlon next week. Well, that didn't happen... I suffer from plantar fasciitis on occasion and when it acts up, I take a rest day. So what is the plan? I am going to squeak in 12 miles on Monday evening. Nice slow pace at Sharon Woods three times. I can do this!!! I'm also going to spend about five minutes every day visualizing myself crossing the finish line with a smile on my face...

In regards to hydration: Do fruity frilly girly drinks count as hydration? If they do well then I should give myself one big pat on the back. I also learned how to set drinks (and food) on fire! I had plenty of burnt drinks and fruity beverages last night and my body is thanking, hmmm... maybe punishing me for all of those delightfully delicious beverages. They sure tasted good!

So where does this leave me with eating well. So, one of the promises to my friends was that I was going to attempt making a baked Alaska. I probably should have looked up the process for making one of these cakes PRIOR to promising the cake. Well, again, this was totally delicious, had one of the important food groups; but I highly doubt it counts as eating well. (I would have inserted a picture but I still don't have any) Actually, I did light a banana on fire. That provided me some potassium??? 

And finally, rest... Well, I was up until 2:30 this morning... That is all I can say about that.

So I would say my weekend was an epic success as far as fun is concerned, but an epic fail as it relates to preparing for the triathlon... What do you think? 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Brick...

I was telling a friend about my brick workout yesterday. He asked me what it meant to do a brick workout. Well, I'm a technical being so responded with something like this: You do one workout followed by another workout with as little time in between as possible; basically, you kick your own a$$ in a short period of time for fun.

Well that did not satisfy my friend and he did his own research. Here is what we learned (paraphrased of course):

  • Some dude from long ago would switch from running to cycling and he coined that type of activity a brick.
  • A brick workout is one that is so tough you want to sh*t a brick when it is over.

I have participated in a number of triathlons in the past. All of the triathlons have been sprint distance races and I have always struggled with the running portion of the race. I never trained properly and have been extremely lucky to cross the finish line of all but one of the triathlons I have started. 

This year I decided to take the plunge and finally do an Olympic distance tri. Call me crazy (or call me maybe)... I am feeling overly prepared for the bike, fully prepared for the run and kind of prepared for the swim.

While preparing for this triathlon, there have been multiple things weighing on my mind. Here's a short list:
What I have been doing a lot of, contemplating. 

  • What the hell did I get myself into. Seriously, I am going to run a 10k after swimming and biking? I have barely squeaked out a 5k in past triathlons that were much shorter in distance.
  • How the heck am I going to get my car to the end of the race, my body to the start of the race, my running shoes down town, etc. I have never done a point to point tri before so I have no idea what to expect or how to prepare in this situation.
  • Did I do enough brick workouts? Well, I already know I have not, but eh, my goal is to finish. Beat myself up over my limited bricks? Or just acknowledge the hay is in the barn and I am as ready as I'm going to be in this circumstance. 
  • Do I really care about my transition times for this race? Yes, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, especially since my quickest transition time ever was around one minute and thirty seconds. This was before I started riding my bike with bike shoes, before I cared about fueling, before I knew how important it is to hydrate.
  • What is going to be the best fuel for me during this race. Should I enjoy my granola bar during the ride? They always slow me down. Or should I rely on gu. The reason I like granola bars so much is that they make me feel full but not engorged. Gu can have adverse impacts on my body; just sayin...
  • OMG, I have to drive to West Virginia a couple hours after the race (after I refuel on Pizza of course). I must be crazy!!!
So, those are the things that have been bothering me over the last couple of weeks. I haven't come to any conclusions on any of the items above (except that I am crazy), but I do know this:
 
Now it is time to eat well, hydrate, get rest and mentally prepare myself for another big brick workout on race day... 

Hmmm... Or am I simply prepared to sh*t a brick...

How I hope to feel post race!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Tree is STILL Happy!!!

I was recently reading more of the book 'Running the Edge.' It is one of those books that you have to take your time to read. Well, that is true if you are like me. I actually read the book, do the exercises and then self reflect before moving on to the next chapter. It appears that my self reflection exercise for certain chapters can be quite lengthy. I mean I got the book several months ago and I am just now getting to chapter 3. The most recent chapter talked about self actualization and how very few people reach a point of self actualization.

If you asked me what I strive for in life, I would tell you that I want to be self actualized...

Anyway, over the last couple of weeks (yes I have missed one week, I think) I have decided balance with my workouts is a good thing. I have not been the best at logging all of my workouts but I know that every time I crash into bed at night, my body is perfectly fatigued from the effort I put into it from the day.

In my quest to be a 'distance maven' (have I mentioned that I hate that term?) I have relaxed in areas that allow me to approach a simple nine mile run on a Saturday morning with a shrug of the shoulders followed by breakfast with a friend, a run festival, house 'cleaning', impromptu drinks and an 8 mile hike the following day. You know what is brilliant about all of the activity? I was able to wake up Monday without an ounce of fatigue but could instead say, this tree is still happy...

Maybe this is a small piece of self actualization...

Here is one of the most brilliant pictures of a tree's root system I have ever seen. I need to go to Cambodia to see this for myself:


Thursday, June 21, 2012

"And the Tree Was Happy"

I think I am finally ready to deconstruct my last couple of weeks. They have been a blur but totally worth it. 

My buddy enjoying life!
Anyway, about a week and a half ago I spent a day floating down a river on an inner tube with a couple of friends, I traveled to Cleveland, ran at Sharon Woods for the first time in months (forgot about the hills), rode my bike 36 miles around Columbus in the middle of the night in support of my friends who were running Relay Around Columbus (you can read one friend's account of the event here), went fishing, walked around one of Dukie's favorite metro parks, etc.

It is interesting. We all have indicators of success. Take the children's book the Giving Tree for example; In the book, the tree is happiest when he is giving himself to the boy. The boy swings from the tree's branches, carves his initials in the tree, builds a house with the branches and makes a boat with the tree's trunk. The tree basically gives himself to the boy because, for the tree, the boy's happiness is the tree's indicator of success.

And the tree was happy!
I have blogged about the moment we all get to experience from time to time. It is that moment of pure contentment and bliss. I recently started saying in those moments 'And the Tree Was Happy' because it is the best way to explain how I am feeling.

So in thinking about the Giving Tree, I have also reflected on my indicators of success.

In the past couple of weeks, I have logged over 100 miles on my bike, more significant miles running and a few miles swimming. I haven't been the best at logging my workouts lately. I am trying to remind myself that it is not all about the numbers but instead about how I feel. It is a newer concept I am working on so as not to sustain more injuries.

Contemplation on a mountain!
When I evaluate my success, it is less centered around how many miles I ran/biked/swam (sure crossing the finish line is the best feeling in the world), but instead about where I am and how I am feeling about life. Often times, my happiest moments are when I am doing things for others (without compromising myself) because I want to, or even when I am doing the RIGHT things for myself or simply doing pretty much nothing but enjoying my surroundings. The key here is doing things because I want to, rather than what I might get out of it. I am realizing that rewards sneak up on you and you don't even realize it; sometimes you don't even realize it might be a reward until you are in the moment...

What does this all mean for today? Right now, I am sitting back, putting my feet up, with my arms crossed behind my neck...

And the Tree Was Happy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Writers Block

Yep, I am having writers block. I have plenty of stories that I could share but I simply don't have the ability to put it all into words on a computer screen.

All I can say is I spent a lot of hours on my trusty bicycle this past weekend to support my friends who were Relaying Around Columbus. So, yes this is a lame post but I am still recovering from an amazing, entertaining and fun filled weekend full of new experiences, laughter, funny stories and excitement.

Here is a picture pre-ride, with one of the many amazing runners:



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why I Love Fleet Feet Columbus

I have finally embraced the idea that I need new shoes. If you recall, I shed some tears over my shoes some time ago but still had not given in to the idea that I needed to upgrade to a model that is currently being manufactured. Stress fracture = Lesson learned.

I went to Fleet Feet last weekend, was fitted by the the shoe technician (I feel like they need a good title, I mean subway staff get to call themselves sandwich artists; let's give a cool title to the shoe guys and gals, after all they are there to make our feet happy, theoretically). He gave me two pairs to try on, the first? A pair of Brooks. I shook my head the minute I saw the Brooks box knowing my feet are too wide for every pair of Brooks I have tried. I know a lot of people love their Brooks, they just aren't right for me. I humored my shoe technician and tried them on anyway. Instantly, everything started poking my feet in all the wrong places. Big fail there.

The other pair? Mizuno Endurance 11. I took a spin around the parking lot. I wasn't convinced these were the correct shoes as they were hard and very inflexible. I, on the other hand, was trying to be somewhat flexible with my shoe technician and because the shoes didn't hurt, in fact they felt good, I purchased said shoes. These shoes were going to create new memories for me.

Or so I thought...

As of yesterday, I had gone on three runs with my shoes and after EVERY run I have barely been able to walk. I had major pain in the heel and the outside of my foot. I know that you are going to have some soreness after a run with new shoes, but I don't think I should be in so much pain I can't walk. Yesterday I hit my wall with these shoes...

I called up FF and talked to another shoe technician who told me to come on in to swap out the Mizunos...

Here is where my love for FF continues. I went in there and my shoe technician spent almost forty five minutes fitting me, showing me the various plates in the shoe, showing me how the soles of the shoe should look in the mirror, explained to me why my feet hurt with the other shoe, showed me how I should tie my shoe, etc. FF exchanged my the Mizunos for a pair of Asics and my feet are happy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oops, Missed a Week

Somehow I missed a week of blogging. My apologies to my faithful readers. All I can say is that it has been an extremely busy week. One that I am happy to say is in the books. Nothing particularly bad, nothing particularly great; just a week. I will be back with my random Sarahisms this weekend. Plan on hearing a lot about my new shoes. There might be ANOTHER new pair in my future. We will see...

For now, I just want to update you on a few of my goals:

Giant Eagle Multi-Sport Series:

I am going to attempt my first Olympic distance triathlon in about 7 weeks. I am totally looking forward to it!!! I think with all the cycling I have been doing, I should be good in that department. I should be up to 10 mile runs again by that point but cross your fingers. I kind of had a panic attack yesterday; not enough swimming lately. I am going to have to do something about that this week. Wish me luck! Not how I planned to train for this event, but my body had different plans for me. Not bad, just not ideal.

Chicago Marathon

It's about 18 weeks away. I only ran about six miles this week. Adding in tomorrow's mileage (I will be up to a 50 minute run!!!!!!) I should be at about ten miles. Now, that is worrisome, so much so, Dukie came over and put his head on my leg. Pray, chant, sing, dance, yoga or simply think good thoughts for my training. I am dedicated and will do it! I just need to stick with the Doctor's plan and keep truckin! I am going to get there, and when I do it will be the best success EVER!

Ride to DC

Yep, this is still on the table. Ericc and I (once we both get through our chaos) will spend many days in the middle of nowhere, enjoying a bike ride! I should probably hit up some more Ohio hills to get prepared but for now am trying to stick to my recovery plan. I am looking forward to a great story to share about me, my bike and a great friend in the wilderness for a few days. Perhaps I should write a book called A Ride in the Woods! Watch out Bill Bryson, I'll give you a run for your money! In all seriousness, he is a funny author and worth reading.

Anyway, this is just a realignment of my goals for the remainder of the year. Tomorrow I will yoga for the first time in over a year. I might make this a weekly thing, I might not. What I do know is that I feel good, I feel fit and I am happy. What more could a girl ask for... Well there is something, but that is not what this blog is about!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Unconditional Friend

I remember one summer, it was blazing hot on our annual family vacation to Minnesota. It was one of those heat waves that literally took the region by surprise. My dad and I packed up the car for a day trip to the secret lake. This lake was not a lake to be swum in. It was a lake that was overpopulated with Northern Pike and Blue Gill. We had to hike a half mile in to the lake with our shirts tucked into our pants, pants tucked into our socks, hats on our head so as not to get ticks in our belly buttons; all while talking as loudly as possible so as not to scare the bears.

This may have been the same trip in which I was reeling in the biggest northern pike EVER when something else hit my line. I was fighting the 'fish' with my pole, the boat was about to tip over from the strength of this fish, my dad and I were getting excited about the prospect of a 50 lb fish at the end of my line. Just as the boat was about to tip, the northern surfaces, attached to the fish was a huge turtle. My dad and I debated bringing the turtle home for some stew, but we didn't want to hike out with the turtle; so we cut the line and let the turtle have a nice snack, otherwise known as my big fat northern. Ever hear the phrase 'early to bed, early to rise, fish all day and make up lies?' This story is not a fisherman tale, but a true story of father and daughter having fun in the wilderness!

And I digress, so on this trip we had to carry copious amounts of water, but also left some in the car for our drive back to Willow Lake. After the adventures of the day, my dad and I hiked back to the car and climbed in. I was parched, he was parched and so we grabbed the water we left in the car. The car was well over 100 degrees inside but my dad opened up that bottle and took a big swig of the water before handing the bottle to me. I looked at him sideways, as I was holding the coffee hot water, and my dad said with a smile, water is refreshing no matter the temperature. I thought he was crazy and drank some anyway.

So, this past weekend, it was unseasonably hot in Ohio. I spent my weekend in the country, listening to good music and hanging out with some friends. It was one of those weekends where sitting still in the shade made you sweat and sweating we did. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I woke up on Saturday morning, put on my running clothes and went out for my 30 minute run. Damn, it was hot. I was sweating before I began, simply from wrestling on my sports bra, in the crazy humidity.

Trying to make Smores in the sun, on my car. It was THAT hot!
I got back to camp and swiftly drank a ton of water and ate some breakfast, and then one of the moments of brilliance set in, thanks to one of my camping buddies. The road side pond was 20 yards from our camp site. You know the road side ponds I am talking about. It is the one where the fertilizer run off goes to sit, where bacteria grows, where the reeds are so thick they wrap around your legs, you don't want to put your head underwater because you don't want to have some parasite crawl into your brain. What did we do? We jumped in with little abandon. OK, so maybe there was a moment of hesitation when someone told me a mole had just swum by, but I honestly didn't care, I was that damn hot.

The refreshing nature of that pond made me think of that grimy lake in Minnesota, where I almost caught my first 300 lb turtle and my dad's reaction to the hot water. It also made me think about friends. I have a handful of friends who are always there. No matter what the situation, they allow me to cry on their shoulders, talk their ears off, embarrass myself, say things to them that could be uncomfortable and at the end of the day, the time with them is refreshing REGARDLESS of the situation. Those handful of friend are what I call my unconditional friends. I know everyone knows what unconditional love is, these unconditional friendships are the same. Regardless of the moments of irritation with these friends (we all have it from time to time) it still feels good to be around them.

So what does this all have to do with athleticism? Not a damn thing really but here is the learning moment for me...

Not only did I swim in the dirty lake, I also drank nasty cooler water, hot water, cold Gatorade, very cold beer and more water in whatever form just to keep hydrated. The thing that worked the best and was always refreshing? Water. After 20 years or so, I now understand what my dad was talking about. I will take it one step farther and acknowledge that water will forever be my unconditional friend, perfectly refreshing regardless of its form.

Now cross your fingers that I stay healthy after my unhygienic use of my friend...

Swimming with Timchips in the NASTY pond!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Love what YOU Love

I just couldn't wait a week to write and share this post, so I guess you can call it a bonus post, or a random rambling about love? I don't know what prompted this post other than the spirit moved me. Perhaps you will find the point, or you can chalk it up to more strange Sarahisms...

A picture of someone I love dearly!
I very much admire people who know exactly what they want out of life and then go for it. As you already know I love running. I don't need a reason to run, I just do it because I can. I remember an old friend asked me if I would consider doing planks if it was the only thing that allowed me to continue running. My immediate response was no! My tune has changed, I would do anything to make sure I could continue running even if it was the worst homework assignment ever. Why you ask? Because I love it!!!

I was recently talking with one of my friends about relationships and the necessity of not settling. I was telling her that crushes are just crushes unless the other person reciprocates. In other words they are one person being more excited about the other person; it is fun, but if the feelings are never reciprocated that crush gets old and you move on. I feel as though it is the same with any activity in your life.

There is a point in which we have to reassess our situation and determine if what we have a crush on is true love, or just a crush. I realize I am again comparing running to relationships; some of you may be rolling your eyes but stick with me here. I do have a point! I may have to loop around a few times before I get back to that point but I hope it is worth it...

So, I am always encouraging people to start running, primarily because I want to share the love, I want people to feel what I feel when I get home or cross the finish line of another event. While I was injured I spent a lot of time riding my bike, swimming and baking pies. While I truly enjoyed all of those activities, none of them matched up to running for me. You know what? That is OK. I would hate for someone to continue holding onto an activity because they want to feel something that is unattainable from that activity. For instance, I have a friend who recently ran a half marathon. She did a fantastic job, but at the end of the day she really didn't love the experience. She loves running, just not 13.1 miles, so she is not going to do it anymore.

There are times we participate in activities because of exterior factors. In essence we are doing it for the wrong reason and we never feel self actualized when participating in that activity. Take my pie baking, for instance. While I truly enjoy baking pies, I more appreciated the smiles on peoples faces when I shared those pies. Do I need to bake a pie to get those smiles? Probably not. Will I continue baking pies now that I can run again? Probably, but for different reasons. Will I do it with as much gusto as I did the first week I was injured? I can confidently say definitely not.

On another point, I was talking with someone recently about my value system. I was talking about my disinterest in talking about religion or politics with people because they are such passionate subjects and I would hate to form an opinion about someone simply because of their political views. When you have something you are passionate about, it is natural to want the people you value most to have similar beliefs and values as you; however, you know an unconditional friend when they don't judge you or make you feel badly even though they disagree with you. Similarly, when you are participating in an activity and you are not feeling as though you have an unconditional appreciation for it, perhaps it is time to drop that activity.

My point in all of this is we all have to decide if what we are doing is right for us. Would you marry someone you think you are in love with? I would hope not, so why continue torturing your mind, body and soul with an activity you don't love. Don't love something because you feel like you should or someone told you it is the right thing to do, simply love what YOU love, not what others want you to love. It should be simple, and if the feelings are unconditional even the homework isn't so bad.

Side note: A few years ago, while my friend Jenny was visiting me (she is coming again this weekend, YIPPEE) I announced to her that I figured out how I will know I am in love. If you want to know about this, you should ask. I can guarantee you will either laugh your pants off or pull your pants up. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Progress

In the moment!
Every step we take will take us somewhere. We get to choose how to step, but we can't always choose the destination. It is funny how we often try and look back to determine what we could have done differently, what choices we could have made that would have brought us to a different place in life. I like to say, as you may have seen on my blog before, that when I find myself saying 'I should have', I try and follow that up with, 'but I didn't'. I try to remember, when I am bummed out about where I am in life, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Continuously looking back to wish away your life only inhibits you from living right now.

Case in point: This past week, while travelling for work, I found myself 'riding' the elliptical in the hotel at the gym. I was doing this daily, as prescribed, knowing the first run was fast approaching! You see, I am not an elliptical fan at all. As a matter of fact, I dislike the elliptical so much that one day I painstakingly wrote a very long email using the touch screen, just to allow time to pass, well that wasn't the only reason...

Anyway, I knew that I had to elliptical so that I could take that first step on Friday. I went out for my first jog with my sister and some other awesome company and those ten minutes, now that I look back on them, were blissful! So were the ten minutes this morning. Tomorrow? I get twenty!!!

I am approaching the finish line of my whiny self, or should I say the start line of my Chicago Marathon training. I am on the home stretch and know that once I start my training my body will be thank me for the care I provided it the past six weeks. Although I had a couple of squabbles and missteps today (sorry mom), I recognize all of this as progress!!!

A side note: I should acknowledge that I am extremely happy with my life right now. I have all the right people in my life, I have a great job, I have an amazing family, I have the best friend a person could have (my pup) and as my good buddy Ericc would say, Life is Great!

Here is a pic of me and my siblings:
We are a good looking crew!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Prescription

I woke up on Monday morning convinced the doctor was going to tell me to go out for a slow two mile jog to begin my re-entry into running. What I got instead was a rude awakening.

I headed to the Dr. first thing in the morning. When I got there, Dr. B. squeezed my leg, poked at my bone and watched my face for wincing. What he got instead was a big fat smile because I had no pain at all. He looked at me and said, with a big smile, that I could start my reentry to running plan. I got giddy with excitement and then he reappeared with the plan! The plan did NOT tell me to go out and run; here is what it said instead... Take a ten minute walk, after two days of walking for ten minutes with no pain, take a twenty minute walk and repeat for two days...

I thought, OK, I guess I can handle that, and I kept reading. The plan then told me to use the elliptical for 20-40 minutes a day for 2 weeks... insert tears here... What the heck does this plan have to do with running!!!

The doc could see the troubled look on my face and started explaining the process of bone healing. I hung my head as he explained this healing process and the remainder of the reentry plan. He made a couple of modifications to the plan, cutting the elliptical to 1 week and sent me on my way, with a VERY stern warning to call if I had any pain.

After the appointment I fled the office and started wondering how I was going cross the finish line of the Chicago Marathon this fall. I started thinking about life, in general. Why do things have to break!!! I could get all melodramatic here and say that everything we love breaks, at least for a short period of time. But then I realize there is good news to follow up that melodramatic statement, and that is everything can be fixed. When it is a broken piece of china, we glue it back together. When it is a broken relationship, we communicate more. When it is a broken car, we take the car to the shop. When we are sick, we go to the doctor. In all of these instances, we diagnose the problem and determine the course of action that will best fix everything. We then begin down the path to fix the problem with the hopes that the path we choose is the right one. It is like getting a prescription and then taking the medicine to cure the cold.

I called the person I was supposed to run with that evening and told him the bad news. He was so kind and still met up with me for a bike ride, and little did I know he had the intention of taking my ten minute walk with me. I rode, he ran, we talked and then walked, and I talked some more. During this 'workout' I had the realization that my reentry plan was basically my prescription. What do most people do when they get a prescription? They take it and they get better. I need to approach the reentry plan and use it as my prescription, do my daily homework, and in about 30 days I will be fixed!!!

Now for a song. This is a favorite of mine by Coldplay! One of my nephews told me it is too sad but I find it to be extremely hopeful! There is always a path that will guide you 'home'!!!



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Grateful

Amy, Andrew, Mandy, Kumar and Lynne (not pictured Rachel, Sue, Laurie and Deb)
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a group of friends who were on the path to crossing the finish line of their first, sixth and tenth half marathon. I joined my running club again and began running with this new group of strangers back in December. What happened when I started MIT was extremely unexpected. I was invited to join a group of MITers who gathered on additional days to run and I found some amazing friends. When I learned that I was not going to be able to run this half marathon with them I found myself extremely sad...

So instead of being down in the dumps on THE DAY I found myself at the starting line of the half marathon and was thrilled by the sea of people lined up to run thirteen point one. I was not running but the energy was still brilliant and contagious! Instantly, I was grateful to be down there in the midst of that energy even though I was not running.

I did a quick search for a couple of people but quickly discovered that there was NO way I was going to have the opportunity to wish people a great race. I sent a couple of texts, made a couple of last minute good luck phone calls and then I stood near the start patiently waiting to see my people start their adventure. I saw some, missed others but was ultimately pleased with the smiles and excitement of all the runners.

I went and gathered my bicycle out of the car and headed to mile seven of the race. At that point I started seeing the struggle on the faces of some runners. I started shouting names on the bibs of runners and the smiles started to reappear. I saw Mandy, Amy, Andrew, Lynne, Lisa and many others run by all looking very strong. I headed down to mile nine and a half and once again saw Andrew and Lynne run by. Again still smiling.

I then found myself at mile eleven. I do think my friends started thinking I was crazy as I told them I would be at the midway point but I just wasn't done following them around the city. Here I saw Mandy, Amy and Andrew run by and I started getting emotional. They all looked very good despite the heat and humidity. One of them asked if they could have my bike and I chuckled. After seeing Andrew dash by I quickly started making my way to the finish line. At this point I stood there cheering on the runners as they made their way up the final hill.

First came Mandy and then everyone else started filing in ALL still looking amazing! I found myself tearing up and can honestly say it was NOT because I was on the sidelines but instead because I was able to be a very small part of this journey for my friends. For that I will be forever grateful!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!

Typically I would be participating in the carbo loading that many people are doing today in preparation for their half marathons this weekend, but that is just not in the cards for me this year. Two years ago, this weekend, I was running my first half marathon with my friend's C & J. What an amazing accomplishment! I remember crossing the finish line with tears in my eyes and was greeted by hugs from my sister and other spectators. I was untouchable and thought I could take on the world...

After Cap City Half in 2010 (My First)

So what did I do? Signed up for the next Cap City Half in 2011. One year ago this weekend I ran another half marathon. I roped my friend J into running this one. I again cried at the end, I think it was because I knew I would be doing the same thing again in the fall with another 13.1 tacked onto the end. However, I once again felt like I could take on the world.

Finishing Cap City Half in 2011
So what did I do? I signed up for the next Cap City Half in 2012. Because I am still unable to run I will not be crying at the finish line, but will instead be there to greet some of the greatest friends I have made in a long time with hugs as they cross the finish line!!!!!!!!!!

Good Luck to Andrew, Laurie, Mandy, Sue, Amy and Lynne. I had the honor of training with you all for many, many hours this year. You've listened to my stories from life and about past races. Now it is your turn to tell the story of your first, tenth, fifth, eighth half marathon and I will be there to listen!!!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Measly

Let me start by saying I hope my return to running is 'like riding a bike'!!!

I was finally able to ride my bike this week and it felt great! I was pain free for a couple of days so I headed straight for the bike! I feel a little silly about my two little bike rides and my over excitement for these rides but as one of my friends pointed out, I should never discount an accomplishment. I was talking to a friend of mine, who became injured the same weekend I became injured and I was equating my 'measly' half marathon to her big swim! I was also putting a price tag on everything. She scoffed and told me I should NEVER call a half marathon a measly half marathon. I agree! I was trying to rationalize my disappointment over not being able to run the half marathon by putting it into the grand scheme of things, thus the term measly.

The reality is, I'm only losing seventy five dollars from that race (the race staff STILL haven't replied to any emails I have sent to them) and the term measly was supposed to make me feel like seventy five dollars is nothing. Here's the thing: I already had to bow out of the 10 miler ($45), now the half marathon ($75) and possibly my first Olympic distance triathlon ($125). When I look at the two hundred and forty five dollars possibly lost due to an injury (not to mention the Dr. bills that are starting to roll in) I am feeling a little down again.

I have finally accepted the fact that I get to take a prescribed break from running (a few years ago I would have welcome this break), I have not accepted that race directors do not reply to emails or phone calls even though I so clearly pointed out they do NOT have policies around deferment of registration (probably why they don't call back).

Insert wisdom here:

So, when I reflect on the picture above I realize it is best to not put a price tag on my health. Sure, I am frustrated that people don't return emails/phone calls but at the same time waiting around is going to allow me to heal. By waiting around and allowing my body to heal I will get what I deserve.

At least I should be able to run Chicago ($150)! AND at least I can ride my bike!!! Nothing is measly about that...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Swimming is Cool, Too...

Because I am unable to participate in my 'first' sport, running, I had to find something else to get my heart rate up and keep some semblance of an endurance base. I can't ride a bike until I'm pain free for a couple of days; still waiting. I can swim as much as I want though. As of today, I have had two weeks run free. At minimum two more weeks to go, maybe four. On the bright side? In the last two weeks I have logged 16,000 meters in the pool and have made six pie varieties (and will make a couple more before the weekend is over).

It has been some time since I have spent a lot of time in the pool. When I lived out in Colorado I loved swimming! I was part of a masters swim team with my sister and brother-in-law. We had the coolest coach and some of the most colorful swimming companions. I remember one woman had this long salt and pepper hair that was often the topic of conversation; I remember telling her, way back then, that salt and pepper hair was sexy. Uh, yeah, I think I was channeling what was to come for me... Anyway, we also had the granola folks who didn't shave their arm pits, the super swimmer who was still wearing her 'lucky' (I called it holey) swim suit from 10 years earlier, the aspiring triathletes, the casual swimmer (me) and the fitness swimmers. The makeup of the group was very similar to the running crowd I run with now; very eclectic and inspiring.

One of the reasons I loved swimming while in college had something to do with the time I got to spend with my sister. She'd pick me up at my dorm, drive me to the local Y, take me out to dinner after the swim and then drop me back at my dorm. Two nights a week and one weekend morning, every week, we headed out to the pool for that swim workout. Eventually this swim habit expanded into adult swim meets (I always came in last place), mile swims in the local reservoir and eventually the annual sprint triathlon. 

And then I fell in love with running...

I have found my way back to the pool by way of injury, as I stated earlier. As I was doing my first swim workout as an injured runner I started thinking about the reasons I love running so much. Many of the reasons I love running are similar to why I loved swimming many years ago; the peace, the self reflection, the challenge and the time spent with the amazing friends (in swimming's case, many years ago, it was my amazing sister). And if I am being totally honest I LOVE being able to say that 'my sport is punishment for your sport; you may hate it but I love it!' 

As I was swimming I was trying to think of some positive sentiment I could hold on to so as to better embrace my re-found 'first' sport and then I realized it! I looked around the pool and saw all the injured/broken people pool walking or jogging, I talked to a few of them and our conversations have included commiserating about our injuries. At some point the light bulb went off!!! Swimmers are cool because they can say that their sport is therapy for all those broken runners! 

And here is a song for your listening pleasure. Night Swimming by REM conjures up many memories for me and reminds me of my innocence from years ago. It's a sweet song, sweet melody... If you want to have a discussion about the depth of this song, you should let me know, although it might bring out my internal hippie...


Monday, April 16, 2012

Jumping the Gun!

This is a 'total' bonus post for the week. I highly recommend reading my previous post, to better understand where I am coming from. You can check it out here

I am not going to go into details but my name and grandma have been used in a sentence TWICE the past two days. Seriously? Do I look or act that old??? I must... Perhaps it is all the pie making!

I am a woman of my word (for the most part, we all falter from time to time) and I mentioned in my last post that there was a chance I was jumping the gun with my dramatic flare related to being sidelined! Well, sidelined I am, but maybe for less time than I initially anticipated. The doctor will tell me my plan in three weeks. The overarching goal? The Chicago Marathon! 

While running the Columbus Marathon, last year, I was blessed with amazing spectators and also running companions during the race. One of my companions was my sister. Somewhere near mile 25 she took a picture of me STILL smiling. It isn't often that you find someone smiling at mile 25 of their marathon. At that point she looked over at me and said that she might give this marathon thing a try. I responded, even before I crossed the finish line, that I was in and wanted to run another marathon, too!!! Chicago bound we were (along with another one of my wonderful spectators and friends); we all woke up early in February to buy our entry into the race that sold out in record time. I never thought IT could happen to me, but it did... On the injured list I went.

It broke my heart to think I might have to go back on my word because of a stupid injury... I can't guarantee, at any point, that I will be healthy enough to run 26.2 miles on October 7, 2012 but for now I can tell you that I will listen to the doctor (and my body) and do whatever he tells me I need to do to make the Chicago marathon happen.

I decided to find some way to occupy my time over the next few weeks other than watching copious amounts of HULU. The plan? Bake as many pies as possible. This was born out of my preparation for a bummer of a night because of bad news from the doctor. I mean what would you do if you were sidelined? 

When I stated that running has become a large part of my social life, there was nothing dramatic about that statement. I literally had a running buddy for every day of the week, with the exception of Sunday for the last few months. Because I am such a relationship person, I now realize the loss I was feeling was not just about running but also about the relationships I have gained through an activity I love! I do realize, now that I have processed my last post with a wise guy, that the spirit of my last post may have been lost on some. Me comparing running to a human relationship is over the top! However I still believe in the spirit of that comparison.

So for now, I am not going to sulk... I am going to develop my relationships with the PEOPLE I so clearly care about and bake some more pies!!!


Apple Pie!
Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Let it Be

My blog needed a picture of me smiling!
If you haven't figured it out I am a philosophical runner. Well, actually, I am always philosophical. Or at least I over-think everything. You decide!

I haven't received a final diagnosis for my leg, but I do know that, at least, until Monday I am sidelined from any activity other than swimming. I'm thankful I can swim, but am bummed that I can't run. This post may be jumping the gun a little bit (perhaps a little over dramatic, too) but I want to get it out of my system for now!

Two things to think about as you read this post:

1) The quote: 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all'? 


2) Someone once told me that if you break up with someone, the chances that your relationship will work if you get back together are fairly slim; not impossible but also not favorable.

I like to relate running to life and in other cases life to running. Because I am currently sidelined from running, and am anticipating a six week ride on the bench, I have started thinking about my re-entry into the running world. Some people may think it is a little crazy to talk about what is going to happen in six weeks, but I feel it best to prepare myself now.

I feel like running has broken up with me, right now. One of my friends told me that I need to view this as a separation, not a break up. Not sure how I feel about that, isn't it all the same? Taking a break from something/someone you love is basically stating you don't need it in your life. It is even harder if you are not the one making the decision and something else is making the decision for you. It is very hard to make sense of something, when you aren't the one in control. I think in those situations, even more time is spent pondering what I could have changed, what I could have done to prevent this. It isn't always our fault though... Yes, I absolutely admit I suffered terribly from over training, but at some point I need to quit beating myself up over this, learn from it and then move on.

My biggest fear is this: Have you ever been in a relationship, you break up and then you get back together? A lot of people have, this is actually more common than not. On the second try with the relationship, has it felt different, not right from the beginning but you keep trying, hoping it will correct itself just for it to fail in the end? Many people have done this as well, I know, I have. I fear that running will result in the same demise as that relationship that failed over, and over, and over again!

I don't want to be the doomsayer (I have to take a moment and acknowledge I always thought the word doomsayer, was actually doomsDayer. Spell check saved me again!!!) here, but I also want to be realistic. When I start running again, it is going to feel different! I am going to, for awhile at least, pay closer attention to my body and less attention to the experience. I used to run for the experience, the peace I find because of the experience. It frightens me to know my focus will have to change. Is it going to take away from the love I have and the joy I find from running?

Also, I will fully admit that running is a big part of my social life. Many of my friends are runners and I can frequently be found running with them around town. Will they take me back and embrace me the same way when I come back? I know at least a couple of them are what I would call 'forever friends' who are currently there for me to lean on as I navigate my way back over the line from stupid to tough! I honestly can't express my gratitude to them for taking the time to express care and concern this past week or even hanging out with me when I call. For that I am extremely thankful. I know, those people will continue to walk (or run) beside me as I heal. They are the reason I have hope!!! I actually need to take the time to thank them if I haven't done so already...

Now for the hope!

I especially enjoy the quote above about love because it is totally true. We are fortunate people if we are able to say we have loved in our life, even if we lost the love, because not everyone can say they have. If you  have loved someone, and I mean truly loved someone, you know how good it feels, especially when they reciprocate. Every relationship builds off of the last in some fashion. We learn our strengths and weaknesses, we also gain a better understanding of the constants, or those things that we need to take responsibility for as we navigate through life. The lessons learned from the loss only make the next love that much better!

I think the serenity prayer is especially helpful in tough situations (grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference). I think it is interesting that the focus is on these first three lines because there is so much more wisdom if you go deeper into the prayer. The following three lines are equally as important: "Living one moment at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as a way to peace."

If you recall, earlier in this post, I referred to peace as an end result I am looking for when I run. Because I will have had a break from running and because my approach will have to change, it will be like an entirely new relationship to develop. I know that because I have loved it before, in a slightly different form, I will probably love it again! I am going to have to approach every run differently and one run at a time. In the end, this break could eventually lead to more growth and wisdom in how I approach running and for that I am thankful!

For now, I need to simply 'Let it Be'!

For your listening pleasure, this is an awesome cover of the song, take a listen as it will not disappoint! Music starts at 35 seconds.



10 Miler


I also want to give a quick shout out to my good friend and buddy J, who will be running the 10 miler tomorrow. I'm extremely sad that I will not be on the course with her, but I will be on the sidelines to cheer her on!!! I might even sing a couple tunes for her. Journey or Fun anyone??? Here is a picture of J and me, getting ready to run this 10 mile race in 2011. Run your little butt off!!! I'll be running with you again in no time!!!
Getting ready to run 10 miles in 2011!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Abandonment

We all heard the warnings, and we have ignored them...

Yesterday all my training plans fell apart. I was abandoned by my plan!!! I know it is only a momentary set back but only the doctor will tell me how momentary. Judging by my continued need for the crutches and the squeaky feeling in my leg when I flex my foot I'm thinking it might be a few days or so before I can resume regular activity; maybe longer...

Yesterday, while I was running my last couple of miles with my running group I felt a pop in my leg and jumped off the trail so as not to impede the progress of my group. I stood there a few minutes in pain, held on to the fence, flexed my foot a few times and said 'Ouch'. Well maybe I didn't say ouch but I'm sure the words that came out of my mouth in the moment were somewhat X rated and should probably not be shared right now.

I started making slow walking progress back toward the high school and my leg HURT. I have noticed that on occassion running feels better than walking so I decided to test out this theory. I convinced myself for a quarter of a mile that this theory was in fact correct. Then my friend came to the rescue and told me in kinder words that I was being stupid and should walk it in; so walking is what I did. I kept my mind off the pain by telling some stories about my neices and nephews and I know I cried at one point (not my finest hour).

When I got back to the high school, I found myself a nice comfy spot on the frost covered grass, pulled off my calf sleeve and my shoe and started grasping at my leg as if begging it to stop hurting. I was offered hugs that I turned down (I shouldn't have, I quite needed them), I got comments on my holey socks (I swear the only time you put on holey socks and underwear is when someone is going to end up seeing them) and I gave in and went to talk to the athletic trainer, who I swore I would NEVER have to visit when it was first announced the service would be available at our Saturday morning runs (one of my friend's said to me this week, that if you want to see god laugh, you should tell him/her your plans).

My friend Laurie announced, after listening to the athletic trainer for me (thank goodness because I wasn't paying attention), that she was taking me to urgent care. I put up a fight and lost. I however did insist on walking to my car myself to get my wallet, again while using choice words to illustrate my frustration and need for indepencence. Thank goodness A and Laurie were there to think for me... They truly are some of the most supportive amazing people I have walked with in this little life of mine!

I was seen by a doctor who diagnosed me with a painful limb. If ever there was a time to use the phrase 'No Shit Sherlock', this would be it! I hate that term, but I have no other way of explaining my extreme frustration over the giggly gal who never gave me real follow up instructions but asked me if I wanted crutches when I clearly could not support my body with my 'lil leg. The diagnosis was funny, so was the experience, but also horribly tragic.

It is so funny how I am so intentional and emphatic about being independant when at the same time I try to push people away who so clearly care about me and want to help. Doesn't being independent include asking for help and taking that help when it is truly needed?

So I was having a very interesting and enlightening conversation with a person who I have come to admire greatly about abandonment. He told me a story he had heard once about a very extreme instance of abandonment. One, that quite honestly, made me cry and moved me even many hours after hearing the story. It made me realize on a much simpler, less tragic and certainly not even comparable level (but I'm going there anyway) I am feeling a little abandoned by my body.  I do have to also acknowledge that my mind and competitive nature abandoned my body, too.

Earlier in the week I emailed a friend stating that I was going to take Thursday as a rest day. The reason? My leg was a little tight, probably a little tendinitis and I needed to let it rest. I simply did not fully listen to my body but instead abandoned it and left it to try to keep up with my need to challenge my mind. You see, rest has not been in my vocabulary for some time and for that I am now hanging my head in shame knowing I need to pay more attention! Lesson learned...

Regardless, I will not let this conquer me. Sure, we can all tell stories of moments in which we abandoned someone, something. When my body needed me, I abandoned it. I, however, was not abandoned by my friends yesterday and for that I am sincerely thankful and is what needs to be remembered.

I have always had an affinity for a song called 'The Great Escape' by Patrick Watson. I fervently searched for a meaning to this song when I first heard it (admittedly on Grey's Anatomy). Never found one, which is actually a good thing! Not knowing the meaning allows me to find a different meaning in the song every day. All I can say is that perhaps my body was looking for an escape (rest)! Although the song sounds sad it is hopeful. It is going to be my constant reminder to not allow set backs to knock me down. After all, I still don't know what the doctor is going to tell me this week!

Take a listen and watch the animation. It really is a good video: