Saturday, April 28, 2012


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


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:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Such Great Heights

Many of my blogger friends post about their weekly training accomplishments. Because my other blog topic fell a little flat (I still need to work on it a bit, but it is about 'faking it') and I committed myself to a post every Sunday, here I am trying to figure out what to post about instead. I simply don't have the energy to be 'creative'.

I figure, there is no better time to provide a progress report on my life journey than now. We are exactly one quarter into the year, so perhaps I will make this a 'thing' and post about my speed bumps and accomplishments on a quarterly basis? We will see what happens as the year progresses, no promises though.

SO, here we are, April 1, 2012, and what a year it has been. I have been living this life as it is meant to be lived, without abandon! I've enjoyed the new friendships I have made and, in true Girl Scout fashion, have kept the old. No friendship is better than the other, just different. With that being said, one of the greatest friendships that has developed this year has been with myself.

When you are training for an endurance event, no matter what your poison, you have a lot of time with yourself. Sure, I run with a group, but a lot of my silent time (OK so those who run with me are probably thinking WHAT silent time, Sarah likes to chat!) is spent on self reflection. I have challenged myself to break through some social barriers, major fears about life in general and of course challenged my body. What I have learned is that at no point in life should we ever hold back. What is the point? You miss out on life when you hold back.

I have some plans for conquering other fears this year! More to come about that later... I have decided there is no point waiting until you are old to challenge your body or your mind.

I go to this Church in Columbus that allows the youth to preside over a service a few times a year. About two years ago, the youth at the church lead us through a meditative exercise that included visualizing our lives as 'old' people standing on the edge of a diving board. They asked us to reflect on our lives and determine whether we had done everything we wanted or if we were still standing on the edge of the diving board thinking about jumping in. I remember crying during this service because I somewhat felt as though I had not jumped in to life yet. Last year was an amazing year for me; I was happy with life, enjoying the people around me. Simply put, life was on track and I was truly living but I encountered a few obstacles as I approached 2012.

I had a choice. I could be bummed out or I could enter this new year from the edge of the diving board and jump. I decided to jump!!!

With that being said, here are some of my outcomes:

Running: 312 miles logged (Yesterday, I had a rockstarish 10.4 mile run in part because of a great friend.)

Swimming: 6.6 miles logged (over 5 workouts in the last three weeks)

Cycling: 39.5 (This included my fantastic 13 turned 33 mile ride with my good friend Laurie. Have I mentioned she can walk FASTER than I run? Amazing woman I tell you.)

I guess the biggest lesson is that everything falls into place and fits together as it is supposed to, especially if you take ownership of where you are going and how you are going to get there. The song I have linked you to here (I prefer the Iron and Wine version but the tempo is simply not right for this post so you get the Postal Service version), Such Great Heights, is a great song. I ask that you listen closely to the first six lines of the song. It speaks specifically to things fitting together perfectly. I guess the first few lines of this song explain how I feel about life right now.

Here are the lyrics that you should pay attention to and the video:

Such Great Heights

I'm thinking it's a sign
That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
and when we kiss they perfectly align

True, it may seem like a stretch
That god himself did make us into 
Corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay