Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Everything Hurts

Not one to lament growing older, I have had to come to the stark realization that I am not 30 anymore. To quote the insert that came with my Native Deoderant purchase, "Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live."

Although I am not a doctor, I am pretty in tune with how my body feels; therefore, when something aches my motivation goes south quickly. Right now, my motivation is centered somewhere in Antarctica because my whole left hip, from lower back to knee, is aching like a tooth in need of a root canal. I would blame it on my dogs, but really it was just a freak moment when I jumped one direction as they jumped the other while playing in the driveway. A moment of fun has lead to roughly three months of on and off irritation.

So, here I sit, looking up stretching and strength training exercises in order to address a pulled piriformus muscle that not only irritates me when I run but is putting a hitch in my get along when standing, sitting, or walking. With a half marathon looming (17 days away), I have to think about and research how I can continue running while making time to work on this increasingly irritating injury. Here is my plan for bringing myself back to health.

1. I need to stop thinking my leg is going to fall off and believe in the power of stretching, making time to do so a few times a day.

2. No more prolonged sitting in that super comfy cubicle chair.

3. When standing, focus on my posture, hip position, and balancing the time I spend leaning more on one leg.

4. Read this article and follow the prescriptive advice. Every. Single. Day.

5. Make it through the San Diego Holiday Half and then continue with stretching and strength training, as well as cross training, to avoid future injury.

Moral: Just because I'm not 30 anymore, doesn't mean I can't be strong and at the top of my game. It DOES mean that I need to be vigilant and consistent about making time to work on strength and flexibility, eat real food, drink lots of water, and take care of this body! I like having a healthy, injury-free home in which to live.

Here's to healthy vessels.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Gone Long Enough

It's been a while since I last posted either before or after the alarm clock. I think I began to rebel against the very alarm clock that encouraged me to be up before dawn to listen to the sounds of the crickets and enjoy a cup of coffee that would bolster me into a run shortly after. I am not sure what happened but I believe that, even with all of the best of intentions, the structure of routine, while it can be liberating (because you always know when something will happen), it can also be stifling because there is no room for improvisation.

Here's my thinking about why my routines fall apart. When I am not taking care of myself, I withdraw because I don't want to be judged for not sticking with my routines. I love to be around like minded people, who enjoy the same things I enjoy, but when I break from the routines (that I actually love and need for my own sanity) I don't want anyone to know and I retreat. I believe this is normal and I always come back around, but I also believe - insanely - that I do better when I take a few steps backward (when I also know progress happens when moving forward). Or, and this is far more likely, I take breaks because I am too competitive with myself and can't keep pace with my own improvements. I would like to learn to enjoy life at whatever pace I need to 'run' in order to finish. Some days that pace might need to be blistering and faster than the day before and others maybe slower and steadier. Not every run needs to be calculated, timed, analyzed, suffered, and endured to be a great run, right?!

Consequently, I am learning that sustained, maximum effort has lead to burn out for me more times than I care to count and when it comes to running, which I love dearly, I am simply tired of burning out. What am I going to do about it? Well, I am going to start by NOT talking myself out of running simply because it's too dark, it's too cold, I'm full, I didn't eat lunch, I ate lunch, it's too hot, I have to cook dinner, the kids have homework (are you getting the idea that the list of excuses is long and unsubstantiated?).  I am also going to give myself a break when I am ill, when I am exhausted, or when my body is begging me not to pound the pavement for a day - but I am STILL going to go for a walk. Life is too precious to abhor the routines that keep me healthy and, in the end, happy; however, embracing them in moderation  - and with flexibility - will allow for the fast and furious speeds when necessary, while still providing the energy (desire, motivation) for the much needed, slower days that fall in between.

So welcome back. I'll try not to be gone so long this time. I will still be up with the alarm and enjoying my coffee but if running happens later in the day, I won't beat myself up over it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

National Running Day

I am often confused when I see days that I take for granted listed as a 'National' day as if to be commemorated and then left for another year. I understand and even honored yesterday's National Running Day with my kiddos as we traveled our fairly quiet neighborhood by running shoe. It was a time for the three of us to see what has changed and grown and died in the course of time that has passed since they ran with me last. We took the opportunity to ask each other questions about our day, our respective school years, and about the myriad plans we have to both relax and avoid electronics this summer. I learned that they have become strong runners!

But upon reflection, the kids and I have discussions like this everyday whether we run or not. I run almost daily, whether it's National Running Day or not. I want to ride my bike to work every day but can ill afford to get hit by a car driven by someone who is more interested in their cell phone than the road. In my humble opinion, in our attempt to keep fitness, or any Day, in the forefront of everyone's mind so that they are motivated to do SOMETHING; what we have done in creating things like, "Ride your Bike to Work Day," "National Running Day," "Patriots Day," etc., is given our wonderful population of people a set time to ride, run, celebrate or mourn; only to put it aside for next year's BBQ or festival. When will we see fitness, mental health and service to our community and our country not as events with time limits, but as lifelong endeavors that make each other and this world a better place?

So I implore you, fellow people with your own personal angst and fears, joys and challenges; wake up everyday and do your, 'chores.' Take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your community and take care of your planet. Not just on National Running Day, Mother's Day or Father's Day; in addition to Patriot's Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day; above and beyond Earth Day; do something EVERY day.

Perhaps a not-so-gentle reminder that we are here, together. When are we going to start making every day count? A lot of little things, done over time, can make a huge difference. Try one.


Thursday, January 31, 2013


Sports bras, friends, family and runners all offer a slightly different level of support. In my most recent event, the Carlsbad Half Marathon, all if the above presented in droves to get me through my run.

Sports Bra was there for me on the closest literal level. Supportive and comfortable, she neither chafes nor allows movement thus allowing me to focus on the pain in my knees and ankles so much better. However, I do not have to use the dreaded Body Glide because she knows me so well. Thanks Sports Bra for your daily attention and race ready attitude!

Then friends are the next layer in the onion of my running life's suport. My friends wished me good luck all weekend and brought a smile to my face. They support my addiction even though they think I am a loon sometimes. Some of my friends run and some do not but they know how important running is to me and will always encourage me. They make me a better person for knowing them. Thank you friends!!

My family has always considered me a little off in the head so distance running isn't exercise to them, it is torture. They know I live and breathe running but also, secretly see it as a bit masochistic. They love me and congratulate me and feed me after a race. They let me go to bed early the night before and let me sleep without waking me up. They are quiet when I leave but jubilant and boisterous and inquisitive when I return. Thank you family for your love and attention!!

Fellow runners are the last layer because they are the largest group. In a race it is a lot less tedious to run for two hours if there are other runners huffing and puffing and jockeying for position along with me. People watching is taken to a whole new level and even if someone's hat flies off their head, I stoop over to pick it up and then almost take both of us out with a headbutt to his chest, we keep going anyway, laughing and regaining our stride. (True story!) Thank you fellow runners for being part of one big running party every race day!

Support comes in all shapes and sizes. I hope you have plenty and that the layers are full!! Happy running.

Monday, December 17, 2012

There are worse things to be addicted to…

I am addicted to running. Even on the days when I am taking a rest or I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, running is still on my mind. I am constantly playing a game with myself to change it up; make it seem brand new. Like that new relationship feeling, or that new car smell, or the new shoe excitement. Running is the one relationship that I am not afraid to work on; we may take a break from each other for a spell but when we hook up again, it’s like we were never apart.

Running will always leave me breathless with anticipation for the next fix. Endorphins are my friend.

Keep running,


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Run Like a Girl

Training, training, training

I am having so much fun training for my upcoming 1/2 marathon!! The Carlsbad Half is my favorite race because it’s on the coast, it’s flat and it’s fast!! I am running at all odd hours of the day to prepare but the weather is so amazing during the day that running at o’dark thirty is no longer necessary or agreeable!

With the kids sound asleep at 4:45 AM, I was running on the hamster mill and grooving to my favorite Pandora station, when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I, of course, had a heart attack (because nothing moves in my house that early in the morning), until I realized it was my son. Apparently, the kids are now old enough that noise wakes them from their normally coma-like sleep. He said he had heard the treadmill and got up to see what I was doing. He didn’t know how early it was and so I sent him back to bed; however, my run was over, at least inside.

I added some outer wear and cruised down the road but with it being really dark and a bit chilly, it was a short lived excursion. So, moving the ‘mill is in order but the choices are limited. As an alternate, I have taken up running during my 40 minute duty free lunchtime. I can get a solid workout because the beginning is all up hill and I get back just in time to see my colleagues exiting the teacher’s lounge. I can still get caught up on all the important topics I missed. Because there is a time limit, I am forced to do some speed work a couple of those days.  On the rest days, I walk the neighborhood. I am not waking anyone up, getting caught up in skirmishes between the kids, and I am breathing mostly fresh air and absorbing some vitamin D.

Making these opportunities for myself is also shaving some time off my mileage. I figure in order to finish the 1/2 in under 2 hours, I need to average about a 9 minute per mile pace (give or take 5 seconds). I can run a sustained 8:20 pace for 3 miles and not feel like I am dying and I am running 6.5 to 7 miles per hour on the ‘mill for over an hour and feel great. I think I might do it! I am super hopeful that the Carlsbad Half will be a sub 2 hour event (barely) and then the La Jolla Half will be the next challenge in April. Eye on the prize!!!

What does it all mean? When the battle with sleep is lost or when the morning run is shortened, look for the odd moments during the day when we can squeeze in some exercise. The flexibility it creates moves our spirit and moves us toward our goal. Our bodies will love it and our minds will say thank you. One more way to keep the winter at bay!

Many happy runs!