Rising to the Recovery Challenge and Clip Ins make me clumsy

I’m beginning to think injury suits me.  Generally speaking, I am much more consistent when I know that I am having to fight tooth and nail for every run.  I tend to stretch and foam roll, strength train and cross train more consistently.  I’m not quite sure what this means about my mental state, but I’m sure it has something to do with Crazy Jen.

Running after stress fracture

It is probably a bit early to declare myself fully healed, but I’ve been out for 3 runs since my release on Monday.  The first run was a very cautious 2:1 run/walk interval for only 30 minutes with intervals run at 11:45-12:00 pace.  I could tell my ankle was a bit weak and I had some calf tightness on both legs after the run.

Wednesday’s run was much, much better!  I doubled the interval time to 4:1 for 30 minutes but kept the pace slow at around 12:00.  My ankle felt so much stronger than in Monday’s run.  I was so excited that I barely noticed the heat index of 105!  I do have to admit that I didn’t go until 6 pm and ran at the park so there would be some shade available.

For yesterday’s run, I ran 6:1 intervals for 40 min at an 11:30 pace.  I felt good throughout and somehow managed to settle into the prescribed pace fairly easily, but had some stiff calf issues to deal with post run.  I’m set to repeat this run on my next outing and am planning to run in the Enigmas to see if there is any difference post-run between them and the Newtons.

My friend Jenn told me that this owl represents the wisdom I've gained in dealing with my injury.
My friend Jenn told me that this owl represents the wisdom I’ve gained in dealing with my injury.


I do love my Newtons, but I want to make sure that the shoe isn’t aggravating my injury (and rule out that they contributed to it in the first place).  For now, I’m going to continue this rotation and consider adding a third shoe to the mix.

I’m trying to be patient and not get ahead of myself (as per usual, for me), but if things continue to go smoothly, I believe that I will be able to run the Plano Balloon Half Marathon in mid-September.  If I’m able, my time will likely be my slowest to date, but at this point I don’t care.  I am going to do my best not to rush this training.  I need to keep the long term goals in mind (Dallas Marathon in December, Cowtown Ultra in February and Austin Ragnar in April) and avoid the temptation to cut corners in this important base-building phase.  (I’m so SICK of base-building!  I feel it is all I have done all year!  Wait…it IS all that I have done all year!)

Becoming a “Real” Cyclist

I mentioned in a recent post that I had ordered a road bike and was just waiting on it to arrive for pickup.  It arrived and I picked it up Thursday evening.  I was discussing the pros and cons of clip ins with the cycle shop employee (according to him there are NO cons…read the following paragraph to see that there is one) and ended up walking out with cycle shoes (NEVER thought I would own a pair of those) and different pedals on my bike.  He was extremely helpful and we discussed the best way to get used to them.  We all know that experience is the best teacher, and by experience, I mean screw ups.  Early Friday morning, I rode around the yard, practicing getting my shoe in the clips then twisting my foot out….it all seems so easy when that is ALL you are concentrating on! I ended up on the gravel in my driveway, focused on something else, when I found myself stopped and my foot still firmly in the clip.  Over I went.  It wasn’t a bad tumble – just bad for the ego.  I was determined to stay focused on getting my foot out of the pedal and off I went on a quick ride (and had NO troubles whatsoever!).

My beautiful bike on the bike rack that I assembled all on my own!
My beautiful bike on the bike rack that I assembled all on my own!
The bike shoes that I never thought I would own :)
The bike shoes that I never thought I would own 🙂

This morning, I went out early again, hoping to log 25 miles (which I DID and is my longest ride to date).  I stopped a couple times for water and, again, had NO issues whatsoever…..until I was back in my driveway.  In the SAME spot, distracted by my watch and my OCD about stopping on even distances, I just fell over!  This time, it actually hurt and I have a big bruise on my knee.  I am such a clutz.  And a dork.  And too ADHD.  But I’m still laughing about it!!  In any case, I feel like a legit cyclist now, which translates to feeling pretty cool.  I will not feel cool, however, if I fall off my bike again.  That phase is DONE.

I'm glad that I can provide entertainment for the masses.
I’m glad that I can provide entertainment for the masses.

Today’s ride was fairly easy, except for the South 15mph wind.  In the Summer in Texas, the South wind is ALWAYS blowing.  And even though I ride East-West for the majority of my ride, I ALWAYS feel as though I’m riding into a headwind.  I don’t know how that happens, or if I am just mental, but I curse at the wind.  A LOT.  To get home, I ride South-bound on an incline…yay for headwinds and hills (not really).  I haven’t learned to love the hills on a bike like I do on my feet.  I know it is possible, though, because while in the bike shop I mentioned I was from Bonham; they had ALL been to Bonham to ride and they ALL said, immediately, you guys have hills!

Making the hard choices

My word of the year has been “Balance” and I revisit it often.  I became unbalanced in my strength training and stretching and ended up with a stress fracture.  Due to several factors, I made the decision not to officiate volleyball this year, in order to balance out some things in my home life.  It was one of the most difficult decisions I have made in quite some time.  I absolutely love being out there on the court, but my family time was suffering (as was my ME time).  Today as the season started with scrimmages, I would normally have been in the gym.  This year was different and I spent the day at home and enjoyed the time with my family.  Plus, I got a bunch of stuff accomplished!  Even though I know it was the right decision at the right time, the gym is still tugging at my heart and will continue to do so!  I am hoping that one day soon, my schedule will allow me to do it again!

Before I go, I want to wish my friend Jenn a kick-ass Spartan tomorrow!  My wish for you is that you aren’t required to do ANY burpees!

Hopefully I will be able to get back on a regular update schedule!  I feel as though the summer vacation extended to my blog posts!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!



ADHD Evidence and Growing into Parenthood

I wrote last week about my un-diagnosed ADHD and just a few of the ways that my brain is impacted by my inability to filter outside stimulus.  I have a few recent entries from my anecdotal log to prove my point.

Friday morning, I spilled my entire cup of coffee on my desk.  Sad, but true.  Yes, I probably would have licked it off my desk had my co-worker not been standing there, staring at me.  The good news is that my desk calendar was doused with my Kahlua flavored blend, so I can look forward to months of residual coffee smell in my office.

Then, I was able to top even the monster spill on my desk!  Each morning I make an announcement….to the entire school, over the PA system (which works through the phone system)…for teachers to post their attendance.  Friday morning, I was talking and distracted (as usual), picked up the phone to make the announcement and said, “Finley-Oates, this is Jennifer, may I help you?”  To the ENTIRE SCHOOL!!!  Immediately I heard the laughter of my office co-workers.  I’m still getting comments about it!  So if there was ever any doubt regarding my ADHD, I think I have removed it all this morning!

But just in case there was ANY doubt left, I’ll show you what happens when I talk and tweet.  REAL friends would stop me from embarrassing myself this way. I present you with Exhibit A:

This was supposed to say TOTALLY, not today.   But, YES, Corky and I are going skydiving! #excited
This was supposed to say TOTALLY, not today.
But, YES, Corky and I are going skydiving! #excited

This weekend was AMAZING!!!  I had ZERO obligations, except for Alli’s basketball game in town on Saturday.  I rarely get an entire day that is unscheduled, much less an entire weekend, and I enjoyed EVERY MINUTE!

Alli rolled her ankle during the basketball game on Saturday.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, but I expected it to come on the volleyball court.  Thankfully, Taylor’s many-a-rolled ankle prepared me for just this moment.  I know the number 1 rule of rolled ankles is NOT to remove the shoe, but Alli complained of pain along the outside of her foot.  That concerned me, since Taylor broke her outer metatarsal last year when she ran off a sidewalk (literally).  Alli’s foot showed no immediate bruising or swelling (thankfully one of our football coaches was there and he also felt it was just a rolled ankle), so the shoe went back on and I sent Alli to walk it off.  She sat out one quarter, then went back in.  I was SO PROUD of her!  I have often wondered if she would develop the toughness and competitiveness that Taylor has, and after Saturday, I do believe she will get there!  Now, I am not a proponent of playing while injured, but there is a difference between hurt and injured.  Alli hasn’t stopped since, except to ice it every now and then.

One day post incident and you can see just a touch of bruising under her ankle, but swelling is minimal, if at all.
One day post incident and you can see just a touch of bruising under her ankle, but swelling is minimal, if at all.

This got me to thinking about the first time Taylor rolled her ankle.  We took off the ankle brace (stupid) and went to ER for x-ray (stupid-er).  ER confirmed it was not broken, gave us a boot and told her to wear for 2-3 weeks.  Taylor wore that boot all of 1/2 day then decided it was for the birds.  She taped it up and walked on it as normally as she could.  At the time, Taylor was a Junior in high school and played 2 sets in her volleyball game just two days after the injury.  When she got to the point that she was hopping on one leg, I intervened and asked the coach to bench her for the remainder of the match.  Taylor rolled that ankle AGAIN about a week later, when she went out to play soccer and failed to tape it OR wear an ankle brace. (I was ANGRY, because we were DAYS away from our first playoff game and I felt she should have considered her teammates before going out and doing that.)  I did take her after the season to our orthopedic doc to make sure there was no ligament damage.  His diagnosis:  Taylor was tough and stubborn and her ankle would be just fine.

Day 3 after Taylor's rolled ankle (the first time).  She played on this the night before.
Day 3 after Taylor’s rolled ankle (the first time). She played on this the night before.

In comparing the different way that I reacted to both of these injuries, I remembered something that I once told Taylor.  She had been complaining that Logan wasn’t held to the same standards as she was and she felt I was being too lax.  My response to Taylor: You were the first one, so you were the guinea pig.  I figured out a lot of things that I did wrong and so I have tweaked my parenting as I go along.  My main goal is that you don’t end up in counseling because of my parenting.

OK, the last part was a joke.  Kind of.  But, it is true that you evolve and grow as a parent.  You learn (hopefully) not to sweat the little things and to pick your battles carefully.  For example, Alli used to go to Wal-Mart in her swim suit and a fleece hat during the summer.  I would have NEVER allowed Taylor to do that, but, hey, by the 3rd child, you’re just happy they made it out of the house  with shoes on!  (And you realize some things aren’t THAT important.)

I ran this weekend.  The weather was GORGEOUS – high 70s and sunny!  I increased my run intervals (per the plan) to 4 min run/1 min walk x8.  I actually felt better before and after than I have to date!  I had issues with tight glutes after Wednesday’s run, which is why I opted not to do my Friday scheduled run.  I am still lacking confidence in my body (as well as my decision-making), but I know that this is a process and it will take time to gain it all back.  Thankfully, I have a great support system AND, while odd, I have yet to run low on patience.  Maybe old dogs CAN learn new tricks!

I'll be channeling Saturday's run this afternoon when I face 40 and cloudy with winds 15-25.  It was nice while it lasted.
I’ll be channeling Saturday’s run this afternoon when I face 40 and cloudy with winds 15-25. It was nice while it lasted.

To most of the country: Enjoy your day off.  I’ll be at work and am going to make the best of it (with the help of Kahlua flavored coffee)!


The reason my head spins

I’ll preface this with a disclaimer: I have not been diagnosed with ADHD.  Having said that, I am 99% sure I have some form of the disorder.

Generally speaking, I handle the days fairly well and things manage to work smoothly.  However, there are those times when I can’t keep anything straight.  Welcome to a day in the life of Jen…

Multiple-step oral directions:  Just this week, my friend, Carmen Reed, came by my office and asked me to have some kids sent to her room.  She rattled off the names of 3 kids, then she told me where to have the teacher send them.  Couldn’t.  Remember.  Anything.  Thank goodness she stood there and repeated it while I was on the phone, calling the other teacher’s room.  Multi-step directions don’t work often, and never if my mind has been focused on ANYTHING else.  (This is the point where I’m going to place blame on the kid that was in the office, constantly talking and crying.)  And the way I cope with this?   Write it down, then read it back to the person before moving on to anything else.  If I don’t write it down, changes are 99% that I will forget part (or all) of it.

Allergy shots:  Things were all well and good when the lab was able to get all my allergens into one vial.  It was just a matter of keeping up arm got the last shot, as I had to alternate (which was easy, since there was a log).  Then my doctor changed labs and now I have TWO vials of allergy serum.  What this means is that I get a shot from each vial, one in each arm.  But I have to keep up with it and make sure that I alternate the arms so that I don’t get a shot in the same arm from the same vial each time.  The log sheet *should* make it fairly fool-proof.  But it isn’t.  I cannot be distracted AT ALL when I do this.  Recently, I drew both needles from the same vial; thank goodness my gut told me something was wrong and to scrap that attempt.  Keep in mind that’s just one close call that I’ve had…  Thankfully, I have an Epi Pen.  And now, I have a routine from which I never deviate to ensure I get the shots drawn up correctly.

Typos:  One of my life goals is to post on social media sans typos.  I know…..that is a LOFTY goal.  I am pretty sure that if typo data was collected on my status updates, tweets and IG posts, I would be posting error-free *maybe* 20% of the time.  (OK, that percentage is a generous estimate)  Yes, it occurs to me to proof AFTER I post and notice the typo.  Facebook understands my disorder and allows me to edit my posts.  Twitter and IG need to hop on the band wagon.

Noise:  I cannot carry on a conversation with someone if another conversation is going on within earshot.  I cannot filter out some noise to concentrate on other noise.  I can, however, filter out all noise in order to concentrate on one thing.  And I have to be honest, sometimes (well….A LOT of times), my brain just shuts off when people are talking on and on about things that don’t matter (to my brain, anyway).  Then they ask a question and I have no idea what they said.  That’s when I nod my head in agreement.  (Don’t try this at home….the practice is prone to land one in an awkward situation.)

Carrying *things*:  I rely heavily on routine.  Every morning I have the same number of *things* I bring with me in my bag.  If I bring something extra, chances are I will forget to bring one of the regular somethings.  Once I have prepared that number of things to bring with me, my brain shuts down.  Same thing with running.  I have the normal items that I bring with me for a run and when I add an item, something else always gets left behind!

Lists:  OK, I make LOTS of lists, but then I forget to reference them.  I don’t even know how to fix that.

Notifications:  Not trying to brag or say that I get a ton of notifications, but sometimes I am overwhelmed by social media notifications.  This happens most often when I have been unable to check them for a period of time (when I have been refereeing a tournament, for example).  If my head could spin around like an owl, that is exactly how my body would react! LOL

Thankfully, running and exercising helps me cope with my shortcomings in the attention department.  I can feel so tired from all the noise and stimulus, but all that melts away when I get into the run.

Yes, I wore my "twenty six point FREAKING two" shirt to run/walk 3.1 miles.
Yes, I wore my “twenty six point FREAKING two” shirt to run/walk 3.1 miles.

And speaking of run….I got one in yesterday! IT.  WAS.  AWESOME!  I am sticking with the 3 min run/1 min walk x8, for a couple more runs.  I am enjoying running with the shorter walk intervals.  And guess whose heart rate went over target only ONCE?? ME!!!  (Previously, my watch yelled at me no less than 5 times each interval.)  Something even more awesome is that even though my heart rate was lower, I ran roughly the same pace during the intervals as in my previous run.  Even though I can tell that my left hip area is much stronger, I can also tell that it is still weaker than my right side.  To me, that is just reinforcement to continue what I have been doing with strength exercises, cross training and proper rest days.  Having said that, progress is progress and I am celebrating!!  I finally believe that I can and WILL beat this and emerge a stronger, smarter runner!

In all the articles that I have read over the course of this injury, I have seen several about flexibility, specifically in the ankles.  I found a resource to measure my ankle flexibility which included exercises to increase mobility in the ankles (aka tight calves).  So one test was to kneel down with your toes 5″ from a wall and see how far forward you could push your leg AND keep your heel on the floor.  I decided to try it on my lunch break and here is proof of my sad results.  ankle


Yep.  You are seeing that correctly.  My knee will NOT go past my  toes.  I’m adding that to one of my lists (to which I’ll forget to refer) in hopes that I can loosen up my calves and increase my ankle mobility, which, in turn, will hopefully contribute to my overall health as a runner.

Happy Thursday, all!