2015: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Initially, I wasn’t going to write the obligatory end of the year summary.  As the year winds to a close, however, I naturally started thinking about where the year had taken me, and I wanted to document it – if only just for me.  It’s been A year!  I have had some heart-stopping, stellar moments.  I’ve also had some heart-stopping, heartbreaking moments.

2015 Word of the Year

Last year, I chose a word of the year: Balance.  I felt everything in my life was OUT of balance and I desperately needed to get control of things.  My running was clearly out of control – I was prone to over-training and terrible at supplementing my fitness with cross-training and strength.  I was over-scheduled in almost every area of my life – there were some things over which I had control of scheduling and many things that I did not.  I’m not going to lie….I still struggle with balancing all of life’s demands.  But, I am better at the balancing act now than I was 365 days ago.  Truth be told, this is an ongoing challenge, but I’m up for it!

The Bad and The Ugly

I’m lumping “The Bad” and “The Ugly” together because I simply want to be DONE with all this negativity! LOL

  • Started the year with an ITB injury that stole the first 4 weeks of the year from me.  I was finally able to s-l-o-w-l-y return to running the last week of January.
  • Battled another injury – stress fracture in my heel – in July.  This hiccup took another month of running away from me and in the setback I wondered if I would be fit enough to run the full at Dallas.IMG_4598
  • The entire year felt like a battle.  I was battling to beat my ITB.  Then I was battling to recover from my heel.  Recovering from injury takes a lot of time, patience that I don’t have, and mental fortitude.
  • My biggest battle was in my mind.  It isn’t a secret (or at least I don’t think it is a secret) that I don’t have a lot of faith in my abilities – unless you count my ability to injure myself, in which case I have full faith in that!  Spending basically an entire year injured caused me to doubt myself.  I didn’t believe that my body could recover enough to ever run long distances again.  I didn’t believe that I could run smart enough to stay uninjured.  I just didn’t believe in me at all.  This was, hands down, the biggest tragedy of the year.

The Transformation

When I looked back at some of my earlier blog posts, I realize how much I had to learn….and how much I have learned!  I can’t believe how much I have matured as a runner.  I know there are still many lessons to be learned, but I have been able to find a peace with running that I never had before.  Some things I learned on my own.  Some lessons were taught to me by John, my partner for part of the year until he moved, and others I learned from my current coach, Brent.

  • I started the year with the intent to train by heart rate, but that change didn’t happen fully until I started working with my current coach in October.  The beauty of this is that all things prepare us for what will happen in the future.  Since I had been monitoring my heart rate all year, I knew how my heart would react in certain situations. Since my training with Brent is set up almost exclusively by heart rate, I was ahead of the curve, in a sense, because I already “knew” my heart.  This type of training has been very good for my running!
  • My partner, John, taught me the importance of running slower (which, ties right into the heart rate training).  With his guidance, I learned how to pace myself (which is something that I COULD NOT do before running with him).  Developing this discipline in my running certainly laid the groundwork for great things to come and made it much more easy for me to execute workouts properly.
  • I finally learned to listen to my body, even though I didn’t always act upon it.  I hope that will come as I continue maturing as a runner.  The fact that I now notice those little things is a huge victory.
  • I gave up running with music.  BEST.  DECISION.  EVER.  Taking away the distraction of the music opened up so many amazing things.  First, I can listen to my footsteps to see if there are any imbalances.  I am more aware of my breathing.  I don’t get lost in songs and beats, which formerly meant I would end up running too fast.  In addition, during those tough spots in a run, I had to rely on myself to get through it rather than finding a song to distract me though it.  BIG difference.  I think that helped my confidence A LOT.
  • The most beautiful thing happened when I started believing in myself.  By the time Dallas rolled around, I began to have a quiet confidence and somehow learned to have peace with what would come – good or bad.  I honestly didn’t fret over that race, which, if you know me, is a MIRACLE.  I am carrying that peace and confidence with me into 2016!

Cycling helped me through the rough patches

I love to bike….outdoors.  I dislike riding on the trainer, but I did a lot of that early in the year because I knew how much the cross-training would help my recovery.  Cycling also saved me during my heel fracture, because I was given the green light to ride as much as I wanted as long as I didn’t suffer discomfort.  I biked A LOT in July!

This year, I transitioned from a hybrid to a road bike, and with that came clip-ins.  Most people know how clumsy I am, and so you can imagine the number of falls I had because I would forget to twist my foot out….all of them happened in my drive-way!  I still laugh about it.

I do love any time that I get on the bike, however, and who knows – there may be a tri in my future.

The Good, Running-wise

Despite the setbacks, I had lots of victories on the roads this year.

  • Ran Skyline HM in May, even though it might have been too close to rehab and recovery.  I was 8 minutes off my PR, but the important thing is that I was able to run a fairly strong race, and it felt like a HUGE victory.Medal
  • I ran Rock the Block 10k at the end of May because I wanted to focus on some shorter distances to help bring down my HM time.  I was able to PR this race by about a minute @ 57:46.

    Start line selfie with my favorite oldest daughter :)
    Start line selfie with my favorite oldest daughter 🙂
  • Even though Plano Balloon HM was the WORST race of the year for me, it was a victory.  I ran this race after being back from my heel injury only 7 weeks.  I realize (now) that I was being to aggressive, but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

    Maybe my favorite race sign ever :)
    Maybe my favorite race sign ever 🙂
  • I joined Renegade Endurance and love having the support of the athletes in the club.  It is so much fun to hear about their successes and lift them up, and racing is much more fun when your teammates are there racing as well!

    My RE team members are the BEST!
    My RE team members are the BEST!
  • Rock n Roll St. Louis was one of the highlights of my year.  I went into this race just wanting to finish strong, plus the main reason I went was to socialize with my group of Twitter friends.  At this point, I had run Plano Balloon just a month earlier and missed an entire week of workouts afterward because my body wasn’t ready to run that race.  I had just started working with Brent and the main goal was Dallas Marathon.  I was completely shocked and surprised when I ended up with a PR 2:13:17 (by 43 seconds! LOL).
    Pood paced me to an awesome finish!
    Pood paced me to an awesome finish!

    My Sole Sister Jenn
    My Sole Sister Jenn
  • Believe 10k was the first 10k I ever ran.  Every year, I want to get down to McKinney to run it again but it never seems to work out.  When I asked my coach if I could run it instead of the 8 mile training run, he gave the green light and I immediately signed up.  But then, the monsoons of Thanksgiving  nearly washed away my hopes of running the race.  The race went on as scheduled, and I went, prepared for a wet, cold race.  I ended up with another PR 56:15 (1:30 better than May) and first in my age group!
  • I knew that I would have to run a TERRIBLE race to not PR at Dallas Marathon this year.  2014 was the race of the bum ITB and it took me wayyyyyyy too long.  This race was to be the highlight of my year, plus I felt I had something to prove on that course.  I was somehow able to run the most perfect race ever…for me anyway…and ended up with 4:15:12, considerably faster than the 2014 bum ITB marathon. Plus, I beat my time goal by 15 minutes!  My biggest fear is that I have now peaked.  Even so, I’ll take it, because so many runners never have a race experience as good as the one I had!  This is the race that made me feel like a real runner; like a real marathoner.

Here are just a few of the well wishes I got from my friends, near and far during and after Dallas:img_6754


img_6695

 

This one had to call me at the finish line ;)
This one had to call me at the finish line 😉

img_6460

img_6459

The Non-Running Stories

So many non-running things happened in 2015.  As I look back, it probably seems that I am going through a mid-life crisis, but I think I decided that I am too old to care what anyone thinks, plus I’m running out of time to do all the fun stuff!

  • I lost my tattoo virginity.  By the end of the year, I had already gotten my second tattoo!  Be looking for a 3rd after Ragnar….I’m forcing myself to wait until then!BraceletIMG_6173
  • I jumped out of a plane.  SO.  MUCH.  FUN.  I will go again in 2016, to take Logan when he turns 18 years old!Jennifer_Kirkpatrick 034
  • Taylor went to Thailand, lost her passport in Tokyo and lived to tell the tale.
  • Taylor graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Woman’s University.147
  • Alli’s team, Madfrog 10 National, was the highest placing American team at AAU Nationals, placing 7th in the nation.  The top 6 teams were Puerto Rican.rainforest
  • While in Orlando for AAUs, I rode in a helicopter!Takeoff
  • Logan made a 34 on his ACT, which was supposed to be “just a practice”.

Looking back, 2015 was a very good year!  I look forward to continuing this progress in 2016!

Happy 2016!!

Jen

 

Everything is connected and change is difficult

Of course, the running updates are first and foremost.

Running is going REALLY well.  This past week I have moved from the interval stage of recovery to running without breaks.  Even though that sounds like the most exciting news ever, even more exciting is that my ankles are giving me less and less trouble after each run.  I’ve known for some time that I needed to address strength and mobility issues in my ankles, I just didn’t know exactly what to do.  A couple weeks ago, I read an article that suggested one-legged calf raises while holding a hand weight.  I screen shotted the exercise instructions as I had EVERY intention of going home and doing them that evening.  Except several days passed before I actually did the exercise.  After the not-so-stellar post run stiffness (and soreness) in my ankles continued, I bit the bullet last Monday and started them.

The exercise is so simple that one wouldn’t expect it to do much at all (or at least me, anyway).  Basically, you hold a hand weight in one hand and hold the other hand against a wall for balance.  Then raise up as high on the balls/toes of your feet as high you can and lower slowly down only on the leg (same side as weight).  Do 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg and you’re done!  The weight should be just enough to cause some fatigue by the end of each set.

OH.  MY.  GOSH.  I began feeling the difference almost immediately!  The normal post-run stiffness from Tuesday’s run was at least 50% less than “normal”.  I barely even noticed any stiffness after my Thursday run.  Saturday I ran 6 miles – the longest since my injury – and I had ZERO post-run issues!!

During marathon training, I experienced these same issues with my calves and Achilles, so the feeling wasn’t new to me.  It’s just that my ITB was a bigger problem at the time.  I think that after strengthening my hips, the next weak body part in line was destined to fail and that is how I ended up in a boot in July!  I never cease to be amazed at how everything in your body is connected, especially parts that you wouldn’t expect to have anything to do with each other!  This reminded me of my friend Jane and one of her posts earlier this year.  She actually fixed a hip issue by rolling her foot on a therapy ball!

Recovery is important, too.

I worry about calories.  I know I shouldn’t, but I started this whole running gig to help with weight loss.  While I wasn’t that overweight, I weighed more than I should have and I DO NOT want to go back there.  So sometimes (OK, a lot of times) I don’t want to drink my recovery drink because it seems like a lot of calories to me.  I know that I am eating to run and need to change my mindset accordingly.  I have known this a LONG time, but actually changing my mindset is harder than one would think!  I realize that I wasn’t fueling properly post-run and I know that contributed to my stress fracture.  I won’t be skipping recovery fuel any more, even though I wince at the calories!  These are good calories and I must remember that!

No, it isn't ice cream. It's my recovery drink.
No, it isn’t ice cream. It’s my recovery drink.

Cycling is a close second.

Something exciting happened yesterday morning.  I saw a REAL cyclist on the way to church, and it wasn’t me!! (OK….I’m not saying I qualify as a *real* cyclist.)  In any case, I was so excited that I had Alli snap a pic!  IMG_5083

BTW, I think that the novelty cyclist and I have the same shoes!
BTW, I think that the novelty cyclist and I have the same ugly cycling shoes!

After a mad dash to get Logan a pair of athletic shoes, I went out for a ride myself.  I checked the weather beforehand and learned that I would be facing a 15 mph headwind for the last half of the ride.  That was SO exciting to me….NOT!  Of course, the first half was a breeze – literally.  The last half was a battle between my will power and the wind, but I WON!!

Aaaaaand….I didn’t fall off my bike!  #winning

Change is difficult.

Many of you know that Alli has played for MadFrog Volleyball since she was in 2nd grade.  That is going to change this season, as she will be making a move to Skyline Juniors, another club in our region.

I wanted Alli to play for our high school coach, who also coaches 11s at Skyline, but wasn’t willing to rock the boat with Madfrog for one year with him.  When it became clear that MadFrog might not be the best place for Alli this season, I contacted Coach McKinney immediately.

I’m so thankful that he felt she could contribute to his team!  He is an AMAZING coach and I was terribly sad that Alli wouldn’t get the experience of playing for him this year.  Alli was apprehensive at first….it is so difficult to leave a place so comfortable and familiar and one that feels like home.  It was difficult for her to leave her teammates whom she had grown to love.  However, she is growing to love her new home at Skyline.  She absolutely loves Coach McKinney and his assistant and she has realized that there are good friends to be made wherever she goes!  I can’t wait to see how she grows and matures as a player throughout this upcoming club season!

Callie and Blair - Alli's most treasured teammates ever!
Callie and Blair – Alli’s most treasured teammates ever!

 

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.

IMG_4862

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!

Jen

 

Summer is not endless but neither are stress fractures!

It has been some time since I posted an update.  It’s odd to think that I have been THAT busy this summer, but I have!

Game of Thrones

I’ve been wanting to watch GoT for some time, but couldn’t commit the time.  I’m a little obsessive with things and want to give 100% in everything I do.  (Except housecleaning.  I struggle with that.)  When I was sidelined with the injury, I did not stay off my foot which obviously made things worse.  When I learned I actually had a stress fracture, I decided that there was no time like the present to start the series, and could use it as an excuse to prop up my foot.  I took this job VERY seriously.  I’m a little proud and a little ashamed to admit that I finished all 5 seasons in the span of 2 weeks.  Yup.  Fifty episodes in 14 days.  I still get up in the morning expecting to watch another episode and have to admit I feel a little sadness that it is already over.  All I can say is that I CANNOT wait for Season 6!!IMG_4784-0

 

“The Boot”

Recovery from the stress fracture is gong well.  I spent one week in the boot 24/7.  Since then, I’ve been wearing it only at night, although I have to admit I skipped 3 nights!  (I’m a rebel!!)  The first week I was out of the boot, I had some soreness and aches in that area, but nothing substantial to report since one week ago Thursday.  I went to my follow up appointment yesterday and received the news for which I had hoped!!  I was released to run (@ 25% of the volume I was running before injury).  Of course, I ran last evening!  I ran a slow 30 min run with 2 min run intervals followed by a 1 min recovery walk.  All felt good, although I could tell that my ankle was a little weak.  This morning, things are still feeling good, so I will take that as a very good sign!  Today will be a rest day with some strength work sprinkled in….and foam rolling and stretching.  LOTS of foam rolling and stretching!

Cycling counts

I count myself extremely lucky to have been able to continue my fitness with cycling and have enjoyed every minute!  Cycling is different than running, in that I can feel the strength gained in each subsequent workout.  I hadn’t been cycling often, so I was a bit out of shape where the bike was concerned.  However, it didn’t take long to notice the gains in my fitness.  I started out averaging 11 mph and on a recent “easy” ride, I averaged 13.5 mph…..that was riding 2 gears higher than the first rides!  Thanks to training in the Texas heat, I even maxed out my heart rate last week!  The only problem I have encountered is that my competitive nature makes me want to push myself every time I’m out the door.  It occurred to me that cycling is probably like running, in that most rides should be “easy” and that the harder rides should have a specific focus in mind.

I have no complaints about this hot, Texas sun!  Summer is the best time of the year!
I have no complaints about this hot, Texas sun! Summer is the best time of the year!

When I bought my first bike a year ago, I was advised to get a hybrid.  While I have enjoyed that bike, I have longed for a road bike so that I could be more aggressive with my cycling.  (Remember my obsessive nature.)  The bike shop where I bought the hybrid seemed so expensive.  Honestly, I couldn’t justify spending $1,500 on a road bike.  I just don’t cycle enough to warrant spending that kind of money.  I decided to try some other bike shops to see what was available and found one right away!  The bike I chose was already on sale and I was able to get another 20% off so I ended up with something very affordable.  The only downside is that it had to be ordered but should arrive within the week!!  I’m even considering cycling to work until I start the school taxi service again.

One of my last rides on this bike.  My new one is supposed to arrive in the bike shop today!
One of my last rides on this bike. My new one is supposed to arrive in the bike shop today!

Speaking of work….

Work really is a terrible 4-letter word, is it not??  While I count myself extremely lucky to work in a school district which allows me a 6-week break every summer, I would be lying if I said I was actually ready to go back to work.  The summer has gone by faster than usual, even though I spent 2 weeks of my vacation on my arse watching Game of Thrones!  Today is my last day of summer vacation and I feel as though I’ve accomplished NOTHING!!  I’m in a bit of a panic over this, but part of me is happy to get back into a routine.  I am actually much more productive with a set schedule, so maybe I’ll get some thinks done around the house after all!  In any case, tomorrow will come whether I’m ready or not, so I may as well get prepared!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Jen

Balcony People and Allergy Panic!

I want to take some time to brag on my coworkers.  I don’t think it is any secret that teachers are some of the most compassionate people on Earth, but they get little thanks for it.

A couple of weeks ago, we started something at our school.  Using a blank wall near the teacher’s lounge, we started writing notes about the good things we are noticing each other doing….and it has been SO MUCH FUN!!  In addition, when a person writes something about their coworker for the wall, they are able to give that person a pass for free jeans.  And EVERYONE loves a jeans day, right?  So this is the wall after barely a week…balloon wall

Spring is such a stressful time in education (in Texas, anyway) and this little wall has lifted everyone’s spirits.  Having your peers notice the great things you do, day in and day out, is a wonderful thing!!

The cafeteria ladies know how much I LOVE cantaloupe.  And when I see that there is cantaloupe in the lunch room, I make a BEELINE to get me some.  Every time, they tell me that they put some back just for me!! (Yes, I still pay for it.  It’s public school – we have no money! LOL)  But it is so kind of them to save it for me 🙂canteloupe

Back to my teacher friends….  There are so many things that happen in a school every day that parents never know about.  Like last week when one of our teachers arranged for cupcakes to be delivered to celebrate the birthday of one of the kids in her classroom, because things at home are not going so well right now.  We have one teacher that buys birthday gifts for some of her most needy (and usually difficult) students…..even after they have moved on from her classroom.  It is not uncommon at all for our teachers to buy shoes for a child in their classroom.  One of my good friends is planning to bring lunch to one of her students from last year because no one ever comes to eat with him.  All this to say that I am proud to work with such amazing and compassionate people!  These are the balcony people – the ones trying to change the world with one positive action at a time.

Now, on to running!  Running has been going REALLY well lately….well, since I’ve been running with John.  John is a really good sport, because I curse at him A LOT during runs.  Thankfully, he has a thick skin and a good sense of humor.  Running at a slower pace actually works…who knew?!?  He assures me that after we have built a good base, that speed will come.  Our long run last weekend was 7 miles and I joked (sort-of) that the run was slower than the labors of all 3 of my kids combined.  It wasn’t quite THAT slow, but certainly felt like it.  I was tight in my hips the next day, but I figured that was to be expected, since it was the longest run I’ve managed since the marathon.  The tightness worked out quickly enough, though.  I feel lucky and blessed to be improving at this rate!  (OK…and thankful for a partner that calls me on my BS and has the discipline to hold me accountable to this training plan.)7 miler

Sunday was a rest day from running, but I had the green light from coach to ride my bike.  I have slacked on cross training on the bike….I had last ridden the trainer on March 5!!  I was able to ride outside and ended up with a 15 mile ride.  I enjoyed every minute, but between the distance, the hills and the head winds, I was worn out by the time I got back home….but it was a good worn out 🙂

For my political history buffs, I live about 1.5 miles from this house and pass by it every time I go for a ride.  Sam Rayburn House

It belonged to long-time Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn.  He got quite a bit done in congress and I have no doubt that he would be disgusted with today’s politicians.  He died in 1961 and Kennedy, Johnson, Eisenhower and Truman all attended the funeral….in Bonham.  So for those of you who say nothing ever happens in Bonham – here is proof of our moment of fame.  four-presidents-at-speaker-of-the-house-sam-rayburn-s-funeral

So this happened Sunday evening:allergy vial

Those are my vials of allergy serum.  The new ones I picked up a week ago.  At a cost to me of over $600.  The ones that *should* have lasted me 6 months.  Yeah, the one on the right?  BROKEN!!!  Somehow they fell out when Bobby opened the refrigerator.  First, I held my breath.  Then I started hyperventilating.  Then I had to fight the urge to throw up.

So half my allergens are in one vial and the other half are in the other.  I have to take a shot from each vial every 10-14 days.  And reordering generally takes 4-6 weeks, because it is mixed especially for me.  If I were to extend much past 14 days, I would be required to start injections over from scratch.  Which means starting with low dose and driving to get them IN  the doctor’s office until they could be sure I wouldn’t go into anaphylactic shock.

So I called my doctor’s office first thing Monday morning.  They are able to reorder from a new lab that can get all my allergens into one vial (HOORAY!!!) AND turn around is only a couple of weeks.  Plus, the vial that didn’t break has the allergens to which I am most allergic and I can continue taking shots from it until the new one comes in.  #crisisaverted #SOrelieved

 

Make the choice today to be a balcony person. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Jen

 

Baby (running) steps and Brussels sprouts

Even though the rest of America had the day off yesterday, I did not. But since I did get off earlier than usual, it had the vague feeling of a holiday.

The weather in Texas has been PHENOMENAL the past few days.  Temps have been in the 60s, with the beautiful sun smiling down on us everyday.  Saturday, I was cooped up indoors reffing volleyball ALL DAY, so Sunday I took full advantage of the weather and did my biking OUTSIDE!!  It.  Was.  AMAZING!!! (Well, except for the cross-winds, but I was so deprived of outdoor activity I welcomed even those.) Texas winterTook this beautiful pic on the ride back to my house.  I know the landscape is brown and dreary, but with the hay bales in the background and the clear, blue sky, it took my breath away.  Even in the midst of winter, I love my Texas!  Later in the day, I went outside at dusk and couldn’t resist snapping this pic.  SunsetAlli has gotten into the habit of making herself hot chocolate every evening.  She loves to pile her mug high with marshmallows.  Sadly, this happened Sunday evening….Marshmallows

Alli forgot or didn’t realize that I had recently used that burner and it was still VERY warm!  And yes, the marshmallows at the bottom of the pile were melted.  Honestly, I’m just glad that she didn’t burn her hand.  There is a joke in our family about me burning the kids….of course, I would have been off the hook on this one! I wiped as much as I could off the burner and let it sit to cool and came off much easier than I expected when I cleaned it!

I mentioned that I had to work yesterday.  I went with the clinic supervisor to Wal-Mart to buy supplies for the clinics at each of our campuses (I work in the school system).  I was tasked with buying a sympathy card for a lady at our campus whose father recently passed away.  I tried to tell everyone that buying cards is NOT my forte, but I was given the job anyway.  When we got back to campus, I dug the card out of the sack and immediately noticed something wasn’t quite right. Card

Ok….the card is on the bottom and the envelope I grabbed is on the top.  See the problem??  I doubt I will ever be given card-buying duty again.

Since Monday was a teacher work-day, I got off earlier than usual and found myself FIGHTING the urge to go for a run.  (In case you don’t know, I have been nursing an ITB injury for the last 5 weeks.  IF things are looking good, I plan to run this weekend.)  The weather was SO BEAUTIFUL and I had that feeling in my gut that I NEEDED to get out and get in a run.  Thankfully, I have good friends who were able to point out the folly in that and with their help I was able to suppress the urge.  As usual, this incident got me to thinking.  At first, I was focused on poor me and not being able to run (yet).  I acknowledged (to myself) that I am suffering some depression as a result of the injury and the fact that my body isn’t able to do what I want it to do.  But I didn’t want to stay in that place.  I was able to shift my thinking from the things that I am unable to do to the progress that I’ve made since the marathon, and ended the day feeling mildly optimistic!  Here are some things that made my list:

  • I can bend my knee without pain and stiffness.  If you had seen me the week of the marathon, you would completely understand.  Plus, I had a few weeks of residual knee stiffness that would happen after sitting for extended periods of time, that is now GONE!!
  • I can sleep on my left (injured) side without pain.  In the beginning, and even before the beginning, sleeping on my left side caused A LOT of stiffness when I got up in the morning.  Problem: I sleep mainly on my left side.  But, every day, when I get up I feel better!
  • My ankle has regained range of motion.  It’s ALL connected, people.  EVERYTHING is connected to the hip.  I had noticed that when my ITB was starting to act up, I would feel some pain in my ankle when I moved it a certain way.  That feeling is gone!!
  • I can’t feel my ITB.  This is a biggie, because my ITB has been so tight that I could feel it when I moved certain ways (well, most ways to be honest).  I personally like it better when I don’t even know it is there!  LOL
  • I don’t have TFL tightness when I get up after sitting.

See?? #winning

I saw my chiropractor yesterday and he was unconcerned about my plan to begin running this weekend AND thinks our weekly visits should be extended to bi-weekly.  But I have one more hurdle.  I see my myofascia guy on Wednesday and that will be the real test.  I haven’t been in 3 weeks and to say that I am anxious would be an understatement!  To me, my body feels like it is in a much better place than when I visited him 3 weeks ago, but I will rely on his assessment to made the final decision about running this weekend or holding off a little longer.  I welcome ALL of your good mojo, because I need some good news!!

I’ll leave you with last night’s dinner.  Grilled chicken, baked potato and one of my faves – Brussels sprouts!!  I recreated a dish that my niece brought to Thanksgiving, by baking the Brussels in olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and dried cranberries.  It was DIVINE.  And I am sharing this photo for my ONE friend who LOVES Brussels sprouts SOOOO MUCH!  This is for you, Jane!Supper

Happy Tuesday everyone!!