How yoga helped my running

A little over a year ago, I added yoga to my running maintenance routine.  I was desperate to do anything and everything I could to get myself healthy and keep myself healthy so I could stay out on the roads.  I quickly found that I LOVED yoga and it has been a consistent part of my cross-training routine ever since!

Stiff beginnings

I still remember the first time I did yoga.  I have said so many times that everything in our bodies are connected, and that idea hit home even harder that day.  I was stiff EVERYWHERE, and I knew those restrictions in my tissues weren’t a result of not doing yoga – they were all a direct result of my ITB injury.  I remember specifically one sequence that started in Warrior 2 which worked into big arm circles before ending up in a half bind.  I noticed that my entire left back side was tight and restricted when doing the arm circles (is it any surprise that my left ITB was the worst?).  That pose and lizard lunge were the two poses that really opened my eyes that day.

Keep Moving Forward (In the wee hours)

As difficult as yoga was that first time, I was determined to stick with it, work through my issues and get myself healthy (and stay healthy) again.  It was then that I decided to find a way to work yoga and strength into my schedule, consistently.  Getting in all the strength and cross training had been easy when I was out of running because of the injury.  Getting everything done when I added running back into the schedule was….challenging.  My solution was to get up earlier than usual in order to do my stability/strength and yoga before work with my runs after work.  I tried getting up at 5:00 am, at first, but quickly realized that it took me a few minutes to gain coherency <read: drink coffee/get caffeine infusion>.  I then started getting up at 4:45 in order to start the caffeination process and hopefully be ready to work by 5 AM.

At first, this transition was tough.  As time went on, however, getting up earlier got easier and I was able to settle into a routine.  My eyes even began popping open before my alarm went off!

Yoga really helps (along with NOT over-training)

Ok….probably the best thing I’ve done is to hire a coach who keeps me healthy by not letting me over-train, BUT…. yoga has really helped, too.  Doing yoga regularly has helped me dial into my body and it has helped me find those tight spots that I haven’t yet found with the foam roller.  And yoga is soooooo relaxing.  I love that loosey-goosey feeling when I am done.  Ahhhhhh.

One thing that I noticed just this week, which spurred the idea to write this post, is that I relax my shoulders much more now (while running) than I ever did before yoga.  I’ve learned through yoga that you don’t want to acquire tension in one part of your body while relieving it in another.  For me, the tension almost always accumulates in my shoulders – in yoga and in running.  Yoga has helped me become more aware of that accumulating shoulder tension (and tensions elsewhere) and my brain/body is now connecting that during my workouts.  I feel that this might be the best benefit to date.  I had been aware of my shoulders tensing up during runs and I always tried to keep that from happening.  Since yoga, it is becoming more automatic and less of a conscious action.  And that, folks, is a biggie for me!!

Favorite poses

One of my favorite poses is rag doll.  You can do it anywhere, anytime, to relieve tension and stress and just breathe for a few minutes.

I love ANY and EVERY kind of twist.  Oh, the twists feel so good!!

One pose that I don’t quite *love*, but don’t feel I could live without is the Lizard Lunge.  It is a hip opener and usually a tad bit uncomfortable because this girl’s hips are usually a little tight!

Another one is an IT band stretch.  And, well, there really isn’t any reason to elaborate on that.  LOL

What is your favorite yoga pose??

Happy Running!

Jen

Let’s talk about Dallas

Before we talk about Dallas, let’s talk training…and racing.

Believe 10K

This past weekend, my training called for 8 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday.  However, there is a local 10K (which happens to be the first 10K that I ever ran) that I really wanted to run.  I got coach approval, registered and all was set……until the monsoons began on Thanksgiving day.

It was COLD and it was WET…….I HATE to be cold!  But race or no race, I had to run some miles and running a race – even in wet, cold rain –  was certain to be more fun than a regular training run.  Luckily, the rain stopped just as the race started….for the entirety of the race!

My body felt really good during the race.  I was supposed to keep my heart rate in Zone 2 for the first 4 miles, but I struggled with that because there were SO MANY HILLS.  After some reflection I feel that I could have pushed a little harder on the last couple miles, but I was being a bit cautious…..because of the HILLS.  I was afraid that if I pushed too hard, too early, that I would lose steam and slow down at the end.  I’m still trying to find that magical race exertion balance.  In the end, it worked out, because I PR’d by 1:30 (my last PR was in the Spring) and I won my age group!!  Miracles never cease to happen! Let this be a lesson to all of you to always run in cruddy weather because a lot of people don’t show up!  I didn’t stay for the awards, because I NEVER expected to win my age group.  It was so cold plus the announcing of the winners was so slow that I opted for Starbucks after the overall winners were announced for the 5K.

My Major Award
My Major Award

Another cool thing about this race was that I finally got to wear my race shirt from my run club, Renegade Endurance.  The jerseys came in the week after I got back from St. Louis and I haven’t raced since then, so it was fun to break it in with a PR and an age group win!  (I was too cold to have any pics made at the race site and barely remembered to take the pic when I got home.)  #ADHDprobsIMG_6239

Last Long Run

Because the monsoons over Thanksgiving break caused some flooding in my area, I had to run my last long run on the treadmill. <sad violin music>

Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it.  My longest run on the treadmill prior to Sunday was 5 miles.  I dreaded this run on several levels.  This run was my last chance to work on fueling and hydration before the race.  The conditions on a treadmill are just no match for being outside.  I did tweak my fueling a bit and I won’t truly know if it will work until race day.  Terrain was my another issue.  There is no preparation for a road race like running on a road!  Finally, and I suspect this was highly influenced by terrain (or lack thereof), my heart rate was SO LOW.  I try to keep my heart rate low on long runs, but my heart rate was about 15 beats per minute below where it usually is.  (If you’re confused – it’s just one more way that my treadmill run differed from a road run.)   I could have sped up to increase my heart rate, but then it wouldn’t have been a long SLOW run.  During the run, I focused on the fact that, at the most basic level, long runs are about time spent on your feet.

Mentally, I battled boredom.  I watched movies, but I am convinced that was not a good thing.  As I got into the movie, I paid less attention to what I was doing on the run.  This is the precise reason that I stopped running with music – I do not need any additional distractions!

In the end, a run is a run and when I was done, I felt VERY accomplished!IMG_62539 Days and Counting

Soooooooo, Dallas is 9 days and counting.  This time last year, I was a nervous wreck.  I knew that the race was going to be hard and terrible and painful, but I tried to hold on to that hope that my ITB would behave.  It didn’t.  I’m still shaking my head over it.

This taper is different.  Even though I spent a ridiculous amount of time recovering from injuries in 2015, I’ve also gained an unbelievable amount of fitness and strength over the past two months.  The difference is that I have been working with a new coach since the beginning of October.  In the words of one of my running buddies, “He attacked my weaknesses” and, as a result, I am running stronger and faster than ever.  In the beginning, he told me he would get me to Dallas injury-free and strong.  I didn’t believe him because at that point, I was still injured – mentally and physically.  I had spent SO much time on injury that it was becoming hard to believe that I would ever get over that hump.  I honestly didn’t believe that I could be strong enough to run the full at Dallas.  But guess what?  My coach delivered.

I am more than strong enough to run Dallas.  More importantly, I have transitioned mentally from seeing myself as weak and injured to strong and healthy.  Instead of a taper filled with anxiety and apprehension, I am filled with energy and excitement because I can’t wait to run this race!!

Happy Friday!

Jen

 

Sole sisters and beating the ITB

Friday was a really great day.  The staff at my school planned a spread just for the office ladies.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous, because spread food can be somewhat less than healthy.  Of course, everyone I work with knows my eating habits.  And this is just one reason I love working here….so many people brought “healthier” versions of food – just for me! 🙂  I was also blessed with this note from a coworker.  It completely made my day.  note

And then, if that wasn’t enough, when the mail came I was completely blown away again!sole sister

My Twitter “Sole Sister”, @karaokejennjenn had mailed me a package containing this coffee cup.  I absolutely LOVE it!!!  I have to say that I’ve had my coffee out of it for the past 3 days!

Friday evening, Alli and I made cupcakes.  One of her teammates was having a birthday on Saturday and requested our cupcakes. 🙂  She wanted red velvet, so it seemed like a good time to search for a good red velvet recipe (since I had yet to find one that I thought was satisfactory).  I am happy to announce that we found “THE” red velvet recipe.  It is soooo delicious!red velvet

I’m actually looking forward to whipping these up again, red finger nails and all!  LOL

Saturday morning I was out running at 6AM, in order to get my 10 mile long SLOW run in before the volleyball festivities of the day were to begin.  I know that no one would believe me if I told them I wore a shirt that said “Minnesota” on it, so I took a pic before heading out.  minnesota

I feel this needs some explanation…. A LOT of explanation.  Because everyone who knows me knows that I am a Texas gal through and through.  However, Taylor recently went to Minnesota to a National Qualifier with one of her club’s teams.  She found this running shirt in a store and bought it as a souvenir.  I actually really like the shirt, even if it does have a weird state plastered on the front of it! 😉

The run was amazing.  Absolutely amazing!  There really is nothing better than running when the sun comes up.  But the run wasn’t without its problems.  Last week, I suffered some ITB issues from mile 6 on (and it was a 10.5 mile run).  The rest of the day, my leg really bothered me.  I have been diligent with my foam rolling and strength training, so I tried my best not to worry.  (Those of you who know me know that I failed miserably at this attempt.)  It bothered me again just a bit on my next run, but got better each day.  This week, ITB started bothering me around mile 5.  I couldn’t believe it.  I tried not to get too upset about it, but with my history of ITB derailing my race efforts (and my first half marathon of 2015 coming up next weekend), it was hard not to let it get in my head.  However, something happened…..by mile 7, it had worked itself out.  I have NO idea how this happened, but this gave me hope that I am just working through some issues related to the distance increases.  The miracle in all this is that my legs felt AMAZING Saturday afternoon!  I couldn’t believe how fresh they felt after driving the distance to the tournament location, then sitting as long as I did.  When they still felt so good on Sunday, I really began to get excited.  Maybe this actually is related to the distance increases and not the beginning of more problems!

Alli’s team played in the North Texas Region tournament this weekend, in the 12s division.  The teams in this tournament were vying for a bid to next weekend’s Region Bid tournament, so they were a higher caliber 12s than we typically play.  The girls didn’t play well on Saturday in pool play.  We dropped 2 sets (we never drop sets in pool play) and ended up seeded 2nd in our pool, but still earned our way into the Gold bracket for Sunday play.

Sunday morning we faced the Texas Image 12 National team that handed us second place in our first tournament of the year.  They beat us 22-25, 23-25 in the finals that day and our girls were so upset!  Every single tournament, Alli has asked if this team will be playing in it because she wanted a rematch!  The girls seemed so nervous when they found out who they were playing, but they stepped up their game when they went out onto the court.  We lost the first set 24-26, after being up 24-17.  Heartbreaker….we SO should have won!!  The second set we rallied and closed out the set 25-17 to force a tiebreaker.  We went point for point in the last set, but ran out of steam and ended up losing 11-15.  The girls had nothing to be ashamed of – they were playing against giants!  playing against giants

You can see the size difference in that picture! LOL

I was so proud of Alli this weekend.  She really stepped up her game in getting to the ball and rarely called for help.  It has been so much fun to see the improvements with all the girls on the team this season!  We are now finished with USAV tournaments and can focus all our efforts toward AAU Nationals (and beating the Puerto Ricans) in Orlando in June!

Happy Monday!!

Jen

Rolling on the Diagonal

If this doesn't make your stomach do flips, then you clearly aren't Texan.
If this doesn’t make your stomach do flips, then you clearly aren’t Texan.

I’m always thinking (stop snickering….the Apocalypse hasn’t happened…yet).  Driving Alli back and forth to volleyball practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays gives me even more time to think!  What I was thinking about Thursday night was how I tend to put a positive spin on everything.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t see the challenges in situations – it’s just my personality to try to find the #silverlining (or #goldlining, if it is especially amazing!).  And I’ve been doing that with running.

Running has been going REALLY, REALLY well.  But it hasn’t been all roses.  I don’t like sharing the less than great stuff because I don’t want to seem like a complainer.  And I guess part of the reason I don’t like to talk about the thorns is because every runner is ALWAYS dealing with one issue or another.  It’s just the nature of our sport.  Hamstrings tight?  You focus on the hamstrings with extra foam rolling and stretching maintenance and are so proud of yourself for working through the issue.  You consider throwing a party to celebrate your happy hammies, but realize that sometime during the hammy episode your calves became as tight as guitar strings.

It’s no secret that my ITBs are tight.  ALWAYS tight.  I wonder sometimes if that is my cross to bear as a runner.  I’m doing all the right things: strength exercises, self-massage, stretching, and workouts that aren’t too advanced for this stage in my base building.  (OK….now that I have a partner who isn’t afraid to tell Crazy Jen ‘NO’, my workouts are appropriate.)  So I’ve been focusing A LOT on my ITBs.  I haven’t been satisfied with the results of the foam rolling and have known that something had to change.  I have known that I was making ZERO progress.  All this focus on my ITBs caused a slip in my attention to the rest of my legs, mainly my quads.  I began to realize about 10 days ago that my quads were stuck.  (And when your quads are stuck, your ITB will be as well.)  Like fused together.  Not good.  And foam rolling hurt.  I don’t remember foam rolling my quads ever hurting before.  So I’ve been rolling on the meat grinder until I get over the urge to scream.

Trust me.  It HURTS.
Trust me. It HURTS.

Luckily, Wednesday I had to take off to be home while we had a new AC unit installed.  And even luckier (#goldlining), my myofascia guy had an appointment open late in the afternoon and I was able to go see him as well.  He worked my tight left glutes (did I mention my glutes are always tight as well?  It isn’t always a good thing to have a tight ass.).  He released my ITBs.  Then he got to my quads.  He didn’t say a word.  NOT ONE WORD.  And since I’m uncomfortable with awkward silences,  I said, “Ummm, my quads are stuck, aren’t they? ”  And his reply? He just nodded his head.  They were THAT bad!!  But he was able to tear all those fibers loose in no time flat and within the hour, I felt like a new runner!

Something interesting that we discussed was the proper technique for foam rolling your ITB.  I have been rolling the “seam” of my ITB where it meets the quads in the front and hamstrings on the back.  However, I had the foam roller perpendicular to my leg.  Steve said that the only way to break the fibers loose, like he does during a release, is to have the foam roller on a diagonal to the leg.  It sounds easy in theory, but practice is an entirely different matter.  If you aren’t careful and apply plenty of counter resistance, your leg won’t stay straight and will go with the foam roller.  I used the foot on my free leg to leverage and pull my body so that the leg being foam rolled would stay in the proper position.  I could feel the difference right away!  It takes a lot more energy and focus than I generally expend during foam rolling, but I am hoping to keep those cross fibers from forming with this new maneuver.  He also mentioned that if your adductors are tight, it can cause a chain reaction that ends up in your ITB being angry.  So stretch those adductors, people!

I genuinely believe that there will NEVER be a time that I am not giving some TLC to one body part or another.  I would go as far to say that it is a mathematical impossibility.  Too many factors are at play and the top two are: over 40 and distance running.  And I am OK with that.  Because since my injury some amazing things have happened.  I have learned somewhere along the way that I don’t need to panic over every ache and pain.  I simply need to manage it wisely: scale back training when necessary and proper maintenance.  Any of my runner friends that know me realize what a huge accomplishment this really is.

And now, because I am FOREVER the optimist, I will leave you with a list of positives – things that I have been able to successfully work through in order to get to this stage in training today:

  • Tight hips:  OK, YES, I said my hips/glutes are still tight, but I’m talking left hip wouldn’t move because it was fused to my SI joint.  I did have a little help from my myofascia guy, but I have been able to keep them fairly loose since.
  • Stirrup muscle weakness:  I was beginning to have some major issues with my stirrup muscles (the muscles on the outside of calf that wrap under the foot), and their insertion at the ball of my foot.  A shoe switch is the biggest game changer, but I gave this area A LOT of extra care and attention and all of it paid off.
  • Tight calves: Ugh.  I’ve never had calf issues, but lately my calves have been so tight.  LOTS of stretching and foam rolling seems to have gotten this problem in check (for now).
  • Lats:  My lats on my left side have been sooooo tight! Tight enough that twisting my torso had been almost painful.  The entire muscle was tight from my lower back all the way to my shoulder blades.    That is terrible, people!!  I started yoga about a month ago and almost all that back tension is gone!  To further prove my point, my massage therapist was so surprised last week when she found no knots in my neck or back….she commented on how unusual that was!  I am still fighting some tightness down by my pelvis, but farther up the muscle is finally feeling OK.
  • Glutes:  My glutes are always tight, but they do not feel like bricks.  So I’m #winning

Happy Friday, All!!

Jen

Finally learned to listen to my body, but now I don’t trust it!

First of all, thank you to all who read Wednesday’s blog.  I am blown away by the responses I received.  I am so humbled that my words brought comfort to so many, although I can’t take full credit for what I wrote!  I think God may have had a little something to do with that. 🙂  It’s hard to move on and post normally after something so raw and heartfelt, but that’s what life is about, isn’t it?  Moving on, tackling those day-to-day activities until some sort of normalcy returns.  So here I go with today’s post.

During marathon training when my ITB flared up, I posted about the confusion that ensued after my flimsy attempt at listening to my body.  At that time, I thought my ITB felt fine (well, fine as long as I wasn’t on a run longer than 6 miles).  During that pain-ridden journey, I may have just achieved that elusive mind-body connection (for now, at least…until Crazy Jen comes back).

After the marathon, I seriously thought I would take two weeks off and slowly start building back.  It didn’t take me long to realize that 2 weeks would be extended to 4.  When I made the decision to extend my recovery period to 4 weeks, I seriously thought that I would be back strong in that amount of time.  In the back of my mind, though, a little voice started whispering that it would likely take 6 weeks….or maybe 12.  I knew the voice was right and somehow I knew that this time – I had to listen.

My first run post-marathon was 6 weeks in the making, and (again) I had a gut feeling that it wasn’t going to be good (and it wasn’t).  I still feel that the time was right to get out there.  I went into the run with the mindset that I needed to gather information that would help me shape my training plan going forward.  (And I got A LOT of information.)  I waited another full week before I went on my next run, which was FABULOUS!  It ended up taking me 7 weeks recovery to get “that feeling” that things were heading in the right direction.

I ran again on Tuesday and it was another great run (as long as we ignore the heart rate issue in the first interval).  Wednesday evening I was back to see my myofascia guy.  I nearly cancelled because things had been going so well, but something told me to keep the appointment.  (It’s mind-boggling how often I have been listening to that little voice lately!)  In our pre-session debriefing, I told him that my glutes were still VERY tight, despite all the time that I had spent on the dreaded therapy ball.  He started on my hip (which was not moving in any form or fashion) and performed a release that he had not used on me before.  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS!!!  I knew my hips were tight, but I had NO idea until afterward.  Now that entire area feels AMAZING!!!

Love being able to run while Alli is at practice, even if it is only a 35 min workout
Tuesday’s Run: Love being able to run while Alli is at practice, even if it is only a 35 min workout

So it seems like things are all roses, right?  Not so much.  Let’s just call it like it is: I hate the intervals.  And I really dislike being constrained to my heart rate, even though I know that it will be good for me in the long run.  I finally admitted to myself that I don’t trust my body.  I just don’t.  I know that things are better now than they have been in months, but I don’t know what I am going to be able to push myself to do.  I want to go run a 15 miler tomorrow and I know I can’t.  And quite frankly, I don’t know if I ever will be able to again.  I am adding time to my intervals slowly in order to build my base and avoid further injury, but at the same time I’m as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.  Every time I go out, I wonder if this is going to be the time that things go haywire again.

Even so, I will keep chugging along, because I really have no other choice.  I love running too much to give up when things get tough.  I’ll keep in mind some of my own advice: nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  So when I do actually get back out there on a run (without intervals), it’s going to be the sweetest thing ever!

Happy weekend!

Jen

The weekend from which I am still recovering!

This weekend was fast and furious, to say the least, but it was one of the most fun weekends that I have had in quite some time!

Saturday morning I was up, bright and early, for my first run since my marathon on December 14.  Six weeks of no running.  Needless to say, I was excited, but I also went in with the mindset that it would be an information-gathering run – more of a state-of-my-recovery kind of assessment, if you will.

This was the first run with my new watch and I absolutely LOVED the change.  I had created my workout and synced to the watch ahead of time, complete with my targeted heart rate zones.  I planned a 5 min walking warm-up followed by 3 repeats of 5 min running in heart rate zone 3 (130-148), then 5 min walking in zone 2 (112-129) with a 5 min cool down.  Now, I realize these zones aren’t completely accurate for me, since I am unable to figure my threshold at this point, but I think they will work until I am able to perform all the diagnostic tests.  My first running interval was 10:21/average per mile.  The second was at 10:54 and the third at 11:24.  Since my watch only showed my heart rate and the countdown to the next interval, I had NO idea of my pace (which was a VERY good thing).  I knew on the 3rd interval that I had slowed considerably, and as a result I kept trying to speed ahead but my watch wouldn’t let me!  Believe me when I say that I wanted that thing to quit beeping at me, so I did as I was told! LOL!!  Overall, it was a very good run, except the crankiness in my right ITB on the 3rd interval.  I am not all that surprised or all that concerned, as my myofascia release has been focused on my left (gimpy) side.  I will be going this week for a full body release so hopefully we can take care of some of the right side issues.  Bottom line, though, is that the run gave me hope that I CAN come back and I WILL come back strong!

The old train depot was a beautiful sight on frosty Saturday morning!
The old train depot was a beautiful sight on frosty Saturday morning!
The walking intervals, coupled with using a watch instead of my phone, gave me opportunity to snap some lovely pics!
The walking intervals, coupled with using a watch instead of my phone, gave me opportunity to snap some lovely pics!

After the run, I dashed home to stretch, foam roll and shower in an attempt to make it to Logan’s 9 am soccer game on time.  I’ll just kill the suspense and tell you that I did NOT make it to the game on time.  I made it to the soccer game just before half-time.  The morning was BEAUTIFUL!  Sun was shining, light breeze and temps warmed quickly so that I didn’t even need a jacket!  Logan even played right midfield as opposed to his usual defensive position, barely missing heading the ball in on a cross in the second half.  A fun twist was our 2-student spirit section.  They brought their drums and played the entire game.  All would have been complete, if only we had brought our vuvuzelas!  The boys ended their tournament on a win and have gone to 3-2-3 on the season, which is about 3 wins and 2 ties better than last season already!

A long-time friend of mine owns an online newspaper in town, the North Texas E-News.  He is a phenomenal photographer (well, it helps to have a high-dollar camera) and he is so supportive of ALL the surrounding schools.  I can’t tell you how many amazing pictures he took of Taylor over the years.  Now that we have home soccer games, he is braving the elements to capture those moments as well!

A pic of Logan from Saturday's game.
A pic of Logan from Saturday’s game.
Another amazing Allen Rich photo!!
Another amazing Allen Rich photo!!

After the soccer game, I rushed home to pack.  Alli’s team was playing in a tournament at the Dallas Convention Center and I had made a last-minute decision to spend the night.  I scurried around the house like a mad person packing, rushed to catch the last half of Alli’s basketball game, and we were off to downtown Dallas!

As a refresher, Alli is setter on Madfrog 10s National volleyball team.  Even though the 10s age group is growing in USA Volleyball, our girls will end up playing in the 12s division in almost all of our tournaments, and it was no different this weekend.  However, our girls have been well-trained and our coaching is impeccable.  They rolled through pool play, with a 6-0 set count to clinch 1st place in our pool and end the day.  Sunday morning we were back, bright and early, at 7:15.  We easily won our first three matches of the day to secure our spot in the finals.

I knew that the team in the finals would be difficult to beat.  Our girls don’t take into account the age of the opponent.  Or their size.  Or how well they can serve.  Collectively, as a team, they never seem to get rattled.  Of course, there are times when our serving is off.  There are times when our serve receive is off.  There are times when the pistons aren’t all firing.  But they never look defeated.  The team they played was very good, but our girls kept playing their game.  They ended up losing the first game 25-22, but still battled in the second set.  The teams traded points (point runs, to be more accurate), until the opposing team was able to clinch a 25-23 victory.  The coach of the other team even came over to congratulate our girls on the way they played and added that he hoped to never face them again.  Even so, the girls were devastated!  And I giggled a little bit inside because they were sad about 2nd place….in a 12s tournament!!  There were several moments of tears.  While all of us parents are in awe of their accomplishment, they truly believed they could win and believed that they should have won (and they were right!).  I LOVE that attitude!

2nd place overall, 12s Division American Volleyball Challenge
2nd place overall, 12s Division
American Volleyball Challenge

Taylor’s team was also playing in this tournament, so I was able to watch her team play when Alli was off.  She is such a good coach and I am very proud of her!  She is the type of coach that finds something to say about every single play.  That kind of coaching is what develops great athletes.  I have no doubt that she will enjoy many successes in her volleyball coaching career!Coach Taylor

 

Now for the non-sport activities!

Taylor stayed in the hotel with us Saturday evening.  On our way to the hotel after our afternoon of volleyball, we stopped at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas (to eat from the food trucks – don’t judge!).  This is a beautiful space that was built on top of a freeway.  Klyde Warren park

 

The REAL reason I wanted to eat at the food trucks was because I saw the Trailercakes truck.  How I have managed to live this long without having one of their cupcakes still boggles my mind.  Sadly, they only had coconut left, and we all know I have sensory issues with food – shredded coconut included, so I had to pass.  We finally decided to place our order at Butcher’s Son.  (OK, YES, the name grossed me out, as I couldn’t shake the vision of all the meat chopping going on in there, but the girls’ votes over-rode me.)  I ordered chicken quesadilla.  Safe, right?  WRONG.  THIS is what was inside:sausage quesadillas

CHICKEN SAUSAGE!!!!  I thought the meat poking out the side looked funny.  Then I thought the meat tasted funny and had weird/wrong texture.  Then I looked at the meat.  In case you don’t know, I have minor issues with meats that have been ground up and shoved into some sort of casing.  Yes….me.  I know it’s difficult to fathom, but go ahead and fathom it.

When we made it back to hotel, I stretched and rolled my ITB out with my trusty, portable friend, The Stick. (And then I read my Kindle 🙂stick

By the time Alli and I started making our way home Sunday afternoon, it was 3:30.  We were both starved and exhausted.  But, I had promised her Buffalo Wild Wings, so BWW it was.  Normally, we wouldn’t order appetizers and our meal, but, hey, her team had just ended up in 2nd place and she worked hard!  So we did order appetizers and when she had finished eating this happened:BWW

She actually laid down in the booth while I finished eating.  Winning wears you out.  Literally.

I am still dragging this morning, but she woke up refreshed and ready to conquer the week.  Oh, and she expressed the need for a medal hanger – like mine that I hang my running medals on, except volleyball.  Apparently she is planning on earning many more medals!

Happy Monday!

 

Watch out World, Jen is back!

Wednesday was a BIG day in the World Of Jen.  But, before we get to that, soccer.

I know I have said before how proud I am of our soccer team, but I REALLY mean it!  Remember, our second-year program is in its infancy and we live in an area removed from the metro area which means we have ONE player who plays club soccer.  One, out of the 21 on our roster.  Logan has played since 4th grade, but I could never talk him into club (he was only interested in playing with his friends).

The #1 ranked team in our region came to town on Tuesday.  Honestly, my only hopes for the game was that we could contain them defensively (somewhat).  Our boys played AMAZINGLY!  We actually kept possession of the ball for a good chunk of the game, AND we scored TWO goals on them!  One was a beautiful shot from 35 yards out.  Logan said that on the field it looked to be going out, then curved into the goal.  It really was a mouth-watering play.  Our next goal came off of a corner.  There was a disputed play in which our fans (and coach) felt a goal was made, but it wasn’t acknowledged by the official.  And then there was that missed Penalty Kick.  The score ended up being 2-6, but the level of play that our boys displayed still has me beaming with pride.header

Logan headed this ball in the right direction (can you feel me smiling?).  I was beyond proud of the way he played Tuesday evening.  He played all 80 minutes of the game and did a great job at defense!  I do think my camera may be sick, however, after using it in the freezing cold last week.  I’m going to see how it acts during the daylight and decide if I need to take it to the camera doctor or not.

I think we all know by now that I have a serious peanut butter addiction.  I bought a 40 oz jar and opened it on Monday.  It’s 1/4 gone already.  In 3 days I have managed to consume 10 oz of peanut butter.  (That’s not much, right?)  I bought this recently but didn’t crack it open until yesterday (mainly because it required stirring). PB crack

OH. MY. GOSH!  I have admitted my weakness for all things caramel.  This combination is just unfair.  The only thing that may save me from devouring the entire jar in one sitting is the sweetness of it.  It is VERY sweet.  (I may or may not have dipped into it twice yesterday.)

Now for the News of the Day!

Yesterday was a BIG day for me.  I had my appointment with my myofascia guy.  We always talk beforehand….he wants me to give him my personal assessment of where I am and let him know what has been going on.  Then, the real test is if I have managed to interpret my body’s signals correctly.  Well, folks, I PASSED!!!  Maybe I actually DO listen to my body?  He agreed that my ITB was much better.  He agreed that my glutes were not as tight.  My tissues released MUCH easier and more quickly than in the last visit.  I know I still have a battle ahead of me to get things working smoothly again, but there was something even MORE exciting that I didn’t even expect….

He always tests my glutes to see how they are firing, since the glutes tend to “go to sleep” in long distance runners.  And….mine are usually “asleep” when he checks! LOL!!!  (He has this resistance thing that he does to “wake them up” and wants me to do it at home but it requires a partner.  So far, Taylor is the only person in my family who has been able to do the partner part correctly…and she is usually away at college.)  Back to the glute test….  I have never seen him as excited as he was after the test.  He said that my glutes were stronger than he has EVER seen them!!  Do you know what that means?  All this strength work IS making a difference!!!

At the end of my visit, I asked him if he thought it was time for me to get back on the road.  He said YES!!  Of course, he emphasized to take it easy and I explained my “start-from-scratch” plan.  What does this all mean?  I plan to run on Saturday!!!!  I’m excited, but anxious.  And I solemnly swear to take it easy!

Happy Rainy/Snow Mix Thursday!

Jen