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!


Everything is connected

I haven’t run since last Saturday because my right ITB bothered me during my run.  I was waiting to see my myofascia guy before I made the decision of when to run again.  At my session last night, I was reminded how true it is that everything is connected.  He immediately found that my hips were off….AGAIN.  I don’t know WHEN I am going to learn that everything is connected to my hips, but recently my left foot has been striking the ground weird.  All the time….walking or running, it just felt….off.  To the point that I was beginning to think that I had become an over-pronator.  (OK I realize how ridiculous this thinking is and WHY don’t I immediately assume my hips are to blame?!)  When I got home after the visit, I noticed that my foot was striking the ground normally again.  Whew!

Back to the visit.  So I really went in because my right ITB was angry during Saturday’s run.  (It was also VERY angry with me the rest of the day on Saturday.)  I couldn’t help but laugh when he agreed that it was indeed very tight.  But the best news of the evening came when he went to work on my left side.  He felt that my ITB was in a better place than last week, and remember I ran on it Saturday!!  That left me very hopeful that I can and will make a glorious comeback!

I love my myofascia guy and seriously learn something new every visit!  Last night, I learned that your fibula (the bone on the outside of the shin) is supposed to move 1/4 inch in either direction.  And guess what??  Mine didn’t move well on either side.  So he fixed that, too.

Looks like my next opportunity to run will be Friday afternoon, so look forward to a full report!

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but last week my myofascia guy STRONGLY recommended that I find Ab Ripper from the P90X series and start doing it to strengthen my hip flexors.  So I mentioned it to some of my Twitter peeps and my friend, Earl, from New York IMMEDIATELY volunteered to lend me his copy.  I breifly wondered why he was so excited about sharing…..until the package came in the mail and it’s contents held more than just some DVDs.

I love NY (< Texas)!
I ❤ NY (< Texas)!

So Earl thought it would be funny for me to post a pic in this I ❤ NY outfit to our group.  But, I HAD to add some Texas flair!  What I’ve learned:  Texas folks have reason to be suspicious of New Yorkers and the general population has NO idea what the < and > signs mean, or how they are to be interpreted.

Seriously, though, I appreciate Earl letting me borrow his P90X DVDs!  I can tell that I will enjoy them and, hopefully will get a little stronger in the process!same kind of different

Last night I finished reading Same Kind of Different as Me, which is a book that has been on my “To Read” list for quite some time.  Originally, I had it on my list because I remember Allison telling me that I HAD to read it.  (In all honesty, I haven’t read much since her death, because she was the main person who kept my my list of books to read completely full.)  Anyway, I decided to get back into the habit and have been reading each night before bed.  So when I downloaded this book and opened it up, I noticed that the date it was published was 2006, 2 years after Allison passed away.  I SWEAR she is the one that told me to read it.  In fact, over the years, each time it has been mentioned I have responded with, “oh yes, Allison was insistent that I read that one.”  And I am quite convinced she told me that I needed to read it, although I’m just not exactly sure of the way she told me.

The book was AMAZING.  It is how the paths of a homeless black man and affluent white man cross, and the life-long friendship that developed as a result.  It was raw and honest and totally up my alley (and it had Allison written ALL over it!)

Happy Thursday, all!


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!


Dallas Marathon: Race Recap

I lost my marathon virginity this weekend, and that was a good thing!  (OK I nearly put that as the title to this entry, but thankfully, I thought better of it.)  I’ll also be losing my virginity where race recap blogging is concerned, as I haven’t run any races since I started blogging.  (This is a hint for you to crack open a Corona, so that the post doesn’t seem as bad.)

First, I have to say that the amount of support and well wishes I have received from my friends and the running community has been nothing short of AMAZING.  I wish I could list everyone, but the list is so vast that I would inadvertently leave someone off.  I never doubted my ability to run the race.  I knew that I had the grit, determination and, stubbornness, if you will, to finish.  What I did doubt was my body.  I almost asked more of my body during training that it was able to deliver.  I was REALLY worried about my ITB affecting my ability to finish, and now I know I had every reason to be concerned!  Having said that, the outpouring of love really did carry me through when I thought all was lost.  I may not have believed in my body, but my friends, runners and non-runners alike, did and I truly needed that support.  And, for this tough Texas gal who NEVER sheds a tear, I found myself with A LOT of tears in my eyes EVERY TIME I read a message of support.  It seems trite to say that I couldn’t have run this race without all of you, but it is so very true.  I can’t even put into words how uplifting it was and how full my heart felt when I stepped up to the start line on Sunday morning.

Last week, I barely slept a wink.  Dealing with all the pre-race anxiety (that had been building for well over a year) had caused me to lose my appetite, which just added to my madness!  After all I was supposed to be fueling my body for a race and ended up losing 2 pounds! On Friday, I was able to finally achieve some peace of mind and, in the words of the famous (yet irritating) song, I let it go.  Then I went to see my myofascia guy one last time before the race so that he could give me a treatment and kinesio tape me for race day.  He was so pleased and excited with what he found (or, more accurately, didn’t find) that I was in a purely zen state by the end of the appointment.  Before I left, he gave me a big bear hug and told me how much he believed in me and, again, my eyes filled with tears…a few even fell out of this time!  Friday night, I slept like a baby.  I was soooo exhausted and drained mentally from the week.  I didn’t wake up until after 6 on Saturday morning, which is LATE for this gal, but I felt so rested and refreshed!

Saturday morning, I piddled around the house.  I drank coffee and washed some clothes, but mostly just sat in the recliner. (ONLY because the dogs needed someone to keep them warm!)  We arrived in downtown around 4 pm and went to the expo to collect my race packet and walk around the expo.  While we were there, Taylor & Alli signed the banner.

Taylor & Alli signing the banner.
Taylor & Alli signing the banner.

On our way back to our hotel room after the expo, Taylor & Alli were sidetracked by the S’mores bar in the lobby.

This may have been Alli's favorite part of the weekend!
This may have been Alli’s favorite part of the weekend!

We decided to go eat early, which ended up being a good idea because getting back into our hotel was a madhouse.  It got even crazier as the night went on, as we were watching from our window.  No, I didn’t do any pre-race partying.  I was asleep by 9:30. 😉

Cupcakes from Uptown Dallas at "The Original Cupcakery". All I can say is, DELICIOUS!!
OF COURSE I HAD CUPCAKES!! Cupcakes from Uptown Dallas at “The Original Cupcakery”.
All I can say is, DELICIOUS!!

I actually slept VERY well Saturday night.  I guess I’m somewhat used to Bobby’s snoring, or I was just that tired, because Taylor said she spent two hours in the hall and Logan spent part of the night here:

I was so confused as to why anyone would throw towels in the bathtub, but later found out Logan tried to sleep in there!
When I found this early Sunday morning, I was so confused as to why anyone would throw towels in the bathtub! I later found out that Logan tried to sleep in there!

After I got ready, I tried to eat some breakfast. Every day of my life, I eat an English Muffin, toasted, with peanut butter and honey.  I almost forgot to bring it on Saturday and turned around to go back and get it!

Trust me, day-old toasted is NOT as good as freshly toasted!
Trust me, day-old toasted is NOT as good as freshly toasted!

Finally, it was time to head down to the corrals!  I really wasn’t nervous.  The time for being nervous was past.  I really was looking forward to the experience and crossing the finish line.  To be honest, I didn’t feel my best.  I had nagging soreness in my throat and stuffy sinuses from whatever has been in the air.

Despite the allergies, I felt great through the first 10k.  I felt good about the pace I was maintaining and, aside from the yucky allergy feeling, was doing well.  At around the 10k mark, I could feel my ITB getting tight and started trying to mentally prepare myself for the road that was ahead.  Surprisingly, I didn’t feel any pain until mile 13 or so.  By the way, the famed “Dolly Pardon Hills” were around mile 13.  Can I just say that I was terribly disappointed with them??  Plus, I think it was only one hill.  In any case, it wasn’t much of a hill at all (by my standards, anyway).  The best part about that area of the course was the guys that dressed up with balloon boobs to hand out water. 😉

Miles 13-16 were tough, but manageable.  From mile 16 on, the pain became more intense with each step.  I had to take short walk breaks to lessen the tension on my ITB and I tried stretching it as well.  Then, from mile 20 on, it was basically a battle of stubbornness, because every step was painful.  I was determined that I WOULD finish and was fully prepared to deal with all the consequences of torturing my body the way that I had.

The banner from the expo was hanging up at the end of the Santa Fe Trail (around mile 20, I think), and that gave me a mental boost because I remembered Alli’s message she wrote to me.  I never expected that little message to mean so much!

Alli's message to me :)
Alli’s message to me 🙂

Then, at mile 22, I heard someone say “MOM!!” and there they were – Bobby and the kids.  It was so good to see them!  I told them my ITB was giving me fits and they all assured me that I could finish, and on I limped. 😉  Around mile 24, there was a young lady with a dog on the side of the road.  When we were passing, she said, “Less than a 5k to go!” and I thought – she HAS to be a runner!  I later learned that it was my Twitter friend Aimee (@aimeelanter)!  She was so encouraging, but it would have been so much more encouraging to realize (then) it was someone who I knew!  Also, during those last, tough miles, I kept thinking of all my friends who were cheering me on.  I also thought about another Twitter friend, Brad (@IronmanBradK) and his struggle with Guillain Barre Syndrome and how he competes in marathons and IronMan competitions, fighting through the pain with each and every step.  He was actually pushing a wheelchair bound participant in Dallas.  What an inspiration!!  Focusing on all this helped me push through those last 6 miles.

FINALLY, I crossed the finish line!  Taylor snapped this pic as I passed them down the home stretch.

I didn't see or hear them yelling at me, apparently only feet from me! LOL  I had tunnel vision on that finish line!
I didn’t see or hear them yelling at me, apparently only feet from me! LOL I had tunnel vision on that finish line!

I nearly ugly cried when the medal was hung around my neck, but I managed to choke that back.  A couple of tears may have escaped my eyes, but I’ll never tell!  Then I was herded through the system to be given all the post-race goodies.  I collected my 2013 medal and then was given the “Unique Finisher Item” of which I’m sure Jane (@50statecanuck) would approve!

Last year's medal, this year's BEAUTIFUL medal and the finisher bag!
Last year’s medal, this year’s BEAUTIFUL medal and the finisher bag!

Sadly, post-marathon I was in no mental or physical state to think of how I could make this blog post better.  If I had my wits about me (no snarky comments, @RunningLonely), I would have taken a pic of the Kenyans with whom we rode the elevator on our way to check out of the hotel.  I wondered if it was them, but Taylor removed all doubt when she said, “Wait….are you the WINNERS?? I watched you on TV.  You are awesome!!!”  To which she added, “I feel like I’m in an elevator with celebrities!” They just grinned.  And there I was, the dork with my medal around my neck.  LOL

For now, I am committed to rehabbing my ITB properly before I begin training again.  Having said that, as I write this, I have the itch to run….I have unfinished business on the 26.2 course.  Until then, I have a half marathon goal I would like to achieve and that will best be done if I am healthy!  Anyone who knows me even a little will know how difficult this road is going to be (AGAIN!).  I have a tendency to rush rehab and over-train.  I will be depending on the running community to hold me accountable as I move forward in 2015!

And even though I’ve walked peg-legged almost the entire day because it was so painful to bend my knee, it has been the BEST MONDAY EVER!!!

Hope your Monday was as good as mine!!

When advice is confusing and so are your friends.

I attempted my last long run of marathon training on Monday.  I say attempted, because my ITB flared up and I cut the run short – 11 miles instead of the 20 I had planned.  My reaction to this setback was surprising to me on many levels.

  • I didn’t panic or immediately sink into a pit of despair – during or after the run.  This is a biggie.  I’m at a critical point in marathon training.  Not getting this last long run in means that, on race day, 5 weeks will have passed since my last long run.  That’s enough to cause any aspiring marathoner to shake in their Asics.  Believe me when I say that I am shaking in my Asics.
  • I decided to cut the run short.  This is also a biggie, considering I finished my long run the last time this happened and ended up running limping the last 8 miles.  I also ended up tweaking my calf, which is just now healed properly.  Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.
  • I used the setback to my advantage and tried out some strategies for race day, in case myITB rears its ugly head again.  I stopped and stretched myITB and tried walk breaks, both of which provided relief for a window of time.  It’s always good to have a Plan B.  I hope I don’t have to use Plan B.

    Plus, who could be upset when your run began with this beautiful view?
    WHO could be upset when your run began with this beautiful view?

I appreciate all the support and advice that I’ve received from my running friends, my chiropractor and my myofascia guy.  And even though the nuts and bolts of the advice may differ from person to person, there is a common thread shared by all – listen to your body.  This seems like a simple task.  I’m sure it is a simple task for normal people.  But for me, it is THE biggest challenge in training.  To explain this, I must offer a confession: I am an addict – a running addict(try finding a 12-step program for that).  As an addict, I am proficient in justifying my actions.  In fact, I can justify any ache or pain, convince myself I should still go for a run AND that I should push my pace or add hills to the route.  So, listening to my body causes great confusion and dialogue within me (not unlike Gollum/Smeagol in LOTR).  I’m trying to quiet that uber-competitive part of me that wants to push through regardless of the consequences.  I also get distracted by my goals.  For example, I feel very strongly that I need to work that long run in somehow.  And while I know this isn’t a good idea, I can’t shake it from my mind no matter how hard I try.  Even though I have given voice to letting that run go, I catch myself thinking of ways to “make up for it” in my upcoming lower mileage training runs.  But I have come a long way, Baby, so I’ll take whatever progress I can get.

My stubbornness has, however, served me well in the past and earned me quite a reputation.  A friend asked yesterday how training was going and when I gave her the Cliff Notes version, replied, “You’re going to run this race held together with spit and baling wire!” (spoken like a TRUE Texan….she is a transplant!) and then, “You’ll do it, if only from sheer will.”  That, my friends, made me smile, because I know she is right and I know that I can do this! 🙂

This also makes me smile.  A wonderful new addition to my back window: :)
This also makes me smile. A wonderful new addition to my back window: 🙂

I went for my weekly myofascia appointment yesterday.  When he asked me how things were going, Debbie Downer I replied, “I’m falling apart!  My ITB is so mad at me! I don’t even know if I will be able to race!”  I proceeded to tell him about the long run and why it didn’t happen and he replied (this is why I LOVE him!), “You aren’t falling apart, this is just a speed bump.” Basically my ITB was GLUED from my hip to my knee – it wouldn’t move at all when I first got there.  My guy works with his wife but her client didn’t show yesterday, so she came in to help with my session.  At one point, I felt like I was on “The Rack”.  She was pulling my arm in one direction and he was pulling my leg in the opposite direction.  They did lots of other things, but at the end of the session I felt like a new runner!  I’m really very thankful she was able to help out, because I wonder if he could have made that much progress alone within an hour.  When I asked him how to approach the remainder of my training – you guessed it – he said “Just listen to your body.” Clear. As. Mud.  (I wonder if anyone ever notices my eyes glaze over when they say this to me??)

This morning, I had plans to have coffee with a friend who moved to the Dallas area a couple of years ago.  We try to get together in the summer and holiday seasons to keep in touch.  We always meet at her house – she is the one who lives in civilization, after all, so I left my house to head her way around 8:30.  At 8:45, I got a text from her confirming what I already knew; that she was running about 15 minutes late.  But that sounded odd, since I was going to her house!  I contacted her and realized that we were each going to the other’s home!  I had not understood that she was in town visiting her parents for Thanksgiving.  Typical, for this relationship! I turned around and headed back home to meet her.  As always, the visit was WONDERFUL, but reminded me how much I miss our little Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  And in Cindy fashion, she brought her own coffee mug!

Happy Hump Day & Turkey Eve!


Patience eludes me once again and a little lesson in dyslexia

Patience has never been my virtue.  Running has helped temper my anxiousness, because it requires a certain kind of patience, but even running is a cause for my anxiety of late.

I actually prayed for patience once.  Maybe I should have been more specific.
I actually prayed for patience once. Maybe I should have been more specific.

At the beginning of 2014, I joined a group of Twitter friends in a goal to run 1,000 miles this year.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, and a very achievable one, since I ran 960 miles in 2013.  (Side note: STILL hanging on to the disappointment that 40 mile deficit, as I realized my shortcomings on December 30 – until that point, I had NO idea I was that close!) So I readily signed up for this challenge, excited about the accomplishment to follow.  Then, life happened.  I had determined that I needed to average around 84 miles/month to stay on track for this goal.  I was under the miles I needed in 4 of the first 5 months of the year.  May was a TERRIBLE month, with a measly 37 miles.  May was a TERRIBLE month altogether, because that was the month that I finally admitted I was injured and needed help which resulted in a trip to the doctor and 2 weeks of no running. <Insert insane runner here.>  When I began running again in June, I was restricted (ok, I can NOW admit this was a good thing, but at the time was furious about it) and so June’s numbers were low as well.  I resigned myself to the reality that I would fall short of this goal.  And even though I had a very good and understandable reason for missing it, this still nagged at me.  Fast forward through Fall marathon training and I have found myself in a place where this goal is within my reach!  But it isn’t a sure thing.  It all depends on how many miles I have actually logged by the end of the day on December 14 (which, if you haven’t heard, is my marathon day!!!), since I’m not sure how long I will take off after the race.   To date, I am at 884.5 miles for the year, and by my best calculations have around 100 miles to left in training to run, including my race.  So surely I can tack 15 miles on somewhere!  I keep telling myself not to think about this; to focus on training smart and running a smart race.  But let’s face it; I’m Jen and this is what I do: focus on insignificant things, lack patience and self-control and end up injured.

Believe it or not, I have tried hard not to talk about my marathon training 24/7 and even feel like I have done a pretty good job up to this point.  Now that the LAST long run is looming on the horizon, I am starting to get excited; REALLY excited and anxious and nervous and a lot of other emotions I am unable to label.  And so I find myself thinking about those 26.2 miles ALL THE TIME!  The suspense is killing me, literally, because I am so ready to run! As a result, I’m probably going to be posting about it a lot.  I can’t help myself!  Have I mentioned – only 24 more days?!?

One of the most meaningful things for me about running the Dallas Marathon is the charity that the race supports, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.  The sad thing is that the race route usually passes the hospital, but doesn’t this year because of road construction in the area. (Honestly, there isn’t one road in all of North Texas that isn’t under some sort of construction right now.) Scottish Rite is well-known for its specialty work in orthopedics and that no child is ever charged for services provided by the hospital.  Scottish Rite has a special place in my heart for another reason – their dyslexia program.  Many schools in Texas use the Scottish Rite program to remediate students diagnosed with dyslexia, including the school district in which I work.  Parents can even take their children to Scottish Rite for diagnosis and treatment, if needed.  And, just in case you aren’t familiar with dyslexia, here are some facts that you need to know: dyslexia affects roughly 10% of the population, dyslexic people have above average IQs, and having dyslexia doesn’t mean a person can not read – they just use a different part of their brain to read, which requires some additional training to achieve fluency.  Can you tell I am a little passionate about this subject?

My oldest, Taylor, was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in 3rd grade.  I had my suspicions up to that point, but she was so smart that she had been able to fool everyone and compensated by memorizing everything.  The reading transition in 3rd grade caused her some struggle, but luckily she had a teacher who was very aware of dyslexia and pushed to have her tested.  She was placed almost immediately in the dyslexia program.  Long story short, Taylor put in a lot of hard work throughout her elementary school years and the Scottish Rite program gave her the tools she needed to be successful.  She graduated 7th in her class and is now a math major maintaining close to 4.0 in college while tutoring in the math lab.  (Just a few more of the reasons that I am proud of her!)  I am so thankful for all of the research and continued commitment to dyslexia at Scottish Rite Hospital, and I am honored that the race I’m about to run will help them continue their work!

Finally, I went for my weekly pre-marathon session with my myofascia guy last evening.  When I told him that I thought I should just move in with him until the marathon was over, he laughed!  It’s important to note that he didn’t say, “No”, so I feel there is still a chance this could happen!  He spent half the time on my gimp calf.  You know, the one I messed up when I refused to stop on that 22-miler. (Oops, I may not have shared that part!)  It was hard for me to admit that I needed some help with my calves.  I’ve NEVER had calf issues and I have taken great pride in it.  In addition, he said 99% of the people he sees have issues on the outside of the calf, while my issue was on the inside.  Just proof that nothing is ever normal with me, as if any of you needed proof in the first place.

I’ll leave you with the obligatory selfie, and the only reason I’m sharing is because I LOVE this shirt!  You can get your own at Texas Humor 🙂

I actually had to explain this shirt to my husband this morning!
I actually had to explain this shirt to my husband this morning!

Happy Hump Day!

ITB probs and my quest to save the marathon

In my last post, I leaked some info that I’ve been guarding pretty closely over the past few days: I have ITB problems.

One reason I kept the end result of Saturday’s 22-miler close to my heart was because giving voice to it makes it real.  OK, I KNOW it’s real, but I’m still kind of in denial about it.  My marathon is less than 5 weeks away and I’ve been walking around with a big lump in my throat, having realized that I’m one run away from not running it at all.  And folks, that scares me!

I have a guy that I see regularly.  He specializes in myofascial release and is THE reason that I have been so healthy and successful in running these past few months.  The word has gotten out, though, and he stays booked!!  I generally book my appointments at least 2 weeks in advance and had previously noticed that he was booked solid for this entire week. After the ITB episode on Saturday, I was planning to call him and BEG for him to make an opening for me.  Sunday morning, as I was limping (literally) around the house, I decided to log on to his online calendar to see if there had been any cancellations.  I almost CRIED when I found that my usual appointment time was open!

So I drove down to see him last night.  He gave me a funny look and said something about how surprised he was to see that I was there, given I just saw him last week and already have the next 2 weeks covered.  I’m not Catholic, but I imagine that going to confession is much like describing to my guy the stupidity that was me, trying to finish my 22-mile run.  And with grace like a priest, he just smiled and said, “We all do that, don’t we?” I LOVE HIM!!!

He worked on my ITB for a solid hour.  At one point, I felt the fibers of my ITB tearing away from my quad.  Then, he KinesioTaped me (do NOT say KT Tape around him, as he will give you an earful on the history of THE Kinesio Tape) literally from my hip to below my knee.

When someone else tapes me, I feel like a 'real' runner.  It's like I have people.
When someone else tapes me, I feel like a ‘real’ runner. It’s like I have ‘people’.

I haven’t run since Saturday.  Part of me is dying because I feel I need to be running.  Smart Jen (I realize that is an oxymoron) is OK with the rest.  I’ll run an easy 5-6 tomorrow to see how things are shaking out.  Also, I feel the need to disclose that I understand that my ITB is still angry and mad and my trip to MFR isn’t going to immediately solve this problem.  But if these sessions can keep me in the marathon game until I run my race on December 14, then I will focus on proper recovery.

In other news, my lunch the past couple of days has made me happy.  I realize that I probably shouldn’t rely use food for emotional purposes, but it was so green and fully of yummy, healthy stuff!

My delicious salad with coconut lime quinoa.  I know you're surprised that it wasn't a cupcake.
My delicious salad with coconut lime quinoa. I know you’re surprised that it wasn’t a cupcake.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!


Ridiculously ignorant running crimes I have committed

The funny thing about English is that many words have several meanings.  Take the word “crazy”, for example.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists definitions for “crazy” as an adjective, a noun and an adverb.  It’s a very functional word.

Definition of crazy (paraphrased, only using the adjective definitions, because listing all the definitions would take up this entire post): Unsound; mad or insane; impractical or erratic; out of the ordinary, unusual; distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond or infatuated; passionately preoccupied or obsessed.

I’m reasonably certain I’ve been associated, through running, with all those definitions of crazy.  After I list the ridiculous things that I’ve done in the name of RUN, you will probably associate me with all of them as well.

  • Ignoring my body.  Let’s face it – I could (and should) list this as the reason for each and every running setback that I’ve experienced.  This one, in particular, dates back to my marathon training last year for the marathon that would never be run. (I promise, I’ll explain that soon!) About mid-way through training last Fall, I began to have a numbness in my foot.  At first it would just tingle and would last no longer than a mile during the run.  But it progressively got worse, to the point that my foot would be completely numb for 3-4 miles. I did what every runner in denial does, I tried to find answers on the internet and rehab myself. (Go ahead – ask me how that worked out)
  • Refusing to rest.  There.  I said it and it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected.  I would like to believe that my bad decision-making in this case was caused by injury-induced stupor, but most likely was caused by my stubbornness.  Giving the body proper rest and recovery time is important to a healthy runner, but even more so when injury is involved.  I *think* I have learned to take breaks in training when necessary.
  • Treating training runs like a race.  OK, I NEVER intend to run my training runs like a race, but, in half marathon distance especially, my PR is always in the back of my head.  So when my running app rattles off current time and distance, I really can’t help myself by trying to beat my time.  This is OK every once in a while, when one isn’t coming off injury or, training for a marathon, for example.
  • Speed work coming off an injury.  This crime is probably obvious to all the sane runners out there, but not to me.  My hamstrings were REALLY angry with me, and my brain didn’t get the hint until the 3rd or 4th interval session! Hamstrings didn’t like the shoes I got for speed work either.
  • Running through pain. I’m still learning my lesson on this one as I ran with my ITB screaming at me this past weekend to the point that I could barely bend my knee after.  This may be the biggest crime I’ve committed to date and I am hoping and praying that my myofascia release guy can undo the damage I did.  I am additionally ashamed to admit that I NEVER considered cutting the run short.  Once again, I’m the Queen of Stupid Sh*t.

There is hope for even the most stubborn among us, as evidenced by my progress.  Even though I routinely make bad decisions regarding my training, I am increasingly making better choices.  Thankfully, I have a community of running friends who try their best to hold me accountable during the times that my brain fails me!