Catching up before the spring forward!

Honestly, I have really good intentions of regularly posting here, but life just keeps getting in the way!  It takes quite a bit of time to write a blog post – the proofreading is the worst part for me.  If you read my blog much you know that I never actually proofread that well.  Why am I still horrified when I find a gazillion mistakes after the blog is actually posted?!?  (Welcome to the Life of Jen.)

Running

I’ve been doing a fairly decent job of posting running updates. (IF you count race recaps! LOL)  Running is going really, really well.  I can only give credit where credit is due, and that credit is due to my coach.  I find it such a relief that I no longer need to question my training plan (if you could call what I was doing prior to hiring my coach a *plan*).  Probably the best part is that I am not constantly wrestling with my ego.  It is NO secret that my ego got me into lots of trouble where running was concerned.  I am still my own worst enemy, though, as evidenced in yesterday’s bike trainer workout.  I had a pretty hard workout in which I needed to get my heart rate up past a certain threshold, but was unable to get it as high as needed.  I would get very shaky and just wasn’t able to hold the intensity.  Then it hit me – I had not eaten a pre-workout snack.  I thought that my during-workout drink would be enough and I was WRONG.  I was so disappointed in myself.   I SUCK at nutrition in regards to my workouts.  I’m not going to dwell on it, though.  I’m going to do my best to fix it going forward.  Yes, I’ll probably do it again.  I’m not there yet but am getting better….I think.

I have another half marathon next weekend – Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas.  I’m hoping to drop my time just a bit from Cowtown, but this is also a difficult course and I’ll be relying on me, myself and I to push through this time (no Brent to drag me along)….anything could happen.  Right now, the weather looks favorable, but this is Texas and the forecast will change at least 14 times between now and next Sunday.  After RnR Dallas, I’ll have just a few weeks until Ragnar Relay in Austin – I am SO EXCITED!!

After that, and I have been keeping this under my hat (I am SO afraid of failure), my main goal is making a 3:45 marathon.  I have no idea how close (or far away) I am right now.  I know I am loads faster than I was at Dallas, but how much so??  It’s a mystery.  I wish I could add a marathon in this Spring to get a good gauge, but Alli’s volleyball schedule makes it virtually impossible to train for a full.  I have had trouble keeping up with half marathon training! LOL.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to achieve this goal, but they always say if it isn’t just a little bit out of reach, you aren’t dreaming enough.  So I’m dreaming big and I try to remind myself during every workout that any slacking won’t get me to my goal.  I hope this will be the catalyst that helps me move past the tendency I have to let off the gas a bit when I start feeling fatigue.

So what’s been going on outside of running?

Life has been keeping me very busy!  Alli’s volleyball team is really taking shape.  They play SO WELL together, which is a direct result of the great coaching staff on the team.  This is an 11s team playing in 12 Open (the most difficult division) and our region of USA Volleyball (NTR – North Texas Region) is known for its very competitive level of volleyball.  These girls are consistently finishing 3rd or 5th in every tournament.  Of course, they would love to finish 1st or 2nd and earn a medal, but the teams that knock us out are very talented teams that will likely go on to Nationals and finish very high.  Our team is preparing to travel to the Windy City Qualifier on Easter weekend in hopes of earning a bid to Nationals.  Whether we do or don’t, the higher level of competition will prepare us for our own road to Nationals.img_7675

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LOVE how they always put their arms around each other during time outs!
LOVE how they always put their arms around each other during time outs!

 

Logan’s soccer team has one more game before play-offs, and they are also hitting their stride.  Our new coach has been good for this team.  I’ll be honest….when I attended the first scrimmage I was a bit worried about the season….but each game they play better and better!  I am extremely proud of Logan.  He was moved from midfield to defense this season and he has been playing some great soccer.  He seems much more at home in defense and I believe he has positively impacted the team more there than he could have in midfield.JOHN5260

JOHN5885

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Spring Break is almost over 😦

I have enjoyed Spring Break SO MUCH, even though it has rained EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I haven’t even gotten that much stuff done, but Alli and I made time to go shopping, I was able to take my mom to her doctor’s appointment, and even seen Race and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  I LOVED Race!!!  I highly recommend it to anyone, whether they like running or not!  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was good in a different way, but after having just seen Race, it pales in comparison.

And now, I need to get in my strength work and get out for a short run before the rains come once again!

Happy Friday!!

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

Winning is fun!

On Monday evening, Logan’s soccer team made history.  Well, history was being made one way or the other, but the boys came together and made history in a positive way!  The first “official” game EVER was held on our soccer field (first historic moment of the evening) and then, something magical happened…..WE WON!!!!  The win was historic because: it was the first in program history, the first win of the season and the first win on our field!!  Now, there may not be another win this season, but we have already improved our record from last  year (ALL losses and one tie)!

My ONE action shot that actually turned out.  This was taken before my camera died of frostbite.
My ONE action shot that actually turned out. This was taken before my camera died of frostbite.
Team photo after the big win!
Team photo after the big win!

I was proud of the integrity shown by our coach and our players in the 6-0 victory.  We played a first-year program and had the opportunity to run up the score.  But, we were the recipients of that type of play last season (last season was our first) and it always angered our coach, because he felt it unsportsmanlike and disrespectful.  During the second half, he gave our reserve players most of the playing time.  When our starters were on the field, they were not playing their normal positions.  Logan, for example, usually plays right back on defense, but asked to play our midfield wing for second half.  He ALMOST scored a goal!!  When I asked him about it after the game, he said it was the worst decision he could have made.  He was tired after 5 min at mid and had 15 to go!  When the opportunity for the goal shot came around, he was so tired that he wasn’t able to get a good foot on it.  (And I was ROLLING, I laughed so hard!)  The REAL hilarity in all this is that Logan was ALWAYS midfield prior to high school (and yes, last year I thought Coach was CRAZY for making Logan a defender….maybe one of these days I will tell a funny story from my soccer coaching days).  Of course, the level of play is different, but it still cracks me up that midfield now tires him out!  (And let’s not forget he is my 6 min. mile Cross Country runner!)

Score

Game-time temps were brutal and only got worse (brutal by this Texas gal’s standards, anyway).  I don’t even know what the temps were except they were in the low 30s.  I don’t know what the wind speed was, but it was TOO much!!  Even with my handwarmers in my shoes, my poor toes were frozen.  It was so cold that the shutter on my camera wouldn’t even snap properly and the majority of the pics look like those extended exposure pics where figures are moving, but you can see the blur of where they had been.  And then the kicker – when I got up to leave my left thumb was hurting.  Like down in the joint by my wrist!  Tuesday morning it was still hurting so badly that I had to skip my stretching and foam rolling because putting weight on it hurt so badly!  I slapped some KT Tape on it, took Ibuprofen and it became manageable as the day went on.  Thankfully, I woke up this morning and it felt almost normal.

One-handed application.  Not bad.
One-handed application. Not bad.

In other news, I’m STILL addicted to peanut butter (and honey!).  I wasn’t THAT concerned during marathon training, although going through a 3 lb jar every 2 weeks should have been a clue.  I just figured that when marathon training was over, I wouldn’t have such an urge to eat peanut butter with every meal and every snack.  The peanut butter/honey combo goes with anything, everything, really.  I start my day with English muffin, topped with peanut butter and honey.  Banana with peanut butter and honey is divine!  The combo also goes with saltine crackers, Ritz crackers, pretzels…..I could go on and on and on!!!  Just call me the Bubba Gump of peanut butter.  (OK, NOW I need some peanut butter!)

I realized on Monday that I may need an intervention, when my (tiny) 2 lb. jar of peanut butter was half-gone in less than 5 days!  My concern isn’t so much my consumption of peanut butter, but my lack of exercise right now to offset it! I’m not TOO concerned, though, because I’ve only gained 4 lbs since my marathon and I really haven’t worked too hard to control my diet.  A little off-season weight gain is good, right?!?

My 2 lb jar of PB, half way gone in just 5 days!
Approaching emergency status if I don’t replenish SOON!

Happy Hump Day!  Texas is cruising to sunny and temps in the 60s by the weekend! (CAN NOT WAIT!!!)

Later,

Jen

Topsy-turvy Texas craziness

I live in North Texas, about 70 miles North of Dallas.  We had NINE earthquakes yesterday.  NINE!!!!  The epicenters of most of yesterday’s quakes were around Irving, which is between Dallas and Ft.Worth.  The two strongest were 3.5 and 3.6, respectively, with the rest were under 3.  No, I did not feel any of the quakes.  I was in the area, just at the wrong time (or right time, depending on which way you look at it).  I have several friends who did feel the quakes and the news is reporting several houses with damage.  We Texans tend to use humor to deal with things that push us out of our comfort zone…

OK...earthquakes ARE serious, but I snickered at this!
OK…earthquakes ARE serious, but I snickered at this!

By the way, I feel much more prepared in the event of a tornado.  I can spot a wall cloud easily, tell if it is rotating and know when to run for cover.  Earthquakes??  All I know is that you’re supposed to stand in a doorway, but am unsure of that because didn’t that change??

A couple years ago, we had a handful of earthquakes in my town.  I felt NONE of them, although I’m not sure they were strong enough to register at all.  I was even awake and on the couch because I was unable to sleep during one when I read about it on Facebook.  Another miss.  I’m not sensitive to spirits either.  Just call me insensitive.

Logan is playing in a soccer tournament Thursday-Saturday.  Naturally, snow and sleet is predicted along with the coldest temps of the season.  This time, I will be prepared!!  My latest purchase was waiting for me when I got home yesterday.  These new mittens, along with hand warmers (for my fingers and toes) and the SIX blankets I have stowed in my car should keep me from freezing to death.

There is even a pocket for the hand warmer to keep my fingers toasty!
There is even a pocket for the hand warmer to keep my fingers toasty!

Yes, these mittens feel HUGE….they ARE huge!!  It will take some getting used to because I rarely wear gloves (I am 99.9% sure I have NEVER owned a pair of mittens).  In fact, I couldn’t even tell you where to find a pair of  gloves in my house.  I don’t wear coats until it is too cold to venture out without them (read: below freezing and/or wind over 20 mph), so gloves aren’t even a thought in my mind. I never wear gloves when running because after a mile, my hands get sweaty and I feel like I need to strip completely.  It’s better for all involved for me to deal with cold fingers for 10 minutes.

Speaking of running……I think I mentioned that I am using a rehab plan in a book I recently purchased.  Monday was the first day I started truly following the plan.  Last week I decided to take the week off and let things calm down, so all I did were the suggested stretches (3x/day) and foam rolling.  Monday I added the strength exercies (3x/week) and bike trainer (every other day) for 15-30 minutes.  I decided not to go ALL out first time and rode 22 min on the trainer.  Yesterday I felt great!!  I had no stiffness or soreness in my knee after sitting for the first time since my marathon!  I will be doing the trainer and exercises again tonight and, for the first time, I am beginning to get REALLY excited about this rehab process and my eventual return to running!

BUT, I still have A LOT of things to work on, one being my arm swing.  One of the first things that caught my eye from the book discussed your arm crossing your body and how that was a symptom of your body being out of sync.  (I think we all know by now that I am out of sync, and not just physically.)  When I posted this pic from the Plano Balloon Half Marathon in September, I commented about that left arm crossing my body.  Other race pics have shown that I don’t cross my body with my right arm.  I think it’s terribly interesting, but scares the heck out of me because I want to be balanced!!

Yes, I wore the SAME out fit in this race AND Dallas Marathon.  #creatureofhabit
Yes, I wore the SAME out fit in this race AND Dallas Marathon. #creatureofhabit

I don’t often do Woman Crush Wednesday, but am doing it today!  I am so blessed with all of my children, but Taylor continually surprises me with her kindness and compassion.  And each time I wonder why she suprises me.  I mean, I raised her and know what a tender heart she has!  Surprised or not, I just love her “never take no for an answer” attitude.  IF it can be done, she will find the way!  And if you tell her it can’t be done – just get out of her way, because she WILL prove you wrong!

This past week, one of her college friends was involved in a wreck in which she was not at fault.  The person that caused the wreck drove away.  Her car was totaled, and since she did not have full coverage on the car, will not be financially able to replace it.  She had a job lined up for the spring to help out until she can get a teaching job next Fall, but without a car was going to be forced to quit.

In true Taylor fashion, she immediately started trying to figure out a way to help out her friend.  When she was discussing the situation with us, she asked if we could help her pay the tax on a car, because she was planning to buy it herself!  As it turns out, Bobby has been wanting to upgrade a van that he uses for work….perfect timing, right?  So Taylor cleaned up the van and delivered it to her friend Monday evening.

Taylor continually reminds me that it only takes one person to make the world a better place.
Taylor continually reminds me that it only takes one person to make the world a better place.

I wanted to leave you with a story that one of the volleyball mom’s shared with me this past weekend.  She was playing a game with her daughter, Blair (who just happens to be one of Alli’s favorite teammates!).  They were to answer the question, “Name a female athlete.”  The mom’s answer was Misty May Trainor, but Blair’s answer was ALLI’S MOM, because she is a RUNNER!   I knew there was a reason I love that kid!!

Blair is the one being held.  These girls were SO excited when they learned they were picked for 10 National!
Blair is the one being held….these 3 played together last year.  This pic is from tryouts after they found out they were all picked for the National team.

Happy Hump Day everyone!!

Using my kids’ sports to keep me sane!

It’s been 3 weeks since my marathon.  My ITB is not much better, but it isn’t any worse either.  We (my ITB and me) seem to be having a stand-off as to who is going to cave first.  I don’t really know if that is the way to describe it, since technically I’ve already “caved” and have been babying it in a way that I’m sure no one who knows me can believe, even now….three weeks in.  It became clear to me this past week that running after 4 weeks is NOT going to happen, so I decided to adjust to a 6-week recovery program.

Last week I purchased a book which has recovery plans for injuries.  However, the main reason I bought it is because it has a detailed stretching regime, strength and cross-training guidelines, nutrition and, of course, training program for runners.  I want to use this time off to form a solid framework for balanced training going forward, so I’m doing my research!  (Although I’m currently spending A LOT of time in the rehab section.)  I don’t have pain with my ITB (ONLY because I’m not running right now), but I am still so tight and knotty all over, especially my ITB and especially after I sit for periods of time.  The book suggests a 6-week no-run program for the level of pain I was experiencing post-marathon (lucky, for me, I had already decided on a 6-week recovery program).  However, in one section, the author suggests that a rule-of-thumb would be 2 days rest for every day that was run in pain.  For me, that equates to 10 weeks of no-running.

Added pic of new book so that the post isn't completely void of photos.
Added pic of new book so that the post isn’t completely void of photos.

I realize that the old Jen would have begun hyperventilating at the mere suggestion of a 10-week no-run period.  But this is really-hurt Jen and the Jen that wants nothing more than to completely heal this big ‘ole band of fascia so she can run healthy from here on out.  Another thing is…..I don’t even have a desire to run right now.  (I did have difficulty admitting that out loud.)  To me, that screams that my body just isn’t ready and it’s telling me so.  I don’t think mentally I am ready, either.  But, I WAS ready for this, and so excited when it finally arrived last week!

Now, if Alli would stop rearranging the medals, which simultaneously activates my OCD because she never puts them back in the right order!!!
Now, if Alli would stop rearranging the medals, which simultaneously activates my OCD because she never puts them back in the right order!!!

I made another purchase last week…..I bought a Garmin!  I have been wanting to play with heart rate training for quite some time.  My family even purchased a heart rate monitor to pair with my Nike watch for my birthday (last June!!!) but I could never get it to work properly, so I returned it.  Still couldn’t shake the urge to use a watch and ditch the phone app, so I gave my Nike watch to Taylor and got the Garmin (compliments of my friend who offered to use the employee discount at their place of employment.  No names or genders are being divulged to protect the identities of those involved! LOL)!  My plan is to use the data gathered to see what my heart rate ranges are in different types of runs, then gradually use it to plan my training.  I know that I have been running my long runs TOO FAST and my speed work has basically been running hills.  Not sure I want to change that, but I can always feel my heart rate spiking on them and always wonder if I’m too much in the red zone!  I’m looking forward to being able to set a heart zone or pace and have something else (other than the voice in my head – which I NEVER listen to) telling me to slow down!  Now all that needs to happen is my successful rehab and return to running!

Logan, my middle child and only son, plays soccer for his high school.  Last year was the first year of the program and we had NO home games because artificial turf was being installed on the field.  In addition, last year we were 3A classification in UIL, but the only soccer divisions were 4A and 5A.  This meant we were placed in a district with 4A teams (except for one other 3A team that was well established).  We did not win any games.  Not one.  However, watching the growth and development throughout the season was nothing short of inspirational.  The team that ended the season was not the team that started the season in any sense of the word.  We have a top-notch coach, but we also had amazing kids out there working their tails to the bone!!

So soccer started up again this past Friday.  I did not go to the out-of-town scrimmage held in pouring rain with temps in the 30s.   (I am a fair weather fan!  I only brave those conditions if I’m running!)  But I would not have missed the Saturday morning scrimmage for anything!  The game was held in OUR stadium!  This was the first time our boys were able to wear their home jerseys and the first soccer competition ever held on our field!  They lost the first match 0-1, but came back in the second game with a 3-0 win.  And even though it was a scrimmage and it didn’t count, it was a WIN!!!  Logan has been playing defense and midfield….this momma sure does love to watch her boy in the midfield!

Penalty kick.  Logan is on the right - white jersey #2.  I swell with pride when he pushes other players!
Penalty kick. Logan is on the right – white jersey #2. I swell with pride when he pushes other players!

Taylor and I were killing time in Academy while Alli practiced on Friday and I noticed that they had a jumbo pack of hand warmers.  I kept thinking there should be some way in which I could put them to use, but could never think of it.  Well, I thought of it Saturday while I was sitting out in the freezing weather watching the soccer game!  On the way to Alli’s tournament Saturday afternoon, I stopped again to buy not one, but two, packages of hand warmers for soccer! Then I got on Amazon and ordered some mittens with hand warmer pockets sewn in.  WHY did this not occur to me last season?  I sat in the stands and literally thought my toes were going to fall off.  Not this year!!!

Alli’s played in her club volleyball opening tournament this weekend.  She plays for Madfrog Volleyball on their 10 National team.  Generally speaking there are only a handful of 10s teams and not many more 11s teams in our region, although the age group is growing quickly.  This means, though, that in most tournaments we play against 12s, because the tournament directors almost always combine 11 & 12 divisions.  This weekend, though, we played in the 11s division.  The team went in as the 2nd seed in our pool and 4th seed overall.  Our team went 3-0 for the day, ending up 1st in our pool with a spot in the Gold bracket on Sunday morning!

Alli is the setter (#2), near the net on the right side.  I loved finding this picture because the technique is almost perfect!  We have worked so hard to get her to step forward with that right foot!
Alli is the setter (#2), near the net on the right side. I loved finding this picture because the technique is almost perfect! We have worked so hard to get her to step forward with that right foot!

Sunday morning we were back at the facility bright and early with hopes of making the championship match. We easily beat the first team we faced and secured our spot in the finals.  The girls struggled in the beginning and fell behind a few points.  Personally, I think they were intimidated by the girls on the other side of the net, because they knew this was the top 11s team from another club.  Our girls never gave up, though, and kept chipping away at the deficit in the score.  When the score was 21-24, Alli re-entered the match to serve.  I would be understating my emotion if I said I was a nervous wreck.  Alli’s serves were inconsistent on Saturday, and she had netted every serve on Sunday morning, up to that point.  She didn’t let the pressure get to her and served 5 points, giving us the 26-24 win.  I expected the other team to rally in the 2nd set, and they did.  We found ourselves in a 6-16 deficit.  I figured we were doomed to go to a deciding 3rd set, but our girls kept chipping away, one point at a time, until we got on a run toward the end.  I remember that we were 18-22 and kept serving away and winning points.  When the score was at 24-22, we lost serve, making the score 24-23.  The server for the other team served the ball into the net, and effectively handed us 1st place!  It was SO EXCITING!

Our girls, Champions of the 11s division!
Our girls, Champions of the 11s division and went 5-0 for the weekend!

I’m so glad that soccer and volleyball seasons have started, because now I have something to do other than think about all the running I’m NOT doing!

Happy Monday, all!