Friday, December 28, 2012

Well That Wasn't What I Had In Mind

On Wednesday, I went out for a run with one of my running buddies.  While out and about, she and I chatted a bit about the gym, and I mentioned that I really needed to start using my membership more.  I'd been focusing so much time on running that I'd pretty much forgotten about the gym (except for that one swim after the marathon).  I really enjoy swimming and cycling, but with the business and the long runs I just didn't seem to have time for it.

Yesterday, I met up with her and another friend for another run.  We were headed out for a simple 4 mile run, and, while I was REALLY tired, I figured I'd be just fine.  Things were going pretty great until about 3.5 miles in.  All of a sudden, my foot started to hurt.  It was more of a bad ache, so I focused on my stride, adjusted my posture, and hoped it would feel better.  It did for a little bit, but on the last little stretch of run it really started to hurt.  I mean, it hurt so bad I was limping...significantly limping.  I figured I must not have stretched enough or loosened up enough and I'd be fine after a bit of rest and a hot shower.  I got in the car and went home.

By the time I got home ten minutes later I couldn't apply any pressure to my foot.  Walking sent pain shooting through my leg, and climbing the stairs was an adventure.  I got in the shower and hoped it would feel better, but it didn't.  I rested on the bed for a short while, and I hoped my foot would relax and feel better then.  It didn't.  When I stood up again my foot hurt so bad I teared up (not something I usually do).

I went in to work and I immediately researched "stress fracture."  Unfortunately, that's what all the signs point to.  Well, to be honest, I'm not sure it's a full blown stress fracture.  It may just be a stress reaction (the precursor to a fracture), but it still means my running will have to go on hold for a while.  It means I have to take things easy at work (not so easy for a girl who runs a doggy day care).  It means I have to rest for 4-6 weeks, maybe longer, and it means that I won't be able to enjoy long runs with Cody in the morning.  This last one is probably the most depressing for me. :(

I am trying to look on the bright side, though.  This is a great opportunity for me to return to the gym.  I can swim my little heart out, and that's great.  I should also be able to cycle fairly regularly, so I should be able to keep up my running dates as long as I stay on my bike.  As for the work thing, well I'm trying to reorganize my schedule so I can take a few more breaks, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Today I'm kind of down in the dumps and crabby, but I'm sure my first good swim / bike ride will make things better!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Worst Run Ever! (Almost)

Friday, I had a big day planned.  I had a full day of work, plus a Christmas party at Hans' work, plus I was doing a segment on the morning news about pet safety through the holidays.  This last thing meant that Cody would be with me, and it meant I needed him to get some exercise so he was tired, so it was the perfect day for a run.  I knew it would take at least 7 miles to really wear him out, but I was also scheduled to run 13 miles on Saturday.  Well, I just rearranged my days a bit, and decided to wake up really early and run 13 miles on Friday morning.  So, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning, got dressed, and headed out.  I was happy that Cody really was ready and excited to go for a run that early, and I was happy that Hans had decided to bike at least half the route with me before biking in to the kennel.

I had the route all planned out, and headed out for a run.  I was doing great (albeit a little slower because I was tired) until about mile 3.  All of a sudden, my stomach cramped a little.  Ouch!  I willed that sensation to go away and continued on.  At mile 3.5 that cramp came back.  I was a little surprised because my morning had been fairly normal, and I'd done all the necessary things I normally do before a run, but I figured I'd be fine.  If worse came to worse, I knew there was a port-o-potty in about another mile or so, so I could take care of things there.  By mile 4.5 I had to stop and walk.  There would be serious trouble if I ran any more.  Luckily, I knew that port-o-potty was just on the other side of the lake, so I could quickly walk there.  When I got to the other side of the lake, however, the port-o-potty was gone!!!  This was bad...really bad.

One of Hans' co-workers lives right in that area, and Hans offered to call him, but I declined.  It was barely even 5:00 am yet, and I was not going to wake up someone I only saw at Hans' work just to use his bathroom.  I mean, I know he's really nice, but that would have been beyond humiliating.  Hans mentioned he thought he saw another facility back at the entrance of the park, so he could bike around to see if it was open.  I walked in that general direction.

By mile 5, I passed a grove of bushes.  I seriously (very seriously) considered turning off my headlamp and jumping behind them for a short while.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Hans reported back about the bathroom...locked.  I told him to bike home and bring me the car.  This run was over, and I was in full-blown emergency mode.  I even considered walking back to those bushes.  When I turned around, however, I saw a beacon of hope...the boathouse for the lake.  Lights were on around it, but I had no idea if it was open.  It didn't look open, but I had to try.  Hans, apparently, decided to text his coworker.

I made it to the boathouse, and before I even tried the door I could see it was cracked open a little.  It was open!!!  There was a public restroom, with working toilets and everything, and it was open!!  HALLELUJAH!  A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!  I called Hans and told him I was fine, and he sounded relieved, although he did mention that his coworker was already awake, so that would have been an alternative.

I stayed in that restroom for a brief while, and then decided to continue with my run.  Things were not so great at first since tummy troubles tend to make for not so great running.  I took it slow, though, walked a couple of times, and decided to take a Shot Block for an added boost.  Finally, 13 miles later, I returned home; tired, but no worse for wear.

The rest of the day was busy.  The news segment went well, work kept me moving, and by the end I was EXHAUSTED!  I came home and crashed.  Oh, and you know that Christmas party at Hans' work I mentioned?  Well, I did see his coworker there.  Luckily, although I'm not sure why, I was not at all embarrassed about this ordeal.  I guess I know it's a fact of running that some time I might get stuck.  I know runners who have used the bushes (heck I saw some on the marathon), and I was just relieved it hadn't gotten that far.  So, Hans, his coworker, and I all had a good, long laugh over the ordeal.  I was the only one, though, who had also had a good long run! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let Us Unite

On Friday, something horrible happened.  Something that brought the country together in grief and in fear.  On Friday, a single man entered a school and killed twenty children and six adults, and then he killed himself.  The nation has been left stunned.  We live in fear that this may happen again.  In a nearby county, one school official overheard a conversation between two administrators about emergency preparedness, thought they were talking about a gunman in the school, jumped out a window, and ran to a neighbor's house to call police.  After police arrived, they realized what had happened, and made statements that it was a good training exercise.  This would all be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

One thing we've all heard plenty of in the past few days are ways to try to keep this from happening again.  There's been talk of gun control, mental illness, video games, movies, the media, religion, anything you can think of.  And to some degree, each person who talks about these issues, probably has a valid point.

The problem that I'm noticing is that, when we should unite, when we should hold each other and mourn our loss, and tell each other that we love each other, we are instead dividing.  People who are for gun control are railing against the NRA who are fighting back.  People are angry with the government for our lack of mental health care, and that, of course, starts a whole new debate on health care in general.  People are angry with the media who, in turn, are yelling about free speech.  People are angry over the lack of religion in schools, but people of a faith other than Christianity, are shouting to have their voices heard too.  What I'm seeing is a lot of division.

I want to remind people what we're facing right now.  Right now, we are dealing with grief.  It's alright to be angry.  It's alright to be angry with God or with Adam Lanza.  It's alright to feel sad or depressed or disappointed.  Let us try, however, to feel those emotions together.  Take time to think about how the families in Connecticut feel.  Do you really think that the parents and loved ones of those 27 lost souls are really concerned about gun control or the media right now? 

Yes, these are all discussions we need to have.  Yes, changes need to be made.  Let us, however, keep things civil.  Let us remember that we are ALL upset.  The person who supports gun control feels the exact same way as the head of the NRA.  The priest feels the same as the atheist.  Pointing fingers, yelling, cursing...none of these will do anything to bring those people back.  If we want to honor their memory, let us do it together.  Let us not divide.  Let us unite.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hazards of Running

This past week, Hans and I had been planning a run.  I was lamenting over the fact that I would not be able to participate in a Wednesday night group run to see Christmas lights, so Hans suggested we go out on our own.  We were getting off work early on Friday, so an evening run was possible.  Hans would ride his bike, and I would run the 12 miles I had originally planned for Saturday.  This was a great opportunity for bonding.

At 6:00pm, I was lucky Hans was going with me.  I was tired from the events of the day, and I really wanted to just stay at home.  Hans, however, was really looking forward to going out, so I put on my running clothes and we headed off.

Around mile 2, I started feeling sick.  I handed my fuel belt and my jacket to Hans, and I immediately felt better.  On a side note, I really like having someone bike next to me while I run.  Hans could carry my supplies, and I didn't have to worry about things like getting to hot or too cold.  Around mile 3, I finally started to hit my groove.  This is a normal time for me to really get into a run, and I was finally getting relaxed.  Hans and I chatted gaily and pointed out Christmas decorations we really liked and decorations we really hated.  At mile 4, we paused briefly for our own little SAG stop, and I was happy we were already one-third of the way done.  Time was passing nicely.

Then, shortly after our break, something happened.  Something that, until last night, I could proudly proclaim had never happened to me on a run.  I tripped.  I was running on the sidewalk (which are more like rough trails in the city) and misjudged a drop.  The next thing I knew I was landing on the ground.  Apparently I had been moving at a pretty good clip, because I couldn't seem to stop the fall at all.  First my knees, then my hands, and then, to my horror, I felt my face skid on the pavement.

I heard a grunt come out of me, and then came the slew of curses.  I was mad at myself for falling, I was worried that I had seriously hurt myself, and I was upset because I feared the run might have to end.  Luckily, Hans was right there to help me asses the situation.  We poured water over the cuts on my hands, and I stretched out a little.  I could keep going, so off we went.

Unfortunately, I never found that relaxing stride again.  The fall had jarred me, and I ached.  My knees, face, and hands hurt from where I'd fallen, and I really just wanted to relax in a hot bath.  I had to pause at a local store for a bathroom break, and I had an extremely difficult time running again after that.  I could feel my stride had changed.  My feet weren't landing the right way, and my back ached.

Finally, just past mile 11, so close to the finish, I had to stop.  Hans offered to bike the mile home and get the car, but I figured I could walk.  It was a very painful walk, and even just 2 blocks from the house I almost asked Hans to get the car so I wouldn't have to walk another step.  When we finally made it home, I sat in a chair, washed my wounds, and applied Neosporin.

Today, I ache.  Some of the ache is just that of a long run, but most of it is so much more.  My shoulders and back hurt.  My glutes hurt.  My feet hurt.  I probably should have gone for a swim, but I was too worried that the water on my scrapes would sting too much.  I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow, but today is one for rest and recovery.

So, now I've had my first big issue on a run.  I'm proud of myself for running 7 additional miles, even if I didn't make it to the full 12.  I'm proud of myself for walking the last mile instead of having Hans come back and pick me up.  Heck, I'm even a bit proud of the road rash on my face that gives me a little street cred.  All I can say is it's a good thing I love this running thing, or else last night would have ended it for me!

After my run, as I try to tend to my wounds.  Trust me, it feels worse than it looks.

Friday, December 14, 2012


What is healthy?  Thin doesn't necessarily mean healthy.  Active and fit doesn't either?  So what is healthy?

This is something I've been trying to figure out for a while.  For the most part, I've come to the conclusion that healthy means have good balance in your life.  This means running AND yoga.  Parties AND time at home.  Fruits and veggies AND a cupcake.  And for the most part, I'm doing OK with this.  I run a lot, but I do get some yoga in, and I'm trying to get some cross training in there too.  I work a lot, but I definitely take time to enjoy my rest, and I try to make time for friends wherever possible.  Where I'm struggling most is with food.

Does eating healthy mean eating zero processed foods?  Does it mean no / low carbs?  Does it mean no meat?  Does it mean less meat?  What about red meat?  Everybody seems to have a different answer to this question.  Many runners talk about carbo-loading, but plenty of nutritionists and dieticians say that runners / athletes overload.  Some people claim that zero processed foods is the way to go, but then doesn't that put more stress on you as far as eating with friends / eating out / budgeting?  And don't even get me started on the carb / meat debate!

A lot of this has been at the forefront of my mind since Dad's diagnoses with diabetes.  You see, it's not just about wanting to see my dad healthy and living a long life (which I do).  It's also about the fact that his diagnoses means that I'm at risk.  Little things like a spike in blood sugar could just mean that I ate something a little too sweet, or it could mean that my body is having serious trouble regulating foods.  Eating healthy now could mean that I might avoid a similar diagnoses in the future.  Eating healthy now might also save my future children.

So, where do I begin?  Well, I think everyone can agree that eating more fruits and veggies is a good thing.  Most people can agree that whole grains are better than processed.  What I'm trying to figure out is the balance.  How many carbs can I or SHOULD I eat before they're a problem?  How often should I eat a salad versus a sandwich?  Is it alright if I eat out once in a while?  What if I have a doughnut or Qdoba or some other horribly fatty / sugary item?  Am I OK?

A while back I started tracking food on an online database.  For whatever reason (namely I got tied up starting the business), I stopped tracking.  Now, I'm trying to get back to tracking again, and apparently I'm eating more than I used to.  So, I'm back to relearning how to eat.  How should I eat when I run 12 miles in a day?  How should I eat when I'm fairly sedentary?  How will that food effect my energy levels, and will I be hungry within an hour or within 5 hours? 

Now, here I am.  I'm training for my second marathon, but instead of focusing solely on distance and eating whatever I want, I'm also focusing on food and how to properly fuel.  I'm looking at healthier options for desserts.  I'm reading up on Paleo diets AND Mediterranean diets.  I'm cutting some things back, and I'm adding in others.

How about you?  Where do you find your healthiness balance?  Would you care to embark on this journey of self-discovery with me?

Here's to hoping things go well!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Last night, I ran into an old high school classmate.  We were in the supermarket after lunch, and there she was.  For some reason, I immediately turned into a bumbling fool.  OK, so it really wasn't that bad, but I did go from feeling great about myself to comparing myself to her and feeling like I couldn't compete.  Hans and I had come straight from work.  We were covered in muddy paw prints (and he had paint and glue), and we were tired.  We walked like zombies, he in his jeans and t-shirt, and me in my over-sized sweatshirt and favorite pants (my favorite because they're extremely comfortable and equally durable and warm).  She, on the other hand, was in a stylish shrug with well-fitted jeans and boots.  Her fiance's hair was well-styled and the cut was obviously done by a professional...not done at home like Hans'.  Essentially, I got to the store feeling tired, but fairly good about myself.  I left feeling frumpy and cheap.  Now, I must make note, the girl I saw did NOTHING to make me feel this way.  She was perfectly charming and nice.  I, however, compared everything.

So, I have to wonder, why do we feel the need to compare ourselves to others?  I'm horrible at this.  I'm constantly wondering things like: Am I thinner?  Am I faster?  Am I smarter?  Do I have enough nice things?  Of course, then I think about all the things I don't have to worry about yet others do (Will I be able to eat today?), and I immediately feel bad.  Even if I was thinner, faster, smarter, etc, I'm not nicer.  See?  I'm constantly comparing! 

I do this a lot too.  I'll do it when I see friends.  I'll do it when I see a stranger doing something I also do (running is a great example).  I do it a lot on Facebook.

Part of me feels that this is not a bad thing, and I may be right to some degree.  I'm never satisfied, and so I'm always working for more.  I wasn't satisfied with being a runner who could only run a 10k when so many other runners did more, so I did a marathon.  I wasn't satisfied with having a job that merely paid the bills when so many other people had better jobs, so I started a business.  I don't want to feel slumpy or pudgy, so I workout hard and try to eat healthy.  I'm not perfect at all, but I'm striving for better.

The other part of me, though, finds this to simply be exhausting.  It's overwhelming always feeling like you're not quite enough.  I stinks to feel like everyone might be better.  It sucks to be at a party and feel like the one person who doesn't really fit in.

Luckily, I'm learning.  I'm not nearly had judgmental towards myself as I used to be.  Heck, a lot of the time I feel pretty darn great.  I just have to wonder why I compare myself at all.  Why can't I just be happy with who I am?  Yes, I should always be working at bettering myself, but I should do it because I want to.  Not because I feel like I'm falling behind other people if I don't.  At some point I will fully understand that life is not a competition.  Some people will always be better at me at some things (Lord knows I will never be a skateboarder).  I will be better at some things than other people (I hope).  Some day I will see that those differences are what make us great.  They're what make us individuals.

Someday I will stop comparing myself to others and finding fault in myself.  Someday I will learn to accept myself for who I am and be very happy with that.  Until that day, I will keep working on making me happy.  I will run because it feels good to run.  I will work because I love what I do and it pays the bills.  I will do what makes me happy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Overdue Update

Hello all! 

Sorry for the long-overdue update.  Things have been a bit hectic around here, and I hadn't quite realized how fast time was flying by.  Some things have been great, and others not so much, so let me tell you about it.

1)  I'm running again.  OK, so I never really stopped, but I did have some trouble getting back into it after the marathon.  I had planned on doing a running streak (running every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's), but a HORRIBLE 1.5 mile run on Thanksgiving ended that fairly quickly.  I took about a week off, but then I had a fabulous run, and things have been great ever since.  In fact, on Saturday I ran 9 miles and set a new PR for overall pace.  Actually, it was a new PR overall, so that's great.

2) My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  This is a first for my family, and I'm not at all happy about it.  Dad, however, is taking great steps to improve his eating and keep him healthy.  So far, I think he has the right idea, but there are things I think we could improve upon.  I'm going to try to follow his plan fairly closely, because him having diabetes means that I'm at high risk for it.  The fact of the matter is I could stand to make some healthy changes anyway, so I'd better get crackin'!

3) My dad also recently got a new puppy.  I don't normally condone getting a puppy when there are so many rescues out there, but Hairy (the new pup) makes Dad so happy, so who am I to complain?  Plus, the little guy is so stinkin' cute!  Oh, and I got Cody as a pup from a breeder, so I'd be a bit of a hypocrite if I complained too much.

4) There have been major changes at the kennel.  I recently parted ways with both my groomer and my kennel manager.  One was over how we treat clientele (I want them to be happy) and the other was a bit of a self-realization.  This means there has been a lot of shuffling and a bit of scrambling, but I think it's all working out.

5) Cody and Lollie have been great.  Cody is still running with me, and Lollie is still happily sleeping until I return.

All in all, life is good.  Busy, but good!