After a Setback

29 Jul

Life sometimes takes a different path than what you imagine; with careers, with relationships, with running. I just have happened to be going through them all at the same time for the past year. But it is the getting back up after we fall that we learn the toughest lessons. Here are some of the lessons I am learning.

1. I’m not going to get back to my “Old Self” and that’s okay. Sometimes I just wanted things to go back to the way they were before or for me to be the way I used to be. But if I truly dig a little deeper with that thought, the question is “Do I really want to go back to my old self?” Because really, it was me living unconsciously that brought me upon this setback. Relationships don’t fail overnight. Injuries occur over time and overuse. Ignore. Deny. Bury. Numb. Ignoring the symptoms. Denying that it could happen to you. Burying your feelings or the pain. Growing numb to the discomfort or hurt. I was living unconsciously and I don’t want to do that anymore.

2. “When you know better you do better.” I learned this from Oprah. She used to quote Maya Angelou all the time and I just loved this quote. Truth is, I don’t think I want this “Old Self” back. I want ME and who I am right now, flawed, opinionated, a good friend, loving momma, feisty, box jump bruises, broken fibulas and all. These things offer me a chance to grow, to learn, to be a better me. A wiser self.

3. When shit hits the fan, don’t let yourself be splattered. It’s one thing to allow yourself to grieve but it does no one any good to wallow in it. Go turn off the fan or leave the room, for goodness sake. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It is not enough for me to sit back and wait for “time” to fix things or make things better. There are things I can do along the way to make sure I am setting myself up for success upon my comeback. Things like keeping my body healthy, nurturing it with good food, surrounding myself with friends and family, plenty of rest to tackle the next day, and physical therapy exercises (for those damn broken fibulas). It also allows for new interests to emerge or paying more attention to old interests (ahem, the bike).

4. I am in charge of my own happiness. It is easy to stay in a bitter place. But, why? It does no one any good and it definitely won’t do anything to make you feel better. So, I have had to move from bitter to better, fast. No one wants to be around bitter people. Yuck. I do still yell out the occasional “Stupid Runner!” when I see someone outside running on a beautiful Colorado day. At least I am only silently yelling it these days. That’s something, right?!

5. Give yourself a break. We are our worst critics. My running buddy, Nina and I were talking about this recently on a very slow but lovely 4 miles (I just got cleared to do 3-4 mile runs 2-3 times a week). I was complaining about my weight gain since being in a boot and she was complimenting me on how fit I continued to look. We are totally our own worst critics. But when you mix those negative thoughts with others’ criticisms, you have yourself a toxic toxic combo. I read somewhere that negative comments are 7 times stronger than positive comments. That’s crazy to think that we would have to hear 7 positive things about ourselves before letting go of that 1 negative comment. A silly (and rather embarrassing) thing that I have been doing in the past few months is that whenever I hear a negative comment from someone or even myself, I try to put a positive spin on it. Silly maybe, but it helps me.

So there you have it. I’m turning my setback into a comeback. Running wise, I missed Boston Marathon, Grassland 50K, Colfax Marathon, North Fork 50 Miler, Leadville 50, but there are other races. And although I haven’t run a 5K, 10K and such in years, this Fall it just might be the plan. My strength training continues to improve so that will only help. Career wise, I feel pretty lucky to get to do something that I love and feel passionate about. It is truly amazing that I can have a crummy day but I can meet with a client and help them or laugh it up in between my shouts during bootcamp classes and it can turn the whole day around. Relationship wise, well, I’m hanging in there and doing the best I can. Divorce is tough for everyone, but as long as we continue to parent and make decisions with Noah’s best interest in mind, then we are doing just fine. But in the meantime, I keep going.

I choose optimism

I choose optimism

 

 

Got 10 Minutes Workout

14 Apr

Seriously, this workout is only 10 minutes and it’s a good one. You can always add more rounds if you have more time.

Nina is my lovely model for today’s workout. She asked that I photoshop all of her lumps (insert my eye roll here – I mean, do you see any lumps on this lady??? – she is a silly woman).

5 Push Ups- I mean good ones to really engage your triceps. To get yourself in a good position. Lay down with your chest on the floor and place your hands by your chest and push up all the way up keeping your elbows close by your sides. Lower yourself back down touching your chest to the floor. Repeat.

Push Ups

Push Ups

30 Seconds Power Knee Twist (each knee)- Start in a lunge with left foot forward and holding your dumbbells at chest level, power your right knee up to  about waist level while twisting your torso (and dumbbells) to the right meeting your left elbow to your right knee then return to the lunge position. Do these as fast as your form will allow. In 30 seconds I can get anywhere between (25-30 reps). Repeat on the other leg.

IMG_2839 5 Push Ups 

60 seconds of Squats- Feet hip width apart with your toes pointing forward, lower all the way into your squat making sure the knees don’t go over the toes. Return to standing position. I can usually get at least 30 deep squats in in 60 seconds.

IMG_2846

IMG_2844

 5 Push Ups

30 Seconds of Plank Twisting Kick (each side)- start in a hand plank position. Take your right leg and bring your right knee towards your left elbow then try to kick that right leg out. *Now here is a modification, if you find it too difficult to extend that leg, place a dumbbell in your left hand- it gives you just enough of a lift to get that opposite leg extended. Return to start position. I usually just hover my right foot instead of letting it touch the ground. 30 seconds on the right side, then 30 seconds on the left side. I can usually get 15 plank twist kicks in in 30 seconds.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

5 Push Ups

30 Seconds of Thigh Toning Squats (each side)- with feet wide and toes pointed out, raise your right heel up so that you are on your toes. Lower down to  a squat position keeping that right heal elevated and making sure that your knees are following the direction of your toes (outward).

Starting position

Starting position

Feeling the burn in the inner thigh

Feeling the burn in the inner thigh

5 Push Ups

30 Seconds Butterfly Crunches- start lying on your back with soles of the feet together, knees bent  and your hands behind your head. Crunch up bring your elbows in and your knees in. Return to starting position. Repeat. I get about 20 crunches in 30 seconds.

Butterfly Crunch Starting position

Butterfly Crunch Starting position

Crunch it up. Squeeze.

Crunch it up. Squeeze.

5 Push Ups

10 Balancing Warrior (each leg)- Lift your right knee up and lower that right leg back into a lunge. Lift that right knee up again. Now, slowly lower your dumbbells straight down your balancing leg while dropping your chest down to become parallel with the ground at the same time extending that right leg straight back behind you. Go slow until you get the hang of it.

Step 1- Right Leg up

Step 1- Right Leg up

Step 2- Lunge

Step 2- Lunge

Step 3- Knee Lift

Step 3- Knee Lift

Step 2-

Step 4- Balancing Act

5 Push Ups

Give this workout a whirl and let me know what you think. I did this workout 4 days last week and it made me super sweaty. Love it!

For one workout, I incorporated the row machine after every set of push ups and did a 250m sprint. That was a killer!

*Injury Update* Still the same. No running. Hoping to get an x-ray this week. I miss running :-(

And Just Like That

9 Apr

Interesting thing happened 2 Saturdays ago. I got injured. Not taking a tumble on a trail, not teaching a fitness class, not trying some crazy Yoga transition or even chasing a crazy toddler, but from stepping off a curb during my long run. I didn’t even twist it or anything, just stepped hard. I remembered doing it and it was sore for the remainder of my run but it wasn’t anything that made me limp around. Stupid city running.

Some people are city runners and others are not.

I am not. I was doing my long run of 20 miles in downtown Phoenix while visiting a friend. Do you know how hard it is to get so many miles in that city without literally running every street??? Good grief. I did get a great tour of the city (the art district, the stadium, Spring Training madness, ASU campus, etc) and I did figure out where to go for sushi and drinks that night, though. I will always choose trail. Always. But it was a good change of pace… well, except for the hurt ankle.

seen on my run

running through Phoenix art district

I can’t run.

Like, at all. Not a mile, not down the street, not even down the driveway. It’s a high ankle sprain and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it except for rest and ice and ibuprofen. I thought it would be okay after a couple of days off. I don’t limp (except going downstairs – then I just look silly), it’s not really swollen, but no, after a couple of days I still wasn’t able to take Stella for a brisk walk. Ouch. About a week later a tried with success to do the Step Mill. So I have been hitting up that machine for 30-60 minute workouts and then yesterday, I took a spin class and was able to do that with minor discomfort, the row machine is fine, but the second I have any impact – there is instant pain and I can’t even hobble my way through it.

Coping

I have a lot going on right now so that helps redirect some of that energy. I launched my business at Catalyst Fitness and picked up some new clients and I’m teaching plenty of classes. I’m still hitting the gym and love the Step Mill, Spin classes, and the row machine. But it is definitely not the same as running. I’m still trying to keep my level of endurance up there and not doing my weekend long runs are going to kill me so I would like to figure out how to get my 3-4 hours of endurance training in Saturday morning. I think I’m going to have to buck up and do 1 hour Step Mill – 1 hour Spin class – 1 hour Step Mill. But that just sounds awful!!!! We’ll see.

Funny how things work out

I can’t imagine what I would be feeling if I was still planning to run Boston on April 21st. I would be freaking out and most likely not tolerable to be around! Spending all that money, making all those travel arrangements and not being able to run. Crazy. It is funny how things work out, ya know. I’m still planning on North Fork 50 Miler on June 28th but will not do Greenland 50K on May 3rd. Janice, the race director for North Fork hosts several training runs on the race course with the first one coming in 2 weeks so I want to heal up and try out my ankle then. I will also start water jogging this weekend too. Anything to keep me moving.

Oh to be running at Waterton Canyon again...

Oh to be running at Waterton Canyon again… It was stupid muddy that day as you can see.

I have some good workouts for you this Friday so stay tuned for those. Until then, any tips or advice on keeping up my endurance without the long run?

Active Warm Ups for Runners

24 Mar

I have had to lay off any form of exercise for a couple of weeks due to a crazy inner ear infection (equilibrium out of whack, ear pain, so much pressure). I will spare you the dramatics, but I did manage to head out for a 14 miler with my running buddy, Nina over the weekend (one mile for every day of no exercise) and that was a huge morale booster.

So this next week, it will be extra important for me to warm up my muscles before asking it to do some of the crazy things I ask it to do on the daily. I am not great about warming up before a run, but I do always warm up before a strength workout or a speed workout.

The goals of an active or dynamic warm up is to help prepare your body for the demands of your workout. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Increases your heart rate- gets your blood pumping
  • Puts your joints through full range of motion before stressing them- especially your hips
  • Promotes good posture- who doesn’t need this???

So here are some of the exercises I will be doing this week, in this order.

  1. Scissors (side to side and forward and back). Lying on your back, support your hips with your hands and raise your legs straight up to the sky. Extend legs out (like a Y) then draw them in crossing the right leg in front of the left leg; then left in front of right. (20-30 seconds). For the forward to back scissors, simply lower the right leg toward your head while the left leg points to the sky, then switch. (20-30 seconds)

    first photo: scissors second photo: scissors forward and back

    first photo: scissors side to side
    second photo: scissors forward and back

  2. Donkey Kicks. Get on all fours with your eyes forward, bring your right knee in to your tummy then extend that right leg back and up (15-20 times) repeat on other side.

    donkey kicks

    Donkey kicks

  3. High Knees. As you walk, bring your knee up to at least waist level. If you are prepping for a speed workout, do this but turn it into a skip while pumping your arms. (30 seconds)

    High Knees

    High Knees- I am walking forward with exaggerated high knees

  4. Forward Lunge with a Toy Soldier Kick. It does’t have to be a high kick. If I’m not at a track or I don’t have a lot of room, I will just do 5 in a row then turn back around and do another 5. (10 times)

    Lunge with a Kick

    Forward Lunge with Kick

  5. Around the World Leg Swing to Reverse Lunge. This one takes some balance and a little practice to feel comfortable doing it. Balancing on your left leg, raise your right leg and swing it front-side-back to finish in a lunge with your left leg in front and the right leg back. Ta-da! (10 times)Warm Ups for Runners
  6. Squat Jumps. With knees and toes pointed forward, squat down then jump up. You will land with soft knees back down in a squat. (10 times)
  7. Sprints or Strides. 

I am essentially picking up where I left off with my training so I will be doing everything I can to prevent injury. These warm ups will help. My goal is to do them before every run this week. Followed by my stretch routine.

Do you do a dynamic workout? What types of exercises do you do?

Bailing on Boston

21 Mar

So I have been putting off writing this post. For obvious reasons. This was a tough decision. One I may regret. But for right now, it is the best decision for me. I won’t be running Boston Marathon this year.

I made the decision a couple of weeks ago. It has nothing to do with my training and everything to do with the money and logistics and life. Life is anything but simple for me these days and I simply haven’t had the bandwidth to do the research it takes to figure out the logistics of my stay (I was staying with friends of friends 45 minutes outside of the city). Plus, financially it is irresponsible of me to take this trip when I simply don’t have the money. It’s an expensive trip. Wow.

Running The Boston Marathon has been a goal of mine since I began marathon running in 2003. I had thought that I would feel worse if I didn’t do Boston and would regret it, but since I made the decision, I feel okay about it. I actually felt relieved after I said it out loud to Nina. I made peace with it. There will be other races and I will qualify again. :)

I still have the North Fork 50 Miler the end of June. In the meantime, if there are some fabulous local races that fit into my schedule and budget, I would love to add those to the list as well (I’m thinking of the Greenland 50K, Colfax Marathon, maybe others).

Onward and upward, friends!

 

 

Stretching After The Run

3 Mar

I’m bad about stretching after running. That might seem strange to some of you considering the amount of Yoga I do, but my home practice of Yoga isn’t always about stretching. I’m usually working on balancing postures (Dancer’s Pose), strengthening poses (various arm balances) or core work,or all of the above.

I do, however always seem to gravitate toward a few poses and stretches post run that just feel good after pounding the pavement or skipping over rocks and tree stumps.  It is by no means a routine, just goofy looking poses that I do in a parking lot to embarrass my running buddies- actually they are usually doing them right next to me.

So this week, I have decided to put myself through a little Stretching Challenge, if you will. I will perform a stretching routine each day of at least 10 minutes. If it is on a day that I am running, I will do the stretching sequence post run. If it is a day I am not running, I will do it at some point throughout my day. Easy as that, right?!

Here are some great stretches for the hot spots that we runners tend to get. It is in the order that I do them, but feel free to change it up, add or omit any postures.

Frog Pose: This is usually the first pose I do after a run, especially a big run. It feels so good on my hips. I use my elbows to press my knees back too to get to my inner thighs. It also tends to help me gauge the creakiness of my knees an ankles. *Check out Stella looking for rabbits in the front yard.

Yoga

Frog Pose

Forward Fold: This is another one that feels so so good to my hamstrings and lower back. I really bend my knees a lot in this pose to stretch out my lower back. Just let your neck hang too.

Forward Fold

Forward Fold

Forward Fold with a Twist: From my forward fold, I walk my feet about hip width apart and place one palm on the ground (bend your knees as much as you need to) and then I reach the other hand up to the sky twisting at my torso. I also try to let my gaze follow my hand up. Repeat this on each side.

Forward Fold with a Twist

Forward Fold with a Twist

Pyramid Pose: From my bend with a twist, I stand back up to Mountain Pose and get myself into Pyramid Pose. Now, when I’m first getting into this posture, I have both hands on the ground on each side of my foot because I usually don’t have good enough balance quite yet. Once I feel stable in the posture, then I advance it to placing both hands at my shin or ankle. Alignment check- both of my toes are pointing forward and my back heel is on the ground. This really gets after that front leg’s hamstring – Yowsa!

Pyramid Pose

Pyramid Pose

Triangle Pose: This one I have a love/hate relationship with. This is the pose that tells me when I have pushed my hip too far (during the run or training) and will scream at me. I have a tendency to sink in my hips during this pose. I know this because during class, the instructor will always pull me up by my raised arm and help me to think about the oppositions at work in this pose. Alignment check- front toe is forward, back toe is now at a 45 degree angle. This pose can be modified by using a block or something to support your hand at the bottom.

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

Runner’s Lunge or Kneeling Crescent to King Pigeon Pose: I like to start in a kneeling crescent, to warm up my hips first and then will attempt to pick up that back foot (depending how tight my quads are). Repeat on each side. I like to push back into a downward facing dog position to help me transition into the next pose.

King Pigeon Pose

King Pigeon Pose

Pigeon or Sleeping Pigeon: From down dog, I will position myself into pigeon and work on opening up that hip. Once I feel I can go a little deeper into that stretch, I will go onto my forearms or all the way down for Sleeping Pigeon. Lots of modifications for this one.

Pigeon Pose and Stella demonstrating the down dog

Pigeon Pose and Stella demonstrating down dog

One Leg Seated Forward Bend: Keeping just a slight bend in the knee, go ahead and fold over onto your knees. Yep, that’s about as far as this girl can go. So sad.

Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend- this pose is painful for me. yuck.

Happy Baby: I don’t recommend doing this in the middle of the gym or a parking lot, although me, Mary and Alyssa may have at one time or another sprawled ourselves out in the middle the parking lot at Table Mesa doing our embarrassing poses (this one included). Happy Baby just feels so so good on my back after running, after stretching, watching tv, whenevs! Lay on your back, lift your feet up, bend your knees as much as you would like, grab those feet and pull down. Your back will thank you.

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

And there you have it folks, my post-run Yoga Stretching Sequence.

What stretches do you like to do? If you don’t usually stretch post run want to join me in this little challenge for the week??

 

 

 

 

Week 6 of Boston Training

24 Feb

Last week brought me some fun running with good buddies. That’s always good for a running morale boost (after last week’s meltdown)! The pancakes that follow don’t hurt either. I have sprinkled in some of my favorite pictures from Friday’s run throughout this post for you to enjoy too.

colorado runners

Melissa, Kathy, and Jill enjoying the stretch of flat road

I finished last week with 52 miles and felt great. Saturday, I ran my first 20 miler of the year with Nina on a not-even-close-to-being-flat course and I am not ashamed to admit that I walked a good bit of it. I walked most of the hills and the slick spots of the mountain where it hasn’t seen the sun and it is still snowy.

Can't wait to run this baby again. Old Magnolia sure is pretty!

Can’t wait to run this baby again. Magnolia Road sure is pretty!

Nina and I were reflecting on the fact that we didn’t have our usual night before a 20-miler angst. We felt good coming into the 20 miler and it was really just another long run. But man, we were happy when it was done! I did 6 miles the next day and thought it would be tough, but it really wasn’t. My legs actually felt good and not creaky – SCORE!

Boulder

Mailboxes along Magnolia Road

This week I am determined to hit every single one of my workouts!!!

Monday- 6 miles easy + Yoga Sculpt class. I haven’t been to this class in a bit and I miss it. Looking forward to getting to it today.

Tuesday- 7 miles Speed Workout (4×1600 @ 6:59 pace w 800 recovery jog). + a Circuit class at the gym. I get 2 hours of childcare at the gym and I will use every bit of that time this day. I’m also going to a Jog-n-Grog with my running gals Tuesday evening so I will probably tack on some additional easy paced miles. I will probably end this day with 12 miles.

Wednesday- Spin class + Yoga. On my schedule, I have 5 easy miles, but since I haven’t had a run break since last Thursday I will substitute the miles for a spin class.

Thursday-Tempo Work. 2mi@9:00+20 min @7:30+10 min @9:00 + 20 min @7:30+ 2mi@9:00 + Strength Workout. I wasn’t at the gym last week for strength training and I could feel the difference. My strength training made a big difference in my performance last year and my recovery. So important for me to remember this.

Friday- Yoga. Ahhhh, a day of rest. Well, kind of. It will also involve pool time and trampoline time with the little man. I’m hoping I can talk him into a snuggle time movie night that evening.

Saturday- 20 miles. This run will have to be broken into 2 10 mile runs. I will run 10 miles on the treadmill so Noah can play at the gym, then Nina offered to watch Noah so I can run my other 10 miles outside. Woo-Hoo!

Sunday- 4 miles easy + Strength Workout. Noah has been wanting to go with me on my runs lately so I will have a 4 mile stroller run at a super easy pace in my future (as long as there is no snow). Then, we will just hit up the gym for an hour for me to workout and then head off to the pool for Noah to swim and flirt with the ladies.

Terzah wrote a great post about her experience with Old Mags and some of the other Classic Boulder runs. If you’re in the Boulder area, it’s worth a look for a long run. I’m looking forward to going back for a long run sometime this spring- hopefully when the wind doesn’t cause my head to rattle like it did on Friday. But that was okay, we ended our run early and opted to go stuff our faces at Tangerine and it was delightful, plus we were celebrating Kathy’s birthday!

Kathy was one happy girl at Tangerine!

Kathy was one happy girl at Tangerine!

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