Thursday, January 31, 2013

Identifying Feelings

The picture above is now a part of our hallway.  It is from an activity today where I had my kids use their crayons to demonstrate certain feelings or emotions.  As I named an emotion they let their crayon move over the paper in whatever way they thought expressed that emotion.  When they got to ANGRY or mad they scribbled and scratched. And with HAPPY they started humming cheerfully, almost like a chirp, as they moved their crayons in the way they thought happy would move.  I especially loved this activity for helping my son continue to identify feelings and learn to communicate them instead of acting out in other ways.  Now we have it on the wall as a reminder to me and my kids to be more aware of emotions.  Tonight when my son was being sent to his time-out as a consequence, I had him stop in the hall to identify what emotion he was feeling.  This not only helped me feel in control so that I didn't resort to YELLING but it helped him identify with his feelings so that he could have more control and ownership over them as well as feeling validation from me acknowledging how he felt.  We will see how this works.  I hope it serves as another tool to helping us deal with the THREES and THIRTIES more effectively.

Just as I'm trying to help my kids communicate their feelings, I need to continue do the same with myself.  As adults, I think we sometimes repress our true feelings as we forge on ahead.  All in the name of "getting things done", "moving on","keeping a hard shell" or just being uncomfortably being honest with ourselves.  But these stuffed-in feelings can eventually cause our world to start crumbling bit by bit.  They show themselves in stress which leads to all sorts of things...sickness, injury, irritability, lack of sleep, etc.  For this reason, I am conscious of making reflection and self awareness a big part of my world. I try to address my feelings through writing, verbal communication, etc.  TRY is the key word.  I think I've actually gotten pretty good at identifying my feelings and figuring out what is going on with me so that I can move on in a healthy way.  The good feelings like happy and excited...these are easy to be open about and embrace.  It is emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, resentment, and depression that are sometimes the more tricky ones.

As this time for us to move to North Carolina gets closer and closer, the to-do list gets longer and longer.  With this comes stress and LOTS of emotions (for all of us).  Add to that a marathon coming up in March and the normal obligations that come with motherhood and you have a barrel full of emotions that I need to be acknowledging, processing, and communicating.  So far so good.  But I'm thinking I need to be making a chart like the one above that is JUST FOR ME!  It would have quite a few more emotions/feelings listed.  The emotions wouldn't be even close to all crummy ones either. So many good things going on.

In light of asking my kids to identify their feelings so that they can feel a better sense of control over their world, I think I'll do the same:

EXCITED:  I'm feeling very excited about this move across the country.  Something new.  An adventure.  Traveling.  I love these things.  I'm also excited about my upcoming marathon.  Things are looking good.

FRUSTRATED:  Lots of frustration has been in this heart of mine lately.  Raising kids is HARD.  And my three year old son is quite the bundle of energy.  He has challenged me on every level and all my mommy tricks that worked before have proven to be pretty worthless.  Ha!  I've had to find new "super power tricks" to put in my mommy bag.  Wooooo Weeee!  Someone please tell me that story again about boys being harder when they  are younger but then being easier as they grow up.  Please.  In the meantime, I'll be using my last post and calming myself with deep breathing or smelling flowers and blowing out candles.  

GRATEFUL: SO SO much to be thankful for.  Motherhood, running, healthy, a home, financial stability, friends, love, education....I could write many pages on this.

WORRIED:  This move is a BIG DEAL.  Yes, it is temporary but I find myself asking again and again "What are we THINKING?!" when I realize that we are leaving our house, friends, family, community...all in the name of LIVING LIFE to the fullest and taking advantage of opportunities.  Yes, I think this is a good thing and I know we will grow from it as well as discover new sides to life that we never knew.  However, I have lots of worries that come right now. Normal worries.  OK worries...Where will we live?  Where will the kids go to school?  How will I make friends?  But things will all unfold as they should.

SAD:  This is the house where I've had all my babies in (well brought them home to from the hospital).  It is our first house.  The kids have their best friends next door.  They know their favorite places in the backyard.  Their favorite hideouts and trees to climb.  It is a place that is ours and we are happy.  There are definitely waves of SAD that rush through me as it hits me that we will be making such big changes and saying a temporary good bye to people and places we love.  And a most likely forever goodbye to  this place we call home.

HAPPY:  Happy to have a family, so much love, friends that I cherish, the opportunity to travel and stay home with my kids, and so so much more.  Just really happy right now.

Right now...this present moment... I'm relaxed and feeling a great sense of satisfaction and calm.

I'm happy and optimistic.

Life feels really good for the most part.

I have a fun workout tomorrow that will be just enough hard to leave me with that tired and accomplished feeling and just enough change up to where I will be far from bored on the treadmill.

I will run my longest training run ever on Sunday.

My body feels strong.

I can hear the dishwasher running...which means a quiet house.

The kids are asleep.

All the crazy kid dust from the day has settled.

My epsom salt bath awaits me.

And I'm feeling better for having addressed my feelings.

Happy Almost Friday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smell the Flower; Blow Out the Candle. A Simple and Effective Way to Finding and Teaching CALM.

Waking up this morning with another full night of sleep felt heavenly.  All the things on my list of things to do seemed perfectly manageable.  The pre-moving things like researching schools in Asheville, NC, looking for a home, thinking about insurance carriers, and deciding on things I needed to go through to get rid of...these all seemed like reasonable feats.  Even in addition to marathon training, raising three kids and the normal every day things that come with life.  Everything seemed smooth sailing.

Barrel full of FEELINGS
Three Year Old
Woke UP!

It made for quite the morning.  Forget trying to get my daughters out the door with a smile and joke.  I was lucky to be breathing as I huffed out an "I love You" and smacked a kiss on their pretty little cheeks while the sound of tantruming 3 year old came rumbling down the hallway and out the front door.  More effective than any rooster would be in waking up the neighbors.

Now, after calming my son and having him relax next to me with his highlighter and journal while listening to some annoying kid song about feelings,  I'm trying to get my once calm and happy heart to come down to a normal level again instead of feeling like it is going to pop out of my chest.  Writing helps. So does deep breathing. And really, now that my son is calm, and I've had a chance to process and get a few things done around the house, I'm feeing much more CALM.

The things I do to calm myself have been learned over the years.  I know what works for me:

  • Breathing deeply
  • Self Talk..."Okay, Amanda, think before you speak.  You're the best teacher he has right now so model model model."
  • Writing
  • Being productive...just starting to get things done around the house.
  • Talking to others...Feeling HEARD.  
My first response in dealing with my son when he starts acting like a major jerk of a three old is to act like a major jerk of a 34 year old right back.  I want to yell.  I want to send him to his room with no explanation.  I want to have a big fat MOMMY TANTRUM.  And you know, many times I do just that.  More times than I want to admit.  But today I was able to step outside of myself a little and see things from my son's perspective. 

 I reminded myself:
  • He's Three.  
  • Even though throwing a fit about not being able to go to school on a Wednesday (only Tuesdays and Thursdays) seems irrational to me, it is a REAL issue to him. It is also real to him that his sisters were laughing at his ridiculous fit and this made him feel angry.  His feelings are real.  
  • I know how to calm down when I'm angry.  I've learned this over the years.  Kids need to learn this too.  And we can help them.  
  • When I talk about feelings and emotions with my kids and let them know that they are normal and okay to have even though their behavior/actions aren't sometimes, I'm taking steps in helping them to deal with their emotional mood swings without feeling shame.  
  • As hard as this is, it is my job.  
As I just mentioned, one of the ways I calm myself down is by breathing deeply.  

Deep breath in through my nose...
Release it fully from my mouth.  

I repeat this several times until I'm able to feel a calmness and gain some more control over my thoughts and actions.  

If this breathing works for me, surely it would work for my kids.  And it does.  But they needed to learn this.  How?  How can we teach our kids the technique of deep breathing to help them CALM themselves?  

One of the things I've done since my oldest was very little in learning to calm down with breathing is something I call 

Smell the Flower.... Blow Out the Candle.  

And it really works.  I hold my hand up to them and tell them it is a flower.  Then say "Smell the flower" as I model for them what a deep breath through the nose looks like.  Then they try.  Then I tell them that my hand or finger is a candle and I say "blow out the candle" and I model for them what it looks like to blow out through their mouth.  Then they try.  After that, I just repeat "Smell the flower...blow out the candle" until they have done this several times.  It almost always helps them to relax and calm down.  And in the process they are learning the strategy of Deep Breathing in helping them gain control over their emotions.  

On that note, my time here is up.  I'm sure I'll be smelling some flowers and blowing out some candles myself today.  Plenty.  It is just one of those days.  But I'm up for the challenge that motherhood brings.  It's my job and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  The next calming strategy I'll be teaching them someday will be to discover the CALM and FREEDOM of RUNNING.  

How do you find CALM when you are stressed and feeling out of control?  

What are some ways that you help your children learn to calm themselves and communicate their feeling effectively?  


Monday, January 28, 2013

Things I'm Loving Lately and an Update--Running, Motherhood, Life.

A few of my favorite things right now:  Brooks Ravenna 3s, Tiger Tail massage roller, Epsom Salt

It's been awhile since I've taken the time to write a blog post.  Most of my updates or writing has been on Runninghood's Facebook page.  I still haven't fallen in love with Twitter and I'm guessing that at this point, I probably never will.  My lack of writing on here hasn't been because I haven't had things to say or ideas flowing.  Life has just been busy...marathon training, preparing for a move, being a mother to three kids, trying to make their last memories before moving be full of AMAZING, and much more of that thing called life.  Love it.  Yesterday, I ran in the Vancouver Lake half marathon as a training run where I was working on confidence with my marathon pace (more on that later).  While there, I saw several people I knew or recognized or that knew me.  One fellow running blogger/mama said hello and asked me if I'd quit blogging and another came up to tell me that she loved reading my blog (put a smile on my heart).  These moments were a reminder to me that 

1. It has been too long.  
2.  People really do care.  It may seem like sometimes that this blog is just for me and that it doesn't matter.  And you know, for the most part, it is true that Runninghood is mostly just for me.  But it has also helped me connect with some pretty special people and opportunities in life. And you never know what kind of impact you make when you share yourself.  

So, brief update on where I'm at:

  • Still staying home with my kids and LOVING MOTHERHOOD!  Wouldn't trade it for anything.  
  • Training for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 3rd.  And the Boston Marathon will be for fun. Napa will be fun too but it is just the race I'm training for and then Boston will be off of the base I build for Napa. 
  • In about a month we will be moving from Portland, Oregon to Asheville, NC.  For Fun.  For an adventure.  Because life is short and we have a good opportunity to see another part of the country and show our kids things they wouldn't otherwise see.   No time like the present.  Even if it seems scary.  Good things are often on the other side of fear.  
My "Lucky Charms".  This necklace will be worn during my marathon.  It jingles when I run and when I hear it, I'm reminded of those that love and support me...the people in my life that matter most and want to see me succeed...the people worth holding close FOREVER.
Things I'm loving Right Now:

  • My Marathon Pace 13.1 Run yesterday. Marathon pace all the way until the last mile.  Felt strong, happy, easy, comfortable...all the things you want to feel for a workout like this on semi tire/sore legs after a 65ish mile week. I needed this:  7:32; 7:20; 7:32; 7:25; 7:30; 7:28; 7:26; 7:29; 7:30; 7:26; 7:22; 7:27; 7:05.  Official workout time: 1:36:59. I'm so glad I got myself up and out the door for a half marathon yesterday.  Not racing for me but a chance to get myself in a race environment, nail marathon pace and build marathon day confidence.  Feels good to see the pieces coming together and patience pay off.  I will take this confidence with me through the rest of training and continue to be INTENTIONAL about my life decisions...with training and everything else.  I love how training/Running carries over to LIVING. So many lessons about ourselves that we learn along the many things that help us live life with the same joy, dedication, perseverance, and sense of accomplishment and gratitude that we gain from our RUNS.
  • Brooks Ravennas.  So glad I changed shoes.  The Ravenna 3 (see top picture) really seem like a great fit for me.  I think they will be what I run my marathon in too.  Why not?  
  • Tiger Tail Roller (also in picture at top).  This Tiger Tail stick goes with me everywhere.  I'm not joking.  You'll often see the top orange handle sticking out of my purse on a normal day.  I LOVE it.  It was one of the things we got for running Hood to Coast with Nuun.  I would say every runner should own one.  So much better than those blue foam rollers.  
  • Epsom Salt. I've posted on Facebook about the GREAT benefits I'm finding from my nightly epsom salt baths.  I swear by them now and I'm certain they have been part of my hamstring healing and holding together for me.  Not only has it helped with sore muscles, stress, and my tweaked hamstring, but I'm convinced it has helped to give me the magnesium and sulfates that so many of us are lacking.  

  • Udo's Oil.  The website speaks for itself.  I believe in it.  And YES, I notice a difference in the way it makes me feel with stamina, recovery, and strength.  I encourage you to check out the research yourself.  It's expensive but worth it to me.  

  • KT Tape, otherwise known as Kinesiology Tape.  This stuff, like Udo's Oil, is well worth the money.  My hamstring will look like the picture above for the duration of my training.  I love this stuff.  I first started using it after my complete tear of my right hamstring in 2010.  Since then, I've worn it off and on as hamstring strains and niggles have come up.  Now I always have it taped if I'm going to be running.  I know lots of people who have had success using this tape...on knees, legs, shoulders, arms, etc.  Check it out yourself!  

  • Running Journal Time.  My running journal used to be my main training tool in the past.  A couple of weeks ago, I was kind of doubting myself as far as marathon pace went.  Then I realized that in addition to the physical work I've been doing, I needed to spend some time WITHIN and do some of the mental/self work.  So glad to have come home to my Running Journal!  My journals (I keep several) are a big part of who I and how I self, mother, wife, friend, professional, athlete and more.  Creating Vision Collages in my Running Journal is one way that I spend time visualizing and empowering myself as an athlete.  The one above is one I did last weekend to refocus and get my goals clear and my confidence up.  
  • Kid Jokes.  This school year has brought with it the tradition of giving my kids a joke every morning before heading to school.  They have come to cherish this as I also have.  Not only is it a positive start to their school day but it helps them gain a better understanding of language, humor, and other things that keep their brain working!  My five year old daughter never lets me forget.  I usually just google "kid jokes" but I found this site today that will be a favorite until we've used them all:  Childhood Beckons.

  • Motherhood Moments!  I'm savoring them all right now.  Here's one part of my life that makes me smile....My youngest kids helping with coffee grinding at Trader Joe's.  This is one of their favorite parts of grocery shopping.  The rest of the shopping experience isn't always peaceful though.  I try to remember this instead of the cart crashing, apple pile spilling, loud shouting, hair frazzling walk down the wine aisle with a crazy 3 year old boy, and the melt down moments at being told "No" to getting __________.  But coffee grinding is fun!  
Really, I could go on and on and on here with things I'm loving.  Life is truly good right now and there is lots to love.  I'm feeling inspired again and FULL of ideas and motivation.  I'm also a little stressed and FEARFUL of this upcoming move across the country.  But it is the kind of fear that I know holds with it some pretty amazing stuff if I can push past it and JUST DO IT!  This goes not only for moving but in putting some of my ideas to action instead of just writing about them.  Good things ahead.  I can smell them.  

What are YOU loving lately?  


Monday, January 14, 2013

Saying YES to Life. Saying YES to Detours.

An affirmative answer or decision.
Such a simple three letter word.  But such a powerful one.  Saying yes means we are embracing something.  We are accepting it.  We are in agreement.  Yes.  The word just comes sometimes without even thinking about it.  Like when I'm listening to a message or reading a section in a book that resonates with me on a deep level...Yes.  Or it came today when I was reading my friend Petra's blog (as it often does with her blog).  Yes, yes, yes...those words came to me as I read about her travels and resolutions.  I nodded in understanding when I read about her intentions for life.  Yes.  The word came and I didn't even realize that the title of her post was "Yes".  

Since the new year, I've definitely been in Yes Mode.  Saying YES to living.  Saying YES to life as it comes my way even when it scares me.  Even when I'm led to take a detour of sorts.  After all, it is the detours in life (literal and figurative) that take us in ways we never would have gone before.

How many of us have been driving along on our normal routes, eyes glazed over because we've done it so many times....not noticing much around us...just doing what we do day in an day out, only to be stopped in our tracks by the orange construction signs and roadblocks.  Detour.  At first we are frustrated.  Thoughts of being late or inconvenienced cross our mind.  But in the end we get to our destination.  And you know, so many times, during my detour, I've noticed things I'd never seen before if I'm relaxed enough to go with the flow and look around instead of grumble and have a scowl on my face.  I've been forced to drive through neighborhoods or down streets that are completely new to me.  Many times it proves to be just a drive but sometimes it opens my eyes to something else that ends up changing my perspective or gives me a new idea about something else.  Sometimes those detours end up giving me ideas for other things that I might not have thought of.  I might notice a small business that I hadn't known about before, or a section of neighborhood with beautiful homes, a path that I had no idea I could have been running much.  In the end, I'm usually glad for the detour in some way.  It woke me up.  Got me out of my daily grind and forced me to do something new even if it meant that I was only driving down a street I'd never been on before.

Detours and saying YES is all about where I'm at today.  Monday, January 14th.  I'm saying yes to life as it comes.  Finally, the things I've been telling myself over the last few years are sinking in when it comes to really owning up to the goals I set.  Going easier on myself, not taking myself too seriously, enjoying running just for running, taking chances and dreaming big, getting rid of guilt, training smart...these things (that Petra also mentions in her blog..another reason I LOVE)...I'm getting the hang of these things more than I ever have before.  And not running the past few days really hasn't been all that bad.

I've said from the beginning of this training cycle that my main goal was to run happy and enjoy the process.  Do I have goals?  Yes.  But is it the actual marathon race time that determines the success of this training?  No, absolutely not.  This training for me is about having something in my life to keep me driven and working towards being my best self.  It is about finding peace and clarity through running during a time where we are in the process of "Daring Greatly" with our adventure move to North Carolina for a bit.  So, from the get go, my goal has been to be SMART and listen to my body.  And I'm happy to say that I'm doing that.  Even when it means that being smart means taking that DETOUR.

Last week, my hamstring started shouting at me that it just wasn't ready to run.  So since then, my days have involved lots of rolling, stretching, icing, epsom salt baths, KTape, swimming, pool running, cycling, and positive thinking.  It has been such a freedom this time around to just accept this detour and enjoy the process that it leads to. To not take this training thing and myself too seriously. In the past, things would have been so different.  I would have seen this setback in such a different light.  Glad for the perspective shift and the peace that has come with the new year.

I'm glad for posts like Petra's that make me want to say YES to Life AS IT COMES...not necessarily as I WANT it to come. Even though a lot of it just as I want.  And I'm happy.

 I'm saying YES to the detours in life.  Because when we really stop to think about it, the detours ARE life.  The Detours are where some of the greatest living and lessons come from.  

This was a goal for myself written in my journal from many months ago.

What's something you are saying "YES" to in your life right now?  Or a detour you can say "YES" to instead of seeing as an inconvenience?  


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dear Left Hamstring...Let's Deal With This Thing

This blue belt and I have become good friends.   Do you think Brooks makes water belts with their name on it? Who needs Pure Flows?  I could start a new fashion trend..heck, I could just start road running with it.  

Here we are again.  Does this photo look familiar to some of you?  That blue belt (Sorry Stephanie, I forgot I still had it but good thing I did), the pool...perfect way to spend a Wednesday night after your husband gets home from work.  So much better than running on the road and getting your run done outside.  Right?  Um, no.  But it's better than nothing.

I've gone back and forth about even blogging right now but I finally decided on Yes, yes, I should.  Part of the benefits in reading running blogs is reading about other runners' real experiences.  The ups and downs.  Not just the fluffy stuff.  The stuff we can learn from, gain some inspiration from, or just learn what NOT to do.

So, marathon training.  So far, so good.  This is the smartest I've trained yet.  At least when it comes to trying really hard not to do too much too soon.  In fact, I haven't really had any HARD workouts yet.  My training has been mostly easy base training with some moderate to moderately harder work thrown in the last couple weeks.  Nothing super fast.  Nothing that seems daunting.  All manageable.  And I'm determined to keep up with this slow and steady approach.  If anything, for the sake of being able to just run...period.  As I said before, this training cycle for me is all about enjoying the process and being able to run healthy. And that's the reason for some pool running last night.  And possibly today and the next.  Or maybe some cycling.

Tuesday proved to be a really great workout on rolling hills (and some more extreme ones). Nothing fancy or mind blowing but just another step in gaining fitness and carrying on slow and steady.  I did 9 miles with 8x1200's @ approximately a bit under or at 7:00 min pace for most of them.  All felt good and strong.  I had a friend to run with. Felt moderate to moderately hard on the last couple but all felt strong.   My IT band bruising hurt but nothing that kept me from running.  But that's where I think the bruising might have thrown my "Listen to your Body" philosophy off a bit.  Or rather gave my "Listen to your Body" Ears some little body earmuffs.  Hard to really listen when there is some other part of your body screaming a little louder than normal.  Similar to parenting three children with one VERY LOUD 3 year old boy...he kind of causes me to not always hear or be as attentive to other things in my world.  Distracting.  

I'm wondering now if the IT band pain masked some other tweaks or minor pains in my leg.  Right now, I'd like to say I'm not injured.  Pretty sure I'm in that little land right between healthy and injured.  That thin little section of stretch that too many of us end up failing to slow down in and then end up on the other side.  I'm hoping I'm not only not on the other side in the "In#$ry" column but that I've already made a U-turn and am heading back to the healthy side.

So What's UP?

That pesky left hamstring of mine is what's up.  It doesn't seem to be working too well.  Running without injuring myself yesterday wasn't an option for me.  Stride just was off.  Hamstring not firing the way it should.  Maybe tired?  Definitely weak.  And I can feel a bit of pain if I probe around in there.  So, I'm guessing it is a tweak.  A weak link.  A minor strain maybe.  That's where I'm wondering how to go about it without making it worse and still holding on to my fitness/steady progress.  That's where some of you can possibly help me since we all know we don't always think clearly when we are faced with roadblocks like this on our focused journey of marathon training.  I want to be smart here.  I want to keep running as we all do.

Some steps I can take:
Massage...self and scheduled
Wet Heat followed by Icing
Positive Thinking and relaxation ...Ha!  This one is big for me
Exercise bike...this might be better for retaining fitness rather than pool running?

So, if you're reading, Hammy, this is for you:

Dear Left Hamstring,

As you know, we've been working together for some time.  You've proven to get me through many years of life feeling healthy and strong.  The past couple of years you seem to be slipping up on the job.  What's going on?  I hope that you can figure things out so that we can continue to work together in a happy, healthy manner.  Perhaps I need to take some more time with you. Or maybe some Hamstring Counseling to sort through some of these issues you've been having...I think they might call this special therapy massagestimultrasoundgraston therapy.  I apologize that I didn't get to your requests in time but I'm hoping we have cleared things up now and are on the road to a better tomorrow.  I value you.  But I don't enjoy this thing called pool running.  It totally throws off my winter luxury of not shaving my legs very often.  However, I seem to continue that trend despite the bathing suit.  Good thing there are many hairy dudes lingering around the hot tub area to take away any attention that might be drawn to my over grown legs.  After all, I'm sure you enjoy the extra warmth in the winter...right "Hammy".  I do hope it is still okay to call you Hammy.


1.  Any wise words of clarity for smartly dealing with this niggling, annoying, pesky, possibly tweaked, tired, mildly (hoping) strained, 34 year old Hamstring?  Even the mental aspect of this minor roadblock.  You know, the words you would have or would still tell yourself when you find yourself in that little strip of land between healthy and injured?  Before you went that one step too far?

2.  Do I partially blame my past two posts on "Injury prevention" for "Jinxing" me?  Ah, yes.  Note to self: Just keep quiet, hold your breath, and hope for the best. And if you do write about injury prevention, AT LEAST knock on wood for a couple hours perhaps.  Ha!


Monday, January 7, 2013

The Price We Pay...

The Price We Runners Pay To Run Injury Free:

Ice Baths ---The WORST torture possible when it comes to running (in my opinion)

Foam Rollers


Weird looking compression sleeves on various parts of our bodies

Drinking disgusting looking shakes and smoothies

Standing on our head gargling peanut butter

Lots of $$$ on running shoes every month or two

Funny looking colorful tape on various parts of our bodies (we are surely setting fashion trends)

Massages...the NON-Fluffy kind

Stretching with ropes and other odd objects

Sitting on Ice packs

Physical Therapy

and for some of us,

Graston Therapy (as I mentioned in my last post) that gives you oh so sexy black and blue stripes on your legs and other various body parts.  Thank Goodness it isn't bikini season, right?   And, hey people, it is JUST a leg with shorts here so don't go getting too "Oh my, did you see the sleazy picture Amanda posted?!" Ha!

Painful?  Yes.  Does it work?  I think so.  For me it does.  My bruises hurt but as far as my body as a whole, I feel much better AFTER the adjustment and Graston on various places...hip, IT band, and back. I've also had it on my pelvis, hamstring, and feet.

My 13 hilly miles on Sunday after my harder 7 and Graston on Saturday was much easier than I would have expected before my visit to the doc. I do plan on continuing this if needed.  But for long term solutions to the IT band and hip issues I need to get my form straightened out.  My feet turn out a bit when I run.  Or a lot. I'm really trying to be more conscious of keeping them landing facing forward and not out like a duck.  We'll see how that goes.  Old habits are hard to break but my Chi Running book is convincing me that it IS possible.  So bring on the second of four 20 milers this Sunday. Oh, and by then I'll have some new Brooks PureFlows2 to join me.  New shoes are a MUCH more enjoyable price to pay for a healthy running body.

I'd say all these fun little  runner things we do to keep ourselves RUNNING are worth it.  We might seem a little strange to the outside world of people who don't run, but hey, at least we have other runners who "get" us.  I do think Graston might be a little extreme even for a lot of us runners out there though. Whatever it takes. It's a price this runner is willing to pay.  

What's the weirdest (to the outside world) or most painful "price" you've paid in the name of running?  Honestly, I'll take Graston over an ice bath any day!  I'm done with the ice baths for...well...hopefully forever!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Preventative Care to Avoid Injury and Marathon Training Week ? (I have no idea what week I'm on)

I'm almost certain that I will wake up with heavy bruising all along my left leg and up into my hip area. In fact, I just might be noticeably bruised as I type.  Ah, Graston therapy...gotta love it!  Torture devices scraping away at scar tissue all in the name of increasing blood flow and helping with healing.  But it works so I keep going back for more.

Graston tools used to scrape my IT Band and Hip today.  OUCH!

I really need to remember to keep up with my body maintenance BEFORE I start noticing things falling apart.  You know, that little thing called preventative care?  Being proactive.  Yup, I suppose we could all be better at that.  But today's trip to the sports chiropractor was actually just in time.  The first part of my marathon training has all been easy running and building a base but the last two weeks of gradually adding some quality workouts has definitely had its wear and tear on my body even though it is still mostly easy paces.  As the mileage increases and the quality workouts are more plentiful, my body has started to say: 

"Hey lady!  You think you're going to get away without any work on core, strength, or proper replacement of shoes and still come out of this thing injury free?!  Ha! You better take your head out of la-la rainbows and butterflies land and start taking better care of me or I'll have to knock you down.  And we all know how much we don't like injury."

As painful as it was to get some Graston on my left IT band and hip, I'm glad I did.  Getting adjusted always helps too.  And it was all just in time for my workout today that I was looking forward to all week:

8 miles:  8:14; 7:18; 7:21; 7:29; 15 sec stretch on my left leg; 7:13; 7:24; 7:24; 8:37  

Overall, this workout was fun.  Moderate effort. And a confidence builder.  I had a bit of a hard time finding a 7:20 pace (body wanted to go faster or slower) but I found my zone for the most part.  No rain and a nice 40 degrees made for perfect running weather.

This week was a cut back from last week's mileage and no long run with this week.  The rest of the week looks like:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 7 miles Easy
Wednesday: 10 miles.  First 5 easy; 6:56; 7:10; 6:59; 2 easy
Thursday: left leg giving me some warnings so cut back. Was going to take day off but then did only 3.5 recovery pace.
Friday: 10 miles easy
Sat: 8 (listed above)
Sunday: 13 easy

I'm really loving keeping things simple and going with the flow here.  Happy to be in a good happy place with running and to be feeling strong.  Glad for a coach to give me workouts so I don't have to think too much.  And thankful for a gradual build up with my training.  I'm not super hungry for a specific time in this marathon and I have no desire to race any races as part of the marathon training. I'm sure there will be another season in life when I'm in that mindset but for now I'm just enjoying this process of having something to work on. Quietly content. And it is fun feeling stronger, getting faster, keeping the weight on, having that tired feeling at the end of the day...all while being excited every day to RUN!

Oh, and in a couple of days I'll have a new pair of these:

Brooks PureFlows 2

What are some important things you try to remember to include in training as preventative care so that you can stay injury free?  For me, I try to get more regular adjustments, keep my shoes updated, be conscious of my form, and try to remember at least SOME core and strength work even if it is a fairly lame attempt.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Thoughts and Making Resolutions or Goals That Stick

It's 2013.  I'm already loving this year and I couldn't be happier for a fresh start.  Funny how we are with new years.  As if we somehow get a reset on life when really it is just another day after the days before.  I think that's why there are many people out there that are so anti-resolutions.  But I say, hey, whatever works to give us a fresh perspective on our life.  Yes, we make goals throughout the year and we can always make changes in our world but there is something about the new year, the fresh calendar, the month of January that just says CLEAN SLATE! And what's the harm in setting resolutions anyway?  Even if we don't end up keeping all of them.  At least we are working towards something...trying to make positive changes and be proactive, right?  Goals...resolutions...same thing to me.

So, how can we make resolutions that stick?  Lasting ones?  Ones that we can have success with so that we don't find ourselves fizzling out 2 weeks down the road of 2013? 
  • Keep it simple. Don't set resolutions and goals that are so big you burn out the first week.
  • Start small. Baby steps.  Don't expect things to just happen overnight.  
  • Make your goals meaningful to you.  Your goals don't have to be popular or trendy or even accepted by anyone other than YOU. 
  • Celebrate success no matter how small it is.
  • Love ourselves along the way and expect to hit some walls...anything worth working towards is worth pushing past the sticky spots.  It won't all be smooth sailing ahead.  As with anything in life, there will be the moving ahead, the staying still, and the taking a few steps back.  
  • Enjoy the process.  By all means, have fun!  Let's not take ourselves so seriously...let's remember to enjoy the ride.  

Some brief thoughts for myself for 2013:
  • Love More
  • Judge less
  • Laugh often
  • Let things go so that I can fully enjoy the present moments
  • Be open to change
  • Live my life the way I would want my "life story" to be read
  • Get rid of is worthless
  • Face Fear head on 
  • Enjoy the process
  • Keep running fun and remember why I do stay healthy, connect with my best self, and stay goal driven in all areas of my life
  • Model love, forgiveness, acceptance for my kids
  • Be the kind of friend I want my friends to be to me

And some of my morning reflections over coffee:

In remembering to have the same love, grace and patience for ourselves as we do for the people that mean the most to us, we might need to take a step back and see things from another angle.  Chances are, if we are too hard on ourselves, it is likely that we are equally as hard on those we love most.  Let's take some pressure off in 2013...embrace a little more grace, love, and the imperfections that lead to learning.  

What are some simple goals, resolutions or things you want to focus on for the new year?  
What will you do this year to love yourself more fully?  
How will you go easier on YOU and still push yourself to be the best YOU you can be?  For me, this is easy...stop with the guilt over everything I'm not doing and CELEBRATE the things I am doing!

Happy 2013! 

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