Dreams of a 10K

In 2015 I set a goal to run a 10K.  Towards the end of January that year I tore something in the bottom of my foot (MRI was not clear what but guessing a tendon or ligament tear).  It took a full six months to heal.  Then, on Feb 26 (I only remember the date because it was my son’s birthday) I broke my ankle while coming down from my kids’ bunkbed.  It was supposed to be a quick and easy break to heal but I spent the rest of 2016 going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out why my ankle still hurt.  Five months of PT and no relief still.  A natural health practitioner believes it is nerve damage and I have to agree but out of the  3 doctors and one PA I saw, not one of them thinks that is possible.  I tend toward natural approaches though so I will go with my gut on this one.  That practitioner was able to teach me some foam rolling techniques to keep the nerve as happy as possible and some supplements to help strengthen it.  I still live in pain daily but I’ve learned just how far I can push it before the pain increases.

Every person I saw about my ankle said it was safe to start exercising again and I wouldn’t cause further damage so around March of 2016 I started running again.  It was way more walking at first but I did the C25K plan to get my strength back.  I spent all of 2016 just trying to figure out how to exercise and keep my ankle happy at the same time.  I love the C25K plan but started noticing after the longer runs that I was hurting a lot.  I went back to intervals and after lots of trial and error discovered the best interval of running and walking for my ankle.  It involves more walking than I would like but if it gives me the chance to run I will take it.

The entire time I was rehabbing my ankle and trying to figure out how to keep it happy, the dreams of a 10k never left my mind.  I’m not a distance runner at all so I have no desire of a larger race such as a marathon.  However, I would love to push myself a little further than my comfort zone and a 10k is a perfect distance for that.  A normal every day run is normally 2-3 miles.  Before my ankle injury I was doing 4 miles for my “long” run.  I’m just now back up to comfortably running 3 miles but once I figured out the correct run/walk interval for me I’ve been able to increase distance a little quicker.

I’m an extremely slow runner so I’m not doing this to win any races, just to push me a little past my comfort zone.  I really want to run this race in the spring as I’m in the mindset to start training now.  However, I haven’t found a 10k that fits my schedule. There are very few offered this spring.  The one that fits best says it is hilly and that doesn’t sound fun at all.  I haven’t decided if I will do that or will train for faster 5k and then go for the 10k in the fall.  I really want to hit that 10k distance in 2017 as this goal is now two years old.  I don’t want to let another year pass me by.

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Musings from the Gym

Sweat Smile Repeat

I love to people watch and the gym is a great place for that.  I workout a few days a week at our local YMCA.  I always said I would not work out in front of others but my husband suggested we try it several years ago.  I went along with it so I could encourage him to exercise.  I quickly learned that the 2 hours of free childcare each day was something to savor on the rough days so I became a fan of the gym.  The funny part of it all is that my husband now comes about twice a year and I’m there weekly.

One thing that immediately caught my attention those first few weeks was that all shapes, sizes, and abilities come here.  I’ve always pictured a gym as a place for athletes to come work out and that the rest of us just don’t fit in.  I’ve had plenty of intimidating experiences over the years from elite athletes but I’ve had way more encounters with regular people who are just here to be healthy.

Since I love people watching, here are just a few of the people that stick out in my mind from the past several years I’ve been here.

1. The Old Couple.  When I first started I hung out on the elliptical because it was against the back wall and I could blend in.  The track goes all the way around the upstairs which is where the equipment, classes, and weights are.  Towards the end of my workout, almost every day, an older couple would come and slowly walk the track.  They were always in their sweats and holding hands.  You could tell they were still in love after all those years and they were doing what they could to still be active.

2. The Beginners. There are so many people in this category that I’ve watched over the years.  They come in, just like me, intimated by the equipment.  They are overweight and do not feel comfortable in a gym but want to do something about their health.  Some I have watched go through grand transformations, some I have never seen again.  This could be to varying schedules or they decided it just wasn’t their thing.  I was silently cheering them on though because I was one of them once.

3. The Fashionistas. I’ve wondered if a few of these people actually come to workout or put on a show.  There are a few that come with full make up, hair done, and in the latest fashion in workout gear.  After their workout they still look just as great.  Um, this would not be me.  I wear clothes from the clearance section of Old Navy and Target and when I’m done I look like I’ve run a marathon even though I’ve come nowhere close to that feat.

4. The Retired. There are two groups that come almost every morning just for socialization.  They usually are split into a men’s table and a women’s table but sometimes the groups merge.  Most of them do senior yoga but I think they really come to visit. We have an open area with free coffee and many times I work from the tables and listen in on their conversations.  This week they were discussing their “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons.  It was hilarious.

5. The Just Don’t Care What Others Think of Me People. Next to the Old Couple, these are my favorites to watch because they beat to their own drum and are proud of it.  My current favorite guy in this category has been dance walking around the indoor track.  He is horribly out of shape and not a great dancer but is a blast to watch.  He only does a few laps before moving on to other forms of exercise.  The staff has caught on and now starts asking him what he is listening to each day while dancing. Silently I’m cheering him on because he is doing what works for him to get fit.

There are so many more people I could talk about but I will leave it at that.  Just know that when I’m at the gym and people watching, I’m silently cheering everyone on.  Anything done to get more fit and healthy is worth it and it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are or what you wear. I entered the gym years ago intimated and trying to hide but once I started running I gained the confidence to run the track and there is no hiding there.  I’m still not up to swimming laps with everyone but working on that confidence right now.

Have any great people watching stories from the gym to share?  Feel free to talk about it in the comments or on the Facebook page.

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This Supermom is Exhausted!

You have probably noticed it has been a bit quiet around here lately.  It is because this whole foot saga is wearing me out.  Wearing a cast, trying to heal two very different injuries, and keep up with three kids is more than I can handle at the moment.  I had no idea breaking my ankle would wipe me out so much.  It was a minor break compared to what it could have been, however, it was still a break.

I guess I should back up a minute.  I never got a chance to post after getting my MRI results.  I had several minor issues going on but we did find the root cause of my running injury – I ruptured a ligament in the middle of my foot.  My doctor said by this point in time he would normally be doing surgery but he has never seen anyone tear a ligament in that spot and it would be difficult to repair.  Instead we are trying a cast for three weeks.  The boot I was originally put in after I broke my ankle was causing the two injuries to fight and I was miserable.  Now I’m in a walking cast and have a week and a half to go.  The ankle is just about healed but the ligament is another issue.  Some days it feel fantastic and other days I’m miserable.  Hopefully there will be more progress before the next doctor’s appointment so that there is a clear direction on which way to go.  It has been seven weeks since I last ran and I have a feeling it will be many, many more before I run again.

Last week was spring break so that didn’t help anything either.  The boys were crazy and really needed to be out doing something but I couldn’t chase all three of them while hobbling around so we spent most of the week at home.  However, this week I’ve been trying to get back on track.  I have a small Amazon business that I run from home and I didn’t even touch it for two weeks so this week I’ve been getting back in the groove with that.  Today I finally made it to the blog tasks.  Slowly I’m getting back in the groove but by middle afternoon each day I’m toast.  I’ve been napping with my toddler this week so that I have the energy to make it through the evening routine.

On the bright side, I read last week that healing a bone uses a lot of calories!  It probably doesn’t make up for the amount lost from lack of exercise or the junk I consumed while trying to survive spring break but I’ll live in denial a bit longer and pretend I’m burning a ton of calories carrying around this heavy cast.

I get asked often how I do it all.  This post clearly shows that I don’t.  I’ve had to let things slide so I can concentrate on healing me.  With that said, as I’ve been sitting around I’ve had time to outline several blog posts in my head.  My goal is to get some of those out next week so be looking for new posts soon.  Subscribe to keep up to date or “like” the Facebook page for the latest and greatest posts.

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Running On Hold For Now

A few weeks ago I published a post on running.  I worked on it all week but did the final edits on a Friday afternoon.  I hit publish and then went to the local trail for a run.  That was the last run I have been on.  I was less than a mile into that run when it felt like there was a pebble in my shoe.  I had felt it on a previous run so when I felt it again red flags went up.  I decided to walk for awhile and it felt fine so I thought I would try running again.  On the third step I felt rays of pain shooting through my foot.  At that point I stopped running and slowly walked back to my car.

On Monday I went to the podiatrist (I had a previous foot issue not related to running so I knew who to go to).  He thought it was plantar fasciitis so he showed me some stretches, talked about possible arch supports and said I should be fine within a week or so but if not to come back in 2-3 weeks.  It didn’t get better though and by the end of the day each day my foot was killing me.  My gut was that this wasn’t plantar fasciitis as it didn’t follow the standard symptoms such as pain at first step of the day.

I went back a few weeks later and he decided to take x-rays.  That was on a Monday.  On Thursday of that week, my toddler climbed to the top of his brother’s bunk bed and couldn’t get down.  We have normal stairs on the bunk bed, not the standard ladder.  I was carrying him down and stepped wrong on the last step and broke my ankle.  Yep, same foot.  I’m now in a boot for at least four weeks as it heals.  He said it was the best kind of fracture you could have and it should heal just fine.

We joked for days about the boot because the podiatrist had told me on Monday that if x-rays didn’t give us an answer, we might try a boot just to give the foot a break and an MRI to look deeper into the issue.  I took that decision away from him by breaking my ankle.  Since I was back in his office so quickly, he decided to go ahead and order the MRI.  I had that done this week and go back to the doctor next week to find out the results.  Since my husband works in radiology, I actually have the results but I’m not a doctor so I’m waiting for his opinion.  I will say though that it clearly says no plantar fasciitis so my gut was right there.

When it was just the original injury, I really missed running.  I craved it every day and felt lost.  Now that I have a broken ankle, I don’t crave it near as bad.  However, I do crave some intense exercise.  Upper body weights and chair exercises just aren’t the same as sweating it out.  Also, I bought a heart rate monitor to go with my Polar Loop activity tracker and planned to use it for the first time Friday of the week I broke my ankle.  Now it is just sitting there staring at me.  Hopefully I can use it in a few weeks when I’m allowed to use the bike at the gym. The bike is boring to me but I’m a numbers person so I was hoping that getting the data from the heart rate monitor would make it a bit more interesting.

I have a lot of rehab in my future and running again is a long ways off but I’m ok with that.  I’m competitive and love a good challenge so my focus will be in doing what I need to do to get back on track.

Exercise was how I relieved stress.  Since I can’t do much of that right now, what do you do to relief stress?

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I Am A Runner

Run Low Quality

I am a runner.  There, I said it.

Am I fast? Nope.

Can I run long distances? Nope.

Do I still have to take walk breaks? Yep.

It took me awhile to own up to the fact that I was a runner.  After all, isn’t the gold standard to be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes or less, and nonstop?  My best 5K  race time is 40:25. It was cold, windy, and I walked more than I planned yet it was still the best I have ever run, race or practice.

I’ve always said I wasn’t a runner and it was a miserable sport to take up.  Then I worked my tail off for a year at the gym, ate well, and only lost 5 pounds.  I was stuck and frustrated.  On a whim I decided to take up Couch to 5K.  It took me 4 months to complete because life was too busy to get three runs in every week.  I completed the final run of that program on a Saturday and the next Friday I found out I was pregnant with my current youngest child.  That pregnancy had complications and I was not allowed to exercise at all.  However, by that time I had caught the running bug.  I couldn’t wait for my body to heal after the c-section so I could get out there and try again.

It has been a journey every since.  In order to improve, my body needs 3 runs a week.  Most weeks I’m lucky to get in 1-2.  Hard to get much better that way.  I finally gave up on my idea of a certain time or distance and decided to just enjoy the ride.  I started entering races last year for the social aspect and quickly became obsessed.  My goal is always just to finish strong but I do usually have a time goal in mind.  However, if I don’t reach it I’m cool with that.

I’ve discovered the running community is huge.  It is fun to discuss runs with my friends.  Usually I text one or two after each run to discuss it.  No other area of life have I found such a supportive community.

My runs have changed over the years.  Next month will mark three years since I started this journey (with almost a year off in there due to my youngest child).  I started it to lose weight but now I do it for my sanity.  When I’m running I easily get lost in my thoughts or my music.  By the end of the run I usually have a clear head and many times a detailed plan of how to tackle whatever issue needs to be tackled that day. I think my husband has realized how therapeutic it is too as he works to help me find 1-2 days a week to enjoy a run outside.  The rest of the time I run on a treadmill in my basement or on the track at the gym.  Those runs aren’t near as fun but still very cleansing.

What do you do for sanity? I truly believe every mom should have something they do to regain sanity.

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