Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Seven Year Old Has Faith in Me.

Tonight Eloise said what is maybe my favorite thing that she has ever said to me: "I believe in God, aliens, ghosts, and that you can run a marathon". 

She and I were using my google sky app on my phone to locate things in the night sky (from our warm and cozy bed on a very rainy and windy night) when she asked me if I believe in aliens, then God, the ghosts . . . then she busted out with that quote above. I hadn't even mentioned marathons to her in, oh, at least thirteen seconds a pretty long time! 

Anyways, speaking of the marathon, it's really up in the air at this point. I give it less than a 50% chance of happening. I have had two appointments with a new PT to work on all of my various issues, with my maybe-stress fractured foot being the most pressing. I absolutely adore my previous PT, but I decided I wanted a fresh look at my issues and am now going to a place that has lots of therapists on staff, so I will see several of them, some of whom have specialties that my old PT didn't. I hope it's a good move, as the new PT is very far from home, so it's seriously annoying to get there.

At my first appointment PT thought it was highly possible that I didn't actually have a stress fracture. By the time I went in to see her I didn't have specific pain in my second metatarsal any more. We thought, maybe it is a stress reaction? She urged me to try and do a run/walk on it and see how it felt, if I was so inclined. I ran/walked 5 miles last Sunday, then 4 miles on Tuesday and felt great. No issues. Then I ran 7 miles on Thursday and while my foot didn't hurt at all while running, it definitely hurt afterwards, and in fact my foot has been sore ever since. 

I haven't run since Thursday, now missing three long runs in a row. It stinks. My PT is contemplating her recommendation on whether or not I can still expect to be able to train for the Seattle Marathon. I just want a definitive answer if it's a no. By far the most stressful thing right now is just not knowing what is going on and not knowing day-to-day what I should be doing, if I can run, how far I should run, if I am hurting myself more, and if I shouldn't run, then what should I do? Honestly, the stress of figuring out the running is harder than the running itself. 

The stress part is wearing on me enough that I am seriously considering scrapping running for a while, just not even worrying about it maybe until after Christmas, or longer, and focusing on something else in the meantime. Running is so much fun for me, it's incredibly frustrating that it's turned in to something so different now. 

On a side note, I wanted to share the coolest thing ever that happened to me on my 7 mile run last week. I was running along Alki trail in West Seattle, which goes along the water, and I see a sea lion surface as it is swimming along, heading in the same direction I was. I ran along with it for almost a mile before it swam further off the shore. The entire rest of my run I just thought "THIS is why I run". It was so amazing. 

So, that's the update with that. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

(not) Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

This has been a decent, yet frustrating week. I just didn't know what I should be doing, what workouts would still help me on my way to a December marathon. I didn't want to go to the pool, so I skipped that all together. The least of the annoying cardio workouts for me is elliptical, so I embraced that sucker just a wee tiny bit and then walked a bit since it didn't hurt my foot.

Monday: Elliptical and Rower

I went back and forth, 20 mins elliptical, 5 mins rower, 20 mins elliptical, 5 mins rower.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Strength

Warm-up, then:
/*3 sets of 10 pistol squats using a plyo box to sit back on, then stand back up
\*3 sets of 10 lunges
*3 sets of 10 single-arm snatches with a 15#/20#/25# dumbbell
/*3 sets of 8 push-ups on a low bar
\*3 sets of 8 inverted rows on a bar
*3 sets of 6 (on each side) single-leg hip thrusters with 0#/25#/25# plate
/*3 sets of 8 straight-leg raises on the roman chair
\*3 sets of 5 unassisted tricep dips on the roman chair

It was right after this workout that I figured out my workout "style". It typically goes something like this: 

1. I show up at the gym. 
2. I do the same warm-up every time
3. I check in with myself to see what I feel like doing, in general, (pushing? pulling? weights? body weight? upper body? lower body?) and also match that to how busy the weight room is. If it's really busy I know I won't get a squat rack. If it's dead I might take the opportunity to rig up my pull-up band on the cage.
4. I often will walk in the weight room and make an on-the-spot decision about what exercises I'm going to do, deciding on the next set of exercises while I'm doing something. 
5. I work through different moves, using different weights/reps if I'm feeling more like being uber-strong or working more on endurance. So, if I feel like more endurance I'll do more reps at a lighter weight, if I feel more like pushing my strength I will do less reps of more weight. 
6. I like to mix up body weight stuff with lifting weights. 
7. I try to throw in some moves I HATE to do, like hanging knee raises, because hating them so much probably means I really need to do them. 
8. I work until I'm shaking, or out of time (usually the former), then I stop and stretch. 

Thursday: Walk with the dog

I walked about 2 1/2 miles with my dog. Foot felt great!

Friday: Walk with the dog

2 miles with the dog. Foot felt great again.

Saturday: Strength at the Gym

Sarah and I did this workout:

Warm-up, then:
*3 sets of 8 bench presses at 55#/60#/65#
/*3 sets of 8 pistol squats
 *3 sets of 8 assisted pull-ups
\*3 sets of 8 assisted tricep dips
*3 sets of 10 lunges with 25#/20#/20#
*2 sets of 10 "Pink's Plank"

Sunday: 5 Mile Run/Walk

On Wednesday my new PT suggested I try a 3:1 run/walk to see how my foot would feel. I had 10 miles on the schedule for this day, but figured that would be a touch too far not having run in the last week and a half. I did five miles and my foot felt totally fine the whole time. It was pretty humbling to have to run/walk, but hey, if it will help my foot, I will do it. Now I just wait to see if my foot ends up sore the rest of the day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 13 
Monday: Cardio/Strength at the Gym
I decided to get in a workout to take the place of Tuesday's run, so I did:
*10 mins elliptical
*5 mins rower
*10 mins elliptical
*10 each: walk-out to plank, then down on each elbow, back up to hands, then lift each knee to opposite side and walk back up to standing (just like "Pink's Plank" except with a walk-out on each plank)
*10 air squats
*3 sets of 15 25# thrusters
*3 sets of 8 lunges with a 25# plate overhead
One of my favorite things to do at the gym is to use the 10# or 25# iron plates to do different exercises, like I did in this workout with the thrusters and lunges. 

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Strength at the Gym
I worked out with my old trainer, who put together a great workout with some new-to-me moves!
/*5/7/9 pistols with a chair (so, using only one leg, sit down and get up from a chair)|
\*5/7/9 lunges
/*21/15/9 box jumps (on a low box, because box jumps terrify me)
\*21/15/9 back squats w/ 45#
*3 sets of 12 (6 on each leg) single leg hip thrusts w/ a 25# plate 
*hanging knee raise with a 10# medicine ball. For these I held a huge medicine ball (like the kind you do wall balls with) between my knees and, hanging, lifted my knees up and to the right 6 times, dropped the ball and lifted 4 more times, then put the ball back between my knees and did the same on the left side. I did 3 sets of these. 
So, I felt pretty good after the workout, and this was the day I came home and jumped on the trampoline a bunch and did my first ever flip. When I went to bed I felt fine. In the night I woke up and stretched out my arms and shooting pains went up both of my arms from my forearms. It hurt SO much. By the next morning I couldn't really grip ANYTHING without shooting pains. It was from those hanging knee raises! My arms weren't alarmingly painful when I was doing them, so I was very surprised I hurt so much afterwards. It took a couple of days for my forearms to feel back to normal! 
This is what I was doing, but with a giant 10# ball between my knees. 

Thursday: Run 6 Miles

I decided to run this morning to see if my foot would hurt. I didn't want it to be a stress fracture so I think I was just trying to "prove" that it wasn't, since I felt great while running. Of course, later this same day, the podiatrist confirmed what it was. So far the only symptoms are pain when pressing on a specific spot on my foot and general achiness after running or being on my feet a lot. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Strength at the Gym

Warm-up, then:
/*5/6/7 pistol squats (like the ones I did on Wednesday)
\*5/6/7 lunges
*100 8# wall balls
*3 sets of 8 torso twists on the cable machine at 27.5# each
*3 sets of 10 lat pull-downs on the cable machine at 15#/17.5#/20# each
*3 sets of 8  bench presses with 15# dumbbells
*2 sets of 8 triceps something-or-other on the bench (forgot the name, too lazy to figure it out)
*3 sets of 5 straight leg raises on weight bench

Sunday: Strength at the Gym

Warm-up, then:
/*3 sets of 12 sumo squats w/ 35# kettlebell
\*3 sets of 12 swings w/ 35# kettlebell 
*11 mins of HIIT on the rower
/*3 sets of 10 push-presses at 35#
\*3 sets of 10 bent-over rows at 35#
/*3 sets of 6 hanging knee raises 
\*3 sets of 10 cable squat rows at 100#
*30 stability ball roll-outs

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What Have You Done Today That Scared You?

Have you ever heard the saying "do something every day that scares you"? I kind of hate this phrase, as lots of things scare me, and I don't like the idea that if I'm staying away from scary stuff that I'm somehow wasting my time away. I pretty much spend almost all of my time staying away from anything that scares me, is what I am trying to say.

Every once in a while, however, I get a bee in my bonnet about wanting to conquer something, even though I am pretty much terrified of it. The end result is my goal, climbing through the fear is an unfortunate side effect.

On Wednesday I worked out with my favorite trainer in the whole wide world. As usual she wrote me a workout that was borderline impossible. Always skirting the line between what I can do, and what I *think* I can't do. The last exercise in my workout involved me holding a giant 10 lb medicine ball between my knees (the kind crossfitters do wall balls with), hang from a bar, then lift my knees up and to the side, over and over. It was really, really hard. Throughout the workout my trainer and I had been chatting about moves like lifting a 5 lb weight a bajillion times, or doing a tough, kinda crazy workout. She called this the kind of workout Superman would do. Would Superman lift a 5 lb weight for his strength training? Hell No! He probably worked out hanging from bars, too. 

When I got home the idea of doing Superman-worthy moves stuck with me. As I pondered the idea I decided that most of the moves would probably be borderline (or completely) impossible for me to do, as well as scare me a little. 

After the girls got home from school, they raced to the backyard for some trampolining. I watched the girls do some flips and decided on the spot that Superman probably would do flips. If I was going to train like Superman, I would need to do some flips, too. On Tuesday I had watched my 9 year old conquer her fear of the flip, it took her a few weeks, but she did it. How long would it take me to learn to do a flip? Best to get right to it, before the fear ate me alive. 

I gathered up my courage and climbed in to the trampoline and asked the girls to show me a progression, going from somersaults, to standing flips with my hands and head touching, to a real flip, which is bouncing, then tucking and flipping with no hands or head touching the mat and landing on your back or feet. 

It was very scary. It was definitely the scariest thing I have done in a very, very long time, but I worked through the steps. And then, I started bouncing, said a silent prayer, and launched myself over. I landed on my back and my girls started shrieking. I had done it! My first ever flip! I did it once more to make sure it wasn't a fluke. It wasn't. I then ran inside and bragged about it on Facebook (isn't that what Facebook is for?) and took a break until it was time to show my new trick to my husband, Matt. 

My entire life, I was not athletic. I was not strong. I was not fast. It wasn't until I hit my mid-30's that I realized I could still be athletic, and strong, and fast. I could start training like Superman, and I could do things that scared me (even though I didn't want to), and could turn in to a total badass. 

Now I need to conquer the handstand, which I am super terrified of. Hopefully doing a few flips has helped me become more comfortable being upside-down! 

Have you ever done a flip? What have you done recently that scared you? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Injury Number, oh, Whatever. Who's Counting?

Short story: today I went to see my podiatrist. I have another stress fracture in my second metatarsal on my left foot. Yep, same bone I had my previous fracture (just in a different spot). 

Long story: The pain in my foot didn't present exactly like my first stress fracture, so while I was worried, I tried not to be. After all, I run every day with some level of discomfort. My general rule of thumb is: if isn't actually hurting, then don't stress about it. Otherwise I would never run, period. There was a specific spot in my foot that hurt pretty significantly when pressed on, but I never felt it while running, unlike my first fracture. That one I learned about in the middle of a run when suddenly my foot really hurt. The other bad sign was that over the last couple of runs my foot would ache afterwards.

I am not sure why I wasn't told this last fall, but today my podiatrist told me that my second metatarsal is quite a bit longer than my first. I found this fascinating because my second toe is not longer, just the bone. On an x-ray it looks like this:

Image from

On a "normal" or "regular" foot, that second metatarsal bone would end much more in line with the first. In freaky weird  other feet, it's very off. Upon googling I learned this is what is actually referred to as a Morton's Toe. I thought a Morton's Toe was a longer second toe, but rather, it's a longer second metatarsal. That's a little factoid you can store away for trivia night. 

So, the podiatrist basically says, "well, this isn't even a biomechanical issue, it's a structural one. You can correct it with surgery but that's about it. You really need to stop running." And then I was all, "what?!" And then he was all, "well, my advice is to stop running, at least for 4-6 weeks, but if you want to keep running and see how it progresses, you can, but you risk causing structural damage." And then I was all, "but I'm already structurally damaged. So eff it."

I guess people with longer second metatarsals toe off from that weak, spindly bone, instead of the big beast of a first metatarsal, hence the recurring stress fractures. What I didn't find out from my doctor, and what I pose to you, internets, is this: I know that not all people with Morton's Toe have to stop running. How?

Also, as I did research it started to make me think that maybe this is why other things in my body are off kilter? If your feet are structurally unsound, and everything in your body is a chain from the bottom up, then it could very well be affecting other things. 

So . . . the million dollar question is, where am I now? I never registered for the Bellingham Bay half marathon (I'm no dummy) so that wasn't so hard to give up. I haven't yet given up hope for the full marathon in December, but I can deal with letting it go if I need to. Stopping training for an injury was always in the plan and the #1 reason I also haven't registered for that race, either. But I do still have a sliver of hope. I have put a lot of training in already and I just want to run this marathon and cross it off my list. I just want one. Well, ideally I would run marathons forever, but you know, universe, just give me ONE. 

If it is actually true that I will be battling injuries forever because my stupid body hates how much I love to run, then part of me thinks, you know what, keep trying for this marathon. It won't be any easier next time if I stop now, plus I would be starting from scratch then. But I don't know. 

Probably what I will do is take a little time off, try to pool run or something equally mind-numbing, and talk to a new PT I am meeting with next week, talk to my active muscle release technique therapist. Plus a little (okay, a lot) of talking with my soul. What is really the right thing to do? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Have a Seven Year Old!

Oh, I am a lame mother. I used to write these awesome birthday posts for my girls ("for" being relative, as my girls have never read them) and now I am slacking majorly.

This girl turned seven:

Eloise picked out this cake all by herself. 

So, Miss Eloise. She turned seven almost a month ago. It was a lovely birthday and party. As a family we went kayaking on Alki in the morning, something Eloise had been begging to do all summer long, and then had some yummy lunch at Marination Ma Kai. In the afternoon four of Eloise's best friends came over for a party and sleepover. We have the trampoline now, so the girls played in that and a few kiddie pools we had set up. Half of the girls fell asleep at a decent hour, the others, not so much, but overall it went well.

Eloise had a great last year. She loves school and is so excited that she is finally back. For second grade she has yet another great teacher and I am hopeful that her reading takes off this year! She wants to be signed up for every activity she possibly can and have a friend to play with every second of every day. Summer was a little hard for her, as I don't like to jam pack our schedule as much as Eloise would like me to!

Doing the happy dance for getting Uno Attack.

She continues to go between wanting to be as big and independent as possible and basically wanting to be treated like a baby. Just this morning I was joking with my friend that Eloise would still want to be pushed in a stroller if she was small enough! We often have to ask her to stop talking in her "baby voice", as well. A couple of weeks ago Eloise asked me to put the back on her booster seat again. She would probably love to be buckled in a five point harness, too!

Despite being one of the absolute youngest kids in her class she has as much as, if not more, maturity than a lot of her classmates. One thing I love about Eloise is that she rarely gets involved with drama at school, can work things out with her friends, and is typically a friend to everyone. Of course, she still has her very best best friend, but she doesn't play with her to the exclusion of other kids who might want to play. Eloise sees the good in everyone and does not hold grudges against anyone (including her sister, thank goodness).

Playing dress-up the morning after the sleep-over.

This fall she is playing soccer again and has already proved how fearless and rough she is in her first go at being goalie. She loves sports and doing pretty much anything active. The trampoline purchase was definitely a great purchase!

Looking forward to seeing what year seven, and second grade, holds for our girl!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

Total Miles Run: 15

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 Miles Run

This run was in the pitch black early in the morning. I don't run a lot with my friend very early in the morning, but the last time we did it was light out when I met her! Not anymore. I definitely need some reflective gear if I'm going to keep this running schedule up!

Wednesday: Strength 

Warm-up, then:
/*3 sets of 10 35# kettlebell swings
\*3 sets of 10 35# kettlebell sumo squats
*3 sets of 8 pistol squats
*3 sets of 8 dumbbell snatches w/ 15#/20#25# 
/*3 sets of 8 single-leg deadlifts w/ 40#/50#/50#
\*3 sets of 10 overhead lunges with 25#
*3 sets of 8 straight leg raises on the weight bench

Thursday: 5 Miles Run

Nothing exciting, just out and back from my house. I tried to keep the pace a little quick, finishing the 5 miles, with stop lights and a couple walk breaks, in 50:00.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Strength

I met my friend Sarah at the gym for a workout. We haven't worked out together in way too long, we had a lot to catch up on! Definitely took our own sweet time, but got in a good workout.

Warm-up, then:
/*3 sets of 8 pull-ups w/ the band
\*3 sets of 8 bent-over rows w/ 45#
*2 sets of 10 bench presses w/ 45#/55#
*1 sets of 5 bench presses w/ 65#
/*3 sets of 10 stability ball roll-outs
\*3 sets of 30 sec plank w/ elbows on stability ball

Sunday: 7 Miles Run

I met up with my friend Sally and we did 7 miles on the Burke Gilman trail. She met me about in the middle of 12 miles that she was doing for the day. We had a great run, the miles flew by really quickly! Not just figuratively, but our last mile I kept look at my Garmin and it was often reading in the low 9:00's! I still don't understand why this was an easier, conversational pace for me on this day, but a serious struggle on my shorter runs.

The last few days I have been feeling extremely nervous because I am not sure if I have another stress fracture. Yes, BOO. While massaging my foot I found a spot on my second metatarsal that was painful to press on. I don't have any pain while walking or running-- so I am so far considering this a somewhat positive sign. Last time I had a stress fracture my foot hurt when I ran on it. On Sunday it didn't hurt at all while running the 7 miles, but it was sore afterwards. UGH. I don't know what to think about it, but I decided I was going to stay away from my podiatrist for now. I know for sure he will say he suspects a stress fracture and tell me to stay off of it. I think I might take a break from running for a few days, ice it, and see how it feels. So frustrated. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

First Day of School: 2013

I feel extremely grateful that our last few days of summer were packed full of fun. The summer felt long and short at the same time-- like that saying, the years (or in this case, summers) are short but the days are long. Some days were brutal, others magnificent, but now it's all behind us . . . onward and upward!

This year Iris is in fourth grade and Eloise is in second. Yes, I can hardly even believe it. 

They both got amazing teachers this year . . . just like they have had every other year of their lives. We are extremely, extremely lucky that we haven't dealt with any crappy teachers (unless you count that one year Iris was home schooled . . . haha). 

Let's talk about this outfit. She picked it out while shopping with her Grandma. The shoes are high-heeled, or wedge-heeled?, sneakers. They aren't crazy high so I was okay letting Eloise wear them to school. The finger-less gloves were something she bought with her own money at Justice. I did have to look up online how to tie a tie, however. Her dad was sadly gone on a work trip for the first day of school so I didn't even have his help with that piece!

Iris struggled for a while with what to wear to school on the first day. I think she looked cute and comfy, which is sort of her signature look. 

I was a very, very lazy mom this summer and didn't work with Eloise on her reading and writing. Like many kids, she is very advanced in some areas and struggles in others. Her struggles are reading and writing. Today we implemented a program at home where Eloise can earn stickers for time spent reading and then she can earn a new book for every 20 stickers she earns. Already tonight she has read to me more than she has the last month total. 

Iris is an advanced reader and writer, so I'm trying decide if I want to give her the same reading challenge or not. Clearly reading is beneficial no matter how "good" you are at it, so I think the program would be motivational to her, as well. 

One other fun thing is that this morning the girls took the bus for the first time this school year and we were all so excited to discover that they had the same bus driver as they had last year! He is a very kind and gentle guy, so it was great to see his smiling face as he pulled up in the rain today. 

I really do think this will be a great year for the girls. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Running Wild: Weekly Wrap-up

(I have SO many other things to post about, promise I will get to them soon!)

Total Weekly Miles: 18

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 Mile Run and Lots of Walking

I got in a 5 mile run in the morning, then my family went to the zoo, so there was lots of walking there, then Matt and I went on a date for our anniversary and walked a bunch on Alki! I probably walked another 3 or more miles over my run in the morning. Whew!

Wednesday: Strength

Warm-up, then:

*4 sets of 8 back squats at 45#/55#/65#/75#
/*3 sets of 10 box jumps
\*3 sets of 10 step-ups with 10#/20#/40#
*3 sets of 10 lunges with 0#/20#/40#
/*3 sets of 10 straight leg raises on the bench 
\*3 sets of 10 tricep dips on the bench

Thursday: 3 Mile Run

I was so bummed, I thought I would get to run in the rain again, but I managed to hit a small break in the sprinkles. Instead, it was just super muggy and yucky. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Strength and Lots O' Kid Holding

I decided to try and focus more on upper body on Saturdays and lower/whole body on Wednesdays, in hopes I can still keep training hard but not have it interfere as much with my long runs. We'll see how it works out. I found a "sexy shoulder" workout online a little while back and thought it would be fun to give it a try. Turns out I am totally ADD in the gym, I hate doing the same workout more than once, I even hate too many reps of the same move in one workout. Plus, it's fun to check out new workouts!

HERE is the Sexy Shoulder workout. Um. HOLY DEAR GOD. It was HARD. I even used tiny little wimpy weights for some of the moves and it was still hard. Here is what I ended up doing:

Warm-up, then:
*4 sets of 12 seated dumbbell shoulder press  at 10 lbs each (the weight is for each dumbbell)
*4 sets of 10 one-arm leaning lateral raise at 8 lbs
*4 sets of 10 cable front raise at 20 lbs (this was way too hard, I should have moved to a different machine to lower the weight and increase the reps)
*4 sets of 12 rear deltoid cable row at 90 lbs
*4 sets of 10 seated top hold dumbbell press at 10 lbs each
*4 sets of 10 seated side/front raise at 5 lbs each
*4 sets of 10 seated bent-over lateral raise at 5 lbs each (this was super hard. My arms were shot by this point.)
Then two sets of:
*10 push-ups on bosu ball
*150 single unders
*30 mountain climbers

So, my verdict? First, this workout took WAY too long. That is a lot of sets/reps of each move. I didn't even do the entire workout as written and it still took me over 45 minutes. Other than the time it took me to make sure I was set up with everything I needed, I didn't waste too much time in the workout. If you want to try it I would say you can scale down to 3 sets of 10 and still get a great arm workout. Also? It KILLED my arms. But wait, there's more.
On Saturday night I took my girls to a concert and ended up holding my 60+lb 7 year old on my hip for a lot of the show. By the end of the evening I could barely lift my arms. By Sunday night I could barely reach around and unhook my bra. My arms STILL HURT by Monday.

Sunday: 10 Mile Run

I was nervous about this run, as I didn't get home until midnight on Saturday. Usually I am in bed by 9:30pm, 10:00 tops. It ended up being a great run, I felt wonderful the whole time and ran strong. I can never figure out why it's harder for me to run 9:30 min/miles in a 3 mile run than it is to run that pace in the last miles of a 10 mile run. At any rate, I love, love, love the long runs. I would run 10 miles over 3 any day. I just wish my body agreed!