Friday, May 30, 2014

Off Again

I had such a great week of running last week, but my foot achiness never really went away, which was disconcerting. By the time my appointment with my chiropractor rolled around on Tuesday there was once again a specific tender spot on my metatarsal. Crap. I know what that means-- no more running. Again. Going to take another couple of weeks off and see how it feels then. My foot feels only mildly "fracture-y" and so I am only mildly worried about it. Not happy to be off running again, but I know I can still make it to Ragnar just fine if I am careful until then.

Monday was yoga, Tuesday was strength, then I took a rest day on Wednesday. If I had known I would get whalloped with a head cold on Thursday I would have done a workout on Wednesday so I didn't have two days off in a row. Ah, well. No biggie in the grand scheme of things. But I still hate colds. 

I also ordered a new swimsuit and new goggles. Both of these things are very difficult for me to find as I need a long torso swimsuit and I have a bump on my nose that makes regular goggles dig in painfully at the bridge. I literally swam with a band-aid wrapped around the bridge of my last pair of goggles (super classy). I found a pair of goggles that comes with FIVE different bridges, so I think I should find one that works? Crossing my fingers. Anyways, obviously I bought these things so that I will get my ass in the pool at least once a week. UGH. I actually really enjoy swimming, but I really, really hate the driving to the pool, getting showered, getting in the pool, negotiating lane sharing, getting showered and dressed afterwards . . . I am apparently high maintenance. 

I am also excited to try out a couple of new-to-me fitness/sleep trackers. I am starting with the one below, which is the Jawbone UP24. 

Not sure that I am exactly the target audience for these types of things, as I know wearing it won't really change my activity level, but I am still excited to geek out on my numbers. Of course, I'm not running right now so I will likely fall below the amount of steps I should be taking daily. Whomp whomp. 

Here is the other new fun thing I am working on: my stability. One of the exercises I gave myself was to see how long I can balance while kneeling on a stability ball. So far it's not too long, about 10 seconds is my max, I think. 

One of my Ragnar teammates recommended a great book to me called Anatomy for Runners. I am absolutely loving it. The part I recently read was about how runners don't just need strength, they need stability. If you can't control your body in space you're going to get hurt, and strength doesn't automatically mean you can stabilize yourself. Neat, huh? If you're looking for an interesting read about running, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up May 19th-25th

Overall a great week. I am annoyed that my foot isn't completely better yet, but I think it's on it's way.

Total Miles Run: 14!

Monday:  Yoga

We did a lot of work with the yoga tune-up balls in the class and it felt soooo good. 

Tuesday: 4 Mile Run

Longest run since my foot went wonky, which was so much fun.

Wednesday: 3 Mile Run and Strength

I ran .75 miles then worked out with my trainer. Her routine this day was ab-heavy. Holy god. It was so hard. I was sure I would die. But you know what? I thought I would be so sore the next day, but I wasn't at all! I guess I really am getting stronger, even in my abs. 

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 4 Mile Run and Strength

A simple early-morning run, it was okay. I hate running first thing on an empty stomach because I feel like I have no energy. Little twinges in my foot made me wonder if things were okay down there and I iced it when I got home. I also followed up the run with a short-ish circuit of strength exercises. Lots of abs, some squats and glute work, a little upper body stuff. 

Saturday: Strength

I did one of my workouts that requires a lot of balance. If you are ever looking to take a simple exercise further, like a bicep curl, do it balancing on one leg, or kneeling/standing on a bosu ball. I also had work with my exercise band, which I looped around the rail of my deck, and did a bunch of upper body work on one leg. The good news is that I am getting better at balancing!  

Sunday: 3 Mile Run and Ab Work

I did one round of the ab workout I did with my trainer on Wednesday and then headed out for 3 miles. To be honest, I didn't know what my foot was going to do. After my run on Friday I was feeling worried, as it was pretty achy. But zero pain on the run today, and I was paying close attention and was ready to turn back if needed. I ended up finding a trail to do about 1/2 of a mile on and it was so much fun! I need to make more of an effort to run on trails. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Body Image and Daughters

Having a daughter who is less than a month away from officially being a pre-teen (O.M.G.) means there has been a lot of talk in our house about how bodies grow and change as they enter puberty. You know, all of that good stuff. Actually, it IS good stuff, I absolutely love that my daughters have a safe place to learn about and discuss every little thing, especially when it comes to their bodies. I'm also proud that my 9 year old and I have read and discussed so much together that she has learned exactly one new thing in her class's sexual health unit. I didn't exactly grow up in a prudish home, but there was zero talk of any of this kind of stuff--even with my big sister! My hope is that my daughters have more information than I had, and here's the main thing-- I hope they are more comfortable with, and confident about, their bodies.

The great conversations with my 9 year old have spanned all sorts of topics, but the other night our discussion centered around body image. She has been noticing that her body is bigger than most other girls her age-- not that she is "fat", just bigger. She is taller and is not the string bean that so many girls her age seem to be. The worry is settling in, however, that she IS fat. Media messages are seeping in, as well, which is frustrating and difficult to control. The best I can hope to do is talk about them with my girls. 

We have already been talking about eating healthy-- not about dieting, or restricting calories, but about making wise food choices and also about stopping eating when you are full (or no longer hungry). Good eaters are prevalent on both sides of my daughters' lineage. We come from a long line of folks who are card carrying members of the Clean Your Plate club, so this stuff is essential for our family to talk about. 

It is important for my daughters to understand that skinny does not mean healthy. And that our goal shouldn't be skinny, although skinny can definitely be nice looking. Our goal should be strength and health. In my discussion the other night with my 9 year old we talked about how mommy isn't a toothpick, but I am strong and healthy. And that I was never, and will never, be a toothpick, because my body structure doesn't allow for that, and neither does my daughters'. 

When I was having the conversation with my daughter about body size I looked up the rosters of some WNBA teams. I showed her all of these tall and strong women-- and every player I looked up who was as tall or taller than me weighed as much as or more than I did. I showed her how those women weren't super skinny. I pointed out how muscular their legs and arms were and to be that strong and good at basketball you can't be stick thin. 

And here is the thing: my daughters will more than likely grow up to have a very similar body type to me-- and I want to make it very clear to them that I love my body, I care about my body, and I work hard to keep it healthy and strong. My body is capable of so much more than looking perfect in certain clothes.  They do not hear me talk about being fat, or hating my body, or worrying about how much I weigh. They do see me exercising and eating well (and involving them in exercising and eating well). They do see me being comfortable in my skin and appreciating the strength I have developed through hard work. It is my hope that these messages are heard loud and clear by my girls.

Of course, it isn't about one conversation, or hoping that simply silently leading by example, is going to be enough. It's also about lots of conversations, it's about involving my daughters in eating well and moving their bodies. It's about encouraging and supporting them. It's also about knowing that we don't live in a bubble, and that negative messages from other kids, or the media, or in who knows where else, will find their way in, and we can handle that together. 

Side note: Two books my 9 year old and I have enjoyed reading together are: The Care and Keeping of You and The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Girls. (these aren't affiliate links)

How have you handled body image issues with your daughter?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up May 12th-18th

The main idea behind this past week was figuring out if my left foot is really ready to go or not. It held up fabulously for a week then on Thursday I wasn't so sure it wanted to running any more. I took Friday and Saturday off of running and Sunday it did okay on a very short run. Will keep on working with the chiropractor to see what we can do, and am focusing not just on my glutes, core, legs and arms, but my foot strength, too!

Total Miles Run: 10.25

Monday: 2.5 Miles and Strength 

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3 Miles and Strength

I did two miles in the morning with the dog, then one mile with Sarah in the afternoon before doing a strength workout on the deck together. It was a gorgeous, but hot, day for an outside workout!

Thursday: 3 Miles

Stupidly, I ran in the afternoon when it was far too hot to do such a thing. UGH. I did it, though. Probably good Ragnar training, as my first run will be in the heat of the day. 

Friday: Strength

Saturday: Rest

Sunday:  1.75 Miles and Strength

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Could It Be This Simple?

Yet another appointment with my chiropractor and I *think* we continue to make some serious progress. Last time I was in she stressed that she wanted me to do three things: 

1. walk around my house barefoot  
2. practice standing with my foot in a "tripod" position (this is a good blog post to explain it)
3. "toe walk" across the floor. Toe walking is standing and using only your toes to reach out, then scrunch up and pull your foot forward. 

All of these exercises are to help strengthen my feet. What is one very good reason for getting repeated stress fractures? WEAK FEET. Or rather, a weak foot, as my case may be. I discovered when doing my toe walking for the past few days that my right foot is much stronger and can move twice as far forward as my left foot can! 

I think it's pretty common to connect certain injuries to weaknesses in the body-- ie, IT band and hamstring pain can mean weak glutes--at least, it absolutely did for me!-- but in all of my time seeking help for my stress fractures, no one has specifically helped me build up my foot strength.

I am not terribly surprised that my left foot is weaker, as apparently my entire left side is more weak than my right. This is a bit odd, but whatever, we know it's there and are fixing it. 

So I am left wondering, could it really be that simple? Can I fix my stress fractures by strengthening my foot? I guess we'll find out!

The other exciting news is my chiropractor wants me to try running MORE. Crazy, right? Same thing my orthopedist said! I was doing about 10 mile weeks over the past couple, so she said aim for about 14 miles this week, up to 4 miles per run. Sold! Both she and my orthopedist really smushed and smashed my foot with no tell-tale pin-point stress fracture pain, so she thinks running with some general achiness is fine. Of course, I have to watch for pain and stop if I feel any. 

Wish me luck! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Help and New Hope = New Possibilities

The results are in! I . . . do not have bone density issues. Well, at least anywhere other than my second metatarsal on my left foot, I suppose. I am glad I had the scan done, it's another thing to cross of my list and not have to worry about. Have you ever had a bone density test done? It is super simple. It is like getting an x-ray, but it takes a little longer. Easy peasy.

Met with my orthopedist again, which is how I got my test results, and he didn't have a whole lot to offer me. He talked to me about my cadence (yep, already doing that), getting new shoes when I need them (yep, already doing that), running on softer surfaces as much as possible (know about this, don't really do it), do my feet exercises (doing that now) and he wants me to . . . get this . . . RUN MORE. 

No, for real. Run more. No one has ever told me that! He thinks I would do well to run a little bit as many days per week as possible (he said "at least five") and then after three weeks of running 30 minutes each time, gradually increase some of the distances. He said when I do marathon training my long runs should be 1/3 of my weekly mileage-- YIKES. That is a lot of miles! He thought maybe I was getting injured because I was attempting to do such long runs on such little overall mileage and my body couldn't handle it. I guess even though it worked for all of those Galloway followers it won't necessarily work for everyone! But of course, it's just his theory. 

The work with my chiropractor is going well, too. She is helping me with a few things that I have never had worked on before so I am super excited about how this will all turn out. 

The other exciting new thing is that my personal trainer agreed to take me on as a running client and will be building a running/strength training program for me. Since we will be working together so closely she can help me figure out week by week what I should be doing and assessing how I feel. 

Right now I am plugging away at a a little bit of run/walk. In the last week I have done about 10.5 miles and am feeling pain-free. So far, so good! I also get in a strength workout on most days, but I haven't been good about charting it like I used to be. I should re-start my weekly wrap-ups if for no other reason than I will absolutely not remember my workouts or what days I rest/ran/strength trained without writing it down.

I have decided to set my sites on the Victoria Marathon which is ON MY BIRTHDAY. So that is crazy awesome. It is also crazy awesome that one of my very favorite people in world, Tara, is running the Victoria Marathon as her first marathon, as well. Now that I am 0/3 in marathon attempts versus completions I am not getting my hopes up, but it's a doable goal by everyone's assessment. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Update for Sally

Hee hee.

There has been some (okay, one) inquiry as to how my recovery is going. Of course, if I didn't blog about it, it didn't happen, so here goes:

I was able to return to running on Wednesday. What this was supposed to be was 30 seconds of running/30 seconds of walking for 30 total minutes. What this looked like was a little running/walking for roughly 30 minutes while walking my dog. I was wearing my Merrell Bare Access instead of my usual running shoes with my orthotics, which in hindsight was probably dumb.

Thankfully, my feet, specifically my left foot, felt fine. No issues. 

As I look out the window it is pouring rain, and I am lazy, so I may not try again today. Tomorrow?

On Wednesday I also had a good talk with my trainer and she thinks aiming for a fall marathon isn't out of the question, but that I need to do a few things right now: one is to stop stressing so much. I am stressing myself out focusing so much on this marathon and if I just relaxed a bit I could find the joy in my strength training and some shorter races. So, the second thing I need to do is hit my strength training even harder: commit to it 4-5 days a week while I am getting back in to running regularly. 

Today, Thursday, I also visited a new practitioner who does, well, basically everything. She is a chiropractor but also does ART, Graston, taping, athletic training, massage, and I am sure more. She worked on my feet and reaffirmed I have "stiff" feet so likely a big part of my problem is that my left big toe doesn't flex how it should to help absorb the shock of running-- so it transfers it on to my second metatarsal, which can't support the stress and keeps fracturing. She also worked on my left hip flexor (I think?! Now that I am typing it I feel like I am remembering the wrong term for it) and my right hamstring. Ouchie. 

So, there's the big update! 

I also had my bone density scan on Wednesday, but I won't get the results of that until I go back to see my orthopedist. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

New Plans

Heading in to my last few days of "rest" with my wonky foot, I realize that although losing my marathon goal AGAIN really, really sucks, I haven't been too down and out during the rest period.

During this past week Seattle has seem some amazing weather, temperatures reaching in to the 80's on Thursday and several days in a row of sun. I seized the opportunity to do a lot of yard work-- digging, planting, spreading compost. It was quite hard, so I counted it as cross training. I have also been walking my dog most days and trying fitting in yoga and strength workouts. 

This coming Wednesday is the first day I can try to run again. It is supposed to be 30 seconds walking/30 seconds running for 30 minutes total and see how I feel. If I feel good, I can keep progressing. If my foot hurts at all, I go back to resting until I can run with no pain. Wednesday also happens to be the day I go in for my bone scan. 

I decided to start thinking about what my next marathon goal will be. I figure I will just keep aiming until I finally can run one! Sally suggested the Victoria Marathon, and when I looked it up, I discovered it was on my birthday! How amazing would that be, to finally be able to run a marathon on my 37th birthday?!

There is enough time to train for an October marathon, though the idea of trying to fit in my runs through a long summer of being home with the girls feels extremely daunting. Would definitely have to get much more strategic with my running schedule since I won't have the luxury of running whenever I want.  

Of course my next big goal is still Ragnar. I need to be strategic about my training so that I absolutely do not re-injure myself yet again before then. My goal between now and July 18th is just to stay fit, continue to strength train, and eventually practice running at night as well as through in a couple two-a-days. One thing I won't be trying out is running in the middle of the night-- that is left for the race! 

Onward and upward!