Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Year Since Boston

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the Boston Marathon.  I still can’t quite wrap my head around
what happened that day but I remember the fear and sadness like it was yesterday.  I remember wandering around with Teresa after crossing the finish line as the bombs went off and then parting ways.  I remember frantically calling my AirBnB host for a ride unsure of what was happening but panicked by the sound of explosions and the smell of smoke.  I still remember getting into his truck and hearing on the radio that a child was killed.  I remember wanting my mom in that moment.

But I was safe.  I was one of the lucky ones.  My story is completely insignificant, yet I was still affected by that day – I think we all were.

I flew home the day after the marathon and went straight back to work.  I realized it was probably too soon as I sat at my computer crying over the gruesome images smeared across the internet.  I thought I should be fine because I wasn't a victim.  Never the less, it was horrifying and I needed to collect myself and let everything sink in.  I needed to somehow process all of the lives that were lost and the fact that I made it out safe while so many innocent people lost limbs and worse yet, loved ones.   Why was I so fortunate? 

I remember sitting with Teresa at a little neighborhood bar two days after the marathon.  We had just done a news segment together and decided to share a bottle of wine and talk it out.  We hardly knew each other at this point but we just experienced something so ugly and awful together and it inevitably made us very fast friends.  It was nice to have someone to talk to who was there and understood how emotional it all was.  We decided in that moment we would talk about it as much as we wanted and then we’d walk out of that bar and try to move on.  And we did a really good job.

But now April has rolled around and the Boston Marathon is the topic of conversation again.  This month's issue of Runner's World is basically a collection of stories from that day and reading them actually makes my stomach upset.  Today is the one year anniversary and my heart hurts all over again for everyone who was personally affected by the bombings.  I’ve read so many stories about the people who lost limbs and how they are carrying on now.  It is inspiring but it’s also completely unfair and sadly, it still makes me angry.

My college friend, Kirsten, went to the  'Dear Boston, Messages from the Marathon Memorial' exhibit at the Boston Public Library and made a tag with my name on it.  She said she cried through the entire exhibit.

I had absolutely no desire to go back after last year’s race.  None whatsoever. That day was awful and I didn't think I could ever cross that finish line again.  But now a year has passed and I think I need to go back.  I need to qualify again and I need to run Boston again.  

This year's Boston Marathon is going to be one very special race.  This race will show how resilient we are and how beautifully we can all come together.  My thoughts are with everyone who was a part of last year's tragedy and with everyone who will be crossing the finish line this year.  Best of luck to you all!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Finding Bliss

I've been slacking on blog posts because I've been happily wrapped up in my new job.  HAPPILY + JOB are two words that haven't been strung together in a sentence of mine for quite some time.  Ever since I've been back from Thailand, I've been searching for meaningful work. In my last position, I was advocating for children in the foster care system, so I needed something equally as rewarding.  It turns out, those really awesome  jobs are hard to find.  I'm realizing that I was extremely fortunate to have worked for such a great organization for so long.

In a desperate attempt to pay my bills, I tried the corporate thing for a minute.  It was completely awful.  I have confirmed- more than once now- that I am not cut out for the corporate world and the shady practices it often entails.  I also temped at a pharmaceutical company where I was paid a deplorable salary while being treated like a robot and I later found out that the company is notorious for abusing the monkeys they test on. I felt like I had momentarily sold my soul. I had absolutely no autonomy at either of these jobs and it was disheartening after doing such critical work for so long.  I also nannied for a bit which was the most gratifying of all my temporary gigs.  Kids are adorable and I was able to wear yoga pants every single day.  That was a huge draw and I was slightly tempted to just nanny long-term, but I needed something permanent that would feed my soul again.

So, here I am!  Back in the non-profit world working with an incredible organization made up of remarkable people doing kick ass work for San Diego seniors living in poverty.  I get to write the blog, handle all of the social media and basically raise awareness as well as funds for the organization.  It doesn't hurt that our office is located in east village, one of my favorite San Diego neighborhoods, and happens to be around the corner from two close friends.  I also have my very own office for the first time EVER.  I seriously scored and I am so ridiculously happy.  Everything always works out exactly as it should.   Just 5 months ago I was essentially living out of a suitcase while desperately looking for a rewarding job to replace the one I left and yearning for some stability. Here I am today with everything I was looking for and even a little bit more.  A home + a rewarding job + a family (albeit mostly furry). It just takes a little time and a lot of hard work.  This last year has taught me patience and the power of positive thinking.  I haven't been this content in such a long time and it feels incredible.
our happy little house

That's the long winded version of what I've been up to.  I've also been running but not more than 4 miles at a time because of my nagging Plantar Fasciitis, so there isn't too much to share on that.  I just read Kara Goucher's blog post the other day about her own very serious injury and I LOVE her outlook on the situation.  She is my absolute favorite.  And the fact that she has joined forces with Oiselle, a company I love, makes me smile.  Injury is not the end all, be all.  We can still be happy in the meantime.  Life's too short to dwell on the downfalls, right?

Happy Friday, everyone!

Some photos from the last few weeks to show that I am in fact alive and well... :) 

at stone brewery when my family was in town

mmm, ritual tavern // one of my san diego faves.

with my love

at Soda Bar with these lovely ladies for a Wild Child show on a sunday night // regretted this on monday.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do Your Legs Need Sleeves? If You Run, They Definitely Do

High-tech shoes, compression shorts, sweatbands, heart rate monitors, high-contrast sunglasses. Do you really need all that stuff to run? After all, running is a fundamental human activity. Unless we have some kind of physical limitation, anyone can run. Consequently, many people think that taking up running as a form of exercise requires only some so-so shoes and a pair of shorts. When they act on these assumptions, many would-be runners end up with pain, irritation, injuries, or other negative outcomes that push them away from running and cause them to abandon a potentially helpful and satisfying exercise routine.

The key to getting would-be runners to invest in appropriate equipment is to highlight the benefits of such an expenditure. Much like changing to a more exercise-friendly diet, there are more factors involved than you might think. So what's the difference between the bare-bones Forrest Gump runner and the serious exerciser in Tommie Copper compression gear?

Handling Moisture
A major innovation in fabrics for athletic gear is moisture wicking. Gone are the days of sodden cotton garments drooping around our necks, or of flimsy nylon pieces shredding apart with movement. Modern fabrics do an amazing job of carrying moisture away from the body. This provides all kinds of benefits to you as the athlete.

First of all, you aren't laden with the aforementioned soggy shirt. And wet clothes are uncomfortable and contribute to chafing, unpleasant bunching-up, and restriction of movement. Sweat running down your legs eventually reaches your socks, causing them to slide and aggravate; this can also contribute to athlete's foot. Leg sleeves will pull that moisture off your skin and allow it to evaporate, keeping your skin dry and comfortable.

Reducing Aches
Most pain during exercise is caused by swelling attributed to previous exercise. Welcome to the endless cycle of exercise pain. Can you escape it?

Of course you can. Proper stretching, good hydration, and lots of other factors can help you prevent that pain to begin with. But gear figures into the equation as well. When one exercise event leaves your calves a bit touchy for the next, good leg sleeves will help reduce the swelling that incites pain and give you a better chance at a pain-free session. In addition to reducing swelling and preventing further contusions, compression gear also helps with another aspect of exercise pain...

Correcting Muscle Movement
Muscles bounce, or to put it more kinesthetically, muscles ripple. While running is an activity that requires frequent rapid contractions of muscles, there are equally frequent and rapid relaxations of those muscles. Flexors relax during extension; extensors relax during flexion. Keeping those briefly-resting muscles from experiencing too much free movement is an important way to reduce the body's impact with the ground and the jarring of muscles when they stop after that downward movement.

In addition, the contraction of activating muscles can be complicated if the muscles aren't in their ideal position. Imagine stretching a rubber band across your knee, then relaxing it and stretching again. If that rubber band moves below your kneecap and then is drawn back to a position above the kneecap, the band will snap and pop suddenly across it, creating fatigue and potential damage. Your muscles need to be in a proper anatomical position.

This is where compression gear comes into the equation. The snug fit of quality gear reduces the bouncing and dislocation of muscles by reducing the amount of free area they have in which to move. That cuts back on strain and unnatural movement, and it also addresses the exacerbation of swelling that's already been discussed. That reduces fatigue, pain, and injuries--all things that will drive you away from an exercise program.

Surface Protection
If you have a perfect running surface and a perfect gait, skip this section. For everyone else, remember the muddy scuffs and gravelly scrapes you've endured on your lower legs during running. These can be rather unsightly, and there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that you're being a bit vain here. Exercise doesn't just make us healthier, it makes us more attractive, too. What good is it to work hard on developing fit, shapely legs if they're peppered with tiny scars from all that dust you've kicked up while developing them?

Compression gear gives you all the protection of big bulky socks without the sliding and sweating, meaning your legs are protected aesthetically and athletically. And the leg-to-leg contact that creates misery through chafing is eliminated when both limbs are covered, giving you a better emotional feel for the sport and reducing the chances that a mounting load of unpleasantness will scare you off.  Sure, running is the simplest form of exercise out there. But maximizing your results and increasing your dedication means investing in the gear it takes to do it right.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm injured and it's still the best week ever!

I decided this week that I probably won't be running the OC Marathon as planned.  I know I've been raving about all of these great runs and it's true; I've been loving every bit of this training cycle.  What I haven't mentioned is the nagging Plantar Fasciitis I've been battling.  This is nothing new or unusual for me.  Plantar Fasciitis has been a chronic issue for me but I didn't want to speak of it and give it too much power.  I've been trying to use the power of positive thinking which unfortunately, doesn't work too well for running injuries.
My ominous "last run"

Yesterday, I attempted 20 miles and called it quits at about 13.5.  I didn't feel like wasting time walking all the way back to my car with my aching foot, so I paid $13 for a cab and spent the ride to my car facing the fact that I likely will not be running 26.2 miles come May.  In the past, this realization would send me into a downward spiral of self-pity and depression about not being able to run.  This time around, I have way too much happiness and goodness going on that I honestly can't even be upset by it.

  • This weekend, Brittany, our fur children and I moved into an adorable little house with a yard
  • My family came to town to visit for the entire week and I had a few days off to spend with them
  • I started a brand new, super fabulous job working for yet another exceptional non-profit
  • I have my own office at work for the first time ever (score!)
  • In lieu of my birthday marathon, Brittany already booked a weekend away in Palm Springs
So, how could I possibly be devastated?  Yes, I put in a ton of hard work for this race.  I nailed some really tough repeats, dominated a few tempo runs, and busted out several long runs.  But in the grand scheme of things, it's just another race.  I have, unfortunately, had to drop out of so many races due to injury.  It always sucks.  It's never fun.  And I am always devastated.  I will not allow it to be that way this time around.  It doesn't suck.  That weekend will be fabulously fun in Palm Springs and I will absolutely not be devastated.  I am going to take it easy for a few weeks and who knows?  Maybe I will be back at it soon and can sign up for a race a month further down the road.  We shall see.  But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy my amazing family while they visit and get settled in at my new, awesome job and in my new, cozy home.

Life is great when my family comes to visit!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cheers to Hydration!

I am making a serious effort this training cycle to drink more water.  I have always struggled with staying hydrated because I simply hate drinking water.  This probably sounds ridiculous, but I couldn’t find my  favorite water bottle for a week or so and I swear I was dehydrated until the day I found it.  I am very particular about what kind of water bottle I drink out of making hydration even more of a challenge.
I love the bottles pictured below.  At a local run club they give them away for free!
I notice a huge difference in performance when I am good about fluid intake on the days leading up to long runs and races.  So, how much water should we be drinking? You often hear 8 glasses a day but the answer is debatable.  

One calculation looks like this:

Male Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .35
Female Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .31
Drinking based on body weight makes a lot more sense to me than drinking 8 glasses a day.  I don't think I could ever down eight 8 oz glasses a day.  With this calculation, I should only have to drink 5 glasses a day.  That is way more doable.  I have a 20 mile run on the schedule for this weekend, so it's time to drink up!  Cheers!

How much water do you drink each day?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Digging Deep & Race Weight

This week was tough!  9 weeks down and just 7 to go before the OC Marathon.  My foot was killing me at the start of the week and I had to take a few days off.   Those rest days knocked my weekly mileage down to a mere 27!  Sheesh.  I hoped to knock out 20 miles over the weekend but between the heat and my aching foot, I stopped at 16.5 and walked it in slowly.  It was the first time in this training cycle that I finished a run feeling completely defeated, weak and achy.  I had to dig ridiculously deep to even make it that far.  My body is just not responding like I would like it to or even like it was just a few weeks ago.  I vow to not let my confidence crumble because of one crummy week.  This only means that this next week has to be fantastic, right?

I mean, if you're going to suffer through a long run, you might as well suffer in sunny San Diego...

With 7 weeks to go, I still have time to get into better racing shape and that includes losing a few pounds.  A few months ago I wrote about how I was doing Teresa’s Color Yourself Skinny 21 Day Diet Detox.  It was exactly what I needed at the time and I lost 4 of my 8 post-Thailand pounds and I’ve kept them off.  I would love to lose the other 4 pounds so I can be at my ideal race weight come May 4th.  I asked Brittany this morning if she’d be willing to stick to the plan with me and she agreed.  She feels like she has been eating a less than stellar diet and her running is, well, not happening.  Now is the perfect time for both of us to get back on track.  It is so much easier to stick to something when your significant other is in it with you. 

So, here I go back to the e-book.  I love the recipes in the 21 Day Diet Detox and it makes grocery shopping so much easier when I go in with a plan and a list.  Otherwise, I find myself aimlessly wandering the aisles and walking out without the necessary components to make meals for the week.  Sticking to the diet detox will force me to meal prep and I will save mucho dinero in the process which is key for us right now since we're moving into a new place with higher expenses and a new fur child.

If you’re interested in joining us for the 21 Day Diet Detox, click here to order your own copy of Teresa's awesome system.  I’ve found this program to be the easiest plan to follow and the most effective at helping me to shed those extra little pounds that slow me down.  I'm trying to BQ again and I can use all the help I can get. I can also use the structure since life is chaotic at the moment. Tomorrow, I'll hit the grocery store with my list in hand and then hit the treadmill to knock out some speedy miles!  This week is definitely going to be better than last.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

20 Soggy Miles, SD Half Marathon & Meet Gunner!

I've been absent from the blogging world lately because I've just been crazy busy.  It's really unfortunate because my running has been great!  Teresa and I have had some incredible runs together and I am now asking myself why we haven't trained together since the beginning of time. We finished Boston about 10 seconds apart and we didn't even run together--  How's that for synchronicity?

While it almost never rains in San Diego, we were lucky enough to get caught in a rainstorm during our 20 miler a couple weeks ago. It started as a drizzle but quickly turned into a torrential downpour within a mile.  We thought, "gee, only 19 miles to go!"  I ended up cutting my run about a mile short because my blister prone toe was destroyed as usual and running on raw skin is only bearable for a finite amount of time.  Years of marathon training and I still have not figured out how to avoid this painful situation.

Last Friday, Teresa asked me to run the San Diego Half Marathon with her and wound up scoring me a free bib.  I was overjoyed at the thought of A.) running a free race and B.) running with T! A spontaneous, last minute race appeals to my Type B-hates-to-plan-anything-in-advance side.  I am so glad I dragged my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn after losing an hour to daylight savings time.  It was totally worth the lack of sleep to run this race.  The San Diego Half Marathon is now officially my favorite half.

Me, Teresa and the insanely speedy, Sheri!
The course winds through downtown, the harbor, shelter island, Hillcrest, and then back into downtown.  There is one beast of a hill around mile 9 that I almost walked; however, the finish is all downhill and it is glorious!  Teresa and I ran the last 2 miles somewhere in the 6:30 range which demonstrates a couple of things: we probably went out too slow and downhill miles are the absolute best way to finish a race. Period.

I have never had so much fun during a race before and I know it was because I had Teresa by my side and because I was reminded that I live in an insanely beautiful city.

I don't even want to mention that my foot hurts terribly and something is definitely wrong.  I am sending healing thoughts and vibes and resting until it feels normal again.  Translation: I am going slightly crazy because I cannot run at the moment.

In news unrelated to running, Brittany and I are mothers to another furry child and the new renters of an adorable little house in Normal Heights!  We are moving so that we can keep Gunner and adopt him into his fur-ever family.  :)  We couldn't be happier.  Be prepared for an onslaught of puppy pics.

Meet Gunner, our 5 month old lab pup! 
Sporting my race medal.  p.s. I love that Gunner rhymes with Runner. #nerdalert

What is your all time favorite race? 

Are you a dog lover?