31 January 2013

Setting the best example I can...

My best advice to an injured runner has always been this...don't run if it's hurting you.

I'm taking my blinders off now. I'm owning my injuredness. I will not be racing this weekend. No real boo-hoos about it. It's the right and best and most comfortable decision. I feel renewed now that I've made it. And deciding to switch from the Oakland Running Festival half-marathon in March to the 5K (or maybe nothing) added hugely to my sense of relief and reinvigoration.

What led me to this place? Have I been hurting more lately? What gives, XL?

Feeling as busted up as my favorite shades...
thanks, G and Miss C :P

Here's the deal...

I started running again a little over two years ago. I stepped things up too fast. My right hip was always in a state of crisis...hanging on from run to run. There would be good times and rough times, but it never really felt strong and solid and good. Part of me believed that this was as good as it was going to get. Just take what I can. Live with the discomfort.

That all changed when I started seeing a new body work person last month. And a new trainer...also last month. Their work is showing me that I can possibly someday be pain-free. Truly pain-free. So that is my goal. There is no time goal attached to it. There is not a deadline by which it must be achieved. When I can hop on my right foot repeatedly without wincing or crumpling in pain, we'll know we're there :) I'm not hurting more lately. In fact, it's the opposite. But it does hurt. Running isn't going to make it better, and I now feel like I have a real path to wellness. And I will endeavor to follow it without wavering. Keeping my eye on the feel-good prize.

As a runner with a blog, this is the best example I can set, and as a mom as well. Listening to and hearing my body. Taking good care of myself. Being honest with myself. Making the hard decisions.

So here's what I'm doing instead...

I'm still on the elliptical and riding my bike. I'm lifting weights and doing some circuit strength stuff.

And I'm walking around with my family and enjoying our beautiful weather in our beautiful part of the country...

learning that 
not every puzzle
can be solved...

...and that's okay.

I'm looking at reflections on top of shadows
and seeing my little people
through eyes that are not clouded with pain.
At all.
For the first time in a long, long time.

Whatever happens, 
I know it will all be worth the wait. 

24 January 2013

Following the plan...

Here's a disjointed blog post, but I'm gonna do it. A grand experiment...the Don't Run, Run Faster Plan will be tested like never before!

I have not run since the first week of the month. I have, however, been using cardio machines and biking, doing strength work and stretching. I've walked up and down my favorite monster hill a few times to get some "impact" (albeit low) and real time on my feet.

And Race Day is 10 days away.

I might run this weekend. Depending on how that goes, I might run once or twice next week. But other than that, Hey there, Mr. Race! Be nice to me! I have no idea what to expect from you :)  That's not entirely true. It will be hard. My feet and ankles will be full of twinges, my calves will get super tight and sore, and my hip is bound to hurt. But...my lungs and heart can handle it! This I know.

I just wish had this super easy, free running ability...

She really is a natural.
And can you believe it's January?

Throwing now!
Maybe she's a budding heptathlete?

As we were on this family walk at the park we visited the other day, I was reminded of how good I have it. How good WE have it.

The kids and I passed by these benches and decided to sit there for our snack. Turns out they are memorial benches for local youth killed by violence. The kids were mesmerized. They started asking all sorts of questions...why did they die? how did they die? why would someone do that to them? how could someone kill someone's daddy? how could someone kill a baby?

I did my best to answer the questions with compassion and truth. Sometimes being a parent is really tough stuff. *sigh* But I've got it good. Better than most. I have to always remember that.

Then they ran off and played...

And the sun went down...

 And everything was beautiful...

18 January 2013

Putting it to the REAL test?

The other day I was talking about patience. I outlined but didn't detail my new training approach, or rather, my return to an old and effective for me training approach. As I proceed with strengthening and stretching and massaging and cross-training and not running, I'm wondering what would happen if I didn't run at all before my race on Feb. 3.

My hip still isn't perfect. And running does make it more sore. Not irretrievably painful but sore nonetheless. The more pliable and strong things get, the better it will hold up. Anyway, that's my understanding of it, so that's where my focus is right now.

What do we think would happen if I really adhered to the Don't Run, Run Faster Training Plan leading up to my 5K in 2+ weeks? Honestly, I think it would be okay. But also honestly, I don't think I have the self-restraint to not run at all before then!

Opening up the opinion poll:

What's your take on this idea?

16 January 2013

Time for a little patience...


High school apps are in the mail. Our work is done. Time to wait.

The awesome thing is I get to model patience for my son. He must be patient as he awaits decisions; I must be patient as I coax and guide my body back to health.

After a few stutter-starts to my training plan, I think I'm finally starting for real. The plan is unconventional, as is my wont, but I think it will be effective for my purposes.

I was going over my training logs from a long, long time ago and was struck by how much cross-training I did and also by how frequently I did strength work. This was true both of my rowing logs and my old running logs. Stronger, faster, almost never injured...and of course, younger, but I'm thinking there is a reason why we keep hearing these words, "Want to prevent injury? Cross-train and strength-train and get some good body work done on a regular basis!" and "Oh, bummer you're injured? What have you been doing for cross-training and how often do you incorporate strength work into your routine? When was the last time you had a massage?" Many of us would truthfully have to say, "None and never and what's that?"

I'm going old school. Which is also smart school.

About two weeks ago, I started seeing a new bodywork guy who is awesome. Yesterday, I returned to my trainer to recommence strength-training after a 6-week hiatus. Yesterday, I also returned here...

You've seen it before...
blah blah blah...big hill...blah blah blah...

Sunny day made for awesome, leggy shadows...
I really am not picking my butt. And I do have clothes on...
even though I look like a pot-bellied naked person...
with a headphone cord.

I saw some spectacular sights...
See the hawk about to take flight from the top of the street light?

Whoa, whoa! Before you raise your eyebrow too high and wonder, "Isn't that a bit overambitious if you're taking it slow?" I didn't go long or hard for any of this. It was all chill and a beginning. And it felt really calm and really good.

My plan calls for running a maximum of three days a week, cross-training a minimum of three days a week, a little bit of strength work every single day, and bodywork (massage/chiro/ART) once or twice a week. All of this will ebb and flow...except the running part. MAXIMUM three days a week. For my body, I know this is where it is happiest. At least at this juncture in my athletic life.

As I sit here 2+ weeks out from my first race of the year...a sweet little 5K...I am excited to see where I can take it at the moment it is occurring. I am eager to see what a little patience can bring.

How is everyone else doing? Is training going well? Have you raced yet this year? What's coming up?

14 January 2013

She's a natural...

And it's winter...

Two beautiful photos for you on this beautiful day :)

Still cranking through this high school application biz...hope to be done tonight! But then it will be time to tackle the financial end of things. I remember complaining about college tuition going up over ten grand...we're looking at triple that for high school :P Keep wishing me some luck :)

Hope to spend some more time here later in the week!

Wishing you all a lovely day :)

10 January 2013

High School

Who remembers high school? Okay...now who remembers it fondly?

High school for me was a mixed bag. Academically, the institution I attended was highly-ranked and well-regarded. It was our city's public high school. Very few people in the district sent their kids elsewhere because it was considered such a great school.

Ours was a school of tremendous diversity...in all areas: racial, religious, economic, cultural...you name it. Still there was a lot of 'fitting-in' angst. But I see now, after watching my 6 stepkids navigate this period, the angst is fairly universal even if it isn't always obvious.

Why am I talking about high school?

My big boy is about to embark on the adventure, that's why. And it isn't a simple procedure.

The local public high school is not a good fit for him. He would be miserable and afraid. He would for sure get jacked up and shoved into a locker sometime in the first or second week of school. I'm not a doom-sayer...I just know my kid. This school is my husband's alma mater, and way back when he was a student it was a great school for him, and he loved it. But my guys are different animals, one from the other. And so we've been doing the Private School Application Game with Big G. Lots of open houses, student shadow visits, interviews, and application essays. Fun stuff. And we're all starting to feel a wee bit stressed. Deadlines are looming...everything needs to be in by next Thursday.

He has chosen three schools to which he plans to apply. They are all great, and I do believe he would be happy in each one, but they are all as different as they are similar. I'm wondering how much influence I should exert over the decision-making process. I'm wondering if there will even need to be a decision. And I am a little overwhelmed at the parental pieces of the application! We have to write essays, too!

Long story short...I'm distracted from this blog right now. And top it off with not running for a myriad of reasons (actually, not exercising at all)... not much time and really very little to say :( So not like me!


hold that thought!


as Schwarzenegger would say,

"I'll be back!"

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!  :)

05 January 2013

Saturday Sweetness

Now it's my turn to complain about where I live ;-)

This pond has a paved path around it that is one mile. There are many types of water birds that hang out here in addition to the fabulous Canada geese. We didn't see anything but geese and seagulls today, but I have seen other birds here before. This path is where I used to run my mile repeats back in the olden days...back when my mile repeats were in the 6:10 range. Like, a million years ago. 

We were actually headed to Mt. Tamalpais (the mountain in the distance) for a nice, gentle hike. But prep time got away from us. And there was lots of screaming and yelling and recalcitrance. It's hard to remember what preceded what...so in the interest of 'no shame and no blame' we'll just leave it at this:  it was a difficult morning. So instead we drove 7 minutes to this park. We brought a picnic lunch, all the bikes and scooters and everyone had the best time.

I only got pictures of Miss C's 'best time' because she wasn't leaving the trees and I really couldn't leave her unattended. The older 3 rode and ran around the pond without us.

 Examining the ants.

Praising the tree.

Harvesting the seeds off the tree.

How could this sweet family outing possibly get any sweeter?


04 January 2013

Race Optimism and Goals

Just a quick post about what I'm looking at and what I'm wanting in terms of races this year. Entry fees have been paid, but who knows if I'll make it to starting lines. Looking forward with Optimism, as I said in my post the other day, I'm operating as if :)

Kaiser 5K February 3...I ran this for the first time last year when I was struggling in so many ways and still managed to run it at an 8:15 average pace (the course is officially longer than 5K so that's how I like to gauge my performance at this race). This year I'm struggling less. I'd like to finish it with the speed I had in my 5K in November...7:30 average pace. My training plan is structured as if this is going to happen.

Last year looking like Stone-cold Steve Austin

Oakland Running Festival half-marathon March 24...I've only run the relay, both last year and the year before. This year all of my relay teammates decided to try the half. I was kind of annoyed because I like routine...and running less. Running Leg 2 of the Oakland Marathon had become part of my March routine...amazing how doing something twice makes it feel like 'routine.' Anyway...I said, FINE. Half-marathon... whatEVER .... Goal on this one...start healthy and finish happy. I give myself full permission to shamelessly not start. And in the event that I start and things go sour, I will unabashedly not finish. But in the vein of Optimism, I'm operating as if it will all be sunshine and roses :)

Leg 2 of the 2012 Oakland Marathon Relay

Bay to Breakers May 19...I've run this one three times, last year the year before and back in 1994. Seeing the naked people is not a highlight for me (click the links if you want to see naked B2B people). My favorite part of the race is, surprisingly...or perhaps in my case, not surprisingly, Hayes Street Hill. Overall, this race gave me a hard time all three years, and with the gleam of Optimism in my eyes, I look forward to me giving it a hard time this year :)

O, the irony of this parting gift...

Sonoma 5K Turkey Trot November 28...my yearly return-to-running barometer, I ran this one last year and the year before and the year before that. Since the fall of 2010, I've improved my 5K time by 5 minutes and 40 seconds. This year I'd like to set a real 5K PR by knocking another 2 minutes off my time from 2012. If I can stave off bloggermarathonhighmileagemania, I have confidence that I can stay healthy enough to at least come close. Am I the only blogger who has a 5K for her 'A' race this year?

First woman...yeah, I won. Go figure.

I'm looking at a few others, among them the San Francisco Second Half, but I'm curious about how things will pan out with the first three listed above before committing.

And there's always Hood to Coast in late August...I'm planning my Nuun team application already ;-)

I'd love to hear about your race plans and goals for 2013 in a comment below!

01 January 2013

We're getting down and dirty this year.

So... bring it, 2013. 

I am ready.

Today began my training for the Oakland Running Festival half-marathon. I think announced some day several days ago as the beginning, but that turned out to be a lie. And this was my first run since Jingle Bell Hell three weeks ago, so yeah...start of the training cycle. 

Who knows if I'll make it to race day, but I'm operating as if. The power of positive thinking :)

This morning I was lolling about in bed, thinking about running but being completely non-committal about when... which was not really working for my husband. He's smart. He knew that my non-committal-ness was not a good sign. And he had agreed to help keep me 'on task' with regard to working out for the next few months. Yay, husband :) So he got to work...

We are going to go to the park this afternoon as a family...and you will run your favorite loop while the kids and I go for a hike.

Statement of fact. Not a question. Boom. 

This afternoon we went to the park as a family...and I ran my favorite loop while he and the kids went for a hike.

I was greeted by this...

Running in frosting...with puddles.

I slipped and fell...

...on my ass.

But I'm A-okay.

All that white is reflected light off of water, which means mud.

Do we need any more pictures of mud?
I have more if we do.

So all of that to write a post about a slow little 3.5-mile run. But it was the first run of 2013 and a training cycle. But since I was smiling the whole time (for real) even in the mud and even when I fell on my butt, I'm taking it as a sign...an auspicious sign:

I'm going to have a happy new year...for the whole year. Even if I wind up dirty and on my ass...it will be with a happy smile on my face, mark my words.


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