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Thursday, January 27, 2011

My soul runneth over....

...with excitement when I stopped by the indoor track last night. It was 8:30 pm and I was driving home from a running group in downtown Boise. I knew Pat and some of his kids were there so I decided to stop and do my DST there.

When I walked in the smell of the track wafted up and hit me in the face full-force. I had a flash of past races and the burst of excitement that always accompanies them. Once I calmed myself down, I walked out onto the track and just stood there for a moment, watching and taking it all in.

While I did DST, some of the Oiselle gals ( were doing their hurdle mobility. I was just drinking in the moment. Listening to the light chatter and the feet pounding the track around me. Being able to run, strength train, jump, skip, or what-have-you with no pain has not worn off-I am still reveling in it.

While I would never wish injury or setbacks so anyone, I would wish them the renewed appreciation and thrill I experienced last night and have felt for the past week. I love being a runner again.

Happy, happy running!

"It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind."
-T.S. Eliot

Monday, January 24, 2011

Calling all opinions!

For a long time I have been searching and waiting for the perfect tattoo idea to come along. The initial problem was there were too many ideas and I wanted to find a way to combine them. Then, once they were combined in my head, how could I get it out? This is where my good friend, Chris Chandler came into the picture. The guy is a genius. Period. Check out his online portfolio:

In short, the image combines my near obsessive love of owls (for many reasons), running, and the initials & date are representative of my baby nephew, Jacob Enoch and the day he passed away.

After only a few drafts Chris had it nailed. Now, I am ready to take the plunge (well, once I have some income coming in). However, I cannot decide where to place it. Here is what I am thinking, ribs, outer thigh, or left scapula. What do YOU think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What the...?!?! Hot yoga. Hot damn.

Yesterday I counted up the number of cups of coffee I have been drinking per day on this trip and it is way more than I care to admit. Perhaps this is the reason I got it in my head to try a little something which lives up to it's name...HOT YOGA.

In all honesty, I did not know I was going to a hot yoga class. I was just craving yoga. Since I have been on my trip I have been doing 3-4 forty minute sessions on my own. But yesterday I just needed an intensive, live, fantastic yoga practice. In comes Corepower Yoga, and with the intention to get the most from it that I could I walked into the studio in Fort Collins and was greeted by attentive, extremely knowledgeable staff. Being the skeptic I am, that was a check off my internal list. Next, the actual yoga instruction.

When I opened the door to the room, I was greeted with a waft of hot, thick air. Oh lord, I thought, hot yoga? Really?? I might actually die. I HATE being hot. Ugh. However, being the good sport that I am-and also because I would feel like a moron walking in and then up and leaving-I set up my mat next to the least-likely-to-sweat-excessively person I could find and tried to relax. Have you ever noticed that when the air is thick and hot (like being in Texas in July) you almost begin to panic because it is more difficult to get air, or is it? Well, it feels like it to me. It is like the snorkeling effect-when you first put your head in the water and realize you can only breathe from your mouth; almost without fail you suck water into your nose and end up flailing-not gracefully-to the surface where you try not to embarrass yourself while you spit and sputter out the inhaled water. Yes, this is how I felt for the first five minutes.

I watched as more and more people filed in until the instructor proudly exclaimed that there were forty of us and, "isn't this great! And we could fit more." I thought she was crazy, I was already feeling a little claustrophobic (I like my space) but kudos to her for the enthusiasm. She began the class with a Buddha quote, it went something like this, "Holding in anger is like holding a hot coal next to your chest. All the while, you wait for the right moment to throw the coal at the offender but in the end, you are the only one that ends up being burned." I thought to myself, what if it's yourself you are angry at? Then you had the intention of getting burned all along.

Fifteen minutes in I was getting used to the heat and actually marveling that I was hardly sweating. No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than my pores literally opened up and began POURING sweat. Within seconds I was soaked. My mat was drenched, there were pools of sweat on the mat and the floor. My sweat! I couldn't believe it. And let me tell you, I am not a sweater. It took all I had to focus on my practice and not on the sweat. Although it was tough because I was slipping all over the place. At the same moment
I was loving it. Even while I was grabbing tissue from the box near the back of the room to keep my dripping hair from running into my eyes, I was enjoying the odd, surreal feeling that comes from yoga in general but which was intensified in this setting. Seventy-five minutes later and probably a couple gallons of sweat, I was vowing to do it again but next time, I'm bringing a towel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Renewed appreciation.

I ran for 12 minutes yesterday...pain-free. Big deal, I know. While 12 minutes may not seem all that thrilling to you, it sure is to me at this point.

Not only have I run 4 days of the past 6 but every run makes my leg feel better. My fears are beginning to subside although the wariness continues. I will feel a whole lot better once I get my first workout under my belt.

I realized this week how much I enjoy the strength training aspect of my training-whether it is lifting, yoga, or DST I enjoy the process. I love how strong it makes me feel. I love how it defines my muscles. I love how it aids my running. I even love that shaky feeling I get when I push my body just a little harder than it wants to go.

Sitting in a little cafe in Bozeman, MT right now-the Home Page drinking a delightful cup of coffee and listening to this little toddler holler her head off because "I don't LIKE tomatoes!!" At almost 5,000 feet in elevation Bozeman is home to Montana State University and a great place to train. My friend, Julie, lives and trains here and I am thinking it would be an excellent place to spend a few weeks this summer, training. Who's with me?

Today, I am on the top of my world looking out ahead and liking what I see.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The count down.

Was definitely premature in thinking that I was back without a hitch. After my second run (8 minutes) my peroneal tendons flared up and it was painful to do anything. I was worried that something was torn and in a rather bad mood fearing the worst.

We flew back from Hawaii on Monday, I put my compression socks to use. Anything to help in any way, I guess. On Tuesday I hit the elliptical (honestly, my least favorite cross-training, ugh) and tried not to panic or believe that running was that far off. On Wednesday I went to see the miracle worker, Mike Devitt, from whom I was expecting bad news but got great news. Peroneal tendons not torn, merely knotted, a few bones in my foot were jammed or "stuck". After some intense, painful massage and some mobilization I felt better than I had going in. I have been religious about the small and tedious exercises I was given and the super news...I will begin running tomorrow!

Mood balance is something I have struggled with since I became injured. I remember 6 years ago when my doctor at the time suggested I use antidepressants for a period of time. For two weeks I felt even keeled-no highs, no lows. And this is what drove me crazy and made me feel foreign to myself. I finally decided I was going to employ other tactics, mainly a high level of physical activity, to keep me balanced. Through my training (running, lifting, yoga) I have been able to "self-medicate" my moodiness which is one reason why NOT having that is so difficult. Over the past weeks aside from cross-training my ass off, I have explored nutrition and it's piece of the puzzle-something I began this spring in terms of performance enhancement effects.

Key findings that may seem obvious to some but a good review:

-Balance. I am talking not only about balancing what you eat but when and how much. The better you know your body and recognize it's signs, the more balanced you will be in your eating habits.
-Density. By this I mean, how densely nutritious is the food you are eating? A turkey, avocado, tomato sandwich packs more punch than does your peanut butter and jelly.
-Whole. Eating naturally, whole foods sounds like a commercial but I have found it is normally easier than the alternative. It is easier to grab an apple and a handful of pecans than it is to make a box of mac n' cheese.
-Adaptable. For me, this is the most important thing for my own sanity. By adaptability I mean being able to make due with what is available. This means eating out is not a big deal because to me, if you do things "right" most of the time, the rest of the time is over ruled.

In a small way, I am grateful for the time off. I have become physically stronger and more aware of my body as well as my motivations. Watch out 2011, I am back in the game.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year to All

It may be premature but I am all about positive thinking in most cases. Went on my first test run in over 5 1/2 weeks. To be on the safe side Pat only had me run 6 minutes with a 2 minute walk on either side. I preceded the run with an hour of yoga on the beach and followed the run with a DST session.

While I will not lie and say I felt awesome and there was no pain and all that jazz, I take comfort in the fact that it is no worse AFTER running than it was before. At this point it feels like soft tissue stuff from not using it forever. But, time will tell. And I hope it will tell me good things.

Just spent several hours lying on the beach reading and alternately jumping in the ocean for a swim. The sun is finally shining on us in Hawaii and it is about time. A great way to ring in the new year.

This IS the year, just as the other years have been. I have high expectations for myself and my running this year and have no reason why it should not be a season of success. After battling double hernias and this latest stress fracture I have learned a bit about resilience and feel that I am only the better for the injuries I have had. I mean really, what other way is there to look at it.

Cheers to 2011 and all the running there is to be done.