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Friday, September 30, 2011

Race Week: prep time.

I realized this week how much work goes into staying healthy sometimes. Last week, I started having issues with my SI joint. Friday afternoon, in a slight panic, I called up a chiropractic friend of mine (Dr. Noah Edvalson @ http://www.boisespinecenter.com/) and asked him to see me. He agreed and although I was racing on Saturday, the numbness I was experiencing in my leg was enough for me to break my "no manipulation pre-race day" rule. The mild adjustments did the trick and the shift was enough to relieve some the numbness temporarily.

It was back in full force by Sunday evening as well as knee pain and hamstring spasms so I scheduled an appointment with my miracle worker (Mike Devitt @ http://www.focus-pt.com/) and went in to see him on Tuesday morning. Sure enough, my SI joint was all screwed up and my pelvis was shifted almost 3/4"- as Mike put it, "what makes you a good athlete is how unrestricted the movement in your body is, but that is also your worst enemy". He was able to shift things back into place and I left feeling totally fresh and mobile. Next, I went in to see my massage therapist, Laura, who works wonders with estem on my lower T-spine and worked out the rest of my unhappy muscles.

That evening, when I was doing my neuro-muscular session, I felt like I was gliding and it occurred to me how amazing the body is at compensating. Sometimes you just KNOW something is off, even when you cannot pinpoint what it is because your body is a compensating machine!

It has been a light week but not an off week. Pat (my coach) put it well when he was "reminding" me to lift light this week, "This week is about getting all your normal motions and routines in but going light with the weight and reps to keep your body fresh." My main focus this week has been hydrating, eating well and enough, ice bathing, stretching, and chilling out.

Knowing that I have done everything in my control to set myself up for a good race allows me to let go of all the things I CANNOT control. This gives me an opportunity to use my energy positively instead of the opposite. I can't wait to get on that line on Sunday and for me, the process of getting there makes it worth it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The weekend, a condensed version.

A few Idaho gals
On Saturday morning I woke up ready to roll. After choking down a peanut butter and honey sandwich at 6 am, I went through my pre-race routine. This included, cuddling with my dog for 15 minutes, taking a "poor man's" ice bath for 20 minutes, rolling on tennis balls for 10 minutes and then taking a time-to-wake-up shower. I left the house with a cup of coffee in hand, ready.

True to past experience, the warm up was anything but comfortable as I chatted with myself out loud to let some of my nerves out and talk myself to calm. Sometimes reminding yourself out loud why you run and that, yes, you enjoy it (most of the time) helps to keep things in perspective. Or just makes you look a little crazy and that is fine too.

The Women's Fitness Celebration is the single largest race in Boise. Capitol Boulevard that morning was alive with estrogen and let-it-all-out dance moves. I smiled as I did my drills and strides, the energy was incredible. When the gun went off, my nerves went with it. That is the feeling I live for-the complete control and confidence that comes when you race off the line, perfectly prepared and engaged in YOUR race.

The past week of training had been intense, more mileage and intensity than I had ever done so I knew that I was relying on fitness and strength to get me through the race-not freshness. But I had both and it translated to a race that I was happy with. Not only with the result but most of all with the process of achieving the result. As with every race I have ever run, I over-evaluate the process and find things I could have and should have done differently but isn't that why we keep coming back for more? I believe that the day I stop doing that is the day I stop competing.

my ice bath creek-about 40 degrees
After finishing the race, cooling down and getting in a session of DST (dynamic strength training) I took off to the mountains for my ice bath. Okay, I did not go solely for that purpose but it was a good excuse to get away. Sunday morning's long run at 6700 feet was a perfect recovery and start to the morning-the view wasn't bad either. Another reminder why I love and will always be a runner.


Sawtooth moutains, long run view

Monday, September 5, 2011

More than a runner.

This summer has been a busy one, aren't they all? It seems as if the older I get the more quickly summer passes by which, leads me to wonder if that will always be the case. Will summer feel just days long when I am 70?

But this post is not about aging, it is about defining: Who are you aside from being a runner?

This summer I posed this question to two groups of athletes. Once at a high school co-ed cross-country camp and once more at my husband's women's team training camp. I have talked about balance in previous posts but I feel strongly about this question. Who are YOU aside from being a runner? What, aside from being an athlete, defines you? The answers and reactions surprised, saddened, and delighted me. There were clear answers, insightful comments and exploration, and even tears from some.

Too many times have I seen devastation over an injury or illness that side lines a runner.  I have also experienced this and been forced to reconcile with with the self-doubt and fear that comes from having my DEFINITION stripped out from underneath me. Then I realized, I am so much more than a runner.

Key set backs in my running:
Anorexia - lost 10 YEARS
Swine flu - lost 2-3 weeks
Fibular stress fracture - lost 10 weeks
Calf strain - lost 3-5 weeks
Hernia surgery #1 - lost 4 weeks
Hernia surgery #2 - lost 10 days

Who am I aside from being a runner?
Writer
Musician
Outdoorswoman
Dog lover
Sales rep
Companion & friend
Sister & daughter

This thought forces us, as runners, to walk a fine line. The line of complete dedication and balance. I am not suggesting that we don't put all we have and can into our athletic pursuits-lord knows I would be a hypocrite-I am merely suggesting keeping our minds in a balanced place. Running isn't EVERYTHING but it's SOMETHING right now. And that's okay-admirable even. But, I, for one, am more than a runner.

I  hope you are too.