Saturday, March 24, 2012

Time off.

13 days after our 10k, I finally was feeling rested and able to run again.  After numerous massages, an acupuncture appointment, lots of ice and hot epson salt baths, my calf was feeling awesome and ready to go.  I was nervous though, afraid that we would get out there on our lunch break and I would either fall or hurt myself, but still I decided the only way to find out was to get out there and try.

The run felt amazing. 1.6miles in the neighborhoods surrounding the office. The knot in my calf was a little tight, but it felt amazing to be back out there. I felt like myself again!  A little pain, but nothing a little ice couldn't handle.  Except, 3 hours later, my entire leg was throbbing.

Got home to soak in the tub, followed by ice, heat, ice.  Left for dinner and by the time we got home, I was in so much pain. My entire lower leg was throbbing and I was frustrated and miserable.  I had a massage appointment scheduled for today, so I asked him to look at my calf while I was there. He commented that my knot was incredibly better, but the muscle next to my calf seemed to be separated from the shin bone.  A bad case of shin splints? He showed me that he could wiggle the muscle on my left leg, but not my right. To top it off, there's bruising (small ones) on my calf as well.

So, I'm giving in. I'll elliptical bound for the next couple of months.  I'll slowly add in light hikes and biking until my muscle is back where it is supposed to be. I'm also going to get over to Roadrunner sports and have them help me pick out shoes.  My shoes have been a problem for the beginning, and I'm certain based on how my left shoe feels, that it is the main culprit for this injury as well. I also think I'm going to get some compression socks to try out:,7120,s6-240-320--13591-0,00.html

I'm incredibly disappointed and beyond frustrated, but have decided that this is a wake up call that I need to listen to. I am going to miss the camaraderie of running the most.

Time to heal!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Up until now, I've only posted positive a happy thoughts during this training process. Things I've learned and overcome, accomplishments I've made.  But I am realizing that if I am truly going to document this process, I also need to publish the negative and my frustrations.

Today I am feeling very frustrated.  I know that this is part of the learning process and one of the main reasons you actually train before a race. If I decided to run a half marathon tomorrow without training I would expect to have a very difficult time, injure myself, and be in pain.  I guess I didn't expect to feel so much of that during the training process itself.  I keep thinking that "it has to get easier, right?"

Of course it's gotten easier. I ran 6 miles last weekend when a couple months ago I could barely conceive the idea of running 1.  But I keep hurting myself and it's pissing me off.

After my heel injury put me out of commission for about a month last year, I thought that I had gotten past the stage where I could do it again. I know that is a ridiculous statement, but this is my mind speaking, not necessarily fueled by logic. I shouldn't have run sprints last week. Not sure what I was thinking? Instant issues (shin splints, muscle knots) and I am paying for it now (been hobbling since the race ended on Saturday, I cannot relax the muscles in my left calf enough to take a good full step). As Jay says, if I have a knot like that before the race next time, I'm not competing.  I don't like that statement, but I know he's right. 

This is a huge learning experience, and I am learning what to do and what not to do, how to overcome the pain, when I can run through it and when I need rest, etc.  But it is so frustrating! It is not a proud moment to complete the race and then go back to work completely crippled by it. I want to be one of those people who make it look easy! Instead it's a struggle. And I know I am stressing about this more than I should, but I hate "taking time off" and "taking it easy" when I am about to be too busy at the end of the month to run, and out of commission for about 6 weeks. I am petrified that "time off" means "starting over."

Lots of massage, ibuprofen, ice/heat, epson salt soaks, and I'm practically bathing in biofreeze.  I know tomorrow will be better, but for today I am just frustrated.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Official race time: 1 hour 6 minutes.

Giving up is your brain's idea. Ask yourself, who's in charge here?
- Phil Whyman 

Saturday was the big 10k race we had been training for all year.  Grand Canyon University in Phoenix was hosting a run to raise funds for Children's Cancer. There was a 10k run, a 5k run/walk, and a 5k Survivor's walk.

As the run was quickly approaching, I started to get increasingly nervous as the week prior spanned out, since so many things were happening to hinder my ability to complete the race:
  • Work has been nuts, and overly stressful.  I worked overtime every single day and it drained all of my patience and energy!
  • Our run on Monday was frustrating. What started off as a 4mi run ended up being a rough 3.  I wasn't in the mindset to complete the run and my body paid for it.
  • We did 2 miles of interval sprints at lunch on Wednesday.  We got shin splints from said sprints.Note to self: No sprints the week of a race!!
  • Thursday: Tried to do our 2 mile lunch run and what I thought would run out ended up hurting more! My shins got very tight and I worried that I had ruined my chances of running the race.
  • Friday: My shins were feeling better (hooray!) but I had a knot forming in my left calf.  It was really starting to irritate me, so I went to the wellness room to pay for a 15 minute massage being offered that day.  She worked on my calves for a bit and it seemed to help.  I figured a hot epson salt bath and  good night's sleep would be key.
Saturday morning: Awake at 5:15 am.  Got up to make myself a little food and coffee before I headed out to the race that was starting at 7:30. I was feeling rested and great.  Got to the race site to meet Christi and as we were walking over to the Start line, I was noticing that the knot it my calf was starting to tense up again. I tried more stretching and to massage it out.  I wasn't having much luck so I crossed my fingers that it wouldn't complete seize up while we were running.

After the national anthem was sang by a 6 year old who knocked our socks off, and the Start horn was played by another girl about the same age who was beginning the maintenance stage of her leukemia treatment, we felt energized and ready to run.  A quarter mile in, a guy fell to the ground screaming and holding on to his leg in agony.  This freaked me out! I didn't want to be that guy.  We kept a steady pace as we got lapped by the speed runners, but didn't care since the speed was perfect for us and we felt confident we could keep it all day.  The 10k consisted of two 5k loops, so when we completed the first loop we high fived as we began the next round.  That's when my calf started bothering me.  I kept envisioning the guy who fell in my head and was petrified of being that guy. Lots of water and deep breathing, and I focused on my running form so I wouldn't tweak anything.  Half way through the second lap is when I really started to feel the exhaustion.  Then we passed some of the children walking on the Survivor Walk and I remembered what we were doing this for.  As I passed a girl walking on crutches with 1 leg, I got the last bit of stamina I needed. Soon, we were at the 9k sign. I couldn't believe it! We were actually running the entire race!  As we neared the finish, we got the last bit of energy to sprint it in across the finish line.  Official race time: 1 hour, 6 minutes. 

We ran the entire 6.2 miles without stopping! We completed our first 10k!!

While we didn't set any records, this was a huge accomplishment for both of us.  When I crossed the finish line I was a little overwhelmed with emotion as a day prior to this, I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it.  My only regret is that we didn't take a picture when we finished, I can only imagine the expressions on our faces.

The half marathon is a little less daunting now, as we are halfway to the goal.  While the training days may be hard, the completion of the race is what keeps me going. It's hard to explain the feeling of the adrenaline, excitement, and pride as I prove to myself that I can complete this crazy journey afterall. 

My calf: Boy does it hurt now.  By the time we got to breakfast afterwards, I was limping pretty badly.  Jay tried to massage it out, but it hurt so bad I couldn't help but cry when he got to the knot.  Today, I am slow moving, but it isn't as painful to put pressure on the leg.  It doesn't hurt to the touch, so I am not worried that I tore anything.  When it's a little less sore, I will go get a massage so I don't hurt anything else limping on it.  Tonight, I have a nice epson salt bath with my name on it. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Perfect Smoothie?

When my friend Miranda and I used to carpool to work every day, I was often horrified when I would look over and see her drinking some green or brown concoction that she had blended up for breakfast.  She and her husband had a morning ritual of making a green smoothie that I am pretty sure she had down to a silence.  This inspired me to start making smoothies of my own, but mine were pink with specs of green, as I would make a berry smoothie and just throw some spinach or kale in there (I was scared of the brownish green drinks).  It was tasty, but didn't exactly tie me over, and was a lot of sugar. Plus, I was using nonfat organic yogurt to thicken it, and at that time my stomach hated dairy. So out went the smoothies..

I have recently started introducing smoothies into my diet as it was a way for me to get in a protein shake occasionally, or an easy option for breakfast that I could make the night before and stick in a mason jar in the fridge.  I found what has been called the Perfect Smoothie (

  • 1 soft fruit (i.e. banana or an avocado)
  • 2 small handfuls frozen fruit (berries, mango, pineapple)
  • 2-4T protein powder (hemp, pea, brown rice... although I have whey)
  • 2T binder (ground flax, nut butter, rolled oats)
  • 1.5T oil (flaxseed, hemp coconut, nut oil)
  • 1.5c liquid (water, almond milk, brewed tea for caffeine)
  • 1T sweetener (honey, agave nectar, stevia)
  • Optional superfoods (cacao or carob chips, cinnamon, spinach, maca powder, cayenne pepper, lemon or lime juice)
  • 6 ice cubes
I decided to give this recipe a shot and just made a blender full, which made 2 smoothies.  Working with what I had, my smoothie is:
  • 1 banana
  • some frozen pineapple and strawberries
  • vanilla protein powder (1 rounded scoop)
  • 2T round flax meal (because I love to sneak it into everything!)
  • 1.5c water
  • 1T honey
  • some cinnamon and kale
  • ice cubes
I didn't have any of the listed oils, so those didn't get included this time. I am absolutely intrigued to find out how cinnamon or cayenne pepper change the overall taste of the smoothie! Cinnamon first because I'm a little afraid of the cayenne.

The perfect smoothie? We'll find out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What to eat.

I've spent the major bulk of my evening doing research on what to eat: What to eat the week of a race, what to eat the day before, what to eat the morning of, during, and after the race. It's so complicated!  What has stuck in my mind the most is this statement:
It takes 36 hours for food to be processed and useable in a race.
It's not so much what you eat the day before - you could screw up your energy unintentionally even 36 hours before the race!

Our 10k is in 4 days. I am super excited, but also super nervous.  Our run yesterday was difficult for me, and I couldn't get the negativity out of my head long enough to shake the discouragement.  But I woke up today feeling inspired, my head clear, and ready to prepare for this race.  This week: lots of water, carbs, protein and vegetables.  Limiting my dairy, spicy, and heavy foods.

One of the most useful websites I have found this evening is the No Meat Athlete, and they have an adorable logo:
If I were a carrot, I would run that happy too.

However, I came across a page on this website listing all the daily items you consume without realizing they are vegetarian or vegan.  I will preface this by saying that I have read all of this before. I check my labels. And often. I know what foods to avoid and questions to ask in restaurants.  But I can't help but get mad that those ingredients are there in the first place. 

Fine, if it is true that we are genetically built to be carnivores (which, I beg to differ), then our canine teeth are what we use to eat meat with. But what part of our bodies are meant to consume stomach lining, bugs, bones, and intestines? Are those necessary? Do we really have to worry about them being in everything we consume on a daily basis? Sure the FDA regulates that they list all of the ingredients, but can the common person really interpret and define all of the technical jargon on each label? How on earth would you really know something was an animal or not?

One thing I used to be pretty good about, but have somehow let slip by, is rennet.
There is rennet that comes from animals, and then vegetable rennet that is plant based, and microbial rennet that is based off of microorganisms through a process of fermentation.  Cheese is the number one place you will find rennet.  Let's be honest: For some restaurant, the "vegetarian" option may only be a side salad and a quesadilla.  Most are better now, but most places are more likely to have a vegetarian option, not a vegan one.  And while historically, my stomach has vetoed cheese on a quarterly basis, anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for it and it is my one craving I cannot shake.  So it makes me very sad to re-read this information and realize that it is horrible that I can cut out anything with gelatin in it (i.e. most yogurts and sour creams, marshmellow, gel pills, etc), yet I cannot get rid of animal rennet? I find that unacceptable and am vowing at this very moment to make a conscious effort to change this portion of my diet. 

Trader Joe's, where I do most of my shopping, has a handy guide breaking down the uses of rennet in their dairy section:


So there we have it.  Each year as a vegetarian or pescetarian I make a switch to my diet and transition it a little bit more. I guess it's time for the next round!