The Case of the Missing Blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger. A horrible blogger, actually. I realize that I haven’t posted in two months. I’ve thought about the fact that I should, but obviously never picked up the laptop and made it happen. And now it’s time.

Back in February, I was lucky enough to land a job at Atlanta Track Club as the PR & marketing communications manager. This means I literally get to write about, talk about and interview people about running all day, every day. I get to tell people’s stories in our magazine and on our social media. I get to work with the media to highlight our great events and programs as well as the inspirational people who participate in them. I get to help set up for our events and then watch as people cross the finish line. Heck, I even get to run at work with my team for our staff workouts.

Me and a few of my co-workers, I'm on the far right

Me and a few of my co-workers at one of our events, I’m the one on the far right

This blog has been a way for me use my writing skills to share my love of running. I had a lot of fun, learned a bit about blogging and met a lot of interesting and fun people along the way, both in person and online. I received encouragement during a very tough time, when a stress fracture ripped my first marathon away from me after I had already completed all of the hard work. I celebrated with you guys when I finally recovered and threw down a half marathon PR. And I learned a little bit about some of the people who read my posts and took the time to comment.

For now, I will not be blogging. I am now focusing on telling other people’s running stories at work instead of talking about my own journey. I actually prefer it that way. But don’t worry, I’m still out there logging miles!

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That’s me taking a picture of last year’s winner of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, Christo Landry

To each and every one of you who read this little blog, thank you. I hope it provided you with some motivation, made you laugh or at least allowed you to commiserate about the rough patches runners face from time to time. Your support means more to me than you’ll ever know. I wish you all many happy miles!

You can still find me on Twitter and Instagram – keep in touch!

Day 78

I was really nervous for Tuesday to come around. I had an appointment with my physical therapist, who would decide whether my leg was strong enough to run again. I had done all of my exercises religiously over the past two weeks, so a “no” from him wasn’t really an option in my brain. I was so excited that my non-running streak of 77 days could come to an end that I accidentally grabbed two left running shoes and threw them into my bag that morning… luckily I realized my idiocy early enough to stop by my place before heading to my appointment!

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on...

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on…

My PT really put me through the grind. It was an hour of exercises that got more and more difficult as I went along. I was petrified that I was failing to demonstrate that my leg was fine. I got frustrated at one point but he interrupted me and said that he was purposefully was trying to fatigue my leg so he could make sure it was up for running. Which would have been nice to know from the beginning…

After what I hoped would be a convincing performance, my leg was iced for 12 minutes and I learned that I was indeed cleared to run – YESSSS!

I was so excited, I didn’t even change out of my running clothes when I returned to work. I finished my day in them so I could easily get home, walk the dog, grab my GPS watch and go. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was a perfect evening. Temperatures were in the 40s and the sun was setting. I only run with my iPod perhaps 50% of the time anymore and I decided for this special run I wanted no distractions. I wanted to hear my footsteps and my breath and remember what it is like to be a runner again!

Park 1

I headed into Piedmont Park. With each step, I felt more like me. Running is truly my happy place. It’s a time when nothing else matters but that moment.

I made sure to take in everything as ran along the path. I probably looked like a big dope smiling and looking around like I’d never been there before. But I didn’t care!

Park 3

I knew I had to ease into running, so I forbade myself from going more than two miles. This was actually very fitting, since the last run before my diagnosis ended up being that exact distance. However, this run didn’t end in tears after feeling like someone was stabbing me in my tibia with each stride.

It was only two miles, and I am a far cry from where I was in November, when I could go out and run 20. But I don’t care. I’m me again! And I can’t wait to see what I will accomplish this year.

Do you have a recent run that has meant a lot to you? Tell me about it!

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

The Perils of PT

The past few weeks have been very frustrating for me but things are finally turning around, no thanks to my lovely health insurance provider (I don’t have warm feelings for Kaiser Permanente). A full two weeks had passed from the time my orthopedist cleared me for physical therapy until I received my referral and could get an appointment. Basically, I should be running by now. But I’m not. Which infuriates me.

(I also found out that physical therapy is apparently a 100% out-of-pocket cost. Great.)

Last week I finally got in to see my physical therapist. He gets me. After I described my entire stress fracture ordeal to him, he said, “well I love you guys. Runners, that is. You do exactly as I tell you no matter what because you’re crazy and you just want to get back out there.” I could tell it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I spent over an hour doing exercises and I will say it was a humbling experience. I was doing well until about halfway through when my leg just quit. I tried again. It quit. I asked if I could take a short break. He laughed and said yes, I was doing great but I understandably have to rebuild strength in that leg. The rest of the session went pretty well, and I experienced no pain afterwards.

The roadmap to my return to running

The roadmap to my return to running

My PT put me on a two-week, at-home program. I was extremely thankful for this considering I have to pay through the nose for any time we spend together. I am to see him again next week and then (fingers, legs, eyes, whatever else crossed) can resume running. I have two sets of exercises that alternate every other day. The exercises take about 45 minutes each day and I do them religiously because I HAVE to run next week. I NEED to.

It has been 72 days since my last run. In addition to PT, I have been biking and walking to occupy myself. I also finished day three of PiYo this morning – more to come on that in the future. But I can’t wait to run again. Especially with the Shamrock Half Marathon coming up so quickly!

Have you ever been driven this crazy by an injury? What is the longest you have gone without running?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Inspirational Words from Olympian Deena Kastor

Last week, I took part in a very fun night at Atlanta Track Club’s Annual Social. It’s a night to catch up with your running friends and find some inspiration. The guest speaker was Olympian and American marathon and half marathon record holder Deena Kastor!

The theme for this year’s event was “Suits and Singlets”. We were asked to wear business attire along with a running singlet. There was even a red carpet and step-and-repeat so you could show off your fashionable combination!

My good friend (and ATC staff member) Jennie and me

My good friend (and ATC staff member) Jennie and me

I sat with some fellow bloggers who I had the pleasure of meeting at a party in December: Elizabeth from Running for Bling, Jesica from rUnladylike, Amy from My Life as a Lazy Girl, and Kristen from Running for More.

The centerpieces at this year's event - they made a point of saying the shoes were not a matching pair, ha!

The centerpieces – they made a point of saying that the shoes were not a matching pair, ha!

Deena talked about her experiences in running – from her childhood (when she started running after doing not so well in soccer and softball) to present day (as a rock star who is still amazing as a masters athlete). As she spoke the 2008 Beijing Olympics – when her foot “snapped in half” due to a stress fracture – I thought of my own recovery process following my injury. She told us, “As athletes, we push the limits. I went over mine.” She went on to say how she learned from the injury and made sure to find the source of it. It was a good reminder to be patient as I get ready to return to running.

Deena Kastor addressing Atlanta Track Club members

Deena Kastor addressing Atlanta Track Club members

Deena also shared examples of how she gets “outside of herself” and shifs perspective to get through the tough moments.

“We can choose to throw in the towel, or we can choose to drop the hammer.”

But perhaps my favorite portion of Deena’s speech started with this: “Running gives us every opportunity to get the best out of ourselves.” And not only during a race or training session. She talked about how every choice we make should have significance on who we want to become. As a runner, as a family member, as part of the community. Deena urged us to remember that only we can make each day extraordinary.

Deena Kastor was so lovely in person – I was very excited to meet her!

Afterwards, Deena stuck around to sign autographs and take pictures. She was very gracious and took her time with each person. She suggested I try pickled herring as she did to recover from her 2008 injury, but warned that it is absolutely disgusting. (She did give some other ideas on how to get more vitamin D as well) Deena was very genuine and it was so nice to meet her in person!

Who inspires you (famous or otherwise)? How has running improved your overall life?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

The Boot: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As of last Friday, I am officially boot-free!!! I am now on day 57 of no running, and my triumphant return may very well be next week. My orthopedist and I came up with a good plan to resume running and still be on track to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. I am also starting physical therapy. At this point, I will take any little mile I can get!

bootFor now, I am thrilled to be reunited with simple things like squats, lunges, planks, and other strength training exercises that require the use of your legs. (I can even do regular push-ups now instead of on my knees, since my leg is back in action!) Mostly, I’m just excited to be able to walk around without lugging that darn boot with me!

I tried to maintain a good attitude during my time in the boot/on crutches and I think I did for the most part. But I wanted to share some thoughts about this whole recovery process. Here it is… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

  • Pre-boarding on my Thanksgiving and Christmas flights.
  • All of my helpers. This includes members of both of our families who poured me wine over the holidays so I didn’t have to get up, co-workers who refilled my water bottles and drove me to lunch, neighbors who offered to walk the dog, strangers who stopped to help me, etc. But most of all, the boyfriend, who has graciously done all kinds of random things for me over the past two months without complaining.
  • A little more time to get things done around the holidays since I wasn’t running at all.

The Bad

  • NOT RUNNING.
  • Not being able to run my first full marathon when most of the hard work was done.
  • Realizing how many things are so much harder when you can’t get around easily. Even getting a glass of water while on crutches was enough to make me want to cry. I don’t know how anyone does that for more than my measly two-week sentence. I truly appreciate my overall health more because of this experience.

The Ugly

  • Unsolicited commentary/advice. Especially from non-runners who just don’t get it. And especially, ESPECIALLY from strangers. Oh you’ve never run before in your life and you want to tell me that I should never run again? Or that there will be other races? That’s cute. Kindly stand back. (For the record, I know there will be other races. But to come that close to your first full marathon and not see final payoff of your hard work is extremely frustrating.)

Now that I’ve purged those thoughts and my stress fracture will soon become an ancient memory, I’m ready to move on! Here’s to getting back out there!

What has been the hardest part of recovering from an injury for you? 

 

 

 

My Goals for 2015

Putting together my goals for 2015 has been a little difficult for me. While most of 2014 was fantastic in terms of running, recovering from my stress fracture has me a little on edge. It has been 50 days since my last run and it’s a little unnerving not knowing how I’ll feel when I am able to lace up my running shoes once again!

However, I’m very optimistic after yesterday’s visit with my orthopedist. He says my tibia is probably about 95% there. I am currently weaning myself off of the boot and will be completely free of it by Friday! I have been cleared to start PT, and will likely be running again in the next couple of weeks. I feel like it will be Christmas all over again when that day comes!

2015 goalsSo here are my running-related goals for 2015:

  • Get healthy, and stay that way. I have been following doctor’s orders and will continue to do so until I am 100% done with this stress fracture. This injury has been maddening and I can’t wait to be completely healthy again!
  • More strength training and cross training. I made an effort to do more of both in 2014, but next year I want to be even more consistent. This will also help with my first goal.
  • A new half marathon PR. My best was the Shamrock Half in 2011. It was my first half and I came in at 2:03:43. I want to break 2 hours this year. I had hoped to do it at the very same race this March, but obviously this may be in jeopardy since I’m coming off of an injury. I’m not ruling it out though – and if I don’t get my shiny new PR there, I’ll try again somewhere else!
  • Run at least 800 miles. I managed to get in 711 miles in 2014 by November 11, so I think this goal is more than reasonable.
  • ???Complete my first marathon??? This almost happened in 2014 (so frustrating that I came so close!). I’d like to make it happen in 2015, but my injury has me a bit scared to completely commit. But I am about 75% sure that I still want to do this, ha!

I really am proud of how consistent I was in 2014, and the fact that I did up to 20 mile runs this year (you can read my full 2014 recap here). Here’s hoping that 2015 will be even better!

What are your 2015 goals? Did you accomplish all you had hoped in 2014?

2014 Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is coming to a close! I love being able to enjoy the holidays, reflect on the year I’ve had, and think ahead to what I want to focus on in 2015.

My first blog post ever spelled out my running goals for 2014 (you can read that here). This week I wanted to take a look back at how I stacked up against those targets, as well as other accomplishments, before I figure out what I want to work on next year.

  • Goal: run at least 700 miles. I was actually able to log 711 miles before my stress fracture reared its ugly head in early November.
  • Goal: break my half marathon PR. Sadly, this did not happen. But I did get in two solid half marathons, and set new PRs in the 5K (twice!), 10K, and 10 Miler distances. Needless to say, I will once again have my eyes on the half marathon PR next year.atc10miler-103
  • Goal: start a blog. Obviously this happened. It has been fun sharing my adventures and observations with you guys this year, as well as hearing about your experiences! In case you missed them, here are some of this year’s top posts: Marathon Lost, Consider Yourself Judged, Not Your Traditional Princess, and To Marathon or Not to Marathon.
  • I trained for a marathon. And I was almost there! I may not have the finish line or medal, but I am proud of my training. I can now say that my longest run is 20 miles, which is 6.9 miles farther than before. I can honestly say this was my biggest accomplishment for 2014.
  • I ran 10 races. I would have had two more in the books had it not been for my stress fracture. However, I had some really great experiences this year and even learned to like an occasional 5K after not having much interest in them beforehand.
  • I got “friendlier” on the run. This year I made an effort to do more group runs and run with friends. This helped to push me and break up longer runs. I really enjoyed meeting more runners and will continue to do this in 2015.
  • I became a J&A Racing Ambassador. I am a huge fan of this racing company, which is based in Virginia Beach. In addition to getting lots of cool stuff and race entries from J&A, I’ve “met” some really cool people who are fellow ambassadors. This weekend, I’m working the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler expo, and I’m excited to finally meet some of these people in real life! I’ll also be cheering on the runners, since I can’t do this race myself as originally planned.

Overall, 2014 was probably my most consistent year for running. I’ll be posting my goals for next year soon!

Let’s hear it – what did you accomplish in 2014? Did you meet all of your goals?