Jump Around!

Guess who can jump pain-free?? Yup, this girl!

As I mentioned, every morning this past week I have been giving myself the ‘jump test’: if I could jump up and down without feeling any pain, that would be the sign that I would let myself run that day. Yesterday I had high hopes for passing the test as soon as my feet hit the floor, but that’s not exactly how it went. I waited and hung around a while after waking up, then later in the morning (after hearing about many of my friends’ awesome runs), I decided to jump again. The only pain I really felt was from my incisions which have been bugging me all week, so I gave myself permission to try and run. The deal was, that if I felt ANY bit of pain at all related to my intestines/gallbladder removal/kidneys (yes…I can feel this kind of stuff!) that I would turn around and go home.

First, it was so awesome suiting up in my running clothes again…to actually run in. I felt like I was back at home in my sports bra, running skirt, workout top, arm sleeves and ear warmers. I was also taken back to what it felt like when I first started running–WEIRD! My legs didn’t quite remember what they were supposed to do!

I started the run in a slow shuffle, nearly tripping due to my great shuffling skills. My hips were like, ‘Whattttt?’ Yes, I felt discomfort, but because I hadn’t run in 11 days. It was also chilly and I forgot how to breathe and I wish I was kidding. The first three miles were spent alternating between not breathing, gasping for air, and trying a breathing technique that made me sound like I was with child in labor. Note: when running, breathe in your nose and out your mouth, in a slow, controlled fashion. Just make sure you actually remember to breathe, unlike some people.

Eventually, my body remembered how to run, yet I felt like the entire time it was yelling at me, “Whyyyyyyyy?!?!?! OH the agony!!!!” Ha. I am half kidding and would be a liar if I said completing those five miles was easy peasy. BUT despite the discomfort, it was so worth it. Afterwards I felt amazing, sore, happy, and like myself again. I have mentioned it before, but I feel most like myself when I run; it’s hard to explain but sometimes the best things in life are things you can’t explain with words.

On Thursday I saw one of my doctors regarding my kidney infection (which my body is still fighting, according to my white blood cell count) and though she knows me all too well, slightly scolded me for going on a walk and bike ride. After explaining that I was near going insane from lack of activity and fresh air, she forgave me. We chatted more, she looked at my incisions, chatted some more (she’s a fellow runner), then came the moment of truth. I asked, “Well………………..what about Little Rock?”

I am not stupid and if my doctor told me I could risk serious complications from running a marathon 18 days after surgery and 15 days after getting a kidney infection, I probably wouldn’t run it. I would rather run 100 marathons later in life than run 1 marathon right now and get myself in deep health trouble for who knows how long.

The verdict is in……and I’m cleared! There are conditions to this agreement from my doctor though and these are the rules:

  • take this week VERY easy
  • finish my antibiotic for the kidney infection
  • stay well hydrated all week, basically just drink water from dusk til dawn
  • take lots of potty breaks on the way down to Little Rock
  • stop at every water station along the course to hydrate (I do this anyways)
  • HAVE A GREAT RACE!

After finding this all out, I honestly think I am happier and more excited to be running this marathon than I was my first one. It probably has something to do with that ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ kind of things. Not being able to run made me love it even more, is that possible??

I am not expecting to be able to pull out a PR next Sunday or anything like that, but I am totally dedicating this race to being thankful. Thankful to be alive, healthy, running, and loving life. That is all this race is going to be about and I am going to love every minute of it.

This week is going to be great– I’m SO looking forward to getting back in the groove of things. Monday I’ll be doing an easy-paced 45 minute run with a pal training for his first half marathon (!!!!), Tuesday will be ZUMBA, Wednesday I hope to do 3-4 miles, and Friday will be an easy 2-3. Heeding my doctor’s advice though, if I have any pain/discomfort/problems I solemnly swear to lay off. Thursday is a rest day and includes another doctor’s visit, and Saturday will be a rest day because we’ll be driving to Little Rock!

Have a great afternoon, friends! See ya later!

PS. I can’t wait to be in this atmosphere again next week!!!

 

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Coping Mechanisms

How does a runner cope with not being able to run? By doing absolutely whatever she can that has the tiniest relation to running. That’s what I’ve been doing at least. I never realized how ‘go-go-go’ I am until I was slapped in the face with not being able to do anything. Well anything as compared with my  typical schedule.

Everyone has been reminding me to not rush my recovery which I have found surprisingly difficult, and each day is different. Some days are up ( like today) but some are down, yesterday was a pretty down day. Not being able to do what is normal for me such as spending a lot of time working out, running, and being around people I love just about got the best of me.

Instead of letting the debbie downers drag me down, I spent today thinking of all of the great things I have been able to do, without hardly doing anything. Does that make sense? Basically, here is how this runner has been coping with not being able to run.

1. I bought more running skirts. Send help. Thank goodness that I should be able to get back to life soon, otherwise my bank account would be depleted in about three weeks due to excessive running apparel purchases.

I hope I love this Adidas skirt as much as I love the other ones that I have!

I like that this one is a different color and all flouncy 🙂

2. I’m also waiting on the neon green compression socks that I decided to order…yes I did it. There’s a 98% chance that they will be involved in my outfit for Little Rock–and considering it looks as though there is a chance for rain that weekend, the black shirt may definitely be IN. I have no plans in letting people see my sports bra, especially in a marathon.

3. Moving! I can’t drive because of the medicine I’m taking, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use my feet, though I’m still needing to take it easy. Yesterday I went walking for 40 minutes but was sore afterwards. This is not normal for me. Today I took the Schwinn for a spin, and it was SO much fun. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was on a bike before today and was surprised I didn’t fall, though I came close.

You better believe if I can fall while running then I will come thisclose to falling off a bike. This bike ride caused me to realized two things, 1) I miss running. I would rather run up a hill than ride up one. 2) Cyclists are smart because you can cover more miles in less time than running, and you typically go a lot faster riding than running. But I will stick with running, thanks.

4. Reading about running! From other blogs, books, Runner’s World, the Facebook page for Little Rock…basically if I have done anything to have running on my mind.

5. Wearing running shirts/clothes/shoes around the house. You probably think this is weird, and it probably is. But deep down I feel like if I’m wearing running my running clothes and shoes, I will heal faster. Right? Right…?

6. Watching my hair grow. Okay I haven’t been THAT bored, but I thought it was funny. Though I am actually trying to grow my hair as long as I can because in December I’m hoping to have enough to donate to Locks of Love! I have plans to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon at the end of the year and Locks of Love is one of the big charity partners this year, so I’ll be chopping my hair off so lots of wigs can be made for some amazing people!

Until I can run again, every morning when I wake up I have been doing the ‘jump test.’ If I can jump up and down without it hurting, that is the day that I will run. I haven’t had that day yet, but am hoping it is SOON.

This break period has been a true test of character, as I was thinking on my ride today. I didn’t expect things/this month/training to happen this way, but when do things ever happen as we expect them? In my case: never.

Still staying positive though and tomorrow is Friday!!!! Happy almost weekend to us!

Future-Thinking

Okay, well I left you all on Friday when I was having quite the time recovering from my gallbladder surgery. As I mentioned in that post, I was throwing up early Friday morning with pain that I never wish upon anyone. Me, wanting to get up and move around and heeding my nurse’s advice that walking would help the pain, I set out on a slow, painful, walk around my block. The entire walk I was thinking of how often I take running for granted and never realized it. I typically consider a 4-7 mile run a ‘jaunt around the neighborhood,’ and on Friday it took me over thirty minutes to walk less than half of a mile.

Later Friday afternoon, vomiting ensued and I called my doctor, who told me to visit the ER to get checked out. After a long night of IVs, waiting, me wanting to go home, an injection of Stadol (possibly the worst medical related experience of my life, I’m talking adverse reactions of hallucinations caused by the dang stuff), and more waiting, we were told that I had developed a kidney infection likely from the catheter used during surgery. The ER people were so nice and gave me an antibiotic for the infection and anti-nausea medicine and we were able to go home.

What a difference a few days can make! Despite still being very sore, I’m thinking from both the surgery and kidney infection, my spirits have greatly lifted because I can feel that my body is healing. Though I don’t like taking medication, I know that it is needed right now. I’m also doing the best that I can and giving my body things that I know it needs that will help the healing process–lots of water, my daily dose of chia seeds, wholesome food, vegetables (that I can palate), and rest, which has been the hardest.

Also, instead of focusing on what I can’t do right now, I have averted my attention to things that I am very much looking forward to! I have two min-goals for the week:

  1. Be able to walk for thirty minutes pain-free– I’m not setting a timeline for this goal because I have to listen to my body, but I have faith that it will happen by the end of the week
  2. Be able to run pain free by the weekend– this one may be a stretch, and again, I will be listening to my body BIG time, but these goals are keeping me optimistic

Since I had been so busy in the weeks before surgery, I now have time to share things that I’ve been wanting to share for too long now!

1. I found a new favorite flavor of energy gel! Through this training cycle, I only used gels on my 22 miler, and a chia seed/water mixture for all my other long runs. This one is AMAZING and tastes like a cordial cherry, I would consider running 22 milers more often if it meant I got to eat these!

Plus I noticed that the caffeine gave me a little extra ‘boost’ while I was running!

2. On Sunday I definitely got the froyo fix that I had been longing for, it was perfect. This time I had a 3:1 toppings to froyo ratio which was a-okay. Yogurtini has a banana’s foster topping that you MUST try because it is the best topping I have ever tasted.

That was enough sugar to tide me over for, say, the next three months.

3. This is the medal for the Little Rock Marathon which is now 13 days away!!!! Motivating factor for signing up for this race? Definitely not.

4. I got my new running skirts in the mail and LOVE the Nike one but am sending the K-Swiss one back. It wasn’t the Kelly Green I was hoping for, more like an ugly pine tree green. So the search for more cute running skirts has continued!

5. I also ordered new running shoes in the mail a few weeks back because my old ones were nearing the 450-mile mark which meant my body was yelling at me to get new shoes. I am now on my fifth pair of the same model of Asics, I love them and though I’ve tried to branch out to other shoes, I simply can’t. I love these and they love me. However, I have always gotten the ones with white as the main color because that’s what my local running store had in stock. BUT I found my shoes online and they had my size in other colors, so I did break my norm. I feel like a total nerd wearing these shoes (maybe it’s the neon green?) but they fit my foot like a dream.

6. Which brings me to my next point…I need to figure out what to wear for the marathon in Little Rock, which means I need opinions/help!!! I have always gone for my Adidas short or skirt on bottom, and that pink She Runs LA tank top for major races, but it’s time to change it up.

Haha! I’m a creature of habit, what can I say??

I know that I’ll be wearing the neon green laced running shoes for sure, so I was considering going with the new Nike skirt (after I give it a test run, of course), a new black Under Armour dry fit t-shirt that I just got and totally love, and investing in a pair of these neon green Zensah compression sleeves, obnoxious much?

Or should I totally scrap this idea and go with something else? I can say that a deal breaker is that if it is sunny on race day, there is no way on EARTH that you will find me in a black shirt. I could do grey or another sweat showing color but definitely not black. Basically, give me your opinions please. Since I cannot currently run, I am naturally thinking about all things running, and this is a great time to plan my marathon outfit. Yes, some girl runners think of these things. Only for races though, because there are cameras, you know.

7. I had to turn my attitude around. Yes, I could use this time to be mopey, sad, and upset about my current situation but I CHOSE to turn my attitude around. Am I frustrated? You betcha. You name it and I’ve probably felt it, but today I decided that I’m only going to be focusing on the positives of this extended rest period that I am getting. Here’s to being extra rested for my next go at 26.2!

Finally, a big huge THANK YOU to my awesome mom for taking care of me. She’s the best, whether it be cheering me on to finish at a race, hanging with me at the ER for 6 hours on a Friday night or scolding me for trying to, um, ‘speed up’ my recovery. Love you little, love you big, love you like a little pig. Love you Mom!

Bump in the Road

Hello, friends. As many of you know, I had surgery to have my gallbladder removed this past Tuesday, on Valentine’s day. I went into this day not thinking much of it, because I had heard from most people that it was a procedure in which they were feeling great a week or so after it happened, with little recovery needed after surgery.

As with most things in life, I entered it with a pretty nonchalant attitude, expecting them to do the procedure and get to go home after I got out of recovery. See…looking pretty nonchalant in pre-op if you ask me! The ‘thumbs up’ has become my signature pose, as my mom brought to my attention.

I was just ready to do that thing and get it done. Truth be told, I have never had surgery on anything below the neck and had no clue what to expect. Despite this, I still entered this situation with no fear, as this was just a little bump in the road that would be taken care of and I would be feeling great afterwards.

The reason I needed this surgery is because many weeks ago I had some odd symptoms that I finally visited the doctor about, got an abdominal ultrasound and they found that I had gallstones, and the means of removing them are to just take the whole gallbladder out. After surgery, the doctor told my mom that I had one LARGE gallstone the size of a ping pong ball…yeesh!

Source

All I quite remember directly after surgery was being in post-op, opening my eyes and saying “I think I’m going to throw up,” and “Oh my gosh my stomach hurts so bad,” in whatever anesthetic mumble I could get out. I did not expect this at all. The nurse was so kind, constantly checking my pain levels (which did not subside), calling my mom to let her know how I was doing and trying to comfort me best he could. I have normally high tolerance for pain, but when they eventually sat my bed up without warning me I cried like a baby.

The next thing I knew, they had moved me to a room to keep me overnight. This was not going as I planned, expected or hoped at all. All of the medicine was making me nauseous, I couldn’t eat, and the pain was getting the best of me. Thankfully I was able to come home on Wednesday afternoon and the recovery process is proving to be a longer one than what is ‘typical.’

I’m still keeping my faith in healing, but am more frustrated than anything. I haven’t been able to eat anything other than jello and applesauce since Tuesday, and last night I woke up throwing up twice in the middle of the night with hiccup spells in between. The pain is worse now than it was in the hospital and I am just praying that this all passes and quickly.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about Little Rock. I’m not going to push my recovery from this surgery. I might even have to walk the marathon, which isn’t what is ideal to me at this point, but it’s reality. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

This post is not a ‘poor me’ post, even though it’s probably a downer one. It’s me being reminded once again that I’m not always in control and despite circumstances, I still must keep my faith that this situation will pass. It’s going to help me grow as a person and as a runner. All I can say though is that I hope this thing is over soon.

Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me, praying me, sending me flowers and visiting me, it makes things a whole lot less sucky 🙂

A Runner’s Rambles

1. Yesterday I ran 22 miles. On the treadmill. People may wonder how I am not brain dead by now, and I don’t blame them. I’ve wondered this myself. The first 13 miles were fantastic actually, I felt like I could have ran all day. Then I had a gallbladder attack, then my feet started to hurt, then I got pissed, then I turned into a zombie and just kept running.

2. Pole dancing was rescheduled from tonight because my awesome best friend had to go to Texas to interview for a job that she realllllllly wants, and since that job is not in the art of dancing on a structure that resembles that of a pole, our plans were postponed. There will still be lots of pictures when it happens, no worries.

3. I used to make fun of people who wore running skirts, but I am completely converted

They are the best things to run in EVER! I’m so much of a convert that I recently purchased this one to add to the collection:

and literally, very literally, just purchased these two which I am hoping will be at my door on Monday morning:

I think I have developed such a liking for running in skirts for several reasons

  • I feel like a girl in them which is the first thing I need when I’m sweating like a man while running for 4 hours
  • My thighs are bigger than my waist when it comes to bottom sizes, so shorts that fit in the waist are tight in the thighs and make me feel all uncomfortable. Running in a skirt alleviates that because I am freeeeeee
  • Running skirts are freaking cute
  • I don’t chafe in skirts, need I say more?

4. Slutty Brownies, anyone? Seriously, who thinks of this stuff?

5. I think that if people who wanted to hunt deer became runners they would have a lot more luck actually killing deer instead of by sitting perched up in a treehouse in the woods.  I kid you not while out on the trails last week, I came across over 16 white tails and have seen many bucks out there too. You know what they do when I run by? Stand there and stare at me. I even said hi and waved at one while I passed it. Running really does make you crazy.

6. I have not had frozen yogurt since before Thanksgiving. This is a sad, sad, world record. Let’s have a moment of silence.

7. Does anyone want to go with me to have pre-surgery froyo this weekend? Please?

8. Instead of froyo I have been eating a lot of salads and vegetables and things that are healthy for me. I also discovered this bread and shall never buy any other kind of bread ever again because there is no way it will be half as good as this stuff is.

All I am really really really looking forward to this weekend is a morning workout with a gal pal and hopefully some frozen yogurt…I hope you have more to look forward to than I do 🙂

Chicago and Other Stuff

A few months ago, after running my first marathon, a common emotion to have is along the lines of, “Now what? What’s next?” Of course I was asked these questions by countless different people. I had already signed up for my upcoming marathon which is now less than four weeks away, so I just told people I would keep running. Easy enough.

I had a few conversations that went exactly like this :

Them: “Well what about Chicago, why don’t you run the Chicago Marathon?” *goes on to explain how amazing Chicago is*
Me: “HA! HA! I don’t think I would ever like to do a big race like that. It seems overrated. Plus the people and congestion…no thanks. Running Chicago isn’t something I’ve ever really wanted to do. I’d love to visit, but forget the marathon.”

Actually, I believe I had this conversation with someone about a month ago. I have always wanted to go and spend time and visit Chicago, but not run 26.2 miles with 45,000 other people through the streets of the city! Marathon mornings can be stressful enough as is, let alone being in a new, huge city, relying on public transportation to get you to the start of the race on time, and who knows what else could happen.

Blah blah blah.

Says the girl who is registered to run the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Source

A month ago I made a resolution for this year to run four marathons in four states, but did NOT plan on one of those being Chicago. I was going for smaller, more familiar states such as Arkansas, Nebraska, and Texas. Texas is reallllllly comfortable (90% of my family lives there).

Turns out that God surprised me again and had dreams for me that were bigger than the ones I had for myself. You think that I would eventually get used to this by now, but no. It’s like an upgrade at a concert; I’m in the nosebleeds happy to be in the same room as the concert and God is all like, “No here, why don’t I just move you to the front row and give you VIP treatment and back stage passes and you can just go on the rest of the tour with the band and marry the lead singer, ok?” Or something along those lines.

You get my point, right? So I’m just taking what He’s giving me and running with it. Literally. Ha. Ha. No that wasn’t funny, I know.

So yes, last week I registered to run the Chicago Marathon which is exactly eight months away.

Another goal that I set for myself this year was to run a marathon to raise money for a charity. Two weeks ago on a recovery run I was racking my brain for which charity I wanted to raise money for, I mean come on, there are THOUSANDS!!! I asked myself a questions, “Which one am I most passionate about?” Because without passion behind what I do, it would be nothing. Suddenly, a light clicked on. How about the organization I volunteer for, Girls on the Run? That makes sense…raise money for an amazing organization that I love volunteering for, you think I would have imagined that sooner!

Upon registering I was also VERY happy to find that Girls on the Run is one of the main 2012 charity partners for the Chicago Marathon which means it will be even more impacted. Be on the lookout in the next few months for links to my fundraising page, and I’ll also have posts solely dedicated to talking more about Girls on the Run, why it means so much to me, how it has impacted my life as well as the lives of so many young women.

Needless to say, 2012 is already blowing my mind. I had dreams for this year, but my world has already been rocked by the awesome stuff that is going on and what is to come in the future months!

Now for the other stuff from my title.

1. I have a 22 mile long run looming over my head for Thursday. I was talking with a good friend at lunch on Sunday and we were discussing how even though you can be passionate about something and love it until no end, doesn’t mean that sometimes it doesn’t make you want to cuss. I love running. I love racing. But the idea of running for 22 miles (not in a race) is not something I exactly look forward to. Notice the use of ‘looming’? Pretty negative connotation there if I do say so myself.

2. With the coming of this super long run though means one thing–it’s almost time to taper! Yessss. I can taper. I am a master taper-er. After this Thursday I’ll be cutting down my mileage until it’s time to race in Little Rock. This training program I made for myself this time around is only 8 weeks long versus my first training plan that was 16 weeks (puke!) and it has flown by! I have found myself actually looking forward to most of my runs and enjoying them way more than I ever did on the last cycle, because I think I haven’t been a slave to training this time.

3. I will really be practicing my taper skills next week because I’m celebrating Valentine’s day by permanently getting my gallbladder detached from my insides and will have to recover, however long that takes. Loooong story short, about two years ago I would get insane cramps on my right side that would literally leave me in a whining mess on the floor because they hurt so bad that I couldn’t stand. I went through six weeks of tests only to be put on a probiotic by some doctor who was a complete idiot. A rude, old, fart.

The pain would only come back randomly, and me being as stubborn as I am just passed it off and figured it was something I would live with. Almost two months ago I was having symptoms that were getting on my nerves so I finally went to the doctor, got an abdominal ultrasound and they found that I have gallstones. Honestly, I was so relieved. I know that gallstones are something they can take care of and be done with. I don’t exactly fit the stereotype for people who develop gallstones, despite my healthy diet and active lifestyle, I still got those suckers. My biggest concern was obviously if it would affect training and potentially the marathon. The surgeon said that he is putting all restrictions on my activity for the first week, but after that I will be responsible for going based on how I feel and listening to my body.

Listening to my body was something I thought that I had mastered, but alas will be put to the test next week. I am really just looking forward to getting this thing over with because it has been a pain in my side. Literally.

4. Friday I am taking a pole dancing class with some girlfriends for my best friend’s very belated birthday celebration. There will be pictures. Aleeza you didn’t read that last part.

Happy Fat Tuesday y’all!