About Me

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Return to Running

After over a week of not running, due to injuries and sickness (mine and the family), I went for a nice easy run yesterday. It was a pleasant 45 degrees out, which felt warm compared to the below zero windchill we've been having lately. I decided to run near my house, so once I got home from work, fed the family and changed, I was out the door.

I had my tracking app going (I'm currently using Nike+ Run Club and I love it), but I had my phone locked and tucked away. I wanted to track everything, but I wanted to run based off of feeling instead of numbers on a screen. I'm still recovering from being sick and having my family sick, as well as some strange injury I've got going on with my rib area. I started out at what felt like a nice, slow pace, especially since the first part of my run has a nice gradual uphill climb to it. I really like to start out that way, because it gets me warmed up pretty quickly.

That eases into a wonderful almost completely flat road that feels amazing after running uphill. I didn't set out with any particular time or distance in mind. I just knew that I needed to get out and run. So when my app told me that I'd completed my first mile in an 11:59 pace, I was pretty excited. I wasn't tired feeling, but my ribs were starting to twinge, so after a little bit further, I decided to go ahead and turn around. The run back is always a joy, because it's that nice flat road and then I get to run downhill the same hill I had to run up at the start. It's a great way to end a run and a fun way to get a negative split. I did my second mile in 11:24, though to be fair, once I finish the downhill, there is a much steeper hill that I have to climb to actually get into my neighborhood, so it isn't all downhill.

I ended up with an overall pace of 11:41, 2.17 miles, for a 25:23 minute run. It felt amazing during the run and after. My body and mind really needed that last night. Though I'll admit that my ribs are not the most pleased with me and I'm back to needing to move around a bit more gingerly. I'm fine with that and I'll probably see how it feels to try another run tomorrow. I don't know about today. I might try some cross training. I'm horrible about that and I've got to do it if I want to be in proper shape to run the OKC Memorial Half Marathon without injury.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sorry

Hello.

I'm sorry for not posting. 12/15 was the start of inventory for my company and I was working late. When we were done, it was late, the weather was nasty and I was too tired to contemplate running in the snow.

12/16 was the finishing of inventory, which meant that I had lots of paperwork to go over and reports to run and file (I work in purchasing - all paperwork, all the time). We were surprised with our end of year bonus checks, so when I got off work, I headed home, picked up the hubby and we went Christmas shopping. That was the end of my good weekend.

Hubby and Acacia were sick this weekend. Not nice, gentle head cold sick, but violent stomach flu sick. I will spare you the gory details, so suffice it to say that I got no sleep this weekend. The one high point is that since Hubby and I did all our shopping on Friday, all presents were bought and since they were too sick to bother me unless they were actively soiling something, in between bouts of cleaning and laundry, I got everything wrapped.

As my reward for doing better than my set goals, I ended up buying myself a new phone. I am now the proud owner of an iPhone 7plus, black, in a plum colored case.

I'm hoping to get in a run this evening. This weekend was essentially below zero with wind chill, so even if the family hadn't been sick, there's a good chance I wouldn't have made it out anyway. I need one at this point though, so I'm going to try my best to get a nice, slow mile in before I end the day.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and that Christmas/Holiday planning is going well. I will try to get more/better posts up, but life has really been smacking me around this past week.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No Running For a Bit

I'm clumsy.

It's somewhat of a joke everywhere I go, because I'm clumsy. Really clumsy. I can't help it and it's fun to joke about when I pinball myself around the office or look like I'm doing a weird dance around the furniture. It isn't fun when I'm finding bruises and can't remember where exactly I got them, because I hit so much stuff. I spent three weeks trying to figure out where some bruises on the back of my left thigh were coming from, before I realized that it was a bar on my car's seat.

Yesterday, the left side of my lower rib area started to really hurt. A coworker checked and didn't see any bruising (it's kind of on my side/back, so I couldn't really check myself), but it was sore to the touch and it hurt to move. It didn't hurt to breathe, so I wasn't worried about broken ribs. When I got home, my husband was checking me out and asked if I'd fallen. I was so sure I hadn't and we argued about it, because he was sure I must've and I was sure I hadn't. Surely I'd remember falling hard enough to hurt myself this badly, right?

Wrong!

I took off my socks and felt the abrasion on my left ankle. The ankle that I'd swung into my heavy wooden dresser that morning, causing me to fall into the dresser on my left side, before bouncing onto the floor. I admitted as much to my husband, who sighed in frustration, before checking my ribs again. Nothing seems to be broken, swollen or hot to the touch. The pain isn't so bad that I can't move at all, so we've opted to avoid paying a doctor right now. I've been through this before with strained muscles. They'll tell me to ice and heat it, take mild painkillers as needed, usually alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and use it as little as possible.

So that's what I'm doing. That does mean I probably won't be running today. Depending on how I feel, I might try tomorrow, but we shall see. I have to work late tonight, so I don't know what I'll be getting done.

I hope everyone else is being safe and less clumsy than I am.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Getting Back Into Things

I took a couple days off after my recovery run on Sunday. I haven't been feeling the greatest and my legs were still a little worn, so I was worried about pushing too hard too fast. I felt pretty awful yesterday though; sick to my stomach and tired, so I didn't want to run even though I kind of felt that I should. I'm very glad I didn't though.

I woke up this morning feeling sick. However, I'm stubborn and not always that smart, so I got up, got dressed and after a quick 4:30 am run to Walmart to get Ding Dongs for the hubby and Acacia (the preferred treat in lunches around here), I stopped by the nature trail to do a quick run. I decided to do a 22 minute run and set out. The first half mile was awful. The second half mile wasn't great, but it felt a lot better. The last .8 miles were somewhere in between good and icky. When I was done, I really felt like I was going to toss my cookies.

1.8 miles, 12:11 average pace, 26 degrees. I honestly felt like I was going a lot slower, since my stomach wasn't happy with me, but I'm pretty proud of this, since I set out to run an easy 22 minutes.

I'm at work now and I can't say that I feel much better. My stomach calmed down a bit after I ate a few orange wedges off my husband's breakfast. He works out in the elements, so I always give him something hot with fresh seasonal fruit. Today he had a breakfast sandwich (biscuit, egg, sausage and cheese) and orange wedges. I stole some of his orange, but really don't feel up to eating more than that right now. I've got some yogurt and an apple and jar of peanut butter here, so if I get hungry, I'll be fine. They also stock our break room with food, so I have options.

I hope everyone is staying warm (or cool, if you're lucky, I guess) and I hope you're enjoying the holiday season, whatever it might be that you celebrate.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My 5k Race!

I didn't do any running on Friday and I tried to make sure that I hydrated and ate well. I went to bed at a good time and got some pretty good sleep.

I woke up on Saturday and my stomach was filled with butterflies. I had picked up some Pho the night before, so I heated it up and ate while I got dressed. I was feeling pretty good and it was a lot of fun to check in and pick up my shirt. It's actually really cute.

We started (there was a loud gun shot and a cannon that shot confetti and ribbon) and I'll admit that I let the crowd carry me faster than I should have gone out. I'll try to avoid that next time, but overall I had a great time. They did have a water station around half way, which I was surprised to find that I really appreciated. The last mile was done fairly level, but with a nasty headwind. I crossed the finish line and immediately burst into very ugly tears. It prompted one lady to ask if I was okay. I assured her I was.

My legs were shaky and I was already doing that irritating thing where my body rapidly cools down (I get SO hot when I run - it was 35 degrees out and I spent most of the run in a t-shirt, still feeling very warm) and I start shaking from the temperature change. My husband is trying to get me back to the car, but I insist on going inside for my official chip time. Remember: My A goal, my pie in the sky goal, was to run under 38 minutes. It was something that even a few days ago I wasn't sure I could do. My official chip time for my 5k was 35:32, 11:27 pace. 184th out of 238 overall, 106th out of 142 women, and 20th out of 28 women in my age group (30-34). 

Taken by themselves, these aren't amazing stats. Taken with the understanding that I am lucky to have run at all, these are amazing. I am so proud of myself. I am so proud of my body, because while my body is shaking from muscle fatigue and a rapidly cooling core, my knee does not hurt. My back does not hurt. I am sore, but I am not in pain.

I got home and took a hot bath, finishing up the rest of my Pho. Yes, I took my food into the bathtub. I am not ashamed. I took it pretty easy the rest of Saturday and woke up on Sunday just a little sore. I did a recovery run and ran by feeling. I did 1.5 miles. I ran 1/2 a mile and paused, assessing how I felt. I decided to continue, but when I got to 3/4, my legs were starting to feel a little lead-like, so I opted to turn around and head home. 1.5 miles, with a 12:42 pace. It felt good to get home and shower. Acacia and I did church and then other than some laundry, I didn't push too hard. I did take a mid-day nap after lunch (street tacos!), but I got a lot of laundry done.

I will probably not run today. I had errands this morning before work, but even if I hadn't, I'm not sure I feel like it. I'll reassess this evening and if I feel alright, I might head out for a nice, slow mile.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and I hope that we are all ready to go into this last bit of time before Christmas. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

20 Minute Run

Goodness it is getting cold here. I hope wherever you are, you have a nice warm place to sleep.

We had a holiday program to go watch for Acacia. They did crazy carols and it was cute and enjoyable. That did mean that I went out for my run later than I wanted to, given the temperatures. My run ended up being done in 26 degree weather. It was definitely not pleasant at the beginning or the end, but I heat up so much when I run that I certainly wasn't cold for most of my run.

I did 1.71 miles in 20 minutes. Average pace was 11:40. The first mile was done in 11:50 and it was an out and back run, so the uphill portions I did at the beginning were offset by that lovely downhill at the end. An 11:40 average pace is pretty nice though, but I don't know if I'll be able to hold that kind of pacing on Saturday. It would be so amazing if I did though. My big time goal is to finish under 38 minutes, but if I could hold an average 11:40 tomorrow, that would give me a finish time under 37 minutes.

I'm not counting on that though. My baseline goal is to finish under 45 minutes. This is something that, barring another blowout, will be easily accomplished. My mid-line goal is to finish under 40 minutes. That's a 12:53 average pace, which seemed a little harder several weeks ago, but now seems like something I shouldn't have trouble with. My high goal, the one I thought would be a struggle and a miracle to accomplish was under 38 minutes. That's a 12:14 pace and something that I feel like I can do, but I'm not pinning all my hopes on it. Just finishing, no matter the time, is going to be huge for me. My last distance for time race was my last APFT, where I blew out my knee and finally got a doctor who took me serious, and that was in April 2007. I did 2 miles in 17:27, which is an 8:44 pace. One day, I'll be that fast again. That won't be tomorrow, but it is a goal that I've decided I'm going to reach for.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Running by Feeling and Facing Fears

When I first got back into running, seriously, it was back in September of this year. Before that, I'd start and stop....mostly stop. I was just so afraid. My fears were somewhat justified. After all, at the ripe old age of 30 (there is much sarcasm in that statement, in case anyone was unaware), I've been dealing with the same issues for over a decade. I've been considered disabled, albeit at a low rate, for almost 9 years. The VA has my disability date as of February 29, 2008. Interestingly, because I was pregnant at my time of discharge, my knee and my back are both rated at 0%. It was explained to me that because of my history (the short 3 years of it), they are obviously both so bad that the VA cannot deny me disability, but because they were unable to take current X-Rays, they won't estimate the percentage that this affects me. I can apply for re-evaluation at any time, but that means a lot of appointments and that just isn't something I can quite afford yet. I'm thinking next year, perhaps.

In any case, over the last 12 years (yes, 12; I was originally injured in December 2004), I've spent so much of that in and out of emergency rooms, physical therapy offices, occupational therapy offices (I had to learn how to get in and out of bed in a way that wouldn't hurt me), on crutches, canes and braces, that the fear of re-injury is very real. So real that just the thought of hearing that pop again sends me to the edge of an anxiety attack. The thought of running, of running more than the 1.3 mile block I live on, of running faster than a 14:00 mile, sends waves of fear over me.

It is a fear I face every time I open my door, dressed in my running gear.

I was trying to find something to motivate me, something that would be more exciting and worth facing that fear. In October, I found it. I found a local 5k. 3.1 miles. I thought that even if I ended up needing to walk part of it, it was something I could enjoy. So I looked up a training plan that looked like I could manage it, and I got started. I started out trying to hit certain paces and while they weren't speedy, it was something I was struggling with. I spent almost the whole month of November beating myself up because I wasn't meeting these arbitrary goals I'd set for myself.

This month, I've been trying to run more based on how the effort feels. Toward the end of November, I was starting to get frustrated and irritated and it just wasn't quite as fun as it had been. It turns out, that's really what I needed. I enjoy running, even as I'm doing it (most of the time), and forcing myself to try and maintain a certain pace by constantly looking at my phone was just making me miserable. It also turns out that I tend to be faster that way. I'm able to maintain my speeds better and when the run is done, my average pace for the entire run tends to be below what my overall speed needed to be. It's been a real eye opener and exactly what I needed. I was having difficulty not taking breaks on runs just over 2 miles, but now I'm easily able to go over 3 miles.

I did a nice 30 minute run last night. It was cold. It was 33 degrees, but with wind chill, we were looking at a toasty 24 degrees. I ended up doing 2.56 miles, some hills, with an average pace of 11:42. Mile 1 was 11:54, Mile 2 was 11:51 and the last half mile was at 11:21. To be fair, that last half mile was mostly down hill, but since it is the same hill that I ran UP at the beginning of my run, I'm going to happily take an average of 11:42.

If I had tried to take that same run the way I used to, staring at my phone, trying to hit certain speeds, I'd have ended up much slower. I'm learning and as I'm learning, I'm fearing less. The fear is not gone. It is still there and I still have to fight it back and take deep breaths and count to myself to avoid anxiety attacks, but I have reached a point where I am able to fight back. I have reached a point where I know how to listen to my body and run (or not) according to how I feel. I will always be afraid, at least a little, because my injury is not something that will ever truly go away. It is a permanent disability and one that I have to learn to live and train with. I used to be so angry about it. I was barely an adult and my life was changed. I've learned to count myself lucky though, because now that I'm in my 30's, my friends are slowly starting to get where I've been for over a decade. I can help them learn to live with their aches and pains and I can remind them to listen to their bodies.

I've got a 20 minute run on the schedule for tonight, with some sprints at the end. Tomorrow, Friday, the day before my race, I'm going to do a nice, slow mile, to keep my body limber. On Saturday, I'm going to face my fear head on. I'm going to run a set distance for time. This is something that I've been afraid of for 12 years, having it reinforced every six months for the first 3 (Army Physical Fitness Tests are 2x/year), and too afraid to do it again for the last 9. I'm scared. I know I can do it, because I've ran further just a few days ago. I know I can do it at a reasonable time, because I've been able to maintain some decent paces. I'm still scared. I'm going to go out there, line up, and run based on how I feel. My daughter and my husband will be waiting for me at the finish line. My daughter has never seen me run for distance and speed and my husband has seen me collapse every time I have. She is excited and he is afraid, but on Saturday I'm going to make all three of us proud, no matter how I finish, because I will have faced my fear.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

45 Minutes

My last long run on my training plan was a 45 minute run. I was terrified.

Since my last major re-injury in April of 2007, but before beginning training, I hadn't run more than around 1.5 miles. These last couple months of training have been a lot of "first-in-a-long-time" things for me. It was this one, this 45 minute run, that has had me scared since I first decided to start a training plan for my 5k.

In fact, the fear has been so bad that even though I felt good enough to run on Sunday, I kept putting it off. I didn't run Monday morning either. I just kept thinking, "What if I can't do it?" "What if I hurt myself again?" Hubby kept encouraging me all yesterday evening and finally, at about 8 pm, I decided to just go do it. If I couldn't do it, I'd just figure out where I went wrong and try again. If I got hurt, I'd scale back and maybe racing just wasn't in my future.

When I left, I decided to make sure that I started slow. My longest run in almost 10 years (!) was 35 minutes so far and 10 minutes can feel like a lifetime if you're not prepared. I set out going slow and kept it at a nice and comfortable 13:00 pace. When I hit mile one at 13:01, I told myself that I could pick it up just a bit, ignore the clock (or in my case, phone app) and just run a tiny bit faster. Mile two was completed in 12:40. I still felt really good (and I've decided that what I had for dinner will be my pre-race meal), so I gave myself permission to go just a tiny bit faster. Mile three was completed in 12:20. Overall, I ran 3.62 miles in 45 minutes. My total average pace was 12:25.

I didn't manage to see where I was, time wise, when I hit 3.1 miles, but I saw it at 3.17 and it was under 40 minutes. I finished my run last night feeling I could keep going. I was excited and I cried. I cried when I told Hubby about it. That is my longest run in almost 10 years. That is also just slightly slower than the pace I need to hold to complete my 5k at the fastest time I thought I was capable of. There was no pain. There were some sore legs, but there was no pain. Almost 12 hours later, there is still no pain.

I feel like I conquered something very big last night. I proved to myself that I am capable of so much. I am strong and I know what I'm doing. I know when I line up to race on Saturday morning, I'm going to be nervous, but I always get nervous. What I won't be is scared. I won't be scared because I've already proven to myself that I can do this. I've done the work and I can go out there and I will crush my goals.

Also, in case anyone might be wondering, I had a big bowl of Pho last night. Roughly 1.5-2 hours before running. I have never felt so good, so I think I'll be buying some on Friday night to reheat and eat on Saturday morning before I run. Noodles, broth, brisket, 2 lime wedges and a healthy squirt of sriracha sauce. I felt amazing, didn't feel dehydrated or tired. It was pretty neat.

To those who are reading, thanks for the views, and good luck with your next goals.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Very Busy Weekend

At some point, I will get a computer so I can blog on the weekends. Until then, I feel a bit lazy about not posting, but I am not going to attempt to write a blog post on my phone. I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms and I'm just not up to that.

I did manage to get up and go for a run on Saturday morning. It wasn't anything particularly fantastic as far as numbers go, but I felt great afterward. 1.29 miles, average pace of 12:29. My Saturday wasn't extremely busy, and I did get a nap, but I ended up going out with friends. I was driving, so I didn't do much drinking, but I was out way too late and didn't get home until well after 3 pm. By the time I was heading to bed, it was somewhere around 4.

Around 6, my dogs started whining, which woke me and the hubby up, and we realized that our furnace wasn't working. Given that we live in central Oklahoma, this is definitely cause for panic. So up we got to try and fix it. We sort of got it working, but we turned on our space heaters in both bedrooms, just in case, and went back to bed. Amazingly, I felt pretty damn amazing not long after 8 am, so we got up, did breakfast and then headed out to get some things done.

Hubby spoiled me yesterday. We did some window shopping and he bought me a bottle of wine from a local winery that I absolutely love. He took his girls out to a late lunch/early dinner and we had some delicious Mexican food. I ended up with a fish stew which was amazing. Once we were done eating, we headed over to our local home improvement store to buy a new thermostat. This, thankfully, solved our problem and actually really helped, because the house hasn't been too hot or too cold since.

I was debating about going for a run in the evening, because it was cold and I was a little tired. I'd finally decided to go ahead and just do it, since I wasn't ready to end my running streak. I went out to pick up a couple treats for Hubby, who was hungry, and when I got back, he was watching Suicide Squad behind the scenes things. We had a quick discussion, in which he admitted that since it was already almost 8 pm, he didn't think I was going to run. I begged him to wait on starting the movie, that I'd be right back. I left the house and banged out a quick (for me) mile. 1 mile, 11:34 pace, back in the house before he expected me and we were able to start the movie.

I'm starting a body weight based strength training plan today. I'd tried one with some equipment, which I have, but it wasn't working out. I will also be doing my last long run before my 5k on Saturday (12/10!! So close!!!), which has me both nervous and excited. I'm so thrilled to have made it as far as I have, because when I started I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it to this point without having been back to the doctor for something. I haven't had to use a brace or a cane at all, and since we've had some not so great days, weather wise, this is especially amazing.

I hope that whatever you do to stay active, it makes you as happy as running is making me.

Friday, December 2, 2016

It Gets Better

Good morning!

I ate pretty decently yesterday, though I did break and have some of the holiday candy that our company sends to our customers and vendors. It was a tiny piece and it was GOOD. I hydrated pretty well, ate a moderate dinner and was in bed shortly after 9 pm. I set my alarm for just before 5 am, giving me over 7.5 hours of sleep. I still had to give myself a pretty stern talking to before I got up the courage to get out and run this morning. It really came down to the fact that my #RWRunStreak was something that I've talked about a lot on my Facebook page and even though I know my friends and family would understand, I just couldn't give it up without a try.

I'm so glad I did. It wasn't my fastest mile, but it wasn't painful and I really enjoyed it. 12:20 pace, 1 mile completed, and my faith in my ability to understand my body has been restored. Yesterday really knocked me down and I was worried. I was worried that I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. I was worried that I wasn't as fit as I thought I was getting. I was also worried that I just wasn't meant to be a runner anymore, which was really heartbreaking. I was scared to get out there this morning, because if today went bad, it would just confirm what I was thinking. I'm glad that I ended things early, because if I had pushed, I probably wouldn't have been able to get out there today and do well and feel good.

I've lost some more weight. I'm down to 183.5 (yes, the .5 matters to me right now) and I've lost 1% in body fat. That isn't a number that I feel ready to share on Facebook, but I'm going to be brave enough to share it here. Probably because I'm not entirely sure anyone will see it and more sure that no one will comment. I finally had the courage to use the body fat calculator built into my scale. Is it really accurate? I have no idea, but it is something that I can still use to monitor my progress. Weight loss without fat loss isn't a good thing, long term. At 188 lbs, it was showing 38% body fat. This is bad. Really bad. My weight may not indicate obesity, but my body fat is telling a different story. Today, it went down to 37%. Still not good, but progress is progress.

I dislike BMI for many reasons. Body fat percentage is a much more reliable indication of total health, in my layman's opinion. You can be very skinny, but have a high percentage of body fat. As a 30 year old woman, I need to try to keep my body fat under 34%. That's C goal. B goal is to get it under 30% and A goal is currently under 26%. That may change, but that's where I am right now.

I hope everyone out there IRL is having a fun time preparing for the holidays, whether you're spending it with family, friends or solo. Be safe.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not All Runs Go Well

Not all runs will feel good. I'm not one of those crazy people that thinks running feels amazing while you're doing it every time. Most of the time, I'm struggling a bit (or more). I enjoy the feeling of a little struggling and after a mile or so, I usually feel pretty good. Over the past couple months, I've actually had to regularly stop myself from continuing on once my scheduled workout was supposed to be over. I mean, I feel great, why can't I keep going past my scheduled time/distance?

Not today. I started out and I felt pretty crappy, but I figured I'd give it my best shot.

My training schedule called for a 30 minute run today. That first mile, usually tougher than the rest, was awful. I ran 15 minutes out, turned around, and within 5 minutes, my body was telling me I was DONE. I had to end my workout after 20 minutes. You know what sucked even more? I still had to walk back the same distance I'd run out. I was a little later than planned getting home, which meant my whole morning was thrown off.

Not only that, but the walk back was distinctly uncomfortable. My shins were angry and they were telling me. I couldn't walk right. My stomach was rebelling and I'm honestly surprised that I didn't end up puking. It was a close call a couple of times. This has only happened a few times, all back when I was active duty Army, so it really caught me by surprise.

All I can figure is that I have been pushing myself a little too much the last few days. I haven't been getting over 7 hours of sleep a night for the past two nights. I, shamefully, haven't been hydrating quite well enough, even though my nutrition actually has been getting better.

I know better. I got a little lazy. Well, I'll walk that statement back a little, and this is why:

I suffer from chronic depression and anxiety. It's diagnosed by several psychiatrists, so this isn't some self-diagnosis as a way for me to explain my bad moods. It was officially diagnosed in 2005, though the evidence suggests that I've struggled for much longer than that, and I actually have a disability rating through the VA for it. Yes, it is that serious. Over the last decade, I've learned coping mechanisms to help my get through the cycles of depression, and I've spent much of the last few years really focusing on my anxiety.

It's interesting, because I can feel a depressive episode coming on. It's like watching a black cloud roll in. Sometimes I can mitigate it and make it through without too much of a problem. Other times, nothing I do seems to help. I understand that I make poorer decisions when I'm in a depressive episode, but even though I know this and I can see myself making these bad decisions, I just don't care.

One of my goals in my path to whole-self-health has been to stop beating myself up for the silly decisions I make. If I neglect to pay some bills, sure I'm going to scold myself and come up with ways to help avoid that mistake in the future (I have a method, now, and it works surprisingly well). Forgoing my bedtime because I'd rather stay up and cuddle with my hubby? A poor decision in terms of health, but I think that I can forgive myself because he seems to have appreciated these last couple nights of connection and discussion. It would get old, because he actually likes some time alone in the evenings, so there's motivation to get back on my regular sleep schedule. My lack of hydrating? I'd stopped putting my water bottle in front of me, so today it is back, smack dab in the middle of my desk, right by the computer monitor.

I don't share any of this for pity or to invite criticism (FYI: any comments ever received that lecture me on mental health will be deleted. Unless you are a mental health professional and I have requested your professional opinion, please keep your words to yourself. This is not a joke and it is not something simply cured by certain foods or activities; believe me, I've tried. Prayer is not the answer either.), but to simply share a part of my struggle in the hopes that someone who is going through their own struggle will know that it is okay. It's okay to have crappy days and crappy workouts. It's okay to realize you've made some poor decisions. The important part is that you take the steps to remedy the issue.

I will be upping my water intake, strictly limiting any added-sugar treats, focus on getting back to a good sleep schedule, stretching and foam rolling, and most importantly: reminding myself that my setbacks, whatever form they take, do not define me. It is how I respond that makes me who I am.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fitness Assessment - Ugh

Good morning! I'm not a morning person, but I play one really well at this point in my life.

I didn't run yesterday morning, opting to run in the evening. I came home from work, which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, being the Monday after a 4-day weekend, made dinner and ate. This was my first mistake. It wasn't a healthy dinner, it was heavy and I didn't wait long enough before I headed out to do my mile.

I hated almost every single second of it. I spent pretty much the entire time wondering not only why I was out there in the cold, but contemplating my poor food choices and wondering if I'd be able to hold everything in for the entire run.

I did complete the run, without puking, in 11:46. Then I stopped moving, but forgot to turn off the timer, so my total run time ended up being 11:51. Oh well. I made it back home (I really hate the rolling hills in my neighborhood), but I was still sick enough that my husband had to untie my shoes for me. There was no way I was getting them undone on my own without making a huge mess on the floor. The floor is new, as you saw before, so leaving the shoes on or puking on the floor were not valid options.

I iced my shins, which have been hurting after my runs, and once my stomach calmed down a bit, I drank my post-run chocolate milk while I foam rolled and used a massage stick on my poor legs. My husband has been surprisingly supportive with all of this. I think he must've read some things online, because after every run, he asks me if I drank my milk and foam rolled. I actually really appreciate it, because it means that he's paying attention and supporting me. It's nice.

This morning, I was supposed to do a 30 minute easy run, but since I ran later last night, I decided I should probably push that to after work. I'll make dinner for the family, but instead of eating dinner I'll have a muffin and go for my run. Then I can eat and be happy. Instead of my run, I did my fitness assessment for the strength training plan that I'm starting.

It went alright. I've been seriously slacking on my strength training, so I wasn't expecting it to go very well. I guess that means that it went better than I expected, since I finished a little ahead of time. I need to work on my upper body strength quite a bit, which I already knew. I'm looking forward to getting into strength training again though. I actually really enjoy being active and working out, which is amusing, because I really do have to work at it. I'm not naturally gifted in athleticism, other than having very strong legs (even with the injuries). It's a huge contrast to my husband, who is gifted in everything physical he does, but it isn't something that gives him joy. He does what he has to do to stay healthy, but rarely more, unless he feels like lifting heavy to bulk up.

It sounds conceited, but I'm more gifted in the academic areas. My husband is smart, but he's not into reading, mathematics, or even much technology. This is where I thrive. I have always loved numbers and equations more than people. This means that my current job, as a purchasing agent for a small business, is wonderful for me. I spend most of my time on my computer, with numbers and with papers. I love it and I thrive in it.

I want to be healthy though and I do enjoy working out. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I'm done. I don't always love it in the moment, though frequently I do, but I always love it when I'm done. It isn't easy for me though, which I think means so much more to me when I accomplish something. I've learned over the years to really appreciate what my body can do for me, with or without injuries, because since it isn't gifted in easy ability, that makes it so much more special for me.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A long break

I really do need to get better about blogging over the weekends. To be fair, my laptop is old and doesn't always connect to my wifi and blogging on my phone isn't a fun thing.
However, those are excuses and I need to come up with solutions.

Did you have a nice weekend? I did. Work let us go around 2:30 on Wednesday, so I had plenty of time to get home and get food prep going. I was responsible for the turkey, a ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, chocolate pies and stuffing. I cook my turkey in my oven, but my ham always goes on the grill in the backyard. This results in my showering frantically minutes before we walk out the door, but it's worth it for the fantastic taste.

Thanksgiving morning I woke up shortly after 4 am, got my turkey in the oven, and then went for a run. I ran for 30 minutes, ending up with 2.38 miles, average pace of 12:36. It felt good to run and it felt even better to know that I had it out of the way and could focus on what I knew was going to be a very stressful day.

I was not mistaken. There were family issues galore, which I will not list here. However, knowing I had already run, I was in a better mood, and I made pretty good food choices, given the lack of healthy options. My husband and I agreed that from now on, we're going to bring more food that appeals to us so we can eat to fuel our activity. This excites me, because I desperately missed sweet potatoes and cranberries this year.

We did get to see the grandbaby. She is almost six months old and she's such a sweetie. It is a lot of fun to be able to have a baby around, since we aren't ready to add another one to the household just yet.

Hubby convinced me to sleep in on Friday (and pretty much every day after), which led to a late mile being ran. I decided that I'm probably well enough to attempt the Runner's World Run Streak (#RWRunStreak), which goes from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. I ran a single mile on the block around my neighborhood, which includes some delightful hills. One mile, 11:44 pace, and I felt amazing. Earlier that day, Acacia (my daughter) had gone to Grandma's house, so Hubby took me out to lunch, for some amazing Mexican food, and I had a dish that I will go back for many, many, many times. We did some shopping and then enjoyed a nice quiet afternoon with no kids.

On Saturday, we had quite a bit to do, so while we slept in, we ended up getting out and getting Acacia some new shoes. For once, it didn't take an hour, with much whining and crying, to find shoes. She actually fell in love with a pair within sixty seconds and I cried a little on the inside when I realized she needed a 3 1/2. She's only 8 (born in April), but she's quite tall for her age, so you'd think I'd be used to how fast she sizes up. Nope, not this mom. I cry a little each time we have to buy a bigger size.

Saturday night was my 15 minute training run and I ran around my neighborhood again. I don't like those hills. Nothing is an actual flat stretch of road, it's all rolling hills of varying degrees. 1.33 miles, 15 minutes, 11:32 average pace. Hills aside, I was pretty excited when I finished. I took that hellish hill at the end, something I've never accomplished, and I beat it. It was pretty nice and when I was done, I took a nice hot bath with a large glass of wine.

Sunday, I slept in (again), and then we headed off to church. By we, I mean me and Acacia. Hubby does not attend. We go to a local UU church, which suits me for many reasons, which I may or may not go into one day. After church, we had lunch (tacos from a taco truck), and once I was satisfied it had settled enough, I went out for my weekly long run.

Since I moved to OKC in January 2012, I've run the route around my block and I've driven down to a local nature path to run. On Sunday, I decided that since I had a 35 minute run scheduled, I would just go ahead and run on some local streets. I underestimated how fast I would end up going (big mistake, I think I went too fast overall) and had to run past my street to finish up my run. The start of my run was up a nice gradual hill, but it had a hellish headwind that was actually really discouraging. Everything else went pretty great, though I think I went too fast, because my shins were not happy with me afterward. I did 2.88 miles, 35 minutes, average pace of 12:08.

I'm officially registered for my very first 5k! I am doing the SandRidge Santa Run, which takes place in downtown Oklahoma City. It is on December 10th, so it's really close and I'm getting excited and nervous. My initial goal, when I first decided to run a 5k back in October, was to aim for under 45 minutes. That has become my C goal, because at this point, I'm pretty sure that's going to happen. My B goal is to run under 40 minutes, which looks like it will happen and I will be pretty thrilled. My A goal is to run under 38 minutes. This goal is something that I think I can do, but I'll have to work really hard at it on race day.

I'll be running another mile this evening to continue my run streak and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do at my race.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

For an unemotional person, I'm sure crying a lot

I'm not an emotional person. That's what I'm told. I have emotions, but I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve. It's really kept in more of thick steel box and the key is hidden quite well. I've been called cold more times than I can truly remember and I don't even get offended when people show surprise at the news that I have a child. I'm not a kind, maternal type of person. I'm not embarrassed by this, nor sad; it is what it is and I am who I am. I don't cry often. Excepting pregnancy, I rarely shed tears. It isn't that I don't think a person should cry. On the contrary, I think it is very healthy. It just isn't something that happens much for me.

I did a little crying when we redid our flooring. I've spent my entire life living in rental homes, never spending more than a few years in one place. This house that we now own (as of 7/15/15), we've lived in since 1/29/12. This is the longest I've ever lived in one place, but until just last year, it wasn't really mine. Even after we signed the papers, it still looked like someone else's home. I think it was made worse with the fact that this was a family home, with a lot of memories of it actually being someone else's home for so many years. Even painting the walls didn't do much. Tearing out the old carpet and flooring and replacing it with something of my own choosing? Doing the hard work myself? These things have me finally feeling like this is MY home. It was emotional.

The other day, I realized I hadn't done my laundry. My husband had clean clothes and so did my daughter, but I had no clean work clothes. I had clean work OUT clothes, but not work clothes. So I was scrambling to find something to wear. I found a pair of pants that I had misplaced, thank goodness, but with my weight gain, shirts are in short supply. They just haven't fit around my chest and my arms. I hesitantly pulled out of my drawers a long sleeved shirt that I love. I haven't been able to wear it in over a year, because I just couldn't get the sleeves up my arms. But that day? The sleeves were snug, but they fit! I cried.

Today, I wanted to dress a little nicer. We're doing our company Thanksgiving potluck and I wanted to look pretty. Once again, I didn't have a clean shirt (I really need to make washing my regular clothes much more of a priority). I dug around and found a gray half sleeved shirt that I loved, but has been too small for even longer than the long sleeved one from last week. I pulled it on and it's snug, but I got it on! I am covering up the fact that it's a bit too snug for work appropriate wear by keeping a cute light brown corduroy blazer over it. I cried.

Why so many tears for a woman who is known (by friends and not-friends alike) for being cold and unfeeling? I've put on a lot of weight. I've been working really hard to lose the weight, but the scale hasn't really been budging. In the last three weeks, I've lost 2 lbs according to the scale. It has been so frustrating to work so hard, both out on the road and in the kitchen, but see so little quantifiable progress. To be able to take clothes that I love, that I had to stop wearing because of weight gain, and to be able to put them back on without being afraid of ripping them, is a very emotional thing for me. It's also encouraging and reminds me that not all my progress will be on the scale. Two women can be the same size, but a woman with more muscle will weigh more. As long as I continue to lose inches and belly fat, it's okay if the scale isn't moving as fast downward as I was hoping. Because my ultimate goal isn't a specific size or weight (though I have those goal ranges too), but to be healthy again.

I cried earlier today as well. Even before the shirt.

I haven't been feeling the best. If you've read previous posts, you know that I've been having some
issues with my calves. They're feeling better, but not great, so I decided that I would still run the scheduled 25 minute run, but I wouldn't be checking my app to make sure I was staying on pace. I would just run at a comfortable pace for around 13 minutes and then turn around and run back. I got done and I pulled my phone off so I could update my progress and post to Facebook. I love the encouragement I get from my friends and it helps keep me accountable, because they ask if they don't see regular updates.

I was expecting to see 13:00+ average pace, with less than two miles completed. So when I saw that I'd completed 2.04 miles, with an average 12:14 pace, I cried. My regular easy pace of 12:30ish has seemed a little difficult lately, so I wanted to run and just feel good, steeling myself for a slow pace. I felt great today and I felt even better when I saw what I'd accomplished. For someone who used to run and end up injured every time, running faster and faster, and farther and farther, all without injury, it has me tearing up a lot more often than I'm used to. If the trade off of running without injury is more public tears, I'll just cry and feel silly later.

Short hiatus?

I really didn't mean to be away for so long (editing note: I actually meant to post this on Monday, 11/21, but somehow forgot). I guess life just got in the way. Last week was a bit stressful. We were working on our floors every evening after I got home from work, which left me pretty exhausted.

I ran on 11/17. It was supposed to be a 25 minute easy run, followed by 6 hill strides. I did the run, finishing 1.97 miles at a 12:44 average pace, but my legs were not going to be able to do the hill strides. I still feel guilty about skipping them, but I'm trying to remind myself that I didn't quit because I didn't want to do them, but because my legs were really hurting at the end of my run. I have to remember that occasionally changing up my runs from what was scheduled is better than pushing to complete and ending up injured.

Friday is my written in stone rest day. So far, I usually itch to get active on Fridays, but this past Friday (11/18), I was glad it was there. I really wasn't in a place to be super active on top of everything else. We did finally finish the floors on Friday night. It's a huge accomplishment and I wish I had before pictures of the rooms so you could see what huge changes we made. I'll have to settle for showing you what it looks like now. The picture on the bottom right is with a piece of the old flooring on the top. There is quite a color difference, as you can see. I'm not a pale pine   kinda girl, so this change makes me very happy.


I didn't run on Saturday. We had to take all the old flooring to the dump, which meant no early run, and my husband promised me I could run in the afternoon. That didn't happen. It turned out there was a lot of stuff that he forgot to mention and a run just wasn't in the cards.

I made sure to get in my run Sunday. Funny thing: I have my training schedule in a binder. My husband, trying to be helpful, cleared up the living room, and couldn't remember where he'd put it. So I tried to remember what was on the schedule and I was pretty sure it was a 35 minute long run. So I get dressed for the chilly weather and head out to the nature path. I get my 35 minute run in, managing to only walk twice, for a couple minutes, before heading back to the house. Surprise! I found my binder and when I went to enter in my run details, I noticed that I was only supposed to run 30 minutes. Ha! Oh well, it felt really good, and now next Sunday's 35 minute run will probably feel just a bit easier. I did 2.73 miles at an average 12:51 pace (12:54 - mile 1, 12:43 - mile 2, 12:58 - 2.73).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

20 Minute "Easy" Run

Ouch.

So, after the fact, I realized that I really should have run a little easier this morning. I have a chart (from Running Times) that helps me decide these things, but I clearly didn't look at it this morning. My calves are still really bothering me and this morning's run was difficult. I've been fairly consistently running around a 12:30 pace for this whole training month as an easy run. Sometimes a little slower, but overall around there.


Today, I ran an average 12:44 pace for 1.6 miles. I really should have gone slower, because my calves were not happy with me. They feel better than they did yesterday, but honestly I think that's because I did more moving this morning and I was pretty diligent with stretching and massaging them yesterday. I brought my massage stick with me to work again and I'll be using that liberally today. My baby sister (not to be confused with my little sister, who is a couple years older than her) is studying to be a nurse and she recommended that I alternate heat and ice, icing twice as long as I apply heat. This isn't really an option for me while I'm at work, but I'll be giving it a try this evening, once the flooring is laid.

I think I might buy a second heating pad to keep at work though. I work for a fantastic company that hasn't given me strange looks when I've iced my shins, so I think I can get away with a heating pad too. I really do work for an amazing company though. One of these posts, I might go into it a bit more.

My daughter took pity on me and kissed my calves while I was stretching, foam rolling and drinking a protein shake after my run. She's such a sweet girl and really is the best part of my life.

Today's run did teach me a few things though:

1) I can still get out there and run even when my muscles are pretty angry with me AS LONG AS I KNOW IT IS SORE, NOT PAIN. Sore is how you feel the day after a heavy workout. Pain is when you've pushed it to the edge and if you go out, you're going to get HURT. In the twelve years since that initial blow out, this is how I distinguish between the two and I've become pretty good at determining which is which.

2) While I probably should have ran a little slower than I ultimately ended up running, I was quite surprised to see how quickly I did run. I spent the entire run refusing to look at my pace (I track my runs using the Runtastic app), so I was sure that my pace was going to be somewhere around 13:30-14:00. I was pretty surprised when the little voice told me I'd completed one mile in 12:44, but I was determined to keep that pace.

3) The pride I feel when I accomplish something difficult (even if it was previously easy) is definitely worth the soreness that I feel. I've really let my body down so many times over my 30 years and it's really comforting to know that when I start treating it right again, it bounces back incredibly fast.

All of this has made me really determined to take good care of myself. I feel so much better when I do, both mentally and physically. It's hard work, but it feels so good. It also makes me feel like a better mom and wife. It's one thing to TELL your family to take care of themselves, but when they see you actively working on bettering yourself, your words take on a deeper meaning.

Does that mean I'm happy with how things went this morning? You be the judge.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Very Busy Weekend

Hi! I didn't mean to take the entire weekend off. Things just got a lot busier than I was expecting. I didn't get much that I'd planned accomplished, but what I did get done....well, it was emotional for me.

I didn't run this weekend. I'm sad about that, because I treasure my runs. I do have a very sore body with calves that are screaming at me today. I've actually been brought to tears a few times. So what did I do if I didn't run? Good question.

A little background: My husband and I moved to Oklahoma City in January 2012. We were transitioning from being a full time military family (my husband was going from Active Duty to Reserves) and we had been debating between moving to the Pacific NW, where I'm from, and Oklahoma, where he's from. Here's the kicker: we both desperately wanted to move back to the PNW. He fell in love with it while we were stationed at Ft. Lewis, where we met, married and had our daughter. I grew up there and it is where most of my family is (maternal side - paternal side is in Quebec, Canada). So how did we BOTH want to move to the PNW and end up in OKC?

My husband has two kids from his first marriage. Their mother, and their entire family, is in OKC. They wanted to live primarily in OKC. I couldn't bear the thought of ripping my family apart like this and depriving my daughter of her siblings (they're 11 and 13 years older than her), as well as depriving the older kids of easy access to their father. So, against our desires, we packed it up and moved from Ft. Polk, LA to Oklahoma. We moved into my husband's grandmother's house. She had passed while he was on deployment (late 2010) and the house was standing empty.

When we moved in, for the most part, it was just our furniture and a couple window treatments in what was clearly still Grandma's house. We didn't make many changes, because it was our current living space, but it wasn't OURS yet. We changed a few broken light fixtures, but that was the extent of it, because we were still essentially living in a rent house. Fast forward to July 2015. After years of saving and busting our butts, my husband and I signed the papers to become the owners of our first house! It was an exciting and emotional time, but coming home still felt like coming to someone else's house. That December, we picked out paint colors and painted the living room.  That helped, but everything else was still from someone else.

We've been talking about it and we recently redid the floor in our bedroom and painted the wall. We put up special shelving and while I still need to paint it, going into my bedroom feels like MY bedroom. We did some painting in my daughter's room and gave her a chalkboard door and wall, and hung up pictures and decor. It feels like HER room. But the heart of the house, the living room/dining room, was still clearly Grandma's with a couple coats of paint.

Until this weekend. We tore up the old carpet and Pergo flooring and replaced it all with things we had picked out. They were drastically different than what had been there before. It was back (and leg) breaking work and I'm exhausted and sore today. Last night, when we were done, and had moved the furniture back, I was sweeping my new floor. I just looked out at my home and for the first time since moving in, back in January 2012, it really felt and looked like MY home. I started crying, which of course scared my poor husband. I explained that they were happy tears and he laughed at me, but it was just so emotional. I spent all weekend a little upset that these renovation plans that had been sprung on me had wrecked my running plans, but at the end of it, I realized I wouldn't have traded my new floors for perfect runs.

I'll start my training back up tomorrow and I hope my calves ease up a bit between now and then. I brought my massage stick with me to work and I'm stretching frequently. Even if they don't, I still got a workout in and I am finally happy in my home. I'm going to try to get some pictures up, but I can't promise that I'll be able to find much showing the old flooring. I hated it so much I rarely photographed it.

It was a good lesson for me though. I don't need to stick to my training plan perfectly. As long as I pick back up, I'll be okay. I didn't lie around and eat junk food all weekend, so it wasn't wasted time. My running has also really increased my endurance for physical things, because I was able to keep going almost nonstop all weekend. One other thing that really made my heart sing was how I fit into my pants. I have a pair of jeans that I wear for work around the house/yard. I bought them when I gained weight and they have always fit perfectly, if maybe a bit snug. This weekend? They were loose when I put them on and I frequently had to adjust them as they were practically falling off! It was exciting that even though I can't quite see the changes I've made, they're clearly there.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day

Today is my rest day, but more importantly, today is Veteran's Day.

Today is the day that we honor those that served our country. This is the day that we celebrate those that served and are living. Veteran's Day is especially important to my daughter, because both of her parents are Veterans. She is so proud of this fact and happily tells anyone who will listen that her mom AND dad served this country.  She wore red, white and blue today, and borrowed my service cap to wear to school. It has my rank and our name, which she loves.

When I run, I remember what it was like to run in formation. I remember what it was like to train so that I could run in boots, with a full pack on my back and a weapon in my hand. Every time I run, I remember what it felt like to practice drills. The proudest years of my life were when I was serving my country. When I run, I get that pride back. The Army is what taught me I could be a runner.

If you know a veteran, take the time to thank them for their service. Donate to Wounded Warrior Project. The Charity Miles app has a couple organizations that help veterans, so when you run, run to raise money for them. You don't have to support the wars that our government has sent them into to respect the person that put on that uniform to be ready to fight for anything and anyone that might try to harm this country.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

25 minute Easy Run with 6 Sprints

As I said in my previous blog post, I'm training for a 5k on December 10th and on the schedule for today was a 25 minute Easy Run with 6 Sprints.  I'm trying to make sure that I learn my paces better, so instead of running the sprints in the middle of my run (like I did the last few times I've had sprints on the schedule), I decided the best thing to do would be to save them for the end.

I checked the weather last night and it was predicted to be in the low 40s this morning, so I set out some colder weather gear. I had running tights, a short sleeved shirt, my sport bra, socks, and my Brooks Launch 3 shoes and my old neck gaiter from my Army days. I also borrowed a running pullover from my husband, because for some reason I couldn't find my light run jacket. He doesn't run anymore, so I didn't feel bad about stealing his clothes. I woke up this morning and checked the weather again. It said high 40s now, so I opted to switch out my tights for capris and leave the neck gaiter at home. As soon as I stepped outside, I realized that my stupid weather app was a liar. Unfortunately, it was too late to go back in and change.

My run was completed at my local nature trail and I set off with the intention of running around a 12:30 pace. I was really thrilled when I was done to discover that I was just under that (12:29 average) when I finished my 25 minutes.  I had done just a smidge over 2 miles (2.01) and I was really proud of myself.  My sprints were about 15 seconds each, with a short recovery in between. I paused my tracker while I took those breaks, because I really wanted to see what I was sprinting at. I was shocked into tears when I looked and found that my sprints, at the end of my run, were averaging an 8:44. This is extra emotional for me, because ten years ago, that last big run was completed at that pace.

I know I'm nowhere near being able to complete 2 miles at that pace right now, but the fact that I've been improving and can now reach that pace, even for a short amount of time, is huge for me. I'm really trying hard to not focus too far into the future (at 140 lbs or a sub 30 5k), but to focus on what I'm supposed to be accomplishing today. When I accomplish it, I celebrate. Not with food, like before, but sharing my running progress on Facebook via my Runtastic app. The kudos from friends and family is a huge motivator for me and better than food.

I didn't take the time to stretch out today and I am feeling it. I usually stretch my IT band if nothing else, but skipped it today. I am uncomfortable. I will be taking care of that several times today, since I was so foolish this morning.

I'm not doing so hot on the food front today. There were some snags in the morning routine and I ended up leaving without breakfast. I grabbed a banana muffin here at work, but I know I need to be better about that. I did manage to pack peanut butter, bread, strawberry jam, and a banana for lunch. Not the greatest, but better than chips and soda. I don't have a concrete plan for dinner, but 90% of the time it is fairly healthy. I'm a lot better at providing good food to my family than I am in making sure I eat well. I am slowly getting better at that, but I know I need to be better. A sick mom can't take care of her family very well, so self care is just as important as family care.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In the beginning....

I've done some blogging before, but I've never been very good about staying with it.  Part of that is because I procrastinate and I can be a bit lazy, but a huge part is that I frequently hesitate to put my life out there for just anyone to see.  I have a Facebook page, but it's so private that all you can really tell is that I have a page.  So why start a blog now?  Good question.

I want to blog because I've seen how encouraging the blogging community can be.  I'm far from my family and childhood friends (they're all in Oregon/Washington and I'm in Oklahoma) and I just don't make friends easily.  I'd like to be a bigger part of the community I see and admire and I'd like to think that by sharing things, I might help someone the way that many bloggers have helped me.

I love running.  I used to be a runner, once upon a time.  I was young and dumb and newly in the Army.  I was 18 and started out very healthy, excited to be in Basic Training.  It didn't take long for something to start hurting and on December 13, 2004, not even halfway through Basic, I took my first trip to the emergency room after my knee "exploded" and I crashed to the ground during what was supposed to be an easy run. This started a journey that has taken me twelve years to come to accept.

I did finish my Army training.  I also had several more trips to the ER.  I spent the next couple years in the Army, attempting to heal, but never getting there.  There were monthly ER visits, MRI's and more x-rays than I can remember.  I never failed a PT test, but immediately after completing my 2-mile run I would collapse at the finish line with a rapidly swelling knee and have to go see medical. Then, in April of 2007, I was in a competition to see who was the best Chemical Soldier at my duty station.  I completed my PT test with my best run time since my initial injury: 17:27.  My knee hurt, but I iced it and kept quiet.  I had a 10-mile road march in full gear with weapon in front of me (approx. 50-60 lbs of extra weight), followed by a weapons qualification range.  I was no quitter.

I made it three miles into the march when everyone could hear my knee pop.  I kept going, limping along, determined not to be last.  Medical chased me down and, at my refusal for treatment, wrapped my knee tightly with ice and an Ace bandage, while I kept going.  I finished that 10-miler and I wasn't the last.  There were probably a dozen people behind me.  I was excited and ready to qualify with my weapon.  Medical was waiting with the guy in charge of the range.  I was being pulled from competition due to injury.  I cried on the ride back to my unit.

It was this re-injury that lead to me finding a competent doctor finally, who actually had tears in his eyes when he informed me that my injury was beyond healing and was now permanent and had caused permanent damage to my lower back and hips.  If I did not change what I was doing, I would not be walking without some form of assistance by 30.  He did everything he could, but I got pregnant and we had to quit once my pregnancy advanced.  He taught me many things that I would later use.

I left the military under a pregnancy discharge.  I gained over 60 lbs during my high risk pregnancy (a whole separate story) and spent several years barely able to walk and weighing around 200 lbs.  In 2011 I finally started to do something and I managed to drop the weight by walking carefully and slowly.  I spent the next three years attempting to run (even with my injury, I had loved to run) and just getting hurt again.

I gained the weight back.  On October 1, 2016, I weighed in at 198 lbs.  I am 30 now and even though I have weight to lose, the bright side is that I do not need assistance to walk.  But I'm not stupid.  I know that if I stay this heavy, my knee and my back will not continue to be good to me. So I am making a change.

On October 17, 2016, I started training for a 5k that I will be running on December 10th.  I am being diligent and careful.  I run slow, I take rest days and I am trying to fuel my body in a healthy manner. I have been running for a little over three weeks.  I don't hurt.  There is pain, but it is muscle pain, it is learning to breathe while running pain.  I am sore, but it is not the hurt that I have experienced so many times over the last twelve years.

I weighed myself today. 189 lbs.  I ran 1.6 miles in 20 minutes yesterday.  I am making progress.  I changed the way I run.  I used to be a huge heel striker, but learning to strike mid-foot has saved me so much.  I pay attention to my shoes and run in shoes that work for me.  I don't consume so much crap, I drink more water, and I get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night; usually more.

So why Run While It's Dark?  I am married.  I have a child, 8, and two older step children, 20 & 22, one of whom has recently had his own child (born June 2016 and she's the sweetest thing).  I also work outside of the home and I have two small dogs.  Running during the day isn't usually an option.  Running really early in the morning before the sun comes up?  That's when it can happen for me.  So that's when it does happen.  I run while it's dark.