Last Week Was Fun and I Never Want to Remember It

I know its only the fourth week of 2018, but so far, I’ve felt a focus and desire to reach my goals more than I ever have before. This has included making it to the gym every day I said I would, making my meal plans and sticking to them, taking my vitamins, etc. But then last Monday happened and although I felt incredibly discouraged by it, today I write this as one last send off to its past.

After a delicious, paleo, in-the-diet-plan, homemade dinner on Monday, I started getting severe but intermittent sharp pains in my abdomen. By about 8 p.m., I had my head in the toilet. And it hardly left there all night. I’ve been through something like this before, which I thought was just food poisoning, and it usually goes away within 12-15 hours, so I decided to stay home from work and get some rest. I hardly moved all day, unless it was to hurl or grimace in pain. I couldn’t drink water or even eat saltines. I couldn’t walk to let my dog outside or feed him dinner. I knew if I went to Urgent Care, they’d send me to the ER. I didn’t want to go to the ER because I’m still paying for my last trip in October 2016. 

More than 48 hours later, it was still happening and this time worse than ever. I finally decided to go to the hospital Wednesday night where I was checked for possible appendicitis. After lab work and a CAT scan, thankfully appendicitis was ruled out. The hospital gave me some heavy pain medication which was worth the trip in itself because I went from “I’d rather be in Hell right now” to “Maybe I can get a decent night sleep!”

My labs did show some things which I’ll be following up with my doctor on this week, and my body has certainly felt weak while in recovery. I was getting winded after simple tasks like doing the dishes. Whether this is related to the mysterious pain I often get, I’m not sure. But it did give me more ideas on what to ask my doctor and hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

It took a few days for me to get back to the gym but I am determined to continue on the accomplished path that I started the year out with. Yesterday, Pawko and I did a well-paced four miler that was a great accomplishment for us both – me after the week from Hell, and he at his farthest distance in quite sometime. We were quite proud of ourselves, and earned our Epsom salt bath and belly rub rewards respectively.

Here’s to a brand new week and here’s a  to last week.

Better late than never.

Three months ago yesterday, I became the 1% – a marathoner, a person who has run 26.2 miles, a goal achiever, and the absolute best version of myself. The days, weeks and months after led to a lot of contemplating, nostalgia, laziness, pride, a return to self-doubt, and feelings every-which way. It was hard for me to sit down at a computer and write about May 1, 2016 because every time I did, so many emotions came about. I just couldn’t find it in me to do it, to get all the feels out on the screen and to share with everyone how amazing that day went. I can’t explain why, and I’m not even sure I know myself why, but know that every step I took that day (just over 50,000) was met with accomplishment, gratitude, tears and thirst for the finish line. I finished in five hours and 43 minutes – just shy of the six hour limit. I was number 92 out of 100. And at the finish line, waiting for me was a group of people to whom I’m forever grateful for (and a box of donuts).

Aside from crossing the finish line, the most imperative part of that day was at mile 23 when a complete stranger was waiting for me to give me the pep talk of a life time. He was tipped off by my friends who knew I’d need the encouragement. He gave me gummy bears and told me that in just three short miles, I’d be something forever – a marathoner – and that I will only get to be a ‘first time’ marathoner just this once. All I had to do was run aid station to aid station (which was a lot harder to do when one discovers that the next aid station was shut down early). He let me know it was okay to cry and yip and holler, but I had to finish the race before I truly could. When I crossed the finish line, a friend was on the phone with him and he was one of the first to congratulate me. Stranger (who’s real name is Michael), to this day, you’ll never know how crucial that moment and your pep talk was to me.

Writing this is bringing back all the feels. My eyes are watering as I replay stand-out moments, as I think of turning that last corner and being cheered on by more strangers, letting  me know I was almost at the finish line. The entire 26.2 miles was met with such support, people honking from their cars, aid stations asking how we were holding up, friends texting along the way. I will never forget that day, no matter how delirious I was at times or how much my vision was blurred by the tears in my eyes. I can’t imagine a moment in my life where I will be more proud of myself.

Fast forward to present day and time – I have found it hard to get myself back on track. I’ve gained weight and lost muscle. I’ve enjoyed one too many delicious meals. I’m ready to be the healthy me again, the strong me again, but maybe not the runner me just quite yet. Yesterday, three months post marathon, I restarted my journey with a healthy eating and exercise program. I look forward to regaining my confidence and fitting in my clothes again, to not being so tired and grouchy all the time, and to making and meeting new personal goals.

Injury Prevention 102

Nope, you read that correctly. I’m calling this “Injury Prevention 102” because there are things I do every run that not only protect my body from sprained ankles or whacked out backs and inflammation, but from chafing, stomach issues and more. Because let’s face it, any sort of pain, whether internal or external, can be considered injury – especially if there’s ways to stop it. From the obvious to the not-so, here’s a few tips to prevent injury while running:

  1. Vaseline is your bestie. Your BFF. Your Soul Sistah. Before a run, rub it anywhere and everywhere that bounces, jiggles or rubs – no shame. Chafing is a bitch and unlike post-run exhaustion, it can hang around for days.
  2. Drink lots of electrolytes, before and after longer runs. Your stomach bounces around quite a bit when that mileage starts to rack up which will have a bad effect on you as soon as mile three. Try Nuun hydration tabs – one the night before, one before your run starts and if you’re feeling any sort of stomach pain, one after. Aside from that, extra electrolytes will keep you from dehydrating during your run.
  3. Eat more food. Pre-run, get your good carbs and fats, post-run, get your protein. When your body loses energy – which food provides naturally for us – you’ll become sluggish, lose form, lose focus, maybe even get light-headed.
  4. Post-run may be the most important part of your run. Take the time to stretch – and stretch everything. My favorites include pigeon pose and forward lunging into my hips. (There’s probably a simpler term for that but I like to be descriptive… yeah, that’s it.) If anything feels particularly sore, ice it. Take an Epsom Bath. Foam roll. Then stretch some more. Spoil that body – it carried you far.

Thanks for being a friend.

Hey you. Yeah, you. I just wanted to say, “Thanks.” As I’m recovering from the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, I’m most humbled by the amount of support that carried me through the finish line. Whether you called, texted, read this blog or just simply “liked” a photo – please know that I’m incredibly overwhelmed by the number of people who are on this path with me, even if in the simplest ways.

Running is my happy place. Running makes me feel free. Strong. Sexy, even when doused in more sweat than any one person should be. Empowered. Free. But perhaps most importantly, running makes me feel inspired. To participate in a race and see thousands of people competing with themselves for the same goal: inspired. To watch people do things they never thought possible: inspired. To see so many others cheering on complete strangers: inspired. To be supported by people near and far: inspired. And overwhelmed. But mostly inspired. So thank you. Thank you for inspiring me.

More on the Dark Side to come…

Why Shakira and I are Soul Sisters

After a few months of painful strides, it took a trip to my primary care doctor and a physical therapist to discover that like Shakira, my Hips Don’t Lie. Hilarity aside, they then proceeded to tell me the worst thing you could ever tell a person like me: “You have to take a break from running.”

Oh baby when you talk like that, you make a runner go mad.

Greetings, this blog comes to you from my bathtub where I’m currently indulging in a hot bath with Dr. Teal’s Pre and Post Workout Epsom Salt. Sorry, no basic white girl pictures of my legs will be included in this post.

The pain was a mixture of Bursitis (inflammation in my hips) and having run my body out of sync. While pounding your feet on the pavement is very rough on the body, my injuries could have been avoided had I been paying better attention to my recovery. IE, I wasn’t stretching enough and quite possibly, wasn’t hydrating right, nourishing properly or rewarding my body with the right things. After a few months of physical therapy, trips to the chiropractor and solely upper body workouts, I was ready to get back on the streets and rack up my mileage, but not without a few extra precautionary recovery practices. My favorite? A twenty minute Epsom Salt bath three to four times a week.

As noted above, Dr. Teal’s is my favorite brand as it’s easy to find and often comes with some extras, like great smells or added ingredients for more relaxation. The Pre and Post Workout mix is my favorite, followed by Lavender and Mint. Epsom Salt is high in magnesium which wards off heart disease, stroke, stress-related illness and more (editor’s note: unless ‘love’ is a specialty, I am not a doctor). For athletes, epsom salt baths are great for reducing inflammation, increasing joint mobility, easing muscle pain,  and mood elevating. Better mood = better workout. Plus, it will remove toxins from your muscles which could cause a delay in recovery.

Personally, I think Epsom baths are overlooked all too often, so when someone tells me they are struggling from sore muscles, I give them this simple remedy.

Extra pro-tip: Evoke Fitness once shared with us that drinking a 4oz glass of red wine was equivalent to a one hour workout. So, pour yourself a glass, workout and wind down all at the same time! If it weren’t for the fact that it’s Race Week, I would definitely be sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon right now.

So next time you’re doing the waddle from a brutal training session, dive in! Well… not head first and you can go suit-less, but… you get the point.