My pain, your gain

I’ve been back to running for 3 weeks as of today, yippee!! I am still taking it easy, building up slooowly but really feel the worst is behind me. So this is the part of the movie where the main character sits at her computer, gets a dreamy look in her eyes and we hear a reflective song (some Kamikaze Hearts, perhaps?) while she thinks back over the past 2.5 months and what she should have done differently. You know how they say that failures are the best way to grow and learn lessons? That may well be true, but you know what I think is even better? Avoiding the whole failure thing in the first place by learning from other people’s goofball mistakes! So with that in mind, here are some failure-avoiding tips for you all 🙂

What I Did Wrong, Part 1: I woke up with a sharp pain in my groin the morning before the marathon. It felt a lot like a nasty pain I sometimes get in my upper back that can be resolved with a trip to the chiro. I chalked it up to race nerves and went about my day- which included driving all over the place buying last minute stuff for the race, even though shifting and getting in and out of the car made my leg howl. I walked all around the expo and then GD and I walked to dinner that night. As a long-distance runner, I have a well-honed  ability to block out pain – not so much in my regular life, where I am a grade A top choice wuss, but in my running life it comes very naturally to me. I blocked the pain out all day and hoped ignoring it would make it disappear. It did not.

What I Should Have Done: As soon as I woke up and felt that pain, I should have re-routed my whole day. Everything I did that day could have been avoided or I could have asked someone else to help me with it. When I recognized the pain as something I have felt in another part of my body where it has successfully been treated with an adjustment, I should have made an emergency visit to a chiro. I then should have completely stayed off it and determined if it was going to be runnable the next day.

What I Did Wrong, Part 2: I woke up with the pain better on race morning , but by no means gone. I should have seriously considered not running the race. This was not an option that I entertained for even one minute. I ran the race, plowing through even when the pain kicked in at Mile 13 despite many milligrams of a pain reliever.

What I Should Have Done: Seriously considered not running the race. I am not saying I would have been able to actually stop myself from toeing the line, but I should have at least had a frank discussion with stubborn me and really considered what running on it would mean – namely a long recovery period afterwards. Knowing now how hard it was not to run those 2 months, in the future I will certainly consider DNS as an actual option.

What I Did Wrong, Part 3: Crossed the finish line and let the adrenaline take over. I walked around, chatted with friends, walked to the hotel room, spent about 30 seconds on a foam roller, had lunch and got in a car to sit for 2 hours.

What I Should Have Done: Realized that I was intoxicated by a  runner’s high and immediately taken steps to reduce the damage I had just done to my body. I should have gone straight to the massage tent, iced, foam rolled and stayed off my feet as long as possible. I should have done some gentle stretching and gone for a short walk later that night and the next day.

What I Did, Part 4:  I went to work ( because we had a staff meeting in central Jersey) and sat in a truck for 4 hours and in a meeting for 6. I made no attempts to make a massage or doctor appointment on that day or any of the 30 after it (ie FOR ONE MONTH!!)  in part because I was in denial, in part because I was too worried about money (DUMB!!).

What I Should Have Done:I should have taken off work on Monday. I should have made an appointment for an ART massage, a sports massage, a chiropractor or even the ortho the very minute I woke up on Monday. I should have channeled Lil Sis’ attitude towards money, and I quote,  “it’s only little green pieces of paper floating around”.

What I Did, Part 5, in which the protagonist finally gets a clue: After much crying and pouting, I accepted that I would need a good long rest. I went to the ART therapist, chiro and sports doc multiple times. I swam. I baked. I foam rolled and used a heating pad (ice did not seem to do anything on this one, a first for me. It is usually a go-to miracle maker, but not this time). I visualized myself being ok and running footloose and fancy-free.

What I Should Have Done: Excatly that. Sheesh, took me long enough!

I’d like to think that this will help you make better decisions than I did if you are faced with the same dilemma race morning. Hell, I’d like to think it will help ME in the future if I ever find myself in the same place again. It’s a lot to ask of myself (and you) to learn from our own (and others) mistakes but, damn,  wouldn’t it be something if we could?

What are the biggest lessons you learned while recovering from an injury?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

My work schedule today called for me to drive 2 hours north, take part in a 1 hour meeting (which was actually really interesting and worthwhile but the drive kills me!), then drive 2 hours south only to get sucked into the hurricane that is the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – oh my, the jockeying for habitat restoration money is a sight to see! Anyway, my morning meeting’s focus was Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area (or WMA as we call it in the biz, pronounced “wama”, rhymes with Alabama. You are welcome for some fancy govermentese to impress your friends with!). I knew a mental break was needed between all the driving and the Sandy tasks that were waiting for me at the office, so I decided a lunch run at the WMA in question would be just the thing I needed to get through the afternoon. I was right! Gorgeous property that I need to further explore… and it also made me realize I should make more of an effort to see our state WMAs. I am familiar with some of them, but there are heaps I have never even heard of! Might try to make it “WMA Wednesdays” around these parts as often as possible!

Time to get our WMA on!

Time to get our WMA on!

Stafford Forge has a lot of old cranberry bogs on site, which are just gorgeous

Stafford Forge has a lot of old cranberry bogs on site, which are just lovely!

Hi birds! I *think* these were Greater Yellowlegs. I saw them on the way out and on the way back I think I heard the GY call, but could not connect the two for sure. Either way, nice to see some birdies out and about!

Hi birds! I *think* these were Greater Yellowlegs. I saw them on the way out and on the way back I think I heard the GY call, but could not connect the two for sure. Either way, nice to see some birdies out and about!

Great trails to run around on - I tried some of the smaller ones of this main one, but they were a bit too undulating to be comfortable, like mogul running. No thanks!

Great trails to run around on – I tried some of the smaller ones off this main one, but they were a bit too undulating to be comfortable, like mogul running. No thanks! The main trails were just perfect tho’.

Fire is an incredibly important part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. We all grew up with Smokey Bear telling us "only you can prevent wildlifes". And did we ever! Fires were suppressed so long and so well in the Pine Barrens that we fundamentally started changing the system! Whoops!

Fire is an incredibly important part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. We all grew up with Smokey Bear telling us, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”. And did we ever! Fires were suppressed so long and so well in the Pine Barrens that we fundamentally started changing the system. Whoops! Many pine trees, like Pitch Pine, rely on fire to open their pinecones so they can reproduce and without fire, oak trees began to get a foothold.  Frequent, small, natural fires (like from lightening strikes) also help keep the understory neat and tidy instead of being overrun with vines, leaves and branches that will fuel a fire into a huge event (which can be very dangerous for the humans living nearby). Today, forest ecologists purposely set “controlled burns” to help keep the forest healthy and keep the fuel level on the forest floor low. The black on these trees indicate there was a fire here, but I am unsure if it was of the natural or controlled persuasion. I suspect it might be natural because the burn line is often lower on the trunk of the tress I have seen that were controlled burned. I also vaguely remember a huge fire in this area from a few years back. Any opinions or memories of this?

Winter and I did pretty well today - there was some ice, but also plenty of water, which meant the temperatures were comfortable enough for me to really enjoy this run!

Winter and I did pretty well today – there was some ice, but also plenty of water, which meant the temperatures were comfortable enough for me to really enjoy this run! Good compromising, winter!

What did you see on your run today?

 

 

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Distraction

Yesterday was a weird mix in the Kashi/GD household – as you may recall, GD was laid off from his job last July. A week and a half ago he was offered a 2-month contract job where he would be paid pretty well, which would give us a little room to breathe. So far, so good…the catch? The work is in the Gulf, roughly ~900 miles (as the crow flies – the only measurement acceptable in our avi-loving household) from the Point. After discussing it, we decided that it was too good an opportunity for him to pass up. So yesterday, he packed himself, his pants under his pants, his optics and some Mentos and flew off to greener pastures. I am so proud of him for making the right decision for our family, but barely 24 hours into our 2.5 month separation (he already has another gig that he committed to for the first 2 weeks of April in Colorado) and the combination of that pride swirling around with ache of missing him is proving a potent mixture indeed.

These next few months are bound to be interesting on a lot of levels, not the least of which being that I am suddenly thrust back into a bachelorette lifestyle.  There are definite negatives to this, one of the most notable being that GD brings color and light to my life, and it is already dimmer without him.  But since he is going to be in the Gulf whether or not I pine for his around-the-house antics, I figure it will be best to embrace the time alone and make the most of it.

I started immediately (I’ve never been one to wait around to put a plan into action, lol). After dropping him off, I filled the rest of the day with Kashi-centric activities. Here’s what happened:

A last look of GD as he headed into the airport. He gave me a last wave and blew me a kiss - at least I think that's what happened, it was hard to make out through my tears.

A last look of GD as he headed into the airport. He gave me a last wave and blew me a kiss – at least I think that’s what happened, it was hard to see him through the crying.

So  what to do to dry my tears? Casual run in Center City, of course! I really enjoy these runs since the majority of the time I run in the city I am racing and a bundle of focus and nerves. There is not much time for sightseeing, which is a shame because combining that with running is a real delight, as evidenced below:

City Hall never fails to impress me.

City Hall never fails to impress me.

Entrance to Chinatown, so festive!

Entrance to Chinatown, so festive!

What could be better than escaping the cold, dreary streets into a warm wonderland of sights and smells??

What could be better than escaping the cold, dreary streets into a warm wonderland of sights and smells??

Valentine's Day chocolates! Yummy!

Valentine’s Day chocolates! Yummy!

While poking around the stalls, I got majorly sidetracked at this one. When I lived in Ocean City, it was not uncommon for me to go to Shriver's candy store and stand in front of the salt water taffy machine, finding it hypnotic. There is something about the repition that I found really soothing and the same was true for white choclate pretzel covering guy. I just could not walk away! I finally did when he finished the last pretzel of the tray.

Whilst poking around the stalls, I got majorly sidetracked at this one. When I lived in Ocean City, it was not uncommon for me to go to Shriver’s candy store and stand in front of the salt water taffy machine, finding it hypnotic. There is something about the repetition that I find really soothing and the same was true for white chocolate pretzel covering guy. I just could not walk away! I finally did when he finished the last pretzel of the tray, feeling calm and refreshed. Cheapest therapy on the planet!

Last stop was the grand center of Macy's. I am not much of a shopper, but I love going into this store because I feel like I am in an old-tyme movie where shopping was a downright expedition! "Department stores, what a novelty!", thinks my old-tyme self, as I pat my hair, hoping every strand was in place.

Last stop was the grand center of Macy’s. I am not much of a shopper, but I love going into this store because I feel like I am in a black and white movie when shopping was a downright expedition! “Department stores, what an adventure!”, thought my old-tyme self, as she self-consciously patted her hair and straightened her skirt.

I finished the run with a stop at the Philadelphia Runner store, then made my way over the bridge to Whole Foods, where I attempted and *maybe* succeeded just a little bit in drowning my sorrows at their amazing food bar. Ahh, bar-b-que tofu, come to momma!

Do you ever sightsee while running? What have been your favorite places to run and see?

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28-Day Blog Challenge – Link Love!

28DBC

I am planning some big changes over here at CIR (of the visual sort, not thematic – this isn’t suddenly going to be a blog about a giant rubber band collection, lol) and when I saw that Katy Widrick was hosting a 28-Day blog challenge, I thought it would be just the thing to keep my progress on track. The way is works is simple – Katy has laid out 28 things that you can do to improve your blog – each day you try to do one (and it’s super chill because you can do something from the list or something you think of) so today I am kicking the ball off with:

  • Write a post that includes links to five other posts that you found interesting

I read blogs for a few years before starting my own and seriously just dig them. I love reading people’s race reports, hearing about their weight loss/weddings/birth stories, trying out their recipes (read: sending GD a link with the recipe in it for him to cook for us) and in general getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. I am constantly amazed by how much people will share and really appreciate that aspect of blogging.  I guess it has some of that reality TV appeal to it – getting to be a fly on the wall of someone else’s life but without all the scripts, producing and general fakery that comes with those shows. Blogs are probably a little like radio – you can’t see the audience, you just cathartically type away on your keyboard, hit “publish” and share yourself with the world. The result can be really raw and a joy to read.

Here are five posts that were interesting to me, for reasons big and small. I tried to pick a cross-section to give you an idea of the types of blogs and posts that appeal most to me. Check them out, I bet you might like them too!

MomJovi – I found Mom Jovi through another blog I read,  Meals and Miles, because she posted something about Disney. Having grown up in a Disney family, I clicked on through and stayed because I really enjoy her wit and style of writing. Here is a beautiful memorial to her grandmother, Nam, that I was especially moved by.

Young House Love – Lots of people my age  are popping out babies like it is going out of style, so I have read my fair share of birth stories and truly do enjoy them all – it is, in the most cliche way possible, truly a miracle. I like this one because it was dramatic but everything ended up ok (whew!). I also like YHL in general because they are the kind of people GD and I will never be – DIYing  all over the place and creating all manner of cool stuff. I like to pretend that I, too, will one day salvage a cabinet from a thrift store and turn it into a super cool fridge for a kid to play with and clicking around their site lets me fulfill that fantasy!

Peas and Thank You – This blog is an example of a place I find recipes. I like Mama Pea – we may not agree on religious beliefs, but I sure do love her dogma on healthy food! Lots of good ideas on this site – here is a link to some delish burgers GD and I eat fairly frequently.

A Woman in Motion – During training, I spend quite a bit of time reading people’s race reports. They help keep me super excited and motivated and I usually learn a lot from their experiences. There are entirely too many RR’s that I love to list them here, so I figure I will link to the type species, that is, an example that personifies everything I heart about RR. This blog is written by my friend Sherry. She has not posted as much recently, but that is the beauty of blog archives – you can keep on learning from people even when they are on breaks! Here is what I love about hers: she is fast so that motivates me, she is Type A so I can identify with her experience and she is detail oriented so I feel like I was there (note: you can never have too much detail for me – I am not a fan of 1 paragraph RRs that basically say “I had a great day, it was super hard but fun!”. To me that is a given, give me the deets!!). Here are two to sink your teeth into: Philly Marathon in 2011 and Ironman 70.3 Florida in 2010.

Freiday Bird Blog – This is my friend Don’s blog and is typical of the kind of nature blogs I read – even though I love the outdoors, I tend to gravitate towards health and fitness blogs and when I read a nature-y one it is usually something local. Don’s is a straightforward bird blog that features the interesting things he spots as he is out and about. There was a post last June that especially moved me. The first few images are a little graphic if you are an animal lover, so be forewarned. But he was able to capture the first few hours of a Piping Plover’s life -and  it’s untimely demise at the hands (claws?) of a crow, the thorn in every plover’s side at Cape May Point State Park. Oh, crows, you are the bane of my existence!

I probably won’t keep you all updated on every goal I reach this month, but you’ll likely see the 28DBC challenge pop up now and again. If you have your own blog, consider joining!

What are some of your favorite blog posts as of late?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

Dear Winter,

You and I have not seen eye to eye for some time now and I was under the impression we were on the outs. But then you go and throw me a bone like today and I am forced to rethink our entire relationship. Were you just toying with me, with your 60dF temps and sunny skies? Or was it an offering of peace, an acknowledgement that it is hard to survive your bitter days and that this brief respite will steal me for the weeks to come? Whatever the case may be, winter, I thank you for today’s gift. I soaked up every last minute of this glorious day and though I can’t pretend to understand you, I sure do love you on days like this:

For real!!

For real!!

They are working on updating a garage to become our new office. This will be the window I look out of one day soon (and I am using the government version of "soon" - we have already been waiting a "few months" to move in which was scheduled for August 2011)

They are working on updating a garage on our property to become our new office. This will be the window I look out of one day soon (and I am using the government definition of “soon” – we have already been waiting a “few months” to move in which was scheduled for August 2011).

A visor instead of 2 knit hats? Yes, please!

A visor instead of 2 knit hats? Yes, please!

Do you see that?? It's the liquid state of water!! No ice in sight!

Do you see that?? It’s the liquid state of water!! No ice in sight!

Time to turn around - Hurricane Sandy impacted Tuckahoe WMA impoundments. They are due to be fixed over the next few months, but the buck stops here for now.

Time to turn around – Hurricane Sandy impacted the Tuckahoe WMA impoundments. They are due to be fixed over the next few months, but the buck stops here for now.

Tuckahoe marsh. Feel the day's tension slipppppping away...

Tuckahoe marsh. Feel the day’s tension sliiiiiiping away…

What did you see on your run today?

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Runner’s World Review – New Year New You

I’m an avid Runner’s World reader and have been for many years. Each month I will pick one article from the magazine (suggestions welcome!) to discuss and we can kick around thoughts, opinions and reflections. We’ll stay one issue behind the most current so that non-subscriber’s can read along on the RW website. It’ll be like a book club, except less Jane Austen and more sweat. So grab a cup of Joe or tea (see, it is just like a book club!) and jump into the fray!

rw jan 2013

January 2013- New Year New You

I know by the end of January most people have had it up to here with year lists, resolutions and proclamations of all kinds, so fear not, that is not actually the point if this post. Although it is a nice ‘lil article detailing specific things that you can do over the course if the year to improve your running and I do recommend it.

What this article sparked in me were thoughts about change- what precipitates it, how capable of it we are and how likely it is that we will.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tended to think that people just are who they are and that instead of trying to change someone, you should just accept them. It’s far easier to just let people fly their freak flags than try to convince them that they should swap it out for a  sensible decorative flag,  perhaps something with autumn leaves on it.

But the flip side of me thinks that no one should settle for an unsatisfying status quo, especially when there are so many resources at all of our fingertips to make those good changes- everything from therapists that can get you back on course to finding a support system that encourages positive changes to tiny things like having the luxury to go for a walk to calm your spirit.

The situation is made murkier by looking at my own life, where some things have remained the same and some have wildly fluctuated. Let me take you on a Kashi Tour of the last 20 years:

Age 15 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time,  a runner who hates racing, someone who eats a  Honey Bun (or more often nothing) for breakfast,  with a messy bedroom and a pretty flexible attitude. I dream of a life outside of Elmer where I’ll be a businesswoman living in the city and  married by my late 20s to a man equally successful. No kids, thanks.

Age 25 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time,  a runner who rarely races, someone who eats a honey granola or French toast bagel for breakfast,  who dreams of a full-time job as a biologist and can’t imagine living in a city.  No marriage or kids, thanks, career is where it is at!

Age 35 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time,  a runner who now loves racing, someone who eats oatmeal for breakfast,  who is grateful for the life I have and dream of a day where GD and I live long and happy lives as snowbirds (I seriously cannot handle the cold anymore!) . No kids, thanks. I thrive on routine and get discombobulated when things go off kilter.  I prefer things neat as a pin, but there are exceptions in places like my office and my car’s trunk.  My marriage is the most important thing in my life.

My life is filled with different “me’s” peeking out at each corner.  You can always count on me to be enthusiastic and supportive, which has never changed, but I have gotten more rigid as the years have passed (perhaps that is why I have remained so cheerful – the rigid side of me respects and maintains the consistency, lol). I feel that I have to constantly work on that side of myself so I don’t go full-on robot. It’s as if over time, my personality traits (for better or worse) just get more entrenched and harder to change.

Which is why I am always so taken with stories of people who break their mental bonds and come out on the other side more closely resembling the person they want to be. People change careers, lose weight, start running, stop smoking, beat depression and anxiety every day. But what makes the day they decide to do it become the day they do do it?

I really don’t know and your thoughts on this are what I am interested in hearing. I have gone through different changes in my life, but they generally happened organically, over time. There are not too many instances where I can point to and say “that was the moment and here is why”. The ones I can identify are often on the heels of feeling like “enough is enough, time for a change!”

So tell me, have you undergone major changes? Know people that have? What gets them cranking? Is it a something small like a RW article or a big epiphany?

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On The Road Back…

This time last week I was in a warm paradise, content as could be that I had run pain-free. This time this week finds me freezing whatever-the-lady-version-of-cojones-is off! My leg is feeling really good and I am optimistic that I am on the up and up. My worrywart side won’t let me totally relax and likely will not until I start logging some consistent mileage, but the glass half full side of me will no longer be put off in planning the 2013 race season. So knocking wood (and by this I mean taking one of those giant foam hands seen at football games and banging it against a sequoia tree, just to be on the safe side), here are my thoughts for the upcoming year:

HIT LIST (definitely committing to these races)

  • Spring 10k, May/June – I plan to return to speed and tempo work slowly and have not raced a 10k in a few years, so this seems like a safe bet to get me back in action. Gonna take February easy-peasy, then get serious about training in March. Any recommendations for a race?
  • Midnight Madness Run, 7/21/2013 (GD’s bday!) – With the Lady Runners of Parvins, yay!
  • Schalick Alumni 5k Run, 8/10/2013 – The next few months will be spent getting this run up and going, so stay tuned for details, dig out your green and gold and save the date!!
  • Marine Corps Marathon, 10/27/2013 – 60 days til registration! Hope we all get in!!!
  • Philadelphia Marathon, 11/24/2013 – Running Momma’s first marathon! Planning on pacing her 🙂

WISH LIST (If all goes well, some and hopefully most of this will happen)

  • 5 new-to-me races – They can be near or far, any distance, but have to be ones I have never done before. Share with me your favorites!
  • More states for the run list – I already checked a new country off the run list (thank you, beautiful Bahamas) but still need some states – I might be able to get South Carolina on a March work trip (if I get travel approval, a very big IF <– you can tell it is big, just check out the capitalization!) and some Gulf coast states if a sister trip works out.
  • A race in Massachusetts – planning a pseudo-work/fun trip to MA in August, so would love to link it with a race.
  •  A relay – I have been hankering to do a longer one ever since we tackled the 44-mile Cape 2 Gate a few years ago and the New Balance Reach The Beach might do the trick! It is a bit close to MCM (10/18-19) to be really smart to do, but looks so fun and is right in our backyard. Any takers?? I’d also love to do a Ragnar Relay, always hear good things about them. Many of them are too hilly for me, but the Key West one sounds perfect-o!
  • Girls running trip – Not sure where or when or how long, but am always so green when ladies go one these types of trips! I wanna go on one too 🙂
  • Just for fun runs – I like the scavenger style races (like Great Urban Race) and would like to do more. I also enjoy running tours, like the ones from City Running Tours, and plan on doing some of them (foreshadowing alert for CIR – might be leading some Cape May based ones too! More details over the next month or so).
  • Organize CIR social runs. Mug Runs were a hit last year so that will be back, plus we’ll cook up some other themed ones are knocking around in my head.

WIN THE LOTTERY LIST ( I think you can sort this one out without an explanation but I did not want it to feel left out when the other two lists got parens) (oh, wait, I thought of an actual parens – this is only a short list of what I’d do if I won the lottery – there would also be running marathons in all the states, in tons of countries and all sorts of other nonsense that would be added!)

So there ya have it – my 2013 will likely include a lot less running than in 2012, but I think that is a good thing. One article that has stayed with me that I read while I was convalescing (I like that this makes it sounds like I was shipped off to fresh air and calm environs, circa 1800s) was the one Amby Burfoot wrote in RW about the secrets to longevity in running. I really do want to run ’til my time runs out so I am taking the word of a man who has managed it for the majority of his 66 years that you have to be smart about it. Between the ultra and the PR marathon last year, I gave it to myself pretty good. 2013 is a year for recovery, fun and sharing the open road with you all. Let’s do it!!

What 2013 race are you most looking forward to?

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