Tag Archives: health

MMMMM…… tastes like grass

I wouldn’t say I’m  dieting so much as I am logging my food and trying to eat less crap.

Which is fine.

I guess.

I was spending a lot of money eating out (three meals and two snacks a day, for real) and at happy hour, and, historically, it is easier for me to save money in these areas by “dieting” than by “imposing a budget”.

Because that’s just how my brain works?

I am VERY good at dieting. I am not very good at all at imposing budget cut-backs.

There is a lot of tea, and salad, and vegetable juice involved.

Mostly Trader Joe’s convenience foods with high paleo and abs diet compatibility.  Also Naked Kale Blazer and Boosted Green Machine.

More wine, less beer.

Less pizza.

HA. We’ll see how long this lasts!!!

*UPDATE* 4/22/14 1:42 p.m.

I definitely had a blood orange martini at lunch. What? FRUIT JUICE and DRINK SPECIAL. The “diet” criteria were met!

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OK, Let’s Talk About Seattle [Marathon].

petulant – pet·u·lant – ˈpeCHələnt – adjective: 1. (of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered. “she was moody and petulant”

“The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is probably the least often injured ligament of the knee.” Cite.

Because, of course.

Remember Ragnar when I rolled my ankle? And then my left knee was hurting on the downhills?

And then I took it easy in the two weeks in between, sort of. Low impact, indoor treadmill-ing on the fancy treadmills at my gym.

My longest run in the interim was a bit over two hours, 0.0 incline 15-16.0-ish on the fancy shock absorbing low impact treadmill.

The “toughest” one was 11-ish with incline variances, on the not so fancy treadmill, tempo pace.

At Seattle I set out to have a strong but relaxing finish for the West Coast Challenge.  It was cold, to which my body, particularly my left knee, has never responded well.

I set off trotting along at an easy and surprisingly even pace.

And then Mile 12.

Just past mile 12, just as I was passing the maximum effort threshold for the previous two weeks, my left knee just quit.

And I walked, eventually limped, the remaining 14 miles.

I did manage to trot across the finish line. But if this had not been 5 of 5, I would have been out.  I can state with certainty that had this not been 5 of 5, I would have quit around Mile 17.

I am fortunate to be generally healthy, generally financially stable, and to have a variety of very smart and successful professionals among my friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving for that.

Without MRIs and scans (premature I’m told, “see how this week goes”), based on my description of events and some general physical examination, the most likely cause is a mild LCL sprain aggravated by running (walking) a marathon two weeks after the inciting incident, and running (however reduced/modified for my personal habits) what most people would consider high mileage in those two weeks in between the initial cause and the subsequent marathon.

But all is not lost. The emphasis is on “mild.” The fact that it was not aggravated during my indoor, climate controlled workouts is promising. The fact that it did not have any problems for the first 12 miles in Seattle is also promising.

Alternatively, ITBS, which has similar symptoms and is consistent with my history of the left knee acting up in winter. Both are indicated by pain and weakness on the outside of the knee, and the two share most of their primary symptoms. But ITBS pain is slightly higher on the side of the knee. The location of my pain and the ankle rolling at Ragnar point to LCL.

Both are heal-able and rehab-able on a 2-4 week plan. Good.

But I have to be cautious, conservative, meticulous, etc, etc, etc… in my recovery/rehab efforts if I have any hope of going forward with the Maniac Double. In 6.5 weeks.

I have a pretty resilient body, so I’m not jumping to conclusions, either way. I’m going to make my best efforts to behave myself and not be too aggressive (or aggressive at all) too soon. Hopefully, this combined with my significant running base will allow me to go forward with the double, albeit with no time goals other than “finish.” But I’m realistic, at this point nothing is set in stone.

I’m being careful on the diet and nutrition front, too, because we are what we eat.

So basically, I’m going into December and the Holidays on a program that does not allow running, cute shoes, more than one drink with dinner, most holiday comfort foods, or dessert.  Presuming things follow the best case scenario, tomorrow I’m allowed on the recumbent bike and/or light walking. This weekend I can mindfully resume strength training.  But since I’m being cautious I probably won’t start the biking walking until Saturday or Sunday, and I’ll probably keep the strength training to the basic leg rehab exercises until next Monday. My pride wanted to ditch the full-time knee brace yesterday, reality seems to be dictating today or tomorrow, but in the spirit of “cautious” and “conservative” I’m giving it a genuine full 7 days of rest and support and sticking it out to Monday.  If things do not go best case scenario, next week I’ll be seeking scans to check for tears, etc. But as things are going so far, the initial prognosis seems to be panning out as predicted.

And I’ve been doing a whole lot of reminding myself of what I tell others — you only get one set of knees. Forfeiting $200 in race entry fees hurts, but not nearly as much as knee surgery or the resulting bill.

And yes, while I am doing my best to be adult about this, deep down, I’m quite petulant. It’s the best word for it. Deep down, I’m childish and sulky. Like being grounded as kid, where you can’t do any of the things you like to do.

But you know what?? It’s Christmas time. I have a job, a home, a car, heath insurance, friends, family, and a pretty mild form of the injury that I do have. So I’m going to focus on that, and, as always, we’ll see how it goes!!

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Mile 24

I am a marathoner.

For serious. I don’t identify so well as a “runner.” But I do identify as a marathoner.

This weekend, I did Ragnar Trail Vail Lake.  It was a good time, there were ups and downs (literally, the elevations were ridiculous), some challenges — a seriously, multiple-y rolled left ankle leading to a seriously pissed off left leg, surprise rain, but still a generally good time was had.

But more so than anything, this event really drove home that I identify as a marathoner.

Before my last leg, I gave myself a little pep talk, one sentence: “ok, you’re at mile 24, get it done.”

And I’ve caught myself using that reference before, too. In the final stages of a ridiculous case, for example. At mile 12.3 at the Santa Barbara Half two weeks ago.

Mile 24 has come to represent the last bit of effort necessary to reach the finish of a major ongoing challenge.  You don’t drop out at mile 24. You run, walk, crawl, whatever it takes, because you’ve come that far.

It may not be a literal 2.2 miles left, on Saturday I had a challenging 3.57 remaining, and obviously, at Santa Barbara it was less than a mile.

And it’s not limited to running. This morning at Court I had to go to hearing on one remaining issue after previously settling 13 or 14 other open issues. This case was crazy, and I was not the least bit enthusiastic. But we’d come this far, and F if I was going to let it fall apart at the end. And what thought should pass through my head?

“Mile 24.” Suck it up and finish what you started. Get it done.

And that’s when I realized, only a certain group of people would get the reference, and an even narrower group of people would really, truly know the feeling the reference embodies.

My friend Liz and I were at the Santa Barbara Expo, and there was a booth for a 5/10k with a cool banner. Liz only saw the banner and got excited.

“ooh what’s that one?”

“too far for you and too short for me.”

Liz is a self-proclaimed spectator. She’ll road trip and cheer, and make posters, carry stuff, wake up a 3:30 am and stage the cars, but she will not run. So anything over 0.0 is too far for her. Try as I might, I can not bring myself to pay the registration fees to run “only 3” or “only 6” miles.

I even primarily register for the halves to practice my race plans for the marathons. I might get it in my head that I’ll train for a new “half marathon pace”, I’ve even gone on about it here — but really,  in the end I always change last minute to whatever combination of intervals I want to try out before the next full. AND when I arrive for a half that is affiliated with a full, without fail, every time, I get a little race envy.

AFC is great example of that, at the beginning of the week I was all excited to push through hard and try to PR. Then I looked at my training calendar, and then I got into the Portland Marathon maps, and then the AFC maps, and then I realized the similarities between AFC and the second half of Portland, and all my goals/targets for AFC got changed.

And after AFC, I even told spouse, destination half marathons just aren’t for me. “Too much money and hassle to only run 13.1.”

Not in any way intended to belittle the other distances. I mean, I don’t identify as an ultra-marathoner either.  Those just aren’t my distances.

It took me a really long time to identify as a “runner”.  I still feel kind of weird about it.

But I don’t feel weird at all identifying as a marathoner.

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why?

I know! On a roll with the regular blogging lately.  I saw a post on about weightloss today, and I have to talk about it, sorry. And it’ll probably read a little lawyerly too, but I’m a lawyer who’s been writing lawyerly documents all day, so that’s that.

Without going too deep into a bunch of complex issues, let’s start with the basic premise that many women in my demographic grew up with skewed body images and skewed relationships between food, exercise and self esteem. 

The next presumed premise is that the person referenced above is someone I’ve known for many years, but really could be any woman born between 1980 and 1990. 

Women who often fall into the trap of only adjusting their diet and exercise for purposes of affecting their appearance.

I’ve been there too. I’m still there sometimes. But what I’ve found, particularly over the last two years in teacher training and with the return to running, is that these two activities, I have never done for the exclusive purpose of weight loss. 

Ever. 

None of the times in my life that I have set out to change how I look or how much I weigh have involved yoga or running. Seriously. 

I have at various times adjusted my diet or calorie intake, I do occasionally enjoy trying out a fad diet for a 7- 28 day trial period if life permits, just to see what happens. I have planned out detailed 28-60 day activity schedules that incorporate weights, spin, stairmasters, and ellipticals at different times in my life when I had clearly gained a little too much or wanted arms that looked a certain way in a special outfit…

But I have never once gotten on a treadmill or gone to a yoga class for the purpose of weight loss. 

Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I’m sure all the running and yoga contribute to my having what’s been referred to by some as a “hot” body (due to my own lifelong body image/ego issues, I have to defer to past compliments, and not rely on my own assessments).

But when people ask how I can run so much, I mean, the answer is because I like it. Most days. Some days, it’s because I know I’ve already paid a non-refundable fee for an event, and I don’t want to have a crappy finish time or be in pain the whole way through. But most days, it’s because I like it.

And I like yoga. It feels good, it aligns my body, strengthens a diverse array of hard-to-activate muscle groups, it slows me down, and makes me calmer. It goes with me everywhere, even when I’m not consciously practicing.

I really hope that as my generation of women grows out of the kate-moss-ideal-body-type era, more women will find they are doing things because they make them feel good or they make them stronger or healthier or happier, not because of how it makes them look in whatever they plan to wear Friday night. It seems that this kind of epiphany is starting to trend, and I think that is great.

Because if you’re only exercising or eating because you want to look a certain way, then you probably will not enjoy much of either of those activities. But when you find something you like enough to do regularly, it all kind of comes together as a pleasant side effect.

alrighty, back off my soap box!! 

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….but i’m not a morning person :/

Morning runs are exhausting!!!

I am not a morning run person, which usually works out well. I often have to be in Court or to the office early because that’s just how law is. And in early usually does not also mean out early, because that’s just how it is. But since I prefer evening runs and evening yoga, this has always worked pretty well for me as long as I can find a well lit street or a gym with late-night hours.

But recently we’ve been having more “stay late” than “get in early” situations, so I’ve been going to the gym in the morning to make sure I don’t skip out because I got off work when I would normally be wrapping up at the gym.

Which has been nice, because I don’t spend the whole day waiting for it to be run or yoga time, and I get to start my day with some weekend-esque treadmill/coffee/netflix sessions.  These make Mondays and Tuesdays… ok all of the days, really… better. Like everyday is a Sunday morning.

But also not nice because by the time i get home, I’m totally spent. I don’t have the second wind from running or yoga happy hour.  Also, I don’t run outside as much this way, because it’s just too hard to get out of bed when it means being out on the street.  I just don’t like running out on the roads on weekday mornings at all.

So we’ll see how the month progresses… maybe I’ll need to incorporate more doubles? maybe reduce a little how long i go in the mornings and make a point to follow up with an outdoor 5k in the evenings.

Or maybe my schedule will naturally shift itself back…

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Savasana at the Doctor’s Office

Portland Marathon was this weekend, kicked my butt but so much fun – more on that later.

Can we talk about yoga for a minute? And needles? Body awareness, injury prevention…

It’s in the name of the blog, I’ve been practicing for, oh, whatever 29 minus 12 years is. And not just the physical aspects either, the whole 8 limbed shebang.

I went to the doctor this morning, not marathon related, OBGYN related, but don’t worry I’ll keep the details PG. Really it was limited to a short convo with the Dr. followed by some needles in my arm. And NO I’m not pregnant.

But I was asked to lay down on the table in case I felt faint. And due to the set up of the room, my feet were at the top of the table, and my head at the bottom, to allow better access to my left arm, and resulting in an ever so slight inversion.

So I lay on the table, and, boom, like a finely tuned muscle memory machine, my whole mind and body…straight into savasana.

Like all of my systems said, “oh! we recognize this position! relaxation time!!” Dr., Nurse, and Observing Intern, came in and were like, “you ok?”. YES! Totally fine. Can I just lay here for a little while? It’s been a bit since I’ve made it to a full class in studio……

And so, 10 minutes of needles turned into a mighty fine 10 minute savasana. Can you believe it? Granted there were a few specifically timed deep breaths and “sensations” in the left arm during those 10 minutes.  But my goodness! So simple.

Of course, obligatory marathon tie-in: As I lay down, before what we’ll call the “savasana response” kicked in, I thought to myself, “you JUST did a marathon. Remember 25.75 through 26.2? there is no possible way for this to be more physically taxing than that.”

Which is to say, yoga is fantastic for running injury prevention, and not in the way you might expect. Yes, the physical practice of yoga, done with a qualified teacher who understands the special circumstances of the endurance athlete, is great for strength training and flexibility/range of motion.

But what I’ve found to be my most valuable yoga-acquired skill, in running and in life generally, is body awareness.  We talk a lot about when to push and when not to, sensation, good sensation, bad sensation, pain vs. sensation, observing where you and your body are today versus yesterday, know what is a physical limitation (as in stop, accept that this is something your body will not do/ can not do/ is really not supposed to do), and what is something that maybe just needs a slower, gentler, more mindful approach to ease the body over time to a new place.

Hey runners, sound familiar??? It should, even if you are not also a yoga junkie.

After Portland Marathon this weekend, I found Mother in Law in the reunion area where she had run into a friend who was waiting to meet a woman from her own running club who had just finished her first marathon. We all went to brunch, and of course, how many races each person did came up, cue Maniacs conversation (again, more on that in a different post) and the “dangers” of running so many marathons, so frequently, etc.

The first timer talked about how proud she was that she ran the whole thing (one of her big goals) and she did have a really great pace and finish time! She did wonderfully! And she should absolutely be proud of this achievement despite anything else I say in this post. But she talked about doing this despite severe pain in her knee that started around mile 17.  That she was still feeling, and she was going to go to the doctor for the next day.

We’ve all been there. Even I was there in San Diego earlier this year. But as the conversation about recovery and frequency continued, I just said, “you know, that’s part of how I can do so many.  Yes, every race there is the hope that you’ll PR or finish by a certain time, but at the end of the day, my goal is to also run the next one. So if it hurts, I stop.”  I ask myself why and what’s happening. And if it’s really pain, not “sensation” or “sore” or “discomfort”, not “good pain” like a deep tissue massage, but “bad” and “pain” — indicative of certain potential long term consequences (like my calf in SD) I stop. Or first I back off, and then I go through a checklist to determine whether to stop. But still. Mandatory.

But to make those kind of informed decisions, you need body awareness. And that I developed through years of yoga.

So when I say yoga is a fundamental part of my ability to run so much, I don’t mean the strong abs, or reduced recovery time, or improved alignment/running form. I mean the ability to listen and assess and work though discomfort and recognize pain.

NOW! off my yoga soap box!!! Still mentally and physically recovering from Portland, but it was, truly, SO MUCH FUN in every possible way. So that post is coming soon 😀

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oh boy.

I just programmed my race plan for the AFC half into my Garmin, and f if I did not just also completely lose my appetite!!!

I haven’t run a race with a time goal since the full in SD about 10 weeks ago. And this one is a bit of a doozy.

It’s aggressive. Ok, very aggressive. But totally doable. Totally.

100% doable.  Looking at my training logs, this is entirely within the realm of possibility. Add in the fact that I’ve been on my very best behavior since Santa Barbara, and it becomes a probable outcome.  It will require a significant effort. But it is very much possible. Very much possible.

And when it happens, I know I will feel genuine disbelief.

But it will happen.  Like LA and OC before it, I will make my target at AFC.

see you on the other side……(of the weekend, not the afterlife!!!)

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