Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Concrete Calls My Name Again

Motivation. Drive. Empowerment.

Motivation gives us a foundation to build off of, Drive gives us the focus and energy to follow through, and Empowerment gives us the strength to do it again, only better this time.

This week was full of highs for me, starting with race registrations! Now despite the fact that my friends all call me crazy I have caught on to their little tricks. Calling me crazy and then telling me you want to sign up to run a race with me makes you only slightly hypocritical....but it's ok, we'll let it slide this time, only because I love knowing that you want to try something new and that you want me to be a part of that :) That being said, I finally kicked my butt into gear and signed up for more of my races for 2012. As it stands I am currently registered to run:

1) The Shamrock Shuffle--March 25th
2) Soldier Field 10 Miler--May 26th
3) Chicago Half Marathon--September 9th
4) Chicago Marathon--October 7th.

AND OF COURSE.....My Half Iron Man on July 15th.

After Saturday's visit to the Doc I finally got the green light to start running again!!!! I was, obviously, beyond stoked! She gave me some info on how to strengthen my quads and hammies more so that it would take the pressure off my knee some and told me about some supplementary exercises to do 3-4 times a week. And if all else fails, which I hope it doesn't, she said she'd send me to a PT if my knee acts up again. I'm hoping to beat my time from the Shuffle last year but being out because of my knee has put me behind a little. My first run back on the lake path was so smooth though, I got about 3 miles out and figured it would be smart not to push it and made the 3 mile trek back. I'm still running with my brace, only because I'm worried about taking away the extra support while my knee is still healing, and it helped since I was not in nearly as much pain as I was before. Some slight pain on the left side but heck no swollen-ness or feeling like I can't walk, hot damn I call that a good day!!!

Being me, I've hit the trail both Saturday and Sunday since being told I can run again. Each time I can't help but think about how awesome this weather is for February! I mean 40 degrees is kind of chilly, especially when you're only wearing shorts and a long sleeve T, but that is due to my own stupidity. Yet, at the same time there is something about losing all of the feeling in your body as you start off your run and slowly gaining it back with every mile you meet. That sounds kind of silly, and yes maybe a little crazy, but the way I see it the feeling of, well, not being able to feel your fingers, toes, legs arms, etc, kind of sucks, but as I got out to mile 2 I started to gain some of that feeling back and it drove me to keep going until finally I was on mile 5 headed into 6 and I had the feeling of my whole self back.

I had a pretty good sprint workout going today, but it only reminded me how much I really hate doing sprint workouts :P I've also added more leg lifting into my routines but have only come to find that with that comes more lactic acid build up in my quads and hammies. Hopefully yoga will even that out some.

The last two updates I guess I should mention is that I'm meeting with Steph on Thursday for our first meeting to discuss a training plan. Which also means that in 22ish days my life will probably become even more dull than it already is as I have to adjust my diet, sleeping and workout schedules. Aaaaand finally I am getting my PAWS page into gear because apparently I have to raise $1,000 dollars instead of $600....but I accept the challenge :)

Until Thursday, I'll be hitting the pavement hard because the greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

PAWS for a Cause

How incredible is it that after only a few short days, the Chicago Marathon SOLD OUT!!!! It's amazing how many people are willing to put forth the time, effort, and energy that it takes to train (both mentally and physically) to run 26.2 miles. I'm really excited to be running it again, and definitely looking forward to those long Sunday runs :) I even decided to run with CARA (Chicago Area Runner's Association) this year. Last year I researched different training programs and just made the decision to train on my own because there was no way I was going to go all the way up north on the weekends at 6:30am to do training runs. Little did I know that they had started a Hyde Park training group, but I think that even if I had known about that I would still have been inclined to run on my own. Training runs are the one time in the day that I am able to disconnect from everything else going on in my's the best ME time :) But then when I did the 20 miler towards the end of my training I met some pretty cool people and thought maybe being a part of a running group would be beneficial, at least from a social standpoint.

I also opted to run for another charity group this year. I have to admit that I was incredibly disappointed with how little involvement the Foundation for Suicide Prevention had in my training, despite me raising a significant amount of money for them. So I decided that this year I wanted to join up with PAWS the number one no kill, anti-cruelty shelter in Chicago. I can even say from personal experience that PAWS is an amazing organization and a great place to take home a loving pet. Pete and I adopted Linus and Lucy from PAWS almost a year and half ago and they couldn't be better cats. Linus is somewhat anti-social and gets scared quickly but once he warms up to you he is a phenomenal cuddler. Lucy on the other hand, is quite vocal and is always a great homework buddy...she'll sit by you and even watch you work. So it's safe to say that my investment in this organization is somewhat personal :) ...That and I am one of those crazy people who supports PETA but we don't have to get into that......unless you wear fur coats.....

Anywho, I set up a donation page and will be sending out emails to all of my loving and supportive friends and family as I try to raise $600 before October, but it's safe to say I'm not in a huge rush. My training for the Half Iron Man will actually overlap with my marathon fact if I have it right, I'll be completing the Half on a Sunday resting on the Monday and probably be jumping back on the training wagon on Tuesday. (Yes, I am aware that I am crazy, thank you). But if anyone is interested in donating to my PAWS Cause the link is at the bottom :) I look forward to updating my blog (Yes Judy and Megan I will be better about updating this haha) throughout my training and hopefully everything goes well with my knee and hip flexor that training will go smoothly.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Prevention && Early Intervention

How often do you notice the little quirky things about yourself that in the moment make you laugh at yourself? I do it almost every day....yup that's right I laugh at myself on a daily, maybe even hourly basis. Like just now, I must have sat and pondered the title for this post for a solid 15 minutes because the truth is that I can't write a new post without a title. Why is that, you may ask? Well maybe it's because I am too much of a Type A personality for my own good or maybe it's because I need a direction to work towards and having a title is an essential part of that. Who knows. The funny part in all of this though is that I "borrowed" the title from one of my readings for a grad class. (Maybe I should have sited it in APA?) Thinking back on the assignment I really couldn't tell you what I was reading about, it was probably for my brief treatment class, but the irony I think falls on the fact that I am totally dweeeebing out and making a connection between Sam the social worker and Sam the Triathlete in Training.

So get this, I have at least half a dozen kids that I work with in my high school that are in desperate need of some motivation....or a good kick in the ass....BUT the good old NASW Code of Ethics says otherwise :P Anywho, I have been trying all kinds of interventions from grade sheets to behavior plans, to adding new goals....all topped off with extra extra EXTRA positive feedback and encouragement. What else could you ask for right? Well so in my mind I am thinking, "I don't understand why these kids just don't get have to go to class, you have to get good grades and you have to graduate if you want to move on with your life." But it's a million times more frustrating when they don't see it that way.

Frustration is a funny feeling though, it's like anger and disappointment all rolled into a ball of tension. At this point I had to take a moment and think what in my life frustrates me more than watching my kids fail? And I was like 'Well that's an obvious one, my knee bumming out on me and not being able to run for at least two weeks'. (I think this is the point when many people would insert comments like, "Well if that's all you have to be frustrated about..." or "Big whooop Sam". Yea, yea, yea I got it.) But there's just something about driving past the lake path and knowing that I can't run it. I tried to push my limits and did lower mileage runs but it was no use, my knee was starting to bruise and was swollen more than I wanted to admit. So despite my natural tendency to be hard-headed and stubborn, I gave in to the pain for the sake of still being able to compete in the Iron Man, and went to the doctor. She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and told me not to run on it for two weeks--continue on the elliptical, in the pool and with weights.

I'm a week into the medication and almost a month off my running routine. Glass half full: my knee is feeling better, it still hurts sometimes (and makes this awkward cracking noise when I haven't moved it in a while) but nothing like what it was....and the bruises went away! Glass half empty: not being able to run SUCKS! I would like to take a moment and thank all of those WONDERFUL friends of mine that have sent me texts or made snide comments like, "Wow it's such a great day for a run!" ....thanks guys! So I have my doctors appointment next Saturday, which means that run I've been holding out for is right around the corner. I'm thinking this upcoming Thursday (hopefully the weather is nice) I'll bundle up, grab my knee brace and hit the trail. So I'll have a better idea of where I'm at after that, just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to go to the ortho :/

The other really exciting thing is that I have my first consultation with my Iron Man coach. Meet Stephanie, she's pretty much my hero. I met her almost a year ago when I started working at the gym. She came in one day wearing an Iron Man hat and I was floored. I immediately professed my love and desire to complete an Iron Man and that I was beyond impressed that she had done which she replied, "Oh, I've actually done 4." What a champ. So when I ran into her more recently I was ecstatic to tell her the news that I had signed up for my first Half Iron Man. Little did I know that her response would be more helpful than I had imagined when she told me she was a coach and that if I was interested she would love to work with me. Um, YES!!! I must have sent her an email 2 seconds after she walked out the door and I was in pure bliss. I am looking forward to working with Steph as my coach and I feel like it will be really helpful to have her feedback through this process.