Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Post (with Video!) on Another Mother Runner

I was blessed with the opportunity to kick off a new series of posts for SBS and Dimity of Another Mother Runner.  One of their sponsors, Trigger Point Therapy, is aiming to help injured Mother Runners around the country.  In short, they sent me their Ultimate 6 Kit for Runners and had one of their trainers Skype with me to explain the exercises.
The tools in the Ultimate 6 Kit for Runners

I committed to doing the exercises for a month, then filmed a short video of the exercises along with answering a few questions from Dimity and SBS.  I am now sending along the kit to the next injured mother runner in hopes that the Ultimate 6 Kit provides them some relief. 

Here is the post on AMR.

Here is just the video link on You Tube.

While I am not healed 100% (I have good days and really bad days), and have an additional diagnosis of Heel Bone Spurs in addition to the Plantar Faciitis (the two go hand in hand... or foot in foot in my case), I can say that the Ultimate 6 Kit DID in fact provide relief, and I really enjoyed using it. Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show provided the much-needed comic relief and distraction during my sessions.

"Thank You" Jimmy Fallon... for getting me through my TP Therapy...
The point of the kit is to mimic deep-tissue massage.  While it can be hard to really dig in to your own muscles, using the tools in the Ultimate 6 Kit helps.  I'm sad to see the kit go, but am hopeful it will provide relief to the next Mother who receives it.   I am planning to get my own TP Therapy kit, so I can continue to heal.  I miss my girlfriends and the sound of my feet on the road.

THIS is what I'm trying to get back to...

If you are a Mother Runner with an injury, and would like to see if you can use the Ultimate 6 Kit, there is a link in the AMR post to email SBS and Dimity. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Road to Injury... and the Journey of Healing

It’s been a really great stretch of uninjured running.  Almost two years!  I’ve lost weight, increased my pace, set PRs in every distance that I run, and even bit off my first 26.2.  Cue ominous music… Dun dun DUUUUNNNNN…

I’ve been dealing with heel pain since I started ramping up my miles during the marathon training.  Right around 16+… the dreaded Plantar Faciitis word was uttered in hushed tones by my amazing sports doc.  But we were confident I could get through the marathon, feeling good and sticking to my training plan.  I was great about stretching, rolling, icing…being a good little patient.  And it all worked!  I ran my first MARATHON, I felt great, I had an amazing time (and almost went sub 4 hour!), and I even felt OK post-race.   And then I ran a half marathon the Very. Next. Weekend.  Dun dun DUUUUNNNN…  

Feeling AWESOME at mile 24 of the Marathon!
If I was a better blogger (like I dream of being) I would have my post race report from the Girlfriends Half to link here.  But I don’t.  And I regret that now.  (Blogger goal for 2014 #1 – write up a post race report for each race I do this year!)  So you will have to trust me when I tell you that EVEN KNOWING WHAT PAIN I’VE BEEN IN allllllll these months, I would still run that race one week post marathon.   It was amazing, as are the women I ran it with and FOR.   XOXO Bitches.  (That’s a term of endearment for my Twisted Sisters.)  

Finishing strong in celebration of Amy!

Alas, back to the problem at hand (or, at foot).  After Girlfriends, it just hurt to WALK.  I kept thinking, “Why do my feet just HURT so bad?”  Well, turns out, you really shouldn’t run through PF.  In fact, you should STOP RUNNING, and start stretching All. The. Time.  Yeaaaaaaa… easier said than done.

I had a few goals related to running in 2013. 

1)      A sub 1:53 half.  Eugene Half Marathon 1:50.  CHECK! 
2)      Complete a Marathon… PDX. Check!
3)      Log 1,000 miles for the year… After Girlfriend’s, mid October, I was 17 miles away from that goal.
4)      Stay injury free… Hmmmm… not looking good.

Mid November, I started getting antsy, to say the least.  I REALLY wanted to check off that 1,000 mile goal, and I wanted to do it ON my 40th birthday.  So I started out super slow, chipping away at those 17 miles with a 2 mile run here, and a 3 mile run there.  On the morning of my 40th birthday, I had 4 miles left to run to hit 1,000.  I met two of my BRFs before the crack of dawn and logged those 4.0 miles.  That made me super happy.  And it made my feet hurt.  *sigh*  BUT I could check off another goal!  And I got in some girlfriend time.  And let’s face it, it’s ALWAYS about the Girlfriend time.  
Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Runner
The last goal wasn’t looking too promising.

December found me getting desperate.  I had another race looming, and this one I couldn’t just “opt out of”.  I had signed up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Disneyland WAAAAAAY back in the summer.  Registration is open for one whole day before those Run Disney races sell out.  So I had to commit.  We were surprising the kids with the trip to Disneyland for Christmas.  I needed to keep my miles going.  I wasn’t worried about the training.  I just needed to get in a few long-ish runs.  So I hobbled through December and the beginning of the New Year.  We went to Disneyland, walked the parks for three days, ran a half marathon, and had an amazing family vacation in the warm sunshine of SoCal.  Oh, and I pretty much killed my feet.  Done. Toast.  Not even Advil would help.  Not even WINE would help.  

I made a few really tough decisions after this.

1)      I sold my Newport Marathon bib.  This was not going to be my year for another marathon. 
2)      I sold my Race for the Roses Half Marathon bib.  Someday I WILL run this race.  I have to. 
3)      I registered for the Blue Lake Sprint Tri.  This is going to be the year of Cross Training and Healing.
4)      I stopped running.

The first two decisions were hard, the third one was scary and exciting all in one, but the 4th one is crushing my soul.

Cyndie Audrey and Amy.  BAMRs. 
I’ve come to realize that while running has become a part of me, a part that identifies me and makes me happy; it’s really the time spent with my girlfriends that I miss the most.  Yes, I realize there are countless other ways that I can spend time with my girlfriends.  I love those too.  But running gives us so much more.  Not only are we getting in miles and exercise, but we are getting in a therapy session as well.  When women run together, we use that time to TALK.  We have to cover the miles, and the rhythm of running brings out the conversation.  Our guards are down and the words flow as easily as the miles.  We talk about our week, our kids, our husbands, what we’re making for dinner, medical problems, worries, concerns, deep dark fears…we cry, we laugh, we cheer each other on.   And when we finish we feel like we can conquer the world!  Or we at least have something planned for dinner. 

Cheers Bitches. XOXO
During my running hiatus, I am virtually cheering on my BRFs and watching their training.  I’m so proud of my friend Audrey for finding her lost inner BAMR.  I’m so proud of my friend Amy for mentoring Audrey and pushing her outside her comfort zone…tackling Terwilleger and taking on her first ten miler!  So amazing!  Of course I want to be there too.  And I will be again.  Until then, I will embrace a few new training regimens and be proud of my girlfriends and their training.  And plan a LOT more girl’s nights out.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Second Star to the Right… and Straight on Till Morning!

Family Selfie - Radiator Springs

I kicked off 2014 with a bang (literally, with fireworks at the start line!) by taking the family to Disneyland for a much needed vacation, and so I could run the Run Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon.   Plans had been in the works for a while (I had registered for the race back in the summer), but we told the kids on Christmas morning about our trip.  They were super excited, since our last trip to the Happiest Place on Earth was three years ago.   The countdown began, as did the daily question of “How many more days till Disneyland?”  I have to admit, I was just as excited as the kids were about this trip.  The hubs needed some time away from work, and we all needed a little family togetherness in a way that only Disney could provide.  Magical.  A little sunshine and warm weather wouldn’t hurt either. 

No need to bore you with the travel details.  Thankfully, they were uneventful.  When we arrived at the airport, and stepped into the warm California sunshine, we all felt instantly overdressed.  I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel room and change into SUMMER CLOTHES!  We were staying at the Disneyland Hotel this time around, due to the fact that the race started and ended here.  If I was signing up for a race that began at 5am, well then YES I did want to take an elevator to the start line.  The Magic Mornings EVERY morning and the close proximity to the parks/Downtown Disney made it completely worth the extra cost.   

Family Selfie in Cars Land

Family Pic at Disneyland

Me and SBS - wearing my Boston Love shirt
We all changed clothes, and I was chomping at the bit to head to the Expo.  Chris took the kids on a little tour of Downtown Disney (read: LEGO store and World of Disney), and I beelined for the Expo.  I picked up my race bib (#215! Corral A!  Yeah baby!  That Eugene Half time really paid off!), and went straight to see my pals at the Another Mother Runner Booth.  Chatted with SBS and Kristen for a bit, picked up my wings and arm bands from Sparkle Athletic, visited my favorite headgear booth Sweaty Bands, and then I was pretty much done with the expo.   I wanted to be back out in the warm sunshine.  There were a lot of fantastic booths at the expo, and they had some great speakers lined up (including the leaders of the AMR Tribe), but I didn’t stick around this time.  I had some Vitamin D to soak in.  

Getting some Pixie Dust from Tink
I’ll keep the recap of our vacation time short.  This is supposed to be a running blog after all.  But if you ever have the chance to combine a Run Disney Race with vacation, I highly recommend it!  We had such an amazing time.  Cars Land was truly unbelievable.  You felt like you stepped into the movie.  We used our Magic Mornings to beeline to Cars Land and ride Radiator Springs without the super long wait.  The Disneyland Magic Morning we used to ride pretty much everything in Tomorrow Land (Space Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear several times) and we also met Tink at Pixie Hollow!  I requested a little extra Pixie Dust for my feet.  I packed our suitcases full of snacks for us to take into the parks each day, and the kids each had a gift card with spending money allocated.  All in all, it was a fantastic time for everyone.  We made sure to turn in sorta early on Saturday night.  We watched the fireworks from the hotel window as I laid out my clothes.  I chugged some Nuun and then turned in for a little bit of sleep.

My Tink Outfit
Run Disney races start early.  And when I say early, I mean 5am freakishly early.  But there’s a reason, and a good one at that.  I set my alarm for 3:15.  Which meant I woke up every half hour, worried that my alarm wouldn’t go off.  When 3am rolled around, I just figured I’d get up and get things *ahem* moving.  My body wasn’t exactly cooperating, but I figured that would be the least of my worries with a nasty case of plantar faciitis and already having logged many miles on sore feet at Disneyland for two days.   I started getting my Tinkerbell costume on (comprising of Handful Bra, Athleta Tank, SparkleSkirt and Headband, Lucy shorts, Sparkle Athletic wings and arm warmers), and I began to panic.  I was horribly worried about possible chaffing on my shoulder blades from the wings.  I Body Glided every inch of me, but couldn’t reach my own back, so I woke up the hubs to help me out.   Feeling ready as ever, I grabbed a protein bar, chugged some more Nuun, and headed to the lobby to meet my friend and Tink Running Buddy, Joy, at 4am.  Crazy.  I really enjoyed the chance to hang out with Joy and run this race with her.  We know each other through our husbands, and social media, but this was the first time we ran together!  She’s a Run Disney fanatic, and I was thankful to have her there with me. 

The Start Line!  Tink flying around getting everyone excited!
We walked to the start line, passing all the other corrals, as we were both in Corral “A”.  We had plenty of time to hang out with all the Fastholes (a loving term of endearment for all those amazingly strong, speedy women runners!), and soak in the crazy energy!  SBS and Dimity were there in their Queen Elsa Frozen costumes, and it was so much fun chatting and getting excited.  

The Mother Runner Queen Elsas!
Chatting with Queen Elsa (SBS) at the Start!
The Star Spangled Banner, sung beautifully, was capped off with fireworks (only Disney can get away with fireworks at 5am!), and Minnie and Daisy were there to start the race in their track suits.  We wound around behind California Adventure, popping into the park right behind California Screaming.  We ran through Paradise Pier, with the World of Color fountains and lights going, and stopped for a picture.  

The first characters we saw were the Incredibles.  I would have loved to get a pic with them, but we had just started running and I didn’t want to wait in a line yet.  I couldn’t help run with a huge smile on my face.  So many cast members lining the race course, Disney characters waiting for pictures with runners, music playing…it was all so overwhelming to the senses!   We ran through Cars Land, Hollywood, and then headed over to Disneyland. 

We played Leap Frog with SBS and Dimity a few times, eventually stopping to take their pic in front of It’s A Small World.  Dimity returned the favor for Joy and I.  Running down Main Street towards the castle was beautiful.  We stopped for a few selfie pics.  Running through Tomorrowland, we saw Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers.  We HAD to stop for a pic with them.  We both have little Star Wars fans at home who would think this was pretty cool.   The first 5 miles of the race wound us all around the parks.  Once we hit the Downtown Disney District, the spectators were all lining the course with signs and cheering.  And this was before 6am!   

Once we passed through Downtown Disney, the racecourse sent us out into the neighborhoods of Anaheim.  There were signs up requesting runners to be quiet, as the families were most likely still sleeping (wouldn’t YOU be?!).   We ran through business districts and then passed many of the Good Neighbor hotels before making our way back toward the parks and the Disneyland Resorts.  The finish was full of spectators, music, cheering, and really great volunteers.  There were aid stations every 2 miles or so, so no need to carry my own water.  One group was handing out fresh orange slices.  They were so sweet and delicious I can almost still taste them.  I’m happy to report that my feet felt fine (during the run) and energy level was great.  During the race, I kept a fallen Mother Runner on my mind.  Thousands of runners across the world were logging miles this weekend for #megsmiles.  Many runners at Tink were honoring her memory.

We met up with our families (ever so thankful for the delicious egg sandwich AND coffee my family had waiting for me!), hung out for a bit stretching and taking pics.  Then my family headed straight to California Adventure for our last Magic Morning and ride in Cars Land!  I didn’t even bother changing before heading to the parks.  We got in a few hours of quality park time before I needed a shower, a change of clothes, and another meal.   Sunday was really just about relaxing and catching all the rides we wanted to make sure we did one last time before heading home.  We enjoyed the Main Street Parade in Disneyland, and the Pixar Parade in California Adventure.  My feet were pretty much toast by this time, so we called it a night and watched the fireworks one last time from the hotel room. 

Andrew and I riding Cars one last time... in my Tink outfit.
My first Run Disney experience was an amazing one.  Thanks so much to Joy for talking me into it, and then joining me for it!  And a big thank you to the hubs, who works tirelessly so we can enjoy a spectacular vacation like this every now and then.  

I can FLY!

Sweet Run Disney BLING