Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back on the Wagon

(ed note: for those of you who asked, I've included some pictures of the new "do" at the end of this post).

It's been nice getting back into a routine of consistent exercise and better eating habits. Unfortunately, I'm still not seeing the weight loss but I can't obsess about this, it will come in time. I just wish I could run, I know that's the fastest way to lose the weight. In the meantime, I was able to get in 3 bike rides, 2 elliptical days, 3 weight days and 1 day swimming last week. I was suppose to do 2 days swimming but I forgot to take my swimsuit to the gym on Sunday so I just did weights then went home and did a quick mountainbike ride while the girls napped and Pat was taking it easy. Shortly into my ride I noticed the ride seemed a little rough. I got off and checked out my rear shock, it was bottoming out anytime I sat on the bike. When I tried to ride it like that, I felt like I was riding a low-rider. Luckily I was able to lock out the rear suspension and finish the ride. It was a rough ride occasionally, totally old school!

I'm trying to up the intensity of my workouts and make each one count. My easy days are usually days I can't work out at all. Yesterday was one of those days. We usually don't go anywhere on Memorial weekend, too many crowds and the weather was bad. Seems someone turned the calendar back to February. That's also a nice advantage of the firefighter schedule, we usually plan our trips for mid-week to escape the crowds. This weekend was all about family and enjoying some quality time together.

Recently I've been really curious about Cross-Fit. Pat and I did a demo day a couple months ago with the guy who runs a shop in Grass Valley. It's really intense and has a lot of possibility but the cost is a bit high and the hours pretty limited. We just can't justify leaving our gym that has much better hours and child-care. So today I made up my own little cross-fit WOD. I did 10 minutes warm-up then 20 minutes of 10 jump pull ups, 10 squats with a 15# dumbell acting as a kettleball, and 10 incline push ups. I was able to do 11 sets in the 20 minutes and I was worked. I finished it off with 20 minutes of Pilates. Earlier I had done almost an hour on the elliptical so it was a pretty good day. And it was all on shift too (most of it after dinner).

It was nice getting back into the pool too. I'm not that great of a swimmer, very slow no matter how hard I try. If I have a day to do anything I want, swimming is usually pretty low on that list. However, I've noticed in the past that when I swim with a buoy between my thighs I swim faster. It seems strange to swim faster when I'm only using my arms but it's true. Pat said it's because I'm letting my lower body drop and it's dragging through the water, slowing me down. So now I concentrate on bending a bit at the waist, pushing my chest down into the water, tucking my chin, and push my butt into the air, out of the water. It's exaggerated right now but I do notice that I'm faster when I do this. I think it straightens out my body, brings my lower body up a bit so there's less drag. Ideally I'd like to join a class where I could learn better technique but with a full time job and 2 little kids, there's just not enough hours in the day. I do what I can and right now that's enough.

My MRI is on Friday so I'm really looking forward to that. I keep saying that if the MRI comes back negative I'm just going to start running again, despite the pain. That's probably not the smartest move but then I've never been all that smart when it comes to this kind of thing.

I should probably mention that I took your guys' advice and got my haircut and a whole new "do". I love it. It's so different and easy and fun. Thanks for the suggestion!

Hope everyone had a safe (and dry) holiday weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Moving Forward

All right, enough about depression. Time to get off the couch, get positive, and start enjoying this wonderful HOT weather we're having. Welcome to summer! Hope you all survived your runs at Pony Express and Silver State.

After my last post I received a lot of supportive comments and I really appreciate it. I know some of you are also going through injuries but I didn't expect my post to hit so close to home. Seems we're all in the same boat heading to Gilligan's island...............

On Tuesday I had a rare spare hour and fifteen minutes before work so I decided to explore an area just off I-80 called Negro Canyon. I last visited there in January where I took the photo that was at the top of my blog. I've since changed the picture to something more "spring/summer" feeling. It was taken along the American River during the AR50.

Looking south toward Tinkers Knob, Jan 2008

Mid-May, 2008

It's a south facing canyon so there's very little snow left so the hiking was easy. After a climb straight up the middle of the canyon the road tapers off to the west and intersects with the Donner Lake Rim Trail. I haven't hiked any part of this trail so I eagerly hopped onto it heading east. It basically followed the contour of the hill with some fun rollers so I eased into a very slow jog. Painful. Oh well, I wanted to have an accurate description for the orthopedic specialist that I was to see the next day.

Donner Lake Rim Trail

I eased back into a walk as I headed downhill back to the car. It occured to me that I don't particularly enjoy walking since becoming a trail runner. It's just too slow and takes forever to get anywhere.

Spring is coming to the high country

My visit to the orthopod Wed was quick and to the point. He took an x-ray there in his office and was able to read it. Still no stress fracture despite all the running during the month of April. Next step is an MRI that I should get next week. In the meantime, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn't. Whatever.

Friday Pat and I finally got a chance to do a nice ride together. The kids were in daycare and we were both off work. One of the rides we've been wanting to do is ride the American River bike path from Beals Point to Fanny Ann's restaurant in Old Sacramento, have lunch and ride back. But with temperatures projected to be around 102 we decided to wait another day and head to the mountains instead. Truckee was only suppose to be 80 on Friday and that sounded much better. We parked at Cisco Grove off I-80 and rode Old 40 over the summit and down around Donner Lake. The climb back up to the summit went ok, we're both lacking some fitness but at least it wasn't too hot. The best part of the ride is the return down Old 40 to Cisco. All those miles of moderate uphill become a blast downhill. After the ride we drove over to Truckee for lunch. Weren't sure what we were looking for but we sure found it with Smokey's Kitchen BBQ. I made a pig of myself with a pulled pork sandwich and we shared a small order of onion rings. Topped it off with a chocolate milkshake. Mmmm, mmmm, good.

Following the Yuba River

Pat's training for his first triathlon, the Donner Lake Tri in mid-July that uses this same course. Should be a lot of fun and quite a challenge that I know he'll be up for.

Crossing Rainbow Bridge with Donner Lake in the background

Another project we've been working on is starting a garden using raised beds. This will be my first attempt at growing vegetables (my mom says we had a garden when I was really young but I sure don't remember helping out at all). We've started with the basics: tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, about 3 different types of cucumber (I didn't know what I was buying), and herbs.

Yes, that's a kids rake, but it worked pretty well

We also planted a bunch of flowers to add some color around the house. We started this project for our girls. We wanted them to see the whole process of planting something, helping it grow, then eating what it produces. Plus it'll be fun (I say that now............)

Caitlyn's watering the bell peppers

Sara's checking out the pretty flowers

The diet and exercise still isn't what I want it to be but at least it's better and my attitude is improving. Baby steps. I can also be pretty hard on myself so maybe I should just lighten up. Carpe Diem.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Diagnosis: Depression?

There's nothing worse than a runner who can't run. I miss being a runner. It's been 2 weeks since Big Sur and I haven't run a step. My leg feels like it did before the marathon, nothing worse. I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist on Wednesday. I hope he can give me a definitive diagnosis and come up with a plan that will get me back on the roads and trails.

In the meantime, I think I'm suffering from depression. Not the really bad, clinically depressed, "I hate my life" depression. Just a low grade, nagging feeling that I'm always feeling "down". I think anyone who has suffered (or is currently suffering) from an injury can relate. You try not to think about it but it's always there. I've surrounded myself with running stuff too. Ultrarunner, Runner's World, and Trail Runner magazines, and everyday on my commute I listen to Phedipiddations podcasts by Steve Runner. I also check out quite a few blogs to keep up on where everyone else is running and racing. And I can't stop eating. I have lost all control. I keep going back to my "comfort" foods and I eat, eat, eat. To top it off, I have no motivation to work out. I have been doing some workouts but not with the same spirit I had back in Feb and March. Add that up and you have WEIGHT GAIN! And that just adds to the depression. So I eat more. And I don't work out much. It's a vicious cycle.

So what to do? I was listening to Phedippidations this morning and he was talking about Dr George Sheehan. He mentioned that every day is a chance to be the first day that you change your life. Now I've heard that before and I'm aware of it but I just keep putting off that first day. But hearing it this morning it just hit me right. Today is my first day to change some things. A couple other things happened this weekend that also made me start thinking about how good my life is. My good friend sent me this great story about what it means to be a mom and how important our job is. It really struck a cord in me. I also stumbled upon The Fat Cyclist's blog again. I used to read it a couple years ago when I was doing a lot of mountain biking but got away from it. What I just read yesterday was incredibly sad and it made me appreciate everything I have in my life. So what if I can't run right now. I WILL get better and in the meantime, it's a chance to ride my bike which I also love but had forgotten. I have a wonderful family who loves and supports me, a good job with great co-workers, and I'm healthy. What more could I ask for?

Today is Mother's Day and I'm at work. Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful, special moms out there. This morning we had an assignment to take our fire truck to the local Moms On The Run 5K road race and hang an American flag from the tip, actually stretched between two of our trucks. It was hard for me to be there and not be able to run. I soon got over that and enjoyed cheering on all the hundreds of runners and walkers as they took on the challenge of completing 3.1 miles on a beautiful morning. I felt very patriotic watching that flag wave in the breeze as the National Anthem played.

Setting up for the start

One of Reno Fire Department's own

Great sense of humor!
Then the runners were off! Our very own firefighter, Shawn Lawrence, beat out the second place finisher in a desperate footrace right to the end. The crowd went wild. Every female finisher received a beautiful long stem flower. One lady was so impressive she had 2 kids in a double jogger plus one in a backpack. It was great to see all the families it made me miss my own. This race will have to go on the agenda for next year.

Shawn Lawrence just edges it out for the win

Flowers for the female finishers
So I guess the bottom line is, I'm tired of feeling down, fat, and out of shape. So I'm taking it upon myself to change my attitude and it starts today. I'm eating better, cutting down on the portions, more fruits and vegetables, and I'm getting back into my routine of weights and cross-training. And wouldn't you know it, my leg feels better than it has in a month.