Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012.

New Year resolutions get a bad rap. I hear all the time about how people don't like them, refuse to make them, and scoff at people who do. (Of course, some people are much more nonchalant and less judgy about it all and I appreciate that.) Here's the thing I like New Year's resolutions. I said it last year, and I'll say it again. I like them. As I read blog post after blog post about why resolutions are ridiculous and why people should not bother setting them once again, I see a few common problems.

1. People setting the same resolution year after year but never achieving it. This is usually the result of bad resolutions as described in #2 and #3.
2. Resolutions that are too big, too vague, too immeasurable, unattainable, and so on.
3. Setting resolutions that are based on shoulds and not on wants. Sure, maybe your doctor and/or society syas you should lose twenty pounds. But unless you want it at the core of your being, you're not going to do the work to make it happen.
4. Seeing New Year's resolutions as trivial when you focus on living out your goals every day.

For me, New Year's resolutions are not so much resolutions. They are simply my goals for the coming year. It is healthy, wise, and effective to regularly evaluate your progress and set both short-term and long-term goals. New Year's is one of the time I check in on those goals. It comes every year. It's dependable and has built-in societal reminders even if my take on the whole resolution thing is a little different. In looking at these goals, I work to make sure they are SMART goals - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Finally, these are goals that mean something to me. They fit within my bigger vision for my life and are things that help propel me meaningfully on my journey. They are things to which I have a visceral reaction. I want these things with my heart, mind, body and soul.

With that, I've done one of my favoite things and created a board on pinterest for my 2011 goals. I like having a visual reminder as well as being able to look at them aside my Vision board on pinterest to see the bigger picture. For the most part, my annual goals are specific tools in helping me achieve the vision I have set forth for myself. With that, here are my 2011 goals.

Pinterest 2012 Goal Board

Run a marathon.
Run 600 miles.
Read 12 books.
Attend 35 yoga classes.
Hike 5 new places this year.
Organize the basement and the garage.
Tithe.

These all fit into my larger goals for healthy living, personal growth, living intentionally, and simplifying our life. A few more goals might pop up along the way, but this is a good place to start my year.

I hope you are excited for the year to come! Are you setting some goals?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas to Me!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas! We did. The kids and adults all had an exciting day filled with fun, family, and presents! I had a runner's Christmas, and I was spoiled!



LED running hat (like the one linked except it has ear flaps to keep me warm!)

The Stick - self massaging tool
Green shoe laces for my marathon outfit!
KT Tape
Lots of fuel - Clifshots, Clif Shotbloks, Gu, Gu Chomps, Go Roctane
 iTunes gift card for loading my race playlists
And a ball for rolling my plantar fasciitis

 Now it's time to try that 10-12 miles from the other day again and use some of my gifts!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Weeks of Marathon Training

It's Christmas Eve. I should be writing about the 12 Days of Christmas,but instead I've got running on the brain. You're shocked, right? 

Twelve weeks from today is the Rock 'n' Roll D.C. Marathon.

Rock 'n' Roll set the course time limit. Most Rock 'n' Roll marathons have a 7 hour time limit (exceptions being Las Vegas which was a crazy 4.5 hours and Denver which is 6). Washington D.C.'s course limit will be 5.5 hours. This shouldn't be a problem. If I'm going to finish, that pace is not crazy fast or anything like that. But, I know during my first marathon anything could happen. My hope is to cross the finish, period. Now suddenly, I have a time goal/limit before me. I know it's not an exact thing as it is 5.5 hours from when the last participant crosses the starting line which adds some cushion, but it's freaking me out.

At the same time, my running guru, support, and friend is sidelined with an injury since her completion of the Philly Marathon in November. She was planning and registered to run this with me, but it's just not likely. I'm rooting for her to get healthy as soon as possible, but I won't let her (and I think she wisely wouldn't try to) chance re-injury by rushing to run a marathon (no matter how slowly) so soon.

Add to all this the fact that my training has been less than stellar as a result of plantar fasciitis and growing frustration and I am about to completely freak out.

Instead of freaking out, I'm trying to find my focus. I never did follow up my plantar fasciitis post with my training update because I never figured it out. Fail.

This morning I hoped to run 10-12 but ended up with 5 before pain made me stop. But, I looked cute doing it!

I was going to write more, but I need to go stretch, foam roll, ice and get ready for CHRISTMAS! But plantar fasciitis or not, it's ON when it comes to training. Thinking I'll get a few miles in tomorrow, maybe even 8 or so! And maybe, I'll have some new gear from Santa to try out :) Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Critical Mass

There is a couple we're friends with who also have two young children, a bit younger than ours. When we're hanging out and the kids have reached that point where they have used all their patience reserves, are getting tired or hungry, and have simply reached that point of no return where you know meltdowns are inevitable and unstoppable, they like say that we've reached "critical mass". Yes, he teaches science.

Well, this morning it is clear to me that we're at Christmas critical mass. Everyone is exhausted.
Christmas is the culmination of a stressful although joyful Advent season for my pastor husband who has logged more hours this year than even usual as a result of some unfortunate happenings at our church - funerals and illness. I've been working to do all the gift acquisition and preparation, engage the children in meaningful Advent activities, and attempt to continue marathon training and injury rehab. And, oh yea, we had chicken pox here. That brings me to the kids. The kids, like any other, are absolutely almost literally bursting with excitement on top of it all.

My very sensitive and intuitive son is soaking in all of the excitement, stress, and anticipation. His body is literally tingling with it all. He can't wait for Christmas but he doesn't know what to do with it all. My toddler simply doesn't understand why he can't eat all of the cookies and open all the presents he knows are in the house. He doesn't care whether the house is clean or the elaborate dinner is cooked. He just wants to be able to participate in the celebration now. Enough waiting. Enough preparation.

There is much to be done today, but just as Advent does not depend on me (thank you God!), Christmas does not depend on the perfectly cleaned home, perfectly prepared food, or perfectly orchestrated holiday experience. It's not going to be perfect. Some of it may not be done. We're going to focus on the essentials and at the top of that list has to be being with my kids and helping them through the waiting instead of asking them to wait more so that we can get the to do list done.

Today, regardless of what is done or not done (and believe there is much that is not done), we're dropping the to do lists and going hiking with a friend. We're going outside to get some fresh air and enjoy God's creation. We need a break from the presents, the wrapping, the cookies, and the decorations. We need a break from everything that so wonderful builds our anticipation as we wait for our Savior to be born. We need to go be with what God has made in the here and now together as a family with nothing else to do.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ornaments

I know everyone has their own style of tree. I stay pretty true to what we had growing up. A Douglas Fir, as large as we can fit in the house (and every place I've lived has scratch marks on the ceiling where the tree goes to prove it). It has to be too large to fit a star or an angel on top. My mom always said, "it has to hug the ceiling." Then it's strung with big colored lights and covered in ornaments filled with memories. There are no plain balls or filled ornaments. We might have used some in the beginning, but it was a point of joy when we saw that our tree was filled without them. Growing up, we finished the tree with tinsel, just a little to add some sparkle.  I add tinsel on the years that it strikes me.

I am awful at taking Christmas tree pictures.

This year our tree is a good bit smaller than we'd prefer, but the pickings were slim at the tree farm after a year of crazy rain. And it's a non-tinsel year. But, it is still filled with ornaments that we've collected over the years. Every ornament has a story. Stories of loved ones, places, and joys. Here are some of my favorites.
From my years as a dancer who loved pointe

The first ornament that my older son made me at school

Made for me and the rest of my family by a dear friend
From one of my first Christmases
On my husband and I's first vacation we snowbiled through Yellowstone
My favorite family ornament to date: all of us in our family bed where we still sleep most of the time

Our trip to Disney where I discovered I was pregnant with our first
Our family of three joyfully expecting our second child
My new ornament for this year - I ran not one but two half marathons for the first time this year!
A shared love of the outdoors and the water
The camp where my husband and I met and were married and where we are still actively involved
And our newest family ornament. This is our first ornament that features "Mema" on it as she moved in with us in June! Welcome to the Christmas tree Mema! 
So that's a bit of a random selection of our ornaments. I love that our tree is such a celebration of blessings in our life! Do you have a Christmas tree? What are your traditions?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eating Our Way Through Christmas

I don't know about your family, but we love holidays as a reason to make really delicious food!  Here's my plan for Christmas morning and Christmas dinner. I'm going to leave Christmas Eve up to my mom (hear that, mom?) and Christmas Day appetizers to my sister (hear that, sis?). In the meantime, we've got breakfast, dinner and dessert covered.


Breakfast:
Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Baked French Toast
Pioneer Woman's Sleepin' In Omelette (this one is a favorite around here for special occasions)

This super fun fruit Christmas tree from Ginger & Garlic (found via pinterest)



Dinner:
Alton Brown's City Ham
Pioneer Woman's Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries
Holiday Bread
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

Basic Green Salad with some homemade dressings

Dessert:
Pioneer Woman's pots de creme
Chocolate Mousse (because I'm not feeding the kids pots de creme full of coffee)

And of course, lots of good red wine. Reminder to me to hit the winery this coming week!

I made a pinboard with all these links included so enjoy!
What are you cooking (or eating) this holiday?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chicken Pox

It's been a chicken pox filled week for us! We were aware the boys had been exposed right after Thanksgiving, and so we were on the look out. For the record, no they did not receive the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. Yes, we were glad they were exposed to chicken pox naturally because we prefer it to receiving the vaccine. It seems to be going around our area as we had friends that exposed my kids to it, and I just recently heard of a vaccinated child nearby that we had no contact with who just got it.
Anyway, last weekend they started to seem out of sorts. By dinner, they were both lethargic. My 4 year old was saying his stomach hurt while the 2 year old was saying he had a headache. Neither ate dinner. We knew something was up. I checked all my books with natural and homeopathic remedies that night to prepare myself. Sure enough, they had spots in the morning.

We had some very rough days with itching, crying, and absolutely no sleeping. But we also did a lot to help through it as best as we could. Here are some things that helped us along the way. I am not a doctor or medical professional and this is no way constitutes medical advice.


To boost their immune system:
Vitamin C
Echinacea and Astragalus
Zinc
Probiotcs
Eldeberry Syrup (naturally antiviral particularly in regards to the herpes family of which chicken pox is a part)


To help the itching and their skin:
Calendula cream with lavendar oil mixed in
Green Salve from Motherlove
Oatmeal baths (made with just plain old rolled oats thrown into a sock with some lavendar)
We did end up taping mittens on one child one night when he couldn't stop scratching but otherwise we did pretty well.

Homeopathy:
Rhus Tox is the standard chicken pox remedy. We started with that for both children but ended up switching one to Ant Tart which is characterized by a rattly cough with chicken pox.  Additionally, we used chamomilla and pulsatilla for my other son who regularly responds well to those remedies. Pulsatilla is indicated in some chicken pox cases, while chamomilla is used for irritability and oversensitivity. Finally, we were aslo able to give them the chicken pox nosode, Variolinum, when a friend gave us their vial of it later in the week. 
It was a challenging and exhausting week, but the boys are on the upswing. Another day or so and I will be 100% sure they are not contagious. For now, they are in that 'feeling a little better and have all this energy to burn but have no patience because I'm still exhausted from trying to heal' stage. It's pretty awful. But they'll be back to school this week and healthy in time for Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Plague of Plantar Fasciitis

I've been in pain from plantar fasciitis for about 4 weeks now.

From Runner's World.com
Drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes can overload the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. It may look like a series of fat rubber bands, but the plantar fascia is made of collagen, a rigid protein that's not very stretchy. The stress of overuse, overpronation, or overused shoes can rip tiny tears in it, causing pain and inflammation, a.k.a. plantar fasciitis.
 There are lots of risk factors - doing too much too fast, improper shoes, faulty foot mechanics, etc. I know what was the main cause of mine, and I am kicking myself for it. I got new shoes after my half marathon in October. I tried a few different shoes and ended up with the same pair I'd been wearing in a half size larger. For some reason when I got those new shoes, I decided I didn't need to wear the over-the-counter orthotics I had been using on the recommendation of my Foot and Ankle Doctor. Why??? I have no idea. I noticed my feet were cramping on my runs, and I was having my soreness. Suddenly, a little soreness grew into a lot of pain.

What am I doing to fix it? I've spent the past few weeks learning everything I possibly can about plantar fasciitis. I took an entire week off from running and am altering my schedule moving forward. After lots of reading, this is what else I am doing to facilitate healing.
Yes, my foam roller is pink. Yes, my son fights me for it.
 1. Stretching and Strengthening
Stretch, stretch, stretch. I am stretching my feet, my calves, and my whole leg in every way imaginable. Me and the foam roller are pretty tight. There are a myriad of stretches that can be found in some of the resources at the end of this post. I am also slowly strengthening my feet, ankles, and calves while trying not to irritate them further. Here are some helpful stretches.


2. Massage
I am doing manual massage as well as rolling my foot on everything from a tennis or golf ball to a frozen water bottle. Sometimes I even just grab a toy ball from my kids' playroom. I need to do this pretty much constantly. I need to set an alarm on my phone.  This helps break up the tissue and release the muscles.
I wish that was the ice bucket that greeted me after runs.

3. Ice
After each run, I am putting my feet in a ice bath for 15 minutes. Additionally, I am aiming to ice my feet on ice packs for 15 minutes at a time up to 10 times daily. Again, I need to start setting an alarm on my phone to help with this.

4. Rest
I am trying to avoid standing unneccesarily for long periods of time, but I also have to avoid sitting for long periods of time unless I am wearing a splint (see below). I am wearing supportive shoes most of my waking hours, even around the house which drives me a little nuts. I am a barefoot girl.
looks comfy, right?


5. Night Splints
Pain is worst in the morning because the foot tightens up overnight. I am using the Strassburg Sock for at least part of the night to keep my foot stretched and prevent the tightening. It makes my big toe go numb and even bruises it so it's really annoying, but I try to use it as often as I can.


6. Orthotics, heel cups, and Kinesio Tape.
I am wearing the orthotics originally recommended to me again. I am also looking at getting a set of heel cups designed for plantar fasciitis but have not figured out which ones yet. I'm also using KT Tape on my runs.

7. Nutritional Supplements
I am making sure I get sufficient Vitamin C, Zinc, and Fish Oil to help my body having the nutrients it needs to heal. I am also hoping Santa will bring me some of this Tissue Rejuvenator in my stocking!

Resources:
Plantar Fasciitis Resources at Runner's World.com
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Plantar Fasciitis
Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Next up: Marathon Training Plan Take 2!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Injured Runner Blues

Remember this beautiful training journal I dorkily (yea, I know it's not a word) made myself?


 I want to throw it out the window. Why? Because plantar fasciitis has royally screwed up my plans. After training for just two weeks, I had to take an entire week off because of the dang plantar faciitis. If that wasn't bad enough, two weeks later I still haven't gotten back on track.

Today marks the start of my 6th week of training. By today I should have ran 113 miles. Instead I've ran 71.28. As of today I should have logged 4 long runs ranging from 8 to 11 miles. Instead I've only done 2 long runs ranging from 8 to 9 miles.

I've been doing really well not completely freaking about this, but I'm beginning to freak out. The plantar fasciitis isn't getting better. I'm not logging the miles I need to log. The marathon is getting closer every single day. I'm losing motivation, patience, and mental stability by the minute.

But I can't freak out. Freaking out doesn't accomplish anything. Flexibility is key. Listening to my body is key (which I proudly although miserably did yesterday when I cut a 10 mile run short at 1 painful mile). I must adapt. Time for a new plan!

First off, I will celebrate my successes from the past 5 weeks:
Ready to Jingle Jog
  • I've ran 71.28 miles in 5 weeks. These are far from the lowest mileage weeks of my running life. In fact, in the 12 weeks leading up to my very first half marathon I only ran 112 miles total (no wonder I nearly died, but that's besides the point).
  • Despite running a lot less than planned and holiday drinking and eating, I have not gained weight in the last 5 weeks. I've actually lost 2lbs. I'm not expecting to lose weight while marathon training but not gaining while injured is a good thing.
  • I've gone to yoga three times after a three month hiatus.
  • With the help of my fabulous neighbor, a personal trainer, I've established a strength training routine that is both simple and challenging.
  • I ran my first ever 7K race (random distance, no?). I rocked my sparkle skirt and sparkly Active Band for the first time! This will be the sparkle I'll be rocking for the marathon on St. Patty's Day. And I ran a super hilly course in a respectable time, with an average pace of 9:48 minutes per mile, a pace faster than the 5K personal record I earned in September.
Next up: Treating Plantar Fasciitis (Or Attempting to Treat...) and Adapting My Training Plan