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Archive for April, 2012

Superheroes!

Husband Saign and I are doing a mud run in June!

There’s a theme for this mud run…superheroes. Of course, I want to join in the fun with a costume! I began to think about female superheroes. Let’s see, there’s Wonder Woman, and…um…uh…well, I have seen that there are female versions of Superman and Batman. And there’s…um, Power Puff Girls. And…um…. That’s it. I could not think of any more female superheroes.

Now let me name off some male superheroes: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Flash, Snake Eyes, Heman, Wolverine, Captain America, Ironman, Aquaman, Astroboy, and of course, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Really? Why are there so many male superheroes but so few female superheroes? Husband Saign says there are female superheroes, but when he started listing them, I didn’t recognize any of the names!

I got sad for a second, thinking about how there weren’t good role models for little girls…

…And then I realized that all of those superheroes I listed above work for the good by beating people up. And I thought about all the amazing real-life woman I grew up around who set a great example for me and were much better role-models than Spiderman will ever be.

So here’s to hoping that the lack of female super heroes is due to there being so many amazing female real-heroes!

Of course, I’ll still gladly dress up in a super hero costume, because it’s fun.

I like the idea of using something simple like this for a costume (with a head/wristbands of course). It's going to get all muddy, so I don't want to be too fancy! This tshirt and image can be found here.

Are there great female superheroes that I’m forgetting? Who should I dress up as? Who’s the best super hero around?

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…and I have shin splints!!!

Who knew that news of shin splints would make a girl so happy?

Yesterday I went to Urgent Care, concerned that I may have a stress fracture. Thankfully, the doctor took my concerns seriously (she agreed the pain was more localized than seemed typical for shin splints), and she took some x-rays.

She didn’t find a fracture and told me I just have…um…some fancy word for shin splints.

I’m on strict instructions to not run until my shin pain is totally gone.

Check out the fanciness that I bought in response to the news:

Yep! Those are legitimate ice packs. Living a life of luxury, baby! I was sick of the smell of corn while I was icing my shins with frozen vegetables.

I’ll write more about my plans for recovery and the amazing things I learned about shin splints…maybe I’ll even tell you the fancy medical term for shin splints…on another day. In the meantime, I’m happy that I still will have a reasonable amount of time to train and that I don’t have a stress fracture!

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Silly shins

So…as I write this, I’m in a terrible place…

20120427-151053.jpg

That’s right, the Urgent Care waiting room.

In my effort to allow my shins to heal, I only went on two short runs this week.

I thought I was doing my body good, but I replaced my running with a little of Jillian Michael’s 3-2-1 plan. For those of you not in the know, the “2″ in the 3-2-1 plan means 2 minutes of cardio…and in my case, I was doing some sort of bouncy cardio move when I felt something sudden and painful in my right shin.

Are you kidding me? I injured myself when I was trying to take things easy?

I was ready to believe that my shin pain was just plain old shin splints, but a quick consult with Dr. Google led me to the concern that my shin pain is too localized to be simple shin splints. So…I’m here to get a stress fracture ruled out.

My fear is that the doctor will tell me, “It’s probably shin splints,” and send me home without doing a full assessment. Let’s hope he/she is more helpful than that! But, let’s also hope that it IS just shin splints since the recovery will be much faster if that is the case!

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What kind of whackadoodle starts a blog about running a marathon without ever talking about what marathon she’s running? Oh, that’s me! And when I tell you about the marathon, you’ll probably think, “What kind of a whackadoodle starts writing a blog about training for a marathon when she has 6 months until said marathon?” Again, that’s me!

So I’m here to tell you the chosen marathon…the magnificent marathon that will be my first!

My requirements: I wanted a course that would be beautiful and fun. I didn’t want to have any turn-backs (or whatever they’re called…where you run part of the course twice). I didn’t want it to be super far away. I also didn’t want it to be too expensive.

I felt like I found the perfect marathon in the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon. Beautiful scenery, no turn-backs, a reasonable price, and as an added bonus, flat terrain. Now what’s extra special about this marathon is that it takes place in Leavenworth, which is this little Bavarian town…for you Southern Californians out there, it’s kind of like the Solvang of Washington State. Basically it’s a little town that tries to mimic a Bavarian village…and it has a big amazing Oktoberfest every year! Yay!

(This is a little youtube video about Leavenworth. It’s creepy and hopefully nothing like what Leavenworth is really like).

I’m so excited! I’m already working on Oktoberfest costumes for my husband Saign and I. I’m also happy because if something happened so that for some reason I couldn’t run the marathon, it would be okay, because Saign and I will still want to go to Leavenworth and have a great time at Oktoberfest.

Here's a preview of what I've done so far for Saign's costume.

I am a little bit nervous about what my interest level will be about going to Oktoberfest festivities after having just finished my first marathon. I will likely be completely exhausted. And hungry. I am not someone to be around when I’m hungry. I get angry. And sad. So I’m going to have to be careful to train well enough that I’m able to still function in an appropriate manner after finishing the race…and make sure that I’m fueling during the race.

Am I a crazy person? I hope not, because I’m excited about the marathon AND the celebration afterwards! Which is why it makes sense that I began training 6 months in advance…don’t judge.

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Taking it Easy

I’ve decided to take things easy after my shins started acting up last week. On Thursday they started bothering me, so I didn’t run on Friday or Saturday.

I think this may be a very primitive way to ice, but it's what I've been doing. The only problem is: How will I ice after I've eaten these peas?

I decided to run on Sunday, but to keep it short. Once I started running, I didn’t want to stop, but I showed some self-control and kept it to 3.5 miles.

Here’s my plan right now:

  1. Pull back on running. This means no long run this week, no speed work, and no thinking about speed. Just running to stay in shape and have fun.
  2. Ice it! I’ve been icing my shins after most runs, but now I’m going to ice it after work as well.
  3. Do a little warm-up and stretch. I typically don’t stretch until after my run. I’m going to start doing some stretches after a warm-up to see if that helps.
  4. Take vitamins. This may be ridiculous, but I have them sitting around, so I might as well use them…they probably won’t hurt, eh?

So, that’s the action plan right now! Let’s hope for some amazing healing!

Any other suggestions for how to help my little shins?

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Crushed

The day began with an omen.

As I was leaving to go to work, Ada the Dog began running through the house, obviously excited about something, though I didn’t know what…until she dropped the something at my feet. A dead, limp, bloody squirrel.

Ugh! Now, this was not the first time that Ada had caught a squirrel, but it was the first time that my husband wasn’t home to take care of the squirrel corpse. That meant corpse disposal was my responsibility. Ew.

Ada the Dog proudly displaying her find, me screeching.

I managed to clean up the squirrel corpse alright, and was only a few minutes late for work. But then I began to stress and think about that squirrel corpse as an omen. I began to think I wouldn’t make the Nuun Hood to Coast team.

Trying to be hopeful, I thought, “Hey, maybe in the squirrel corpse scene, I’m Ada the Dog, happy to have gotten something amazing!”

I then remembered that I, Ada the Dogs’s most adored person, had taken her esteemed prize from her and dumped it over the fence where she couldn’t reach it.

No matter how I looked at the omen, it wasn’t good. Either I was the squirrel, who ended up dead; myself, who had to clean up squirrel corpse; or Ada the Dog, who got fresh meat stolen from her.

Well, noon came, and I learned I hadn’t made the Hood to Coast team. I tried to be only half-devastated like I promised I would be, but I am more than half-devastated. Rejection hurts.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect to make the team, because my blog hasn’t been around very long, doesn’t have a good following yet, and I live in the Pacific Northwest (which is where Nuun is most well-known, and therefore not where they would be targeting team members). But, my husband Saign kept telling me that I would make the team because my application was good. I started to believe him. I really thought my application was good! The assignment was to be creative and show my personality. I felt that I achieved both of these things…and I still got rejected. Which…I mean…does that mean that Nuun rejected me personally? It’s about 100 billion times worse that they rejected me after saying they wanted to get to know me through my application than if they had just said, “be creative.” Now I feel that I, not my creative work, has been rejected.

So…I’m sad. Maybe more than 50% sad. My heart has been broken by Nuun.

Thankfully there was cake at work for me to sugar-drown my sorrows.

I realize that if my biggest problem is that I don’t get to be on a running team, I’m really doing pretty well. I have food, water, health, a good career, family, legs that can run, and an adventurous heart. But, if I’m honest, I’m hurt. I’m not sure that rejection ever gets easier. It feels stingy and painful every single time.

I also want to say best wishes to all the bloggers who were lucky enough to get picked for the team! You will have an amazing time!

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50%

Today is the big day! Yes, today at Nuun (noon), Nuun will be announcing its Hood to Coast teams. I’m so excited!

This is not the only big news for me this week! I also was looking forward to this week because I would be learning whether or not I had passed the big, huge, horrible, worst-test-you’ve-ever-taken licensure exam for my career.

My biggest fear was that I would simultaneously learn that I had failed the test AND not made the Nuun team.

To my delight, I learned yesterday that I passed my licensure exam! (This is seriously a huge deal, I’m a smart girl with a doctorate and I have never studied so earnestly for any test in my entire life…I’m very, very happy, proud and relieved).

Soooo, my biggest fear will not be realized! I passed my test! Now the worst case scenario would be that I don’t make the team and I only get 50% of the happiness that I hoped for this week. If that happens, I still get to be 50% happy about my test.

So I’m going to do my best to be happy for the ladies who make the team even if I don’t make the team and have to be happy for them and devastated for me. (Because remember, I’ll only be 50% devastated anyway…)

I feel so confused about what I'll be feeling today at Nuun (noon). Also, I just learned how to put backgrounds on my doodles from my free iPhone app.

Best of luck to all the Nuun hopeful ladies out there! May Nuun decide to have 6 teams so we can all be part of the adventure!

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Sock Skeptic

Once upon a time, approximately 10 years ago, I worked at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. It was a pretty fun job. Most of our residents had certain “Occupational Goals” that we had to help them meet…such as walking in their walker for a certain amount of time, or spending time listening to a book.

Well, one day a physical therapist added a new occupational goal for one of our residents. This resident was to wear “compression socks” for a certain amount of time each day. I was the one who had brought this resident to the physical therapist appointment when this goal was assigned, and I was not impressed. I remember the physical therapist took very little time to actually interact with the resident, and I felt confused about what service she had actually provided. To have her add a goal of him wearing super expensive socks that were (as far as I could tell) just normal socks, made me particularly skeptical. I even remember asking the nurse what the socks were supposed to do, and she said something about how they were supposed to increase circulation. I remember just thinking, “Um, those are just ridiculously expensive socks, they’re not magic.” But the nurse and my supervisor insisted that these silly looking knee socks were quite important.

Enter March 2012, when I decided to run my first full marathon, and made more of an effort to learn about the sport.

I was surprised when on running blog after running blog I heard about “compression socks.” Oh great! It had moved beyond that crazy physical therapist in Minnesota, and now apparently the entire running world believed in these magic socks?

I was skeptical but curious…was it possible that socks could actually help with running? How were they supposed to help?

Then, Katie commented on a post I had written about my shins hurting, and suggested I address the issue with compression calf sleeves.

What? This compression stuff could help with my shin pain? Oh dang, now things are getting really crazy!

Well, I was really, really super curious after learning that, so I did some research and learned what compression socks could allegedly help with.

Again, I was curious, but still skeptical.

So, what’s an academic skeptic to do? Find a scholarly article that addresses the issue, of course! My research led me to a peer-reviewed (of course) article that indicates that compression does, in fact, help with running in a number of ways!

Kemmler, W., Von Stengel, S., Kockritz, C., Mayhew, J., Wassermann, A., & Zapf, J. (2009). Effect of compression stockings on running performance in men runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23: 101-105

Oh my goodness, this isn’t about crazy people believing in magic socks! This is legitimate stuff here! I can’t wait to try a pair…after I stop hyperventilating about the price.

This is what I will look like in compression socks. There is a heart next to my shins because they are happy.

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Running Summary: 4/14/12-4/20/12

Date

Distance (miles)

Time

Average minute/mile

4/14/12

8+

???

???

4/16/12

4.00

35:22

8:51

4/17/12

4.09

35:27

8:41

4/19/12

3.04

28.48

9:29

Cross Training:

4/17/12 Strength

4/18/12 Level 2 Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred 5 lbs, walked Ada the Dog 3 mile+

4/19/12 Strength

4/20/12 Walked Ada the Dog 1 mile+

Thoughts: My shins have been bothering me and I’ve been sick this week. (Besides my extreme shivering on Sunday, I also had laryngitis on Wednesday, and have generally been sick with a cold/cough/tiredness all week). So, I ended up missing a 3 mile run this week trying to let things heal up.

I’m having trouble figuring out when to do strength training. If I do it before my run, I find myself sluggish while running (see my time on 4/19/12…I did Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred right before I ran). I don’t want to do it in the mornings after my run, because I’m icing my shins then, and if I plan to do it when I get home from work, I only do it 50% of the time. Despite these barriers, right now the best option seems to be to do it after work. Wish me luck!

Conclusion: My shins started hurting again towards the end of this week. I’m going to take things easy this coming week to hopefully let them heal up a little – no worrying about speed, no long distance, just happy running! :)

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Oopsie

Remember how I planned to use my Cadbury Bunny Eggs as a reward for finishing my long runs?

I really believed I would do it. I put it on my blog! I didn’t want to be a liar!

For 5 days I didn’t touch them. Then I had a bad day…

And ate all 4 of them in one sitting. Oopsie.

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