Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sad Decision Day

Well this week marks the start of July, which means the Denver Marathon is only 3.5 months away. You may say, well that’s pretty far away…ha nope. If I started training next week, I’d only have about 14 weeks of training which would need to include a 3 week taper. That means I‘d only have 11 weeks to get myself back up to 20 mile runs. That’s just 2.5 months to get from zero to 20 without injury. Even though I've been cross-training my butt off, it just seems like I'd be asking for injury.

As much as I’m desperate to train for the full marathon, I’ve come to the decision to drop from the full to the half marathon. I’ve been going over all of this in my head, on paper, trying to figure out training plans that would get me prepared enough to run a strong race, not a fast one, but a strong one. It’s just not in the cards for me. If I were up and running even just 10 miles a week right now I’d just go for it. Maybe only do one 20 miler. But without the base, I’m not going to risk injuring myself even more.

I HATE giving up which is what I feel like I’m doing. I’m trying to remind myself that I need to listen to my body and my body is telling me that I am not ready to jump into training for a full. It's not my fault mother nature robbed me of my full marathon for the year and left me injured. My plan now is to train for a fast half marathon with the goal of setting a PR. After all, a half marathon is better than no race at all. Maybe I’ll even find a winter marathon to run in November or December. That will give me more time to prepare. I’m beyond frustrated but know that you can’t make your body do something that it’s not ready to do. It’s not like there won’t be other marathons in the future right?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Orthotics. They're not just for old people.

Yesterday I got fit for my customized orthotics. I cannot wait until they're ready!  Bob, the owner of my physical therapy practice worked with me to determine what I needed. He had me run on the dreadmill for a few minutes to see my gait in my running shoes. Then he had me lay on my stomach so that he can play with my sweaty feet. He said mine were nothing compared to the ones he used to work on while he was with the CU athletic department.  He drew on my a little bit and was happy to see that my feet line up with with my calf.  My problem is that my foot is just deformed.  Haha. Not really but it isn't shaped quite right for it to land in line with the rest of my body while I run...or even walk.

My new orthotics will add some padding under my toes on the rightside of my right foot as well as some support near the back of my arch. He said that he is confident that having these orthotics will help me run pain-free.  That was music to my ears! He was also nice enough to temporarily adjust my shoe to hold me over until the orthotics come in.

After the gait analysis and fitting it was time for my weekly PT session. It was the first session in a long time that I almost teared up doing therapy.  My tendons and shins have all sorts of knots and build-up. Every time Ryan hit certain spots on my ankle and shin my entire leg started shaking it hurt so bad.  Needless to say I was not going to be running last night. I'm hoping to get in a good run this weekend. I'm still super sore from PT yesterday and meeting Tawsha for a cocktail tonight so I think I'm taking the night off. It's about time, I haven't taken a day off since last week some time.

Oh and it looks like Josh may have gotten pink-eye. Flashback to preschool right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

From two legs to two wheels

I'm considering taking up a new physical hobby...cycling. Now I'm not what you would call a cyclist. I didn't even learn how to ride a bike until I was 7. Thanks to my friend Whitney who let me practice on her bike until I could ride it on my own.  Since then I've had a couple of bikes including my pretty pink cruiser than is collecting dust in our garage.  It got a lot of use when we lived in Ft. Collins, but since we moved and there is not Old Town to ride to it's been sadly neglected.

Anyway, I've been thinking about doing a sprint tri for which I'd need a bike other than my cruiser.  Yesterday Josh and I stopped at a shop in Longmont so that I could try out a road bike.  I was really nervous about the super skinny wheels.  Once I was on and actually pedaling it wasn't so bad.  Of course it will take some getting use to but I think I can do it especially the whole leaning over and the weird braking. I will definitely not be keeping up with Josh anytime soon or using toe clips. The last thing I need to to have my feet stuck to the pedals. I'd be the person at the stop light like this:

I'm not sure if I'm going to love it so we're going to keep our eyes peeled for a used bike. No sense in spending $1000 on a bike until I know whether or not I like riding.  It will be great crosstraining exercise.

Any tips for a newbie cyclist?

By the way, running is not going great. Last week I ran twice for a total of 7 miles. I was going to run 7 on Sunday but I took a few steps and the shooting pain returned. Luckily I have PT tomorrow.  If I can't run three times a week in the next couple of weeks I'm going to have to seriously consider dropping from the full marathon to the half.  Booooooo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


How do you spend a warm, summery Friday afternoon in Longmont? Throwing back a few beers at our local brewery, Lefthand.  It was really busy when we pulled up which isn't unusual for a nice afternoon, but when we walked in we were in for more than we thought.  As it turns out they were hosting a Hair4Hunger fundraiser and silent auction for Our Center.  Our Center is a local organization that works to help people with disabilities and/or limited means to become self-sufficient.  They provide hot meals, clothes, child care, and more.  We're always up for supporting charitable causes so we bid on half a dozen silent auction items and went along our way. 

Once we got our beers we decided to check out the commotion on the patio.  There were three or four hair salons out there doing people's hair. Now they weren't doing nice, stylish dos, they were competing to create the biggest, prettiest and most zannie styles.  Josh volunteered my head for some wacky hair.  For a small donation of $5 I got this rocking style.  It's totally me don't you think?

Yep, I think I'm going to go out on the town like this from now on. 

Brenna arrived and she got hers done too.  Pretty pretty princess for beer drinkers.  Unfortunately we were runners up in the contest, but it was fun anyway.  As it turns out our luck was better in the silent auction.  We won two private pilates sessions, a few acupunture appointments, a haircut and deep conditioning treatment at BeauImage and a month of yoga compete with a yoga mat and t-shirt at Solar Yoga.  I'd say we made out pretty well. Not gonna lie, we were both relieved we didn't also win the DQ cake and keg of beer. 

It was an unexpected and super fun evening.  Now how do I get my hair back to normal?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Results are In

Tendonitis. Yep, still tendonitis. I'm happy that it's not a stress fracture that's for sure, but come on. Who has tendonitis after not running for over a month? This girl!  Plan of action: physical therapy at least once a week, custom orthoditics and ice on a regular basis. Oh yes and tylenol. Definitely lots of tylenol before running. IB Profin after.  Basically they don't know why I'm continuing to have pain. My deltoid tendon is irritated but that shouldn't be causing continuous pain. Ugh, so irritating.

And just like that, I'm giving myself permission to start training. It's going to be slow and steady. I've definitely lost conversation pace speed, but that's ok. I'm going to start off with the three day a week plan.  After a few weeks or a month if I'm feeling good, I'll start adding in speed and tempo workouts.  So happy I don't have to be in a boot!

Look out trails of Boulder County, I'm coming for you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Sinking City of Venice

*Only five month late*

To Review the Rest of the Trip:

I've said for years that I had to get to Venice before it was completely under water. Now of course I know this will not happen in my lifetime, but each year it does sink and I wanted to make sure I got to see it before it was a huge mess. 

Can you see the excitement on my face?  Yes, I was freezing.  This is the only day on our trip that I felt the weather was almost unbearable. It was snowing and really cold.  I was really wishing I hadn't lost one of my gloves in Florence.

We road on the water bus to San Marco and ventured down this extremely narrow street to get to our hotel. 

Check out the classic Venice decor.  Eek. 

We didn't really have any plans so we just headed towards Piazza San Marco. Pizzaza San Marco is the main square in Venice. It's home to St. Mark's Basillica, the Doge's Palace, the a super cool clocktower.  It also is the most likely to flood portion of the entire city.  When we got there the raised sidewalks were setup and there was about 3 inches of standing water. By the end of the day it had subsided. Here are a few pics:

We were chilled to the bones so we went to find something warm to drink.  We had been looking for a cake shop that was in our Time Out Guide, but of course it was no where to be found. So we stopped for some delicious treats and cioccolato caldo.  This was not just any hot chocolate, it was literally like a Cadbury bar had been melted and poured into the cup.  Had we known how to say whipped cream we would have.  It may have been easier to drink or eat with a spon.  We drank what we could but we were both on serious chocolate overload.  I know you're thinking wow, too much chocolate for Jess..amazing.

The second part of our day we headed to the famous Teatro La Fenice.  It's burned twice and been completely rebuilt.  Here's a couple pics we snuck. 

We were disappointed that there were no shows going on, but I suppose we could always go back another time. After quick nap we headed to dinner at a local restaurant by another theater.  It was the first restaurant that didn't look shady and was affordable.  It wasn't so bad.

The next day we went to Verona which you saw the review of already.  On the way there we cruised through this great outdoor market.  Wouldn't it be nice to get this fresh of food all the time?
Our final day in Venice coincided with the celebration of Befana Festival.  It is a celebration of the Ephipany.  The morning started off with a very special boat race.  This race's competitors are all middle aged men that dress up as witches.  They looked pretty great.
At the conclusion of the race they brought a large stocking and hung it from the Rialto bridge.  To Josh and I this seemed like a combination of Christmas and Halloween.  Good kids get candy from the witch and bad kids get coal. 

We were cruising around town and happened apon a gondalier who was willing to cut us a deal.  So off we were on our Venetian gondola ride.  It was pretty cool cruising around the Grand Canal and seeing the amazing buildings from a different perspective.  We even had tourists taking our pictures.  Here are a few of our favorites from the ride.

After our ride we continued to cruise around town. We headed across the Grand Canal to Dorsoduro.  We got to see Piazza San Marco from across the water and another beautiful church, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I also walked the path of part of the Venice marathon.  I don't think that it would be much fun, very narrow streets, occasional standing water, and tons of ramps over all of the bridges.

What's the best way to savor your last evening in Venice?  Starting it drinking a cafe and Prosecco on the water watching the sunset. 


We enjoyed dinner at a tiny little place on one of the canals.  It took us almost an entire hour to find it again and unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the place so I couldn't tell you the name of it. It was pretty delicious and the staff was hilarious! 

And like that our trip was over. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Women, Food and God

Several weeks ago while Claire and I walked around MacIntosh Lake she told me about a book she had seen on Oprah, Women, Food and God. It sounded interesting to me as we had just been discussing body image issues, etc.  When my mom called and said she was reading it and love it, I thought, ok I'll give it a shot and picked it up at Target. 

I've slowly been reading it, and though it is interesting, none of it has really applied to me because I'm not overweight and I typically eat what I want. That is until we got to the chapter on indulgers and restrictors. I eat healthfully and exercise regularly, but I do tend to flip flop between the two types of eaters.  I rarely will pass up something sweet or my favorite dip because really, life's too short to not eat at least a bite or two of your favorites.  It's better than binging on it later.  I do however find myself being really selective when choosing what else I'll eat that day or the next to make up for my splurge. Just to make sure I'm not worrying anyone, I never skip meals.  Food fuels my body. I do however, choose what I put into it.

Josh and I have totally changed the food we buy. We've eliminated as many processed foods as possible. We get bread from Great Harvest (only a handful of ingredients and it tastes amazing), our chicken and meat from the Farmer's Market (raised naturally eatting better than we do), we're growing our own veggies and when we buy fruit/veggies from the store they are all organic. We're trying to take in as few pesticides, chemicals and hormones as possible.  I'm even looking at the labels when selecting condiments to avoid high fructose corn syrup. Of course we still go out to eat occasionally so we can't control what's in their food.

You'd think this would be making me feel great, but I have been struggling with my own body image lately. Between not running, traveling for work (a recipe for over indulgence) and all sorts of social events going on, I feel like my body is going soft.  Full disclosure, at the height of marathon training I weighed 126-128 lbs.  I was eating a ton (1800 calories-3800 (on long run days)) and was feeling great.  Now I'm 130-134 depending on the day. This is not a huge difference, but to me it is.  My clothes still fit but feel more snug. My once almost visable abs are fading and the light of day I saw in between my thighs is all but gone. I'd love to say it's muscle but ha, who am I kidding.  I've been trying to look in the mirror and tell myself something positive every day, but I'm still feeling heavy and disappointed in my lack of willpower.  I wish I was one of those naturally thin people, but I'm not. I have to work really hard to stay in shape.

I'm nearing the end of the book and the beginning of training again. Hopefully I can get my head on straight and stop being my own worst critic.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What a weekend and training

This was a busy weekend and it flew right by.  Highlight of the weekend...of course other than seeing Maegan be so happy saying I Do to Ahearn...running! Yes, that's right, I ran again. I knocked out 6 miles at a 10 minute pace. My ankle hurt, it felt like a constant pinching sensation but I did not once have shooting pain up the side of my leg or my shin.  I'm jonesing for some speed work but know that I need to not push too far too fast. I think I may even try to do a short 3-4 miles tonight after work. For now I'm sticking to the dreadmill because it has some play to it which helps reduce the hard impact. 

On the running note, now that I'm running, well kind of, I'm starting to think about marathon training plans. I'm going to create my own using a hybrid of a couple of different plans.  I'm going to refer to my TNT schedule from last season (abbreviated since I will not be training for 19 weeks this time), the Hal Higdon plan and Runner's World's Less is More. I think running three-four days is the most my body can handle for training. I'm definitely going to continue crosstraining as well. I cannot wait to get my orthoditics and get out there. I refuse to train for a marathon on the dreadmill!

Back to the weekend, Saturday we watched the USA vs. England World Cup game with Ryan and Claire. I decided I liked the game because there were zero commericals until the half and there was always action going on. It was kind of anti-climatic without a winner though.  After that we headed to Denver for Maegan and Ahearn's wedding. She got the same crappy weather or her wedding day that we did. Boo. But it was nice anyway. We caught up with some of my sorority sisters I hadn't seen in years!

Sunday we did an Indian cooking class. Needless to say we were stuffed when we got home!  If anyone is interested in going to the class in August, let me know! It's only $18 and you get tons of food. I bought a cook book and am ready to try making some of my own Indian food at home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Being Still is Hard

So is waiting. Yesterday morning I had my MRI on my ankle. I haven’t ever had one before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All I knew was that I couldn’t have any metal below my hips which was no problem. They laid me on the bed and packed my foot in. They were also nice enough to put a blanket and headphones with XM radio on me. They said the machine was loud and they were not kidding! Man the noises it made were so loud it made the entire bed vibrate. I was totally paranoid I would ruin the pictures because they said even the slightest movement can skew them.

About 15 minutes in my legs began twitching of course. I was focusing so hard on holding still I’m pretty sure I could have made myself levitate with the same power of thought. The entire thing took about a half hour. They handed me a disk of images and sent me on my way. The orthopedic surgeon should have received them yesterday. Now I just have to wait. I tried looking at them to see if I could tell what was wrong, but of course everything looks all jacked up to me. I assume I won’t hear from the doctor until Monday afternoon sometime. I’m trying to be patient.

My ankle is sore from my PT rubbing on Wednesday. It hurt so good that it bruised me a little bit. I got all set up to meet with the owner of my PT practice. He’s going to do a gait analysis and get me fitted for custom orthotics. $200 ouch! So worth the money if they help me prevent future injuries.

I’m starting to think about my training plan for the Denver Marathon. I think I’m going to have it start 4th of July weekend. I should have my orthotics by then and with several weeks of PT under my belt, fingers crossed, I’ll be ready to run my little heart out. That is pending the MRI indicates it was only tendonitis.

I’m ready for a super busy weekend after two weeks straight of work. Tomorrow Ryan and Claire are having a party for the World Cup and my friend Maegan is getting married. It’s going to be a fun day! Sunday Josh and I are doing an Indian cooking class which is a fundraiser for LLS. I’m excited. I love love love Indian food. At least I have distractions while I’m waiting for the doc to call.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm 26, are you sure?

Well it’s been 26 years since my terrified parents became my mom and dad. Contray to what my mom may say, I was not a beautiful newborn.  Yeah that's me with the conehead.  Luckily it is now normally shaped and I have hair.

I cannot believe I turned 26 today. I am officially at an age that, even at 22, I thought was old. Now I’m not saying I’m old, because I mean come, 26 isn’t even close to the midpoint of my life. I just cannot believe that I'm not officially closer to 30 than I am to 20.  How did the time fly by so fast?  I swear I was just graduating from high school like five minutes ago.  Even more strange, I feel like my parents just turned 26 not that long ago. In fact, when my stepmom Liz started dating my dad Lmost 18 years ago, she was 26.  What a brave woman to take on a man that had a 8 year and 5 year old.  It's just crazy scary to think that at my age my parents had kids in elementary school. 

My mid-twenties, yes Josh I’m still in my mid-twenties, have been awesome so far:

Age 24-Married my lobster
Age 25-Ran my first marathon and went on an amazing trip to Italy
Age 26-????-We'll see what the year brings.

What I do know is that I’m just a super lucky girl woman. I have wonderful friends and family. I even have wonderful coworkers, case in point, Lisa who brought me this delicious and super cute cake for my birthday. (Thank you one last time!) Nothing better than the smell of cake in the morning when you arrive to your cubicle.

This year is going to be great I know it! How could it not be? I’m happy, healthy (well almost), I have a job, a house, a wonderful, loving husband and dog. Bonus-I get to go on another fabulous European adventure to Paris and London in September, two races already scheduled (hopefully I’ll be able to do them), and all sorts of surprises that are going to pop up. Yeah, it’s going to be good. ;-)

Thanks for all the love and support!

Josh took me out for an amazing dinner at this tiny little restaurant called Praha.  It was one of the best meals I've had in a long time.  I had the Pepper Steak "Galleria". So delicious and beautifully presented. I should have taken a picture but felt silly. Excellent birthday!

P.S. I scheduled my MRI today. I know I wasn't going to do it, but I tried to run again last night...no dice.  It hurt bad.  I have PT on Wednesday and I'm going to order custom orthodics.  MRI is scheduled for first thing on Thursday morning...booo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bikram Challenge: Complete

Well my month of Bikram is over. I totally slacked last weekend with Friday being my only class for the entire weekend. Oh well. I did 22 or 23 classes, I can’t remember. Not bad for a newbie.

Thoughts on Bikram:

-It is hot! No, kidding right. But some days when I walked in the room the heat was like a punch in the face and I’d start to sweat instantly. The more people that were there the hotter it was. On days when I was tired after work, I almost always started to drift off to sleep while waiting for class to start. The heat was like a nice warm blanket.

-I’ve never sweat so much.

-I’m not flexible at 5 am.

-Balance, balance. The standing series of poses is an hour long. They were my favorite of the entire class. They really helped me with my balance, leg and core strength.

-I could hear my heart. Some days more than others but there were times that I would lay on the floor for savasna and could feel and hear my heart pounding. I wouldn’t say it kept my heart rate up the entire 90 minutes, but it got it up from time to time which leads to more calorie burning.

-My ankle hates some of the floor poses. Though yoga had no blunt impact to make my ankle hurt, one pose in particular made the pain flare right up every time. I had to do a modified pose to avoid the pain.

-It’s very repetitive. Bikram developed his practice so that one pose lead to the next. That means every day we did the same 26 poses, in the same order. Though it was nice to do the same poses and see improvements each time, it got kind of old. I began to learn which poses I didn’t like and began to dread them when I knew they were coming up next.

Body Changes:

No major body changes. My weight continued to have its normal fluctuations of 2-4 pounds. I do think that my leg muscles have gotten stronger as well as my shoulders and abs. I’m still not seeing a six-pack but I’ll settle for a flat stomach. The changes in my measurements were pretty small, nothing worth publishing really.

To Continue or Not to Continue:

At this point I’m taking a break. I’m heading to Tampa for several days and have a really busy June. So I thought I’d wait to use my discount until the end of June or July. I think that I’ll continue with the practice on occasion but it will not be my primary form of exercise. I think the longer I do it, the more benefits I’ll see. Plus I do like the people at the studio.

I’m considering trying out some other forms of yoga in the mean time on a drop in basis.

So there is it, a super brief review of my month.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Ran!!!

That's right, I ignored advice of the doctor and my own better judgement and ran.  I smiled the entire time too!  Friday afternoon I was heading to the gym before yoga and decided you know what I should try it out.  The first few steps on the treadmill sent shooting pain up my calf but once I got in my groove I was ok.  I ran an easy four miles before I decided I should not push myself right out of the gate.

Time: 40 minutes    Distance: 4 miles    Avg. Pace: 10 min/miles

Not too shabby considering I haven't run in more than a month.  Now, several days later I'm still hurting though. My ankle hurts every time I walk.  I've made the executive decision to skip the MRI and just start intensive physical therapy.  I didn't really like the orthopedic surgeon at all and I don't really feel the need to work with him or spend money on the MRI if he thinks it's just tendonitis. 

Hopefully I can get into PT before I leave for Tampa on Saturday afternoon so we can get this show on the road.  My month of yoga also ended this weekend....it did not go out with a bang but more on that later.