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Showing posts from 2016

I Adjust

I set out several weeks ago to train for a marathon, knowing there might be a chance I'd have to change my end goal to a half marathon. And so that has happened. Maybe my training plan was too ambitious for where I was in my body, having spent the better part of a year not running and generally trying to avoid being on my feet, or rather my foot, and then slowly coming back to running over the course of four months. I started with a two-mile test run one week, then three miles, gradually adding on a couple more low-mile run days per week. So to expect to go from that careful, measured reentry to a full-on marathon training was perhaps unrealistic, though hopeful. And that I was hopeful is okay; for a time when I wasn't running, I was not hopeful and had forgotten that it was okay to have hope.

But back to my current reality. When I did my farthest long run since April 2015, 12 miles, my body did not support it. Both feet hurt, my hips hurt. And not just in the typical pavement…

A Love Letter to My Nieces, Ages 2 Through 6

To my darling nieces,

You in your barely lived lives have taught me so many lessons about how to live mine. Here are the ways you have inspired me:
You enjoy simple pleasures, like jumping crumbled waves in five inches of water, holding me next to you so I'll do the same. Over and over and over again.

You love life vigorously, and you don't want to miss a moment of it. This love causes a fear of missing out, or FOMO, and it keeps you up at night. Literally. 
You seek individuality. Like wearing different shoes on each foot, or outfits you created because you love the separate pieces, even though they don't match by any stretch of the imagination, and despite my best urging toward a nice-looking alternative. 
You want to be active for no other reason than to enjoy the physicality of movement. Sometimes, in fact, you can't sit still. Can't do it. 
You know what you want in life and you're not afraid to go after it. Even when it's a toy that isn't yours bu…

Let the Training Begin ... Please. Please Let It Begin.

Just in time for the start of the summer Olympics, for added motivation, I've laid out my marathon training for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in November. And having just come home from a few days of fun family vacation at New Smyrna Beach, during which I managed to run once, I'm feeling the need more than ever to get back into a routine. I've been working out most days, but with no real plan or goals. That's been sort of fun, I guess, but it's also left me feeling anxious—that I'll have a hard time adapting back into a routine, that I've lost the drive to train hard, or that I simply care less about training. And if that latter scenario is true, what is there instead? I'm getting ahead of myself, but those are the fears. 



My training plan is adapted from The Complete Book of Running for Women, by Claire Kowalczic, published in 1999. This was my running bible when I first began distance running, about eight years ago now. I find its essenti…

Working on Leisure

It's been an awfully long time since I posted. Truthfully I don't have a clear vision for this blog going forward. What began mostly as a public training log, a means for sharing my love for running with others, for connecting with those I don't see in my day-to-day life, has become a thing of dread. Not because I don't love running, don't still train, don't still want to connect; rather, the thought of writing as an obligation had become the turnoff. 
I've recently cleansed myself of all "outside" obligations--freelance editing projects, unsatisfying school work--things I no longer feel are necessary or fulfilling for me. One motivating factor behind this cleanse was to make room for things I do enjoy, do find gratifying. But I wasn't sure what those things would be. I've spent most of my adult life working full time, plus always something on the side. School, extra work, sometimes both. I haven't quite known how to let go; hyper-produ…

Back On My Feet, Out of My Seat

Something had to give. Last year I worked hard to establish a full workout schedule sans running, so incorporating running back in inevitably meant I'd have to adjust for a new schedule. And now that I'm able to run three days a week (yay!), I've had to decide what to let go of. I wanted to remain a versatile athlete—and a strong, healthy one. So I knew I needed to keep strength training in, which left me essentially choosing between swimming and biking. And that's not really a hard choice for me; swimming had become a new love over the course of my foot injury, and biking, well, let's just say I never became chummy with that sport. Plus, I committed to a challenge to swim 111 miles over the course of a year, and I still need to swim at least twice a week to meet that goal.


I don't imagine I'll abandon the bike altogether, but I won't try to work it into my weekly training. Maybe that will actually help; maybe trying to force it has made me resent it. T…

An Exploration of Definitions: Words, Conditions, and Me

Last weekend I wrote about the ambivalence I'd been feeling about not competing in endurance sports. In a Facebook comment to my post, a friend posed the following question:
do you always /have/ to be going forward in everything, all the time? Can you find a way to be comfortable with staying where you are? I think this is emotional work, btw, not physical work. I was just struck, in reading this, by your observation that you can't enjoy something if you're not pushing yourself. But maybe all of this with your foot and knee is your body trying to teach you to be present and be okay with being you just as you are. I thought about my response and battled with it for a long time. A week, in fact. I decided to further explore my reasons in a follow-up post—this one.

First, I didn't realize my post had come across as negative; my thinking was, ambivalence by definition is neutral, right? So then I needed to look up the word. According to Merriam-Webster, ambivalence is &quo…

The Ambivalent Nature of Noncompetition

I think I know why I've struggled to fully latch on to swimming and cycling. Part of it is just starting out new. But I can't really play the newbie card anymore, particularly with swimming. What I'm missing, I think, is the thrill of competition (except for the occasional instances when, unbeknownst to the swimmer in the lane next to me, I engage in a full-out race with him or her to the wall and back). With running, the sport became more exciting to me when I started entering distance races. I began where most everyone does—with a 5k—but then decided that wasn't enough, so I trained for a 15k and soon thereafter a half marathon, etc. Those events propelled my love for running forward. I was never racing for prestige or placement but rather to challenge myself; to push myself further than I knew I ever would if I—me, myself—had been the only motivating source. I needed the accountability and structure that came with race training.

And now, without the race factor, I f…

Everything I Thought I Knew Was Wrong: My Eventual Return to Running

Last April, after achieving a PR at the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, I suffered foot pain that, little did I know at the time, would keep me sidelined from running for 10 months. Today, I can finally say that the foot pain is gone. Through working with a chiropractor, Dr. Travis Mohr, on releasing the tight muscles in and around my foot that were gripping and pulling on the metatarsal heads in the ball of my foot, I was finally able to get relief from a condition I feared would plague me for the rest of my life, keeping me from ever running again. My journey to this freedom from foot pain was filled with frustration, fear, and constant disappointment. Here's what I learned throughout the process:

Rest and immobilization are not always the answer. At least not longterm. In seeking medical care for my foot, I consulted with and received some form of treatment from a podiatrist, a sports therapist, three orthopedists, and three chiropractors (eighth time is a charm?). The ma…

Black-Eyed-Pea Hummus and Roasted Veggie Collard Wraps (V/GF)

A couple nights ago I made the best meal I've ever prepared for myself. I don't feel too arrogant saying this because my standards for home cooking are not terribly high; I generally don't like to put too much effort into making food for one, and I'm more concerned about consuming nutritious meals than gourmet ones. That said, if I can achieve low maintenance, healthy, and delicious, I'm pretty wowed.

This particular meal was inspired by a black-eyed pea dip I had at Fodder & Shine recently. I wanted to make my my own, which really is just hummus with black-eyed peas instead of garbanzo beans, but I also wanted use it in a way that felt more like a meal than a snack. I also remembered some vegan tacos I'd recently had at Bartaco, which included cauliflower and almonds in the filling. The carrots and onions just seemed like a nice complement to the roasted cauliflower. Then I needed something green, and the collards helped bring everything together (literall…

For 2016: Have More Faith

This past year was one of the most challenging years of my life. It started out with a loose foundation: fresh out of a long-term relationship, living in a new space, still new at my job. I had some early successes with running, but that changed abruptly when I developed pain in my left foot that would keep me from running for the rest of the year. Running was therapy for me. It provided me with a physical outlet, a meditative space, a constant cycle of challenge and reward. It gave me confidence and kept me healthy—except when it didn't. So without a lot of stability to begin with, my world as I knew it was shaken, and I had little to fall on. And rather than reach out to loved ones, I wanted to fall apart. I was lucky to have some close friends and family members help pick me up. I was able to end the year on a good note, spending lots of time with family, dedicating myself more to swimming, and appreciating whatever abilities I had in a given day, even when it wasn't runnin…