Ankle down, keeping my head up

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I am finally easing back to my running schedule after I noticed an annoying pain on my right ankle and hamstring after my 12 miler two weeks ago. Stairs were the death of me. I had to wait a week and a half just to see the foot doctor and it was painful just not being able to run or not being sure if it was okay to run. Especially when it was my peak week and was going to accomplish my first 13 miles before I taper for my race this coming Sunday.

During this down time, the support of my family and friends and personal reflection, I found a silver lining. Maybe I’m being a whining drama queen about not being able to run, but running really has become a huge part of my life since I began training. And not being able to look forward to a run is real frustrating. The reassurance from my best friend helps me be more positive about this situation and to not push myself. I probably annoyed her with my ankle problems, but she has been encouraging me the entire time.

What was the silver lining? After being able to run 12 miles I am more confident that I have built enough strength and endurance to be able to run 13 soon. It’s all in my head, and I won’t let my mind tell me I can’t do it. I am also glad that this happened at the time it did because it gave the opportunity to kick back a bit and fix the rookie mistakes I’ve made. Since I hurt my ankle, I reevaluated how I’ve been running and realized how I haven’t been taking care of my feet and haven’t allowed for enough recovery. I’ve been able to “fix” this before my race, and I am thankful for that. Plus, I think the satisfaction of running my first 13 miles on my first race will be more rewarding than during my training. I love surprises.

My hamstring pain went away after a few days of relaxing, but the ankle pain remained a bit. The issue? My damn flat feet. I made the rookie mistake of not getting proper running shoes that were for long distances and flat feet. I love my Nike Air Max, as they are comfortable and colorful, but now I hate them. Macklemore said that air bubble was gonna make me fly. Lies.

Hearing the foot and ankle doctor tell me I can run was music to my ears and was just so good to hear. Before I could run, I needed to get some stability shoes. So I ventured away from Nike and went with a pair from Asics. Not as cool looking, but I’m going to functionality, not looks anymore. Learned that lesson the heard way.

Fast forward to last night, and I ran my first long run after two weeks. I nice 8-miler. I made sure to stop a few times to walk and not push it. That made a difference. I also changed my Nike Running app settings to only tell me when I am at the halfway point. I figured hearing statistics is disturbing and makes me think about the time, ultimately making me run even slower. Overall, my run was great. I needed that release and satisfaction that I can do it. My ankle feels a bit strained, but it’s OK.

All in all, lessons were learned, my spirit to run didn’t fade, and I am more excited and nervous to run this race than before. Maybe this was the push I needed to get me more motivated.

 

Spreading running cheer

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It doesn’t have to be the holidays in order to spread running cheer all year long!

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Believe it or not, the highlight of my day was during my doctors visit to get my left back ankle checked out. But the main point isn’t related necessarily to my ankle, it’s the unexpected and wonderful conversations I had with the two women helping me, a nurse and the women taking my X-rays (maybe she’s a nurse, as well? I have no idea).

My first conversation was with the nurse and we got on the topic of my running to prepare for a half marathon. We shared the same appreciation that these runs typically go towards a good cause. She also mentioned that she’s noticing more runners out here. Runners, we basically a big movement!

My next conversation with the woman taking my X-rays. We talked about how I got into training for a half marathon from the push from my friends, and that I didn’t use to be a runner until now. She then told me that she can’t run more than six blocks, or only runs when she has to, such as to make her flight. She reminded me of when I started to try running and couldn’t go one longer than a lap. It was frustrating and disappointing.

I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, she needs a similar type of push of motivation to consider it. So I then told her my story of how I started to run by participating in the color run. Turns out she never heard of it before. And that’s when I saw my chance to work my magic. She was very intrigued by the thought of going through all the colors and having fun with her friends. She mentioned that some of her friends are runners and are now addicted to the runner’s high. Lastly, I gave her advice to think about doing a couch to 5k plan. She was so excited and said she would look into it. By the end of my visit, she was so happy and thrilled than when she first called my name in the waiting room.

I felt so uplifted from my doctors visit, and it made me think of how I can impact others, particularly positively. I hope I inspired her as much as she inspired me to make a positive impact on others through my everyday interactions. It also reaffirmed to me how easy it is to simply be happy and have a more positive outlook in my life. If you feel great, it will show through on the outside.

On another note –
I have great, low blood pressure. She told me that’s from my diet and exercise. And for the first time ever the nurse told me I’m setting a good example for my little sister by being so healthy! So I must be doing something right. I then thought about how I am eating better, and that it feel great overall. Despite my love for comfort food and regular “fat” days, I notice a difference in the way I look at food. I won’t give up my enjoyment of food, but I fuel my body better with more nutrients.

All this running really is changing my life for the better. I feel more connected to myself, my friends, and family. I feel more enthusiastic and curious for what lies ahead of me. It’s an empowering feeling.

Wind and rain can’t stop a good run

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My training program had us scheduled for an 8-mile run today. We got only about 4 hours of sleep the night before and not to mention it was pouring rain with wind at 9pm. Quite surprisingly, that didn’t stop us from following through with our longest run yet.

I will admit that I was very close to calling it quits about a mile in as we were soaked and had no idea of how long it would last. At first we were battling with whether or not we had the motivation to follow through with the run tonight, without realizing that it was pouring and windy until we were downstairs and ready to go.

I definitely would not have went through with this run on my own or on the treadmill. That just wasn’t going to happen. The positive attitude from My running partner Gina was just what I needed to get me pumped up before and during the run. She’s a beast. Simple as that. Also, having Timmy there was a nice surprise, even though I’m sure he dreaded it with all his might since we’re too slow for him, and the fact that the weather wasn’t in our favor.

But you know what? I’m glad that it rained like crazy. Maybe that demonstrates how crazy I am, but it was actually kind of refreshing. Like a water park for runners in the city. Even though I was so close to giving up in the beginning because I felt miserable and upset with myself that I was imposing this run on us that they are dreading, the weather cleared up after about 2.5 miles and it was just what we needed.

The route itself is more difficult because there was a couple steep hills to get to Kerry park. Unfortunately, I had to stop and walk majority of it. But hey, it’s better than a run that never happened. Although I stopped even with Timmy’s help to keep me going, it was a warming gesture that I didn’t expect.

This run also makes me appreciate my runs more. The dedication to keep going and follow through with our plan inspires me. It makes me happy and I feel supported. Also, I started thinking that if we can’t enjoy our runs in the pouring rain or when it’s not a perfect setting, we shouldn’t deserve to enjoy our runs when the skies are blue.

All in all, this was a run to remember. My legs are sore and my body is tired, but I am mentally energized with hope. Hope to continue this training program. Hope to push myself further. Hope to be inspired by others, especially twin. And hope to stay positive. How can you not with all the endorphins!?