If you read my part one of this post, you know that I chose my own highs based on my feelings not based on instagram favorites and algorithms. All these highs are so closely connected to my lows. I'm sure a lot of people following me that haven't taken the time to interact with me or get to know me thought "damn, this girl is manic" because I've had a roller coaster year for running! and, yes, I'd agree VERY MANIC! but it has been a true part of my year to feel all those highs and lows so closely together. It is completely possible to feel both elated, and also terrified at the same time... (if you're a parent, you know this better than anyone else!)... but these are some of the moments were elation was so much stronger than fear! These are in no particular order... the collage app I used was loading weird so I couldn't figure our how to select photo placement... So I'll do the correct order below.
There were a lot of high moments that occured during my training for Boston... but this is the only one I included because looking back those "high" moments were also driven by my ego and this stupid need to accomplish this goal even though my body was screaming at me to stop. I kept this moment though because since the Boston calf injury that started the domino of calf injuies, I always think of this moment. I ran 20 miles on one leg, on no sleep, while pumping 6 times a day, feeding a baby in the middle of the night, and working full time. This was a moment to be proud of regardless of my ego driving me. Also, whenever things got really bad with all those calf injuries... whenever I really started to doubt myself... I rembered this run. I remembered that a. I was able to do it and b. so many people supported me to get it done. My mom was watching the two kids and my husband met me at mile 10 to run the last half with me. He also dropped bottles for me to fuel with. When I can't keep myself motivated I think of all the support and all the people who are also invested in the goal... and since instagram that number is exponentially more than I could ever imagine. So even though I got quite fit for Boston, this is the only run that makes the "top nine" cut for me... because all those other miles were really me just digging myself a bigger hole to climb out of... but these miles served a different purpose later... they just reminded me that I can.... that even though I was in a lot of pain, I somehow managed to get through this... so it has to be possible to do again (although I haven't since. This is my longest run of 2018)
Hard to believe that between March and August I had no other "high" moments. I was in a building phase. I lifted a lot. I set lots of lifting PRs and started enjoying lifting simply for what it is instead of its' connection to improving my running. This was the weekend of my brothers wedding. I squeezed in these three miles faster than I should have, but I got that taste of fearless running again. Yeah, another calf pull was right around the corner... but so was Maebels first birthday... and then I weaned... and if you read my previous post it's mostly been good since then... So no surprise most of my highs are after I weaned Maebel and the groin pain started going away... and the calf started to heal.
I did a 10k. But this was just one of those runs where I was so glad I was able to do it. It was a beautiful morning where it started with a misty rain and ended with the sun... and I got to run in my favorite spot! Not much to say except that I was just simply happy to make it over 30 minutes in one piece!
This run was great, the picture? Not so much! But I didn't bother to retake because it was a genuine moment of happiness. Probably running faster than I should... but excitement of health and perfect crisp late summer, early fall air made this run even better. God, I was on the way up! Finally!
You never forget that first double digit run after a long injury. I had a few of these. Not all of them made the cut, but this 10 miler was great (even though I bonked in the afternoon from not hydrating very well). I even ran a little bit with my mom. I was also very happy with how I looked in this photo...not gonna lie. To be honest, I'm still (STILL 15 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight... but I had done so much lifting in the gym, this picture kind of showed all that work in addition to the successful 10 miler!
I don't even need to look up what I captioned this photo with because I remember it so clearly. It was the first time I did any pickups of any kind.... "Its like I'm really running, now".... was all I thought. What I high to run a pace faster than easy. Still haven't done a lot of that... but 2019 will be faster for sure!
The Race! You guys picked a lot of these as your favorites too, but one of them had my incorrect time on it! I put 19:35 because there was an error with the clock from the sub zero temperatures, but my official time was 19:21! I was disappointed for a few reasons, and questioned putting the race in my top moments at all (I did pull my calf immediately after this on the cool down...so really the race was a dumb moment) but its the only race I did, and I won... so if that's not a top moment then I have a problem! but Honestly, I think I was fit enough to run faster I just was very afraid of the cold the whole time... and as it turned out, the cold was something I was smart to fear! The last calf injury fortunately healed quick (lightning compared to march!) so I had time for many more highs from Thanksgiving on!
Another one of those "you never forget your first double digit run after injury" posts. This confirmed a lot for me regarding all my other injuries and breastfeeding. Less than two weeks after my "last injury" I was already back up to double digits... my muscle healed so fast now that the relaxin hormone is (mostly) out of the picture. For the record, I'm sitting writing this on New Years Eve morning, with a baby sitting on my lap... and if I wanted to I could still feed her. Milk still dripping like a faucet every time I take a shower and sometimes on long runs.
Just like that first double digit run, you always remember that first run over 2 hours. This is literally my first run over 2 hours since the 20 miler I ran in March... so, yeah. This was a big day... and it was just a little over a week ago.
Yesterdays Run! If this isn't setting me up for a good 2019 I don't know what is! Not much else to say about this one except for that I'm grateful and the person that ran the 20 miler in March is not the same as the person that ran this 17 miler... So much learned, and so much more appreciation for each step!
So this is just my top nine in terms of my training and running goals and success. However, there were many many many other amazing moments I posted about (and many more I didn't) that I didn't put in the top nine because it wasn't something that moved my training forward, and that's what this post and my instagram is all about... but here are some other moments worth showing. So blessed for my family, their support, and their cooperation through all this!
If you missed it, Check out Part One! The Lows!
Every year towards the end of December, instagram users everywhere put their handle into a generator and find out what their most popular moments of the year were. These are called the "Top Nine".... but they aren't always a real depiction of the top nine because it is based on how many times its favorited... not the actual moment in comparison with other moments.
I went through my own instagram to find my personal "top nine" generated by my memories and my current feelings about that moment in time. While going through the process to pick out my favorite moments of 2018, I got caught up reading all the lows... You see, I ended this year on a really high note and I was attracted to re-reading the low moments as they gave me perspective on how much I've grown as an athlete and competitor, but also as a person. So before I give you my Top Nine, I give you my Bottom Nine.
Let me preface this post by saying that in the grand scheme of things 2018 was not bad... it was only really bad on the running front. By contrast on paper 2016 was a better year. I ran PRs in events ranging from the 6k to the marathon and found out I was pregnant... but I also lost my father in law that year, so keep in mind I'm not at all unhappy with 2018, it just wasn't the best year for running... but that's what this is about! These are mostly in chronological order, but to be honest, it all blurs together at some point so... I didn't really care about putting them in an order!
So this moment actually occurred in 2017.... my last run of 2017. I include it in 2018 because in this moment I already had set my goals for the next year and this moment, only being able to run 7 minutes pain free, was a sucker punch to the gut. It sort of set the stage for what was about to come for the whole year as I was just coming off my first of many postpartum calf injuries. I really had no idea what I was in for.
This moment. Ugh. I was in so much pain every day. So much groin pain when I ran, but also when I biked. I spent a lot of time biking in the first few months of 2018 trying to build some extra fitness in between runs since I wasn't able to run 3 consecutive days without injury. I biked next to this Boston Marathon poster... and I realized somewhere along the line that I always took the Boston Marathon for granted because it was "easy" for me to qualify... but yet... here I was QUALIFIED and completely unsure if I'd ever make it to the starting line. Spoiler Alert: I didn't.
This was probably the absolute lowest moment as a runner, and a mother, and I was also in a ton of pain. The day before this I discovered that my breast milk freezer died over my vacation... and since I wasn't pumping much on vacation, I wasn't going to the extra freezer for any reason, and so I didn't notice it was dead until it was all thawed. I kept good perspective the first day and started pumping 6x a day to send my body the message that it needed to produce more ASAP! I also was struggling with a lower supply since I was actually pretty deep in training at this point. I had just done a big long run workout from Ashland to Newton just before and this was just.... the worst. This run on the treadmill was cut short because it literally felt like all the calcium had seeped from my bones and that they were going to shatter. My ab/hip/groin were on fire (more than usual) and how on Earth was I going to do anything I set as goals! Another Spoiler Alert: No major running goals achieved.
Now for the calf injuries.... The first time I "pulled" my calf I thought I stopped early enough that it would be a quick fix, and in hindsight it should have been... but it wasn't. I took 7 days off, got a massage, adjustment, and was walking perfectly normal... but yet, as soon as I started running it was obvious nothing had healed. It took me a long time to dissect that breastfeeding was impacting my ability to heal injuries.... so once this calf got injured I really couldn't get it fully healed until I weaned Maebel in September... but... alas, I kept trying anyway. This moment here, though... This is when I had to cross Boston off the 2018 bucket list and I began to devise another plan.
Mixed feelings on this one. I was excited about running Vermont City... I thought I could salvage my training in time. I actually ran at the Mckirdy Trained shakeout. One of those weird things that I should feel like I belong... I've been coached by a McKirdy coach since October... and I had contacted James about joining up after Maebel when I was only 10 weeks pregnant... but I felt like I didn't belong. I didn't belong anywhere. This is the first time I ever in my life looked at this finish line wishing I could be part of it. Most years I am like "eh, I'll do it in a few years" but this one stung. The only consolation was the weather prediction... but anyone that knows me knows I would have thrived in those hellish conditions. From where I sit now I realize how foolish I was to even attempt Boston, but at the time I didn't know how destroyed my body was from pregnancy and labor. I was 8 months postpartum to the day.
This might have hurt worse than missing Boston. I quickly signed up for Vermont City and had a plan B immediately, but I was still unable to run anything significant at this point. I pulled my calf again. I was assessed by a PT and a personal trainer took me through a series of things to measure my strength. I couldn't lift my right leg and hold it for 3 seconds. Literlaly couldn't do it. My groin was so destroyed that I had literally been running on one leg since I had Maebel and maybe even before that. As a result I kept pulling my calf because it was doing all the compensating work... even when I walked I sort of dragged my right leg (injured groin) and pushed and pulled with my left side (injured calf)... so once the calf was injured I started feeling even more groin and hip pain because I could no longer disguise it with the compensation pattern. Long story short... I realized how weak I was and how impossible all my goals were. I feared I'd literally never ever be able to run pain free again... and I'm still not sure when that day will come months and months later... But from where I sit now I feel confident I'll get there... but it's been a slow process!
Another calf injury, this time on the right side. I had no idea what to do... at this point no drills helped, no lifting helped, no rest helped, The only thing I didn't try was running. SO I ran. This is on the low list because I literally ran 20 seconds and then walked a minute and repeated 5 times... It hurt but didn't cause me to limp. I was happy about this but also this run I really let go of all of my goals and dreams of making the Olympic Trials. I gave up everything. All I wanted was to be able to run again without pain! I didn't even care about anything else. I think I cried this entire run praying to God to just let me have this one thing! It was my peaceful warrior moment.... and even though it was a really low moment, this was also in the running for one of my high moments, because in hindsight, all of what I've done since wouldn't have been possible without this day.
Another calf pull. WTAF. I cried about this one a lot... but I was at a Cross Country race where my friend Kara Haas who has been struggling spoke with me. This moment I threw in the towel and decided to not let it get to me. It's breastfeeding. It has to be breastfeeding. This was on September 9th. Maebel was already a year old and a few weeks. She was self weening pretty nicely at this point. I had her fully weaned by the end of the month. Did I stop Breastfeeding for myself? Yes... But at this point I needed this part of my life back so I could be a better and more present mother. I was obsessed with this injury. I was obsessed with not reinjuring to the point where I took the fun out of everything. I also wanted to know if it was breastfeeding of not and the only way to know was to stop. Again, she was so easy to wean that I know she was ready... so I have no remorse. She was over a year old, and I had been nursing or pregnant for almost 4 consecutive years. I needed my body to be mine and only mine... So although this was a low, it was also another big turning point. You can already see my lows turning up.
This one I call "the Last Calf injury"... This was bad but also a good way for me to see that yes, all those injuries were made worse by the fact that I could not heal when I was breastfeeding. I pulled my calf after running my 5k race in sub zero temperatures. It wasn't a smart thing. This moment I questioned if I'd ever get over this... I felt low at the time, but honestly... a few days later I was running again and by the following week I was back in the double digits. My body reacted to a strain the way a normal body does. The way I kept thinking it would all those other times. So although it was a low moment it also confirmed for me that things were turning around. I've been on my way up since September.... and it's not a coincidence that that's the same month I stopped nursing. If I were to do it again, I'd still nurse, but be way more easy on my body and set my goals more centered around nutrition and sleep and just general fitness rather than big time goals.
SO there it is. There are my lows. There were a lot more. A LOT. more calf injuries more let downs, more races missed... but through all the lows I learned a lot. I wasn't sure it was breastfeeding until I stopped... so I had to look really carefully at all the other variables (sleep, nutrition, hydration, strength training, etc.) I learned to carve out time for all these other things that will be so important long term. If I somehow managed to drag myself from Hopkington to Boston in one piece, it was only a matter of time before I had something go wrong.... and I wouldn't have achieved that OTQ anyway. So, I can only be thankful to have learned the lessons early enough that there's still time to take a stab at this goal before the window closes...
Thanks for sticking with me through all the Lows! Check out Part 2, THE HIGHS!
Things I religiously use to ward off more injuries!
I DID IT!
Todays review on Healthy Human water bottles allows me to check a goal off my list!
I did not accomplish many goals this year since I spent most of the year injured, BUT I did accomplish the goal of doing more video reviews! Granted that was a very wimpy goal since I only did one review last year... but I did TWO This year!
Check out my other two reviews here. I know I don't have a lot of views on these things, but if I keep at it, maybe I can quit my day job and/or get free stuff sent to me that I get to make goofy videos with my kids while talking about a product I'm trying out. You have to start somewhere and
A GIRL CAN DREAM (think warm thoughts, think warm thoughts)!
Speaking of my work, a tiny snippet of my day makes an appearance in this review since I mostly use the Healthy Human water bottle at work. I've actually delayed doing the review because I typically just leave it there so that I know I have a water bottle every day. Every great athlete attributes their success and durability in part to hydration, and as a teacher (who barely gets a bathroom break) I for sure need to work on this area, and the Healthy Human has helped!
Now since I know not everyone has time for my videos (your loss! ha!) I'll just put some of the absolutely staggering statistics found on the Healthy Human website below for you.
Really, I truly love the water bottle because of it's bright pink color, but I'm also loving the sport top. It definitely makes me more likely to use it since I can access the water with one hand. Thats for sure the selling part for me since I'm often tied up and am lucky to even have one hand available.
If you follow me on instagram, I posted in my stories (saved in highlights) a bunch of different companies that give back to the community in some way. Most of what I posted was buy one, get one model... but Healthy Human gives back in many ways, take a look!
So if you're looking to make your Christmas gifts mean a little more this year, give this company a try! Help us be Healthy Humans with a Healthy Earth.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.