Friday, August 16, 2013

Overcoming the Hurdles

I’ve been struggling lately. Yes, I just moved and really, feel like I’m still recovering from that. Yes, I’m in week three of a new job with a killer commute and am perpetually exhausted as soon as I get home every evening. I can look forward to a few weeks from now where my work schedule will not start until 11 am, so I have mornings to run and gym and do things as I please. 

However, I cannot appreciate the struggle without having looked back at other past struggles and things I have had to move past and work through to realize that is just another one of those bumps in the road. And it happens. 

I mention it on my About Me, but realized that I’ve never talked about my knee surgeries and the hurdles they caused. I didn’t run (at least not regularly, and certainly not the way I do now) when I had my first surgery, nor my second, and it wasn’t until after the second that I took up this running thing for semi-serious. I played soccer from second grade through high school, and even intramurals in college, but I never really ran for the sake of running. 

July 9, 2007: My roommate and I decided we were going to train over the summer (in San Diego, so really, summer is awesome) for the America’s Finest City half marathon in August. She even got as far as
Thanksgiving, 2007.
registering; I didn’t. I was also playing in a women’s recreational soccer league once a week as a way to get back into the game I missed so much. On July 4, we ran the Coronado Independence 15K (my first road race ever, mind you), and then spent the day consuming all the fattiness we could to make up for that 9.3-mile torture. On July 9, I returned to my soccer league, and ten minutes into the game, the ball was passed to me, I stopped it, and my knee went POP! I will never forget that sound, nor will the dozen people around me. Long story short… November 15 was the magical (and terrifying) day that I was finally getting ‘fixed.’ After four long months of paperwork, doctors, pre-surgery therapy and lots of tears, my partially torn meniscus and partially torn ACL were both being repaired! Hooray! I spent Thanksgiving on crutches, and the next three weeks, but after the New Year, I was cleared for physical therapy. By sheer luck (okay, and being enrolled in graduate school), I had free access to a physical trainer through my student insurance on campus – which, by the way, at our Division I institution, meant our Athletic Trainer. Uh, yes. I worked out in the football players’ weight room! I felt like a bad ass, won’t lie. She had me jogging on a treadmill about 4 months out of surgery. I don’t know when my first real, outdoors, sidewalk run was, but the first outdoor run I remember was June, on the beach, the morning I moved away from San Diego.

My doctor (the genius man he was) said I could go back to doing what I was doing. I took the invitation happily, missing soccer, and needing to find an outlet. I had moved to Texas, wasn’t digging this whole humidity thing, and happily joined my students’ intramural soccer team. 

April 14, 2009: It was a play-off game, I remember that. And I remember wearing my knee brace (as instructed), and being as careful as I could be (in paranoia). I don’t remember when, or where, but I remember stepping and stepping wrong. And knew something was not right. The next morning, when my knee was as large as my face and I could hardly bend it, I knew I was in trouble. Confirmed: complete
Monica's wedding, July 2009.
ACL tear
. I was a mess – another surgery? Another one? You betcha – July 7, nearly two years to the day of my first injury, I was back in the hospital, in the OR, albeit with a new doctor who I loved and certainly seemed to know what he was doing. With a (really creepy sounding) cadaver ACL, I was good to go a few hours later and spent the next four weeks in a Central Texas summer on a hilly, hilly campus, on crutches. I had a great therapist who started me in mostly doing swimming pool workouts, but eventually worked our way into a gym, and eventually… I could run. My first run post-surgery was Christmas Day, 2009. I had intentionally waited to that point (even though I’d been cleared about two weeks prior) because I’d be home in California, and what better Christmas present to myself than the freedom of running down the road again? I was terrified. Something around a mile and a half, just enough to feel accomplished, certainly enough to be exhausted. But invigorated. 

The following spring, I started running more casually, and decided, even though the doctor again said I could “go back to doing what I was doing,” I knew better. I turned to running – I figured I would still get the same stress relief, motivation, and accomplishment as I did through a great soccer game, but running in a straight line down the road was certainly safer than running, jumping and pivoting all over the place. 

And here I am. Just over four years since Surgery #2 and people are always shocked when I say I’ve run a marathon and had two ACL repairs/replacements and that I still go hard the way I do. The major lesson? Listen to your body – when it tells you no, it means no. There have been plenty of days I should have backed off, of course, but I know for the most part that when there’s a twinge of pain, I listen and chill.
So there’s been a hurdle or two. While they weren’t necessarily hurdles at the same, they still proved that a little tenacity, stubbornness, and determination can pay off.

I’ll find my groove here again. Just like I did in 2007. And again in 2009. It’ll come – there are plans coming up that I will not settle for less-than-best with!


What hurdles have you worked through while in training? How did you work past them?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Los Angeles Love

I think it's true - or I hope it's true - that you truly cannot appreciate the place you grew up until you've gone off, found other things, and then come back. I said for the longest time that I wasn't sure if or when I would end up back in Southern California, but just shy of a month here ... I have no complaints. Let's talk about why...

Orange County Fair fun last weekend!
Afternoon walks along the shore.
 We (well, they) said good-bye to two summer interns, and celebrated by taking them to lunch at a fancy-pants resort called Terranea. After lunch, we walked down to their private cove, enjoyed a perfect beachside California afternoon ... and I was welcomed back to the state with a fry of a sunburn. 

While sitting at the cove though, as we all scattered, I got to look around and remember what I love about this place. I've always missed the beach, but thought it was just the beach, and I could make up for that anywhere. Wrong. Texas rivers did some good, Georgia tried, but there is nothing like hearing the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Smelling the salt and the sand. And knowing that you're home.

Happy hour for the boss' birthday (and my first day at work) at Trump National Golf Club. Yep, that's right.
Wherever this kid is, I'm home.
Molly's had a slow adjustment to mom and dad's backyard. I think buying her a sandbox, converted into a pool, has certainly helped, but I know she's confused beyond belief while I've been temporarily living here in San Pedro. After work tonight I head back to Chino where I'll begin a few weeks (months, maybe) of a long commute. But I know she'll be happier when I'm around and I'll feel more settled, too, knowing I get to come home to her every day again. 

What's better than the beach?
Last weekend I also got to have a nice beach afternoon with my parents. I stayed front-up to fight off that already stinging sun burn, but had a great afternoon until the fog rolled in! So strange. Oh, West Coast.

I feel good. I'm happy. I'm home. I'm settling into work, slowly but surely. But things are good. This weekend, I'm hanging around, getting unpacked, and spending time with my fur-baby, the boyfriend, and getting comfortable. Can't wait!

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Color Me Intrigued - A Discount Code For You!

Color-infused runs are popping all over the country and I've got the low-down on the next colorific chance down here in Orange County! 

Don't live in Southern California? Afraid of missing out? Have no fear! There are eighty-eight (yeah, you read that right - 88!) locations across the US and Canada (and Korea and Taiwan!) of this fabulous fun coming around the country this year and now's your chance to get in on a little fun yourself.

If you've never done a color run of any kind before, here's how it works: "start out as clean as a newborn babe, and throughout the run, you'll coat your chaffing thighs with Color Bombs of blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow until your face, shirt, and body come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippy on the other side" (thanks for the awesome mental images, CMR).

Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter’s palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color. 

Use code RADFUN
and it'll get yout 20% off of your registration, regardless of the price or location!
Code expires Friday, August 2 at 10 pm. 

Such a deal. I don't think you'd want to miss out on this:

Who doesn't like color tan lines?
Or this:
 What are you waiting for? Are you joining me?

Have you ever done a color run before? What's your favorite color to be coated head-to-toe in?