Thursday, August 30, 2012

Elephants, California Dreamin, and a Piri-WHAT?!

As you may have heard, the Republican National Convention is in town this week causing a ruckus. The city is full of patriot-clad delegates, VIPs, VVIPs, and VVVIPs from around the nation. 

I immediately decided that since my hotel was hosting a delegation (amongst some other miscellaneous big wigs) that I needed to be dressed appropriately - decked out in the red white and blue, of course.

The problem with wearing red white and blue (and anything with an elephant on it) is that I don't own much red, and I don't own anything resembling an elephant. The white and blue, no big deal. But I mostly avoid the color red and elephants altogether, due to Auburn's arch rivals the Crimson Tide, whose colors are red/white and have an elephant as their mascot. 

Plus red just ain't my color. Makes me look washed out.

After a trip to Payless and the thrift store for red items, I was able to accessorize enough with my white and blue pieces that 4 different cute outfits were born!

I'm leaving for California tonight so won't physically be able to wear my Day 5 outfit. 

I was sad for about 2 seconds them remembered I would be in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA instead, so then I got happy again.

Doing long runs in the dry cool air along the strand from Hermosa Beach all the way to Marina Del Ray and back are the things that dreams are made of, y'all. 

The sunny 75 degrees hanging out on the sand with a drink in my hand watching a beach volleyball tournament isn't so bad, either.

And, speaking of running....

Moving on to something I've been mute about -- my hip.

At first we (my running coach and I) thought it was probably just a tight IT band, so iced/stretched/took advil/strengthened for a solid 2-3 months and stopped my speed/track work altogether. And it's still not better. 4 or 5 miles into my runs, I get this sharp pain in my left hip and can't shake it unless I take way over the recommended dosage of Advil and stop once every mile to shake it out.  

On a 15 mile run, a stop at every mile past the 5th is an average pace cold-blooded killer.

I finally succumbed to the fact that I needed to see a specialist.

 *Cue scary music*

Sports Specialists: Where runner's dreams go to die.

The doctor thinks its my Piriformis muscle, which connects to the hip joint as well as the sciatic nerve. See highlighted area below for details.

 Yes, I just posted a photo of butt muscles on my blog. Who doesn't like butt muscles?!

I told him I'm running the Chicago Marathon in October. He said he'll get me there, but I may not get a PR. Although I was hoping to get in the 3:40's timing wise this year, I was content with this diagnosis. 
At this point, just get me there!! 

He wants me to do Physical Therapy for three weeks then come back. At that point if I'm still in pain he may shoot me up with some Cortisone I hope he shoots me up with some Cortisone. I can't lie. 

Happy Labor Day/College Football Opening Day weekend, and War Eagle! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Life Advice From Running (Alternate Title: Embracing Your Crazy)

Running and life in general have many similarities. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts, taken from the miles I've spent on the road:

  • Sometimes you're going to love it. It's going to make you feel like you're invincible and you're never going to want to stop. Ever.
  • Sometimes you're going to hate it. There will be days when hardest thing to do is wake up and step foot out the door. It's going to hurt. It's going to make you depressed. It's going to make you cry and whine and complain. Keep your eyes on the horizon. This too shall pass.
  • Every step is valuable. Pace Yourself. Every journey begins with one step. To achieve your goal just put one foot in front of the other. Always remember that slow is considered a speed.
  • There will always be someone a step ahead. But also always someone a step behind. Just do your best, that is what's important.
  • Don't lose focus because people pass you. It's impossible to compare yourself to others, because each person is unique, has their own goals and has experienced things differently. 
  • Appearances can be deceiving. Not only do  the slowest looking people at the starting line end up smoking you at the finish, but sometimes the horizon hides even more challenges. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, you get thrown a curve ball. Around every corner is another corner.
  • Pain is temporary. Remember that nothing lasts forever. If it hurts now, it will eventually stop hurting and you will feel better.
  • Sometimes people will think you're crazy. That's OK. Everyone is crazy in their own special way. Embrace your crazy.
  • It's easier with a goal. You can go about it day to day, wandering the streets, but with a specific goal in mind you can stay focused.
  • You can go at it alone, but it's more fun with a friend. Support each other through the ups and downs. Sometimes the most priceless thing you can have is a cheering section.
  • Practice makes perfect. Preparation is key - you get out of it what you put into it. Every minute spent practicing helps the end result be successful. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
  • Look ahead, but not too far ahead.  Finish lines may appear closer than they really are.
  • There will always be hills to climb. You won't be climbing forever. Remember what goes up, must come down.
  • It's never too late to begin. If you wait until you're "good enough" at something, you'll run out of time. 
  • The perfect shoes for you are the ones that fit your feet. If the shoe fits, wear it. Don't be distracted by pretty colors or what the cute athletic salesman is trying to talk you into buying. You know yourself better than anyone, and you know what works for you. Stick with it.
  • There's a difference between "I don't want to" and "I can't". Find something that inspires you and motivates you, and cling to it.
  • Just because something is simple doesn't mean it's easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
  • Sometimes it's just a big mind game. Are you eating properly? Have you practiced enough? Are you dressed appropriately? You are your own worst enemy. Stop thinking so much and embrace the moment. 
  • Sometimes you need a break. The worst thing you can do is burn yourself out. Take a step back if you need to recharge and refocus on the big picture.
  • Watch where you plant your feet. You don't wanna fall off a curb or end up in a hole.
  • Be well rounded. Don't focus on one thing. Embrace different activities. (Cross-training!) 
  • Things seem to go better with music. And prayer. And maybe beer. Maybe.
  • You are inspirational. Others have inspired you, and whether you realize it or not, you are inspiring others.
  • Breathe. Enjoy the journey. 

Happy Running!