Friday, March 27, 2015

PT Week 2 Update

The good news is that I'm feeling better. The bad news is that I'm still not in running condition. During my appointment on Wednesday, I warmed up on the bike and elliptical (neither bother me at all) and then tried running on the treadmill. Within two minutes, the stiffness in my knee returned and I had to stop for fear of making it worse. However, apparently my mobility is improving and my therapists are now fairly confident that this is a hamstring strain and not a medial meniscus tear.

I'll be going to PT for two more weeks so I'm hoping to see big improvements in the next fourteen days. As it looks right now, I'll be walking the entire 9.3 miles at the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia next weekend which hopefully won't be as boring as it sounds. I'm being optimistic and thinking that I may be able to do run/walk intervals for the Scranton Half in two weeks. We'll see.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Berry Smoothie Bowl Recipe

I don't know what rock I've been hiding under, but apparently I've been missing out on this smoothie bowl thing for quite a while. This insanely gorgeous and delicious trend is one I've been getting behind full force in the past week. I started with the Superfood Chocolate Breakfast Bowl from Tone It Up, which is amazingly good (plus you get to eat spinach for breakfast and don't even know it which is awesome). After perusing Pinterest for an unacceptable amount of time, I decided I needed to make a vibrant smoothie bowl and I needed to do it now.

Unfortunately, to make most of those gorgeous hot pink bowls, you need pitaya packets (seriously expensive) or acai powder (also pretty expensive). I did find a couple of alternatives without those ingredients, so I started trying them each morning. I started out with a strawberry mango chia bowl, which turned a delightful light pinkish orange shade. Pretty, but not what I was going for. Then yesterday it hit me while grocery shopping, what if I just used berries? Would they not create a beautiful pink smoothie? I hustled over to the frozen section and grabbed a bag of organic frozen berry mix, secretly wishing it was time to go to bed so I could wake up and try my experiment.

I'm happy to report that my hunch was good, frozen berries do indeed a gorgeous smoothie bowl make. The best part? There's four ingredients here (and one is water!). I'm a huge proponent of uncomplicated and quick recipes and this is about as quick and uncomplicated as it gets.

  • 1 heaping cup frozen berry mix
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop Perfect Fit vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of water
My berry mix contained blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, but I'm sure you would get the same result with any frozen mix. You could also use a fresh banana, but I just had some frozen ones to use up and my fresh ones aren't quite ripe yet. If you do use a fresh banana, you might need to throw some ice cubes in there depending on the consistency that you prefer. Lastly, the cup of water is approximate; you basically just need enough to make everything blend nicely.

So now you have your gorgeous pink smoothie! Pour it into a bowl and go nuts topping it with whatever your heart desires. I used granola, chia seeds, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi. You could also use nuts, flax seeds, coconut flakes, etc. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

PT Week 1 Update

It's hard to really say whether I'm feeling optimistic or not right now. My leg has felt totally fine while walking the past two days, so that's an improvement, but I can still tell that there is something off with it. When I went to PT on Monday, we did an evaluation, massage, stim, and ice. On Wednesday and Thursday, I started a strengthening program involving lots of balance work and kettlebells (!!!). I love the shit out of kettlebell work outs.
I got to use the stationary bike to warm up and I LOVED it. I was excited to be able to bike outside, but since it's currently precipitating white stuff, I don't think I'll be able to get out there this weekend. I'm also nervous that the hills nearby won't get along with my leg, but I suppose I won't know until I try.
I'm generally a little sore from the new exercises the past two days, but I do think I'm seeing an improvement. My therapist said he would like for me to try a short run next week when I go in, so hopefully that will end well and with no pain. I'm excited to see what next week brings and I'm remaining hopeful that I'll be able to run (or run/walk, or even just walk, I don't care!) the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philly in two weekends.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Diagnosis... Kind of

My physical therapy appointment was last night after work. After a lot of pushing and pulling and moving my knee around, we don't have a definitive diagnosis of what is wrong. The signs point to a hamstring strain, but there is also a chance that it could be a slight meniscus strain, which would be worse and take longer to heal. My therapist seems optimistic and wants me to come in three times a week for the next two weeks. He thinks it will be improving by then, but if not, he wants me to stop and go see a doctor and get whatever scans/tests my doctor recommends. They can only see me by law for thirty days without a prescription anyway, but hopefully it won't come to that.

I will be doing some stretching and strengthening for the next two weeks, as well as lots of icing/heating and using the stim machine. Last night, we did IASTM, some light stretching, and then I got hooked up to the stim machine with some ice. I had never used that machine before so it was kind of neat. It feels like a bunch of teeny tiny kittens purring on the back of my knee.

This morning, my whole knee area feels achy and part of my lower hamstring near the inside of my leg is so sore that I can hardly touch it. I'm hoping that means that's where the problem is and we can focus on it and heal it quickly. I know that having a positive attitude can help tremendously with recovery, so I'm trying my hardest to be optimistic. I'm also cleared to cross train/yoga/bike so at least I won't be stuck on the couch doing nothing. We'll see what the next two weeks bring.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Injury-Induced Depression

I had good intentions. I planned on resting my leg until this Sunday and seeing how it felt from there. Actually wait, let's back up so I can fill you in completely on the issue. Two weekends ago, I ran my 8 miles for half marathon training. The roads were slippery and I didn't want to chance it, so treadmill it was. I felt mostly good throughout the whole run, but towards the end I could feel my calves getting a little tight, which isn't totally abnormal for me. When I got done running, I stretched on the floor for a while and when I got up, it hurt to extend my left leg to walk. I figured that I just pulled something, so I spent the next few days hobbling, icing, rolling, and stretching the crap out of my legs.

I tried to run again the next weekend, no go. I said, "okay, I'll be really good and give it a complete week off and stretch and ice and hopefully we'll be good to go." That lasted until two days ago. I had been out walking around while shopping with my sister and my leg was feeling great. It was so warm out when I got home and I was dying to run, so I made the idiot decision to go out for a mile or two. I knew before I had gone half a mile that I shouldn't have done it. I felt the tightness behind my left knee start again and the pain shortly after that, but I ran two miles anyway. Towards the end, I was in tears realizing that this would probably be my last run for the foreseeable future.

As I broke down in tears on the porch, I couldn't stop agonizing over why this would happen. I had been so careful to NOT get injured since I spent most of last summer in physical therapy and not running. I was cautious. I've been cross training and I didn't try to increase my speed; I took my runs nice and slow and easy. What the heck did I do wrong this time? I guess my dream at a sub-2 hour half marathon is going on the back burner yet again.

I spent yesterday on the couch and called my physical therapist to make an appointment Monday after work. I have a bad feeling about what he is going to say, but I'm trying to keep my hopes up. Maybe with a couple weeks of rest and some KT tape, I'll be healed enough for our 15k in three weeks and half marathon in four. That's the best I could hope for right now.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Anticipating the Disney Princess Half 2016!

Long time no see! Unfortunately for me it hasn't all been good times since I last posted. Right now I'm spending some time on the couch with a behind-the-knee pain in my left leg. However, my awesome, amazing, handsome husband recently promised me that we can run the Disney Princess Half Marathon next year!! I've been obsessing over everyone's photos on Instagram and I absolutely cannot wait! This has been one of my top bucket list races since I started running two years ago and am so excited at the thought of it. Is it next February yet??

View from Fort Wilderness Campground in 2007

So what have I been up to since I last posted? Well, I went skiing for the first time yesterday and am totally wiped out today! I spent a lot of time on the ground so got a good full body workout pushing myself up all the time. I had a fun time though and would definitely go again!

I also have been really really on point with my diet! I've been following the Tone It Up nutrition plan and I really love it. They focus a lot on a whole foods, "lean, clean, and green" approach and it seems to work great for me. I feel fantastic on the days that I eat appropriately and the recipes in the plan that I've tried so far are delicious. Would definitely recommend! 

As far as running, before this recent issue, I had been doing pretty well. I was starting to get my speed back up a little bit during training for the Scranton Half and am so frustrated that I'm derailed yet again. After some thought, I think that the training plan that I'm using might be too much for me. The Hal Higdon plan has me running four days a week and increases mileage pretty fast, so I think I'm going to cut down a bit once I rest a week or so and see how it goes. (Also super sick of snow!!)

My plan is to take a week off and hopefully next weekend I can start running again slowly. I also want to post a little more frequently over here, so I'm going to work on that! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yuengling Oktoberfest 5k 2014 Recap

My god, this race was disappointing. I can't say I had very high hopes considering how the Yuengling Light 5k turned out, but still. We arrived early to pick up our packets on race day, even though they "would really rather we didn't." Considering our other options were to drive the three hours round trip the day before to get the packets or have them mailed to us for $15 each, it wasn't a difficult decision.

The annoyances started out early when they were out of size small shirts at packet pick up. Why do I bother registering for a specific size if you aren't going to use those numbers to order the proper amount of shirts? We also got a big plastic beer stein with our registration. The race itself started on time and the course was awesome. It wasn't too hilly, the views were good, and the crowding wasn't bad.

The finish was where it totally fell apart. Rather than having the cattle shute style finish area like almost every other race in the world has, they decided to set this race up where you have to walk down to some tents and push your way into the crowd of people in the area to get your water, snacks, and finisher's cookie. The cookie was totally the best part of this race, by the way. It was adorable and delicious.
After we all finished, we decided to go see what was in the beer garden area and get something to eat. We had to sneak into the area past the fence and the security guard because the line JUST for the free beer wound all the way out of the garden and into the street. There was obviously no way I was waiting in that line, so none of us got our free beers that were included with registration.

I feel confident saying that I will never run another Yuengling race again. Both of them that I've done this year have been badly organized and incredibly crowded. Why run a Yuengling race when you can't even get your free beer at the end? Better question, why would you have ONE BEER TENT for the 5,000 runners who have free beer tickets?? For the money I spent on this race, I should have just stayed home, gone for a walk with my family, and bought a case of beer with them to celebrate.