Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010: A Year to Look Forward To!

If you missed it, yesterday I posted my 2009 Year in Review...

Today, I would love to post a list of numerous races and events that I hope to participate in and accomplish in 2010, but I am thinking I need to try something different this year. After struggling with knee issues a couple times in 2009, I have a new perspective on running, racing, and everything else.

So, with that in mind here's a few ideas I have for 2010:

Personal Goals:

  • Travel more. I have a good friend that lives in MT and need to make it a priority of mine to get out there and visit her this year. It was a goal of mine to do so in 2009, and that didn't happen. This year, will be the year. Asside from that, I would love to do some camping and hiking this coming summer, as well as a trip to a place I haven't been before, either in the states or abroad.
  • Spend time with family and friends. I do this pretty well already, but want to note how important this is to me. I am very close with my immediate family as well as some extended family and look forward to the time spent together - everything from a short weekend to trips together.
  • Do more painting. This is something I truly enjoy and find to be quite relaxing. I have a couple projects in mind and hope to share it with you in the next month or so!
  • Read more! I absolutely LOVE to read, but have not done enough this year. It's rediculous! I probably have a dozen books on my bookshelf that haven't been read and am itching to do so.

Health Goals:

  • Find a healthy balance between work, training, rest, and nutrition. This was a goal of mine last year, and I think I have come a long way with my nutrition, especially. However, I still have more to learn and additional changes need to be made. Balancing these things is probably the hardest thing for me and I need to realize that a missed workout here and there due to long days at work or not enough sleep is better than piling on the junk miles.
  • Try new recipes. I want to get better about exploring better and healthier recipes. 'nuff said.
  • Keep up with the vitamins/supplements. I have done pretty well with taking my daily vitamins and supplements and hope to be a bit more consistent with this in 2010! I am currently taking a women's multi-vitamin, glucosamine, fish oil, and have recently added Vitamin D.

Fitness:

  • Enjoy running. This past year has been hard in regards to running, with the least amount of miles in 4 years. But, I have come to realize that it is important for me to be grateful for every painful-free mile ran, whether it was a 10 minute mile or 12 minute mile.
  • Include more Core/Strength/Stretch. This includes getting back into doing my TriPower routine on a regular basis as well as participating in yoga, pilates, and bodypump classes often.
  • Participate in races/events. This is pretty broad, I know. However, instead of listing off thousands races that I would like to do, I need to wait and see how the knee is going to hold up. I have a pretty good base built since my injury, so if I play things smart, I should be able to continue training and build some long runs. If that's the case, I have some longer distances in mind, in addition to different races/events from years past!
  • Get out on the bike more. Unfortunately, this past spring/summer/fall I didn't get on my bike as much as I would have liked. Between the months of May and October, it was very wet and colder than usual.
  • Join swim team, again. In June, I joined the Adult Gators swim team and met twice a week for 1 hour swim practice. It was the best thing I did and I look forward to doing it again.

BUT, if I were to list a handful of races, this is kind of what it would look like:

  • Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon - I have done one of these already, but my sister has started training for a triathlon and would like to do one of these this winter!
  • Fargo Marathon - No, I am not talking about doing the full marathon, but the GoFar Challenge - which will consist of running the 5K Friday night and then the Half Marathon Saturday morning. It would not only be fun, but I would get a medal for each race, plus an additional medal for doing the challenge! If I struggle with getting my half marathon training done due to my knee, I will lay low and try to do the 10K since that has been recently added to the list of races that weekend! I am still part of the Youth run committee for this and it should be pretty fun!
  • Detroit Lakes Younglife Olympic Triathlon - I did the Sprint distance of this race this past August and loved it. I am hoping I will be able to do the Olympic distance this time around!
  • Ride the Wind 2010 - This is a two day ride for MS that I have wanted to participate in since I heard about it 2 years ago, but haven't been able to train for it. I think it's a 100 mile ride across two days, but it could be 150 miles. I haven't figured that much out yet. However, I will need to raise at least $200 to participate.

What does your 2010 look like? Do you have any specific goals/races in mind?

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009, A Year in Review



An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
~Bill Vaughan





2009 is coming to an end and it's time to reflect on the year behind me. Where do I begin?


I can compare the number of events I did in 2009 to the number of events in 2008 and they are the same: 5.

Just 5:

I had big goals and more events on my race schedule for 2009, but considering the on-and-off knee issues this year, I am pretty pleased with what I have completed even though it wasn’t everything I wanted to accomplish. You live and learn. I started to encorporate more strengthening exercises as well as taking more classes at the Y.


Asside from races and the distances, I have had a pretty busy year. Let’s take a look:

That's pretty much it in a nutshell! What a busy, but exciting year, it's been! Be prepared for some changes in the looks of this blog. I am ready for a change, how about you?

Check back tomorrow for my 2010 goals!

What did 2009 look like for you? Are you pleased with what the year consisted of, or ready to leave it in the dust?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish a quick Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful readers. Due to weather, we were unable to follow our original Christmas plans, but the family is together (minus my favorite soldier)!

Here's to hoping you are surrounded by those you love and cherish, creating wonderful memories! And, thanks to our wonderful Soldiers who are not able to join us this holiday season! B, you will be home before we know it!

Merry Christmas!
~Stacy


Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome Winter!

I was so excited for this virtual "race", with my new Garmin 305 - a birthday gift from the 'rents (who needs to be named) and temps in the teens, but I just wasn't able to get outside. I had an after school meeting that went late, and by the time I was leaving it was getting dark and I wasn't ready to run in the dark.
So, I scurried off to the gym and kicked out a couple miles. My first mile, which I will count as my winter misery 1 mile was clocked at 10:27 at a 2% incline. I know that is a slow easy jog pace for most of you, but for me, coming off an injury and trying to take things easy, this was pretty darn fast.... and I was feelin' it!

So much fun! Thank you, RunningLaur, for putting this together!


Only 10.81 more miles to run to reach 45 plus miles this month and top out 2009 with 300 miles. And... I went through and re-added up my biking miles and noticed I made an error.... I had shorted myself some miles and am already at 1,000 miles for the year! done!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Misery... already

In attempt to make the most of this nasty weather, and I mean NASTY (with -29 windchill) I am looking forward to taking part in RunningLaur's virtual race...





I am plugging away at my miles...23.16 more to go this month.... and this will be another fun reason for me to get out (or on the treadmill), even if it's just one mile!

I will admit, I am not a regular follower of RunningLaur, but I saw a link to this race via another blog and look forward to reading more from her.

Look back next week for a full "race report"!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Making progress

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I got to hear a great local band Friday, spent a lot of time resting and relaxing (with a little cleaning) on Saturday, and a lot of baking and such on Sunday! I have a Special Ed staff/paraprofessional christmas party that I am hosting this Thursday and trying to get ready for it!



On the workout front, I have been kicking my ass this month! My swimming is lacking a bit, since I am trying to get 100 miles of biking and 45 miles of running accomplished. I will easily make my biking goal - 100 miles - and am more than halfway there. No worries with that!


I still have about 24 miles to go to make my goal of 45 miles for this months challenge. I am trying to figure out the best way to go about this. Since I have just started experiencing pain free runs, I don't want to push myself into injury again. I have thought of a couple different ways to achieve this distance: 1) do more shorter runs throughout the week, or 2) do a few runs but at longer distances throughout the week.

I think I am going to stick with the shorter runs, but listen to my body. For example, yesterday I got on the treadmill with 3 miles in mind, but ended up doing almost 5 miles again. I threw the towel over the distance and just enjoyed the run. I probably could have gone longer, but wanted to spend a good amount of time stretching and doing some yoga.

I think a lot of my knee issues in the past has stemmed from weak glutes/hamstrings. I also think it might have come from tight hip flexors. I have been doing my AM/PM yoga once and sometimes twice a day for the past week and it has helped immensely. I love yoga!

Do you do yoga? If so, how often and for how long?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spoiled!

I was spoiled on my birthday by all my wonderful friends, family, co-workers, students, as well as my blogger/FB friends! I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such a great group of friends and family!

On top of a handful of giftcards to Target and Scheels (local sporting good store), my sisters and brother-in-law got me tickets to Lorie Line in Bismarck on the 23rd! I have seen her twice before, and can't wait to see her at the Belle! They also got me the New Moon soundtrack and I absolutely love it! My parents got me a cookie press, for making spritz cookies, to keep me busy until my real gift comes... the anticipation is killing me!

My students, loaded me with hugs, smiles, and happy birthday wishes. A couple students who are of different ethnicity sang me a song in their native language, danced around, and tugged on my ears. Supposedly tugging on the ears are well wishes and helps you grow! Too funny.

Asside from being spoiled, I did a two-fer yesterday. I guess some would say I had something up my butt, but I guess I just felt really good and extra motivated on my 29th birthday! I pumped out 14 miles on the bike in the morning and 4.75 miles on the treadmill after work! You read that right... 4.75 miles... running. And it felt great!

I am so excited to be running again, pain free. I still think I have it in me to get 45 miles in this month to meet my goal... only 31 more miles to go in 21 days. I know it's definitely do-able, I am just going to play it day by day and see what the legs can handle!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's just a number


I can't believe I am 29. I had to stop and think a second when I punched in my age on the bike this morning. It's just a number to me. Life is great and I can't complain. I had an idea to post 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30, but I will just save it and post it as part of my goals and such for 2010!

Monday, December 7, 2009

the learning never ends



Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life. ~Henry L. Doherty





It was only two years ago that I completed my masters degree in special education, earning my Special Education Strategist title, which consists the following credentials: Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, and Emotional Disturbances (sometimes referred to as Emotional Behavioral Disturbances in other states). Two years ago I had just completed an intense year of residency, working as a full time teacher while taking enough classes to be a full time student.

Come graduation in May of 2007, I was ready to be done, for a long time, and looking forward to just teaching for a while. However, for the past 6 months, I have been toying with the idea to go back to school. I went back and forth over the pros and cons, realizing that there are far more pros than cons.

I am going back to school! I am ready to dive back into those books and earn my Autism Spectrum Disorders Credential.

I didn't want to say anything earlier because this has been a work in progress for the past 2 months! 2 MONTHS I tell ya! And a stressful 2 months at that! I started working on my grad school application in early October. Who knew it would be such a process considering I had just completed grad school two years ago. While applying for grad school, I was also applying for the ND Traineeship Scholarship program which offers money for part and full time students if you get accepted.

And, I got accepted! Each semester, I have to re-apply for this scholarship, but it will be well worth it! My plan is to do this slowly, taking only 1 class per semester (maybe 2 this summer) until I earn my 12 credits! I am in no hurry, but look forward to that lane change (MA +15) in a little over a year!

To top things off, I will be earning this credential all from the comfort of my own home! I am looking forward to taking all these classes online! My first class, Introduction to Autistic Specturm Disorders, begins the 2nd week of January and we meet Wednesdays at 4 or 5 for an hour chat session, with weekly assignments/projects to follow.

Can you tell I am pumped?!


Learning never ends and this is another reminder to myself that I have truly chosen a profession in which I love.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jingle Bell 5K

When I woke this morning, I was pretty pumped for this 5K. This was to be my first event since my last triathlon in August.
Many of you were/are running in 40-60 degree weather this weekend and were puzzled with what to wear for the race. I know that many of your races were starting with cooler temps and then increasing as much as 20 degrees, and some of you were worried about running in rain, which all situations can be quite challenging when figuring out what to wear. So is running in sub-freezing temps.

Last year, it was 4 degrees but with 12 mph winds. It was brutal. Any wind at sub-freezing temps is horrible. This year, the temperature was 5 degrees at the starting line and I didn't really notice any winds. It was a huge difference. Even though the temperature here wasn't expected to change during our short distance, it was hard to decide what to wear.


What did I wear? I had on full-leg running tights, my knee length running tights, long-sleeved wick-away shirt, long-sleeved cotton shirt, my adidas running jacket, headband, a pair of finger gloves with my North Face finger gloves over them, red fleece scarf, knee length holiday socks with my winter running ankle socks over them, and my grinch boxer shorts. Very similar to what I wore last year minus a fleece jacket.

I was running this one with my friend Jill, and another girl she knew joined us at the start. Our plan, since we both have been struggling with knee issues, was to run 4-5 minutes and then walk. But, neither one of us worn watches, so we just went with the "let's see how we feel" plan.

We started out really slow (slower than I usually run on the treadmill) and ended up running the entire race with only two short walk breaks after the 2nd mile marker. most importantly, it was pain free and I finished strong! I had a really good stride going into the finish shute and thought about what it would be like to have that kind of pace for 3.1 miles. It felt really, really, really good.

It wasn't too long after we got back indoors that I started to get the chills. I was pretty sweaty. Try going home and icing your knees after a run in the cold. I was not looking forward to it, but knew I had to do it!

The Results?
Rank: 400 out of 498
Bib: 376
Name: Stacy Smith
28
F
Fargo, ND
Time: 38:39
Pace: 12:27

Like I said, it was slow, but a great run. I shaved 37 seconds off from this race last year. And, I just realized that this will be my last race as a 28 year old. *sniff, sniff*

Next year if I do this race, I would like to get more creative with my outfit. I saw so many wonderful ideas today and I wish I would have taken a bunch of photos, but I have a hard time with the idea of taking photos of strangers! There were two guys dressed as presents with big boxes around them, there was a guy dressed as the grinch and another person dressed as a dog, there was a girl that made her own gingerbread man outfit, and so many more... it was so cool!

Have you ever done a race and dressed up for it? What race did you do, and what did you wear?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

HBBC & Christmas cards

I am seriously struggling with getting my 7 servings of fruits and veggies in every day for the HBBC. It definitely requires me to do a bit more planning when packing my lunch and making breakfast & dinner, but I guess that's the point right? In addition, I am finding myself snacking on more fruits and veggies throughout the day, rather than crackers or other not-so-healthy things. It's a good thing, but just a change in how I plan meals and grocery shop.

Yesterday I was so exhausted, I could bare stay awake around 7pm. I did some blogging, catching up on all your blogs, and was in bed and asleep by 830pm. I slept for 8 hours and was up and at the gym before work this morning. The plan was to do a short run and then get on the bike, but instead, I did a 3.3 mile run, and stretched for a good 15 minutes, thinking I would get in a ride on the trainer tonight. However, I don't have the motivation, or energy, to do that tonight.

My plan for tonight is to begin working on my christmas cards since I printed off my Christmas photo collage today. Once I get them all out in the mail, I will post that photo here on blogland for the rest of you to see!

Are you participating in the HBBC? How are you doing?

Are you doing Christmas cards and/or photos this year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's snowing!

Driving to work this morning I was thinking about the fact that I haven't pulled out my Columbia winter jacket yet, and it's December 2nd! How exciting! The day was gloomy, and by the time I left work, there was a beautiful white blanket of snow on everything. Secretly, I was super excited to see this. I am a true North Dakotan at heart. (Remind me of this in January/February when it's brutally cold, windy, and I don't ever want to leave my bed)


In addition to the excitement of the snowfall, work was uber crazy today. Can I just say this full moon business definitely affects my job. The kids were different, and I am not saying crazy, just extremely different from their normal self, doing things they usually don't do. Plus, I had to deal with something I don't do on a regular basis, involving riding in a cop car with our resource officer to a child's home. Yeah, it's been a weird day.


Now, I am home and enjoying my new tv! Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to myself! I will leave you with a a picture of my new pride and joy and a couple random Christmas decorations.



my knitted sock, a reminder of my Grandmother who passed away when I was five.

One of my knew favorite ornaments... PEACE. Makes me think of my brother-in-law in Iraq.

Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Down to the last month of 2009

Where in the world did November go? I mean, for reals. I think I say this every month, but boy did this month fly by!

Month in Review: November
Here's a look at the stats for November, and comparing them to October's Stats.
Swim - 4,800M ................ 8,700M in October
Bike - 98.56 miles .......... 77.80 miles in October
Run - 20.15 miles .......... 12.74 miles in October

My swim numbers were pretty low, but considering I was gone most weekends, and I struggled getting up early to get to the pool this past month, I deserve the low numbers. I was hoping to get the biking well above the 100 mile mark, but will settle for coming close. As far as the running mileage goes, I am quite pleased considering my knee is doing much better. I'll take it!

What's in store for December? In the back of my mind I have a couple things I would lurve to accomplish before 2009 comes to an end. I want to see my bike miles get above 1,000 miles for the year, which should be pretty easy considering I only need a little over 100 miles to do so. I would also love to see my running mileage make the 300 mile mark. That would mean I would have to do 45 miles, and I don't know if I want to push it. I guess I will just have to see what the knee is able to handle!

How do you plan to close out 2009? Anyone out there thinking about their 2010 goals and races/events schedules?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bringing the bullets back

Sorry for the lack of posting in the past week, but things have been crazy busy. Here's a recap, bullet style:
  • Last Monday and Tuesday consisted of 12 hour workdays due to evening conferences. I didn’t get in any workouts those days either.
  • Tuesday night, my sister drove in from the cities after work and a few of us went to see New Moon. I was pretty impressed with the movie and am itching to see it again! I am glad that the next movie will come out in June, rather than a year from now.
  • Wednesday morning, my sister and I headed to Bismarck for the long holiday weekend. We spent most of the day helping mom prepare for the 30+ people expected to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, it is my job to assemble the homemade gingerbread houses. We make enough for each of the little one’s to decorate after dinner, and then they take them home to enjoy through the holidays. It has become a great tradition and I think the older ones really look forward to helping the little ones. However, this year, for some reason, I couldn’t get the “frosting” just right and I was ready to throw all the houses out the window. Fortunately, after adding twice as much powdered sugar than usual, I had perfected it and it worked out just fine. All of the houses turned out wonderful!
  • Thursday morning I decided not to participate the Turkey Trot. It’s just too late in the morning, taking up too much time, and it was pretty chilly that morning – right around 12 degrees. So, my Dad, sister and I went to the Y early and got in a good run on the treadmills and got home just as the Turkey Trot was beginning. The 10k goes right by our house, so it was fun to watch the runners go by as we were preparing dinner.
  • Thanksgiving was perfect! The food was great and the company we shared it with was even better!
  • Friday morning, I did NO shopping. That is not my thing. Instead, we hit up the gym and then headed to my Grandparents house to help clean/decorate for the holidays. Later on, the fam went out to pick a Christmas tree for my parents house. There's nothing like the smell of frasier firs in the house!
  • Pretty much all day Saturday consisted of a friend’s wedding. This was a friend from grad school, and I was excited to go. I knew a couple people going but forgot how many people I had met through this guy during our year in grad school. It was great to catch up, but I am sad to say I didn’t really get to talk too much with the groom or another grad school friend. However, the wedding was beautiful and overall a really good time!
  • Sunday… on the road back to Fargo. I have been gone 6 out of the last 7 weekends and as much as I was sad to see the long weekend go, I am looking forward to being in town for the next few weekends! I spent yesterday running errands, filling the fridge, setting up a new tv stand for the tv I have yet to buy (I know, I am kind of backwards), finish putting up Christmas decorations, and cleaning the living room and kitchen.

Now, I need to get back into a routine and make the most of this full week!

Something to look forward to? I signed up for the Jingle Bell 5K that is this coming Saturday! Last year it was only 4 degrees outside and the wind chill brought the temps well into the below zero range. It was so cold that I had frost on my eyelashes and nostrils. Right now the weather forcast for Saturday looks like it will be a bit warmer than last year, but if you know anything about ND weather, it’s bound to change a dozen times over the next 5 days.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Card Dilemma

How many of you out there look forward to those wonderful holiday greeting cards and photos in the mail this time of year? Those cards, photos, and letters are one of the many things I look forward to during the holidays.



I know that most of the pictures I receive are of families or just the children of friends or relatives. I have received a photo or two from single friends and thought nothing of it, but when it comes to me sending a photo of myslef, I have a hard time justifying it, or feeling completely comfortable with the idea. Maybe it's just me and I need a little reassuring from others.

Last year, I worked on a collage of photos from races and trips, planning on sending it out as a New Year card but then started to wonder what people would think of it. I think holiday photos can be so much fun to share with friends and family but I don't want my pictures to be seen in a negative light. I never did send out that picture.



What are your thoughts? Have you ever sent out pictures of yourself when you were single, or would you, if you were single?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

weekend recap

I had a great weekend with the 'rents and my youngest sis, taking in two nights of Sioux hockey. Friday's game was good and they one 3-2, but last night's game was horrible. They just weren't playing their best and the reffing was disgusting and completely one-sided. It was so hard to watch. If a couple bad calls would have been reversed, it would have been 3-2 Sioux, instead of 3-2 St. Cloud.

I took in a little shopping and found a couple cute sweaters at Macy's yesterday. I usually don't shop there for clothes, for some reason or another, and I was really happy to find a couple sweaters for less than $20 each. I am so sick of my winter clothes from last year (and the year before) that I was on cloud nine when I found these.

This afternoon I attempted another run and the knee just wasn't feeling it. I wanted to cry. Now, it was no where near the pain I was dealing with over a month ago, but it was a good run. Some things just not right. I guess I best be getting back into my PT exercises. I have been kind of slacking since I got sick and things were going well.

I really want this knee to heal. I am hoping to be able to do the Turkey Trot 5K Thanksgiving day and then the Jingle bell 5K run I did last year, which is the 5th of December.... we'll see!

How was your weekend? Who raced out there this weekend? How many of you have races you are looking forward to before closing the books for 2009?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

busy, busy, and some more busy


Just after I go and rave about how nice my 3 mile run went on Tuesday, I hopped on the treadmill today and the run wasn't as nice as I was hoping it would be. After a couple miles in, it started to get a leeeetle bit tight and I knew instantly I had to take it slow. Here I was getting so pumped about running 3 miles and in the back of my mind I was thinking about that half marathon distance again. Slow. Down. Now.


Other than that, work and busy weekends have been taking over my life! I have been gone almost every weekend for the past few weeks and will be gone the next few weekends in a row. But, I can't complain about that too much because it's fun times and better then sitting at home and doing nothing on the weekends.
As far as work goes, today I had my last assessment results/IEP meeting until after Christmas (more than halfway through my caseload for the year), and need to finalize some documents prior to Monday. Then, on Monday the window for alternate assessment opens up and I have 3 students I need to sit down with and do these state assessments. In addition, trimester grades are due next friday, which means I not only need to get grades into teachers for my students that participate in alternate curriculum, but I need to get progress reports done. Before I know it, Christmas vacation will be here and the busy-ness will start up again.


I guess it's just life and figuring out how to balance it all is my goal! I think I need to be more productive with my paperwork at work, staying an hour later every once and a while, rather than spending a day off finishing up assessment results, like I did yesterday for 5 hours. Time to be on top of my game!


Tomorrow I plan to do some yoga in the morning before work. I think it will be a great way to end the week and relax a bit before the busy weekend. I am heading up to GF with the fam, minus my sister from the cities. unfortunately. We have Sioux hockey tickets for both nights. I think we're ranked 2nd in the nation, so it should be a pretty good weekend of hockey!


Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giving Thanks

I would like to take a moment to thank all military personel who are serving or have served this great country of ours. Without them and their unselfish work, we would not be able to live in this country with such freedom. Also, I think it's important to thank all the friends and families who are supporting those in active duty.

Happy Veterans Day to my favorite Veteran... my bro-in-law! Miss you and can't wait to have you back for good in February!

Last night, I had a handful of wonderful friends over for dinner for what I hope to be our first annual "Thanks Giving" meal. There were 14 of us and everyone brought some sort of food. Unfortunately, I did not take any great pictures, so I won't be able to share our festivities, visually, but I can tell you that it was a great time and all of the food was wonderful!

The idea behind this was to combine Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends. I did this with some friends when I was going to college. We would make a big meal and then everyone brought a white elephant gift to share.

But, last night we had a little different twist to it. Instead of bringing a white elephant gift, a monetary donation was suggested, but not mandatory, with the idea that it would be spent buying necessities and gifts for a family in need. Far too many families struggle from day to day, especially around the holidays. A few of us plan to go out there and make those purchases soon, hoping to put a some smiles on a few faces!


On the workout front, I am on-the-ball! This morning, since I had the day off, I was able to be a bit more flexible with my workout. After sleeping in until 8, I took advantage of the mid-morning lap swim time, kicked out 2100M, and then hit up a hard-core spin class right afterwards and ended up riding 15 miles! It felt great!


I will leave you with this Military Tribute video! Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Number 500

When I started blogging, I honestly didn’t think it would last very long. It was May of 2006, and I had just started to find a love of running. I was starting to think about training for my first marathon (that didn't happen at the time) and was looking for training plans online. In the process, I stumbled across a few running blogs and thought it would be interesting to try this blogging thing myself.

I started with my first blog three and half years ago, running-for-me, and created this blog a couple years ago when I was ready to go beyond running by adding more cycling and swimming, thus diving into the world of triathlons. Who know this blog would become a part of me and how I got to where I am today?!

I found blogging to be a place to keep myself accountable, read and learn from others experiences, share my own experiences with others, as well as gain motivation and that little extra push to keep myself going when things got difficult or when I was willing to give up. I haven’t competed in nearly as many 5K races, half marathons, or sprint triathlons as others, but I have been able to push myself harder with the added support and “words of wisdom” from many of you fellow bloggers out there! Thank you, thank you.

With that in mind, I have compiled a handful of some of my favorite quotes. These quotes do a pretty good job summing up the things I have learned or experienced along the way:


“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

"You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone." - Percy Cerutty

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

"Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential." - Liane Cardes

"Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals." - Henry Ford

"The Truth is that Running Hurts. No one gets faster without meeting their personal pain barrier straight on. No amount of junk miles, fun runs or affirmations are going to get you over the hill at the five mile mark in a 10k. However, what will pull you through is solid prep with hard hill runs and interval work." - Manciata's explanation of the Truth about Running

"The more I talk to athletes, the more convinced I become that the method of training is relatively unimportant. There are many ways to the top, and the training method you choose is just the one that suits you best. No, the important thing is the
attitude of the athlete, the desire to get to the top." – Herb Elliott

"Pain is weakness leaving your body." -USMC

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." - Beverly Sills

"Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success." - Juha "the Curel Vaatainen


And finally, one of my all time favorites…..

“If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Did your city make the list?

I came across an article yesterday that noted the 10 top healthiest places for women to live. I had a hard time finding it again, but noticed that it came from this original article: 100 Healthiest Places for Women to Live.

When I first looked at it I thought that Fargo, ND wouldn't even make the list. I was suprised to see that it made the Top 10! Here's what they said about Fargo, ND:
Population: 187,653
2009 ranking: 10 out 100
2008 ranking: not ranked
Top 10 area! Women up here feel down a mere two days a month. Stressors such as crime and unemployment are rare, and women report more social and emotional support than almost anywhere else. "Whether it's neighbors, workout buddies or church, that support system is always there," says Robin Johnson, 22, a recent grad. "Even in the grocery store, people chat and cheer you up. You feel like they really do care."
Live like a local: Young women here form running groups to socialize. In its first five years, the Fargo Marathon has grown from 2,400 to 13,000-plus participants. "It's in May, and having a goal can get you through the long, cold winter," Johnson explains. Start your own training program at Self.com/goal.
Plus: Fargoites drive 18 minutes to work on average. In New York City, it's 41 minutes!

I have to note that the picture that went along with the original article I found would have really convinced anyone and everyone to move here! It looked something like this picture I found. And, I didn't know we were refered to as "Fargoites". Interesting.

Sidenote: The goal for the Fargo Marathon this year is 20x10... hoping for 20,000 participants by 2010. I thought that was pretty clever!



To sell Fargo a bit more, here is a list of reasons why I LOVE living here (and ND in general):
  • Some may think that all we have is cold weather, but we actually get to enjoy all 4 seasons, unlike some locations. Yes, winter may last longer than most of us would like, and spring can be kind of wet and messy around here, but the summer and fall months sure make up for it.
  • Temps can get quite warm here in the summer, despite what some may think, but it still cools off during the night (for the most part). The humidity at times is more than I can bare, but it's not as bad as some locations in the Southeast.
  • I don't mind when temps get into the 40's and 50's. It's great outdoor running temps!
  • We may not have all the fancy clubs big cities have, but there are plenty of nightlife locations to choose from and drinks are reasonably priced (anywhere from $3-$5 average).
  • The population number stated above isn't exactly correct. Fargo itself is right around 100,000 people. But, if you look at the metropolitan area, including it's sister cities, West Fargo to the West and Moorhead across the river in MN, then it's closer to 190,000 people.
  • How many of you get to see Sundogs during the winter months?
  • Sunsets are beautiful, and full of color and sometimes clouds, year round.
  • It only takes ME approximately 5 minutes to get to work.
  • The people here are amazing!

Did your city make the list? What do you love about where you live?


Information was taken from this article on Self.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

This, that, and everything in between

Halloween Weekend:
How many of you dressed up for Halloween? I did. Actually a group of us dressed up and it was a lot of fun. We ended up at a smaller bar, with more of an older crowd. We were in the mood for something more low key and less slutty costumes. It was pretty relaxing, but fun at the same time. However, the next day, I woke with some sort of flu. No, it wasn't the bottle flu. I am home sick from work today and that rarely ever happens. I was running a temp, puking, very very very weak, no appetite, and very tired. It took everything in me this morning to run to school and type up my sub notes. I hope to be back tomorrow because lying around all day isn't my kind of thing.

Month in Review: October
I can't believe that the month is already over. And to think there are only 7 months left of school! Wow, time flies when you're having fun. Let's take a look at the digits for the month and compare them to September.

Swim - 8,700M ................ 8,500M in September
Bike - 77.80 miles .......... 56.93 miles in September
Run - 12.74 miles .......... 10.45 miles in September

Well, the numbers are still low, but their higher then they were in September. And the best thing is... I am back at running, slowly but surely! I am happy!


My November Challenge:
After reading Caitlin's post on getting back on track, I knew I needed to do the same. After talking with a friend, we decided to create a challenge of our own. We will earn points for certain workouts/activities, and then points will be deducted for eating out, drinking soda/coffee, and alcohol. The person with the most points at the end of the month will make the other person dinner. This should help with getting back on track with eating right, cutting back on ordering my lattes (doesn't include making coffee at home), and spending less money!


POTM:
Pile on the Miles Challenge. This has been put together by Caitlin and Bobbi. The goal for this is to increase activity and not put on all those extra pounds that can happen so easily this time of year. Both walking and running miles will count, which works wonderfully for me since I am slowly getting back into running. I think it will even motivate me to run/walk more! I know I won't log nearly as many miles as a lot of the other participates, but I think it will be fun to join in. Plus, I keep track of those things anyway! I can't wait to get over this flu and start tracking my miles! Hopefully I will be able to participate in the Turkey Trot this thanksgiving!


What does the month of November look like for you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Retail Therapy?

Oh my goodness! Has it been one of those weeks, or what?! I thought getting over the hump would mean smooth sailing for the rest of the week, but that is just not the case!

This afternoon I took care of a couple things on my shopping list that I have been putting off forever. I am not a big shopper and find no fun in shopping. No fun what-so-ever. Maybe I would find fun in it if it were someone elses money. I am an in-and-out type of girl and when there are things I need to purchase, but get kind of spendy, I keep putting them off.

However, despite being completely overwhelmed at work and busy with paperwork in the evenings, I managed to head over to the mall today and scratch those two items off my list... and then some. Remember, I am not one to get a thrill out of shopping and don't get the idea of retail therapy, but the deals I came across couldn't have been better!

I walked out of there with a cute pair of Bandolino low cut black boots with an extra 15% off and a butt load of make-up. With my make-up purchase I got a lot of things free, including the Macy's Beauty box that has a lot of free samples as well!

Then, when I got home, I found a $15 A-List giftcard for the Express in the mail. Next thing on my shopping list.... new jeans!

Maybe there's really something behind this "retail therapy" that I'm missing out on. No, because then I remind myself of the extra bills, and it's so not worth it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Running again...

After an extremely busy workday, I couldn't think of a better way to blow off steam than by hitting up BodyPump class at the Y. Yeah, it was one of those days. To make things interesting, I increased my weights on the barbell and pushed myself hard on all lifts, squats, and lunges. I love that class and highly recommend it to anyone who's gym offers a similar class!



Asside from BP, I am back in the running world again! Slowly but surely. I think the combination of doing the PT exercises a few times a week, incorporating BP into my schedule once or twice a week, and keeping up with my biking and swimming, my legs are getting stronger!

I have run 5 times since my PT session a few weeks ago. These runs have been very short and very slow, ranging from 1 mile to 3 miles. All runs have been on a treadmill with a 1% increase, wearing my orthotics. I'm just not ready to push myself too hard... too fast. But, I am truely grateful that I am able to do some running, even if it is slow ... and I will continue to pay no attention what-so-ever to the finish time....

baby steps...

baby steps...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vote for Amanda!

I just had to dedicate a full post to this lovely lady, Amanda! Sam-e from Nature Made is looking for a writer for their blog, and I think she is the perfect match!

She upbeat, all the time! I absolutely LOVE her Gratitude Journal. If that isn't enough, she likes to share things she loves with everyone with giveaways!

Now, she needs YOUR vote! So, go over to THIS SITE and vote now! Today, tomorrow, and the next! You can vote every day!

Vote for Me
Good Mood Gig from SAM-e

GOOD LUCK AMANDA!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weekend is almost upon us!

Yesterday I got my flu shot and today my arm is extremely sore. She gave it to me in my right arm, since I am right handed, with the idea that using my right arm more would keep it from getting sore. Not so much. Oh well, let's just hope I don't get the flu. We have so many kids home sick with the flu already, probably averaging 5-7 kids from each classroom. It's crazy.

Today I got in another run. Only 1 mile, but it was a glorious pain-free run. I want to make sure I am taking baby steps, working my way back into running again. It feels so goood!

Tomorrow I am heading to GF for cousin's weekend.... spending the weekend with one of my sisters, and 4 of our cousins (which are two sets of sisters)! It should be pretty fun. In the midst of the weekend up there, my sister and I snagged a couple hockey tickets from Dad and look forward to cheering on the Sioux as they take on our rivals - MN Gophers!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Testing .... testing ....

My plans for this evening was to take full advantage of my bike on the trainer. You see, the temps dropped to the thirties this weekend. I spent a good amount of time cleaning up the spare room (again... how does it get so cluttered when it's not being used?), setting up the old 19" tv my dad gave me (that needs a VCR to work), and the trainer with the bike on it.


So, when I got home from work around 430, I quickly changed into my cycling gear and was ready to pump out a good hour while catching PTI & SportsCenter. :) About 10 minutes into my ride it became very difficult to pedal, so I loosened the tension on the trainer. That didnt' make a difference and the gears started to grind and it became harder and harder to ride. What the heck?

Obviously I had to can my ride. I was too frustrated to run it over to the LBS today, so I will have to take care of that tomorrow. I ate dinner and pouted over my unsuccessful ride.

Two hours later I changed my attitude and headed for the gym. I needed to get in a workout. NEEDED BADLY.


And I ran.... the first time in two weeks and second time in about 5 weeks. Yes. I. RAN.

Now, I only ran about 1 mile total, with a lot of walking, but it was better than nothing. I wore my orthotics and ran at a 1% incline, per the PT's request. The knee did not bother me like I expected, with the tightening around the knee.

After my run, I biked for about a half hour. It felt good.

Afterwards, I stretched a bit and realized that my legs really ached. Not a sore muscle feeling, but aching above my knees and at my hips. Any idea why this might be? I am icing my knees as I write this, more of a preventative measure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An eye opener

Warning: Long Post Ahead



Knee History:
I am writing this for my reference - so feel free to skim or skip over this portion. :)

February - I started getting some seriously painful pains in my knee when running 2-3 miles - all following a glorious 7 mile run one day. I "cut-back" on running to 2-3 miles about 3 times a week and then finally made the decision to see a PT. He asked a few questions, checked the strength of some of my muscles, checked my flexibility, and sent me on my way with a sheet full of exercises and stretching routines to do 2 times a day for a week. I went back and got a few more exercises and then was on my own. At this time, things were better.

May /June - I was still only able to run no more than 3 miles. I started playing sand volleyball 2 nights a week (about 3 hours) and 2 hours of softball one night - following sand volleyball. During softball one night, I did something to my knee that hurt really bad. It was located more so on the inside of the knee and the back of the knee. When I wasn't working out or playing sports, it was more of a dull pain that rain down the outside of my leg.

July - Pain was pretty much gone and I was able to pull through with a 5 mile run at one point. I finished my first triathlon with no pain what-so-ever.

August - struggled with running again, but a different kind of knee issue. Now, after only completing 1-2 miles, my knee would get tight on the upper outside of the knee causing more discomfort than anything. This happened right around the time that I was tapering for my next triathlon. Needless to say, I walked through most of that triathlon.

September - after a few runs the first week of September, I decided to take a few weeks off. I ran once, only a mile or so a week ago and came home in tears. The same pain/discomfort/tightening of the knee was present. It was time to make a move and see someone.






Next Step:
For the past month or so I have thought long and hard about who I was going to bring this "issue" to: a physical therapist, chiropractor, or orthopaedic? I finally made a decision about my knee and called to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist yesterday. Since I wasn't too thrilled with my PT from last February, I tried getting in with a guy that was recommended by two coworkers. The receptionist said he wasn't taking any "new" patients, but would check with him to see if he would still be willing to see me and get back to me. To my excitement, he was willing to squeeze me in, and I was able to get in TODAY!





The Results of the PT Session:
A little over an hour with a new, and very professional PT, I was able to leave that room on a more positive note than when I went in. He did a number of things such as watched the way I walked, looked at my arches, rotated my ankles, knees and hips, put my legs in positions I didn't think they could go, had me do lunges, etc. From all of the above, he was able to determine a few things that are probably causing my knee to act the way it's acting:

1. Arches - He said that based on how my feet look, it would seem as if there are no concerns with my arches but there is a slight concern with the part of my arch where it meets the ball of my foot.

The solution? - He gave me over-the-counter orthodics and cut out a piece of the orthodic to better suit my feet.


2. Hyperextended Knees - When he said this, I wasn't totally shocked. This basically means that I am able to enxtend my knee in the oposite direction, and too far. He asked me to stand and noticed right away that I was standing with my knees locked. I stand like this a lot. This puts a lot of pressure on the knee cap and something behind the knee (forgot the name). In addition, standing with my knees locked gives my thighs a break from supporting my body.

In addition to this, The PT said that he thinks there may have been a knee injury at one point, whether it was a week ago or 10 years ago, there are reminents of that injury. I think what happened during softball in June is the real cause of this issue and I think I should have seen him then. When he checked the "flexibility of my knee, bending it from side to side, you can see a bone/ligament on the inside of the knee that bends. I was totally disgusted and he said it just proves that it is a bit more loose than the other knee.

Also, there is some damage to the under part of the knee cap, causing some grinding. It is not painful, but the knee cap is rubbing and putting pressure on something (a protective fluid sac of some sort, I think?).

The solution? Be more mindful of how I stand, refraining from locking my knees, and it will help tell my legs muscles to support my body and making them stronger. Also, there are some stretches and exercises that are not good for my knees and I need to be mindful of these. The PT showed me some exercises that I could do in replace of them, making sure I am not locking my knees. I cannot do the hamstring stretch where you stand and pull your foot up behind you to your butt; it puts too much stress on the knee.


3. Gluteas Muscles - My PT thinks that if I work on strengthening my glutes, I will see a huge difference. He also told me that the majority of women that come in for knee issues have week glutes and just working on their glutes alone have made a huge impact on their knees. Wow.

The Solution? Strengthen the glutes with a few PT exercises using resistance bands.







Overall Results/Recommendations:


  • PT says surgery isn't necessary. - thank god.
  • No MRI necessary - at this time.
  • I can still run, but need to ease back into it. PT couldn't tell me if I would be able to run more than 3 miles down the road, or even if I should try. He wants me to wait... and see how things go.
  • Perform the handful of PT exercises with shoes on and orthodics given - a few times a week.
  • Run with shorter strides and if on a treadmill increase the incline to 1-2% to create less direct pressure on the knees.
  • When outside, run on a level surface, no sand, trails, or cement (hard to to in ND).
  • Refrain from any sort of speed work. Maybe a little fartlek here and there, but no 800's and especially stay away from smaller tracks that require 10-12 laps for a mile - this is a no brainer as I hate tracks anyway.
  • Refrain from standing with knees locked.
  • Refrain from the following stretches, exercises, or strengthening routines - too-deep of lunges, both leg and single leg quad machine, hamstring stretch (unless knees are not locked), and bent knee quadricep stretch.
  • Modify stretches - especially ones that require knee locking such as this calf stretch - do not lock knee of back leg. and hip flexor stretch - making sure the pelvic is rotated forward.
  • Call PT with any further questions or concerns, and/or schedule a time to go over some other exercises if necessary in the next couple of weeks.

I feel good about this. Real good. Time to try to turn this injury around. Baby steps... baby steps.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let's Do This!

I'm ready....

... the Vikings are ready..
The question is...
Are the Packers ready .... to get shredded??

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Month in Review: September

I contemplated not even posting my stats for September, but then being the data freak I am, I knew that I couldn't miss a month when I have been doing it for almost 2 years. Let's just say I am not happy with September's stats, and it's not just because of my knee issues (even though that's a big part of it).


I rarely made it to the gym this month and I can blame the following things: longer than usual days at work, a bit of traveling, and lots and lots of additional paperwork being done at home. Plus, did I mention the fact that this knee issue has really done a doozy on my motiviation?


But, it's blame and it doesn't make it any different... let's look at the stats and move on.



September Stats:

Swim - 8,500M ................ 9,500M in August
Bike - 56.93 miles .......... 97.60 miles in August
Run - 10.45 miles .......... 20.20 miles in August



Sheez. I ran more in February when my first knee issues arrised. What the heck. Can you see how frustrated I am?

Moving on....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tagged

I got this award from the lovely Kelly over at She Wears a Red Sox Cap. I feel totally honored! Her and I have a couple significant things in common right now, teaching and knee injury.... so I feel constantly motivated by her to keep my attitude positive in the midst of this frustrating knee issue!

In order to accept this award I have to answer the following questions with only 1 word answers...


1. Where is your cell phone? nightstand
2.Your hair? curly
3. Your mother? sweet
4. Your father? successful
5. Your favorite food? chicken
6. Your dream last night? non-existence?
7. Your favorite drink? water
8. Your dream/goal? Ironman
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
13. Where were you last night? meeting
14. Something you aren't? unhappy
15. Muffins? warm
16. Wish list item? car?
17. Where did you grow up? Bismarck
18. Last thing you did? eat
19. What are you wearing? Twins :)
20. Your TV? FSN
21. Your pets? none
22. Your friends? superb
23. Your life? happy
24. Your mood? drained
25. Missing someone? always
26. Vehicle? chrysler
27. Something you're not wearing? jewelry
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Vegas
32. Your best friend? sister
33. One place that I go over and over? groceries
34. One person who emails me regularly? teachers
35. Favorite place to eat? Spitfire

Alright, now I need to pass this torch on to 6 bloggers. It's so hard to narrow this down to 6 other bloggers of ALL the ones I read, but these are the ones I choose:

Kelsalynn over at Kelsalynnfitblog - Love her blog. She's super tough (don't mess with her) and her and her hubby are working their way to living debt free! She's very motivating!

Jess over at Run Girl Run - Love reading this girl's blog! She posts about everything and anything - work, running, sports!, running, did I mention running?

Leana over at RunnerLeana - This girl is training for Ironman Canada in 2010 and is pretty much a rockstar! Sometimes I wonder how she squeezes in all her training sessions! Totally inspirational!

Jess over at 21 Days - This lovely lady just had a beautiful baby girl and is back at running. I love reading her blog!

Amanda over at Run to the Finish - She is super positive, always trying something new, and handing out giveaways! One of my favorite things - her daily Gratitude Journal!

Danielle over at From 5K to Marathon - She's another teacher and training for the Nike Women's Marathon in October! Pretty impressive!

Thanks again, Kelly, for the tag!

On a completely different side note, I need to vent for just a sec. Do I ever mention how much I love my job? It's been one of those weeks, and it's only Tuesday. Let's just say that in the midst of dealing with "behaviors" when I should have been enjoying my lunch break, I was spit in the face by an elementary student. That's okay that I missed my lunch then, because I kind of lost my appetite. And I am supposed to try and stay germ free to prevent any ilnesses? right. I work in a building that is full of germs-spreading species!
Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and I know that it will be complete different from today. Everyday is a new day; new surprises, new challenges, and new laughes. I love my job, despite the challenges and difficult situations!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vegas Recap


My trip to Vegas last weekend was great. It was a short weekend, but plenty of time to have a good time with friends and catch up with my brother-in-law while he was home on his two week leave from Iraq. I got home late Monday night and the rest of the week was super busy at work and the evenings were filled with other things as well. Thus, I haven't had much time to get back into blogland. So, I am going to try my best at a quick recap of Vegas.











I didn't get in until after dark Friday night, but there was still plenty of time to grab some drinks and do some walking up and down the strip. We took in a couple water shows at the Ballagio. Something you can probably never get too much of!




Saturday, about 6 of us went to old town near Freemont Street and grabbed a large lunch at a wonderful buffet. Afterwards we hit up a microbrewery and took the Deuce, a cheap transit, to the other end of the strip to get in some great pics.
That evening all 16 of us had dinner at Trevi, an Italian Restaurant located in Ceasars Palace. It was good food for the price. Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel and enjoyed the rest of the evening there. Some fun times were shared around the beer pong tables. Oh... and many Mai Tais topped with 151 Rum... and some enjoyed a handful of tequila shots... boy oh boy. Most of Sunday was spent around the pool. There were definitely some interesting people in the pool and we had some great laughs while people watching. That evening we went to The Beatles Love Cirque Du Soleil. Now that was probably my favorite thing we did all weekend. It was a great way to spend our last night in Vegas! Too much fun.




Monday the last 6 of us left Vegas on the same plane and went our separate ways for our connecting flights out of Denver. It was a great weekend spent with many friends. Laughter all around, but it was hard to say goodbye that afternoon. Especially knowing that my brother-in-law was heading back to Iraq. Only 5 more months and he will be home for good!




Oh... and I will be going back. There's so much more to see... and so much more to be done!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

in a matter of hours...

1 bag,

4 dresses,

2 pair of jeans,

2 pair of shorts,

5 tops,

2 swimsuits,

1 swimsuit cover-up,

4 pairs of shoes,

cash,

camera,

1 plane ticket,

24 hours and I will be on a plane....

...to Vegas!

There's 16 people going,

from ND, MN, WI, CO, and AZ.....

.... to make the most of a weekend with my sister and brother-in-law while he's home on a 2-week leave from his 2nd tour in Iraq!

Now that, my friends, is a reason to celebrate with a crap-load of people! Be prepared for pictures next week when I return! Have a great weekend, y'all! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pump It Up!

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments in regards to my knee. I appreciate all your ideas as to what I should do next. I am trying to stay positive about this and not let my non-existense running get the best of me. It is very hard with this time of year being my favorite time to run. It's just so much easier then biking and swimming... you can just go out there... and run.

Anyway.

I am still trying to decide when I should see a PT/Orthopeodic/Chiropractor. I just don't know if I should schedule something now - OR - continue to take an extended absence from running, ease back into it, and then see if the knee issue is still present.

Any thoughts?

In the meantime, I am keeping myself busy with swimming and biking, and adding in some other stuff as well. In fact, this afternoon I took a BodyPump class at the gym. It was a great workout that combined cardio and strength. Imagine a 60 minute Jillian's shred workout. Ummm, yeah. I left there feeling like Gumby. We did do a lot of lunges and it didn't seem to bother my knees. I think as long as you really focus on sticking your butt out and putting all of your weight on your heels, you are in good shape! I am sure I will be sore tomorrow!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

At my wits end...

Sorry for the absence from blogland. Things have been very busy at work and I am still in a bit of a funk with running.

I have reached a point where I don't know what to do anymore with my knee. I have rested, I have iced, I have stretched, I have incorporated strength training, I have been implementing my TriPower routine, I have slowed down, I have crossed trained... I have done almost everything I can think of ... besides taking a longer break.

I am down right irritated. Frustrated. At my wits ends with this issue.


Knee history:

I had a problem with this same knee in February and saw a PT. I was given exercises, did them and the knee improved. In June I had some issues with the same knee after a night of volleyball and softball. Something was "pinching" on the inside and there was a pain behind my knee that was running down to my ankle - almost as if a ITBand issue. It was painful.


Current issues:

I am only able to run about two miles, maybe three miles before the "pain" sets in. I use quotes because it isn't a pain, but more of a tightness/stiffness that forms on the upper-outside of my right knee. After stretching like crazy after a run, it really isn't noticeable. The knee doesn't really bother me when I am walking even though I know it doesn't feel right. I have felt my knees while walking a bit, and my right knee does this weird popping thing. What the heck is going on?


What to do next?

I have thought about cutting out running for a while, but it's a hard thing to do. Why is it that all you want to do is run, when you know you shouldn't? I am going to cut back, significantly.... keep up with my swimming and biking while encorporating more yoga, stretching, PT exercises, and strength training.

I feel like this a never-ending issue and it's all I talk about. I am sure all of you are sick of hearing about it. I am trying to figure out what I need to do next. Go back to my PT even though it's different issues but same knee? See a different specialist, but who? A friend recommended a chiropractor type guy that has been a miracle worker for her, but is that what I need?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's been too long

Yesterday I had my first massage in I don't know how long. Actually I do, I think it was Christmas break of 2003. It was before I started student teaching. yikes.

I ended up going to a sports massage therapist and he literally worked EVERYTHING! He was surprised that I didn't come in for any particular reason besides just wanting a massage. However, I did tell him about my nagging knee issue and he planned to work on my legs real good, working on the ITBand and glutes. My rear is the only thing sore today. My neck and back was really tight with tons of knots. This didn't surprise me. He was afraid he was hurting me while working these out, but to be honest it just felt really good. I WILL be going back in the near future! It was sooo relaxing!


Well, August is done, and September is here. With that, here are the stats from August:


August Stats:
Swim - 9,500M ................ 13,500M in July
Bike - 97.60 miles.......... 98.55miles in July
Run - 20.20 miles.......... 22.32 miles in July

Time to reflect? Where do I start? How about bullet points!
  • Returned from NYC the end of July and didn't have much desire to finish my last couple of weeks training for the triathlon.
  • Lowest numbers for running since my injury in February and am dealing with some serious funk in regards to my running.
  • Knee is still bothering me, on and off. I have good runs and then I have many crappy runs. I am wondering if I will ever be able to run more than 4 miles again!
  • Did I say I am in a real funk with running?
  • I would love to sign up for some fall races but question the point if my running is not going well.
  • Back at school the for the past 3 weeks and learning to juggle working out while adjusting back into the work mode. Things are crazy busy at work this time of year.

On the positive side?

  • Overall, I am content with how much I have been working out in the past few weeks. Work has been busy and I don't fret over missed workouts!
  • Started to incorporate more weight training - 2-3 days a week and feeling stronger!
  • Eating really well and starting to see the lbs melt away!
  • Feeling really good!

Happy Hump day y'all! I will try to get to some of your posts when I am not putting in 12 hour work days!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Concert X 2

A couple friends of mine talked me into going to the David Cook concert last night. Now, I really like his music, but I didn't know if I wanted to pay to go see him, let alone do it on a school night. He was going to be performing at a smaller Venue in Fargo, the tickets were cheaper, and I just couldn't pass on the opportunity to hear him live. Plus, I LURVE going to concerts!

And the concert was AWESOME. Call me a geek, but I really thought it was great and we had a fun time. David Cook is really down to Earth and has a great sense of humor. He really connected with the audience. Here's some pics from DC's performance....

Backtrack a bit to before DC's performance.....

The opening act was a group called Crash Kings and I LOVED their music. Their more rock, but I love their sound and they have some real talent! After the concert I just had to pick up their CD, got their autographs, and took a picture with them. Super nice guys, and pretty attractive! Here's a pic from last night....From left to right.... Tony ... lead vocals with some mean piano/clavinet skills in there. Jason is the drummer.... and Mike, Tony's brother is the bass player. Here's a clip of one of my NEW favorite songs...





If you like rock, and get the chance to see them in concert, I HIGHLY recommend! I also recommend seeing David Cook, but that's just a given!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back at it

Today marked the first day back at school. I am not going to lie, I was super pumped getting ready for work this morning and have been looking forward to this day for the past few weeks. However, I am sure going to miss my easier days, but I am ready for the structure! And with the start of school in ND, the summer is coming to an end and the cool fall temps are just around the corner.

I took on a new position this year as the building level representative for our special ed team. I will still be working with students, but have been given some extra duties (mostly meetings, paperwork, and support to team) along with another block of time to complete these duties. I spent a lot of today working on the usual beginning of school year paperwork. I was looking over my caseload and noticed that I have a lot of 3-year re-evaluations due (some due in early November) on top of the regular IEP meetings. For those of you who are not special ed teachers - I am sorry for the shop talk; for those of you who are - you know what I am talkin' about. Nuff said.

All in all it was a good first day back! I will leave you with a few quotes I love:

  • "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . . but the world maybe different because I was important in the life of a child." - Kathy Davis
  • "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
  • "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it is too low and we make it." - Michelangelo
  • "He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." - Anonymous
  • "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." ~John Dewey
  • "We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit." - Robert H. Shaffer
  • "When you cease to make a contribution you begin to die." Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Healthy Habits

Remember back in July, when I experienced all of that fatigue and exhaustion after my triathlon? I started to keep track of what I was eating, how much sleep I was getting, my workouts, what kind of vitamins and supplements I was taking, and how I felt throughout the day. Well, I took a mild haitus from that when I was in NYC and got right back on the wagon when I returned.

I thought I would do a little update and let you know what has worked for me as well as what doesn't work:
  • It can be rather simple. That is keeping track of all of this stuff on a daily basis. It's not as hard or time consuming as one might think when they first start. In fact, I am using another blog to keep track and it's working out perfect for me.
  • Watch the BLT's. I am not talking about the sandwiches, but the Bites, Licks, and Tastes. Every one of them counts and should be accounted for in the journal. One would be surprised at how many times you may do this. For example, when you are preparing lunch or snacks for the next day, or even when baking!? When I pay attention to these, I am more likely to not do it, since I don't want to write down that I licked the spoon after dishing my yogurt into a container for lunch tomorrow.
  • Don't give up every sweet and salty treat. I have found this to be unreasonable for me. As I have cut back significantly on these, I have also noticed that I don't crave them as often. I am also starting to crave good things, like fruit and crunchy vegetables! During our 4 days of meetings/inservice this week, we were treated to 3 donuts, 2 huge chocolate chip chocolate muffins, and 2 cookies. I was able to turn ALL but 1/2 a muffin down. I shared it with another co-worker!
  • Water, water, water. I am drinking more water - less pop and coffee. You should be drinking half your weight in ounces each day (more if you are working out).
  • Caffeine. I used to be one that thought grabbing a coffee from Caribou or Starbucks in the morning before work when I was really tired would be beneficial. Now I am learning to cut back and have these just as a treat. I am starting to make coffee at home and ending up drinking less (and saving money!). Lately, I have also noticed that when I do drink coffee (espresso) from Caribou, I feel all jittery most of the day and don't like that feeling.
  • 6 meals a day. I am a pro at eating smaller meals, but still working on eating more often throughout the day. I need to get better about planning my meals in conjunction with my day's schedule and when I am working out. A couple days this week I struggled with this and actually went 6 hours between lunch and dinner.
  • Plan more meals. We have had long lunches this week, so many of us teachers have taken advantage of this and enjoyed the company while eating out for lunch every day. Yuck. I am very sick of it and look forward to packing my lunches next week. This, too, helps save money!
  • Eat more raw food, fruits and veggies. Still working on this.
  • Sleep is key. I love my sleep and have been pretty consistent with this now that I am back at work. For me, it helps to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. This week I have been ranging from 8-9 hours each night - the transition back to work has been draining!
  • Vitamins and Supplements. I am still taking my daily women's vitamin and fish oil, and just picked up some glucosamine which I think will help with cartilage and my joints.

  • I am down 3.6 pounds, and know that this came off fast with the transition from a just a few adjustments. As much as I would like to lose 20 pounds, I am continuing to look at this as a lifestyle change and hope that with some of these changes, it will continue to fall off, slowly and in a healthy way.
  • It's all about baby steps. In the past I have tried to change too many things at one time. I would cut out soda, not eat out, no consumption of alcohol, all at one time. This time, I have a plan to add a challenge a week. Some things I will continue doing after the week is over, and some things might just be a weekly challenge. For example, I have refrained from eating after 7pm, which is usually 2 - 2.5 hours before hitting the pillows. I will continue with this challenge, but look forward to completely dumping soda and coffee next week.

Mary, over at FIT THIS, Girl wrote up a great post about Diet vs. Lifestyle Change. You should check it out here!

Alright peeps. I am out of here. Heading to the cities with the family for another long weekend. We hope to hit up the horse races at Canterbury, take in a Twins game Monday, and do a little shopping in between!

Have a great weekend, y'all! See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting Things Together

First and foremost, I must say thanks again to all your support and wonderful words in regards to my triathlon this week! You guys all rock! I am am enjoying my down time, away from training mode, and thinking hard and deep about what I want to do next. But, I will save all that for another post.



As far as work goes, I am back at it for four days this week with workshops and staff development. It's nice to get back and see everyone, but very little time is available to get caught up. My room is still not ready for when the kids start, but I am sure I will be ready come next Wednesday.

In hopes to becoming a bit more organized, I was on a quest to find a good planner. I am sure it's not shock to many of you, that I like to keep track of everything (every meeting, every phone call, everything), and I knew what I wanted in a planner. We usually get these free one's from the insurance company, but they are just monthly calendars. I wanted something with both weekly and monthly calendars in it and plenty of space for all my notes and reminders. On my third stop, I found extactly what I was looking for!
Now I didn't want to spend as much on it as I did, but once I saw that each day had a quote, I was excited!

Today's Quote says: "Experts estimate that by not eating a pound of beef, we save more water than by not showering for one year."
The store was full of parents and kids shopping for school. While I was standing in line, I over-heard (some may call this eavesdropping) a mom talking to her daughter. The mom was trying to convince her daughter that when you multiply you have to put the bigger number on top, like 5x4 or 9x6. For reals? Please tell me that you all know about fact families and the Commutative Property? You don't have to put the big number first! (If not, I guess I learned you something, lol).
And then, she proceeded to ask her daughter if she has done any reading this summer. Really? A week before school starts? I swear this mother knew I was a teacher! A week before school starts is NO time to worry about whether or not your child has done any reading over the summer. Cringe.