One Year Later

One year ago, I sat here crying as I watched Boston Marathon runners run for the barricades rather than for the finish line. I felt helpless, but yet I felt united with my fellow runners. As many of us suspected then and can confirm now, tragedies do not hold runners back. We are all about overcoming adversity, that’s why we run marathons. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a challenge that we choose to engage in.

With the Boston Marathon approaching next Monday, I am overcome with joy watching the victims of last year’s marathon rise from ashes. Many were told they would never run again, but just read the stories, and you’ll see how their determination is once again allowing them to toe the start line.

I admire their courage. I can’t imagine the emotions they and every other runner will feel at the finish line. This year’s finish line isn’t an end point. It’s a destination. It’s a symbol of a determination, dedication, and uniting together to keep the running community whole.

Boston Back Cover

I dream of running through the Boston Marathon finisher’s shoot, and until then I will continue to be a Boston Marathon runners at heart.

Staying On My Mat

For the past month and a half Wednesday’s have been my Power Yoga Days. My gym has a 6AM class that I was never able to attend, but with my new  job I have a little more time in the morning.

I love Power Yoga. It is not relaxing by any means, but boy do I leave sore every time. Some days the instructor kills us with chatarunga push-ups, other days we kills the legs. It’s always changing and challenging.

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As a typical Type A athlete, I am a perfectionist. I am always thinking about my next move, and my mind is running a million miles a minute. Yoga doesn’t allow me to do this. I have to leave my Type A personality at the door, and only focus on my breath and body for 60 minutes. Doing this is the most challenging part for me because I want to think about what I need to do for work that day, but I am forced to focus.

I also have to check my competitiveness at the door. Yep, nearly impossible. I live for competition, but I can’t be competitive in yoga. It’s about keeping my focus on my mat and doing what my body allows me to that day. I envy these extreme yogis who practice everyday and wish I could do every inversion, handstand, arm balance like them, but I’ll get there. It’s just like running, I didn’t go from 0 to 20 miles in a day, it took time, patience, and repetition.

I have a long way to go, but my practice teaches me something about myself every day.

Have a great day my friends. Namaste.

Attempting Oil Pulling

http://www.elanaspantry.com/ingredients/coconut-oil/

Have you heard of oil pulling? I have been hearing a bit about it from some of my fellow bloggers, so I figured I would try it. Oil pulling is an ancient dental technique that involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach.

Some say it draws toxins out of your blood, but I can’t say I believe that at all. I do believe the other claims like:

  • Whitens teeth
  • Better breath
  • Cavity prevention
  • Improved gum health
  • Stronger Teeth

I used coconut oil per many recommendations. Coconut oil is solid but melts quickly, so you have to chew on it for a couple of minutes until it liquifies. I think you could also melt it first then swish it around in your mouth, but most the articles I read said to just chew on it.

I stood there this morning just starring at my jar of coconut oil convincing myself not to do this, but it didn’t work. I put 1 tablespoon in my mouth, attempted to chew it, and…. instant gag. GROSS! How do people manage that for 20 minutes? I couldn’t even make it to 5 seconds, and now I’m mad that I wasted 1 T of coconut oil, that stuff isn’t cheap.

Needless to say, I think I will just continue to brush my teeth and not worry about oil pulling. I know a lot of you have tried oil pulling, so I’m open to your advice but you will have to give me your best sales pitch to get me to try that again.

Things I’m Loving Friday

I always love reading Peanut Butter Finger’s 5 Things I’m Loving Friday posts, so I thought I’d follow suit and post my own today. I don’t have a lot of time to write this morning, so I will stick to three things that I’m loving this week!

Brooks Ravena

1. I am in love with my new running shoes. Prior to my injury I was in the Brooks Adrenaline model, but now that I have orthotics, I was able to go to a less supportive shoe. It took me a while to get used to the Ravenna’s, but now that they are broken in I love them. I can’t wait for the day where I can take them out for a 10+ mile run. For now, 4 mile runs will have to do.

KIND Healthy Grain Bars

2. Have you tried KIND Healthy Grain Bars lately? No, I am not putting in a marketing plug because I work for them. I truly am obsessed with these snacks! The granola bars are the perfect light snack, and the maple pumpkin sea salt takes snack time to a whole new level.

ChicagoLand

3. I am obsessed with the CNN series Chicagoland. This show has opened my eyes to what it’s like to live on the south side. I live 10 miles or so from the south side of Chicago, but it’s amazing how the city changes in 10 miles. My heart breaks for those children growing up in the gang territories. I can’t get through an episode without crying because I feel so worthless that these children are risking their lives walking to school, and I have no way of helping them without risking my own life. For now, I lift them up to the Lord in prayer.

What are your favorites lately?

Strengthening the Hips

Hip Exercises for Runners

In the past two months I have gone to 16+ physical therapy appointments. To some that may sound like pure misery, but I’ve come to enjoy it. Oddly enough my physical therapist seems like a friend now. I personally think he enjoys having a former D-1 athlete because he’s always throwing random crazy exercises at me that he knows no one else will do.

I thought our main focus would be strengthening my foot, but the majority of our focus has been strengthening my hips. Being in the boot for 2.5 months caused my hips to weaken. Weak hips = more injuries.

I do a lot of the normal hip strengtheners, but there are 2 new exercises that I had to share with you guys!

The first one is similar to a jumping jack, but you put a band around your ankles and only move your lower body. Keep your core tight, and try to have quick feet.

Hip Strengthener with Band

Check out the exact movement here.

 This next one is a real butt burner! The exercise below is called the Standing Clam. To begin find an open wall and place your right knee on the wall. This is just an anchor, so it should be barley touching (See Below). From there, sit as low into a squat as you can, and externally rotate your left knee out to create a clam motion.

Be sure to make this a slow controlled movement. To feel a deeper burn, sit lower into the squat. Repeat this for 20 reps, 3 sets.

Standing Clam

Check out the exact movement here

Whether your are a runner or not, having strong hips is essential to preventing injuries. Be sure to do these and other hip exercises 3 times a week to keep your lower half healthy and hopefully injury free.

Pesto Egg Sandwich

I think I’ve said it a time or two, but I am a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. Every morning my day starts with a bowl of oatmeal topped with peanut butter, chia seeds, blueberries, banana, and a touch of vanilla soy milk. You would think I would get tired of eating it everyday, but I continue to crave it.

Well, this morning I was forced to change things up a bit because Kyle took the whole jar of peanut butter to work with him. Apparently he thought I put his overnight oats in the jar instead of the tupperware that was sitting right next to the jar. I think he was just trying to tell me I eat too much peanut butter.

We usually have 2 other jars in the pantry, but of course this week we don’t. Slight panic… 10 hours without peanut butter. What will I do? Clearly this called for a breakfast mixup because my oatmeal just wouldn’t be complete without nut butter.

DSCN0568

I whipped up this egg, pesto, and kale sandwich. I quickly forgot how much I love oats because this sandwich rocked my morning. Not only is it filled with protein and whole grains, but you also get a serving of vegetables to start your day off right.

Pesto Kale Egg Sandwich
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Egg + 1 Egg White
  • 1 T Milk
  • 2 Large Pieces of Kale
  • 2 tsp Basil Pesto (I used Cibo Naturals)
  • 2 Pieces of Whole Grain Bread
  • ¼ C Sprouts
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium sized skillet and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, egg white, and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the eggs to the skillet and scramble until cooked well.
  4. Toast your bread and spread the pesto on it while still warm.
  5. Top the toast with kale and sprouts.
  6. Add your eggs and enjoy!

 

 

Stop Taking the Diet Shortcuts

Believe it or not summer will be here before we know it. I have noticed a lot of people ramping up for their “bikini bodies” lately at the gym. I am all for people getting in shape, but I don’t get why people let themselves go during the winter months? I understand it’s too cold to workout outside, but the gym is accessible.

Unfortunately during these desperate last minute attempts to get in shape, many are taking short cuts. If there is anything you get from this blog post, it’s this… shortcuts do not exist when getting in shape! It takes work, effort, dedication, and commitment. You can’t work out one day and think the next day you’ll have a six pack. It’s not humanly possible.

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So what do I mean by short cuts? STOP trying the Atkins Diet, diet pills, juice fasting, supplement diets, etc. These are not sustainable. Yes, you may lose weight initially, but the minute you are off that diet your weight will come right back on.

Instead, find the healthiest version of yourself by finding a balance in life. Getting healthy is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle that should be lived everyday. When living a healthy lifestyle, you don’t take the winter months off. It becomes embedded in your life, and it becomes part of you. You have to work at it, you have to educate yourself, and you have to make a commitment to yourself. It won’t come overnight, but I think you’ll enjoy not having to starve yourself every spring to get your body back.

 

See You in 2015 Chicago Marathon

I had a check-up with my foot doctor yesterday, and heard the dreaded words… “Kelsey, I don’t think it’s smart for you to run the Chicago Marathon this year.” Really doc? Haven’t you put me through enough pain with the boot and rehab, but now you take away the marathon too?

He’s not concerned about me being able to run 20+ miles in October, but he is worried about me coming back too soon for hard core training on June 1st. I understand where he’s coming from, but boy are those words hard to hear. I needed to hear them though because he’s the only person I will listen to when it comes to not over doing it with my training.

He also shot me down for my half marathon that I had planned for May 3rd. I knew this was coming. My physical therapist and I debated back and forth about whether my foot would be ready, and I kept telling him yes but I knew the answer was no. Well, Doctor Chin made it easy on me and just took that out of my 2014 plans as well.

The plan now is to get back to my pre-injury speed (7:30 miles) for 6 consistent miles before I can even plan a half marathon or marathon. (Note I am only allowed to increase my total running time by 10% every week, so this could take a couple of weeks). To get there they prescribed me to the Alter G aka an athlete’s dream!! The antigravity treadmill will help me get my fast twitch muscles back while not pounding on my foot too much.

AlterG-1

Source

For those of you not familiar with this beauty, it’s a treadmill that allows you to adjust the gravity impact. You can select between 20 – 100% of your body weight. It’s a great tool for people like myself trying to recover quickly because it takes the pressure off injured areas while still allowing you to run fast.

After I am back to full speed I will find a half marathon to run with Kyle. May 3rd was supposed to be his first, but he is holding off to run it with me. I’m thinking July will be our goal month. I also want to find a November/December marathon to run. Maybe the Monumental Marathon in Indy? Who knows? I may also decide to take a year off from marathons and perfect the half. Who knows, one day at a time. For now, on to the Alter G!

Spring Cleaning Your Closet and Soul

Believe it or not, spring is 3 days away! I went shopping this weekend, and walked out of the Gap with nothing. Guys, this is so unlike me, but I couldn’t even imagine buying spring clothes that I cannot wear yet. What’s the fun in buying a bunch of clothes that will just sit in my closet until the warmth comes? You better believe I made a mental list of everything I need to go back for though.

The welcoming of spring also means it’s time for a little spring clean. It’s time to get rid of some old clothes that are cluttering my closet to make room for the new. If you looked at my closet you’d notice a little area in the back with some clothes that I just cannot get rid of. Like my Chicago Bears game day pull over, my USA Triathlon fleece, and my Junior Olympic volleyball t-shirts. Each of these items holds a memory that I will most likely never relive, so I keep them around to keep fueling my memory.

photo (7)

I’m sure some day my kids will ask why I’m hanging on to an oversized Chicago Bears pull over, and I can’t wait to sit them down and tell them all about the amazing experience I had working for the Bears during the 2011 season. Same goes for the stories I will tell them about playing in several Junior Olympic games throughout the USA. These experiences formed who I am.

finding joy.jpg

On the other hand, there are items in our closets that just need to go. Do you hold on to “fat pants” incase you ever have to go back to them? Get rid of them. You’re only giving yourself a chance to give up on your healthy lifestyle. They are becoming your crutch because you know they are there to fall back on if you choose to give up.

Perhaps you do the opposite and keep a pair of jeans that you haven’t been able to fit into in years. I’m all for motivating, but you need to evaluate whether or not those jeans are serving as a motivating factor, or are they stealing your joy? Do you daily look at them and think, “I’ll never be satisfied until I’m in those again.” If that’s the way you’re thinking, get RID of them! A pair of pants should never determine how physically fit you are or determine your joy for that matter. If you are seeing strides in your workouts, then you know you’re doing something right. Just because you can’t fit into a pair of pants from high school, doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy.

As you start your spring cleaning I ask that you look both inside your closet and inside your soul. What things are keeping you from being joyful today? Whatever they are get rid of them. Rid your mind of thoughts that are holding you back. Rid your closet of items that negatively motivate you, and most of all FIND JOY.

 

One Stride at a Time

During my Back to Running Program I have learned some new lessons about running. Prior to being injured running 7:30 miles were nothing. I could hold a pace of 8:15 for 20 miles. Now, I have to start all over. When I first started the Program I tried to run at my pre-injury speed. It worked for the first two runs, but after that the pain came back. As the runs got longer, I saw my speed decrease in order to avoid pain.

I will admit, I left the gym crying one too many times because it’s discouraging to go from running 20 miles at one time to a mile. I would try to not wear my marathon shirt when running around others because I thought they would think I was a fraud. There came a time about two weeks ago where I had to set aside my pride. I had to forget where I came from and start new again.

RunHappy Yes, that means right now my 30 minutes runs are at a 9:45 pace. I’m learning to not let my pace affect me for now. The goal is to come back from this injury and not get injured again. The goal is regain the muscular strength in both my legs and feet, so I can avoid tearing my tendon further.

The one great thing about coming back slowly is that I am able to see daily progress. Every day my legs hurt less, so I know my muscle is coming back. In terms of my cardio level, I know I’m there, it’s just getting my legs and feet to cooperate along the way. Getting back to my pre-marathon pace will be a journey. It will require patience, persistence, and confidence, but I am excited to take this journey one stride at a time.