Friday, January 30, 2015

What Not to Say to an Injured Runner

When things happen to you, like an injury that is obvious, it's kind of amazing what tends to happen. Hobbling around in a walking boot is uncomfortable enough, but I have been really surprised at the responses it/I have gotten.

Complete strangers have stopped to ask me what I did to cause my injury. I've had people just stare down at my boot like it was a third boob. I've had people try to joke around, real comedians I tell ya, others like to make comments about getting a matching boot, or that it matches my outfit.

If I tell someone that it is an overuse running injury coupled with being vitamin D deficient as well as other workouts (like plyo) then I get that knowing smug look and nod then something about how running will kill you or some such crap. As if sitting around on your rear eating ho-hos and cheetos won't. But ... I digress and won't touch that tangent today.

Along with some insanely ridiculous comments, I have gotten a fair amount of advice, suggestions, feedback from friends, relatives, strangers, and other runners.

Let me preface myself before I proceed - this is all meant in fun and humor. I am not offended by those of you who've made any of the below comments, I know they were meant from the heart. This is simply me trying to find a bit of light-heartedness right now, something I've been lacking. 

But, since I've been injured, I've come up with a list of things that you should never say to an injured runner. Again, all in fun.



Things NOT to say to an injured runner:

  • Don't brag about your own running miles please. The injured runner is staring at a big fat goose egg for miles week after week knowing they'll never hit the year in miles.
  • Please oh please don't say you "only" got in x number of miles. At a certain point, an injured runner would do just about anything to say they ran a single mile.
  • Please don't proclaim anything remotely close to, "I had an awesome run." I'm glad for you. I am. Just say, "training is going well."
  • Don't suggest a list of alternate activities. Appreciated, but not the same as running. And the list is mentally stashed for desperate times I promise. 
  • Avoid complaining about running. An injured runner wouldn't care if it was a blizzard or hurricane as long as they could run.
  • Don't suggest embracing the downtime. The brain doesn't understand why it's not getting it's important zen time, not to be confused with downtime. Yes runners tend to be type A and need to learn to slow down, slow not stop.
  • Saying something like, "Yep, that running will kill ya" may very well get you injured as well. Seriously, that boot could be used as a weapon.

What would you add to this list? Or what would you say people SHOULD say?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Black Bean Tempeh Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole

Do you have that one kitchen appliance that you never seem to use? The one you either bought or asked for as a gift certain it'd make your life easier?

For me it was a slow cooker. We had an old one given as a gift that pretty much had two temperatures settings: hot and hotter. So for Christmas a few years back, I asked for a fancy upgrade. One that had timers and various temperature settings. It even locks the lid into place, how's that for fancy?

I tried using it a few times for some soups or chili. Each time I either overcooked the vegetables until they were basically mush, or it was so undercooked I ended up transferring to a regular pot and finishing the meal on the stove. Not exactly simplifying life.

One of my problems is that I can't seem to follow a recipe. I pin them, write them out, email them to myself, print them even. But when it comes to following them step-by-step, I don't. I decide to add my own spin on things. Sometimes it works out really well, but with the slow cooker, it has not.

I decided to give it another go. Originally  was going to make regular enchiladas, all neatly rolled up. But even cooking them in the oven, they can sometimes fall apart, and it's more time consuming than I was wanting. With this recipe concoction, my plan was to not have to pre-cook any of the filling. Just make the enchilada sauce (or you could buy) then layer, set the timer and leave.



Black Bean Tempeh Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole 
Ingredients:

Enchiladas
10-12 yellow or white corn tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1/2 small purple cabbage, thinly shredded (optional)
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
Seasonings to taste: salt, chili powder, ground red pepper, cumin, garlic powder, liquid smoke (optional)
Daiya Vegan Cheddar or cheese of choice

Enchilada Sauce
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 medium white onion, rough chop
2-3 chiptle peppers in adobo, rough chop
2-3 cloves garlic, rough chop
Seasonings to taste: salt, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro, ground red pepper

Directions:
Prepare enchilada sauce by sauteing onions and garlic until onions begin to soften in a medium sauce pan. Add in the chiptole peppers and sauce. Remove from heat and use a stick blender or your regular blender to puree. Return to heat and add in the seasonings to taste. Allow to simmer approximately 20 minutes while the flavors meld.

In a large mixing bowl, lightly mash your beans then add remaining ingredients minus the Daiya. Mix well.

Spray your slow cooker or use liners. Add in small amount of the sauce in the bottom then a layer of your tortillas, breaking and arranging as needed to cover. Add half of the enchilada filling mixture. Top with 1/3 of your sauce then a light sprinkle of cheese.

Add another layer of the tortillas, mixture, sauce then top with the remaining tortillas, sauce and then your cheese. (I only used the cheese on the first layer then on top.)

Set your slow cooker to high for 3-4 hours.

Thoughts ...
Now, I realize that if you do all of the above on the same day you're cooking the enchiladas, you might as well put them in the oven. I suggest prepping the sauce ahead of time during a weekend meal-prep day or using your favorite store-bought sauce, otherwise, it's not really a time-saver.

With the slow cooker method, there was no need to saute the bell peppers and onions or cook the tempeh black bean mixture at all. Simply combine, season then layer.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

There's Always Something to be Thankful For

I know that my posts have been far and few in between lately. I also know that they've not been all that chipper in tone either. I've definitely been in a funk with this injury situation. I always try to remember that there is someone out there suffering much worse and that I do indeed have many things to be thankful for.


Like this big ball of fluff we call Heath Man. He's our special needs child being that he's blind and also suffers from gallbladder disease. He has always been a trooper though, a total goof and love bug.


I am very thankful for Jason's complete patience with me right now. A caged runner isn't always a pleasant person I'll admit.

I am thankful for waking up to an email from my dad simply letting me and my sister know how much he loves us. Not everyone is so lucky to have their dad in their lives.


I'm thankful for friends who care enough to send me something special.


I'm thankful for running friends who keep checking in on me and trying to lift my spirits. I can't wait for morning runs with these ladies!


I'm thankful for a morning phone call from my mom and that she is knowledgable about herbs and natural remedies. I'm going to try anything to get my foot to heal as quickly as possible.

And I'm very thankful for my sister who sits patiently on the phone to let me cry even though she has her own problems she wants to talk through.

What are you thankful for right now? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trying to Just Breathe

Last Tuesday I mentioned that I had a stress fracture, or a possible stress fracture pending MRI confirmation. Well, Thursday I went in for my MRI. Friday morning I got a call from my doctor's office. I was told it was a fracture in my 3rd metatarsal and that they wanted me to come in and get the dreaded boot.

I only met with the nurse, and not the doctor unfortunately. So I really only know what she told me. I have no idea on the severity of the fracture. And I was simply told to come back in 3 weeks for a re-check.

Of course I have questions after the fact that I didn't think about the day of. I don't know if I'm supposed to be sleeping in it, hope not because I'm not. I don't know if it's ok to go for a walk with it on. I have.

Though, walking isn't easy. There is a good 2 1/2 to 3 inches discrepancy when I wear the boot and my other foot. This means walking is really cumbersome unless I have on a wedge shoe of some sort on my left foot. And I don't exactly feel like wearing around dress shoes in the evening around the house. I feel like everything is being thrown off. The left side of my lower back hurts, my left hip hurts. I feel like a total mess.

I keep waiting to sort of be ok with all this. I'm not though. I am finding myself depressed and angry at the same time. The weather here has turned spring-like and I can't go out for a run to enjoy it. I can barely walk and enjoy it without hurting (not my foot, but all the out of whack muscle stuff I just mentioned).

I have been doing some full-body workouts combining multiple moves to help increase my heart rate (think thrusters). But I can't do anything with any sort of impact or anything that causes me to have to bend my foot at the metatarsal area, so not even beginner mountain climbers, no rear lunges, no modified burpees even because it causes me to have to bend my toes.

My appetite doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me either. I'm hungry as if I were still working out as I am used to doing. I keep waiting for my body to get on board with that piece, but it's not. And I don't do hungry well ;-)

I did get this gift from two amazing friends. They sent it to try to help me through all of this. I have been wearing it daily and am trying really hard to comply with these two simple words: Just Breathe.


I know that in the grand scheme of everything, this is so very, very minor. It truly is. I know this. I know that there are others struggling with so much more in their lives. Some who may never run again, loss, greater illnesses. A fractured foot pales.

And I recognize that I will be back to running, that this is just a blip in the road, that I'll come back stronger in the end. I know all of this of course. It's still not easy though.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Truthful Tuesday - Another Running Injury

This is certainly a post I never wanted to have to write again

As a runner, I know I'm prone to injuries. I've had a bout with IT Band problems when I first started running. I've dealt with plantar fasciitis not once, but twice even going so far as to tear the one on my left foot during a half marathon. I've lived with piriformis pain for years now, and recently a weird pain in my heel that I thought might just be another manifestation of plantar fasciitis perhaps. Hint: it's not. 

I am definitely going through the stages of mourning right now. I'm currently in the wallowing in self-pity phase. Jason has suggested, hinted that he may need to move out for 6 weeks. Joking/sort of. The one thing that I use to de-stress, to help deal with depression, to stay centered is being pulled away from me again. 

Two words every runner dreads: Stress Fracture

I tend to be an honest person to a fault. So here it goes ... The Truth Is ...

The Truth Is
I have Achilles tendinitis in my right foot. I've been pushing through and "dealing" with it since roughly October. I have taken naproxen, iced, rolled out calves and tried to strengthen feet and calves. It's gotten better, but it's very angry. I avoid certain shoes even. 

The Truth Is
I have a possible stress fracture of the 3rd and 5th metatarsals. Go big or go home right? Of course the x-rays didn't show a full fracture (that's good I think) but he showed me how the bones were distorted (that's not good). He saw that antsy, twitchy wild animal stare. I had 3 choices: 1) go home in a boot and don't do anything for 6 weeks, 2) go home and don't do anything for 10 days, it cooouuullldddd possibly (mostly likely not) be an overuse injury, test it after 10 days, if there is pain immediately sorry you're out 4+ more weeks of rest, 3) get MRI and know for sure that it's a fracture and you're still out 6 weeks. 

The Truth Is
I choice option 2, which he said he knew I would. Though, I think I should have gotten the boot and scheduled an MRI.

The Truth Is
It hurts to walk. Period. Go back to the above truth where I should have gotten the boot. 

The Truth Is
I never told anyone the top part of my foot was hurting. It was a very gradual onset, as is typical of stress fractures. Compared to my Achillies issue, it felt like a non-issue. It finally started to become a big issue this past week though. And of course, I ignored it until I couldn't.

The Truth Is
After my run on Thursday afternoon, I knew I was done. It hurt with every step, every step even after the run. I called the doctor as soon as they opened on Friday. 

The Truth Is
I'm pissed. I'm so angry. I feel cheated, maybe more so this time because of coming off of a major marathon high. I have had an amazing running year with PRs and accomplishing my first marathon. So I feel very crushed, defeated, stomped on. Mad.

The Truth Is
I know it could be far worse of course. I've had injuries and come back from them and so have thousands of other runners. And then there are those runners who've had injuries you can't come back from. I'm lucky. I know this. 

The Truth Is
I cried all day on Saturday, wallowing in utter self-pity. I got really upset when I saw pictures and posts of everyone else getting in their long runs. I was envious. 

The Truth Is
I don't want anyone else to tell me to swim, aqua jog, take up yoga. I completely appreciate the advice, suggestions, heart-felt sentiments (and this is where being too honest bites me sometimes because I offend people). I don't want to swim. The thought of swimming in an indoor pool makes me want to throw things. Like breakable things. And yoga? Yeah, well, I've tried and tried and tried. I don't know what it is, but I just can't get into it. And honestly, there would be many poses that I couldn't do because of my foot. 

The Truth Is
I know that this will pass. I know it's just a blip in the road. I know. I know. I know I know. But it doesn't make it any easier. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reasons to Find a Workout Buddy

If you're like many people, you set out some New Year resolutions or goals, even if they were only in your mind. The new year seems to bring about feeling of renewal or a sense of a fresh start. It feels like the perfect time to achieve some of those goals, project, bucket list items you've been putting off.

At first, it feels pretty easy to jump right in, especially with fitness goals. You're coming off the holiday eating festivities. Even if you mostly behaved, bets are you were still out of your routine. Now that the parties are over, it's a great time to get serious right?

But what do you do when that energy, enthusiasm starts to fade? And it does. You have a crummy day at work, the weather stinks, you're flat out tired. You want to stomp your foot like a child and say, "no, no, no." It's ok to do that once, maybe twice, but how can you prevent that feeling from derailing your well-meant, whole-hearted best intentions to get healthy?

I say, find a workout buddy! Why?



1. Accountability - If you commit to meeting at dark thirty or after work when you're exhausted, guess what? They're counting on you and you're less likely to back out.

2. Motivation - Workout partners can be fantastic cheerleaders. They can also help push you more than you might push yourself.

3. Fun - Having someone to workout with can make most any workout more enjoyable. Workouts can go by so much quicker when you have a partner in crime.

4. Variety - Having a workout partner can sometimes mean trying new workouts you might never have tried on your own. They may also bring in new or different knowledge and workout ideas. Two heads are better than one right?

5. Safety - Running early in the morning, late at night ... having someone with you adds a sense of safety not just a companion. Lifting heavier weights? That workout buddy is your BFF as a spotter for safety. Help keep each other in check with form, spotting when lifting or keeping an eye out for stray dogs or stray people while running.

6. Celebration - Having a workout buddy also means having someone to celebrate your achievements with. They've been there, done that, and know what you've gone through to hit your goals. They've been by your side and they'll be the first in line to help you celebrate when you hit your goals.

Do you have a workout buddy?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Breathing and Enjoying the End and Beginning of Years

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog lately. It wasn't intentional. It just happened. I didn't feel like I had anything important to say or share other than my marathon journey.

I've wanted to write more about my feelings after my first marathon, more than just the race day recap. Honestly, it still seems completely surreal. I have that, "did that just happen" feeling. It's been hard for me to even respond to all of your incredibly kind comments (I will though; I promise).

Everyone seems to want to know how my recovery went, when I'm signing up for another, IF I'm signing up for another, what's up next, and so on. I want to talk about all of that, but I also want to talk about the amazing 11 days off I had from work that started Christmas Day.

What I learned most about the time off was how much I tend to miss when I let myself get into a rut. I tend to crave normalcy, schedules, timelines, but then when I don't have that, I realize that it can also be a major catch 22.

During my time off, I let myself enjoy lazy lunches out (too often perhaps, but worth it). I enjoyed time with my sister, my husband, my niece, and my friends.

I ran a marathon and recovered nicely with no pressure. No worries about sleeping in too late. No place I had to be in a hurry.

I wasn't rushed to get in any workout. In fact, I omitted weight workouts entirely even though I had the luxury of extra time. Physically I needed a break and mentally a re-set.

But mostly, mostly I needed to relax my Type A ways and just enjoy. I didn't set out to make hard and fast plans. If I got something accomplished on my to-do list, great. If not, what I was enjoying trumped it. That included rare lunches out with Jason.

I got to enjoy a girls' only day on Thursday with my sister and my niece. We went to a "fancy" restaurant, later made homemade pizza and enjoyed a cut-throat game (or 4) of Sorry.




I helped throw a baby shower for a dear friend and later that evening had a late late late (ok early dinner) with Amy so we could finally exchange Christmas gifts.

Sunday I met up with one of my oldest friends for another lady's only lunch. It was quite leisurely as we had tons to catch up on. One should truly never go so long between visits with your friends.


And it wasn't as if I sat around in my PJs doing absolutely nothing. In fact, I didn't have one "at-home" day where I lounged in jammies sans make-up. Chores were done, errands were run, but there was a lot more enjoying in between.

No, I didn't reorganize the entire house, never made it to putting away all the laundry, my DIY of rehabbing the chandelier didn't happen, but so many other things did. Not a bad way to end one year and begin a new one.