February Reflections + March Goals

Last night as my family and I sat down at the dinner table for “Taco Tuesday” the topic of conversation was all about February. We listed off all of the exciting things that happened and accomplishments that were realized over the last 28 days, and it filled my heart with such joy! We had a good month in our household ❤:

  • Gus turned 6! We celebrated with me having lunch with him and his buddies at school and also had a family party at home with a cake made by Abby. Then about 10 days later we took him and some of his friends to see the Lego Batman movie!
  • Will scored his first goal on his travel soccer team! We were all SO excited about this.
  • My sister and her family came to visit us for the first time in our new home, all the way from upstate NY! Having them here was for sure a highlight of our month.
  • Abby had her final middle school dance of the year.
  • Robert was promoted!
  • I started a new job and will be teaching Pilates at Lifetime Fitness.
  • I found a good doctor for my foot, had another MRI and now have a diagnosis and treatment plan. I made lots of healing progress this month, and am heading towards March with a clearer path. My foot has a partial tear and a mass of scar tissue in the plantar fascia. Dr. Boggess will do a procedure called “Tenex” and use guided ultrasound to clean out the damaged tissue.
  • We chose a paint color for our powder room!
  • I decided to sign up for an open water swim race this summer. I’m going to go with the 1 mile distance. Race is July 22.
  • Our dog Riley had eye surgery, and is recovering from it well! Thank goodness.
  • Abby and I went on a great “girls date” to get our nails done together.
  • Robert and I had a “day date” – a day when all the kids were in school but neither of us had to work! We went for a long walk together on the American Tobacco Trail and also went to this cool place in Durham called the ReUse Warehouse and looked for reclaimed house stuff for our bathroom. Didn’t find anything but it was fun to poke around!
  • Will and I completed our read-aloud book together. I loved reading with him like that so, so much. It was an awesome mystery by Carl Hiassen, called SCAT.
  • The boys had a camp out in our backyard one night! They slept in a tent, read together and just made a fantastic memory.
  • Robert hung the hammock that I bought him for Christmas 🙂
  • Garmin published an article about the workouts that Robert and I have been doing together! You can read it here: http://bit.ly/2kSPGvt

We definitely had some bumps in our road in February, like the 2 WEEKS that ALL of us were sick with a nasty cold virus (Will missed 5 days of school!) and the road to getting Riley her eye surgery was rough – 4 vet appointments and worries that she may have a tumor or glaucoma. She is 15 and I am always teetering between being so thankful that she is still around and relatively healthy, and feeling sad that it is evident that she is so old and may not be around much longer. But honestly, we rode out the tough stuff well and overall it was a truly wonderful February!

We are heading into March with a lot on our calendar, as well as some goals! I am really loving the reflective practice we do as a family, and how we support one another in our efforts to accomplish our personal goals. It is a habit I am enjoying cultivating not only for my family members but also for myself. We are in this together.

So, with all that in mind, here are my personal goals for March:

  • Plan 1-1 dates with each member of my family. I am thinking of taking a cake decorating class with Abby at Michael’s, want to have lunch with Will at school, take Gus out for ice cream, and see some local music or art with Robert.
  • Read a chapter book aloud with Mister Gus.
  • Start teaching some clients and classes! I spent my first 2 weeks in my new job getting organized and acquainted. I’m ready to teach, and so excited to do so!
  • Have my foot procedure (tomorrow!!), and follow the treatment protocol for healing.
  • Paint the bathroom.
  • Schedule check ups for my boys.
  • Sign the boys up for summer camps.
  • Register for my open water swim race!
  • Stay on track with my nutrition, hydration & movement goals.
  • Write one article for Garmin.
  • Connect with friends, sisters and my mom – at least one quality connection a week – some ideas I have are to schedule a lunch date, go for a walk, write and mail cards/letters.

I am looking forward to the month ahead. Definitely nervous about the foot …. but also hopeful and grateful!

What were your February highlights? What are you looking forward to or reaching for in March?


RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT!!

 

taking the plunge

This injury has had me going outside the lines I had so carefully drawn for myself. And this is a good thing. I needed to expand, to spread my wings! All this time I thought running was freeing me, and in some ways it was, but the truth is this injury has revealed to me that I used it to hide and to make myself smaller in a lot of ways. It has taught me to no longer confine myself.

Literally and figuratively.

This has happened in many ways for me. I’m not going to go into all of that now, but I will share that soon. Today I want to talk about how it’s taken me into the water, and has inspired me to start swimming. To explore myself and my abilities there. I’ve put on my water wings, so to speak!

In the start of 2017, I joined a Masters Swim class and have been attending every week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6-7:30AM. My coaches, Craig and Terri West, are incredible. I am so lucky to have found this group of inspiring athletes led by top-notch coaches who push me and believe in me.

In the start of the year Terri asked me to email her my swim goals, so she could help me. I sent her the following email:

Hi Terri,

Thank you so much for reaching out. I appreciate it whole heartedly! Working with you has given me a renewed athletic spirit and something to focus on that is making me feel strong and hopeful. Your guidance, support and encouragement mean the world to me. I am learning so much and value your professionalism and perspective more than words can say.
As a competitive runner, I discovered so much about myself and pushed myself beyond my established limits to grow and gain strength. While it’s true I accomplished more than I imagined possible, I also believe that there is still more yet to explore and achieve as an athlete. I also believe that I pushed myself too far, and that my foot injury is a sign/consequence of that. Getting in the pool was at first a way to stay fit and bide my time while my injury healed and I regained hormonal health, but it has become something so much more than that. I love the feeling of being in the water, the experience of learning something so new, and am now enjoying having the coaching and support of you and Craig to help me discover what is possible for me as a swimmer.
Right now, I am not really sure of specific goals. I would love your help with that! I think in the short term, I want to be on the path to learning proper technique and efficient movement patterns in the water, while also building my aerobic base. I do love to go hard and push myself and want to see what I can do from that perspective eventually, but for now I want to be patient in order to build a strong base and healthy habits in the water. Once I have that down, I want to push myself and race! As an endurance athlete I have always felt like I have a strong engine to “go the distance” and my hunch is that I would have the ability to do longer races like the mile or two mile … but I think going outside my comfort zone and doing shorter/faster distances would also be really good for me!
I don’t want swimming to be something I do just temporarily while my foot heals. My heart does want to get back on the roads and trails again and I believe that I will, but right now I want to focus on doing what I can and what feels good for my body. Running isn’t good for my body right now, but when I am in the water I feel STRONG. I feel like I am nourishing my spirit as well as safely building a stronger, more balanced body. So I guess longterm goals – I want to become a strong swimmer for life and to cultivate a confidence and a way of moving in the water that feels sustainable. I think of my athletic endeavors these days more as a “practice” – something that soothes my soul, clears my mind, strengthens my body and nourishes me as a whole. I am curious and open to discovering what’s possible in all areas of my life, and sport is a constant teacher for me. When I do return to running, I want to continue swimming.
So, that’s where I’m at right now! I am so thankful to have found you and Craig and I am really excited to swim with you each week. Thank you for everything! I think you’re amazing.
Jessica
Terri responded with so much enthusiasm, grace and gratitude. She was a collegiate swimmer and competed on the national level, and can relate to a lot of how I am feeling these days. Here is some of what she shared with me in her response:

Good morning, Jessica!  I am so touched and moved beyond words right now for what you wrote. THANK YOU – you made my day!  THIS is why I love doing what I do. And I know you understand that and can relate to that as a coach.

You are so grounded and have such a beautiful perspective on who you are and what you can accomplish in the future, as well as the patience to “be in the moment” – which so many people miss.  I am thrilled with your experience in the water and being willing to learn and become “one with the water.”  Growing up in the sport of swimming, I over-trained and under-performed to my abilities, and when I quit the NCSU team in 1986, I left hating the sport and myself.  I embraced coaching and became a much better teacher than a performer and gained my love of the sport back.

If I can help you in any way, I am honored to do so.  We most definitely can work on your technique and your goals together – and all while enjoying it and continuing to be your best self and good to yourself.

Thank you so much, Jessica, for this opportunity!  I will enjoy this journey with you –

Terri

Isn’t she just amazing!? I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and that people come into our lives when and how they do for a reason. My foot injury needed to happen in order for me to grow.

So I have decided I am going to enter my first ever open water swim competition. It is a local event here on July 22nd. I am going to do the 1 mile swim option of the Triangle Open Water Swim Series here in the Raleigh area in a local lake! Terri and Craig have been helping me learn how to be efficient in the water, and have been helping me build both my endurance and speed. I am learning so much every week, and am falling more and more in love with the water the more I do it. I know that I will return to running a stronger and even more grateful athlete.

Have you ever done an open water swim? Have you ever had an injury that you feel transformed your perspective about yourself as an athlete, and made you a stronger runner and person? This experience has taught me that without a doubt, our injuries can be our greatest assets in the long run. I would love to hear your stories!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

February – Week 1 in Review

As I mentioned in my last post, I am using a new system to stay on top of and track my progress towards my goals and vision for my life in 2017 and beyond. I broke my goals down so that I have concrete things to shoot for this month, and then each week I think about the small steps I will take to make my way there.

So far, so good.

This was a really good week for me, a great start to the month of February. I set out the week with the following goals. This is what they were and how I did with them. Continue reading

setting intentions – february goals

This morning as I journaled, I came up with intentions for the month ahead that support me in my goals for the year and really for living the life I want to live! I am setting my goals in a different way this year, and so far I think it’s really helping me. These intentions are in different areas of my life – nutrition and body, mental/emotional health, my home, my relationships and my work.

I’ve decided to share this here in hopes that 1) maybe it will inspire you to set intentions of your own and 2) it will help me hold myself a bit more accountable seeing as how I am declaring it “publicly!” for all on the interwebs to see 🙂

So here goes. This month I will . . . Continue reading

a discovery

 

I had a thought this morning that made me think twice.

One of those eyebrow lifting moments. I realized I had been talking to myself in a twisted and warped way for quite a while, and it was time to untangle the story that was living in my head.

Dust off the cobwebs and rearrange the furniture up in the attic, so to speak.

For years, I was operating on the premise that running made me a strong person.

It was a fundamental belief that I held for who knows how long.

Too long.

Somewhere along my path, I had come to believe that I was a strong, good, passionate, dedicated, persevering, faithful, hardworking and brave person – because I was a runner.

If that is true though, during this time of injury (5 months and counting, with very little and sometimes no running at all) would stand to reason that I am therefor less of all these things.

FALSE.

You can go ahead and laugh out loud. I did.

I had it all wrong.

All of these things about me ARE TRUE. And always have been. Even before I ever ran my first step.

And they will hold true – no matter how little or long, how fast or slow, how easy or hard I run.

I am a strong person who happens to love to run.

Not a strong runner who happens to be a person.

I bet you are the same.

Decided

 

The Boston Marathon is less than 15 weeks away.

I have not run much more than 6 miles in any single run for the last 5 months, no more than 20 miles total in any given week.

My last run was 2 weeks ago. It was a 30 minute run and it hurt the whole time, leaving me in a considerable amount of pain afterwards.

It was hugely disappointing and made me feel pretty awful. Not exactly the kinds of feelings I run for.

On that day I decided that I would not even attempt to run again until I could walk without any pain – at all – in my left foot. I have no idea when that will be.

And I put the whole Boston thing up on a shelf. It just could not be a priority for me if I were going to make my health, and my happiness, a priority.

Over the last two weeks, I have focused my energy on healing my foot by doing all the little things (and the big things) that I know to do. I have moved in ways that felt good and right for me – swimming, spinning, strength workouts, yoga and Pilates. I have seen Dr. Jason twice a week for active release technique and graston therapies as well as evaluations of my neuromuscular patterns, my foot dexterity and my strength. I do my physical therapy exercises and toe yoga, roll things out on the foam roller, massage my foot and lower leg and spend time with my little ultrasound machine each and every day.

I am feeling better. I am getting better.

And I am believing that I am on the right path, finally. I don’t have any way of knowing how long this road to healing will be. I could feel better tomorrow. It could be months from now.

I have already decided what to do about Boston though. While I know that there is a possibility that my foot could heal in time for me to train for this race, and I’m an experienced enough marathoner to execute it intelligently and safely, I also know it wouldn’t be in my best interest long-term to do so.

I do not want to rush it or force it or risk setting myself back by training for it.

It just wouldn’t be worth it to me. I have grown to respect the distance and my body in new ways over the last several months.

What good is a lesson learned, especially the ones learned the hard way, if you don’t actually use that awareness in your life moving forward?

I have run the Boston Marathon three times. Twice I raced it and had incredible personal best times there. Once I went with the sole intention of running it to have fun and soak up the experience without any self-imposed pressures, leaving my Garmin at home on purpose to free me from any self-judgements on pace or time.

All three experiences were unique and awesome, and I am thankful for each one beyond measure.

I love the Boston Marathon.

This year, I am going to be in Boston in April for another, completely different type of experience. It will be the first ever marathon I sign up for that I do not toe the start line of. I am going there to support all of my incredible friends who are running it. To cheer my heart out and to have an amazing time doing so! One of my best friends and I are sharing a room and it will be her first Boston. I was with her in Chicago when she qualified in 2015, and I am so very thankful that I will be in Boston with her this year without my own race to worry about. I also have a wonderful client, who I have coached for the last two years, who will be running her first ever Boston. I feel especially honored and grateful to be there with and for her, too. One of my new and most cherished NC friends will be going to Boston for the first time, too. I LOVE sharing this journey with her, even though we aren’t running together at the moment. It will be indescribably special to support her, too.

And what’s more – I have never spectated Boston before, or any big marathon for that matter! I will get to see the elites race down Boylston Street. This is something that gets  me all sorts of excited.

Completely free of any anxieties or worries about MY race, I will be able to bring my focus and energy to celebrate my friends and the incredibly magical race that is Boston.

Everything happens for a reason. I believe that with every ounce of my being. I am excited to go to Boston in April and to experience it in this new way.

Making this decision has freed my spirit in so many ways, and has given me a wonderful thing to look forward to. I absolutely believe it is going to help my healing, too.

Are you going to be in Boston this year, running or cheering? Have you ever made the decision not to run Boston or another big race you signed up for? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Plantar Fasciitis – 10 Steps to Healing

 

When I first felt the tug of tightness in the arch and heel of my foot one late summer day, I had no idea that it would become a chronic condition that would take me months and months to heal. I scoured the internet for answers and advice and tried everything that sounded promising to me. I sought the counsel and care of all sorts of practitioners – different chiropractors, physical therapists, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a podiatrist and a sports orthopedist. I dedicated myself to their care and to their recommendations. Some things seemed to help me and others, well they just didn’t at all.

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It has been an emotional roller coaster, and I have learned so much about myself along the way. At this point, I finally feel as though I am heading in the right direction.

Here are the top 10 things I recommend you do if you have plantar fasciitis:
Continue reading