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:
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Pilates for Runners

For several years after having my two oldest children, I was plagued by chronic lower back pain and SI joint dysfunction that would come and go (and sometimes completely stop me in my tracks) and hips that always felt out of whack. Maybe it was from carrying my kids around on my left hip all the time (while simultaneously doing everyday tasks like making meals, carrying laundry or groceries, talking on the phone, emptying the dishwasher, etc.)… Maybe it was just from bad postural habits that took their toll over time.

Whatever the cause, it wasn’t good and it wasn’t heading me in the direction I wanted to be headed in.

I wasn’t mindful at all about how I moved and I didn’t have the self awareness – or the perspective – that I do now.

It was during one of my particularly tough back spasms that my sister Jodi (an awesome runner, coach, Pilates guru and owner of my favorite studio, Reston Pilates) encouraged me to try Pilates. It had helped her tremendously after her back surgery (so much so that despite doctors telling her she would likely never run again, she has since run multiple marathons and ultras!) and she believed it would help me, too. She began to teach me and it didn’t take long for me to begin to realize the amazing benefits. Not long after that I began pursuing a teaching education in Pilates so that I could help others heal and live pain free through this wonderful movement system.

Pilates literally changed my life. It helped me connect with and develop an inner strength that had in fact always been there. I became intentional with how I moved my body and with how I stood, cultivating better habits and healthier movement patterns. With a dedication to regular Pilates and mindful movement, I discovered that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible. Continue reading

epiphany

I have yet to run my first miles of 2017.

After 5 months of repeatedly thinking that my foot was better enough to run again, and then painfully realizing that it wasn’t after days or weeks of slowly easing back into it, I decided as I rang in the New Year that the miles I run this year will be worth waiting for.

In August my foot began hurting. I rested for weeks and went to see two different chiropractors. It was getting a little better, but the pain was not going away. I wasn’t satisfied that I was on the right path.

In September I went to see a podiatrist and had an x-ray that came up clean. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and prescribed rest, ice, heat and orthotics. I saw a physical therapist and began a routine of exercises given to me to help correct my imbalances. I joined a yoga studio and a gym and got myself in the pool. My coach gave me workouts to do while I rested my foot.

In October I tried running again, and started to think maybe I was on my way to getting better. But there was still a consistent pain all day, even if it were to a lesser degree. I went to see a new physical therapist and a sports orthopedist who is a Boston runner himself. I had an MRI which came back indicating plantar fasciitis, once again – no stress reactions, no fractures, no tears. After a few more weeks of rest, swimming and yoga, my foot was still hurting. On the last day of October I had a cortisone shot. This was a step I was totally fearful of, but my doctor felt that the condition warranted it. So I tried it. Continue reading

happy new year

I don’t really like all the “new you” talk that we hear at the start of the new year.

I have no interest in re-inventing myself anymore.

What I want to do is to peel away the layers of protection and the (self) judgements. To be curious about and to discover what is already inside of me, what has ALWAYS been there.

To soften into that and to trust that, rather than forcing something else.

To celebrate WHAT IS about me and about my life.

To choose to be me, faithfully. Each and every day. One day at a time. One choice at a time.

To trust who that is, to love who that is, to accept who that is.

To live and to shine from THAT place.

I hope you will do the same.

Happy New Year.

Making the most of the off season – a talk with Dr. Aleck Wong

‘Tis the season! This phrase is heard ringing throughout our lives day-in and day-out this time of year. And while everyone is bustling about with the busy-ness of juggling life and preparing for the holidays, runners and endurance athletes are also typically finding themselves in the midst of another kind of season – the off season. I think of it more as a “reboot season” – unplugging for a bit and starting back up again after sufficient rest. It’s a crucial time for a runner, truly. A rich opportunity to let go of the rigors of training and racing in order to reap the benefits of and learn from the prior cycle or to address issues that have lingered from it. It’s a time to recharge our batteries on all levels – physical, mental and emotional.

This season can be welcomed and embraced by any level of runner, but it also oftentimes leaves us feeling a little bit lost and anxious to get back to the rhythms of training and racing. I have been wondering lately – what is the BEST way to approach this in-between time, to prime our bodies and minds for goals we have ahead of us?

How do we make the most of our time off from training? As a coach and an athlete myself, I have a lot of ideas and opinions about this. But I wanted to ask someone whose expertise and opinions I have always valued, to get a little more insight into it and to pass that wisdom along to you.

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Know Better, Do Better: Using Inside Tracker for Healing & Performance

For a very long time, I knew that something was off with my health and with my training. I didn’t know what though, and I certainly didn’t know what to do about it. There were times I thought I knew, and I would work to fix it, but then I would realize that I still didn’t feel very good, and that I had no idea if I was on the right path. I would wonder if it was all in my head, if I was helping myself or maybe even making myself worse with all my efforts.

I felt sluggish. Tired. Heavy. Uninspired. BLUE.

My running, which had always been a source of light and strength in my life, was feeling subdued, flat and heavy-hearted.

At one point I finally went to see my primary care doctor about how I was feeling and she ran some blood tests.   Continue reading