Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things I Have Learned from a Hamstring Injury

We are slowly approaching 3 weeks since my last run. That is such a short time and such a long time that it's hard to believe that that much time has passed (I'm guessing this sentence makes sense to only me). However, I've been dealing with this injury since the beginning of March (before I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor), and I have learned a lot about myself, my body, and the healing process in such a short amount of time. In case you're interested, here are some of the things I have learned:

1. Running through it won't help and it will prolong the healing process. Resting is okay if something hurts.

---I took a week off of running after Princess to let my legs recover from training and it was the end of the following week where I felt incredibly tight. I kept pushing through it and clocked some pretty quick runs (for me) before it became difficult for me to run anything longer than a mile or use the elliptical longer than 30 minutes. And here I am, 3 weeks after the doctor, and I still don't see a run in the new future.

2. It's amazing how interconnected the core/lower body is.

---For the first few weeks before the doctor and these last few weeks since the doctor, everything hurt.  Running, ellipticalling, walking, sleeping, and ab workouts. Oh my gosh, ab workouts HURT. Not necessarily crunches, but planks, bridges, leg lifts, superman, everything that engages the hamstring AT ALL. I was taking a few abs classes because I couldn't do the warm ups for my usual strength class (too much running/ sprinting up the stairs), and she knew I had a hamstring injury, but it still hurt me.

3. It will be hard to take time off of running and you will want to cry whenever you see a runner, and that's okay.

---Sometimes, instead of wanting to cry, you'll simply creepily stare at runners on the street, the treadmill, and you might even drool a little. But as Sara reminded me on Monday, it may be hard now, but I'm getting healthy so I can join these runners again for years and years.

4. Some days you will feel good, most days you will have some sort of tightness/pain and it's discouraging, but you'll be okay.

---Monday morning, I woke up and I felt GREAT! My leg did not feel as tight as it had been. Then, I went to physical therapy, and after he massaged/iced my hammy, I was tighter than I had been all weekend. I was discouraged, but yesterday morning, I woke up and felt slightly better.

5. Even though it feels like it will be forever, it won't be. Some day, the hamstring will stop hurting, it will be stronger, and you can return to running.

---This is especially true if your doctor says the words "Look for a September race. You'll be ready by then." For now, it seems like it will be forever, but I know that I'm healing.. albeit slowly .. but one day, I will be back out on that pavement.

What are some things that you have learned from injury? What are the emotional stages you felt through recovery?

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm Sorry I've Abandoned You

Hiiiii everyone!

I'm sorry that I have abandoned the blog, your blogs, and basically everything but Twitter for the last long while. BUT, I have finished my Masters Thesis (handed it in on Friday), I have my last presentation tomorrow, and I GRADUATE on Saturday!

Part of the reason that I have been missing is that I truly have been busy. But a large part of the reason that I have been missing is that not running is hard on me. I still read all of your blogs, but I just don't comment on them because it makes me feel like I'm missing out. I have been working out at the gym 4 or so days a week, but it's just not the same. My first round of PT was last week and all we did were stretch me out, massage, and ice my hammy. The PT is only having me come once a week for 3 weeks due to my trip, but I'm glad that my injury is not as extensive as it could have been and that I don't need too much rehab. I'm working on getting healthy and am feeling much better, and I'm going to end the pity party I've been having for myself because I can feel like the end is near. Sometimes, it feels like my hamstring injury will be forever, but I know it won't be. I can't wait for the day I can run, though.

But now, I have all this free time. I have no finals, I am only working 2 jobs, and I have a few weeks before I leave for Europe. So, what am I going to do with this free time? Among other things, I plan on:

1. Sleeping

2. Hanging out with mom and Dad in Florida

Recycled from Undergrad Graduation

3. Sunbathing

4. Working out

5. Finishing my last minute travel details

6. Growing my hair out


8. Traveling

Can you believe my trip is so soon? Expect more frequent blogging between now and then!! Miss you guys!

What has been going on in your life? Update me! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Running Bucket List

I've been doing a lot of thinking about running because I can't do any running right now. During my thinking, I started making a list of all of the events I want to take part in during my running career.

Here is my running bucket list:

1. Run a marathon (I'm looking at 2015)

2. Travel for a race (I don't count Disney World because I live an hour away)

3. Run an obstacle race (Thanks to Karen, I have an entry to a Spartan Race!)

4. Complete a Triathalon (aka learn to swim well)

5. Run more half marathons

6. Run a race in another country (Too bad I'm injured, because there's a half in Liverpool when I'm in Europe)

7. Run on a relay team

This is the list that I've made so far... I'm trying not to make myself too crazy thinking about running, but it's hard!

What's on your running bucket list?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Next 18 Years

I'm taking a quick break from my insanely productive day today (seriously, I completed one and a half projects for school, the most work I've probably done in one day all semester) and I got to reflecting on my journey through education. As many of you know, on April 1, I passed my oral comps and basically finished my journey towards becoming a Master of Science.

I am 23 years old and have (or will have on May 3) my Master's Degree. If you haven't done the math, I have spent the last eighteen years (18!) as a student. Apart from the six months I took off between undergrad and grad school (I graduated a semester early), I have been a student for 75% of my life. That is an incredibly long time. What will I do for the next 18 years when I am no longer a student?

My journey through education hasn't been a rough one; I've always loved school and it's always something that's been relatively easy for me. Yes, I've worked hard and challenged myself (hello all honors classes and AP classes in High School, senior theses, and grad school), but I've always loved learning and I'm good at it. I know that I have made my parents proud by excelling in what I do, and I have sure made myself proud as well. Yes, I have been stressed at times and I have cried, but there was never a time that I doubted myself.

Undergrad Graduation

Part of me is sad that I am retiring this formal student role (for now, PhD is always an option), but I know that I will never stop being a student. If you weren't aware, my Masters Degree will be an M.S. in Environmental Education. As I said in my Liebster Response yesterday, I hope to spend the rest of my life educating others about the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. However, what I have learned as an educator is that I'm always learning something myself. My students will always have something to teach me, there will always be something that I don't know that I will have to look up, and science is constantly discovering new information, meaning that I will have a lot of reading to do throughout my career.

Summer 2011, My first sea turtle

I will also be a student to life. So far in my life, I have learned a lot of lessons, some of them dealing with failed relationships, but many that have led me to finding myself and taking risks. I have learned to follow my heart and that has lead me to South Carolina, Florida, Costa Rica, and now, Europe. I have found freedom and have fallen in love with myself, and I look forward to learning more along the way.

So, what will the next 18 years bring me? I'm not sure, but I'm not yet ready to fully retire the "student" title and plan on continuing to learn from others. I'm excited for this new journey and I hope that the next 18 years are equally, if not more, exciting as these last 18 years have been.

Do you still view yourself as a student? What was your first move (job, travel, etc.?) after you finished your education?

Edited to add: It's hard to believe that it's been one year already since the Boston Marathon bombing. It has been amazing to be a part of the running community and see the city and community begin to rebuild in such a short period of time. Even though I cannot run right now, runner will always be part of my identity. Boston Strong. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Liebster Award: Round 2

Way back in the beginning of my blog, I was nominated for a Liebster Award. Just last week, the super sweet Sara nominated me again for the Liebster Award! I am thrilled and think it's a great opportunity for some of my relatively new readers to get to know me! Thanks, Sara!

Here are the rules for the award:

The Liebster Award is an online award by bloggers for bloggers. It helps to generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.
1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

And now, here are the questions that Sara asked her nominees! 

1. If you could spend the day with one famous person, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend the day with Kate Middleton. For the obvious reasons, she's living my dream of a commoner who became royalty, but she conducts herself in a way that is admirable. Also, because she is not in the tabloids often, it'd be interesting to sit down for tea with her and just chat. I'd like to believe that she's genuine and would be a total sweetheart! 
2. What is an attribute you admire in others?
Honesty. I appreciate when someone can be honest with me without being mean. I think that it shows a true sign of maturity and eventually yields more benefits than withholding information or lying to someone. 
3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the 3 things you would take with you?
I'm not going to go the obvious boat, cell phone, etc. route. Assuming that I'd get off eventually, I can live without those things. I'd like to have an edible plants book, complete with pictures, so that I could survive ;) I'd also bring fresh water, or at least something to distill water with. And finally, I'd probably bring my running shoes --- to protect my feet in areas that are not sandy (I'm assuming I'm in the middle of an ocean on a tropical island) and so I can run! 
4. If money was no object, what would you choose as your career?
Does gypsy environmental educator count as a career? I'd love to do the job that I have planned to do (environmental educator, what my Masters is in), but I'd love to throw travel in there. I would love to travel the world and educate groups of people about our environment and how to protect it. So basically, a gypsy hippie. 
5. What is YOUR greatest achievement?
Hm, this is really hard. I'm proud of so many things that I have done in my life so far, but it either has to be running half marathons or simply following my heart. I'm torn between the two options. Running half marathons, for the obvious reasons, and following my heart because it has taken me all over the place, including South Carolina for undergrad, Costa Rica for sea turtle work, and soon, to Europe. 
6. Why did you decide to start blogging?
I had a number of friends and family ask me about my weight loss and my running, so I decided to stop blowing up their Facebook feeds and instead, spam the internet. I never thought I would get any readers! So, thank you to those of you who have stuck with me! 
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh gosh, it's hard to choose a pet peeve... I've been finding that I have quite a few of them. I think that hearing people chew, smack their lips, or breathe loudly is something that really drives me crazy. To the point where I want to simultaneously scream, cry, and puke. 
8.What is your favorite pizza toppings?
Spinach and mushrooms, although a friend has introduced me to the combination of pineapple and jalapeño. 
9. What is the theme song of your life?
"Little Victories" by Matt Nathanson or "Happy" by Pharrell 
10. If you had $1,000 that you could spend on anything, what would you spend it on?
At this stage, I can only think about Europe, so I'd say travel. Any other time of the year? Probably something running related.
My questions
1. What is the greatest food you have ever eaten?
2. What is your favorite household appliance?
3. What is your spirit animal, and why?
4. If you could achieve one goal to make the world a better place, what would it be?
5. What is the strangest thing that you are afraid of?
6. If you could be friends with a television cast, which cast would you choose?
7. What is the most important attribute you look for in someone when forming a relationship (be it platonic or romantic)?
8. If you had to come back and live your life all over again, what would you change?
9. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
10. What word would you eliminate from the English language if you had a chance?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Official Diagnosis

The title sounds scary, but the diagnosis isn't as horrible as I was anticipating. The official diagnosis is: hamstring strain.

Just kidding, I'm not that shocked

Hips, bones, and knees all move well and looked great on the x-ray (according to the doctor). When he did his manual examination, he said that my hips and knees all moved normally, so that was a good sign that all of the damage is in the hamstring itself.

The solution? At least two weeks off of running, physical therapy, and oral steroids. 

I'm guessing that the actual time off of running will be longer because he wants me to do some physical therapy and doesn't want me to run until the hamstring is looser. Then, when I return to running, he wants me to do intervals to build back up, which will be hard for me because I've never used intervals in a run before. The good news is that he says I will be race ready by September, which means that summer training will be happening!

I can also cross-train my heart out to "keep my fitness and sanity." The steroids are to attack the inflammation, but he said he didn't write a strong prescription because I am "not a very large person." Drugs scare this should be interesting!

I'm hoping to be able to run again when I'm in Europe because I want to see the cities that way, but we shall see. I'm just thankful it wasn't worse than what it is! But, I'm sure that by next week, I'll be feeling like this:

Thanks for all of your healing vibes that you have sent my way :) Happy Friday!

What's happy about your Friday today?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #5

So lately, it appears that lists are the easiest for me to make and pass off as blog posts... so I'm sorry that that's all you guys are getting. I'm hoping to be writing normal blog posts again soon. That being said, here's my next installment of Thinking Out Loud, hosted by the lovely Amanda!

1. Of course yesterday when I woke up, my hamstring was hardly bothering me (in comparison to what it has been for the last month). It figures that two days before my doctor's appointment, it doesn't bother me as much! However, I tried to go for a run (duh) and it hurt. Obviously, one day doesn't mean I'm healed, but I'm guessing I wasn't hurting as badly because I took 4 days off from attempting to run.

2. Related to non-running, Tuesday, I had my first ever bout of food guilt. Like, true, I wanna go workout, food guilt. I can't say that I have ever felt that way before, and I don't ever want to feel that way again. It was because I had 2 servings of this ice cream instead of 1... ironically, this guilt hit me after I posted this picture as my #100happydays post for Tuesday.

3. I texted a friend about said food guilt and she said "oh well, just sleep it off." And that made me laugh and made me feel better. One extra serving of ice cream isn't going to kill me :)

4. Some food that I am not feeling guilty about loving? Steamed, shelled edamame. My mom had me buy a bag at Sam's Club... best recommendation EVER. It's so good! I don't even think it needs seasoning!

Just pretend that's shelled {source}

5. I am in love with the Mindy Project. I watched Tuesday's episode and could not stop laughing. Except for when I cried. I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm crazy.

Me, all the time.

6. OH! Before I forget... I'm finally getting new floors... but in two weeks. My house still looks like this:

7. Ending in number 7 because my brain can't think past that number apparently.... but I'm in love with this song again. I heard it on my "Pop Kiss-off Station" on Songza and it reminded me of my childhood. Also, "Pop Kiss-off" is the station I turn to when I'm frustrated. It makes me feel so much better about everything, even though it's a breakup station. 

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? What TV show (or movie) makes you laugh uncontrollably?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

{Attempting} A Smart Recovery

So, after weeks (okay, maybe a month) of talking about it, I finally have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Friday. I figured that since I am not an orthopedist and self-diagnosing hasn't gotten me very far, I'd go to an orthopedist to see what I could do about this bum leg of mine.

Or an injury...for a month

That being said, I've been spending the last few days mentally preparing myself for recovery. I'm not sure the doctor will recommend time off, but I'm guessing he will since I haven't taken a true rest period, even though I've been running a whole lot less. I know that it will be hard for me to take a break (I basically drooled over everyone running on the treadmill today), but I'm hoping that with the support of friends and family (You guys included!), I will survive this rough patch.

Here are the steps I've taken so far to prepare myself for recovery:

1. Limit my sweets to once a day
---I love desserts. However, I figure that since there is a chance that I will be moving less when I'm recovering, I can't have a piece of chocolate after lunch and a scoop of ice cream after dinner. I know, it makes it sound like I eat a lot of sweets (which I guess I do), but I'm saving my sweet tooth for
after dinner :)

2. Collecting upper body workouts.
---I want to continue to be active, if possible, so I'm trying to find upper body workouts that I will enjoy and that I can do without hurting my lower body. That being said, I need some help! Please send me your favorite upper body workouts!

Same meme, different saying ;) 

3. Watching a lot of American Horror Story
--- It's scary, but I've become addicted and I can't stop binge watching it. Granted, I have nightmares almost every night, but it's getting me used to lounging around ;)

4. Focusing on the good
--- I realize it's not the end of the world if I have to rest. My body might be happy. But, just because I'm at this road block, that doesn't mean there isn't a million good things in my life right now. I have so much to look forward to in the next few months that this little setback won't kill me.

An injury is not the end of the world. My brain is telling me to run myself into the ground this week to make up for what I will be missing. I know that I need to do something proactive about this leg in order to get back (or better) to where I was. Think good thoughts for me up until Friday, please!!

How long does it take you to go see a doctor? What is your favorite way to recover from an injury?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #4

I'm linking up with Amanda again today....this will hopefully help me get back into a regular blogging schedule :D

1. Thank you so much for all of the kind words and congratulations about me passing my Oral Comps! It definitely is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders :) You guys are the best, and I am so happy to be regularly chatting with you again :)

2. Another thing that makes me incredibly happy? Being shown how much people care about and support you. On Tuesday, I invited a bunch of friends out to celebrate my passing, but I figured that not many would be able to make it (because it's Tuesday) and that we'd all celebrate on Thursday, our usual night out. Boy, was I wrong. The group below showed up (minus a couple of people) and it was SO nice to be reminded how much I am loved!

3. After weeks (okay, maybe a month) of talking about it, I'm finally looking into a doctor for my hamstring. Obviously, what I'm doing is not working, so I'd rather just go and get it diagnosed and fixed so that I can get back to running more often. I miss running 4-5 days a week.

4. That being said, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm actually really nervous about going to the doctor. Basically, I don't want to be told to rest...and I am almost positive that I will be told to rest after I visit a doctor.

5. On an adulthood note, I applied for my first full-time job last week. I was going to wait to apply since I will be living a gypsy life this summer, but this job caught my eye and I am qualified, so I applied. And now we wait.

6. I am getting the question "what are you going to do after school is done?" more and more these days as graduation approaches. My go-to response right now? I'm going to be a mermaid.

7. And just because I can, I'm going to end on lucky number 7 and share one of my new favorite songs with you :)

What's on your mind today? How do you choose a doctor? What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Master of Science and a Speedy 10k

I am BACK! I should FINALLY have about 15 minutes extra of free time over the next few weeks to do more blogging! I'm sure y'all miss me a TON ;)

I am doing some backwards updates here, mostly because I want to share the most exciting news I have had in a while!

Yesterday, at 3:45 pm, I passed my Comprehensive Oral Exams, and am now ONE step closer to getting my Master of Science! It was really the only thing I was worried about holding me back, so now two papers and one presentation stand in the way of me graduating in May. Basically, it's smooth sailing from here!

As many of you know, I was prepping for the exam for about two weeks. If you follow me on Twitter, I'm sure that you've seen lots of updates from me discussing how nervous I was. Well, I was nervous, but I was very well-studied that the exam wasn't as difficult as I had expected it to be. Also, I thought it would be awkward to be sitting at a table while three men ask me questions, but that part wasn't too bad, either. Granted, at the end of the process I was insanely sweaty, but I passed and that is all that matters!
This is no longer the situation in my house

I had class afterwards, so my teacher bought us pizza and I brought cookies. Then, I went downtown to have an adult celebration ;)

I plan to continue to celebrate for the rest of the week, taking a much needed mental health break this weekend, before I jump back into the school thing again.

Onto other exciting news, I ran a sub-60 10k on Monday! I NEVER thought that would be possible and I definitely think I could have pushed harder if I wasn't injured. I'm excited to see my progress and I can't wait to get healthy so that I can give running all I've got.

Speaking of injury.... I think I should probably go to the doctor soon because the tightness just won't go away and yesterday, it was tender to the touch in some places. There is not a lot of PAIN, per say, but just a lot of tightness.

That is ALL of the good news I have for y'all so far, and I can't wait to get back into regular chats!!

What is new and exciting in your life? Fill me in!