Saturday, June 6, 2015

Who says you can't replace running?

Every runner does!  And all those people are correct.  I will never be able to replace running.  The act of running, the joy of running, the meditation of running, the workout of running.......these things are simply not replicated or replaced with any other activity.  The possibility of me running again is greater than the possibility that I won't run again.  However, I have finally come to terms that I may never be able to run, or ride a bike, again.  Although this brings me much disappointment and sadness, if I don't accept this, then I will never move on.  I have been chasing the idea that I will make significant improvement every time or at least every week I try to run.  I have also been chasing the idea that I can find something to replace running.  Finally I accepted both of these notions as false.  And now, I have more room to grieve the loss of running and stop comparing everything to running and my former lifestyle.  Now, instead of thinking that I am doing kettlebell until I can run again, I see it as a whole new sport for me that is entirely different from running.  I no longer think of the benefits of kettlebell training as it relates to running, but just as its own fascinating sport with lifestyle benefits.  I get on the treadmill less and less to test out my running legs and I find that I am much less disappointed and saddened that I see next to no improvement.  I am going hiking most weekends with my poles to use on the uphill and then pick my way down with some sort of combo of jogging and walking.  I see it as hiking on the trails and not a lesser version of trail running.  Owen and I bought tennis rackets and so we can play tennis together.  This has been fun.  We tried riding a tandem to see if I could do that, but I was not able to do that without no riding a bike for me for now or maybe ever.  Good thing I didn't buy that new bike I was thinking about.....
Ironically, the bus I take to work is cancelled for 8 months.  It's about 2.5 miles for me to get to work, so I decided to use the ankle express.  Walking to work is actually the best option for me to get there the quickest.  So, perhaps I'll dust off the running shoes and walk to work the I'll do some sort of walk/jog on the way home while enjoying the summer.  I'll see it as locomotion, not as running.
Speaking of locomotion, I have really spent some time thinking about what running has done for me, particularly on the trails.  Here is what I came up with.  Human powered locomotion, such as running or walking, really has the ability to put our place as humans in perspective.  Think about it....when we get into a car or ride a bus, or get on a plane or train, the travel is done mechanically and at a much different pace as it would if it were human powered.  If you go 60 miles on the road in a car, it takes about an hour if you are on the highway.  You can get pretty far.  But walk or run 60 miles and the distance means something entirely different.  The effort to which is took to go 60 miles by foot, or even bike, is much greater, the time it takes to go that distance is much longer and it means, for me, so much more.  My place in the world feels much more accurate when it takes my own physical effort to get to my next destination.  I may have lost some of this perspective while I was in the midst of training for 100 mile events, ironically, but now that I can reflect on what that process meant to me, I will never see it as the same if I am ever to get back to it, or at least some version of it.  
For's exploring news things as my lifestyle shifts.  As the old joke goes, what is the best way to make God (or insert your word here) laugh?  Tell her your plans!
Some fun photos!

Got up at 4:30 on a Saturday to hike to the top of Mt. Tennerife

Still foggy on the way down, but so beautiful and quiet

Anyone for tennis, after coffee?

Rising above the clouds to McClellen Butte

Ivy gets a ride from her mama.

These 2 are the lights of my life.  Breakfast outside for them, they love it.

Attempting the tandem.  A fun excursion.

More beautiful PNW
Let's see what the summer brings!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stay Hungry

Recently my husband and I binge watched Friday Night Lights.  That is 76 episodes...and nearly 76 hours of TV watching.  It was worth it.  I was surprised how much I liked this show.  When it was on "regular" TV years ago I thought I would never watch it, who wants to watch a show about high school football in Texas?  Apparently I did!  Just last week we watched "We Could Be King"  which is a documentary that is very similar to Friday Night Lights but is a true story and takes place in Philadelphia.  It's basically a story about being an underdog, working hard for what you want, believing in yourself,  being resilient, relying on your teammates, etc. It was really good and very inspiring.  One of the themes of the documentary was about staying humble and hungry.  In fact, the coach made his players do push ups for every letter in HUMBLE AND HUNGRY and spell out this motto as they did their push ups.  This really resonated with me.
This brings me to mention "the injury."  This injury that prevents me from running, riding a bike, hiking, etc. has been so humbling.  I am someone who needs a daily moving meditation, someone who needs movement to relieve stress, someone who needs a sweat and a physical challenge daily.  Running with some cross training thrown in was a no-brainer to meeting these needs- not to mention an enjoyable way to meet these needs.  I miss it and I miss sharing the trails with friends. I am truly humbled that my body isn't working in a way that it used to, that it wants to and my mind is not always graceful when confronted with this obstacle. order for me to get through this period in time, I have become slightly obsessive with 30 day challenges.  30 days gives me enough time to make it a challenge and also to see if this activity of the challenge adds to my life in a way that I will incorporate it going forward.  In a sense, I am staying hungry for new challenges which keeps my mind somewhat satisfied and relieves some of the disconnect between what my mind wants to do and what my body is capable of doing.  Firstly, I tried kettlebell sport and this is sticking with me.  I have really enjoyed getting involved with Seattle Kettlebell Club , learning what kettlebell sport is, meeting like minded people and finding a new way to challenge myself physically and mentally that keep me hungry for more. This is something I will stick with.  Then I tried a 30 day challenge of a 25 minute a day strength/cardio workout in addition to anything else physically I might have been doing that day.  I really enjoyed this,  it was hard and there were some times I got my heart rate up very high and dripped sweat.  I could see improvement in my stamina and strength in just a few weeks.  I am still doing this a few days a week.  The great thing about this is that when my injury would present itself, I just moved on to a different exercise.  Even my husband tried doing this with me one time....and one time only!
Now I am doing a 30 day gluten free challenge.  I'm on day 4 and I want some graham crackers.  But I did find a recipe for GF graham crackers so I will try these out.  So far I have made some really good things!  Quiche crust, muffins, more muffins and am always looking for new recipes and learning new techniques.  Baking gluten free appears to be a delicate balance in avoiding dried out crumbly edibles.  Who knew there were so many alternative ways to bake with all these types of flours and starches. I will experiment with other things besides muffins but I love muffins and I like to eat them every day.  And so does my husband.
So by being humbled, I am staying hungry to keep things interesting, new and adventurous.  Humble and Hungry, I like it.
Now for some photos:

Kettlebell Sport:  (
Yesterday we did a 10 minute set of jerks and snatches.  10 minutes doesn't sound like a long time, but it left me shaking and panting.

Timer set

Kettlebells are colorful

Nikolai (trainer) and Adrien in between 10 minute sets

I'm loving these k-bells

My attempt at running, 2.12 miles in 24 minutes of jogging and walking



My babes

Friday, April 10, 2015

Makin' A Comeback

 Ok, so this blog is making a comeback.  Not like many read this anyway, but I feel the need to do something creative again and this is a good way to do that and to document life a little.
As this first image shows....there is a big sign alerting of a change ahead.  We don't always get an alert that things are about to change.  If we had an alert, would it make it any better?  Would we stress more knowing WHICH change was coming?  Change is inevitable.  Sometimes it happens slowly over time, other times, it happens big time and overnight.  Is it better if there is much stress before in the anxiety of knowing that something big is going to happen and then less stress, maybe almost relief that it finally happened or is it better to be just living your life with all your schedules and routine and then BAM, it happens and you must adjust and accept.  I don't know which is better....but I do know that we don't get a choice in the matter.
8 months ago I ran a marathon with my brother and my husband.  I have not run since.  It's not because I had a bad experience, it's not because I am burned out from running, it's not that I found something else that fulfills me and de-stresses me, it's because I am injured.  I didnt' even realize it until the next day when I was walking to catch my bus to get to work, which I missed because I couldn't walk fast enough.  Since then, most doctors I have visited say, "wow, this is a challenge" or "um, quite a puzzle" or "I'm not sure what to do next."  So, pretty much, I am not counting on getting back to my running world again anytime soon and it has taken me a long time to find peace with that.  And I still struggle.  I struggle because not only can I not run, but I can't ride a bike, walk uphill, walk fast, or do much without pain and discomfort.  Although, it is getting better.
As I once said on a long long run with a good friend, "running is not my whole life
 but it sure makes my life whole."  That being said, I have enough emotional intelligence to know that because I can't run, doesn't means it's the end of my world, but it does mean many other things.
Now that I don't run I can see more gratefully the things it has done for me.  It has provided me with a bonding experience with my dog, a way to relieve stress, a way to experience moving meditation, created a bonding experience with like minded people, a way to challenge myself physically and mentally, an activity to do with my husband, a way to motivate/inspire and be motivated/inspired and a part of my identity. These past few months I have struggled to find something to replace it.  I miss it.  I long for it.  Without it I am forced to find other ways to manage stress and other ways to get out my "yah'yah's" and I have had to be just a little closer to looking myself in the mirror and asking myself....Am I happy in my life?  Am I on the track I want to be on?  What do I really want to do?  When a part of your identity is missing, it's hard to replace, it's hard to look at the hole there and not feel empty.  Being injured is more than not being able to run, it represents much more.

My baby boy, Struth, who initially got me into running and for whom I names this blog, is 11 going on 12.  I had hoped to do short runs with him on the trails in the fall of 2014 to just be with him and get back to our "roots."  For quite some time it was painful to just walk with him, but we walk.  We go for long walks and this is nice.  I was very stressed out when he had to have emergency dental surgery and what did I do to cope with the stress?  Well I sat in fear that something bad would happen instead of clearing my mind on a run.
Struth after dental surgery

Struth feeling better

Ella worried about Struth
 I knew I needed to find something to take the edge off so joined a gym, or the Rahab Facility as I like to call it.  I saw that have kettle-bell sport classes so I tried that.  Oddly, it is the only exercise that does not cause me pain.  So I am sticking with it for now.  It is a very unique exercise and sport.  There are actually competitions for kettle-bell which I did not know!  It is much harder than I thought and it is meditational in its own way.  My hands get beat up, but I still enjoy it as a footnote to running.


Kettle-bells are also very colorful and they match my shoes
 I have more time since I am not spending hours and hours running and training.  I am cooking more, trying new recipes, working longer hours at work, (ummm, is this good?)  I visited my parents in North Carolina.  We had a great time.  We even got to see a women's Duke Basketball game, impressive!
My them!
My mom is a riot!

 Owen and I went hiking with the dogs, which I think I might be able to continue with a couple more weeks of rehab.
Mason Lake

 Although I didn't see this coming and felt very angry about it, there has been some good things that have come out of having this time to find ways to fill the gap and grieve the loss.  Did I mention that we bought a house!  That was stressful....and exciting....and I am so happy we were able to do it!

In the new backyard!
So, this journey always....and thankfully it continues.