Thursday, October 29, 2009

A wii bit sore

For the time being I shouldn't run or do other weight-bearing exercises, and I'd rather not go for a bike ride in the rain and mud, so what's a girl to do for exercise? Not too much, besides an ab workout...and playing wii, of course! My library loans video games, so I brought home a new game to try out. Honestly, I didn't think it would be much of a workout, but my biceps are really feeling it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Needed to blow off steam

Miles: 2

I didn't want to do any running until I get the bone scan and discuss the results with the doctor, but today I was furious with my sister and needed to blow off steam. She posted family pictures on facebook, and when I asked her to remove one in particular that my parents would have been mortified and very angry about, she blocked me from seeing everything except when she's shared music or become a fan of something. It's really not a big deal, and I didn't want to be a baby about it, but I was so angry that I had to blow off the steam. It was raining out, but I laced up my sneakers, put on my reflective vest, and hit the pavement running. I ran 2 miles. It wasn't a good idea, because my shins hurt, but I really had to do something to get rid of that pent-up energy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Maybe soon!

I scheduled my bone scan for a week from today, so soon I might know what's going on and what kinds of exercise I can and cannot do, and just maybe I'll have a time frame for when I can begin running again.

I really can't wait. I found myself completely engrossed in a local high school field hockey game on the community tv channel last night. I never played field hockey, but all of a sudden I really wished I had. Then I stepped back and looked at the situation and self-diagnosed it as running withdrawal. Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer, though. I've made an effort lately not to do anything that will aggravate the shins, so I hope that I'm on the road to recovery. :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unattainable standards

When looking up a reference question today, I came across an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled "Should photos come with warning labels?," which was accompanied by this photo of an unrealistically-proportioned model. It's about how Photoshop-manipulated images are giving women (and men) unrealistic and physically unattainable standards of beauty and how lawmakers in some countries are trying to ban them or require warning labels.

I think it's wrong to suggest banning these images, but I don't deny that they are probably causing a lot of harm. However, even if they do deserve warning labels, what good would that do? Don't we already know that the faces and bodies on magazine covers are not true to life, but we still find them beautiful?

A week or two ago I caught a few scenes of Die Another Day, the James Bond movie with Halle Berry, when it was on tv. When it came to a scene where Halle was wearing an evening gown that was open all the way down her back, I remembered when I first saw the movie years ago and had made a mental note to lose some weight and tone up my back muscles. I would have been happy to look half as good as she did. Then last week I walked by the latest issue of Vanity Fair on the magazine rack at the library. Penelope Cruz was on the cover, showing an equally-shapely back, and, having never been able to make the slightest difference in my rolls of pudge, my self-esteem dropped several rungs on the ladder.

It's really not just a magazine-cover thing -- most often I compare myself to real people -- but I think that the standard set by the magazines have ingrained themselves in our minds and really are a problem. This summer I went to the beach with three girl friends, and the criticisms from them about other people on the beach have effectively fueled my own negative body image in the months since then. Comments like: "You know, she's not fat, but some people just shouldn't wear bikinis." were among the comments made about people who looked not too different than me. I hadn't considered myself anywhere near bikini-ready, but hearing criticisms like that pretty much banished the idea. Would my friends have made those comments if picture-perfect models didn't smile plastic-ly from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?

In September, the Chic Runner addressed the issue of Photoshop in this post. It showed a picture before and after Photoshop, and the difference was striking. It was a very good argument for feeling good about your natural appearance.

Unfortunately, I was drawn to the New York Times article today because no matter what anyone says about being beautiful just the way you are, I haven't run regularly in over 2 months, and I feel like I've let myself go by not running. I can't deny that for me, a part of running has always been to stay in shape. I participated in the Eowyn Challenge for just that reason - to get in shape and break free of the cage caused by self-esteem. Now that I'm not running anymore, I feel like every thing I eat is sticking to me. (I made the mistake of stepping on the scale over the weekend and have to remember not to do that again. Nor should I measure my waist, hips, thighs, or chest.) I still have to schedule a bone scan to check for a stress fracture, so it might be a while before I run again. I guess that I'm just going to have to deal with it. My dedicated support staff is very supportive in this area, and I'll just have to trust him (and the Times piece, and the Chic Runner's post) that I am fine just the way I am. After all, I have to admit that I do not want to look like the shrunken-hipped model in the picture.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Almost Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and I'm going to be doing some shopping today to get the final materials for the paired costumes that the support staff and I will be wearing this year. I'm very excited about it: we're going to be Gilligan and Maryanne from Gilligan's Island. I already have my costume set, but he still needs a red shirt with a white collar, and I'm going to look for two white Styrofoam rings to make circular life preservers that say S.S. MINNOW. It's going to be awesome.

I do have to remember to keep up with my ab exercises, though. My Maryanne costume requires showing my midriff, so I need to do all I can to get that area as un-flabby as possible. (Translation: stop eating junk food -- especially while not exercising! I'll have to hold off for a while on the hot cocoa with Marshmallow Peeps.)

I'm also going to look for new shoes for work while I'm shopping. The one's I've been wearing are old, have 2" heels, and are probably contributing very much to my shin pain. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get flats with cushy soles instead. :-( Oh well. I know that it's for the best, even if they will make me look short and frumpy. I'll just have to keep up with those ab exercises and try and find a time to go bike riding when it's not snowing out or being otherwise poor bike-riding weather.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Feeling exceptionally perky

I was really determined to get the Trek out on the trail this weekend. It's rained a lot lately, so I haven't been able to get out as often as I'd like, but it turned out to be a beautiful autumn weekend -- perfect for riding (that is, unless you don't like to get muddy!).

Since I did not do the EMS bike tour on Saturday morning, I went out on my own that afternoon. The sky was just starting to clear up, and I decided to ride southwest on the trail for a change.

After about a mile and a half, I turned around and took my usual route in the opposite direction. It was there that I started to get muddy. There are a lot of horse trail rides that go through this section of the trail, and the horse hooves tear up the ground almost as badly as bicycle tires, so there are a lot of deep, mushy, (and unavoidable) muddy spots to ride through.

This is what I (and my previously white sneakers) looked like after splashing through a few of the really wet puddles:

I had a good time, although, admittedly, I went a little camera happy. I actually don't mind the mud, as long as I don't get my wheels stuck in it or get it on my car upholstery.

I rode 11 miles and I am so excited because I just went to G-maps Pedometer and found out that the trail is now labeled on their maps, so it will be so much easier to map my runs and rides on it. Yes!

Anyway, after my ride, I went home, cleaned the mud off, and did my ab and resistance-band exercises, which include a lot of lunges and squats. I've been noticing that my legs are not quite as thunderous as they used to be, so I'm trying to do all I can to help the improvement along.

On Sunday, I woke up to a beautiful, bright, sunny morning. I ate breakfast and then called my support staff to see if he would like to join me for a ride.

A little while later, we met up at the half-way point on the trail and set off for a really great ride. I was really tired after all of my biking, lunging, and squatting from the day before, so I lagged behind quite a bit, but it was such a great day, and the company was so enjoyable, that it was impossible not to have a great time.

The last time we had ridden this part of the trail was in August, after a really bad storm that may or may not have included a tornado. The path at that time was completely blocked, with downed trees piled so high that it was totally impassable. When we rode through yesterday, it was to a drastically different sight. It looked like the park service removed about 75% of the trees. I wish I had a picture of what it looked like before, but here is how it looks now:

It is still quite a sight, even after being cleared.

Our ride ended up being 7 miles long. My legs were ready for a rest after that! It was a really great ride, though, and I was in a good mood for the rest of the day. When I got home, I checked out the blogosphere to see how everyone was doing with their races, since half of the bloggers whom I follow were running marathons! Congrats to the Chic Runner, Mrs. CJ, and Runblogger for not only finishing your races, but PRing!

I would love to hit the trail again today, but I don't think that my tired legs would take me very far, so I'm going to sit back, read, drink hot cocoa with marshmallow ghost Peeps, and enjoy my day off. It's good to know that I have a substitute for running that will keep me smiling and feeling so ... perky :-D

Friday, October 9, 2009

New goals

Since last winter, I had the goal of speeding up my 5K pace to an average of 8 minutes per mile. I came very close with my last 5K, which had an average of 8:07 per mile. (That was actually my fastest mile time in high school, so I'm happy to see that I'm in better shape now than I was then.)

I'm confident that if I had been able to continue running throughout August and September, I would have been able to reach the 8-minute mark. That didn't happen, though, so I'm re-setting that goal for next year. For now, I need the time to rest and recover from whatever is wrong with my shins. If I let myself recover fully, I should be able to slowly get back into running over the winter and build up safely to the half-marathon in May.

I'm not going to think about a plan for reaching the 5K goal pace yet. I think that the half-marathon training will give me the base I need, and then I can work on that elusive goal-pace next summer, or even next fall.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More rest

After my shin pain returned last week, the physical therapist wanted me to bring my mileage down to 2 miles at a time instead of 3. On Tuesday morning, I went out and did 2, with a little pain in the beginning that went away after I warmed up. Then yesterday, I ran up the stairs in my house and felt the shin throb a bit. After that, I noticed it here and there if I stood a certain way. When I went to physical therapy a little while later, the therapist wasn't too happy to hear about it. And when she heard that I had never gotten an x-ray, she decided that I should stop all running and physical therapy for now and get a bone scan to check for a stress fracture, as the doctor suggested I should if the pain continued/worsened.

I can bike, as long as it's on flat ground, so I can keep fit, but I have to say that I'm pretty frustrated. I haven't been running regularly since August. It's October now! I thought that even if it were a stress fracture, it would have healed by now, but I guess that the 10K, the runs here and there throughout, and the physical therapy have probably prevented it from healing, whether it's a stress fracture or shin splints. At least I can still ride my bike.

Speaking of my bike, I had wanted to participate in a fundraising ride for a local EMS this Saturday, but I found out that someone I don't want seeing me in Spandex might be there. He called the reference desk and asked for information about it, and when I realized it was the ride I wanted to do, I had to refrain from letting out a great, cringing "Noooooooooo!" (see below) in the middle of the quiet library. Anyway, there might be hills on the course, so I'm definitely going to skip it. Maybe I'll go out for my own ride on the trail instead.

Friday, October 2, 2009

So, yeah, I was supposed to go to my last physical therapy session today. Until I decided to have an awesome run yesterday and went and got my shin all irritated again. So after $70 in co-pays, $80 for new running shoes, and a month and a half after I stopped running in August, I'm back where I started.

At least the run was worth it. It really was awesome. I had a lot of fun and felt great. It was a short 3 miles, so I kept at a pretty quick pace for most of the time. I felt strong and like I had a nice stride with quick foot turn-over. I had to slow down from that pace a few times because I was out of breath, but was able to bring it back up again and really felt good. The shin didn't start to hurt until after I was done.

My physical therapy was consisting of massage and exercises to increase the flexibility in my ankle. Today they did some ultrasound massage too. The entertaining thing was, before deciding to do it, the therapist asked how old I was, since they don't use ultrasound on teenagers. Come on. Do I really look like I'm still a teenager? Really?

So I'm not allowed to run more than 2 miles at a time for now. I have two physical therapy sessions scheduled for next week. We'll see how it goes...

I don't want to end on a sad or frustrated note, so here's a massively fluffy angora rabbit that I cannot look at without laughing:

Are you laughing yet? Because I find it hilarious. And adorable. Which reminds me, there was a commercial on TV yesterday that was totally making fun of me. It was filled with fluffy bunnies dressed up in cute outfits, and high-pitched voices were in the background singing "Oh so sweet." My reaction was "OMG look how cute and sweet!", when a deep, sarcastic voice interrupted the singing saying, "You know what's sweet? Winning a million bucks after only paying 1 dollar. That's sweet." It was so making fun of me. Oh well. :-)