Monday, July 25, 2016

First Run in 4 Weeks + Why I am Going Wheat Free For A While

Happy Monday friends!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and stayed cool in the heat wave that is impacting almost everyone right now.

It was really hot in Southern California this weekend and unfortunately a really intense wild fire started in a city about 40 miles from where I live. Thousands of homes were threatened, ash was heavily in the air and the sun looked like a red fireball. It was all very surreal...








If you have been following along, you know I have been dealing with a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis. The injury caused me to cancel my September goal marathon and take four weeks off from running.
Sunday marked four weeks of zero running, I wasn't experiencing any pain in my foot and I was ready to give running a try.
I ran four easy miles and it felt fine. I took it nice and easy and ran on soft surfaces, which made it a pain free run.






I talked a little about this on Instagram, but I feel a bit fragile mentally. Almost the entire run, I was cringing inside hoping I wouldn't be in pain (The pain is like a fireball in your heal. Wendy calls it the devil and she is so right.). I felt foggy and foreign and out of running shape. How in the world did I run a marathon three months ago?
I know that the fitness will come back when it's time. Right now, I need to focus on healing completely so I can continue to make forward progress.
Blogging has been a little haphazard these past weeks, and I have felt like the complete attention to my kids coupled with this injury has left little time for anything else.



Finding sand crabs with my kids = priority #1 :)


I had my first session of dry needling last week and it wasn't as bad as I anticipated! I am going back for two more sessions this week along with PT.
My acupuncturist and I talked for a while about food and how food can help the healing process, or sometimes hinder it. Wheat and grains can sometimes cause inflammation in the body and he is suggesting that I try going wheat free for a while.

I was already aiming to try the Whole 30 program (I cut oatmeal out of my diet a few months ago as it was making me feel sluggish) and this information made me more focused on giving it a try.

Here is what I ate yesterday (My goals were on eliminating wheat and grain):


Breakfast
I made a batch of delicious almond flour pancakes, a side of blueberries, one hard boiled egg and a piece of turkey bacon. 

Snack
Peaches and blueberries

Lunch
Steamed kale and avocado (large bowl)

Snack
An apple with almond butter + an RX bar 

Dinner
Baked chicken, quinoa and kale (tons of kale in the house this weekend!)

Dessert
Small piece of dark chocolate


I know I would be eating more if I were logging more miles, but I felt really full and satisfied. I also drank a lot of water. Not the 100 ounces that I aim for, but probably 60 ounces.

We'll see how it goes! I am allowing myself not to seek perfection, but test it out and see how my body reacts to it. The real test will be when marathon training starts again.

By the way ---> I wouldn't wish Plantar Fasciitis on anyone!!! I am working on a post of everything I am doing to combat this injury and come back stronger.


I hope you all logged some awesome miles this weekend!!!


Have you ever dealt with Plantar Fasciitis? If so, please share your secrets of dealing with it! :)

What are your thoughts/experiences of eliminating wheat and grains from your diet?


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Diz Runs Podcast + A Running Update!

Is it just me, or does it feel like summer is flying by?

Our summer has been filled with a ton of fruit (juicy, burst in your mouth peaches, delectable plums, blueberries by the boatload...), non stop pool time, walks at the beach, days where we stay in PJ's till 10 am, and just a whole lot of FUN. The kids have had some great camps to go to, but the last couple of weeks we have been hanging out together. Zero agenda, no place to rush off to, no hurrying out the door. It has been SO nice and a much needed break. It's been interesting to watch the process of my kids unwinding. They are so used to being on a GO, GO, GO schedule, that it was a little difficult for them to slow down. Now, they love digging for worms in the backyard, laying under a tree, searching for roly polys, and discovering toys they had forgotten about.
The joys of a lazy, hazy summer...






Running has not been on the agenda for me the last three weeks. As a runner, you start to understand the stages of non-running grief: 

1. Denial of a possible injury

2. Quickly dealing with injury 

3. Settling into the new reality of the injury and slowing down on running

4. Not running at all and taking more time to heal


Number four is always the hard part and that is where I am right now. Three and a half weeks in and it feels sort of normal, but not. I put aside my goal marathon, placed a later marathon on the calendar and I'm working hard on healing. I know it's kind of a crap shoot to place another marathon on the calendar (CIM in December), but I am going to go with it. If it's meant to be, it'll be - and I feel pretty darn strong that I can kick the PF (plantar fasciitis) and rebound stronger than ever. You have to believe that in your heart and if you don't, you might as well throw in the towel right now.
My super speedy friend Jen (who is coming back from an injury and aiming to run a sub 2:50 marathon later in the Fall) told me that each injury or setback makes you stronger, faster, better.

I believe that.

At this point, I have been icing, stretching, going to PT, got a cortizone shot, received custom orthotics, doing all of my specific exercises, wearing a splint, rolling, cross training and of course resting.

Today, I decided to try dry needling (from a licensed acupuncturist)...













I have to go back next week for another session - probably 3-4 total and we'll see after that. I decided to try this method first rather than the some other intense options. I haven't had any pain walking on my foot the last couple of days and if that continues, then I am allowed to go for a short run next week. I could actually go sooner, but I am going to be really, really conservative and wait until it's been 4 weeks of rest.




I am very honored and excited to be a guest on Denny Krahe's Diz Runs podcast! Denny has been hosting his show for quite some time and has had an array of incredible runners on the show.
When he contacted me, I was really happy to sit and talk with him about all things running. We had a lot of fun and I am happy to share it with you :)







You can listen to the episode HERE!!




I hope you are having a wonderful week filled with fruit, sun and fun.




Happiness Is Running Life!


xo,
Natalie














Thursday, June 30, 2016

You Gotta Know When To Fold 'Em + 24 weeks

Hey friends.
Life as an athlete has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last few weeks.

It's been 6 weeks since I first noticed a slight twinge in my foot. This escalated into plantar fasciitis, and it's been a race against time to get it all sorted out and get back on track with my training for the Erie Marathon.



Mountain Life


Everyday in these six weeks has consisted of (except the one total week of rest I took from running):

1. How will I feel during my run today?
2. How long will the pain last? (The pattern had been that it would hurt at the beginning of the run and then subside about a mile/mile and a half into the run. The duration of the run would be pain free and I kept the pace slow. Some days I was able to get the pace up to a normal easy pace which was a huge win. Note: I got the ok from my doctor to run).
3. How will tomorrow's run feel?
4. How many more weeks left until the marathon?


I received my custom orthotics and I LOVE them. They are soft, comfortable and wonderful. My doctor and I were hoping (I have had them for one week now) that this would be the answer to the problem.
I had some great runs last week and on Sunday I ran 8 miles. 8 miles! The first longish run since Memorial Day weekend. It was slow, but pain free and I felt great. I was grinning from ear to ear when I walked in the door with Jerold high fiving me and for the first time in a while feeling like we had found a solution. 



Happy feet - eventually


Monday of this week I went for a run and felt horrible. UGH. The pain was back. Tuesday I tried again and basically shuffled my way through it until I knew I had to call it a day.
This was not fun.
It hurt pretty badly.

All I could feel was frustration. I knew that my training in these last 8-9 months had been gentle and careful easing into hills, speed and higher milege. We had taken the conservative route and I walked away from Boston feeling like I was in awesome shape and ready to use that base to work toward a serious break though marathon.

I still feel that way, but this is more than a hiccup. With 11 weeks left until the Erie Marathon, I woke up this morning and knew it would be a struggle to make it to the starting line. I mean, yeah - I could make it to the starting line, but I wouldn't be ready to race the marathon I know in my heart I can race. It wouldn't be fun to fly across the country to stand on the starting line knowing I wasn't ready.

Coach and I decided today that I will not be running Erie in September. 

Weight lifted. 

You gotta know when to hold 'em. 
Know when to fold 'm
Know when to walk away, 
And know when to run...

Now, we can keep pushing to get this foot healed and start the process of seriously running again.

With that said, I am not giving up on a fall marathon - so, what to do?






I am super excited to say that I will be running the CIM Marathon on Sunday December 4th!!

This race has been on my bucket list for such a long time - I signed up for it when Josh was a baby as a comeback from pregnancy marathon. Ultimately I didn't run it - I guess I lost the fire to train for a marathon for a while and got wrapped up in being a first time new Mom.

Anyway, I really feel like this is my time. 24 weeks to heal, build, gain my speed back and then start to train for CIM.

I feel like I can take a deep breath and I don't need that paper bag anymore :)

Here are my workouts for the last 2 weeks (I have also  been doing the Iron Strength workout from Runner's World, swimming, staying on top of my PT exercises and dynamic stretching + my go to yoga poses.)

June 13 - 19th  - 18 miles (3 days of 4 miles, 2 days of 3 miles)

June 20th - 26th  - 28 miles (4 miles every day + 8 miles on Sunday)

Stay tuned...

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie







Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Favorites!

This month is speeding by - mid June is here and things are busy, busy, busy. The juggle of keeping the kiddos entertained and happy + squeezing in running where I can fit it in keeps me constantly on my toes. Most days my PT exercises and strength work are done at night before I go to bed. 
I confess, I haven't been feeling the enthusiam of planking, push ups, bicycle crunches, squats (I am currently doing 3 sets of 15 reps with a 15 pound kettlebell) etc. etc. - I mean I really haven't. But, I got it done in a hazy fog of birthday party planning, Father's Day activities and baking. 
Yesterday, I baked blueberry muffins, a giant chocolate chip cookie AND homemade pizza. The state of my kitchen was so crazy, the thought of taking a picture made me cringe :)

I am running, so I feel thankful for that. Still painful in the beginning until I can warm up and a lot of treadmill running lately to keep it simple. The start of my runs are literally like over 12 minute pace - that is what my body can handle for at least 3-5 minutes and then I feel pretty good. At least no pain, which is a good sign. I am able to ramp up the speed from there and yesterday I was cruising at the end at 8:34 pace which felt so amazing.

Still breathing in the paper bag, because this is not what marathon training is supposed to look like, but I have to stay patient. 

My new orthotics arrive next week and I can't wait to start wearing them! Baby steps...

So here is what I am loving this week!!


1. Mercer Island, WA

I cannot believe that I live on the West Coast and have never been to Seattle. That seems crazy to me. My girlfriend who is such an awesome runner (You can read more about her HERE) just moved to Mercer Island and the running looks so beautiful there. So I am dreaming of visiting her and running through lush green trails, laughing and catching up - we have 7 kids between the two of us!




2. Alas, we are not going to Nantucket this summer, but I can lie on the beach and pretend I am there while reading Elin's newest book. 






3. My daughter turned 6 yesterday and she is dying to see Finding Dory, so that is what we will doing this afternoon. She loves my blog and asked if I would put the trailer on today. This is for you Megan - Happy Birthday! :)






4. Have you bought a t-shirt yet? I hope you'll join me in this campaign of giving. It's really a win/win - you get a tank top or t-shirt AND you are helping people who really need help right now. 100% of the profits go to help the people suffering in Orlando.
We need a minimum order to print the shirts, so join in and help spread a little love!! One week left to order! :)





5. I am loving this mascara from Beauty Counter! I love that they are really making an effort to take out toxic ingredients and using safe materials to make their products.
My girlfriend is a rep and if you want to try the mascara (or anything else!), you can go HERE for more info!






Have a fantastic weekend - run all the miles, eat all the food and have fun celebrating Dad!

Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Love Is Powerful

Hi friends,
I hope you guys are having a great week. Thank you so much for all the e-mails, comments and messages this week. I sound like a broken record, but I love the running community so much. 

My foot is still healing, but feeling a bit better. I was able to run Monday and Tuesday which was a great start to the week :)

Let's talk about giving for a moment, shall we?

I started a t-shirt campaign yesterday for the victims and families in Orlando. 100% of the profits will go toward the fund to benefit them. The campaign runs till next Friday June 24th and I hope you'll join me to help those in need...






We are probably all wondering what we can do to help, and I think this is a great way. Bonus - you get a cool t-shirt or tank top to wear on your next run or with your shorts this summer!

You can check out the campaign HERE. 

Let's spread a little love in the world and help others.

I hope you all had a fantastic run today and if you haven't run yet - you can still get it in. I love the super long evenings we are having as summer rapidly approaches.


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie


Monday, June 13, 2016

Erie Marathon Training Recap: When You Have A Hiccup, Breathe Into A Paper Bag + 13 Weeks Till Race Day


Please excuse the extreme ramble of this post....


Hiccup. 
Hiccup.
Hiccup.

Yep, I have a case of the hiccups and it's called Plantar Fasciitis.

I could start to hyperventilate. Or get angry.

But, I'm choosing to breathe into the freakin paper bag and take immediate action.

Let me back up a tiny bit so we can get on the same page...

A few weeks ago - around the middle of May, I walked across the room and felt a slight twinge in my left foot. Because I tell Jerold about every aspect of pretty much every part of my training - AND because I notice every twinge in my body - I immediately said: "That is so strange, but I felt a twinge in my foot and it feels kinda weird." 

His immediate response was, "Take time off from running and rest it." To which I am like: "Are you crazy? I'm not taking time off from running for a twinge in my foot that is probably nothing".

So, I ran. I had a good week of training, but the twinge was still there. I checked in with coach he had me do the following:

1. Gently roll my foot with a golf ball

2. Ice for 10 minutes, heat for 10 minutes, ice for 10 minutes

3. Roll and stretch my calves like it was my job

4. Pull my toes back and stretch

I also decided to purchase a new pair of Super Feet insoles for my shoes - the previous pair seemed a little worn and I was due for a new pair.
When I ran in college, I had a pair of custom orthotics (I suffered from REALLY bad shin splints and the PT recommended that I get fitted for custom orthotics) that I kept for a long time.

A few years ago I tried Super Feet and they really seemed to work for me. But, maybe not?

No pain running all week and we thought, anything that was there was caught in in time. Then I ran 13 miles on Memorial Day weekend Saturday. It was a great run, but I could feel quite a bit of pain in my foot at the very end of the run. I was scheduled to take the next day off and I did. I tried to run on Memorial Day Monday and was in a lot of pain, so we made the decision not to run until we could figure things out and I could run (and walk!) without pain.

A couple of days went by and I was starting to get worried. Was this really PF or something else? I had never had any problems with my foot or Plantar Fasciitis before. I decided to text a runner friend of mine (thank you Leslie!) and she immediately put me in touch with an awesome podiatrist.

The great thing about this doctor is that he is an athlete. Multiple Ironman, marathoner - a real athlete, so he gets it. He knew how much it meant to me to get back on the road healthy and as soon as possible.

** By the way, I was still kind of in shock over this. I am doing all my PT exercises, I am weight training and cross training and stretching like a boss. I've paid my injury dues - I should have some time in the bank before the sand rushes out of the hour glass, right?**

Anyway, doc gave me a big ole cortisone shot (we did not come to this decision lightly, as a cortisone shot is a big deal. You should weigh all the pros and cons and take the advise of your doctor) and taped my foot (KT Pro tape to the rescue!) like a mummy, told me to take the rest of the week off (so I would get a solid week of zero running), ice, stretch and pop ibuprofen for the swelling. Cross train and off you go. See you next week.

I had a choice - I could either: 

A. Freak out and worry about losing fitness and training time for my marathon that was 14 weeks away. 

or

B. Breathe into a paper bag and try to chill out.

I chose B. Let me say - B is NOT EASY. Some days you start to turn to A and then you remember the PAPER BAG and start breathing into it. The power of positive thinking is huge and necessary.

So, I go for a 2 mile run last Monday. I couldn't make it up the block. Seriously. I texted my doc and he says, "You need to run before Wednesday so we can further access the problem."
Okay.

My coach told me I needed more warm up time, so I tried again that evening. I did a super long warm up and ran 2 easy, easy miles on the treadmill. Success! Zero pain.
The next day I ran 3 miles. Zero pain.
The next day I saw doc and he fitted me for custom orthotics and put a super rush on it, plus he wants me to go to PT to get the area massaged and worked on.

Later that day I ran 7 miles and felt awesome. Thursday was a disaster. Three miles of horrible, can't wait till its over, blah running. 

Coach told me to take Friday and Sat off, and just swim and then run again on Sunday.

4 easy miles yesterday on the treadmill - SUPER SLOW. My body just likes slow right now. Slow makes my foot happy, so I embraced slow.

You know, when you put yourself out there in this sport, there is always the chance for injury. I think you need to be smart and do ALL the little things - dynamic stretching, drills, core work, strength training, sleep, eat well...
But even then, something may come up. For me, I truly think I need custom orthotics and I am really excited to get them.

As far as the marathon, I am still full steam ahead on my focus for Erie. This is just a little bump in the road and I will get through it. I know I have a good base behind me that I can rebound from the time off and reduced training for now.

Two more things to share with you about my crazy week:

1. My phone DIED. Literally, this weekend I charged it and it told me that it was overheating and then it died. SOOO, I have zero pictures for this post, because they are stuck on my phone for now.

2. Someone hacked my credit card and decided they would go shopping and try to buy everything in sight. Luckily, they got stopped and all is well.


Embrace the hiccups....


May 31st - June 5th: NO RUNNING. Cross training only (swimming and strength training)

June 6th: 2 miles

June 7th: 3 miles

June 8th: 7 miles

June 9th: 3 miles

June 10th: REST

June 11th: REST

June 12th: 4 miles

Total Miles: 19


How was YOUR week?

How do you mentally and physically handle hiccups in your training?


xo,
Natalie


Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Favorites!

It's the first Friday in June and it's time to party, friends! Only 17 more days until the official start of summer (Summer Solstice is June 20th and the longest day of the year).

Here's what I'm loving this week!


1.   It's NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY!!! Pop on into Krispy Kreme and get a FREE doughnut - no purchase required. Sounds pretty sweet to me. 
Dunkin Donuts is also celebrating, but you'll need to purchase a drink to get the free doughnut. 

Enjoy!!







2. Me Before You comes out in theaters today!! This looks like such an enchanting love story and I am really happy that they cast two relative unknowns. I can't wait to see this movie!   







3. We all want pretty toenails for sandal weather, right?! Check out THESE hot new colors for summer!





4.  I am loving this book - perfect for summer beach reading!






5.  Really loving THIS instagram account! She's an LA based Nutritionist + Dietitian and her food pics are drool worthy (and very healthy). Check it out!! 



Cheers to the weekend and happy running!!

xo,
Natalie