Running Archives - Kohler Created

Weekly Workout Recap (4/22-4/28)

By | CrossFit, Exercise | 2 Comments

It's crazy how motivating this little flower is... #vzwvoices #fit

Well, as you can see below, Neil had a rough week. After doing back squats (the athletes are in a strength cycle and building new PR numbers every week with certain movements), he pulled a hamstring doing a cycle of sprints. He’s doing better, but is on limited movement workouts until his hamstring heals. Our trainers have been great in helping him treat it, and he’s been more mobile than both he and I thought he’d be at this point. It’s a level 2 muscle pull, so it definitely could have been worse, and for that we’re pretty thankful.

I’m a week into my new programming and really enjoying it for the most part. I managed two PR’s last week in both my bench press (95 lb) and front squat (165 lb), and the workouts are definitely putting my strength endurance to the test. I’ve had to adapt several of the workouts to accommodate some concerns about my shoulders (high-rep snatches) and equipment we don’t have at the gym (Airdyne), but I think my adaptions maintained the intent of difficulty.

I will say that I’m definitely missing the social aspect working out with the rest of the class, especially Neil. This programming has returned me to solo workouts, and it’s kind of bumming me out. What I love about CrossFit is collectively slugging out workouts with other people, and with the exception of one day this past week, I’ve been completely alone. My trainer has indicated that the programming will merge more in the future, so I’m looking forward to that.



3×5 Squat (Add 5lbs to Last Week) – 190 lbs
3×5 Press (Add 2.5lbs to Last Week) – 115 lbs

WOD: 5 Rounds
100m Sprint (11-12 seconds)
– Must not deviate +/- 2 Seconds From Original Time. Penalty is 30 Evil Wheels.


A. Build to 1 RM incline bench press (95 lbs – 25 lb PR)
B. Amrap ring dips in 5 minutes (begin the 5 min with 1 amrap unbroken set and record score) – Got to 27

WOD: 10 rounds for time:
10 toes to bar
10 hand release push ups
Finish: 10:40



Warm-up: Relay + Med ball

Strength: 5RM DL (Following the Last Few Weeks, Try to Add 5lbs To Your Working Sets) – 255 lbs

WOD: 10 Rounds For Time
7 Wood Choppers (Left and Right)
5 T2B
Finish: 8:19


Warm-up: Relay + Med ball

Row 3 min for max cals/miles
Rest 10 min
No pacing, all out efforts

Finish: Finished between 640 and 680m for all three rows. Cut the rest time to 5 minutes instead of 10.



Relay warm-up

5×3 back squat – 195 lb
Sprints – pulled hamstring, could not continue workout


Warm-up: PVC + relay

PR’d my front squat today — 165 lbs! Second PR this week.
Establish 1RM Front Squat: It’s been forever since I established a 1 rep max front squat. My old PR (that I remember) was 125. I PR’d with a new max of 165 lb. I think the 175 is close, just need to tighten up a bit more on my form.

25 at 45 lb
25 at 75 lb



Warm-up: Relay with oly tech

WOD: 12-9-6-3
Push Press (did strict press at 95 lb)
Ring dips


Crazy amount of snatches in this workout, but I can definitely feel myself getting stronger and closer to my goal of an 85lb!
Warm-up: PVC and 25 snatches with a 45 lb bar.


A. Power snatch; 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1; rest 3 min (at 65 lbs)
Airdyne 30 seconds @85%
Airdyne 30 seconds @50%

The workout originally slated for 20 rounds, but time and concern for my shoulders made it 6 rounds for me. There was no prescribed weight accompanying this workout, so I chose 65 lb.



30 minute recovery run – covered about 3 miles with the dogs in a run/walk.

Do you prefer to workout solo, or with other people?

Hitting the ground running…again…

By | CrossFit, Exercise, Running | 5 Comments

It feels like forever since we last talked about running, and to be honest, it’s because we really haven’t done any this summer. The heat has been unrelenting, leaving minimal time for good (read: enjoyable) running. If you can believe it, temperatures really only dip below 80 degrees from 5:00-7:00 AM, which as you can imagine doesn’t help our motivation either. Running in heat drains our energy, and doing so before our work day even starts is something we really can’t afford with our demanding jobs. We like running, but not that much.


Neil’s Memorial Day “Murph”

So for the most part, we’ve been forgoing running and prioritizing CrossFit for our workouts this summer. The short, high-intensity workouts give us a little more bang for buck for our effort, and also include plenty of cardio and some running. However, as the summer wanes on, I’ve definitely been missing my dedicated running time. And we’d both like to run in a race/event again. So we did what anyone needing hope and motivation would do, we signed up for a race.

We are now registered for the Roots N Blues N BBQ Half Marathon/10k. Neil is going to run the half marathon and I’m going to run the 10k with my brother. It’s the first “official” 10k for both of us, and I’m excited to run it with him. The three of us are also eyeing the Bass Pro Half Marathon in November, when it’s hopefully (:fingers-crossed:) a little cooler.


Neil was long overdue a new pair of running shoes, so he picked up a bright yellow pair of Inov-8 ROAD-X LITE™ 155’s. He already has a pair of Inov-8 BARE-XF™ 210’s that he wears for crossfit, but the 155′ offer a little more cushion without sacrificing the minimalist fit we now prefer. The 155’s are feather light at only 5.5oz, and when running in them you feel no weight at all on the foot.


I wasn’t due for a pair of shoes, but I got a nice surprise on Saturday when Neil brought home a pair of grey Inov-8 F-Lite 195’s for me. A member of our box ordered a pair in the wrong size, and asked Neil if I might be interested in them. I’ve just started breaking them in, but they are awesome! Light and super soft. Yes, soft. I can’t believe how delicate they feel, yet how sturdy they are during my workouts. Like nothing I’ve ever worn. I’m a die-hard New Balance Minimus fan, but I can definitely see why so many CrossFit athletes (and Neil) go with Inov-8.


The bad news? Our shoe collection is quickly turning into a hoarding situation. Above represents only 1/3 of our collection (not including hiking or professional shoes)…

When do you say goodbye to old shoes?

The countdown begins…

By | Goals, Jessica, Running | 8 Comments




Just a few days left till my first half-marathon! I’m in full-scale nervous energy preparation mode. I’ve broken in my shoes, downloaded tons of new music, planned my warm-up, fueling and hydration, asked people to come cheer me on (or collect my corpse if necessary). I’m pretty sure Neil thinks I’m crazy, as he stayed up late partying the night before his last half.

Food this week has been super clean but random. Sautés with lots of lean meat and sweet potatoes. I’m getting excited, but am super nervous and a little worried. When I signed up for the race, I had in mind the cooler, rainy May weather we had last year. Saturday’s forecasted temperatures are now in the mid-nineties with high UV indexes. It feels like a cruel bait-and-switch, but it’s my own fault. Even though I know it will be cooler in the morning, my low blood pressure makes dizziness, overheating and passing out a very real fear. I want so badly to do well, but I already feel myself slowly conceding that finishing is now my goal instead of the faster pace and times I trained for. I know it probably sounds silly to all of you who are seasoned runners, but I’ve wanted to badly for this race, my first one, to reflect how far I’ve come in the past 9 months.

In any sense, enough of my whining, let’s talk about you! What is your favorite race memory (good or bad — I think even bad experiences make for good story!) or tips for a first-time half-marathoner?

Zoom Zoom!

By | Automotive, CoMo, Exercise, Freelance, Racing | 2 Comments

This weekend went fast, but thankfully, we maximized every minute of it. We had kind of an ambitious list of to-do’s. Training runs, workouts, car painting, a client website go-live and some hefty yard work. I worried we might have set our sights high with the hot weather in the forecast, but we pushed through, and even though I think we set some new lows in personal hygiene, we arrived at early Monday morning with almost everything done.

Saturday Run

Saturday morning started bright dark and early for me. Because the weather was supposed to be hot and super humid, I wanted to knock a run (the #Blend5k) out early, before the heat could literally stop me dead in my tracks. I know I’ve talked about my struggles with endometriosis in fitness but I also struggle with extremely low blood pressure. While most people would be happy to have low blood pressure, and I’m certainly not complaining, it does sometimes make endurance exercise difficult, especially if it’s hot out. I get very dizzy and disoriented — not good.

Since I was on a mission to beat the heat, I cranked out a 4-ish mile run around my neighborhood in about 45 minutes. I mapped the route the night before on MapMyRun. How did I just find out about this app last week? As you can see on the map, we live in a neighborhood with lots of twisty little paths, and when you collect them all together, you can crank out some good distance runs without even leaving the neighborhood. Perfect to liven up my routine morning run route.

Came home from my run to this scene...

I arrived home to this comfy scene. If I wasn’t so sweaty, I probably would have climbed back into bed, but instead I started the coffee and hopped in the shower.


Neil and I had made plans to hit the Farmer’s Market early Saturday. You have to go early, or they sell out of everything fairly quickly. We also like to beat the crowds and peruse a bit before making our decisions. However on this day, everyone seemed to have the same idea, the market was packed!


Since we made the mistake of arriving hungry, we grabbed a breakfast burrito to share. They are usually one of the first things to sell out, and now I know why. So good!


We picked up a few new herbs for the garden. My basil and cilantro have been ravaged by slugs, so I need to eradicate and slowly replace. So bummed. I also picked up some parsley and thyme.


While we were there we came upon this awesome display of bees that reminded me of Chrissy. So jealous of her urban homestead!


To eat, we picked up huge bunches of spinach and asparagus, a dozen eggs, and fresh garlic. Quite the haul!


After returning home and taking a short nap, we made a few stops around town for some new workout gear and swim trunks for Neil. Since it’s getting hot, I decided to purchase a few Reebok sports bras to work out in. I’m still a little self-conscious about bearing my pale programmer’s skin to the world, but it’s too hot in our CrossFit gym not to.


Once the sun started to go down, we ventured out for some yard work. I took to trimming back (read: hacking to pieces) shrubs while Neil mowed.  The yard is a jungle of every native flowering and invasive species imaginable. It boggles my mind that anyone thought this was landscaping. This little patch took me an hour to weed and chop.


Sunday was paint day for the car. Over the past few weeks, Neil has been prepping the car to paint the roll cage. He’ll talk more about it in his post, but essentially, painting the roll cage prevents undesirable rust from forming. Because of the nature of the rust preventative and paint application cycles, you have to kind of schedule your whole day around applying, waiting and painting. We applied two coats of the rust preventative, and three coats of the paint. Definitely sweaty, smelly work. More pictures to come!


In between coats, I managed to clean the house and catch a short nap so I could stay up late for the client implementation. We went live with our latest client’s website Sunday night, and I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome. I love how a single process can create such a variance in the different solutions and aesthetic elements that emerge with each of our clients. It’s just a fun thing to see.



To top off our Sunday, we also had a HUGE dinner comprised almost entirely of these steaks. Being a former veg, I used to hate steak, but once you have fresh grass-fed steak, it’s impossible not to want it every day. It doesn’t hurt that Neil is an amazing grillmaster. He gets the crust on the steak just how I like it every time.

So that was our crazy weekend, how did yours go?

Hurry Hurry Curry Chicken Salad

By | Appetizers, Food, Main Courses, Recipes, Running | No Comments


I feel like this week is slowly slipping through my fingers. I’m scrambling to finish work and freelance projects in the hope that I can leave for BlogHer next week with a somewhat clean slate and a window of opportunity to relax. It doesn’t help that I’ve entirely procrastinated on getting ready for my trip. I am such a conference newb at this stuff. I’m really excited to go, I just have a growing list of to-do’s and the fun extracurricular stuff just keeps falling further and further down the list. Such is life I guess right? Have you ever attended a conference? Have any tips for me?

Despite all that’s going on I hit a major milestone this week. I ran outside. In the HEAT — the upper 90’s no less! This may not seem like such a big deal to most of you, but for a girl with Endometriosis who never thought she’d even be able to run, let along run outside in the worst heat of the summer, this is HUGE! I only did a mile and a half before my pelvis felt like it was about to fall out, but I feel great. Maybe a 10k this Fall is possible?


In an effort to make some extra time, I’ve been whipping up ridiculously easy meals this week. So far this Spicy Curry Chicken Salad has been my favorite. A little greek yogurt and mayo, some chicken and some yummy fruits and veggies does a good sandwich salad make!


1 ½ pounds cooked chicken, diced or shredded (it should be somewhat cooled)
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 cup grapes, halved (any variety works)
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, grated or sliced thinly
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, curry powder, seasoning salt, white pepper, thyme and cayenne. Test the flavors and adjust to liking if necessary. Add the chicken, grapes, celery and carrots. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with hearty bread or crunchy crackers.



There are a lot of overly complicated chicken salad recipes out there, but I really keep mine pretty simple. We picked up chicken and grapes, but everything else was already in our pantry. It’s easy, light and has a warm and spicy taste to it. I’ve been obsessed lately with a german dark wheat bread that we came across randomly at the grocery store. The bitterness of it went so well with the slight sweetness of the salad. You must give it a try!

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup and Snow Daze

By | Goals, Kitchen, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Soups, Yoga | 2 Comments

Spicy Tortilla Soup

We woke up this morning to 8 inches of snow. Everything was and still is completely covered, including the roads. I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to Missouri’s idea of snow removal. Just because people drive on it and does NOT mean it’s clear! If we didn’t have the Jeep, we’d be home right now, but since we do, we were able to make it to work fairly easily.

I’ve been pretty frustrated for the past week. I feel like we’ve run into hurdle after hurdle trying to stick to our gym and running goals. First we had a snowstorm, then the flu, and now another snow storm. I’m hoping we’ll be able to make it to the gym tonight (it hasn’t actually stopped snowing), otherwise I’m going to have to resort to my stack of workout DVD’s and some living room yoga, a real treat with two cats and a dog.

Clive has sympathy flu.

Neil and Clive during our bout with creeping crud.

Needless to say, between being sick and being cooped up, we’ve been eating pretty light. I still don’t have much of an appetite, but soup, toast and fruit have been my go-to meals and snacks for the past few days. It feels pretty nice. Even though we didn’t commit to doing a real detox, eating clean and simple foods has been detox enough for my system, and we’re realizing we should probably be doing it more often than we do.

I fell in love with tortilla soup in college. I worked in a natural health market, and fell deeply for Amy’s Tortilla Soup. I’ve been trying to find it for years, and have yet to find it again. Devastated and wanting tortilla soup to warm winter nights, I’ve been experimenting with tortilla soups for the past month. I’ve made two different soups, one that I completely hated and this one that I completely love. Herein is my favorite, thus far anyway.


25 oz. crushed tomatoes
15 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
4 oz. canned chopped green chile peppers
2 habaneroes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ medium onion, diced
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 ½ cup fresh or frozen fire roasted corn
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheese
Baked Tortilla Chips
Greek Yogurt


Spicy Tortilla Soup

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Slow cooker instructions: Place the spices, tomatoes, chiles in adobo sauce, broth, garlic, onion and peppers in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low for about 6 hours. Approximately 45-60 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add the chicken and the corn.

Stovetop instructions: In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, habanero and chiles in adobo sauce in a tablespoon of canola oil. Add the tomatoes and spices. Bring to a light rolling boil and add corn and cooked chicken and and reduce heat to medium. Cook through for 45-60 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, then sprinkle with cheese, Greek yogurt, avocado, lime or tortilla strips.

I learned in all my research (hey, I did some serious digging on this topic!) that there seem to be two schools of thought on tortilla soup: more liquid and broth-like or thick and chunky. We happen to prefer the thick and chunky, and if you do too then this is a tortilla soup for you. It’s hearty without being heavy, and spicy and lightly sweet with tomatoes and the chiles in adobo, which I swear are now a pantry staple for us. I hope it warms the snowy nights for you as it did for us, and just think, January is almost over!

How do you combat cabin fever stay on track with your fitness goals?

Easy Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones and Shin Splints…

By | Food, Main Courses, Recipes, Running, Vegetarian | 13 Comments

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

As soon as it gets cold, really cold, all I really want when we get home from work is bread, cheese and blankets. I have so little motivation and while bread and cheese surely tastes great, too much is definitely not an aid to our better health. So last night when I was craving calzones, had to hit the gym in a few hours, and knew there was nothing else in the world that would tame my craving, I made some changes to our recipe…

The dough is thin and light, and I went easy on the cheese and marinara and stuffed them with veggies. Even with my substitutions, they were perfect and hit the spot. Bread and cheese cravings tamed again for another day, well hopefully several days, otherwise my family’s tendency to adopt the Hobbit diet plan during the holidays might kill me. First breakfast, second breakfast – you get the idea.


For the dough:
1 cup (6 ounces) of water
1 packet of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
3 cups (10 ounces) whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten (optional)

For the calzone innards:
2 cups artichoke hearts
2 cups olives, halved or quartered
2 cups marinara or tomato sauce (your preference)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup oregano (dried or fresh)


Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

1. To make dough: Between 30 minutes-1 hour before baking, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. If you plant to use a baking stone, place it in the middle of the oven. Add warm water to yeast and whisk and stir yeast thoroughly into water. Allow the yeast a few minutes to dissolve. Measure flour into a mixing bowl, add salt and brown sugar and use your hand or whisk to combine.

Mix until dough is stretchy and just a bit sticky and turn onto counter to finish mixing/kneading. Place in a covered bowl and drizzle a glub or two of olive oil over the top and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

2. When the dough is ready pull from bowl and knead until olive oil is thoroughly mixed in the dough. Divide into four pieces, rolling each piece out, and laying it on your pizza stone/baking sheet.

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

3. Layer 1/2 of the dough with marinara and top with cheese, artichokes, olives, garlic and oregano. Pull empty side over, and fold edges over to seal or use a fork. To get the trademark crescent shape, gently fold the edges and straight side toward you in a “c” shape.

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

4. Brush each calzone with lightly beaten egg and bake for 18-22 minutes (depending on your oven). Allow to cool for several minutes before removing.

Makes 4 calzones.

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

Veggie Artichoke and Olive Calzones

So good! Hit the spot completely and we have two leftover to munch on sometime this weekend while we’re busy running around trying to get ready for Christmas next week. Hopefully you all are a lot more organized than we have been this year. Where did December go?

That brings me to my latest newb running issue. Shin splints. As I’m rounding the year mark since I started running, I’ve only just now encountered what is seemingly a common problem for most runners early on. It’s mainly in my left leg and it stops several inches below the knee. I can usually run about 3/4 of a mile before my shin starts tightening and I’ve only noticed this problem since October when I bruised my right ankle running trails.

I can’t help but think that maybe I’ve changed my stride from that injury. Coupled with the fact that because of the weather I’ve been trapped on the treadmill which had caused more change in the way I typically run. I’m not ready to make a PT appointment just yet, but wondered if my more experienced fellow readers might have suggestions or insight?

BTW, can I just say that I hate the treadmill with the intensity of a thousand erupting volcanoes! I just hate the treadmill. It’s boring, it doesn’t adapt to the change in pace, stride or movement natural running takes and it just doesn’t relax me. Unfortunately, until the ice melts off the streets, I just don’t feel comfortable trying to run outside and possibly slipping and hurting myself again or worse than I did in October.

Can I get an amen!?

My First 5K = My First Race Summary!

By | Running | 9 Comments

Me After

Well, as Neil would say, “I deeeeeeed it!” I ran my first 5k! In 37:25, so not too shabby for a first-timer, and considering the rain and cold we ran through, I had a pretty good time doing it. Everyone was totally right when they said it’s completely addictive. It’s amazing to not only feel like you’ve reached a milestone, but so early in the morning with so much day leftover to boot!

We were up bright and early with the non-existent sun at 6:00 a.m. We had to be downtown to pick up our registration packets by 7:15 a.m. yeoooww! We made it and by 7:30 were waiting around with nearly 7,000 other people ready to brave the wind and threatening rain for what is one of the biggest races of the year in southwest Missouri. Since it was so early and the weather was so terrible, there were very few spectators (including our would-be photographer). There were however tons of people dressed up in costumes, some dressed in whatever they could throw on (camouflage and cowboy boots, really?) and some had some enviably cool cold-weather racing gear. My gear wasn’t fully dry from the wash (doh!), so I was dressed in my mother-in-law’s leggings, my new North Face Shell and a long sleeve t-shirt and my Apple hat. Yup, completely newb and geek ‘till the end.

Neil After

We started out in the 11:00 minute mile group. I wanted to run where I was comfortable and not feel like I was totally out of my element. Next to me was a woman with her three-legged dog. Perfect, I thought, as long as I could beat the three-legged dog I wouldn’t feel like a total failure.

Within the first mile I put several beats between me and the three-legged dog (he didn’t plan ahead and had to pee several times). I was running among a few first-timers, a seventy year-old (!!) and lots of kids. There’s nothing more humbling than being pace-matched by someone nearly three times my age and a bunch of ankle biters who won’t be able to vote till I’m nearly forty. The course wrapped around my former college campus, and it was cool reminiscing at how much my life has changed since I last walked the campus. I ran past my art building, the library, my former dorms and my all-time favorite take-out place (Dragon Inn anyone?).

As expected, my endometriosis decided not to take the day off. Around the 1.5 mile I definitely felt the pangs of what I like to call “Ovary Tweak.” It literally feels like someone is twisting my ovary, and the pain was quick to shoot down my entire leg, stopping around the knee. It was aggravating, but by taking longer strides and a few quick walk breaks, I kept it at bay (gotta have a sense of humor about it).

Post-Race yumms

After the race, we enjoyed a celebratory breakfast at Einstein Bros. Bagels. They have ridiculously good hot chocolate and pumpkin bagels, and Neil is fully amenable to an IV drip of their coffee should they ever offer it. Like his foam hat?

All in all it was an amazing experience. I’m already looking forward to my next race, hopefully sometime after the New Year. I’d also like to up my game and do a 10k. More than anything, I’m so glad I never just accepted the bad days and painful moments as what I was limited to. I also want to thank everyone who has given me support, not only in the weeks leading up to this race, but throughout the year as I’ve posed plenty of dumb questions and been kind of a hanger-on to many of you.

Stay tuned for our Thanksgiving Recap, with amazing pictures courtesy of Neil’s cousin Austin!

These Shoes are Made for…a 5k?

By | Exercise, Rant, Running, Thanksgiving, Weekend | 6 Comments

Saucony ProGrid Guide 2

My new shoes back in February

So if you’ve been following my ramblings on Twitter you know that I finally signed up for my first 5k a few weeks ago. I know I don’t talk about my running as much as I should, or even as much as I’d like to, but I’m really self conscious about the level of progress I’ve achieved. It was my New Year’s resolution to run a 5k and it’s taken me all year to feel good enough about my ability to finally achieve one. I don’t say that because I am just that humorously self-depricating or have low self-esteem, because I don’t.

IMG_4617 [1024x768]

My first big hike: Flat Top Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park

I do however have endometriosis. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll try and give you a brief explanation that hopefully isn’t too TMI.

Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that behaves like the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) to grow in other areas of the body. Usually this happens in the pelvic area, outside the uterus, but it can also be found on the ovaries themselves, the bowels, rectum and bladder. The result is pain, irregular bleeding and infertility, but not every woman experiences the same symptoms, making diagnosis without a laparoscopy difficult.

Rachel and I

Rach and I in High School

The first time I noticed something wrong was in high school. I joined the swim team and was swimming roughly 5-6 miles, 5 days a week. I would cramp so badly that I would literally sink like a rock. Despite my excellent health, I felt constantly fatigued and on the verge of passing out. I ended up quitting the team, because despite taking excellent care of myself, I wasn’t making any improvement and my symptoms would just come and go, making me a very inconsistent teammate.

When I went to college, put on weight and wasn’t as active, my symptoms really weren’t all that pronounced. I had several cysts and some doozy menstrual cycles, but was told by my gyno at the time that it was completely normal, so eager to have one less thing to worry over, I put it out of my mind.

After I’d met Neil and decided to focus on getting healthier and more active, my symptoms started creeping back up. At first I wrote them off as me being a newb and just horribly out of shape. As I got in better shape though, and the fatigue and cramping didn’t subside, I thought maybe I was dehydrated and not drinking enough water throughout the day, so I drank glass upon glass of water and monopolized a stall in the bathroom nearly twice an hour. But the pain was purely in my pelvis and shooting down my right thigh, so then I convinced myself that it was because I was a woman and “those” issues could pop up at any time.

But the nagging paranoia started to get the better of me, and I decided to do some digging. I talked to every one of my family members about their medical history. Endometriosis, chronic cysts and hysterectomies became common among all of them. Concerned and wanting advice, I found a new gynecologist, and she did several lab workups and ultrasounds. The only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopy, a minor surgery that uses a scope to explore the body, but she said with all diagnostic certitude aside, that all evidentiary indicators pointed to endometriosis.

Looking out

Apgar Lookout, Glacier National Park, Montana

While it’s comforting to finally know what’s wrong, it’s frustrating to feel like you have to work twice as hard to do something that others talk about as being easy. Some days, I want to reach through the computer and punch people who say things like “just did an easy ten mile run, off to yoga!” I’ve gone home and cried myself to sleep after not being able to run a mile when just two days before I finally made it to three. I think the hardest part though is convincing people that endometriosis isn’t just a bad period or a few wayward mid-cycle cramps. My fatigue never really goes away and the cramps and bleeding are like a bad surprise party.

Despite all this, I’m excited to finally run a race. I’m tired of feeling like a poser and putting it off. Even if my time sucks, even if I have to walk some of it, it’s still going to feel like an accomplishment just to show up and not be afraid anymore.

Did you experience unshakable fear and panic before your first big race?

Running Report: Five Things I’ve Learned as a Newbie Runner So Far…

By | Exercise, Running | 2 Comments

I’ve been learning the RICE method of recovery for my ankle.

Despite my current appearance (slimmer), I’m not a long-time athlete or even active person. I never played high school sports, was never in youth-league sports and didn’t really grow up in what I would consider an active household. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen my dad run once in my entire life, and it was when my brother took a wooden swing to the face on a playground. Needless to say I had very little knowledge knowledge outside of what I’d picked up from magazines and high school health class. I’d always maintained my weight through good diet and and an unfortunate high-stress lifestyle and for the most part it was relatively simple. But when I started working out and running just over a year ago, I learned a few things very quickly, especially when I started running in the hopes of completing my first 5k. When it comes to learning new things, I tend to do it in one or two ways. I either completely over-research and over-think the details or I recklessly throw myself into the wind and hope I don’t land wrong. With running it was the latter, and I’ve had to learn some hard lessons on the road to not only being able to run distance, but increase my stamina and endurance. I’m also dealing with my first injury, or rather re-injury to my left ankle. Nothing has been a show-stopper, but I’ve definitely incurred some setbacks and re-thinking when it comes to my technique. Here are a few of the big lessons I’ve learned:

1. Too Much, Too Fast, Too Soon: If you’ve never met me (and I need to do a vlog soon), I’m a lot of personalities, in a non-clinical way. I’ve got a little bit of everything and I want to do everything…usually simultaneously. This carried over to working out and subsequently running. Because of my schedule, I was trying to dramatically increase both my speed and distance at the same time, because in my head I thought I could run more in the relatively short time I have available. Needless to say it not only doesn’t work, but it puts too much on something that should be enjoyable (or at least tolerable). So I chose to focus on distance, and for the most part run till I was tired and no longer able to rebound with short stints of walking. Incrementally I’m increasing my distance more and more, and my lung and heart are learning to accomodate.

2. Stretching? What Stretching?: My running for the most part, unfortunately, has been in the gym on the treadmill. I’ll run for the duration of my workout while Neil is doing weights and when he’s done I jump off the treadmill and leave. Forgetting to stretch, or just not doing it has been a terrible mistake. Not only do I feel stiff and terrible in the morning, but my muscles don’t heal well, and my next run invariably suffers. I’m getting better, and I’m also doing more stretching during the day to stay loose. I do yoga in my office, and before bed. I make an extra effort to incorporate stretching while I clean the house. I’m seeing incremental improvements in my endurance and times. To me, stretching is just as important as the run itself.

My awesome Saucony ProGrid Guide 2’s

3. Equipment: I used to think “optimum” equipment meant replacing your mall-store shoes every so many miles. Boy was I wrong. For Valentine’s Day, Neil took me to get fitted for a pair of real running shoes. I got an awesome pair built and designed specifically for running and they have made a marked difference. Not only do I not have any more shin pain, but the cushion and fit has helped my stride and taken pressure off my previously-injured ankle. I thought such a venture would cost quite a bit more, but I didn’t spend any more than if I had gone to the mall, and I got a great pair of shoes tailored to my feet.

4. Hydration: For the first few months (ashamed to say it was up until a month ago) I was not hydrating properly. I would lug a huge water bottle on the treadmill and get mad when I was still dehydrated. I was trying to drink while running and it was messy and ineffective. Neil noticed my cotton mouth and asked what I was drinking during the day. Um…Diet Coke? I was drinking no water during the day, other than maybe a mouthful in passing a drinking fountain. I was dehydrated all day, before I even stepped on the treadmill. Problem seen, problem definitely fixed. I drink water throughout the day, at least two glasses while I’m at work. Sure, I’m in the restroom more, but I’m also no longer dehydrated on my runs.

5. Change it up: I realized quickly that I’m not a euphoric runner. I don’t see Jesus, I don’t have mental renaissances and for the most part I can barely focus on anything other than staying on my feet. Running for me is honestly boring, especially on a treadmill. Maybe that will change once I can go full out more often and not feel like I’m merely trying not to die, but for now it feels like a process and something to overcome. Rather than get frustrated that I’m not having “the experience” I’ve continued to look forward and run toward the goal of that feeling. To do this, I’ve started varying my speeds and breaking up the distance into smaller goals and milestones. It not only makes time go faster but builds a stronger cardio workout because I’m constantly challenging and recovering my heart rate.

Learning all these things has given me a better running experience over the past month, and I’m continually feeling more energetic and better recovered the day after. With more attention to what I do before and after the run, my runs are getting easier and more enjoyable. I’m finally able to vary my speed comfortably and enjoy running with other people at a pace where I can still hold a conversation! I’m still a complete newb but I’m building a knowledge bank and setting a course for better, more effective workouts every time.

Have you ever hit any roadblocks or learned some hard lessons on the road to reaching your fitness goal? Have a great method to share or have any suggestions on my continuing journey? I’d love to hear them!

A special thanks to Aurora at Dispatches From the Castle and Ashley at (Never)homemaker for providing great info and support!