Reset.

Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.

resetbutton

Blogging around these parts for the past year has been sporadic at best, in case you hadn’t noticed.  Between school, my job from hell, and, oh yes, that little ditty called LIFE, my brain was being pulled in so many different directions, it felt like I was coming apart at the seams.  Every damn day was becoming a battle, so much so that the brain had nothing left to vomit.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it just suffered a major meltdown.

stressed

I hope I’m not jinxing myself,  but it seems like things have FINALLY somewhat calmed down, at least to a more respectable level of chaos.  I had to make some hard decisions to try and reduce the stress level, and they seem to be working for the moment.  I was over the whole going to the gym thing – not for any particular reason, just over it.  Without really putting much thought into it, the hubs and I started using that Amazon Prime membership to the extreme and began collecting random sets of free weights.  Then Pilates balls.  Then a weight rack for all those randomly selected weights.  Now a weight bench.  Lo and behold, before we even really noticed, we’ve now got ourselves a sweet little convenient garage gym, complete with live entertainment.

Wonder Mutt gym dog.jpg

“Let’s go lady, I ain’t got all day.”

In all honesty, it’s pretty damn awesome to just walk out the hall door and get a good sweat on, even if it is a million degrees and you’re sweating just breathing.  But when you look down and see this fuzzy face looking at you like you’re insane, it makes it all worth it.

Even if she does occasionally find it necessary to add a little more unnecessary resistance.

As I start really buckling down for November’s Wine and Dine Half, the cross-training aspect is going to play a major part of the training process this time around.  This will be my last Wine and Dine Half, at least for a while, (yes, I AM that whiny one who’s still pissed about all the changes to what was the best race EVER), and I need to be smart about finding the balance between what I hope to accomplish – a 2:00-2:15 half – and nursing the knees along for the first race post #brokeknee surgery x2 (recaps here, here, and here).  Every run so far has been somewhat of a mystery as I get used to a new reality of what strange crap I’m going to feel each time out.  I’ve been assured by my PT, chiro, and two orthos that I’m not doing any more damage to my knees, so I can do whatever I need to do at whatever pain level I can handle, if any.  As opposed to before the surgeries, the pain is now pretty constant, but at such a low level that I barely notice it anymore, unless I move funny and tweak something.  I take this as a win when before, the pain would peak and stay there, making any kind of speed next to impossible.

Pain tolerable was what I was shooting for post surgery, and pain tolerable is what I’ve got. #ftw!

pain tolerable

And it’s all good.

The balance will come into play big time this training cycle around with cross-training.  I need to build up the strength in the muscles surrounding my knees, slowly build up the mileage, and really just listen to what the good ol’ bod is saying.  Feeling too beat up today?  No problem!  Yoga it is.  Feeling that LSD run from a couple of days ago?  Off to the pool we go.  Need some extra muscle cuddle time?  Well, looky what we’ve got here!

Let's go lady

“Move it woman.  These weights ain’t gonna lift themselves.”

She’s a bit of a taskmaster.

The training runs so far have been slow and an exercise in patience, but now I look forward to each one – as opposed to before when I was dreading what would happen around Mile 6.  I’ve made some adjustments to my equipment, (hello compression knee sleeves!), and no longer have to wear the dreaded Monster Brace From Hell.

So the name of the game this time around will be “let’see what’s going on today.”  Not exactly the model of half marathon training plans, but hey, it works for me.  I look forward to every run now, I’m loving life in the land of garage workouts, and I have a new chiro who doesn’t waste her breath telling me I shouldn’t run.  Hopefully, the tropic steaminess will start to back off a little, caution and patience will pay off, the knees will cooperate, and the encouragement I’m getting from the hubby and running friends alike will continue.  I’ll check in along the way and hopefully have more than a few humorous training escapades to report. Until then my running buddies, may your runs be pain-free, the swampass minimal, and the run-ins with Zika skeeters non-existent.

skeeters

Bastards.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you currently training for a fall race?  Does your training plan include cross-training?  Are you angry with the changes to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend?

 

 

 

Just Be Grateful

Holy macaroni Black Dog!  Where the hell have you been??!!

Well, let me tell ya…..

Life has been total dog poop lately.  Shootings, mass murders, radicals running people over in the name of some twisted ideology, police officers being murdered simply because of the uniform they wear, the worst choice of presidential candidates in probably forever.

2016 elections

For. Real.

It would be way too easy for me to continue down this road of all things bad, but I just plain don’t want to.  Everyone has an opinion on everything, including me.  Much of what I think and believe is bound to piss off somebody, and this is not what I want my little corner of the world to be.  It’s much, much too easy to get sucked into all things negative, and once you do, it’s a hard pit to crawl back out of.  So, I’m just not going to go there.

Positivity-and-How-To-Change-Your-Life

Hey there cutie!

That’s the beauty of running, lifting, yoga, even SUPing….you can be in the worst place mentally, and sometimes – nothing is foolproof I know – just a few minutes out in the fresh air can totally change your perspective.  That little smile and wave you get when passing a runner going the other way, watching the fish scurry around under your board as you paddle by, actually feeling your head clear as you go through your yoga practice – ALL GOOD THINGS.

I admit sometimes it definitely takes a Herculean effort to get your head back in a good place, but once that effort has been put in, the payback can be priceless.  Sometimes that effort includes stepping back from the things – or even the people – that can bring you down and make you feel like there just is no good stuff in the world.  Your training may not be going the way you want it to.  Just stop for a minute and be grateful that you have a body that at least allows you to put one foot in front of the other.  Your significant other left dirty dishes in the sink again after you’ve asked them repeatedly to just wash them and put them away.  At least your significant other is still there to annoy you.  Your boss is up your dupa again over something totally ridiculous.  Why not be grateful that at least you have a way to pay your bills, when so many others do not.

 

It’s a simple thing…

just-be-grateful-85204354

 

In a world that, at least these days, is so centered around hate, fear, and hurting each other, it’s sometimes hard to see the good in life.  So I send out this challenge to you:  each day, if you feel yourself going down that road to bad crap, just stop.

Stop and look around you.

Stop and breathe in the air.

Stop and smile at someone you love.

Stop and think if you really, truly, are as bad off as the guy sleeping on a bench in the rain because he has nowhere else to go.

Stop and think of the people whose loved ones will never walk in the door again.  Ever.

Then maybe admit to yourself that your life isn’t quite as bad as you thought it was.

 

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Enjoy the ride.

What are some things you’re grateful for?  Do you find it difficult to pull yourself out of a bad place sometimes?  What do you do to try to remain positive?

 

Getting My Zen On

I’m embarrassed to admit I have NO idea the last time I paid a visit to my little friend.

Hello my friend.

Hello little friend.

Carving out the time to – dare I say it? – actively RELAX – just wasn’t on my calendar.  However, now that I have all this free time on my legs, with constant urging from Sandee The World’s Greatest Yoga Instructor

The not so furry one.

The not so furry one.  No, the other one.

…and the fact that the hubby was kind of enough to offer to pay for my classes, I suddenly found myself walking back into my long lost place of all things zenlike.  It was like coming home again.  Except with a ceramic elephant.  And shoes all over the place.  And bare feet everywhere.  Gross.

Having not participated in what the hubs likes to call bendy-bend, I had no idea how absolutely comedic this was going to turn out.  Comedic simply because I have an issue with gravity.  Or maybe better put, it has an issue with me.  Actually, I think it loves me.  A LOT.  Too much methinks.

Yup.  That's me.

Yup. That’s me.

Gravitational issues aside, I rolled out my mat, grabbed a cushion for my busted up knees, and hoped for the best.  Sandee thankfully took into account said busted patellas, and kept the class as knee-friendly as possible.  After the first few minutes of ujjayi breathing, cat/cows, forward bends, and chattyRhonda thingies (NOT how that’s spelled), it all started to come back to me.  I could literally feel my blood pressure dropping and the stress melting out of my overloaded amygdala.  (Not really but it sounded pretty cool, didn’t it?)

amygdalaAfter completely losing track of time – which I think is what’s SUPPOSED to happen in yoga class, isn’t it?- it was time for good ol’ savasana.  Ohhhhh savasana, how do I love thee?  Let me count the zzz’s.

Zzzzz, zzzzz,zzzzz

Zzzzz, zzzzz,zzzzz

You really do appreciate how much you miss doing something when you’ve been away from it, and this was no different.  I may be out of the running game for a while, but with a little bit of patience, a LOT of balance practice, and Sandee putting up with me making up some pretty funny poses of my own, I think my time spent on the mat will be well worth it.  Who knows?  Maybe all this warm and fuzzy zen-ness will even turn me into a more patient patient.  Doubt it.  But you never know.  Namaste.

Patience

 

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you find yoga makes you feel better about yourself?  Has it improved your running?  Have you ever fallen asleep in yoga class?  And started to snore?

The Three R’s

Rest and recovery.  Two words that may not register with the most diehard of runners.  Not a problem for this Black Dog.

Or this one.

Or this one.

If there is one thing that running for more years than I can remember has taught me – HONOR THY REST DAY.  A lot of practice – and colds – has proven that if I push my running to more than 3 or 4 days max, then I am bound to get sick or injured.  It’s also inevitable that if I add too much mileage too soon, then Little Miss You-Know-What shows up too.

Oh.  It's YOU again...

Oh. It’s YOU again…

As I was web-surfing looking for some credible information on the benefits of a little R&R, I came across this article from Runner’s World, (because who wouldn’t love just about anything found in the holy book of running?)  One of my favorite parts advised runners should get as much sleep as possible, 10-12 hours a night if possible.  And…NAPS!  Oh sweet manna from the heavens!  FINALLY a justifiable reason for my weekend snoozefests with the Wonder Mutt!

zzzzzz,zzzzz,zzzzz

zzzzzz,zzzzz,zzzzz

The Black Dog Nap Time Happy Dance was short-lived though, when it was also recommended to foam roll.  EVERY. DAMN. DAY.  Oh the humanity!  To say the love/hate relationship I have with my foam roller leans heavily to the hate side is putting it mildly.  I believe I’ve actually seen the hubby cover Calypso’s ears when I’m in the midst of said self-torture.

foamroll1

Ever hit that sweet spot along your IT band when all of a sudden everything just…shifts? In the name of all that is holy, what the crap IS that?!?  It’s like all of a sudden my tendons just turned into Silly Putty that some little ankle biting monster kid decided to stretch and mush and beat to a pulp before shoving it in his mouth to chew it into submission.  Before of course spitting it back out again to see if you really can mush it into the Sunday comics and pull up the pictures.  Quite the image, isn’t it?

Yeah, pretty much.

Yeah, pretty much.

Thankfully, that creep-me-out-wtf-IS-that feeling is quickly forgotten with a good dose of pigeons and cows.  No no no, not THOSE pigeons and cows.  These guys…

This is what I look like in these poses. Okay, maybe not.

This is what I look like in these poses. Okay, maybe not.

Just like on race day, every one has their own way of getting through the rest and recovery days.  My non-expert, I’m-not-really-a-runner-I-just-play-one-on-TV advice?  Do what works for you.  Honor the rest day, and let the body that works so hard for you get a day off once in awhile.  You just may be surprised how much it thanks you later on.

As far as the third R?  Did you REALLY have to ask?

hehehe....

hehehe….

Enjoy the ride.

Do you honor the rest day?  What do you do to allow your body to recover, especially after a hard workout?  Are ‘ritas an integral part of your recovery program?