…Blink……Blink…..Blink….

…Signals of back to life….

I won’t belabor you with the reasons or how “crazy busy” (but for real) my grad-school life has been. Instead, I’ll share with you my thoughts and lusts and happinesses on this Friday night.

In things I want, pencils that make me write in my Journal again. I have all the feels and too little time to write them. Related, y’all it is HARD to live 3000 miles away from your boyfriend who you both love very much and also are used to pretty much seeing every waking moment of the day.

In other things that I’m missing: home. For some reason, perhaps it’s being busy or maybe it’s my second autumn away from home, but I’ve been really craving time with my best friends and family. It’s odd to not be able to have “birthday weekend” with Brooke. It’s not fun to see all of the Instagram photos from Appalachian’s Homecoming and not be there. Meh! I need to make a serious point to schedule trips home next fall so that I can join in on the fun again!!! PS: Someone buy me this, also.

Imma get a dog. A dachshund dog. Shhh, don’t mention it to my Mom. She doesn’t realize that she’s actually going to get it. Well, she’s going to get two. In all of my “I miss home,” “I want to be comforted,” “I’m entering a new, stay at home more, little bit lamer stage of life and am now magically ready for a dog” — well, I’ve decided that I’m ready for a new dachshund or two. My obsession has resulted in too much Pinteresting and daydreaming about a little fellow named Franklin.

I’m ready to start running. Yes, I realize that writing, NC, dachshunds and running are old news when it comes to Ashley — but stick with me. I haven’t ran normally in SIX months again. I re-injured my stress fracture in April and since then it’s been a frustrating path of getting fluffy. But I ran twice in the last week to no visible after effects on the leg. That means tomorrow I will try to run one mile. And then I’ll walk a lot. But if tomorrow is one mile it’s maybe one more mile closer to be being back to six. Part of my stress craze comes from not running regularly. I just know it. Side note: Check out “16 Breathtaking Runs Across The Country” by Buzzfeed. THIS is my front yard right now, basically. I need Andy to take me on the Seattle run this Thanksgiving.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.43.02 PMAll of this missing home, looking forward to what comes next stuff aside? Living in Boston is perfect for me. This city, every day I’m reminded, is a perfect place for my personality. It’s vibrant in an old, quiet, subtle way. The brick, the brownstone, the people. I really love living here. How many people can say that they walked past the lights of Fenway Park on their way home every night this week? I love that this week’s errands took me through the Boston Common, by Copley Square and constantly around the shadow of the Citgo sign. Boston is good. And while, foremost right now Boston feels brief. It is still, continuingly, a sweet goodness. I still know that this is just where I’m supposed to be.

So, consider this a dip of the toes.

I’m ready to be writing again.

And I’m ready to be talking about where this adventure is going next.

Perhaps all of the distractions above? Writing. North Carolina. Dachshunds. Running. Those distractions of comforts will keep me distracted from the anxieties that keep reminding me that change is … again … right around the corner.

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Imma be a Navy SEAL. Or something like that.

This post brought to you by the new VS bathing suit I ordered yesterday……And a desire to conquer looking good in it….

#INeedATan. Stat.

#INeedATan. Stat.

Cliff notes for those out of the loop: Ashley loves to run. Ashley’s leg(s) are fractured. Ashley can’t run right now. Ashley’s being creative at how she can stay active and not turn into a walrus.

This week was not the best.

My parents are coming next week! (!!!!!! I haven’t seen them in six months. This is exciting.) So that’s meant some serious advance working on other deadlines. It’s been coming together, but suffice to say that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week you might as well have called me Murphy.

Cause I was living Murphy’s Law.

EVERYTHING was going wrong. The worst. I haven’t had stress quite like that in a while.

When things go wrong, what does Ashley typically do to feel better?

Run.

Since that wasn’t an option, I was really blessed to have my rooms Sarah invite me to her Pilates class. She’s invited me a couple of times, but I had resisted because:
a) I thought my school gym pass was better than I have now learned that it is (no classes, what!?)

     b) I was intimidated to try something new

     c) I thought I liked other exercises more.

But let’s face it. “Man that ride on the gym bike just made me feel SO MUCH better,” was said by no one ever.

So Tuesday I squished myself into some Pilates clothes and went to what I thought was going to be mostly a mat workout.

That turned into actually being THIS:

That’s not me. I think my butt maybe got 1/4 of that high during this move.

I have officially been to my first Pilates TRX class.

Let’s just say “Whoa.”

I have never in my life sweat so much from staying in a 2-foot radius. It was pretty crazy. Actually, scratch that. Insanity made me sweat riiiiiidiculously. This was working on par with that though.

The focus on breathing and my muscles was exactly what I needed to stop thinking about everything else that was stressing me out. Not to mention that the way I felt the next day told me that it was a good workout. (My armpits were sore? I don’t know how that happens.)

When you Google TRX you get:

UM. It's serious.

UM. It’s serious.

I alternated between thoughts of:

– If this strap breaks, I’m breaking my face.

– It’s impossible to do this as gracefully as the teacher.

– I wonder if anyone notices I’m doing half of the sets?

– Thank goodness I squished myself into tighter clothes. Otherwise this would be a show in here.

– How in the world is that tiny girl on the other side of the room so good at this?! I don’t see muscles.

It was very hard. And a lot of fun. And now I’ve found another way to spend money and think I’m going to sign up for a month of classes.

I think it may be the just right thing to get me through this injury funk. Not to mention, there are regular pilates and yoga classes at this same studio that I can take advantage of.

Have any of you tried TRX? Anyone in Boston interested in signing up and going with me? It’s only $30 for unlimited classes for 30 days! I’m thinking about signing up at the start of July to get the most bang out of visits given I’ll be out of town a lot next week.

Body betrayal.

The past 13 months have been challenging. Spend 10 minutes talking to me about running and I immediately delve into how amazing it is; my exciting half marathon in 2013 and then inevitably conversation turns to “the injury.” A tibial stress fracture meant going from 13-mile runs to 2-mile runs. Running two minutes, walking two minutes, etc.

The definition of frustration.

But over time I was running again. It was maybe just three and four miles on a good day. But it was a run.

Until my grand accomplishment two Sundays ago––when Andy got me out on the esplanade and we ran a comfortable, fun, enjoyable five miles.

My longest run in 13 months.

I was enthralled.

And then I woke up to a sore leg that Monday.

And then I ran on TWO painful shins Wednesday.

A nightmare.

How could I have re-triggered the stress fracture so quickly? And how in the world could I now have symptoms of another one in my right leg?

To say that the end of last week I felt defeated was to paint a pretty accurate picture.

Turned out that my reporting assignment this past weekend would be both torture and exactly what I needed: I was covering the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half-Marathon and Festival.

That meant a day of interviews with Runner’s World editors. An interview with elite runner Shalane Flanagan. Seminars. Shoe workshops. And of course, watching thousands of runners conquer one of the most iconic running landmarks in the running community.

I got some of the best feelings of:

– Companionship. These people know how I feel.

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– Encouragement. (This was the best consolation ever on an injured runner having to rest.)

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– Inspiration.

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– Reassurance. I’m not a total dummy for hurting myself. It’s part of the package.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.43.52 PM One of the takeaways I sadly but also comfortingly took away from the seminars I visited was that injuries are a part of the package. You just have to know how to best try to prevent and then also best try to treat.

My current plan is a full week of rest. That week is up tomorrow. In the meantime I’ve retreated to my November Project Deck workouts since they’re less weight-bearing and still a good strengthening workout.

November Project Deck-A-Day

[Easy, just use a deck of cards. Draw a card. Black? Do that number of push-ups. Red? Do that number of crunches. I’m not big on crunches so I do planks, Britney Spearses (haha, I don’t know what those are really called) or other core holds.]

November Project Deck-A-Day

Does this look like a happy runner to you? I didn’t think so.

From here out, I’m going to do better about writing about running. When I’m intentional with running and recovery, I think that’s when I’m healthier and safer about it as well.

Grad school, you’ve been great for so many things! But you’ve been terrible for schedule and routine.

How do you keep consistent with your recovery plan? Any tips for coming back from an injury the right way? Have you been to the doctor multiple times about your running injury?

I’m seriously considering a visit back to the specialist–but I think I’m going to try to rehab it myself (the right way) first.

Currently:

Reading: “Run Like a Girl” from Ms. SincerelyLily. Yup, still haven’t finished. As soon as I do though, ladies watch out, this is a good one to pass along. It’s been really nice to be reading a running book given I’m FINALLY up to my longest runs since my stress fracture. Four miles. First 5k of 2014 this Sunday. Fingers crossed for a 25-minute run. Fingers crossed.

Watching: Movies on movies on movies. Has anyone seen “Captain Phillips”? What about “The Butler”? “American Hustle”? I’ve seen two, seeing “The Butler” tonight. Then FINALLY (lots of those) “Inside Llewyn Davis” tomorrow night.

Obsessing: Unscheduled interviews. I swear few things are more anxiety-causing than seeing a calendar tick away to a deadline and not be making any progress. Two weeks until a big story is due and only one interview scheduled! EEK! In the meantime, I did have a decent time putting together my first evergreen story of the semester. It was a fun piece to cover and learn about. More previews of me doing my thing, here:


Wanting: To get into a semester swing. It’s still kind of weird. My organization is a little off and so is my motivation, haha. That said, I’m really excited about a number of my classes and I’m so full of story ideas which is awesome. Now I need to get into a rhythm. This was my first actual regular schedule week–so I’m thinking next Monday will be like old hat.

Eating: Chicken pot pie. Homemade. Chicken pot pie. Yum. Also, having a beer. Andy and I made a “no drinking on week nights” pact a few weeks ago and it’s been really lovely. I feel a little healthier and also am sleeping better; and also saving money. Being in grad school there is always a reason and excuse to go out and socialize and grab a beer. It’s been a nice reason to take a step back. That said, when Friday comes I’m ready to kick back.

Fearing: I’m not sure. I guess that’s good? Maybe I’m most afraid that time is going to fly by again this semester and I’m going to miss opportunities. Opportunities to stay in better touch with family. Opportunities for internships and getting involved in broadcast activities. Opportunities to get ahead on projects and my thesis (eeeeeek). Opportunities to explore and have little adventures. I can sense a little bit of tunnel vision developing and I don’t want to lose a moment.

Missing: My girls. Having best friends far away is no fun. I think I was distracted last semester; but going home for winter break reminded me how awesome it is to have someone that you can just gush about everything (plus boys, duh) to. I have some amazing friends in Boston. I just don’t have a bestie that I’m quite on that level with right now.

Hoping: To go through my closet and get rid of masses of clothes that have still gone unworn. Like, seriously? How is this possible? I feel like I’m constantly getting rid of things but somehow I still have too much.

Accepting: That I will never be able to really stick to a 10:30 p.m. bedtime. I’m a nightowl and it is what it is. #yawn

2013 was just the prologue. 2014, I’m ready.

I looked back at 2012’s New Year’s Eve post today as I sat down. The first sentence said “I have the most deliriously, deep-to-the-bone happy feeling about 2013.”

Man.

Was I ever right to feel that way?

2013 was a year of conquering. For the very first time I think I really waded into some selfishness. I wanted to really evaluate what I wanted in life. What was I going to do to get there? For the last three or so years I had been floating along with good enough; and turned out––that wasn’t good enough anymore. In that case, I think selfishness is the way to go.

The list of 25 by 25 was a huge impetus to get my butt in motion. To stop talking so much and do a lot more. I never imagined how putting a list together and reflecting on action could make so much happen.

I mean, just the cliff notes?

– Visiting NINE new states.

– Going to Canada.

Me + Soon-To-Be-Little-Did-I-Know-Now-Current Roommate

– Running a 10K.

– Really kicking butt at my old job. I was given some great new accounts and was really proud of the work Woodbine was doing.

– Sibling beach camping trip.

Me + Brother

– Running a HALF MARATHON.

– Making some amazing new best friends. Ones that came in the last half and ones in the first (looking at you, Tara).

It's amazing how you can become best friends with someone in a minute.

It’s amazing how you can become best friends with someone in a minute.

– Little brother graduated and moved to college.

Davis looks good.

– Quitting my job.

– Welcoming Evan into the world. That was a best.

He’s growing like a weed, though.

– Moving to Boston.

– New, great roommates.

– Starting graduate school.

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– Teaching myself the guitar.

– A Savannah AOII reunion.

– So many sporting events. Countless Dash. W-S Open Tennis. A Braves weekend. Red Sox. Patriots. Panthers. Whew.

– Going to probably 10 concerts.

Boots and Coozies tailgating for Brad Paisley.

Boots and Coozies tailgating for Brad Paisley.

– Being at the Macy’s Parade for Thanksgiving.

– Staying close with best friends. Even when they’re freaking far away.

Katieryn LANE! (Wright.)

B + VK + Me. ❤

Sha. ❤

Roberta and Stephanie. 🙂 Rob and Steve, you know I love you.

Denise and Briana. Derek and Brad, you know I love you too.

The B.C. to my A.D.

Linds Love.

V found me in Boston.

And of course Kait. Plus Sha. Plus Brooke.

Mushy.

Mushy.

PS, if you’re my friend and don’t have a nickname we apparently need to work on that.

– Finding a new church.

– Coming back from a rough sports injury.

–  Starting OVER with friends and coming out with a pretty amazing group.

Broadcast Family Class '14

Broadcast Family Class ’14

– Oh, and a new boyfriend. That’s a pretty big deal. Love this guy.

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I pretty much (minus a few 25s) crushed 2013. I honest-to-God do not know how it could’ve been better unless someone came out of the scenery and gave me like $100,000 or something.

Seriously. I am so freaking blessed.

And on the one hand where I am infinitely grateful to the things that God has moved in my life; I am also just so proud of myself. I know I couldn’t have done it without Him––but there was a part that required me to be brave. And there was a part that required me to have some insane trust and at the same time strength.

Moving to Boston was one of the most terrifying and gratifying things I have done. But I couldn’t see the gratifying part while I was laying in the floor of my Winston-Salem apartment crying my eyes out. Committing to a Boston apartment before I was sure that I wanted to leave? Committing to an apartment before I had let anyone know? That made it real. And that made it scary. But I took a deep breath and I went.

There have been equal forces at hand in each part of 2013.

The incredible joy of travel while facing an uncomfortable fear of flying.

The reward of returning to school with the painful goodbye and sadness of leaving an office made of my second family.

The excitement of new friends while missing the old.

The happiness of conquering change while feeling the holes of traditions and being with family.

The fresh victory of testing my body and seeing my running capabilities blossom with the regret of pushing too hard and finding its limits.

The amazing excitement of  love and then also the fear of vulnerability.

My life is amazingly balanced. And if you know me, and how Libra I really am, you know that I couldn’t be happier. On a daily basis I am amazed at the fullness of my heart and the satisfaction I have.

For the first time in a long time I don’t feel like I am settling.

2014 you have one heck of a lot to match; but I feel confident. I feel excited. And I feel like I’m going into 2014 with the best momentum I could ever dream of.

You know when you were young and adults would tell you “Just wait, these aren’t the best years of your life.” I had the scary and happy and confused and curious thought recently that . . . I think 2013 was. I think it was one of the best. And I think 2014 will be the second. This roll that 2013 started doesn’t feel like it’s settling down. Instead,  I really think God just got started. 2013 was a prologue and I damn can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the next act.

So for my annual predictions.

Last year I called: Happy changes. Beautiful friendships (new and old). Fun celebrations. Promises followed through. Adventurous travels. Getting out of the comfort zone. Being invested. Healthy growing up. Lots of love.

And I want to keep all of that. But I’m going to add:

  •  A little growing up. 25 is young; but I can grow.
  •  A graduation.
  •  A stronger family.
  •  A running come-back story.
  •  A giving back to the city I’ve fallen in love with.
  •  Decisiveness.

Decisiveness? You might say. Yes. I think 2014 is going to challenge my confidence in the big decisions. I’m going to need to jump fast and with my whole heart. I’m going to have to know what I want, how I want it, when and where. And I’m going to have to be 100 percent in those big choices.

I want to go with my whole heart.

And if 2013 is any indication, I know I can.

Kick-Ass Workouts + Grassroots Fitness: November Project

Hey guys, remember when about three months ago I was getting really whiney about how out of shape that I was getting? Well that’s stress fracture recovery for you.  Granted, I now more than ever, know that I should have really tried swimming.

Well as of almost three weeks ago, I’ve started going to the most f***ing intense workouts ever.  November Project.

(They use that word a lot, so I’m allowed to here too. I’ll censor it for my grandma-reading audience though. Hey Mamaw : ) )

Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6:30 a.m. all over Boston come rain, snow, ice or shine. And these workouts are hard. as. hell. But the community that’s there is incredible. You show up and you don’t know 95 percent of the 100 people there. But somehow as you’re doing this workout at the crack of dawn, you feel a weird endearment and bonding to all of the people sweating, hurting and pushing alongside you.

New Balance really said it best with the video about the group and honestly, watch it. Like seriously. Watch it:


We joke that it’s like a cult. But seriously, I’m knee deep into the kool aid. Like can’t even stop talking about it. Since my first Friday hills workout I went to class afterwards and told new friend Jeanna. The next time I went it was me + Brian + Jeanna + Roxanne and the next time Dana + Andy came.  It’s an addiction. (And also, obviously good for making friends.)

To get that kind of adrenaline kick at 6:30 a.m.?

It’s all great in September when workouts are a balmy 60 degrees. In January? This is going to be ROUGH. But more than anything I’m seeing the importance of accountability which is what this program is all about. This morning and Monday morning, there is no doubt that I probably would have flaked out if I hadn’t told Jeanna that I would be there and then know she would be waiting for me.

But beyond just working out. This is so good for my mindset when it comes to recovering from the ongoing stress-fracture debacle.

In four months of recovery I had done a few lame runs. Towards the end of my time in Winston-Salem I think I did three or four walk/run days.

Since I’ve started November Project? *Mind you, these are MWF days. So not consecutive.

  • Day 1: Hills. A total of over 4 miles including my first long solid run (HA, 1.2 miles) home.
  • Day 2: Stadiums. I did half of Harvard Stadium. 19 sections. I couldn’t do stairs right for four days after that.
  • Day 3: Hills. Over 3 miles of hill running. There was walking. But it wasn’t because of my leg. It was because that hill was kicking my butt.
  • Day 4: I ran 3 miles. THREE MILES. All the way to a circuit workout.
  • Day 5: I ran another 3 miles. THREE MILES. No stops. No pauses. No walking. No checking the clock. But I finished it in less than 30 minutes. And I felt good enough to then do 12 stadiums at Harvard Stadium.
First day at Harvard Stadium. You guys, this is where thighs and butts get wrecked. So. Steep.

First day at Harvard Stadium. You guys, this is where thighs and butts get wrecked. So. Steep.

You can BARELY see her; but my girl Jeanna finished the whole freakin' stadium this morning. 37 sections. Her second time. She's a badass.

You can BARELY see her; but my girl Jeanna finished the whole freakin’ stadium this morning. 37 sections. Her second time. She’s a badass.

Like seriously, that’s the dedication? I missed my alarm clock this morning and missed my ride. So instead of taking a cab or whatever, I ran three miles. I booked it to get there just in time to start with the last group.

I’m so excited to be reclaiming what was an active lifestyle. These guys are badass. I’ll never be quite like that. But you know what? Just being around that energy makes you find something else a little deeper you might not have ever discovered.

There are November Projects starting all over the country. Don’t live in a city that has one but want to get involved? This month November Project is doing a #DeckADay challenge. You can find out all of the details here (all you need is a deck of cards); but suffice to say it’s an amazing bootcamp for your core and arms–and it’s pretty straightforward. Love me some simple workouts.

Man, I love running.

Now, about that GPS watch I’m asking for for my birthday. Any tips on brands or what to look for?

Next up in fitness posts: I’m finally starting a book that I got from Lily over at Sincerely Lily. Can’t wait to share some more running good stuff.

Brewing Changes: Catamount Chapter

 

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Today was a good day.

I crawled out of bed. I walked to the kitchen. Put on a pot of coffee and pulled out the bacon, along with the hash browns, and smiled at the feather-covered country eggs. All multicolored and ready for goodness.

I heard my mom in the shower and my dad snoring.

I knew my brother was sleeping heavy in his bed across the hall from mine.

But there was a reason I was home on a Friday morning mixing up a breakfast on a day that I should’ve been back in Winston-Salem getting ready for work and shuffling off to the office.

We shared a family breakfast and a family prayer and got ready to turn a new chapter.

We counted the bags and labeled the boxes. And piled it all into the car.

And it was off through the mountains towards change.

Today was a first day of new sorts. There were no backpack photos or smells of fresh new paper; but there was a discount couch and a bag of hangers; suitcases of clothes and new bedding. There was a desk lamp and a TV and a relocated x-Box.

There was and is a new Cat Card with my little brother’s face on it.

Jake has gone to college. And I am so grateful that I have the ability to drive home late on a Thursday night to totally surprise my family that I would be joining them for the big move.

Little bird has flown a now empty nest.

As siblings, I feel like I have a pretty great relationship with my brother. But given that there are a handful of years between us, sometimes I think I go to a matronly sister place. Sometimes I’ve been more of a protector than a playmate, more of an example than a peer. (Though I absolutely promise there have been co-conspirator moments.) For that reason, I had some mixed feelings about seeing little brother all grown up. So excited for him. But kind-of sad and old feeling for me : )

Of course it was a moment that I wouldn’t miss for the world!

So blessed to be there to have a family breakfast and be part of a family support for an overall big change that will touch every member of our little-four.

So many adventures in front of him; I would be lying if I said that walking college dormitory hallways didn’t make me ache for my own days at Appalachian State.

Great adventures await.

I hope he takes every opportunity and makes it the very best four years possible! But regardless, day 1? Day 1, I’m a super proud sister.

Heck, he may make me not hate Western Carolina after all is said and done. Maybe. Strong maybe.

Breakfasts, family, friends, changes, pride, amazing cool August weather, a run at Lake J, an evening with the parents chilling out — a good day.

And, shhh but I think I’m still pushing it on my running. But . . . all feels good for now!

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GOOD DAY.

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Back to Being “Me.”

Today was my second workout since getting the clearance to run again and boy, was it lovely.

It had just stopped a torrential downpour, so while it was steamy––the air smelled wonderful. Every tree I ran under was beautifully fragrant.

photo 1

Winston-Salem kind of view.

Plus, those new running pups I showed off last week? Amazing.

What’s your favorite part of running in new kicks?

Mine is a number of things: the way the rubber feels like it’s kissing the pavement with each step; the way the laces are clean and shiny; the way your foot feels like it’s getting to know a new friend and isn’t entirely familiar with its accompanying sole. It was a good bonding first run in my new Brooks. They are really living up to my hopes. While I had totally aimed to roll back on the effort while running I still managed to keep my miles under 12 minutes––again alternating 1 minute running, 5 minutes walking, repeat.

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The ole’ stress fracture felt fine. That leg continually has a little discomfort, but it’s no longer the fear of “am I going to land funny and my leg break!?” — Drama queen. Now it’s just the familiar tight muscles and aches that come with an injury and too long on the couch. That said, calf stretches are my very best friend right now.

photo 2

New shoe love. Calf stretch love even more.

For the first week in a while I’m actually focusing on cooking + healthy + veggies + balance when it comes to eating. There has been a wealth of things to stress about the last few weeks and as such, so many things to stress eat on : ) It was super nice to have some green pepper, spinach pasta and chicken sausage for dinner. SO tasty.

Great start to finally feeling like I’m getting a grip on how things used to be! Back to being me.

Shoes are serious.

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New running kicks! Love. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13.

Now, while I’m the first to admitting that I can go a little crazier than needed on flats and wedges and boots…oooh, boots. Those shoes are important, but running shoes? So much more important. You need to take it serious. Why?

Darn injuries. Wander over to my search bar and enter “stress fracture.” That will get you up to date.

So for this reason, if you’re a beginner runner (who may not know better), an average runner (who may be too cheap or maybe just a little lazy), or even an advanced runner (who may be stuck in a shoe routine rut)––I wholeheartedly recommend getting fit for shoes.

Tonight I went for the third time to our local Fleet Feet in Winston-Salem. I wish that I had taken more photos to document, alas. More important things on the brain like shoes!

So. Why get fit?

– Everyone’s feet are different. (Are you flat footed? Do you have a high arch? Do you have weird toes? Ok, maybe less of the last one.)

– The way your feet are determine a little bit the way you walk and run. (Maybe you’re one of those golden “neutral” runners, but I bet a majority are under- or over-pronators; which means you roll your ankles a little inward or outward when you run. You may have no idea you do this. In fact, you’re probably totally unaware.)

– The way you walk or run affects your feet, your ankles, your legs and even your hips. (If your ankles are rolling around while you run, muscles are having to work harder than they should.)

– Shoes can affect your personal gait to make it more perfect.

Which all means, the right shoes mean no injuries and a faster, healthier you.

So, what to expect? That classic shiny silver foot measurement. I’m always appalled by this. I typically have totally average 8.5 sized feet. That’s totally normal. Impossible to find cute shoes in the sale section. But for running shoes? I’m a 9.5.

In regular shoes? I’m a regular.

In running shoes? Narrow is SO MUCH more comfortable. (Stop judging my long skinny feet, I can feel it.)

Lastly, I’m a little flat-footed which means that I roll my ankles outward a little more than usual when I run.

So that means I get some pretty sexy superfeet inserts and I get the foxy running shoes with a thicker sole (stability runners, total hot stuff material). Again, don’t judge.

But once you’re given some choices of shoes to try out, walk around the store in, and just as importantly to run on the treadmill in—it’s really easy to figure out which ones are best for you. They just fit right. Which means, they just feel right.

I’ve been an Asics loyalist (specifically the 2000 series) since I started running so tonight I felt a little bit like a cheater; but . . . I switched to Brooks. And these babies? They feel AWESOME. No more scary recovery runs where I keep wondering if I’m going to re-injure myself on the next step because there will no longer be that voice in the back of my head that says “You need other shoes!”

Here’s to running!

#runhappy

Stress Fracture Recovery Day 1

Today is a great day. Today is the first day that I’ve been able to lace up for a run in TWO months. That’s a long time to someone who is used to running five days a week. Forever I went back and forth as to, do I go to an orthopedist? Do I just rest on my own?

A month into my injury I knew I needed someone to look at my leg and I’m extremely glad that I did. It wasn’t cheap. But for someone who’s hoping to run a marathon in the next 12 months it’s worth it. I can’t imagine the doctor bills if I returned to running too fast and landed myself with a worse injury or something that would plague me moving forward indefinitely.

Two months of doing nothing was hard (and I shouldn’t have done nothing. I can’t help that swimming just doesn’t quite seem to be my thing : ) Maybe it was that I was scared of swallowing water so I didn’t breath normal? Whatever it was I sucked, but I digress). But my doctor told me that’s exactly what’s helped me get to where I am today, two months later and able to start on a recovery plan!

Fractured leg, take that.

This past week I went for my follow-up orthopedist appointment and he told me that while yes, I should likely have a bone scan–he’s confident enough in the injury and happy enough with my progress to not go that route. Instead, he asked how I felt about starting to run every so often. I replied that I had a dream that I was running 10 miles the night before and laughed that I could only assume that that is NOT what he had in mind.

Instead I take it gradual.

Has anyone done a couch-to-5K? I haven’t but I’ve been told my plan is similar.

Run 1 minute. Walk 5 minutes. Run 2 minutes. Walk 5 minutes. Run 1 minute. Walk 5 minutes. Repeat.

Every other day. Three days a week.

I can increase the running part by 1 minute next week. But I have to take it easy and listen to my body. I should never feel that same pain in my leg. Who knew? If I hadn’t gone to a doctor and started to run, experiencing a little pain I would have assumed it was “normal, just getting back to routine.” Instead I’m having to really listen to my leg.

Running today was freaking exciting, but there was a part of me that was scared the whole time. Is it going to start hurting this time? Is this hill going to hurt it? Oh no, forget uphill…downhill is much more difficult. Maybe this bridge is bad for it . . .

But come a return around Lake Junaluska back to my car I was a little happily surprised to see two things:

1) I finished 2.3 miles with a sub-12 minute pace. (I maybe should have gone a little slower when I was running, ha.)

2) My leg was just kind of sore in a muscle way. Someone has sore calves and shins!

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It was a gorgeous day though and I am so freaking optimistic about getting back on track.

This is seriously one of my faaavorite places to run.

Happy girl.

Now for the fun to-do list:
– Buy new shoes. Yup. These darn pink things are the culprit, I just know it.

– Find a half to run next spring.

– Find a full to run next summer / fall.

And I’ll be raring to go (who am I kidding, I already am).