Has It Really Been 6 Months?

Testing…Testing…Is this thing on?  Oh hey, yeah.  So, it’s been 6 months since my last post.  6 months since I decided to take a break from social media.  Crazy enough, I never once missed it.  And it’s true, I never found myself twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do with myself.  That was a bit of a surprise, but pleasant all the same.

Heidi Reading With Pets

Truth be told I wasn’t completely away from social media as I continued to maintain a couple accounts that I work on for others. I would also sign in to my personal Facebook account now and again to scan my feed to check if there was any need-to-know info.  (Thankfully I did.  If not I wouldn’t have found out about a death in the family.  Amazing how much we rely on social media to share info and forget about other forms of communication.  No criticizing.  Simply an observation.)  But it was nice not to get all caught up in what was immediately ‘surrounding’ me.  I guess it’s true that sometimes ignorance is bliss.

So what has happened in the past 6 months?  If you think about it, life is kind of like a soap opera I guess. A lot happens…but then again, not so much. Know what I mean?

For those wondering how my first ultra went I’ll give you a cliff notes version. It was everything I thought it’d be….and also not.  I really had no expectations other than to finish so I went in with a pretty open mind.

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

The views in Page, Arizona were absolutely phenomenal but the course was a BEAST. Grand Circle Trail Series said to prepare for sand…and they weren’t lying.

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

The first 23 miles were DEEP sand with about 2-3 of those miles being technical ‘slick rock’ trail around Horseshoe Bend. I’m amazed that I only walked away with one blister.

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

The last 11 miles were packed dirt of the rim trail around the city.  Pretty easy terrain but by that point my body was ready to be done.  My legs started cramping, my stomach started churning, and my mind wasn’t in the best place.

Grand Circle Trail Series - Antelope Canyon

I initially expected us to be finished in about 7 hrs but Heather forewarned me that the fastest finish last year was 8+ hrs….so I knew we’d be out there for awhile. With that being known, our goal was to complete it before the 11 hr cutoff. We were stoked when we met that goal and finished in 10+ hrs.

I have no plans to go any further in distance but I’d love to do another ultramarathon….hopefully with less sand.

Since I last posted I also ran another half marathon.  This time I made my way up to Zion National Park with my friend Laura.  Once again the views, company, and post race hiking made the trek TOTALLY worth it.

Zion Half Marathon

Zion Half Marathon

Zion Half Marathon

I had a pretty rockin’ race season.

After that the temperatures started creeping up, making it known that summer was coming here in Arizona.  I’m still running daily but since I run in the midday heat I only average 2-3 miles.  Since DH and I moved I haven’t been in the gym lifting weights as much as I’d like but that should hopefully change now that we’re finally getting settled.

Which brings me to the fact that DH and I moved.  After 3 years in our last place we decided it was time for a change.  We stayed in the metro Phoenix area but the move means shorter drives to work and also a bit of an upgrade in the place and location where we lived last.  We have a trail within walking distance and although I’ve only hit it up once since we moved just over a month ago it’s awesome to know we have one in our backyard.  Can’t wait to explore it more.   Needless to say, we’re thrilled with the move and couldn’t be happier with our decision.

New House

I traveled the first 3 months of the year for races (oh yeah, I went to Colorado too!).  Then DH went back to Ohio to visit family, we spent a weekend in Vegas, then dug right into organizing our move, moving, and then DH going out on tour.  In other words these past 6 months we’ve kept busy…living.

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Time For A Break…Again

If you’ve followed me long enough you know that I’m no stranger to taking a break from blogging.  Usually it happens once a year and I never set a timeline for return. I just return when it feels right.  This time will be the same.  However, instead of just taking a break from blogging I’m also going to disconnect from social media…that includes Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’ve changed my settings to receive notifications should anyone attempt to contact me, and I may check in on Twitter and Facebook once every few days, but that’s it.  In fact, the apps have already been deleted from all of my devices.

I’m not doing this as an experiment or to see how long I can last. I’m also not trying to take the whole, “Look what I’m giving up for Lent,” angle either. (You know, when someone gives something up and instead of it being being kept between them and the higher power it’s more about attention seeking) No, I’m not not looking for a pat of the back or to draw attention to myself. In fact, I debated on just disappearing but didn’t want ya’ll to think I went into the witness protection program…or something. It’s just time for a break.

Will Return - Break

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Swole Mates

Me: We’re going to be Swole Mates
DH: More like Sore Mates
Both: (laughing)
Me: This is true…

At the risk of sounding and looking like New Year resolution makers, DH and I joined our local YMCA this past week.  Keeping it real, it really does just happen to be a coincidence.  I swear!  Remember, I don’t make resolutions.

YMCA

Prior to moving to AZ I was a member of our local Y. Given that I was training for triathlons at that time it was a necessity to have access to a pool.  When we moved I canceled my membership and hoped to rejoin once we relocated.  While the closest location when we moved happened to have an AMAZING aquatic facility it was also close to 30 minutes away and oftentimes packed.  In addition, I had decided that triathlons just weren’t my thing, so it made no sense to spend our already limited budget on something that was so far away and that I didn’t really need.

Instead, I took to the roads and mountains nearby our home.  Once I started at my current workplace I was able to join the fully equipped gym to take classes and jump on the treadmill if need be.  I was set.

After I was reintroduced to swimming and overcame my unnecessary anxiety while training for my first triathlon, my love for the pool reemerged. Giving up my pool time once we moved bummed me out. So when a brand new Y opened up just down the street from our home this past June I was stoked.  However, after taking a look and realizing it wasn’t the typical lane pool I was used to (only two lanes and much shorter), I talked myself out of joining.  Once again, I had everything I really needed being able to run outside and the gym at work.  Not to mention, while I only pay a minuscule amount to use the gym at work it would be more money out of our pocket.

YMCA

But things change….

I’ve spoken about DH’s time in the military along with his chronic issues that stem from his time in service.  I’ve also documented how he was one that got me into running and how we used to run together.  Since then his conditions have only worsened.  He has taken a stab at getting back into running more than a few times but is only met with pain and frustration. He has done his best with the limited amount of free weights we have here at home but if we’re being honest he has no set routine.

He has been under constant care via the VA for his conditions but as they’ve worsened so have the amount of tests and doctor’s visits.  Just a couple of weeks ago he had another EMG.  (He’s had 4-5 since 2000). For those unfamiliar with an EMG, it’s where they stick needle electrodes directly into muscles and send impulses to record the reflexes of the nerves and muscles.  (READ: test from hell.) EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission.

Something that the doctor asked even before the testing took place, “Has your right leg always been so disproportionately smaller than the left?”  Huh? Just one of many accidents DH experienced while in the Marines was a torn right ACL.  While repaired, to this day it still causes him issues…and just one of many conditions that hinders his physical activity.  Sure enough, simply measuring and comparing his leg to the other it is obvious that he has some muscle atrophy.  How could we both miss that?!

While we will continue down one of many paths as we deal with all of DH’s issues and conditions it was a sign we need to do more.  Don’t get me wrong, we are not complacent when it comes to DH’s conditions or treatment.  Trust me.  However, it’s time that we look at things a bit differently and try something different.  Because obviously what we’ve been doing hasn’t been enough.

YMCA

So, when DH showed an interest in joining the Y I was all for it.  While we aren’t flush with money (when will we ever be?!) some recent changes have allowed us to have a more flexible budget when it comes to spending.

Instead of DH’s sole exercise being on running, as we’ve attempted in the past (and found isn’t conducive), he can work on rehabbing with the use of weights and swimming.

Not only will I have access to the pool but this is the opportunity for me to give strength training a go.  Facts only: I’ve only entered a weight room once or twice and promptly retreated out of my own anxiety.  Gasp!  Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ girls.  No, I’m not fearful of getting bulky, but I’m totally intimidated by the weight room. By having DH with me it takes my anxiety down a few notches. Strength in numbers, right? Not to mention, I’m horrible at cross training. Remember, I just run. I know I need to mix it up….and want to.  But running is what I know and what I do…but you know the say…

Keep Doing #quote

(Side note: Big high five to Heather G. for her confidence boosting posts and putting even more fire under my butt.)

It’s not just going to be good for him and me…but for us. DH and I used to run together everyday.  While we didn’t always stay together it was still our ‘together time’.  I miss that.  We’ve needed and have been looking for more ways to reconnect. We both agree that this will provide the perfect opportunity. He can show me what he knows…and everything else we can fumble through together.

I’ll be keeping up with my trail running, especially as I finish up training for my upcoming Ultra.  And sure, I’ll still take advantage of my workplace gym here and there.  However, since I know we’ll be working out at a different time I’ll no longer have to bust out lunchtime workouts.  In turn, this means we can now meet up for lunch whenever we’d like. (Coincidentally we work only 1 mile away from each other but have yet to take advantage of the opportunity).

YMCA

During our first trip yesterday we busted each other’s butt and shared a few laughs. We walked out with jelly arms and legs but with smiles on our faces. This should be an interesting adventure!

YMCA

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Ringing In The New Year Rested

When people would take time off at the end of the year to simply burn extra vacation days I thought they were crazy and always said, “You’ll never find me taking time off just to stay home and not go anywhere.” Well, I had to eat those words these past couple of weeks. Since we went on vacation to Jamaica while I was laid off I had a bit of vacation time to burn before the year was out. Unfortunately DH didn’t have any vacation time so what guess what? I found myself using vacation days….to stay home. Ha!

Since I had the time my plan was to unplug from social media a bit and also knock out some serious miles for my ultra training. While I kept with my plan of unplugging, life had different plans when it came to my training.

Dirty Girl Gaiters

You may remember that several months ago I had a procedure to permanently fix my ingrown toenail issues.  Since then I’ve continued to have on an off again discomfort but the timing hasn’t been right for me to return to the podiatrist so I maintained my nails as best as I could.  I figured if I could maintain them until after my ultra I’d be fine.  However, as I made my way through my 12 mile Christmas Eve run each step became more and more painful.  So bad that I actually stopped while on the trail to call and make an appointment for my podiatrist the day after Christmas.

Upon examination it was determined that while the initial treatment fixed the medial sides of each of my big toes, it wasn’t successful on the lateral sides. So, I had the procedure done once more.  Per my doctor I was cleared to resume normal activity as soon as I’d like.  Surprisingly my feet seemed more resilient this go around and I found myself going for a short run just 3 days post-procedure.  Things went so well that I went for another short run the following day….and then things went downhill.  That night I woke up with my right foot throbbing in pain. So bad that I had a hard time walking.  While I didn’t have any discharge, the pain, swelling, and redness were a sure sign I needed some antibiotics.  Ugh.

Thankfully the symptoms have subsided in just 24 hours on the antibiotics.

Rest

While I wasn’t able to run as much as I’d hoped but it didn’t keep me down during my time off.

DH and I have started somewhat of a tradition by heading out for a hike on Christmas day and taking photos for the cards we send out for the New Year.  This year we kept with our tradition, but instead of hiking we went off-roading in search of an old landmark called the China Dam. (More details and directions to come in a later post)

David And Heidi Christmas 2014

In addition, with my unplanned ‘rest’ days I was also able to take care of to-do items that were taking a back seat to my running.  From cleaning all of the grout in the tile throughout our house (yes, it was a pain) to purging files in our file cabinet and filling several bags to take to Goodwill I kept busy.

While I kept busy I didn’t necessarily stick to a plan.  So often I get stuck in a schedule with everything planned from day to day…whether I mean to or not.  It just happens.  It was nice to go day-to-day with no set plans and let the days roll by.

So, while I may not have been able to kick off the new year with a run, I’m starting it well rested and centered.

David And Heidi Christmas 2014

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)