Friday, February 27, 2009

Life is better at 4am

We are all smiles, perkiness and giggles even at 4am.

This morning my sister and I decided to get up at 4am to hit the Headlands up for a nice 11 mile-ish trail run before work and before I fly off to Atlanta for work. Life is so much better at 4am. You'd think it would be hard to get up, but if you time it right, like we did, you can be much more perky than you might be at 5 or 6am. Just have to hit it right at the best point in the sleep cycle. This morning was beyond ideal. After a few days of overnight rain, we woke this morning to crystal clear starry skies and perfect upper 40s temps.

Everything is alive at that hour and it is just thrilling to tool around on the trails illuminated only by the narrow beam of your headlamp. The trails were good and muddy because of the rain we've been having down here in SF, but nothing Bridle Trails or Hagg Lake- esqe. I don't know what it is about that hour that just makes you feel like you own the world. Your senses are heightened, your mind focused and getting your blood flowing sets you up for a great day, even if you may lose a bit of steam mid-afternoon. It is worth it to me.

When I was in Atlanta, I was in the habit of getting up at 5am and running. My days are so much better when I get up and out the door for a run before work. It may be hard to extricate myself from underneath the covers, especially on a cold day, but once I am up and out, I never regret it. Before most people are awake, I have gotten my blood flowing and worked up quite an appetite. My mind is focused, even if I am tired, my body feels ready to take on the world. I got out of the habit of getting up at 5am since my routine is different in Seattle and I haven't felt quite the same. The something that is missing is that morning run. Yes, I still run morning or mid-morning, but the longer I wait the less day I have to be productive. If I get myself out at 5, by 7 am I already have a huge sense of accomplishment. I can't explain it, I just feel better.

There are many who say that getting up at that hour is craziness, ridiculous or unnecessary, but I reminded myself today that I don't believe that. While I won't be routinely getting up at 4am any time soon, I am going to try to get back in my 5am habit. I just love owning the city, the trail, the road. When you wake up that early, you tend to be a bit loopy and have a propensity for running in the middle of the street or breaking into bouts of whooping and hollering. I personally just can't help it. Days like today just make me giddy.


I heart mud and EMRs (early morning runs) and my sister :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Entertaining for Vagabonds

I am on the road as many of you know, traveling about for work, training, racing, and hopefully somewhere in there pleasure (of course). One of the first things to go when on the road is the ability or moreso, the stability to throw down in the kitchen on a regular basis. Life seems to unbalance itself more when you are living out of a suitcase and not necessarily in a bad way. It is just hard to have a routine and find a rhythm to life when you have more life factors going on than the usual day to day (which is the case for me right now). I am not complaining, heck no! It keeps me on my toes and even better, gives me perspective. As I left Seattle this trip, I realized that something had fundamentally changed in me. I was no longer a wandering spirit, I am no longer someone who craves to be up and gone to the next biggest thing or after the next shiny object like I have been for a few years. I was worried for a while that I was forever going to be a malcontent who couldn't stand to stay in one place for a long time. But as I drove out of Seattle, I realized that things were different this time. Instead of relishing my vagabond status, which mind you I do appreciate the luxury of having, I realized that I am ready for something more in life. I am moving into a different stage of life. I have been on the cusp for a very long time, but this was the tipping point. I am ready to dig down and grow roots. I thought I was ready to do that when I moved to Seattle, but I realize now that I wasn't quite there and my experience in Seattle has illustrated that. But something changed and now my priorities are shifting. Instead of the next big short lived adventure or soul searching endeavour, I am looking forward to roots, routine, community and life building. Alot of the things that slip in my life on the road like blogging, writing, cooking, journaling, music and art, I want to find a place for and I tend to do those things more when my life is stable. Its a funny thing, but I like it.

But in the meantime, what I can do is thrive in the situation I have and work to change things where I can. It is not overnight. And in the meantime, I have to insert my passions into the fray where I can. One such occasion was two nights ago when I cooked dinner for my sister and our friend Robyn. I had to take a page out of the Sandra Lee Semi-homemade school since I was short on time, kitchen space, etc. I threw together a homemade pizza, salad and a side of brussel sprouts (for good measure). The pizza was a hit and Robyn was keen to take the recipe and use it for entertaining later in the week! When it comes down to it, homecooking is not that hard no matter where you are or what you are up to. I lived for 6 months in London where all I had was a hot plate and I never missed a beat on the homecooking. No excuses!


Vagabond Pizza


1 store bought ready made Organic pizza crust

Marinara Sauce

turkey pepperoni

Sauteed / roast veggies ( I used a combination of caramelized onions, garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper, squash, zucchini)

Parmesan

To construct:

Put a healthy layer of marinara sauce on the bottom, then the turkey pepperoni and a sprinkling of cheese. Artfully arrange the sauteed veggies and top with more cheese. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or whatever your crust insists. See easy. Throw together a quick green salad and you have a whole meal in no time flat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hagg Lake, Napa and Life on the Road

Krissy and I taking a dip in the cold lake after a great race
Hagg Lake 50k


I admit it. I haven't been bloggerific lately. And yet, I probably have the most to say right now than any other time, just not the time to say it. I have officially hit the road for some races and some work and trying to keep everything balanced when you are living out of your car and a suitcase can get interesting. That said, I am finally healthy, though not necessarily back up to speed. It is good to be running again and I am infinitely thankful that I am able to do what I do.

Hagg Lake 50k
I hit Portland on the first stop of my first travel bender of the season to take part in the Hagg Lake 50k. I wanted to run a race pre-Napa and get some distance back in my legs and also to gauge if Napa was even realistic. With mounting pressure about me being the return favorite, Napa as a "training race" was looking like it was going to not allow me to gracefully slip into the mid-pack. As much as I like to think that I don't care what others think or say about me, Napa is a race I would like to be fit enough to defend at, even if it is part of a 34 mile day (as was the plan). Hagg was the first race of the Oregon Ultra series and I was excited to meet alot of the Oregon runners whom I know via blogs and in passing but haven't really spent much time around. It sounded like a fun mudfest, so I figured I'd give it a go. Krissy was coming down from Seattle to run it, so it was a great opportunity to see her before I continued south for Napa, work, and Way Too Cool 50k. In brief the race was awesome. Well put together, beautiful course (double loop around the lake with a out and back at the start) and the sunny clear crisp day helped produce smashing fast times. Krissy and I went out together and decided to run as much as we could together since this was her longest run of the year and I wanted to just have a good race but not burn too much before Napa. We clipped along in 2nd/3rd place behind Joelle from Boise, who won Orcas 50k a few weeks ago. I was resolved to let her go as Hagg was more run than race in my mind. I have become better at being able to let things like that go. It is better for the bigger picture. Krissy was feeling good and I wanted to see if she could use that and go after Joelle, so I "stopped to tie my shoes" and told her to get going. We stayed together through about 24 miles and then I stopped for a minute or two at the aid station at the dam to re-up on my salt since I had forgotten to put my Nuun in my bottle and was super low on salt. I dumped straight salt down my throat and off I went. It took me about 2 miles to stop feeling like I was going to throw up, but I managed. It was a great day and in the end, it was Joelle, Krissy and then I and all three of us broke the previous course record, which shows you just what an ideal day it was! I was glad to get in a good fast pace but not too taxing effort and my legs felt great after a dip in the icy lake and a delicious Buffalo burger enjoyed with Krissy and Dagan after the race!

Napa Nada
It had looked like I was going to have to do another "temporary indefinite" stint in Atlanta for a minute there. We got a big project for work which we need to hit quickly and get out the door. I don't have to go forever, but I do have to go from this Friday until March 12th to help with the load. For that reason and also because of my injury, even though I am recovered/ing, Napa just doesn't fit into my schedule in the same way. I was looking forward to the race, but I was also looking forward to being in 2:45 as a training pace shape. I am not there anymore, I am working my way back and trying to keep my eye on the bigger goals of Boston and WC100k in Belgium. Napa will be there in the future and I look forward to doing it again at a different time.

Small Things
My runs this week haven't felt great. I have felt slow, heavy and tired. I don't like that feeling. I have had the pleasure of running some of my favorite trails while down here in SF but part of me would enjoy it so much more if I felt "runnerly". I just haven't had the spring in my step I did pre-injury. I was feeling fit and strong then. It takes time to come back, even though it was just a two week layoff. I think part of me still hesitates in pushing myself because I fear getting hurt again. I am still doing the mileage, but cautiously. After an ok run on my favorite 50/50 run (50% trail, 50% road) this morning and narrowly escaping a really bad accident when a nail went through my shoe and into my foot, I was feeling kind of downtrodden (and very thankful I wasn't going to have to sluff through Napa on Sunday). I decided to eat a hearty snack of gluten free cereal and take a nap before going out and trying a second run. I woke up feeling a bit better, but not expecting much from my run. But as I took my first few strides, I could tell I was just feeling it. I floated, I zoomed, I was effortless. I smashed down along the water through Sausalito and to the out and back in Mill Valley. As the sun set at my back, I knocked out 5.3 miles at a 5:50 average pace and arrived barely even breathless at the turn around point. I eased up for the recovery back home, but still average 6:40 for the run. I couldn't help but feel even if just for a fleeting moment that this was just a glimmer of what is to come if I just keep on hammering, being smart and keeping my eye on the prize. If nothing else, the injury gave me a renewed perspective, a reconnection to the deeper nature of why I run and how much I appreciate everything beautiful and passion-filled that comes into my life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting into Trouble

Today I got into Trouble. And in the future I would like to get into a lot more Trouble. Trouble Coffee that is.

I woke up this morning to the most perfect San Francisco day. After a night of rain, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was the perfect day to blow off everything and hunt down the perfect cup of coffee. And I knew the perfect place to find it. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. I hopped in my car and drove South across the Golden Gate bridge. Yes, the coffee I was headed for, having only tried it once 3 months ago, was worth not only the drive but the $5 toll too.  Located at 46th and Judah, Trouble Coffee is probably one of the better kept secrets around. I heard about it from a friend and I can't imagine too many people just stumble upon it. But those who do, come back. The space itself is a intensely interesting, from the boots that hold the door open to the long counter with old tyme stools with regulars perched on them silently sipping their coffees or chatting with the lone barista, on this day a girl name Jenny. Most of them have a slice of cinnamon toast that they are slowly savoring as your more "traditional" grab and go customers come in and get their orders. I was in a lingering mood this morning, though I had thought before arriving that I would grab my coffee and a slice of the toast which I had heard was legend, but hadn't tried the last time and head down to Ocean Beach and hang out there. But once I was there, I felt like lingering. Whether it was the open seat in the window or the fascinating assortment of stuff on the walls, I just wanted to hang out there. Even the barista sensed it as I handed over my cup ordering a hesitant Americano. I wasn't sure I was in the mood for an Americano, but a latte wasn't really it either. I thought maybe my new staple a Yankee Dog/ Mezzo, which is about 3/4 Americano with a glug of steamed milk and foam (about 1/4 Cappucino). Jen sighed and said, "what is it with people and Americano's today!", I was feeling not super compelled to have an Americano so I took that opportunity to say, "well, I am not really committed to an Americano, so what do you have in mind?" She responded, "Do you want a sipping drink or something quick?" I tend to drink every coffee drink way too darn fast even when I order it extra hot, so I relayed such. She said she had just the thing. I ordered a toast as well. Good coffee takes time and does not get produced at the touch of a button. When I have to wait for coffee, I take it as a good sign. She put my extra thick slice of bread in the toaster and went to work on my drink. I settled in at a stool in the front window and my order was ready in no time. She buttered and cinnamoned the perfectly toasted bread and handed over what she called a Gibraltar. The "Mayor" Jerry who is obviously a true character and also a regular said it would have me spinning in a few minutes. It was served in a large shot glass and most closely resembled a Macchiato, but had a hint more of steamed milk that just foam. It was also combined in reverse, so the steamed milk went in, then the shots. It was inspiring (ha, you thought I was going to say perfection, which it also was), the toast was too. I love profoundly simple things. Bread, butter, cinnamon, toasted. Uncomplicated coffee which is just plain good.

I continued to linger there, feeling very at home there and not wanting to relinquish my spot as more people came and went, each seeming to have a sly smile on their face like we were all apart of a very cleverly concealed secret. I finally walked out, coffee gone, cinnamon toast demolished. I considered getting another coffee to go, but since I was told the Gibraltar would have me spinning, I decided not. Outside the "Mayor" and another regular had posted up on the bench and we go into talking about books, what one does on sunny days like today (we agree that the headlands or a park were the place to be) and Portland. As I left, I just couldn't help but feel like for a moment there I was immersed in community, connection and belonging. I came for a cup of coffee and left with an experience that was completely uncontrived even though there are some things about the place that I think are contrived ironically and intentionally. I belonged in Trouble and I like it.




Trouble Coffee Company on Urbanspoon

Volterra

A few weeks ago (oh how I wish it were just yesterday!) my mom and I decided to head over to Volterra in Ballard. It has been on our list of places to eat for a while now and so we decided that since we were actually able to get a reservation we would try it out. And I was really glad we did. Our meal was impeccable, the service was good and I had absolutely nothing to complain about. I have noticed that alot of people have said it is hit and miss, but apparently when they do hit it, they get it dead on. The wait staff was attentive, the drinks were crisp and satisfying (I had the cocktail special, a fennel martini) and even the Chianti, which I bravely tried, was good enough that I wondered how anyone ever let it out of Italy, since good Chianti is pretty hard to find stateside (at least Chianti as you would experience it in Italy).

I started with the Roasted Beet and Arugula salad and my mom had the Caesar Salad. Both were perfectly lightly dressed (dressing should only ever just lightly brush each leaf) and crisp and delicious. The walnuts in my salad were toasted and the salty cheese was whispered over the top of a well balance combination of beets and arugula.

I am big into game meat these days and was excited to see they had a Wild Boar Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Sauce (Cinghiale al Gorgonzola). It was cooked to perfection and they easily accommodated my request for the Gorgonzola sauce to be put on the side. The potatoes and market vegetables were an excellent compliment.

All in all, while this review may not be the most inspired post I have ever written, this meal was the best one I have had thus far (outside of my own kitchen) in Seattle. And that is saying something. I have had numerous friends comment that they have similarly had profoundly good food experiences at Volterra. Having spent time in Northern Italy and exploring the cuisine therein, I would say try Volterra for sure. My recommendation for ensuring an excellent experience is to go with Piatti Forti and skip the Pasta e Risotto because generally, to me, I find pasta and risotto, even good pasta and risotto, not to ever be mind-bending, life changing or profound. I look forward to returning to Volterra and exploring the menu further.

Volterra on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where is the love?

Food love that is. Where oh where has the fast foodie loving of food and fine dining gone? Moving thats where. It has been a hectic and crazy busy week + trying to get squared away and there has been not much going down in my kitchen unfortunately. Not much at all. I have been distracted and directing my inspiration into getting back up and running (literally, figureritively, philosophically, etc) in the shortest amount of time possible. In the meantime, head on over to my tastebook site ( see the link on the right) and order up my 2008 Collection of original recipes. It would be the perfect thiing to hold you over between recipes and get you going on some inspiration of your own. Back in a flash!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Comeback Kid

I have not been posting much lately because of the injury, not because it has been mopey and dreary but because I have been so busy taking care of the injury that I have had little else on my radar. I am happy to report that I am up and running again. Slowly but surely I am working up my mileage, stopping immediately when any pain returns in any of my tendons in my ankle. And for 5 days I have had no pain on the run. The only day I had pain was my first day, Sunday when I ran a short 5 miler with Krissy.

Since Sunday, I have been getting really "loopy". That is, I am running only places where I know that should the pain start, I am no more than about a 1.5 mile walk back to the car or home. I have also been getting by butt kicked at Northwest Crossfit and continuing my PT exercises in order to develop more developed strength. I am also hammering on the stretching and have developed a good stretching routine from Wharton's Stretching Book. Getting injured heightens your vigilance about things like strength, flexibility and balance. It also reminds you of your own limits and making sure you are respecting your bodies limits. Routinely we endurance athletes push ourselves as close to the brink as possible without going over the edge and then backing off. It is the backoff part that is important. Even when you feel good, ultrarunning and long distance sports tax more than just your muscles. Our bodies are crazy complex systems and it is the moment you forget to holistically take care of yourself that things crop up. Backing off means taking rest days, easy days and listening to your body for cues you are not doing the right thing. For my two years in the ultrarunning scene, I have done really well to stay healthy by listening to my body. I don't force myself out when I feel like crap, I listen when my body cannot muster the energy to do a long run. I listen carefully and take diligent notes. I think that was the most surprising thing about this injury. I did make mistakes, like wearing older shoes (maybe 500 miles on the pair) and probably not getting enough rest after the Library Run, since I felt really good. I didn't let my ankle develop from a small problem to a big one. It pretty much happened in one day and I feel lucky that with the way it came on suddenly that it wasn't more serious or a tear or something. I guess this is just a lesson in listening even harder and erring on the side of caution.

I am excited to be back running that is for sure, but I also feel as if a little of the pressure I had built up over my plans for the year was released. I have come back to running just focused on the running, instead of the races that I may or may not run or which side of the fence I should sit on (ultra or marathon). I am running like a kid again, just giddy and free and I love that feeling. I am not unleashing myself into a hammering schedule and have resolved instead to slide on into Napa Valley Marathon and Way Too Cool on the great training pre-injury I did. That is not to say I'm not running, but I am not trying to make up for lost time either. That would be a one way ticket back to the disabled list, no thank you!

All I want right now is to continue to get better and then run healthy and strong for many, many good years. The other stuff doesn't even matter (running related that is!).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Banana Ginger Muffins



The other day before physical therapy, I headed up to the top of Queen Anne in search of an amazing, eggless pastry treat. I am not big into sweets much anymore, not sure when that happened. I use to be such a sweet fiend, but now I rarely crave anything sweeter than a scone or a not sweet muffin, I am satisfied with the sweetness of a ripened mango and a table cool bottle of grape kombucha. I find it humorous. It was not always the case. Despite being aware of my own low tolerance for wheat and the addition of the egg allergy, I still tend to be desirous of a morning muffin, biscuit or bready bite on occasion. On this particular day, I had my laser set on going to Macrina Bakery on Queen Anne. I had had one muffin EVER in life there and it stuck with me. It was the only vegan selection they had that day, so my only option. It was a good option: a Banana Ginger Muffin. The faint whispers of flavor that teemed in my memory sent me back that morning and I was not disappointed. The muffin was not super sweet, but kept a similar beat to a slice of gingerbread, but with the levity of a light muffin. In a word: amazing. After trying to savor the taste, but doing something more resembling devouring it, I became determined to recreate the muffins in my own kitchen and even kick up the health quotient and do it with a combination of spelt and whole wheat flour. I was pleased with the recipe I came up with, it truly did not disappoint. Maybe, instead of running all over town, I will have you running straight into your kitchen to make these. Speaking of which, my batch mysterious disappeared at Orcas Island and I think I need to make another batch.


Banana Ginger Muffin

Ingredients:


5 small bananas, mashed
¼ cup margarine
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp. ginger zest
2 tsp. crystallized ginger, minced
1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch fresh nutmeg

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease 2 muffin pans (9-12 muffins). In a medium bowl, mix together the mashed bananas and margarine. Mix in the two types of brown sugar and cream. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the 3 types of ginger until incorporated. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine.


Scoop about 1/4 cup of muffin mix into the muffin pans, making 9-12 muffins. Sprinkle the muffins with dark brown sugar and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted, about 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter Gratin





I had a feeling we were in store for 6 more weeks of winter and was not surprised when our furry friend confirmed it this past Monday. I didn't think this because its been cold, gray and dreary, in fact it has been quite warm here in Seattle and the sun has been shining. I knew it because my appetite hasn't changed. It may sound funny but my body lets me know when a new season is coming because it stops having cravings for seasonal produce and seasonal preparations. Last winter, despite my obsession with brussel sprouts, I woke up one day and I didn't want them any more. I noticed later that day that the winter seasonal vegetables were less prominent on the shelves. I started craving lighter preparations and more spring veggies. Not so this year thus far. I crave hearty, healthy, warming dishes.

For the past week and a half, I have been unable to run due to injury. With my inability to run, I have likewise been completely uninspired in the kitchen for the most part. For the better part of a week, I was moody, depressed and not hungry, and sometimes worse, sick to my stomach from the meds I am on for my injury. I have finally turned a corner in my own mind thankfully and have found my inspiration again, even though I still can't run. Today, I wanted nothing more than a warming, comforting meal. I didn't however want to eat something heavy and unhealthy. When I was little and I was sick, all I wanted in the world would be my mom's mac and cheese. As I have gotten older and moved away from wheat and from grains in general for the most part, I seldom crave dishes that are grain based. When I thought about what would fit the bill for a warm comforting healthy meal and the way I was feeling (not so good) and I was suddenly inspired with this idea to make a winter vegetable gratin (gluten free & can be made vegan using vegan cheese). It was absolutely perfect. The veggies were not too heavy, the sauce not to thick or rich, just right, the cheese is just a whisper of a flavor and the smoked paprika added a perfect layer of flavor.  Make this for your friends and impress them with it complex delicious flavors or make it for yourself and nest down with a bowl full on the couch and watch movies. So even though there is six more weeks of winter, at least this recipe is something good to look forward to.

Winter Vegetable Gratin


Ingredients:


1 cup brussel sprouts, quartered
½ cup broccoli
½ cup cauliflower
¼ cup cabbage , chopped
¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup frozen corn, thawed
¼ cup frozen sweet potato
2 tbsp. earth balance
1 tbsp. buckwheat flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
⅓ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
⅓ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp. smoked paprika
⅓ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On the stove top, bring water in a steamer to a boil. Parsteam the brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage for 1-2 minutes to begin cooking process. Drain and set aside.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buckwheat flour in. Stir to make a roux and stir until well incorporated. Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes. Slowly start to add the almond milk 1/4 cup at a time, allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more. When all the milk is added and thickened, add the pepper jack and cheddar cheeses. Stir until the mixture melts. Add in the smoked paprika.

In a small dutch oven or other round baking pan, put all the veggies into the pan and toss together including the corn, peas and sweet potato. Pour the cheese sauce down over top of the veggies and stir to incorporate.

Sprinkle over the top the parmesan cheese and sprinkle a dash more of smoked paprika ver the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and crusty.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A fate worse than death

I am hurt. It has been 8 days since I last ran. I am suffering from posterior tibialis tendon inflammation and some inflammation in my Achilles attachment. I have seen doctors, chiros/ART therapists, PT's, massage therapists and acupuncturists. In that time, I have felt nothing but only temporary and partial relief. Most mornings, I wake up and my foot hurts so badly, I can barely limp to the bathroom.

I have been sad, depressed, manic even. Frustrated, anxious and hopeless. I have in just one week felt my world crumble around me. And that, not the injury, is a fate worse than death to me. I know that (hopefully really) soon, with all the work and proactive healing I have been doing, I will be better and I will look back on this and think "I can't believe I got so worked up, I can't believe I didn't have more faith". I feel that way now and just yesterday the pain was so extreme that I burst into tears just trying to walk across the floor to get my PT work done. But today, something changed. I realized that I am attacking my treatment and healing the same way I train for my races. I am "all in" and my mind should not, CANNOT be working in the opposite direction. I need to be sending all my positive hopes, thoughts and prayers to my healing. Deep breathe, it will be ok.

The night splint

Today was a big day not only mentally, but I think it may also be a step (perhaps a hobbly one) in the right direction. After a good weekend of massage with the magnificent Alison Hanks, then intensive PT and then acupuncture yesterday, I hit it hard again today. I saw the doctor first thing and he prescribed me a different drug for the inflammation, gave me a night splint and a heel lift since after doing a torso xray to investigate my circulatory issues that cause my legs to fall asleep, he saw a 1/2 inch discrepancy in my left (not hurt) leg. Then I went to Northwest CrossFit and got worked over by the crew over there. They are a new sponsor and are working hard to get my strong and healthy in a way that is specifically tailored to my running. It was awesome! I went to Essential Chiropractic to have my second session of Active Release Therapy. ART was recommended to me by Howard. He had been hurt for 4 months before going on the recommendation of some of the top ladies in ultrarunning and after 2 session of ART he was back to running. Same goes for another friend of mine who has the same condition as I. She went to 6 sessions in 2 1/2 weeks and found relief after 2 months of pain and other failing remedies! I am blessed to have started immediately after my injury. But let me tell you, the treatment is no cake walk. It is a specialized soft tissue massage and the breaking up of scar tissues, etc. For instance, today I had to do a standing Achilles stretch while Dr. Hammon essentially scraped my leg with a special plastic tool. It does not feel spectacular, but it definitely works. I didn't go running and skipping out of the office, but slowly but surely I can feel relief. I am doing a good deal of crosstraining to keep my fitness up and decided to do back to back 1hr and a quarter spinning sessions at my gym and felt no pain during the intensive sessions (6 hill repeats @ an 8 on the difficulty scale per class!). I got off the bike thinking my leg would be tight and hobbly like it usually is when I walk after doing pretty much anything. It felt good, the pain very manageable. I came home and put my feet up and did my icing. Again, I stood up and expected the cold to cause me to be hobbly and I wasn't. Small steps, small progress, small victories. I never thought such a small thing could put my head back on straight.

As I rode the bike this evening, working hard and focusing on keeping my eye on the prize (keeping up my fitness as well as healing my leg), I realized that, heaven forbid, I couldn't ever run again, that I would be ok. A few days ago, I didn't feel that way. I was a mess. I don't like feeling that way, even when it is warranted. I realized today that while it still may be hard to watch someone bound up the stairs ahead of me, or wave as friends head off for a fun run in the mountains, things will get better, at some point. I look forward to that day, I look forward to a long healthy running career and now I actually have the faith to help make it happen. I have learned through training, racing and recovering that the mind can push you things that you could never believe you could make it through, I am taking all those miles of learning and wisdom and now applying it towards the most important steps I will ever take, the steps to health and healing.

A common position this week, usually accompanied by ice. Yeah for RICE!

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