Yes, I’m still injured. But, I’m not broken.

As soon as I got back into my car after seeing my orthopedic doc, the tears started streaming down my face. I didn’t even know I was going to cry. But, cars always make you feel safe enough to just let it all out, right?

I don’t need surgery. (Yay!)

I still have a solid three to four months to allow my stress fracture to heal. (Boo!)

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The weather during my appointment reflected how I felt at the time. 

Going into the appointment I knew I would be getting some answers, some clarity on my knee injury. After all, I have been an obedient injured runner and have not run since the beginning of August — OK, OK, except for one bout in the fall when I literally ran for like five minutes and it wasn’t even continuous.

My knee pain comes and goes.

But, all I can do now is just give it more time.

I’ve been so quiet about my injury lately that people have forgotten about it. A colleague texted me a link to an upcoming trail race the other day. Others ask me when my next race will be. I just politely smile and say I still cannot run.

It’s frustrating.

I’m just glad that I mentally prepared before the holidays and told myself I would not be running any marathons in 2017. Now with the news that I must wait longer to be fully recovered, I know that at best I will begin to ease into jogging sometime during the summer.

Summer feels so far away.

And, what about the two races I have already registered for? What I thought would be my “comeback race” in April will now either be a DNS (Did Not Start) or I will have to just walk the 10K — if there is no time cutoff. I’m still holding out hope for Ragnar Rainier in August …

It’s frustrating.

A friend told me that my several more months of rest will be worth the wait. I have my whole lifetime ahead to keep running, she said. (“And, you’re so young — thank goodness you don’t need to start on the surgery route!” she chimed in.)

I know she’s right. I’m still injured, but I’m not broken.

Good things on the horizon

Can we just pause for a second.

How are we already one month done with 2016?

I’m afraid to blink for fear that the year will be half over!

But, there are many good things on the horizon.

  • My first ultra in a little over a month! The fact that it is so soon is terrifying to me!
  • My college roommate’s wedding in Hawaii in a month! Bonus that I have family there so I’ll get to visit my own people and it won’t be one of those “Ugh, I’m going to a destination wedding”-type of weddings. You know what I’m talking about …
  • My very dearest Phyllis is getting married in two months — are you sensing a pattern here? — and I have the honor of being her maid of honor. Ahh, I’m so excited!
  • Soccer season will be starting up again very soon! Go Sounders!

I have other things I could add to this list but I don’t want to get too excited as I type this and hear the wind blowing and the rain pouring down outside.

What are you looking forward to on the horizon?

Or, are you just ready to hit pause because you have so much going on right now?

Being busy never hurt anyone.

Banking the miles

I went from training for my first 25K trail race over the summer to now training for the Seattle Half Marathon.

What’s odd is that I don’t even feel like I’m training.

Last weekend was supposed to be an 8-miler for the long run. I split it up to 6 miles of continuous running followed by about 1.5 miles of ultimate Frisbee. I used my Garmin to track the distance and with all the stop-and-go of ultimate, it definitely wasn’t 1.5 miles of continuous running. But, I counted it as my 8-miler for the weekend.

This coming weekend I have 9 miles on deck. With the Halloween 5K race followed by (another) ultimate Frisbee game later that day, there’s really no time for a long run. And my Sunday is already pretty full with non-running activities. What is a runner to do?

I did my long run for the weekend today. Yes, on a Tuesday evening.

I ran the five miles home (like I often do as a one-way run commuter) and then dropped my pack at home where Joanna joined me for four more miles. We did an out and back from the house and talked the entire time as evening turned into dark night. We finished the run around 7 p.m. and I was glad I wore my headlamp.

I’m glad to bank the miles in now since I won’t have time this weekend, but I hope this doesn’t skew my training too badly. (Wednesday and Thursday weren’t options for doing a long run after work because of prior commitments and I didn’t want to do the long run the night before my 5K).

My weekend self will be thankful I banked the miles earlier in the week, right?

I hope so.

Two years ago today, last year today and today today

Facebook reminded me that exactly five years ago, it was my first day on the job as a newspaper reporter.

Pictured: On the job, but not first day

It was my first “real job” out of college.

This post is inspired by this one that was written exactly four years ago.

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Two years ago today I was five months into my second clinical research job. I was learning a lot about Parkinson’s disease since that was our research focus. I was becoming good friends with my coworkers, which was really wigging me out.

Last year today not much had changed from the previous year. I was looking forward to crushing the Portland Marathon in a month (but failed miserably).

And, today today I am three months fresh into an entirely new marketing job. Gone are the days where I wore a lab coat and processed bloods. Gone are the early pre-7 a.m. drives to work. I am now a bus commuter — and often times a run home commuter.

I’m pleased to say that one of my old coworkers is now one of my closest friends.

I don’t know when my next full marathon will be and I am ok with that looking forward to it none the less!

What were you doing two years ago?

Monday musings

My friend asked me what I had planned for tonight.

Not running was high on the list. (Yay for honoring the rest days!) I’ve got to say though, my brain is so well-trained that I automatically go to change into running clothes immediately when I get home from work.

Instead of running in my running clothes, today I took out the trash, recycle and food waste, unloaded the dishwasher, folded laundry, did core and strength training, AND made lasagna.

Yes, I made an entire tray of lasagna all for myself. (And, I’m not even embarrassed to say that I ate two-and-a-half pieces and am starting to feel hungry again … gotta love marathon training eating!)

Training for a marathon is a lot of work. Whenever I tell my mom that I am tired, she tells me to not do marathons, that they take up too much of my time.

Yes, they do take up a lot of time. But, I think it’s worth it.

Yes, I rarely get to see a weekend where I sleep in, but I can sleep in once my marathon is over!

And, it’s all about prioritizing and making the time.

It was nice that today I had “nothing” to do. It was relaxing to do the chores that I normally should do on the weekends but as of recent have not had the time or energy to do so.

As someone who loves to jam-pack her schedule with lots of activities, it’s the afternoons/evenings like these where I am reminded that alone time is just as important as social time with friends.

It keeps you sane. It keeps you well-rested. It continues the word-flow on your blog.

And, it gets the trash out on a Monday afternoon (which is a good thing since pickup is Tuesday).

How to not hike Mount Si

“Go on without me. I’m just going to stand here and wait for you guys,” I said.

This was four years ago. I was tired and defeated.

What was supposed to be a casual hike among friends turned into a sweat-drenching endeavor for me. It was July and my friends threw a party the night before (on a weeknight!) I went to work the next morning with dark circles under my eyes and only three-four hours of sleep. For anyone who knows me (or occasionally reads this blog,) you’ll know that I need at least seven hours of sleep to function and eight hours for optimal activity.

I would have rather gone straight home and napped after work. But, I had plans to hike Mount Si with Sean and Phyllis that afternoon. I’m a woman of my word so I did not back out.

The three of us started out briskly walking and chatting. It was a clear, sunny day in North Bend.

“I guess this will be fine,” I thought to myself.

The (presumably) first hour passed and I was already spent. I ceased conversing with my friends. I let them do all the talking and I just listened since I was, well, (already) exhausted. A gap started to form between the two of them and I. There was no way I could keep up with them anymore. And … the switch-backs! They just kept going on and on and on. With each switch-back, I felt like we were going up the exact same area since it appeared identical to the previous one!

I was having a grand ‘ol time.

Finally, I stopped. I don’t remember how far ahead Phyllis and Sean were from me but I know they were always in sight and probably weren’t too far ahead, since, after all, we were all friends. They wouldn’t leave me.

So when I stopped at one of the switch-backs and explicitly told them  — probably a little too dramatically — to go to the top without me because I couldn’t take “one more step,” they encouraged me to keep going. Rather than leave my sorry-self there, they let me lead at my snail’s pace.

We eventually made it out of the forest-y area and to the top. It was a pretty view. The sun was bright. The skies were blue. There’s a photo of me squinting. The back of my shirt was drenched in sweat.

Mount Si, July 2010 [photo cred: Sean Arr]

Mount Si, July 2010 [photo cred: Sean Arr]

I remember nothing of the downhill. I was too beat.

(IMO) Mount Si is a popular hike due to its proximity to Seattle and that it’s a well-kept trail. It’s not too strenuous but can be a challenge for those who may not be in the best of shape or aren’t avid hikers.

For me, it will always be the “hardest hike” I have ever done. Yes, even more difficult than Mailbox Peak! (For comparison, Mount Si is eight miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 3,150 feet with the highest point at 3,900 feet. Mailbox Peak is 5.4 miles roundtrip but with an elevation gain of 4,000 feet with the highest point at 4,822 feet. For many, Mailbox Peak is a very challenging hike.)

Despite “all the fun” I had at Mount Si, I did it again.

I gave the hike a second chance last week. I’m training for a marathon so I knew I’m in good (enough) shape. I had a decent amount of sleep the night before. There were no parties I was recovering from. This time, the hike would be a breeze, a walk in the park, a piece of cake …

Not quite.

“Kristin’s Mount Si redemption hike,” turned into “the time Kristin discovered she does not enjoy night-time hiking.”

Bryce and I arrived at the trailhead around 7 p.m. Friday and I should have known that we would be hiking in mostly darkness. A lot of the trail is surrounded by tall trees so even before the sun had set, we were enclosed in shady areas. We came across four groups making their way down the trail as we were still beginning the hike.

We did pack our headlamps, of course.

But, for most of the uphill we just used our trusty “night-time vision” to lead the way. Bryce had no problem. Me? I think I just have bad vision all around — I am legally blind without corrected lenses.

I was tired. I couldn’t see. And, for some reason, I started getting scared of the dark.

I turned my headlamp on with maybe about a mile left to the top.

At one of the switch-backs, I told Bryce that “this is the spot where I nearly gave up on this hike four years ago!” We continued in the dark. When we came to another switch-back, I echoed my statement from before: “Wait, this is the spot where I nearly gave up on this hike four years ago!”

It was dark so it was hard to tell. Like I said before, everything starts to look the same on this hike. Plus, I was trying to recount an event that occurred four years ago so there’s also the “memory’s a bit hazy” bit.

When we arrived at the top, it was unfortunately cloudy so we couldn’t see any stars. Lights of North Bend and Issaquah flickered below. Beyond further were Seattle and Bellevue but we couldn’t really see them too well. There was a stronger wind up high so I put my jacket on. I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was kind of grumpy.

This is what I captured at the top in my sad, cold state.

This is what I captured at the top in my sad, cold state.

As we made our way down the trail, I proclaimed, “In four years, I’ll do this hike right.”

When we returned to our car at nearly 11 p.m., I was relieved. My feet were sore but everything else felt fine. (I had run 13 miles that morning before work.) It was just my attitude that took a beating. I felt “on edge” the entire time because of the dark. I never knew I could be such a scaredy-cat. The dark hasn’t scared me before! Thus, I didn’t enjoy most of the hike and was not very enjoyable company.

The one positive is that we had Mount Si all to ourselves!

After these two very different and “difficult” hikes, I have learned the following for next time:

1. Get at least eight hours of sleep and do not party the night before the hike.

2. Start early so you end early and do not run into dark night-time hours.

 

Mount Si, I’m not giving up on you. See you in four years.