Welp

So much for seizing the opportunity last week. I ended up hobbling around like a pirate Thursday evening and doing a virtual health visit with my doctor Friday.

It’s funny to do a self knee examination on Webcam. Well… maybe not funny. Odd may be a better word.

No swelling. No that part doesn’t hurt when I press it. Nope, that part is cool too. Dear God that part does. Okay cross my leg over my opposite knee, act like I’m sitting and twist side to side. No issues on my right side other than feeling silly. Left side? Arghhhhuhhhhhhhjhh!!! Okay that is definitely painful.

Okay. PT sounds like a good idea. Yes that time works on Monday.

Yes, I’ll try the arthritis medication.

Rest? All weekend? Okay. So no running. But walking a few miles is fine. Why are you laughing?

Okay okay. REST. In all caps. Not Rest with a capital R.

But the weather is going to be perfect this weekend.

What do you mean runners are the worst patients? (JK she’s a pro. She may have thought it, but didn’t say it.)

Today is an Opportunity

A month ago I was working out at Rise and the trainer was giving the usual spiel about form and then she switched gears and said that each day is an opportunity. Okay. Sure. We’ve all heard that before.

Then she said this opportunity that you’re taking right now? You’ll never have it again. *mike drop*

I was floored. She was 100% right.

Which is why I am struggling to rest and recover my knee. I have all of these big goals, for now, and for the year in general. The current one is 200 miles during the Fall. Then my mid term goal is a Spring half marathon, and the longer term one is a Fall marathon.

I’m trying to remind myself that absolutely none of that will be possible if I don’t recover first. I can not begin to tell you how hard that has been. I ‘rested’ for 2 weeks and now I’m slooooowly getting back to it. And maybe taking ibuprofen every day so I don’t walk like Frankenstein’s Monster.

But you won’t tell my coach, right?!?

Recovery

Recovery is going very slowly. I’m trying to not run, and it’s really getting to me. I have been sleeping 10 or 12 hours a day instead of my usual 8 and my anxiety has been through the roof.

Nate and I went to a different grocery store than we typically do. Same chain, but a different location with slightly better produce and cheese selection. Initially he had wanted to eat at a restaurant nearby, but realized he wasn’t familiar with how clean they are. (Turns out this can be scary during a pandemic.)

We skipped the restaurant and went to the grocery store, it was 4:00 and there were people everywhere. This store has one way aisles to prevent crowding and promote social distancing. It seemed like every aisle had someone going the wrong way, someone dragging 4 kids, an old trophy wife in giant stilettos in the middle of the aisle, or a combination of all the above. Plus throw in the occasional hurried businessman or completely lost patron.

Nate was annoyed, and I was on edge by the time we got through a few aisles. We didn’t need much, but we’re not familiar with the layout so we’re going everywhere. I’m getting anxious and he’s getting annoyed, declaring people won’t push him through the aisles. By the time we get to the cheese I’m 15 seconds from totally melting down and leaving my cart.

Sometimes I forget how much running helps and not working out for a week is getting to me. I’m not addicted in a fitorexia sort of way (I weigh twice my ideal body weight) but it’s become such a stress reliever that I question if my anti anxiety medications are doing anything at all.

The first time I tried to run I decided to do a 5 minute waking warmup then 30 second runs and 1 minute walks. I managed to get one 30 second hobble in before my leg cramp set it. 2 mile walk it was.

Back to massage, foam rolling, hot baths, and biofreeze.

Positive Peer Pressure?

I went to one of my favorite killer workouts yesterday morning. 30 minutes of treadmill intervals followed by strength training and it kicked my ass.

I am continuing to push myself. We have levels 1-4 for our intervals and I’ve decided to use 3.5mph for level 1, 4mph for level 2, 4.5mph for level 3, and 5mph for level 4. I know this doesn’t sound like very fast to some people reading this, but they’re difficult speeds for me, and setting minimums will keep my consistent until I am ready to increase again.

M said I’m the only one holding her accountable for workouts. She’s doing well with her diet and is working with a nutritionist and encouraging me to come back to the program at work that I quit halfway through. I need to do something.

Anywho… since we’re trying to be accountabilibuddies I decided to do a 2 a day and workout with her a second time last night, we got a few miles in at Westgate. It’s starting to become one of my favorite parks. (If you can ignore the smell of weed wafting from some of the houses and cars in the area anyways. The smells are almost comical.)

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or the workout earlier but my thigh above my knee was tight and just didn’t want to let loose.

I just remind myself some runs are just going to be a slog, but it’s important to keep at it.

Woot!

I joined a walk (or run) every day of October challenge. It’s keeping me super motivated to keep on it.

This is in conjunction with a 200 mile through Autumn challenge. I’ve tried similar ones in years past and could never stick with it.

Either way, I’m feeling great. I ran with M last weekend at Sharon Woods. It was so hilly! My legs were on fire, but I felt like I could’ve done more than the 6 miles we did when we finished.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles with M at Park of Roses, then did my usual Sunday class at Rise which is 2 miles running and 30 minutes of yoga. I felt like I was absolutely flying when it came to the intervals on the treadmill. I was pushing past 5mph which I couldn’t have dreamed of when I started.

I may start doing this every weekend M is available so I can get my long run in as well as yoga. (It seems counter productive to do 2 miles, yoga, and then a few more miles.)

Rise Fitness vs Orange Theory

I’m four months into my newest obsession. Typically I’ve lost interest by now and have just accepted the fact my credit card is going to be billed an embarrassing amount of money until the end of my contract for me to do nothing.

I have held off on mentioning it in case that happened yet again. (I’m 41. I have lost count of projects I’ve given up on.)

Somewhere in what I pray was the middle of Covid (please make it stop) my friend Michelle and I were comiserating that we really, really missed the gym because of working from home. Our workplace offers free classes with a $15/month membership.

We wanted something super challenging that was convenient for both of us. I live near downtown and she is in Hilliard. I like buttcrack of dawn workouts and she prefers after work. And of course we didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg plus a butt and a thigh.

Her suggestion was Orange Theory. Cool! They have locations near each of us. They have varying hours. The classes look intense. I reach out via Facebook messenger to see if they have any promos. Nope. Okay. No biggie. I decide to do my first class anyways to check it out. It’s free and maybe they’ll have some offer that I like.

I download their app and try to verify the code to log in and sign up for my first class. It doesn’t work. I try it 3 or 4 times. Nothing. I email their tech support. Nothing.

I decide to check out Rise Fitness Community in Upper Arlington instead. They get back to me immediacy, I choose to buy a 3 month package without trying the first few class. Everyone is super friendly. The place is very clean and well storages out for Covid protocols.

Zero problems other than my lack of fitness. Seriously. The first two weeks I went 2-3 times a week and had to pace myself to make it through the class.

After my first month, I’m in love. I try to convince Michelle to join me and she says she can’t spend the $ right now. Totally understand.

Then orange theory IT reaches out to see if my case was closed satisfactorily. Umm you’re emailing me a month later after I’ve joined another gym to help me with a problem I asked about 4 weeks ago? I ignore it.

Two more months pass. I’m loving Rise. I’m noticing a huge change in my fitness. I’m now going 3-4 times a week and pushing myself in ways I never have before.

I’m at the grocery store with Nate picking up protein powder jk I was picking up rice and my phone rings. It’s Orange Theory. Some super perky person is super excited that I’m interested in Orange Theory and they’d LOVE to have me stop by.

I very politely tell them with a huge smile that I was very interested but they never got back to me for 3 months so I went with Rise Fitness who DID get back to me quickly.

It is month 4 now. I loved it enough to buy another 3 month package (and love the fact I’m not stuck in a contract) and am challenging myself to go 4-5 days a week. They’ve added more class times, so it’s totally doable as long as I get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Sleepless Nights

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately.  And it’s not just the 90°+ weather. Although that’s been spectacular. 

Our A/C unit is 30+ years old so we open windows,  turn on fans,  and just sweat it out. When it’s really bad, we’ll sleep with ice packs on our chest or back.  I’ve found the clay ones stay cold for ages. 

“Get the A/C fixed!” you cry. Except our slab concrete porch was sinking and putting pressure on our basement wall,  causing a slowly growing crack.  We had the Basement Doctor out.  They (literally) girded up our basement for several grand. 

Then we realized the gutter on the front of the house was overflowing so we had someone out to check for a blockage and found out water was flowing from our gutter into the front of our house.  The clay pipes were long since destroyed if they ever existed at all. 

They used a neat tool called a Ditch Witch to put a trench up our front yard,  hand dug under our porch,  and then laid all the piping and connected it to make sure it flowed away from our foundation and sinking porch. That was stressful and not inexpensive. 

While this happened, we realized our chimney needed chinked.  We know a Jack of all trades, but masonry work is best left to the pros.  They came out and ran a camera up into our chimney and horrified us with everything wrong.  The flashing where the gutter meets the chimney had a gap so water was pouring over it causing the external damage we saw.   It was also destroying the entire chimney box inside. 

We had them fix the gutter,  chink the bricks outside,  replace the box and flu inside,  and also fix the pipes from our furnace because THAT was not correct either.  (They told us to get a CO2 detector the same day and that we were lucky my niece slept downstairs in the summer when the furnace was not on to give you an Idea.)

That was not cheap. 

Fast forward…. well okay not really.  Maybe a year? 6 months? We had our Jack of All Trades come out with a jackhammer to destroy our slab porch.  We also had the city come out to permit us.  Our JOAT was dumbfounded by the depth of the slab and the amount of stone underneath. 

Nate and I helped where we could to save time and money.  Nate helped break up concrete.  We both threw slabs into the dumpster.  It was not pretty.  We still have scrape marks on our walk way from the wheelbarrow of concrete chunks.  (Did I mention we grow tons of flowers and didn’t want to completely destroy the yard?)

Our JOAT sets the concrete for the beams, and our porch comes together beautifully.  He also tends to come around 12 and work until 6, and typically forgets something and has to drive across town in rush hour traffic to get it. (Even though I complain about it,  he does an amazing job,  and his mind works in a totally different way than mine does.  Perhaps I envy him to a degree.)

In any case…. that wasn’t cheap either. 

This past Fall he came back out to insulate our house.  He used a drill with a special attachment to cut 4″ holes in our crawl space and blow insulation in.  (Nate manned the machine that chopped it up and blew it up 20+ feet of hose through an open second floor window and into the 4″ holes in the crawl space.

That was (relatively?) cheap. It was under a grand anyways.

So yeah…. I can’t sleep these days. It’s not the heat necessarily as much as my anxiety.

I’ve been writing this for an hour, and we’ll hopefully replace our central air unit within the next few years. In any case, I’ll be getting up at 4:50am tomorrow, lacing up my running shoes, and hopefully running off some of my anxiety.

Hilltop (Virtual) 5K

Over the Independence Day weekend, I ran a virtual 5K with my friend Michelle.  It wasn’t originally supposed to be a virtual event, but like so many others, it had to switch because of Covid-19. 

The Hilltop 5K is put on by the Columbus Westside Running Club and benefits local veterans.  A few of their honored guests included local VFW posts and the Columbus Mounted Police. They offered a traditional 5K and a rucksack 5K where you fill a backpack, rucksack, or other bag with 35 pounds of stuff and run/walk for 3.1 miles.  I’m already carrying an extra hundred pounds of fat on my body, so I passed on the rucksack challenge.  (Michelle told me that the Columbus Westside Running Group is completely free, I just joined today and added them to my Strava.  I need all the motivation I can get.)

Since it was a virtual event, volunteers dropped off the t-shirts, race bibs, and medals in advance.  Michelle had completed it last year, so she also received a dog tag with her name and last year’s race results on it.  Last year the event kicked off around 9am and was blazing hot.  She said she walked the last mile and begged someone to spray her with a garden hose to cool her down.

This year, Michelle wanted to PR it and crush last year’s results.   We met at Westgate Park before 6AM.  (I have to say running in Ohio in July has me on a super weird sleep schedule!  I am up a few days a week at 4:50AM to run at 5:30AM!  Other days I sleep in until 7am.  Either way, I still go to bed at 9PM like a grandma and take naps every chance I get.) But I digress, we each got up at the butt crack of dawn and met at the park to beat the heat.   

We wore our bibs and left our medals in our cars for afterward to make it more “official.” Michelle had never run a virtual 5K before, and I had only run a couple before this year.  It was cool- only reached 66 by the time we were done, but we worked up a sweat doing run walk intervals anyways.  It was nice to catch up and talk about work, our mutual friends, home remodeling projects etc in between sprints.  I think my favorite part was when we saw someone running down the road wearing the Hilltop 5K t-shirt, probably doing the same virtual race.  If there’s 3 of us doing it at the same place, that makes it a non-virtual, in person official race, right?  Especially since one was a stranger!

We completed it in 46:14, which crushed Michelle’s last attempt.  She was very happy, and then went on that day to work with her husband delivering packages and more than doubled her step goal.  All in all, it was great.  It made me realize a few things.  Not all virtual races are a cash grab- some can benefit your community.  Running early is the way to do it.  And last but not least, having an accountabili-buddy is really helpful

Inspire Columbus

I fell off the running wagon and got run over by it when I got sick in the last week of September.   Not only did I not run the half marathon in October, I’ve barely run at all. Period.

                I told myself I needed to recover from the cold.  (It’s crazy to me how much a cold can zap your energy.  People joke about the man cold, but colds are horrible!) 

Then I told myself that I needed to run intuitively.  That I needed to find my love of running again.  To just go out and do what felt good each day rather than following a plan and getting frustrated when life happens.

                It turns out, it wasn’t bad advice necessarily, but it was a total lie in my case.  I’ve barely run.  I’ve hit the gym and lifted weights a few times, but nothing too amazing. 

                One of my friends sent me a link to Inspire Columbus through the Columbus Running Company.  (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with them. I know that’s shocking considering my stats, but it’s true.)  The challenge is to keep moving through January to have an opportunity to win raffle prizes.  The only catches are- you pay $5 for the challenge, and the miles need to be tracked through Strava and outdoors. I personally have Strava pull the data from my Garmin watch because I’m not a huge fan of the app. 

                  My goals are simple.  I want to get moving again- preferably outside.  My stretch goal?  The CRC strava group has a weekly leaderboard, I’d love to break the top 100. This week’s leaderboard ranged from 45.5 to 17.3 miles.  I don’t expect to go out and crush 46 miles to be #1 and honestly I don’t expect I’ll crush 17.5 this week to be #100, but I will by the end of January.  #JeninesJanuaryChallenge 

December, where has the year gone?

It’s been a few months since I posted properly. 

What can I say? Things have been crazy.  Mom is doing well (enough) and I’m really hoping we can make it through the holidays with everyone at home and no hospital visits.

I had 3 interviews, each one worse than the last, and managed to land a new role.  Since September, I’ve been trying to do double duty- learning my new position while continuing to do my old role.   These days things are starting to come off of my plate and I feel like I have a general idea of what I’m doing, or at least good enough notes to make my way through most things.  I can’t begin to explain how frustrating it is to go from being a subject matter expert to a complete novice.  And yet, I keep doing it.  This is my 4th role in 5 years. 

And running has taken a back burner.  Hell, I think it fell off the stove.  I caught a lingering cold after the Big Bad Wolfe in September.  It stuck with me, sapping my energy and I did not run a single step in October.  I ran twice in November for 2 miles.  December still stands a chance.  I’m starting to get back to the gym and do weight lifting.

I’ve been baking a lot though which is nice. 

I’ve also been crafting a ton. I made ornaments for my coworkers, and they surprisingly went over well.