Lessons From The Fall

Lessons not “Legends”.
If you’ve come here looking for ruminations on the 1994 Brad Pitt Epic “tale of three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of 1900s USA and how their lives are affected by nature, history, war, and love.” you are going to be sorely disappointed.

No, this is all about the lessons I learned tonight when my Worst Fear About Running became A Reality.  I fell.  Not some cute little “Oopsie doodle!” mis-step that had me losing a step or two.  No.  This was a full-body, Superman sprawl of a fall.  To my credit although I did go straight, flat-forward down I didn’t actually “face” plant.  It was more of a knee/elbow plant.  I’m fine.  My elbow looks rough, but thankfully Ye Olde Knee shows no signs of being any the worse for the wear.  Thank You Lord for that!

Back to my post title.  I came away from this little experience slightly worse, but far wiser for the wear. Here are my Lessons From The Fall:

  1. It isn’t the fall, it’s the fear of the fall that’ll getcha!
    As previously stated: Falling has been my Worst Fear since I started running last summer.  Okay, maybe my second Worst Fear behind snakes on the trail and finding a dead body.  Technically that dead-body-finding thing doesn’t count since it isn’t technically running related, it’s a lifelong fear with absolutely zero basis in experience.  And totally not germane to the point.

    But the Snakes On The Trail thing? Yeah, that’s real and definitely running related since most of the trails we run on are in an urban park and go through wooded areas that are “in their natural state”.  And really if I do run into a snake on the trail what are the chances that Samuel L. Jackson is going to show up to kill it with the force of his profanity?  See?  This is a real fear.
    Back to falling.  Falling is also a real, running related fear.  I hate falling.  It is: A) Embarrassing; B) Painful; and C) Potentially running career ending.  And tonight it became: D) A Reality.  And in so doing I learned that – in all truth – the fear of a thing actually is worse than the thing happening itself.
    Oh, it wasn’t fun!  And I will do everything in my power to avoid it happening again. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had built it up to being in my brain.
    It was also divine providence that it wasn’t any worse than it was.  I was on a boardwalk rather than pavement; there were no other runners (HCRP notwithstanding) around to witness my humiliation; and most of all there were no cyclists coming up fast behind us because when I Supermanned it I sprawled myself out in fabulous fashion all across the middle of the trail that had no shoulder for anyone to dive off onto to avoid plowing over me.
  2. You never know what you’re going to do until you’ve done it!
    The instant the toe of my right shoe caught on the uneven board I knew I was going down.  It was unavoidable because gravity isn’t just a good idea, it’s The Law.  I managed to land sprawled face down with neither my face nor my forehead making contact with the boards.  Once I was down and realized the falling part was over my first impulse was to hop back up and keep running.  As I was rolling over to a sitting position I realized “Holy Crap!  I just fell!”  Of course my first ‘rational’ thought was to make sure I hadn’t shattered my phone that was tucked in the armband.  (I didn’t.)
    HCRP helped me to my feet and at first, again, I started to turn back in the direction we’d been heading and take off.  HCRP, in his infinite wisdom and good sense, stopped me and suggested I do a ‘damage assessment’ which sounded like a good idea so I did.  that was when I discovered that my left elbow had likely taken much of the brunt and of all the moving parts was going to be the worst for the wear.  We walked along while I caught my breath, determined that all 2,000 parts were in working order, and then we started jogging again.  That’s when it hit me that: A) I freakin’ FELL; and B) I got up and kept on running.  Of course that “I freakin FELL” think came out of my mouth with a slightly more colorful descriptor, but still.  Instead of crying or quitting or crying and quitting I kept going.
    HCRP’s assessment of this reaction was “Well, you’re really a distance runner now, you’re a masochist!”
  3. Adrenalin is over-rated.
    And, in (more of) HCRP’s inimitable and insightful words: Adrenalin can be an asset in a race, but this isn’t exactly the best way to get it.  Personally, I found it to be more hindrance than help since it was the adrenalin rush that had me wanting to pop right back up and keep running.
  4. Timing is, as they say, everything!
    If I were going to have ‘scheduled’ this it couldn’t have come on a better night since I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning to address my ongoing TFL tightness/soreness that just happens with no identifiable cause.
    It doesn’t always happen during a run, or after a run, or even before a run.  It just happens and hurts.
    It isn’t on both sides, just the left.
    It isn’t a pull.  It feels more bruised than any other sensation.  I haven’t pulled anything.
    Yes, I’ve been using my foam roller.  Religiously.  Okay except tonight because I can’t use my left hand to support my weight.
    So I’m going to see a doctor in my PCP’s office who is a runner to get her input and possibly a referral to a physical therapist.  And praying she doesn’t say the dreaded word: R-E-S-T.  I have 40 days til my first Half Marathon and I am finally beginning to see myself doing this thing.  I really don’t want to have that taken away from me.  Again.

In Olympic Watching news, I woke up at 4:50 am this morning to watch The Women’s Marathon and was absolutely dumbfounded by these women!  Somewhere in the instant before my right toe caught and all those lessons started being learned I think in my brain I was one of them for about half a second.
Oscar Pistorius absolutely humbles and inspires me.  I watched him in his semi-final run as I was pecking away at this post and was in tears as he ran with nothing but the pure joy and triumph of being where he was doing what he was doing.
Kirani James doubled those tears when he asked to trade name tags.  That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what The Olympics are about.

And now it’s late and I’m tired and it’s time for bed.
Thanks for slogging through all this.  I’ll likely read this in the morning and wonder what I was thinking.
But for now, I’m okay with it all.

This is what Vegas does to people

It robs you.
Not of your money.

It robs you of your groove.
And hydration.

No matter how much Gatorade or water you drink while you’re there, no matter how closely you monitor your urine color – really I did this like it was my job – you arrive back home utterly and completely dehydrated.

Okay maybe it wasn’t just Vegas.
Maybe it was Vegas and airline travel.
But you arrive home utterly and completely dehydrated.
And you feel like hammered crap*.
And you miss your mid-length run on Thursday night because you are utterly exhausted from the dehydration.  And the delayed “last flight out of Atlanta to Memphis”.
Either way, you miss that Mid-Length Run that might have told you that your ‘Knother Knee was still a bit bothered from that sharp incline you ran down during your last Long Run – you who are unaccustomed to running down sharp inclines – so that you wouldn’t have come so completely unstrung when you had to cut Saturday’s nine mile run short when The ‘Knother Knee started screaming speaking loudly at the 2.5 mile mark.  Then making the (wise, prudent, forward-thinking) choice to turn around at three miles and walk – yes I said W-A-L-K – back the entire three miles.
And trust that your training for your first half-marathon (in 54 days from today) isn’t completely off track and that you will finish the race.

BUT!
To my credit, I did run while In Vegas and On Vacation.

I ran four miles.
Okay, I ran most of four miles.  I went up and down a lot of stairs.  I used them as my walking intervals.  There were a lot of walking intervals.
And I did not knock over any of the other tourists who were in my way on the sidewalks at 7:30 am.

But I have things to catch up with here.
Like my newest tattoo.  Herbert The Turtle.  And what he means to my running.

And I shall.
After tomorrow’s run as a Coach!

*Steel Magnolias reference.  Forward to 0:33 if you don’t want to watch the entire clip.

Pick Your Own Title

I started writing this late Saturday night after we got home from the 5K we ran.

Blame Tonia
Or
Why Run? / Why Running?
Or
Julianne, you think too much
Or (my personal favorite)
What’s Run Got To Do With It?

I mostly like that last one because this happens to be one of my absolute, all-time favorite songs ever.
But.
I digress. (Don’t play like that, you were warned long ago.)

Tonight I ran in my first 5K Race since December before The Decline and Fall of Ye Olde Knee which has seen me sitting out two 5Ks and one Half-Marathon. My personal performance and results of tonight’s race are (for purposes of this post) inconsequential; however, I promise a complete synopsis – and pictures – at a later date.

I also owe (really, seriously, I quite happily Owe this one) an entry as a result of having been nominated for an Inspiring Blog Award. I’m still fully digesting that one, as well as coming up with the requisite “seven personal revelations about myself that would not ordinarily appear on my blog” that actually gives me a fair amount of leeway given that I pretty much stay focued on my (arguably questionable and possibly insane) thoughts on and during runs. I mean there’s that Obscure Food Allergy, The Near Phobia, and Food Hoarding thing.
Again with the digressing.
There really is no stopping me.

Wait, why am I writing again?
Scrolls up . . .
Inspiring Blog . . .
First 5K in six months . . .
Tina Turner’s hit machine Private Dancer album . . . (I don’t link to everything – do your own Googling!)
Oh!
I remember.

So tonight after the 5K HCRP and I get home and he proceeds to ice his knotted up calf muscle (again, another post for another time), following the icing with a soak in the tub with epsom salts to ease the pain and tightness. As he was finishing, I decided a soak wouldn’t hurt me and so I settled into my own soak and started reading my latest Kindle Borrow: Amby Burfoot‘s “The Runner’s Guide to The Meaning of Life” (I generally link to Amazon.com for books, but in this case you can get an autographed copy direct from the author and I would much rather promote that option.) This book was recommended to me by a dear friend and fellow runner who also happens to be one of my personal Running Mentors, the above-mentioned “Tonia” you can blame for this post.

As I was reading I came across the following: “Runners don’t quit. We fade, we ‘hit the wall’, we’re sometimes reduced to a walk. But we keep on.” and I was stopped in my reading tracks.
Since I took up, and got hooked on, running right about ten months ago I have been asked no small number of variations of the question “Why running?”. I started to follow that with several “Or” alternative takes on the stated question; but really they all come down to the same thing – whether the question had to do with my choice of this particular sport, my choosing a sport at all given that I have never been especially athletically inclined, my decision to embrace athleticism at this particular age (I was 46 when I started – I’m 47 now because really, that is so very much older and wiser), or whatever the mechanics of the question – it always comes down to “Why running?!” And until tonight my answer depended on how out of the blue the inquiry happened to have hit me.

The truth is there were several reasons I began the running training program I did a little over a year ago that started this whole little odyssey.

I wanted to learn to enjoy running.
Because my husband did.
Because I always envied runners I would see out there looking all zen and In The Zone.
But mostly because when I saw What Women Want and it got to the faux Nike ad I bawled like I did when ET died PLUS during the part after Shelby’s funeral in Steel Magnolias PLUS when Johnny Castle rescued Baby from The Corner all rolled into one.  Yeah, it was THAT kind of cry!

It was something I had done (by force) and failed miserably at (in gym class) and was (as we Southerners are wont to say) deadset and bygod determined to finally do and do well. Or at least do right. At least once.

And why lie
I wanted to lose weight
Yeah, I’ll admit it, I was seeking The Happy Side Effect. I think the consequence of that is that coming slower than I’d have liked and honestly becoming less and less The Point all the time. The Numbers I’m chasing now are on timing clocks more often than my bathroom scale.

But it was mostly that What Women Want faux Nike ad thing. At first.

Tonight when I read the quote from Amby Burfoot it suddenly came to me that running is the only sport that could ever have been a fit for me. Because I may hit walls, I may slow to a walk, but I never quit. And that’s what I love most about running. And why I love The Road.

Miles 2 – Pain 0 – No More Treadmills!

Ran two miles tonight.
Ran it in 1/4 mile intervals.
Finished with no knee pain.

Rewind to Saturday afternoon when there was substantial pain after not even a 1.5 mile run on a treadmill and I was afraid running any further wasn’t going to happen.  Again.  Ever.
Upon consultation with a runner friend who is also a trainer I learned that (often) when one has become accustomed to road running (ING not ER) switching back to treadmill running can exacerbate things like oh . . . say . . . RUNNER’S KNEE!

So I spent the weekend back with my friendly Mueller knee band, spent Monday and Tuesday laid out with some god-awful, streppish-stomach-bug-mutation virus that’s going around down here in Dixie, and after work today – and no twinges, pings, dings, or otherwise negative indicators from Ye Olde Knee – headed to our favorite running trail to do  two miles in quarter mile intervals at the end of which everything was A-Okay!

My reason for being on a treadmill Saturday morning was well-founded.  I’m working with my BFF in her desire to start running.  We’re following the same training program that got me started running last summer.  It’s slow, gradual, and fool-proof.
If starting out on a treadmill is what’s best for her I’ll just have to avoid the temptation to ‘bust a move’ and stick to walking beside her instead of running.  Then again, with her long-term goal being finishing a 5K she may want to go ahead and transition to road running sooner rather than later.  Heat/Temperature is a consideration for her, so we’ll have to see what works best.

Meanwhile back at the trail . . . I got my two in today!
Saturday’s goal is three and I might just expand one of those intervals to a full half mile.

It just feels so freakin’ good to be running again!
It feels good to think that my half-marathon in September is actually going to happen! 

P.S. To any of my co-workers who are wondering what happened to that “I’m going home after work and going straight to bed!”  Well . . . Running happened.  That’s what.  NOW I’m going to bed!

Week One of The Cave People

In two words: Went. Well.
In two other words: Got. Results.

Neither of us did any running.
I had a reason.  See Previous Entry.
HCRP . . .  He can start his own blog.

We have different reasons for adopting this new eating style he and I.
Mine is to basically ‘clean up’ my vegetarian diet by eliminating grains, legumes, (limited) dairy, and (what few) sugars I consume. In reality the legumes and brown rice have been the biggest challenge since, like most vegetarians, I have replaced much of my meat consumption with the legume/grain combination as a protein source.
Oh, and I miss my Greek Yogurt.
And cheese. Not that I ate a lot of it, but I do miss my cheesy little boyfriend Colby Jack.
*le sigh*

HCRP’s is to kickstart his weight loss which seemed to have stalled out even during his half-marathon training regimen. That and I essentially told him “HCRP, we’re going to do this Paleo Diet thing. By the book for at least one month to see what kind of results we get.”
He weighed in Monday morning to establish his baseline weight. Tuesday is our Official Weigh-In Day and we each weighed in with visible results. (More on mine in a minute…)

This morning as I was showering I heard the telltale *beeep* of the scale firing up and thought it a tad odd for him to be weighing in between Tuesdays (he generally doesn’t) but didn’t say anything about it.
We’re taking part in a class at our church that meets on Saturday mornings. At the start of each class we go around the group and share the good that has gone on in our lives in the past week. We went around the group and when it came HCRP’s turn nobody was more surprised than me when he spoke. This past week, with zero running/working out (don’t judge him – I’ve kept him busy assisting me with final plans for My 5K) he lost four pounds!
I didn’t say much at the time, but a few minutes ago I sauntered into the living room and asked if he was convinced that this Paleo Diet was going to work. He agreed that yes, it was.

Score One for The Cave Woman!
And her Cave Man. 


The only – and I mean o-n-l-y – way to succeed on this particular Eating Plan is best summed up in the word “Plan”. As in Meal/Menu Planning. Which is how I’ve spent my afternoon.

Sunday Dinner is kind of a big deal around here, and with tomorrow being Easter Sunday I’m pulling out all the stops. Our menu for tomorrow is:
Grilled Lemon, Dill Salmon
Grilled Lemon Garlic Asparagus (brushed with coconut oil)
Roasted Orange Ginger Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Carrots with honey, paprika & a dash of cayenne
Strawberry, Walnut & Spinach Salad with Avocado Dressing
It should be yummy.
And as soon as I figure out how I’m doing all of it I am more than happy to share recipes. Actually the only thing to “figure out” is the Avocado Dressing. The rest if it is just sprinkling spices and drizzling either olive or coconut oil.


Le Knee has been Le Pain Free for a good couple Le Days, so I am hopeful that Monday after work I’ll get in a good, one mile run. My Plan Of Action is to walk 1/4 mile, run (slow and easy) 1/4 mile, walk 1/4 mile, run 1/4 mile.

My 5K is next Saturday.
This time next week it will be All Over but The Dust Settling and cutting the check to The Ronald McDonald House.
Until May 1st when we begin planning for next year’s event.
I’m already planning to expand the event to include a 10K.
Never rest on your laurels, especially when you don’t even have them yet.

Oh, speaking of Unrested On Laurels checthis out!

This is Your Intrepid Middle-Aged Woman Blogger wearing a Size 12 Dress that has languished in a box marked “Skinny Dresses” in the eight (that’s ‘8’ in number years) years since YIM-AWB was last able to fit into it.
YIM-AWB  loves This Dress.
YIM-AWB  has missed wearing This Dress.
YIM-AWB  is very happy to be back in this dress.
YIM-AWB, before actually seeing herself zipped into This Dress was just certain she was still “too fat for” one of the “Skinny Dresses”.  She was, apparently, quite inaccurate in her assessment of her own size and shape.
YIM-AWB is, in a break from long-held custom, quite happy to have been proven
wrong mistaken.

YIM-AWB would also like to point out to One And All the flat, well-cushioned, supportive footwear at the bottom of This Dress.
Yes, she has Learned Her Lesson. 

And so it comes to this

Alternate Title: How cute, harmless looking little flats kept me from getting back to running.

I got my first pair of Real Heels the Christmas I was fourteen years old.
These weren’t glorified Mary Jane Slingbacks with a minuscule wedge ‘heel’.
These were Heels.  Black, pointy-toed, nearly-stiletto slim, three inch Heels.
And I.  Was.  Smitten.
In the years that followed I became a connoisseur of Heels.  By my early forties I had a veritable reputation and had attained Consultant/Rockstar Heel Wearing status among my peers.  People asked my opinion about Heels.  People gave me Heels they “couldn’t” wear.  I accepted their gifts  but not – at times – without a touch of pity as I took possession of My New Babies.
When my best friend was diagnosed with MS and realized her Heel Wearing Days were behind her it was me she called to come over and go through her shoes with her, and it was to me that she entrusted many pair of beautiful, slender-heeled pumps and sandals.  I was to be her Proxy Heel Wearer.  And I did so.  But there was always a trace of guilt when I’d wear a pair from my Lisa Collection.

And then, I took up running.
At first I believed I could strike a balance between My Two Lovahs.  If I only wore Real Heels on Sundays to church when I wasn’t really on my feet much, and maybe out to dinner with HCRP when I wasn’t really on my feet much, I could totally satisfy both of them: Fitness and Vanity.
That lasted about two weeks.
Then the Calf Cramps came to town. (Awesome garage band name isn’t it?  “Ladies and Gentlemen – The Calf Cramps!)   And The Heels – even the Lisa collection – Had. To. Go.  I sent them to a good home.  A dear, sweet, heel-loving, and not mid-forty year old newbie runner friend at church.  And with that
 I resigned myself to a future filled with cute flats, and little (I’m talking less than 2″) kitten-heeled slides and what-passes-for pumps.

Spring springs and it’s time to unpack the Spring/Summer clothes and shoes.  And everything is peachie-keen.  After all, as I’m putting on all those clothes that have been stored since last October things are too big, too bigger, and too biggest.  I’m talkin’ fall off without being unbuttoned/unzipped too big.  It’s awesome!
Until this past weekend.
Saturday night HCRP and I went out to grab dinner and go see a friend play and sing at a Songwriter’s Night at a local coffee house.  It was a beautiful, summer-like night so I broke out my favorite pair of summer sandals.  They’re flats – like nearly barefooted flats – and all cute and hippie-strappy, and I’ve had them forever and they just make me happy to wear.
Sunday I broke out my cute, pink, kitten-heeled slides to wear to Church after which we had to run a couple errands.  And by 1:30 My Left Knee was screaming.
Yes, that Left Knee.
The one I’ve been rehabbing from Runner’s Knee since February!
The one I’ve been following Chiropractor’s Orders about the care and rehabbing of.
The one that had, after two weeks of aerobic pace walking and strength training, been pain free for the entire two weeks.
Until Sunday it was pain free.  Sunday it went back to being un-pain free.
Monday it was more un-pain free.  Which meant no getting back to running.
Tuesday it was even more un-pain free.
And early on in all of this un-pain free-ness I knew exactly what had happened.  Cute little flats and low, kitten-heeled slides with zero cushion, shock absorption, or support.  Apparently this little knee of mine requires cushion and shock absorption lest it decide to get all tweaked and un-pain free.
And on Wednesday when I saw The Incredible, Amazing, Super-Genius Chiro Doc he agreed with my assessment of the cause of the un-pain free-ness.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

Remember when I said I gave away “all my heels”?
Well maybe I lied just a tiny bit.
I did keep one pair.
I kept these.
These are my Red Bandolino Pumps.
These are fairly representative of My Heels. High, sleek, sexy, and very powerful feeling.
I love and adore these shoes.  Moreover, my husband loves and adores these shoes.
I haven’t worn them in months, but I do reserve the right to wear them for a special night out and most assuredly one where I don’t walk further than ten feet at a time.


These are the cute little kitten-heeled slides that were the undoing of my knee Sunday.

These are what I walked out of Payless wearing and was deeply grateful to have found in my size.

For contrast, here are the three side by side by side.
I’m going to need a moment of silence to grieve.
And to accept my heel-free, well-cushioned future.

PREPARING to Embrace The Caveman

Well.
We haven’t begun the Paleo Diet thing quite yet simply because that takes a lot more planning and preparation than I had originally realized!

Cleaning out the pantry? That was a breeze.
Being fully prepared to make the meals and have the snacks on hand and ready to roll? Not so easy-breezy.
Tonight I’m going to make up a meal plan and a shopping list and Sunday Morning it’s back to The Stone Age for us!

I’ve been back walking (other than to and from the car and around the office and house) and doing strength training for a week now with zero complaint or opposition from Ye Olde Knee.
Which means that Monday I can start back running!
Slowly and for short distances to begin with.
But running nonetheless.

I’ve learned quite a bit about . . . well . . . a lot of things really while I’ve been recovering and recuperating from this injury.  But mostly these things:

  • I have learned that if one doesn’t listen to one’s body when said body whispers about something being not right, one will listen when the body screams.
  • I have learned that those bodies – given the time and attention they need to actually heal themselves – are amazingly resilient (and eventually forgiving) things.
  • I have learned that you really won’t “Lose all my progress in a week!”
  • I have learned that running (probably any fitness practice but running is my thing) is a lot more of a mental thing than I had given it credit for.
  • And I have learned that running (again, probably any fitness practice) truly does change every aspect of your life. It changes how you eat, how you sleep, how you think about things. I catch myself saying things like “This neighborhood would be a great place for a run!” or “Oh now this would SUCK to run!” The difference generally comes down to hills.

Finally I know that I am so looking forward to the breathing hard and sweating that only a good run produces!