Friday, July 28, 2017

Some Hard Truths (and Some Small Victories)

These days, three miles feels daunting and four seems impossible. I am trying to stay positive, but when I think about my longterm running goals, I can't help but feel hopeless.
I love that Elizabeth has become the voice of reason and experience in running here.
Running on the treadmill at the gym has reminded me how much easier running indoors is. For one thing, there's no humidity! For another, the treadmill really cuts down on the effort and impact. I am taking Wednesday's 30-minute run (no walking!) as a victory.

Monday I ran for 17 minutes without stopping (outside) and that is a victory, too.
My calf pain has been significantly less intense than it was November-May this year. On the one hand, this could mean I don't need surgery after all? So maybe all the stress, expenditure, and loss of fitness was for nothing, but I can just pick up running again like normal.

Or maybe this means I forgo surgery and then months later - after my deductible resets - the pain picks back up and I need it done after all.

I am thinking back to my first marathon. I was struck with calf cramps like I had never had before. At the time, I blamed Mucinex. But what if that was my first experience with compartment syndrome? Can it be dormant for years before resurfacing?
(Rereading that post is so amazingly motivating. I can't wait to be able to run a marathon again.)

I am running on my golf course or at the gym exclusively these days because the thought of driving to a route with the intention of completing it and failing is paralyzing. I like the comfort of the familiar right now.
But it's not a bad place to run, really.
Last week was the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed a run and felt like I was running for me and not as a chore. It was liberating.
Actually, genuinely happy.
Elizabeth listened patiently to these sundry concerns Wednesday and then offered really helpful suggestions and I feel really lucky to have her. She is endlessly patient and always helps me see the positive side of things.
I am trying very hard to focus on my victories. Today at the gym, I realized I can run without walk breaks. I realized Florida summer is a big element in my struggle; I had forgotten how much it can affect me.

I realized for the first time in awhile that I still want to run distance and I still can. Not yet, but eventually. Running is a lifelong endeavor, and I am relieved to realize I'm excited to get back to it after this is all over, however it turns out!

How do you get over your self-doubt after an injury or setback?
What small victories are you celebrating lately?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Summer Stuff

I officially go back to work July 27th to start training our new teachers, so summer is basically over for me. It's been a good one. Our travel plans fell through and my leg debacle caused some stress, but mostly I really enjoyed my time off.

In June we had a week straight of heavy rain, but I was able to take advantage of the few days of sun and enjoy our backyard.
I took time off from working out to catch up on reading and writing for fun. It felt so good to be a total hermit and avoid socializing for a couple weeks.

We went up to Sarasota for Father's Day and Matt taught my family how to use his One Wheel. I always love it when all of us are able to get together, because it usually only happens at Thanksgiving.
This video of my mom on the One Wheel always cracks me up. She did a great job! My brother was so nervous; he really didn't want her on there.

Although we didn't get to New York this summer, as was our original plan, this past weekend Matt and I made a weekend trip up to Mark's family beach house in St. Augustine to see a handful of our college friends; it's always a treat to see them and catch up.
Sean always cooks for us when we do these trips, and this year he made sure everything was totally gluten free!
In big workout news, I finally joined a gym. Planet Fitness totally got me with their $1 signup special. After doing the math for the yearly cost, I decided it was worth the membership, especially if it means I'll have some accountability for going. I also talked Elizabeth into joining! I just feel like I need more beyond our classroom workouts this year.
I was brave and went by myself the first day I joined!
The gym is a half mile from my house, so I can run there, which is a major plus. And when my runs get rained out now, I'm a two-minute drive away from a treadmill! No more excuses!

Although I worked a little here and there over summer, it definitely felt like a long enough break. I am excited and ready to head back to work!

Did you go anywhere this summer?
How do you most like to spend your downtime? 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Our Anniversary in Pictures

Matt and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary last week. We don't often do anything big for our anniversaries, but this year we didn't have a summer vacation planned and we just felt like we wanted to do something special. So, we got a hotel room at a nice local hotel and had a staycation!
One of three pools at the hotel...this one had a huge fountain and waterfall! We drank our mimosas here before bringing our luggage upstairs.
When we arrived at the hotel Sunday, I was a little overwhelmed. When traveling, we usually go for 3-star hotels and inns; the Hyatt Regency is basically a resort compared to those! Like, we checked in and they offered us mimosas. That is beyond our usual level of fancy.
The view from our room...we upgraded to a balcony.
We had lunch by the pool and enjoyed the lazy river before opting for the adults-only pool, which was quiet and perfect. We are officially those people. The place was crawling with kids! We just wanted a quiet getaway.
A late lunch...I think Bloody Marys are appropriate to drink at any time of day. (Looking at this picture makes me really glad I booked a haircut before school resumes.)
Enjoying the hot tub.
Despite this being the "adult only" pool section, a couple interrupted our alone time by bringing their toddler in with them. I feel like that's really rude and unsafe!
After sunning ourselves, we cleaned up for a delicious seafood dinner at one of the restaurants at the hotel. I had a fantastic paella and Matt had scallops and orzotto. We also had two kinds ceviche, because the restaurant is known for its ceviche bar. We had one with swordfish and one with red snapper.
After dinner, we wandered the grounds a bit. They had some big fires going and you could make s'mores, but we just wanted to sit and enjoy the atmosphere. After being interrupted a few times by kids who were up way too late, we went back to our room and watched some Bob's Burgers, because this is real life and in real life couples watch cartoons before they go to bed.
Our view from the hammock we relaxed in after dinner.
Monday (our actual anniversary) we checked out, enjoyed a little breakfast (they had gluten free blueberry muffins that were so good!) and then spent some more time at the pool. When an afternoon rainstorm swept through, we decided to call it a day. I had work Tuesday and we had to grocery shop and get some laundry done...real life was waiting for us.
To me, this was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. Just a night away, a couple days at a resort, really good food and drinks, and quality time.

How do you celebrate special events in your life?
Do you like ceviche/seafood?
Do you and your SO consider yourselves romantic? We are really not...this kind of "romantic getaway" isn't our usual gig, but I think I'd like to repeat it in the future!


Friday, July 14, 2017

I'm So Tired of this Topic

Okay, let's talk about my calves for hopefully the last time this summer...or ever, preferably.

After my compartment test, it took awhile for me to hear back from the doctor. Once I finally spoke to him, my fears were confirmed: the tests were inconclusive.

That being said, he is still sure that the symptoms I'm having are indicative of compartment syndrome and he is willing to go forward with surgery if and when my symptoms return to an unbearable level.

I am currently under instructions to "run until it's a problem!" and then give him a call to schedule surgery. While I wanted this all figured out and done over summer, at this point I'm just happy that inconclusive tests haven't set me back to square one.

So for now, I am back to running with a freedom and ease I haven't felt in months. For awhile I've been too depressed and anxious to run, never knowing if I'll experience pain or be doing terrible damage to my calves. Now, I'm not scared to have pain because if I do, I know there will be an answer. I missed being able to turn my brain off and just run!
Hopefully a return to a more consistent running/workout schedule will improve my mood and help draw me out of my anti-social behavior. Fingers crossed that this will be the last I need to write about this particular subject!

I hope you all are doing well!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Earworm Wednesday

Misterwives - Machine. 

I find Misterwives to be a little hit-and-miss but this song, with vocals sounding a little like Shakira, a catchy tune, and rebellion-inspiring lyrics, is a winner!
Lyrics to listen for: "Oh I'm tired of abiding by your rules/Causing me to second guess my every single move/You don't know who I am or what I have been through/So don't dare tell me what I should or shouldn't do"


Monday, July 10, 2017

Our Song (an Anniversary Post)

Today is Matt's and my wedding anniversary. We are celebrating seven years! I've always heard of the "7 year itch" but if this year is anything like the last six, I'm not worried.

Matt is my perfect complement. When I am stressed, he is comforting. He is endlessly supportive, and in the past few months dealing with my calves, I don't think I could've held it together without him. When I am neurotic, which is truly my default setting, he takes it in stride.
A post shared by Ali (@abk_runs) on
Nothing in the world feels better than laughing uncontrollably with him; he may not always understand what tickles my funny bone, but he humors me anyway.
I don't think I'm nearly as good at being a partner as he is, and I'm forever grateful that he sticks by me regardless.

Matt and I met and began dating in 2005. I think it was in 2007, while studying in Scotland, that we started listening to Snow Patrol (we were listening to a lot of Scottish bands at the time), and found our song. I wanted to find a good instrumental version to dance to at our wedding but couldn't hunt one down that I liked, so we didn't, and that's the one thing I'd change about that day.
I feel so fortunate to share my life with someone who fits me so well. My parents are celebrating 37 years this week, and I look at them and just know that someday, that will be us.