Friday, February 14, 2014

Fashion Friday: #endwinternow

Who else agrees that it is past time for winter to be over? This polar vortex is killing us! Since all of us are looking forward to spring, we thought we would show you some new spring running gear we have our eyes on. 

The fun thing about spring temperatures is you can still wear your favorite thumbhole shirts and pair them with a cute pair of shorts. We like this outfit from Gap!

These shorts from the GapFit line are super fun as well!

Target is really upping their game in the activewear department and this light-weight pullover would be perfect with shorts or crop pants.

Cropped running pants are a great option with a light jacket or tee when the temperature starts rising. These space dyed spring pants will certainly put you in the mood for a warmer run!

These may not be a bright spring color, but you have to admit these are awesome!

We had no clue America Eagle carried a performance line, but we have fallen in love with the items and their prices! You have to check them out!

On days when you are at the gym strength training, tanks are the way to go!

We are also very excited about Breakaway's new tees they just released. Here is just one of the several they have in.

Again, we just can't wait to pull off those layers and feel the sun on our skin. Warmer days just can't get here fast enough! 

What are you looking forward to wearing when the temperatures cooperate?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mental Toughness


"Don't let an injury leave you wallowing.  Get through it and let it prove just how tough you are." 

These are the words I have held on to for the last four months.

This past Saturday I realized it had been exactly 16 weeks since my surgery. In talking to a friend she asked if 4 months ago did I think I'd be where I am.  To answer her question: no not at first.

When I was sitting in the doctors office after I received the news that my back was in two pieces, I had a slipped disc, a cyst sitting on a nerve, that I would have to have a lumbar fusion with hardware in my back,  (yes that means I will make medal detectors go off in the airport!) and it would take up to 6 months for a full  recovery I just zoned out and stopped listening. I thought this is it. I'm not strong enough for this and all I could do was cry. I have two kids, lead a very active lifestyle and I just thought:  What is happening to me? Why is this happening to me? Would I ever run again? 

The questions, worries, fears and doubts immediately set in and that wasn't me.

I thrive on challenges and this apparently was my next one.

I went into what ended up being a 6 hour surgery scared to death but trying to keep my sanity with laughter. It really is the best medicine! Hence the silly pre-op selfie I sent to Stacey just minutes before I was taken back!

The surgery went great and I came home 2 days later. Thankfully, I had an army of friends and family around to take care of me physically. I was getting around better than the doctor expected. He said walk to my mailbox I went around the block. 

 I've always wanted to do a 5k in my Uggs! Finally I was able to, at a turtles pace nonetheless!

Mentally, on the other hand, I was slowly sinking. For the first 10 weeks most of my days were spent at home and off of my feet. I could only be on my feet for 15 minutes at a time. Let me tell you, this can start really messing with your mind. The walls were closing in. It was hard, really hard, to hear my kids playing in the other room and all I could do was lay in my bed.

Here's my "are you serious? All I can do is lay here face" not a duck face!
Thankfully, I was able to recognize that I wasn't feeling like myself and I used the time alone to really think about who I am.  It wasn't someone who just sits back and takes whatever life throws at you. I'm a fighter and like I said. I thrive on challenges and it was time I take this one on.  I am truly convinced that mentally surviving an injury is just as critical as physical recovery. It was all about my outlook and perspective.

Thank GOODNESS for social media and the Internet. It helped pass a lot of time! I was able to read lots of articles and blogs about recovery and was able to keep up with all of you.

One of my favorites was from an article in Competitor. These are the main points I took from it:
1. Vent Frustration- dont deny your emotions. And believe me I didn't. I would whine and complain to whoever would listen!  I knew it was ok for me to be mad and upset but it was up to me to decide how long. If I let it would have consumed me, but I realized it would  take me longer to come back stronger if I did.
2. Get Active in Other Areas- I really couldn't get "active" but I took the time to read, watch movies (which I never do) scrap book and do several craft projects around the house. My husband or a friend would set the materials out for me and I would just work away. Recently, I have been able to walk on the treadmill and that alone has helped tremendously.  Get involved in a hobby you've always wanted but don't have the time for, or focus your energy on an alternative exercise to keep up your cardiovascular endurance. ”Down time from running while injured is an opportunity to address other weaknesses that, once improved, will ultimately make you a better runner.”
3. Short Term Goals- I had to realize I had to take it one day at a time instead of thinking 6 months. My PRs became something totally different! I celebrated shaving my own legs, putting on my own shoes and even making it through Target without getting out of breath! Some days were and are harder than others but thinking about day to day instead of the big picture is HUGE in mental recovery.
4. Looking Long Term- I have and still have to think long term instead of right now. Coming back slowly is key into not getting re-injured. Take this time to come up with a plan to come back smarter and stronger to doing what you love. I keep thinking I will be able to pick right back up to where I was. However taking the time to slowly see what my body is capable of is my immediate goal.
5. Come Back Stronger-When you get injured you can decide if you are going to come back stronger or let the injury defeat you. Injury is part of the running game it's just up to you to decide how you will handle it.

For me I can't say I handled it at first as well as I thought I would, my official diagnosis has been life changing for me and now I have to make changes in order to get back to that runner I was. Truth is, I am not sure I will ever be an endurance runner again. My doctor says I probably won't, but I'm a  defying all odds kinda person so I'm ready to take on that challenge too.

"Take the miles away from a runner and the mental anguish is just as painful as the injury that forced him to the sideline." This is an absolute true story! And this is my story and I decide how it ends right?

This Friday I go back for my final post operation check up where my doctor and I will discuss whether or not I can start running again just yet,  I think I will wear my running shoes to the appointment just in case!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The toughest race of my life

By Debi:

This past weekend my running buddy, Cecilia and I, along with some other good friends traveled to  run the New Orleans Rock'n'Roll Marathon. Excitement was in the air!

Not only did we travel with friends from Memphis, we also got to meet up with some blogger friends as well, it was so incredible to meet all of these amazing ladies!
From top to bottom: Abby, me, Cecilia, Sarah, Holly and Mindy

Race morning we headed out, nervous but very excited!! Since we vamped up training in December, I have been battling serious IT band pain, and it had been getting worse as we got closer to race day. Cecilia and I talked about how she needed to bring music just in case I needed to stop or turn in at the 1/2. Right before the start we entered our corral, to join up with Abby and the other girls we met at dinner.
The first four miles were amazing! Abby ran with us and we were able to see the other girls while on course. Even though it was humid and borderline misty/rainy, our pace was great, better than expected. Then Cecilia asked to walk, she wasn't feeling good. We kept moving forward until we saw a medical tent at mile 5. They gave her salt packets and gatorade, she was suffering from dehydration due to the heat and humidity. Even though she still wasn't feeling good, she was determined to keep moving forward. It is not my place to tell all that Cecilia went through and what she was feeling, but I can tell you that she moved forward with determination and will! In our training we talked through bad runs, and made the decision that we would stay together no matter, that's why we wore the Fellow Flowers orange flowers in our hair, it represents "fiercely united." I was prepared mentally to say goodbye to her if the pain in my leg flared up, but I was not prepared to say goodbye if she wasn't okay.
At mile 11, Cecilia decided it would be best to turn in for the 1/2 marathon, but she wanted me to continue since I was still feeling good. I was so torn, we've been together since day 1, how could I leave her? But I also knew that it would make her feel worse if I would have cut my race short for her. We had friends that were coincidentally just a few feet behind us at the time, who promised to stay with her, so we hugged each other tight, and separated. I can tell you now, looking back on the race, this is what broke me!

Abby and I continued on together until about mile 19, she had hurt her ankle a few weeks ago and it was really starting to bother her. She pushed me to keep going without her, she's run three marathons on her own, so she didn't need any support. So there I went for the rest of the race.

I do have to note that one of our friends that drove with us came not to race, but to show her support. Mile after mile she was there cheering, holding signs, taking pictures, offering hugs and water (and snickers). Thank you Daniela, your support meant the world to so many of us!

As those miles came and went I thought I was a bad friend for continuing on! But at some point we all have to run our own race. When you sign up for a race, you never know what will happen. Some days everything may go right, but others will test you mentally, physically and emotionally. This was definitely one of the tough ones. I had to remind myself there will always be more races, so instead of thinking of how sad I was that this race didn't go as planned, I concentrated on how strong I was and that I was not going to let this race get the best of me! I knew there was no record being made today, but I still wanted to give it my all. There were so many other people wearing their St. Jude singlets, and every one of them reminded me of why we were out there in the first place, for the kids of St. Jude!

While I am proud that I did it, I have not celebrated this finish.There was so much build up before this race, that the change of outcome still has me in shock. So what's next? I'm not sure yet, but looking forward to it!

Have you ever had a race not go as planned? What did you do?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Winter Blahs

By: Janell 

There are 33 more days until Daylight Savings Time begins and clearly I am counting them down.

I have it. The winter blahs.

I have shared before that I am not a huge fan of the winter months. I am not one of the autumn/winter girls who loves her uggs and sweaters. I live for spring, summer, flip flops, and lighter clothing. You won't hear me complain (hopefully) on hot Memphis days that last until October.

At this point I am ready for spring days, being outside of the gym, and more outside running and playing. I was ready in November. We had a teaser spring day in the 901 over the weekend that left me wanting more. Our family went to the Shelby Farms Dog Park and so enjoyed it. I am over it being dark when I leave work. I  feel like my days are cut short and I don't have enough time to get out and play!

But, here is the good news (for me at least): Spring is coming. I can taste it. As I sit here on this 30 degree day, rain pouring, I am anticipating warmer weather. Spring racing season is my favoriate. There are so many great races in the 901 and beyond during the spring time. Today, I am choosing to stay positive about this weather knowing that spring is close. Ask me again tomorrow. 

Help me out, what are some things that you do to beat to winter blues or do you enjoy running this time of year? Something that has helped me is a run group that we just started.  If you haven't joined our Breakaway Girls Run the 901 please do and join us for a run-all paces welcome!

What are some things are you looking forward to when warmer weather arrives? What spring races are you looking forward to?