Sunday, September 30, 2012


Wow....I've missed writing lately, and I've made every excuse in the book as to why I didn't want to, couldn't, shouldn't, etc.  nnn

So....the shouldn't part I will explain as best I can because I feel that is a legitimate reason why I havne't posted.  Work has been very....stressful to say the least the past 3 weeks, especially the past 2 weeks or so.  Heck lets be honest- work has been stressful this entire year.  The stress has varied from normal work stress to extreme levels and back down again.   I don't feel comfortable talking about it due to the public nature of this blog but needless to say- I needed to stay away from my blog for a while when I was in the RAAARRR I want to scream stage of my stress so I didn't post something I would regret.

Angry kitty!
Yeah, I didn't want to turn into that monstrosity, sorry. So I was smart and just kept reading all my favorite blogs but dind't post in fear of writing something I would regret or starting a binging spiral.   It's odd how the majority of the time writing is very therapeutic, but sometimes you don't want to get the words out there because they make you face reality.

Well, one reality I have been facing lately is not being able to run.  It's sucked, but my body must have really needed it because it's responding well to the physical therapy.  My physical therapists have me doing a lot of stretches, long held yoga poses, and some strengthening work involving my legs and especially my core.  It's very humbling to find out you are basically a weakling and have crappy core strength even given all the work I have put in to both areas.  Humbling and frustrating.

The PTs have been giving me some running time at the end of my physical therapy sessions and it's not surprising how unsettling it is to run under scrutiny.  Although, having said that- it has been helping .  On Friday Mark had me running on the treadmill for an entire 10 minutes.  Yeah...very short time but that was a build up from my first run with them at 3 minutes.  The run on Friday felt good, like really darn good.  I'm working on so many things associated with my form sometimes it's really hard to keep it all in mind when I'm running.  But, if I just focus on my forward lean and cadence the rest seems to kind of fall into place.

So...that's all for now.  I'm sorry for my crappy posting lately- Hopefully I can find the motivation soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Post from last week

So I really thought I had published this last week but apparently I suck....written originally last Monday.

This weekend was fun and Saturday was active and busy- just the way I like it.  I woke up raring to go riding at 9am to find out that Brianne and my mom had gone out and we were going to go later.  I was thrilled that my sister was riding so took advantage of the extra time by hitting up the elliptical at the gym for 45 minutes.  It felt good and reminded me why I liked working out when I first woke up- such a great way to start the day.

We purposefully brought the horses to an event at Fair Hill so Dancer and I could get some practice with dealing with crowds of people and horses- particularly the need to stand still for long periods of times.  I really want to ride him at Fair Hill International this year (for outriding- aka crowd control) like I did Piney last year.  I think he would be awesome....duhh.  Plus it would be fun to ride him at such a big event!  Mom and I talked a lot about a goal that she has set for me- taking jumping lessons with Dancer.  Funny thing about my mom- she shared the goal with her dog Candy's vet (a coworker of mine) before she told me.  lol

Before you get crazy ideas, I have no grand ideas of doing this:

 I just want to be able to play around and jump sometimes and not A- hurt my horse, B-fall off,  C- look like an idiot.  O yeah, and breaking my kneck wouldn't be good either.  And it might be fun to do a little competing and get back in the eventing scene.....not gonna lie....but that's not my goal.  yet.

Saturday night I got to enjoy a little girl's night in with the bff which is always fun because Adrian had other plans.  Mom wanted me to join her for church in Wilmington and it's just too far for her to drive by herself.  So, I crashed at the farm and joined my mom for a nice service on Sunday.  On the way home we stopped at one of my favorite stores- a tack store.  Dover Saddlery to be exact.  And I got hooked up with some new Ariat Concord Half Chaps.  They are beautiful, leather masterpieces and I LOVE them.  I love that they look like tall boots and especially LOVE that I can fit into Ariat chaps!!!  My calves have always been huge and I have never in my life been even close to fitting into their chaps in any shape or form- so just that is an accomplishment in itself! :)

If only my calf was this skinny....

Add on 9/25:

To continue with the horsie trend, I rode on Saturday with mom again.  I've ridden with her every weekened for almost 2 months and it has been fantastic.  Such a great stress relief and there is something about riding that works like a continuous foam roller on my glutes.  So it's therapeutic for the mind and body!  

Mom had a double chemo treatment on Thursday and she was very nauteous and seemed tired before we left but she really wanted to go anyway.  We had a nice 2.5 hour ride which pushed her to her exhaustion limit.  I really wish I could make the cancer go away or even know what to say when she is sick or upset or mad about her illness and treatments.  But the reality is....there is no good thing to say other than "I love you" and "I'm sorry" so that's all I really say.  After the grimness and utter terror of her initial diagnosis I am grateful for every moment I get to spend with her- especially on horseback which is when she really can forget all about the dreaded C word and enjoy her favorite thing.

So of course I ran Dancer a LOT.  Since I can't get my run on by myself (without physical therapy supervision which means 10 minutes a week), I've been thoroughly enjoying flying across the fields, through the woods, and back again on the gorgeous and magnificent animal that is Dancer!  He's such a blast and I feel that the more we ride together the more we really get a good feel for each other and it feels that much more natural and connected. <3

I love my baby!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bad running form= pain

Ugggh.  Today has been both good and bad.  Mainly good with a bad end.

I'll start with the bad first because that's how I'm feeling after another night of needless eating.  Not the same as last night- mainly my choices were good and they were because I was actually hungry.  Then I wasted 10 points on 3 little desserts. STUPID! But....delicious.  So as Joan suggested to me earlier (thanks Joan) you need to forgive yourself.  It happened, now I need to move on.  And not do it again tomorrow!!

The big deal that happened today was I had another physical therapy appointment.  On Monday I met with Mark and had my initial evaluation.  He was nice and gave me lots of hip rotator stretches, hamstring, and even some lower leg stretches.  He suggested trying some more elliptical to gauge how I felt and asked me to bring in my running shoes to my next appointment.  Mark's a triathlete (cool!) and was excited about all the activities I was doing and that I was a swimmer- which he said is the best workout I can get right now.  Given my goal of being able to run with no pain- he suggested I spend some time with Barb as well, who is a long distance runner and works a lot with runners and improving form.

Which was today, with Barb.  She was AWESOME.  Plain and simple, she was simply fantastic.  After a quick review with me and my chart- she immediately wanted to see my running shoes and already was telling me what my form was like and how my food landed before she even saw me stand.  She eventually had me run on the treadmill since I was having no pain.  She recorded me from behind and from the side on her iPad while I ran (slowly) on the treadmill.  Initially running wasn't painful but it quickly became more and more uncomfortable so I was glad when she asked me to stop after only a couple minutes.  Then we sat down and she explained what she saw.

Bad heel striker!
 All in all....I am a complete running disaster.  I do pretty much everything wrong.  I heel strike, I have very hard and loud foot falls, slow cadence, I don't pick up my feet enough....and that's the initial impression.  My posture is too rigid and I have such side dominance that I turn my torso more on one side than the other. My right shoulder rotates more than my left- looking like I'm trying to pull my left side along behind me.  And my left hip is too tight which isn't allowing me to get a fast enough turnover on that side, making my right side work twice as hard.  In fact, my whole left side of my body is just plain stiff and not as flexible as my right.  Also I overpronate- which looks even worse in slow motion.  Heck, I overpronate when I walk so this is nothing new.  O yeah, and I have zero forward lean.

As I sat next to her listening to her massacre my form (in a nice way, explaining along the way what it should look and feel like) I felt this odd combination of relief and embarrassment.  Relief because this is something concrete we could work on.  Embarrassment because here I thought my form was good- or so I've been told by others (until Rick Meyers' clinic that is.  Apparently he knows what he's talking about lol) and apparently this whole time I've been a complete running disaster.

She said we have two paths we could go down:
1. Work towards a goal race and get me pain free- basically fix the immediate problem and send me on my way.  She said if we do this it is very likely the problem will reoccur if I continue to run long distances- but I could keep at running less that 6 miles or so with this form long term with minimal repeats of the same type of injury.  But add in building up to half and full marathons and the injury WILL return.
2.  Take significantly more time NOW to rewire my entire running form from top to bottom.  It will take longer, but once my form is good, I shouldn't have issues running much longer distances giving my overall fitness level if I train properly.

DUH, option 2!!  There really is no option 1 is what I told her.  She replied with a "that's exactly what I was hoping to hear."

So, I have a very long and tedious road ahead of me that she said will be very challenging and frustrating, but Mark and her will be there every uncomfortable step along the way.  It WILL be worth it, for sure!  The immediate plan is lots of stretching and strengthening of my hips- especially my left hip.  After much manipulating and prodding of my hamstrings, glutes, and hips- the left hip really leaped out as the main problem.  Interesting how these things happen!  She seems concerned about possible bursitis- so she is confirming with my doctor that the hip x-rays showed the left hip clearly enough to rule it out in my left hip.  My doctor was initially focusing on the right hip, so I'm really not sure...

We will see.....but I feel more optimistic

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whoa Nelly

I am seriously having one of those nights....where I want to eat anything and everything.

 I realize in the grand scheme of Colleen's life, tonight wasn't the worst night, or even bad in comparison to old Colleen.  But I am no longer old Colleen. PERIOD.  I am nothing like her, and just thinking of how I was then and where my health was makes me feel nauseous. Or maybe that's the after affects of all the food I ate tonight....
Why are you so delicious?

Yeah, I destroyed some Stacy's pita chips and carrots and red pepper hummus....and 94% ff popcorn...and a huge fruit salad....and a weight watchers mini fudge bar....and a TBSP of peanut butter....and a 90cal fiber one brownie. That was all after my very filling dinner of a chicken soft taco, green beans, and potatoes.

Needless to say my tummy feels like this right now...

Actually, my stomach felt like that an hour ago and I very impressively ignored it and kept eating.  I know, you are thinking- why would you do that?


So what started this you ask, aside from the fact that I haven't been able to run during this beautiful fall weather?  Today I went to a ww meeting and had a gain ---> 1.4 lbs up!  I was expecting a gain soon but I've been cutting back on my food in response to my lower activity level.  But +1.4lbs?!?!  That just plain sucks- no ifs, ands, or buts. I can say all I want that I'll lose it- which is true- but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

So the entire drive from WW to the gym I was PISSED.  The meeting tonight was about changing habits and I got zero inspiration, which is rare for me.  Usually simply hearing affirmation of what other are doing really helps me but I really heard nothing inspiring tonight....and there was something about the leader that was just....fake.  She seemed nice enough, but I just didn't feel any warm and fuzzies PLUS I was feeling down about my gain, duh!  Not a good combination when what I needed tonight was either some inspiration or a kick in the ass.

I'm glad I at least drug my sorry butt to the gym tonight and got some (minimal) sweat out on the elliptical and tortured my abs through a max effort ab workout before doing my foam rolling and 20 minutes of stretching for physical therapy.  This whole not being able to do a difficult workout sucks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Soul Soaring Ride

As I struggle with this hamstring/hip injury, I am trying to keep myself from going crazy with some other things I enjoy- namely horseback riding.  I've loved horses since I can remember and have been seriously riding since I was 10 years old.

Dancer and I on the trail at Fair Hill
I took Friday and Saturday as rest days after some pretty bad hip pain Thursday night after my elliptical and upper body/abs strength training workout.  I wanted to try to ensure I could enjoy a nice ride with my mom on Sunday.  Especially since it was going to be replacing my original plan for September 9th....the Harrisburg Half Marathon. waaa waaaa.

Ok, I know I've been really down about not being able to do this race sucks to work really hard for a goal and not be able to complete it because your legs just can't cut it. grrrr.

Moving ride was AMAZING.  It was exactly what I needed to take my mind off the fact that all my running friends were racing.  PS- they all rocked it out, so proud!  Way to go Ashley, Emily and Mary! :D

Dancer and I taking in the scenery before we tore across the field
  It's days like Sunday that I feel so blessed to have my mom with us to share the joy of horseback riding with.  It wasn't long ago that we were worried she wouldn't make it home from the hospital.   Now it's been more than 3 years and although it's a constant battle- she's fighting and I'm so grateful.

My mom with her ever vibrant smiley on Piney
  Mom always encourages me to get my run on whenever we are riding because she knows that's what I really love.   It makes my soul soar, plain and simple. There is something about feeling the power of a 1000lb animal beneath you and knowing that you are in control that is invigorating and slightly intoxicating.  And then there is the added adrenaline because at the same time you know it's kinda dangerous and unpredictable as well.  For an adrenaline junky like me, it's the perfect combination! 

I had no idea my mom was taking pictures- and she captured this moment trotting along the woods.
 Lucky for me, my mom was in a "let's take pictures" mood last weekend (these pictures are all from labor day weekend).  She said it was because I looked too nice in my new (so small I can't believe my eyes at the tag!) breeches and pretty top to not capture forever. Awwww moms know just what to say! :)  

Isn't he so handsome?!   Love Dancer to pieces! :)

What is your favorite outdoor activity?  Although I talk a lot about loving to run- I will always love horseback riding more, sorry!  Horses are my first and strongest passion and I would work with horses as my job every day if I could make a decent living that way.   So what do you like to do outside? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Seeing the light

Today was one of my favorite weight watchers meetings to date, and it happened exactly when I needed it to.  Today was a bad pain day (lots of back and hamstring pain) after what I thought was an easy swim workout.

I weighed in this morning and lost 0.2 lbs- basically a maintain, but ever ounce counts! I couldn't stay for a meeting, which bummed me out but I was thinking I might be able to squeeze into the 5:30pm meeting if I could leave work with enough time- and I did!

It was the best thing I've done for myself in weeks.  My head has been in such a funk these past couple weeks and I know I've been grumpy- sorry, people!  I know my mood has been affected because of my need to take a pause on running and all of the high impact and high intensity workouts I love and crave.

The topic of the meeting today was "Seeing the Light"  and it was all about members sharing their "aha" moments.

I didn't realize that this was the topic today when I walked in and they were asking for celebrations.  I had to acknowledge hitting a new decade cause I missed doing this last week and it really meant a lot to me to be in the 170s!  The leader remembered me from a past meeting and she asked me to share my total weight loss and share my "aha" moment to get the group started. 

In case you haven't heard me talk about it, this was my "aha" moment as I submitted to WW for their inspiring stories section (this is just a part of the submission):

"I had tried to lose weight in the past, but it wasn’t until I was honest with myself and came to terms with my own bad choices that I changed. One day after a bad fast food binge, which of course was done while hiding out in my car away from prying eyes, I looked at myself in the little vanity mirror and didn’t recognize who I was. I started crying and simply couldn’t stop, because I finally got it. I knew in that moment I had 2 choices, but only one that I could live with. I had to take control of my life - and quickly!

That was almost three years ago, on October 20, 2009. The next day I joined Weight Watchers and gained control of my life. With the support of Weight Watchers, my awesome leader Joni, and fellow members behind me, I finally learned what healthy eating meant and what it was like to enjoy activity. Before I would get winded simply walking down a hallway, now I can run 10 miles with a smile on my face at the end! Life is so drastically different now; sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’m the one living it."

So after sharing my light bulb moment with the fast food and crying in the car there were people crying and they all stood and gave me a standing ovation. WOW.  Of course that made me grin and cry not so pretty tears.  But that's what WW is all about and why I love it so much- the support and love I feel from every meeting I go to.  The meeting basically came to a screeching halt and nearly the entire meeting was me answering questions and basically leading and directing the meeting back to the topic.  After the meeting the leader gave me a big hug and told me that if I didn't become a leader it would be a crime against all things weight watchers. lol.   So sweet!

I needed that! I feel energized from within my soul and so grateful to all the wonderful members that made me feel so special today.  Sometimes I need to take a moment to remember how far I've come and that sometimes setbacks are a part of life- you just have to deal with them.  This quote at the end of the meeting really hit me today and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't- you're right," Henry Ford.


Did you have an "aha" moment that really affected your actions? Share please!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Trying to woman up

I haven't posted since Ft. Lauderdale because I'm having a tough time...I kept trying to come here to write a post about it, but every time I try to put words to it I just get so frustrated and pissed off.

And then I realized that I need to suck it up and woman up.  There are so many people out there with such bigger struggles and injuries to deal with that I've been feeling guilty for being so frustrated.  With everything my mom has gone through in the past 3 years since being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer....I needed some perspective and we had a great talk.  She brought up the fact that so many athletes have injuries and brought up several Olympians and said- see you are an athlete with problems that atheletes deal with!  Much love to my momma.

Having said all that....I am allowed to be frustrated, darn it!  My hamstring still feels like poo....I am actually seeing a sports medicine dr. about it on Thursday.  It's odd...I'm hoping he tells me it's just a strain but at the same time- I also want to hear a real diagnosis so I know WHAT to do so I can get back into my running sneakers.

Because...the last time I have run above a painful and stuttered mile was August 19th when I did 8, not totally pain free, miles around my neighborhood.

Nike- you are so right!

I never thought I would ever say this but I MISS running.  Like I feel like small part of my soul is missing.   Some look at me like I've lost my mind when I say this but I LOVE TO RUN.  Just 6 months ago I was just teetering on the edge of enjoying running but then IT happened.  That glorious run around my favorite hilly loop by my parents farm when I got back from my run and just....wanted to keep running. So I did.  It felt like magic, and ever since, I have been bitten by the running bug. HARD. 

Well said

Last week, I had to come to terms with not being able to run the Harrisburg Half-Marathon that I've been in training for months.  This seriously BLOWS.  I've had this specific half in my head since I went last year to support Emily and first thought to myself- I can do this.

So...I haven't run since August 19th.  The week after that I was still doing cardio- biking and elliptical but no running....and still having the same amount of pain.  So since August 28th I have only done swimming as cardio and no leg strength training whatsoever.  It has been nice mixing things up and has me thinking about going back to doing a triathlon again.  Perhaps an Olympic distance this time.  I just wish my gym had a deep water section- it does have a lap pool but it's only 5 feet.  I would love to do some deep water running but alas....laps will have to do for now.

Anyway, enough of my rambling complaining for one night.  I hope the doctor can help me out on Thursday and help me heal so I can run again.  SOON PLEASE!

Monday, September 3, 2012

From Fat to Finish Line

Like following my story and want to hear about some more inspiring people with similar experiences?  There is an awesome documentary being made about 12 inspiring people who all went from fat to fit!

12 Strangers... Over 1200 Pounds Lost... 2 Days... 200 Miles... and a race that makes testing your limits a team sport!

From Fat To Finish Line will document the journey of 12 people who share the common bond of losing 100 pounds on average and will now embark on one of the biggest challenges of their lives: The 200 mile mega distance Ragnar Relay Race.  To run a Ragnor relay in itself is pretty awesome, but to also beat your own personal demons before hand and turn your health around is inspiring and impressive!

Please consider backing or posting on social media or your blog about this awe inspiring documentary, they need our help to reach their goal of $50,000 by September 13th and get the funding they need!  Any donation or spreading of the word will help, or checkout their Facebook page, it even has weekly giveaways!

I found out about this awesome documentary through some awesome blogs I follow like: From fat to finish line, Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood, Runner12 , and Runs for Cookies.  All the members of this relay team are so inspiring, so check out the website and if you are able to, support them through KickStarter