Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ragnar Adirondaks 2015: Meet the Women of Steel

So I've decided to do another Ragnar Relay.  200 miles, 2 days, 2 vans, 12 runners.  You can read about my last adventure with Ragnar here and here.  This year's adventure will be this Friday and Saturday.  I'm leaving with my teammates on Thursday afternoon.  We will get up on Friday morning at which time the sleep deprivation and running will begin.  Wish us luck.  But first meet the "Women of Steel."

Danielle: Legs 1, 13, 25

Diana, Charlene, Danielle, Tracey, Erica, Susan 

Number of Ragnars Completed: 1
What I'm looking forward to the most about RagnarSpending time with the most amazing and inspiring teammates
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about RagnarMy leg 3.  That elevation gain has me psyched out
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:   I'm in a doctoral program for nursing.  I may (or may not) need to write a paper during this adventure!  And I can't whistle.

Suzanne:  Legs 2, 14, and 26 

Katelyn:  Legs 3, 15 and 27 

Number of Ragnars Completed: 0 – Adirondacks is my first!
What I'm looking forward to the most about Ragnar: Running the beautiful Adirondacks and sharing this once in a lifetime experience with 11 other inspiring women.
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar: The van ride to and from New York – I’m not a fan of long car rides! And probably not being able to shower for 48 or so hours.
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:  I have skied the Swiss Alps!

Erin:  Legs 4, 16 and 28: 

Number of Ragnars Completed: 2
What I'm looking forward to the most about Ragnar: Meeting new Pittsburgh runners :-)
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar: Lack of sleep!
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me: I am addicted to video games; yes even active people can have lethargic hobbies.

Diane:  Legs 5, 17 and 29 

Number of Ragnars Completedmy 2nd Ragner Relay. Last year was such a blast!
What I'm looking forward to the most about RagnarI am looking forward to the beautiful scenery in the Adirondacks! We used to go on a family vacation every summer as a kid.
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar:  I am not looking forward to the very long drive.๐Ÿ˜ 
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me: I can sleep just about anywhere๐Ÿ˜

Erica:  Legs, 6, 18 and 30

Number of Ragnars Completed: 1, this will be my 2nd
What I'm looking forward to the most about Ragnar: having another awesome experience!! spending time with friends and running in some beautiful new places!
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar: driving that big van!! Just kidding, hopefully that's not too bad, but I lucked out and didn't have to drive it at all at Ragnar last year. I've been eating a Paleo diet for almost 3 months. Eating was difficult for me at Ragnar last year. I didn't have much of an appetite maybe nervous about running and bathrooms and living in a van, not sure. But I'm hoping that either eating by staying on the same diet is doable but doesn't cause energy issues or by going off of it slightly doesn't cause any stomach issues. 
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:  I've been dealing with some plantar fasciitis pain in my one foot for a few months now. I hope to get through the race without a flare up or too much pain.  

Charlene:  Legs 7, 19, and 31 
 Tracey:  Legs 8, 20 and 32 

Number of Ragnars Completed: 1
What I'm looking forward to the most about Ragnarrunning in upstate NY and seeing Lake Placid
What I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnartrying to get some sleep.  I think I slept about 45 minutes total last year.
Something you'd be surprised to learn about meSince I have nothing too surprising, here are three interesting tidbits 1) I have never had a cup of coffee, 2) I can read just as fast with a book upside down as it is right side up, 3) I wanted to be a sports writer when I was younger.
Susan (that's me):  Legs 9, 21 and 33 

Number of Ragnars:  Adirondacks is my second 
What you're looking forward to the most about Ragnar:  Seeing a part of the country I've never seen before and spending time with these amazing ladies. 
Something I'm NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar:  Lack of sleep, running at night alone and being cold.  
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:   I once drove a 4 wheeler into a lake by accident when I was about 13 years old.  I'm skilled like that. 

Kelli:  Legs 10, 22 and 34 

Number of Ragnars Completed: 0
What I'm  looking forward to the most about Ragnar:  Getting to spend a weekend with some awesome women who are all amazing athletes!  
What you're NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar:  Something that I am not looking forward to about Ragnar is sleeping in the vans!!!    
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:  I love having my feet massaged!! lol 

Kim:  Legs 11, 23 and 35 

Number of Ragnars Completed:  This is my first Ragnar, and I am so excited!
What I'm  looking forward to the most about Ragnar:  The thing I am looking most forward to is our first big meal after the relay is over.  I'm joking!  I'm looking forward to this whole experience with these awesome ladies!
What you're NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar:  Hmmm...I'm definitely not thrilled about missing out on a proper shower until the relay is over.  ๐Ÿ˜
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:  Something you'd be surprised to learn about me...I like to listen to very inappropriate music when I'm running solo, and I swear.  A lot. 

Jaime:  Legs 12, 24 and 36 

Number of Ragnars Completed:  0
What I'm  looking forward to the most about Ragnar:  Almost everything, I always wanted to do one, but I could never organize something like that.....ENTER SUSAN TIRCH and this awesome group of women in our running group!
What you're NOT looking forward to at all about Ragnar:   I am legitimately scared of the dark, so the thought of running at night alone gives me a little anxiety! 
Something you'd be surprised to learn about me:  I don't have anything too interesting, but I HATED running.  In high school we had a final grade of a timed mile and I thought... "A whole mile, at one time, NO THANK YOU." And I walked.  I played basketball and softball so my idea of running was short sprints around a court or field.  When I was in college I had to find a way to exercise (honestly to lose the freshman 15.) My roommate and good friend Beth talked me into running with her and we weren't focusing on miles but trying to run straight minutes.  We did around 30 minutes and she talked me through it and from that moment on I was hooked. 

There you have it.  My 11 amazing friends (2 of which I haven't met yet, but I know they're amazing).  Stop back to see if we survive.  2 days, 200 miles!!!  Let's do this!  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dear Ella 2015

My Dearest Sweet Ella: 

Raising a daughter may be my biggest/best accomplishment and not because of me, but because of you. You are incredible my dear child. You are beautiful on the inside and out.

I wish the world could see you through my eyes and everyone could know you the way that I know you.  They would know that you're caring an compassionate.  You try to understand everyone even if they're not like yourself.  You accept people for who they are and not who you assume they should be.  

You're a beautiful graceful ballerina.  You have a huge passion for dance.  You might not be the best technical dancer with the most tricks but your teachers know you can perform and you have heart.

For as beautiful as you are, you sure are goofy.  This is the side of Ella I'm not sure everyone knows about.  You love to change your voice and do accents and your favorite is British. Yes Ella, I would like a spot of tea.

One of my favorite parts about you is your love for the arts.  Drawing, dancing and playing music.  You're not a prodigy, but you're a natural.  You make me so proud when I see you doing what you love, playing your guitar and singing your songs.

Do not be fooled, you know you're not just a pretty face.  You're so smart and things at school come pretty easily to you.  As with everything else, you take PRIDE in your work and it shows.  Unlike me, you don't like math and prefer Language Arts.  I don't even understand this, but I appreciate how this makes you uniquely you. 

In fact, there are so many things that make you uniquely you.  You like what you like and you make no apologies.  You don't care if other people don't like what you like because YOU do.  That's not to say you don't want to fit in because I think you do, but you're not afraid to be yourself and I think the other girls will want to be you.

You're girly.  There's not 2 ways about it.  

You love to experiment doing your hair and you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE makeup.  You're pretty good at it too.  I'm impressed.

I love that you're girly, but you're not prissy.  You're not afraid to get dirty and when you take the time to actually play sports, well... you're pretty darn good at it.  Dancing hasn't allowed much time for sports and this year is the first year you're not playing sports.  I've got you pegged for Volleyball in middle school, but daddy is hoping for golf.

The one thing I will tell you on the occasion of your 10th birthday (oof) is to keeping being you.  You're smart, kind, sensitive, caring, happy and amazingly talented at so many things.  You do everything with such ease and are humble.   Every time I look at you I beam with pride.  I wish I could say it's because of something I did right, but I know it's simply because you're special.

Keep being amazing my beautiful child.  Keep inspiring me to be a role model you deserve and a mother whom one day you'll hopefully admire.

With ALL my love,


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Why My CrossFit Career Might Be Over

So I'm in love with CrossFit.  I love it and look forward to it.  It's a sickness almost.  I wake up and look at the WOD and think, "That looks horrible, I can't wait to go."  I can't really explain it.  Unless you've ever fallen in love with anything then you probably wouldn't understand.  

Around November of 2015 I started experiencing pain in my collar bone.  I had a lump (about gumball sized) right on my clavicle (I now know it's in my sternoclavicular joint).  As any good BAD CrossFitter would, I ignored the pain.   With any sport comes pain and injury... that's what I told myself.  

I really started pushing myself in CrossFit in January and did the CrossFit Open in April.  I was lifting heavier (FOR ME) than I ever had.  In April I finally lifted over 100 pounds over my head.  I got a deadlift PR (Personal Record) of 255 pounds.  

Not 255 in this pic 
Guess what happened?  My clavicle hurt worse and now my shoulder was in pain too.  Get what else happened?  I ignored it some more.  You can see where this is going right?  Let me be the example to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and not ignore pain that does not subside.  

I have to say, I feel like I have a hight tolerance for pain. I might complain a lot but I'm NOT a baby.  It got to the point that my shoulder hurt so bad and I was in constant pain.  Everything made it worse.  Running.  CrossFit.  Working.  Walking.  Everything. When we were sight seeing in Toronto, I had to "sling" my arm against my side so that it didn't move when I walked.  Ok walking is a problem.  I finally woke up. 

I went to the doctor.  I explained my pain and they took x-rays.  The results were pretty devastating.  Basically the story goes like this:  When I broke my shoulder back in 2010, my bone healed beautifully, but it didn't heal like a normal shoulder (that was expected).  So my arm doesn't move like a normal arm and when I try to put weight overhead with a barbell and make an equilateral movement, my shoulder isn't capable of that.  So what happens?   My collarbone rotates to allow my body to do what my shoulder can't.  The rotation of the collarbone can be very harmful.  I can eventually fracture it or damage it beyond repair.  Don't worry, my doctor said I can still do CrossFit as long as I don't lift barbells over my head.  Um yeah.. about that.

I almost cried right there in the doctor's office.  I felt like I was punched in the gut.  I don't think he wanted to see my cry so he sent me for an MRI.

The MRI showed that I have Osteoarthritis in my shoulder and bursitis in my shoulder and sternoclavicular joint.  My doctor wants me to rest my shoulder for 8 weeks.  He THEN wants to send me to therapy to (among other things) learn how to modify CrossFit.  

My last day of CrossFit was August 10th.   I was feeling pretty good.  My shoulder wasn't in pain every day.  I stopped popping ibuprofen like skittles and I was hopeful that I could get back to where I was prior to November.  Then last Monday after being 4 weeks free of CrossFit, I had a HUGE flare.  I'm back to popping ibuprofen and back to being in pain every day.  It's really frustrating because I'm not sure how I went from feeling better to feeling bad again.  

I am running which my doctor said I was able to do.  Running doesn't exacerbate it.  In other words, it never feels worse after running.  My pain is always the same after running.  It returns to baseline, if you will.  I am also limiting my running to just 3 days a week.  I even only ran 2 days last week since I was having a really bad flare.  

I don't know where to go from here.  I have 4 more weeks of rest and then we'll see.  My doctor was very compassionate.  He told me he was trying to understand my love for CrossFit and that he's really tried to "get in the head" of CrossFit people.  I don't think he understands because he said, "just don't lift heavy barbells overhead."  Me:  "How about pull-ups?"  Him:  "Maybe on the rings."  Me: "What about pushups."  Him:  "Not tricep pushups."  I swear it went on like that for 10 minutes.  

So what's my plan?  My plan is to get my shoulder back to being pain free.  That's it.  I'm not saying anything else.  Once I'm pain free, I'll develop a plan from there.  I can't say goodbye to CrossFit.  I can't let my love slip away.  I can't.  I try to picture my life without and as pathetic as it seems, I just can't.  I will figure out a way.  The saying isn't I think I can't, it's I think I can.  Besides, I drank the Koolaid.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dear Jack 2015

Dear Jack: 

I write you this letter on the occasion of your 8th birthday.  It's really hard to for a mom to accept that her children are growing up, but it's especially hard to accept when your baby is growing up.  EIGHT!  How is that possible?  You seem so old and it makes me sad. 

There are so many wonderful things about you, but I love that you're you own unique individual.  You do you and you make no excuses about it.  You're fine to do your own thing and will spend time doing things by yourself if it makes you happy. You don't need someone to entertain you.  

You're very persistent.  You want what you want and when you want it.  You're not patient.  If you want someone to say... help you dig a hole in the sand. You'll ask and ask and ask until that person is worn down and helps you.  It's annoying and cute all at the same time.

You're daring when it comes to some things like riding roller coasters and going paddle boarding, but you're also very cautious about other things like tubing and thunderstorms.  There's no rhyme or reason, so it's hard to figure out what you'll think is adventurous and what you'll think is just scary.

You're still a lover of mac n cheese.  That's your number one food love, but you're becoming more adventurous in your eating and trying new things.  You're focused on being healthy too, but then you'll say something like, "I just have to be unhealthy today."  I happy you just try to be healthy from time to time.

You're very loving and protective of the things you love.  You don't like if someone makes fun of mom or dad and you're very sensitive about it.  You give the best hugs and you still love to snuggle.  There's nothing like a big long hug from you.

You're so funny.  Not like you sit down and tell jokes funny, but you say stuff that just cracks everyone up.  You're matter of fact and say things like it is.  It often has daddy and I laughing when we should be reprimanding.  Seriously though, who can resist this?

You definitely love your big brother even though you two LOVE to bicker.  You really love all the things he loves and want to be just like him, but the funny thing is he wants to be like you too.  You're many times the leader and not the little brother all the time.  If Nicholas won't do something or wear something that mommy wants you'll usually volunteer.  Enter puffy vest!

My dearest Jack, thank you for coming into my life and bringing me so much joy.   Every day with Jack is a day full of laughs and smiles.  I rarely can be mad at you because you use your charm to make me smile.  When I work a long day, rush home and I'm always looking from a hug from you.  I know as you grow up you'll continue to have your love and charm.  You'll be the type of person everyone wants to be around because you have a way of making them special.  

On you're birthday, I hope I've made YOU feel as special as you make me feel every day.  Special for having the privilege of being your mom.  There's nothing more I'd want to be.  

You're my baby and it doesn't matter if you're 8 or 88.  You'll always be my little boy.  

I love every crazy part of you.

I can't wait to continue on our adventure together every year.  As always, may all your wishes come true.