Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Recap

2015 was a year that can be summed up in a few words: injury, recovery, new beginnings and focus. The year began by continuing to deny a hamstring injury and running an awful marathon only to finally recover and move on! We travled, I graduated, O started kindergarten, we ran, new friends came into our lives and I started to realize more about me, my family and my goals in life. So how did my goals go? Well without too much looking I can say they lacked completion but I met other nonstated goals.

Saw this today and seems very fitting as I look back on 2015 and realize a lot has happened and it has made me focus on where I want to go in 2016 and beyond.
Fitness Goals
  • Sub 3:30 marathon (okay actually 3:15 is what I really want): Not even close, I ran my comeback race in 3:37 with no speedwork and knew this goal was out. But I did finish marathons 27 and 28 and checked another state off my list.
  • Run 2015 miles: Fell short on this thanks to time off for injury, hitting 1867 miles for 2015. I have decided mileage goals just aren't my thing anymore. I will still track mileage but need to focus on quality.
  • Complete P90X and P90X3: Yes and add to that Body Beast. My strength work has been great. I can see it in my appearance and in how I run and increases in lifting.
  • Finish a triathlon: Does an indoor tri count?!
  • Stay injury free!! Well I'm finally injury free at least runningwise. I am still dealing with the baker's cyst and will likely for the foreseeable future.
  • I tried new things: Kickboxing and yoga became routine for me.
  • O ran her first 5K! We ran the Color Run and she had a blast.


Life Goals
  • Focus my blog on my life and trials, write 2-3 times weekly: I became overwhelmed this year with many aspects of my life and took a step back from writing. I had many thoughts I wanted to share but never got them out of my head.
  • Finish grad school! Yes, I'm now Dr. Jen :) Graduated July 25th and soon after published my first journal article!
  • Plan a fun girls weekend Ragnar! 2 great Ragnars, made some new friends and got to know some olde friends better.

  • Monthly dates with Matt and O: well this didn't happen but we made attempts and got better. I wasn't afraid to take days off work and spend time focused on O; baking, lunch at AG Store, just having fun.
  • Travel: Of course this was a priority again. We started with a week at an eco resort in Mexico which was amazing and perfect for us. I was able to bring Matt and O with while I travled to Anaheim for a work conference meaning some Disney time for us too. This fall I ran Ragnar in Tennessee and spend a short time seeing the state.
  • New friends! As an adult making new friends is rough. Luckily I have running to bring people into my life and great new neighbors who have moved in to become new friends.
  • A big year for O! She started kindergarten and continued to be the social girl, making lots of friends but having a tougher time adjusting to the structure and calmness of the classroom. Luckily this is improving and over the past week she has decided that learning to read (she loves math) can be fun too. She was also asked to started competition dance which so far has been a fun but growing experience.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, I hope everyone is enjoying the day and finding time to relax. I actually got to sleep in a little, 6:15 wake from an excited 5 yo ready to open presents. I got my great present early when Matt got me a brand new upgraded Kitchen-Aid professional mixer to match our new kitchen appliances. Of course lots of cookie and bread baking to try it all out.

Nothing better than Christmas morning run with friends and of course my 4 legged running buddy!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Are you Kidding?

This weekend was less than great for me as a runner! Saturday weather returned me to the reality of what winter can bring. I woke with wind chills below 0 and had to cancel on meeting my friends, meaning my long run was relocated inside to the treadmill. As a runner with Raynaud's anything this cold is miserable! Heck I pull out the hand warmers for much warmer than that. For some reason my hands and feet seem to be less happy with cold each year, a part of aging maybe? Who knows but I am really close to talking with my doctor about meds to deal with this. I already take magnesium and Vit B and the only other fix of moving to warm a climate is out!

18 very long, less than fun miles with a tight leg. Luckily I have Netflix to distract so what better time for junk TV! The Secret Life of The American Teenager was my distraction. Any other shows I should check out for future runs?

Fast forward to Sunday and guess what...after only 6 days the cyst behind my knee returned 😫 Are you serious? At this rate I will be in for weekly aspirations if we don't find a better solution. I used compression, avoid ibuprofen and still. Ugh! Luckily it isn't really achy or tight yet just there.

This week my plan is another bigger mileage week and consistent strength and core work. My biggest goal is not eating too many cookies! What are your goals this week?

Today this guy would have turned 10, miss my first baby. Happy Birthday Morgan! This picture was the day we found out he had osteosarcoma and would be having surgery to removed his leg, O still says this is her favorite picture.

Happy Christmas Week!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fun Holiday Friday!

Anyone else having a hard time believing that Christmas is in 1 week?! Seriously where did the time go and how will I get everything done? We hit the dep freeze here and had a day of light snow, then rain so now just cold and nasty! I’m sure everyone knows how much I hate cold weather so this is not making me happy, just reminding myself that in 1 month I will be enjoying sun, warmth and the beach J

Started the weekend with a long, early run. I’m glad I have such crazy friends to convince me a 6am start will be fun on a December Saturday! 16 hilly miles done with great conversation at 8:26 avg pace!

Then it the weekend was all about holiday fun: we saw the Nutcracker with friends, Saturday was Santa games at the gym and then Charlie Brown Christmas followed by finally decorating the tree.

We are hosting Christmas Eve and doing an appetizer type dinner, my favorite! So far the plan for my vegan/gluten free/healthy meal is…
  • vegan 7 layer tip
  • hummus and veggies
  • quinoa pizza bites
  • vegan hot spinach artichoke dip
  • stuffed sweet potato skins
  • And dessert of course!

Do you have a favorite appetizer I should add to this list?

With hosting Christmas Eve it means a relaxing Christmas day at home. We wake up, open presents and after breakfast I meet up with friends for a run. We eat leftovers, relax and just do whatever we want. No stress, no driving, just family time and taking it easy…something we do little of.

Last day to donate to win this prize (low entries so great chance to win this prize!)! I’m raising $ for CCFA when I run New Orleans Marathon in February, I'm asking for your help and donating to this great cause
For every $25 tax deductible donation this week you will be entered to win a runner's gift box! Just donate through link above and I will notify winner on Saturday.

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday Are you ready for Christmas? What are you cooking or baking?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Knee Update and Giveaway

Monday was the day I said goodbye to my lovely knee cyst (at least for now)! I met with one of the two local doctors I was referred to for this, tough area to aspirate and multiple complications if not done correctly so my ortho was only okay with two people, luckily one was at my work!

First he did an ultrasound to look for any other potential issues and find out locations of important structures in relation to my cyst. The popliteal artery was 3 cm away so we were safe. He saw a connection to the join space but no other injury. So again, no idea why this happened!

Next came the fun of draining! Luckily he injected the lidocaine first which was less than pleasant, Ouch! Then pulled off this...Nice clear joint fluid

I have a 50/50 chance of this thing returning. Next time he will further scar the cystic sac to hopefully prevent more recurrence. For now I am in compression all the time and need to avoid any anti-inflammatory meds to help scarring. Luckily I have a collection of compression socks for my nondressy work days! And best part no restrictions on activity. I ran yesterday but it was sore.

Now for a little giveaway and plea...
After 7 years of coaching I decided to raise $ for CCFA when I run New Orleans Marathon in February, I'm asking for your help and donating to this great cause
For every $25 donation this week you will be entered to win a runner's gift box! Just donate through link above and I will notify winner on Saturday.
Runners Gift Box Packaging

Who's ready for the holidays? I'm on the hunt for an ugly sweater for a party and need to do lots of baking!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Fun!

What happened to the days when sleeping in meant 9 or 10am or even later? Not 5:45 like today, which truly is sleeping in for me. So here I am relaxing as much as one can while trying to get a 5 year old out the in the midst of a kitchen in the middle of installing new appliances, filled with boxes and tools! I sit here and think about what's been happening and the good of the week in the midst of chaos and frustrations...

1) Warm Weather! Okay so you southerners may not agree that the 40s we have now is warm but for us midwesterners this is tropical in December. I ran yesterday afternoon in shorts! Talk about a mental run and something I needed, smiling the entire time. We got in on the trails that are typically snow covered and closed long before now and Cooper experienced his first deer sighting.
No Snow!

2) The New UCAN Cinnamon Swirl Bar! You all know I love UCAN and while I ate the PB Chocolate Bar and like it, I wouldn't rave about it because I am one of those weird people who aren't chocolate obsessed! I actually don't really like chocolate. So I was thrilled to have a nonchocolate bar and even better one that doesn't melt! Stocking up on these for sure!

3) The Knee... Of course after I get the MRI and a plan and have a month of enlarging cyst it is now shrinking just in time to have it drained on Monday. I'm not saying it is gone but this is how it goes, growing and shrinking. I plan to see the doctor morning since he will also evaluate for any other hidden problems with ultrasound but who knows maybe I won't need it drained.

4) MRTT Fun Last night we held our annual holiday party. Love spending time with these wonderful ladies running, eating, drinking and just laughing. Who knew that 5 years ago when I sat searching for a group on other mother runners to join that the group I helped to start would have grown into this! Friendships, stories, support and more both on and off the running trails.

5) Christmas Fun Weekend! Starting tonight with the Nutcracker, ever since last year O has been asking to go back, hoping to make this our tradition. Saturday is filled with Santa breakfast and games at the gym followed by Charlie Brown Christmas play in the afternoon. Hopefully ending the day by finally getting lights and ornaments on the tree and making the house look a little festive with only 2 weeks to go! Yikes, where did the time go?!

So much for relaxing, guess who's backpack is sitting on the chair across from me while she is at school?! Have a great weekend! Any fun plans? 

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday

Friday, December 4, 2015

Stupid Knee!

Since last winter/spring I've been dealing with this weird mass that would come and go behind my left knee. In the beginning it never hurt, it was just odd and on occasion it came with a pressure. It went away much of the summer until August when it pretty much decided to make home behind my knee expanding and shrinking just to keep me guessing if it would be gone!
I started my research and decided it must be a Baker's Cyst but how? These are usually associated with a meniscus tear, but I have no knee pain other than some mild aches sometimes after a long run. As I started back to marathon training I decided it was time to deal with this and know if there was an underlying issue.

On one of the rare not busy days at work a couple weeks ago I headed over to talk with the ortho PA. On exam my medial line was mildly tender and some laxity. Then he noticed the large scar on my knee from last winter's fall. Remember my lovely long run in Mexico..

Unable to straighten left knee for awhile!
So it was off to MRI, thinking that the fall had caused a meniscus injury and later the cyst. I spent last weekend attempting to read my MRI, digging apart every little irregularity trying to decide if it was something or not. The cyst was obvious but all else not so much.
Pretty obvious, right?!

Luckily having connections helps and I was seen by the sports medicine ortho dr on Wednesday and the verdict...No Meniscus injury! My knee is fine minus the cyst which makes no sense since they are usually associated with something. She thinking I got a small tear in the capsule and it is leaking but the knee itself is fine So we discussed options and with the location near the saphenous nerve and the poor outcome of herself and other surgeons in removing these she is reluctant to go this direction. I am too! Next step ultrasound guided drainage which is only done by two specialists (she would trust) in the area, luckily one is at my work and the other is the dr I saw for my hamstring! Drainage is only a temporary fix and will likely need to be done over. If this fails I may be looking at a procedure to block the leak, ugh! 

Anyone have experience with a Baker's Cyst? Any other advice?

At least I am able to run and the fear of a big knee injury has been removed. Luckily this was my cutback week so I took it easy and the cyst is slightly smaller. Have a great weekend! Any fun plans? We are planning to see Santa and the community bonfire tonight thanks to unseasonably warm weather! 

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday