Give back!

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Since I can’t run, I’ve basically committed my weekend to volunteering at the Crescent City Classic 10k. Currently en route to the airport to pick up a van full of international elite athletes!! I’ve been having a great time meeting more people in the running community, and feeling good about myself too. Plus, after swimming for three days straight, an exhausting and unfamiliar exercise, my body needs a rest.

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The healing touch??

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A man just pulled up outside my house and gave me this little ultrasound machine to help my leg heal extra quick. Must be legit if he’s wearing scrubs, right?? Will read up on the scientific evidence and update you later.

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Happy Monday, y’all!

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It’s a beautiful (but chillier) day here in Nola, and mine started out awesome! I was subbing a class at the reily center this morning, but being spring break nobody showed up! Sooo I got to swim before heading to work. I really think I am getting better, feeling a lot less awkward with the stroke and the unwritten pool rules too. Also, I think spending a good amount of time nearly naked in public will be a positive for the body image, something everyone could stand to improve.

Have a good day!

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Waste not, want not

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This is the beginning to tonight’s teriyaki salmon stir fry (my favorite!) and a poor girl’s dream!

The base of tonight’s version is zucchini (less than $2/lb) and broccoli stems, which are free once you’ve cut off the florets to take for lunch! Hope you had a great weekend!

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One previously unknown, irrational, and paralyzing fear: CONQUERED!

This is going to sound stupid, but I learned something about myself recently:

I had a fear of swimming at the pool at the gym.

Not because I’m a germophobe, not because I was scared I could drown, but simply because it was totally unfamiliar.

Every time I’ve been swimming in the past 10 years at LEAST, it’s been either in a natural body of water or at the pool of someone I know personally.  There’s no random crazies swimming laps faster than Superman, there are no unwritten rules of the pool, just a large body of water and maybe a beaver trying to eat me.  No big deal.

Being the determined (read: STUBBORN) girl that I am, I knew I had to keep up my fitness somehow and that the ruffled rainbow suit in the following picture would not suffice in a REAL pool.  Some suits just ain’t made for swimmin’ if you know what I mean…

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so Friday after class I forced Andrea to the Westbank Andrea and I went on an adventure to the closest Academy Sports, just a short trip across the Crescent City Connection to the Westbank where you see things like this:

…yeah.  So ANYWAY, $70 later (thanks Mom) I had all the stuff I needed to go swimming for fitness and presumably not be judged too much by all of the superhuman athletes that are surely populating the Reily Center swimming pool.  Bonus: my mildly impressive running skills have earned me a group of friends that are even crazier than I, who all do triathlons, and one of them – my pal Luis – swims at my gym and offered to be my swimming mentor!  SCORE!

Only, I freaked out.

What do I need to bring?  How do I put on a swim cap?  Do I need flip flops?  Do I look ok in this suit?  I frantically texted Alysse and Kari, who calmed my nerves and answered my questions, and got out there.

Luis, well aware of my insanity, took a solid 10+minutes giving me a thorough intro to the facility and discussion of form.  He had a workout planned for himself that he graciously explained and with that, I was off!

The anxiety that I felt, I think, was related to a fear of totally sucking.  It’s like when people ask me if I have ever tried snowboarding: why would I switch over to snowboarding, which I would be terrible at, when I’m a good skier already??  I suppose that is a burden of adulthood – we get comfortable with proficiency and it makes us afraid to try new things.  It’s a bit of a contradiction, because I fancy myself an adventurer, but there is a difference between trying something crazy and trying something that you know you’re going to be terrible at.

But why should that matter??  The answer is that it really shouldn’t.  Who cares if I am the slowest swimmer in town?  I’m in the pool to get my workout in, and to get my leg healed.  I’m doing this for me, not for anyone else, and I never claimed to be fast anyway.  If I spend enough time at this I’m bound to get better, and it will give me another weapon in my fitness arsenal.  Having swimming for fitness to fall back on may even help prevent future injury!  Maybe I’ll even get decent at it and enter a tri!  Of course, I would need a bike for that, and I’d need a job to get a bike, but I predict that it will take me longer to achieve swimming proficiency than to get a job (fingers crossed).

After the workout, I felt awesome.  Maybe it’s all in my head but my leg felt a tiny bit stronger as I came out of the water.  I could tell that I improved at least a little with my stroke over the hour and a half that we were in the pool, and I definitely tired myself out.  My mood improved dramatically.  That is what makes me the saddest when I’m injured – I miss that feeling of exhaustion that comes with a good workout.  It’s like pressing the reset button, you zap all the negative energy and replace it with pure satisfaction.  Yesterday, I was reminded exactly how amazing that feels.

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If I can post this horribly unattractive photo to the internet, I can hop in the pool at the gym. AND YOU CAN TOO!

Lauren signing out, feeling thankful for exercise.  Now I challenge all of you to get out there today, and do something that you are absolutely terrified of but have always wanted to try!! 

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Maple-mustard chicken and broccoli slaw

Let me temper that downer of a post with something delicious!

As I said, I have had more time to take care of myself and prepare good meals as of late.  I had seriously been lacking animal protein in my life, so a recent trip to WalMart yielded a ginormous bag of frozen chicken breasts.  They are a personal favorite, since in a pinch they can be thrown straight in the oven from the freezer and still cook in 20 minutes.  What?  Delicious.  And awesome.  But when I have time, I like to make things extra tasty.  One of my go-to dinners is Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs (using breasts, not thighs, because that is what I have) and Broccoli Slaw with Mustard Vinaigrette

My favorite way to eat it is with the chicken shredded right into the slaw: it’s so flavorful and juicy and the slaw adds a crunch that just can’t be beat!  Try it, even my little sister will eat it and that girl eats nothing.

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Being okay with nothing.

This could either be very positive or very negative, but I’m going for the positive side of things: I am [trying to be] okay with nothing, for now. 

As you know, I’ve been having leg pain since that 16-miler a few weeks back (okay so 19 days to be exact, 19 days and ~4 hours).  Leg pain that was crippling for a day, then got significantly better over the following three, leading me to believe I’d be up and running again in no time. 

I was wrong.

I am experiencing a constant pain with any sort of impact that is not excruciating in day-to-day life, but makes running impossible.  And jumping, and skipping, and dancing.  And those are things I really love, not to mention I am officially not able to run Boston.  So there’s that.

What have I been doing lately?  Well I started out hitting the elliptical hard, then realized that that was actually kind of painful and stupid.  So I have been doing…nothing.

Not a thing.

A little lifting here and there, covering some pilates classes, but nothing with my legs.  I lost the key to the bike lock keeping the stupid clunky cruiser connected to the front gate so I can’t use that.  I have yet to make the time to go get myself a bathing suit (my own fault) and I have no idea where to go to use an anti-gravity treadmill – my PT place sure as hell doesn’t have one. 

But that’s not the worst part.

I am not even positive that I am broken again, because insurance won’t cover the MRI.  So either I am being smart, or I am dashing my hopes at running this marathon that I have worked so hard to come back for, that I have rearranged my internship schedule for, and that I have psyched all my friends and family up for for nothing

But really, I wouldn’t change anything.  I am not a racer.  I am a runner.  What I love about the sport is waking up before the rest of the city, having the roads to myself, and feeling my muscles work, my lungs fill with air.  I love being outside, feeling a part of the natural world, using nothing but myself to travel farther, longer, faster.  I just love doing it.  Really it’s not the race I’m sad about, it’s missing that vital part of my every day.  If I were given the choice between training and ending up broken and not training at all, I’d go with the daily run every single time.  I’ve still got to figure out how to prevent this from happening again, and insurance-god willing I will do that.  But I wouldn’t take back the past ~3.5 months of running.

So for now, I am trying to be okay with nothing.  I won’t lie, it is tough, but for the most part my body feels good.  I have been taking long walks with Louie, and I have lifted more in the past three weeks than I did in the past three months.  I feel my muscles getting stronger again, and there is a lot of satisfaction in that.  I have slept way more and feel better for it, averaging 7-8 hours versus 6 hours when I was getting up to train.  Now that my metabolism has slowed down and I’m not ravenous 24/7, I have actually been able to plan my meals better and lost some weight since that fateful day (knockonwood).  The trick now will be to find the motivation to get myself doing something every day even though I don’t have a pool in the backyard or a pond down the street to aquajog in, and to hide my running shoes deep in the closet so I’m not tempted to sabotage my recovery.  Even trickier is the mind though – staying positive has never been harder when I feel like even my doctor is fighting me.  If you’ve got any workout/distraction/optimism-boosting ideas, please send them my way!

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