It’s Official, My Legs Hate Me

Sometimes, as much as the outcome sucks, it is good to know a decision was made based on correct intuition.  When I pulled out of Rutgers, it was not a difficult decision.  I just knew something wasn’t right.  Remember when I said a gut feeling is not just a euphemism?  This is a perfect example.  I knew what I was feeling wasn’t in my head.  Although, I wish it had been.

Turns out, what I was feeling at Rutgers, was not in my head.  I saw the doctor on Thursday when the pain was only getting worse in my foot/ankle.  I was terrified of a stress fracture. 

The goods news is, nothing is broken in my foot!  And seriously, that is some great news!

The bad news is I have a pretty significant case of Peroneal Tendonitis. 

Peroneal Tendonitis refers to painful inflammation of the peroneal tendons located on the outer side of the foot, a little behind the ankle bump. 

There are two peroneal muscles on the outer side of the lower leg. One long one, called the peroneal longus runs from the knee to the ankle, and one short one, called the peroneal brevis muscle runs from below the knee to the ankle. Both these muscles when they approach the ankle, convert into tendons, which are thick bands of fibers that connect muscle to bone. Both these tendons run side-by-side and curve behind the outer bump of the ankle, then run below the foot where they insert into the bones of the foot.

As the muscle contracts, these tendons pull the lower surfaces of these bones, pulling/bending the foot downward (plantarflexion) and outward (eversion).

Once we had a diagnosis, it was time to treat.  Out of waitressing for 10 days and lots of RICE method.  Additionally in an effort to keep my leg stabilized and because “I can’t be trusted to stay off my feet,” I was also put in the CAM walker for the weekend.  Thank God that was only for a few days.  If I never have to see that boot again, it will be too soon.

And I’ll be rocking this again for a weeks to keep my ankle stable:

2013-04-29_08-34-02_385I know, I know…desperate for a pedicure!

I was also supposed to do this weird thing…I think normal people call it relaxing?  Yeah, I am not so good at that but didn’t have a choice.  I spent Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday on my couch with my foot up and ice on and off.  Sunday, I mowed the lawn in my boot- that was a new experience…!   Other than a few errands, my friends housewarming Saturday night and mowing the lawn Sunday, my weekend mostly looked like this:

 wine2Relaxing is better with wine.

As much as relaxing isn’t my thing, I’ll admit it was a nice break.  I run on empty most of the time, so to be able to have a reason to do nothing was a good and much needed chance of pace.  It is hard to stay off my feet at my day job as well but I am trying.  And since I am not working  nights this week, and I cannot afford to do anything because I am not working night this week, the above is pretty much my game plan for the rest of the weekFor now, running is completely out of the question and I have to wait until I am pain free to get back to ballet/barre but I am hoping next weekend to get a work out in, even if it is just slow on the elliptical and some lifting.  I’ll take anything!

It may seem as though my spirits are up; that is mostly due to the fact that I am so happy I don’t have a fracture.  But the truth is, I am really bummed out.  I did everything right training for Rutgers.  I felt so ready.  And for things to just fall apart and me to be back off running is a huge blow.  I am frustrated.  Actually, I am beyond frustrated.  I feel like I am always injured.  While it seems everyone I know is getting better and faster, I am regressing.  My running has never been the same since I broke my foot and I am worried that it never will be.  The other day a friend of mine said she really felt like a runner now that she was fast.  I said she was always a runner because if you run you are a runner.  She replied that before she felt like an imposter.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  Is she saying that slow runners are imposters?  Am I one?  I mean, I don’t think so…but when I am struggling, this is the exact thing that gets in my head.  The exact thing that makes me just want to throw in the towel.  I don’t even know if that is what she meant or if I am just hyper sensitive because I am feeling so low.  I have been fighting injuries for so long…I am not getting any better.  How long do I keep doing this to myself?  I don’t know.  I have to see how this PT goes and in the meantime, I’ll be sticking with barre and ballet and lifting and trying to get strong.   Both physically and mentally.

In other news, to end on a good note…this came in the mail over the weekend:

bosontshirtBest mail I have gotten in a while!

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Authentic Blogging- Who Do You Blog For?

Before I even begin, the answer to this question is obvious.  I blog for me.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to do this for myself.  This blog started as a way to journal my experiences as I went from party girl to triathlon girl to runner girl.  If you have been a reader from the start, you know triathlon wasn’t something I intended to do past the first race.  And I certainly never (ever ever ever) thought I would become a runner.  So yes, I blog for myself first.

But I also blog for you.

Who are you?  Well, I know some of you have been here for a very long time.  Some of you, I knew before my blog.  Some I have met through blogging.  I have stayed in some of your homes and I have raced races with a few of you.  Some of you come only when I have a give-a-way (which is almost never) and some of you are brand new.  Some comment once in a while and some on almost every post.  I write for all of you.  For whatever reason you come here- because you relate to me, need swimming advice, think I am funny, because you want to know how my latest race went or because you know me in real life.  I write for all of you.

Being an authentic blogger is tough.  This is one of the issues I have struggled with most in my own writing.  Not that I feel as though I am not authentic, because I truly believe I am very real.  It is more like the struggle to make sure my blogging is personal, relevant and real all at the same time.  I don’t want to blog about the same things all the time or post a list post simply because I am not sure what I have to say on a certain day.  I want every post to really mean something.  There was a time when I did not come first in my blogging and it was obvious.  And I had to stop.  Having been back writing again, I feel really good.  Yet, I still have days where I struggle with “where do I want to go with this post” or “has this been done too many times already” or “will this matter when I look back on it” when I am thinking about my topics.

When I first started blogging, I had been reading Healthy Living blogs for about a year.  They weren’t nearly all the rage they are these days, but then again, neither were running blogs.  In fact, it was hard to find a good running blog.  The ones I was finding were written by people who were “real” runners and I was just trying not to fall off the treadmill for a mile straight.  One of the main reasons I started a blog was because I wanted to find other people like me.  I have always been a writer but I was so new to triathlon and running.  I figured I would keep a blog as a journal and if I were lucky, I would find other people doing the same thing.  Little by little people did start reading…caring…asking…about me.  It was surreal.  And I loved it.

Gradually, I formed friendships, participated in blog meet-ups and even ran this race with one of the very first people I ever communicated with through blogging.  I really loved blogging.  Then something changed.  With the blog world, with me…in general, I guess.  Running blogs got really big.  Healthy Living blogs had already blown up and now running blogs were too.  Suddenly, some of the blogs I had been reading for years became immersed in ads, give-a-ways and shilling products.  I felt left out and so for a while, I tried harder.  Even though some of the posts that were written during that time are some of my favorites, I am not proud of myself for trying to be someone I am not.  Often I was posting because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.  I was not always authentically blogging.

When I stopped blogging (I truly believed I would never blog again) it was because I needed to remove myself from feeling like I couldn’t keep up.  With how much I had going on in my life at that time, I just needed to back away.  When I decided to come back to blogging, I knew I would do it only if I could go back to how it was in the beginning.  Blogging for me first, then for my audience.  These days, most of my old readers don’t follow me.  That’s ok.  I know the ones that do and have been with me for so long are my friends and I am welcoming new readers every day.  I would rather have 10 solid readers who respect what my blog and come here for the right reasons than have to keep up with trends to keep hundreds of readers.

Here is what you will always get on my blog: Real Jillian.  A middle of the pack runner that knows her place in the world.  A regular girl who lives a pretty regular life and likes to document it in this blog.  Reviews only when it is a product I use, like and believe in and a possible give-a-way now and then.

Here is what you will never get on my blog:  product shilling, a boatload of ads, 35 rules to enter a give-a-way or in your face requests to follow me, re-tweet my posts or subscribe to my blog.

You come here for a reason.  If you didn’t like what you read, you wouldn’t.  I know from my stats that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic and people are reading.  I would rather have 5 genuine comments than 200 insincere ones.  I feel like if my blog was full of ads paying me to blog, my posts would become less authentic.  I would be blogging for traffic and not for me.  I would be forced to recommend, through ads and posts, products I don’t use or like.  I like my free not-so-big blog and I love the places blogging has taken me and the people I have met.   The blog is evolving but I am going to remain true to who I am.  Always.  That is my promise to myself and my readers.  The blog isn’t perfect, but it is mine.

What does authentic blogging mean to you?  Who do you blog for?

Learning To Stop Apologizing

I have a habit of apologizing.  I apologize a lot.  About everything.  Well, not so much anymore, but its been a long road of learning.

My propensity to apologize over everything was pointed out to me by a friend a little over a year and a half ago.  “You start a lot of sentences with ‘I’m sorry’ and often apologize for things that don’t necessarily require an apology.”   Truth.

I am an insanely honest person.  I have no trouble telling it like it is or giving my opinion when asked.  I hardly ever start a sentence with “I’m sorry but…” because A- “but” negates the “I’m sorry” and B- I am usually not sorry for my opinion.  I do however seem to be sorry for everything I personally feel that has to do with myself, personally.  For example, I say “I’m sorry” instead of “excuse me” all the time.  If I am coming out of a door while someone is trying to get in, I’ll say “Oh, I’m sorry” even though I have nothing to be sorry about and really I just needed to say excuse me.  Apologizing when I should be saying excuse me is like apologizing for being in a certain space.  What?  Exactly.  And it’s a funny thing; if someone doesn’t like my opinion, especially if they asked me specifically for this opinion, I don’t care.  But if I think a complete stranger hates me because we both want to use the door at the same time, I get all concerned.   I know the latter situation says more about them than it does me and that is exactly why I am working on these issues.    Sometimes, I have actually found myself apologizing for apologizing.

Thank God for therapy!

I had long forgotten that conversation with my friend until a conversation I was having with my therapist about positive changes I have recently made.  She noted that I have mostly stopped apologizing for every feeling I have and for every situation I am in.  She said that when I first started seeing her I would begin most sentences with “I’m sorry that…” and it almost always had to do with how I felt about a particular situation. (Note: particular situation=R2 for about six months!)  This happened all the time during my marathon training.  I was always apologizing to R2 because I didn’t order a drink or have dessert or stay up late.   By by making time for my training and specifically my long runs, I felt like I was letting him down.  It was in the weeks leading up to my race that my friend made her comment about my constant apologizing.  I wasn’t drinking leading up to the race and we were out to dinner.  I apologized to her for not ordering a drink.  She asked why I was sorry and I didn’t have an answer.  I was just so accustomed to apologizing for everything that I was at the point of apologizing out of habit.  I did not need to apologize because I didn’t want dessert.  Or because I couldn’t stay out late due to an early morning run.

Unfortunately, unlearning something is much easier than learning.  Apologizing became a habit; I was already an over-apologizer and my relationship with R2 just exacerbated it.  I have learned through talking it out that often my apologizing is a way of looking for validation.  For someone to say “it’s okay.”  I know now, I really wanted (read:needed) to hear “its okay” and sometimes the only way I got that was to apologize.  I know now, I do not need to be validated.  At least not in that way.

Apologies are now saved for times when I have to act with class and maturity and truly express regret.   If I come out of the door the same time someone is going in…well, that is just happenstance.  Definitely not something I regret or have to feel sorry about.  And when I WANTED to go to bed early, get up early or skip dessert even though R2 didn’t like it, I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad about it.  Yet, I apologized because R2 made me feel selfish for making these decisions.   I know there is a big difference between being selfish and just making different choices.

I am happy to say that I am not apologizing for nothing as much these days.  Probably because I don’t hang out with or date people that make me feel bad for living and not having to apologize for my choices has translated into not having to apologize for everything I do.  To see if my therapist and I were right, I asked my friend what she thought about my change.  We had dinner last night and I straight up asked her if she noticed a difference.  Her response:  “Definitely!”  She even noted when we headed to the bar and myself and another person were headed for the same seat…aha!…we bumped accidentally and I said, “excuse me” instead of “I’m sorry.”

Like everything else, it is a work in progress…but it is still progress!

I worked for a long time on this post and it still seems scattered to me.  Sometimes I have so much to say about something that I end up all over the place with it.  I would apologize for that, but then I would just be defeating the whole purpose of the post.  Instead, I’ll just post it and let it be 🙂

Marathon: Freaking Out Edition!

It’s official.  With 17 days to go, I have officially begun to freak out!!!  What if I get hurt?  What if I get sick? What if my hotel loses my reservation?  What if I oversleep?  What if I get major cramps during the race?  What if there is a snowstorm? What if I can’t stop using the bathroom?  What if all my training still isn’t enough? What if….what if…what if….

Here’s the thing.  Pretty much throughout this whole thing, I haven’t asked for much advice.  Hardly any, actually.  Mostly because everyone has something different to say.  But just because I didn’t ask…doesn’t mean people aren’t offering.  And I am starting to feel like I am on information overload.  Should I get the flu shot now or after the marathon?  How much sleep should I be getting?  What should I be eating each meal?  How often should I eat?  How long should my longest run be?  How much taper time do I need?  What should I wear?  And on and on and on and on….

The truth is, I have all of those answers within me.  I know what is best for me personally.  I know my body.  Every single person is different.  With that said, all the things people say…it’s still in my head.  Swimming around causing me anxiety.  I don’t honestly know why I am freaking out so much.  I have prepared for this- I am ready for this!

I guess what all that freak out is, is the taper madness everyone always talks about?  It is crazy hard to keep all my emotions at bay!  I have been thinking about a marathon for two years and now it is almost just two weeks away!  I have my music ready, I have my clothes ready (three different options weather depending) and I feel good!  I have some aches but I expect that- I am on my feet four nights a week in addition to all my running.  My legs and feet are crying for a break.  And thankfully, I am giving that to them just in time!  R2 and I are heading to Vermont on Tuesday and staying through Sunday.  Six whole days off from both jobs!!!!  The whole trip is planned around rest and relaxation.  We will be visiting his parents and luckily his mom has a treadmill.   I’ll be able to get in all my runs and rest up for the big day- when I get back it’ll only be a week away!  I also took off the two nights before my race so I can rest as much as possible and get a few good nights sleep in before race day.  I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much the night before!

It’ll be here before I know it!!!   

I know quite a few bloggers are racing Philly- let me know if you’ll be there and I’ll keep an eye out!  I am hoping to meet up with a few people at the expo 🙂

Mean Girls (And Boys)

I almost shut down my blog a few weeks ago.

Not kidding.

Before I made a ridiculously rash decision though, I contacted a friend.  I really needed some perspective on how I was feeling and luckily she knew exactly what to say (and more)!  For quite a few months now, Jill and I have been forming quite the friendship.  We email fairly often and I know I can count on her to always make me feel better.  And she came through again!

I am not shutting down my blog.

But I am putting the whole thing out there so you all know why I would even consider such a thing.  And after I do, I’ll either be loved or vilified.  At the end of the day, I only need people in my life who need me in theirs!

A little while back, I received an email (I am nice enough not to say names) from a blogger that was rather harsh.  This struck me as odd for a few reasons: 1- I do not read this persons blog. 2- To my knowledge they did not read my blog. 3- I did nothing specifically to this person to precipitate this email. 

Basically, the email was in reference to a comment I had left on another blogger’s blog.  It was a random comment, wherein I was playing along with what seemed like a fun post.  It is true that most of the people commenting were ones I do not commonly converse with, but the blog itself was one I had been reading/commenting for quite a while.  It appears that I had missed the memo that some posts were to be commented on by only the “inner circle” of bloggers.  Hmmm…maybe a disclaimer would have helped!  Apparently, this person wanted to put me in my place and inform me that I am not part of the elite inner circle and that commenting on people’s blog posts that I don’t know about won’t get me in either.  (They of course did not use the term “elite inner circle” but it was implied that some people are “better” than others.)

You might be shaking your head thinking WTF.  I guessed that, because that was my exact same reaction.  Honestly, I was stunned.

First of all- I do not wish to be a part of the Elite Blogging Circle.  You all know who you are. You are the ones that started where we all started…but as you got bigger, you decided some people weren’t worth your time even if they were your “friends” beforehand.  You are the ones with 500+ followers- and you are so uber focused on that number.  You are the ones who never come around to blogs like mine unless there is a fun give-a-way or exchange.  You are the ones that only comment certain people.  And as it turns out, through emailing with a few people, I am learning that I am not the only one who has been the brunt of a mean email via the “elite” bloggers. 

Second of all- I am pretty sure that if others knew who this person was (or who the others were that I have heard about), they would either be totally shocked or not shocked at all…depending of course in what circle they roll in.

At any rate, that email caused me to reassess quite a bit.  I was trying to keep up with over 100 blogs on my reader.  Ridiculous. I don’t have that much time on my hands.  But I was trying to keep up- to keep up with blogs I shouldn’t even have been bothering with in the first place.  Yeah, that had to stop.  Even more ridiculous is that of the blogs I have stopped reading, I doubt half or more even realize.  And the most ridiculous of all, is that I almost let this idiot (yeah, I am sure you are reading…you ARE an idiot) keep me from blogging.  You almost won.  But that isn’t me.  You don’t get to win.  I will not let you, or anyone, control me.  This blog is staying whether I have three readers or three hundred readers.

The only other thing I will say about this…is that I appreciate my loyal readers.  Some of you have been with me from the very beginning.  And I hope you are for a long time because I do not plan to go anywhere!

Snow-ver IT!!!

O.M.G.

Perhaps you remember snowmaggedon 2010.  Well, its 2011 and at the rate we are going it is going to be even worse.  I refused to go out in the crap yesterday (we had a snow day) so all of these photos have been stolen from my mom.

Word on the streets is that it is going to snow more tonight and again next Tuesday another storm should arrive. Frig.  Tomorrow I plan to run and it looks like I’ll be stuck on the dreadmill again.  Thanks snow. Another thing I can dislike you for.

Anyway, I made the best of my snowday yesterday by getting on the trainer while watching What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and doing some P90X abs.  Grape is such a fantastic movie; it had been years since I last watched it and I forgot how much I loved it!  After my awesome workout I pretty much felt justified in doing nothing for the rest of the day.  I watched a bunch of cheesy Lifetime movies, ate Kraft Mac & Cheese and eventually got bored enough to clean my house.  And it was still only 6pm!  How do people stay home all day and not work?  I don’t even like my job, but man, I need to work!

And while we are on the subject of work: somebody asked me the other day what my dream job was…and it dawned on me that I didn’t really have one.  I mean, I do, but they are all completely unattainable.  Which sucks. but it’s true.  I mean, I can’t just be a travel writer.  I can’t just be the PR person for an organization I really believe in.  Those things don’t just happen…they have to be made to happen.  I don’t necessarily feel stuck for life in the job I have now…if I did, I would probably lose my mind…but I do feel like I will always have an office job of some sort.  Perhaps one day that office will be at a magazine, or in a building that does non-profit work.  And I will go there and be happy every day because I love my job.

Speaking of happiness…28 days until I am in sunny Florida.  🙂 There is no snow in sunny Florida-score!  And speaking of Florida…I need to get myself into bikini form, stat!  It has given me the motivation to go at my work-outs hardcore and even finally give into the P90X.  But here’s the thing about P90X…I wouldn’t say I am doing it, but I am.  It’s like this- I enjoy some of the workouts and like doing them at home, but I am not following the schedule or the nutritional parts.  So I really don’t like to say I am “doing P90X” since I am really just half-assing it as part of my off-season training and to get ready for Florida.  Thoughts on that anyone?  Have you done it to the T or modified it in any way?

Oh, and FYI- for whatever reason, I have no idea why…my google reader will not log on when I am on my laptop at home.  I finally got caught up on blogs and then BAM can’t get on all the sudden.  I am hoping it is a fixable cookies type issue but if not, I’ll catch up with you all on Monday!  Have a fabulous weekend everyone ❤

First 2011 Post…Where I Have Been & Goals

I have been struggling to come up with the right way to express how I have been feeling lately and when it came time to put my goals list together I struggled even more.  It took me almost the whole month of December to figure out why.

And here it is…

I was keeping charts and graphs and tracking everything I did.  I was driving myself crazy writing schedules, setting alarms and calculating my pace/distance for every swim/bike/run.  I was completely overwhelmed by all the facebook updates and blog posts in my google reader that were all about running, working out and etc.  I was putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and feeling negative about myself.  All because I felt like I had to fit into some standard.  (I feel like a five year old even admitting all this.)  At times lately, it has all felt very competitive; I notice gatherings with my teammates where the only conversations we have are about working out and who is doing what and how much of it they are doing.  Honestly, it makes my head spin. And instead of being motivated to change, I shut down and allowed it all to push me into a hole that kept me from having a desire to do anything at all.

Running is not my life.  Neither is swimming.  And well, I think we all know biking isn’t either.  There are so many more aspects to my life than working out and keeping track of my miles.  But I was pressuring myself to “keep up with the Jones’s” for a while and was concentrating to the point of exhaustion on things that honestly don’t matter to me.  But I wanted them to matter to me so I kept doing them.  I wanted them to matter because I thought it put me in the same ranks as everyone else.  A “real” athlete.  If I woke up and didn’t want to work out, I felt like something was wrong with me.  And the truth is, more days than not I woke up not wanting to work out.  The more days in a row this happened, the less I felt about who I was as an athlete.  And not only was I frustrated but I was confused as to why I even felt that way.

But I know why- I felt that way because I thought I was letting myself and others down if I wasn’t “taking it serious enough” and that if I didn’t take it serious, people wouldn’t take me as a person seriously.  Got all that?  Anyway, the good news is, I snapped myself out of it, got real with myself and decided that I don’t have to be so serious.  And people who like and respect me will like and respect me even if I am not caculating my miles vs. distance every step of the way.  They will like me even if I don’t care that I missed a workout.  But most importantly, I will like myself again.  Because I will be having fun again.  And for me, fun is what it is all about.  And for the record, I am totally most definitely without a doubt an athlete!

At the end of it all I was able to come up with some goals.

Goals for 2011:

  1. Run for time, not distance; stop focusing so much on mileage.  It’ll be easier now with a Garmin to keep track of my miles without having to map out runs and etc, but some days I just want to run.  Run without caring about the exact distance.  At the end of the day, the miles I run in a week, month, year…that is not who I am.  I am not the miles I run, I am a runner simply because I run.
  2. There will be no more week in reviews.  No more formula posts to keep up with or anything else that cause me to self-pressure over miles/hours/etc.
  3. No more “100 push-ups a week” challenges for me.  Or anything of that nature.
  4. I will only host a give-a-way when I truly believe in the product.  I will not make the give-a-way rules harder than and IQ tests and there will always be less steps than when you call your credit card company!
  5. I will eliminate all unrealistic goals.  And I will push hard to achieve the realistic ones.
  6. Give myself a break.  Or two. Or ten.
  7. Realize I don’t need to blog every day.  Go back to quality over quantity.  My faithful readers will be here whether I blog once a day or once a week.
  8. Keep my goals more private.  Again, limiting the self-pressure.
  9. Continue to be an honest blogger.  Remember that at its most basic foundation this blog was my journey.  It is not always pretty, but it is always real!
  10. I will make it fun again. I want to channel the way I felt when I started this whole journey to my first tri…I felt fresh and new and it was fun.  I want to go back to how good it felt to just want to go to the gym…get out and run or hop in the pool.  I want to get back to a place where I knew what I was doing was making me a better person, not driving me insane.  I want to get back to me.

I just thought I should start the year posting how I really felt.  Being me.  Honest little me.