How To Stay Mentally Strong During An Injury

So as I mentioned Monday, my sports podiatrist confirmed I do indeed have a stress reaction on my second metatarsal.  I’m forbidden to run for at least 3-5 weeks, perhaps a tad longer until I’m able to walk completely pain-free.  I’m not even a full week into resting from running yet, and I’m already starting to feel the mental side effects of this injury.

As runners, we all know so much of the sport is mental anyway–you have to mentally push yourself all the time during tough speed workouts and races, when your legs want to quit and you just want to lay down and drink a glass of wine (maybe that’s just me, don’t judge!).  But you also have to find ways to stay mentally strong during times of injury as well.  Here’s what I’m doing to stay mentally strong and not go insane while I’m resting:

1. Strength Train!  I love strength training in general, but it definitely takes a backseat when I’m focused on running and building up my base.  I’m grateful that I have access to a gym and am able to go in the mornings and pump some iron.  Here’s an article about why strength training is so important for runners, especially when it comes to staying injury-free and being a well-balanced athlete.

2. Trying New Workouts.  I mentioned my new love for Pure Barre last week, and I was initially bummed when my podiatrist said no Pure Barre while I’m resting.  However, my running buddy/teammate Courtney asked the instructor at the studio if they would be able to accommodate and adjust moves for my specific injury and they said yes!  I’m taking a class Thursday morning and can’t wait to be back at the barre.  It’s such a great toning workout regardless, but I find it to be super helpful for me because so much of the class is focused on your glutes, hips, and core which are the areas I need the most work on.

3. Focusing On Nutrition.  Just because I’m not running doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be fueling my body differently.  Yes I may not need as many calories (although I’ve never counted calories anyway), but being injured isn’t an excuse to not pay attention to what I’m eating.  I’m trying my best to make sure I stay adequately hydrated, am eating plenty of greens and whole foods, and staying away from excessive amounts of sugar.  Just don’t ask me to give up my nightly piece of dark chocolate or I will punch you (not joking).  I also started taking vitamin D3 supplements to aid in bone health, in addition to my multivitamin.

4. Enjoying The Small Things.  I know this may sound silly, but when Rusty had his surgery last year on his ACL, he was still his usual happy-go-lucky sweet self, even though he had staples in his leg and a cone around his head.  He still was happy to go on walks and get belly rubs despite his setback.  Not saying I need/want belly rubs, but his surgery helps keep things in perspective for me–just because I can’t run doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy all the other things I’m able to do, like strength and cross train, go to Pure Barre, and enjoy walks with my pup!

5. Be Social!  Being injured doesn’t mean you have to sit around by yourself and mope.  Sure, you may feel sad and defeated and it’s okay to take time to yourself and feel all of those emotions, but I can tell you I feel better getting out of the house and socializing with friends/teammates.  I still went to cheer on my Oiselle girls at the beer mile, and went to happy hour after a Pure Barre class I couldn’t attend.  Just being able to interact and socialize made me feel ten times better!

Additional tips for staying mentally tough during an injury/setback?

Friday Faves+Some Thoughts

I can’t believe today completes my last full week of work with the kids!  I’m excited for my summer work schedule to start (I have Fridays off!), but I’m really really going to miss my 8th graders.  We had a great bunch of kids and while I’m happy they’re moving on to bigger and better things, I’m going to miss seeing their faces in the morning.

Before I jump into things I’m diggin,’ I wanted to share some thoughts I’d been having ever since the Orlando shootings.

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I read the craziest article in the Washington Post the other day and it infuriated me.  I cannot for the life of me imagine someone praising this massacre and saying the only tragedy is that more were not killed.  Let me be clear: I totally understand and respect the fact that not everyone has the same opinions I have when it comes to sexual orientation, religion and politics; however, what I can’t understand is someone who supports killing others based on their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political beliefs, etc.  I may not always understand people who are the opposite end of the political spectrum as I am, but I would never in a million years say that because we have different beliefs that those people should be killed.

The shootings in Orlando hit close to home for me because I have close friends and family who are gay.  I love and support them and can’t imagine what life must be like living in fear of people possibly attacking you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Or any reason you’re different from someone else, for that matter. It terrifies me to the core that this could’ve happened to someone I love and know.  It’s also difficult because I work with middle schoolers, some of which question their own orientation and identity, and I can’t imagine the message they receive when something like this happens or when they hear about some idiot saying people like them should die.  I keep hoping at some point we will live in a place where we practice what we preach to our students: that it’s okay to be ‘different’ and love knows no boundaries.

Rant over!  Now onto the fun stuff–some things I’m loving!

1. Curate Bars.  I picked up a box of these bars when I was at Target Monday (which is not what I went to Target for, but do you ever actually leave Target with only the items on your list??) and I love them.  They’re a great afternoon snack when my sweet tooth craving hits and have 7g of protein so they help keep me satiated.  I want to try the dark chocolate hazelnut bars too!


2. Mom time!  Fun fact: my parents are in D.C.!  They drove up from Florida Monday evening and I’m so excited to spend time with them.  Wednesday evening, my mom and I went to a red wine class at a local wine store in Eastern Market and it was so fun!  What better way to mother/daughter bond than with some wine and cheese?


3. Rusty Pup.  By know you should know of my love for our lab/basset mix, Rusty.  He is the sweetest pup in all the land and the best snuggler.  Rusty is such a great companion, especially when Brandon is traveling.  Also, I love singing to him–please tell me I’m not the only crazy dog mom who does this!

4. Self Magazine Article.  I read this article the other day and I love love love it.  I talked before about why Brandon and I likely will not have children and this article from Self just summed up exactly how I feel about it.  I love how the writer states that although she and her husband love to travel and sometimes sleep late on weekends, those are certainly not the reasons why they’re happy although many couples with children may think that. Marriage is work just as much as being a parent is work; it’s just about choosing what is right for you as a couple.  Great read!

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!  My mom and I are planning to peruse Eastern Market on Saturday and I’m going to see my dad Sunday for Father’s Day–should be fun!

What’s on your weekend agenda?!

Pet owners–do you sing or do anything crazy with your pets??

 

Thoughts On Making A Murderer

*Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched Making a Murderer, this post contains spoilers!  So read at your own risk!

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Oh. My. Dear. Lord.  I have so many thoughts racing through my mind after finishing MAM.  I’ve been trying to sort them out in order to type up this post, but I apologize if it’s a bit all over the place.  I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.

I also want to say that the thoughts I have about this show are entirely my own.  I completely acknowledge I’ve only seen and heard one side of the story, and I know there’s always two sides to consider.

Here are my top thoughts after finishing MAM:

  1. I’m going to really put myself out there and say I am not convinced he’s guilty (although I don’t think I’m in the minority with this).  There are way too many screwed up things that happened with that case–the fact that the Manitowoc cops were way too involved, the fact that they didn’t find the car key until the fifth day of the search, the fact that the vial of his blood had been tampered with…I could go on and on.  It’s obviously easy for me to say how I think I’d react if I were a juror without actually being present for the trial; however, the fact that the majority of the jurors started out with a not guilty verdict and it changed to guilty baffles me.  It makes me think they felt some sort of pressure to come back with a guilty verdict, even if they didn’t believe it in their hearts.
  2. I think the perception the public/society had about Steven Avery’s family and Teresa’s family may have had some negative influence.  Let me explain–the Avery family is overall uneducated, frumpy, and did not come across or present well on camera.  Teresa’s family, on the other hand, were always well dressed, educated, and articulate when speaking to the media, and I think that definitely played a part in the public’s perception of the case.
  3. The fact that the Manitowoc cops never came out and said they mishandled Steven’s original case from the 1980’s blows my mind.  Freaking DNA evidence proved he was not the offender, yet they still believed him to be guilty.  And don’t get me started on the sketch they presented during the 1980’s case.
  4. If in fact Teresa was tied up in Steven’s bed, wouldn’t there be some shred of evidence?  Her sweat, her hair, her something?  This baffles me.

Now, onto what really upset me most.  Steven’s nephew, Brendan.  As a school psychologist, the whole situation with Brendan upset me, angered me, just straight up infuriated me.  Let me explain why:

  1. In one episode, a judge is flipping through what appears to be a psychological assessment that was done on Brendan, determining him to be a “slow learner.”  You can see where it mentions his verbal IQ (which I believe was slightly below 70, which is considered to be Intellectually Disabled).  Yet the judge never asked the psychologist who did the assessment to testify as to what those scores mean.  He flipped through it and determined Brendan had no emotional condition that would affect his decision making skills.  Is that a freaking joke?  I feel like anyone with a half a brain listening to or interacting with this kid would be able to tell he is cognitively functioning well below that of your typical fourteen year old.  So yes, while he may not have an emotional condition he likely has an intellectual one, which would definitely impact his functioning.
  2. I believe that Brendan did and said what he thought he was supposed to.  I’ve assessed students who are cognitively functioning at or around the same level as him, and it’s not atypical for these kids to simply say what they think others want to hear.  It’s also not difficult for someone who is functioning well below the expected age level to be coerced into doing or saying something.  I feel like you can really see this during a recorded phone conversation between Brendan and his mom, where he asks her at the end about being able to watch Wrestlemania after he thinks he’s said what the cops wanted to hear about Steven.  This kid really just doesn’t have a clue, and it’s not his fault.
  3. Brendan’s original lawyer needs to be punched in the throat.  That guy pissed me off more than you can imagine.  He clearly did not have Brendan’s best interests at heart and was only out for himself and the publicity.  Shame on him.
  4. I really really really just don’t understand how he will not be granted a new trial.  I don’t have a criminal justice background, but I just don’t get how after everything, this kid doesn’t get a second chance.

And there you have it.  I’m sure this will produce a lot of discussion, and that’s okay!  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some other points to mention as well.  Overall, I thought this was a great and fascinating documentary–but again, I do realize I’ve only seen one side of the story.

Have you seen MAM?  Share your thoughts!

 

Biggest Fears

Ok so this post is totally exposing the vulnerable side of me, but I think it’s good to sometimes put yourself out there.  Right?  Also hopefully no one thinks I’m a total nut job with some of these fears!  Some you may even agree with me on (please do so I don’t feel totally whacky)!

Here are my top fears:

1. Spiders.  Ok so I’m pretty sure at least half of the population has the same fear I do.  I freaking hate spiders.  Or really anything that scurries (i.e. spider crickets, centipedes, etc.).  I actually can’t remember what started this fear, but I do remember watching Arachnophobia with my cousin and her dad when I was twelve and practically crying.  Also, what sort of creature needs multiple eyes and fangs?  Gross.

2. Losing Rusty.  I had a dog when I was little, but I was too young to really have been attached to it.  Rusty is the first pet I’ve owned that I really just love unconditionally.  If he’s in pain, I’m in pain.  If I hear him cry, my heart breaks.  It’s really hard to describe it, but the love I have for him is like no other, and I don’t think I was fully prepared for how much I would fall in love with him.  Fun fact: I cried the first night we brought Rusty home because I knew he wouldn’t be around for forever.  I’m a nut.

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3. Not Being Able to Solve a Problem.  So problem-solving is a huge part of my job as a school psychologist.  My middle schoolers come to me for various issues/problems, and it’s my job to help them analyze the situation and come up with a reasonable solution.  I definitely have a fear that one of my students will come to me with a problem and I won’t have a clue what to say or how to fix the situation, which would make me feel like a failure.  However, I try and remember that sometimes all they really want is someone just to vent to and listen to them.

4. Not Having Enough Time.  Ok so I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I worry that time is going to just fly by too fast and before I know it I’ll be on my deathbed.  I feel like I started having this fear more once I hit 30 (which I know is crazy since I’m still young).  I just want there to be enough time to travel to all the places I want to, spend time with all of my family and friends, and make lots of happy memories.

5. Not Running a Sub 2:00 Half Marathon.  Obviously this is a newer fear since I’m currently training for my third half marathon.  At the end of the day I just hope I beat my previous time of 2:08, but I definitely have a fear that I’ll never be fast enough to run a sub 2:00.  I’m afraid I’ll have spent all this time putting in the work and it’ll never happen.  Any time I have these doubts, I just try and take a breath and remind myself to trust the process.

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What’s your biggest fear?  Do you share any of mine?

How do you tackle/deal with your fears?     

Why I Decided To Throw Out My Scale

Ok, well I didn’t really throw it out.  I just don’t use it anymore.  And I haven’t in probably at least six months.

Let me start out by saying I have nothing against people who weigh themselves regularly. Brandon likes having a scale in our bathroom to help keep him in check, and because he finds it helpful for him personally, I support it and him.

I think in order to explain why I no longer use a scale, I should start by sharing my fitness journey.  Growing up, I was never ‘overweight’–my weight and height always fell within the healthy BMI range.  But I wasn’t exactly healthy either, especially during my college years and after I graduated.  Sure I’d hop on a treadmill and walk for 30 minutes, but then I’d down some pizza or Spaghetti O’s for dinner and hit up the bar and consume way too many drinks.  Follow that up with late night jumbo slice and some greasy food the next day…you get the idea.  Not good.  But again, I wasn’t overweight by any health standards, and I don’t think there’s really a huge, noticeable difference in my appearance:  The first pic below is summer 2010 before my wedding, and the second is from September 2014.

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I remember starting to really feel frustrated summer of 2013–I actually had started working out more but wasn’t seeing any changes in my body.  My Little Bear told me about Tone It Up and their Nutrition Plan, and I decided to go for it.  I learned a lot about nutrition and how to properly fuel my body.  I dropped a pants size, gained muscle, and loved stepping on the scale to see how much weight I had lost.

But then I found myself all of a sudden tied to a certain number, using it to dictate my mood.  If the number went up, I was frustrated and upset and restricted certain foods the next day.  If it went down, I was happy and congratulated myself on my diligence.  Clearly unhealthy, but I continued this way for a few months.

I didn’t think it was an issue until my Little Bear commented about it one day.  I think I was either complaining about how bloated I looked or was scrutinizing myself in the mirror, and she said she was concerned about it.  I assured her nothing was wrong, but it got me thinking–maybe I did obsess over my weight too much.

I mean, weight fluctuates everyday for so many reasons–if it’s that time of the month, if you’ve had a little too much sodium, if you haven’t had your morning poop :).  It just became too overwhelming for me to keep up with.  I finally decided I’d had enough and needed to kick my scale to the curb.

Since making that decision, I haven’t stepped on a scale in at least six months and have never felt happier.  I honestly couldn’t tell you how much I weigh, nor do I care about the number.  If I indulge, I know how to get myself back on track.  And honestly, I still slip and beat myself up about it sometimes, and I’m in no way perfect.  But I’m at least more aware that it’s an unhealthy trap to fall into, and do what I need to in order to break free from it.

Again, I have nothing against people who do use scales regularly–my point is, do whatever is healthy and works for you.  Everyone is different, but if you find yourself developing some unhealthy thoughts/obsessions related to weight, it may be a sign to take a step back and reevaluate things.  You’re more important, and worth more, than a number!   

Have you ever felt chained to your scale, or obsessed over a certain number?  Share how you overcame it!