Friday, August 30, 2013

Long Commute and Pepper Spray

I just finished my 2nd week of my pediatric rotation. I am enjoying the clinic, my clinical instructor (CI), my "co-workers",  and the program, but my rotation is about 40 miles away and takes me an hour and a half to get home every day:( It is only for 12 weeks (officially 10 now) and I know I am going to learn a lot at this clinical rotation, so that is more important…right? I am working with children who have neurological insults such as Cerebral Palsy (CP), brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and Spina Bifida. Most of the kids have CP and are relatively high functioning, but it has been a challenge to find a way to not take home my emotions at the end of the day. I had a long talk with my CI about dealing with the emotions of working with this population and she put it into a nice perspective. There are going to be children that have these aliments and it is our job to make them as happy and comfortable as possible, then I am doing my job and I feel happy about that.

My knees have been hurting me since I ran that trail run (aka my 28th half marathon), so I have taken some long walks instead of running. Last Sunday my knees were feeling better. No pain with walking, squatting or going up stairs, so I decided to knock out 8 miles. I told myself that if my knees started to hurt I would turn around, well my knees did decide to start hurting about 1/2 way through my run. I did turn around, but walking 4 miles sounded miserable, so I decided to run until my knees hurt then stretch out my quads then start running again. My knees would feel good for about a half mile and then I would have to stop :( Urrrr this is so frustrating because I have another half marathon coming up in October and I would like to be decently trained for it. I haven't run since then, but I can tell that my quads are super tight.

On my long run last Sunday, I ran on a (cement) trail. I have become a little more paranoid lately about running alone and especially in a place that does not have a lot of people traffic. So, I brought pepper spray with me. I don't really know how to use it (I don't think it is that hard and I bet I could figure it out), but it still made me feel a little better about running alone.
This is what the trail looks like (Source)


This is what my pepper spray looks like. Yes it is pink and fits in the palm of my hand. What precautions do you take when running or walking by yourself? Or are you not concerned that anything is going to happen? 

I am so happy the weekend is finally here because I am sleep deprived. I am not use to waking up so early, and even though I have been going to bed earlier and earlier every night, I am using a lot of brain power right now so not only am I physically exhausted, I am also completely mentally exhausted. I am going to sleep in as late as I can tomorrow, which might be a challenge because my mom is coming into town! I am excited to see her and I bet we will go to bed relatively early tonight. The plan for the weekend is to be active and eat good food, but I am just excited to get to hang with my mom.

I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Anyone have exciting plans for the long weekend?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well That Was Tough

On Sunday I completed my 28th half marathon and this one was definitely a challenge. It was called the Mud and Chocolate Trail Run which included a 4.5 mile & 1/2 marathon trail run. I knew it was going to be 3 loops and there were going to be trails, but I was not fully aware (or did not want to admit to myself) that the whole run was on a trail. Here was the low down.

Trail running is a completely different beast from street running. The path is narrow, it is much harder to pass people (in the beginning), you use completely different muscles on trails than you do on concrete, you have to pay attention to where you are going, and finally, you have to pay attention to where your feet are being placed.

The first loop of this race, I felt like I was stuck behind people who were going at a different pace than I would have liked to run, but by the second loop, I was all by myself on the path for the majority of the time. I didn't realize how much I need the energy of other people while I am running. I would get a burst of energy when someone would pass me or when I caught up to someone else. I think the hardest part of this race was having to be mentally on the entire time. I almost rolled my ankle a couple of times and you can't zone out in the end (which I like to do) because you have to make sure you don't trip. To top it off, since I didn't train on trails, my hip flexors were screaming at me around mile 6 because I was lifting my legs higher than I normally do to avoid branches and rocks.

I sound like I am complaining. I am not, I was just not as prepared as I should have been. Luckily my running experience got me through, but I highly suggest training on dirt and trails before completing this endeavor. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was definitely a new challenge and I must admit I felt pretty hardcore.

The end of the race was sweet…Literally. I ended with a chocolate medal and a buffet of chocolate goodies.
And this race definitely lived up to its name…Mud and Chocolate
My chocolate medal, chocolate cupcake and muddy legs
I don't think I will be participating in another half marathon trail run anytime soon, but I can see myself running in shorter distances of 6 miles or less.

On Tuesday I was rewarded with an amazing 2 hour massage. The massage was a 30th birthday present, but it was definitely needed after this race. I felt sore in muscles I have never felt before.

So do as I say and not as I do, and if you are planning on running a "normal" road race, train mostly on concrete. If you are planning on running a trail run, train mostly on dirt. It is important to "teach" our body's tissue to work on what ever surface it needs to work on. That being said, if you think you have bad knees, don't run mostly on the grass and dirt and then complete a long race on concrete, your body will not be trained to work on that surface. And vice versa, running on concrete did not harden my joints and muscles up for this trail run, I was probably less stable because my muscles were not use to stabilizing me on such uneven/unsteady ground. I would have benefitted from running on more uneven surfaces before this race and then I might not have been as sore as I was.

Has anyone completed a challenge that they were not prepared for?

Monday, August 5, 2013

So Close Yet So Far Away

I have finished my 2nd year of grad school. Woo hoo! It is amazing how fast time can fly and how slowly it can go at the same time. I can't believe I am two-thirds of the way done with this program. I remember my first day like it was yesterday.

The last few weeks have been hectic. And now I get a nice little break before my clinical starts up. Here is a little catch up on the past few weeks.

Angle's Game with with some friends.

A lot of delicious food...
 Veggie Sandwich from Mead's Cafe on Chapman Ave. Check them out. Their food is wonderful.

Lots of study snacks

Studying and napping (this is Calvin, a classmate of mine "studying")

When my finals were over…lots of this...
And when I finally made it back to Seattle…A little of this.

 Ben came up to Seattle and Chris and I got to hang out with him.
Finally, I am doing a trail run next Sunday and as a practice run, my mother and I ran through as many trails that we could on Mercer Island. Here is my mom running across an extension bridge. 

So far I have had a wonderful time seeing friends, sleeping, and doing absolutely nothing.

I hope your summer has been going well.

Something to leave you with. This is a flower that I found when I took a walk the other day. I thought it was unique.