California Christmas!

I seriously can not believe Christmas let alone this year is pretty much over. When you are having fun, time truly flies. This year for Christmas, my husband, James and I did things a little bit differently. Since moving out to Arizona we have not been able to do too much together. He is either playing doctor, (since he is in his 3rd year of medical school) or studying and I am either working or running. Our two schedules have not been meshing very well. Which brings us to our California Christmas Vacation. We both were in dire need of spending time together, so what better way than being locked up in a car together for 4 straight days. It all started last Monday afternoon as we loaded up the Volkswagen Beetle and headed out west for California.

DSCF1759Our First Stop was San Diego. We arrived downtown late Monday night. That night we walked around the downtown area for a bit grabbed some dinner and hit the bed. We needed to rest up to prepare ourselves for a few days of adventure.

As soon as the sun came up we were out the door. We walked about 1.5 miles from hotel down towards the water.

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Seaport Village was a real neat little tourist area.

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The Palm trees here are much greater than in Arizona, I guess they get more rain or something.

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James and Samson below!

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This is the Coronado Bridge linking San Diego and Coronado Island together. We eventually drove across to the island. I was pretty terrified the entire drive across the bridge.

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Below is the fancy hotel on Coronado Island. It was beautiful. There was even and ice skating ring right out front where you could go ice skating by the ocean. Kind of a weird activity to do near an ocean, but hey, it sounds fun!

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More views of the Ocean! This photo is from our next stop over by La Jolla.

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Samson and I at La Jolla. We saw so many Seals. I held on tight for this picture so Samson would not fall over to where the seals were.

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A nice close up of the Seals.

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We finally found a beach which allowed dogs to roam around. Samson was not a huge fan of the water. He would get real close and then run away from it as the waves came crashing on shore.

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Christmas morning James and I grabbed some hot beverages and headed to a beach in Carlsbad, CA. (PS. I should be racing here this spring. I had to take a tour of this city to see where I will be running. There is always something running related.) We opened some present my mom sent us on the beach as well as a few other fun gifts. It was a bit unusual to be opening up presents on the beach. However, it was a great experience. I am not sure if I will do that again, I think I prefer opening presents under a Christmas tree. Who knows maybe one day we will live on the beach, that way I can still have the view of the ocean and a Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

DSCF1814After opening presents we beach hopped along the historic 101 route. I cant even tell you how many beaches we saw. Each one had its own unique vibe. I loved Newport and Laguna Beach the most.

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We finished most nights along the ocean watching the sunset. On Christmas as we were absorbing the sunset we saw several dolphins. It was a natural version of Sea World. I tried to capture a photo of the dolphins but they were so fast my timing for the photos were off every time. But at least I have the memory of watching dolphins on Christmas night!

 

 

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SUNSETS!

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Samson and I hanging out in the sand!

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Christmas dinner was at a fun little restaurant on Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Our dinner was a mixture between seafood and Mexican food. Not ones traditional Christmas feast, but it was definitely tasty. Fresh fish from the ocean just outside the window can not be beat!

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Finally our last day in California we went to Crystal Cove State Park/Beach. It was so incredible. There were no people along this ocean side. We had our own little private beach for about an hour the day after Christmas.

DSCF1921This was definitely not a traditional Christmas by any means, however it will be an unforgettable memory and I am so glad we were able to make this trip possible. It was what we both needed. Now we are back to our normal lives, and I miss the ocean very much! Although as long as my injury heals soon, I will be on track to head back to Carlsbad and the Ocean at the end of March to race!

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Ups and downs are part of this little thing called LIFE!

I might as well jump into the truth head first…Let’s just say it as it is… the past 3 weeks have been a bit of a rough patch in my life, training, etc. As I mentioned in the previous post wrapping up my performance at the local Turkey Day 5k, I have been suffering a minor injury leading up to the race. Once the race was completed, my coach and I decided with the big goals lying far ahead, it is best to take some time off. Trying to stay positive, I realize if I ever want to reach my full potential I have to be smarter than my old self. The truth is a little time off is not going to inhibit my future performances, pressing onward without a doubt would affect my future training. TEN steps forward TWO steps back. But hey, at least I have EIGHT steps head of where I was six months ago.

Moving forward, I visited my doctor. My typical visits are usually painless. Well not completely painless, Active Release Therapy is pretty painful, but the outcome is significant. So let me back up. I guess the usual visit is fun and beneficial. This time was different, as I was describing my pain in more detail to my doctor and he immediately ran out of the room and brought back a walking boot.” SERIOUSLY!!! Is this really happening” is all that went through my mind. A few tears fell from my face. I was frustrated. Another stress fracture was the last thing I wanted to deal with. Luckily I have some great people in my life that help me see the light at the end of this tunnel I am racing through. My doctor looked at me and told me that I was not doing a favor for my sport by tearing up ;). He mentioned how the only people who cry in his office are elite FEMALE distance runners. The tears of frustration immediately turned to tears of laughter.   He started naming off the 5 other women who cried in his office, then he said, “you make number 6.” I could not help but to smile a little. That comment was enough for me to turn the negative thoughts into a positive perspective. The women he mentioned are all some of Americas top distance runners. They all fought through the tragedies of this sport and made it to the top. Therefore, I can do it again. I can beat this injury. In the past I took a 7ish year hiatus from running when I became beaten down with injury after injury.  This time I am staying positive. I will only see one out come to this bump in the road. SUCCESS!!

Back to the story, I was ordered an MRI of my foot/ankle. One week later I was so glad to hear that there was no stress fracture, but instead something called anterior ankle impingement. Basically what this means is the bone on top of my foot, (talus) has a bony growth on it which is inhibiting my full range of motion. SO… what is the treatment for this…. well, luckily the bony growth is not too big so rest, ice, and rehabilitation exercises to decrease inflammation as well as strengthen my foot/ankle. 

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As I have mentioned 100+ times, this is a bump in my road. The important part of getting through this is patience and positiveness.  In my past I let running control me. One injury would cause me to spiral down as far as I could possibly fall. I no longer let whether or not I am running dictate my happiness. Yes, I am frustrated, but I am allowed to be frustrated. This frustration is more motivation to give myself a reality check. 30 years from now, who will I be?? Will I be that person holding on to a dream beaten down with regret, or the person who may or may not have reached their dream but moved forward and made a difference. I want more than anything to reach ever single one of my goals, but by thinking about them, I will go nowhere. I have to be proactive in my life. I have to realize at the end of each day as long as I do what I am suppose to do, I am on the right path.  I will deal with this injury gracefully and enjoy some down time. I have years ahead of me to run. 2 more weeks of no running is my saving grace getting me to my finish line! Looking forward to training again just after the New year!! The coach and I have some great goals and races brewing in the back of our minds.

photo 1 (3)Like always, I will finish with little ole Sasmon. Lately he has had an obsession with the kitchen. Recently he was able to reach on top of the counter and pull down a block of cheese. I have no idea how he did this. He is just a little pug!

 

Turkey Day 5k

Since September 9, I have been what I call really and truly running again. I tore my calf this summer in the beginning of July. That was really the last time I ran. I had been cross training and seeing Dr. Ball for about 8 weeks. The calf tear took much longer than I anticipated.

When I first moved to Phoenix at the end of June I was amazed by this place I now call home. It was my paradise. Yes, it was a bit warm from what I have been used to for the past few years but I knew this was the place I could really see myself taking off and going after my dreams. After I tore my calf I decided that if I really want to take my running seriously then I need to make the RIGHT decisions. So I hired a coach, Brett Schumacher. He has been very patient with me and has given me hope in my ability. The road ahead is not going to be easy. He keeps informing me we may take 10 steps forward only to take 2 steps back, but at the end of the day I will be 8 steps ahead of where I started.

Since I have not trained with intensity in nearly 10 years this transition will be brutal. My first run back on September 9th, I ran 5 miles averaging 7:23 pace. I was more than ecstatic. I was off to an amazing start. two days later I had another 5 miles averaging 8:17 pace. Once again a run most should be proud of, however, my mindset has always been that my runs can not get slower. I always thought I had to run faster than I did the day before. This was the wrong way of thinking. A mind set like this would only result in failures. For 10 weeks I built my base and continued to grow and develop as a runner. Then “injury” set in,  November 17th was my last day to run a significant amount. As Brett keeps reminding me, this is going to be a long slow battle for several months till I become strong again. My right calf the one I tore this summer started flaring up a bit. The pain became very uncomfortable. I guess this was my 2 steps back. I was very ups set during the 2 weeks prior to my Turkey Trot race.Thanks to Tendinitis I have had to take it easy, however, I managed to get one more progression run in 5 days before the race. I think this was to give me a bit of confidence to prove to myself that I can not be defeated by TENDINITIS!! I tried to look at these 2 weeks prior to the race  as a chance for my body to heal up a bit so I would not be super tired and beat up for the race. I am working very hard at turning all the negatives that will be popping up in stride and finding the positive in every situation. If I want to succeed I can not let the hiccups along the way defeat me. Sure tendinitis is quite a burden and quite painful, but it is something I can train through.

Turkey day came here quickly and although I could feel the tendinitis, I knew once the race started I could tuck the pain away for 17 minutes. I am pretty sure a gobble sound started all of the runners, and before you knew it we were off. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be in a crowd again racing. I have done little 5ks here and there for fun just to prove that I could still do it, but now I am actually going to be chasing a dream. I crossed the finish line of the 3.2 mile course in 17:56. My GPS tracked me at 17:19 for the actual 3.1 miles. It is crazy to think that I set a personal record at the (5k)3.1 mile mark. This only makes me excited for this spring when I get to run some track races. Even with the hiccups along the way anything is possible. A positive mindset and trump most things in life!

 As for now I have a week of cross training with light running just so my legs don’t forget what running feels like. This way my tendinitis settles down some so I can get back to training as soon as possible. I have big goals in sight. I just have to stay positive and not give up. Not one successful runner goes out and trains everyday pain free. It is part of the job. I can not let myself get beat down when things get tough. This is the attitude adjustment I am making this time around. I only have one more shot at this whole running thing and I am going to go about it the right way. I will make mistakes, but the difference in this time around is that I will learn from them!

Here are some photos from this holiday weekend. It was a GREAT one!

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This was my new running outfit for the race. I had to look stylish!! I think it is a runners MUST!

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At the finish line!!

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I was the first female finisher and won an apple pie which I could not eat, but no worries James had a slice. Maybe next year they will have gluten free alternatives for the runners ;)!!

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James and I had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving dinner. We did things a bit differently with Turkey legs instead of the whole turkey. I did not want to be in the kitchen all day cooking for just the 2 of us. Our small little dinner was perfect! I could not have asked for a more peaceful dinner!

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Then we started off the First of December with some Christmas Tree decorating!

photo 4 (2) I even decorated Samson to get him in the Holiday spirit. I am not so sure he enjoyed his decorations!