Friday, March 27, 2015

Making the Injured Reserve List

It's official. 

I have been placed on the injured-reserve list. I won't be making the starting line up in any races or training runs for the time being.

My "something in my right foot" turned into "another something in my hamstring." Don't you hate when that happens? I took four days off from running last week to see if it was simpy rest that I needed. I gave my legs a go on Tuesday. I was okay for about 2k until I turned up my pace. That's when my foot began to throb and I felt a slight twinge in my hamstring.


I've been here before with a similar woe. I know my body. Something is wrong. Maybe it was my high (for me) mileage or my extremely non-bendy busy that triggered this domino effect of injuries. Or I am simply not ready for the mileage. Regardless the culprit, I'm on the bench until my team of non-traditional medical doctors give me the running green light.

Now you probably think I am going to FREAK OUT because I can't run. But you know what? I'm totally okay with this setback. While I love love running, it's not my everything. I don't pretend to be pro athlete in life or in the expanding world of social media. I don't get paid for it and I am not a sponsored athlete. Running is something that I do that gives me extreme joy. Yes I am upset but I see the glass as half full not empty. 

My next scheduled race is Blackfoot 50K on May 30. I was limping again on Wednesday after my short run on Tuesday. I emailed the good folks at Blackfoot and they ensured me that I could drop my distance down to 25K. I don't want to roll over my entry to next year because I doubt I will be in Alberta in another year (fingers crossed).

In the coming days and weeks I will be concentrating on my rehab (and avoiding massive weight gain). I can still WOD it up at crossfit and I will likely get back to the pool. It will be good for me to take a few more days off from running and to ease back into it with short runs as my medical team allows.

On Wednesday night I pulled the "woe is me" card and drank two glasses of wine and ate toast for dinner. I don't want to create a lazy habit so I allowed myself one night to do nothing while I mend. I believe it's important to use my time wisely and productively when I'm down and out. My mourning period tends to last a few days before I start to see the upsides of being injured. 

Here's one of my recent shinny happy running photo (with Sona's hubby Brent). Hope to be back running soon!

Perks to being sidelined:

1. I am forced to pay attention to the other areas of my life that ignore because I'm training.

2. Free evenings

3. Less laundry

4. I have more time to read books, magazines and blogs

5. Get more sleep ( I tend to stay up later after I run in the evenings because I can't settle my brain)

6. Reduces my stress level to get everything done in one day

7. It allows me to step back and re-evaluate my training plan

8. I can try something new during my down time whether it's another yoga or a belly dancing class

9. Dance more

10. Plot more adventures

11. Resume my freelancing 

12. Spend more time studying

13. Take more photos

14. Plan my two-week roadtrip to never, never land

15. Be thankful

How long is your mourning period when you are injured? Do you tend to see the glass as half empty or half-full?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In My Vegetarian Kitchen: Peanut Butter & No waste

I love peanut butter. I love it on bananas. I love it on apples. I love it straight out of the jar with a spoon. It's the perfect spread on just about everything. My favourite spicy salad dressings always include a good heaping spoonful of this nutty goodness. 

(In fact my waistline can attest to the spoonfuls of peanut butter that I consume on a daily basis.) 

I've been making my own peanut butter/nut butter since I bought my Vitamix a couple years ago. It's surprisingly easy to make. Why didn't I try this years ago in my food processor? My editor said she used to make it in her processor. 

All you need .... peanuts and a high powered blender (or food processor). No oils or extra crap. My friends are always surprised when I tell them how simple it is to make. You can make a few years in less than 5 minutes. I fill my container about 3/4 full with peanuts and it yields at least three little mason jars. You can process for a shorter time if you want it a little chunky. I prefer smooth peanut butter so I process a tad longer.

There's always some peanut butter clinging to the container that I hate to waste. So I follow my peanut butter making with a peanut butter smoothie. I scrape as much peanut as I can off the sides before adding either a cup of water or Almond milk. Then I add a scoop of chocolate Vega One and a banana.

After blending for about 10 seconds, I pour the smoothie in a mason jar with a few ice cubes. It's a perfect fix but I warn you it is sweet!


Choose raw, organic and unsalted nuts when possible
Store in glass, never plastic
Process longer for a smoother taste
Do not add salt or oil
Experiment with other nuts to create a nut blend. I like cashew/peanut mix
Buy in bulk because you will save $$ and time
Share with your friends

Peanut or nut butter is a wonderful source of protein. I get asked all the time (and it drives me bonkers!) where do I get my protein as a vegetarian. Peanut butter is just one tasty source. I make my own because I can control what I put in it. There's no added oils or salt. If I could I would grow my own peanuts but sadly I am not in a climate where that is possible. 

I encourage you to try your hand at making your own nut butter (if you don't already). 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On Reading: The Summit Seeker

I caught a few minutes of CBC radio's The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers. Victor Dwyer shared his take on Cheryl Strayed's Wild.

It reminded me that I have not posted my review of The Summit Seeker: Memoirs of a Trail Running Nomad by Vanessa Runs.

In many ways the two books follow a similar theme - both authors were trying to escape something and to find themselves. I wasn't a huge fan of the critically acclaimed Wild. I couldn't get past the author's stupidity throughout her journey. I remember my friend Laura told me she loved the book. She's not alone as I have since heard so many people declare various platitudes. The book is now a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.  

Maybe I should give it a second read. 

Anyway getting back to Vanessa Runs. Sometime last year, Vanessa sent me a copy of her book to review. It was perfect timing because I had just stumbled upon her blog and I was immediately drawn to her simple yet seemingly rewarding life. She's also appeared on Trail Runner Nation postcasts. And you know much I love that podcast. 

A few years ago Vanessa quit her job and hit the road in an RV to do whatever the hell she wanted to do – which was to run and run some more. Sounds perfect, right? I am extremely jealous. I would love to pack everything up in my Versa and disappear into the trail.

I delved into the book despite the over-the-top foreword by Gordon Ainsleigh. In three chapters –  Growing Up & Learning To Run, Finding Myself & Discovering Trails and Traveling Far & Running Ultras – Vanessa shares her story of learning to run and finding herself at the same time. The book is sectioned in short personal essays such as On My Mother, On Books and On Excuses. I don't want to ruin her book for you because I think you should read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

It's an interesting read with various snippets from her life that shape who she is today. Several times I had to shake my head because she touched on something that I could relate to in my own life. Her experiences and self-reflection were heartening. The book is not simply about "running" but how she was drawn to running trails and how it ultimately shaped her life. You don't have to be a runner to find a little inspiration.

There's a few pages on ultrarunner narcissism that I think every runner should read. You probably have a few narcissists on your social media feeds? I had to unfollow a few ultra runners from my Instagram feed because I grew tired of their "look at me I get free shit because I am so awesome" posts. Where's the humility in that?

I liked this memoir for many reasons. Mostly I liked that it written by a woman. I've been reading too many books my male ultra runners lately. Where are the female voices? I think Vanessa Runs would appeal to young women who are trying to find their place in the world. And the good news is Vanessa is coming out with a new book Daughters of Distance  in the coming months. Here's an excerpt from IRunFar. 

Need some inspiration? Pick up this book. Find it here on Amazon and read it before the movie :)

Follow Vanessa's journey on her blog or on Twitter.