Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Emptive Therapy

I trained for and ran my first marathon this October (yea!). I tried once before and failed due to injury, and stayed out of the game for too long, with disastrous results. This time around, I decided I actually wanted to finish the darn race, so I tried a different approach. I made an appointment with a physical therapist BEFORE I was injured, to prevent the inevitable onset of the shin splints that plagued me for so long. And guess what? I accomplished my goal of running pain free, and will probably run another marathon this year, with the goal of beating my first time.

Why do I tell this story, when so many of you have heard more about my shins that you could ever dream of? It's because I felt GREAT after my race. I followed the recovery plan, gave myself lots of rest, and promptly forgot everything I learned in PT about the benefits of frequent tissue massage with The Stick. "That's for when you're injured," I kept telling myself. "I'll use it when I feel sore," I said. So I increased my mileage up and up, and felt great. And today I hurt my ankle, so of course I went running for the tool I know to work so well, only a tad too late. Should have been using it all along to PREVENT injury in the first place.

I do this in so many other places in my life. I know that regular journaling helps me to process my thoughts and emotions, thus preventing any major breakdowns in sanity. But when do I actually reach for the pen? When something's going wrong. Stretching out my muscles makes them feel better, but I only seem to do that when they're already tight. Putting away my clothes every day helps my room to stay neat and orderly, but I prefer to let it become a FEMA disaster zone before panicking and spending a day cleaning. And the list goes on and on.

Moral of this little tale? Think about what you do to solve a problem in your life, and do that on a consistent basis before the problem ever surfaces its ugly head.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Just Made The Best Smoothie Ever

In a Magic Bullet (Or similar sized personal blender) combine the following in order:

1 T ground flax seed
1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup ripe frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup almond milk (to top of container)

Blend a little longer than you normally would. Drink, and enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Runner's High

Yes, I know, it's been awhile. Most things I have to say can be expressed in 140 characters or less, so follow me on Twitter for those (@jgrab). But not this thought.

Chicago's Lakeshore Path may be the best place I've ever run. Yes, I've had some very nice runs through state parks, but those are often hilly and pretty difficult, despite their beauty. I've run some fun races, but I usually end up drained and swearing off running after those. My 12 miler this weekend, however, was everything I love about running, in the unlikeliest of places - an urban center full of people.

To outline my course; I started at Lincoln Park, just off of Irving Park road (Hwy 19). I traveled South, turning around just before Navy Pier, since I didn't realize the path actually went through. When I got back to my start, I still had 2 miles left, so I continued North, turning around at Wilson St. Along that route were several features making this path worthy of Best Run Ever, in no particular order.

1. Separate lanes for bikers and runners. Usually the running lane was gravel or newer asphalt, a better surface than concrete or older asphalt. The space allowed for ample passing room, and helped me to avoid being startled by passing bikers.
2a. Plenty of available water and restrooms. Even though I started my run before 6am, it was HOT. I refilled my hand held water bottle numerous times, and never felt uncomfortably thirsty. I was also able to relieve myself when the hydration got the best of me.
2b. Multiple stations handing out FREE sports drinks. I at first passed on by, thinking it was for participants of some race, but was unable to spot anyone sporting race bibs. I then asked, and it turns out the local marathon training club sponsors hydration stations on the weekend. There were 2 of these, and one station handing out promo bottles of a sports/energy drink. This one was in my last mile, and the caffeine boost was quite welcome.
3. Plenty of other runners from various marathon training clubs. Though they were all training for the Chicago Marathon, a week after mine, it was nice to feel like part of a team, running with similar goals in mind. It was also nice to pass several of these groups, gaining the assurance that I am not the slowest runner ever to run a marathon.
4. Constant views of Lake Michigan. I like water. It makes me feel less overheated, both visually, and with the cool breeze.
5. No dogs. Don't get me wrong. I like dogs. But it can be a distraction, especially when they're really cute and I just want to ooh and aah over them. Then there's the inevitable poo left behind. So no dogs is a good thing.

If you're ever in the area, I recommend checking out the path. Happy running!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Notes to My 14 Year Old Self

(Or, "We Need a Hot Tub Time Machine!")

Hey Tweeps! If you could go back to age 14, what would you change about the way you lived your life? What would you do the same?

I love my little sister. If you're reading my blog, you probably already know that. But really, she's the most awesome kid I know. Some reasons why I like her: She's crazy smart, witty, and goofy. She's way more mature than I was at that age. She's thoughtful, insightful, and deep. She still likes hugs, even though she can't do that cool running/ jumping thing anymore that she did when she was 3. I also like her because right now, she's half my age. I'm old enough that I've always felt I had a part raising her, but I'm not so much older than her that I'm like a parent. Best of both worlds.

But I digress. Sometimes I feel at a loss to give her decent advice that doesn't just sound like I know better than her. But I also don't want her to make all the same mistakes I did when I was younger. Some mistakes are good. Some are inevitable. And some experiences you just can't quite call yourself a well rounded without. Which is what prompted the above question. Perhaps collective wisdom can help a younger generation to make some good decisions, and avoid the bad ones. Or not. So here goes, in no particular order. Identities have been removed to protect the guilty. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • I wouldn't smoke cigarettes, and I'd apply to better colleges. And I'd tell my best friend when his girlfriend cheated on him.
  • I would have focused more on my writing. I would have tried out for softball and forensics.
  • I also would've have spent so much money on vhs tapes and dvd's.
  • I would've joined the track team, not dated my loser boyfriend, and spent more time on schoolwork.
  • Stop wasting money on Depeche Mode singles.
  • Enjoy next summer. It will be the last three months of your life with no responsibilities whatsoever.
  • Think about what you want out of college. Don't just roll with whatever comes to you.
  • I wouldn't have dated that one girl (instead her friend)... majored in accounting... ummm... yeah, that's it.
  • I would have spent more time on schoolwork, gone to a better college; with a softball team. And I would have travelled more
  • I still would have been involved in things (music, clubs, sports). I'd change the female cattyness and be nicer to certian people.
  • Gotten a better internship in college, tried to talk to my dad about his drinking. Saved more and learned about good food sooner.
  • I wouldn't change the friendships I made or moving away from home.
  • I wish I has realized I only get one chance to impress at school
  • Never be afraid to tell someone how I feel
  • never get caught up in the dangers of debt!

And my thoughts:
  • When Kara said, "Hey! Let's join cross country!" I would have agreed.
  • When Kara said, "Hey, Let's be cheerleaders!" I would have said no way.
  • I would have dated fewer guys, especially when I was 14.
  • I probably would still have dated that one guy who we all love. He was a good guy, even though we messed with each other's heads.
  • I would have read more good books, and worked on my writing when I had teachers around to help me
  • I would have tried harder to advance myself in math. My life could be drastically different if I had pursued a math track.
  • I would have asked someone for fashion advice.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Resolution Time Part II

For 2010:
I would still like not to get burned, but I would also like not to be afraid or bitter regarding situations in which I may get burned or have in the past
I need to open an IRA or something
I need to run a few half marathons so I feel like a runner again
Spill less, whine less, hug more.
Eat organic, at least partly
Balance grad school, work, social life, and maybe even a love life
Enjoy all of my many blessings in life, and play the hand I'm dealt.

Resolution Time

So here's all of my failed resolutions of years past. A little depressing.

Don't get burned in 2006. - FAIL

Take more pictures and get better at using the stinking camera. - FAIL
Don't get burned. Yes, this was my failed resolution of 2006, but we're trying again. It may mean I'll need to stay away from hot stoves, or crappy guys, or both, but I'm hoping the benefits will be worth going against my instincts. - FAIL
Hug more, put foot in mouth less. - FAIL

Whine less
Stay aware of the world around me, by reading one campaign and one international politics article per day, and one education book or journal per month. - FAIL
Run better, by finding new long runs, i.e. in Kettle Moraine South, and by achieving a 2:10:00 in the Lake Country Half marathon, and by training for and running the Madison marathon. - FAIL
Be a better friend, by writing letters to missionaries 2 times per month, sending birthday cards or emails to a list of 20 people, responding to emails within 2 days, and reviving 2 specific friendships. - FAIL
Super Secret Fifth Goal - FAIL

run a 5K, 10K, half marathon - check on 2/3
pay off debt - FAIL
call my brother once a month - FAIL
email my grandma once a month - FAIL
do the 5C3 challenge - FAIL
memorize a book of the bible (1 John or Philippians) - FAIL
Go 2 weeks without biting my nails, then quit for good. – FAIL (though I did go a month or two at a time)