Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my dad’s birthday.  Happy birthday Dad!

I can truly say I’m very lucky to have him in my life.  He has always been there for me; whether it was moving to college each year, moving to Texas, helping me with life problems and issues or even inspiring me to begin running a few years ago. He is the best.

Thank you dad for everything and Happy Birthday.

Thank you for making fun of me when I photograph coffee.
Thank you for making fun of me when I photograph coffee.  (What he thinks I look like…it’s accurate)

 

Looking nice
Looking nice
One of my first road races
One of my first road races
My dad:  I don't want that specialty ice cream crap.  I just want plain vanilla ice cream...I'll be bold and go with a cone.  Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream...I'm treating myself.
My dad: I don’t want that specialty ice cream crap. I just want plain vanilla ice cream…I’ll be bold and go with a cone. Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream…I’m treating myself.
A Change of Shoes…

New shoes?

I’ve completely changed my running shoes. I’m no longer running in Newtons at all. Right now I’m training in both the Asics Nimbus and the Hoka Clifton (neither have sponsored this post).

Why?

Both of these shoes are extremely cushioned which is exactly what I need right now. Looking back at the last 4 months of my training, I’ve been injured for three out off out of four months. I was in a weird limbo stage for the other month. So I can sum up the last four months as my running did not go well.  However, I’m not changing my shoes because my running left a lot to be desired.

First, I’ve never been a minimalist shoe person. With the exception of racing flats, I like a nice cushioned shoe.

 

Why leave Newtons, a shoe I’ve run in most of my running career?

But really...this was only a few pairs I went through...the orange model was my favorite
But really…this was only a few pairs I went through…the orange model was my favorite

 

For most of my running career that shoe was the Newton Gravity. In few shoes, Newton has gone through multiple shoe design changes. Newton went from 4 lugs to 5 and narrowed the toe box. Long story short, I haven’t run successfully in them.  I was getting away with running in the shoes but it didn’t feel as good to me as before.  Realistically, the changes they’ve made have been so drastic (for me personally), it’s a change of shoe anyways. (I hoarded a bunch of previous models when they were on clearance). Anything I begin running now is going to be different from the shoe I spent three years running in. Nothing lasts forever and while this shoe design may work for some, it doesn’t work for me. (I’m not blaming any of my injuries on Newtons, I’m just explaining my reasoning to switch shoes).

So that takes me to now is a perfect time to switch shoes. Why?

I haven’t run in almost two months and I have to progress into running slowly anyways. If I jump into miles too quickly, I’ll get injured. The same thing that would happen if I decided to run in different shoes at 70 miles per week.

So this is a good time for me to switch shoes.

Another random point, since my bone broke, my foot has gone up about a half size. My feet now measure at an awkward 9.5 WIDE. (My runner store nerd talking) But going up a half size to a full size in running shoes won’t hurt or injure you but too small of shoes will.

All of my current shoes are too small and my shoe of choice has been modified anyways. Things in life are not forever and it was good timing to switch shoes anyways. Lucky for me since I haven’t been racing, I was able to buy some new running shoes. New running shoe cost will take precedence over racing anyways (at least for me).  You can’t race without shoes…well some people can I guess.

Via my instagram (Asics Nimbus)
Via my instagram (Asics Nimbus)

So after running for a couple of weeks in both the Asics nimbus and Hoka Clifton, I’m happy with the cushion in both. The Asics nimbus is a little heavier and dense which I like. I’ve been running more of my Alter G miles in the Asics. I’ve been running more of my outdoors shoes in the Hoka Clifton.  I like both shoes a lot and so far I’m happy with both of the shoes.  It’s tough to say which pair I like better since I’ve put about 15 miles on each.  As my running (hopefully) picks up, I’ll be able to make more concrete thoughts.

Once I run another week in the Hokas I’ll have a review about them (I’ve gotten a lot of questions about them!)

Awkwardly trying on the clifton at Fitblog
Awkwardly trying on the Hoka clifton at Fitblog

I alternate each run in opposite shoes.   So far I am extremely pleased with both and I’m glad I have decided to switch shoes.   At work, we always preach don’t fix what ain’t broken.  (Don’t change your running shoes if you have stayed injury free).  That applies to the majority of cases in running but when a shoe goes through a drastic change or you are getting injured, it might be time to fix the shoe.

If you have any questions about either shoe feel free to ask and Ill try my best to find an answer.

Questions for you:
Have you changed running shoes completely?
What is your shoe of choice? 

Training: 20 Miles

This was the week of running confidence. I’m building my confidence back with each injury free mile I run. I’ve been waiting to write this training post for eight weeks now. It might seem dramatic but I’ve been injured for so long I didn’t know if I remembered how to run when the time come.

Each run felt good. I don’t feel “in shape” but I don’t feel injured. The most important aspect for me is that I’ve begun craving running. I have begun WANTING to run again. That is honestly a feeling I haven’t had in a long time.  Currently I have no focus on pace at all.  I am just running by feel…since I like to keep a decent idea of time/mileage I am running with my garmin watch.

I’m not following any “plan”. My goal was to run roughly 30 minutes very easy most days of the week. If it felt weird or off,I wouldn’t run. I’m not pushing the pace and I’m not even worrying about the pace. From what I’ve gathered, I’m running anywhere from 9 to 11 minute miles but the fact is I’m running pain, issue and worry free.

My fitness is definitely not there. After taking nearly 8 weeks off, I’m out of shape. I’m fine with it but it will be a long adjustment period. Plus it isn’t as if I have a bunch of races I desperately need to get ready for.

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 3 miles
Saturday: 3.25 miles
Sunday: 40 minutes (around 4 miles)
Total: 20 miles

All in all I felt good during each run. I didn’t have any injury discomfort during my runs. I just had breathing and OMG running is hard discomfort.  Since I’ve started running again (This is my first real week of running in 8 weeks), my foot is adjusting to that.  Each injury I’ve had, I’ve never come back feeling good.  After taking time off and rest I normally feel awkward and sore.  My body has to readjust to running.  This really hasn’t been an exception and I can feel my foot readjusting to running again.

My doctor told me to try and run most of the runs by myself.  I have done that for the most part although I did run with Tim a couple of times.  He was good to me though and slogged my 10 minute miles and never pushed the pace.

My plan for next week is something similar to this. I want to keep my weekly mileage the same of doing the 3ish mile loop around my neighborhood.  If everything goes smoothly, I’m going to try and run 45 minutes next weekend. If it doesn’t, then I won’t try 45 minutes. I think because I played on more of a conservative side with recovery, it will have more benefits in a faster recovery now. I was telling a friend this is the first injury I’m coming back with almost no aches or pains so that is motivating.  I see myself around 20-24 miles next week if everything goes smoothly.

Other things I’ve been doing to keep my recovery strong: 

1. I’m taking salt baths to keep the muscle feeling loose.

2. I bought a pair of compression socks.  I’ve always used sleeves but decided to buy a pair of socks to get blood to my feet/metatarsals as well.  I am really glad I did and I’ve found I’m getting a lot of blood flow without constricting my feet (or feeling as if I’m causing damage).

So as always thank you for your support!

Questions for you:

Do you like compression socks or sleeves (what brand):

I alternate between CEP, Injinji and Zensah.  I might be in the minority but I have found Pro Compression socks to not work.

Did you race this weekend?  If you dressed up for a Halloween race, post a photo here (and a link to your blog/website) and I’ll include it in my Halloween post.  If you don’t use Facebook, send me an email!  

New Ewing Diner

New Ewing Diner (Ewing, NJ)

There are many hidden diner gems located in New Jersey.  The New Ewing Diner in Ewing is one of those hidden diner gems. When Melissa and I were looking for diners in the Trenton area, the New Ewing Diner popped up.  With quick research, we determined (by the photos) it would be pretty good.  Since I’m still new into my diner quest (this is number 36 that I’ve been too) have the option to pick and choose.

Melissa and I taking a selfie in front of the diner. #sofancy
Melissa and I taking a selfie in front of the diner. #sofancy

New Ewing Diner Atmosphere: A

The New Ewing Diner is located directly next to a large psychiatric center with a 10-foot barbed-wire fence. You also drive by a state prison within a mile of the New Ewing Diner. I was worried I would make a wrong turn. The diner itself comes up quickly, though.  It’s a cute, very picture-perfect diner located in the heart of Trenton.

The inside was very festive as well.  In fact, it is evident that the diner had been through some remodeling and was “new.”  Both the interior and exterior were my favorite atmospheres to date. They were very festive inside for Halloween.

New Ewing Diner Coffee: A

The coffee at the New Ewing Diner was excellent, and the whipped was cream was good too.  I wish the cups were a little bigger, but it was good coffee.

I think a whipped cream coffee and picture of the menu is a perfect diner review staple
I think a whipped cream coffee and a picture of the menu is a perfect diner review staple

New Ewing Diner Food: B

The New Ewing Diner menu is enormous.  In fact, the New Ewing Diner has 64 different omelet combinations.  Next time I come, I’m going to try one of their many omelets.

I ordered the Mkyanos salad.  It was their house specialty. It was a Greek specialty salad with chicken, (three) olives, onions, tomatoes, grape leaves, and feta. I also ordered a side of pita bread. In my opinion, the salad was a little lackluster. It was a good salad; I wish there were more salad (see the three olives). I will say I haven’t had better pita bread then this diner. It was pretty good, but the atmosphere led me to believe the food would be a lot better — another case of judging a book by its cover.

Ewing Diner Salad

New Ewing Diner Price: $$$
The salad and coffee at the New Ewing Diner cost 18. While it was a good salad and the coffee was good, I think it was a rather expensive meal for what you got. I’m going to give the New Ewing Diner the HUGE benefit of the doubt and say you are paying more for atmosphere than food.

Would I return/overall thoughts of the New Ewing Diner?
I think the diner is a bit pricey, but the atmosphere is one of the best I have been too in NJ. The staff at New Ewing Diner was some of the most friendly of any diner staff. I will be back soon, and I will try one of their 64 omelets.

You can see all of the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Have any restaurants you’ve too been festive for Halloween?
What is the most decorated restaurant you have ever been too?

 

Mentally Recovering

Once your body fully physically heals, the next step is to mentally get back into the game. For me honestly, that has always been something I’ve struggled with. Physically I know my legs can slowly progress back into running but I have to find myself mentally first.

Mentallyinjury1

First, your body heals eventually. One reason I personally prefer bone breaks (versus muscle issues) is because I know with proper care and recovery a bone heals stronger. It takes time and patience but eventually you will come back and be back to where you were.  While this injury has taken far longer than I would have liked, I know I am recovering stronger.

My only other stress fracture was a tibia stress fracture.  The day I got my tibia stress fracture in July 2011, I could not walk. That stress fracture was caused by extremely poor training. I was running every run too fast and too hard. I’ll take ownership for that injury and everything is 20-20 in hindsight. I didn’t know what I was doing and as a newer runner, I got my first dose of reality. This was a dose I needed to progress as a runner. Your body is not is not unbreakable. If you don’t train smart you will face the reality of a serious running injury. I didn’t train smartly and faced the consequence.

As a new runner I had no idea what was going on with my body. All I really knew was I wanted to whine, cry and complain until the next day…then I did the same thing. I cried my way through 6 weeks of that injury.

When I woke up in August with a bruised and swollen foot, I had a sinking feeling of what it was. This time my mindset was different. It was weird because it didn’t happen during a run but a stress fracture was obvious to me. I told a coworker that day as I limped around; I knew what I was dealing with. I just didn’t know how it happened. That day continued as well as the weekend.  The world did not stop because I had a running injury.  My day did not stop and I had to continue my life as normal as possible.

By the time I knew it, it was Monday and I found myself with some free time to get to the doctors. The doctor confirmed I had a stress fracture. Life had moved on between that Friday and Monday and it wasn’t a shocking discovery. As an older and “more mature” runner, I had accepted I wouldn’t be running for a while. The idea of any running for a while was laughable.  The thought of a fall marathon went out the window about 3 minutes after waking up the previous Friday with a swollen foot.

I think that mindset propelled me through this injury. Life happens when you aren’t prepared.  There was nothing I could do that would make my stress fracture disappear in a day. I don’t have scientific research to prove it, I just know I’m recovering much quicker mentally. I’m ready to get back in the game. I’m ready to commit to a late winter or early spring race. I’m ready to reach goals that I know I’m capable of. I’m ready to live life back on the running edge. Mentally I have not fallen off the wagon and I know I will rise to the occasion when racing is in my sights again.

So how am I building back my confidence foundation?

First I’m documenting how I feel each day in a private notebook. I’m documenting how my foot feels physically and how I feel mentally. I’m noting little recoveries. Every week I’m reviewing them and realizing that while I might not notice day to day improvements, the overall picture is linear. I’ve seen minor speed bumps and hurdles but I’m slowly recovering and progressing in the right direction.

Second, I’ve said all along but I’m seaking the positive. The positive in injury recovery, the positive in life and the positive in me as a person. My life has never revolved around running. When I’m out of running, I’m doing other things. I’m staying busy with a fulfilled life. While running is a very big hobby of mine, I don’t need running to survive.  I don’t need blogging to survive, I have a collection of hobbies and activities I like to do.

Third, I’m not comparing myself to anyone including myself. I’m not comparing myself to those also recovering from an injury (this has been the hardest).  I’m not comparing myself to those training or anyone at all. I’m not comparing myself to a previous fitness level or to myself at all. I’m just staying at the present and living my life. The comparison game benefits no one.

Case and point: I’m certainly not running 70 mile weeks right now and I’m 100% happy with what I am running.  Running is a beautiful thing and running any injury free miles are better then none.

Do you remember back way long ago when you didn’t run to crush your PR’s, you ran because you wanted to be healthy? You don’t need to have a goal race right now because your goal is to come back stronger then ever. At least that’s how I look at it, I won’t get back to my peak fitness if I rush it right now.  Yesterday I ran with no watch, no GPS and no anything.  When I went to go track my run, I had forgotten the roads I ran on.  The only thing I knew was that I ran for 30 injury free minutes and I felt great about it.

Question for you: How do you get over injuries mentally?

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