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Trying New Things

When was the last time you tried something you haven't tried before? I tend to get in a rut with my exercise, cooking, and habits. But I tried three new things recently, and I'm glad I did.

Acupuncture. Three months of Physical Therapy and back strengthening exercises hasn't fixed me. So, I'm trying a new approach.

On my first visit, my acupuncturist stuck many tiny needles in my back. "Drink lots of water. And don't apply lotion for twenty-four hours, your Qi might still be leaving your body."

Yesterday, she focused on a treatment to balance the two sides of my body. This time I got a few tiny needles in my feet and wrist. She lit sandalwood sticks and waved them over each finger and toe and I had to tell her when my Qi got hot.

So far, I'm seeing positive results. I feel better overall, in subtle ways. The tingling, while not completely gone, has diminished. I can sit and sleep more comfortably. I don't feel the overwhelming urge to stretch my piriformis constantly.

Roasted Broccoli. How have I never tried this before? Toss broccoli with canola or olive oil and a little coarse kosher salt. Roast in oven at 425 or 450 until the broccoli begins to brown, turning after about 5 minutes. The timing will depend on how large you cut them. I chopped each floret in half so they could lay flat on one side, but left them in fairly large chunks. Oh the flavor! Even if you're not usually a broccoli fan, I implore you to make this. It's an entirely different kind of flavor.

Burgers with Bulgur. I admit, I was dubious about adding soaked bulgur to high quality ground beef. But this was a winner. Not only was it wonderfully moist, the seasoning was spot on. Now, I've never had trouble tucking away a burger. But the icing on the cake, so to speak, was that this one was a bit less heavy. In a very good way. Click here for the recipe.

Here's to trying new things. Happy running and good eating!

In Memory of Mike Broderick

Calm and ready to run just before MMT 100 Miler, 2007

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us,
more potent, nay, more present than the living man.
                                                                               ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Still smiling at mile 48 of MMT100, 2007
Laughing as I BodyGlide his nipples at 211, MMT100, 2007
Grinning at Habron Gap, Mile 25 of MMT100, 2009
Running through the mist at Big Schloss 50K, 2009

MCM Tweetup

Although I had to defer my entry to next year, I wanted to meet all the Twitter folks who were coming to DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon. It was more fun than I could have imagined! What a great bunch!

@rshill37, @tinyjenna, @ultrarunnergirl, @BklynRunner, Tall Boy, @BeeZales

Tall Boy, @pigtailsflying, @BklynRunner, @ultrarunnergirl, @BeeZales,
@JoePennella, @rshill37, @MsV1959, @tinyjenna, @Scis30

The irrepressible @MsV1959 in her Punk Rock Racing tee

@Jennoveau, @scis30, @pigtailsflying, @JoePennella

Tall Boy, @tinyjenna, @MsV1959 behind @BeeZales, @rshill37, @BklynRunner

@ultrarunnergirl, @EvaTEsq, @Scis30 in the background

@BeeZales, @Scis30, @JoePennella, @rshill37

@BklynRunner, @ultrarunnergirl, @rshill37

@EvaTEsq and @MKSINMD

@BkylnRunner, @MKSINMD, @sarahthequeen1, @southbaygirl

@sarahstanley, @JoePennella, @pigtailsflying

Ashley, @MKSINMD, @sarahthequeen1

@EvaTEsq and @pigtailsflying chat

@operationjack and @RussianBear

@EdMarathon, @rundigger (he's TALL!), and @EvaTEsq

@BkylnRunner, @DeeFSU, @nycbklyngirl, @zenrunner

@EvaTEsq, @MKSINMD, @readwriterun

@runnerchick28 and @rundigger

@readwriterun and @rundigger (@RussianBear in back)

@rundigger and @ultrarunnergirl

@nycbklyngirl, @JenZenator and @MKSINMD

@RussianBear, @operationjack, @merrymishaps, @southbaygirl

@merrymishaps and @deeFSU

@MKSINMD and @SpeedySasquatch in front.
@edmarathon and @EvaTEsq in back.

@SpeedySasquatch and @runnerchick28

@MKSINMD, @SpeedySasquatch, @MsV1959, @runnerchick28

@RussianBear, @operationjack, @merrymishaps, @zenrunner, @JenZenator

@JenZenator, @edmarathon, @nycbklyngirl, @SpeedySasquatch

@tacair and @MsV1959

Marathon-ready feet!

@runnerchick28 and @tacair

@ultrarunnergirl hawking the delicious chocolate reGen recovery drink.
Thanks reGen for letting us converge on your Expo booth for our Tweetup!

@MsV1959 chats up some Marines

@MsV1959 gets interviewed by Fox News!
@nycbklyngirl and @SpeedySasquatch look on

The Accidental Ten-Miler

After deferring my Marine Corps Marathon in September, I threw myself into other activities. I tried to put running out of my mind.

I forgot that I had signed up for Army Ten Miler.

I'd meant to sell my registration, but I missed the window. I figured I might as well go, walk part of the course, throw in a mile or two of running. Then I'd make like Rosie Ruiz and hop on the metro around mile 5 and meet Tom at the end.

(Last week, my PT told me I should try running, and see how it went. So I tried 2.25 miles on Friday and I felt pretty darn good.)

The sun was shining. The air was cool. It was a glorious, I'm-glad-to-be-alive day. I had forgotten how much fun and energy there is at a huge road race (30,000 runners!).

On the Army Ten Miler course
I walked. I ran. I kept my heart rate at or below 130 BPM to make sure I stayed within my limits. Walk. Run. Walk. Run.

I kept expecting to tire. I paid close attention to my body. Aside from a couple of random tingles in my leg, which vanished before I could be sure they were real, I felt great. I had to keep reigning it in. I enjoyed the slower pace, the people watching, the pass and be passed game. I felt like I could go forever.

I passed the metro station without a second glance.

As I rounded the corner at Mile 8, I noticed the only sign I'd been out of the running game for nearly three months: my feet were just a bit tender from all the plodding on pavement.

I can't even remember the last long run I did, sometime in July. That "muscle memory" stuff? Turns out there's something to that!

Here's hoping my bulging disc isn't too mad at me.

In My Dreams, I Run

In my dreams, I run.
But reality intrudes:
I'm quickly winded.

Running the Laurel Highlands 70 Miler in 2006

The Mountain Goat

The Mountain Goat

In the mountains, all is pure, all is calm,
all complication is cut off.

Rare are they who know how to listen,
happy they who possess wisdom.
One pauses on high ledges,
one climbs to the high clouds,
one sits in the depths of a gorge,
one pauses in windy grottos.
Here is the realm of harmony and joy,

where the past and present become eternal.

-- Hsieh Ling-Yun (385-433AD)

 I stumbled across this poem on Roger Ebert's Journal.

What's The Deal?

After seven weeks of physical therapy, it turns out my injury was not my IT Band, nor even my Quad. It is a Bulging Disc.

Thus the strange tingling, itchy, random numbness episodes I'd been experiencing while doing my test runs.

Determined to kick this injury to the curb!
I'm continuing physical therapy and doing some new back strengthening exercises.
No running or biking (say WHAT!?) allowed. I can walk on the Dreadmill and use the elliptical trainer, but that tends to bring the tightness to my IT band that first sent me to the Egyptian Magician (my Physical Therapist).

I feel so out of shape but somehow (admittedly, after I threw myself a few pity parties) I also feel positive. I can tell I'm getting stronger.

I'm hanging in there and I will be back!

Farewell to Summer

Goodbye, summer. I'll miss my garden and my insect friends. 
Carpenter bees sleeping in squash blossom
Fond Memories. I met up with Katie for our first bike ride back in June. We ended our ride with frozen mango margaritas at Sequoia. We've been friends and bike partners ever since and decided to salute the waning days of summer by revisiting the scene of the crime.

View of a late summer sunset from our seats at the bar

Final frozen mango margarita of the year

New Discoveries. I finally made good on my promise to visit more wineries. Turns out there's no better way to spend an afternoon. Even when those warm days are long gone and it's too chilly to sit on the deck, indoor tastings continue year round.

Grapes on the vine at Linden Vineyards

Hello, autumn. I'm excited to do some hiking on leaf-covered trails and taking in the fall colors. And soon, I'll be running again! That's what I'm looking forward to most.

Colorful leaves on the Dumbarton Oaks Trail in DC

What was your favorite memory this summer? What do you look forward to most about fall?

On Not Running

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. - Dorothy Thompson

Not long ago @runnrgrl asked the question of me: What is your greatest fear?

Without hesitation, I replied: Not being able to run.

Running is who I am.
It's my joy, my hobby, my freedom.
It's my identity - quite literally, on Twitter and Blogger.
It's my sanity. My discipline. A big chunk of my social life.
It's what makes me feel like I'm "good enough" despite my many shortcomings.
It's how I met Tom, and no small factor in our marriage.

It has been six weeks since I've run.

I'm much more serene than I thought I'd be about this.

I try to stay sunny, keeping in mind that injury is temporary. I lift weights and cross-train. I feel glad for the opportunity to change things up and get stronger.

I don't watch what I eat. In fact, I'm a bit more indulgent. My philosophy is to enjoy my food, not obsess about my body. I'll use it as extra motivation to get back to my happy running weight when I'm healed. So far I've gained about five pounds. Truthfully, I'm kind of enjoying being a little curvier.

I'm using this time to enjoy the things that running often forces to the sidelines: leisurely meals with friends, long-plotted visits to the numerous wineries we pass by en route to our mountain runs, happy hour, exploring the city on bike rides, puttering in my garden, paddling kayaks.

Along with my coping mechanisms, I've observed some wholly unexpected changes.

I don't sleep as well. There's something so good about how hard I sleep after a good run. I think I'd run for that benefit alone. While I am waking more often, and sleeping less soundly, I also seem to need slightly less sleep.

I'm wearing glasses. Normally, I do this only between shower and bedtime, or when the pollen overwhelms my peepers. I can't wear them when I run (sweat makes them slide down my nose), but biking with them offers the extra benefit of keeping my eyes bug-free. And I feel much like I look in glasses: Nerdy. Contemplative. I'm another version of myself.

Oddly, I'm less obsessive about cooking away my CSA. I don't seem to fret as much about using every odd vegetable and herb in our share.

I'm enjoying time alone more, or perhaps I'm more mindful and relaxed. Before my injury, I was always trying to squeeze in one more thing.

Perhaps living the maxim "accept the things I cannot change" has permeated my perspective.

Could it be that I'm peeling away the layers of what I thought made me, and seeing more than I expected underneath?

In living my fear, I've stumbled upon this: I exist without running. And quite well, thank you.