Life Update: Injured and Unhappy

Blogging during COVID-19 has been challenging (as seen by the lack of posts). Actually, life during COVID-19 has been a challenge and blogging has fallen low on the list of priorities but I’ve been giving myself grace because I realize how important that is right now.

I think we can all agree that currently life status is: survival mode.

Son and mom sitting together outside on the steps.

Snuggling my kids seem to help make me feel better. At least emotionally.

However, I also think that connection is important and I’ve been reminded as I’ve kept a written journal for myself, that blogging is also cathartic. Truthfully, I’m struggling at the moment.

I’m struggling in many of the same ways others are struggling.

There is a litany of wrongs currently in the world and it seems like the list is growing by the day. I’m usually one to find the good in every situation but I probably don’t have to tell you… it’s very difficult right now.

Emotions are high, mentally I’m exhausted.

And on top of all that, I’m physically hurt.

The past few weeks, my knee(cap) has been hurting when I hold my leg a certain way. I’m not usually one to complain and I thought that maybe, just maybe it would go away on its own.

IT HAS NOT.

I’ve finally conceded that I need to go to the doctor and made an appointment for two days from now.

It should to be noted that I have high anxiety about going ANYWHERE. When we received the stay-at-home order here in New Jersey back in March, my family decided that my husband would be the one to do the essential trips. I’m somewhat comfortable going to outside locations but going inside anywhere (let alone a doctor’s office) makes me very nervous.

But something needs to be done. I notice the pain most when I’m sleeping. As an added precautionary measure, I’ve stopped running and cycling for the past few days. Shocking, I know.

Meridith standing in front of her Peloton bike.

Last Peloton ride was last week, Cody’s tribute to Britney Spears. I look happy before but I was hurting after.

Riding and running are two of the ways I stay sane in this truly insane world. Maybe it’s an overuse injury? I can see that being the case, even though it doesn’t actively feel like I’ve been doing a whole heck of a lot of anything.

I’m grumbling about it but I’m trying to listen to my body’s cues and make choices that will help instead of hurt. I hope that all I need to do is rest a bit, see the doctor, and be back on my bike/running by next week. Taking things one day at a time is what we try to teach our kids and what I’m trying really hard to remind myself right now. I’m trying to focus on meditation, gentle yoga, and even more gentle strength training.

So, that’s my life update at the moment. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing too big. Just where I’m at on this day in this crazy year of 2020.

I hope you are all safe and well and hanging in there.

 

Global Running Day 24 Hour Relay Virtual Race

Disclaimer: I received the Global Running Day 24 Hour Relay to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Runners celebrate Global Running Day the first Wednesday of June each year and while 2020 has brought us many challenges, this did not change. The Rochester Running Company chose to host a virtual 24 Hour Relay, complete with a medal and cotton t-shirt.

The relay was broken down into half hour time slots. I signed up for the 9am slot and the race company used a Sign Up Genius page for others to claim their times. A local friend of mine registered for the time slot right before mine and ran at the park before I did, handing off the virtual baton while socially distancing.

For those who aren’t close in location, we had the option to email, text, or call the runner after us. Fellow BibRave Pro, Lissa, was lined up for the 9:30 time slot so I texted her as I finished up my half hour run. I love how the relay was broken down in terms of time rather than by distance. It felt inclusive of all paces and a lot of my friends signed up because of this.

It was hot and muggy on June 3rd but that didn’t stop us. We headed out to the park and did multiple loops within the half hour time frame.

The relay idea was a great one but not all the teams were full. I think if there was a way to improve this virtual run, it might be to consider filling up teams when people sign up rather than having different “locations” as determining factors of the team.

The medal and t-shirt arrived just over a month after the virtual event. The design of the medal is gorgeous! The t-shirt is a uni-sex cotton shirt with the medal design on the front left breast and the hashtag #Global24Relay across the back.

I’ve been particular with the virtual runs I’ve chosen to do because there are so many options and I don’t want to spread myself too thin but I really enjoyed this first ever event. It was a great way to connect with other BibRave Pros and my local running group as well, all while social distancing and making good choices.

 

Run for the Zoo Virtual Race

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Lincoln Park Zoo: Run for the Zoo virtual race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Since we’re all stuck at home these days many of our favorite races have become virtual. This includes the Lincoln Park Zoo’s race in Chicago. As a Floridian who has only been to Chicago once…I’ve also never been to this zoo. It was on our list when I visited with my family in 2018 to run the Chicago Marathon however, the weather was rainy. I’d also just ran a marathon!

We are living in unprecedented times and this is the first time in 42 years that this race will be virtual. This race is one of the things that helps keep the zoo open every day of the year and keeps it free.

While you may not get to run through the zoo this year, there are still a ton of perks to take advantage of. Here are just a few that you can find on the Run for the Zoo website:

  • A 5K and 10K virtual race options to run, walk, or enjoy nature in your community and support the zoo!
  • A virtual Safari Stampede race to encourage kids to express their inner animal
  • Mailed race packets with themed tech shirts (with a brand new logo for 2020!)
  • Commemorative Supporter medals for qualifying participants
  • A special virtual race bag with incredible deals from our partners
  • Weekly motivational communications
  • Digital commemorative participant bib and finishers certificate

Don’t forget, this race if virtual so you can do it whenever and however you want! I know I’ll be looking for a new 5K route to run so it feels like I’m doing something new. (Seriously, I’m tired of seeing the same houses!) It’s also for a great cause. How can you pass that up? Look at this face!

If you’re interested, check out the link above and use the code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off your entry!

Race Recap: Skyway 10K

 

Back in September or October, my friend Stephanie talked me into signing up for a race lottery. The race in question was the Skyway 10K, a race that benefits military families. All you have to do is run over the Skyway Bridge. If you’re a Floridian, I’m sure you know what that is.

Not my photo.

Now, again, as a Floridian I run mostly on flat surfaces. When a race calls for a bridge, I cringe. I’m not a fan of them.

I was also not expecting to get into this race.

But we did.

I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the year feeling crummy with some sort of cold or sinus thing hanging around. Of course I used this as an excuse to come home and nap and not run. (I will use anything as an excuse to not run sometimes!) Needless to say, I was not prepared for this race. That seems to be a theme for me so far this year.

My friend picked up my bib for me that Saturday, so I had a lazy day at home. Honestly, despite the nap comment up there, I don’t get a lot of lazy days. It was nice to just hang out and do laundry and cuddle my cat.

I headed to Tampa late Saturday afternoon and got to my friend’s family’s house a little after eight. We hung out a bit and then turned in early since we had a little bit of a drive in the morning. I was super grateful for these strangers letting me stay at their house because I still get so much race anxiety, especially when I’m on my own.

I sent this pic to my boyfriend, mom, and sister of me in my favorite pre-race place.

The morning was chilly but projected to get warmer, so I opted for my new SkirtSports Pocketopia capris in Vacay and a tank top. I took a throwaway shirt that I tossed before I got to the start line because I had already warmed up. at the start. Our start time was a little after 8AM and all runners were bussed over to the start line from Tropicana Field.

Flat Ash, pretending to be prepared.

 

With Steph before the start.

I had a good start with my friends, but was having some technically difficulties. That slowed me down a bit and I eventually lost them altogether. I knew it was going to be a tough race for me because I was so unprepared. Especially for this bridge!

I did manage to keep a pretty steady walking/running pace until I got to the base of the bridge. I didn’t even try to run that thing!

It was, obviously, smooth sailing going down the bridge. The view from the top wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be, either. I struggled a bit toward the end but managed a strong finish across the finish line. (Of course!) Stephanie was waiting for me at the finish, so she and I hopped a bus back to the expo center where we had our free beer and snacks.

My pic from the top!

All the beer tickets!

To be such a young race, this was extremely well-organized. It was a cupless race and the water stops were mainly for refills. There were some heathens (me) that drank from the spigots like a water fountain and that was just fine. The expo was great, there were plenty of bathrooms, and the medals were awesome, too!

I highly suggested signing up for this race lottery if you get the chance to. The proceeds go to a great cause and you’ll be able to say you ran over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge!

Be Kind – Random Acts of Kindness Week

If you didn’t know, yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness Day. I spent the day lounging about the house being kind to myself. After a twelve-day work week and a busy Valentine weekend, I deserved it!

I’ve seen a lot of posts about this being Random Acts of Kindness Week, so I thought I’d put together some ideas of how you can celebrate it. In my classroom we have a poster that my students can earn a sticker for if they are caught doing an act of kindness. Our goal is one hundred acts. Like a lot of things we do in school, they asked if they get rewarded when they reach one hundred. I said, “Yes! You get the reward of knowing you did one hundred kind things!”

They weren’t thrilled about that answer, but I digress.

In our SkirtSports group we’ve had a ton of ladies sharing ambassador gear and all kinds of fun stuff. I love that sometimes our go-to is free things, but I also feel like there’s so much more we can do.

  • Take out someone’s trash/Bring in trashcans.
  • Mow someone’s lawn.
  • Return your/other’s shopping cart.
  • Compliment someone you don’t usually talk to.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Open/hold the door for someone.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Write a note for a coworker.
  • Clean up a mess you didn’t make.
  • Donate to a charity.
  • Go for a run with a friend.

There are just a few things I can think of that will be sure to brighten someone else’s day.

What can you do this week to make someone smile?

Slow Down

 

I’m feeling frustrated tonight, which is why this post is here at *checks watch*…okay, it’s probably late. Lately I’m feeling like I’ve just got too much going on and I’d like to pick only the things I actually like to do, thankyouverymuch.

After my hour commute home today, I sat down at my computer to work on a few things. I’m taking a couple of district courses for an endorsement and I try to get it done early-ish in the week. That means I have more time to do absolutely nothing on the weekend, yay! Only this weekend we are doing an extensive training at work aaaaaand I want all of this stuff done before then. Of course I was met with technical difficulties. That is just how my day seemed to be progressing at this point.

I’m not complaining, though. (Really.)

I love my job and I’m always looking for ways to improve as a teacher. It’s just like I said…lately there feels like SO MUCH to do. This topic is probably more appropriate for my person teaching blog, but I haven’t posted on that in a long, long time. So. Here were are.

My problem is I’m kind of really bad at time management and I forget things. I bought super cute, nifty desk calendar from my best friend Amazon and I am really good at filling things out! Am I good at reading the calendar and doing the work? Jury’s still out, y’all.

So many things to check off.

So, here’s what I’m taking away from tonight and what maybe I want you to also:

It’s okay to slow down. I got so frustrated tonight that I started feeling down on myself for not doing better on my assignments. Look, I haven’t been in school for a long time. I am trying my damn best. It is hard, especially after I spend my day trying to wrangle little humans.

Tonight, instead of hate-studying, I took a nice shower. I scrolled through social media and texted some friends. I sat down to write this cathartic blog post that doesn’t really have a point to it. Often times I turn to books, naps, or even runs to help me gather myself. Mental health is just as important as physical health and it’s so easy to forget that sometimes.

It’s not always easy to slow down. To stop and smell the roses, or whatever that means. Life is busy and we sometimes feel like we have to gogogo or we aren’t making the most of it. Sometimes it’s so nice to just…stop. I live for the weekends when I get to do nothing but curl up with a book, my cats, or my dude and just…nothing. During the school year those little moments feel so few and far between. I seriously bow to those who do it all with children. I’m so tired and I only have cats.

I don’t really know if I’m going to get my coursework done tonight. The more I sit here and write (something I like to do) the more I think that I might just take a pass on it. I should really try to take my own advice sometimes.

I should also be training for the NYC half and a pretty large bridge race I have coming up in a couple of weeks…I’ll get to it.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Race Recap: Key West Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Key West Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

My initial post about this awesome race was promoting as a destination race, and it was totally on point. As a born and raised Floridian there isn’t much I don’t like about my state. I know there are plenty of things to not like about Florida, but you can’t deny that we’ve got some great scenery.

For this race I asked my mom to come with me for some fun mother-daughter time. She grabbed a hotel, I’m sorry motel for us in Marathon, which was still a drive for us on race morning, but worked out just fine.

We headed down early Saturday morning in hopes that we would have some time to explore Key West. It had been a while since either one of us visited! The drive was nice, though Florida traffic is an entity in itself so it obviously took us longer than expected.

Grabbing my bib was easy (besides a mistake on my part) and we were free to walk around and hang out. Luckily we’d been having some excellent “winter” weather and it wasn’t too hot. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall pub close to packet pick-up, drove around a bit, and then headed back to our motel. Again: traffic in Florida.

Back at our room I prepped my outfit, snacks, and myself. I was sorely under-trained for this race and it definitely showed on race day, but I was determined to make the best of it.

Getting ready to start!

 

A quick BibRave Pro meetup!

We arrived early to the race with plenty of time for coffee and breakfast, plus a couple of trips to the bathroom. The sun was just starting to come up as we began the race so I knew things were going to warm soon. I’d hydrated with Nuun the day before and was feeling pretty up to whatever the humidity might do.

I started off strong enough with some decent intervals. I knew I wasn’t going to push myself and didn’t really set a time goal for the race. I just wanted to not be the last person finished. Seemed like a decent goal right?

The city was beautiful as we ran down the streets and I tried to take in as many sites as possible. The buildings were all so cute and running through the neighborhoods was a great way to see all the chickens hanging out. (I mean it.)

Once we hit the beach the sun was out in full force and I was thankful I’d remembered to put on sunscreen. Water and electrolytes were available at nearly every mile along with Stinger gel for energy. I grabbed a couple, but only ate my Stinger chews while on the run.

This was a super easy and flat course and for that I was thankful. We ran on the road for the most part, but at the turnaround ended up on the sidewalk near the water. Everything seemed super organized and safe. There were a ton of volunteers directing runners and giving out water, too. For the most part I felt okay. I stopped thinking about my pace around mile six and just decided to do what my body could. By mile ten I was walking a lot and definitely struggling to finish.

All the mile marker signs had fun facts on them!

I saw a friend who’d ran the 5K downtown just as I was coming into mile twelve. She’d messaged me and I managed a wave as I struggled by her. I was texting my running buddy, boyfriend, and mom at this point so I had plenty of encouragement. By that time I just ready to finish, though!

My mom was waiting at the finish line (and took a picture of half of me) coming around the corner. I grabbed my medal, a beer, and took a break before we began our touristy things. Since we’d checked out of our hotel at 4AM I found a nice little place for brunch (and to change my clothes in) and we settled in for a little drive around the island (and all other islands before heading home).

 

This was a tough race for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve got into a race completely unprepared and I was definitely disappointed with myself. In March, Michelle and I will be running the New York City Half Marathon, so I know I’ve got to get my butt in gear.

Despite my own mistakes, this was an amazing race. The course was great, the view was perfect. 10/10 would recommend. Okay, the drive kind of sucks, but the rest was amazing.

Guest Blogger Series: 4 Months to 5K Chapter 4… Runner Down

Week 4 has not been great.

I lost a beloved aunt on Sunday.

Even so, I planned to run.

Then the cough started and I lost my voice.

Still planned to run.

Then the fever and aches kicked in.

And like that, I’m fighting a horrible bug that’s moving through the house (perks of having a toddler!)

While I’m still not feeling well I’m really thankful it’s not as bad as it could be. This is one of those moments where I have to listen to my body, rest, & recuperate.

Baby Girl had her shots yesterday so she & I are recuperating, resting, & napping.

So, instead of sharing my (nonexistent) runs this week, I figured I’d share some of my favorite all-natural germ-fighting remedies. I’m not a fan of dosing myself up with chemicals so when I’m under the weather I rely on these to get me better quick.

Probiotics

I take a probiotic every morning but when I’m not feeling my best I will take 2 in the morning & 2 in the evening. Stress & lack of sleep will trigger the gut & brain that the immune system is prone to attack. By increasing the healthy bacteria in the gut I’m giving my body the opportunity to fight back by absorbing additional nutrients & increasing serotonin (the feel-good hormones). My go-to vegan probiotic is from NOW Supplements.

 

 

 

Vitamin C

While Vitamin C does not cure colds & viruses, it does help boost the performance of white blood cells, those strong little fighters in our blood system who attack infections. When my WBC’s are in need of a boost, I cut up an orange, lemon, and lime, bring it to a boil in a saucepan with water & fresh garlic (another immunity-booster & infection fighter) and drink it down warm like tea.  Not only is this soothing to my throat, but gives my system the opportunity to fight.

 

Herbal Tea

When I reach for herbal tea there’s only one brand I grab…  T-We Tea!   T-We Tea has a great selection of delicious teas and tisanes with hilarious names and the perfect herbal/floral blends for whatever ails you.  This particular tisane selection is one of my favorites for cold busting.  Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory to help with the fluish body aches.  Lemongrass also is a pain-fighter, while orange peel helps boost the immune system.  Chamomile blossoms are great for relaxation & sleep (much needed when sick) and carrot chips are filled with vitamins (K1, potassium, A, B6 to name a few) that help fight germs & boost the immune system.

 

Warm Mist Humidifier

I’ve been a lifelong asthmatic, so the humidifier has always been a constant in my home.  When I’m sick, I immediately get the warm mist pumping through the air to keep my lungs open and clear.  Since I’m battling the flu, using warm mist also helps to keep my sinuses clear.  What I love about this Levoit brand is that I can add essential oils on a side slot & pad to add to the healing element.  Currently, I have lemongrass and eucalyptus oil for helping to fight my fever.  At night I use some clove and rosemary to detoxify the air and surfaces around the house.  A much better & healthier option (for me) instead of spraying Lysol or using bleach.

 

 

Water

There’s nothing better than increasing your water intake when fighting the flu.  This is a number one essential for fighting any infections.  Water helps break up congestion and gives your body the energy to fight the nasty bug trying to take you down.  It also feels amazing when fighting that cotton-mouth-feverish duo that strikes.  I fill my bottle with ice cubes & drink it down.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m allowing my body and soul time to rest and heal before pushing it again.  Next week, I’ll get back to smashing my goals, not only because I want to, but because I know my auntie would be incredibly proud of me.

What are your go-to natural remedies?  Runners, how do you get back on track after a bad week?  Please reach out to me on social media @NJGardenTeacher & let me know!  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat)

Get ready for next Friday’s update!

 

Girls on the Run (is still) So Much Fun!

The school year feels like it has flown by already, including a season of Girls on the Run! This was my third season with GOTR and it was, as always, so much fun.

For my third season, we ended up with a full team of fifteen girls. Michelle was my co-coach and it is honestly so much fun to coach with your best friend. We are able to throw ideas around pretty easily and we usually tend to agree on most things.

Our girls were a nice mixture of old and younger girls. The program is for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. Since some of our girls aged out last year, we were open to some younger ones. Also, some of them were my students from the previous year and they signed up to be with me. We also had a nice mixture of previous GOTR girls mixed with new ones. It’s always nice when you have a few girls who can help to lead exercises and discussions because they’ve done it all before.

This season was full of lots of laughs, learning about ourselves, and running. The girls were able to work together in a big way and made holiday cards for people in hospitals and veterans as our final community project. They did an amazing job all season, practicing and setting goals. It’s so cool to see young girls set and achieve (or crush!) their running goals. Sometimes it makes me jealous that they are so committed!

Last month we finished out our season with our 5K and, of course, the girls crushed it. It was so much fun to see them out on the course with their buddies knowing that they could do it. Yes, they struggled. Yes, they walked. But in the end, they finished, and it was amazing!

We also have such a great support system with our parents and staff members. Everyone was there to either  run with or cheer on a girl. It was a great ending to a great season!

 

 

Some of our amazing teachers/running buddies

 

My Kid Rocks

Once upon a time, back in 2013, I wrote this blog post.

The kids are watching… and that’s a good thing.

Let’s all take a moment to marvel at how small my kid was…

And how huge is he now…

Why yes, I AM feeling a little verklempt.

Anyway, nearly a year ago, Lucas told me that he had a dream of running over a bridge. I told him the possibility of that was real; Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge is an event that happens every year here in South Jersey.

The only catch (for him)? It’s a 10k distance. Until that point, the longest he’d raced was a 5k.

Something you should know about my son is when he sets his mind to something, he’s going to do it. Therefore, when he said he was going to run the Ben Franklin Bridge, I knew it was going to happen. We registered him for the race as soon as registration opened in May.

And then? Then we started to prepare. In April we ran the Atlantic City 7k together.

We did shorter distances throughout the summer and focused on strength training.

Once September rolled around we crept our way up in mileage. From 4 to 5 to 6, and then finally during our last training run 6.2.

He has the tendency to go out too fast and then feel crappy the second half of his run. When introducing a longer distance, I encouraged him stick with me the first time so he wouldn’t get down on himself.

Once he was comfortable with the distance, off he went. Leaving me in the dust.

That’s okay though, because he was running this race solo.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that earlier? I ran the Mushroom Cap Half Relay on Saturday and I knew my legs were not going to want to run the next day.

And I knew that he’d be ready for it. And he was.

My 14 year old (baby) was going to run the bridge and live his dream!

Mile 3, after he ran across (and back) the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

The second half of the course is through Camden – sprinting to the finish.

Bridge run and done!

I recently saw this quote on Facebook: “Prepare your kids for the road, not the road for your kids.”

Granted, it might not have been meant to take this literally but there we go.

I’ve been running for nearly 9 years now, most of his life, and it fills my heart with joy that we share this together.

Next up we’re doing the Tin Man 5k this weekend and the Philly Marathon Rothman 8k the following weekend. Who will be see there?