Friday, April 26, 2013

Lessons Learned

     What a crazy two weeks! I'm just getting in to my Marine Corps Marathon training and suddenly everything comes to a screeching halt! But with all new challenges come lessons learned and I think I figured out some things this week!

     April 15th, 2013 started a bad week for me and by April 22nd, I was paying for my poor choices during this stressful, sad time. The week of April 15th started our state testing here in Florida. Even though I did not have a class of my own I was still a part of it as a proctor. Being a proctor for a test is not fun. I basically walked around (in circles, pacing back and forth and once in awhile tried a zig-zag between desks) in total silence for close to and sometimes over three hours! Not my idea of a fun day at the office! I truly wished I had a pedometer to count my steps each day!
     I was also anxiously watching the clock that day with the memorized start times of the women and then the main waves of the Boston Marathon. I kept silently praying in my head that these kids would finish before the runners so I could catch some of the winners. No such luck! I finally made it back to my computer and phone to get the results of the race and watch some of the later runners come in. Nothing like watching the whole race with my class last year and having them beg to eat in the classroom during lunch to keep watching!
     I was at car rider duty when the attack happened. I had no idea until I got to my car and checked my phone about 20 minutes after three o'clock. I was in shock. I raced home to get in front of a TV to find out what was going on. I sat there, glued, until I just couldn't take it anymore. Then I went for a run. Which really ended up not being much of a run. It's hard to run & cry at the same time. You get side stitches that hurt like crazy! I walked a lot and even sat down on a hill at our neighborhood golf course and just stared off into the distance trying to process the day.
     This was just the start of my week on Monday. Tuesday morning I met with my principal about the future of my position the next year. There is no future. My position will be cut. The week before I had found out I didn't make it into the teacher trainer job I had interviewed for and now this. I would be going back into the classroom unless I found something else to do. This isn't so bad but we are also supposed to be cutting teacher positions at my current school. With seniority in the district I am safe, but I would be pushing out some young teacher who had already established herself at that school. This was my first year there! I couldn't do that! So this gives me an opportunity to find something else at another school but with cuts across the district it is nerve-wracking! I like knowing what I am doing today, tomorrow, all the time! Not knowing where I'll be or what I'll be doing next school year is very scary for me!
     So as you can see, my week was not starting off on a very good note. I allowed the stress and sadness to get to me and really affect my life. This brings me to the point of my writing today, the lessons I learned!

1) My body really likes the healthy food I've been feeding it!
     I have been a very healthy eater for at least the last 4 or 5 years. But recently I have really ramped up the health quotient by working with a nutritionist, meal planning, weighing and measuring, and really paying attention to EVERYTHING that goes into my body. My mindset is "I am an athlete" and with that mindset comes the need to perform. In order to perform at my best I need to fuel my body properly at all times. Not just during the week, not just before a race, but all the time! I am in training, my body needs the right fuel.
     Well, I didn't plan for and then didn't even really try to fuel my body during that stressful week. I did what was easy and convenient. No, I didn't fill up on fast food, I just didn't plan healthy, satisfying meals. I ate bars and drank shakes - along with maybe an apple - because they were quick and easy. I came home tired and had not done meal prep over the weekend so I made a big bowl of comforting pasta. Not my usual healthy, portion controlled, veggie-filled dinners.

2) My body does not like alcohol like it used to.
     Before I became a "serious" runner, I was a serious foodie! I was in to all kinds of cooking. I bought all kinds of cookbooks and made great meals for whoever I happened to be dating or my parents. I also drank at every dinner. I always had a glass of wine nearby at night. I considered myself quite the connoisseur of wines and love talking about food and wine. Then I got into running and training for half marathons and marathons and all that drinking went out the window! Now, more than one drink does me in! I hardly ever have a drink unless it's a special occasion and even then, it's one.
     So it was a real shock to my body when most nights I came home during this week and I made myself a drink or had a beer. Funny thing looking back was Monday night was the only night I didn't have a drink!At the time, I didn't think much about it other than that it was unusual, but one drink wasn't going to hurt me - each night...But in the end, I know it did.

3) When you say you're healing your body, stick with the healing.
     I decided back in March that I was going to take April off from running and see if it helped my shin stop from hurting. It was never an unbearable pain, just an annoyance. I "felt" my shin when I shouldn't have even thought about it. I was doing really good, swimming three days a week instead of running, slowly upping my meters in the pool.
     Then the attacks on Boston. I needed to run, to get out, to be on the street Monday after all of this took place. Then the memorial runs started to be planned. Well I wasn't going to miss those! I ran again on Tuesday in solidarity with the rest of the running community I knew to get my 4.09 miles in for the time shown on the clock at the time of the first attack. I still had side stitch issues. I felt like I had forgotten how to run. I was scared. But I ran anyway. Then our local Galloway group had a Boston: Choosing Love Over Fear run on Saturday - four miles. I ran. In the rain. And then I went and swam 1500 meters! I "felt" my shin and some pain all week. Am I EVER going to heal? is what I wanted to scream but then the voice inside said, when you let me...

4) During stressful times, ramp up the healthy NOT the easy!
     So, I learned that I needed to do nothing but eat and be healthy when these times come around! Yes, it may be a little bit more time consumming or you may not feel like it, but trust me, it's not fun to feel sick after! My body rebelled in a big way! I got one of the worse sinus infections I have ever gotten! I went to the doctor right away but even that didn't stop it. I have spent this entire week home from work. I spent my days sleeping and laying on the couch. I had NO energy. But I did make sure I put the healthy back in my diet! I have been loading up on fruits and veggies at every meal. Yes, it took a little extra but I have to be well!

5) Stop making excuses and just do it!
     I haven't done a workout since my yoga last Sunday - not very good for marathon training! Great for resting shins I guess though! But I'm scared. Worried that my training is now behind and I won't be where I need to be. I've questioned, after the disastrous week of running, whether I should take another month off to heal. Luckily, Jeff Galloway did a tweet chat this week and I asked him that question. He said he didn't see much difference in runners who took the time off or ran 10 seconds, walked 50 seconds. So in other words, run less, walk more and build back up. I have the Players 5k with Donna on May 4th to test out the theory. But I am thinking I'll keep swimming in May and add elliptical training as well. I'll do my swim workouts then head to the gym and get my "miles" for the day on the elliptical. Then hopefully, if June, be ready to hit the streets again.
     Either way, once I am over this sickness, I will get the workouts in. Workouts relieve stress and help me stay healthy. I need to stick to the plan and go with it. Have faith in my training. I'll get there. Carefully. And injury free.

6) Mom was right when she told you not to play in the rain!
     Finally, I think that my little run in the rain last Saturday probably didn't help things with my immune system. Yea, mom was probably right! It was also a cold day and we all know wet and cold don't mix well. There's one other little thing I didn't tell you. After running in the rain, walking to the pool in the cold while I was wet and then swimming 1500 meters - well, then, in my shorts and jacket I stood in the rain for about 10-15 minutes cheering on the last of the Girls on the Run runners finishing their 5k! While I'm sure they appreciated it, it was not the smartest choice. Needless to say, my activities on Saturday were the nail in the coffin for my immune system and by Sunday I was down for the count!

     When you train your body to expect certain things from you - be it good or bad - it reacts when those things are taken away or altered. At least mine did! I'm well on my way to recovery and hope to start this coming Monday with renewed energy! I can't wait to get back to my workouts and get my body back in to training. It really likes to perform and be active. I certainly have no excuses now about needing rest! I've gotten more sleep and rest than ever before this week!So take a few lessons from me and don't let stress and sadness take over your life in a bad way. Deal with it in a healthy, active way and keep your body fueled for the challenge!


  1. While I love this post (and the one about not overdoing the running), I hate that you are having to "suffer" for me to hopefully learn from you! Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share it with me, and whomever else is out there reading.

    1. You are so very welcome Jill! I hope we can all learn from each other to become better, healthier athletes! As for the honesty, I don't know how else to be! It gets me in trouble sometimes but that's just how I roll! It helps me to just write. Whether anyone reads these is just icing on the cake! :-) xo

  2. I'm with Jill-thank you for your's not always easy to find on blogs these days. Our experiences and mistakes make us stronger and no doubt you will come out on the other side a better Marcia! I can't wait to run Marine Corps with you. :)

    And as for the in front, I cannot imagine how stressful that must be. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks Christine! I can't wait to run with you either! we are going to have so much fun! Now If I could just get back into my training... :-)

  3. I'm very proud of you for pushing yourself back into a routine. It's hard to do when there is so much stress happening and so many things going wrong, but I'm so proud that you are fighting back and getting back on track! You are going to do great at Marine Corps!

    1. Thanks girl! I can't wait to be fully BACK ON TRACK!

  4. Wow - a very bad week indeed! Things will get better. Boston was very rough on all of us. My body is also not happy. Overtraining has made me susceptible to infection and my heels are suddenly hurting. Formal training for Dumbo was suppose to start this next week, but I guess I'll have to stop or go easy.

    I hope you can find satisfying employment - you obviously care about the kids and other teachers. The school system needs people like you. Good luck.

    Rick Stiles

    1. Just go easy, maybe switch it up? Swimming has been a great switch for me. I'm looking forward to getting back to it. Good luck with Dumbo training!

  5. Running is not always easy and knowing when to let your body heal, is so important and it sounds like you are finding that balance.. good for you! I hope your are all rested and well so you can get back at your MCM training.

    1. Thanks! Still healing but I will get there!

  6. I love the honesty of this post!
    Happy healing. Prayers ascending for rapid healing.