Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.


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November 18th

This is the second in my series of monthly updates on my Boston Marathon training and fundraising. I started writing this on 11/18, but due to distractions I’m only finishing it up today. Oh well. Read here why I choose to write on the 18th of the month!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Thanksgiving was my Granny’s FAVORITE holiday. For most of my life, we would head to Granny and Poppies’ house where there was always a ridiculous amount of delicious food, a turkey that never cooked just to Granny’s liking (even though we all thought it was perfect), and post-Thanksgiving dinner walks around the neighborhood. Thanksgiving was *her* holiday.

 

We would all sit in the formal dining room – something saved for special occasions – and would serve ourselves buffet-style from the numerous dishes around the kitchen table and counters. I always sat to my Granny’s left, and usually her faithful doberman sat between us or under the table. It was through these special family meals that I learned to love cooking for family and friends and hosting big meals. If we weren’t so busy, I would’ve planned one of those Friendsgivings for our friends.

These days I spend Thanksgiving with Eric’s family and I think Granny would approve of the tasty food, fantastic family time, and the Boston Terrier begging for scraps. Last year I participated in the MS Society’s Thanksgiving 5K Thanksgiving morning and even though it was SO cold, it remains my best 5k time. This year, since I’m still recuperating from my ankle sprain, I’ll be going for a *much* slower run.

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Thanksgiving 2013. SO COLD.

Speaking of runs, this morning I went for my first run in over a month! I did a nice and slow 1 mile around the neighborhood and my ankle feels pretty good! Tomorrow I’m going to ride my Sunny bike and I’ll try going for another short run on Saturday. Boston Marathon training starts December 1 and while I’m nervous about how my ankle will hold up, I’m feeling a little more confident that while I won’t be in half-marathon shape, I’ll at least be able to keep up with the slow and steady training plan.

But back to the theme of the post – this year, I am so incredibly thankful for the love and support of my family, friends, and colleagues who are helping me reach my fundraising goal of $7,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’m officially more than half way there with $4,247 raised – and still have 5 months to go. While personal solicitations have been my primary method for raising funds, I’ve also held a Halloween-themed Bar Crawl that raised $200, I’m selling Yankee Candles online (group number 990071104) and have raised $300+ and on Wednesday, December 10th I’m hosting a fundraising event at the Prudential Center’s California Pizza Kitchen. I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far, and excited for what I’ll be announcing next month!

What are you most excited for this Thanksgiving? Any suggestions for what I should bake for dessert? Tell me in the comments!


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Tumbling Tuesday: Part IV

It’s been 2 weeks since I had the most tumble-ful day ever. After 2 solid weeks of boot-ing around Harvard Square, Davis Square, and S&E’s wedding in North Carolina (with some epic boot-y dancing), my ankle has been feeling pretty good. It’s occasionally been sore (like, after a full day of wedding prep and venue set-up), but for the most part, it’s just felt… confused… as if it’s forgotten how to be a real foot. This morning, I had my 2 week follow-up appointment. I wore my usual black boot on my left foot and brought its right-footed friend. And, because I’m smart, I also brought a pair of sneakers, just in cases. The doctor was pleased with my recovery. However, I did not get the go-ahead to resume running. Or the go ahead to put on that other boot.

#TrueStory #StupidAnkle

#TrueStory #StupidAnkle

For the next 2 weeks, I’ll be sneak-ing it up! As in, I get to wear sneakers everywhere I go! AND I have a super sexy compression sock that I’ll wear on my ankle to make sure it doesn’t swell up. I also have some awesome ankle exercises that I get to do 3x a day. (Have I yet done them today? Only once.) For the next week, I get to continue taking it easy, i.e. sleeping in and staying up late. Starting next Tuesday, I can start… walking more. And maybe riding a bike, slowly. And after that 4th week, I can FINALLY start to run again. THAT MEANS A WHOLE MONTH OFF FROM RUNNING.

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Could my ankle be any cuter? No, I don’t think it could.

So, what does that mean for me? Well, I’ve sold my bib for the Chilly Half Marathon to another TNT LLS Boston Marathon runner. I had hoped to do a Thanksgiving 5K, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. HOWEVER, the best news is that I should be totally ok by the time marathon training actually begins in December. Phew. THIS COULD BE SO MUCH WORSE.

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Accurate depiction of how I am feeling about my October-November injury. This would be SO MUCH WORSE if it happened December-April.

I might finally look into purchasing a bike trainer so that I can start doing some cross-training. Do you have a bike trainer that you think is great but not too expensive? Tell me about it in the comments!

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In the meantime, I’m working on my fundraising. I don’t know if you’ve noticed (perhaps you live under a rock or don’t watch tv, listen to the radio, or leave the house), but the holidays are officially here. If you hate shopping in public or want to support a good cause while you shop, you can order Yankee Candles online and 40% of your purchase will go towards LLS! That’s right – you buy a $25 candle, and $10 goes to LLS. Feel good about your holiday shopping! Go to https://www.yankeecandlefundraising.com/ and enter 990071104 in the Group number (It should say L and L Society Becky Solo in the Welcome Page).

Haven’t had a chance to donate to my LLS Boston Marathon fundraising efforts yet? Don’t worry, you have PLENTY of time!


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Tumbling Tuesday

Part 1, approximately 12:45pm

Let’s hope this isn’t too catchy of a title.

Today is turning into one of those “no-good, very-bad” days where nothing seems to go right… but only for the right side of my body. (*Note: This is all very much tongue-in-cheek as I recognize the horrible things that happen on a daily basis and the fact that my tumbles are not in any way that big of a deal. However, I hope readers get some amusement from the absurdity of this day.)

This morning, I went for a run instead of to yoga. Knowing that it was going to possibly be gross and rainy the next couple days, I figured I’d take advantage of the drier weather and put in 4-5 miles. It started to lightly drizzle about a mile and a half into the run, but didn’t last very long (Note: this means the sidewalks were pretty much dry). I stayed on a route that I knew was well lit because it was pretty dark out. Yet, 3 miles in, I hit the edge of some broken sidewalk and flew forward, landing on my right elbow and right knee. Good news: my phone that I was holding in my right hand was safe and sound in my glove that I used to protect it from the previous drizzle. Bad news: I ripped a hole in the knee of my nice winter running pants and busted up my knee and elbow. Worst news: Nice winter running pants generally cost around $50 and having a gaping hole in them renders them pretty useless in the cold.

Awesome.

photo 2 (2)Harvard is hosting free flu vaccination clinics for employees so at noon I walked over to the health clinic to get my shot. The nurse asked me how I was feeling today (to ensure I didn’t have a fever or was sick) and I joked about how I was fine other than my scraped up knee and elbow, and that I might as well get the flu shot in my right arm to keep all discomfort to one side. We chatted a little about the perils of running outdoors and mentioned that recently she had gone for a run before work and then tripped much later while walking casually into her office building.

Minutes later as I walked casually out of the building, I mis-stepped and rolled my ankle on some uneven bricks. I managed to (kinda) keep my composure, hop over to a large potted plant, drop everything I was holding onto the ground by my feet, and let the pain do its thing while I furiously texted Eric about how horrible the pain was instead of screaming outloud. A few people saw my mis-step and stopped to ask if I was ok. Nope. Not ok. My ankle has never hurt this bad. That time I tripped walking out of my house doesn’t even come close. I stopped in CVS and bought an ice pack (and large band-aids for my still-bloody knee). For now, I’m just going to sit at my desk and not move for as long as possible.

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Crucial post-injury treatments.

BUT THEN (yes, it gets better) as I limped back to my office, I was walking close behind a young boy whose parents were walking a good five feet in front of him. As he walked by a bike, he touched it (of course) and managed to un-balance the bike… causing it to fall… into the right side of my body. Luckily it fell slowly and not hard, but REALLY? I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Needless to say, I will not be running tomorrow morning. And at this rate, probably not Thursday either. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow and when life is sending you signs that you should stay indoors and not move around too much, you should listen.

Part 2, approximately 8:30pm

After a few hours of icing my ankle at my desk, my boss and colleague saw me limping to the bathroom and suggested I go home and actually get off my feet. My boss also wondered if perhaps I should have it looked at. My doctor’s office has a great nurse triage phone line, so I figured there was no harm in calling and asking what the best strategy was to make my ankle feel better and at what point would I need to worry.

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That doesn’t look too swollen…

 Wellllll after describing the shooting pain up my ankle when I put weight on it, the nurse suggested I try and find a foot/ankle doctor who would be willing to see me today and do x-rays. Mind you, it’s after 3:00pm at this point. I immediately called the two suggestions, and the second office had an opening… in 15 minutes. I ordered an Uber, packed up my stuff, and hobbled downstairs. I was only 5 minutes late.

I’ve never had x-rays done before (well, other than the x-rays they do at the dentist); I’ve never broken or sprained or twisted anything before. The nurses were super nice and I’m pretty sure they thought I was hilarious, especially after I described my crazy day.

So, what was the verdict? Wellllll….

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This is going to look *really* cute with my costume for Saturday’s bar crawl.

In the words of the Doctor: “Well, I can’t tell you that there’s a crack… but I also can’t tell you that there’s not a crack. It could be a bruise, or it could be a tiny crack.” I’ll be wearing a walking cast for the next week, and then depending on how I feel, I can move up to sneakers for week 2. I’ll be seeing the doctor in 2 weeks. AKA NO RUNNING FOR 2 WEEKS! The last time a doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to run for multiple weeks was when I was getting tested for my little fainting problem 2 years ago. I haven’t gone 2 weeks without a run in TWO YEARS. Oy.

Because I have no interest in this being a “thing” for more than 2 weeks, I’m going to listen to the doctor and be as good as possible (no running, only walking… slowly). This means I might be wearing sneakers at Sarah’s wedding and that I might have to bail on my half marathon on 11/8. For now, I’m just going to try and take it one day at a time and look forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning.


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First Trip to the Chiropractor

My lower back and right leg/upper thigh have not been thrilled with me this past week. I ran a total of 2 miles last Wednesday… and haven’t run since. Only 2 miles in the last 9 days. I ran 89 miles in December, 96 miles in January, and then 73 in February. Apparently my body needs a break.

After my massage last week to try and work out some of the kinks in my back and right leg, the therapist suggested I try some yoga. So, this morning I tried to do some. Nothing too unusual or hard. Just some basic sun salutations/chaturangas/downward-facing dog. Yeah… it didn’t feel awesome after. I wore my new over-the-counter backbrace (aka best friend) to work, just in cases. And I was in a world of hurt by the time I got to the office. 

Enough pain that I immediately called my doctor’s office’s nurse/triage line to try and get an emergency appointment. After being on hold for 10+ minutes, I got a nurse on the phone. After describing what was going on, she transferred me to the chiropractor’s assistant to make an appointment. Unfortunately, the assistant didn’t understand the plan and immediately transferred me back to the nurse, where I was put on hold for another 10+ minutes. No worries, guys. I was only standing in the hallway in excruciating pain and on the verge of tears from the pain. When I explained to the nurse what had happened, she felt horrible and booked the appointment for me.

Dr. Maalouf is my new bestie. He did an extreme evaluation of my body and found that not only is the right side of my pelvis set higher than the left, but my left leg is longer than my right because of it… aka I’m super out of alignment. While sitting on the chair, he had me raise my legs one at a time and I could barely raise my right leg. Based on the fact that I’ve been experiencing lower back pain on and off for a while now, this misalignment has probably also been a problem for a while, and it’s only because of the recent uptick in running that my body has suddenly decided to fight me. 

Mind you, I’ve never been to a chiropractor. I kind of thought it was just a more intense version of massage. MY BAD. Dr. Maalouf attached some pulsating electric nodes to both sides of my spine to ease up some of the inflammation. He then rubbed my sciatic nerve area (a nice way of saying my right butt cheek) with a therapeutic ultrasound. After the ultrasound, he applied pressure to my back and rubbed me down some more. I gotta say, it was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep. By the end of it, my legs were much closer to the same length and I could walk without the limp that I walked in with. 

So, what now you ask? Well, me and my new bestie Dr. Maalouf are hanging out on Wednesday. And Friday. And Monday. And Wednesday. All in the hopes that I’ll be able to go to North Carolina a week from Friday and run the Tobacco Road Half Marathon with Sarah. And, because, let’s be honest, my bestie and I are going to miss each other after all this quality time together, I’ll be seeing him when I return from North Carolina too. 

It’s a good thing I get 18 visits each year through my insurance and only have to pay a $15 co-pay…


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Citrus Heritage Run – Race Recap

Half marathon #1 of #12months12halfs has been completed! Weeeee!

I usually don’t enjoy flying long distances during the holidays (who does?) so instead of flying home to Los Angeles to see my mom around Hanukkah, I usually wait until after the new year to fly across the country. I’m beginning to think this planning is flawed, especially since my new job gives me the week between Christmas and New Years as a vacation, so it makes less sense to take more time after that break. We’ll have to rethink that for the next holiday season!

Anyways, I flew out to Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Boston has been extra snowy/cold/wet/icy/foggy so I missed out on running Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning I went for a 5 mile run around my old neighborhood. It was a much different run, considering I went out only in a t-shirt and leggings. I also stumbled upon a set where they were filming the tv show The Goldbergs. Oh, Los Angeles. (I then saw two other sets throughout the rest of the day).

On Friday, my mom and I drove out to Riverside where we checked out the Riverside Art Museum, picked up my race packet at Sports Authority, checked into the hotel, and grabbed dinner at a great organic Italian restaurant in Riverside. After dinner, we did a drive-by of the race route. Even though it was dark out, I could tell that it was fairly flat and very seriously surrounded by orange groves.

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Race map!

The next morning we woke up nice and early and headed to the race starting point (after a quick stop for some much needed coffee for my super supportive mama!). I ate most of a Cliff bar pre-race (but then hit what tasted like a rancid nut and decided to not eat the rest) and drank almost a full bottle of water. After parking, we walked around, I stretched, I peed a couple times, I ate a pre-race Gu, and then we were off!

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Me and my mama pre-race

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Start of the race – hello, palm trees!

We ran straight down a street for a couple blocks before making a couple right turns to head back the way we came and towards the California Citrus State Heritage Park. My mom and I had found a good spot where she’d be able to see me run by twice. As I ran by the designated spot (at around mile 3ish), I found her walking towards the spot. I beat her there! Luckily she was close enough that I could yell and wave (and I could hear her yell and see her wave back). After another block, we turned left through the gates of the park. At first we were just running around the paved roads of the park, but then we hit the trails. It was beautiful. Being surrounded by orange groves and the excitement of running on trails almost made me (almost) not realize we were tackling some serious hills. I tried to take some pictures to show off how nice the scenery was:

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It was either this or orange groves for the whole race. Not too shabby!

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Climbing up one of the hills in the Citrus Heritage park

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Best orange slice ever!

My Nike+ was off distance-wise, so I wasn’t totally sure how I was doing pace-wise. Based on overall time, I was hitting the first 5 or 6 miles at around a 9:30 pace, but by around mile 8 or 9 I started to slow down. The last few miles were definitely tough, but there were some highlights, like running past some horses, getting an orange slice from a guy cheering on the runners, and getting text messages from friends and family – including a text from my sister telling me she was accepted into graduate school! Even though I had to walk a little bit in the last couple miles, I was able to finish in 2:10:05 – an overall 9:56 pace. I was two minutes over my previous/best half marathon time, but still under a 10:00 pace. Overall, I’m pleased with it!

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At this point, I could smile, but not quite carry a conversation.

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The medal is *SUPER* sparkly!

BUT, the worst was yet to come. After the race, I stretched. I foam-rolled. I drank a couple bottles of coconut water. My mom and I went out to brunch where I had a delicious meal that had carbs and protein and salt. I wore compression socks. I took it easy for the rest of the day. But later that day, I started to get a headache. When I woke up the next day, the headache had blown up and it felt like it had taken over my whole head. I generally avoid taking painkillers because I don’t like masking pain when I should be trying to figure out where its coming from and treat it, but this was a special exception. I walked into the kitchen clutching my right eye and the right side of my head. I took a couple advils, did a few stretches, and got back into bed. When I woke up an hour or so later, the headache had subsided a little bit so that I could at least function like a human. The headache remained for the rest of Sunday, and into Monday a little. UGH.

I’ve done some researching, and the headache is most likely related to not getting the right nutrients or having shitty posture while I run. I did a 4 mile run on Tuesday and felt fine. I did a 7 mile run on Thursday, and the headache came back. I was able to get a massage during my lunch break on Friday, and she explained that my neck/shoulders were in pain because they were super scrunched. She also explained why I get lower back pain and how those muscles are totally devoted to the acts of walking and running. It was suggested that I start icing my lower back after runs and start sleeping with a pillow under my knees to straighten my back at night and relieve some of the pressure on my lower back (yay?). I also want to get in touch with a nutritionist to make sure I’m giving my body everything it needs. I think that I’m drinking enough water, but that I’m losing my salt too fast so I’m going to try drinking water with Nuun to get a little more sodium in my system.

Considering I woke up sore this morning and it was freezing rain/snowing outside, I decided to take another rest day. Tomorrow, I’ll be running a total of 14 miles over 3 separate runs to prepare my body for Ragnar. Fingers crossed that it’s not icy outside tomorrow!


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Boston Volvo Village 5K Road Race Recap

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a wonderful day running turkey trots, eating turkey, watching football, and being thankful 🙂

I started the holiday at 7:00am – Eric and I woke up bright and early to get dressed, eat some granola bars, and head to the MS Society’s 16th Annual Boston Volvo Village 5K Road Race. Eric and I are very different runners, as in, he last ran a year and a half ago. But he figured it would be warmer to run the race with me rather than wait for me in the cold at the finish line. Understandable reasoning considering it was 30 degrees outside… and that it felt like 19 degrees with the windchill. It was very cold. The volunteers working the race were amazing. Two women in particular were dressed up like Tigger (a la Winnie the Pooh) and hugged everyone in sight. Too cute. 

Eric was a same-day registration (NOOOOOOO NOT A SAME-DAY!) but I allowed it since it was for a good cause and we were getting there early to make up for it. There was a pretty nice goodie bag with a shirt, power bars, and coupons that I’ll actually use. We went back to the car to drop off some layers, the goodie bag, and warm up before the race started. Race started at 9am and we milled about in the cold for 30-40 minutes. While my body was warm enough, my hands and toes were frozen icicles. The wind was completely unhelpful. 

My back has continued to bother me, and my last run was on Saturday when I ran an amazing 8 miles in 1:13 at an average 9:08 pace. I was thrilled  but it definitely brought back my lower back pain, so I decided to take a break from training until the 5K. Even though my back was still a little sore Thursday morning, I wanted to go for a personal best and finish the 5K in approximately 27 minutes at about a 9 minute pace. Eric planned to try and keep up best he could, but also told me that if he wasn’t running at a fast enough pace, I could leave him behind. I felt a little bad about that plan, but was also really motivated to get the best time possible.

We lined up together in the middle of the pack, siren went off, and we started running. The first half mile or so was straight uphill, which I was totally fine with since the majority of my training is on hills. I slay hills for breakfast! Eric kept up with me for the first kilometer or so, but then I was off!

I finished the first kilometer in just over 5 minutes, so I knew I was going fast because I usually do them in just over 6. My toes were completely frozen and I couldn’t really feel them. It’s a very weird sensation to run when you can’t feel your toes. At first, I wished I had my toe warmers, but then as my feet warmed up my toes started to burn on their on. Weird sensations all over the place. It felt like people were consistently passing me, but I knew I was running at a good pace so I kept it up, even if I was a little sad about getting passed by everyone!

Kilometers 3 and 4 were pretty hard and tiring, but as I got to the last stretch I pushed myself as hard as possible, turned the final corner, and saw the clock. It was only at 26:15! I crossed the finish line at 26:25! AND, my net time was only 26:17! This was, by FAR, my best 5K time! WEEE! AND I raised $760 for the MS Society!!

I walked around a little, grabbed some water bottles and bananas, and waited for Eric at the finish line. He crossed a few minutes later, limping a little from his old knee injury that popped back up. Overall though, he did great for someone who 1. Hasn’t run in a year and a half and 2. Spent much of the race limping/not bending his knee. 

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Before the race started. Can you tell how cold we were?

We were pretty crippled the rest of the day, but that was fine by me! Delicious food and great times with Eric’s family. I have a lot to be thankful for 🙂

I woke up this morning feeling great – my lower back doesn’t really hurt at all! I even started thinking about putting in a 12 mile run tomorrow (my training plan wants me to, but I had planned on skipping it because of my back). BUT THEN I tripped as I was walking out of my house and rolled my ankle horrendously. It hurts to walk. I’m currently on my couch icing it. I can’t help but laugh at the situation — just as my back starts feeling better again, I mess up my ankle. Oh well, just another sign that I should take it easy for another few days. Hopefully it’ll be all better in time for Monday so I can get back on track for training. 

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Watching Pawn Stars. Icing my ankle. Happy Black Friday!


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Training Begins TOMORROW

It has officially been more than a week since I’ve gone for a run.

After last Saturday’s failure, I made sure that my back had all the time it needed to recover. However, during my week off I signed up for the Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona and took a peak at their suggested training plan and holy moly am I behind! Last week, I created a personalized training schedule for myself. Although this is not my first time training for a race, this will be the first time I attempt to incorporate one day of yoga each week. I’ve practiced yoga casually in the last 5+ years, committing to weekly yoga classes for 6 or so months at a time, and then abandoning the practice when life got busy. I’ve noticed that in the last year or so since my last batch of yoga classes, I’ve lost all of my flexibility (for serious, I can run a half marathon and NOT tough my toes? What the heck?). And after my back injury, the need to build core and back strength is even more apparent. So, to yoga I will go!

On Saturday, I went to a Vinyasa class at Jai Yoga. I did not expect the class to be so advanced. I did not expect there to only be 5 other students. And I did not expect the teacher to walk around the class softly speaking the different poses we should move through rather than stand at the front of the room demonstrating the poses to us. Then again, I’m pretty proud to say that I could keep up the majority of the time (and I think the teacher even complimented me on one of my poses – WIN!). There were several poses I could not do (aka could not even fathom how I would attempt them), but the teacher seemed ok suggesting easier poses for me to try (and seemed ok with me just laying there, which I did on more than one occasion). After the class, I commented to the teacher that the class was a bit above me but that it felt awesome to at least try – and would you believe that he responded that I should just keep coming back and after a few classes I’d be up to par? Really? If you say so? I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up that fast, but I did like the class… so I’m going to try and go back on Tuesday night. 

I can’t wait to start my training tomorrow morning. I stocked up on my new and favorite recovery foods (helloooo chocolate milk, you delicious drink). My legs are itching to get out there and run again after this long, extended break. Wish me luck!

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