Roll with the punches…or not

It hit me yesterday that it’s been almost 1 year exactly that i have had an injury of some sort. That realization made for a fairly frustrating and emotional day. I’m mentally and physically tired of dealing with injuries. I’ve tried really hard to think only positive thoughts and imagine myself as an even stronger runner once i’m able to get back at it but it was just not easy yesterday. Most of the time i can roll with the punches but sometimes, i think a good cry is the best medicine.

It was March last year that i felt a searing pain in my hip that took me out for a few weeks. The doctor said this was a typical overuse injury. I wasn’t surprised. At the time it had been 9 months and i hadn’t taken more than 2 days off in a week from running and i was also working out fairly hard 2 days a week with a client. I think it was a sign that my body needed rest. Unfortunately, i can’t really give it rest. My job is physical, usually 6 days a week, so rest isn’t something i’m really able to get.

This injury just snowballed over the next 12 months and ended up with a stress fracture and i’m now told i need 12 weeks off to heal. Funny thing is, i still can’t just take off. Being a personal trainer is something that i really love but it’s also something that requires me to be on my feet. The prescription i got last monday to “take 12 weeks off” just doesn’t really mesh with my life. I’m doing my best but i’m wearing thin. Exercise is what keeps me sane. Exercise is what keeps me healthy.

I spend my days holding my clients accountable but there’s also some accountability in which they hold me. I have to be fit. I have to be healthy. Nobody wants a trainer that is neither of these. This is where it gets a little sketchy mentally. I think trainers are just kind of hard on themselves. We don’t have a ton of patience when it comes to our own physical fitness. I have a good trainer friend who pointed out to me one day that “no wonder we have issues, we spend our days staring at ourselves in a mirror.” True and not true! Yes, we do spend our days in front of full length mirrors and what girl likes this but no, i don’t necessarily think i have “issues.”

I think i hold myself to a different standard but i don’t necessarily think it’s an unrealistic standard. I got over the whole notion many years ago of being the ‘skinny’ girl. I want to be the ‘healthy’ girl. I want to be a good example to my clients, in mental and physical health. I want them to know that it’s ok to eat cupcakes, it’s ok to drink beer, and it’s ok to have crappy workouts every now and then but that you have to balance these things with working out (even on those days when you don’t want to), eating ‘mostly’ healthy, and loving what you do.

I’m certainly the prime example of working out when you don’t want to. Who really wants to spend time doing toe exercises with a towel? Not me, but i’m doing them anyway because i know they’re important right now. I eat mostly healthy- i try to make good choices most of the time but i’m also not going to stress out over a cupcake craving- i’m going to dig in. The problem one, though, is how can i be an example of loving what i do? How can i love what i do when i can’t even do what i do?

This is where i start to get weepy and emotional but fortunately for me, loving what i do also comes from a place of gratitude and satisfaction. I spent many years in thankless jobs and it’s impossible for my job now to be thankless. I have witnessed, with my own eyes, clients fitting into wedding dresses they never thought they would fit into, clients correcting their scoliosis through exercise in efforts to a avoid c-section, runners setting personal bests in races, runners going from 60 seconds of running to a half marathon…and even a marathon, and so forth. Just hearing the words, “my doctor said working out with you is the sole reason i was able to avoid a c-section this time even though i had one last time with my twins” or “i’ve signed up for my first 5k” is all the thanks i need. Seeing a runners smile after a race is all the thanks i need.

While i’m going to try to really pull from these things over the next few weeks, i’ve also decided that i’m going to allow myself to get frustrated and shed a few tears because sometimes that feels good too.

Missed by many

I’m so sorry to hear the sad news about the loss of John “Bad Dog” McCormack. He has touched so many people of this community, as well as many others, and will be missed by many.

I just wanted to share a quick blog post written by Joe Birch that i think is a touching tribute.

A Personal Reflection on a Faith Filled Funnyman, John “Bad Dog” McCormack (1955-2011): by Joe Birch

John “Bad Dog” McCormack brightened the lives of countless radio listeners in his decades on the air at WEGR Rock 103. The morning drive DJ/funny man, 55, died of complications associated with leukemia at Methodist University Hospital on Thursday, March 10, 2011. He was an old friend. A strange confluence of events led this reporter to John’s death bed. After lunchtime Thursday,  I had been summoned to the hospital to see about another friend who had been admitted to ICU earlier in the day. As I entered the hospital elevator to ride to the 4th floor, I first read the text messages about Bad Dog’s suddenly worsening health. He had been on Rock 103’s air the day before, rocking on through yet another broadcast shift from his hospital bed! The man was an absolute profile in courage throughout his two year battle with cancer. Even though he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009,  underwent a bone marrow transplant and had survived a series of setbacks, Bad Dog appeared on Rock 103 everyday he had the strength to share his amazing sense of humor. When the hospital elevator door opened at the ICU level, I was greeted warmly by Bad Dog’s family and radio colleagues lining the hallway. I visited with John’s family members and then went to check on my other pal in ICU. Turns out he was well enough to be released and had been discharged from the hospital. Then I stood at a distance and witnessed John’s family surround his bed.  An Episcopal priest from John’s Holy Communion parish on Walnut Grove Rd. led an impassioned prayer. I was running late for work. But it dawned on me that it may have been meant for me to be present at this sacred moment near the time of my friend’s passing. When the family stepped into the hallway, John’s devoted brother Tim invited me to go inside and say a farewell. I stood alone at John’s bedside, offered a prayer and touched his hand. John was somewhere between Heaven and Earth at that moment.  There was no response. I finally went to work at Action News 5 and made our team aware of John’s critical condition. We prepared an obituary in case of his passing. The 5 o’clock broadcast began. Our News Director, Tracey Rogers, entered the Action News 5 studio shortly after receiving word that John had, indeed, passed away. Reporting his death was one of the most difficult stories I’ve had to deliver live on the air. But I am so grateful for the series of events of this strange day that allowed our team to have an appropriate tribute at the ready literally moments after John died. Our story reflected back on John’s heroic efforts with so many others on behalf of Ronald McDonald House as well as his battle with cancer.

John was one of the funniest persons ever on Memphis radio. He could imitate the voice of the late University of Memphis football coach Billy “Spook” Murphy with uncanny accuracy. Early in Bad Dog’s career, Coach Murphy contacted the DJ and asked him to stop the on-air imitation. The story goes that Bad Dog simply called Murphy back while impersonating the voice of former Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb and in Loeb’s voice, encouraged Murphy to allow McCormack to imitate him. Murphy thought he was talking to the real Mayor Loeb, took the bait hook, line and sinker and agreed to the deal…but only if McCormack would call him and request permission. John hung up the phone and dialed Murphy again. Using his normal voice, Bad Dog asked the coach if he’d permit the imitation. Murphy agreed! Bad Dog tried his luck on the stand up circuit in Los Angeles where he made ends meet working by day as a FedEx courier. Somehow, he managed to get on to the Tonight Show set while in beautiful downtown Burbank and sat in Johnny Carson’s chair. Given the chance, he would have been a hit. But John returned to Memphis and became the focal point of morning radio comedy with Tim Spencer and Bev Hart on Rock 103’s Wake Up Crew. The team started the Rock 103 Radiothon for Ronald McDonald House twenty years ago and raised millions of dollars to help house children and families in treatment at nearby St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Even though he was facing his own battle with cancer in February 2011, the DJ powered through his final all night radio blitz and despite a Memphis snowstorm, raised hundreds of thousands for Ronald McDonald House. Throughout his illness, John reminded his listeners of his faith in God. After passing from this life, many of us gathered at John’s favorite watering hole, Alex’s Tavern, owned and operated by John’s dear friend, classmate and baseball teammate, Rocky Kasaftes. One of those present, Beth Edwards, wife of Bad Dog’s accountant Leo Edwards, told the story of how Bad Dog gave a motivational speech to her 12 year old daughter and her classmates at St. Louis School on White Station Road within the last month. Beth said Bad Dog told the girls, “live your life with J-O-Y. J stands for Jesus, keep him first. O stands for others: take care of them next. Y stands for yourself. Keep that last and you’ll live your life with JOY.”
In a farewell Facebook message John wrote and gave to his dear friend and Radiothon collaborator Ken Van Vranken of Los Angeles in the event of his passing, John sent this endearing message to his many fans: “I have gone to be with God and he is holding me tightly and I am surrounded by many of the Ronald McDonald House kids. Do not say you have lost a friend…One is only lost when you don’t know where they are…you know where I am. I thank each and every one of you for your support and prayers. I love all of you and that will never go away. When you are having a bad day, think of my laugh or a twilight phone call or the time we met. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Make every day great. Be the spiritual leader of your family. May peace be with you. Your friend, Bad Dog.”
Thank you, dear friend, for all the fun and all the laughs and for keeping the faith.

We’ll miss you, Bad Dog!

Until we meet again…

Thank you to my sweet husband for bringing Muddy’s cupcakes home last night to kick off my 6 weeks of sugar free living. He knows me too well- i had every intention of eating every chocolate chip cookie in the house, thinking maybe i would sugar-out (doesn’t happen with me, by the way), so, instead i just indulged on cupcakes. Muddy’s, i will miss you.

It’s only day 1 of Lent, only 12 hours in and i’m annoyed!! Don’t get me wrong, i’m not giving up but i must say, i’m simply irritated. Thank goodness i believe in sugar and i believe that your body needs sugar, but i do know that my body doesn’t need as much unnatural sugar as i give it. As a quick recap- i’m giving up added sugars. So, if a label says sucrose, sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, i’m avoiding it. I’m going to try to stick with natural sugars- stevia (a herbal extract that is naturally sweet with no calories), barley malt, evaporated cane juice before it is refined (refined sugar is derived from cane juice, but is extremely processed with many of the natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fiber removed), fruit juice (fructose), rice syrup, honey,sugar alcohols, agave syrup, all-natural maple syrup, and Sucanat® that contains sugar cane molasses.

Sounds simple enough. So, my day started at 5 am and i had a banana as i was headed to my first client of the day- yes, high in sugar content but it’s not an added sugar so i’m eating it. About 7:30, i was ready for breakfast so i made myself my regular english muffin with peanut butter. However, my whole grain english muffin that i love so much is now an Ezekial sprouted english muffin that is sugar free and my Jif peanut butter that has been my favorite forever is now an all natural peanut butter. Yuck! Not at all happy with my breakfast.

Fast forward to noon, i’ve seen another client and gone to my physical therapy session so i’m pretty hungry now but the problem now is that i’m so tired from 3 consecutive days of getting up at 5 and working until 8 pm (and probably the fact that i haven’t had enough calories today), that i don’t have the energy to make myself anything decent to eat. I’ve now eaten a bowl of corn and a bag of pop corn. Random and not good!!

I refuse to feel like i am starving myself so i will make an effort tonight to sit down and plan out my meals for the next few days- this should help me get used to the transition and still have balanced meals and snacks. I already eat pretty darn healthy so i’m not loving the changes i’m having to make but i’m going to give it my all! I think a nap is in order, then some food that actually has some substance and hopefully i won’t feel quite so annoyed!

So, here’s to the next 6 weeks 🙂 Looks like it’s going to be a fun ride. Oh, and if anyone knows of any natural peanut butter that is not runny and gross, help a girl out!

Motivation and Music

What’s your taste in music? Do you have music that you never really listen to unless you’re running or songs that are completely random but they’re your absolute favorite songs to run to? Or do you have that favorite band that you listen to no matter what you’re doing- chilling out, running, driving…whatever?

I’m kind of all over the board. I like a lot of different music. I’m not musical myself but i grew up in a house full of music. When i first started running, i didn’t run with music. That was before all the fancy little ipods so i pretty much would’ve had to pull a “Say Anything” and run with my jambox. It wasn’t until i started running alone that i really got into running with music. Sometimes i really notice what’s playing and sometimes i’ll even take my earbuds out for minutes at a time because i just want to take in the scenery.

Of course there are plenty of people who don’t run with music at all. Sometimes i envy you people. I like having my ipod in races, although i have found that at least 50% of the time i don’t even have it turned up loud enough to hear it. Maybe it’s kind of like a security blanket for me. I feel sorry for Keith who can’t ever have an ipod in his triathlons (it’s illegal in all USAT races and, yes, they are very strict about it!). I seem to think i wouldn’t know how to run if i didn’t have my specific race day playlist.

I love making playlists for upcoming races. If i have a big race coming up, at the beginning of training season i will make my playlist and start running to it. That way i feel like i’ll kind of know, on race day, where i am based on the songs that are playing- like whether or not i should be feeling tired already, the hard parts of the route, and so forth. Plus, if i have a bad training run, i always seem to remember the song where it all fell apart- so anytime i get past that song, i have my own little celebration in my head. I even go as far as strategically placing songs wherever in the playlist that i think i might be needing a boost on the route or even a reeling in on the route. For the marathon, i knew about how long each mile should take me and i knew that i didn’t want to start too fast so that meant i really needed to save some of my more fun stuff for later in the run.

Would i ever just hit ‘shuffle’ on my ipod and run? Well, maybe but that’s awfully risky for me 😉 So, a few weeks ago i let mary allison borrow my ipod for a long run and as i handed it over, keith said “you realize what kind of music you have on there? you have no idea what kind of stuff she’s used to listening to” as he laughed. Uh oh! It hit me right then that not everyone listens to the same stuff as me. Maybe Swizz Beatz and Lil Jon are not universally liked. Have i always just assumed we’re all listening to the same playlist? No, not really but i guess i’ve never really thought about it. My playlist is jam packed with everything from inside jokes (Hero- enrique iglesias), to mine and keith’s song (By Your Side- Sade), to good running memories (Live Like You Were Dying- Tim McGraw- came on my ipod as i crossed the finish line in my first ‘alone’ half marathon, injured and after the rain- epic), to my favorite bands (Led Zeppelin, G.Love), to country because i can really run well to lots of country songs for whatever reason (She’s Country- Jason Aldean), (to just plain ole fun get your ass moving songs (Outta Your Mind- Lil Jon and It’s Me Bitches- Swizz Beatz) to about a hundred more.

So, as Mary Allison took off we just laughed about what she was going to think about my playlist. Turns out she thought is was fun not knowing what song was coming next or what kind of pace it was about to help you run. Rather than knowing exactly what song is coming on at each and every turn, it can sometimes be more fun to change it up a little bit.

This brought up a fun idea- what would it be like to show up and trade ipods for a day? It makes you wonder what other people are listening to. What does it take to get certain people moving? What motivates people? Maybe it’s not Lil Jon. So, what is it?