When I Lose the Battle, But Not the War

It’s no secret that running has been a struggle for me ever since my most recent knee surgery. No, not because of my knee, but because of my heart. My small heart issue makes cardio difficult. When I condition my heart to get used to cardio again I won’t have as many heart issues because it will be ready for cardio at any time. As of right now, it tires easily. Taking a few months off to recover from surgery really did me in. I just have to fight my way back, as always.

With my lack of cardio has come a few things…
1. Huge gains in the gym
2. Huge gains on the scale

And before I hear that it could be a lot of muscle weight…it’s not. It’s just stupid weight gain.
I don’t like how I look right now. I know I look better than I did by far, but I also know that I’m not giving this my all. I’ve done this to myself. I overate during Mercy Health Glass City Marathon training, I had knee surgery #6 and then I’ve just been eating everything in sight since then. Okay, I haven’t been that bad at all, but there are days where it feels like it.2016-08-14 00.17.27
I haven’t been amazing with my diet and I’m trying my best to not get into the cycle where I’m sad about my diet so I eat a bunch of shit to make me feel better, making me feel worse. My workouts have been on point in the gym and only so so with running (due to the heart), but it’s the eating that is crippling any progress I have. I eat like a champ during the day because I take my food to work with me. I eat like I’ve never seen food before at night because that’s where all of the food lives! One issue is that since I live alone, if I buy something I am the only one there to eat it. And then I do. When you exercise a lot you can NOT eat whatever the hell you want and look fabulous. Okay, certain freaks of nature who are lucky af can do this, but not me. With being only 5′, every single pound shows. A lot.2016-08-14 00.07.51

I read this from my friend and Mercy Health Glass City Marathon race Ambassador, Dean at Running in the Fat Lane, and it completely hit home for me. I am obsessing about all of the bad things and not noticing many of the good ones.
I need to remember I am lucky I can run after 6 knee surgeries.
I need to remember that I am lucky I am run with this stupid heart ish.
I need to remember that I am lifting heavier than ever and making gains all over the place.
I need to remember where I started (150 pounds).
I need to remember my ultimate goal – where I was just under a year ago (110 pounds).
I need to remember that where I am right now isn’t the end of the world (120 pounds).
Hear that Amanda – NOT the end of the world.
I am not lean anymore, I have my trusty protective coating for my new gains and since I’m feeling bad about that, I’m eating more. I need to take it easy on myself. I need to get back on track.
I need to do this for me and my mental health, just as much as my physical health.

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Restoring Endurance With My Heart

I attended my first Dave’s Fall Marathon In Training (MIT) training night last Wednesday. There were five miles on the schedule and I knew for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to run all of them. I haven’t built up my mileage to that point yet. My PT made me promise to take it slow so my knee has time to get used to distance again. I still plan on running with the MIT group as often as possible, but simply altering the training schedule to fit my mileage. At some point in the near future, I’ll be able to match what they’re doing and not have to worry about mileage anymore.
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I walked maybe a mile and a half as a warm up, while the rest of the group ran, and then ran/walked a mile and a half around the track. When I ran, I pushed it and race pace on every lap and then walked every other lap. Plus, it was hot as balls out on Wednesday and I loathe running in the extreme heat more than any other kind of running.
I even worked in three 100 meter sprints – I LOVE sprinting during track workouts and I always sprint to every race finish line.
My knee felt fantastic during the run and after the run.

Know what didn’t?
My heart. Well, there wasn’t any pain, but it isn’t conditioned for running yet. I was winded when my heart rate jumped and that hasn’t been the norm all year.
Taking 2.5 months off for my knee to heal, my heart isn’t used to the increased heart rate. And when my increases is when I have issues. As soon as I have the ticker back on track and increase my mileage, I’ll be unstoppable. I’m stubborn enough that I won’t let it get in my way.

Now You Know & Knowing Is Half The Battle…

I’ve been sick for a few days and couching like a bad ass. This means I haven’t been running or lifting.
This means I feel like I am the laziest person alive. Okay, at least one of the top 10 laziest people alive. I have a friend that kept me company and that made couching a lot easier to handle.
I have no clue what numbers 1-8 are all about, as I just stole this, but number 9 seems to sum up my thoughts.
Even when my effort is sub par, I need to remember that I’m trying and that’s half the battle (G.I. Joe!).
I am bomb at getting to the gym and getting in my runs. I am not as amazing at eating within my macros.
When I plan my food out the night before and when I meal prep for the week, I have SO much success with eating. I’ll tell you that all of these delicious Oreo flavors are really making this rough. Remembering that even small steps are steps in the right direction.
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Dave’s Fall Marathon In Training begins next Monday and I was entering all of the training sessions into my planner and I always forget how much training a half marathon/marathon takes. It’s almost like it’s brand new every season.
Long runs are on Saturday’s at 8:00 a.m., which means I have to adult like a boss and go to bed at a respectable time on Friday’s. I have two more long races in the books for the year: Boy Scout Half Marathon and Churchill’s Half Marathon. I am just praying that my knee and heart stay happy for them.
2501e41b-d520-e511-a1f4-68b5996cf49aHow far in advance of a long race do you start training?
Do you train with Dave’s or with a training group in your city?

2016 Boy Scout Half Marathon & Tenderfoot 5k

Guess who got their laptop back!!! They did a factory reset and nothing else on it, so I need to reload everything and customize it again. I loathe doing all of this, especially since I just did it six months ago.

Now that I am feeling better from my small injury after knee surgery #6, I am working on building strength so I can get back to running. I am loving my time in the gym and I am so happy I am back to lifting, but I miss a good run.
Plus, I have a half marathon to train for so I need to get my running legs back! I’m running the Boy Scout Half Marathon on September 3. I have run this race twice before and have enjoyed it, even though September is known for some hot temperatures here in NW Ohio.

The second time I ran the race was the longest run I had put in on my new running shoes at the time, my Mizuno Wave Sayonara’s. This is a minimalist shoe that didn’t give any of the support that my knee needs so I pulled a muscle and limped from mile 9-13. Needless to say, NOT my best race in any way. This is my comeback race. That was the last time I wore those shoes for running. They are now my lifting shoes.

I can start running again either this Friday or next Tuesday. From today, we are eight weeks out from the Boy Scout Half Marathon. I’ll train my ass off in a way that will keep my knee happy and if I need to walk some of the half marathon, then I walk some. I’m not out for a PR, I’m just out to get back to racing and have some fun!

Do you want to run on September 3rd, but you’re not in half marathon shape or out to run a 5k? The Tenderfoot 5k is an excellent choice!

Not only is the half marathon a great choice to kick off your fall race season, but it is inexpensive at only $40 until August 19th! Any runner will tell you that $40 is an incredible deal, especially with a tech shirt and a medal for all finishers. The Tenderfoot 5k is currently only $30!

I am pretty sure that I am going to need a lot of high-five’s and some moral support on race day. I have the absolute best running family, so I know they’ve got my back!
Boy Scout Half Marathon…watch out!
Schwartz is going to (cautiously) kick some ass down in Bowling Green on September 3rd!

Gaining Confidence & A Hold On Running

I haven’t hid the fact that I gained around 12 pounds during marathon training from January – April. Why did I gain so much (11% of my body weight)? Because I ate everything and anything all the time. And it was fantastic.
BUT, now I am paying for eating all the things as I am trying to lose all the extra weight. Story of everyone’s life, right? Eating all the things…losing all the weight.

Today I am 5 weeks post-op from knee surgery #6 and I have been feeling great. I have been allowed to run twice; a half mile then a full mile. My knee felt great both times and physical therapy has been going really well.
My knee felt great right up until this morning.
I woke up with a stabbing pain and wasn’t really able to straighten my leg. It has remained like that almost all day…still hurts to straighten. Someone very close to me who has my best interests in mind asked me to chill on the running to rest my knee for a little while and I’m honoring the request. So, I’ll wait a little more to get back to running. I do still have time to get in race shape for my next race in July.

I am still not back to any significant kind of cardio, so I’ve been lifting 6 days a week for the past 4 weeks. Because of my time in the gym, I have seen some great gains, and I am incredibly thankful for that. In my bicep, tricep, lat and delt I have a 2″-3″ increase in muscle in each area since I started lifting in 2014. Okay, sure, a little of it is leftover running body fat, but there is essentially an ass ton of muscle living inside my arm and shoulder and back.
2016-06-08 21.01.01The muscle gains help take my mind off of the whole lack of running thing.
The downfall of larger arms and shoulders is that my clothes fit differently. Namely button down shirts. I don’t wear them often at all, but the two that I did own wouldn’t even button due to my gains. I didn’t necessarily like those shirts anyways, and it’s awesome they don’t fit anymore, but I hope this doesn’t happen to too many shirts. Luckily, I typically wear t-shirts and t-shirts love gains!

Happy Hump Day Pump Day!

National Running Day Half Mile Success

When most people are told they can’t do something, it makes them want to do it even more.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to run for 6-8 weeks after I started physical therapy (PT) following knee surgery #6, naturally the weather turned ahhmazing and I wanted to run more than ever.
Today marks 4 weeks since my knee surgery and I started PT only 3 weeks ago. I knew what I was getting into regarding recovery time and what I would need to do to get back to running and lifting.

Today, June 1, is National Running Day! Of course I was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to take part in this running holiday, but it is what it is. I have been going to PT twice a week the past few weeks and I typically warm up my knee by riding the bike there. Another option is the elliptical and I would rather dreadmill that elliptical. My knee has been feeling great, and I already didn’t want to ride the bike. I told my physical therapist and he smiled and suggested I run instead. RUN. It was on the dreadmill, but it was RUNNING…trade off in every way. He told me to run for 5 minutes and then I could run again on Friday when I go back. Well, at 5 minutes I had only hit .43 miles and for those who know me I cannot end my mileage on a distance other than a half or full mile…so I may have ignored him and run until I hit .5 miles. 0104Running didn’t hurt at all and other than the complete torture of running inside and on a dreadmill, I was in love with that half mile. On Friday I’m allowed another half mile and the next week I’ll be allowed to run a mile on Wednesday and Friday when I’m at PT.2016-05-29 23.52.06

When I started PT, I was told that it would be 6-8 weeks until I could attempt to run. I have been kicking ass at PT and I’m obviously about 3 weeks ahead of schedule with recovery. I chalk it up to lifting heavy so my leg was strong enough to help me push through this, even with a 3″ quad atrophy, and knowing what was ahead of me.

As of today on the leg press, just using one leg:
Right (bad) leg – 90#
Left leg – 220#

I have a little ways to go until my right leg catches up, right?

I am back to lifting heavy with my bad leg and now I’m back to running.
Life doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to my sanity and need to lose myself in a run or at the gym.

Hope you got your run in today!

3″ Make A Huge Difference (TWSS)

If you’ve never had surgery, it is quite an experience.

No eating after midnight, the IV, the anesthesia, the groggy time in the recovery room, the first 24 hours while the anesthesia wears off completely, then the pain…oh, the pain.
Naturally, the procedure itself is the monster of the whole experience. Once you are unknowingly asleep, they do whatever you signed off to let them do.

I have had 10 surgeries in my lifetime. 10. Seriously, 10. They were all essential in some form or another and I am thankful to have had them all. With so many under my belt (six being knee operations), I know what to expect and that makes it a hell of a lot easier. I started on some of my physical therapy exercises the day after surgery and didn’t wait until I was actually there a week later. (pic is icing after PT)2016-05-25 16.40.57

Something that I will never get used to with my knee surgeries, is the extreme muscle atrophy that almost instantly happens with surgery. This atrophy isn’t just a little muscle loss at all, it is crazy significant.
Let’s put it this way…my right (bad leg) quad was 3″ smaller two days after surgery than my left quad. In only two days my quad died. I am 3.5 weeks post-op right now and my quad has grown .5″ and is only 2.5″ smaller than my left. Now, it won’t continue to grow at that rate at all but it is a nice start. So, how long will it take for me to build my bad leg to essentially match my good one? Probably 9-12 months. Yeah, that’s some time. If I lift legs 2-3 times a week and when I get back to running, I know that I’ll start gaining muscle pretty quickly. I have been lifting at physical therapy and that has made a huge amount of progress in my recovery. With my muscle atrophy I lost strength obviously. When I am on the leg press my left (good) leg will generally max out around 220 lbs. and as of right now my right (bad) leg is maxing out around 70 lbs. May just be me, but there is a little difference in weight there. Now you get an idea of just how weak that leg is right now.

Not only did my quad die, but my right calf is .75″ smaller.
I have a long road ahead of me when it comes to muscle tone, but for those who know me in person, I won’t let anything get in my way when I want something…and I want to get this back to normal.