Friday, February 10, 2012

Sacrifices! Were they worth it?

I had to ask myself that question this passed week. Not just in running, but in life itself. After the Dallas White Rock Marathon, I was left with a pretty bad injury. Little did I know, I have had it prior to running the race. Last month, I finally went to the doctor to get my leg checked out find that it was bursitis in my iliotibial band, aka "ITB". In my terms, the IT Band is the long muscle in your leg that connects from the hip to the knee. Experts reading this, correct at any time if I'm wrong.

"What the ITB does, is that it stabilizes the knee both in extension and in partial flexion and is therefore used constantly during walking and running. This is a real common injury generally with runners and cyclists as well, and is developed by people who suddenly increase their level of activity."

- quoted from look up "IT BAND"..

Now that I got that out of the way, guess what? I fit in that category of increasing level of activity. As I was training last summer, I was steadily increasing my mileage every week, or at least was trying my hardest to. I didn't think much of it at first when I would run out on the "flats" in my neighborhood loop that the back of my leg would catch, or feel like it was locking up. So, I'd stop and stretch then move on. It wouldn't bother me again throughout the duration of my run, so I just assumed it was that I didn't stretch well enough. Ok, problem solved, I stretch more. Well, it worked for awhile, then my leg would catch again. Again, I didn't think much of because as I was training, my miles were increasing. By mid October, I was up to comfortably running 17 miles at a time and averageing a 10-1030 pace. For me, I wasn't to worried about pace since this was my first marathon I was training for, I just wanted to run it, finish it, and do a "IN YOUR FACE" thing to those who didn't think I could do it. On the flipside of this, my short distance pace was improving as well. I figured for the marathon, I could hold about a 1030-1045 pace, and for the most part, I did. In the middle of the White Rock Marathon, around mile 4, I had to "routinely" stop and stretch my left leg out again, and then it never bothered me again for the rest of the race. It wasn't until around mile 12ish, which is when I got out to the lake that my left knee was starting to aggravate me some. Like the inexperienced runner I was, I didn't think much of it, and just brushed it off. My "seasoned" running friends have always said, or told me directly that injuries do occur in races. Rather it's a 5k or a marathon, you will experience some kind of pain. With that in mind, I kept moving.

Again, little did I know, I had injured my IT Band. After seeing the doctor, who diagnosed it as bursitis, the inflammation was about the size of a golf ball on the side of my knee. The doctor recommended a shot to relieve the inflammation and then go about doing simple recovery workouts and strengthen up the mucsles. I opted out on the injection, because I personally felt that the pain, to me, wasn't serious enough for that. So, I took the docs advice and sidelined my running. He said, I still could, but not at the distances I was doing before. With my ITB being weak, it also meant that my hip(s) were weak as well. For the next 4 weeks I went through some rounds of my own "therapy". From working my hip muscles, to cycling, and running what I could before my leg acted up. You name it, I did it. Leg presses, extensions, curls, kickbacks, hip abductors, hip adductors, I did them all. I also did a lot more stretching. I even invested in a leg roller. I can tell you those things WORK.. .. get you one!

This passed week, I made my follow up appointment with the sports doc about my leg. I am happy to say, that I have made some serious improvements. When I run, my knee doesn't bother me like it did that day out on the marathon course, or any other time I failed to mention before about my runs. I still get the issue of my left leg catching or locking up in the back, but that used to happen at around mile 3. It now happens around mile 5. So, I'm heading in the right direction, just not quite 100% yet. For the record, this injury has been the best thing to happen to me. I'm crazy enough to say, but also I say it with confidence too.

I am very blessed and fortunate to have a sports doctor like I had that not only understands me as a runner, but he IS a runner himself. He understood my injuries to the "T". He also gave me some the best advice that I have to say has given me such peace of mind as well. For the spring of this year, I had planned to run the Cowtown Marathon in February, the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in March, and then finish up the spring season by running the Big D "Texas" Marathon. I think the one main reason why I injured myself was because I stressed out over the training. I had all year (2011) to prepare for it, and I knew I wanted to run it. I had the miles in, but my body wasn't adjusted like it should have. I halfway decided, then eventually made the notion to sit out Cowtown altogether, but I had my heart set out for the Rock n Roll Half, because I enjoy the 13.1 mile distance, and I could pick up a PR at that race. With Big D, well.. Long story short, I had "originally" planned to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon at the end of April, but with my wife and I moving in April, I had to save money by sitting OKC out and doing something closer to home. Big D fit the bill, because it was in Dallas, and pretty much the same route as the White Rock marathon. Only difference between the 2, was that this one was in the spring, so the warmer weather would have played a big role. Now, I've heard enough horror stories in the past about Big D, but I wanted to get another marathon in before the summer season hit and it got too hot.

This is where the sacrifice comes in. Was it worth it?

Again, this question was asked. As I told my doctor about the races I had planned, he highly encouraged me to drop them all. Without hesitation, I humbly agreed. In my short career so far as a runner, one thing I have always been faithful about doing is listening to the experienced runners. Some of the best advice ever given to me came from you guys. You know who you are, so stand up now and take a bow or pat yourself on the back. For now with this injury, I can go 5 miles comfortably before my leg acts up. Today, I have no problems with the knee, just the back of my leg still catches from time to time. I remedied this by stretching, still cross training, and lots of hip and knee workouts. One friend suggested I walk backwards on the treadmill. Embarrassing as it may sound, it's helped!! Thanks Lynn :-)

So why was this sacrifice worth it? Well duh, it's an injury. Sometimes it takes being sidelined to get recovered. KIDDING!! Yes indeed, this sacrifice of sitting out my races this season was worth it. Without a doubt, it was worth it. Here recently, as I was battling with my injury, my wife Stacie even noticed a problem with me. Some nights when she would come home from school, she would question me of why I didn't go to the gym. I would tell her I didn't feel like and that I was just too tired to go, and wanted to rest. She knew me better than that. I didn't realize this injury and my inability to run was affecting her too. I admit, for a while I was in a funk. I put on a really good "game face" to hide it, but she saw right through me. With a little chat, and lots of encouragement from her, and prayer, I got back on the horse and went back to training. Another reason for sacrificing my races, by May, we will be moving into our new home. We are uberly excited about this as well. We're getting all the arrangements from deposit to first/last months rent, movers, packing, etc. made for the next chapter for us. It's a lot more spacious, has a second floor, and not as congested as our current place of residence. Pics to follow when we move in.

With all this, I leave with saying, that sometimes it's ok to be injured. One of my last two blogs I wrote, I mentioned how the road, the track, and sometimes the trails know me, they still do. I just don't get the spend as much time with them as I want at this point. Right now, I'm still in "soul search" mode, and I think I'll be in that mode for the rest of my life. From the very first time, and every time since then that I have set foot out on the road for a run, there is no doubt that I am free. One friend put it best about another runner friend of mine, that you look so "free and spirited".. I like that! My next race, I'm putting those words into action. As a contribution to my sacrifice, I've learned to pay it forward more. While I won't be at the starting line of the Rock n Roll half in March, I will be on the sidelines cheering as the talented runners embark the course of Dallas, Texas and reach for whatever goal they wish to attain, rather it's a PR, or like myself 2 years ago, a chance to accomplish a goal of running their first race. I pray for all that each runner is capable of finishing the task at hand. I also have a treat for a friend running this race. You know who are as well, but if you are running this race in March, look for a dude with a pink doo rag and a pair of running shoes around mile 9 or 10 ready to pace with you to the finish line. My dearest friend Lynn did this for me when I ran the White Rock marathon, so I would like to continue to "pass the buck" on to another. I don't know if I'll make it to cheer on my friends who are running the Big D in April, but if I just happen to be there, around mile 20 or so, and you need some motivation to finish that last 10k onto the finish line, I will do my darnedest to be there for you..

Yes indeed... It was worth it!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Following up!

 Ok, now I've gotten the whole summary of my journey out of the way, I thought I'd get more into what I do now. Since my running has taken off, I've hit some highs, and some lows here recently. The biggest high, was through my success in losing weight and becoming a dedicated runner as I like to think of it as, I am also a personal trainer. Granted I didn't make the first go round in becoming a po-po, I felt it was not my time. Over time, I was blessed and grateful to have friends ask for health advice, and what to eat, what not to eat, how to workout, what workouts to do. All sorts of cool stuff. I had no clue, I just got up one, stopped making excuses and took it from there. I didn't quite know the science behind, so I studied to become a personal trainer. I love it!! I haven't found "employment" just yet in the field, but I am getting my ducks lined up to start training on my own at my home gym where I started. Kind of like "being my own boss" type of gig. Which I admit, it's scary to think about striking out on my own after working for "the man" for the last 11 years of my adult working life.

 That's ok! Fear is what drives people. That and encouragement which are my two favorites. My goal and passion in life is to pay it forward, and help those who can't help themselves. I for one have been there. Still there to some degree, but I've got resources from all around that have helped me as much as I hope I have helped them. Love you peeps, you know who you are!!

 So far 2012 has been good to me. I suffered and injury back when I ran the White Rock Marathon. I was diagnosed with bursitis in my IT (illiatibial) band. This injury usually occurs in the hip area, but mine is on the outer side of my left knee. I can run no problem, afterwards, I have to stretch it, ice it, and then take my leg roller to it. I can go about 3 miles and then I have to stop because the pain is a little much to handle. I've used this injury as an opportunity to try other avenues and also workouts I can encorporate when I'm training clients. Plus, as a bonus, the cross trainining is off the hook. I've taken up biking on occasion and even added more strength training. More than what I usually do. Look out Arnie. Just kidding.

 I originally had 3 races lined up before "spring" hit here in Texas. I prayerfully and even talked it over with my wife, and also another good friend of mine, and I have decided to sit out my upcoming races. I couldn't be anymore relieved that I am doing this. Not just for financial purposes, but for the purpose of me getting started as a trainer. I can't have distractions when I'm getting this going. In this case for me, less is more. For what distance I can run before my ITB acts up, I have been able to focus on it by increasing speed. Yes, I am capable of running long distances, I proved it on December 4th of 2011, but I know I can do better than what I finished in (4:58:07). So for now, I'm going with shorter distances, faster speeds instead of longer and slower. 5 and 10ks have become my favorite distances to run lately. My goal is to nail a sub 2 hour half marathon by the fall, which should give me the drive to hit that sub 4 mark for a full 26.2 marathon.

 Being sidelined for now has given me some time to "soul search" as well. Who am I as an athlete, what can I do to improve, where do I go from here.... These are some of the questions I have asked myself here recently. In October of 2011, I signed to run a 20 mile race as a warmup before the full marathon. Sad to say, I bonked at mile 17 and  DNF'd (did not finish). I learned so much about myself that day. One of the perks of being a runner is, you FIND yourself. Another perk is that it sometimes takes more than just one marathon to do that. I don't quite have MYSELF found yet, but the roads, the pavements, and sometimes the trails know the real me.

Me at the finishline at White Rock 2011. Proudest day in my running career thus far.

The following weekend, I was rewarded with my certificate to now be a trainer. Had to rock the "26.2" tee along with.

My wife's handywork as she was cheering for me. Let us RUN with perseverance the RACE marked out for US... Hebrews 12:1

In case I forget the meaning, I just look down and I have a permanent reminder.

Let's get started?? Shall we!!

  Were do I begin? Well, I'll tell you this. After the last couple of years of running, losing weight, getting fit, all of the above, I have FINALLY put together this blog site. I don't know why I've been putting this off, but better late than never. After seeing blogs from my other friends (close ones and the ones I have met online via Facebook and Dailymile) I was inspired to write my own. After 2 years, I got some stories to tell. From my first race I ever did (Dallas White Rock half marathon 2010) to my most recent (Dallas White Rock marathon 2011) and so many training runs and other races as well in between.

  This whole thing began for me by getting my big butt on a treadmill, and the rest they say is history. Ha-Ha!! No seriously, that's pretty much the beginning. You think I'm kidding!! Go ahead and laugh, I'm sure your journey was in a similar fashion as mine just not on a treadmill. Ok, I'm ranting, focus Timmaay!! Focus.. Another reason why I procrasinated with this whole thing is I love to write, and as I think and speak out my thoughts, I write or type them down. Ok, some people call that ADD, I call that my way of expression. So, back to the treadmill story. Back in June of 2009, my wife, Stacie had the laproscopic band aka "Lap-Band" procedure to help her lose weight. When we got married back in October of 2008, one of our determinations as a couple was to get healthy. I'm so thankful my wife took the first step. I would have, but I was lazy at the time. Still am, but that's beside the point. Well, because of her taking the first step, I was inspired.... in more ways than one. As the weight was dropping off of her, I felt at times it was coming onto me. I wasn't quite "eligible" to get the procedure done myself, althought I had thought about doing something to get my weight off. I was starting out at 267 pounds and was at risk of a lot of health problems. Cholesterol was up, risk of diabetes was up, my numbers were so high, even at 29 years old at the time, I was at risk of a heart attack. YIKES!! Ok, got the wake up call I needed. What do I do??

  So, in November of 2009, my wife Stacie and I joined a gym. As she was losing her weight, she was feeling more revived and energetic, and I was just wanted to get energy. Got to start somewhere, so the first night in the gym, I hopped on the treadmill because it didn't look too scary at first, and after barely making it 5 minutes, I thought I was about to die. Stupid me starting out with a light jog, borderline running. Big shock to my system I guess. After about 5 more minutes of just walking, I was done. Afterwards, I went to try out the weight machines and whatever else was offered at the gym. "I'm going to get my money's worth one way or another", I said. After the first night of feeling like I was ran over by a truck, I told Stacie no matter what, I am not quitting. I've ran away from so many other excuses, and I've quit so many other things in life, I'm not quitting myself. Like a good wife, she has stood by me and has been there ever since with her love and support as I have continued this journey. (This is a brief summary by the way of how I got started)

  Today, I'm down to 219 pounds, and I'm not stopping there...

Above is me and Stacie on our wedding day. October 4, 2008. I carry this picture around to let others know that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. As a side note, most of you who are reading know the man in the middle, our beloved and former pastor Tommy Teague who went to be with the Lord back in June of 2011. He was an admirer as well of mine and Stacie's success with our weight loss. For that, I dedicate health and fitness to him and he is always in my heart and mind everytime I workout, run, whatever the case may be. We miss you Brother Tommy.

To say that I am proud of my beautiful wife and what she has accomplished would be a huge understatement. After her big success with weight loss, she paid it forward by walking for 3 days, 20 miles a day, 60 miles total for the Cure.. When you ask who my inspiration is, you don't have to look any further.

  So, what got you started into running? This question was asked one day when I was surfing through For those that don't know, dailymile is "Facebook/Twitter for athletes, runners, cyclists, walkers, and triathletes of all sorts" . From the fittest to the not so fittest, we welcome all and don't discriminate. In fact, we encourage one another as we go about our days when we run, workout, bike, swim, etc. We share some laughs, tears, injuries, good times, and bad. You ever want to join, it's free.. Back to my running! On, there is a #dailymission, or a question of the day. Well, one day that question was asked, and I pondered about it... What got me started into running??... As I mentioned above, it was me getting my butt on the treadmill. Ok, it was more than that. Over the course of my journey, probably not even 5 months into it, I had dropped 35 pounds roughly. I was averaging between 10-11 minutes per mile, and was going up to 5 miles at a time. Needless to say, I was already used to running 5k's (3.1 miles), and this was before I ever knew such things like the "C25K, couch to 5k" program, I was just running just because. Shows you how simple minded I can be. For me, as my weight started going down, and as my wife was being inspired to walk the 3day, I was inspired to give back as well....In my own community. I also mentioned at the beginning of this blog that I had "quit" a lot of things in life, well the military was one of those. So, I thought as a "second chance", I would enlist my services into the police department. I went in, applied, got the letter to come take the PT (physical training) tests, and then written test, please bring paperwork, yady yady I did. The physical requirements were to do 25 pushups(no time limit) without breaking form or dropping, 30 situps in 1 minute, run a mile and a half in 14:36, and then run 300 meters in 1:10. Pushups and situps, easy... 1.5 mile run (13:22), 300 meters (55 seconds). Not bad for a last day 29 year old, since this was done the day before I turned 30. Written portion of the exam, I made a 65. 5 points away from passing, *sigh*.. Best thing that ever happened as it turned out for me, because I didn't have all of my paperwork ready to begin with, and they always say, "if you don't get it the first time, there's always a second".. I haven't made my second attempt yet, but it's in my thoughts to try again, just not sure at this point in time. I got till I'm 45 to make that decision, I got another 14 years to decide, so I got plenty of time.

  As a treat, and cheering up present, I signed up for the Dallas White Rock Half marathon (2010). At that point in my running, 8 miles was about the furthest I've ever gone, to go 13.1, was a huge milestone for me. I bellied up to the bar and finished in 2:28:07. I wasn't too worried about time or placement, I just liked the idea that I was out on the streets of Dallas, Texas with upwards of 22,000 other people doing what we love, RUNNING. So you've ask, now you know. Since then, I've made several other achievements, and I am still not stopping anytime soon.