April 9, 2012

My own two feet

This weekend, I got the best birthday gift ever -- my first full day with no crutches! 

For about 10 days, I've been using one crutch, gradually testing my hip to see if there was any pain. It also took a surprisingly long time to build strength back up in my right leg so I could walk without the crutch. When I took my first step, my leg buckled like Bambi. (Though I'm sure my hobbling about has more closely resembled The Hunchback.) 

I'm told I don't need physical therapy and that my muscles will quickly remember what to do. I can tell my leg is getting stronger every day, even though it's still extremely weak and looks puny in comparison to my monster left leg that's been picking up the slack for the last 6 weeks. 

I still have to be careful not to walk too much or stay on my feet too long. I'm definitely feeling the effects from walking a little too much at work today and have a slightly achey leg and hip. Trea and I are going on vacation soon, and the doc told me to take my crutches and even use a wheelchair or rent a bike for long excursions. But as long as I can walk around on my own at least part of the time while we're away, I'll be thrilled. Yay for being able to stand on my own two feet! 

April 5, 2012

Pretty Things

What's a runner to do when she can't run? SHOP.

I know y'all are tired of hearing about my stress fracture woes, so here's a little run down (heh.) of how I've been keeping myself from going crazy since my running regimen came to a grinding halt. Retail therapy and decorating!

Instead of getting up early on Saturday morning for a long run, I started spending Saturdays with Trea pushing me around in a wheelchair at Hobby Lobby. He had so much fun! OK, maybe not, but we did find some cute stuff. I spent hours perusing Etsy looking for the perfect prints to create a gallery wall of things I love. If I have to stay inside and off my feet, I may as well have something nice to look at.

First, I redecorated my entry way. I didn't go nuts and buy new furniture or anything because simple, affordable accessories can completely change a room. I don't have a before pic, but here's the after. Including the cutest little antique fan that Trea's grandpa gave me. I love it! Almost everything else on the table was a Hobby Lobby half-off find.

Then I tackled creating a gallery wall in the office. I started with a small canvas painting of the chapel where Trea and I got married, and shopped Etsy for prints that symbolize things we love and our history together. I LOVE how it turned out.

To get everything arranged just right, I started by laying the pictures on the floor to decide how I wanted to hang them. It took a little while shuffling them all around, and I finally found the right configuration that worked for the space. Then, we hung the frames beginning with the bottom center items and worked our way up and out to make sure everything would be centered properly over the couch.

Thank goodness Mom was here to help. It took about 6 hands to figure out where things should go, and she also put most of these prints in frames for me -- her specialty!

And now for the prints we chose... Our home states. I'm from Arkansas, and Trea is from Oklahoma, so he demanded that Native America be represented. I don't love Oklahoma, but I like the song, so I dig this print.

And, of course, we had to have a chocolate lab. Bella is the baby in the family and we like her more than we like most people. The key...was on sale.

As for the rest... I walked down the aisle at our wedding to "All You Need is Love;" owls became our "thing" as a result of an inside joke that is funny to no one but us; the vertical photo is in front of the chapel where we got married -- same as the canvas; and the bottom photo was taken of us through the trees from far away right after our wedding and we didn't know the photographer was watching. It perfectly sums up how happy we were. Are. And the remaining pics are our favorites from Instagram that I ordered through the PostalPix app.

And there you have it. A gallery wall of things that make me smile.

April 1, 2012

Bentonville Half, from the sidelines

Trea and I went to the Bentonville Half Marathon yesterday to cheer, even though I couldn't run. This is the biggest race in my area, and I ran it last year as my first half.

Head artist hard at work
I seriously considered staying home and feeling sorry for myself because sometimes I'm still incredibly sad about my stupid stress fracture. But then I remembered how I felt last year when people cheered for me, so I hobbled out to mile 10 on crutches and put on my biggest smile. 

This sign almost always gets a smile out of tired runners!
Yesterday was beautiful, but it was way too hot for March, and these runners were suffering. It was sunny, not much of a breeze and almost 80 degrees by 10:00. We went to the Slaughter Pen trail just after the 10 mile marker. Every runner I know HATES this part of the course. The first 9.5 miles are through town and neighborhoods on the street, where you at least have houses and cars to look at. But the last few miles are brutal -- on walking trails where you're less likely for you to see any spectators. Or anything at all. It's just a concrete path, grass and more grass. No shade and no distractions. This is the area last year where I wanted to lay down and die. Not only is it tough because it's near the end, but it's extra rough mentally. Oh, yeah, and the runners are greeted by a massive hill right at the end that brings people to their knees. It sucks.

My mom and dad cheered too!
So I think folks were extra happy to see us! Trea was honking a crazy bike horn because we couldn't find a cowbell, and I clapped till my hands went numb and yelled till I was hoarse. We had so much fun! I saw exhausted people coming over the bridge toward us, eyes glazed over, feet shuffling, and when they saw our silly sign and were startled by the bike horn, they perked up, smiled and picked up the pace. Tons of runners commented on Trea's sign, and I was surprised at how many strangers, huffing and puffing, used a precious breath to say, "Thank you for being here!" as they passed by. Runners are the BEST. 

Laura clapped for US as she zoomed by.
We saw Laura, Jennifer, Charles, Jessica (running her very first 13.1 ever! Woot!), and even a few folks from work who I didn't expect to see. There was a lady as old as my grandmother trotting along in a sparkly skirt, two girls dressed like Mario and Luigi -- mustaches and all -- a girl dressed like a bunny, and one dude wearing flip flops. But not Old Navy summer flip flops. I'm talking homemade sandals strapped to his feet by rope, Tarahumara style. He was so hard core that we couldn't even cheer for him. We all just froze, went silent and stared at his feet. True story. 

When the pack thinned out and we thought most of the last runners had made their way through, we packed up and went to the finish line to cheer for them all again at the top of the hill. I get choked up at every race when I see a runner spot the finish line. Or when a little kid runs in with a parent. There's just nothing else like it. We stayed and cheered for quite a while and hollered for some of the last people crossing the line. The ones who struggle and walk, they need encouragement the most. Believe me, I've been there. 

I had been dreading this day, worried about feeling jealous of my friends and sad that I was missing out. But I didn't miss out at all! We had a fantastic time, and it was an excellent reminder that I'm still a runner at heart, even if I'm not the one getting a medal. Running isn't just about running. It's about being part of a community; we celebrate successes together, but we also encourage each other through the hard parts. And I'll be out there next year, hoping there's someone to cheer for me. 


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