Friday, April 29, 2011

Pounding Pavement

I recently decided to run the San Francisco half marathon this coming July, it will be my first half so it is all very new and exciting to me.  I really enjoy running but this is different, this is calculated and consistent with an end goal of 13.1.  So far my training has been pretty easy, I am using Hal Higdon's training plan based on a marathon-running friend's advice.  Back in Chicago I would go for 10 mile runs along the lake so I am not expecting the distance to be too difficult, just as long as I can keep my body healthy and I say this for good reason. 

A little background on me, I have had two major knee injuries in my life, the first was a torn ACL in my right knee while playing indoor soccer in high school and the second being a torn ACL and MCL in my right knee about 3 years ago.  After my first injury I opted out of surgery and instead participated in intense physical therapy, unfortunately after many attempts to get back into soccer I realized that my knee just wasn't able to handle it.  Fast forward about 11 years and the fear of re-injury nonexistent, I start playing recreational leagues and really getting back into running.  And then it all went south while I was rushing the quarterback in our co-ed flag football league, just replaying this in my mind makes me squeamish.  I knew immediately that it was my right knee and that it was serious, I had felt a bone do a major shift through muscles and other internal stuff that it definitely was not suppose to be doing.  After a few days on crutches and some bureaucratic insurance nonsense I got an MRI and the diagnosis I was dreading, I had completely torn my ACL (in fact my surgeon couldn't even see it in my MRI) which led to a tear in my MCL as well.  I ended up getting arthroscopic surgery to have a cadaver ACL implanted and attached with screws and a repair of my MCL.  I contemplated inserting a photo here that the doctor took inside of my knee during surgery but then I realized that was just a bit overboard, you're welcome ; ) 

I had a month between my injury and my surgery so I had plenty of time to mentally prepare myself (aka freak out) for the surgery and the following recovery.  Even though I had convinced myself that the surgery wouldn't be a big deal I kind of freaked out post-op, it was so much more painful than I expected and the recovery was so much longer than I expected, not to mention the loss of mobility. Fortunately my mom and Wren stuck with me and helped me get through the long process, lets just say that once you get through something like that your relationship is much stronger!  It definitely took a lot of time and effort to rebuild all of the muscle I had lost leading up to surgery and while recovering, my thigh was the size of my arm and if you know me and my thighs this is just not right.  About 2 years after my surgery I gained some confidence back in my body and started playing in a few leagues but VERY cautiously, I think the biggest hurdle has been getting over my fear of re-injury and I still haven't gotten over it.  But here I am today, 2 weeks into training for my first half marathon.  My plan is to train hard but listen to my body and not push my knees to hard, part of me just wants to run this race and never look back.  This may be a bit ambitious (but hey whats the point of setting goals if they are easy), I would like to complete the half in July and then do a full in October.  We shall see how my body cooperates and I will keep you updated on my progress! 

So now on to the eats, I have made protein bars and protein muffins and I knew that I would be needing an easy to eat snack for before and after my runs so I made up a new recipe.  The 3 basic criteria, I wanted something that a.) was healthy b.) was filling c.) tasted great and if it's easy to make well that's just a bonus!  These little squares of yum and energy turned out great, giving me even more motivation to lace up my shoes and pound some pavement.


Ingredients:
1 cup oats
1 cup flax seed, ground
1 cup applesauce
2 scoops of protein powder (whatever you prefer: hemp, whey, soy, etc)
3 tbsp peanut butter
3/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit chopped into small pieces)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (or other nuts)
1 tsp cinnamon


Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  Spread evenly into a 9 inch square baking pan, bake for 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven, let cool and cut into squares.


Spread with peanut butter and you've got one tasty treat!


Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and I have some super authentic and festive eats that you will not want to miss out on.

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