Friday, October 31, 2014

Volunteer Recap & Review: Marine Corps Marathon

Way back in July, I signed up to volunteer for the 39th annual Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, DC. I had heard nothing but rave reviews about this race and knew at some point I'd like to run it. As it is extremely popular, there was a lottery system in place for this year so I knew 2014 wasn't the year I was going to run it. A few of my friends got in for this year so I figured I'd sign up to volunteer. I was hoping for a fun day in DC.

Then I got injured. And as time grew closer to the MCM, I stared to get nervous about how I was going to get around DC with 27,000 runners and their cheering sections. I mean, taking the scooter on the metro?! Terrifying! Luckily, I wasn't worried at all about my volunteer position- I had contacted Charlie Harr (Volunteer Coordinator) and let him know I was injured. He changed my volunteer duties so they would be stationary and easy to get to from the Metro. I was originally going to be at information in the morning and then at food station 2 in the afternoon but was reassigned to be at bag check all day.

Last Sunday, I woke up at four am, got dressed, and headed out to the Metro station in Vienna, VA. I stayed at Matthew's brother and sister-in-law's place the night before so it was just a 10 minute drive to the station (they're about two hours drive from us). The Metro opened at five and I was on the first train headed toward the Pentagon. There weren't a ton of people and it was very easy to get my scooter on and off the train.

Once I got off the Metro, I could hear the starting line announcer. To be honest, he sounded pretty far away! I'm guessing it took me 15-20 minutes to scoot down to the starting line area where I'd report for bag check. But, the Washington Monument was lit up in the distance and it was simply beautiful.

I checked in with the volunteer tent and they instructed me to report to Captain Lousche at bag check. Once there, I was assigned to bag check 01 and given a lovely brown volunteer shirt :-) The shirts were the same design as the runner shirts except they were cotton and said "Volunteer" down the sleeve.

All the bags we were collecting from runners were put into one of about 20 UPS trucks. After the race started, the UPS trucks would then go to the finish line and be ready for the runners at the end of the race. My job was to make sure the bags were tied, the bib number/sticker was clearly visible on the outside, and to call out the number to the UPS staff who would then organize the bags inside the truck. Everything operated like a well-oiled machine.

Working with me were a bunch of Marines. There were a few other civilian volunteers but it was mainly uniformed Marines. They were such a blast to work with! We were joking around with runners and each other all morning. It helped to make the pre-dawn darkness and chilly weather bearable! I mainly worked with Cameron, who (bless his heart!) thought I was 25. Thank you, Cameron :-) I also got to chat with Pam from We Run Disney- thank goodness she was wearing a skirt- she was easy to find!

Right before the start, we shut down bag check and the trucks started to leave to get to the finish line. The festivities leading up to the start were incredible! They had people parachuting out of the sky with American flags and all sorts of aircraft flying around. It really was something to see. 

Pam, about to conquer 26.2!


After the start, I headed back toward the Metro station to go to the finish line. However, I knew I had at least two and a half hours before the lead runners would be crossing the finish. As I scootered toward the station, I saw what I thought were marathoners. Turns out, they were the 10kers at about mile 3! The MCM also includes a 10k that covers the last 6.2 miles of the marathon course and starts at the same time as the marathon.

I had brought my cow bells with me so I decided to hang out there for a while and cheer. I'm so glad I did because I was able to see several friends that were competing in the 10k! It was also super cool to see all the runners thank the Marines and other military personnel that were on the course- so inspiring!

So happy to see Mandy on the course!

Lots of high fives for our servicemen! 

Eventually, I got back on the Metro and got to the finish line. The bag check area wasn't hard to find but I decided to stop into a Panera to get some food and use a real bathroom. While we waited for finishers to come in, we passed the time by taking selfies and goofing around. Mandy came to hang out for a while after she finished the 10k. It was great to catch up with her and hear about her race.

New friends.

As the runners started to come in and we started handing bags back, it was so awesome to hear how many runners thanked the Marines for their service. It truly made me proud to be American and so thankful for our military.

I was able to see a few of the marathon finishers that I wanted to see- including Linzie from Sharp Endurance- while we were waiting for the bulk of the finishers to come claim their bags. It really was busy between the four and five hour finishing time. Around 3 pm, my volunteer shift was over. I said goodbye to my new Marine friends and headed toward the finish line. I wanted to see Steph and Nevie and I thought both would be finishing around that time. My phone had died a few hours before so I really didn't know if I'd see them but I figured I'd try anyway.

The walk from the finish line to the bag check was crazy long. There were so many people that I couldn't get near the finish. So I parked the scooter along the finisher chute and tried to spot Steph and Nevie. Somehow, out of the thousands and thousands of people, I saw Nevie! I was so happy to see her finish- she'd been out for a few weeks with hip bursitis and wasn't sure if she'd be able to do MCM. It was awesome to see her complete it!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find Steph. With so many people, it was damn near impossible to find any one person. Around 4 pm, I finally headed back to the crowded Metro station to head home, exhausted from a really fun day.

Overall Thoughts
This race was fantastic from beginning to end- from a volunteer/spectator perspective. It is incredibly organized and all the volunteers/Marines are super helpful. The metro is easy to navigate and even with tens of thousands of people, I never waited longer than five minutes for a train.

The pre-race information was also very timely and useful. I had a lot of email communication with the Volunteer Coordinator and never was confused about where I had to be or what time. I also followed up with him after the race to thank him and he put my picture on the MCM website! How sweet is that?

As a volunteer, we got a shirt and got multiple snacks/water throughout the day. The runners were incredibly kind to all of us- there was a spirit of patriotism at this race that I could feel even as a volunteer. Lots of warm fuzzies all around :-)

Will I volunteer for this race again? Without a doubt, yes. I'd love to run it at some point, but honestly, I had a blast volunteering and wouldn't hesitate to make the trek down just to volunteer.

QOTD: Have you ever volunteered for a race? Which one? Would you do it again?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Stress Fracture Diary: Do's and Don'ts of Interacting with Injured Athletes

Over the last six weeks, I've had a lot of conversations with a lot of people in my life: family, friends, co-workers, strangers, other runners, students- all about my injury. When you're moving around on a knee scooter and wearing a boot, it's bound to come up in conversation.

Out of those interactions, there have been some that have been positive and helpful and then others that have pissed me off or made me cry. So, if you don't want to make your injured friends cry, check out my tips below on how to interact with the injured runner.

DO ask someone if they need help.
Scooters/wheelchairs/crutches are tough to get around on. If you see someone struggling with steps, a door, carrying something, simply ask, "Can I help you with something?" It can be a huge help to those of us with mobility issues.

DON'T stare, point, or laugh at someone using a knee scooter.
Seriously, this has been the WORST part of being injured. I can't tell you how many people point, snicker, stare, etc. when they seem me walking by. Yes, I get it- knee scooters aren't that common and you've probably never seen one before. But really, would you stare and point at someone in a wheelchair? No, I didn't think so. It's rude and annoying. So please, if you see someone on a knee scooter, just make eye contact, smile, and don't stare at their medical device.

DO remember that there are still other things going on in their life outside of the injury. 
Every conversation I have doesn't have to be about my foot. Trust me, there are some days that I just want to talk about anything but running or my injury. Respect an injured athlete's feelings and boundaries on what they are comfortable sharing or discussing. And ask them about other areas of their life- work, family, traveling, etc.

DON'T assume you know everything about their injury or how it happened.
Just after I got diagnosed, when everything was still shocking and sad, one of my college students said to me, "Oh I guess you got that from running. You shouldn't run so much." Even typing it now, I'm still furious. Please don't assume you know how someone got hurt or why they got hurt. And even if you do, rubbing it in is only guaranteed to make someone feel worse.

DO ask permission to ask about their injury.
I can't exactly describe why, but constantly hearing "OMG! What happened?!?!" especially from people I don't know is infuriating. If you'd really like to know, try asking, "May I ask what happened to your foot?" Then I have the opportunity to decide if I want to share that information with you or not.

DON'T treat someone's body like public property.
No, you can't touch my foot- or my scooter. No, you don't get to talk about me in the third person while I'm in earshot. No, you can't ask me tons of questions that are invasive- especially if you are a stranger. No, you don't get to disturb me when I'm trying to relax and ask me 20 questions about how my scooter works and does it hurt and how long do you have to wear the boot. Just no.

DO show empathy and care by relating to the person.
The best interaction I had was when a random runner came up to me at the Marine Corps Marathon and said, "That sucks. I'm so sorry." I thanked him profusely. Don't underestimate a simple statement that says 'I get it and I'm sorry this happened.'

DON'T try to comfort someone by saying "but there'll be other races!"
Yes, I'm not a moron. I know there will be other races besides the ones I'm missing. But that doesn't mean I can't mourn for the races I won't be able to participate in. Matthew and I agreed that this year would be our last (for a while) Wine & Dine and Marathon Weekend. It sucks that I'm missing them- and it still sucks even though I know there will be other races in the future.

DO realize that this person may be in a lot of pain- physically and emotionally- for a long time.
Yes, most injuries only last a few weeks or months. But the mental impact can last for much longer. Having an injury feels like a betrayal- like you can't trust your body anymore. And that can spill over into other areas of your life and in general, just bring up a lot of feelings. Try to remember that your friend may still be in pain, long after you think they "should" be.

DON'T say "Well, that looks like fun!"
Seriously, if one more person looks at me and the scooter and says, "Wow! That looks like so much fun! Bet you're having a blast!" I might snap. No part of this is fun. Trust me, you don't want to ever have to be non-weight bearing for six to eight weeks. The novelty of a scooter wears off the minute you struggle to get it into your car or you have to take it "off-roading" or you just want to get up in the middle of the night to pee without wheeling it around.

There you have it- my tips for not getting knocked out by your injured friends. I hope you enjoyed this post and you'll be able to use something here the next time someone you know is injured- which I hope is never :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Runner's World Half & Festival

It's been a little over a week since Matthew and I traveled to Bethlehem, PA for the Runner's World Half & Festival. This was a race weekend featuring a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon. But I think the best part of this race is the fact that it's organized by Runner's World, one of the premier running publications/news outlets/collection of experts. And the race director is Bart Yasso. Pretty damn cool.

We arrived to the expo late Friday afternoon. We easily picked up our packets and bibs. Because Matthew and I were signed up for the Hat Trick (5k, 10k and half marathon) we also got a hat and a pair of Balega socks with our race shirt. The race field was only around 6,000 runners so the expo was fairly small. However, there were a lot of cool vendors and opportunities to chat with Runner's World editors.

We were able to catch up with Nathan and meet a few of his friends. We also got to meet Mandy in person. Mandy and I have been twitter friends for a while and I was so excited she'd be at Runner's World so we could meet in real life! After checking out the vendors, Matthew headed to the hotel while Mandy and I chatted and walk around some more. We may have also stalked Bart Yasso ;-)

The scooter is on the cover of Runner's World!

RW's Shoe Finder- gait analysis and shoe recommendations.

Bart Yasso, just hanging out.

Finish line with the Steel Stacks in the background.

After creeping/stalking waiting near the finish line after the kids races, I got the opportunity to meet Bart Yasso. He was so wonderful and even complimented me on doing the right thing by staying off my fractured foot. Amazing. I said goodbye to Mandy and left the expo around 7- we had a super early wake up call for the 5k and 10k the next day.

On Saturday, I cheered while our friends ran the 5k at 8 am and then the 10k at 9:30 am. One of the most awesome parts of this race was that the start and finish lines were just outside the expo venue- which meant real bathrooms for spectators!

In addition to Nathan and Mandy, a friend from high school- Laura- and a blogger friend- Dani (Weight Off My Shoulders)- were also running the hat trick. I also got to meet up with fellow Enell Ambassadors Jill (Running with Curves) and Aliah (The Get Fit Diva). It was entertaining to have so many people to cheer for during the races.

Because of the small field, there weren't a ton of spectators which meant another win for me- plenty of space to scope out a nice spot to watch finishers. After watching everyone finish, we headed back to the hotel for a quick nap and shower before I came back to volunteer at the expo.

Clockwise from left: Matthew and Mandy; Dani; Jill; Nathan; Aliah; Laura. 
Me and Jill.

Happy finishers of two hilly courses!

I showed up for my expo shift at 1:30. We stayed a few miles from the race so it only took about 15 minutes to get back to the expo/start line area. I checked in at the volunteer tent and got a sweet swag bag and volunteer t-shirt. They sent me into the expo to the info desk. However, the info desk didn't need me so they sent me to packet pick-up. But they didn't need help so I ended up at t-shirt pick-up.

I worked along side Brian, a Runner's World editor; Becca, a Runner's World intern; and a few other volunteers. We handed out shirts to runners and passed the time chatting about running. I also got to see Bart Yasso again- he waved to me :-)

How cute is this little book we got?! Found this page to be perfect for my life.

Me and Becca.

After my shift was over, I drank a ridiculously large pumpkin beer with Mandy and talked with some of the Runner's World folks at the pace groups table. I also met someone from the Dopey Challenge group on facebook- she saw my scooter and decided to say hello. Honestly, it was a fabulous afternoon. It was just great to talk to so many people that didn't look at me sideways because I fractured my foot from running- these people just got it.

On Sunday, we had another early morning for the half marathon. We kept warm by hanging out in the expo area until the runners had to head to the start. After they all headed to the race start, I walked/scootered over to a spectator area near mile four. I found a great spot and was able to see all my friends- again, I loved that this was a smaller race- it was really easy to see everyone.

Lots of fun at the top of a hill!

After seeing all my friends- and Mark Remy!!!!- I headed back to the finish to watch everyone claim their medals. On the way back, I got to see Bart leading the front runner in- he was hauling! When I got back, I was able to get another great spot a few hundred yards from the finish. And can I just say that I have the best friends in the world?! At mile eight of the course, Skirt Sports was giving out free skirts to anyone who would run the last portion of the race with it on. Laura AND Dani both got a skirt and gave it to me. How sweet are they?!

I yelled "Go Mark!" right before this photo. I like to pretend he's looking at me. Wow, that sounded creepy.

Selfies for no reason :-)

Bart and the half marathon winner.

All my happy hat trick finishers :-)

All in all, it was a great weekend, even though I wasn't able to run this year. I'd like to put this on my calendar for next year but we'll see how the calendar- and my foot- work out. The only real complaint I have about this race is that they do not offer deferrals. I lost the $140 hat trick entry fee and wasn't able to defer to the next year or transfer my bib to someone else.

Bonus! I tweeted to Bart Yasso and he tweeted back! And followed me! I nearly died from the excitement.

For real, such a cool way to cap off the weekend.

QOTD: Have you run one of the Runner's World races? What did you think of them?

Monday, October 27, 2014

AM: 10/27/14

Good morning, friends!

Many apologies for the lack of posts last week- it was a crazy busy week at work that involved a lot of late nights and loooong days. And this weekend was a blur- event for work on Saturday and volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday.

But I've got a lot of free time this week so expect some exciting recaps from Runner's World Half and Festival, Marine Corps Marathon, and a new "Stress Fracture Diary" post. I know you're excited :-)

SUCKED this week. I mean, really sucked.

I finally got the ok from the doc to start biking and swimming. So I biked. Once. On Wednesday.

But I did get a good five miles in. And there were no issues with my foot afterward so that's a good thing.

I'm putting this on the internet for all to see- I will workout at least FIVE times this upcoming week- no excuses.

More biking is in my future :-)

This was a wonky week. But I think I made some really good choices- I was able to get to the grocery store on Wednesday so I had healthy options on me at all times throughout my long days at work and traveling this weekend.

My bravo moment for the week was on Saturday. At work, I helped to organize a tailgating event for my department. This involved serving over 200 people with hot dogs and chips. I stared at that food for over three hours on Saturday and didn't eat a single thing! I brought yogurt, KIND bars, and fruit and chose to eat that instead of tailgate food. This is HUGE accomplishment for me :-)

SU Taigating Crew

MAJOR MILESTONE ALERT! I hit 40 pounds lost last week!

150.2 as of 10/22/14 weigh-in
-1.8 since last week
-40.2 since January 2013
-51.8 since HW (Highest Weight)


This milestone has motivated me even more to reach my ultimate goal weight. I know I can do it. :-) And I'm working hard to reach 50 pounds lost to get another charm to add to my Weight Watchers key chain. What can I say, I'm motivated by bling!

Have a great week! Go be awesome!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

AM: 10/21/14

Hello and welcome to Accountability Monday- a day late!

There was no AM post last week because I was enjoying a much-needed vacation in Cape May, NJ with Matthew- it was wonderful. Today, I'm going to recap the last two weeks and catch you up on my weight-loss/training adventures.

10/6- 10/13: Hit my goal and did four workouts consisting of various leg lifts, upper body weight lifting, and some other weird, non-weight bearing exercises.
10/13- 10/20: Ummm. Yeah. About this week... I only managed to workout once. We were out-of-town for the Runner's World Half and Festival for three days and I was scootering around a lot- that counts for something, right?!

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and hopefully (fingers crossed!) he'll approve me to start biking and swimming. I am anxious to do something other than leg lifts.

We've been on the road A LOT in the last two weeks so we've been eating out a lot. However, I have had a defined strategy for each of our trips to try and best plan out how I'd use my points. We also brought a ton of fruit, KIND bars, cereal, etc. with us so that I could at least control my breakfasts and have some healthy snacks if needed.

This doesn't mean that I didn't indulge while we were traveling- I totally did. In Cape May, we visited wineries, breweries, and several awesome restaurants. I ate what I wanted and made sure that it fit in with the points I allotted for that day/meal. I'm really proud of myself for keeping up with tracking and staying focused on my nutrition throughout this injury. Let's hope it continues for the last two weeks.

Also, we went to the Lima Bean Festival in Cape May (yes, it is a real thing) and had the BEST cauliflower and lima bean curry. It was truly unique and delicious. We also tried pumpkin soup with roasted lima beans- again, delish! Who knew you could do all that with lima beans?!

There's a whole lot of goodness happening in these photos. 

10/8 weigh-in: 151.4 (-1.2 from previous week)
10/15 weigh-in: 152.0 (+.6 from previous week)

So, I'm up a little this week but still down from where I was when I got my stress fracture diagnosis (153.8). Honestly, I would like to keep losing during these six non-weight bearing weeks, but if I stay the same, that's cool too. I've had to change some goals a little bit with this set-back but I'm still confident I can reach them; just maybe a little later than I had anticipated.

I'm still really proud of myself for not letting this injury throw me into a place where I'm just overeating and over-drinking and feeling sorry for myself. The old me would have just allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted and gain weight- I'd say, "I'll wait until I can walk again, then I'll start tracking and eating healthy." But not this time. This time, I'm focused on STAYING healthy and STAYING on the course rather than being so back-and-forth with habits and behaviors.

I also want to share a progress picture with you. The picture on the left is a few months before I started back on Weight Watchers and the picture on the right is this past weekend at the Runner's World Half and Festival. I'm taking a cue from my blogger friend Dani and using the terms "then" and "now" instead of before and after. I'm still a work in progress :-) What I notice the most about these pictures is the difference in how I'm standing. On the left, I look so uncomfortable and hunched over. On the right, I'm standing tall and looking confident and happy. And that's an awesome way to look and feel!

Have a fabulous week! Be sure to follow me on facebook, twitter, or instagram this week- I'll be updating as I get news from my doctor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend: Transportation

It's that time again: another Virtual runDisney Blog Hop! With only 16 days until Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend officially kicks off, be sure to check out all the great posts (by clicking on the icon below) for everything you need to know about "the ultimate runner's night out!" This post will cover transportation.

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory
Click here for more Wine & Dine fun!

This year will be our fourth trip to Walt Disney World for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. And though I won't be running the half (I might be walking the 5k- waiting on the OK from my doctor), I'll still be utilizing runDisney's FREE transportation to get to all the festivities for race weekend.

As with every runDisney race, shuttles- coach buses- are provided to assist guests with getting from their host WDW resort to the expo and the race start/finish lines. Let's start with host resorts- not all WDW resorts will have transportation. For this year's race, the following resorts will have free transportation all weekend long:

  • All Star Music/Sports/Movies Resorts
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Beach Club Resort
  • Yacht Club Resort
  • Boardwalk Inn 
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
  • Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter
  • Port Orleans Resort- Riverside
  • Wilderness Lodge Resort
  • Polynesian Resort

These host resorts will offer transportation to and from the Health & Fitness Expo at Wide World of Sports (WWOS); to and from the 5k at Animal Kingdom; to and from the start of the half marathon at WWOS; and to and from the half marathon finish/party at Epcot.

In the lobby of each of these hotels, look for race transportation signs. They will lead you to the line for the coach buses that will take you wherever you need to go for the race weekend activities.

TIP: Try to get on the very front set of seats- they have cup holders!

From the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Guide, here are the hours of operation for the weekend:

Transportation Hours for runDisney Health & Fitness Expo
Friday, November 7
  • From Host Resorts to Expo: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Transportation from Expo to Host Resorts concludes at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 8
  • From Host Resorts to Expo: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Transportation from Expo to Host concludes at 3:30 p.m.
Transportation Hours for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K
  • 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
  • 5K participants must board buses no later than 5:30 a.m. in order to make it to their corrals by 6:15 a.m.
Transportation Hours for runDisney Kids Races
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Families with participants in the Kids Races must board buses no later than 9:00 a.m. in order to make it to their corrals by 9:45 a.m.
Transportation Hours for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon & Finish Line Party
  • Transportation begins at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and concludes at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday.
  • Half Marathon participants must board buses no later than 8:00 p.m. in order to make it to their corrals by 9:15 p.m.
  • Transportation will continue throughout the evening for spectators.
  • Finish Line Party admission to Epcot® begins at 7:00 p.m. and a party ticket is required.

These schedules are usually also posted in the lobby of host resorts- look for large signs near the "Race Transportation" signs.

TIP: Get some sleep when you can! These shuttles leave EARLY!

Because the half marathon starts in one location, WWOS, and finishes in another, Epcot, ALL runners (not just people staying at a host resort), will need to take a shuttle to the start. There will be no parking at the start at WWOS. All runners who are driving themselves- or being dropped off- will need to park at Epcot and take a free shuttle to WWOS. Parking at Epcot is free after 6 pm. All parking is free at WWOS and as long as you park before 7 am (for the 5k), parking is free at Animal Kingdom as well. More details on parking can be found here.

Every time we've done this event- and all other runDisney events- we've used the provided host resort transportation and have always been able to be where we need to be, when we need to be there. We love runDisney transportation! Almost as much as we love the actual races! :-)

If you have questions about Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend transportation (or just the race in general!), please don't hesitate to ask with a comment here, send me an email (, or tweet it to me @sparklyrunner.

Happy Running! Who will I see in a few weeks in Walt Disney World?!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Stress Fracture Diary: Part Two, Managing Emotions

In real life (aka when I'm not blogging), I'm a Student Affairs Professional: basically I provide services and support to college students at an institution of higher education. One of the developmental theories I use to frame my work with students is Arthur Chickering's Theory of Identity Development. Chickering uses his "Seven Vectors" to describe how college students develop over time. This theory has also been used successfully with other populations. Stick with me- I promise this relates to running :-)

One of these vectors is "Managing Emotions: Learning to understand, accept, and express emotions. Individuals learn how to appropriately act on feelings that they are experiencing." This stage of development is characterized by the awareness and acceptance of certain emotions- not eliminating them, but rather recognizing them and then learning to deal with them appropriately, i.e. dealing with irritation before one explodes or dealing with fear before it becomes immobilizing.

Depending on life circumstances, a person may pass through all the vectors successfully but occasionally "lapse" back into a particular stage when faced with a difficult situation.

I feel like I am back knee-deep in Managing Emotions.

I don't do negative emotions. I don't do anger, sadness, frustration. I am usually able to work myself out of a bad mood pretty quickly. But this injury has thrown me right into a quagmire of shit I don't want to deal with.

Before this injury, I hadn't allowed myself to be angry or sad or frustrated for very long. I've always told myself these were wasted feelings- they aren't productive and they certainly aren't pleasant to deal with. Luckily, I don't have a lot of reasons to be upset- I am incredibly blessed and privileged and thankful for all that I have. But this injury has taken away some of my privileges and frankly, I'm pretty pissed about it.

And I'm still figuring out how the hell to deal with these feelings.

The old me would have eaten these feelings. Or quieted them with a bottle or two of wine. Or yelled at everyone who came within a two mile radius. But all of those coping methods are crap- they don't work in the long-term and actually make life worse.

The only thing that has been helpful is to allow myself to feel these feelings. To actually acknowledge them, talk about them, write about them, and actually accept them.

It's ok for me to be sad that I am missing my favorite races. I am permitted to cry and mourn for the lost opportunity to run my dad's first half marathon and marathon with him.

It's ok for me to be pissed off when I can't access something because I'm mobility-impaired. I'm allowed to be angry when people stare at me and ask inappropriate questions about my injury. [PS- there's an entire post coming about this!]

I'm allowed to be frustrated that everything I need to do takes 10 times longer. It's ok for me to irritated that I can no longer do some of the things I want to.

I'm allowed to be jealous and envious of other runners and walkers. I'm allowed to be aggravated every time an uninjured, able-bodied runner says to me, "just think positive!" because they have no idea what it's like to be unable to walk and run. I'm permitted to feel a pang of jealousy every time someone posts pictures about a race/run on social media.

Most importantly, I am allowed to be grumpy. I'm allowed to have bad days. I can cry when I need to and yell and scream and vent when I need to.

To not acknowledge this pain, to not affirm that I am indeed having these feelings, is to miss an incredible opportunity for my own growth and development. My bones will heal. I know what to do to prevent another stress fracture. But I can't avoid negative feelings forever. Terrible things will happen in my life- much worse than a stress fracture. So I've got to learn how to deal with these emotions; in a positive and helpful way.

I don't have it all figured out. But I'm getting there. Because at the end of the day, I don't want all this pain/anger/sadness/frustration to be wasted- I want to come out on the other side stronger and even more positive and optimistic. And I especially don't want to take out these feelings on the people in my life that are my support system: Matthew, my family, my friends, etc.

Instead of looking at this as a depressing and sad time in my life, I'm choosing to change my perspective; to frame this as an opportunity to revisit Chickering's Managing Emotions and learn how to productively deal with negative emotions. Wish me luck :-)