I tweeted to see if there were any topics that you all were interested in me covering and got some fabulous questions so wanted to address them.
First up - a question from Danielle.
GREAT QUESTION! I know I mention it occasionally on here that I have Fibromyalgia, but I guess I don't address it a ton (more than saying it sucks or that I don't sleep great or that I am in constant pain).
I will try to keep this brief because I am not 100% sure everyone is interested in my medical dilemmas, but here goes.
I was "diagnosed" with Fibromyalgia in 9th grade. I broke a vertebrae in my back during cheerleading (yes, feel free to laugh at me, I was a cheerleader). After wearing a brace, going through physical therapy and healing the bone, the pain never went away. I went to doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, all of them telling me the pain was "in my head" because everything "looked normal" on the myriad of tests that were being run.
Although Fibromyalgia is still a bit of a mystery (and not seen as a legitimate disorder by everyone in the medical field), it seems to be a catch all if they can't pinpoint what is causing your symptoms, so I was tagged with it.
Fibro seems to affect everyone differently. Some days I am living with a dull ache, while other days it hurts to put on clothes because they feel too heavy. The change in the weather definitely effects my body (which is another reason why moving to California was a great thing) and tends to cause more episodes. Random days I will have random pains (where it hurts to breath because my back needs to pop or my wrist feels like it's broken).
Seeing as I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at such a young age, none of the doctors wanted to put me on medication because they felt as though I would then be on it for the rest of my life - whether that was for sleep issues, pain management, etc. Most doctors said "eat a healthy diet and get a lot of exercise and you will feel better" (with the hopes that exercise would tire my body out enough to actually let it go to sleep and get sufficient rest).
All that to say, I wouldn't necessarily say that exercise or running helps my Fibro, but if I am going to be in pain no matter what (because, at this point, I haven't found a way around it), then I might as well do something I enjoy anyway. I am not going to let Fibromyalgia run my life... I WILL RUN MY LIFE!
I was told when I was diagnosed, "You won't die from it, but you will die with it", so I quickly had to come to the realization that my life would be full of constant pain. I can either wallow in it (which, let's be honest, some days I do because I don't have the energy to fight it) or I can fight through it. Here's to hoping that there are more fighting days!
Next up is a running related question from Heather.
Let me start by saying I am NOT a professional runner, I still consider myself a newbie, so what has worked for me will not necessarily work for others.
I am currently training for my 5th marathon (and for someone who always said she would never run a single one I realize how HUGE that is!). I have tried a couple different training plans and am still tweaking exactly what works for me and my body.
When I first started running, all I was doing was running. All that repetitive pounding took a toll on my body. Quickly my IT Band revolted against me and I found out that I needed to mix in other activities that'd work WITH running in my fitness regime. Not only did I start adding in cross training and strength training, but I MUST foam roll and stretch in the evenings or I will pay for it later.
For my first marathon, which was the Santa Cruz Surfer's Path Marathon in May of 2014, I used the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan. It had 4 days of running, a day of strength training, a day of cross training and a rest day. It seemed to work great for my first round (the disappointment came when the race turned out to be much hillier and trail-ier than I had expected or trained for - OOPS!).
For my second and third marathons, I worked with a friend and running coach, Krissy, to put together my training schedule. My second marathon was actually part of the Dopey Challenge (a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a Half Marathon on Saturday and a Full Marathon on Sunday) and I knew I would need to get some good back-to-back training in the books to make sure I survived the long weekend. My third marathon was the Phoenix Marathon (my current PR) and I actually ended up using my second marathon as "just a training run" for my third since they were about a month apart. Because I already had a ton of races on the calendar I knew I wouldn't be able to just use a standard training schedule I found online. Krissy was able to tailor my training to fit in all of my races while accounting for my different goals.
For my fourth marathon, which was the Eugene Marathon in May of 2015, I actually didn't use much of a plan. I know that sounds crazy, but I already had a decent base from the prior fulls and then ran a Ragnar Ultra (which had me running 30+ miles in less than 24 hours) and a handful of other races. I made sure to get in about 4 runs per week (one of them being a long run), a cross training and a strength training day, but other than that I was much more fluid with my training.
This time around I am using Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 Plan. Let's just say we will see how it works in less than a week ;) This cycle of training actually had me running 5 days a week, rather than 4. I had to add a short run on my strength training days (so after my 45 minute strength training workout I run 4-6 miles). I feel as though I am running fewer miles but more days (like instead of running a 6, 8, 10, and 18 mile week I am running a 4, 6, 4, 8, and 14 mile week). I think for my body, I prefer running fewer days but longer mileage, but we will see how the training works out on race day.
The last question of the day comes from Smitha.
I became a vegetarian on January 1, 2005. There are many reasons as to why someone becomes a vegetarian (in fact, there is a list from a PETA article that includes 30 reasons that you can find here). For some people it is a cruelty thing, for others it is a health thing. For me, it was something completely different - an economic thing (I mean I did graduate with an Economics degree for goodness' sake).
For me, the choice was simple when I learned about the loss of energy you encounter when moving through the food chain. For every level in the food chain you move, you lose 90%.
I am a vegetarian because the grain used to feed animals could be used to feed hungry people. Eighty percent of U.S. agricultural land is used to raise chickens, pigs, and other farmed animals; seventy percent of grains are used to feed them. If the massive quantities of grain, soy, and corn now fed to factory-farmed animals were freed up, there would be plenty of food for the world’s starving people.
Once I learned the numbers it was hard for me to think about biting into a burger or cutting into a chicken breast without thinking about the millions and millions of people who are STARVING because of my choices.
Sure, I have been told that my one less burger here or there may not make a difference, but it is all about supply and demand. If I stop demanding it, the meat industry will stop supplying it (or else the price will drop because the market will be over saturated with it) - so for me, this is one (albeit tiny) way that I can try and make a difference in world hunger.
I will not jam the information down your throat or throttle you with pictures of the inhumane practices in the meat industry. I am not here to do a drive-by guilting or to try to make you feel bad about what you choose to eat. For me, this is an insanely personal decision. It is literally about life and death for some and I've gotta live my life by putting others first. Because (and let me step up on my soap box for just a second) others are going without food, the least I can do is give up meat in hopes that this will change in the future! #LiveSimplySoThatOthersMaySimplyLive
Okay, I'm stepping down off my soapbox now ;)
Okay, I'm stepping down off my soapbox now ;)
PS: I am always down to do more of these posts in the future if you all like them and find them useful, so let me know of any additional questions you may have, running or non-running related.
And PPS: I am not here to start a debate on any of these topics. I realize I am NOT an expert but am just doing my best to pass along what works best for me and my life. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions, but let's all be respectful, k?!
Got any other questions for me?