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I miss running

Excuse me if I sound a little completely melodramatic here, but I am having a really rough week and I feel the need to get all of my feelings out right now. This past week I have felt unusually sad about never being able to run again. Yes, other things have troubled me as well, but not being able to run has heavily weighed on me lately.

It all started Sunday. While Zac and I were cleaning the house, we had some music playing. Many of the songs were my classic go-to songs to help me get through a particularly difficult treadmill run. Each time one of these songs played, I just broke down and cried. Cleaning rag in hand, I just fell to pieces, completely lost focus of the task at hand, and downright sobbed. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t, and still can’t, explain it. And worst of all, this hopeless feeling that overcomes me and makes me utterly upset is the same feeling I’ve had all week.

This continued throughout the week. Earlier this week I drove by some of the old running routes I routinely ran and the same thing happened. I sat there in the car gazing blankly at the trail, remembering what it was like to glide over the trail so effortlessly as if I was flying. I was thinking about how it was when I was alone on the path, lost in my own thoughts and inner-monologue, and could hear the steady cadence of my feet hitting the path with rhythmic precision. It only got worse when I drove right past the park where I use to meet my running group at for our weekly long training runs. It was the first time I saw the park since I learned that I can no longer run and that, technically, I am no longer a runner. Oh, I have such great memories from that park. I looked forward to every Saturday morning where I was awake before the sun was. I looked forward to conquering the long runs, the 18 and 20 plus mile runs, with my running club, who really were more like family to me. I looked forward to feeling so accomplished afterward. I looked forward to being one week closer to a race. Now I feel like all of that is lost.

Who wouldn't want to run here? It is picturesque!

This week has also been particularly tough, or at least tougher than earlier, when I see runners. I get this pang of resentment that just comes over me. I am outraged that I can’t run and tremendously jealous that the runner is doing something that I feel like I would do almost anything to do. I get so angry, but that anger quickly turns into a feeling of hopelessness and despair.

So while I do try my best to remain positive about the situation, it is getting much more difficult to do so. At times it almost feels trivial to be this upset about not being able to run anymore, but it is rather unfortunate. It has been more than a year since I last ran, and while I am use to not running, I am not prepared to never do it again.

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The easiest protein smoothie ever

This is by far the easiest post-workout smoothing that I have ever made. Not only was it easy to make, but it was also incredibly easy to clean up. The ease of this smoothie comes from the help of my Magic Bullet Blender and a mix of frozen Wawona fruits. But mostly, the Magic Bullet Blender really does add in a convenient factor.

 Step 1: Put one scoop of vanilla protein powder into the mixing cup.

 

Step 2: Add one cup of desired frozen fruit

 

Step 3: Add 6-8 oz. of water (or milk)

 

Step 4: Put on the blending top, flip, and blend

 

Step 5: Enjoy!

Looking back at 2010

Usually at this time of year I am adding up the miles I covered, the races I ran, and the PRs I earned for the year. Unfortunately, this year is different. If anything, I am counting the miles I did not run, the races I was registered for, but did not race, and the lack of any PR in 2010, except for the most races missed. Due to a major injury this year, I have not been able to run. In fact, the last day that I ran in 2010 was on January 17. Despite re-tearing my right ACL and meniscus, having major revision reconstruction surgery, and now experiencing unexpected complications from my surgery, 2010 has actually been a pretty successful year for myself. With all of my accomplishments this year, being able to run would have just been icing on the cake.

Here is a highlight of my many accomplishments in 2010.

To begin with, I finished my student teaching and teaching credential program in May. Finally in June, I received my single subject California teaching credential in English, with authorizations in journalism and civics, from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Now that I had my credential, the job hunt was on. This is something that I was rather apprehensive about because the California economy right now is in the dumps. Teachers and school employees in southern California were being laid off by the thousands, and secondary English positions were limited given the size of the applicant pool. Over the summer I applied for a position with more than thirty school districts. Slowly, but steadily, I received rejection letters. Amid all of the rejection letters, I was given the opportunity to interview at Huntington Beach High School. To shed light on the competitiveness of teaching in this area right now, the school received more than 100 applications for a single position. They interviewed ten candidates and I was not selected for the position. A couple week later however, I interviewed at a different school district and was offered the job. I was ecstatic!

The night before my first official day as a high school teacher, I finished the last requirement for my Mater of Education degree. I presented the findings of my literature review, a 50 page paper that reviewed 52 sources confirming the positive correlation between academic achievement and athletic participation in secondary students.

As if the excitement of finishing my credential program, landing my first teaching job, and getting my Master’s wasn’t enough for 2010, Zac and I also bought our first house and adopted an adorable puppy.

We were so fortunate to have found such an amazing house (https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/our-first-home/). It really was everything we wanted and more. This house affords us the ability to grow as a family when we reach that point in our lives and still have plenty of room. Around the same time we were closing on our house, an adorable little puppy walked into our lives. She found us and we couldn’t be happier to have her be a member of our family. Zoey has brought so much fun, excitement, and love into our lives.

Even though I had a major set back in 2010, it also proved to be a successful year. I finished my credential program, got my first teaching gig, earned my Master’s, bought a house, and rescued a puppy. Goodbye 2010. Hello 2011. I am excited to see what the new year will bring.

What?! A screw?

Finally, seven months after my surgery, I saw a new orthopedic surgeon to get my second opinion. I possibly may have an answer as to why my knee still constantly hurts and why my recovery hasn’t improved much in the past few months like how it should have. While my rehabilitation started off great, it slowly hit a plateau and then started to decline in late July.

My appointment was this past Monday and I was naively optimistic that it would be positive. I was wrong. Well, I was slightly wrong. After giving the surgeon the history of my right knee, which rivals in length with Titanic, he began the exam. He checked the stability and elasticity of my ACL and then examined all around my knee. He came upon a spot that I thought was residual scar tissue and immediately said, “well, that’s a screw.”

“WHAT?” I thought to myself replaying what I just heard. I thought I hadn’t heard his correctly, but sure enough, I did.

He then told me that I was going to take an X-ray and that if it is a metal screw, that it should be removed. Also, he told me that this screw could be the root of many of my post-op problems. After a quick X-ray, the doctor confirmed that I do have a metal screw protruding from my tibia that can be felt underneath my skin. He told me that this situation is certainly “not ideal” and that it should come out. This means a third knee surgery for my right knee. Luckily, this procedure is very minor and doesn’t require any rehabilitation at all. I am hoping that this single screw is my knee’s Achilles heel and that this procedure helps a ton.

Christmas time is here!

As with many people, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. There is some kind of magic that goes along with twinkling lights, decorated trees, Christmas cookies, perfectly-wrapped presents, and holiday cheer. As usual, to help myself get into a festive mood this year, I broke out my tried and true Christmas CD…the *N Sync Christmas CD. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s been a favorite of mine since high school and now it has become tradition.

This is our first Christmas together in our first home, so it is already geared up to be a magical holiday for us. Seeing as how this is our first house, we did not have much in regards to decorations. I went out and purchased a tree and some LED lights for it and we were fortunate enough to not have to buy anything else. Christmas is also my mother-in-law’s favorite holiday. Every year she hand paints ornaments, so she gave us a bunch of her extras. Also, she gave us many other ornaments, so we did not have to go out and buy any. Also, she cleaned out all of her decorations and gave us quite a bit. Plus, my mom is bringing down some decorations as well, so it looks like we now have enough decorations…for now.

I’ve had my Christmas stocking for as long as I can remember. My grandma made it for me when I was a young child. I love it, and Christmas stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. Luckily, when Zac and I got married, she also made him a matching one. She also told us that she made a couple extra for her future great-grandkids.

Additionally, Christmas time wouldn’t be Christmas time without baking and decorating sugar cookies. I made two batches of dough and let it chill overnight. Then, I floured my countertop and went to town rolling the dough, cutting out the Christmas shapes, and placing the cookies in the oven. After nearly two and a half hours of this, I made the icing and decorated the cookies using a brand new nylon paint brush. They turned out great and I can’t wait to give them away.

This is the recipe I used: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies/Detail.aspx. For the icing, I just mixed powdered sugar, water, milk, and food coloring. These cookies taste amazing and are soft and moist.

Giving Thanks

Can you believe that it is Thanksgiving already? Before we know it, we will be counting down to 2011 and making big plans for what we hope to accomplish in the coming year.

There are many things that I am thankful for this year, but I keep dwelling on my knee and the fact that I am still not running or working out the way I would like to. This year, I had a major setback in my running; however I also accomplished some personal goals.

While I cannot say that I am thankful for all of the miles I’ve covered or the races I ran in, I still have a lot in my life to be thankful for.

First and foremost, I am thankful for getting a job in this terrible economy…a teaching job at that. In my area, teachers were being pink-slipped left and right. I applied to more than 30 school districts, had two interviews, and was so lucky to get my contract. While my students do test me daily, I love my job and I love helping out the students.

The second thing I am thankful for is my wonderful husband, Zac. He is such an amazing guy and I am very thankful to have him in my life. When I hurt my knee in February and when I finally had surgery in May, he was there for me at all times. He took over the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and he also made sure that I had plenty of movies taped on the DVR to watch.

I am also thankful for our puppy Zoey. While I have to admit that I never envisioned myself owning a pit bull, I cannot imagine my life without her right now. She is the sweetest and most loveable dog I have ever owned or met. All she wants to do is cuddle and play, but mostly cuddle. She is my 51 pound lap dog. I am so thankful that we were able to rescue her and give her a second chance at life. It truly upsets me what I think about what her fate at the shelter might have been if we had not adopted her. Plus, once my knee is completely healed and once she is more mature and loose-leash trained, she is going to be an awesome running partner. (https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/id-like-to-introduce-you-to-hopefully-our-new-family-addition/).

Another thing that I am thankful for is my house (https://christinaruns.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/our-first-home/). Buying this house was a long time coming and it was definitely worth the wait. I am still amazed that I own house as beautiful as this one. I am also very fortunate that this is where Zac and I will get to live our lives and eventually start a family together.

And of course, as always, I am thankful for my family and friends, whom I love, adore, miss, and always cannot wait to see.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Our first home

It is hard to imagine that Zac and I have finally bought our first home. Zac and I started the house hunting process in the beginning of August and we were lucky enough to find a home that we fell in love with right away. The escrow process was a bit more complicated, and we had to file for an extension on our closing date twice! We finally got our keys on October 22 and this is the place we now call home.

The front of the house

This is our living room.

Our kitchen that I love to bake in. I love the under cupboard lights.

This is our dining room. Since I took the picture, we have bar stools now.

Our downstairs guest room. We also have a 3/4 bathroom downstairs also for guests. I am currently deciding which color to paint it. I am leaning toward a light Tiffany blue color.

This is the master bedroom. Before we bought the bedroom set, our Queen sized bed looked so tiny in it. Luckily we know that once we upgrade to a King sized bed we will have enough room.

Our amazing master bathroom. I love, love my jetted jacuzzi tub. It takes forever to fill up, but it is so worth it. Also, I have the closet of my dreams finally. For the first time in my life, I have a closet big enough for all of my clothes, shoes, and purses.

This is our work-in-progress office area. It is a little loft area right off of the stairs. I am currently searching for an executive-style L-shaped desk for this space.

Upstairs bedroom number 1

Upstairs bedroom number 2

Laundry room with our new Samsung steam washer and dryer. Love the red!

Upstairs bathroom. I love that there are two sinks. While growing up I had to share a bathroom with my little brother and two sinks were amazing, so I know our future kiddos will thank us in many years to come.

Seeing as how we have only been in our house for a few weeks now, it is still a work-in-progress. I have three weeks off during Christmas break and we plan on using that time for painting and decorating. I am so excited to see how we make this house our home over the next several years.