Thursday, May 30, 2013

Call of Duty

No...not grotesque video game that is corrupting brains worldwide, but the call to duty that should be our mission to make the world a better place... HUGE DIFFERENCE. We're keeping this post Rated G.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to visit my friend's 5th class. Their current lesson is entitled "Call of Duty" and they are learning about how to make positive impacts on the world, their community, and their peers. As I am preparing to get an MBA with an emphasis in Corporate Social Responsibility and Nonprofits, I was of course thrilled by this topic. Her kiddos have been doing some amazing projects such as tutoring the younger students at their school, writing cards to people in their community, and sharing books with those who are less fortunate. They are also working on various projects to help raise money to save the rainforest in Africa. The students were WONDERFUL and very eager to share their experiences... during my talk I emphasized that sharing can be a great way to have a positive impact on the people around them. After sharing some of my experiences with track and volunteering, we went outside for a lesson on triple jumping... a little off topic... but I was 'sharing' remember... why not share one of the things I do best. PLUS, what better way to make 5th graders love you... did you say 'extra recess'????! YUP!

IT WAS SOOOOO FUN! They were adorable, attentive, and great little jumpers in-the-making :-) After playing around with the hop, step, and jump, they decided to share something with me. During the Q&A, one of the girls raised her hand, asking if I would be a special guest at their International Dance Festival. Unfortunately I can't attend, as I will be out of town, but the kids came up with the WONDERFUL idea of showing me their dance so that I wouldn't have to miss out on the fun. WOW and wow. They were awesome. Their song is in Swahili and they gave me permission to share this video with the kids I will meet next month in Kenya! Their teacher also spends her summers teaching in Kenya and Tanzania so hopefully I'll get to meet more of her students soon.

Learning how to triple jump for the first time...

I had an incredible morning... what a perfect way to start my day! To Miss Smith's class: Thank you all for inviting me to spend the morning with you! And thank you for sharing all of your amazing projects and the dance that I can see you've worked so hard on! Remember, each of you has a special gift that can help make the world a better place… have fun and don't be shy. YOU ROCK! Have a wonderful summer!

Here's a sneak peek of the song and dance they will be performing, in full costume, next week!...

Now to the rest of you out there: What is YOUR "call of duty"??? Take a moment and think of all the ways you can make a difference in your community. Then, shocker, go out an do it. Can't think of one right now? Try this: Smile at a stranger... it might be just the ticket to brighten their day.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Steps... Literally

I just returned home from a wonderfully informative 3 days in Indianapolis at the St. Vincent’s Sports Performance center. Good news!: my ankle doesn’t require any immediate surgeries to continue healing! In fact, with a lot of work over the next 2 months, I may be able to walk pain-free! Plus, with diligence and consistent physical therapy over the next year, my ankle may be able to return to competition strength! (though I’m not holding my breath on that one right now so don’t hold yours either… but I really do appreciate the encouraging notes you’ve been sending.)

It’s going to be a slow process and it really starts with baby steps… like deliberate, brain-straining, first lift the knee, then plant the heel, lift the arch, push off the big toe as the knee glides over the second toe type baby steps! I swear I don’t remember thinking about walking this hard when I was 9 months old! HA! Clearly just another downside of aging ;-) But I found out yesterday during my rehab session with Darrell Barnes that if I focus on proper mechanics, I can alleviate much of my pain. However, it’s going to take time and very tedious efforts to make these motions come naturally… these are like the proper mechanics they talk about in textbooks… not the kind the human body does actually does naturally… at least not my body. I swear, if I have to think about each step for more than a week, my brain will turn to goo. So I’m going to work super hard on getting the whole ‘walking thing’ right over the next week so I apologize in advance if I’m constantly looking down at my feet when I walk… no, it won’t be for lack of self-confidence and it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

When I tattooed “perseverance” down my side in mandarin characters back in 2009, I never knew just how much I would have to persevere through…

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Making the Rules: On Getting Back into Shape

Where does the time all go?? I swear it feels like only a week has gone by since my last post…

Any who, I’m on a plane to Indianapolis to get my ankle checked out by the doctors at St. Vincent (courtesy of USATF) and hoping for some good news. Ok. So that’s a lie… while good news would be nice, I’m not optimistic in that department right now... really I’m just looking forward to getting answers as to why I’m still in so much pain on a daily, literally step-by-step basis… getting some answers, any answers will be good news. No news is not good news for this trip. I need answers! (lol ugh! clearly I’m a bit frustrated with my situation)

I’ve been getting so antsy… not being able to workout and jump is driving me nutzo, but I guess I’ve been enjoying my free time and exploring my other interests in life. However I went a bit overboard and overloaded my schedule so my days are business than ever and I have to keep a proper calendar otherwise I’d forget everything… I seriously set 3 alarms to remind myself that I was flying to Indy today… I knew I’d forget the trip if I didn’t and suddenly wake up on Tuesday realizing that I was suppose to be 2,300 miles away. No bueno.

One of my latest projects has been trying to figure out how I can slim down and get ready to play on the beaches of Kenya next month. Some of you may argue that I’m skinny enough and should be happy with my body, but hush… I’m not trying to look anorexic or anything… I just want to feel fit and healthy and that’s been hard to do since I’m not able to train like I used to and I’ve rediscovered (and love) “normal people food” like burgers, Chipotle burritos, and vanilla ice cream with sprinkles. HA! I wasn’t able to eat like this, nor did I really want to, when I was competing. I used to eat 4 lbs of spinach a week and have kale smoothies for breakfast. Now I skip breakfast, eat whatever is convenient, and say, “sure I’ll look at the dessert menu.” I was rebelling against a healthy diet partly because I couldn’t run or do any serious workouts and I felt like “eh what’s the point in even trying.” That’s all about to change. 
Nike’s #MAKETHERULES shirt was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, but for I’m using it to motivate my in a different ways… I’m making the rules of my own return to health and happiness.

My co-workers have been buzzing about a book called “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I avoided even looking at the cover for the last couple months as I was trying to enjoy my newfound food freedom, but I recently got to a point where I don’t feel free anymore… I just feel GROSS! I need to take steps to feel healthy again despite my inability to run. And it’s going to start with food…

I’ll be checking in a couple times per week with updates as I read the book and gear up to start the “Whole 30” program. For now, I’m trying to start implementing some of the dietary recommendations in the book as I know I won’t really be able to do the complete “Whole30” program til I’m done traveling mid July… we all know it’s so hard to eat healthy on the road and I’m not even going to try to fake it. As for exercise, I’ll be using Vasper 3 – 5 days per week and committing myself to 100 abs and 3 minutes of planking at least 4 nights per week over the next 2 weeks and will up it from there. Baby steps.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Life Beyond the Track

Well, it's officially been 6 months since I was last able to go for a leisurely run... 10 months since my last real hardcore training session. Needless to say, I'm a little soft in more than a few places. HA! Ewww. C'est la vie of the working girl.

Well since my last post, my life has been caught up in a tornado of mostly amazing events, opportunities, and yes... work in the real world. And I'm happy to say that I'm finally feeling better! The strict (gluten, sugar, dairy)-free diet worked like a charm... yes I sadly had to deprive myself of just about everything yummy for 3 months but I'm so much better for it and HAPPY happy to be off bedrest and able to have and handle the crazy busy schedule I have now. I'm still on blood thinners for the blood clots but not much I can do about that. I celebrated my renewed health by making a huge thing of lasagna on Saturday... (pack full of gluten and dairy! YUM) and I survived with flying colors!... no going to lie... I was a little nervous though.

So let's see...

Well the most exciting thing that has happened has been getting in to my top choice for business school... UC Berkeley-Haas! And the even better part... I applied via a program called The Consortium and Haas chose me to be one of their Consortium Fellows... aka I WILL BE GETTING MY MBA FOR FREE! (from a top 10 school no less!) I'm sooooo grateful! And yes, I submitted this application from my hospital bed back in November. I couldn't have done it without the support of all my family and friends who helped to edit my essays up until the deadline... writing and editing intelligent essays while in pain and drugged up on about 6 different meds after 2 surgeries is no bueno... you'll say some funny (and terribly honest) things.

Any who... let's see... I've also been interning at Vasper (the fitness system I've mentioned a few times that helped me get back on track [literally] after my injury in 2011). Apparently I've been doing a good job and they like me being around almost as much as I LOVE working here... a couple weeks ago I got promoted to be the Director of Marketing! Sweet!

Also, due to the encouragement of my little sister, who is now a successful business owner, I'm going to start selling my handmade jewelry, that for years has been reserved only for myself (and sometimes my mommy). The company is called Knot Tradition and the first collection is set to be released in June. For now, it will be sold exclusively online through my sis' store... which EVERYONE! (well all the ladies in the audience) SHOULD BE SHOPPING AT! Kelsey started her thrift boutique, Mieux & Mieux, out of an adorable victorian house in Uptown Dallas, but the online demand for her shop has been so wonderfully overwhelming that she's moving to be a mostly online shop. Her company is expanding into a new loft and patrons can come to the space by appointment only. Baby girl is doing big things! I'm so proud of her!

Oh! And more things (well people) that I'm proud of.... my JUMP SQUAD! I'm finishing up my 2nd and final year as a high school coach at Monta Vista in Cupertino, CA and it's been a challenging but fun year. The challenge has been with my ankle... sometimes I'm really sad when I head out to coach because I'm in so much pain that I can't even demonstrate and it reminds me how much I miss training and jumping, but my kids are so awesome that I snap out of my funk almost as soon as I see their faces! We've had some great individual PR's this year and today starts League Finals. GO MONTA VISTA!!!

Hummmm.... I say that's good for now. Jeez... I gotta get back into the swing of this blogging thing. It's so hard to live online and in the real world at the same time.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Year, A New (Life-changing) Diet

Well happy 2013 everyone! I'm a bit late on these well-wishes but I'm happy to report that I'm finally starting to feel alive again! The crazy journey of my injury, recovery, infections, blood-clots, etc. is far from over, but I'm finally hopeful that the end may be in sight.

I spent November, December, and the beginning of January in and out of the hospital and on bed-rest, but thanks to the following script of perfectly illegible doctor's handwriting, I'm finally starting to feel like myself again... but it hasn't been easy!

After dealing with the multiple significant blood clots in my arms caused by my PICC lines, my residual extreme "yucky-ness" has been caused by my strong antibiotics and my lovely intestinal infection known as "C. Diff". I would literally take one of my pills and then be confined to my bed trying to fight off intense waves of nausea for about 3 hours. This had persisted for the last couple of months... yeah, it's really as "un-fun" as it sounds.

However, at church a few weeks ago, a friend introduced me to a doctor who specializes in digestive issues. Talking with him, deciphering his scribbles, then implementing a new dietary regimen has brought be out of my fog! YAY! No, the infection isn't gone, but I'm able to cope with it and be out and about in the world. YAY FOR PLAYING IN SUNSHINE! I've never stuck to a diet for more than a week in my life... lol!... but with what I have been suffering through, giving up some of my favorite yummy (translate: unhealthy) foods seems like a small price to pay. 

So what is this new diet of mine?  DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, AND the real kick in the pants ...  SUGAR-FREE!

Plus an obscene amount of probiotics to help recolonize my system with good bacteria. The doctor also recommended that I add lots fermented foods to my diet so I try to drink one Kombucha tea drink per day. When I made a stink-face at that idea, he responded:

"Hey, you're an athlete aren't you? To be the best, you do what you have to do right? Think of this as training!"

~TOUCHÉ, DOC! Touché.  He also recommended adding gums and pectins to my diet, but I haven't exactly found out how to implement them. I did buy some apple pectin capsules, but seeing as I haven't broken the seal on the jar, they really aren't doing me much good. 
If you have any favorite gluten-free + dairy-free foods or recipes, please feel free to pass them along. I'm so happy to have learned a way to cope with my body's current condition, but at the same time, I want my taste buds to be happy too!


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