Pain in the neck- Take Two

yep, we are here again. If you recall almost two years ago I had Anterior Cervical Disk Fusion for a ruptured disk in the neck in C5-6 and C6-7. I had made great progress until recently. In March it was discovered the disk above and below the fusion are now herniated. My doctor has told me no running/jumping etc. I need to stay on low impact activities/workouts. I won’t bore you with the medical details but the main concern is C4-5 and C7-T1. My physical therapist and surgeon told me I need to avoid a multilevel fusion at all costs. My real wake-up call was this week when my PT introduced me to someone that has had a multilevel fusion and he told me she is miserable. People have asked me how I am feeling. I am ok. I had cut way back from the running events anyway due to life in general. Last year I had only participated in six events and this year I have only done four. Run Disney recently opened up Princess Half registration for next February and it was a little disappointing because I was hoping to register but you know what it is OK. I will miss the “energy” of the race events but to not have the “option” of going for a run to maintain my weight and fitness level is the most frustrating thing.

I have been fortunate to do 82 events since January 2011. If I never get to run a race again I am grateful. (1-Full Marathon, 21- Half Marathons, 5-10 milers, 1-15k, 10-10k’s, 1-8k, 33-5k’s, 1-mudrace, 4- Trail races, 1-Sprint Triathlon, 1-Sprint Duathlon, 1-70.3 Relay and 2-Paddleboard races. Experiences, Memories & Friendships made= Priceless!

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New Orleans Saints 5k, NYC Mini Oakley 10k, RnR Vegas Half, Jazz Half, Battleship 12k, Girls on the Run 5k, St Jude Memphis Half,  RnR NOLA Full Marathon, Ironman 70.3 Relay in Augusta, GA  just a few of many   🙂

This past weekend I went and spectated at the annual Happy’s 5k race and had a ball. I have a lot of fun, supportive friends.

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Now I just want to retain my fitness and avoid a multilevel fusion. Proper recovery, workouts, listening to my surgeon & physical therapist as well as good ergonomics at work will be key for me. (I have a “stand up” desk on order) I still have more places on my vacation list I want to see and experience. I am not going to let this slow me down too much. Heck, last month I went waterfall repelling in Costa Rica!

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Pura Vida!

Stay focused and stay healthy my friends.

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Roll With the Wind-Ainsley’s Angels

  • To do for others that can’t.
  • To give each other a lending hand.
  • To give someone something to smile about.
  • To develop a special connection with others.

This is all the backbone of Ainsley’s Angels.

We have all seem them at the beginning of a race. Generally it is one Angel Athlete Rider with a disability to a team of three Angel Runners ready to push and cheer their rider to the Finish line.  I saw them recently at our local Mardi Gras Mambo race and thought how inspiring. I never thought possible that I could be fortunate enough to help participate as an Angel Runner. That is just for the elite runner right? Nope! If you can run and have the positive energy to support your rider than Yes, you can be an Angel Runner.

I heard of a local race event coming up that they would have a presence the Amazing Half/5k in Baton Rouge. I signed up on the Ainsley’s Angels site under my state as a runner and reached out to the chapter head. He was very responsive and encouraging to join the team. For this event I would be joining the team of #TeamNika with 4 other Angel Runners (all women) IMG_1193

We were ALL actually newbies but Nika wasn’t worried. She was a pro. She had done the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half! This would be a piece of cake for her. We got a quick tutorial on her bike (The front tire does not swivel so you have to be careful on turns and stay towards the right of the course for runners to pass).

Soon we were at the Start line ready to kick off the race.

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This would be an easy out and back 5k. The cloudy morning fortunately kept the rain at bay. I got to start the race with my buddy Francine. We took turns pushing Nika who made it super easy. I had looked up some advice on how to run and push at the same time (you concentrate on not twisting your hips too much, use the power of your legs and keep your chest forward. If you buddy up with one person pushing on each side alternate your arms that you are using to swing).

Jennifer, Emily, Sarah, Francine and I kept about an easy 10min pace and got Nika to the Finish line in 32:31. I would run with these ladies anytime!

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I highly recommend you checking out Ainsley’s Angels and signing up to be someones Angel. A special “Thank you” to Nika for letting us join you today!

For more info check out : http://www.ainsleysangels.org/

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Ready or Not!

I am feeling the urge to get back to it. Recently I have been looking at race calendars to see which ones coming up would be a good fit.

There are so many personal categories to fill when picking a race:

  • Do I have a family conflict with the race date? Does hubby have work?
  • Does my daughter need my car that day? Does she have work or a test?
  • Can I sign up race day? Is there parking? What will the weather be?

and then the self doubt creeps in……

2questionsI know, you are probably thinking that I am thinking too much about it and I should just pull the trigger. Your right. We tend to defeat ourselves with our mental state.  So what I probably wont PR since I have done a race in five months.So what I haven’t been running 3 times a week regularly. Why do we put so much doubt in ourselves? It is true what they say it is mostly mental. Why do we talk ourselves out of it with self doubt before we even get out of the door?

Let’s shut up the mental game by keeping it light and fun!

  • Buy yourself those new shoes or pants you have been eyeing
  • Freshen up your track list or podcast and zone out
  • Download a new app such as “Zombies, Run!”
  • Pick a change in scenery or sign up for a new race

Remember why did we start this to begin with?

  • To look better naked?
  • More all around self confidence?
  • Drop a pant size?
  • Be more social?

So commit yourself by signing up for something ahead of time, get back out there. It just may not be as scary as you think. After all I am sure your faster than a  Zombie!

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The race distance that’s right for YOU

Once upon a time there lived in a certain town a little city girl with dark locks of hair, the kind at heart creature who every one loved. Her father was excessively fond of her; and her husband and daughter doted on her more. This good girl had little red shoes made just for her. They suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Running Shoes.

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One day her father, having made some pies while visiting, said to her, “Go, my dear, run a 5k and see how you do.

Little Red Running Shoes set out immediately and registered that day. She even invited a friend, who lived in another nearby town.

As she was going through the distance of her 5k run she felt wonderful and met along her path a balding but jolly running coach who loved donuts. She met with the jolly coach afterwards, who almost discarded her but she brought him a box of warm, glazed donuts which he gobbled up in an instant.

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He asked her what distance would she run next, She responded “I think I will try a 10k” . The girl realizing this would be double the distance at 6.2 miles but was not afraid. A couple weeks later as she walked up to the Start line and checked the laces of her red running shoes, she saw her coach on the sides lines and he said “Run your race and enjoy it“. Afterwards she gave him a full report and was excited to say that she actually beat her expected finish time. She showed him her shiny race reward with pride and rewarded her coach with more donuts for his advice.

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After a couple months of continued training Little Red Running Shoes decided she would attempt to conquer the 13.1 Half Marathon distance.Her coach advised her to wait til fall for cooler weather and she would be better prepared. She listened and by October she was ready to once again cross the Start line. This one would be a bit more harder than she expected, she worried at a couple points with the extra challenging distance if she would be able to finish but she came through the Finish line at 2:24. This time her running coach had a warm donut waiting for her which she accepted happily.

Little Red Running Shoes continued her training through Spring and even got up to a whooping “20” miles. She went back to her coach and pleaded with him to let her try the Full Marathon distance of 26.2 miles. He cautiously warned her off of the mighty distance but Little Red Running Shoes was very persistent. She begged “Please Coach, I can do it“. Against his cautious advice she signed up for one that was in a nearby town so she would not have to travel far. When she went to the race expo to pick up her supplies she was greatly amazed to see how large the Full Marathon finisher medal would be. She thought to herself how proud her father and running coach would be of her when she accomplished such greatness.

Race morning came with morning jitters. She barely got any sleep. So many thoughts ran through her mind…..

Did I drink enough?

“Did I eat enough to carry me through 26.2 miles?”

“Did I eat too much?”

” Did I break in my new shiny red running shoes long enough?”

Her running coach met her at the start line as promised and told her the same words as before “Run your race and enjoy it” , she exhaled slowly as the start gun went off.

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The miles ticked by easy at first but as the mileage increased it would become more difficult.

“Mile 10, what big hills you have!”

“Mile 14, should I have stopped for more nourishment?”

“Mile 16, ooooooo that strange watery drink does not suit my tummy well!”

“Mile 19, The heat, oooo the heat, Where did the shade go?”

“Mile 22, Why oh why am I doing this again?”

As she approached Mile 26 Little Red Running Shoes legs ached, her feet were blistered, her mouth parched but she slowly made her way to the grand finish to claim her prize at 26.2 .

“Look Coach at what I did! “Little Red Running Shoes exclaimed. Her Coach replied “Did you enjoy it as much as the Half, 10k and 5k?” . Little Red Running Shoes had to think long and hard, “No, its not as much fun as I thought it would be. Why do I feel so guilty?”

Her jolly coach responded “You are to enjoy the run, some will be more challenging than others but once you lose the joy you will realize which distances suit best .”

And, hearing these words,  Little Red Running Shoes knew the Half,10k and 5k would happily be her distances of choice. Because YES she can have her donuts and run too !

 

 

 

 

Why running with your kids is important

  • They have the goal of the finish line to focus their attention on
  • Gives them more motivation to eat healthy and stay in shape
  • Provides an activity you can do together which in turn will add to their memory bank
  • Your kids may get their own friends involved
  • Teaches them to support and encourage each other
  • Your child will ooze self confidence after stepping over the finish line
  • One day they may do it with their own kids

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Running to Finding Cures and Saving Children. Officially signed up as a St. Jude Hero

Today on May 1st Heroes VIP race registration opened for the St. Jude Memphis Half/Full Marathon which will be held on 12/5/15. I have chosen this as my destination race this year. Not Disney not Nike not NYC, I have chosen St. Jude. Why? because St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means Hope, Faith and a test of Strength for many people. The doctors, nurses and supporters of St Jude have added additional memories for some to share with their loved ones and for others it is the possibility to ease the pain since the toughest cases come to Memphis for a chance to be saved. Some have won their battle against childhood cancer and some have lost. I have set up my Heroes fundraising page and it is called “Never Forgotten”. I am running and fundraising for those that lost their loved ones too young in life and for those that are still fighting in the hopes of a cure. Please consider donating on my page, afterwards send me the name of someone that you have lost or someone dear to you and I will write those names on my St. Jude singlet as remembrance when I run the Half in Memphis on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

 Why I am passionate about St. Jude:

  • Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened in 1962.
  • St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent in the next decade. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
  • St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that “No child should die in the dawn of life.”
  • St. Jude is where doctors often send their toughest cases because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers.
  • St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world.
  • On average, St. Jude has more than 67,000 patient visits each year.
  • It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude. 70% of the funds come from public donations from people like yourself.
  • Thanks to donors like you, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

For every child treated at St.Jude, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. Let’s not forget those that we have lost and help those that are still fighting. 

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to support this wonderful cause. My personal Heroes fundraising page can be found HERE.

Thank you deeply for your support!

‪#‎NeverForgotten    ‪#‎TeamDevin‪    #‎CancerSucks ‪   ‪#‎ForYouDad   #RunForAReason

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Watch this VIDEO on St. Jude to see why I want to “Run for a Reason”

For those wanting to sign up for General Registration it will be available on June1st.

Please share with me your blog recaps if you have ran this race previously. Thanks!

Please visit my St. Jude Heroes Fundraising page:   http://heroes.stjude.org/NicoleDecker

Lessons from the road

Race day may not always going go as planned there are so many variables:

  • Weather may be too hot or too cold, rain, humidity
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Stomach distress, nutrition, hydration
  • Sleep, fatigue, overall energy level

What went Right during my recent back to back races:

  • Good attitude going in. Goal #1 to Finish and to Enjoy the Experience
  • I foam rolled and stretched daily
  • I ate good the night before and morning of the race
  • I packed and prepared ahead of time so no last minute frenzy

What went Wrong:

  • I need better nutrition two weeks before my race at least. I need to go back to my brown rice, spinach and tuna regimen. Lay off the junk food and go back to my food journal.
  • I did not take my daily vitamins like I should have, I did take EmergenC daily but need to get back to my vitamins.
  • I did not hydrate as much as I should have. Need to start a week before not two days before.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep. I felt this after the second race weekend. It took me 3 days to catch up on my rest
  • Back to back weekends are not for me especially with my schedule.
  • I did not stretch after the race. Once again I got caught up with the after race festivities.

Did you notice my “What went Wrong” list is longer than the “ What went Right” ?. Well that’s part of running. Did I enjoy the experience? YES! Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

I am currently struggling with Shin Splints and off running for the next week, implementing R.I.C.E. (short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)

I found some good daily stretching techniques to add to my routine and help with recovery: Stretches for Runners via Cool Running

My next race isn’t until the end of February so it is the perfect time to recover and refocus.
# KeepPushingForward

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“We all have had injuries and disappointments. It is a part of running. It can bring us down and at times be overwhelming when we see how far we have to go. But I encourage you all to take your time, stay inspired and focused. Instead of stressing about how far behind we are, we need to focus on the progress we are making and continue to make.”

-Kara Goucher, two-time U.S. Olympian