Growth in the unknown

There’s something to be said about recircling your past.

I’ve been successfully semi-running using the Couch to 5K app. I haven’t been running a ton as I’m still easing back into it and am beyond fearful of re-injury, but I’ve been supplementing with swimming and lifting and hot yoga. (THAT was an adjustment. Running friend and I started making it a semi-habit again, and I swear I can feel every single muscle in my butt/shoulders/whatever our instructor focused on the next morning.)

I am admittedly not a morning person in the slightest, but a friend and I were chatting last night – he and I used to get up early on Sunday mornings, run, and end at Whole Foods for a donut. (The best kind of run.)

I needed a few things at Whole Foods and it’s easier to achieve world peace than it is to park in their lot, so I decided to go run and end there again. Today’s “plan” was alternating 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking for a half hour. That’s about a 2.5 mile route for me.

And en route, I ran by where I got my MRI. IMG_1305

I had to push myself to get diagnosed and get treated, but I’m better off for it. The fear of the unknown inhibited my healing, but I overcame it and grew stronger.

The fear of the unknown and the subsequent journey to growth has manifested itself in other ways in my life. I’m proud to say that I will be moving from the classroom to administration this summer and becoming instructional coach at my school. It’s hard to think that I’m writing my last lesson plans right now, but I welcome the challenge.

And I was humbled to learn that I was nominated, and then elected this past Sunday, to become a deacon at my church. Deacons are involved with the congregation through kindness and acts of service. Between these two huge changes in my life, I’m excited to see where God will lead me and what lessons I’ll learn.

(Epilogue: I didn’t get a donut on this run. They raised the price! I got a lime La Croix instead and sulked.)

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Walking Boot to 5K

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1

The Pittsburgh Marathon was today. I knew it was going to be a mentally hard day – after all, I’ve participated in every Pittsburgh Marathon since I moved up here (1 relay, 3 half marathons, and 2 full marathons. One of those halfs and the relay were before I had this blog!) I love the feeling of camaraderie as I run the streets, the realization that mind strength can trump body strength, and the feeling of bliss as you cross the elusive finish line.

This year, I spectated and cheered for Bob’s father and sister, both of whom did marvelously despite a cold start.

I’ve been walking 1.5 miles at the gym without pain, and this afternoon I decided enough was enough – I wanted to try and run. I started this whole running thing back in 2008 with the Couch to 5K plan, so I downloaded it and off I went. 60 second jog, 90 second walk, cycled for 20 minutes. I felt the teeniest tiniest bit of pain right at the end, so I’ll repeat this plan for a week (obviously with rest days and anti-inflammatories.)

It was hard to jog and not run. I haven’t run since March 19, and my body wanted to make up for lost time. But in due time, Corinne.

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Boot-y rockin everywhere

(I write this from 30,000 feet in the air, en route to Los Angeles for a conference. Isn’t technology grand?)

I had never had an MRI before. And it’s in these cases that my scientific mind simultaneously irks me and saves me. Scientifically I know what’s going on – super magnets and rotating coils and coronal views and axial views of my foot.

But sometimes science divests itself from emotion. I knew an MRI wouldn’t hurt, thankfully, but the loud noises still do catch you off guard. I was offered a choice of music in my clunky headphones. I chose classical because it relaxes me; I should have chosen something a lot louder.

I received a call from the sports medicine doctor even before the day was over, requesting for me to come in the next day. Normally I celebrate easy access to appointment times, but this gave me an inane sense of worry. There is either something seriously wrong, OR it’s nothing and they want to assuage my fears.

Long story short, I had massive inflammation between the 4th and 5th metatarsal. Which is exactly where it hurts. Go science. My treatment? Massive doses of prednisone, followed by massive doses of naproxen, and a massively sexy walking boot for 2 weeks. And if that all doesn’t work, then I get cortisone shots in the foot. To quote Blink 182, I guess this is growing up…

As soon as I strapped that boot onto my foot, I swear every warm weather runner in Pittsburgh came out to play. And I had such a sense of anger. I knew I wasn’t going to do any running in the Pittsburgh Marathon this year (relay included,) but the boot really cemented that.

So I think it’s fitting that the message at church the other day is that power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If I go through this season of injury and aggravation and self-searching, maybe I’ll get to be a runner again.


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UPMC’s Center for Sports Medicine was my destination last week…to finally put a name on this nagging foot pain. Yes, I should have gone earlier, but I am a fine mix of denial and stubbornness. Thanks Mom.

I find it ironic, and motivating, that the path that runs near the facility has been the recipient of many of my footsteps on my long runs. When I had to do 10-11 miles in my training, I’d often run from my home to the Birmingham Bridge, into the South Side, down near the Hot Metal Bridge, and then go back. I actually really love running bridges, as evidenced by one of my favorite running photos during my very first marathon (here I am on the Birmingham Bridge!)


As I got closer to the facility, I felt anger. Anger with myself, for waiting so long; anger with my body, for getting injured; anger that I might not be able to run long distances again.

The doctor was kind – he is also a runner and could empathize with my frustration, my inability to run. He ordered a MRI that I will receive tomorrow morning.

The best and worst thing that could happen to me is that they don’t see anything. I definitely feel pain, but the human body is daunting when trying to identify issues, especially those of runners. I’m not about to pay $$$ for them to see nothing. So what did I do today?

Ran inclines on the treadmill. I could only go to 2.25 miles (where I’ve been maxing out before pain.) It’s definitely tender now, so hopefully I’ve provoked the beast.

In getting ready, I had to take off my college ring. (It’s bent and misshapen and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get it off when I needed to!) And tomorrow I’ll have to take off my silicone Proverbs 31 bracelet. Those of you who know me know I love to fidget, especially when stressed. No fidgeting for anxious Corinne tomorrow.

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Where to start?

I’ve been quiet on here because I didn’t feel legitimate if I wasn’t running in some capacity. I’ve ignored the nagging intermittent pain in my foot and pressed on. I’ve diversified with swimming and biking and lifting (my new love), but right now running is like a haunting ex-lover. Every time I walk by my medals on the wall , I feel like I’m reading a past love letter. Every time I hear about the marathon, I feel guilt.

Guilt because like a lover, running was an integral part of my life.

Guilt because the pain is intermittent and not all-consuming, but I’m still too scared to run more than 2 miles.

Guilt because despite this post, I first and foremost think of myself as a runner. I was a decent swimmer in high school, but running saved me in multiple ways and was the challenge in my life that I now largely lack.

Fed up this morning with yet another post about the Pittsburgh Marathon, I emailed UPMC Sports Medicine for a consultation. I’m sure this is equal parts denial and frustration, but it’s not getting better.

There’s also some stuff in my life right now that is out of my immediate control. And those of you who know me know I love a plan and a system and organization, and right now none of that is up to me. My loved ones have been supportive, but it’s an understatement to say that it’s frustrating.

While sitting in church today, the communion music was “Even When He is Silent” by Kim Andrew Arnesen. I liked the lyrics, which are:

“I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining. I believe in love, even when I feel it not. I believe in God, even when He is silent.”

I’m totally feeling like God is silent right now, from my foot to my life. And while I am grateful to Him for all of the amazing things, I sure wish He would run on my schedule.

It was in reading the “About” section for the communion music that I became totally and utterly humbled.

The text of the song was found in 1945, written on a wall in a concentration camp.

I want to complain about Him being silent in my blessed life – when someone can have more faith than me in a concentration camp.


And suddenly I have a new sense of patience and gratitude- with my body, with my life.

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Ever since I discovered the OneWord365 movement, I’ve made small commitments to the idea. One year my word was “powerful“, another year my word was “faith.”

One of my favorite Christian writers, Sarah Bessey, blogs that the idea of a “focus word,” vs. specific New Year resolutions, gives a bit more flexibility. I could very easily say that I’m going to go to the gym x number of times or try to drink my coffee black (and these are eventual goals of mine) but if I drop the ball, then it’s defeating. In this anxiety-ridden mind, I like the idea of a challenge more than yet another thing to obsess over.

So I decided that my word for the year is bravery.

I’m pretty comfy in my life right now in terms of challenges. Anything new or arduous brings a bit of fear. I also know that this year is going to bring many opportunities for change, so why not start small? And by small, I mean…

*trying a new food Bob brought over Turkish food yesterday. Didn’t like the stuffed leaves but loved the falafel.

*trying some new classes at the gym

*continuing to speak out against intolerance

Yesterday’s devotional Bible verse was “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

We don’t have an infinite amount of time on Earth – thus we must count our days. And it’s not even about counting the days, necessarily – but making them count. I’m really good at laying on the couch playing on Pinterest and Reddit, but at the end of my life I’d like to say I changed something or someone for His glory. There’s nothing wrong with a few of the Reddit days, but in order to change, I must challenge. So here’s to being fishlike (see below.)


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The miles they’ve seen

I bought a new pair of running shoes (Asics Gel Kayanos, as always) the other day, praying they would help with my tendonitis (it’s largely dissipated, but I’m paranoid since it now will always be a hot spot.)

The store I frequent, True Runner, has a large bin where you can donate your old running shoes. When I bought the new shoes, I didn’t have the old ones on me (they were in my gym bag and I was parked far away,) but I knew I would be back in the area in about a week for an appointment. So I made a mental note to bring them back then.

On my cold brisk walk to True Runner today, old shoes in hand, I had several poignant moments. It may sound silly, but I can get sentimental about the most everyday things. I think my mother read Velveteen Rabbit to me one too many times.* My old contact lenses needed to be changed every 2 weeks, and I would always look at them and think about how many faces and experiences I saw behind those lenses. (Then I literally became allergic to myself and now have daily contacts…but I still reflect on all of the marvels of a day when I take them out.)

I had these shoes for quite some time…I’m always HORRIBLE about changing shoes and tracking mileage. (#sheaskedfortendonitis) As I walked to the store, I thought about all of the miles these shoes had seen…


Miles that decimated the asphalt, stressed about divorce and money and students.

Miles that bounced sky-high, celebrating promotions and new love.

Miles that explored new terrain, be it trails or grass or new states.

Miles that ended with the familiar terrain of Starbucks or Whole Foods.

Miles that were shared with a running friend.

Miles that were shared with the varied vivacious voices blaring in my earbuds.


Every mile run is a good mile – we just don’t realize it at the time. And so I gingerly placed the shoes in the donation bin, wondering what adventures they’d witness without me.


*I confess that in putting in the link to the Velveteen Rabbit, I read the Wikipedia description and instantly teared up. Reader beware.

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A rainbow of dysfunction

A few weeks ago, I got a massage after probably the most hectic work week I’ve had in a few years (120 final exams to grade, 120 grades to finalize, all school all day co-planned event to end the week, and a partridge in a pear tree.) Amongst other things, I hoped to “reset” my peroneal tendinitis in hopes of working out again. (Update- running successfully. I run/walked the 5K on Thanksgiving, which was hard, but better than a permanent injury.)

I found myself wishing I could relax. Those of you know me in real life know that I am the Type-A-iest of the Type As. So I went to my typical standby- focusing on colors.

I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been to hot yoga in awhile, or because I was coming off such a wave of stress, but I found myself even arguing within the colors. Neon yellow or dull yellow? Is there even such a thing as dull orange? Kelly green or forest green? OH MY GOSH CORINNE STOP AND RELAX, BOB SPENT GOOD MONEY ON THIS MASSAGE.

Needless to say, I needed to bring mindfulness back to my life, and quickly. I’ve always struggled with quiet prayer because my mind spirals and spirals. Written prayer and journaling have been met with a modicum of success, but I’m not sure what it will take at this point.

I downloaded an app onto my phone called Insight Timer, and I like it because it prompts me at 10:15 each night to take a few moments and be mindful. (Again with the Type A business.) In this season of flurry and momentum as we deck the halls with jingling bells and pop exponential amounts of Excedrin in the process, take a few moments to savor the silence and calm the nerves.

I’ve always loved the hymn Ubi Caritas, but recently found it in a different breathtaking setting. Prince William had this setting commissioned for his wedding, which is the source of the video. Close your eyes and be mindful.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Runners

Shameless self-promotion – I sent out a newsletter that included Christmas gift ideas for runners. Check it out if you want some ideas!


Christmas Gift Ideas for Runners

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I am the newest minted member of the super-nice gym near me.

I imagine that right now I’m like a kid in a candy store. Oooh, new treadmills! Oooh, a pool! Oooh, a cardio theater! Classes? Sweet.

But I’m thankful to God (and the government) that I was able to get a decent portion of my loans forgiven, and thus invest in myself. I figure that whenever I see that money missing that went to gym dues, it’ll be a reminder that I only get one body and I need to take care of it.

Which means, Corinne, that you need to work out. No matter what you have on your plate, because let’s face it, your plate looks like one of those deluxe Lunchables of yore. Too many spaces, too many things to do, too many damn committees.

So I’ve been working back into it (ran 2.5 miles on intervals without pain the other day in preparation for my family’s annual Thanksgiving 5K!) and went swimming today. Partly out of laziness, I still swim in my high school bathing suit…because who wants to buy a new one-piece suit? But…yeah, I need to upgrade. Those “TJ Patriot” letters across my bosom now look like alphabet soup.

But making time to work out and take care of myself feels pretty good right now. My goal is for the gym to lose money on me. No one else is going to make my health a priority except for me!

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