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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Today was one of the hardest days of my teaching career. My children shrouded in the guises of young adults filed in, dejected and fearful, hoping to hear words of catharsis rather than words of biology.

I found that I couldn’t just go about it like any other day. And indeed, to do so would be a disservice to them. I found comfort in showing them my discomfort. That no, adults probably have it the least figured out – that elementary school rules of “do unto others as you would have done unto you” seem to dissolve, ethereal in nature once one enters the real world.

If nothing else, I can model grace and love. I told them that no one can take away love, education, and community. No matter what.

And then privately I grieved their desolation.

I had intended on going on a visit to the gym with running friend for a few weeks now, but various illnesses and plans interfered. I knew I would need an outlet for this angst, so I went.

I ran.

I had to hold myself back from running far, because tendonitis.

Funny how we go back to our roots when change is imminent.


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No R(ICE) for the weary

And then the final kick to my ego from the last post…

Two Fridays ago, I was running around at work doing all the things, and felt moderate pain on the outside of my left foot, near my ankle. I had things to do before the weekend started, including grocery shopping (ain’t nobody got time to wait in a weekend Trader Joe’s line.)

By the time I walked out of Trader Joe’s, I had my heel out of my Sperry and was walking on my left toes, almost in tears.

I have NEVER felt pain that acute, that severe. I have been so blessed to rarely, if never, injure myself while running, and here I was, a week after the Great Race, hobbling around.

It dissipated through the weekend as I largely tried to stay off my feet, but I resolved to go to urgent care if it hurt again on Monday when I had to move around again.

And hurt it did, so to urgent care I sprinted. (Or hobbled, as it were.)

They x-rayed me to do a differential diagnosis from a broken fifth metatarsal, and then ultimately diagnosed me with peroneal tendonitis. Good old RICE as long as I have pain. To which I chuckled and said, I’m a high school science teacher, I cannot satisfy the R here.

And thus ensued a medical order to wear running shoes to work for the next 1-2 weeks, which is much needed.

This all underscores my need to cross-train. I’m going to hopefully join the gym in the next few weeks so I can swim and lift and build other muscle. For what it’s worth, I do miss running and moving without pain in general, so there’s that.

And it underscores the need to train properly – I need to take my own.damn.advice. Just because I ran 2 marathons doesn’t mean I can NOT train for things. I’m now much stronger mentally than I am physically…and those things need to balance more.

My church celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary the other day, and they played one of my favorite hymns. The lyrics are actually written by a Shadyside pastor for our 50th anniversary and are timeless. I found myself going back to these words in my time of doubt regarding my running/exercise life, especially the third verse.

God of our life, through all the circling years, we trust in Thee.
In all the past, through all our hopes and fears, thy hand we see.
With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,
We own Thy mercies, Lord, which never fail.

God of the past, our times are in Thy hand; with us abide.
Lead us by faith to hope’s true promised land; be Thou our Guide.
With Thee to bless, the darkness shines as light,
And faith’s fair vision changes into sight.

God of the coming years, through paths unknown we follow Thee;
When we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone; our Refuge be.
Be Thou for us in life our daily bread,
Our heart’s true Home when all our years have sped.

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I’ve ruminated on these thoughts for awhile, but today was the fruition of it all.

The long and short- Bob and I went hiking in Frick Park about a week and a half ago, and I hyperextended the right PCL in my knee by hauling ass up a hill from a semi-creepy dude walking near us. I felt lots of stretching all week in the PCL and heard lots of clicks, so I took it easy and stopped running.

This is problematic when you’re running the Great Race 10K in a week.

Granted, it was hard to take that time. I can’t explain why, but taking time off and deliberately not running made the muscles in my thighs feel weird. I was a biology major and teach biology/anatomy, so I’m not going to say that my muscles completely atrophied…that’s not how it works. But I definitely had weird feelings in the muscles.

I wrapped my knee this morning, hoped for the best after staying off it for a week and a half, and ran the 10K. I was nowhere near as fast as last year, but finished in 1:09. My asthma has also been screwy lately thanks to fall allergies, so I also got to contend with that.

I’ve decided that maybe long distance running (anything over a 5K or maybe a 10K) is out for me for awhile. It just doesn’t make my body feel good, and I always have this awful pressure in my head to beat previous times. If I had to sum up the reasons why I run right now, they would be

  1. To maintain my weight/figure
  2. Because I’ve defined myself as a runner since 2008.

These aren’t exactly inspiring reasons to run, Corinne. And for someone who is such a stalwart to change, maybe this 10K was the ironic push I needed. Maybe this is the time I explore different sports and activities. I’ve always been an active yogi, but maybe I take the plunge and go back to swimming and ballet classes and who knows what the heck else. If I’m lucky and maintain my body and health, running will always be waiting there for me.

And to get a little deeper…I ran my marathons in 2014 and 2015. Two of the roughest years of my life. As I put it to a trusted friend earlier…maybe I was spending my time literally running away from my life. But, thank God, my life has improved in so many ways to the point where I don’t have to run away anymore. And so that love has waned.

I’m not going to pretend that this was an easy decision, or I don’t feel immense guilt already. Because how do you say “Let’s go on a break, it’s not you, it’s me” to an old and trusted love? But the only way we grow is by challenging ourselves. And maybe a different passion awaits me.

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The pros and cons of routine

This is my seventh year of teaching, and I somehow forget every year how exhausting the first full week of school with students is.

Teaching rules and routines (even with high schoolers…especially with high schoolers.) Professional development. Meetings. Meetings about meetings. Meetings for meetings. Parents. Coworkers.

I always try to give myself a little grace during these first few weeks. I know that I am not alone – most teachers readily admit that they keeled over on Friday afternoon after the final bell rang. Thankfully, it was my birthday and Bob took me to Umi where I ate my feelings with my chopsticks. And then keeled over.

I got in a long-ish run on Tuesday and one yesterday. The heat has been oppressive lately and I really need to get on that gym membership research. I miss swimming (for those of you who don’t know, I swam competitively from ages 9-18) and want to start cross-training with that and yoga. You see, though I crave the establishment of routine during the school year, I tend to dread it when it comes to working out.

At any given point in my late 20’s to early 30’s (I’m 31 now, yo) workout career, I have considered the following:

  • Ballet (took ballet from ages 4-8 and again in college, where we had to write papers, seriously?)
  • Gymnastics (mildly obsessed with it. But girl. Your hips crack when you merely sit down)
  • Running (oh hey I do that)
  • Swimming (see above, butterfly you are my nemesis but I miss 200 IM)
  • Heated vinyasa yoga (oh hey I do that too.)

I’m considering making another bucket list to do by age 32. So maybe a semi-consistent workout routine should be on there!

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