Coincidence or Message

Coincidence or Message

24 days left until the start of the 2017 New York City Marathon, my goal race for the year and my bucket list race for life.  I’ve shared the training highs, aha moments and struggles.  Anyone who has trained for a marathon knows that #thestruggleisreal, especially when doing so as a mere mortal.  I am a mother, wife, sister, friend, Principal and the list goes on an on.  I am not a professional runner, nor was I blessed with a body that can run like a gazelle, gracefully prancing through the woods.  Nope, I was blessed with a body that can run like a turtle, sometimes running through peanut butter, but this body can run indeed and for that I am thankful. Seriously, anyone who has run 26.2 miles, or any distance, knows the distance is the same no matter how fast or slow you run.

For me, it’s never really been about winning the race.  It’s always been more about doing it and finishing it.  For me it’s always been about the journey, the learning and the personal growth that comes along with both.  As an educator, I am working with my staff on teaching growth mindset principles to students.  Every day, we seek to cultivate and motivate our students to use their grit, determination and tenacity to power through struggles.  We know, and the research shows, that these traits will carry our students far in life.  We also know that we are always role models for our students and as such, must always practice what we preach.  How could I ever then, in good conscience, expect my students to struggle through to overcome their challenges if I quit and give up when faced with my own?

As I’ve hit this last obstacle, I’ve envisioned myself in what we loving call the Learning Pit at my school.  I’m down in that darn pit once again, but I am not going to stay there for long.  I am working hard and working my way out, everyday a little closer to my goals.  I do have moments where I realize that staying down would be far easier for me, but I also know the sheer joy of success when I reach the other side.  This week, I’ve had my moments.  A severely claustrophobic person heading into an MRI is not a pretty sight people.  In fact, you know you’re exceptionally challenged when the technician says to you upon entering – “Oh, I remember you.”  Yes, the struggle is real!  I admit to pushing the panic button once in the stand up MRI, clutching it the whole time and wanting to push it over and over again.  I admit this week to staying in bed for one day and skipping my scheduled workout.  It was the day after the MRI and I just “needed a moment” to regroup.  I admit to texting my coach Jessica and telling her I think we may need to break up.  But, as always happens on this crazy journey the signs to keep going kept coming at me a mile a minute.  These signs led me to once again question, “Are these signs a coincidence?, A sign? or God telling me – get up girl you got this and I got you.”

This week my local paper published a short article on my journey written by a man who interviewed me a few weeks ago.  Funny that it showed up in my life on Monday – Monday, Monday, you all know the day.

“Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin´ all of the time”

My running Instagram friend’s book finally arrived. I also got the audible version – something I’ve never done.  Listening to her beautiful voice as I walk, run or lay around has been so motivational this week.  Thank you Mirna Valerio for sharing your story with us all.  You are incredible!

As I was watching the news this morning, I saw an interview with a veteran who had lost both legs during his tour of duty.  He is now on a journey to run 31 marathons in 31 days on prosthetic legs!  I mean come on now, that is just totally amazing.  I listened to him say how he just accepted his loss pretty quickly and moved on to turn it into something good.  Well, this young man touched my heart and fostered some motivation to reengage with my climb out of this darn learning pit.

Finally, as always, I have to thank my coach.  Many coaches when receiving a break up text which included – “We’ll begin again in January and rebuild.” – would have responded OK, see you then, be well.  But mine, nope not her.  She was not letting me off the hook, rather she decided to throw a rope into the pitt and implore me to take hold of it.  She gave me the Moonstruck speech – you know the one – “Snap out of it” followed by a slap.  She reminded me that to just choose to heal, without strengthening or working to cure the dysfunction would just leave me back on the other side of this darn learning pit.

Back to the beginning of this journey is definitely not what I have in mind either.  I’ve put too much work into this struggle to just go home.  So, I am taking the weekend to regroup, alter my plans and get my butt outside to RUN.  My long run is Sunday and I’m shooting for – AS MANY AS I CAN, AS SLOW AS I MUST AND WITHOUT ANY TIME, HEART RATE OR PACE GOALS PLANNED.  WOOHOO

I feel my hand gripping that rope, I see my feet climbing the other side of the pit’s wall. Thanks to the signs sent my way this week, the message has been received loud and clear.  Onward!

Special thanks to my dear friend and coach Jessica Leggio for never giving up on me.  This is what good teachers do, they teach, push and love us.

Feeling like giving up?  Need some messages yourself?  Check out these links for some inspiration and keep climbing!

A Beautiful Work In Progress You will laugh with her, you will cry and most importantly you will leave motivated. Highly recommend the audible version through Amazon.

31 Marathons in 31 Days
Amazing story of overcoming obstacles

Last, but not least, meet my beautiful coach Jessica Leggio. Call her to set up a consultation and you will leave motivated to overcome your challenge. Mention my blog, or name – Laura Hess Kump – and get a free in person consultation!
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frunpainfreenow%2Fvideos%2F1509169139175171%2F&show_text=0&width=560

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Social Connections

Social Connections

What’s a runner to do when they are feeling down and out? Reach out and connect to other runners. The running community is made up of people from all walks of life.  We come in all different cultures, sizes, shapes, genders, religions and colors.  In this world of divisiveness, the running community is one of strong solidarity. When I was told last week I needed to get a MRI to rule out a femoral stress fracture I nearly lost it. I have worked so long and hard to run the New York City Marathon on November 5th. There was no way I could wrap my head around the thought of yet another injury delaying this goal. I decided then and there that no matter what I AM finishing this marathon.

Last Saturday, I put a post on my NYCM training page, comprised of hundreds of runners from all over the world, asking – “Are there any other injured souls out there interested in possibly walking the course and stopping for a beer in every borough?”  It was meant as a joke and a way to turn a negative situation into something positive.  I never anticipated the response to this post.  As I went through the day, I was totally distracted by the hundreds of responses that started pouring in immediately. Nancy Nowack was one of the first to respond and she truly has been a lightening rod in keeping this movement going.  And, as it turns out, we share the same running coach.  Coincidence we connected?  I think not!

What started as a simple joke post, ended up being a lifeline for many who thought they were down and out.  One runner responded from the Netherlands that this is his 39th NYC Marathon run and he planned to walk the entire course because he is currently unable to run.  Another, a runner said she plans to walk the course on crutches, something she has done at several other marathons.  My friend Helen, tore her meniscus and thought she was out of the marathon for a second year.  She now plans to walk the course.  Nancy decided to organize a separate Facebook group for anyone injured looking to still do the course that day.  It already has over 100 runners. Some of the comments I read this morning made my heart lift – “This group gave me renewed hope.”, “I can’t express what this group has done for my head, my anxiety has lessened.”  They even want to start a gratitude thread for Nancy!  YAY – way to lift each other up.

As for me, I still hope to run this race.  My coach Jessica is supporting my functional strength work and nutrition.   My MRI is scheduled for Thursday and the doctor promised me he’d read it and get back to me STAT with my results.  I know that even if it is a stress fracture, I’m pushing through that day to the finish line.  After that I’ll rest and recover.  I’ve come too far to give up and one more long run won’t kill me.  Most of my training is completed and I’m confident I can finish.  I never planned to win the darn race anyway, so who cares if it takes me a little bit longer to get it done.  Now, I also have the additional benefit of knowing there are so many other people in similar situations to mine who will be out there on the course that day.  What this experience has reminded me of, is that whenever you feel down and out reach out and make a human connection to others.  Don’t waste time on self pity, get yourself out there and find others who are in the same boat.  Together we can lift each other up and get this job done.  Together we are stronger than we are alone.

Are you injured, thinking you are down and out?  This post may be your lifeline to get back in the game.  Here’s how –

  1. Get an evaluation by a Functional Movement Specialist – Contact Jessica Leggio at    IMG_3210

Mention my blog and receive a free consultation visit to assess what could be preventing you from running.  This work is life changing and my only regret is that I didn’t find Jessica sooner.

2. Connect to our group of injured runners on Facebook at –

https://www.facebook.com/groups/162769204280794/

You’ll find many others walking similar paths and hopefully we will see you at the starting and finish line on 11/5/2017.

Drop me a line to get connected.  We are in this together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Runner Looks Like

What a Runner Looks Like

Taking a much needed mental break from training today. I suffered an ocular migraine at work this week and lost vision for a brief time in my left eye. Kind of scary stuff. Anyway, the doctor ran tests and assures me I’m fine. Just way too much stress in my life I guess. My son came up for the weekend and I’m taking it easy today. Tomorrow I am back out there running the Greta Gallop in Central Park.

Today’s column is a repost of an article I wrote for an online magazine that was published this week. It tells my story for anyone who doesn’t know me. All I can say is sometimes the struggle is very real. Taking it one day at a time. Thankful for all who continue to encourage me on this journey, especially my beautiful coach Jessica Leggio at http://www.runpainfreenow.com .

Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment in the section below. Please click the link below to view and read my article. Enjoy!

What a Runner Looks Like

Small Victories

Small Victories

Last week, I guess I hit a huge bump in the road.  My hip was sore, my feet hurt and I had a rough work week.   My running buddy was injured and out of the marathon and I was seriously questioning my ability to finish this thing.   Sunday, I planned to skip my long run as I just didn’t think I had it in me to do.

Sunday came and I decided to just give it a try.  I had nothing to lose since I already felt lost.   I put one foot in front of the other and started running.  13 miles later, I  met my husband down by the beach.  I was so proud of that run.   It was slow and steady and mostly pain free.   Could it be?   I felt like I had one foot on the ladder, ready to climb out of this darn pity party.

This week was a short work week. I met my trainer in Central Park on Thursday.   We did an hour of strength and she rolled my legs – ouch.   Off I went for a short 4 mile run in the park.  It felt slow, but when I got on the bus and looked at it I saw I had some nice segments.   Central Park is a tough run, so those PR segments really boosted my bruised ego.

This morning I met my trainer for our Saturday morning session.  I was sore from Thursday so her rolling helped.  After an hour of strength, activation and rolling I was ready to run.  I only needed a shorter run today as this is a recovery week.  I set my sights on Cat Hill and off I went.

Today’s run also had some strong segments, but overall these legs were tired.  I’m feeling like I’m in a much better space today.   My belief that I will finish marathon this has returned.  I wish I had more time to prepare, but it is what it is.

In speaking to other runners, there are many who are hurting right about now.  But, guess what, it’s supposed to be hard, it’s a marathon for heavens sake.  If it were easy it wouldn’t be a challenge and everybody would be doing it.  Just like I tell my students, the growth comes at the point of the struggle.   This week, I realized that I’m tougher than I thought.   It would’ve been easier to quit, truly.   But, then I’d be full of regret and have to do this all over again.  Nope, I’m not a quitter.  I’m in it to finish.  How about you?

Thanks Jessica for picking me back up off the floor.   Today I ran Central Park hills, tired but pain free.  http://runpainfreenow.com

How’s your training going?   What do you do when the going gets tough?   Leave me a messsage below.

Emotional Toll

Emotional Toll

Nobody warns you about the emotional toll of training for a marathon. You only envision the glory of the finish and even the accomplishments along the way. You hear all about losing toenails and the endless hours of running. But the emotional toll just kind of creeps in around 7 weeks out. Suddenly, that race that seemed so far away is fast approaching. You find yourself questioning your sanity and ability to even do this thing. You forget why in the world you even wanted to do it in the first place.

Unless you are an elite, professional runner, you are trying to fit this huge feat into your daily grind. Starts out ok, but trust me as the weeks move along it can become stressful. I happen to have a high stress job that pulls me in a million directions, usually at 90 mph. This is stress I manage pretty well on a daily basis. It is what is is. But, when you tack on this hefty training commitment it can become a bit much to handle.

During the summer, I have a ton of mind space for running and meal planning. There aren’t all these other demands on my body and emotions. An extra hectic school opening this year, full of life’s curveballs, has left me really tired this week. Whenever you deal with the emotions and needs of others you are bound to hit some bumps in the road. This training cycle has made me realize just how much of myself I give to everyone else and sadly how little I give myself.

My wonderful coach Jessica, http://runpainfreenow.com spent a lot of time today listening to me fall apart. She was patient and kind and for that I’m eternally grateful. Some days, I guess we need more than just a training session. Sometimes we need to hear that it’s ok to put ourselves first. To hear that while it is my job to shield my students from the stresses I absorb daily, that doesn’t mean I can’t share the load with the adults in my building. They, unlike my students, are adults. They too, if we are a team, should know the realities of what is faced on a daily basis to keep our school afloat. Maybe then they could gain some perspective beyond just their own. It can only serve to strengthen our team.

So, today I decided to put myself before anyone else. I’ll admit it felt quite selfish of me, but that’s the mindset that needs to change. Today, I spent time reading and relaxing after my trip to the city. I spent time in bed reading up on things I’m interested in. No news was on and no negativity permeated my zen space. I didn’t respond to work email, in fact I didn’t even read them.

Last night’s inability to sleep was my body warning me it’s on overload. I need to reel myself in and begin to set aside some time just for me. I am human like everyone else in my life and I too need time to recharge and rest. I can’t continue to put myself last.

As I move into this last phase of training my body is tired. My emotions are taking over and self doubt about my ability to finish are creeping in. I’m doubling down though and kicking that doubt to the curb. My coach and my running buddies will pull me through this race. The lessons I’ve learned about how I treat my own emotional needs will stick with me beyond the finish line. I matter and I am important.

Has your training begun to wear you down too? Do you have a coach like mine who is available 24/7 to get you through? If not, how are you surviving it? Leave your comments below.

Scaffolds

Scaffolds

In education when a child is not quite ready for a task we offer them a scaffold.  If a math problem is too complex for them we break it into smaller, more manageable parts.   In reading, we offer them books at their independent reading level, rather than expecting them all to read the same book.  Yet, when it comes to exercise tasks we tend to reject all scaffolds offered.  We look at these scaffolds as a sign of weakness rather than what they truly are, a way to lift us up and enable us to finish the task.

On today’s run, I started to think about this connection and realized I’m just as guilty as anyone of rejecting scaffolds.  I like to say I’m stubborn, determined or a true warrior.   Somehow lately I’m realizing that I’m foolish and letting my ego guide me rather than my common sense.

Scaffolds for runners are meant to help, not hinder, their development.  If the body is not quite ready to do what you are asking of it, you could end up getting injured.  Trust me, this I know first hand!  Building and developing the right muscles for the activity you want to perform is not an option.  You must spend the time and do the work to have proper functionality.   If something along your muscular chain is weak, something else will become overloaded and injury could follow.  My coach has finally got that point seared in my stubborn, I mean foolish, brain. I have now added some scaffolding to my training to ensure that I make it not only to the starting line, but also to the finish.

Since my Achilles has been giving me trouble, I’ve added the scaffold of running intervals on my runs.  This scaffold builds breaks for this muscle into each run.  Without them the repetitive motion over three hours could really put a strain on my Achilles.   It’s also been allowing me to work more on my form, hopefully developing the right muscle groups.   Another scaffold I’m embracing is slowing my pace on long runs.   Long runs are meant to develop endurance, not pace, so I’ve given myself permission to turn off the app that tells me my pace as I’m running.  My friend who has run 7 marathons shared with me that you can never run too slow on a long run.  He said during his training for his first marathon he ran himself into the ground.   During that race he barely finished with anything left in his tank.   Sounds like I need to slow it down on those long runs immediately.

Finally, today I gave myself the accommodation of flexibility.   I’m a very schedule driven runner.   I like to run super early to avoid car traffic and heat.  If I don’t go by 6:00 AM, I start stressing and thinking about running another day.  I never sleep in on weekends either.   Today, after two exhausting days at work, I woke at 3:00 AM ready to get moving.  I came down, had a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee. I then walked right back up and got back in my bed. I turned on the hurricane reports and before I knew it I decided to go back to sleep thinking I’d run tomorrow instead.   I woke again at 8:00, got up and did my pre-run activation routine. Then I went out and did my scheduled long run.  Honestly, it felt good to not rush out to run.  Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to change the plan, but not permission to skip it.

Scaffolds do not mean you’re any less or a runner than another.  They mean you are focused on completing your task.  Thanks coach Jessica for readjusting my perspective.

How are your workouts going?   Are you forcing yourself through them, or loving them?   If, like me you are running in pain, consider calling Jessica for a consultation.  She can truly help get you back on the road again.  Her site is https://www.runpainfreenow.com and her Twitter handle is #runpainfree .  Tell her Laura recommended you and get your consultation booked.  Let me know how it goes. It could be life changing.

Functionality

Functionality

Today before my run I met with my new trainer in Central Park.   Jessica from #runpainfree has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in working with runners.   She’s no nonsense and a true force to reckon with.   She’s traveling all over NYC most days lugging her tools and gear to meet runners where they are – out in the park.

Jessica spent time rolling my body with her torture stick.  Sounds bad, but really it’s oh so good in the long run. She then had me do some balance and strength work to fire up my glutes who never really want to join the party.   More rolling followed by some warmup moves that again got the glutes going.  After the hour, I was sent off to do my run and report back to her later about how it went.

I must say I really did feel a difference on the run today. Central Park is a tough place to run and the loop around it today felt different from last week’s trek. It wasn’t perfect, I mean she’s great but one session won’t fix 57 years of damage, but it did feel better.   I felt my glutes engage at some points during the run and it was awesome.   I did my 8 miles today feeling excited that I too can run pain free.

Jessica has great positivity, a trait I seek out always.   Don’t ever settle for anyone who isn’t positive or encouraging. Jessica adamantly told me not to let anyone tell me I can’t do this race. She carefully explained some of the functions of the muscles, tendons and connectivity between body parts in a way that I could understand.  She explained the motion of running and why my feet are hurting all the time. It really made sense to me and I truly want to learn more about this wonderful body and how it functions.

If you are struggling with pain and not getting anywhere with PT and/or chiropractor care, I strongly suggest you think about working with an Athletic Functional Movement Expert:Corrective.   Find the actual root of your pain, which may not be where you think it is. Work on your form and build your strength in targeted ways that will actually impact your running. And, if you are lucky enough, contact Jessica at https://www.runpainfreenow.com for a consultation and plan of action. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Today I have renewed hope that I will indeed finish this race. Thank you Jessica for your guidance and belief in me.

Are you dealing with any issues as you train for the marathon? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to connect. And, if you meet with Jessica mention my name (Laura Kump) so she tells me.   Then please let me know how it goes.