Knowing when to cry Uncle

If you asked my husband, he would tell you that I choose to learn everything the hard way. It’s a trait of mine that drives him crazy.

One of the reasons GPP appealed to me when I first discovered it via Janetha’s blog almost two years ago was I was tired of being injured. As a runner, cross training and strength training bored me to tears and I’d do anything I could think of to avoid it. Combine that with my overzealousness and I dealt with my fair share of injuries and often needed to take time off to heal. I think I was injured just as often as I was healthy.


Since starting GPP in May 2012, I’ve not been injured once. Not once. I attribute this change to a lot off cross/strength training (I’m not sure I would call myself a runner anymore) and learning when my body’s telling me to back off.

Where am I going with this?


I got a new pair of Reebok Your Flex cross training shoes for Christmas. They’re pink, lightweight, and have a smaller toe-to-heel drop than my previous Nike Free Runs. I love them. But, in typical Maria-fashion, I got a little too excited to start using them and went at Hellth Week full-force this week in my new shoes, giving my calves little time to adapt to the lower heel drop.

I knew better.

I might have gotten away with it if every workout this week hadn’t involved some type of explosive movement. But Monday’s high knees, Tuesday’s burpees, Wednesdays side-step kettlebell swings, and yesterday’s box jumps caught up to me. My calves were extremely sore Tuesday and Wednesday, but seemed to be close to normal yesterday, minus a little tightness during a tough leg workout. I woke up this morning expecting to be so sore from yesterday’s shenanigans. But, surprisingly, I wasn’t sore at all. I thought I had somehow outsmarted Hellth Week and was about to emerge a Champion.

I was wrong. So wrong.


Today’s workout involved burpees and pushups. I hate burpees, but was psyched to see it was only a 25-minute workout. Most of the workouts this week have had me going for 45+ minutes, which is pretty rare for GPP. As I began the workout, I noticed a weird pull in my right calf. I shook it off and kept moving, though. After a few more rounds, the pull had become a throbbing sensation, so I decided to forego the hop at the top of the burpee, in an attempt to complete the workout. A few more rounds, minus the hop, went by but my right cal continued to throb. Which immediately told me it was time to say, “Uncle” and stop for the day.

I’ve extended the life of injuries so many times by letting my pride get in the way. It pains me to start something and not see it all the way through. It eats at my very core. But I’ve learned, the hard way of course, that it’s a lot more painful to take weeks and weeks off because my stubbornness and pride caused me to keep going when my body was giving me clear signs to stop.

Even though I’m pissed I didn’t finish that workout, I know at the end of the day GPP isn’t about RX-ing every (or any) workout. It’s about being fit and healthy enough to do all the other stuff in life outside  of the gym. And sometimes that requires knowing your own limits and crying, “Uncle.”


I’m taking it easy for the rest of the day and RICE-ing (rest, ice, compression, elevation) in hopes of finishing out Hellth Week tomorrow with the rest of my GPPeeps.


I’m sure these guys won’t mind the extra cuddles.


Badass, Crazy, or Both?

Hey guys. I have a few minutes to write a post before we head out for dinner.

The last few weekends have been SO busy and this weekend was no different. Saturday was spent running errands and yesterday was a mixture of fun (early AM hiking with Marc) and work (office BBQ). All-in-all I am spent and ready for a weekend at home soon. No matter how much fun I am having, being out and about all day totally wears my body out.


I was up and at ‘em at 4:30 yesterday morning (couldn’t fall back asleep) and met Marc at 6 to climb Jyouyama again. This time I climbed in my Vibrams and it was so fun to feel the rocks under my feet. They also made it way easier to grip as I was climbing up.

We were up and back down before the supermarkets were even open, which is pretty cool.


We saw this little Fiddler Crab on the way back down. How cute is he? He was ready to take a bite outta Marc, but couldn’t quite get to him.


I started this morning with a 1.5 mile run in my Nike Free Run 3s. So far, I REALLY love running in these. I sincerely hope things don’t go South with these shoes because my feet seem to be very happy and pain-free. Let’s not talk about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

This is the longest I have ran in well over a month. It was a little tough because of the humidity, but my legs were actually feeling good. Thanks GPP.

I mentioned in a previous post that I am registered for the Detroit Free Press Marathon (October 21). Since my stress fracture popped up—which now seems to be healed—I was pretty sure I would not be training for/running the full marathon. However, I still think it might be possible.

I’ve modified my original training plan to include more weeks of training at lower mileage. I’m going to just go with it and train as long as I have no injuries. I’m not training for time—I’d just like to enjoy the process and complete my second marathon. I’m also curious to see how routinely strength training with GPP affects my running.

For the record, J is totally against me running the full at this point and thinks I am crazy. I realize he is probably right, but I can’t help but wonder, “What if I can?” Runners are insane people and I DO NOT recommend anyone else doing this or following my example. Please be smart and ready before beginning a marathon training plan. If this were my first marathon I wouldn’t even consider it. If at any time training becomes a danger to my health I will stop without question—running is fun, but there’s more to life than running.

So you tell me: attempting this marathon—badass, crazy, or both? I’m going to go with both.

There is no shortcut

I sometimes get e-mails, Facebook messages, and tweets from friends, family, and strangers who have decided to get healthier. These people always ask the same questions (which I really don’t mind answering!) — How’d I lose the weight?, Do I have any saggy post-weight loss skin?, and How do I maintain now? — but I’m afraid they probably don’t like the answers I give them.

Because the truth is I lost the weight through hard work: lots of educating myself, portion control, and good, old-fashioned exercise. We live in a world that wants what it wants NOW, but sustainable weight loss doesn’t work this way, in my experience. I maintain my healthy lifestyle the exact same way I began it: lots of educating myself, portion control, and good, old-fashioned exercise.

The truth is, there’s NO shortcut to reaching goal and staying there. The same hard work it took to get me to goal is what it takes to stay there. And when I decide I don’t really need to eat vegetables today, or that another scoop of peanut butter won’t kill me, that’s when I start to see goal slipping away. It’s a daily commitment that I have to remind myself of because deep down I will always be that fat girl who loves cheesecake and sleep more than most anything. I choose to overcome that everyday and make the necessary choices to stay healthy (and happy!).

So where is this post going? Today was a genuine test of my commitment to fitness.

I woke up early, which should have been a good sign, but pitter-pattered around the apartment too long before eating breakfast. That damn Internet sucks my morning away all the time—I should work on that. Before I knew it, J was reminding me that we needed to leave soon to run errands and go out for lunch, and I still had not worked out.

I took yesterday as a rest day, which means I really should work out today. There was no reason to not work out, except laziness, so I PROMISED myself I would do it when we got back home. Four hours and lots of walking later we were home and I was EXHAUSTED. Totally spent. Work out? Forget it! I took a nap, woke up, and got my GPP on anyway—because I’m committed to my health and my goals.

It would have been so easy to say, “Nah, I’m too tired. I’ll just workout tomorrow.” But those unnecessarily missed workouts add up. Good choices add up, too, though.


Admittedly, another reason I was able to force the workout was because I wanted to test out my new running shoes. After a few more runs in my Vibram Five Fingers, I’ve decided that my feet just aren’t liking barefoot running as much as I am, which is a shame. But, I’d heard that the Nike Free Runs were a good alternative because they have less drop than a traditional running shoe and a little cushioning. So, after much research (they’re retail at $100, so you best believe I was Googling  my little heart out!) I decided to hop on a good deal I found today.

My thoughts after one run? Love them. They feel so natural and light on my feet, yet I can maintain my mid-foot strike. (After running in Vibrams-only for 4 months, a heel strike feels so awful.) I hope they continue to work well for me.

And today’s weekly weigh-in:

A surprise.


(In case you’ve read this post hoping for an answer to the saggy skin question: Yes, I do have saggy post-weight loss skin. I think it’s a beautiful reminder of the person I used to be and never want to return to.)

Packing mayhem begins

Oh Goodness. Another week’s come and gone before I know it. Truthfully, I’m pretty A-OK with that. This girl is ready to get her butt home to the U.S.A. and every week that goes by is one week closer to getting there.

Approximately 11 weeks remaining in Japan at this point.

This morning I woke up and stormed the GPP WOD. Loved every tough minute of it—all 19 of them. Then, I went for a little run. Yes, a run. That would happen the day after I posted a blog about running, wouldn’t it? My foot didn’t hurt, but I’m not getting my hopes too high yet.

The rest of my day was consumed by this:


Boxes, boxes everywhere. I’m seriously tired of moving and ready to find some place to settle down.

We’re mailing off some of our stuff tomorrow and needed to get it packed up today.

I also tackled this mess:


My closet, sans doors, before and after. I’m donating THREE boxes of stuff tomorrow, too, which I’m taking as a sign that I should STOP BUYING CLOTHES.

Here’s this week’s weigh-in:

If you want to feel bad about yourself, let YouTube pick your video still. ;)

I’m going out with some friends tonight for dinner, drinks, and karaoke. My goal is to enjoy the evening and have fun, but keep my portion and drinks in check.

Another Stress Fracture!?!

So, the post I’ve been alluding to for a week now…

I have a stress fracture in my left foot. At least, I think I have a stress fracture in my left foot—I haven’t gone to have a X-ray because those are expensive and it might not even show up unless it’s really starting to heal. But that familiar, nagging, burning pain is ever present these days after vigorous, high-impact activity.


[[A little backstory—I’ve had one previous stress fracture (in my right foot) from running. It was brought on my increasing my mileage too fast. I did get that one checked out and was told to rest for 8 weeks. About 10 weeks later I was back to running.]]

I’m sidelined with a stress fracture for the next 6-8 weeks—6 if I caught it early enough—so, now what? Do I take it easy for the next month and a half and just be extra careful with my diet? NO! There are so many exercises out there that are already low-impact or can be modified to work as low-impact. Also, I can still walk, swim, bike, and do cardio machines and DVDs.

Getting to the gym isn’t very convenient for me right now. I’m committing to home work outs that keep my heart and metabolism pumpin’ but let my foot heal. I posted one of those earlier in the week: low-impact circuit. Every Monday I’ll to share a workout I’ve come up with for Monday Movement, so keep your eyes open for those. For the time being, they will be low-impact, but after my foot heals I will kick them up a notch to include more explosive and high-impact moves.

And yes, after healing, my foot will be back to running. I love it, even when my body doesn’t cooperate. However, the Detroit Free Press Marathon I’m registered for on October 21 isn’t looking too promising. There’s just no way I can let my body heal AND get my mileage up high enough to begin marathon training in mid-June. Another year, I hope.

Good to be back

Hello friends. After a week-long vacation in Okinawa (the Southern-most islands in Japan), I’m back home and jumping right back into my daily routines.

Okinawa was a lot of fun, but didn’t quite live up the the tropical paradise I had envisioned.


Nevertheless, I did make it to the beach one day to hang out on the sand. It was still a little too cold for swimming, though. And I got a pedicure. A real one. :)

Today was back to workouts. We did a lot of walking on vacation, which made my feet ache, but I didn’t do any structured workouts. The last time I posted, I mentioned ankle pain and had decided to take a few weeks off. It’s been two weeks and my ankle seems to be feeling okay.


I went for a really short run this morning (feel are still a bit tired from SO MUCH WALKING) and didn’t notice any pain. Not sure if the lack of pain is from taking time off or not—we got massages while we were on vacation and the masseuse really worked my feet good. I had been struggling with ankle pain earlier that day, but haven’t noticed it again since the massage. Score!


Something I thought about a bit while we were on vacation and I was taking my running break was the issue of barefoot running. At this point I have two competing desires: I want to become a barefoot runner (via the Vibram Fivefingers) but I also want to train for a fall marathon that I’m registered for. I honestly do not feel I can safely do both. I know my body well enough to know how far I can push it.

At the end of the day the marathon is more important to me. So I’m back in running shoes and going to buy a new pair for when training officially begins in mid-June.

In the meantime, I’m going to begin slowly building some base miles and pray my body holds up well.

Confused, frustrated, and… injured.

Running has been going incredibly well the last 2.5 months when BAM! my ankle starts acting up and it seems I’m injured.

My ankle pain started pretty gradually during a speed workout last week and has continued to hurt every single run since, even after taking a few rest days.

I tried running again yesterday, and struggled through 3.5 miles. They were slow and didn’t feel good at all.


The pain is behind my left ankle and spreads forward up to the 5th metatarsal bone. After posting on the Runner’s World Barefoot Forum and doing some research of my own, all signs point to Peroneal Tendonitis.

I just dealt with hip tendonitis last year, and know how frustratingly slow tendonitis can be to heal, so I feel like slamming my head into a wall when I think about it. However, I’m only a week past the first signs of injury and I’m stopping activity immediately—hopefully the tendonitis is minimal and I can return to running in a few weeks.


There are a few possible reasons the tendonitis has developed, but looking back at my mileage from the last month, I can see the problem pretty clearly. I went from comfortably running 4-5 miles a week in Vibram Fivefingers (VFF) to pushing myself to 10-12 miles in VFF. Those miles seemed comfortable, but the progression was too quick for my body and overloaded the tendons. 10 Percent Rule say what?

I do want to note that I didn’t ever push myself to run through any Too Much Too Soon pain… I felt good running this mileage, but my body didn’t tolerate it well.

What now?

My current game plan is to RICE, RICE, baby. Lots of REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION. I’ve also seen massaging and foam rolling the Peroneal tendons and muscles recommended on nearly every site I’ve read, so I’ll be doing that, too.

Once I’m pain-free, I’ll slowly make my return to running. Will that be in the VFF? I’m still thinking about that… I do LOVE barefoot (mid-foot strike) running, but I also have my eyes set on a fall marathon I’m registered for. Can I safely ramp up my mileage in the VFF for a marathon this year? I don’t know. I may choose to invest in a pair of minimalist (but still slightly-cushioned) training shoes for long runs and stick with the VFF for shorter runs. I’m still thinking about it, but I know the marathon is my priority

I’m heading on vacation next week, so maybe this injury happened at just the right time to slow me down and redirect my focus.