back pain

Bend Adventures

For the holiday weekend (and my birthday) we went to Bend! We haven’t been in winter time in a few years. I think maybe 2 years ago for my birthday? We rented a house with friends who had never been snowshoeing before and we arrived and there was…no snow…?

Well this year we booked the same house we stayed in last May with my parents (see that post for photos of the house!). Man, looking back at those posts from last year…Logan is so tiny! He looks like a little baby still. Awww heart melting…he’s such a big boy now!

Our friends that came with us this time have a 5 year old daughter, so it was nice to have another kid for Logan to play with. Logan LOVED it! He was following her around and copying everything she did. It was totally adorable.

We also discovered that the park across the street from the house we rented was PERFECT for little kids! Logan had such a blast. We went to the park a few times.

So we caravan-ed to Bend and stopped in Madras for a quick lunch (Mexican food) and then checked into our house. Saturday was WARM! We totally did not need jackets when we walked to the park for the kids to blow off some steam. Sitting in the car for 3 hours is hard. Logan did great and slept for a good portion of it, but he was happy to be out of the car and playing on the swings and slides and kid toys.

It was about 62 degrees! It was crazy! Like I said, no jackets needed. I was beginning to be a tad worried about our plans to snowshoe……….

So for dinner Saturday night, our friends made a delicious pasta dish (Michael and Ben had walked down to Growler Phil’s to fill the growlers, pick up some breakfast sausage at the meat department, and go to the grocery store for some essentials) and we munched on bread and cheese and drank beer. It was all so tasty! What a fun night. Lots of good food. The kids went to bed pretty easily. And then we all got in the hot tub with some champagne!

Just in case you were wondering…a hot tub and champagne sound like an AMAZING idea, and it was at the time, but dang did it give me a headache! I guess the combo on the champagne and the heat. The hot tub felt so good though! I was still a little under the weather, so it was nice to just relax. We chilled in the hot tub (it was probably about 25 degrees overnights outside in Bend) and then I went to bed a little early because I knew the munchkin would be up at dawn. (And I was right.)

Sunday morning I got up with Logan and made coffee and had some breakfast. Then everyone else got up and we took the kids up to Mount Bachelor. It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day. And there was no snow.

Are you kidding me??!?!?!

I am beginning to think we are cursed! Both times we have taken friends to Bend in January to snowshoe (for their first times!!!) there was NO SNOW. We are seriously cursed. UGH.

So we couldn’t find any snow to snowshoe. Michael’s back was bothering him so he stayed back at the house with the dogs and the rest of us set out to find somewhere the kids could at least sled. Wanoga Sno Park had enough snow that we could sled, so all was not lost!

I bundled Logan up pretty good, even though it wasn’t that cold and everybody went sledding. Logan LOVED watching everybody sled. I found a teeny tiny hill and took Logan sledding with me about half a dozen times. He LOVED it and said “WEEEEEEEE” and he laughed. But when I tried to put him in the sled by himself and pull him on the snow he did NOT like that at all.

After sledding for a bit we went back to the Virginia Meissner Sno Park to go for a “hike”. It was such a beautiful day out with the sun and we had some time and wanted to be outside with the kids, so we all “hiked.” Below are pictures of our trek on the snow. If you want to see pictures of what it would look like WITH SNOW, check out this post and this post. Dammit! I can’t believe there was no snow again!!

For the first time ever, I tried hiking with Logan in the Kelty backpack with me carrying him. Michael usually does it. I’ve wanted to try it before and we’ve made plans for me to try carrying Logan to try and build up the strength to do it for longer, but we just never got around to it. So this was trial by fire! First, Logan is 30 pounds (and he’s not 2 yet) and the pack is probably 10. So an extra 40 pounds on me was hard and weird. It was doable, but my shoulders are what hurt me, honestly. It was really really hard on the shoulders. Maybe I needed to adjust it? I don’t know. I carried him for about 1/2 a mile up the snowy/icy, empty trail, then took him off to give my shoulders a break. Logan walked for some of it. Then I just carried him.

And Ben helped on the way back. 🙂 I definitely need to practice carrying Logan in the backpack before hiking again. It was also a weird distribution of weight. A few times I felt like if I lost my balance and fell backwards, I’d just lay there like a turtle. 😉

We went back to the house and had lunch (sandwiches) and everybody kind of chilled. Logan didn’t want to take a nap so I decided to go for a little drive and give him a chance to nap in the car. I drove around some of the fancy areas of downtown Bend, up in the hills, overlooking everything. I was pretty high up there and there was a ton of mist and fog. It was cool and kind of spooky.

Then I pulled over because all of a sudden a huge deer ran across the road and into someone’s front yard! I stopped to watch as the deer grazed and then another deer joined him. I sat there for about 15 minutes and just watched as a family of deer (about 5 of them) were all together. It was really cool to see! I posted some videos on my instagram.

I went back to the house eventually and the guys watched the kids while Charla and I went for a walk and back to Growler Phil’s because I wanted more Boneyard. 😀

We ended up ordering pizza for dinner and just eating in. It was easier with the kids. There was a restaurant we REALLY wanted to try but the wait was SO long we gave up.

The kids went to bed after dinner. I escaped to the hot tub and enjoyed it by myself for about 30 minutes, reading my book and eating gelato (!! perfect !!) before Ben and Charla joined me for a bit. Man, after spending an hour + in the hot tub relaxing, I slept SO good that night. I think we might need a hot tub at our house…

Monday Morning…bright and early…packing, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and then we went to the park for one last hurrah.

 

I feel so bad for Bella. Saturday was her birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA!) and she was basically cooped up in the house most of the weekend because there wasn’t any snow, we didn’t take her on the hike because Virginia Meissner doesn’t allow dogs…I just felt bad. And I felt bad for our friends who didn’t get to snowshoe. SIGH. Seriously. Where is the snow?!?

Monday we drove back to Portland and Logan slept the entire drive home, it was amazing. Unpacked, chores, laundry, I hit the gym since I didn’t get any workouts in really, and then I collapsed into our bed for a fantastic night’s sleep!

Things That Have Helped My Running

I was talking to a friend recently who is training for Hood To Coast and she was talking about how she hates running. Or at least, hates it until she gets out there and is actually doing it. Two things: 1) I think part of the reason I think a lot of people hate running* (*but want to do it anyways) is because it’s HARD and sometimes it HURTS….and 2) I love running. Love it. It’s hard. Sometimes it hurts. But I love it.

I’ve loved it since I started running 10 years ago. I started running because I was getting pretty close to my goal weight and I was full of ENERGY. Tons of it. Going from being obese and not very active to suddenly being athletic, I had tons of energy and it was just a natural progression for me to start running.   Some of my favorite running memories are the places I’ve run.

#1 – Hawaii! The below photo was from a run in Kona I did years ago. I absolutely loved running from our condo to downtown Kona, partially along the coast, and seeing the sights on foot. Whenever we go on vacation, my desire is to go for a run and see my new environment that way. Also, running with Michael in Maui on our honeymoon is one of my favorite memories of our trip, too. (And it started his interest in running!) The scenery was so gorgeous and the weather was perfect…and running along the ocean is amazing. It cannot be beat!

#2 – Vegas! I’ve run in Vegas many times and it’s so fun. You can see parts of the Strip that you don’t normally visit, a little off-the-beaten-path. The nice thing about running in Vegas is that you aren’t stuck in the Casino gym, you can people watch, and you are usually up early enough that it’s not as crowded. #3 – Santa Monica When we went to LA and Santa Monica a few years ago, I didn’t run in LA/Hollywood but I did run in Santa Monica on Muscle Beach. There was a boardwalk and path so you can run “on” the beach. 🙂 It was gorgeous. I seriously need to live somewhere with warm weather and beaches. 😉

#4 – Bend Back in May, we took a family trip to Bend for the time not in winter! It was so nice to be in the high desert in the summer time, with the sunshine and warm weather. And being in the desert, my body aches and pains vanished. I clearly need to move the desert. Basically somewhere warm where my body doesn’t hurt. #5 – Arizona Lastly, Arizona. I’ve been to Arizona a few times now and went for runs. The first time was with my dad. It was fun running with him (even though my 60+ year old dad was a faster runner than I was!) and we saw this snake: Obviously running with my dad was a fun memory. I also ran by myself the last time I was in Tucson for a friend’s wedding. It was nice just being out on the road with me, my music, the sunshine and the desert.

Running Injuries

This post is about tools and tricks that have helped me start running, become a better runner, and get over running injuries I’ve had in the past. It’s no secret that I am The Queen of Running Injuries. I think I’ve had most of them. Whomp whomp.

Runner’s Knee was the worst of them because it really sucked, it hurt even to walk during the worst of it, and it took forever to get over it. I think what makes me LOVE running so much is that for awhile there, I couldn’t do it. Not being able to run when you really want to makes you want it more. At least, it did for me.

Now on to the list!  

Knee Straps

For awhile there I was using K-Tape. I know a lot of people swear by it and I used it for a long time to help with my runner’s knee injury (that lasted several years) but the tape really did awful things to my skin. It ripped my skin, made it red, made my skin itch really badly…it looked terrible and if you were really sweaty, the K-Tape wouldn’t stay on. So, I did some research and found runner straps for my knees. CUE ANGELS SINGING. Thank goodness I found these “jumpers knee” straps on Amazon because they were seriously a life saver. They worked like magic with my runner’s knee and didn’t irritate my skin! I swear by these and still use them when I run, mostly out of habit now–not sure I still need them but slightly nervous to try running without them.

Garmin Watch/Heart Rate Monitor

When Michael got me a Polar Heart Rate monitor 8 years ago, I’d never used one before, didn’t really know much about them and didn’t understand why I needed one…until I started using it. It was like a light-bulb went off. I was suddenly able to see how inefficient I was at running and I used the heart rate monitor to help me train better and pay more attention to my heart rate in relation to pacing. Also? I was able to get a more accurate number of calories burned from each activity I did, instead of just guessing based on an internet website calculator. This REALLY helped me with my weight loss goals! I’ve recently switched over to a Garmin watch and absolutely love it. Check out my review here.

Foam Roller We now have a collection of foam rollers in our house and Michael uses them religiously every night. I use the foam rollers after running or some activity that I can tell I will be sore from (lower body weight lifting, for example). I seriously suggest anyone who is even sort of interested in running, or who does a lot of working out, to invest in your own foam roller at home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a kink somewhere in my body that it fixed.

Strength Training and PT Exercises  A lot of things helped me become a better runner and get over my various injuries but I would have to say the most important has been strength training problem areas that are causing the issues. According to my physical therapist, runner’s knee is due to weak glutes. So I do a lot of focused work on that area and I’ve noticed a difference when I do it on a regular basis.

Check out these old posts about that:

Favorite Lower Body Workouts

Physical Therapy exercises

Oddly enough, what really seemed to help a lot with my Runner’s Knee issues was having a baby. After I had Logan and started getting back into running, I didn’t seem to have the same issues I had pre-baby. (Knock on wood!) One things I did have? Hip issues and low back issues after having a baby. Basically, I had no core. I’ve been working so hard for the last year to strengthen my core and get back into running shape. PT and core exercises have done wonders.  

Regular Massages/Chiropractor Visits Thank goodness for insurance! I can get 1 massage a month covered by insurance so I only pay $25 a visit in order to get a massage or see the chiropractor. In the past I could only get a massage a few times a year. Doing it monthly really has helped a lot to keep injuries from becoming worse. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover any of that “alternative care” options (sometimes they do but don’t tell you) and take advantage of it.

Runner’s Up: I wanted to add a few things to the end of this list. I think it’s really important to get fitted for running shoes at a running store, by a professional. It made a HUGE difference in the early days of my running. It’s often free, too, so what do you have to lose? Go get fitted! And don’t forget to replace your running shoes a few times a year.

QUESTION: What has been the biggest help in your running?