Speed bump

A runner’s worst nightmare…random knee pain out of nowhere.

Training was going great. I had a rhythm to each week. Long runs were going great. I was even figuring out nutrition and trying out solid food while running. (More on that next week.) I had settled on a 4:1 walk run ratio.

And then stupid me decided to change it up. I switched to a 3:1 walk run ratio for my 4 mile Tuesday run. The run felt fine from beginning to end. I went inside after my run, made a smoothie, and then went down to my office to sync my Garmin and update my training log. When I stood up from my desk chair, my left knee had a sharp stabby pain around the knee cap. I instantly knew it was runner’s knee (a.k.a patellofemoral pain syndrome). I have had it before, but it surprised me. The last time I experienced it, the pain was a gradual build up and was accompanied by IT band pain and tightness.

I haven’t been doing much strength training or stretching, so that was mistake number one. And mistake number two was not switching back to my trusty Saucony Guides as the running increased and walking decreased. You’d think after nearly 10 years of running that I would learn my lesson. Nope…runners are stubborn and inherently forgetful when it comes to injuries.

I took Wednesday and Thursday off and then tried a 2 mile treadmill run on Friday. There was still a lot of pain and discomfort. I got a soft brace to wear at work. And of course, I pulled out my PT exercise arsenal and started doing exercises and stretching twice a day starting Tuesday evening.

I was sad to miss my long run today, but my knee feels much better. Mr. Neon and I went on a 2 mile walk with minimal pain and virtually no pain since. PT for the win! I think I’ll try for a longer walk tomorrow. Sadly my next week’s worth of run/walks will be on treadmill because it’s going to be COLD in Kansas.

Fingers crossed my knee continues to improve and I continue to stick to a routine of strength exercises.

Ultrarunner in Training

Remember when I said I was going through an identity crisis and was considering changing this blog’s name? Remember what I said my screen name no longer felt relevant because my running motivation was waning? Yeah…about that…forget I said it.

NeonRunnerGirl is BACK! Sort of… I haven’t talked about it on here at all, but I’ve mentioned it IRL to a handful of people. Starting on January 1st, I started training for my first ultramarathon…a 50K! That’s 10 5Ks stacked back to back. At least that’s how my brain sees it. 31 miles. The best part is that walking is still a huge part of my training. All of my runs so far have been done as a walk/run. I went back to my Galloway roots and started with a 9:1 walk run and progressed to my current 4:1 walk run. My average pace is around 13:30. I think I’ll play around with cutting down the walk to 3 minutes and again to 2 minutes, but running for 1 minute seems to be my happy place. At least for now.

I’m excited to see where this takes me. I feel better, stronger, taller. I’ve been doing yoga, balance work, and meditation on my rest days. I’m putting down mileage numbers that I never have before with less wear and tear on my body. Even after Saturday long runs, my legs just feel tired. Sunday doubles are becoming my favorite thing, because they force me to keep the muscles moving and keep the dreaded DOMS away.

I’ll share my training as I go, but I still don’t think running will dominate this blog. I’ll still be writing a lot about my mental health journey and my self-discovery following my ADHD diagnosis.

Stay tuned.

Am I actually an introvert?

When I was a college freshman at K-State, I took Intro to Leadership Studies. I can’t remember why I took it. I think it was part of my scholarship requirements. I was briefly interested in pursuing the leadership minor, but other courses got in the way. Anyway…as part of the course, we took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI). Not an online one, but the actual paper-and-pencil fill-in-the-bubble test that you have to wait for the results in the mail. I remember the professor being very adamant that we needed to think seriously about our answers and not answer with how we want people to see us. We needed to be honest with ourselves about our responses. That’s a lot to ask of a room full of 18 and 19 year olds.

When I look back on those instructions from the professor, I realize I was full of baloney. I definitely did not answer those questions with how I truly felt about myself and my interactions with other humans. But I know I wasn’t fully aware that’s what I was doing. I realize now that I was masking my neurodivergence…my ADHD, my social anxiety, my sensory issues. To hide the true way that my brain functioned, I acted like an outgoing, confident, smart young woman ready to take on the world. Inside, I was insecure, lost, and always anxious.

As a college freshman, I tested as an ENTP. This personality is what 16personalities.com calls The Debater. At the time, it made sense. That’s how I wanted to be perceived. When I take any of the online versions of the MBTI now, I test as a INTJ or The Architect. This makes a lot more sense with how my adult life has progressed and with the discoveries I have made about my mental health.

Am I really an introvert that has been masking as an extrovert most of my life? I have often referred to myself as an ambivert since I tend to share traits from both types.

It’s incredibly unnerving, but at the same time, enlightening to realize these things about myself at the age of 39. I suppose that’s why I feel such a sense of hope for 2023. I am finally coming out of my shell and embracing my “oddness” rather than try to hide it or avoid it. Or argue with my family members when they point out how “weird” I am.

I’m not weird…I’m not odd…I’m neurodivergent. And it may be corny to say, but I do think my neurodivergence is one of my superpowers.

Identity Crisis

For nearly two months now I have been brainstorming how to rebrand my blog/social media identity online. NeonRunnerGirl has worked for so many years, but now I feel like it’s not as relevant and not really what I want to focus on with my blog writing.

Of course, being neurodivergent has made this task extra challenging. I spend waste large chunks of time checking different username configurations. At a minimum, I’d like to have twitter, instagram, and a .com URL. This is proving to be a stumbling block in 2022. Lots of usernames are already taken, even if they aren’t being actively used.I have a long list of buzz words that I would like to use in some combination. And so far, I’ve come up empty on a final idea. I even recruited my husband and oldest son to help me. They both helped me add a few more ideas to the list, but I’m still stuck. And as of now, I’m still NeonRunnerGirl.

This identity crisis I find myself in the middle of has two parts. One part is attached to my lack of motivation for running. While running will always be a huge part of my adult transformation, I just feel like it’s not the foreground of who I am. Being a runner isn’t the first thing I want the online community to see about me.

The other part of the identity crisis is that I am going through the typical (such a funny word for me to use right now) unmasking following a late stage (or adult) ADHD diagnosis. So many parentheses. But then my mind often works in parenthetical thoughts. Tangets! Squirrel!

More later.

Top Ten Books of 2022

I made it easy on myself this year. I went through my Goodreads reading challenge for the year and found all the five-star ratings. Conveniently there were 10 books that I gave 5 stars.

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
2. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
3. The Winners by Fredrik Blackman
4. Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane L. Rosen
5. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
6. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
7. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
8. Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
9. How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis
10. The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson and illustrated by Jo Rioux

I’m not sure I’m going to make it to 100 this year. I’ve got a few days left and 3 books left. I may “cheat” and read two graphic novels and one regular novel.

Compared to previous years, I feel like I’ve read more adult fiction. And those seem to be the books that resonated the most with me looking at this list. Only one graphic novel made the list, as well as only one young adult novel. Truly Devious is part of a series. I read them all, but the first book was the only one I gave five stars on Goodreads. I read many excellent chapter books and middle grade fiction, but I didn’t give any of them five stars on Goodreads.

How to Keep House While Drowning is the best non-fiction, self-help book I have ever read. If you have ever struggled with housework and the day-to-day tasks in life, please read it.

The other seven books are all adult fiction. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they surprised me. They were all amazing. T.J. Klune is my new favorite author. Fredrik Blackman is a masterful storyteller. Any new book written by Taylor Jenkins Reid will immediately be added to be TBR list.

I love looking back on my reading challenge. Books are such a big part of my life, not just because I’m a librarian. Books have always been my sanctuary…an escape from my own head.

And now that I’ve looked back, I can look forward and work on building the 2023 TBR list.