The setback

So the setback specifically is in regard to my toe (shocker!). I thought I was being smart with my return to running but apparently there was a delayed response in tendon overload. I ran fine at the Spring Lake 5 miler on May 27th. I didn’t run again until almost an entire week later for just 3.5 easy miles. Again, no issues. Two days later I ran another 5 miles and I think that was probably where the overload came in because the next day I felt a smidge more achy than usual and literally each day this past week it got progressively worse until I found myself limping by the end of the week. So sneaky that toe! Needless to say I’m back on running hiatus. But I learned something here and I’ll use this setback as a reminder that even if I feel good one day after a run or even two I need to wait it out a little longer.

The progress

While the toe has had a setback, I’m happy to report that I’ve been making progress in a few areas.

1. Yoga Poses: I am getting better at crow! And, last night I realized that about 15 minutes into class I could touch my fingers to the floor during forward fold which I don’t think I’ve been able to do before (hello tight hamstrings!). I had a really awful time this weekend when my toe hurt so bad I was struggling to walk and I was at the Jersey Shore with Mr. SOTSS and his daughter. I didn’t want his daughter to see me cry but I was in such pain. I really just wanted to curl up with Mr. SOTSS and cry my eyes out and have him comfort me but obviously it wasn’t appropriate at the time. And I didn’t want to ruin a fun night since she doesn’t get to see her dad that much.

A fake smile as I limped along the beach with Mr. SOTSS and his daughter and a full moon.

A fake smile as I limped along the beach with Mr. SOTSS and his daughter and a full moon.

So the progress in yoga was a well-needed lift to my spirits. It’s empowering to try new things, stick with them and then see small improvements and progress. (I wish I could say the same for biking but we all know I never found my groove there). And now this brings me to #2 but first watch my shaky crow:



Enjoying the last of the sunset from the window of the yoga studio

2. Mental Strength: Ok so this one was a huge aha moment for me last night at yoga. I’m gonna get a little deep here so bare with me. We were laying in Shavasana at the end of yoga class tonight and listening to the song “Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons. I felt so calm, so happy, so clear. This really sounds silly but I truly felt like I found a new way to soothe myself. A small choice to give yoga a shot in the midst of my toe injury depression has turned into 6 weeks of attending 2x a week and leaving class each and every time feeling not just good but great! My toe feels much better in the few hours after class, my core is getting attention after being ignored for so long. But most importantly my heart and my mind are getting a workout during practice that have their own “afterburn” effect.

Yay me!

Yay me!

I know you’re thinking “Um what’s the big deal? People do this every day.” Before my husband died (like a few weeks before he died….probably in March of 1999) I remember crying to my close friend when I thought about the inevitable funeral. Who would comfort me that day, because frankly the only person I wanted to comfort me would be him, but if he were laying in a casket that wouldn’t be an option now would it?! (side note: I read the book Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg recently and loved it because I could totally relate to so many things she said). Well, I survived not only the funeral but 15 years of widowhood (dating on and off but pretty much on my own) before meeting Mr. SOTSS. I learned how to comfort myself and pick myself up after every setback. I didn’t have a choice. It became something I was so proud of. And of course meeting friends like Lisa and beginning my journey into the running world only helped my mental game. A coworker once nicknamed me “the rock” because he was so impressed with how I kept moving forward. But something happened when I met Mr. SOTSS. Not right away because I still had my protective shell….but over the years I’ve started to rely on him more and more to help me with my moments of depression or anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to have a significant other who loves me and wants to comfort me in times of sadness but the more I rely on him and not myself the more I’m losing what I worked so hard to gain. Not to mention it really puts too much pressure on him because emotional support is not necessarily his strong suit…..he’s a dude and dudes are from Mars not Venus right? :) (Hi honey! Love you! ;)) Life is best lived in balance and I think 2017 is the year I’m learning this just a bit more. I’m learning to diversify! LOL! …adding yoga and hiking to my exercise passions. Adding a standing desk so I can balance the time I spend sitting while working. And now I can focus more on getting my own self through the tough times again like I used to.

However I don’t think I’ll ever be able to balance the amount of Duncan pictures I take. He’ll always be my muse and my biggest addiction :)IMG_0589

Question 1: When you are overwhelmed, depressed or anxious do you tend to reach out to others to help you keep moving forward or do you like to find your own path?

Question 2: Have you been dealing with a recent setback or discovering progress in something in your life?

Hi there. This week I’ve been celebrating so many things!

From Tongue Out Tuesday…

the progression of Tongue Out Tuesday

the progression of Tongue Out Tuesday

to Throwback Thursday…

Fall 2015....Chicago! A wonderful trip to celebrate my birthday.

Fall 2015….Chicago! A wonderful trip to celebrate my birthday.

and we can’t forget yesterday was Global Running Day!IMG_0499

I ran a few miles but to be honest my toe has been a smidge more achy since returning home from St. Louis (where I did a lot of walking) and I’m keeping the mileage low and probably thinking it’s best to keep to only one run a week for another week or two. I’ve come way too far to have a setback! (this weekend will be 12 weeks since the injury first happened).

Oh, and apparently today  is National Best Friends Day. I have lots of human friends but I think Duncan is truly my BEST friend. IMG_0502

This is how excited Duncan is to see me EVERY SINGLE TIME I return…


Excited is an understatement. #labradoodle #dogs #doodlesofinstagram #dogsofinsta #sillypup

A post shared by Sally Stilwell (@sweatoutthesmallstuff) on


How can I not want to be best friends with him?

Also, it looks like I’ve designated Mondays to be for yoga

Yoga Monday "top knot"

Yoga Monday “top knot”

Getting used to traveling with this combo

Getting used to traveling with this combo

If you had to choose would you prefer Tongue out Tuesday or Throwback Thursday?

Do you have another favorite day to celebrate?

It’s 54 degrees and rainy today. It was close to or over 90 degrees last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I going from air conditioning to heated seats in the car. :)weird weatherSpeaking of heated….i’m loving that the yoga studio is warmed to about 82 degrees during class. I went to class on Saturday and then went for a run. I RAN 4 MILES!!!!

First running (timer-camera) selfie in 8+ weeks!

First running (timer-camera) selfie in 8+ weeks!

It’s been the longest run since before my injury back in Mid-March. And the honeysuckles are emerging and I couldn’t be happier.

honeysuckles are my favorite!

honeysuckles are my favorite!



Had I not had this injury I would have been running the Brooklyn Half on Saturday so it was really nice to not only have a great yoga class in its place but to be able to run 4 miles as well. It helped me handle the situation rather well. Although the day before I had a sad moment and handled the situation by giving myself some TLC in the form of a Donut and some weird toe massage thingys.

TLC donut and Flex Tastic toe thingys

TLC donut and Flex Tastic toe thingys

I’m really excited that I’ll FINALLY be able to run a race that I registered for next weekend….the Spring Lake 5 miler. I ran it last year after being injured or just spectating the two years prior.

Last Thursday Mr. SOTSS and I attended a fundraiser event held by the Greenbelt Conservancy here on Staten Island. They are the organization that maintains the trails and organizes the weekly night hikes that I joined earlier this year. They are also now my client which I love.

Had fun in the photo booth with my hiking group and got to ride a carousel too

Had fun in the photo booth with my hiking group and got to ride a carousel too

Other than yoga and running this weekend, we took the doggies for a walk at a new park (ticks! I hate them! Duncan ended up with 3).

Nope I'm not sick....just look a little green from the light filtering through the green leaves above me. Wearing a green sweatshirt doesn't help the color balance lol!

Nope I’m not sick….just look a little green from the light filtering through the green leaves above me. Wearing a green sweatshirt doesn’t help the color balance lol!

Happy pups each in their own lane. Of course Chester is in the "fast lane"

Happy pups each in their own lane. Of course Chester is in the “fast lane”

There are 3 ticks photo bombing this photo.

There are 3 ticks photo bombing this photo.

Then we made beef and chicken kebobs on the grill. I even made some Tzatziki to go with them.



Let's eat

Let’s eat

Latest wine discovery. I nice blend from Australia...Cab, Shiraz and Merlot.

Latest wine discovery. I nice blend from Australia…Cab, Shiraz and Merlot.

I’ll be working all day while it rains outside and then hitting up yoga tonight. It’s still so bizarre that the word yoga has entered my life. I’m so happily surprised at how much I love it. :)


So much to tell you!

Altra Running sneakers:

I’ll backtrack to a couple of weekends ago when Mr. SOTSS and I took a trip to Road Runner Sports so he could buy a new pair of running sneakers. I have been so curious about Altra Running brand sneakers with both their foot shaped toe box and zero drop. With my toe injury I’ve found that the more space my toes have the better it feels. I normally go for sneaker brands that run wider (Asics are my favorite) and sometimes buy a wide width because of my wide forefoot but these are created to be not just wider but also more closely aligned with how the foot is shaped. And with my string of injuries over the years I also was intrigued by the zero drop theory of a softer stride. So I bought a pair (I bought the Altra Escalante) and have been wearing them for walking only the last 2 weeks.


Altra Running Escalante sneakers and a cute dog to enhance the photo :)

I LOVE THEM! I felt a little calf soreness the first day or two as my body adjusted but boy oh boy I love them so. I wear them almost daily now and can’t wait to try running in them. The only thing I hate is the laces. They just can’t stay tied….even double knots fall out! Geez. But hey, small price to pay and easily fixable.

Yoga classes 4 and 5:

I went to my 4th yoga class on Saturday and was so proud to hold a crow pose for a few seconds at least.

yoga pose or doga pose

Asked Duncan if he wanted to take a quick selfie before I headed out to yoga and this was the outcome. He doesn’t always follow direction.

And then last night I went again. With each class I’m feeling more and more comfortable with the poses. I still struggle with squaring my hips and aligning my knees, flexing my feet and so many of the things that you just don’t automatically remember but it’s been a real eye hip opener for sure! And my tight hips are loving the attention. On the way home from yoga I had the bright idea to try running again. I felt nice and warmed up and it was a gorgeous evening weather-wise.

recovering runner

Pure happiness and optimisim after this mile and a half

I went 1 1/2 miles and even a little bit faster than my last attempt last week. But the biggest improvement was how I felt afterward. I didn’t feel the need to limp at all. Slow and steady….unfortunately the Brooklyn Half this Saturday is looking more and more confirmed to be a DNS. But my silver lining? I signed up for the Spring Lake 5 miler the weekend after and that actually seems like it will be doable!!!! Hoping I can salvage at least one of my 4 spring races.

So that’s my update.

What’s your update?

Tell me 3 things going on with you.

Ever tried a zero drop shoe like Altra