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?

Trip to Saint Louis and honeysuckle running season

Hi folks!

I’m back from a quick trip to Saint Louis (and southern Illinois) and can’t tell you how great it felt to wake up next to this muppet this morning.

I love how he is so dramatic about the sun streaming in

I love how he is so dramatic about the sun streaming in

I flew out to St. Louis on Thursday and had a few hours to walk around the city before driving to southern Illinois where my nephew was graduating from high school the following day.

Always gotta bring snacks for the plane...

Always gotta bring snacks for the plane…

This was my first time visiting St. Louis so I knew I’d have to walk to see the Gateway Arch and also check out Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play.this-way-to-the-arch

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2017 Spring Lake 5 recap

Hi! I had a super busy weekend so I’m just getting a chance to recap my morning at the 2017 Spring Lake 5 miler in Spring Lake, NJ. I spectated this race in 2014 and 2015 and then ran it last year.IMG_0135

Let me just say that after having to DNS 3 races since March I was so happy to finally get to a start line, see my running friends and just feel like my normal “running-life” self.

I was on the road at 6:30am to make my way down to Spring Lake which is about 40 minutes south of Mr. SOTSS’s house.The race doesn’t start until 8:30 but I always try and park by 7:15 since they start to close roads and street parking fills up quickly. Plus, even though they mail you your race bib, you still need to pick up your t-shirt and souvenir glass.

2017 Spring Lake 5

Ready to run

I met up with Lisa and Bill and we walked toward the start area to get our goodies and then drop them back at the car before heading back and meeting up with Jane and Keri and another of their running group friends.

Photo: @Kmandell14

Photo: @Kmandell14

It felt great to finally see Jane because I was supposed to run the Philly Love Run half marathon with her back in March just shortly after she announced her pregnancy but we all know that my injury forced me to miss the race and subsequently miss meeting the baby (bump). Jane is a rockstar momma to be and has already completed a half, 10 miler and now a 5 miler.

The race starts and finishes by the beach and with the weather being absolutely gorgeous we couldn’t resist taking some pics on the sand.

She's only got 9 more weeks until she meets her little one.

She’s only got 9 more weeks until she meets her little one.

Keri just recently opened a yoga studio so I asked her to suggest to me some ways to work toward accomplishing some poses. She blogs over at Yogaswole. She’s an avid runner as well.

I also got to see my friend Elvia who I haven’t seen in a while too! She’s been running Spring Lake for so many years.

With Lisa still working through some hip issues and my toe still being on the mend the plan was to just take it easy and that we did. We kept a pace between 11:00 and 11:30 per mile. Jane and Keri went up ahead and I didn’t think I’d see them again until after the race since, even at 7 months pregnant Jane is faster than me :) But about 4 miles in I saw Keri standing outside a port-a-potty waiting for Jane. Yassss!!!!! This meant that we could all possibly finish the race together!

Somewhere in the last mile.

Somewhere in the last mile. So freakin happy to be doing what I love.

an opportunity to cool off

an opportunity to cool off

Running through the main drag

Running through the main drag

Best feeling to be running again!

Best feeling to be running again!

Keri, Jane and Me crossing the finish (thanks Lisa for the photo)

Keri, Jane and me crossing the finish (thanks Lisa for the photo)

After crossing the finish line I grabbed the most refreshing orange slice…IMG_0130

And then it was off to breakfast because let’s face it….I was way overdue for a post-race breakfast and it didn’t dissappoint! French toast, eggs and bacon.


This race is really an enjoyable one. It’s a great way to kick off the unofficial start to summer.

The day after the race my toe was a bit angry but with each passing day felt better and better. I’m not sure how my running schedule will look for the next month or two but I do know I’ll be continuing with yoga and hopefully getting to run at least once a week as I keep getting closer and closer to feeling 100 percent.

How was your weekend?