Category Archives: Injuries

Moving…Forward…Again…

Hi Friends!

Today I had the best run I’ve had in six weeks.  It looked like this:

Impressive is relative!

Impressive is relative!

When last I blogged, I was having a pretty tough start to the year.  It was probably the poor leadership of President Taft.  He really bums me out.

I haven’t blogged in a long time.  Get it?  HAR HAR.  Thanks for still reading.

Last weekend was the Oakland Running Festival.  For the second year in a row, I was injured out of the half marathon.  Many factors contributed to the minor knee/ITB injury that sidelined me but  inconsistent training was primarily my downfall.  Turns out you can’t skip midweek runs and then just jump into the long runs and not expect to get stranded halfway through a nine-miler.  True story.  Shitty story.  Doubly-sadly, my wonderful stepbrother and stepsisterinlaw were also injured.  They already had travel arrangements to come down from Seattle so we made the best of it and spent some great quality time together.  The morning of the race, we took a long walk along the shoreline and ate a big ole Mexican brunch.  It was wonderful.

FAMILY!

They are seriously the best.

Though it was disappointing not to race (especially when we went to the expo to pick up our shirts.  UGH.) it was so lovely to be together and talk about future races.  I can’t wait to have a bagillion dollars to build FamilyCompound so we can all hang out and train together every day!  That’s not creepy at all, right?  Phew.

The 007 aka The SEAN PECANNERY.

The 007 aka The SEAN PECAN-NERY.

I carboloaded for our family walk with that little donut and many, many more.

So, this injury.  It’s really minor but the last thing I want is to exacerbate it.  It first showed up at literally mile 4.5 of a 9 mile run.  THAT was a long walk home.  I basically felt tension and vibration all the way down the right side of my leg and major instability under my kneecap.  Once that initial intensity wore off, what I can only describe as knee “heat” (swelling?) remained.  After several days off, I’ve been doing run/walk intervals until I feel any sensation.  I’m very slowly building back up to continuous mileage on the treadmill and other soft surfaces.  I’ve also been foam rolling every day and lingering over the knots in my quads to the point of tears.  I’m getting better and I’m pretty sure that’s why.

Today I ran outside for the first time in probably a month.  I went to my beloved Lake Merritt with the intention of running only the soft surfaces.  After a lovely walking warmup, I began to run.  I felt like I was let out of jail.  I had no intention of pushing it but as I trotted along “easily”, I looked down and saw low 9’s on my Garmin.

WAHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have no business running those paces but I felt absolutely fantastic so I just enjoyed it.  Who knows what will feel easy next time but I couldn’t care less as long as I keep improving and stay strong.

I wonder why it was so easy?  Maybe it’s all the SWIMMING AND CYCLING I’VE BEEN DOING!

TEASER!

How are you doing?  DNS any races lately?  Eat any adorable donuts?

 

 

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The Tough Stuff

Things are going well.

Let me say that again.

Things are going well.

It bears repeating because in the great, grand scheme of life, things truly are going well. But for the last few weeks, that statement only feels true about 10% of the time.

Almost all of my present unhappiness, anxiety, and frustration are related to the extra weight I’m carrying. The bad feelings are compounded by fact that I’m handling it so poorly. Why should some PMS/ibuprofen water weight send me into this tailspin? And why am I consciously shoving unhealthy food into my mouth knowing full well that I’m *ensuring* guilt and emotional chaos?

Punishment.

Am I punishing myself for getting injured? For daring to think I might actually be strong (when on some level I still don’t believe I deserve that confidence)? Some heavy questions for a sunny Wednesday.

Things have been considerably better since I resumed working out a week ago. The mere fact that I’ve done eleven workouts in the last seven days should quell any fears I have about abandoning my athletic lifestyle. Apparently, I’m not in a place to accept reality if it’s positive.

Today, I had my first outside run. My intention was to run conservatively and respond to any signals from my foot. Most of the signals came from my heaving lungs and I spent 3 miles simultaneously celebrating my pain-free foot and lamenting my loss of cardiovascular fitness. What I didn’t realize until I finished was that I ran considerably faster than I thought and planned. In fact, after my conservative warm-up mile, I basically did a funky progressive tempo-y run.

20130313-184759.jpg
Maybe slightly more even splits next time…?

During the run, I felt like it was going rather poorly. It felt hard. In a more generous moment, I wondered if I had simply forgotten that even easy running is harder than hard anything else. Still, I was not impressed with myself. Then I reviewed the splits. Now, eight painless hours later, I recognize that it was a triumph.

My response to today’s success was to defer my entry to the Oakland Half Marathon. I may or may not elaborate on that decision but it basically came down to the fact that I want my next half to reflect the fitness I’ve gained since last October. I don’t want to PR by the skin of my teeth. I don’t want a medal for running conservatively and obsessing over my foot for two hours straight. I don’t want to re-injure myself. I don’t want to hold back. I want to crush it.

And I will.

I mean it.

Moving Forward

IT'S SOMETHING.

IT’S SOMETHING.

I WORKED OUT!  AND IT DIDN’T HURT!

The last couple weeks have been…challenging.  Between the bike crunch and the emergence of (what I’m 99% sure is) posterior tibial tendinitis  I’ve been completely sidelined.  No activity, 10lbs of Motrin water retention, and yes, a couple sniffles.  The timing really couldn’t be worse. I had to drop out of the Hellyer 10k and the Oakland Half Marathon is just over two weeks away.

As frustrating as it is to be out of commission, I’ve made a long term commitment to this lifestyle.  That means a conservative approach to recovery.  After visiting the doctor, I followed her recommendation of no activity, 800mg of Ibuprofin 3 times a day, and frequent icing.   Over the weekend, I sang a series of concerts which required me to be on my feet wearing supportive (read: not at all attractive) shoes and the situation still seemed to improve daily.

My job is cool.

My job is cool.

If I couldn’t race, at least I could premiere some fantastic new choral music with my talented friends!

The plan was to take the Motrin and stay off the foot for a week.  I had so many unpleasant side effects from the ibuprofin/PMS combo that I discontinued it after five days, with the blessing of my doctor sister.  Kind of not sure when I’m going to shed this insane weight that I’ve gained but I’m trying not to focus on that.

One day shy of a week (Wednesday), I returned to Dailey Method and indoor cycling.  I was fully prepared to immediately suspend activity if my foot flared up but it didn’t!  My TDM instructor, Cat, was wonderfully accommodating and even changed the thigh work set to something that wouldn’t require me to put my weight on one foot.  I was SO relieved that I got through the class without any discomfort.  I felt a bit of stretching in the foot but I also have to remember that I’m HIGHLY attuned to that area right now and it’s also been out of use for two weeks, the longest period of time in over a year.  I followed TDM with 17 miles on the stationary bike at the gym.  It felt absolutely amazing to use my body again.  After some really unpleasant emotions, I actually felt like myself again.

Woke up feeling good and sore.  I went to a super intense TDM express class and then headed back to the gym.  My plan was to bike for about 30 minutes and then do a 30 minute walking test on the treadmill.  I read that a good benchmark for returning to running is if you can walk for 30 minutes pain-free.  I had exactly two twinges of sensation that I wouldn’t describe as “pain” but was certainly unique to the affected area of the recovering foot.  I’d say that it’s 98.7% normal and 100% pain-free.

Today is a much needed rest day.  Turns out, when you return to working out after two weeks, IT HURTS.

Tomorrow……..I attempt a run.

WISH ME LUCK!  TELL ME HAPPY STORIES OF QUICK RECOVERY!

What’s Up, Doc?

Went to my very, very nice doctor today. I love her because she’s friendly, quick to laugh, and listens. She is a wonderful general practitioner.

She told me to ice my foot/ankle, take a shit-ton (her words…..I wish…..) of Motrin, and stay off it for an indeterminate amount of time. And not wear flip flops. $30.

 

She sent me next door for x-rays to rule out a stress fracture that neither she nor I thought I actually had. $50.

Good news: I don’t have any fractures or bone abnormalities. Also, I’m basically a doctor.

Bad news: I didn’t get a diagnosis, a treatment plan, or any information beyond common sense. That is really frustrating.

So, I will spend the next week poppin’ Motrin, sitting under a Brussels sprout compress, and getting reacquainted with the pool. I also have an opportunity to cut back on calories and drop a few pounds since I won’t have much work to fuel.

Looking on the bright side…

DNS

Hopefully not the first of many.

The last couple months have been a shitstorm of minor injuries.  I’ve had glute pain from overstretching, strange foot pain, and my recent bike crash.  Each issue has forced me to cancel several workouts.

This morning, I attempted my first run post-crash.  I still have some pain in my left quad and buttock (said in Forrest Gump voice, natch) but not significant.  Despite the lingering soreness, I was optimistic about still being about to run the Hellyer 10k on Saturday.  It was a gorgeous day and the plan was to keep the pace easy and see what was what.

Less than five minutes in, the foot pain that sidelined me most of last week showed up.

Whattabitch.

I figured it was worth running a bit to see if it stretched out and also to test my banged up leg.  My leg mostly felt good but it was clear that this foot was not meant to be run on.  I bagged it after a mile, walked back to the car, and made a doctor appointment for tomorrow.  My fear was a stress fracture but the more I read, the more it appears to be Posterior Tibial Tendinitis.  I’m not sure if my GP will be able to diagnose it but at least I will have done my due diligence.

When I made the appointment, I planned to wait until after to decide whether or not to race on Saturday.  Then I thought about what I would say to a friend in the same situation.  I would say:

“Which would you rather run: a random 10K that you can do any other time or the half marathon you’ve spent $100 on and looked forward to for months?

It’s a no-brainer.  I contacted the awesome people at Brazen Racing and offered to volunteer in exchange for a transfer of my race entry to another event.  They graciously obliged.  I will be trucking an hour down to San Jose on Saturday morning to be there at the ungodly hour of 6:30am.  To not run.  Better than losing the money, I suppose.

What a shitty feeling to drop out of a race.  Ugh.

Crash

On Saturday, I had a fairly miserable ride. I was hit with a strong headwind for about four miles. While I intended to do two 6.5 mile loops, I bailed after the first one. I spent the rest of the day in a funk for quitting because of such a minimal obstacle. So not the behavior of someone with ambitious goals.

Yesterday morning, I went out for a redemption ride.

[I’ve been dealing with some mysterious foot/ankle pain for several days, hence the cycling on what should have been a long run day. Bummer.]

Things got off to a bumpy start. I arrived at my starting point and my tummy freaked out. The situation was so…emergent….that I literally drove the twenty damn minutes home to use the bathroom. SO ANNOYING. Sidebar: I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for people who deal with IBS or worse, Crohn’s or Colitis. Tummy problems regularly interfere with my training and I know my problems are nothing in comparison!

Anyway, I drove baaaack down and started the ride. After the friggin’ drawbridge came back down.

20130225-085606.jpgSRSLY?

You’d think I’d have sensed that this ride was not meant to be but after feeling like a quithole all day Saturday, I was committed.

The first loop was uneventful. A bit of wind (it’s a bike, after all!) but not a bad ride. For some reason, I wasn’t really enjoying myself but it wasn’t miserable. More experimenting with shifting, a bit of “sprinting”, the usual…

I began the second loop feeling great. Figures.

Near the beginning of the loop, there’s a fun descent, a somewhat tight turn and then a really tight turn between two short polls that spits you onto the main road. These poles are the bane of my cycling existence. Usually, I have to stop and walk through them but I recently discovered that someone dug a gravel path next to the poles and my road bike can handle it.

Do you have enough context? Great. So, coming down the descent at about 15mph, I rode STRAIGHT INTO THE POLE. I crashed into it, was thrown from my bike, landing on my left side. It hurt. I’m scraped up on both knees and my left quad and glute feel worse than after a half marathon. I can barely bend my leg, the quad is so pissed.

Some lessons I learned:

* People are really awesome. Several people rushed over to help and weren’t satisfied with my protestations of “I’m fine!” They insisted on checking me out and checking on my bike. I dropped my chain and as I was shakily trying I get it back on, several cyclists stopped and asked if I needed help. Very classy, folks!

* Take nice people up on their offers for help. I was not able to get the chain back on and had to walk my bike 1.5 miles back to the car. Bleeding.

* You will ride where you’re looking. If you’re attempting to avoid an obstacle and you STARE RIGHT AT IT, YOU WILL RIDE RIGHT INTO IT. GAHHHH.

Important lessons learned. The most important thing that happened yesterday was getting right back up. Had I not dropped my chain, I would have finished the ride. That would not have been the smartest choice but at least the heart and resilience I didn’t have in the face of the wind are within me.

Arriving home, my dude was a bit freaked out. I texted him right away leading with I’M TOTALLY OKAY but he does not like when I come home with these:

20130225-092632.jpgI’m pretty.

I medicated with cold deep dish pizza and excessive Oscar Twitter snarking.

Ruh-Roh

Houston, we have a problem.

20130222-083704.jpgThe only use I have for vegetables.

On Tuesday, I fought through a debilitating case of the “IDON’TWANNAAAAAAA”s and had an awesome tempo run.

20130222-084147.jpgIs it still a “tempo” run if your tummy forces you into a beachside toilet shack halfway through? Excellent. I thought so too.

At a couple points, I felt a bit of sensation in my right foot. Nothing that concerned me. I was much more focused on not throwing up my heart and convincing my legs to keep pumping when they were over it.

I don’t remember feeling any discomfort immediately after the run. I stopped at the grocery store and with each step, my right instep and inner ankle told me more and more loudly that I shouldn’t put weight on it.

Visions of stress fractures dancing in my head, I took up residence on the couch with the frozen veggies. I was able to stay off it completely until a rehearsal that unfortunately required a lot of standing. I stood off the foot until my left leg screamed in protest. Then i sat like a crippled princess diva while everyone stood around me. #winning

Yesterday, I came home from teaching and iced. The gorgeous day mocked me. Even a bike ride felt risky.

I think my paranoia paid off as it feels pretty good today. The entire foot feels a little stiff but I can put all my body weight on it without any pain! It’s temping to test it today but I’m holding out hope for my long run (10mi). Thinking TDM today, longish ride tomorrow with a short run to test the foot and long run on Sunday!

So, why the pain?? Nothing happened so my instinct is that it was one run too many on my funfetti Asics. They’ve been amazing shoes for me and I was super MEGA LUCKY to get my hands on another pair (on sale!) since they’ve been replaced with a new, narrower model.

20130222-090422.jpgIt’s a Valentine’s MIRACLE!

Any foot injuries? How long do you stay off?