That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I started PT Tuesday. All she really did was evaluate and give me some stretches to do. I did amaze the PT with my flexibility. ("That doesn't hurt? You're SURE that doesn't hurt??") Yoga FTW!

So, doing the stretches, icing (which I've been neglecting because honestly, with this dull pain that hurts in a different place every day, I haven't known WHAT to ice, so she told me), PT twice a week for 6 weeks. I see her again tomorrow, then after that, I see the PT who is also a running coach and I absolutely can't wait to start driving him insane.

I was feeling a little bummed about the initial PT session. I WANT one of those PTs I hear about who tortures and works a person half to death. Someone who tells me to do some stretches and then shows me the door is so not worth my money. This had better be more intense tomorrow.

A friend/coworker was awesome enough to get me a guest pass to her gym and work with me on my swimming technique. It's better than I thought, but she gave me a few helpful pointers. Then we swam back and forth with kickboards FOREVER, which is awesome because (a) it's a FANTASTIC leg workout, which I will definitely keep utilizing, (b) we could chat while doing it, so the workout time flew by, and (c) it totally helped me fix the sinking leg problem I have while swimming.

I'm still not a fast swimmer, but now I'm swimming slowly with great form. :)

I'm also motivated to get in the pool and try out the new waterproof mp3 player. I'm borderline excited about swimming, actually!

Oh, and I gave myself extra cross-training motivation by joining The Million PALA Challenge. Now I HAVE to hit the gym 5 days a week.

But really, what I want right now more than anything, is to know when I can run again! I want to know that I at least have a chance at the Pig half. The persistent winter weather has helped me not to miss it as much as I could be, but then I see a runner or running clothes or something online or hear "Born to Run"....and I just want to hit the pavement again SOON. (Well, NOW...but realistically, SOON.) And this is why I'm going to drive the PT crazy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Two of my friends' facebook status updates, less than an hour apart:

"No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it. Have a unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has a purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they will happen. Persist and persevere, your desired path remains possible."

"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. - Lou Holtz" (That one was on my mom's page. <3)

Not dead. Just getting stronger.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Future Races

Races I'd like to do (mainly for my own records :))

Forest Hills 5k - 5/21
Redlegs 10k 6/11
Hyde Park Blast 4m - 6/25
Cincinnati Triathlon - 7/24
Mudathlon 8/13
TORN...the Newtown 5k is 8/13 too. I've done this every year that I've been running.The Mudathlon is expensive but sounds way more fun. :)
Cheetah Run 5k - 9/4
USAF Marathon - 9/17
Warrior Run 5k - 10/8

On a sad note, Warrior Dash Ohio is sold out. :( Wanted to do that one!!

Also, just found the Hands for Haiti half marathon and 5k on 5/21, in my hometown. If I can't do the Pig Half, maybe I'd be up for this one....???

This is no fun, no fun, looking at the wa-all

Everyone remember the episode where Michelle Tanner got put in time out, and that's what she sang?? That is exactly how I feel in the pool and on the stationary cardio machines that don't go anywhere. No fun, no fun, looking at the wavy blue line/screen/wall/etc.

But I'm still hanging in there. I tried out the hand bike at the gym yesterday. Holy crap. Upper body strength has never been my forte, but with the pushups and weights we do in circuit class, I'm about as strong as I ever have been. Two minutes worth of hills on that machine and my arms were ready to fall the heck off. I still did 20 minutes (3.8 miles) and then the plan was to do some strength training. I did all the leg exercises I'm allowed to do. It's been forever since I've done any weight machines, but that's my only option for legs, and OMG it felt good to pay my lower body some attention. I did leg extensions and curls (no foot contact with the ground, doc approved) and the hip abduction/adduction machines. I used to do about 100 pounds on those. I did 170 on one (I forget which), and 190 on the other, 3 sets of 10 reps. That was a small victory. I have some powerful hips! Thunder thighs are good for something!!

I decided against any arm exercises I was going to do after the handbike craziness, and besides, I was having an "I feel fat" day so I worked my abs to death. Felt good.

I ordered a waterproof mp3 player today. Zoning out to my music has made the cardio more bearable, and hopefully it will do the same for the pool. I know that swimming is about the best cardio I could be doing at the moment, for so many reasons, but it's sooooooooooooooooooooo boring. I've been having a hard time making myself get in the pool to go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. I wish it was at least warm enough to find myself somewhere outdoorsy to swim.

The latest bothersome thing: articles EVERYWHERE about how to prevent injury. Grr. Nobody's perfect, but I tried to prevent injury. It just brings up those unhelpful thoughts that I couldashouldawoulda done something to not be dealing with this now. So I'm avoiding anything about injury prevention. It's not gonna help right now anyway, unless I need to be preventing injury on the handbike.

Oh God. If I hurt my shoulder, I give up. Imma take up competitive eating and gain 300 lbs and be done with it.

I'm thinking that if the Pig is definitely out (and kinda proceeding like it is), I may forego my dreams of a marathon before my birthday. I don't want to force it just so I can meet that goal, and spend money I may or may not have on travel and hotel and etc. The USAF marathon is 9/17, a month and 6 days after my birthday. Maybe that can be close enough. Plus my running buddy says she'll do that with me, so I don't have to endure long training runs alone.

Half Pig is my new goal. I hope I hope I hope. I won't feel quite so bad if I can do the half pig. Killing my old half PR would still be a victory.

As far as the leg goes, it still hurts, but I'm walking better. I've added extra calcium and vitamin D to my multi, and started religiously taking 660 mg of naproxen every morning. Following doc's orders. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The verdict is in

And the doc says.....stress reaction.

He showed me on the MRI what he was looking for. Bones are supposed to show up all gray on an MRI. Partway down my tibia are big areas of bright white. That, he says, is inflammatory fluid. Oh yeah, that was also present on the side of my calf, which means shin splints. Of course.

At first I actually felt relieved and validated - I KNEW this experience has been too ridiculous to be chalked up to shin splints. And a stress reaction in that bone totally explains the pain, instability, and weirdness I've been feeling for weeks.

Then I realized, oh crap. Stress reaction was the doc's worst case scenario. And that means.......

It means, he says, that if I were like MOST of his patients, he'd tell me to pretty much rest as much as possible besides essential daily activities. I'm not sure what kind of look I gave him, but it obviously told him that is not an option. I told him my husband would leave me if I couldn't exercise. I was pretty close to serious. For real, though, every bone in my body would have to be broken before I'd agree to avoid any type of exercise.

So what I can do: swim. Upper body weights. Anything that does not involve any sort of leg weight pushing on any sort of surface. Yoga is ok.

He says another month off running. I can probably bike before then. I'm not happy to lose the biking right about now. He suggested prednisone, which I vetoed, because God knows I need 'roid rage like I need to have both legs amputated. He did agree that I could try regular doses of Aleve (which I've also been avoiding, as I avoid meds unless I'm an 11 on a 1-10 pain scale) and see if that helps.

After I cried in front of everyone at the doctor's office, because I'm awesome, I went to the gym and took my stress out on the rowing machine. (I'm not even sure that I can do that, since technically my feet are on a surface....but the motion is all pulling with the upper body, not pushing with the lower, and it didn't hurt my leg at all - which is huge, since everything else short of sitting still does hurt - so I did it.) I was going to do a half hour. Then I realized that I did 5k in just under a half hour and I wanted to try to do 10k in under an hour. The rowing machine has so many numbers to keep an OCD person intrigued. Time, pace, 500 m splits, projected distance at an was like the Garmin and made me want to push myself. Plus, the cardio and all the movement were doing wonders for my anger and frustration. So I did an hour on the rowing machine for a total of 10,007 m. (My rowing speed is remarkably close to my running speed!)

When I stopped, I realized that I had 5 blisters on my hands. I gave myself more blisters in one hour than I did while training for a marathon. Gaaah. Maybe I DO tend to overdo things. My high pain tolerance and stubbornness are gonna kill me one day.

The aftermath of 10k on a rowing machine:

But I felt better!!

I'm trying to find local runners for beer and sympathy. There have to be some, as big as Pig training is around here, and as many first-timers as it attracts. No bites on multiple facebook posts yet, though. Non-runners are sympathetic, but they can only be so much so, when they don't really understand why people enjoy running to begin with. Healthy runners can offer a bit more sympathy as they can imagine how traumatized they'd be by an injury, but when it comes down to it, they can still run off the stress of the vicarious trauma. I need a support group!

Really, I do feel better at least having a name for things, knowing the course of action I need to take, and having a recovery time frame. It's better than being told it's just shin splints or I'll be ok soon. The treatment plan includes physical therapy, which I'm actually excited about. I'll be happy to have someone who can be monitoring how I'm doing and who will be able to tell me exactly what I'm capable of doing and when. One of the physical therapists there is a high school running coach, so I'm super stoked to have someone who will hopefully understand that I want to get back to running as soon as - safely - possible.

I'm not even thinking about the Pig right now. I'm not thinking about what I could've done to prevent this (hard when I see injury prevention articles posted everywhere) - sometimes injury happens no matter what you do. I could've done things differently, but nobody's perfect, and I've always made the best choices that I can make at the time. Two weeks before the USAF half, I twisted my knee because of an uneven sidewalk, for crying out loud. Injuries just happen sometimes. Right now, I can't do anything about my situation - it is what it is, like I always tell clients - and what I need to do is get better. When I'm well enough to run, I'll figure out where I am and see which - if any - of the Pig races I'll be up for, and when I can plan for that marathon.

I am ignoring forums that talk about injuries and recovery because I am not the people that post there, and I need to focus on MY recovery and what my doctor is telling me. I don't need to know that someone ran a marathon 4 weeks after getting a stress fracture or that someone else ran with a stress reaction or that other people were allowed to bike. I am trying to just ignore everything I hear about running at the moment and work on doing what I'm allowed to do.

It won't be an easy journey - heck, this is 10 times harder than training for a marathon was - but I'll get there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

But legs are supposed to work...

In 9 hours, I will hopefully be getting some definite answers to some of the more pressing questions in my life, namely, "Why do I hurt??" And "When won't I hurt??"

I'm trying to be positive. I really hate doctors. I really don't trust doctors. I'm generally very very healthy, so I'm surprised with the amount of bad doctor experiences I've had, but I've had my share.

I'm not even worried the news will be bad. Really, I'm MORE worried that the doc won't know what's going on, that he'll misdiagnose it, or that he'll insist on calling it shin splints. Thing is, it WAS shin splints, but I know what shin splints feel like, and I swear this is no longer it. This basically hurts everywhere but where the shin splints were hurting, and I'm afraid that treating it like shin splints (like I have been doing) will not help, because that is not where it hurts anymore.

Actually, the latest is that my leg feels stiff and unstable, like I'm constantly walking with a peg leg, but one that's not overly sturdy and may slip out from under me. It's not even so much that it hurts, it's more like it just DOESN'T WORK. And that, my friends, is a very frustrating feeling.

A little funny story I forgot to tell, though - the day of my last run, the three miler that left me in agony afterwards, happened to be the husband's poker night. I completely forgot until he was leaving (after he let me take his last 2-year-old hydrocodone, which incidentally, didn't seem to do much). So there I am - unable to take more than three steps without bringing tears to my eyes, crawling to get around because walking is too painful, and starving. No way was I cooking myself dinner, so I ordered pasta from LaRosa's. (This was also when the chiro told me to take in extra fuel!) When I hobbled to the door to greet the delivery guy, my ninja cat took off running down the stairs. So naturally, I made the delivery guy go pick him up and bring him back. :) (Yes, he got a good tip!)

Shooting guns and cooking seem to be decent enough substitutes for the mental escape that running usually provides. Swimming is all right. I used to really like swimming for exercise, but I think that since I've discovered running, swimming is tedious. I like to go fast (well, faster than walking), and swimming - even if you're good at it - is soooo slow. It doesn't help that I seem to go when the water aerobics class is making all manner of waves in the pool, and I swear that trying to swim through old lady waves feels like the pool version of a treadmill, except more futile.

But I'm trying to get better at it because I'm reconsidering my one-time goal of getting into triathlons. Why not - at least that way I can still be training for something right now, which helps! The Cinci triathlon is in late July, and the sprint tri is 400m swim/12 mile bike/3.1 run. That really doesn't sound like a lot on paper....but holy crap. I biked 10 miles today and my legs felt like jello. I can't imagine running after that....yet! Right now I'm swimming 400 in 11-12 minutes, which is still faster than some of the slowest swim times posted in the tri last year, but it's still pretty slow. A friend is going to give me some pointers, though. And I'm going to see if getting a decent race bike - used, maybe - is financially doable even with the money pit I'm walking on right now. A boys' mountain bike that was $40 on craigslist will get me around, but it's not a racing bike. I'd love to see how fast I am on a bike that's made to go fast.

Biking outside, btw, is and probably will be the closest substitute to running that I've found, at least in terms of cardio+fresh air+making me feel happy.

AND, this morning before my ride, I caught sight of the poor neglected arm warmers I hadn't had a chance to try out, and decided to break them in. Love them. Warm and comfy (even though I could've used an extra layer, biking is way colder than running) and cute! Look how cute!! (Ignore the bedhead. I didn't even comb my hair because I was about to plunk a helmet on it.)

Rockin' the training group tshirt - note the flying pig - and the pink road id too!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


No limp!! I'm still very aware of my lower right leg, but once I started moving around the apartment this morning, I realized that I'm no longer dragging that leg and - I think - I'm walking more like a normal upright human!

So of course, my immediate first thought is, "Maybe I can run now!" No, I'm not going to! But I'm sooo anxious to get back to it, and I promise I'm going to temper myself, but I think it's going to be REALLY hard to resist the urge to absolutely take off as soon as I'm pain-free.

I also had the fleeting thought of walking the half tomorrow, so that my registration fee doesn't go to complete waste....but that would be pointless and do more harm than good. 13.1 miles of hilly walking? Nah.

I was going to go to the gym this morning but I couldn't convince myself. Ugh - I sooo dread repetitive exercises and glaring fluorescent lights, even though it wasn't that hateful the other day when I went. It should be easier during the week, if I go before or after work.

I'm down 5 lbs, probably because (a) again, I don't eat as much when I'm stressed; (b) the marathon training constant hunger has worn off, and (c) we need to go to the grocery store soooo badly. And both of us hate going. I'm having Panera for lunch. Don't worry, I'm not starving myself.

I hope beyond hope that things go well Wednesday with the doc. Maybe if I'm walking better, he'll have a more definitive idea of when I can get back to running, and I can plan future races. Again, I can be happy with the Pig half. Even the Pig 10k wouldn't be the total end of the world, although I'd grumble about having to resort to that.

The thing I don't like is that I'm having trouble finding alternate marathons, if I can't do the Pig. Go figure, the midwest doesn't host a lot of summer marathons. Gee, I wonder why, considering that 90% humidity is pretty much the norm? Traveling too far would cost more money on top of what I'm already spending in this process, not to mention that the husband doesn't have tons of vacation time available. The one in IN/OH is a trail race, and I'm not going there. The Sunburst Marathon in South Bend may be doable - just a 5 hour drive, and flattish, and ends on the Notre Dame 50 yard line - but it's a mere month after the Pig. I hope that could work.

Then again, I still have (a little) hope that I could rally enough to complete the Full Pig. It will NOT be as pretty as it would have been otherwise, but if I'm allowed to test out the running waters soon, I can feel out how realistic that may be. I mean, if my husband can complete a 13.1 with no training (and his longest run ever, of 5 miles, being 3 months prior), I can maybe squeeze out a 26.2 in a month and a week as long as the doc says I can run....right?? :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

thoughts from an injured runner

I am surviving...surviving on the machines and yoga videos. I haven't had a lot of time to work out in general this week (yay work) and honestly, I took Tuesday off because I was in too crappy of a mood to really do much of anything. 'Cuz who wants to basically be told "We don't know why you hurt and when you won't hurt and when you can run again"?

Oh, and my entire LASIK fund went to pay for my MRI the other day. I got a 10% discount for paying upfront, too.

I'm hanging in there, really. I'm managing to keep things pretty light and positive overall, and trying hard to accept the unknown. Negative, often unrealistic thoughts, creep in any time anyone has a bad experience. But the negative thoughts need an outlet, so here, the unpretty thoughts of an injured runner:

  • It is finally the perfect running weather that I've been waiting for....and I AM NOT OUTSIDE RUNNING IN IT.
  • What if I'm not able to run again until it's 85 degrees with 90% humidity??
  • How slow am I going to be, and how crappy is my endurance going to be, once I can run again? How long is it going to take me to regain that? Is my first marathon going to take me 6 hours?
  • It's really really unfair that other people can train for a marathon without injury and I screw something up. NOT FAIR. *stomps feet* (For the record, I don't wish injury on ANYONE...I just wish lack of injury on me.)
  • Yes, there will be other marathons, but the Pig is local and has great crowds. I want my first marathon to be a great experience and what if I can't find another one that's as good?
  • I'm gonna get faaaaat. (Actually, I'm down a few pounds. When I'm stressed, I don't eat - not on purpose, it just kills my appetite. When I'm happy (and/or training for a marathon), I eat a lot.
  • I am sick of people asking me why I'm limping and I don't have a good answer for them because I'm not entirely sure what's wrong.
  • HOW THE EFF LONG DO I HAVE TO LIMP, anyway?! When I sprained my ankle and when I tore my knee, I didn't limp for this long.
  • Between the training group fee, registration fees for races I can't do, and the medical expenses, don't even get me started on how pricey this is going to be.
  • What if I'm afraid to run again because I'm afraid of hurting myself? Happened with roller derby (although to be fair, derby is a sport where you fall 1,532,400 times per game. Risk of injury is a very real fear anyway.)
  • It is infinitely harder to psych myself up for a trip to the gym (besides for yoga or circuit training - which I'm not even sure I'm allowed to do) than to psych myself up to go for a run.
  • What if there is something I could be doing to fix this and I'm not doing it??
  • Is all the money I'm spending on MRI's and possibly PT going to be worth it, or is it going to have the same end result?
  • Maybe the chiro would have fixed me completely in another session or two.
OK. That's all I can think of at the moment. Keep in mind that I'm aware that some of that is unrealistic and irrational. Also keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, just because someone is a therapist does NOT mean that they always have full control over their own thoughts and they can always cope with things 100% effectively, and that was me finding a place for all the negativity so that hopefully it doesn't stick too much.

I don't really have any positive thoughts - I can't think of a silver lining - but I do have the things I'm going to try to do to cope with this:
  • Explore some other interests that I have time for now - like practicing golfing again, shooting - husband and I have talked about gun ownership for some time now, and he's trying to help me meet my need for stress relief.
  • Work on other sports. I've considered triathlons in the past; right now I can shift my focus to swimming and biking. I'm working on options to get some help with my swimming form. The only bike I have is an old boys' mountain bike, which is so slow, and I couldn't really use it in a race, but I can at least take it out and ride it.
  • I'm hoping to at least do the Pig half. That will make up for this weekend's half that I'm not doing, and it will still give me a chance to at least run part of the full pig with all the full runners.
  • I'm half seriously considering starting an injured runners' support group and advertising at the Running Spot. We could meet at a bar once a week. Maybe others would need this as much as I do.
Yeah, all my motivational thinking works so much better when I'm trying to get through a long run, rather than when I'm trying to get through recovery. Date with the doc on Wednesday to find out what the MRI has  osay about all this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Well dammit.

I gave up on the chiropractor and his repeated promises that I'll feel better and then I DON'T feel better. I called a local sports medicine facility this morning. Wonder of wonders, they had a cancellation and got me in TODAY.

I hate going to doctors. I've had too many bad experiences and misdiagnoses (including an orthopedist who said my torn ligament was a "wobbly kneecap") and I have high deductible insurance, so I end up paying out of pocket (and out my a$$) for everything. But these days, I can't remember what it feels like to WALK pain-free, let alone run, so it was time.

My biggest disappointment is in not getting a definitive answer today. If you haven't caught on, I do NOT do well with not knowing. Tell me I can't run for a month, and I'll mark it on my calendar, count down the days, and deal. Not knowing when I can run again and when I won't hurt's its own special kind of torture.'s very much not likely a stress fracture. Nothing on the xray, no pain I can pinpoint. Doc asked me to point to where it hurts. I tried and gave up. He looked at me a little like I was crazy.

The options: stress reaction or shin splints. I find out for sure next Wednesday, after I get an MRI and I see the doc again to discuss it. Stress reaction means absolutely no marathon (not on 5/1 anyway) and I'm pretty much restricted to swimming for cross training. Any walking, even, beyond what I normally do in a day would be forbidden. So basically, when spring FINALLY hits Ohio, I wouldn't be able to go outside except to sit there. UGH.

Shin splints means physical therapy, more choice of exercise (elliptical, bike, and anything in the water)...but no running until I've been pain free for 2 weeks, and after that it's a gradual return. So the absolute best case scenario means that I can start running again 4 weeks prior to the marathon, and in that amount of time, start slow and work up to 26.2.

He didn't say it's impossible, although his initial reaction when I asked about it was (and I do quote this): "If pigs come out of my a$$." He did rephrase it. He said, "The probability is low."

Oh, but if it's doable, I'll be the one to figure out how to do it. I'm going to replace every minute that I was spending running 30-ish miles a week with other cardio until I can run again. Keep my endurance up, at least, until I'm back in the game.

Regardless, during the long wait for the doc, I figured out plans B, C, and so on. So here goes.....

Plan A: I'll be able to run the full Pig. It will probably be a bit of a struggle, I may have to run/walk it, but I will survive it. Then I will do another full later this year (maybe the USAF full in September) so that I can get a marathon in when I'm up to my full potential.

Plan B: I'll be recovered, but without enough time to work up to the distance. I will run either the half, 10k or 5k version of the Pig, and then I will find another marathon within the next couple of months and run it. One of my goals was to run a full before my 30th birthday. I have until August.

Plan C: It's bad news and I'm not up to running by 5/1. I will pick the soonest marathon I can feasibly (safely) do, and do it - hopefully also before my birthday.

Alternate marathon options I've found:

Sunburst Marathon, South Bend IN, 6/4
Indiana/Celina Challenge, 6/11
Rock 'n Roll Seattle, 6/11 (bro-in-law and fam live in Tacoma)
Make it By Midnight Marathon, Macon GA, 7/16 - just because it's interesting. The goal is to get to the finish as close to midnight as possible. So if you're a 4-hour marathoner, you start at 8pm.
Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon, NV, 8/13 <--Technically two days after my birthday, which is close enough, considering I could spend my birthday in Vegas, the race sounds awesome, and heck - I'd be bumped into an older bracket so maybe I'd place better. :) (Wow, I might just do this one regardless!)

Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you're looking for me, you can find me in the pool, hopefully not dying of boredom.

Monday, March 14, 2011

too close to crunch time

Things I am freaking out about today:

-The Pig is 6 weeks after this weekend. That means only 5 more long runs left - and only 2 more up weeks, which means only 2 more chances to do a 20 mile run before the marathon. I wanted to do 2 20 mile runs, but I don't know how slowly I'm going to have to work my way back into the training plan.

-The Pig is 6 1/2 weeks away and I still don't have any idea when I'll be able to run any sort of decent distance.

-I don't know what to do about the half this weekend. Best case scenario, I'll be able to run it somewhat comfortably (I'm not even going to wish for pain-free at this point.) Whether I can run 13 miles at this point will probably be a good gauge of how to proceed. But I'm not sure it's worth the attempt. Do I try it and drop out if it doesn't work? Do I try to downgrade to the 15k or 5k instead? (The 5k doesn't seem wise because I know me, I'll try to run at 5k pace and I'm not sure if I should be putting on that much speed. At least if I do a longer race, I'll go at a much easier pace.) Do I skip it altogether? (Booooo!) If I DO attempt it, am I going to put the brakes on the next week of training and the next long run? I suppose I should be willing to sacrifice this one for the greater good....

-Is it crazy that I'm considering a half marathon in 6 days when I'm walking with a limp today? (Note: this is healing faster than it did after the 10k. Saturday and Sunday morning I could not walk without a horrible pain in my foot. I literally had to crawl around my apartment, because if I took more than 3 steps, I'd be swearing. By the end of the day Sunday, I was hobbling, but hobbling pretty quickly and without nearly as much pain.)

-I checked daily mile. My last run that felt good was 2/20. Almost a month ago. I not only miss running, but even more, I miss running being fun! I'll be so happy to run and not hurt!!!

-The back of my shin and my ankle are the culprits now. I want to know when they won't hurt. I want my right leg to feel like my left leg. Heck, I think both shins are better and I've just strained the heck out of everything else on my right side.

Yoga tonight. I hope it works some miracles, and I hope that when the owies go away, they will never EVER come back!! Tomorrow, I'm taking the training plan to the doc with me and I'm going to talk to him about how to get myself back with the program.

PS - dropping out of the Pig will not be an option unless I actually fracture something. I don't care if I can't run again until the day of, I'll be running it, and my stubborn butt is going to cross the finish line!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Triumphant return (heh) and flood adventure

I was allowed to run today, but I decided to skip the group run. I told the doc that I thought my running buddy was going to be running about 18 today. You'll do some real damage if you try 18, he said. He suggested half that. I talked him up to 10. I was going to run 5 with the group and then turn around and run back.

Instead, I decided to run on my own. That way, I could (a) run on a flatter course (going to ease back into hills, since hills are more bothersome than flatness), (b) monitor my own pace rather than wanting to keep up with other people, and (c) quit when it hurt too much. Technically, I could do the last two with the group, but I'm much more likely to do so when it's just me.

Oh, was that a good idea. I decided to run the airport playfield trail, which is a 5 mile loop. I figured that way I could do it once, and if I was up to it, then I could do it again. But when I got out of my car, I realized I wasn't entirely convinced that I could WALK 5 miles. Running wasn't bad, though. It was slow - it was painfully slow, it felt almost like I was running in place - but it was a run. I kept thinking how really really great it felt to get out there and be running, even if it was a bit labored. I felt way more worn out than I should - running that course usually feels like nothing. I started to hurt - really hurt - around 2.25, but it wasn't worth turning back at that point. A mile later, the entire back of my right shin seized up. I started running with a limp. That's when it was time to stop. Training with a limp is not going to do me one bit of good. Plus, I was getting progressively slower, which is a good sign that I'm not hanging in there as well as I should be.

I was a little bummed, but I hadn't known what to expect, and I had a goal of assessing where I am right now more than anything.

So I decided to make the most of it by taking pictures. I've always wanted to take some pictures on this trail, but I'm usually too busy running to do it.

That's the view of the airport runways. That lake? That's not supposed to be there at all. Cincinnati's had tons of rain and flooding lately. The water was beautiful though - blue like the ocean that I love and never get to see, ya know, living in Ohio and all.

A cardinal - my favorite. My phone takes craptastic pictures, though.

This sign always cracks me up. Oh, those rebellious cyclists.

On my way to that hill (about 4 miles around the loop, or 1 mile, depending on which way you're facing), a guy flagged me down and said that the rest of the trail was pretty much flooded. Well, no way was I walking 4 more miles back. He told me to get to the top of the hill and check it out.

This was what greeted me.

There are two hills on the trail, but they're good hills. Particularly this one. Again, all the water is supposed to just be grass.

Yes, that is definitely covering the trail. The woman ahead of me plowed through it, so I did, too. It was just deep enough to get into my shoes.

The guy who had warned me had suggested that I could maybe cut through the golf course beside the trail....

....even though it's strictly forbidden.

I didn't think any golfers would be around to be bothered, though. Hey, since when does this course have a water trap??

It was also a pretty ineffective idea. Yep, I'd say the trail and the golf course have been pretty much drowned.

And then cutting through the golf course left me stuck on the wrong side of the fence. That's the trail poking out of the puddle/lake/ocean.

I did manage to make it back, although both socks and shoes were thoroughly soaked by the time I did. I tried starting up a run again several times, but each time I was overwhelmingly vetoed by every muscle in my lower right leg. Even the top of my foot, as I was thinking, why the eff does my foot hurt??

I went to the chiropractor after that. I even got a smile out of him when I told him about my adventure - first time I think that's happened. He's sooooo serious. And then, even though I was hobbling after that adventure, he told me things looked really really good. "Your left leg is pretty much fine, and your right leg is doing weird things," he says. Weird things are good??? Yes, any change is good. The fact that it doesn't feel like shin splints anymore is good, and it looks like my other leg muscles are just rebelling due to overuse because they've been compensating for the crappy shin.

His advice: take the rest of the weekend and Monday off. Maybe cross train if I want. Stretch and ice, plenty of sleep and even eat extra food to refuel. (That is probably the best thing a doctor can say to me. Bring on the extra food!!!) Honestly, it helps that I'm fighting a cold right now because most of that advice is good for that, too. Plus, fighting a cold makes me WANT extra sleep and extra food. (Husband picked up Bob Evans chicken and noodles for me - I could eat my weight in that stuff when I'm sick.)

The part I don't believe - he says I'm going to be surprised at how much better I feel on Tuesday. Considering I've only felt marginally better after a week, I'm a skeptic. I'm also worried about the half marathon next weekend, but I've decided to worry about that on Tuesday. I'll either be feeling fantastic (as Dr. Seriousface alleges) or I'll still be hurting and I'll have a big WTF for the doc and then we'll discuss the half.

For now, nothing I can do but bask in the familiar post-run endorphin rush and enjoy my weekend of taking the doctor's advice to pretty much sit on my ass and eat food.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chiropractor visit #2

Ya know how I said the doc wanted me to run today?

I figured it wasn't going to happen. Not when I woke up in pain 3-ish times (brain gets a little fuzzy when I'm, ya know, asleep). Holy crap. I've had shin splints before, but never bad enough to freaking wake me up. The only injury that's ever woken me up was when I tore my PCL, and only the night immediately after it happened.

(My stubborn butt played roller derby for a month with a torn PCL, by the way. I was only benched when a coach forced it on me, and I still argued with him about it.)

Still, I woke up, limped around, and put on all my running clothes in anticipation that he was going to do some chiropractic miracle and then send me on my way for an easy five miles.


I did admit to him that I want to run. I reallyreallyreallyreallyreally want to ruuuuunnnnnn. But I'm terrified of running. He didn't let me run. He did say I looked better, even though I didn't feel better, not at all. He did all the fun chiropractic stuff. I got into my car and cried.

I got home, husband asked how the appointment went, and I cried again. Then I went and got on the elliptical because I had to do SOMETHING to avoid being a wreck at work all day.

Elliptical and weights helped, mildly, although the elliptical still feels like about the most pointless and ridiculous exercise ever. It was bad enough that I was staring longingly at the treadmills and had to talk myself down from just trying to run for a minute. However, the elliptical is exercise, it is conveniently located at my apartment complex when I don't have time to go to the gym, and it does not hurt. I have to accept it for now.

The good news is that I'm maybe actually feeling better now. The right shin no longer hurts 24/7 (even when resting). I can walk pretty consistently with a normal gait (whereas last night, the husband asked why I was "walking funny". Yes, he really felt the need to ask that!). And today I caught myself walking faster. I'd almost forgotten that my default speed is "in a big hurry". I have not been able to hurry until today. Wearing running shoes to work, even though they're not the most stylish option, probably helped.

Oh....the compression sleeves I got....I showed them to the doctor. He said at this point, maybe they'd help, or maybe they'd make things worse because my calves are super tight as it is. The good news is they can't get much worse. He did say they'd be really effective as a preventative measure once I've recovered more, which is great, since I need to break the cycle of better/worse/better/worse that I've been dealing with.

If I keep recovering, I can try running this weekend. I'm really really hoping I'm not losing speed and conditioning......although if I do, I do, I guess. I did pick up so much more speed in a month of running with the group, I'm hopeful I could get it all back. My bigger worry is that I was so hoping for a good half marathon performance next week. I know I can finish a half (heck, I'm stubborn enough that I could finish a marathon tomorrow if I wanted to, it just wouldn't be pretty) but I (a) hate racing when I'm not in the best shape I can be in, and (b) do NOT want to limp around for nearly a week again!!

The good news is that I will not ever have shin splints this bad again, because this marks the last time that I tell myself that I can keep running with shin splints and they will go away. Next time, I'm remembering this level of pain and I'm taking time off as soon as they start acting up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm ok with that

The injury report:

I am finally able to walk - most of the time - without a noticeable limp. If I walk too long, or if I sit too long and then try to walk, it comes back, but it's fading. Yesterday's yoga class helped immensely. I hobbled in, yoga teacher took one look at me and said, "Oh no. What did you do?" Without me having to ask, yoga teacher busted out every leg stretch she had, and after an hour, I walked (NOT hobbled) out of class.

Did I mention that I've discovered that yoga is pretty much a necessity for runners, far as I can tell??

Today, I went to the chiropractor for the first time (well, second since I saw him at the injury clinic.) He got to see the limp, since I'd been sitting for a minute before he came in. He asked when my next run was. I said it was supposed to be tonight. "NOT tonight," was the response. No, definitely not. I asked if I could do spin class instead. He said, "I'm ok with that."

That is his line. He is quite deadpan about it. Should I be foam rolling? "I'm ok with that." Here, inspect my running shoes. "I'm ok with those." I'm going to come up with more things for him to be ok with just to see how many times I can get him to say it. (I am way too amused when people have their own catchphrases.)

I can't tell you exactly what he's doing to me. Husband asked me and I stammered through it. He is, far as I can tell, stretching and loosening every single muscle fiber that attaches to my shin bones. And then he used a metal device on the back of my shins that hurt in a very good way. He kept telling me to let him know if it was too painful. (a) it really wasn't, and (b) I would endure pretty much any amount of temporary pain on earth if it means I can enjoy running again.

Besides, don't ask the patient with four tattoos, multiple piercings and a missing toenail if something is too painful. It probably won't be.

They gave me some stretches, which I did before and after spin class. Spin class was definitely not the same as a freeing outdoor run, but it did feel good to get some cardio. Anything out of the saddle was more painful than it needs to be, so after an hour with no breaks, my butt is thoroughly sore. As for the rest of me, while I still hurt, my shins feel a LOT looser than they did before. That's probably good.

The endorphin rush, I think, was enough to keep me from going crazy, as I've been pretty close to doing lately. Running is my main source of stress relief, confidence, and relaxation. Without it, I've been an insecure, neurotic, overreactive hot crazy mess. I feel like I'm beginning to understand drug addicts in a small way. When I thought of that this morning, I realized that I might seriously consider prostitution if I could somehow use the money to buy bionic shins and have the best long run ever.

This is how crazy I get when I can't run, people. (And I've been watching too much Police Women of Cincinnati.)

The good news: the doc not only says I can run Thursday, but he WANTS me to run Thursday, after I see him. Eep. I'm both thrilled and terrified at the prospect. I really don't want nearly three more days of barely being able to walk in the aftermath. If the doc's confident, I'm confident, but the nagging voice says that doctors can be wrong, and I'll be the case that will never heal despite his best efforts. I may never run again! < /drama>

Scratch that. Doc's confident. I'm just crazy. At least until I can run again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Food on the Run 10k Race Report

I survived....that's about all I can say....well, I PR'd, but it's not a PR I'm totally thrilled with, although I probably should be. For a while there, I was running so well that I should've shattered my previous 10k time, rather than beating it by less than a minute. Oh well...such is life.

I did what I said - I babied my shins. I went to circuit class and did only the exercises that I could do with NO shin pain. Luckily, that was most of them - a lot of upper body and core strength, squats, lunges - which got a bit iffy so I half-did them, and calf raises, which surprisingly were painless. Plyos were completely out.

Thursday I squeezed in a half hour of yoga because I ended up with a very long work day, followed by the injury clinic. God love exercise tv on demand. Injury clinic was very promising. I met with a chiropractor who ruled out a stress fracture or anything serious, said that previously bad shoes + overpronation + hills had done a number on my shins (which I already figured), and told me that three sessions with him over the course of the week should pretty much get me back into good running shape. Worst case scenario would mean skipping a week of training, but he told me to keep running while I see him.

He also cleared me to run the 10k today. Well, kinda. His exact words were, "You're going to do it anyway, aren't you?" I told him probably, but I wanted his opinion.

Over the last few days, the shins have gotten better, although the pain is still there when I walk. (Unlike Tuesday - cute boot day - it no longer hurts to push on the gas pedal. Yes, it's that bad of a case!) I met up with my running buddy for a jog across the bridge - .6 miles - to the start line. It wasn't too bad. I was a little surprised to discover how well my legs worked. And then we stopped. And THEN I felt it. That lovely feeling in my right leg like it's made out of glass and my own weight may shatter it. I lined up between the 10 and 10:15 pace coaches, who noticed my taped up shins and gave me some sympathy. Someone asked how long I've had the splints. I told her a month and a half and she looked shocked. One of the coaches asked if I was in the half or full training group, and she looked worried when I said the full. Eek. I tried stretching the right leg, to no avail.

The beginning of the race wasn't bad. I settled into a 10-ish pace, which felt very doable. My shins felt better once I got going. I planned to take it very conservatively at first, as the race route featured the Flying Pig's worst hill - about 3/4 mile of uphill running. My first mile was just under a 10. I fought my way up the hill, which was when people started passing me like crazy. Sigh. I considered walking - caught myself doing it for a few seconds - but I made it up to the turnaround, where I had to walk because I had phlegm caught in my throat. I pulled off to the left side, almost to the curb, to slow down, when a guy who was really moving suddenly squeezed into the tiny space between me and the curb. I almost (accidentally) spit on his shoe.

With the mucus gone, the downhill felt awesome. I felt like I could fly. To my surprise, that feeling stuck with me once I got onto flat ground. Running felt invigorating. I felt like dancing. That lasted until about the third mile. By that point, the tape had turned into shreds flapping from my calves. (I'm beginning to think that KT tape isn't all it's cracked up to be.) And I started to hurt. I tried to take it easy, but it was disappointing that my easy pace wasn't a 9:50 anymore. I developed a new mantra - "You CAN do this, and you WILL do this!"

The race was weird in that we passed the starting/finish line between mile 4 and 5. A HUGE part of me wanted to quit. A mile and a half. 15 minutes. I could at least do that. There was a water stop and I took a quick walk break to regroup, drank half the water, made myself run again.

The last couple of miles were not fun. They hurt. I pulled it together and sped up during the last mile, and ended up running with someone who was very enthusiastic and encouraging, which helped even though I didn't have it in me to reciprocate. I was TIRED, too. I don't know if I can still blame donating blood, or maybe running through pain just sucked all the energy out of me. I managed a final sprint when I saw the time clock at the finish line. I knew I finished under my thanksgiving time, but barely, and I was a little disappointed with that, even though I knew going in that it was going to be a struggle.

I walked back across the bridge just fine - and my running buddy (who kicked ASS btw, and finished in 54 something) was very sweet to listen to my grumbling. Running is what makes me feel good, and it SUCKS when it makes me feel crappy.

Got home, and when I got out of my car, I realized I could barely walk. My left shin, oddly, feels nearly fine. My right, on the other hand, was barely mobile. I made my way up the stairs to my apartment, pulling myself on the handrail. The limp I had was bad enough to get a genuinely sympathetic "awwww" from my husband  (who, while sweet, is not the overly pitying type, especially not for pain that people bring on themselves.) And honestly, the fact that I'm now walking with a huge limp is incredibly validating for me. It proves to me that yes, I did just give that race everything I could. I AM hurt and not being a wuss. And that time was damn good, considering how much I hurt. Yes, I'm still disappointed to see that time. I think it's normal to see something in print and know that it wasn't representative of my ability and feel crappy about that. I guess the only solution is to replace it soon.

(By the way, my garmin totally said 6.3....which is some consolation.)

Today is full of ice, aleve, foam rolling, and activities that can be done from a sitting or reclining position. I see the chiro on Tuesday. I ordered some shin compression sleeves that have gotten rave reviews from other afflicted runners. I'm hoping to bounce back for the half in two weeks - I've got an old PR that still needs to be shattered - so long as it's the PR and not my shinbones. :)

Splits: 9:58, 10:14, 9:42, 10:16, 10:43, 10:20


-Beat previous PR
-sub-10:07 pace (best race pace ever, any distance)
-sub-10:00 pace
-sub-60 race
-relatively even splits

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pain is temporary.....but still very painful!

I feel somewhat defeated.

My weekend was fantastic. As a chance to let the shin splints ease up, though, it was a bit of a fail. I forgot how much walking a person can do in NYC. And since I'm an excitable girl from the midwest, I wanted to see EVERYTHING. OMG...let's walk to Times Square. Now let's explore Central Park. Hey, Greenwich Village...that doesn't look far on the map!!

Shin splints, as it turns out, aren't super discriminatory between walking and running. Any weight-bearing movement keeps them alive.

So I hurt when I came back. And I was itching to run after my long travel day Monday - I hate flying anyway, so after a  flight cancellation and having to tango with Delta, I was a bit unnerved. What do I do when I'm unnerved? I run! Three miles on the gym track - what will that hurt? Oh, let's do one of them as fast as I can (magic mile test!) to see where my pace is.

Not my best idea ever. For the record, my magic mile pace (with shin splints and blood donation 4 days prior) was 8:46. I'll take that.

OK, soooo....I hurt after that. I did yoga, and I still hurt after yoga. I woke up and I hurt. I was walking and I hurt, and I blamed it on my adorable but arch support-less boots. (note: not the ones I wore in NYC. Those are supportive. The ones I wore today are purely fashion, not particularly useful.)

So anyway....I hurt. So this morning I taped up my shins with KT tape (which is good stuff - I used it on my knee for the USAF half) to see if that would help. They still hurt all day. You'd think that would be enough to teach me. Nope. I decided to test the tape to see if it would help while I run! I also decided to try ace bandaging the particularly painful one. It did seem to help once I removed the boots and bandaged the shin.

I did have the good sense to skip the group tonight. I figured if I had to turn back, I'd be much more likely to do so if I was running by myself, and I figured I'd be much better at pacing by myself. They were doing hill repeats, so I figured out a new route that's rather hilly. I did kinda have to talk myself mentally into running, although that was easier after the running clothes went on.

.6 miles in, my bandaged leg was going numb. I stopped, loosened the ace bandage (no small feat rolling running tights up high enough to do that) and started up again. I hurt but it was manageable. I started up the first hill. Much less manageable. I hit a mile and gave up. Why do I run? I asked myself. Because it's FUN! is the obvious answer. Is this fun?? NO. This is hell and this is pain and this is not the kind of pain that means I'm getting stronger. This is the kind of pain that I am only making worse.

Mind you, I'd like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance. It takes a lot for me to give up. But tonight, I needed to be done. I did make it home. I'm walking with a limp. I'm icing the owieness. I have peas on one shin and carrots on the other - if nothing else, I make a healthy side dish. I am not running again until the 10k. I will do circuit class in the morning - if I feel up to it - and I will go ridiculously easy on the leg exercises. I will cross train on Thursday. Even if a miracle happens and I wake up feeling like I have bionic shins, I'm benched until Saturday.

And at that, if I can't run Saturday and I have to DNS it, oh well. I didn't pay for the race registration anyway. I NEED to recover from this if I'm going to do 26.2 and enjoy it - which is my ultimate goal.

I also signed up for a slot at the free injury clinic at the running store Thursday. I have to try to release myself from work early and I can't guarantee I'll be able to make it on time....but I'll do my best.

Aleve, ice massages, foam rolling, stretching, taping, bandaging, this all-natural muscle healing massage oil I bought from a cool store in NYC....something should work here! Training your body to run 26 miles when it feels GOOD is difficult would be really nice at least if parts of it weren't in agony.