Shamrock Half Marathon Training Week 1: 01/26-02/01

It’s great to be back! Obviously my training for the Shamrock Half Marathon is beginning much later than I would have liked, but I still have some time to get it together. Sadly, this will not be the PR I was hoping for this year.

I was cleared to run again as of last Tuesday, but there were rules: no more than 15 miles for the week, no more than 3 runs for the week, and I had to take at least one day off in between runs. I decided to err on the side of caution and did less mileage than I was allowed.

  • Monday: 45 minutes of physical therapy at home
  • Tuesday: 1 hour physical therapy session + 2 mile run
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 3 mile run + 20 minutes of physical therapy at home
  • Friday: PiYo: Sweat
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday:  5.5 mile run + PiYo: Define Upper Body

Total: 10.5 miles

These runs were more exploratory in nature than anything else. I’m happy to say that the leg is feeling great – no pain at all! I am also not as slow as I would have anticipated after being out for so long, which gives me hope for a swift comeback!

Sunday’s run was along the Beltline. I was happy to see that there is some new art to enjoy since the last time I ran there!

A new mural along the Beltline

A new mural along the Beltline

Awful picture, but happy to be running again!

Sunday’s run also led me to discover that fellow blogger Kristen (Running for More) lives in my neighborhood! She saw the above picture posted on my Instagram and realized she saw me leaving for my run the same time she was heading out for hers! Small world!

How is your winter training coming along? What was your favorite Super Bowl ad? (I of course loved the Budweiser puppy commercial and the Always “Like a Girl” ad!)

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Day 78

I was really nervous for Tuesday to come around. I had an appointment with my physical therapist, who would decide whether my leg was strong enough to run again. I had done all of my exercises religiously over the past two weeks, so a “no” from him wasn’t really an option in my brain. I was so excited that my non-running streak of 77 days could come to an end that I accidentally grabbed two left running shoes and threw them into my bag that morning… luckily I realized my idiocy early enough to stop by my place before heading to my appointment!

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on...

Really? And of course, the right leg is the one that was actually being worked on…

My PT really put me through the grind. It was an hour of exercises that got more and more difficult as I went along. I was petrified that I was failing to demonstrate that my leg was fine. I got frustrated at one point but he interrupted me and said that he was purposefully was trying to fatigue my leg so he could make sure it was up for running. Which would have been nice to know from the beginning…

After what I hoped would be a convincing performance, my leg was iced for 12 minutes and I learned that I was indeed cleared to run – YESSSS!

I was so excited, I didn’t even change out of my running clothes when I returned to work. I finished my day in them so I could easily get home, walk the dog, grab my GPS watch and go. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was a perfect evening. Temperatures were in the 40s and the sun was setting. I only run with my iPod perhaps 50% of the time anymore and I decided for this special run I wanted no distractions. I wanted to hear my footsteps and my breath and remember what it is like to be a runner again!

Park 1

I headed into Piedmont Park. With each step, I felt more like me. Running is truly my happy place. It’s a time when nothing else matters but that moment.

I made sure to take in everything as ran along the path. I probably looked like a big dope smiling and looking around like I’d never been there before. But I didn’t care!

Park 3

I knew I had to ease into running, so I forbade myself from going more than two miles. This was actually very fitting, since the last run before my diagnosis ended up being that exact distance. However, this run didn’t end in tears after feeling like someone was stabbing me in my tibia with each stride.

It was only two miles, and I am a far cry from where I was in November, when I could go out and run 20. But I don’t care. I’m me again! And I can’t wait to see what I will accomplish this year.

Do you have a recent run that has meant a lot to you? Tell me about it!

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

The Perils of PT

The past few weeks have been very frustrating for me but things are finally turning around, no thanks to my lovely health insurance provider (I don’t have warm feelings for Kaiser Permanente). A full two weeks had passed from the time my orthopedist cleared me for physical therapy until I received my referral and could get an appointment. Basically, I should be running by now. But I’m not. Which infuriates me.

(I also found out that physical therapy is apparently a 100% out-of-pocket cost. Great.)

Last week I finally got in to see my physical therapist. He gets me. After I described my entire stress fracture ordeal to him, he said, “well I love you guys. Runners, that is. You do exactly as I tell you no matter what because you’re crazy and you just want to get back out there.” I could tell it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I spent over an hour doing exercises and I will say it was a humbling experience. I was doing well until about halfway through when my leg just quit. I tried again. It quit. I asked if I could take a short break. He laughed and said yes, I was doing great but I understandably have to rebuild strength in that leg. The rest of the session went pretty well, and I experienced no pain afterwards.

The roadmap to my return to running

The roadmap to my return to running

My PT put me on a two-week, at-home program. I was extremely thankful for this considering I have to pay through the nose for any time we spend together. I am to see him again next week and then (fingers, legs, eyes, whatever else crossed) can resume running. I have two sets of exercises that alternate every other day. The exercises take about 45 minutes each day and I do them religiously because I HAVE to run next week. I NEED to.

It has been 72 days since my last run. In addition to PT, I have been biking and walking to occupy myself. I also finished day three of PiYo this morning – more to come on that in the future. But I can’t wait to run again. Especially with the Shamrock Half Marathon coming up so quickly!

Have you ever been driven this crazy by an injury? What is the longest you have gone without running?

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

 

The Boot: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As of last Friday, I am officially boot-free!!! I am now on day 57 of no running, and my triumphant return may very well be next week. My orthopedist and I came up with a good plan to resume running and still be on track to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. I am also starting physical therapy. At this point, I will take any little mile I can get!

bootFor now, I am thrilled to be reunited with simple things like squats, lunges, planks, and other strength training exercises that require the use of your legs. (I can even do regular push-ups now instead of on my knees, since my leg is back in action!) Mostly, I’m just excited to be able to walk around without lugging that darn boot with me!

I tried to maintain a good attitude during my time in the boot/on crutches and I think I did for the most part. But I wanted to share some thoughts about this whole recovery process. Here it is… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

  • Pre-boarding on my Thanksgiving and Christmas flights.
  • All of my helpers. This includes members of both of our families who poured me wine over the holidays so I didn’t have to get up, co-workers who refilled my water bottles and drove me to lunch, neighbors who offered to walk the dog, strangers who stopped to help me, etc. But most of all, the boyfriend, who has graciously done all kinds of random things for me over the past two months without complaining.
  • A little more time to get things done around the holidays since I wasn’t running at all.

The Bad

  • NOT RUNNING.
  • Not being able to run my first full marathon when most of the hard work was done.
  • Realizing how many things are so much harder when you can’t get around easily. Even getting a glass of water while on crutches was enough to make me want to cry. I don’t know how anyone does that for more than my measly two-week sentence. I truly appreciate my overall health more because of this experience.

The Ugly

  • Unsolicited commentary/advice. Especially from non-runners who just don’t get it. And especially, ESPECIALLY from strangers. Oh you’ve never run before in your life and you want to tell me that I should never run again? Or that there will be other races? That’s cute. Kindly stand back. (For the record, I know there will be other races. But to come that close to your first full marathon and not see final payoff of your hard work is extremely frustrating.)

Now that I’ve purged those thoughts and my stress fracture will soon become an ancient memory, I’m ready to move on! Here’s to getting back out there!

What has been the hardest part of recovering from an injury for you? 

 

 

 

The Most Runderful Time of the Year

There are running perks to all seasons, but December is my favorite running month for sure! This of course makes my stress fracture a little more painful, since I won’t be able to get out and enjoy the month. A quick injury update: I was cleared from crutches and put into a boot last Thursday. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be free of the crutches! My doctor wants to see me back in 3 weeks to hopefully start physical therapy and after two weeks of that, I may be able to transition back into running (please let this be true – I’m going insane!). But back to the topic at hand…

Yes, so December is awesome for running. I appreciate the cooler temperatures and extra time off to get those miles in. Most of all, I LOVE being able to look at people’s Christmas lights on the run! There is something wonderful about the warm glow of people’s houses and the decorated trees as you run by them. It turns even the coldest and darkest of mornings into a happy time.

Here are a few festive houses along some of my routes here in Atlanta:

Lighted trees lining the streets

I particularly like that the trees are wearing Santa hats

There’s a lot going on here, but hey, it’s festive!

Along with missing out on my everyday runs this December, I am bummed that I won’t be participating in the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler when I go home for Christmas in Virginia Beach as I had planned. The course runs through the holiday lights display on the boardwalk – but never fear, I’ll be checking them out as I cheer on other runners!

Virginia Beach boardwalk; photo courtesy of Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler's Facebook page

Virginia Beach boardwalk; photo courtesy of Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler’s Facebook page

Registration is still open, so if you’re going to be in the Hampton Roads area on December 19, I highly recommend this race! Some other draws if you’re kind of a Grinch and don’t enjoy Christmas lights: great swag, beer at the finish line, and a really fun post-race party. Hope to see you out there!

What do you like most about running during the holidays? Do you have any December races that you love?

*I am a J&A Racing Ambassador and did receive free entry into the Surf-n-Santa (though I won’t be able to use it). Views are my own.

The Waiting Game

They’re the words you never want to hear as a runner: “I’m almost certain that you have a stress fracture”. And I heard them yesterday morning at the orthopedist.

But before I get into all the medical fun, let me first take you back a little bit in time. Picture it:

Picture it... It was a Saturday...

Picture it… It was a Saturday…

A week and a half ago. It was a cool Saturday morning, and I had just crushed a 20 mile run. It was a great confidence booster heading into the Kiawah Island Marathon. The run felt good and I was in great spirits afterwards, happily stretching afterwards and telling the boyfriend about all of the fabulous moments of that run.

That evening we went to a brewery for an event with friends and I felt a little pain in my lower right leg just standing around. I decided to skip my run for Sunday to rest, ice, foam roll, and stretch. Mondays are a scheduled rest day and I took that day off as well. A week ago Tuesday, I set out on a 7 mile run before work. The weather was great, but every single stride on my right leg hurt. I quickly detoured and slowly jogged back – the entire endeavor lasted only two miles.

For the next week, I kept icing, rolling, and even wore a compression sleeve during the day and sometimes at night to try to speed along healing. It felt a little better to walk and stand on, but every morning when I tested my leg with a little jog around the house it felt like a stab every time I landed on it. I have not run since last Tuesday.

This is how I feel right now and I hate it. Photo courtesy: biomed.missouri.edu

This is how I feel right now and I hate it. Photo courtesy: biomed.missouri.edu

I made an appointment to see the orthopedist and went in yesterday. After feeling my leg, looking at it, and talking to me about what has been going on, he uttered those cruel words: that my injury was likely a stress fracture. I’ll be having a bone scan on Friday to confirm it – though I really wish they had an appointment earlier in the week. A small part of me hopes he’s wrong, but I know that is a long shot. He warned that crutches may be in my future and I could be out for several weeks.

I’ve been injured in the past, but this development could be a pretty big blow. I am scheduled to complete my first full marathon in just 3.5 short weeks. The week after, I was planning on running the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler under the holiday lights on the boardwalk of Virginia Beach. But for now, I sit and wait. And hope that somehow my doctor is wrong.