Category Archives: Injuries

A week of slothfulness

I’m visiting northern Arizona right now, and the weather is perfect for running–sunny and cool-but-not-cold. The air is pure, and the scenery is lovely. It’s the perfect kind of spring.

And yet, I have not run all week.

Seriously. I’m like a super-sloth, working all day (tomorrow’s the last day!) from the couch, eating too much, and drinking delicious wine. I’ve been waiting to run until my butt/hip flexor soreness was completely gone–no sense aggravating it further–and until yesterday morning, I was limping when I walked. Today, my muscles feel great, but I indulged in a few too many cocktails last night and my head spins if I so much as get off of the couch for a glass of water. At least the dancing was a workout, right?

I miss my runs. 😦 It’s been 4 days since the last one, and I don’t have much energy, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on work, and I just feel unhealthy (okay, so that’s partly the hangover talking). But seriously. A few days of vending machine crap–which used to be a dietary norm–has me realizing how far I’ve come with healthy eating choices, and how much I don’t want to go back to that college student-style eating. As always, I’m amazed at how strongly my body is affected by diet/exercise choices. Just like being sick always helps me appreciate my health, this mini period of sloth has helped me appreciate how amazing I feel when I’m running/eating well.

On a side note, it’s kind of daunting to find a brand new running route in a new place…I had to drive around for a while to find a relatively flat area that won’t put too much stress on my gluteus medius. I’m going to lay off hilly routes for a while.

I’m running tomorrow! It’ll be a celebration of finishing my job and ditching the slothfulness.  Wish me and my glutes luck. 🙂

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Filed under Half Marathon, Injuries

Paranoid ramblings of a new runner

Sometimes, the internet is my worst enemy. Ah, Google. When I start something new, I’m eager to learn everything I can, as soon as I can. In all of my reading about running, I keep coming across cautions about injuries. Stress fractures, ITB issues, shin splints…where does it stop?

With that information floating around in my head, every little pain or ache is suddenly magnified. My shin hurts, and there’s pain when I press on the bone–do I have a stress fracture? Should I be running? Do I need to schedule a costly bone scan? I was feeling just fine last week before the fateful 7-mile day–could those extra two miles have caused a stress fracture? What does a stress fracture feel like, anyway? Can one week of higher mileage really make that big of a difference?

Or, more likely for a klutz like me, did I run into something, bang my shin, and forget about it? Luckily, I have a dear friend who is a nurse and listens patiently to all of my ramblings and “logical” symptoms and then calmly talks me down off of the MRI-scheduling ledge. 🙂

I wonder if it’s better to have a general awareness of what constitutes “bad” pain–from what I can gather, you shouldn’t run through a sharp pain but a dull muscle ache is okay–than to focus on every little ache. Because, for those of us on information overload, obsessing over an injury that probably doesn’t exist might actually bring it into existence (like “The Secret,” but in a negative way).

This is the reason I am hesitant to see doctors–because inevitably, you leave with a label for some kind of condition. And once it has a name, you internalize it, and, I’m convinced, make it worse…a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because if you’re thinking about something continually, how can you avoid it? Like driving, when you will unconsciously go toward the thing you’re looking at.

It’s amazing how far the mind can travel in a short period. This afternoon, after reading a Runner’s World article about injuries, I stopped to consider the fact that I might have a stress fracture in my shin…which made me think about how taking 6 weeks off to heal at this early stage of running would really set me back, and how I can’t really afford expensive hospital bills, and how I might have to skip the half marathon in May, and what kind of cross-training exercises I could do while I wasn’t running, and how much weight I’d gain when not running, and how I was going to manage with such a serious travel schedule, and how the marathon training would be extra difficult, and how I was going to be a failure at the marathon I just paid $135 to register for, and how all of my friends and family were going to see that I was a running failure.

And yes, I do realize how crazy that sounds. Welcome to my neuroses and overactive mind. 🙂 Oy. So much to learn. I’m going to think myself into an injury if I don’t watch out.

Where can I go to get answers to my questions? Are there running trainers or coaches that will do a “welcome to running” session to get me on the right track? If so, where does one find them?

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Filed under Half Marathon, Injuries

Listen to Your Body!

A week ago, I bought a Nike+. If you’re not familiar with it, this little device uses a transmitter in your shoe to communicate to an iPod receiver the distance, pace, time, and calories burned for each run. Now, if you’re a gadget-hound like me, this is the perfect motivation. It records your run data and uploads it to the Nike+ website when you sync with iTunes, so you get a little home page where you can track runs, set goals, and participate in challenges.

The trouble is, the thing is so cool that it makes me want to run more just so I can see a taller bar on my bar graph of runs. During the first week with the Nike+, I ran 17 miles–significantly more than my previous week’s mileage, which hovered somewhere around 8 miles. It was just so exciting to see the miles add up and realize that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. One four mile run means I can do another the next day, right?

I survived that week, but this past weekend, I ran my first 5-mile long run, followed by a 2-mile walk/run with a friend. If I’d stopped at the 5 miles, there would be no issue. But I didn’t, and as a result of the 7 miles, have been dealing with an aching body ever since. Combine that with less sleep due to a crazy work schedule, and you’ve got the recipe for misery.

My hips ache, my right knee has a twinge, and the little tendons running from the outside of my ankle to the muscles on the outer right part of my calves are killing me. After much internet research, I discovered this post about stretching the peroneals, and it isolated the pain, all right. Ouch! I’ll be adding that to my regular post-run stretching routine. Since Mondays were listed as “Strength and Stretch,” I did some arm/ab moves and the Yogatic Yoga for Runners, and Yoga for Hips videos.

So much of my information about running comes from the internet, for better or for worse. Should I run through soreness? Google will know! After reading many, many message boards that said it is okay to run through mild to medium soreness, I set out for my Tuesday 3-mile run.

Turns out, I should have listened to my aching, exhausted body and stayed home. Today’s run was listed as 2-mile run or cross-train, and I opted to stay home with Jillian Michaels’ 30-day Shred (level 1) to get in some strength training moves and give my running muscles a break.

Lesson? Your body will tell you if you’re overdoing it. The hard part is giving it what it needs! Tomorrow is a 3 miler + strength…here’s hoping my legs are back up to full capacity.

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Filed under Half Marathon, Injuries, Nike+