Thursday, March 22, 2012

Updates and New Things

I thought I would give you all an update on my injury status. As you know from my last post, I was diagnosed with a minor case of ankle tendinitis. I was told to take at least 1-1.5 weeks off of running minimum.

I took just about 1.5 weeks off. My ankle was sore for most of that first week. I was doing the exercises they gave me. By Sunday I was noticing a little improvement in the way it felt. Monday if felt pretty much fine and by Tuesday, didn’t really hurt at all. The only times it hurts is if I turned it funny (inward since that’s the side that has the tendinitis).

My 1.5 weeks off really only translated to missing 1 full week of running. It was a cutback week for marathon training and I felt if I had to miss, that was the week to do it. I did not know it was going to go from 30 degrees the last Saturday I ran to 80 degrees a few days later!

Me + 80 degrees = happy running!! Unfortunately, I could not do it. So as all my running friends were posting about their great runs (or their hot runs), I was riding my bike or swimming. One day I just got depressed and lazy and did nothing (last Tuesday, the first day I should have been running). I knew I just had to wait it out!

My plan all along was to hopefully start running again on my normal run day of Tuesday. My miles for this week were 4, 9, 5, 18. I knew I was not going to do ALL of those weekday miles. It would be too much too soon. I don’t want to hurt my ankle more. But the stubborn person in me always wants to go that extra 0.5 or 1 mile! I may not want to at first but with only 0.5 miles left in a run (especially if I was going to cut it short), I think “I can do one more mile!” or “I can do 0.5 miles!” So at first, my goal for Tuesday was to just do an easy 2 miles or so, maybe a run/walk, just to get my feet under me. When Tuesday actually got here, I thought, “I’ll just do an easy 3 miles run/walk”. Of course, I don’t listen to myself and nearing the end of the 3 mile loop I was doing (all running, no walking), I thought “Maybe I can go 4? Or 3.5? Or 4?” My running felt pretty good. My legs felt good. My stride felt good. My ankle felt good. It was my lungs that were giving me a problem! But I was supposed to take it “slow”. Needless to say, I really wasn’t. I’m not a speed runner anyway but I was still running my normal average pace. I settled on 3.5 miles as I didn’t want to injure myself. My pace was 10:06 average and I was pretty pleased with that considering I was running based off of how I was feeling.

I decided Wednesday to try another “short” run. The schedule called for 9. There was no way I was doing 9 miles. I have a lot of running coming up and I needed to ease back into it a little bit. My former CARA pace leader Jeanne told me to do another short run and if my ankle hurts, not to run again until Saturday. After she said “short”, I thought that I should just do 3 miles. But in true Amanda running fashion, when I got out there, the miles started running through my head, “maybe I can do 4 or 5, maybe 6 miles would be the most…possible 7??” I got smart right away and though there was no way I would do more than 4-5 miles. I figured I would see how that 3 mile loop would go and figure it out then. When I finished the 3 mile loop, I decided I could do at least 4.5 – 5miles. Or course then I thought maybe 6 miles but I was racing against it getting dark and I wouldn’t make the 6 and would have had to take it onto the streets. But of course the smart and logical side came through once again and I opted for 5.03 miles. With a 10:14 average pace. With a 9:44 and 9:59 split in there, I was pretty happy with the run.

Since I forgot to ice my ankle after my run on Tuesday, it was a little sore Wednesday all day. And I “felt” my ankle more during my run than the day before. I got home and did some icing! 

A regular part of my routine lately.

It's a little sore today so I've got a bandage on it.  The smart thing to do would be to skip my run tonight but it's Thursday!  That means I'm meeting my Thursday group!  I hated missing last week! I didn't want to miss again.  I decided to bring my stuff for the run tonight and figured maybe I'll just walk or run/walk.  But knowing me...I'll probably run.  I'm stubborn.

I decided to try a few new things out.  One was a headband I got at an expo.  I don't ever wear headbands. They don't stay on my head  I don't like the way I look in one.  But with the heat that we may have this summer, I thought maybe I could try it out since it would be nice to keep the hair out of my eyes and some of the sweat.  The headband I bought...maybe it's kind of ugly??  lol.  I bought it because it has hearts on it and well...I love hearts. 

Heart Headband.  Excuse the messy bathroom.
I also bought a shirt through Running Warehouse when they were having a sale in February.  It's a tank and reviews were saying they loved how light weight it was.  And it's purple. Another one of my favorite things.  When I got it, I realized it's kind of see through!  Who would make a see through running shirt for a woman?  And it's all white on the back.  See through and white?? 

Yesterday since it was 80 degrees out, I decided to try it on.  And it is a little see through but not much, so I decided to give it a go.  I also decided to try out a new fuel belt.  I got one online a month ago but when I got it (it was free through my points), I realized it was too small for my rather large child bearing size hips (that have yet to bear children but will be ready for when I do! lol)!  So I bought a new one at Marshalls for $7.  I have to say, I loved the fuel belt!!  Once I got it in the right place, it didn't move at all!!  I didn't need a fuel belt while training for the marathon last year since it was through CARA and they had regular water/gatorade stops.  But this training is unofficial and there are really no water stops.  My fuel belt will come in very handy!  The one that didn't fit?  I'm giving it to a running friend. 

So, yes. I tried 3 new things out all on the same run.  They actually all worked out very nicely.  Better to try new things on a short run than on a long run! 

The last time I ran we were dressed in layers for 30 degree weather.  Running in 80 degress in a tank top and shorts is a nice change!

Post run photos:

Can you see the see through back on this shirt?  Otherwise, it was very comfortable and light weight!  Excuse me, I'm a sweaty mess!!

Another post run photo.  I think I look weird in a headband.

This weekend I am supposed to do 18 miles.  I'm pretty adamant on doing it even if I have to finish with a run/walk.  Sunday I have the 2012 Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  Since I'm coming off a bad ankle and a 18 mile run, I'm not planning on running hard at all!  My goal for a change, to just finish!  That is new for me.  This will be my 8th time doing this run and I've always tried to PR.  There is no way I'm going to try for that at all!  My best time was 47:55 last year.  I'm not even estimating that I will break 50 minutes!  I'm just going to try to have a "fun run" for a change.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Injury #452

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

What? It’s not summer? Well, it’s sure feels like it around Chicago! With consistent temps in the mid-70 to low 80’s! You have just got to love running this week!

Unless you’re me! Oh, don’t get me wrong! I love running in this weather! Daylight savings time means it’s actually light out until almost 7:30 pm! It’s just that I can’t actually run right now!

Oh injury! How you love to screw with me so! I’ve been waiting for this exact week for a month! More daylight! I won’t have to run in the dark! And it’s a bonus with these temps!
After my long run of 16 miles on Saturday, I actually felt fine. But come Saturday evening around 7:00 pm, my ankle started hurting. I didn’t think much of it. But Sunday, it was still hurting. It’s the left ankle which I previously injured in college (incredibly badly) for which I never went to the doctor. Brief recap on that, it was completely swollen (in college) and black and blue for about a solid month! I couldn’t go to the gym. I was a bank teller at the time and luckily part supervisor so I asked for supervisor duties for 2 weeks so I could sit down most of the time. It was painful with a capital P! It didn’t heal for at least 2 months!

Needless to say, I assumed my injury this past Saturday was just a minor pain and would go away. After being on it ALL day Sunday (for at least 8 solid hours), it definitely wasn’t feeling better. Later on Sunday night, I looked down and it was a little swollen. That definitely made me a little nervous. I tried to chalk it up to the fact that I was on my feet all day (which I’m sure didn’t help it) . I decided to try to ice it that night.

Monday, I had taken a day off of work just for a personal day. When I woke up and while lying in bed, I was thinking that my ankle was still swollen and still a little sore. I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m training for a marathon and I’m more in the home stretch than the beginning. I wasn’t sure if I should just try resting a few days and icing, or if I should actually make an appointment right away and have it checked out. What I didn’t want to do is rest a few days and ice it, it not be any better and I’m still back at square one a week later. I decided since I was off, I was going in for a free screening from a physical therapy place someone recommended near my house.

That was a great decision. It was free so no co-pays or insurance hassles. The woman spent a lot of time with me and I didn’t feel rushed. She said I had mild tendinitis. After I talked to her further and she did some further testing on me, she confirmed what a doctor said in December, that I have weak hips and butt muscles. Basically that always seems to be the main source of all my issues. Everything is always connected. She said I have poor flexibility in my big toe (about 20% when I should have 70%), my arches are in sad shape, I have weak ankles, and my hips and butt.

She gave me a 3 page sheets of exercises to do to strengthen all of these areas. Toe exercises, arch exercises (didn’t know they existed!), ankle exercises, hip exercises and butt exercises. I need to do these 4-5 days per week. And it takes me about 35-40 minutes to complete! But you know what? I have to do them. I have to get these areas stronger and more flexible if I want to keep running as seriously as I’ve been.
Now for the running. Before I went in, my worst fears were playing in my head. I’m 7 weeks from the marathon. What if they tell me I have a stress fracture or something else and I have to be out of running for 2 months! Or even what if they tell me I can’t run for a month! When deciding whether to go in or not, that is one of the reasons I wasn’t going to go. I was trying to decide, do I continue training for the Illinois marathon at the end of April and possibly kill my chances to do Chicago again this year? Or do I possibly have to sit this one out and then train for Chicago? These were all “What ifs”. What if I had something seriously wrong! But I decided to be smart and figure out what was up before I did major damage to anything.

I really hate my feet!  But a blogger has to do what a blogger has to do!
The swelling is that large bump right above the taping (where my ankle bone should be)!
I normally have very sexy and hot ankles!!  :)

And the verdict was….no running for about 1-1.5 weeks. What?!? That’s all??? I could have kissed that woman when she told me! It was a cutback week for the training anyway and so I felt that this was totally doable. And I would still have 5.5-6 weeks left to finish training.

Now I just have to be smart. I can’t over push myself. I have to lay off of the really uneven trails that I’ve been doing my long runs on. That is what most likely caused this to flare up. So I’m swimming and biking this week. I’m trying to be outdoors a little because this weather is too great to miss! I may whine and complain but I’ll get over it! The good thing is, I actually love swimming and biking. And I’m going to try a strength training class at the fitness center tonight since I can't make my normal Thursday night group run (Totally sad about that!).

So, the key is to work with what life throws at you.  When life gives you lemons...garnish a long island ice tea with it!  Mmmmmm...I love long islands!!

**Speaking of marathons, run on over to my friend Kelly’s blog. She has posted about her marathon experience from last year and things she has learned.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Safety Tip

Let's face is, there are a lot of stories on the news lately regarding runners that go missing or getting hit by a car.  It can be kind of scary for those of us that typically run this time of year in the dark due to our work schedule.  Luckily that may soon change because day light savings time is this weekend! 

I am definitely not one of the safest runners.  I run alone.  In the dark.  With headphones.  I wear dark clothing (with some reflective spots on it).  Can you say "recipe for disaster"?? 

I'm not going to go through all the safety precautions, just one that I never heard about before.  This following safety tip was pointed out on a facebook post for one of my run groups and it makes a lot of sense but one I never thought about and have probably been guilty of a few times.

For those that run with a garmin or other similar watch:  Many of us will post our garmin results on various social networking sites.  If you do, and you run from your home, do not start or end your garmin from your house.  Walk a little bit away from home and start/end your garmin there so others cannot see exactly where you live.

And of course, always be aware of your surroundings when running and if possible, run with a friend or your furry friends!  I don't think my cats will help me here.  And my dog (that lives with my parents)...well, she's just plain too old for this!