Tag Archive | Injury

What To Do When I Can’t Run??

It has been 7 weeks since I strained the peroneal tendon in my right foot, and I still am not able to run. What do you do when you can’t run?

Sit at home binge-watching episodes of The Voice while moping? Glare at all the stoopid people running around the city when you are stuck in your car at red lights? Definitely NOT not updating your running blog. NO! Because I am a mature adult and that would be incredibly self-loathing.

I’ve been keeping plenty busy in other ways, which hasn’t been too difficult with the holiday season in full swing and my bestie’s upcoming wedding.  For one, my house gets cleaned regularly. I’ve been doing lots of housework and even redecorating! That makes me sound SUPER fun, I know, but it IS nice to get our place ready just before the holidays.

Cooking! With all the time spent NOT running, I have loads more time for making fancy dinners. There will be no grab-n-go dinner salads for me, not whilst I am injured. Instead, I can make homemade pizza (yup, this is fancy to me), made with veggies, chicken sausage, feta cheese, “Rustico” spaghetti sauce and a whole wheat crust (the latter 2 from Trader Joe’s!).

PizzaMashUp

Before and After cooking mashup

And you can’t forget dessert; a girl has got to live! I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for work on Halloween.

CookiesPumpkin

I replaced the canola oil with olive oil, used dark chocolate chunks (high in antioxidants!), and organic ingredients, including organic whole wheat flower, and they turned out soft, fluffy and amazing!

But I promise I don’t just do housework and gorge on pizza and cookies all day long. I’ve had some pretty amazing goings-on during this running layoff. My boyfriend and I saw Frank Turner at the Fillmore…

FTFillmore

Vibin’

FTFillmore2

…And I celebrated my best friend’s upcoming wedding with a bachelorette party in Disneyland!

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Shameless selfie stick-ing. Also, shamelessly drinking champagne before noon.

Disney1

We are indeed so happy!

As far as workouts go, I am very limited but giving it my best. I’ve been occasioning the stationary bike at the gym (exhilarating, I know), and doing Pilates as much as I can without irritating my foot. Next up, I will be working at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, representing the Berkeley Half Marathon! So even though I can’t run, I am keeping busy, and my mind engaged. My wise ol’ boyfriend likes to say, “when you can’t exercise your body, exercise your mind.” There are plenty of running mantras, so why not have an injury mantra?

Happy Running! (or not!)

-J

Injury

Well, ladies and gentlemen…I am on the injured list. Boooo.

A few weeks ago I started experiencing pain on the outside of my right foot. The pain would subside with rest, and immediately flare up when I returned to activity. One day, I landed very hard on my right foot, causing severe pain, and I’ve been limping ever since.

My boyfriend, Rich, made an appointment for me with the athletic trainer at his fight gym. The AT is a former triathlete who works with professional UFC martial artists, and the Oakland Raiders. So he knows his athletes. He confirmed what I and Web MD suspected: peroneal tendon strain. The peroneal tendons run along the outside of your feet, and can become irritated with overuse (ehem, long distance running).

The treatment I received was quite interesting. He started with my foot, scraping and massaging the muscles and tendons. Then, he did the same on my lower right leg and calf. It was a bit uncomfortable, but it is a great technique to ease soft tissue.

Then things got a little crazy. After my scraping session, he transitioned to cupping. Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice that uses suctions cups to draw in soft tissues to break up scar tissue and knots, and to promote blood flow and healing. The cups are lit on fire to remove air, which creates a suction. He moved the cups up and down the outside of my leg, and it was quite painful (I’m still slightly bruise!). Then, I received acupuncture down the side of my leg and outside of my right foot. Lastly, he made a little adjustment to my foot, as the strained tendons have essentially tweaked the 5th metatarsal in my right foot slightly of place.

Injury

Things improved quite quickly after treatment, but I’m still not 100% yet. This type of injury requires rest, but unfortunately I work on my feet for long hours so my foot hurts again at the end of a shift. I’m mostly fine with walking, as long as I can sit when I need to, but I can’t sit at work. I’m spending the day today completely off my feet, and I may make a follow up appointment depending on how I feel.

Being injured is a bummer. I can’t run, and up until last week, I could barely put any pressure on my foot, so I’ve had very little physical activity. My projected time off is very little, so I really can’t complain. I will have to modify my race plans in the immediate future (no Berkeley Half Marathon), but beyond that should be out and running before I know it (please!). Ahh, the ups and downs of being an athlete!

-J

7 miles

Tomorrow I have a 7 mile run planned. 7 miles is not the farthest distance I have run, but it is the longest for me since July 14th. 7 miles is just a weekly training run for some, and there are others who will never run this distance in their lifetime.

I remember the first time I attempted a 7 mile run. I was training for the San Francisco Half Marathon 2012 and I was elated just to watch the miles add up week after week. I knew I could finish if I just took the run slow; each step was a step closer to the 7 mile goal. It may not have been a speedy effort, but as long as I kept moving forward I would eventually get there.

The most difficult thing about being an injured runner (or any athlete for that matter) is the mental defeat that can come with having to cease activity. There is almost a guaranteed loss of fitness during a layoff, and it’s hard not to compare your recovery efforts to your pre-injured self. Even with cross-training, there is still an adjustment period as you re-introduce your body to sport.

I’m very grateful my injury was mild and I can run again, but every now and then I’m finding myself brush off my efforts. I’m “only” running 3 miles at a time, or I “only” ran 6 miles last week, very “slowly.” I will probably take several walking breaks tomorrow-and I need to be OK with that. Because 2 months ago I wasn’t able to run 1 mile. I ran a marathon earlier this year, and with patience and dedication I WILL see 26.2 again!

I read a great piece of advice earlier this week on another blogger’s site that really stuck with me. Piratebobcat writes in his post Training tip: Practice like you Play! about preparing for training runs like you would a race. He talks about fueling properly before a run, and describes how he preps all of his clothes/training gear the night before so it’s an easy transition to just wake up and get the job done. It’s such a simple concept but one that I certainly do not adhere to. What I love about this is it not only makes life easier, but gives due respect to the training run. If I approach race day with pride, why not all of the hard work it takes to get there? After all, it’s the journey not the destination.*

7 miles tomorrow is not going to be “only” 7 miles. It’s my 7 mile long run for the week and I’m ready!

photo 3

Gear is all set!

-J

*I do love getting the medal, though!

The First Step

Believe it or not, one can survive without running! Yeah, I know I was shocked too-but I think I’m going to pull through. Or at least my prognosis is looking good. But now it’s time to get back to business. Yesterday I took the plunge and ran my very first mile in 6 whole weeks!

treadmill

Treadmill stats

I actually walked for 4 minutes and ran the rest at a 9-10 min/mile pace. I am easing back in to training after an injury, so I know I need to be taking it slow and steady. I chose to run on a treadmill for this first run because of the softer surface. I prefer not to run indoors, but it really wasn’t bad at all. I’m mostly disappointed I don’t get credit for the mileage on my Nike+ app (I can’t let my boyfriend get ahead of me!).

I thought it would be smart to strengthen and stretch thoroughly so I took a yoga class right after the run. This was ultimately a test to see if my leg is ready to handle impact again. I felt no pain during the run or after, and am still pain-free today! I was worried starting back up again I would have lost all of my cardio fitness, but truthfully I felt energetic and like I could easily have kept going.

View From the Sideline

Not being able to run wasn’t completely terrible. During my time off I was able to incorporate some great cross-training in to my fitness regime that will only benefit me in the long run (ha! get it?). I’ve also managed to get rid of those awkward runner tan lines (compression socks and shorts leave an unflattering leg tan) so I’m back to being at least uniformly pale.

The more difficult part for me was keeping my mind motivated and occupied. The solution was to just get up and get out! This past week I kept myself pretty busy. One evening my boyfriend and I took a date-night walk down by the Bay. The Bay Bridge was looking pretty as always!

BayLights

Last weekend there was also a food festival in my neighborhood. I woke up to loud music and party sounds so I decided that was my cue to get out bed!

foodfest

San Francisco likes to party and eat-and I’m OK with that!

Exercising the Mind

I’ve been thinking of more concrete running goals I want to set for myself besides my go-to “just finish” the race. That will always be my ultimate goal-to finish, enjoy, and be proud of my accomplishment. But since I’ve demonstrate I can run a marathon or half marathon, how would I like to proceed from there? So, I’ve started updating the Running Goals section of my blog.

Training Resumes!

I cancelled my plans to run the Portland Marathon in October, but I still have 2 more races in 2013!

NWMmap

October 20th is the Nike Women’s Marathon and I will be running the half! I’ve run the San Francisco Half Marathon twice now, but I’m excited to try a different race in my beautiful city! I’m going in to this event with the mindset that this is a fun-run. I have 8 weeks to train and I will probably be able to run/walk the course by then-but I’m definitely not going to be setting any speed records.

NFECmap

December 8th is The North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon and this will be my first trail race! This event is the one I’m actually most excited for. I’ve trained on trails before, and it definitely adds a whole new dimension to the enjoyment of running. Long distance runners already test themselves with distance; this race goes a step further with unsteady terrain and crazy elevation changes. Bring it.

Even though I’ve only run 1 mile in 6 weeks, the appreciation I have for every little step of that short 11 minutes of my life is immense. It feels good to be back!

Happy Sunday!

-J

Survival Plan

There are about 4 1/2 weeks to go before I will even potentially be able to run again. In running weeks (kinda like dog years?) that’s forEVER from now! In non-overdramatic terms, however, that’s not really very long at all. But I’m definitely concerned about losing the motivation and fitness it takes to be a runner. So, I’ve brainstormed a survival plan for myself to occupy my time productively and get me to through these next few weeks!

The Plan

#1. Join a gym

I haven’t had a gym membership in several years, but this seems like my best option for keeping fit while injured. I was able to obtain a free trial membership at 24 Hour Fitness and it has the amenities I would need!

Lap pool

I’m probably most excited to make use of the indoor swimming pool! I’m really looking forward to swimming laps, or trying out one of their “Aqua” fitness classes in the water. I’m in the market for a more athletic-style swimsuit too, as anything with “strings” will probably not stay in place while being active in the pool.

Yoga classes

yogiduck

Poster outside of the Oakland Museum of California

Yoga is so good for the runner’s body, and it’s also great physical therapy for the injured! I do wish they offered pilates, but perhaps I can find a class at another location.

Cardio

When the time is right, I will be able to start using the stationary bikes, and eventually even the elliptical. I should have been doing these cross-training activities in the first place, so this will only complement my training in the long run.

#2. Nike Training Club app

NTC NTC2

I’ve brought this up before, but I really like this app. These workouts are fast-paced and effective. I’m being very careful to avoid any exercises that could irritate my injured shin, but I’m still working up a sweat! I stocked up on a few more goodies that are needed to maximize these workouts:

tone

The clerk at Target made fun of me for buying such light weights..but I’m just getting started!

#3. Foam Roller

A sports therapist said to massage and foam roll my injured leg as much as I can. It always hurts while foam rolling, but feels so amazing afterward. I’ve also tried to make it a habit to use the roller before and after a workout to help ease tension.

Speaking of massage and tension…

#4. Get a massage!

I have never once had a professional massage! However, my best friend bought me a massage as a congratulations for finishing my first marathon (best friend ever, right?). That was almost 5 months ago and I still haven’t used it! I think it’s time to treat myself…

#5. Read

Now that rest is a very real part of my recovery it’s time to catch up on some reading! My injured-runner booklist:

1. Born to Run

Born2run

Because I am.

2. Running Like a Girl

RunGirl

Because I do.

One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea

teabook

Green Tea is my coffee.

#6. Update blog!

I’ve been a relatively consistent running blogger until my injury; once the running was taken from the blogger I felt a little lost. But this has been such a positive, creative outlet for me and I don’t want to lose that. Being an injured runner is part of my being a runner!

#7. Take care of myself!

Diet & Nutrition

It took me awhile to learn to eat as a runner (yay carbs!), but my appetite has lessened since I stopped burning 1000 calories at a time. I’m pretty good at eating a healthy diet, but now more than ever I need to make sure I get plenty of fruits, veggies, protein, and calcium to heal.

Rest

Not just rest from running, but sleep and relaxation. Lately, I haven’t been sleeping as well-perhaps it’s the drop in intense cardio, or the long hours at work-but this is essential for me to make a swift recovery!

I know there will be more to add to this list, but staying proactive and positive is key!

-J

Down but not out!

It has officially been one week since my last run! I haven’t confirmed anything, but I may have a stress fracture or a stress reaction in my left shin. If I do, it can’t be terribly severe because I’m functioning day to day without much pain. But I stayed away from all cardio for the week to see how my leg was feeling, and give it some time to rest. I have decided to refrain from marathon training until I know I am ok, and until I confirm with a specialist. So if I can’t run, what do I do??

Cross training!!

BegHurricane

I mentioned in an earlier post that I downloaded the Nike Training Club app, a cross-training tool that syncs with We Run SF-the Nike Women’s Marathon Training app. I decided to give one of the longer workouts a try today (Beginner Hurricane) and it was a great 45 minute workout! It featured a combination of light cardio and strength training of all muscle groups-legs, arms and core. Best of all, I got to sweat for the first time in a week! I refrained from any higher-impact cardio, such as the 2 sessions of jumping rope, so as not to anger any bones or muscles. I made it through the 45 minutes without any irritation in my leg so that is a good sign.

Smoothies

And Nike rewarded me with smoothie recipes for completing the workout! 🙂 haha

These workouts won’t completely supplement the training I want and need, so I’ve decided to try out a gym. I toured a 24 Hour Fitness today and got a free 3 day trial pass. One of the reasons I’ve grown to love running so much is that it keeps me outdoors. So I haven’t had a gym membership in years. However, under the circumstances this is probably the smartest decision. There are 3 selling points to the location I will be attending: stationary bikes, yoga and a pool- great cross training for the injured runner. This week I will decided for sure if I want to take the plunge and sign up for an official membership!

Nothing quite clears the mind like a 12 mile run ( like I originally scheduled for today), but for now I’m going to make the best of the situation as I can. It’s time to explore new options, and maybe I will find some other loves to compliment my running when it’s finally time to begin again 🙂

-J

Sidelined

Today’s Run: 0 miles <– sad! 😦

sidelines

Well, I’ve made the difficult decision to voluntarily sideline myself from running temporarily. After a particularly hilly 6 mile run, I may have pushed myself just a lil bit too far. I can’t self-diagnose myself, but my symptoms closely resemble a stress reaction or stress fracture.

(sounds of DOOM!)

Thankfully the pain is mild, and I would like to keep it that way. I can walk and jump relatively pain-free (soo I should be able to jump for 26.2 miles??)-just not run comfortably. The biggest indicator of injury, though, is a sharp pain I can feel when I push on a specific point on my left tibia. Something is not right. And so, for now, instead of aggravating the injury further I’m going to take this seriously and R.I.C.E.

I’m going to see a sports therapist, but from what I gather 6 weeks is about how long it takes to heal a bone (if this is indeed a stress fracture or the like). 6 weeks of no running. Which also means starting over with a very low baseline of miles. Having run almost every single week for a year and a half, this sounds completely not fun. This also interferes with my fall race schedule. Kauai Half Marathon + Portland Marathon=OUT.

Initially I felt very sorry for myself. But truthfully, I’ve already almost finished one week of rest..time flies! And it could be a lot worse. My condition feels relatively mild and I ceased my activity immediately to avoid further complications.

Looking toward the future…

Hawaii=Plane tickets bought; I’m still going on vacation! No 1/2 Marathon to run? More pina coladas!

Nike Women’s Marathon= It’s “only” the half and I will crawl to the end for that necklace

The North Face EC 1/2=If all goes well, I could be ready and strong again by this time.

Delay my full marathon until early 2014; more time to train and be stronger than I would by Oct 6 in Portland=better finish time??

My boyfriend, who is a mixed martial artist and has had to deal with his fair share of injuries, passed on some advice to me: when you can’t exercise your body, exercise your mind. Now is the time to catch up on all of those books I’ve been neglecting, blog posts I’ve wanted to write (Re-watch episodes of Pretty Little Liars for clues…eep did I just admit that?) I can and will also cross-train and strength train, with caution.

Athletes get injured. I can learn from this and make improvements in how I train. So, for awhile this blog may be more like BayCrossTraining Jamie, or BayHealing Jamie, but injury is a very real concern of a runner’s life. Writing may just help keep me sane too 🙂

-J