confessions of a post-injury runner

It’s been a while since I’ve written here. I’d apologize but it’s really not that I’ve forgotten about the blog, it’s that I’ve been afraid of jinxing myself.  Things in my running world have been going relatively well and I’m not used to such success and the possibility of *gulp* actually running a race I’ve been training for.

Let’s take a look back for a minute. Almost exactly a year ago I was training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon in June, 2011. I developed some weird hip issue that never got fully diagnosed, had to take too many weeks off of training and couldn’t complete that race or the Brooklyn Half Marathon a few weeks before it. I was upset but decided it was alright because my glory race of 2011 was going to be the New York City Marathon. I had been building it up in my head, with my friends (most of them also runners) and had told all my donors that I would run a race to honor their generous contributions. I started training in June 2011, hip issue on the mend, and enjoyed a great summer of humid runs and many Saturday morning breakfast sandwiches. Then came Labor Day weekend. I ran 12 miles that Saturday and felt a little stiffer than usual during my recovery run Sunday but didn’t think much of it. Come Tuesday for our 2nd 5k test at practice and the pain in my leg was so weird and severe that after slowly making my way around the 3.1 miles I was almost in tears. Long story short, I had a stress fracture in my right tibia and couldn’t run the New York City Marathon either.  I was crushed.

To make a long saga short, 2011 was full of looking forward to races, getting injured, and instead cheering from the sidelines of many races that I was supposed to be running. I had a fun time with my teammates and made some great friends but was terribly frustrated and embarrassed at my inability to make it to the start line of any significant race. One can only take sitting on the bench for so long.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been training for the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon since January and things are actually going ok. I’m strength training two days a week, running only 2-3 days, seeing my PT pretty regularly for tune-ups and feeling good. This past week we completed our 2nd 5k test so I have officially made it farther into this season than the previous two. I might actually run this thing.

I’ve been reluctant to update this blog to say things were going well because I’ve been afraid. It was embarrassing to have to email all my supporters and tell them sorry, I won’t be running this race either, that I can’t imagine having to do it a third time. I don’t even like when people ask me how the season is going. I keep thinking if I’m just quiet about my success that nothing will screw it up. Alas, here I am, admitting my healthy running. Fingers crossed, knocking on all wood, and holding all lucky charms, I will run the relay I’m planning on in Buffalo May 27th and the half in San Diego June 3rd.

Just posting this is giving me such anxiety. Time to pretend it didn’t happen and keep running.

why run?

An internet-savvy runner friend of mine recently posted a link to 10 Reasons Running Doesn’t Suck As Much As You Think. I gotta say I agree with and love all of those answers. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the last two years of running is that it has more benefits than I probably even realize. It has changed my whole life.

After reading this list and writing about running for a few of my grad school apps (yay public health!), I’ve decided to make a list of the things running has taught me in two years of pavement pounding.

  1. Speed a runner does not make. Sure, some people can run at a 7 minute/mile pace for a whole marathon but I will likely never be one of those people. That does not make me less of a runner. In fact, I like the reminder that it is actually more difficult to take 5 or 6 hours to run a marathon than 3 or 4 because you’re out there for so much longer!
  2. I am tough. 20 degrees and snowing or 90 degrees and humid, I’ve run in it all and it was certainly not always pleasant.  Doing it is what counts and I’ll have the bragging rights forever. I especially love running in the rain, completely enjoying myself while passing miserable people huddled under umbrellas.
  3. Strength training is important. All kinds, all ways, all over, all the time. It helps in the bikini wearing department too.
  4. Running can be a team sport. Yes it takes my legs and only mine to finish every mile, but having an entire support team along the way to run alongside me or yell words of encouragement makes all the difference. I’ll have Team In Training for the rest of my life and I know that if I wear my purple in a race I’m guaranteed to hear at least one “Go Team!” as I pass by. I would not be the runner I am without the TEAM.
  5. Running makes me a more pleasant person. I’m less stressed out, more even keeled, happier, have more energy and a generally better outlook on life. The other day I was grumbling about something to a long-distance friend and she asked “have you been running?” Good point.
  6. I need a drying rack. Between runs and physical therapy and bootcamp these days, almost half my laundry every two weeks is running clothes. I don’t put them in the dryer so I end up with a pile of wet, synthetic-fabric’d clothing to hang to dry all over my apartment. It’s not a pretty site and I think it’s time I invest in a drying rack.
  7. Perseverance. Just keep going and remind yourself you can do it and you will. It’s amazing how many things I apply that to.
  8. I could spend my whole paycheck on running clothes and paraphernalia. Jackets, socks, headbands, foam rollers, shoes, bags…it’s really a problem.
  9. Self discipline. I’ve never been very good in this department but running has definitely helped me ignore that little voice in my head that says “just stay in your pajamas,” or “one more cookie doesn’t really count.”
  10. I like goals. This is also something I’ve brought to the rest of my life. I’m more likely to run if I have a race to train for. I’ll work harder if there’s a time goal. I’ll focus better if there is a finish line to the mind-numbing work I’m forced to complete.

I’m sure I’ve left things out so expect a part 2 to this one day.

oscar pool take 2!

My second Oscar Pool was a repeated success! The pot tipped the scales at over $300 and some of the winnings got sent right back to me to be donated to LLS. I’m happy to report that last week I donated $215 to my fundraising page from the pool. On top of that $40 more was put up on my behalf! Again I am impressed by the generosity of my friends, family and teammates.

Whether or not I’m raising money with Team In Training I think I’ll do a charity Oscar pool every year. So many people commented that it made watching the show even more fun and I love a good way to raise money for good causes.

Onto March Madness…

a video!

I woke up this morning to Brooklyn covered in its first blanket of snow of the season. Like a little kid on Christmas, I can’t ever go back to sleep when I wake up on a morning of new snow. I blame it on growing up without snowy winters and I hope I’m this excited about snow for the rest of my life. So what did I do? I went for a run.

As you can read on my fundraising page, I’m running this season in memory of my friend Mark. Today is the celebration of his life in El Cerrito, CA and I’m sad I cannot go. I decided yesterday that instead of moping around my house today and being upset that I can’t be there that I would run. This morning I ran and I thought about Mark and I enjoyed the beautiful, snow-covered Prospect Park.

I also made a video! exciting!

I’m pretty hardcore. Turns out running on fresh snow is not so different from running on lumpy sand. Hard work!

familiar territory

Here I go down the road of another season with TNT. This time I’m making myself train for only the half (only! when did I become that person?!) and all fingers and toes are crossed for a successful season. I’ve been squatting and bending and rolling and stretching and working hard to start off on the right foot. First preseason practice is next week!

quick update

You might be wondering how my running is doing now that we’re fully engulfed in the highest calorie intake season of the year. The answer is that it’s not doing but that hopefully it will be soon. Let’s all cross our fingers my waistline doesn’t expand too much in the meantime.

In order to give my stress fractured tibia extra extra time to heal I haven’t run since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I’ve been going a little stir crazy, it’s true, but trying to keep up with spin classes and strength training. A good hour of heart-pumping spin class is almost as satisfying as running 6 miles. Almost.

Physical Therapy is still literally kicking my butt but it’s been fun. Brynn does the workouts with me sometimes and I like waking up a little sore and feeling like I actually did something worthwhile. I’ve been trying to do some of the moves on my own once or twice a week, too.

Here’s to hoping I can run by the new year. I think it’s looking good.

trotting along


Turkey Trot 5-miler on Thanksgiving morning: check. Rachel and I run-walked the whole thing to minimize leg stress and it was great.  Beautiful morning, fun company and only a bit of leg and hip pain toward the end.  It felt good to actually do a race I signed up for.  Onward!