Injured Running Buddies.

About a week after my last post, our dog, Buster Douglas aka Buddy, had his second case of vestibular disease. It was a scary few days but now he is back to almost 100%. There have been lots of jokes in our household over he and I being the injured running buddies. No running for either of us so we’ve been a tiny bit grouchy. On the bright side though, we’ve had more time for naps and eating, two of our other favorite hobbies. We are in full recovery mode together :)

To his dismay Buddy could not attend physical therapy with me when I started this past week. There I learned more about my form, muscle imbalances, and range of motion then I knew was possible. I always had this idea that my hips were weak from childbirth and basically from carrying a kid (or two) on my hip for years. It turns out my hips are not weak at all. My hips and core are incredibly strong, I just haven’t been engaging them at all. So I left the office on my first day with a set of exercises to do and- almost as important- a huge sense of optimism.

One of the main things I have learned about injuries this past year is that the injury spot is most likely not the source of the problem. The problem is almost always another weak area that has put too much pressure, by way of over-compensation, on that injured area. The human body is an amazing machine. It will adjust it’s workload from weak areas onto stronger ones almost without notice, but there is only so much those areas can take before they warn you and/or quit. Without going into boring detail, I have an idea of why the injuries on my right side have happened and I’m making progress towards addressing those weaknesses.

Cross-training has been happening almost daily. I type almost because unlike in the spring where I was pressuring myself to keep as much fitness as possible, I’ve been very lax this go round. There have been lots of long walks with the sweetheart pictured running on the trails below. Without any suggestion by me (though I was REALLY hoping) she decided to join Girls on the Run. In case you haven’t heard about this organization, its an amazing group for girls grades 3-6 to train for a 5K while learning about themselves, self-confidence, standing up to bullies, and other life skills. I was elated to hear she wanted to join. Look at her training:

I’ve also been biking and swimming as cross training, along with core, stretching, and some yoga. While I’ve been enjoying it all, I honestly cannot wait to run again. I feel like a tiger with a broken paw. It’s just not natural for runners not to run! It’s hard to be patient and I have a few more weeks of no running, so to keep myself off the edge I signed up as a pacer for a half marathon. The running store that I run for, Running, Etc., is arranging the pace teams for the inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon in Norfolk, Virginia on November 23rd.

I have paced friends in races before but never anything official so I very excited. J & A Racing always puts on fun events so if you are in the area, be sure to run it. I will be pacing the 1:45 group along with two other pacers. Let me know if you have any questions about the pacing or race. I’ll be working at the expo too and hope to see many of you there. Click on the picture to go to the race website.

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully next time I update this site, I’ll have running news to share. Also, Go Shalane Flanagan!! I can’t wait to see her go for that American Record in Berlin next weekend. Take care all!

Not the news I wanted to share.

Like life, running can flip in no time at all. My last blog post hinted at a sore calf and it’s blatantly obvious to me now that maybe that hint was a bit of subconscious foreshadowing on my part. Four weeks ago my soleus muscle was tender but not painful. There have been many a times I’ve had an achey this-or-that then days later, with proper care, the soreness is miraculously gone.  Unfortunately though, that little soreness turned into something greater.  

So it was three weeks ago that I decided I needed time off.  I took 3 days off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again and very sore to run on.  I took a week off and ran pain-free, then the next day my leg was swollen again.  You get the idea.  Finally last week the Mr. urged me to make a doctors appointment.  I have an amazing runner Doctor who was able to see me almost immediately and within days I had an x-ray that came back clear followed by a bone scan….that did not come back clear.  I am still in complete shock and denial while typing out- I have a stress fracture in my upper tibia.  mother trucker.  

The good news is that on a scale of shin splints to fracture its “barely a fracture”  We caught it quickly and it’s borderline “stress reaction.”  I can hop without pain (not that I’m doing that again), walk without pain, and I can rub the fracture spot without feeling anything at all. Still though, time off is needed.  The Chicago Marathon is out and any hopes of another fall marathon are out as well.  I will rest and cross train for 5 weeks  then slowly ease back into running and choose an early/mid Spring Marathon.

Why did this happen?  Honestly I have no idea.  I ran at a high/competitive level for 5 years with one injury that was entirely  explainable. When I ran a 50K that I was not properly trained for and barely drank a sip of water, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I tore my calf.  That was my only injury before this year! Last year I had such an amazing year, PRing in every event.  Then this year on the same exact training I suffer two stress fractures.  I have no explanation why this has happened.  I change shoes regularly, my bone density score is almost perfect, my calcium and vitamin D levels are great, and (tmi) I get my period every single month (no female athlete triad here).  I honestly am baffled by this injury.  Frustration would be an understatement.

So where do we go from here?  I am being referred to physical therapy.  We would like to figure out why, well, why this year sucked.  More specifically if I have any muscle imbalances that are putting undue stress on my right side (both fracture were on this side).  As far as coaching, we will move to a different training cycle. For the past two years I’ve been on a 7 day training cycle, by my choosing.  I LOVE a 7 day training cycle because it allows me to get all my hard days in while my children are in school.  Unfortunately it also give my body less rest than a traditional cycle does.  So we will adjust that and see if it helps.  So while I am very frustrated, we are being proactive about my situation.  I’m not just going to sit around and wallow about it.  I have had my fair share of wine & golden oreo cookies the last three days but that’s expected.  The Mr. has been an absolute champ at helping me feel better and not reminding me that I’m old and can’t do this stuff anymore.  

I am not one of those people who believe “Everything happens for a reason”  Honestly I think bad stuff happens all the time for no reason at all, but I will say my attitude is important and I can make the best of this situation.  I’m still in the initial shock stage and therefore feeling a bit helpless because I felt so close to my goal of 2:43 but just couldn’t seem to keep it together.  I’m not ready to let that goal go….at all.  Thank you so much for your support everyone.  Thanks for letting me vent on this little corner of the interwebs. Hopefully my ramblings make sense.  I’ll be reading all your running blogs, tweets, instagrams, etc. over the next 5 weeks to keep me run happy.  Thanks for any advice too!