On the 21st, I started feeling twinges around my knee after my 6 miler, so I immediately answered my body’s calling and decided to take some time off of running. I was also having significant pain in my left hip (a new pain), so I wanted to remain extra cautious.
I supplemented my running with time on the CrossRamp to maintain my fitness and keep the legs loosened up. I ended up taking 11 days off.
Saturday afternoon, I went to my scheduled deep tissue massage. I finally caved in after nearly a year of wanting to schedule one.
I figured that it would do my body some good. I was forewarned that it was going to be painful, but I knew that the benefits would outweigh any momentary pain or discomfort. And painful it was, more so on my calf muscles and upper back. I woke up the next morning kind of sore and a little bruised, but that was expected as well. Poking and pressure for one hour and a half will do that.
Saturday evening, I went to my grandmother’s house with my parents for Easter dinner. Each year, the gathering in the house gets smaller and smaller. It’s sad, but that’s what happens as the calendar pages turn. I still had a lovely time. We spent hours talking about anything and everything.
Looking at old pictures is always fun. I was obviously a happy baby.
My cousin and I eating cake. My hair is kind of tragic. Look at those bangs! But speaking of cake…
Here’s the cake that my mom bought for my gram. This blob of icing was impossible to cut without it looking like a scene from Psycho.
On Easter Sunday, I didn’t have any plans except for the Green Day concert. I’ve been a fan since high school, so when my dad was offered free tickets from his place of employment, I was thrilled! I was also excited to spend some quality time with my dad since it doesn’t happen all too often.
We had executive club seats at the Consol Energy Center. The seats were comfy, and there was a lot of personal space. Green Day is absolutely amazing live - it legit sounded like I was listening to the CD on full blast. And Billie Joe Armstrong is very funny and entertaining! I also loved that they invited a couple of people up on stage to sing bits of their songs. Can you imagine the memories that they have taken with them?
One of the pictures that I took with my super duper zoom camera.
Monday, I took a personal day from work due to how late I’d be getting home after the concert. I started my Monday by ‘bringing it’ during a session of P90X: Plyometrics. I felt very energized and rejuvenated from the extra sleep, so I was able to bust through this workout better than I ever have before. I was in a total flop sweat, haha.
Every single time.
I’m almost half way through the program (week 6). I’m still loving it, and I do look forward to it on most days.
And I’m finally noticing obvious progress/results! I’ve increased the weight for my free-weights (up to 10 lbs), and I’m beginning to see some definition in my arms. Woohoo! Adios chicken arms!
Monday afternoon, I was finally able to see Sean. He treated me to P.F. Chang’s and a movie. I ordered the ginger chicken with brown rice, and we split the chicken lettuce wraps as an appetizer. Yum! It was my turn to pick the movie, so I chose ‘Identity Thief.’ It was hilarious, very raunchy, but hilarious nonetheless. There were so many classical moments. I’d definitely see it again! I had a more-than-wonderful time with Sean. It’s hard to believe that we’ve almost been together for 1 year. Time sure flies!
Sean deemed this absolutely necessary.
By Tuesday, my legs were finally feeling normal again, so I decided to give them a test ride on the treadmill.
It was a success. I didn’t have an ounce of pain during the run, not in my knee and not in my hip. The only thing that I noted was some calf tightness which started around mile 4. I stretched really well after the run and was feeling very good up until the late afternoon at work. My left hamstring started tightening up to the point of me thinking that it may be pulled or strained. It’s been one thing after another. I had a bit of a breakdown at work today because I’m fed up with feeling like I’m at a constant war with my body. I just want to feel normal again. I’m tired of being in pain on most days of the week. Dealing with anything for nearly 5 months is emotionally exhausting and highly frustrating. But right now, I think the best decision is to treat myself like a beginner. I need to draw back and essentially start from square one if I want to come out of this hurdle as a strong and healthy runner. I don’t want to be a runner who just muddles through just for a number on the face of a Garmin. There’s absolutely no benefit. I want to be a runner for years to come, and the only way to make sure this dream comes true is to make smart decisions. I still have other ways in which I can maintain my cardiovascular fitness - CrossRamp, elliptical, swimming, cycling, and so much more. It may not be the same as running, but it’ll help me rise again as a runner.5 notes
This was my first race since completing the Marshall Mangler 50K back in November. And most of you know that I’ve been battling back and forth with IT band issues since that time. I finally felt ready to race, so I chose to run in the March Mad Dash - the 10 mile option after kindly being offered a complimentary race registration from the race director upon reading about my story (thank you so much!). As race day approached, I became ultra paranoid about every little twinge and paid super close attention to everything from the tippy-top of my head all the way down to my toes. I stretched, foam rolled, and iced more than usual, and my usual is already pretty frequent. I was also anxious because heck, I haven’t raced for nearly 4 months. I started thinking in terms of what I should wear, what I should take with me, and so forth. “Ahhhhh,” said my inner thoughts!
Last Friday evening, I assumed that I’d be an emotional basket-case, but instead of encompassing myself with negative energy, I decided to reflect on all that I’ve accomplished within the last couple of years. Negative energy produces negative thoughts, and that’s the very last thing I needed the night before my comeback race. I mean, I already spent enough time throughout the week being on edge as I thought about the race. I felt the very same way that I did the week before my first full marathon - mind spinning with meandering thoughts.
Lo and behold, race day was knocking on my door. After waking up, I stretched and rolled for a good 30 minutes, and then I got myself together…
composure sanity and all.
When I finally left my house, my stomach began to sink and pre-race jitters set full sail as I got closer to North Park. It takes me nearly an hour to get all the way to North Park, so I left pretty early in the morning to not only pick up my race packet, but to get a good parking space as well. When I arrived, I waited a few moments to regain my composure before heading into the Rose Barn to grab my “race swag…”
How fitting that everything was handed to me in a Brooks Running bag. A.) My main goal for this race was to RUN HAPPY. & B.) I’m currently sponsored by Brooks Running for the year of 2013. After receiving my bib, I walked back to my car, climbed inside, and took a few deep, methodic breaths. For some reason, I was hesitant about pinning my bib. And until the night before the race, I was hesitant in regards to publicly announcing my race. I was terrified of the possibility of an “I did not finish” slipping off of my tongue after people asked me how I did. I eventually came to my senses and decided to once again, CHASE FEAR. And so, my bib was pinned, and my chip was tied tight.
I ran in my Brooks PureDrift shoes.
I utilized my extra time by rolling out my muscles with my Roll Recovery massager! I love this handy-dandy piece of equipment.
I tried putting off standing in the cold for as long as possible, but my bladder decided it was time to party. After taking a trip to Porcelain City, I bounced around within the starting area in a pathetic attempt to stay warm. Did not work. But before I knew it, we received our cue to take that first stride towards greatness.
There I am in the middle, kind of…to the left of the girl in the green pants.
My initial plan was to start at a very diligent 10 minute pace, but I glanced down at my watch after a few minutes and noted my stats. You can see below that my plan clearly fell through. I surprised myself immensely.
Mile 1: 9:02
Mile 2: 9:05
Mile 3: 9:07 <—-Saw a disgusting opossum kidney along the course. I kid you not.
Mile 4: 9:04
Mile 5: 9:05 <—-I did a complete body check before making the choice to run through the additional loop banner as opposed to the finish line banner. I felt good enough to continue on, and so I did.
Mile 6: 9:01
Mile 7: 9:05 <—-Saw the disgusting opossum kidney once more. Gag.
Mile 8: 8:54
Mile 9: 8:50 <—- Hello!
Mile 10: 9:01
Avg HR: 172 bpm
Max HR: 189 bpm
Resting HR: 61 bpm
This is quite possibly the derpiest finish line picture ever. I always think that my finish line photos will look awesome-sauce, but then I’m left to stare at something like this tragedy. But at the same time, I also love this picture because it once again reminds me that I chose to chase fear and stomp it to the ground.
My pace was pretty consistent until I decided to pick up the pace towards the end of the race. The last mile ended up being slower than anticipated because my calf muscles started feeling extremely stiff, so much in fact, that I legitimately thought that I was going to biff it and land face flat on the pavement. Therefore, I stopped to walk for about 15 seconds and once I started back up, I felt good again! It was really strange. Aside from that predicament, I can’t recall any true discomfort during the race. And I still feel pretty fan-freaking-tastic! Good sign! Very good sign!
On a side note, I didn’t take in anything during the race, no water, nothing. I was afraid of losing my focus, but I also didn’t really feel like I needed much of anything to begin with. Naturally, I would’ve given my body what it needed if I felt compelled to do so.
Overall place: 100 out of 125
Age group place (20-29): 18 out of 41
5 mile split: 45:57
Clock time: 1:31:41
My official finishing time for 10 miles on the nose was 1:31:30, which is 38 seconds faster than my time of 1:32:08 last year (same race, same course). While 38 seconds may not sound like much, I’m absolutely thrilled to accomplish this as I’m continuing to bounce back from an injury, sans speedwork! I didn’t think that I still had this pace in me given my most recent training runs, but there’s obviously something magical about a race and something more magical about a finish line. The finish line feels like home for me. I found my way home again. I’m back.
Post-race bliss! The 2 girls on the right are fellow members of the Steel City Road Runners! The girl in the pink jacket is actually one of the runners that I’m currently coaching to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. This was her comeback race too, and I’m super proud of her!
After I got home from the race, I took my mom out to lunch since we don’t get to spend as much time together as I’d like to. We both agreed on keeping it simple, so we went to Eat ‘N Park for breakfast. It was lunch time, but we were both craving breakfast. I’m the type of person who can eat breakfast foods for every single meal and never ever get sick of it. Pancakes hold a special place in my heart. Flat circles of carbohydrated goodness. Lo and behold, I ordered the whole grain pancakes and a side order of fruit.
And to further celebrate my success from the morning, I couldn’t help but treat myself to my favorite cookie ever…Eat ‘N Park’s famous smiley cookies. Sean hates them, and that absolutely breaks my heart. :( But I feel like he should at least learn to love this little guy since he is full-blown Irish and all.
Even with your droopy eye, you were still quite scrumptious.
I rarely eat them, but when I do, they taste glorious! Well, most not-so-good-for-you treats taste extra amazing when you choose not to have them often…to me anyway. After the Pittsburgh Marathon last Spring (May 6, 2012), I had a smiley cookie in each hand, and I unshamelessly ate both.
This was literally a few minutes after I finished. I had cookies in my cheeks, haha. After running 26.2 miles that morning, I think it was well-deserved, no? Oh, how I truly miss full marathon training and the marathon distance itself. I’ll get back there again. Patience, Adrian, patience. All in all, I had a fantastic morning, and my happiness/pride carried with me for the rest of the weekend.8 notes
I talked about my awesome bowling skills in my post last night. Sean decided to record my awkwardness without my knowledge. I was sooo thrilled! Enjoy the 16 second train wreck.4 notes
This past Monday, I decided to focus solely on strength training. My workout consisted of squats, lunges, hip ab/abductors, leg press reps, dead lifts and a multitude of core work. I felt great, but boy did I feel it for the next 2 days! The next day, I’m surprised that I didn’t leave work with “penguin” as my new nickname. My inner thigh muscles were screaming, so I developed an uncontrollable waddle throughout the day.
Delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) is the worst! I wasn’t feeling too confident about my 5 mile run that I had planned after work on Wednesday, but I still decided to give it a whirl. I started at a relatively slower pace on the treadmill and progressed from there. Once my legs were loose and warmed up, I felt pretty good until the last mile. My legs suddenly didn’t want to move anymore, and I felt like I was going to fly off of the treadmill. Also, my breathing was super choppy - I’ve been having some trouble controlling my asthma lately. I don’t know how I managed to finish this run, but I did, so I’ll take it. It’s normal to have a rough day every now and then. I try not to let those days discourage me.
Thursday, I focused on cross training by utilizing the CrossRamp machine. I love this machine! It’s been helping immensely in maintaining my cardiovascular fitness while get my iliotibial band syndrome under control.
Friday, I wanted to keep my run short, but sweet. My goal was 4 miles at a 9:30 pace. Even as my speed progressed throughout the run, I felt great. I was able to surpass my goal pace, which left me feeling confident. I’m not sure how on earth I ran 4 miles in exactly 37:37. I know that I have a lot of work to do before I can get back to my pre-injury pace, but I have no doubt in my ability to get there. I finished up my run with my longest wall sit to date - 5 minutes! I was shaking, and my legs were on fire, but my goal was 5 minutes and 5 minutes it was. I also noted how much worse bruises look as they begin their healing process.
Yesterday, my main goal was to run 8 miles at a sub-10 minute pace. I’m not really sure what my goal is for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I’m more concerned about re-building my weekly mileage as opposed to getting my speed back to where it was. I don’t feel that it would be a good idea to focus on both factors until I personally feel ready to do so once again.
I decided to run on the Boston Bike Trail because it’s flat, and it would allow me to focus on my running form. I jumped on this opportunity since the trail was finally snow/ice free! It was also “warm” enough to complete a pre-run warmup comfortably.
Mile 1: 9:48
Mile 2: 9:31
Mile 3: 9:32
Mile 4: 9:36
Mile 5: 9:46
Mile 6: 9:47
Mile 7: 9:52
Mile 8: 9:46
Avg HR: 162 bpm
Max HR: 173 bpm
My splits were all over the place, and I’m not exactly sure what happened during the 2nd half of this run. I felt awesome, but my pace certainly didn’t reflect it. As a matter of fact, this run was just all around wonderful. I saw a small handful of runners, and we all gave one another the runner’s nod of approval. I got an intense runner’s high, and I never had the urge to stop.
Scrunchy nose. Post run.
I felt like I could’ve kept going and going, but then I would’ve risked re-injuring myself. I didn’t have any noticeable pain during this run, but I felt some twinginess in my left knee upon finishing. But once I stretched and rolled my leg muscles, the pain dissipated. Still no aftermath pain! Phew!
I was happy all day long. I closed up my day of bliss with a fun night of bowling with Sean and his friends - well, now they are my friends too. The last time we went bowling was on our 1st date. Bowling is not exactly my forte as I’m the most uncoordinated person ever. I’m the type of person who would still manage to get a gutter ball even if the bumpers were up, haha. I think my highest score was 80 something, and my lowest was 30 something for the night. I still had fun, so that’s all that matters to me. My nickname on the big ole’ bowling screen was “Rocky’s Wife”. Sean’s was “Sean John Silver.” Yeah, I don’t know either…
I should’ve known better than to wear skinny jeans with bowling shoes.
Then again, my fashion statement can’t nearly be any worse than this monstrosity that I found in Target this weekend. They are on clearance.
He may be a butt-head at times, but…
…I love him. (PS. He better never buy me the moon shoes pictured above.)7 notes
I’ve been battling iliotibial band syndrome and a bit of patellar tendonitis (runner’s knee) in my left leg since completing the Marshall Mangler 50K back in November. I’ve had my ups, and I’ve had my downs. The past 3 months have been an emotional roller coaster for me.
Denial. For a couple of weeks, I tried talking myself into believing that I was still “recovering” from the 50K. “Of course I’m going to be in a lot pain…I just ran 31.07 miles!” I was able to get myself out of this stage pretty early in the game and decided to seek out professional medical advice…x-rays, physical therapy, the works.
Anger. I was mad for a short while. It was very tough for me to read about running, hear about running, and be asked about running on a daily basis. It felt like my body had betrayed me, but you know what? I betrayed my body by ignoring issues and not tuning into the warning signs.
I have to listen and take care of my body not only when it’s called upon because by then, it could be too late. It is, after-all, the only place I have to live.
Depression. This stage was quite possibly the longest stage that I found myself stuck in, and quite frankly, I still find myself wondering into a dark place every now and then. I’ve cried. I’ve moped. I’ve felt distressed and desperate to no end. I presumed that everything I worked so hard for in recent years would begin crumbling to the ground. Foolish and ignorant dark thoughts swirled through my head. “Without running, who am I?” “If I don’t run, who’s going to read my blog?” “I’m going to lose my speed, endurance, and everything else!” “Running makes me happy, and now I’m going to be miserable!”
It’s true, but only if I allow it to make me miserable.
Acceptance. I finally reached this stage of the game. I have to accept that I’m an injured runner. How did I get here? Well…
I had a wake up call. Early yesterday morning, I set off to run 15 miles. Before yesterday, I had 2 successful 12 mile runs, so this 15 miler was going to be another test. I foam rolled for several minutes, performed a dynamic warmup routine, and then I stepped outside. After my Garmin watch located satellites, I took a deep breath and started my run. The first couple of miles felt endless, and then I was able to slip into my groove - as with most runs. Around mile 8, I refueled with a package of Sports Beans and started heading back towards home.
Moments after the turn-around point, I suddenly found myself on the ground. Literally. I wore my Yaktrax on this run in the off-chance that the trails would still be covered with snow and ice. Most parts were. On the non-icy and snowy portions, the rubber on the Yaktrax gripped the pavement and flung me forward, sort of like a pole-vaulter. I placed my hands in front of me to avoid cracking my skull, and I landed on my right side. Cars drove by as my pride disintegrated beneath me. I stood up and started running again. I shook off the embarrassment and momentary pain as I continued to run along the trail, noting a few other runners who also braved the cold temps. Boom…
I fell again. This time…on both knees. I made up a few curse words under my breath as I stood up a 2nd time. I was losing motivation, and I was losing myself. Running is my time to be with me, but “I” suddenly seemed so far out of the equation. I started thinking about of all the people who inspire me, and that’s what helped get me over the 10 mile hump. A hump indeed. Boom…
I fell a 3rd and final time. I think my Yaktrax were either trying to kill me or teach me a lesson. I know that I’m clumsy, but really? I’ve only ever fell ONCE during a run because I tripped over a root, and now my tally was up to 3 on a single run along a flat bike trail. I was in a ton of pain. Mostly psychological. I took a few quick strides, listening for any warning signals telling me that I should stop. *Sheer Silence.* By some form of magical wizardry, I slipped into my groove again. I was thrilled when I reached 12 miles pain free…well as pain free as I could possible be after falling 3 times. “I can do this. I will finally make it to 15 miles - a distance that didn’t sound so daunting to me just a few months ago.”
Then around mile 12.8, pain on the side of my left knee struck me like a bolt of lightening. I immediately stopped. I sobbed as I fumbled to grab my phone out of my coat pocket to call my mom in total desperation. I asked her if she could pick me up at the trail head. It was way too cold to walk the rest of the way home, and I was already losing a ton of body heat within minutes. My mom is my savior in all aspects of my life.
What did I get out of this run?
My coat ripped.
My pants ripped.
My gloves ripped.
My shoes ripped.
Ironically enough, my Yaktrax broke after breaking me.
And, I have some new battle wounds. But something positive did come out of this run. A newfound moment of clarity. If I let this ripple in the water turn into a tidal wave, I may never see the beach in its original state again.
So I’ve made a decision.
I’m going to drop down to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon as opposed to running the full as originally planned. The first person that I told was Sean. As the words slipped out of my mouth, it stung. My lips quivered, and I was forced to hold back a few tears. But this is something that needs to be done.
There’s no point in trying to haphazardly get through this training plan just so I can say that I ran another marathon. It would be very stupid of me. The Pittsburgh Marathon will be there next year. There will always be another marathon.
Even if my biggest dreams and aspirations have to be tucked away, it doesn’t mean that they will never see the light of day again. I have new goals. My goal is to heal. Completely heal. I have to get through NOW if I want to get through FOREVER. My injury doesn’t make me any less of a runner. My injury will transform me into a stronger and more passionate runner. I will treat every run as a lesson and every mile as a gift. Endurance sports are my passion. And I will treat this obstacle like a marathon. I will start out conservatively, pace myself throughout, and finish strong. I will leave all negativity behind me on the course.
As my own heroine, I need to overcome adversity to sincerely be my own heroine. And when I ultimately come out on top, it will be that much sweeter.
I am and will always be a runner.23 notes
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! :)
A candid picture from the day we became a couple. I can’t believe it’s been 9 months already.
Today at work, Sean sent me roses, a teddy bear, and chocolate for our 1st Valentine’s Day together. I never ever had anyone do this for me. It definitely made my entire day! :)
Sorry Sean. This was too adorable not to share.
And I just thought that I’d re-share this gem from our beach vacation over this past summer.
I love you Sean. Here’s to many more Valentine’s Days together.17 notes