Friday, April 20, 2012

New blog

Hello old friends. If anyone still reads this, I just wanted to let you know that I have started a new blog. It can be found over at Run. Lift. Fight. Thanks for sticking with me! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anger. Strength. Stupidity.

Today I heard two words I hoped to never hear (yet always knew I probably would at some point): Stress fracture.

Yep, I have a stress fracture in my foot. How did I figure this out?

Yesterday I ran a 7 mile race (in Gloucester, MA for anyone who's wondering) and was in pain the whole time. Not normal pain, but "Jake, you go ahead while I shuffle through the rest of the race" pain. I considering stopping many MANY times. I kept telling myself one thing:

And I never stopped. I never even walked. I ran, then I jogged, then I was reduced to a SLOW jog. I did 7 miles in something like 1:40, and was the second to last person to finish the race. But did I care? No. Because I finished.

It was when Jake and I were eating breakfast afterwards that I knew something was REALLY wrong. I've had foot pain for over a week (after runs), but not like this. Not "foot so swollen my flip flop might need to be cut off" pain. Not "every time I point my toes I feel a nauseating crunching/grinding feeling in my foot" pain. I iced it and took lots of Advil, and decided to see how it felt today. Today, I went to the hospital for x-rays.

Yep, stress fracture. I could say all sorts of things about what I'm learning, etc. but right now? I'm just angry. I'm proud of myself for finishing the race despite the blinding pain, but I feel idiotic for ignoring it and allowing it to get so much worse. I'm also angry that I was SO stubborn about my minimalist shoes that I allowed injury.

I don't know what this means for the near future. I need to meet with a foot doctor, and hopefully he can tell me what to expect timeline wise for running. I'm signed up for a 7k in a couple weeks, and then a 10k a couple weeks after that. Then half marathons in October and November (not to mention the full in March). I don't want to miss any of these races. But will I? I don't know. Maybe I'll walk some of them (if I can) and just try to pretend my crappy times don't bother me. But I don't know.

For now? I'm allowing myself to be angry. I'm allowing myself to be kind of miserable. I haven't cried yet, but I know that's coming.

In the hopes of closing this with SOMETHING positive, I'll share this: Before yesterday, Jake had never run more than 4 miles. He signed up for the 7 miler for the shirt (it has a picture of the famous Gloucester Fisherman Memorial on it, which he loves), and strongly doubted he could do it. While he admits that he did have to walk off and on after mile 3, and his knee hurt after mile 6, he did it. And he did it in 1:24! Is that amazing or what?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You know it was a good workout when...

I've been formulating these things in my head for a week. I decided it was time to write them all down.

You know it was a good workout when:

You're so disoriented leaving the gym that you can't find your car. And your car is a beast.

(Roxy is the big Xterra.)

Yeah, I really couldn't figure out where I'd parked. I wandered for a couple minutes before I realized it was right in front of my face.

You know it was a good workout when:

The sweat reaches the end of the hat's brim.

You know it was a good workout when:

You get in the shower and your cat (Kalila) goes to town rubbing herself all over your nasty sweaty clothes.

I don't have any pictures of her attacking my clothes, but I posted this one to prove that despite being gross, she's beautiful. :)

You know it was a good workout when:

You're terrified of your foam roller. I don't have a picture for this one, but when I was walking past it to go to the shower, I literally cringed away from it. Just the thought of it petrified me. I'll do it... later. I swear. *cough*

And most importantly,

You know it was a good workout when:

You do a mile in 8:10 for the first time!! AND you do it after completing a brick. Yeah. That's when you know it was really good.

How do YOU know when it was a good workout?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Minimalist shoes.

Let's talk about a very popular running topic these days: minimalist shoes.

I have a little bit of history with these. Back when I first started running, I got a pair of the Vibram Five Finger running shoes, and ran my first 5k in them.

While I think they're fantastic shoes, they're meant for short distances. Otherwise the rubbing between the toes gets way too bad. Feel free to dispute this, but I firmly believe they're meant for 4 miles absolutely max.

When starting to run again (after my month off), I was looking into the Nike Free 2 for a while. I had done a lot of research, and was pretty much sold. THEN Nike decided to endorse Michael Vick (aka dog-murderer extraordinaire) and while the rest of the country seems to be TOTALLY fine with him at this point and buy into the fact that he's "changed," I refuse to support that. I'm the ultimate animal person (hence my vegetarianism). And I'm a huge football fan (go Giants!!), and I think he's bad for the sport. They never should've taken him back. Also, my dog is a football fan, too. And he thinks Vick deserves to get slowly and painfully eaten by pitbulls.

So, because of Nike's decisions, I decided against the Nike Free 2. This meant that I needed a different minimalist shoe to research!

Kellie told me about the Merrell Barefoot Pace Glove, and the research began. They had great reviews, they weigh an incredible 6 ounces, and when I tried them on in the store, they were incredibly comfortable.

I decided to go for it, knowing that I'd need to start out slow. Well this wasn't a problem, because I was starting out slow either way since it'd been over a month since I'd gone running.

I quickly figured out to NOT wear socks with them (even super thin ones that I started out with as a precaution), and stopped mid-run to take off my socks. I hid them behind a bush near a stop sign and grabbed them on my way back. After the first run I decided that I really liked them as shoes, but still wasn't sure about them for running purposes. The 6 ounce technology is impressive, but it means that your foot isn't really protected. Not from rocks, not from weak ankles, and not from muscles getting sore from the extra effort. However, there was one major perk I have to mention - the soles are made by the Vibram people and they ARE very resilient against gravel / silt all over the sides of the roads. It tends to be everywhere in New Hampshire, and it's unavoidable. (Which is why I highly respect barefoot runners, but I've never seen one in New Hampshire.)

After a couple weeks running in the Merrell's, I have to say that I still haven't figured out how much I like them. Sometimes they feel great, other times they make everything hurt. For example, on Thursday I had to stop running after a mile because my shin bones felt like they might come through my legs. However, running today, I had no shin pain. Granted, I spent the weekend treating them and taking it easy, but still - no pain in the shins today?

But I had a different problem today. Pain on the side of my foot. I didn't really feel it during my run, but afterwards I was limping all around the gym. It hasn't improved since I got home. I've had other foot pain from these shoes, but it was short lived. It was obviously muscular, and I assumed it was connected to my feet adjusting to the shoes. This time it feels like a bone, not a muscle. I'm not claiming anything's broken, but maybe too much pressure is on that bone.

Here's the problem with minimalist shoes. Any ache or pain that I might normally connect with my running form or just a sloppy/crappy day, I now have to wonder if it's my shoes. You always kind of have to wonder, but with minimalist shoes, you really have to wonder. So is it my shoes causing bone pain? Or my form? Or does the shoe mess up my foot strike and I'm hitting a bad part of my foot?

I don't know. I just have to wait and see, essentially. The only absolute truth that I can come to with minimalist shoes is that they're a great idea. But I still don't know if they're for me. I'd just like to figure it out before serious marathon training (i.e. long runs) start.

And now I'll leave you with today's favorite running song.

And favorite biking song. (Stationary bike at the gym. Don't wear earbuds while biking on the road! EVER!)


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now.

Day two of my return to running. Day one consisted of running in my town, in VERY hot weather, and the result was a billion mosquito bites and feeling like I might die. However, despite it being brutal every step of the way, I managed a little over 4 miles. I was so focused on the heat that I wasn't focused on the fact that I was RUNNING again (probably because I was going VERY slowly due to the weather).

So day two comes (today), and I go to the gym to avoid heat and incoming massive storms. I go back to my FAVORITE treadmill - right under the fan - and I bring my ipod because I figured it would help. I started out fast - too fast - and I hit a wall before I hit two miles. I had to walk more than I wanted to, and my heart rate was sky rocketing. I needed a way to get through it.

Many of you probably know that I'm mildly obsessed with Kanye West. Not necessarily him as a person - he should probably keep his mouth shut most of the time - but I love his music. One of my classic running songs is "Stronger."

But after trying that and still not feeling it, I knew I needed something better. I put on "Jesus Walks," and it got me through. I'm not a particularly religious person, but it's a great song and a GREAT beat for running.

I got through 4.5 miles, and allowed myself a minute of self-pity when I went back to the locker room and slammed the locker closed. It's just frustrating. I knew I wouldn't be exactly back where I was, but 4 miles used to be nothing. And now it feels nearly impossible. My knees and legs were hurting and I was breathing so heavily that I just wanted to scream and hit something. What happened to my endurance? What happened to the person who, after running 10 miles for the first time, felt perfectly fine?

She had to take a month off from running, that's what happened. And I'll get it back. I KNOW I'll get it back. It's just going to take some time. In the meantime, I'll be frustrated, but I'll keep it in perspective. I thought about Mel who's recovering from a serious bike crash and head injury, and forced myself to hang in there for her, because she just went running for the first time since the accident, and she did it. I thought about Janae who's been dealing with injury after injury lately, and she's still doing what she can, and happily.

The point is, we all deal with setbacks. There's no point in letting it get you down to an extreme, because it will only make it worse. I thought about what Janae said recently - something along the lines of "one mile is a LOT" - because it is. ESPECIALLY when we're coming back from setbacks. There are so many people out there who don't even do ONE mile, and the fact that we're doing what we can (even if it's slower or harder than it used to be) is just. plain. awesome.

I'm in pain now. And I'm SO annoyed that I'm in pain after a measly 4.5 miles. But it's really not that measly. I took a month off, and ran a total of 8.68 miles in my first two days back. I'm going to be ok. We all are.

Stay positive, peeps. It changes everything.

And now, just to end this with a funny note, I saw this parked outside the gym tonight. What happens if he loses weight?

Have a good night and USE SUNSCREEN! (Small PSA for the evening.)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Falling in and out of love.

I should start this entry by saying that I am ashamed at how long it has been since I last posted. It's been a couple months. I could tell you all of my reasons, but there are no excuses. But here's a rundown of what has been going on with me.

I participated in my second triathlon, and I still don't even want to talk about it - a month and a half later. It was a poorly run race, and the female novice group was put in a bad position. We had a limited amount of time to get through the bike portion, and the female novice wave started last - giving us even LESS time to get through both the swim and the bike. If I had had an extra ten minutes, I would have been fine. But as it was, they stopped about five of us, ripped off our timing chips, and told us that our race was over. I still bubble over with anger when I think about it. Especially since, before that point, I was having a really good race. I ran T1 and wasn't feeling fatigued. I could have had a really solid race, but no. I dealt with a swim and bike in the pouring rain only to get a forced DNF. And I don't do DNF.

Two weeks later, Jake, Ethan, B, and I participated in the Warrior Dash. The entire race consisted of 6 inches to 2 feet of mud at any given point, so I had to walk most of the race as to avoid injury.

Despite my best attempts at avoiding injury, when the race finished, I removed my shoes and the blood started pouring. A couple of my toes and a section of the arch of my other foot were rubbed so raw that even now, a month later, it's not entirely healed. This was my first reason for taking a break from running/biking - I literally couldn't put on close-toed shoes for weeks.

(My legs and feet after the Warrior Dash. Yes, my bruises are sexy.)

The other reason is that I had a tattoo surgically removed, and I had to heal to a certain extent before I was allowed to do ANYTHING.

So that brings me to here. It's been a month since I've been running, I've gained some weight along with a lot of frustration. That negative triathlon experienced affected me more than it should have. It brought me down mentally and I fell out of love with being an athlete for a little while. Then the Warrior Dash happened, and what was supposed to redeem my love of running just knocked me out of the game entirely for a while.

Technically I'm signed up for a triathlon in Boston in a week, but I doubt I'll do it. I'm entirely physically unprepared, and I shouldn't do anything that extreme on my arm at this point. But running?

It's time for me to fall back in love with running.

I signed up the Atlanta Marathon in March 2012, knowing that the best way for me to get back on the wagon is to have a goal.

I signed up for the Seacoast Half Marathon in November here in NH, because as my (almost) half way point month-wise till March, it'll be a good time to check on my half marathon time. I'm sure I'll sign up for more as they come along.

Tonight, I'm watching the Spirit of the Marathon to get myself pumped up. Marathon training officially starts tomorrow.

Lastly, I get married two months from today. I totally have time to train. Right? Right. (Oof.)

If anyone can recommend any running books I should read, please do. Not really form or strategy - just the love of the sport. Pleeeasse. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Complete a triathlon - check.

Today I completed the King Pine (sprint distance) Triathlon. I don't have time (slash the desire) to write a full race report right now, so until then, enjoy these pictures.