02/28/13

One Day at a Time

Baby steps.. I took another short 2 and a 1/2 mile walk yesterday and things went well. I even went up and down a flight of stairs (something I have read is a good sign that the calf is on the mend) so this morning I went for another walk and as soon as I’d left my street and was on the main road through my neighborhood, I felt like jogging – just a little — so I did. This was the first time I’d ran at all in about 3 weeks. It felt strange and unfamiliar and cumbersome and familiar and wonderful and glorious all at the same time. Anyone who’s been injured understands the conflicting experience of testing out your legs after time off well!

I gently jogged about 3/10 of a mile, then walked again. I continued this Gallowayish method for the entire 3 miles. The IT band was a bit tighter today, so I’ll spend some more quality time with the foam roller and stretching it out today. The calf felt about 80% fine -just a little sore when I massage it.

The most enjoyable sightings on my walk/run: A cute, little boy about age 10 dressed in a red M & M costume walking to school, a little girl about age 7 wearing a huge red and white striped Dr Seuss hat and another little girl, about age 9 wearing a cool crocheted hat that was made to look just like a birthday cake complete with several colorful 4 inch candles popping out of the top of her head!!!

hall monitor

Another fun thing was having the kids who serve as crossing guards hold up the stop signs and stop traffic for me as I crossed the street near the elementary school. Reminded me of my days as a 6th grade hall monitor, wearing my neon orange safety vest, walking around looking bossy with my notepad and pencil – I guess those days were good practice for being a bossy mom of 5! 😉

Ave HR: 125. Max HR: 157. Drops of sweat produced: A few! Progress – slow but sure…

P.S. I wore the new Drymax socks and Moving Comfort Fiona Sports bra – both get my approval for awesome workout gear that does the job!

02/26/13

Baby Steps

I cancelled my chiro appointment and instead decided to just take it easy and gradually introduce movement back into my legs without going overboard. I get pretty sore from the ART and Graston therapy and wanted to be able to distinguish “real” pain from soreness from the treatment, so I think it was the right decision.

I walked in the snow to the neighborhood gym. The sky was robin-egg blue and completely cloudless, the sun was shining and the wind was biting through my thin shirt. I forced myself to walk slower than I normally would -just keeping things loose and gentle. I’d taken a warm bath before I left and massaged the leg muscles – especially the injured calf until they felt loose before I left. I felt good. I have had zero tightness or pain at all in the calf this morning.

When I got to the gym I hit the recumbent bike – and kept it on level 1 — just trying to ease the muscles into working correctly and painlessly again. The automatic timer on the bike is 20 min and I figured that was probably about right for the first time. I didn’t sweat. That wasn’t the point – yet, but I moved the leg, pain-free for 20 min and got 3.1 miles done.

Then I walked back home, this time on the sunnier side of the street where I didn’t have to make a path through the snow! I did watch a poor Mother pulling a kid in a wagon on the other side dealing with it though and wanted to say “It’s nicer over here!” 🙂

The 100 in 3 1/2 weeks? Who knows. At this point, I’m just taking baby steps and whatever happens – my long-term healing is the most important thing so I can go back to doing what I adore for as long as I am able to in this lifetime…..

 

02/24/13

Injured and Sitting on the Sidelines

I really need to start wearing a shirt like this to warn all the innocent people!

You would think after having suffered through shin splints, trochanteric bursitis in my hip, IT band syndrome, two serious ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis at various points in the last 4 1/2 years as a runner, I’d be well equipped for how to handle another set back – this time a calf strain in my right leg. You’d have guessed wrong, though.

It’s been 14 days since that fateful day up Rocky Canyon road where I slipped on black ice and strained my calf. I finished up the 22 mile run (limping for the final 11 miles) and haven’t been the same since. The first few days, I iced it and stayed off it, and actually enjoyed a little break in my training. I had my hair done, I baked goodies for my kids and cleaned my house. 48 hours later, though, my patience and ideas for how to spend my free time ran out and I tried running on the leg. I made it 3 miles – at an average pace of 8:09, and felt fine — while running — but within an hour of ending the test run, I was limping again, but this time worse.  I’d aggravated the condition.

I’ve done yoga four times during recovery and each time made it slightly worse. Turns out downward dog is a bit too much for a strained calf to handle while those muscle fibers are repairing themselves. I saw my chiropractor and he again said, “You’ve suffered a setback!” Dang it! I tried slow walking — twice — just 3 miles each time — and each time made it worse.

So, here I am on day 14 doing absolutely nothing but waiting for this injury to heal. I have a 100 miler on the schedule in less than 4 weeks.  I’m not feeling hopeful about that. The worst part is before the injury, I was in the best shape of my life! I ran a PR marathon about a month ago in 3:47! My training has gone well all winter long. I was gearing up to really tear it up this spring! To run another 100 miler and then try to qualify for Boston at the Great Potato Marathon in May.

Now, I’m getting soft, losing fitness and I’ve gained 3 lbs. I’m an emotional eater and not a particularly healthy eater in general (this surprises people sometimes since I lost 80 lbs and have kept it off for over 3 years – they assume I’m a shining example of what to do right – but the truth is — all the mega miles and smaller portion sizes are what got my weight back down to a healthy one – not healthful eating.)  So, here I sit, feeling kind of frustrated since I’ve not been given the green light to do any other activities but rest. Running is my therapy, I like to say – and without that constant dose of endorphins and physical release I am more cranky than usual.

This pretty much sums up my recovery plan....

How do you handle injury? Have you suffered a calf strain and been able to safely cross-train through it? Are you injured right now and feeling a little frustrated yourself? I think this is the point, where it should occur to me that each and every one of those injuries I suffered in the past felt like they would go on forever while I had them – and yet each time, I did eventually heal up and get back to training and kicking butt — and this time will likely be no different!  The same goes for you – if you’re right where I’m at, shoot me a message and we’ll try and remind one another that this is temporary. It is always darkest before the dawn, tomorrow is a new day, everything’s going to be alright….. RIGHT?! 😉

No Patience

02/21/13

An Attitude of Gratitude

Be happy with the life you have!

I had a lovely start to my day today! I haven’t been able to run for almost two weeks. Last night I got a text from Ryan saying he and our buddy Christine were going to run in the morning and then get breakfast after. He was inviting me to join in for breakfast since I’ve been missing out on all the socializing I get while running usually. I thought that was really thoughtful. As a stay-at-home Mom, it’s true that a big part of my social life is now tied to my running community and it was fun to catch up with two of my pals over breakfast today!

When I woke up this morning, I was immediately aware of how wonderful my leg was feeling after my visit to the chiropractor yesterday. I really think the combination of ART and ultrasound on the calf made a huge difference!! He also used ART on my shoulders/neck area. I was involved in a head-on car crash that totaled my car when I was 20 years old. I’ve struggled with pain and soreness in my neck every since. Yesterday was the first time my doctor used the active release therapy on me and I swear I could tell instantly it would be beneficial! Normally I have soreness/pain in my neck/shoulders all the time. It makes it hard to fall asleep at night. Last night I slept like a baby and this morning I am about 75% better! My IT band and calf feel better too!!! Yay!!

So, after breakfast, I headed home and got the kids started on school and decided to head out for a really gentle, short walk. I had NO pain in my calf during the 3 miles and made sure not to push the pace at all. Recovery is more important than speed.

While I was walking in the beautiful sunshine, under a clear blue, cloudless sky, I started counting my blessings. I have so much to be grateful for! An amazing husband, loving children, my sweet friends, a roof over my head in a neighborhood I love (where I can see the mountains from my front porch!!), plenty of food and my good health! Even though I’m injured right now, I have been able to use my body in ways I never imagined possible — running races so much faster than I ever dreamed I could and distances that seem impossible to most people. I have a wonderful life!!!!!

So, injury or no injury — I am happy. I am grateful! I am full of JOY!

Enjoy your day!

Ave HR: 106

Be Thankful!!

02/19/13

Calf Strain

I haven’t done an update in a bit. While doing a training run up Rocky Canyon Road while it was covered in ice a week and a half ago, I heard a car coming up the road behind me. I turned to look, slipped on the black ice and fell awkwardly, pulling something in my right calf. I limped a bit and then finished up the 22 mile run.

Turns out, I have a grade 1 calf strain! That’s good news mostly since it should be healed up in time for my next race – The Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 miler in about 5 weeks! The bad news is I haven’t been able to run since the injury (unless you count the 3 mile test run that made me limp even MORE when I was done a couple days later!) I learned my lesson from that and have behaved myself beautifully (mostly!) while trying to recover and get back in the saddle.

What I’ve learned about calf strains during this:

1. STOP running or doing any activities that engage the calf for the first 48-72 hours! You can make the damage worse if you do!

2. DON’T try to foam roll or stretch it out! Turns out, this too can cause those muscle fiber tears to get worse and cause you to take more time to recover in the long run.

RICE - Rest + Ice + Compression + Elevation = The Road to Successful Recovery!

3. ICE is your friend! Icing the injury, using compression socks, elevating it and rest (the usual RICE prescription) are exactly what you need to be doing. I was also advised to take ibuprofin in regular doses to help with the initial discomfort.

4. See a doc! I saw my chiropractor within a couple of days and was able to find out if I had a level 1,2 or 3 strain, what treatment options were good for me, how long recovery would take, etc. Don’t put this step off! It’s best to know exactly what you’re dealing with you so don’t make the situation worse by trying to “push through” the pain or stretch it out when you might be needing to just sit back, ice it and take a few days off.

Control yourself!! Follow your Dr's orders! 🙂

5. Keep your eyes on the long-term goal! No one likes to be sidelined by injury, but if you keep you eyes on the prize — getting healthy again so you can return to your sport — you’ll make wiser decisions than if you start thinking short term such as “Maybe it won’t be so bad if I “just ran 5 miles” on the injured leg today!”  when you were told to NOT run at all for two weeks, etc!  Patience will pay off here! Don’t turn a small problem into a bigger one by jumping the gun back into training! And, remember to ease back in once you get the green light!

 

 

 

 

If you are facing a calf injury and aren’t sure how severe it is, here are the basic differences between a Grade 1, 2 and 3 strain and how to tell the difference (from Jubileesportphysio.com.)

Grade 1:

  • The muscle is overstretched causing small micro tears in the muscle fibres.
  • Mild discomfort, often minimal disability.
  • Recovery takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks if you do all the right things.

Grade 2:

  • There is partial tearing of muscle fibres.
  • Moderate to severe discomfort with walking, and limited ability to perform activities, such as running and jumping.
  • May have swelling and bruising associated.
  • Full recovery takes approximately 5-8 weeks with good rehabilitation.
  • Professional assistance is highly recommended.

Grade 3:

  • This is the most severe calf strain with a complete tearing or rupture of muscle fibres in the lower leg.
  • Severe injury that can cause inability to walk. Often patients complain of muscle spasm, swelling and significant bruising.
  • Full recovery can take 3-4 months and, in some instances, surgery may be needed.

I’ve been doing yoga at the local YMCA and just today — 9 days after the injury — felt like the calf was well enough to walk on again for 3 miles. It’s progress! I’ll try some of other low-impact options at the Y this week and hopefully I’ll be back to running again in a few more days off!

I’m seeing my chiropractor again tomorrow for Graston therapy (which I have considered to be one of the most useful tools in my “keep ahead of injury” quick fixes) when injury threatens to take me out of the game!! It’s done miracles from my IT band and since calf injuries also cause scar tissue to form will be a good idea to make sure this heals right and doesn’t become a chronic problem later!

Graston Therapy being demonstrated on an IT band - it's like MAGIC for breaking up scar tissue and restoring pull motion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully I’ll be 100% by race day!! Think happy, healing thoughts for me! 🙂

02/6/13

Feeling Sexy

Me in my other TStarRunning Skirt! It's easy to run when you feel so sassy!

When I run solo, I like to have a few specific goals for my runs. Today my goals were: Run easy, keep the heart rate steady at about 75% of max and run for two hours. So, I pulled on my adorable purple and black new sexy skirt made my Biddi that I’ve been dying to take on a run, added a few matching articles of clothing (including my jazzy purple and white zebra striped Mizuno Wave Elixer 7 shoes) and headed out into the fog for a morning run! It was a cozy 28 degrees and my legs were so happy to be set free again today instead of trapped behind a pair of winter running tights!

I settled into a comfortable jog and relaxed and breathed. I love running in the fog. A little bit of hail must have happened in the night because I was running on these tiny pebbles of it for the first two miles which made my footing kind of funny, but I didn’t mind. I realized how happy I was to NOT be focused on pace for the day. I’m glad I’m training for a 100 right now and not another fast marathon. I do love running fast, but I also like to slow down and enjoy the moments, savor the morning while I run – and that’s harder to do when you’re focused on going fast! Today was good for the soul and the body — gentle, easy, light-footed and steady.

I got it in my head that I was hoping to make it down to the Train Depot, which is this really cool looking clock tower building in downtown Boise. I wasn’t exactly sure how far it was from my house, but I was hoping that running for an hour would let me at least glimpse it before turning back and it turned out I was exactly right!!!

I came in sight of it (as much of it as I could make out in the fog) right at 1 hour into the run. I saw my HR was at a 158 average which is right on target! I switched my Garmin screen to only show HR so I wouldn’t “cheat” and try to race myself back home. I wanted to practice staying in control and NOT pushing too hard the whole way.

Now, on the way out, I had a nice, gradual downhill of about 256 feet of loss, so that meant I was running uphill gradually on the way back, so I expected to find that it took longer to get home than it did to come (especially since I was watching the HR and my heart always goes berserk on uphills if I push at ALL!) I was trying to guess how much longer it would take with those factors and I guestimated it would be about an hour and 5 min for me.

As I was running along, I noticed a cop car pulled over a little ways ahead. I ran tall, smiled devilishly and thought, “Ohhhh, I hope I get a ticket for being too SEXY in this skirt!!!!” but I did not. Darn! Maybe next time! 😉

Just about two miles from my house, I noticed a small SUV with dark tinted windows pass me by and then slow down and stop. I crossed the road approaching the car and when I reached the driver’s side door and saw a very handsome, beared man, I leaned in and gave him a kiss that left him breathless!!! Good thing for me it was my husband, huh?! 😉 We chatted and then I ran the final two miles back home.

It took one hour to reach 6.58 miles at the turnaround today. I hit my front door in an hour and 3 min and 22 seconds. My ave HR was still 158! WIN!!!!!! It must have been the SEXY skirt, Biddi!!! That’s what I’m thinking…..